An Interview with Lee Christine

1440Lee Christine was one of Escape’s launch authors with her debut novel, In Safe Hands

We are delighted that her fifth novel, A Dangerous Arrangementhas been nominated for a 2016 Romantic Book of the Year!

 

So we asked Lee a few questions about it.

What is the title of your book?

A Dangerous Arrangement

What did you do when you found out you were nominated?

I received a phone call from an RWA member after dinner. I was sitting down, thank goodness. My initial thought was that something must have gone wrong with my conference registration. I was totally shocked when she told me ‘A Dangerous Arrangement’ was in the final of the R*by in the romantic elements category. I remember saying something like ‘thank you so much for calling, that’s so cool. I can’t believe it’. I remember her laughing at my surprise and congratulating me. After the call ended, I told my husband and messaged my children. I had one of those 4 packs of individual bottles of champagne in the fridge so we cracked a couple of those. That was the best I could do as nothing else was cold. The excitement lasted a couple of days and I still get excited when I think about it now. It’s not every day you final in the R*by, and while I’m sure most authors don’t write novels with the aim of finaling or winning awards, it’s lovely to know there are people out there who enjoyed your work.

How many books have you written?

I’ve written five books in total. My ‘In Safe’ Sydney-set legal series is comprised of three romantic suspense novels with more to come in the future. ‘A Dangerous Arrangement’ which is another romantic suspense also with more novels to come, and a small town Australian rural romance, ‘Shadows of the Heart’, which has a touch of suspense and is part of a thirteen books series written by members of my writing group.

Tell us a little more about ‘A Dangerous Arrangement

A Dangerous Arrangement is mostly set in Italy. It has an Australian hero, a naval architect who builds super yachts for the rich and famous, and an American heroine, a classical violinist living and working in Australia. The two main characters are linked by the heroine’s flatmate, a man who works at my hero’s company headquarters. The inciting incident is a cyber-attack on my hero’s company. The files containing his latest yacht designs are frozen and a ransom is demanded. At the beginning of the book the hero has to find out if Marina is involved in bringing his company to its knees.

What is your favourite scene in the book?

Apart from the reconciliation in the final chapter, Marina’s scene with her father and sister in her home town of Boston. I love exploring sibling relationships in families, from the birth order, which can affect outcomes for children, along with the parent/child relationships. In romance novels, we often read about the disadvantaged sibling, the one who wasn’t favoured and the scars that result from those feelings of inadequacy. Often the character arc is about overcoming and rising above those inadequacies.

In ‘A Dangerous Arrangement’ I wanted to explore what happens when the hero/heroine is the talented one and how that affects their relationships with their less accomplished siblings. Also, how the burden of expectation and of being ‘the special one’ affects them personally? In Marina’s case, she feels guilty that the family’s money was siphoned into expensive lessons to further her talent often at the expense of her siblings’ sporting pursuits which didn’t rate as highly on the ‘Needs’ list as her violin lessons. She also feels the weight of having to succeed because of the sacrifices made by her parents. To fail, or not to make the most of every opportunity, would be a disservice to her parents.

What was the hardest thing about writing the book?

Definitely the nautical research, though I was greatly assisted by a very knowledgeable fellow in that area. The musical knowledge came naturally as I studied saxophone at the Newcastle Conservatorium for fourteen years.

What do you hope readers will get out of your book?

I hope the book leaves them with a feeling of optimism and a belief that no matter how insurmountable the obstacles appear to be, that they can be overcome – provided there’s a willingness on both sides and lots of open and honest communication.

What’s next for you?

I’m currently writing a 90,000-100,000 word mystery/thriller with romantic elements. It begins in Tokyo then moves to the mountains of Vermont. I usually write around 65,000 to 72,000 words but this is an ambitious story and it will require the extra words. After that it’s another Dangerous Arrangement novel and another In Safe novel. I also have a romantic comedy plotted and I’m dying to write that one.

What would you tell people who are looking to read your books for the first time?

