Category Archives: Family

Ellie Crowe’s new book for teenagers

I’m so thrilled to have Ellie Crowe on my blog today. She’s an ex-South African living in Hawaii – can you believe it!

The lovely Ellie Crowe

And here is the cover of her latest book – a story for teenagers set in the Everglades.

The story

Four teens are lost in the Florida Everglades, a maze of canals snaking into the surrounding swampland, a wilderness with monster alligators everywhere …  and not only the alligators are dangerous.
The Everglades were magical—How, was Megan supposed to just sit back and not explore the place?The airboat ride out into the thick gray water-world was so beautiful, so calm—how quickly things had changed. She had begged Adam to take her and her siblings out on the boat. But where were Sydney and Luke now?Lost, like she was, of course, but hurt? Dead? It was her impulsiveness that had gotten them stranded out here and drew the poachers’ anger. She wrapped her arms more tightly about the baby orangutan in her lap. How could she live with herself if something happened to them? Would she even have the chance?The now-familiar sound of someone or something sloshing through the muck reached her ears. Who or what was coming? The orangutan bared his teeth at the unknown, and she closed her eyes. She didn’t want to know the answer.She was too injured to climb out of this hole, and calling for help could attract them. One way or another, she knew she wouldn’t be getting out of here alone. It was only a question of who would find her first. 

Where did you get the idea for the story?

I love reading exciting, scary books set in exotic locations. Don’t you?! 1 wrote Gatorlands after visiting the Everglades with my husband and teenage son. We were walking on a boardwalk, wondering what was making the strange honking sounds. Maybe really big toads, we had decided. And then we looked down. And right below our feet, watching us with cold eyes, were massive alligators, dozens of them. This was the alligators’ world. Some even had baby toy-like alligators sitting on their heads. They didn’t care about us at all. We simply looked like possible snacks. So amazing. so scary. We visit Florida as often as we can to experience nature, right there so close, so Jurassic, so incredible. 

Buy link:


Check out all of Ellie’s books here:

Hardcore Inventing, Invent, Protect, Promote and Profit

Caregiver’s Survival Guid

Exploring Lost Oahu, Places of Power, History, Mystery and Magic

Exploring Lost Maui, Places of Power, History, Mystery and Healing

Exploring Lost Hawaii, Places of Power, History, Mystery and Magic

Surfer of the Century, the Life of Duke Kahanamoku

Nelson Mandela, the Boy Called Troublemaker

Wind Runner

Kamehameha, the Boy Who Became a Warrior King

Harold and the Poopy Little Puppy

Hoku the Stargazer

I Escaped North Korea


Thanks for stopping by, Ellie and all the best with your books!


Die kinders.

Van alles wat die jaar gebeur het, was dit die lot van kinders wat my die meeste ontstel het. Einde verlede jaar spoel die driejarige Aylan Kurdi se lyfie uit op ’n strand naby die Bodrum in Turkeye. Hy het ’n rooi hempie aan. ’n Sarsie rubberkoeël tref my teen my vel.

Die foto van die verdwaasde vyfjarige Omran Daqneesh agter in ’n ambulans nadat hy uit puinhope van Aleppo gehaal is, laat my desperaat soek na ’n manier om die wanhoop in my te laat bedaar.

’n Joernalis skryf die kinders in Aleppo huil nie meer nie. My hart breek.

Koerante is vol van ouers wat kinders seermaak, kinders wat ouers doodmaak. Wreed.

’n Wailing wall soos die een wat May Boatwright in Sue Monk Kid se The secret life of bees gehad het, begin sin maak. Op een of ander manier moet die seer op ’n plek kom weg van my waar ek dit nie meer kan voel nie.

Ons boeta is siek. Dis ’n lang, uitmergelende pad. Van die groot, sterk man is teen die einde min oor, net die vonkel in sy oog glim nog so af en toe totdat die blou oë heeltemal dof word. Hy’s op ’n goeie plek, ons weet, maar ek mis sy lag. Hy het die lewe met soveel oorgawe bestorm.

