Monday, September 23, 2013

SARA News - Short and sweet...

Welcome to another sexy, sassy edition of the SARA News.

Grab your copy of the Spring edition of the Adelaide Hills Magazine to see our very own Kyoko Church featured!

Tomorrow night is also Kyoko's second Sex In Words Event at Dymocks, so get your RSVP out there ASAP!

While you're RSVPing, don't forget Victoria Purman's book launch this Friday at the SA Writer's Centre.

Khloe Wren has (a little earlier than expected!) had a book released--Becky's Journey from Secret Cravings Publishing.

Here's all the info you need:

Becky's Journey, Book 2 Dragons of Feury
(Paranormal erotic romance, BDSM elements, menage: MFM)

The Land of Feury has a problem. A virus killed off all their females years ago and a solution is yet to be found.  When a group of five unconscious females are found, hope for survival amongst the Dragon Shifters runs high.

Becky and her four best friends are escaping from their stressful everyday lives to go camping in the bush. Fate intervenes and while they are hiking they get whipped away through a portal to The Land of Feury.

Brothers, Drake and Savren, discover one of the females is their Desired.  They excitedly set about wooing the strong willed, independent Becky. Their plans do not go smoothly, Becky is kidnapped by rebels and taken from them.  Will they be able to rescue their Desired in time? Will they be able to convince the ever independent Becky that having bonded mates is a good thing?

Check out the book trailer on YouTube.

Until next time, happy reading and event attending!  


Friday, September 20, 2013

Southern Speak - RWA Conference - Always Worth It!

by Eleni Konstantine

I have been a member of RWA for a number of years now and the one thing I love is the feeling of excitement and camaraderie from the annual conference. It’s even more exciting to see how things come together when you are part of the conference team. I have been on the conference team for two years in a row. I have to say though with a bigger team, I was able to see more of the actual conference than I had last year.

This year’s conference committee - those in sailor hats - has been at it for over two years (some three as they had bid for the conference to be in Fremantle). Lots of emails, chats, discussions all culminate to the well-oiled machine delegates see. I never knew myself as a delegate how much planning it takes. Every single little thing that you see had be organised by somebody.

Photo by Eleni

This year’s Riding the Waves conference at the Esplanade Hotel in Fremantle, had been headed by Leah Ashton and Nikki Logan, the dynamic duo as I like to call them. Nikki is also RWA’s president! (amazing!) I truly want to be like these women when I grow up. They led the way in making this a chill-out and green conference, and I as a delegate and team member was ecstatic with the result.

So what did the conference have to offer?

  • Destiny Romance had a lovely welcome reception, which was a fun night of catching up with faces I haven’t seen for a long time. They also had these groovy bags and books as gifts. 
  • The first ever Academic Conference (the Elizabeth Jolley Conference) by Curtin University in association with RWA. It was a day where academics and romance writers met and discussed the academic side of romance writing. 
  • The Friday Workshop with Kim Hudson, author of The Virgin’s Promise, which introduces a new feminine story structure in the way that Joseph Campbell introduced the structure for The Hero’s Journey.
  • The Nautical or Nice cocktail party was fun. Being the co-ordinator, I was so happy with how my team of helpers took my instructions and run with the set up. Presented by Harlequin Australia, the costume competition was a highlight. There were palm trees (Ms Paula Roe), pirates, wenches, sailors, and even Julie from the Love Boat (Ebony McKenna) and a whole lot of niiiice. 
Our own Maggie Mundy came third with her Sea Witch costume. First was Olive Oil and Popeye (ie. Melanie Milburne and her hubby). I had fun going as a Spongebob Squarepants (squareskirt, I should say) Pirate . But my fave thing from the whole night - Captain Jack Sparrow!
Photo by Nicole Harris. Delwyn Jenkins and Maggie Mundy (R)
Photo by Nicole Harris. Me (L), Paula Roe, Alison Leake
Hands off ladies - me and Capt'n Jack :) I know don't give up my day job. :)

  • Julia Quinn as keynote speaker. I loved her tales of being disorganised (I soooo related!) and her belief you won’t hurt your career by helping another writer. Go Julia! 

