Exclusive Excerpt: The Irredeemable Prince

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The ultimate royal bad boy is about to meet his match…


Your bad boy image isn’t something the press has over-exaggerated, is it?’ Mackenzie accused.

Prince Devereaux crossed his arms over his broad chest and an unrepentant smile spread across his mouth. ‘No.’

She hesitated. ‘It’s going to be very difficult to change public perspective.’

So, you’ll be tearing up the contract, refunding the huge deposit my brother has already paid you and flying back to England?’

Although the words were drawled lazily, she detected an energetic undertow designed to pull her in the direction he suggested. His words were a temptation, but he was in for a hell of a shock.

Mac was no quitter.

Despite every shred of sense that warned her that ripping up the contract was the safest course to follow, a stubborn streak bubbled to the surface.

I said it would be difficult to change public perspective. I didn’t say it would be impossible.’

He uncrossed his arms and his smile thinned. ‘But, be honest, that’s what you’re thinking.’

You’re going to resist any change I suggest, aren’t you?’

Absolutely.’ His tone was resolute, his expression unapologetic.

So, I may as well quit now?’

He smiled. ‘You’ve got the picture.’

She stared him down. ‘I intend to fulfil this contract and there are a few things we need to get straight from the outset. You’re my client, but make no mistake about who’s in charge. From now on you’re going to do what I tell you, when I tell you, and exactly how I tell you to do it.’

He held her regard for the longest ten seconds of her life, his expression one of idle amusement. ‘I like a woman who wants to be on top of the situation.’ There was no missing the double entendre. ‘In fact, I can picture you there.’

Mac tried to ignore the prickling heat which spread across her chest like a blazing bushfire. ‘Really? I can picture you with a tomahawk through your skull.’ He burst out laughing, but she ignored him. ‘I’m sure I’m not the only one to have visualised the image. It’s probably only been the presence of your royal bodyguards to have saved you from such a fate.’

Oh, Mackenzie. So much unhealthy aggression coiled up inside you, and I know the perfect way to release it.’

Stop it, or the only thing I’ll need to be released from is a prison.’ She glared at him.

He reached out and ran the tip of his index finger right down along the delicate slope of her nose. ‘You need to relax, sweetheart. In my experience, it’ll work better if you follow my lead.’ How was it possible that his deep voice lowered another octave? ‘I promise you it’ll be very, very good between us.’

Common sense warned her to place as much distance as possible between them. But, oh … the heady sensual promise in his bedroom blue eyes …

She held out a hand to his chest to push him away.

Big mistake! For a crazy half-second, she wanted to pull him towards her instead of thrusting him away. Thrusting … Oh Lord. She shook her head to dispel the X-rated mental images the word conjured.

I generally succeed with my clients because I find something good about them. You’ll be much more of a challenge.’

So leave.’

No. I’ve never failed an assignment and I’m not going to fail with you either.’

For a few moments his expression was shuttered. Finally, he said, ‘Like hell!’

Excerpt – Red Dust Runaway

The third book in Eva Scott’s bestselling Red Dust series features a classical musician, a bad boy rock star, and one hell of a road trip

Iris jumped in fright when she looked up from Google Maps to see a dishevelled man standing by her car. She glanced around quickly to see if there was anyone else about but the place was deserted. Too early. She checked behind her to see the comforting lights of the office behind her with the bleary-eyed receptionist clearly visible. That was something at least.

Can I help you?’ she asked, glad the car was between them. She calculated she could make a run for reception before he could get to her.

Um, I was wondering if you could give me a lift.’ The guy shuffled from one foot to the other, looking as sheepish as hell, and cute too now she got a good look at him. She wasn’t one for long hair on a man although she’d make an exception in his case.

Right,’ She considered his request. He looked clean, maybe a little nervous. How can you tell if someone was an axe murderer or not? ‘Where are you going?’

I have no idea.’ He hit her with a grin, lighting up his face and sending her insides flip-flopping. His eyes – were they grey or blue? – sparkling in the pale morning light.

You don’t know where you’re going?’ She couldn’t help but grin back. ‘Do you know where you are?’

