Just a heads up. Indulge. Sensual Tales of Steampunk and Fantasy is FREE on Amazon until November 9 if you’d like to grab a copy. And if you spread the word I’d be HUGELY grateful. Getting the word out about new books is increasingly difficult.
Nov 2 – 4 Midnight Kiss, a Regency romance short story
Nov 5 – 9 Indulge. Sensual Tales of Steampunk & Fantasy
Nov 12 – 16 Dare. Sensual Tales of Fantasy and Suspense
Nov 30 – Dec 4 Guarding Christmas, a holiday short story
Don’t worry. I’ll post the dates again as each book goes free Hope you enjoy them!
And look out for “Clockwork Gold” and “Demon Hunter” — more steampunk and paranormal romance — in December!
Hero Duty releases today. It may take the various book sites a while to catch up (Australia being half a day ahead of the US), but this is it!
I want to say a heartfelt thank you to some people who played a big part in getting Hero Duty out and awesome.
First up, my critique partner Eliza Redgold. If I could grant one wish for all authors, it would be to have a crit partner as good as Eliza. Thank you for loving Brodie’s story and making it better.
Escape Publishing and the Harlequin Australia team are amazing. Kate Cuthbert accepted Hero Duty for publication and Lauren McKellar made it shine. Good editors deserve chocolate forever and a day. Danielle Maaitt designed the gorgeous retro-style cover.
Finally I want to say thank you to the members of Romance Writers of Australia and of the Australian Romance Readers Association. I consider you all friends because you’re crazy like me: crazy in love with romance!
“Hero Duty” releases 1 June and I’m calling in all favours — even those I haven’t earned! counting on your kindness. Please, if you review contemporary romance, consider adding “Hero Duty” to your reading list. For everyone else, a re-share of the graphic or a mention on your “watch for this book” list would be huge. Having reviews up on release day really helps a book launch, and I’m hoping this romance between an Australian billionaire Cinderella & an ex-soldier brings joy and a lovely couple of hours entertainment to readers.
Review copies are available via Netgalley:
She can buy anything she wants, except the courage to stand up to her family. That’s where he comes in.
Jessica Trove is a billionaire Cinderella, bullied by her family, and terrified of the responsibilities crashing down on her shoulders. She knows what she needs to do – she just needs to find the courage to do it.
That’s where Brodie Carlton comes in. Jessica is used to buying anything she wants, and what she wants right now is a hero. She’s going to make Brodie Carlton an offer he can’t refuse: be her emotional bodyguard, and she’ll make him rich. The only question is who will guard their hearts?
Two dogs hurled themselves at the wire fence, barking viciously. They were mutts, dangerous mutts with bit white teeth and the bigger of them stood waist-high.
She shrank away, as far from the fence as she could and kept her eyes on the garage at the end of the driveway.
Its two doors were open showing a large, tidy space and a man’s legs sticking out from beneath an old, beat-up, black car. He had to have heard the dogs’ announcement of a stranger’s arrival, but he gave no indication of it. Not even the twitch of a scuffed boot.
The radio played an 80s rock ballad.
Hesitating in the doorway, Jessica heard the man singing along to it. His voice was low and muffled by the car, but it struck her how relaxed he was — and how awful she felt. Rather than raise her voice, knock on the car or tap his boot, she crossed to the radio and switched it off.
There was a thunk, followed by the rattle of a trolley and the man rolled out from under the car.
Shivers slid under Jessica’s skin.
Brodie Carlton. Instantly recognisable from his photograph, even out of uniform. Six-foot two, muscled shoulders covered by blue overalls, brown hair cut short and hazel eyes, frowning up at her.
The dogs had stopped barking, but she still wanted to cut and run. This man was too much challenge.
But if she ran now, she’d never stop. ‘Sergeant Carlton?’
‘I’ve left the army.’ He pushed a boot to the floor and the trolley rattled back under the car. Like sliding a door closed or an escalator descending, he simply shut her out.
‘I know.’ Her simple words hung on the air.
The trolley reversed. He rolled out completely, put aside the wrench he held and stood. At his full height all that power, under perfect control, intimidated her.
Instinctively she stepped back as he stepped forward, but the bench on which the radio sat blocked her retreat. The edge cut into her spine.
Jessica watched, wide-eyed. She was used to men who used their power to intimidate, but Brodie Carlton had seen her distress and respected it, not exploited it. Hope tangled with nervousness, almost choking her. Her voice was thin when she said, ‘I’m Jessica Trove. I’m a friend of Sonia Dwyer.’ She held out her hand.
The frown returned to his face. No, not a frown. His battle face. There was no expression, just steel determination; blocking her out. He glanced at his hand and wiped it down his overalls. ‘I’m dirty, Ms Trove.’
‘I don’t mind dirt.’ It took courage, but she kept her hand out. She looked at his face, not at her hand, which trembled.
Slowly, his fingers closed around hers.
His handshake was firm but gentle. His skin was calloused. He was warm where she was freezing.
She wanted to hold onto his strength, but she hadn’t the right. She released his hand and tucked hers into the back pocket of her jeans. ‘I know what it cost you to help Sonia.’
‘I’m thinking you don’t.’
‘You lost your life in the army.’
‘I quit. They didn’t fire me.’ The gentleness he’d shown her vanished, beaten out by impatience. ‘If you’re here to say “thank you” — ’
‘No, I…I’m here to offer you a job.’
The seam of the back pocket of her jeans ripped, giving way under the pressure of her nervous pulling at the pocket. She forced her hand to still. ‘I need a hero.’
