Print Books Outsell eBooks In First Half of 2014

There is good news for all those who love ‘the book’ with all its comforting familiarity and solidity over the more ephemeral ‘eBook’, often referred to by those with a technological bent as, horror of horrors, ‘content’.

According to the Nielsen Book & Consumer survey released this month, print books outsold eBooks in the first half of 2014. Actually, BOTH hardcovers AND paperbacks outsold eBooks individually as well as when combined.

Overall print book sales accounted for 67% of the market, leaving eBooks with a 23% share. Hardcovers on their own accounted for 25% of sales while paperbacks dominated all other formats at 42% of sales.

These figures further reinforce predications that eBook sales will stabilise and that there will always be room in the hearts and libraries of readers for both paper and electronic books.

The launch of the Kindle by Amazon in 2007 saw triple digit growth in eBook sales for several years. However, in 2013, that growth slowed to single digits and the new 2014 figures suggest that trend will continue.

In an interview with HuffPost Live recently, bestselling author Stephen King said, ‘I think books are going to be there for a long, long time to come.’

King doesn’t believe books will suffer the same dismal fate as vinyl records and CDs.

‘Audio recordings of music have only been around for, I’m going to say, 120 years at the most. Books have been around for three, four centuries … There’s a deeply implanted desire and understanding and wanting of books that isn’t there with music,’ he said during his HuffPost interview.

That’s all good news for those of us who like the availability and pricing associated with our eReaders but also love to surround ourselves with overflowing bookshelves and hard copies of those books that are really dear to us.

So, which format do you prefer? Paperback, hardback or eBook? Or, like me, do you enjoy all three in equal measure?

 

Further reading:

Publisher’s Weekly: http://tinyurl.com/o9szp4e

HuffPost Live: http://tinyurl.com/pkm2r9h

Author Spotlight and Giveaway: Romance novelist, Iris Blobel…

Welcome to the Author Spotlight, Iris and congratulations on the release of ‘Love Will Find You’! Could you give us the blurb, please?

Can their new love survive the scrutiny of the public eye?

After his father’s heart attack, Australian Football League player Tyson Gaspaldi takes his parents on holiday to a small place at the New South Wales coast.

One morning, following a surfing session, he comes across a crying woman on the beach. Everything about her intrigues him, and he can’t walk away. She’s not only sexy and humble, but, as he soon finds out, vulnerable as well.

It’s only been a few months since Katie Cassidy lost her sister in a car accident.

Still overwhelmed by the loss, a chance encounter on the beach with an attractive stranger awakens unexpected emotions inside her. She’s instantly drawn to his caring nature, but also his looks.

However, Tyson’s past quickly catches up with them, causing Katie’s childhood demons to return, and the road to romance becomes anything but smooth.

LoveeBook

Is ‘Love Will Find You’ part of a series? Could you tell us about that?

Yes, Love Will Find You is the first book in the Australian Sports Stars Series. The readers will meet AFL player Ty Gaspaldi, Baseball player Oliver Dempsey, and Markus DeLeon, who plays Soccer. It didn’t start out as a series, but as I wrote Tyson’s story, I fell in love with Oliver and felt there was so much more to him than the few lines “he was given” in the first book.

How do you go about plotting a series?

I don’t really. I come up with an idea and it just flows with the characters developing and wanting their own stories told.

Your books have also been released in audio. Can you tell us about that process, and what it’s like to hear your book being read to you?

I’m afraid I’m not much help here. The production of the audio books was organised by my publisher.

And no, I haven’t listened to any of them. When I write my books, I have a very vivid imagination of how the character looks likes, talks, and even how s/he sounds like. Listening to a narrator “impersonating” this character might or could this.

What’s your current work in progress about?

There’s still Markus’ story to be told, but as I write this, I’m in Tumby Bay … lots of ideas already in my head about three friends who grew up in a small town. Having heaps of notes already and it’s just a matter of getting hold of my laptop again.

aaa

What would we find on your book shelf or e-reader?

Lot’s of Jill Shalvis books, Lee Child and Susan Elizabeth Phillips. I just started reading Robyn Carr’s first book in the Thunder Point series… and liking it.

From where do you get your inspiration?

Usually when we travel, I come up with all my ideas. When the setting is right, the story simply flows.

Of all the characters you’ve created, do you have a particular soft spot for anyone?

