Gateway to Romance: Louise Forster

by Louise Forster

What drew me into the romance genre?

Gosh, where do I start?

I’m quite sure I’ve been a romantic all my life. I lived it, but it never occurred to me that I could write within the genre. And then a friend said I could … and should … so I did.

Music is huge in out extended family. On weekends we’d play out favourite albums, turn up the volume and dance and sing all over the living room. Christopher Cross’s song, ‘Sailing’ was a biggie. If my sister, a fine arts painter was around, she’d would join in. On one occasion our Burmese cat prowled out and bit her in the ankle. Maybe sis’s pitch was off.

I used to sit with my ear to the speakers and sway and quietly sing along to love songs. I don’t press my ear to the speaker anymore, which is probably a good thing. Old favourites will always remain close to my heart, nevertheless I have moved on from bands such as Bread, Deep Purple, and Prince and others. Now I listen to artists such as Gwen Stefani, Pink, Adele and more. Did listening to them draw me into reading and writing romance? Probably, but having said that, anything that has to do with the arts: music, movies, concerts, fine art, fashion … oh yes … and guys on horseback mustering, and guys saving animals; you name it, I’m drawn in and will use my experiences to write. Hold on, not that I’ve had experiences of guys on horseback; but my guy does save animals, birds, reptiles, insects …

Escape published my first book, titled: Finding Elizabethwhere Jack takes Katherine to a Christmas Eve dance. The music flows and he takes her hand for a sensuous, slow dance her across the floor.

Music is a powerful medium. I’m moved by a melody and lyrics, and when they come together, it’s magic. Some can bring me to tears, while others make me swoon or laugh. There are so many writers and singers of brilliant songs way too many to name. But some of the most moving, and romantic lines, I find, are in lyrics. A whole love story is sung in 3minutes 28 seconds. The song by Bread titled ‘IF’, has powerful, touching lyrics that will arouse your emotions in about two minutes forty-three seconds.

Because Chris Isaak comes across as a cheeky bad boy, and many would say Hot, I’ve added an oldie … well, maybe not that old.


The world was on fire and no one could save me but you
It’s strange what desire will make foolish people do
I’d never dreamed that I’d meet somebody like you
And I’d never dreamed that I’d lose somebody like you

The song below is not in the least bit romantic, but it’s the first time I’ve been able to really listen to the lyrics. Is it because the singer is awesomely hot, his voice, his expressive face or the powerful music and lyrics?

From Jonathan Zalman, a staff editor, runs The Scroll, Tablet’s news blog.

“As one YouTube user put it: “I came for the metal, I got feels.

People writing songs
That voices never share
And no one dare
Disturb the sound of silence

28381In the sequel to Home Truths, Louise Forster returns to the sleepy country town of Tumble Creek with the story of a cop, a teacher and a mystery that will bring them together—or tear them apart.

Art teacher and occasional life model Sofie Dove wants to know what’s up with Brock Stewart. Everything about the ex SAS soldier turned police officer seems to scream passion—and it’s all for her—but he just won’t express it. All she knows is that he has a past that still keeps him up some nights.

After a semi-trailer crashes through Sofie’s house and the driver disappears into thin air, Brock insists he’s the only one who can keep her safe—but can he, when they can’t seem to trust each other?

While Sofie works on figuring out why this man keeps giving her mixed messages, Brock is determined to find out who’s out to get her—as they both find out why falling in love is a bit like being hit by a truck.

The Story of my Book: This Love

by Lea Darragh

Let me tell you a story about bohemian Emerson Taylor and her city boy Jack Archer (and it’s not This Love, their tragic tale that released September 15th).

I began writing stories just over six years ago, intrigued and determined to make my way through the crazy fantastic experience that is writing a book. And they say everybody has one in them, and I do believe that, but when it came to Emmy and Jack, my very first heroine and her hero, it seemed I had quite a few.


