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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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 invite author buddies along for the ride.

Ooh, you’re lucky things. As if last week’s fun with guest Fiona McArthur wasn’t enough, today we have another guest who might also be offering a giveaway.

But first, news from the Hein house and it’s big. Really big!

Watch your inboxes, my lovelies, because Eddie and the Show Queen is about to go live. Yup, this week I’ll be sending out a newsletter with its cover, blurb and all the linky goodness so you can pre-order this funny, big-hearted read. There’ll also be the chance to pre-order personally signed print copies too, along with the entire first chapter for you to enjoy.

Not part of the newsletter team? Fix that right here.

Done? Excellent. Now to our lovely guest.

Many of you will know Bronwyn Parry from her rural-set, romantic suspense novels like As Darkness Falls, Darkening Skies, Dead Heat, Sunset Shadows and more. Well, Bronwyn has now turned her pen to historical romance. The Clothier’s Daughter released on July 11th and is already making lots of readers happy, if the gorgeous reviews are anything to go by.

Here’s Bronwyn to tell you a bit more. Make sure you read the whole post, because there could be a giveaway in the offing and we wouldn’t want you to miss out.

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Bronwyn Parry authorThanks so much for having me, Cathryn, and hello to all your readers! Some of you may know me already as I’ve written six romantic suspense novels set in New South Wales. However, my new book is a little different. It does have my usual gritty suspense and fast pace, but I’ve let my inner historian loose and The Clothier’s Daughter is set in Yorkshire, in 1816.

It’s been an interesting and enjoyable journey, writing my first historical novel, creating characters and imagining how their lives might have been in a time of huge social and technological change. Emma and Adam came to life in my mind quickly and I loved writing their story—although I did put them through a great deal before their happy ending!

I’ve been fascinated by historic costumes and textiles and other aspects of social history since I was a child, and making Emma the daughter of a clothier, a traditional textile manufacturer, was partly inspired by my Honours degree research on late 18th century British worsted textiles. I loved spending time in the West Riding of Yorkshire, and in the Dales to the north, and discovering the textiles once made in those areas, all spun and woven by hand. These wonderful fabrics were once a huge industry in Britain, exported around the world, but as the Industrial Revolution took hold and made cotton and other machine-made fabrics much cheaper, the traditional fabric industry died out.

There’s nothing like a time of turbulence and change to make a good setting for a book! With her father dead and her brother missing, Emma is trying to keep their family company running, even more of a challenge for a woman in a man’s world of business—especially when someone seems determined to send her to debtors’ prison. The sweet summer of her youth when she’d loved Adam Caldwell and regretfully rejected his proposal seems a lifetime ago.

And now for the teaser! I’ve chosen a scene from the first chapter, where Emma is in the weaving loft on the top floor of the company’s warehouse when a fire breaks out in the stairwell. The ladder only reaches to the office floor below, and she’s trapped in the loft with an unconscious weaver and his (very) young assistant. Adam, riding home after eight years away at war, stops to help at the fire, having scrambled up the ladder to assist the clerks in the office to safety….

The younger clerk was half-way down the ladder when the man at the base shouted, looking up, and Adam twisted to see above the window. Two small legs dangled, one shoe hanging loose, as someone in the loft lowered a child, inch by inch. As the legs came level, Adam grabbed them, guiding the swaying child towards the ladder. A wide strip of fabric wrapped around his chest, tied in a knot almost thicker than the skinny body, long ends of threads hanging. Braithwaite must have cut a web from a loom. Good thinking. Up to thirty yards on a piece of cloth, long enough to reach the ground.

While the boy—young, maybe eight or nine years old—clung to the ladder, Adam tugged the knot loose so the cloth could be used for another person.

“Down you go, lad. You’re safe now.”

The Clothiers Daughter by Bronwyn ParryThe boy’s lip trembled. “Miss Braithwaite and Uncle Jacob—you’ll save them, won’t you?”

His words shattered Adam’s detached focus. “Miss Braithwaite? Miss Braithwaite is up there?” He must have said it forcefully, because the boy barely nodded before he scampered down the ladder.

“Yes, sir,” the clerk behind Adam said. “Miss Emma Braithwaite. She’s the senior partner now, sir.”

Barely hearing anything past the confirmation, Adam leaned half his body out the window, straining to see upwards. “Emma!” The length of fabric obscured his view and he pulled it out of his way. There was no-one at the window. She was somewhere inside there, in the smoke and the fire. “Emma!”

He saw movement, and then her face, almost as pale as the white lace of her collar. She saw him but with the smoke all around she didn’t recognize him, didn’t know him. “I can’t lift Jacob,” she called down to him, to those below, panic sharpening her voice. “I can’t lift him and I won’t be able to hold his weight.”

He closed his fist around the fabric, gripping it tight. “Fasten the cloth to a beam or something heavy. I’m coming up.”

