Blog Archives

Australia’s Favourite Novelist – nominate now

515115_stockin_around_roseBooktopia is running a contest to find Australia’s Favourite Novelist for 2014 (and the Top 50), and YOU can have your say!

From now until the 5th January you can submit your nominations (as many as you like) via email, facebook, or twitter. Simply list one or more Australian authors you believe deserve the recognition, and send through to Booktopia.

Full details can be found here on Booktopia’s blog, or if you’re ready to nominate your fave authors (hint, hint! 😉 ) you can do so via any of the following:

Between 6-12th Jan, check the Booktopia blog each day for the heats where you can vote on the list of authors compiled from the nominations pool.

Between 13-19th Jan you can vote on the list of finalists in the poll, and from 20th Jan Booktopia will unveil the Top 50, with 10 authors being revealed each day until the overall winner will be announced on Friday 24th January.

I’ve sent in my nominations, have you?  🙂

At Home With… Alissa Callen

To celebrate the upcoming January 1st release of THE JANUARY WISH, the first book in my small town series set in Tarrin’s Bay; The Town of New Beginnings, I’ve started a new interview segment called ‘At Home With…’

Today, we’re paying a visit to rural romance author Alissa Callen!

 

Alissa Callen x1. Hi Alissa, where are you from and how long have you lived there?

I live in the red earth country of central western NSW near Dubbo. We used to live two hours further west but have been in Dubbo for the past sixteen years. Where does the time go?

2. What do you love about the place you call home?

We live on a small slice of rural Australia and I love everything associated with life on a farm. I have four children so really appreciate the unlimited space, the local sense of community and the chance for my kids to grow up away from a computer screen.

3. Do you have a favourite local cafe, restaurant, bar, club, business, or store? Give them a plug here!

My favourite café actually comes from a neighbouring country town called Orange. The toasted BLT’s are sublime along with the home made gingerbread biscuits that arrive with your coffee. http://byngstreet.com.au/

IMGP34184. Do you have any pets? If so, what are their names?

We have two dogs, Dusty, a red-heeler cross, and Milly, a Jack Russell who has a rap sheet at the local vets an arm long. She’s been bitten by a brown snake, electrocuted, had a grass seed in her eye and eaten rat bait from the feed shed. We also have a thoroughbred called Big Bad Banjo and the obligatory small grey pony, called Gidget. All our pets are much loved and spoilt rotten.

[Juliet ~ Milly, what a trooper!]

5. What is your favourite room in the house and why?

Can I say an outdoor room? I love my rose garden. I have over 100 roses and a trellis of Pierre de Ronsards that creates a beautiful living wall every summer.

6. If you had to evacuate your house, what three items (apart from people and pets!) would you take?

We very nearly had to this last summer when we had a grassfire in our front paddock. My top three things to grab were the kids photo albums, the filing cabinet draw with birth certificates etc and the usb containing my latest rural.

IMG_0307 a

7. If you had a magic wand, what’s one thing you would change about your home or your town?

In a perfect world I’d love there to be more local employment opportunities for country kids so they didn’t have to head to the city or to the mines for work.

horse 1 a8. It’s movie night at your place, the popcorn’s out, and everyone’s nabbed their favourite couch corner or armchair… what movie/s will we watch?

My youngest calls our family favourite movie the Mr Darcy Show, but it actually is the BBC production of Pride and Prejudice.

[Juliet ~ Lol, the Mr Darcy show. Now there’s an idea!]

9. Imagine you have the luxury of a chef for a night and you’ve invited people over for a dinner party, what would you have the chef cook?

I’d forgo the dinner party for a month’s worth of dinners that could be put into the freezer!!

[Juliet ~ ahh, very practical!]

10. Name three books on your To Be Read bookshelf or e-reader:

Both my husband and my kids have worked out how good it is to read on an ipad so at the moment the three books at the top of the ipad list are:  The Booger Book: Pick It. Lick it. Roll it. Flick it. (for the 12 year old Little Farmer), The Silver Brumby (for Miss Mini Farmer) and Blood Secret – Jaye Ford (for Big Farmer).

[Juliet ~ LOL again! Can’t say The Booger Book is on my TBR pile but Blood Secret definitely is.]

11. Name something unique or uncommon that you have in your pantry or fridge:

Cattle vaccine.

[Juliet ~ Loving this interview. Can’t say I’ve ever had cattle vaccine in my fridge either. ;)]

12. If you could live anywhere for one year, where would you go?

There are too many fabulous destinations to choose from – have been lucky enough live overseas and every country has their own unique culture, cuisine, history, natural beauty and attractions.

13. You’ve just received a phone call from a friend or relative, and they’ll be arriving in five minutes for a visit. What do you do?

a) Relax on the couch until they arrive.

b) Put the kettle on; place some (probably homemade) snacks onto a tray; set the table; put flowers into a vase; and light a candle (and maybe even make some place cards with your super calligraphy skills).

c) Put the kettle on; tip out a few cookies onto a plate; check your reflection in the mirror, and wait.

d) Freak out; shove excess household clutter under beds, in cupboards, drawers, and the garage; trip over something in the process; hold an ice pack to your bruised forehead while swearing profusely; check the mirror to see if you’re still in pyjamas; frantically change into suitable clothing whilst simultaneously holding ice pack to your head; fall over again; alternate ice pack between head and location of new injury; then shove ice pack under bed and greet visitors with the fakest smile of pure calm you can muster.

LOL – me: d)

Laid back Big Farmer: a)

 

Thanks Alissa!

>> Even though Alissa Callen would probably love you to pay a visit, why not visit her online right now?

Website : Blog : Facebook : Goodreads 

 

>> And help her pay for that in-house chef (or housekeeper) by buying a copy of her books here:

 

Book cover RHBeneath Outback Skies – Buy here.

Paige Quinn will let nothing and no one distract her from caring for her wheelchair-bound father, Connor, and fighting for her remote, drought-stricken property, Banora Downs. Least of all a surprise farm-stay guest named Tait Cavanaugh, whose smooth words are as lethal as his movie-star smile.

Except Paige can’t help noticing that, for a city-boy, Tait seems unexpectedly at home on the land. And he does ask a lot of questions…

It doesn’t matter how much he helps out or how much laughter he brings into her life, she soon suspects he is harbouring a big secret – the real reason he has come to Banora Downs…

 

What Love_cvr smallWhat Love Sounds Like – Buy here.

