Tag Archives: Karly Lane

Favourite Reads of April

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My Favourite Reads image

Another good reading month with lots of lovely tales and a few different genres. I even managed a non-fiction title which doesn’t happen often.

But there is no question my favourite read for the month was…

The Wife’s Tale by Christine Wells

The Wife's Tale by Christine WellsOh, I adored this book! Absolutely loved it. I loved the split timeline between contemporary times and the eighteenth century. I loved the characters, even the ones who were horrid, and the clarity and vividness of their voices and stories. I loved the wonderful settings, especially Seagrove, the aristocratic Nash family’s stately home on the Isle of Wight. I loved the intrigue, the romance (totally sighworthy), and I was captivated and infuriated equally by the 1789 court case involving Delaney Nash. That poor woman!

This is a big juicy book that you won’t want to put down. I blame Christine for me hardly getting any work done last Monday because all I wanted to do was read. I was so close to the end and had to find out what happened to Delaney and Julian and Liz and Theo and everyone else.

A cracking read. Perfect for Mother’s Day and as a present to yourself. Go buy.

(PS. There’s a signed copy of The Wife’s Tale up for giveaway on Teaser Tuesday but you’ll need to be quick. Closes midnight Friday AEST, 6th May 2016. Australian postal addresses only.)

The Last Painting of Sara de Vos by Dominic SmithThe Last Painting of Sara de Vos

I’d been noticing quite a bit of early publicity and buzz for this novel and it sounded intriguing, so I was thrilled to score an advance reading copy thanks to The Reading Room and publisher Allen & Unwin. The story was a kind of art thriller, gradually revealed across three timelines and the research involved must have been phenomenal. The Dutch Golden Age narrative was fascinating. This will particularly appeal to art lovers.

Tallowood Bound by Karly LaneTallowood Bound by Karly Lane

I’ve adored all of Karly’s stories and Tallowood Bound was another gorgeous read. The war-era narrative from Townsville was fascinating but my favourite bit had to be the romance between Erin and Jamie. Karly’s heroes are such darlings and Jamie was no exception. I fell quite a lot in love with him. Oh, and watch out for the scene with Erin and some stray cattle. That was a hoot!

Try Not To Breathe by Holly SeddonTry Not To Breathe by Holly Seddon

Despite picking the culprit fairly early on, I really enjoyed this mystery which tells the story of Alex Dale, a former high-flying columnist brought down by alcoholism, and her obsession with the case of Amy Stevenson, a young girl brutally attacked and left for dead and who’s been unconscious for 15 years. I liked how Alex was so flawed. Her alcoholism has led her down some terrible paths yet she’s not irredeemable. Try Not To Breathe is a story of salvation as well as justice. Good stuff.

Some Girls Do by Amy AndrewsSome Girls Do by Amy Andrews

Far out, AA writes some cracking books and this one was a beauty. It was slick, sexy and fantastically paced, and the dialogue was seriously cool. As was the hero Cooper. Not only was he hot, he was decent. Real heart-throb material. Lacey’s brothers were fab too and it’s going to be fun reading their stories. This is the first in the Outback Heat series and you’ll currently find it free across ebook platforms. Grab yourself a copy and get reading. You’ll have a great time.

Big Magic by Elizabeth GilbertBig Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

I don’t read a lot of non-fiction except for research, but I do love a good writing craft book. This isn’t really one of those. Rather, it’s a book about embracing and nurturing your creativity. I have to admit that some of it was a tad too out-there for me but for every bit of oddball stuff there were gems of inspiration and great advice. I liked it. A lot. And I think it’s a book I’ll return to often when I get angsty about my writing and need a reminder of what being creative is all about.

What were your favourite reads?

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NIGHTS IN WHITE SATIN: Rural Romance Authors Come Out!

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And come out we did, but perhaps not in the way you’re thinking…

A few weeks ago I posted an update to Facebook where I mentioned that my gorgeous niece About to make my debut at the 1985 Highland Debutante Ball in Mount Gambierwould be making her debut soon. With it I attached of photo of me on my big day and asked if anyone else had made their debut. The update was hugely popular, with readers posting photos and stories from their own debutante balls.

Which then caused fellow rural romance author Karly Lane to state what a cool blog post this would make. I then emailed a heap of rural romance authors, asking who had made their debut and would be willing to go public with memories and photographs. Karly, Jenn J McLeod and Tricia Stringer answered the call. Margareta Osborn did too, but sadly her photos have gone walkabout.

Now, in case you haven’t the faintest idea what a debutante ball is, let me explain…

It’s an old-fashioned event, dating from the times when young, usually aristocratic ladies “came out” to society. In other words, they were fair game for marriage. Modern Australian debutante balls are rather more egalitarian and, I suspect, a lot more fun. They’re group affairs, where everyone frocks-up, gets presented to a local VIP, has a bit of a dance, and mums ‘n dads and family and friends all stand around with their chests puffed out.

As for what they mean… I don’t know. I suspect the event’s paternalistic symbolism has long passed – certainly it had for me! – and now coming out as a debutante holds no more meaning than a first school formal. What it is though, for those that did it, is a wonderful night, forever cemented in memory.

