My Favourite Reads of August 2019

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My Favourite Reads image

Welcome to My Favourite Reads for August 2019.

Between the Romance Writers of Australia conference (check out my piccies here), a road trip to South Australia and Eddie and the Show Queen’s release, I didn’t have a lot of reading time in August.

What I did manage was good though, with my favourite being…

Terminal by Michaelbrent Collings

Terminal by Michaelbrent Collings coverRegular readers know how much I love a good horror story and Michaelbrent Collings produces beauties. I really enjoyed The Deep (my thoughts on that here) and Darkbound (my thoughts here) but Terminal was a ripper.

Fantastically gory, Terminal focuses on a group of strangers who find themselves suddenly (and suspiciously) fog-bound in a bus terminal. Their night goes from average to weird, to downright terrifying in quite innovative ways.

I loved the characterisations in this. They were vivid and compelling, and every single person was carrying a secret that could play a major role in their survival.

Clever, thrilling and icky. What’s not to love?

As an aside, Michaelbrent Collings has a TED talk called Confessions of a Supervillain: The Psychosis of Lies. I found it entertaining, heartfelt and uplifting. Worth a look.

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Matters of the Heart by Fiona Palmer coverMatters of the Heart by Fiona Palmer

If you love rural romance and Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice then Matters of the Heart is is for you!

The Bennets are a hard-working Western Australian farming family. Daughter Lizzie, our heroine, runs the farm with enthusiasm and expertise. When Charles Bingley lands at Netherfield Park, the property next door, the district is abuzz. He and his friend Will Darcy certainly turn heads at the local dance but finding Will particularly unfriendly, Lizzie remains unimpressed.

How these two find their way to happiness is cleverly done. Fiona has reimagined Austen’s plot for a contemporary audience, flavouring it with her own voice and freshening it further with lots of the authentic rural life that her fans love.

Watch this sell its socks off!

The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox coverThe Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox

This was an enjoyable American-set historical novel with a nice Gothic atmosphere.

Hammered by scandal, the Montrose family flee their comfortable lives in Boston for their summer mansion. Despite its amenities, Willow hall is a far from happy place. It has secrets, as do the three Montrose girls, Catherine, Lydia and little Emmeline. As time passes, those secrets begin to emerge, threatening them all.

Besides the interesting story and lovely writing, The Witch of Willow Hall also featured a sweet romantic thread for extra goodness.

The Gilded Shroud by Elizabeth Bailey coverThe Gilded Shroud by Elizabeth Bailey

I have author buddy and regular Teaser Tuesday guest Anna Campbell to thank for putting me on to this one, and I’m glad she did because it was an easy, fun book perfect for reading while on the road.

The Gilded Shroud is the first in the Regency-era Lady Fan Mystery series and it’s an entertaining introduction. Ottilia Draycott has just started as companion to Dowager Lady Polbrook when the mistress of the house is found murdered. A strong woman, with excellent observation skills, Ottilia soon makes herself invaluable in the investigation, endearing herself to the family and the rather delicious Lord Francis Fanshawe.

One for cosy mystery fans!

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What have you enjoyed reading lately?

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It’s EDDIE AND THE SHOW QUEEN’s Release Day!

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Are you ready for Eddie meme 2

Crack that French champagne and break open the good chocolate because it’s Eddie and the Show Queen’s release day. Rah!

Oh, I hope you fall in love with Eddie and Alice the way I have. These two are adorable and deserve to be happy. Not so easy to achieve given their painful past and made even harder by them being in competition for the inaugural Levenham Wine Show Crown, but Eddie is determined to win Eddie & the Show Queen coverback the heart of the girl he never stopped loving.

Nothing like a man on a mission!

Anyway, who wants an easy to achieve happy-ever-after? All the reading fun comes from watching characters struggle and suffer. ‘Tis one of the great joys of romance.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who pre-ordered a copy of Eddie and the Show Queen. For those who love the thrill of the release day one-click, it’s time for you to exercise your finger. Click-swipe-tap now to secure your copy from any of these retailers.

amazon.com | amazon.com.au | amazon.co.uk

iBooks | Kobo | Google Play | Barnes & Noble

Booktopia | Angus & Robertson | Bookdepository

I have a limited number of Eddie and the Show Queen paperbacks available for direct purchase. If you’d like one of these personally signed editions, order now using this form. Strictly first in, first served. Orders also include a special Eddie and the Show Queen bookmark.

Now, as has come tradition on release day, here are some secret things about the book.

Five Secret Things About Eddie and the Show Queen

1/. Eddie was originally…

an Edward but we had a plumber come to our house who was an Edmond. He was such a lovely (and rather dishy) country lad that I decided to pinch his name.

2/. Regular ‘Secret Things’ followers will know…

that most of my books have a theme song, sometimes several theme songs. Eddie and the Show Queen’s is ‘I’m Not Over’ by Swedish-American alternative rock band Carolina Liar.

It fits Eddie’s feelings perfectly.

Also on the playlist was ‘Wildest Dreams’ by Taylor Swift, ‘Still Loving You’ by the Scorpions, ‘Just Give Me a Reason (featuring Nate Ruess)’ by Pink, ‘Keep Me Coming Back’ by Casey Barnes, and ‘Never Ever (featuring Sarah)’ by the Rubens (explicit lyrics). Oh, and the German version of ‘Mamy Blue’ by Ricky Shayne for no other reason than I love it.