Outback speech pathologist, Mia Windsor, believes her morning from hell is over. Then suited-up, city-boy Kade Reid strides into her office and announces he and his wide-eyed niece are the clients that she will be living with for the fortnight.

Kade Reid adheres to a single edict — money is as important as breathing. But when he becomes an instant father to four-year-old Tilly, he escapes to the only place he was allowed to be a child…the family property of Berrilea.

As Mia and Kade work together to help Tilly overcome her speech delay, can they face their fears in order to give Tilly the family she so desperately needs?

At Home With Jenny Schwartz

To celebrate the upcoming January 1st release of THE JANUARY WISH, the first book in my small town series set in Tarrin’s Bay; The Town of New Beginnings, I’ve started a new interview segment called ‘At Home With…’

Today, we’re paying a visit to Jenny Schwartz…

 

JennySchwartzportrait1. Hi Jenny, where are you from and how long have you lived there?

Hi Juliet! Thanks for the chance to visit. I’m from Perth, Western Australia, and like a good sandgroper, apart from a few years sojourn in Canberra, I’ve always lived in the West. The sun has to set over the ocean or it just looks wrong to me!

 

2. What do you love about the place you call home?

My star sign is Cancer, so I really like being near water. Although I can’t afford (hello Lotto fairy, please do visit!) a house by the sea, Perth has its gorgeous coastline and amazing Swan River, and both make me feel good.

 

3. Do you have a favourite local cafe, restaurant, bar, club, business, or store? Give them a plug here!

I’ll confess. I love bread. Yum, yum, YUM! No carbohydrate-free diets for me! If you’re ever at the Fremantle Markets (I remember them when they were rundown and full of hippies), you must buy bread from Abhi’s Bakery. The best bread anywhere.

 

Toby dog4. Do you have any pets? If so, what are their names?

This is Toby, affectionately known as “Fur Factory”. He loves to cuddle and share his fur – especially if I’m dressed to go out and wearing black.

[Juliet – Always the way!]

 

5. What is your favourite room in the house and why?

Kitchen! I did mention my bread-obsession, didn’t I? 🙂 I like cooking. I don’t much like recipes, but mostly the results are edible.

 

6. If you had to evacuate your house, what three items (apart from people and pets!) would you take?

I’m absurdly practical on this one: My purse because replacing cards is a nightmare, ditto my folder of important documents and probably my laptop. Photos tend to be online now, so no worries there, and clothes can be replaced. Hmm. I hate shoe shopping, so maybe I’d scoop up my shoes.

 

7. If you had a magic wand, what’s one thing you would change about your home or your town?

Give me that magic wand! I’d put a barrier around the suburb and not let any fruit fly in. With summer coming, it’s the time of fly traps and hassle trying to keep the critters out of the soft fruit. Although last year I did find that basil grown around the fig tree kept the fruit flies away.

 

8. It’s movie night at your place, the popcorn’s out, and everyone’s nabbed their favourite couch corner or armchair… what movie/s will we watch?

It’s not a movie exactly, but I am desperately waiting on the third instalment of Sherlock. Meantime re-runs of the first two are welcome.

[Juliet – I have heard it’s good!]

 

9. Imagine you have the luxury of a chef for a night and you’ve invited people over for a dinner party, what would you have the chef cook?

I would want to be surprised. Seriously, thinking up menus is hard work. I’ve just been doing that for my current book and it’s tough.

In case you’re wondering what my hero and heroine ate on their “this is definitely not a date” night out: chargrilled mushrooms stuffed with olive and thyme flavoured fetta, followed by roast chicken with pommes noisettes and spring greens, and Cassie insisted on a chocolate dessert. Any chocolate dessert!

 

10. Name three books on your To Be Read bookshelf or e-reader:

Raising Steam by Terry Pratchett – Terry Pratchett does steampunk!!!

Heart of Obsidian by Nalini Singh – It was tough waiting for this to come out in paperback.

and I’m waiting for January for Jayne Ann Krentz’s River Road. I love her books.

 

11. Name something unique or uncommon that you have in your pantry or fridge:

Umm. *contemplates an emergency run to the supermarket to buy something interesting*

Ripe blueberries just picked from the garden. Not unique, but definitely scrumptious.

 

12. If you could live anywhere for one year, where would you go?

Florence! Wouldn’t everyone?

[Juliet – well, if you’re offering ;)] 

 

13. You’ve just received a phone call from a friend or relative, and they’ll be arriving in five minutes for a visit. What do you do?

a) Relax on the couch until they arrive.

b) Put the kettle on; place some (probably homemade) snacks onto a tray; set the table; put flowers into a vase; and light a candle (and maybe even make some place cards with your super calligraphy skills).

c) Put the kettle on; tip out a few cookies onto a plate; check your reflection in the mirror, and wait.

d) Freak out; shove excess household clutter under beds, in cupboards, drawers, and the garage; trip over something in the process; hold an ice pack to your bruised forehead while swearing profusely; check the mirror to see if you’re still in pyjamas; frantically change into suitable clothing whilst simultaneously holding ice pack to your head; fall over again; alternate ice pack between head and location of new injury; then shove ice pack under bed and greet visitors with the fakest smile of pure calm you can muster.

c) Put the kettle on; tip out a few cookies onto a plate; check your reflection in the mirror, and wait.

I have to add to c) attack hair with comb. When writing, if I’m truly stuck, I scrunch my hair as I stare at the screen. The result is a bit frightening, to be honest.

 

Thanks for your hospitality, Jenny!

>>Even though Jenny would probably love you to pay a visit, why not visit her online right now?

Website : Blog : Facebook : Twitter : Goodreads : Google+

1013 It'a Love, Dude_500>>And help her pay for that in-house chef (or housekeeper) by buying a copy of It’s Love, Dude here:

From our favourite short story writer comes a debut full-length novel about sand, sun, small towns, and surfing…

Zane Carlton is a World Champion surfer. Molly Georgiou is a shy, small-town girl. They have nothing in common except an instantaneous attraction and an impossible quest for a rare, endangered Australian marsupial. But Zane is determined to make it work, and invites Molly to take a step into his world. But Molly isn’t ready for the spotlights and attention — she loves her town, its quirks, its characters. Opposites attract, but can two such different people find both a woylie and forever?

