Monday, July 29, 2013

SARA News - Who's your tweety?

Are you a Twitterer?  Or is that a Twit?  

Lots of SARA Members are twits.  Something you may have already realised.  ;)

Perhaps it's because:

"If you want to build a presence in the social media platform, then you need to be present." - @unmarketing 


"Given a limit of 140 characters, people consistently reaffirm that creativity is a renewable resource." - @biz 

Or maybe:

“How can you squander even one more day not taking advantage of the greatest shifts of our generation? How dare you settle for less when the world has made it so easy for you to be remarkable?” – Seth Godin, Best Selling Author

As a reader, I find Twitter a fabulous place to catch up with my favourite authors and find new books to read and authors to follow.

Why not start with the lovely authors at SARA?
South Australian Romance Authors is on Twitter @SAusRomA
You can also search for SARA-related info at #SAusRomA

Want to follow a member directly?  Here we are...
Trish Morey - Trish McMuffin @MoreyTrish
Claire Baxter - @ClaireBaxterAu
Eleni Konstantine - @ElenisKafe
Kyoko Church - @KyokoChurch 
Victoria Purman - @VictoriaPurman
Carla Caruso - @CarlaCaruso79
Lilliana Rose - @LillianaRose2
Bronwyn Stuart - @bronwynstuart
Bec Sampson - Becca Heath @BeccaJHeath 
Tamara Gill - @Tamara_Gill
Amy T Matthews - @amy_t_matthews
Dy Loveday - @DyLoveday
Khloe Wren - @AuthorKhloeWren
Maggie Mundy - @MaggieMundy
Tricia Schmitz - @TriciaSchmitz
Leesa Bow - @LeesaBow

Sandra O'Grady - @Sandraogrady
Susanne Hampton - @SusannePan
Emmeline Lock - @EmmelineLock

While you're having a following frenzy, why not follow the Romance Writers of Australia, our parent group, and the SAWriter's Centre?

In other very sassy SARA News, Kyoko Church is very excited to confirm that she has signed a contract with Xcite Books for the third book in her Draper Estates Trilogy.  She also has a short story, "Wet", which will be published by Go Deeper Press in their 'Shameless" anthology next month.  Congrats, Kyoko!
More Kyoko, this time on her recent Made For Hire book launch:  "My first ever book launch was a success! Thank you to all the lovely SARA members who came out to support me, I really appreciate it. It was a fun evening."

Suzie Hindmarsh-Knights has been featured in an article in the Weekend Herald.Look for a picture of a lovely lady and her beautiful canine friend!

Until next time, happy reading.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

What a Character - Khloe's Dominic

Dominic White

First appearance:
   Book 1: 'Her Guardian Angel' Prologue
Date of Birth:
   29th March 1986
Hair Color:
   Ink black
Eye Color:
   Ice Blue
  Firefighter Captain
   Father: Jake White, Mother: Sophie White
   Adele White
   Fostering Kelly
   Dalmation named "Raksha"

1. What one thing from your childhood has had the biggest effect upon you as an adult?
My childhood was spent with two loving parents who functioned in a true partnership, supporting each other through tough times and good. That has been the greatest influence over my life, and something I hope to emulate with Adele.

2. What is the worst thing that has ever happened to you?
When Cole took Adele and Kelly. In all my life, I’ve never been so scared. I didn’t know if we would get there in time to rescue them alive. I knew Cole was hurting my mate, I could only imagine what he’d done to poor young Kelly.

3. What do you do best?
As the future Alpha of our Leap, my strength is in leading and co-ordinating. I’m also pretty damn good out on the fire field.

4. How would you describe yourself in one sentence?
I’m just a man doing what he can to make the world a better place.

5. Do you have any distinguishing marks?
I have my mating mark. Adele’s mark lies over my heart. Four beautiful scratch marks revealing my leopard spots.

6. Where do you call home?
I’m still trying to convince Adele to move. *shudder* So, for the moment home is an awful purple-ironclad house in Rosebery, Tasmania.

