Avoid cliches like the plague…

by Kate

In her lovely novel Cedar Cove, Lisa Kleypas says,

One of the more ignominious features of love was that you could only express it with cliches…it made you sound like a fraud at a time when you were blazing with sincerity.”

It’s a beautiful paragraph, and it captures so eloquently one of the fundamental frustrations of being a writer – specifically, a romance writer. Cliches are true. Life is short. Days do fly by. Actions do speak louder than words. And sometimes you need a cliche to best express the emotion of a moment.


But there are some cliches that don’t add to manuscript. Some cliches that get your manuscript tossed against proverbial walls. We at Escape love to be helpful, so we put together a list of the most egregious, for your reference:

  • Character description is provided by a character looking at themselves in the mirror and cataloguing their features. Bonus points if the character is a woman, she’s naked, and her breasts are full and high.
  • Character sits at a table/on a train/at their desk/stands at window, sipping tea (or whisky) while reflecting on how they got into this situation
  • Messages appearing in a deep and meaningful dream. According to research, 50% of a dream is forgotten by the end of a dream, and a few minutes later, 90% is forgotten.  Only about 50% of people remember their dreams. It’s possible that dreams CAN contain a message, but it’s unlikely that every fictional character gets their motivation from a dream
  • Character is not white and any or all of the following: street smart and sassy, possessed of deep wisdom or connected to some unspecified mysticism, obsessed with personal honour, deeply connected to nature and the Earth, drives terribly, or smells like curry. Populating your world properly is important; tokenism is cliche and needs to be avoided
  • Character is angsting about being an orphan/being bullied as a child/parent dying/first girlfriend cheating. Character is 35-years-old and has had ample access to therapy which they have chosen not to exercise. Character uses childhood angst as an excuse against a relationship.
  • Heroine is edgy. You can tell because she wears black all the time and has a tattoo.
  • Heroine is very conventionally attractive, is told so repeatedly, meets all conventionally attractive parameters, but nevertheless insists on her own ugliness as a shortcut to displaying her modesty and down-to-earthiness.
  • Hero has muscles that are clearly not gym-begotten. (How can you tell the difference between gym muscles and non-gym muscles?)
  • The ex is a horrible, terrible person who, without any other motivation, exists only to make the hero/heroine’s life miserable and break up any future relationships
  • Honey-blonde hair. Flame-coloured locks. Unruly curls. Steel-grey eyes. Strawberry-flavoured nipples

Think about that – what could possibly make nipples strawberry-flavoured?


Have any cliches that drive you crazy? Share them!

Hot Sales! (and we mean hot)

On top of our amazing Valentine’s Day promo (check them out here!) , we are so pleased to share that Google Play Books is also running a hot, hot, hot erotica sale…and do we have some hot titles at hot promotional prices for you!


An erotic new adult romance about old insecurities, new beginnings, and the things you can get up to in a tent…

“the attraction … is palpable and the sexual tension sizzling” (Jeannie Zelos, Goodreads)

Hook me up!


She’s a small town caterer, he’s a big city chef, but they don’t need a kitchen to make things sizzle…

“Grab it, gobble it up, and it will leave you feeling satisfied.” (Ms RomanticReads, Goodreads)

Yes, please!


If there’s one thing Zoe Chandler, Historical Restorations expert, knows, it’s that naked bankers aren’t supposed to look like Greek gods.

“Humor, a hot hero, a feisty heroine, some super steamy love scenes (did I mention the love scenes were hot, like really hot, like melt the clothes off of you hot), and of course a happily ever after.” (Constance, Goodreads)

Take me there!


Four stories of eroticism, strength, experimentation, and ultimate salvation.

“If you are looking for a fun, entertaining, and spicy read, Release should be in your to–be-read pile.” (Lori, Goodreads)

Get this on my e-reader!


From Cathleen Ross comes a naughty-but-nice story about the fun one can have playing dress-up.

“The chemistry between Ruby and Jake is explosive and practically melted my kindle.” (Lea, Goodreads)

Gimme gimme gimme!


