Five Things I Learned Writing SF Romance

by SE Gilchrist

Actually I’ve learned a lot more than five things since I first started to write science fiction romance. The best one is that in the name of research I have the ultimate excuse to buy all the sci fi movies and TV shows I can afford!

However I won’t keep you here for three days, so I’ll focus on my next release, When Stars Collide and only mention five.

  • Tying up all those loose ends is hard.
    The external story line in my Darkon Warriors series is based on the war between the Darkons and their enemies the Relics who had aligned themselves with the Elite Forces. So in When Stars Collide the war finally comes to an end, I had to remember who to re-introduce into the story, what story threads I’d left hanging, what I still wanted to remain a mystery so I can use that snippet in another story. And I had to decide, how the hell am I going to do it?


  • Sci fi romance has a fascinatingly wide scope where anything can happen.
    A writer can explore awesome stuff like: manipulation of fetus DNA, test-tube babies, futuristic weapons and technology, space battles, interplanetary mining, adventure, space craft, and different worlds, such as volcanic planets and ice planets. My series features draptiles that drool acid and coda worms that first stun with an electrical charge than strangle their victim. Then there’s always politics and religion.


  • I love writing bad guys (and gals, for that matter).
    I love their twisty little minds, their sneaky underhanded actions, their selfishness, their complete lack of empathy, the way they insinuate themselves into the story as nice characters and suddenly reveal themselves as a villain – and yes, that happened in When Stars Collide. It took me by surprise.


  • Pretending to be a contortionist bubble dancer so I can choreograph moves was NOT a good idea; evidenced by the hilarity experienced by my family and my aching joints!
    Even my dogs wondered what the heck I was doing.Last Xmas my kids and I went to see this amazing show, Empire by Spiegelworld where Australian contortionist, Lucia Carbines, did an act inside a bubble. Volla! When I began to write, When Stars Collide, I just knew Reece had to be a contortionist bubble dancer.bubble dancer
  • Writing sex / love scenes is NOT getting any easier.
    Really there is only so many times you can describe the actual act. It isn’t going to change unless I write in some strangely shaped male alien with shall we say, an additional appendage! (Now that’s an idea.) But what I do love about these scenes, is the opportunity to either strengthen the characters’ relationship or shatter it. There is nothing like making your characters suffer.Or giving them the moon wrapped up in love.

What’s your favourite aspect of science fiction romances? I’d love to hear what readers think of this genre.

And if you haven’t read one yet – I hope I’ve spiked your curiosity.

20206A brand new installment in SE Gilchrist’s bestselling erotic Sci-Fi series about a dark and delicious alien race on a desperate quest for survival — and the human women who can cure their years-long curse.

Carly has one focus in her life: to return home to her terminally ill younger sister. When she learns that a Darkon traitor possesses gateway maps to Earth, she uses all her skills to track him down. But capturing the charming star pirate turns out to be trickier than she  anticipated…

Volkar is determined to prove his innocence to those who drove him to a life lived on the Outer Rim, and he will overcome anyone who gets in his way. But his surprisingly sweet captor has some skills that will come in handy, so he strikes a deal: the maps for her help. Neither expect their partnership to turn into more, but as dark secrets are revealed, their lives become forfeit — and the relationship blossoming between them nothing but a starburst of happiness in the deep shadow of the sky…

Start the series from the beginning!

8867Seeking redemption from a mission gone terribly wrong, Captain Alana Knight volunteers to aid a dangerous operation to transport colonists between Earth and alien traders. But on board the spaceship, she learns of a galactic war raging for power. A power that can be transformed into a terrible weapon.

When the colonists are betrayed and sold, Alana’s mission is re-defined. Nothing will stop her from keeping those in her care safe and finding a passage home. But her new captor is nothing like she expects…

Commander Tarak El Rajan is human, male and equally determined to retain his payload. With his race on the brink of extinction he is under strict orders to transport all females to the planet Isla for research purposes.

In a world of uncertainty, where the wrong decision could mean the death of an entire race, the last thing either of these two soldiers expects or needs is to fall in love.