3/. This book holds the record for…

taking the longest amount of time to write. I should have had the first draft done in six weeks, instead it took me thirteen months. There were two main reasons for this. One, it was meant to be a novella but the story took more words to tell than I anticipated and, two, 2018 (and most of 2019) turned out to be a total annus horribilis. I spent a fair whack of it in hospital sorting out a serious medical issue, and writing proved a major challenge. On the road to recovery now, so all good!

4/. I originally wanted to…

call the story Eddie and the Showgirl because it was to be about a fierce battle for the country showgirl title at the Levenham Agricultural and Horticultural Society annual show. I had to bin it though. The definition of showgirl varies around the world, and I didn’t want readers thinking Alice was an adult dancer when what I was aiming for was a representative for the local A&H Society.

5/. Eddie and the Show Queen features…

several favourite characters such as Granny B (who somehow manages to push her way into most Levenham Love Story releases), Chrissy James (Chrissy and the Burroughs Boy), Eddie’s brother Harry (Summer and the Groomsman, Wayward Heart) and Danny and Nick Burroughs (Santa and the Saddler, Chrissy and the Burroughs Boy).

It also introduces some lovely new characters for at least three of whom I have story ideas – Paige, Tiffany and Scarlett. Yep, the Levenham Love Story series has more to come, starting with Scarlett and the Model Man which I’m working on right now. Keep an eye out for that on in 2020.

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I hope you enjoyed these insights into Eddie and the Show Queen. Remember, you can discover even more about how I came to write Alice and Eddie’s romance in Country Shows and Title Woes – The Story Behind Eddie and the Show Queen.

If you’d like to read an excerpt, you’ll find one on Eddie and the Show Queen’s book page. For a longer sample, grab a preview from your favourite ebook retailer.

Here are those buy links again:

amazon.com | amazon.com.au | amazon.co.uk

iBooks | Kobo | Google Play | Barnes & Noble

Booktopia | Angus & Robertson | Bookdepository

Or purchase a personally signed print copy direct from me via this form.

Thanks to everyone who has helped get Eddie and the Show Queen onto virtual shelves and your hot little hands, including my editor Alex Nahlous from Alexandra Nahlous Editing Services, cover designer Kellie at Book Cover By Design, and the good buddies who make this writing life such a joy, in particular Annie West, Michelle Douglas and Jaye Ford (aka Janette Paul) who were a huge support during my health woes. Friends who bring picnics and big smiles to your hospital bed are special. Last but never, ever least, my darling Jim. The man who is my rock.

Happy reading everyone!

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Teaser Tuesday!

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Teaser Tuesday MemeWelcome to Teaser Tuesday, where I share snippets from new and past releases and works-in-progress and sometimes twist the arms of author buddies to do the same.

This time next week it’ll be Eddie and the Show Queen’s release day. Wahoo!!! Yes, my lovelies, there are now only SEVEN sleeps until Eddie hits the world. I can’t wait. This book is so sweet and funny (if I do say so myself) and I think you’ll fall in love with Eddie and Alice as much as I have.

It should come as no surprise, with the book’s release so close, that today’s Teaser Tuesday will be Eddie-centric but before we move onto Eddie gorgeousness, did you catch Sunday’s This Writing Life post on the recent Romance Writers of Australia conference? There are loads of piccies and some thoughts from me about the conference. If you want to peek at what romance authors get up to when they get together, check out the post here.

Did you know that Summer and the Groomsman is Apple Books Free Book of the Week in the Australian store? Yup, freeeeeee!

APPLE BOOKS REVIEW

“Each week, we feature a free and entertaining Book of the Week. What Cover of Summer and the Groomsman by Cathryn Heinimmediately sets this rural romance apart is Cathryn Hein’s commitment to detail. In the fictional South Australian town of Levenham, around the budding connection between burly local Harry Argyle and blow-in beautician Summer Taylor, Hein builds relationships and connections in a way that may lull you into thinking you’re a resident. You’ll pick up a fair bit of local knowledge on looking after horses, repairing fences and what happens when a male customer gets too excited during a spa treatment. If you haven’t read Hein’s other Levenham-set romances, this is the perfect welcome. And if you have, welcome back.”

Summer and the Groomsman features Eddie’s older (and slightly taller – a fact the irks Eddie no end) brother Harry. Unlike Eddie, who could charm the socks off anyone, Harry is desperately shy when it comes to women. How he finds happiness with Summer is a hoot.

If you don’t already have Summer and the Groomsman, why not grab a freebie while you can? Be quick though. Offer ends September 7th.

Back to Eddie

With next Tuesday being release day for Eddie and the Show Queen, there will be no Teaser Tuesday for that day. Instead, as has become tradition with my releases, you’ll get a Secret Things post, revealing lots of little titbits about the writing of the book, including its fabulous (and very apt) theme song.

Now for our juicy snippet. In this scene, Eddie is quizzed by the Wine Show Crown committee about his latest fundraising dare.

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‘Eddie,’ said Tiffany, stepping forward with her tablet. ‘We just need to check your next dare. You’ve called it …’ Colour flooded Eddie & the Show Queen coverher cheeks as she paused to read the screen. ‘Wax Me Happy?’

