Winners & Grinners

K08B3ICA60IGY1CA0HDVAGCAFNC7CGCAXAZRKECAKVA8VVCAWDRIXTCA5LG0OFCACA1S2ACAT877WWCA7PN5OFCATCPIIYCA6W1O5YCAZPIKTBCAZ29L3CCA72BSGJCAGQFWBECADQXVNQCAO3WAHXCA1MY5WAToday is the day we pick the winners from those who helped me celebrate my cover reveal. Thank you for all your support; the number of people who comment is a fraction of all those of you who have visited – and I just want everyone to know I’m grateful for your time.  So that’s the winners part of this post (names at the bottom because – well because I’m slack and I haven’t yet drawn those names. Get ready to have a pin stuck in you, or grabbed. Manhandled…? I won’t tell you which method I choose, you can imagine your own preferred deciphering process. I’m not going to ask which. Way too much information for me...)
The grinners? A couple of fotes from our classy coffee catch up last Sunday at The Edwards. A cool lazy afternoon filled with chatter and food and wine.
2015-10-18 15.12.57   Like-minded people, wine and food. Is there a more fabulous combination anywhere? (Not that I’m agin ‘unlike-minded’ people, but sometimes it’s just great to talk to people who speak your language and travel your journey. It’s simultaneously energizing and relaxing. Go figure. )
So, who turned up? After a few were struck down with last minute lurgies and other stuff like turning up on the wrong day ( I didn’t ask for excuse notes and looking at you Morgan Bell and also Sheree Kable, Kim Ross, Deb Kelly, Natalie Daniels, Liz Anelli and 2015-10-18 15.09.39sincere apologies to anyone else I missed )
Susan Whelan and I got to hang with Bev Murrill, Katrina McKelvey, Cynthia Hyde, Nat Petrohelos, Ant Wood, Alyssa Brugman  &  Trinity Doyle.

2015-10-18 15.09.00

I’m techo-challenged at the best of times, but it doesn’t help if your system won’t cooperate. So:
Photo 1, From L: Cynthia Hyde, Trinity Doyle, Katrina McKelvey, Susam Whelan, Bev Murrill.
Photo 2, from L: Alyssa Brugman, Ant Wood, Nat Petrohelos, Cynthia Hyde.
Photo 3, from L: Kaz & Alyssa.
So now to the exciting part! Winners!!
And the winners are: Drumroll Please…


Congratulations! Please contact me to supply your addresses so I can get these gorgeous books packs away.

Out Jan, 2016. Avail pre-order now!The Reluctant Jillaroo

January 2015

Pre -order now!


Win!!! Better Odds Than Lotto! Prizes Galore!


Never felt lucky? I know the feeling but trust me – and I don’t need my psychic friend Zoradastramas to back this up – THIS could be YOUR lucky day!

At the moment 3 blogs are offering no less than 6 copies of my books: 4 x Almost Dead and 2 x Dead Actually! Think about this! Winning one of these books is way, way more likely than winning lotto! And you don’t even have to buy a ticket!

And there are about to be more!  But to current news first. 

Yesterday I was honoured to be featured on two exciting blogs, both offering books prizes, so if you’d like to win a copy of Almost Dead, pop along and check them out.

1) Ebony Mckenna Blogspot.Ebony McKenna 

Ebs, author of the famed and wonderfully entertaining  Ondine series, and I met at an RWA fancy dress cocktail  party. She was dressed as a Bondgirl/Spy and I went as a ?detective/spy in a trench, sunnies and fedora. She sidled up to me and, as the story goes, whispered, “Boris, in Moscow it is cold in Winter” or something similar. I reputedly replied with, “Natasha! Have you seen a moose and a squirrel?”  That night a friendship was born  and Boris and Natasha got up to some amazing hijinks  that included slinking around poles (not dancing unfortunately), commando rolls (well, my arthritic version) around corners and generally being ridiculous. We were also versed in how to say: “I’ll meet you under the table” in Russian by a HarperCollins editor who shall remain nameless to protect her reputation.  That  tone continued when Ebony coerced me into letting my hair down on her blog that was posted yesterday. It’s a bit of a giggle and just pure fun – so drop in  and go in the draw for a copy of Almost Dead.