Ons meisiekind woon ver oor die water. Sy is gelukkig, ons gaan kuier, sy kom kuier, maar ek mis haar lyf, haar lag, haar reuk.

En ons middelste kom sê hy gaan weer Sjina toe. Dis ver, dis vreemd, dis aan die anderkant van die aardbol. Die verlange kom sit in ’n rou knop in my keel wat ek maar net nie weggesluk kry nie.

Oudste het ’n rowwe jaar. Ons bid, ons praat moed in, verwonder ons aan hulle vaste geloof dat alles sal uitwerk. Oudste kleinseun breek sy arm, ouma se lyf is te klein.

Die klaagmuur begin al hoe meer sin maak.

’n Vriendin verloor haar werk, ’n vriend raak siek, ’n vriendin verloor haar man, ’n ander die pa van haar kind. Vriende se kinders dwaal iewers langs die pad af. Verlore lewens. Dié sarsie koeëls is meededoënloos.

Ons ma word 91, die groen oë wat so vurig kon blits, is vaal, kyk ver na dinge waarvan ons niks weet nie. Die ma wat ek geken het, wat my so op my tone gehou het, is lankal nie meer hier nie. In haar plek is ’n verdwaasde wese en net soms breek ’n glimlag deur en herken haar oë iemand.

Ek wonder oor die sin van so ’n lewe.

’n Maand of wat terug kyk ek met verwondering na die supermaan. Dit word wetenskaplik verduidelik, ek weet, maar iets van die grootheid van die heelal, van die liefde van ons Hemelse Vader vir ons woelige aardse wensens, kry lêplek in my hart.

Ek het ’n Wailing Wall. So tussen al die hartseer het ek net vir ’n rukkie van Hom vergeet.

’n Mooi 2017 vir jou.


Motherhood.  No book, no seminar, no lecture, no friend can prepare you for what is about to happen. The minute you push a yelling baby into the world, everything changes. Your body, your mind, your heart, your soul are focused on stopping the yelling. You fall in love with this tiny creature – deeply, fiercely, irrevocably. You feed, you clean, you cajole, you fret, you cry, you laugh and discover it’s not quite six o’clock in the morning yet. The first smile, the first hug, the first word – every single accomplishment leaves you diliriously happy. Outside of the walls of your house, life goes on, people go to work, drive cars, climb mountains, do things while you are stuck inside, desperately trying to figure out what the hell you’re supposed to do.

Moterhood 2And by the time you’ve more or less figured out how to get baby to sleep/eat/crawl/walk/talk/behave he or she is two with a will and a determination that boggle the mind. You start looking forward to that glass of wine tonight, the one that will take the edge off so that you don’t become completely insane. For the next two years you start from scratch, you cry, you pray, you worry while desperately trying to get your sleep-deprived brain to figure out what the hell you’re supposed to do.

He/she goes to school, reads, does maths, contradicts you every few minutes because that’s not what the teacher says. You’re not the number one go-to person anymore. You discover you’re a lioness when anyone dares to mess with your child. You will attack, use any weapon on hand while figuring out what the hell you’re supposed to do.

High school is a completely different planet. The sweet child of yesterday turns into an alien, one with secrets, hushed conversations over the phone and a life behind his/her bedroom door that doesn’t include you anymore. You lose your cool, you pray, you cry, you yell while trying to figure out what the hell you’re supposed to do.

And then he/she is a student. If you’re lucky, they live with you while enjoying this short respite before life happens. You have actual conversations with your child, he/she is interested in your opinion again. When you go to bed, they go out and you worry, you pray, you smile, you support, you cry while trying to figure out what the hell you’re supposed to do.

And then one day, he/she leaves the house. You call. Three times a day. There’s a hole inside of you that no amount of chocolate can fill. They struggle, they grow, they become stronger, they fall in love. Another person is now part of his/her life and you pray, you worry, you cry while trying to figure out what the hell you’re supposed to do.

