Suspense, Urban Fantasy, and Rock Stars – what April Has in Store!

now available!

23728From Shona Husk comes a New Adult series set in Australian indie rock scene: They might be one of the hottest up-and-coming bands in Australia, but the members of Selling the Sun have a lot to learn about life, love, sex, and each other.

23724From Romantic Book of the Year winner Kendall Talbot comes an adrenaline-fuelled new series with sexy characters, exotic locations, and action-packed adventure.

23727The Sydney coven is suffering from a man drought – some witches complain, and some witches just get creative.

23725From the witty, clever, dramatic pen of Rebekah Turner comes the final instalment of the Chronicles of Applecross trilogy finds Lora left in charge – and quickly losing control. (Definitely check out books 1 & 2 for more Lora goodness!)

The Making of ‘Out of Rhythm’ – Rock Stars Done Differently

by Shona Husk

The story behind Out of Rhythm started in 2013…yep 2 years ago. I love rock star romance but two things stuck out at me.

  1. It was only guys having all the fun (Since 2013 I have discovered a few other female rock stars).
  2. They were already successful millionaires.

To me that seemed to be missing a prime opportunity for angst (mmm love me some angsty romance) and drama and tension and struggles—all the good stuff. So as a challenge between other projects (I do this quite a bit as I like to play with ideas without the pressure of due dates and it’s fun to just write) I decided to write a female wanna-be rockstar, and because I was feeling extra adventurous that day I thought it would be a good idea to write my first lesbian love story.

As with any experimental piece, there were teething problems (it was also my first contemporary romance) and then I got busy with other works and Out of Rhythm languished on my laptop…but it didn’t leave me alone. I knew it was there and I knew what I needed to do to fix it. I just didn’t know what to do with it when I did fix it. So I let it sit a bit longer…

Last year I had a huge gut instinct to fix it NOW and send it to Escape. I have learned not to ignore those feelings. I changed the character names (maybe that’s just me, but it helps me get fresh perspective if I have to do big fixes). There was also a title change at the last minute (I was about to hit send and I decided that I’d change the title).

I’m glad I didn’t ignore that feeling as I am delighted that Gemma, Ed, Mike and Dan each get a story – hopefully they will also make it big, not get too drunk after the shows (you’ve got to keep your eye on Mike), find love, not screw up aforementioned love (not naming names…but it begins with D).

Book 2, Out of Place, is out May 8th so there isn’t long to wait before the next instalment which is Ed’s story :) 8th so there isn’t long to wait before the next instalment which is Ed’s story :)

23728They might be one of the hottest up-and-coming bands in Australia, but the members of Selling the Sun have a lot to learn about life, love, sex, and each other.

Coming off a successful Australian tour and prestigious industry award nominations, Gemma Field’s life should be perfect. Instead her parents want her to get a real job, the second album isn’t coming together, and her best friend, Kirsten wants nothing to do with her.

Falling for her best friend was never going to make life easy. After an almost accidental drunken kiss almost six months ago, they aren’t even talking. Gemma can’t even talk about it with anyone – not her family, not her bandmates, not even the one person she used to share everything with. Instead she lives in a space of indecision and pain, and it’s affecting all aspects of her life, including the band.

Kirsten Vincent missed Gemma like crazy, but did she miss her as a friend or as something more? She’s confused and Gemma is hurt, and the consequences of a bad decision will affect more than their personal lives. Will another kiss, a sober kiss, a kiss with intent, do more damage, or could it be the start of something more?

23732Every band is desperate for that first big break – but what happens after that?

Ed Vincent, front man of Selling the Sun, has a really bad case of second album jitters. Nothing he writes measures up to the expectations placed on him after the success of the first album. The tensions between band members are rising and everything seems to be falling apart just as they get started. Perhaps it wasn’t meant to be: not every band gets to write their name on the pages of history. But the band has always been Ed’s dream, and if Ed gives up, will he have any dreams left?