So here we are, in all our white-frocked, innocent glory. Enjoy!

CATHRYN HEIN

Portrait - croppedI made my debut in 1985 at the Mount Gambier Highland Debutante Ball, coming out to the mayor Mr McDonnell and member for Mount Gambier, Harold Alison, with my partner David Earl (who I had a SHOCKING crush on – oh, the agony!).

It was fabulous, teenage crush agony and all! Being 1985, everything Lady Di was the rage and I wore a suitably puffy, blindingly white dress made my by clever Auntie Merna. Because it was the Highland Ball, we wore sashes. Mine was dress Stewart tartan held in place with a silver and topaz brooch, both of which were Mum’s. I think from when she played bagpipes in the Blue Lake pipe band and which I also think she wore at her debut. It’s terrible that I can’t recall. Sadly, neither can Mum now with Alzheimer’s having stolen her memories.

There were fifteen in my debut group, many school mates and good friends, and deb chatter kept us occupied for weeks. As did rehearsals. I can’t remember how long they went for but it was at least a few months. You, and your partner, had to be dedicated to do the ball.

Dancing at my debut

It’s a while ago, but I was sick with nerves, terrified I’d trip over or wobble on my curtsey or completely forget how to dance the Pride of Erin. But it all went smoothly and everyone had a ball.

It was the best fun, worth all the rehearsals and frock worries. I felt like a princess!

KARLY LANE

How to bring a halt to a productive writing day! There I was madly writing, ok so I took a small break and went on Facebook…anyway, it was there that I came across Cathryn’s debut post and when I answered the call for fellow debutantes to raise their hands, I ended up getting side-tracked while going through old photo albums to find some happy snaps of my Karly Lane in her debut dressown big night.

I have to admit, I was not that keen on making my debut initially, despite the fact I’d grown up hearing about my mother’s debut, where, as the story goes, she and her best friend poured through the school year book to pick out who they were going to ask to partner them, kinda like ordering from a catalogue! The boy she chose, initially turned her down, and then when he told his mother he’d been asked to partner someone in the debut, his mother MADE HIM go back and accept! That boy turned out to be the man who became my dad! So I always knew it was a big deal for my mum, but I was surprised to discover that it was also a huge deal amongst my class mates in Parkes, where I went to high school, located in central west NSW. In fact, it turned out to be a really big deal. My grandparents even travelled out to Parkes to be there, as well as other family so I was feeling pretty special on the big night.

I do remember that choosing the dress was quite stressful… all the tantrums, tears and pouting…and that was just from my mother! However, we all somehow managed to survive and I ended up with a gorgeous dress.

Karly adjustedBut now, as a mother of teenagers, I do think back and feel a bit bad. I can’t remember how long we had to practice for, it felt like months. Every week we’d turn up to the local leagues club and head upstairs to get ordered around the room by a pair of cranky old ducks, (I said I felt bad about it now!)  These poor women selflessly sacrificed their time year after year to create these elaborate events, putting up with a bunch of whiny, hormonal teenagers who I’m sure tested their patience to the limit ninety-nine percent of the time. And yet, they somehow managed to turn all those sullen, uncoordinated teens into the epitome of grace and elegance. To those women, I’m really sorry for any eye rolling I may or may not have done at rehearsal.

Looking back, I realise I didn’t appreciate the tradition and history behind the event at the time, but I’m very glad that I did it just the same.

Poppys Dilemma - tinyKarly’s latest rural story is Poppy’s Dilemma, available right now from your favourite bookstore. For instant book gratification, try Booktopia, Bookworld, Amazon, Google PlayiBooks, JB Hi-Fi and Kobo.

JENN J McLEOD

The Accidental Debutante

jenn collage

Presentation of Debutantes

at

Police Commissioner’s Ball 1976

to

His Excellency the Governor of NSW

Sir Roden Cutler.

I think I was supposed to be 18 but… they were a girl short and I was tall and because Dad (as a member of the Police Band) was the pianist, I stepped in at the last minute.

The trouble was, however, at 16 I was so tall they needed to source an extra tall trainee constable to be my partner.

In final rehearsals we were all told not to put too much pressure on Sir Roden’s hand in case we toppled him on his wooden leg! That put the fear of God into me, so it was a very wonky five-second curtsey while he spoke to me about my dad and what a very good musician he was.

Proud daughter, proud dad that night. (And Mum looking very Harlequin in that dress!)

Debut mum and dad - adjusted

Simmering Season cover - tinyThe second in Jenn’s Seasons Collection, Simmering Season, is out now. Grab your copy from Booktopia, Bookworld, Amazon, Google Play. iBooks, JB Hi-Fi and Kobo.

TRICIA STRINGER

Deb Ball Tumby Bay 1973

009

Mum made my beautiful dress which I loved. Went to hair dresser for the bouffy hair do. At the time I felt very grown up. I was away at boarding school so didn’t get to attend many practices.

tricia collageOn the night we were all so nervous, would we trip coming down the stairs, would we fall on our face making the curtsy? We bumbled around the floor doing the Queen’s Waltz – an elegant dance that we didn’t do justice to. My partner, Daryl was the love of my life, still is, we’ve been together ever since.

