A Weekend of Romance

Book at ARRAI’ve just participated in a magnificent weekend in Brisbane at the 3rd Annual Australian Romance Readers Association convention. I wasn’t sure what to expect as this was the first readers event I’ve attended. Over the coming weeks I’ll outline my impressions of this wonderful gathering which packed so much into two days and two nights.

As a quick overview of the event, the weekend started with Lady Jane’s Salon where several authors read excerpts from their recent releases. Following this, delelgates attended a welcome reception which was a wonderful chance to catch up with author and publishing industry mates and meet new readers. Over the two days of conference, attendees were treated to no less than three key note speakers and numerous workshop sessions including ample opportunities for readers to ask questions of authors. I have to say that the authors I listened to were very generous and open in their answers.

It was lovely to meet devoted readers who have an intimate knowledge of the romance genre, not to mention many other genres. All subgenres of romance were covered over the weekend including erotica, fantasy and sci-fi, rural, suspense and of course contemporary and category romance.

By far the most amazing part of the weekend was the chance to hold my book. Yes! Princess Avenger has been printed along with all Destiny titles from 2012. I’ll have more info on where you’ll be able to pick up your paperback copy of my story in coming weeks. At this stage it will only be available in Australia.

If you ever get a chance to attend one of these conventions either as a reader or a writer, I can thoroughly recommend it. The next one will be in two years time.

New From Destiny Romance

2013 has already been a big year at Destiny Romance. In January the digital first publisher released Seducing the Secret Heiress by Jennifer St George and Wild at Heart by Charmaine Ross. These are both second books in the Destiny Imprint for Jen and Charmaine and I can highly recommend them.

Seducing the Secret Heiress, Jennifer St GeorgeDiamond heiress, Charlotte Wentworth, is passionate about two things – cooking and her billionaire fiancée, Paul.  That is, until she finds Paul has been unfaithful. Shocked, she flees to Europe where she is determined to build a life of her own without her family’s name, fortune or connections.  When she meets gorgeous Englishman, Gabe Grenville, a famous reality TV producer, sparks fly. Charlotte passes herself off as a lowly catering assistant but soon finds herself a star on his TV cooking show. But how will he react when he discovers Charlotte’s true identity? And Paul has not given up – he has his own agenda for forcing Charlotte to return to Australia and marry him.

Will their love turn into a recipe for disaster? Or will it turn out to be a perfect

Wild at Heart, Charmaine RossDocumentary maker Dan Masters is completely out of his comfort zone in outback Australia. Passionate park ranger, Victoria Price, couldn’t be more at home in the wilderness. After Victoria saves Dan from the jaws of a ferocious crocodile, she can’t get away from him fast enough. But her amazing rescue has been filmed and when the film’s investors see the footage, they demand Dan do whatever it takes to get Victoria involved in the movie. Ordered to take part, Victoria reluctantly joins Dan on safari where they fight poachers, fire ants and a powerful attraction for each other that becomes increasingly difficult to deny. But desire is a dangerous game in this riotous romantic comedy…

This month Destiny have released:

Second Chance- CarlaSecond Chance by Carla Caruso
The second book for Destiny from Carla and we love it.  It’s all about 30 something,
lovelorn Flora who is accidentally zapped back in time to when she was 20 and
her life unraveled. Flora decides to win back the love of her life, land the
dream job and stay friends with her bestie. But will Flora find the happiness
she seeks in her past – and will it be what she expects?
To read an extract
from Second Chance, click here

The Border Laird's Bride, Allison ButlerThe Border Laird’s Bride by Allison
Butler

This passionate Scottish romance had us swooning at
Destiny. Jamie, the hero, is gorgeous, strong, masculine – and lovely and kind.
He’s promised to produce an heir, but never to fall in love. Kenzie is one of
the best heroines ever. A likeable firebrand who’s brave, a little wild and has
a very good reason to never want to marry. We found ourselves cheering this
couple on and you will as well.
To read an extract from The Border Laird’s Bride, click here

And of course, there are all the previous fabulous titles including my own Princess Avenger Princess Avenger High Res Cover. All the buy links for the different e-book formats are available on the Destiny website at http://www.destinyromance.com/

My Family

My FamilyMy husband and I watched an episode of My Family recently and, as is often the case, the program reminded us a lot of our own married life. Sure the situations are more extreme, but the feelings and challenges are similar. All too often we find ourselves looking at each other thinking how eerily My Family reflects our life together.

In the episode, Ben and Susan head off to a marriage retreat to freshen up their relationship. They struggle with all the exercises they are asked to partake in. One activity they are asked to do is to list ten things they love about each other. They both fail to do this and actually start crossing things off that they have already written down. This was an uncanny episode as, in my Valentine’s Day post, I suggested my readers might try to think of all the things they loved about their partners.

Long term relationships like Ben and Susan’s fall into predictable patterns and often we forget all those things that made us fall in love in the first place. People change, we get bogged down with life, endearing traits aren’t so endearing after 20 years and we notice the annoying things much more than the loving, helpful qualities. I think this is why so many people fall out of love.

But Ben and Susan Harper show us that beneath all the sarcasm and harping, mocking and annoying that goes on in everyday married life there often is a strong thread of love and commitment unpinning the relationship. If we focus on that solid, caring core and think about all there is to love in our partner then that might make the difference between a loving partnership and an endurance test.

