Down Under Showcase Author: Meredith Shayne

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Meet Meredith Shayne!

Meredith Shayne is the author of recent releases such as Cutting Out, Metal Heart, Equilibrium, and Whitewater.

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

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A scientist in a past life, these days Meredith Shayne mainly uses her scientific training to poke holes in television pseudoscience. Originally from Australia, she moved to New Zealand to start a new life a few years ago and hasn’t regretted it for one minute, even if she frequently wishes that the New Zealand weather was a little better; if she’s forced, she’ll admit that the refreshing lack of animals that can kill you in New Zealand makes up for a little rain. Meredith travels a lot, so much so that she has developed a shameful love of airplane food and knows her passport number by heart. When she is at home, she enjoys baking, horrible music from the 1980s, reality television, and gloating any time Australia thrashes the living daylights out of New Zealand on the sporting field.

Author Contacts

Contacts/Follow Meredith Shayne at :

Website: http://meredithshayne.com/
Blog: http://meredithshayne.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/meredith.shayne
Twitter: https://twitter.com/meredithshayne
Tumblr: http://meredithshayne.tumblr.com/

********************Author Books Stories Down Under1 copy

EquilibriumLgCutting Out 450x675MetalHeart cover

Reasonable_Force1_400x600

 

 

 

 

 

Your Books
Novels/Novellas:

Cutting Out, published by Bottom Drawer Publications.

Blurb and Details: A twenty-year veteran of the shearing shed, Aussie Shane Cooper loves his job, and the home he’s made for himself in New Zealand. If he’s a little lonely, he’s got good mates to keep his spirits up. When a hot, cocky young shearer named Lachlan Moore catches his eye at a competition, he’s content to look but not touch, knowing the young man is out of his league.

Lachie wouldn’t mind a piece of Shane, but the gorgeous gun shearer from Australia is soon forgotten when the Christchurch earthquake hits, and tragedy strikes Lachie’s family. Lachie deals with it the best he can, cutting himself off from all he knows. A year later and he’s back in the shearing shed, out of practice and lacking confidence. That Shane’s there to watch him flounder doesn’t help his nerves.

As Lachlan struggles to re-acclimatise, Shane can’t resist giving him a hand to get back on his feet. As they move from friends to something more, Shane finds himself wanting to know everything he can about Lachie. But Lachie’s got secrets he desperately wants to keep, and when things come to a head, those secrets might just mean the end of them before they’ve truly begun.
ebook, 200 pages
Published October 11th 2014 by Bottom Drawer Publications
ISBN139780994157232

Whitewater, part of Under the Southern Cross Anthology published by Dreamspinner Press ( A Scavenger Hunt Prize)

Blurb and Book Details: Baker Luke Henderson loves his job, and owning a bakery at Coogee Beach makes it even better. When he opens the shop before dawn, he hears the waves. When he walks along the beach after sunrise, he admires the surfers—one in particular: Cameron Brown. A chef and café owner, Cameron secretly watches Luke right back. When Luke proposes a business deal, Cameron seizes the chance to get close. But Cameron’s ideal man is physically perfect, and Luke’s awkward limp could be the flaw that fractures their romance.

Part of the Under the Southern Cross anthology. (less)
ebook, 117 pages
Published March 13th 2013 by Dreamspinner Press (first published March 12th 2013)
ISBN 162380468X (ISBN13: 9781623804688)
edition languageEnglish
seriesUnder the Southern Cross

Metal Heart, published by Dreamspinner Press:

Blurb and Book Details: Scott King swore off rock stardom after his band, King Phoenix, crashed and burned. Now in his forties, Scott lives a quiet life as a music producer and session guitarist. But in a box hidden in his wardrobe lie the relics of the past he left behind—a past filled with drugs, booze, and broken hearts. For sixteen years, Scott has had no contact with his former bandmates, so when he’s asked to play at a benefit gig for King Phoenix’s old sound man, his world turns upside down. A King Phoenix reunion means a run-in with Scott’s ex, Ash Walker—and sixteen years ago, believing Ash wanted to leave the band, Scott OD’d and almost died.

Since then, Scott has ruthlessly suppressed his feelings. As a result, he’s completely unprepared for the impact of seeing Ash again, or for dealing with his emotions about the band’s demise. He definitely didn’t expect Ash to want to start up where they left off. Now Scott has to decide between his safe existence and the twenty-year-old love song that could cost him his sobriety—and his heart.
ebook, 264 pages
Published January 28th 2013 by Dreamspinner Press (first published January 27th 2013)
original titleMetal Heart
ISBN 1623803233 (ISBN13: 9781623803230)
edition languageEnglish

Equilibrium, published by Dreamspinner Press

Blurb and Book Details: Welcome to Burreela, New South Wales. Population: more animals than humans. Although most (human) occupants are trying to get out of Burreela, the tiny town is the perfect place for veterinarian Michael Stone to break out of the bad habits that almost cost him the most meaningful part of his life: his profession.

