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Princess Avenger Party

Once upon a time there was a woman who wanted to write and publish a book. She realised this was a long term goal but not how long it would take to be successful. The first book she wrote was a picture book because she had three little sons. Our writer soon realised this was one of the most difficult genres to be published in and moved onto junior fiction. She wrote two books in an adventure trilogy about a magical tree.

After eight years of toiling away on a very part time basis, our children’s writer moved house to a city in the north of her home state and vowed to take her writing seriously. She also moved genres again, this time to adult sci-fi or space opera as she likes to think of it. A romance developed between the hero and heroine in the first two of a nine book series but our writer got bogged down with the enormity of her task.

A good friend and mentor had the feeling her pupil would benefit from a change of scenery and suggested she write a romance; a book called Princess Avenger was born. After eighteen months of revisions, our fantasy romance author decided she would submit her work to a new digital imprint of Penguin Group Australia, Destiny Romance. She was accepted and six months and many more revisions later, the finished Princess Avenger, Vard and Alecia’s story, went on sale.

One month after its release, our author hosted her first book launch. It was a time for celebration, of catching up with old writing buddies and members of her wider community of friends. It was a moment to savour and one she will long remember. She left the night, dreaming of her next book and her next launch. One book was never going to be enough.


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Midnight Magic

Romance was in the air on the 15th of November with my son Sam’s year 12 class graduating. The theme was Midnight Magic and it was held at Rydges Southbank in Townsville. As usual, the venue was decorated beautifully. The girls looked amazing with big skirts and bling the order of the day. The young men were dressed to impress with ties, waistcoats and fancy cars. All day, I thanked God that I had a son graduating and not a daughter. It’s so much more involved with a young woman to prepare.

Our day was pretty relaxed with Sam’s rite of passage ceremony at school and then home to relax for several hours. We had collected our new Kia Optima the day before so that was perfect for Sam to arrive in. After a last minute change of plans, Sam now had no date so his big brother Tom stepped in, keeping him company for his arrival at Rydges.

It was an evening of celebrating the achievements of students, teachers and parents. A good meal, good company and great music all combined to create an event we will long remember. Congratulations Sam and the graduating class of St Anthony’s Catholic College 2012!


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Solar Eclipse

On a day like today, it’s wonderful to be living in North Queensland. My only regret is that we didn’t make the pilgrimage to Cairns to witness the full solar eclipse, which was truly amazing. What astounds me is the power of the sun. Only a sliver of it is required to light our Earth. We didn’t have anything special to view the eclipse from Townsville but what we did see was wonderful.

The light was ‘odd’, like late afternoon in the morning. As we reached our maximum sun coverage, the temperature dropped several degrees and it was really pleasant outside. But the most spectacular thing was the hundreds of sun crescent images reflected onto the shadecloth of our outdoor area.

This morning is a timely reminder of just how powerful our sun is and how critical it is to our everyday life. It governs the temperature of our world, the seasons and life on this planet. You just have to stop and think how lucky we all are to be alive today.

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Princess Avenger Launch Party

You Are Invited to:


Launch of Princess Avenger:

Join us at 6.30 pm on 23rd November at the Western Suburbs Cricket Club, Harold St, West End in Townsville for drinks and nibbles

RSVP by November 16th

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Free Book to Celebrate Destiny Romance

Destiny Romance, Penguin Australia’s digital romance imprint is offering romance lovers a free digital short story by popular romance author, Anne Gracie, this month. Anyone who registers at, will have the opportunity to read The Laird’s Vow, a charming historical romance by this three time shortlisted RITA award author.

Launched in August in Australia, Destiny Romance is quickly gathering momentum. The imprint which publishes eBooks across the romance genres of contemporary, historical, suspense, paranormal, fantasy, sci-fi and erotica, has a strong emphasis on discovering new Australian voices in the world of romantic writing.

The Destiny Romance website also allows readers internationally to purchase eBooks from the site, so they can enjoy their Destiny Romance eBooks anywhere – from the coffee shops of New York, to the tube stations of London and the beaches of Queensland.

The Penguin team behind Destiny Romance, Sarah Fairhall and Carol George, said “We are proud to be delivering Australian stories in a genre we both love, in a format that reflects changing tastes and times, and to a worldwide audience.”

Destiny Romance releases two new eBook titles every month and requests for media copies can be made via Net Galley.

Current titles available include:

  • · Wish by Kelly Hunter
  • · Harbinger by Peta Crake
  • · Small Town Storm by Elise K Ackers
  • · The Convenient Bride by Jennifer St George
  • · Cityglitter by Carla Caruso
  • · Double Exposure by Charmaine Ross
  • · Rules are for Breaking by Imelda Evans
  • · Princess Avenger by Bernadette Rowley.

To purchase all of these titles go to

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Princess Avenger Release Date

I’m so excited to announce the release date for Princess Avenger is October 15th! I’m looking forward to sharing my words with readers and taking them to a world of fantasy, magic and romance.

You can find Princess Avenger at

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Book Review- Fly Away Peta

A kick ass heroine and a love lost ten years ago are the basis of this romantic suspense from Juanita Keys. Right from the start, Ms Keys has the reader asking questions, just as all good suspense should. Why has Peta’s husband kidnapped her daughter, Bella, and will Peta’s brother, Mark, rescue the little girl in time. Who is Bella’s father?

In the process of hunting Bella, Peta runs into her ex-lover of ten years ago, Jaime Caruso. Is a second chance at love really possible? Will Peta’s conflict with her husband destroy everything that has ever meant anything to her?

