Feed Your Reader: A soldier, a submarine, and a one-night stand

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A submarine, a one-night-stand, and a forbidden workplace romance…

Kurt Garland is at a crossroads: sign for another two years as a submariner or leave and rejoin civilian life. With only weeks to make up his mind, he’s torn between the financial stability and mateship of life in the Navy, and the freedom and balance outside of the military. With big life decisions on the line, Kurt needs space to think, so a one-night-stand with a sexy stranger is all he can commit to. Until his sexy stranger shows up on his submarine…

Getting accepted into the Submarine Corps was an enormous career goal for Rainy Miller, and she has no intention of screwing it up. A Marine Technician for the last eight years in the surface fleet, Rainy craves the new challenges of a submariner. With her training complete, she’s about to join a boat for the first time, and her career relies on a good impression. When her one night stand shows up in the galley, she has to shut it down, walk away, pretend it never happened. But all submariners know that secrets don’t stay secret for long on a sub.

“the writing style was amazing and this book came together perfectly” – Aresha’s Book Corner

“Shona is a new author for me, so I am definitely looking forward to reading more from her” – Jennifer, Goodreads

Available today!

Support the Change

by Kate

One of the comments that comes up most when we talk to readers is, ‘Oh yes, I wish to see more *** in romance’.

*** can be anything from settings (books set outside of the US or the UK, books set in Africa/Asia/South America/etc) and time periods (historicals set outside of the Regency, historicals in different cultures) to characters (women in high-powered jobs, women 40+, men who are merely millionaires and aren’t pricks!) and representation (characters that aren’t white, characters that are LGBTQI, characters that are disabled or aren’t neurotypical).

This kind of comment comes up quite a bit in reader panels, and publishers and editors dutifully listen and make notes and look for books that meet those suggestions, but we also know one crucial fact that makes it hard to publish them: different books don’t sell.

Sure, there are the occasional outliers. Joanna Bourne has a series set during the French Revolution. Laura Lee Guhrke saw critical and commercial acclaim with her Girl Bachelors series; The Rosie Project worked from the point-of-view of a man who is neurodivergent; gay romance is one of the strongest subgenres in romance (though it’s very heavily on the m/m side, with lesbian romance a much smaller subset).

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But a lot of these so-labelled diverse books sink under the ocean of small-town romances about straight, white people in their late 20s or early 30s. There’s nothing wrong with small-town romances about straight, white people in their late 20s or early 30s. In fact, some of the strongest, most creative, most romantic, and well-written romance novels written have fit into this mould perfectly.

But if, as a reader, you  have ever wanted more – what have you done about it?

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We’ve all heard the quote,  ‘Be the change you want to see in the world’, but not all of us can write novels or film television shows or produce movies, but we do all have the choice about what we consume. And in this current climate where consumption drives visibility, what we choose to consume can make an enormous difference.

There are many, many excuses, and many of them are automatic, but they’re also holding you back:

  • “I’m not the target audience for this book/tv show/film”
  • “I won’t relate to the characters because they’re *** and I’m not”
  • “I don’t want to get into identity politics tonight. I just want to be entertained.”
  • “Books/TV shows/Films about *** are always so sad/depressing/angry/scary”
  • “I don’t want to risk my money on a book that no one’s recommended”

If you’re used to being the target audience for everything, it can be hard work when a creative pursuit is deliberately not about you, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t enjoy it and get a lot out of it. This is also a weak excuse: think of the number of consumers who are not straight white men who nevertheless are able to consume and relate to any number of stories about straight white men.

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You will also be surprised by the diversity within areas that you haven’t discovered and that are whole pools for you to dive into. Love romcoms? Try one about African-Americans like Think Like a Man or Brown Sugar or Love and Basketball. Love reading about billionaires? There are scads of Asian billionaire novels. Want a historical that eschews the ballroom? May I humbly suggest The Lotus Palace by Jeannie Lin or Not Quite a Husband by Sherrie Thomas? If you like stories about female friendships, why not try The L Word which is about a group of close-knit women who also happen to be lesbians?

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If you care about representation in film, are you seeking out films with writers/actors/storylines about people who look different or have different experiences than you? Or are you letting your Netflix recommendations drive your viewing habits?

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If you care about diversity in your romance novels, are you actively searching for terms like ‘seasoned heroines’ (heroines 40+) or ‘interracial romance novels’? Do you take a chance on unknown authors, if you’re interested in the story, or do you only one-click well-known authors? Do you grab a story that has a few strong reviews, but about something that you’ve never tried, just to see if there’s something there for you?

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Do you prevaricate on spending $4 on a book that has few reviews, even though you’ve spent way more money on way bigger risks? Have you read books by big name authors that you didn’t like, but you won’t take the same risk on a new author?

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Supporting the change you want to see in the world is the single biggest difference you can make, and it’s incredibly important to creating a vibrant, inclusive, diverse marketplace.

We can’t all write or film or produce, but we can support those that can, and we can make change in the world, one book at a time.

