Blog Archives

COVER REVEAL! Starstruck in Seattle

I just returned from the Romance Writers of Australia conference in Fremantle WA (post & photos to come soon), and while I was there, I got to see my new cover for the first time! It was such a nice surprise as it appeared on the screen of the Escape Publishing powerpoint presentation during the Awards gala after party. I love it! I think it captures the story perfectly, and I love how they included the skyline of Seattle. What do you think?

  • You can add the book to Goodreads here.
  • Preorder here.


Here is the official blurb, and the story is released on 1st October…

Aspiring actress Anna Hilford might only have a small role in a leading television drama, but she longs to be dreamboat Karl Drake’s leading lady. Sick of being loveless and overlooked, Anna seeks the help of intuitive love coach, Lulu, from to give her the courage and determination to follow her destiny. But fate has different ideas, Lulu has undisclosed power, and Anna is about to realise that life happens while you’re busy making plans… 

1013 Starstruck In Seattle_1400

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!


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. 

When wishes come true…

In January 2011 I moved into a new house, in a new town, to start a new life. Somehow, I started a new book too! This book was The January Wish, set in my new town but with a fictional name. And exactly two years later (January 17th, 2013) I got an email with an offer of publication! Yes, I am excited to finally announce that I’ve signed my second publishing contract with Escape Publishing, the digital imprint of Harlequin Australia.

So now, two wishes have come true… my wish to have this story published, and my character Sylvia’s wish to… well, read the blurb to give you an idea 😉

1204463_sxc_loveWhen control-freak doctor, Sylvia Greene, makes an impromptu wish at the Tarrin’s Bay Wishing Festival, she doesn’t expect it to come true, but a week later her ordered life is thrown into chaos when the daughter she secretly gave up for adoption at sixteen turns up in town. While dealing with deeply entrenched guilt, small town gossip, and a burgeoning attraction for her emotionally unavailable colleague, she discovers her daughter harbors a secret that could threaten to tear them apart once again.

The genre of this story sits on the border between contemporary romance and women’s fiction, although it will probably be put into the contemporary romance slot because although the story has themes of motherhood, career, and friendships, tying the whole story together is an emotional romance that I hope will have readers aching for the hero and heroine to be together.

The January Wish is the first book in my proposed ‘Tarrin’s Bay’ series, with each book being a stand-alone story but set in the same town with some familiar characters appearing in each book. Each book is also named after one of the calendar months, and I’ll be working on the second book, February or Forever, later this year which I’m really excited about as I’ve been plotting it for months! I’m also creating a ‘Tarrin’s Bay’ website to help bring the town to life for readers. Tarrin’s Bay is called ‘The Town of New Beginnings’ – it’s where people go for a holiday to find they never want to leave. There are beautiful beaches set against a backdrop of lush green rural land, a close-knit community, friendly people, quaint shops – including an old fashioned bookshop, and an historic wishing fountain in the town’s popular meeting spot – Miracle Park.

What makes this book unique is that it has three points of view – the hero, the heroine, and an eighteen year old girl, with each of their lives and stories being linked to each other’s. There’ll be laughter, there’ll be tears, and there’ll be secrets revealed.

Last year, The January Wish was one of the six finalists in the Choc Lit Search for an Australian Star contest, and I was completely gobsmacked when I found out! Although I didn’t win, it gave me confidence that readers might enjoy this story, and I can’t wait to share it with you on 1st December 2013. It was going to be released in January to tie in with the title, but by releasing in December instead it allows time to build up some excitement around the upcoming new year, which is what starts off the story – at the Tarrin’s Bay annual Wishing Festival in January.

Here’s a little snippet:

The coin in Sylvia’s pocket cooled her warm fingers as she fiddled with it impatiently. At least this was all for charity. That would be her excuse if anyone asked why she – Dr. Sylvia Greene – sceptic and all round party-pooper, was making a wish. She had a great life; an interesting career, a best friend, good health, a nice house, and even a new boyfriend. What else could she possibly wish for? What was she doing here?

To see some pictures I’ve collected that give you a feel for the story, have a look at my Pinterest page for The January Wish here.

To keep updated on this book and the Tarrin’s Bay series, you can subscribe to my blog by filling in your email address at the top right corner of this page (if you’re on a smartphone, click ‘view full site’ at the bottom, then go to the subscribe form). I look forward to bringing you interesting articles and posts about this upcoming book and series in the lead up to it’s release!

Have you ever made a wish that came true? 😉


Past, Present, & Future with Rachael Johns

853370_flaming_cakeIn celebration of the imminent release of my debut novel, Fast Forward (see announcement here), I’m doing a series of interviews with authors about their past, present & future. Today, please welcome… Rachael Johns!

AND,  it’s her birthday tomorrow (25th), so let’s wish her a very happy birthday!!


1. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Oh SO many things. I was one of those kids who changed occupations as frequently as I changed my socks. I wanted to be a vet, a teacher (which I did eventually become), a flight attendant, a news presenter, a jouLittleRachaelrnalist, an actress, a zoologist, a nutritionist… I don’t think there are many careers I didn’t contemplate at some time or another 🙂

2. What did you do before you became a writer?

I was a high school English teacher (but only for six months before I went on maternity leave)! Before that I was a checkout chick and front-end supervisor and a copywriter for an on-hold messaging company. Believe it or not I liked the supermarket work better AND it paid better too!

3. What is one of your most treasured memories from the past?

Going on holiday with my mother to England the year I finished school. It was an amazing holiday seeing places she’d talked about my whole life – I was born in England but we left when I was 18 months old and this was our first trip back. On this trip I also met my dad, my half-brother and half-sisters for the first time in my life. It was an emotional and rewarding holiday.


