The masked audience

After what seemed like a year of lockdowns, what a treat it was to witness a live show at the intimate Ensemble Theatre in Kirribilli, Sydney!

In the front row, we were face to face with Australian musical theatre greats Todd McKenney and Nancye Hayes AM.

They were in fine shape in their black sparkles, belting out a number here and there.

As we wore masks for COVID safety, Todd remarked how difficult it was to perform with no idea whether the masks hid smiles or frowns.

He and Nancye shared stories about the highs and lows of performing in live theatre. Despite Todd’s rich years of experience, he confessed to stage fright the previous night, at his first show in 18 months.

They said cast and crew were never entirely sure what parts of a show were most appreciated by an audience; that each individual may take out something uniquely significant.

These entertainers’ bravery, generosity and big hearts were on show like never before, as former playhouse director Sandra Bates said afterwards.

Thank you

Writers are not unlike actors. We’re uncertain how our works will be received. We too perform for a masked audience!

As Todd and Nancye spoke with warmth and affection about the comments from strangers they’d received over the years, I thank those of you who have shared with me your encouraging feedback. You humble me. You are truly my VIPs. 

One dear reader pointed out to me thirty-three typos in House of Spades! My apologies! These have now been fixed.

I particularly thank poet, lyricist, feature writer, fiction writer and photographer Cindy L Spear for her extensive review of Book 3, House of Spades.

House of Spades of the House of Jewels series (Volume 3) by Amber Jakeman exudes fire, warmth and earthy passion,” she writes.

“This time the story focuses on Stella’s mother, Flame, and the enchanting Byron Bay hinterland. The reader is whisked away to a calming country setting where birds are chirping among the heavy foliage. But the opening scene is dampened (pardon the pun) when Flame is caught in a heavy downpour…”

A number of other wonderful reviews of my books have popped up on Goodreads, a platform for readers and writers which I’m still exploring. If you’d like to follow me there, here is a link to my Goodreads author profile.

Looking for free and affordable ‘clean’ reads?

If you share this link with your friends, they will be able to download a free copy of House of Diamonds! You might find something else you enjoy there.

You’re also welcome to download this fun free read (The Changes Club Prequel, “a clean billionaire romance” by fellow sweet romance writer Amber M Adams). It’s unclear whether the billionaires are clean or the romance is clean. Probably all of the above!

House of Clubs reveals Cynthia’s story

One of the great surprises of writing fiction is how characters take up their places in the writer’s mind as if they’re real people.

Possibilities become plausibilities. Before we invite readers to take a look, the character invites the writer to take them seriously. The question becomes not “did this happen?” but “could this happen?”

So, the House of Jewels series is becoming a saga! I love the liberty to expand on minor characters and subplots, to tease out relationships, events, conflict and consequences in greater depth.

In House of Clubs, I am thrilled to bring you the story of Cynthia, as we ponder …

Who holds the key to her heart?

When stylish Australian widow Cynthia Huntley moves to France and begins to renovate a centuries-old property, she and handsome handyman Émile tussle over a “perfect” chandelier.

Cynthia lets the mysterious yet gallant Émile into her house, but will she let him into her heart? 

What is Émile fleeing? And what is worth seeking in life? 

As winter closes in, will Cynthia abandon her French adventure? Or can she and Émile claim love again later in life—together?

House of Clubs is volume four of my House of Jewels series of international heartwarmers featuring the extended Huntley family of jewellers. The books may be read in any order.


Buy House of Clubs paperback (US) Buy House of Clubs paperback (Australia) Buy House of Clubs (e-book)

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Happy reading!

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