In January 2011 I moved into a new house, in a new town, to start a new life. Somehow, I started a new book too! This book was The January Wish, set in my new town but with a fictional name. And exactly two years later (January 17th, 2013) I got an email with an offer of publication! Yes, I am excited to finally announce that I’ve signed my second publishing contract with Escape Publishing, the digital imprint of Harlequin Australia.
So now, two wishes have come true… my wish to have this story published, and my character Sylvia’s wish to… well, read the blurb to give you an idea
When control-freak doctor, Sylvia Greene, makes an impromptu wish at the Tarrin’s Bay Wishing Festival, she doesn’t expect it to come true, but a week later her ordered life is thrown into chaos when the daughter she secretly gave up for adoption at sixteen turns up in town. While dealing with deeply entrenched guilt, small town gossip, and a burgeoning attraction for her emotionally unavailable colleague, she discovers her daughter harbors a secret that could threaten to tear them apart once again.
The genre of this story sits on the border between contemporary romance and women’s fiction, although it will probably be put into the contemporary romance slot because although the story has themes of motherhood, career, and friendships, tying the whole story together is an emotional romance that I hope will have readers aching for the hero and heroine to be together.
The January Wish is the first book in my proposed ‘Tarrin’s Bay’ series, with each book being a stand-alone story but set in the same town with some familiar characters appearing in each book. Each book is also named after one of the calendar months, and I’ll be working on the second book, February or Forever, later this year which I’m really excited about as I’ve been plotting it for months! I’m also creating a ‘Tarrin’s Bay’ website to help bring the town to life for readers. Tarrin’s Bay is called ‘The Town of New Beginnings’ – it’s where people go for a holiday to find they never want to leave. There are beautiful beaches set against a backdrop of lush green rural land, a close-knit community, friendly people, quaint shops – including an old fashioned bookshop, and an historic wishing fountain in the town’s popular meeting spot - Miracle Park.
What makes this book unique is that it has three points of view – the hero, the heroine, and an eighteen year old girl, with each of their lives and stories being linked to each other’s. There’ll be laughter, there’ll be tears, and there’ll be secrets revealed.
Last year, The January Wish was one of the six finalists in the Choc Lit Search for an Australian Star contest, and I was completely gobsmacked when I found out! Although I didn’t win, it gave me confidence that readers might enjoy this story, and I can’t wait to share it with you on 1st December 2013. It was going to be released in January to tie in with the title, but by releasing in December instead it allows time to build up some excitement around the upcoming new year, which is what starts off the story – at the Tarrin’s Bay annual Wishing Festival in January.
Here’s a little snippet:
The coin in Sylvia’s pocket cooled her warm fingers as she fiddled with it impatiently. At least this was all for charity. That would be her excuse if anyone asked why she – Dr. Sylvia Greene – sceptic and all round party-pooper, was making a wish. She had a great life; an interesting career, a best friend, good health, a nice house, and even a new boyfriend. What else could she possibly wish for? What was she doing here?
To see some pictures I’ve collected that give you a feel for the story, have a look at my Pinterest page for The January Wish here.
To keep updated on this book and the Tarrin’s Bay series, you can subscribe to my blog by filling in your email address at the top right corner of this page (if you’re on a smartphone, click ‘view full site’ at the bottom, then go to the subscribe form). I look forward to bringing you interesting articles and posts about this upcoming book and series in the lead up to it’s release!
Have you ever made a wish that came true?
Every now and again I get the urge to write a short story. Especially if there’s a competition (Aries competitive nature). Earlier this year Country Style magazine held a short story competition with the theme ‘Cooking from the heart.’ The $5000 prize was a big motivator to enter, but even though I didn’t win I enjoyed writing my story and am proud of the result.
When I heard what the theme was, it was the perfect theme to match to a story idea I’d had for a while, so with enthusiasm I sat down and wrote the story all in one go till the early hours of the morning.
2000 words doesn’t seem like a lot, but with short stories you have to plan the plot and create characters just like in a novel, in fact, sometimes short stories are more challenging because of the restriction in length. You have to focus on a moment in time with only a couple or a few characters and have a satisfying emotional ending to the story. Sometimes the ending is not an ending but the start of something new, but the event that takes place in the story is the driver for that new beginning.
My ‘cooking from the heart’-themed short story, SISTERS AT HEART, is now published on Smashwords. It’s set in the fictional town of Tarrin’s Bay where I am setting a series of novels, the first being THE JANUARY WISH which is completed and the second being FEBRUARY OR FOREVER which is a work in progress. SISTERS AT HEART is women’s fiction with a twist; there’s a little surprise at the end that some people may guess and others may not.
Here’s the blurb…
Grieving the loss of her sister and breakdown of her marriage, Carrie moves to the small seaside town of Tarrin’s Bay for a fresh start with her young son. When she volunteers for the school cake stall, a remarkable coincidence has her realising the incredible power of the human heart.