 

>>WIN! A digital copy of It’s Love, Dude. Open internationally. Enter by leaving a comment. *Winner will be drawn on 27th November and notified via email and in the comments.

At Home With Victoria Purman

To celebrate the January 1st release of THE JANUARY WISH, the first book in my small town series set in Tarrin’s Bay; The Town of New Beginnings, I’ve started a new interview segment called ‘At Home With…’

VictoriaPurman-190-300x198Today, we’re paying a visit to coastal romance author, Victoria Purman!

1. Hi Victoria, where are you from and how long have you lived there?

Thanks for having me, Juliet! I’m an Adelaide girl through and through and have lived here my whole life. Some would say that’s pretty boring – others might say it’s lovely!

[Juliet – There’s no place like home! 😉 ]

2. What do you love about the place you call home?

Adelaide has a fantastic food and wine culture and the south coast’s beautiful beaches are only an hour away. When I worked in the city, it only took me twenty minutes to get there from home, so that’s pretty family-friendly, too.

3. Do you have a favourite local cafe, restaurant, bar, club, business, or store? Give them a plug here!

I absolutely love my hairdresser Megan Panozzo from In Awe Salon. I’ve been going to her for more than twenty years and she’s cut my three boys hair since they were were bubs! My other favourite places are those which make the things that sustain writers: Haigh’s chocolates (another South Australian classic) and the wineries Bremerton and Primo Estate.

[Juliet – A good hairdresser is worth their weight in gold!]

pet4. Do you have any pets? If so, what are their names? (Feel free to share a photo)

I have a very disobedient spoodle called Charlie who absolutely adores me!

[Juliet – I don’t think he’s camera shy either ;)]

5. What is your favourite room in the house and why?

My favourite place in the house is actually not a room, but the deck in the backyard. In summertime, an enormous Acer Negunda (Box Elder) tree gives us a cool canopy to sit under in Adelaide’s scorching heat.

6. If you had to evacuate your house, what three items (apart from people and pets!) would you take?

My Apple Mac – obviously! Passports and some undies!!

7. If you had a magic wand, what’s one thing you would change about your home or your town?

I would drag Adelaide a little closer to New York!

[Juliet – LOL! Not a bad idea.]

8. It’s movie night at your place, the popcorn’s out, and everyone’s nabbed their favourite couch corner or armchair… what movie/s will we watch?

BBC’s “Pride and Prejudice”. “High Fidelity” with John Cusack and “Nacho Libre” with Jack Black.

9. Imagine you have the luxury of a chef for a night and you’ve invited people over for a dinner party, what would you have the chef cook?

The best, juiciest steak… because I panic when I do it, fearing I’ll overcook.

10. Name three books on your To Be Read bookshelf or e-reader:

Nora Roberts “Dark Witch”. Cathryn Hein’s “Heartland” and everything of Amy Andrews. I’ve just finished her latest “Holding out for a Hero” and adored it.

11. Name something unique or uncommon that you have in your pantry or fridge:

Tahini. I make a mean Hommous.

12. If you could live anywhere for one year, where would you go?

New York, New York. Because I may, simply by accident you understand, bump into Ryan Gosling or George Clooney.

13. You’ve just received a phone call from a friend or relative, and they’ll be arriving in five minutes for a visit. What do you do?

a) Relax on the couch until they arrive.

b) Put the kettle on; place some (probably homemade) snacks onto a tray; set the table; put flowers into a vase; and light a candle (and maybe even make some place cards with your super calligraphy skills).

c) Put the kettle on; tip out a few cookies onto a plate; check your reflection in the mirror, and wait.

d) Freak out; shove excess household clutter under beds, in cupboards, drawers, and the garage; trip over something in the process; hold an ice pack to your bruised forehead while swearing profusely; check the mirror to see if you’re still in pyjamas; frantically change into suitable clothing whilst simultaneously holding ice pack to your head; fall over again; alternate ice pack between head and location of new injury; then shove ice pack under bed and greet visitors with the fakest smile of pure calm you can muster.

(a) Relax on the couch. With a half empty bottle of wine, of course!

 

Thanks for inviting us over, Victoria! 

>>Even though Victoria would probably love you to pay a visit, why not visit her online right now?

Website : Facebook : Twitter : Goodreads : Pinterest

>>And help her pay for that in-house chef (or housekeeper) by buying a copy of her book here:

Kindle : Harlequin :Google Play : Ibookstore : Kobo : Booktopia

NBH>>Victoria’s book: Nobody But Him

She didn’t expect to run into her first love… or to fall back in love with him!

At eighteen, Julia Jones left for the city with a head full of grand plans for an exciting life that certainly didn’t include her home town of Middle Point – a main street with a pub – or Ryan Blackburn.

But fifteen years – and a lifetime later – she’s forced to put her big city life on hold when she heads home to finalise her mother’s estate. Which is where she runs smack bang into the town’s new champion… the same Ryan Blackburn.

The sensible thing to do? Stay the hell away from him and head back to Melbourne as fast as her stilettos can carry her. But Julia finds his offer of a helping hand and a hot body too delicious to refuse and dives into a reckless, one-time fling.

What she doesn’t realise is that tomorrow has a way of sneaking up, and that saying goodbye to her home town – and to Ryan – is much harder the second time around.

At Home With… Annie Seaton [Plus Giveaway!]

To celebrate the January 1st release of THE JANUARY WISH, the first book in my small coastal town series set in Tarrin’s Bay; The Town of New Beginnings, I’ve started a new interview segment called ‘At Home With…’

Today, we’re paying a visit to bestselling author from Entangled Publishing, Annie Seaton!

Annie_Seaton (2)1. Hi Annie where are you from and how long have you lived there?

I live in a small town on the mid north coast of New South Wales and have lived here for over twenty years.

 

2. What do you love about the place you call home?

Family around me makes it home. As well as that, the proximity to the ocean is very special to me. The water inspires my writing.

 

3. Do you have a favourite local cafe, restaurant, bar, club, business, or store? Give them a plug here!

LOL… the coffee machine in my kitchen.  I have been so busy with deadlines, I lead a fairly cloistered life….I even grocery shop online!

 

bob4. Do you have any pets? If so, what are their names? (Feel free to share a photo)

I think most readers are familiar with Bob Dog and Boy Cat and Girl Cat… but here is a photo too!

