Wednesday, June 26, 2013

What A Character: Tamara Gill's Lelantos

by Maggie Mundy

We kick off the What A Character column with a character from Tamara Gill's Guardian.

First lets have a look at Guardian....

GUARDIAN (Daughters of the Gods, Book II)

Can love conquer hate, revenge and even family duty?

Caitlin, daughter of the most powerful god Zeus, has one mission. Hunt down the Titan who betrayed her father and kill him.

But what if your target is more human than deity, more wickedly attractive and sexy than anyone you’d ever met?

But Zeus is a god who does not forgive and Caitlin swore to obey the decree of Olympus.

Now let's get down to business and have a chat with Lelantos....

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

Eons ago I had to fight against Zeus at Mt Olympus. It was probably one of the most darkest times of my life, yet also one of the brightest. I met Caitlin on the field, and well, sparks didn’t just fly off our swords.

What do you do best?

How old are the people who read this blog? I’m not sure my answer would be appropriate.

What do you like least and best about the person you are?

I don’t dislike anything about myself. I was born with a gift and I enjoy my life as much as I can. Now that I can share my time on earth with the woman I love, life has just been getting better and better.

Do you have any distinguishing marks?


What makes you really angry?

Zeus and his controlling, revenge seeking ways. It probably doesn’t help that I, a Titan, married his daughter.

What is your greatest fear?

I never used to care for a lot, but now my greatest fear would be to lose Cat. She’s everything to me and I cannot imagine my life without her.

Have you been in love and had a broken heart?

No. *looks at Cat who’s sitting across from him* not yet.

What is your current state of mind?

Happy and content which is new for me. I like it.

Do you believe in luck?

Shit yes! *laughs* I’ve had a lot of that over the centuries.

What is your idea of happiness?

Caitlin. Always Cat.

What would you do to save someone you love?

Anything. *leans over and kisses Cat* I would die for them.

Thanks Lelantos and thanks Tamara for letting us talk to him. 

You can find Tamara at her websiteWhere love is worth risking one's reputation…

Twitter @Tamara_Gill 

You can purchase Guardian from Amazon, and list it on Goodreads

Monday, June 24, 2013

SARA News - Short stories, poems, covers, Oh, MY!

Got your coffee and Tim Tam(s) at the ready?

Welcome to another better-than-good good news post from SARA.

Lilliana Rose's poem, "Farmer's Wife Valentine" will be published Inkerman and Blunt's upcoming Love Poems Anthology.

Lilliana and her short story 'Taking Time' will be joining Suzie Hindmarsh-Knights in Alfiedog's future Beach Read "Came as 'Me', Left As 'We'", which is due for release in July.

Kyoko Church also has a cover for 'Sweet. Sweeter', which will be available both in and separate from the Sweetmeats Press anthology Made For Hire, available in eBook and print from July 15th and July 24th respectively.  

On Tuesday June 25th, Kyoko will be hosting Sex In Words, a fun, sexy and exciting event hosted by Dymocks Adelaide, featuring Kyoko, Angela Castle and Kate Belle showcasing their work.  To find out more, head on over to Dymocks' blog, and don't forget to book!  There will be sexy reads ... and wine!

Musa Publishing will be releasing Eleni Konstantine's 'Snoop', a paranormal noir novelette, on December 6th this year.  Looking forward to that one!

Until next time, happy reading.


Friday, June 21, 2013

Southern Speak: Emotion in Romance Writing

Emotion in Romance Writing

Emotion plays a very important part in romance writing. Without emotion, you end up with hollow empty characters that are just going through the motions. I believe, no matter your genre, emotion can improve every scene of a book. Here are a couple of examples of how emotion can make a difference:

The original text from my book, Her Guardian Angel:

‘Adele sucked in a breath; her butterflies were going berserk at the sight Dominic presented. He stood tall and confident, with his erection long, thick and pointing straight at her as if directing him. She took in his whole body from feet to head and she settled on his beautiful face. She could see the hint of vulnerability in his eyes. Her heart melted as she realized he was worried about her opinion of him.’

