Baby name winner!


Image: Pixabay

Wow, I am absolutely astounded by how popular this baby naming competition was! Thank you so much to everyone who entered on this blog and on my Facebook page. I found it incredibly difficult to choose as there were so many wonderful suggestions and I was going to go for a lucky dip but then this particular comment pulled my heart strings and I knew we had a winner. The name sounded right and the reason behind it even more so.

From Helen Boreham:

Isabelle – a name that is passed on through generations. A name worthy of a small child or a great-grandmother and that suits any nationality. A name I gave my gorgeous girl. I dedicated this name to your God-child in the new book and to my girl who is on a difficult journey and one that’s finding herself through reading.

Congratulations Helen (and Isabelle!). Please get in touch through my contact page with your postal details so I can send your prize of a Spanish fan. And your name will be added to acknowledgments when the book is released. 

Thank you again to everyone who entered and I’ll be sure to run another contest in the not so distant future to name another character. 

Happy reading!



Behind the Story: Marilyn Forsyth

Being a writer can be a solitary affair with hours upon hours at the keyboard trying to perfect the next story. As with any profession, it’s nice to meet and get to know others in the same field and I have been so very fortunate to meet many writers who I admire immensely. And from a reader’s point of view (and of course I spend a lot of time reading other people’s books!), it’s fun to get to know the person behind the story. So with that in mind, I’m creating a new series of blog posts that will feature authors and their books and we’ll be concentrating on the story behind the story.

Today’s special guest is one of my lovely Harlequin MIRA sisters, Marilyn Forsyth. Her debut novel is the gorgeous The Farmer’s Perfect Match.

But first, let’s get to know Marilyn:

author photo harlequin

Photo courtesy of Jungle Jack

Marilyn Forsyth would love to live in a world where everyone’s story has an ending as happy as those in her books. Her emotion-packed outback romances combine hunky heroes and huggable heroines with settings in some of Australia’s most remote and beautiful places. When she’s not bunkered down in her peacock-blue writing cave creating unique characters for readers to fall in love with she can be found travelling with her other half, drawing and painting, or scouting out local cafes in search of the perfect coffee and cake combo. She has two grown sons and lives, surrounded by bush, with her husband in the foothills of a coastal village south of Sydney. You can check out her website and her Facebook author page and she also blogs regularly at Breathless in the Bush.

And now to find out more about this simply wonderful story:

Where is your story set?

The Farmer’s Perfect Match is set in Western Australia’s Kimberley region, one of the most beautiful, but also one of the most isolated, places on Earth.

What made you choose this destination?

My hero, Adam, is a pearl farmer, and the far north-west provides the most ideal conditions in Australia for growing cultured pearls. His farm needed to be in an extremely remote area to give credence to the idea that the reality match-making show he’s signed up for might well be the only way he’ll ever meet someone to share his lonely life.

(It was also a fantastic excuse to go up to there for a holiday research. I take my research very seriously :-). )

Gantheaume Point

Marilyn working hard at Gantheaume Point

What is the landscape like?

Kimberley coastline is spectacular—rocks twisted by the elements into crazy Salvador Dali-like shapes and water so clear you can see metres down to the sandy bottom. What I was most struck by was the saturation of colour: the turquoise ocean, the deep red sand, the bluest-blue sky that stretched on forever.

Does the setting have an effect on your characters?

Definitely. The Kimberley is one of the world’s last wilderness regions and provides a sanctuary for threatened species. Adam feels at home here because he’s an emotionally wounded man and this undamaged area is his safe place. Despite the loneliness, he’d never be able to live anywhere else so he certainly can’t risk doing anything that might lose him the farm.

As for Evie, she’s a city-girl with a career at stake. At first she’s severely tested by the isolation, but as Adam helps her to see the world through different eyes, it becomes clear that life in the outback has more than its fair share of compensations. The problem is she’s not a contestant but part of the filming crew!

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Lightning Ridge

How important is setting in a story?

I believe setting is intrinsic to the plot of any novel. For the sake of sheer authenticity it has to become one of the characters (that might sound cliché, but only because it’s true). It’s essential to establish a strong sense of place as quickly as possible; readers want to begin to visualise immediately the setting of the story about to unfold. But care does need to be taken. As a reader there’s nothing more off-putting for me than big blocks of description. Setting needs to be woven into the fabric of the story (and Alli, you do that so well in your books).

What are you working on next? What will the setting be like?

My next book, tentatively titled Falling in Love Again, reunites ex-lovers in a tug-o’-war over an opalised skeleton. It’s set in a mythical opal town in far west NSW. The fascinating landscape was once an ancient seabed but now resembles a moonscape, with sparse vegetation that struggles to survive in much the same way the miners struggle for a living, all hoping for that one find to make them rich.

Throw into the mix a unique plesiosaur fossil, opal theft, underground living, a secret baby and a vicious ex-husband, and you’re in for a fast-paced read (and yes, there was a holiday ‘research’ involved. White Cliffs and Lightning Ridge, this time :-)).

