September new releases

Spring is sprung, the grass is riz – and our members have a plentiful supply of new releases to keep you reading and happy this September. Enjoy!

HTSep17-Cover2

Advertisements

We’re on Instagram!

In our continuing campaign to spread love (see what I did there?) across the internet, we have expanded our social media presence to Instagram!

You can find us here, or search @rwaustralia on Instagram to find us.  If you are on Instagram, please share your handles in the comments so that we can follow you.

We’ve also created a searchable Instagram hashtag, #loveozromance, which we’d love you to use when posting about romance on Instagram, so that we can build our  community of lovers of Australian romance.

And just so you know, you can also find us on

Pinterest

Facebook

Twitter

Google+

Instagram

We also have several private gathering spaces on social media for members only.  If you are a member and would like more info, contact Imelda at online@romanceaustralia.com

 

 

February New Title Releases

February is the month of love. As we look forward to Valentine’s Day, here is a snapshot of some of the new releases available from our members. I’m already poised to click ‘purchase’ on my laptop for several of them!

Remember that we would love the opportunity to hear about your new release and  let all your RWA compatriots know about it too. You can upload covers through the member section of the website. Please login, then go to Published? under the MyRWA drop down menu and choose the ‘send new releases to Hearts Talk‘. Your cover will also appear on the website and be posted to Pinterest.

The deadline for covers is the 8th of the month prior to publication (e.g. If your release is 1 March, your email must be received before the 8 February). This service is available to MEMBERS ONLY. If your cover runs late for any reason, you are welcome to submit it the next month.

February 2016 New Releases

Love Between the Covers Canberra Screening

We are very excited to announce a special event for all romance lovers in or near Canberra.   RWA members Rhyll Biest, Elyse Huntington, Bec Fleming, Justine Lewis and Stella Francis have organised a screening of Love Between the Covers, a new documentary about romance readers and writers.  All the details are below.  Don’t miss it!

 

Love Between the Covers

Sat, 13/02/2016 at 12:00 PM – Greenway, ACT

$11.44–$14.58 Get Tickets

On 13 February 2016 the Tuggeranong Arts Centre will host a screening of the documentary Love Between the Covers, a feature-length documentary film about the little-known, surprisingly powerful community of women who read and write romance novels. After the film, several saucy Canberra romance writers—all at different stages of their writer’s journey—will be on hand to answer questions about what it’s like to be part of this global, billion-dollar industry. Ask us anything (bring your question in writing with you name on it to enter the draw to win the main prize of a $100 book voucher, or one of several romance novels).

With Valentine’s Day falling the next day, what better time to learn about the business of love?

For more information, visit the webpage here.

FAQs

When does the movie start?

Please arrive at noon to meet up with friends, hand your written question to organisers and find your seat of choice. The film will start promptly at 12.30.

Is there food at the venue?

No, you will need to BYO food and drink. Drinks need to be bottled or canned (no alcohol!) Only popcorn and drinks are permitted once inside the cinema.

Are there ID requirements or an age limit to enter the event?

There are no ID requirements or age limits but keep in mind that this is a movie about romance writing, so there may be discussions about love and romance not suitable for children. Any children should be accompanied by an adult.

What are my transport/parking options getting to the event?

Parking is available on Reed Street. The closest bus stop is Soward Way after Drakeford Drive. Buses 60, 61, 64, 65, 160, 161, 164, 765.

What can/can’t I bring to the event?

No alcohol allowed.

Where can I contact the organiser with any questions?

On the Love Between the Covers Canberra screening facebook page

Is my registration/ticket transferrable?

Yes, so long as you bring your ticket to the event.

 

When
Saturday, 13 February 2016 from 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM (AEDT) Add to Calendar
Where
Tuggeranong Arts Centre – 137 Reed Street Greenway, ACT 2901 AU – View Map

OCTOBER NEW BOOK RELEASES

It’s October and I can feel a frisson of Christmas excitement in the air. Can you? Early Christmas titles are sneaking into bookstores and onto Christmas reading lists. I love Christmas-themed books, so I am pleased I can spot at least one in this month’s member new releases. What about you? Do you enjoy romances tailored to a particular occasion like Christmas or Valentine’s Day?

New releases October 2015

WOMEN IN LITERARY ARTS AUSTRALIA LAUNCHED

Call to action to RWA members and other supporters of romance

A new organisation called Women in Literary Arts Australia (WILAA) has been launched to support women working in the literary industry. It was founded by writer and producer Lefa Singleton Norton. Other founding members include Lisa Dempster, the Melbourne Writers Festival CEO, and Kate Callingham, the Emerging Writers Festival General Manager.

Lefa said that a 2014 roundtable of women in writing and publishing industries found that there was ‘a lack of centralised information and formal networks of support for women writers’. She added that WILAA aimed to fix this by finding practical ways to support women to excel, such as networking opportunities, mentorships, events, workshops and marketing campaigns.

WILAA will conduct a nationwide survey over the coming months to determine what is most needed in terms of support systems. It will also research the representation of women on Australia’s ‘literary stages’.

You can find out more about WILAA and their objectives on their website. You can also fill in their initial Survey. This is where our call to action comes in. I’ve done the survey and noticed with disappointment that although our genre sister authors in crime are mentioned, romance does not get a look-in. Neither does fantasy. There is an open-ended final question that I used to address this, and in this case, as in many others, I reckon the more the merrier!

 

Author Spotlight: Sexy Contemporary Romance novelist, V. K. Black…

Welcome to the Author Spotlight, V.K and congratulations on the release of ‘Unexpected Places’. Can you give us the blurb, please?

