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


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Lessons in Seduction

The romance community is great at helping one of its own.

In August this year, Harlequin romance author, Sandra Hyatt passed away and her family, friends and the romance community mourned the loss of such a bubbly, vivacious woman.

Her posthumous book LESSONS IN SEDUCTION, is out tomorrow (December 1st) and her writing friends are spreading the word in the hope of increasing royalties for her family.

A prince on a quest to find the perfect wife doesn't have time to trifle with a commoner. But Adam Marconi's longtime friend and sometime driver, Danielle St. Claire, has him contemplating a change in plans. Why can't the royal have a little fun before finally settling down? Then their supposedly quick affair suddenly turns serious. 
And Prince Adam finds himself in a quandary. Say goodbye to the one woman who sets his heart and body on fire, or defy all the rules and cause the scandal of the century.

4.5 stars from Romantic Times Magazine.

And here are some buying links:


e-Harlequin Ebook     Print

Book Depository

Feel free to pass this information on - the more people who see this, the more successful this venture might be (and don't forget, Christmas is coming up so this might make a fantastic prezzie for someone).

Thank you to anyone who purchases Sandra's book - you generosity is greatly, greatly appreciated!!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

TOPIC: For the first time...

When I asked what you'd like to see more of on my blog, one of the suggestions made by a reader was getting to know more about me. So, a bit of a self-indulgent post today, but a fun one.

Here's a bunch of trivia-like "firsts" for Kylie Griffin...

FIRST FAVORITE TV SHOW...according to my mum it was Play School (a kids show with songs, stories and craft).

FIRST STORY I WROTE...was a rip off of Star Wars. I was a Jedi Knight and I managed to kill Darth Vader. My fifth grade teacher suggested I come up with my own characters instead of using ones we already knew (aka plagarising George Lucas' brilliance!!!). Guess we had to all start somewhere - LOL.

FIRST ROMANCE - I was in Year 6 at school, his name was Glen, he had blond curls, could draw great cartoon characters, and we caught the same bus home. We used to sit a seat behind or in front of each other (never together!), and just before I reached my stop (my stop came first), one of us would slip a love letter to the other between the wall and seat (so others couldn't see). Awwwwww!!!

FIRST DATE...was a disaster. I think I was in about Year 8 at high school (he was a year older). He asked me out on the weekend for a swim at the local pool. I hated the idea (because I had a pair of ratty, old swimmers) but said yes anyway and then spent the entire two hours wrapped in a towel sitting under a tree with him trying to convince me to go for a swim and I wouldn't because there was no way he was seeing those swimmers!

FIRST CRUSH/REAL PERSON (as a teen)...in high school I played a lot of sport and my favorite was basketball. Terry was tall, lanky and about 4 years older than me but I had the biggest case of admiring him (usually from afar). No one ever knew I liked him (until my sister read my diary one weekend while I was away at a sleepover) - he was my first secret crush.

FIRST CRUSH/CELEBRITY...it had to be Dirk Benedict, who played Starbuck in the original Battlestar Galactica. Didn't like the cigar smoking but loved the brash, cocky, card playing Viper pilot (sigh).

FIRST MUSIC ALBUM...I bought "Women of Rock" because it had my favorite song on it in 1982 - "I Love Rock 'n Roll" by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts (no comments on how hold that makes me, OK?!?!) - the album came on tape and I bought it from music store at the aqua-jet Coffs Harbour mall complex.

FIRST LIVE CONCERT...a John Farnham concert at the Tamworth Showground under a huge tent pavillion. I grew up listening to him (thanks to my dad who was a fan) and to this day I've never come across a singer who brings back such powerful memories of my childhood as Johnny! We listened to him when going on holiday to Bribie Island (QLD), traveling to my grandparents who live in Berowra (near Wollongong), in the car when going out to dinner...