Rapturous Escapades: 7 Ways to find your bliss on a budget

by Jenny Schwartz

In Kiss It Better Jessica’s dad is selling the family business, an organic beauty products company, to Theo. I loved creating this fictional business. But treating yourself kindly and blissing out needn’t mean buying things. So I thought I’d share seven healthy tips to bliss out that will cost you nothing or next to nothing. Can you add to them?

  1. Play the music you love, loudly! This may require headphones so neighbours don’t hate you. Dance. Yep, dance. Even if you’re doing the dishes. Even if you have the rhythm of a wildebeest. Sing, too. Music sets the mood.
  2. So does scent. Aromatherapy advice is for those who know more than me. I think whatever makes you feel good is the scent you should be sniffing. A friend of mine likes the occasional whiff of diesel fumes from passing trucks – I am not kidding! It takes her back to childhood and happy memories. For me, I love honeysuckle, mint and rosemary. Oh and ylang-ylang. Gorgeous.
  3. Go for a walk in the park or by the sea – if you can manage it. Paddling your toes in the water feels great (unless you live in Alaska and it’s winter. There’s a difference between living dangerously and frostbite. Ouch!)
  4. Pat a dog. Toby, my golden retriever, has just volunteered for duty! Pets make you feel lots better. Take the time to interact with one. Have you seen the new cat cafes where you can watch and pet the pampered felines? So cool.
  5. Roll on the grass. Okay, Toby suggested this. But the science (pseudo-science) of it is called “earthing”. And it does energise and calm you. I suspect it’s something to do with the bacteria. No, I’m not crazy. There are bacteria in dirt that make you happy.  If you’re not a roll on the grass kind of person, you could try gardening instead. Growing a few herbs is satisfying, their scents add a delightful note to the yard and you can cook with them!
  6. Wear colours that cheer you up. I’m so over everyone wearing beige or black – although I’m guilty of this, too. I like to wear brightly coloured socks, so I sneak colour in somewhere.
  7. Take the time to eat well. We all know we should, but we get busy, tired and overwhelmed. Yet good food, cooking and sharing it, is one of the fundamental pleasures of life. Maybe make one evening a week the time to stop all the other craziness and concentrate on eating well with friends and family, talking, laughing and tricking someone else into doing the dishes ;)

22543Revisit gorgeous Jardin Bay with Jenny Schwartz’s fabulous new novel. The town may look like paradise, but for one nurse it represents only broken dreams.

All Cassie Freedom wants to do is save the world, and she could, if only she were able to. But her dream of nursing in Africa is shattered, and she returns home to Jardin Bay, where familiarity, security, and a sense of her own failure threaten to drown her.

Dr. Theo Morrigan knows a thing or two about responsibility, leaving his own medical practice to take over a family business. He knows his mind, his future, and how he wants to live his life – until an old secret resurfaces and rocks his whole world.

Suddenly, the man who needed no one needs a broken-hearted nurse, and a nurse who thinks she’s too weak will find her own strength.

Kiss It Better is available for pre-order now

Hang Ten Reasons the 70s are still Cool

by Ainslie Paton

  1. The music

Classic hits that are remade and reused and rock as hard today as they did then. From ABBA to AC/DC, Bowie to Blondie, the Beatles, BeeGees and The Bay City Rollers. There was rock, funk, disco and punk. There was Elton John, Olivia Newton John, Fleetwood Mac and Michael Jackson.

Hooked on a Feeling, the Blue Suede version is part of the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack.

  1. The hair

mustache-beard-styles-moustache-1Long luscious locks on girls and guys, facial hair on men. If you forgive the mullet, this was the decade of natural healthy hair after the stiff styles of the 50s and 60s and before the product enhanced big hair of the 80s.


  1. The carscar

The panel van was the ultimate make out vehicle. Parents hated them for their ‘don’t come knockin’ if she’s a rockin’’ image, which wasn’t undeserved. No one got a gear stick in their ribs in a panel van.

