At Saturday’s meeting on Rotorua Writers Group, we were graced by our guest author, New Zealnd’s Kathy Sutcliffe.
She delighted us with her back-story of the origins of her three novels… Write My Face and When Romeo Kissed Mercutio, both published 2012, and Moon Boy published 2017. She read an extract from the latter, which held us engrossed.
I bought a copy of all three, so you can expect a set of reviews later…
Second Guessing, a contemporary romance by
Gail Ward Olmsted, was released on January 5th to much acclaim.
Second Guessing is the love story of Jill and Ben, who are so wrong for each other that they may actually be right!
Jill Griffin & Ben Fein are meant to be together… said no one ever!
Jill has built a successful career writing romantic ballads for many of today’s top performers. Since the tragic end of her marriage a couple years back, the 40-something single mom has all but abandoned hope for a love story of her own.
Ben is a brash, young boy-band singer seeking a solo career who hires Jill to write for him. He’s got a dark secret from his past that he wants to keep hidden.
The attraction between the two is red-hot, and when Ben falls hard for Jill, he doesn’t care who knows it. Jill’s been burned before and wants to take things slow, keeping their relationship out of the glare of the media. After a gossip columnist exposes their affair, she’s forced to decide if she can risk letting go of her past in order to build a life with Ben.
When Ben’s past makes headlines, Jill begins to wonder how well she really knows him. But as Ben climbs to the top of the pop charts, he’s determined to succeed… at convincing Jill to take a second chance on love.
Published by Roane Publishing, 2017;
About the Author
“Gail is a professor of marketing. She has taught at the college level for twenty years. A hopeless romantic, she is married to the love of her life. She is a mom to two young adults and two cats and enjoy reading, music and travel.”
(Paraphrased from her website)
Her other books include Guessing at Normal, Driving on the Left, and Jeep Tour, all of which are on sale at Amazon, and via her website’s links.
In his retelling of the myths of the ancient Greeks, Fry offers his own interpretation, conveyed in his wonderfully cheeky way, while covering in depth and breadth all the myths we’ve heard of–and some I’d not known of.
Starting with the creation of the Gods’ world, our world, and mankind, he puts each stage of the build in its logical place in terms of time and location. All is told in Fry’s inimitable style, bringing the classics to new life:
“Everything around him glinted and glittered, gleamed and glimmered with a gorgeous gaudy golden glow but his heart was as grim and grey as granite.” No prizes for guessing about whom Fry is writing here.
Perhaps if I’d been able to read this a certain number of years ago I may have taken the challenge of university study of the classics. Certainly, anyone purchasing for a senior school or tertiary library should put this into their 2018 budget.
Family trees of the first Orders of the gods are included. Fry’s footnotes include the lexicography of our modern English language derived from the people and places of the gods and their creations.
The book also includes maps, and coloured plate illustrations.
Paperback published by Penguin – Random House, 2017
Copies (hard-book, paperback, ebook) and audio CD) can be purchased at
PSA to reviewers and authors/publishers regarding Amazon’s revised review guidelines.
This little bit here is super important to observe:
“Book authors and publishers may continue to provide free or discounted copies of their books to readers, as long as the author or publisher does not require a review in exchange or attempt to influence the review.”
This means that technically speaking, an author/publisher should not require a review in exchange for a book. Instead, offer the book for consideration. In my experience, that is the approach most industry professionals take anyway, so no major change there for most.
More importantly, it means that reviewers need to drop language such as the following from their reviews: “I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.” As far as Amazon is concerned, this means you were paid for a review and they will yank your review. Even more importantly, if they…
A Family History – an oldie but a goodie, rediscovered
This is the story of a family before and after emigrating to New Zealand in 1887, and is the answer to the question Marie and indeed her uncles and aunts often asked her grandfather (their uncle), to which the answer was an infuriating “Tell you one day.”
After his passing, Marie’s husband encouraged her to travel back to Ireland to find answers. She did so, and more. After receiving only hints of knowledge during her visit, she returned to New Zealand and began a full journey of research, aided by her grandmother’s journal, kept whilst travelling on the powered steamer Cuzco under Captain Murdoch.
Husband and wife Patrick Magill and Mary-Jane
(née Campbell) sailed with their children James (Jim), Mary, Robert (Bob) and Annie, heading to South Africa (Capetown), then east to Australia (Melbourne). There they took the Governor Arthur up the Yarrow River, to visit with Uncle Jack, who had travelled out some years before to try his luck at the gold fields. After losing his friend, he settled to the land, now a flourishing homestead.
The Magills shipped to New Zealand aboard the Arawata, arriving in the Hawke Bay Ahuriri port close to Napier.
Gray relates the events as she saw and heard them, and those of ancestors she has cleverly written as a narrative built from tales told by family members back in the old country. Her place in the genealogy of the family is included.