Chasing dreams is something that other people do. Olivia Doyle put her life on hold after a car accident killed her fiancé and nearly claimed her life. Now with a three-year-old son and a part-time job, she knows she is stuck in a rut, but has no idea how to climb out. Then she meets Ed.

He can’t have the distraction of a relationship, and she has no time for anything casual. On the surface, they’re in completely different places, but love has a way of finding middle ground.

Roses are Red…The Language of Flowers

By Alyssa J Montgomery

In Roses for Sophie, the hero – Logan – uses the language of flowers to communicate the development of his feelings for the heroine – Sophie. Like most modern women, Sophie knows red roses symbolise love, but is unaware of the symbolism behind the other colours of roses which Logan gives her. She is happy to receive each bouquet and enjoys his explanation of the sentiments the roses represent, but longs for him to bring her red roses.V871_330x370The language of flowers, or floriography, has been part of human culture world-wide for centuries and I’ve been rather fascinated to explore this. I discovered that the Romans used to hang roses over a meeting table to indicate that all discussions were to remain secret; that stories from the Ancient Greeks, Egyptians, and Chinese refer to the use of flowers; and that evidence suggests people communicated through flowers widely during the Ottoman Empire. It was in the mid 1700s that the French and English discovered that the Turks had an entire language of flowers depending upon different flower types. The Victorian culture adapted this to create an elaborate system of expression based on the type, number, and colour of bloom. Meanings were even attached to the way a single bloom or bouquet was presented or received – that is whether it was given and received with the left hand, right hand or both hands!

Like Sophie, most people today still associate the red rose as a symbol of passion and love – an association which was popular in ancient Greek times as the red rose was the flower of Aphrodite, goddess of love. Apart from this, the symbolism behind each bloom is largely unknown. Did you know, for example, that the colours of flowers hold meanings –

Perfect-white-roses-bunchwhite for purity and innocence

Nice-bunch-of-pink-rosespink for love, happiness, beauty and friendship

BQPPS003-2purple for faith and devotion

And while Roses for Sophie only refers to the meanings of various shades of roses, other flowers also have meanings:

define-camellia-1the camellia is a bloom symbolising admiration

TaraxacumOfficinaleSeedthe dandelion represents faithfulness

carnationthe carnation expresses fascination

Even the number of flowers presented holds significance in the language of flowers.

Regardless of the historic symbolism, the giving of flowers is still popular in our time on special occasions and to send messages of thanks, ‘get well soon’ or as a means of apology and friendship. It’s also acceptable for a woman to give a man flowers, and bunches of virtual flowers are increasingly popular!

The Human Emotion Laboratory at Rutgers University studied the giving of flowers and found that people who give flowers are generally perceived as successful, caring, strong and capable with higher emotional intelligence. A Harvard University study found that flowers in the work environment increased productivity.

Receiving flowers has the potential of increasing an individual’s happiness, and swaying opinions regarding the person who has sent them. Powerful stuff!

We continue to be drawn to the beauty and fragrance of flowers whether it is purely for adornment and appreciation or the expression of intimate feelings. Flowers continue to speak in ways that touch human emotions. Logan found them a perfect way to reach Sophie’s heart. I hope you’ll enjoy their story.

Princess Diana was known to love white waterlilies, Elizabeth Taylor and Nicole Kidman both listed white gardenias as their favourites and although I’m not sure of Madonna’s favourite flowers, it’s widely reported that she has an intense aversion to hydrangeas! Tell us about your type of flower and what it is that makes it your favourite, for a chance to win a copy of “Roses for Sophie”.

23091From the polished, pacy, passionate pen of Alyssa J Montgomery come a delicious billionaire, a mining heiress, a marriage of convenience and a very inconvenient attraction.

To convince the court that his playboy days are over and to keep a desperate promise, Australian billionaire Logan Jackson needs a wife…fast.

To make her grandfather happy and sway him into making her managing director of the family company, mining heiress Sophie Hamilton needs a husband…fast.

With common goals, similar values, and a very definite end date, there is no reason why Logan and Sophie shouldn’t be able to strike a deal to satisfy them both. No reason except that the sizzling attraction arcing between them is too hot to trust.

