Tag Archives: romantic suspense

Wordsmith Wednesday

Highlighting wonderful women writers 

Today I’m talking to Leisl Leighton, author of paranormal and romantic suspense novels. Her eighth book, Climbing Fear, a romantic suspense, is out now.

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

The most significant one was Anne of Green Gables. I’d read many books before this that I loved – Nancy Drew, Black Beauty, The Hobbit, Little Women, Milly Molly Mandy and so on – but Anne was the first person like me that I ever saw in a book. There’d been elements of other characters in other books I read that were like me, but Anne almost seemed like she was me. Her story felt real and personal and I’ve read it – and all the other books in the series – over and over again. It was also super special because my Nanna gave these books to me because she’d read them when she was the same age as me and loved them because they spoke to her little red-headed heart as well.

What’s your favourite place to write?

Anywhere. I don’t have a favourite place because I write wherever I can. I do have a lovely desk set up at home with a view of the elm tree in our front yard, but it’s too cold in there at this time of the year. I write in my armchair with the dogs and cats lying around me, which is lovely.

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

Keep going. Don’t think all advice is the advice for you, but still listen and think about it and every book is a new beginning – enjoy the ride.

What do you do when you feel stuck?

I talk with my writing friends and workshop the problems. They always help – and not because they necessarily come up with the answers, but because they help me to rethink it and figure out what the problem is and come up with a solution. Normally I knew what it was, but just need to say it out loud and have their affirmation and confirmation to help me take that step.

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

I love the Emily Larkin Baleful Godmother series. Also, anything by Nalini Singh – I just love her paranormal books.

What was the inspiration behind Climbing Fear?

My love of horses, my experiences on horse riding camps when I was younger, my husband proposing to me on horseback, and a trip to Walhalla years ago all came together in my head and created the story that became Climbing Fear. I’m not sure why the suspense element, other than the mountains and hills always seem so mysterious and ripe to be the setting for a suspense story.

Tell us about your Climbing Fear.

A Coalcliff Stud novel—His beloved home is under threat, and with it the beautiful, haunted woman he’s never been able to forget …

X-Treme TV sports star Reid Stratton has everything—until his best friend falls to his death on a climb while shooting their show. In the fierce media fallout, Reid begins to question everything about himself. Crippled by a new fear of climbing, Reid returns to CoalCliff Stud, his family’s horse farm, to recover.

Single mother Natalia Robinson is determined to start afresh, away from the shadow of her past. A job at CoalCliff Stud where she lived as a child is the perfect opportunity to live the quiet life she always wanted. But she is unprepared to see Reid, and is even more unprepared for the passion that still burns between them.

But after a series of menacing events threaten the new home she is trying to build, Nat realises that Reid is the only person she can rely on to keep her and her daughter safe. Together, Reid and Nat must face the pasts that haunt them if they are to survive the present and forge a future of hope.

Do you have an extract you can share with us?

‘Right. Here goes nothing.’ Or something. Reid really hoped it was something.

He dipped his hands into his chalk bag, wiping the chalk over them, shaking off the excess then stepped up to the rock face and took a deep breath. His lungs filled with the scent of dirt and lichen and the sharp scents of the eucalypts that gave the Blue Mountains their moniker. In the distance a bird cawed, the sound echoing and lonely. He couldn’t take any notice, must concentrate on the wall of rock before him.

Heart pounding, he rolled his shoulders and tried to ignore the perspiration trickling down his forehead, his back. His palms itched. This was the moment of truth. His moment of truth.

He should probably have got Steve and the production crew involved in this climb, to capture his big comeback for posterity—and the ratings it would undoubtedly bring—but he’d wanted to do this in private. It seemed right somehow that his first climb after the accident wasn’t in front of the cameras. The first time ever he hadn’t wanted to show off for the world. He could just imagine what Luke would have said about that.

But then, Luke couldn’t say anything. He was dead.

He shuddered, a cold sweat prickling his skin. Don’t think of that. Think of the climb. Only the climb.

Only the climb. It had been their mantra and had served him well through championships and their TV show, but now the words hung empty.

Race you to the top. The echo of Luke’s voice rang in his ears. He shook his head and looked up at the wall of rock in front of him. He’d done this climb at Echo Point many times before, the view from the top of the famous sandstone plateau one you could breathe into your soul and keep with you forever.