‘Yeah. Although I’m not sure about the happy bit. More like miserable after a full body wax.’

Mrs Wallace, who until then had been looking bored, perked up.

‘Full?’ asked Sarah in a high-toned voice.

‘Uh-huh. I was hoping I could get away with just my chest, but the boys insisted on full and the money on offer was too good to knock back.’

Stunned silence fell.

Eddie’s grin faded as he registered everyone’s faces. ‘What?’

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He he. I love this scene and I think you will too. Find out what happens next by ordering your own copy of Eddie and the Show Queen. Out September 10th and available in paperback and ebook from these stores:

amazon.com | amazon.com.au | amazon.co.uk

Apple Books | Kobo | Google Play | Barnes & Noble

Booktopia | Angus & Robertson | Bookdepository

If you’d like to learn more about Eddie and the Show Queen and how I came to write this story, check out Country Shows and Title Woes, The Story Behind Eddie and the Show Queen. For another snippet, check out its book page here.

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This Writing Life: RWA Melbourne 2019

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It’s taken a bit longer than I anticipated, but the promised This Writing Life post on the recent Romance Writers of Australia annual conference is now here.

I do have a good excuse, and it goes by the name of Eddie and the Show Queen which releases in only… *takes a deep breath* nine days. I am so excited and can’t wait for you to read about Eddie and Alice’s race for the Show Queen crown, and their absolutely gorgeous romance.

Before we get into some lovely piccies, I’d also like to remind you that, in a super special promo, Summer and the Groomsman is this week’s Apple Books Free Book of the Week. Yep, you can pick up the Eddie’s brother’s story for free on  Apple Books. How cool is that?

This offer ends September 7th, so grab it now if you don’t have a copy or share the freebie love by telling your romance lovin’ friends.

Right. The conference.

In one word: brilliant.

Lanyard and program RWA 19

Lanyard and program RWA 19

I loved it. Now, I usually say that about Romance Writers of Australia conferences because I adore catching up with writing buddies. I also always come home with some writing or business gem that I can use going forward. But, like everything, some conferences are better than others and this one was a good ‘un.

There were three highlights for me (other than the partying with friends). Nalini Singh’s Polish and Shine Beyond the First Draft was full of great tips for making books sing. It was so good I wish I’d done her session on Writing Novellas too, but I was very glad I did Melissa Storm’s workshop on Winning Ad Strategies, which was on at the same time. That was my second highlight, even though I’m still trying to get my head around the information. The final highlight was Amy Andrews’ hilarious and uplifting Closing Keynote. She had the room in stitches and earned a well-deserved ovation at the end.

My biggest takeaway was to do with advertising. It seems a ‘must’ now, rather than a ‘would like’ item for my to-do list. It’s not easy for readers to find books these days because there are simply so many. Not all of us subscribe to our favourite author’s newsletter or blog, and social media is hard when Facebook gives our page posts little reach, unless we pay to have it extended.

To be honest, the thought of advertising makes me want to curl up in a ball. I’ve dabbled a few times with Facebook and Amazon ads and not enjoyed the process, but life’s full of things we suffer rather than enjoy. Sit-ups come immediately to mind. Pap smears another.

My gripe with advertising is that it distracts me from writing. And I have to do maths. Simple maths, admittedly, but maths all the same. Yuck.

This from a girl with a science degree and a post-grad in business management.

There are three solutions. One, ignore the whole thing and just write and rely on other strategies and word-of-mouth. Two, contract it out. Three, train the man of the house, an engineer who is very good at maths and for whom spreadsheets hold no fear.

Methinks he’d rather play golf, though. So would I.

One to ponder

My sincerest thanks to the conference co-ordinator Tanya Kean and her team Donna Munro, Joanne Dannon, Kristine Charles, Nardia Sheriff, Eliza Renton, Di Inglis, Wendy Davis, Savannah Blaize, Melanie Coles, Rachael Howlett and Alison Stuart. An excellent job done by all.

Now for the bit you’ve been hankering for: piccies!

The Cocktail Party

As always, the cocktail party was a hoot. This year’s theme was Twisted Fairy Tales. As you can see, there were some very twisted costumes indeed!

Author Paula Roe at the cocktail party, 2019 Romance Writers of Australia conference

Author Paula Roe

Harlequin publisher Rachael Donovan with author Alison Stuart, 2019 Romance Writers of Australia conference

Harlequin publisher Rachael Donovan with author Alison Stuart

Authors Amanda Knight and Emily Madden, 2019 Romance Writers of Australia conference

Authors Amanda Knight and Emily Madden

Young adult author Bec Nicholas, 2019 Romance Writers of Australia conference

Young adult author Bec Nicholas

Elizabeth Duffield and Ebony McKenna, 2019 Romance Writers of Australia conference

Authors Elizabeth Duffield and Ebony McKenna

Leisl Leighton, 2019 Romance Writers of Australia conference

Author Leisl Leighton

Lisa Ireland and Rachael Johns, 2019 Romance Writers of Australia conference

Authors Lisa Ireland and Rachael Johns

Author Michelle Douglas, 2019 Romance Writers of Australia conference

Author Michelle Douglas

Author Sara Hartland, 2019 Romance Writers of Australia conference

Author Sara Hartland

Author Shannon Curtis, 2019 Romance Writers of Australia conference

Author Shannon Curtis

Author Amy Andrews, 2019 Romance Writers of Australia conference

Author Amy Andrews

Breakout Sessions

Emily Roach's breakout session on Standing Out on Social Media, 2019 Romance Writers of Australia conference

Emily Roach’s breakout session on Standing Out on Social Media

Melissa Storm's breakout session on Winning Ad Strategies, 2019 Romance Writers of Australia conference

Melissa Storm’s breakout session on Winning Ad Strategies

Nalini Singh's talk on writing series, 2019 Romance Writers of Australia conference

Nalini Singh’s talk on writing series.

