Today is my final blog post for the year, so it seeems a good time to catch up on what RWA members are reading and publishing. Susanne Bellamy, Elizabeth Ellen Carter, Daniel de Lorne, Anne Gracie, Cathryn Hein, Jennie Jones, Nikki Logan, Annie Seaton, Jennifer St George, Alison Stuart and Morgan Watts (alphabetical by surname) were all kind enough to answer the following questions despite the festive frenzy:

  • Which book would you like to find in your Christmas stocking this year?
  • Which book would you most like to give as a gift this year?
  • What is your current WIP / book available for purchase / upcoming new release?

They all gave very generous answers. I had enough feedback to write three blog posts but unfortunately room for only one. If you want more information, just drop in to the author’s website, and I’m sure they’ll fill you in.

Susanne BellamySusanne Bellamy
I’d like … OUTLANDER/ CROSS STICH by Diana Gabaldon or perhaps the whole series! I am looking forward to actually reading the book and deciding just how much Sam IS Jamie Fraser.

I’d like to give … my sister a light, happy read such as Anna Campbell’s HER CHRISTMAS EARL or Noelle Clark’s ROSAMUNTI.

Out now is ENGAGING THE ENEMY. My upcoming release is THE EMERALD QUEST: WINNING THE HEIRESS’ HEART, the third in a four book romantic suspense series about a lost emerald necklace, a diary that documents a blazing love affair, and danger in paradise.

Elizabeth Ellen Carter
Elizabeth  Ellen CarterI’d like … a book I didn’t know I wanted! My husband and I are great collectors, and he gave me an early gift, a Ladybird book from 1965, KING RICHARD & THE CRUSADES. I’m inspired to write more medieval historical romances!

I’d like to give … I, CLAUDIUS and CLAUDIUS THE GOD by Robert Graves together with Eva Scott’s THE LAST GLADIATRIX and THE BARBARAN BRIDE.

My latest book is WARRIOR’S SURRENDER, a medieval romance.

Daniel de Lorne
Daniel de LorneI’d like … PRINCE LESTAT by Anne Rice (or BARE STRENGTH by Michael Stokes, purely for the eye-candy).

I’d like to give … SOMETHING LIKE SUMMER by Jay Bell, a really lovely and touching gay YA novel.

My romance BECKONING BLOOD is available now from your favourite e-tailer. It’s about vampire brothers, Thierry and Olivier, the men they love and the enduring truth that true love never dies – no matter how many times you kill it.

Anne Gracie

Anne holding up two of her fave Georgette Heyer novels as part of a Read-More-Historicals promotion

Anne holding up two of her fave Georgette Heyer novels as part of a Read-More-Historicals promotion

I don’t rely on Santa to get me what I want, though if he could magic up the book I’m working on at the moment, I wouldn’t object. :) My Xmas reading pile includes Joanna Bourne’s ROGUE SPY, the second in the Dorothy Dunnett “Lymond” series — QUEEN’S PLAY, Sophie Kinsella’s WEDDING NIGHT and Trish Morey’s STONE CASTLES.

Anne Gracie 2I give … different books to different people according to age,  gender and taste, but included will be Barbara Hannay’s MOONLIGHT PLAINS, the second in Dorothy Dunnet”s Lymond series QUEEN’S PLAY, Trish Morey’s STONE CASTLES or Jennifer Kloester’s THE RAPUNZEL DILEMMA. The men will get cookbooks or a thriller by some author I enjoy. Potential future borrowng is noooo factor in these choices, nor are potential meals :)

THE WINTER BRIDE is my most recent book. THE SPRING BRIDE will be out in June 2015.

Cathryn Hein
Cathryn HeinI’ve just finished reading RIVERS OF LONDON by Ben Aaronovitch. What a blast! Like Harry Potter for grown-ups. Now I want all the rest in the series. Otherwise Loretta Chase’s LORD OF SCOUNDRELS.

I’d like to give … either SHADOW AND BONE by Leigh Bardugo or DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE by Laini Taylor. Both books are the first in two of the most incredible romance trilogies I’ve read. Can’t rave about them enough and want everyone to fall in love with the series the way I did.

