Spring into spring!

To celebrate, we’ve compiled as many spring idioms as we could think of, and paired them with a book that embodies their spirit. It’s like wine and food, but with spring and books.

…we’ll do wine and books later 🙂

A spring in (one’s) step

Nothing says a spring-y step like a good dance. Like, say, the one that Dan and Alex dance together in Ainslie Paton’s Grease Monkey Jive.

8215

Spring into action

Neither Merry or Jack can afford any hesitations in their life-or-death pursuit of priceless jewels across the world, in Tory Hayward’s breathtaking adventure romance.

28823

Spring chicken

She’s a spring chicken – until she isn’t. Explore both ends of the hen with the hilarious time-travel novel from Juliet Madison.

8875

Spring to attention

Soldiers – fighting against a corrupt government, sent to destroy those who most need their protection. I’m sure a few of you sprang to attention too…24680

Spring Fever

“Fever – I’m afire, fever yea I burn forsooth.”…Shakespeare knew it was true, and so do Ben and Trix in this light-hearted, re-envisioned twist on Much Ado About Nothing.

25824 (1)

Spring to life

Nothing springs quite like a newly minted vampire – or, maybe, say, twin vampires?

20835

Spring to mind

Unfortunately, what with his temporary retrograde amnesia, not much is springing to Connor’s mind – and his best friend Emma is desperate to keep it that way.

8865

Hope springs eternal

All that Sherise has is hope in the spin-off novel of SE Gilchrist’s Darkon Warrior SF series – hope that they’ll survive, hope they can find a way home, and hope that humanity’s future is secure.

28931

 

Advertisements

Books Seeking Readers – Last Chance at True Love!

Books seeking readersWe hope you’ve found your match, but we at Escape strongly advocate playing the field – at least when it comes to reading 😉 Here are the last of our lonely books, looking for love!

Exciting medical drama seeks reader who enjoys workplace romances, sexy beach interludes, and men who try to fix things. A love of sweet romance and interfering sisters is a must.

Find true love here.


Rough-around-the-edges sci-fi romance seeks reader to engage in snarky battles of will, revel in fashionable corsets or manly body armour, and get excited about exploring a brand new world. Grace under fire needed as random fire-fights with mercenaries are likely to occur. Accurate aim and knowledge of battlefield mechanics would result in everlasting devotion and vaguely proclaimed, masculine words of an emotion that is most likely love, although that will never be explicitly admitted.

Find true love here.


Smart-assed, grown-up romantic comedy, seeks reader with love of wisecracks. Appreciation of 80s music, 70s disaster movies, bad hair days, and a touch of murder a plus. Must be willing to handle peanut butter, have a good sense of humor, and know the value of friendship. An understanding that pizza is sexy is desirable. Aptitude for keeping government secrets, and juggling two jobs at once while finding unexpected love is essential.

Find true love here.


Country story of the snazzy variety seeking romance reader who loves Chardonnay, humour, shooting stars and seeing how a city-chic designer loses her cool when faced with being secluded for 12 days and nights with a strong, muscly stonemason housemate. (Interest in straw hats and wellies of use.)

Find true love here.


Enchanting, emotional book seeks reader who’s ever made a wish and wondered what would happen if it came true. If family, community, and following your passion is important to you, then we are a perfect match. I look forward to taking a stroll with you through Miracle Park, making a wish in the fountain, and watching the ocean waves tumble onto the shore. I’ll give you a date you’ll never forget.

Find true love here.


Road trip story that breaks all the speed limits seeks reader interested in undercover heroes, heroines on the run, and the need to buckle up. No fear of gravel rash for readers who like their heroes in control and their sexual tension suspended.  BYO snacks.

Find true love here.


Sweet medical romance seeks reader who isn’t afraid of a good cry. Must love nice guys, determined women, and tortured emotions.

Find true love here.


Forty-something, romantic comedy looking for reader with experience in renovating homes and love lives. Proficiency with power tools and puppies optional, but may be useful when dealing with learner-driver teens and nonagenarians buying Dr Pepper and condoms. All applicant readers must be willing to listen to Iron Butterfly, eat onion rings, and deal with rats of all sizes. Reader must be prepared for kissing for all ages.

Find true love here.


Futuristic romantic comedy seeks understanding reader with good empathy skills, who will support a 25 year old model trapped in 50 year old’s body as efficiently as a slimming spandex bodysuit. Or at least enjoy laughing at her. Especially when she gets trapped in the slimming spandex bodysuit. Perfect date: bungy jumping, followed by a better-than-sex facial, a ride on a ferris wheel (which may or may not involve getting stuck at the top), and a wild and wacky costume party.

Find true love here.


Angsty billionaire romance with sidebar fat girl social commentary seeks reader who likes her billionaires to work for it, her heroines to have their own super charged lives, and doesn’t mind reading with her heart in her throat and her backside on the edge of the seat.

Find true love here.

Make a wish!

by Kate

18883Our resident queen of ro-magic comedy, Juliet Madison releases her second story with us this month – a fun, light-hearted novella called I Dream of Johnny about a girl, her high-tech magic lamp, and one heck of an unfortunate type-o. Over on Juliet’s blog, she’s running a Three Wishes promotion that you should definitely take part in, if you ever wish for a pile of free stuff. She’s invited us to take part. So without further ado, my three book-related wishes.

 

1. I wish for…

Little-girl-reads-in-book-007Never-fail, never-stale book extensions. Sure, the book may be over, but why should the experience have to stop? With a handy-dandy, limited edition book extension (TM), the story just keeps going on. Visit your favourite characters as they continue past their conclusion and on in to their fictional lives. Drop in and check up on children, pets, and even villains. Never say goodbye to a favourite book again!

2. I wish for…

dreaming_TOCSubliminal readers (s-readers). We all know the feeling of a book hangover – those mornings when there’s not enough caffeine in the world to compensate for staying up ’til 4am to finish an unputdownable book. But what would happen if we didn’t have to? Enter the s-reader, a clever new device that allows the reading experience to continue as we still get our required 8 hours – by beaming our books straight into our dreams. Just think – all of the books we don’t get to read because our bodies demand sleep. Romantic suspense not recommended.

3. I wish for…

Replicated_martiniA fictional food replicator. Ever reading along in a book and the character dives into an enormous helping of chocolate mousse and you’re all, ‘I could totally go for that right now’? Just pick up a fictional food replicator, guaranteed to enhance the reading experience with thematically appropriate refreshments. Cosmos with Candace Bushnell? Whiskey with Hemingway? Tea and crumpets with Jane Austen? Whatever your flavour, the fictional food replicator has got your tastebuds covered. Some science fiction food not included.

Check out Juliet’s Three Wishes Blog Blitz here and her fantastic titles now available here!

Let’s do the Time Warp (again?)

by Kate

When you hear the term time travel, what do you think of? Mad scientists, fancy machinery, and flux capacitors? Or do you think of second chances, rekindling relationships, and personal growth? A lot of fiction involving time travel revolves around the scientific part; the process of time travel and what it means for history and mankind, but time travel can be a fascinating way of creating a story that focuses more on the personal journey of the characters and how their relationships develop and change.

Time travel in romance adds an exciting element to the already challenging situations characters can find themselves in. It allows characters to question who they are, how they got to where they are, and whether they are making the right choices in life. Most importantly, time travel in romance introduces that compelling ‘what if’ scenario… what if I’d said no to that guy instead of yes? What if I’d had the courage to do something I wished I’d done? What if I took a later train on that fateful day? And in the case of the future, what will my life be like in ten, twenty, or thirty years time? Will I be with who I think is Mr Right, or someone else? And even, does that anti-ageing cream I spent a gazillion dollars on really work? 😉

Time travel brings lots of opportunities for highly emotional scenes and romantic development. Time travel can take an ordinary story and make it extraordinary. It can add intrigue, suspense, despair, time sensitivity or that ‘ticking clock’ situation, and force the characters to make important decisions affecting themselves and those around them. Also, time travel in romance can be super fun!

There are only two ways time travel can go – backwards or forwards. Which would you choose?

BACK TO THE GOOD OL’ DAYS

9689Sarah Belle takes us back in time…

The concept of time travel has fascinated me since I was a seven year old watching Rod Taylor in ‘The Time Machine’ (it was a re-run – I wasn’t around for the original!). The prospect of time travel – either in the past or into the future – fuelled my imagination as I thought about the endless possibilities that come with skipping through time.

As a writer, I am attracted to situations that are exceptional and completely different to anything we can experience in everyday life. I love the ‘what if’ factor because it makes for a story that is not bound by the usual constraints of life. It allows me to really invest my imagination and create a situation that is intense, simply because the main character is already out of her comfort zone – and that’s even before I throw in conflict, fears, relationships, and anything else that she wants to avoid!

Why was HINDSIGHT set in 1961, rather than in the future – perhaps at the end of Juliette’s life so that she could reflect on her choices? Good question! I am going to be completely honest and say that setting Hindsight in the future never occurred to me.  I only ever saw it as a retrospective story.

In fact, with the exception of Juliet Madison’s Fast Forward I haven’t read any romantic comedies set in the future. It’s a concept that is fresh and under used enough to still be original. I look forward to reading more rom-coms set in the future.

The main challenge for writing in the past is research. For Hindsight I had to ensure that the names of the characters were appropriate to the era. I also did a lot of research for the setting – architecture, design and decor, fashion, personal products, kitchen appliances, and such.

Language was also challenging because there are many expressions used in the past that have slipped out of our modern vocabulary. Likewise, there are expressions or words that have changed in meaning from 1961 to now – take ‘gay’ for example. In 1961 ‘gay’ meant happy. Now it means homosexual.

Attitudes, morals, and social etiquette have also changed, as have women’s and men’s roles in the family, workplace, and society. Even though it is only a little over 50 years ago, it was a completely different time to live in, and so accurately reflecting these differences was challenging – but fascinating! (I admire writers who delve even further back in time – 1961 was hard enough).

TO INFINITY AND BEYOND

8875Juliet Madison propels us into the future…

I love time travel stories, but had noticed that not many stories that aren’t sci-fi go into the future. I wanted to create a story of everyday life with everyday people in a slightly different time period: not hundreds of years into the future, but twenty-five. Long enough to have some major change,s but short enough that the world is still recognisable. I loved the movie Suddenly 30 (13 Going On 30 for those in the US), so that was a great inspiration to me… a young person in an older person’s body? Yes please! And so Fast Forward was born.

I knew I wanted the story to focus on the journey of the character rather than the process of time travel itself, and so how Kelli actually gets there isn’t completely apparent, however there are a couple of potential triggers at the start of the story. I figured she would have to be at some kind of transition in her life, with an impending event or situation that could act as a catalyst for her time travel and eventual character growth. I chose her birthday. Because every young woman wants to wake up on her twenty-fifth birthday and find that she’s doubled in age, right?

The challenges to setting a story a quarter of a century into the future were mostly to do with being realistic. I wanted to make sure there were plenty of surprises and amazing technological advancements, but not go overboard. It had to feel at least possible that those things could exist in the future. I chose not to go ahead with flying cars or hoverboards, but added details like a talking and auto-driving function in cars, as well as an in-built coffee machine for those long trips (is anyone working on that I wonder? Mazda? Ford? C’mon guys, we’re waiting).

The benefits of writing a story set in the future were many. Because I didn’t have to worry about being accurate with historical data like Sarah did, I was able to let loose and create the world I wanted. Move over iPhones, the e-pad is on its way (I wish)! Even though I was focused on the future, I did have to think back to the past to see how far things had come in the last couple of decades, and try to replicate that natural progression as realistically as possible.

The most fun in writing a futuristic story was in the characters and how they got to where they were. Kelli had no idea how she ended up married to the high school nerd, so I had a lot of fun with that, and making sure that throughout the story she got to learn more about her husband and what drew her to him in the first place. So travelling to the future was a great way for the character to see what her general life and love life would be like if she’d made different choices. That way if I chose to send her back she could set her future on the right course. It’s hard for a character to realistically change and grow in only one day, but throw some time travel into the mix and you have an extreme situation where anything is possible!
What time travel romance stories have you enjoyed?

If you could choose to go to the past or the future, which would you choose?

Is Mature a four-letter word?

jen

by Sandra Antonelli and Juliet Madison

While proponents of the genre often talk about the breadth and depth of the stories within, one thing remains true: the heroine is young. Now, young is a relative term (I remember when 30 was old), but there definitely seems to be an age line of 38 that no heroine can cross and still expect a happy-ever-after.

But Sandra Antonelli and Juliet Madison pushed the boundaries. Both have written (and published with Escape) stories with heroines that cross the age divide. Granted, Juliet’s Kelly starts and ends at 25, but the bulk of her story happens on her 50th birthday. Sandra’s heroine, Lesley, is forty-something, and A Basic Renovation also features a secondary romance of her 92-year-old grandfather.

I asked these two authors about breaking the age barrier. They asked each other:

Older Heroines in Romantic Fiction – joint interview
By Sandra Antonelli and Juliet Madison (ages withheld)

Juliet interviews Sandra (author of A Basic Renovation):

1. Do you think women go through the same hang-ups and emotional upheavals in love in their forties as they do in their twenties? What are the similarities/differences?

Yes, I think they do. Many of the same insecurities women face in their twenties are still with them in their forties, fifties and beyond. The hang-ups are still there, some are the same, some have shifted. You know those social directives women hear all the time? Don’t get fat, don’t look old—but don’t dress like you’re 20 if you’re 50, don’t be a bitch. Sometimes, because a 40+ woman has had more life experience she’s managed to conquer one or two of those things, but she’s also more likely to have had a greater spectrum of upheavals, particularly in terms of loss—she may have lost a child, lost a husband, been divorced, lost a parent, lost a job, ‘lost her looks,’ lost her confidence, lost her desirability. Or she’s afraid of all that happening. Womanhood is rife with awesome hang-ups and love and romance can often play a part, which brings me right to your next question.

2. With many mature women, things like divorce/separation, children, health issues, and career issues can affect the development of new relationships. Do you think this makes for more interesting scenarios in fiction or do you think romance is best when those sorts of things don’t ‘get in the way’?

It’s harder to find a new relationship after 40, but I think—no I believe—it’s not the baggage that gets in the way. It’s the attitude that a romantic relationship is limited by a random number associated with age means romance and love are not accessible for anyone over age x. For me, the issues, the baggage, make the scenarios more interesting in a romance novel. It’s the path that’s taken to the happily ever after (or for now), the inevitability that this couple winds up together is why I read romance.

3. If there was one myth or misconception you wish you could change about society’s perception of ageing women, what would it be?

That romance, love, and sex cease to be important or of interest to them.

4. Is it just me or does the ‘renovation’ theme in your book, A Basic Renovation, have a double meaning? As in renovating a property, AND renovating one’s love life? Do you think this is a common theme that more mature heroines can relate to?

Everyone in the story gets renovated in one way or another. The house, Lesley, Dominic, her grandfather GP, her parents, attitudes are adjusted, paint is applied, transformations happen. I think it’s a theme anyone could relate to, regardless of age.

5. Will you continue to write about older heroines, and if so, is there an age limit you wouldn’t consider writing above? What did you enjoy and find difficult about writing a heroine who was over forty?

The secondary plot of ABR is about a 92 year-old man finding love for the second time in his life. So I don’t have any limits. The heroine’s age was not a point to me. I didn’t set out to write her older as much as I did simply write what I wanted to see. From the start, Lesley was simply forty-whatever and she fell in love with a forty-something man. I suppose that is why I never directly specify her age.

Sandra interviews Juliet (author of Fast Forward)

1. What the hell was your inspiration of the SlimFX Magic Suit in Fast Forward?

Well, let’s just say I had an ‘interesting’ experience whilst trying on a very promising-
looking piece of mail-order spandex. Getting it on was one thing, but getting it off was another. It was lucky I was at home at the time or I might have had to call for help from a
saleswoman or run out into the shop gasping for breath with my arms stuck above my head and the spandex over my face (at least no one would recognise me). Instead I mustered every ounce of strength and squeezed myself out of The Thing. I’ve since found more comfortable ‘shapewear’ for the mummy-tummy but always thought it would make a funny scene in a book, and one that I think many women could relate to. So, the SlimFX Magic Suit was born, and I put my character – desperate to look younger and slimmer – through a much worse situation than mine!

2. Do you think the media is youth obsessed?

I think it is. There’s always a new anti-ageing treatment or miracle ingredient being
advertised on commercials and current affair shows, and plenty of ‘magic suits’ on the
market promising a more youthful appearance. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look
younger and healthier, but I think society is overexposed to images of young, beautiful
people (often airbrushed) and it creates an unrealistic ideal. Models in magazines and fashion catalogues are in most cases young and skinny, and even clothing for the more mature generation are being modelled by women twenty or thirty years younger. When it comes to novels, particularly romance novels, most heroines are in their twenties or
early thirties and there are not many with women over forty (apart from Fast Forward and A Basic Renovation, of course!). I think fiction provides a great way to explore some of these ageing-related issues and give women of all ages a chance to experience a happy-ever-after.

3. Do you think time travel may be possible? Would you travel back in time to a different part of your life (I loved how you didn’t employ a time machine in your book)?

If someone can’t prove it’s not possible then who knows?! Maybe ‘time awareness’ is more plausible, but either way it makes for a fun concept in fiction! The idea of being able to go back to the past to fix mistakes or get a glimpse at the future to see what your life is like would be very tempting, although scary. If I could travel back in time it would probably only be to have more fun and make the most of every moment because they go by so quickly. It certainly wouldn’t be to put more anti-ageing cream on my face, which goes to show it’s our experiences that define our lives not the way we look. However, I would also take the opportunity (if I went back to BC times – Before Children, that is) to get more sleep. If only I’d known, oh, if only I’d known… 😉

4. Why did you choose 50 as the “The Year” Kelli’s life goes insane?

A lot of time travel or age-change books and movies have the character become a ‘desirable’ age, meaning either young again, or older but at their prime. I wanted to have a character become an age she didn’t want to be, and I thought for a twenty-five-year-old model that fifty seemed like a good choice. It’s not too young, not too old, and an age that is seen as quite a big milestone in life. Especially for a woman, age fifty (or thereabouts) is often associated with changes in identity as the reproductive years begin to fade away.

5. If you had a ‘scary age’ what would it be or perhaps what was it? What is ‘old’ to you?

I think a ‘scary age’ (hang on, what do you mean what was it? I’m only thirty-six! hehe) is always the age that you are becoming next. Then you pass that birthday and it’s not so bad and then you think of the next one and so on. It’s all relative. When you’re twenty, thirty seems old, but when you’re forty (which – ahem – I’m not yet), thirty seems as young as they come. And I’m sure someone at age eighty would consider a fifty-year-old as having their ‘whole life ahead of them’.

For me personally though, when I first noticed a few grey hairs I started to think ‘Oh no, it’s coming’, meaning the ageing process, not the end of the world, although for some that could be seen as the same thing. It certainly doesn’t help either when your son takes it upon himself to point out said grey hairs and say, ‘Well, good luck finding a husband.’

Seriously though, the more you age the more in tune with yourself and life you become, and I’ve heard many people say that their more ‘mature’ years have been a time of immense joy, satisfaction, and discovery, so why not celebrate that not only in real life, but in fiction too?

8876When it comes down to it, rats in the oven trumps Lesley’s desire to never set eyes on another Brennan family member. So Lesley, a pro at property redevelopment, scrambles to Dominic Brennan’s hardware store for supplies. Dominic knows poison — rat and otherwise — and he sees it in Lesley. The woman ruined his brother’s life. Now that she’s back in town, Dominic’s afraid she’ll drag up the past, the secrets, and the pain. They clash immediately, but mix in a teenage boy, a puppy, some white paint, and some loud music, and what starts as cold fury transforms into a nuclear attraction. This basic renovation becomes a major life refurbishment for them both.

8875Aspiring supermodel, Kelli Crawford seems destined to marry her hotshot boyfriend, but on her twenty-fifth birthday she wakes in the future as a fifty-year-old suburban housewife married to the now middle-aged high school nerd.
Trapped in the opposite life of the one she wanted, Kelli is forced to re-evaluate her life and discover what is really important to her. Will she overcome the hilarious and heartbreaking challenges presented to her and get back to the body of her younger self? Or will she be stuck in the nightmare of hot flushes, demanding children, raunchy advances from her husband and hideous support underwear forever?