Sunday, November 17, 2013

NaNo Week Two

Week two of NaNo ended up being a total bust -- I wrote absolutely no words all week due to some unforeseen and very unavoidable circumstances at home. I worked out yesterday how many words a day I would now have to write in order to make up the lost week, but unfortunately, I think I've lost motivation.
So I think that will be the end of my NaNo adventure for this year. There's always next year, if I end up feeling inclined once again to challenge myself.
In the meantime, I'll continue at a steady pace on both my romantic suspense manuscript, and sci-fi romance novellas, while I wait for word of my current submissions.

Friday, November 8, 2013

NaNo Week One Report

So week one of NaNo has gone well, but that's to be expected. When taking that first run off the starter's mark, its easy to be confident, feel full of energy and think the entire race is going to be easy. By week three, or the third lap, I can tell you that's when the struggle sets in.
My goal was to write 2000 words a day, which should give me a total of 56,000 words for the month. In the first seven days, there was only one day I failed to make the 2000 word target, coming about 400 words short. However, most days I manged to get myself well over the 2000 word mark, with a couple of day producing numbers in the vicinity of 3000 words.
My total for week one was around the 17,000 word mark, which put me 3000 words ahead of the weekly targeted amount of 14,000 words.Those extra words will come in handy later, I'm sure.
Also,  have succumb to the silliness of Bitstrips on Facebook, and this was my contribution earlier in the week.
I'll be reporting back for week two, and might even treat myself to a Monday Muse again next week. In the meantime, I have words to write!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Monday Muse -- Daniel Gillies as Elijah Mikaelson from The Vampire Diaries/The Originals

Its been a while, so I think we're long overdue for a Monday Muse, plus I need it to keep my brain for NaNo.
This week I've decided on Daniel Gillies, who plays Elijah Mikaelson, a character that started out life on The Vampire Diaries. Elijah is the sensible, honorable,  and let me say intense brother of vampire-werewolf hybrid Klaus. They are the original family of vampires (hence the spin off show title The Originals) and Elijah is forever trying to keep his family together and in line, whether that means talking sense into hot-headed Kluas, or their impetuous sister Rebekah.
For the past few seasons of the Vampire Diaries, Elijah has been an interesting character who pops up every now and then to either solve problems or create trouble, depending on his personal goals in any given situation. At first, the original family are painted as the bad guys, and Elijah was the first to be introduced. However, it soon became apparent that this first family had their own immortal problems, and in a nutshell were simply trying to survive as best they could.
Since moving across to The Originals, these characters, especially Elijah, have really come into their
own. I am absolutely in love with this new show, even though we're only a few episodes in. I think Elijah's character can be nicely summed up by one of his own quotes:
"Although I talk of virtue, when it suits my needs, I kill, maim and torment."
Elijah prides himself on his honor, but he becomes one of those gray characters I love so much if he's pushed far enough. He will do whatever it takes, even things of questionable morality, in order to achieve his ultimate ends.
Elijah has this quiet intensity, but there's no mistaking he's deadly and one would be foolish to ever underestimate him. In that regard, he's perfect hero inspiration material.
And when it comes to the unfolding plots on The Originals, I was excited this week to see the shadowing of a possible love-interest with the werewolf, Hayley, who is currently pregnant with Klaus' child. No need to worry about brothers rivaling for her attention, Hayley's pregnancy was the result of a one night stand with Klaus, and while he obviously wants to protect her as the mother of his unborn child, there's no romantic entanglement to speak of. Still, my writer's mind has been coming up with all sorts of possible complications from this kind-of-but-not love triangle, and I'm really looking forward to where the writers of the series take us as we continue deeper into the first season of this show.
As for Elijah, I'm hoping we'll see plenty more of this ideal romance hero as season 1 of The Originals continues.

Friday, November 1, 2013

NaNo Madness

I wasn't going to do it, truly I wasn't. But a few days ago, all that changed.
Once again, its been over a month since my last blog post. What can I say, life is too busy and something had to get put on the back-burner. As much as I do enjoy rambling on about random things here on my blog, I had other writerly priorities that had to come ahead of it.
But back to November being Novel Writing Month. I had toyed with the idea of doing NaNo for the first time this year after participating in 50k in 30 Days with RWAus a few months back. But then I thought, no, I wasn't in a place where I wanted to commit myself to the insanity of writing 2000 words a day, every day for an entire month.
Things were chugging along quite nicely. I was getting an adequate amount of work done, and my agent has been shopping a romantic suspense I wrote last year. A few weeks ago, we got some positive news from a big publisher that they were interested in this romantic suspense. Well, I was literally floating through my day, thinking I had finally Made It. Except then two days ago came the news we didn't want to hear. The editor who'd liked my book so much had taken it to another team of editors, who didn't like it so much. There were several issues they felt meant it wasn't appropriate for their line after all.
Oh, except rejection has the unfortunate effect of making me more determined.
There are plenty more fish in the sea, or in the case, publishers in New York, so I'm hopeful someone will think it ticks all the boxes for them.
In the meantime, I'm a contingency kinda person and I've had this new romantic suspense idea hovering in the back of my mind for a fair while now.
For the past weeks I'd been working on the second book to the one my agent is trying to sell. But then I thought, if she can't sell it, there's no point in writing a second one! So I said to myself "NaNo it is!"
I plan to start this new idea and use Nano to write at least half of the manuscript in the next 4 weeks.
Crazy? Yes indeedey.
So here it is, Day One of Nano and I've written a whole one hundred words. Only 1900 to go for today and 49,900 for the month... God help me.