Out now is THE FRENCH PRIZE, my debut romantic adventure.

Jennie Jones
Jennie JonesI’d like … Anita Shreve’s 17th novel, STELLA BAIN. I love the romantic elements in her works as the main female characters wander through the conflicts life throughs their way.

I would dearly love to gift … a copy of TIED TO THE TRACKS by Sarah Donati (author of the bestselling Into the Wilderness series). This is a contemporary love story, and I adore it.

THE HOUSE AT THE BOTTOM OF THE HILL is out on 19 December. It is number 3 in my Swallow’s Fall series, contemporary small-town, rural romance set in the NSW Snowy Mountains with a bit of humour and (I hope) a lot of love.

Nikki Logan
Nikki LoganI’ve been patiently waiting for … book 6 of the Black Sun’s Daughter series by MLN Hanover (Daniel Abrahams) but Pocket Books has pulled out of the series before it’s finished. What?? Who does that? I am moving on to THE DRAGON’S PATH, book 1 in his The Dagger and the Coin series.

I’d like to give … my six year old nephew the entire Famous Five boxed set (because he’ll be able to read those himself and because I loved them as a kid) and a couple of dragon-y adventure-y stories for boys.

I took a break from my hectic contemporary romance schedule to write what I like to call my ‘palate cleanser’, a big, busty, dragony Dark Ages fantasy. I loved writing it! But the real world also beckons, so I am starting a contemporary romance set in the deserts of the Arabian Peninsula.

Annie Seaton
Annie SeatonI would like … THE NARROW ROAD TO THE DEEP NORTH by Richard Flanagan.

I would like to give … my latest book of course. LOL. It’s called Silver Valley Witch. Seriously I am gifting some Kristan Higgins books to my sister. They are a fabulous read.

Last week I launched my latest release SILVER VALLEY WITCH. It is one of my favourite stories. I am in love with Wesley!

Jennifer St George
Jennifer St GeorgeI’d love … a copy of Paul Bangay’s THE GARDEN AT STONEFIELD. I do many things vicariously through books and magazines. Cook. Garden. DIY. I’m very talented at killing any plants I touch, so it’s lovely spending time reading about Paul creating such a beautiful space.

I’d like to give … my husband who is a history nut THE SECOND WORLD WAR by Antony Beevor.

My new release is TEMPTED BY THE BILLIONAIRE TYCOON.  It’s the second instalment of my billionaire series.

Alison Stuart
Alison StuartI’d like… the Captain Stryker series by English author Michael Arnold, set in my favourite historical period, the English Civil War. I would buy these books for the covers alone – I have a serious case of cover envy.

I’d like to give … the books that I have devoured this year, the Captain Lacey regency mysteries by Ashley Gardner and C.S. Harris’ Sebastian St Cyr mysteries. I love good mysteries and when combined with the Regency and romance, it doesn’t get any better!

Out now is LORD SOMERTON’S HEIR. In 2015 I have my first official series coming out. Guardians is set in the English Civil War. The first book is the award-winning BY THE SWORD, a re-release, comes out in March.

Morgan Watts
Morgan  WattsI’d like … THE PATTERSON GIRLS by Rachael Johns, but I know this isn’t possible as it won’t be out until late in 2015!! Maybe next year….sigh….I love Rachael’s writing!

I’d like to give … Cathy Kelly’s IT STARTED WITH PARIS. She is one of my all time favourite authors.

My current work in progress is my first novel CHANGE OF SHIFT. It is a story about three women at different stages in their lives, who are all running from something.  There are four births, one death and a bushfire. It is at the submission stage, which is nerve-wracking, and I am having to learn to deal with rejection! I am a quarter of the way through the sequel.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays everyone. May your days be filled with family, friends and fantasy, spunky heroines and very sexy heroes!


According to an analysis done by Publisher’s Weekly of data reported to Nielsen Bookscan, print book sales are expected to rise for the first time since 2008. This reflects the recent trend that ebook sales are levelling out at around 30% of total sales in America, although, the exact ratio of ebook to print sales is genre dependent. This is good news for authors given that America is the world’s largest English language book market. It is also very good news for bookshops, our biggest supporters (aside from readers, of course!).

