Monday, June 27, 2011

Murder Among the Roses

Murder Among the Roses, my detective mystery romance, is now available as a Kindle download. $3.99.
When Detective Matt Allenby arrived in the hamlet of Taylors Crossing in the hills above Perth in Western Australia, to investigate a murder, he thought it would be a straight forward case. He didn't expect the locals to have secrets of their own which would conflict with his investigation. Then Matt finds he is falling in love with one of his suspects.
A story about people making a new life for themselves in a community where they have found friends when a murder threatens to destroy their new found peace.
Murder Among the Roses is available ina print version available from Amazon, The Book Depository, Barnes and Noble and other sources.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

What He Taught Her by Anne Whitfield

My sexy short story, What He Taught Her has now been released in ebook. It does contain sensual love scenes.

Rob Healy has everything he wants, or will have once he’s built his new resort on a small island in the Pacific. A woman in his life isn’t planned at the moment, but when he sees Cassandra Kearns in the foyer looking stiff and out of place amongst the holiday makers his interest is spiked. What is a beautiful woman doing wearing a business suit and holding a laptop doing on an island resort, especially when there are no conferences booked that week?
Cassandra Kearns is fleeing New York and all that makes her comfortable for two idyllic weeks in the tropics. She’s stressed, overtired and close to breaking point. Her divorce is finalised, her daughter is grown and she’s realising that she’s on her own and dare she say it - lonely.
She needs to take some time and recharge her batteries. But how is she to do that? She’s worked 24/7 for years. Does she know how to have fun?
When Cassandra meets Rob she rejects the spark of attraction she feels. A man in her life, after the betrayal of Oliver? She’d rather eat broken glass!
Yet Rob is persistent, he’s funny and he’s gorgeous, but what exactly does he want?
The music changed to a faster tempo and some of the couples got up to dance. Rob got them another bottle of wine and refilled her glass. Cassandra studied him as he secured the bottle back in the sand. Had she ever met such a man as him before? Yes, he was attractive, but he had something else that drew not only her attention, but the stares of other women around him.
There was magnetic quality about Rob, a mixture of a devil-may-care attitude and an inner strength of purpose which fascinated her. Desire grew inside her, igniting, and she felt a delicious heat in the pit of her stomach. It had been so long since she'd throbbed in need for a man’s body.
Reggae thumped out of the speakers. Rob stood and held out his hand. “Come on, let’s dance.”
“Really?” She stared, as he helped her to her feet. “You dance?”
“Don’t you?” He led her closer to the fire.
“I haven’t for a long time, and the men I know never dance, at least not to this type of music.”
He didn’t answer her as the music was turned up, and the Jamaican rhythm of steel drums and a Caribbean voice urged them to let themselves go.
Fired by the wine, the heat of the fire, and the music filling her senses, Cassandra was transported to another world, one full of sensual stimulus, of earthy primal urges: to eat, to frolic, to cavort. Nature’s way was very powerful, and she didn’t fight against it.
She raised her arms and swung her hips, dancing as she hadn’t done for a very long time. Laughing, Rob twirled her under his arm. The flames reflected off her gold shimmering dress. All the guests were dancing now, the music infectious, the atmosphere festive. Everyone seemed to just want to have fun, forget their problems and dance.
Cassandra squealed as Rob lifted her off her feet and spun her around. He stepped aside, grinning as a guy in his twenties came up to her and did a bit of dirty dancing with her, grinding his pelvis against hers, and she threw her head back and laughed. She felt young and completely alive. Within moments, he’d gone on to another woman, a young twenty something wearing hardly anything at all. The people around her were happy, and it had been forever since she'd felt this way.
The music changed to Salsa, and Rob took her in his arms and pulled her against him. Sexual need lit his blue eyes. He hungered for her. Her skin heated, longing for his touch.
Her smile melted away as the length of his body moved as one with hers, their steps not perfect, but instinctive, powerful. His shoulders muscles bunched beneath her hands. She ran her fingers down his back, and he tightened his hold even further.
They were locked in a dance as sexy and sensual as actually making love. Rob’s eyes never left hers, his mouth only inches from her touch. His hands cupped her hips, guiding them against his own. She shimmied, turned and, with her back to him, danced in a way she’d never done before. Every provocative movement was a gesture of intimacy, of want, of promise. Through music, their bodies touched, sending silent messages to one another. Rob flipped her around to face him again and slipped his thigh between hers. His hands slid down over her bottom, and she gasped at the ache throbbing inside her.
The music changed again, back to a pumping beat. Rob slowly released her, and she regained some of her sense and took a step back. Shocked at her wanton behaviour, her smile was perfunctory.
God, she hoped she hadn’t humiliated herself. She desperately wanted to sit down. What had gotten into her? She turned away from the bonfire and wandered away from the other dancers. Rob kept pace with her.
“Would you like to go for a walk up the beach?”
“No!” She jumped at the harshness of her refusal. “I mean no, sorry, thank you. I think it is time I went back to the beach house.” She gathered up her purse and shoes from the blanket, refusing to make eye contact.
“Please, Rob. I must go. Thank you for tonight. I had a great time.” She flashed him a tortured look, silently begging him not to say or do anything else. “Good night.”
As fast as she could run in the soft sand, she left the beach and headed up to the steps to the path. “What a mess,” she cried. Not bothering to put her heels back on, she ran along the shadowy path, away from Rob—wishing she could run away from the feeling he brought out in her, too.