Kalgoorlie, right? I need to get out of here. I’m backpacking with the bus tour and, well, it’s a bit stifling. Thought it’d be for me and I was wrong.’ His smile turned rueful.

She turned to look at the nondescript bus parked behind them. The motel owner had told her a tour had booked out most of the place, probably backpackers going by this guy’s British accent. So, he wanted off the tour and to travel solo? Seemed reasonable enough. And he was cute, better than cute. Still, there was no universal law that said a serial killer couldn’t be cute.

Where are you going?’ He seemed to sense her wavering.

Melbourne,’ she replied before realising telling him where she was going might not be the smartest move.

His face lit up. ‘I’m going there too. How about we split the costs and the driving?’

She frowned and bit her lip. ‘I thought you said you didn’t know where you were going?’

Next. I don’t know where I’m going next but I want to be in Melbourne in two weeks wherever I end up in between.’ He gave her a dazzling smile and something leapt and spun inside her.

Tempting, very tempting. This trip was all about adventure and maybe a hot affair. Maybe this guy was both. Lord knows, the loneliness of the road ate away at her and she was only two days into her trip. At least at home she’d had her music buddies and her parents.

Her father’s face flashed across her mind. He’d totally disapprove of her picking up an English backpacker. He’d be livid when he realised she’d runaway, without his knowledge, without his permission. She’d played by the rulebook for twenty years, maybe it was time to throw it away and see what happened.

Come on,’ he cajoled, leaning on the car and piercing her with the most compelling eyes – yes, definitely more blue than grey up close – she had ever seen. ‘I swear I’m not a serial killer.’

Iris blushed. He’d read her mind. ‘What if I am?’ she countered, knowing any minute now she’d agree to take him. Like it was already a done deal from the moment she set eyes on him.

I think I’ll take my chances.’ There was that killer smile again. Iris’ body responded like an iron filing to a magnet. ‘What do you say?’

What could she say? There was no other response: ‘Okay, but I’m driving.’


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.

Coming 25 June.

Preorder now: Amazon, Amazon UK, Amazon AU, Apple, Kobo, Google, Booktopia

Feed Your Reader: Your Tarrin’s Bay Fix!

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They say that truth is stranger than fiction, but in Tarrin’s Bay, she’s about to find that love is stronger than time…

By day, single mother Olivia Chevalier runs the family’s bookstore and raises her nine-year-old daughter. By night, she escapes into a world of fiction where there is excitement, romance, and happy endings.

Both of her roles are endlessly rewarding, but Olivia’s life has not been without challenges, hard work, and disappointment. So when enigmatic travel writer Joel Foster walks into her bookstore – and her life – with his mantras of trying new things and taking risks, Olivia knows that nothing will change.

But when a family dilemma surfaces, Olivia is compelled to enroll in Joel’s writing course to tell the story of her grandmother’s life. With each new day and each new page, Olivia discovers secrets about her family and truths about herself, and finds herself yearning to rewrite the story she has planned and seek a life as intriguing as fiction.

Available today!

Juliet Madison Uncovered

1497As one of the first authors contracted with Escape, what is it like being with a publisher from brand new to established?

Escape was brand new when they published my novel Fast Forward, and I was a brand new author. So it feels like we grew up together! It’s been exciting to watch the growth of Escape and I’m proud and grateful to be one of their authors, and now have ten books published with them.

The importance of family is a long-running theme in many of your books, why is the inclusion of extended family so important?

Family is important to me, and I think it defines many of our life experiences and memories, and I like to capture this in my books. Writing about family also touches on the need for belonging that is common for everyone, whether it be with real family or those who feel like family. My Tarrin’s Bay series is about people finding their new beginning and a sense of belonging, both to a place, and with the people they care about.

Your new book Memories of May is out on the 5 May, it also explores the themes of family; What was your inspiration for this story? What was your Eureka! moment?

When I started writing the first book in the Tarrin’s Bay series, The January Wish, I created a bookstore that one of the characters gets a temporary job in – Mrs May’s Bookstore. From that moment, I knew I would write a book (for the month May, of course) about this bookstore and the family behind it. Over the next few years I would get little ideas here and there about the May story and jot them down, and then I included the main character Olivia, who runs the bookstore, as a secondary character in April’s Glow. I was inspired to show the importance of family in defining our lives and memories, and how a legacy can live on through generations. I had two grandmothers who were a big part of my life and I have many happy memories with them, and so I also wanted to acknowledge that and honour their memory. I also love bookstores, so there’s that. 😉

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Can you give us a little tease of the relationship between Olivia and Joel?

I loved writing this opposites attract romance between Olivia and Joel. She has been living a safe and predictable life of routine to provide for her daughter, while Joel has been living on the road as an adventure traveller-turned-author who takes risks and lives in the moment. From the moment he turns up in Tarrin’s Bay at her bookstore, her life turns upside down as he tries to encourage her to live outside of her comfort zone and experience book-worthy moments. As they spend time together doing his list of challenges, and as Olivia is a student in his memoir writing course, sparks start to fly and a few more personal challenges present themselves. They have a fun, friendly connection with cute and flirty text messages, but believe nothing can happen because of their different lifestyles, but their unexpected feelings for each other have them both questioning their beliefs.

The corners of Olivia’s lips turned upwards in a smile as their flirting triggered feelings she wasn’t sure how to handle. She texted him back with a hashtag and a kiss emoticon.

#didyoujusthashtagkissme? he asked.

#yes

#youresocute

She couldn’t contain her smile. Especially when he sent another text with a hashtag and two kiss emoticons.

#didyoujusthashtagkissmetwice? she asked.

#yes, he replied, and then her heart hashtag-fluttered at what he added next: #andthatwasntpretend

What kind of qualities most endear you to Olivia as a heroine?

She is devoted to her family and raising her daughter on her own, as well as carrying on her grandmother’s legacy by running the family bookstore that was set up after the war. Olivia is committed, reliable, caring and kind, and also understands the healing power of a warm beverage and a good book!

And Joel as a hero? What is your ideal hero?

He is courageous and a ‘doer’. He doesn’t wait for life to bring him good things, he goes out and gets them. He takes responsibility for his life and encourages others to do the same. Plus, he writes! I like a hero who’s intelligent both emotionally and intellectually, energetic, adventurous, and not afraid to be himself. Authenticity and confidence is sexy.

What came first, the plot, or the characters?

Actually, the setting! Mrs May’s Bookstore. From there, it was characters… who is Mrs May? Who are her family? And what secrets could be hidden in the pages of their unwritten story? The characters came easily, the plot took a bit more work. Especially as the story alternates between past and present, through an elderly Mrs May recalling her memories of life and love as a young woman. I had to go back and forth to make sure everything made sense, so it was a more challenging book to write in that sense, but very rewarding.

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I hear you write across genres, from Romance to colouring books; what is it like to publish vastly different works? Do you find it difficult to switch or does it keep you on your toes?

I find it creatively stimulating and exciting to publish different works. I never set out to write different genres, because for me, it’s always about idea first, genre second. When I get an idea, I go with whatever it is and then see where it fits. I don’t find it difficult to switch between them, and sometimes I have a couple of completely different books on the go at the same time… I actually find it easier and more fulfilling than writing the same type of book every time.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Any cool or quirky hobbies?

I love to do anything artistic; create drawings and paintings, and I love to cook (and share the results on my instagram page @julietmadisonauthorartist !) I also like to take photos of just about anything that takes my interest, and I love eating out at good cafes and restaurants and having fascinating and positive conversations where small talk doesn’t play a role. 😉

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

I write in a variety of places; at my dining table, in bed, on my balcony, on the couch, or at a café. I also write on the train or a plane if I’m travelling somewhere. I like to set a timer and do writing sprints in 30 minute segments. That’s the process that works for me to help me write fast. Before this, I always do a plot outline, because I find that makes the writing process easier and faster too.

*I always make a Pinterest board for each of my books to help inspire me as I write and to give readers a visual idea of what the book is like, you can see the Memories of May board here.

Can you give any advice to aspiring authors out there?

Write what you care about, what you feel passionate about. Allow your unique self to shine through and don’t try to be anyone else. Trust your own voice. Also, learn about the craft of writing to keep improving, and always work on showing versus telling so that the reader can ‘experience’ the story, and not just be ‘told’ the story. Most importantly, if you love writing, never give up! Just keep doing it, even if you get rejections. Do it for the love of it and it will show through in your writing, and people will see that.

