Tag Archive | Australian Romantic Suspense

Kendall Talbot’s Treasured Secrets Revealed

Kendall Talbot public pictureToday I have the pleasure of Kendall Talbot’s company on my blog. Kendall Talbot is an award winning author, thrill seeker and hopeless romantic. She’s travelled extensively, some 36 countries so far and she’s addicted to experiences that make her scream… white water rafting, scuba diving with sharks and hang gliding are just a few. Her stories reflect her sense of adventure and her love affair with her very own hero.

Her debut novel Lost in Kakadu (Escape Publishing, 2013) has resulted in a clutch of award nominations and most notably won the exclusive title of Romantic Book of the Year 2014.

Kendall collects junky jewellery and expensive perfume, her favourite night out is with great friends and a fabulous bottle of wine or two, and she rarely watches TV. She lives in Brisbane with her hubby, her two grown sons and her fluffy little dog, Josie McLuvin.

Welcome Kendall!

Thanks, Bernadette, it’s great to be here!

Tresured Secrets book cover mediumThis book is such an adventure, taking readers from Tuscany to a yacht off the coast of Greece. Where did you come up with the plot idea?

One of the major inspirations behind Treasured Secrets came from my 20th anniversary holiday to Tuscany. Florence is a treasure trove of history and architecture, bustling with tourists and little café’s eager to serve you bread and wine within seconds of finding a table to sit at. My husband and I went on a couple of city tours and one such tour took us to the Church of St Apostoli, a small insignificant church compared to many of the other magnificent churches dotted throughout Florence. Inside the church, inlaid in the mosaic floor tiles, was an oval pattern. Our tour guide told us it was the trap door where they tossed the bodies during the 13th century plague that killed 50 million people in Europe. My mind went crazy thinking about entire families being wiped out by that horrible disease. Then I began to wonder what happened to all their precious things they left behind. On the plane flight home, I began plotting my Treasured Secrets action adventure romance.

The way you research the books is kind of off the charts! (Witchetty grubs? You are a braver woman than I!) What type of research did you do for TREASURED SECRETS?

I was really lucky with those witchetty grubs I just happened to find them in my garden. How else was I going to get the flavour right in my scene? It’s important for me to write about and draw from actual experiences. Obviously many of them are pure fabrication, and thank goodness too, some of my characters go to hell and back. Treasured Secrets is as much a treasure hunt as it is a culinary adventure. Rosalina, my Italian heroine in Treasured Secrets is a talented chef, so food and flavours abound as much as the treasure hunt action. Every one of the meals she makes in my books I made for myself. In fact, recipes from “Treasured Secrets” debut in their own book “Rosalina’s Treasured Treats” you can find this on my website and cook along as you read the book if you like. In addition to the cooking, Rosalina’s home in Treasured Secrets is a 700 year old villa that I holiday in in Tuscany. Villa Pandolfini is in Signa, a little village just a fifteen minute train ride from Florence. This spectacular historic villa with extremely high ceilings, magnificent frescoes and original antique furniture was surrounded by vineyards and olive-groves and offered an extensive view of Arno Valley.

What are you working on now? Any new books on the horizon?

Book two in this series, Treasured Lies will be out in October 2015 and book three, Treasured Love, will be released April 2016.

I used to daydream about robbing a bank that I worked at in 1992. So guess what? I robbed that bank. In a book of course. Double Take my first crime novel, is a gritty Quinten Tarantino meets Nora Roberts story set in that bank I worked in. I also chose 1992 as the year its set, a time before the internet, mobile phones and electric windows. It was also a time of Cheers, Cagney and Lacey, boom boxes and Carrington Blush fake champagne. It was so much fun writing in that era.

Lost in Kakadu image003_jpg@01D07AB0 Rosalina s Treasured Treats Cookbook cover medium sizeTell us about the cookbook:

Treasured Secrets is as much a treasure hunt as it is a culinary adventure. Rosalina, my Italian heroine in Treasured Secrets is a talented chef, so food and flavours abound as much as the treasure hunt action. Every one of the meals she makes in my books I made for myself. In fact, recipes from “Treasured Secrets” debut in their own book “Rosalina’s Treasured Treats” readers can find this on my website and cook along as they read Treasured Secrets if they like.

