Tag Archives: contemporary romance

Our Five Favourite Summer Reads

I read many fabulous books this quarter, but my five favourites are:

 DILF by Amy Andrews (contemporary)

DILF‘Serious DILF alert.’ Those are the words that warn Stefanie that her younger brother’s best friend Owen has grown up and graduated as a doctor. He’s about to start work at St Bart’s General Hospital, and she had promised her brother he could stay with her until he found his own place. But… that was when she still thought he was a skinny teenager with acne rather than the hottest doctor in town. The chemistry between them is off the charts but there are a zillion reasons why having sex with Owen is a bad idea. For starters, there’s the age. Owen doesn’t see it as a problem. He’s always had a thing for Stefanie even if she didn’t notice him before. Stefanie is ready to settle down and have babies. She reckons Owen still has to date a thousand nurses. Can he change her mind and get her to give them a chance, first in the present and then in the future? Written with Amy Andrew’s trademark wit and wickedly sexy encounters, this is a delicious romp that will have you alternatively laughing out loud and fanning yourself.

Down and Dirty (Men of Haven) by Rhenna Morgan (contemporary)Men of Haven

I’ve been waiting a long time for Axel’s story, ever since I met him in book 1 of Men of
Haven alongside his brother by choice Jace. Rhenna Morgan doesn’t disappoint. His love interest, rock lead singer Elizabeth is his perfect foil, bringing out all of Axel’s protective instincts and allowing him to engage more fully with the music world he loves and turned his back on as a young man. Elizabeth is scared of being overwhelmed. She’s been down that path once before. Axel, with his dark desires and ferocious intelligence is surprising hesitant when it comes to pursuing Elizabeth, needing a good push from his family. I adored this series and hope to see all the characters pop up again in future series from Ms Morgan.

Devil’s Daughter (The Ravenels) by Lisa Kleypas (Victorian)

Devil's DaughterThe Ravenels and the second generation of wallflowers just can’t seem to keep their hands off each while declaring they just won’t suit. This leads Sebastian, former wicked Lord St Vincent and now meddling Duke of Kingston, to pull strings in order to ensure his beloved daughter Phoebe gets her happily ever after second time around. Phoebe doesn’t want to like West Ravenel. He’s the boy who bullied her poor dead husband at school. But, her father likes him, her son adores him, and even her brother thinks men can change. West doesn’t think he’s good enough for Phoebe. Will all Sebastian’s meddling come to naught or will passion overcome Phoebe’s scruples long enough to allow her to seduce West? Lisa Kleypas once again delivers a witty, intelligent romance with a cast of memorable characters.

On Bended Knee (The Wicked Worthingtons) by Celeste Bradley (Regency)On Bended Knee

I had the great good fortune to meet Celeste Bradley as part of the Australian Romance Readers Association (ARRA) book signing tour of Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. She is charming with a dry sense of humour that resonates through her books. If you haven’t met the quirky Worthingtons, make a date in your diary to do so. You won’t regret it. Lysander Worthington is back from the war in Spain, carrying a terrible secret that haunts him day and night. In search of his brother, he accidentally takes on a fight with a male pig who is not to be outdone on his own territory, thus introducing himself as a patient to Gemma Oakes, doctor’s widow. Gemma feels responsible for her hamlet in Yorkshire and continues to provide medical services. She accompanied her husband to the war, knows the horrors that Lysander faced, and is determined to rescue him from himself. However, he couldn’t fall in love with a patient – that would be unethical. Except no one on her side or Lysander’s agrees. Can Lysander face the horrors of his past? Will his secrets drive Gemma away? Only by confessing, can he find out. Celeste Bradley writes with compassion, humour and an understanding of human foibles. This is a delightful, amusing and heart-warming romance.

