Horse of a Different Colour

It’s Melbourne Cup day, but not everyone gets in on the Spring Carnival.

If you’d like to celebrate horses, may we humbly suggest taking your day off and enjoying a good rural story?

Here are some of our favourites with equine secondary characters.


From Escape Publishing’s Queen of historical Australian romance comes a new story about a privileged member of Australian’s colonial squattocracy, a bushranger, and a very special horse.


For readers of Jenny Downham, John Greene and Maureen McCarthy, a poignant young adult romance about following your dreams and realising what really matters.


A book about the first Melbourne Cup race! Can she save her family’s horse stud and reputation?


Shirley Wine takes us back to Darkhaven, where secrets and scandals can’t stay hidden for long…

The Place Time Forgot (and a cover reveal!)

by Tea Cooper

During my twenties I had the world at my fingertips, ridiculously blessed because my father was an airline pilot, travel was cheap and the world was my playground. Fast forward to today and I rarely leave the tiny village time forgot and the place I call home—Wollombi. For me, the old adage ‘write what you know’ has come good and the best setting for my historical romances seems to be my own backyard.

Nestled amongst the hills of the Lower Hunter in New South Wales and guarded by Mount Yengo, a major focus of Aboriginal culture dating back over 13,000 years, Wollombi is the perfect setting for an Australian historical novel.



If you’ve got some time to spare you can see for yourself. A drive from Sydney to the Lower Hunter takes you along the Great North Road built by convict gangs in the early nineteenth century. When you arrive you can visit the General Store, which still stocks groceries, household goods, stationery, local fruit and vegetables, and meats, just as it did over a hundred years ago. You can check out the courthouse and lockup where several bushrangers met their fate and sip a glass of something local while you watch the Wood Chop competition at the Tavern.



And if you’re lucky enough to catch the sunset over Mount Yengo you’ll understand that nothing much has changed in this part of the world for a long, long time.



Three of my previous books, Lily’s Leap, Matilda’s Freedom and The Horse Thief are set in and around Wollombi and the Lower Hunter, and I’m still finding stories to tell. In my next book, The Cedar Cutter, released this August, a runaway corset-maker finds herself in Wollombi in 1855.

When Roisin Ogilvie moves to Wollombi her thoughts are only of protecting her illegitimate son, Ruan, from the grasp of his powerful and dangerous father. Posing as an impoverished widow, she settles into a quiet existence as a local dressmaker. She doesn’t expect to catch the attention of Irish champion cedar cutter Carrick O’Connor, or any other man for that matter.

Carrick O’Connor may have won the coveted Wollombi Wood Chop, but his mind is on the beautiful seamstress and her son—or rather, on who they remind him of. Determined to exact revenge for the horrors of his past, Carrick plans to return to Ireland to seek revenge on the land agent who was responsible for the death of his wife and child, and his transportation.

But a murder charge, a kidnapping, a growing attraction, and a past that refuses to stay silent will turn both his life and Roisin’s upside down and will lead them to a hard choice. Redemption? Or cutters’ justice?

And now for the cover reveal. Once more the Harlequin cover fairies have sprinkled their magical dust and captured Wollombi perfectly, don’t you agree?


From the bestselling author of The Horse Thief comes a historical story of love, intrigue and danger in the majestic cedar forests of the Hunter Valley.


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.


Congratulations to the winners!


Favourite Cover: The Horse Thief by Tea Cooper.


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!



ARRA nominees: Tea Cooper

by Tea Cooper

I was thrilled, honored, chuffed, excited…in fact just downright stoked to discover that The Horse Thief was a finalist in the Favourite Historical Romance section of the Australian Romance Reader Awards 2015.

The story began with a throwaway line one Sunday afternoon in a pub in the Hunter Valley, just before the Melbourne Cup in 2013. ‘The horse that won the first Melbourne Cup was a Hunter animal,’ someone said.

I didn’t know that.

I went home to check.

He wasn’t!


But it was the beginning of NaNoWriMo and so The Horse Thief began. I wrote the first 50,000 words that November but the story was far more complicated than I originally thought and by Easter 2014 it had grown to 100,000 words.

At that stage it was the longest manuscript I’d written and I decided to pitch it at the 2014 RWA conference. In mid-2015 I signed a contract and The Horse Thief was released at the beginning of November. (The perfect date because India’s dream is to win the Melbourne Cup and, in case you’re not an Australian, the race is run on the first Tuesday of November).

To discover that The Horse Thief, an ‘oztorical’, is included with such a fabulous group of historical writers is my dream come true.

Huge thanks everyone who nominated The Horse Thief…oh, and not only that…drum roll..The Horse Thief is also in the running for Best Cover. I can’t lay any claim to fame for that. All accolades go to the wonderful cover artists at Harlequin and their perfect interpretation of my heroine, India Kilhampton. Thank you.

If you’d like to listen to a little audio snippet from The Horse Thief there’s one here, thanks to Richard Vobes of Book Snippets.

horseCan she save her family’s horse stud and reputation?

