7 Reasons to include Rugby League in your Romance Reading

by Cate Ellink

You don’t need to know anything about rugby league to read Deep Diving even though it features a rugby league playing hero. He’s on holidays, so not a football to be seen! But I love rugby league and here are a few reasons why a little rugby in your romance can be a good thing:

7.  A rugby league team needs men with brute strength, sneaky men with brains, speedy men fleet of foot and super agile, and every one of them are built with muscles upon muscles. A man-type for everyone!

Eels1981

6. It’s an extremely physical game with no helmets and generally no padding. When you’re at the game, close to the field, you can hear the whooof as air is expelled when two men hit each other in a tackle. There’s the thud of hard-packed muscle against hard-packed muscle. Sometimes the hits are so big, you jump in your seat. It’s EXCITING!

EelsvTigersApril2014

5. The National Rugby League (NRL) competition that has 16 teams competing. The teams come from the Sydney area (9 teams), Newcastle, Canberra, Brisbane, Gold Coast, North Queensland, Melbourne and New Zealand. The competition begins in March and finishes in October each year. Each year they take a few games to grounds far and wide—interstate and regional. As well as this, there’s rugby league played in suburbs and towns right across NSW and Qld and scattered through other states too. You can always find a game to watch and they’re always exciting – even the kids!
NRL

4. There’s a State of Origin series where three games are played between the best NRL players chosen to represent NSW and Qld. These games have become the most physical and a showcase of Rugby League. Many of these players go on to represent Australia.

image via news.com.au

image via news.com.au

3. 13 men take the field, plus 6 on the interchange bench. With 16 teams, that’s 304 very muscly men to watch each weekend…not to mention linesmen and referees.

image via illawaramercury.com.au

image via illawaramercury.com.au

2. I have family ties to rugby league. It developed and split from Rugby Union back in 1908 (my great grandfather was involved). Rugby Union was the amateur game (i.e. not paid) whereas Rugby League was professional (i.e. paid). Although they’re both paid now, don’t be mixing up your Rugby League and your Rugby Union; they’re very different games. Rugby Union is the one called ‘rugby’. Rugby League is abbreviated to ‘league’.
RugbyLeagueBooks

And the Number 1 reason…

…is unfathomable. Two of those sneaky men with brains snuck their way into my affections – one when I was a teenager and one more recently when I should know better. Put them side by side and there’s little similarity. So, it’s not their looks that captivate me. It’s something about them, their attitude, their brain, how they play footy. I think they both play similar style games and they’ve had similar career achievements. My infatuation is some abstract thing I can’t understand or explain but my heart beats strong for both my sporting heroes.

Thanks Comicbook.com!


 

22034From Cate Ellink comes a sun-soaked, sandy, seaside erotic novel about a tropical paradise, two athletes used to getting physical, and a sex-filled, no-strings holiday fling. 

Samantha is celebrating her newly retired status from competitive triathlons with a diving holiday in her favourite place in the world: Australia’s Lord Howe Island. But all divers need a buddy, and Sam can’t dive solo. A chance meeting with rugby league superstar Cooper Sterling in the dive shop seems serendipitous. Sam can’t wait to have a partner who might be able to keep up with her.

It soon becomes evident that Cooper and Sam are compatible both in and out of the water, and things gets seriously sexy. But Sam is disinclined to be another football groupie, and Cooper has been burned before. So the rules are clear: a holiday fling, no strings attached, and they part as friends at the end.

But as the final days of their time together come to a close and a life apart becomes a reality, Sam and Cooper start to question their decision. Is this holiday fling really the finish line or can Sam and Cooper turn their friendly competition into more than sizzling sex?

Deep Diving is available for pre-order now from all good e-book stores.

Inspiration Behind the Story – Georgie Tyler

Our Common Humanity

by Georgie Tyler

I watched a short film many moons ago and it got me thinking. Now when I say short, I mean very short. I think it was attached to a popular movie, Love Actually and rolled after the final credits.

Picture this. Two African women sauntering across a dry, cracked earth, each carrying a stack of sticks strapped securely to their backs. You get the idea that this isn’t the first or last time they’ll be taking this journey. In fact it’s a daily routine for them. They’re chatting in their own language and it’s subtitled for the English speakers of this world. While listening to their banter, I was captured and a little stunned, I’m embarrassed to say, because their discussion surprised me, and at the same time connected me to them. Why? Because they were commenting on their life, husbands, children, neighbours, community not much differently to what I do when enjoying a coffee or meal with friends.