One treasure map; a pair of priceless emeralds; two very keen hunters — only one can win, but who says that competition can’t be a little fun?

When sweet, pretty Ariana Noonan knocks out treasure hunter Luke Donahue with a champagne bottle and steals his treasure map, he vows to get his map back, find the missing priceless emeralds…and exact a fitting revenge.

When Luke finally discovers Ariana in a dingy hotel on a remote tropical island, she’s in desperate straits and he finally gains the upper hand. Of course he will rescue her. His price? They act on the attraction that’s been simmering between them from the very beginning.

But all is not as it seems, and Luke’s sexy bargain turns up not only an unbelievable secret, but Ariana’s reasons for wanting the emerald. Suddenly, nothing is clear-cut anymore, and map or no map, Luke and Ariana are sailing into uncharted territory.

Unexpected_Final (300)

 

You write what you like to read, which is sexy romances with open bedroom doors. How have sexy romances changed in recent times to become more mainstream?

I really don’t know the answer to this one. The romance world, of course, has been enjoying sexy romances for ages. But the mainstream world? My bridge club is a good example of mainstream society. We have a copy of Fifty Shades of Grey in the bridge library. Lots of Nora Roberts. Danielle Steele. No HM&B though. In the members’ attitudes to me, I haven’t experienced contempt or rude questions about when I’m going to write a “real” book. There seems to be a genuine admiration of and interest in the fact that I write and am published. There’s amusement about the sexy bit. Quite a few members have bought my books.

Who are your favourite sexy romance authors and what impact have they had on your writing.

There are a few authors who are automatic buys for me. Maybe my favourite is Kelly Hunter, closely followed by Heidi Rice. I really enjoy the tone of their books, their voices. There’s a light-hearted readability about their books I admire, and which I think has influenced my writing. There’s lots of other authors too. Melanie Milburne, Abby Green, Lynne Graham, Kristan Higgins, Julie James. And at the hot end of town, Cherise Sinclair and Lexi Blake. 

You write in a number of genres, do you have a favourite?

Contemporary is my favourite genre, although I love World War Two historicals too.

Do you think that writing in different genres has improved your writing skills? Are there any other genres you are going to work in?

I guess by simply writing, your writing tends to improve. And by reading craft books. And by reading other authors’ books with an eye to their craft. When I re-read my first book, Lies and Seduction, a World War Two historical, I scrunch up my nose in a couple of places, as I’ve written things I wouldn’t now – although I still think the book is fun and a good read. I’m not sure if writing across the genres has improved my writing, except by keeping myself fresh, perhaps. There’s a World War Two/Time Travel in the wings.

When you’re not writing, what do you do to relax?

Read, play bridge (though more for the chatty fun – goodness, some of those bridge players get serious!), go to exercise classes, which means chat with friends at coffee afterwards, cook (eat) spicy food. Love curries. A nice glass of chardonnay of course helps with that relaxing.

Can you tell us about your current work in progress?

It’s another sexy contemporary, set on an island in the Great Barrier Reef. Originally, I wrote it as a short story told entirely from the man’s point of view. But the two publishers I submitted to both wanted to hear about the heroine’s story as well. So that’s what I’m doing now. I’ve had to change the heroine’s character, because as a damsel in distress she wasn’t terribly interesting. Although I rather enjoy reading about distressed damsels being rescued by big strong bad boys. Okay, it’s the big, strong, bad boys I’m interested in…

What does the future hold for Victoria Black?

It’s actually V.K. Black these days. I used to be the one and only Victoria Black, Author, out there, but there are heaps of us now, one of whom writes Wow, O.M.G., taken-by-the-team-you-get-my-drift erotica. I mean, what would the bridge club say? Hence the name change.

What I enjoy writing most, and what I’d like to investigate with a view to publishing, is short stories. I know everyone is self-publishing these days, but I’m so bad with technology, I’m really nervous about dipping my toe into that pond. Travelling is also on my agenda. Two months eating and drinking my way around the U.K. has but whetted my appetite.

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

This excerpt is from early in the first chapter, where Luke is about to meet Ariana.

Luke watched with interest as she approached him. He’d noticed her earlier, when he’d been chatting with his dad’s old secretary. A tiny, pretty little thing—the approaching blonde, not Mrs Abercrombie. She’d been standing all alone, gulping her wine. Then her attention had suddenly fixed on him. She’d started on the long approach, unaware, he was sure, that he knew she was coming.

There’d been the noise at Bob’s door last week. Someone had been listening, he was sure of it, and that person knew all about the missing emeralds and the map. He’d been expecting a stranger to approach him at some point, all week. And well, well, here she was. Another girl. Another one of Changpu’s little off-siders.

Of course, he could be misjudging her. Maybe she was a pretty girl who wanted sex badly, and had lousy timing. But he didn’t think so. There was a steely purpose behind the way she was currently stalking him.

Again, an unfamiliar fury rose within him. For Changpu to follow him into his own company was the final straw. He’d played nice up until now. He’d been a perfect gentleman to Mai Ling. But no more. Neither the old man nor this little employee of his could expect any mercy. Luke traced the still-painful line of his scar beneath his shirt.

His eyes roved leisurely over her sweet curves, enjoying the enticing bounce of her white breasts revealed by her sexy black dress. It hugged her trim little body and came to rest at her knees. Her femininely curved hips swayed with the help of heels that must be adding inches to her height. Pretty green eyes fixed on his face. Her cute half-smile, half pout drew her lovely full lips up at their corners.