Michael is struggling to regain his balance after hard personal losses and two years of promiscuity and drug abuse. He’s not prepared to meet Ryan Mitchell, a nice guy who won’t take no for an answer, whose patient pursuit leaves Michael less and less inclined to keep refusing. But Michael’s bad habits aren’t that far behind him. Can Michael hold himself together enough to be the man Ryan needs, or will he lose his equilibrium while trying to be man enough to hold on to the one he loves?
eBook,Paperback, 1st Edition, 212 pages
Published June 24th 2011 by Dreamspinner Press (first published June 23rd 2011)
original titleEquilibrium
ISBN 1615819509 (ISBN13: 9781615819508)
edition languageEnglish
seriesEquilibrium #1

Shorts:

Truce (free at All Romance (ARe)
Reasonable Force published by JMS Books
Tinsel and Dust (Equilibrium sequel), published at Dreamspinner Press
Eyes Wide Shut (Flying Doctors #1), Torquere

Genre(s): Contemporary, paranormal

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Contests and Giveaways:

1. Today’s Giveaway (thank you, Meredith Shayne) is an eBook copy of one book from Meredith Shayne’s backlist. Enter using this Rafflecopter link here.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

2. Down Under Scavenger Hunt – find the Hunt “word or phrase” 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.

 Author Qand A

Q. When did you start writing?

I started to write fanfiction in 2005, but the first original fiction I wrote was 2009. That was the short story Reasonable Force, for the Torquere Press Care and Feeding of Demons anthology.

Q. Were you a reader as a child?

Definitely! I always had my nose in a book back then. The Narnia books were big favourites, as were a series of books about a herd of brumbies (wild horses) in the Australian Snowy Mountains by an Australian author, Elyn Mitchell. The first was called The Silver Brumby; the Goodreads link to the series is here. Those books were amazing, I loved them to absolute bits.

I also read a lot of Stephen King. It’s possible those weren’t the most age-appropriate books I could have been reading. But I couldn’t get enough of them.

Q. What books as a child had the most impact on you?

I read Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot when I was in primary school, I think I was about nine or ten (see above re: lack of age appropriateness of my reading material). It scared the absolute crap out of me, and because of that it really stuck with me. To this day I believe that vampires should be how they were in that book. None of that sparkly, going out in the daylight crap!

Also, the Diary of Anne Frank had a big impact on little me. So much so that one of the first things I did when I went to Amsterdam was to visit the house where her and her family were in hiding. That was quite an experience, seeing the tiny space where all those people lived for so long. In the diary Anne talks about gluing pictures of movie stars onto the wall next to her bed, and those pictures are still there. Amazing.

Q. Do you have a favorite character that you have written?

I like all my characters, for different reasons, but I have a soft spot for Scott King, from Metal Heart. And Ryan Mitchell from Equilibrium. I know, I just cheated and named two!

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

I think they differ from books set elsewhere because of the culture of both countries, actually. On the whole, Australians and Kiwis are laid back, casual people who enjoy a laugh. Teasing the people you’re fond of is a way of life, and we dish it out as much as we take it. I’m not sure you could survive very long in either country if you couldn’t take a joke at your own expense. We swear a lot, and drink a lot; in both countries, politicians can be seen doing both on national TV, and no one bats an eyelid. In a book written by an Australian/New Zealander about Australians/New Zealanders, all those things spring from the page.

Q. 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?

The book I’m going to recommend is not fiction; it’s Bryce Courtenay’s April Fool’s Day. Bryce Courtenay’s son, Damon, was a haemophiliac who contracted HIV from infected blood products during his treatment. He eventually died of AIDS, and this is his father’s tribute to him. It’s funny, and it’s sad, and overall it’s just one of those books that’s really worth reading.

In terms of movies, the following are delightful:

Better Than Sex: David Wenham meets a girl and goes home to her house for a one-night stand that ends up being not so one-night. David Wenham spends a lot of time naked or nearly naked, so it’s totally worth it just for that!

Cosi: A group of inpatients at a mental facility put on the Mozart opera Cosi Fan Tutti. Toni Collette is in this one. Just as oddball as it sounds.

The Price of Milk: One of Karl Urban’s early films, it’s fluff about a dairy farmer asking his girlfriend to marry him and the hijinks that ensue because of it. It’s not much more complicated than that, so it really is fluff. It’s cute fluff though.

