Behind the Story: Renee Conoulty

profile 2.jpgI’m super excited to have Renee Conoulty on the blog today. Renee is an Australian Air Force wife and mother of two. Her debut chick lit novel, Don’t Mean a Thing, is available through Kindred Ink Press. She has also published Catching Onix, a short story which is available for free here. https://www.instafreebie.com/free/OSTdp

When she’s not devouring books, reviewing and blogging on HeySaidRenee, or writing her own stories, Renee can be found swing dancing. Or possibly napping. She tweets about reading and reviewing @HeySaidRenee and about writing, military life and dancing @ReneeConoulty, but hasn’t created a handle for nap talk yet.

Tell us about your story behind the story, Renee!

Ever since I took up swing dancing many, many years ago, I’ve been looking for novels with swing dancing in them. The closest I’d come was finding a couple of swing dance scenes scattered amongst the 850 pages of a Stephen King tome.

When my husband joined the military, I looked for military stories I could relate to. I found plenty of alpha male hot romance stories, historical military books and novels dealing with PTSD but there was a lack of fun contemporary Australian military stories and very few women in the military.

When I found out our family was being posted to Darwin, I wanted to get a feel for the area we were moving to so looked for contemporary Darwin stories. I found plenty of outback stories and some historical but not much set in the city.

profile 1I couldn’t find the books I wanted to read so I decided to write one that combined all three ideas. I’d never contemplated writing a novel before I started Don’t Mean a Thing. Writing novels were something amazingly talented, creative people did, not ordinary people like me. I’d been living in Darwin for three years when it occurred to me that, maybe, I could write a book. I was an avid reader (I’d joined a reading challenge group in Goodreads when I first moved to Darwin and was treating reading like a competitive sport). My love of reading led to writing reviews and sharing them on a blog. My blogging led to meeting authors online where I discovered that, yes, they are amazingly talented and creative but authors are also ordinary people like me. I made lots of friends, like Alli, and became immersed in the world of books but still had no aspirations to write one. Where would I start? I didn’t know how to plot. And books had so many words – I struggled to write a blog post, how could I ever write a novel?

It was this blog post I read in the middle of 2015 that inspired me to give it a go.

http://www.natashalester.com.au/2015/06/24/the-two-things-you-need-to-get-started-writing-a-book-time-and-one-idea/

Natasha Lester told me (she wrote that post specifically for me, I’m sure) that I didn’t need a plan and an outline, I just needed some time and one idea.

My husband was going away for a few weeks with the military, so I had time to fill after the kids went to bed. I even had three ideas, not just one. A girl in the military who moves to Darwin and takes up swing dancing to make friends. Scene by scene, I wrote a book. 


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http://eepurl.com/bPay5r

Website

http://heysaidrenee.blogspot.com.au

coverBlurb:

What if you finally took the lead, but life refused to follow?

Thirty-year-old introvert, Macie Harman, has finally found a career she is passionate about, and after months of training, she’s begun her new job in the Royal Australian Air Force. Leaving behind her family, friends, and the life she knew, Macie has travelled to the other side of the country where the only person she knows is Rachael, the extroverted girl she went through basic training with. Everywhere Macie goes, Rachael is there too.

While looking for a way to widen her circle of friends in her new town, Macie discovers a local swing dancing class. The jazz music captures her heart, and Matt, the sexy swing dancer, sweeps her off her feet. Matt has claimed the tropical Northern Territory as home and has no plans to leave. He loves his teaching career with its predictable routine and has a great bunch of friends. All he wants now is the right girl to make his house a home.

Military life is tougher than Macie expected, and not everyone can deal with the inevitable separations and last minute changes. Is this exciting but unpredictable life something Macie wants to fight for, or could she give it up and put down roots with Matt? 

Universal purchase link – http://books2read.com/DMAT

 

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Behind the Story: Sarah Williams

profile.jpgToday I’m delighted to welcome Sarah Williams to my blog. Sarah spent her childhood chasing sheep, riding horses and picking Kiwi fruit on the family orchard in rural New Zealand. After a decade travelling, Sarah moved to tropical North Queensland to enjoy the heat and humidity and run around after Crocodiles.

When she’s not absorbed in her fictional writing world, Sarah is running after her family of four kids, one husband, two dogs and a cat. She helps to run the local writers centre and supports her peers achieve their publishing dreams.

Take it away, Sarah!

The Brothers of Brigadier Station is my debut novel, but not the first novel I ever started to write. I have always loved reading and writing fiction and wrote my first full length (historical) novel in high school. It wasn’t until I attended a ‘How to write a Romance’ presented by Barbara Hannay, in Townsville in 2015, that I found my genre. Everything clicked together. Not only was I a romance writer, but I was also a rural romance writer.

