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Destiny Romance Launched!

After months of having to hold my tongue, I can finally reveal the launch of Penguin’s digital first Australian romance imprint, Destiny Romance http://www.destinyromance.com/ .You can find fine Australian romance in all genres with many more to come. Including mine! Look out for my debut novel, Princess Avenger, to be launched in October 2012.

First on the launching pad for Destiny are Kelly Hunter, Jennifer St George, Peta Crake and Elise Ackers. In a glittering cocktail party prior to the Romance Writers of Australia conference last weekend on the Gold Coast, Destiny Romance was launched and we heard excerpts from each of the books below read by the authors themselves.

Internationally best-selling author Kelly Hunter has released her delightful rural romance, Wish, with Destiny. Wish is a wonderful, sexy romance that will keep you guessing until the very end. It’s a brilliant collision between two headstrong people, and filled with moments of tenderness that will touch your heart. Keep the tissues on hand.

Jennifer St George is PR queen of Romance Writers Australia and debuts with her contemporary romance, The Convenient Bride. The Convenient Bride is a fabulous romance set in a world of great beauty and luxury, portrayed in picture-perfect detail. Two opposing souls strike up a partnership in a deal that has overlooked one important detail – that it involves a woman who knows her mind and her heart.

Western Australian author Peta Crake has launched her writing career with sexy paranormal romance, Harbinger. Harbinger is a terrific romance laced with humour, danger and adventure. The deeply likeable, unstoppable Ophelia takes us on a quest that puts all the memories she holds dear – and her own heart – at risk.

Talented Melbourne writer Elise Ackers has released her romantic suspense, Small Town Storm, with Destiny. Small Town Storm is a gripping read that captures the intensity and passion of first love and the terror of a town where trust has broken down. This is the unforgettable story of a lifelong romance, and of an innocent childhood tainted by evil that won’t let go.

And if that’s not enough to get you interested, look out for Anne Gracie’s free, short, historical romance coming soon to destinyromance.com .

Head over to http://www.destinyromance.com/ to purchase these fabulous Aussie romances.

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Burning Lies Review

I love it when a story makes you reflect on life and that’s what Burning Lies, by Helene Young, has done for me. It made me think about lots of issues such as working single mothers, volunteers, undercover police, the danger of fire in rural communities, grandparents parenting their grand children and more. There were so many issues in this novel and any one could have been the basis for a story on its own.

Kaitlyn Scott is trying to be all things to all people and not really succeeding with any of it. She has unbelievable tragedy in her recent past and has fled from Canberra to the Atherton Tablelands in the hope of a fresh start. Her mother Julia and son Daniel are part of the fragile life she has created for herself in the heart of the bush. Kait is able to pretend she has put her past behind her until the community begins to suspect an arsonist is at work on the Tablelands.

Hunky but troubled undercover cop Ryan is sent to investigate and takes up residence on the property next door. He is immediately drawn to Kait and her family and begins to imagine a life where safety doesn’t depend on a lie. But Kait is more involved with the arsonist than she could have predicted and soon all their lives are under threat.

We’re used to damaged heroes in romance, and Ryan is definitely one of them, but damaged heroines aren’t so common. Kaitlyn is one such lady, trying hard to ‘fix’ her life so the pain of the past can’t hurt her again. She’s only half alive as she battles to recover from the past and build a new reality for herself and her son. Guilt is a big motivator for her and she is willing to sacrifice time with her son to battle bushfires in the belief that by doing this she can right the wrongs of her dead husband.

I really came to understand Kait through the book and was fully invested in her future by the end. Ryan was a lovely hero whom I immediately felt empathy for. There were so many small elements that came together to complete the story eg Uncle Jack’s diary. Much thought has gone into this book and the technical details felt so accurate. The ending is bittersweet with sadness and more loss for Kaitlyn.

Ryan and Kait do get their HEA but tempered with the ever present threat of Ryan’s undercover past. Good job Helene! This story is your best yet. You can find more of Helene’s books here: http://www.heleneyoung.com/books/

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Interview with Barbara Hannay

Barb HannayToday I’m talking to Barbara Hannay, author of sparkling, feel-good, emotional romance. Thanks for taking time to answer a few questions, Barb.

Thanks for inviting me to be a guest on your blog, Bernadette.

You’ve realised a dream many of us have- to write for a living. How many books have you published? How many do you need to publish each year to pay the bills?