 

chair5. What is your favourite room in the house and why?

The living room where my writing chair overlooks the ocean and my garden

 

6. If you had to evacuate your house, what three items (apart from people and pets!) would you take?

Laptop, iPad and my gold jewellery (All my important documents and photos are stored electronically!)

 

7. If you had a magic wand, what’s one thing you would change about your home or your town?

I would beautify the public areas that the local council cannot afford to look after.

 

8. It’s movie night at your place, the popcorn’s out, and everyone’s nabbed their favourite couch corner or armchair… what movie/s will we watch?

Love Actually or Billy Elliott.

 

9. Imagine you have the luxury of a chef for a night and you’ve invited people over for a dinner party, what would you have the chef cook?

Creme Brulee! Forget the main course.. . straight to the dessert for me.

[Juliet ~ why not? ;)]

garden10. Name three books on your To Be Read bookshelf or e-reader:

~ Books 3-10 in the Sullivans series by Bella Andre (Can we count that as one?)

~ Jackie Underdown-Beautiful Illusion

~ M J Stedman –Light Between Oceans

[Juliet ~ I have a couple of those on my list too]

 

11. Name something unique or uncommon that you have in your pantry or fridge:

Home made pickles… I think that is a rarity these days!

 

12. If you could live anywhere for one year, where would you go?

New Zealand… I love it and would love to spend a year exploring the country.

 

13. You’ve just received a phone call from a friend or relative, and they’ll be arriving in five minutes for a visit. What do you do?

a) Relax on the couch until they arrive.

b) Put the kettle on; place some (probably homemade) snacks onto a tray; set the table; put flowers into a vase; and light a candle (and maybe even make some place cards with your super calligraphy skills).

c) Put the kettle on; tip out a few cookies onto a plate; check your reflection in the mirror, and wait.

d) Freak out; shove excess household clutter under beds, in cupboards, drawers, and the garage; trip over something in the process; hold an ice pack to your bruised forehead while swearing profusely; check the mirror to see if you’re still in pyjamas; frantically change into suitable clothing whilst simultaneously holding ice pack to your head; fall over again; alternate ice pack between head and location of new injury; then shove ice pack under bed and greet visitors with the fakest smile of pure calm you can muster.

None of the above. Chill the wine!

[Juliet ~ it’s all about priorities, right? ;)]

 

Thanks Annie!

Even though Annie would probably love you to pay a visit, why not visit her online right now?

Website: http://annieseatonromance.com

Blog: http://annieseaton.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AnnieSeatonAuthor

Twitter: @annieseaton26

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5779458.Annie_Seaton

 

And help her pay for that in-house chef by buying a copy of her book, Outback Affair, here:

Amazon / B&N / iTunes

OutbackAffairSeatonOUTBACK AFFAIR:

Jessica Trent wants to be a full-time writer for Cuisine magazine, but in order to land the gig she has to snare a one-on-one with the reclusive Alessandro Ricardo, a man hell-bent on staying out of the limelight. The last thing she expects as she heads to Crocodile Springs resort in northern Australia is to end up traveling across the Outback with a rugged and far too sexy barramundi fisherman.

Ex-lawyer Alex Richards protects his privacy and his heart in equal measure. So when a Yankee bombshell in need of a ride turns up and threatens both, he decides to teach her a lesson. As they make their way through the wild country together, the attraction between them ignites. Alex must choose between his heart or letting go of his past … and will Jessica understand why he lied once she finds out who he really is?

HA-500>>WIN! Annie’s giving away a copy of the first book in her affair series, Holiday Affair. Comment below to enter (bonus entry if you tell us where you would like to go for your ideal holiday!).  Open worldwide and winner will be drawn on 15th Nov and notified by email.

Good luck!

At Home With… Kate Belle

To celebrate the upcoming January 1st release of THE JANUARY WISH, the first book in my small coastal town series set in Tarrin’s Bay; The Town of New Beginnings, I’m starting a new interview segment called ‘At Home With…’

Today, for the first interview in this new segment, we’re paying a visit to author Kate Belle…

Let’s knock on her door… knock! knock!

 

1. Hi Kate, where are you from and how long have you lived there?

I feel like a gypsy when asked this question. I’d moved house five times by the time I was seven. My family settled in Benalla, a small town in Northern Victoria, where we lived until I was 13 and I kind of consider it ‘home’, although I’ve lived longest in various parts of Melbourne, so really the city is my home now.

2. What do you love about the place you call home?

I loved growing up in Benalla in the 1970’s. We had so much freedom to explore the Broken River, parks and train station at the end of my street. Now, in the city, I love the sense of community in my small suburb in the North East. I also love the cultural diversity the city has to offer – Melbourne has a strong Aboriginal community and people from over 150 countries. It makes for a fascinating place in terms of food, entertainment and literature.

Were St Food Store 13. Do you have a favourite local cafe, restaurant, bar, club, business, or store? Give them a plug here!

We have an old fashioned shopping strip in Were St, Montmorency. The Were St Food Store makes THE BEST COFFEE ANYWHERE (because if it weren’t for the PASSION, we’d all be drinking instant). There are mosaics inlaid on the footpaths depicting some fascinating local history, like the dog with a cart that used to show up to buy his masters milk, bread and newspaper every day. Or the line of gumboots left at the railway station waiting for their owners to return from their city jobs and walk home through the mud. I know I’m bound to bump into someone I know there so I never feel lonely.

Bear & Miss 94. Do you have any pets? If so, what are their names? (Feel free to share a photo)

Like everything else in our home, our pets are second hand. Marmalade, our neurotic ginger (girl) cat arrived first, after our last adopted Greyhound died. But the cat wasn’t enough for Miss 9, and waiting for a cat friendly Greyhound was taking too long, so we went to Save a Dog Scheme and adopted Bear.

I walked past him because he’s long haired, but the volunteer there kept saying ‘THAT is a great dog. You can’t go past that dog.’ Turned out she was right. He is an amazing animal, so aware, clever, loving and gentle – even if a bit dependent and needy.

At first Bear was a nightmare. We couldn’t leave him alone without him destroying everything he could get his teeth into. He filled the lounge with towels from the bathrooms, half chewed toys from Miss 9’s toybox, and ripped up cushions and carpet. He became extremely anxious when we were away, even for 10 minutes.

