Friday, December 20, 2013

Southern Speak - Finding Balance

For most authors, writing isn’t just a job. It’s a passion, a need. A vital part of who we are. The compulsion to write is strong, especially when the muse strikes with a fresh idea. So how does that work over the holidays? Suddenly there’s kids under your feet, cartoons (or cricket) blaring in the background, pop tunes booming out of bedrooms and demands for food all day long. And all you want to do is write!!

Finding a balance between family and work is a struggle for everyone, but especially for the self employed. Both my husband and I are work from home parents. With two young kids it’s often a challenge. As a writer I easily get lost in my fictional world and let things slide. I mean, who needs a tidy house, stocked kitchen and clean clothes? Especially when I have a kidnapped heroine that needs to be rescued pronto!

My eldest is seven years old and she has no problem telling me to come back to reality, my two year old generally just screams until I pay attention. My husband also will remind me I have a ‘real’ life too. It’s hard to not let guilt weigh you down after you get lost in book land. I don’t mean to get so caught up that I forget my family and friends! It just sorta happens that way!

With the long summer holiday now upon us in Australia I now have my eldest to entertain all day every day. She’s used to school and seems to think I have nothing better to do than create exciting things for us to do together 24/7. I wish I could! Not only do I have deadlines to meet and edits to finish. I don’t have the imagination or the energy to keep up with her! Seriously, she’d give the Energiser Bunny a run for its money.

The only way I can see I’m going to get any writing done is to set specific times aside for it. As my husband needs to work during the day, I plan on spending my evenings glued to my laptop. Once the kids are in bed, I’m going to be working like a mad woman! I think accepting you’re not going to get words down during the day alleviates the pressure and stress of not getting it done. Realistic goals are key!

2013 was my first full year of writing and with seven releases in that time, I’ve really struggled to keep all parts of my life in check. So next year my goal is to find a balance and keep it! I doubt my house will ever be truly spotless but I will make more time for my kids and husband. I will learn how to shut down my computer and go outside into the real world and spend time with real people.

Khloe Wren

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Reading Adventures in December

Ho Ho Ho!  Welcome to a very festive instalment of Reading Adventures...

It's time to swap your coffee for egg nog (fully loaded, of course!), and to leave all those healthy food options back at the supermarket.  It's time to get SILLY!

I love Christmas.  I love the colour, the lights, the little kids' faces, the catching up with friends and family.  All absolute gold.

But the thing I quite possibly love most is the holidays?



Just as Carla Caruso and myself have been doing:

Carla Caruso

I’ve been reading Rough Diamond by “new Australian talent” Kathryn Ledson and absolutely loving it!

I think people have been raving about this book for a while, but I’ve only got onto reading it.

It’s been described as Australia’s answer to Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series and a sequel’s on the way. I love the simple, easy-to-read, humorous writing style – and the ultra-protective, gorgeous hero.

A must read! Go Aussie writers :) 

Emmeline Lock

I also picked up Rough Diamond, and just finished it last night.  Phew-ee! Somebody say, "Adventurous ROLLER COASTER with GOOD LAUGHS and HOT LERV"?  Couldn't put it down.  Yes, Ms Ledson.  I am a little weary today.  But I don't regret a moment!

I agree, Carla, it's a funny, quippy read that doesn't belabour the relationship between Erica and Jack, even though life throws all kinds of rotten tomatoes their way.   Check out Sandra O'Grady's thoughts on this book here.  

The ending did leave me a bit wanting, until I rationalised the whole "Um, Emmeline, dude, there's another book," thing.  Then, I felt that the ending was very well done, and felt that Jack was some kind of GOD.  Oh, yum.

Looking forward to Monkey Business, the next book.  And not just because I want more Jack.  Well, maybe not only because I want more Jack... 

Speaking of awesome Aussie writers...  Here's a few I've been mowing through like Christmas chocolates...

The Kissing Season - Rachel Johns.

I do love to read Ms Johns, and this 100-page book does nothing to tarnish my girl-crush.  

A gorgeous hero (with an accent!), a feisty heroine, a small-town feel and and Aussie Christmas!  What more could a reader want?!

Rubies and Black Velvet - Denise Rossetti

I'm a big fan of Rossetti's Four-Sided Pentacle series (Loved The Flame and the Shadow!), and this novella, which falls at #1.5,  brings us all the mystique and sultry heat of those books.