Monday, September 23, 2013

MIA... But Keeping Busy

Nearly two months since I've blogged! This place has really seen some neglect this year.
A few things have happened in the past weeks.
To start with, for those who haven't heard, Noble Romance Publishing have closed their doors and returned all rights their authors... which makes me a published author no longer! I have been doing my best not to panic, while my agent and I work together in deciding some next steps. So, while none of my books are available at the moment, I'm hoping to change that in the coming months. Whether this means a new home for them, self-publishing, or entirely new book releases, I can't say at this stage.
In other news, I recently completed a novella titled Damage Control, which is the second to my science fiction novella Escape Velocity. I'm hoping to find a home for both of them in the very near future, and have made a tentative start on the third, Cover Fire. I have also started another romantic suspense, untitled at the moment. But it is also a second story, coming after Rick and Maddy's adventures.
So, while I write some more and my agent sends out some submissions, visit my excerpts page, and also enjoy this snippet of Damage Control:

Leigh made his way through the ER. A few of the beds were screened off with curtains, while others stood open. Some of the recruits regarded him with wide-eyes and others averted their gazes. They might not have met him, but of course, they knew who he was by reputation alone. Damn UEF and their poster-boys. Every unit had one and some had several.
Not too long out of pre-military training, after he'd earned his wings under another Force legend, First Captain Johan Bryant, he'd gone and earned himself a reputation as a soldier who'd put himself on the line for others, gotten away with some dumb-ass risks he wouldn't have ever taken now… Okay, so truthfully he would still take an idiotic risk if it meant saving the lives of his teammates and other soldiers.
But he hadn't seen his actions as anything more than doing his job, giving his all. Over the years, he'd lost a lot of good men. And every single one of them had burned a place into his soul. Hell, if it was humanly possible to do more, he would to save every single pilot under his command.
Through those actions, he'd attracted the attention of people higher up in the Force. Getting promoted quickly through the ranks had only fueled the fire. When he'd been contacted a few years back and told he would be used as an example of the Force's finest, it hadn't been a request. It had been a courtesy call before they started plastering his face all over the known worlds.
So yeah, the recruits knew who he was before they got here. And he'd come across more than a few with a serious cases of hero worship over the years. The idolizing made him feel like a fraud. Would they think him such a hero if he told them exactly how many pilots had died on his watch?
One night he'd gotten smashed off his face with Bren and spilled his guts to her about his true feelings. She'd told him not to take it to heart, that this was war and people died. And if he hadn't been there, then the number of good soldiers dead would probably have been more. Despite being drunk off his ass, the words had burned into his brain. Yet he couldn't find a way to believe them.
Sucked deep into the dark thoughts, he almost walked right past TC-seven-niner. The curtains were pulled closed and he hesitated as he reached up to grab the seam. Glancing around, there were no doctors close enough to ask about the occupant, so he shrugged and ducked around the curtain, flicking it closed behind himself.
He'd taken two steps toward the trolley when dark-chocolate eyes met his and he froze. Mia. For a moment she just stared at him, and his heart did that weird thumping thing again. But then she moved, pushing herself more upright against the pillows.
"Hi." One corner of her lips lifted into a friendly, but shy smile. "I was hoping I'd get to see you before… well, training hasn't officially started yet and—"
"Is there something you wanted?" He crossed his arms, a trickle of agitation running through him. Why? She was just another recruit. Yeah, he'd pulled her out of that damaged shuttle, but so what? He didn't get what it was about her that had sent his senses into hyper-drive.
She nodded and tucked a loose strand of golden hair behind her ear. "I wanted to thank you, for saving my friend, Penny. She wouldn't have lasted much longer in there and obviously I couldn't do anything more for her."
His feet took him three slow steps closer, until he came to the very edge of the bed to look down on her. "And what about yourself?"
She ducked her head, and the strand of hair she'd brushed away fell forward again. "Yes, I wanted to say thanks for that too. I only wish I could have done more to help, there were so many injured people. And I'm sorry I passed out—"
He laughed, and just like that, the unease he'd been feeling drained away. She looked up at him, an expression of antagonism tightening her lovely features.
"You're sorry for passing out, like that's something you could have controlled? Well, that's a new one." He moved to sit on the edge of her bed. "Look, I'm not one for giving out a lot of praise, but you did good back there, at expense to your own well-being. That's more than anyone can ask of you, and not something they teach you when you attend pre-mil training. You earned my respect, and that's not something easily done."
Hell, he hadn't meant to say so much. Maybe thinking about all those dead soldiers had put him in a maudlin mood. Yet even as he said the words, he realized they were more than true. He did respect her.
He probably shouldn't have been so forward with her. Except what did it matter? By laws of statistics, she'd more than likely been assigned a ground posting. After today, he wouldn't see her again. What did it matter if he let his guard down for one second, let someone know they'd done good for a change, instead of being the unfeeling, hard-ass CAFF?
She pressed her lips together, not seeming the least mollified by his speech. He studied her stubborn expression. Though he hated admitting it, even to himself, the girl was damned gorgeous. And probably a good fifteen years younger than you, pervert.
He cleared his throat as he forced the thoughts away. "I'll give you some advice."
One of her eyebrows lifted and he couldn't help but grin. He could all but hear her thinking oh yeah?
"Some days in the Force, you'll love your job, think you've landed exactly where you were meant to be. Other days, a lot of days, you're going to hate it. Those are the worst days, where people are lost and bad shit happens. But, if you hold on to whatever it was that made you put the life of your friend before your own, you'll go a long way. And sometimes you'll be able to look back and be satisfied that you did what you could."
Her head tilted, and her lips parted slightly on a soft breath. "Is that how you feel?"
He stared at her for a long moment, and something unfurled within him. Like he'd forged a connection with her he'd never had with anyone else. Sure, he'd been responsible for saving a lot of people, and most of them had thanked him. But he'd never met anyone he'd felt instantly comfortable with, got the strange sense he could tell her anything and she'd take it with calm acceptance and understanding. He didn't do feelings, they were too messy and complicated. Yet with her sitting there, looking like she actually cared, things seemed a whole lot simpler.  
Just for a split second, he wished she wasn't going to disappear out of his life after this moment had finished. That he could get to know her better. And maybe that they didn't have an age gap between them that left him feeling like he'd be taking advantage of her.  
He nodded. "That's how I feel. Of course, some days I feel like the damned reaper, sending good men to their deaths. Never can tell when a simple mission is going to turn to shit."

