Tag Archives: Romance Writers of Australia

SANTA AND THE SADDLER is a Romantic Book of the Year finalist!

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Cover of Santa and the Saddler by Cathryn HeinI’m thrilled to bits to announce that SANTA AND THE SADDLER is a finalist in the Romance Writers of Australia’s 2017 Romantic Book of the Year Contest, aka the Rubys, in the novella category.

Squeeeeeeee!!

This is my first Ruby final so I’m over the moon, and it’s for a story that I adore and had the most joyous time writing. Beth and Danny were such sweethearts and so cute together the book almost wrote itself.

Also exciting is that I’m very close to finishing its sequel, Chrissy and the Burroughs Boy, which features Danny’s sexy older brother Nick. This novella will be out later in the year so keep an eye out for the cover reveal and pre-order links. They’re coming veeeeery soon. As always, newsletter subscribers will be the first to hear. If you’re not already a subscriber, simply tap, click or swipe here to join the cool people.

In the meantime, if you’ve yet to enjoy Santa and the Saddler, it’s available right now in ebook and paperback from these excellent retailers. Grab your copy today!

Amazon.com | Amazon.au | Amazon.uk

Kobo

Google Play

iBooks

Nook

Booktopia

Bookdepository

Angus & Robertson Bookworld

Fishpond.au

 

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THIS WRITING LIFE: Ain’t Love Grand!

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Aaaaaand, the 2016 Romance Writers of Australia conference has been and gone for another year. This year was special too, being the 25th anniversary conference and with the fab theme Ain’t Love Grand. I think the organisers did the RWA and themselves proud. I had a ball, as usual, and I’m pretty sure everyone else did too. Thank you, ladies and gents. Bloody brilliant!

The Ain't Love Grand logoIt’s such a delight to catch up with writing buddies that I tend to talk to only online or via phone. There’s nothing like human contact, is there? The hugs and squeals, the laughter and sharing of challenges and triumphs, the late night bar sessions…

But enough of that. It’s piccies I know you’re after and I have plenty. Now, because there are so many photos, and I’m flat out at the moment finishing Santa and the Saddler and poring over Wayward Heart proofs, I’m not going to provide in depth descriptions. You’ll just have to look and enjoy, then book your own slot for the conference or ARRA book signing next year, and make yourself a part of these great events.

The conference was in Adelaide, South Australia, so what better excuse to visit my home town and family first in Mount Gambier, then follow it up with a road trip to Adelaide?

I caught up with my niece and nephews and watched the boys play basketball. As you can see, they didn’t take after their aunt in the height stakes. I felt very stumpy.

With my tall niece and nephews

As many of you are aware, my mum has Alzheimer’s and is now in full-time care. I’d love to say she recognised me but in all honesty I don’t think she did. It’s such a shit disease, it really is, but she’s being wonderfully cared for and when Dad and I visited her, she was cheerful and perky, and in overall good health. We had a fun time taking her out to buy new slippers and a cuppa at the bakery in Casterton, Victoria. Here we are with one of the kelpie statues in town.

With Mum in Casterton

It’s lambing season across western Victoria and south-east SA. Not a good time to be a fox. Here’s a haul near Ardno Station, Strathdownie.

Strathdownie - fox haul

The next day it was road trip time! Here’s me and Dad cruising the Dukes Highway.

Me and Dad road trip

Then it was Adelaide or, more specifically, Glenelg, and what a conference location it was. The council even had a heart for us (it’s a permanent sculpture but we romance peeps laid claim to it).

Glenelg Heart Sculpture

After spending Thursday catching up with friends, lunching with my editor and enjoying high tea with other buddies at a local bookshop, it was time for the Harlequin author party. We were each presented with red feather boas on arrival, which was fun, but the venue and the conference hotel looked like a slaughterhouse afterwards with all the dropped red feathers. I bet the cleaners are still grumbling about us.

Here’s Michelle Conder, Annie West, Carol Marinelli and Fiona McArthur.

Harlequin author party

And me and Michelle later in the bar.

Me and Michelle Conder

The conference Friday workshop was with screenwriting expert Michael Hauge. I used his Story Mastery session and templates to start nutting out Eddie and the Show Queen, which is a kinda-sorta sequel to Summer and the Groomsman, featuring Harry’s rakish brother Eddie. Don’t ask when I’ll get around to writing this one, I have no idea, but at least now I have a plot plan.

Michael Hauge - Story Mastery

Friday night was cocktail party night where many choose to dress up. This year’s theme was Love Is A Cabaret, which meant feather boas, black ties and more. Take a look…

Leisl Leighton, RWA president. Awesome eyelashes.

RWA 2016 Cocktail Party - Leisl Leighton

Anne Gracie and Keri Arthur.

RWA 2016 Cocktail Party - Anne Gracie Keri Arthur

A crowd of flappers.

RWA 2016 Cocktail Party - crowd

Fiona McArthur and me.

RWA 2016 Cocktail Party - Fiona McArthur and me

T.M Clarke and hubby.

RWA 2016 Cocktail Party - TM Clark and hubby

Me, Louise Reynolds and Jaye Ford.

RWA 2016 Cocktail Party - Me-Louise Reynolds-Jaye Ford

Juanita Kees and me.

RWA 2016 Cocktail Party - Juanita Kees and me

Jane and Richard Carter.

