Cover reveal!

One of the best parts of writing a book is seeing the cover for the first time. I’m so lucky the cover fairies at Harlequin MIRA (ANZ) are so brilliant and always create incredible covers. And here’s the cover for my March 2021 release, The Codebreakers!

This story is very close to my heart and it’s been a privilege to meet the real life female codebreakers who worked in Brisbane in WWII. They generously shared their experiences with me about what it was like to work for Central Bureau, an elite intelligence organisation. They had to remain silent about their work for decades and it’s only in recent times they’re able to talk more about it. This has helped me shape my characters and their experiences in this story and celebrate and honour the real women of Central Bureau.

The Codebreakers is now up for pre-order online and at your favourite bookstore, so you can be one of the first to receive it upon release.

About the book:

They will dedicate their lives to their country, but no one will ever know… A compelling story about tenacity and friendship, inspired by the real codebreaking women of Australia’s top-secret Central Bureau in WWII. For readers who love Judy Nunn and Kate Quinn.

1943, Brisbane: The war continues to devastate and the battle for the Pacific threatens Australian shores. For Ellie O’Sullivan, helping the war effort means utilising her engineering skills for Qantas as they evacuate civilians and deliver supplies to armed forces overseas. Her exceptional logic and integrity attract the attention of the Central Bureau—an intelligence organisation working with England’s Bletchley Park codebreakers. But joining the Central Bureau means signing a lifetime secrecy contract. Breaking it is treason. 

With her country’s freedom at risk, Ellie works with a group of elite women who enter a world of volatile secrets; deciphering enemy communications to change the course of the war. Working under immense pressure, they form a close bond—yet there could be a traitor in their midst. Can the women uncover the culprit before it’s too late? 

As Ellie struggles with the magnitude of the promise she’s made to her country, a wedge grows between her and those she holds dear. When the man she loves asks questions she’s forbidden to answer, how will she prevent the double life she’s leading from unravelling?

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Release Day!

Burning FieldsRelease days never get old and I’m so excited to let my Aussie and New Zealand readers know that Burning Fields is hitting the bookstore and e-book shelves today!

I also want to take this opportunity to thank every one of you for your support and I am sure I can say this on behalf of every author: when you share posts about our books, take the time to read them, tell other people about our stories and/or review on your blog or on places like Good Reads – anything that helps get the word out about our stories – it is always greatly appreciated. Really, really appreciated! So, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Here’s a little more about Burning Fields:

1948 The world is struggling to regain a sense of balance after the devastation of World War II, and the sugar cane-growing community of Piri River in northern Queensland is no exception.

As returned servicemen endeavour to adjust to their pre-war lives, women who had worked for the war effort are expected to embrace traditional roles once more.

Rosie Stanton finds it difficult to return to the family farm after years working for the Australian Women’s Army Service. Reminders are everywhere of the brothers she lost in the war and she is unable to understand her father’s contempt for Italians, especially the Conti family next door. When her father takes ill, Rosie challenges tradition by managing the farm, but outside influences are determined to see her fail.

Desperate to leave his turbulent history behind, Tomas Conti has left Italy to join his family in Piri River. Tomas struggles to adapt in Australia—until he meets Rosie. Her easy-going nature and positive outlook help him forget the life he’s escaped. But as their relationship grows, so do tensions between the two families until the situation becomes explosive.

When a long-hidden family secret is discovered and Tomas’s mysterious past is revealed, everything Rosie believes is shattered. Will she risk all to rebuild her family or will she lose the only man she’s ever loved?

With an engaging, gutsy heroine and a lush North Queensland setting, I found so much to love about Burning Fields – Barbara Hannay

PRINT:

MIRA Harlequin (Harper Collins)

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 eBOOK:

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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! 