"The responsibility of that must really weigh on you."
He laughed, though the sound was grim. "You have no idea."
The alarm reminder in his watch went off, vibrating against his wrist. He tapped it off and then looked back up at Mia. If she took a ground posting, would she become a casualty one day soon? The thought made his insides clench. Or maybe he'd be the one heading into the black sooner rather than later.
The depressing thought was the only reason he let his guard down long enough to reach over and tuck that golden, silky strand of hair behind her ear. Her breath hitched, gaze darkening as they came in closer proximity.
He cupped her face, knowing he'd crossed a big fat line and not giving a damn about it right then. Since they'd never see each other again, he just wanted to steal one slice of the forbidden for himself, touch her even though he shouldn't. Find one second of peace from the dark rigors of his life.
"Captain Alphin—"
"Leigh, only don't ever tell anyone I said so."
A small smile tugged at her lips. "Leigh, there's something you need to know—"
His watch vibrated again and he swore at the damned precise contraption. He didn't have any time left to linger here.
"Tell me next time we see each other." Which would likely be never.
She took a breath, no doubt to tell him whatever she had on her mind, but he leaned forward and kissed her cheek, letting his lips linger against the smooth give of her skin.
"Goodbye, Mia. Look after yourself."
He stood and left the room without looking back at her. If he did, if he saw anything in her dark gaze, he'd end up doing something totally idiotic, like following up on her posting and then not-so-accidentally arranging to see her. The last thing he needed in his life was a complication like Mia Wolfe.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Neglect Continues

What can I say, despite how much I enjoy it, in 2013, blogging has definitely taken a backseat!
Its embarrassing how many half-written blog posts are sitting on my computer, waiting to be uploaded.
So, what am I doing with myself at the moment? Well, I'm putting the finishing touches on a romantic suspense, which my lovely agent, Paula, will then start shopping. While I don't have a title for the book, you can read a bit of it here, on my WIP excerpts page.
In other news, I'll be appearing at the Bendigo Writers Festival on the weekend of the 9th - 11th of August. In my first session, I'll be teaming up with Kate Forsyth to talk about writing fantasy, which I'm really looking forward to. My second session is a workshop, which is titled Speed Writing, where I'll be running some writing exercises to get a writer's brain working, and talking about ways to increase word count output in a shorter amount of time.
The weekend after that is the Romance Writers Australia conference, and while I couldn't make it to Perth, I have signed up to do the equally amazing online conference RWA offers over the same weekend. Oh, and on Monday the 19th of August, I'm off to see Julia Quinn in Melbourne. Excitement much? She's only one of the reasons I became an author!
So that's me, busy, busy, busy. Speaking of which, I really need to get back to editing!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Best Quotes of the Vampire Diaries Season 2

The title says it all, let's get into it!

Stefan - Yeah? And then what?
Damon - Stake her. Rip her head off... something poetic.

Stefan - I'm not going to fight you.
Damon - Why? I'd fight me.

Stefan - I'm just glad that's a blood bag and not a sorority girl supplying your dinner.

Damon - What the hell is up with that family? They're not vampires, then what the hell are they?
Stefan - Oh, maybe they're ninja turtles
Damon - You're not funny.
Stefan - Or zombies. Warewolves.
Damon - No comedic timing at all.
Stefan - What? ... What are you up to?
Damon - Since this is reality and there's no such thing as warewolves or combat turtles--
Stefan - It was a ninja turtle, actually.