  1. The makeupmakeup

Despite memories of bright blue eye shadow and yellow nail polish, most women opted for a less is more look and nude and natural colours were popular, mascara was for night and foundation was shiny not powdered.

  1. The freedomfreedom

For most the Vietnam war was a remote crisis. Back home the streets were safe, you could leave a house or car unlocked without fear it would be broken into or nicked, and parenting favoured letting your kids explore under their own steam without supervision.

  1. The beginningbeginning

Women could do the jobs once reserved exclusively for men. The gender revolution was in full swing and women were stepping out of the kitchen in greater numbers to build more broadly defined lives.

  1. The language

The language of the 70s owes much of its origin to the 50s and 60s but brings its own flavour. We still say: cool, groovy, rad, far out, dream on, freak out, ace, airhead, awesome, baby, as in, I love you, baby, and bad as in good. I think we should bring back: choice, dig and deadset.

  1. The fashion

Daisy Dukes are today’s hotpants. Seventies fashion was non-conformist, bright and individualistic. What goes around comes around and the 70s is back. High-waisted jeans, miniskirts fringes, geometric patterns, tropical prints and platform shoes.

New season Clarkes:shoes


This season’s jumpsuit: jumpsuit

  1. The toysetchasketch

Iconic toys like the slinky, etch a sketch, hula-hoop, skateboard, and the yo-yo came from the 70s. Then there was Barbie, Matchbox, Tonka, LEGO, play-doh and action figures. If you were a girl you played jacks, elastics and skipping and no one worried you spent too much time in front of a screen.

  1. The foodfood

Mixed lollies, Lollygobbleblissbombs, Redskins, Drumsticks, TimTams and Sunnyboys, prawn cocktails and cheese fondu, quiche, pigs in a blanket and devils on horseback. Of course, we still ate fruit, sometimes with strange couplings, pineapple chicken anyone?

Of course there was this fabulousness:fabulousness

And finally this weirdness:



To revisit the 70s, pick up a copy of Ainslie Paton’s Hooked on a Feeling

21766From bestselling, groundbreaking author Ainslie Paton comes a groovy romance about changing times, growing up, breaking out and second chances. Set in Sydney in 1975, when pants and collars were wide, hair was big, eyelids were blue and neighbours shared each other’s lives.

There’s a sexual revolution going on, but not in Gayle’s life. She’s never felt so old, so unattractive, and so helpless. Your husband asking for a divorce could do that to you. Now she’s the scandalous new neighbour, the single mum, the divorcee, who needs a job but doesn’t know how to balance her own cheque book.

And then Steve and Ray arrive in her life, the former with chocolate hair and hurt eyes, the latter with a tomboy daughter and an uptight attitude. Suddenly, being separated doesn’t feel so shameful. This is the story of how Gayle lost her home to find true friends; her marriage to find a new life; and her husband to find love.

6 Reasons why Science Fiction is the new Paranormal

Think SF is too hardcore? Too bogged down in details? Not sexy enough for a paranormal reader like you? We beg to differ…

  1. Worlds – same, same, but different
    Just as in paranormals, much in a science fiction world is quite familiar, but with a few key changes. Whether it’s set on a space ship, a distant planet, or a dystopian Earth, there is enough that is familiar to ease your way into the world, but enough different to add a bit of spice and excitement.


    Stargate – the movie


  2. Sexy heroes – the galaxy is your oyster
    Whether it’s the strong warrior, the diplomatic politician, or the unflappable scientist, the universe is populated with gorgeous new heroes, just waiting for you to find them.

    the warrior hero - Chris Pine as Captain Kirk

    the warrior hero – Chris Pine as Captain Kirk

    The moral outlaw - Nathan Fillion as Captain Mal Reynolds

    The moral outlaw – Nathan Fillion as Captain Mal Reynolds

    Logic has never been sexier - Zachary Quinto as Spock

    Logic has never been sexier – Zachary Quinto as Spock

    Humour and strength - Will Smith in Independence Day

    Humour and strength – Will Smith in Independence Day

    The unlikely hero - Bruce Willis in The 5th Element

    The unlikely hero – Bruce Willis in The 5th Element


  3. Strong heroines – kicking alien butt
    Kick-ass, anti-, or just complex, three-dimensional heroines, Science Fiction features an array of women taking care of business in an array of situations, from facing down alien abductors or setting up planetary governments, to kicking some inter-galactic ass. Looking for strong female characters? You’ll find them in SF.

