Wednesday, 25 March 2015

BOOK BLAST: The Sand Dollar by Maggie Christensen

What if you discover everything you believed to be true about yourself has been a lie?

Stunned by news of an impending redundancy, and impelled by the magic of a long-forgotten sand dollar, Jenny retreats to her godmother in Oregon to consider her future.

What she doesn’t bargain for is to uncover the secret of her adoption at birth and her Native American heritage. This revelation sees her embark on a journey of self-discovery such as she’d never envisaged.

Moving between Australia’s Sunshine Coast and the Oregon Coast, The Sand Dollar is a story of new beginnings, of a woman whose life is suddenly turned upside down, and the reclusive man who helps her solve the puzzle of her past.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Q&A with Vanda Vadas

Can love for his beautiful, aristocratic captive rescue Miles from 

his lust for revenge?

Before residing in Australia, Vanda's birthplace and early childhood years were spent in Papua New Guinea. At the age of eleven, a holiday in England sparked an interest in the days of old. Castles, ruins, and discovering Jane Austen novels inspired a life-long interest in all things historical, a passion that later kick-started Vanda's desire to write historical romance.


And now Vanda is here talking about her latest release, The Pirate Lord, published by Random House, which is available for pre-order now.

Vanda, thank you so much for being here today.

How long have you been writing?
Fifteen years! Before that, I’d dabbled here and there, jotting down my story ideas. When my family moved to the Gold Coast in January 2000, I joined the Hearts of Gold (HOGs) critique group. I struck critique group GOLD! What an amazing group of people and writers they are.

What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?
If you’re truly passionate about being a writer, then I’d like to share this quote with you. I’ve kept it close to my desk for the last fifteen years. It inspired me and made me determined never to give up my goal of publication.

‘You have to find something that you love enough to be able to take risks, jump over the hurdles and break through the thick walls that are always going to be placed in front of you. If you don’t have that kind of feeling for what it is you are doing, you’ll stop at the first giant hurdle.’

Tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.
The Caribbean island scenes in The Pirate Lord were inspired by actual places and locations my husband and I visited some years back. I thrive on historical research and kept written notes, photos and video footage of places we visited. On Dominica, we walked through a lush green tropical rainforest to find a breathtaking hidden jewel . . . Emerald Pool and its beautiful waterfall. I knew then, that this location was perfect for a pivotal love scene in my book. When you read it, you won’t be disappointed. Promise!

Are you working on anything at the present you would like to tell us about?
I’m currently writing a Scottish historical. I visited the Isle of Skye in June 2013 and explored Dunvegan Castle, the ancestral home of the Chiefs of Clan McLeod for 800 years. I tell you, I was lost in history and castle heaven! Visit UNDER THE QUILL for a mini synopsis. 
Have you ever eaten a crayon?

Oh my goodness! This question takes me back to when I was in Grade 1 (yes . . . a very looooong time ago). It wasn’t me who ate the crayon but rather a boy in my class. And he didn’t stop at eating one crayon. I still remember his name, but such is six degrees of separation, it’s highly likely one of you reading this will know him. What happens in Grade 1, stays in Grade 1!

What is your favorite flavor of jellybean?
Could we swap jellybeans for peanut M&Ms, or maybe chocolates with orange centers?

What is your perfect pizza?
Embellish the pizza with olives and anchovies and . . . Voila! Then again, it leaves me feeling so thirsty that I need a jug of water on hand.

What was the last thing you dressed up as for fancy dress?
This is an easy one! At last year’s RWAus Conference I dressed as a pirate for the cocktail party. Little wonder, given I’d prepared to pitch The Pirate Lord to several publishers and Literary Agent, Alex Adsett!

Have you ever made your own Ice cream?
Yes! I was twenty-one at the time and made a batch of fig ice cream for this guy I had started seeing. He said he loved it, so what did I do? I made him another batch! A few years into our marriage . . . yes, he asked me to marry him . . . he confessed to not liking the ice-cream. At the time, he didn’t have the heart to tell me. Twenty-six years of wedded bliss and we still laugh about it.

You are walking to work. There is a dog drowning in the canal on the side of the street. Your boss told you if you are late one more time you're fired. Do you save the dog?
I’ll be honest here. I’m a cat person, but if I saw a dog, or any animal for that matter, in need of saving, I wouldn’t hesitate for one second. I’d choose a life over a job any day.


