Monday, 25 July 2016

The goat ate my manuscript...and other things that interfere with my writing!

Like all writers, I deal with constant interruptions in my work. Most of these are normal, everyday interruptions that are part of the package of working from home - kids playing in my office while I write, hubby doing every freaking DIY project he can find that's right outside my office door, cold callers, people at the door and cats. Seriously, cats are a big problem, just look at all the posts on Facebook with photos of cats sitting on a manuscript and you'll know what I'm talking about. ;)

But some things have interfered with my work over the past few years that just don't fit into the usual list. I thought I'd share them with you:

  • The goat ate my manuscript

This has happened three times now. You would think I'd learn from my mistakes. Apparently not. Anyway, my pet goat is adorable. And she eats everything. Twice I've thought it would be lovely to work outside in the sun while hanging out with my goat. And twice the bloody goat ate my work. The third time she got at my proofreading while I was putting out the fire I'd started on my treadmill. (Read about that mess here!) This is my life people. There is no excuse for it.

My goat on the kitchen table. She'd sneaked into the house when the kids left a door open.

  • My husband set fire to my manuscript

Never leave your manuscript lying around. This is a lesson I learned the hard way in our house. You see, we have a wood burning fire and my husband was looking for some paper to light the thing. And what was sitting on the floor beside the sofa, but a pile of paper. Ten minutes later the edits I'd made were up in flames.

The time hubby went through a chainsaw obsessive phase and brought down a tree on top of the chicken coop - 
outside my office window!
  • The horse soaked my manuscript

Thinking I was smart, I tied the goat up and worked outside with my miniature horses for company. Nope. Not a good idea. They stuck their noses into everything and spilled my drink all over my manuscript. (This is the problem when you keep rescuing other people's unwanted animals! Or maybe, the problem is turning them all into pets and letting them hang out with you in the garden...)

One of my pet horses outside the kitchen trying to get in to keep me company
while I was editing inside the house - for a change!

  • The chicken pooped on my keyboard

I have a chicken who likes to come into the house through the cat door and hide. (You can read about her here.) She has scared me more than once by cooing from whatever cupboard she's managed to get into. Plus, I've found eggs under my bed. The worst was when I left a sandwich beside my keyboard while I went to do something else. She went after the sandwich and pooped on the keyboard. I couldn't get the damn thing clean and had to buy a new one.

the criminal chicken at the cat door

  • The kids put beads in my printer

My girls went through a beading phase and, like everything else they do, they thought they'd do it in my office. They wanted to keep me company while I wrote. I was so grateful... (How many times did I accidentally write about beading while they were there? Many, many times...) I didn't realize my six year old had used my printer as a table until I went to print a document and found it was full of beads. Had to take it apart to get them all out.

the culprit - I have no idea why she's wearing that helmet...

  • My laptop fell in the stream - along with pretty much everything else...

On a beautiful sunny day in summer, after a heavy rain, I decided to work beside our stream. There's a steep bank at the edge of the stream where my pet sheep likes to hang out. After I'd dragged a chair over to the spot to keep my sheep company, I went back for my laptop. On return, I slipped in the mud, slid down the bank on my back, lost my laptop in the stream and the sheep chewed my shirt while I lay there with my feet in the water. 

My pet sheep when she sneaked into my daughter's pigsty.

You know, now that I've reread this, I could probably sum up this post with one sentence: don't work near animals or kids! 

My backyard. The animals are supposed to be in the paddock.
This is what happens when you turn rescue animals into pets!

Okay, that's enough public humiliation for one day. If you have any writing mishaps you want to share, I'd love to know I'm not alone!  :) 

new book - Reckless - excerpt

Reckless is out now! I'm so super excited. And exhausted... :) Anyway, I thought you might like to read an excerpt, so here it is:

About Reckless

The new London office of Benson Security hasn’t even opened its doors yet and already it’s neck deep in its first case…

If the mission doesn’t kill him, his sexy partner just might.

Dimitri Raast and Megan Donaldson have a common enemy—the head of an organisation that specializes in human trafficking and sexual slavery.

They have similar motivation—Dimitri’s sister was taken by the organisation, and Megan’s sister is threatened by it.

They have the same goal—eliminate their enemy and save their sisters.

Given they have so much in common, you would think working together would be a piece of cake.

You would be wrong.

While Dimitri brings skills and experience from years as a US Army Ranger to their partnership, Megan brings a background in failed career choices and an ability to cause trouble wherever she goes. Yet, even with so much at stake, Dimitri can’t resist Megan’s particular brand of crazy. She’s wild, she’s sexy and she’s fearless. An irresistible combination for a man who lives his life completely in control. Now, after almost a year with one all-consuming focus, Dimitri finds himself torn between rescuing his sister and protecting the woman he wants - from herself.