 

 

AK Leigh Uncovered

7386121Tell me a bit about Triple Threat. How did it come into being? What was your Eureka! moment?

My ideas for stories often come out-of-the-blue, and Triple Threat was no different. A sentence popped into my head one day: “The Farris Triplets were back in business”. I knew it was going to be a romantic suspense, crime-themed trilogy because the basic plots soon followed. Even so, I was uncertain about going ahead with it. I thought it must have all been done before. If my stories weren’t going to be original, I couldn’t see the point. So, I went and bought a heap of books with identical triplet themes. I discovered that many were either overly stereotyped (e.g. they all had similar names, played tricks on people, behaved the same, AND finished each other’s sentences – I mean, come on!) or highly sexualised. That was the ‘eureka moment’. It irritated me that identical triplets were being represented that way. I knew my personal experience with being an identical triplet could be used to show people how that translated in reality.

Give us a little tease of the relationship between Gabe and Lizzie. How did that come about in your head and subsequently the book?

I knew Gabe was going to fall in ‘insta-love’ with Lizzie. I also knew that Lizzie would be hesitant about giving him a chance. The way that played out surprised me though. Gabe’s first glimpse of Lizzie occurs via a newspaper article. I LOVED that he could tell her apart from her sisters even then! Lizzie’s first impression of Gabe is not good because she mistakes him for a journalist looking for a story on the high profile, cold case murder she and her sisters are working on.

Below is a short teaser from Triple Threat, showing their first meeting 

Can I help you?’

The man standing to the side of her doorway hesitated, then took a step inside the room. She saw him swallow. Then he mumbled, ‘Hi, um, you’re Elizabeth Farris.’

He said it in a way that showed he already knew the answer.

Jesus Christ. Not another one. Looked like the six-month hiatus from being harassed had given her a false sense of security. She had to force herself not to roll her eyes. Sure, they were only doing their job, but that didn’t mean they could barge into her personal life whenever they wanted. This was her workplace for goodness sake.

She made herself sound calm when she replied, ‘I’m not interested in doing an interview.’

Oh. I’m not a reporter … although I am a journalism teacher here … but I’m not here for a story.’

How can I help you?’

His expression turned serious, ‘It’s something of a sensitive nature. Would you be free for a coffee?’

You mean now?’

If you’re not too busy.’

She glanced at the pile of assessments on her desk then back at him. ‘I’m not too busy.’

What came first: the plot or the characters?

With the Farris Triplets series, it was the plot that came first (that’s not always the case). The characters were more difficult to write because I’d put so much pressure on myself to write something different when it came to identical triplet characters!

I understand you are one part of a similar set of triplets. Are your characters based on your sisters? Are there any other real life influences in either the characters or plot of Triple Threat?

Ha ha. I’ve been asked this question a couple of times! The characters are not based on my sisters and I, but they do share a MINOR personality trait with one of us. Other than that, the only thing Lizzie, Nina, and Carrie have in common with us is the fact that they are vegetarians. Unfortunately, we do not solve cold cases or work in law enforcement either 😀

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

I love how forthright she is. She knows what she wants in a relationship and doesn’t see the point in wasting time or settling. Her romantic side also endears her to me.

And Gabe’s as a hero?

Gabe is just adorable! Such a sweet heart and old-fashioned romantic. The fact that he shares the same traumatic history as Lizzie also drew me to him. He can understand her in ways that other men would struggle with.

How did you begin your romance writing career? What drew you to contemporary/suspense romance? Is it the genre you enjoy reading in?

The funny thing about that is, for years I believed I wrote “mysteries” or “thrillers”. In my twenties, I was reading an article about genres in fiction and was shocked to discover that I’d actually been writing romance all those years! After the initial cognitive dissonance, I embraced the stories that came. To paraphrase Stephen King, I wasn’t drawn to contemporary/suspense romance, it was drawn to me. My reading choices are fairly open. I’ll read just about anything.

Jilted bookpageWhat’s your favourite romance trope? And favourite portrayal of that trope?