The prediction is based on the fact that unit sales of print books are up 2% in the first 47 weeks of 2014, year on year, and over the five-week holiday period last year, total print book sales increased a staggering 9.1%. This was the first increase in print book holiday sales since 2009.

Another positive indicator from the 2009 Christmas holiday period sales data was that sales of adult fiction titles in print – the category most affected by ebook sales – grew 6.1% from 2012 to 2013.

The table below indicates American bookshop sales / week in the last five weeks of the year from 2010 through to 2013. These numbers made my day when I read them. Prophesies of doom and gloom about the rise of Candy Crush and the demise of the book cannot compete with the fact that even in the worst year on record, 2012, American booksellers sold 17,454 books PER WEEK. And we authors can still add ebook sales and sales in Australia and other markets to those numbers. Numeric proof that not only do people still read but readers still buy books!

Holiday print unit sales by segment

Speaking purely from personal experience, I think print books and ebooks look set to live comfortably side-by-side in the future, with ebooks for ‘every day’ and paperbacks and hard covers for ‘special occasions’. What do you think?

 Further information:

Selling Synopsis Finalists!

Congratulations to this year’s Selling Synopsis finalists:

Bronwen Evans

Rebecca Raine

Elizabeth Squire

Fiona Walker

Samantha West

Louise Wilson

Well done to all who entered, and thanks to the contest manager, Jo McAlister, for a great job.

The finalist entries are now with the final judge, Anna Valdinger of HarperCollins Australia. Good luck!

Author Spotlight: Romantic Comedy novelist, Sarah Belle…

Welcome to the Author Spotlight, Sarah, and congratulations on the recent release of ‘Miss Spelled ’! Can you give us the blurb, please?

Lou’s life is perfect. She loves her job, her renovated house, and most of all, her gorgeous fiancé, Aidan. But when her old flame and Aidan’s school yard nemesis turn out to be the same person, Hunter Wincott, Lou’s life is blown apart. She must divulge her secret past, or have Hunter give it away. Either way, she runs the real risk of losing Aidan.

In desperation, she turns to Google. A quick search turns up Majique, the Internet Witch, and a spell that will delete herself from Hunter’s memory. But something goes wrong in the casting process, and Lou deletes much more than just a memory. She deletes herself from her life completely.

Luckily, there’s a one-week window for Lou to get back to the life she loved. One week to win back Aidan, before he walks down the aisle with the wrong woman and ruins their shared dream of happiness. It would be easy, if only Aidan had any idea who Lou actually is.

Miss Spelled

 What is ‘magical realism romance’?

I like the name Romagic Comedy. Not quite paranormal, not quite fantasy, this genre believes that magic is a part of the every day, and that there’s more to our lives than can be explained. It may involve time travel, casting a spell, imaginary friends, making a wish- it’s when extraordinary things happen to ordinary people in the world as we know it.

What is it about that particular genre attracts you as a writer?

The first book I read in the Romantic Comedy genre was Jenny Colgan’s ‘Do You Remember the First Time?’ It was about a woman who was dissatisfied with her perfectly organised life and woke to find herself a teenager again. Except she didn’t get to travel back to her own time as a teen (the 80’s) she had to survive being a teen in modern day. It was a great read and had me laughing out loud, while relating to many the issues she faced. I decided then that if I ever wrote a book (because everyone is going to write a book!), it was going to be in that genre.

How do you go about researching magical elements for your novels?

Google! So far I’ve researched time travel, imaginary friends and magic spells and it’s been great fun. I’ve learnt all kinds of stuff about moon phases, when to cast spells, when not to cast spells, theories of time travel, and the psychological / supernatural explanation for imaginary friends. It’s good to have an open mind. I am a believer in all sorts of things we can’t see or explain, so I find it quite fascinating and can bury myself in research for far too long.

What does your writing space look like?

I don’t have one at the moment. I use either the dining table, the outdoor dinner table, or my eldest son’s homework desk – depending on where I feel like sitting at the time. But no matter where I sit, my trusty Golden Retriever, Arrow is always sitting next to me. He’s my four legged muse.