Marmelade & BelleSo when we got a call from the Greyhound Adoption Program we thought maybe a companion was what he needed. Coincidentally her name was Belle – a sign it was meant to be.

She joined our family and we learned she is more Princess than dog, so not the ideal companion for Bear we hoped for. It’s taken Belle and Bear a good six months to work out their differences and they seem to be very good friends now. Although Belle will still turn over the dog beds in the middle of the night and settle herself on the couch, leaving Bear to sleep on the unforgiving floor.

[Juliet– too cute!]

5. What is your favourite room in the house and why?

My bedroom. Especially when my husband’s not in it. It’s the one place I can thoroughly escape from the world and be an introvert. No phone, no tv, it’s a haven of books and soft lighting and way too many second hand clothes.

Pic 16. If you had to evacuate your house, what three items (apart from people and pets!) would you take?

Gosh, I struggle with these questions. My laptop, my diaries and my daughter’s baby photos probably. But then there are all my wonderful and rare books. And the cd’s. And the irreplaceable 1960’s coat of midnight velvet. Too hard!

[Juliet– I hope to see you wear that at a future RWA conference, Kate!]

7. If you had a magic wand, what’s one thing you would change about your home or your town?

I’d definitely make Melbourne smaller. It was a perfect size in the mid-nineties I think. That or magically create the BEST public transport system in the world so it would be easier to get around. I’d also give all our homeless folk somewhere decent to live so they weren’t stuck with the indignity of living on the streets.

8. It’s movie night at your place, the popcorn’s out, and everyone’s nabbed their favourite couch corner or armchair… what movie/s will we watch?

Well that is a huge argument waiting to happen, right there. Miss 9 will want to watch Harry Potter or Grease AGAIN! Hubby will want to watch a cheesy comedy or chick flick (yes, sometimes I wonder). I’ll want to watch something arty, perhaps even foreign with subtitles. You’ll have to choose, Juliet, or we will end up reading books instead.

[Juliet– Okay, I vote for…Dirty Dancing!]

9. Imagine you have the luxury of a chef for a night and you’ve invited people over for a dinner party, what would you have the chef cook?

Don’t you find with food, like movies and books, it depends on your mood? Is it winter or summer? Are the guests all adults or families? I’d have to do some research, come up with something incredibly complicated I’d never attempt myself. Something rare, delicate, Asian perhaps. Or a fragrant Indian feast.

Kate's Bookshelf10. Name three books on your To Be Read bookshelf or e-reader:

Only 3 Juliet? But I have literally hundreds! Okay, okay.

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

I Take You by Nikki Gemmel

The Swan Book by Alexis Wright

11. Name something unique or uncommon that you have in your pantry or fridge:

Wait, let me go look.

[Juliet– I’m guessing you didn’t find anything unique in there, Kate? ;)]

12. If you could live anywhere for one year, where would you go?

By the coast somewhere warm, but not the tropics. Maybe Northern New South Wales, up around Coff’s Harbour somewhere. I’m open to suggestions if someone’s offering.

13. You’ve just received a phone call from a friend or relative, and they’ll be arriving in five minutes for a visit. What do you do?

a) Relax on the couch until they arrive.

b) Put the kettle on; place some (probably homemade) snacks onto a tray; set the table; put flowers into a vase; and light a candle (and maybe even make some place cards with your super calligraphy skills).

c) Put the kettle on; tip out a few cookies onto a plate; check your reflection in the mirror, and wait.

d) Freak out; shove excess household clutter under beds, in cupboards, drawers, and the garage; trip over something in the process; hold an ice pack to your bruised forehead while swearing profusely; check the mirror to see if you’re still in pyjamas; frantically change into suitable clothing whilst simultaneously holding ice pack to your head; fall over again; alternate ice pack between head and location of new injury; then shove ice pack under bed and greet visitors with the fakest smile of pure calm you can muster.

Do people do A, B or C?

[Juliet– I certainly don’t]

 

bloomandbreakingtherulesEven though Kate Belle would probably love you to pay a visit, why not visit her online right now?

Website: http://ecstasyfiles.com

Blog: http://ecstasyfiles.com/blog

Facebook: http://facebook.com/katebelle.x

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ecstasyfiles

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6572571.Kate_Belle

And help her pay for that in-house chef (or housekeeper) by buying a copy of her book, The Yearning, here:

Ebook: Amazon or iTunes or Kobo

Print book: Target, Kmart, Myer, Collins, Dymocks, Big W, Eltham Bookshop and other independent bookshops and major airports. If not in stock just ask.

Read an extract here.

Yearning lo resThe Yearning

It’s 1978 in a country town and a dreamy fifteen year old girl’s world is turned upside down by the arrival of the substitute English teacher. Solomon Andrews is beautiful, inspiring and she wants him like nothing else she’s wanted in her short life.

Charismatic and unconventional, Solomon easily wins the hearts and minds of his third form English class. He notices the attention of one girl, his new neighbour, who has taken to watching him from her upstairs window. He assumes it a harmless teenage crush, until the erotic love notes begin to arrive.

Solomon knows he must resist, but her sensual words stir him. He has longings of his own, although they have nothing to do with love, or so he believes. One afternoon, as he stands reading her latest offering in his driveway, she turns up unannounced. And what happens next will torment them forever – in ways neither can imagine.

 

Thanks Kate!

Next week we visit the home of bestselling romance author with Entangled Publishing, Annie Seaton, so be sure to come back next week for another installment!

Elise K. Ackers answers my Ten Awkward Questions

In this segment, authors will be subjected to a list of awkward questions that may reveal more about themselves than they really wish to share, and they will receive a score on the ‘Braveometer’. If they choose to answer only five questions, they are a ‘Brave Author’, if they answer 6 to 9 questions they are a ‘Mega-Brave Author’, and if they answer all 10 questions they are an ‘Ultra-Brave Author’! 

Please welcome Elise K. Ackers! Elise is a finalist in this year’s RUBY award for the romantic elements category, with her Destiny Romance title, Small Town Storm. The winners will be announced at the RWA conference in Fremantle this August. Good luck, Elise!

 

Elise K. Ackers1. If only one of your books could have been / could be published, which one would you choose? (C’mon, I don’t want to hear ‘Oh, I love them all, there’s no way I could choose.’ Time to be ruthless, these are the Ten Awkward Questions after all!)

