Random thoughts on our impending doom and everyday life, courtesy of a Romance Writer who occasionally feels the need to talk like a Sailor.

Thursday, 31 January 2013

My Book Chatter: Book Review and GIVEAWAY: SKIN by Kylie Scott

My Book Chatter: Book Review and GIVEAWAY: SKIN by Kylie Scott: Title: SKIN Author: Kylie Scott Release Date: February 1st 2013 Publisher: Momentum Source: Received from the author for an honest revie...

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

New Years Blog Thingy, with... Bec McMaster.

I first met Bec McMaster at the Romance Writers Conference on the Gold Coast last year. I was standing around swilling wine when this tall gorgeous girl dressed up as a character from Alice in Wonderland came and stood next to me and said 'hey'. I've never seen anyone rock a funky little fascinator/hat and short frilly skirt quite like Bec. She is mighty in her ways. Apart from being nice as pie, she also writes awesome good Steampunk. Take it away, Bec...

Just noticed, looks like Kiss of Steel is currently at the reduced price of around $2 for Kindle. Go get it!

What did you learn in 2012?

Ah, 2012… What a huge year. I feel like I’ve blinked and somehow the year slipped by. Of course, since my first book was released last year, there was a lot of learning to do.

Number One – How to be organized. Or, ah, more organized. Or even slightly organized. Heck, what can I say? I’m a pantser, in life and in my writing. I got a new Mac last year and it has its own sticky note function, so I can finally remove all the little yellow notes fluttering off my computer that seem to wind up in the weirdest places (like stuck to your butt when you race up to the post office to get the mail). I even have schedules, to-do lists and calendars on my pinboard now.

Number Two – I have learned to be patient. Publishing seems to be all about waiting. Waiting for that contract to arrive, waiting for edits, cover art, the publicity schedule… On the other hand, things will arrive in my inbox that need attention yesterday. Like a synopsis request or blog post. It keeps me on my toes.

Number Three – Anything that can go wrong, will. Like your internet going AWOL for two months right before your book is due to be released and your computer crashing (hence the new Mac)*. This is great fun when you have over thirty blog posts due, emails coming in left and right, a blog tour to promote and your third book due.

*Note to anyone out there: Backup your work. Your emails. Everything.

Number Four – To look after myself. 2012 was the year of not getting enough sleep, taking on a bit too much and not eating right. The kiev may be your friend when it comes to the meals-that-cook-themselves variety but you can give yourself an iron deficiency with too many of those kind of meals. Trust me. I know. It doesn’t matter if it takes a half hour away from the computer, a proper meal is worth its weight in gold.

What were some of your highlights of 2012?

The entire month of September. My first book, Kiss of Steel, came out on the 4th of September and I swear I spent the whole month wandering around in a daze. My MIL helped arrange a release night at the local library – well, actually she insisted on it since I prefer not to be in the limelight – and I was surprised how much I enjoyed myself. My step-mum organized an enormous cake that was designed like my book and we had 130 people show up. The local support has been amazing.

And yes, that entire thing is made of awesome chocolate mud goodness.

Also, I cut back to working part-time in order to focus on my writing career. It’s been great having the extra time to write, though it amazes me that my productivity levels are roughly the same. I think the increased focus on social media and promotion are to blame for that however.

And I always love attending the RW of Australia conference. This year it was the Gold Coast, though I’ll admit I didn’t leave the hotel for the entire five days I was there. Living in a small country town makes it difficult to catch up with other people who think like I do (aka writers), so five days of talking and laughing with old and new friends is the best fun.

What have you got planned for 2013, publishing or otherwise?

The second book in my London Steampunk series, Heart of Iron, is due out in May 2013, followed by book three (The-Book-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named) in October. I’m hoping to come up with a name for that book sometime between now and October. Writing a 100,000 word manuscript is the easy part, trust me. It’s naming the suckers that’s tough. Oh, and synopses.

I’m also hoping to release a novella in e-book form sometime in March-April. Featuring a secondary couple from Kiss of Steel, it is also available on my blog at in serial form if anyone is interested.

As for the future, I’m hashing out the details on Book Four and Five of the London Steampunk series, which will close this story arc. I can’t wait to start book four. It’s all about friends-to-lovers and my hero finally noticing what’s been under his nose all along, so I’m having a lot of fun bringing him to his knees.

In March, I’ve got a writers retreat with a handful of friends which I can’t wait to attend. We’re trying to plan a schedule at the moment so that it is remotely productive and not all eating-champagne-celebrating awards nominations and general achievements.