What would we find on your bookshelf or e-reader?

An eclectic mix of authors – Jo Nesbo’s Harry Hole series is a favourite, as is the Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson. I also love Shari Low, Georgina Penney, Lily Malone, Jenny Colgan, Maeve Binchy, and loads of craft books.

How do you manage your time between work, family and writing?

I am a great time manager. I divide things into what I can do with kids around, and what I can’t do with kids around. For instance, most of my writing time is sans kids. All housework is done when the kids are home. I work for my hubby one day a week and spend the rest of the time chasing after our four sons, cooking, cleaning, baking, etc – they do loads of sports so I am really more of a taxi driver nowadays!

Can you tell us about your current works in progress?

My current WIP, which is still nameless, is a contemporary story with romantic elements. It did start off as a story about an imaginary friend, however I decided to remove him and focus on a non-magical book for a change. I intend it to be the first one in a series of three or four books centred around the members of one family. The imaginary friend will appear in my next romagic comedy book instead.

9780857990587_Hindsight (2)

What does the future hold for Sarah Belle?

The immediate future holds nearly two months of school holidays – so not much writing will get done there! My goal is to extend into the women’s fiction with romantic elements market, while still writing romagic comedy. Next year my youngest will start school, so I am returning to University to study English and Creative Writing, and am very excited about that new chapter in my life.

Could you give us a sneaky peek at one of your favourite parts of ‘Miss Spelled’, please?

Absolutely! In this scene Lou has stalked her ex boyfriend, Hunter Wincott to his hotel in the hope of him agreeing not to divulge their romantic past to her fiancé, Aiden. Hunter and Aiden are enemies from boarding school and so have a long history together. Lou is convinced that if Aiden is made aware of her past, he will cancel their engagement.

My nerves get the better of me and I turn to walk away. This was a stupid idea. Aiden needs to know the truth, no matter the cost. Honesty has to be the best way to go.

My mobile launches out of my sweaty hand and drops to the floor. None of my fingers seem to be working, my nerves are shot and eyes blurry with tears as I bend down to pick it up.


The voice is unmistakeable, although the north London accent has thickened since our last conversation eleven years ago.

“Lou, is that you?” he asks again.

I look at the expensive men’s shoes in front of me, all the way up the exquisite woollen suit, to the incredibly handsome face at the top. Those sapphire eyes, thick black glossy lashes and slightly olive complexion. He’s still a sexpot.

Oh shit!

He crouches down on his haunches and places one strong, warm hand on my elbow. A shiver flashes through my body as though he is a live charge plugged into me. With the other hand he picks up the phone.

“Is this yours?” He smiles the same smile that seduced me all those years ago. The same smile that probably seduces countless other women as well. When you’re onto a good thing…

“Ah, um…yes. Thank you, Hunter,” I stammer. “What a coincidence!” My smile feels lopsided and a manufactured giggle catches in my throat.

  He helps me back up to a standing position and leaves his hand on my elbow, his current  still passing through my body.  A huge void has developed between my brain and mouth. All I can do is stare and feel myself overheat, almost forgetting the reason for my journey here.

 His eyes run all over my body as he puts the other hand on my arm and looks at me as though my body is a fine piece of artwork he is thinking of acquiring, just trying to figure out which room it would look best in.

“Lou,” he says in the deep voice that is an aphrodisiac in itself. “You look good enough to eat…slowly.”

Yep, he still has the touch. All the moisture in my mouth evaporates and reappears under my armpits.

Hunter takes a step closer and I feel my body being enveloped in his strong, thick arms, the kind of arms that appear on the cover of romance novels. As tall as Aiden, but broader and stronger in frame, like a rugby player. I can feel every contour of his athletic body beneath his shirt. Momentarily, it’s not possible to remember my own name. It’s as though it was yesterday we were together.

He takes a small step backwards, enough so that we are no longer embracing but still in each other’s personal space.

“I can’t tell you how often I’ve thought of you over the years. How are you?” he says.

I clear my throat and tell my heart to slow down, and my loins to stop quivering.

“I’m good, great in fact. Thanks. And you?”