I get this asked often… and I have to admit, it’s still Daniel from Sweet Dreams, Miss England. He’s such a charmer, I still love him.

Could you give us a sneaky peek at one of your favourite parts of ‘Love Will Find You’, please?

As he struggled with his surfing board against the gentle breeze, he saw a woman sitting only a few feet away from him. Her body shook from her sobs as she wiped away her tears. It was none of his business, yet he stopped. He disliked the feeling of pity and helplessness creeping up on him. Inhaling a deep breath, he turned and walked towards her.

“Hi there,” he said quietly so as not to startle her.

She quickly wiped her eyes with the back of her hand and turned to him. Shading her eyes with the other hand, she echoed his greeting, “Hi.”

Ty’s gaze went out over the ocean before looking back at her. The thin long-sleeved shirt which hugged her curves nicely, and the cargo pants she wore, gave her a very casual, but sexy look. She smoothed a loose strand of her curly light brown hair behind her ear and met his gaze. Although teary and red, the beautiful green colour of her eyes shone through brightly. He knew he couldn’t walk away. He looked at her for a second or two, noticing the tight lines of her lips. Still, she had a beautiful mouth. Even though her lips were slightly swollen from crying, there was an urge inside him to touch them and find out what they felt or tasted like.

He sighed. Not that long ago he’d burnt his hands with a girl in his life and had sworn off the opposite sex, but there was something about the woman in front of him that drew him in and intrigued him. He’d always been a sucker for a lady in distress.

“Are you okay?” he asked, scratching his head.

Her mouth curved into a tentative smile. “Yes, I am.”

He frowned. “Was that sarcasm in response to a stupid question?”

“Yes, it was.”

Damn, she had a gorgeous smile that made his stomach tighten.

She didn’t offer more.

After a brief, but silent moment, he offered her his hand. “Tyson.”

She ignored his hand. “Nice meeting you, Tyson.”

He chuckled. “This is where you tell me your name.”

She let out a sigh as she looked away from him. It was a fine line he was walking. He was well aware of it. More than anything else, he wanted to help her. It was in his nature. She was hurt, and it seemed she was alone as well.

“Apologies, I didn’t mean to come on to you. But I’ve never been good with going past a girl who cries.”

“Does that happen often?” she asked as she turned back to him.

“Actually, no.” He laughed. “Only with my little niece.”

A tiny smile appeared on her face. “How old is she?”

Raising an eyebrow, he asked, “My niece? Turned four just a few days ago.”

She stared at him as he waited for her next question. Yet, it never came.

“I’m kinda getting cold here,” he said after a long moment. “Could I invite you for a coffee or tea?”

“No, but thank you for the offer. And thank you for caring.”

“Will you be here again tomorrow?”

A small sigh escaped her lips, and she shrugged slightly. “Not sure.”

He nodded and stood.

“It’s Katie,” she said as she stood as well.

Ty’s heart skipped a beat. “Nice meeting you, Katie.”

Author Bio:

Iris Blobel was born and raised in Germany and only immigrated to Australia in the late 1990s. Having had the travel bug most of her life, Iris spent quite some time living in Scotland, London, as well as Canada where she met her husband. Her love for putting her stories onto paper only emerged a few years back, but now her laptop is a constant companion. Iris resides west of Melbourne with her husband and her beautiful two daughters as well as their dog. Next to her job at a private school, she also presents a German Program at the local Community Radio.

 iris blobel

 

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Iris is kindly gifting one Ecopy of ‘Love Will Find You’. To be in the running all you have to do is leave a comment for Iris.

This competition is open world wide and will be drawn one week from posting date.

 

 

 

 

What do these three ANZ writers have in common?

ANZ international book prize award winners 2013/2014

They’ve all won huge international awards in the last 12 months, of course!

The RWA congratulates Tasmanian Richard Flanagan on becoming the third Australian to win the prestigious Mann Booker prize for his book The Narrow Road to the Deep North. Sadly, there’s no HEA in his story, but you can’t have everything, and we’re just pleased to see Richard flying the flag for Australian writers. Besides, we know all romance writers and readers have eclectic tastes and read widely across all sorts of genres.

Richard’s win follows on from that by Kiwi Eleanor Catton’s last year for The Luminaries. If you combine those two wins with our very own Leah Ashton’s RITA for Why Resist a Rebel, then it is safe to say that ANZ writers are super-overachievers punching well above their weight – you’ll have to forgive any mixed metaphors; I’ve got (Southern Cross) stars in my eyes from all the excitement!