FIRST THRILL SEEKING MOMENT...I was 22 when I tandem sky-dived over Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown (New Zealand). I've always wanted to fly - like Peter Pan - and this was as close as I was going to get to doing this. After the jump I spent the next four days on a natural high. Doubt I'll ever do it again though.

FIRST CAR...was a brown Toyota Camry sedan (#plate LSU 505)!

FIRST ROMANCE BOOK...I was in college before I discovered the romance genre. Searching the SF/F section of the local second hand bookstore I came across FANTA C by Sandra Brown. Wasn't long before I was hooked - Sandra Brown, Iris Johansen, Joan Elliot Pickard, Cait London, BJ James, Rebecca York...

FIRST WRITING CONTEST...I entered the Romance Writers of Australia Emma Darcy Award in 2002 - and won it! I look back at that manuscript and just cringe now - I'm so glad I've improved since then.

FIRST TATTOO...Some people buy jewellery or a bottle of champagne for achieving a writing milestone, I decided to get a dragon etched onto my forearm. A tattoo was something I'd always wanted to get but only if I managed to snaffle that elusive book contract.

And that brings me to my...

FIRST BOOK SALE....VENGEANCE BORN, sold October 16th, 2010 to Leis Pederson of Berkley.

So, what's one of your firsts?

Nina Singer's SECRETS OF THE KNIGHT giveaway winner announced!

Congratulations to:

You've won the giveaway copy of SECRETS OF THE KNIGHT.

If you could contact Nina via her website Contact email link, she can arrange for you to receive your copy.

Happy Reading!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

TOPIC: The Year of Publishing a Book (pt.2)

Last post I outlined some of the process of what happens once you sign that elusive book contract. If you didn't get to read it, click here so you can go back and read that post and so this one is read in context.

This is the continuation of that post. Read on...

Sometime between REVISIONS and LINE EDITS you could find yourself submitting ideas for your cover for your editor to take to COVER CONFERENCE. This may involve you submitting character descriptions, pivotal scenes, photographs or images of settings/characters/clothing/weapons etc.

My editor asked for my input and I put together a portfolio of ideas for her to take to the cover conference with the art department. And, once the cover was done, I was able to feedback and request (smallish) changes.

The COVER COPY crew will write the back cover blurb and try to come up with a tagline for the front cover. This is part of the process where an author usually gets the most input into as you're the one who knows the story inside and out. You can suggest changes - producing a blurb that accurately reflects the story is vital.

GALLEYS involve checking the manuscript from cover to cover - including the acknowledgments or dedication pages - for errors. Spelling, punctuation, style, formatting, names, words specific to your world-building etc. This isn't the time to rewrite big chunks or change the story. Again, you're more likely to be given a deadline to complete this by.

BOUND GALLEY's/ARC's may or may not be send to you - it depends whether this is in your contract. These are printed versions of your book, just without the cover art. You can use them in contest give-aways or for promo purposes.

Sometime between LINE EDITS and receiving your GALLEY you may be assigned a publicist. She'll help plan your marketing strategy and line up promotional opportunities like interviews, book reviews with bloggers, book signings, media interviews etc.

The last part of the publishing process is seeing your BOOK IN PRINT! In traditional print publishing this may be a process that takes a whole year - and it's a cause for celebration!!! Yay! You'll receive your allotted amount of author copies, to do with whatever you like ie.promotion, give-aways, hand out to family etc.

Then you get to PROMOTE yourself - in any number of ways, over a range of media. Bookmarks, postcards, signings, blog interviews, guest blogs, radio or newspaper interviews, magazine articles...the list is endless (and time consuming, VERY time consuming).

Now while I've outlined this process in a fairly linear fashion, if you sign for a multi-book contract like I did, then you'll find yourself juggling elements of each stage, from book to book. For example, as you're doing galleys for one book you may be giving your input for a cover conference and writing another book all at the same time! And you'll repeat this juggling act with every book you submit.