7. What makes you laugh out loud?
Lots of things make me laugh. Watching Kelly enjoy being free always brings a smile to my face. Conner and Kit are the best at making me laugh, they’re both insane at times but great for entertainment.

8. What makes you really angry?
Men who beat on women, children or animals. It’s wrong on so many levels.

9. Do you have a secret?
I’m a shape shifter, of course I have secrets! But they’re mine to keep. *wink* No doubt Khloe will reveal them on me at some point.

10. What is your greatest regret?
Leaving the house that day. I can’t believe how stupid I was. I knew Cole was after my girls and I left the house to go organize protection! Why didn’t I stay and just ring around? Not sure I’ll ever forgive myself for that.

11. Do you have a nickname?
Dom. By brother Conner is the only one who really uses it though.

12. Have you been in love and had a broken heart?
Us shifters have one true mate. I started dreaming of Adele when she turned twenty-one. I knew she would be mine forever. I loved her from that first dream, and that love grew with each new thing I learned about her. I didn’t ever even look at women before Adele, so no. I’ve never had a broken heart.

13. What is your current state of mind?
I’m doing great at the moment. I have a wonderful wife and a beautiful daughter. My brother’s just married his mate and life is looking really good.

14. What is the strangest thing to happen to you?
On my fifteenth birthday, as the moon rose, I shifted for the first time. No matter how well I was prepped for the event. Feeling the magic flow through you as you become a snow leopard for the first time…easily the strangest feeling I’ve ever had.

15. What would you do to save someone you love?

Anything. Everything. Without my mate and my daughter I would be nothing. They are my world and I would do whatever it took to keep them safe. Same goes for my Leap family.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

SARA News - Claire Baxter runs rampant at the Apple iTunes Bookstore, and Kyoko Church launches MADE FOR HIRE

Greetings, and welcome to the newest instalment of the sassy SARA News!

Claire Baxter:

In our last news post, you will have seen Claire Baxter's newest release from Random Romance, Anybody But Him, making headlines over at the Apple iTunes bookstore.

Well, she's still there!  The girl has staying power!

Check out this recent screen shot of Anybody But Him featured in the top banner as a Customer Favourite.  Note the average 4.5 star reviews!

In other completely fabulous news, Claire has announced that More Than Just Pretend, is coming very, very soon.   This is the second novella in the Selwood Sisters Series, following on from More Than Just One Night.

Gwen is the middle Selwood sister. In More Than Just Pretend she's been through a bitter divorce and desperately wants to create a stable home for her teenage daughter Becky who's in the final, difficult years of school.

Returning to live near her sisters in their parents' old house, Gwen finds that the house needs fixing up, and Spencer the sexy builder is just the man to do it.

Just in case that's not enough Claire Baxter news for you, take a look at this USA Today article where she gets a mention.  Awesome!  

Kyoko Church:

For those of us who also love reading on the very, very sexy end of the spectrum, please consider this your hand-delivered (by a god of a man wearing ... whatever you want him to be wearing :)) invitation to Kyoko Church's book launch of Made For Hire, at the South Australian Writer's Centre, Second Floor 187 Rundle Street, Adelaide, this Friday July 26th at 7pm.   The event will be hosted by fellow SARA, Victoria Purman.

This, from the SA Writer's Centre Website:

The erotic anthology Made For Hire, published by Sweetmeats Press, will be launched by contributing author Kyoko Church and hosted by author and SAWC Writer in Residence, Victoria Purman7pm at the SA Writers Centre. The book includes five erotic tales of service and pleasure. Because of the explicit nature of the content this event is restricted to those 18 years of age and over.

At the event, you can meet Kyoko, get your book signed, enter a draw to win a free copy of the book, and listen to a kinky passage read aloud. 

Right up your alley?  Read an excerpt from Kyoko's contribution, Sweet. Sweeter, at her blog.

It promises to be a fabulously sexy evening.  

