Is this the end?

Many years ago a series of small events combined to create the early outline of what would become The Stationmaster’s Cottage. Two songs in particular, plus our proximity to a real life cottage made me wonder about secrets, lost love, windswept beaches, and a young woman who was at a crossroad. After dabbling with writing it as a screenplay, I put it away for ages. A third song reminded me of it, helping connect some more scenes in my head. So, I dusted it off and wrote the novel. And that was that.
Readers had other ideas, and – rather reluctantly – I toyed with the idea of one sequel. But how to do this when Cottage was written as a one-off? I read and reread the book, and found small threads. I worried at them, pulling a little bit and seeing what happened. From little loose ends, I discovered Jasmine Sea. As I wrote this book, it occurred to me I was invested in writing about the seaside town and its residents. Perhaps there should be a third? This time, I deliberately left a trail of breadcrumbs leading to book three. Before I’d finished Jasmine Sea, I already knew The Secrets of Palmerston House would tell more of the story of the town, going a long way back and bringing a depth to River’s End not seen before. I’d also got a taste of having a bad guy in Jasmine Sea, so had to write one again.
Even as I drew close to finishing Secrets, I knew there was one story left untold. It was time to tie all those loose threads together and reveal the final secret. The day I sent Secrets to my editor, I began to write The Christmas Key.
I knew it would be a novella and set at Christmas, and what a joy it was to write! This was the fastest I’ve ever written and left me emotional more than once. Secrets came back to be finished, so The Christmas Key had to wait a while longer, but somehow I released them both just a week apart. And is this now the end? I’ve told the story I needed to tell. Yet, a part of me longs to revisit Christie and Martin, Martha and Thomas, Angus, Elizabeth, and of course, Randall. There will be a spin-off series, but you need to read The Secrets of Palmerston House to discover who it will feature.
Perhaps I’ll write a new Christmas novella each year to catch up with my friends in River’s End. For now though, I will take a small break and then write something quite different. Thank you for being part of this journey.

And the songs so inspiring to me? Man of Colours by Icehouse Where the River meets the Sea by Icehouse Love’s Divine by Seal

Kobo’s Cover of the Year contest is now on!

So thrilled that my brand new release, The Secrets of Palmerston House, is one of the top 10 Mystery/Thriller covers and has a chance of going into the finals.

I would love your vote and all it takes is one click – no email or registration required. Follow the link and find the thumbnails. Vote on the one you like most (hint, it is a green cover with a bride and a name rhyming with The Secrets of Palmerston House, lol), and that is it!

Please vote here!

Last year, Jasmine Sea was voted Kobo’s Romance Cover of 2017, and was 2nd overall. Both covers are the creations of Steam Power Studios, who have done all five of my covers to date. Isn’t it pretty?

Thank you!

Like to win a new eReader with eBooks loaded, or perhaps a gift card?

UPDATE 1 DEC 18. Winner has been drawn and will be announced once they confirm their details. Check your emails!

To celebrate the upcoming new releases of the final two stories in the Christie Ryan Romantic Mystery series, I am giving away a very cool Aura Edition 2 eReader, loaded up with all four books. 

In addition, a second prize of a $50 Kobo gift card is on offer.

Enter below with multiple options and you might be the lucky winner of this fabulous prize! Some T&Cs apply.

Many thanks to Kobo for making this possible. USA reader? Remember you can now buy Kobo books at Walmart

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Little Gems Anthology

A few months ago I entered a short story competition run by Romance Writers of Australia.

Little Gems is an annual sweet romance competition – contemporary romance with a sweet perspective. This year, the theme is Jade.

I wrote a story called The Jade Heart. It is about a missing family heirloom up for auction. The problem is, the person who desperately wants to buy it back is hardly in a position to do so. Which is where a stranger with confusing motives comes in…

The competition was hotly contested by some amazing writers, so to be one of the winners came as a delightful surprise. And I love the prize! It is being part of the Little Gems Anthology 2018 with The Jade Heart.

It released as both paperback and ebook in mid August and all profit goes to the very worthy programs RWA runs, including assistance for disadvantaged authors. So, if you enjoy heartwarming stories that make you smile, order from Amazon or RWA.

I can’t wait to see what you think!

Little Gems Amazon eBook

Little Gems RWA Paperback

Christmas is for our pets as well!

Christmas is a time of family gatherings, lots of food, presents, decorations and activities. Humans show love through food, lavishing goodies onto our friends and family.

For our pets, particularly dogs and cats, Christmas is also exciting with lots of coming and going, delicious smells, and interesting additions to the house such as baubles, gifts, and a tree. With a bit of care and planning, your pet will enjoy a safe and stress free day as well.

This time of year puts makes us generous, and sharing our lovely Christmas food and nibbles with our pet seems harmless. A few berries (some dogs and cats adore blueberries!) and raw vegetables such as carrots, green beans and zucchini are generally a safe option. Whilst cooked meat is not very beneficial to dogs and cats (their gut works best with raw), a snippet of turkey or lean piece of pork might satisfy our need to spoil them.

Because our pets are so important, it is worth knowing what to avoid and keeping an eye on guests so that this special day doesn’t turn into an emergency dash to the vet. My list is not exhaustive, so google is your friend to get a full rundown, but foods to forbid include: cooked bones, highly salted/processed or fatty meats, chocolate (any amount may be toxic), grapes/sultanas, seeds from stone fruit, avocados, onion, cheese/dairy (most dogs are lactose intolerant), alcohol, caffeine, corn cobs, any product containing Xylitol, pretzels/chips, pudding/cake, cherries, nutmeg.

Christmas trees are delightful for cats, in particular, but I remember two of our dogs removing every bauble they could reach one year whilst we were out. As cute as it is to see them play around a tree, lights and decorations do pose some risk, so keep an eye on them.


Some pets love the added excitement of visitors and the displacement of normal events, but for others, stress can become a real problem. If your pet is one of these, find them a part of the house they can retreat to without intrusion, somewhere quiet and with their favourite bed and toy. New pets – often kittens and puppies – may be overwhelmed by the double whammy of leaving their birth home and being part of a new, highly stimulating environment. Ensure they have plenty of ‘quiet time’, a secure place to be, and not too much handling by people they don’t know.

What makes a great Christmas present for a pet? Our Labrador, Maverick, would say ‘everything’! This year he is getting a new Kong, an interactive toy, a Christmas soft penguin, and one packet of air dried treats. He loves unwrapping his gifts, so we ensure no paper or sticky tape makes it into his tummy.

When selecting gifts, either for your pet or someone else’s, look for well-made, branded toys such as Kong, Chuck-it, Tuffy, Rogz, and Aussie Dog. Cats love the Catit and Kong Cat range. Avoid generic tennis balls (can be toxic) and cheap plastic/rubber toys.

Deer antlers, cow’s hooves, and goat horns make wonderful long lasting chews that suit most dogs and are a safer option if given unsupervised.

I’d love to hear what you have planned for  Christmas with your pet! Leave your comments below to go into the running to win an e-copy of The Stationmaster’s Cottage and its sequel, Jasmine Sea. In these books, you’ll meet Randall, the golden retriever, who also loves Christmas time.


Enter the draw for the Rafflecopter prizes and you could be in for lots of shopping fun at Amazon, plus loads of fabulous books! Did you visit Leesa Bow’s blog yesterday? And remember to check in with Darcy Delaney tomorrow.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Click to join our Facebook Group

The members of this coastal romance group are authors and readers who love reading romance by the water, whether it be the ocean, a lake, a tropical island or any other body of water where our heroes and heroines fall in love and live happily ever after!

Some of our authors have combined their resources and planned this Christmas blog hop. Once the blog begins you have the opportunity of winning by going to their blog post for the day (Each author will post until Christmas Eve) and commenting on their post to go in the draw to win a book. Then by clicking on the raffle copter link above, you will be entered in the grand prize draw for a $150 Amazon gift card.

Prizes Drawn on Christmas Eve.

First prize: $150 Amazon gift card

Second prize: 30 ebooks

Each comment on each author’s blog will go in the draw for an e-book from that author.

So what are you waiting for? Come visit, get clicking, commenting and enter EVERY day.

You will discover some wonderful new authors and some awesome books too!
It’s like an advent calendar so bookmark this page and open a blog every day on the calendar below until Christmas! The more blogs you read, the more entries you have, and the more chances of winning the fabulous prize!

Darcy Delaney

Chill with a Book

Update! Chill with a Book awarded The Stationmaster’s Cottage with Book of the Month. Thank you, Pauline and the readers.

The Stationmaster’s Cottage just received a Reader’s Choice award from Chill with a Book.

“Enthralling, gripping, more turns than a roundabout.”

“Totally engaging, not over sugary with the romance and the mystery of the truth behind the family secrets was better handled than some mystery novels. Worked well as a stand alone and did not leave you unsatisfied at the end, more ready to read book two!”

“A lovely easy read. I started this novel and did not put it down until I finished it.”

Five stars on Amazon UK. Thank you, Pauline and the lovely readers from Chill with a Book.