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


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Dark Side DownUnder Halloween Blog-Hop!!!

Happy Halloween and Happy 2nd Anniversary to the Dark Side DownUnder blog!!!

Where has the time gone? It only seems like yesterday our Romance Writers of Australia Paranormal e-loop conceived the idea of starting up a blog to showcase our wonderfully, talented local writers (published and unpublished) from Australia and New Zealand.

Well, here we are two years down the track and still going strong! And to celebrate some of us have joined together to participate in a Dark Side DownUnder 2nd Anniversary Blog-Hop and boy, do we have some goodies to giveaway!

But first, let's get into the Halloween spirit and talk scary things (but not too terrifying as I'm a bit of a wuss when it comes to creepy things)!

I'm not one for horror or anything that scares the pants off me, strange considering I write about the paranormal, things like demons, mythical creatures (some good, some bad), magic, evil characters and unknowns that go bump in the night.

But for the fun of it, and because it's Halloween, I'm going to share my Top 10 List of Scary Movies (these might date me but growing up watching these movies cured me for the rest of my adult life):

*A Nightmare on Elm Street (I only watched part of one - I did say I was a big, 'fraidy cat - and could never face another incarnation of it after the first. The only guy with claws that I like is Wolverine!

* Texas Chainsaw Massacre (I never looked at a meat hook in a butchers shop the same again, a blood 'n'guts movie that scarred me for life!) 

* Friday the 13th (thanks to Jason killed one of the campers with a knife through the throat coming up from under the bed, I trained myself to sleep on my stomach) 

* IT (hate, hate, hate clowns and sewer drains)


* The Sixth Sense (this wasn't so bad, I think I prefer inferential horror to actually seeing the scary bits - this movie had me sitting on the edge of my seat and my imagination working over time. It was just damn creepy, loved the twist at the end though!)

* Poltergeist (as a teen I believed in poltergeists and it scared the jeheebers out of me and to this day the crackle/prickle of the TV turning off as well as the residual light swirls on the screen as it powers down creep me out) 

*Jaws (water skiing after seeing this was never the same)

*Alien (I watched this at a slumber party when I was 10y.o. - who's bright idea was it to show this movie to a bunch kids???? - couldn't finish watching it and spent the night hiding in my sleeping bag)

*The Omen (my cousin was named Damien, I watched him like a hawk after this movie)

*Carrie (read the book before I saw the movie, awesome telekinetic powers)

On the flip side, one of my all time favorite Halloween themed movies has werewolves, lycans and vampires. Besides starring a certain hunky blond, which I have to admit was a huge draw card, I loved the premise of a mutated virus infecting humans to create two races of supernatural creatures that then spend the next few hundred years at war with one another.

The idea of a vampire and lycan falling in love and breaking all the rules appealed to my Shakespearean love of tragedies (and romance writers heart), although in this case the hero and heroine do have a happily ever after!

And on that HEA note, I think it's time for the 'treat' part of Halloween! My treat - well, I have a Light Blade Book Pack to giveaway (signed copies of VENGEANCE BORN & ALLIANCE FORGED). Two of them actually!!! Just in time for Christmas to give away as gifts to someone or to keep for yourself.

To enter my giveaway, there's some legwork is required, but that's half the fun of a Halloween Blog-Hop! Just fill out the Rafflecopter form as you like (it has plenty of chances for you to enter).

Good luck!

And if you'd want to see what other treats are up for grabs with the other Dark Side DownUnder authors, see the details below. 

  • The Dark Side DownUnder authors are offering print books, ebooks and other goodies at their blogs.
  • The big prize is a $30 Amazon gift voucher.
Here are the rules to the blog hop:
  1. To be eligible to win a prize on the blogs, the reader must do as what’s instructed on each blog by 11.59pm 4th November Australian Eastern Daylight Savings Time.
  2. To be eligible to win the Amazon voucher, the participants must comment on each participating blog. Only one comment needed. Multiple comments will be ignored for the purposes of the contest.
  3. Have fun!

Halloween Special - 2nd Blogiversary Participants

1. Eleni Konstantine
2. Mel Teshco
3. Nicole Murphy
4. Imogene Nix
5. Christina Phillips aka Christina Ashcroft
6. Amanda Ashby
7. Jenny Schwartz
8. Shona Husk
9. Maree Anderson
10. Kylie Griffin
11. Lilliana Rose
12. Nicole Hurley-Moore
13. Eden Summers
14. Erica Hayes
15. Sandra Harris
16. Keziah Hill
17. S E Gilchrist
18. DSDU

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Isolde Martyn is known for her historical romances. Her debut novel was the first novel by an Australian to win a RITA® Award from Romance Writers of America as well as being the first novel to win the R*BY (Romantic Novel of the Year Award) in Australia.

Isolde grew up in London and might have stayed in England, however, after graduating from uni, she met a geologist at a bus stop and ended up in Sydney.

Published works: Four single titles plus two in press. 
Publisher/s: Bantam US; Bantam Australia; PanMacmillan, Australia; Berkley Jove US; Mira (HMB) Australia; Bastei, Germany; and Bolinda Audio Publishers.

What is historical romance and which era intrigues you the most?
Historical romance covers such a wide range of stories and quality of writing. It can range from women in pretty dresses and knights in armour against a vaguely historical backdrop to well-researched stories that are about real people. Straight historicals often seem to balk at humour and sex in the writing and that’s a pity.