Until next time, happy reading.


Friday, July 19, 2013

Southern Speak - Where Do You Write?

by Lilliana Rose

Usually I control when and where I write which has developed over the years by sheer discipline and perseverance, and by simple trial and error. However, I have noticed that there are certain places which naturally inspire me to write, and when this happens it’s beyond my control. Sometimes the perfect place to write in finds you.

I naturally enjoy writing in cafes so when travelling I decided to use this to kick start my inspiration when in a new environment and to get me into the creative flow.

Cafe in Oslo
When in Oslo, inspired by Norse folklore and Viking history, I had no problems spilling out words on the page. The gnome-like creativity was strong and easy to tap into. I wrote down poems, short stories and solved a few problems I had with existing stories. Plus I ended up with a treasure trove of ideas, which I can further develop in the future. It was a productive two weeks, and I had time to see the sights before moving on to London.

At London I struggled to write (it didn’t help that the coffees were disgustingly bitter for my taste). I’d set myself the task of writing a poem a day this year and when in London I had to force these poems onto the page. Multi-cultural hub, fast pace, grunge vibe are facets I like to use as inspiration for my writing, but it just didn’t work for me in this particular place. I still wrote, but it didn’t have the magical flow like I experienced in Oslo; in London it was more of a chore.
A day trip to Stonehenge and Bath flipped things around. As soon as I glimpsed the British country landscape the portcullis was lifted and the creativity flowed strong in me once more. It made me realise how much a place influences my writing. During that day in the country-side a pagan goddess whispered in my ear for hours. If I had any doubt that the place provides a muse, the murmurings of the pagan English goddess went silent when I returned to London.

Later in the week, as the train pulled into Edinburgh I was haunted with a dark gothic muse, and I experienced a flood a creativity to make up for the previous week’s drought. The story ideas flooded onto the page, ideas which I captured in ink so that I could come back and expand on them later. Large dark gothic buildings, a castle, cobble streets, and a buried underground, was the place for me to capture landscapes, hear the hauntings of ghosts, and feel the vibrations of centuries of life that had gone before. The characters formed in my mind, the flow was fluid and ordered, dark and feminine, bloody and horrific. I loved it. I’ve packed a suitcase of this in my mind and bought it back home with me.

I had always focussed on space (table, chair, computer, coffee, music or silence) and discipline when writing – and these are important – but after writing when travelling I realised how influential a place can be. I’ve written on trams, at bus stops, in planes, at airports, at the bar, in bed, but this is the part of the disciplined side. I’ve now expanded my self-realisation on how I write when travelling – there are even more creative rivers out there for me to dip into and use. The place you write in can change, and it doesn’t have to be hidden away inside. I intend to keep looking for new places that fuel my creativity and to pack some of that inspiration away for later when I’m back home chained to the daily grind.

I’m curious to hear other peoples journeys related to what places have unexpectedly provided a source of inspiration. What countries or places have caught you by surprise and flooded you with unexpected creativity? Have there been places where you thought, no way can I write here, but then they’ve been a great source of creativity?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Reading Adventures - making wishes, hunting evil and danger, and a good ol' listen

Welcome to this month's Reading Adventures.

Carla Caruso

Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty

How have I only just properly discovered Aussie author Liane Moriarty? I loved this book, and can't believe it's her first novel (she now has many more under her belt) - it's so richly written.

I kept seeing Liane's name about the place, then was drawn to reading her debut tome as it's about triplet sisters and I'm preggers with twins. Well, I will definitely be searching out more of her titles.

The Kettle sisters depicted and their various partners, exes and rellies all seem so real and will 'live on' in your mind - no joke. I particularly loved the quirky, dreamy triplet Gemma - the other two, Cat and Lyn, were a bit harder around the edges, but very realistically painted.

The book touched on some heavy issues, from miscarriage to domestic abuse, without losing its overall light, cheery tone.

