A MelanieM Review: The Blinding Light by Renae Kaye

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

The Blinding Light coverJake Manning needs another job and needs it desperately.  He’s paying off his mother’s loans and keeping his sisters fed and on track with their lives but the job he’s working at isn’t enough and he just got fired from the last job he had.  Housekeeping?  A piece of cake as that’s all he’s done all his life as the parent figure  to his kids sisters. So any housekeeping job, even one with a person who makes the other housekeepers quit, is great.  But nothing in Jake Manning’s life has prepared him for  Patrick Stanford, a fussy, arrogant, rude… and blind man.

Born without sight, Patrick is used to being accommodated, and his demands had his previous housekeepers quitting in large numbers. But in Jake, Patrick has met his match.  Jake makes his house spotless, finds his demanding notes amusing and threatens to swap all the braille labels on his groceries and run off with his guide dog unless he behaves.  And what’s more, Jake doesn’t act as though being blind means living a restricted life.

Patrick finds Jake’s scent irresistible, Jake finds Patrick gorgeous and they love being together.  His sisters are starting to life their own lives, Jake’s mom looks to be on the path to sobriety, after all his sacrifices, can it be that Jake will finally be able to live his own life and have the future he wants?

The Blinding Light is another terrific tale from Renae Kaye.  Her complicated  main characters of The Blinding Light are Patrick Stanford, a “nose” for a high priced perfume company with degrees in Chemistry, a guide dog and not much else in his life.  Patrick has been blind from birth and Kaye takes us directly into his home and the typical life he leads with furniture and objects that must staying exactly where they are, braille readers, and the adjustments that people without sight have to make in their lives.  It’s straightforward, fascinating, and full of insights (no pun intended).   His backstory is as complicated and layered as Patrick himself.  I really liked that dimension to this character.  He was real, snarky, intelligent, and finally pretty open hearted in his outlook.

Then there’s Jake Manning.  Forced by his mother’s continued irresponsibility and bad parenting, combined with her substance abuse problems, Jake has been the glue that holds his family together.  With sisters at all ages including a baby, Jake has been their parent, their means of support, their everything…to an extent they are not  even aware of.   That’s where the loan comes in.  Kaye has burdened Jake with a load of family complications and issues and yet he is still a positive, aggressively happy young man.  And I think that’s my only problem with Jake.  Where’s the frustration and anger?   Jake just takes the pounding that life is giving him and continues to make ice cream floats instead of dents in  walls.  I loved his character, don’t get me wrong.  But he just felt too good, too forgiving and that bothered me.

The side characters are as good as the main ones, although they really only exist to lightly support the relationship between Patrick and Jake and Jake and his family.  How it all comes together works, although again, that ending just felt a little forced. Still, I found their relationship and the snappy, funny dialog between them charming and delightful.  That goes especially at the beginning when Jake and Patrick are just trading notes to each other, parts of that is hilarious.

The Blinding Light is well written and a lovely read.  It flows easily and quickly to the resolution. And for all that I wanted there to be a tad more reality in Jake’s reactions to his family’s situation, I enjoyed watching them come together and their HEA at the end.

I recommend The Blinding Light, along with The Shearing Gun and Safe in His Arms.  You can’t go wrong with a Renae Kaye story.  Happy Reading.

Cover Artist Bree Archer.  I get where the artist is going with this design but it is just too hazy to be a great cover.  Covers should pull you in with a compelling design.  While the elements sort of go with the story, it just doesn’t do the job well. And actually the models don’t resemble in clothing or age at all.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press eBook & Paperback  All Romance (ARe)  Amazon      Buy it here

Book Details:

ebook, 212 pages
Published July 14th 2014 by Dreamspinner Press (first published July 13th 2014)
ISBN139781627988131
edition languageEnglish

A MelanieM Review: Safe in His Arms by Renae Kaye

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Safe In His Arms coverAfter returning home from his long shift at work , Lon Taylor washes away the filth of the Western Australian mines in the communal showers at the trailer park that’s Lon’s home.  Already showering is Casey Douglas, a young man who lives with his grandmother in the park as well.  A spark of interest between them leads to a suggestion and then something more.  It ends with Casey spending the night in Lon’s small trailer.