  • The wonderful selection of workshops wrangled by Rachael Johns was so hard to choose from. On Saturday, I attended two workshops. 
    • Laura Bradford revealed home truths about agents, making them less scary. They are people too you know J While it’s hard to get an agent because of the number of queries, I came away thinking, that there is an agent out there for everyone and that timing is a key factor. 
    • Margie Mason’s Presenting with Pizzazz was a great session of tips and pointers of how to feel the nerves but to get on with presenting with fun and confidence. We even blew bubbles! 
    • I moderated three workshops on the Sunday:
      • Sarah Wendell’s Blogging 101. Sarah is funny, astute, and such an advocate for the romance writing industry. I loved her honesty and how she interacted with the audience. 
      • Kim Hudson’s The Voyage of a Writer, was a continuation on the Virgin’s Promise but for the writer themselves. I regretted not having done her workshop on Friday as she was a warm and generous presenter. 
      • Shona Huk and Nicola E. Sheridan’s Beating the Tsunami: getting ahead of the paranormal trends. I loved this workshop by the vibrant tag team. I mean the session started with a mean track by Rob Zombie. How appropriate! They went through unusual creatures that could be terrifying but could have hero status if you dared but try. Such fun! 

Nicola E. Sheridan (L) and Shona Husk (R) with their wonderful world of mythological creatures

  • ARRA had their signing again this year in conjunction with the conference. This was my first time at the conference where I was also signing, so while I saw the other authors there, I didn’t get a chance to go around and grab books and get said authors to sign. I must admit that was good for my budget! :) 

  • The Awards Gala was a glitzy event organised by Carolyn Wren. Baci had a giant fountain of chocolate, and a big lip couch for photo ops. Going on a different format as a trial - it was dessert night. Yum yum. Like last year I was running the slideshow so I was in the AV corner. After the Awards show, the Escape Publishing After Party - Escape the Ordinary - was proved that writers like to boogie and woogie! There was a lot of it going on. I breathed a sigh of relief as everyone on the dance floor seemed to be having a wonderful time as I had composed the playlist (phew!) and the best thing I did all night was keep my boots on instead of wearing strappy heels. Dance, my name is Eleni. :) 

  • Submission Island - an excellent panel where stories were read out anonymously and the agents/editors had to put up a card saying ‘stop’ or ‘more’. Hearing what the panellists liked and what they didn’t like and why, was invaluable. Good luck to those who got requests. 

  • I have to say all the plenary addresses by Kim Hudson, Nina Bruhns, and Sarah Wendell were all inspiring. 

  • The Chillout lounge by Rachael Johns and Carolyn Wren was a nice touch. I know the newbies met in there on more than one occasion. 

  • The Pitching was so well organised. I have to give a shout out to Michelle Diener who was the pitch witch J. Pitching is always nerve-wracking, but I think the cool, calm work done by the pitch team helped settle nerves. Again the list of editors and authors was impressive. There was something for everyone. 

· Simon & Schuster USA: Abby Zidle (Pocket, Gallery, Pocket Star)

· Bradford Literary Agency LLC: Laura Bradford

· Entangled Publishing: Nina Bruhns (Entangled Suspense)

· Harlequin Single Title (MIRA, HQN, Luna): Margaret Marbury

· Harlequin Mills & Boon (London): Sheila Hodgson

· Harlequin Australia: Sue Brockhoff

· Harlequin Escape: Kate Cuthbert

· Destiny Australia: Sarah Fairhall

· Random House: Beverley Cousins

· Momentum (Pan MacMillan Australia): Joel Naoum

· Literary Agent: Alex Adsett

· Penguin Australia: Belinda Byrne

· Hachette Publishing: Bernadette Foley

Twelfth Planet Press: Alisa Krasnostein
I did get a request from Alisa from Twelfth Planet Press, so fingers crossed.

Photo by Nicole Harris
  • The wonderful bookstall set up by the Co-Op UWA. They even had free postage to an Australian address. Now that’s service! 
Photo by Nicole Harris
  • There was a goodie table, a swap table, a fundraising table - this year the fundraising charity was Read Write Now, a literacy organisation helping Western Australians with literacy issues, and of course the lovely door prizes. 

  • An amazing MC in  Jennie Jones. What a wonderful voice! 
  • I was also impressed as a sponsor (I sponsored - I, wi-fi for Saturday as HelzKat Designs). 

I have to say the only negative about conference is that you can’t have a long conversation you want to with everyone. It’s the nature of the beast. But a quick hug is better than nothing, I say.

I have to give a shout out the Freo team (it sure does take a village):
Nikki Logan - Conference Coordinator, Sponsorship, Hotel Liaison
Leah Ashton - Conference Coordinator, Website, Communications

Claire Boston -  International Guest Liaison, Editor & Agent Liaison, Merchandise

Michelle Diener- Pitch Program

Fiona Gregory - Conference Team

Rachael Johns - Workshop Program

Jennie Jones - Bookshop Liaison | MC

Neely Lyon - Volunteer Coordinator, Secretary

Jodie Morphett - Registrar

Tracey Turner - Raffles and Giveaways

Carolyn Wren - Special Events (Awards Gala)

and to all the volunteers who helped on the weekend. You are all stars!

