Renee Conoulty: October 2015

Books

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Meeting Judy Nunn

Hey Everyone!
Judy Nunn is touring Australia with her latest book, Spirits of the Ghan. I was excited to see that she was coming to my local library and jumped at the chance to meet her in person. I posted my review of Spirits of the Ghan earlier this week. You can read it here.

Judy's experience acting shone through in her public speaking.  She was engaging and a pleasure to listen to. I was fascinated to find out that the working title for Spirits of the Ghan was Parallels. I had noticed some parallels in the story, but when Judy pointed out the parallel railway tracks on the cover and mentioned some other themes, it all fell into place.


I also had the pleasure of meeting Bruce VenablesJudy's husband, after the event.  Just like Judy, he is an actor and a writer published by Random House.  I asked him when he started writing. He replied "Just after she did" gesturing to Judy "I thought if she can write a book, so can I ". We chatted for a while and he told me that he and Judy give each other feedback as they're writing, always in a positive manner. The conversations they've had in coffee shops while discussing how to kill off characters can elicit concerned looks from those within earshot though. I'm looking forward to reading his current work in progress, set in my home town of Ballarat. (Will that make up for his wife not setting a book in Victoria yet?)

Judy said that she treats writing as a job. She can't wait around for a muse to inspire her, she had to front up to the office and work. Hey average work day starts at 9am. She will spent the morning revising and editing the work from the day before. After lunch, she works on the next part of the story. Sometimes she has a 5pm glass of wine for inspiration, then keeps writing for another hour or so. 

Have you read any books by Judy Nunn? Are you more familiar with the actor side or writer side of Judy?


Friday, 30 October 2015

Wendy Darling by Colleen Oakes

From the Best-Selling Author of Queen of Hearts comes a dark and mesmerizing twist on the beloved Children's Classic, Peter Pan

Wendy Darling has a perfectly agreeable life with her parents and brothers in wealthy London, as well as a budding romance with Booth, the neighborhood bookseller’s son. But while their parents are at a ball, the charmingly beautiful Peter Pan comes to the Darling children’s nursery and—dazzled by this flying boy with god-like powers—they follow him out of the window and straight on to morning, to Neverland, a intoxicating island of feral freedom.

As time passes in Neverland, Wendy realizes that this Lost Boy’s paradise of turquoise seas, mermaids, and pirates holds terrible secrets rooted in blood and greed. As Peter’s grasp on her heart tightens, she struggles to remember where she came from—and begins to suspect that this island of dreams, and the boy who desires her—have the potential to transform into an everlasting nightmare.



Hey! Here's my review.

This is a retelling of the classic Peter Pan tale, but from Wendy's perspective. To begin with, it seemed to be telling the same story I'm familiar with, but with much more descriptive language. I enjoyed the writing style. I felt that I got to know the characters on a deeper level and I liked Wendy. The story took on a darker feel and we got to see the less Disney version of life in Neverland. 

This book is the first in a series and finished with a cliffhanger that has me intrigued to read the next book. I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


★★★★

  • Where: NetGalley
  • Format: ebook

Purchase links

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Sex, Snow and Mistletoe by Laura Barnard


Hey Everyone!

I'd like to introduce you to Laura Barnard, who has just released a short story to get you in the mood for Christmas.



My name is Laura Barnard and I am an author from Hertfordshire, UK. I'm the chick-lit author of The Debt & the Doormat, The Baby & the Bride, Tequila & Tea Bags and Dopey Women. 

In my spare time I enjoy drinking my body weight in tea, indulging in cupcakes the size of my face, drooling over hunks like Jamie Dornan, Ryan Gosling and Leo Dicaprio...oh and my husband of course :-) I like wearing yoga clothes and reading fitness magazines while I sit on the sofa and eat chocolate. I'm a real fan of the power nap and of course, READING!

I write not to get rich or famous, but because I LOVE writing. Even if one person tells me they enjoyed my book it makes the midnight typing worth it!