Without any emotion, it would basically read:

‘Adele looked at Dominic. He was naked and aroused.’

It’s certainly shorter, more efficient. But doesn’t really have the same impact does it?

Here’s a longer snippet, from Imogene Nix’ Starfire, this time, let’s start with the stripped down version first:

‘He got up and moved away from her reach.
“No, Jem. You aren’t ready yet, and neither am I.”
“Well, I would certainly beg to differ there.”
She cast a glance toward his groin.
“Jem, don’t make this harder than it is.”
“Do you reckon it could? Get harder, I mean?”
“Jemma, please don’t push this now. I want to build a relationship with you. But we need time to let it grow.”
He moved forward and reached a hand toward her. She rose from the seat, “Raven, I want this and you want this. Here we are, with time we wouldn’t normally have. I don’t want our first time to be rushed and hurried, with you going one way and me the other. Right? Please?”
She moved toward him with her hands outstretched. He moved forward, grabbing her, pulling her closer. His mouth descended on hers.’

Now, as it appears in the book:

‘He got up and moved away from her reach. The redness of his face and the tightly curled hands told her how hard he fought. “No, Jem. You aren’t ready yet, and neither am I.” His voice was hard, gravelly with the desire he warred against.
“Well, I would certainly beg to differ there.” She cast a glance toward his groin.
“Jem, don’t make this harder than it is.”
“Do you reckon it could? Get harder, I mean?” She knew her eyes sparkled as she grinned, and the flush of her skin had to let him know exactly what she wanted, how she burned for his touch.
“Jemma, please don’t push this now. I want to build a relationship with you. But we need time to let it grow.” He moved forward and reached an entreating hand toward her. His eyes told a different story though. He wanted her, and now. She could see it in his face and the way he held his body tightly controlled.
She rose from the seat gracelessly. “Raven, I want this and you want this. Here we are, with time we wouldn’t normally have. I don’t want our first time to be rushed and hurried, with you going one way and me the other. Right? Please?” She moved toward him with her hands outstretched, and it was as if a switch turned. He moved forward, grabbing her, pulling her closer. His mouth descended hard--demanding-- hot. Devouring her with his passion.’

 Again, it’s just not the same without emotion.

A well written emotion charged scene will pull in a reader, even if it’s not a genre they usually read. I have never read m/m before, when a friend asked if I’d critique a m/m piece for her. Tamsin Baker is a good friend and we pretty much read everything the other writes. So, I said sure but warned her, I couldn’t help much with the m/m dynamic because I didn’t know much about it. She emailed through her book ‘Truth Be Told’ and I couldn’t put it down.

She’s got so much emotion in there, you can’t help but fall for the characters. Truth be Told is the story of Patrick and Liam, Patrick is firmly in the closet while Liam is loud and proud. Their journey has pain, rejection, acceptance and a few surprises along the way. To give you a taste of the story I’ve included an excerpt from the book, I chosen a scene with no sexual undertones so as not to offend anyone. This scene happens at Patrick's apartment, Patrick and Liam have just woken up after a night together when the door bell rings and Patrick goes to answer it.

