Procrastination and a Mutinous Muse


Every year in May, I join the ranks of authors at the Romance Writers of Australia in a race to write 50, 000 words in thirty days. I had good intentions. Yes, I did. My muse, on the other hand, had other ideas. So my May challenge went something like this …

Day 1:

Muse: You’re going to work today.

Me: I have no choice. It’s a work today.

Muse: Huh. Okay then, I’ll stay home and drink wine.

Day 2:

Me: So, are we going to write today?

Muse (shrugs): Maybe.

Me: 1600 words?

Muse: I’ll give you 1476.

Day 3:

Me: Can’t write today. Work and an MTAA launch tonight.

Muse: I’ll forgive you. It’s Craig Lowndes. Ain’t nobody gonna say no to that.

Day 4:

Me: Great night last night. Let’s write!

Muse: Glad you had fun without me. Was he nice?

Me (sighs): Yes. He hugged me, touched my arm. I’m never going to wash it again.

Muse: Great! I’ll give you 1590 words.

Me: Cheers.

Day 5:

Me: Work day

Muse: Go then.

Day 6 & 7:

Muse: We writing this weekend?

Me: Nope. It’s V8’s at Barbagallo

Muse: Garth Tander?

Me: Yep.

Muse: Ain’t nobody gonna say no to that!

Day 9:

Me: Only 967 words?

Muse: I gave you Garth Tander, Craig Lowndes, Greg Murphy, Roger Penske … need I say more?

Me: I guess not.

Day 11:

Me: We’re almost half way. Can I have some words?

Muse: I’ll give you 654.

Me: They’re getting less. Are you punishing me?

Muse (stretches out on the couch): Zzzzzz

Day 13:

Me: 789 words. Total count: 5476/50000. We need more. We’re not even close to target.

Muse: Talk to the hand.

Day 16:

Me: 649 words on the WIP, numerous email responses and a work-related ad for the winter. Total count: 6125/50000. Current WIP now at 18916. I’d hoped to be around the halfway mark by now.

Muse: Stay at home and write then.

Me: Can’t. Day job. It’s how you stay alive.

Muse: Pffft. Pass the wine and chocolate.

Day 18:

Me: A dismal 198 words today. Ridonculous! We can do better than that.

Muse (in a chocolate coma): Maybe if you can get your characters to stop dancing around each other …

Me: That’s your job. Inspire me.

Muse: I’m off to Fiji …

Day 21:

Me: Today’s achievement – I made soup. (No, this photo was the stew my husband made. You don’t want to see what the soup looked like)

Day 25:

Muse: Your edits for Secrets are here!

Me: But I want to work on Heart.

Muse: Too bad. Edits first, write later. And by the way, if you don’t stay off Facebook, you’ll never get anything written or edited.

 

Running total: 6323/50, 000

To be continued ….

 

 

 

 

 

Daring and Different


And now for something completely different. It’s left of centre, out of the box and designed to be a whole lot of fun.

After writing and releasing Under Cover of Dark way back in 2014, my mind searched for something lighter, a challenge of a different kind, the opposite of the angst and trauma I’d submitted my characters to in that story. Not yet having established a brand back then, I decided to have a little fun with the gods and asked myself, “What if?” What if Greek myths revisited the modern world? What havoc would Zeus unleash on the 21st century. So began the journey of Arian and Jax in Finding Paradise.

Now their journey to publication and HEA wasn’t an easy one. The book got picked up by a US publisher and spent over 12 months caught up in a wasteland that can only be described as every author’s nightmare. Finally in early 2016, I received my rights back. By then I’d moved on from my gods, temporarily abandoning the idea of modern fantasy, continuing to write and develop my love for Australian small town stories and building a brand. But Zeus, Jax and Arian weren’t happy with being relegated to the bottom drawer and forgotten about.

I dragged them out, dusted them down and sent them off to my editor. Initially I’d planned to use the cover ordered by the US publisher, but I figured that if this story was going to have a second chance, it may as well have a fresh new cover to begin its journey. Thanks to the lovely Ida at Amygdala Designs for this beautiful cover.

I do have plans to write Odysseus and Penelope’s story one day, so I really hope you enjoy this mythical journey while I finish writing my next rural romance. I had a lot of fun writing this book and took some artistic liberties with the myth. It’s not every day you get to fly a harpy or drink ambrosia with Zeus while he embarks on a Twitter meltdown.

