Friends are the Best Medicine: 2013 365 Challenge #263



It’s going to be a short post today, for various reasons, some good, some bad.

The bad is I have a stinking cold. I spent the afternoon trying to rest because I had dinner plans for my bi-annual catch up with my old work friends. The good is that I made it to dinner and spent a lovely two hours with good food and good company, catching up on the work gossip and not talking about the children (much).

It’s hard not talking about the kids but it is sort of an unspoken rule that we don’t, even though five out of six of us have children and the sixth has a puppy that is just as troublesome and gorgeous.

Even my friend who had her first baby seven weeks ago started the evening by saying “I don’t want to talk about babies.”

It’s actually rather lovely to forget you’re a parent for the night. I think parenting can be a divisive rather than inclusive subject for discussion. Everyone has different techniques and priorities, and there’s such a difference between age stages, from a baby to a pre-teen, as the age range is across our group. Plus the passing of the years are more noticeable when we talk about such and such starting school or big school. Without the kids to mark time, it only feels like yesterday that I left work rather than six years ago.

Work is always a safe topic. Even though two of us haven’t worked for the company in years, it’s still possible to follow along. Like an old school friend you haven’t seen in a decade, you can still talk about that shared experience. Incidentally the picture is one I drew of me and my two best friends at high school (a scary 20 years ago). The friend I gave it to emailed me a copy this evening, after finding it in a drawer. Happy days.

So, it’s off to bed for me, with the intention of writing my Claire instalment in the morning, after I’ve painted a shark. It’s been a lovely evening and I want to round it off curled up in bed with a lemsip, finishing Reckless Rebellion by Rinelle Grey (published on Amazon today!) Night night.


Below is the next installment in my novel Two-Hundred Steps Home: written in daily posts since 1st January as part of my 2013 365 Challenge. Read about the challenge here.You can catch up by downloading the free ebook volumes on the right hand side of the blog: 


Claire looked out the window at the changing scenery and wondered if she’d make a mistake. It felt lonely knowing that Bethan wasn’t on the bus.

I would have had to say goodbye in a few days anyway. Travelling is all about meeting people and then saying goodbye to them, carrying them with us in our hearts.

She smiled at how corny that sounded, although no less true for all that. Bethan had begged her to stay in Queenstown for the extra day, but Claire felt no pull to stay in the famous town. Despite the lure of luging and drinking and other activities, she wanted to get on and get home.

I guess I could have missed out the bottom bus completely, but I really want to see the sea lions.

The brochure said she could do a wildlife tour in Dunedin and that had been enough to persuade her. Bethan hadn’t understood that she’d rather do that than drink shots out of tea pots.

I’m surprised too. I must be getting old.

She turned her attention back to the view, as the bus pulled into a town. She guessed it must be Dunedin, although it was nothing like she had expected. Apart from Wellington, it was the first really hilly town she’d seen, and the buildings seemed to be made of stone rather than wood.

As they drove through the streets, Claire peered out the window and felt a quickening in her tummy. It seemed familiar, as if she’d visited before in a past life. She soaked in the grey stone, the university buildings, the formal gardens and smiled.

I could be in any northern British town.

It felt like home

The bus pulled up at the bottom of what looked like a residential street. Claire wondered if they had arrived at the hostel, although it didn’t look like the centre of town, where she thought the hostel was located.

“Right, peeps. We’re at Baldwin Street. World’s steepest street. Climb to the top and back and you get a certificate.”

The driver finished his terse announcement, got out of the bus and lit a roll-up. Claire followed all the other passengers, glad to stretch her legs.

Outside it was raining, a light mizzling rain that hadn’t been noticeable as they drove through town, although it probably explained the greyness of the buildings. Claire looked up the street and wondered if she had the energy to climb it. It didn’t look too bad from the bottom, but she knew looks could be deceptive.

Some eager passengers started up the hill at a run, but soon dropped to a jog and then a walk. As she climbed, Claire marvelled at the buildings, where the road started at the lower floor window and passed somewhere near the upper floor. She took some pictures and kept on climbing, ignoring the burn in her thighs and the lack of oxygen in her lungs.