But, I have to admit, while this year has been a whole new learning experience and there's been some ups and downs, for the most part I've found the process fascinating and enjoyable. And I wouldn't swap it for anything! :-)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Cat vs.Printer

I don't know how many times I've seen this clip but I do know I can't play it just once.

I laugh and laugh and end up with tears in my eyes.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Vale: Anne McCaffrey


Anne McCaffrey

 Aged 85
Pioneer for female science fiction/fantasy genre writers
Author of 100+ books

I spent my teen years immersed in your wonderful worlds - fighting thread with the Dragonriders of Pern, attending a Weyr hatching with Kevan, charting the universe with Helga, gaining freedom from the Catteni with Kris & Zainal, surviving the Dinosaur Planet, singing with crystals...

Such wonderful adventures...thank you, Anne McCaffrey!

I shall miss you!

Gone away, gone ahead...


Nina's always loved stories of the supernatural. With mystery,  suspense, and a good dose of romance.

After years in the corporate world, she started writing her own such stories. And she had to do it New England - near mystical Salem, Massachusetts.

Look for her books at Crescent Moon Press.

About the book...
Setting – A magical, mystical island in the Caribbean with a history of unexplained  supernatural events.
Hero – Thomas (Bo) Bowden, a former star reporter who’s fallen far and hard.
Heroine – Nicole Balian, Bo’s former lover. She’s trying to find and help a friend who has mysteriously disappeared.

Scene you would never cut – the one where the heroine first meets the island’s suspected witch. 

Something your hero or heroine would never do or say –  The heroine would never turn her back on a friend in trouble.

What's one quirky thing about your hero/heroine? There’s a pretty funny scene in the book where Nicole is commenting on the lack of towels in Bo’s apartment. And he tells her he likes to ‘air dry’ after showering.

What do you think the readers will like about this book? Well, hopefully they’ll like the whole thing! A lot! But I think there’s some really gripping plot twists and the hero in particular is a pretty compelling character. 

Several years ago life forced Thomas (Bo) Bowden to give up everything, including the woman he loves, and take refuge on a Caribbean island. Little did he know, he was taking the first step to fulfilling his mystical destiny.

Nicole Balian has come to the small island of Trenado to find a missing teenager. She's shocked to the core to find her former lover instead. And the attraction between her and Bo is as strong as ever. 

Working together to solve the unexplained disappearances plaguing the island, they find themselves in a frightening world of voodoo and magic. Trenado's history is shrouded in supernatural mystery. The danger they face serves to reignite their love.

But as Bo fights an ancient evil that haunts the island, will Nicole be able to save the man she loves? Or will she lose him once again, this time forever? 

Buy Link:

What's next for you? I’m about to start work on revisions for a witch /vampire story due to be released soon from Crescent Moon Press. I also have a lot of ideas for a series based on Secrets.

About you...
Favorite movie of all time – The Little Mermaid. It’s really romantic! 
Favorite fairytale – Has to be Snow White. All those quirky characters – Grumpy, Sneezy, Dopey, Bashful…
Favorite story to disappear into – The Janet Evanovich Plum series. They’re my go-to books when I just want to immerse myself in a good read.
Favorite TV program – Currently it’s Supernatural. Of all time would have to be Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I still get teary that Buffy is no longer on the air.

First book you remember reading – A simplified version of Little Women for first graders. I cried so hard.
Dog or cat person (or other) – Grew up with cats. Now have an adorable puppy. So I guess both!

Author (living or dead) you'd most like to meet – JK Rowling. I’d love to ask her how it feels to have your life change like that because of something you wrote!

A romantic retreat for you would be... Somewhere warm and balmy where they serve drinks with those little umbrellas and you can lay in a hammock near the beach all afternoon.

What do you do to unwind or relax? Read. Or play golf. Though sometimes the golf is more stressful than relaxing depending on my play!

What era would you like to time travel and visit? And why? Can’t think of one. I like all the modern luxuries of today. Maybe I shouldn’t have admitted that.