They always lived in pretty Cobblers Cove, a fictional seaside village snuggled somewhere along Victoria’s Great Ocean Road – because there’s nothing like toes in water to ease us through all of life’s contemplations. Emmy wasn’t always an artistic interior designer, nor was Jack a worldly chef. Emmy wasn’t always as broken as I wanted, and Jack always seemed too, I don’t know, lukewarm. Let’s face it, a good book has a strong – even if she’s broken – heroine and her hot-as-hell hero, even if he is what stands in her way of true love.


In my original Emmy/Jack story, he was secretly married. Divorcing and desperate for a new life and fresh start, but still married. While Emmy, after living an average life full of rejection and heartbreak, she thought she’d finally found true love with Jack…until it all turned to shit and everything blew up. Even after writing 114k, it was still very meh.

So, then what? How low could I sink these two? How much could I break them? After five drafts, endlessly hashing out plots with others, and suppressing the deep contemplation to just give it all up, it hit me! Thank goodness, because now Emerson and her Jack will be released into the world.

I’d love nothing more than to let you in on the conflict that I forced upon them, but it’s just too juicy to share. But let me tell you, it’ll have you considering your morals and the lengths of your bravery. These two are broken in vastly different ways by a shared tragedy. One that not all could forgive, or survive.


And for those of you who are completely in love with the ocean, here’s a little insight into how the intoxicating setting of This Love melted its way into me. The images were taken over a couple of mini breaks to Phillip Island/Cowes/San Remo. It’s gorgeous there. Another world, but the beach feels like home to me. The roaring yet calming sounds. The crisp salty sea air. Step onto the sand and I feel like I’ve slipped away from everyday life. The sunset images were taken in a small cove in San Remo where my husband and I walked the coastline, completely taken by the seclusion, feeling like the ocean was ours. I could clearly envision Emmy taking her moonlit, midnight swims. The image of the swirling sea against the rocks was taken in Phillip Island. The water was a vivid turquoise and just stunning. The image does not do it justice. And the view of the horizon was taken in Cowes. The sun was high in the sky as a scuff of clouds hovered over the ocean. There’s always serenity when there’s an ocean of water. The perfect remedy for all that ails you.


So when you settle down to read This Love, the time and time again reinvented love story between Emmy and Jack, I hope you feel them there with you, and you feel yourself there with them!

29423Forgiveness can be hard—even when it’s the only way to save your life.

When Emmy’s fiancé, Ethan, is killed by a speeding driver on the way to their wedding, she is devastated beyond words. Numb and confused, she withdraws from the world.

Eighteen months later, Emmy has settled herself into the coastal town of Cobbler’s Cove. With satisfying work in a new restaurant, a quiet home by the sea, and friends who pick her up when grief comes back to haunt her, she’s finally daring to dream of a bright future.

That is, until she meets Jack Archer—a worldly chef who draws people to the restaurant. Emmy and Jack have mutual friends and a common goal, but their history could tear them both apart.

When Emmy finds herself falling for Jack, she begins to question her love for Ethan. She’s tortured by the past and scared of the future. Does she have the strength to forgive and move on?


Gateway to Romance: Kerrie Paterson

by Kerrie Paterson

I have to admit to being a bit of a late starter when it came to reading romance. As a tween I was more interested in reading Trixie Belden than anything “soppy” (although there was the whole Trixie – Jim romance subplot so maybe that’s where it began!) On a side note, I have just found out there is a whole world of Trixie Belden fanfiction shipping Jim and Trixie or “Jix” as they are known! My mind is blown…


The first “real” romances I remember reading were the Wildfire and Sweet Dreams series from our high school library – which was hard to believe in a Catholic all-girls school. I was a chubby, nerdy kid who did well academically and I remember sidling up to the shelf when no-one was looking, grabbing one and taking it to a far corner to read – possibly hidden behind a more “serious” book. I have memories of being teased for reading them – obviously smart kids weren’t supposed to read romance.


I devoured those books from both the school library and my local library. Even looking at the covers now makes me happy. Over the years I’ve actually come across some of my favourite titles again in second hand book stores and snapped them up.