    Jean Grey - the most powerful of the X-warriors. Sure she almost kills everyone, but everyone has off days.

    Jean Grey – the most powerful of the X-warriors. Sure she almost kills everyone, but everyone has off days.

    Dana Scully - the smart, sceptical scientist that holds the X-files together

    Dana Scully – the smart, sceptical scientist that holds the X-files together


    Ellen Ripley - the warrior heroine of the Alien series

    Ellen Ripley – the warrior heroine of the Alien series

    Sarah Manning in Orphan Black - an anti-heroine chasing down answers behind an apparent cloning - hers.

    Sarah Manning in Orphan Black – an anti-heroine chasing down answers behind an apparent cloning – hers.


  4. High stakes
    Whether it’s planet-wide destruction, a chilling villain, or war on a galactic scale, something is always going on in SF that drives the relationship stakes into the atmosphere.

    Luke - I disapprove of your girlfriend...

    Luke – I disapprove of your girlfriend…


  5. Favourite tropes, with a twist
    Bodyguards, arranged marriages, damsels who can save themselves from their own distress (but get a little help along the way), friends-to-lovers, even billionaire playboys – just throw the word ‘space’ in front of them, and you’ve got an SF plot, just waiting to be written or read!

    Or, in this case, superhero genius inventor boss hero meets capable, intelligent, organised assistant/secretary heroine

    Or, in this case, superhero genius inventor boss hero meets capable, intelligent, organised assistant/secretary heroine


  6. Happy ever after ending guaranteed
    fifth-elementStar Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983)giphy-facebook_s.jpgRikerTroiwedding

Who’s your SF OTP? Let us know below (pictures optional, but wholly encouraged!) for a chance to win a selection of books and upcoming ARCs from our science fiction catalogue!

Whetted your appetite for some sexy SF? Check out some Escape titles below!


From Escape’s fresh, exhilarating science fiction romance catalogue comes a story of corporate espionage, betrayal, sex, and bodyguards. Just another day in the colonies.


What if your only chance at survival was to seduce the man who broke your heart?


8867The first book in SE Gilchrist’s bestselling erotic Sci-Fi series about a dark and delicious alien race on a desperate quest for survival — and the human women who can cure their years-long curse.

20382For fans of The Walking Dead and The Hunger Games comes a YA novel about freedom, choice and family — and the terrifying disease that makes them mutually exclusive.


Five Places to Bring a Date in Hermanus, South Africa

By Elsa Winckler

Caitlin, the heroine of Touched to the Heart, lives and works in Hermanus, South Africa. Don inherited a house from an uncle and he visits Caitlin’s physiotherapy rooms there.

Way back when, Hermanus used to be a small fishing village, but over the last few of decades, it has morphed into a bustling town, bursting at the seams over weekends and holidays.

Fortunately, some things haven’t been changed and when I thought of possible dates Don could take Caitlin on, I came up with these few things I think any heroine would enjoy:

  1. Take her to see the Old HarbourOld Harbour Hermanus
  2. Dating in September? Take her to meet the whales!
    Whale Hermanus
  3. Go for a leisurely lunch to one of the many wine farms in the Hemel and Aarde Valley (Heaven and Earth).
    Hemel and Aarde Valley
  4. For the more active date, take her hiking in the Fernkloof Mountains – a magical place
    Fernkloof Hermanus
  5. Take her to watch the waves at Kwaaiwater (angry water), but don’t expect much conversation – the waves are enormous and the sound deafening.
    Kwaaiwater Hermanus

Want to see where Don and Caitlin go? Check out Touched to the Heart, available now!

21470Discover beautiful South Africa in this sweet, heart-warming Cinderella story about a blogger, a billionaire, and one chance meeting.