A delightful story, told with both regret and wit, and you may have trouble getting your hands on a copy. But if there’s any Irish in you, you’ll find it.
Published 1997, by Hodder Moa Beckett Publishers Limited, Auckland, NZ
Tuesday, 3rd February, 1931, was different. Even before it happened, the air had a hot, sticky feel to it, a sort of a gasp before a coughing fit.
“There’s something eerie going on,” mumbled Pat Scott mysteriously. “You wait! Look at the clouds coming over from Raglan Harbour.”
Jess ignored her prattle.
“There’s someone riding along the road for Te Akau. It’s not Len or Mr Magill either, Pat Scott yelled. She crossed herself devoutly.
The figure became clearer. “It’s the police from Ngaruawahia. Holy Mary Mother of God. What’s happened?”
“A message came through from Napier, Pat. Have you got the Magills staying here?” said the policeman.
Pat Scott flopped into a chair sideways, legs sprawled over the arm rests.
Jess came forward with her chin up.
“What is it Sergeant? I’m Jessie Magill.”
“Sorry to tell you, ma’am, but there’s been a mighty big earthquake in Napier. The town’s in ruins and the whole place is on fire. We got this message from Naval Headquarters. There’s no electricity or gas. They’re cut off completely. Here’s your telegram.
RETURN IMMEDIATELY. DREADFUL DISASTER. GARRATT.
“By the way, ma’am, two ships are on their way down the coast with supplies and a medical team aboard.”
“Thank you, Sergeant,” Jess said mechanically. “Are there many casualties?”
“Afraid so, ma’am, but we can’t give numbers yet. I;ll go and find the men.”
Da went white and started blowing his nose. “It sounds desperate. We’d better get going….”
The widening of Maggie Lapage’s incredible blue-green eyes told Tom his words came as a shock, and he reminded himself this was about Hailey, not him. He didn’t need to delve into his own fears and frustrations.
“How about you sit back down and tell me what’s going on, Mr. O’Shay.”
He returned to the chair and sat, even though his instincts screamed for him to get the hell out of there. He didn’t need some nosy social worker-type offering sympathy and advice, telling him how to raise his own daughter. Especially not some young thing like the one facing him. To say she was attractive would be an understatement. Her long dark red hair flowed like liquid fire, and with her classic bone structure, full sensuous lips and tall slender figure, she could’ve been mistaken for a catwalk model rather than a children’s counselor.
He rubbed his fingers into his eyes. Who was he kidding? If he didn’t get some help, and fast, he might lose his daughter completely, and he’d walk through hell before he’d allow that to happen.
“I want to help, Mr. O’Shay, I really do.” Her voice was soft and full of compassion. And it made his jaw ache. “But first you have to help me. Please, explain the circumstances that brought you here.”
He drew in a deep breath and held it for a moment before slowly exhaling. “My lawyer told me I needed counseling for my daughter. If I don’t do this, I could lose custody. She mentioned something about Family Justice Counselors. Your agency’s on the list she gave me, so I assume you’re qualified?”
“I’m a licensed mediator, yes. I can work with the courts in high-conflict custody disputes, if that’s needed.” A perplexed frown wrinkled her forehead. “Excuse my confusion, Mr. O’Shay, but did you not say your wife had died?”
“She has.” It took real effort not to come off as frustrated and bitter. “My wife and I had been divorced for about a year before she died. She had full custody of Hailey and I had visitation.” Tom recognized the quick flash of consternation crossing Maggie Lapage’s face, and he rushed to clarify. “It was simply easier that way, not because I’m not a good dad.”
Easier for Deirdre, at any rate. He didn’t get a lot of say in the matter, and he didn’t have the money to fight her at the time. Just as he didn’t have the money to fight her parents now.
The counselor’s inquiring gaze clearly said she needed more information. He heaved his shoulders up and back and tried to formulate a logical explanation that didn’t reveal quite what a fool he’d been.
He wants a real relationship, she’s afraid to love. It’s complicated, but is it impossible? She’s a children’s counselor devoted to helping others; he’s a stubborn client reluctant to accept her assistance. He wants a warm and loving relationship; she prefers to keep things physical. Professional boundaries dictate neither of them can have what they want.
Having grown up with no one but herself to count on, Maggie Lapage carefully guards her feelings. Professionally, she goes above and beyond to give others the support she wishes she’d had as a child. When she develops a forbidden attraction to a client’s father, she does what she thinks is necessary, to save his family, and to protect her own heart.
Tom O’Shay finds his life caught in a nightmare when he risks losing custody of his daughter. It goes against his character to seek help, but he doesn’t have a choice. That doesn’t mean he has to like it. Everything changes when he falls hard for his daughter’s counselor, and he suddenly has two fights on his hands. One for his daughter, and another for the woman he loves.