I have two: friends to lovers and second chance lovers! My favourite portrayals of the latter are Persuasion by Jane Austen, Be Mine, Cowboy by Jane Porter (what is it with the Jane’s?!), and Jilted by Rachael Johns. One of my friends to lovers favourites is Small Town Storm by Elise K. Ackers.

Can you give any advice to aspiring authors out there? What is some of the best writing advice you have received?

Advice: attend as many writing workshops as you can, network, keep going, believe in yourself.

Best advice I received: writers write.

persuasion-cover-vintageWhat are your favourite books/authors to read?

I know it’s clichéd to say this, but Jane Austen is my all-time favourite writer! For someone who was middle class, she had remarkable insight into the lives (and loves) of the upper classes. Her stories are multi-faceted, with more than one plot going on most times. The love stories are sweet and timeless. What’s not to admire? 

I also love Mary Higgins Clark. She writes in multiple view points like me and her plots are often intricate and detailed.

Rachael Johns is my favourite Australian author. I was only introduced to her books, via a happy ‘coincidence’, a few years ago and I haven’t looked back since. Love her characters. They are always memorable.

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

I can write anywhere, but at this stage, it’s usually with my computer on my lap! I am in the process of building a writing nook though, so that will change soon. I already have my writing desk 😀

My process usually starts with a one sentence quote, character, or plot. From there, it morphs to a basic outline. After that, I work on four different drafts. My motto is to get the first draft down as quickly as possible, hence it is more like a glorified outline. The meat comes onto the bones, so to speak, with the subsequent two drafts. The fourth draft is a final once over to pick up anything I may have forgotten etc. Then, it’s off to the publisher or editor … and the edits begin!

What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Any quirky hobbies (like the sisters of Triple Threat)?

In my spare time, I like to read, watch movies, go for hikes, spend time in nature, and hang out with my kids. Is any of that quirky?


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They’re beautiful, accomplished, and they have identical interests…

In their spare time, identical triplets the Farris sisters work together to solve cold cases. Lizzie uses her skills as a Criminal Profiler, Nina her Scenes of Crime Officer experience, and Carrie assists through her work as a both a Forensic Scientist and Forensic Anthropologist.

Romantic and idealistic, Lizzie is picky about men. But despite the good-natured teasing of her sisters, she refuses to settle for anything less than ‘The One’. She loves her life, her job as both a profiler and a university lecturer, and her sisters, and won’t make changes for anything less. If that makes her unrealistic, then so be it.

Gabe Montcoeur has just moved across Australia from Perth to Cairns and starts a job as a journalism teacher at Cairns University: the same university where Elizabeth Farris works. On the surface, the move seems innocent, but he has an ulterior motive. Gabe wants to elicit the aid of the Farris sisters in solving the murder of his family members, and the only way to circumvent their notorious ‘no contact’ policy is to reach out to them in person.

But when Gabe meets Lizzie for the first time, the attraction is instantaneous — and mutual. The deeper they fall into each other, however, the more guilty Gabe feels about his real motivation for getting close. Lizzie wants the real deal, the one, true love — can Gabe ever offer her the future she deserves if he keeps holding on so tightly to the past?

Buy Now!

Feed Your Reader: Triplets Looking for Trouble

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They’re beautiful, accomplished, and they have identical interests…

In their spare time, identical triplets the Farris sisters work together to solve cold cases. Lizzie uses her skills as a Criminal Profiler, Nina her Scenes of Crime Officer experience, and Carrie assists through her work as a both a Forensic Scientist and Forensic Anthropologist.

Romantic and idealistic, Lizzie is picky about men. But despite the good-natured teasing of her sisters, she refuses to settle for anything less than ‘The One’. She loves her life, her job as both a profiler and a university lecturer, and her sisters, and won’t make changes for anything less. If that makes her unrealistic, then so be it.

Gabe Montcoeur has just moved across Australia from Perth to Cairns and starts a job as a journalism teacher at Cairns University: the same university where Elizabeth Farris works. On the surface, the move seems innocent, but he has an ulterior motive. Gabe wants to elicit the aid of the Farris sisters in solving the murder of his family members, and the only way to circumvent their notorious ‘no contact’ policy is to reach out to them in person.