My romantic suspense title, Small Town Storm. As hard as it is to choose one over others, it feels like this book has always been in me. It’s a big, complex plot full of characters I adore, issues I’ve wondered about for a long time, and a love I would want for myself. I wrote it over a few years – there were many iterations of it, and it was my debut title with Penguin’s Destiny Romance.

It was published as an ebook last year, and is available as a print book from certain Australia Post shops. I still feel a swell of pride and comfort each time I look at it, and I still think about the characters often – the way one might recall old friends.

 

2. Okay, now which one of your children/family members would you… nah, just kidding! Which of the following words most accurately describes your best personality trait (you must pick only one!):

Punctual. Good listener. Neat.  Graceful. Generous. Cheerful.

I’m very generous with my heart, my time and my forgiveness. Probably too generous with forgiveness, but most days I’m zen about that.

 

3. Which of the following words most accurately describes your worst most challenging personality trait (even if you’re perfect, you must pick one):

Always late. Blabbermouth. Slob. Complete klutz. Scrooge. Grumpy pants.

Complete klutz. It’s inevitable considering the crazy things which happen around me. A window once fell out of its frame, on top of me, for example. And I bruise like a peach, so I keep finding new bruises almost every morning.

 

4. Have you ever had a romantic crush on one of your characters? Who and why?

Absolutely. All of the guys. If I don’t fall for them, how can I expect a reader to? They each have qualities I esteem in a partner, values I share or respect and they fight for what they want and who they love. None of them are perfect – they’re flawed, but that’s what makes them real to me, and hopefully real and wonderful to a reader.

 

5. When writing an important scene, do you act it out to allow you to better describe what’s happening?

I’ll sometimes mimic an expression I’m writing about, or gesticulate similarly to a character, just to check I’m getting it right. This probably makes for interesting viewing for those sitting around me on the morning commute.

 

6. Do you talk to yourself when writing or coming up with plot ideas?

No, but I do talk to other people. My parents and I often talk about my characters like they’re real people and we’ll brainstorm for hours. I’ll start to talk faster, my words will squash together and then I’ll completely space out, because I’ll start writing a scene in my mind.

 

7. Who would be ideal to play YOU in a movie of your life?

Emma Watson. Seriously, does anyone in the world have anything against that woman? She’s gorgeous, talented and full of substance. I would cheerfully be represented by her. Cheerfully, of course, being an enormous understatement.

 

8. If you could be any book character for one day, who would you be and why?

Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series (preferably not a day she’s fighting for her life), because I’d get to be a witch for a day and wander around Hogwarts! Magic!

 

9. You’re about to be left on a deserted island for a year, and while your basic food and water needs will be met, you can only bring one extra thing from the following. Which would you choose?

a) A pen and notepad that never runs out

b) An unlimited supply of books

c) An unlimited supply of chocolate, coffee, or alcohol (your choice)

d) A gorgeous man/woman depending on your preference

I’m going to pick D, despite the concerning lack of all-important supplies. I’d have to make sure the conversation kept me amused for as long as possible…

All I can think is that two would surely become three over the course of the year, which would complicate an already – there I go, adding drama to the story again!

 

10. If you had the attention of the whole world for two minutes what would you say?

Be kind to one another. I could expand, but that’s my core message.

 

Thanks for taking part, Elise, you have been awarded Ultra-Brave Author status on the Braveometer!

Ultra-BraveAuthor

Visit Elise at her website, blog, facebook, and twitter.

Ask Me For More cover>>Buy her new release, Ask Me for More, here.

When Olivia Law returns home for her best friend’s wedding, it stirs up a lot of unexpected memories – not all of them good ones. Liv has a history here she’d prefer to forget, and a life in the city she wants to get back to. She certainly doesn’t expect to find herself attracted to the bride’s elder brother, Cal O’Hara.

Cal remembers Liv as the trouble making friend of his little sister. He doesn’t expect to be faced with an incredibly sexy grown-up version. But Cal has been hurt in the past and is not prepared to risk his heart again. Certainly not for someone who is leaving town in a few days.

Nothing is certain in this delicious tale about escaping the past. Ask Me for More is a poignant story about finding love where you least expect it. 

Ten Awkward Questions with Sarah Belle [Plus Giveaway!]

In this segment, authors will be subjected to a list of awkward questions that may reveal more about themselves than they really wish to share, and they will receive a score on the ‘Braveometer’. If they choose to answer only five questions, they are a ‘Brave Author’, if they answer 6 to 9 questions they are a ‘Mega-Brave Author’, and if they answer all 10 questions they are an ‘Ultra-Brave Author’! 

Sarah BellePlease welcome my fellow Escape Artist author, who also writes romantic comedy with a dash of magic, Sarah Belle!

 

1. If only one of your books could have been / could be published, which one would you choose? (C’mon, I don’t want to hear ‘Oh, I love them all, there’s no way I could choose.’ Time to be ruthless, these are the Ten Awkward Questions after all!)

HINDSIGHT  is my first, so I’ll go with that!

 

2. Okay, now which one of your children/family members would you… nah, just kidding! Which of the following words most accurately describes your best personality trait (you must pick only one!):

Punctual. Good listener. Neat.  Graceful. Generous. Cheerful.

Hmmmm…judging my bruises and scars, it’s not graceful! I’d like to say generous – I like to help out.

 

3. Which of the following words most accurately describes your worst most challenging personality trait (even if you’re perfect, you must pick one):

Always late. Blabbermouth. Slob. Complete klutz. Scrooge. Grumpy pants.

Oooh, these are hard, but refer to Q2 and I’ll have to go with a complete klutz. I can trip over thin air (or thick air).

 

4. Have you ever had a romantic crush on one of your characters? Who and why?

Not yet. In the next book there are some pretty gorgeous, sexy men, so I’ll save my crush for them!

 

5. When writing an important scene, do you act it out to allow you to better describe what’s happening?

It plays in my head like a movie, complete with varying camera shots and angles.  My writing process is very cinematic.

 

6. Do you talk to yourself when writing or coming up with plot ideas?

Yes, and there are many arguments! I also write them down on a whiteboard, complete with arrows all over the place, pointing to alternate outcomes. My brain works better when it’s less cluttered.

