I know I'm in my own little world, but it's OK.
They know me here...


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Goodreads Giveaway ends soon!

A signed copy of VENGEANCE BORN is up for grabs over on Goodreads!

The giveaway ends June 2nd, so if you hesitate you'll miss out.

Last chance to score a copy of the first book in the Light Blade series and catch up on what's been happening with my Light Blade heroines and heroes before I begin my ALLIANCE FORGED blog tour.

Get thee to Goodreads ASAP!!!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

TOPIC: Being a Published Author - In the Beginning...

It's been one heck of a roller coaster ride over the last couple of years since getting THE CALL from my editor and signing with Berkley.

The journey has been a mixed bag of learning experiences - some fun, some unexpected, some downright painful but as I've said to many, I wouldn't trade what's happened for anything on earth. I've been keeping track of the good, the bad and the ugly experiences and over the next few posts will be sharing the things I've learned.

While every author's journey is different, there are probably some common issues we've all had to deal with, or wished we'd known about sooner. And it's my hope that by writing about them those still on the journey to being published or are newly published might find the information useful.

In this first post, I'd like to talk about goal setting and preparing for the day you get THE CALL.

During the early years after I discovered the Romance Writers of Australia, I coasted along enjoying the sense of community of being among other writers and being a writer. Nothing wrong with that but something I didn't do was set achievable goals. I just assumed things would "magically happen" or "fall into place" and "one day" I'd be a published author.

Didn't happen.

It wasn't until I began identifying goals and steps I needed to complete to achieve the goal that I progressed. I've blogged about this before so I won't go into detail other than to say as a writer you need to set yourself some short (a year) and long term (5 years) goals. Work out the things you need to do to make them happen.

A short term goal might be to enter a writing contest to get feedback. The steps involved would be to:
  • research a number of contests - USA? (perhaps using Stephanie Smith's Contest Page for Authors) or Australia? New Zealand? UK?
  • pick one
  • budget for the contest fee (you may have to forego those bars of chocolate - sacrifice is part of this process, sorry (-: )
  • polish the entry
  • download the entry form/scoring sheets
  • set dates to have these things done by (a vital step)
  • enter the contest
  • analyse feedback
A long term goal might be to attend the RWAmerica conference in 2015. Again identify the steps involved.
  • work out your budget
  • research the workshops on offer (when the schedule is released - what is the most beneficial for you at this stage in your journey? Will they be craft, career, industry based? A mix?)
  • plan ahead to find a roomie (if you want to share costs)
  • register
  • again, set dates to have these things done by to make sure you achieve these steps
  • attend
Besides continuing to write and hone your crafting skills, in preparation for the day you do get THE CALL, you should be thinking about your public face. By that I mean things like developing your website (a must and a basic need for any published author in this day and age), author branding (that I'll deal with in a separate post) and social networking.

"But I'm not published. Surely I don't need one until that happens?" I've heard this a few times over the years and to be blunt, this line of thought is a little short sighted.

You're going to need a website and developing one BEFORE you're published is a darn good idea. Why? Let me list the reasons...
  1. First and foremost, once you publish you'll be on the biggest learning curve since you learned to read as a child. You'll have the whole publishing/editing/marketing and promotion process to grapple with (along with your every day life commitments) and teaching yourself web design or arrange hiring someone to do it for you will take time. It's stressful enough being a newbie author without having to deal with this.
  2. If you design your website yourself expect to spend MASSIVE amounts of time learning how to do it and "getting it just right". I created my own website three years before I received THE CALL, using iWeb and a template because I couldn't justify the cost of hiring someone at the time. I changed the template twice and I've tweaked the content, pages, formatting and font numerous times. Updating the home page every month takes time but I can do it now in about an hour. Over three years I've streamlined the process.
  3. If you hire a web designer then you need to research a good one by checking out sites you think look good and finding out who did them. Once you've hired someone you're going to have to consult on details and provide content and information for the pages. If you get them to update you have to also provide that content on a regular basis. Time, time, time.
  4. When you're querying agents & editors you can include your website as a reference point in your letters. And agents and editors will look it up if they're interested.
  5. So will other authors and writers. It boils down to web presence and exposure. If you aren't visible then no one will even know you're there.
  6. No content? Then keep your website simple. Home Page. Author Bio Page. Contest Success Page. That's all I had for a couple of years. 
Social Networking
Ho-boy! Another huge subject to tackle BEFORE you publish. The monster that is social networking can be a nightmare, overwhelming and time consuming - no doubt about it. So again, thinking about how you're going to make it work for you. It will also impact and play a part in author branding.

"My editor wants me to do everything." Of course they do. Connecting with your readers is important.

BUT the one thing you need to remember - your primary role is to write books. If you don't produce them, then no amount of social networking is worth squat.

So, again, while you have the time as an unpubbed author, think about all the options available to you and make some decisions on what you might like to try and what you will commit to.

I liked the idea of blogging but I didn't want to create a glorified diary or journal about what I had for lunch or spruke about how many words I'd written that day. Every man and his dog can do that. I wanted a specific purpose for my blog. And there lies the key to blogging - purpose.

Why blog? Why are you blogging?

This was part of my goal setting process. I chose to blog initially for the following reasons:
  1. I like writing.
  2. I wanted to write posts to help other writers like myself (a way to give back what others had done for me at one time)
  3. It was a way to overcome geographic isolation (here in Australia and internationally) and connect with an audience - readers and writers.
Some of those reasons changed after the first year.
  • Expand my blog readership.
  • Through the promotion of local authors (Australia & New Zealand)
  • And to develop a broader network of contacts by interviewing authors from USA.
  • Develop it as an avenue to promote my work.
I collected statistics and analysed them. I've developed connections and networks with other authors. I'm achieving my goals, bit by bit.