SF is hot: we’ve got 10 couples that prove it

10. Han-and-Leia-carrie-fisher-9117982-450-292Leia and Han, Star Wars

9. mulderMulder and Scully, The X-Files

8.  leekaraStarbuck and Apollo, Battlestar Galactica

7. outlanderJamie and Claire, Outlander

6. sukiss2_zpsee442f67Spock and Uhura, Star Trek

5. orphan blackPaul and Sarah, Orphan Black

4. wall_e_and_eve_wallpaper_hd-t2Wall-E and Eve, Wall-E

3. Buffy_and_spike_out_of_my_mind_stillBuffy and Spike, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

2. Inara6Captain Mal and Inara, Firefly

1. Prof_x_and_magneto_poster_XMFCMagneto and Professor X, X-Men: First Class

Craving more hot spec-fic action? Check out our SF titles, including The Envoy, released this week!
New in the fresh, sexy world of The Seek: he can’t trust anyone, so why should he trust his heart?

The universe is a very dangerous place when there’s a price on your head.

The year is 2098, and a quiet revolution has begun in the space stations of New Earth. The ruling Council has dug in to fight for a new home on Eden 13, but a group of rebels is working from the inside to support the embattled Haitites.

Reetor is twenty years old and a deserter from the elite Avengers. He has joined The Backlash, and become an outcast, hunted by the Enforcers. On the outside, he has learned that his fears about New Earth are well founded.  He has finally found a mission that matters, but he’s living on borrowed time. The Backlash desperately needs friends on the inside and Reetor’s role is to connect with the rebels and get them the help they need.

But something deadly and surprising threatens to disrupt his mission – a lethal bounty hunter with a body made for sin and a heart of pure ice.

April Showers New Reads!

Available today!

23722Eva Scott debuts a new rural romance: in the battle of duty versus desire, only one can survive the hot Australian sunshine.

23726New in the fresh, sexy world of The Seek: he can’t trust anyone, so why should he trust his heart?

23729It’s going to take more than summer loving to heal old wounds, but a remote beach, old friendships and a bit of sunshine might just spark a second chance at love.

23730Coastal romance short read at its best: She went to Sydney to hide, instead she was found by love.

Easter Eggs – the non-caloried kind

Kate’s 10 Favourite Movie Easter Eggs, in the order that she remembered them. Hope everyone has a safe and happy long weekend!

1. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
The best book, the best movie, and the best Easter Egg.

harrypottersex sceneDid you see it? Take a look at the bottom, left-hand side of the image. Is that a sexy little scene there in this PG movie? Why yes, yes I think it is!

2. Frozen
Disney is absolutely chock-full of self-referencing Easter Eggs (Hamm in WAll-E, Dumbo in Lilo & Stitch, Mickey Mouse in Aladdin), but this little disclaimer still tickles my funny bone, even after having seen it 1 439 298 times (count accurate at time of publication).

frozen-boogers3. All of the Marvel Movies. All of them.
Well, hello Stan Lee!

credit to

credit to

4. All of Alfred Hitchcock’s movies. All of them.
Well, hello, Alfred Hitchcock!

5. Star Trek 2009 reboot.
If you know me, you know I love me some speculative fiction, and I love me some Star Trek. You may also know that I’m generally against JJ Abrams being in charge of both the Star Trek and the Star Wars franchises. Star Trek and Star Wars are like parallel lines – they should never meet. Except in Easter Eggs that make me laugh. Then I’m OK with it.

r2-d26. X Marks the Spot in The Departed
The Departed is about as perfect a crime movie as you can get (yes, I know it’s based on a Japanese film Infernal Affairs. Let’s move on), and when I found out about this little visual cue throughout the movie, I had to watch it again. The only person who doesn’t have an X? Mark Wahlberg’s Sgt Dignam – the one character that survives the bloody battle between the police and the mob.
The-Departed7. Starbucks owns Fight Club
Probably you know about this one, but just in case – have you watched Fight Club? There is a Starbucks cup in every, single shot.
213427_v1Also, just in general, how fabulous is Helena Bonham-Carter?