She properly saw him then, visibly startled. “Adam?” She shook her head, urgency overpowering her astonishment. “I can’t. There’s only the loom, and it’s not heavy enough. It just moves.”

Adam swore. He strode across and opened the office door so that he could check the door to the stairs, twenty feet away, near the front wall of the building. The smoke flowed under it, but he could see no flames licking the edge of the door itself. At the other end of the wall, where it met the back wall, the paper curled and smoked, but not near the door.

He returned to the open window and called up again, “Stay near the window, Emma. I’m coming to get you.”

He still wore his great coat, thick wool wet through after hours in the rain. Woollen breeches, leather boots, leather riding gloves. His beaver hat had fallen to the floor when he’d clambered through the window, and he swept it up, jamming it on his head as he pulled his damp cravat up over his face.

The clerk began to follow as he crossed the room. “Sir, you’re not going to…”

“Yes. Get down that ladder, man. Now.”

The metal of the door handle was warm through his gloves, but not searing hot. Not yet. With his ear to the door he held his breath and listened. Over the sound of his heart beats, the harsh crackling of fire eating wood, but not right outside the door. He opened it cautiously, keeping behind it. Smoke rushed in, and noise and heat, but not flames.

Immediately to his left, the stairs rose from the small landing to the upper floor. But there was a hole in the back wall, near the top landing, and the stairs leading to the lower floors were well alight, flames leaping upwards, and thick, choking smoke filled his nose and throat despite the small protection of his loosened cravat. Flames worked on the bannisters, and some of the steps smoked, small pockets of flames breaking through. He could make it. He had to make it.

..

Wow. Now that was exciting. Find out what happens next by purchasing your own copy of The Clothier’s Daughter today from these stores:

Amazon.com | Amazon.au | Amazon.uk

iBooks | Kobo

Booktopia | Angus & Robertson | Bookdepository

Righty-o, you saw the hints in the intro, it’s time for a

GIVEAWAY!

Here’s Bronwyn to tell you the details.

I have a book prize of a free paperback of The Clothier’s Daughter to send to one reader. Simply share in the comments a place and time you’d like to visit if you had a Tardis or other time machine, and we’ll draw the winner from those who have commented.

Oooh, now this is a hard one. So many choices! It’s hard not to want to go into the future but I’m not sure it’s a good idea. What if I discovered something horrible, like… I don’t know, that I died from a shark or crocodile attack or something? Eeek!

But I would dearly love to see dinosaurs in the wild, preferably Australian ones. Or maybe even visit a bit later when giant mammals roamed the land. That would be very cool.

What about you? Share what place and time you’d like to visit and we’ll pop you into the draw to win a copy of The Clothier’s Daughter.

Please Note: Giveaway closes midnight Sunday 28th July 2019, Australian Eastern Time. Australian postal addresses only.

If you’d like to learn more about Bronwyn and her books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook.

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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 am sometime lucky enough to have author buddies do the same.

Life is getting back to normal after the whirlwind that was Fictionally Yours, Melbourne. I can’t tell you what fun I had at that event. It was brilliant! I shared a bunch of photos in a This Writing Life post last Friday. Check it out here, if you missed it.

As I mentioned in our previous Teaser Tuesday, I’ve started work on a new book and it’s going marvellously. I’d love to tell you more but, sorry, you’ll just have to wait. I don’t want to jinx this goodness.

In other suuuuuper important news, Eddie and the Show Queen is one step closer with proof copies finally in production. As soon as they’re checked over and approved it’ll be all systems go. This one’s been a long time coming, but the warm glow of release is now truly in sight. Rah!

Enough of that. We’re hear for a Teaser and today we have an absolute cracker thanks to regular (and special!) guest Fiona McArthur.

You’ll of course remember Fiona from her involvement in the Outback Brides continuity which I was also part of with Elsa’s Stand. But Fiona is also a beloved medical rural romance author, with best-selling titles like Mother’s Day (ebook currently on sale for only $4-99), Red Sand Sunrise, The Homestead Girls, Heart of the Sky and The Baby Doctor. Her latest release – out today, in fact – is The Desert Midwife, and it sounds and looks gorgeous.

Here’s Fiona to tell you more and share a snippet. Make sure you read until the end because there could be a GIVEAWAY!

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Fiona McArthur authorThanks so much for having me, Cathryn, and your readers, because I do love sharing my new books on Tuesday Teaser page with you all.

The Desert Midwife has been such a joy. The story is told in one of my favourite parts of the world, the magical landscape of Central Australia and Uluru and I do have fun sharing with you all my love of the setting.

View of Uluru from Yalara Resort

A view of Uluru from Yalara Resort

Author Fiona McArthur at KataTjuta

Fiona at KataTjuta in central Australia.