Buy from Museit Up Publishing

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Streak

"* cue ray stevens and his song of the same name "

No, I am NOT about to strip to my bare nakeds and run about outside, at a cricket match or even a ping pong tourney. If nothing else, it's too Bloody cold. No. This is another type of streak. (Have written about this before, but I have a habit of harping on things ...)

Inspiration. It comes and it goes. Where and when, nobody knows. Maybe I'm a lucky one, because I can walk down the road on any given morning and have three good story ideas before I get home. In all probability tho, by the time I sit down I've also probably forgotten all of them, or the thread of them. It's a little annoying.

I remember once, a fair while ago, I used to walk six k's along the highway to work. On the way I wrote the perfect story, one I'd had in my head for ages but could never get it just right.

You know what I mean? It's there, it makes sense, but it's not

It's called " The Cruise", and it's about youth in the country towns, the car culture that grows in small country areas because it's the only real route to freedom, and how some people build these cars, these wonderful, perfect pieces of automobilia and having spent their lives, their savings building what is - in their minds - the perfect escape machine, never going anywhere, except maybe around the block, or down the street, with a dozen others just like them on a Friday or Saturday night.

The story is beautiful. It has angst, pathos, feeling, heartbreak, you name it. And in that six k walk I had IT!! Did I write it down?
Did I record it, at least?

No. I still have the story, mostly complete, but what I have has no edge. It's not perfect. It's flawed. It isn't the story I told myself on that walk to while away the time before work, a story that just held me, and I was telling it to myself.

Back to inspiration.

I never feel at a loss for inspiration. Walking in a field one morning gave me a line. "The last of the summer spiders." All because where I was, the ground was covered in these tiny cone shaped webs strung between tall stalks of winter grass. Hundreds of webs. There was a story there, too, but all I have left is the line.

Ideas bounce through the hollow of my brain like dust motes, blown by a gale. I have tended to wait and see what takes root, what says a week. if it finds a home in one of the cob-webby corners of my brain, if it maybe grows a little, and if, only if it still grabs me after a week, it gets page space. sometimes it grows from there, sometimes it stagnates and just sits there, becalmed in a sea of ideas and thoughts and no wind of creativity to propel it further.

Sometimes it just gets forgotten.

Oh yeah, the streak.

In the past three/four weeks, I have written down maybe tw hundred bits and pieces that will maybe becoe stories. At the moment they are just germs, seeds waiting to burst forth and grow the roots I need in my mind to pay them some attention and nurture them  little more to fullfilledness (is that a word? should be!). I have had a creative streak that is second to none in the past three years. I can create anything I want anywhere. It is that good at the moment.

But have I done anything? Have I tended the garden of creativity and brought forth a bounty of stories to amaze and astound? Have I?

Short answer:    No.

I start, I stop, I move on to the next.

And I don't know why.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The House of Women released!