My only tiny niggle was that there were often flashbacks or time-jumps right when something big and dramatic happened and you wanted to see what would unfold next. But, in saying that, it was likely a clever tactic by Liane to keep you turning the pages. A must, MUST read!

Sandra O'Grady

Huntress Moon by Alexandra Sokoloff

This story was an utterly riveting read. The increasing tension made my heart beat faster quite a few times. The police procedural details were excellent and the characters flawed, but with aspects I could sympathise with. The connection between Rouke and Cara was otherworldly and Alexandra cleverly wove tender moments and sickening evil together, and it finished with a tear in my eye. I had to open book 2 right away!

Rough Diamond by Kathryn Ledson

This was a fast-paced, amusing and totally engaging story set in Australia. I was hooked immediately by the intriguing start and easily identified with the well-developed characters. Erica's comedic attitude was all about self-preservation and when Jack came into her life in an unexpected way, it threw her best laid plans in the air. Suddenly she was involved in a secret society, fighting for a greater cause, but it put her in danger. The attraction between Jack and Erica becomes hotter and more complicated with every chapter, with both of them having good reasons to stay away from the other. They work together to foil a terrorist attack which leads to explosions, danger, car chases and running for their lives. An interfering mother and oddball family add comedic relief and more complications for the couple. But even Jack couldn't guarantee her safety and Erica became more deeply involved than anyone had planned. Dangerously so... I'll be eagerly awaiting the next book by this great Aussie author!

Eleni Konstantine

This year, I've taken up an Audio Challenge - mainly because I've started listening to books ever since I started studying and driving to Tafe last year. I only get unabridged versions as I want to hear the whole story an not part of one. As with my regular reading, I tend to vary the types of books I listen to.  This is what I've listened to so far this year. 

Charlie All Night by Jennifer Crusie
5 stars

Wickedly funny.

I thoroughly enjoyed this. It was a great book to listen to while driving causing me to laugh out loud and many moments. There were a couple of hot love scenes which were blush worthy if anyone could have heard the story.

The narrator did a great job of distinguishing the comments. Near the beginning when Allie is making a fool of herself trying to 'pick' up Charlie by pretending to be perky, Charlie turns to her and says 'What are you doing?' It absolutely cracked me up.

The romance between Charlie and Allie starts of all heated but there is something more from the get go. It's wonderful seeing them go from lovers to friends and fall deeper and deeper for the other.

An Angel at Christmas by Heather Graham
4 stars

Christmas on a snowed in mountain top with an accused criminal makes the MacDougal family think about their relationships. 

I enjoyed the aspect of the relationships in the book including the one of the two strangers. They seem to have an undertone that is deeper than two people who don't know each other.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
4 stars

A story written in the 1950s which I finally had a chance to listen to. The language is from another time and at the same time can be of a future era. I think this jerked me a few times  out of the story but there's lots to ponder on from this book. It's about censorship and society. Definitely not a light read from one of the masters of Science Fiction.

Covet by Tara Moss
4 stars

I just realised this is book 3 in the series and not book 2, but I didn't feel I had missed anything. I enjoyed this more than the first book - everything seemed to mesh more - dialogue, introspection, action.

Poor Makedde having to deal again with the serial killer that has changed her life.

I'd be interested to see where the series goes. But before I do that, I need to go scout for book 2.

The Truth About Magic by Dave Luckett
4 stars

A fun listen. I enjoyed this book though for some reason I was jerked out of the story about 3/4 through and then was fine by the end again.

It had things I wasn't used to - omniscient POV, jumping from character to character, a bit more telling but it worked for this book. 

A Weekend With Mr Darcy by Victoria Connelly
4 stars

The title initially made me pick up this book and the blurb about a modern day Jane Austen conference made me borrow this.

I enjoyed listening to the story of two relationships unfolding - Katherine's and Robyn's. Both different women but both with a love of Jane Austen. In the course of a weekend we see their relationships with the men in their lives changing.