The line he’d chosen wasn’t a difficult climb—bloody easy compared to what he’d done before—but a good solid one to cut his teeth on. What he and Luke had become famous for. And if he was to get their TV show up and going again, do the charity climb in Luke’s name that he and Steve planned on the soaring pristine lines of the Gorge at Mt Buffalo—Luke’s favourite place to climb and the first place they’d ever filmed themselves climbing to post online—he needed to do this.

‘Right.’ He clapped his hands together, chalk blooming up, making his nose twitch. ‘One grip at a time.’ He stepped to the rock face, reached, took the first hold, fingers gripping over the small ridge of rock and pulled up. He settled his feet into grooves in the striations of the sandstone—only five reach holds, none of them difficult, before he would position the first cam to clip the lead rope to. He would normally free climb this section, but nerves had him needing to anchor the rope. It was a bit of a stupid thing to do without a partner, but given what happened the last time he climbed with one …

He swallowed hard. He’d checked his rope, the cams and carabiners a hundred times before getting here and again once here. They were safe. Nothing would break. He was good. He needed this. He reached for the next hold, gripped, found a foot hold, pushed up grabbed the next grip. Easy. There was no reason for his heart to be a thunder of hooves in his chest. For his breath to be coming in short-sharp gasps, razoring his throat, as if he’d just run the London Marathon. No reason for sweat to be dripping off him. Or for the ghost pain to be driving through his shoulder like an ice spike. His shoulder was healed and aside from the pull of the scar tissue, it shouldn’t be hurting. It was strong. He’d worked hard to make it strong again. Why else had he done that if not to get back to this?

Push through, Stratton. Eye on the prize. Think of the climb. We can do this.

He blinked the sweat out of his eyes, rubbing his face against his shoulder before he pushed up for the next grip. Two more and he’d reach the fissure he could push the cam into and create his anchor.

He settled his toes firmly in the thin ridge of rock, feeling the dig of the sharp stone through his thin, flexible rock climbing shoes, before reaching up again. His fingers found purchase on a little jut of weathered stone. He pulled up.

Rock crumbled through his fingers. He began to slip. He made a desperate grab for a nearby small ridge in the rock, but his foot slipped. For a moment, he hung, scrabbling at the rock, trying to find the holds he’d found before, but it was as if the rock face had become a sheet of marble, slippery and smooth. He could find nothing. Nothing. His shoulder was screaming, the pain spiking through him. His fingers were slipping. He couldn’t hold on. He was going to fall. Going to fall.

Buy links

iTunes

Amazon Aus

Amazon US

Kobo

Google Play

Where can readers find you online?

If you’d like to know more about me, my books, or to connect with me online, you can visit my webpage www.leislleighton.com, follow me on twitter @LeislLeighton https://twitter.com/LeislLeighton, or like my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Leisl-Leighton-Author-367381126695193.

Leisl Leighton Author Bio

Leisl is a tall red head with an overly large imagination. As a child, she identified strongly with Anne of Green Gables. A voracious reader and a born performer, it came as no surprise to anyone when she did a double major in English Literature and Drama for her BA, then went on to a career as an actor, singer and dancer, as well as script writer, stage manager and musical director for cabaret and theatre restaurants (one of which she co-owned and ran for six years).

After starting a family Leisl stopped performing and instead, began writing the stories that had been plaguing her dreams. Leisl’s stories have won and placed in many competitions in Australia and the US, including the STALI, Golden Opportunities, Heart of the West, Linda Howard Award of Excellence, Touch of Magic and many others.

Leisl lives in the leafy suburbs of Melbourne with her two beautiful boys, lovely hubby, overly spunky dogs, Buffy and Skye, and likes to spend time with family and friends. She is addicted to the Syfy channel, and her shelves are full of fantasy and paranormal books and scifi DVDs. She sometimes sings in a choir, has worked as a swim teacher, loves to ski, can talk the hind leg off a donkey and has been President of Romance Writers of Australia from 2014-2017.

My other books are: Dangerous Echoes: Book 1 of the Echo Springs Series. Or if you like your suspense mixed with the paranormal, then you should try my four book Pack Bound series: Pack Bound, Moon Bound, Shifter Bound and Wolf Bound—available now.

Buy Links for Dangerous Echoes:

iBooks, Google Play, Kobo, Amazon AU

Or you can buy the four book series, Echo Springs, in paperback at Big W, Kmart and online at Angus&Robertson, Booktopia, The Nile, Boomerang Books, Dymocks

Buy Links for the Pack Bound Series:

Amazon Here, iBooks Here, Google Play Here, Kobo Here

 

Wordsmith Wednesday

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Today I am delighted to host Christine Clark, who is here to tell us about her new book, her fifth action-packed romantic suspense novel, Secret Betrayal. I have travel envy (in addition to fifth book envy) as Christine has recently returned from a fabulous trip to Morocco. You can read more about it on her blog.