I tend to write stories that have lots of historical people but I keep getting asked, ‘Well, which genre do you write?’ I guess it boils down to how a book is marketed. However, I don’t suppose anyone asked Diana Gabaldon which side of the marker her stories fall – she just goes ahead and writes.

Favourite era?
The Wars of the Roses. I love the intrigue of that period and there are so many fascinating historical characters. Setting stories against turbulent historical times increases the challenge for the hero and heroine and makes it more interesting for the reader.

Sometimes the past catches up with the present, too. It’s very exciting to think that UK archaeologists may have found the skeleton of King Richard III and that they are going to try and reconstruct his face as well as test for DNA.

The other era I find fascinating is the French Revolution but not the guillotine stuff, I might add! Fleur-de-Lis was utterly guillotine-free. The growth of the media, people power and many aspects of democracy arise from what happened in France in 1789-99 but a lot of people just see it merely as a time of violence. I hope readers will enjoy Fleur’s story and see revolutionary Paris from a totally different angle. 

What's the most fascinating aspect about writing in this genre for you?
The research and the guesswork. Truly a lot of the so-called facts of the late fifteenth century have been cobbled together from very little. An academic could not have based a whole book around the anonymous woman spy mentioned in a Burgundian chronicle but as a novelist I was free to do just that. What’s more, I’m pretty sure she was Warwick the Kingmaker’s bastard daughter, too. 

What challenges did you face publishing in this genre?
The wonderful thing about writing historical romance is that there is a wonderful, enthusiastic sorority of readers out there, whereas for straight historicals it is harder to get noticed by potential readers unless the publisher is making a big effort.

As for hoping for good reviews for historical romance in mainstream papers, tricky stuff! Some newspaper reviewers only have to see the words ‘romance award’ in your bio and the knives are whetted. I just wish such people would a) put their egos on a shelf; and b) actually read the book. 

Which authors have inspired you in your own writing? Or which ones do you enjoy reading?
The late Dorothy Dunnett, a true diva, for her research, imagery and humour. I still enjoy reading Georgette Heyer’s Regency novels and I adored Daphne du Maurier’s novel Frenchman’s Creek. Probably the most romantic story I have ever read. For humour and characters, I loved Sydney writer Karen Miller’s fantasy novel The Innocent Mage.

When you get a chance to relax, what do you like to do?
Go for a bush walk. Mind you, reading a novel that is well crafted and unputdownable is bliss as well. And time we spend with good friends sharing a good Aussie red wine. Purrrfect! 

Could you share your latest release, or a selected book, and tell us a little bit about it?
My novel MISTRESS SHORE is due out in February 2013.

My real life heroine, Elizabeth Lambard (also known in history as Jane Shore) was the daughter of a former Sheriff of London, who was a wealthy merchant. She was wed in her early teens to a mercer twice her age and, judging by historic records, she was determined to free herself and obtain a divorce. In her twenties, she became the mistress of King Edward IV and after his death suffered imprisonment by King Richard III until a wonderful man rescued her.

I loved writing this story because Mistress Shore was at the heart of events and, despite being a woman in an age when men were the masters, she managed to rebel against the rules and find her freedom. A lady of intelligence, compassion and courage!

I also am putting up my published novels THE MAIDEN & THE UNICORN and FLEUR-DE-LIS as e-books and a new e-book called THE DEVIL IN ERMINE, which is about the political intrigue of the events of 1483.

You can learn more about Isolde and her books at her website.

Saturday, October 27, 2012


Anna Jacobs was born in Lancashire, moved to Australia and now lives part of the year in each country. She’s totally addicted to writing, and produces three novels a year. As of October 2012, she has 59 novels published.

At the moment Anna is writing historical novels for two UK publishers and modern novels for another.

She has been married to her own hero for many happy years, and they have two daughters and one grandson. 

Published works: 59 novels, two how-to books, 9 French textbooks, assorted short stories and about 20 poems. 
Publisher/s: Hodder & Stoughton UK and Australia, Severn House, Allison & Busby.

What is historical romance and which era intrigues you the most?
Historical romance is like any romance in one sense, two people meeting and falling in love, facing problems about getting together. But if it’s done properly, if it’s truly historical, the period background is integral to the plot and the story couldn’t have happened in any other era. In other words, it isn’t modern characters dressing up in fancy frocks, brandishing swords, but characters from the past falling in love, characters with perhaps a slightly different attitude to the world, since they ‘live’ in a different world.

I like writing stories from 1730 to the present day. I find the Tudor and Medieval periods too brutal. I’m a sucker for happy endings.

What's the most fascinating aspect about writing in this genre for you?
I write in several genres and it’s always about trying to tell a good story. So I have to find the best possible story to tell. I do that through research and finding historical settings that haven’t been done to death.

I particularly like researching how ordinary people lived in the past. I’m not interested in politics and murder, or in the nobility. I read a lot of research books. You can find a certain amount of information on line, and yes, it’s very useful, but that’s usually the past seen through other people’s or historians’ eyes.

I like to hunt out old autobiographies, diaries or journals, especially amateur publications. That way I can hear the voices of people from that era. I keep my eyes open every time I visit a tourist spot, or country bookshop and pick up little gems of floppy paper booklets, amateur publications, that tell me about things I’d never even heard of in my formal history studies.