That one night is full of discovery for Lon and Casey.  For Casey, it’s the first time in almost forever that he feels safe and secure.  For Lon, holding Casey feels like coming home.  Lon is still reeling from the explosive breakup of his family years ago. Now Lon afraid that he’s not ready or able to provide the comfort and security Casey craves.  For Casey’s actions at times show that something or someone has damaged him badly.  There are huge skeletons looming in Casey’s background that have to come out just as there are in Ron’s.

What will happen will the past is revealed?  Can Casey trust that Lon is the one he can love and keep him safe?  And will Lon can risk opening his heart again, especially when Lon feels like he has failed his family so badly in the past?

The Shearing Gun was the first Renae Kaye story I fell in love with.  Safe In His Arms is the second.  Both stories are steeped in the Australian areas they take place in, filled with the regional flavor and dialects that make the reader feel as though they are there along with the characters.  In Safe In His Arms, Ron works as a FIFO employee of one of the large mining corporations in Pilbarra, Western Australia.  FIFO means “fly in, fly out”.  Mining employees work long shifts living in small temporary rooms called dongas, then they fly home for a short time of rest, relaxation, and clothes washing, then fly back out again.  All for the huge salaries paid to them.  Kaye makes us understand all the aspects of this extraordinary life and the tough men and women who live it.  It’s hard in every way (physically, emotionally, intellectually), well paid, and in some cases, very dangerous.  And Lon’s been doing it for some time and feeling its effects on body and soul.

Casey is younger, much younger, a fact that might squick some readers.  It does some of the characters here, including Casey’s mother, grandmother and some of Lon’s friends.  I like that Renae Kaye addressed this element and the manner in which it is handled makes any uneasiness fall away.  Casey’s had a hard, abusive life and is far older than his years (he turns 21).  What happened to him as a child is horrific and unfortunately, all too familiar a story.  That Renae Kaye has Casey using therapists, doctors, and prescribed medication to deal with the abuse and its after effects is responsible and makes us understand the lengths to which Casey is going to help himself heal and move forward.  Letting us into this healing process also allows the readers to feel close to Casey, letting us into his mindset and heart.  We soon come to love this person who has been through so much. Casey isn’t blind (can’t be with the scarring) to the full extent of the damage inflicted upon him and yet still Casey wants love, physical love and is mature enough to take the responsibility to help others understand why as well.  Yes, I adored and loved Casey.

And I feel the same about Lon.  He’s complex, huge, and hurting in his own way.  Through Lon’s backstory, we see what a case of fetal alcohol syndrome can have on the maturation process of a child (not Lon) and what tragic effects that can have on a family.  It’s another type of parental abuse that will affect the child from the moment its born, another authentic and heartbreaking aspect of this story.  It’s just so well done.  There is so much damage and pain on both sides, albeit in different ways.  Watching Lon and Casey work through their pasts, their bouts of non communication and age issues is wonderful and helps the reader totally commit to these characters and their slow building relationship.

Other pluses beside characterizations and plot?  The setting and location as I have already mentioned.  Kaye took me to Perth’s Cottesloe Beach, the red dust of Newman, and the intense heat of the red dirt mines of Pilbarra.  I learned that the Fremantle Doctor is a sea breeze and exactly what they call flipflops and coolers (that is a fun discovery you will want to make on your own) in Australia. I loved that beach scene! Hilarious. I was grounded so thoroughly in Australian culture I could feel a “G’day” wanting to escape my mouth as I swatted the mozzies.

I am so happy to have discovered Renae Kaye. She has quickly become a “go to” author for me.  I highly recommend Safe In His Arms, along with The Shearing Gun.  Pick them up and start your journey into Australia and this terrific author.  Happily, there are other stories from Kaye to pick up and revel in just as I intend to do.  Happy Reading!  G’day!