What inspires you to write? 

The story. Once I get an idea for a story in my head it won’t leave me alone. I dream about it. I think about it constantly, even at work when I’m trying to do my boring bookkeeping job. It’s like I’m possessed and the only way to rid it from my brain is to write about it. My bank robbery stayed in there for 22 years, so when I finally sat down to write it, it took just 3 months.

Thanks Kendall, it’s great to get an insight into your writing life!

You can purchase Treasured Secrets here:

Amazon

Booktopia

Kobo 

iTunes

Google Play

You can find Kendall here:

Email: kendall@universe.com.au

Web: www.kendalltalbot.com.au

Facebook: www.facebook.com/kendalltalbotbooks

twitter: https://twitter.com/KendallBooks

Chatting to Jennifer St George

Jen St GeorgeToday I’m chatting with Destiny Romance author, Jennifer St George. Welcome, Jen!

Thanks for inviting me on, Bernadette.

Congrats on the release this month of The Love Deception. Can you tell us about the story?

The Love Deception is my third novel with Destiny Romance. It combines legal intrigue, courtroom drama and a dash of exotic Barbados.

The Love DeceptionWhen Felicity Carter wakes up naked in a strange bed, she has no idea how she got there. And no recollection of meeting the gorgeous man calmly offering her breakfast. Felicity flees – hoping that their paths never cross again.
 The last thing she expects is to discover that her mystery man is Damon Fullbright, partner at the law firm where Felicity has just started work – and her new boss!

Damon is appalled to find the out-of-control young woman he rescued has been hired to work on his team. Apart from anything else, he doesn’t need the distraction of a hot blonde with a barrel-full of issues. But one-by-one, Felicity blows all Damon’s preconceptions out of the water. When Felicity explosively reveals her dreadful secret, will he risk his reputation and trust her to discover the truth?

How did you come up with the idea for your book?

I used to travel extensively and would often wake up in a hotel in a foreign country and forget where I was.  In those first few seconds of waking, I’d always get a jolt of adrenaline and I’d wonder where I was. Of course I’d quickly realize I was fine, in a hotel and had to get up and go to work. I wondered what it would be like if you woke up and had no idea where you were. Felicity does just that at the beginning of the book. From that point on, her life is a rollercoaster ride in the search for truth, understanding and ultimately…love.

What do you love most about The Love Deception?

I love that both hero and heroine will do anything to protect the ones they love.

The Convenient BrideWhat is different about this book when compared to The Convenient Bride and Seducing the Secret Heiress? What is similar?

This book has an element of romantic suspense about it which is different to The Convenient Bride and Seducing the Secret Heiress. All three books include exotic locations, opulent settings and a hot, hot hero!

How does winning an award like the Clendon (as you did with The Convenient Bride) help your writing career?

I think being a finalist and winning awards helps bring you to the attention of editors. It also adds to your writing credentials, which is invaluable when drafting submission cover letters.

You work in PR, what are the three most important ingredients in promoting yourself?

  1. Develop a brand for yourself
  2. Get your online presence in order. This is important to establish before you are published.  Editors will look for you online.
  3. I’ve found getting to know popular romance bloggers has been very beneficial as they will feature/review your book and/or do an author spotlight

Of course ahead of all of this is to write fabulous books!

Seducing the Secret Heiress, Jennifer St GeorgeDo you have any words of wisdom for aspiring writers?

Probably the top things that helped me achieve publication were

1) Volunteering. I volunteered for Romance Writers of Australia. This put me in touch with lots of published authors and editors through my work in sponsorship
and media.

2) Education. I attended every writing workshop/course (highly recommend Margie Lawson’s online courses!!), author chat and conference I could.  I read loads of romance writing ‘how-to’ books.  I read lots and lots of books in the line I was targeting

3) Competitions. I entered so many competitions as possible with as many entries as were allowed.

4) I wrote, wrote, wrote, wrote.

How has writing changed you as a person?

Hmmm.  That’s a good question.  I probably watch people a lot more than I did before.  Especially for inspiration on how people react in certain situations.