 

7. Who would be ideal to play YOU in a movie of your life?

Oh my god! These are really hard, Juliet! Ooooh…ummmm…I’d go with Asher Keddie. She does confused and foot in mouth really well.

 

8. If you could be any book character for one day, who would you be and why?

I’d be Lisbeth Salander from the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (and others), because she’s incredibly intelligent, resourceful, kick ass and usually brings down the bad guy by herself as well as outsmarting every other character in the book. Oh, and she gets to shag Daniel Craig too.

 

9. You’re about to be left on a deserted island for a year, and while your basic food and water needs will be met, you can only bring one extra thing from the following. Which would you choose?

a) A pen and notepad that never runs out

b) An unlimited supply of books

c) An unlimited supply of chocolate, coffee, or alcohol (your choice)

d) A gorgeous man/woman depending on your preference

Wow, that’s really hard!  I could go without c) and d), ( I can hear my husband crying in the background!),  but a year without reading or writing? I think I would choose an unlimited supply of books because I can always write in my head, but I can’t go without reading other people’s words.

 

10. If you had the attention of the whole world for two minutes what would you say?

I’d tell the corporate fat cats and many governments not to be so greedy. It is greed and a desire to make money that has resulted in devastation of formerly pristine environments, the extinction of many beautiful animal species, the ruination of native cultures and the starvation of millions of people. Greedy people either exploit the natural resources and people of certain countries, because they are of monetary value (gold, oil, diamonds), or turn their backs on them because they lack monetary value (East Africa, Senegal). It’s just not right.

 

Thanks for taking part, Sarah, you have been awarded Ultra-Brave Author status on the Braveometer!

Ultra-BraveAuthor

Visit Sarah online at her website, blog, facebook, and twitter.

>>WIN an ebook copy of her debut novel, HINDSIGHT, by commenting below and answering the following question: If you could go back in time and change one thing, what would it be? (Open Worldwide, winner announced Wed 17th July)

Or, don’t want to wait? Buy it now here! 

9780857990587_Hindsight

HINDSIGHT blurb: 

Humour, wit, and just a touch of humility: the swinging 60s as you’ve never seen them before.

The universe has sent Juliette a sign. She wishes it had been an email instead…

Juliette’s career is on fire, her marriage and family are in melt-down, and a red-hot goddess wants her husband. But those are the least of her worries when she wakes up on her lounge room floor in the year 1961.

Without any of her modern conveniences — nanny, housekeeper, surgically attached mobile phone, designer wardrobe, and intravenous lattes — Juliette is just over fifty years out of her comfort zone. But as she takes on the role of a 1961 housewife, with gritted liberated teeth, she discovers an unexpected truth: slower doesn’t mean boring, at home doesn’t mean dull, and priorities don’t mean sacrifices.

As she finds unexpected friendships, a resuscitated love life, tragedy and triumph, Juliette begins to wonder if she really wants to return home after all.

Ten Awkward Author Questions with Pamela Cook

In this segment, authors will be subjected to a list of awkward questions that may reveal more about themselves than they really wish to share, and they will receive a score on the ‘Braveometer’. If they choose to answer only five questions, they are a ‘Brave Author’, if they answer 6 to 9 questions they are a ‘Mega-Brave Author’, and if they answer all 10 questions they are an ‘Ultra-Brave Author’!

Please welcome Australian rural fiction author, Pamela Cook!

PC1. If only one of your books could have been / could be published, which one would you choose? (C’mon, I don’t want to hear ‘Oh, I love them all, there’s no way I could choose.’ Time to be ruthless, these are the Ten Awkward Questions after all!)

As I’ve only had one book published so far that’s a tricky question but … in an ideal world I would have chosen the first book I wrote. It’s Literary rather than Genre fiction and closer to my heart, probably because it’s the first one and I spent so long on it. The same reasons why it hasn’t been published to date – it’s easier to be ruthless with writing you’re not so attached to. Having said all that I am over the moon about having Blackwattle Lake out there on the bookstore shelves. And to be working on my next book.

2. Okay, now which one of your children/family members would you… nah, just kidding! Which of the following words most accurately describes your best personality trait (you must pick only one!):

Punctual. Good listener. Neat.  Graceful. Generous. Cheerful.

You certainly make it hard Juliet! I’m rarely punctual (just ask my friends), I’m certainly not neat. I’d like to think I’m graceful, generous and cheerful (at least most of the time) but if I have to pick one it would be that I’m a good listener.

3. Which of the following words most accurately describes your worst most challenging personality trait (even if you’re perfect, you must pick one):

Always late. Blabbermouth. Slob. Complete klutz. Scrooge. Grumpy pants.

Definitely the first – I’m always late. For pretty much everything!

BLACKWATTLE_LAKE_Cover4. Have you ever had a romantic crush on one of your characters? Who and why?

Absolutely. I adore Jack from Blackwattle Lake. He’s handsome, down to earth, has a great body and a killer smile. But he’s also scarred by his past which makes him vulnerable and in need of a hug. Although I have to say that Vincent, a character from my current wip could soon take Jack’s place in my heart.

5. When writing an important scene, do you act it out to allow you to better describe what’s happening?

I definitely act it out in my head but I often sit at my computer making crazy arm gestures and pulling bizarre faces to try to get the movements and expressions of the characters right.

6. Do you talk to yourself when writing or coming up with plot ideas?

I certainly do! Thankfully my study, where I write most of the time, is tucked away in a corner away from the main living areas of the house. My family already think I’m a nut case – they don’t need any more ammunition.

7. Who would be ideal to play YOU in a movie of your life?

The toughest question yet. I have to say a movie about my life would be very dull so whoever played me would have to be expert at making the mundane seem extraordinary. Based on that criteria I’d go with Nicole Kidman. Not that we look alike (I wish) but she’s an amazing actor, I know she can ride horses and is a city girl who loves the country. Like me!

8. If you could be any book character for one day, who would you be and why?

I would be Elizabeth Bennet, after her marriage to Mr Darcy. Do I really need to explain why?

9. You’re about to be left on a deserted island for a year, and while your basic food and water needs will be met, you can only bring one extra thing from the following. Which would you choose?

a) A pen and notepad that never runs out

b) An unlimited supply of books

c) An unlimited supply of chocolate, coffee, or alcohol (your choice)

d) A gorgeous man/woman depending on your preference

As much as c and d are appealing it’s definitely between the first two. And although I’d love a whole year to read as many books as possible without being disturbed the thought of having total solitude and an exotic location to write in is irresistible.