8. George self-references in Out of Sight
If you haven’t seen Out of Sight, then you are only harming yourself. Everything you need to know about external conflict and sexual tension, you can learn from this movie. It also includes one of my favourite Easter Eggs: George Clooney’s mugshot in Out of Sight is from his film From Dusk Till Dawn. Jennifer Lopez’s character states, “It looks nothing like him”.

seth geckoRelated: how hot is George’s neck tattoo in From Dusk Till Dawn?

9. Veronica Mars Panders (and we love it)
It was one of the biggest KickStarter stories ever, and introduced a new generation to Veronica Mars. You bet I was sitting in the (ONE!) theatre that showed it (ONE TIME) in Melbourne. In the movie, as part of the introduction, Veronica Mars refers to herself as a marshmallow – a sly wink at the long-time fans of the show who refer to themselves as such, after a comment made by Wallace in the first season of the TV show.

Veronica-Calling-Herself-Marshmallow10. Rocky Horror Picture Show Inspires the Internet
Finally, how could I go past the Easter Egg that started it all! The cast of RHPS had themselves an Easter egg hunt, but didn’t manage to find them all. And that’s how a few ended up in the film – and where the whole concept of Easter Eggs began.
eggsHappy Easter!

Blogging about Adverbs, thoughtfully and with purpose

I’ve been musing about adverbs lately, considering their place in the fictional universe, the pros and cons of their use, and what role they play in building a world and maintaining pacing.

I’ve come to the conclusion that, like exclamation marks, adverbs are best used sparingly, if at all.

First, what’s an adverb? An adverb is a word or phrase that modifies pretty much anything except nouns, that is: verbs, clauses, adjectives, other adverbs, or adverbial phrases. For example, as very in very nice (modifying an adjective), much in much more impressive (modifying an adjective), and tomorrow in She’ll write to you tomorrow (modifying a verb). Adverbs are very useful in terms of setting time, place, and manner, and they’re often most recognisable in their -ly form (loosely, slowly, gently, carefully – these are all adverbs).

Let’s leave aside time and place adverbs (now, tomorrow, yesterday, at home, etc) which have a strong use in fiction that’s not really covered by any other class of words, and focus on the adverbs that modify adjectives and verbs in particular.

I touched on adverbs modifying adjectives a little when I talked about the problems with hyperbole. Unless you really need the emphasis, more impressive means about the same as much more impressive, and you could alter this by looking for new adjectives: superior, superlative, extraordinary, etc.

But I mostly want to talk about adverbs modifying verbs today.

The thing about adverbs is that the solution to their use is in their very name: ad-verb, that is add to a verb, modify a verb. But with the depth, variety, and diversity of verbs available to writers and editors (and, indeed, any user of the English language), the use of an adverb can be curtailed simply by finding and using the right verb.


He walked slowly and heavily down the hallway to the kitchen where she waited for him.

He plodded down the hallway to the kitchen where she waited for him.

He trudged down the hallway to the kitchen where she waited for him.

He lumbered down the hallway to the kitchen where she waited for him.

Any of the three alternate sentences are stronger, because they’re more precise and more elegant, pinpointing the exact movement of the character.

She erotically removed her pants off one hip, revealing a small, butterfly tattoo.

She peeled her pants off one hip, revealing a small butterfly tattoo.

She teased her pants off one hip, revealing a small butterfly tattoo.

She divested one hip of its clothing, revealing a small butterfly tattoo.

Choosing the right verb doesn’t necessarily mean avoiding adverbs completely. Sometimes it means that you can choose the right verb/adverb combination to really drive your point home.

She erotically slid her pants off one hip, revealing a small, butterfly tattoo.

She gradually bared one hip, playing peek-a-boo with a small, butterfly tattoo.

She denuded one hip languidly, revealing a small, butterfly tattoo.