And it’s been fun, too, as an amnesia story, I mean – what IF your new lover, almost fiancée, love of your life, man you were besotted with but wondered it was all too good to be true – totally forgot who you were after an accident when you were driving? How would you feel? How would you get him back? And all of this in the middle of Australia in a place he was a stranger to?  It’s a dilemma Ava has to work through while doing the job she loves, caring for the family she knows she’s lucky to have, and all the while she can see Zac wonders if he knew her well – while her heart is breaking.

I do hope you love their journey as much as I do. I’d love to share an excerpt –

Ava. After she’d met Zac on the flight home to Alice Springs…

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…The sunrise tinted a pink swathe across the wall of the room, blushed across the white duvet, and dusted the beginnings of Central Australian heat across Ava’s cheek, warming her skin. Hazily, as she shifted her head, she squinted at the unfamiliar rose-coloured room and frowned.

She could see the flecks of floating dust motes crystallise but, unfortunately, that wasn’t all that formed as clarity returned. Her cheeks burned as the fractured pieces of last night re-emerged and she stifled the urge to groan. Good ghastly grief.

She’d had a one-night stand.

Cover of The Desert Midwife by Fiona McArthurYou’re a grown woman. Her inner voice shut down the embarrassment.

That may be, but oh my. Though, she had to admit, she would hate to have grown much older without experiencing last night. Talk about lust at first sight. It had been complete enchantment and they’d been soulmates for at least the length of the spell.

She was no blushing virgin – though her virginity could quite possibly have grown back because it had been more than five years since she’d last been with anyone – for good reason – but darn, this morning felt uncomfortable. Especially when she was a novice at waking up next to a stranger from the night before, with the heat from his body still warming her hip.

She knew the outback rule: never leave your car if you break down. Were there rules for one-night stands?

Her stomach growled and she lifted her hand carefully to cover her eyes. Did this get any more awkward? Maybe she could slip sideways out of the bed. She wasn’t game to turn her head in case he woke up.

‘Would you like coffee?’ Deep, rumbling masculine tones with just a hint of amusement sounded, and she shifted her head to meet his eyes. Yep, those unfairly chocolate eyes were twinkling and not at all abashed.

She sighed and tried not to breathe her dragon breath on him. Another new skill she needed to learn.

Her hand dropped from her face. Right. Toughen up, Ava. ‘Weak black tea would be wonderful. Earl Grey, if you have it. Thank you.’ She wriggled up the pillows, strategically holding the sheet. ‘Then I have to go.’

‘Of course. Would you like a shower while I’m making it? There are extra towels in the bathroom and a bathrobe on the back of the door.’

She thought about a shower, feeling refreshed, more relaxed and restored to her normal unshakable composure, or, alternatively, the messy, crumpled walk of shame without one.

‘That would be great,’ she said. ‘Thanks. I won’t use the robe, though, I’ll just get dressed.’ She could do this. Calm and composure were her middle names; nothing fazed her. Everybody in Alice Springs knew that.

‘Umm . . .’ More amusement sounded in the dulcet tones of his voice, and she turned her head back his way. ‘I think we may have popped a few buttons on both our shirts.’

Her hand came back up and slapped her forehead palm up as the full glory of their lustful exuberance returned.

‘A night to remember,’ she managed in an even tone.

‘I’d like to think so,’ he said. ‘Your Central Australian charisma does fascinate me.’ Then with less amusement he said, ‘I’ll put the kettle on.’

Zac Logan – at least she recalled his name – tossed back the sheet, swung his long, muscled, naked body to the edge of the bed and stood. All six foot plus of solid, sexy, sinfully seductive stud. And he didn’t pause to put on any clothes. He just strode to the bench with the kitchen appliances and reached for the switch.

Ava blinked, dragged her eyes from his tantalising backside and scrambled to get to the bathroom before he turned around and gave her a front view…

Ooh-la-la, so sexy! And with The Desert Midwife hitting stores today you won’t have to wait. Trot on down to your favourite book or department store and pick yourself up a copy, or get instant gratification with an ebook (or print) from these online platforms:

Amazon.com | Amazon.au

iBooks | Kobo | Google Play

Booktopia | Angus & Robertson | Bookdepository

Now, as mentioned in the introduction, we have a …

GIVEAWAY!

Yes, my lovelies, Fiona has very generously offered a print copy of The Desert Midwife to giveaway to one lucky reader.

Here’s Fiona to tell you what to do.

I have a book prize of a free copy of The Desert Midwife to send to one reader – if you will share your favourite place in Australia to visit and why.

Got that? Easy-peasy!

Hmm, what’s my favourite place … There are so many wonderful places in this gorgeous country of ours, but I’m going to choose my hometown of Mount Gambier, in the south-east of South Australia. Why? Because it’s where my family lives, it’s loaded with wonderful memories, it’s truly beautiful, and with so many of my rural romances being set in the area visiting fills my creative well.