When it comes to men, if physiotherapist Caitlin Sutherland didn’t have bad luck, she would have no luck at all. To help cope, Caitlin starts blogging in her spare time, about the types of men she meets and the bad dates she goes on.

While on duty during the annual Wines to Whales bicycle race, a gorgeous, sweaty cyclist walks in and sets her hormones dancing. But he is Don Cavallo; one of the four Cavallo brothers — hotel tycoons, famous as much for their business skills as for the number of beauties regularly seen on their arms.

Don Cavallo has his own issues with the other sex. He has yet to find one who is interested in him and not in his money or hotels. But when this sexy physio puts her hands on his back she not only touches his body, but also his heart.

They’ve both been burned before, but neither of them can stop themselves from playing with fire.

3 ways to unleash your inner Jazz Baby

by Tea Cooper

jazzbaby1The Look

  • Your face: Greasepaint foundation (that’s lanolin based!) Flawless and pale is the look. Dust with powder to set.
  • Your cheeks: Rouge in shades of berry, rose, or coral. Creme is more authentic, or use your lipstick and don’t blend it in.
  • Your eyebrows: Super thin, even shaved off: pencilled on brows is a good look.
  • Your eyes: Rim them top and bottom. Also smudge the kohl over your entire eyelid. You’re going for a smoky look.
  • Your eyelashes: No falsies! Mascara in a wax-based cake form – sort of spit and polish. Get the idea?
  • A Beauty Spot (optional): Make a triangle where one corner is the tip of your nose the other the corner of your lip. The third corner is where your beauty mark should go.
  • Your lips: Clara Bow lips—Cupid’s bow … preferably with a berry coloured lipstick or pillar box red. It has to be matte.

The Clothes

  • jazzbabyshoesAccessories are a must: pearls, furs, feathers, dangling earrings, bracelets
  • Dresses: waists must be dropped
  • Hats:  cloche
  • Shoes: never forget the shoes!

And finally …

Where to be seen in Sydney

(Follow the links and discover a little bit of the harrowing research Jazz Baby required!)

jazzbabysignNow you’re a choice bit of calico! Swell!

jazzbabycoverIn the gritty underbelly of 1920s Sydney, a fresh-faced country girl is about to arrive in the big, dark city – and risk everything in the pursuit of her dreams.

Sydney is no place for the faint-hearted—five shillings for a twist of snow, a woman for not much more, and a bullet if you look sideways at the wrong person.

Dolly Bowman is ready and willing to take on all the brash, bustling city has to offer. After all it is the 1920s, a time for a girl to become a woman and fulfil her dreams. Turning her back on her childhood, she takes up a position working as a housemaid while she searches for her future.

 World War I flying ace Jack Dalton knows he’s luckier than most. He’s survived the war with barely a scratch, a couple of astute business decisions have paid off, and he’s set for the high life. But a glimpse of a girl that he had forgotten, from a place he’s tried to escape suddenly sets all his plans awry. Try as he might he can’t shake the past, and money isn’t enough to pay the debts he’s incurred.

Jazz Baby is available for pre-order now.

The Perils of the First Person

It’s hard to pinpoint the origins of this particular species, but it’s becoming very clear that romance novels written in the first person (particularly in the YA/NA space) is definitely a thing.

There are a lot of benefits to writing in the first person: an immediacy to the text, an automatic entrée to a character’s innermost feelings, intimacy with the character, obvious signposts re: narrative style (and who the narrator is/what their biases are).

However, there are a lot of pitfalls as well, and these can be quite tricky to navigate. There are reasons that third person is generally preferred within the publishing industry. So if you’re into using ‘I’, I might suggest making sure that the following are addressed.