There are a host of social networking options available to authors - blogging (individual and in groups), Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google +, Goodreads, Shelfari, Author Newsletters, writing articles for magazines, etc.etc. It's all a matter of finding something you want to try and enjoy doing.

It's no good taking the scatter gun approach and doing everything, you won't see effective results that way - ask me how I know, yep, been there, tried that, drove myself mad and had to re-address my approach and purpose for doing it. Better to pick one (or two) and do it/them well.

I've narrowed my focus down to my website, blog, and author newsletters. Doesn't mean I ignore the others entirely, I do frequent Facebook and Goodreads which I enjoy, occasionally I pop in on Twitter but I've decided it's not something I particularly prefer. And, I've learned, if I don't get to the social networking sites of my choice then so be it, it's nothing to stress over.

So, it's important to prepare for the big day, the day many of us have dreamed of for so long. One I thing I'm very glad I did was get things up and running BEFORE I received the Call. I had the time and could poke along at my leisure to develop these things. There was no pressure.

And this freed me up to enjoy what came AFTER THE CALL. I was able to focus on the steps involved in being a published author. Sure there was stress, but a whole lot less than what I would have put myself under if I hadn't.

So, what are your thoughts on these subjects? Does anyone have any tips, hints, lessons learned to share? Anyone with a question they'd like to ask?

Saturday, May 26, 2012

From the Bookshelf - Phaeton Black:Paranormal Investigator series

Please welcome my next FROM THE BOOKSHELF author - JILLIAN STONE...

I think I'm just a born a storyteller. A skill that got me into considerable trouble as a youth until I solved the problem by becoming an advertising creative! And the career did seem to suit as I went on to receive a few (US) national ad awards. What more could I ask for? Create my own worlds? Become goddess of my own universe? Yes! So, I began to write fiction.

My Victorian Romantic Suspense novel AN AFFAIR WITH MR. KENNEDY won the 2010 Golden Heart and sold to Pocket Books. The steamy Steampunk novel, THE SEDUCTION OF PHAETON BLACK, won the 2010 Romance Through the Ages Erotica Contest and sold to Kensington Brava. And here I am, eighteen months later, working on the next adventure for both series!

I live in Southern California, drive a ten year old pickup truck, have a horse and dog and a part-time employed grown son living with me at the moment!

Series: Phaeton Black, Paranormal Investigator
Title/s (in order):
THE MOONSTONE & MRS JONES (September 28, 2012)

Publisher: Kensington Brava
Series overview: The Phaeton Black novels incorporate an overarching plot/struggle that extends over several books. It's a tale of two London's. Alarming attacks by strange creatures set the stage for a terrifying alternate future for the city where people and things appear to be unraveling. With help from the Nightshades, Phaeton and Miss Jones venture into the Outremer to extract the Moonstone and close the rabbit hole between two worlds.


Hero & Heroine: Phaeton Black is Scotland Yard's secret weapon against things that go bump in the night. His prodigious gifts as a paranormal investigator are as legendary as his skills as a lover, his weakness for wicked women as notorious as his affection for absinthe. But when he's asked to hunt down a fanged femme fatale who drains her victims of blood, he walks right into the arms of the most dangerous woman he's ever known.

And she's the devilish Miss Jones. Pressing a knife to his throat and demanding he make love to her––Miss America Jones uses Phaeton as a willing shield against the gang of pirates chasing after her. As dangerous as she is with a derringer tucked in her garter, Miss Jones is not the vampire killer Phaeton is stalking––but she may be just what he needs to crack the case. As the daughter of a Cajun witch, she possess uncanny powers. As a fearless fighter, she can handle anything from Egyptian mummies to Jack the Ripper. But when an ancient evil is unleashed on the world, she could be his only his salvation...or ultimate sacrifice.

Series Extra's: THE SEDUCTION OF PHAETON BLACK is the prequel of the series. The Moonstone and Miss Jones sets up of the struggle between two worlds––London 1889 and a strange dystopian London of the future. Plus it is also part deux of the love story between Phaeton and America. The third book in the series will deal with Phaeton's disappearance into the Outremer and the emerging love story between Doctor Exeter and his beautiful shapeshifter/charge Mia.

★★★★1/2 SCORCHER RT REVIEWS TOP PICK This book almost defies categorization, combining elements of steampunk, erotica, paranormal romance, and mystery. The atmospheric Victorian London setting has a dark gothic feel with ancient gods on the loose. The writing is witty, the characters delightful, the descriptions vivid and the sex earthy and erotic.

The year is 1889 and Queen Victoria, exemplum of decency and sobriety, is in her fifty-second year of reign. Occult detective Phaeton Black, on the other hand, couldn’t be less interested in clean-living. He has recently taken up residence in the basement flat of London’s most notorious brothel. A dedicated libertine with an aptitude for absinthe, he wrestles with a variety of demons both real and self-inflicted.
Unfairly linked to Scotland Yard’s failure to solve the Whitechapel murders, Phaeton is offered a second chance to redeem himself. A mysterious fiend, or vampire is stalking the Strand. After a glass and a consult with the green fairy, he agrees to take on the case.
On his first surveillance, Phaeton pursues an elusive stranger and encounters several curious, horrifying beings. But the most intriguing creature of all is a Cajun beauty who captures him at knifepoint and threatens to spirit away his heart.