Book prizes are important for getting the word out about books to a wide general audience. Aside from the reward of prestige and prize money, short-listed authors see a spike in sales of their books, which climb even higher for the winning title. Organisers of the Mann Booker prize reported at this year’s function that The Luminaries has sold 800,000 copies worldwide (300,000 in the UK and 500,000 in the rest of the world) – and I’m pretty sure they’re talking about printed books which means eBook sales are the icing on the cake. Yum. Here’s hoping that Leah got a little career boost from her win as well.

Do you know of any other ANZs who’ve won international book awards in the last couple of years? If so, please comment and remind us.

 

NUMBER OF BOOKS PUBLISHED IN AUSTRALIA INCREASES YEAR-ON-YEAR

Good news! The number of books published in Australia has increased significantly year-on-year, a statistic that reflects a healthy industry thriving in spire of sometimes challenging market conditions and competition from alternative forms of entertainment.

According to Think Australia*, the annual overview of the Australian book market, 28,234 new titles were produced in 2013 (according to ISBN records added to Bowker’s Books in Print database) compared to only 21,086 in 2012. This is an increase of around 25%. Bowker’s ‘books’ in print list covers books, ebooks, audio books and multimedia titles – any form of book for which the publisher obtains an ISBN.

Interestingly, the number of publishing entities decreased over the same period, from 4344 in 3899. The increase in titles coupled with a decrease in publishers may indicate renewed confidence in the market by traditional publishers and a willingness to take more risks.

A breakdown of publishers reveals that 33 companies published over 100 titles during 2013, up from 29 in 2012. Among the mid-sized publishers, 101 companies produced between 20 and 99 titles each (up from 86 in 2012) and another 96 published between 11 and 20 titles (up from 84 in 2012). At the other end of the scale, 2324 publishers released only one title. It is likely that many of these were indie publishers/ authors publishing their own works.

Print is still the dominant format for books across the industry – although further research is required to confirm whether this holds true for the romance genre – but digital continues to grow. Fifty one percent of all titles published in Australia in 2013 were printed in paperback and nine percent in hardback. The 2012 figures were fractionally different – 52% were paperback and eight percent were hardback. Twenty-nine percent of all titles were available in digital formats, up from 23% the previous year.

* Published yearly by Bookseller+Publishing in partnership with Publishing Perspectives ahead of the Frankfurt Book Fair which many Australian publishers attend to sell foreign language rights of their titles. Figures first reported in the Weekly Book Newsletter of 6 October 2014. Graphs provided courtesy of Bookseller+Publisher. For more information, visit them at www.booksellerandpublisher.com.au.

Growth in titles published in 2013

Growth in titles published in 2013

Increase in digital formats

Increase in digital formats

Australian publisher output by size 2013

Australian publisher output by size 2013

Author Spotlight and Give away: Romantic Comedy novelist, Carla Caruso…

It’s a pleasure welcome  RWA Hearts Talk co-editor, and romantic comedy author Carla Caruso. Welcome to the Author Spotlight, Carla, and congratulations on the release of ‘A Pretty Mess ’! Can you give us the blurb, please?

Sure thing! Here goes… A neat-freak professional organiser – Celeste Pretty – gets caught up in a messy mystery with a sexy builder (Lenny Muscat)! It’s set in the ritzy side of town. Celeste has just started a business de-cluttering people’s homes and offices for a living and her first client is a health and fitness guru in the vein of Lorna Jane and Michelle Bridges, who isn’t quite as clean-living as she seems… It’s actually the first title in my ‘Astonvale’ rom-com mystery series.

A Pretty Mess by Carla Caruso

You write Romantic Comedy, where did your love of the Rom Com come from?

I think it’s because my parents liked pretty fluffy movies and sitcoms themselves (and the ABC). I never watched scary, dark movies at home – The Wizard of Oz was about the scariest! I remember going to see The Fugitive at the cinema with school friends once and I was terrified. I couldn’t believe that was the type of thing other people willingly watched. Yes, I was a little sheltered… From there, my love for rom-coms, starring Jennifer Lopez, Kate Hudson and co., just bloomed!