They get married. You discover an invisible line in the sand. Who drew it and why it’s there, you have no idea but if you cross it, there’s a quick frown, an irritated word and you cry, you pray, you worry while trying to figure what the hell you’re supposed to do.

And slowly you discover the girl inside you again, the one you lost with that first yell all those years ago. You get back to your life, discover things you want to do. You have time for friends, for your husband, for travel, for life. You realize though, you can never be that girl again, the hole inside you will never close up completely, you will never stop worrying, praying, supporting your kids because however hard you try, you are never really going to figure out what the hell you’re supposed to do.

And it’s okay. Somehow with prayer, help from your friends and many, many glasses of wine, you’ve muddled through the whole child-rearing thing. Your kids are flying solo. Now and again they will turn to you when life throws a curve-ball. And you’ll pray and worry and fret and laugh and cry while you hug them when they’re trying to figure out what the hell they’re supposed to do.

Motherhood photo

Whole Touched series now available!

The stories for all four Cavallo brothers are now finished and out there. Thank you for all the positive feedback I’ve received – I hope you enjoy reading the stories of how these four passionate men find their soul-mates as  as much as I’ve enjoyed witing them.

Touched to the heart (Escape publishing) (Don and Caitlin’s story):

Touched small cover_Final200

Buy links

Amazon Kindle

Amazon UK


Google Play

All Romance


Touched to the soul (Etopia Press) – (Dale and Zoe’s story)

TouchedToTheSoul_ByElsaWinckler-50pctBuy links:

All Romance



Touched to the core (Etopia Press) – (David and Dana’s story)

TouchedToTheCore-ByElsaWinckler-200x300Buy links:



All Romance



Touched to the depths (Etopia Press)  (Darryn and Hannah’s story):


Buy links:


Barnes and Noble

All Romance

Snippet from Touched to the soul – answer for TRR Year-end party

TRR Year end splash partyI’m so thrilled to be a apart of The Romance Reviews Year End Splash Party in November again.

Touched to the soul is the 2nd story in the Touched series about the four sexy hotel tycoon brothers. This is Dale and Zoe’s story.





Enjoy the snippet below – you’ll also find the answer to the question in the TRR’s Year Splash Eng Party in here 🙂


‘Zoe closed her eyes and wished the floor would swallow her up. She loved her romance-writing mother dearly, but at times like this she could cheerfully throttle her. She was forever trying to find husbands for her daughters. Zoe hoped now that Caitlin was married, her mother would back off, but obviously she had no such plans.

Smiling, her mother waved at them and moved away. The music changed again, and the next minute Dale stood in front of her, holding out his hand for a dance. Zoe glanced toward Hannah and Dana, but the other two Cavallo’s held out their hands toward her sister and their friend as well.

There was no way she could refuse this dance—her mother would never forgive her. OK, she’d do this and then nobody could accuse her of not behaving properly.

This was such a bad idea, but short of causing a scene, she couldn’t say no. She took a deep breath and, without looking at Dale, put her hand in his—her last rational act.

The next minute Dale had her on her feet and spun her around. Then he pulled her in and kept her close to his body as he danced around the floor with her. Her feet followed his as if she’d done this a million times before, as if they’d always been dancing together. His movements were flawless, graceful, intoxicating.

This close to him, his scent filled her nostrils, seeped through her skin into her bloodstream from where it filled every cell in her body. His powerful muscles flexed under her hands, his breath caressed her check, and his big, warm hand stroked her sensuously up and down her bare back, leaving every centimeter of her flesh craving for more. Their bodies were fused together. She closed her eyes and let the music and the man take over.

This would end in a few minutes; she would probably not see Dale again very soon, if ever, but for the moment she was tired of denying herself this sensation.’