So why not see a conference from the other side - as part of the conference team or a helper. It's definitely worth it.

Riding the Waves truly was a great weekend!

Monday, September 16, 2013

SARA News - Want to hear something exceptionally exciting?

There are only FOURTEEN more Wednesdays until Christmas.

I know!  Yay!  Can't wait!  The holidays, the food, the wine, the fun, the smiles.

Not to mention the Amazon gift vouchers and the crisp new bookstore books from friends and relatives that know your favourite authors.

So much wonderful!  If you're like me, Christmas can never come soon enough.

Since we anti-Grinches have to wait another fourteen whole Wednesdays, we thought you'd be delighted to know that Elizabeth Rolls has a Christmas release coming out shortly with Harlequin Historical.  A Sprinkling of Christmas Magic is an anthology featuring our own Elizabeth, as well as Bronwyn Scott and Margaret McPhee.

Snuggle up with these three Regency tales  

Christmas Cinderella by Elizabeth Rolls 

Handsome country rector Alex Martindale dreams of kissing his spirited schoolmistress and never having to stop…. With some mistletoe, he may just get his wish! 

Finding Forever at Christmas by Bronwyn Scott 

At the yule ball, Catherine Emerson receives a proposal from the man she thought she wanted—but a kiss from his mysterious, darkly handsome brother unleashes a deeper desire….  

The Captain's Christmas Angel by Margaret McPhee 

Returning to England for Christmas, Sarah Ellison discovers a man adrift in the Atlantic Ocean. Nothing could have prepared her for the gorgeous Captain Daniel Alexander, or the secrets he keeps!

Look for it on November 1st.

Elizabeth also has a Christmas/Twelfth Night Harlequin Historical Undone coming out early next year.  Stay tuned...

Until next time, HO HO HO!


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Reading Adventures - angsty romance, fantastical tales, attraction, and going back in time....

Welcome to this month's Reading Adventures.....

Carla Caruso

Grace Grows by Shelle Sumners

5 stars

Wow. I loved this book and all of its angsty romance! My little sister recommended this one. It took me a chapter or two to get into as the writing style is so unique and it's a little on the 'boho' side for my usual tastes, but once I did get into it, well, like I said before... wow!

My little sis also said when reading it that she didn't want the story to end and I felt the same way. It's so rare to feel that way about a book these days - where it stays with you throughout the day and you can't wait to get back to reading it. It made me want to be a better writer.

I developed a crush on the brooding muso love interest, Tyler. The protagonist, Grace, is a likeable character, too. You want these two to get together! Plus, I enjoyed how the book was broken into seasons and the focus on the different family members. Plus, PLUS... the author's muso husband wrote original songs to accompany the book, which you can look up. So you know this story reflects a bit of real-life, too.

For me, GRACE GROWS almost had a Judy Blume-like quality to it, with its simple, snappy writing and focus on dialogue rather than too much description. An unforgettable read!

Elizabeth Rolls

I've been enjoying Ben Aaronovitch's Broken Homes. Sort of Harry Potter grows up unaware he can do magic and becomes a policeman! 

Also, Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series. A very funny alternate universe Britain where books really do have a life of their own and childcare may be provided by a gorilla.

Khloe Wren

The latest  read on Khloe's shelves is Blind Attraction by Eden Summers. 5 stars.

Eleni Konstantine

I have realised that I have gone back in time to authors who wrote in the late 19th Century. There has definitely been a change in novels and story telling. Both of these stories are more a 'telling' than showing, which is more common today. There is a lot of exposition and description but although the style is different to what I'm used to, I really enjoyed both of these tales.

A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle

3.5 stars

This is the very first story with the infamous literary detective, Sherlock Holmes, and his partner in crime-solving, Dr. Watson. Becoming flatmates, Dr Watson tags along with Holmes as he investigates a murder. Watson is introduced to deductive reasoning and marvels at Holmes' abilities. 

I've always enjoyed the various versions of Sherlock Holmes that have come across the big and small screens over the years, and so I wanted to get back to the original stories because I had never read them. There is a 19th century narrative but it is easily enough to follow. I'm looking forward to following Holmes and Watson through the other works - novels and short stories.