Clenching his teeth, Luke felt the muscle tick at his jaw. His stomach tightened for battle. But, to his surprise, his cock rose in enthusiastic greeting. Luke smiled, enjoying the widening wariness of her eyes, enjoying how his fury and desire for revenge had mixed into a heady, potent cocktail of lust. Grabbing a glass of the cheap champagne they were serving tonight, he stepped toward her, crowding her.

He smiled again. Or at least did his best, forcing his lips to curl up into something approximating genuine warmth. “Hi. I’m Luke. Would you care for a glass of champagne?”

Victoria

 

Author Bio: V.K. Black is from Queensland, Australia. She loves tropical islands, snorkelling on the Barrier Reef, good wine and hot spicy food. Amazingly, all of these appear in Unexpected Places (published by Escape Publishing). Sadly, treasure maps and priceless emeralds have been in short supply in her real life, so she has written a story about them.

As well as her action/adventure contemporary, Unexpected Places, V.K. Black has written an erotic fantasy/sci fi called Heavenly Revenge (published by Secret Cravings) and a World War Two historical called Lies and Seduction (published by Cobblestone Press.) There is a unifying theme. They are all fun sexy romances, with a handsome hero and a lovely heroine.

V.K. Black has been a member of RWA for many years now, and enjoys the company of her fellow RWA members at her monthly Sultry Scribes writers’ meeting.

Web links

Website: victoriablacksexystories

Blog: victoriablacksexystories

Facebook: V.K. Black

Twitter: @VKBlackAuthor

Goodreads: Unexpected Places

Buy link: Escape Publishing

Author Spotlight- Author Groups: The Naughty Ninjas…

 

Have you ever thought of being part a formalised writer’s group with the intention of blogging or creating a website together, but haven’t known where to start or what to expect?

Instead of shining the spotlight on sole authors, I thought it might be interesting to focus a little on authors who share a formal blog or website.  Over the coming months I will be chatting to other author groups about the mechanics and benefits of working with other authors towards a common goal.  These groups will share their experiences and knowledge so that it might inspire some of you to give it a go.

For the first in this series, please welcome Rhyll Biest and Georgina Penney from the Naughty Ninjas!

 

naughty ninja logo

Members of  the Naughty Ninjas are: Andra Ashe, Sandra Antonelli, Sarah Belle, Cate Ellink, Roz Groves, Lily Malone, Georgina Penney, Rhyll Biest.

The group commenced in February 2014 and focuses on the Romance Genre with naughtiness on the side!

Hi Rhyll and Georgina – otherwise known as the founders of The Naughty Ninjas. Thanks for joining us to discuss formal author groups. Can you tell us a bit about the Naughty Ninjas?

We’re seven Australian romance writers and one mighty Australian romance reviewer, Roz Groves. Andra, Cate and Rhyll write erotic romance, Lily and Sandra write contemporary romance, Sarah writes Ro-magic Comedy, Georgina writes Chick lit (with strong romance overtones) and all of us have a robust sense of humour, whether we’re talking about love, life, writing, reading, romance or sex. Or merkins and tentacles.

Rhyll%20Biest   GeorginaPenney

What sort of activities do the Ninjas undertake?

Our website, social media, podcasts and newsletter combine direct and indirect marketing. We share practical information about writing and marketing, books we enjoyed, and information relevant to romance (e.g. author interviews). And then there’s the naughty stuff purely for entertainment, including recipes, opinion pieces, advice columns and nerdy facts. If one of us has a launch date, the ninjas go into overdrive with promotion. There has been threat of a nudie run to promote the raft of upcoming releases but that’s on hold until Cate Ellink can knit a merkin big enough to cover up the entirety of Georgina’s wobbly bits.

What inspired you to form the Naughty Ninjas? How long did the group take in its planning stages prior to going live with a website?

Seeing other successful group sites, frustration with individual promotion efforts, and attending a promotion workshop all provided inspiration.

We started with a small core group in September 2013 who nutted out brand, aims, design and content ideas and general operation principles via Skype meetings. That part didn’t take too long and mainly involved a lot of bawdy talk and laughter. It then took us a couple of months to develop the site and fill it with content before trialling it with a small audience before the official launch on Valentine’s Day this year.

 Sandra%20_Cookieface_%20Antonelli    Cate%20_Man%20Eater_%20Ellink

What sort of issues do writers need to consider prior to forming a group- – IT, Intellectual Property, rules, expenses, etc.

If you’re looking to form a group like ours (with or without the merkins or tentacles) the key thing is going to be communication. Get all members to give you a realistic (not utopic) idea of the time they’ll have and the responsibilities they want and then halve that to allow for family dramas, book launches, bad hair days (or running out of coffee). That way you’ll start off on the right foot, with everyone having a manageable work load.

If you don’t have communication, you’re going to have trouble sorting out all the other tricksy bits and pieces when it comes to the following:

  • Deciding who is going to develop and maintain the site? (You can get mixed results if everyone is uploading to the site regardless of their tech savvy.)
  • Who owns the content, the site or each contributor?
  • Who is going to pay for the site domain, images and giveaways/prizes? How are you going to decide membership and handle disagreements or disputes?
  • How much time do you want to spend on the group and what’s the plan for sticking to that time limit?
  • How are you going to measure and report the achievement of your goals (assuming you’ve set some in the first place)?

Oh, and we can’t forget the tone of the group. Make sure you’re all on the same page when it comes to content. We ninjas can be a little risqué and it was super-important to make sure everyone was okay with that from the get-go.