Before she gets them both killed.

Available at: Amazon | iBooks | Kobo | B&N


They were meeting Johnny Rotten in a dark alley. Of course they were meeting a guy called Johnny Rotten in a dark alley. Megan rolled her eyes. Obviously Johnny went to the TV movie school of how to be a bad guy.

“You stay here.” Dimitri pointed at a dumpster. Yeah. A dumpster. She half expected some guy with a camera to shout cut and make them start again.

“You don’t mean in the dumpster, right?” Because—eew!

“No. Beside it. In the dark.” He didn’t even try to disguise that he was losing patience. “Don’t move, don’t make a sound, don’t interrupt.”

Blah, blah, blah, let the big boys play. She was so tired of hearing the same old tune. It was time to change the radio station.

“Right,” Dimitri said. “I’m going to drive round and come in from the other end.”

“Why can’t I just wait in the car? It’s cold and it stinks here.”

“Because…” He stretched the word out. “You’re supposed to be my hostage. I can’t just let you hang out in the car.”

“I can pretend to be drugged.”

“No. Too dangerous. He might spot you, know who you are and that Rudi wants you. Then what would stop him deciding to eliminate me and take you to Rudi himself?”

She stamped her feet to get her blood circulating before the chill removed her toes. “Why didn’t you just take me back to the office?”

“You’re my backup.” There was a silent ‘idiot’ attached to that sentence, she just knew it.

“The backup that hides in dumpsters?”

“The backup that phones for help if it looks like things are going south.”

Megan blushed, grateful he couldn’t see it in the dark. “So, I need my phone?”

He put his hands on his hips and looked skyward for a moment. “Where is it?”

“Car.” She gave him what she hoped was an apologetic smile.

He stomped off, cursing under his breath and came back a few minutes later with the phone. “Sorted now?”

Megan nodded. It probably wasn’t the best time to tell him she really needed to use the bathroom. She could hold it. How long did it take to have a covert meeting in an alley anyway?

She gave him a thumbs up and watched him march back to the car. Leaving her alone in a stinky, dark alley. Alone and not thinking about how good Dimitri’s lips felt against hers. Nope. She wasn’t thinking about that at all. She was a professional—nearly. She had a job to do. She backed into the shadows and tried to become invisible. Ninja Megan. She could do it. It was all about the power of the mind. She closed her eyes and took a few calming breaths.

That’s when her stomach rumbled. Her hand smacked flat on it as she bit her lip. Maybe all that fried food wasn’t such a great idea after all. Not that she would ever admit that to Dimitri. She was still mad at the man. Sure she’d been the first to say they weren’t in a relationship, but he didn’t have to agree so enthusiastically. He’d sounded affronted. As though she was the last person on earth he’d consider dating. It was insulting. Her stomach made a strange bubbling sound as she saw Dimitri’s SUV pull up at the other end of the alley. He got out and stood under the yellow glow of the street lamp. Waiting. Alert. Moody.

Megan’s stomach rumbled again. Loudly. This wasn’t good. So much for not making a sound. Her own body was working against her. She crouched down in an attempt to dull the noise, and hoped it worked. She closed her eyes, tried to calm her stomach and think thoughts that made her invisible.

That’s when she farted.

It wasn’t silent.

Megan dropped her head to her knees. If the bad guys didn’t get her, she’d die of humiliation.

And then her stomach rumbled again.

© 2016 Janet Elizabeth Henderson

I'm also taking part in a blog tour this week. To enter the blog giveaway visit one of the sites below and you'll find the rafflecopter entry info. Good luck!


Wednesday, 20 July 2016



Only 5 days until Reckless, Benson's Boys Book 1, is released! 
To celebrate I'm running a giveaway. Want to win a signed paperback copy of Reckless along with a mystery goody bag? Then enter the draw! 
And don't forget to spread the word!

click for preorder links

Monday, 18 July 2016

On being a mom and a writer - or, the joys of working at home!

It's mid-winter school holidays over here in New Zealand. Weather wise, I can't complain. Winter holidays in Scotland meant darkness, snow, black ice and freezing your backside off anytime you set foot outside the door! Winter in North Island, New Zealand, means the odd rainy day, wearing a cardigan (instead of a coat) and posting pics of frost on Facebook if you happen to get any! In fact, now that I think about it, Winter in North Island NZ is closer to summer in Glasgow... :)

Anyway, enough about the weather. The kids are off school for two weeks and I'm trying to work around them. It isn't going well. My eleven year old keeps interrupting me with random questions like: "Who invented the first engine? How do you make light-bulbs? Where does color come from?" Meanwhile, my six year old just comes into my office every five minutes to fill me in on what she's doing: "This thing happened with the Barbies, mum, it's so funny..." (For the record, it's NEVER funny!)