RWA 2016 Cocktail Party - Jane and Richard Carter

Leisl Leighton serenaded us with a song from Cabaret to much applause.

RWA 2016 Cocktail Party - song time

Me and agent Alex Adsett.

RWA 2016 Cocktail Party - me and Alex Adsett

The gorgeous Lilia Kanna from Harlequin.

RWA 2016 Cocktail Party - Lilia Kanna

Michelle Douglas and me.

RWA 2016 Cocktail Party - Michelle Douglas and me

And the conference proper begins! Hardworking organisers and deadest legends Bronwyn Stuart and Trish Morey.

RWA Conference - Bronwyn Stuart and Trish Morey

They presented a fun talk and slide show of what the world was like 25 years ago when the RWA began. Such a hoot.

RWA Conference - 25th anniversary fun

The state of publishing and bookselling panel.

RWA Conference - state of publishing and bookselling panel

The Stamford Grand Hotel showed us lots of luuuuurve. Very cool.

RWA Conference - hotel love

Saturday afternoon saw the ARRA booksigning event which was another great success. Here’s Anne Gracie…

2016 ARRA booksigning - Anne Gracie

Rachael Johns…

2016 ARRA booksigning - Rachael Johns

Juanita Kees…

2016 ARRA booksigning - Juanita Kees

Kandy Shepherd…

2016 ARRA booksigning - Kandy Shepherd

Mandy Magro…

2016 ARRA booksigning - Mandy Magro

Crowd shot…

2016 ARRA booksigning - crowd shot

Then it was awards dinner time! Didn’t the room and everyone look gorgeous?

2016 RWA Awards Dinner - crowd

Leah Ashton, Rachel Bailey, Daniel de Lorne.

2016 RWA Awards Dinner - Leah Ashton-Rachel Bailey-Daniel de Lorne

Suzi Love and her husband Graham, who volunteers to help with the agent and editor pitches every year. Thanks Graham. I heard many singing your praises!

2016 RWA Awards Dinner - Suzi Love and husband Graham

Wheeeeeee! Summer and the Groomsman had its time in the sun thanks to its best rural romance cover win. I cheered it. Cos, why not!

2016 RWA Awards Dinner - Summer and the Groomsman best rural romance cover

Me and James Kellow, CEO of Harlequin and Harper Collins.

2016 RWA Awards Dinner - Me and James Kellow

Karen M Davis paying heartfelt tribute to her mother, the late Lynn Wilding, a founding member of RWA. Many of us suffered sniffles during this speech, it was so lovely.

2016 RWA Awards Dinner - Karen M Davis

Rachael Johns and James Kellow.

2016 RWA Awards Dinner - Rachael Johns and James Kellow

Rach taking out the Ruby Award in the romantic elements category with The Patterson Girls. Rah!

2016 RWA Awards Dinner - Rachael Johns Ruby Award

There was dancing! And photo bombing by Shannon Curtis.

2016 RWA Awards Dinner - dancing and Shannon Curtis

Annie West and Michelle Douglas.

2016 RWA Awards Dinner - Annie West and Michelle Douglas

More dancing…

2016 RWA Awards Dinner - dancing

And bar lounging…

2016 RWA Awards Dinner - post dinner lounging

As for what happened after that, you’ll just have to use your imagination.

Despite appearances, it wasn’t all frocking up and partying. There were plenty of workshops, speakers and panels to check out. Here’s one of the slides from Kathryn Fox’s talk: Writer Like The World’s Best-Selling Author, where she talked about writing for James Patterson and what makes him such an incredible seller.

2016 RWA Conference - Kathryn Fox's workshop

Can’t wait for next year in Brisbane with Love Gone Wild!

2016 RWA Conference - announcing Brisbane 2017

For those wondering what happened to Hot Chocolate the blow-up wonder horse, the news isn’t good. Despite enthusiastic but inexpert veterinary care, Hot Choc suffered another puncture and was feeling very deflated about the whole affair. He made it to the booksigning but spent all his time sulking under the table. I fear this may be the last…

Hot Chocolate - deflated again

My heartfelt thanks to RWA, the conference committee and everyone involved in this year’s conference. The location was perfect – one of the best – the speakers and workshops were great, the parties fantastic and the friendship brilliant. Thank you, thank you.

If you’re an aspiring writer I can’t recommend that you join the Romance Writers of Australia enough. There is no doubt in my mind that without RWA I wouldn’t be published. I also wouldn’t have the wonderful friends I have or the chance to make new ones. And if you’re a reader, there’s the Australian Romance Readers Association.

So join up and hang online and in person with the people who love the same things you do. Go on. It’s fun!

 

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Teaser Tuesday!

Teaser TuesdayWelcome to Teaser Tuesday, the tantalising blog series where I share snippets from my works-in-progress, up-coming releases and published novels, and occasionally let good writing buddies take the reins.

Greetings from South Australia! I’m visiting my home state for the annual Romance Writers of Australia conference. The conference is being held in Adelaide but I’ve flown to Mount Gambier to see my family beforehand and will head north later in the week. The RWA conference is the best fun, with lots of learning, networking and catching up with new and old buddies. Usually I can barely speak at the end my voice is so worn out. Worth it though.

I’ll try to do up a blog post with lots of piccies when I get back, so keep your eye out for that. In the meantime, you can enjoy this little snippet from Heart of the Valley, and its totally sighworthy hero Lachie. Oh, how I love that man!