2) Jess Fitzpatrick – Never Ending BooshelfKaz launch w jess fitzpatrick

The gorgeous blogger/author/reviewer Jess Fitzpatrick and I met for the first time only a couple of weeks ago when she was a surprise guest at my book launch. She’s a complete sweetheart and a more passionate advocate of Australian women’s fiction you will be hard pressed to find.  Smart, savvy, informed and generous.  Today, she’s participating in the Australia Day Blog Hop and has books prizes on offer also by my great mate Lee Christine, who writes spine tingling Romantic Suspense, and Whitney EK,  author of the acclaimed ‘What happens In Ireland‘.  I think there are about 8 books on offer here! Chances galore! Please drop by and take a look. m/2014/01/25/australiadaybloghopgiveaway/

Jess also very kindly and unexpectedly blogged about the Book Launch of Almost Dead. And you’ll find her report here. For me, it was fascinating seeing it from a different perspective.

3) Karen TyrrellKaren Tyrrell BEST  457 KB-1

And don’t forget Karen Tyrrell, mental health advocate, and author of her latest book  Bailey Beat the Blah ,  who kicked off the Almost Dead Fest with her blog last Wednesday. There are still chances to win on her blog as well!

Sheesh! I feel like Santa Claus! This is fabulous!

4) There’s more happening tomorrow for Almost Dead with Sally Murphy!

Until then – I hope you’ll all be flat out like lizards drinking as you celebrate this day in  good old Aussie style.  Good on ya mates!

shutterstock lips Almost Dead

Wow – I’m being Immortalised in Clay!

Okay – maybe not me per se – but just as good.  My book! ‘Almost Dead’ will be immortalised in clay.  Well, an artist’s perception of the book will be immortalised in clay.  And that’s even more exciting. Almost Dead

Can you believe this? I’m so excited I want to jump and shout! Oh. That’s normal, right? Okay then, I want to jump and shout while swinging flaming batons! (And anyone who knows how clumsy I am will know that this is BIG because normally no one would ever put (myself included) me and anything flaming and swinging in the same room. So that will tell you how crazy excited I am: I’m even throwing caution to the wind! And probably my hair…)

So, what’s the deal?  Okay so, this clay/ceramic sculpture will be part of an exhibition called SUBTEXT. Here’s the media release.

” SUBTEX is a group exhibition celebrating the links between literature and the visual arts. It is a representation of concepts expressed in literature transposed into visual images through the fine arts. This is not a new idea. Historically we can trace the links between the two forms of expression, the language of the written word and visual representation. Perhaps the most prevalent has been images inspired by the Bible. The Divine Comedy has also inspired many including the famous works by Blake. Looking for new subjects the Pre-Raphaelites drew on Shakespeare, Keats and Tennyson while in contemporary times the appropriation of literature by postmodern artists often create a multi layered interpretation.

Newcastle has a rich cultural community. In this exhibition a group of thirteen professional artists from the area has taken the writings of a group of Newcastle authors to create a visual narrative in their respective art form.

Artists include Brett Alexander; Brian Cox; Jan Downes; Caroline Hale; Varelle Hardy; Ann-Maree Hunter; Barry Maitland; Margaret McBride; Giselle Penn; Sharon Taylor; Sharon Tompkins; Sylvia Ray and Sue Stewart.

The amazing Sue Stewart contacted me and announced she’d chosen my book, Almost Dead, for her work in the exhibition! I love Sue’s work. I’ve followed her for years and have several of her early pieces in my home.  I can’t wait to see what she comes up with. I know it involves a handbag and in fact she’s chosen one of my own – a hot pink leather Guess that I adore, as her inspiration. 

But the rest will rest in her very talented hands. This is truly such an honour and I simply can’t wait until March 27th and the exhibition opening.

Down a bit further is a peek  at some of her later works. Can you see why I’m excited?

Rosemarie MilsomThis exhibition will be running during the fantabulous  Newcastle Writer’s Festival (Apr 4-6) , now in its second year,  which will kick off with an official opening the next night by NWF Director, Rosemarie Milsom  (pictured left) on Friday 28th. What an amazing week for Newcastle! 

Now let’s take a peek at some of these Sue Stewart masterpieces. 

Sue Stewart 1 


Sue Stewart 4

Sue Stewart 3

Failure to (photograph)Launch!

Display created by my husband Rob

Well wow – where did that month go? It seems like forever since I was here, and yet the days have flown. One of the reasons for my failure to appear was that my limited time and energy was taken up with planning  – and enjoying – the official launch of Dead Actually on the  26th. You know – the important one. The Party! And then afterward there was the cleanup and the returns of all the hired stuff – and the thank you notes. After all that, I settled to excitedly give you a full report here. And that’s when it hit… We had no photos. My camera had stayed safely in its little pouch, in my bag  ALL DAY!! Suffice to say it’s taken me this long to beg, bribe and blackmail guests into handing over the loot – aka their photos. Thank you especially to my beautiful son Paul. We had a great day despite mega stressful last minute venue changes.