What are the elements of a strong Rom Com? How do the characters/plots differ from contemporary romances?

Humour! There’s got to be a good dose of the funnies in rom-coms. I think it’s also the style they’re written in – they’re a little lighter and less emotionally-heavy, but more like real-life in that way. The emotion is understated, but maybe even hits harder because of this. I guess the characters can still be the same as in contemporaries – a sassy female and an alpha male, but they don’t take themselves too seriously and have a certain amount of cheekiness to them.

Unlucky for Some by Carla Caruso

In your opinion, what is the difference between Romantic Comedy and Chick Lit?

I think rom-coms still centre around the romance and can include the points-of-view of both the hero and heroine. With chick-lit, career, family and a whole bunch of other stuff might come before the romance, and they’re usually only told from the woman’s point-of-view. And chick-lit doesn’t necessarily have to finish with a happy ending either, especially if it’s hipster-cool ha!

‘Cityglitter’ and ‘Second Chance’ have elements of fantasy/magic in them (Romagic!), from where do you get your inspiration to write these stories?

It’s funny because I don’t read or watch anything that is ‘high fantasy’, but in the early days I kept coming up with these chick-litty stories with a sprinkling of magic in them. (Cityglitter is about a glam city-slicker fairy who does the one thing she swore she’d never do: fall in love with a human. In Second Chance, the heroine accidentally time-travels back to the nineties and has a chance to correct her past.)

It wasn’t until I recently read about ‘romagic’ that I thought, ‘Aha! That’s where those books fit’, because I veered away from that kind of style as I didn’t really know how to find the right audience. They didn’t seem to fit a neat box. But I do love romagic films, like 17 Again and Big, and my favourite author, Sophie Kinsella, has dabbled in the style, and knowing ‘romagic’ is hot now, I feel ready to revisit it!

snd chance        city glittle

List your top 5 Rom Com movies or TV shows, and tell us why they are your favourites.

  • How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days with Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey – out in 2003, this was when rom-coms really surged in popularity and I was 24 (you do the maths haha!), so it was a prime time of my life.
  • Sweet Home Alabama with Reese Witherspoon and Josh Lucas – this is such a ‘comfort’ flick for me… the cityslicker going back to her hometown… and I love the theme song!
  • The Wedding Planner – love-love Jennifer Lopez!
  • Confessions of a Shopaholic – because I adore writer Sophie Kinsella (and Isla Fisher!)
  • Any Sex & the City movie or TV show – not technically a romcom, but they all have humour and romance, and SATC was really influential for me!

You are a busy mum to twin boys, co-editor of the RWA Hearts Talk and an author of 6 books. How do you manage to do everything?

A few things! My boys are currently 14 months old and now do a three-hour day nap. Simultaneously. It’s insane. So I’ve finally got a good chunk of time to write. And I’m starting to see the benefit of having twins, now they’re a wee bit older, because they’re happy to babble to each other and look at books in their cots for a while before yelling out for me.

Then I do a little more typing at night once they go down at 7pm. My hubby also works out of home as a freelance photographer, so we share the parenting, which helps my energy levels! Plus, I think because I only have limited time to write – i.e. when the boys sleep – it makes me more diligent about using the precious time I do have. (We’re not using childcare currently.) I wouldn’t want to work like this forever, though, because I miss watching trashy TV shows and socialising more at night!

Can you tell us about your WIP?

I’m actually writing the third book in the Astonvale series, involving Celeste Pretty and Lenny Muscat again. Book 3 also provides the points-of-view of Celeste’s nemesis, Imogen Karmel, and Imogen’s love interest! It’s called Pretty Famous and involves a prestigious high school, a mystery that harks back to the Golden Age of Hollywood, a Grace Kelly wannabe, and a possible secret prince!

Pretty Shore by Carla Caruso - out Dec

Are there any other genres you’d like to move into? What does the future hold for Carla Caruso?

I would actually like to try young-adult or middle-grade. I’ve been told I have a ‘young’ style of writing voice (immature some might say) and I’ve had a series idea that has been bouncing around in my head for a while, which I wouldn’t mind giving a crack once I meet my next few deadlines!

Thanks so much for joining us today, Carla. Before you go, could you give us a sneaky peek at one of your favourite parts of ‘A Pretty Mess’, please?