About the book:

Head college librarian, Marissa Reynolds has spent years distancing herself from her SecretBetrayal_w12786_750crime king pin uncle and his criminal empire. When she awakens in an unfamiliar hotel room with blood on her hands and no memory of how she got there, the past returns with a vengeance, and her life spirals into a nightmare.

Straight-laced, Assistant district Attorney, Scott Bannister has spent a lifetime seeking justice for the senseless gangland shooting deaths of his parents. When he realizes Marissa is the niece of his prime suspect, he crosses a line guaranteed to put in jeopardy both his life and his beloved career.

He’s made it clear he’ll do anything to destroy her uncle. She fears he’s using her to achieve his goal. As the body count mounts, and their lives are threatened, they must put aside their distrust and work together to find the devious killer. Will they be able to forgive and find true love?

Excerpt: 

She pushed to her hands and knees. The pounding in her brain mushroomed into a full-blown, jackhammer assault. With a moan, she sank onto her bottom and grabbed her head in a fruitless effort to keep her brain from exploding. Despite the pain, she needed to get up. Something was wrong. Something was very wrong.

Faint wisps of light seeped through the edges of the window curtains. The distant sound of traffic echoed through the glass. A lamp imbued the room with a soft, rosy glow, revealing a king-size bed. The cover on the bed was a glossy, garish pink, the pillows covered in the same lurid color, the edges trimmed with frilly, black lace.

She rubbed the back of her neck and closed her eyes, but when she opened them again she was still in the unfamiliar room. A battered desk faced the bed, a large, flat screen television on top. The flickering images of a naked, full-breasted woman being entertained by two equally naked men played across the screen.

A wingback chair, covered in black leatherette sat in the far corner where a door was ajar revealing the cracked linoleum floor of a bathroom and the edge of a chipped porcelain sink. A framed diagram of a fire escape route was posted on the back of the other door. A hotel room? She dug her fingers into her temples. Why couldn’t she remember? 

Buy Links:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2H4kvbO

iTunes: https://apple.co/2Hno9O2

Nook: https://bit.ly/2Jlz4Kp

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/secret-betrayal

Google Books: https://bit.ly/2XlPANO

Author Bio:

Secret Betrayal is award-winning author C.B. Clark’s fifth romantic suspense novel published by The Wild Rose Press. She has worked as an archaeologist and an educator, and enjoys hiking, canoeing, and snowshoeing with her husband and dog near her home in the wilderness of central British Columbia.

Social Media Links:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cbclarkauthor/

Blog: https://cbclarkauthor.wordpress.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/cbclarkauthor

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cbclarkauthor/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15029617.C_B_Clark

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/C.-B.-Clark/e/B01BK61TQG/

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.

Release Day Celebration

To celebrate the release of my romance The Millionaire Mountain Climber, I am hosting a party on Facebook with the 1-Click Addict Support Group and a clutch* of other authors. Join us for the chance to meet  new people, discover new books and win prizes.

Date 24 – 25 October (depending on where in the world you live)

24th 3-10pm American EST OR 25th 6am – 1pm Australian AEDT

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*Is clutch the right word for a group of authors? Happy to take suggestions.

Diversity in Romance: US report finds only 7.8% of romance titles by people of colour

Diversity in romance is a hot topic at the moment. It’s fuelled by questions around cultural identity and sales.

Who has the right to create characters from different backgrounds? On the one hand, no one is better positioned to write a character with, say, an African American background than an African American. On the other hand, taken to extremes, that argument would mean no Othello, no Ophelia and no romance heroes with their own POV, at least not when written by female writers. And does this mean that a writer from an Asian background can’t write Regency Romance, even if she wants to? And what does it mean about aliens and shape-shifters? The world would be a much duller place if writers only wrote what they knew.

There is also, of course, the issue of unrepresented minorities in history. We think of medieval Britain as an island predominantly populated by white people, but what of the descendants of the African Roman soldiers stationed along Hadrian’s Wall before the collapse of the Roman Empire?

Then there is the thorny issue of sales. Which comes first, the demand or the story? I’m inclined to favour the perspective that the way forward is to ensure diversity within publishing houses. If editors and publishers have diverse interests and backgrounds, they will find those great books which have universal appeal regardless of the cultural identity, nationality or race of the characters.