At last she reached the top and turned to survey the view. It was worth the climb. The road dropped like a child’s slide beneath her, a straight ribbon of tarmac. In the distance, tree covered hills hugged the little bit of town she could see. The sun had broken through the clouds on the other side of the valley, and its rays lit the fields like a spotlight. More than any place she had visited in New Zealand, the place felt welcoming; as if she belonged there.

With a sigh, Claire put her camera away and headed back down to the bus.


Author Interview: Rinelle Grey

Rinelle Grey

Rinelle Grey

Today I’m happy to be interviewing Rinelle Grey, author of Reckless Rescue, A Barren Planet Romance.

Tell us about your routine as a writer (and more importantly how do you fit it all in with home-schooling your daughter and selling stock photography?)

Hmm, routine. That sounds nice.

I’d love to have a routine, but life here at home is so chaotic with all three of us (me, hubby and daughter) home all the time, that most routines go out the window. About the only routine we have is my daughter’s weekly outside the home activities. However, my husband and I take turns taking her to these, and getting work done. Homeschooling fits in around it all, everything we’re doing is a learning activity really. My daughter is getting a great introduction to the publishing world!

My photography has been taking a bit of a back seat to my novel right now, but luckily it goes on earning money for me even when I’m not doing it. (Just like my novels will). It’s cyclic, and some months I will get a lot done on one thing, some months focus on another. It all seems to work out in the end most of the time.

Reckless Rescue is your first published novel: Is it the first novel you have ever written? If not, why did you publish this one first?

No, Reckless Rescue is the third or fourth I’ve started, and the second I’ve finished. I started writing in November 2006 during NaNoWriMo, and finished that novel in January the following year. I LOVE that story, but it’s a lot more complex than Reckless Rescue, and I didn’t really feel it was a good bet for a first novel. I do still plan to go back and fix it (first novels need a lot of fixing!), when I have a little more experience under my belt to do it justice.

Reckless Rescue, follows the story of Marlee and Tyris. Can you tell us more about them, and their story (without giving too much away!)

Marlee and Tyris are from two very different worlds, in fact, the working title for this novel was Worlds Apart, but it had already been  used a few too many times by other people. Marlee’s world is simple, slow and small, while Tyris’s is a slightly exaggerated version of a city today, with people rushing around busily, and technology making every chore easier. It’s hard to imagine that they would have anything in common.

Their worlds are also opposite in that Tyris’s world is overpopulated, and many people (himself included), have been forbidden to have children, while on Marlee’s world, they are in danger of dying out due to a pollutant in the atmosphere, and couples who are unable to conceive are “encouraged” to try again with a new partner.

When Tyris crashes his spaceship on Marlee’s world, they have to work together, and pretend to live together, while they try to repair his ship and escape from the planet. But as they battle the harsh winter on the planet together, keeping their distance becomes even more challenging than the snow, the council and the risks of a real relationship…


Rinelle's first novel

Rinelle’s first novel

Reckless Rescue is set in the future: Do you think this is where our civilisation is heading? As a reader and writer of Sci Fi/Fantasy does the future worry you?

I did deliberately use many of the current issues in our world (overpopulation, fuel shortages etc) to base issues in Reckless Rescue off. However, I choose not to set the story in our world (Urslat and Zerris, the planets in the novel, are fantasy planets, not Earth in any way), so that I could explore these issues without implying that the events in the novels were what I thought would happen in our world.

As a reader and writer of Sci-fi Fantasy, and someone who is very interested in science and technology in general, I do see problems happening in the world. However, I also see the potential in science and humanity to rise to the challenge, and find better solutions in the future. I’m an optimist at heart, and I do feel that many of the problems we face can and will be solved, and much will be learned from doing so.

Your novel focuses heavily on the ability to have children: is this something you feel passionate about or did the theme develop with the novel?