The next day I outlined The Brothers of Brigadier Station and after many rewrites, editing, writing workshops and practice, it is finally out in the world!

As well as writing, running a business with my husband and raising four young children, I am an avid reader. I love all Australian rural romances, but I am partial to ones set in Queensland. I have lived in this state for the last fifteen years and have travelled extensively around it. Julia Creek was my setting simply because I knew people there, but after actually spending time there I fell in love with it. Admittedly it is too remote for me to want to live there myself, but it is a fantastic setting. It is flat, dry and rather desolate. We visited in the midst of the worst drought ever and I have used that in this novel and will continue it in the rest of the series.

landscape 2In The Brothers of Brigadier Station we meet Lachie, Darcy and their mother Harriet. The second and third books in the series will be released in 2018. Everyone has a story to tell and I am excited to share it with my readers!

Blurb:

She came to the outback to marry the love of her life. She just didn’t expect him to be her fiancé’s younger brother.

When Meghan Flanagan, a vet-nurse from Townsville, moves to Brigadier Station in outback Queensland to marry the man of her dreams, she is shocked to discover that perhaps her fiancé isn’t the man she wants waiting for her at the altar. The man she’s destined to marry, just might be her his younger brother.

Cautious of women after a disastrous past relationship, Darcy is happy living on his beloved cattle station, spending his spare time riding horses, going to rodeos and campdrafting. He didn’t expect the perfect woman show up on his doorstep. Engaged to his brother.

With the wedding only hours away, Meghan must make the decision of a lifetime. But, her betrayal could tear the family apart. She knows all too well the pain of losing loved ones and being alone.

Now that she has the family she so desperately wants; will she risk losing it all?

Set in the drought stricken plains of Julia Creek, North Queensland and the coastal city of Townsville this is a rural romance that will leave you asking: Will she marry the right man, for the right reasons?

landscape 1The Brothers of Brigadier Station is the first in the Brigadier Station series and can easily be read as a standalone. Each of Sarah’s stories are linked so you can find out what happens to the other brothers and your favourite characters in future books.

Buy links:

http://mybook.to/TheBrothersofBrigadierStation

https://www.bookdepository.com/The-Brothers-of-Brigadier-Station-Sarah-Williams/9780648046202

coverThe Brothers of Brigadier Station ebook is available only on Kindle Unlimited until mid-August 2017.

It is available in print through all online booksellers.

Sarah is regularly checking social media when she really should be cleaning.

You can find her online at:

www.sarahwilliamsauthor.com

Sign up to Sarah’s mailing list and receive a free 3 chapter preview!!

www.facebook.com/sarahwilliamswriter

www.twitter.com/SarahW_Writer

 

 

 

 

Free read! Parisian Dreams novella

Parisian DreamsI’m so very excited to let you know that Parisian Dreams, the prequel novella to my upcoming release, is now available to download as a free read to get you ready for the release of Beneath the Parisian Skies in July! You can download Parisian Dreams through your regular e-book trader, or you can go to the Harlequin Australia, Ebooks.com, Booktopia or Angus and Robertson websites and they will email you a copy. At this stage, only readers in Australia and New Zealand can access it, but for those of you elsewhere, I should have some good news for you very shortly!

In the meantime, here’s a little about Parisian Dreams:

When Australian Lily Johansson earns the opportunity to dance for the prestigious Bohème Ballet in Paris, she fulfils a lifelong dream and continues a family legacy — but it comes at a cost.

While Lily falls in love with the City of Light and her professional life catapults her into fame, her personal life suffers as the relationship with her fiancé deteriorates. On a stormy night, an argument sends Lily racing across the road and a speeding car tragically changes her life forever. Lily’s heart, once full of love and hope, is smashed to pieces and her career crumbles into a hopeless mess. Stumbling into a solitary future she’d never planned, Lily must learn to live with the grief of losing the man she loved and find her way in an unfamiliar world.

You can get your free copy from any of the links below:

HARLEQUIN AUSTRALIA/NEW ZEALAND

AMAZON AUSTRALIA

BOOKTOPIA

GOOGLE PLAY

KOBO

EBOOKS.COM

ANGUS & ROBERTSON

Behind the Story: Rachael Johns

bio-page2I’m super delighted to introduce to a talented and lovely writing friend, Rachael Johns. Rachael is an English teacher by trade, a mum 24/7, a chronic arachnophobic and a writer the rest of the time. She rarely sleeps and never irons.