Of Sunlight and Stardust by Christina Lee and Riley Hart (contemporary dual timeline gay romance)

Tanner Rowe is livinOf Sunlight and Stardustg in the house he bought for his dead wife because that is what she wanted of him. Cole Lachlan has been released from prison and is looking for work, finding out the hard way that no one wants to give an ex-con a chance. He’s camping on Tanner’s property when they meet. Tanner, realising Cole is down on his luck, asks him to help rebuild the burnt barn. Cole knows he is gay but makes no move on Tanner. Tanner is initially confused by his feelings for Cole but comes to understand and accept them for what they are. Their story is eerily similar to that of two boys who lived and worked on the property fifty years ago in less enlightened times that ended in tragedy with Tanner’s dead wife mirroring the role of the girl who tried to help them. As Tanner and Cole seek to uncover what happened to the boys, the relationship grows. The question is, has the town grown enough to appreciate the value Tanner and Cole can add to the community, or will prejudice and fear of Cole’s past isolate and endanger the men? Of Sunlight and Stardust is the most beautiful, sensitive and heart-warming romance I read this past year, demonstrating the range and fluidity of human sexuality that psychologists now acknowledge. Contemporary romance at its finest.

The above are all five star romance reads. If you’re looking for something different, why not see what the other members of The Writers’ Dozen have been reading?

Angella Whitton

Rae Cairns

Pamela Cook

Michelle Barraclough

Virtual Book Tour – Lion Dancing for Love

Fabulous roses Jean Grant and Peggy Jaeger helped me celebrate a publication day for Lion Dancing with Love, in Australian and America. If you’d like to read the posts, you can click on their names for the link. I’m now on tour for the month with Goddess Fish who have put together a fabulous lineup for me. I’d love to see you pop by and say hi if you have the time.

Please note the schedule is US Eastern Standard Time, starting very early in the morning! Thank you to all my hosts – I do hope you are all making use of your schedule buttons!

Here is my schedule:

April 1: Romance Novel Giveaways

April 2: Christine Young

April 3: Straight From the Library

April 4: Edgar’s Books

April 5: The Reading Addict

April 8: T’s Stuff

April 9: Romantic Reviews

April 10: Candrel’s Crafts, Cooks, and Characters

April 11: Archaeolibrarian – I Dig Good Books!

April 12: Fabulous and Brunette

April 15: BooksChatter

April 16: Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews

April 17: Renee Wildes Weblog

April 18: All the Ups and Downs

April 19: Readeropolis

April 22: Joanne Guidoccio

April 22: Read Your Writes Book Reviews

April 23: Long and Short Reviews

April 24: Kimber Li

April 25: Locks, Hooks and Books

April 26: Viviana MacKade

I’ll update daily with the topic of discussion.

Deerbourne Inn Dates

Never ask a question you’re not prepared to answer. Right? In honor of the release of Lion Dancing for Love, my second contemporary romance, and a novella in the Deerbourne Inn series, here are my answers to the Deerbourne Inn author Q&A.

What’s the first book you remember reading on your own as a child, or your favorite childhood read?Dick&Jane

The first book I remember reading was a school reader about Dick and Jane and their dog Spot. Books have improved for first graders since then! The books whose titles I can actually remember were by Enid Blyton. The Magic Faraway Treewas a favorite, as was Five On A Treasure Island. I still have my copy of the latter on the top shelf of the bookcase.

What’s your favorite place to write?

I have a little red desk which is only big enough for my laptop. I like to sit downstairs in the TV room with my doggies and the family while I write.

What’s the most important lesson you have learned on your writing journey so far?

You can always do better. If you have time for one more revision, do it!

What do you do when you feel stuck?

I listen to my characters. They know what they want to do. Sometimes, they just want to sit and gossip over a really boring cup of coffee, and I have to cut the scene later, but it gets me going.

Writers are readers too. Please recommend a romance you recently read and enjoyed.

I just finished reading Down & Dirty, the final book in Rhenna Morgan’s Men of Haven series. I’ve been waiting for what seems like forever for Axel’s story and he didn’t disappoint.