“Life has treated me very well. What a coincidence to meet you here. Do you have time for a drink, dinner perhaps?”

I check my watch to make it look as though I have something planned. It’s past nine o’clock.

“A very late dinner?” Hunter asks and then gives me the smile that no sane woman can resist.


“Just you and me. I’ll organise it.” He waves over the concierge, who scurries towards us. “A table set up in my suite, fresh seafood for two. Make sure there’s an icy bottle of Krug Vintage waiting. An eighty-eight if you have it.”

“Yes sir, very good.”

Hunter turns back to me and smiles. Should I run out the foyer and flee for my life, or stay and run the risk of being charmed to death, especially in his room of all places. He was like a magician when it came to bedrooms. One wave of his warm hand and my panties used to disappear.

“What about the restaurant?” I say. “Can’t we eat there?”

“Are you afraid you won’t be able to resist me, Lou?” he smiles.

Author Bio

Sarah Belle started her professional life in the hospitality industry, working in some of the roughest hotels in Melbourne in the late Eighties, surrounded by drug dealers, prostitutes, pimps, and undercover police. Tiring of the inherent dangers of her working environment, Sarah completed a business degree and went on to work in the recruitment industry where she met and married the man of her dreams. They have four young sons and live on the beautiful Queensland coast, where Sarah’s days are spent being a frazzled mum, writer, Bikram Yoga devotee, a Naughty Ninja and the only woman in a house of five males.

Sarah Belle



Web links



Escape Publishing




Naughty Ninjas 

On a separate note, this will be my last post as the Author Spotlighter. After nearly two years of writing the spotlight the time has come for me to focus on my University studies, family and writing. Many thanks to all the wonderful authors who have appeared on the Spotlight during my time here. I have made so many new friends within this community thanks to the volunteering opportunity the RWA provided. Wishing you all a peace filled Christmas and a New Year full of love, laughter and light. xxx

A Day in the Writing Life of Allison Butler

Allison 005Today let’s give a good RWAustralia welcome to Allison Butler as she goes under the microscope about her writing day.

In one or two sentences, please tell us what genre you write in and what made you decide that particular one is your calling.
I write medieval romance set in Scotland. I think this particular genre chose me as I love everything Scottish; the heart-stirring landscapes, the glorious castles, the turbulent history, the men swaggering about in kilts. And of course my Scottish husband :-)

What time of the day do you write? Are you a morning, night-owl or anytime writer?
I recently had a shift change at work from nights to afternoons, so now write in the morning, Monday to Friday. The weekends are for family and fun!

Where do you write? Do you have your own special place? Does the location vary?
I write on my laptop in the study. My desk is in front of the window and I have a lovely view of our backyard and pool and cute little water feature. My writing location doesn’t vary. When I sit down at my desk, it means I’m there to work, in some writing fashion or another.

What’s the first thing you do before you begin to write?
Make a cup of tea. I love tea!

Do you spend much time reading over the previous day’s work? Do you have a special system in place in order to begin writing or go with the flow?
I usually read over the last scene or page I wrote to get my mind back into the ‘now’ of the story. Monday’s I might read more, due to having the weekend away from my work in progress.

Do you have a schedule that you follow for your writing time? Are you a goal setter with your writing?
Once I’ve forced myself to do some morning exercise and then finish the daily house chores, my mind is free to focus on my writing. I write until 12pm and then stop to cook dinner and prepare for work. I aim for a specific word count each day and make sure it’s realistic. This way I feel a sense of achievement and end my writing time on a high.

Do you take time out to stretch, rest your eyes etc and if so do you do any exercises at your desk or between sessions?
I get up from my desk about every thirty minutes. To stretch, to pace (think) or to make another cup of tea. Movement is good!

What’s the last thing you do before you finish your daily writing session?
I hit Caps Lock and write a sentence or a paragraph on what is going to happen next. This helps me get back into the flow of the story when I next sit down to write.

The Healer coverMy latest release, The Healer, is about an Englishwoman, a Scottish Laird, a case of mistaken identity, and a love that will surpass all others.

