Friday, November 28, 2014

Author Saturday Spotlight: Renae Kaye *Interview & Giveaway*

I know my spotlight is a day early but IT'S MY BIRTHDAY and Safe in His Arms is is releasing today and I AM JUMPING ON THE RELEASE DAY WAGON!!!!! WooHoo!

The amazingly talented Renae Kaye has a FABULOUS interview and a giveaway for one lucky fan!!!!
YES! One of you will win an ebook copy of Safe in His Arms!!!

Renae Kaye author of Loving Jay, The Blinding Light, and The Shearing Gun, once more will entertain your brain with her NEWEST book:

In the late-night quiet of the caravan park shower room, Lon Taylor washes away the filth of the Western Australian mines. He’s not looking for anyone, but when Casey offers, Lon doesn’t turn him down.

Welcoming the young man in his big, hairy arms, Lon provides a safety to Casey that he has never known, and Casey wants to stay forever. Still reeling from the breakup of his family years ago, Lon’s not sure he’s ready for the responsibility of the comfort and security Casey craves.

But perhaps Lon can risk opening his heart again and hoping for a brighter future. Casey has some pretty big skeletons in his past to deal with. And Lon wonders what Casey will do when he finds out how badly Lon failed at protecting the ones he loved eight years ago.

Check out this interview, find out how Safe in His Arms came to be and where YOU can buy it!!!


 The title of this book is Safe in His Arms. Now I read the blurb and I've seen the cover and I have to ask, Is it Lon safe in Casey's arms or vice versa?

Yes, I think by the end of the book, you will discover that they are safe in each other’s arms.  On the surface, it appears just to be Casey safe in Lon’s arms.  Casey is running from nightmares stemming from abuse that occurred during his early teens.  He longs for the safety of Lon’s arms, but Lon is unsure whether he can protect Casey.  You see, he’s tried and failed before.

By the end of the book, Lon realises that he needs to open up and trust Casey as well.  Trust that Casey will be there for him.  Trust that Casey will support him, and that his heart is safe in Casey’s arms.

 Who did this extraordinary cover?

Isn’t it beautiful?  Anna Sikorska is an absolute genius.  When I received the final, my jaw just dropped open.  Oh, wow.  Drool worthy, huh?

You write about so many interesting characters in your books. I wonder if you're a jack of all trades. What made you choose Lon as a miner, and was there a lot of research required?

I love that you find my characters interesting, because I deliberately choose characters who are just your everyday guys.  As a reader of m/f, one of the things that really turned me off the genre were characters who were unrealistic to me – beautiful models, rich widows, successful-and-also-gorgeous women.  Where were all the plump, short girls?  What about the single mums and the disabled?  What about the washed up divorced women?  Didn’t they deserve love?  Weren’t they special enough to have a book written about them?

I believe that every person is special – flaws and all.  I believe that every man and woman can find love.  It’s not just the perfect people.  I deliberately set out to write about the people you could possibly meet on the street.

I don’t know about a jack of all trades, but it’s true I don’t like to only write about one character type.

I chose Lon as a miner, because mining is very big in Perth at the moment.  Perth is the nearest capital city to the 400+ mines in Western Australia.  It is estimated that 60,000 workers are employed FIFO – that’s Fly In Fly Out – where mining companies fly their workers to the mine for shifts (typically 3-6 weeks long) and then back home again.

Truthfully the mining part of Lon’s job doesn’t play into the story at all, but the having to leave Casey for weeks at a time does.  The biggest research factor in this book were the details of counselling abuse victims receive.

 Do you need to work with visuals for your characters? If so what two people do you see when you think Lon and Casey?

No.  I know a lot of authors do, but my characters usually just come from a mishmash of people I’ve seen/met.

 Where did this epic plot bunny come from?

<points to the screen of the computer>  The characters told me!  I just did what they told me!

<laughing>  This novel was supposed to be a short story.  I was planning on writing a single scene – a short erotic hookup scene.  I drew on my favourite pairings: the opposites.  I made one character older, bigger, hairier.  And then I made the youthful, twinkish, small guy to be his opposite.  Then, once they were established in my brain, I threw them together on the page (with minimal clothing of course).

But a strange thing happened.  I, the author, wanted to know more about these guys.  Why?  Where?  When?  What happens next?

I promised myself “one more chapter.”  I was going to write one more chapter and find out why Casey was upset.  Why was Lon alone?