What was it that appealed to you about the Deerbourne Inn series?

I liked the collaborative nature of the project. The idea of putting my characters into someone else’s world was intriguing and challenging.

What was the inspiration behind Lion Dancing for Love?

It’s partly a fish out of water story. I wanted to find out what would happen if I put a city girl into a small town. I also wanted to put together two people from different backgrounds and see what triumphed, the differences or the similarities.

Tell us about Lion Dancing for Lovein 100 words or less.

LionDancingforLoveLicking her wounds after a bad relationship, San Diego accountant Caitlyn Summers travels to Willow Springs to help her friend gear up for the annual Maple Sugar Ball. She isn’t planning on staying long, but one encounter with the delicious Corey Duncan has her re-evaluating her plans.

Corey swore off love when his wife Annie died from breast cancer. Caitlyn is too young, too citified, and vibrates with a passion and energy that will upend the safe, comfortable rhythm of his life.

Corey has to choose between playing it safe and taking a risk on love. Caitlyn needs to find the patience to let Corey lead. If not, the Maple Sugar Ball might end in a sticky mess, instead of a slow dance with the man who has captured her heart.

Do you have an extract you can share with us?

“You don’t have to be good at it. You have to be able to follow and count to three.”

She put her hands on her hips. It was his turn to raise a brow. “I can follow—if I choose to.”

He chuckled. “Such sass. Prove it.”

He held out his left hand, and she moved forward and placed her right inside it. He twined their fingers and pulled her into position. A heady combination of scents rose from her, vanilla and pheromones and something uniquely Caitlin. Her skin was slick against his. “Rest your head against my chest,” he murmured.

“I don’t recall that as an official position.”

“It’s the one I favor. Stand on my feet. That’s it.” He adjusted her arm, so she had a good hold around his neck and drew her even closer. “Step with your right foot first…back across, together. Forward, across, together. Back, across, together. Forward, across, together.”

Halfway through the song, he let her feet slip to the ground. At the end he kept a firm grip on her waist while he hit replay, then led her through a series of fast twirls, their bodies so close they were almost one. When the song ended, they collapsed in a heap against the wall. She was giggling.

“What?”

“I get why it was considered scandalous when it was first introduced.”

He smiled and tipped her chin toward him with a finger. “It’s only scandalous if you do it properly.” He brushed his lips softly across hers, then claimed her mouth as she breathed into him.

Buy links

DeerbourneInnSeries

You can find me online here on my blog or Facebook page and on TwitterInstagram,  GoodReadsBookbub and Amazon.

 

A Romantic Rendezvous 2019

On Sunday, I participated in the Sydney leg of the Australian Romance Readers Association’s (ARRA) Romantic Rendezvous 2019. They’ve arranged signings in Brisbane (23 March), Sydney (24 March), Melbourne (30 March) and Perth (31 March), headlined by international bestselling authors Celeste Bradley (historical romance) and Keri Arthur (urban fantasy/paranormal). I shared a table and a giveaway with witty Monique McDonell (chick lit/rom-com) which was heaps of fun. It was a wonderful day catching up with old friends and meeting new readers.

Left: with authors Michelle Montebello (romantic suspense/historical) and Monique McDonell. Right: with our giveaway winner, reader Tracey Anderson.

 

With two of my taller colleagues. Left: fabulous Regency Goddess Celeste Bradley. I will be eternally grateful to ARRA for introducing me to her witty, quirky, feel-good historical romances. Right: Shannon Curtis, author of romantic suspense and contemporary and paranormal romance.

Clockwise: Cathryn Hein (rural romance) and Jodi Perry (contemporary romance/ women’s fiction; with Bronwyn Parry (romantic suspense/historical); with rom-com author Penelope Janu; and with Jodi – she had the best banner!

If you’re in Melbourne or Sydney, you can still catch up with Celeste Bradley and Keri Arthur as well as a host of other fabulous Australian romance authors. Find out more here.