Contact Allison on her website, on Facebook or on Twitter

Buy links for The Healer:



Escape Publishing

It’s International Volunteer Day!

Happy Volunteers Day!

Hip, Hip, Hooray and a giant thank you, to each and every one of RWA’s volunteers.

You are the reason this organisation continues to flourish and, as a member, I thank you for the generous contribution you make to the romance writing community.

I’m sure many of you would agree that volunteering is a deeply rewarding experience where friendships and connections are formed, and lots of fun is had.

For those who don’t know, our volunteers, who mostly work behind the scenes, are the reason we have conferences, competitions, online groups, professional development opportunities, group and crit partner schemes and, well, everything.  Whatever you see RWA do, there is dedicated volunteer, or team of volunteers, making it happen.  So next time you encounter one, say thank you!

And if you would like to be one of our RWA heroes, please contact Renee at We’d love to have you on board!


I love giving books I love as presents because it is so exciting to be able to share the magic. Two sets of awards were recently announced, so if you’re stuck for ideas, take a look at these:

ausromtoday-winner-badgeAusRomToday 2014 Awards (they’re also running a fabulous Christmas extravaganza, so it’s worth popping in and signing up to J’aimee’s newsletter, especially as it will help keep you up to date with the hot ‘n happening Australian romance scene).

  • Alli Sinclair won Book of the Year for Luna Tango*
  • JL Perry was awarded Best New Author (My Destiny)
  • Amy Andrews won Best Established Author (Holding Out For A Hero)
  • Annie Seaton won Author of the Year (Seductive Secrets)

GoodReads just announced the results of their poll for the best books of 2014. Over three million readers responded! No prizes awarded for guessing that Diana Gabaldon took out top spot for Written in My Own Heart’s Blood. Nalini Singh took out 8th place for Shield of Winter with 11, 162 votes (yay!) and Kylie Scott comes in at number 16 for Play, one of her Stage Diva romances, Play (yay again!!). I was also pleased to see one of my personal favourites, Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare make the list at #11.

Her Favourite RivalEarlier this year, of course, RWA announced our very own winners at the annual conference in Sydney. Sarah Mayberry took home both the RUBY (Romantic Book of the Year for Her Favourite Rival and the ELLA (Romanic Novella of the Year) for Worth the Risk.

Do you have any recommendations about romances to give to others? We’d love to hear about your favourites.

Below is a visual of the GoodReads Top 20 Romance Reads for 2014

GoodReads Best Romance 2014

*All books mentioned are available in paperback or ebook from Booktopia, Amazon, iTunes and other good retailers.

Author Spotlight: Historical Romance novelist, Elizabeth Ellen Carter…

Welcome to the Author Spotlight, Elizabeth and congratulations on the release of ‘Warrior’s Surrender’. What was your inspiration behind Warrior’s Surrender?

I wanted to explore the theme of a woman who has lost everything returning home to find everything changed. How would she cope with going home and find nothing remained of her previous life? Moreover, she is forced to wed a man she who she considers her enemy.


What is it about that particular time period that attracts you as a writer and has this period always held your interest?

I have always had fascination for the medieval period. One of my favourite books is Life In The Year 1000 which took historic records of the time to build a picture of what a calendar year in Medieval England was like.

There are so many myths about the Medieval period – they were primitive, smelly, stupid – but that is so far from being the case. Academia flourished, monasteries dedicated to science established the principles of scientific method based rationale that a rational God created a rational world that could be understood rationally.

I also wanted to create a realistic and relatable setting for Warrior’s Surrender

How do you go about researching your novels so as to make setting and events authentic?

I always start with the premise that whether you’re looking at life today, 100 years ago, 1000 years ago, people live, laughed, loved, fought, just as we do today, the only thing that changes is technology. So I look at what people used. What did their beds look like? What about the flooring? Cups… plates… transportation… eating… all of it provides opportunity to add richness to a story by describing what your character see and how they interact with their environments. The internet really has changed the world, there is so much material from universities and specialist societies, it really has made research so easy and such a pleasure.