Some of the 130+ people who came to party.

Were there things I’d change? Do differently?  Obviously not every event is perfect and this had one had its stresses – so yes, there were things I’d tweak for the next one. As a matter of fact, I now have a whole new perspective and will blog on the dos and not-to-dos of a successful book launch very soon. However, the two only questions that really needs answering for an event like this are: Was it fun? & Was it effective? And the answer to both is a resounding YES.

With gorgeous Molly

So what did we do to make it a fun day? I’ve always wanted my launches to be fun – to offer something in return to the people who turn up to support you.  So, yep, we had food;  boy did we have food. 🙂 And I wish we had some photos of that. And naturally we  had drinks, but I wanted something more than just sustenance for this event — I wanted it to be

Heather Cleary for the VGs. Backgroud from L-R: Annie, Judy, Rob, Kaz, Mary, Lea and Michelle. venue: Charlestown Library.


Coming up with a theme was both easy and frustrating. The theme of the book is ghosts right? Like, dead people.  So what do we associate with dead people? Funeral directors? Call me unadventurous, but I just wasn’t seeing the fun in that.

So back to thinking board and then I had the most ingenious idea. Well, I thought it was… No, it was. Truly… LOL.   I decided to have a psychic medium as a guest speaker.  After all, the character who almost shared the lead with Willow was JoJo – in fact there were times when JoJo almost stole the story!   But wait – it didn’t end there… Once I had that idea – I was on a roll.

Great idea number 2? Offer free psychic readings!

A trio of authors: Paula Roe shooting (hehe) Shannon Curtis & moi. Foreground: Jo Ramsey, one of our brilliant psychics at work. Jo was also our Psychic Medium guest speaker.

We had four. Four beautiful people who gave readings to the 125-130  assembled guests. What a hoot! Some people lined up for all four and then chose the best reading!  There was lots of laughter and lots of shared stories.

My youngest daughter, Ree, then had the great idea that we needed serving girls dressed as black angels. (If you’ve read the book you know the reference). Again, four gorgeous girls dressed in black and donned black wings, and served the food and helped my daughters Mel (who was also MC) and Ree run the games.

Signing, signing, signing! What a buzz! With Kerry Stove.

Yes! We had games.  Well probably more like competitions, really. Nothing too strenuous like pass the orange or pin the tail on the author. No, we had games like: share what you’d like your epitaph to be.  What would you like your gravestone to say? Sounds morbid? No! It was a hoot! My own isn’t original but it’s one I’ve always loved, so my offering was: ‘I told you I was sick!’  My husband’s was typical of his humour: ‘Get off!’       I’ll share some more in the next weeks.

Ree made small grey tombstone shaped cardboard pieces and we had boards to pin your entries on. In the spirit of sharing rather than comps, we drew the winners from a box.

We also had another that was  ‘what is/was the best part of being a

Happy people.

teenager?’, and those responses were so interesting I’m going to do a whole blog on the responses. And a third comp that was to name the next book. All had to feature the word, ‘Dead’ to stay true to the series, and I have to tell you that some of those suggestions were darned good!

Specific Deets? The bookstore chain Unleash supplied the book stall – and yes we sold a lot of books. 😉

With Madi and fam. Madi was the star of some of our promo and one of our gorgeous black angels!

The book was launched by my crit group – the Valley Girls. Why? Well, I wracked my brain for months to think of someone who knew me and knew the book well enough to do this justice.  It hit me one day that while I knew some high profile people, they didn’t know the book – and that to me was of the utmost importance. The second hit was harder and hurt more because I should have seen it immediately. Who knew the book as well as me? Those who had lived every word with me – the VGs: Heather Cleary, Leanne McMahon, Mary Brehe, Lisa Chaplin, Judy Griffiths, Tanya McGovern, Annie West and Michelle Douglas.

Suzanne Boyle - getting the finger, Lisa McKee & the beautiful Smith fam

It was a lovely day full of love and warmth. Lots of laughter and friendship and yes, my book and I felt special.

Thank you so much to my beautiful husband – who did everything and was everywhere. The amazing display was all his idea and he carved that 3D shoe! can you believe it!

And my gorgeous family – Paul, Lisa, Mel, Pete, Ree and Michael –  I so, so  couldn’t have pulled this off without you, especially given our last minute dramas (stay tuned for those in the next post).