Gala Dinner and Miscellaneous

Cathryn Hein at the RWA Gala Dinner, 2019 Romance Writers of Australia conference

Me at the Gala Dinner. Those late nights were catching up…

DB Tait, Trish Morey and Marion Lennox, 2019 Romance Writers of Australia conference

DB Tait, Trish Morey and Marion Lennox

Amy Andrews receiving her life membership, 2019 Romance Writers of Australia conference

Amy Andrews receiving her life membership

Gatecrashing Rachael Johns' book club live broadcast, 2019 Romance Writers of Australia conference

Gatecrashing Rachael Johns’ book club live broadcast

Conference goodie bag contents, 2019 Romance Writers of Australia conference

Conference goodie bag contents

Amy Andrews delivering her hilarious closing keynote speech, 2019 Romance Writers of Australia conference

Amy Andrews delivering her hilarious closing keynote speech

Cathryn Hein, the Monday after the conference

Me, the Monday after the conference, looking a tad red-eyed.

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I hope you enjoyed that brief behind the scenes peek at the RWA Conference. Remember, if you’re an aspiring writer, Romance Writers of Australia conferences are the jam. Learn more about this fabulous organisation and all it offers here.

Before I go, please allow me this gratuitous plug for Eddie and the Show Queen.

Here’s what fellow author Michelle Douglas had to say about the book:

I finished this on Friday night and it was an utter dream of a story. I loved Eddie so hard, wanted to be best friends with Alice (and Paige), the opening made me laugh, and the ending made me swoon. Just…perfect. Highly recommended!

Eddie and the Show Queen releases September 10th. Pre-order your copy today from your favourite online bookstore or these retailers.

amazon.com | amazon.com.au | amazon.co.uk

iBooks | Kobo | Google Play | Barnes & Noble

Booktopia | Angus & Robertson | Bookdepository

And if you’re shopping on iBooks, remember to pick up your free copy of Summer and the Groomsman, which features Eddie’s shy brother Harry.

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Teaser Tuesday!

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Teaser Tuesday MemeWelcome to Teaser Tuesday, where I share snippets from new and past releases and works-in-progress, and sometimes sweet-talk author friends into doing the same.

Which is what I’ve done today, but more on our delightful guest and her faaaaabulous book shortly. There is news to be shared.

Tension is rising in the Hein house!

There are now only FOURTEEN sleeps until Eddie and the Show Queen releases. I can’t wait. This story is adorable, if I do say so myself, with lots of laughs, a great sense of community, and lovely lashings of romance. Eddie’s fundraising “dares” still make me smile whenever I think of them.

If you haven’t already, pre-order your copy in ebook and print from:

amazon.com | amazon.com.au | amazon.co.uk

iBooks | Kobo | Google Play | Barnes & Noble

Booktopia | Angus & Robertson | Bookdepository

Also, the bargain ebook price for Wayward Heart ends this week (1st September). Make sure you grab your copy before the promo runs out. You’ll find all the buy links here.

On the work-in-progress front, Scarlett and the Model Man had a bit of a setback last week when I realised I’d taken a wrong turn, but we’re back on track now. Writing can be funny like that for me. Except for nutting out the black moment (aka the climax), I’m not much of a plotter. I do some plotting but often I just write away and let the characters take me where they want. As long as they end up at the black moment then it’s fine. Sometimes, though, they go places they shouldn’t and I have to rein them in. Something Scarlett doesn’t appreciate. She’s very headstrong!

Enough of writing, let’s get on to the best bit and why we’re here.

Today on Teaser Tuesday, I’m thrilled to introduce you to Mel A Rowe. I’ll let Mel tell you a little about herself but I’m going to give a big wahoo to an author who has Aussie Rules footballers in her books (check out The Football Whisperer here). Sexiest sportsmen evah. In particular if they wear the red and white of my beloved Sydney Swans.

But I digress

Mel has a beautiful new rural romance out called The Art of Dust. Isn’t that a fabulous title? You’d buy it for that alone, but the book itself sounds wonderful too. It’s a sweet second-chance small-town romance – just what we love.

The Art of Dust is book one in Mel’s new Elsie Creek series, in which you’ll discover the essence of the rugged and romantic outback of Australia’s Northern Territory.

Did you hear that? Rugged. Romantic. Outback. That’s book-lovin’ hook central and that’s without mentioning small-town setting or the second-chance romance. You are going to want this, oh yes you are!

So read on and let Mel tell you more about The Art of Dust. There’s a wonderful excerpt for you to enjoy and, if you read right through to the end, you might even find a giveaway.

Here’s Mel!