I also enjoyed the conference parts and the characters and their passion for the Jane Austen books. Including that one conference goer that sets everyone's teeth on edge because she is 'right' all the time and hates to be corrected.

A lovely listen and a wonderful job on the accents.

I know see here that this is the first book fo Austen Addicts. I'm must get more.

Tangled Reins by Stephanie Laurens
4 stars

I have only read one book of Stephanie Laurens and that was a long time ago. Granted this is also written a long time ago but it has only been an audio book recently.

Despite the fact that nothing other than social get togethers and dinners and balls happen in the first 2/3 of book, I actually enjoyed it. It's been some time since I've read a historical romance and it was nice to immerse into a world where things were explained. In a way the happenings in the first part, prepare you for why things happen later (which I won't reveal). You need to see it rather than always be told by it.

There were many things that were tongue-in-cheek and characters who were more enlightened. While Hezelmeir keeps getting his way, I think Dorothea is a good match for him as she would make him at least pause. He definitely doesn't want a ninny as his wife and that for the time is really refreshing.

So does anyone else like to listen to books?

That's us for this month. 

Don't forget to check out the SARA covers gallery on our website and select some great SARA reads. 

Friday, July 5, 2013

UP CLOSE with SARA member Claire Baxter

When were you first published, and how long (and how many manuscripts) did it take you to get there?

I started writing in 2003 when I left my job as a corporate communications manager to write a book – just to see if I could do it. I quickly became hooked on writing and knew I had to try for publication. I didn’t know I was going to write romance, but every one of my early stories contained a central love story, so I did some research and – aha! – discovered that I was a romance writer.

I wrote three romances and a mystery, joining Romance Writers of Australia along the way, then pitched my fourth romance at the 2005 conference in Melbourne to a Harlequin Mills and Boon editor who requested the partial. When I returned home from the conference I learned that I’d won a US contest and had received a request for the full manuscript from the same editor. So I sent it off to London and in February 2006 received The Call!

Fast forward seven years (where did that time go?) and I’ve had several romance novels published, as well as numerous short stories. My current release is a romantic comedy from Random Romance (Random House Australia’s new digital imprint), and I have a fun category romance coming out from Entangled Bliss in September. I’ve also ventured into indie publishing with a series of short romantic novellas.

From Mills and Boon to Random Romance, Entangled Publishing and self-publishing eBooks – what’s made you now go the digital route? 

Well, my own reading habits have changed, so I can easily believe that my readers’ habits have changed too. I still read some print books, but I read most of my romances as ebooks now. As for self-publishing, I thought it would be an interesting experience to have control over all aspects of the publishing process, and it has been very interesting.

Tell us about your latest books with Random Romance and Entangled, and what sparked each title. 

Anybody But Him from Random Romance is an enemies-to-lovers story with some laughs along the way. Nicola, a corporate accountant, returns to her home town to look after her increasingly eccentric parents. There, she's thrown into regular contact with Blair, her high-school crush and the last person she wants to see because she can’t forget how he humiliated her. Now that he’s grown up, he’s not such a ‘bad boy', and whenever she needs help, he’s there – although she’d prefer it to be anybody but him.

My story from Entangled’s Bliss imprint is about two fire-fighters who work on the same shift crew. They’re friends – Aaron even shares his dating stories with Jasmine – and she knows better than anyone that he’s incapable of commitment, so when they kiss at a wedding reception, she’s well aware that it can’t lead anywhere. Besides, neither of them wants to risk their working relationship, the respect of their colleagues or their friendship.

Why do you prefer sweet romances and beta heroes?

Sweet doesn’t mean unsatisfying, and for every reader who wants a steamy read, there’s one who prefers sexual tension without the physical act described in detail. I do read sexy romance occasionally, but for me sex in fiction is like hot chilli sauce. It’s okay to spice things up once in a while, but I don’t want a steady diet of it.