002

right-as-rain - tinyTricia’s most recent release is the rural romance, Right As Rain. Available right now from your favourite bookseller, or online via Booktopia, Amazon, Google PlayiBooks, JB Hi-FiKobo or direct from the publisher, Harlequin.

 

I hope you enjoyed this frocked-up trip down memory lane. We sure did!

And we’d also love to hear your debutante ball memories. Please feel free to share along with us.

 

THIS WRITING LIFE: The Writing Process Blog Chain

Are you old enough to remember chain letters? They were all the rage when I was a kid. Someone would come up with a daft pretence about creating good fortune or happiness or some other such thing, and write a (usually) naff letter to ten friends advising them they’re a recipient of all this good fortune and joy, but only if they send this letter on to ten of their acquaintances.Shocked person exclaiming: You're going to reveal what? How, in those pre-internet days, Australia Post must have loved these! Think of all those stamps that were needed, with demand growing exponentially as long as everyone kept the chain going.

I was never much of a participant. Probably sheer laziness on my part but I also thought they were pretty ridiculous.

NOT something that can be said about today’s post, which is why I’m taking part!

This is a writing process chain letter – or the modern, internet based equivalent – where writers reveal all.

Okay, so not all. But you get the picture.

My participation in this is all thanks to good buddy Rachael Johns who tagged me in her post to play along. Rachael is an English teacher by trade, a mum 24/7, a supermarket owner by day, a chronic arachnophobic, and a superstar of the rural romance genre. Her best-selling novels include Jilted, Man Drought, Outback Dreams and her Christmas novella, The Kissing Season. Keep an eye out for the second release in her Bunyip Bay series, Outback Blaze, coming May 2014!

And now onto my answers to the chain questions…

 

1) What am I working on?

My next rural romance The Falls. This one is set in a lush New South Wales valley whose idyllic facade hides a community simmering with tension. Some of it rather naughty! Lots of fun animals in this tale, including an evil cat, a couple of guinea pigs named Betty and Wilma, a dog named Goldi and an oversexed ram called Merlin. Oh, and we mustn’t forget the sexy farrier hero who bares more than a passing resemblance to a certain hunky Australian actor (makes for excellent research fun) and an emotionally battered heroine trying to find her heart again.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I’m a sucker for an emotionally charged romance and try to bring that to all my books. I also can’t help including animals that are characters in their own right. I know I shouldn’t anthropomorphise, but I can’t help it. It’s such a blast to have the animals getting up to all sorts of mischief and I think they also act as a great foil to the romance story.

3) Why do I write what I do?

The answer to that is pretty simple: Because I love these stories and want to read them myself.

4) How does my writing process work?

Messily.

Actually, that’s not quite true. It’s messy at the moment because I’m allowing it to be. My goal is to get basic story of The Falls written as fast as possible and then go back and fix it up. That’s not how I’ve operated for the last few books, though. When I first started out I was a complete fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants author, aka “a pantser”. But as I developed I learned to plot a lot more and concentrate very hard on the quality of writing. Unfortunately, as time went on, this search for perfection left me with an awful lot of hang-ups and my output became slower and slower. I went from taking 3 months to write a 100,000 word novel to 7 months. Finally, at the end of last year, I decided I’d had enough.

In December, while I was waiting for Rocking Horse Hill’s line and copy edits, I thought I’d try a new, just-get-the-words-down process. Thirteen days later I had a 40,000 plus word novella. I’ve NEVER had that level of output before. To be fair, I’d been brewing that story – April’s Rainbow – for a long time. Years, in fact. But the exercise proved I could write fast when I wanted. Most of all it gave me back my passion.

The experiment worked. Since January 6th I’ve polished April’s Rainbow and sent it to my agent, and written nearly 65,000 words on The Falls. Most of them pretty ugly but they’re there and editable, and that’s what matters. Because as (I believe) Nora Roberts once said, you can’t edit a blank page.

So at present, I’d call my process that of a born-again pantser. Long may it reign!

 

In the manner of all good chains, I’ve tagged the following excellent authors to keep the chain going. Check out their blogs on February 10th to read how they’ve answered the same questions.

Karly Lane

Cover of Poppy's Dilemma by Karly LaneKarly Lane lives on the beautiful Mid North Coast of NSW in Australia. A certified small town girl, she is most happy in a little town where everyone knows who your grandparents were. She writes women’s fiction – everything from romantic suspense to family sagas and life in rural Australia. Find out more about Karly and her excellent books (I’m a massive fan), including her latest release Poppy’s Dilemma, on her website.