Damon - You know, this whole preteding to hate me thing is starting to get old.
Ric - I don't think she's pretending, you did kill her brother.
Damon - There is a huge astrix next to that statement, he came back to life.

Damon - That bitch is dead.
Elena - You can't kill her.
Damon - Watch me.

Caroline - Why are you looking at him with your serious vampire look?
Stefan - My what? My serious vampire look?
Caroline - Yeah, its different from your worried vampire look, but not too far from your hey its Tuesday look.

Mason - I've heard great things about you
Damon - Really? That's weird, 'cos I'm a dick.

Mason - I have no control when I shift.
Damon - What, no obedience school?

Damon - What are you doing?
Stefan - Negotiating peace on your behalf.
Damon - But I don't want peace
Stefan - Well then, consider it opposite day.

Stefan - You're staring.
Elana - I'm gazing.
Stefan - Its creepy.

Damon - You, little witch, are going to get over yourself and help us.
Stefan - Yeah, he meant that as a question, with a please on the end.

Bonnie - What's going on?
Jeremy - We're going to kill Katherine.
Stefan - I can explain.
Bonnie - Please do.
Stefan - ...We're going to kill Katherine.

Katherine - The three of us together, just like old times. The brother who loved me too much, and the one who didn't love me enough.
Damon - And the evil slut vampire who only loved herself.

Stefan - Thank you for helping me.
Damon - Can we not do the whole road trip bonding thing? The cliche of it all makes me itch.

Caroline - You have a friend?
Stefan - You say that with such a disconcerting amount of surprise, Caroline.

Ric - Well, I'm naked, so I'm gonna go.

Katherine - Please, come in, there's plenty of room for all of us.
Damon - I'd rather poke my eyes out.

Elena - Well, you guys sound like you have it all planned out.
Damon - I know, we're awesome.

Jeremy - I'm home, okay? I don't need an escort to my room.
Bonnie - I don't know, between here and upstairs, there's still time for you to do something stupid.

Elena - Do you think this is funny?
Damon - Yes, Elena, I find hilarity in the lengths I have to go to repeatedly save your life.

Jeremy - Then who's on Tyler Lockwood and the full moon?
Damon - Vampire barbie asked if she could handle it and I said why not? Figured if she screwed up he'd bite her and that'd take care of two of my problems. 

Damon - What are you doing here?
Stefan - Waiting for you. Listen, there's a lot of people here, don't--
Damon - Oh damn, there goes my plan to rip her spleen through her back.

Rose - I'm sorry.
Damon - You went on a murderous rampage... it happens.

Caroline - Everyone needs to just stop kissing me!

Elana - What are we going to do?
Damon - Kill him.
Elana - Damon!
Damon - I'm joking... okay, I'm a little serious.

Elana - We just need answers, please don't do anything stupid.
Damon - But stupid is so much more fun.

Ric - Yeah, that Elijah is one scary dude... but with nice hair.

Stefan - Wow, Damon, are you telling me you're actually going to be careful for once?
Damon - Yes, Stefan, I've become you. How tragic for both of us. Gotta run, have a murder to plan, busy day.

Stefan - What are you doing?
Damon - Its some kind of crazy-ass psychic witch attack!

Klaus - Who is this guy again?
Katherine - He's the local vampire hunter.
Klaus - Well, that explains the clothing.

Elijah - Yes, Klaus is my brother.
Elana - I heard that, I'm still processing.
Elijah - I'm a little behind the times, but I believe the term you're searching for is OMG.

Damon's One Liners
- I've got a better idea, I'm just going to ignore the bitch.
- I kissed you, I thought you kissed me back, doppelganger hijinks ensued... how do you think I'm doing?
-  No, I'm not upset. Upset is an emotion specific to those who care.
- Let's see who intervenes, maybe its the supernaturally ambiguous mystery uncle.
- If this wolf-man  thing is true, I've seen enough movies to know its not good.
- If we start believing in some supernatural witchy-woo legend from a picture book, we're idiots.

- Katherine's with Mason Lockwood. Warewolf thing aside, the guy's a surfer. She's got to be using him 
- If you're going to be maudlin, I'll kill you myself just to put me out of your misery.
- What's the point, its not going to change anything, its not going to make me good, make me adopt a puppy.
- You better watch your back, 'cos I might just have to go get a hero hairdo of my own and steel your thunder.
- My brother, the peacemaker... Since Stefan got here before me, I'm going to let him try it his way, before I resort to my way, which is a little bloodier.
- There's no such thing as a bad idea, just poorly executed awesome ones.
- I'm going to be honest with you. Don't mistake the fact that we haven't set you on fire in your sleep for trust.
- We're going to need a cover story. Epileptic fit, alcohol binge, banana peel, whatever works, but right now I have to get him out of here.
- Come on, you remember the last decade dance. The vampires were all like "argh" and you were all like "ah!"

