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Pink Flowering Gum Week

pink flowering gum

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

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.


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 bit, and the British change it to 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 than ever. They have templates for creating things like Facebook ads.


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 :)



Cover Reveal, New Projects & Chaos


Kiss It Better releases 1 October. You’re going to love this quarter life crisis romance. That time when we stop and think what we want from life, if we’re getting it and what to change. Seize the day!

Draft blurb:

When Cassie Freedom’s dream of nursing in Africa shatters, Jardin Bay welcomes her home to its familiar security. But Dr Theo Morrigan is about to change everything. Theo’s had to leave his medical practice to take over the family business, and now he’s thinking of a more personal takeover; that is, until his own life is rocked by revelation of an old secret and suddenly the man who needed no one, needs a broken-hearted nurse.

While you wait impatiently for Kiss It Better to release, I’ll be busy writing one novel and outlining a second. I am *gulp* starting two new series.

The first is Quest Guides, a loosely linked collection of stories that centres around an extreme tour guide company. Whatever your quest, they have the man (or woman!) to get you there. The first title will be Chasing Xanadu, my Kimberley romance that I’ve been talking about for ages.

Draft blurb:

Treasure hunt! To save her family, Jolene Dillon will trust herself and her dreams to a reckless adventurer called Scott Riordan. Larger than life and just as grumpy, Scott has little time for a city-girl hairdresser wasting her holidays chasing a legendary fortune through Australia’s wild North West.

But Jolene is used to doing it tough and as she battles saltwater crocodiles, treacherous whirlpools and her unwanted attraction to a man who makes legends seem dull, she knows one thing for sure: after chasing Xanadu, she’ll never ever settle for less than the impossible best.

Where Chasing Xanadu launches a series that leans towards romantic suspense, my second series leans towards romantic comedy and features fairytale retellings. I’m thinking of calling it Fairytales in Oz for the Australian settings. The first title is Butler to the Beast.

Draft blurb:

When a man employs a beautiful trouble magnet, he’s asking for everything he gets.

Brett Easton is the inventor of Beast Power Machines, a genius and a beleaguered man. Ever since the women’s magazines labelled him the Bachelor Billionaire women (and men) have been invading his privacy, wanting to woo him. And then there’s his extended, complicated and demanding family. What he needs is a gatekeeper, someone to keep the hordes at bay.

What he gets is Nancy Collins.

Nancy flunked butler school, but she’s not about to tell her new employer that. She needs the job, and she soon realises that Brett needs her. She’ll protect her beastly-tempered boss even if she has to sacrifice her reputation — and his — to do so.

I’ve set myself an ambitious schedule, but now that I’m slowly resurfacing from the chaos of moving house, I hope I can keep to it. I aim to release a novel every three months. With Kiss It Better coming out in October, that means I need to leap into self-publishing and get Butler to the Beast out in January. Then I have a secret project — announcement soon — and then it’ll be time *fingers crossed* to get Quest Guides out and wow’ing the world.

Wish me luck, I’m going to need it!


Forgiveness for my Absence

I recently fell down the rabbit hole that’s called “Moving House”. It included the typical Telstra troubles — first the phone, then the internet didn’t work. Tradesmen have been wandering in and out, and have on the whole been marvellous. And tolerant of an old dog who wants to say hello — convincing Toby that they’re not his instant friends isn’t worth the trouble. If they say they like dogs, I let him say hi.

My study is now functional.


Even if the books have still to be unpacked.


While I’ve been buried in house stuff, “Hero Duty” has been popping up in newsletters.


The Fussy Librarian

And my article on the power of the Cinderella story was published in The Romance Review Quarterly. It’s not power and wealth you need. It’s love.