A MelanieM Review: Shawn’s Law by Renae Kaye

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Rating:5 stars out of 5

Shawn's Law coverAt the age of  twenty-nine, Shawn O’Hara’s life is full, although not quite in the way he had always imagined it.  Shawn had to quit his job to become the full-time caregiver of his Alzheimer’s-stricken mother.  And if that isn’t enough, Shawn’s life has been a string of unfortunate accidents.  What some people call Murphy’s Law (A rule that states, “If something can go wrong, it will, and usually at the worst time.”), is in Shawn’s case, Murphy’s Law doubled and known by friends and family as Shawn’s Law.

In what little spare time Shawn has, he spends it painting nude men and spying on the guy who walks his dogs along the street every day at four o’clock, someone he has affectionately dubbed Hippy-Hotpants. When Shawn takes a spectacular fall on his front steps, who is there to witness it other than the man of his dreams?

Harley (aka Hippy Hotpants) doesn’t believe in Shawn’s Law.  But spending time with Shawn brings about a change in mind. Shawn is it for Harley and he is determined to make Shawn see it as well.   The two men make it through a memorable first date, full of Shawn’s Law surprises, and still look forward to more.  But when Harley is accidentally injured, Shawn is determined to save Harley’s life the only way he knows how—by breaking up with him. Not once, but twice. Throw in a serial killer ex-boyfriend, several deadly Australian animals, two dogs called Bennie, a mother who forgets to wear clothes, an unforgiving Town Council, and a strawberry-flavored condom dolly, and Shawn’s Law is one for the booksmind.

Ever had a book that made you laugh out loud?  Not just a few giggles (although that happened), or episodes of gentle laughter (ditto).   No, I’m talking about out and out guffaws, side stitching no holds barred cackles!  For me, that is Shawn’s Law by Renae Kaye in a nutshell.  Even now, just thinking about certain scenes and dialog  makes me stop and laugh until I cry.

I have read and loved other books by this author (The Blinding Light, The Shearing Gun, Safe in His Arms) but nothing prepared me for Harley, Shawn, and their fabulous if accident prone path to love.  The humor is searing, but its overlaid by some of life’s worst events, a mother in the last throes of Alzheimer’s, lost jobs, a stressed out sister and a  solitary love life, all of which are realistically portrayed.  Shawn is unexpectedly wonderful in almost every way.  His outlook is positive (because the alternative would be depressingly scary).  His physique?  Well, let’s hear it from Harley how he sees Shawn:

And Shawn is definitely a man. He has short black hair and a strong jaw that needs to be shaved twice a day to keep the shadow off. He wears endearing black-framed glasses that look cute and geeky at the same time. He hates his glasses and is always threatening to buy something hip and cool, but he never gets around to it. Too many other things happen in his life. But there’s no getting around the fact that he’s short and has curves—his legs are curvy, his butt sticks out and his chest is rounded. He would never be called svelte or willowy, and that’s more than okay with me.

Yep, that Shawn, Short, “curvy”, kind hearted Shawn.  He doesn’t even cuss because he accidentally taught his youngest niece the F word, so now everything is fudge, or sugar or any other sweet term you can think of (as in “Sugar creme puffs, Mum’s loose and naked again”) and from Shawn’s mouth it feels natural and unaffected.   Shawn comes across as a human being you would love to get to know (albeit from the relative safety of 10 feet away).  He’s friends with all the nurses and doctors at the local hospital through his many visits.  All the local car towing company, animal wildlife rangers, plumbers,, etc are all of first name basis with Shawn due to Shawn’s Law in action.   Man,  this guy endearing and real.  I love Shawn and he quickly became one of my favorite characters.

Harley is another finely drawn portrait of a activist at home in his own skin and looking for love in one of the most unlikely pairings around.  Harley likes to let it all, I mean all as in his equipment, hang loose.  No binding underwear for him and his dress or sometimes lack of it earns him the nickname Hippy-Hotpants.  Maybe its his long hair too.  Anyway, he cuts quite the figure through these pages and in Shawn’s life.  Harley is far from perfect and Shawn brings about some serious reflection on how he views  his life, Shawn, and the events that happen.  I love that about this character and the storyline.  The characters all show measurable growth. It unfolds realistically and sometimes painfully, although the humor is retained at various levels of intensity.  But nothing is easy.  Relationships take work, people have insecurities about their bodies, and sometimes people do the wrong thing by trying to do what’ they think is right and will create the least amount of havoc for someone they love.  So yeah, their steps towards love are sometimes plodding, full of pratfalls and stumbles and a fair share of misunderstandings.  But that only makes this story and their romance that much sweeter because it feels so real and right.

All the other characters are just as perfectly realized as Shawn and Harley.  Whether its, Lisa (Shawn’s sister) or Shawn’s mum whose lucidity comes and goes (mostly goes), or any of the other myriad people that pop up, you will remember them all with great fondness and wish to see more of them as often as possible.  I could have lived in this story and with these characters for a long, long time.

