Friday Five: Nicola E Sheridan

2212Author: Nicola E. Sheridan
First published with Escape: 2013
Favourite romance trope: Paranormal / Urban Fantasy
Ideal hero (in three words): Powerful, strong, and magical
Ideal heroine (in three words): Awkward, compassionate, funny
Latest book: A Warlord’s Lady
Next book: The Magician’s Keeper

What began your romance writing career? Why do you write romance?
I won a highly recommended ‘best first novel’ in a writing competition in 2009, and that made me think that perhaps I could try and get something published. So I gave it a go and was fortunate enough to be taken on. I write romance because I love the feeling romance provokes, it is what I call hopeful literature, which focuses on the good things in life.

What is your writing power-up?
Watching a good television series always inspires me, it’s something about how the protagonists interact, the feelings they evoke, good or bad, it just makes my imagination go wild and I feel inspired to write after watching a good series. Grimm is currently one of my favourites.

What kind of characters do you like reading about the most?
I like reading about characters whose connection is intense, but vaguely awkward. I need realism in my reading, I want to feel that the romance is real.

As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal? Do you have one already?
My little mascot would be my dog Terry, he’s a rescue and I’ve never known an animal so utterly devoted to me, he follows me everywhere and will sit at my feet for hours.

Nicola E. Sheridan (2)

Where is your favourite place to write?
Even though I have an awesome book lined study in which to write, I much prefer writing at my dinner table in the middle of my house. I feel more connected there, and I can watch the world go by from the window.

Nicola E. Sheridan (1)


32437A brand new steamy paranormal romance about learning to love all of yourself.

In a world where people judge one another by exacting standards of size and style, being a big girl like Eudora Splat was never going to be easy.

Though trouble is brewing between magic folk and human purists who would see them all destroyed, Dora, a half-giant, tries to eke out a quiet, unnoticed life for herself, but it’s hard to be subtle when you’re over seven feet tall.

Losing her job as a gardener due to human complaints, Dora is recruited as a prison guard, where she’s enlisted to protect the magician Evander “Bear” Gordon from human purist attack. Bear encourages her to embrace her power and celebrate her heritage, introducing her to a world where she can be extraordinary and not just weird.

But after years of hiding and shying away, can Dora find the strength to grab onto a new life — and hold on to the man she’s falling in love with?

Pre-order now!

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

 

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Feed Your Reader! December 8 Releases

25633 (1)

The Scottish Highlands meet The Bachelorette in this new historical romance from Allison Butler…


25629

For a man called Chris Kringle, Christmas is the most magical time of the year.  But this year, there’s something about a certain elf that’s grabbed his attention in the best of ways. 


25631

She would trust him with her life. But can either of them trust their hearts?


25632

Bremy St James is back in a brand new adventure, mixing chaos, humour, sex, and superheroes in this fresh, funny, flirty series. It’s the superhero romance you didn’t know you needed…


25630

He knew everything he wanted…until she showed him everything he never knew he needed


25634

A story about starting fresh, letting go, and risking it all for love…

Escape Turns Three Today!

We got cake!

we got you cake!

We also have nostalgia. If you’re looking for something to read this weekend, may we suggest the five titles that kicked off this whole journey – perfect reads for every reader.

8215

A romance about changing the game, finding the truth, and fancy footwork.

(find more titles from Ainslie Paton here, including her new release Incapable)


8212

A dark, violent, and devastatingly sensual erotic fantasy about the binding force of love.

(Check out Keziah Hill’s sizzling addition to our Secret Confessions: Sydney Housewives series here)


8213

She thinks she needs him, but she doesn’t know the secrets he keeps…

(Get more from Lee Christine here, including the whole Grace & Poole series and the kick-off to her new series, Dangerous Arrangements)


8211

A fresh and exciting debut novel introducing the Chronicles from the Applecross.

(check out more from Rebekah Turner here, including the two follow-up books in the sexy, dangerous, Applecross trilogy)


8214

This Christmas, Santa is granting wishes these two friends never knew they had.

(Check out more sweet, sexy holiday romance from Rhian Cahill here, just in time for December!)

Hallowe’en Mini-Series: When I Fell In Love With Angels (Fallen Ones)

By Rebekah Turner

Growing up in a religious environment gave me something of a thirst for writing stories with fallen angels, demons and everything in between. These are the kind of characters that populate my Chronicles of the Applecross books: creatures from other realms searching for redemption or peace. And along with reading Revelations more than a few times, movies also played quite a role in feeding my imagination. And behold! A list of my favourite fallen angel movies.