 

Brooke woke on Thursday morning at first relieved to find the last of the aches and fever gone, only to discover a few seconds later they’d been replaced with a cough so deep each convulsion felt like fish hooks jerking inside her lungs.

The humiliation seemed endless. She hung over the side of the bed, hacking and moaning, aware Lachlan would be in to check on her any second, but unable to stop. Cough or no cough, Heart of the Valley by Cathryn Heinshe had plans for today. Plans that required his cooperation, and she wouldn’t earn it by sounding like an emphysemic hag.

Bare footsteps padded across the polished floorboards. ‘Here,’ said Lachlan, handing her a glass of water.

She clutched it in her shaky grip and drank between half coughs and ragged, heaved breaths. The fit over, she sank back onto the mattress with her palm on her aching chest. Lachlan stood at the edge of the bed in a pair of faded jeans, the zip done up but the top button still loose, and a dark blue twill shirt hanging open over his chest. A fine line of inky hair ran up from his waistband and curled around his neat belly button before trailing toward his chest. The pale bronze skin of his torso stretched smooth over taut, well-developed muscles of the type seen more often in elite-sports change rooms than farm cottages.

Brooke blinked, wondering if this was a cough-induced hallucination. Two-metre-tall rugby-playing rural types didn’t stand by her bed looking sleep-ruffled and concerned and unbelievably sexy every day. Yet there Lachlan stood, evaporating every drop of water from her mouth and turning her insides fluttery and hot.

©Cathryn Hein

Heart of the Valley can be yours right now from Amazon, iBooks, Kobo or Google Play. For print copies, visit Booktopia or your favourite book store.

Want to learn more about Heart of the Valley? You’ll find story behind the book, reviews, and more excerpts on its book page on this website.

 

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Teaser Tuesday!

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Teaser TuesdayWelcome again to another fun instalment of Teaser Tuesday, the blog series where I share snippets from my works-in-progress, up-coming releases and published novels. Most of the time. Occasionally I like to spice it up and let writing buddies tease you with their works too.

Today is such a day and I’m delighted to host historical romance author Anne Gracie on the blog. Her Chance Sisters series, including The Autumn Bride, The Winter Bride and The Spring Bride (current finalist in the Romance Writers of Australia’s prestigious Ruby Awards), has been a blast and I’ve been eagerly awaiting book 4—The Summer Bride—and Daisy’s story. The girls are all great characters but I’ve developed a real soft spot for Daisy and so want her to reach her happy ever after. I bet if you’ve been following the series you feel the same.

Here’s Anne to tell you more about the The Summer Bride. Oh and don’t forget to read right through to the end. There might be a giveaway!

 

Romance Author Anne Gracie

The Summer Bride is the first “friends-to-lovers” story I’ve written, and I have to say I really enjoyed watching these two following their separate paths, all the while fighting an attraction that can’t be denied.

I loved Daisy and Flynn. Daisy is down-to-earth and outspoken and funny, and Flynn . . . well, Flynn’s a real charmer — brash, confident, and very masculine. And though it took him a while to work out what he really wanted, when he did, he went all out to get it.

Daisy and Flynn are on different courses. He wants to marry an aristocratic lady, she doesn’t want to marry at all. She has plans . . .

Daisy had no illusions about herself. She was a little Cockney guttersnipe with a gimpy leg and a foul mouth—though she was working on the swearing, and her grammar. But she loved beautiful clothes and—praise be!— she was good at making them.

She was going to be somebody, and she was going to do it all herself; Daisy Chance, Dressmaker to the Toffs, with a shop and a business all her own. That was her dream, and she was so hungry for it she could almost taste it.

The fact that Daisy fancies Flynn and always has, is irrelevant. She’s a realist, and a businesswoman, and respectability is what matters now.

Daisy pretended to stare out of her window but watched him from the corner of her eye. He was one good-looking man, Flynn. His breeches fitted nice and tight, his legs were long and powerful, and he smelled beautiful—clean and manly, not like so many posh gents who drenched themselves in perfumes and smelled like a blooming flowerpot.

No, Flynn was all man. She fancied him rotten—always had, from the first day he’d come swaggering into Lady Bea’s parlor, as brash and confident as if he owned the place. Those bold blue eyes of his had summed up every female in the room, a perfect invitation to sin.

The Summer Bride by Anne GracieFrom the very first he’d been danger wrapped in shades of masculine elegance—he’d just come from Freddy Monkton-Coombes’s very exclusive tailor—all the while complaining about having to dress like a pea-hen—not a peacock—in drab colors. With a gold earring in his ear, like a bloomin’ pirate. He was wearing it today; it glinted in the dim light.

He’d flirted with her that first day, just a bit—and she’d flirted back.

Daisy sighed. In the old days she’d have gone after him like a shot, but she’d turned respectable now, and so had Flynn.

He was planning to marry the finest young lady in London, and Daisy was starting up a business of her own. They were on different pathways, and a romp between the sheets wasn’t on the cards for either of them.  More’s the pity.

Besides, Flynn was her friend, the first man she’d ever been friends—real friends—with. The men she’d known in the past were users—pimps, predators, thieves and swindlers—all crooks of some kind.

Flynn was different, and she wasn’t going to risk spoiling their friendship with a bit of rumpy pumpy, no matter how tempting it was. That sort of thing never lasted—and the break-up always ruined the friendship.

