Dreaming of Unicorns

To celebrate the release of my latest paranormal romance, Fantastical Island (99c for a short time, FREE in Kindle Unlimited), I’m offering a $100 Amazon (.com) giftcard for one lucky winner. For your chance to win, simply comment on this post with the name of the mythological creature you’d like to meet. It can be something sexy like a werewolf (well, I think they’re sexy) or unique like a baku (there’s a baku in Fantastical Island). Have fun!

Random.org will be used to select a winner. The contest runs February 21-28, 2017. Good luck!

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Someone is hunting the fantastical creatures of Catalina Island.

When a magical amulet gives marine biologist Naomi Twain the power to see through glamours it plunges her into a world of danger and intrigue. Fantastical creatures are everywhere, but hidden, on Catalina Island—and someone is hunting them, putting at risk a unique, magical ecosystem.

Corey Madrigal is bathing a behemi, a flying miniature pig, when Naomi crashes into his life. With a natural talent for seeing through glamours, he feels a responsibility to the creatures of his island home, creatures who were the friends of his childhood. Now, he’s a Hollywood special effects artist, and he’s going to be an amazing ally for Naomi in her quest to capture the hunters of the island’s fantastical creatures.

But the hunters have their own agenda.

And then, there’s the ghost…

Intense danger, wild storms, and passionate loyalties put to the test. Fantastical Island is a stand-alone adventure in the Old School series.

Fantastical Island is 99c for a short time, or FREE to read in Kindle Unlimited. Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/Fantastical-Island-Old-School-Book-ebook/dp/B01N56RZ7Z/

Good luck in the contest! I’m genuinely curious which fantastical creatures people want to meet.

Happy Valentine’s Day – Celebrating that Life is Good

I write romance novels. When I tell people that, especially guys, they’re a bit stuck for something to say. Over the years, their discomfort has prompted me to think about what I write and why. At the heart of it is something simple and powerful, and true to all storytelling. I write about relationships.

We exist in a web of relationships. Some are casual. A few are intense. Some are destructive. Others are life-affirming and supportive.

In a romance novel, the focus is on the romantic-love relationship. How do people fall in love? Why do they fall in love? How do they negotiate the highs and lows of building a relationship? Will they run? Will they open up? And in a romance novel we all know that they HAVE to open up for the relationship to grow. In a novel, great risk brings great reward.

On Valentine’s Day, as in a romance novel, the focus is on the romantic-love relationship, but there are so many other relationships that we participate in that we ought to celebrate. In a novel, those are the relationships that an author uses to reveal aspects of the hero or heroine. How does he or she treat other people? How do they let other people treat them? How do they see themselves? We reveal ourselves in our relationships.

Every relationship contributes to whether our day is good or dull.

So it’s not sexy, and it’s not red roses and and chocolate, but this Valentine’s Day I’m going to focus just a little more on being kind to people. Every relationship glows a bit when kindness is added.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

One More Week till Fantastical Island Releases!

I’m so excited. Publishing a new book is fun! Stressful and rollercoaster-ish, but absolutely wonderful. If you want to pre-order Fantastical Island so it appears magically on your kindle next Tuesday, the link is:  https://www.amazon.com/Fantastical-Island-Old-School-Book-ebook/dp/B01N56RZ7Z/

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Kindle Unlimited Discoveries

kindle unlimited, fantasyDragon Trials by Ava Richardson launched an enjoyable old style fantasy quest trilogy.

kindle unlimited, mystery,Whereas Mary Burton wrote a scary thriller of the kind I remember from the 1990s. The Shark had a neat twist at the end.

And just out today (I wonder if author CE Wilson chose Valentine’s Day especially) is a new young adult dystopian romance, Cruel and Unusual.

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Why Do We Write Romance Novels

Elizabeth Reid Boyd is a good friend and a clever, insightful author. She has a dual identity: academic by day, romance author by night. For Valentine’s Day she was invited to write on romance fiction, and has done so wittily on the contradictions and complexity of juggling her two identities. Actually, I think she did something more. I think her article, To The Mattresses: A Defence of Romance Fiction, reveals the satisfaction romance writing gives exactly because, unlike what its critics might claim, it doesn’t shy away from big issues.