Friday Five: Lena Dowling

Author: Lena Dowling
First Published with Escape: March, 2013
Favourite Romance Trope: Marriage of Convenience
Ideal Hero: The only non-negotiable qualification is that he loves the heroine more than life itself (even if he doesn’t know it yet).
Ideal Heroine: Determined, resourceful, feisty, and fiercely loyal. She doesn’t need a drop dead gorgeous hero but she sure deserves one.
Latest Book: Convict Heart (Book 3 in the Convict Series)

What began your writing career? Why do you write romance?

Inspiration came reading  a Mills and Boon romance set in the South Island of  New Zealand (on the wild and rugged Otago Peninsula in Dunedin) when I was a teenager. Up until then all the books I’d ever read were written about impossibly far away places by American and British authors. That book made the setting and characters hyper-real. Writing suddenly seemed like something someone living at the end of the world could do. And it is truly the end of the world – there’s not a whole heck of a lot of land between Dunedin and the Antarctic. Sadly I can’t recall the name of the author or the title of the book. It would have been written in the nineteen eighties and if any reader recognises it, I’d love to know who I owe my writing career to.

What is the best writing advice you have ever received?

Be mean to your characters, put them through the wringer and then build them up so they can pull themselves out of it.  Agonising to do when you care about your characters, but it makes for the best stories.

Which book written by someone else do you wish you had written?

Any of Jane Austen’s books but particularly Persuasion.  Some say it’s semi-autobiographical and its the thought that perhaps Jane was giving herself the HEA that she never got in life that makes it so poignant.

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If you could cast anyone for the movie/stage adaption of your book and characters who would they be?

Clare Bowen – who plays Scarlett on the television drama “Nashville” to play Nellie in Convict Heart the third book in my Convict series. Clare is Australian, but she is also brilliant with accents so she could do Nellie’s Irish accent beautifully, plus she has a wonderful singing voice and when she wears her hair long she’s Nellie to a “T”. And then there’s the fact she works on “Nashville” – love it, love it, love it. 

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Snacks while writing, yes or no?

There are people who don’t eat snacks while writing? Who are these people and what sorcery do they use to fuel their muse with thin air? Potato crisps, salted peanuts, salted cashews, milk chocolate, white chocolate… during the day… segueing to evening… which includes all of the above plus wine.


30777 (2)An Australian historical romance about a woman with a past who is fighting with everything she has for her future.

All of Sydney knows she was a convict and a prostitute, but Nellie Malone is now the manager of the ‘Tullamore’ Inn, a respectable businesswoman who makes her living on her brains and hard work – no longer on her back.

But when gentleman Harry Chester, fresh to the colonies, shows up at the Tullamore with papers of ownership and plans to collect rent, Nellie’s carefully controlled world is sent into a tailspin. She has barely enough money to keep her doors open, let alone pay an owner the rent he is demanding.

The Tullamore is Nellie’s home, her hope, and her freedom all tied up into one, and she will do anything to save it. Now, she has to decide what she is willing to sacrifice to hold on to the dreams for a future she’s only just beginning to realise.

Convict Heart is available now!

 

Jami Gray Uncovered

Tell us a little about Lying in Ruins, how did it come into being? What was your Eureka! moment?

Since I wanted my story to take place after the collapse of civilised society, Lying in Ruins came into focus in a roundabout way. I’ve always been fascinated with how human society would change and what the end results would be. So, I basically started with a touch of end time prophesies, added the spicy kick from a couple of papers on what would splinter modern society and how it would reform, then, for an additional flavour, threw in a group of mercenary type judges and one stubborn, nosy spy and hit blend. That being said, I don’t know I’d call it an “Eureka moment”, more like stumbling into a dark room, trying to find the light switch only to bounce off objects until I ran into an unforgiving wall of inspiration where the switch lived. Eventually I managed to get the lights on.

Can you give us a little tease of the relationship between Charity and Ruin?

Because you asked so nicely, I’ll give you one of the first moments the two share when not dealing with life’s more violent aspects:

The shadows brushing along the straight blade of his nose left half of his face in murky darkness. The unusual amber colouring of his eyes as he watched her watch him captured her. Unable to break their startling intense connection, her pulse thickened as lust wound its way through her exhausted body. ‘You’re dangerous.’ The unchecked truth slipped out without warning.

Very.’ The low rumble of his voice merged with the quiet night. ‘But so are you.’

For some reason, his observation made her happy. ‘Yes, I am. Does that worry you?’

His slow, sexy smile wormed its way below her lazy lust. ‘Nah.’ He reached out and traced the side of her face with his finger, before tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. She didn’t fight the chills racing over her skin at the strangely intimate touch. He leant over, closing in. His shoulders blocked out the light, leaving them stranded in shadows and unspoken expectations. ‘I’ve always enjoyed a little danger.