Okay, this is a little bit from the ‘meet-cute’. Right after Celeste Pretty – a neat-freak professional organiser – gags on a mouthful of dust from an industrial extraction fan on her way to meet her first client…

‘Power-walking anywhere in particular?’ a deep voice cut through the air. Through the banging and hammering.

Celeste looked up and into the coal-black eyes of an Adonis. An Adonis in a dirt-stained grey tee, cargo shorts and steel-capped boots. The coal-black eyes — which matched the healthy head of mid-length, wavy hair and faint stubble — were shielded by clear safety glasses. He was pushing a wheelbarrow of bricks, flaunting biceps like Rafael Nadal and sturdy, muscular legs like, well, Serena Williams — in an entirely good way. The mouthful of dust lodged in Celeste’s throat. She couldn’t decide whether she wanted to scrub the guy or jump him, even though clean-cut men were her usual type…

Author Bio

Carla Caruso was born in Adelaide, Australia, and only ‘escaped’ for three years to work as a magazine journalist and stylist in Sydney. Previously, she was a gossip columnist and fashion editor at Adelaide’s daily newspaper, The Advertiser. She has since freelanced for titles including Woman’s Day and Shop Til You Drop. These days, she plays mum to twin boys Alessio and Sebastian with hubby James. A Pretty Mess is her fifth novel.

Carla Caruso - author pic

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Carla is kindly providing a give away of one ebook copy of ‘A Pretty Mess': An Astonvale Novel #1 (an ITunes voucher)

To be in the running, all you need to do is answer the question below:

 What area of your house do you find most difficult to keep clutter-free? And how do you hide it from guests?

This competition is open world wide and will be drawn one week from posting date. The winner will be notified via email so please ensure that we can contact you!

 

Call for Presenters for RWA Conference 2015

RWCon_01_LowResi150_WEB_White Um Red on Green

The Get Fresh Dream Team are excited to bring you an innovative program of fresh ideas and topics at the 24th Annual RWA Conference in 2015.

The Romance Writers of Australia annual conference provides unique networking opportunities for writers, editors, agents and other publishing industry professionals with a keen focus on romance publishing. The program features a wide range of workshops designed for writers at every stage of their career and publishing journeys.

Get Fresh in 15 will be an innovative, relevant, contemporary conference that reflects the sophistication and diversity of Romance Writers of Australia as an organisation and builds on Melbourne’s strong literary culture and communities. The focus of the conference is on quality: quality venue, innovative content, high calibre speakers and diverse topics targeted to aspiring, emerging and established writers.

RWA Members and others are invited to contribute their expertise and experience to this exciting event. Submissions are now open for presentations or panels to be delivered at Get Fresh in 15 Melbourne, 22 – 23 August 2015.

We are seeking experienced local and international talent to present novel and up-to-date sessions on craft excellence, the publishing industry, career management, marketing and promotion, self publishing, the writer’s life, business planning and more. In addition to these broad topics, we welcome submissions for panel sessions or presentations exploring popular romance sub-genres including gay/lesbian romance, sci-fi/paranormal/fantasy, young adult, and crime/suspense/mystery. Sessions on business planning and management, particularly for authors operating in a global business context, are also welcome.

Please target your proposal to a suitable audience – aspiring, emerging or established writers. Proposals nominated as ‘suitable for all’ will be considered, however targeted presentations are preferred.

Submissions close Friday 14th November and the form with which to submit can be found here. Successful presenters will be notified by 15th December 2014 and must confirm their participation by 23rd December. The program will be announced 14th February 2015.

Presenters will be paid. Please direct any questions to the conference committee at melb15@romanceaustralia.com.

New Title Releases October 2014

Congratulations  to all our members who have a new book out this October! Summer holidays will be here before you know it, so now is the time to start planning your To Be Read holiday pile and to drop ‘hints’ to friends and family about which books  you would like to see in your Christmas stocking.

October 2014 new title releases from RWA members.

October 2014 new title releases from RWA members.

A Day in the Writing Life of Sandra Antonelli

Let’s give a good coffee fuelled morning to Sandra Antonelli, whose book Driving in Neutral is out now!