THE MOONSTONE AND MRS JONES (September 28, 2012)
In this dark and sexy sequel to THE SEDUCTION OF PHAETON BLACK, Phaeton returns to England in time to help Doctor Exeter and the mysterious deadly Nightshades rescue London once again––this time from Professor Lovecraft's destructive tinkering.
As the threads of existence begin to unravel, the eccentric scientist attempts to save his son’s deteriorating condition by replacing body parts with mechanical apparatus. Ah, but how to power them? The near mad professor believes he has found a way to unleash the arcane energy inside the Moonstone and he needs Phaeton Black to help him do it.
When Phaeton is shanghaied in Shanghai, America Jones assumes the worst––that he has abandoned her in the Orient. An angry Miss Jones returns to London, where their spirited partnership takes an unexpected turn––a new business venture MOONSTONE INVESTIGATIONS. No uncommon psychical disturbance refused.
Well, why not mix business with pleasure?


You can follow Jillian on Twitter, Facebook or find out more about her books on her website.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

TOPIC: In a galaxy far, far away...with Jodi Redford

Some of the most wonderful moments of my childhood included reenacting or creating my own scenes of such science fiction classics as George Lucas' Star Wars, Glen A.Larson's Battlestar Galactica (the original version) and Gene Rodenbury's Star Trek.

Most days my friends went along with my desire to turn the Jacaranda tree in my front yard into an Viper or X-wing fighter.

We fought over whether we were going to be Jedi's or belong to the Dark Side of the Force. And how we so wished transporters or the TARDIS were actually real!

In many ways I never lost that obsessions with all things sci-fi. I still love watching SF TV shows and movies - old and new - V the TV series, Dr.Who, Lost in Space, Farscape, Firefly, Stargate, ET, Tron, Dune, Planet of the Apes, Alien, The Terminator, Mad Max, Fortress, Waterworld, Pitch Black, Independence Day, The Matrix, Armageddon, I,Robot, I am Legend, Avatar, District 9, Cowboys & Aliens...the list is endless.

My love for sci-fi didn't stop at TV shows or movies. I loved reading the genre as well.

I became a huge fan of authors like Anne McCaffrey, Andre Norton, Patrick Tilley, David Brin and Sharon Green.

And then I discovered science fiction romance - the best of all worlds!

So, for those of you who don't know what it is, or for those who love it as much as I do, this is a blog series devoted entirely to science fiction romance and the authors who write it for our enjoyment.

Strap yourselves in, prepare to jump to Warp 9 and you never know...you might find yourselves in a galaxy far, far away...addicted to a new genre...and a new author...

In a galaxy far, far away...with Jodi Redford
At the ripe age of seven, Jodi Redford penned her first epic, complete with stick figure illustrations. Sadly, her drawing skills haven’t improved much, but her love of fantasy worlds never went away. These days she writes about fairies, ghosts, and other supernatural creatures, only with considerably more heat.

She has won numerous contests, including The Golden Pen and Launching a Star. When not writing or working the day job, she enjoys gardening and way too many reality television shows.

Currently residing in Michigan with her husband and overgrown lapdog, she is a member of RWA® national and Greater Detroit Romance Writers of America®.

She loves to hear from readers. You can email her at jodiredford (at) jodiredford (dot) com and visit her online and her blog, The Fairy Files. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Has the SF genre always fascinated you?
Absolutely. I remember going to see Star Wars when I was a kid and deciding right then and there that I wanted to grow up and be Princess Leia. I also wanted to have my own Wookie. Okay, I still want my own Wookie. ;) 

What sucked you in to writing science fiction - as opposed to being just a fan or reader of SF and whether it's straight SF, space opera, SFR or any other combination?
I love the world building involved with writing SFR, so I think that’s what really inspired me to try my hand at writing it. I love the challenge of creating a fictional future world where aliens and spaceships are the norm, and finding a way to make that come to life for the reader.

As an author published in SFR, have you seen or do you see the genre gaining popularity in the marketplace? SFR is definitely gaining a bigger audience than ever before. I think as more readers discover the vast array of fantastic books available out there, the fan base will continue to expand, which in turn will probably lead to more authors crossing over into the SFR genre. It’ll be a win win for all of us. Readers and authors.

Published work in the SF/R genre: TAKING LIBERTY and BREAKING BAD 
Publisher: Samhain
Your website: http://www.jodiredford.com 

What unique slant have you given SF in your books?
Hmm, do squids in space count as unique? ;) There’s a running joke amongst people who know me and my books that I have a wee bit of an obsession with sea creatures. Even a barren alien planet wasn’t safe from me. The fun part was figuring out how to make them adapt and survive in a desert environment.

Have you received feedback from readers about your work and what did they like about it?
The one constant I always get with my SFRs is how much readers enjoy the humor. I use humor in all of my books, but I think the advantage of having it in the SFRs is it makes those books approachable to readers who might otherwise not try them out because they think science fiction isn’t for them.

Can you share a little about your latest release?
BREAKING BAD is my latest release. It’s a part of Samhain’s Midnight Justice superhero anthology.

No super deed goes unpunished…

It’s been twenty-five years since the last Light Guardian was wiped out. Or so it’s believed. Ruby Winston is about to blow the lid off that theory, even though it’ll bring every Shadow Czar minion down on her ass.

She’s always known she was different from the rest of the evil-dictators-in-training Winstons. Uncovering the secret half of her gene pool proves it. Now she’s out to bring down her late father’s mind-control soda empire—and break the Shadow Czars’ hold on Earth.
Problem is, becoming a superhero overnight isn’t as easy as it looks.

Teague Younger has his own secrets to keep: his heritage, and his fierce determination to exact revenge on his friend and mentor’s murderer. So far he’s kept his cover—until he’s forced to use his Light Guardian powers to save Ruby from a sticky situation.
Thrust together and on the run, Teague and Ruby form a wary alliance as they desperately fight their circuit-blowing attraction. With an army of Shadow Queen minions hot on their tails, they might have a hard time surviving the night, much less ignoring their hearts.