Monday, June 24, 2013

Tales of Neglect

Yes, my blog has been extremely neglected this year, lucky if the poor thing sees one post a week.
I hope to revive it at some stage, but obviously I am very busy with other things.
At the moment, I'm participating in Romance Writers Australia's 50k in 30 Days, which is like a practice run for Nano -- novel writing month in November.
I wasn't aiming for the whole 50,000 words, instead, I signed up to write 40,000 words, which was about how much I needed to write to finish my current paranormal romance manuscript. I'm happy to say I've written 35,000 words in the past 23 days, so I'm on track to make my goal, and basically now writing the ending scenes to my novel.
I'd like to say that once this book is finished, I'll make more of an effort to blog, but already an idea for the next book is forming in my mind, so in all likelihood I'll continue straight on with the story.
However, I have got a few ideas for some entertaining blog posts, its just a matter of finding time to put them together.
For now, I'm slogging onward with 50k in 30 Days and enjoying my manuscript at I write my way toward 'the end.'

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Saturday Sojourn -- Join Heather Garside Mustering Cattle on Her Property

Experience the lifestyle enjoyed by her characters in her latest novel, Breakaway Creek.

Saturday 13th April: We hired my nephew with his helicopter to muster bullocks and heifers
for sale. This is the first time we have used the chopper for mustering as we’ve don’t have a
large acreage by Queensland standards. But we’ve had a very wet season, making the creek
country full of long grass and unsafe to muster by horseback or motorbike. The last photo is
our truck with double-decker stock crate, ready to load.

Monday 15th April: On Saturday and Sunday we had also mustered cows and calves. In these
photos is the yarding of weaners (calves old enough to be taken from their mothers – these
were bigger than normal as circumstances had prevented us mustering at the optimal time.)
Other photos show my husband bringing hay to the yards to feed them.

Thursday 19th April: We mustered cows and calves on our second property, this time on
horseback and quad bike. Photos show me with my lovely mare Whiskey, my husband with
his quad bike and the friend who helped us with the muster.

Breakaway Creek
Two love stories; two parallel lives; two destinies.
Two city women, a century apart, find love and adventure in the Queensland outback.
Set in the 19th and 21st centuries, Breakaway Creek is a passionate rural romance of love and its consequences.
Shelley and Emma might be separated by time but they’re bound by a dark secret to a place called Breakaway Creek.

Available from Clan Destine Press

Heather’s website:

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Saturday Sojourn with Evonne Wareham

One of the perks of being an author is setting books in places you have enjoyed visiting. I like to locate my stories in atmospheric locations, mainly in Europe. I write romantic suspense, and I think that it can add to the tension to have scary events happening in beautiful places. If I’m throwing all manner of nasty stuff at my hero and heroine, at least the sun is shining! And I can stay warm, if only inside my own head. I hate the cold.

I lived for a long while in London, so that city features often in my books. My home is now on the coast of Wales and if I can, I like to include at least one Welsh scene in anything I write. In my debut novel, Never Coming Home, this is a short but crucial encounter that takes place in Cardiff, which is the Welsh capital. In my second book, Out of Sight Out of Mind, the latter half of the book is located on the Pembrokeshire coast. Sadly, in real life we cannot rely on sun filled summer days, so I had to invoke author privilege to adjust the weather accordingly – but I also included one day of typical Welsh rain. My hero had just revealed a sinister and damaging secret to my heroine and really upset her. After that I enjoyed sending him out in a torrential downpour and soaking him to the skin. 

For this post I’ve chosen two photographs of Florence, in Italy. It’s a beautiful, historic city, full of memorable art and architecture, and one of my favourite places. When I was writing Never Coming Home, my debut novel, I needed a city where Kaz, my heroine, would search for her ex-husband, who has information that she needs. Florence was my number one choice.
My first picture is of the Ponte Vecchio – the bridge over the river Arno which is lined with shops, many of them selling jewelry – and yes, I have been known to shop there, while visiting the city. In Never Coming Home Kaz and Devlin – a security expert with a dark past, who Kaz has hired to help her track down her ex  - walk across the bridge at night. 
The second picture is a panorama of the city taken from the Piazzale Michelangelo. Again this is one of the locations from the book. Kaz admires the view, unaware that behind her in the crowds on the square Devlin is having a tense encounter with a former colleague. The pictures were taken on a trip to Italy a few years ago, and the weather was unexpectedly stormy, as you can see. But, of course, in the book I have ensured that the sun shone. 

Evonne Wareham is published by award winning independent UK publisher, Choc Lit. Her debut novel, Never Coming Home, won the UK Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers’ prize for 2012 and was a nominee for a Reviewers’ Choice Award from RT Book Reviews magazine. Her second book, Out of Sight Out of Mind, features a scientist who reads minds and a down-and-out who can’t remember his own name.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Sunday Snippet With Tea Cooper

Born into privileged society, Lilibeth Dungarven finds herself married, widowed, and much to her distress, back under her father’s rule, all before her twenty-first birthday. But this feisty and independent young woman has a dream: she is determined to breed the perfect racehorse and restore the family’s flagging fortunes. An accomplished rider, she takes matters into her own hands and sets out to restore the Dungarven horse farm to its former glory.
When the devastatingly attractive Captain Tom and his mismatched band of bushrangers stumble across a mob of the best horses they’ve ever seen, and the daughter of the famed Dungarven horse farm, they know their fortunes have changed. Their catch is worth a king’s ransom. Surely it can’t be too difficult to contain this beautiful young woman with violet eyes and skin-tight riding breeches for seven days?