Wordsmith Wednesday

Today is the first in my 2019 interviews with women wordsmiths. Up first to reveal her secrets is MV Ellis, author of four contemporary romances. Her new novel, Finding MV headshotMarnie, was released earlier this month. MV will be attending the Australian Romance Readers Association Romantic Rendezvous ARR2019 author signing in Sydney on 24 March.

What’s the first book you remember reading on your own as a child, or your favourite childhood read?

One of the first books I really remember loving as a child was a beautifully illustrated Winnie the Pooh picture book. I was enthralled by the combination of words and pictures. I still have a soft spot for Pooh to this day. There were many favourites though—Where the Wild Things Are was another that stands out in my mind. I was a big reader from day one, so my first solo read was so far back I don’t remember it, but I do remember reading Oliver Twist and A Christmas Carol at around nine or ten, which started my love for Dickens.

What’s your favourite place to write?

Hmmm…I write at my three-metre-long kitchen table. However, I do have an office (aka the spare room), but it’s currently serving as a bit of a junk room during our home renovations. When that’s all done, I’m planning on taking it back over and creating a beautiful writing haven. In the meantime, when I want a break from the dining table, I head to our local café, or even IKEA for a change of scene.

What’s the most important lesson you have learned on your writing journey so far?

It’s hard to pinpoint just one, as the past year as a published author has been a steep learning curve. However, one thing I’m currently living by is that you just have to keep on keeping on. It’s not always easy, but you’ve just got to get your eyes down, bum up and keep working and moving forward. I write every day, more often than not, into the small hours of the morning, but I know that’s what I need to do to achieve my not inconsiderable short and long term goals. My current motto is “You can sleep when you’re dead.”

What do you do when you feel stuck?

I’m fortunate enough to never have suffered from writer’s block, but on the few occasion when motivation wanes, I force myself to write, no matter how paltry an amount. Failing that, I watch TV. I’m a very visual person, and I find that consuming visual forms of storytelling helps keep my creative juices flowing, while not specifically trying to write.

Writers are readers too. Please recommend a romance you recently read and enjoyed.

I recently read LJ Shen’s Dirty Headlines, and as is always the case for me with her books, it didn’t disappoint.

What was the inspiration behind Finding Marnie?

finding  marnie_fprjpegs_frontcover.jpgBeing the fourth book in a series, Finding Marnie was somewhat inspired by the previous books, but also by reader requests to know more about some of the supporting characters from the first three books—Marnie and Luke in particular. It was a chance for us to learn more about the troubled pair, and see events portrayed in the other books from a whole new perspective, and in a very different light. Having said that, it’s a standalone novel, so great to read even if you haven’t read the other books.

Tell us about Finding Marnie in 100 words or less.

Finding Marnie: Rock Star Romance (Heartless Few Book 4), the highly anticipated fourth installment of the Heartless Few series, takes us back to the rock ‘n’ roll world of the Jones brothers, but now from a different point of view. “Quiet twin” Luke has preferred to live in his twin brother’s shadow, but when Marnie, his life-long crush, finds herself at rock bottom he’s desperate to save her, even if it means defying Arlo. In this book we see this sexy rock god finally step into the light and become the man he was meant to be, proving to both himself and Marnie that they are worth fighting for.

Do you have an extract you can share with us?

I’D LEARNED to make myself small from an early age—even before my parents had decided that I wasn’t worth living for. They’d always been all about them, and I’d always felt like an inconvenient by-product of their love, rather than a cherished part of it. The state-ordered psychologist I saw after they died had said that nothing and nobody could take away or diminish the way I felt, but it was unlikely that my parents hadn’t loved me. They may have lacked the parenting skills to adequately demonstrate it and been hampered by mental illness and addiction, but apparently, nothing in their treatment of me suggested I had been unloved.

 Try explaining that to a three-, four-, or five-year-old who was never a consideration. I was just there. Not living but existing. I quickly learned that the less space I took up, the less mental real estate I commanded from them, the happier they were with me. The smaller, the better. If I could have made myself invisible, that would have been ideal.