1. The Crow (1994)

the-crow

The second movie I saw on the big screen was The Crow. Being a hormonal lunatic at the time, I was pretty hooked with the visual representation of an avenging angel, wreaking a terrible vengeance on his enemies. The role was played so beautifully by Brandon Lee, before he was tragically killed on set.

2. Constantine (2005)

keanu-constantine

Then there was Keanu Reeves in Constantine. While technically not a angel or devil, Constantine still owed his soul to the devil, so hey, why not raise a little hell? Not the best movie, but I’ll forgive Keanu plenty. CALL ME.
3. The Prophecy (1995)

Viggo-Mortensen-The-Prophecy

This was another one of those movies that wasn’t very good, but caught my imagination. With Christopher Walken playing a very sinister angel in search of a soul to end the war in Heaven, it also starred Viggo Mortensen as the devil. The role was only small, but Viggo chomping on an angel heart was kind of hard to forget.

4. Dogma (1999)

dogma

Lastly, there is Dogma, starring Matt Damon and Ben Affleck as renegade angels trying to return to Heaven. I admit, I enjoyed reading the screenplay more than I did watching the rather pedestrian direction from Kevin Smith, but it was still a pretty cool movie. And Alanis Morissette playing God? I didn’t see that one coming.


Rebekah Turner wrote a very sexy fallen angel named Roman, and you want to meet himFor series purists – the trilogy is finished, so you can binge read to your heart’s content.

8211A fresh and exciting debut novel introducing the Chronicles from the Applecross.

Lora Blackgoat, smuggler and mercenary, has been lying low after a job gone bad made her a laughing stock in the industry. When a childhood friend turns to her for help, Lora leaps to restore her reputation and starts hunting a killer who is stalking the gas-lit streets.

She never expects that her path will lead her to the Order of Guides, a sadistic militant religious organisation – or to Roman, a deadly and dangerously attractive half-angel warrior who also hunts the killer.

When Lora discovers that the killer has broken fundamental laws of magic to enter the city, she also uncovers a conspiracy that leads back into her own dark past.

Suspense, Urban Fantasy, and Rock Stars – what April Has in Store!

now available!

23728From Shona Husk comes a New Adult series set in Australian indie rock scene: They might be one of the hottest up-and-coming bands in Australia, but the members of Selling the Sun have a lot to learn about life, love, sex, and each other.


23724From Romantic Book of the Year winner Kendall Talbot comes an adrenaline-fuelled new series with sexy characters, exotic locations, and action-packed adventure.


23727The Sydney coven is suffering from a man drought – some witches complain, and some witches just get creative.


23725From the witty, clever, dramatic pen of Rebekah Turner comes the final instalment of the Chronicles of Applecross trilogy finds Lora left in charge – and quickly losing control. (Definitely check out books 1 & 2 for more Lora goodness!)

March Madness – New Titles!

Released today: come and get ’em!

24850378The second saga in Scarlett Dawn’s bestselling, groundbreaking Forever Evermore series begins with Chosen Thief, where the life of a skilled lawbreaker becomes much more than she ever wanted…


23698A new Tarrin’s Bay novel from best-selling author Juliet Madison. She took a break from real life,  and found what she didn’t know she was looking for.


23705A beautiful new short read in Jenny Schwartz’s romantic tour of Australia: It was a case of the right person at the absolute worst time – so he found a way to make time.


and in case you missed it, the second-last housewife: 

22810To all of Sydney’s society, she’s just the upstart, gold-digging waitress that somehow managed to snare one of Australia’s most eligible bachelors…

 

It’s Valentine’s Day Again…

and we know what that means – you’re all desperately seeking fabulously romantic books to read. Without further ado, may we present:

Books seeking readersCountry story seeks romance reader wanting to be whisked to remote rural town in Snowy Mountains. Must like tall vets with genuine shy smiles. Sympathetic nature regarding runaway city girls searching for a fresh start vital. (Interest in cute pigs of use but not essential.)

Express interest here.


Super fit and active book, seeks plenty of hot times with an open-minded reader. Sharing a love for the beach, mountains, delicious food and fruit salad would be beneficial but not essential.