To add further authenticity, I like to add real historical figures and foreshadow actual historical events. In Warrior’s Surrender, real historical figures include William Walcher, the Bishop of Durham whose lasting legacy is Durham Cathedral, another figure is Ligulf of Lumley, a Saxon Earl who warned of an impending Scottish invasion which was largely ignored by Walcher – and it led to a bloody end for the both of them…

What is your favourite historical event during the Medieval Period

Although set much later than Warrior’s Surrender, my favourite historical event in the Medieval period was the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215. That one document, limiting the powers of the monarch and paved the way to the parliamentary democracy we enjoy today.

What does your writing space look like?

Umm, er, actually it’s a mess. I don’t write there anymore. When I get some holidays I’m going to file away all the taxpapers and receipts and reclaim my desk. Now I write on the sofa with my feet up.


How do you manage a busy full time career with writing?

It takes a lot of organisation. I’m so pleased to have a supportive husband. When I’m full on writing mode, I write for three hours a night during the week and up to 12 hours over a weekend. Needless to say, I don’t have much of a life!

What would we find on your book shelf / e reader?

A mixture! I’m re-reading I, Claudius and Claudius The God by Robert Graves for my next full-length historical romance which will be set in the 3rd Century AD. In the same vein The Barbarian Bride by Eva Scott is on my list. For a complete change of pace, I’ll be reading Honor’s Debt by Noelle Clark and Engaging The Enemy by Susanne Bellamy on my Christmas break.

Which authors have been your biggest inspiration?

Oh, so many! Anna Campbell, Rebecca Brandewyne, Julie Garwood are the big names in romance. But I have to confess, I get inspired by every book I read, every author has created something wonderful and unique and I love to understand how they create their stories.

Can you tell us a bit about your works in progress?

I’m part of a Christmas anthology called A Season To Remember with Noelle Clark, Susanne Bellamy and Eva Scott. It will be a free download for Christmas. It’s been a pleasure to work with these amazing authors.

I’m currently writing a short story for a Valentine’s Day anthology for my publisher, Etopia Press, called Moonstone Promise, it is part of the late-Georgian set Moonstone Obsession universe and gives a happily ever after to one of my favourite supporting characters, Toby Jackson, the friend of Moonstone Obsession hero Sir James Mitchell.

I have a full length sequel to Moonstone Obsession called Moonstone Conspiracy that will be going to my publisher soon, for consideration. I take one of the villains from the first book, Lady Abigail Houghall who is transformed ‘from a Jezebel to a Rahab’ to become an English spy during the French Revolution.


If ‘Warrior’s Surrender’ was to be made into a movie, who would be your ultimate cast?

I love this question!

My dream cast is:

Hero Sebastian de la Croix: Ian Somerhalder

Heroine Alfreya of Tyrswick: Julianne Hough

Villain Lord Drefan: Simon Baker

Heroine’s Man-at-Arms Larcwide: Kevin Sorbo

Heroine’s maid/companion Diera: Margot Robbie

If there are any producers out there looking for a great property, then this it is. Trust me, real “Boffo” (box office success guranteed). Er, sorry about that, I got a little carried away!

Finally, could you give us a sneaky peek at one of your favourite parts of ‘Warrior’s Surrender’, please?

I’d love to! I have so many favourite parts!

Here is the set up: Sebastian and Alfreya are part of a search party looking for a missing shepherd and his son after severe spring floods. The father has been saved but the boy has been swept down the swollen river…

As Frey rounded the bend, only a couple of hundred yards away from the roiling junction of the tributary and river, she saw that Sebastian had overtaken the fallen tree, but only just.

Before she could catch her breath, Sebastian leaped at the tree.

He made an unsteady landing on the trunk, the action propelling the tree toward the other bank, where overhanging branches impeded its forward progress. The young boy’s hysterical screams grew louder as Sebastian edged himself nearer and stretched out his arm.

Fear for her love, —this man who was hers, heart, mind, body, and soul, —beat a relentless tattoo against Frey’s ribs. Over the roar of the rushing water, she could see him speaking words of encouragement to the lad who clung to a limb in a deathly grip. The child reached out to him and, in a swift movement, Sebastian hauled the boy onto the trunk.

She could see the youngster was badly cut and grazed, and the tree rocked with the movement, threatening to throw them both back into the water.