You can read the first page here, and if you like the sound of it and want to see what the twist is, the full story is only 99 cents
I’d love to hear what you think about it! I might write more ‘Tarrin’s Bay’ short stories.
Do you have any short stories published? If so, let me know in the comments
The challenge: Post seven lines from an unpublished work of fiction.
My current WIP Fast Forward is a humorous women’s fiction story, centred around aspiring supermodel Kelli Crawford who wakes on her twenty-fifth birthday to find she’s a fifty year old housewife married to the high school nerd. In this scene she is meeting her husband for the first time, having just discovered her unfortunate reflection in the mirror.
The Golden Rules:
- Go to page 7 or 77 in your current manuscript
- Go to line 7
- Post on your blog or Facebook page the next 7 lines, or sentences, as they are – no cheating
- Tag 7 other authors to do the same
Extract: FAST FORWARD, Page 7, line 7:
“Okay, okay. I just wanted to make sure you were alright. And wish my wife a happy birthday of course.” He leaned in for a kiss but I pushed him off, horror overtaking me.
Wife? I’m not his wife, and he’s certainly not my husband! Grant is supposed to be my husband. Well, after tonight’s inevitable proposal that is. Oh God, tonight! My birthday party. I can’t go looking like this!
A high-pitched jingling sound interrupted my thoughts and the man made a strange movement; pinching his watch with his thumb and forefinger and appearing to pull some invisible strand to his ear.
© Juliet Madison 2012.
And the seven lucky nominees are -
Jenn J Mcleod
I look forward to reading your seven lines if you choose to participate!
Don’t forget to post it in my comments then on your own blog with your seven lucky choices.
“I’ll have the Pasta Telefono with extra mozzarella, along with a glass of the house white, please,” Charley smiled at the cute waiter. His nametag read Alfonso. Not tall, but handsome, with a sexy Italian accent. She thought she recognized the scent of Armani’s Gio for men as he walked by, but couldn’t be sure. All the waiters working at Carpaccio were gorgeous, appeared to have just walked off the pages of GQ, and spoke with yummy accents.
“Sauvignon Blanc or the Chardonnay?” he asked, leaning toward her. His skin was beautiful, not a wrinkle or blemish anywhere, just like most employees and patrons at Carpaccio.
“Is the Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand?” she asked.
He picked up and filled her water glass. “Yes, it is Cloudy Bay.”
“That’d be lovely.”
Charley and Rori were seated in a sea of beautiful, well-chiseled, surgically-enhanced South Americans and Europeans with a few loud, English-speaking New Yorkers scattered about. The restaurant was half indoors but sitting outside was preferable if you wanted to see and be seen. Watching people was the whole point of dining at Carpaccio. While the food was consistently good, the nearby luxury stores attracted an extremely wealthy international clientele. Everyone seemed to be dressed in designer fashions fresh off the runways of Paris, Milan, and New York, and there was a bountiful display of the latest in plastic surgery.
Charley had learned early on that the Shoppes in Bal Harbour were never to be referred to as a mall. She’d been getting her hair cut when she said she was going shopping at the mall in Bal Harbour. Her stylist had ever-so discreetly said, “They’re called the Shops, unless of course, you want to be seen as a tourist.” Being mistaken for a tourist was a fate worse than being seated inside and unseen.
Cindy’s favorite meal: Stone crabs. A seasonal May 15-Oct 15 South Florida delicasy
Cindy’s favorite drink: Diet peach snapple
Cindy’s favorite treat: M&Ms, plain …. for a SUPER YUMMY, Dairy Queen chocolate ice cream cake OMG!
Thanks for sharing your excerpt, Cindy!
To find out more about Cindy, visit her website here.
And remember, all comments will go into the draw for prizes at the end of the month, just make sure you also subscribe to the blog posts
FLY AWAY PETA:
The time has come to face her worst fear and the clock is ticking…
Peta Johnson will go to extreme lengths to protect her daughter Bella. When Bella is kidnapped, the search for her takes Peta back to the small country town of Williams, a place she’d vowed never to return to. The town where her dreams were shattered and her nightmare began. Back to the place she’d been destined to meet two very powerful, yet very different men. One would break her heart, the other would destroy her soul. Both would change her life forever.
Back story: Bella is missing, and Peta and Jaime have spent an uncomfortable night together, under guard, in a hotel room as they wait for demands from the kidnapper….
In the outer room of the suite, Jaime stretched his cramped muscles. A knock at the front door made him start and almost spill his coffee.
“It’s me!” He heard Mark call out and crossed over to open it.