The tag on my website says, A potent cocktail of love, danger and high stakes suspense. My books have been described as entertaining reads with lots of twists and turns that keep the reader guessing until the end. They are mostly urban set and have quite a meaty crime/mystery/suspense story that occurs along with the romance.

And finally, what are you planning on wearing to the awards ceremony?

I’m wearing a navy blue vintage style dress with beading on it. It’s quite dark, so I may need to accessorise with silver shoes and blingy earrings.


24250Kicking off a brand new romantic suspense series from Lee Christine is A Dangerous Arrangement: a violinist with a secret, a billionaire with a problem and a race against time set on the beautiful Amalfi Coast.

 

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Ruby’s are red…Two nominations!

We are so proud and excited to announce our two nominations in this year’s Romance Writers of Australia Romantic Book of the Year (R*BY) Awards.

The winners will be announced August 22nd. Congrats to our Ruby Red Escape Artists, and all the nominees. Good luck!


Nominations in the category of Long Romance Novel…

21489From bestselling author Amy Andrews comes a new single-title romance about putting pleasure before business, and the risks we all need to take when we find someone worth risking everything for.

Samantha Evans’s life is going to hell. Not only has she rage-quit her beloved, high-powered job, but she is suddenly afflicted by hormones, free time, and an unavoidable, unignorable, undeniably gorgeous irritant in the form of Nick Hawke, her extreme sports star neighbour, who has come home to take over the reins of his grandmother’s second-hand bookshop. Sam needs something to keep her from begging for her old job back until she’s good and sure her boss understands how wrong he was, and taking a low-risk, low-stress job helping Nick at the bookstore might be just the thing.

After all, it’s not like Nick is the right guy to help her with her hormones. He’ll just be fun to look at while she searches for the one.

Nick has six months to get over an injury before Everest and a big, fat contract beckon. That means no sports, no danger and, above all else, no risks. It means playing it safe. And Nick Hawke doesn’t do safe. So he’s going to need something to stave off the boredom while selling books he doesn’t read to people who wouldn’t know a carabineer from a crochet hook. What could be safer than hiring a cranky, unemployed accountant to help run the bookstore? Sam is efficient and methodical and messing up her neat, post-it note world could be a fun way to pass the time….

Risky Business mixes the classic romance of Philadelphia Story, the humour and wit of When Harry Met Sally, and a strong, contemporary Australian setting to create a delightful, irresistible, utterly satisfying treat of a novel.


21183Jordan must save her farm from debt and sabotage – can she place her trust in a man from out of town?

Born and bred on the land, Jordan Windcroft is brave and independent. She’s had to be. Her life revolves around running her property almost single-handedly on next to no money, and waiting out her four years of probation — a rap that she took for one of her closest friends for a crime she didn’t commit.

Thankfully there’s an end to her problems in sight. Jordan’s probation period is almost up, and if she can just make the cattle sale, there’s a chance she can pull herself out of more than ten years of serious debt and keep her precious farm. The last thing she needs is for Reid Easton to start monitoring her.

Detective Senior Sergeant Reid Easton drives into Whitewater Creek on a mission to wrap up a three-year drug investigation; his only lead, Jordan Windcroft. The attraction between the two is immediate, but Reid is undercover and Jordan has a secret she can’t risk him discovering. Will either jeopardise their cause, for something as transitory as love – or will they keep their secrets to themselves?

This book is nominated under its original digital format title, Deadly Secrets.

November is Naughty *and* Nice!

New releases!

22819From the author of the internationally best-selling The House on Burra Burra Lane comes a Christmas story — country style.

Contemporary/Holiday/Rural romance, heat level: sensual


22578From the talented and versatile Ros Baxter comes the first full-length novel in her sexy, engaging, groundbreaking SF Romance series.

When everything else is gone, all you have is hope.

SF Romance, heat level: steamy


22586From the internationally best-selling, award-winning Chieftain series comes a Romeo and Juliet style Christmas novella with a Scottish twist. A bad boy highlander is about to meet his match…

Historical Romance: Scottish/Holiday romance, heat level: steamy


22579From bestselling author Fiona Palmer comes the second in a young adult / new adult crossover series about sexy spies, a super secret agency and the work they do to save the world.