 “Frey!” Sebastian called, his voice even, but his expression tight. “Get a line over here now! It’s not going to hold.”

Her? But what could she do that he in all his strength could not?

Her hesitation was only fleeting, but it was observed by Gaines, who was the first to catch up with them. Frey could see the expression of disgust that flitted across his face as their eyes met. Gaines hated her, that much was clear, despite the effort she had made to be a good wife to Sebastian and to unite Tyrswick.

She raised her chin. No matter what he thought of her, she was the baroness and, by God, she would use every inch of her authority.

“Rope! Now!”


Author bio:

A future with words was always on the book for Elizabeth Ellen Carter who started writing her own stories when she ran out of Nancy Drew mysteries to read when she was 10. Using her mother’s Olivetti type writer with the italic keyboard, she spent endless school holidays making up her own stories and then using the Dewey Decimal System to arrange and categories her bookshelf.

Somewhere around the age of 13 she determined to become a journalist and at 17 was awarded a cadetship to the Gold Coast Bulletin. She covered news, council, education, health but had the most fun as the paper’s entertainment and features reporter covering film, TV and music. Best of all she met her husband there and together they started a small award-winning media, marketing and advertising agency and now she works as marketing manager for an international organic skin care company.


Web links






A couple of weeks ago I asked the question: where are all our Aussie Christmas romances? And the answer is HERE, amongst the December  new releases. Happy reading and merry Christmas everyone. Wishing you a stocking full of books, another stack under the tree and and many hours of holiday romance.

December 2014 new releases


Goodreads* has published the results of its survey of 40,000 members to find the facts about gender preferences when it comes to reading. Their initiative was sparked by the 2014 #readwomen movement that was itself the by-product of recent media revelations about the bias towards male reviewers and male authors in most traditional media outlets.

The survey comprised 20,000 women and 20,000 men who are active Goodreads contributors. Unsurprisingly (to me at any rate, based on my personal preference) women prefer books by women and men prefer books by men. However, most readers didn’t consciously pick books by gender; they just gravitated that way:

  • Of the 50 books published in 2014 that were most read by men, 45 were written by men and five were written by women.
  • Of the 50 books published in 2014 that were most read by women, 46 were written by women and four were written by men. If you were unaware that Robert Galbraith was really JK Rowling in disguise, you could change that ratio to 45:5.

The 5 books by women that men are reading

Other results:

  • Despite the deepest fears of most authors, reviews are generally positive. The average review was 3.94 on a scale of 5.
  • Women like new stuff. Women read twice as many books published in 2014 as men did.
    • Overall men and women read the same amount of books. Does that mean men gravitate to the classics or just that they don’t keep up with new releases?
  • A female author’s audience is 80% women. A male authors audience is 50% women and 50% men. Does this mean that women are more experimental and less likely to judge a book based on the gender of the author? I suspect it does.
    • However, quality will out. On average, men rated books by men 3.8/ 5,  BUT they rated books by women 3.9/ 5. Women rated books by women 4/5 and books by men 3.8/5.

The five books by men that women are reading

One final observation from the Goodreads data: male writers are more prone to verbosity – oops, sorry, I mean write in, um … greater detail! Of the authors surveyed and published in 2014, men were more than twice as likely to write a book of 500+ pages.**

This survey was based on the reviews of literary and non-fiction titles. Goodreads will shortly publish the results of their survey based on the genre reading habits of men and women. We’ll be sure to keep you up-to-date.

*Goodreads is a website/online community in which readers share information about the books they read and rate them on a scale of one to five.

** I admit to personal bias in this area. I have had to read too many classic sagas in my time, usually for study or work or to appease a Nordic friend who thought he was doing me a favour giving me a classic saga in translation. The last one was 800 pages long, and I swore I would never read a book over 500 pages again; a moral stand I am currently wrestling with as it does rule out me ever reading Eleanor Catton’s The Luminairies.

Photos courtesy of the Goodreads blog post.

Read more:

 Goodreads: Sex and Reading: A look at who’s reading whom

The Guardian: Readers prefer authors of their own sex according to goodreads survey





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