Cover artist Anna Sikorska does a wonderful job with that powerful representation of Ron Taylor.  Brooding, hulking and gorgeous.  Great cover.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press eBook & Paperback     All Romance (ARe)    Amazon        Buy it here

Book Details:

ebook, 208 pages
Published November 28th 2014 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781632162311
edition languageEnglish
urlhttp://renaekaye.weebly.com/coming-soon.html
settingPerth (Australia)

A MelanieM Review: The Shearing Gun by Renae Kaye

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Rating 5 stars out of 5

The Shearing Gun coverHenry “Hank” Woods has always known he was gay but coming out as a teenager saw Hank thrown off his family’s farm and estranged from his father.  But Hank persevered, and now at the age of twenty-five, Hank owns his own farm in Australia’s rural southwest. Raising his own flock of sheep and growing crops often isn’t enough so Hank supplements his income from the property with seasonal shearing.  Over the years Hank’s talent has earned him the title of “shearing gun”—an ace shearer able to shear large numbers of sheep in a single day, a title that brings a higher fee and an increased number of jobs.  And Hank won’t risk any of his hard earned gains or trust that the large sheep bosses will hire a “gay” shearer, so Hank remains firmly in the closet.

Enter Dr. Elliot Stockton-Montgomery, a city-born and educated transplant to the country. Elliot’s reasons for choosing to practice in the small close-knit community of Dumbleyung in Western Australia are many. Primarily, Elliot is paying off this college debt by agreeing to work in a rural area needing doctors until his loans are paid off.  But he soon figures out that being an out gay in this somewhat conservative area is not a wise decision, although he isn’t sure how successful he is at hiding his sexuality.  Especially when he comes in contact with Hank Woods.

When a football injury brings Hank to Elliot’s attention, an inappropriate sexual glance, a stuttered apology, and a rejected doctor’s prescription of rest afterward kickstarts their friendship.  A friendship that slowly turns into something more.  But Elliot is truly a brilliant surgeon and the offers pour in daily from the large cities and hospitals looking to lure him away.  And Hank?  He’s still in the closet. And in Elliot’s mind and heart, a closeted existence and hidden relationship is not a place he wants to be.

So many hard decisions to make and obstacles to overcome to HEA.  Will the chance for love and a lasting relationship be enough to bring Hank out of the closet and keep Elliot happy in a small rural town?  Both are about to find out the answer in The Shearing Gun.

The Shearing Gun by Renae Kaye is one of those heartwarming, enduring stories I will go back to read over and over again.   For many reasons this story captured my heart and imagination and has refused to let them go long after I finished this story. It is both a comfort read suitable for cold nights and comfy airchairs as well as a heartwarming romance that never gets old. I think when I look back on 2014, Renae Kaye will be in the top five of those authors whose stories I loved and list of new authors discovered.

Australia is a country I have always wanted to visit and the profession of sheep shearer, a prime element here, has always fascinated me.   I have watched sheep shearing contests here at Maryland’s Sheep & Wool Festival where shearing guns  from around the world compete for prizes.  But The Shearing Gun made these men and women and their profession come alive in a way that merely watching them on a stage never did.  Kaye’s descriptions of a day’s shearing, the “zone” the shearers get into where the cuts are precision made, the fleece slides cleanly off, and animals switched swiftly in and out, all to raucus tunes and the smell of lanolin and sweat.  Well, the visceral impact of those descriptions and scenes upon the reader is enormous.  I swear I could feel the swelter of the tents and buildings filled full of animals and people, a cacophony of sounds, and smells, and the heat that goes on and on. And the people involved, each with their own role to play in getting huge flocks of sheep sheared in a short amount of time, what variety in sex, age, and training.  It’s amazing. The exhilaration and pride of the quick clean shear, the rush and enthusiasm of the moment, it just flies off the page to our delight and wonder.

Everything here is on a large scale, from the enormous herds brought in to shear, the high volume of food consumed (and described in rich detail), right down to the quality of fleeces and sheep per hour a shearing gun can cut.  All these elements fill this story full of rich layers giving it a depth and dimension that makes every part of The Shearing Gun sing with life and love.  This story is a vivid journey, both for the reader and for two men on the path to happiness and a forever relationship.

How I fell in love with the characters I met in The Shearing Gun.  And not just the main characters of Hank Woods and Dr. Elliot Stockton-Montgomery, no, its also Middy, Big D, Little D, Old Doc Larsen and Gloria, and all the rest of the inhabitants of Dumbleyung.   And yes, there is a Dumbleyung, which I discovered to my joy.  Dumbleyung,( population 605 as of 2011) and the Shire of Dumbleyung, well, just the names alone have a magnetism all their own, just as Elliot discovers early on.  Dumbleyung is as much a main character of this story as all the others.  Do I want to go there?  Yes, most emphatically so.