What does love mean to you? Wow. Tough to answer this one. Love means so many things: that feeling you get when you’re with the person you know you were meant to be with, the overwhelming joy of holding or hugging your child, feeling safe and secure within a loving family, spending time with friends who make you laugh. I better stop before I get too sappy!

Nina on the Web:
Website     Facebook     Twitter

Nina has a giveaway, folks (thanks, Nina!).

One lucky commenter will receive an e-book copy of SECRETS OF THE KNIGHT.

So, feel free to spruke away (by noon, Monday 28th November 2011 Aussie time) - about Nina's book, her favorite things or whatever takes your fancy - and you'll go into the draw!

Winner will be announced Tuesday, 29th Novemeber 2011.

AND if you follow Nina around her on her blog tour you'll go in the grand draw of an Amazon Gift Certificate of US$100.00!

For the full itinerary and more chances to win, check Nina's AUTHOR PAGE!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

TOPIC: The Year of Publishing a Book (pt.1)

I've labelled 2011 as The Year of Getting VENGEANCE BORN published. And it has been a year long process.

A year of steep learning curves, a year of excitement, a year of rushing to get things handed in by a due date, a year of waiting patiently...

So, what happens after you get that elusive email or phone call from an editor offering to buy your book?

Well, besides the manic week or so of FINDING AN AGENT (if you haven't already got one), the next part is NEGOTIATING THE CONTRACT. And that can (sometimes) take weeks.

I received the email to buy my book in October 2010, the final version of my contract came in December 2010. A number of things may impact the speed with which this happens, it varies from deal to deal.

Your agent will go through the contract clause by clause making sure bits like signing away your "next book" is clarified to "next book in the series" or "next book in that genre" are altered or removed or rewritten.

This is why I think an agent is worth their 15% commission - I'm not a legal-ese expert by any means and would've had no idea what was a good clause and what needed work.

A part of this is negotiating deadlines for your book or books. Be sure to take into account every day life - family, health issues, work, what you're capable of producing word-wise and by when - and then add another month onto that time for good measure. These dates are binding.

I read every clause in the contract once I received the altered version. I asked questions to clarify what specific bits meant and once I was happy with that, only then did I sign it.

Next step (besides beginning the next book) is REVISIONS - the larger picture stuff suggested by your editor to make your book better. Sometimes there might be pages or maybe an overall comment like "up the romantic conflict".

Talk to your editor about them, clarify points, brainstorm, compromise. You'll be asked when you can have them done by - again, make sure you set a realistic timeframe and add a few days on for wriggle room.

Once your editor signs off on these, she'll send the manuscript to the line editor. LINE EDITS involve things like punctuation, grammar, word/phrase changes, world-building checks etc. Usually the document has comments made down the side using TRACK CHANGES, one color for the line editor, one color for your editor, and one for you to respond as needed.

You may or may not get to set the timeframe for these to be returned by. More often than not you'll get a due date, perhaps a couple of weeks, maybe more.

This ends Part 1 of this post. Join me next week to find out what happens next - same Bat-time, same Bat-channel!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Bronwen Evans Giveaway winner announced!

Names were placed in a hat and one drawn out.

The winner of the copy of INVITATION TO RUIN is:

LaVerne Clark


Email Bronwen direct - romance(at)bronwenevans(dot)com- and she'll arrange for the book to be sent to you.

Happy Reading, LaVerne!!! :-)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

GUEST BLOGGING: Over at the Manga Manic Cafe

I'm visiting over at the Manga Manic Cafe as a part of the 2011 Debut Author Challenge.

You get to learn a little more about VENGEANCE BORN and the characters in the Light Blade world.

Drop by if you have a minute and say hi!

ROFL Moment!

I would love to have been on this subway train to see this!

The expressions on the faces of the commuters are great (and it amazes me how universal - no pun intended - Star Wars is for everyone to recognise the characters)...

Monday, November 14, 2011

GUEST AUTHOR: Bronwen Evans

Today I welcome a good friend back to my blog.