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells (audio)

3.5 stars

H.G Wells was telling stories of a speculative nature long (that is the science fiction / fantasy tales) long before it was popular. This stories is told to us by a friend of the Time Traveller and also a whole exposition of the Time Traveller and his 'tall' tale. Pulling a lever on a Time Machine he has invented, he is propelled 800,000 years into the future. Humanity has evolved into two races -  the ethereal Eloi and the subterranean Morlocks. They symbols of the duality of human nature and of adapting to one's environments. 

I listened to the audio version. Occasionally the narrator's American accent jarred me as I knew the characters where from Victorian England. But hey, that's me. :)

See you next month with some more Reading Adventures....

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

SARA News - The good stuff just keeps on coming...

Hello dear reader, and welcome to yet another super-sassy instalment of the SARA News.  

We have some new books for your reading pleasure this evening...

Claire Baxter's Entangled Bliss release Flirting with Danger is now available from etailers.  To celebrate it's release, Claire is blog-hopping across with blogosphere with a rafflecopter giveaway.    Head to Claire's website for more deets.

To be together is dangerous. To stay apart is impossible.
Firefighter Jasmine Mackinnon has always just been one of the guys. So no one’s more shocked than she is to find herself kissing fellow firefighter and all-around sinfully handsome playboy Aaron Parkes after a friend’s wedding. Jasmine knows she can’t risk an emotional connection with a colleague—a potentially dangerous entanglement when fighting fires together—and nothing's more important to her than her job.

Aaron never noticed how beautiful Jasmine was until he saw her out of her firefighter duds, but there’s something about the fiery woman that tempts him. Though he knows pursuing a real relationship is out of the question for a serial dater like him, when their casual flirtation builds into something more serious, it's not just their jobs or their safety on the line. It's their hearts.

In other book release news, KE Osborn's debut novel Trust Me? The Trust me? Trilogy Book One is available now at Amazon and Smashwords.

When Jenifer Taylor, a young woman from the big City of Mornington Vale California starts her day, it turns from bad to worse, when on her way to work she is in a chain collision.Little does she know that this accident will set off a chain of events transforming her dull life, filling it with love and heartache.Aiden O'Connell, a young, attractive, and rich businessman sparks her trust issues as he starts his pursuit of her.Jeni admits her feelings for Aiden; only to find out he is being investigated for a serious crime. Her trust issues spark as she goes through a journey of self-discovery. She must decide once and for all whether she trusts the man she loves, when she’s asked the ultimate question.“Do you trust me?”This is book one in a series of three. Book two "Love Me?" coming soon. 

Finally (Don't be sad, we'll be back next week!), the Romance Writers of Australia Inc's Little Gems Short Story Anthology 2013 Sapphire was released at the RWA's recent National Conference.  It feature's SARA's own Little Gems 2013 contest finalists, Harriet Jarvis (Stealing the Detective's Heart) and Ute Rozenbilds (Mining Sapphires), plus the second place winning story by Emmeline Lock, EverTrue.  

Secure your copy now at the RWA website.  

Until next time, happy reading!  

Emmeline  :)

Friday, September 6, 2013

UP CLOSE with out-and-about writer Lilliana Rose!

Tell us about your work background.

I’ve been a research scientist (where I played with DNA), a high school science teacher (where I went to formals as an adult), and a counsellor (where I’ve learnt about Jungian theories and other philosophical and psychological concepts).

Right now I write full-time. I also do work related to writing, like poetry gigs, workshops, and writer in residence programs.

When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

Growing up, Mum would deliver me at the library where I would seek out new books and emerge with a pile to read over the next month. I devoured books. I loved to read. It was a natural progression for me to begin writing my own stories. At school I loved when the teacher wanted us to write a creative story. Mine would go on for pages and pages - about talking kittens, dolls, caves by the beach. And once I wrote about a shipwreck.

It wasn’t until my mid-twenties that the idea of pursuing a writing career began to grow in my mind. I never thought of becoming a writer. I don’t know why. Other things just got in the way perhaps? In my early thirties, I decided to take the risk and pursue a writing career in earnest. I’ve not looked back. Writing is what I’m meant to be doing – if a few days go by and I haven’t written I tend to get a little grumpy. As the saying goes, ‘it’s in my blood’, it’s who I am, and I’m happiest when writing.

You’ve penned stories involving fantasy, sci-fi, steam-punk and horror, and recently tackled a rural romance. Is there anything you can’t do, and why not stick to one genre?

I don’t like to think about what I can’t write. I did that once. The gauntlet was thrown down – to myself – and I ended up writing a novella in the area I didn’t think I could write in (intense horror). It opened a new door for me, and my writing has been expanded because of this, which isn’t a bad thing. What inspires my writing are ideas. This is why I write in different areas. It's the ideas, or the questions I’m asking myself, and the what-ifs that create the characters and the situations they are in that dictates what genre I write in.