But before I fell in love with the townsfolk and Dumbleyung, first I met and loved Hank and Elliot.  The story is told from Hank’s pov and Renae Kaye imbues this character with a unique voice and regional perspective.  We never forget that the land and his farm are a deep part of who Hank is.  His love and knowledge of both are almost on a cellular level and the author is able to relay this to the reader by bringing us into Hank’s mind and heart.  We are there when he arrives in the clinic expecting to see Old Doc Larson and meets city doc and transplant Elliot instead.  What follows is amusing, telling, and so authentically perfect that I have to include a small excerpt below:

“My apologies,” he said with a smile. “I didn’t realize I hadn’t introduced myself. I’m Doctor Elliot Stockton-Montgomery. How do you do?”

In my mind I winced at his pretentious name and pretentious words and wondered if it hurt having that plank permanently stuck up his arse. “Shit, Doc. I’m here at the clinic on a bloody Sunday; how the hell do you think I’m doing?”

That earned me another twitch of his mouth. “Yes… well.” He cleared his throat. “So tell me what you’ve done to yourself and we’ll see about fixing you up.”

“Meself?” I snorted. “You think I’d do this to me-self? Nah, it was them bloody mongrels from Corrigin. They can’t kick a footy straight, so they hit you hard to try ’n’ knock you out so’s you don’t know which is the arse end of your dog. Them wallies jumped on me in the second quarter. Three of them. It was fucking Big D MacDonald who took me for a flyer, and then his brother and cousin used me like a trampoline. Hard. The wankers. I showed them, though. Got me a fifty-meter and thumped that red turkey through. Then three more times that quarter and once in the third before Coach yanked me because I dropped a sitter when I didn’t use me sore arm.”

The Doc blinked a couple of times through my explanation, but to his credit he didn’t drop his eyes. “Let me get this straight,” he asked. “You were playing football against a team from Corrigin, whose skills were poor, so they tried to make up for it by rough play. One player threw you to the ground and two others sat on you. You received a penalty and a shot at scoring. You scored a goal, then four more before, until about forty minutes after your initial injury, the coach of your team made you stop playing because you didn’t catch the ball cleanly?”

I frowned at him. “Yeah. Isn’t that what I just said?”

 

Yes, there are AUS terms and profanities galore, luckily, there is also an Australian glossary provided by the author.  I ended up using it to my endless amusement.  The humor as well as Elliot’s “fish out of water” situation is highlighted by the dialog the streams out of Hank’s mouth even as he’s bleeding all over the floor.  But Elliot’s education is just beginning.  After rejecting (obviously) Elliot’s prescribed 8 weeks of rest, Elliot ends up at Hank’s farm and ends of spending the day working alongside him.  Last excerpt (I could quote this story all day):

He climbed into the middle of the bench seat without prompting and regarded me with a puzzled look. “Then why the fencing lesson today unless you wanted to prove that I wasn’t as smart as I thought I was?”

I turned the key and pressed in the clutch, waiting for him to put me in first gear before answering. “It wasn’t about proving you were smart or not. It was more about teaching you what we do as farmers. So when you get a guy in who requires stitching up because he tried to do a two-man job by himself, you won’t make him feel like a child for his stupidity. Because he knows it was wrong, but if he didn’t do that job right then, it could’ve meant losing a year’s worth of crop because the cattle got in the paddock. Farming’s a harsh business. We don’t have the luxury of waiting around until someone pops by to help us. We work our guts out. And that bull that just broke the leg of the guy in your clinic? He may be angry with the animal, but that bull is worth the money, because selling him next year will pay the mortgage for two months. And the guy who caught pneumonia because he worked twenty hours a day in the rain to get his crop in? Well, it was either that or walk away from the land his family has farmed for over a century.”

I stopped at the gate and jumped out to open it. He was waiting for me when I climbed back in. “Do you think I made you feel stupid?”