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Mel A Rowe authorIt’s a place where they say there are more cattle and crocodiles than people. Filled with over two thirds of Australia’s tropical bird life, with air is so fresh and free of any man-made toxins your sinuses would think they’re in heaven. Just down the track from Kakadu National Park, which interestingly enough, I rarely ever visit.

Hi there, I’m Mel A ROWE, and I live in the Top End region of the Northern Territory (NT). It’s a unique part of Australia that very few people seem to know about. Although I’ve worked and travelled intimately throughout the north’s remote outback regions, it’d take another ten lifetimes to discover all of her secrets. Just check out my Instagram feed, it’s practically all about my backyard

Oh, wait, we’re here to talk about one of my books, not me! Oops.

Don’t leave just yet—coz the good bits just about to begin.

(*clears throat)

Thank you, Cathryn (I’m a huge, HUGE, fan) and to you, dear reader for making it this far down the page!

Please allow to me introduce you to

(*drumroll….)

THE ART OF DUST

The Art of Dust by Me A Rowe collage of reviews

Where you’ll discover the essence of the rugged and romantic outback of Australia’s Northern Territory in this small-town romance series of Elsie Creek.

 

Kat drove their hire car through the cattle herd and continued along the open highway that stretched like a never-ending black carpet. It sliced through the centre of red dirt scrublands, with the railway line running alongside. All heading for the tiny Northern Territory town, dead ahead.

They passed rolling fields of drying grass waving in the breeze like a huge green sea. Tall gum trees crested hills that kissed the cerulean skyline where wallabies lazed in their shade, hiding from the late afternoon sun. The familiar countryside generated an electrical hum beneath Kat’s skin. She was glad this long drive was almost over.

The Art of Dust by Mel A Rowe coverThen the hard part would begin.

Again, the weight of dread slammed heavily across her shoulder blades.

‘Can’t wait to go bushwalking with you, Mummy.’ Kaytlyn stared out the passenger window as she clicked the heels of her new hiking boots, peeking out from the edge of her tutu.

Kat hadn’t hiked in years. ‘Tell me again, please, what are the rules of walking anywhere out here?’

‘Always take a hat, a water bottle, sunscreen, snacks for the trail, and tell someone where you’re going. Carry a big stick to smack the ground to scare snakes and goannas getting suntans across the tracks. Don’t use the stick to poke down holes, coz the scorpions and spiders can kill you. Don’t climb trees that don’t have green ants on ‘em coz they’ll have white ants that eat trees inside out, so they’ll break. Don’t play near fruit bats coz they can make you very, very sick. Don’t pat the cattle coz of their horns…um, am I missing something?’

‘Water. What did I tell you about the water? It’s the most important,’—and terrifying— ‘part.’

‘Oh, I’m never ever allowed to go swimming in any of the water holes, billabongs, rivers, lakes, streams or seas, and I have to stay back from the water’s edge coz the man-eating crocodiles like to eat children for lunch.’

The place didn’t sound like fun at all. ‘Are you okay with all that?’ Kat wasn’t.

‘I can’t wait.’

Can you?

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I bet they can’t, Mel. In which case, lovely readers, you’ll need to be clickety-clicking!

Purchase your copy of The Art of Dust today from:

Amazon.comamazon.com.au | amazon.co.uk

iBooks | Kobo | Google Play | Barnes & Noble

Other Online Bookstores

As was hinted at in the introduction, we have a

GIVEAWAY!

For your chance to win an ebook copy of Mel’s gorgeous outback romance The Art of Dust, tell us what animal roams the top end region of Northern Territory that Mel might’ve have missed in the teaser.

Ooh, tricky. There were lots of animals mentioned in the excerpt so what’s left… hmm

Get your thinking caps on and when you’ve decided on an animal share it in the comments and we’ll pop you into the draw to win an ebook copy of The Art of Dust.

Please note: Giveaway closes midnight Friday, 30th August 2019 AEST. Open internationally. Ebook only.

Dare to learn more about Mel and her books? You can visit her website at MelAROWE.com. And, if she isn’t on some random outback road trip, fumbling with her camera while annoying her family with her bad singing, you can also connect with Mel on Instagram –  be sure to say ‘Hi.’ She’d love to meet you.

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Teaser Tuesday!

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Teaser Tuesday MemeWelcome to Teaser Tuesday where I share snippets from new and past releases and works-in-progress, and sometimes con author buddies into doing the same.

Whoop! I’m home from the Romance Writers of Australia conference and road-trip to my hometown of Mount Gambier, South Australia. Both huge fun but last Sunday saw us suffocating under a mountain of washing. By the time we’d finished the peg basket was empty and the poor Hills Hoist groaning under the weight of all those winter clothes. Fortunately,  unlike Melbourne and Mount Gambier, Newcastle is being gorgeous weather-wise and everything dried easily. On the downside… ironing. Urk.

The conference left me very inspired. RWA conferences always perk me up. Hanging with my tribe – people who understand and celebrate romance writing – is such a positive experience. If you’re an aspiring writer, I can’t recommend our conferences and the value of membership enough. Find out more on the Romance Writers of Australia website.

Travelling home did wonders too. Many of my books are set in south-east South Australia or far western Victoria and although I was brought up in the area and have lots of memories it’s always good to reacquaint myself with the setting.