So it was look but don’t touch.

She eyed his long, muscular thighs in their gleaming boots, and smiled to herself. Lucky he was such a treat to look at.

*

Oooh, I can’t wait for this book. I pre-ordered it back in March and today is the day it’ll be popping onto my Kindle and racing to the top of my to-be-read pile.

I bet you’d love a copy of The Summer Bride too. Well, here’s your chance to win one. Yes, lovelies, we have a…

GIVEAWAY!

For your chance to win a paperback copy of The Summer Bride simply answer this question from Anne:

What’s your favorite romance trope? Friends to lovers? Revenge? Second chance at Love? Convenient Marriage? Secret baby? Amnesia? Etc

Comment away and we’ll pop you into the draw.

Please note: Giveaway closes Friday midnight Friday AEST, 8th July 2016. Open internationally. Rah!

The Chance Sisters books are available right now from Booktopia, BookdepositoryAmazon, Kobo, iBooks, Google Play, or your favourite bookstore.

The Summer Bride cover and blurb image

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Teaser Tuesday!

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Teaser TuesdayGreetings from Teaser Tuesday, the series where I share fun paragraphs from past and upcoming releases, and works-in-progress, and occasionally invite author buddies on to do the same.

Over the weekend I was thrilled to learn that my sweet novella Summer and the Groomsman was voted best rural romance cover by Romance Writers of Australia members (rah!). Sounds like a good excuse to share a snippet from the book I reckon.

Our heroine Summer agists her beloved horse Binky on a property owned by alcoholic farmer Gavin Chalk. Each time she hands over her agistment money she knows where it’s going to be spent and it upsets her deeply. On this occasion sneaky Binky uses her distraction to escape…

 

Summer had barely reached the paddock gate when Gav reversed his ute out onto the road. She swung the gate open and turned her back as dismay yanked her insides. Thanks to her, Gav was about to destroy more of his body, not to mention his state of mind. She trudged back to the car, reminding herself that this wasn’t her fault. That Gav wasn’t her responsibility. He wasn’t grandpa.

Cover of Summer and the Groomsman by Cathryn HeinShe slumped heavily in the driver’s seat and put the SUV into gear, only for her dismay to worsen the moment she looked up.

“Binky!”

Taking advantage of her distraction, Binky was sauntering happily through the gate, his one-track mind intent on the lucerne growing so lushly on the other side of the road. Usually he could be relied on to stay by his feed buckets, but tonight his hunger for decent green feed proved too overwhelming.

Putting the car back into neutral, Summer snatched a lead rope off the back seat, alighted and strode after him, calling out. Usually he was easy to catch, but Binky appeared to be in one of his moods, and intent on playing funny buggers. Ignoring her, he tossed his head and broke into a trot.

Just as another car appeared through the dust left in Gav’s wake.

“Binky!”

The driver braked hard. Gravel spewed from behind the vehicle’s locked up wheels but the skid was flinging the car closer and closer to Binky.

©Cathryn Hein

Oooh, drama! Want to know what happens next? Then grab a copy of Summer and the Groomsman today. Purchase the paperback from Booktopia or Bookdepository and the ebook from Amazon, iBooks, Kobo and Nook.

 

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Teaser Tuesday!

Teaser TuesdayWelcome to Teaser Tuesday, the tantalising blog series where I share snippets from works-in-progress, up-coming releases and published novels. Except for slack weeks when I invite good writing buddies to fill in for me, like today!

What a delight to host Australian author Tricia Stringer on the blog, and even more delightful that she’s offering a special giveaway of her upcoming new release! But more on that in a moment.

Tricia has rapidly become one of Australia’s much-loved authors. Her debut release, Queen of the Road (a fab read and one I highly recommend), not only became a top seller, it went on to win a Romance Writers of Australia Ruby Award. Since then Tricia’s released two more rural-set contemporary novels Right as Rain and Riverboat Point, along with the historical saga Heart of the Country.

Tricia’s December 1st release Between the Vines is set in Coonawarra, in south-east South Australia. My home stomping ground! It goes without saying that this makes the book even more excellent, being set god’s country and all. Not that I’m biased. Much.

Anyway, that’s enough silliness from me. You’re here to hear about Tricia and her new book, and maybe win a copy. But you’ll have to read to the end for details about that.

Please welcome Tricia!

Author Tricia StringerThanks for having me, Cathryn. You will recognise the setting for this book. It’s a rural romance set in beautiful Coonawarra wine country in the South East of South Australia.

BETWEEN THE VINES was such fun to write, not that all my books aren’t fun to write but this one had the added advantage of being able to include my love of wine!

Ever been on one of those cellar door tours where everyone’s getting a bit messy by the end? Not saying I have of course but I’ve witnessed a few so it was a great catalyst to throw two of the main characters together. I have the added advantage of having a son who’s a winemaker so with his behind the scenes expertise I set the story in a fictitious family winery.

Wriggly Creek Wines is run by two brothers, Edward and Peter Starr who have differing ideas on the future of their winery. Enter Taylor Rourke who’s the designated driver on her friend’s hen trip. Taylor is not planning to find the man of her dreams on this jaunt and especially not at the last cellar door for the day but fate has other ideas. Of course some don’t believe in fate and this could possibly end up being the worst mistake of her life.