Lily could see the pale ribbon of road below cutting through the trees and the bright blue expanse of sky wide-open in front of her.
“Nero. You can do it,” she whispered into his sleek, shiny neck and he snorted in response. Her thigh muscles burned as she tightened her grasp on his flanks. His muscles tensed in response, attuned to her body. She gritted her teeth and willed her shaking hands to steady. “We can do this, Nero. We have to.” Her heart hammered so hard in her chest she thought it might leap right over the culvert and down the hill ahead of them.

With barely a moment’s hesitation she dug her heels into the stallion’s flanks and urged him down the hill. The last trees cleared and the sudden heat of the sun stung her face, then she crouched low over Nero’s neck. The clatter of his hooves on the sandstone surface told her they had reached the road. The blood raced through her veins, pulsing in her ears, a violent and excruciating pounding raged through her body.

“Stop.” Tom’s command echoed around her as the blocks of the convict hewn, sandstone walls reared ahead of her. Surely it wasn’t such a huge jump for a horse like Nero?

She leaned forward in the saddle and her cheek brushed the dampness of his neck. Time slowed. With her eyes squeezed tightly shut she sucked in a great gulp of air and clenched her teeth tightly together. Nero lifted into the air. His muscles bunched beneath her and he flew over the chiseled blocks and down the slope. Her knees gripped the saddle and she dragged the reins almost vertical as they plunged down. Tufts of wiry grass and small rocks littered the route. She flinched as Nero’s hooves crashed across them. Gasping in a quick breath, she prayed for the terrain to level off.

Her lungs contracted like bellows and what little air remained, whistled out through her pursed lips. Nero tensed and she shuddered as he stumbled and then regained his balance. Her heart leapt to her throat and her wrists twisted as she wrenched on the reins to slow him. He quivered to a halt. Silver spots danced in front of her eyes and she gulped in a breath to feed her starving lungs. Nero’s muscled body trembled and quaked beneath her and white froth flecked his muzzle.

“We did it, darling Nero. We did it.” The salty tang of his body filled her nostrils as she leaned over his neck murmuring endearments. She swayed with exertion and forced her rubbery muscles to respond as she squinted into the sunlight. Figures on horseback towered above her, stalled on the road. She had an overwhelming urge to wave her hand and shriek in triumph.

But she resisted; this was her opportunity and she had no time to waste. She cut away to the right praying her memory of the maps was correct as she searched for the track leading her to Laguna.

“Lil-eee. Lil-eee.” Tom’s call bounced off the sandstone walls. Shading her eyes with her hand she stared back toward the culvert wall. It was empty.

“Lil-eee. Lil-eee.” The sorrowful echo reached her, resounding somewhere deep in her gut. Her sweat-soaked curls clung to her face as she shook her head, raging at her ridiculous foolishness. After such an exhilarating and successful leap for freedom why did she suddenly feel so melancholy? Her heels bruised Nero’s flanks and she urged him away in a fast canter.

Buy Links:
Lyrical Press
Barnes & Noble
Amazon UK

 Téa writes historical and contemporary romance featuring strong-minded women and irresistible Australian men.  Her heroes and heroines have to fight long and hard for what they believe in before they reach their happy ever after. Many of her books are set in her own back yard and take their inspiration either from the fascinating local characters she knows and loves or those haunting the local museum.

She has written three contemporary romance novels - Tree Change, The Protea Boys and Passionfruit & Poetry and two historical romances - Lily's Leap and Matilda's Freedom. In June 2013 her first historical novella will be released and she is currently working on her third historical romance novel set on a schooner somewhere between Sydney and Van Diemen's Land. 

To keep up with all of Tea's news, visit her website: where you will find links to her blog and social media pages.  


Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Thespian Tuesday with Heather Garside

Welcome! Please introduce yourself and tell us a bit about who you are.

Hello everyone and thanks for having me, Jess! I’ve been writing rural romance (spasmodically!) for over thirty years so I’m thrilled that at last it has come into vogue.
I grew up in Central Queensland on the family cattle property, which consisted of 47,000 acres before the coal mines started chipping away at it. It was very isolated in those days and trips to town only occurred every six weeks or so. I did my primary schooling by correspondence and loved horses, books and the bush.  These are still passions of mine. I self-published my first novel at the age of twenty-four and published two rural historicals in 2007. In between times I’ve contributed to several local historical publications and a couple of anthologies of short stories.
I currently live with my husband on a farm in Central Queensland where we grow grain and raise beef cattle. My daughter is married and lives in South Australia and my son has an engineering business which he operates from a shed on our farm.
I’ve been a member of RWA for about 14 years and thoroughly recommend it as a wonderful source of information and support for writers.

Please tell us a bit about your book.

Breakaway Creek is my new release from Clan Destine Press. It is a dual timeline novel set in Central Queensland. It was a finalist in the 2010 QWC/Hachette Manuscript Development Award.