Victoria Purman

Cover of Someone Like You by Victoria PurmanWhen Victoria Purman woke up one day and realised she’d spent most of her working life writing for other people, she decided it was finally time to tell stories of her own. Victoria is published by Harlequin Australia and is now thrilled to spend her days creating dialogue and happy-ever-afters for her imaginary characters. Her Boys of Summer series is set on the south coast of her home state of South Australia, somewhere she feels compelled to do a lot of research. Nobody But Him was released in October last year, and Someone Like You is out now. When she’s not writing, Victoria spends time with her husband, three sons, a disobedient dog, her loving, extended family and dear friends. She keeps promising to buy herself surfing lessons. Visit Victoria’s website for more.

Kris Pearson

Cover of Christmas Holiday Husband by Kris PearsonKris lives in Wellington, the capital of New Zealand. She’s used this lovely city as the setting for six of her novels.  She writes hot, passionate, contemporary romances full of love and laughter. She has an advertising background and is the current membership secretary for Romance Writers of New Zealand. She writes and gardens, and these days is in business with her husband in the decor field. Check out Kris’s books and much, much more on her website.

FRIDAY FEAST with Karly Lane

Happy Friday and greetings from sunny Brisbane! Once again I’ve ventured north, this time for all the fabulousness that is GenreCon. A weekend of non-stop chatter, laughter and learning is about to ensue and I can’t wait!Karly Lane, Australian Author

Just as I can’t wait to introduce today’s Friday Feast guest, Australian author Karly Lane. Karly has been on my auto-buy list since I devoured her debut novel North Star in record time. I loved it so much that I shot off a gushy fan-girl email the moment I finished, telling Karly how much I loved it and looked forward to the next. Karly’s next two reads, Morgan’s Law and Bridie’s Choice were as un-put-downable as North Star and now she has a new one out, excitingly titled Burnt. Sexy title, gorgeous cover and a completely hooking blurb. You’ll want this book!

 

BURNT

 

Cover of Burnt by Karly LaneSeb Taylor and Rebecca Whiteman were high school sweethearts dreaming of a future together when one terrible night forever changed their destiny.

18 years later, Rebecca has brought her children back to the town she left behind, to start a new life.

Seb, an elite SAS soldier has returned home injured, angry and grieving to face a town that hasn’t forgotten and a father who has never understood him. 

With a failed marriage behind her, two children to support and a heavy breather who won’t stop calling her; the last thing she needed was for her first love to make a sudden reappearance in her life.

From bestselling author of Morgan’s Law and Bridie’s Choice comes a story of love, forgiveness and bravery that will touch your heart.

 

I bet Burnt will touch your heart. You can own a copy right now with just a few clicks. For a paperback copy, try Amazon, where you can also buy the ebook for your Kindle. Other ebook resellers include Barnes and Noble for Nook and iTunes. Instant reading fun!

Now please welcome our globetrotting guest, Karly Lane…

 

So two Australians walk into a bar in Louisiana…

 

The last few weeks for me have been a whirlwind of travelling and experiencing new things—food being one of the best. On a previous visit to America I’d discovered that there were quite a few differences between Australian and US food. McDonalds, for example…now you’d think that an international conglomerate like Macca’s would have a standard menu and be the same whether you were in Aus or the US. They don’t.

You think you’d be pretty safe ordering a coke? You’re not.

‘What KIND of coke would you like?’

Ok, so maybe I’ll just have lemonade. ‘I’ll have lemonade, thanks’.

(Much to my delight, their lemonade is ACTUAL lemonade! Like REAL lemon, lemonade!)  The equivalent of what we call lemonade is Mountain dew ( in case you were wondering.)

Okay, so food…well, let me tell you, when we stopped in New Orleans (Neworlands) with friends, we had the BEST food. We were taken on a gastronomical delight of new food and flavours that we’ve decided we must try and recreate for our family back home.

First stop, we were taken to the French Quarter of New Orleans to experience the Majesty that is a Beignet (French donut). Oh-Em-Geeeeee! This delicious contraption is amazing!

Photo of delicious beignets from New Orleans

Crawfish Etouffeeseafood gumboAt lunch time and we were introduced to such delights as Crawfish Etouffee and Seafood Gumbo in quaint little restaurants that you can find scattered alongside the bayous all over Louisiana.

Sully's restaurantOur host ordered Frogs Legs, which actually were more the size of chicken drum sticks and I was VERY happy not to have seen one of these ginormous frogs on our travels!

frogs legs

Our hosts entertained us with a family meal which consisted of Chicken Gumbo, Boudin (Cajun sausage with pork and rice), Jambalaya and for desert a King cake, which is kind of like a big donut filled with custard-type stuff, and comes with Mardi Gras beads and a plastic baby that gets thrown in and whoever finds it… nope, you aren’t supposed to get pregnant, you’re supposed to host the next party! How cool is that!

king cake

They’re also big on their cocktails. Some, like the Grenade, I decided not to try. However we did have a Hurricane. But my favourite drink of choice was a Margarita…a frozen Margarita.

Frozen margarita

Needless to say we gained a few pounds in the few short days we spent in and around the New Orleans area!

 

Karly, what a ball you must have had! Discovering new tasty delights is one of the best things about travel and you sure did some tasting. Everyone I know who’s been to New Orleans has loved it and I think I’ve just raised it a notch on my bucket list. Thanks so much for sharing some of your trip with us, that was great fun.

