Kisses in your Heart blog tour #day4

I’m thrilled to be part of this blog tour. I love picture books and enjoy giving them as gifts to family and friends who have little people to share them with. As my granddaughters have grown older, I’ve shared the joy of reading books and will continue to do so.

#kissesinyourheart #blogtour #booksontourpr #day 4

Please, follow this blog tour and enter the competition to win your own copy of this gorgeous book.


Book Review by Jill Smith©Jun19

Title: Kisses in your Heart

Author: Sonia Bestulic

Illustrator: Nancy Bevington

Publisher: Big Sky Publishing


My review

This is a beautiful rhyming picture book. I am in awe of anyone who can create rhyme to create a story that is a song. The emotions generated are deep and soulful. Every mother wants to give their babies the knowledge of their inherent love. A love that carries through the days the child faces, through times when they are alone or unsure in a new situation.

Sonia writes from the deep connection with her children giving them the knowledge of her love being with them when they face daily challenges. The words are delightful and emotive. This book will be one for mums, dads, and grandparents will read many times to the little people in their lives. ‘Kisses in your Heart’ will leave a positive message of empowerment in the hearts of those children as they grow older.

From Sonia’s blog:

I love writing, speaking and presenting, having written numerous articles and delivered countless education events nationally and internationally, to empower parents, educators and business owners to learn more, grow more and enjoy what life has to offer.

As a Children’s Author, I have the privilege of sharing my creative expression, which entwines my extensive knowledge as a Speech & Language Pathologist, and my personal motherhood experiences.

With my deep passion and commitment to self-development, positive psychology and wellbeing; for people of all ages, I hope to share inspiration and perhaps plant a seed of thought, to strengthen your connection with you, your family and friends, and your community.

The illustrator Nancy Bevington was selected by Big Sky Publishing. Sonia and Nancy collaborated to create this masterful story. The illustrations enhance the words delivered in a heartfelt way.






Would you like to win a copy of ‘Kisses in your Heart?’

Let this book fill your heart with love and joy… 

Plenty of loving kisses will melt into your heart once you read Kisses in Your Heart with your loved ones. So, follow your instincts and reach out for a chance to WIN your own copy of this beautiful story by Sonia Bestulic and Nancy Bevington, courtesy of Big Sky Publishing.

All you need to do is answer, ‘Who or what places kisses in your heart?’

Good luck! 🙂

*Open to Australian residents only. To enter, fill out the form below. Winner will be notified via email and/or Facebook and will be required to provide an Australian postal address. Special thanks – prize courtesy of Big Sky Publishing.

The winning entrant will be selected at random. No further correspondence will be entered into. Winner must reply within 7 days for their prize to remain valid, otherwise, the prize will be forfeited.

Closes midnight AEST Sunday, June 16, 2019.



Instagram: Bestulic_sonia


My belief is that communication is at the heart of connection, to our self, to others and the global community, and that the quality of these relationships is fundamental to our wellbeing.  – Sonia Bestulic

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Kisses in your Heart Blog Tour coming up…

I’m delighted to be part of the blog tour to launch ‘Kisses in your Heart’ a beautiful picture book by Sonia Bestulic and illustrated by Nancy Bevington.

 A bright beautiful and empowering story to inspire little people to use the strength of love within.

It’s all happening next week.

Stay tuned…

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The Ten Penners 2019

Last Saturday I joined my fellow members of The Ten Penners at Broadbeach Library to talk about writing. Me winning a competition with the result of a new anthology being produced with my story in it. Yay!

We shared some stories and enjoyed seeing Jennifer’s illustrations. Unfortunately, Sharron left just before we took this picture and Michelle was home with a cold. However, this is proof that after many years of the group being eight or less it is now really ten!

Always a joy to talk about writing stories for children. – Jill

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The Ivory Rose by Belinda Murrell reviewed by Jill Smith

the ivory rose cover

Book Review by Jill Smith©May19

Title: The Ivory ROSE

Author: Belinda Murrell

Publisher: Random House Australia

Jemma just started her first babysitting job in one of Sydney’s iconic homes known as the Witches’ Houses. The house is old and run down and Sammy is a fun loving energetic girl. Her mum Maggie, is an artist and single mum, needing Sammy to be occupied for a few hours each afternoon so she can finish her work for an exhibition.