Whale Rider: an absolutely beautiful New Zealand film where a 13-year-old Keisha Castle-Hughes stars as a Maori girl who wants to be the chief of her tribe struggling against the disapproval of her grandfather, who thinks only males should be chief.

Q. What are your current projects?

I’m currently working on a few things: the story of a music photographer meeting up with his best friend from high school after almost 10 years apart, and the story of a washed-up musician in his forties and the friend who’s stuck by him through thick and thin. With luck those will see the light of day sometime during 2015.

Review: Metal Heart by Meredith Shayne

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Rating: 4.25 stars

Metal Heart coverIt is 1990 and a local band called King Phoenix is looking for a lead guitarist to round out the band.  When 20 year old Scott King shows up to audition, his music and song writing abilities mesh perfectly with the songs and sounds King Phoenix embodies and they welcome him into the group.  Scott also bonds closely with their lead singer, Ash Walker.  As the rock band evolves from anonymity to fame, Scott and Ash form first a close friendship which turns into a intense, sexual and romantic relationship that lasts for four years. But unlike his other band members, Scott starts to experience stage fright the bigger the venues they play.  His coping mechanisms coupled with some bad friends, start Scott on a downward spiral that Ash and the band are first unaware of, then unable to stop.  Pressure mounts until the stresses and rumors of Ash leaving the band, cause Scott to implode, ODing on drugs and alcohol.  While Scott lies in a coma in the hospital, the band leaves to go on tour without him.  There will be no further communication between the band and Scott until 16 years later.

2011, Berry, Australia.  Scott King has worked hard since coming out of rehab to become a successful music producer with his own studio.  He’s healthy having been clean for 16 years.  Scott likes his quiet life, he lives with his twin sister and his niece, he has friends and ex lovers, and is mostly content.  His past is safely secured in a box tucked away in a closet in his bedroom, a box that never gets opened lest the past bring out all the old demons he has fought for so long.

Then he gets a phone call from the past, his old band manager, who wants Scott to play at a benefit gig for King Phoenix’s old sound man who is dying of cancer.  The benefit is to raise money for his wife and child and Scott is needed to reunite the band.  Prodded by his sister and fond memories of their sound man, Scott agrees against his better judgement. But seeing Ash, who wants to take up where they left off,  starts to shatter Scott’s self control as does the stage fright that starts to come back.  Can Scott handle the stress of seeing the only man he has ever loved under the same conditions that once broke him? Or will this reunion cost Scott everything he has worked so hard to build, including his sobriety.

I love a good rocker book and Metal Heart is terrific.  It is my first introduction to Meredith Shayne and I will eagerly check out the rest of her library. Metal Heart has so much to recommend it, including a gritty look at the effect of drugs and alcohol on someone vulnerable enough to let them take over his life.  Actually, I think this element of the novel is perhaps the best part of the story, elevating it even over the lovers reunited.

Shayne starts off by giving us the character of Scott King, a naive 20 year old gay musician.  A friend and later band manager drags him to audition for a scruffy local band called King Phoenix.  Scott is someone who loses himself in his music, from the compositions he writes to the lead guitar he plays.  Shayne gives him a vulnerability that shows the reader how open emotionally Scott can be to all things, including love in the form of Ash Walker.  I love this character and we watch him grow and struggle over a 16 year period.  For Scott, the best part of his life is the early  years with Ash, before the band caught on and became famous.  Young, impressionable, artistic and happy, those are his defining years.  But the stresses of playing to large crowds, as well as hiding their romance and sexuality from all around them, places such a strain on Scott that the cracks start to appear and fissure, and we feel helpless as we watch it happen.  The author then goes on to demonstrates how readily available drugs and alcohol allowed musicians and others to cope with the demands of touring and the pressures of fame.  The scenes where associates introduce Scott to drugs rings true as does the resulting addiction that others are helpless to derail.

This leads us into discussions of therapy and rehabilitation as well as the fact that once you are an addict, you are always an addict. Shayne is careful to give us an authentic portrayal of someone in the throes of an addiction to someone living the life of a recovered addict.  The temptations to succumb to the pressure to use again are always present and Scott is that addict personified.   Really, this is just a remarkable characterization.

