Behind the Story: Pat Esden

Pat_Esden 2-12Today I’m delighted to introduce you to fellow Kensington Publishing author, Pat Esden. Pat would love to say she spent her childhood in intellectual pursuits. The truth is she was fonder of exploring abandoned houses and old cemeteries. When not out on her own adventures, she can be found in her northern Vermont home writing stories about brave, smart women and the men who capture their hearts.

An antique-dealing florist by trade, she’s also a member of Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, and the League of Vermont Writers. Her short stories have appeared in a number of publications, including Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, the Mythopoeic Society’s Mythic Circle literary magazine, and George H. Scither’s anthology Cat Tales.

Thank you for stopping by to tell us your story behind the story. Take it away, Pat!

I’m so excited to be here today. Actually, I’ve been dancing on air since the end of June when REACH FOR YOU, the final novel in the Dark Heart series, came out.

Even though REACH FOR YOU is the third book in a trilogy, the concept for it came to me at the same time as the first book. My decision on how to end the series came directly from my love of fairy tales. More specifically, the idea came from tales where lovers are separated for a majority of the novel and the hero must battle dragons and chop their way through a walls of thorns to save their love.  Well, in the case of REACH FOR YOU, there aren’t any dragons or princes and the one doing the rescuing is a woman, but the idea is the same. The only thing hard about using this fairy tale concept is finding ways for the couple to have sizzling romantic moments when they are apart for a large portion of the novel. It took some creativity, but believe me it’s possible and perhaps even hotter because of the emotional pain caused by the forced separation. I should add, I also included one of my other favorite concepts that fairy tales often lack. I love the idea of strong people being even more powerful as a couple, and that is how I chose to close the very last chapters of the series. A true HEA.

coverREACH FOR YOU

Her passion is her greatest weakness.

His legacy is his prison.

 To reunite, both must fight the demons within.

A world of deception and danger separates Annie Freemont from her mother—and from Chase, the enigmatic half-ifrit with whom Annie’s fallen in love. But she vows to find her way back to them, before Chase succumbs to the madness that threatens his freedom. The only person who can help is the magical seductress, Lotli, a beautiful, manipulative woman . . . a woman who has disappeared.

Annie must stay strong, even as the future she imagined is slipping away. With the help of family and friends, she discovers that Lotli is being held against her will, by those who want to exploit her powers. But though weakened, Lotli remains a powerful alley and adversary. A bargain is struck. And now Annie’s only chance to rescue Chase could also tear them apart . . .

Loyalties will be tested, walls will be breached, and enemies will be fought, yet Annie’s greatest battle lies within her own heart—to trust her love for Chase to overcome its greatest enemy, and to save those she holds most dear from the terrifying realm of the djinn . . .

 

 

 

 

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Behind the Story: Camille Taylor

profileToday I’m delighted to introduce you to the lovely Camille Taylor, a romantic suspense author who lives in Canberra, Australia. She spends her time reading, writing and procrastinating on Pinterest looking at nail art, books, and cake decorating. A bookworm, she enjoys most genres, particularly romance and mysteries and is HEA chaser. Her short story, The Healing Gift appears in the 2016 Romance Writers of Australia Little Gems Anthology. Camille is an incurable genealogist and has traced her heritage to England, Scotland, Ireland and Russia.

Camille, please tell us about your story behind the story:

I’ve always written. I can’t not write. It’s almost an addiction. As far back as I can remember I wrote. Many of my ideas came to me while living on a rural property in Victoria during my teens. Back then we didn’t have internet or much of a connection to the outside world except for TV and books. I watched a lot of Indiana Jones and James Bond (I had a serious crush on Timothy Dalton). I also read Agatha Christie novels and my eldest sister’s Mills and Boons romances she’d smuggled in. I guess the combination of crime and romance cemented in my subconscious and now that world comes naturally to me.