Warning: This book contains mind-controlling beverages, evil dictators and minions, excessive use of spandex, and enough electrifying sex to melt an ice train.

You can find out more information and read an excerpt here. 

Think back to all the TV shows/cartoons, movies and books you've read in the SF/R genre and answer the following...

SF/R hero: Han Solo (or Chewbacca. Did I mention I want a wookie?)
SF/R heroine: Princess Leia
SF/R villain: Darth Vader
SF/R alien race: Klingon
SF/R technology: warp speed
SF/R space craft: the Millennium Falcon
SF/R TV show or movie: Star Wars
SF/R quote made by a character/actor/person: "I’d rather kiss a wookie." (Princess Leia to Han Solo)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

GUEST AUTHOR: Natalie Anderson

USA TODAY bestseller NATALIE ANDERSON writes fun, frisky, feels-good contemporary romance for Harlequin Mills & Boon and Entangled.

With twenty books published, she’s also been a Romantic Times Award nominee & a finalist for the R*BY (Romantic Book of the Year).

She lives in Christchurch, New Zealand with her husband, four children and what feels like a million ducks.

About the book...
Setting: Christchurch, New Zealand.
Hero: Dr Gabe Hollingworth – head medic for the unbeatable Silver Knights rugby team.
Heroine: Roxie Jones, shop assistant, newest recruit to the Silver Blades – dancers at the rugby stadium and Gabe Hollingworth’s new landlady.
Scene you would never cut: Well, given one of Roxie’s main aims is to have ‘her first time’ - then I absolutely couldn’t cut that scene!!!
Something your hero or heroine would never do or say: Vegan Roxie would never eat meat.
What's one quirky thing about your hero/heroine? Roxie lives in a house that has a tree growing through one corner of it.
What do you think the readers will like about this book? I hope readers respond to Roxie’s ‘seize the day’ attitude – she’s done what she’s had to do – unreservedly and whole-heartedly, but now she’d going to fulfil some dreams of her own and nobody is going to stand in her way! 

She needed... sexperience!
Forced to grow up too quickly, Roxie skipped too many all-important 'firsts'. Now, armed with a six-point checklist, she's ready to get experiencing - starting with the big one - losing her 'V' plates!
A hunky doctor, Gabe Hollingworth, has moved in next door. He's a one-night-only pro - and smoking hot! Perhaps he could help her out...?
Only Gabe wants to be more than just another tick on her 'to-try' list! He sets Roxie a challenge he's sure she can't accept: walking away from their insane chemistry... 

Buy links for FTL:
Amazon     Book Depository 

What's next for you?
I’m currently working on my next two stories for Riva -  they’re linked in an unusual way and it’s proving to be quite a challenge!

About you...
Favorite movie of all time: Sentimental favourite would be LADYHAWKE with Michelle Pfeiffer, Rutger Hauer and Mathew Broderick. But there are SO many awesome movies out there. Movies are my addiction.
Favorite fairytale: hmmm, tricky. Maybe Bluebeard? I had a great book with lots of old fairytales and it had wonderful plate illustrations and I can still see that Bluebeard picture!
Favorite story to disappear into: Anything by Georgette Heyer or Mary Stewart – they’re my ‘comfort reads’.
Favorite TV program: We don’t have a telly – actually we do, but it’s not plugged in to the aerial. We watch DVDs – I prefer movies to TV shows cos I get all the story in a two-or-so hour burst, plus I hate ads!
First book you remember reading: Robert the Rose Horse – I wouldn’t leave Kindy without my own copy.
Dog or cat person (or other): This one is SO tough but I think the dogs have it by a whisker – only because I like birds so the cats lose a point.
Author (living or dead) you'd most like to meet: Georgette Heyer. 
A romantic retreat for you would be...Time. Uninterrupted time, just me and my husband. Doesn’t matter where we are so much as being able to be alone together – and with neither of us working!!!
What do you do to unwind or relax? I love to go on an adventure – for a drive somewhere and daydream. 
What era would you like to time travel and visit? And why? Can’t I visit them all? Give me a tardis! I wouldn’t like to stay in any one time period for long I don’t think and I would rather not be a participant, just an observer. I’d REALLY love to travel into the future! 
What does love mean to you? Well it’s the world isn’t it? I think it’s all our relationships that give us pleasure and purpose in our lives – from our parents and siblings, friends, a life partner and children of our own... All those different kinds of love are all so wonderful and enriching and make life. 

Find out more at her website, on Twitter, or on Facebook.

Some of Natalie's other books:

Monday, May 21, 2012

INVITATION TO SCANDAL giveaway winner announced!

Thank you to everyone who dropped by to comment on Bron's interview and participate in her giveaway.

Without further ado, Bron has used Random.Org to draw a name for the giveaway copy of her book, INVITATION TO SCANDAL. The winner is...

Book Chatter Cath

Bron will be emailing you at the address you left to arrange the details of sending you your prize!


Saturday, May 19, 2012

From the Bookshelf...The Aristocrat & The Single Mom

Taken from the bookshelf this week...a stand-alone Harlequin Romance - THE ARISTOCRAT & THE SINGLE MOM by Michelle Douglas. 

Author bio: Making up stories of her own has always been one of Michelle’s passions. She received her first rejection letter at the age of eight for Keri the Koala Baby, and has been writing ever since. A love of literature led her to major in English at the University of Newcastle where she recently completed a MPhil (Creative Writing).

She has worked an assortment of jobs. Everything from waitress at a wedding convention centre (where the staff oohed and ahhed over fairytale wedding dresses) to answering the complaints line at a call centre for a bank. All of which have provided her with endless ideas for stories.