 

“Why don’t you try some?” Edward put a wine glass where the water glass had stood. “We have a very good chardonnay. Unless you’d rather a red?”

“I’m driving.” Once more Taylor looked away from his mesmerising eyes.

“I’m only giving you a taste. Our chardonnay has done well for us.” He poured a splash into the glass. “You can’t visit Wriggly Creek Wines and not at least have a sip. It’s won two gold medals.”

Between the Vines by Tricia StringerTaylor glanced at her friends. They were getting noisier except for Mandy who was looking a little pale.

“One sip,” she said. “Then I’d better get this crew moving. We left Adelaide this morning and it’s been a long time since we stopped for lunch at Keith. We haven’t checked in yet.”

She reached for the glass and bumped the stem. She snatched at it just as he did. His hand was warm and steady over hers, sending a tingle up her arm.

“Just sip it.” He removed his hand.

She lifted it to her lips. The tang of liquid was crisp on her tongue then flowed smoothly down her throat.

He watched her closely.

“Very nice.” She put the glass carefully back on the counter.

“Only very nice.” He raised an eyebrow. “You’d better take another sip.”

“Time to go I think, Tales.” Cass tapped her on the shoulder. “Mandy might need a bit of a lie down.”

Taylor glanced over at the friend she was supposed to share a room with. Mandy leaned back against the wall, eyes closed, a sheen of perspiration coating her white forehead.

“Back in the van everyone,” Cass called.

Taylor glanced at Edward. “Sorry to rush off.”

He placed a hand on her arm and fixed those deep-blue eyes on her again. “Come to the pub for a drink tonight.” Her heart gave an extra thump. Damn, this couldn’t be happening. Not here. Why couldn’t she find a guy like Edward Starr closer to home?

© Tricia Stringer

GIVEAWAY!

Wasn’t that great? Definitely a book you want and thanks to Tricia a signed paperback copy of Between the Vines could be yours. Simply answer the following in the comment section of this blog:

What is your favourite wine region? Or, if you’re not a wine fan, what is your favourite drink?

Easy!

Please Note: Giveaway closes midnight Friday AEST, 27th November 2015. Australian and New Zealand postal addresses only.

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10 Secret Things About Summer and the Groomsman!

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Summer and the Groomsman

Crack the champas, bring out the choccies, for today is Summer and the Groomsman’s release day. Whee!

For those of you who have pre-ordered copies of my new rural romance, THANK YOU! I hope they’re a-winging their way into your e-readers, phones, tablets and computers now (although because we’re always early here in Australia we might have to wait until midnight ticks over in the USA before the files are actually released).

Most of all I hope you enjoy Harry’s and Summer’s sweet, cute romance. I had a ball writing it.

And now, for your delectation, here are…

10 SECRET THINGS ABOUT SUMMER AND THE GROOMSMAN

1/. Poor Harry was not always Harry. He started out as Cameron (Cam) but he never really fitted that name. So I changed it to Henry, which I adored. Then I discovered that Henry clashed with a character from Admella Beach (the two stories overlap) and I had to rename him Harry. Summer was always Summer.

The change from Cameron to Henry was not without its dramas. Idiot me did a universal change for Cam without specifying whole and capitalised words only, resulting in EVERY letter sequence of “cam” changing to Henry. Thank god for the undo button.

2/. The idea for the story came to me in a day spa at the QT Hotel on the Gold Coast where I was staying for the 2012 Romance Writers of Australia conference. Good buddy Rachael Johns and I decided we deserved a pampering and booked ourselves in for a morning of bliss. Harry drifted into my brain during a very pleasurable massage. I don’t know why I don’t try this plotting method for every book. It’s lovely!

 

Me and Rachael Johns at the 2012 RWA conference

Me and Rach at the RWA Gold Coast conference wearing red for for the Heart Foundation, that year’s charity.

3/. Harry’s looks were very loosely inspired by Midshipman Alonso Frame (actor Russell Tovey) from Doctor Who’s Voyage of the Damned (he’s the one with the gunshot wound in the TV trailer).

4/. Summer and the Groomsman’s stunning cover was designed by Kellie from Book Cover By Design. To say I’m thrilled with it would be an understatement.

5/. Gavin Chalk’s property, where Summer agists her horse Binky, was inspired by one where I once kept my beloved first horse Mysty. It was also the location where my dad, an ex-jockey, infamously fell off her one Christmas and broke his wrist, resulting in endless teasing about his riding prowess.

6/. Summer and the Groomsman is my first self-published work. It was a hell of a learning curve but very exciting. Special thanks to author and editor Dianne Blacklock who edited the novella and was a great pleasure to work with, Kellie from Book Cover By Design, and to wonderful people like New Zealand author Maggie Le Page who held my hand throughout the journey, and happily answered all my dumb and panicked questions. Also to the private BI50Days loop for their support and error spotting, and Rachael Johns for her endless belief and encouragement.

7/. The exterior of the church where Em’s and Josh’s wedding takes place was inspired by my home town of Mount Gambier’s Christ Church where my Mum and Dad were married.Christ Church Mount Gambier

8/. Because this book is my first to be published world-wide I agonised over what spelling to use – Australian English or US. Initially I directed edits be skewed for the US market but when the time came to accept the changes I couldn’t do it, and so the novella remains Australian. With the setting and characters all Aussie, it just seemed right.