Express interest here


Fun, wacky, chaotic book seeks fun, wacky, chaotic reader who likes fun, wacky stuff, and chaos. And strippers. Male strippers. Or one, at least. Must also like to ride on emotional rollercoasters and go from laughter to tears, and not be afraid of ghosts. Bonus points if you can dance and sing a pitch perfect rendition of All The Single Ladies.

Express interest here.


This grown-up tale is ready for romantic comedy readers who like quick-witted heroines and smart-assed heroes who grew up watching Star Trek. A flair for following quips that speed along like a Formula 1 race is an advantage. Must face the fear of claustrophobia and deal with reappearing horrid ex-husbands. Prospective readers may laugh at funky wedding cakes, quibbling bridesmaids, and a bride who sounds like Foghorn Leghorn. Knowledge that love doesn’t end after forty is crucial. Drooling while reading ice cream scene is obligatory and reader may want to be supplied with napkins.

Express interest here.


Superhero fantasy with a touch of farce seeks reader with offbeat sense of humour and appreciation of the simple pleasures in life – pizza, beer, and repeats of Buffy. Must not take oneself or others too seriously, and be open to wild rides through the crime-fighting universe. Ideal date: breaking into an “unbreachable” containment facility for kicks before taking on a frenzied band of circus performers threatening to destroy the city.

Express interest here.


This sexy romance is looking for a partner to trip the light fantastic and shake their groove thang.  This fish out of water tale feels most at home amid the sequinned backdrop of competition ballroom dancing.  Readers who like the sex appeal of Latin dance and the idea of an unlikely hero won’t put a foot out of place with this ensemble story.

Express interest here.


Exotic romance seeks reader with a taste for adventure and a sense of justice to ride the sand dunes of Africa together. Must have heart and believe in true love.

Express interest here.


Angsty, yet adorably cheesy romance, searching for a patient, dedicated reader. A love of the wine country is a must, and of course, a partiality to divine food, great music, and a charming winemaker who’s ripe for the picking. Show me your unwavering resolve and trust and I’ll give you everything you’ve been searching for.

Express interest here.

#AllHallowsRead – Urban Scary with Rebekah Turner

By Rebekah Turner

graveyard_all_hallows_read_by_blablover5-d7xwj4bI was a big fan of horror growing up. I consumed all of the movies in the genre I could get my hands on. Evil Dead trilogy, Manic Cop, The Howling, The Blob, Hellraiser and so on. I couldn’t get enough.

This changed, after I experienced The Event. See, one day, I found a little Japanese movie called Ringu, about an avenging spirit and a videotape that causes anyone who watches it to die several days later. I thought, hey, I’ve never seen Japanese horror before, I might check this out. At the time, I was staying at my parents and being a Friday night, it was time to seriously chill out. Popcorn was made, lights dutifully turned off and I settled back, ready to enjoy something new.

Poster for Ringu

Poster for Ringu

Cue to an hour later and I was feeling something I couldn’t put my finger on. It was a queasy sensation, deep in my stomach. The soundtrack to the movie was odd, like a constant industrial white noise. The imagery stark and ponderous. Lots of pauses. Lots of staring. And then … as the movie revealed the ending … The Event happened. As that scary Japanese girl began to do her…thing…I screamed. I cannot express how freaking scary that moment was for me. My parents ran into my room, thinking something was horribly wrong. All I could do was shriek some more and point to the television, where a male actor was looking equally horrified. The horror! The FREAKING HORROR!

Ahh! Not cool! Not cool!

Ahh! Not cool! Not cool!

My sentiments exactly...

My sentiments exactly…

Years later, the US did a remake. Since I’d never really seen a real scary American movie, I managed to convince my friends it would be a hilarious night out. Turns out, I was wrong and my friends didn’t talk to me for three weeks after. I slept with the light on for a long time.

While I still enjoy some horror to this day, the torture porn that Hollywood loves to make doesn’t anything for me and instead I find myself revisiting the golden oldies. Frankenstein’s Bride, Friday the 13th, An American Werewolf in London, Nightmare on Elm Street and one of my all time favourites – The Thing (young Kurt Russell with rugged beard + flame thrower = SEXY BEAST).

My books, Chaos Born and Chaos Bound, have some elements of scares, but nothing that will cause you to wet you pants or have an Event. Not with the main character, Lora Blackgoat to keep the squeamy-evils away with her trusty sword-cane. Sure, there’s a zombie dog. Maybe a couple of beheadings. But it’s all in good fun and that’s what it’s all about, right?