At the moment I have forty-one books either published or about to be published.  I write three books a year.  Until now that’s been 3 category romances, but I’m now writing single title books for Penguin as well, so I’m feeling my way, learning how much I can manage.

The publishing industry is changing so quickly at the moment it’s hard to make any predictions about earnings, and I haven’t been our sole breadwinner, but so far, we could have lived (modestly) off my earnings.

In the 4.5 years between your first manuscript rejection and ‘the call’ what steps did you take to achieve your dream of publication?

First, I read hundreds of romances. The genre was new for me and I had made the initial mistake of believing I could write a romance after reading just two. After that, I immersed myself in the genre, and developed a deepening love and respect for it. It’s important to “get” why readers love romance.

I kept submitting and being rejected and submitting again. Usually, you can’t be published without risking rejection, dealing with it and moving on. I simply aimed to make each submission better.

I joined Romance Writers of Australia, entered competitions and got helpful feedback. www.romanceaustralia.com

What technique/truth  have you learned in your writing journey that you wish you had known at the start?

I’ve realised that writing’s like life. You keep finding out that there’s more to learn, and it doesn’t get any easier – just different. J It’s also a bit like falling in love – incredibly exciting and fulfilling at first and then day to day challenges creep in, but you make a commitment because you know you can’t live without it.

What is the best part of writing romance? Is there a down side to your job?

I’ve made the most wonderful friends through my writing. I’ve also loved travelling overseas to conferences and having experiences like the fabulous Harlequin black and white ball in the Starlight Room at the Waldorf Astoria in New York.

The downside for me would be the loneliness of writing. Thank heavens for email. J

Your ‘sweet romances’ are much loved.  For those of us who don’t understand HMB categories, what can a reader expect from a Barb Hannay ‘Sweet’ romance?

Thanks Bernadette. My stories usually have a strong emotional element, something personal and important to the characters. My heroines are every day women you might know and my heroes are nice guys, not necessarily mega rich, but able to provide. I walk a thin line between fantasy and reality. I guess my characters’ situations are realistic but the romance is mostly fantasy.

Zoe's MusterYou have your new book ‘Zoe’s Muster’ due for release on July 25th with Penguin. What do you love most about ‘Zoe’s Muster’?

I really enjoyed being able to include extra characters and to explore the world beyond the central couple.  I also loved structuring a longer book and interweaving three women’s different reactions to the same situation.

Where did your love affair with ‘the bush’ begin?

I grew up in Brisbane in the foothills of Mt Coot-tha, so exploring creeks and the bushland was an important part of my childhood. But I think my real love of the bush came when our children were small and we spent so many holidays camping and canoeing.  A friend owned a beautiful cattle property on the Burdekin River near Charters Towers and that has been a huge inspiration.

Can you tell us anything about your current WIP?

I’m working on a sequel to Zoe’s Muster, telling the story of Bella and her aunt, Liz, who’ve been living overseas. It’s a ‘coming home’ story, once again set again on Mullinjim station.

Who in your life do you rely on for support?

My husband Elliot gives me massive support, as a brainstorming partner, sounding board, morale booster. He’s wonderful and I’m very, very lucky.

Having achieved the goals of publication and then writing for a living, what do you dream of now?

A movie deal. No, just kidding. I simply hope to keep building my readership and to write stories they’ll love.

Thanks for joining me on my blog today, Barb and best of luck with ‘Zoe’s Muster’ – out today! For more of Barbara’s fabulous books and her writing life head to http://www.barbarahannay.com/

 

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Interview with HeleneYoung- Part 2

Welcome back to my blog for Part 2 of my interview with Helene Young. HELENE Young, Shattered Sky

Helene, you have a very interesting day job. Please tell us a little about it and how it influences your stories.

My day job involves flying twenty-nine tonnes of aircraft with four crew and seventy-four passengers up and down the east coast of Australia. Our network extends from places such as Horn Island, Mt Isa, or Mackay all the way through to Melbourne. I’m also involved in training our new pilots and conducting checks on our crews. I love having a tiny office with a spectacular view and I hope I share that with my readers.

My Border Watch series is based in an aircraft very similar to ones I’ve flown so I do draw on that technical knowledge for accuracy. The series is also set in North Queensland in the areas I’ve come to love so much.

You’re a very busy woman. Who in your life do you rely on for support?

Graham and Zeus keep me sane, fed, in clean and ironed clothes, and ensure I continue to laugh at myself. I’d be lost without them.

