Category Archives: Uncategorized

Jacaranda Week

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As jacaranda trees burst into flower and carpet streets and yards in a squidgy bluey purple mess, this is a time of celebration and transformation.

A Jacaranda Week means new clothes! Oh dear. It may also mean new shoes — and I’m not a fan of shoe shopping. It means you, too, are going to feel the need to display your best self.

Brace yourself, you may even feel the need to clean the house!

It’s totally worth the hassle because this is a time to feel good about yourself. Dye your hair, get a new style, have a pedicure. Whatever it is that makes you, like jacaranda trees, stop traffic :)

DARE is free!

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DARE. Sensual Tales of Fantasy & Suspense is my new paranormal romance collection and it’s FREE till Nov 16 — but only on Amazon! (sorry, exclusivity is the price of getting the book into Amazon’s lending library)

Dragons and ghouls, angels and djinn, impossible heroes and the women who cause them all kinds of trouble. This is a collection to delight, tantalise and entertain; a wonderful mix of novellas and short stories with guaranteed happy ever afters.

Dare includes:

Denying the Dragon
Journey to the Shassa
Embracing the Ghoul
The Lion-hearted
Can You Arrest an Alien?
Up In Flames
Release the Djinni

Pink Flowering Gum Week

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The pink flowering gum is a stunning burst of colour, but that’s not all that bursts this week.

Do you remember blowing bubbles as a kid? Not the magical soap bubbles that floated iridescent on the wind, but the kind that you chewed and chewed gum, blew and then, pop! Sweet, noisy and faintly disgusting. Gosh, it was great to be a kid :)

Pink Flowering Gum Week is a time to chew over a problem, take action, and if it all goes pop! guess what? Chew the problem over some more and try again.

There’s a laidback vibe to this week which makes it the perfect time to tackle a problem — not a big one, remember this is a low stress week — that’s been nagging at you. It’s also a week where your resilience is higher, so if you’re going to take a risk, you’ll have the strength to deal with the consequences — good and bad.

And you’re probably wondering, does chewing gum make you smarter? Sadly, no.

Finally — and because my dog Toby gets the paper each morning — a bubblegum adventure to enjoy courtesy of Pluto and Mickey.

The Curious Author Mind

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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.

Pre-Order KISS IT BETTER

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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.

Visual Sells

In the last couple of months I’ve been trying to catch up on how to use social media. What’s hot, what’s not, and how to run fast enough to only fall a little behind — that’s how swiftly social media is changing. All of this reading has become jumbled in my mind, so I don’t have links, but a few themes really stood out.

First, you need images.

Second, why aren’t you on Pinterest if your target market is women? (I’m on Pinterest)

Facebook has ads. Love them, loathe them, you can’t really ignore them.

I’m more in love with Canva.com than ever. They have templates for creating things like Facebook ads.

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Moving beyond visuals alone, YouTube is huge. Call me daunted. I’m never going to be a video star and I can live with that.

Goodreads ads, those small side ones, don’t engage readers (I’ve tried).

Be super careful and respectful of copyright. A lot of work goes into creating images. Credit people and follow their guidelines on how or if they allow resharing.

Social media can chew up time. This is not a new thing to note, but I’m wondering how much of my social media time is now passive consumption as opposed to interaction. That seems to me to be worst of all, as if the TV has been pushed aside for a new idiot box. I’m being babysat by marketers!

So my final learning is to disengage. Turn off the electronics and walk away. Or in my case, because my writing schedule is so far behind, turn of the internet and type like a fiend!

PS how do you like my new website header? I think it’s really conveying who I am and what I write, along with my new tagline: A Hopeful Romantic. So true :)