I also like to find old photographs, because they too are directly from the era. For THE TRADER'S WIFE which is set partly in Singapore in the 1860s, my local library got in some rare books from the central library’s reserve collection. I wasn’t allowed to take them home, but had to read them in the library. But I could photocopy them. Photos of Singapore in the 1860s. Wonderful stuff!

I also have my own family photos from the 1860s onwards, so I’ve used those too to find out what real people were actually wearing. As we all know, very few women of today wear the sort of clothes shown in the high fashion shows – most didn’t wear high fashion in the past, either. So a history of fashion doesn’t always tell me what I need, but a family photo does. 

What challenges did you face publishing in this genre?
The same challenges you face getting published in any genre. Firstly, bringing my own skills up to scratch. Secondly learning how to use the historical background to best advantage, trying to fascinate the reader. Thirdly, learning what to include so that the reader would understand the subtleties of the past and relate to my characters’ situations.

And then, finding a publisher isn’t easy in any genre. In the end I finalled in a big Australian competition and that got my first historical romance published.

Once you’re published, the problem is to stay published. In any genre. You have to attract readers to try your books and keep readers interested so your new books will keep selling. I’m happy to say, my first historical series is still reprinting, the Gibson Family Saga beginning with SALEM STREET.

And my husband has now reissued as ebooks some other historical romances, to which I have the rights back. To my delight, two of my own favourites MISTRESS OF MARYMOOOR and REPLENISH THE EARTH are my bestsellers in historical ebooks. They’re both set in the 18th century. MISTRESS OF MARYMOOOR is a romantic suspense, taking place in an old mansion on the edge of the moors. Wuthering Heights meets happy endings! REPLENISH THE EARTH is a gentle rural romance and is one of my ‘special’ books. I love that tale to pieces.

A new challenge in this area is to publicise and sell ebooks. 

Which authors have inspired you in your own writing? Or which ones do you enjoy reading?
It was Georgette Heyer who inspired me to write in the first place, and I still re-read her books. But now that I spend two-thirds of the year writing historical romances, I don’t read as many. I spend the other third of the year writing modern complex relationships novels, and during that time I’m more likely to read a historical.

I read so many books (three a week) that I ran out of historical authors I liked. I don’t like graphic sex or violence, you see. Then I found cosy mysteries, many of which are historical eg Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs series, which it truly wonderful writing. My husband and I have devoured her books. You need to read the series in order.

I get ‘inspired’ in one sense by the best authors I read, because you can always learn something, since writing novels is a complex craft. I’m studying things like plot, period detail, characterisation, credibility, memorable scenes, not mere words.

I don’t need inspiring to write, as I have story ideas welling up all the time. But I do try hard to improve my writing and plotting with each book. It’s a personal challenge, I suppose. 

When you get a chance to relax, what do you like to do?
Most important of all is to spend time with my husband, who is also my best friend. No wonder I write romantic novels. I’ve loved that man for over 50 years, since two days after we met at university.

I like to read, getting through three novels a week. I’m hopeless, aren’t I? A book/story addict.

I also like watching TV: antique shows, house hunting shows, not celebrity stuff or sport. And good drama like Downton Abbey. Or classic comedy like ‘Last of the Summer Wine’ or ‘Dad’s Army’. I also have a weakness for the Mikado, and we watch it on DVD at least once a year, singing along with it. Brilliant music and a silly but fun story.

Also we spend part of the year in the UK, where we also have a house, and that is a pleasure, but takes a great deal of organising. We not only have to transport ourselves, but my business!

Could you share your latest release, or a selected book, and tell us a little bit about it?
I’m deep into writing The Traders series at the moment. (1860s, Australia, Singapore, Ireland) It started off as a trilogy, but has sold well, so has gone to five books. The stories not only please my editor and readers, but it gives me great pleasure to write them. I’m just finishing writing No 4.

I didn’t intend to write this series, but Bram Deagan appeared in DESTINY'S PATH the last of another series, and was such a vivid character I couldn’t get him out of my mind.

He’d been a groom in Ireland but got the idea of becoming a shopkeeper while sailing to Australia, then got bigger ideas, ie to become a trader. He’s of medium height, scrawny, not good looking, but he’s the best romantic hero I’ve ever created. He is such a wonderfully loving man. Or did he walk out of the mists and does he really exist ‘somewhere’? I wonder sometimes.

Bram’s story threads through the series, but he’s not centre stage in the other books, just #1 THE TRADER'S WIFE.

In that book Bram travels to Singapore to set up trading links and there he meets his wife and a Chinese merchant who takes him under his wing. The research was fascinating and I loved writing it. The book was shortlisted for Romantic Book of the Year in 2012 (romantic elements section not ‘pure’ romance).

THE TRADER'S DREAM #3 in the Traders series, is released in October 2012, in hardback, trade paperback and ebook.

It’s a story I’ve been waiting ten years to tell, ever since I found out fascinating details about the opening of the Suez Canal.

Bram Deagan dreams of bringing his family out to Australia. Maura Deagan has no intention of going anywhere as she’s just been promoted to assistant housekeeper. But fate has other ideas and she finds herself obliged to go to Australia.