‘“I know it’s early, but you have always been a morning person.”
Patrick followed his mother to the kitchen, a horrible feeling of inevitability settling into the pit of his stomach.
His apartment was a three-bedroom, and his bedroom was at the opposite end to the kitchen. They had a chance of not being discovered.
Patrick heard Liam begin walking down the hall. “Patrick, did you get rid of the neighbour?”
Patrick hoped to God that Liam wasn’t naked, but he would be. Patrick called out as casually as possible, striving to keep the panic out of his voice.
“No, it’s my mum.”
“F***…” he heard Liam swearing as he ran back to the bedroom, hopefully to get more than just his pants.
“Who was that? Oh, Patrick, I am so sorry. I never thought you’d have someone over.”
How the f*** am I going to handle this?
“It’s just Liam. He stayed over after we went out last night.”
“Oh, I didn’t think he wanted to go out after dinner.” His mother took out Patrick’s favourite chocolate cake and began filling up the kettle with water.
“Milly changed his mind. We went out and had a few drinks, and thought it would be better if he stayed here.”
Patrick leaned back against the bench, relief filling him. He could brazen this out.
“Just Liam? You’re kidding me, right?” Liam’s angry voice filled the kitchen.
Patrick turned and saw his lover, jeans on, black shirt unbuttoned. He was ruffled but absolutely gorgeous.
His mother’s nervous laugh filled the air. She obviously liked the look of Liam’s naked chest and perfect abs.
“Good morning, Liam.”
“Good morning, Mrs. Considine.” Liam’s tone was curt, but he manged half a smile.
“Oh, please, call me Christine.” His mother looked between Patrick and his furious boyfriend. “Would you like a coffee, Liam, or a piece of cake?”
Liam pulled on his shoes with jerky movements and picked up the keys he’d left on the bench.
“Thank you, Mrs. Considine, but I have to go.”
Liam headed for the front door and Patrick knew he wasn’t coming back. Panic gripped him.
“I’ll walk you out,” Patrick called out as he ran after his lover. Patrick grabbed Liam’s arm as he opened the front door.
“Don’t f***ing touch me.” Heat and fury rolled off Liam in such intense waves, Patrick took a step back.
“Liam, you know I can’t…” He tried to explain. Liam knew that he couldn’t tell his parents the truth. The would never forgive him.
“I know that you are scared sh*tless, and I know that last night meant nothing to you. Because if you had meant it when you said you loved me, you wouldn’t be lying to your mother this morning.”
Patrick heard the gasp behind him and knew his mother had heard what Liam had said. She had always been nosy.
“Goodbye, Patrick.” Liam opened the door and walked out, slamming the door behind him.
Patrick closed his eyes, unable to believe what had just happened. He may have just lost his boyfriend, but had he lost his parents as well?’

The same can work in reverse. A book can have the ultimate best storyline ever conceived. But without emotion, it will seem hollow, and readers will turn away pretty quickly feeling unconnected to the characters. There are lots of tricks to help add emotion. When I’m writing, I put myself into the character’s place. Basically pretend I’m them for the scene, that helps me visualise and really feel what’s happening around the character. I posed the question on the Erotic Writers of Australia facebook page and others said they write detailed profiles for each character before they even start writing the story. I’m simply not that organised to pull that one off. Others said they do an interview with their characters, and another said she runs the scene through her mind like a movie, then writes it out.

A great way to add emotion is to use a resource like The Emotion Thesaurus. Instead of simply saying “Tina was overcome with her desire.” Explain it out, using the Thesaurus, it can become:
“Tina’s lips parted as she felt her palms grow damp with sweat. She became acutely aware of her pounding heart and the warmth growing between her thighs.”
How much better does that sound? I love this resource and use it every day in my writing.

Well, that’s it for me! I hope I’ve given you all something to think about and helped you increase your emotion in your stories.

Until next time, keep writing.

Khloe Wren

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Reading Adventures

This is the column where the SARA gals tell you about books they have been reading.

To start off, here's some adventures our Sassy bloggers have been reading.

Khloe Wren

The 28th of May saw the latest instalment of Alexandra Ivy’s Guardians of Eternity series released.  So, I thought I’d revisit the whole series before I read the latest.  This series is in the paranormal romance genre, it’s mainly focused on vampires and werewolves, however there are many other demons in the books. My favourite has to be Levet, the miniature French gargoyle (I actually named my daughter’s grey guinea pig Levet).

I didn’t get the whole way through the series, but got the first five read, so half way there.

The first in the series is ‘When Darkness Comes.  This sees vampire, Dante, battle his way to winning his mate Abby, who is a ‘chalice’ to a Goddess.

The second, ‘Embrace The Darkness’, sees Vampire Clan Chief, Viper, go to any lengths to keep his mate, Shay (who is half human, half Shalott) safe and in his arms.
The third, ‘Darkness Everlasting’, brings us the story of the leader of the vampires, the mighty Anasso, Styx, Who falls to his knees before pureblood werewolf, Darcy (who has been genetically altered so she doesn’t shift, and grew up having no idea she was a werewolf).

The fourth, ‘Darkness Revealed’, is a little different to the other books.  It starts two hundred years ago when vampire Conte Cezar first meets Anna, who is a future Oracle and commands magic over the elements.  Then flicks forward to the present day.  Anna blames Cezar for her immortality, not realising she was anything other than human before her night in the arms of the vampire.  Their journey is highly entertaining and filled with a number of nasty fey, including the queen of the fairies.

The fifth, ‘Darkness Unleashed’, sees tortured vampire Jagr sent out by Styx to rescue Darcy’s sister, werewolf Regan.  This tale of two tortured souls coming together, fighting their way to freedom, then learning how to live with one another is one of my favourites.

I adore Alexandra’s style of humour which is laced throughout each book.  No matter how many times I re-read this series, it gives me lots of laughs and a few tears.  The characters feature in the other books, so you get to keep up with what’s happening with them all.  With a lot of them, there’s a little tease in a previous book as to the couple coming up.  The language used is, I guess you could call it, conservative.  Little to no swearing, aside from Levet and his use of French ones!  The sex scenes are all loving and sweet. But still very hot and steamy!

I’d highly recommend this series to anyone who likes paranormal romances with a heavy dose of suspense.  I’m really looking forward to reading the latest and the tenth book in the series, ‘Darkness Avenged’, hopefully I’ll get there in June!

Carla Caruso

I am a humungous Sophie Kinsella fan and wait with bated breath for her every release. They never seem to come around quick enough! 

Her latest offering is Wedding Night. For the first time, Kinsella's written from the perspective of two heroines (and sisters), though the story's still in first-person and penned with her usual quirky sense of humour.

This book didn't grab me AS MUCH as her last one, I've Got Your Number - and classics like The Undomestic Goddess, Remember Me, or Can You Keep a Secret?, remain faves - but I still devoured this tome within mere days. Maybe the emphasis on the sisters' relationship rather than the love interests didn't hold as much appeal. However, when it comes to Kinsella, I set the bar pretty high, so it was still a stellar read.

And the siblings were a lot of fun to be in the company of!

4 stars!

Emmeline Lock

Tangled (Tangled #1) by Emma Chase

I loved this book. A refreshing man's-eye view of the dating game, written in a very different and amusing voice. Drew is a charming, arrogant, powerful--ahem, bastard--and his horrific head-long descent into love is very satisfying. A ripping enemies-to-lovers story. Looking forward to more from Emma Chase.

Amazon link

Wait For Me by Elisabeth Naughton

I'm on the precipice of morphing into a Naughton fangirl. I enjoyed Marked, her first Eternal Guardians book, so I thought I'd give this contemporary a go.

An amnesia story, it was difficult initially to see how Naughton was going to play this one. It started a bit out of the realm of reality. But she pulled it together beautifully. A sharp mystery, solid cast of characters and lovely forgotten love story that I would definitely read again.

Amazon link

And finally, here's my cross-posted review from Goodreads for

Second Chance by Carla Caruso

Ya know, I read CITYGLITTER, Carla Caruso's other Destiny title, and I thought it was great. Interesting, cute, fun, sexy, all that. A really good book.

Well, I've just finished SECOND CHANCE, and I bloody loved it! The nineties pop culture references, the irreverent heroine, the character arcs, the fabulous city, the simply-done time travel. Went nuts for the cool retro-ness of it all.

Such much awesome.

It also helped that the hero was completely gorgeous. If I ever meet him in real life, I want to lick him then take him home to meet my parents.

Amazon link

Eleni Konstantine

My reading has been slow very slow lately. The last book I read was Alli Kincaid's The Inner Gentleman. I don't know what I was expecting from this book but I didn't realise it would not only be a fun read but also an emotional one in places too. 