Buy links:

All Romance:



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Tea and wine with Elizabeth Ellen Carter

EECarterSX200_Drinking tea


Today historical romance author, Elizabeth Ellen Carter is visiting us to tell us more about her latest Etopia Press release, Moonstone Conspiracy.

As you will see below, she likes all kinds of tea and and all kinds of wine, so I had to choose. So I thought we’ll start with a cup of Earl Grey tea while we talk about the weather and all things nice 🙂 But when we talk about her new book, I think we’ll need a glas of  Shiraz and I’ve chosen a Shouth African Shiraz from Hermanuspietersfontein cellar.

But before we talk about Elizabeth’s latest historical romance, let’s get to know her a little better!

A. Quickies

  1. Tea or wine?

I’m dreadful. I’m going to have to answer this question with ‘yes’. Green tea, Earl Grey Tea, English Breakfast Tea… Love it all. Wine: Shiraz, Cab Sav, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Champagne. All of the above for me!

  1. Read or jog?

Read, oh my, most definitely read. I might be persuaded to walk briskly but jogging is not in my lexicon.

  1. Cats or dogs?

Cats. I have two beautiful strays. Claude, a black tabby and his sister Coco, a tortie came to our place one summer’s day. They were six week old kittens when their mother decided to seek shelter near our drive ahead of an upcoming cyclone. When the rains came, mother cat had disappeared with one of the kittens. We brought Claude and Coco inside and they’ve been with us ever since – two and a half years now and they are wonderful cats.

  1. Heels or flats?

I love my heels. Which is just as well. Hubby is a couple of inches shorter than me, so when we got together I was worried that he’d resent me being taller. I was so pleased when hubby said he didn’t mind (and he likes me in heels).

  1. Boxers or briefs?

On me or my men? Ummm. Both?

  1. Milk, dark or white chocolate

Dark, dark chocolate, darker the better… Mmmmmmm

  1. Sweet or savoury

lemonintrayAgain I’m going to have to say both. Here’s an example – tonight I went out and bought a treat for me. They’re a biscuit called Lemon Crisps, they are salted cracker with a filling of lemon cream – they’re the best of both worlds!


  1. Sea or mountains

I’m ashamed to say as someone who lives in a beautiful beachside city, a prefer the mountains. We’re very fortunate where we live on the Gold Coast in Queensland. In 20 minutes we’re at the beach in one direction and 20 minutes and we’re in the mountains in another direction. My husband and I enjoy camping so we get out of the city and into the country as often as possible

B. Five likes and five dislikes

Five likes:

My husband

Great friends




Five dislikes:





(did I mention housework?)

C. Three things on your bucket list

Visiting Europe (I hope to go into a couple of years)

Skydiving (perhaps for my 50th)

Visiting the United States

D. What triggered this specific story?

MoonstoneConspiracy_ByElizabethEllenCarter-200x300I had such wonderful feedback about one of the secondary characters in Moonstone Obsession – Lady Abigail Houghall. She was one nasty, nasty lady, but right at the very end there was a glimmer of hope that she could be redeemed. My darling husband, who is also my critique partner, said he wanted to see Abigail’s story – so that’s how Moonstone Conspiracy was born.





Revolution in France, rebels in England, and one woman caught in the crossfire…

For her unwitting participation in a plot to embezzle the Exchequer, Lady Abigail Houghall has spent the last two years exiled to the city of Bath. A card sharp, sometime mistress, and target of scandalous gossip by the London Beau Monde, Lady Abigail plots to escape her gilded cage as well as the prudish society that condemns her. But the times are not easy. France is in chaos. The king has been executed, and whispers of a similar revolution are stirring in England. And because of her participation in the robbery plot, the Spymaster of England is blackmailing her into passing him information about the members of London’s upper crust.