“Special delivery! Your shaving gear,” Mark said, patting the stubble on Jaime’s jaw, “And boy do you need it! Some clean clothes and breakfast.” Triumphantly, Mark held up first the gym bag and then the brown paper bag.
Jaime shook his head. “Why the hell are you so chirpy so early in the morning?” he asked, rubbing his head. It had developed a dull thud. Probably from too much excitement the night before. He wasn’t used to being shot at, or being confronted by a past he’d been working hard to bury. Either way he was going to bleed, he thought grimly.
Mark laughed as he popped muffins into the microwave. “Go and shower. You’ll feel better.”
Jaime picked up his kit and headed in the direction of the shower. Whistling, he soaped himself and washed his hair. He allowed the warm water to rinse his body, enjoying the invigorating spray as it battered away the numbness of sleep. Turning the water off, he reached around the curtain for a towel and realized there wasn’t one.
“Damn!” he said and then yelled, “Oi Mark, bring me a towel, mate!”
He heard the door open a few seconds later and swept the curtain aside. Peta stood there, the towel slipping from her hands as she stared at Jaime, her mouth rounded in an ‘Oh!’
Quickly she looked away. “Why are you still here?” she asked abruptly. Picking up the towel with nerveless fingers she muttered, “Mark and Jones went out to get some more milk. Here’s your towel.” She thrust the towel at him. God, she remembered that body well. From the glimpse she’d gotten, he was more muscular than before, bigger even than she remembered.
Quickly, he wrapped it round his waist. “Thanks.”
Juanita’s favourite meal: A nice, juicy Prime Rib, medium rare, topped with prawns and garlic and served with creamy mashed potato and herbs
Juanita’s favourite Drink: Nespresso Coffee – preferably served by George Clooney
Juanita’s favourite Treat: Bailey’s (hold the ice), sprinkled with chocolate mint flakes
Thanks for sharing your excerpt, Juanita!
Remember, comment below to be in the draw for prizes at the end of the month, just make sure you also subscribe to the blog posts
Nothing beats a good book, or a great meal, or an irresistable treat… so it’s even better when these are combined! Here is a selection of some novels with a food-theme. This is part two, so if you missed part one, you can see it here.
Sugar and Spice – Jules Stanbridge
A rich, indulgent treat of a novel – love, life… and chocolate cake
When Maddy loses her high-paying city job, her instant reaction is blind panic.
But after the ‘drowning her sorrows’ hangover has cleared, she realises that this is an opportunity to change her life and do what she loves best: baking cakes. And so she sets up her own cake company, embracing the highs and lows of getting a new business off the ground, while looking for love along the way.
Chocolat – Joanne Harris
In tiny Lansquenet, where nothing much has changed in a hundred years, beautiful newcomer Vianne Rocher and her exquisite chocolate shop arrive and instantly begin to play havoc with Lenten vows. Each box of luscious bonbons comes with a free gift: Vianne’s uncanny perception of its buyer’s private discontents and a clever, caring cure for them. Is she a witch? Soon the parish no longer cares, as it abandons itself to temptation, happiness, and a dramatic face-off between Easter solemnity and the pagan gaiety of a chocolate festival. Chocolat’s every page offers a description of chocolate to melt in the mouths of chocoholics, francophiles, armchair gourmets, cookbook readers, and lovers of passion everywhere. It’s a must for anyone who craves an escapist read, and is a bewitching gift for any holiday.
Chocolat was also made into a movie with Johnny Depp and Juliette Binoche.
The Saturday Supper Club – Amy Bratley
Wanted: four amateur cooks to compete in a supper club contest Rules: four strangers, four weeks, four houses, four dinner parties
You might win: a cash prize You might lose: your heart.
Eve had her world torn apart three years ago, when the love of her life Ethan disappeared, and she never found out why. But now, her life is rosy. With a lovely new boyfriend, Joe, and a café opening on the cards, things finally seem to be falling into place. … until she agrees to take part in a supper club competition for a local newspaper. Eve is cooking the first dinner and who should turn up on her doorstep expecting a three-course meal, but her long lost love Ethan?
Eat. Pray. Love. – Elizabeth Gilbert
This beautifully written, heartfelt memoir touched a nerve among both readers and reviewers.
Elizabeth Gilbert tells how she made the difficult choice to leave behind all the trappings of modern American success (marriage, house in the country, career) and find, instead, what she truly wanted from life. Setting out for a year to study three different aspects of her nature amid three different cultures, Gilbert explored the art of pleasure in Italy and the art of devotion in India, and then a balance between the two on the Indonesian island of Bali.
By turns rapturous and rueful, this wise and funny author (whom Booklist calls “Anne Lamott’s hip, yoga- practicing, footloose younger sister”) is poised to garner yet more adoring fans.
This was also made into a movie with Julia Roberts.
Have you read any of the books I’ve featured today? What do you like about books with a food-theme?