But when Gabe meets Lizzie for the first time, the attraction is instantaneous — and mutual. The deeper they fall into each other, however, the more guilty Gabe feels about his real motivation for getting close. Lizzie wants the real deal, the one, true love — can Gabe ever offer her the future she deserves if he keeps holding on so tightly to the past?

Feed Your Reader: Opal Miner v Paleontologist

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A charming adventurer. A pragmatic paleontologist. A hundred-million-year-old treasure buried in the Australian outback.

The last person Gemma Stephens expects to meet in the tiny, remote, opal-mining town of Rainbow Cliffs is Jamie Coltrane, her university boyfriend who chose his past over their potential future. Now, seven years later, he is the only obstacle between her and the goal she has been pursuing tirelessly since he left. The goal that means everything for her future and that of her six-year-old son.

Jamie has long outgrown the wanderlust that caused him to leave Gemma, and he and his father have settled into Rainbow Cliffs, making a living out of opal mining and running the only accommodation in town. But now a big find — a once-in-a-lifetime find — has opened up opportunities that Jamie never thought possible. Opportunities that mean everything for his father and himself.

Fate may have thrown them back together, but this is no happy reunion. There is only one fossil, and there can be only one winner in this battle between preservation and prosperity. Gemma and Jamie may have the chance to find true love — or be torn apart, this time forever.

Buy now

Friday Five: Fiona Greene

1d65948065817365d620cd57a5257f0dAuthor: Fiona Greene
First published with Escape: November 2014
Favourite romance trope: Returning home/the one that got away
Ideal hero: Sexy, strong and funny
Ideal heroine: Confident, capable and kind
Latest book: Home for Christmas

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

It was the eighties, and having discovered a box of Mills and Boons in my new stepmother’s house, I was instantly hooked. They all had exotic, foreign settings (lots of Betty Neels) and it wasn’t till I spent my first pay buying more romance that I discovered there was such a thing as Australian romance. Better still – Queensland romance. That’s when the dream was born.

This photo was taken in 2015 on a tour of the State Library’s Queensland Romance Author collection – a treasured experience, with so many familiar names and books.

Fiona Green

I’m drawn to romance because no matter what, there are compelling characters, places I may never travel to and a happy for now/happy ever after.

How did your latest book come to life? What was your eureka moment?

Writing Home for Christmas I had two very different critiques, and I credit them both with causing eureka moments:

  1. Theme = Family. This single statement, written exactly like it is here allowed me to take Layla and Tate’s story from a Christmas short story to a published work.
  2. I’m bored with this story, you should work on something else. I was gutted to hear this, a lone voice in a sea of “this is good”. Should I give up? Start something new? I pulled the story from my critique group, worked on it solo, and (eureka moment) learnt to trust my instinct about what it needed. In hindsight, it was the wrong book for that reader.

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

When I’m stuck, truly stuck, I take the point of view character, and flip their usual reaction to the situation they find themselves in, sending them one hundred and eighty degrees in the other direction. Then I change point of view and show the other character in the scene trying to figure it out. Chances are, what you write will end up in the bin, but the characters should at least be talking to each other, and sometimes characters surprise you with what happens next.

What’s the thing about writing that surprised you the most?

Writing is seen as a solo pursuit, but I’ve found the comradery in both my critique group and the wider romance community make it anything but. Knowledge and experience of what works and what doesn’t is shared, and there is always someone who will support you as you work through your “apprenticeship”. The friends I’ve made through writing are some of my closest, and I treasure each and every one of them.

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

When I’m not writing, I split my time between my day job (in health) and an owner builder project on a rural block that will never be finished (or so it seems). I don’t have any secret hobbies, but my favourite escape is generally a run. Headphones and mobile free, I set off on a journey, and while my feet might be pounding the pavement in suburbia, my head will be deep in wherever my latest story is set.

In 2017, I’m doing an A-Z run of Brisbane – finding a different suburb to run in starting with the next letter of the alphabet. Next up: “E”.


22581What began as an impersonal-but-cheerful holiday gift for a soldier far from home becomes so much more…

Sergeant Tate McAuliffe, stationed in Afghanistan, opens his Christmas care package from Australia and is stunned by both its contents and the sender.