So far this week, I've rewritten the same sentence more times than I can count (and it still doesn't make sense) and I managed to change the name of the hero in my current manuscript to Lego without realizing.

my office whiteboard has become an art board

Meanwhile, the mess that has taken over the house - from toys, art materials, clothes and empty snack boxes - is beginning to encroach on my office. Yesterday, I threw myself onto my desk chair only to jump back up again in agony - there was a pile of Lego on the seat. When I got up to get something from my printer, I tripped over roller skates and hit my head on the wall. All my colored pens have mysteriously disappeared, along with my sticky tape, blue tack and post-it notes - I suspect they're in one of the "art piles" throughout the house.

The kitchen table has become art central

To help out, hubby has taken time off work this week to keep the kids occupied while I write. He's doing this by changing the water tap in the kitchen sink... Yeah, his time off has been swallowed by a new DIY project. He turned off the mains water supply to the house yesterday and it hasn't been turned on yet. There are words coming out from under the sink that the kids shouldn't hear - thankfully, they're in Dutch and going over their tiny heads right now. I'm waiting for him to throw in the towel and call the plumber. I love my husband. He's great at many things. DIY isn't one of them! We're talking about the man who has fallen through the same spot in our ceiling three times. The man who rewired the garage in the last house and we couldn't sell the place until we got a professional in to fix everything he'd done. The same man who destroyed the chicken coop while chopping down trees... yeah, that man! And do the kids ask him what he's doing under the sink? No. They come into my office and ask me!!!  

a very happy hubby currently destroying the kitchen

On top of all this, the kids are giving me writing advice. My six year old thinks there should be more words like "and" and "the" in my sentences. She also thinks I don't know how to use full stops. My eleven year old is totally convinced that I'd have a better chance at literary success if I just wrote more Harry Potter books. I've explained that I didn't write them in the first place (I wish!) and that I can't just take up where Rowling left off. Her advice was to change the names and set it in New Zealand. She's sure it will be a big hit. Plus, she tells me, I don't need to put any of that soppy kissing stuff in them...

So that's it. I write around the chaos all day long, stealing a sentence here and there in amongst discussions on plumbing, Lego, Barbie and how to use their various art materials. When everyone eventually goes to sleep at night, I fix everything I did during the day! I estimate that I'm getting about one useful sentence a day written right now. And I'm pretty sure that's better than average for most writing mothers! Only one more week of chaos to go... :)

the hall wall has been turned into a freeze full of aliens and planets (yet unfinished!)
p.s. in the time it's taken to write this post, I've admired an ambitious art project, showed shock over how little water the hot water tank actually holds, explained how blue-tack works, been a plumber's assistant and cut out aliens from card - and it isn't even lunch time yet!

Sunday, 17 July 2016

FREE ebook!

One of my early romance novels is FREE on Amazon for the next few days. Grab a copy while you can! 

click to go to Amazon
Disgraced cop Jack Miller inherits a house. He also inherits a tenant. She's sexy, mysterious and obviously up to no good. His cop instincts are in overdrive. He's trying to get his job back and no police force will employ him if there's illegal activity in his house. His only option is to solve the mystery of his crazy tenant's behaviour and kick her out - if he can keep his hands off her long enough to do it! 

Davina Davenport is trying to make a movie with 'borrowed' equipment, in a house without permission and on a deadline. It's her last stab at an acting career and even she knows the plan is slightly insane. Her boss at the TV station is asking about the missing equipment. Jack Miller is nosing around her house - and her. And the creepy cameraman from work wants to blackmail her into trading sex for his filming skills. 

It will be a miracle if the movie gets made before Davina ends up fired, in jail or in Jack's bed! 

Go to Amazon

Friday, 1 July 2016

why my new book is action romance

I've had a few people ask me why my new book, Reckless, is an action/adventure romance rather than a romantic comedy. The answer is simple: I wanted to write my own action movie! Okay, it's a wee bit more complicated than that, but that's the foundation.

I was watching the Lethal Weapon movies, again, and thought: they really don't make them like that anymore. (Mainly because Mel is genuinely crazy now and Danny really is too old for that shit!) Anyway, those movies have everything--action, suspense, emotion, witty banter, stupid humor and a great relationship between the partners--and I thought, what would make it even more appealing to me? The answer came fast--if the partners fell in love. (Not Danny and Mel, because--ew!) No, I wanted a respected, experienced Hero and a mad as a hatter Heroine who had to work together and fell in love along the way. Basically, Lethal Weapon with sex. And that's when Reckless was born.