What about you? Simply share your favourite place in Australia to visit and why and we’ll pop you into the draw to win a copy of The Desert Midwife.

Please Note: Giveaway closes midnight Sunday 21st July 2019, Australian Eastern Time. Australian postal addresses only.

If you’d like to learn more about Fiona and her books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using @FiCatchesBabies

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My Favourite Reads of June 2019

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My Favourite Reads image

Welcome to my favourite reads for June 2019. The past month turned out to a month for series reads. There was only one stand-alone book, and that stand-alone book turned out to be my favourite, although it was a close-run thing.

Wakenhyrst by Michelle Paver

Wakenhyrst by Michelle PaverMy favourite of the month.

I’ve been a Michelle Paver fan for a very long time now. Her novel A Place in the Hills is a cherished (albeit rather tattered) book that will never leave my keeper shelf. I’m also pretty sure Paver is the author who introduced me to romance. Until her, I’d only really read chick-lit, then I read A Place in the Hills followed by Without Charity and loved them, but it was the historical “Daughters of Eden” trilogy that truly opened my eyes. Or maybe I should say opened my heart because it had all the feels. Whatever the case, it made me want more.

Paver’s more recent books make me feel too, but in a different way. These stories are Gothic and ghostly and creepy. And if you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ll know how much I adore a good creeping out.

In true Gothic style, Wakenhyrst features a crumbling manor house. Wake’s End is in Devon, near the village of Wakenhyrst and surrounded by the Fens, which add to the atmosphere of isolation and seclusion. There are legends, secrets and madness, Superstition clashes with religion, as does ancient healing with new medicine. Then there’s Maud, a great lead character who’s clever and strong, yet also lonely and secretive, and around whom the story winds.

Wonderful storytelling, vivid characters and spine-tingles galore. Loved.

Defy the Fates by Claudia GrayDefy the Fates by Claudia Gray

This is the final instalment in the Constellation trilogy and a very close second favourite read for the month. I’ve adored this series (my comments on book one, Defy the Stars here and book two, Defy the Worlds here) and never thought I could come to care so much about an android, or “mech” as they’re called in the books. Aiden, though, is very easy to fall in love with. Deep sigh.

Defy the Fates was loaded with surprise twists and many times I worried that Noemi and Aiden were never going to make it. The way their romance was resolved was very satisfying and I feel like I should have seen that coming from the start, but I didn’t.

Loved this book and the series. I can’t wait for more from Gray.

Blackstone and the Burning Secret by Sally SpencerBlackstone and the Burning Secret by Sally Spencer

This is the fourth book in Spencer’s Inspector Blackstone series and it certainly won’t be the last for me. As I’ve mentioned before (my comments on the first three books here), I really enjoy the late Victorian setting. It was period of great change and Blackstone’s investigations tend to have their genesis in the social, political and industrial upheavals of the time.

The books aren’t terribly long but they’re compelling and interesting, and I find them excellent for ‘snacking on’ between fatter books. Next up, Blackstone and the Stage of Death. Rah!

The Cheater's Game by CJ ArcherThe Cheater’s Game by CJ Archer

I can’t believe I’m up to book seven of the Glass and Steele series, but I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. I’ve been hooked on Archer’s stories since reading The Last Necromancer (book one in the Ministry of Curiosities series and currently free across ebook platforms), and her new After the Rift series has me totally intrigued.

But back to India Steele and Matt Glass and The Cheater’s Game! Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show has arrived in London and Willie, my favourite character in Matt’s crew, can’t stop from hanging with the performers. Naturally, trouble follows. With plenty of danger, mystery, and a secret that could harm Matt and India’s relationship, this was a lot of fun.

Chocolate and Old Lace by Kaz DelaneyChocolate and Old Lace by Kaz Delaney

Kaz Delaney, also known as Kerri Lane, is a prolific writer of children’s and young adult books. She is also a delightful person who’s appeared on this blog’s (now archived) Friday Feast. Kaz has turned to adult fiction and was kind enough to give me a copy of her new cozy mystery series. I’m so glad she did. It was lovely fun!

Chocolate and Old Lace introduces us to the Rosie Hart series – tag line: Murder has never been so delicious. Don’t you just love that? So cool. Anyway, Rosie loves to cook and her skills in the kitchen endear her to the small Texan town she’s moved to, and one sexy cowboy in particular. Oh, and me. Got to love a heroine who cooks.

Quirky characters, lovely baking, murder and mayhem, and there are even recipes at the back of the book. Hugely enjoyable. Next in the series is Preserving the Evidence. loving these titles.

By the way, if you sign up for Kaz’s mailing list you score the Rosie Hart novella, The Funeral Crasher, for free. Enjoy!

What have you been reading lately?

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