“That’s a big gallery, with lots of people going through it. Just think of the exposure your work would get.”
Tom did take a moment to consider it. The Langquest Art Gallery was highly reputable, and the show Tom had done with them had been a sell-out. But to have Maggie go on his behalf to seek out representation, that was too much.
“What makes you think I want or need to sell my pieces in his gallery?”
“Because, excuse me if I’m wrong, but I had the impression you could use a little financial help at the moment.” The sympathetic look in her eyes made him squirm. No bloody way did he want her wasting any sympathy on him.
“The offer of support is nice, but seriously, my professional life, at least, is doing fine. You don’t have to fix it for me.” Which was the honest, if optimistic, truth. Business was passably good. It could always be better, but it wasn’t on life support yet, and he sure didn’t need Maggie out there drumming up customers for him.
She threw a hand up. “Look, maybe I’m interfering and you didn’t ask for help, but,” she hurried on, gaining speed as she went, “I spoke to this man with the best of intentions. You have lawyer fees and counseling fees, and heaven only knows what else with this court case. They can start to add up—”
“Okay, just stop. You’re making my head hurt.” He folded his arms across his chest. He had no intention of discussing the precariousness of his financial situation with Maggie. “This conversation is over.”
Her eyes sparkled with the love of combat. “Not if I keep talking, it isn’t.”
He glared at her, making it clear he didn’t appreciate her interference. She met his accusing gaze without flinching. “Know what your problem is?” she asked, after
an uncomfortably long stare-down.
“I only have one?”
She reached out and clutched at his hand, those long slender, talon-tipped fingers curling themselves around his, distracting him with their touch. Then she started yapping again, effectively killing the moment.
“You put on a good show, and sometimes I think you even believe it yourself, but you’re not invincible. You can use a helping hand once in a while.”
He shook his hand free and swung away from her, pacing off his frustration. “Contrary to what you believe, I’m not a charity case requiring someone to rescue me. I’ve always maintained if you’re looking for a helping hand, check the end of your own wrist first. I don’t need your pity.”
She moved in front of him, forcing him to stop, returning his impatient glare with an impressively irate one of her own. “It’s not pity, damn it. And it’s not charity. It’s a practical solution to your financial situation. Excuse me for caring.” Both arms flew into the air. “Excuse me for trying to help you out. For going out of my way to come up with
some creative ideas to increase your income. This is a winning proposition for you, one that can pay dividends for years to come. Why are you so stubbornly against it?”
Her logic was infuriating, and it fueled his temper that he didn’t have a reasonable comeback. “Please, just shut up already.”
“Come on. We both know I can’t do that.”
He threw his head back and laughed, more out of exasperation than amusement. “You really can’t, can you?”
“I was only trying to help.” Her tone contained a pout, but her expression remained fierce.
“I don’t want your help. I didn’t ask for your help. Anyone ever tell you how maddening you can be, Maggie Lapage?”
The force of his words didn’t make her retreat. She stood her ground in front of him and poked a finger into his chest. “And you’re the most pig-headed man I’ve ever met.”
He smiled. “Thank you.”
“That was not a compliment.”
“Sure it was.” Even though he was still pissed off, it wasn’t hard to let the smile stretch into a smirk. She looked so damn exasperated, and for some perverse reason he found it amusing.
“You’re infuriating!” she yelled and wheeled away from him, flailing her arms in the air again. “Why can’t you see my intentions were good?”
He let his smile twist cynically. “Have you heard about the road to hell?”
“I…give…up.” She emphasized the words by drawing them out slowly.
“Wish I could believe that.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Joyce Holmes lives with her husband and very small dog in the beautiful Okanagan region of British Columbia. Photography and blogging about her travels are two of her passions, along with visiting her kids and grandkids. When she’s not dreaming up stories in her head or planning her next great adventure, she’s off enjoying the great outdoors.
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use a RoanePublishing.com Gift Code. No purchase necessary, but you must be 18 or older to enter. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter, and announced on the widget. Winner well be notified by emailed and have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. The number of entries received determines the odds of winning. This giveaway was organized by Roane Publishing’s marketing department.
All her life Cass has been the wallflower, quietly content to make her mark from behind the scenes. As a cognitive psychologist in the research field, she will use her intellect and tenacity to heal the “broken” brain. Because she learned long ago she isn’t capable of fixing broken minds; maybe not even broken hearts.
Bryan doesn’t want to even think about his present. To escape his past, he had always looked to the future. As a materials engineer he will use his ingenuity and talent to develop state-of-the-art products and devices. But now an accident has drastically broad-sided his life – and the hits keep coming.