When the dashing English spy Daniel Ridgeway takes a seat at her card table and threatens to expose her for cheating, she has no choice but to do as he demands: seduce the leader of the revolutionaries and learn what she can about their plot. As she’s drawn deeper into Daniel’s dangerous world, from the seedy backstreets of London to the claustrophobic catacombs of a war-torn Paris, she realizes an even more dangerous fact. She’s falling in love with her seductive partner. And the stakes of this game might just be too high, even for her.

Author Bio:

Elizabeth Ellen Carter’s debut novel, Moonstone Obsession, was published in 2013 by Etopia Press. Earlier that year, the Regency adventure romance had been shortlisted in the Romance Writers of Australia Emerald Awards for Best Unpublished Manuscript. Set in England and France during the French Revolution, it was heralded as ‘edge-of-seat adventure and intrigue’ and ‘a rollercoaster of love, blackmail, ill-gotten gains, treason and trickery’ with Carter described as ‘a writer worth keeping an eye on’ with ‘a hint of classic suspense novelist Daphne du Maurier’.

Her second novel, Warrior’s Surrender, was published by Etopia the following year. Set in Northumbria in 1077, it sets the relationship between a displaced Saxon noblewoman and a Norman baron against the turbulent backdrop of England in the years following the Norman invasion of 1066. Reviewers found the novel ‘a fast moving and passionate read’ with ‘strong characters, an intriguing plot, and plenty of action… a sexy romance to be savoured’. Readers agreed, voting Warrior’s Surrender Favourite Historical Fiction in the 2015 Readers & Writers Down Under Readers Choice Awards.

Also in 2014, the short story Moonstone Promise, spinning off from Moonstone Obsession as part of Etopia’s Valentines Heat anthology, followed the fortunes of one of the supporting characters back home to 18th century Pittsburgh in a tale of ‘second chance romance’.

Warrior’s Surrender (now in print as well as eBook) was named Favourite Historical Fiction at the 2015 Readers & Writers Down Under Readers Choice Awards in March this year.

Carter moved up to 1802 for the light-hearted romantic short story Three Ships, part of the Christmas 2014 anthology A Season To Remember, and ventures briefly into contemporary romance for the first time with her Romance Writers of Australia annual Little Gems competition placegetter, The Tin Bear, publishing in August 2015.

And another Moonstone Obsession character, the sinful Lady Abigail Houghall, features in the full length novel Moonstone Conspiracy, coming from Etopia Press in 2015.

Carter is currently working on her fourth novel, set in ancient Rome and tentatively titled Dark Heart, which will bring together the elements for which she has become known in just a few years – in-depth historical detail woven through gripping adventure and captivating romance.

The author lives in Australia with her husband and two cats. A former newspaper journalist, she ran an award-winning PR agency for 12 years.

And a lovely excerpt form Moonstone Conspiracy:

“I’m glad you remembered our appointment.”

Abigail recognised the droll voice and so did not even bother opening her eyes.

“It’s not yet midnight,” she replied and felt the couch shift as Daniel’s weight settled down into it.

“In our business, we take opportunities whenever they occur.”

Abigail opened her eyes and opened her fan to hide a yawn. He did not look fatigued. If one was to assign his expression right now, she would have described him as being studiously nonchalant.

“And what business are we in, Mr Ridgeway?”

“A very dangerous one.”

“I don’t recall signing up for a dangerous business,” she retorted, keeping her voice low to prevent anyone overhearing. “If my experience of your business over the past two years is any guide, stultifying boredom would be a better description.

“You can tell Aunt Druscilla that my obligation to her is complete. I’m going abroad at the end of this season.”

A slow feline grin spread across his face.

“Are you now?”

Fatigue fled and Abigail straightened in her seat, ready to rise to the challenge.

“Are you going to stop me?”

“I don’t particularly care what you do after this season,” he told her. “If you can’t give me what I want by the end of June, then you’re not half the woman Blakeney thinks you are.”

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Buy links:

Etopia Press Bookstore
Barnes and Noble
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All Romance Ebooks


Thanks for having tea with me, Elizabeth and all the best with your book! May she flies 🙂