 

How do you manage to keep in contact with everyone, as well as coordinate writing activities and due dates?

We’re a geographically dispersed group, with members living in Brunei, Canberra, Melbourne, WA, NSW and Queensland, so online communication is our main method (and some of it is actually serious group-related stuff!). At the moment, we mainly use email and a fantastic project organization site called Freedcamp to co-ordinate website content. The smaller stuff is all taken care of through Twitter and Facebook with the odd blog visit. The podcast is done through Skype.

Most of us are hopefully going to meet up at the conference this year as well for a couple of drinks and shenanigans as well.

roz%20grashopper%20groves    Andra%20_Madame_%20Ashe

 

What benefits do you see in writers coming together in a formal group to write and market their work?

So many benefits!

  • Other members can pick up the slack for each other when crisis or deadline looms for someone.
  • Where one blog/website might draw between 100-300 visits each day (depending on how amaze-balls you are), a single multi-author site which is cross-linked to existing blog/website readerships can theoretically be drawing over a thousand visits a day. That makes it more attractive to advertisers, sponsors and readers.
  • Fans of one author will come to the site, see who that author ‘hangs’ with and consider reading the books of other authors. I know that Wonkomance certainly worked that way for me (Rhyll). I’ve had that experience. A couple of readers have contacted me to say they found me through loving Sandra Antonelli and Lily Malone’s books (Georgina).
  • Eight people instead of one are promoting the one site (through tweets, likes, etc).
  • Eight people instead of one are creating the content for one site, so each person can spend less time on promotion. And we believe in recycling, so there’s no reason you can’t duplicate your own posts on your personal sites (blogs/websites) after they’ve appeared on the group site.
  • Instead of one lonely little brain struggling to come up with ideas all on its ownsome, eight brains work together. Assuming each of us has an average IQ of 80 (is that the average?) our site now has an IQ of 640 (which means NASA will approach us with a job offer any day now). Also, we can bounce ideas off each other and have a few laughs while getting feedback and suggestions.
  • With seven authors, that’s seven times whatever number of books each individual author has published to offer as giveaways or discounts on.
  • With eight of us, each with their own contacts and networks, our reach (in terms of finding potential sponsors, interviewees, guests etc) is wider than the Russian mafia’s.
  • Each of us writes in different styles and genres, so we’re able to bang on about a wider variety of things (which is more interesting for readers).
  • Each of us brings their own particular skills, knowledge and interests to the group. Georgina is a podcast whizz, a dab website designer and builder, and has a feel for the overseas romance community. Rhyll is a keen editor, planner and schemer (she makes some third world dictators eyeing a small neighbouring country for annexation look sloppy). Lily understands the hell out of wine, marketing and self-pubbing, Sandra is our recipe, Twitter and coffee queen, Andra and Cate bring science and erotica to the table, Sarah and Roz share their reviewing expertise, ro-magic comedy and well-developed appreciation of Cthulhu and megalodon jokes.
  • The best part is having other like-minded (i.e. fun) people to plan and speak with. Writing can be lonely, but promotion need not be. I think everyone’s energy starts to flag under the weight of promoting on their own. If your day involves working a full-time job (other than writing), meeting your family’s needs and trying to make sense of that manuscript you’re in the middle of writing, promotion can feel like many-tentacled beastie trying to drag you down. Having a group at your back to help you get the word out about your latest release and who’ll listen to you having a bit of a confidential rant, swear of happy moment is fantastic.

What have been your biggest hurdles to date?

They fall into two categories. The first is keeping track of the deadlines, who has submitted what, and what belongs to who, and where projects are at. Google Drive and Freedcamp are useful apps for sorting, backing up and tracking things. And time management. Luckily, if things go wrong, we tend to just giggle and snort at each other.

The second is managing our own crazy-keen ambition and understanding our limitations. For example, we started off with a pretty intense workload to get a decent amount of content on the site but now, six months down the track, we’ve realized that maintaining that workload isn’t necessary to get the traffic we want, so we’ve pulled things back a little and slowed down.

 

Lily%20_Beanie%20Queen_%20Malone%20copy   sarah%20belle

 

How many hours a month would you spend on the Naughty Ninjas? What types of tasks are involved?

When we started, lots! But things are much more streamlined now. Georgina spends about 18 to 20 hours a month all up taking care of formatting the podcast, the website and social media side of things (daily FB and Twitter posts) and Rhyll spends the equivalent on getting the newsletter out, scheduling, editing and all the vast minutiae of organising images for articles etc. On top of that there’s the time each Ninja takes to write their month’s articles/reviews, including any research, book reading etc. In Cate Ellink’s case, that involved knitting a merkin, sending it to Brunei and forever confounding the elderly gentleman at Customs.

We set everything up with a publishing calendar planned a month or two in advance, tied with a submission schedule designed to fill each planned item (recipe, review, interview) so if there are any problems in a given month, we’re covered.

Since we’ve got a light-fun based focus, we also try to theme things as much as possible. For example, if it’s national pedicure month, we’ll try to have several items about pedicures (and recipes with toenails).

A lot of brainstorming of ideas for promotion also goes on through Freedcamp. We also use Skype as well. Admittedly, the group Skype calls quickly degenerate into discussions of Cthulhu beanies and masturbation tents.

Is there anything you know now that you wish you’d known in the earliest days of the group?

Everything will take up double the time you expect it to, so have realistic expectations of both your and your group members’ capacity to get stuff done around life’s little (sometimes huge) hurdles.

 

What’s the difference between marketing yourself as a solo author and marketing a group of authors?