Antonelli pink sweaterIn 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 contemporary, smart-assed romantic comedy for grown ups who aren’t really very grown up at all, which is due to my smartassed nature. Although, I do have a dark side…

What time of the day do you write? Are you a morning, night-owl or anytime writer?
I get most of my writing done from 8am to 1 pm, at the office I manage. I got in this habit when I was working on my PhD in romance fiction. Basically, I have three jobs, I manage the psychology practice we own, I write romance fiction, and make my husband lunch. I have a lovely view of swaying palms, a mango tree, a gorgeous mock orange hedge, and the occasional man-on-the-deck-across-the-street. This is interesting because said man is not wearing any pants—or underpants—and seems not to be aware that from my angle I can see his goods through the slats of his deck railings.

Where do you write? Do you have your own special place? Does the location vary? Are there any particular rituals you do to set the mood / harness your muse?
Not that this may come as a surprise, but I start my day with coffee. And breakfast. Followed by more coffee. Then I put on some tunes. (Now how did I know that coffee featured prominently in your writing life? – Keziah)

What’s the first think you do before you begin to write?
Dear Baby Jesus, please let there be coffee at the office!

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?
If I’m working on dialogue, I probably do spend time re-reading for about the first hour. As for a special system… All my writing hinges on dialogue. The conversation always comes first. Once I get characters talking and build the rapport beweent them, I find it easier to flesh them out as people; it’s easier to put character quirks, mannerisms, and even visualise the scene and block out their movement. For me, dialogue is everything.

Are you a plotter / planner or a pantser? Do you edit as you go or prefer to edit after completion of the ms?
I prefer to think of myself as a ‘puzzler’ because I have all these bits of dialogue I have to fit together to form a picture of a story.

Do you use whiteboards, posters, visual aids to help in your creativity?
Never. I find that sort of exercise to be counter-intuitive. I’ve tied them and found it was oh-so-frustrating. I’m impressed with others who can post-it note, collage, or storyboard their way through a book.

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 try to. I am not always successful while at the office. However, nothing can clear my head or get my mind on track with a story like going for a run with my iPod on shuffle.

Can you name five objects that are always on or near your work desk while you write?
Coffee, cookies, cookie crumbs, my laptop, and a big, fat, giant thesaurus. Sandra deskcrumbs

My latest release Driving in Neutral, a rom com about fear, claustrophobia, life-changing atomic wedgies, hideous wedding cakes, and love, the scariest thing of all, is out now!

Thanks Sandra! You can get back to that coffee now.
You can find Sandra at her website, at her blog, on Twitter at @sandrAntonelli, on Facebook and on Pinterest.

driving smallBuy links for Driving in Neutral are here

Cruisin’ with RWA

Enrico and Clint have packed their bags, handed in the limo keys and are off on an adventure. Thank you for joining us on Cruisin’ with RWA. We’ve had a great time over the last few years following your blogs, sharing and celebrating with you. I’m sure our new ‘driver’ will have fun entertaining you with our member news and blogs. So don’t go away because Cruisin’ will be back!

Member News

Stay up to date daily on our Facebook Page

Keziah Hill’s good news is a two book romantic suspense deal with Momentum. Both books are part of a new series set in the Blue Mountains. They are her first novel-length books and will be published under the pen name DB Tait. The first book is called Cold Deception.

Blood Oath, Book 2 in The Seeker Chronicles released this week. Blood Oath is a sequel to Blood Scent.

Cover reveal for Christmas Wedding at the Gingerbread Cafe

Launched the video trailer for Warrior’s Surrender

Cruisin’ Member Blogs

Are you an RWA Member? Share a link and a short blurb here each week by emailing the details to us at: cruisin@romanceaustralia.com.

September 18 – AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: Anna Romer

September 19 – FINDING MY VOICE: Mae Archer

September 19 – AusRomToday Weekly Wrap Up

September 22 – WIP ME INSPIRED: Sasha Cottman

September 23 – AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: Rachel Amphlett

September 24 – AT MY DESK: Amanda Canham

The merits and perils of the Internet

Thanks to much-loved Australian rural romance author Fiona Palmer, this week Friday Feast is living la dolce vita. Fiona reveals the pizza making tips she learned while researching her latest release, The Sunnyvale Girls. Plus you could win a copy of this bellissimo book by sharing your favourite Italian dish. Mama mia, now that’s a prize!