This exchange, simple though it is, catches the essence of their relationship, the lure of dangerous attraction coupled with the harrowing edge of not knowing how far you can trust the other. These two are deadly forces in their own right, but there’s a fascination that happens when they meet their match.

What draws you to Charity’s qualities as a heroine?

Charity manages to maintain her sense of humour despite the nightmares she’s survived. In her position as the master spy to one of the major power players, cynicism is her middle name and she’s all too aware everyone has secrets that can be exploited, even her. Still she manages to hold on to the things that are important to her—loyalty to those she considers hers and a core of honour she crafted that fits her life. She doesn’t apologize for who she is and she doesn’t sugar coat what she does. She isn’t looking for a partner, but when one comes along and manages to sneak inside her independent heart, she’ll stand at his side, head unbowed and spine strong.

And Ruin’s as a hero?

Ruin reminds me of a Transformer—there’s much more to him than meets the eye. He uses his sarcastic humour and lazy demeanour to mask the scars life has left on him. Since trust doesn’t come easy to him and is reserved only for a special few, his worldview tends to be smeared with watchful suspicion. He’s emotionally guarded, for good reason, so when Charity hits the scene, he has a difficult time reconciling his physical attraction for her with his emotional desire to let her in. He kind of reminds me of cross between Deadpool and Gambit from X-Men (and yes, I’m a huge geek) because he can pull off the lethal soldier with charming flirt.

What came first, the plot, setting, or characters? Did you have any difficulties writing any of them?

As a character driven writer, normally my characters tend to come first, but this time, the setting hit the stage first. Not only did it steal the spotlight, but it forced the characters to take their positions. The hardest part wasn’t the characters or the setting, but trying to recognise that if certain things, say manufacturing, weren’t readily accessible, what is that impact on everyday things. For example, if ammunition is no longer mass produced, you would reuse your spent shells. Or with medicine, what natural remedies would you turn to when pharma companies would be relegated to higher density populations, leaving outlying communities to fare on their own. Those were the story points that tended to slow my writing pace.

What draws you to the post-apocalyptic setting? Is it a genre you enjoy reading in?

My first series was an urban fantasy, where magic co-existed with the modern world, and a post-apocalyptic setting is like taking that another step further. It’s a setting where society considers rules as suggestions because every individual’s goal is survival. The setting brings its own conflict into the story—how far will people go to stay alive. I do enjoy reading post-apocalyptic stories because I find it fascinating what characters are willing to do to keep breathing. One of my all time favourite reads is Stephen King’s The Stand. It scared they ever-lovin’ bejesus out of me, but it also made my “what-if” addiction kick in with a vengeance.

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What began your romance writing career?

An avid reader, when I hit high school, in-between the fantasy and murder-mysteries from my school library, I started sneaking my mom’s romance novels out of the house. Then entering the big bad world as an adult, I stumbled through life and discovered my characters suddenly became harder to hurt (emotionally and physically) while their relationships became crucial to my stories. A therapist would have a field day with this, but my stories shifted to heroines who didn’t need a hero to ride to her rescue. Sometimes it was more satisfying if she rumbled up to his rescue on her Harley.

What are your favourite books and authors to read? Romance or otherwise?

Off the top of my head and just for today, let’s go with Christine Feehan, Ilona Andrews, and Kristen Ashley.

Now Christine does Paranormal Romance like no one’s business and she’s been doing it for a while (I think her first Dark novel was published in 1999). Her Dark series is the typical alpha male hero and her heroines got stronger and stronger with each book, until some of her latest Dark titles the heroines could kick the heroes’ butts. This was the first series I found her with, but when she did her Ghostwalker series, she had me for life. Even her Leopards and Sisters of the Heart (plus the spin-offs) kept me nabbing her books as soon as they hit the shelves. There’s something about the worlds she creates that sucks you in and won’t let you go.

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Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels Urban Fantasy series is one I read and re-read time and time again. She does a fabulous job of giving us a dangerous, flawed heroine who isn’t looking for a man, hell she doesn’t even want a partner, but our hero really doesn’t give a damn since he has a stake in whatever is currently happening. Together, this reluctant couple dominants a unique world that so close to our own, you could almost believe it’s ours. Again, Ilona, like Christine, does a mind-blowing job on world building and character creation.

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When anyone asks for a recommendation for a good contemporary romance writer, I give them Kristen. She ties her Rock Chick series, into four other series, and the main tie are her characters. Each one is so well developed, you swear if you went to Colorado and found Fortum’s Bookstore, you know you’d meet Tex or any one of her characters there. They are that real. She creates characters you want to be and who you’d be thrilled to call friends. They aren’t perfect (far from it), but they deal with the same basic issues we face (doubt, fear, love, friendship, family drama) except they have to dodge bombs, learn to pole dance, and handle Taser’s like some modern day Jesse James. That kind of character development is just inspiring.

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Where do you like to write? How do you write?

I used to escape to the coffee shop, but then I found I tended to get sucked into people watching and my writing wandered off. Now, I stay at home at the banker desk I inherited from my dad-in-law, plop my headphones on so I can drown out the sounds of my hubby and sons doing their world domination stuff in the background, and type away.