8211A fresh and exciting debut novel introducing the Chronicles from the Applecross.

Lora Blackgoat, smuggler and mercenary, has been lying low after a job gone bad made her a laughing stock in the industry. When a childhood friend turns to her for help, Lora leaps to restore her reputation and starts hunting a killer who is stalking the gas-lit streets.

She never expects that her path will lead her to the Order of Guides, a sadistic militant religious organisation – or to Roman, a deadly and dangerously attractive half-angel warrior who also hunts the killer.

When Lora discovers that the killer has broken fundamental laws of magic to enter the city, she also uncovers a conspiracy that leads back into her own dark past.


19725The long-awaited sequel to Chaos Born takes us back into the Applecross, where Lora faces increasing threats to her survival and her chance at love.

Lora Blackgoat — mercenary and smuggler — has only just recovered from the last threat on her life and hasn’t even begun to sort out the mess of having both a nephilim warrior and a reborn hellspawn as potential lovers. Work should be a refuge, but a job finding missing persons puts her in the crosshairs of a violent gang and a merchant with a taste for blood sport.

Reluctantly, Lora turns to the two men in her life for help. Roman — the nephilim — professes to be her soul mate and turns to her when he feels the darkness of nephilim madness descending. But though Lora is drawn to Roman, it is Seth, ex-lover and reborn hellspawn, who Lora must ultimately ask to protect those she loves. Can she trust Seth to save Roman and her adoptive family, or will this be a fatal mistake?


To win a copy of each of Rebekah’s books, simply comment below telling us what scary story (film, tv, book, or music) made you have an EVENT. Bonus extra points if you tell us in embarrassing detail about your reaction.

iDon’t forget to include your email address so we can contact you if you win! 

 

Inspiration Behind the Story – JM Bray

19576Church, it’s a place where we should receive inspiration, at least if everything is working as it should.

I’m guessing the pastor didn’t intend it to be the kind that popped into my head while I sat in the pew that Sunday morning. The message included the passage where an army surrounds the Israelites. The servant of prophet Elisha goes into panic mode. Then it says this in 2 Kings 6:17:

And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

Right then, whatever the preacher intended, went out the window. I’d heard the passage before, but today it took me somewhere else. Possibilities peeled open like flower petals: The horses and chariots didn’t show up because of the prayer…they were already there, all that changed was the servant’s perspective. What if the army on those horses and chariots were as unaware of our world as the servant was of there’s? Maybe they had their own lives and lived them on the same lands as we have but with each existence shrouded by some sort of barrier.21488

I couldn’t tell you what the message was that Sunday, but I know the one I walked away with changed my life. From those kernels, Tearing the Shroud was born.

J.M. Bray lives in Southern California with his college sweetheart and their two dogs. After a lifetime together, they are happier than the moment they met. In his spare time, he races an old Porsche named ‘Tuffy’.  The sequel to Tearing the Shroud, Mending the Shroud, is available for pre-order now.

Cinderella, Lucy, and a little 50 Shades: Exploring Different Pathways of Strength, Resiliency, and Power

From Auralee Wallace




When my first daughter was born, I was firmly resolved to keep the princess industry out of my house and out of her head. After all, I was an educated woman, who had taken her fair share of Women’s Studies courses, and I didn’t want my daughter to grow up believing a man would solve all of her problems. Then it happened. We were on a family vacation, in a rented cottage, in the middle of nowhere, and it was raining. The cottage didn’t have cable, but it did have a TV/VCR and a worn copy of Cinderella. I caved pretty quickly – one can only sing The Wheels on the Bus so many times before one goes nuts. A horrifying thing happened next.

My daughter fell in love.

Up until this point, my girl only knew of Dora (a show which I deemed appropriate viewing despite its messaging that it’s acceptable for young children to explore the jungles of Mexico with nothing more than a map, a backpack, and a monkey companion), so never before had she seen skirts skimmer so radiantly, young girls sing so sweetly, or slippers sparkle so brightly. In the moment where Cinderella is transformed by magic into a ball-ready princess, I watched my entranced daughter lean towards the screen while gripping her own skirt with her still chubby hands, and I knew she was a goner.