Jim and I had lovely time driving around Kongorong, a dairy farming district to the south-west of Mount Gambier and my inspiration for the setting of Scarlett and the Model Man, my next Levenham Love Story novella (you’ll meet Scarlett in Eddie and the Show Queen). We also visited the Grampians region, near where Elsa’s Stand is set, and the western district area that The Country Girl’s setting is based on.

Watch out in coming weeks for some This Writing Life posts on the conference and road trip.

Now, on to what we’re here for.

This week on Teaser Tuesday I’m featuring Wayward Heart. For two reasons:

1/. I wanted to remind you that its current super-bargain price Australian promotion ends on September 1st and there’s not much time left if you want to take advantage, and

2/. I got such a kick out of visiting both the inspiration for Rocking Horse Hill (Mount Schank) and Admella Beach (Browns Bay), locations that feature heavily in Wayward Heart, that the book has been on my mind.

Also, it’s a gratuitous opportunity to tie back to Eddie and the Show Queen (releasing September 10th) by featuring a little bit of Eddie’s brother Harry. Yeah, a loose association but I’m making it anyway!

This is a snippet from Josh and Emily’s wedding rehearsal scene, where big shy Harry tries to get advice on dealing with Summer, the girl he’s fallen head over heels for

They were halfway down the aisle when Harry attempted to quiz Teagan about what to do about some girl he’d met. Before Felicity, Digby hadn’t had the greatest success with women either, but Harry’s ineptitude put him in a class of his own.

‘You’re a woman,’ Harry said to Teagan.

‘I know this will probably come as a shock to you, Harry, but yes, I am.’

Wayward Heart by Cathryn HeinCatching Digby’s eye, Jas grinned and tilted her head towards the couple behind as if to say, ‘Have a listen to this.’

‘What?’ asked Harry, clearly flummoxed by Teagan’s answer. ‘Oh. Sorry. Didn’t mean it like that. I mean, you must think like one.’

Jas fell out of step as she listened in, slowing Digby with her.

Teagan’s bemused silence was broken by a sulky ‘Forget it’ from Harry.

‘Sorry,’ said Teagan, bubbling with suppressed laughter. ‘Can’t now.’

‘Definitely can’t,’ whispered Jas before calling loudly to Harry over her shoulder. ‘Girl problems, Harry?’

Which only brought Em in on the farce. ‘Does Harry have girl problems?’

Everyone stopped walking and turned around to face Harry, who was looking even sulkier than he’d sounded.

This scene makes me smile a lot. Poor Harry, he’s so bumbling but so sweet and very different to his brother. Shyness is definitely not something Eddie from Eddie and the Show Queen suffers!

Wayward Heart is currently heavily discounted in ebook but you’ll need to be quick. This promotion ends September 1st. Australia only.

Purchase your copy today from:

Booktopia | Angus & Robertson | Dymocks

Amazon.com | Amazon.au | Amazon.uk

Kobo | iBooks | Google Play | Barnes & Noble

If you’d like to learn more about Wayward Heart and how I came to write Digby and Jasmine’s story, check out Of Beaches And Brothers, And Friends to Lovers, The Story Behind Wayward Heart. For another except and other cool stuff, visit its dedicated book page.

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My Favourite Reads of July 2019

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My Favourite Reads image

Welcome to my favourite reads for July 2019.

Not many books this month, mainly because I was busy with the Fictionally Yours, Melbourne booksigning event (check out my post on that here) but also because a couple of the books I read were big fat ones. And big fat ones take time!

Choosing a favourite was very hard – they were all excellent – but the gong goes to

The Wych Elm by Tana French

The Wych Elm by Tana FrenchHooly-dooly, what a read!

The Wych Elm was long – 500+ pages – and rather slow to begin with. There were more than a few moments when I wondered if it was going to be worth it, but it absolutely was. The story is still with me. I can’t seem to shake that climax. It shocked me completely.

The Wych Elm is a thriller/mystery that twists and turns and completely mesmerises. Which is interesting because there aren’t that many likeable characters, really. Even Toby, our narrator, is a bit of a twat. Likeable because he’s good-looking, charming and easy-going but otherwise pretty shallow. Life just seems to fall into place for him. Until it doesn’t.

A slow burn, but one I found worthwhile in the end.

Miss Prims Greek Island Fling by Michelle DouglasMiss Prim’s Greek Island Fling by Michelle Douglas

Oh, this was lovely! Hard to go past Greek island fling at the best of times but this was made extra special by the gorgeous characters.

Audra – the Miss Prim of the title – has suffered a terrible betrayal and retreated to her brother’s home on a Greek Island only to find her brother’s reckless best friend in situ. Much fun ensues as these two lovelies do their best to not act on their sizzling attraction.

Friends-to-lovers awesomeness. Read it.

Relic by Douglas Preston and Lincoln ChildRelic by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

I’ve wanted to read one of these Lincoln and Child novels for aaaages. They sound smack in my happy reading zone. Then Relic, book one in the Special Agent Pendergast series, came on sale and I snapped it straight up.

What a blast! This galloped along, with loads of thrills, some cool science, adventuring, good guys and bad guys, and a monster running riot in a revered institution. Great fun, great characters and as for Special Agent Pendergast, he was wonderful. Nice twist at the end too. I’m going to have to read more.