To ensure I hit those pesky things called deadlines, I have a set schedule I follow. So when I get home from the job-that-pays-the-bills, find my way through the daily drama, I will disappear into my world for a couple of hours until I hit my word count. I’ve set my writing schedule so I can do five days out of seven, because I have learned that life likes to mess with your schedule whenever and wherever it can, and does so with random gleefulness.

When I first start out, I have the major points somewhat in place. Think of it like a map with highway signs—Exit 1-Our couple meets in nefarious circumstances, Exit 2-Hero or heroine does something that makes the other wonder WTH?, Exit 3-Crap hits the fan, and so forth. However, even with this rough map, the journey never stays on track. As long my characters hit the high points, I let them lead. I do tend to re-read what I wrote the previous session, fix where needed, then move forward. I’m not that good at keeping my internal editor quiet. It generally requires a couple rolls of duct tape and some serious threats of chocolate deprivation for her to shut up so I can write.

Can you give any advice to aspiring authors out there?

Write. Don’t talk about, don’t just imagine it, sit down and do it. Ignore the latest “trends”, or those that tell you it’s silly, just write the story that is burning a hole through your soul. That’s the one we’re going to want to read.

It’s the same advice I got when I first started so I figure it’s good enough to share.

What do you do when you’re not writing? Any quirky hobbies?

Read, yoga, and drink coffee, not necessarily in that order. Oh, I’m currently taking a German Long Sword class with my son. Yeah, I know, not sure when that particular skill will be necessary, but you never know.


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In a world gone to hell, it’s hard to tell the good guys from the bad…

The world didn’t end in fire and explosions, instead it collapsed slowly, like falling dominoes, an intensifying panic of disease, food shortages, wild weather and collapsing economies, until what remained of humanity battles for survival in a harsh new reality.

Charity uses lethal survival skills learned too early in her work as a ‘Hound, sniffing out pivotal secrets for one of the most powerful people on the west coast. Her work is deceptive, deadly, and best performed solo, which means when she has a run-in with a member of the notorious Fate’s Vultures, she has no intention of joining forces in some mockery of teamwork. The man might be sexy as hell, but she travels alone. She will accomplish her mission and she will settle a score – hopefully with the edge of her blade. But fate has other plans.

As one of Fate’s Vultures, a nomadic band of arbitrators known for their ruthless verdicts, Ruin witnesses the carnage of corruption and greed battering the remnants of humanity, and he bears the scars to prove it. Now he has a damn ‘Hound showing up in suspicious circumstances, leaving every cell of his body sceptical – and painfully aroused. The woman is trouble, and Ruin has every intention of steering clear. But when they realise they have a common enemy, Charity and Ruin will have to set aside their distrust if they want to achieve their mutual goal – justice and revenge.

Sometimes, when the world’s gone to hell, it’s better to stick with the devil you know…

“Dark, Chaotic…Loved it!” – Tome Tender

“This book delivered” – Kim, Goodreads

“Five full stars” – Debbie, Goodreads

Available now!

 

Feed Your Reader: Hollywood Glamour and Unexpected Romance

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Some choices are easy. Some choices are hard. And some choices will break our hearts…

When jaded movie director, Tyler Wentworth meets Mallory Hughes on the set of his latest movie, he immediately notices two things: she’s too sweet and she’s somehow familiar. But he has no time for mysteries – as long as she can do her job and continue to keep her notorious starlet out of trouble, she can keep her secrets.

Mallory knows exactly who Tyler is, the young man she had a huge crush on has grown to a Hollywood heavy-weight. But the last thing she wants is to be associated with the shy, awkward girl she was then. She’s here professionally, managing her troubled sister who has the talent to be the biggest star on screen, but a turbulent past. This is Bobbie’s last and best shot, and Mallory will do nothing to jeopardise it.

But as the filming begins, Mallory not only finds herself drawn more deeply to this grown-up Tyler, but that her attraction is more than reciprocated and she can’t help herself from indulging in all of her girlish fantasies. However, when their pasts catch up, she is going to have to choose between the sister she’s devoted her life to and the man who’s won her heart.

NOW AVAILABLE


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The harder you fight, the harder you fall when Opposites Attract…

Lingerie for Felons – Ros Baxter

If there’s one universal truth, it’s this: You’re always wearing your worst underwear when you land in trouble. She is determined to make a difference in the world; he is all about the bottom line. But sometimes Mr Wrong just needs to time to find the right path.

Funny, touching, emotional and political, Lingerie for Felons is Bridget Jones meets An Inconvenient Truth, a contemporary romance about doing the right thing, finding the right person, and always thinking through your underwear choices.

Rescue Nights – Nina Hamilton

English surgeon Andrew Wentworth left behind a successful career and a failed engagement to join the Cairns Rescue Helicopter team, but it’s not shaping up to be the rejuvenating working holiday he expected.