The main thing is having the knowledge that you’ve got a bunch of kickass ladies at your back when it comes to a book launch, a beta read, a celebration or a rant. We all come from different backgrounds so it’s great to have access to such a big pool of different skills and knowledge. And we all crack each other up. There’s nothing like a good laugh to dispel the blues after a bad day in the writing trenches.

 

Do you have any advice for writers who are interested in forming a group?

The main thing we’d say is don’t start a group with people who you probably wouldn’t be friends with socially. Get together a bunch of likeminded people who you know will be able to communicate well, who are comfortable with the content you want to post and the brand you want to promote. If those people make you laugh so hard that you snort tea (or coffee) through your nose, all the better!

 

Thanks so much for joining us today, Rhyll and Georgina, and for sharing your pearls of wisdom with us.

If you’d like to check out the Naughty Ninjas, you can do it via:

Facebook

Twitter

Web

 

Author Spotlight and Giveaway: RUBY nominee, Kendall Talbot…

Welcome to the Author Spotlight, Kendall, and congratulations on ‘Lost In Kakadu’ making it to the RUBY finals! Can you give us the blurb, please?

An action adventure novel set in the Australian jungle where two unlikely people prove just how attractive opposites can be…

It’s pretentious socialite Abigail Mulholland’s worst nightmare when her plane crashes into an ancient Australian wilderness. Things go from bad to downright hellish when rescuers never come. As she battles to survive in an environment that’s as brutal as it is beautiful, Abigail finds herself also fighting her unlikely attraction to Mackenzie — another survivor, and a much younger man.

Mackenzie Steel is devastated by his partner’s death in the crash, the only person with whom he shared his painful past. Now, as he confronts his own demons, he finds he has a new battle on his hands: his growing feelings for Abigail, a woman who’s as frustratingly naïve as she is funny.

Fate brought them together, but they’ll need more than luck to escape Kakadu alive. Could the letters of a dead man hold the key to their survival?

image002

You’ve had a big year in regards to nominations for ‘Lost In Kakadu’. How has your first year as a published author impacted your life?

I’m still a bookkeeper by day and book writer at night. But my writing life has become a crazy, thrilling, whirlwind since my debut was published. I’ve learnt to twitter, post on facebook and I designed my author website. I’d never blogged before but now I do them on a regular basis. I’ve been nominated for 5 wonderful awards but haven’t managed to get any of them over the line yet. Maybe the RUBY will have my name on it. I’ve made so many new writing friends it’s a wonder I get any writing done at all. But I do and I’ve polished off 2 new manuscripts this year too.

 

Trying to work out how to promote my book has been the biggest challenge. Now after my morning workout in the gym I spend 45 minutes on social media attempting witty, inspiring and hopefully not annoying posts about my life and my book. My lunchtime is spent doing the same. I’m extremely busy but still so glad I discovered my passion for writing.

 

What was your path to publication like?

Lost In Kakadu was 8 years in the making. The first draft was written during the Year of The Novel course at the Qld Writers Centre. But it wasn’t until I spent 4 days hiking the Milford Track in New Zealand in 2011, that the story really came to life. As I lugged my own clothes, food, bedding and water up and over the Mackinnon Pass, I tried to imagine what it would be like to be lost in the jungle with no luxuries what-so-ever. That’s when my survival story was truly born. My book went through many edits in those 8 years and before I pitched it, I sought the expertise of a professional editor too.

 

At the RWA conference on the Gold Coast in 2012, I pitched my story to Escape Publishing. A few weeks later I received an email stating they were interested if I was willing to make several changes. It required another six months of editing to remove the 15 flashbacks in the manuscript and I’m so pleased I did, as the final story is so much more powerful without them. I received several rejections for Lost In Kakadu before Escape accepted it. Many said it was too controversial, and that Australia wasn’t ready for a story like this. I think my readers may disagree.

 

You live a very adventurous life.  Can you tell us about it?

My father died in a car accident when I was very young. And although I was only 4 years old at the time, it had a profound effect on the way I live my life. I believe in experiencing life, not just living it. Travel and adventure are my drugs of choice. So far I’ve been fortunate to explore 36 countries and I always have a holiday on the horizon. I’m a bit of an adventure junkie, I love hiking, scuba diving, white water rafting, snow skiing, hang gliding and basically anything that makes me scream.

 

I’m lucky I fell in love with a man who supports my passions. I’ve dragged him all over the world and talked him into many experiences he would never have tried without me. I’m proud to say my children have inherited my sense of adventure too. I have 101 things on my bucket list and so far I’ve crossed off 36. So although we may never pay off our mortgage, we will never regret the money we’ve spent on our thrills.

Camel Jockey

 

What has been your favourite, as well as your most nerve wracking experience so far?

In 2010 we spent a week holidaying in the Solomon Islands. This was the first time we scuba-dived as a family. My youngest son, Alex, was 12 and his older brother Jordan was 14. The diving was magic. The water was so warm wetsuits weren’t required and the visibility was simply amazing, you could see at least 25 metres into the deep blue. We dived down to Japanese WWII fighter planes sitting on the bottom of the ocean and one of my favourite dives was to the Kashi Maru wreck that was sunk after being hit by a bouncing bomb on 3rd July 1945. We went inside that wreck and saw things like boots with the laces still done up, an old typewriter and crockery, along with abundant marine life and colourful clams that snapped shut if you touched them.

