Tuesday, 3 November 2015

The Race that stops a Nation

So this week in Australia we celebrated the Melbourne Cup. The Melbourne Cup is an international horse race that is affectionately known as "the race that stops a nation" because this wide expanse of a country that I live in pretty much comes to a stop for the three or so minutes that the race takes to run. It's held at Flemington racecourse in Melbourne on the first Tues in November (Americans know the significance of that date. While you're all stressing about who's going to win the presidential election, and how much money it's going to cost you, we're holding our breath to see who's going to win and how much money we've lost. )
But while the race is on, most of the country has their eyes glued to the tv, or their ears glued to the radio, and everything else just waits.

Growing up I lived in Sydney. There Melbourne Cup day is, in essence still a normal Tuesday. People get up, have breakfast, go to work or school and lead a relatively normal day. Until about 2.30pm. By that time, everyone's pretty much starving because they've decided on a late, but long lunch, which usually lasts from 2.30 till finish. During the day the office is buzzing with excitement and preparations and sweep organisations. $1, $2, $5 and sometimes even $10, sweeps where the winners take the kitty, so it's not necessarily a particularly productive day. Even when I was a school we had fake sweeps. No money involved of course, but we won small prizes, lollies and chocolates. I wonder if they still do that in schools these days. I'm willing to bet they don't, I can imagine the outcry about introducing kids to gambling.

These days I live in the Southeast suburbs of Melbourne and the day is a public holiday, (no issues for the schools down here.) But yep, you heard right, we have a public holiday for a horse race. Melbourne is the Australian capitol for sporting events, so why not. We have a holiday on the eve of the footy grand final too, such is the state of this state. So of course we have a day off for a 3 minute horse race. Wait, did I say a day. Technically its a day, but in truth because it's the Tuesday most small businesses just shut down for an extra long, long weekend. So while the rest of Australia is watching a horse race, most of Melbourne has left for a weekend away. Usually still somewhere where they can watch the race.

Personally, in regards to the Melbourne Cup, I can take it or leave it. I actually enjoyed it more when I was in Sydney and we had a long lunch with lots of food and drink and even silly racing games to get everyone in the mood. These days I sit at home and don't do much at all except maybe work if there's too much to be done. One day I might bite the bullet and actually go to the race, or I might plan a big party and organise my own silly racing games, but for the meantime, the most I'll usually do is watch the race to see it if I've actually wasted $20- bucks on nothing, or if luck has smiled on me for a change and I can turn that $20- into $50-. I know nothing about horse racing, so I just pick my favourite names and or my favourite numbers and hope for the best. This year luck didn't smile on me and I'm down 20. Oh well, that is what Melbourne Cup is all about after all.

Saturday, 31 October 2015

An Aussie's thoughts on Halloween

I grew up in the western suburbs of Sydney and had no idea what Halloween even was back then. It was only as I got older and the American sitcoms started broadcasting more and more on our tvs, and we occasionally saw Halloween episodes that we started to get an inkling into the popular American holiday. Back in those days though, here in Australia there were no decorations, no one dressed up and no one trick or treated.

When my kids were little, in fact before my son was even born we walked down to the pub for dinner one Halloween. Not that we even realised it was Halloween at the time. My niece and my daughter, who were probably 6 and 3 respectively were dressed up as fairy princesses, purely and simply because that's what little girls like to do and I can assure you that fighting with a three year old about wearing a fairy dress costume to the pub for dinner is simply not a fight that's worth the effort. Any parent knows that you have to pick your battles and I can tell you that my daughter wore some atrocious outfits when she was little. So on the walk back home from the pub after dinner, the girls noticed a couple of kids dressed up knocking on peoples doors and when we explained about Halloween and what they were doing the girls wanted to collect lollies as well. So for the rest of the walk home, that’s what they did. It wasn't really a huge haul that they collected, but it made their night.

That began my trick or treating experiences. Every year after that, the kids would dress up and we would walk with them, standing on the footpath, while they went up and knocked on peoples doors calling “trick or treat” while never actually tricking anyone. When my son was a baby, we’d push him along in the pram with a stash of bourbon cans in the bottom so we could enjoy a drink or two as we walked. When they got older and he walked door to door with the older kids we only had the one drink to last us the 2 or so hours of walking.
Halloweens of past.
The thing about Australia though is, we still don’t really celebrate Halloween extensively, and unfortunately some people can be really mean to the kids about it. My husband had a couple of heated arguments, especially in the early years, with people (usually grumpy old men) who thought it was okay to scream at the kids about “stupid American holidays that don’t belong in this country”. One year, the kids knocked on the door of one house to a really apologetic young woman who had no idea it was even Halloween (not unusual back then) turned out she was a dental hygienist, and although she didn't have any treats, she gave the kids toothbrushes. They actually thought they were best treats ever and were so disappointed when she wasn't home when they knocked on her door again the next year.

These days most people who don’t want to participate at all generally put up a sign saying “no lollies” or “no Halloween”. Most people have something to hand out to the few trick or treaters who do come a knocking, its pretty hard to not realise its Halloween as the shops have had marketed lollies and displays and decorations up since the beginning of October. We always have a bowl of snack size Cadbury chocolates sitting beside the door ready to go. Some years we’ve had no trick or treaters, sometimes 1 or 2. This year we’ve even put up decorations and despite all the rain this morning, it looks like it might be a nice day, so fingers crossed we’ll get to see a few cute kids dressed up as zombies, vampires and superheroes.
My 11yold trick or treating tonight.

So as a addendum now that we have been out trick or treating for the night, It seems people target the houses with decorations, not necessarily even bothering with the houses without. So with our decorations up this year we have had more trick or treaters knock on our door than any other year. And one house that is done to the nines. Front yard, back yard and inside all fully decorated. What an amazing display, and what an awesome woman who invites everyone inside to have a look and see all her amazing displays.

Just for the record. This Aussie gives Halloween a thumbs up.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Press release.  Gillian Joy and Authors Allies Literary Group and Associates are tying the knot. 

Press Release! 
  Authors Allies Literary Group and Associates is pleased to announce that AALG and Gillian Joy will join forces on the 3rd October 2015.
  Not only will we all, AALG and Gillian Joy be signing the contract within minutes of each other on Saturday, 3rd October 2015 but we will also be celebrating the birthday of Gillian joy.
  So let me introduce you to the author;
  Gillain Joy is a 46 going onto 47 year old mother of two who designs houses for a living and lives to write. She grew up in the Western Suburbs of Sydney Australia, the eldest of five children. She had two younger brothers and two, much younger sisters. One of her brothers died when she was only nineteen. No Chance to say Goodbye, release date to be announced, is his story.
  She once had a boss who remarked she had a hard life, but she states she never actually saw it that way. “Life is what it is,” she says. She had food, clothes, a roof over her head and a family who loved her. “What's hard about that?”
  These days she lives on the Mornington Peninsula, south east of Melbourne Australia where she spends as much of her limited spare time as she can either with her nose in a book or writing on her phone or tablet.
  “I love it here, there aren't too many places in the world that with less than a ten minute drive you can watch the sun rise over the water, or you can watch the sun set over the water, and there's just something extra special about watching the sunset over the beach, something dreamy and romantic.” Gillian lives with her husband, two beautiful but wilful children, a few fish and a very spoilt English Staffie named Cleo.
  Gillian Joy is a proud Australian, who loves bbq's, thongs (worn on the feet) and vegimite sandwiches and calls her friends, "Mate".
  Keep up to date with Gillian here:
  Or follow her page here
  Follow us at
  Or here
  Guardian book one in the Guardian series is set for pre order on November 16th, 2015.
It will be available in print during February 2016.

Book two, Forever will follow in early 2016,

And Revenge, the final book in the trilogy will follow mid-2016.
  This venture is a unique partnership of the United States, Australia and South Africa.   

  Gillian's books, for the most part are set in Australia, treating her readers with a sense of the homegrown exotic unique to Australia.

Our passion is for the story, the writing and the art. 


Tuesday, 19 February 2013

My Review of Baby (Species Intervention 6609) by JK Accinni *****


Book Blurb :

A deeper, darker E.T. A tear jerker featuring the love of an alien creature and the lives he touches.
The series "Species Intervention #6609" spans two hundred years, encompassing tender love between divergent species, political downfalls and violence of unspeakable order. It is an unfortunate tale of Armageddon and the despairing hope of redemption.
In Baby, Netty is a naive teenage farm girl given in marriage to an older brutal opportunist disguised as a successful citizen during the years of Prohibition in Sussex County, New Jersey. After years of enslavement, Netty flees into the night from her rapist husband, traveling back to the farm worked by her parents, where she rescues an unfamiliar damaged creature she finds in a cave in the woods of her childhood, falling in love with the enigmatic creature she names Baby. Together they find happiness and fulfillment despite the changes to Netty's body wrought by the proximity of the unusual creature.
When a handsome Italian stranger comes into Netty's life, complications ensue as she falls in love while trying to hide the bizarre and wondrous changes to her farm and her body. Netty, Baby and Wil strive to conquer obstacles thrown in their path by life, succeeding wildly until the heart-rending and astonishingly brutal climax to their story.

My Review :

I loved this book so much. It's truly unique and grabbed me right from the first page and held my interest all the way till the end. The ending did feel a bit rushed but I think that was more because I was rushing it in desperation to see Robert get his come-up-pence. There are a few unanswered questions and I can't wait to get started on the next book in the series. Netty deserves so much more.
I was given this book in exchange for an honest review and its an easy 5 stars.
~ WaAr ~

Go to Amazon for your copy of baby:

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My ratings :
* Not something I would recomend to anyone.
** You may enjoy it but it definately isn't for me
*** It wasn't too bad but I'm not going to read it again, and I'm not going to look for others in the series.
**** Thoroughly enjoyed it and will definatly look out for other books in the series and by the same author.
***** Loved it! Plan on reading it again and will chase other books in the series or by the same author.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

SJ Byrne - Book Lovers Blog Hop

WIP Excerpt ~ Lily's Song

For a week the apparatus was brought out for Lily to grab on to until she no longer fell asleep from the minimal exertion.

"When you can hold your arms up there for five minutes, without scrunching you face, we'll begin the next phase."

Reilly forced Lily to promise she'd not do anything other than what they'd been working on, and in return she'd leave the equipment out to be used whenever she felt the desire.

Having been a competition swimmer and a cello player since the age of eight, Lily had always thought of her arms as being pretty resilient. There was nothing like the bitter pill of self-pity to sap a body's strength. Determined to regain control, she forced lethargic muscles to work longer each time she grasped the triangle's bottom bar, until a love-hate relationship had been formed with the hunk of metal.

Four days into the self regulated stretch therapy, a surge of rebellion forced Lily to reevaluate what she was doing. She wanted to do more than just hang from the damned thing!

Loyalty to Reilly and the promise made, warred with her desire to do more - to be more. It didn’t make much sense, and she wasn’t about to waste time analyzing it. Face scrunched up, she flexed both hands around the metal bar - it was now or never. Taking a deep breath, Lily slowly bent her elbows out and forced well stretched biceps to pull her upper body off the bed.

"Couldn't resist?" Reilly stood in the doorway, grinning bigger than ever. "You lasted longer than I'd hoped you would."

"Longer than you hoped I would?" Like a kid caught with their hand in the ice cream box, she repeated the words in hopes the verbal delay would bring about a plausible excuse for her naughty behavior.

"Yupp." Leaning against the door jamb, Reilly watched as weak arms began shaking from the exertion of holding half a body's dead weight in the air. "Let go, Lily."

Doing as she was told, Lily sighed in relief as her body relaxed against the mattress she detested.

"How did that feel?" Striding into the room, Reilly sat down in her usual spot.

"The exercise?"

"No, the rebellion." The covers were flipped to the side so the lower body exercises could begin.

"I feel guilty."

"Don’t. Your body knows when it's ready for something more. Just remember to take baby steps."

"Bad choice of words, Reilly." Grumbling, Lily’s temper rose a notch for the first time since she'd woken up to find she was paralyzed from the waist down.

"Was it?" Reilly's brows lifted as she pushed the first thigh against her chest.

"Yes, it was, dammit." The heat of anger inched up another notch and the burn felt good.

"Why?" Her feigned ignorance pissed Lily off and she smacked the mattress as she yelled.

"Because I'm PARALYZED!"


The blasé tone of Reilly’s comment ignited the sparks of a sputtering anger and Lily exploded in a tantrum of venom. Every perceived wrong done throughout her young life couldn’t hold a candle to her present circumstance and she raged at the injustice of it until she lay in a heap of exhaustion.

"Who says you'll never walk?" Speaking in a the same detached manner Reilly ignored the pointed glares and continued her work.

"The doctor, I told you that."

"What does your body tell you?"

"It's not telling me anything."

"Then you're not listening. It told you it was done hanging around from a triangle, so you rebelled and took matters into your own hands."

A knee was pushed against her chest and Lily exhaled to release the pressure that prevented her from breathing easily.

"You listened to it over my direct instruction. Are you going to ignore it now, because a man with a fancy degree thinks he knows your body better than you do?"

The knee was pulled back and the leg extended out for a few moments before being pushed back against her chest. In silence she mulled over the words as the resistance of her anger refused to budge from its seat of power. Reilly finished and exited the room quietly, leaving Lily alone with a beast she'd created on purpose.

For several hours she stewed in her anger, fueling it with frustration at being stuck in a damn bed. The long hours of the night were no better; restless energy kept her mind actively seeking a physical outlet she couldn’t give. When sleep finally came, her dreams were full of sketchy memories from the night of the accident.

Coming awake from a stifled scream clogging her chest, hot tears pouring down her cheeks only pissed her off all the more. The truth she didn’t want to admit was staring her in the eye, daring her to deny its existence.

"Fuck You!" Screaming hysterically Lily grabbed the closest object and flung it across the room. Expecting to hear a large crash that would satisfy her need for destruction, the soft thunk created by the plastic cup she’d thrown only let her down.


About the Author

Living in the mountains of Western North Carolina SJ Byrne is just trying to make her way through the insanity that comes with creativity. Writing is her passion - life is her muse. Keep an eye out for new books due later this year.

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Tuesday, 15 January 2013

First Love Blog Hop

Have you checked out the First Love Blog hop and Giveaway yet? No? Well what are you waiting for?
Oh, you don't know how to get there! Easy, click on the flashing banner at the top of this page and it'll take you straight there. Well go on! As I asked before, what are you waiting for?

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Happy New Year

It's been far too long since I have posted anything here (slaps wrist) and I am going to change that right now.
I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas and a safe New Year. We are sweltering away in the summer heat down here in Australia. For some reason every time the mercury hits 40dC (104F) our beautiful country turns  into one big scary bonfire, and this year is no different, but I still wouldn't live anywhere else.
So here is where I'm at with my writing. Guardian is doing great, I have listed it with kdp exclusive and had 3 free days in the beginning of December, I gave away over 7500 copies and that in turn has drastically increased the sales of Forever which is all good. overall the Amazon giveaway increased my sales by about 600%. It also reached a top of #22 in the Amazon best sellers list and spent all three days in the top 10 for Fantasy and #1 in contemorary Fantasy so I am deeming it a success. I am hoping to release Revenge next month and subject to the editing time frame we are still on schedule for that. I've made a start on A Witch's Tale, which is the working title for Bernard's story and hopefully I'll be able to release it mid year.
I've also been working on some reviews which I'll start posting for you have a sqiz at. there have been some amazing books I've read and I'm dying to share with you all. So stay tuned for some fabulous book recomendations.