Rescue paramedic Kate Spears is used to proving herself in a man’s world, so informing the handsome surgeon that all his orders now come from her is deliciously satisfying. But she soon finds that Andrew cannot only take everything she throws at him, he keeps coming back for more.

Opposites attract in this medical romantic suspense set in the high adrenalin world of the Cairns Rescue Helicopter team.

This is Now – Maggie Gilbert

A gritty, urban New Adult Cinderella story where the princess can do her own rescuing — she just needs someone to believe in her.

Sister to car thieves, ex-girlfriend to a drug dealer, high school dropout, no-hoper and loser — Jess is on the sidelines, watching her life become one epic fail.

Then she meets Sebastien, a gifted cellist from a very different walk of life. Sebastien is clean and strong and talented. He seems to think she can do anything, and Jess, despite her fears and the secrets she hides, is starting to believe him.

But just as Jess dares to hope, the secrets in her past and the lies in her present catch up with her. All seems lost and she has to make a choice. Between past and future. Between home and hope. Between now and never. And this is now.

THREE FULL-LENGTH NOVELS; ONE FANTASTIC PRICE. AVAILABLE NOW

Eight Things that Inspired JC Harroway to Write ‘Devoted’

by JC Harroway

Writing Devoted, book three in the Recovery Series was lots of fun and, in places, heart wrenching. The story between jaded movie director Tyler Wentworth and young talent manager, Mallory Hughes, is a story of love, grief and the roles sometimes thrust upon us.

Like most stories, Devoted required a certain amount of research. Here are some of the story’s main inspirations.

  • Canada

One of the most stunning countries in the world, Canada has settings galore to tempt a writer. But it was the country’s burgeoning film industry that drew me here. My hero, Tyler Wentworth, is a movie director who’s returned to his native Canada to shoot his most personal film yet. And what better backdrop for the opening scene than the iconic, Toronto.

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  • Tall, Dark and Handsome

Fortunately for us writers the internet is awash with…visual inspiration. Here’s mine for sexy, haunted Tyler. You’re welcome…

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  • Vintage Glamour

My heroine, Mallory Hughes was such fun to create. One of the best things I love about her is her sense of style, one Tyler describes as ‘Old Hollywood glamour’.

Think pencil skirts, fitted cardigans and vintage Mary Jane’s—the perfect heroine to throw a jaded movie director hero off balance.

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  • Film Premieres

One of the best things about writing the Hollywood trope is the glamour and sparkle of a red carpet event. Without giving too much of the ending away…let’s just say, what girl could resist?

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  • Ice Hockey

Tyler is a huge hockey fan and supports the Maple Leafs. And of course the Hockey Hall of Fame provided the perfect venue for date with a woman who, in his opinion, supported the wrong team.

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  • Native French Speakers

I’m a bit of a sucker when it comes to the French language—I could literally listen to it all day, even though I understand only a few basic words. So, of course, Tyler, just like around twenty percent of Canadians had to be bilingual.

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  • Sisterly Love

Mallory and Bobbie’s bond is strong, but flawed. But the undeniable fact remains: the sisterly relationship is unique and unbreakable. Celebrating sisters everywhere.

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  • Dirty Talk

Tyler uses the chemistry between himself and introverted and inexperienced Mallory to help her find her voice and take control. And he does it in the bedroom, leading to some pretty heated scenes…

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Devoted releases on July 4 and is available for pre-order now. Read on for the blurb!

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Some choices are easy. Some choices are hard. And some choices will break our hearts…

When jaded movie director, Tyler Wentworth meets Mallory Hughes on the set of his latest movie, he immediately notices two things: she’s too sweet and she’s somehow familiar. But he has no time for mysteries – as long as she can do her job and continue to keep her notorious starlet out of trouble, she can keep her secrets.

Mallory knows exactly who Tyler is, the young man she had a huge crush on has grown to a Hollywood heavy-weight. But the last thing she wants is to be associated with the shy, awkward girl she was then. She’s here professionally, managing her troubled sister who has the talent to be the biggest star on screen, but a turbulent past. This is Bobbie’s last and best shot, and Mallory will do nothing to jeopardise it.

But as the filming begins, Mallory not only finds herself drawn more deeply to this grown-up Tyler, but that her attraction is more than reciprocated and she can’t help herself from indulging in all of her girlish fantasies. However, when their pasts catch up, she is going to have to choose between the sister she’s devoted her life to and the man who’s won her heart.

You can follow JC Harroway here:

Facebook

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jcharroway.com

Friday Five: Amy Andrews

646Author: Amy Andrews
First published with Escape: 2014
Favourite romance trope: Small town
Ideal hero (in three words): Funny. Handy. Laidback.
Ideal heroine (in three words): Spunky. Quirky. Mouthy.
Latest book: Limbo

What began your romance writing career? Why do you write romance?

The need to not get off my electric blanket in the midst of a freezing cold English winter… (sorry, not very romantic!) I write romance for the happy sigh and because it privileges women’s experiences and sexuality.