The publishing industry certainly isn’t there yet. Bookseller and Publisher covered an 2rippedbodicereport2016Entertainment Weekly story on The Ripped Bodice’s report on the racial diversity of romance publishing in the US during 2016. The Ripped Bodice is a romance specialist bookstore. They found that only 7.8% of romance titles published were written by people of colour. ‘People of colour’ is a broadly descriptive term that not all writers of non-Anglo Saxon heritage will identify with. However, given that US census figures indicate that up to 28% of the American population identifies as either black or Hispanic, the diversity book is clearly not balanced.

Half of the 20 publishers surveyed had fewer than five percent of their books authored by people of colour, and only three publishers had at least 10% of their books authored by people of colour.

The report co-authors and owners of The Ripped Bodice, Leah and Bea Koch, said they were motivated to conduct the study ‘because they often found themselves short of options when customers come in looking for traditionally published books by authors of color’.

‘We have found it difficult to continue the conversation about diversity in romance without hard data,’ said the Kochs. ‘For many years the common refrain from publishers has been “we’re working on it.” Every year we will track industry growth and see if that promise rings true.’

The report notes that all of the publishers mentioned were invited to contribute statistics to the study. More than half engaged directly, with the missing data gathered from publisher and distributor websites.

I think this is an excellent initiative by The Ripped Bodice. I’m also giving a shout-out to all those publishers who participated willingly and all the indie authors who publish diverse romance but weren’t covered by this study. The more we talk, the more answers and solutions we’ll create and the more great romances we will have to read.

Australia has a very diverse, multicultural society. It would be interesting to see a similar study done here. I suspect the numbers would not look much better although I do know many publishers who actively hunt for and publish magnificent stories by individuals from marginalised or misunderstood groups, whether because of their cultural background, sexual preferences or other factors.

If you’re looking for a reading list of diverse authors and characters, try one of these four books, or have a browse on GoodReads, where there are many recommended book lists complete with comments.

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New Book Review: Cyber Genius (Book 3 Family Genius) by Patricia Rice

Soundbite for Cyber Genius

Evil Genius, a mystery novel by Patricia RiceAnastasia (Ana) Devlin has trust issues. This happens if your mother is a beautiful spy who is always hustling you and your half siblings in and out of danger. She would hesitate to call herself a genius, keeping that label for siblings like Tudor. However, her particular combination of tech-savviness and people smarts combined with courage and loyalty make her a formidable force –  particularly in defence of her family.

At the beginning of Cyber Genius, Ana reluctantly acknowledges that her family loyalty now appears to extend to Amadeus Graham, the big, handsome, intriguing and extremely secretive security consultant who runs his operation from the third floor of their family home and has a hold over their inheritance. When Graham gets into trouble and becomes a person of interest in the murder of the senior management team of MacroWare, the global computer software monopoly, Ana reluctantly decides she must help him (although not without trading her help for information regarding the family millions). To make matters worse, Tudor thinks he may have sparked the MacroWare crisis with a worm he designed to protect his identity that appears to have gone rogue when it fell down a spyhole that the software giant is denying exists. Ana has to enlist the help of more family members to identify the villains and keep Tudor on track for a ‘normal’ university scholarship at MIT whilst keeping a firm hold over the hormones that spark every time Graham is in sight.

With Anastasia Devlin Patricia Rice has created a heroine who would enjoy having dinner with Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum and Lisa Scottoline’s Mary DiNunzio. If you like your heroines with attitude and your heroes with muscle, you’ll love Cyber Genius. It’s a fast-paced mystery peppered with family and villains, state secrets and petty jealousies, and a hint of lust with the promise of more.

Patricia Rice is a particularly talented author. Having previously only read her historical novels, I was blown away by the radical change in tone, style and voice she demonstrates in the Family Genius series. She demonstrates extraordinary skill as both a story teller and a linguist par excellence in recreating different time periods and characters to match.

Cyber Genius releases on 29 September and is available in paperback and ebook from Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and the Book View Cafe.

 

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Evil Genius, book one in the series, is free right now. It received a 4-star review from RT Book Review: “This thought-provoking story includes a convoluted mystery and some fascinating characters. The interactions between Ana and the mysterious Amadeus are delightful. The ending will leave readers longing for more stories about this captivating heroine and her gifted half-siblings.” 

More about the author

Author Patricia RicePatricia Rice is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author with several million books in print. Her emotionally-charged contemporary and historical romances have won numerous awards, including the RT Book Reviews Reviewers Choice and Career Achievement Awards. Her books have been honored as Romance Writers of America RITA® finalists in the historical, Regency and contemporary categories.