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve wanted to have kids. In fact, I still have my primary school report card, where my “What I want to be when I grow up” is filled in with “mother”. So pregnancy and babies seem to make their way into every novel I write in one form or another!

The theme of infertility though, wasn’t one I have any personal experience with. It came up as the novel developed, and I went with it.

Did you always intend Reckless Rescue to be a series? Is that your preferred type of novel?

Initially Reckless Rescue was going to be a stand-alone novel, but as I wrote it, it began to expand into something that was just too large for one novel, so I ended up splitting it into two. It worked out well, with one novel being set on each planet. I have ideas for some follow up novels, following the story of some of the other characters in both Reckless Rescue and Reckless Rebellion, but we’ll see how they fit in with all the other stories I want to write!

You clearly love Sci Fi/ Fantasy romance: what other genres do you like to read (or write)?

I read pretty much everything romance! Fantasy is my favourite, and I’m just discovering Sci-fi. (I didn’t know sci-fi romance existed until I found I was writing it!) I like romance for its heavy focus on characters and character interaction, and the guaranteed HEA (Happy Ever After). I’m not a fan of sudden surprise horrible endings (like City of Angels, that movie will live in my mine as a trauma forever). I can handle sad endings that fit in with the story (like Love Story), but HEA’s are my favourite by far.

I haven’t read much paranormal romance, it just doesn’t appeal to me, and I’m not into suspense/thrillers at all!

You had an unusual upbringing, including living in a variety of homes (shacks and tents). How much did this influence Reckless Rescue and Marlee’s planet Zerris?

I think probably it did. I loved my childhood, and I never felt the lack of money or technology, I was too busy climbing trees and fishing in the river to notice! And I loved the freedom of not having to go to school (I had a lot of bad experiences with bullying before we started homeschooling), and to do all the things we would have missed if we hadn’t been home.

I think though, that Zerris was influenced as much by my experiences as an adult as those I had as a child. Even though I spent a few years enjoying city life, and all it has to offer, I was eventually drawn back to the country (where we live now), and to the simpler life of veggie gardens and backyard chickens. I’ve read a lot about homesteading and simple living, and many of the ideals appeal to me. However, I’m also not ready to give up my computers, internet and dishwasher!

I’m enjoying writing through the differences in the two lifestyles, and hoping I can find a balance between the two, both in my real life, and in the novels.

The Sequel

The Sequel

You’re busy writing the sequel to Reckless Rescue, Reckless Rebellion. I can’t wait! How much of the story for book two did you know when writing the first one? Has it been difficult, knowing the first novel is already published?

I had about 70% of Reckless Rebellion written when I published Reckless Rescue. Initially I had planned for them to be one novel, but I had to split them due to length, and I think they do work better as two separate stories. I didn’t have a complete ending though (I write sequentially), so trying to find an ending that works without changing anything that was written in the first book has it’s challenging methods.

If I was the patient type, I would have loved to have both books written and edited before publishing, but I’m just not. I’m more the ‘get out there and do it, and make it work later’ type!

Finally, you recently took part in the A to Z blogging challenge. Did you feel it was a worthwhile experience? Did it teach you anything about yourself as a writer?

The A to Z Blogging Challenge has been really great for me. I’ve struggled on and off with keeping up with my blog, even though I love to write it. With so many other things going on in my life, blogging tended to take a back seat, and there were many weeks when my blog didn’t get updated at all! The challenge helped me see that a lot of my problems with blogging were in planning, so I’m working on having a monthly blogging schedule (complete with what posts I’ll be writing on each day) worked out in advance. So far it’s working.

However, writing has suffered a little as a result. With a schedule for blogging, it tends to seem more urgent (have to have this post out by Wednesday…) than writing, so I tend to blog first, write second, and this often leads to me not getting to writing! That’s not a good thing, and I’m working on finding more of a balance between the two.


Webpage: – here you’ll find my blog with info about self publishing and writing, and my books.

Amazon Author Page: – with links to buy my books if you’re interested



Facebook Page: