Friday Five: Catherine Evans

Evans_CatherineAuthor: Catherine Evans
First published with Escape: 2016
Favourite romance trope: Friends to Lovers
Ideal hero (in three words): Honest, fun, generous
Ideal heroine (in three words): Independent, down-to-earth, loyal
Latest book: The Healing Season, and in February, Long Game

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

I wanted to write, but I had no idea what I wanted to write about, other than Australia. I read romance, but not only romances, as I read anything with writing on a page. I was writing stories, a member of the NSW Writers Centre, and entering contests in writing associations and not winning. I entered a Romance Writers of Australia contest and they gave feedback…using terminology I didn’t even understand! I became a member, learned all I could about writing, writing romance, and the romance genre. I was hooked.

How do you write? What is your process like?

My process is a mess, but it’s my mess! I get an ideaoften just a scene with two peopleand I start to write. Then I start thinking about what happened, and why, and who are these people. Things get tossed around in my head, or on paper, and I see where it goes. Then I stop at some point when I’ve messed it up. I go back to the start and try to work out what’s wrong. This continues until I get to the end of the story—sometimes I need help from writing friends or editors to un-mess myself!

What was the best writing advice you ever received?

When you finish, put it in a drawer for a while. I see so much more when I’ve got some distance from my story. I can edit it with some perspective. Flaws and holes jump out at me, making them easier to fix.

Where is your favourite place to write? 

I write mostly in my ‘office’, but I also like to go outside if I’m stuck to get some fresh air and nature inspiration, so the back yard or the beach are my go-to places. I usually write straight to my desktop, but if I’m stuck, I’ll scribble in a notebook and I’ve been known to send emails to myself from my mobile device, especially if I’m in bed and half asleep when an idea hits me!


Besides writing, what is something else that you’re really good at? 

Swimming. I love it and always have. A swimming teacher told Mum when I was kid, “She may not be fast, but she’d swim all day.” Stick me in water and I’m happy. I began scuba diving at age 20. Diving and snorkelling are magical. It’s a completely different world below the surface and I’m so comfortable in that world. I find it the most relaxing activity…until I have to waddle back up the beach!

 


32510 (1)Does she dare pursue all her dreams?

Everyone in Grong Grong knows Cress Kennedy’s childhood dream is to play Aussie Rules Football, so when the Sydney Sirens sign her in the new Women’s Aussie Rules competition, she heads to the big city to pursue her dream. But no one in Grong Grong knows of Cress’s other dreams: the ones that revolve entirely around Quin Fitzpatrick.

Quin Fitzpatrick left Grong Grong as an eighteen-year-old to play Aussie Rules in Sydney, but after eight years the shine has gone from the lifestyle. When his best friend’s little sister follows in his country-to-city footsteps, he promises to look after her. She can stay with him and he’ll protect her as best he can. Besides, Watercress is the little sister he never had.

But Cress is all grown up now and playing Women’s Aussie Rules, and it’s about time that Quin sees her as a woman too…

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Footy Fever

by Catherine Evans

I remember my first AFL game. It was not long after the Sydney Swans ‘invaded’ Sydney. I grew up in Sydney in a sports-loving family who believed rugby league was the best game. We watched the AFL Grand Final on TV, but didn’t follow it otherwise. Then in the 1980s, South Melbourne packed up and moved into Sydney to become the Sydney Swans. It caused quite a stir in Sydney.

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We didn’t often attend live games for any sport. There were lots of reasons for this, but cost was what was always mentioned. Now I think back, I have three younger sisters who weren’t as sports mad as I was, and although they would have come for the day out, they wouldn’t have been quite as caught up in whatever sport we watched. That may have been a contributing factor.

I was into new experiences, and I wanted to go to the SCG and see what all the hype was about a live AFL game. I wasn’t old enough to head off on my own, yet no one I knew was interested.

Until Sister M.

Yep, a nun, religious sister.

I didn’t pick her for a sports nut, but she’d come from Victoria and had been an Essendon fan. So when the Swans played Essendon, we decided we’d go. We knew her through church, and my parents often had her visiting, so I knew her quite well, or I thought I did!

She parked in some nearby convent and we walked to the SCG. I didn’t want to be seen as a convert to AFL, so I wore my rugby league gear (the colours of neither team I was to watch). On the way to the ground, there were a lot of men running around in a grassy area. Sister Margaret grabbed my arm, gasped and stopped dead.

Nuns, perving, who knew?

But then this voice yells, “Sister M?” and this guy came flying over. He wrapped her in a hug and deposited her back on the ground. A guy in red and black. A guy who towered over both of us, with shoulders a mile wide full of muscles. A guy whose face I knew (I didn’t know many) because he was the blooming pin-up boy (possibly captain) for the Essendon team.

They chatted, I tried to keep my eyes inside my head.

It turned out that in Melbourne, his family had been very good friends with her, kind of similarly to my family. Except rather than just meeting at church, she’d taught this Essendon star and his brother, who by this stage had also appeared.

The game? Yeah, I can’t tell you much about that. I remember Essendon won. I remember Sister M was horrified that the Sydney crowd didn’t yell enough, or at the right things. I also remember that she, a huge fan, could not answer a simple question for me about the game – why does the time clock count the wrong way? It took me years to get that answered!

Have you been to an AFL game? Do you remember your first?


32510 (1)Does she dare pursue all her dreams?

Everyone in Grong Grong knows Cress Kennedy’s childhood dream is to play Aussie Rules Football, so when the Sydney Sirens sign her in the new Women’s Aussie Rules competition, she heads to the big city to pursue her dream. But no one in Grong Grong knows of Cress’s other dreams: the ones that revolve entirely around Quin Fitzpatrick.

Quin Fitzpatrick left Grong Grong as an eighteen-year-old to play Aussie Rules in Sydney, but after eight years the shine has gone from the lifestyle. When his best friend’s little sister follows in his country-to-city footsteps, he promises to look after her. She can stay with him and he’ll protect her as best he can. Besides, Watercress is the little sister he never had.

But Cress is all grown up now and playing Women’s Aussie Rules, and it’s about time that Quin sees her as a woman too…

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Women to Watch

The Women of W.A.R. series is set in a fictional universe, so our teams and characters – though they feel real – don’t really exist. But Women’s AFL is very much real, and the players and their teams on the field are playing their hearts out and inspiring girls and women all over the country.

So while we hope that you enjoy the stories of Angelica, Cress, and Darcy, we thought that we should also pay homage to those players who inspired them.

daisy pearce

Daisy Pearce

Already a stellar player in VFL Women’s league, Daisy set the AFLW league on fire in the inaugural season, winning the inaugural Melbourne best-and-fairest winner, the AFLW Player’s best captain award, AND captained the inaugural AFL Women’s All-Australian team.


Moana_Hope_19.03.17

Moana Hope

Moana is born on Valentine’s Day (which as romance readers, you know we love), but more importantly, she is an incredible goal kicker: the first player to ever kick more than 100 goals in the VFL Women’s, and winner of her AFLW team’s inaugural leading goalkicker award.


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Kirby Bentley

Kirby won’t be playing in 2018 due to an injury, but she hasn’t let that slow her down: she has created the Kirby Bentley Cup to provide young indigenous girls aged between 13-17 the opportunity to put their footie skills on display. Also, just when she couldn’t get cooler, off field, Kirby works in mines as an explosives expert.


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Erin Phillips

Not content with dominating on the basketball court (where she’s an Olympic silver medalist and a player in the US WNBA), Erin also co-captained the Adelaide AFLW team and won the AFLW best and fairest medal and the AFLW Player’s Most Valuable Player award.


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Brianna Davey

Another over-achiever, Brianna played international soccer with the Matildas before becoming co-vice-captain of Carlton and being listed in the 2017 All-Australian team.


meg hutchins

Meg Hutchins

Meg not only plays for Collingwood, but she is involved in the management team as well, in her role as Women’s Football Operations Manager, where her experience benefits the Collingwood board.


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Ally Anderson

Part of the Brisbane Lions team that made it to the Grand Final, Ally is also a coach for the AFL KickStart program and mentors the Queensland under-15 women’s Indigenous side. She’s also training to be a paramedic, and has swapped her boots for a microphone, commenting on the NEAFL for NITV.

Incidentally, if you’re interested in Indigenous players in the AFL/AFLW, there is a great map here  with information about players and their identified language and cultural groups.


hannah mouncey

Hannah Mouncey

Hannah isn’t an AFLW player – yet – but we wanted to include her on our list as she fights to be the first transgender player in the AFLW. Hannah was excluded from the draft, due to concerns that her physical disparity would give her unfair advantage. Mouncey’s testosterone levels fall between those required by the International Olympic Committee, the same guidelines followed by the AFL.

There are so many other inspiring athletes, and you can check them out for yourself here http://www.afl.com.au/womens/player-profiles.

And, for a fictional account of the lives and loves of Women’s Aussie Rules players – on and off the field – remember to check out the Women of W.A.R. series. Pre-order now!

 

Women of WAR 1

All Women of W.A.R. titles are available for pre-order now!

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The Stuff of Fantasy

by Nicola Marsh

If you follow AFL you’ll know there’s a thing called Fantasy Teams, where anyone can choose their favourite players and create their dream team. Each week players are assigned points according to performance and your score is tallied so you can see how your fantasy team performed, with mega prizes involved.

But as I’m a romance author and totally shallow when it comes to eye candy, here are a few players who could make the cut of ‘Fantasy Team’ of a different kind…(as voted by Herald Sun readers in 2015, Who is the AFL’s sexiest player?)

AS

Andrew Swallow (past captain of my football club, the North Melbourne Kangaroos, who’s gorgeous inside and out, a true gentleman of the game.)

LF

Lance Franklin

TB

Travis Boak

AR

Alex Rance

Now it’s over to you.

Who would you choose to be in your Fantasy Team?

Any sport, any player, let’s see who would make the grade in your dream team.


32509 (1)Are they playing to win…or playing for keeps?

Angelica Bryant has a dream. The only child of a soccer legend, she pays her bills by working at her father’s bar while pursuing her goals: a role in sports management and a place in the newly established Women’s Aussie Rules league. Football is her passion, and she won’t let anything get in her way: including an ill-advised one-night-stand with one of Australia’s most successful agents.

Jaxon Flint thrives on success. His workaholic lifestyle keeps his agency and the athletes he represents at the top of their game – and all of his emotions at bay. Until he meets Angie, W.A.R.’s newest star, who undermines his carefully laid plans and gets under his skin. Is he willing to relinquish his careful control both in and out of the bedroom?

When Angie and Jaxon end up working together, it’s game on!

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Get more information about this title on Nicola’s blog!

Women of WAR 1

Anthem for the Fans

by Amy Andrews

There’s quite a famous song DownUnder about Australian Rules Football (AFL). It came out in 1979 and I think most Aussies of a certain age would know it. I was only 10 at the time and we didn’t even get AFL on the tele where we lived, but I know it because my Mum used to sing it around the house. It pretty much became an anthem for the sport. It’s called Up There Cazaly, inspired by Roy Cazaly who played Aussie Rules in the 1920’s.

Listening to this song again whilst writing the Women of W.A.R series, got me thinking about all the songs that have become anthems for football codes over the years.

As far as spine tingling awesomeness goes, nothing surpasses a rugby union crowd singing Swing Lo, Sweet Chariot in full voice.

And I was super, super impressed recently during the rugby league world cup to hear the Fijian players raise their voices in hymn! The Fijian hymn sung with such conviction and passion gave me goosebumps!

And then, somehow, this song from Ricky Martin came to represent soccer a few years back during the world cup in Rio. I’m not sure if Cup Of Life will be a stayer but I can’t hear it without instantly thinking of the sport!

Do you have any songs you’d like to suggest for my list?


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How to mend a broken heart…

Darcy Clarke would do anything to play for the new Women’s Aussie Rules league, even put up with her ex, Tony, who just happens to be the coach of the Brisbane Banshees. Tony stomped out of their apartment – and all over heart – two years ago, but she’s moved on, and she deserves her jersey.

As his best friend’s girl, Darcy has always been out of Levi’s reach, even after Tony dropped her and moved out of the apartment they all shared. Now, two years on and still sharing the same apartment, she should be fair game. But Levi is no closer to getting Darcy to think of him as anything but a roommate and a friend.

But when Darcy injures herself in play, Levi’s qualifications as a sports massage therapist are put to good use. Suddenly, their relationship becomes very hands on, and Darcy sees a whole new side of her old friend. A pity he seems immune to her charms. When Tony makes it clear he wants back into her life, she has a decision to make: between the man she once loved and the man who never left her side.

Women of WAR 1

All Women of W.A.R. titles are available for pre-order now!

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Breaking News: Announcing Women of W.A.R.

Women of WAR 1

Escape Publishing is pleased to announce three stand-alone titles in a fun, flirty, footy series featuring the strong athletic heroines of the Women of AFL.

Set in the fictional Women’s Aussie Rules (W.A.R.) League, Women of W.A.R. follows three female footy players as they break down barriers, learning to live and love in the big leagues.

All three books will be released simultaneously on 20/2/18, and are available for pre-order now.


32509 (1)

Are they playing to win…or playing for keeps?

Angelica Bryant has a dream. The only child of a soccer legend, she pays her bills by working at her father’s bar while pursuing her goals: a role in sports management and a place in the newly established Women’s Aussie Rules league. Football is her passion, and she won’t let anything get in her way: including an ill-advised one-night-stand with one of Australia’s most successful agents.