I’m also hoping to attend the RWA conference in America in July. My mum has a milestone birthday this year and wants to climb Machu Pichu for it, so I’m hoping to do that on my way to America, attend the conference and then finish with a tour of the northern states. I may be sick of two-minute noodles by the time I get there, but it will be worth it.

Any movies, books and suchlike being released in 2013 that you're really looking forward to?

There are so many awesome movies that are coming in 2013. I can’t wait for Warm Bodies (zombie romance, seriously, how can you not?), the next Riddick, Wolverine, The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug and the latest seasons of Game of Thrones, Vampire Diaries and Walking Dead.

As for books… I’m going to try and get through my TBR shelf this year (see abovementioned America trip, two minute noodles and severe book budget slash). Mind you, there are some books I NEED to get my hands on: Nalini Singh’s untitled hopefully-ghost novel, Allegiance Forged by Kylie Griffin (because everyone needs some Arek in their life), Winterblaze by Kristen Callihan and Meljean Brook’s final Guardian novel. Of course, I’ve probably missed dozens, but I’m not even going to look at online reviews and catalogues until at least September! I promise. *crosses fingers*

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

New Years Blog Thingy, with... Christina Ashcroft

Today we have absolute delight that is Christina Ashcroft. After a steamy spicy erotic romance with a dash of history? Funny that, because Christina writes them for Ellora's Cave. Or maybe a smexy paranormal romance with easy on the eye angels is more your style? Huh, just so happens Christina writes those for Berkley. Take it away, Christina...

Christina Ashcroft is an ex-pat Brit who now lives in Western Australia with her high school sweetheart, their three children, an eccentric Maltese-cross and three regal cats. She can’t remember a time when she didn’t write, and always managed to include an element of fantasy or the paranormal in her English essay homework. Luckily her English teachers didn’t mind, despite the fact these stories generally finished with the hero, heroine (or both) coming to a sticky end. Thankfully by the time she hit fourteen she discovered romance novels and the wonder of a Happily Ever After. She now writes about hot archangels and the women who capture their hearts for Penguin/Berkley Heat and her books always have a happily-ever-after.

Christina is a member of the Romance Writers of Australia, Romance Writers of America, the Dark Side Down Under group blog and the Romance Writers of the Apocalypse blog. She is a contest judge for RWAm, RWAus and RWNZ. She was a member of the inaugural Professional Development for Authors team and has been part of the editorial team for the Romance Writers of Australia’s monthly newsletter, Hearts Talk.

Archangel of Mercy is a finalist in the 2012 Australian Romance Readers Awards in the
Best Paranormal Romance category

What did you learn in 2012?

I learned that when it comes to publishing books of your heart you should Never Give Up! Never Surrender! That Galaxy Quest quote has always been one of my favourites and it really resonated with me in 2012. After Berkley gave me the option of going forward or changing direction on my third contract with them (after I'd written 34k of my third ancient Roman/Druid book) my agent was determined to find my hot historical romances a new home. I finally signed with Ellora's Cave in June and am thrilled that the next two books will soon be published with them.

I also self-published two novellas that had previously been published by a small e-press. I learned my way around the Smashwords and Amazon platforms (and thanks to Cathleen Ross for all her help!). I learned of strange and wondrous functions that Word could perform that I'd had no inkling of before, despite all the years I've used the program.

Although I've always done my own websites, last year I really wanted to set up WordPress websites, because the program I was using was driving me bonkers. I spent about two weeks pulling out my hair, swearing at my laptop and weeping into my tea, but eventually I grasped the fundamentals! Oh happy day :-)

What were some of your highlights of 2012?

Without doubt, the birth of my gorgeous grandson. He is a little ray of sunshine and his cheeky grin brightens every morning!

Signing a six book contract with Ellora's Cave.

The RWA conference at the Gold Coast in August. It was absolutely fantastic and I had a wonderful time catching up with friends and meeting new ones face to face for the first time. By the time I caught the plane home I was practically comatose with exhaustion but it is sooo worth it! I didn't even panic when my luggage ended up in Melbourne while I landed in Perth!!

The release of my first Archangel book, Archangel of Mercy, in December.

What have you got planned for 2013, publishing or otherwise?

I have all my fingers crossed that the next two books in my Roman/Druid series will be published - Betrayed and Tainted. I'm also hoping my first vampire Regency will be released from Ellora's Cave - Bloodlust Denied. I also have a sexy Highland Warrior series planned with EC, but not sure if the first book will be released this year or not.

I also hope to have a release date for my second Archangel book, Archangel of Death.

And looking forward to the RWA conference in Fremantle - no flights involved for me this year. Yay!

Any movies, books and suchlike being released in 2013 that you're really looking forward to?