Natasha Raven is unqualified for her job – but a sexy customer service staffer is about to offer her some professional development…

“If you’re in the mood for a quick sexy read, give Room Service a try!” (Tracy, Goodreads)

Make this mine!


A dark, violent, and devastatingly sensual erotic fantasy about the binding force of love.

“The Sexy Time was SUPER hot!!” (Liz, Goodreads)

Yes please!


An Australian-set paranormal drawing on the Aboriginal Dreamtime in a hot, suspenseful series debut.

“great for a beach or bath tub read” (Stefanie, Goodreads)

Hook me up!


A guarded recluse, some dirty pictures and a spark of curiosity that leads to a dangerous attraction.

“This is one of the funniest, smartest and sexiest erotic romances I’ve read.” (Love Reading Romance, Goodreads)

Gimme gimme gimme!


Traditionally, leather is an anniversary gift. One couple is about to take that in a very non-traditional way…

“an enjoyable, short erotic romance” (Erinne, Goodreads)

Make this mine!


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

“Just make sure you grab yourself a fan, because things do get steamy!”(My Written Romance, Goodreads)

Get this on my e-reader!

Valentine’s Day Sale!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

To show their love, Google Play Books has chosen four of our titles to promote. So if you’re looking for a romantic read, may we suggest the following titles, at promotional prices?


The journey from friends to lovers starts with a very brave first step. Or a catalytic event. Sometimes both.

“delivered a fresh friendship to lover’s trope with a mix of personal growth, humor and self-discovery” (Kimberley, Goodreads)

Yes, please!


What happens when fairytales get the romantic suspense treatment? A cross-genre mash-up with enchanting results!

“a short and quirky novella that mixes up the fairytale and crime genre and honestly its just a lot of fun to read” (Jess, Goodreads)

Buy me now!


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.

“a quick, light, airy read that I would recommend to any rock star readers” (Miranda, Goodreads)

Get on my e-reader!


From one of Australia’s hottest new authors comes a story about an international scandal, a billionaire, and a fearless reporter who might just save the day…

“high energy, intense, suspenseful, incredibly romantic (like bone melting romantic)” (Brooke, Goodreads)

Gimme gimme gimme!

(please note: Detained is also available at this promotional price on Amazon and iBooks as part of promotional events with those e-tailers!)

Feed Your Reader: Scots and Second Chances


From best-selling author Frances Housden comes a brand new historical romance about a Spanish señorita and a strapping Scottish hero…


Love at first sight is all very well, but sometimes it takes a second chance


by Kate

I love friends to lovers stories. The risk involved, the growing feelings, the does-he/does-she agonies, the over-analysis of a look: it’s all my reader jam . And I know I’m not alone in this regard. Romance readers love their romance novel tropes. Whether it’s fairy tale re-tellings, secret babies, or bad boy billionaires (or all three!), there’s a little frisson that dances down our spine when we know that a story contains a hit of our own personal catnip.


We have talked about romance tropes before on The Escapades, from our authors’ perspective. Just like readers, they too have favourite literary conceits, and you can read about them in a blog series we did last year.

But mostly, I just wanted to tell you about a project that we’ve put together for 2017, because we wanted to put the right stories in the right hands. Because we’re readers too. Because everyone deserves a little frisson from time to time.

Trope-tastic bind-ups.

Not by author, not by setting, not even really by theme.

By trope.

So when you are chasing your catnip, you know you’ll find it – three fantastic stories worth.


We’re putting out our first trope-up tomorrow, and we have two more coming out in February, with more scheduled later this year.

So if these tropes tickle your fancy, click through and indulge, dear readers – we already have!





We are so proud to be nominated for nine Australian Romance Reader Awards for books released in 2016!



We acknowledge especially Sarah Barrie, who has two books nominated, and our wonderful Secret Confessions: Down & Dusty authors who have both single title nominations and a nomination for best series.

You can find all the nominees here.

As always, we thank the Australian Romance Readers Association for all their hard work in running the awards every year, and we look forward to seeing everyone at the awards dinner on 25 February.