 I curled myself into a ball next to Luke, hugging my knees to my chest. Fuck, he made my heart hurt. In fact, he made all of me hurt. No, that wasn’t right. He made me ache. All of me ached for him. When I was feeling weak and being stupid, I allowed myself to imagine what it would be like if things were different. If I were different. If I were the kind of woman who deserved the love of a man like him. The kind of girl who could match his gentle nature and give him the love he deserved.

 I was clearly feeling more stupid and weak than normal, allowing myself to think that way when Luke was within arm’s reach. When I could just stretch out my hand and run it through his thick dark hair like I’d imagined myself doing ten thousand times before. When I could brush my hand across the stubble of his strong jaw. When I could kiss his ripe, shapely lips just once.

Buy linksMV Ellis.jpg

Where can readers find you online?

 

Australian Romance Readers Awards

I was honoured and thrilled over the weekend when I was awarded Favourite Debut ARRA 2018 AwardRomance Author 2018 by the members of the Australian Romance Readers Association members. It was unexpected, and I’m still floating on a happy cloud.

The dinner was a fun occasion, as it always is. Bestselling guest of honour Abbi Glines spoke about the importance of persistence and community support, helping other authors as we would like to be helped. She really embodied the spirit of this message as after the air flight from hell, she landed in Sydney from America a day late, worked her way through an all day signing and still made it to the dinner.

Full list of winners

Members’ Choice awards

  • Favourite 2018 romance that made me cry: Maggie’s Run by Kelly Hunter.
  • Favourite 2018 romance with laugh-out-loud moment:  Chaser by Kylie Scott.
  • Favourite Australian romance of 2018: Maggie’s Run by Kelly Hunter.
Abbi Glines

Guest speaker, bestselling author Abbi Glines.

Main Category award winners

  • The Favourite Paranormal Romance for 2018 is Ocean Light by Nalini Singh. This award was sponsored by Hachette Australia and was presented by Lousie McClean.
  • The Favourite Sci-Fi, Fantasy or Futuristic Romance 2018 is Cursed by Keri Arthur. This award was presented by Cathleen Ross.
  • The Favourite Historical Romance 2018 is Marry in Scandal by Anne Gracie. This
    Penny and Joo

    With writers group members and fellow nominees Penelope Janu (left, On the Same Page) and Joanna Nel (right, The Single Ladies of the Jacaranda Retirement Village).

    award was sponsored by Hachette Australia and was presented by Louise McClean.

  • The Favourite Contemporary Romance 2018 is Chaser by Kylie Scott. This award was sponsored by Allen & Unwin and it was presented by Abbi Glines.
  • The Favourite Short or Category Romance 2018 is Maggie’s Run by Kelly Hunter. This award was presented by Helen Sibbritt.
  • The Favourite Romantic Suspense 2018 is Dark in Death by JD Robb. This award was presented by Alli Sinclair.
  • The Favourite Continuing Romance Series 2018 is Outback Brides by Kelly Hunter, Victoria Purman, Cathryn Hein and Fiona McArthur. This award was sponsored by Harlequin Australia and was presented by Kita Kemp.
  • The Favourite Debut Romance Author of 2018 is Laura Boon. This award was sponsored by Booktopia and was presented by Ben Hunt.
  • The Favourite Australian Romance Author 2018 is Kylie Scott. This award was sponsored by Booktopia and was presented by Ben Hunt.
Amy

With Amy Andrews, bestselling author of the Sydney Smoke series, nominee in multiple categories, and key support in bringing The Millionaire Mountain Climber up to scratch.

 

 

Deerbourne Inn Dates

In late March, The Wild Rose Press will publish my novella contribution to The Deerbourne Inn series. Deerbourne Inn Dates is an introduction to the other fabulous authors in this series which revolves around an old inn in a small Vermont town. There’s something for everyone in this series – sweet, sexy, historical, contemporary, paranormal.