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What do you do when you’re stuck with a scene?

I plough through. Even if its shite – I can fix that in rewrites.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever had to research for a book?

I’ve recently Googled bonnet (hood) heights for pickup trucks to figure out the logistics of my hero going down on my heroine…..never did that in my old job!

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What would you say is your interesting writing quirk? Or any cute quirks in general?

I am boringly un-quirky. I save that for my characters!

Favourite book covers? What draws your eye to a romance cover?

I’m drawn to quirky or different covers. I really like the cartoony type covers (yes, I know, I’m the only one in the entire world….) because they can be really personalised/tailored to a book and are often quirky or different. Nothing quite like a hot man on romance cover or a really hot couple clearly into each other! And I really appreciate when the people on a cover actually fit the description of the characters in the book.


23731 (1)Six Feet Under meets Stephanie Plum in Amy Andrews’  fresh, funny, sexy urban-family noir about a country singer who almost made it, a private investigator who’s seen too much and a mother who will cross all barriers to save her child.

When ex hillbilly-punk rocker turned cadaver make-up artist Joy Valentine is visited by the ghost of a high-profile murder victim begging for Joy’s help to find her kidnapped baby girl, Joy knows from experience the cops are going to think she’s crazy.  So she takes it to the one guy she knows who won’t.

The last thing disgraced ex-cop turned private investigator Dash Dent expected is a woman from his past turning up to complicate his present with a nutty, woo-woo story. The problem is he knows Joy is telling the truth and he can’t ignore the compelling plight of baby Isabella whose disappearance six months prior transfixed the nation.

Discounted and discredited by the police, Dash and Joy work together to uncover the mystery and find Isabella, with a whacky supporting cast including Eve, a brothel madam; Stan, an excommunicated priest; Katie, Dash’s ten-year-old daughter; and two horny goldfish. It’s a race against time and against all odds – but the real battle for Dash and Joy might just be keeping their hands off each other.

 

Exclusive Excerpt: Team Player

Baby, it’s cold outside – and we have just the excerpt to warm you up!

Head’s Up: Some NSFW language

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I can’t do much but chuckle as caveman-Charlie appears. He almost drags me from the restaurant, not for the first time. They must hate us coming here. The first time I was far from sober. We were young, I’d hit on him all night, we were both way beyond horny and he looked after my needs in the best way possible. This time we’re both sober, not that being drunk bothered me before. How can you regret sex with Charlie Maxxin?

Just so you know, I don’t sleep with every hot sportsman I interview. But sportsmen have great sex drives, and I like sex. So if it happens, it happens. I never complain. And I don’t confine my exploits to men. If a hot sportswoman and I hit it off, I’m not knocking it back. This is the age of equal opportunity, right?

When we’re both inside Charlie’s huge 4WD, safe from ears and eyes, he turns on me and nails me with his stare. His great paw closes over my thigh, not at the knee as if he was a teacher, but higher because he’s claiming some rights and he’s got a big enough hand. ‘What are you asking me, Hannah?’

Two things.’ I lean forward, right up against his face. My nose brushes the side of his but I don’t break his gaze. ‘Are you fucking Lyle Smythe-Jones, and are you open to me joining in?’

Charlie’s gasp and withdrawal answers the first part of my question. The way his eyes flare, and his lips part, are so damn sexy. Not letting him get too far away, even in the confines of his car, I follow, brushing my lips across the gap between his.

It’s so fucking hot, Charlie.’ This time I swipe my tongue across his bottom lip and his hand moves higher before it tightens on my thigh.

I want to watch you with him. He’s your perfect foil. Small to your large, light to your dark. With youthful vigour to match your strength.’ With each word my lips rub against his, teasing us both. His lips are silken soft, snuggled inside his hairy beard, which isn’t too coarse at all. Imagining them together has me dripping with need, but knowing that they are has made me hotter than I expected. Squirming in the seat isn’t helping any, but it’s not hindering either. I’m getting wetter.

Han.’ He growls as his hand rubs against my cunt. Knew I shouldn’t have worn jeans, but I hadn’t come expecting sex in the car park.

Take me home, Charlie. I can get my car later.’

Charlie’s a great fuck. Always has been. We’re good together and bonk when we’re both free. It’s mutually beneficial, or I assume it is for him. He keeps coming back. Now that his hands are expertly massaging me, I realise he and I haven’t screwed in months, and I need him.

His curse is loud and strong.

My eyes almost drop from my head. That curse was a little inappropriate only because it snaps him from his lust-haze. His hands grip the steering wheel, leaving my cunt needy.

I can’t, Han. Fuck. I can’t.’ Rough and torn, that’s how he sounds. Not like Charlie at all.

Jesus. It’s serious. My eyeballs should be in my lap about now. ‘Because of him?’