New Zealander BRONWEN EVANS loves story-telling – gobbling up movies, books and theatre. Her head is always filled with characters and stories, particularly lovers in angst.

In 2006, encouraged by a close friend battling a deliberating illness, Bronwen finally started down the path to publication by joining RWA, The Beau Monde, RWAustralia and RWNZ.

Bronwen’s first manuscript, INVITATION TO RUIN, was completed late 2009 and was sold by her agent, Melissa Jeglinski of The Knight Agency, to Kensington Publishing early 2010, in a two book deal.

Her debut novel, INVITATION TO RUIN, received a 4.5 star rating from RT Book Reviews and was well received in Publishers Weekly - "Evans's debut Regency is filled with sizzling romance... Strong characterizations, smooth plotting, and plenty of explicit sex will appeal to fans of modern Regencies." (Mar.)

Bron, it's great to have you here. I'm looking forward to finding out what you've been doing since the release of INVITATION TO RUIN - share all the deets!

Hi everyone!

I’m excited to be blogging with my friend, Kylie. She was the first friendly face I met at the RWNZ 2006 conference which started me down the path to becoming an author. I was in awe of her at the time (still am for that matter), for her chest, arms, and just about every other part of her body was covered in writing contest winning ribbons. I thought immediately ‘how do I get one’?

I’ve popped over from New Zealand to introduce you to my sexy, Regency historical, INVITATION TO RUIN, my debut book with Kensington Brava. I’ve exciting news too - Invitation to Ruin is one of the nominees in the RT Reviewer’s Choice, Best First Historical 2011.

Setting – London, England 1808.
Hero – Anthony James Craven, Earl of Wickham.
Heroine – Miss Melissa Goodly.

Scene you would never cut...
There is a beautiful scene in the book where the hero, Anthony, who believes he is unsuitable for fatherhood, realizes he doesn’t need to fear becoming a father. He learns he would make a great parent and that he’d love and protect his child.

Something your hero or heroine would never do or say...
Melissa would never say ‘I give up’. She believes in fighting for what she wants, and for what is right. She’s a member of the Women’s Freedom League who buys slaves their freedom.

What's one quirky thing about your hero/heroine?
Melissa had elderly parents and no sisters, so she doesn’t know much about ‘married relations’- aka sex. She is not a sit back in ignorance type of woman, so she finds a ‘relationship’ journal written by Madam du Barry, the very successful mistress of the last King of France. Needless to say Anthony had little chance resisting her when she sets out to seduce him.

What do you think the readers will like about this book?
Anthony is a much wounded man and Melissa is a very resilient character. I hope readers like how these two prove they are strong enough to confront their fears, and that they understand how, with the love they receive from each other, they can begin to heal their internal wounds.

I’d like readers to think about how the events of our pasts shape what we are now, and how we have to learn to forgive ourselves and each other.

One Good Lady is About to Go Bad... 

The only thing Miss Melissa Goodly has ever wanted out of a marriage is love. But any hope of that dissolves one wild night, when she loses herself in the arms of the most irresistible-and unobtainable-man in all of England. For when they are discovered in a position as compromising as it is pleasurable, she has no choice but to accept his proposal.

Avowed bachelor Anthony Craven, Earl of Wickham, never meant to seduce an innocent like Melissa. Yet now that the damage is done, it does seem like she'd make a very convenient wife. After all, she is so naive he won't have to worry about ever being tempted. Or so he thinks, until the vows are spoken and they are left alone-and his new bride reveals a streak just as brazen and unrestrained as his own...

What's next for you?
Book #2 in this series, INVITATION TO SCANDAL, is due out in April 2012 and I’m hoping Kensington pick up my option for book 3 and 4 in this series. Until then I’m working on a new Regency series for my agent.

About you... 
Favorite movie of all time – Anything with Hugh Jackman in it! Australia is one of my all time faves.

Favorite fairytale – Cinderella.