Her ship goes through the new Suez Canal in the first flotilla. She also ‘just happens’ to meet a man she can love, but there are rather a lot of complications to block their path.

Oh, I am enjoying writing it, the research, the characters, everything!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Sandy Curtis lives on Queensland’s Central Coast, not far from the beach where she loves to walk and mull over the passionate romances and intricate plots in her novels. After rearing three children, dogs, cats, guinea pigs, and a kookaburra (teaching it to fly was murder), creating hunky heroes and intrepid heroines, fast-paced action and edge-of-your-seat suspense is a breeze for her.

Her novels have been nominees in the Ned Kelly Crime Awards and two were finalists in the mainstream section of the RWAustralia Romantic Book of the Year Award.

Her latest book is FATAL FLAW, and GRIEVOUS HARM will be released in November 2012, both published by Clan Destine Press.

Sandy has presented many writing workshops and also organises WriteFest, the Bundaberg writers festival.

Published works: Six books, with the seventh to be released in November 2012.

Publisher/s: My first five books were print published with Pan Macmillan Australia but my current publisher, Clan Destine Press, has now published them as e-books and also print and e-published my current book, FATAL FLAW. All six books have also been published by Bastei Luebbe in Germany. 

What's the most fascinating aspect about writing in this genre for you?
Creating fast-paced complex plots that hook readers to the last page, then weaving in captivating romances that make my readers fall in love with my hero and heroine.

And then there’s all that fascinating research, like finding out how many litres of water a condom can hold before you can’t tie a knot in it, and what sort of gun would be most suitable for a villain to use to shoot someone in the head but still have them live.

If you try the condom test, just make sure you don’t bounce it on the kitchen bench when it’s full.

What challenges did you face publishing in this genre?
My first book, DANCE WITH THE DEVIL, was published in 2001, and I was not aware that my publisher didn’t distribute to specialty bookstores such as Rendezvous, where it would have reached readers who were already fans of romantic suspense.

Bookstores such as Dymocks didn’t really know where to place it, so it invariably ended up shelved under crime, which didn’t sit well with crime readers because of the strong romance.

As mine were the first Australian-set, Australian-published romantic suspense by an Australian author, my publisher had to work out how to overcome this classification problem, and eventually phoned me and said, “Sandy, we’ve decided to call what you write ‘suspense’.”

Unfortunately, this didn’t help to make readers aware that my books had a great love story as well.

Which authors have inspired you in your own writing?
Linda Howard. I loved her Last of the Good Guys series when she wrote for Harlequin and her later single titles.

I grew up reading adventure novels by writers such as Alistair McLean, but I always felt cheated that his heroines were minor characters and even if they did have a love interest with the hero, they were usually killed off towards the end. I wanted a Happily Ever After, or at least the promise of one. Discovering romantic suspense made me realise I could write the kind of stories I wanted to read.

The beach Sandy likes to walk on...

When you get a chance to relax, what do you like to do?
Relax? (Insane giggling heard here)

Yes, sometimes this happens, and like most writers I like to read. I also love swimming, walking on the beach, and fishing.

Could you share your latest release, or a selected book, and tell us a little bit about it?
Mark Talbert, the hero in my latest book, FATAL FLAW, featured in the previous book, DANGEROUS DECEPTION. He was such an intriguing character to write that I had to give him a book of his own, especially as DANGEROUS DECEPTION ended with him being shot. I felt that he deserved something after nearly dying for his country.

When he returns home to Brisbane to assess his life, his father is murdered, he re-connects with his childhood friend Julie Evans, and his boss orders him to use her to get close to her father who is suspected of consorting with terrorists.

For an experienced operative with an agency that answers only to the Prime Minister, it should be just another assignment, but Mark realises that his friendship with Julie is turning into something deeper, and losing the love that is growing between them scares him more than the attempts on his life.

A cheating ex-husband has left Julie wary of love and determined to protect her son from further hurt, and her love for Mark is tempered by the worry that he is no longer the person she knew growing up.

Their path to happiness is not a smooth one, especially as a killer is methodically eliminating everyone close to Julie’s father. Julie is one gutsy lady, willing to fight for those she loves, but discovering the identity of the killer shocks her to the core.

I loved writing Julie’s and Mark’s story – this is one couple who really deserve their HEA - and I hope readers enjoy it.

A city in danger.
Thousands will die.
What would you sacrifice to save them?
The woman he loves holds the key to his father’s murder.
Operative Mark Talbert’s father is murdered, the agency he works for has him hunting terrorists, and the only connection is the father of Julie Evans, the woman he loves.
Her father has placed Julie Evans in the hands of a terrorist determined to unleash horror on an unprepared city. She needs someone she can depend on, but can she trust the man she loves?
People are dying. People who seem to have nothing in common until Mark discovers his father’s involvement in a decades-old crime. A killer is taking a calculated revenge.
A revenge that threatens Mark, Julie, and Julie’s son … and the terrorists are making their final move.

Sandy has a print copy of FATAL FLAW to giveaway - just answer her question - "Why do you like reading romantic suspense?" AND leave your email address so you can be contacted in the event you name is drawn.

Giveaway closes October 28th, 2012 (Australian time).

Sandy's other books:

You can follow Sandy on Twitter (@SandyCurtis1), or Facebook or check out her website

Sunday, October 21, 2012


How does this grab you?