Writing for you does not appear to be a solitary activity. You’ve done everything from being a writer in residence at the SA Writers' Centre and Unley Council to a café poet at Rundle Mall's T-Bar. Do you think it’s important to get out and about as a writer and be 'seen'?

For me writing in public is a way to stay connected to the ‘real world’. I also write more productively. The noises, the smells, the interactions with people - while they aren’t going on the page, they are indirectly sparking my own senses and are reminding me of life. People seem to be drawn to me when I’m writing. They are interested, curious, and like to take a peek over my shoulder to see the words on my computer screen!

On your website you state your aim to write a poem a day for a year. How’s that going?

What was I thinking!? I’m hanging in there – just. I’ve written a poem a day since January 1. I knew it was going to be a lot of work, but I wanted to stretch my poetry writing in different ways. This process forces me look at life around me with ‘poetry eyes’ and at things from different perspectives. Writing exercises offer me a platform for writing new stories and poems, and this is exactly what this goal had done. I’ve got a lot of poems - some aren’t very good, some are very short - but I can come back to these poems in years to come.

Can you give us the log-lines of any recent stories you’ve had published?

New Skies published by Less Than Three Press (2012)
All Opal wants is to spend time with her beautiful, fiery lover and continue to build a life together—when she's not building and testing new inventions. But their peace and happiness is shattered by the appearance of a ghost—a ghost Opal does not believe in, despite the evidence.

Creating Wings (poetry collection) published by Infinity Dreaming (2012)
Life can pluck out your feathers and clip your wings, leaving you stranded and alone. Until you remember to begin again and create a new set of wings.

Browsing published by Bewildering Stories (coming out Autumn 2013)
An over-charged shopaholic prowls the cells of the living, breathing organism of the shopping mall.

Following Dreams published by Alfie Dog (Aug 4, 2013)
Ashley is scared of failing and misusing Nan’s money to set up her dream organic café. When she finally rents a shop, Ashley ends up with support from a stranger - and more than a café.

What made you get rid of your trademark blonde dreadlocks? And why the obsession with wings?

You do ask the hard questions! Girls like to change their hairstyle once in a while, and for me, it was just time for a change! At the time, I had more important things to do than style my hair (so many stories to write!) and dreadlocks were the perfect solution. Who knows? Maybe I will get them again in the future. ;)

For me wings usually represent being free, hope, potential and they are a sign change has or is occurring. Wings began fluttering in my writings when I was emerging as a writer, which was symbolic to the start of my writing journey. I believe I have many muses - most of them have wings, from angels to harpies.

Visit Lilliana's site here.

Monday, September 2, 2013

SARA News - Fear not, the wait is nearly over...

Hello, and welcome to yet another exciting instalment of the extremely sassy SARA News.

If you're a rabid Carla Caruso fan, as most people who have ever read a CC book are, you'll be absolutely plotzing to hear about any books she has coming out in the future.

Wait no longer!  Here's Carla herself:

"Have had my rural romance, Catch of the Day, contracted by Penguin’s Destiny Romance, and it’s due out around November.

It’s set in the South Australian ‘lobster capital’ of Kingston SE, where I cut my teeth in journalism at a country newspaper.

The hero? A cray fisherman, of course!"

I suspect this book could send my lobster cravings into hyperdrive, not to mention my Carla Caruso addiction.

Stay tuned for more info!

If you are one of the thousands who has a Claire Baxter addiction keeping happy company with your Carla Caruso fetish, like me, then you may need to sit down.  

Right now.

Because Claire has a NEW COVER!  Check out this beauty:

To be together is dangerous. To stay apart is impossible.

Firefighter Jasmine Mackinnon has always just been one of the guys. So no one’s more shocked than she is to find herself kissing fellow firefighter and all-around sinfully handsome playboy Aaron Parkes after a friend’s wedding. Jasmine knows she can’t risk an emotional connection with a colleague—a potentially dangerous entanglement when fighting fires together—and nothing's more important to her than her job.

Aaron never noticed how beautiful Jasmine was until he saw her out of her firefighter duds, but there’s something about the fiery woman that tempts him. Though he knows pursuing a real relationship is out of the question for a serial dater like him, when their casual flirtation builds into something more serious, it's not just their jobs or their safety on the line. It's their hearts.

Flirting With Danger is out from Entangled Publishing on September 9th, and is available for pre-order right now!  

What a cool cavalcade of contemporary offerings from SARA.

Until next time, happy reading.