I was through the gate and back out to close it again before I answered him. “You didn’t make me feel stupid, but you didn’t listen to what I said. There’s no way that any man in this district could simply rest for eight weeks. So you need to be aware of that and change your medical advice. So why don’t you tell me not to lift with my arm, watch not to bang it, and that I’m going to need help over the next eight weeks? Give me painkillers because you know I’m going to need them, and tell me that I’ll be right to go back to full duties by the end of August. Can you see the difference, Doc?”

He looked thoughtful and nodded.

 

A friendship has begun and we are only on page 26.   But the heart and soul of Hank is right there, for Elliot and the reader to see and fall in love with.  The more we get to know Elliot, his character and heart opens up before us much the same way.  Trust me when I say these two men are characters you will find almost impossible to let go of at the end of the story.  I still haven’t and I expect that I won’t anytime soon.

The author also addresses the very real challenges a gay or bisexual man will face in such a small homogeneous community, and the various responses one would expect…the bad, the good and the indifferent.  This aspect of the story feels as real and complex as all the other elements that make The Shearing Gun one of the best of the year.

Run, don’t walk to the computer and pick this story up.  It’s not only one of Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words highly recommended reads but will be at the top of my favorite books of the year.  Happy Reading!

 

Cover artist Paul Richmond.  It works perfectly for the cast and plot of this story.  Alive, a little rough and always colorful.

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press eBook & Paperback    All Romance (ARe)  amazon     The Shearing Gun

Book Details:

ebook, 214 pages
Published September 19th 2014 by Dreamspinner Press (first published September 18th 2014)
ISBN139781632160461
edition languageEnglish

Down Under Showcase Author: Renae Kaye

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DownUnder_January Is Banner

Down Under Author

Renae Kaye logo

Meet Renae Kaye!

Renae Kaye is the author of The Shearing Gun, Loving Jay, The Blinding Light, and Safe In His Arms.  Her books are among Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Best of 2014! Best Books of 2014

To get to know Australian author Renae Kaye  a little better, she agreed to an interview. Look for the interview below and the Down Under Scavenger Hunt word found somewhere within.

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Author Bio 1

Renae Kaye is a lover and hoarder of books who thinks libraries are devilish places because they make you give the books back. She consumed her first adult romance book at the tender age of thirteen and hasn’t stopped since. After years – and thousands of stories! – of not having book characters do what she wants, she decided she would write her own novel and found the characters still didn’t do what she wanted. It hasn’t stopped her though. She believes that maybe one day the world will create a perfect couple – and it will be the most boring story ever. So until then she is stuck with quirky, snarky and imperfect characters who just want their story told.

Renae lives in Perth, Western Australia and writes in five minute snatches between the demands of two kids, a forbearing husband, too many pets, too much housework and her beloved veggie garden. She is a survivor of being the youngest in a large family and believes that laughter (and a good book) can cure anything.

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Author Contacts

Contacts/Follow at :

Twitter @renaekkaye
Website http://renaekaye.weebly.com/
Blog http://renaekaye.weebly.com/renae-blogs
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/renae.kaye.9

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Author Books Stories Down Under1 copy

Your Books:

The Shearing Gun coverLoving Jay coverSafe In His Arms coverThe Blinding Light cover

 

 

 

 

All Published and available at Dreamspinner Press:

Safe In His Arms – released November 2014
The Shearing Gun – released September 2014:Best Books of 2014

At twenty-five, Hank owns a small parcel of land in Australia’s rural southwest where he supplements his income from the property with seasonal shearing. Hank is a “shearing gun”—an ace shearer able to shear large numbers of sheep in a single day. His own father kicked him out when his sexuality was revealed, and since no one would ever hire a gay shearer, Hank has remained firmly closeted ever since.

Elliot is the newbie doctor in town—city-born and somewhat shell-shocked from his transplant to the country. When a football injury brings Hank to Elliot’s attention, an inappropriate sexual glance and the stuttered apology afterward kickstarts their friendship. Romance and love soon blossom, but it’s hard for either of them to hope for anything permanent. As if the constant threat of being caught isn’t enough, Elliot’s contract runs out after only a year.