10. If you had the attention of the whole world for two minutes what would you say?

I know I’d be tongue tied so I’d read one of my favourite poems, something by Robert Frost or Mary Oliver. Perhaps even Mary Oliver’s Wild Geese. You can hear Mary Oliver reading it herself right here:

 

Thanks for having me Juliet. The questions were a lot of fun. 🙂

You’re welcome, Pamela… and you have been awarded Ultra-Brave Author status on the Braveometer!

Ultra-BraveAuthor

You can visit Pamela on the web:

website  blog  facebook  twitter

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[Guest Post] Choreographing a Love Scene Underwater, and other things your craft book never taught you. – Ros Baxter

Please welcome fellow Escape author Ros Baxter to the ‘Writing Wednesday’ segment of the blog today! Ros is the author of Fish Out Of Water (Escape Publishing) and co-author of Sister Pact (Harper Collins).

rsz_ros_xmas_jpg_opt240x320o0,0s240x320Some people write romance.  Some write chick lit.  Some write fantasy.  Me?  I’m an omnivore, in reading and in writing. Like Mae West said: “Ten men waiting for me at the door? Send one of them home, I’m tired.”

That’s me when it comes to books. I’m far too nice to say the word whore, but I never really met a genre I didn’t like.

When I read, it’s all about the book.  When I write, it’s all about the story. For me, this time, and this character, it had to be fantasy. Rania, my deep sea mermaid living incognito as a small town cop, hammered at my brain.  She was tough. She was cool. There was simply no saying no to her.

I told my sister:  I’m writing a mermaid book.

She said something like: Ooooh, cool.  Fantasy.

I said something like:  No, don’t be silly, you know I don’t write fantasy.

Then she said something like:  Erhh…you know mermaids aren’t real, right?  I mean, I you had those pyjamas back when you were seven, but…

Et cetera.

So fantasy was kind of an untrod road for me.  And, like most paths less travelled, I had to learn some things along the way.  Good and bad.  I had lots of feedback from critique partners and other readers, and it helped shape what worked and what didn’t.

So first up, the good.  You know what I love about fantasy? You don’t just get to break the rules, you get to write your own.  If the whole sex-with-a-tail thing is just way too mind-bending – voila!  No tails.  If your action takes place between the deepest part of the ocean floor and small town USA and your characters need to whizz quickly between the two?  No problems.  Just invent a cool new way of travelling almost instantly – melting down to the very droplets in the air, with the aid of a very cool, very small blue fish.

And then the bad news. You know what’s tough?  There are some parts of any story that transcend genre, and they are the bits you absolutely have to nail. They’re also the hard bits. Story.  Heart.  And, you guessed it, sex.

And the problem is, very few of us have ever been intimate seven miles down.  With a boy who’s kind of a fish.  So what to do?  Two things really.

First, approximate.  Okay, so I don’t know how a mermaid gets lush and loose.  But I know some stuff about dolphins, whales, and other sea creatures (well, at least the internet does, and we’re really good friends).  I can look at the reality and approximate from there.

Second, keep what you know. The stuff that’s real (and important) from your own experience.  Touch, heat, connection. And then use your imagination about how those realities mesh with the new world.

Third (okay, I know I said two things, but like I already said, I’m not much of a rule-follower), don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.  Remember the basics – character, conflict, motivation.  Whether your character is human, fish, or something in between, your readers are humans.  And we need those human connections.

I hope readers can find that spark of connection with my wild heroine and her story of love, secrets and danger.

Thanks for having me.

[Thanks for being my guest, Ros! ~ Juliet]

 

Ros Baxter has been writing since she was eight and penned a whimsical series of short stories about a race of tiny people who lived on a rainbow. While they were a hit in the playground, a few things intervened – including a career in social policy and four noisy children. Ros started writing again in earnest three years ago. In that time, Ros has secured a two-book deal with Harper Collins Australia, published Sister Pact (a romantic comedy co-written with her sister Ali) and Fish Out of Water (Escape Publishing on 1 April), been a contributing author to the e-anthology URL Love, and finaled in the STALI competition.

Ros writes fresh, funny, genre-busting fiction.  She digs feisty heroines, good friends, quirky families, heroes to make you sigh and tingle, and a dash of fantasy from time to time.

Ros also runs a successful business consulting to government and the private sector.  She teaches professional writing skills and has authored a writing guide, Clarity.

Ros lives in Brisbane, Australia, with her husband Blair, four small but very opinionated children, a neurotic dog and nine billion germs.

You can email Ros at rosbaxterink@gmail.com or find her at www.facebook.com/RosBaxterInk, on twitter @RosBaxter, or www.rosbaxterink.com.

 

FISH OUT OF WATER Blurb:

9089“It’s  Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum meets Splash in a sexy, smart-talking debut about a mermaid in a desert, a city under water, and the secret that no-one is supposed to uncover.”

Dirtwater’s straight-talking Deputy Sheriff has a lot on her plate: a nicotine addiction that’s a serious liability for a mermaid, a solider-of-fortune ex who’s hooked on her Mom’s brownies, a gorgeous, naked stranger in her shower, and a mysterious dead blonde with a fish tattoo on Main Street.

Oh, and one other thing.

She’s scheduled to die on her thirtieth birthday – in three weeks – unless she can ‘change the course of destiny and save the world entire’. Throw in a Mom who’s the local Mayor and a Dad who’s been locked in the county jail for twelve years, and that’s all the trouble she needs without her mermaid roots coming back to haunt her.Rania’s heading home to Aegira for a family wedding but she’s starting to have a sinking feeling that’s got nothing to do with hydroporting seven miles under the sea and everything to do with some weird connections that seem to be emerging between her, the dead blonde, her Mom’s shady past and a ten thousand year old prophesy. Now if she can just steal a corpse, get a crazy Aegirian priest off her case, work out who the hell’s trying to kill her and stop sleeping with the fishes, she might be able to unravel the prophesy, the mystery of the missing choirgirls and the secrets hidden in her Mom’s past. And maybe even save her own ass while she’s at it.

Buy Fish Out of Water.
Find out more at www.rosbaxterink.com