Connect with Laura via



Sex, Snow and Mistletoe by Laura Barnard


Melinda is already having a crappy Christmas. Forced to attend some snotty bitch's wedding is not the way to start out the holidays. 

But when a car crash pushes her into the path of a handsome stranger she's glad to follow his snowy, sexy and seductive path. 


But is he too good to be true? And will she make it to the wedding before her best friend loses her mind with worry?



Hey! Here's my review.


Sex, Snow and Mistletoe is a fun, romantic short story set around a winter wedding. Written in the first person, I felt really close to the action, and boy, was there some action! The steamy sex scene could have melted all that snow! I found Melinda likeable and imperfect enough to be really relatable. I devoured the book in one sitting, it’s the perfect length to read over a lunch break or a lazy afternoon on the couch with a cuppa.


I received this book free in exchange for an honest review. This was the first book I’ve read by Laura and I’m looking forward to reading one of her full length novels.

★★★★
  • Where: Dedicated Ink Blog Tour
  • Format: ebook


Purchase links


Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Never Surrender by Rosie Miles **Interview & Review**

Hey Everyone! 

I'd love to introduce you to Rosie Miles, who is on tour with her debut novel, Never Surrender. 


I stumbled upon Rosie in real life, rather than on the internet like all the other authors I know. We met in front of the romance section of the bookshelf in my local Target. I can't help but stop and browse, even though I had no plans to buy anything, and I often start up conversations about books with random strangers. Well, a few weeks ago, that random stranger was Rosie! We tracked each other down online, as Rosie was only in my town on holiday, and I'm excited to welcome her to my blog today.



Rosie Miles has always been fascinated by cops. If she didn’t hate guns with such passion, she would have joined the force. Instead she writes about the cop behind the badge and the loves that challenge them.
She enjoys overseas travel but relishes the road trips she takes with her forever man, to different destinations throughout Australia, looking for settings for her next story.


Married with three adult children, Rosie believes that: Life is to be lived, You never stop learning, and you never, ever, give up on your dreams.

Connect with Rosie

Interview


What inspired you to write Never Surrender?

I had a dream, really, I dreamt Quinn, sitting in that bar, bourbon in hand, waiting, and watching. I woke up, my heart racing. I was so excited. I grabbed my notebook that lives on my bed side table and wrote it down. It took a while the next morning to decipher what I’d written.


Did you know how Never Surrender was going to end when you started writing? Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Renee, I had no idea how it was going to end.  I honestly started from page one and just kept writing. All I knew was that Quinn and Maggie were destined for each other. Plotter or pantser? Would you believe a pantser that plots? My first draft, I just get it down, no sense no order, just writing. Then I read what I’ve written, (thank heavens for computers so I can read what the words say, even if they’re misspelt.) I then apply what I’ve learned from Alexandra Sokoloff’s Writing Love, Screenwriting tricks for Authors.  I use the Three-Act, Eight-Sequence Structure, so as my story flows.


How long did it take you to go from first idea to publication of Never Surrender?

Way too long. You could say my whole life.


Which character do you relate to most and why?

Maggie, definitely Maggie. Why? I think because she’s made mistakes in her life and is brave enough to admit it. She puts others first.  She is emotionally torn between career and love.


I love the cover! Who did your cover design and how much input did you have?

I’m so glad you like the cover. I must admit every time I look at it I smile.  Entangled asked me what sort of cover I preferred.  I gave them a list and this is what the cover artist came up with. Did it tick all the boxes? Pretty close. 


What do you do when you aren’t writing?

Between working at a job I love and spending time with my family, I research holiday destinations. I’m looking at houses in Tuscany at the moment.  My forever man and I are heading over there late next year.


Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

Renee, I’d like to thank you for being lovely enough to talk to a complete stranger at the book shelves in Target. If we hadn’t chatted, I wouldn’t be here on your blog. I have made some wonderful friends on my journey to publication. Without them, it wouldn’t have been half as much fun.
Thanks.