4. What’s your latest release about and/or what are you currently working on?

I have two January releases – Stand-In Star from CarinRachaelJohns2a Press and Man Drought from Harlequin Australia. Although both are contemporary romances, Stand-In Star is set in the glamorous world of Oscar Academy Hollywood and Man Drought is set in a small Aussie country town.  In some ways both involve fish-out-of-water heroines who have to adapt to a new and sometimes scary situation.  You can read more about each book on my website books’ page .

Right now, I’m working on my first ever novella – currently titled The Kissing Season, but of course that’s subject to change!

5. What’s a typical day like for you? (If there is such a thing!)

Haha – I’d like to say a typical day involves a nice sleep in, followed by breakfast in bed delivered by my sexy manservant, following which he brings me my laptop and I write in luxury all day but that would be a lie. I don’t really have a typical day. About two days a week I have a kid-free, shop-free (that’s my day job) day. Those days I get up, get everyone else organised and off to school/day care, chuck on a load of washing and do the washing up (sometimes I leave this till later) and THEN I sit down at my desk, check emails, Twitter, FB, etc and THEN I write. On these days I aim for as many words as I can, ‘cos the rest of the week, I can only steal writing time in snatches, most of which are at night.

6. Name three things you are grateful for in your life right now:

My family, my family’s health and my health. I could say my writing career finally going to plan and I am thankful for that, but when I hear such horrible stories of other people and families suffering, I often have to pinch myself that we are so blessed right now. Really as long as you have your loved ones around you and they are healthy, I don’t think you MDcan ask for more.


7. If you could fast forward in time to any age or year for just one day, what would you choose & why?

I’m not sure of the age exactly, but I’d love to fast forward to when my boys are adults. I hope they are all well and happy and I am just so curious as to what they decide to do with their lives!!!

8. If you could have any new technology or invention in the future that would make your life a whole lot easier (or more fun), what would it be?

It’d have to be a robo-maid-cook!! Need I say more!

9. What are your hopes & dreams for the future?

StandInStar_finalThat my family stays happy and healthy, my boys grow up into good men and that I get to keep writing and publishing books!!

Thanks Rachael, and have a FANTASTIC birthday!

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

And don’t forget to give Rachael the best birthday present ever – book sales! Buy MAN DROUGHT from Australian bookstores, Amazon, Harlequin, or Google play, Kobo, and ibooks. Buy STAND IN STAR from Amazon, B&N, and Carina press.

Past, Present, & Future with Monique McDonell

In celebration of the upcoming release of my debut novel, Fast Forward (see announcement here), I’m doing a series of interviews with authors about their past, present & future. Today, please welcome… Monique McDonell!

mon webPAST:

1. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

That’s a good question. When I was three I wanted to be a trapeze artist. When I was ten I thought I’d like to be a mother of eight and a journalist (not sure how I planned to juggle that, my working mum must have made it look easy!) I always wanted to be a writer as well, maybe not at three but pretty soon after.

2. What did you do before you became a writer?

I studied Communications at Uni and always worked a related field doing PR, events and fundraising. I worked for several non-profit organisations where you had to wear more than one hat. I still work in PR now, even though I write as well. I run a boutique agency with one of my best friends.

3. What is one of your most treasured memories from the past?

Wow, how do you pick just one? My best most magical childhood memory ever is going to America when I was eight. We went for Christmas and spent part of the week before at Disneyland. On the first day we flew from Australia and then my parents had a nap but when we went in the park for dinner I was allowed to have apple pie for my meal, not a ‘proper dinner’. I remember my sister had a hot fudge sundae. That was so exciting!



hearts_afire24. What’s your latest release about and/or what are you currently working on?

My latest release is a contemporary romance called Hearts Afire. Cassie Callahan has a disastrous wedding day. First she is jilted and then her catering business catches fire and in comes Jack Callahan, a fire-fighter, to save the day. It’s a story about meeting the right person at the wrong time – which so many of us have done.

My next novel is called Alphabet Dating and will be out in January. It’s a chick lit novel about a girl whose friends dare her to date 26 guys in a month, one for every letter of the alphabet, and the consequences of taking on that challenge.

5. What’s a typical day like for you? (If there is such a thing!)

I don’t think too many of us have typical days do we? Mine is spent juggling my day job, my writing commitments and family life. I do most of my work between nine and three or when my daughter is at after school activities. I’m not very good at saying ‘NO’ so I’m often over-committed. I’m working on that. My day always involves coffee and usually ends with a glass of wine or two.

6. Name three things you are grateful for in your life right now:

My health, my family and good friends.



7. If you could fast forward in time to any age or year for just one day, what would you choose & why?

I’d fast forward to when I turn fifty. I want to know if that trip to New York I’m planning with some girlfriends is really going to happen. If so, I’d like to go visit myself at the Red Door Spa, go to The Plaza for afternoon tea and have cocktails somewhere fancy with my girls.

8. If you could have any new technology or invention in the future that would make your life a whole lot easier (or more fun), what would it be?

I would like a hover board like in Back to the Future. But I would like the board to be in the form of high heels, and then I wouldn’t get sore feet at parties.

9. What are your hopes & dreams for the future?

Honestly, my main hope is that my daughter grows up to have a happy and fulfilling life. Aside from that I hope I continue to make new friends and meet interesting people, because that’s what makes life fun! On a writing front I hope I’m able to continue to write and that my books find an audience.


Thanks Monique! Visit Monique online at her website, facebook, and twitter. Buy HEARTS AFIRE now at Amazon.