Fun-loving Christmas tree designer Layla Preston is a breath of fresh air for loner Tate. Although they’ve never met, their email friendship quickly develops and their feelings for each other deepen. But Layla knows the heartache that loving a soldier can bring and when Tate is injured, her deep-seated fear drives them apart. With their relationship in tatters, can Layla and Tate work through their differences, so Layla can welcome Tate home for Christmas?

Buy now!

 

Friday Five: Bronwyn Stuart

2373Author: Bronwyn Stuart

First published with Escape: April 2016

Favourite romance trope: Beauty and the beast.

Ideal hero (in three words): Sexy, intelligent and built!

Ideal heroine (in three words): Sassy, independent and feisty!

Latest book: She’s The One

 

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

I was working night shift for a security firm and had just finished reading a book with the worst ending (sorry, can’t remember the title) and though I could do better. Turns out I was wrong! Took me nearly seven years before I had learned enough to be published.

I am completely addicted to two things. Happy endings and the aww moment when your heart sings and you hear angels in your mind because the moment of ‘I love you’ is just so beautiful. Why be brutal and kill your characters when you can help them find true happiness.

How do you write? What is your process like?

I sit back in a comfy chair with my feet up and put my laptop on my lap. Once my butt hits the chair, I try not to get up again for at least two hours. I set myself a word goal of around 1000 words an hour and don’t let the internet distract me. If I need to research, I do it very quickly or I come back to it later.

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

If I’m really stuck and I’ve gone back a few scenes and still can’t get unstuck, I take a really long bath with someone else’s book and relax. Usually the answer comes to me with a word or a phrase or a similar reaction/action in that book and then I can get back to mine. Most of the time a writing block is actually because your story or plot has gone wrong or you’ve manipulated your characters somewhere they didn’t want to go.

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

My office is a renovated caravan It’s one big quirk on two wheels. My house was too small for my own space so my dad and I rescued a dilapidated van and spruced it up into a creative haven just for me.

What are your favourite types of book covers? What draws your eye to a romance cover?

My favourite contemporary covers are the ones where the lovers embrace and they’re looking deep into each other’s eyes. Since historical romance is my first love, I adore the covers with the long, bright dresses or even the Scottish Laird in his kilt and nothing else. So basically, intensity jumps off covers and pulls me in, but so do bright colours and snappy titles. And yes, I do judge a book by its cover!


29691In the game of love — and TV — you play to win or you lose your heart.

Millionaire Banjo Grahams originally signed up for She’s The One drunk as a skunk and willing to do anything to bed Australia’s most beautiful women, but when he sobers up he realises he could lose much more than his reputation if he goes through with it. Unable to back out of an ironclad contract, he makes a deal with the network boss to rig the show, picking the lucky bachelorette ahead of time and guiding the season to meet his own ends and keep the board happy.

When her father tells Eliza Peterson she isn’t going to produce She’s The One, but appear as a one of the contestants, she is livid. Competing for some guy on reality TV is no way to earn his — and the network’s — respect and show them she is capable of producing shows of her own.

But for all the planning and staging, somehow the show takes on a reality of its own, and the goals of Eliza and Banjo fall away from something neither of them expected — love.

 

Feed Your Reader:A Beloved Story Gets an Update

30774

He thought it was all a game…until he grew accustomed to her face.

Henri Higgins is bored by everything – his life, his work, even the models he regularly sees socially (and privately). So when a close friend suggests a high-stakes, friendly competition, a ‘fame’ game, Ree leaps at the opportunity for a little shake-up in his daily routine. The rules are simple: the competitors are to take the first person that they meet at a certain time and make them as famous as possible within two weeks.

But Ree doesn’t expect Elizabeta.

Elizabeta Flores del Fuego has a plan. An office manager by day, she moonlights at a number of creative Canberra businesses by night to learn all she can about the fashion industry and put her in the best place possible to help launch her beloved daughter, Angelina’s design career. Cleaning the office of Higgins Publishing is just one of those jobs, but when Henri Higgins offers her a week’s worth of work and a paycheque large enough to get Angelina Designs on its feet, it’s an offer she can’t refuse.

But Elizabeta doesn’t expect Ree, and neither expect the lessons in love they’re both about to learn.

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