Favorite story to disappear into – Any historical, or paranormal, or an alpha type hero contemporary. Currently I love all Jennifer Ashley’s historical books – especially The Many Sins of Lord Cameron.

Favorite TV program – At the moment I watch The Mentalist, Bones, Downton Abby and Game of Thrones. I also love The Vampire Diaries but it’s not on in NZ at the moment.

First book you remember reading – Either one of the Enid Blyton, Famous Five or CS. Lewis, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. I loved anything that fed my imagination.

Dog or cat person (or other) – Dog, although allergic to fur of any kind. I can manage dogs like poodles that have wool coats.

Author (living or dead) you'd most like to meet – Barbara Cartland because she was so eccentric. She seemed to be the consummate romance writer. Plus, I love pink!

A romantic retreat for you would be... A night or day or five minutes with Hugh Jackman!

What do you do to unwind or relax? Read or watch TV.

What era would you like to time travel and visit? And why?
The Regency period as that is what I write about, but I’d hate to have lived in those times, especially if I was not an aristocrat.

What does love mean to you?
Finding your soul mate, being best friends and letting love take care of the rest.

Now for the really fun bit - Bron has a book to giveaway!

Tell her what love means to you and one lucky commenter will win a copy of INVITATION TO RUIN.

Bron, it's been great having you drop in again. For those who want to learn more about Bron, you can visit her on her website, her Facebook page, Regency Seductions (her blog), and Twitter.

Oh, and here's a sneak peek at her INVITATION TO SCANDAL blurb:

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… 

"In an Invitation to Scandal, Bronwen Evans deftly pens a darkly sensual tale of intrigue, romance, and unexpected twists." -Lorraine Heath, NYTimes Best-selling author & RITA® Award winner 

"A sexy Regency take on Robin Hood. Passion, adventure, secrets and danger will keep you turning the pages." - Anna Campbell, Midnights Wild Passion 

INVITATION TO SCANDAL will be release May 1st, 2012, with Kensington. Can't wait for it to hit the shelves!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

TOPIC: Do you judge a book by its cover? (part 2)

I'm off on a bit of a tangent to my original post "Do you judge a book by its cover? (part 1)", where I interviewed Gene Mollica, the cover artist for my Light Blade series, but the topic remains focused on book covers.

At the recent RWAustralia and RWNew Zealand romance writers' conferences I had the pleasure of talking about books (as you do) with people during the morning and afternoon tea sessions. Sharing information about new books purchased, recommending favourite authors, arguing about the best genre, anything and everything was fair game.

And one of the topics that came up time and again was, what sort of book covers appeal to you (as a reader not writer)?

Both conferences had a bookstore present - Dymocks and Barbara's Books, and with a huge range of covers to peruse, we debated the merits of those that appealed and those that didn't, and why. It was interesting to see what caught someone's attention.

Some liked having just the hero on the cover. Others preferred the headless hero or heroine (leaving the actual facial appearance to the imagination of the reader). Clothing, body positions, backgrounds, detail, settings, author's name placement, title choice, colours, sizing of text ... a myriad of issues and the merits of each element were discussed.

It got me thinking about the book covers of authors I have on my bookshelf. One of the thing I love doing is sitting down in front of them and pulling out my favourite covers (not stories - that's another post).

So, I thought I'd share a half dozen or so of the covers that appeal to me by the element that most appealed or drew me to the book (excuse me if I invent a Kylie'ism/term to convey the concept).


It's all about colour appeal here. These all have a dominate colour (or shades of the same) reflected on the cover.

Placed face out on the bookshelf, all these books would draw your eye to them - UNTOUCHED (Anna Campbell) and LOVER MINE (J.R.Ward), in particular.

SONG OF SCARABAEUS (Sara Creasy) and WARSWORN (Elizabeth Vaughan) have solid colours too, but they also have a certain amount of detail that makes you look again, this time for elements of the story.

Guy Appeal: 

(looks like I have a think for the warrior types not to mention a back view of their shoulders, eh?)