So my footloose and fancy-free Feasters, what location ranks highest on your bucket list? Do you long for the rarefied air of Machu Picchu? Perhaps a stroll down a Parisian boulevard or adventure rafting in some far-flung location is more your thing? Me, I really, really want to go to Greece. Think of all that ancient history and fantastic food!

So for where does your heart hanker? Curious minds wish to know.

Speaking of hankering (oh, I am the segue QUEEN!), keep your eye out for Karly’s December release Poppy’s Dilemma which is a book very close to Karly’s heart and one I cannot wait to read. In the meantime, sink your teeth into Burnt!

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

THIS WRITING LIFE: Sex and the Rural Romance Author

Got your attention? Good, because this is serious stuff!

There was an interesting article that appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age newspapers recently about ‘heat’ ratings in romance novels, which prompted me to ponder sex in our home-grown rural romances and what reader expectations might be on that front.

Heartland by Cathryn Hein coverI have no idea, and that bothers me because I’m all for fulfilling my readers’ expectations, but I’ve had no feedback or seen any comment about the sex in my books at all. The explicitness has varied with each release, so what then do readers prefer?

For me it all depends on the characters. Callie and Matt in Heartland, being the people that they are, seemed to suit spontaneous, rompy sex and I had a hell lot of fun writing those scenes.

Matt stumbled his way to the single bed until they fell in a tangle of sweaty arms and legs amid creaking springs and laughter. Callie’s shorts winged across the room, following his cargo pants, the last of her underwear sling-shotting after them. Callie laughed as Matt’s jocks caught on his springy cock, enjoying his hungry, almost pained expression as she levered him out and tugged them over his hips and down his legs. Grinning, she twirled the jocks around her finger before flinging them toward the wardrobe.

I would have felt awkward doing the same for Sophie and Aaron in Promises because they were quite sweet characters, while describing the bedroom antics of my 2014 release Rocking Horse Hill’s privileged heroine would have made me feel like a dirty perv. She’s definitely not the sort of person who would appreciate others being privy to her private life (although, given Rocking Horse Hill’s sexpot hero, I bet she has an amazing time in the bedroom).

So I asked a couple of rural romance buddies how they decide how explicit to be with their sex scenes…

 

Fiona Palmer, best-selling author of The Family Farm, The Sunburnt Country and other great rural reads is of similar opinion to me:

Cathryn, I agree that it is up to the characters. In one of my books it happens on the back of a ute and in another book the sex scene called for a more soft gentle approach.  The Outback Heart by Fiona PalmerSo I go with what I feel, what I think the characters would do and see where it leads. I do love good sexual tension in books and so I like a little sneak peek of when they get to finally act on this tension. I personally enjoy the hot parts, but it doesn’t sway my like or dislike of a book if it has hot sex or not. Just like in Pride and Prejudice, sometimes just the touch of a hand can mean so much more.

I haven’t heard back from any readers saying they didn’t enjoy the sex scenes in my books. (In fact I have the blokes asking for more!) So I will just keep going based on what I think the characters need and want.  Here is a snippet from my latest book The Outback Heart and this paragraph is the raunchiest of the whole sex scene.

‘Amazing.’ Troy’s gaze swept across her breasts as she arched her back, waiting for his touch. A shaky hand caressed her soft skin, his thumb flicking over an already hard nipple. Indi tightened her legs around his waist as he bent to taste one bud, before moving to the next, his tongue flicking and teasing. His hand went down to where she was hot and moist. Indi dug her fingers into his shoulders as a moan fell from her lips.

 

Rachael Johns, best-seller and Australian Romance Reader Award winner expands on the sex depends on character theme:

I consider my rural books very much romance books and therefore exploring the chemistry between the main characters is a must for me. But how heated and graphic that exploration is really does depend on the hero and heroine in each book.

Outback Dreams by Rachael JohnsThings such as whether the characters have just met play a factor and also their previous relationship experiences. In my first book Jilted, Ellie and Flynn were high school sweethearts and the attraction between them was always spicy but at the beginning of the book they are trying to fight it because of the hurt they both carry.  In Man Drought, Imogen and Gibson experience instant attraction but they both have reasons to steer clear of the opposite sex, however each interaction between them gets hotter and hotter till it blows up in his ute on the side of the road. That might be my sauciest rural romance scene.

If I know my characters well, I find the sex scenes almost write themselves. In Outback Dreams, my latest release, Faith and Monty have been best friends forever but have only just realized they also find each other attractive, so their first sex scene had a different tone again.

Her smile gave her consent and within seconds they were tumbling backwards, pausing only to tear up the zip on the tent, before collapsing on top of their waiting swags. She couldn’t tell who hit the ground first but they both reached for each other, tearing at each other’s clothing like hungry beasts. In complete darkness and with no method to their madness they didn’t seem to be getting anywhere, so Faith pulled back and took care of her own clothes. Monty did the same and when he reached for her again, she felt his warm, naked flesh against hers.

