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.

perfume1

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!

twitterfollowers

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.

Uranium

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.

Island

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:

spouse1

Or this:

spouse2

Will actually look more like this:

spouse3

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!

22037

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?

5 Secrets to Successful Stripping

By Juliet Madison…or rather her creation, Ty Roxford, quality adult entertainer and dancer, and hero of Juliet’s new novel!

  1. Confidence – If you don’t have it, get it. Stripping cannot be successful without a good dose of confidence in yourself. But you have to strike a balance too, don’t become over-confident to the point that you come across as an arrogant ass.

  2. Eye Contact – This, my friends, can make more of an impact than the stripping itself. Never underestimate the power of deliberate, focused, and sexy eye contact. Find someone to connect with and hold their gaze a few moments longer than usual. Tell them a story with your eyes. But don’t turn it into a staring competition, then you’ll just look plain weird.
  3. Practice – You can’t just wing it. A successful strip is a performance, not a random display of clothing removal. Each performance needs a beginning, middle, and an end. It needs to attract attention immediately, then tease, then build momentum towards the final act. If you’re not confident enough to practise your moves in front of a mirror, then you’re not confident enough to perform. Treat it with professionalism, and your audience will be satisfied.
  4. Quality garments – I can’t emphasise this enough. Do not buy crappy stripping garments! Trust me, I know from personal experience that although leather pants can look sexy, they’re not so sexy when they get stuck during removal and your performance turns into a sumo wrestling match. With yourself.
  5. Classy not cheesy – It is not the fact that clothing is removed that is sexy, it is the way in which it is removed. The thrill of a strip is in the teasing, and teasing needs to be subtle and classy, or it will look ridiculous. You want your audience blushing, not scrunching up their faces. A wink here and there, a teasing smile, a curved finger enticing them towards you, and even a caress of their hair. And don’t forget to throw in a few impressive dance moves.

HauntedEverAfter-promopic1


 

22032

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

When bride-to-be Sally Marsh attends a weekend away with her bridesmaids, the last thing she expects is an uninvited guest: the ghost of her fiancé’s ex-girlfriend.

Red is quirky, loud and distracting, and Sally is soon desperate to find the reason behind her presence, so she can rid herself of her embarrassing shadow before the wedding day. Unfortunately, the ghost is reluctant to share the reason for her existence, but very enthusiastic about Ty, the surprise hen’s night stripper who keeps showing up at awkward moments.

Time is running out for Sally, but it’s also running out for Red. By the time all is revealed, Sally will be tested to the limits, and go above and beyond everything she’s ever believed in order to ensure not only her own happy-ever-after – but Red’s as well.

Haunted Ever After is available for pre-order now.

Get Your Freak On – Top 10 Phobias

by Sandra Antonelli

You may know, on a deep cognitive level, that you are 5 billion times bigger than that itsy, bitsy spider on the garden spout, that thunder is just God bowling with the angels, and that the elevator you are trapped in with your new boss is not going to run out of oxygen, which is what Olivia tries to explain to wigging out claustrophobic Emerson in my new smart-ass romantic comedy Driving in Neutral.

Everyone’s afraid of something. So what scares you? Odds are it’s one of these Top Ten Phobias.

  1. Arachnophobia: The Fear of Spiders, Research shows arachnophobia affects more women than men. No surprises there.

    Your mileage may vary

    Your mileage may vary

  2. Acrophobia: The Fear of Heights.

    bridge

  3. Cynophobia: the fear of dogs.

    Cynophobia

  4. Agoraphobia: The fear of crowded places or any place where a quick exit is not possible.
    crowd
  5. Claustrophobia: The fear of confined spaces (like elevators)

    hFC61EF4B

  6. Coulrophobia: The fear of clowns. Seriously, WHO thinks clowns are fun?

    Coulrophobia

     

  7. Ophidiophobia (or Herpetophobia) The fear of snakes, which, if you live in the Land Down Under, where 9 of the 10 most venomous snakes in the world are found, makes good sense.

    snake5

  8. Aichmophobia (or Trypanophobia) The fear of needles or sharp pointy things that can stick a person.

    space-needle-seattle

  9. Aviatophobia or Pteromerhanophobia: The fear of flying. Oddly, when you ask people what’s scary they often say they are afraid of the plane crashing, rather than the actual flying part.

    angry_birds_37285

  10. Mysophobia: The fear of germs. It’s flu season, kids, cough and blow responsibly. And wash your hands.

    Cartoons-Make-You-Laugh-11

What scares me? War, loud noises, large crowds that can squish me, and xenophobia (yes, I have a phobia about people who fear people from other cultures and places), but I am not afraid of elevators.


22033

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

Levelheaded Olivia Regen walks away from her car-racing career and the wreckage of a bad marriage to take on new work that’s far removed from the twists of racetrack. Her new life is about control, calm and the good friends that she adores.

But her first task on her very first day involves getting up close and too personal with her claustrophobic boss, alone in a broken elevator. Her unconventional solution for restoring his equilibrium shocks them both and leaves Olivia shaken.

Determined to stick to her plan, Olivia drives headlong into work and planning her best friend’s wedding, leaving no room for kissing, elevators, or workplace relationships. But Emerson is not one to be out-manoeuvred. Can he convince Olivia that her fear of falling in love again is just another kind of claustrophobia – one that is destined to leave them both lonely?

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?