I'm looking forward to the second Hunger Games movie, Catching Fire, and the new Star Trek movie, Into Darkness. As for books, there are so many I don't even know where to begin!


Archangel of Mercy

When Aurora Robinson attempts to open a rift between dimensions to embrace her true heritage, an arrogant Archangel is the only one who can save her from the jaws of hell. And while she owes Gabriel her life, she’s determined not to fall at his feet-despite the desire she feels whenever they’re together.

After his wings were brutally destroyed millennia ago, Gabriel has no compassion for humans like those who ruined him and betrayed the ones he loved. But when he inexplicably finds himself defying ancient protocols to rescue a woman from a fate worse than death, he is shocked by the searing attraction he feels for a mortal.

As the ancient forces that seek to punish Aurora for her actions close in, Gabriel offers the tempting woman protection at his private sanctuary. But as they both succumb to their desires, they discover an even deeper connection-one that threatens to consume them.

Christina also writes hot historical romances as Christina Phillips

Bloodlust Denied - Coming Soon from Ellora's Cave

Lured by blood, driven by lust, Alexius is fascinated by the dark haired seductress who shows no fear and refuses to obey his every command. Entranced by such novelty he denies his rabid bloodlust. Instead he’ll keep her to warm his bed until he tires of her ready tongue and tempting body.

Immortal vampire hunter Morana has never mistaken her prey before. But the dark stranger mesmerizes her, enticing her to forget everything but the dangerous pleasure she finds in his arms, until reality intrudes and she flees his addictive embrace.

When Alexius unexpectedly finds her again he’s determined to exact retribution for the way she vanished three years ago. Abduction, bondage and decadent seduction feature in his plans, but before the sun rises dynamics have shifted and he’s the one fighting the silken bonds of captivity.

But as they fall under each other’s erotic spell the past and present collide and unless they discover the truth behind the lies, Death will triumph once more.

Monday, 28 January 2013

New Years Blog Thingy, with... Keziah Hill.

Today we have my friend Keziah Hill to give us the run down on her 2012 and pep us up with her plans for 2013. Keziah had the erotic novella, Chains of Revenge, out in 2012. If you love a well done slave fantasy then I heartily recommend it. It was a wonderful hot read. She's followed it up with her new Momentum - Hot Down Under release 'Business with Pleasure'. Isn't the cover for it gorgeous? Take it away, Keziah…

What did you learn in 2012?

I have no idea. No, that’s wrong. I learnt how important it is to keep a record of my expenditure if I want to go overseas this year. But in relation to writing? I think I know less as I get older. Maybe the only thing I learned about writing is that everything changes and stays the same. The format and marketing of stories might change but the need for stories remains the same.

What were some of your highlights of 2012?

Hmm… getting serious about writing a single title crime/romantic suspense novel and getting an erotic romance novella Chains of Revenge  published with Escape Publishing. That was a blast.

What have you got planned for 2013, publishing or otherwise?

It looks like it could be a very changeable year. The Australian Romance Readers Convention in March which I’m really looking forward to, root canal therapy which I’m not, maybe RWA in Freo in August and maybe England and Ireland with my sister in November. After all that, poverty. I plan to finish another erotic novella, my romantic suspense and maybe another very light romantic suspense that’s been hanging around for a while.
I’m also seriously thinking of dramatically scaling down my Facebook interaction and going back to blogging in order to stretch my writing muscles.

Any movies, books and suchlike being released in 2013 that you're really looking forward to?

I would love, love, love to take two weeks off in June and live in a penthouse in the centre of Sydney and go to the film festival. Alas, a dream. Failing that, catch up on a whole lot of movies on Apple TV like Let the Right One In  and season two and three of The  Killing   (seems like a Scandinavian thing going on here). I’m very fond of Sarah Lund and her sweaters. Homeland, Mad Men and Dexter remain big favorites of mine.
With books, a certain Ms K Scott has a book coming out I’m looking forward to, plus all the usual suspects (Anna Campbell, Tana French, Nalini Singh, Kandy Sheperd, lots of RWA folk – too many too mention).

After quite a few years working in the criminal justice system, Keziah Hill  decided a tree change was needed so decamped to the blissful Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, Australia. Amid a garden full of flowering blossoms, roses and the odd marauding possum, she writes steamy erotic romance and romantic suspense while trying not to procrastinate too much. Her work is available at most digital bookshops.

Her current release is Business with Pleasure  part of the Hot Down Under erotic romance line from Momentum. Under the pen name Deborah Tait,  she has a novella recently published in Moonlit Encounters  from TWC Press a writers co-operative.