A moan of approval slipped from her lips.

Damn the dark. She willed her eyes to adjust so she could look her fill at the specimen beside her.

And then he was touching her. He pulled her towards him, tugged a blanket over the top of them and smoothed her hair. ‘You okay?’

Okay? Words could not do justice to her level of okay-ness. Why had they never gone here before? ‘Yes.’

I like reading about the sex between two people who are in love or at least on the road to falling in love, and so I like to give a glimpse of this to my readers as well. However, I don’t get too graphic with my sex scenes as I believe it is the emotional not the physical side of a love scene that is most important.

 

Karly Lane, best-selling author of North Star, Morgan’s Law and Bridie’s Choice is also mindful of her readers:

I’ve noticed a steady increase in what my editor and publisher expect in my books. In North Star I was asked to trim a lot of the scenes, but in Morgan’s Law I was asked to show the readers more!Bridie's Choice by Karly Lane I think publishers are aware of the whole Fifty Shades of Grey epidemic and that women’s fiction is undergoing a shake up at the moment, and so they’re willing to stretch the boundaries a little more than they may once have.

I personally, write what suits my plot and characters. I won’t write an explicit love scene just to keep up with a current trend. I had a reader who told me she allowed her young teenage daughter to read my books because she knew they weren’t too overly explicit. I’m very conscious of what my readers like which is why I won’t be jumping on the mommy porn band wagon just for the sake of it.

This quote from Bridie’s Choice gives a good example of Karly’s boundaries.

She heard him groan softly next to her ear, and she urged him onto his back, following him down until she straddled him. His surprised chuckle soon faded and was replaced with an intense look as he cupped her face in his hands, holding her gaze silently for a long moment. The depth of feeling in that one shared look made Bridie quiver with a mixture of emotion and lust. Leaning forward, she kissed him, pouring into the kiss the feelings she knew she couldn’t voice.

His hands slipped to her waist, holding her firmly as she began to move slowly against him. The gentle moans of their mutual need drifted away on the breeze above them.

 

Mandy Magro, best-selling author of Rosalee Station, Jacaranda and Flame Tree Hill has a different take:

I like to leave the bedroom door wide open, in ALL my novels. Driftwood 3Actually, I love to take my characters out of the bedroom to make it even steamier 🙂 When two people fall in love, the most intimate way to show this is through love making, be it slow and sensual or hungry, hot and steamy. I love writing these scenes and will endeavour to include them in each and every one of my future novels.

Mandy demonstrates just how steamy with this excerpt from her November 1st release, Driftwood.

Taylor panted as she reached out and gripped the sides of the rock, her hips arching into Jay’s lusciously warm mouth, his tongue and lips seducing her into seventh heaven. Her eyes closed in ecstasy as she teetered on the edge, her entire body quivering. How could a man send her into a sexual trance so beyond the normal realm she felt as though she was floating into an abyss? Finally, succumbing to his enchanting mouth, she toppled over the edge of self-control and screamed out his name, pulsating against his ravishing tongue as she climaxed to the point of breathlessness, every centimetre of her shuddering.

So, dear readers, what do you prefer? Well described sex or more teasing hints? The door open or closed? Do you need sex to complete the romance side of the story? Or does it depend on the characters or plot?

Comment away! Fiona, Rachael, Karly, Mandy and I would love to hear your thoughts.

If you’d like to know more about Fiona, Rachael, Karly, Mandy and their books, or wish to follow them on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks, you’ll find all the links on their websites. Just click a name below to discover more.

Fiona Palmer

Rachael Johns

Karly Lane

Mandy Magro

Cathryn Hein

 

 

Not rising, soaring!

My Australian Women Writers

Challenge Update

 

Oh, I underestimated myself bigtime! Back in mid-February when I signed up for the Australian Women Writers Challenge I was obviously feeling delusional. awwbadge_2013I should have known from my past reading how often I choose books by women writers and, more importantly, by Australian women writers.

My AWWC goal was to read 10 books. Last update I stated that I was rising to the challenge but was yet to reach that target. It turned out that wasn’t quite true. If I’d counted Hannah Richell’s The Secrets of the Tides I would have hit the big 10. Phht. Who’s quibbling? Not me, that’s for sure, because not only have I now absolutely reached my goal, I’ve given it a good spanking!

Here is what I’ve read since that June 19th update:

Six of them are by authors I’ve never read before. Sarah Mayberry’s two Favourite books were completely delicious. Outback Bride was gorgeous, with a sweet pony and a lizard race for extra fun. The Yearning had some stunning writing as did The Light Between Oceans, although with very different styles. The Mistake was a fascinating look at rural society, while Gather the Bones was simply an amazing story that I think everyone should read.

That’s TEN books by Australian Women Writers since my last update, which makes it TWENTY for the year, and with a quick glance at my to-be-read bookshelf there are plenty more to come.

So, seeing as it’s only September, can I challenge myself to read another ten books by Australian women authors by the end of the year?

I think I can!

If you’d like to know more about the AWWC, check out the website. You can also follow and contribute to discussions on FacebookTwitter and Goodreads.