The rambling house is a bit creepy and Sammy’s cat screeches and spits when the air in her room gets cold. Mater of factly Sammy tells Jemma that her friend Georgie is in the room. The chair in the corner of the room begins to rock. At first, Jemma thinks the little girl has an overactive imagination then other strange things happen.

At home her parents are always busy and hardly there for Jemma, so she spends a lot of time at her best friend Ruby’s place. It’s untidy and chaotic but filled with love and laughter. Jemma’s home is a show home of neatness and she feels detached. It’s nearly her birthday and she’s longing to just hang out, having a sleepover, painting their nails and chatting. Her mum has other ideas.belinda murrell

Jemma looks up the history of the Witches Houses of Annandale on her laptop. She finds out a lot about the area and about Rosethorn house. She read that a little girl Georgiana Rose Thornton had been murdered in the house. Was it a coincidence that Sammy called her invisible friend Georgie?

The next Monday Jemma rushed to Sammy’s after school. She found more things had been unpacked. Jemma suggested she and Sammy read and then play hide and seek. She looked for Sammy and found her frightened and hiding in a secret cupboard. Jemma saw a flash of the past when a pin stuck in her hand. Once they were back in Sammy’s room Jemma calmed the little girl down, she put the dainty pendant carved from creamy ivory in the shape of a perfect rose on the dressing table, an ivory rose. But who was Aggie? Why did Sammy think someone was trying to hurt Georgie?

Sammy left to go downstairs and Jemma couldn’t resist putting on the pendant. Shadow the cat spat again and the room was cold. Jemma felt that someone was with her in the room. Someone wanting to hurt her. The history of the Witches’ Houses in Johnston Street linking Rosethorne house from the century before Jemma’s time to her own suddenly became very real.

This is an intriguing time slip story and one with a very satisfying end.

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A Most Magical Girl by Karen Foxlee reviewed by Jill Smith

a most magical girl alternate cover

Book Review by Jill Smith©May19

Title: A Most Magical Girl

Author: Karen Foxlee

Publisher: Piccadilly Press

Annabel Grey has been bought up in a privileged home, with an elegant mother and Miss Finch’s Little Blue Book (1855) to guide her. Such advice as – ‘A young lady does not yawn or sigh but listens attentively to any lesson a wise anecdote an elder may offer.’ This may not be helpful when meeting Miss Henrietta Vine, her Great Aunt, for the first time. Especially when her Aunt tells her that she is a witch and must learn magic.

When Mr Angel arrives at the magic shop he gives Annabel a message to pass on to her Great Aunts. Then she meets Aunt Estella and is told that she is – ‘A most magical girl’. Annabel must travel to Under London to save the good magic in the world. Miss Henrietta is not as sure as her sister that Annabel is ‘A most magical girl.’ The threat is close as Mr Angel has already bought a dark fog down over the city and is raising shadowlings to do his bidding. Karen-Foxlee2

Annabel is given a broomstick, a wand and a reluctant travelling companion. Kitty is also magical and not many are like her in the world. She can talk to fairies. She can run errands from Henrietta and Estella Vine’s magic shop to the Wizards and all those ageing members of The Great & Benevolent Magical Society. Kitty is wild and sleeps where she will at night. She knows all of London and listens to the trees speak. One day she’ll cough up her heart light and the body she is in will vanish.

Annabel is a plain Mayfair girl when she arrives at her Aunts. She misses her mother, who left her to go abroad. Her mother told her that her father had been in the navy and died at sea. How could she take on such a dangerous journey when she doesn’t know if there is any magic in her at all. She listens to her Aunt’s advice, be brave, be good. She learns about true friendship. She learns about her father The Great Geraldo Grey and that her elegant mother is very magical and told her lies about her father.

A most magical girl cover Karen FoxleeI loved the way the ending tied up loose ends and left a smile in your mind and heart. I think this book gives children hope, when they have self-doubts, when they don’t think themselves strong enough to fight for what they must, the message here is – Be good. Be Brave.