Sometimes we forget the common humanity we all share, whether you live in a war torn, famine ravaged country or safely nestled away in a suburb of Sydney. It was one of the many factors that led me to write my debut romance Doctors Beyond Borders released in January, 2014. Ariadne Tate, a doctor with Medecins Sans Frontieres is eager to escape the world of work based gossip having been a prime target in Sydney and discovers that the same observations, elucidations and interpretations are made amongst the Sudanese medical staff about certain employees in Sudan as they are in temperate, laid back and flourishing Sydney.

Ariadne and Ford, the heroine and hero of my story and both doctors represent the many people in the world that dedicate months or years of their lives using their skills to help the afflicted and less fortunate. My ex-pat characters chose this path for many different reasons but the common thread is the desire to offer up their skills in active charity. I admire them. I applaud them. I wish in my younger years I had been more proactive like them. I’m so glad I penned a story around them that’s now available for others to read.

Kids and family are my priority at the moment, but maybe in my twilight years when my brood have flown the coup my passive assistance may transform into something more active. I’d like to think so as these people have the same hopes and dreams as the rest of us; the eradication of poverty, improvement in health and a better world for themselves and their children.


 

19910She’s about to find out that nothing is fair when it comes to war, except, the healing power of love.

When Ariadne Tate takes a deployment to Sudan with a medical aid organisation, romance is the last thing on her mind…but Dr Ford Gosden puts a glitch in her plans. Too damn attractive for his own good and a thoroughly nice guy, Ford slowly seeps under Ariadne’s skin.

But Sudan is not a stable place to form a relationship, and as political tension escalates in the region, Ariadne has no choice but to focus on her job and her safety. Under the protection of a UN convoy, she heads out into the war-torn countryside — and the unthinkable happens. Captured and held hostage by a renegade with no chance of escape, Ariadne’s hope for a new life with the man she loves begins to fade and the fight for her life begins.

Lost but not Forgotten – How Fromelles Inspired my Story

by Jacquie Underdown

To look at the pretty village of Fromelles, France, you wouldn’t be able see its devastating past hiding behind the abundance of ripe greenery and charm. You wouldn’t be able to tell that this village was once a torn-up wasteland littered with the murderous fragments of war and soaked in the blood of 5553 Australian soldiers either killed or wounded in a single day. And for nearly a century as the small community of Fromelles went about its daily life, they couldn’t see that buried within the fertile soil were 250 remnants of this gruesome past waiting to resurface. History wasn’t going to be laid to rest just yet.

On July 19-20, 1916, Fromelles was host to one of the bloodiest battles in Australian history. A battle, despite its gore and immense number of casualties, has stood in the shadows of its more famous World War I brothers, maybe because some have called this battle a disaster for the Allies, or because it goes down as the worst 24 hours in Australian military history.

250 Allied soldiers (173 were Australian) killed on that fateful day were buried by the Germans shortly after the battle in mass graves. These pits remained untouched, their whereabouts unknown, and their content lost to all until nearly a century later.

Guided by an amateur Australian historian, the Australian Government instigated geological surveys in 2007 to find the lost soldiers. By 2009 exhumations were taking place to recover the bodies and DNA samples were extracted from their bones in an attempt to identify each. The soldiers were then finally laid to rest, with full honours, in a new memorial cemetery located 120 metres from the original mass grave site.

So why did I want to write about this tragic slice of history? Reflecting on it now, I don’t believe I had a choice. When I first heard the reports about the discovery of the mass graves, I realised that despite the decades the soldiers were lost, their voices were still strong enough to demand we acknowledge them and demand we remember them. No author hearing these whispers from the past would be able to ignore them — myself included.

Though I anticipated many tears during the research of this aptly titled novel (and I’ll admit, I cried a river for these brave men and their families), I didn’t anticipate the coincidences that would occur.

My fictional character, Fredrick, reappears as a ghost 90 years after his death on the battlefield of Fromelles. He wants a name on his headstone so he will not be forgotten, and he needs Lucy to help him achieve this final wish by searching for his descendants.

I’ve never had to find descendants before, so some of my research for this novel was in this area. At first I didn’t even know where to start. So I began where most of my searches do and that was with Google. I entered the name of my soldier (whose name I plucked from thin air, a complete fabrication) and didn’t anticipate that the name I chose was the exact name of an actual Australian soldier of the Great War (though the real soldier was fortunate enough to make it home and live to a ripe old age). Through him alone, I learned the exact path to trace descendants of soldiers.