Once again, the hero, John, was a work of art.  He was perfect.  Completely sigh-worthy.  

A curse, a delectable hero, a strong heroine, well-woven fantasy and a number of beautifully-done erotic scenes.  Win!  

Originally published in Unlaced in 2008, it stands alone well, and is a well-worth a holiday read.  

Bravo, Ms Rossetti!

Speaking of gorgeous novellas, I've also had a few more crackers that I've taken off of the top of the TBR and devoured...

Starstruck in Seattle - Juliet Madison

An adorable, funny, quick read that left me wanting more Juliet Madison!

Which led me to...

I Dream of Johnny!

I would have bought this for the title and cover alone, but on the back of a surge of Juliet love, this one was awesome.  A very cute, uplifting read.  

Finally, allow me to share with you one final book that I have recently read and loved...

Catch of the Day - Carla Caruso

Isn't that just THE prettiest cover you have seen for eons?  Our summer (ha!) has started off very cold, and made me kinda depressed.  But fear not, one look at this cover and I was cured!  The colours, the water, the floppy hat and the little heart ... isn't it just perfect!?
Now, Ms Caruso is fully aware of my girl-crush on her (I may or may not have done some gushing over SECOND CHANCE here.) and it's only marginally embarrassing for us both.   

I would happily wear a lifetime of  weird silences and cleared throats, if I could read gems such as this.  

Set in Kingston SE, this is a wonderful coming-home story (I do love those, especially when high-flying women pack up their stilettos...).  It has a number of my favourite things--a mysterious hero, a heroine who knows what she wants and doesn't dally about decision making, crystal-blue waters, small-town heart ... and crayfish!  Heaven!

Do yourself a favour, hit the beach with this great book.  NOW!

And what is really cool is that every author featured today is AUSTRALIAN!  I KNOW!  Awesome, RIGHT?  

Oi, oi, oi!

Until next time, happy reading, and a very merry and safe Christmas to you all.

Emmeline.  xx

Monday, December 16, 2013

SARA News ~ Sizzling release, Angel finds a home, a new addition, and our new Tweet Mum

It's that time again...get yourself a cuppa, sit back and relax reading our SASSY news. 

Want something with sizzzzle....?

Khloe Wren has her latest release out now with with Evernight Publishing.

Jaguar Secrets (Menage MFM)

Who would have thought saving a stray cat could change her whole life? Yet that is exactly what happens when Cammi saves a black kitten from under a jetty.

Jaguar shapeshifter Luca is out looking for his ratbag little brother, Rogue, who has taken off again. He finds Cammi rescuing him and instantly recognizes she is his mate. She passes out when Rogue flashes form so Luca takes her home, to discover his best friend, Nate, is also Cammi’s destined mate.

When Cammi’s self-appointed big brother learns the shifters are after her heart, he takes matters into his own hands and attempts to convince her they are not for her. Who will Cammi believe? Her two new lovers or a friend who is the closest thing to family she has ever known.

Buy links: Amazon | All Romance eBooks

Check out the book trailer too!

Hitting the ARe lists!

Khloe is on a roll as already this release has made top 50 at All Romance eBooks, currently sitting at 28. It is also in the top 5 of both the shifter AND the multiple partner genres!

Angel finds a home...

Maggie Mundy has contracted MidWorld Lover (working title).  the first in a trilogy, to Soul Mate Publishing.

In other news.....

Danielle Sevenwaters welcomed a baby girl named Chloe Eloise on the lucky birthdate of 11/12/13. How awesome!

Congrats Danielle and welcome to our newest SARA honorary member!!

SARA on Twitter

Victoria Purman is going to be our new Tweet mum. 

So to catch all the latest, follow us on twitter and use the twitter handles #SAusRomA and #romancesa. 

And that's another week. Join us next week for the last SARA News of the year.


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

SARA News ~ A little bit of this, and a little bit of that...

Welcome to another week of fantastically SASSY news. 

Behind the book...

Amy T Matthews's non-fiction book which looks at writing End of the Night Girl, has been released by University of Adelaide Press.  It's called Navigating the Kingdom of the Night.

You can get the PDF for FREE but there is also a print version (Eleni: looks like the Order Online isn't working so best to call them for your copy).

Eleni Konstantine is doing a tired dance this week as she has two releases.