This whole book is delightfully written. Every word conjures up images of conflict and insecurities. I love this book. It’s a keeper, I gave it Five Stars on Goodreads, make you happy in your heart keeper.

I thought at first the dark side of the book might be too much for young adults, knowing some start very young and others may not be emotionally ready, however, I changed my mind. Be good. Be brave. Treasure it.


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My Life So Far by Jane Fonda reviewed by Jill Smith

my life so far Jane Fonda coverBook Review by Jill Smith©May19alternate Jane Fonda My Life So Far cover

Title: My Life So Far, Jane Fonda

Author: Jane Fonda

Publisher: Ebury Press, London

Jane Fonda has written this book in Acts. Like everything in her life, she sees as segments divided as a play or theatre. She writes articulately and the very first scene brings you into the moment of solitude and desperation she felt as a child. Peeking out from a cardboard box she was hiding in to snatch glimpses of her Henry_Fonda_and_Jane_-_1943mother further along on the verandah of their home. Her mother was pinning butterflies and Jane was in her box rubbing saddle soap into her half sister’s Pan’s saddle.

Her father was her idol and he loved him dearly. The photos of him are scattered throughout the book. His influence on her life from the start was powerful. Jane looked up to him, he looked anywhere else. Her mother was a troubled woman who was sent away. Then she committed suicide and Jane blamed her for all the wrongs in her world. Her father called her fat and Jane spent much of her youth trying to please him. If she could please him, she would make it better.486864.JPG

Henry Fonda remarried and Susan went from being her father’s mistress to her stepmother. She was loving and kind and good to Jane. Her father would replace Susan when she left him. Jane was very confused and hurt. She ran free as a child, pretending to be a cowboy to be courageous, not feminine. Her life was a series of run wild and free moments. In her teens, she went to Paris to live. The acting was something she didn’t really want to do, but it gave her some direction. She started to live independently with an income.

Jane_Fonda early acting daysIn her mind, her mother had failed her father. She would always put her own thoughts and feelings aside to make it better. To be a complete person she needed to be with a man. Much of the book delves in her marriages and her inadequate role as wife and mother. Of the times she didn’t take control and allowed men to control her.

The first marriage to Vadim, who was like a rock star in his own right in France. She bowed to his every whim. The birth of their daughter Vanessa was not what she’d expected. Vadim was a gambler and a womaniser. It didn’t last.

Then she became an activist and her second husband Tom was already a campaigner. jane fonda and activitst husbandShe learned a great deal about others during this marriage. Her career was on a high with movies like ‘9 to 5’ and ‘Coming Home.’ He was going into politics. They worked together but mentally went separate ways over the years. Then Ted Turner burst into her world after she separated from Tom. He wanted to date her. It was far too early to think about dating another man. She said so. Ted Turner was patient and gave her time. Just the time she gave him. Then he steamrolled into her life. Jane fell in love with the maverick. This time it was Jane realising she had changed and wanted a complete relationship. She made demands of her husband, ones he wasn’t able to meet.

a-dysfunctional-childhoodThis was a challenging read. Jane Fonda is remarkably frank about her dysfunctional childhood family and how the death of her mother shaped her feelings towards men. Her father was her idol but even as she reached out to him when filming ‘On Golden Pond’ their fellow co-star Audrey Hepburn described Hank Fonda as ‘a cold fish’.

Her writing of this memoir was clearly cathartic. It helped her to explain the reasons she needed to be with a man to be complete. Satisfyingly, she discovered in her sixties that jane Fonda bio picthis was no longer true. Now we know there have been a couple more Acts lived in Jane Fonda’s life since the writing of this book when she was in her early sixties. She has continued to forge a life in movies suiting her age and attacking stereotypes of older women. What a wonderful career she continues to have.

There are some books you read that you know will take place in your mind and heart and you’ll look back on as a reference for your own feelings and exploration of the world. This is one such book.


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NF Reads an interview with Jill Smith

I’m delighted to be able to present interview questions by Tony of NF Reads, with me! Here’s the link to this inspiring site.