From those I moved on to Mills and Boon and Silhouette romances, but I have to admit to still reading them surreptitiously in public.

However, I’m pleased to admit that now I’m “out and proud” with my love of romance!

28510A pastry chef returns to her roots and discovers that the flavour of first love improves with age.

Twenty-five years ago, Polly and Matt were in love—but their relationship came to a traumatic end following the death of her best friend.

Now Polly Chappell has moved back to her home town to open a patisserie and care for her elderly parents, and the last person she wants to see is Matt Enright. Until she actually sees him, that is…

Their attraction turns out to be stronger than ever, but both have their reasons to resist rekindling their romance—until someone attempts to run Polly out of town with escalating threats and vandalism, and Matt’s protective instincts surface.

Will the secret she keeps bring them together—or get them killed?

Gateway to Romance: Elisabeth Rose

by Elisabeth Rose

Fifteen by Beverley Cleary was the first book I read that had everything a young teen wanted and I loved it. It was published in 1956 but doing a search today reveals it as still available and ranking well.


It seems too good to be true. The most popular boy in school has asked Jane out — and she’s never even dated before. Stan is tall and good-looking, friendly and hard-working — everything Jane ever dreamed of. But is she ready for this?

Suppose her parents won’t let her go? What if she’s nervous and makes a fool of herself? Maybe he’ll think she’s too young. If only she knew all the clever things to say. If only she were prettier. If only she were ready for this…

With her usual warmth, perceptiveness, and humour, Beverly Cleary creates the joys and worries of a young girl’s first crush.

That book made me want to be fifteen so I could have all those exciting experiences Jane was having. I must have been about thirteen when I read it, way back in the early sixties and it kindled a desire to read more books about romance. I can’t remember any other titles but I’ve never forgotten Fifteen.

At about the same time my cousins introduced me to Georgette Heyer. I stayed with them for summer holidays and they had all her books which I devoured pretty much non-stop. My uncle was mighty peeved when we all went to the Davis Cup tennis tie at White City and I took Devils Cub with me and read during a match. Since then I’ve always loved historical romance.


We didn’t have romance books at home although there were plenty of books in the house and everyone read. Mum and Dad preferred crime—books, not the activity—and we belonged to the library where I discovered to my delight that almost every book I read had a romance in it somewhere. A few years later, as a student, I found piles of old Mills and Boons at a friend’s coast house—the perfect summer holiday reading. And romance was front and centre.


One honeymoon, one vanished husband, one desperate wife—and the cop who is tasked to help her, but can’t seem to keep his thoughts on the job.

Honeymooner Nikki Spenser emerges from the surf at Surfers Paradise and can’t find her husband, her towel, or her clothes on the beach. Carlos has disappeared from her life as suddenly as he entered it.

In despair, Nikki returns to Sydney where she is contacted by Detective Luke Emerson, a reminder from her past she thought never to see again. Luke informs her that the man she married so recklessly in Las Vegas three weeks prior doesn’t exist. Everything she knew about Carlos is a lie, and Nikki realises she knows nothing about her husband—not where he is, not even who he is.

As Nikki and Luke chase down tenuous leads, they soon find themselves plunged into an ever-widening sea of international crime and violence, and Nikki is faced with the hard questions—how much of her love is based on lies, and how much is true?

Feed Your Reader: Romantic Suspense and a Box-Set!


A witty, sexy and suspenseful story about a stolen necklace, a doomed hotel, and two people determined to get their hands on the jewels—at any cost.


Three sexy and intriguing men discover love can be a great healer, if they can only brave the risk… 

Spring into spring!

To celebrate, we’ve compiled as many spring idioms as we could think of, and paired them with a book that embodies their spirit. It’s like wine and food, but with spring and books.

…we’ll do wine and books later🙂

A spring in (one’s) step

Nothing says a spring-y step like a good dance. Like, say, the one that Dan and Alex dance together in Ainslie Paton’s Grease Monkey Jive.