A world with magic?...

Enchanted, a short story from Alfie Dog Fiction.

Katharine’s life has become static. She has no friends and her workaholic husband hardly notices her. Enchantment and fascination comes in the form of a mysterious painting.

If you like noir, you'll like...

SNOOP: Snoop Cases #1, a paranormal noir novelette, from Musa Publishing.

Bob's rule of investigating: Never take the paranormal at face value.

Daisy Luck is a SNOOP - Sanctioned Nationalized Officer Of the Paranormal. Her latest case involving a vampire and a gremlin has her private eye senses in a spin. Throw in yummy Detective Maroney and her life couldn't get more complicated - or could it?

Translation anyone?

Trish Moreyova rides again with the Czech translation of Fiancee For One Night.

A poet at heart? 

Join Lilliana Rose with her latest piece, No Friends, on Every Day Poets.

Nothing like a good cover. Here is some cover love.

Random Romance is releasing a print anthology next year called All My Love. Included are stories from our own Virginia Taylor (Dr No Commitment) and Claire Baxter (Anybody But Him). What a simply gorgeous cover. 

Anne Oliver's UK cover for Mistletoe Not Required.

In other news....

Lilliana Rose tweeted the following...

@LillianaRose2: 50,024 words for the month of Nov :) I now have a novel. Just another 30k I reckon and it will be finished! #NaNoWriMo2013

Well done, Lilliana on finishing your goal. 

Did anyone else try it this year?

That's it from me, your roving SARA reporter. Until next time.


Friday, December 6, 2013

UP-CLOSE with medical romance writer Susanne Hampton!

How long were you writing romance before you received ‘the call’?

My interest in writing romance began around 1994. Until then it had been a passion of reading romance novels - in particular, Danielle Steel. I joined the Romance Writers of SA and looked forward to the monthly meetings to learn more about the industry and be encouraged by this amazing group of women from all walks of life. They helped me immensely and their support was invaluable. I met Mills & Boon authors Trish Morey and Lucy Clark when they were beginning their careers.

My first manuscript was mailed almost 19 years ago to Mills & Boon. This was long before emailed submissions were accepted and it took many months to receive my first rejection. When the letter arrived I was devastated but picked myself up and went to work on the next story. This partial was also rejected and it became a pattern, but with each rejection came a longer letter from the editors explaining why it wasn’t suitable and suggestions on how I could improve the storyline or writing.

Career and family took precedence and in 2000 I took a break from writing. In 2004, I moved to Los Angeles where I lived for two years with my daughters. I joined a local writers' group in California where I met Mills & Boon medical author Lynne Marshall. This inspired me to return to writing but it wasn’t until 2011 that I actually submitted another manuscript. Another rejection followed but again it had a lengthy explanation of the reasons why it wasn’t suitable and the suggestion that I should submit another partial for consideration. I did and on 8 July 2013, I received ‘the call’ from London.

Why medical romance?

One of my favourite authors when I began writing was Marion Lennox. I really enjoyed her writing style with touches of humour and medical settings. My background is in the dental specialist field so I thought it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to research the world of medicine. I also love drama, emotional tension and the pace of Grey’s Anatomy and ER.

Where and when do you write?

Only a few months before I received ‘the call’ my husband bought me the most beautiful mahogany writing bureau and it is my little piece of serenity. I don’t use it for anything but writing my books. Nothing else happens…. no paying bills, nothing boring or practical. Just writing manuscripts. When I look up I can see the books of the writers I admire most behind the narrow glass doors and this inspires me to keep writing.

It is my creative zone and I find I can completely shut out the world and forget where I am. I write most days. During the week, this is after work and on the weekends I devote Saturdays to writing. I absolutely love writing and never find it a chore. The day the second book was accepted, my editor told me to take a well-earned rest and the first thing I did was begin a synopsis for the next book. It’s addictive!

Will you let your daughter - Aussie musician, singer-songwriter and guitarist Orianthi - read your books?

Just as Ori allows me to hear the songs as she writes them, I am happy to let her read my work. She is an avid reader of all genres, but has a leaning towards biographies and spiritual subjects so my books will be something very different!

How do you keep busy when you're not writing?