This was the first of many coincidences that occurred while writing Beyond Coincidence and it may merely be that — a coincidence. But I like to think it’s more. I like to think that if we listen closely enough, we just may hear whispers from the past, in our present, guiding us, teaching us, and making sure we remember those who should not be forgotten.

He … was numbered amongst those who, at the call of the King and Country, left all that was dear to them, endured hardness, faced danger, and finally passed out of sight of men by path of duty and self-sacrifice, giving up their own lives that others may live in freedom. Let those who come after see to it that his name not be forgotten.  (King George V)

He … was numbered amongst those who, at the call of the King and Country,
left all that was dear to them, endured hardness, faced danger, and finally
passed out of sight of men by path of duty and self-sacrifice, giving up
their own lives that others may live in freedom. Let those who come after
see to it that his name not be forgotten. (King George V)



22036Mixing romance, history, and a touch of the unexplained in a new novel from Jacquie Underdown about love that needs to cross oceans and time before finding a place to come true.

In 2008, 250 Australian and British soldiers are uncovered in a mass grave in Fromelles, France, lost since the Great War. One soldier, bearing wounds of war so deep it scarred his soul, cannot be laid to rest just yet.

When Lucy bumps into the achingly sad soldier during a trip to France, she doesn’t, at first glance, realise what he is – a ghost who desperately needs her help. Lucy can’t turn away from someone who needs her, even someone non-corporeal, and they travel back together to Australia in search of answers and, hopefully, some peace.

This chance meeting and unexplainable relationship sets into motion a chain-reaction of delicate coincidences that affect the intertwined lives of family, friends, and lovers in unexpected, beautiful ways.

Beyond Coincidence is available for pre-order now.

Do You Believe in Fate? – Frances Housden

I have to confess to regularly reading my horoscope. My husband laughs, ‘How can it be true for everyone in the world born in the same month?’ I don’t care. I do believe in fate—that there is something guiding us but we have the option to follow the advice or not. Right now my horoscope says the next 12 months will be the best period for my career in decades. Who wouldn’t want to believe that, but it’s what we do about it that counts.

Going back to fate, Euan the hero of THE CHIEFTAIN’S CURSE came to me in a dream. He was yelling, ‘Will this bluidy curse never end?’ Now tell me, what red-blooded author wouldn’t want to find out more?

Discovering Euan took me on a journey into my past, into the history of Scotland, my homeland. It was exciting using a lot of what I learned at my grandfather’s knee, but more than that, many places and characters simply popped into my head, especially Nhaimeth the dwarf—a favourite with readers—and this, long before A Game of Thrones reached our screens. I gave a detailed description of the clan castle in my book and discovered it really existed—fate or latent memories from my childhood? I don’t care, why should I? Everything worked to drive the plot of the very first book in my ‘Chieftain’ series.

This is where I accept that we need to give fate a hand. I went to a clairvoyant shortly after I finished ‘Chieftain’. She told me I had a book that would do really well and since the publishers weren’t liable to coming knocking on my door, I left it to my agent to find one who loved the book as much as I did. Years past, editors did love the book, but didn’t know where to place it—yes it’s a wonderful romance but I like to think it is more. I have to admit the wait was disheartening. Then at the annual Harlequin dinner in 2012, I was sitting near Haylee Nash who told us all about Escape Publishing, Harlequin Australia’s new digital imprint. I asked if I could email a book to her and, when she agreed, I sent it off that very night as well as a lot of good vibes.

The rest as they say is history—Scottish History. Without any reviews THE CHIEFTAIN’S CURSE hit #3 overall on iBooks, stayed #1 in Historical Romance for weeks and was an Amazon bestseller, which led to a print edition being published by Harlequin MIRA Australia. Two weeks ago Chieftain was a finalist in Romance Writers of America’s RITA awards and two days ago, it won RWNZ’s Koru Award. How’s that for fate?

I don’t remember the speech I gave, though I’m told it was good. I do know I thanked Kate Cuthbert and Harlequin Australia for having the guts to publish Chieftain, enough said.


8883Nominated for the 2014 RITA Award for Best Historical Romance
Winner RWNZ inaugural Koru Award for Outstanding Long Romance

Euan McArthur is a chieftain in need of an heir.