I remember seeing Helen Kirkman's FORBIDDEN on a large poster at one of my earliest RWAustralia conferences and I bought it based on that alone (I was NOT a reader of historical romance then).

Denise Rossetti's THE LONE WARRIOR has another hot warrior type but I also like it for the amount of intricate detail within the picture. It has pieces of the story and the hero's character woven into it.

TUCKER'S CLAIM (Sarah McCarthy) was one I bought from Barbara's Books at the RWNZ conference, only the cover didn't have the blue border around the edge.

It featured only the bare chested hero. What grabbed me was the chest with leather vest, but also the bracelet and necklace he was wearing.

I'm a sucker for a Native American Indian hero (and yes, it's confirmed that I definitely have a thing for the warrior-hero types - LOL). 

Visual Detail (characters & background):

While there's an enormous amount of detail in the characters and the backgrounds of these book covers, neither are overwhelmed by it.

NIGHT'S COLD KISS, Tracey O'Hara's incredible cover, kept me looking for long minutes as I checked out the heroine, her clothing, her body position, her weapon, then my eye was drawn to the background and the details there.

The monotone-like colours made it easy to distinguish detail but conveyed the mood/tone of the book as well.

Christina Phillip's FORBIDDEN is stunning. This is a veritable feast for the eyes and for those who love the ancient historical time period.

Just check out the amount of detail in the clothes, the armor, the jewellery worn by the characters. Then take a close look at the background - it's incredible too.


I love the artist's style in Rowena Corey Daniells' series. The detail, the colours, the connection of the titles - all scream 'fantasy' and world-building in a big way.

So what appeals to you as a reader when you chose a book? Do you chose a book solely based around the author's name?

What if you discover a new author? Is it the cover or blurb that attracts you first? What turns you off?

What draws you into picking up a book?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Margaret Tanner giveaway winner!

Congratulations to the time traveling commenter who wanted to ride along on a buffalo hunt with a "super sexy, long haired, well muscled, bare chested sex god" Native American then disappear into a teepee for a "hot and sweaty time".

Yes, it's you:

Book Chatter-Cath!

Your answer impressed Margaret and she wants to join you when you schedule that trip back in time (so don't forget to contact her when you do - LOL)!

If you could contact her - mjljtanner (at) hotmail (dot) com - (no spaces) and she can arrange to send HOLLY & THE MILLIONAIRE to you. 

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

GUEST AUTHOR: Margaret Tanner

Margaret Tanner is a multi-published Australian author. She loves delving into the pages of history as she carries out research for her historical romance novels, and prides herself on being historically accurate. She's published with The Wild Rose Press and Whiskey Creek Press.

No book is too old or tattered for her to trawl through, no museum too dusty, or cemetery too overgrown. Many of her novels have been inspired by true events, with one being written around the hardships and triumphs of her pioneering ancestors in frontier Australia.

As part of her research she has visited the World War 1 battlefields in France and Belgium, a truly poignant experience.

Margaret is a member of the Romance Writers of Australia, the Melbourne Romance Writers Group (MRWG) and EPIC.  She won the 2007 and 2009 Author of the Year at AussieAuthors.com. Her novel Frontier Wife won the Best Historical Romance Novel at the 2010 Readers Favorite Award, and another novel, Wild Oats was a 2011 Finalist in the EPIC awards.

Margaret is married with three grown up sons, and a gorgeous little granddaughter. Outside of her family and friends, writing is her passion. 

Margaret, welcome to my blog. It's great to have you here.
Can you tell us about your book...
Fleeing from her ruthless English in-laws who are intent on stealing her child, Holly Kirwan boards a flight home to Australia and meets Justin Devereux. They are instantly attracted to each other.

Justin doesn’t want a permanent woman in his life, particularly one with a baby in tow. Holly, still grieving for her soldier husband who was killed in Iraq, doesn’t want to be disloyal to his memory.