Whale Shark and Us March 2010

 

During one dive, we ascended down a coral wall and explored all the colourful nooks and caves. By this time Alex had become very confident and comfortable in the water. He would zoom off and explore anything that caught his eye. But the moment that had my heart in my throat was when I saw a blacktip reef shark swimming right toward him. The beast was bigger than Alex and although I knew it was highly unlikely anything would happen, I was worried Alex would shoot to the surface in a panic. I have never been so scared in my life. Fortunately I managed to hang onto Alex and the shark disappeared as if nothing had happened.

 

What would your ideal holiday consist of- supposing that money and time are not a consideration?

I would love to show the Greek Islands to my husband. We’d live on a luxury yacht with our own captain, and a professional chef to prepare us exotic meals. We’d watch the sunset from the upper deck while sipping Italian wine and enjoying local cheeses. Our day’s would be filled with exploring the islands, scuba diving the magical azure waters, and making love to the sound of water lapping at the sides of our multi-million dollar yacht… whoops, sorry I was swept away on the dream.

Camel Jockey

 

Can you tell us about your current Works In Progress?

I have 2 manuscripts that I’m submitting at the moment.

 

Treasured Love is a modern day treasure hunt with a good dash of romance. The story begins in Australia, hightails it over to Tuscany and ends in the Greek Islands. When Rosalina discovers a clue to a 700 year old mystery it re-unites her with Archer, the man who broke her heart. But the clue sets them on the hunt for a secret treasure that Brother Nox and his dedicated followers are willing to kill for. Archer must fight to salvage his relationship with Rosalina but their hunt for ancient treasure also plunges them into a desperate fight for their lives and Archer will stop of nothing to keep Rosalina in his arms forever.

 

My second manuscript is Double Take. It’s a gritty urban crime story with a dash of romance. Jackson Rich is fully aware of the irony in his name, because the only time Jack was rich lasted about 60 seconds and it turned out to be the worst moment of his life. Jack’s constantly reminded of how unlucky he is. But that doesn’t stop him from planning a bank robbery. His hands are tied, as far as he’s concerned anyway. His wife Candice is the only good thing that ever happened to him. And if the cash he nets from robbing a bank will save her life, then he’ll damn well do it.

 

You’ve learnt your craft via courses and workshops. How important do you think it is for writers to continue their learning journey?

My philosophy is the day you stop learning is the day you start dying. Becoming a new author has forced me to master many new computer programs. Our brains are fascinating and I’m always amazed at what I can learn. All the courses I’ve completed have been very helpful, but one of the best advantages of these classes is meeting likeminded people, who are often in similar stages of their writing life to me. I’ve made some lasting friendships and many of us are travelling this writing journey together.

 

What was the best piece of advice you’ve been given in regards to your writing?

JUST WRITE. Yep that’s it. Because you cannot publish or edit a story that isn’t written. Our lives are busy, so making a point of writing something every day is a step in the right direction. And it doesn’t have to be a lot of words. They don’t have to be a literary masterpiece. And they don’t even have to be part of your manuscript. As long as you are writing, you are improving and hopefully building a lasting habit.

Kendall Talbot public picture

 

Could you give us a peek at one of your favourite parts of ‘Lost In Kakadu’, please?

Abi walked around the plane wreck and her heart jumped to her throat at the sight of Mackenzie. He stood completely naked in front of his construction. His teeth were brilliant white against his thick beard and he looked majestic, like a tribal warrior standing proud and confident alongside his conquest.

“Get your gear off. It’s bath time.” He waved her forward. “Come on, while it’s hot.”

She wiped her hands on her pants—a pair of cargo pants she’d borrowed from Toni’s luggage. As she walked toward him, her heart pounded louder with each step and the moisture in her mouth evaporated. She couldn’t speak. Stopping before him she chewed on her bottom lip and willed herself to look into his honey-coloured eyes, searching for his thoughts and confused by her own.

“Feel it,” he said.

Her mind raced, but then she realised he was talking about the water and she swallowed hard. Control yourself, girl. She dipped her fingers into the bath. “It’s warm.” Abi couldn’t remember the last time she’d felt warm water on her body; it was a slice of heaven.

He reached toward her. “Shirt off then.”

She held her arms above her head, allowing him to remove her top and she proudly stood bare breasted before him. A tantalising shiver covered her body with goose pimples as she watched Mackenzie’s eyes, eager to see if he peeked at her. But he flung her shirt aside as if this was something they did every day, barely even glancing at her. She chided herself, realising her desires were deluded. Mackenzie wouldn’t be interested in a woman ten years older than him.

“I’ll get in first, okay?” Mackenzie held her shoulder as he climbed into the bath then he turned and shuffled to one end. Abi watched, mesmerised, as the muscles beneath his bottom cheeks moved. When he turned, she soaked up every inch of his well-toned body. His skin radiated a healthy tan, his abs rippled and the line of hair below his neatly sculpted navel drew her eyes. Heat burnt within her and it took all her might not to look any lower. He’s not interested, Abi.

 

Web links

Website

Blog

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

Buy link

 

Kendall is kindly giving away one Ecopy of her novel, ‘Lost in Kakadu’ on a very spiffy Escape Key USB. She will also include in that prize one signed copy of the first chapter of ‘Lost in Kakadu’ 

To be in the running all you have to do is answer the following question in the comments section below:

I’ve told you what my dream holiday would be, I would love to hear about yours.

This competition is open to Australian postal addresses only and will be drawn on July 16, 2014. The winner will be notified by email, so please ensure that we can contact you!

Author Spotlight and Giveaway: Fantasy/Paranormal/Romance author, Cassandra L Shaw…

Welcome to the Author Spotlight, Cassandra, and congratulations on the release of your debut novel, Grave Robber for Hire .