New Adult/Action & Adventure romance, heat level: sensual


22580They’ve been colleagues, allies and best friends forever, but he wants more — and he’s not above using the magic of the Christmas season to get it.

Contemporary/Holiday romance, heat level: sweet


are you caught up on the Sydney Housewives? Meet Lana – available this week.

22584Meet 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?

Happy Reading!

AusRomToday – Reader Choice Nominees!

We are thrilled to be super well-represented in the inaugural AusRomToday Reader’s Choice Awards! Voting is so simple, and we would absolutely love it if you found the time to support your favourite Australian authors by visiting the AusRomToday facebook page.

Here are the Escape Publishing nominees:

Best New Author21471Lisa Ireland


Best Established Author

21489Amy Andrews

22839Juliet Madison

22579Fiona Palmer


Author of the Year

21489Amy Andrews

8864Alissa Callen


Cover of the Year

21767Engaging the Enemy – Susanne Bellamy


Action and Adventure are in my bones

by Kendall Talbot

Banner_v02(1)White water rafting, hang gliding, snow skiing, scuba diving are my adrenalin-rush drugs of choice. I write action adventure stories. I love the ‘set your heart racing’ scenes where exciting, danger-fuelled journeys take my characters from one cliff hanger moment to another. And I’m an action adventure movie junkie.

I grew up watching Indiana Jones. I confess to watching it so often I can almost recite the dialogue word for word. “Indiana, we are simply passing through history. This… this is history.” Or how about this one… “It’s not the years, honey. It’s the mileage.” I may have fallen in love with Harrison Ford a couple of times too. How could you not? He’s the epitome of an action adventure hero if you ask me: sexy, suave, flawed, brave and reckless. He can throw me over his shoulder any day.

Indiana Jones

Another favourite is Romancing the Stone. In fact I watched it again the other day. I love a good treasure hunt. I love them so much I’ve written a whole series. Treasured Secrets is due for release in April and it’s a modern day hunt for a 13th century treasure. It was so much fun to write. Romancing the StoneBlurring the lines between fact and fiction offers unlimited creative potential. How about Jurassic Park for blurring the lines between fact and fiction. This is another series I’ve devoured over and over. Actually anything to do with dinosaurs has me hooked. If only I’d been an archeologist. Jurrasic ParkI’m hooked on survival themed action adventure too: Cliffhanger, Hunger Games, Poseidon, Titanic are a few of my favourites. Maybe that’s why I wrote Lost in Kakadu. Crashing my characters into Kakadu National Park offered many opportunities for action and adventure. It was important for me to keep the survival aspect very real. From wild animals, to wild weather and near starvation, every day my characters had a new aspect of living hell to get through. Fate brought them together but they needed more than luck to escape Kakadu alive.

So I say, bring on the big action adventure block buster movies any day. Poseidon

What are your favourite action adventure movies? And do you watch them over and over like me?


Lost In Kakadu with Ruby award smallWinner of the 2014 Romance Writers of Australia RUBY (Romantic Book of the Year) Award.

An action adventure novel set in the Australian jungle where two unlikely people prove just how attractive opposites can be…

It’s pretentious socialite Abigail Mulholland’s worst nightmare when her plane crashes into an ancient Australian wilderness. Things go from bad to downright hellish when rescuers never come. As she battles to survive in an environment that’s as brutal as it is beautiful, Abigail finds herself also fighting her unlikely attraction to Mackenzie — another survivor, and a much younger man.

Mackenzie Steel is devastated by his partner’s death in the crash, the only person with whom he shared his painful past. Now, as he confronts his own demons, he finds he has a new battle on his hands: his growing feelings for Abigail, a woman who’s as frustratingly naïve as she is funny.

Fate brought them together, but they’ll need more than luck to escape Kakadu alive. Could the letters of a dead man hold the key to their survival?

To celebrate Action & Adventure Romance, we’re pleased to offer Lost in Kakadu, the award-winning novel FREE for this week only. Get in now!

5 Ways to Disguise a Saucy Secret

by Juanita Kees

In Book 1 of the Tag Raiders Series, Under the Hood, teenage gang leader, Tiny Watts can’t afford to be caught telling his story in graffiti on walls—drug ring leaders Gino Bennetti and Nic Albero will kill him. Instead, Tiny keeps a diary filled with graffiti sketches that contain clues to the drops, ringleaders and their crimes. In book 2, Under Cover of Dark, deciphering his diary becomes a job for the sexy Detective Mark Johnson when Tiny is murdered and the case becomes a whole lot more complicated.

Whatever it is your hero or heroine want to hide, here are 5 ways to disguise their saucy secret:

  1. In a Crossword Puzzle

Homer Simpson fans might recall the episode where Homer gets a job breaking up couples, and Lisa becomes an expert crossword puzzle solver, but Homer bets against her in a competition and she ‘divorces’ him as her father. Homer commissions Merl Reagle and Will Shortz to create a special puzzle for the New York Times, with his apology to Lisa hidden in the clues and solution.

Picture from IMDB.com (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1291170/)

Picture from IMDB.com (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1291170/)

  1. In a Coded Message

I love cryptology! Plain text is transformed to a code that needs a special key to decipher it—a bit like the dots and dashes of Morse code. My favourite code is the Idiot code (I know, right?), similar to hand signals used by armies in the field.

In Book 3, Under his Protection (my current WIP), our fourth Tag Raiders member, Connor, receives a coded message from another gang member—Lurk’s come a gutser. Yobbo’s been on the turps and carked it. No hope man. We’re toast. Plain Text: the deal is off. Gino Bennetti is dead and we’re next.

Encoded message from weathermen in Alaska (http://www.powder.com/stories/skiing-and-the-shutdown/)

Encoded message from weathermen in Alaska (http://www.powder.com/stories/skiing-and-the-shutdown/)

 

  1. Through Phonetic reversal

Here’s a way to get tongues twisting! Quite simply words that are spelled or sound the same, only backwards, example ‘cheat’ and ‘teach’ or ‘kiss’ and ‘sick’.

Cheat em sick … Mmmm, okay then.

  1. Via Radio communications

Whip out the old CB Radio and take to the airwaves. Breaker! Breaker! No-one did it better than Chuck Norris (!) although just recently Formula One Racing banned teams from sending their drivers coded messages through the use of radio communications at the Singapore Grand Prix.
chuck

  1. Get Arty with Graffiti

This is my favourite art form and a great way to disguise a saucy message (not that I can draw at all!) Thanks to technology, I designed this banner for the release of Under Cover of Dark. Those who have read The Tag Raiders series might recognize some of the clues hidden in the picture.

graffitiHave you ever sent a coded message? Let me know how you did it …


21769New Australian romantic suspense follows Under the Hood, about a Western Australian drug gang, the teenagers they recruit, and the cop who wants to bring them down.

When Mark Johnson delves deeper into his investigation into the murder of Tiny Watts, and the involvement of a teenage gang with sleazy lawyer Gino Bennetti and his drug world ties, the last thing he expects is to be interviewing Gino’s widow, a woman in a world of trouble.

When her husband is shot and killed, it is both a relief and a disaster. Lily has her son to protect and secrets that run deeper than the scars she bears. Mark Johnson is the last person she wants uncovering those secrets, especially the truth about her son Luke’s involvement in Tiny Watts’s murder.

As the investigation continues and Lily’s wounds begin to heal, she finds the detective easy to trust and the friendship between them blossoms into more. But the secret Lily holds places everyone in very real danger. When it is finally revealed, Lily will lose everything: her son, the man she’s grown to love, her freedom and her life.

Do You Believe in Fate? – Frances Housden

I have to confess to regularly reading my horoscope. My husband laughs, ‘How can it be true for everyone in the world born in the same month?’ I don’t care. I do believe in fate—that there is something guiding us but we have the option to follow the advice or not. Right now my horoscope says the next 12 months will be the best period for my career in decades. Who wouldn’t want to believe that, but it’s what we do about it that counts.

Going back to fate, Euan the hero of THE CHIEFTAIN’S CURSE came to me in a dream. He was yelling, ‘Will this bluidy curse never end?’ Now tell me, what red-blooded author wouldn’t want to find out more?

Discovering Euan took me on a journey into my past, into the history of Scotland, my homeland. It was exciting using a lot of what I learned at my grandfather’s knee, but more than that, many places and characters simply popped into my head, especially Nhaimeth the dwarf—a favourite with readers—and this, long before A Game of Thrones reached our screens. I gave a detailed description of the clan castle in my book and discovered it really existed—fate or latent memories from my childhood? I don’t care, why should I? Everything worked to drive the plot of the very first book in my ‘Chieftain’ series.

This is where I accept that we need to give fate a hand. I went to a clairvoyant shortly after I finished ‘Chieftain’. She told me I had a book that would do really well and since the publishers weren’t liable to coming knocking on my door, I left it to my agent to find one who loved the book as much as I did. Years past, editors did love the book, but didn’t know where to place it—yes it’s a wonderful romance but I like to think it is more. I have to admit the wait was disheartening. Then at the annual Harlequin dinner in 2012, I was sitting near Haylee Nash who told us all about Escape Publishing, Harlequin Australia’s new digital imprint. I asked if I could email a book to her and, when she agreed, I sent it off that very night as well as a lot of good vibes.

The rest as they say is history—Scottish History. Without any reviews THE CHIEFTAIN’S CURSE hit #3 overall on iBooks, stayed #1 in Historical Romance for weeks and was an Amazon bestseller, which led to a print edition being published by Harlequin MIRA Australia. Two weeks ago Chieftain was a finalist in Romance Writers of America’s RITA awards and two days ago, it won RWNZ’s Koru Award. How’s that for fate?

I don’t remember the speech I gave, though I’m told it was good. I do know I thanked Kate Cuthbert and Harlequin Australia for having the guts to publish Chieftain, enough said.


8883Nominated for the 2014 RITA Award for Best Historical Romance
Winner RWNZ inaugural Koru Award for Outstanding Long Romance

Euan McArthur is a chieftain in need of an heir.

While still a young a warrior, Euan incites the fury of a witch. She retaliates with a curse that no wife will ever bear him an heir. As he buries his third wife and yet another bonnie stillborn son, Euan can no longer cast her words aside.

Morag Farquhar is a woman in need of sanctuary.Pronounced barren by a midwife, Morag is of little value to her family, but a Godsend to Euan, a lover he can’t kill by getting with child.

Years ago, chance drew them together, and tangled their lives in ways they could never have imagined. This time their destiny lies in their own hands, but it will take courage and strong hearts to see it through to the end.

Available Now!


22037From the bestselling, RITA nominated author Frances Housden comes the gripping, sensual, suspenseful follow-up to The Chieftain’s Curse…

Gavyn Farquhar’s marriage is forged with a double-edged blade. Along with the Comlyn clan’s lands, a reward from the King, he is blessed with an unwilling bride, Kathryn Comlyn, and an ancient fort with few defences that desperately needs to be fortified before it can act as a sufficient buffer between Scotland and the Norsemen on its northern borders.

Gavyn needs wealth to meet his king’s demands, and he knows of only one way to get it — with his sword. Leaving his prickly bride behind in the hands of trusted advisors, he makes his way to the battlegrounds of France and the money that can be made there.

Two years married and Kathryn is still a virgin. A resentful virgin, certain that, like her father before her, she is perfectly capable of leading the Comlyn clan. In her usurper husband’s absence, she meets the clan’s needs, advising and ruling as well as any man.