  1. Wanting to have your cake and eat it too: in first person, you’re stuck with just one point of view, but it’s hard, when you’re the writer, to not slip into omniscient, to share things that your character just can’t know, or share things from a certain perspective that your character wouldn’t hold. When you’re writing in the first person, you’re limited, and you have to make sure that a limited POV is the absolute best way to tell your story.
  2. A one-note narrator: when writing in only one POV, the writer really has to nail the voice. In romance, first person tends to err on one of two sides: the nice character or the bitch character. Writers of the nice character are so busy trying to make sure that their character is loveable, kind to everyone, helps old ladies across the street, rescue stray kittens, that they never actually develop their characters into anything interesting and write about someone very bland. Writers of the bitch character swing too far in the other direction, sharing every mean thought that their character has, revelling in the euphoric freedom of really being in someone else’s head and letting everyone around her have a taste of vitriol. Either way, you get a character with no nuance, no depth, and no real interest to the reader. We all have rich inner lives, and it is crucial, when writing in first person, that the narration use that to full advantage.
  3. Telling, not showing: first person narrative can often run into ‘this happened, then this happened, then this happened’, a recital of events, rather than in-the-moment sharing. It’s tempting to narrate feelings, rather than show a character feeling it. You have to be able to show enough internal workings, dialogue, and external action to balance those paragraphs of emotional exposition. Also, make darned sure to not use constructions like ‘I felt like’ or ‘I thought that’. You’re in that POV – of course those are your narrator’s thoughts and feelings.
  4. Voice: as noted above, voice is absolutely crucial in first person. You have to make sure that the narrator voice is not your voice, that the voice is age, sex, nationality, culture, and time appropriate. You also have to make sure – above all else – that the voice is consistent.

A special note about multiple first person narrations: the swapping of first person. When employing this style, all of the above mentioned problems grow exponentially. Each narrator has to be unique, with unique thoughts, unique inner lives, and a unique, consistent, appropriate voice. Each narrator should be immediately recognisable through the voice alone, not just chapter or scene labels. If you’re going with multiple points of view, I would strongly suggest that third person is the most effective (and certainly the least mired in pitfalls) choice.

10 Things Not to Buy Off the Internet

By Sarah Belle – the voice of experience.

10. Perfume – unless you know the seller is reputable and you are buying a perfume that you have previously worn and know won’t smell like cat urine on you.


9. Diet Pills – yeah, ‘cos who knows what’s really in them?

8. Twitter Followers – what are the chances they are truly interested in your twitterings? Remember people, it’s quality, not quantity!


7. Paint – that particular shade of ‘Smouldering Sexy Boudoir deluxe’ that looks so great on your laptop screen, actually looks more like something from Romper Room in the flesh. Don’t do it.

6. Uranium – just because you can doesn’t mean you should. You don’t want the government to go all gang-busters on your uraniumised butt.


5. A Private Island – why wouldn’t you pay a paltry US $50 million for a little piece of rock floating off the Panama coast? Because chances are, it doesn’t exist, is currently inhabited by a fugitive Cuban drug lord, or will require extensive flood insurance.


4. Shoes – unless you know the exact size. It’s hard enough to get a standard shoe size in retail, let alone on line.

3. Jewellery – if you only pay $25 for a 18ct gold necklace, then chances are it ain’t 18 ct! Good luck getting a refund out of these etailers.

2. A spouse – because someone who is meant to look like this:


Or this:


Will actually look more like this:


1.  A love spell – or any kind of spell for that matter. Unless you are a seasoned spell casting genius, or go by the name of Hermione Granger, it’s better for us novices to lay off the internet magic.

22035Magic realism mixes with romantic comedy in this new novel from Sarah Belle about the dangers of internet shopping – and using magic to solve real world problems.

Lou’s life is perfect. She loves her job, her renovated house, and most of all, her gorgeous fiancé, Aidan. But when her old flame and Aidan’s school yard nemesis turn out to be the same person, Hunter Wincott, Lou’s life is blown apart. She must divulge her secret past, or have Hunter give it away. Either way, she runs the real risk of losing Aidan.

In desperation, she turns to Google. A quick search turns up Majique, the Internet Witch, and a spell that will delete herself from Hunter’s memory. But something goes wrong in the casting process, and Lou deletes much more than just a memory. She deletes herself from her life completely.