Interview With Author Jill Smith

Introduce myself

jill profile picI have always been a writer. My first memory of writing was stick figure comic as a seven or eight-year-old. Someone who read it said they liked the story. I put together an Interplanetary Zoo which was quite detailed, and the creatures were way out there. One of my sisters said, ‘that can’t be real’. I said, ‘It’s an Inter-planetary zoo, of course, it can. How do we know what exists out there?’ Right there, I can pinpoint being a science fiction fanatic.


Introduce my books –Adults Science Fiction

Dual Visions front 29.06.17 (2)Dual Visions – Book 1 of The Ancient Aliens Series

Richard Davidson, a seventeen-year-old leaving home. He is abducted and taken to a space station at the other end of the galaxy. There he finds love. He and his new alien cloned partner Davrew return to Earth. Davidson’s family lives anonymously in a small rural community while raising a family. Rakal, a violent alien crash lands on Earth and disrupts their existence. Rakal’s intrusion becomes a blessing when the whole Earth faces a threat from space.

Vashla's World cover July17

Vashla’s World – Book 2 of The Ancient Alien Series

Vashla’s is related to Rakal. She is a sadistic space pirate living on her own planet VaLinta. Rakal has sworn to protect The Davidson’s family and Earth. Gardt Ness is a disgraced space pilot, campaigning to alert authorities on his planet Ghaur, that there is a terrible threat lurking in space, and not to attempt colonisation of other worlds. Orthama is a dead planet with a scientific space station orbiting it. Zorn lived on his mining planet Zamba. He wants to control his cousin Vashla. A chain of events occurs that culminates in a battle between all five worlds.

Children’s short stories and novella’s in collaborative anthologies

ten penners 3 books

The Ten Penners Logo by StarlaFan-tas-tic-al Tales – Thirty-four short stories, novella’s and poems make up this collaborative book written by eight ladies with a theme of magic. My six stories are aimed at eight to twelve-year old’s – My Word, Magical Musical Mervin, Horrible Hilda, The Toothpaste King, The Night Witch, and Goblins in the Grounds. This was released in 2009.


MMM coverMystery, Mayhem & Magic – Thirty-six short stories, novella’s and poems in this collection with a theme of adventure. My contribution to this book was eight short stories and a novella. The short stories – Red Beard’s Treasure Hunt, Trinny’s First Adventure, Trinny’s Prehistoric Adventure, Trinny’s Sky High Adventure, Trinny’s Kindy Playground Adventure, Trinny’s Tiger Island Adventure, Trinny’s Last Adventure, and Horseplay. The novella – The Real Deal. This was launched in 2017.


What inspires your creativity?

ten penners school visit Oct17

I simply love to write. This year I’ve been entering short story competitions. I had done this about twenty years ago with some success and found that the topics and criteria always made me create something quite new. I like to explore characters viewpoints and reactions in situations where their voice might be something foreign to me but believable to the reader.

How do you deal with creative block?

A. I don’t devote regular time to my writing so I’d have to say I write when I can and have never stopped. If I’m not writing my blog or Facebook posts, I’m reading books to review. The books I’ve written have been done when I’ve dedicated myself to doing them.

Dual Visions started way back when I had a young son. My husband asked what I was doing at the ironing board in the laundry with a notebook and pen. I was writing. I had the idea and I had to put in on paper. When my son was in Primary School, I wrote for Burleigh-heads-ss Jilltwo hours every morning before I had to get ready for work. My more recent books have been written during NaNoWriMo when I dedicate November to writing a first draft novel. All the time, these books have characters that are in my mind. When I come to write the story, I need to fit it all together. Often needing a great deal of editing after the basic work is done. A first draft is very much a work in progress. 

What are the biggest mistakes you can make in a book?

A. To think it’s ok without editing, getting it appraised (another person’s take on your story), critiques are invaluable. Then begin the most important work, editing. I’m still learning the craft of honing the basic story into a polished work. I’m better now than I was at the start, but still learning. Never think you know it all, believe in yourself, be persistent and keep going.

Do you have tips on choosing titles?Jill head shot

A. I always start with a working title and in the case of Dual Visions, I found other books with titles like my working title, so I needed something different. It may sound weird, but I woke up in the middle of the night and rushed to write it down. I dreamt the title. Vashla’s World came from the name of the character and the fact that the storyline became a battle for peoples from five different planets to defeat their foe. Short story titles come from the theme or character. I’m never sure if I get it right but it fits with me and that’s the most important thing. Your creation has a unique starting point, even if you don’t arrive at it until you’ve almost completed the first draft.