9781760371630_0216_FarmersPerfectMatch_CVRAnd we have a give away!

Marilyn has kindly offered to give a signed paperback copy of her new release, The Farmer’s Perfect Match, to one lucky reader. Simply answer Marilyn’s question below to be in the running. The competition will be open until 11.59pm, Sunday, 27 March. Please note, due to postage rates, the competition is only open to those currently living in Australia or New Zealand.

QUESTION: Have you ever visited a place, or added one to your travel wish list, because you read about it in a book you loved? Do tell!

UPDATE: We have a winner!

Thank you to all who entered. Marilyn has randomly drawn a name and the winner is Sue Gerhardt Griffiths! Please contact Marilyn or myself and send us your details. One signed copy of The Farmer’s Perfect Match will be the way to you!

And no doubt you are wondering where to buy Marilyn’s book, so here they are:

Harlequin MIRA Australia



And of course, you can find print copies at a store near you!

Click here for the trailer to The Farmer’s Perfect Match


And the #shelfie winners are …

Thank you to everyone who entered the Under the Spanish Stars #shelfie contest. There were many fabulous pics spread across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Your enthusiasm for putting our lovely heroine, Charlotte, in some interesting positions kept me entertained! Because I had so many great entries, I’ve decided to give away an extra Spanish fan.

To see the compilation of entries set to some cool music CLICK HERE

But of course, you want to know who won the Spanish Stars mug and Spanish fan,  don’t you?


And the winner is … drumroll …. JAN VAN ENGEN!

This is the entry that was drawn out of a hat (very technical way of doing things, I know).

jan van egan 2

And the winner of another Spanish fan is … LEANNE MCFADYEN!

Leanne McFadyen FB

Congrats Jan and Leanne thank you to everyone who entered. Happy reading!



Show me your best #shelfie!

IMG_5355To celebrate the release of my new book, Under the Spanish Stars, I’m running a #shelfie contest!

What is the prize, you ask? A gorgeous Under the Spanish Stars mug and a lovely Spanish fan.

Entry is simple, and you can enter as many times as you like (with different photos and types of social media). Every entry gives you an extra chance – the more entries, the better the chance of winning!

Here are the details:

Post a photo of Under the Spanish Stars out in the wild – either on a bookshelf in a store, on your e-reader or being read by you or a friend/family member (the more creative the better!). Use your social media account to share your pic with me (details of how to tag me below) and use the hashtag #shelfie.

Entries will be open from 9.00 am Friday, 29 January, 2016 until 8.00 pm, Sunday, 14 February AEST (because why not end the contest on the day of romance?).

Here’s the links to my social media accounts.





Or, if you don’t have any of these, post your pic in the comments below.

After the closing date I will randomly draw a winner. The winner will be notified and announced no later than 17 February.

PLEASE NOTE: This contest is only open to Australian and New Zealand readers as the book is only available in this region (at the moment!).

And to get you started, here are some examples that have already been sent to me:


Taken by Ruth at Target Waurn Ponds

big W beach plaza Di 1

Taken by Laura at Big W


Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 9.05.56 PM

“Ready to relax and read!” Tania, Jan Juc

Cover Reveal – Under The Spanish Stars

Under_the_spanish_starsFolks, I am so happy to finally reveal the cover for my next novel – Under The Spanish Stars (coming out in Aus/NZ in February 2016). I absolutely adore what Harlequin MIRA have come up with and it reflects the journey of my heroine, Charlotte, from Australia to Spain beautifully.

Under The Spanish Stars is now available  for pre-order!

If  you click on the link below it will take you through to Harlequin’s website. It will also give you links to other online retailers.


Here’s the blurb:

An Australian woman’s life-changing journey, a secret from the past, a passionate encounter …

Charlotte Kavanagh’s beloved grandma Katarina Sanchez is gravely ill, so when she begs Charlotte to travel to her homeland in Andalucía to uncover the truth behind a mysterious painting, Charlotte agrees. Taking leave from her soul-destroying job and stalled life in Australia, Charlotte embarks on a quest through Granada’s ancient cobble-stoned streets and vibrant neighbourhoods. There she meets Mateo Vives, a flamenco guitarist with a dark past, and through him she quickly becomes entangled in the world of flamenco and gypsies that ignites a passion she had thought lost.

But the mystery surrounding the painting deepens, reaching back in time to the war-torn Spain of the 1940s and Charlotte discovers her grandmother’s connection to the Spanish underground. Who is her grandmother, really? What is Mateo’s connection to her family history? And why is finding answers to a family mystery turning into a journey of self-discovery for Charlotte?

Weighed down by secrets, betrayals and shattered relationships, Charlotte finds herself questioning the true meaning of heritage, family and love.

BOOKLUST, WANDERLUST: Best of 2014 in expat books

For those looking for some interesting reads from 2014, this blog post from The Displaced Nation has a list of books that are centred around travel and other cultures. Enjoy!