Her own “happy-ever-after” came in 1998 when she eloped to England with husband Greg. They were married in Westminster – the town hall not the Abbey – lived on tinned soup for a month so they could afford to spend their wedding night in The Dorchester, and then flew out the next day to honeymoon in Paris.

She received "The Call" from Mills & Boon's London office in February 2007. Her first book was released in December that same year. To date, Michelle has had seven romances published. Her eighth, The Man Who Saw Her Beauty, will be released in May 2012.

Publisher: Harlequin Mills & Boon Romance/Sweet.
Release Date: March/April 2009.

Hero bio: Simon Morton-Blake, the Seventh Lord of Holm and seriously over-protective big brother, travels to Australia in search of his younger sister who is backpacking her way across the country. He travels to her last known address—Nelsons Bay, one of the most picturesque spots on the NSW coastline—where she has been working for Kate Petherbridge's dolphin tour business.
Simon is tied to duty, to doing the right thing and is working tirelessly to save the family estate from crippling death duties. He can't remember the last time he took a holiday, and he can't afford to take one now. But it seems he has no choice when Kate tells him his sister isn't returning to Nelsons Bay for another fortnight and then refuses to tell him where his sister is.
When she offers him bed and board until Felice returns he accepts, determined to charm Kate into revealing Felice's whereabouts before the fortnight is up. One thing he hadn't counted on, though, was Kate's seven-year-old son. Simon has made it a rule to avoid children. Living with one, however temporarily, is his worst nightmare.

Heroine bio: Kate Petherbridge has one rule: Don't get romantically involved with the tourists. Managing her own dolphin tour business means she comes into contact with a lot of tourists on a daily basis and as a single mother she is not interested in holiday flings. Her son's happiness comes first and she and Jesse are a package deal.
However, when Simon Morton-Blake arrives on the scene sparks instantly fly between them and for the first time she's tempted to break her golden rule. That is until she witnesses his reaction to Jesse. A man who doesn't like children is certainly not the kind of man she could ever contemplate having even the briefest of flings with.

Interesting features of this book: THE ARISTOCRAT & THE SINGLE MOM is set in breathtaking Port Stephens (Australia) and revels in the beautiful scenery and the potential of all the summer fun that can be had there. Of course, balmy nights do lead to balmy kisses. :-)

Romantic Times gave it 4.5 stars and said, "A simple story told very well, this one has great characters with nice chemistry. It's also by turns truly funny and moving."

There's a scene on the beach in Chapter Two that is one of my all-time favourite scenes to write. Reading it even now it can still make me smile.

Oh, and, yeah, there are the dolphins. :-)

From hard-working mum--to lady of the manor!

Handsome English lord Simon Morton-Blake is reluctant to get involved with anyone on his visit to Australia—especially a single mother like Kate Petherbridge! But Simon can't deny his unexpected attraction to vivacious Kate, nor refuse her offer of a place to stay.

Thrown in the middle of Kate's lively family, Simon finds his buttoned-up manner slowly undone. A happy family isn’t something Simon’s ever known before, but he’s starting to realize there’s one ready-made, just for him…

Excerpt link  

Website links: Michelle's website or Mills & Boon or Amazon

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

GUEST AUTHOR: Bronwen Evans

I'd like to welcome a very special friend, my fellow BILD'er (writing group - Book in 50 Days ) and historical romance author, Bronwen Evans.

Bronwen's in the middle of a blog tour and has stopped by today to share with you more about her latest release, INVITATION TO SCANDAL, and there's a surprise at the end of the interview!

Without further ado, take it away, Bron!

New Zealander Bronwen Evans grew up loving books. She’s always indulged her love for story-telling, and is constantly gobbling up movies, books and theatre. Her head is filled with characters and stories, particularly lovers in angst. Being able to write her characters stories is never work, it’s a dream come true. Is it any wonder she’s a proud romance writer.

She writes both historical and contemporary sexy romances for the modern woman who likes intelligent, spirited heroines, and compassionate alpha heroes. She's won several romance writing competitions and is a member of several writing organizations, including RWA, RWNZ, and The Beau Monde. Her 2011 debut novel, INVITATION TO RUIN, received a 4.5 star rating from RT Book Reviews and was nominated in the RT Reviewers’ Choice awards – Best First Historical.

When not ensconced in her study writing her characters thrilling journeys to their happy ever after, Bron can be found on the golf course.

Readers can contact Bronwen via email at romance(at)bronwenevans(dot)com For more information on all of Bronwen’s books, including updates on novels yet to come, visit Bronwen’s website at www.bronwenevans.com

Publisher – Kensington Brava
Release date – 1 May 2012

What do you think the readers will like about INVITATION TO SCANDAL?
Hi Kylie, thanks for having me over to blog today. I’ve just about finished Vengeance Born. It will almost be a disappointment to come to the end. But I digress. :-)

I hope readers will love INVITATION TO SCANDAL because they can relate to the internal struggle my hero, Rufus Knight, Viscount Strathmore faces. Rufus is all about honor and clearing his father of treason. He lives his life trying to atone for the sins of his father. He puts honor before everything else. He has to live his life this way because Society would crush him, his mother and sister, if he did not. However, my heroine, Rheda Kerrick, teaches him that sometimes doing the honorable thing leads only to pain and suffering. Sometimes a little naughtiness can do a world of good.

Imagine the gut-wrenching position Rufus is put in when he learns that he can clear his father’s name, but only by destroying the woman he loves! It’s the old catch twenty-two – love or honor.

What themes or tropes appear in INVITATION TO SCANDAL?
Good versus evil. Honor versus what’s right. Self-sacrifice for those you love.