They give each other the motive to step beyond self-consciousness – to reach outside themselves to touch the other. They discover the courage to pull one another close. To love. To be loved. From one another they draw the power and fortitude to move beyond mistakes.
About the Author
Tucked away in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, Sage lives with her
daughter, a dog, a cat, and a bearded dragon. Growing up, and for quite some time after, she was a reader and a dreamer, but didn’t often put pen to paper. Then late one night, listening to music, story ideas dancing through her head, she was overcome with an inescapable urge to actually write. She is a nature-worshiper and spends a fair amount of time hiking and camping (in a tent, not the wussy RV kind), when she’s not playing Sudoku. She also rides horses as often as she can, which isn’t often, so she gets her horse fix by volunteering at the local therapeutic riding center.
Author on FaceBook
“Cass! What are you doing here?”
Her weak knees managed to get her through the curtain and to Bryan’s side where he lay on a hospital gurney. She took in his bent legs, arm draped across his abdomen, and pale face sporting a sheen of sweat.
“I stopped by the Biosystem Lab. While Jeff was failing miserably at making something up, Marcy told me he had dragged you to the medical center.”
He looked back up at the ceiling.
“Since apparently you were ambulatory, I took a chance and came here to Urgent Care rather than Emergency. What’s going on? Are you okay?” That was stupid. He plainly wasn’t, but the question slipped out anyway.
Bryan winced and screwed his eyes closed. “I’ll be fine. They’re just covering their butts.”
“Quit being such a guy. What procedure are they performing in order to cover their butts?”
“How did you get in here?”
“I lied. What’s wrong?!”
His eyebrows lifted. “Lied about-“ His breath hitched and suffering washed across his face. “-what?”
Worry tightened her chest. “Bryan, please!”
“I’ll call you la-“ His words became a groan and he rolled away from her, curling into a fetal position with his arm wrapped tightly across his abdomen, panting forcefully.
Cass turned to run to the nurse’s station, almost colliding with a man in scrubs pushing a wheelchair into the curtained area. Was it a good thing or a bad thing that he was the same nurse who had been at the front desk handing over forms when she was plying the receptionist?
“So sorry about the wait. Let’s get you loaded up. But first, how about I give you a little something for the pain?”
Bryan grunted out between clenched jaws, “No, I’m fine.”
The nurse looked over to her. “We men are too hard-headed for our own good.” Turning back to Bryan, he admonished, “That’s what got you into this mess. Okay, sit up and step down.” Bryan relinquished his grasp around his belly, then levered himself up and reached down toward the floor with one foot. The nurse looked back at her. “You can wait in the chairs just out there, Mrs. McCaffrey.”
Oh crap! Her stomach leapt and her mouth dried instantly.
Bryan’s head whipped around so fast his hand slipped off the gurney mattress when he was only halfway off. Luckily the nurse was a large man and caught him easily, then guided him to the wheelchair seat. “Careful, now.”
Bryan’s surprised gaze was firmly pinned on Cass. She narrowed her eyes into a “Don’t you dare!” expression right as Bryan opened his mouth, then another spasm of pain caused him to curl away as he was pushed through the opening in the curtain.
* * *
“He’s right in here.” The nurse indicated the room with a wave of his hand through the doorway, then went on his way down the corridor.
Cass stepped in and, heart in her throat, walked over to the side of the bed and sat in the chair. “I’m sorry I told them we…that I was… But I figured they wouldn’t let me in to see you otherwise. I just panicked. Please don’t be mad.”
The corner of Bryan’s mouth tipped up. “Of course not.” He swallowed. “It’s good to see you again.”
She nodded and grasped his hand in hers. Now, how should she present this? If she asked, he would say no, he was fine, she didn’t need to do that, he could take care of himself. But it wouldn’t be right to take charge and state her intent, as if he had no say in the matter. Giving him back his service dog was a no-brainer, but how was she going to weasel herself back in as well?
A midline approach seemed best. “When you’re released, I’ll drop Iambe at your apartment. She can help you out while you finish recuperating, so you don’t need to strain anything while your incision heals. And I can stop by often -“ Her eyes slid away. “- maybe even stay there for a bit to take care of her so you can rest and not have to worry about taking her out for walks or bending over to feed her, that sort of thing.” She lifted her gaze to assess his response.
There was a moderate smile on his face. “That’s not necessary. The incision is quite small, actually. They did their repair laparoscopically.” A teasing light came into his eyes. “So you’ll need to come up with another excuse.”
Cass took a deep breath and leaned closer, resting her chin on her crossed arms atop the side rail. Her voice shook. “Can I come home?”
His smile slowly slid away as he reached out, tucking a stray section of hair behind her ear. He ran the backs of his fingers down her cheek and thumbed away the escaped tears. Softly he pleaded, “Please come home.”