What genre do you like to read? Who is your favourite author?

I read across a lot of genres – obviously lots of romance (mostly category as that’s what I write), but I also love crime (eg recently read Michael Connelly, Stieg Larsson, Gillian Flynn), historical drama/action (eg Bernard Cornwell) and literary authors such as Ian McEwan, Julian Barnes and Iain Banks (who sadly passed away several weeks ago). I don’t read too much fantasy, but I am ripping through George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. I try to keep up with winners of the major awards such as The Booker and Miles Franklin awards (although I am very behind at the moment!!) and am still working my way through the classics. Only read To Kill a Mockingbird last year (I know, I know!).  Unfortunately I’m a slow reader so my TBR pile is huge!

I don’t think I have an all-time favourite author.

Destiny LogoWhat’s next for you?

I’m half way through my next book which I’m hoping my Destiny Romance editors will love and another contract will be heading my way!

Thanks for sharing your inspiration and words of wisdom with us today, Jen and all the best with The Love Deception

What’s in Name?

Leisl Leightonby Leisl Leighton

What’s in a name? Apparently heaps.

A swimming teacher I work with told me the other day because of multiple negative experiences with boys called Jackson, and girls called Brittany, she couldn’t help but roll her eyes whenever she had a new kid to teach who had one of those names and think, ‘what hell are these ones going to put me through’. Now, I don’t think the kids’ behaviour had anything to do with their names, but it did make me think about what we see in a name, how it affects us and the lasting impressions it leaves. This question became even more important recently when I had to come up with a new name for the novel that Destiny Romance has just published.

When I started to write this novel, as usual, I had no idea what it was about. I am a true pantser (writer who doesn’t plot). But I had a re-occurring dream about a music producer with a dark past she wanted to hide and a rock star she wanted to work with whose fame threatened to bring her secrets to light. There was also a phrase that kept recurring in my dream, ‘sounding the heart’. The hero said it to the heroine when he was talking about what he saw in her. So, of course, that’s what I named it when I had to name my document. What I didn’t know then, was that it would turn into a romantic suspense novel with a stalker and murderer in the mix. I knew when I was subbing it that the name wasn’t right, but I couldn’t really think of anything else, because ‘Sounding the heart’ was what it was to me.

Destiny LogoOf course, that title would be good if it was a straight romance novel, however, it in no way suggests the suspense/murder part of the plot – which is a quite significant part of the story. My editor very carefully asked me how attached I was to the title (my answer when I was writing it might have been, ‘quite a bit’, but now, it was ‘not at all’.)  Knowing this question was going to be coming I had been thinking about the importance of titles and what certain titles said to me. I know there have been times when I’ve picked up a book just because of what it’s called. Of course, if the blurb didn’t appeal to me, I put it right back, but the title was the thing that caught my eye. So, it seemed, there was a lot in a name if I wanted people to pick up my novel and have an idea from the title what it might be about.

I quickly came up with a bunch of titles that encompassed different aspects of the novel – the twin connection, the music, the dark creepiness of the stalker and combinations that encompassed elements of two or three of these. I really wanted something that would speak of the way the hero and heroine’s music spoke to each other (so touching on the feel of the original title), but also suggested the darker side of the novel.

Killing Me SoftlyIn amongst all these suggestions was my favourite, Killing Me Softly. I liked it because it hit the darker elements nicely, but also references Roberta Flack’s 1973 song about a woman listening to a musician whose song speaks to her soul (something that is mentioned by the heroine in the novel), so it shows the importance of music in the hero and heroine’s journeys. Luckily, my editors loved it too and picked it among the dozen others I’d thrown out there.

So, after years of calling the novel by another name, it is now called ‘Killing Me Softly’ – and do you know what? I love it. It feels good, much better than ‘Sounding the Heart’ ever did. It tells me so much more about the story. And I hope it speaks to readers too.

Killing Me Softly is out now. Find it at www.destinyromance.com, Amazon, Kobo or iBooks.

Wonderful Townsville

We might have missed out on a real wet season here in Townsville and the romance that goes along with that but there’s still plenty to love about this great city. The weather is cooling down and the air is clear. The grass is still green and the sky is a deep, deep blue just like the eyes of your hero.