What does a typical day in the writing life of Helene Young look like?

Yikes! There is no such thing as a typical day. I write around my roster which changes every month and sometimes daily. I can’t be precious about where I write and my muse is not allowed to be temperamental! If I’m on a day off then I start ‘work’ at 7 am after Graham’s left for his job and Zeus has had a walk. I sort through emails, blogs, twitter and FB until about 9 am and then settle down to write. On a good day without interruptions I’ll manage five thousand words. On a day when life gets in the way it may be as little as a thousand, but every word counts!

You have your third book, Burning Lies, due for release in July. What do you love about this story?

I love Ryan. He is my favourite hero to date. I loved him in Shattered Sky and he grew so much he had to have his own story. Kaitlyn is perfect for him and she’s a wonderful single mum struggling to balance a career and a child. Burning Lies is also my tribute to the amazing volunteers who fight fires in Australia. Without them so many more people would lose everything.

Can you tell us any snippets about your current writing project?

My current WIP looks at international crime syndicates and how far they reach into every day Australia. The research has been fascinating! Ellie and Nick are two wonderful characters with a great deal of depth so it’s been interesting writing their story. It’s set in mid-northern NSW, an area where I spent time as a child during school holidays so it was lots of lovely memories!

 Where to from here? Where would you like to be in ten years?

You know that’s a great question! I’ve written a blog post for a guest spot in a couple of weeks about setting goals because so few writers seem to do it.

In ten years I’d like to have another ten books on the shelf.  I’ve put that out there in the universe now so I’m bound to honour it!!

I also plan to be on the deck of a yacht by the end of the year, living aboard in Cairns and flying part-time so I can write some more.

Thanks for joining us, Helene, and best of luck with Burning Lies!

You can check out Burning Lies and Helene’s other books here: http://www.heleneyoung.com/books/

 

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Interview with Helene Young- Part 1

Today I’m talking to romantic suspense author Helene Young.

HELENE Young, Shattered Sky 

Thanks for taking time to answer a few questions, Helene.

Bernadette, thanks so much for inviting me to chat with you. It’s great having such a vibrant community of writers in NQ RWA, albeit a widely spread group! Congratulations on your upcoming debut release! Exciting times for you.

Thanks, I can’t wait for the edits to arrive. Your first two books, Wings of Fear and Shattered Sky have seen you win reader awards for Romantic Suspense. Can you reveal what this means to you?

Thanks, Bernadette, it is lovely to win awards that are judged by readers not critics as is the case with the Romance Writers of Australia’s RBY and the awards from the Australian Romance Readers. At the heart of my writing is the aim to entertain, to take people on a journey with my characters, so awards like this mean the world to me.  When I’ve spent twelve months tapping away at the computer keys being able to connect with readers is the ultimate thank you!

Wings of Fear             

You began your writing journey in 1998. What made you start writing? Can you describe your writing journey up until ‘the call’? 

I’ve always been a bit of a writing dabbler. I wrote the obligatory angst ridden poems during my teens and early twenties and assumed one day I’d write a book. Life had other ideas and aviation captured my imagination so writing went onto the back burner. It was only in my mid-thirties when we moved to Cairns for a new job with an airline that I suddenly had time on my hands again. I started writing in my spare time and didn’t tell anyone what I was doing. When I finished my first manuscript I hid it in a filing cabinet drawer while I contemplated what I was going to do with it.

My husband found it while I was away in Brisbane with work and he was responsible for really pushing me to take the next step and submit. I did that and was politely rejected, but part of the rejection, and subsequent submission to an assessment agency, was the best piece of advice I’ve received in my writing career. Join RWA. I did that and my manuscript came second in the Emma Darcy Award in 2004.  It was beginners luck, but it was so motivational for me. I used the RWA contest circuit to hone my writing ability. The feedback was at times hard to take but I learnt so much, I toughened up and realised I had a long way to go. The RWA conferences were a source of inspiration and learning – and the camaraderie of Romance Writers is second to none!!

My fifth completed manuscript, Wings of Fear (Border Watch), was a finalist in the Golden Heart Contest with RWAmerica. Having that on my resume was enough to get a request from Hachette for the full manuscript. After taking Bernadette Foley’s advice and rewriting the manuscript I was offered a two book contract.

What technique/truth  have you learned in your writing journey that you wish you had known at the start?