While still a young a warrior, Euan incites the fury of a witch. She retaliates with a curse that no wife will ever bear him an heir. As he buries his third wife and yet another bonnie stillborn son, Euan can no longer cast her words aside.

Morag Farquhar is a woman in need of sanctuary.Pronounced barren by a midwife, Morag is of little value to her family, but a Godsend to Euan, a lover he can’t kill by getting with child.

Years ago, chance drew them together, and tangled their lives in ways they could never have imagined. This time their destiny lies in their own hands, but it will take courage and strong hearts to see it through to the end.

Available Now!


22037From the bestselling, RITA nominated author Frances Housden comes the gripping, sensual, suspenseful follow-up to The Chieftain’s Curse…

Gavyn Farquhar’s marriage is forged with a double-edged blade. Along with the Comlyn clan’s lands, a reward from the King, he is blessed with an unwilling bride, Kathryn Comlyn, and an ancient fort with few defences that desperately needs to be fortified before it can act as a sufficient buffer between Scotland and the Norsemen on its northern borders.

Gavyn needs wealth to meet his king’s demands, and he knows of only one way to get it — with his sword. Leaving his prickly bride behind in the hands of trusted advisors, he makes his way to the battlegrounds of France and the money that can be made there.

Two years married and Kathryn is still a virgin. A resentful virgin, certain that, like her father before her, she is perfectly capable of leading the Comlyn clan. In her usurper husband’s absence, she meets the clan’s needs, advising and ruling as well as any man.

But she is an intelligent woman, and she knows the only respect and power she will ever hold will be through her husband. And to wield it, she needs to make him love her. An easy task to set, but impossible to complete, when said husband has been gone for two years, and there is no word of his return. But Kathryn is undeterred. After all, a faint heart never won a Chieftain.

Frances’ next Chieftain book, Chieftain by Command is available for pre-order now, and releases September 1.

The Power of a List – Kendall Talbot

Write a Book. That’s what I wrote on my bucket list. I never imagined how much those three words would change my life. My initial motivation was simple. Unlike the fabulous Cherry Adair, numbers are my friend. English was not. So I thought the best way to improve my spelling, grammar, and vocabulary would be to write a story.

Every birthday and Christmas, my husband shakes out my bucket list for inspiration. One year he helped me tick off ‘Learn a musical instrument’. He gave me a beautiful guitar and paid for lessons. But to be honest I’m really crap at it.

KendallguitarThe following year, he scoured my list again and at number 69 – I kid you not – is ‘Write a Book’. So hubby purchased the Year of the Novel Course at the Queensland Writers Centre. During this course, I wrote Lost In Kakadu and it literally changed my life.

But writing it was the easy part. Editing that shitty manuscript took eight years of hard slog. I followed up that first course with several more. Then I hired an editor who also offered mentoring and boy did she have her work cut out for her. I learned about POVs and clichés, first person and third person perspectives. I learned syntax, synonyms, sentence structure, and just about everything else in between. I wrote short stories, drafted two more manuscripts and learned the joys of character arcs. I worked hard, did my homework, read the prescribed reading, experimented, and practised. Then practised some more.

At the Romance Writers Conference, James Scott Bell said that you CAN learn to write – I know exactly what he means. My poor editor nearly gave up on me many times. But now, with my beautiful R*BY trophy glistening with inner glow on my kitchen windowsill she admits the tears were all worth it.

flowers

Without my bucket list, I may never have discovered my passion for writing.

By the way, I had also written ‘Publish My Book’ and ‘Win The RuBY Award’ on my bucket list. But never in my wildest dreams did I believe it would happen with my debut novel.


18610Winner of the 2014 Romance Writers of Australia RUBY (Romantic Book of the Year) Award for Stories with Romantic Elements!

An action adventure novel set in the Australian jungle where two unlikely people prove just how attractive opposites can be…

It’s pretentious socialite Abigail Mulholland’s worst nightmare when her plane crashes into an ancient Australian wilderness. Things go from bad to downright hellish when rescuers never come. As she battles to survive in an environment that’s as brutal as it is beautiful, Abigail finds herself also fighting her unlikely attraction to Mackenzie — another survivor, and a much younger man.

Mackenzie Steel is devastated by his partner’s death in the crash, the only person with whom he shared his painful past. Now, as he confronts his own demons, he finds he has a new battle on his hands: his growing feelings for Abigail, a woman who’s as frustratingly naïve as she is funny.