I'm so excited that my historical novel, The House of Women, is now released.

Leeds. 1870. Lonely and brokenhearted, Grace Woodruff fights for her sisters’ rights to happiness while sacrificing any chance for her own.
   The eldest of seven daughters, Grace is the core of strength around which the unhappy members of the Woodruff family revolve. As her disenchanted mother withdraws to her rooms, Grace must act as a buffer between her violent, ambitious father and the sisters who depend upon her. Rejected by her first love and facing a spinster’s future, she struggles to hold the broken family together through her father’s infidelity, one sister’s alcoholism, and another’s out-of-wedlock pregnancy by an unsuitable match.
    Caring for an illegitimate half-brother affords Grace an escape, though short-lived. Forced home by illness and burdened with dwindling finances, Grace faces fresh anguish –and murder– when her first love returns to wreck havoc in her life. All is not lost, however. In the midst of tragedy, the fires of her heart are rekindled by another. Will the possibility of true love lead Grace to relinquish her responsibilities in the house of women and embrace her own right to happiness?

   Grace blinked to clear her frozen mind as her mother and Verity climbed the staircase. If Verity was here then was William here too? Movement at the door caused Grace to close her eyes. She couldn’t bring herself to open them and see the one man she’d longed for since she was sixteen.
    ‘Miss Woodruff?’ Doyle inquired at her shoulder.
   Startled, she spun to face him, but she was blind to him, blind to everything but the sensation of having William here. Crazily, she wondered if she would swoon like a maiden aunt.
   Doyle’s hand reached out, but he quickly tucked it behind his back. ‘What is it, Miss Woodruff?’
   Grace swallowed, feeling the fine hairs on her arms and nape prickle. He is here.
    'Good evening, Grace.’
   At the sound of William’s deep velvety voice, her heart stopped beating, only to start again at a rapid pace. Her stomach clenched and her legs felt unable to support her anymore. Slowly, she swivelled to gaze into William’s blue-green eyes and knew she was lost again. William smiled his captivating smile. He had aged, no, matured since their last meeting. He looked leaner, but broader in the shoulders. There was an aura about him, something that females of any age wanted. He made all other men around him seem insignificant. A magnetism, a mystical air surrounded him, catching Grace in its clutches once more.

Order The House of Women from, or The Book Depository, which has free postage and currently on discount.

For more information about me or my books, please visit my website.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Characters behaving badly

This may not be the place for this. If not, please let me know and I'll remove it at once. But if you like it then also, please let me know.

Wendy posted very recently about her characters not doing as she wants, which is often the characters wont. Characters are like children, and - strangely enough - exactly like the actors who will perhaps portray them at some future moment, usually when you are dead and your estate sells your back catalogue cheap coz they have no idea what REAL art is worth.

Having had a little to do with serious thespians, I find that like some characters, they are spoilt, lazy, ornery and at times idiotic. Treat them as equals. threaten the crap out of them. Bring in new characters who will work harder and cheaper and do what they're told (at least until they get known and become just like those they replace).

But on the subject of characters (and not multiple personalities), I offer this little piece I wrote a while back about characters. Please enjoy (I did say please :)  )