The next thing I knew, I was sucked into a void of writing…  This book was not planned at all.  Casey and Lon “showed” me their story as we went along.

 Is there a destination you'd love to travel to do research for a future book and if so where?

Karijini National Park.  I love showcasing my beautiful state.  I have a book planned for the southern region in the jarrah and karri forests, and I’m heading to Broome next year where I’m sure inspiration will hit.  But I’ve never been to Karijini and it looks gorgeous.  I’m sure there has to be a book there!

 Do you write to music and if you do can you name a few songs that helped you write Safe in His Arms?

Yes.  The music I write to is a combination of The Wiggles, Play School and the theme songs of Peppa Pig, Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom, Postman Pat and Humf.

I can usually turn the TV on if the kids are at home and get 30 minutes of writing done before they bother me again.  If the kids are not home, I enjoy the blissful, beautiful, wonderful, magical, superb sound of silence.

Will this be a stand alone or is there a sequel in its future?

I’m not really a sequel girl.  I like to leave my guys in a spot where I can imagine that they will be living happily ever after.  In order for there to be a sequel, there needs to be something that goes off track, and I just can’t do that to my guys.

BUT I will say, that I’m trying to write a couple of spin offs.  You will meet two other couples in this book.  From the minute they were created on the page, I knew that Ash and Devon needed their own book.  It has to be written.  My best friend has also demanded that Paul has his own book too.

So I’m sure that you will see Lon and Casey within the pages of these new books.  Their story will continue.

 I always ask this question in interviews because fans want to know; can you tell us about your future projects?

The thing with the writing industry is it takes a while for books to move through the line of editing, covers, formatting and release.  I don’t think there are any authors out there not working on the next one (or indeed to the one 5 books from now).

Shawn’s Law will be out in early 2015.  This one is a definite comedy, and is similar to the humour found in Loving Jay.

What I’m writing at the moment is a spin off from The Blinding Light, so I hope it will be published, but I need my publisher to like it!  It doesn’t have a title yet, but it starts three weeks after The Blinding Light’s epilogue, so you will get a peek at Jake and Patrick’s new family life.

I also plan (ie have already started) a spin off from Loving Jay, and the two afore mentioned spin offs from Safe in His Arms.  I will be a very very busy girl to get all of these finished.

Someone mentioned a topic a couple of weeks ago, writing to me and asking for another book with a disability – and I’m loving that thought too.  Please, please, please God – send me another 3 hours in each day so I can write all these books!

 Where will Safe in His Arms be available to buy?

ARe: (not available yet should be up by 26th Nov)

Renae gifted me this book that I will BE reading and am very excited!!! I have yet to read a book she has written that I haven't LOVED! Now it's YOUR chance... YOU get to win one!

Simply enter below! Contest will run until Friday, December 5th! Winner will be notified via email.
Good luck. I want to thank Renae for making my birthday SO awesome and to all of you thanks for stopping by!!


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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Give a Little, Thank A lot~ Anna Butler for Highgate Cemetary *Giveaway*

When Meredith asked for contributions to her ‘Give A Little, Thank A Lot” campaign for November, I was delighted to offer a post. I didn’t anticipate any difficulty at all, since, you know, I can waffle for England and be sure of winning gold medals.

No difficulty, that is, until I sat down and tried to decide what charity I’d like to talk about here. Thing is, there are so many that touch the heart. One Girl, that promotes education for girls in Africa, for example, that really speaks to me as I’m passionate about education and all too aware of how privileged we are here in the UK. And I believe that if we educate girls and women, we lift whole societies up – it’s such a worthy aim. Or there’s WaterAid, a charity I tend to think of every time I turn a tap and clean water gushes out. A simple thing, clean water, for saving lives and again, giving entire villages and societies a boost up. I also support charities for asthma research and mental health support and AIDS research…

Too many to choose from. Then it struck me that really, while I do move between charities as particular circumstances make one more urgent, there’s only one charity I’ve supported consistently for the last thirty years. It’s not about people, except tangentially. It’s a place. A place steeped in history and an important ecological treasure almost in the centre of grubby, built up old London. And also, I figured that charities supporting people would get a good airing during Meredith’s month of thankfulness, and maybe this one’s a little different.

It’s a charity supporting a cemetery. No, seriously. Highgate Cemetery, as it happens.