Enchanted Orb with Leisl Leighton

Researching for your Genre with Sandie James

My guest this week on Write Bytes is Mel Tescho who doesn’t know the meaning of the word exercise, a word that I think many writers have trouble with

Social media swamping you? Be a social media heretic: five tips to take back control.
An awful lot of nonsense is talked about social media. How you have to be always on. If you don’t you’ll miss out. How you need to be on all platforms at once. All the time. That’s ridiculous. And completely not possible. Anyone who tries risks ulcers and a nervous collapse. This blog post shows you five simple ways to take back control. So that social media becomes what it should be: a means to an end. Not an occupation in its own right.

When Good Characters Behave Badly

Excavating your Emotions in your Writing

6 Reasons why Science Fiction is the new Paranormal

September 20 – Review of An Unsuitable Match by Sasha Cottman

September 21 – Review of Lesbian for a Year by Brooke Hemphill

RWA Contests

 Dates for the 2014-15 contest season

Ripping Start Opens 1 September 2014 Closes 26 September 2014
Selling Synopsis Opens 1 October 2014 Closes 24 October 2014
Emerald Award Opens 1 November 2014 Closes 21 November 2014
Little Gems Opens 1 January 2015 Closes 23 January 2015
First Kiss Opens 24 January 2015 Closes 14 February 2015
Valerie Parv Award TBA April 2015

Enrico’s Pick Six

Submit your blog site link to cruisin@romanceaustralia.com to share with our readers.

Enrico 1. Anne Whitfield
2. Christine Wells
3. Hot Authors
4. Janet Elizabeth Henderson
5. Kylie Scott
6. Louise Cusack

Have a great week and happy writing!

Thank you to all who followed and supported me on my Cruisin’ journey. I made many friends here and look forward to sharing your news and posts from the other side of the blog. :)

Hugs, Juanita

Author Spotlight and Give away: New Adult novelist, Leesa Bow…

Welcome to the Author Spotlight, Leesa and congratulations on the release of ‘Charming the Outback ’! Could you give us the blurb, please?

When jaded city girl Maddy McIntyre packs up and leaves Adelaide for a new job in the country, it’s not only a chance at a fresh start.  Six months ago, the first guy she’d ever loved shattered her heart before moving home to Broken Hill. Deep down inside, Maddy is hoping that living in the same town will give her an opportunity to prove to Luke that she’s one temptation he can’t resist.

But when she arrives in Broken Hill, Luke White is not the same guy she knew in the city.  And it soon seems very clear that he doesn’t want her there. Although Maddy settles in quickly, excelling at work and partying with her new friends, she can’t understand why Luke is remaining so distant. Particularly when all her instincts are telling her that they’re meant to be together –  and that he feels the same burning attraction.

As Maddy learns more about Luke’s family and background, she begins to understand that his mixed messages are caused by balancing what’s expected of him with what he really wants. Maddy gave Luke her heart long ago and, despite their differences, she knows she’ll only ever be happy with her hot country boy. But how can she convince him that she’s the risk he needs to take?

41.CharmingtheOutback_cover

Your novels feature sports quite heavily. What is it about all those toned and buff bodies that make for great romance?

I enjoy describing an athlete’s body with abs you can grate cheese on, broad shoulders, a tight rear, and incorporating their personality (often arrogant) into the emotion of New Adult romance.

I believe fans of our sporting heroes are curious to what happens behind the scenes of the playing arena. Sport has been a major part of my life so in my stories I touch on many issues, some controversial, and take the reader on a different journey to other romance stories.

What’s your favourite sport?

After watching my husband play Australian Rules football for Glenelg in the SANFL for many years, I developed a love for football. I also have to include basketball, as my four daughters played the game and I enjoyed watching them compete in national tournaments, representing South Australia.

You grew up in Broken Hill. What was that like? Are there things you miss about a country area as compared to the city?

Growing up in the country was a wonderful experience. There is a strong sense of community and as a child I felt safe. I miss the unobstructed views of sunrise and sunset with orange and pink splashed across the skies. And the stars shine brightly at night.

However I love the selection of cafes, fine restaurants, and the beach in Adelaide. Then there is also the variety sport and entertainment you find in the city and not in the country. Broken Hill is only a five-hour drive from Adelaide, so it is not far to travel when I need to escape and go ‘home’.

Can you tell us about the New Adult genre?