My first book, though not the first published, came to me one evening walking along a lone stretch of highway near our house. A herd of sheep we’d been taking care of had escaped the paddock and we were busy heralding them back onto the property. It was dusk and while the main road for the area, and joining to a smaller town several kilometers away only a couple cars drove past. My mind wandered, as it often still does, wondering what it would be like to be stuck out in the middle of nowhere at night with a broken down car and help so far away. The idea took hold and in the next minute I had a serial killer involved and Not Forgotten, first titled The Butcher was born.

Writing a novel wasn’t my first choice of careers. A bit of a daydreamer, I’d imagined being an actress and made up stories with me as the heroine who would be as far from my character as possible. Confident. Sassy. Perfect. I’d also get the hunk instead of mooning after the boys who never noticed me in school. But when the words inside my head wouldn’t be quietened, I began writing them down.

As I grew up, I decided acting wasn’t for me. I still am to this day super shy. Instead, I turned my attention to polishing my old screenplays I’d written in hopes of seeing them played out on the big screen. Yet another of my many dreams before I found my place as an author. After a few years, I once again moved on and tried my hand at converting the script into a novel and the first draft was written way back in 2003.

quoteAt first, I wanted to be a brilliant psychological thriller writer like Lisa Gardner. But I love my HEA’s too much and my all-time favourite part of being an author is matchmaking my characters. I’m a big fan of wounded souls overcoming the darkness in their lives for a chance at happiness.

Not Forgotten is the first in the Australian set Harbour Bay series and focuses on psychologist Natalie Miller as she is called in to assist Detective Matt Murphy in unlocking the mind of the only witness to a horrific crime. Her own dark past resurfaces while she and Matt fight their attraction. Bringing a killer to justice might just be last thing Natalie does…

Once a standalone, as were all my stories I sent off Not Forgotten for an assessment and turned to Open Wounds, already in first draft stage and on a whim I decided to make them into a series. I, myself absolutely love series which focus on different characters each novel but also include characters from other books and give a glimpse into their lives after their HEA’s. Thus the Harbour Bay series was born and I still continue to work on them today.

About the Series:

Harbour Bay is a fictional town set on the Australian New South Wales coast. The series focuses on the hot detectives of the LAC, their family and friends and the women who stole their hearts. Often one or both have wounded souls, or a dark past which they must overcome to find happiness. Each book, while a part of the series, is standalone and can be read in any order (buy links below).

Buy Links:

Not Forgotten (Book 1): http://bit.ly/1YmC7ku

Open Wounds (Book 2): http://bit.ly/1YmC7ku

The Dead Don’t Lie (Book 3): http://bit.ly/1LkuDuN

Doppelgänger (Book 4): http://amzn.to/23dAiaD

 

Social Media Links:

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER

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Story Behind the Story: Michelle Somers

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Today I’m delighted to introduce you to the lovely Michelle Somers, who is a bookworm from way back. An ex-Kiwi who now calls Australia home, she’s a professional killer and matchmaker, a storyteller and a romantic. Words are her power and her passion. Her heroes and heroines always get their happy ever after, but she’ll put them through one hell of a journey to get there.

Michelle lives in Melbourne, Australia with her real life hero and three little heroes in the making.

Michelle, please tell us about your story behind the story. 

I’m often asked why I write what I write. Why pair the warm fuzziness of romance with the deadly chill of suspense? And then there’s my debut novel, Lethal in Love – how and why did the story come about?

So many factors influenced my decision – my need – to tell Jayda and Seth’s story.  

Growing up, I fed my imagination on a steady diet of Sweet Dreams, coupled with The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew. From there I grew into Harlequin and the likes of Harlan Coben, Mary Higgins Clark, Patricia Cornwall and so many others.

I loved the diversity and richness of these stories and their characters. Loved that reading romance allowed me to fall in love during every single story. Loved that reading suspense and detective stories led me to experience places and situations I could never and would never imagine visiting outside the pages of a book.

My imagination soared, as did the thrill of escapism, and the ability to feed both by immersing myself into the world of fiction.