Spring into action

Neither Merry or Jack can afford any hesitations in their life-or-death pursuit of priceless jewels across the world, in Tory Hayward’s breathtaking adventure romance.


Spring chicken

She’s a spring chicken – until she isn’t. Explore both ends of the hen with the hilarious time-travel novel from Juliet Madison.


Spring to attention

Soldiers – fighting against a corrupt government, sent to destroy those who most need their protection. I’m sure a few of you sprang to attention too…24680

Spring Fever

“Fever – I’m afire, fever yea I burn forsooth.”…Shakespeare knew it was true, and so do Ben and Trix in this light-hearted, re-envisioned twist on Much Ado About Nothing.

25824 (1)

Spring to life

Nothing springs quite like a newly minted vampire – or, maybe, say, twin vampires?


Spring to mind

Unfortunately, what with his temporary retrograde amnesia, not much is springing to Connor’s mind – and his best friend Emma is desperate to keep it that way.


Hope springs eternal

All that Sherise has is hope in the spin-off novel of SE Gilchrist’s Darkon Warrior SF series – hope that they’ll survive, hope they can find a way home, and hope that humanity’s future is secure.



RWA 2016 – A Round-up!

We asked the Escape Artists to name their one best thing from last weekend’s RWA. It was hard. In fact, I’m told it was torture. But, never let it be said that our authors can’t rise to a challenge…even if several gave more than one reason!

Susanne Bellamy:

Catching up with friends and fellow authors, sharing wine and laughter, and being inspired by new takes on ideas.


Dr Sandra Antonelli and Dr John Barletta’s presentation explored personality types and was lots of fun. Pitting Mr Darcy and Donald Trump was illuminating! 😀

Cathleen Ross:

Meeting up with my editor and other people I am fond of.

Kerrie Patterson:

Most memorable moment – a group of us in a circle on the dance floor at midnight, arms around each other, swaying and belting Bryan Adams out at the top of our lungs 🙂 (Great choice for the final song!!)

Most inspiring moment – the entirety of Fiona McIntosh’s speech, but especially the reminder that it’s okay to think about the commercial aspect of our writing – we’re in it to make money.

Juliet Madison:

Feathers. So many feathers. Who knew they could be so much fun?! The Harlequin author party was fabulous as always, a great opportunity for writers, editors, & publishers to mingle and celebrate each other’s successes.

Michael Hauge talking about the difference between ‘identity’ versus ‘essence’ of a person/character. The romance blossoms when a person is in their essence and not their identity.


Tea Cooper:

Friends, feathers, frivolities and fantastic fun!

Cassandra Samuels: 

Coming first in the Ripping Start was obviously a highlight for me but also the wonderful sword/dueling demonstration was fabulous.


Alison Stuart: 

I loved Sarah Younger’s take on what makes a good story – when the page falls away. Very evocative!

Elisabeth Rose: 

Highlight: Keri Arthur’s raw and very honest account of her up and down career. Being inspired to go home and write all over again.

Fiona Greene: 

MIchael Hauge Friday workshop, focus on transitioning the character from their Identity (who they think they are) to their essence (who they really are). At the end of the day we did an exercise to become the heroine of our own life, using what we had learnt that was fabulous.

Kendall Talbot:

I had goosebumps when Leisl Leighton sang her first cabaret song. She is incredibly talented.

Lee Christine: 

Meeting up with like-minded friends, some whom we only see once a year. It’s such a special time. And there are smiles everywhere. Everybody’s happy!

And the beautiful venue!


Sandra Antonelli :

The workshop attendees’ collective shock & awe when Dr John Barletta accidentally advanced his Powerpoint presentation to a photo of Mr Darcy.

Lily Malone: 

This one is very self indulgent – but I can’t top that I got my first print book handed to me personally at RWA by Sue Brockhoff in the lobby of the Grand on Saturday morning. 🙂



See you all in Brisbane 2017!