Thank you so much to my beautiful extended family and huge hugs to my friends – old, new and brand new that I met on the day.  Kimmy – we missed you!

Amazing Shoes and “Dead, Actually” Book Give-away. It doesn’t get better. (Unless there’s ice cream???)

So, it’s no secret I love shoes. The sparklier, the less practical, the more they draw me. So, while I can’t say that it was a conscious decision to have a stiletto shoe as a continuing motif through Dead, Actually’ – I feel quite strongly that it was probably prompted by that subconscious fascination with (often) totally inappropriate footwear. Though, maybe not quite as inappropriate as those on the left… 

So, in honour of that shoe motif and in honour of shoe freaks, like me, everywhere, today I’m going to share some of the craziest shoes I’ve ever seen. I first saw some of these on my friend Maree Anderson blog ages and ages ago, so I have to pay homage to her for prompting me to go searching for more. Big Mexican Waves, Maree! Tsunami sized!

Today also marks the final day of Release Week for me. We’ve got heaps coming up – like blog tours and more fabbo comps, and I’ll be giving you the skinny on those as there are some delish prizes to be won. Sterling silver/Swarovski crystal bracelets (Yes!!)  Books (Thank you A&U), BE make-up sets. Handbags – yes(!) gorgeous Juicy Couture handbags. If you’ve read the book you get the reference.

All things girly and fitting for the upmarket stars of Dead, Actually – Willow, JoJo, Macey et al. But for just a little while,  we end the daily prize grab. That said, there are always monthly prizes on this blog – so it’s kinda always party time.

Today’s give-away is a copy of Dead, Actually courtesy of Allen & Unwin PLUS a gorgeous sparkly stiletto that you can use as a bag tag, a Chrissie dec or just something to hang and drool over. I ah-dor it!!

BTW – the mugs arrived! So, I’ll be checking on that winner in a mo


We’re also doing something a bit different today – and I’m blatantly stealing this idea from my friend Peter Taylor! He totally conned me into signing up as a follower of his blog today – and I loved it!

Okay – so you don’t have to allow yourself to be conned or tricked or be persuaded by any of those or other semi-illegal methods – but if you DO decided to play along, I promise you’ll be mentioned in my will. Promise…Pinky swear…

Here’s the skinny: To be in the draw, you only ever need to come and say hi. Or you could tell me which pair of shoes here is the weirdest. That will get you into the draw. How could you get TWO chances in the draw? Sign up for my blog! And that’s whether you comment or not!

“Peter Taylor you’re either a genius or a Kamikaze Pilot!”

Why? ‘Cos you’ll all either join the fun in the spirit it’s intended; ignore me and drop in occasionally anyway – or you’ll go running off and never speak to me again. Eek! Sob!  Please don’t let it be the latter. I don’t handle rejection…

Okay, so I’ll stop blathering and deliver my promise of more crazy shoes. Enjoy! (Note: I tried to get designer names for these shoes but failed for most.  The cage shoes are by Polly Verity. The hoof-feet *could* be by Iris Schieferstein because I found some that were very similar. Many designs are by Kobi Levi (also at) who designed those double boots for Lady Gaga.

Get it? It's a shoe stuck in gum. The pink heel is the stretched gum.

Horse's hooves? Homage to cloven-animalia?

Lunch on the run?Sorry, couldn't resist...

Have to admit - these are totally weird but totally gorgeous...

Yet another winner and ‘what’s in a name?’

Day 5 of the Let me beat you over the head with ‘Dead, Actually’ Tour’!  

Are you feeling beaten? Bashed? Bruised? No? Ha! I take that as a challenge…

Okay – let’s dive straight in today with the Day2/3 winner announcement.  Dada…

Cue the drum roll …

And the winner is…


Leah, I have to say it was Bobby’s sticky fingers that plundered the Smartie bowl this time – and you were the one he couldn’t shake. Yay!  Email me with your street addy deets  (or FB message me) and before you can recite the entire first edition volume of War & Peace without any mistakes – a sparkly new signed copy of Dead Actually PLUS the cutest pair of red heart-shaped sunnies, will be fluttering your way! ( I want photos!!) Yay! Thank you for hanging around all week! 

So, today’s prize… I thought long and hard about this – and it’s a gorgeous sparkly pink bag filled with SO perfume products. In fact this particular fragrance is called “So ETERNAL”. Hmmn – if we’re talking ghosts who just won’t quit and go away? Baby  – that’s SO ETERNAL to me!  It’s  yummy prize; I just love it…

Drill? If you’d like to go in the draw – just wave – and leave a message – OR – perhaps you’d like to comment on your fave character’s name.