Psychology has always fascinated me. The whys and wherefores in a person’s mind. Why do they act the way they do? Why if you drop two people into an identical situation, will they react differently? What is it in their psyche that makes this happen?

With such an avid interest in what makes a person tick, as well as a love for the written word, is it any wonder that romance became my genre of choice, closely followed by suspense?

My novel, Lethal in Love, and its sequel, Murder Most Unusual, were born of my equal passion for both genres. And little by little, layer by layer, the story evolved.

Conflict is the lynchpin of any great story, and the age-old idea of pitting detective against reporter intrigued me, especially if that detective was female, sassy, no-nonsense and had damn good reasons to dig her heels into her anti-reporter stance.

Next came the decision on setting. How could I not choose Melbourne? A city of great beauty and diversity, that became my home when I met and married my husband.

Finally, I reached my story’s pièce de résistance – the Night Terror. A serial killer terrorising young women in the streets of Melbourne. What a deliciously evil piece of fiction – almost… To delve inside the mind of my serial killer meant delving into the minds of real-life examples, of which the internet holds a plethora, sadly. It wasn’t long until I lost myself in the world of psychopaths, a place where I found the perfect ‘role model’ for my fictional killer – Theodore Robert Bundy.  

Ted Bundy – to me – is the epitome of serial killers. Attractive. Smart. Charismatic. And one of the most prolific serial killers in U.S. history. More dangerous for his ability to mimic emotions he had no capacity to feel, and his inability to understand or feel compassion – factors that when combined, made him a ruthless and deadly predator against young women.

But what turns a seemingly well behaved, attractive teen with so much promise into a monster? This was the question that fascinated me most of all. So I delved deeper, first into Bundy, then into the Night Terror. I discovered the cold calculation. A past containing a trigger after which there was no going back. And then it was time to build the killer back up from ground zero.

I’ll take the words from Ted Bundy himself.

“We serial killers are your sons, we are your husbands, we are everywhere.”

I hid my killer in plain sight then crafted a story I hope did him and the rest of my characters justice.

Let me know if you agree.

And if you’ve yet to read Lethal in Love, I have some exciting news – in August this year, Penguin Random House will be releasing the story as a single title ebook!

More about Lethal in Love:

Homicide detective Jayda Thomasz never lets her emotions get in the way of a case. So when a serial killer re-emerges after 25 years, the last thing she expects is to catch herself fantasising over the hot, smooth-talking stranger who crosses the path of her investigation.

Reporter Seth Friedin is chasing the story that’ll make his career. When he enters the world of swinging for research, he never imagines he’ll be distracted by a hard-talking female detective whose kiss plagues his mind long after she’s gone.

Past experience has shown Jayda that reporters are ruthless and unscrupulous. But when the murders get personal, will she make a deal with the devil to catch the killer? How far will she and Seth have to go? And do you ever really know who you can trust?

BUY LINKS (book one):

AMAZON

AMAZON (Aus)

iBOOKS

KOBO

GOOGLE PLAY

eBOOKS

head shotMore about Michelle:

For exact dates, an exclusive cover reveal and any other news, visit my website www.michelle-somers.com and sign up for my newsletter. A newsletter will only hit your inbox when there’s an announcement or freebies to give away, so I promise it’s worth it!

And for day-to-day news, follow me on Facebook or Twitter.

Story Behind the Story: Anna Jacobs

Screen Shot 2016-06-11 at 3.24.13 PMToday I am delighted to introduce you to the wonderful Anna Jacobs. Anna writes historical and modern stories, complex tales of people and relationships. She is the fifth most borrowed author of adult fiction in the UK. Her 75th novel (A Time to Rejoice, #3 in the Rivenshaw series) came out in May 2016 – in the same week she turned 75. She lives half the year in the UK, half in Australia and produces 3 novels a year. She’s happily married to her own hero, and has two daughters and a grandson.

So, Anna, we’d love to hear your story behind the story …

My latest series of novels comes straight from my heart and reflects my own early life. It’s set in the UK just after World War 2, an era historians often call the austerity years.