Readers, this story is different. It may not appeal to everyone. It may still travel a rocky road in publication, but life is short and I figured its better off out there for someone (hopefully) to enjoy rather than be delegated to darkness in a drawer somewhere. Publishing is a forever-changing business. Today’s trend is tomorrow’s yesteryear, so I like to keep my toes dipped in new waters while I continue to write the Australian rurals I love best. May this book take you on a different kind of adventure with the same message I have in all my stories – good always triumphs over evil, and true love conquers everything.

Finding Paradise

From the shores of Mykonos to Melbourne Australia, Arian and Ajax find that sometimes in life or death true love is worth fighting for.

Arian Kendrick has always felt she doesn’t quite fit in. On holiday in Mykonos she rescues a little girl from drowning and discovers powers she didn’t know she had. As her long-dormant mystical talents blossom, so does her heart when she meets Ajax, the handsome, mysterious Greek-Melbournian who swears he is destined to be in her life.

After falling on his sword after the Battle of Troy, Ajax the Great is banished to Van Diemen’s Land where he must search for a way to redeem his soul. Two thousand years later, he is given a second chance when Zeus orders him to Mykonos to search out and protect the future Queen of the Faeries, Arianrhod. The last thing he expects is to fall in love.

But every romantic island holiday must come to an end, and the mysteries and fairytales of Mykonos fade into the suburban reality of Melbourne where Arian begins to doubt Greek lore and the magic in her veins.

Can Arian embrace her mythical legacy in time to save her people as Hades threatens to destroy Paradise forever, and will Ajax rise to fight by her side, or is he destined to fall on his sword for eternity?

The quiet suburb of Oakleigh may never be the same again. Not as long as the gods are in town…

Pre-order your copy on Amazon today.

Place to Belong by Claire Boston


Place to Belong (The Flanagan Sisters, #4)Place to Belong by Claire Boston
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Claire Boston is no stranger to tackling sensitive subjects in her romances. From women in male-dominated workplaces to refugee situations, Ms Boston explores all aspects of both sides and brings them together with satisfying resolutions. So it came as no surprise that this author would tackle the challenges of LBGQT romance, specifically MM. This was a sweet, touching story of two men finding their place in the world, their families and with each other. I fell in love with the cover and then the story itself. Aptly titled Place to Belong, this was the perfect addition to bring The Flanagan Sisters series to a close.

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Will Sean give love a chance and find a place to belong?

Sean Flanagan has spent a lifetime alone and rejected, constantly hiding who he really is.
With a father who deserted him and a mother who despised him, Sean didn’t think things could get much worse … until he was kicked out of home for being gay. Now he’s discovered he has three half-sisters on the other side of the world. This might be his last chance to find people who will love and accept him. But he’s terrified that if they find out who he really is then they’ll reject him like the rest of his family.

Sean arrives in Houston and is stunned by the warm welcome he receives from his sisters. He dares to hope that maybe this time things will be different. That’s when he meets Hayden Johnson. To follow his heart means risking everything with his newfound family.

Hayden is tired of endless dating. He’s looking for a man to love, someone to spend the rest of his life with. His boss’s new brother ticks all the boxes on the attraction scale, but there’s just one problem – he’s not gay.

Will Sean let his fears rule him, or will he let in the chance of love and find a place where he belongs?

Other books in this series:

Murder Most Unusual by Michelle Somers


Murder Most UnusualMurder Most Unusual by Michelle Somers
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wicked murders, witty one-liners and totally satisfying romance. Murder Most Unusual in the style of Murder She Wrote, only a whole lot scarier with romance thrown in. A totally entertaining read that mixed bone-chilling, thrilling murder with sweet, subtle, sexy romance. Genius writing from the pen of up and coming author, Michelle Somers.
Full of twists and turns in revealing the villian, the suspense keeps you on the edge of your seat while the tug of attraction and a sense of humour delivers a welcome relief from the intensity of the plot exactly when you need it. I wonder what this author’s wicked mind will deliver next?
Reviewed from an ARC.

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SHE WRITES. HE WATCHES. HE WAITS. HE KILLS…

Romance novelist Stacey Holland doesn’t believe in love; marriage to a manipulator taught her as much. So she hides away in her fictional world, penning the perfect romance, intertwining the perfect crime. Excitement is for her books – worlds where the mortality of her characters is governed by a tap on her keyboard and the heroine always gets her happy ever after.
Homicide detective Chase Durant’s cases are real and gritty and one wrong move could be his last. The force is his life – he doesn’t have room for more. Love and relationships hold no place for a man whose fate is predetermined by the genetic roll of a dice. With uncertainty on the horizon, he won’t promise a future he can’t guarantee.
Then a sadistic killer breathes Stacey’s gruesome murders to life and the pair are thrown together in a sick game of murder and lies.
When tempers flare, and the murders get personal, can author and detective fight their growing attraction all-the-while fighting the killer determined to destroy them both?