A family tragedy steeped in deceit and betrayal saw Lady Eloise Blakely vow never to fall victim to a man's charms, let alone invite him into her bed. Until fate swept her aboard a pirate's ship and into its captain's embrace. 

Yet when he reveals a dark secret, her lover becomes her enemy . . .

Ten years ago, Miles Zachary Fenton was framed for murder. For so long he has fought to clear his name and reclaim his dukedom. Now, when both appear to be just within reach, he is forced to abduct a meddling beauty, one who wreaks havoc with his emotions and complicates his plans . . . 


Eloise strolled back to her hiding spot. A movement to her left had her head turning in that direction.

A man stood at the foot of the terrace steps. Their eyes met. It was not so much his presence that disturbed her, but rather his attire, illuminated well enough by the sconces placed intermittently up the balustrade.

Knee-high boots, breeches, and shirt melded into one stark splash of black. Ebony hair, neatly tied in a queue, fell past his collar. A wide black satin mask concealed the upper portion of his features, leaving only the tip of his nose, mouth and jaw exposed. He glanced surreptitiously to his left, toward the gardens, then back at her, past her shoulder, and re-settled his gaze on her face.

She called down to him. “Who are you? State your name and business!”

He ignored her demand and began a purposeful ascent, stopping three steps below her. His eyes, hypnotic coal pools, filled her with a sense of foreboding. In spite of her adamant words, she thought herself mad to single-handedly confront the masked stranger.

She stood her ground. “Who are you? This is a private celebration and you’re trespassing.”

“My business is not your concern.”

His clipped words and icy stare unsettled her. Conversely, a moment’s warmth infused her when she focused on his strong jaw and bronzed complexion. An indication of a life spent under the sun.

Lips neither full nor thin drew her gaze. Her skin flushed hot with the direction of her thoughts. Even more so when she beheld his raw, provocative regard.

Humiliation evoked anger, and with it a resurgence of her confidence. His stillness lessened his threatening guise, and already she’d tired of his masked charade.


“Gather your skirts, about face, and concern yourself only with the evening’s indoor amusements. Whatever the cause for celebration.”

At the suppressed irritation in his tone, Eloise raised her chin. “I hear the voice of an educated gentleman. Nonetheless, you lack manners when addressing a lady.”

His glare pinned her where she stood. With slow predatory steps, he moved to stand but a breath away.

Eloise tensed. Her position at the top of the stairs, wedged between the rhododendron and the wall, lost all advantage, for it was he who now peered down his regal nose at her. Oddly enough, she experienced a perverse combination of fear and an inexplicable giddy awareness.

“You’d do well to pretend you never saw me,” he warned.

Eloise tilted her chin a little higher. “And if I don’t?”

His gaze held hers and suddenly dropped to her mouth. He raised a steady hand and, with his index finger, traced the outline of her lips.

Eloise drew back and moved to sidestep him. He captured her left wrist. Despite her attempt to withdraw it, he refused to let go. Commanding her gaze, he leaned over and pressed his lips to the back of her gloved hand.

His mouth lingered long enough for heat to penetrate the thin silk. Eloise retracted her hand the instant he released her. “Touch me again, and I’ll scream.”

He flattened his palm on the wall beside her head and leaned in close. “And risk your reputation by being caught in the embrace of the Devil himself?”



Before residing in Australia, Vanda's birthplace and early childhood years were spent in Papua New Guinea. At the age of eleven, a holiday in England sparked an interest in the days of old. Castles, ruins, and discovering Jane Austen novels inspired a life-long interest in all things historical, a passion that later kick-started Vanda's desire to write historical romance.

Vanda has studied and worked in the field of Education, teaching Literacy and Numeracy to children and adults. She's also worked as a PA, a recruitment consultant and now in home furnishings.

Her two children, of whom she's immensely proud, have flown the coup and are successfully making their own way in the world.

Vanda and her husband live on the Gold Coast in Queensland where they enjoy walks along world-renowned beaches or a quiet getaway to the lush hills of the Hinterland.


Vanda Vadas Author Website                 
Vanda Vadas Author Facebook