The Displaced Nation

Best of Expat Books 2014Kindle Amazon e-reader by Unsplash via Pixabay (CC0 1.0)

Seasons greetings, Displaced Nationers. That special time of the year is here again, when we publish our selection of this year’s books with meaningful connections to expats, Third Culture Kids, global wanderers, and others of us who have in some way led “displaced lives”.

Having assembled this list on my own in years past, I am pleased to be joined this year by Beth Green, our BOOKLUST, WANDERLUST columnist, who has also graciously agreed to sign over her column space for the month.

Let’s give Beth the floor:

Happy holidays, all! Preparing for this yearly special, I went back through all of the books I’ve read since January—not such an easy task; I read a lot!—and realized that I hadn’t actually read all that many that were published in 2014. I just now took a look at…

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A Happy Dance!

aus rom 2014 book of the year awardI’ve been quiet of late (as you’ve no doubt noticed), getting Flamenco Fire finished in time for my publisher deadline at the end of the year. I do come up for air every so often, and there’s nothing better than taking a break to celebrate winning an award! Oh yes, Luna Tango won Book Of The Year in the inaugural AusRom Today Reader’s Choice Awards!

Excuse me while I do a daggy happy dance …

Okay, am back.

Writers spend years honing their craft, living through self doubt, clocking up rejections, and wondering if the dream of being published will ever happen. Then when it miraculously does, more doubts creep in – Will readers like my story? Will I sell enough books? Will book reviewers hate it? And on it goes … So when readers vote for their favourite book, or author, cover design, or series, it’s a major boost in confidence to know someone out there loves what we’re doing.

With the Ausrom Today Reader’s Choice Awards, readers were asked to nominate authors and books in the various categories and once these were selected, the month long voting process took place and winners were announced on 1 December. There are some amazing authors who have been nominated and won other categories, so I urge you to go and check out on this page –

Big congratulations to the winners and nominees in each of the categories and a huge thank you to all who nominated and voted for me. Your support is truly appreciated and I cannot thank you enough. Also, a very big thank you to AusRom Today for all the effort you put in to introducing Australian authors to readers around the world.

Now … back to those edits I go!

Meet My Character – A Blog Tour


Photo by Mazkeret Batia – Wikimedia commons

 The lovely Barrie Summy invited me to participate in a Meet My Character Blog Tour. I’ve chosen a character from my current manuscript, Flamenco Fire.

1.) What is the name of your character?
Charlotte Williams

2.) Is he/she fictional or a historic person?
Fictional but in my head she’s real!

3.) When and where is the story set?
Mostly in Granada, Spain with a few scenes in London scattered throughout. As I love my dual storylines, part of the story is set during the Spanish Civil War and World War II and the rest of the story is present day. Of course, the storylines will meet up in order to solve a mystery involving flamenco!

4.) What should we know about him/her?
Charlotte is a talented painter but has quashed that dream in favour of a stable career and life. Her ailing grandma tips that upside down when she begs Charlotte to go to Spain and find out who is the anonymous artist behind a painting belonging to her great-grandfather.

5.) What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life?
Charlotte works as an insurance broker and spends her days assessing risk both in her professional and personal life. When she meets Mateo Vives, a Spanish flamenco guitarist and free spirit, she is forced to reassess her own beliefs and listen to her heart. What she doesn’t realise is the discovery of the identity of the painter will set off a chain of events that have dire consequences that spread across multiple generations.

8.) When can we expect the book to be published?
Flamenco Fire will be published in 2015 by Harlequin MIRA

What happens next? See the names below in green with links to their websites? Those authors will be posting on Oct 16, 2014 about one of their characters. In fact, you might want to click through now and find out more!

Rachael Johns is an English teacher by trade, a mum 24/7, a supermarket owner, a chronic arachnophobic, and a writer the rest of the time. She rarely sleeps and never irons. She writes contemporary romance for HQN and Harlequin Australia and lives in rural Western Australia with her hyperactive husband and three mostly-gorgeous heroes-in-training. Rachael loves to hear from readers and can be contacted through her website at

Rebecca Raisin is a true bibliophile. This love of books morphed into the desire to write them. She’s been widely published in various short story anthologies, and in fiction magazines, and is now focusing on writing romance. The only downfall about writing about gorgeous men who have brains as well as brawn, is falling in love with them – just as well they’re fictional. Rebecca aims to write characters you can see yourself being friends with. People with big hearts who care about relationships, and most importantly, believe in true, once in a lifetime love.

Heidi Noroozy is a translator, blogger, and writer of multicultural crime fiction. Her travels around the globe have led to extended stays in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Mexico and Iran. Heidi’s Cold War story, “Trading Places,” was published in the “Secret Codes” issue of Nautilus and draws on her experiences living in the GDR in the 1980s. Other stories appeared in German crime anthologies and have been translated into five languages. She lives in Northern California with her Iranian-born husband and is currently writing a novel set in present-day Tehran.

Pamela DuMond is the author who discovered Erin Brokovich’s life story – Pamela though it would make a great movie so pitch it to Hollywood and the rest is history. She writes romantic comedic mysteries, romantic Young Adult, time travel novels and New Adult romance.