Her secrets are coming undone...

Plagued by scandalous rumors, Rheda Kerrich will stop at nothing to restore her reputation and make an honest living for herself-and she's determined to do it without a husband. But times are hard, and smuggling is a risky though profitable trade. So when a dashing agent for the English government catches her in the act, she desperately resists his charms and conceals her illicit profession. Until she realizes he may be the key to her ultimate freedom-and unbridled passion.

Rufus Knight, Viscount Strathmore, has never had trouble beguiling the ladies of Kent. When his search for "Dark Shadow," a cunningly elusive smuggler, leads him to alluring and headstrong Rhe, her objections to his amorous advances merely incite a tantalizing game of cat and mouse. Soon, they'll find the very secrets driving them apart could ensnare them in a love they can't escape… 

The Book Depository

The thundering hooves focused her back on the problem at hand. Horse and rider appeared around the bend. The horse was galloping so fast she wondered if its accomplished rider would see her. Her heart missed a beat. The man wasn't Daniel. Daniel didn’t own, nor could he afford, a magnificent beast such as this.
Please, she prayed, let him fly past without noticing me. 
Like every other aspect of her day, she was denied her wish. The rider pulled on the reins, and the powerful steed came to a sliding halt in the middle of the road, gravel spraying through the air.
Her shoulders drooped. “Perfect,” she uttered to no one but herself.
The stallion pranced on the road in tune to the pounding surf, its owner stroking its neck with a large gloved hand. He took in her situation and seemed to whisper something in his horse’s ear. Rheda licked her lips nervously. Would he be friend or foe?
The pair trotted across the field in her direction and halted in front of her.
“Are you in need of assistance?” His voice was velvety smooth, yet commanding.
She saw two dark eyes rimmed with lovely long eyelashes, and a wide soft mouth. With a mouth that soft he would be very responsive. She might even be able to control him. The stallion before her was impressive. He would make a fine mate for her mare, Desert Rose.
“He won’t bite,” the man added, misinterpreting her interest in his horse as fear.
With some reluctance she lifted her gaze to the owner of such a beautiful piece of horseflesh. Her heart tumbled in her chest, flipping and flopping as if caught in the thundering surf behind her.
She shook her head. The word applied equally to the stallion’s rider. She had never seen such an arresting man. Her pulse hitched as she drank him in, the pain from the barrel momentarily forgotten. When she reached his dark eyes she shivered. He had a look of danger about him.
His eyes were almost the same color as his horse’s glossy coat, a luminous rich brown. His breeze-swept chestnut hair was fashionably cut and softened the hard planes of his handsome face. His countenance screamed he was a man not to be messed with.
Like his regal mount when he sought his mares, this man could mesmerize any female he chose to conquer—she was sure of it.
Rheda tried to move her foot so the pain would distract her from the knowledge that this man’s beauty disturbed her more than it should.
To hide her reaction to him she bit out a reply. “Of course I need some help."

What was the inspiration behind your INVITATION series?
I love tortured heroes. Men who seem to have everything but in reality are missing the one thing that would make them whole—LOVE. So the series is about four friends (two brothers) who have had terrible events in their lives which they must overcome. Needless to say it’s the heroines who help them through their journey and who complement them.

I had to match these magnificent men with pretty special heroines. That was fun too. They are woman who are perhaps a little ahead of their time, but who we can all relate to. Strong, intelligent and independent, but full of compassion, warmth and love.

Will readers see more books in this series?
Rufus’s story, INVITATION TO SCANDAL, is book two in the series, so there are two more books to go. INVITATION TO PASSION is Richard Craven’s story. He is the twin brother of Anthony Craven,  my hero in book one, INVITATION TO RUIN.

Richard’s book will be released early 2013. I’ve paired Richard with Rufus’s sister, Madeline. The story is very poignant as tells the tale of their deep friendship and the how they find themselves, through a misunderstanding, married. The journey from friends to lovers is a rocky one.

Then late 2013 will be, INVITATION TO LOVE, Alexander Montford’s story which is also introduced in INVITATION TO SCANDAL. 

What other new projects are you working on?
I’ve written a Regency novella trilogy called, Wicked Wagers. Book one, To Dare the Duke of Dangerfield got to #3 in the Amazon Best-Sellers list Regency, and I’ve just released book two, To Wager the Marquis of Wolverstone, and I’m busy finishing book three, To Challenge the Earl of Cravenswood – August 2012.

I also have a contemporary category romance called The Reluctant Wife coming out with Entangled Publishing in fall 2012. This is a new direction for me and I’m very excited. I’ll still be writing dark, tortured heroes though.

5 minutes with Bronwen...
Worst subject at school? Chemistry
First pet? A Puppy – Sam – when I was seven
Lake Okareka, Rotorua, New Zealand
Ideal holiday spot? Lake Okareka, Rotorua, New Zealand
Favourite holiday activity? Golfing.

Favourite snack? Cottage Cheese on crisp breads.
Sunset or sunrise? Sunrise
Dragons or angels? Dragons.
Guilty pleasure? Chocolate cake with loads of frosting.
Favourite place to write? My study.
The book (or author) that got you hooked on romance? Any romance book by Penny Jordan, Robyn Donald.

Now, for that surprise I mentioned at the start of the post!

Bronwen is generously offered a copy of INVITATION TO SCANDAL to one lucky commenter who tells her their favorite trope in a romance book i.e. marriage of convenience, secret baby etc., and why?

Comment and leave your email address by 6pm, Sunday May 20th (AEST), and you'll go into the draw. Have fun!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

From the Bookshelf...The Half-Light City series

M.J Scott is an unrepentant bookworm. Luckily she grew up in a family that fed her a properly varied diet of books and these days is surrounded by people who are understanding of her story addiction.