Review copies available via Netgalley:
Australia Day! The holiday that can mean anything you want
I’m thoroughly enjoying the OzRomance Blog Hop and everyone’s different experiences of Australia Day. For me, it’s simply a day off. I don’t watch the fireworks (too noisy and the dog needs his paw held through the stress of it anyway) and I don’t think I’ve ever dressed in a flag — though more power to you if you can pull off that look! So the question was, what should I write about?
The answer is always food.
Australians come from so many different countries and we bring with us our food heritages, most importantly, our comfort recipes. So I thought I’d share with you one of my simple to make, but not so good if you’re dieting, recipes.
According to the internet, Blini are buckwheat pancakes. Not in my family. My mum learned from her mum how to make potato pancakes and we call them blini. All measurements are very rough in this recipe.
Peel about five potatoes. Chop them roughly. Put one in a blender along with an egg and blend smooth. Add the rest. (I’ve burned out blender motors doing this — so be warned — but it still beats hand grating the potatoes). Pour the liquid potato into a bowl, add a generous pinch of salt, a couple of heaped spoonfuls of plain flour (you want a solid pancake batter) and stir. Fry spoonfuls over a medium heat until cooked through. I use olive oil for frying. Serve with a VERY generous sprinkling of raw sugar.
I told you the recipe was a danger to diets!
If you’re looking for an Australia Day romance to read while eating your blini, my short story Mistaken Engagement has gotten some wow! reviews.
Happy Australia Day and good luck in the contest below.
Don’t forget to call in every day and visit the blogs, leave a comment, enter the raffle copter for the fabulous gift basket.
$100 and 26 e-books (some print) from our generous authors
|January||6||Tima Maria Lacoba|
|January||8||Wendy L. Curtis|
|January||9||E. E. Carter|
|January||14||Ann B Harrison|
|January||15||Cate Ellink and Demelza Carlton|
|January||26||Annie Seaton-Prize draw|
Last week, in thinking about romance novel trends, the idea of the Outcast Hero grabbed and kept my attention. Even when I should have been thinking of my WIP (“Home to Stay” is developing beautifully as a summer Christmas romance), I was actually thinking about heroes who truly live: “frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn”. Except they NEVER think that of the heroine.
These are the heroes who don’t give a damn about society or its rules. They live their own.
Think of the Hollywood matinee westerns. The drifter rolls into town, sorts things out while living by his code, then rides off into the sunset. Alone – yeah, there’s the bit I don’t like. The heroine needs to ride off with him.
These are the heroes who’ve taken a long thoughtful look at society and decided, “no, thanks”. They embody a broader societal theme of alienation.
Social commentators say it all the time: people are alienated from the political process (for good reason!), from organised religion, from their neighbours. There is a sense that our world is failing to meet our needs and that we can’t find a place where we belong.
Looked at this way, the popularity of vampires in romantic fiction is no surprise. Vampires are the ultimate alienated hero.
But importantly an alienated hero in a romance novel has to offer the heroine entry into a new world, one where she is valued.
In Kristen Ashley’s Motorcycle Man, the hero is the leader of a motorcycle club. Tack Allen lives life by his own rules and insists the heroine live life wild, too. Tyra tries it and finds “color” in her new world, the place where she belongs.
Interestingly, when I was thinking of a book to illustrate my point, I realised that Tack from “Motorcycle Man” is the key to the world shown in the TV show “Sons of Anarchy“. And that lead me to think about reality television and how many of the programs that follow people doing their work involve jobs that could suit an Outcast Hero, like wrestling alligators, long-distance driving, or salvage. TV producers have already identified that people are looking for heroes who have escaped everyday life.
Spies are classic alienated heroes, and surely part of James Bond’s enduring appeal is that his life is lived outside ordinary rules.
What we need to find are the Outcast Heroes who embody opposition to the stresses and strains of contemporary life. Who challenges the system? Who is building a new world?
I have some fun things coming up for this blog.
Next month — and I know next month starts tomorrow. Eek! Has anyone else noticed how close Christmas is? *hyperventilates* Anyways, I’m starting a new series of guest posts in November: “In Love With Coastal Romance: [Fabulous Author Star]”. Guest authors will chat about what they love about living or holidaying by the sea, and perhaps, how they bring the relaxed coastal vibe into their own lives.
You’re going to love these authors and their posts!
And talking about the relaxed coastal vibe, I’ve fallen in love with Coastal Living magazine‘s Facebook page. You should check it out for some great ideas and the marvellous way they match a seaside quotation with a fabulous photo. Inspirational!
I’ve also realised a huge oversight in my Coastal Romance blogging – where are the books? There have been some wonderful recent releases in the subgenre.
Jayne Castle, Deception Cove, a Rainshadow Island novel. This is science fiction romance at its most fun. Suspenseful and delightful.
Coleen Kwan, Baiting the Boss. If you’ve ever dreamed of a tropical island, just you and your boss… How come I’ve never had a boss who inspired that sort of dream?
Victoria Purman, Nobody But Him. Second chance love is one of my favourite tropes. And it’s a gorgeous cover.
I caught up with my critique partner for lunch last week – where else, but by the beach? With a setting like this, putting the publishing world to rights was easy!
Also – yep, there’s more! There’s a chance to win all three of my angel and djinn “Out of the Bottle” romance novellas as well as a witch’s bag full of other great books over at the Dark Side DownUnder blog where we’re celebrating Halloween and our birthday.