Fate brought them together, but they’ll need more than luck to escape Kakadu alive. Could the letters of a dead man hold the key to their survival?

10 Fabulous Things About Lord Howe Island

To celebrate the upcoming release of her fun, flirty new erotic romance novel Deep Diving, Cate Ellink is here to share 10 reasons why her setting – Lord Howe Island – is fabulous!

  1. The views are astounding:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
  2. There’s a beach for everyone:
    Surf

    Surf

    Lagoon

    Lagoon

    Remote

    Remote

  3. Rainforest Hikes:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
  4. Scuba dive at the Admiralty Islands, or in the lagoon, or at Balls Pyramid (or snorkel in spots around the island—it’s almost as good as the diving):
    Balls Pyramid

    Balls Pyramid

    Dive Islands

    Dive Islands

    Coral Reef

    Coral Reef

     

  5. Fish for the big haul or the big fish:
    Hello dinner!

    Hello dinner!

    Marlin

    Marlin

     

  6. Kayak around the lagoon:6canoeing
  7. Visit the Catalina Memorial:7CatalinaMemorial
  8. Learn about the Kentia Palms:8KentiaPalm
  9. Watch the sunset, maybe see the muttonbirds (Fleshy footed shearwaters) coming in to roost after feeding at sea all day: 9SunsetBird(1)
  10. Eat the fabulous food – which I ate and didn’t photograph ;)

22034From Cate Ellink comes a sun-soaked, sandy, seaside erotic novel about a tropical paradise, two athletes used to getting physical, and a sex-filled, no-strings holiday fling. 

Samantha is celebrating her newly retired status from competitive triathlons with a diving holiday in her favourite place in the world: Australia’s Lord Howe Island. But all divers need a buddy, and Sam can’t dive solo. A chance meeting with rugby league superstar Cooper Sterling in the dive shop seems serendipitous. Sam can’t wait to have a partner who might be able to keep up with her.

It soon becomes evident that Cooper and Sam are compatible both in and out of the water, and things gets seriously sexy. But Sam is disinclined to be another football groupie, and Cooper has been burned before. So the rules are clear: a holiday fling, no strings attached, and they part as friends at the end.

But as the final days of their time together come to a close and a life apart becomes a reality, Sam and Cooper start to question their decision. Is this holiday fling really the finish line or can Sam and Cooper turn their friendly competition into more than sizzling sex?

What a Weekend!

Freshly back from the Romance Writers of Australia conference, Romance Rocks, this past weekend in Sydney, with our heads still spinning and enormous grins on our faces.

Here are the highlights:

  • Kicking off the conference with a Literacy High Tea, where librarian Vassiliki Veros charmed the pants off everyone in the room with her romance journey, her study of librarian-heroes and heroines, and the work she’s doing now for her PhD.

    Nobody knew this book existed, and now everyone is desperate to read it...

    Nobody knew this book existed, and now everyone is desperate to read it…

  • The Harlequin Author dinner where we celebrated with our Harlequin family, including lovely international guests Flo Nicholl and Malle Vallik
  • We also celebrated with our lovely (shirtless) guests for the evening, Marco and Jeremy.

    Marco, R*BY nominee Juanita Kees and I, you know, hanging out, talking

    Marco, R*BY nominee Juanita Kees and Managing Editor Kate Cuthbert, you know, hanging out, talking

  • Escape has had an amazing year, so it was fantastic to be in one room together, sharing our highs, and supporting each other.
  • The Leather and Lace opening cocktail party was a chance to catch up with people we haven’t seen for awhile (or have never actually seen in person!) While the lighting was decidedly purple (very strange), the food was great, the costumes inspired (hello Ros Baxter!), and the good times had by all.

    Managing Editor Kate engaged with Engaging the Enemy author Susanne Bellamy!

    Managing Editor Kate engaged with Engaging the Enemy author Susanne Bellamy!