Editing is the time when your work really starts to shine. I was so fortunate to have Bernadette as my editor. I learnt so much from her about my own writing and the process of editing.  I’m a committed pantser and I doubt I will ever be a plotter. I write my story and then I plot it out so I can tweak in the editing stage to ensure both conflict and tension are there.

For new writers I like to reassure them that the rules are there to guide them. Sure grammar and punctuation is a given, but POV, conflict, chapter length, narrative vs dialogue are all areas where opinions differ. I cringe when I hear presenters saying, ‘You must not’ or ‘You have to do it this way.’ Everyone has a different creative process and the rules will help you work out which ones are appropriate for you.

Hearing about a writer’s journey is always so fascinating. Be sure to watch out for part 2 of my interview with Helene when I ask her about her day job, her stories and her hopes for the future.

You can check out Burning Lies and Helene’s other books here: http://www.heleneyoung.com/books/

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Is ‘Fifty Shades’ a Romance?

Yes, I’m reading the Fifty Shades Trilogy by E L James and I’ve just finished book 1, Fifty Shades of Grey. Am I enjoying it? Yes. Why? Well, beyond the kinky sex and punishment rituals, there really is a love story here.

Anastasia Steele is a ‘fish out of water’ in every sense of the word. She is young, a virgin and unaccustomed to the experiences wealth can offer. She has no defences to bring to the table except her ‘smart mouth’, admirable intellect and her belief in love and decency.

Christian Grey is the devastatingly handsome young entrepreneur who leads Ana into his dark world, lavishing her with gifts along the way. The first four years of his life have left scars both physical and mental and now as an adult he deals with them the only way he knows how. He is the most damaged hero I can ever remember reading about.

In the push and pull of their early relationship, Ana has her first sexual experience and is horrified to discover the other side of ‘Mr Grey’, the side that must control and punish. She explores her ‘hard limits’ and discovers that his hard limit is touching. Yes, Christian cannot bear for Ana to touch him.

Ana quickly falls for her tortured hero and vows to bring him into the light of a real and loving relationship but by the end of the first book, she decides she can’t abide the punishment side of their affair.

Early on in this book, I wondered if E L James would merely lead us through a series of kinky sexual acts and worried if there would be enough to keep most readers turning the pages. However as Ana and Christian explored each other’s limits and their relationship developed, I was intrigued.

An aspect of the book I really don’t like is the first person present tense point of view. I normally would run a mile from this style of writing but when such deep feelings and responses are being explored, I think it works well. There is a lot of internal monologue with Ana’s internal goddess and harping self- conscious getting a share of the limelight. I often got confused with what Ana was thinking and what she had said out loud and I had to re-read passages to clarify.

Does the book feel realistic? Generally. I wonder if it is a bit of a stretch for the reader to believe that a 27 year old entrepreneur could be a billionaire without inheriting a company from his parents. Also I thought some of the questions in Ana’s interview with Christian at their first meeting were rude and I didn’t believe she would have asked them in that situation. They did pull me out of the story. Once past that and Christian’s improbable age, I totally believed the story and their relationship.

Do I like the characters? Ana is difficult not to like. She is the ‘girl next door’ type, a romantic, who believes in a happily ever after. Christian is the ultimate alpha hero but more damaged than most. I do like him and am coming to understand why he is the way he is as his early life is slowly revealed. Can he be redeemed by Ana? I hope so. By the end of Fifty Shades of Grey we know he loves Ana even if he hasn’t said the words.

Can Christian relinquish his need for control and punishment and allow love and tenderness to be his only sustenance? Can Ana endure the emotional roller coaster of her relationship with Christian and emerge with her ‘happily ever after’?

Yes, I believe it is a romance. What do you think?

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Alpha versus Beta Heroes

Beta Heroes

As authors, it’s normal for us to write our heroes as alpha males but can a beta hero be just as attractive? Let’s examine the differences and this question might be answered.

The alpha male is most women’s idea of the hero. He is masterful, confident, a man of influence and a man of action rather than words. This hero is protective of his woman but often not interested in being tied down. He will be sexy and sensual, fully aware of his effect on the opposite sex and willing to use it to get what he wants. What makes our alpha hero even more intriguing are his vulnerabilities. These will be hidden from the world, masked by aloofness, and only our heroine will be able to expose his softer side. She will heal his wounds.

The alpha hero will likely be first born and a leader in everything he does. He has climbed the tree of success to the very top. He won’t suffer fools and won’t be slow to confront a problem head on. He moulds the world to suit his needs, he makes things happen and will never die wondering. Sensitivity is often not his forte and he will put people offside with his confidence and brashness.