Bear Chasing (part of the A Taste Of Honey anthology) – released August 2014
The Blinding Light – released July 2014
Loving Jay – released April 2014:Best Books of 2014

One thing Liam Turner knows for sure is that he’s not gay—after all, his father makes it very clear he’ll allow no son of his to be gay. And Liam believes it, until a chance meeting with James “Jay” Bell turns Liam’s world upside-down. Jay is vivacious and unabashedly gay—from the tips of his bleached hair to the ends of his polished nails. With a flair for fashion, overreaction, and an inability to cork his verbal diarrhea, Liam believes drama queen Jay must have a screw loose.

An accident as a teenager left Liam with a limp and a fear of driving. He can’t play football anymore either, and that makes him feel like less of a man. But that’s no reason to question his sexuality… unless the accident broke something else inside him. When being with Jay causes Liam’s protective instincts to emerge, Liam starts to believe all he knew in life had been a convenient excuse to stay hidden. From intolerance to confrontations, Liam must learn to overcome his fears—and his father—before he can accept his sexuality and truly love Jay.

Genre(s): Contemporary, humour, LGBTQ fiction, M/M Romance,A Taste of Honey cover

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Contests and Giveaways:

1. Today’s Giveaway (thank you, Renae Kaye) is an eBook copy of The Blinding Light. Enter using this Rafflecopter link here. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

2. Down Under Scavenger Hunt – find the Hunt “Word” in bold green. Collect all the words from each author and submit the list in writing no later than midnight on February 1st. Make sure you include an email address where you can be reached. Prizes will be given to 5 people selected, from 1st place to 5th! Happy Hunting.

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Author Qand A
When did you start writing?

January 2013.

Did you want me to be that specific? **wink** I’ve never written before because my entire life I’ve been told that I wouldn’t be able to, that I was no good at that sort of thing, that I would fail. It took me a long time (and a very persistent thought in my head) before I went, “You know, even if I fail, I can say I tried.”

That first book is still unpublished. Not because it’s crap, but because I haven’t found the correct niche for it yet. My second go at writing a book was published in April 2014 and is called “Loving Jay.”

Were you a reader as a child?

Hell yes! My mother tells me she would have a fight with me each time we were to go to the library (and this was before I was 5 and in school). I never wanted to return my library books.

Just four days ago I found my box of childhood books, lovingly kept for my children. One of the books is stamped “1957” – which I assume was my mother’s childhood book. I looked after my books.

What books as a child has the most impact on you?

As a child I read whatever I could find. I remember Cinderella being my favourite book. When I was eight, I discovered The Famous Five and devoured every one of their books I could find in the library. When I was ten, my cousin gave me a stack of Dolly Fiction books and I was hooked. Around this time I got my first job and was able to buy my own books from the local second-hand store. At 13, my sister gave me a Mills & Boon novel to keep me from bothering her. From then on, it was romance all the way.

So fairytales and romance have always been a huge theme in my reading.

Did that impression carry over into adulthood when you started writing?

I’ll let the readers decide. Do I write sappy love stories with happy endings?

Where do you draw inspiration from?

I’m not sure about other writers, but threads come from all different places. There are visual inspirations (my character of Jay was based on a friend of mine), life experiences (Hank’s farm was based on a place my father owned when I was a child), author statements (Safe In His Arms is a book where I wish to tell people don’t give up!) and social statements (The Blinding Light is my statement of hope for the future).

Sometimes, as an author, I want to bring the experience of Australia to others, so I deliberately write Australian life into the book. Sometimes I just write a scene because it’s goddamn funny.

I try to write multi-dimensional stories, so that you feel that the character is well-rounded and understandable. I like to bring in their families and friends for the reader to meet, and these secondary characters frequently influence the character’s reactions, so the reader needs to understand the relationships and experience the familial ties.

My hope for my stories is realism. I hope my guys feel real, as if this person could be your friend.

Favorite genres to write in and why?

Contemporary and humour are what I most like to write in. I love to meet people and want to know their story. This is my go-to with writing. Normal, everyday people getting their love story in the pages of a book. So most of my characters are everyday people.

The humour is just me. Sorry about that. It’s probably a coping mechanism, but I laugh a lot in life. I can’t write non-humour.

Title or characters or plot? Which comes first?