Fly Away Peta is a more than satisfying read with enough twists to surprise the reader, both in the suspense and the romance. Peta is a heroine who has been toughened by all that life has thrown at her and has emerged a better person. Her daughter, Bella, is delightful and the hero, Jaime, a man who will happily dodge a bullet or take a beating for his love.

Issues such as domestic violence and the interference of parents in their children’s marriages are sub plots. This is a romance conducted in close proximity to a nine year old child and Ms Keys handles it with wonderful sensitivity.

With Fly Away Peta, Juanita Kees has fulfilled her brief: to write stories of spirited heroines who give the hero a run for his money before giving in.

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Princess Avenger Cover

At last I can show off the cover of my debut novel Princess Avenger. I love it!

It will be released in October 2012 through Destiny Romance , Penguin Australia’s new digital first romance imprint.

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Interview with Sophia James

Image Lady with the Devil's Scar (Harlequin Historical Series #1102)

Today I’m talking to Harlequin Historical author Sophia James.

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

That’s OK, Bernadette. It was lovely to be asked and I am so thrilled you have been picked up by Destiny Romance (Penguin) for your 5DI Princess Avenger.

Your historical romances are much loved. What can a reader expect from a Sophia James historical?

Characters that a reader hopefully grows to feel like they know well.  My stories are quite sensual and I hope, intelligent reads.

What inspires you to write historical romances?

I have always read historical romances as I really like them.  I have written a contemporary and would like to try another but I guess my heart just belongs in Historicals.  I like the sense of history. I like that conventions then were different than they are now.

You have a wonderful knack of selecting intriguing names for your heroes. Can you tell us the secret of this talent?

Asher, Taris and Cristo Wellingham were always characters I knew I would write about ever since I can remember. They were in my very first practice book. The name Asher came after meeting a friend of my nephews, Taris was a guy we bought a car from and Cristo was kind of snatched from the Count of…Other names I have found from a map of the South Island of New Zealand. They have cool old English names all around Christchurch. Cath Evans sent me a whole list of great names too. I love to play around with names. My latest hero is Taylen shortened to Tay.

Describe your writing journey up until ‘the call’?

I won the Clendon with my first book and did a lot of revisions on that story. I was picked up by Harlequin on the book in 2003.

I got an email while I was at work and my husband rang me.  When I came home he had brought a whole bunch of flowers and printed off the email and all the family were gathered around. I guess they knew how much I had wanted this and were really supportive. I always wished I could have got a midnight phone call though.

How many books have you published and do you have a favourite?

I have had 10 books published and another is out in April 2013.

Favourites…??? I guess I just love the Wellinghams although my medieval stories hold a special place in my heart. It’s always hard to choose a favourite and in fact the more I think of this question the harder it becomes. I like them all but in different ways.

High Seas to High Society One Unashamed NightOne Illicit Night
Do you have another job to supplement your writing income?

I don’t now. I gave up my teaching job a couple of years ago and have never regretted it. The full time teaching just became impossible when balanced against 4 book contracts and everything I did was falling to pieces ‘cos I was so stressed trying to do both well.

What does a typical writing day in the life of Sophia James look like?

I get up and always get dressed. I love the idea of writing in my pyjamas in bed but I can never do that…it feels like I am not working and I need to put on my good clothes and sit at my desk.

I try to write 1000 words a day but some days that is impossible.  I nearly always write for four to five hours. After that I seem to barely get a word out so then it is mainly my thinking time. Because writing is so sedentary I usually go for a walk or do a gym workout

You put a lot back into the writing community, mentoring and running workshops. Why?

I love teaching. It is so much a part of who I am. I was so pleased and also a bit scared to be asked to be a mentor for 5DI in 2010 but I loved it and amazingly was asked back for 2011. This year I have done a 2DI in Blenheim with a small group and also I spoke at the RWNZ conference about layering in a book.

I think it is really important to give back to the writing community and if I can help another writer to realise their dreams of being published then that is wonderful.

Who do you rely on for support in your writing career?

My husband, really, as I doubt I could pay the bills if he wasn’t there J

My writing friends are at the end of the phone and my mum and sister always read the first draft of my stories.

You’ve just released Lady with the Devil’s Scar. What do you love about this book?

Isobel the heroine. She turned into such a gutsy in your face sort of woman, a really easy character to write as I could just see her striding across her land in boys clothes and incredibly competent in protecting herself and her people.













You’re currently in revisions for the fourth and final book in the Wellingham family series. What can we expect from this story?

Lucinda is the little sister in the series and has often kind of been in trouble with her forthright ways. In this story she is married off to the Dissolute Duke, Taylen Ellesmere, after a scandal and he causes all sorts of problems for the Wellingham family. I loved seeing the brothers reaction to a man who gave them no leeway, and an honourable hero in spite of all that had been said of him.

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

I’m not much of a technical writer. I never read ‘how to’ books and I seldom understand the complex methods you often hear touted at conference.

I just have always written what I would like to read. So I don’t honestly think that I write differently now than I did at the beginning.

How do you feel about the burgeoning e-book industry?

I love it. I love the fact that there are other ways to publish your book now and that it leaves such a great chance for everyone to explore differing alternatives.

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

I got asked this question at conference and I found it hard to answer. I love my editor, Linda Fildew, and I would find it really difficult to not have her input in my book if I changed lines.

Sometimes, though, I think I would like to write a series of books based on a community in New Zealand. I have actually started that but need time to develop the concept.

Thanks Sophia, for showing us around your writing life and good luck with ‘Lady with the Devil’s Scar’.

You can find Sophia and her books at

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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 .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 .

Head over to to purchase these fabulous Aussie romances.