But she is an intelligent woman, and she knows the only respect and power she will ever hold will be through her husband. And to wield it, she needs to make him love her. An easy task to set, but impossible to complete, when said husband has been gone for two years, and there is no word of his return. But Kathryn is undeterred. After all, a faint heart never won a Chieftain.

Frances’ next Chieftain book, Chieftain by Command is available for pre-order now, and releases September 1.

The Power of a List – Kendall Talbot

Write a Book. That’s what I wrote on my bucket list. I never imagined how much those three words would change my life. My initial motivation was simple. Unlike the fabulous Cherry Adair, numbers are my friend. English was not. So I thought the best way to improve my spelling, grammar, and vocabulary would be to write a story.

Every birthday and Christmas, my husband shakes out my bucket list for inspiration. One year he helped me tick off ‘Learn a musical instrument’. He gave me a beautiful guitar and paid for lessons. But to be honest I’m really crap at it.

KendallguitarThe following year, he scoured my list again and at number 69 – I kid you not – is ‘Write a Book’. So hubby purchased the Year of the Novel Course at the Queensland Writers Centre. During this course, I wrote Lost In Kakadu and it literally changed my life.

But writing it was the easy part. Editing that shitty manuscript took eight years of hard slog. I followed up that first course with several more. Then I hired an editor who also offered mentoring and boy did she have her work cut out for her. I learned about POVs and clichés, first person and third person perspectives. I learned syntax, synonyms, sentence structure, and just about everything else in between. I wrote short stories, drafted two more manuscripts and learned the joys of character arcs. I worked hard, did my homework, read the prescribed reading, experimented, and practised. Then practised some more.

At the Romance Writers Conference, James Scott Bell said that you CAN learn to write – I know exactly what he means. My poor editor nearly gave up on me many times. But now, with my beautiful R*BY trophy glistening with inner glow on my kitchen windowsill she admits the tears were all worth it.

flowers

Without my bucket list, I may never have discovered my passion for writing.

By the way, I had also written ‘Publish My Book’ and ‘Win The RuBY Award’ on my bucket list. But never in my wildest dreams did I believe it would happen with my debut novel.


18610Winner of the 2014 Romance Writers of Australia RUBY (Romantic Book of the Year) Award for Stories with Romantic Elements!

An action adventure novel set in the Australian jungle where two unlikely people prove just how attractive opposites can be…

It’s pretentious socialite Abigail Mulholland’s worst nightmare when her plane crashes into an ancient Australian wilderness. Things go from bad to downright hellish when rescuers never come. As she battles to survive in an environment that’s as brutal as it is beautiful, Abigail finds herself also fighting her unlikely attraction to Mackenzie — another survivor, and a much younger man.

Mackenzie Steel is devastated by his partner’s death in the crash, the only person with whom he shared his painful past. Now, as he confronts his own demons, he finds he has a new battle on his hands: his growing feelings for Abigail, a woman who’s as frustratingly naïve as she is funny.

Fate brought them together, but they’ll need more than luck to escape Kakadu alive. Could the letters of a dead man hold the key to their survival?

What a Weekend!

Freshly back from the Romance Writers of Australia conference, Romance Rocks, this past weekend in Sydney, with our heads still spinning and enormous grins on our faces.

Here are the highlights:

  • Kicking off the conference with a Literacy High Tea, where librarian Vassiliki Veros charmed the pants off everyone in the room with her romance journey, her study of librarian-heroes and heroines, and the work she’s doing now for her PhD.

    Nobody knew this book existed, and now everyone is desperate to read it...

    Nobody knew this book existed, and now everyone is desperate to read it…

  • The Harlequin Author dinner where we celebrated with our Harlequin family, including lovely international guests Flo Nicholl and Malle Vallik
  • We also celebrated with our lovely (shirtless) guests for the evening, Marco and Jeremy.

    Marco, R*BY nominee Juanita Kees and I, you know, hanging out, talking

    Marco, R*BY nominee Juanita Kees and Managing Editor Kate Cuthbert, you know, hanging out, talking

  • Escape has had an amazing year, so it was fantastic to be in one room together, sharing our highs, and supporting each other.
  • The Leather and Lace opening cocktail party was a chance to catch up with people we haven’t seen for awhile (or have never actually seen in person!) While the lighting was decidedly purple (very strange), the food was great, the costumes inspired (hello Ros Baxter!), and the good times had by all.

    Managing Editor Kate engaged with Engaging the Enemy author Susanne Bellamy!

    Managing Editor Kate engaged with Engaging the Enemy author Susanne Bellamy!

  • Cherry Adair was an absolute delight and joy as an international guest. She was present, hilarious, generous with her time and her expertise, so very personable, and swore like a sailor when she realised we weren’t going to get offended. What a treat it was to spend time with her and listen to her speak.
  • The Saturday workshops were also really well-run, and we have to offer congrats to everyone who stepped up to share their expertise and teach what they know to others. This kind of resource sharing is a hallmark of RWA and one of the reasons that the conference and organisation is so successful, so should never be downplayed.
  • The day sessions also allowed for more chatting with less ambient noise, so a greater possibility of having a conversation with someone, rather than just a yelled greeting.
  • The Australian Romance Readers Association held their annual book-signing event on Saturday. This in an incredible (and incredibly well-organised!) organisation, and they do amazing things for the romance community in Australia. They also have a new website: www.ireadromance.com.au,so check them out if you are interested in talking about romance (yes), meeting other romance readers (yes), and attending fab reader-focused conventions (yes!).
    Alison Stuart and Kate Cuthbert at the ARRA book signing with Alison's first book with Escape - Lord Somerton's Heir

    Alison Stuart and Kate Cuthbert at the ARRA book signing with Alison’s first book with Escape – Lord Somerton’s Heir

    the fabulous Amy Andrews and gorgeous Sandra Antonelli at the ARRA book signing

    the fabulous Amy Andrews and gorgeous Sandra Antonelli at the ARRA book signing

  • Saturday night – WHAT A NIGHT. First we have to offer the biggest, hugest, most enormous congrats to our three Escape nominees: Julie Mac, Juanita Kees, and Kendall Talbot, and also to all the other nominees, including Amy Andrews, who was nominated for a book with another publisher.
  • Emma Darcy had us all in laughter and tears as she accepted her induction into the Hall of Fame. No one, and I mean no one, will ever forget her Five Fs.
  • We also have to congratulate Kat Mayo on her Romance in the Media Award (ROMA) for her article on ABC’s The Drum: Dear Columnists, Romance Fiction is not your bitch. We’re pretty much sure she’s the only person to ever have the word ‘bitch’ etched into a glass award.

    Seriously, the pink lighting was very, very odd

    Seriously, the pink lighting was very, very odd

  • Then this happened:
    Kendall Talbot wins the R*BY for Best Novel with Romantic Elements

    Kendall Talbot wins the R*BY for Best Novel with Romantic Elements

    OMG!

    OMG!

  • We are so so so so beyond thrilled to congratulate Kendall on her win – the first win for her book after countless award nominations, and the first win for Escape Publishing.
  • I’d like to show you photos of what the rest of the night looked like, but what happens at the Escape After Party (and the after-after party), stays at the Escape After Party.
  • Except these photos. These totally get distribution:

    Frickin' A, man!

    Frickin’ A, man!

  • Sunday was for recovering, and more learning from generous and talented presenters. Malle Vallik’s presentation on building an author brand was very well received by those brave enough (and smart enough) to be up at 8:30am.
  • The conference for next year has been announced, with very exciting new partnerships, and a beautiful venue in Melbourne. International guests are a bit hush-hush, though the Friday workshop instructors have been lined up.
  • Finally, the conference close with Anne Gracie’s now legendary Stand-Ups, which always leaves attendees feeling engaged, excited, and downright warm & fuzzy.
  • We cannot give enough props to Shannon Curtis and her crack team of conference organisers for a well-organised, well-run, fantastic conference, and to all the attendees who made it an amazing experience all around. We’ll see you all again next year!