Jill at beach for blogHow do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?

A. When I started out, I found it very difficult to swallow that someone couldn’t see what I was writing was a complete story. I’ve since learned that a writer doesn’t always see faults in the work, you’re so close to it you can’t see the mistakes. The writing group I belong to critiques and helps give candid feedback. I love reshaping a story that has shortcomings. Again, I’m no expert and happy to admit, I’m still learning this craft. Sometimes, feedback can be surprising and take the story in a totally new direction. I love that.

How has your creation process improved over time?book signing jill julie lindy

A. Well, that’s a good question. I’m sure I’m better at editing. I’ve always been able to come up with ideas and write something, although, I’m my own worst critic. I never think it’s good enough. I don’t feel confident enough to say – that’s it! However, I’d never written for children when I joined The Ten Penners in 2007. Now I love writing children’s stories. My adult stories are romantic, and I may continue to evolve and change directions. That’s the beauty of writing.

What were the best, worst and most surprising things you encountered during the entire process of completing your books?

robyn-and-i-gcw-ll-2016A. The best thing is joining writing groups. Being part of a group of like-minded people who share your enthusiasm. They are great friends, inspiration and critiques from them are invaluable. The worst thing is having to deal with technology. I’m always battling how to convert something to a file or to get organised. I have Scrivener and really need to learn how to use it to simplify my life. A new computer would be a boon too.

Do you tend towards personal satisfaction or aim to serve your readers? Do you balance the two and how?

A. I love to write and have always written the kind of story I enjoy reading. Science Fiction and Fantasy has always been the start. However, having to stretch and change to suit any competition criteria or theme, has always given me the opportunity to try something new.

What role do emotions play in creativity?

A. If you tap into emotions and make the reader feel them, you have created something DV VW proofs May17magical. Emotions that feel raw and really enhance any story.

At one point in Dual Visions, I wrote a scene that was very dramatic. I was carried along with what was happening and could honestly say I didn’t know till I reached its climax if the character I’d created who’d become a central figure in the book, would live or die. The result was satisfying when one reader (a co-worker of mine at the time) came to work and said – Jill how could you do that? The emotional feeling, I had while writing that scene, shone through for the reader.

Do you have any creativity tricks?

granma reading charlie the cheeky spider to maria and heatherA. Just write whenever you can, as much as you can. And read, read, read. Go to writer’s festivals, join writing groups (but don’t get hung up on being on the committee), find time to be kind to yourself. Writing is a solitary and often insecure process. I need this advice myself – believe in yourself. Sign yourself as an author and believe it.

What are your plans for future books?

A. I’ve written the third book in the Ancient Alien Series, working title Travellers, that needs editorial work. I’ve also written a Young Adults manuscript, working title Microworld and it’s follow-on Microworld Undersea, both science fiction written during NaNoWriMo. I read YA’s books all the time and find them the best reads. Once these are edited, I’ll be getting it out in the wide world too, more than likely as one volume. I’d love to have a publisher take up my books. I’d also love to be paid for writing books and book reviews. Why should passion a pauper makes?

Tell us some quirky facts about yourself?cropped-jill-at-beach-for-blog.jpg

My full name is Barbara Jill Smith, but I have always preferred Jill, (DON’T call me Barbara!) I grew up in Victoria in Australia, the colder southern states. I hated getting chilblains (like frostbite) on my fingers, which I did every year in Victoria. When our son was young, I moved north with my family to warmer climes in Queensland, twenty-seven years ago. I have mad hair, that I’ve always tried in vain to tame. There are times it resembles a Witches’ broom. I believe in ‘the glass half full’ view of the world and that humankind will overcome tremendous hurdles to create a wonderful future. Yes, I’m a Trekkie at heart and the future where people strive to be good to the planet and themselves is one, I aspire to. I smiled when going to the doctors for my flu injection the nurse took my temperature with a little white hover on your forehead device. (very Star Trek)

Jill Smith
Aussie Author


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