Mia has a lot to think on - a very sick father in Tasmania, renovating an ancestral home, her cousin and his trying to take the ancestral home away, and having to do one last job for him at The Inner Gentleman. The job - take London United's star player, Josh Watkins- and turn him into a gentleman. All in eight weeks. 

Mia is on a roller coaster ride rushing as she deals with all aspects of her life. As she gets to know Josh, she know there is something deeper to the man but getting him to talk is like pulling teeth. She realises she has to reveal things about herself. But that means revealing her past. She's not sure if she's ready for that or for the increasingly failing health of her father. 

It's a good paced story with plenty of passages that may you chuckle along the way, but one that also makes you think about keeping up appearances. 
4 stars!

Currently reading
I had some issues with my Kindle app for a while but it's now sorted and I'm finally getting back to reading Cityglitter by our own Carla Caruso. I'm loving it!


Why don't you tell us what you have been reading?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

SARA News - The Good Stuff just keeps on coming...

Hello, and welcome to the latest instalment 
of the very hip SARA News.

Forgive us, but here down south we have just had a long weekend.  Suddenly, it's Tuesday, and the news post is nowhere to be seen! 

Fear not, it's here now.  The party never starts until the News arrives, anyway... ;)

We have a library trolley chockablock full of 
good news at SARA this week!

Big congrats to Ella Audrey, who recently took out place nĂºmero uno in the Romance Writers of Australia's First Kiss Competition.   Quite the coup!

Congratulations also to Virginia Taylor, who has recently signed a contract with Random House Australia Digital.  We can't wait to see it, Virginia!

Maggie Mundy has a sparkly new cover for Blood Scent, a novella coming out next month with Rogue Phoenix Press.

Finally, Kyoko Church has a boat load of news;

Her short story, SWEET. SWEETER will appear in the Sweetmeats Press anthology, Made For Hire, which will be published at the end of this month.

Book Three of Kyoko's Draper Estates Trilogy with Xcite Books has been submitted, which is exciting news.  See book two here.

Kyoko's erotica reading event, Sex In Words, is all set for June 25th at 7pm at Dymocks in Rundle Mall. It is a free event so please come out and invite all your friends! However RSVPs are required for catering purposes. Please email to let them know you will attend. They plan to heat up a cold winter's night with some scorching stories. Have a glass of wine, sit back and enjoy! 

Sounds like a blast!

Until next time, happy reading, and wine drinking.


Thursday, June 6, 2013

UP CLOSE with Sandra O'Grady (who got up-close with Fiona McIntosh!)

Rather than a traditional Q&A this time around, we got SARA member and romantic suspense writer Sandra O'Grady to spill the beans on her recent master class in Adelaide with bestselling author Fiona McIntosh. Here are her (rather motivational) notes, as follows...

Popular Fiction Master Class with Fiona McIntosh

"I attended a five-day master class with Fiona McIntosh in April and left feeling utterly inspired. I was the lucky recipient of an Arts SA grant, which assisted with my attendance.

Bryce Courtenay used to bring sunflowers from his garden to his master classes, so there was a bunch of sunflowers and his photo watching over this group. Keep in mind that everything Fiona taught was aimed at those who want to write and market pop fiction, not fiction that is literary or for a niche market. She said that every story must have a romantic interest. This doesn’t mean a full-blown love affair, but at least an attraction and sexual tension. Women buy the lion’s share of books and so are your main market, so think about what they will respond to.

I learnt that it’s okay to trust yourself. My favourite quote of the week from Fiona was: 'Remember that "to write" is a verb. It requires action not intention.'

Our guest speakers were David Cornish, talented illustrator and author of Monster Blood Tattoo, and two senior acquisitions editors, Ali Watts from Penguin and Lisa Berryman from Harper Collins. Everyone had the opportunity to pitch to the publishers and I’m pleased to say Ali Watts has asked to see my manuscript!

We also had the opportunity to send 10 pages of our work to Fiona. She read it and gave us one-on-one feedback.