Jaxon Flint thrives on success. His workaholic lifestyle keeps his agency and the athletes he represents at the top of their game – and all of his emotions at bay. Until he meets Angie, W.A.R.’s newest star, who undermines his carefully laid plans and gets under his skin. Is he willing to relinquish his careful control both in and out of the bedroom?

When Angie and Jaxon end up working together, it’s game on!

iBooks, Booktopia, Kobo, Nook, Google, Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon AU

Get more information about this title on Nicola’s blog!


 

32510 (1)

Does she dare pursue all her dreams?

Everyone in Grong Grong knows Cress Kennedy’s childhood dream is to play Aussie

Rules Football, so when the Sydney Sirens sign her in the new Women’s Aussie Rules competition, she heads to the big city to pursue her dream. But no one in Grong Grong knows of Cress’s other dreams: the ones that revolve entirely around Quin Fitzpatrick.

Quin Fitzpatrick left Grong Grong as an eighteen-year-old to play Aussie Rules in Sydney, but after eight years the shine has gone from the lifestyle. When his best friend’s little sister follows in his country-to-city footsteps, he promises to look after her. She can stay with him and he’ll protect her as best he can. Besides, Watercress is the little sister he never had.

But Cress is all grown up now and playing Women’s Aussie Rules, and it’s about time that Quin sees her as a woman too…

iBooks, Booktopia, Kobo, Nook, Google, Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon AU

Get more information about this title on Cath’s blog!


32511 (1)

How to mend a broken heart…

Darcy Clarke would do anything to play for the new Women’s Aussie Rules league, even put up with her ex, Tony, who just happens to be the coach of the Brisbane Banshees. Tony stomped out of their apartment – and all over her heart – two years ago, but she’s moved on, and she deserves her jersey.

As his best friend’s girl, Darcy has always been out of Levi’s reach, even after Tony dropped her and moved out of the apartment they all shared. Now, two years on and still sharing the same apartment, she should be fair game. But Levi is no closer to getting Darcy to think of him as anything but a roommate and a friend.

But when Darcy injures herself in play, Levi’s qualifications as a sports massage therapist are put to good use. Suddenly, their relationship becomes very hands on, and Darcy sees a whole new side of her old friend. A pity he seems immune to her charms. When Tony makes it clear he wants back into her life, she has a decision to make: between the man she once loved and the man who never left her side.

iBooks, Booktopia, Nook, Kobo, Google, Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon AU

For more information on this title, check out Amy’s website!

 

Feed Your Reader: Sports Menage

31721 (3)

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

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

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

“I’ve found book heaven!” – Lily, Goodreads

“I love Cate Ellink’s writing and this was such a hot, steamy read” – Evie, Goodreads

“Team Player is a HOT, sexy, no holds barred ménage, that will set the pages on fire and leave you breathless with unquenchable desire” – Karen, Goodreads

Available Now: iBooks, Booktopia, Amazon AU, Amazon UK, Amazon US, Nook, Kobo, Google

Exclusive Excerpt 2: Team Player

31721 (1)

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

‘They’re going to want to know about grandkids, if I know Mum.’ Lyle doesn’t sound happy. I thought he’d be the one keen to discuss everything. He’s the one who usually brings this shit up.

‘Tell them nothing.’ Charlie’s even less happy.

‘That’s not going to help,’ I point out. ‘We have to give them some kind of an answer.’

‘Like what?’ Charlie rests his chin on my head. ‘How can we answer something we don’t know?’

‘We say something like, “At the moment we aren’t ready for kids but unconventional families are pretty much the norm now days, so I’m sure we’ll work something out.” Would that work?’

Charlie’s nod is gentle and felt through my scalp. Lyle looks at me intently. ‘That’s good, Hannah. You’re good at this.’

‘I’ve had all day to think about it.’

Each must be lost in their thoughts because no one says anything for a long time.

‘We should sleep,’ I say softly. ‘You guys have to be rested before you go.’

Charlie hums but doesn’t stir. Lyle, frowning, looks at us both. ‘We need to have this talk tomorrow, otherwise it’ll hang over us.’

I nod. ‘I’ll talk to Irene and Lauren first thing.’

‘Should we?’ Lyle asks quietly.

‘If I organise it, neither of you will be cornered by your mother.’

‘I’m voting that Han’s our spokesman.’ Charlie, the big scaredy cat, is quick to agree with me.

Lyle nods. ‘I’m in complete agreement.’

I’m having a bit of trouble coping with the role reversal. I’m usually the one running from relationships and families and feelings. Who’d have thought I’d be doing this?

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Exclusive Excerpt: Team Player

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

Head’s Up: Some NSFW language

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

His curse is loud and strong.

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

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

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


31721

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

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

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

Team Player will be released 4 August 2017.

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