Paranormal urban fantasy romance apocalypse. With zombies.

Sound like fun? I thought so too. 

You're in for a real treat today! Please welcome a good friend of mine, a fellow Aussie author and Berkley babe, Erica Hayes...

Thanks to Kylie for welcoming me to her blog! Seriously, never mind the guest blog, I'd come here just to look at her scrumptious cover art… I so want to be that lady on the front of ALLEGIANCE SWORN. She's totally bad-ass…

Anyway. Moving on… Greetings, world! I'm Erica Hayes, and I'm a paranormal romance author. Or maybe an urban fantasy author. What's in a genre, anyway? It's all in the same section of the bookstore, right?

But as a reader, I know there's nothing more disappointing – not to mention annoying – than when a book turns out to be different to what you expected. Even if the book is great, it can really ruin my enjoyment. I've had many a quiet rant on the subject. Why did they put that cover on it? I say, or That back cover copy is nothing to do with the story!

Some authors strike it lucky. Our good Kylie's books, for instance, are clearly fantasy romance, just from the covers alone. No deception there! We expect magic spells, other worlds, mystical mayhem—and she delivers.

So, in the interests of reader sanity (and public safety!) I wish to make the following announcement: this is my new book, REVELATION – and what you see is pretty much what you get.

Hot dude on the cover equals romance. Flaming sword equals paranormal. City lights in the background equals urban with lashings of dark. And the back cover copy pretty much nails it.

(Bk#1 The Seven Signs series)

A fallen angel with a mission and a medical examiner who’s lost her faith are fighting for their souls in a glittering, near-future Manhattan…

Blind faith is for fools. That’s what Dr. Morgan Sterling believes. And she’s going to prove it by curing the zombie plague ravaging her city’s slums. She’s certain it’s not a sign of the End of Days, but a nasty disease—until an angel appears in her morgue in a flash of glory.
Luniel is not just a fallen angel. He’s a powerful warrior sworn to fight evil in hopes of a chance at redemption. He’s after the demon princes who are stealing the seven vials of holy wrath which, when perverted, will unleash eternal hell on earth.
To stop the plague, Luniel needs Morgan’s help, and her faith. But Morgan believes science is their salvation. If the zombie plague is a demonic curse—and if Luniel is true—he’ll have to prove it. Even if he loses his heart to true love or his soul to Hell…

So go right ahead and expect a hot romance! Sexy, tormented fallen angel warrior meets… well, he meets the perfect woman for him. She just doesn't know it yet.

But the world of the Seven Signs is bigger than just Lune and Morgan. You'll meet other angels – Luniel's conniving archangel, Michael, for one, and some of Lune's Tainted buddies. You'll also meet the chilly Demon King, Azaroth, and a crafty pain demon called Zuul. If you're familiar with my Shadowfae books, you'll know I am putty – putty, I say! – in the paws of a sexy, scheming secondary character. Especially a villain!

So yeah. REVELATION is a dark paranormal urban fantasy romance apocalypse. With zombies. Just so you know.

P.S. You can read the first chapter at my website.
And do come chat with me on Facebook.

Saturday, October 20, 2012


Queenslander ANNA CAMPBELL has written six historical romances for Avon HarperCollins and her work is published internationally, including in the United States, Germany, Russia, Turkey and Japan.

Anna has won numerous awards for her sweeping, emotional stories set in the first quarter of the 19th century. These awards include Romantic Times Reviewers Choice, the Booksellers Best, the Golden Quill (three times), the Heart of Excellence, the Aspen Gold (twice) and the Australian Romance Readers Association's most popular historical romance (four times).

She has twice been nominated for Romance Writers of America's prestigious RITA Award and three times for Australia's Romantic Book of the Year. The Australian Romance Readers Association voted Anna their favorite Australian romance author of 2009, 2010 and 2011.

In 2012, Anna launches an exciting new publishing venture with her first series "Sons of Sin", beginning with SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE'S BED in October 2012.

Published works: 7 (plus two novelettes).
Publisher/s: Avon HarperCollins, Grand Central Publishing.

What is historical romance and which era intrigues you the most? 
Thanks for having me as your guest, Kylie! Lovely to see historical romance in the spotlight.

A general definition of historical romance is romance set in any period prior to 1945. My books are set in the most popular era with readers, the Regency (largely thanks to Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer). To purists, the Regency is officially from 1811 to 1820 when King George III became incurably mad and his son stepped in as Regent to fulfil his father’s royal duties. In 1820, King George died and the Prince Regent became George IV.

For historical romance readers, the Regency encompasses stories set in the UK from the French Revolution at the end of the 18th century through to the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837. My books are all set in the 1820s.

The first quarter of the 19th century is a fascinating period in British history. The empire was taking its final form after the loss of the American colonies, the industrial revolution was hitting its stride, the Napoleonic Wars cast a long shadow over the early years of the century. It’s also a time of glittering high society and decadence before the rise of Victorian morality. There is political unrest and a huge divide between rich and poor. It also marks the beginnings of modern feminism with the publication of Mary Wollstonecraft’s A VINDICATION OF THE RIGHTS OF WOMAN in 1792. Add to that elegant fashion, furniture and decorative arts, a scientific revolution and the explosion of Romantic and romantic literature (gothic romances were hugely popular in this era).