I’ve been a Friend of Highgate Cemetery for the last thirty-something years. For many years I was a guide there, taking tours around the fragile, incredibly beautiful Western cemetery (Swains Lane in Highgate cuts the cemetery into two). It was where I spent my Sundays, touring and talking to visitors and promoting support for the cemetery. When I die, my ashes will be interred there.

Gruesome? I don’t think so. Highgate is one of the most beautiful places I know, one of the most tranquil and peaceful, one of the greenest. It’s a paean to wonderful funerary architecture. It nods towards the Victorian fascination with machinery and advancement: it had a lift in the chapel that took the coffin down to a tunnel that ran under Swain’s Lane, so the deceased could be trundled safely, and decorously, to their gravesite. It’s stuffed full of fascinating Victorian monuments—a piano, a chessboard set at checkmate, cricket stumps with a ball going through the bails to show the batsman’s ‘out’, a famous pugilist’s dog, a pyramid, George Wombwell’s lion and more gloriously androgynous angels than you could shake a stick at. And it has the Egyptian gateway. The most evocative and atmospheric entrance to a set of catacombs anywhere. Well, except maybe in Egypt itself.

And it’s stuffed full of fascinating people: Karl Marx heads the list, of course, but George Eliot’s there; Charles Dickens’ parents and sister, wife and some of the children (he’s in Westminster Abbey); Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s muse and wife, Lizzie Siddal, whom he had disinterred seven years after her death so he could retrieve a manuscript of his poems that he’d buried with her in the coffin. We have the man who invented Hovis bread and Henry Gray, the original author of Gray’s Anatomy (the textbook, not the TV show!); actors Colin Redgrave and Sir Ralph Richardson, Christina Rossetti the poet and Radcliffe Hall, the radical lesbian author, Michael Faraday the scientist and Charles Cruft who created Crufts Dog Show. We have George Michaels mum and Rod Stewart’s dad (Rod used to be a grave digger at Highgate when he left school – the gravediggers I knew said he was rubbish at it). Oh, they’re interesting people, the ones buried there. 170,000 of them.

Highgate was built in 1839, one of a ring of privately owned cemeteries created to take the pressure off London’s overcrowded and horribly insanitary burial grounds and churchyards. It was lauded as one of the most beautifully landscaped green spaces in the city. But as the years passed, and space within it was limited, the company that owned it ran out of money and stopped maintaining it. By the early 1970s, it was so overgrown and vandalised that the company threw up its hands, locked the gates and left it to its fate.

Its fate was to be moulded by Friends of Highgate Cemetery. For years, volunteers hacked their way through what had become a dense wood, chopping back vegetation to reveal the paths and monuments, raising money to repair buildings and walls, guiding curious visitors around to raise awareness (and more money…). By the early eighties, I was one of them. FOHC weeded out trees and repaired graves, and created an ecological plan that sought a balance between the needs of a (still-in-use) burial ground and a wildlife haven. FOHC acquired ownership of the cemetery, stopped its decline and more than anything, FOHC stopped it being bulldozed and built over.

If ever you’re in London, go and visit. If ever you want to walk around a place thrumming with history, this is the place. If ever you want an hour of quiet peace while London’s traffic howls and grumbles outside the walls, this is the place.

I love it at any time of year but it comes into its own in winter. Try and be on the last tour at dusk, when the sky you glimpse through the trees will be all yallery-blue at the horizon and a funny saxe blue above that and sapphire right above your head; when the trees will be in their black winter scaffolding mode, and there will be a huge harshness of crows wheeling between them to perch on the chapel roof and stare down at you with their cold, intelligent eyes. Go when it snows, and the cemetery is all dark blackened statues caught in a mesh of ivy leaves that should be dark green but are glittering silver instead; when every blade of grass is rimed with frost.

It’s a lovely place to spend an hour. You won’t regret taking those minutes away from Twitter and Facebook, and just letting yourself soak up the atmosphere instead. It’s like taking a deep breath. It’s good for you to step into the past for a moment, if only to remind you how lucky you are now.

And as a thank you for reading about my funerary obsession, I’ll give one commentator, chosen at random, an Amazon gift voucher (£10 at .uk or $15.00 US equivalent is in $ at .com or whichever version of Amazon is near you).

As for me, you’ll find me at my website and blog, at Facebook and Twitter
My Amazon pages : and

28 January 2015  Taking Shield O1: Gyrfalcon (Wilde City Press)

February/March 2015  The Gilded Scarab (Dreamspinner)

Giveaway will run until December 4th. Winner will be notified via email! Good luck and thank you for giving :)

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