December Recipes – Passionfruit Cordial

by Tea Cooper

Tea’s Christmas Favourite

  • 20 passionfruit
  • 3 cups of sugar
  • 4 cups of boiling water
  • Optional 4 teaspoons of citric acid (If you want to keep it for more than a couple of days).

Scoop out the pulp from the passionfruit, (stir in citric acid if using). Put sugar in the saucepan and add boiling water and bring back to the boil. Stir until sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and add passionfruit pulp. Allow to cool and bottle. Keep in the fridge.

Serve with soda or mineral water…or champagne, or vodka, if you would like something with a little more pop.


An Australian Historical romance about the first Melbourne Cup. Can she save her family’s horse stud and reputation?

Looking to Engage in Some Piracy Today

After all, International Talk Like A Pirate Day only comes around once a year.

So, ahoy, me hearties…check out this booty fer yer readin’ pleasures! Tales of piracy and the high seas to whet any appetite!

Best enjoyed with rum…


Nothing like a mutiny to force a good man into questionable deeds…A rip-roaring tale of a sea voyage, a mysterious past, and a man who will do anything to prove his innocence.


Pirates come in all shapes and sizes – and time periods. Escape to the future where justice is harsh, the night is long, and pirates are just as sexy as ever…


Not all sea-stories need to be tales of violence and crime. Sometimes ‘booty’ can take on a whole other meaning…Arrr!

From February, With Love!

New titles! For you! Today!

23485Take off with this dynamic, thrill-seeking, sexy New Adult science fiction series debut. Welcome to the exclusive Apollo Academy, where Aurora is about to discover that achieving her dream is only the first step towards her future. 

“I am obsessed with this book! Suspenseful, sexy, and just a great read!” -Cora Carmack

23302Their chance at love was lost in the harsh light of day. Is the romance of the majestic Snowy Mountains enough to heal the wounds of the past so that they get a second chance at a future?

23486From best-selling Australian historical romance author Tea Cooper comes a fresh story set on the high seas: only one woman can confirm his innocence, and release him from the torments of his past.

October Releases – Mach 2

We introduced our first set of October releases a fortnight ago. Here are the fabulous second round October releases!

22347When Stars Collide
SE Gilchrist

The third full-length novel in SE Gilchrist’s bestselling erotic SF series mixes one sexy spy, a soldier looking for salvation and an unlikely mission to save the world.

22544Bound by His Desire
Nicole Flockton

From Nicole Flockton, author of Bound by Her Ring —the last thing he wants is an emotional attachment to his new assistant, but it might be the only thing he truly needs.

22349Jazz Baby
Tea Cooper

In the gritty underbelly of 1920s Sydney, a fresh-faced country girl is about to arrive in the big, dark city—and risk everything in the pursuit of her dreams.

3 ways to unleash your inner Jazz Baby

by Tea Cooper

jazzbaby1The Look

  • Your face: Greasepaint foundation (that’s lanolin based!) Flawless and pale is the look. Dust with powder to set.
  • Your cheeks: Rouge in shades of berry, rose, or coral. Creme is more authentic, or use your lipstick and don’t blend it in.
  • Your eyebrows: Super thin, even shaved off: pencilled on brows is a good look.
  • Your eyes: Rim them top and bottom. Also smudge the kohl over your entire eyelid. You’re going for a smoky look.
  • Your eyelashes: No falsies! Mascara in a wax-based cake form – sort of spit and polish. Get the idea?
  • A Beauty Spot (optional): Make a triangle where one corner is the tip of your nose the other the corner of your lip. The third corner is where your beauty mark should go.
  • Your lips: Clara Bow lips—Cupid’s bow … preferably with a berry coloured lipstick or pillar box red. It has to be matte.

The Clothes

  • jazzbabyshoesAccessories are a must: pearls, furs, feathers, dangling earrings, bracelets
  • Dresses: waists must be dropped
  • Hats:  cloche
  • Shoes: never forget the shoes!

And finally …

Where to be seen in Sydney

(Follow the links and discover a little bit of the harrowing research Jazz Baby required!)

jazzbabysignNow you’re a choice bit of calico! Swell!

jazzbabycoverIn the gritty underbelly of 1920s Sydney, a fresh-faced country girl is about to arrive in the big, dark city – and risk everything in the pursuit of her dreams.

Sydney is no place for the faint-hearted—five shillings for a twist of snow, a woman for not much more, and a bullet if you look sideways at the wrong person.

Dolly Bowman is ready and willing to take on all the brash, bustling city has to offer. After all it is the 1920s, a time for a girl to become a woman and fulfil her dreams. Turning her back on her childhood, she takes up a position working as a housemaid while she searches for her future.

 World War I flying ace Jack Dalton knows he’s luckier than most. He’s survived the war with barely a scratch, a couple of astute business decisions have paid off, and he’s set for the high life. But a glimpse of a girl that he had forgotten, from a place he’s tried to escape suddenly sets all his plans awry. Try as he might he can’t shake the past, and money isn’t enough to pay the debts he’s incurred.

Jazz Baby is available for pre-order now.