The character of Ash Walker is one that, while he didn’t quite work his magic on me, will be a favorite of most readers.  A little older, Ash is less vulnerable and more savvy than Scott, even at the beginning.  And while we never doubt the love he holds for Scott, he comes across as the most secure and  ambitious of the two.  He wants fame, and is at ease with the pressures that come with it, unlike Scott.  And while there is more to his story than is revealed at the beginning, I still found myself disconnected from this character, especially after he continues to pressure Scott to resume playing while acknowledging that Scott is showing the symptoms of cracking under the stress.  I did find it realistic that the band members would be so self involved not to understand what was happening to Scott in the 90’s but for them to consider his actions that of a “jerk” when he is clearly trying to protect himself and his self control in 2011, well I found that to be less feasible, more objectionable than anything else.

This also applies to the “aha” moment of the story which I won’t divulge here.  But one thing that is repeatedly brought up is the fact that Scott “disappeared” and that in 16 years Scott never tried to contact the band members.  They all knew he was in rehab and a little research would have shown that those in rehabilitation are not to have contact with those that helped enable them.  Plus Scott King became a successful music producer, and they couldn’t find him until 16 years later? Again, that just doesn’t seem all that realistic.  But those qualms aside, this author delivers a vibrant, enthusiastic portrait of young rockers, love and the price of fame to life in Metal Heart, and then leaves us with the promise that sometimes love is enough, even after 16 years apart.  For me, this is still a HFN, instead of HEA and there seems to be plenty of room for another book to see where they take the relationship next as not all obstacles have been cleared away.  Either way, this story will please fans of rock n roll stories and bad boys with music to burn as well as those of romantic lovers reunited at long last.  All fans will be left satisfied at the end of Metal Heart.  Pick it up and happy reading!

Cover art by Anne Cain.  Love, love this cover.  From the graphics to the color choices and fonts, just perfect.

Snowquestration, A Time Change and the Week Ahead in Book Reviews

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For those of you outside of the  DC Metropolitan Area, you may not have known but on Wednesday last week this area was expecting a snow storm of “historic” proportions.  Forecasters got out their shovels and measuring sticks as the TV channels were full of giddy meteorologists pantomiming digging out driveways and anchors were busy imploring people to be prepared and stay home. Hour by hour the weather alerts increased the amount of snowfall we would see, Pepco our dysfunctional power company sent out text messages and robo called homes letting everyone know that they were on top of things, getting in crews from as far away as Alabama to keep the power on and lines clear of snow (for once).  Schools in countries around the area from MD, DC and VA quickly cancelled classes the day before and the Federal Government closed all offices with all local governments following suit just as quickly.  Grocery stores ran out of milk and other essentials, so did the liquor and wine stores. Streets emptied, stores shut down and our normally hyped up busy region turned into a ghost town.  And we waited for the storm to start.

And we waited for the storm to start some more.  Curtains were pulled back, and necks craned up as all eyes searched the sky for the first flakes to fall.  And soon they did.

Big, fat, ginormous flakes fell.

And then they stopped falling.  And it started to rain.  And rain.  And more rain.

Why did it rain?  Because it had been f*&king warm all week long.  A kindergartener could have told you that when it is that warm, it is not going to snow.  And it didn’t, at least not here.  It snowed in Pennsylvania, and in the mountains of VA, and the Midwest, and New England and  out west, everywhere but here.  Where it rained.  OK we needed the rain, so that was great.  But really, our entire region shut down because of rain.  Is is any wonder that people outside the Beltway  (the huge highway that encircles DC) think our area has lost our collective mind?  That common sense and sound judgement are but vague concepts that make only fleeting appearances in the thoughts of those who inhabit Congress, run the World Bank, plot the course of the country on levels both small and  large?

What name did we call this “historic” snowstorm?  Why Snowquestration of course.  That alone made perfect sense.  A name that conjures up thoughts of dysfunction, of something that doesn’t work on the most basic level, something thought up in Congress that unfortunately affects everyone but Congress.  Really, is that not  perfection in labeling?  I think so.  It was the only thing that rang true for this storm and our area.  Pundits will be using this for years in their columns.  Ah, Washington, DC you have done it again.  So proud to be from this area. But on the other hand it really is good for a laugh and we all need those.   We closed the Federal government and schools because of rain. Have you stopped laughing yet?

The time changed.  We sprang forward an hour.  I hate this.  Leave the time alone.  Enuf’ said.

So spring is back (not that it ever really left), our DC Metro Book group is meeting today and I must be off.  So without further ado, here is the week in reviews:

Monday, March 11:                 Blacque/Bleu by Belinda McBride

Tuesday, March 12:                 Venetian Masks by Kim Fielding

Wed., March 13:                       Silver/Steel by Belinda McBride

Thursday, March 14:              Metal Heart by Meredith Shayne

Friday, March 15:                    Open Cover Before Striking by Willa Okati

Sat., March 16:                         Unconventional Union by Scotty Cade