All three.

The Shearing Gun was born with its name already firmly in place. I chose the characters to fit the title, and the plot just grew from there.

Loving Jay was a working title, until I realised it fit the book so well. This book was character hatched – my exploration of the theme “What if a guy didn’t realise he was gay until he met this glittery peacock of a man?”

The Blinding Light was plot hatched. I had this scenario of a blind man being sent mad by the smell of his new housekeeper. The characters then deemed the ending of the book. I didn’t find the title of this book until the second last chapter.

Safe In His Arms was scenario / character hatched. I had this idea of a twink and a bear in a random hook up. I didn’t know how they were going to make their relationship work, but I just kept writing until they did.

Do you have a favorite character that you have written?

Jay, Jay, Jay – all the way. (Sorry guys – I love you all too, but Jay is special).

Do you have a certain regimen that you follow as a writer?

Quite the opposite, actually. Writing fits in around the rest of my life. There are weeks when it gets chucked out and I don’t have time for it, then there are days where I will spend ten hours on the computer, only getting up to prepare a meal for the family or work out why my 5yo is crying.

What inspired you to write your first book?

There were three main reasons, that all hit me in concert that spawned that first book.

I am a stay-at-home mother, and in January 2013 I was seriously contemplating my future. After being out of the workforce for five years, and being at least two more years away from re-entering, I was considering a career change. I didn’t know whether I should go back to university to retrain, try to find a job in the same industry as previous, or just find a job where no experience was necessary. The thought of writing came to me, and wouldn’t go away. I come from a science, maths and finance background – so a huge step away from arts.

At the same time, I was feeling a little claustrophobic at home. A little worthless, and bored, and “Is this all I’m good for? Changing nappies and washing dishes?”

Then the final push came when I couldn’t find that particular book I wanted to read. I wanted Australian. I wanted humour. I wanted a twink book. Nothing filled the gap. So I decided to do something about it. I would write my own!

Do you have a specific writing style?

LOL. Chuck the words on the page and hope for the best?

What’s the hardest part of writing your books?

Editing. I hate editing.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your first book?

Mmm – maybe tighten up some of the editing, add a few sentences to parts of the story that I’ve found readers misinterpreted, but as a whole – NO. This is the book. This is the story.

What book are you reading now?

<cringing> I am a very bad friend. I’m still reading Nic Starr’s A Day at a Time. I haven’t had time to read for pleasure for so long, that I haven’t finished it.

How do you think books written from authors in Australia or New Zealand differ in style, language, and culture?

Of course they do. Although I know there are a lot of Australian authors who write stories based in other countries (and do such a great job of it I didn’t realise they were Australian myself!), I really enjoy the Aussie settings and the Aussie language.

Our language and culture is similar but different from other countries (such as US and UK). It’s hard to pin point exactly what, but when I read an Australian author, it feels like a comfortable old slipper – familiar and safe. There are things I don’t have to automatically adjust for – seasons, language (ie trash vs rubbish), foods mentioned. I can just read.

One of the lessons I’ve learned as an Australian is that my sense of humour is different from some others. I’m not generalising every single person, but as a whole, Australia doesn’t take itself all that seriously. I’ve had readers who don’t get that, and think I’m being offensive.

My first impression of AUS/NZ was from stories and novels like Colleen McCullough’s The Thorn Birds or Nevil Shute’s A Town Like Alice as well as from movies like The Man from Snowy River, The Dish, Rabbit Proof Fence, Strictly Ballroom, and yes, Crocodile Dundee! There are so many out there. What is your favorite AUS/NZ stories and favorite Australian/New Zealand movies?

Oh, I adore The Dish! It encapsulates the way I see Australia. Brave when we need to be, yet we can still laugh at ourselves. Playing cricket on the most important satellite in the Southern Hemisphere? Yeah – that’s pretty ocker. The one-liners in that movie set me off laughing no matter how many times I’ve seen it.

Gasp! “You’ve got a gun! Does Mum know?”
“No. And don’t tell her. Or else she’ll come down here and take it off me.”

“How was lunch?”
“Good. I think we ate an entire sheep.”