When we tell a story, we share with each other the possibilities open to us all.

Free Books & Neighbourhood Musings

So many books today!

Free Books – Nearly 70 Free Romance Books on Instafreebie

With thanks to JL Hendricks for organising this, here are nearly seventy romance novels and novellas free to download from Instafreebie. Lots of different romance subgenres and authors. Promotion ends February 15.

Free New Releases from Me!

kindle unlimited, paranormal romance, jenny schwartzActually, Embracing the Ghoul isn’t exactly a new release. It was part of my Dare collection, but that’s no longer available, so I’ve released Embracing the Ghoul as a separate paranormal novella. It’s free February 8-12.

Embracing the Ghoul buy link:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N9ZQDAU/

I’ve done the same thing with Denying the Dragon, but it’s not free till tomorrow – so please wait to nab it! Denying the Dragon is free February 9-13.

Denying the Dragon buy link:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MUW1KB4/

And for those of you who don’t know that I once wrote contemporary romance, my Valentine’s Day sweet western short romance, Kiss Me, Quick, is free February 10-14.

Kiss Me, Quick buy link:  https://www.amazon.com/Kiss-Me-Quick-Cowboy-Valentines-ebook/dp/B00SF98CEE/

I know these staggered dates are confusing, so please, please, check that the books are free before you grab them. Thanks!

February Fantasy Fair – Free & 99c Books

With thanks to the Book Nymph, you can find some gorgeous free and 99c books at her Fantasy Fair.

Do You Know Your Neighbours?

As much as I get annoyed with my neighbours when they’re busy being noisy (and wow are they noisy), they’re good people. It was an article by a respected Australian social analyst that got me thinking about neighbourhoods. Hugh McKay wrote of the need to sustain our communities “by responding to ugliness with beauty; by responding to treachery with integrity; by responding to lies with truth.” My neighbours aren’t my friends (we’re all very busy and very different), but I hadn’t really considered how lucky I am that I can trust that if I had a problem, any of them would help. I’m talking of my immediate neighbours, but if I go wider, the story is still the same.

Like the couple walking past who found my neighbour’s brother’s pup that had escaped her temporary home (puppies are tricky that way) and was wandering on the road. Poor Nikki didn’t know what to do with her freedom. The couple rescued her, door knocked (we were home, our neighbour wasn’t) and handed over the pup only after checking that she obviously knew us and that we were more than okay to babysit Miss Trouble.

People have an instinct to build community, whether in real life or online, and I think we sometimes take the power of that instinct for granted. I’m a bit shy, but I like knowing that I exist in a web of connections. Sometimes we contribute to community building with a gift, and sometimes by making a request. It humbles me to consider how often a simple request for help is answered with overwhelming generosity.

The media cycle lately has been filled with depressing stories of political fighting, disasters, and all kinds of dramatic and unpleasant happenings. The article by Hugh McKay caught my attention because it argued that the negative stuff oughtn’t to overwhelm us and that in small but vital ways we can build a better world.

Kindle Unlimited Discoveries

I’ve had an absolute blast with the Union State science fiction series by E.M. Foner. It is light-hearted, thoughtful and funny.

 

Work-in-Progress: Storm Road

Just to tantalise you, here’s an excerpt from Storm Road which I’m working on now for an April release.

paranormal romance, kindle unlimited,

“I need the police—or something.” The man shook his head, not in negation, but as if dazed.
Shock? Beulah tried to assess her visitor and whatever problem brought him to her door.
His blue eyes were narrowed against the sudden brightness of the light and his lips thin and lacking colour; tight with pain or intense emotion.
“Are you alone?” she asked.
His eyes flared wide. “God. I hope so.” His head turned north east, back up the mountain. “I think I lost him…it.”
It? An eerie word. Beulah tried to ignore the shiver that slid down her spine. There were bears in the mountains. Maybe the man had been chased by a bear? There was dirt on his face and hands, but she couldn’t see any blood. He’d fallen at some point.
He didn’t look like a man who’d panic at the sight of a bear. In fact, he didn’t look panicked now. He looked determined—and afraid. That was the reason for the sense of oddness he gave off. Terror had an element of shock to it. The man was dazed by his own fear, but controlling it.
He spoke quietly, reasonably. “I can’t get a signal on my phone.” He looked beyond her to the old phone fixed to the wall near the fridge. “May I—” He cut himself off, looking around more carefully. Evidently noting the lack of evidence of anyone else present in the small cabin. He released the doorframe and stepped back a pace. “I can stay out here if you’ll phone the police.”
“To report what?” she queried. “What has happened?”