31721

She’s never been shy about what she wants – and now she wants them both…

Hannah Maynard, sports reporter, is sure it’s only her lust-filled fantasies linking Australian rugby league captain, Charlie Maxxin, with relative newcomer, Lyle Smythe-Jones. She and Charlie have shared quite a few steamy sessions over the years, so surely he’s not in a relationship with the young, unflappable player she’s dubbed Marble Boy?

Hannah lures Charlie to dinner and his reaction is all the answer she needs. But she doesn’t want to report on the biggest secret in Australian sport – she wants to take part. However, it’s not just Charlie’s decision and it can’t be just casual. If Hannah wants in, she has to be all in, with Lyle, with Charlie, and with the hottest action any of them have ever experienced.

Team Player will be released 4 August 2017.

ONE CLICK PRE-ORDER NOW! Amazon AU, Amazon UK, Amazon US, iBooks, Google, Nook, Kobo, Booktopia

Feed Your Reader: Run Away With Eva Scott

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One jaded rock star. One sheltered classical musician. One hell of a red dust road trip…

Sheltered, coddled, gifted, Iris longs for something more than practice and performing. She wants to rebel, break the rules, have a hot affair, fall in love — to really live before happily committing to her classical music bubble. But her strict parents and her stricter schedule keep her confined to her gilded cage, even as she yearns desperately to be free.

Super star, successful, and sick of all of it, Kit just wants to stop. Stop the touring and the recording and the media and the bickering with his band mates. After two years on the road, he’s coming apart at the seams. He has to slow down, calm down, clear his head — to really think before recommitting to his rock star lifestyle. But his manager and the tour schedule keep him locked to his super star lifestyle, even as he rages against the confinement.

A chance encounter in a car park leads to a snap decision and an enormous risk: suddenly Kit and Iris are on an extraordinary road trip together across Australia, making their own choices, breaking all the rules. But reality is chasing them more quickly than they can know, and soon Kit and Iris will have to decide whether they are just running away — or running away together.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the characters, the plot and the writing style”

“A really great read for any romance novel lovers”

Red Dust Runaway is available now!

Eva Scott Uncovered

Eva Scott (1)Tell me a bit about Red Dust Runaway. How did it come into being? What was your Eureka! moment?

It all started with the Queen’s annual variety show on the telly. One Direction, the opening act, had appeared exhausted and strung out. Poor lads looked as if someone had propped them up with sticks and told them to sing. They took a well-deserved hiatus after that. It got me thinking about the music industry and how it can suck the very marrow from your bones if you let it. I’d started life as a sound engineer. The music industry is harsh and you have to have skin like old leather to survive. Couple that with my husband planning a trip across the Nullarbor starting at his home town of Kalgoorlie… One thing led to another and Red Dust Runaway was born.

Can you give us a little tease of the relationship between Iris and Kit? How did that come about in your head and subsequently the book?

Do you remember the last time you met someone and sparks flew, light arced between you and you just KNEW they were the one for you? That’s the moment I wanted to create. Of course, life is never that easy and inevitably there are obstacles to overcome in situations like that. I wanted to take the reader on that journey, make them feel all those delicious emotions and set it against the vast, stunning backdrop that is the Australian Outback.

What came first: the plot or the characters? What was it like writing a road trip story?

I had Kit first. My poor mother had cancer which had reduced her to being able to do not much more than watch television. She’d lost interest in everything. Then one morning she called me up to tell me to check out the Trivago Man. He was so super hot he’d managed to catch her interest. The rest is history. Mum didn’t live to see this story written but I’m sure she would have approved of my choice of hero! See what you think:

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rgdLG5uihww

What draws you to Iris’s qualities as a heroine?

I have met so many versions of Iris. I think we all have a little Iris inside us. She’s trying to figure out if she’s on the right path, testing her dreams and assumptions. She wants to live, have one big adventure under her belt, before she knuckles down to the business of life. Her tenacity and resilience build as the story progresses. She doesn’t start out as strong as she ends up, learning some valuable lessons along the way about herself and the people around her. What I like best is she’s not afraid to have a go, to put herself out there even if everyone else thinks it’s a bad idea. Sometimes the best adventures are had that way.

And Kit’s as a hero?

He’s coming from the opposite end of the spectrum to Iris. He’s had an exciting life and a big career. What he wants now is something different, he just hasn’t figured out what that is yet. He wants to reinvent himself, change his life direction, swap out high-level success for high-level satisfaction. I think we can all relate to that at some stage in our lives. What I like best about him is his vulnerability. He makes mistakes by the bucket load and grows through the process of sorting out the mess he’s made.

What began your romance writing career?

Pregnancy. Seriously. I was on maternity leave from a high-pressure job and looking for ways to keep my mind occupied. I’d worked writing freelance and as a technical writer, but never tried writing a novel. I figured if not now, when? I submitted The Reluctant Wedding Planner to RWA’s Emerald Award and I’ve never looked back.

Your other Red Dust novels explore the vast setting of outback Australia, what draws you to the setting? And rural romance as a genre?

