Return to Prior Park – book 3 of the Belleville family saga

OK a quick para about my life in the past few months.

I’ve given up my day job – well almost. I was publisher of Australian Defence Magazine which I started back in 1993. 25 years on it was time for me to wave goodbye (almost). Still offering advice and insight to the new management team (when asked) and keeping that very unsexy part of magazine publishing – the subscription list – up to date. In all the marketing talk I hear, I never read of anyone talking about the grass roots stuff that contributes so much to success …. attention to the smallest detail.

Why did I start a Defence magazine in Australia – that is now the most successful magazine of its type in the market? It seemed like a good idea at the time and I had a lot of luck along the way.

2018 has seen a big change in my life. Do I miss the grind of magazine publishing? Not at all.

My husband I have sold our house, moved to a retirement resort (pictured) on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast (which lives up to its name by the way). In deep winter it’s around 7 degrees in the morning warming to 23 degrees C during the day, with bright blue skies most days. We are about 10-12 minutes from the beach. The resort facilities include a cinema and a substantial library and the usual stuff like tennis courts and gyms and pools and yes, even vegetable gardens.

I’ve handed around copies of my book and just now ran into a friend who had just read them and of course wants book no.3 …. so rest assured I’m getting motoring on that.

By the way, mainstream publishers say FAMILY SAGAS ARE DEAD – no one wants to read them. That is not my experience!!!

Return to Prior Park is coming …. soon. To follow on from The House of Secrets: Julia’s Story and To Love, Honour and Betray.

Where to for the Belleville family in book 3 and most of all Julia Belleville. I’ll say no more now – I don’t want to spoil the story for those who will read the trilogy for the first time when book 3 is published. But consider the themes – the men may appear to play important roles but it is the women whose lives give richness and depth to the Belleville story. MORE SOON, I promise.

#romance #rural romance #J Mary Masters #Belleville family #Julia and Philippe

Thanks, Gatton, Laidley … and Ipswich #LitChat

One of the pleasures of an author’s life is to have the opportunity to speak about their work and I’ve been doing that lately, at Gatton and Laidley Libraries in the Lockyer Valley on Friday 3rd November and now today at the Indie Author Expo at Ipswich Central Library.

What a great resource the public library network is in Australia …. I invariably find the libraries are run by outstanding, dedicated professionals who are conscious of serving their reading public. Top marks from me.

If you look closely at my new banner you’ll see the prominent position still to be filled in my Belleville trilogy – that’s the book that will truly make it a trilogy. So I will have to get my head down very soon to finish the writing.

I so enjoy immersing myself in the lives of the Belleville family – there is still much to write about. They are real to me and, I hope, real to my readers ….. #realwomen



Gatton, Laidley, Ipswich & Nowra – that’s where you’ll find me in November

The House of Secrets: Julia’s Story and To Love, Honour & Betray – book 2 of the Belleville family saga.

OK so I confess – I’m still struggling to balance my day job and my life as an author but November will be a busy month for Library visits in Queensland and NSW.

If you are interested in hearing me talk about my writing, the era in which my books are set, the social settings that shape the stories and how the story has developed, I look forward to meeting you at one of these events.

Forthcoming appearances

November 3rd
Gatton Library    10.00am
Laidley Library     1.30pm
Further information:

November 11th
Ipswich Library    10.00am-1.00pm  Indie Author Expo
Further information:

November 24th
Nowra Library    11.30am
Further information:     click here

Criterion Hotel – this is where all the trouble started for Julia Belleville

It isn’t fiction – the Criterion Hotel, Rockhampton – owners: Megan and Ryan Turnbull (Image courtesy The Rockhampton Morning Bulletin)

Readers of my two books The House of Secrets: Julia’s Story and To Love, Honour & Betray – will know this hotel – The Criterion Hotel in Rockhampton – because it featured prominently in both books.

Yes, that’s right. It wasn’t a figment of my imagination although it’s internal layout might have been fictionalised.


American troops did commandeer the hotel as an officer billet in WWII and it was the location for many social events – my elder sister Deidre Hofmann​’s engagement party was held here (probably late 1962).

If you’re ever visiting Rockhampton, you should check it out. It’s well located overlooking the Fitzroy River – and there’s another name from my books.

Other local landmarks that were mentioned include the Rockhampton General Hospital (up on the hill). The city name was fictionalised.

While all the characters are purely fictional, I chose to set my books in a setting I knew well – even though I left the area as a teenager.

Check out the book details at this link –


To Love, Honour & Betray …. talking about it at EACH

Judy 3

There is so much in my first two novels that can generate discussion among women of a certain age. A couple of weeks ago I gave a talk at the local EACH group.

The local Wynnum EACH office is located in the same building as my office so it was an easy presentation to make.

It’s only through my office location so close by that I became aware of EACH’s activities – and this is direct from their website –

EACH provides an integrated range of health, disability, counselling and community mental health services across Australia.

I’ve donated my books to their small library. Part of their charter is to provide social interaction for the lonely and that’s a fine ambition.

With my first book beginning in 1942, I was able to talk with women who lived the experience of war, lived the experience of a more restricted moral code and remembered not only the threat of war but the fashions at a time when they were young women and the world that they inhabited.

It brought out their own stories and I was delighted to listen to them.



Talking about ‘To Love, Honour & Betray’


I always find there is a slight problem in talking about a new book that no one has yet read …. because I don’t want to give away the key dramatic moments in the book, so I am left talking about the characters (those who share some characteristics with some of my late family members) and the things I’ve learned along the way that have influenced some of the small details in the book.

Small intimate groups are best. Here is a group I met with a week or so ago. All these women are very keen readers and appreciated the opportunity to ask me some questions about writing and how I go about it.

For every writer, writing is such an individual activity that no two people will ever do it quite the same way or plan their books in quite the same manner.

My trick is to really place myself in the scene, to imagine it as if it was a TV show. I imagine the characters, their discussions and their body language.

Now the next decision is about book 3. How far further along do I take the Belleville family? Stay tuned.

The new book is ‘To Love, Honour & Betray’, ISBN 9780994327611 (paperback) on Amazon or via local book stores or online and available in ebook format from the usual sources.



Download a FREE KINDLE SAMPLE of my new book

“To Love, Honour & Betray: Book 2 of the Belleville Family trilogy (Belleville family saga)” by J Mary Masters

If you search this on the Kindle store, you can download a sampler for FREE or buy now for A$3.99.

First feedback from a reader: she really enjoyed it but wants to know when book 3 will be published? Back to the keyboard, it seems …..

Writing engaging fiction for women readers.

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