Two love stories; two parallel lives; two destinies.
Two city women, a century apart, find love and adventure in the Queensland outback.
Set in the 19th and 21st centuries, Breakaway Creek is a passionate rural romance of love and its consequences.
Shelley and Emma might be separated by time but they’re bound by a dark secret to a place called Breakaway Creek.
Distraught at her boyfriend’s betrayal, Shelley Blake flees the city to seek refuge with her parents. Her interest in an old family photograph is piqued by their unusual reticence. A search for answers takes her to the cattle station Breakaway Creek.
Here she meets Luke Sherman, a man embroiled in the bitter ending of his marriage and a heart-breaking separation from his two small boys.
Neither of them is ready for a new relationship. Luke's twenty-first century struggle to reclaim his children unravels as Shelley uncovers the truth about her ancestors, Alex and Emma. Their story of racial bigotry and a love that transcends all obstacles takes the reader back to the pioneering days of the 1890s.

What was the motivation/idea behind this book/these characters?

When I was a teenager I read a book from my mother’s bookcase about a young woman who visited a cattle station. She fell in love with one of the stockmen, only to later discover he was of mixed heritage. This story was set many years ago, probably in the 1950s, when the racial divide was very pronounced. It fascinated me and always stayed with me. Many years later it became the premise behind Breakaway Creek.
Another thread from the modern-day story was partly inspired by marriage break-ups I had witnessed among family and close friends, along with subsequent custody battles of the children involved.

Did you enjoy writing this book, or did you have some tough times with it?

The historical section of this story fascinated me and was consequently easier, in some ways, to write. My modern-day heroine, and her motivations, seemed to require more work.

When / Where / How do you write?

I write at a desktop computer in my office. When? That is harder to answer. I don’t have a regular schedule – I just fit it in around my other work/activities. As to how? I’ve always been more of a pantser than a plotter, but sometimes plotting is necessary.

Do you have some other qualification/interest/something else you do besides being a writer?

I love helping with the cattle work here on the farm. I work part-time at the local library and I’m also involved with a few voluntary organisations, in particular helping to compile a monthly newsletter of the happenings around my local area.

What book/s are you reading at the moment?

I’ve just finished Kimberley Freeman’s Lighthouse Bay, which I loved. Now I’m reading Hope’s Road by Margareta Osborn.

Do you have any authors who were your inspiration/hero?

So many romance writers of my generation give the same answer to that question –Georgette Heyer. As a teenager I read all, or almost all, of her books and she must rate as one of my strongest inspirations. As a child I loved Mary Grant Bruce’s Billabong series and Mary O’Hara’s My Friend Flicka series. Anything which featured horses! An Australian classic which I still adore is Darcy Niland’s The Shirlaee.

What are you working on right now?

I’m writing a sequel to my two earlier publications, The Cornstalk and A Hidden Legacy. I felt a certain down-trodden woman, a secondary character in these novels, deserved her own story and a possible happy ending.

Do you have any other books out you'd like to mention?

The two I’ve mentioned, The Cornstalk and A Hidden Legacy. They’re available from Amazon or their publisher, Wings ePress. Both received excellent reviews and The Cornstalk was a finalist in the Bookseller’s Best Award in the US.

Last year, along with other members of my writers’ group, we released a compilation if oral histories/reminiscences, called Pot Luck: Stories from the Central Highlands.

Is there something I haven't asked that you'd like to tell us?

I can thoroughly recommend the QWC/Hachette Manuscript Development Award for writers targeting the mainstream Australian publishers. Even though it didn’t directly result in publication for my manuscript, I appreciated and enjoyed the experience.

Link to buy Breakaway Creek:

Monday, April 15, 2013

Monday Muse -- Manu Bennett

Ah Monday Muse, the best way to start off a week.
Today I've settled on Manu Bennet. Who the heck is that? Well, I would have said the same thing until recently. If you're a fan of the Spartacus TV franchise, then you already know who I'm talking about. But I didn't come across Mr. Bennett by watching Spartacus (though it is on my list of TV shows that I intend to get around to one day), I discovered him on the CW's new hit series, Arrow.
Bennet plays Slade Wilson, an ASIS agent (Australian Secret Intelligence Service) that Oliver Queen meets on the island during the five years he was stranded. While I love Arrow (and that discussion is for another post on another day) I've found myself hoping for more flashbacks to Oliver training with Slade each week, because his character really has me hooked. I'm also hoping that the writers will bring Slade to Star City at some point to join Arrow's team of evil fighters.
I haven't seen Bennett in Spartacus, so I can't comment on his performance in it.
However, when it comes to looks alone, Mr. Bennett is actually a little bit more rugged than I tend to like men. He's not exactly classically handsome. But with those rough looks and seriously, all those muscles? He makes for an excellent romance novel hero. The fact that he's Australian just gives him extra credit in my book... and okay, technically he was born in New Zealand. But us Aussies like stealing things from New Zealand and claiming them as our own.
Anyhoo, the reason I've put Mr. Bennett up here today is because it came to my attention that he was the perfect inspiration for a new romantic suspense I wanted to start. And what do you know, once I put his image on my character, the story exploded out of nowhere.
So while I go get into writing chapter 3, you can all enjoy this week's Monday Muse.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sunday Snippet with Maggi Anderson

A Baron In Her Bed...

