Frangipani Ready Week

frangipani

Are you ready? Frangipani week is about to hit and it’s about as subtle as the frangipani’s scent — which is to say, not at all!

Everything looks great. There’s not a cloud in the sky. Huge sigh of relief. But…

Everything looks great because you’ve been sticking your head in the sand about stuff.

ostrich

Frangipani Week demands that you look up, look around and adjust your reality. Things are often not as bad as you think. But the flipside of that is that sometimes what you’ve settled for is not as good as you’re kidding yourself it is.

Look at it a different way: there’s some beach sand clinging between your toes. It’s not bad. It’s even a good memory of a recent visit to the beach. But if you wash it off, it won’t rub and irritate you. Nor will you track it through the house. In other words, let go of the small irritations so you can move forward.

Frangipani Week is a great time to shake loose some of that sand.

The Curious Author Mind

cute kitten

If you’re a reader, you share a lot in common with authors. We’re all fascinated by and unable to resist the chance to slip into another person’s life. How does it feel in their skin?

Fiction is the safe place to try out strategies for living.

I still remember the time in my late teens when I realised that no matter how I attacked life, there would be worlds forever closed to me. Worlds that I couldn’t enter because every choice has its price.

Economists talk about “opportunity cost”. For everything we choose, say “yes” to, the cost is all the other options unchosen. In books, we get to explore those options.

Is this escapism? Heck, I hope so!

We all need to be wild women (and men), but life can strangle our sense of adventure. Books give us a thread of freedom and a path back to our dreams.

You’ll often hear authors say that they have to be careful or they’ll spend too much time researching topics for their books or collecting inspirational images on Pinterest (*ahem* Yes, Chasing Xanadu does have its own Pinterest board and I seem to have gone a bit crazy dressing my heroine). What we’re really doing is indulging our curiosity.

And that’s cool. That’s healthy and natural. Curiosity is the first step to empathy. If we want to know what the other person is feeling, we’re halfway to understanding their experience. The challenge then for authors is to convey all of what they’ve learned and imagined, and open the door for readers’ own curiosity.

Curiosity opens the world and builds bonds of shared (even if vicarious) experience. The News keeps telling me that the world is filled with fear and violence, hate and distrust. But I’ve indulged my own curiosity, my own need to know, and I believe the world is filled with people wanting to reach out and experience other lives. We want to connect, and books are part of making that happen.

I’m proud to be an author.

Announcing a Short Story Trio in 2015

3stories

This is one of the secret projects I’ve been dying to share. I have three short stories coming out with Escape Publishing in early 2015.

From the tropical heat of the Great Barrier Reef, through the glamour and danger of Sydney, to the all-action, high drama of Tasmania’s Antarctic specialists, these are romances to make you laugh, sigh and fall in love — these heroes are something special.

I’ve mocked up some “coming soon” covers to go with the draft blurbs. These stories are amazing — no that’s not just fond author delusion. In under 15,000 words they are mini-novels: full stories, lots of “chemistry” ;) and I absolutely loved writing them.

2ndchanceSecond Chance Island
early 2015

When you’ve betrayed a man, broken his trust and shamed yourself, is a second chance at loving him heaven or hell? Laura Robertson is working at a tropical resort on the Great Barrier Reef when her ex-lover Phil Cooper arrives on Topaz Island. She’s fighting for her self-respect, having just lost her job as a marine biologist. Now she has to fight for their happiness.

 

 

 

No RescueNo Rescue
early 2015

Recovering from a tragic hostage situation, Miri Blair is staying at a friend’s flat in Sydney. From her balcony she encounters Sergeant Tad Robertson of the Water Police who dares her to risk living again. Sydney is a wonderful city for a romance, but when Miri’s trauma affects their growing relationship, Tad questions whether she has the strength to handle him and his dangerous job.

 

 

 

icebreakerIce-Breaker
early 2015

Dr Kiara Holland and Selwyn Powell’s first encounter is dramatic and their attraction immediate, but they have other commitments, separate lives, and they part. But Selwyn can’t forget her and when Kiara returns from scientific research in Antarctica, he kidnaps her – with her startled agreement. Perhaps a break from real life will give them a chance at happiness, or perhaps it will break their connection forever.

 

Is it the New Year yet?

2014 has been a mongrel of a year. (Mongrel being a good, oldfashioned, polite-ish Aussie swearword for a **** anything). So I’d really like to end it now and start again.

Here are my it’s-only-September-New-Year-resolutions:

  • drastically cut down sugar. I feel better without it, but reach for it whenever I get stressed. Bah. Willpower, woman!
  • cut down social media. Oh my goodness! It’s like sugar. Feel stressed? Tweet! I lose time and worse, I lose energy and enthusiasm, writing social media when I should be writing my WIP *waves hi to “Chasing Xanadu”* Remember me?
  • cut down distractions. Real life (i.e. everything that interferes with my writing ;) ) has been crazy this year. I have to get better at juggling and really, get better at being selfish. I don’t necessary agree with the sexist generalisations in this article from Overland, but I do think that selfishness wins you time (possibly because everyone ends up hating you!) Prioritising my must-do’s over other people’s might be my biggest challenge.

I want to finish three books by the end of the year *gulp* So if you see my on Twitter, talking about donuts, kick my butt. Please!procras

Nasturtium Week

brick

Nasturtiums will grow anywhere, and often self-seed. They spring up on their own, in the most unlikely places, and try to grow to meet every other plant in the garden. They’re friendly that way!

nasturtiums

A Nasturtium Week is filled with pepper and determination. Have you ever eaten the flowers? A hint of sweet and a lot of peppery tang. Delicious!

Life is going to zap you this week. Zap! and a temptation to snarl at someone for their stupidity. Zap! and your own stupidity trips you up. Zap! and here’s an unexpected opportunity, but a grasp the nettle kind of one. Ouchie, but worth it if you really commit.

Nasturtiums also attract cabbage moths – those white, floaty, drifting moths of summer. Their caterpillars may eat your garden plants, but as adults they’re as fragile and beautiful as dreams. Likewise this week may munch on you a bit, but if you persevere, there are beautiful moments waiting to lift your spirits.

Happy Nasturtium Week!

Pre-Order KISS IT BETTER

fbad9 (1)

My latest contemporary romance, Kiss It Better, is out 8 October, but you can pre-order it now at Amazon.

For non-Americans, do you know that the Amazon link tends to work for each book, you just change the ending, i.e. Australians add “.au” to the amazon.com bit, and the British change it to amazon.co.uk? As far as I can tell, the rest stays the same. You probably already knew that. Other pre-order links coming soon via Escape Publishing.

Revisit gorgeous Jardin Bay with Jenny Schwartz’s fabulous new novel. The town may look like paradise, but for one nurse it represents only broken dreams.

All Cassie Freedom wants to do is save the world, and she could, if only she were able to. But her dream of nursing in Africa is shattered, and she returns home to Jardin Bay, where familiarity, security, and a sense of her own failure threaten to drown her.

Dr. Theo Morrigan knows a thing or two about responsibility, leaving his own medical practice to take over a family business. He knows his mind, his future, and how he wants to live his life – until an old secret resurfaces and rocks his whole world.

Suddenly, the man who needed no one needs a broken-hearted nurse, and a nurse who thinks she’s too weak will find her own strength.

Review copies are available at Netgalley.

Contemporary Romance

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