You sit there, high above, looking across time and space it seems. Far below there are lives being lived, loves being lost, wars being fought, circles and cycles of life ever revolving. And up here, away from it all, above the clouds, where eagles fear to fly, you watch.
This world below you is an amazing place. Eons become seconds and moments last forever as you study them, the creatures below. They seem so much like you, almost a part of you, created in your image. Or have they created you in theirs?
You ponder this, this extension of the eternal chicken verses egg question, and for the briefest second - as a billion beings flare into brightness then die beneath you - you wonder who created who, and in that moment you hear them; calling to you, begging you, demanding, asking, questioning.
Who are you?
Where are you?
What are you?
Are you Batman? Are you really there? Are you good? Who the hell do you think you are?
And most quiet of all: whispered, breathed.
Are you God?
That question catches you, holds you and for another moment where a sun goes nova, a new universe spins out of the debris and a new history evolves in a blink of an all seeing eye, you ask yourself just that.
Am I God?
Of course there’s no answer. How can there be? Up here in the dark, above the clouds, above where the highest mountains reach, where none but you can exist except in the mind and the imagination, who can answer?
Are you God?
You look at your hands, capable of so much. In but a moment you can create a world that is perfect, beyond beauty, and with a casual thought destroy it on a whim. You can give life to those who don’t have it, can take it from those who do. Creatures unseen on any world can be made in seconds, become extinct in the time it takes to exhale and resurface by the miracle of modern “science” as another sun flashes into existence in far off void in space. You can give truth to a liar, sight to those who are blind and love to even the most villainous with these hands. You are a creator, perhaps the Creator, but still it doesn’t answer that question.
Are you God?
You look up into the heavens, above even your own lofty heights, into the realm of the truly unknown, to that place where miracles come from, where divine inspiration flows eternal.
Is there more?
This question comes from your own heart and mind, spoken softly by your own lips. Those down below might mistake the sound for thunder in the distance, the more primitive wondering if the deity created in their own image is displeased.
Is the universe you watch and rule in fact part of a much larger creation; a multiverse, layered in dimensions beyond even your own understanding? Are you just a small part of a much larger machine, larger than even you, you who have created and sustained this reality for as long as you can remember can even conceive, or are you the sum total of All That Is?
Are you God?
Borders change. Mountains rise and fall.
Are you God?
Lives begin and end. Loves flare and die. Worlds come and go. Eternity in a hour, an hour gone in seconds.
 Are you God?
Good and Evil wrestle below in a battle eternal. You could decide the battle with a touch, the finger of God, your  power Almighty, your will be done.
 Are you God?
 In but a moment, all that you survey could cease to exist, erased at the touch of a metaphysical button. And in as much time it would take to erase, you could create another universe to take its place, the questions removed and all trace of doubt washed away.
This question for which there is no true answer.
Are you God?
There is an answer. You cannot admit it, though it would calm your heart, bring peace to your mind.
Are you God?
You know the answer.
 Are you God?
The answer is no. As god-like you might seem to those you watch over, no matter how awesome your power, no matter what you do or how you do it, you’re not god, or even a god. You’re some thing better, and more.
You’re a writer. 

'Good' characters from the writer's pov.

How I envy the writers whose characters are always talking to them, filling their heads with words, giving them wonderful stories they must write because the author's life depends on it. Almost in one sitting these writers type till their fingers are about to drop off. I'd love to be on such a roll. Not sleeping or eating until these 'good' characters cleverly resolve their conflicts and I fall exhausted from my chair.

That doesn't happen to me. My characters are not cooperative. They tend to sleep a lot and require a wack from a big stick to wake them and get them motivated. If I have a cold, my characters cough and sneeze a lot. If I'm angry or irritated, my characters have a physical fight and injuries occur, and if I'm stuck in research mode my characters fidget or wander in a dark cave. On wintery days they struggle uphill through the snow or drown in an icy lake, but when the sun shines outside, they give cheek to the authorities and sing and dance in a forest.

Why can't they get a life of their own? That would make it so much easier for me to plot a realistic story.

At this very moment I'm procrastinating about opening my wip file (chapter 5 from the heroine's pov) but I know the heroine will simply sigh and be her usual bland self- centred self, worrying about how people perceive her. Whereas my villain, she will be running down the beach with her dog, doing exactly what I am feeling guilty for not doing.

 . . . where's my dog?

Friday, June 3, 2011


While in the process of doing the cover for Touch, I have revisited some of my other work. My short story - Gone to Mums, published a couple of years ago in Next Stop Hollywood- 15 stories Bound for the Screen - has been returned to me as the publishing rights I sold off back then have finally ended. I am trying to get the cover done and will release as a chapbook in the next few months, also as an e-book.

Transported Legends - Halloween is progressing nicely and if my new artist friend (not Anton this time, another young lad who wishes anonymity) gets the cover drawn and coloured then we are a go for October 30th delivery date. Transported Legends - Classic Monsters has started to form together and will follow hopefully Feb/March 2012.

As well as that, editing and revision has begun on another touch of evil, 10 short stories this time. still in that wonderful "what if...." vein of speculative fiction that I so love.