The business

Traditional publishers have lost 30-40% of their business since the inception of eBooks and the downfall of bookshops, so they have less leeway to give new authors a chance. Current trends are rural and historical romance, chick-lit and romantic suspense. Fantasy always has a fan base. There is also a desperate need for more chicklet-lit, which is chick-lit fiction for young girls, and chook-lit for older women.

The way books are sold has changed. Traditional publishers used to rely a lot on window shopping in stores, now that doesn’t happen. eBooks are sold mostly by the blurb and reviews.

When marketing yourself, be professional. Having a succinct pitch is paramount and you need to be able to tell the publisher where your book would fit on the store bookshelf.

Fiona’s writing method

Fiona researches up to a year ahead of writing, but doesn’t think a lot about her stories before it’s time to write them. She writes for four hours, four days a week, and that means writing, not editing, re-reading or procrastinating. Her key rule is to never go back and read what she wrote yesterday, just keep moving forward until you get to the end. Sometimes she leaves a hanging sentence at the end of each day to prod her forward movement. Her method sounds ridiculously simple when you say it aloud: You need to know what your character wants and what is standing in his/her way, which will provide the conflict.

Story structure and content

A common problem is the action not coming fast enough. We live in a world of immediacy and readers expect something for their efforts right away. Within the first page there needs to be enough of a hook to make the reader want to turn the page. In the first few pages the reader needs to have a good understanding of setting, identify with the main character and be invested in finding out what happens to them. Don’t waste words on exposition, because you can drip that in later.

Less is always best. The fewer words you use, the easier your story is to read and understand. Ruthlessly cut adjectives, adverbs, redundant words, conjunctions, and flowery prose.

Your character’s appearance is not the most important thing about them. Give a few clues to physical appearance, but the most important thing is their personality, background and flaws.

Inject emotion into the atmosphere of the scene using careful word choices and the five senses. Dialogue is essential for providing crucial information, revealing more about your characters and/or plot.

 By the end of the story, your characters must have changed."

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

SARA NEWS - Khloe Wren's new release

Welcome to our first, brand-spanking, shiny-new News post at our new blog home!

What better way to kick off than with a new release.

Khloe Wren is celebrating the release of her Rogue Phoenix Press title, Her Guardian Angel.

Her Guardian Angel, Book 1 of Fire and Snow

The last thing Snow-Leopard Shifter Dominic expects to find at an accident scene is his mate, the beautiful Adele, but after four years of dreaming of her, there she is, right in front of him. However, winning the heart of his lonely, grieving mate is no simple task. Just as their relationship begins to heat up a gravely injured child, Kelly, stumbles into their lives after escaping and fleeing her abuser. Will Dominic and Adele's bond grow stronger as they nurture and protect Kelly? Will their relationship be able to survive all that fate plans on throwing their way?

Buy it here!

Don't forget to check out the trailer here...

Until next time, happy reading (about sexy leopard shifters!), 

Emmeline. x

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Time to get SASSY IN THE SOUTH with the South Australian Romance Authors!

Welcome to the South Australian Romance Authors 
new blog home ... 

SARA - Sassy in the South!

The SARA group includes published writers and those working towards publication in all areas of the romance genre covering: various contemporary lines, historical, paranormal, and fantasy. Other members have interests in chick lit, young adult fiction and romantic suspense. 

... And have we got news for you!

From this happening and dynamic fun-filled page of awesome, we'll be bringing you a cavalcade of  SARA goings-on!

Stay tuned to this station for:

Sassy SARA News with Emmeline Lock

The SARA News as you know and love it.

Up Close - Q&A with Carla Caruso

Get to know the members of SARA.

Southern Speak with Khloe Wren

SARAs talk about all things romance.

What a Character with Maggie Mundy

Maggie interviews the characters brought to life by SARA authors.

Reading Adventures with Eleni Konstantine

What the SARAs read and rave about.

As always, you can find SARA on the web in a number of places ... we get about!  Not only are we still found at, but also check these sources regularly for new posts here at the blog:

SARA on Twitter

SARA on Facebook

Until next time, happy reading!