9/. Sometimes I write books to music, sometimes I don’t but almost every book has at least one “theme” song. Summer and the Groomsman is one of the few that doesn’t. No idea why. It just happened that way. I suspect it was because the story and characters were vivid to me from the start and didn’t need the extra creative input.

10/. Harry has a brother Eddie, who is very competitive, convinced he’s far more heroic than his brother could ever be, and now won’t stop nagging me to write his story. Looks like I’ll have to book myself in for a spa session and indulge in another long massage to find out what it is!

*

I hope you enjoyed these ten secret things. But what I really hope is that you have a ball with Harry and Summer and all the Levenham crew.

Keen to read an excerpt? You’ll find one on Summer and the Groomsman’s book page on this website plus others on Teaser Tuesdays here and here. And don’t forget you can download samples from ebook retailers.

Of course, I know that deep down you’re excited enough to want a copy right now, oh yes you are! To satisfy that want, simply clickety-click on these retailers and Summer and the Groomsman will be yours.

Amazon.com

Amazon.au

Amazon.uk

Kobo

iBooks

Nook

 

Thank you. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to stick a bottle of fizz in the fridge for later. One must celebrate book releases in style. ‘Tis the rules!

PS. Due to Summer and the Groomsman hogging the bloggy limelight, there will be no Teaser Tuesday today. Never fear, it’ll be back in all its tantalising glory next week.

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FRIDAY FEAST with Louise Reynolds

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Hello food and fiction lovers, and welcome to another aromatic edition of Friday Feast. This week: a charming contemporary romance from a favourite Australian author along with some delicious figgy goodness.

But first, news from Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. Despite occasional lapses of concentration and some appalling putting, I’m actually rather pleased with how my game’s Author Louise Reynoldsimproving at the moment. The winter golfing blues appear to have been well and truly cleared away. An enormous relief, let me tell you, because with the club championships now in progress, four weeks of horror play would have been too awful to contemplate.

What IS wonderful to contemplate, however, is today’s guest. Louise Reynolds has fast become a very popular contemporary romance author, with good reason. Her books have great dialogue, fantastic settings, memorable characters, and lots and lots of romance. Perfect. Oh, and beautiful covers too. So beautiful that her previous novel, Red Dirt Duchess, was announced best rural romance cover at the recent Romance Writers of Australia conference. Fair enough too. That one’s a stunner.

Louise’s brand new release is If I Kissed You. Prepare to be charmed!

IF I KISSED YOU

Cover of If I Kissed You by Louise ReynoldsRaised by a pair of hopeless hippies, Nell Connor had to grow up quickly. But now her father, awash in whisky, has handed her the reins of his Irish pub. After obliterating every trace of Ireland, Nell has transformed it into a smart, and trendy bar. Business is booming but, outside of work, things aren’t going so smoothly.

When gorgeous musician Declan Gaffney arrives, it’s clear he’s definitely not Nell’s type.  He’s Irish (therefore must be feckless and unreliable), he sings romantic Irish ballads (which Nell hates) and his nomadic lifestyle reminds her of some of the most painful parts of her childhood.

After Declan helps Nell out of a tricky situation, her father takes a shine to him and starts matchmaking. And when her aura-reading mother turns up, Nell’s carefully ordered life is thrown into chaos. She’s losing control but the biggest shock of all is yet to come … 

In a story that shines a light on the unusual forms family can take, Nell must accept that sometimes love takes you in unexpected directions.

Doesn’t that sound enticing? Hard to resist an Irish hero. If I Kissed You is available right now from Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play, and Booktopia. Grab your copy today!

Now please welcome Louise, who is going to delight you with one of the world’s most beautiful fruits.

Two Simple Ingredients

Thanks for hosting me again on Friday Feast, Cathryn. As you know I’m a keen reader of your blog. What better entertainment than books and food, with a side helping of the Hein’s golfing triumphs and tribulations.

Fig, Prosciutto, MintBut, you know, I’m a little bit peeved. Recently you hosted Amy Andrews with her smarty-pants throw-it-together-no-cooking-needed recipes and her two-ingredient crockpot soup, all of which look wonderful for next to no effort and the blurb for her Gazillionth fabulous book!

I was ogling that soup when the penny finally dropped. This is why the woman is a writing powerhouse. She spends next to no time in the kitchen. While I’m boning rabbits and scouring Melbourne for the freshest burrata, I’m not banging out the words. I’m a kitchen goddess, not a writing machine, Nigella not Nora (oh, why can’t I be both?).

So I’ve taken a leaf out of Amy’s book. No more elaborate Friday Feast recipes from me. Today, in the spirit of friendly competition, I offer a two-ingredient recipe of my own (two because everyone has mint in the garden, right?). It’s my throw-it-together, no cooking needed appetiser and it’s a crowd pleaser.

It’s the sort of dish my heroine, Nell, in If I Kissed You, would prepare for herself and friends on a night off from the Fitzrovia, her fashionable St Kilda hotel. She might have a two-hatted chef in the kitchen at work but what girl doesn’t want to pare it back to basics, kick off her heels, open a good bottle of wine and serve a simple meal she hasn’t slaved over?

But stop! I’m me. Because that fictional chef downstairs at the Fitzrovia needs a job, and because I just can’t help myself, I’m going to add value to those ingredients with the addition of two simple ingredients, lemon and cream.

So here’s that recipe, two ways.