I'm a bit of an action movie addict. My favorite movie of all time is Die Hard. The Lethal Weapon movies come a close second. Don't even get me started on Indiana Jones 3 - anything with action, adventure, exotic locations, mythology and Sean Connery is going to get me excited. And that's why I started this new series, I wanted to get my characters out there into exotic locations, doing wild things and fighting baddies. I wanted to write hot sex scenes in dramatic locations. I wanted to have my characters fight for their lives. And I wanted to blow stuff up.

So, although the first book in the Benson's Boys series revolves around the new office in London, the other books in the series could take place anywhere in the world. In fact, if you read Reckless, you'll find out exactly where book 2 is going to be set and who will star in it. I'm not giving it away here! I will give you a hint though - the next in series revolves around two favorite minor characters from the Invertary books. (And no, it's not Betty!)

The new London office of Benson Security hasn’t even opened its doors yet and already it’s neck deep in its first case… 

If the mission doesn’t kill him, his sexy partner just might. 

Dimitri Raast and Megan Donaldson have a common enemy—the head of an organisation that specialises in human trafficking and sexual slavery. They have similar motivation—Dimitri’s sister was taken by the organisation, and Megan’s sister is threatened by it. They have the same goal—eliminate their enemy and save their sisters. Given they have so much in common, you would think working together would be a piece of cake. 

You would be wrong. 

While Dimitri brings skills and experience from years as a US Army Ranger to their partnership, Megan brings a background in failed career choices and an ability to cause trouble wherever she goes. Yet, even with so much at stake, Dimitri can’t resist Megan’s particular brand of crazy. She’s wild, she’s sexy and she’s fearless. An irresistible combination for a man who lives his life completely in control. Now, after almost a year with one all-consuming focus, Dimitri finds himself torn between rescuing his sister and protecting the woman he wants - from herself.
Before she gets them both killed. 

Thursday, 23 June 2016

a winter epidemic

It's winter here in New Zealand and for the past two weeks my family has been suffering through winter colds.

First my husband, the nurse, came home from hospital with a slight fever and a tickle in his throat. He declared he was dying. Possibly with pneumonia, although it could have been bronchitis (the deadly kind). He coughed all over the house - those huge, dramatic, hacking coughs that prove a person is genuinely, seriously ill. Then he took to bed - armed with his tablet computer, because although dying, he still had to take part in a war in Clash of Clans.

Next to become ill was my eleven year old. She came home from school with a runny nose. She told me the world hated her and burst into tears. Apparently her illness could only treated with copious amounts of TV and ice cream. It was obvious by then that she had the same illness as my husband and I began to worry that I might have the beginnings of an epidemic on my hands. Going by their symptoms and declared level of unwellness (is that even a word?) I thought we might be dealing with Ebola, or the Bubonic plague. I watched my six year old carefully for symptoms, but apart from half a day sneezing, she seemed fine. I even asked her if she was dying, just to make sure. She asked me if I was nuts.

I, of course, stepped right into my role as nurse without one word of complaint. (Insert laugh here.) I made daily pots of chicken soup, fed everyone garlic bread with every meal, stocked the fridge with fresh fruit smoothies and dished out cold medication at the slightest complaint. I was patiently silent through nights of hacking coughs, moans, sneezes and thumping of chests. (Yeah, I don't know why my husband thumps his chest when he's sick either. Perhaps it's a medical technique he learned at nursing college.) I didn't say a word when they reached the stage where they were too sick to leave the house (apparently) but too well to stay in bed, so they found other ways to occupy themselves. My husband spent his time vacuuming. Hours and hours of vacuuming, in a zombie-like state, over the same section of carpet. My daughter spent her days wearing pajamas and baking cakes that no one wanted to eat because she coughed all over them. I spent those days tidying the kitchen and gently suggesting that the carpet was clean already.

Now everyone is back at work and school. The house is quiet once again. There are no tissues scattered over the floors and we've stopped stinking of garlic.

And I have a cold.

I'd just like to state for the record, that I am not dying. I don't need to go to bed. And I have no urge to vacuum. But I wouldn't say no if someone would make me chicken soup!

EDIT: I take it all back! All the sarcasm I've written above, I take it back. I now realize the cold everyone was suffering was actually flu - they weren't just being huge drama queens. (for once!) I know this because, I'm pretty sure there are two hundred tiny invisible elves attacking my body with teeny hammers. I will never make fun of my sick family ever again. Honest. (Well, my kids anyway. My husband I need to deal with on a case by case basis.) In the meantime, I'm going back to my sick bed - before the urge to vacuum strikes...