Renae Kaye’s writing flows so smoothly here.  Told from both Shawn and Harley’s point of view the events unfold quickly and believably.  And this short excerpt gives you a window into how it all starts.  Here Shawn has just realized that his mother has slipped out of the house…again.  And he follows a trail of clothing outside just as he was waiting to catch a glimpse of “Hippy-Hotpants”:

“Mum?”

Then disaster struck. Not apocalypse proportions, but just your everyday oh-man-that-just-ruined-everything disaster. My foot slid on something and flew out from under me. I was racing too hard to find my balance, and ended up falling on my butt, coming down on the edge of a step with a yelp of pain. I slithered down a few more steps before coming to a halt on my back, staring up in shock at the blue sky.

“Oh, holy fuu… udge bars.”

It was a small thing, but I made it a habit not to use the “F-word” ever since I’d accidently taught it to my niece when she was only two. The “Sh-word” was also out, so I now used words like fudge and sugar and darn for expletives. It wasn’t easy. My days usually need a lot of expletives. I turned my head slightly, thanked God that my neck still worked, and caught sight of something white in my peripheral vision. My head was resting on something and I yanked it from beneath me and tried to focus.

Ugh. Bras, briefs, panties, and lingerie. I’d skidded on the latest Target underwear catalog. Perfect.

“Are you okay?”

 

Want a story to keep you smiling and engaged?  Shawn’s Law is one for the top shelf, you know the one where you keep your favorite stories!  It’s a story you will want to pick up again when you want a laugh or when you want to renew your acquaintance with some of the most endearing, wonderful characters around.  Oh, and that last chapter?  The one that consists of 3 short sentences?  Priceless, just priceless.   But don’t take my word for it….go, right now and grab this up!  It’s one of my most highly recommended reads!

Cover artist:  Paul Richmond.  The artist does this story and its characters justice.  It’s perfect in attitude and humor, and I loved it.  And yes, that’s a part of this story.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press     All Romance (ARe)   Amazon      Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages
Expected publication: March 6th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
original titleShawn’s Law
ISBN139781632167347
edition languageEnglish

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)

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.

Down Under Author Showcase Continues and this Week’s Schedule

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Down Under Author Showcase continues this week.  It’s been wonderful to have all these talented authors talking about their books, and their countries.

 

So far,  Christian Baines,  Nicki J. Markus (2), and Anne Barwell (3) have been featured.  Our Down Under Author Scavenger Hunt has begun, along with the individual giveaways, and Bottom Drawer Publications contest on the Down Under Page.  We are still looking for people who have vacationed in New Zealand and Australia who want to share their favorite places and moments with us this month.

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Our Schedule This Week:AUS flag over country

 

Monday, January 5:

  • Down Under Featured Author: N.J. Nielsen
  • Down Under AUS/NZ Facts, Updates, and Contests
  • A Sammy Review: Rival Within by S.J. D. Peterson
  • A Mika Review: In Too Deep by Kate Sherwood
  • L.M. Somerton’s Investigating Love Book Tour and Contest

Tuesday, January 6:

  • Down Under AUS/NZ Facts, Updates, and Contests
  • Down Under Featured Author:  L.J. LaBarthe
  • A MelanieM Review: The Body on the Beach by L.J. LaBarthe
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Candy Man by Amy Lane
  • A MelanieM Review: Mythica by L. J. LaBarthe

Wednesday, January 7:

  • Down Under AUS/NZ Facts, Updates, and Contests
  • Down Under Featured Author: Michelle Rae
  • Cover Reveal: Jess Buffett “Always Been You”
  • Moment of Impact by Karen Stivali Book Blast
  • A Sammy Review: A Spartan Love by Kayla Jameth

Thursday, January 8:

  •  Down Under AUS/NZ Facts, Updates, and Contests
  • Down Under Featured Author:  Renae Kaye
  • A MelanieM Review:  Safe In His Arms by Renae Kaye
  • A MelanieM Review:  The Shearing Gun by Renae Kaye
  • A MelanieM Review:  The Blinding Light by Renae Kaye
  •  E. S. Skipper (false identification)book blast and contest—cancelled

Friday, January 9:

  • Down Under AUS/NZ Facts, Updates, and Contests
  • Down Under Featured Author: John Wiltshire
  • Review: Love is a Stranger by John Wiltshire
  • Mika Review: A Captive to His Wonder by Remmy Duchene
  • A Sammy Review: A Royal Affair by John Wiltshire

Saturday, January 10:

  • Down Under AUS/NZ Facts, Updates, and Contests
  • Down Under Featured Author: N. R. Walker
  • A MelanieM Review: Red Dirt Heart Series by N. R. Walker
  • A MelanieM Review:  Red Dirt Heart 4 by N. R. Walker
  • Sammy’s Review of Thomas Elkins series by NR Walker

 

New Reviewers!  Welcome to Stella and BJ, our new Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words reviewers!