It’s difficult not to find this period fascinating.

What's the most fascinating aspect about writing in this genre for you? 
I love trying to get inside the heads and hearts of people who lived in the past. I love thinking about how the mores and customs and technology of the times make these people different from me, but also how sheer humanity makes them the same.

I love the larger than life quality I can write into a historical. I love that the whole sexual element of a relationship has such high stakes in a historical. Risking her reputation can be a matter of life and death for a woman. Makes for great tension!

Oh, and the dresses! I love the dresses. And the boots. What? Me? Shallow? NOOOOOOOO!

What challenges did you face publishing in this genre? 
When I started submitting to agents and publishers in the mid-2000s, the word around the book trade was that the historical was dead.

Fortunately, to paraphrase Mark Twain, the rumours of the historical romance’s death was greatly exaggerated. Lucky for me because I love writing this genre and perhaps just as important, I love READING this genre.

Which authors have inspired you in your own writing? Or which ones do you enjoy reading?
Oh, so many! There’s the classics like Georgette Heyer, Victoria Holt, Mary Stewart. Jane Austen and the Brontes. Christina Brooke. Annie West. Loretta Chase. Laura Kinsale. Liz Carlyle. Anne Stuart. Liz Fielding. Dorothy Dunnett.

I’ll stop there but I could go on. I’m a voracious reader so you could say every book I’ve read has influenced me.

When you get a chance to relax, what do you like to do? 
Read. Play the piano. Swim. Walk. Travel. Have a drink with my friends. Watch a good movie. Go to art galleries.

Could you share your latest release, or a selected book, and tell us a little bit about it?
My latest release is SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED which was out 25th September in North America and the beginning of October in Australia and New Zealand. It’s also available as an audiobook from Tantor Audio. Rogue is the first instalment in the “Sons of Sin” series, my very first series. It’s a classic Beauty and the Beast story.

Will a week of seduction... 
Desperate to save her sister's life, Sidonie Forsythe has agreed to submit herself to a terrible fate: Beyond the foreboding walls of Castle Craven, a notorious, hideously scarred scoundrel will take her virtue over the course of seven sinful nights. Yet instead of a monster, she encounters a man like no other. And during this week, she comes to care for Jonas Merrick in ways that defy all logic-even as a dark secret she carries threatens them both. 

...Spark a lifetime of passionate surrender? 
Ruthless loner Jonas knows exactly who he is. Should he forget, even for a moment, the curse he bears, a mere glance in the mirror serves as an agonizing reminder. So when the lovely Sidonie turns up on his doorstep, her seduction is an even more delicious prospect than he originally planned. But the hardened outcast is soon moved by her innocent beauty, sharp wit, and surprising courage. Now as dangerous enemies gather at the gate to destroy them, can their new, fragile love survive?

You can find an excerpt here: http://annacampbell.info/rogue.html

Website: www.annacampbell.info
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AnnaCampbellFans
Twitter: https://twitter.com/annacampbelloz

And readers, Anna's generously giving away one copy of SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED, so please make her feel welcome by saying hi and leaving a comment or by asking her a question. Don't forget to leave a contact email address - you must do all this to be eligible for the draw.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Alliance Forged Cover Model interview!

Anyone interested in learning more about Matt Fox, the model who portrayed Varian on the cover of ALLIANCE FORGED?

Then check out this interview with him over at The Reading Cafe!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

ROFL! A Dramatic Surprise!

This is just so cool - I laughed until I cried and wished I'd been in the square to see it.

Who thinks up these things?

They're brilliant!

Saturday, October 13, 2012


Today begins a series featuring the wonderful talent of our Down Under authors - from Australia and New Zealand - across a number of romance genres. 

The first series will showcase our HISTORICAL ROMANCE AUTHORS.

Please welcome my first guest...Sophia James!

Sophia James writes historical romance for the Harlequin Historical imprint in London.

A double winner of the Romance Writers of Australia R*BY 2010 & 2011 she has also finalled in the Australian Romance Readers Awards and won the Romance Writers of New Zealand Clendon Award.

Sophia has been a mentor at the RWA 5 Day Intensive (5DI) in Brisbane in 2010 & 2011 and has run a similar mentorship programme in New Zealand in 2012.

She has a degree in History and English from Auckland University and a background in teaching.

Published works: I have published eleven books to date in two time periods; Regency England and Medieval Scotland.
Publisher: Historical Harlequin.

What is historical romance and which era intrigues you the most?
The Regency period was full of anomalies, the manners of the time balanced against the ruthless push of ‘getting ahead’ and ‘marrying well.’ A period like this always sets up a great background for tortured characters who have been thrown around by the unreasonable expectations of Society.

My other time span in Medieval Scotland and the brutal raw harshness of the period always presents other challenges (such as just staying alive).

What's the most fascinating aspect about writing in this genre for you?
I love historical because I feel I am not so constrained in aspects of character. A medieval knight can kill with barely a hint of shame and it’s so freeing to be able to thumb your nose up at the strict conventions of the Regency in print.

What challenges did you face publishing in this genre?
The challenges are the research and getting it right. When I began writing I had read many historical and so sort of knew the terms and expectations by osmosis really. But further on in my career I realise I am a novice in research and accuracy and it is one of the things I am trying to get better at.