It’s only two weeks till Fantastical Island releases. Pre-order your copy for only 99c. Buy link: https://www.amazon.com/Fantastical-Island-Old-School-Book-ebook/dp/B01N56RZ7Z/

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Where Would You Travel?

If you could travel anywhere through time and space, where would you go?

I’m absolutely loving the research for my current manuscript, “Storm Road”. The Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina are drop dead gorgeous. I use Google Maps and travel north from Asheville, just ambling around digitally and looking at things. Although the town of Hot Springs won’t be in the book, I’d love to visit it in real life. Real life is even stranger than anything I could dream up. There are legends of Moon-eyed People in the region and gorgeous wildlife.

Unrelated to my writing, I’d really love to visit Poland and every single one of its castles. My mum’s side of the family are Polish. Granted we were more likely to be the serfs digging in the field or building the castle walls than swanking around in fine clothes inside, but I’d still love to visit. While I was there, I’d love to beachcomb for amber.

With Fantastical Island out in less than a month, and with it being summer here, I’m in quite a beach-y frame of mind. Blue skies and sea, white sand, dry dune grass. As much as I love to dream of other places, home looks beautiful, too. Plus, Perth, Australia, has a similar climate to California — not that we have the bison of Catalina Island (which is where Fantastical Island is set). I feel like visiting California would be a bit like coming home.

Travel Books in Kindle Unlimited

I haven’t read these yet – so this list is as much for me as for you. A good travel book is wonderful. Do you have a favourite, or even a favourite travel author?

AWOL on the Appalachian Trail, David Miller

Kamikaze Kangaroos, Tony James Slater

Things Can Only Get Feta, Marjory McGinn

The Journey in Between, Keith Foskett

At the Captain’s Table, Hugh Thomson

Ashley’s Amish Adventures, Ashley Emma

Time Travel

I really don’t like time travel books. It’s a personal quirk that I can’t explain. But if you could visit any era, which would it be, and would you travel the globe or stay in one place?

I think that if I did have one chance at visiting the past, I’d stay in Australia. I would like to live here as people did before Europeans and their ideas arrived. I read Bill Gammage’s excellent book, The Biggest Estate on Earth, and it helped me to see my Australian home differently, to read the landscape differently. I started to overlay my memories with imagining how the land may have looked before European style houses and farms claimed it.

So if I could time travel, I would stay where I am, but peek into the lives, the world view, of those who lived here and loved this place before me.

PS Have you ever eaten youlks? I haven’t.

Phoenix Blood

It’s been a month since Phoenix Blood released. It’s still 99c (or free to borrow in Kindle Unlimited) and it’s gaining some heart-warming reviews. I’m so relieved that Marcus, my wounded hero, works as a character. He’s strong. He survived his trials of fire and agony, but he’s also truly able to love. I’m so proud to have written this guy. As for Sadie – she is his perfect match.

kindle unlimited

January Book Fair – Cheap Romance Novels, Jan 28-31

The January Book Fair almost didn’t make it into January, but it’s here and there are 100 books to choose from. I’m giddy with decisions, decisions. Or I could have them all – those I haven’t read! The sale ends, January 31. Until then, all the books are $0.99 – $2.99. Go wild!

romance, kindle unlimited,

It is really hot here. We’re waiting for the weather to break – hoping it does – with a giant thunderstorm. I think I’ll dance in the rain when it does 🙂 Until then, air con and a new book (or three) sound perfect for this very lazy Sunday.

Have a fabulous weekend!