Sinking my teeth into more great reading!

Sinking my teeth into more great reading!

Hot News & Events!

Keep your eyes out for some fantastic events happening now and soon…

Heartland Review Fun

A wonderful review of my latest rural romance Heartland on the Australian Romance Readers Association blog.

“I’m missing the people in this story. I didn’t realise until I read the last page and shut the book. When I walked away, from it, I realised I felt bereft.” Rosalie for the ARRA blog.

Isn’t that a lovely thing to say? I’m so delighted.

If you’re an ARRA member, leave a comment and you’ll go into the draw to win a copy of Heartland. Giveaway closes 17th July.

You can read more about Heartland, including an excerpt and the story of how the book came into being, on my website.

 

Booktopia’s Australian Romance Month, Featuring Fabulous Giveaways

Join most excellent Australian online bookseller Booktopia for their Australian Romance month, where I, and a fine line-up of Australian romance authors, will be entertaining you with our witty answers to questions like: Who do you swoon over? and Tell us something very few people know about you, and the ever so tricky, Finish this sentence: I would do anything for love, but I won’t do  ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­____

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You can read my answers to those questions and more on July 12th.

There are plenty of other rural-set fiction authors joining me across the month, including Rachael Johns, Fiona Palmer, Rachael Treasure, Barbara Hannay, Jennifer Scoullar, Loretta Hill, Mandy Magro, Bronwyn Parry, Margareta Osborn, Helene Young, Nicole Alexander, Jenn J McLeod and others!

Plus all month there’ll be competitions to win great books, and if you order an Aussie Romance Author book from Booktopia in July, you’ll go into the draw to win a fantastic book pack. For more details, click on the banner above or visit Booktopia.

 

Romance Writers of Australia Conference, August 16th-18th 2013

It’s only 6 weeks until the RWA Conference in Fremantle, W.A. and I can’t wait. This is THE event of the year for romance authors, published and aspiring. A chance to catch up with old friends and make new ones, plus learn more about our business and craft. There are also opportunities for authors to pitch their work to leading Australian and international editors and agents.

I have a great deal to thank the RWA for and can’t recommend the organisation and its conference highly enough.

For more information on the RWA and the conference, visit the website.

 

Australian Romance Readers Association Booksigning Event, Saturday 17th August 2013

I’m signing and so are 55 others local and international authors. These events are a hoot! Register now at the ARRA blog.

BSE3 I'll be signing 500

 

 

J’aimee Brooker’s Spotlight On Aussie Rural Novelists

Last week I answered a series of fun questions on contemporary romance author J’aimee Brooker’s blog as part of her week-long spotlight on Aussie Rural Novelists. Find out the one author I’d spend my last $20 on, who I’d be if I was a character from a novel and more!

Also featured were Rachael Johns, Karly Lane, and Jennie Jones. Check it out!

 

THIS WRITING LIFE: Queens of Heart panel at Taree Library

Ooh, I love a road trip and when it’s combined with a library talk and room filled with enthusiastic readers, even better!482602_642703789077435_366752084_n

Last Wednesday, myself, paranormal and fantasy romance author Kylie Griffin, and rural romance and romantic suspense author Karly Lane met up in Taree, on the NSW mid-north coast, for our Queens of Heart panel at the town library. And what a wonderful time we had! I always knew it was going to be fun. Kylie and Karly are old mates from Romance Writers of Australia conferences, hugely talented authors and lovely people. As were our hosts. Danielle and Debbie from the library put on a wonderful evening with nibbles and local wines, excellent displays and a cosy stage. Manning Valley Books were on hand to sell our books, and Shelleyrae from book review site Book’d Out helped with all the arrangements.

Best of all were the audience, who braved a wet and chilly night to come out and listen to Karly, Kylie and me. What an engaged and interested bunch of people. We had a great time talking about writing, how we came to be published, the industry and the influence that erotica is having on the face of romance. They threw a few curly questions at us, too. Nothing like being kept on our toes!

Kylie Griffin, me and Karly Lane.

Kylie Griffin, me and Karly Lane.

On stage and having a chat. Kylie, Karly and me.

On stage and having a chat. Kylie, Karly and me.

Great fan Brenda and myself with my new release Heartland. I just love meeting readers!

Great fan Brenda and myself with my new release Heartland. I just love meeting readers!

Afterward, we were treated to a very enjoyable meal at local restaurant The Sicilian (where I spent an impolite amount of time admiring the restaurant’s beautiful pepper grinders), passing by Manning Valley Books as we walked. Naturally we all had to stop and take a photo of the display.

Queens of Heart window display at Manning Valley Books.

Queens of Heart window display at Manning Valley Books.

It looks like we were harbingers of rain because it bucketed down overnight and on Thursday, which made for a slow drive home. But that’s okay. It was worth it. I love connecting with readers and thank everyone involved for another fabulous library talk. Can’t wait to do it again!

 

Mark your diaries!