Which authors have inspired you in your own writing? Or which ones do you enjoy reading?
I love Diana Gabaldon and her Jamie and Claire series. She is such an intelligent writer and her characters just leap off the page for me. I reread Judith McNaught and I love Joanna Bourne.

When you get a chance to relax, what do you like to do?
I walk or go to the gym. I read. I visit art galleries. I renovate my old house. I garden.

Could you share your latest release, or a selected book, and tell us a little bit about it?

My latest release is LADY WITH THE DEVILS SCAR which is out in the UK/USA on the 24 July, 2012. It is a Scottish Medieval set in the 1360’s. I love this book, it’s just one of my real favourites.

The heroine, Isabel Dalceann, is fighting to save her keep from David the Second and is a figure bards tell of all across Scotland; a witch they say who has repelled three sieges upon her castle and a disfigured woman who dresses as a man.

The hero Marcus de Coutenay is a commander of the armies of Kings. He is feared and lauded in both France and Scotland.

If you would like to read more I have their first kiss as an excerpt on my website.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Kylie Scott is a long time fan of erotic love stories and B-grade horror films. She demands a happy ending and if blood and carnage occur along the way then all the better. Based in Queensland, Australia with her two children and one long-suffering husband, she reads, writes and never dithers around on the internet.

What genre do you write in and what drew you to it?
I write erotic romance set in gritty worlds. FLESH, my first book, is a post-zombie-apocalypse story. George A.Romero and Stephen King are primarily responsible for my fascination with the Undead and with the downfall of civilisation.

Romero’s zombie fFilms focus on life for survivors during and after an apocalypse. He shows the day to day life for these people and how they deal with the abrupt shift in what is normal. He likes to examine morality and justice once law and order are gone. That and carnage. He really likes to take a good long hard look at zombie chaos and carnage. 

What challenges did you face getting published?
I’ve been writing seriously for six years now. The first manuscript I ever finished I was convinced was gold. No, platinum. It would probably be published exactly as it was. Not a one of my perfect words touched or defamed.

Obviously, I had a lot to learn.

My first manuscript critique was devastating. I didn’t get past page 20 on anything I started for about a year. So learning to take criticism but to bounce back was a big hurdle for me.

There’s an art form to growing a thick skin but keeping an open mind. Feedback from competitions and critique partners is integral (and highly useful for dealing with eventual rejections from agents and publishers). But of course, not everyone knows best and not everyone is constructive. Deciding to work with mentor Louise Cusack really helped me.

Which authors inspire you in your own writing?
Stephen King is amazing. If you haven’t read his ‘On Writing’ then you’re just being silly. Go read it.

Romance wise there are many wonderful writers. Lorelei James has a great minimal style I adore. Lauren Dane and Cherise Sinclair do brilliant characterisation. Anna Campbell pretty much owns Deep Point of View. I could go on and on but I won’t. 

Title: FLESH.
Publisher: Momentum/Pan Macmillan.
Release Date: 1st October, 2012.
Hero bio: Daniel is a forty-year old loner. But when the world empties out he realises being alone isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Daniel is tall dark and handsome with a wicked sense of humour and no filter between his brain and his mouth whatsoever. Finn is the pretty-blonde-boy with intensity. He also happens to be hella good with a gun.

Finn is a twenty-six year old cop with protective instincts on over-drive. But what do Law and Order even mean in the new world?

Heroine bio:
Ali is a thirty-something year old shut in. Literally. Ever since the Zombie Plague struck fifty-three days ago she’s been living in her neighbour’s attic, sleeping with a shotgun, surviving off scraps and barely scraping by. A chance meeting with the too tall, too charming Daniel changes all that. He lures her out of her hidey-hole and the two take to the road, in search of somewhere better, away from the city and bulk of the infected.

Trust doesn’t come easy to Ali but Daniel isn’t the type to give up. And then she meets Finn. Nice normal girls with middle-class backgrounds don’t go for two men at once. But nice and normal are nothing like they used to be.

Interesting feature/s of this book:
FLESH is a mash up of erotic romance, action and horror. But it’s also my version of a study in survivalism. There are gruesome Zombies stumbling around but they’re not the only bad guys.

If there was nothing and no one to stop people from doing whatever they pleased, how would they behave? And what would happen when the lights went out? Supermarkets would be well raided so supplies wouldn’t be easy to come by. Medical staff would have been at the forefront of any outbreak so it’s unlikely there would be many Doctors left.

What would it be like if canned goods were your only real friend food wise, and getting an infection from a scratch could mean the difference between life and death? You’d have to imagine sex and relationships would certainly be cast in a whole new light with the downfall of everything you’ve ever known. Hope and trust would be a beautiful, wonderful and occasionally steamy thing (because repopulation matters, right?)...

There’s also a short story set in the same world featuring different characters available through Momentum 1st November as part of the Hot Down Under series. Yay!

Ali has been hiding in an attic since civilisation collapsed eight weeks ago.

When the plague hit, her neighbours turned into mindless, hungry, homicidal maniacs.

Daniel has been a loner his entire life. Then the world empties and he realises that being alone isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Finn is a former cop who is desperate for companionship, and willing to do anything it takes to protect the survivors around him.

When the three cross paths they band together; sparks fly, romance blooms in the wasteland and Ali, Daniel and Finn bend to their very human needs in the ruins of civilisation.