Murder Most Unusual is a seductive romantic suspense set in Melbourne, Australia, written by Michelle Somers, award-winning author of Lethal in Love.

Blind Attraction by Eden Summers


Blind Attraction (Reckless Beat, #1)Blind Attraction by Eden Summers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this read far more than I expected to. I’m not a huge fan of rock star stories. The Reckless Beat series has me hooked though. I’m on Book 4 now. I expected the sex, the author made no bones about the fact that this was erotic romance and how it unfolds is exactly what you would expect from a rock band culture that embraces alcohol, drugs and misbehaviour. It’s all about image and the next big headline. So if menages and raw erotic scenes are not your thing, I suggest you skip those bits and focus on what really had me hooked by this series.
I expected bedroom scenes that covered ‘the act’ in every conceivable position known to the tantric chart, and use of those p and d and c words. What I wasn’t expecting was the raw emotion from the characters behind their rock star faces. What I got was romance and a depth of emotion I hadn’t forseen. I fell in love with the characters, felt their disappointments, and lived their successes and failures. My favourite character in the series has to be band manager, Leah. That poor girl has her hands full! Well written and edited, an unexpected treasure that kept me reading.

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He can seduce with a single glance. She’s been sheltered from the world.

Peering down at a sea of fans, rock star, Mitchell Davies can’t deny the innocent beauty of a woman in the front row. He’ll stop at nothing to get to know her. When a public altercation leaves her weak and defenseless, he takes the opportunity to be her savior.

Alana Shelton wants to spread her wings and experience life away from her restrictive upbringing. But she isn’t prepared for a gorgeous stranger to sweep her off her feet while at her most vulnerable.

Attraction will bring them together, but their pasts will try to tear them apart. He wants to teach her how to trust, but she’ll show him how to love. In a glamorous world of rock-and-roll, only time will tell if they’re up for the challenge.

Shotgun Wedding by Ainslie Paton


Shotgun WeddingShotgun Wedding by Ainslie Paton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Big Bang Theory meets Modern Family with a twist.
From the quirky mind of Ainslie Paton comes yet another tale that will have you alternately laughing and sniffling into your Kleenex. A brilliantly executed tale of wedding fever that explores the HEAs of the Sidelined series couples.
Readers, if you aren’t hooked on this author yet, I urge you to take the leap into her books. While her writing style might not suit everyone’s tastes, if you’re a fan her humour, plot twists and out-of-the-ordinary characters leap off the page and into your heart.
In Shotgun Wedding, Ms Paton puts the couples through the pre-wedding wringer for all kinds of different reasons. And their reasons for getting married — or not — will keep you entertained until that final, unexpected yet absolutely cry-worthy “I do”. Makes me want to read the whole series all over again so I can share their HEA over and over.
Reviewed from an ARC received from the author for an honest review.

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Marry in Haste. Hell, Yeah

Warning: Do not read this book if you dislike weddings.

Reid wants a ring on Zarley’s finger, but Zarley doesn’t need a wedding to feel married to Reid. Owen is ready to start a family, but Cara isn’t sure she wants kids. Sarina is pregnant and proposed to Dev and he wants a wedding—by the weekend.

Venue, guest list, invitations, the dress, the suit, rings, vows, catering. It’s a lot to get done in a few days. What could possibly go wrong?

Only one thing is certain with this shotgun wedding, love is the trigger and hearts will take a direct hit of happiness.

For better, for worse, forever.

This is for readers who enjoy catching up with the HEAs of couples in the Sidelined series. All the stories in Sidelined can be read independently, in any order, except Shotgun Wedding, which is more fun if read after Offensive Behavior, Damaged Goods and Sold Short.

Shotgun Wedding includes a bonus Sidelined Origins story, Running Interference, about how Reid and Dev met Sarina and Owen.

Nominated!


Wonderful to see so many Escape authors on the list at the ARRA Awards. Congratulations to all and thank you ARRA, for your ongoing support.

The Escapades

We are so proud to be nominated for nine Australian Romance Reader Awards for books released in 2016!

arra-2016-nominees

We acknowledge especially Sarah Barrie, who has two books nominated, and our wonderful Secret Confessions: Down & Dusty authors who have both single title nominations and a nomination for best series.

You can find all the nominees here.

As always, we thank the Australian Romance Readers Association for all their hard work in running the awards every year, and we look forward to seeing everyone at the awards dinner on 25 February.

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