 Never Surrender by Rosie Miles

Police officer Maggie Sinclair prides herself on her independence. She doesn't need anyone, especially her ex-lover. Working undercover to expose a prostitution ring, Maggie rescues two teenaged girls—but blows her cover in the process. Now she's in deep, and the only person who can help her is the last man she wants to call...

Detective Quinn 
Keller remembers Maggie telling him Hell would freeze over before she needed him. He offered her everything, and she rejected him. Now he has the opportunity to show Maggie they're stronger as a team—even as their attraction becomes increasingly hotter. But this passion won't just bring them together or tear them apart...it could get them both killed. 


Hey! Here's my review.

I've always vowed that I wouldn't give a boyfriend a second chance. If we couldn't work things out, then it wasn't meant to be. Characters have to prove themselves to me in a second chance romance, for me to hope they get back together. By the end of Never Surrender, I was cheering for reconciliation.

Rosie Miles debut novel fits neatly in the romantic suspense category romance box. It met my expectations. The romance side was a little predictable, but I would have been unhappy if it had gone any other way. The suspense side kept me guessing, though I spotted the clues with the 20:20 vision of hindsight. I loved the familiar Australian setting. 

I received this book free in exchange for an honest review.

★★★★

  • Where: Author Invitiation
  • Format: ebook



Purchase links



Enter the giveaway below for your chance to win
$20 Gift Card/Voucher to Bath & Body Works (spa package) 
International entries welcome.


Pop in and see Rosie on her other blog tour stops

10/19/2015Books on Fire ToursSpotlight
10/19/2015Drifting Into BooksSpotlight
10/20/2015Sweet N Sassy Book A HolicsSpotlight
10/20/2015A One-Click Addict's Book BlogReview
10/21/2015Harps Romance Book ReviewReview
10/22/2015Desire Me OnlySpotlight
10/22/2015Harlie's BooksSpotlight
10/23/2015Life with two boysSpotlight
10/23/2015Becky on BooksSpotlight
10/26/2015Teatime and BooksSpotlight
10/26/2015Deal sharing auntSpotlight
10/27/2015Fictional Rendezvous Book BlogSpotlight
10/27/2015Rachel Brimble RomanceSpotlight
10/28/2015Reviews by CrystalSpotlight
10/28/2015Hey Said ReneeInterview
10/29/2015A Biblio RomanceSpotlight
10/29/2015Jacklynn Love's ReadingSpotlight
10/30/2015You Gotta ReadSpotlight
10/30/2015The Naughty Librarians PlaygroundSpotlight

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Early Bird Special by Tracy Krimmer

Francie excels at her job as a party planner, but can't say the same about love. When an obnoxious, but handsome, man approaches her in line at a Thanksgiving sale, she pushes him away like she always does. Can Francie put her fears aside and nab an early bird special, or is she destined to plan every wedding but her own?


Hey! Here's my review.

A quick fun read by one of my favourite authors. Set during the black friday sales, will Francie find a bargain? Or maybe even love? 

I was glad I was reading this in the comfort of my own home, and not battling those crazy crowds in an attempt to save a few dollars. I found Francie a likeable character and I love Tracy's writing style. Written in first person, I really felt like I was in the middle of everything.


★★★★★

  • Where: Giveaway
  • Format: ebook

Purchase links

an exclusive anthology of 3 short stories, including this one, for FREE!

Monday, 26 October 2015

Spirits of the Ghan by Judy Nunn

Master storyteller Judy Nunn has now sold over 1 million books worldwide. In her spellbinding new bestseller she takes us on a breathtaking journey deep into the red heart of Australia.It is 2001 and as the world charges into the new Millennium, a century-old dream is about to be realised in the Red Centre of Australia: the completion of the mighty Ghan railway, a long-lived vision to create the 'backbone of the continent', a line that will finally link Adelaide with the Top End.

But construction of the final leg between Alice Springs and Darwin will not be without its complications, for much of the desert it will cross is Aboriginal land.