Lust, love and trust all come under fire in Flesh as the three band together to survive, hunted through the suburban wastelands.

Five Minutes with Kylie Scott 
Fav.must-read author/s: Stephen King, Lorelei James, Lauren Dane, Roni Loren...
For relaxation you like to: Hang out with kids and partner. Stare at the TV with a cold drink in my hand. Hoola-Hoop. Guitar. Read and read and read.
Fav.colour: Dark blue.
Dream holiday destination: I’d love to go America. I haven’t been there yet.
Hunkiest Actor: This week, it’s Richard Armitage. (Subject to change without notice.)
You can find out more about Kylie on her website.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

TOPIC: Contest Feedback

With the new contest season gearing up I thought it rather appropriate to re-post an piece I wrote a while back called "The Tough World of Contest Feedback" (there were some great comments made by others if you want to take a look).

Here's the article:


No, this is not some strange chemical formula or a new classification for attention deficit disorder. It's the acronym for the emotional fallout we all experience from contest feedback (and the same can be said of rejection letters if truth be known - ask me how I know!).

So, you've entered a writing contest with your work. You've put your baby out there and spent the last few months eagerly awaiting the results and feedback from the judges. You get it. You read it.

Some of it's positive. Some of it's mediocre. Some of it rips the rug out from under your feet - cuts you off at the knees and leaves you bleeding - makes you want to crawl under the bed and chew on your knuckles for the next hundred years.

The myriad of emotions sparked by this sort of feedback is what I want to address in this post. Firstly though, what does the acronym stand for?

A - anger.
(And at this point in time, I'm going to share your pain by baring some of the most gut wrenching comments I've received from judges over the last eight years, so you know you're not alone.) Here are some examples, some ranging from inappropriate to "constructive-but-I-felt-the-need-to-disagree-with-them" comments.

Example 1. (judging 3 chapters) "Heroine seems to be a plaster saint. Hero a lout with unreasonable expectations. They don't talk like people. Their names have a real '70's fantasy ring to them. 
Voice: stop using $10 words you don't know how to use well and talk naturally. Get deeper into your characters' heads and your POV problems will clear up. Five spaces begin a paragraph, not two. Don't worry about the premise. Fix the voice. Premises are cheap. Voice is golden. 
I feel this entry has been critiqued to death. You have the basic skills to tell a story and keep it interesting. That is ALL IT TAKES to get published, so screw your critique group!"

Example 2. (judging 3 chapters & synopsis) "The hook is pretty generic."

Example 3. (judging a synopsis) "To be honest, you can probably cut most of the first three paragraphs. I can see you're trying to hook the reader with the first para, but character introductions and action can do that as well as or better than a tag line. I'd recommend you get your world-building/setting out there, and then get straight to the characters."

OK, now that you've read them, can you imagine feeling angry? With maybe all three in varying degrees? Hmm-mm. I did.

So, there I am brewing with anger. The next stage of this cycle:
D&D - disbelief & denial, and these comes in varying forms as well.

  • After reading the first judge's comment I was spitting chips and hurling the score sheets across the room.
  • The second made me wonder how the judge got past judge training school - where was the follow up advice? What suggestions could they have offered to improve a "generic" hook?
  • The last one drew out a knee-jerk reaction. I was attached to that synopsis beginning, do you know how much time I spent slaving over them, how dare they suggest I cut out the opening paragraphs! etc.etc.etc.
Moving on to:
D - despair.
Admittedly the first two comment examples came at a stage in my contest career when I'd developed a pretty thick-skin, and after the initial shocking read I could relegate these judges comments to the "Disregard" file.
Very little of what they had to say was going to help me develop my skills as a writer other than to infuriate me on behalf of the beginning writer who did take their comments to heart and decided never to write again.

All that aside, there have been times I've read comments and begun to doubt my abilities as a writer. Am I good enough? Why do I bother to put myself through this? Will I ever reach a standard acceptable to be published? I thought I had this entry pretty well nailed, where did I go wrong? You ask yourself all these sorts of questions in this stage. You've got to push through, analyse your feedback objectively - see the gold amidst the debris - and come out more analytical & tougher on the other side.

And the last stage is:
A - acceptance.
The good thing about the last comment example is that the judge offered constructive advice. And once I'd cooled off and gone back to look I could see the value in what they'd suggested.

I reworked the synopsis, wrote a couple of alternate beginnings, used the advice and came up with something that incorporated some of what the judge said and something I could live with.

Some of those knee-jerk reactions you have to the judges comments are probably the ones that strike a resonating chord within you and subconsciously you know they're right. Also if more than one judge point out the same thing then you need to look seriously at that feedback with a view to editing your work.

Most judges volunteer to help you improve your skills and craft. They're not in it to belittle your ability or scoff at your plot or characters. If you take anything away from this post, and listen to some hard learned wisdom from a contest diva, remember this...you WILL go through every stage of the process I've outlined. Many, many, many, many times and at difference points in your career as a writer.

A last word on the issue - get used to it or (as one of my more shoot-straight-from-the-hip writing buddies says) get out of the game. Harsh advice. Yep. This business is tough.

But if you manage to stick it, develop that tough-skin and improve your craft, then the rewards will outweigh the hard times. Guaranteed. :-)