 I’m in the midst of plotting the third book and I can see my hero quite clearly and he is  very  c-u-t-e… Very different to gorgeous, heart-melting Seth. Very different to meltingly hot and broody Finn of Almost Dead.  This guy is cute. Playful.  Twinkly eyes that always look they’re they’re sharing a joke with you?  Oh, be still my heart…

Anyway – this guy is to be very definitely a  ‘Charlie’. Upmarket guy, but grounded. It’s a cool, trendy name that brings some history with it. I like it.

However, my friend and crit partner, Heather, pooh-poohed it. So what to do? For what it’s worth at the mo, I’m sticking with it – because he’s so ‘Charlie all over’  to me.  My arguments for doing so? Any name can be cool – it depends on who it’s hung on. Look at Edward from Twilight. Edward? Really? Nothing wrong with the name per se – but honestly, are we talking hot hero names here? Really?

Edward from Twlight

Yet, Steph Meyer created one of the most lusted after heroes of recent times.

To prove my point, let’s flip to another Edward who features in  a perennial fave movie of mine – and one that has something of a cult following. (Or is that just in my house???)

Of what do I speak? “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” (NLCV) of course  – and the unforgettable ‘Cousin Eddie’.

Cousin Eddie

To coin a popular advert phrase: ‘let’s compare the pair’. Edward of T/L fame? And Cousin Eddie of  NLCV.

Both Edwards, right?

No contest.

I rest my case.  It’s all in the creation of the character. So, until my agent or editors tell me different, my next hero will be Charlie.  And I love him already.

So, what’s your fave character name and is there a name you came to love because of that character? If there’s no one – just pop in and say hi and you’ll be in the draw!

Till then – thank you again for your support! I love you!

Winner from Monday and… Drum Roll: SIGHTINGS!!

OMG  – I think I know how UFO-ers feel! Hanging out for sightings and needing photographic evidence to prove that ‘it’ really exists. ‘It’ of course being the book I am relentlessly promoting during release week! LOL. Yes – Release Week for DEAD, ACTUALLY ! !  

But first – we have our first daily winner! 


The  Winner of the Gorgey Sparkly Bookmark is


Ms Imelda !!! 

 Oooohhh – so exciting!  Email with your street addy Imelda so I can sent this little baby winging your way!

I just want all to know that this draw was conducted indiscriminately and under the strict conditions of all lottery draws. First the remaining Smarties were removed from the bowl and then the names dropped in. Whichever scrap of paper stuck to my chocolately fingers was the winner! Worked a treat.

And now for…


Big W store, Charlestown NSW

This first sighting was phoned through by one of my daughters. Thank you Lis! I got a cryptic message that just said, check your mobile.  So, excited! ‘It’ DOES exist!

Dymocks, Collins Street, Melbourne

This shot was sent in by the gorgeous Stephanie from Melbourne who runs the fabulous My Girl Friday Blog Spot that is devoted to great books.

I am so grateful guys!  Thank you! And while it’s not a photo, this news is just as good. My beatiful friend Sandii who resides in Southern California, trawled the net to find copies available at Dymocks in Sydney. Her poor husband has flown out here JUST to pick it up and take it to her. Okay – well, maybe there was some other minor reason he was out here – but I’m SURE the real reason was simply to get a copy of DEAD.

So – to TODAY’s PRIZE!!!!!

Gold Bouillon anyone?

The gals in this book live the high life.  They live a life of total ‘lux. And even better? The ‘rents are footing the bills!

So, when I found these fabulous gold bouillon gifts, I knew they were perfect as give-aways.

So, what is there? A gorgey gold bouillon-shaped manicure set – complete with gold sparkly emery board! Sigh! Die!  Added to that there is an amazing gold bouillon-shaped keyring/handbag dangler – which also features the cutest little sparkly stiletto!

Totally ritz!

Ooh! duh! Smacks forehead! And I forgot – there’s some gorgeous nail polish to go with that manicure set!  Fuschia pink. So, So hot… Sceptical? Don’t just take my word for it. JoJo was wearing it.  ‘Nuff said.

How do you go in the draw? By now you know the drill, right? Say hi! Carve your name in lip-gloss.  An X marked out with your fave hot smoky eye-liner pencil?

This time you don’t even have to answer a quessie! It’s true. I am TOTALLy too good to you…

Tomorrow we’ll announce the winner of the first book and sunnies set. So, don’t forget to check back in.

And, also – don’t forget to leave your message! You gotta be in it to win it!

Love you and thank you!!