Nell’s Fresh Figs and Prosciutto

Fig, Prosciutto, Mint

Quarter lusciously ripe figs and lay in a tumble on a plate. Twist curls of prosciutto by the side. Garnish with tiny mint leaves. That’s it.

Fitzrovia’s Fresh Figs and Prosciutto with a Minted Cream Sauce (with thanks to Richard Olney)

Crush 6 mint leaves in the juice of 1 lemon and leave for 30 mins. Discard the mint. Dissolve a pinch of salt in the juice then stir in ¼ cup of thick heavy cream and whisk till smooth. Drizzle around the dish as above and garnish with additional mint leaves.

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Oh, Louise, you’re a woman after my own heart. I adore figs. They’re so succulent and gorgeous and versatile, as you’ve shown. I have to say I love the minted cream sauce idea. Definitely one to try.

So Feasty lovelies, how do you like to use or show off fresh fruit like figs? I know it’s a bit naff but I really enjoy melon and prosciutto. They just seem to team so well. Grapes in salads are yum too, like little bursts of sweetness. As for desserts, sour cherry strudel, anyone?

So what’s your favourite way with fruit? Sweet or savoury, we’d love to hear.

If you’d like to learn more about Louise and her wonderful books, please visit her website. You can also connect on Facebook, Twitter using @LouiseHReynolds, Goodreads, and Pinterest.

Friday Feast recipe index link.

FRIDAY FEAST with Michelle Douglas

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Greetings dumplings, and welcome to another delectable edition of Friday Feast. This week we have wine, babies, and beef. Although not in the same recipe, as I’m sure you’ll be pleased to know.

First, the frustration that is Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. Bad. Very, very bad is all I can say about my game at the moment. I even tried marking my balls with bright blue love hearts in the faint hope it might amuse Oh, Great Golfing God, but no. Recent form has proven that it only made him crankypants. However the weather has been glorious and the company enjoyable, and, really, when one is playing this atrociously the only way is up!

Michelle Douglas authorAs much as I would like to move on to the wine bit of this week’s Feast, the baby must come first. My guest is the ever-delightful Michelle Douglas, who received her first rejection letter at the age of eight for Keri the Koala Baby.

Michelle has since moved on from koalas but not necessarily babies, and is now a multi-published author writing for Harlequin’s Romance line. Her latest is Reunited By A Baby Secret, part of the Vineyards of Calanetti continuity and a guaranteed heart-tugger. Check it out.

REUNITED BY A BABY SECRET

Reunited By A Baby Secret coverShe’s back in Calanetti…

After a vacation in paradise, Marianna Amatucci returned to her family vineyard determined to make a fresh start. But her plans changed in an instant when two blue lines on a pregnancy test reveal she’d returned home with a souvenir!

When she finds the father, Ryan White, he’s nothing like the laid-back surfer she met on the beach. In a tailored suit, he oozes masculine authority, and he’s staying in the penthouse! What will walking into his high-flying corporate world mean for their baby…?

Did you hear that, my lovelies? Vineyards! A baby! A sexy hero! Just what you need to give a smile, a sigh and maybe even a little tear. And Reunited By A Baby Secret can be yours right now with a mere click. Buy from Booktopia, BookdepositoryAmazon, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play or your favourite book retailer.

All set? Good. Now feel free to get beefy!

Fine Vines

To be visiting Cathryn today and talking about wine does seem rather appropriate. Not that I mean to be telling tales outside of school or anything, but Cathryn and I do seem to find ourselves in the bar together on a rather regular basis at RWAust and ARRA conferences. 🙂

Authors enjoying a tipple

Wine has been on my mind quite a bit recently because my latest release REUNITED BY A BABY SECRET is set in the rolling green hills of Tuscan wine country, and my heroine is a viticulturist. Mind you, Marianna is pregnant so wine tasting is out for her, but it wasn’t for me. And, naturally, a girl has to provide due diligence and perform appropriate research. So off to the Hunter Valley I went to look at vineyards and taste wines. I discovered two things:

  1. Wine country is gloriously beautiful regardless of what part of the world you’re in.
  2. One shouldn’t wine taste at 11 o’clock in the morning if they haven’t had breakfast. 😉

So, in honour of all things wine-related, I thought I’d share one of my favourite recipes with you. This, amazingly enough for me, is ludicrously healthy. It’s also incredibly simple. And despite what the photo looks like (I’m terrible at taking pretty pictures of food) it’s utterly delish.

Beef in Red Wine

Beef and red wine casserole

Place the following ingredients into a nice big pot: ½ kilo of diced beef, two diced onions, two large sliced carrots, 2 sliced sticks of celery, a diced green capsicum, 200g sliced mushrooms, a clove or two of crushed garlic, a can of tomato puree (415ml), a teaspoon of Italian herbs, a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, and ½ cup of red wine.

Bring it all to the boil and then cook on low, covered for 90 mins.

My favourite way to eat this is with mashed potatoes and green beans. But crusty bread is perfect with it too. Pasta would work as well. Also, it’s a forgiving recipe. I’ve made it with one onion rather than two, and when I haven’t had a green capsicum on hand I’ve used a zucchini to fine effect, so feel free to mess about with the ingredients. Enjoy!

Thanks for having me to visit, Cathryn! I always love hanging out with you (whether wine is involved or not).

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A pleasure to host you, Michelle! Your casserole sounds beautiful and just the thing to enjoy with a glass (or two) of Hunter shiraz. Then a nice relax with Reunited By A Baby Secret and a very pleasant evening is to be had.