Luckily, there’s a one-week window for Lou to get back to the life she loved. One week to win back Aidan, before he walks down the aisle with the wrong woman, and damns everyone to a lifetime of misery. It would be easy, if only Aidan had any idea who Lou actually is.

September springs new releases!

It’s a great month for new releases – and a great month to dip your toe into our Magic Realism sub-genre, with three titles being released under that banner today!


From best-selling, award-winning author Frances Housden comes the gripping, sensual, suspenseful follow-up to The Chieftain’s Curse...

22032Mixing romance, humour and a sparkle of magic, Juliet Madison is back with a new full-length, Magic Realism romance about a bride-to-be, a mystery and the stripper next door.

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. 

22035Magic realism mixes with romantic comedy in this new novel from Sarah Belle about the dangers of internet shopping – and using magic to solve real world problems.

22033A new, quick-witted, quip-heavy romance for grown-ups from Sandra Antonelli about facing your fears — because love is the greatest risk of all.

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

Top 10 (give or take) Coffee Places in Melbourne

Sure to raise a controversy or two! By Susanne Bellamy

Melbourne, aka Coffee Capital of Australia, serves up a feast when it comes to caffeine and cakes. Andie and Matt from Engaging the Enemy have a significant meeting or two over coffee in the CBD.

In no particular order, my pick for the TOP 10 cafés (plus 3!) in Melbourne:

  1. Patricia: 493-495 Little Bourke St., Melbourne CBD. Little cafe hidden away in typical Melbourne laneway fashion.Patricia_coffee
  2. Cup of Truth: Melbourne CBD. Located in the subway, it has a ‘hole in the wall, coffee on the go’ vibe. Cup of Truth
  3. LB2 Cafe: 2 Gallagher Pl., Melbourne CBD. All about coffee: Choices from 3 different beans plus some decaf and a cold drip.
  4. T-Roy Browns: Melbourne CBD. Set in the historical Banana Alley Vaults on 9 m2, the décor is unusual and the coffee, dark and smooth.
  5. Little Bean Blue: 15 Little Collins St., Melbourne CBD. Speciality coffee place with sole focus on coffee.
  6. League Of Honest Coffee: Melbourne CBD. Honest coffee and answers for coffee accessories queries.
  7. Traveller: 2/14 Crossley St., Melbourne CBD. Good strong coffee, with Seven Seeds beans.
  8. Brother Baba Budan: Melbourne CBD. Always busy – always worth the wait since that line moves pretty fast.
  9. Dukes Coffee Roasters at Ross House: 247 Flinders Lane, Melbourne CBD. Dukes roast their own coffee, buying from individual farms or small cooperatives. Their roastery is based in Collingwood, with beans available in either espresso or filter roasts.
  10. Flipboard: Melbourne CBD. Like a cubby-house sandwiched in the three-metre wide, three storey high gap between the Brolly Design studio and the Bennetts Lane emergency exit.Flipboard-Cafe
  11. Degraves Espresso:  a Melbourne icon for good coffee
  12. Leroy’s in St Kilda: another coffee icon. So much so they had to make a little side window into the café,  so the line up for take away coffees didn’t fill the entire cafe. Get your coffee at Leroy’s and then take away cake from Acland Street.
  13. Hopetoun Tea Rooms: in the Block Arcade. Check out their front window; I dare you to walk past the door! Hopetoun Tea Rooms


21767One building, two would-be owners and a family feud that spans several generations: all relationships have their problems.

Andrea de Villiers can’t lie to save herself. But when developer, Matt Mahoney, buys the building she and a friend have established as a safe house in the Melbourne CBD, she decides that protecting The Shelter is more important than her aching heart. She will confront Mr Mahoney, and she will emerge victorious. There are no other options.

But Matt has other plans for Andie, and she soon finds herself ensnared in a web of well-meaning lies and benevolent deceit. To protect the building and the families that depend on her, Andie agrees to play the part of Matt’s fiancée, and play it convincingly.

But lies soon bleed into truth, and what was once a deception starts to feel all too real. Can Andie accomplish her goals and protect The Shelter, without losing her heart to the charming Irish developer?