Well, what was a socially responsible, feminist mom to do? Did I lunge for the remote to turn off the offensive messaging? Did I pounce on my daughter to shield her eyes? Did I sigh heavily to let her and the universe know how disappointed I was that Disney had claimed yet another little girl’s soul? I did not…but part of me was tempted until I realized that shaming a four year old probably wasn’t appropriate under any circumstances. What I did instead was allow myself to smile at the sparkle in my daughter’s eyes. I may have even sung a little Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo.

Since that time I have had to question a lot of my own beliefs about what is and isn’t feminist-friendly. For example, let’s take a deeper look at Cinderella. Yes, there is a questionable message about marriage being the Happily Ever After we all seek, but let’s look deeper still. Perrault wrote Cinderella in 1697 (although I am told there are versions of Cinderella-type tales over 5000 years old). Given the time period and its gender expectations and realities, one could easily propose that the main message of the tale is simply one of hope. Cinderella is able to escape a miserable life using the power structures available to her, and she is able to do it without sacrificing her integrity – overnight, no less. Can you spot the appeal? I sure can.

Now, I am not saying that every little girl should be encouraged to aspire to be a pampered princess, but I am saying let’s look deeper at what it is women love about Romance and why. Take 50 Shades of Grey, for example. I didn’t finish it. Granted I was breastfeeding my third child at the time, and the idea of one more person touching me wasn’t exactly alluring.

I was fascinated, however, by all of the feminist discourse surrounding it, ranging from the supportive to the critical to downright shaming/shameful. I won’t delve too deeply into this topic, but I will say that there was one particular moment, before I did quit, when Mr. Grey was ordering Anastasia lunch (fish and white wine, I think) when I found I suddenly had a mini fantasy playing out in my mind. It went a little like this:

Wow, wouldn’t it be nice if Mr. Grey would plan my seven year old’s birthday party? I’ve been up all night with the baby. There’s laundry to be done. I’ve not finished my manuscript. My husband’s at work. And I think the cat might be sick. Please Mr. Grey come make all the decisions. Every last one of them. Heck, execute them too. And, while you’re at it, order me to eat something. I like it when you do that…sometimes. At that moment, I’m not going to lie, I kind of got what all the fuss was about.

I would also like to point out that I don’t believe men undergo the same level of scrutiny when it comes to liking what they like. My husband, for example, practices Jujitsu at the local rec centre. For an hour a week, I think he enjoys feeling like a warrior (an arguably ultra-masculine role). I can guarantee you, no one has ever shamed him by saying, “You can’t handle this particular warrior fantasy, boy. It might turn you into a psychopath. Think of your son.” People assume he is a THINKING man, who can enjoy the practice of the fantasy while still very much living in the real world. (My husband did counter that men are often shamed for their enjoyment of looking at naked women, but I will have to save that topic for another time.)

My debut novel, SIDEKICK, (a novel that should have never seen the light of day as I was told Chick Lit is dead and female superheroes don’t sell) is a Cinderella story. My main character just so happens to want to be a superhero instead of a princess – a quest that she tackles in a very Lucille Ball type of way. (I feel compelled to mention here that Lucille Ball has been called a poor excuse for a feminist because of the way she deferred to her husband on the show. Forget that she was the first woman to create a show that focused on women, women who wanted more than society deemed appropriate, and dared to depict a real live pregnant woman on the little screen (something many felt would be the downfall of civilization) without sacrificing her domination of the ratings. She was also the first woman to run a major television studio…but I digress.)

I wrote this story because while on the surface it is a silly, fluffy comedy, at a deeper level it depicts themes of hope, strength, resiliency, and, yes, dare I say it, even a little love.

I guess what I am, and many others are, calling for is deeper analysis of the romance genre (mainly written for women, by women). It is so easy, for men and women to brush off these stories as silly at best and dangerous at worst, but that is lazy thinking if you ask me. Lucille Ball once said, “I’m not funny. What I am is brave.” I think a similar thing can be said of romance writers. It takes a great deal of bravery to write about what you love and share it with the world. It is certainly a damned shame when people dismiss it out of hand because it’s about “girl stuff.”21184

Auralee Wallace has played many roles in her life, including college professor, balloon seller, and collections agent. She is now living her dream of writing humorous women’s fiction. When this semi-natural blonde mother of three children (and psychiatric nurse to two rescue cats) isn’t writing or playing soccer, she can be found watching soap operas with lurid fascination and warring with a family of peregrine falcons for the rights to her backyard. Her debut novel, Sidekick, is out now.