The Chain by Adrian McKintyThe Chain by Adrian McKinty

A veeeery close contender for favourite read of the month.

The Chain is generating lots of buzz in the book world at the moment and with good reason – it’s a cracker of a read. What a premise! And the opening… woah. It’s going to be an awesome movie when they make it.

I love books that make me anxious, even though they’re only fiction. It takes a skilled writer to create a physical reaction in a reader and McKinty managed that aplenty with me. I really liked the characters too, they were tough cookies and admirable despite their flaws.

A thrill ride that might make you rethink your social media activities.

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What wonderful books have you read lately?

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Teaser Tuesday!

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Teaser Tuesday MemeWelcome to Teaser Tuesday, where I share snippets from new and past releases and works-in-progress, and occasionally twist the arms of author buddies into doing the same.

We’re going short and sweet this week on Teaser Tuesday because I’m too excited about the Romance Writers of Australia conference to concentrate. I’m heading for Melbourne tomorrow and have I even thought about packing? No. But leaving things to the last minute is all part of the fun.

Wowsers, wasn’t last week’s Teaser Tuesday featuring Eddie and the Show Queen a blast? What a response! Thank you so much for joining in and sharing your fundraiser favourites. I can’t help thinking I should have asked this question before I wrote Eddie and the Show Queen so I could have included some of them in the book.

My commiserations to those who missed out on the advance review copy. I wish I could have offered more but I only had one to spare. If you’re hankering for a personally signed edition of Eddie and the Show Queen, they’re still available to pre-order for only $22 AUD, including postage. Simply fill out this form and I’ll send you an invoice.

While I’m here, a heads-up that there will be no Teaser Tuesday next week due to conference exhaustion. Or I’ve been smothered by a pile of washing. Either is likely.

Now for today’s teaser. As tempting as it is to include another snippet from Eddie and the Show Queen, I’ll spare you this week. But that doesn’t mean we’re going to be Eddie free. Oh, no, no, no. We’re going to see Eddie in his brief appearance in Santa and the Saddler instead.

This is from a scene where our hero Danny is working at the Australian Arms Hotel with his new girlfriend Beth sitting at the bar, waiting for his shift to end. Then his mates start rocking up, one who just happens to be Eddie.

Enjoy!

‘Who’s mighty?’ interrupted a voice, the owner of which immediately lit on Beth. ‘Hello.’

Danny groaned inwardly as he recognised Harry’s brother Eddie. Almost the same height as his giant sibling and built just as solidly, Eddie was a self-proclaimed pants man. Although not very good at it.

‘Hello,’ Beth said warily.

‘Is that an English accent I hear?’ When Beth nodded, Eddie thrust his hand out, grinning. ‘I’m Eddie.’ He tilted his head at Harry. ‘This idiot’s better-looking brother. And you are?’

Cover of Santa and the Saddler by Cathryn Hein‘My girlfriend Beth,’ said Danny.

‘Girlfriend?’ Eddie stared between Beth and Danny then raised his eyebrows at Nick.

‘Yeah,’ said Nick. ‘Fucking mystery to me too, mate.’

‘Piss off,’ Danny growled.

Beth shook Eddie’s hand and quickly released it. ‘What is it with this town and brothers? You all think you’re better than one another.

Which brought on a chorus from the men of variations on ‘That’s ’cos we are,’ and caused Summer and Beth to share a rolly-eyed look.

‘Ignore him,’ said Danny, jerking his thumb at Eddie. ‘He’s a sleaze.’

Eddie stiffened. ‘Am not.’

Everyone stared at him.

‘I just like pretty girls,’ said Eddie, head turning as a blonde strutted past towards the bistro, before winking cheekily at Beth, who laughed.

Santa and the Saddler is available now in ebook and print from these stores. Grab your copy today!

Amazon.com | Amazon.au | Amazon.uk

KoboGoogle PlayiBooksBarnes and Noble

BooktopiaBookdepositoryAngus & Robertson

If you’d like to learn more about Santa and the Sadder and how I came to write this story, check out Ticking Clocks and Horsey Stock, The Story Behind Santa and the Sadder. For another except and other fun stuff, check out its book page.

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Teaser Tuesday!

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Teaser Tuesday MemeWelcome to Teaser Tuesday, where I share snippets from new and past releases and works-in-progress, and occasionally con author buddies into doing the same.

Whoop! How cool has Teaser Tuesday been these last few weeks with our guest authors Fiona McArthur and Bronwyn Parry? And both generously offering giveaways too. What fun!

Well, you’re back to me now, lucky-duckies that you are, and I just so happen to be feeling generous too, but more on that in a minute.

The Romance Writers of Australia conference is less than ten days away and I can’t wait. I adore our conferences. They’re incredibly inspiring and it’s such a blast catching up with writer buddies. This year the conference is being held in Melbourne, one of my favourite cities, and the program looks fab.

If you’re an aspiring writer, or even an established one, I cannot recommend the RWA and its conference more highly. Without this organisation and its members, I very much doubt I’d be where I am today. You can never stop learning either. Find out more on the Romance Writers of Australia website.

Right, on to Teaser Tuesday.

Last week Eddie and the Show Queen went out into the world. Well, its cover and blurb and pre-order links did. The response was gorgeous, with plenty of love for the cover and lots of people pre-ordering the ebook and paperback. Thank you all so much. You warmed my heart!