These are all wonderful characteristics for our romance hero but can a beta hero work just as well when it comes to stoking the fires of love in our heroine?Beta guys are more popular now than they once were. This could be due to the advent of a more sensitive society where the particular traits of the beta are valued. He is often a younger sibling, perhaps a middle child. As such, he is a people person, good at getting along with others and is someone who will put the needs of others first. He would be a great hero for a heroine in need of a little TLC.

Our beta hero is a diplomat whose confidence will be boosted when he can master a problem. When he rescues his heroine he shines. He is a practical person, a quiet achiever, more likely to walk away from confrontation but that doesn’t mean he can be pushed around. Family is important to him unlike our alpha who is often a loner. The beta hero is prone to hide his feelings behind humour, especially if he has been hurt by a situation. He could appear weak at times, influenced by the desires of others and unable to make quick decisions. His self-sacrificing nature could grate if carried to extreme.

So can a beta hero work in a romance novel? I think he could be the right choice if he has qualities that the heroine needs. A heroine with tragedy in her past, especially relating to a man, will need someone she can count on who will place her needs first. She will appreciate his consideration and his chivalry because he makes her feel like she is his princess. A feisty heroine could also compliment a beta hero- opposites attract. In this situation, the writer would need to be careful not to create a hero who can be pushed around by his woman. She might be able to get her way in most situations but when it matters, his word will be law.

So have I changed your mind about writing a beta hero? Do you now want to read a story where the beta is the hero and not a secondary character? Have you written or read a story based around a beta hero? What were his endearing characteristics and what sort of woman was he set against?

Why do I ask? I’m currently writing a story where the hero is a beta male. He is gorgeous, takes his duty very seriously and will do anything for the woman he loves. I want to get his character right from the start. He must care without being weak; be a man of action but not confrontational. He must be a thinker and have deep emotions. He isn’t wounded but he does have flaws that are consistent with the beta male- possessive and a little obsessive, makes judgement mistakes when he allows his emotions to take over and is too self-sacrificing. I’m walking a fine line. I’ll let you know how I progress.

In the meantime, I’d appreciate your thoughts on the beta hero and his place in the romance novel.

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The Most Romantic Doctor Who

Dr Who CastDr Who fans are in seventh heaven this year with all of the modern series being played at 7.30 weeknights on ABC 2. We are being treated to lashings of The Doctor in his modern glory with all three ‘new’ doctors featuring this year. I must take this opportunity to say that Matt Smith has finally grown on me as The Doctor. It took a long time for me to say good-bye to David Tennant.

Currently, we have the second series of Dr Who featuring David Tennant in his first season. It’s Billie Piper’s (character Rose Tyler) second season and she does a truly magnificent job. She’s the girl who keeps the Doctor honest, showing her street smarts and her connection with family in every episode. Rose is the champion of the underdog and appears to have compassion in boundless quantities.

The Doctor whisked Rose away from her life on a London estate to roam the universes in search of danger and excitement. Some of my favourite episodes though are the ones where the Doctor visits the past. “Tooth and Claw” is the second episode in the second series and the Doctor and Rose travel to 1879 Scotland. There they meet Queen Victoria who is about to find a spot of trouble with a werewolf.  This week has seen “The Girl in the Fireplace”, an episode based around the life of Madame de Pompadour in France, 1727. This was a captivating episode, made more so by the beauty and grace of Sophia Myles who plays Reinette Poisson.

Romance underpins many episodes in the Doctor Who series. It is clear that Rose is besotted with her travelling companion and I believe that amongst all the companions throughout his long life, it is Rose who sits highest in the Doctor’s affections. He will do anything for her except settle down. That life is not for him. He tells her he won’t watch her grow old and die. Rose has already given up everything that once mattered to her to be with the Doctor.

Early in series two, we meet a past companion of the Doctor, Sarah Jane Smith, and realise that here is another woman he has loved and left behind. Rose is shown her future and struggles with the likelihood that one day the Doctor will leave her too. The companion who follows Rose is Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman). After well over a year of service at the Doctor’s side, Martha parts from his company as she too has fallen in love with him. It is very clear to her that Rose is still uppermost in his thoughts and she, Martha, can only be second best.