I was born at the beginning of the war, my father went overseas when I was 6 months old and I didn’t ‘meet’ him till I was four and a half. My mother and I lived with my grandparents and aunt in a terraced house in Rochdale, Lancashire.

When I suggested writing this series, my youngish editor didn’t like the idea because she thought it was a miserable period of history. I had to set her right. OK, there were problems and shortages, but the war was over and those involved were coming home. That made lots of people happy!

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Anna, aged four, and her mother. This photo was sent to Anna’s father who was in the Middle East during the war.

In my family, my mother hadn’t seen the husband she adored for four years, because he’d been stationed in the Middle East. She was over the moon to have him back, as he was to be with her. (They both lived to 87 and their love never faltered.)

I remember clearly the night of my father’s return. I was in bed asleep and they woke me. A big soldier came into the bedroom, and I didn’t want to be woken. As he loomed over the bed, I stuck my tongue out at him. He never forgot that or stopped teasing me about it.

I think the current generation is so overloaded with possessions, and sometimes a desire for more, more, more, that they don’t realise you can be short of possessions (and we were!) but still happy. We didn’t need smart phones for that, just the people we loved, safe from being killed or maimed.

Us kids played out without fear, using our imaginations or bits and pieces we picked up, using sticks to spur on an imaginary horse, pebbles to build ‘walls and castles’ on waste ground, bomb shelters to sneak into for ‘caves’. Maybe that fostered the internal story-telling that has been with me all my life.

The stories set in the imaginary Lancashire town of Rivenshaw focus on people pulling their lives together, clearing up the debris of the home front and building new homes. Over 2 million homes had been destroyed by bombing so finding homes loomed large. I wonder if that’s why all my life I’ve cared so deeply about my home and been fascinated by the history of homes in general?

Luckily my father was good at getting to know about places to live before others did. When other people had to stay with their grandparents, my dad had us into first one home then another, each a little better than the one before.

My new series reflects this situation. My characters are returning from war and setting up a building company, the men from the Army, one of the women from the Wrens (in which my aunt had served), others from work on the home front. They need to make new lives now they’re out of the services and it isn’t always easy to adjust to peacetime.

It was fascinating to research with an adult’s understanding the years I remember clearly with my child’s eye.

ATimeToRejoice HBRivenshaw series: A Time to Remember, A Time for Renewal, A Time to Rejoice, Gifts for our Time (coming out 1/2017)

Buy links:

A TIME FOR RENEWAL

A TIME TO REJOICE

Behind the Story: Jenn J McLeod

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Today we welcome the gorgeous and talented Jenn J McLeod to share her story behind the story. Jenn lives the gypsy life in a fifth-wheeler caravan, her days spent writing heart-warming, small town tales: tapestries of friendship, family and contemporary country life. House for all Seasons was Nielsen’s #5 Best Selling Debut Novel in 2013. Her fourth novel, The Other Side of the Season, is out now with Simon and Schuster Publishers.

Three things inspired the writing of this book

  1. winter.
  2. a newspaper article
  3. and a rock.

Anyone who’s read my novels will know I’m inspired by the seasons.

My first book, House for all Seasons—a four-part story of four women who return to their hometown to spend a season each in an old house—allowed me to dabble and experiment with writing each season. Simmering Season was, as the name implies, a sticky, steamy, stormy season with a small town school reunion turning the heat up. While for the setting in Season of Shadow and Light I immersed myself in a summer flood event in a small country town.

This year, while I’m taking readers from the country to the coast for a sea change, you might expect a summer setting, but as you’ll discover when you read The Other Side of the Season, I prefer to do the unexpected. *nudge/wink*

Instead, to complete my Seasons Collection, I decided to give winter a voice and let it shine.

While looking for wintery inspiration, I discovered this quote from a celebrated American painter. It was perfect for a story with a strong art theme and the Andrew Wyeth Office (in Pennsylvania) granted permission, so you’ll find this at the beginning of my story:

I prefer winter when you feel the bone structure of the landscape,

the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter.

Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show.

Now, about that local newspaper article . . .

In 2014, two brothers were hanging up their last bunch of bananas after seventy years working the slopes of an iconic Coffs Harbour plantation. I read the article and my writer’s brain took over:

  • What if my fictional brothers, tied to each other by the land, didn’t get on?
  • What if one had different dreams?
  • What if something went terribly wrong?

As for how I turned a rock into a book . . .  

I’ve always wanted to incorporate The Nambucca V-Wall into a story. For those who don’t know it, there is an ocean breakwall on the mid NSW coast and its massive boulders are a graffiti gallery of funny, heartfelt . . . often curious messages. Hidden amongst the memorials, the mosaics and the marriage proposals was this rock.

stone(Transcribed from picture.)

Brianna

A thousand words

couldnt explain

how strong the

Love is that i have

for you. You are the

Love of my life the one

i want to be my wife.

Without you i dont know how i

would get through. You are my

soulmate my rock my everything.

Dean

I’ve never met Dean or Brianna. I don’t know them and I don’t know if this message was intended as a proposal when Dean wrote it, or if he was simply a man expressing his feelings for everyone to see.

If it was a proposal . . .

  • Did Brianna say yes?
  • Did she and Dean marry and live happily ever after?
  • Or did one of them meet with tragedy, or have an affair, or did they fall out of love?

I stood there, staring at that rock, not knowing anything—except the urge to correct his grammar and add apostrophes!

So, I had a Coffs banana plantation idea, a rock on a breakwall in Nambucca, two brothers—one a budding artist.

Those early days of a new story for an organic writer like me—when the words flow on to the page—are fabulous. Only sometimes you don’t recognise the challenges until it’s too late. There were moments I cursed myself for attempting such a huge, sprawling story that included multiple character point-of-view and complex, interconnected lives. There was no other way to approach a story spanning three decades but to use a dual time period structure, rather than over-using flashbacks that frustrate and confuse readers. So I channeled Kate Morton for some dual time period structure inspiration and started over.

A dual time period piece means I am essentially presenting two stories (1979 and 2015) to be read simultaneously, both with vague (often invisible) connective concepts in the early stages. Not until much later in the book do the connections become clear and those crumbs I’ve sprinkled get swept into a nice neat pile of plot revelations for readers to devour. But first I needed to make sure I kept readers reading.

And read it they are. I couldn’t be happier with the end result, and the reviews (like this one) calling it ‘my best yet’ are very comforting for this, my fourth small town story: a story of first love, family love and forever love.

coverAbout The Other Side of the Season:

When offering to drive her brother to Byron Bay to escape the bitter Blue Mountain’s winter, Sidney neglects to mention her planned detour to the small seaside town of Watercolour Cove.

Thirty-five years earlier, Watercolour Cove is a very different place for brothers David and Matthew and the teasing and tantalisingly pretty Tilly from the neighbouring property. When tragedy strikes in the winter of 1979, those who can leave, do, while one stays, trapped on the mountain and haunted by memories and lost dreams. That is until the arrival of a curious young woman, named Sidney, whose love of family shows everyone that the truth can heal, what’s wrong can be righted, the lost can be found, and . . .

 . . . there’s another side to every story.

Book information and BUY links – www.jennjmcleod.com/book-room  

Connect with Jenn on Facebook www.facebook.com/jennjmcleod.books and Twitter @jennjmcleod or join in the discussion at Readers of Jenn J McLeod Facebook group (no cat memes allowed!)

Behind the Story: Alison Stuart

Alison-8112-LR-Color.jpgToday, I’d like to welcome the lovely Alison Stuart who is an award winning Australian author. She has been writing stories since her teenage years but it was not until 2007 that her first full length novel was published. Alison has now published seven full length historical romances and a collection of her short stories.  Her disposition for writing about soldier heroes may come from her varied career as a lawyer in the military and fire services. These days when she is not writing she is travelling and routinely drags her long suffering husband around battlefields and castles.