Clouds, Palms and Sky UP the garden path

My hero has been out in the garden, restoring order to our lush, tropical foliage so I’ve included some images of ‘our place’ just in case you ever wondered what environment this writer gets to work in every day.

Golden Cane  Tropical Garden 1

I can’t help but be grateful to live in this beautiful world, surrounded by these magnificent plants and animals AND loved by the most awesome family and friends one could ever wish for.

Joanne, Frank, Michelle, Amy and Jacinta  24.3.2013 U15 Batting Champion wests 2

I’d love to see some photos of your beautiful world and the people you appreciate. If you wish to share, send me a link or a photo…

IMGP2073 PIC_0806 Slippers Autumn OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In Search of Destiny

Monique and PA- Williamstown PO                  Castletown PO Tville 2

There’s been a mad frenzy over the last few days with Destiny Romance authors dashing into post offices throughout Australia desperate to find their books on sale. We’ve known for a couple of months that the deal with Australia Post would see our books in print and sold in post offices throughout Australia. It’s available in 660 stores in total and these are mainly, but not exclusively, the large Post Office stores in shopping centres.

I put out the call for my readers to track down Princess Avenger in the flesh and send me a photo of the illusive royal and themselves. This was no easy challenge as those who know Princess Alecia realise she likes to get about in disguise. I’m happy to announce that Dr Monique from Williamstown was my first reader to succeed in cornering the feisty princess. But that doesn’t mean the challenge is over.

I’m still gathering sightings of Princess Avenger wherever she makes an appearance. There are even rumours that her story remains unfinished and that even though the heroine is exiled, she hasn’t given up on her kingdom or her people.

So keep an eye on those post offices and stay in touch…

Australia Post Holds Destiny

Book at ARRA

In great news, Australia Post have decided to take all 2012 Destiny titles, in print, as one of their rotational offers. This means my book Princess Avenger is now available in 650 Australia Post outlets for a period of about three months. The recommended retail price is $9.99

If you live in Australia, this is a wonderful opportunity to have the Destiny titles from 2012 in paperback. It’s every author’s dream to hold their book and this deal with Australia Post has made that dream come true for me. I hope it’s just the beginning of exciting times for Destiny Romance, Penguin’s digital first romance imprint. Destiny have given a voice to previously unpublished authors of Australian romance and they are to be congratulated for that alone.

Having read all of the 2012 releases, I can tell you there are some truly wonderful titles amongst the dozen on offer. So if you like to hold a book in your hands rather than an electronic device, hop into your local Australia Post store and enjoy a little Destiny romance.

Weekend of Romance-Author Signing

ARRA Author SigningI was lucky enough to take part in the author signing during the ARRA 2013 Convention. It was beautifully organised and set up with around 66 authors involved from the fabulous Amy Andrews, Anna Campbell, Anne Gracie and Nalini Singh through to Helene (Helium) Young. Somewhere in the middle were the Destiny team of myself, Jennifer St George and Imelda Evans. Over two hours, readers filed past, getting us to sign the amazing souvenir booklets which contained information on each of the authors. And oh what information! Who knew that one of Anne Gracie’s celebrity crushes was David Tennant (I’m with you Anne!) or that Anna Campbell would love to live on the west coast of Scotland or that Kelly Hunter would really like to be James Bond?

I got to sign the print version of my book for the first time. It was difficult to know what to write but hopefully I’ll be forgiven if it was a bit lame. What was most amazing to me was the reader interest in paranormal/fantasy stories. It was gratifying to speak to so many who read widely in the genre that I love. I guess I’m not so odd after all.

Writers are, first and foremost, readers and the weekend was a wonderful opportunity to network with other readers who are most definitely passionate about romance and books in general. There was a great sense of being with one’s ‘tribe’ and for solitary writers, which we all are, this was an opportunity too good to miss. I’m so glad I attended!

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.

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

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 destinyromance.com, will have the opportunity to read The Laird’s Vow, a charming historical romance by this three time shortlisted RITA award author. https://www.destinyromance.com/

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  https://www.destinyromance.com/