Thankyou for having me Sarah, it’s a pleasure to be here.

Can you tell us a little about it, please?

Grave Robber for Hire is a mixed genre story, that sits mostly in the paranormal/fantasy side since the main character Angel is a psychic who mentally time travels by touching handwriting.

The story has a lightly humorous bent even though it also has a couple of evil characters, few horror scenes, a mystery that has to be solved and a bit of heat.

The story’s about Angel Meyers who uses her psychic gift to hunt for lost family treasures. Angel’s hired to find a long lost Rembrandt and she’s ecstatic as her fee for finding an object is twenty percent of the items value. Such a vast reward would buy her her dream—a much larger animal rescue farm.

But on the first touch of the handwriting of the last person to see the Rembrandt she realises the man was pure evil. Determined to get the Rembrandt and buy that farm, no matter what, she, along with her guardian angel and a private investigator she decides is too hot not to hire, faces supernatural beings who also want the Rembrandt.

Grave Robber for Hire Cover 3 MB(medium)- ebook

Are there plans to build it into a series?

Yes. Grave Robber for Hire has one thread answered by the end of the book but several are left open to continue through the series. I plan on making the Grave Robber series five books long and I plan to have number two out in August.

How would you describe your style of writing?

Well I’m essentially a pantser, but after I write my first draft I then go over it many times to add layers, tighten the plot, add emotions, tweak the humor to suit the characters more. I write in both first and third person but have to admit I find first the most fun as I can really crawl into my main characters skin. I think my style depends on what I’m writing. In Grave Robber for Hire my style is fun and quirky with a dark twist whereas the paranormal romantic suspense I’m working on at the moment is written in third and has a more dramatic nature. So I’d say I adapt to the story as needed.

Your characters have a quirky sense of fashion. From where do you get your fashion inspiration?

Ahh, well that’s a bit of my own time travel. When I was in my mid to late twenties I studied fashion design, so I love dressing my characters. I think it adds to their personalities.

I first saw Angel in goth but I thought that was a bit cliché in this genre so I gave her a taste of dressing in themes. Goth one day, fifties pin up, seventies hippy chick, forties etc.—although, since I had to live through it, there is no eighties power shoulder pads. Shudder shudder.

What comes first: character, world, scenario? Plotter or pantster?

Pantser that uses plotting only when I hit a block. When that happens I plot the next two or three chapters and pantz from there.

Generally I dream of my main character when I’m half asleep and my mind is just cruising. Sometimes a small scene is played out and I go from there. I often play with this idea by writing three or four chapters to see if I really feel the story the characters etc. I have a lot of partially started stories and some I will revisit one day, others I lost interest in after those initial chapters.

Often this initial start-up morphs as I write so I have to go back and rewrite the beginning to suit the new middle. But it’s my way of getting to know the story and characters.

What would we find on your book shelf/e-reader? Which of these books in particular has inspired you?

I have an eclectic mix of genres. Paranormal, romance, fantasy, sci-fi (but not a lot), thrillers, mystery etc. Obviously it’s more on the heavy side with the Paranormal and fantasy which means my shelves are drowning in black covers.

Twilight inspired me to write – It was so simply written I thought surely I can do that and since I’d always wanted to write I gave it a go.

I think for Grave Robber for Hire the writing style inspiration came from Darynda Jones and her Charley Davidson series and Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series. These series break the rules (the ones I’d been told I must never never do) and told me I could tell my story my ways. Both of these authors/series have characters with big personalities, leave the reader guessing as the end of each book, and have a romance that takes several books to get to resolved.

Realising I could break some rules gave me a chance to explore my story the way I envisaged.

When Grave Robber for Hire is made into a movie, who will be your dream cast?

Fresh new actors who fit the description (I hate when they cast people who look nothing like it is described in a book) have the right acting traits to carry off my characters. Hate poor acting more. LOL.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?

Write what you’d like to read. Then revise it, revise it, revise it – get a critique partner.

Cassandra L Shaw. sml JPG

Is there anything you’ve learnt along the path of your writing journey that you wish you’d known at the beginning?

You don’t have to follow all the rules. Some yes, but not all.

Thank you for joining us today, and congratulations again. Could you give us a sneaky peek at one of your favourite parts of Grave Robber for Hire, please?

This is the beginning of Chapter 3. – Angel’s seen a frail old lady crossing a busy road who’s going to get hit by a car.

Crap. My stomach jittered and jived as I ran toward the old lady. My metal heels impacting on the hard asphalt of Frederick Street sent shock waves up my legs. Tension ratcheted my nerves tight then tighter.

And that voice, that grating voice, the one I only hear when someone’s in danger, kept goading me, “Save her, save her, save her,” at a more and more frenzied pace. Christ, I heard. My inner self needed to back off. It wasn’t as if I’d want to see the woman run over and get smashed into old lady chunks. Old or not, she had more to live for. Like afternoon bingo.

The roar of an engine and the screech of rubber burning gave a forewarning. A white car fishtailed around a close-by corner. The doof-doof-doof of god awful music blared out of illegally-tinted windows.

I launched into the air Super-Angel-style, grabbed Granny’s arm, and together we flew.

Feeling super-human, I yelled, “I can flyyyyyyyyy—”

Shoulder down, but holding granny aloft, I smashed into the ground and skidded across cheese grater pavement. “Bullshiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii,” I screamed and thanked God I’d worn leatherette. Too bad the vest was sleeveless.

Mid slide I slammed my arm into something hard. The crack of bone preceded my throat tearing squeal capable of shaking Brisbane. The thunderous growl of the engine and the doof-doof-doof continued up the road.