Take it away, Alison!

Thank you for inviting me to be your guest today, Alli.

Rather than talk about a single book I thought I would talk a little bit about my English Civil War series GUARDIANS OF THE CROWN.

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An early piece of Alison’s writing – age 15 years old

Firstly, why the English Civil War?

If I had a commercial bone in my body I would NOT be writing stories set in the English Civil War. Don’t think enough people haven’t told me that. I’ve heard it all… ‘great story, fabulous characters, can’t sell the period’. I have a small glimmer of hope that over the last few years a few more writers are venturing into this hitherto unknown territory and together we are building interest in what, for me, is the most interesting period of English history.

Because I love it… it has been my passion for nearly my whole life. It began with my father, who loved history and passed on his passion to me. In the days before television every Sunday afternoon he would read to my brother and me. The thing about my father – he loathed ‘children’s’ stories. Even when I was sick in hospital with meningitis, he sat by my bed for hours on end reading Hiawatha. One of the books he chose was Daphne Du Maurier’s The King’s General… and that was it, I was hooked on roundheads and cavaliers. The passion was sealed with the film CROMWELL (Alec Guiness, Richard Harris and a very young Timothy Dalton as Prince Rupert).

Alison Stuart Pikeman

Alison in a civil war Pikeman’s helmet

What is the attraction?

Here are the reasons why I love this period….

  • What’s not to love about men in large hats with feathers, lace collars, bucket top boots and large swords…? It is pure swashbuckling… every pirate fantasy you ever had (without the pirates!). Think THE MUSKETEERS…
  • Family legend has it that I am descended from a “regicide” (one of the men who signed the death warrant of Charles I). While no evidence has been found to support that claim I did recently discover another twiglet on the family tree with blood on his hands. Anyway who ever let fact get in the way of a good family legend!
  • The very idea of a Civil War throws up so many possibilities for an over active imagination: father against son, brother against brother, friends destined to become foes! Intrigues, plots, assassinations, revenge… What about the families… the wives, the mothers…the lovers?
  • Just the sheer drama… a King executed! Unthinkable and yet to be repeated 150 years later during the French revolution. What did this mean for the ordinary people of England?

What about The Guardians of the Crown?

This trilogy is not set during the war itself but in the ten years that followed the King’s execution (called the ‘Interregnum’) when England toyed with republicanism and Cromwell and his puritans ruled. 

The series takes the fates of three young men, bound by a friendship born on the battlefield of Worcester (3 September 1651). They will pay a heavy price for their loyalty to the King, Jonathan Thornton (BY THE SWORD) will be a hunted man in his own country, Kit Lovell (THE KING’S MAN) will sacrifice his honour to save someone he loves and his brother Daniel (EXILE’S RETURN) will endure years of imprisonment, torture and slavery. Their only hope is the restoration of a monarchy. And of course… the women who love them… Kate (BY THE SWORD), torn by her loyalties to the parliamentary cause and the man she loves, Thamsine (THE KING’S MAN) abandoned, penniless and friendless on the streets of London and Agnes (EXILE’S RETURN) whose love for her sister’s children will drive her to risk everything to save them.

And they say a picture speaks a thousand words…

Click here to see Youtube trailer

 

Guardians of the CrownThe first book in the series is BY THE SWORD

From award-winning author Alison Stuart comes a stirring historical trilogy about soldiers, spies, and the strong women that love them.

England 1650: In the aftermath of the execution of the King, England totters once more on the brink of civil war. The country will be divided and lives lost as Charles II makes a last bid to regain his throne.

Kate Ashley finds her loyalty to the Parliamentary cause tested when she inherits responsibility for the estate of the Royalist Thornton family. To protect the people she cares about, she will need all her wits to restore its fortunes and fend off the ever-present threat of greedy neighbours.