Okay, food lovers, what would you serve with Michelle’s casserole, or a casserole like it?

I love the idea of crunchy green beans but we do adore our bread and would probably have a nice crusty loaf on the side to mop up all that tasty gravy. What about you? Share away!

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

Friday Feast recipe index link.

THIS WRITING LIFE: Hanging with my tribe!

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If you love romance, writing, or both, the Romance Writers of Australia annual conference is the RWA Get Fresh logoplace for you. Every year I come away with my head spinning from all I’ve learned, my heart warm from all the darling friends I’ve caught up with and the new ones I’ve made, and my body buzzing at all the exciting ways in which we can give our readers the best reading experience possible.

The 2015 conference, held recently at the glorious Park Hyatt in Melbourne, was no exception.

On a professional front, the highlights for me were Angela Ackerman’s Friday workshops Larger than Life Characters and Show Don’t Tell, CS Pacat’s How To Plot A Page Turner, Sarah Mayberry’s and Sara Hood’s Marketing Masterclass, and the ‘If I Knew Then What I Know Now’ published author panel. Social highlights? Well, let’s just say every day was a social highlight!

Here are a few happy snaps from the weekend. As you can see, there was plenty of laughter, great information, and even a few dress-ups.

COCKTAIL PARTYRWA Cocktail Party - Crowd

A happy crowd. You would not believe how loud it was.

RWA Cocktail Party - Christina Brooke, Denise Rossetti and Annie West

Christina Brooke, Denise Rossetti and Annie West.

RWA Cocktail Party - Harlequin Australia ladies

Harlequin Australia ladies Lilia Kanna and Michelle Lee looking gorgeous.

RWA Cocktail Party - Trish Morey and Marion Lennox

Trish Morey and Marion Lennox.

RWA Cocktail Party - Keri Arthur and Anne Gracie

Keri Arthur and Anne Gracie.

RWA Cocktail Party

Robin Aldridge and Fiona McArthur, both attending their TWENTY-FOURTH conference in a row. How cool is that!

RWA Cocktail Party - Michelle Conder. Annie West and Me

Michelle Conder, Annie West and me.

CONFERENCE

Angela Ackerman Workshop - collage of slides

Some of the slides from Angela Ackerman’s brilliant Friday workshops.

RWA Conference - Michelle Douglas and Denise Rossetti

Michelle Douglas and Denise Rossetti.

RWA Conference - Tricia Stinger and Cathryn Hein

Tricia Stringer and me.

CS Pacat's fantastic How To Plot A Page Turner - slide collage

C.S Pacat’s session on How To Plot a Page Turner was soooo good. Fantastic information.

RWA Conference - Maggie Le Page

New Zealand author Maggie Le Page, who won the guess the number of jelly beans competition, lucky thing.

Marketing Masterclass - slide collage

Some of the great slides from Sara Hood’s and Sarah Mayberry’s Marketing Masterclass session. The full set of slides from the presentation can be found on Sara’s Marketing4Writers website.

RWA Conference - my raffle prize

My raffle prize: martini glasses and two Sandy Curtis romantic suspense novels. Rah!

RWA Conference - morning tea

Morning tea. More loudness, but with cake.

ARRA BOOKSIGNING

ARRA Booksigning - Cathryn Hein

Me and Hot Chocolate the Blow Up Wonder Horse.

ARRA Booksigning - Meredith Appleyard

Meredith Appleyard.

ARRA Booksigning - Shannon Curtis

Shannon Curtis.

ARRA Booksigning - Maggie Le Page

Maggie Le Page.

ARRA Booksigning - Cathryn Hein and Helene Young

Me and Helene Young.

ARRA Booksigning - Fiona Palmer

Fiona Palmer takes her books very seriously.

ARRA Booksigning - Anita Heiss

Anita Heiss, who I had the great pleasure of sitting next to.

ARRA Booksigning - Maggie Mundy and Trish Morey

Maggie Mundy and Trish Morey.

ARRA Booksigning - fans lined up

Eager fans!

RWA GALA AWARDS DINNER

RWA Gala Awards Dinner - pre dinner drinks

Pre-dinner drinkies.

RWA Gala Awards Dinner

Celebrating all our achievements thanks to Anne Gracie’s stand-ups.

RWA Gala Awards Dinner - Ruby winner Amy Andrews

Ruby winner Amy Andrews received many lipsticky congratulations on her win.

RWA Gala Awards Dinner - Dance lessons

Dance lessons thanks to the Escape After Party.

RWA Gala Awards Dinner - Rachel Bailey and Annie West

Rachel Bailey and Ruby Award winner Annie West in the cocktail bar.

OTHER STUFF

RWA Book haul

My book haul! Although I may have read that bottom one a few times.

RWA Conference - cafe entertainment

Entertainment in the Hyatt’s cafe. Very civilised.

Melbourne - Yarra River

Melbourne looking pretty at night.

My huge thanks to Kate Ledsen, Kate Belle and their team, along with the RWA committee and all the volunteers for putting on such a wonderful conference. Very fresh indeed!

As you can see from the above, romance authors are super-savvy about their business and craft, generous with their time and expertise, and know how to have a good time. If you’re searching for your writing tribe, perhaps the RWA is the place for you. It certainly is for me.

 

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