Someone yelled for help. I forced down a wave of stomach churning pain and checked the woman I’d saved. Mouth gaping, she didn’t move. Eyes, half open looked vacant.

Holy snapping-duck-shit, I’d killed her.

I pulled my elbow away from the dead lady’s head and rolled her onto the grassy verge of the footpath. My body exploded into a ball of agony, and my skin became slick with cold shocky sweat. My arm—someone must have shoved a red hot brand into my arm.

I looked at my victim’s pasty skin and lifeless eyes, then inwardly cringed. I’d never murdered anyone before. I could hear her relatives now. “You killed my Gran. You attacked my mother. We want the death sentence brought back just for you.”

Murdering someone who looked so sweet would really screw up my next life karma. I’d return as a dung beetle and spend my life rolling shit into balls.

Hang on, did her chest move? Yes, yes it did.

My body fluids started to flow again and luckily not down my leg. I pumped my good arm, sobbed from the pain the movement caused, and woo-hoo-ed. No shit balls. I owed the great who-ever-what-ever who saved the woman, one.

Car doors slammed. People rushed to help or gawk.

Biting back self-indulgent groans of agony, I touched the old lady’s cool damp face with the hand that could move. Unconscious? Probably a result of my elbow bouncing on her elderly head. This old woman wasn’t the first person I’d tried to help and caused injury to, not by a sniper shot. It was all that horrid save her voice’s fault.

Through the well-meaning onlookers, a man, too drop-dead hunky to be anything except a gym junkie, and probably married to a hot Barbie wife, appeared. He crouched and checked the old lady’s pulse, palmed a cell phone and dialed.

I hoped he had a medical degree, and he’d feel me up—er—over to check for breaks.

“You okay?” Gym junkie asked as I shifted and scored a head spin. Holding my arm still, I fervently wished someone would turn up with a syringe full of morphine.

Lefty’s my dud arm. I’d broken it three times before today. I knew the pain, knew the routine. I shifted my legs, and the movement shot a spike of fiery heat through my arm.

I gritted my teeth, so I didn’t sound like a baby and looked at gym junkie who seemed to be staring at something just behind my back. Probably the blood oozing out of my grazes. “You got any morphine? My arm’s broken.” Nope, gritting my teeth didn’t help. I still sounded whiney, ready to pass out.

Actually, passing out appealed.

A crooked twist of his mouth caught my interest. I looked into gym junkie’s eyes. Molasses black with gold and soft mahogany flecks. Oh yum, yum with chocolate. You read in novels where the person fell into someone’s gaze. I didn’t fall. I felt absorbed, as if he’d wrapped me in liquid warmth. I wanted to float in their shadowy depths for eternity.

“Sorry, Angel, ran out when I helped my last hero.”

Great a smart-ass and one without pain relief. Why didn’t people carry morphine? It should be a legal humanitarian act. Carry pain killing drugs in case Angel Meyers needed a shot. If someone else needed them, I guess I’d share, seemed fair.

The old lady’s eyelids fluttered. She moaned and focused her faded gray gaze on me. Her cheeks pale, her eyes appeared to bulge. In a voice reedy and breathless, “You’re an angel.” Her hand fluttered and sweat beaded her upper lip. “Oooo, my head.”

A lady in the crowd walked over, kneeled down and took the old lady’s hand and patted it. The old lady’s other hand hit and jarred my wrist—my broken-freaking one.

My mouth shot open, “Ahhhhhhh.” Would it look bad if I decked her?

“I’m sorry,” the old lady said, her voice wavering as if in pain.

I hissed and tucked my arm into my body while the grazes on my back dripped blood and stung. My arm started burning inside. Oh lucky me. I shut my eyes and tried hard to black out. All comas welcome.

Brain cramping pain told me something moved my frigging arm. I opened my eyes and cut my death-ray glare to the idiot. Good looking gym guy grinned at me, and my heart and girly bits spasmed in total lust. My lust almost bypassed the agony of the jerk moron touching my arm. Instead, all my lust channeled to wanting to dig out his pretty black eyeballs.

He grabbed my good arm as it swung, all of its own accord of course, toward his head. “Whoa, Angel, I have paramedical training, I’m trying to see how bad it is.”

If you’d like to contact Cassandra, you’ll find her:

Web links

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Cassandra is kindly giving away one e-copy of her debut novel, Grave Robber for Hire to one lucky reader. To be in the draw to win, all you have to do is answer the following question in the comments section:

Who has written your favourite paranormal / fantasy book (not series – book) It can a book from a series.

This competition is open worldwide and will be drawn on May 1, 2014. The winner will be notified by email.

  • Subscribe by email

  • Subscribe by Feeder

  • Recent News

  • Blog Posts by Category

  • Archives

  • Our Team

    Blogmistress: Imelda Evans

    Blog Editor: Juanita Kees

    A Day in the Writing Life of... Keziah Hill

    Author Spotlights: Sarah Belle

    Cruisin' the Blogs: Juanita Kees

    New Releases: Laura Boon

    Blog Bites: Thea George

    Hearts Talk Wrap: Ainslie Paton

    Cover Contest: Eleni Konstantine

  • Your say:

    Consultoria Seo on February New Releases
    Marsha Atkins on 2017 Ruby finalists
    Alex on 2017 Ruby finalists
    Alex on 2017 Ruby finalists
    Melbourne Silver Cab… on RWA 2015 Conference – Transpor…
  • RWAus Tweets

    Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

  • Pages