When not wrestling one of her own stories to the ground, she can generally be found reading someone else’s. Her other distractions include yarn, cat butlering, dark chocolate and fabric.

She lives in Melbourne, Australia. Her website is www.mjscott.net

Series: The Half-Light City 
Title/s: SHADOW KIN (out now), BLOOD KIN (June 2012)
Publisher: Roc 
Series overview: Imagine a city divided. On one side the Night World ruled by the Blood Lords and the Beast Kind. On the other, the elusive Fae and the humans protected by their steadfast mages. A city held together by nothing more than a treaty—and even then, just barely…
The Half-Light City series is ongoing. SHADOW KIN is available now and BLOOD KIN releases June 5, 2012.
Heroes & Heroines: SHADOW KIN – Simon DuCaine and Lily. BLOOD KIN – Guy DuCaine and Holly Evendale. 
Series extra's: SHADOW KIN was nominated for Favourite Sci-fi, Fantasy or Futuristic in the 2011 Australian Romance Reader Awards. 

I was born of a Fae mother, but I had no place amongst her kind. They called me “soulless.” An abomination. Perhaps they’re right…I am a wraith, a shadow that slips between worlds. I was given into the service of a Blood Lord who raised me to be his most feared assassin. Still, I’m nothing more than a slave to my master, and to the need that only he can fulfill…

Then Lucius orders me to kill Simon DuCaine, a powerful sunmage. In the blaze of Simon’s magic, my own disappears. Instead of seeking revenue, he shows me mercy. He wants to free me. But that’s one thing my master and his kind will never allow.

And even if I thought I could trust Simon, stepping from the shadows into the light isn’t as simple as it sounds.

Excerpt here

I didn't plan on becoming a thief and a spy. But options are limited for the half-breed daughter of a Fae lord. My father abandoned me but at least I inherited some of his magic, and my skills with charms and glamours mean that few are as good at uncovering secrets others wish to hide. Right now the city has many secrets. And those who seek them pay so well...

I never expected to stumble across a Templar Knight in my part of the city. Guy DuCaine is sworn to duty and honor and loyalty-all the things I'm not. I may have aroused more than his suspicion but he belongs to the Order and the human world. So when treachery and violence spill threaten both our worlds, learning to trust each other might be the only thing that saves us.

But even if a spy and a holy knight can work together, finding the key to peace is never going to be easy...

Excerpt here

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Goodreads Giveaway!

If you haven't yet discovered the world of the Light Blades, then why not?

Are you a Goodreads member? Yes?

Well then, dash on over to the website and sign up for your chance to win a signed print copy of VENGEANCE BORN!

Or check out this link below...


    Goodreads Book Giveaway


        Vengeance Born by Kylie Griffin



          Vengeance Born


          by Kylie Griffin


            Giveaway ends June 02, 2012.

            See the giveaway details
            at Goodreads.




      Enter to win

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

TOPIC: In a galaxy far, far away...with Sharon Fisher

Some of the most wonderful moments of my childhood included reenacting or creating my own scenes of such science fiction classics as George Lucas' Star Wars, Glen A.Larson's Battlestar Galactica (the original version) and Gene Rodenbury's Star Trek.

Most days my friends went along with my desire to turn the Jacaranda tree in my front yard into an Viper or X-wing fighter.

We fought over whether we were going to be Jedi's or belong to the Dark Side of the Force. And how we so wished transporters or the TARDIS were actually real!

In many ways I never lost that obsessions with all things sci-fi. I still love watching SF TV shows and movies - old and new - V the TV series, Dr.Who, Lost in Space, Farscape, Firefly, Stargate, ET, Tron, Dune, Planet of the Apes, Alien, The Terminator, Mad Max, Fortress, Waterworld, Pitch Black, Independence Day, The Matrix, Armageddon, I,Robot, I am Legend, Avatar, District 9, Cowboys & Aliens...the list is endless.

My love for sci-fi didn't stop at TV shows or movies. I loved reading the genre as well.

I became a huge fan of authors like Anne McCaffrey, Andre Norton, Patrick Tilley, David Brin and Sharon Green.

And then I discovered science fiction romance - the best of all worlds!

So, for those of you who don't know what it is, or for those who love it as much as I do, this is a blog series devoted entirely to science fiction romance and the authors who write it for our enjoyment.

Strap yourselves in, prepare to jump to Warp 9 and you never know...you might find yourselves in a galaxy far, far away...addicted to a new genre...and a new author...

Please, make my next guest, debut SFR author Sharon Lynn Fisher, feel welcome!

Three-time RWA Golden Heart® finalist Sharon Lynn Fisher lives in the Pacific Northwest, where she writes sci-fi/fantasy and battles writerly angst with baked goods, Irish tea, and champagne.

Her debut novel GHOST PLANET will be released by TOR/Macmillan on October 30, 2012. Sharon's first accomplishment as a writer came at the age of 10, when she received an honorable mention for her story "Ice Age Adventure" from Cricket Magazine.

Has the SF genre always fascinated you?
It has. I have always loved speculative fiction in general. My two favorite books as a kid were A Wrinkle in Time and Watership Down (anthropomorphic rabbits are speculative, right?).

My best friend and I spent MANY hours playing Star Wars. She was in love with Han and I was in love with Luke. I always got to play Princess Leia (I was the older kid and very bossy). Luckily we'd grown out of it by the time Leia turned out to be Luke's sister.

What SF/R addictions can you lay claim to?
I watched a number of the Star Trek spinoffs pretty religiously, though that's been years ago now. I guess no addictions to speak of, though I have really enjoyed some of the recent SF offerings like Firefly and Battlestar Galactica.