Both sides of my family come from the country – Victoria and Queensland respectively. My cousins own a couple of cattle stations in the north. I am the exception to the rule, having been born and bred in Melbourne. The thing about the country is it strips away any pretensions you might have and helps to reveal who you are. That’s very attractive to me and my characters are often going through personal transformations where the country is an active participant in that process. And as for rural romance as a genre – who doesn’t love a country boy, right?

What are your favourite books/authors to read? Romance or otherwise? What draws you to those books?

I am a complete magpie when it comes to books. I’ll read almost any genre (except horror). Anything that’s well written will have my undivided attention. I don’t have favourite authors as such, but I do have authors whose books I’ll buy in a heartbeat. Just tell me they’ve got a new book out and I’ll be at Dymocks, waving my wallet. I picked up Laini Taylor’s new book, Strange the Dreamer, and I cannot wait until my exams are over and I can lie about in the garden reading it. Kathy Lette is in town tonight and you can’t go past her for a rollicking read. But if you talk to me next week I’ll have a different list to share.

Where do you like to write? How do you write?

I have an old pine desk jammed in the corner of the living room (where I can keep an eye on kids). I grab writing time where I can find it. When I’m “in session” I’ll write a minimum of 2,000 words 5 days a week. I would like to think I can write every day but the truth is the house is full of people at the weekend making it impossible. As if I’d give up a chance to socialise! I like to map out each chapter by hand in a notebook. I bullet point the action and then use it as a guide. Sometimes things go in an entirely different direction to the one I planned, but you get that.

Can you give any advice to aspiring authors out there?

Read, read, read, read. And not just authors representing the genre you’re interested in. Read literature to see how people use language or pop culture novels to capture the zeitgeist of the moment. Reread the classics – they remain popular and relevant because the plot and characterisation is so damn good. Stay open to good writing – that includes TV and film. Pay attention to how tension is escalated, how plots are unwound and characters revealed. There is always something to learn.

What do you do when you’re not writing? Any quirky hobbies?

When I’m not writing, I’m jamming the day full of other projects. I’m studying my Graduate Diploma in Education to be a history high school teacher, so there’s assignments, lectures and exams to keep me busy. I’m loving being at university. I’ve met so many intriguing people. Plenty of fodder for new novels!

I’m also a meditation teacher and I work with my husband who teaches Persian Yoga. Together we run Blue Sky Yoga and Meditation. We’re currently putting together a workshop so that keeps the dinner table conversation lively. Drives our 6-year-old nuts. He’d rather talk about how to make his own Jedi Kitten You Tube videos starring out long suffering cat, Maui. Making tiny light sabres that a cat can “hold” is harder than you’d think.

Eva Scott (2)

I volunteer at the local primary school teaching creative writing. Those kids have imaginations and creative skills that just blow me away. My job is to open them up to all the creative possibilities, wind them up and then let them go. We’re working on putting together an anthology of their work at the end of the year. I can’t wait for the community to see what these kids are capable of.

I live in a lovely, friendly seaside town so if there’s any time left over I love to head out into the community and, well, chat. A lot. I adore the fact I can wander about town and inevitably run into someone I know, or catch up with a local business owner, or even make an entirely new friend. And it makes a great diversion from writing. Or should that be procrastination….?

I hear you have some adorable dogs in your life. Do they help or hinder the writing process?

I adore dogs. I live in a town that adores dogs. A dachshund moved in next door recently. Her name is Sausage. Heaven! There’s another one nearby named Snickers – she looks like a caramel chocolate bar too. I have an elderly cocker spaniel named Taj. He’s almost entirely blind and as deaf as a post but still full of joy and playfulness. We just have to make sure the house is well lit so he doesn’t walk into things. He’s lying next to my chair as a I write this, snoring his head off. In a moment, he’ll leap up and start barking at nothing at all. Sausage will join in and I’ll spend the next five minutes trying to get them to stop. If nothing else, it ensures I don’t sit at the computer for long stretches of time.

Eva Scott (3)


31475One jaded rock star. One sheltered classical musician. One hell of a red dust road trip…

Sheltered, coddled, gifted, Iris longs for something more than practice and performing. She wants to rebel, break the rules, have a hot affair, fall in love — to really live before happily committing to her classical music bubble. But her strict parents and her stricter schedule keep her confined to her gilded cage, even as she yearns desperately to be free.

Super star, successful, and sick of all of it, Kit just wants to stop. Stop the touring and the recording and the media and the bickering with his band mates. After two years on the road, he’s coming apart at the seams. He has to slow down, calm down, clear his head — to really think before recommitting to his rock star lifestyle. But his manager and the tour schedule keep him locked to his super star lifestyle, even as he rages against the confinement.

A chance encounter in a car park leads to a snap decision and an enormous risk: suddenly Kit and Iris are on an extraordinary road trip together across Australia, making their own choices, breaking all the rules. But reality is chasing them more quickly than they can know, and soon Kit and Iris will have to decide whether they are just running away — or running away together.

Available now!