Horatia patted The General’s nose and fed him an apple. By the time the last of it had disappeared, the clip of a horse’s hooves came from the drive. She peeped out of the barn door and saw the baron, tall in the saddle, riding towards the house.
Horatia stepped out and beckoned him. He caught sight of her and rode towards the stables then dismounted and led the horse inside.
“Sorry, my lord,” Horatia said, adopting Simon’s gruff voice. “We have no footman here. No under-groom neither. I’ll stable your horse.”
“Simon, good fellow,” he said warmly. “I came to thank you again. I am indebted to you.”
“No need for that, my lord,” she said. “Everything’s right and tight here as it happens.” She turned her back to lead his horse into one of the stalls. Seizing a brush, she bent and swept it over the horse’s flanks.
He came to rest an arm on the stall door. “I am relieved. If you had lost your job, I was going to ask you to work for me.”
She straightened to brush the horse’s back, confident of the poor light. “Mighty good of you, my lord. But not at all necessary.”
Eh bien, merci encore.” He turned towards the door.
Relieved it had gone so well, Horatia stepped out from behind the horse. She looked up to see if he had gone and found him watching her with his arms folded.
The elation left her, and she took a deep, shaky breath.
“Did you really think you could go on fooling me?” A note of outrage lay beneath the humorous tone in his voice. “How many people around here have red hair like yours?”
“My hair’s not red,” she said, incensed. “It’s chestnut.”
“I wondered how far you would carry this ruse, Miss Cavendish.”
She backed into an empty stall as he strode towards her.
He followed her inside. Reaching over, he whipped off her hat, and her hair came loose and tumbled around her face.  “So, what do you have to say in your defense?”
“Nothing, my lord.” Horatia lifted her chin, her heart pounding loud in her ears. She chewed her lip. She would have to brazen this out.
Annoyed blue eyes stared into hers. “I do not like to be toyed with. I thought there was something wrong with me.”
“Watching you bend over in those breeches. Zut! From the first, I felt a strong attraction to you. And then, when I saw you dressed as a woman, I understood.”
“You knew it was me at the dance?” She scowled. “And you deliberately teased me?”
“Don’t you think you deserved it?” He seized her shoulders and gave them a shake. “You tricked me. Why?”
She swallowed. “No trickery, my lord. I was dressed this way when I found you, if you recall. I needed to keep up the pretense.”
He shrugged. “But why do you dress like that?”
She couldn’t explain her restlessness to him and tossed her head. “I prefer to ride astride.”
He raised a brow. “You like a strong beast moving beneath you?”
She bristled at the insult. “I like to ride alone.” He made it sound as if she gained some sort of indecent enjoyment from the exercise. Her face heated. To ride astride was unfeminine, she knew, but that fact had never bothered her before.
“But to do so places you in peril.”
Horatia drew herself up. “I can handle myself as well as a man.”
“You believe that, do you?” His gaze flicked over her. What was he thinking? She quivered under his scrutiny. 


London, 1816. A handsome baron. A faux betrothal. And Horatia's plan to join the London literary set takes a dangerous turn. Now that the war with France has ended, Baron Guy Fortescue arrives in England to claim his inheritance, abandoned over thirty years ago when his father fled to France after killing a man in a duel. When Guy is set upon by footpads in London, a stranger, Lord Strathairn, rescues and befriends him. But while travelling to his country estate, Guy is again attacked. He escapes only to knock himself out on a tree branch. Aspiring poet Horatia Cavendish has taken to riding her father's stallion, "The General", around the countryside of Digswell dressed as a groom. She has become bored of her country life and longs to escape to London to pursue her desire to become part of the London literary set. When she discovers Guy lying unconscious on the road, the two are forced to take shelter for the night in a hunting lodge. After Guy discovers her ruse, a friendship develops between them. Guy suspects his relative, Eustace Fennimore is behind the attacks on his life. He has been ensconced in Rosecroft Hall during the family's exile and will become the heir should Guy die. Horatia refuses to believe her godfather, Eustace, is responsible. But when Guy proposes a faux betrothal to give him more time to discover the truth, she agrees. Secure in the knowledge that his daughter will finally wed, Horatia's father allows her to visit her blue-stocking aunt in London. But Horatia's time spent in London proves to be anything but a literary feast, for a dangerous foe plots Guy's demise. She is determined to keep alive her handsome fiance, who has proven more than willing to play the part of her lover even as he resists her attempts to save him.

About Maggi...

Maggi Andersen lives in the countryside outside Sydney, Australia, with her lawyer husband and the cat that rules them. After gaining a BA in English and an MA in Creative Writing, and raising three children, Maggi now indulges her passion for writing.
She writes in several genres, contemporary and historical romances and young adult novels. You’ll find adventure and elements of danger in everyone.
More information on her website:

Maggi Andersen lives in the countryside outside Sydney, Australia, with her lawyer husband and the cat that rules them. After gaining a BA in English and an MA in Creative Writing, and raising three children, Maggi now indulges her passion for writing.
She writes in several genres, contemporary and historical romances and young adult novels. You’ll find adventure and elements of danger in everyone.
More information on her website:



Incident Report IBC-726A-39

FORMAL INCIDENT REPORT SECTION ONE Incident Date:___ 25 th August 2436 __ Incident Time:___ 22 :30 hours approx ___ Incident...