Is there any one author, TV show, movie, producer, actor, other influence that inspires you?
Madeleine L'Engle was a huge influence – I read A Wrinkle in Time 13 times. I wanted to join that family.

Shortly before I wrote GHOST PLANET I saw the Danny Boyle film Sunshine, which I loved. My book is nothing like that story, but it flipped some kind of switch in me - before that I was writing mainly fantasy. Also the lead actor, Cillian Murphy, served as the inspiration for GHOST PLANET's hero, Dr. Grayson Murphy.

I get lots of inspiration from science books. For GHOST PLANET it was Symbiotic Planet, by biologist Lynn Margulis.

What sucked you in to writing science fiction - as opposed to being just a fan or reader of SF and whether it's straight SF, space opera, SFR or any other combination?
Ha, I think I just answered that question! Since that switch flipped, I have only written sci-fi. Well, the book I wrote after GHOST PLANET (aka Echo 8) is a near-future paranormal, but it was inspired by books I read on quantum theory and modern psi research.

As an author published in SFR, have you seen or do you see the genre gaining popularity in the marketplace?
Well, I'm not quite published yet, but I do think that especially with the launch of e-imprints like Carina there seems to be more demand for SFR. And no question Hollywood has embraced the subgenre.

I do, however, think it is still very tricky figuring out how to market these books. I think there are a lot of potential readers out there that we haven't yet figured out how to reach. There was some deliberation in my own house about whether it was best to market GHOST PLANET as romance or sci-fi.

Published work in the SF/R genre: GHOST PLANET, to be released Oct. 30, 2012.
Publisher: Tor/Macmillan.
Your website: www.sharonlynnfisher.com 

What unique slant have you given SF in your books?
I don't know about unique, but if I had to explain my "brand" as an author in a single sentence, it would go something like this:

Take some Big Question that has consequences for all of humanity, and burden two people with sorting out the mess that gets created when humanity answers the question wrong.

Also, I really like writing characters whose worlds have just been flipped upside-down.

Have you received feedback from readers about your work and what did they like about it?
My book is not released yet, but I did get an AMAZING cover quote from author Linnea Sinclair that I am always happy to share. :)
Fisher's GHOST PLANET grabs you right from the start and doesn't let go. An entrancing, addicting read, it keeps you on the edge of your seat with a fresh and fascinating take on the human-alien problem, while at the same time seduces you with a poignant love story. It's a psychological thriller, a science fiction adventure, and endearing romance all rolled up in one. Highly recommended!
Before the book was sold I also received some really great feedback from contest judges, and some of that is excerpted here.

A world in peril. A bond deeper than love.
Psychologist Elizabeth Cole prepared for the worst when she accepted a job on a newly discovered world - a world where every colonist is tethered to an alien who manifests in the form of a dead loved one. But she never expected she'd struggle with the requirement to shun these “ghosts.” She never expected to be so attracted to the charming Irishman assigned as her supervisor. And she certainly never expected to discover she died in a transport crash en route to the planet.
As a ghost, Elizabeth is symbiotically linked to her supervisor, Murphy - creator of the Ghost Protocol, which forbids him to acknowledge or interact with her. Confused and alone - oppressed by her ghost status and tormented by forbidden love - Elizabeth works to unlock the secrets of her own existence.
But her quest for answers lands her in a tug-of-war between powerful interests, and she soon finds herself a pawn in the struggle for control of the planet…a struggle that could separate her forever from the man she loves.

Think back to all the TV shows/cartoons, movies and books you've read in the SF/R genre and answer the following...

Many of these are SF without the R. Also, I imagine I like a lot of the same stuff everyone else does – the original Star Wars trilogy, Firefly, Battlestar Galactica, Aliens, etc., so I decided to list some of my more obscure favorites (do I get to make my own rules like this? :)

SF/R hero: Sam Bell (Moon), Henry DeTamble (The Time Traveler's Wife).
SF/R heroine: Lieutenant Jodenny Scott (The Outback Stars), B'Elanna Torres (Star Trek Voyager).
SF/R villain: IT (A Wrinkle in Time).
SF/R alien race: The giant cast of extraterrestrials in Old Man's War.
SF/R technology and space craft: The ship and payload sent to restart the sun in Sunshine.
SF/R TV show or movie: Sunshine, Solaris (the Clooney version).
SF/R quote made by a character/actor/person: "Look! I have one job on this lousy ship, it's *stupid*, but I'm gonna do it! Okay?" (Galaxy Quest)

Monday, May 7, 2012

RWAustralia RuBY Finalists!!!

Congratulations to the following RWA RuBY nominees!

What a bunch of talented ladies and fantastic books!

*Short Sweet*

Molly Cooper's Dream Date - Barbara Hannay 

How To Save a Marriage In a Million - Leonie Knight 

Abby and The Bachelor Cop - Marion Lennox 

Single Dad's Triple Trouble - Fiona Lowe

 *Short Sexy*

The Fearless Maverick - Robyn Grady

The Man She Loves to Hate - Kelly Hunter

The Wedding Charade - Melanie Milburne

Her Not-So-Secret-Diary - Anne Oliver

*Long Romance*

Midnight's Wild Passion - Anna Campbell

Boomerang Bride - Fiona Lowe

The Best Laid Plans - Sarah Mayberry

The Voyagers - Mardi McConnochie

*Romantic Elements*

The Trader's Wife - Anna Jacobs

The Shelly Beach Writers' Group - June Loves

Busted In Bollywood - Nicola Marsh

Shattered Sky - Helene Young

The winners will be announced at the Awards Dinner at RWA National Conference, Gold Coast, Saturday 18th August 2012.