ARRA Wins! Woooo!

So, when it comes to the Australian Romance Readers Awards, Escape has been feeling a bit like pre-2016-Oscars Leonardo DiCaprio. We had respect, sure! And lots (58!) of nominations! But no matter how many supermodels we partied with (OK, Down & Dusty cover models) (in our heads), we hadn’t won an ARRA.

Well I’m pleased to announce that as of last night’s ARRA awards dinner, we’re feeling a bit like smug post-Oscars Leo.

leo

Congratulations to the winners!

25329

Favourite Cover: The Horse Thief by Tea Cooper.

 base

Favourite Sci-Fi, Fantasy or Futuristic Romance: Base by Cathleen Ross

In addition to these fabulous wins, we’re excited that this year’s favourite new romance author winner, Kerrie Paterson, is about to make her Escape debut with the May release of Return to Jacaranda Avenue. Here’s a sneak preview of her cover—look out for prerelease dates soon!

ReturnToJacarandaAvenue

 

Advertisements

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!

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?