So. Busy busy busy.

But wait, there's more.

Have you ever heard a song and thought to yourself " Jeez, there's a story in there."

Most good songs contain a very short story, all the best ones it's a guarantee, except for instrumentals and even then you'll find a theme.

I write from music a lot. Everything is a go, metal, rock, classic, some current Top 40, lots of '80s, some electronica. every now and then one song will stick. Sometimes that's enough of a seed to get the story growing. sometimes it takes more than one.

My new piece Flame Trees (working title that I WILL change) was born in that way. The Cold Chisel song has always plagued me with thoughts of what it would be like going home to a place I hadn't seen in 20 or more years. Marry that to the Nickleback song Photograph and the idea started to sprout. A lot of it is based on my personal experience, some from the time of Gone to Mums, but this time a lot more imagination as well. My mate Lotty, who quietly asked one day if he could be in a story has a part, a short one but it's there. Some of it (a loose first drafty type affair) has been launched on Facebook to some warm response, but those responses have been from friends, and I always worry that friends will not always be 100% honest with me on what I write. That's sometimes why I love my friends.

And back in my rotation is an old piece I've stuttered and stammered with, Return to Majick, has been tickled a bit. it's not magic in the Harry Potter sense. It's actually a little bloodthirsty and nasty but I like it and am putting some of it in place between doing this note and a few other things.

My friend Jessica in America once had as her profile thought on writers Cafe:

I write because it keeps the voices in my head quiet.

I used to just think it was funny. Now I know what she means.

Good writing to all.

PS, I ramble a bit. Did you notice?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


from Jacqueline George

Just a few quick notes on creating covers. Firstly, I’m not a certified artist, graphic designer, web nerd or anything similar. (I am awaiting my certification as a complete nutter who sits at their computer writing books every day – it must be lost in the post.) So, there is no reason to respect anything below. They are just a collection of things I found out along the way.

1. The most important was that I am useless at selecting covers and titles that catch the readers’ fancy. Things that look good to me often flop badly. One way of getting around this is to make a series of thumbnail drafts of different covers, and invite web friends to choose the one they like best. Not infallible, but a good guide.

2. The second most important – KEEP IT SIMPLE! Someone pulling the cover up on their computer screen, or taking a book from a shop shelf, will give your creation only a quick look. They will not take the time to absorb any subtleties. Also, when your cover is displayed on Amazon, it will be as a tiny thumbnail – no subtleties there either. Before finally deciding on any cover, I reduce it on my computer screen to that small size and check if I can still read the lettering, and if the general idea still comes across. If it is too fussy, or does not have enough contrast, it will fail this test.

3. The cover sells an idea. It does not tell the story, so if you can find the perfect model but she has the wrong colour of eyes or hair, don’t worry about it. No-one else will. They are looking at the cover and gaining an impression of the delights within, and that’s what matters.

4. There is no substitute for using a good quality graphics program. I use Corel’s Paint Shop Pro. Adobe’s Photoshop is another. Neither of them will allow you to produce a brilliant cover on day one. You need to play around and learn how to translate your ideas into a high quality image, and that takes time. The results are well worth it. Once the graphics program had been paid for, I get exactly what I want very cheaply, and have even helped friends out now and again.

5. I like to use photo images as my cover backgrounds, and that immediately brings up copyright issues. Sometimes I can use photos I have taken myself, but mostly I use or Dreamstime are good when you only want small images, such as the one above, because they charge less for small pics. That one cost $1.25 – cheap at the price. I do respect this copyright thing, because I sell ebooks and feel sensitive about thieving.

6. If an electrician comes to your house to fix something, he will be charging $50 per hour or more. If a graphic artist designs a cover for you, why should you expect them to charge any less? A complex layered image may take several hours and be a big dent in your budget. On the other hand something very simple, like the image above, will be finished in half an hour and you can do it yourself.

I hope those thoughts help. I’m sure I’ll think of a couple more as soon as I post this...

©Jacqueline George All rights reserved.

Jacqueline George lives in Cooktown, Far North Queensland. She enjoys the relaxed lifestyle there, and finds plenty of time write books, some of which are far too naughty for her own good.

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