Today I’m talking to Peggy Jaeger, author of 15 romances. She is a contributing author to the Deerbourne Inn series and her book Hope’s Dream is available now.

What’s the first book you remember reading on your own as a child, or your favourite childhood read?

The first book I remember reading and that is still my favourite childhood book was THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD. The best book about self-motivation and visual activation I’ve ever read – even to today!

What’s your favourite place to write?

In my attic office, overlooking my property. My third-floor attic is finished and I have a room all to myself with my desk and all my writing “stuff.” My desk overlooks the wooded property surrounding my home on all four sides so it’s peaceful and lovely to watch when the trees change color in the autumn.

What’s the most important lesson you have learned on your writing journey so far?

To not get bogged down in writing a perfect book in the first draft. I need to get the entire story that’s in my mind on the page. After I do, I go back and edit – make the dialogue richer, eliminate repetitive words, make sure the timeline and POV are correct. Too many writers spend too much valuable time getting each page perfect each day. My motto is to simply write. Put God in the details once the story is finished.

What do you do when you feel stuck?

Don’t hate me, writers, but I never am. The reason is because I’m a master plotter. Before I ever put word one of a new story on the page, I’ve already got the entire story plotted out, scene to scene so I know exactly where I’m going. It’s worked well for me through 15 books!

Writers are readers too. Please recommend a romance you recently read and enjoyed.

SHELTER IN PLACE by Nora Roberts. A very timely subject in the United States – teen shootings and the aftermath that a shooting wrecks on the survivors. Plus, there’s a hot romance within the story!

What was it that appealed to you about the Deerbourne Inn series?

When the call went out for stories set in a fictional New England town in Vermont surrounding an historical Inn and quirky town characters, I knew I had to write an addition of my own because I live in a beautiful New England town in New Hampshire (next door neighbour to Vermont) and my town is filled with quirky characters. I felt like I knew Willow Springs (the Vt. Town) like the back of my hand. Everything about it felt familiar. Simply, I couldn’t not write a story!

What was the inspiration behind Hope’s Dream?

At the time the call came through for submissions I’d been tossing a plot line for a rags to riches romance around in my head. I had the characters and the plot but not the setting. The Deerbourne Inn Series provided that. I love a rags to riches and an opposites attract romance. HOPE’S DREAM has both in the main characters. One has a secret that could make the other’s life so much better, but if the secret is revealed, the love story could change – and not for the better. I had to come up with a balance that would afford my hero and heroine both their HEA and the windfall.

Tell us about Hope’s Dream in 100 words or less.perf5.000x8.000.indd

Hope Kildaire gave up her future dreams when a car accident killed her father and left her mother an invalid. Working two jobs and caring for her mother leaves Hope little free time. When a law firm representing her paternal grandparents contacts her, Hope ignores them. The family disowned her father so she wants nothing to do with them.Lawyer Tyler Coleman’s job is to obtain Hope’s signature. Getting it is harder than planned when an unexpected attraction blossoms between them. The opportunity to have everything she desires is at Hope’s fingertips. But will it come at the expense of Tyler’s love?

Do you have an extract you can share with us?

As he started back toward the inn, his hands secured in his pockets against the night chill and his neck burrowed under his scarf, he realized he needed to tell her who he was before this went any further. He should have done it tonight, as he’d originally planned. Why he hadn’t was as clear to him as the night sky above: he was frightened once she knew the truth she’d want nothing to do with him.

Could he blame her? While he hadn’t outright lied, he hadn’t told her the truth, either. Which was worse? An intentional fabrication or a lie of omission? Both felt equally wrong right now.

Disappointment had clouded her face when he’d broken their kiss. She felt something for him. That look proved it. He could only hope once she knew who he really was and why he was in her home town, she’d be able to forgive his subterfuge.

Buy links

Where can readers find you online?peggyheadshot