Hired as a negotiator, Jessica Manning must walk a delicate line to reassure the Elders their sacred sites will be protected. Will her innate understanding of the spiritual landscape, rooted in her own Arunta heritage, win their trust? It's not easy to keep the peace when Matthew Witherton and his survey team are quite literally blasting a rail corridor through the timeless land of the Never-Never.

When the paths of Jessica and Matthew finally cross, their respective cultures collide to reveal a mystery that demands attention. As they struggle against time to solve the puzzle, an ancient wrong is awakened and calls hauntingly across the vastness of the outback . . .
 




Hey! Here's my review.

I was wandering through my library the other day and noticed a brochure that said Judy Nunn would be visiting during her book tour to promote Spirits of the Ghan. I had read her book called Territory just before I moved to the Northern Territory and was excited to hear she had another book about the Northern territory coming out. I had a sneaky peek in NetGalley and got myself a copy.

Spirits of the Ghan is fantastic Australian fiction, spanning the generations and melding historical fiction with contemporary fiction. It gave a wonderful insight into aboriginal life, both in the outback and in the city. The spirituality of the aboriginal people gave the book a magical realism feel. The severe racism against the aboriginal people in the 1800's and the stolen generation of the 1960's were explored.

I was excited to see the town I live in mentioned early on in the book. I'm looking forward to meeting Judy in that particular town next week.

I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
 



★★★★★ 

  • Where: NetGalley
  • Format: ebook

Purchase links

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Six Impossible Things by Fiona Wood

Fourteen-year-old nerd-boy Dan Cereill is not quite coping with a reversal of family fortune, moving house, new school hell, a mother with a failing wedding cake business, a just-out gay dad, and an impossible crush on the girl next door.

His life is a mess, but for now he's narrowed it down to just six impossible things...

"I loved this book so much I wanted to be in it." Kaz Cooke




Hey! Here's my review.

I had this book recommended to me, and I'm so glad I picked it up. In fact, I got my hands on all three books in the loosely connected series and I'm working my way through them.

If you are looking for a YA novel, definitely give this one a go. I loved the Aussie setting and familiar language. I loved reading teen angst romance from a 14 year old boy's perspective. There were deeper issues covered, such as fitting in, keeping secrets, divorce, and homosexuality.



★★★★

  • Where: Borrowbox
  • Format: ebook

Purchase links

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Autumn Leaves: Chick-lit Anthology by Samantha Bond

Sometimes the end is just the beginning... What if leaving one life behind meant the best was yet to come?

Six of Australia's leading chick lit authors present a moving and hilarious collection of autumnal stories that show the seasons may change, but true love is perennial.
 Kate is going to leave him - but not if he leaves her first...


Deluge by Sandy Vaile 
Carly left Elliot more than a decade ago, and the pain still runs deep. Now an act of God will force them together - but can it reconcile their hearts?

Leaving Princess Kate by Samantha Bond
Mark and Kate were the perfect couple, living the perfect life in their fairytale cottage, until it all went terribly wrong. Now Mark is certain

Stolen Kisses by Carla Caruso
Shy journalist Misty wasn't happy about leaving the bright lights of the city to follow an ageing rock band on tour. Then she met handsome photographer Jesse, and now leaving him is the last thing on her mind...

Run to You by Laura Greaves
Melissa signed up for the New York City Marathon in an effort to run away from her troubled past. Can she leave her broken heart behind when new romance beckons?

Rebound by Georgina Penney
Samantha left Peaceful Bay without a backwards glance - but now she's back in town, broke, unemployed and living with her OCD mother. Even worse, her childhood nemesis, Craig, is enjoying every minute of her downfall...

Just Friends by Katie Spain
Nathan is the man of her dreams, but even on their wedding night she knows she should leave him. Is their love enough to make it work?


Hey! Here's my review.

A fabulous collection of romantic short stories written by Australian authors. I read this in spring instead of autumn, but it's a great read at any time of year. I read this while on holiday in Adelaide and was excited to see that many of the stories were set there (and even more excited to actually meet Carla Caruso while I was on holiday!)


★★★★

  • Where: Kobo
  • Format: ebook

Purchase links - Free at time of posting

Friday, 23 October 2015

Daisy Malone and the Blue Glowing Stone by James O'Loghlin

Someone has to save the world and that someone is DAISY MALONE.

It's Daisy's 12th birthday but she's got more earth-shattering things on her mind. Her father is scared of everything, her mother has disappeared, and she and her dog Ben (a highly intelligent, talking dog - his words!) have just found a mysterious blue glowing stone in the attic.

But what is it, and why does everyone want it?

A HILARIOUS NEW ADVENTURE FROM THE AUTHOR OF
Sir Roderick the not-very brave 
'Very funny... Simply delightful, whatever your age' Daily Telegraph




Hey! Here's my review.

I read this book aloud to my 4 and 6 year olds. It is aimed at kids over 8, so much of the humour went over their heads, but it kept me giggling. They stayed engaged in the story over a couple of weeks and were emotionally involved enough to get upset when something sad happened. Every night I picked up the book and said "Daisy Malone", at which point both kids chimed in with "and the blue glowing stone"

The following interview with my kids contains spoilers.

**Interview with my 4 and 6 year olds**
Me: What did you think of this book?
6:Thumbs up ten times.
4: Awesome dawesome!

Me: Who was your favourite character?
6: Sinclair and Dennis.
4: Daisy.

Me What was the best bit?
6: The best bit was.. um.. er.. When Sinclair and Dennis, they died and then they came back to life!
4: When them getting the red stone

Me: Did this book make you laugh?
6: No. The book made me cry and the book made me smile.
4: No. Why are you writing no?
Me: Because you said it.
6: She is writing everything you say. She's writing that...and that...and that...
4: It also made me cry when they died.

Me: Do you have any questions for the author?
6: How did the characters get made?
4: How did you think of the creature with the tentacles?

I tracked down James O'Loghlin online and sent him an email, inviting him to do a mini interview with my kids. He responded the very next day with this.

Hi Renee

Thanks for getting in touch, and for the tweet. I'm glad you all enjoyed 'Daisy'. It's aimed at 8 to 12 year olds so I'm impressed that your kids stuck with it, as it is quite a long story!
Here are the answers to their questions

"How did the characters get made?"
My previous book 'The Adventures of Sir Roderick the not-very- Brave' was a about a cowardly knight who (unsuccessfully) tried to avoid adventures. So in this book I wanted the main character, Daisy, to be different - brave, curious and adventurous. As for Ben, he is calmer and sensible. With Sinclair and Dennis, my own kids told me that Sinclair was a bit mean, so I created Dennis to make sure that when Sinclair was about there was also some comic relief.

"How did you think of the creature with the tentacles?"
I'm really scared of octopuses, so I imagined an giant octopus, and then to make to scarier gave it big teeth. I wanted a creature that could climb up the cave walls, so I figured that tentacles would enable it to do that

All the best
James
 


★★★★★ 

  • Where: Borrowbox
  • Format: ebook
Purchase links


Thursday, 22 October 2015

Emergency Response by Nicki Edwards **Guest post, Review, Excerpt & Giveaway**

Hey Everyone!

I'd love to introduce you to Nicki Edwards, who has just released her second book. 

Nicki Edwards is a city girl with a country heart. Growing up on a small family acreage on the outskirts of Geelong, she spent her formative years riding horses and pretending the neighbour's farm was her own.

After spending three years in a regional city in New South Wales, her love of small country towns was further developed. One day she plans to escape to the country with her husband Tim and live on land, surrounded by horses, dogs, cows and sheep. Until then she lives vicariously through the lives of the characters in the rural romance novels she loves to read.

In 2006, when Nicki's youngest child started school, she returned to university, juggling full time study, part time work and raising four small children, to achieve her dream of becoming a nurse. Always a voracious reader, Nicki's other dream was to be an author.
Nicki writes medical rural romance for Momentum and when she isn't reading, writing or dreaming about rural life and medical emergencies, she can be found working as a Critical Care Nurse in a busy Intensive Care Unit, where many of her stories and characters are imagined.

Nicki and Tim reside in Geelong, Victoria with their four teenage/young adult children. Life is busy, fun and at times exhausting, but Nicki wouldn't change it for anything.

Her debut novel, "Intensive Care" was released in January 2015 with Momentum, the digital imprint of Pan Macmillan Australia. Her second novel, "Emergency Response" comes out in October 2015. The third and fourth books in the 'Escape to the Country' series, "Life Support" and "Critical Condition" will be released in 2016.


Connect with Nicki via


Guest Post

“Every man dies – Not every man really lives.” ~ William Ross
“The only people who fear death are those with regrets.” ~ Author Unknown


Around nine years ago, I woke up with the realization that my life was about to change dramatically. My youngest of four children had just started school and I was faced with the daunting prospect that without something new to focus on, I was going to be bored. I had an aversion to playing social tennis (I can’t hit a ball) and drinking coffee in cafes is not my thing (I don’t drink coffee). Plus, I had a list of places I hoped to visit and a frighteningly negative bank balance. Without something dramatic happening like winning Tatts (I never enter), I needed a job. But I didn’t want any job. I wanted a career. Something I could be proud of achieving.

So I decided to become a nurse.

It took me almost six years of study, but I now work as a critical care registered nurse in Intensive Care. And I love my job.

For a while (a few milliseconds), I contemplated another two years of study to obtain my Masters in Nursing. Hubby had other ideas and suggested I just forget study for a while and actually do what I’d been trained to do – nurse.

So I did.

I lasted around four months before getting this weird twitching sensation and a sense I wasn’t doing enough in my life.

After watching the (very ordinary) 2007 movie, "The Bucket List" about two dying old codgers who set off on adventure to achieve a list of things before they kick the bucket, I decided I needed a bucket list of my own.

In case you haven’t seen it, Jack Nicholson plays an enormously rich and very unlikeable man who has more money than he knows what to do with, and a year to live. Morgan Freeman pays the not-so-rich man, also dying, with the list. Nicholson’s character embraces the idea of Freeman’s character’s bucket list and treats him to an all-expenses-paid-around-the-world trip to tick off the items on the list.

As a side note, if I had all the money in the world, I’m not sure I’d spend my last days on earth ticking off the items on my bucket list.

Anyway…I needed a list—a list to remind me of what’s important in life for me. The objective of creating my bucket list wasn’t because of a race against time or death. It was about ensuring I maximised every moment of my life, living it to the full. There’s a verse in the bible that says “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” I didn’t want to perish or waste away because I had no vision, no goals, no plans. No bucket list.

Coming up with a list has added a new layer of enthusiasm to my life because I never know what’s in store up ahead. It’s a reminder of all the things I want to achieve in my time here on earth so that instead of pandering to pointless activities, I direct my attention, (my vision), towards what’s important to me.

Number one item on my list was I wanted to write a book.
Fast forward 18 months and I’ve since written and published two books (Intensive Care and Emergency Response) with another two books due for publication next year (Life Support and Critical Condition).

Have you ever thought about having a bucket list?


If not, there’s not time like now to get started.


Emergency Response by Nicki Edwards

Running away didn't solve anything ... at least, not the first time.

Intensive care nurse Mackenzie Jones is no stranger to running. As a teenager she fled her family home, leaving tragedy and loss in her wake. Now, after fifteen years alone in Sydney, with the strain of working in a city hospital wearing her thin, she's tempted to run again.

Mackenzie jumps at the chance to work in a mining town in the Western Australian desert – anything to lift her spirits. Though she barely dares to hope, she wonders if she might find the kind of love that can ease her loneliness.

In the outback, Nathan Kennedy is at a loose end. He's been making money in the mines for years, and pressure from his family to return to the east coast, settle down and get married is reaching fever pitch. The problem is, he hasn't met the right woman.

When Mackenzie turns up in town, there's an instant attraction between her and Nathan, maybe even true love. But tragedy's not done with Mackenzie Jones – the past is about to catch up with her in more ways than one. Can Nathan convince Mackenzie to stop running, or is this just another tragedy in the making?

Perfect for fans of Fiona McArthur and Melanie Milburne.




Hey! Here's my review.

This is the second book by Nicki Edwards and I enjoyed it even more than the first. I loved the combination of Australian outback, medical, sweet romance. We get a quick glimpse at what Kate and Joel are up to, but this book focusses on Mackenzie (who used to work with Kate) and Nathan (Kate's brother in law). 


There were many interesting characters who presented at the emergency department in a remote locality hospital. I found it interesting to see how these cases were dealt with, and whether the diagnoses I came up with were correct (based on my vast medical training of reading rural medical romance novels).

I loved the dynamic between Mackenzie and Nathan, full of sexual tension but without graphic descriptions in the bedroom. I swooned at the rock pool and got all choked up on Christmas Day.

I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I'm looking forward to reading more from Nicki.

★★★★★ 


  • Where: NetGalley
  • Format: ebook
Purchase links



Excerpt

Almost eight hours after leaving Sydney, the plane touched down heavily on the tarmac. It screamed and shuddered as the flaps lifted and the engines slowed, causing clouds of dust to swirl around outside. Dread settled in Mackenzie’s heart. It was so barren and bright. And empty. Even the unexpected flash of color from the lone wildflowers along the edge of the runway did little to soften the blow of the harsh reality of the landscape. It looked like she’d landed on Mars.

The plane came to a standstill and the passengers stood to retrieve their bags from the overhead lockers. Not Mackenzie. She remained seated, staring in dismay out the window at the cream-colored tin shed, which evidently served as the airport terminal. It was much smaller than she had expected.
A blast of hot dry air engulfed her the moment she stepped out of the plane. The flight attendant standing at the open door near the cockpit smiled at her shocked expression. It felt like summer after the air-conditioned plane. She tore off her cardigan and stuffed it into her carry-on luggage. Making her way down the steps at the front of the plane, she was thankful she’d been smart enough to wear flat shoes. Nathan had told her the Outback was no place for heels and she was glad she’d given her few pairs away. She recoiled at the burning heat of the metal rail. If it was this hot in winter, how was she going to cope when the temperatures reached forty-plus degrees every day in the middle of summer? Mackenzie liked the heat, but this was ridiculous.

She dragged in a lungful of air and then coughed, trying to clear her throat of the fine red dust she’d inhaled. In the distance, past the sage scrub and seemingly endless stretch of desert, was a low-lying mountain range, although it may have been a mirage. Flat stretches of nothingness lay in every direction and for a split second her resolve failed her again. She glanced back toward the plane. Maybe she could just walk back up the narrow steps and let the plane take her home again. The question was, where was home?

As though sensing her hesitation, another flight attendant positioned at the bottom of the steps smiled at her. “She’ll be right, mate. Give it time and it’ll feel like home before you know it.”
Smiling her thanks, Mackenzie set her shoulders back and stepped purposefully across the shimmering black tarmac. She might be well and truly out of her comfort
zone, but she could do this!

Dragging her bags behind her, she shuffled slowly toward the shade of the terminal only to find it locked. A cold sweat broke out across her skin and she shivered even in the intense heat. What had the email from the nursing agency said? Was someone meant to meet her, or were they leaving a car for her to pick up? Was she supposed to collect the keys from someone? She drew in a deep breath and counted slowly to ten. She was not going to panic. Even so, the wide open space pressed in, crushing her. Doubts swirled around like the thick red dust. She ran her damp hands down the front of her pants. What should she do?

In the end, she made a decision and tramped round to the front of the tin building, dragging her cases with her. She gazed around. To her right, a number of dusty four-wheel drives wore a coating of red iron ore dust like a badge of honor. They looked nothing like their city cousins. Standing on the side of the road, she stared in both directions as she brushed the flies from around her face. No one seemed to be coming for her.



Enter the giveaway below to win one ebook copy of 
Emergency Response by Nicki Edwards