Behind the story: Susanne Bellamy

 

2011-headshots

Today’s special guest is the delightful Susanne Bellamy, who was born and raised in Toowoomba, Australia. Susanne is an author of contemporary and suspense romances set in exciting and often exotic locations, and rural romance set in Australia. She adores travel with her husband, both at home and overseas, and weaves stories around the settings and people she encounters.

Her heroes have to be pretty special to live up to her real life hero. He saved her life then married her. 

Susanne is a member of the RWA and was a finalist in their 2011 Emerald Award. She placed third in the 2015 Pan Macmillan short story competition with Chez Romeo. Mentoring aspiring writers, and working as a freelance editor keeps her off the street! She loves connecting with readers and fellow writers. 

What inspired you to write Hearts of the Outback?

My first rural romance was released in September last year. Second Chance Love (A Bindarra Creek Romance) was written as part of a wonderful series set in the fictional NSW town of Bindarra Creek, a place all thirteen of the authors ‘know’ exists. I loved the experience and genre so much I decided to create my own rural series set in northwest Queensland.

 During NaNoWriMo, I set my goal to complete the first book in one month. I wanted to write about the wonderful Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) and acknowledge the invaluable service they give to remote parts of our vast land. My plan was to write stories connected by both setting and characters, and Captain Amy Alistair’s brother was to get his turn after her. But when it came time to begin book 2, one minor character from book 1, Lizzy Wilmot, would not be quiet and I had to find out why.

My brother-in-law had passed away earlier in the year and my sister was trying to deal with the loss of her husband. In Heartbreak Homestead I think I was trying to work through my own grief by working through Lizzy’s. Certainly her story is darker than the others. She has to deal with death and unexpected responsibilities, and face the demons of her past when she returns to the family property.

The process of writing about difficult and emotional events is cathartic and that may be what resonates with readers who can identify with characters’ feelings. Feisty, independent, passionate Lizzy is a strong character with resilience, much like several women I know, and her success in dealing with all the ‘stuff’ life throws at her is uplifting.

hoto_hhWhy did you decide to set the series in northwest Queensland?

While my earlier books had contemporary settings (from Melbourne, to Hawaii and Italy) there is something about small towns that is incredibly appealing. Writing a series where I could stay in that world for more than a single story was a very attractive idea, and each new book excites me as I return to the Isa.

 Many years ago, I taught in Cloncurry. It was the northwest hub for several government departments, including Main Roads, and Queensland Rail, and had even been the base for the RFDS until the 1960s, when it was moved to Mt. Isa. The people I got to know were open, hardworking, and wonderful, willing to lend a hand, and incredibly community minded as so many in our small towns and remote places are. I wanted to create a series that celebrated them and a way of life that I think captures the essence of what it is to be Australian. While a sense of community etcetera is in no way limited to the Outback, it is perhaps more noticeable in remote places.

I hope you enjoy a brief sojourn in my beautiful state as you read Hearts of the Outback.

hoto_-woc_coverWinds of Change (Book 4) is available on pre-order, and releases 1 December

More about the book:

When famous actress, Willa Raynolds, comes home to the Australian outback to film a mini-series, the last person she expects to see is her first love, Jax Heathwood. Their breakup was unpleasant and he is the last person she wants on the set.  Jax, an army major, is on injury leave and to his dismay has been seconded to provide technical advice on location for Willa’s series.

But when Willa is the subject of a stalker, Jax’s protective instincts kick in with a vengeance and he realises he’s never got over her.

Who wants to harm her? Can Jax keep her safe and convince her to take another chance on them?

You can buy a copy of Susanne’s book here: http://amzn.to/2drvVGt

You can find her at the following:

  1. Facebook https://www.facebook.com/susanne.bellamy.7
  2. Twitter https://twitter.com/SusanneBellamy
  3. Website http://www.susannebellamy.com/
  4. Pinterest http://www.pinterest.com/susannebellamy/
  5. Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/list/6869630.Susanne_Bellamy

Or on her website: http://www.susannebellamy.com