As you’d expect, today’s Teaser Tuesday is going to be from Eddie and the Show Queen because 1/. it’s promo time, and 2/. I want you to fall in love with Eddie as much as I have, and what better way to show him off than with a Teaser Tuesday spot?

Make sure you read all this post because there could be something veeeeeery special at the end.

Now, to our snippet. Alice has run into Eddie at the pub

Ignoring Eddie wasn’t easy when he was so big and so close. His beer was on the bar, and from the corner of her eye she could see his long fingers circling the glass. Worse, she could feel his gaze on her. Alice wished he’d go away. His presence was spoiling her excitement over Nick and Chrissy.

‘I entered,’ he said.

Her head whipped around so hard it shot a pain through her neck. ‘You what?’

Eddie & the Show Queen cover‘The Show Queen thing. I entered.’

Alice could only stare. Eddie had entered? Oh, no, no, no. That was not meant to happen. The thing with the form was just to rile him. He wasn’t actually meant to go through with it.

A line formed between his brows. ‘What’s wrong?’

‘Nothing.’ She focused on the mirrored back of the bar and the fragments of stupid, silly blonde girl reflected there. Eddie was popular, good-looking and practical, and even though he’d be joining the competition a few weeks late, he was more than capable of making up lost ground. Threats didn’t come much bigger than this. ‘Nothing at all.’

‘Alice.’ He lowered onto his elbows, his deep voice hushed. Danny glanced at Alice as he continued to pour, letting her know he’d pull rank if needed. Alice was fine. Eddie would never hurt her. Not that way. ‘I thought it was what you wanted.’

As you can probably guess from that teaser there are plenty more fun and games between these two to come as Eddie does his utmost to charm Alice back into his arms.

Eddie and the Show Queen is available for pre-order now. Secure your copy today!

amazon.com | amazon.com.au | amazon.co.uk

iBooks | Kobo | Google Play | Barnes and Noble

Booktopia | Angus & Robertson | Bookdepository

Personally signed print copies will be available for purchase direct from me for $22 AUD per copy, including postage to your Australian postal address. To order, simply fill in this form and I’ll send you an invoice.

Are you on Goodreads? Add Eddie and the Show Queen to your Want To Read list here.

As you’ve probably worked out from my hint in the introduction, we have a

GIVEAWAY

For your chance to win a personally signed advance review copy of Eddie and the Show Queen, tell me the best, funniest or cleverest fundraiser tactic you’ve come across.

I can’t go past Cow Pat Bingo. In case you haven’t heard of it, it’s where a piece of pasture or grass is fenced off and marked with a grid. Punters buy a square and when they’re sold a cow is set to graze the grid. The square in which it poos is the winner.

What’s your favourite fundraiser? Share in the comments and I’ll pop you into the draw to win a signed print copy of Eddie and the Show Queen.

Please note: Giveaway closes midnight, Friday 2nd August, 2019, Australian Eastern Time. Open internationally. Rah! Also, this is for a review copy and not the final edition. While in pretty good shape, the book may contain small errors.

If you’d like to learn more about Eddie and the Show Queen and how I came to write this story, check out Country Shows and Title Woes, The Story Behind Eddie and the Show Queen. For another snippet, check out its book page here.

Get commenting and good luck!

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Are you ready for Eddie?

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Yes, my lovelies, it’s time to show off Eddie and the Show Queen, now available for pre-order in your favourite online store. This book will charm your socks off!

Eddie & the Show Queen cover

Can Levenham’s biggest ladies’ man make good – and recapture the heart of the girl he’s always loved?

When horticulturalist Alice Lindner goads her ex-boyfriend Eddie Argyle into a fundraising contest, she doesn’t expect him to take it seriously. Winning small-town Levenham’s inaugural Wine Show crown will take dedication and hard work, and all Eddie cares about is chasing skirt. Besides, a win will be Alice’s tribute to her late mum. No way is Eddie getting his hands on the crown.

Big-hearted farmer Eddie never understood why love-of-his-life Alice dumped him. Yeah, it’d been a difficult time with her mum’s illness, but he’d loved her the best he could and losing her left him adrift. Now he has the opportunity to prove himself by winning not only the crown but maybe Alice’s heart in the process.

Will Eddie’s enthusiasm ruin Alice’s tribute and with it all hope of a second chance? Or will Alice realise that the real prize isn’t in the past but with the man who wants to be her future?

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Eddie and the Show Queen releases September 10th 2019. Pre-order your copy today!

amazon.com | amazon.com.au | amazon.co.uk

iBooks | Kobo | Google Play | Barnes and Noble

Booktopia | Angus & Robertson | Bookdepository (coming soon)

Personally signed print copies will be available for purchase direct from me for $22 AUD per copy, including postage to your Australian postal address. To order, simply fill in this form and I’ll send you an invoice.

Are you on Goodreads? Add Eddie and the Show Queen to your Want To Read list here.

For a bit more fun, read how Eddie and Alice’s tale came about in Country Shows and Title Woes, The Story Behind Eddie and the Show Queen.

Want a taste? Check out the Eddie and the Show Queen book page, Teaser Tuesday excerpts here, here and here, or use the links above to download a preview sample from your favourite ebook platform.

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