The Doctor’s next companion is Donna Noble (Catherine Tate) who is unique amongst companions for not falling in love with him. (Although was she really kidding herself?) The Doctor and Donna share an amiable rivalry and he admires her greatly however Donna is possibly too abrasive a personality to ever be considered as a love interest. Never the less, Catherine Tate portrayed an intriguing companion and her episodes with Tennant are some of the most enjoyable.

The latest companion, Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) leapt onto our screens with the eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith. Amy was definitely infatuated with the Doctor early on though it soon became clear that her heart lay with Rory. Another indefatigable woman, Amy takes the lead while the new incarnation of the time lord finds his feet.

And then there are the other women in the Doctor’s life. Most recently, this week in fact, the enchanting Madame de Pompadour stole the Doctor’s heart. She called him her ‘lonely angel’ and he visited her over the years of her life, rescuing her from clockwork androids when she was 37 and at the height of her power. He was willing to be trapped with her, never again to roam, but Reinette conceived a way to send her ‘lonely angel’ back to Rose.

River Song (Alex Kingston) is the unforgettable future wife of the Doctor, the woman he finally says ‘yes’ to. She is a fellow time traveler and keeps meeting the Doctor out of sync so that he has no real idea of her significance in his life. From an audience perspective, the Doctor’s first meeting with River is her last with him, so as he gets to know her better in ensuing episodes, she is less familiar with him. The bulk of her relationship is with the Matt Smith incarnation of the time lord.

The TARDIS is another of the Doctor’s loves; his ship, old and unreliable, with a core that is alive with the spirit of a woman. This spirit does actually inhabit the body of a human in the 2011 episode “The Doctor’s Wife” and we get an insight into the relationship between the time lord and his machine. A recurring plot point in the series is the habit the Doctor has of getting both the place and year of his destination wrong. In this episode, the TARDIS reveals that her intervention has often been the cause of these mistakes so that she could get the Doctor where he needed to be.

Last but certainly not least is Captain Jack Harkness played by John Barrowman. He first meets Rose in an episode set in London in the Blitz. He rescues her and attempts to sweep her off her feet but it is the Doctor who really traps his loyalty. The Doctor instantly knows Jack is bisexual but it takes Rose a little longer to realize that when it comes to sex, Jack swings both ways. Regardless of his preferences, the unforgettable dimpled smile of the swashbuckling Captain Jack will have fed the fantasies of many a viewer, male and female.

As a bit of fun, I’ve decided to announce some Doctor Who Romance Awards

Most Romantic Doctor – David Tennant series 2,3 and 4

David Tennant image

Freema AgyemanMost Romantic Female Companion– Freema Agyeman (Martha Jones) series 3

John BarrowmanMost Romantic Male Companion– John Barrowman (Captain Jack Harkness) series 1, episode 9 “The Empty Child”

Sophia Myles

 

 

 

 

 

 

Most Romantic Guest Appearance– Sophia Myles (Madame de Pompadour) series 2, episode 4 “The Girl in the Fireplace”

Anthony HeadMost Riveting Antagonist– Anthony Head (Mr Finch) series 2, episode 3 “School Reunion”

These awards cover only the modern series, encompassing doctors 9,10 and 11. Please feel free to respond with your ‘Most Romantic’ awards from the series or add other awards to the list.

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Welcome to my world!

Knight with SwordThis blog is devoted to fantasy and romance where creation is limited only by imagination. The laws of magic and love hold sway here where a princess might wield a sword and a common soldier dare to dream of ruling nations. Love that is forbidden crashes through obstacles to carry us away to a world where there is a ‘happily ever after’.

In my early teens, I discovered the magic of the epic fantasy quest through the tales of J.R.R. Tolkien and Terry Brooks. Mere mortals battled creatures from nightmare with powerful companions such as wizards, elves and dwarves. These stories captured my imagination and I moved on to series in the same genre written by Raymond E. Feist and David Eddings. For me, Robert Jordan completed the loop. The final in the fourteen book epic was published in 2013. Jordan and his Wheel of Time series is so loved that another author, Brandon Sanderson, was commissioned to complete the series after Jordan died.

How wonderful it is to read book after book with the same characters, living, loving and growing with them as magical forces beyond their control pick them up and carry them on to deeds previously unimagined. I’ve seen many a young hero grow into his gifts on the pages of the books of these wonderful authors.  And so it continues today. The speculative fiction community of writers flourishes both within Australia and globally. We build our worlds and fill them with characters who live and love, casting their spells upon us and our readers. We are the richer for the experience.

I hope you enjoy your visit to my world…