Jonathan Thornton, exiled and hunted for his loyalty to the King’s cause now returns to England to garner support for the cause of the young King. Haunted by the demons of his past, Jonathan risks death at every turn and brings danger to those who love him. Finding Kate in his family home, he sees in her the hope for his future, and a chance at a life he doesn’t deserve.

In the aftermath of the Battle of Worcester, Jonathan must face his nemesis, and in turn, learn the secret that will change his life  forever. But love is fragile in the face of history, and their lives are manipulated by events out of their control. What hope can one soldier and one woman hold in times like these?

AMAZON LINK… click HERE or visit Alison’s WEBSITE for full details.

Connect with Alison at her website, Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads or subscribe to her newsletter for exclusive free reads, contests and more…

 

 

 

A whirlwind of a month!

August has traditionally been a busy month writing-wise for me and this year it multiplied three-fold! For those who may not have kept up-to-date on my Facebook Author Page, here’s a quick rundown on my crazy (but oh-so-fantastic!) August:

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What’s Love Got To Do With It Panel – Jess, Alli, Kerri, Erica, and Fleur (Image by Helen Konstan)

Let’s start with the Bendigo Writers Festival. I was lucky enough to participate on three panels – What it Takes; What’s Love Got To Do With It?, and Writing Game. To say I was nervous is an understatement, especially when the first panel was broadcast through The Wheeler Centre and people all over the world could watch it – and they did! I’ve provided a link below to the video if you would like to see what I got up to. A special thanks to the AMAZING team at the Bendigo Writers Festival who put on such a fabulous event that ran smoothly and was held in some gorgeous venues. I hadn’t been to Bendigo for years and after spending such a wonderful weekend there I have made a promise to myself to visit this beautiful place more often. And a very big thank you to my fellow panelists and hosts – Emily SextonLuke CarmanFleur FerrisAlicia SometimesJess AnastasiKerri ArthurErica HayesKate LarsenJohn Purcell, and David M Henley. You all made this nervous author feel comfortable and I loved the conversations we had on our panels. Thank you to all the people who attended the festival and the panels – I loved your questions and enthusiasm for reading.

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Image by Ballmann-media – Wikimedia Commons

Next up was the announcement of the Dance Card Series sale to Kensington Books. That alone would have made August a super happy month! So for those of you outside Australia and New Zealand, you’ll have a chance to read this series when released (dates to be advised). I am super excited to see this series travel the world!

And if that isn’t enough, I attended the annual Romance Writers of Australia conference which is always a major highlight of my year. It’s a chance to meet old friends and new, learn about craft and marketing, and revel in the joy of hanging with my tribe. This year was extra special because Luna Tango won favourite contemporary cover of the year. Woo hoo! I have some super fabulous cover fairies at Harlequin MIRA (Australia). They truly are wonderful.

Here are some snapshots from the conference:

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Winner of favourite contemporary cover!

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The super charming Graeme Simsion and I sat next to each other at the Australian Romance Readers Association book signing (note Graeme’s red rose in his lapel matches my tango dancer’s!)

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The wonderful Angela Ackerman who writes amazing craft books with Becca Puglisi. Their books changed the way I write – in a super positive way!

And if you would like to check out the panel I did at the Bendigo Writers Festival, here it is (it starts about 34 minutes in).

http://www.wheelercentre.com/events/what-it-takes

Life, Dreams, and Dance

Thank you for stopping by!

Some of you may remember me as a regular blogger at Novel Adventurers. The three years I blogged with this wonderful group of writers taught me a lot about blogging, friendship, and the importance of never letting go of a dream. For ten years I held on to the dream of seeing my books on shelves in bookstores and finally, after four manuscripts and too many revisions to remember, I can finally announce that this writer’s dream is about to come true – a THREE BOOK DEAL with a publisher that I have admired for many, many years! And because I love a bit of drama and suspense, you’ll need to watch the video below to find out the details.

A massive thank you to the countless writers, other industry professionals, and non-writers who have helped and supported me and I look forward to continuing this incredible journey with all of you and collecting some new readers and friends along the way. So without further ado, click on the video below!