My role as senior program officer within Aboriginal Programs keeps me busy from 9-to-5. In my spare time, away from writing, I enjoy dressmaking. I studied design and construction at TAFE SA for three years before I was married and I design and make jackets for Ori to wear onstage. I’m also a volunteer at the Capri Cinema at Goodwood.

Susanne's hotly anticipated books to look out for...

* Unlocking The Doctor’s Heart – medical romance due out in March 2014 in North America, UK and Australia.

* Back In Her Husband’s Arms – medical romance due out in June 2014 in North America, UK and Australia.

And find her on Twitter here!

Monday, December 2, 2013

SARA News ~ Covers, releases, photo ops, oh, my

I've been in assignment hell the last couple of weeks and the SARA News had been unintentionally put on hold. But what a bumper of an issue we have today!!

Buckle up. It's time to get SASSY....

Claire Baxter is pleased to have a new contract with Random House Australia for a Random Romance to be published in March 2014. Titled Love On Location, the story is a romantic comedy about a girl who finds love in the most unlikely of places.

Anne Oliver had a fab photo showing off her latest KISS book on Twitter/Instagram. This is the Great photo of actress and singer Vanessa Hudgens of High School Musical fame with Anne's Mistletoe Not Required.

Victoria Purman has received the cover for her second book in the Boys of Summer series due for release 1st February 2014! Here is Someone Like You. Smashing...

Carla Caruso and her boys were spotted in The Advertiser on the November 11th edition.

Everyone say awwwwwww. Heroes in the making, no doubt. 

Looking for Christmas pressies?

Carla's latest release, Catch of the Day is now available from Penguin (print and e-book) and Destiny Romance (e-book only)!

Virginia Taylor'debut release, Doctor No Commitment, is out now from Random Romance!  Buy your copy today from here.

In other news....

Lilliana Rose (left), Eleni Konstantine (right), and Kate all had the chance to meet George R.R. Martin at a book signing at Supanova in Adelaide. Yes, there were line ups but it was worth the wait. 

Elizabeth Rolls  has an Harlequin Historical Advent Giveaway happening on her blog. Check it out!

Told you it was a bumper!

Until next time...


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

What a Character with Aubree Taylor

What a Character is here with you again.
This month we have Leesa giving us an insight into a character in her manuscript

From: Winning the Player by Leesa Bow

Genre: New Adult/Contemporary Romance/Sport

Character: Aubree Taylor

Age: 20 years old.

Set in Adelaide, South Australia.

1. What is the worst thing that has ever happened to you?

Two things have impacted my life.

The first when I was twelve, my father died in his sleep, resulting from an overdose of prescription drugs mixed with alcohol. He was an alcoholic but not the abusive type. It was a difficult time, especially seeing my Mum extremely distraught so I threw myself into basketball and trained everyday to block out the pain.

The second incident happened when I was seventeen. I injured my knee playing basketball for South Australia in a National tournament. It wasn’t just any injury. I’d ruptured my anterior, medial and lateral ligaments, after going up for a rebound and landing off balance while my opponents knee crashed into mine causing it to buckle and hyperextend. I remember crumbling to the ground screaming in pain.

The damage snowballed from physical to life changing.

Everyone believed I could make a come back and return to an elite level. It was my physiotherapist and surgeon who yanked me back to reality, emphasising how tough it would be and how I’d have to work three times harder.

The devastation wore down all my mental strength and I didn’t see the point. Swamped by so many positive people believing I could make a come back only pushed me further away. To disappoint myself was one thing but let down those who loved and believed in me a whole different ball game. So I pretended to be over basketball with a new interest of seeing the world, creating new adventures, and finding out who I really was.

Subsequently I took off overseas for the next two years.

2. How would you describe yourself in one sentence?

Tall, slim, long brown hair, and green eyes like my mother; lacking self-confidence like my father.

3. What makes you laugh out loud? 
My best friend Maddy. She has a great sense of humour and claims it’s her Irish heritage. I think it’s her temper and having a smart mouth along with not being afraid of anyone.

4. What is your greatest fear? 
To have my heart broken.

5. What do you hate? 

Especially arrogant athletes like some football players.

6. What is your idea of happiness?

Being surrounded by family and close friends.

Finding inner peace and a sense of belonging.

And of course true love! Secretly I’ve always enjoyed reading the steamy romance books under my mother’s bed. They have kindled a yearning for happy-ever-after.

You can find Leesa on Twitter and on her Facebook page.