  • Cherry Adair was an absolute delight and joy as an international guest. She was present, hilarious, generous with her time and her expertise, so very personable, and swore like a sailor when she realised we weren’t going to get offended. What a treat it was to spend time with her and listen to her speak.
  • The Saturday workshops were also really well-run, and we have to offer congrats to everyone who stepped up to share their expertise and teach what they know to others. This kind of resource sharing is a hallmark of RWA and one of the reasons that the conference and organisation is so successful, so should never be downplayed.
  • The day sessions also allowed for more chatting with less ambient noise, so a greater possibility of having a conversation with someone, rather than just a yelled greeting.
  • The Australian Romance Readers Association held their annual book-signing event on Saturday. This in an incredible (and incredibly well-organised!) organisation, and they do amazing things for the romance community in Australia. They also have a new website: www.ireadromance.com.au,so check them out if you are interested in talking about romance (yes), meeting other romance readers (yes), and attending fab reader-focused conventions (yes!).
    Alison Stuart and Kate Cuthbert at the ARRA book signing with Alison's first book with Escape - Lord Somerton's Heir

    Alison Stuart and Kate Cuthbert at the ARRA book signing with Alison’s first book with Escape – Lord Somerton’s Heir

    the fabulous Amy Andrews and gorgeous Sandra Antonelli at the ARRA book signing

    the fabulous Amy Andrews and gorgeous Sandra Antonelli at the ARRA book signing

  • Saturday night – WHAT A NIGHT. First we have to offer the biggest, hugest, most enormous congrats to our three Escape nominees: Julie Mac, Juanita Kees, and Kendall Talbot, and also to all the other nominees, including Amy Andrews, who was nominated for a book with another publisher.
  • Emma Darcy had us all in laughter and tears as she accepted her induction into the Hall of Fame. No one, and I mean no one, will ever forget her Five Fs.
  • We also have to congratulate Kat Mayo on her Romance in the Media Award (ROMA) for her article on ABC’s The Drum: Dear Columnists, Romance Fiction is not your bitch. We’re pretty much sure she’s the only person to ever have the word ‘bitch’ etched into a glass award.

    Seriously, the pink lighting was very, very odd

    Seriously, the pink lighting was very, very odd

  • Then this happened:
    Kendall Talbot wins the R*BY for Best Novel with Romantic Elements

    Kendall Talbot wins the R*BY for Best Novel with Romantic Elements

    OMG!

    OMG!

  • We are so so so so beyond thrilled to congratulate Kendall on her win – the first win for her book after countless award nominations, and the first win for Escape Publishing.
  • I’d like to show you photos of what the rest of the night looked like, but what happens at the Escape After Party (and the after-after party), stays at the Escape After Party.
  • Except these photos. These totally get distribution:

    Frickin' A, man!

    Frickin’ A, man!

  • Sunday was for recovering, and more learning from generous and talented presenters. Malle Vallik’s presentation on building an author brand was very well received by those brave enough (and smart enough) to be up at 8:30am.
  • The conference for next year has been announced, with very exciting new partnerships, and a beautiful venue in Melbourne. International guests are a bit hush-hush, though the Friday workshop instructors have been lined up.
  • Finally, the conference close with Anne Gracie’s now legendary Stand-Ups, which always leaves attendees feeling engaged, excited, and downright warm & fuzzy.
  • We cannot give enough props to Shannon Curtis and her crack team of conference organisers for a well-organised, well-run, fantastic conference, and to all the attendees who made it an amazing experience all around. We’ll see you all again next year!

Magic Realism – the authors

18883From Juliet Madison:

Magic Realism rocks because it makes the ordinary extraordinary, and allows us to experience unlimited possibilities within the context of the world that we know.


 

9689From Sarah Belle:

A world without magic, like a world without love, is a world without hope for a brighter tomorrow and all the beauty a new day brings.


21186From Jennifer Brassel:

Magic Realism is a perfect marriage for romance because…any person who has truly been in love knows that there is a reality beyond the everyday. It is higher, deeper, more colourful and more enticing. When that reality is discovered through a relationship it is so uplifting the lovers can believe anything is possible.


 

19225From Jacquie Underdown:

I write magic realism romance because I can take those most wished about wishes, most dreamed about fancies, and plant them in reality, seamlessly, until I can no longer tell where reality ends and the magic begins.


19228From Katherine Givens:

Every romantic believes in a bit of magic. It’s what kindles fantasy and inspires dreams. Magic Realism Romance is simply a genre able to capture the essence of a romantic’s heart.

 


21765From Robyn Neeley:

Faith, hope, and destiny themes tend to influence my books. Magical realism became a new tool for me to continue to explore these themes in an entertaining way!

Introducing Magic Realism Romance…Blog tour and giveaways!