Precision in writing will immediately (adverb!) affect areas that with which many authors struggle: pacing, wordiness, lack of sophistication. Making the best verb choice will tighten your story, boost pacing, and add elegance to your prose – easily, and with precision.

Here are some great verb lists to help you get started!

March Madness – New Releases!

Books! For you! Available now!


From ground-breaking, breath-taking author Ainslie Paton comes a new contemporary romance: She could have him sacked quicker than licking her lips. He could ruin her reputation with an email. But the worst thing a man can do is not be with the woman he loves.

23522From the best-selling Darkon Warriors series comes an enemy-to-lover story about a brother, a best friend, and the precious gift they leave behind. 

23660Not up-to-date on your SE Gilchrist, but love your romance out of this world? Check out The Darkon Warriors Bundle, four great books, one hot price!

23523In Children of the Mist, we discovered the secret history of the Children. Now, in the wilds of Scotland, one of them has come of age…

23545From award-winning author Alison Stuart comes a stirring historical trilogy about soldiers, spies, and the strong women that love them. 

All of the Housewives have revealed their secrets – have you learned them all?

SLAH_Camilla_FinalTo all of Sydney’s society, she’s just the upstart, gold-digging waitress that somehow managed to snare one of Australia’s most eligible bachelors.

SLAH_Darla_FinalIn the final instalment, Darla, our sad, funny housewife finds that being a little neighbourly can lead to so much more.

#SydneyWives – Delectable Darla

reblogged from AusRomToday – This is your last chance to win the MAJOR prize. Get in it to win it!

Tell us a little more about your housewife, Darla:
Darla has not been lucky in love. Her ex-husband left her for a younger woman he got pregnant after refusing to discuss having kids with her. Her family business and her part in it has gone from strength to strength, now she wants a family of her own to share in it as her father did with her brothers and her. But with the way her dating history is going of late, the only kids she will be having will be a Popsicle baby (donor sperm). But while she is having a disastrous time on the dating front, it is giving her plenty of stories to entertain the girls at the Diamond Dinner Club.

What inspired Darla’s story:
I was involved with Kate in developing the concept when she brought it to me.  I wanted Darla to be part of the story continuity. I wanted her to put on that brave face and smile with the other housewives, while she is afraid she will never find love.

What was your biggest challenge in writing Darla’s story?
My biggest problem writing Darla was not the story. I had a lot of personal stuff going on at the time that caused some issues. The easiest part is that I was the structural editor of all the other stories so I knew everyone’s characters by the time I got around to writing Darla.

Why will we love Darla?
What’s not to love? She’s sweet, cute and very funny. Just don’t ask her to cook for you.

The Housewives of Sydney series promises that we’ll “find out what goes on behind the doors of the most exclusive addresses in the country”. What was the appeal of joining this series? Similarly, what has been the biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge – especially for me – is that I was the series continuity/structural editor as well as writer of Darla’s story. I had to keep everything straight, make sure what someone said in one story was not contradicted in another. I had to make sure all the housewives’ characteristics were carried through the subsequent stories. I was lucky with the group of authors I worked with. They were all professional and fun.

SLAH_Darla_FinalFrom the hottest writers in Australia comes a scintillating new series. Enter the world of Sydney’s elite, and find out what goes on behind the doors of the most exclusive addresses in the country…

Meet the Housewives of Sydney. They are wealthy, elegant, poised, and constantly in the public eye. But what goes on behind closed doors, in the private homes and parties where the cameras and paparazzi aren’t welcome? Delve into the most personal details of their relationships, their friendships and their lives. The only question is: can you handle the heat?

Darla knows her place at the exclusive Diamond D dinners – she is comic relief, entertaining the rest of the women with tales of her dating woes. Since her divorce, she has been on one bad date after another, and not even a high-class dating agency can help.

But a massive storm front brings a visit from an old neighbour – and suddenly being neighbourly takes on a whole new meaning. When it rains, it pours, and it looks like Darla’s dry spell is about to become a thing of the past.