“In space, how do you think they go to the—?” (makes a whistling sound).
(Looks at the hors d’oeuvres in his hand). “They should just eat one of these. It will bung ‘em up for months.”

“How do they send messages from the space rocket?”
“Carrier pigeon.”

“Thanks for fixing my car.”
(Holds up sledge hammer). “Not a problem.”
If you were a tour guide, what would you like a visitor to see and what impression would you want them to take away with them when they leave?

If you were coming to spend a couple of days with me, I’d start by taking you to the beach in Perth. Top class!

Depending on your interests (and physical abilities!) I’d schedule some boating in there, a river cruise, a day trip maybe to somewhere like New Norcia to visit the monastery, a picnic at the local dam, a hike through the bush at Serpentine or Avon Valley, a night tour of Fremantle Historical prison, a day at Rottnest Island to ride around the island and maybe some horse riding.

The impression I would love a visitor to take away with them is just how laid back and friendly Australians can be.

What’s your favorite spot to visit in your own country? And what makes it so special to you?

Where I live in Perth, Western Australia, I’m pretty isolated. Visiting other parts of the country is expensive and requires a plane ride. But I love to head south during summer in the car for 2 hours to a little town called Busselton. We can swim at the beach, the kids play in the sand, and we even go fishing some.

During winter, my favourite getaway is to Broome in the north. My brother-in-law lives there, so as long as we can save money for the airfare, our accommodation is free. Broome beaches are world-class, but I love to get out on the boat and go fishing and crabbing. There’s a place called Gantheaume Point where you can see dinosaur footprints when the tide is out – but to me the great fun is scrambling over the rocks and checking out rock pools.

If you’re ever in Broome, ask a local about the plane crash site. You need to check the tides, but during a Japanese WWII air raid, two planes crashed offshore. The wrecks are located 1.5km off the beach and are uncovered for about an hour once a month. You can walk over the mudflats to see them. Great fun.

What are your current projects?

Spin offs. Loving Jay, The Blinding Light, Safe In His Arms. All of them have spin offs I need to finish.

What’s next up for you?

Shawn’s Law. Due out at the beginning of March I think. This is a huge comedy that will be bad for Australian tourism. I actually wondered how many Australian animals I could get to attack my guy before the end of the book. I didn’t manage a huge amount (just the important ones! **wink**) but maybe I should write a sequel and include the rest…
Thanks for having me on your blog and I hope you have fun hanging out with all these Aussie authors!
Cheers,
Renae Kaye

Down Under Week Day 8: Author Renae Kaye, AUS/NZ Facts and Contest Details

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Welcome to Day 8 of Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Down Under Author Showcase.  Today’s featured author is Aussie writer Renae Kay, author of The Shearing Gun, Safe in His Arms, The Blinding Light and more.  Look for the reviews of those books to follow Renae Kaye’s author page.

 

Australia Fact of the Day!

One of the interesting facts about Australia is that Australia is the biggest island and the smallest continent in the world. And

Australia is the driest inhabited continent on earth, the driest of all

is Antarctica.  Find out more about Australia here.

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New Zealand Fact of the Day

 

There are no snakes in the country even though 18. 30% of the country is forest.  Even more impressive?

Highest Mountain, Aoraki Mount Cook!120-mount-cook

New Zealand’s (and Australasia’s) highest mountain is Aoraki Mount Cook. It is 3,754 metres (12,316 ft) high. The mountain formerly appeared on maps as Mount Cook. In 1998, the mountain was officially renamed Aoraki Mount Cook to incorporate its Maori name. The renaming was part of a settlement in which the Crown also returned ownership of the mountain to the Ngai Tahu tribe, who then gifted it back to the New Zealand nation. Aoraki translates from the Ngai Tahu language as “cloud piercer”.  This takes on even greater meaning when you understand that the Maori name of New Zealand is Aotearoa which means the land of the long white cloud.

Learn more about New Zealand here.

Now, while you are learning about Renae Kaye, her story and books, make sure to find the Down Under Scavenger Hunt word of the day, enter Bottom Drawer Publications contest listed on the Down Under Author Showcase Page on the menu.  And if you know of anyone who has traveled to either or both New Zealand or Australia and would share their favorites sites, or memories, let them know that we would love to have them share them with us.