A few months ago, we ran a competition on our blog to help us solve one of our most pressing dilemmas:

We have a group of stories that have a similar theme, but no current category that adequately describes them.

Behind the scenes, we call them our ‘woo-woo’ romances – those stories that recognise that there may be more to our world than what we can see and hear and touch, more to our world than can be adequately explained by science.

They are grounded in reality, but see more possibilities to our life.

They’re not paranormals; they’re not fantasy. They’re just…more.

 

We were absolutely overwhelmed by the response and the creativity of the suggestions, so much so that it’s taken us this long to finally come to a consensus and choose a name. We all had our favourites, and we were all willing to fight to the death to see our favourites win.

(well, maybe not to the death – we are, after all, a romance publisher. But we were very passionate!)

I’m so pleased to announce that the winner, and new sub-genre, is Magic Realism Romance!

Congrats to Helena, who will receive copies of each of the books in this category as a prize.

To help launch our new sub-genre, our magic realism authors are hosting a small blog tour this week, and each day a new author will talk a little bit about some aspect of MRR, and host a giveaway on their blog.

You can follow the blogs here (please note, these links won’t work until each of the posts go live at 9am on their day, so come back every day to get in on the giveaways!)

Monday: Escape hosts the authors, explaining what Magic Realism Romance is, and why they love it.

Tuesday: Juliet Madison gets poetic about Magic Realism Romance, and hosts newly published MRR Escape Artist Robyn Neeley.

Wednesday: Jacquie Underdown gets in the mood for Magic Realism Romance

Thursday: Sarah Belle knows there’s no place like home

Thursday: Katherine Givens and the magic of magic realism

Friday: The Romance Writers of Australia host our MRR authors, and offers a fabulous giveaway!

Inspiration Behind the Story: Juanita Kees

8903

Raising teenagers is hard, no doubt about it. The challenges they face in the modern world can so easily lead them down the wrong path. Temptation surrounds them: drugs, alcohol, nightclubs, parties, driving a car, peer pressure. I dragged mine through those dark times, sometimes kicking and screaming. Luckily, he came out the other side relatively unscathed.

I’ve worked with teenagers and children from all backgrounds, broken homes, alcoholic or drug- addicted parents, first as a volunteer for the Salvation Army and then in the Motor Industry with apprentices. One of their biggest concerns was there was nowhere for teenagers to ‘hang out’ and that was why they got into trouble. They were bored.

It got me thinking. What if there was somewhere they could go? What if there was a magical place, filled with love and a family atmosphere where they could just ‘be’. Where they could find themselves, express themselves, all under the watchful eye of someone on their side, a champion.

My inspiration for Under the Hood came from Australian businessman and politician JJ Simons who founded the Young Australia League and established a holiday camp deep in the shaded Roleystone valley in 1929.

Simons called his camp Araluen, an Eastern States Aboriginal word meaning ‘singing waters,’ or ‘place of lilies’. Using local timber and stone, League members and volunteers built a number of cottages designed by Perth architect WG Bennett. They created a park filled with native and imported plants, shady pathways, stone steps and water terraces that flow all year round. Now owned by the government, Araluen Botanical Park attracts tourists all year round. The Grove of the Unforgotten still remains, as magical as ever, built in memory of Young Australia League members killed in World War I.

How wonderful it would be if young people could return to this peaceful place while they search for themselves through the trials of growing up, a place that would keep them off the streets and out of trouble. JJ Simons provided the perfect place to teach young Australians life skills, gave them stability and taught them respect for the land and their peers. It seemed a fitting background for Under the Hood, the story of an extraordinary woman who has her own goals, commitments that know no boundaries, and a man by her side who shares her dream of saving the world, one teenager at a time.


21769About the book: When Scott Devin buys a struggling car dealership in semi-rural Western Australia, the last person he expects to see in charge is a stilletto-wearing, mini-skirted foreperson. Exactly the distraction a struggling, male-dominated workshop doesn’t need! But there’s more to TJ Stevens than meets the eye.

TJ Stevens has two major goals in life: to preserve her grandfather’s heritage and protect her teenage rehabilitation program — and she’ll go to any lengths to do it. Scott Devin’s presence is a threat to everything she’s worked hard to achieve, so keeping him at arms length shouldn’t be a problem…or will it?

 

Under the Hood is nominated for a Romance Writers of Australia Romantic Book of the Year (R*BY) award. The sequel, Under Cover of Dark is available now.