In 2016 The Patterson Girls was named General Fiction Book of the Year at the Australian Book Industry Awards. Rachael has finaled in a number of other of competitions, including the Australian Romance Readers Awards. Jilted won Favourite Australian Contemporary Romance for 2012, The Patterson Girls won the same award for 2015 and she was voted in the Top Ten of Booktopia’s Favourite Australian Author poll in 2013.

Rachael lives in the Perth hills with her hyperactive husband, three mostly gorgeous heroes-in-training, two fat cats, a cantan¬kerous bird and a very badly behaved dog.

Take it away, Rachael!

TALK OF THE TOWN has been mulling about in my head for a few years and, like all my books (and probably most author’s books) it is a collaboration of a number of tiny little ideas that refused to let me be.

Ghost towns – abandoned or neglected old towns fascinate me. As I have lived in small rural communities for the last 11 years, I have driven through a number of these towns on my way to and from other places and I always wonder about how and why what was once a thriving community died. I feel sorry for the beautiful, old, neglected buildings. I always knew I wanted to write about a town that had been abandoned by its residents and left to fall apart.

cows.jpgDairy farms – I’ve written a lot about sheep farms and even beef cattle farms, but TALK OF THE TOWN is my first rural romance set in dairy country. This is surprising because I have always loved dairy cows, ever since spending a few days on a friend’s dairy farm in the Isle of Gigha (Scotland) when I was twenty-four years old. That is a long time ago now so when I decided that my latest rural hero would own a dairy farm, I had to do a little more recent research. A friend of mine grew up on a dairy farm and still lives in dairy farming country. So she asked friends of hers if she could bring me round one morning (early one morning, like before the sun rose) to get an idea of exactly what being a dairy farmer involved. I got to see them bring in the cows, put them through their rotary milking machine, ask lots of questions and even meet their newest calves (which are simply adorable). I took lots of notes and lots of photos, which I looked back on when writing the dairy scenes of the book.

rach on farmFinal piece of the puzzle – I cannot tell you exactly what this is because… spoilers (you’ll have to read the book to find out what I’m talking about), but the heroine of TALK OF THE TOWN is actually loosely based on a friend of mine who once told me about her dark past and how she’d left it behind. A few years back when I was running (during my brief dalliance with jogging) past her house early one morning, a line appeared in my head: “She had enough skeletons in her closet, she could deal with a few ghosts!” I knew then and there that this line and the “she” it would refer to needed to go in a book and that it was finally time to write my ghost town where this “she” person could have escaped to.

It still actually took a few years before I wrote this book and during this time I mulled this story over in my head – adding other things that I thought would fit, including ice-cream and Maremma sheep dogs – so when I finally sat down to write the plot was pretty much in my head. But that didn’t mean it was easy to write. TALK OF THE TOWN was a challenge because both the hero and heroine are keeping secrets from each other (one on purpose, one without realising it) and this made it hard to show them getting to know each other and falling in love. But hopefully I pulled it off and hopefully if you read TALK OF THE TOWN, you enjoy my story which was inspired by ghost towns, dairy farms, friends, ice-cream and dogs!

Talk Final coverLawson Cooper-Jones has two priorities in life – his son, Ned, and the survival of the dairy farm that has been in his family for generations. Despite the best efforts of the town matchmakers and the determined pursuit of local girl Adeline Walsh, Lawson’s heart belongs still, and only, to his late wife.

But when a flat tyre strands Lawson and Ned in nearby Rose Hill, he’s surprised to find a woman living alone in the old general store of the deserted town. Ned immediately forms a bond with the beautiful stranger called Meg, and Lawson is surprised to find himself captivated by her too.

Although shy at first, Meg starts to open up to him about the haunting secrets of her new home and, with Lawson unable to get her out of his head, they agree to investigate the history of the old building together. Soon they find their friendship has bloomed into something more.

But when meddling Adeline makes it her mission to uncover the truth about the newcomer and her real identity is revealed, Lawson and Meg’s budding romance comes crashing down. Can they both learn to forgive in order to claim a future for their damaged hearts?

CLICK ON LINKS BELOW:

AMAZON

iBOOKS

BOOKTOPIA

Websitewww.rachaeljohns.com

AND A GIVE AWAY! Winner’s choice on any print book in Rachael’s backlist!  Leave a comment below and on 10 May Rachael will draw a random winner. 

What Rachael (and I!) would like to know is  what is your favourite farm animal and why?

UPDATE: And the lucky winner is RITA WRAY! Congratulations, Rita!