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I’m really looking forward to this evening. Expect a lot of insight and many laughs. Kylie Griffin (author of the amazing Light Blade fantasy romance series) and Karly Lane (Bridies Choice, Morgan’s Law, Burnt and other awesome Australian-set stories) are lovely people as well as being fantastic authors, and I think we’ll have a fine time. So will you!

In other news…

I’m Cooking the Books with Australian romance author Louise Reynolds. Come on over for a slice of delicious date and walnut loaf, a snippet from Heartland and more!

Heartland has scored another wonderful review, this time from Lauren Murphy at The Australian Bookshelf.

Heartland is the kind of book that draws you in and makes you not want to put it down and if you do, then the characters will haunt you until you pick it up again. Hein knows how to create characters with depth in communities that come alive on the page. This one’s definitely a keep among my rural lit shelves.”

 

Tomorrow I’ll be here again with Friday Feast, revealing some secrets from my week with Hugh (ahh, I see your mind boggling already).  I’ll also be over on Alissa Callen’s blog answering 10 Teaser Questions.

And in case you missed my non-stop squeaking elsewhere, yesterday I discovered that my rural romance Heart of the Valley hit number one on Google Play’s paid ebook store. And it’s still there this morning. Good thing no one was here to video me doing the muppet-flail when I saw that. Could’ve have been rather embarrassing!

 

THIS WRITING LIFE: Release Day Approacheth!

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Can you believe it? There’s only ONE sleep until my new rural romance, Heart of the Valley, releases.

I’m always amazed how quickly release date comes around. When the last edits are handed in you think it’s forever until release day, but then suddenly it’s racing toward you, bringing with it all the nerves and bubbly excitement that comes with knowing people will soon be buying, reading and commenting on your book.

I’m far more excited than nervous about Heart of the Valley because, quite frankly, I love this book. I love the characters, the emotion, the drama and the complex family relationships. I love how the animals are so integral to the story they’re almost characters in their own right. I adore the landscape of the Hunter Valley, viewed so passionately through the heroine, Brooke’s, eyes. I admire Brooke’s strength, her devotion to her friends, to her animals, to the property she loves. And I still have an embarrassingly monster-sized crush on the hero, Lachie. Sigh. I’m not sure I’ll ever recover from that man. He is one hell of a babe. Good thing he’s fictional or there might be trouble in the Hein household!

There have already been a few reviews.

The West Weekend Magazine’s Amanda Keenan had this to say:

Brooke Kingston is a pure-bred horsey girl soaring to great heights in the saddle. But a tragic twist of fate robs the agile rider of her confidence, and life as she knows it. Cue a love triangle including an old friend and a brooding man with a complicated history who will seek to salve her wounded soul and get her back in the saddle – so to speak. This sounds like the master stock for a rural romance recipe because it is. But that’s not a criticism – there’s something wonderfully absorbing about a rough and ready country yarn heavy with heartache, which weaves in complex family relationships, our gorgeous environment and a bit of raunchy rainstorm sex. Yee ha!

The Age and Sydney Morning Herald also had a large spread on rural lit, with Heart of the Valley reviewed alongside Fiona Palmer’s fabulous The Road Home, Fleur McDonald’s Purple Roads and Margareta Osborn’s Bella’s Run. In other words, pretty illustrious company!

Heart of the Valley is shown in great glory in this week’s BigW catalogue alongside Karly Lane’s Morgan’s Law, which also releases this week. Okay, so that’s not exactly a review but it still gives me a complete attack of the warm fuzzies.

Much to my surprise, I also received a gorgeous review for Promises this week which appeared in the Ipswich Advertiser.

Australian author Cathryn Hein had me from the first page and I’m sure anyone who likes romance novels without bodice ripping or cliché phrases will also love this story.

Lastly, I have a lot of blog visits coming up, some with giveaways, so make sure you keep your eyes peeled for those. You can currently find me at Booktopia, answering their Nine Naughty Questions and on Mandy Magro’s Awesome Aussie Authors segment. Friday I’ll be here for Friday Feast sharing a favourite winter-perfect soup recipe I nicked from my mum and giving away a copy of Heart of the Valley to one lucky commenter.

Yup, it’s all happening!

Before I go I’d like to leave you with a few photos from our time in France. Jim and I were fortunate enough to attend two ANZAC Days on the Somme, as well as the Service of Reinterment of four Australian soldiers whose remains were found near Merris in 2003 and reburied in an incredibly moving ceremony at Outtersteene Communal Cemetery Extension, Bailleul, near the Belgian border.

Dawn service at Villers-Bretonneux is one of the most moving experiences I’ve ever had and one I will never forget.

View from the tower

Australian National Memorial, Villers Bretonneux, France

An unknown soldier of the Great War

Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux, France

Tyne Cot Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery

Passchendaele, Belguim.

Tyne Cot is the largest Commonwealth war cemetery in the world.  There are now 11,956 soldiers buried here, 8,369 are unidentified.  This photo doesn’t do any justice to the heart-breaking scale of the place.

Reinterment for the four Australian soldiers whose remains were found near Merris in 2003

Outtersteen Communal Cemetery Extension, Bailleul, France

Lest we forget