New Adult books are often about monumental firsts. There is a unique tone and often the stories are filled with emotion, as the characters in New Adult tend to fall in the age bracket between 18 and 25 years. We all know this can be a sensitive time with many changes happening in the individual’s life, and so the struggle of becoming an adult is generally central to the story. Most of us have fond memories of leaving school and attending university, or finding employment. It is a time when we spread our wings and embrace independence. It is also an emotional time experiencing highs and lows on leaving the family home, splurging on holidays and or travelling the world, and finding new friends while losing others.

But it is the finding love, sometimes our first love—and losing it just as quick—that is a focus for me. So my stories are about the characters finding their way as they enter adulthood, adding the emotion and adventure of romance. And during this journey they discover who they are and what really matters to them, and fighting for it. Something we can all relate to regardless of our age. Although I write contemporary new adult with a sport theme, other sub genres are becoming just as popular like fantasy or sci-fi, paranormal, and suspense.

New Adult is storming the bookshelves in the states and I hope Australia takes it lead, and gives New Adult the support it deserves.

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What is the target market for New Adult? Who is reading it?

Readers 17+ ages can relate to New Adult stories. I for one look back at those years with happiness, in a nostalgic way, and yet I also remember the regrets. Younger readers may relate to the story while experiencing similar firsts, happy times and disappointments.

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

In my bookshelf I have a variety of books including Australian authors. Favourites are Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, and yet I also enjoyed Twilight, and Fifty Shades of Grey. There are also many Nora Robert’s books.

I take my kindle everywhere as though it another appendage. The books on my kindle are mainly New Adult, with Jennifer Armentrout’s, and Lexi Ryan’s books featuring heavily. I also endeavour to buy many Australian authors’ books, especially those published by Destiny.

My favourite NA books:

Stay With Me by Jennifer Armentrout

Easy by Tammara Webber

Adam’s List by Jennifer Ann

Another New Life by Sydney Aaliyah

Goodbye to You by AJ Mathews

Tyler by Jo Raven

Walk With Me by Kaitlyn Stone

You have four daughters, does that help you to be in touch with what New Adult characters would be doing/thinking/feeling?

Absolutely. Many authors are given the advice to ‘write what you know’. I am living the emotional highs and lows of New Adult characters in my home. Whether it ‘first time’ experiences or conversations about alcohol and drug abuse in society, which is common among this age group, I believe I am in touch with New Adult themes.

Can you tell us a bit about your current work in progress?

Currently I am writing the third book in the series, another football romance involving a ruckman. Both characters are new, although my main characters in Winning the Player will receive cameos.

What does the future hold for Leesa Bow?

At the moment I am a full time author. I am enjoying my writing journey and hope for three or four more books to be published over the next year.

2015 will be a big year in my personal life, and I hope it to be just as big in my writing world.

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Could you give us a sneaky peek at one of your favourite parts of ‘Charming the Outback’, please?

Luke sat straight backed on the bed, his gaze devouring my body. As much as I liked watching his face adore me, I also wanted to perve. ‘Your turn,’ I whispered.

Luke shook his head and stood. My gaze shot straight to the bulge in his shorts. Whoa. He turned away and opened the cupboard door.

‘What are you doing?’

He moved coat hangers apart, searching for God knows what. ‘I’m picking out a dress for you to wear. We’re going out for dinner.’

I sprang to the edge of the bed. ‘You’re kidding, right?’

Luke looked at me from over his shoulder, hands still on clothes hanging in my cupboard. ‘No, I’m not. You asked me to kiss you like I meant it, and I did. Now we’re getting out of the house before I lose my bloody mind.’

Here’s the link to the first chapter on the Destiny website:

http://www.destinyromance.com/products/9781760140434/charming-outback/19286873/extract

Author Bio:

Leesa Bow grew up in Broken Hill. Sport played a major role in her life growing up in a small country town, and Leesa had a passion for basketball. Although she loved to read books with happy endings, she never believed she would end up a novelist.

Leesa started her professional life nursing at the local hospital before moving to Adelaide in her early twenties. She married a football player, and inevitably her four daughters were also sporty. Leesa began writing seriously when her second daughter became sick with cancer. Initially writing was therapeutic, but when her daughter got the all clear, she decided to continue writing seriously. Stories about sport, romance, and characters aged eighteen plus seemed logical since her daughters were of a similar age, and often surrounded by athletes.

In her spare time Leesa writes New Adult romance. On weekends she enjoys watching basketball and football, having beach days with the family, catching up with girlfriends, and daydreaming about strong heroines.

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