Sweet stories generally focus on the feelings behind the desire, and yes, the characters might sleep together, but if they do, the word count isn’t used up on describing the deed. Instead the story highlights the emotional journey the characters go on to find their Happily Ever After.

As for beta heroes, well, I love a charming, easy-going beta hero who can make me laugh, and a beta hero fits so well into romantic comedy. Of course, he still has to have the core ideals of a hero and be a strong, smart man who will do anything for the woman he loves.

Where and when do you write?

I write in my home office. It’s a room I share with a snooker table (which is currently covered in books and papers and folders and...well, anything but snooker balls), but in one corner I have a desk and in another I have a comfortable chair with a footstool. The comfortable chair is where I write (or edit) on my laptop four days a week (in theory).

When you’re not writing, what occupies your time?

I spend one full day a week with my grandson, and the remaining time is divided between all the activities associated with writing, gardening, reading, cooking, and now that it’s winter, I’ll also be searching out my knitting needles. I rediscovered knitting last winter after a long time. 

You’re also known for having short stories published in magazines worldwide. What do you love about the ‘short form’? 

I love writing short stories. I love the change of pace between longer works. I feel free to experiment more in a short story than in a novel, and I’ll try out different genres. Many of my short stories are romantic, but I also write stories without romance. They usually contain humour, or are twist-in-the-tale or feel-good stories.

Did you always want to be an author? And, what would be your absolute book-writing career dream? 

As a child I adored Arthur Ransome’s ‘Swallows and Amazons’ series and devoured all twelve books. Around that time I had to write a story at primary school and I wrote an adventure in the same vein as ‘Swallows and Amazons’. I was hooked, and the teacher let me continue after the lesson was over. It ended up 30 pages long and I received a gold star for each page! I told everyone I was going to be a writer when I grew up, but it was about 40 years before I made good on that promise.

My absolute book-writing career dream? I don’t really have one. I just want to write books, sell them, and hear that readers have enjoyed them. :)

Favourite writers you like to slip beneath the doona with (figuratively speaking!)? 

My favourite author is Jill Mansell, British author of romantic comedy, and then there’s Marian Keyes, Carole Matthews, Cathy Kelly. But those names are just a few of the authors I love, and I’m discovering more all the time. I always return to Georgette Heyer when I need a comfort read, and I recently found a YA series by Bridget Kemmerer that kept me riveted. Oh, I could go on and on. Stop me now!

The second in Claire's self-published series, More Than Just Pretend, will be out at the end of July.

Check out Claire's website at

Monday, July 1, 2013

SARA News - Even in the dead of winter, it's hot at SARA Central!

Hello, and welcome to another jam-packed and very sassy instalment of the SARA News.

TODAY IS RELEASE DAY for the very lovely Claire Baxter and her newest book, Anybody But Him from Random Romance (Random House).  

If you visit the Apple iTunes bookstore this week, you will have seen Anybody But Him featured in the New This Week section.  Holy Awesome Book Cover Placement, Batman!

BIG NEWS!  SARA's Anne Oliver is a finalist in the short sexy section of the R*BY - the Romantic Book of the Year from the Romance Writers of Australia, with The Morning After the Wedding Before.  Check out the full list of finalists at the RWA Blog.  Yay, Anne!

Kyoko Church confirms that the Sex in Words event recently held at Dymocks Adelaide was a huge success!  

More from Kyoko:  "Dymocks Adelaide created a beautiful, welcoming space. Kate Belle and Angela Castle flew in from Victoria and read from their work and I shared my short story, Spinning. Read more about the night on my blog here. "

But wait, there's more...

"Plans are now in the works for my book launch for Made For Hire. It will be July 26th at 7pm at the SAWC. Again, there will be explicit content. If you're into that, please join! Our own lovely Victoria Purman will host and we plan to have lots of fun!

Pop it in your little black diary, folks!

Sadly, News will be taking a two week hiatus, but, never fear, we will return and look forward to seeing you right here in three weeks time for more awesome (and sassy!) SARA News.

Until next time, happy reading!