If you haven’t already watched My Family, I thoroughly recommend it. Here’s a small sample: ‘My Family’ Clip- Susan for a Bruisin’- Aerobics

Valentine’s Day

Autumn Floral HeartNo one would question the fact that this day is for the ultimate romantics but I think Valentine’s Day brings out the romantic in many of us, even just a tiny corner. We begin to think about what it means to us to have a valentine and how/if we should show our appreciation.

Does it all have to be about the dollars we spend? Did you know that Australians will spend nearly one billion dollars on Valentine’s Day? Expensive gifts are one way to show someone we love them but not the only way. Simply the spending of time with your loved one – a good long chat, sharing a movie together, going on a walk, reflecting on how you came to fall in love and telling your valentine the things you love about them – are all great, inexpensive alternatives.

No matter how you celebrate the day, I believe the important thing is that Valentine’s Day is a chance to stop and appreciate each other. So let’s do that today: take a moment to pause and remember all the great things about your valentine: the loveable, the funny, the romantic, the thoughtful, the caring, yes all those attributes that make it worthwhile being in a relationship.

How did I celebrate today? I went out with my husband, we collected my eternity ring (it only took 25 years to get one!) and we shared a coffee together. How will you celebrate this day?

Goodreads Best New Author

Happy Australia Day to you all! No, I’m not going to talk about this fine day of ours. I received an invitation from Juanita Kees today which urged me to pop over to Goodreads and vote for the Best New Author. So I did. I also added my debut novel Princess Avenger to the list for voting. There are some mighty fine books in there so pop over and take a look and have a vote (or more than one).

The link is http://www.goodreads.com/list/show/9608?al=OTk0MzQ4MQ==-b34f48e32658e9fdac9b2c0709b89e09ae1c17f2&i=LTM1OTk3NDQ5Mzk6MzU3&utm_medium=email&utm_source=list

I’ve loved being part of Goodreads for the last seven months. It’s a wonderful site for readers and writers and for these two groups to connect. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have. Have a great weekend!

Waiting

weather mapI went for a walk this afternoon, around my local area, and couldn’t help feeling a deep love for the place I’ve come to call home. North Queensland has its own rhythm of seasons and at this time of year, the north waits. We’ve braved the dry spring and early summer and the first showers have graced us with their presence. We wait for the start of the wet as the monsoon inches its way towards us from the north. We wonder if we’ll have to face a cyclone this year.imagesCAUNBIMB

The storm bird calls and the crickets serenade us in the early evening. The frogs delight in the barest hint of rain. We hold off on watering just in case a shower should drench us overnight. Our prayers beg for rain during the week, leaving the weekend free to play cricket, mow the lawn or go fishing. Of course, when the wet comes, none of these things are possible and so we wait, longing for the rains but knowing that they will be relentless, flooding, mould-inducing and seemingly never ending.

Couple in rainAnd when the rain comes and there’s nothing to do but sit inside and write, perhaps then I’ll make real progress on my writing tasks for 2013. It’s been hard to get back into the routine after the Christmas break; back to work, back to writing, back to the miriad of tasks that have lain neglected over the holidays. As nice as the holidays and sleeping-ins are, I’m looking forward to life resuming a normal rhythm of early starts, children off to school and clawing back my writing routine.

Ah, yes, there’s no denying the romance of the rainy season in North Queensland. Bring it on!

All The Best For 2013!

FireworksHappy New Year! I love this time of the year. It holds so much promise that I can’t help feeling hopeful.

We can finally take a breather after the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season. The pressure is off for a short while and we are able to look ahead and imagine how we might change our lives.

Is there something you’ve wanted to achieve for a long time? Is there a talent you’ve never fully explored? Do you want to be fitter, happier, wealthier, less stressed, less busy? Do you want to find the love of your life? Would you like to explore your country or travel overseas?

The New Year is a great time to review the previous year, discover what worked in 2012 and what needs improvement. There’s never been a better time to create your goals for the year ahead and your plan for achieving them.

The term ‘New Year resolutions’ is thrown about so casually but when you look at the definition of ‘resolution’ it means  resolve,  determination, steadfastness, tenacity, perseverance, purpose.

In 2013, let’s keep this definition firmly in focus, set achievable goals, plan for them and tackle them with determination and perseverance. What are your goals for 2013? Please share them with me here…

Review of Double Exposure

Double Exposure by Charmaine RossThis was a gorgeous story by Charmaine Ross. Her setting in the high country of Victoria is beautifully described and takes on a character of its own.

Eden was a wonderful heroine and Adam a truly desireable hero despite his rough exterior. Eden is looking for her dream career and taking steps to achieve that. Ms Ross clearly understands what it is to take a risk and dream a dream and her prose in chapter six of the book was nothing short of inspirational.

Eden explains to Adam that she fears losing herself if she continues to exist in her dull day job. ‘I don’t think life is ever safe. Even if you stuff everything up, I think it’s a waste not to try to follow your dream. It’s a waste of that spark you were born with. What you’re here to do. To be.’

For me, this perfectly personifies how I’ve always felt about life. I can highly recommend this book. Find Double Exposure here: http://www.destinyromance.com/products/9781742536569/double-exposure

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.

 

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!