Can the young widow and the commitment shy tycoon ever find happiness together?

(Margaret says: In a special, temporary deal organized by my publisher, The Wild Rose Press, HOLLY AND THE MILLIONAIRE, is being sold at The Wild Rose Press, Fictionwise and Amazon Kindle for only $0.99.)

Setting -  Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
Hero -  Justin Devereux
Heroine -  Holly Kirwan.

Scene you would never cut - When Justin discovers that Holly has secretly given birth to his son.

Something your heroine would never do or say - Holly would never try to trap Justin by telling him she is pregnant.

What's one quirky thing about your heroine? She likes browsing through Op shops.
(For those who are unfamiliar with the term, Op shops sell second-hand clothing and other items.)

What do you think the readers will like about this book? Hopefully they will like reading about a gutsy young woman who is prepared to do anything to save her child.

So, what's next for you? I’d like to find an agent so that I can place some of my longer novels with them. My ultimate goal is to be picked up by one of the large publishers. A juicy fat advance would be nice.

About you:
Who is Margaret Tanner?

I have always been a writer from as far back as I can remember. I used to write these pitiful sad little ditties then I moved on to short stories. I was quite successful with short stories, had a few published and won a few contests.

One contest win really sticks in my mine.  Years ago I entered a competition for a sock company writing about feet.  Little feet, big feet, smelly feet any kind of feet and guess who won?  I dutifully collected my prize - twenty pairs of socks. Dad and my brother were very happy, so were their feet.

I graduated to novel writing and fell in love.

What the Iraq War did to my heroine, Holly Kirwan...I have to say I love all my books, (sorry about the self adulation), but my favourite would be HOLLY AND THE MILLIONAIRE, my one and only published contemporary romance.

It might seem strange because I call myself an historical writer, but somehow Holly got under my skin and stayed there. She was a gutsy little fighter whose soldier husband was killed in Iraq and left her with a toddler to support. She didn’t let being dealt a bum hand in the game of life defeat her.

I didn’t need to do much research for Holly’s story. My youngest son has been in the army, so I obtained information from him, and the newspapers were full of the war in Iraq. Sadly, Afghanistan has now becoming the killing field for our soldiers.

I actually got the idea for this novel when I was flying back to Australia from London, after visiting my oldest son who lives over there. A good deal of the story is set in Melbourne where I live.

I tried to imagine how a young woman would feel, all alone with her baby, and on the run from her husband’s ruthless parents. They want the baby but not her, and they will stoop to anything to get their son’s child. How devastating and frightening that would be for Holly, especially as her husband was barely cold in his grave.

I wanted to make Justin the opposite. Wealthy, confident, ruthless to a point, but underneath that hard exterior, a man with a heart, who falls in love with Holly and her baby but doesn’t realize how much he cares until he almost loses them.

Favorite movie of all time - Gallipoli.
Favorite fairytale - Cinderella
Favorite story to disappear into – Any story that I am currently writing.
Favorite TV program - A Current Affair
First book you remember reading - Seven Little Australians by Ethel Turner
Dog or cat person (or other) – Neither.
Author (living or dead) you'd most like to meet – One of the Bronte sisters.
A romantic retreat for you would be - sitting by a roaring log fire in a quaint B&B in the mountains.

What do you do to unwind or relax? Read
What era would you like to time travel and visit? And why? The 1st World War. I am fascinated with the tragedy and triumph of that era, having researched it. I have also visited the Australian battlefields and cemeteries in France and Belgium.

What does love mean to you? Trust and caring.

Margaret is generously giving away a copy of HOLLY & THE MILLIONAIRE (locals get a choice of e-book or print version, any international winner restricted to e-book version due to postage costs).

Just answer this question and you'll go into the draw for the giveaway...

What era would you like to time travel and visit? And why?

Leave an answer by midday (Aussie time), Thursday, 10th November and the winner will be announced Friday, 11th November.  

To find out more about Margaret, visit her website.

Margaret's other books: