Write Bytes with Lea Darragh

Today the lovely Lea Darragh is with me on Write Bytes! Lea’s book Almost Mine is now out. Take it away Lea!

lea picWhat’s on top of your to-be-read pile?
Right now I am completely engrossed in the psychological thriller (I know, far removed from the realms of romantic, heart-warming tales that usually steal my attention) Gone Girl. It. Is. A. Maze. Ing. That is all. Can’t give anything away. Just read it!

What do you feel when you contemplate your to-be-read pile?
I’ve an eclectic bunch of books awaiting my removal from my shelf and into a snuggly chair with me. Jane Green’s The Patchwork Marriage, Lauren Oliver’s Before I Fall, Dean Koontz’s What the Night Knows, Sylvia Days Afterburn/Aftershock and the list goes on. While a good romance is usually an automatic choice made by me, it really all depends on my mood, or what kind of day I’ve had that dictates what I pull from the shelf.

What’s your most guilty pleasure?
Ok. I’ll answer this, but please keep in mind that I am a romance writer and lover of all things that make my heart go all aflutter. I am completely addicted to The Bachelorette. The concept is ridiculous, really. A little degrading, most certainly, but I love watching all of the men pulling out all of their stops to win over a woman who wants nothing more than to be won over. I gush. I melt. I just love watching like a fly on the wall as love grows before my very eyes.

How often do you exercise?
Though I usually have to be pushed into it, I exercise five days a week. I don’t get all routiney about it, otherwise I’d fight it. I freestyle my workout. I love to dance! Love It! Nothing gets a heart racing or a pulsing, well, pulsing, like a hip shaking boogie. Though you’d never see my routine being sold for $99.95 on an infomercial, it does work. Try it! Liberate yourself! My happy wellbeing is credited to it.

Where was your last holiday?
Hol…i…day…I think I’m familiar with the word…but it’s been so long that I’m not quite sure that I understand the question…though I will tell you that if I were to leave on a holiday today, I would pack the family up and jet-set us to the U.K! How awesome is their accent! How adorable are their little cottages! Real princes live there!

What do you like to cook?
I am in charge of all of the roast cooking in our house. We share dinner duty (don’t tell my husband, but he is actually better in the kitchen than I. I really have no flavour palate.) But when it comes to a Sunday dinner, I’m your gal. Chicken is my specialty, moist and tasty, roast potatoes that are fluffy in the middle yet crispy beneath, corn cobs with butter, blanched vegies, gravy…excuse me while I duck out and wipe my drool.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would that be?
Somewhere sunny but with shade beneath a huge leafy canopy. A lake with a jetty. Far enough away from people to assure complete serenity yet close enough to keep in touch with the world. I want fresh air, beauty, clarity, calm. I don’t know of this place, perhaps I’ll write about it…would love a heads up if anyone can locate it for me…please…

What time of day do you write?
I write at night, though I would love the luxury of an anytime of the day gig. I write while the children sleep. While all is quiet. Sometimes well into the night until I realise that it is morning and I need to be forced to bed.

What are the best and worst things about being a writer?
Worst; second guessing every word that I write. Feeling like an imposter. Continuously comparing myself to others and realising that I lag way behind. Falling in love with my characters and then realise that I don’t actually know what their story is about, but can’t walk away because they deserve an ending. Negative reviews from people who don’t get me, or did I just not explain my motives enough…see, second guessing every word that I write. Best; knowing that none of the worst matters. I am a writer and I could stop if I tried.

What was the last non-romance book you read?
Besides Gone Girl, the last non-romance book was The Book Thief. I completely love war stories, especially those involving Nazi Germany. I cannot explain why; I don’t have a familial connection, I just find that stories of people who overcame such a horrific time in history something I take awe in. They give me perspective; though I have shit days, they are not the shittiest be a long, long shot.

Describe your writing space?
I really wish that I could say that I have an office designated for inspiration and mammoth word counts because it provides an authorly feel, surrounded by books and overlooks a garden or a lake or even a lovely street-scape…but really it is my dining table. As blunt and boring as that. It does the job though, and sometimes it has a flower arrangement or lovely scented candles burning. Goes to show that if you want to write, anywhere is good enough.

What was the last movie you watched?
Endless Love…what a beautiful story about true love. The fight for it. The desperation for it. The need to be with that one person because no one else could possibly do.

What’s your favourite television series?
I go completely, ridiculously crazy for The Vampire Diaries (I debated naming this as my guilty pleasure, but turns out that I have room to name two! How lame am I!) Loving The Walking Dead, too. Real escapism. As a romance writer, I guess I’m a little contradictory. Gotta mix it up a bit!

What are three words to describe your relationship with the world wide web?
Daunting. Intriguing. Research!

Windows or Mac?
Windows!!! Though perhaps I’m not qualified enough to judge…so ignore my answer.

Morning person or night person?
Night. Definitely night. It’s quiet, my mind can really wander. I like to take my time, but mornings are just far too hectic to do anything but rush, no matter how early we get up! Night is when all of the fun happens, let’s face it.

What’s the last paragraph you wrote from your work in progress?

We were naked. I was facing away from Romeo. We weren’t touching, except for the two fingers that he used to slowly walk the contours of my back. Up and down they meandered, across to my ribs where I had to fight harder to remain calm, and around to my stomach where he spanned his fingers out, pulling me against his warm body. He adjusted himself so that we fit seamlessly together and pressed his face into my neck.

‘I love you,’ he murmured as he spanned his hands below my breast. ‘I can feel your heart pounding against my palm so I know that you’re awake, and I know that you can hear me. One day, Willow, and I don’t care how long it takes, but one day I will hear your sweet, deliciously kissable mouth say those words back to me.’

Thanks Lea!

Lea coverYou can buy her book Almost Mine here and find her on Facebook here.

Write Bytes with Ann B Harrison

Fighter Boy-highresMy Write Bytes guest today is Ann B Harrison who’s latest Book Fighter Boy is now out. Take it away Ann!

What’s on top of your to-be-read pile?
Deborah Harkness Discovery of Witches. It’s the first book in her series and I need to remind myself of the story before book three comes out. I adore her writing, a very talented lady.

What do you feel when you contemplate your to-be-read pile?
OMG, that’s a good question. It’s easier to not feel guilty or overwhelmed when I have most of my books on my Kindle because they don’t sit there and look at me like my physical book pile does. Some days it’s a challenge to figure out where to start and every time I buy a new book it goes to the top of the list.

What’s your most guilty pleasure?
Crawling into bed before 8pm with a cup of tea and my books. I do it a lot.

How often do you exercise?
I walk every day, usually about 4 kilometres. It’s my thinking time and when I get to sort out my manuscript if it’s not going right.

Where was your last holiday?
Sunshine Coast in Queensland Australia. I went to visit friends and built my new kitchen island for our new house.

What do you like to cook?
I like fast and fresh, preferably using vegetables out of my own garden. I don’t do fussy food.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would that be?
I’m pretty happy living in the Hunter Valley actually.

What time of day do you write?
After I do my social media stuff in the morning is when I usually start.

What are the best and worst things about being a writer?
Best thing is not having to leave the house although I do get dressed. Worst thing is the amount of fluffing around I do some days. Especially when my plot isn’t going great. Nobody stands over you to make you put your fingers on the keyboard and that is a problem for a lot of writers some days.

What was the last non-romance book you read?
Now I have to go and look. Everything I seem to read has at least an element of romance in it. Oh I know, I’m researching for a new series and I brought Code Breakers – The Inside Story of Bletchley Park.

Describe your writing space? ann desk
At the  moment my writing space is limited as we are ‘camping’ in my daughters guest room until our house arrives. It’s a shambles compared to my lovely antique desk that usually graces my home office.

What was the last movie you watched?
Dead Poets Society – more research

What’s your favourite television series?
Game of Thrones

What are three words to describe your relationship with the world wide web?
Addicted, thankful (I don’t know how we lived without Google) challenged

Windows or Mac?
Windows

Morning person or night person?
Morning

What’s the last paragraph you wrote from your work in progress?

He turned back and looked again at the woman in front of him. Her expensive-looking yellow suit was dirty and creased, and those deadly high heels colour-matched perfectly. Her hair was the result of no doubt many hours at the hairdresser, artfully swept up in some sort of fashionable style with a mix of colours that ranged from pale blonde to soft brown.

The wayward strands that had slipped from her hair tie, dropped over her temples to curl around delicate shell-like ears.

Thanks Ann!

You can buy Fighter Boy here.

Write Bytes with Nicole Murphy writing as Elizabeth Dunk

My Write Bytes guest today is Nicole Murphy writing as Elizabeth Dunk. Nicole is a fantasy writer with Harper Collins and Elizabeth is a contemporary and erotica writer with Escape. Take it away Nicole!

Nicole-2

What’s on top of your to-be-read pile?
Depends on whether you mean the electronic or the physical one. Electronically, it’s Lost in Kakadu by Kendall Talbot. I met Kendall when she introduced me to give my presentation at RWA on the Gold Coast a couple of years ago and I was so excited when she scored her first publishing deal. I don’t normally read romantic suspense but this one is getting such good raps, I have to read it. Physically, I’ve got a couple of Kylie Chan novels that are screaming at me to read them. Kylie’s awesome and I can’t wait to sink into her books.

What do you feel when you contemplate your to-be-read pile?
Sad. I’m not going to read them all. I know that. Every book there I got wanting to read it, but there’s just not enough time. Particularly since I like to buy and read all my friends’ books, and as you can guess, a LOT of my friends are writers…

What’s your most guilty pleasure?
If the reaction of the girls at work is any indication, my recent purchase of Fergus O’Hanlon teddy bearMurphy aka a giant teddy bear is a pleasure I should fee guilty about, but I refuse to. I’ve wanted a giant teddy all my life – why shouldn’t I get one, even if I’m in my mid-40s and ‘should be beyond those things’. Honestly, growing up is overrated. I certainly DON’T feel guilty about the things that I know a lot of people would put here eg my love of Next Top Model (regardless of the franchise). Love? Heck, it’s an addiction. Why should other people’s judgements stop me enjoying what I love? Next, someone will tell me loving Duran Duran is uncool!

How often do you exercise?
Great week to ask that. After a few bad weeks with stress at work, I’m getting back into exercise so the answer at the moment is every day. I go to Curves three times a week, and walk other days. I’m intending to start the Couch to 5K program (again!) in the next couple of weeks. I’m on a health kick at the moment – sick of feeling sluggish and achy from the extra weight I’m currently carrying. I want to write for decades and decades, and that requires me making my body strong now. Plus, it means I can feel less guilty about the alcohol and chips on the weekend :-)

Where was your last holiday?
You know, I’ve not been for a holiday (in the idea of doing no work and just relaxing) for years. The last time I went away was in January, for the annual writing retreat I take with a group of friends. We were in this amazing house on the lake in Jindabyne – complete with deer head over the fireplace and pool table to occupy the evening hours. Despite the fact we are there for work (I did something like 45k words over the two weeks), it is also really relaxing because we leave behind the rest of our lives. For that time, we’re surrounded by writers. We live writing. We talk writing. We watch Sherlock. Life is pretty perfect.

What do you like to cook?
Like is a pretty strong word. I have to cook – I am the cook in the family (my husband had a stroke a couple of years ago so he can’t help). I have moments where I want to create a lovely meal and when I do, it’s generally something like this really yummy cheesy mince and pasta I do, or a lasagne. I used to like to bake sweet things, but I’m now gluten-free and I’m not cook enough to spend the time to work out how to make the old things I cooked still work. But generally, it’s get home from work and going ‘oh crap, what to feed us today?’ and ending up doing something simple like savoury mince with rice or pizza.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would that be? Italy.
Cliched, I know, but I am part Italian. And the imagery of the vineyards and olive groves over the hills, the overgrown garden, the cottage, the warm days and sultry nights… See, it’s got romance written all over it!

What time of day do you write?
In the morning. I get up super early, exercise, then write until it’s time to get ready for work. When I’m not super busy, I write on weekends as well. I just can’t make myself sit at the desk and write of an evening. Plus that’s hang with the hubby time.

What are the best and worst things about being a writer?
Best thing is being able to escape this world into another, better one. A world that for the most part you can control. Particularly when you’re writing a romance, a world where there is going to be a great ending and people will be happy. With the outside world how it is at the moment, that’s a really cool thing. The worst thing is that you have to leave that world, and come back to this one. I work full-time and while I enjoy my job, it isn’t writing and there are days I really resent having to go to the office and not being able to do what I love.

What was the last non-romance book you read?
Bound, by Alan Baxter. It comes out July 1, from HarperCollins. Alan is a mate of mine and HarperCollins is one of my publishers, so I scored an ARC. A rollicking great read.

Describe your writing space?
I have my own office (which is also a bit of a storage space, as well as where hubbie has his Nicole Murphy desk April 2012clothes because there’s not room enough for us both in the bedroom). I adore having a place where I can shut the door, and thus shut out the world and just get on with it. Haven’t worked out the ergonomics of it yet – not sure why, but I need to because I do have some minor back/neck issues and I don’t want them getting worse.

What was the last movie you watched?
Saturday night hubbie and I saw Blended – the new Adam Sandler/Drew Barrymore romantic comedy. It wasn’t the best they’ve done (honestly, The Wedding Singer is one of the greatest movies of all time) but it was a nice way to spend a Saturday evening. We laughed, we smiled, I teared up a bit at one point and hubbie and I walked out not over the moon, but quietly satisfied.

What’s your favourite television series?
Man, that’s a hard question. There’s so many I enjoy and obsess over – Downton Abbey, for example. Can’t missing an episode of that. Also, I love Big Bang Theory, although it’s frustrating as hell that the tv stations just can’t get their act together and play each new series in its entirety in order every week. But the show I watch the most, and love every time I watch it, is Spicks and Specks. The new one was growing on me and I’m sorry it’s been canned. People seem to not want to give shows time to grow any more. Watching early episodes of the original version were often cringe-worthy. But thankfully ABC2 plays re-runs of the first version and I looooove it.

What are three words to describe your relationship with the world wide web? Co-dependent. Neccessity. Fun.

Windows or Mac?
Windows. I don’t have anything against Mac, but hubbie is a computer programmer and Windows is his platform, so it’s easier for us to just have PCs everywhere.

Morning person or night person?
Neither – I think I hit my straps somewhere around the middle of the day. If I had to choose – definitely more morning than night, but only after a good night’s sleep.

What’s the last paragraph you wrote from your work in progress? Hope you don’t mind me giving you more than one – the last thing I wrote was dialogue, so it’s lots of short paras.

“Mikhal doesn’t know every aspect of my life. I do have plans, and I’m going to be late, so excuse me.” She started past Paolo.

“It is with lover boy last night? Why would you want to see him again, when you tossed him out so quickly and then begged me to come fuck you?”

So here was her answer – having sex with Paolo last night had been a bad idea. “Everyone’s allowed an aberation.”

“Then have another one. Surprise picnic. Remember what used to happen most times after I brought you dinner?”

They would have sex. Sweet, hot, totally emotional, totally in love sex. The kind of sex they would never have again.

“It would seem you didn’t understand me today,” Plissa said.

“Actually, I understood perfectly. I think you’re the one who doesn’t understand, but I’m here to change that.”

Oh Peace, Plissa thought. This was going to be more difficult than she’d anticipated, and definitely not a conversation to be had in a hallway.

“All right. Come up.”

Thanks Nicole! I’m pretty tempted by Italy too.

You can find Nicole’s latest book writing as Elizabeth Dunk called Release at the links below.
release

Four stories of eroticism, strength, experimentation, and ultimate salvation.

Cursed after death to live in grey nothingness until they atone for their sins, four spirits have spent centuries doing good for others. Finally they stumble upon the true key to their salvation — because they hurt women in their lives, they’ll only find release by now helping women to become all they should be.

One by one, the spirits meet a woman and as each sexual delight unfurls, the grey nothingness disappears a little more. As the women find their happily ever after, they grant the spirits a chance at peace for eternity.

Follow the journey of four remarkable women — Luisa, Anna, Cara, and Jan — and the four spirits that set them on a new path to sexual freedom and boundless pleasure.

Buy at  Kobo Kindle iTunes

Find Nicole/Elizabeth at her website

Write Bytes with Téa Cooper

Today I’d like to welcome my fellow Escape author Téa Cooper to Write Bytes. Take it away Téa!

What’s on top of your to-be-read pile?
Kate Morton – I’ve read The Secret Garden and I’m reading The Secret Keeper. I am fascinated by her use of parallel time lines.

What do you feel when you contemplate your to-be-read pile?
Glee! It’s such a luxury to have time to read.

What’s your most guilty pleasure?
See above!

How often do you exercise?
I do about half an hour of yoga most days. I suffered a back injury a few years ago and without exercise I’m like a wooden doll. I live on a hundred acres so there are always jobs to do outside — I love this time of the year—bonfires!

Where was your last holiday?
Last year—I went to Western Australia, oh and a week here and there in Mudgee and several weeks down in Sydney. I’m on holiday every day. I stopped going to work!

What do you like to cook?
Italian or Indian—strange combination, not usually at the same time, but always savoury. I don’t have a sweet tooth. I’m happier with cheese and fruit. The closest I get to cakes is banana bread.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would that be?
Right now I’m pretty happy where I am. A lovely village, full of interesting characters and the opportunity to be in Sydney within a couple of hours. I’ve lived in the UK, France, Italy and Greece, India and the States. It’s time to make the most of my country of choice – Australia.

What time of day do you write?
Originally I could only write in the morning but I am getting better at slipping in an hour or two here and there. An iPad revolutionised my life.

What are the best and worst things about being a writer?
The best is the ability to legitimately be a storyteller. (A synonym for a liar when I was growing up!) And the worst is always trying to read the sub-text in everything everyone says or does.

What was the last non-romance book you read?
Is Kate Morton romance? I usually have half a dozen books on the go. Often a research book or two – I’m halfway through Lola Montez’ Beauty Secrets and Captain Thunderbolt and his Lady.

Describe your writing space? Tea_Cooper Desk
Spoilt! Is my answer to that question – all over the house in truth, but this is my “office”.

What was the last movie you watched?
Casablanca! I was reading an excellent writing craft blog about using light and it referred to a series of movies as examples and Casablanca was one. I had to go back and find the pattern of the prison bars across Humphrey Bogart’s face!

What’s your favourite television series?
Right now I’m loving The Midwife – and, sssh! I have a secret addiction to The Voice!

What are three words to describe your relationship with the World Wide Web?
Essential, dependant and ‘the best thing that ever happened to someone with an insatiable curiosity’ (sorry I couldn’t think of one word to say that!)

Windows or Mac? (see attached image) Old Apple
Mac, Mac and Mac going right back to when they looked like this! I do have an old PC on my desk but it’s really a cross between a back up disc and a notice board!

Morning person or night person?
Depends what’s on offer! My sleep patterns are flexible! It’s another luxury of no longer working full time.

What’s the last paragraph you wrote from your work in progress?
“And he has you wrapped around his little finger.”
“No! He does not have me wrapped around his little finger. I believe he is the best man for the job.” And the only man she’d ever wanted.
“India, I’ve listened. Here is my answer. Either get the man off the property or I will.”
“You promised me a year and I am not prepared to let him go. He is the best man for the job and regardless of whose son he may, or may not, be I want him at Helligen.” There she’d said it.

Thanks Téa! You can find all her links below.

LilysLeap_TeaCooper smallFrom Escape’s Queen of Australian historical romance comes a story about a privileged member of Australian’s squattocracy, a bushranger, and a very special horse.

Born into the rough, but privileged society of the Australian colonial landowners, Lilibeth Dungarven finds herself married, widowed, and, much to her distress, back under her father’s thumb, all before her twenty-first birthday. Determined not to forgo her dream of breeding the perfect racehorse, Lilibeth ignores propriety and sets out to restore the family’s flagging fortunes.

When 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 stud, they know their fortunes have changed. Their catch is worth a king’s ransom. All they have to do is hold her for seven days. How hard can it be to control the pampered daughter of a colonial upstart?

ISBN: 9780857991713 Publication Date: July 1, 2014

Harlequin Escape | Amazon | Amazon.aus | iTunes | Kobo

Write Bytes with Georgina Penney

Please welcome Destiny author Georgina Penney to Write Bytes who lives in exotic sounding Brunei and is about to move to Scotland. Some people have all the luck. Take it away Georgina!

Unforgettable You CoverWhat’s on top of your to-be-read pile?
Too many books! I usually read three or four at the same time. I am planning on starting Simmering Season by Jenn J. Mcleod some time today though.

What do you feel when you contemplate your to-be-read pile?
It’s kind of like a cute puppy looking at me from the petshop window. I know I really want to go over there and spend a bit of time with it, but I know I’ve got to get on with my to-do list.

What’s your most guilty pleasure?
Mud squishing up between my bare toes:) I was brought up in country Australia and rarely wore shoes even in the winter time. Running through muddy puddles was by far the best thing ever.

How often do you exercise?
Every day. I walk every night once all the monkeys here have climbed up into the trees near our house. (They can be aggressive sometimes.) The sunsets here in Brunei are spectacular, so when I can, I walk through the local Shell expat camp down to the beach to watch them.

Where was your last holiday?
Kota Kinabalu to see some orang-utans. They were adorable. It’s only a forty minute flight from where I live and I always enjoy going there. The food is amazing, people are so friendly and there’s so much to do. If anyone’s thinking of a trip to Borneo any time soon, Kota Kinabalu is a fabulous place to start your holiday.

What do you like to cook?
Everything! I love cooking. Savoury more than sweet. I live in Brunei at the moment, so we make a lot of Malay recipes. I’m currently working on perfecting roti cenai (breakfast bread and curry) so I can make it after we move in a couple of months. We’ve been here five years now and the local ingredients have been phenomenal to cook with. (I’ve even developed a love of durian.) However, I think I’m going to be featured on YouTube in a couple of months as the crazy lady laughing and happy dancing in the aisle of a Scottish Waitrose because of all the ingredients. In countries like Brunei, you have to buy things in bulk as they become available or you might not see them again for months. This can include fresh milk and other basics Aussies would be used to cooking with.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would that be?
Scotland. We’re moving there in a couple of months. After years in the Middle East and the tropics, the snow and cold will be a novelty. (At least for the first bit!)

What time of day do you write?
When I’m good, I write in the morning. My best times are before lunchtime and after five in the evening. I used to get super distracted by social media first thing in the morning which messed with my writing time but I’ve downloaded an app now which limits my FB and Twitter time down to thirty minutes a day. It’s totally changed everything.

What are the best and worst things about being a writer?
The best thing is coming up with characters and getting to see what their stories are. My husband is amazing and I get all warm and fuzzy when we brainstorm plot bits and pieces together as well.

The worst is reading negative reviews. Actually, if I’m honest, I get crankier reading negative reviews of my other writer friends than my own stuff because I can empathize about how much effort and struggle I knew went into their book.

What was the last non-romance book you read?
Wolf Hall. Hillary Mantel is amazing.

Describe your writing space? Georgina Penney Study
It’s a pretty big room looking out onto jungle. I have a couple of armchairs and a bookcase and most importantly, two big whiteboards with scribble all over them behind my desk.

What was the last movie you watched?
Godfather II. Believe it or not, the Godfather movies and Jaws are my go-to comfort flicks. I have no idea where that started but I always feel happier for watching them.

What’s your favourite television series?
Such a hard question! Maybe the Sopranos because it still stands out in my mind. I sense a mafia connection, don’t you? Never thought of it like that, but that’s kinda dodgy isn’t it?!

What are three words to describe your relationship with the world wide web?
Vital. Complicated. Procrastination.

Windows or Mac?
Either.

Morning person or night person?
Morning! I’m one of those awful chirpy people that night people want to smother with a pillow.

What’s the last paragraph you wrote from your work in progress?
“Ben, you sadistic bastard. If this is your idea of relaxation, you’ve got pea sized bollox for brains. Call me back before I unleash holy hell, drive back to that monstrosity you call a house and burn it to the ground.” Ross Crankshaft hammered one more time on the bright yellow door of the twee little cottage his idiot friend had booked for him, then shoved his phone back into his pocket.

Thanks Georgina! Good luck with the big move!

Links

Website, Blog, Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook Amazon Author Page

Amazon For Unforgettable You

IrrepressibleYou_coverconceptAmazon For Irrepressible You

 

Write Bytes with Maggie Christensen

Maggie-Peregian-260x300[1]Welcome Maggie Christensen to Write Bytes! Take it away Maggie!
What’s on top of your to-be-read pile?
Anna Jacob’s The Trader’s Reward. I’ve loved all of Anna’s Trader books and am looking forward to this one.

What do you feel when you contemplate your to-be-read pile?
I need more time! I also need to buy a Kindle, as I have a list of so many e books I want to read, and I find it difficult to read for long on my computer.

What’s your most guilty pleasure?
Probably champagne with chocolates – saved for special occasions. But also a whole day lying around reading ranks right up there.

How often do you exercise?
Every day. I walk early morning and early evening weather permitting. I live only a ten minute drive from a glorious deserted beach and the Noosa River, and without driving we can take a route which leads around a lake. I’m aware of the importance of 10,000 steps and manage to do that most days. I always believe that the best exercise is the one you will do – and walking is my exercise of choice.

Where was your last holiday?
Florence, Oregon, to visit my mother-in-law who is now 100 and still lives alone and does all her own cooking and cleaning – a wonderful lady. These trips also provide me with fodder for my Oregon Coast books and we usually take the opportunity to take in some other spots in the US on the way. One of my favourite is Crater Lake which appears in The Sand Dollar.

What do you like to cook?
I enjoy cooking healthy meals and sugar free cakes. My husband and I have followed a Pritikin lifestyle for some years now and I enjoy surprising guests with tasty meals when they expect something very bland. One of my favourite desserts is a strawberry carob cheesecake. Now that the weather is turning a little cooler, I’m enjoying making lots of vegetable soups and home-made bread, though I do use a breadmaker these days.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would that be?
I love where we live now – on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland. Since coming to Australia from Scotland in the early seventies, I’ve lived in Sydney, country and coastal New South Wales and Brisbane, before settling up here in this beautiful spot. Although I’ve travelled fairly extensively in Europe and the US, I’ve never been tempted to live there.

What time of day do you write?
I’m a morning person and do my best writing then, but often fit in another session in the late afternoon or early evening. I’m currently engaged in the RWA 50k in 30 days challenge and find that it’s really keeping me on track. It’s encouraging to know there are other writers out there with whom I can exchange word counts as the day goes on and with whom the occasional sprint can get me through a difficult patch in my writing.

What are the best and worst things about being a writer?
Best – the time to write, the wonderfully supportive community of writers, and hearing that readers have enjoyed my book. Recently received an email from a reader who loved it and was surprised it was self-published. Makes it all worthwhile.

Worst – the fear that no one will read or enjoy my writing.

What was the last non-romance book you read?
I’ve just finished Rebecca Tope’s Trouble in the Cotswolds. I love her cosy mysteries about a house sitter who inevitable gets involved in murders and which are set in small English villages. I’m also ploughing through White Teeth by Zadia Smith for my book club. I try to avoid the genre I’m writing in, while I’m writing, as it can distract me from my own characters.

Describe your writing space? writing space
I share an office with my husband of almost 30 years. He writes too – non-fiction. We sit in desks facing one another, which works really well as I can ask him all sorts of questions about the male POV and American terminology – he grew up there. My desk is very messy as you can see – and I’ve tidied it up some for this picture. Note the kneeling chair – I’ve used one of these for years and find it so comfortable.

What was the last movie you watched?
And When Did You Last See Your Father? -  a moving tale with Colin Firth and Jim Broadbent, made more poignant by the fact that it is based on a memoir of a father’s slow death with flashbacks from the son. Loved it.

What’s your favourite television series?
I love the Scandinavian political thrillers like The Bridge which finished recently. I’m also enjoying Endeavour, the series about the young Inspector Morse. It’s beautifully written and produced with links to the earlier series and amazing attention to detail – bears watching twice to pick up on all the clues and details.

What are three words to describe your relationship with the world wide web?
Research, social, promotion

Windows or Mac?
Windows. The first computer I had was a Mac, as I was using one at work, but I quickly moved to Windows.

Morning person or night person?
Definitely morning. I waken early, and after checking emails and social media, go for a walk with my husband before breakfast. We often walk along the beach, which is usually deserted in the early morning, and at the weekend we walk along the Noosa River, then stop for coffee at a favourite café.

What’s the last paragraph you wrote from your work in progress?
Ellen’s eyes widened as she knew deep down that what Travis was about to say could change her opinion of him. For better or worse, she wasn’t sure. She began to tremble. This morning she’d seen a Travis she hadn’t known existed; a gentler, more vulnerable person. He’d pulled back the curtain he kept around himself and revealed a man haunted by the past; a man desperate to make atonement for earlier actions. Was he going to destroy this new vision she held of him?

Band of Gold Cover MEDIUM WEB

Band of Gold

Forty seven year old Anna Hollis thought she had a happy marriage. She thought she had a friend she could trust with her life. How wrong she was. When her husband of twenty five years leaves on Christmas morning with no explanation, her secure world collapses. Set in present day Sydney this is a story of betrayal, of a woman who must overcome anguish and resentment in order to achieve independence and happiness.

 

You can buy Band of Gold Amazon, Barnes and Noble and The Book Depository.

You can find Maggie on Facebook, her website and Goodreads.

 

Write Bytes with Anna Campbell

Anna Campbell 43970006 To re-launch Write Bytes, I’d like to welcome Anne Campbell, historical romance writer, past numerous winner of ARRA’s favourite romance writer and lover of cheesy puns (just check out her Facebook feed :-) ). Take it away Anna!

What’s on top of your to-be-read pile?
Right now, it’s Kandy Shepherd’s THE TYCOON AND THE WEDDING PLANNER. I loved her first Harlequin THE SUMMER THEY NEVER FORGOT and now I get to go back to delightful Dolphin Bay! Wish I could go there in real life!

What do you feel when you contemplate your to-be-read pile?
Actually these days, I feel a sense of achievement. I’m hoping to move house at the end of the year so I’ve had a major clean-out and among the books I gave to charity were things on the TBR pile that I realised I was just never going to read. So the TBR pile is considerably reduced on what it was a month or so ago.

What’s your most guilty pleasure?
Hmm, I cringe from saying it, but Judge Judy and Smith’s barbecue chips – preferably at the same time!

How often do you exercise?
Sorry, I need my translator. I don’t understand the question.

Where was your last holiday?
I haven’t had a decent holiday in years although I’m currently plotting an extended stay in the UK which will be a combination research trip/holiday. My last short break was when I went down to see a very nice friend who lives in the Blue Mountains. I think her name might have been … Keziah! (And a great short break it was – Keziah)

What do you like to cook?
I like to bake biscuits and slices. I’ve never had a lot of luck with cakes for some reason. Seeing I just got a new book in, I’m hosting a few friends at the moment and as a result I’m cooking yummy things. I tend to go trad – I’m having a friend to lunch on Thursday and she’s getting my stroganoff, for example.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would that be?
I lived in London for two years in my twenties. I’d love to go back there for an extended time – hence the planned UK trip. I love the history and culture.

What time of day do you write?
I generally start early. Mostly I do things like social media and admin and then settle down to actual writing, but I’ve discovered that when I’m on deadline, it’s really helpful to get a couple of pages done first thing before I get lost in Facebook. I haven’t yet managed writing before checking my emails!

What are the best and worst things about being a writer?
There’s lots of great things about being a writer. Going to work in your pajamas. Hearing from readers who have enjoyed your books. Meeting wonderful people from all over the world. Seeing your books on the shelves. The worst thing is that you never really stop working. Even if you’re not actually writing, your mind tends to be spinning around something to do with writing.

What was the last non-romance book you read?
Just lately I’ve been reading more non-romance than romance. Don’t ask me why. I’m on a mystery kick and I always read a lot of nonfiction, partly to spark ideas for new stories. I’m currently reading CITY OF SIN: LONDON AND ITS VICES by Catharine Arnold and the last non-romance novel I read was DEAD MAN’S RANSOM, one of the Brother Cadfael mysteries by Ellis Peters.

Describe your writing spaceoffice
I spent a lot of my writing life in a tiny flat in Sydney with a desk squeezed into the corner of my bedroom. These days, I have a whole office to work in with wonderful storage and a bookcase and a lovely view out across the garden.

What was the last movie you watched?
I love Turner Classic Movies on Pay TV so I think the last film I watched there was ROMANCE ON THE HIGH SEAS with Doris Day (lovely!). The last movie I went to the cinema to see was SAVING MR. BANKS.

What’s your favourite television series?
I’m hooked on the British antique shows on the Lifestyle Channel so I’d have to say Antiques Roadshow. And that counts as research too!

What are three words to describe your relationship with the world wide web?
Obsessive. Curious. Wonder.

Windows or Mac?
Windows

Morning person or night person?
Morning.

What’s the last paragraph you wrote from your work in progress?
I just handed in a book so the last paragraph is: Leath’s heart was too crammed with poignant gratitude for him to summon a smile in return. Instead he touched his wife’s soft cheek with the same tenderness as she’d touched the baby. Forgetting his audience, he stared deep into her beautiful eyes and murmured. “You’re my gift of love, Eleanor.”

Yup, it’s a happy ending, folks!

Duke low resMy next release is book 3 in the Sons of Sin series, WHAT A DUKE DARES. It’s out from HarperCollins Australia and Grand Central Forever on 26th August. Here’s the blurb:

A reputation at risk
What woman in her right mind would say no to marrying the dashing Duke of Sedgemoor? Miss Penelope Thorne, that’s who. She’s known Camden Rothermere since they were children – and she also knows she’d bring nothing but scandal to his name.

Cam can hardly believe Penelope turned down his proposal. But if she wants to run off to the Continent and set the rumor mill ablaze, he can’t stop her. Then her brother’s dying request sends him to bring home the one woman he thought he’d finally gotten over.

The only way they’ll both get back to London without their reputations in tatters is to pretend they’re married during the journey. That means kissing like they mean it and even sharing a bed – until it becomes hard to tell where the game ends and true desire begins…

You can read an excerpt here

You can pre-order WHAT A DUKE DARES from:

Booktopia,
The Book Depository
Barnes and Noble

Thanks Anna! When are you coming for another visit? The Paragon awaits!

You can find her website here, her Facebook page here and Twitter here.

It’s finished!!!!!!!!!!

it_is_finishedThe book that never wanted to end is finally finished. It’s not erotic romance or erotica, it’s a kind of hybrid of romantic suspense and women’s fiction. I suppose it’s the book of my heart, which is probably why it’s taken years to finish. The last six months or so in particular have been very intense, trying to get it finished.

It’s about a woman who goes back to her home town after doing some time in jail for murder. That sets off a train of events that results in more murder, an illicit affair, and finally the truth. It’s set in the Blue Mountains where I live.

I think I suspended a lot of my life knowing I had to get it out of my head and onto the page or else I wouldn’t be able to get on with anything else. That actually wasn’t true because I also wrote an erotic short for a secret project that I wrote in about two weeks. Since I’m a slow writer, that was a real breakthrough for me.

If fact, I think I shook off the hoodoo I had around writing at night. I’m a morning person and often tell myself I can’t write at night, but a deadline is a deadline so I had no choice.

In the last six weeks my father also died. It was very expected but never is, really. He and I weren’t close – we didn’t have a bad relationship, it was just very distant for all sorts of dreary family history reasons. But it’s changed something for me – maybe given me a sense of freedom as well as a sense of regret. I’ve certainly written more since his death than I have in a long while. Such are the vagaries of the mind.

My time has also been taken up with being the Registrar for the Romance Rocks! 2014 Romance Writers of Australia Conference in August. That’s been a task and a half!  I love RWA conferences – I meet up with all my buddies and get inspired all over again.

So, my little lovelies, expect to see me here some more and also more of Write Bytes.

0214 HotDownUnder_Final3BTW my Momentum short, Business with Pleasure is now available as a bundle along with other stories by Kylie Scott, Cate Ellink and Rhyll Biest. You can find it here.

Write Bytes with Kate Belle

theyearning_smallcoverMy Write Byte this week is Kate Belle who’s book The Yearning is getting rave review all over the place. Take it away Kate!

Thanks for having me over Keziah – lovely to meet your readers.

What’s on top of your to-be-read pile? Kate's Bookshelf
I’m going to have to get a height permit for my TBR pile. And lights to warn low flying planes. I have an old fashioned preference for paperbacks. I like the smell of them. When they make ebooks that smell I’ll probably start liking them more.
At the top of my shelf are:
I Take You by Nikki Gemmel and Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
But they are balancing on books I bought months ago, still waiting for my attention. Letters to the End of Love (Yvette Walker), That Deadman Dance (Kim Scott); Currawong Creek (Jennifer Scoullar); and classics by Anais Nin, Kafka, Virginia Woolf to name but a few.
On my iPad:
Save the Cat by Blake Snyder; Blind Attraction by Eden Summers.
Also waiting are an eclectic collection – Tobsha Learner, Jane Austen, Annie Seaton, Cari Silverwood, Keziah Hill, Kate Morton, ML Stedman and Haruki Murakami. ( :-) Keziah)

What do you feel when you contemplate your to-be-read pile?
Overwhelmed. One day someone will find me dead under a pile of unread books. I’m an incurable second hand book addict and love our annual Oxfam Book Sale at the local Senior Citizens centre. All books are $2 and I always spend $50-$70. Enough said.

What’s your most guilty pleasure?
Ahem*coughs* – after that last question you need to ask?
Oh, and there’s this Ramon 2

How often do you exercise?
I HATE EXERCISE.
Having said that, I’ve been forced to the gym this year to rehabilitate my knee after a reconstruction 12 months ago. Three agonising times a week. I get up early, yawn and scowl my way through my program, then return home to complain about it on facebook, elated I don’t have to go back for 2 whole days.

Where was your last holiday?
Perth for the Romance Writers Conference. I loved the old buildings and quirky art on the streets and walls. We usually only holiday once a year, at the same time as everyone else. Crowds of noisy holiday makers isn’t my idea of relaxing, but my beloved is self employed and it’s difficult to take time away from regular jobs. This year Perth was a welcome respite from bum-crack beach, where we are headed in January.

What do you like to cook?
Cake. Especially Nigella Lawson cake. I have been known to cook chocolate gooey puddings late at night when I’m desperate for a fix. I love my kitchen. Our lounge is wasted space.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would that be?
I love our leafy suburban haven in Melbourne’s green wedge, although greedy developers are changing its picturesque vista to ugly Noddy town units with even uglier gardens.

If I moved I’d like to live somewhere romantic and green, not far from the sea. I’ve always loved northern New South Wales coast. The beaches are among the most beautiful in Australia. I’d say Tuscany or provincial France or Spain, but I’d have to learn a new language and my brain just can’t wrap itself around that. My Aussie accent is so strong I’m usually laughed at rather than understood.

What time of day do you write?
I took a redundancy package after 12 years in the public service this is my year to write. I’ve waited 30 years for a writing career to manifest and I’m not wasting a second of it. I make myself sit 10am – 3pm every day, no matter how dirty the house is, or how crap my writing is, muse present or not. I sometimes write in the middle of the night, when I can’t sleep. That stuff is really weird though.

What are the best and worst things about being a writer?
Best thing: Writing.
Worst thing: struggling to make a living and the threat of having to go back to paid employment hanging over my head. Oh, and eating. Can’t – stop – eating.

What was the last non-romance book you read?
The Engagement by Chloe Hooper. I’ve done a review which will appear on Lauren Murphy’s Australian Bookshelf next week.

I actually don’t read a lot of my own genre because I find it interferes too much with my writing. I read widely and try to aim for established authors who write above my skill level. It’s a great way to stimulate the muse, increase my vocab and learn craft in action.

Describe your writing space? study
This is embarrassing. I’ll let the picture speak for itself.

What was the last movie you watched?
Harold and Maude. One of my top 5’s. It’s a black comedy about 18 year old Harold who fakes his own suicides and falls in love with 79 year old Maude who steals cars. The Cat Stevens soundtrack perfects it.

What are three words to describe your relationship with the world wide web?
I’ll do it in two. You win.

Windows or Mac?
Jury’s still out on that one.

Morning person or night person?
Definitely morning. Even middle of the night morning.

What’s the last sentence you wrote from your work in progress?
From Saint (working title):
“We are shadow and light, the turn of the moon, a landscape of stark and violent contrasts, held side by side in the palm of one hand and bound by love.”

Thanks Kate! Totally relate to the overwhelming tbr bookshelves. And I haven’t watched Harold and Maude in years. Must track it down.

Read The Yearning!
Synopsis:
It’s 1978 in a country town and a dreamy fifteen year old girl’s world is turned upside down by the arrival of the substitute English teacher. Solomon Andrews is beautiful, inspiring and she wants him like nothing else she’s wanted in her short life.
Charismatic and unconventional, Solomon easily wins the hearts and minds of his third form English class. He notices the attention of one girl, his new neighbour, who has taken to watching him from her upstairs window. He assumes it a harmless teenage crush, until the erotic love notes begin to arrive.
Solomon knows he must resist, but her sensual words stir him. He has longings of his own, although they have nothing to do with love, or so he believes. One afternoon, as he stands reading her latest offering in his driveway, she turns up unannounced. And what happens next will torment them forever – in ways neither can imagine.
Read an extract here
Buy The Yearning:
Ebook: Amazon  or iTunes
Print book: Target, Kmart, Myer, Collins, Dymocks, Big W, Eltham Bookshop and other independent bookshops and major airports.
Reading group questions here 

Who is Kate?
Kate is a multi-published author who writes dark, sensual contemporary women’s fiction. She lives, writes and loves in Melbourne, juggling her strange, secret affairs with her male characters with her much loved partner and daughter and a menagerie of neurotic pets.
Kate holds a tertiary qualification in chemistry, half a diploma in naturopathy and a diploma in psychological astrology. Kate believes in living a passionate life and has ridden a camel through the Australian desert, fraternised with hippies in Nimbin, had a near birth experience and lived on nothing but porridge and a carrot for 3 days.

Blog/website  Facebook Twitter

Write Bytes with Juliet Madison!

SIScoverI haven’t had a Write Bytes guest in a while so it’s time to break out the streamers and welcome fellow Escape Artist Juliet Madison. Take it away Juliet!

What’s on top of your to-be-read pile?
It’s a battle between The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty and The Returned by Jason Mott. I’m not sure at this stage who will win, I’ll find out when I finish my current book.

What do you feel when you contemplate your to-be-read pile?
Like I’ll have to do nothing for the rest of my life but read. Is there a job for that? That pays? ;)

What’s your most guilty pleasure?
Staying in pyjamas all day on a Sunday to watch movies and read and eat yummy food. J

How often do you exercise?
I don’t have a routine, I just listen to my body and move when it needs to. I often walk before breakfast, while checking messages on my iPhone – multitasking! I’ve learned not to bump into things.

Where was your last holiday?
To be honest I don’t remember ever having a proper holiday away in my whole adult life. And when I say holiday, I mean, a no kids holiday. I’ve always just tacked a free day or two onto the end of conferences, but that’s about it, and as a single parent it’s been tricky to be able to wrangle a week away for relaxation and fun. Someday!

What do you like to cook?
I make up my own recipes, often as I go, by combining things I have in the fridge or pantry. But I don’t always write them down which means I have to rely on memory and intuition if I want to make a particular meal again! FYI, I do a mean butter-less butter chicken.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would that be?
I’m pretty damn happy with where I live actually, on the south coast of New South Wales. The beach is a five minute walk away, I can see the ocean from my window, the people are friendly, we have great festivals and local markets and activities, nice food, and the town has a nice atmosphere. Apart from that, I’d like to live somewhere exciting for a while that’s in walking distance of top theatres and restaurants, or even somewhere snowy for a while so I can make snowmen and sit by the fire and write books!

What time of day do you write?
Mostly afternoon and night, but whenever I get the chance.

What are the best and worst things about being a writer?
Best: Knowing there is no limit to what you can create, and getting to make up stories and characters that you would like to read about – making everything go the way you want it to!
Worst: Getting soul-crushing negative reviews, and not getting enough sleep because of the ‘Oh, I have an idea!’ curse that visits at 3am.

What was the last non-romance book you read?
Hmm, most books I read have an element of romance, even if they’re not classified as a straight romance. I read Jenn J McLeod’s House for all Seasons which I wouldn’t call a romance, although it had romantic elements (and was a fabulous read), and I read a lot of contemporary women’s fiction where equal weight is often given to friendships and career and family, as well as romantic relationships. I also read a non-fiction writing craft book called 2k to 10k by Rachel Aaron, which showed strategies for increasing word counts and productivity. It must have done something because my average words per hour has increased!

Describe your writing space? 
My writing space changes. I go from my desk to the couch, to my bed, to my reclining deck chair on the balcony depending on the weather. I prefer to write lying down, and edit sitting up! Maybe it’s a blood flow thing, or I’m just lazy ;)

What was the last movie you watched?
The Australian film, Goddess. I enjoyed it! It was musical and quirky and over the top in some parts, but that’s how I like it ;)

What are three words to describe your relationship with the world wide web?
Can’t. Live. Without.

Windows or Mac?
Windows. But only because I’ve never tried Mac, so I could be swayed.

Morning person or night person?
Night. I’m not a nine to five person, I’m a five to nine person! Or more like, till 3am.

What’s the last sentence you wrote from your work in progress?
I’m between books at the moment, having just finished writing a manuscript, and I don’t want to share the last sentence from that because it’ll give away the ending (unless I can write The End?). But, I did put aside the beginnings of another manuscript a while ago which I’m going to be working on again soon, so here’s the last sentence of that, which is technically more than one sentence since it’s a line of dialogue:

“Oh, Gwen. Always doing things your own unique way. That quality has its place, but not on my computer. Got it?”

Juliet Madison is a naturopath-turned-author with a background in dance, art, internet marketing and perfume sales (yes, she was one of those annoying people in department stores who spray you with perfume). Nowadays she prefers to indulge her propensity for multiple careers by living vicariously through her characters. She likes to put these characters into extraordinary situations and take them on a challenging journey to discover their true passion and inner strength, weaving in some laughs, tears, romance and sometimes a touch of magic along the way.

Living near the beach on the beautiful south coast of New South Wales, Australia, Juliet spends her days homeschooling her son and running her internet business, and her nights writing fiction while doing her best to avoid housework.

Her latest release is STARSTRUCK IN SEATTLE:
Aspiring actress Anna Hilford might only have a small role in a leading television drama, but she longs to be dreamboat Karl Drake’s leading lady. Sick of being loveless and overlooked, Anna seeks the help of intuitive love coach, Lulu, from LuluTheLoveAngel.com to give her the courage and determination to follow her destiny. But fate has different ideas, Lulu has undisclosed power, and Anna is about to realise that life happens while you’re busy making plans…

~ BUY NOW>> Available worldwide from all ebook retailers, including:

Amazon / Amazon UK / iTunes iBookstore / B&N Nook / Kobo / Booktopia / JB Hi-Fi / Google Play / ebooks.com / All Romance ebooks

~ You can also add it to Goodreads here, and visit Juliet online at her website, blog, facebook, and twitter.

~ GIVEAWAY>> Juliet is giving away four prize packs of ebooks from Escape Publishing until 10th October (20 ebooks in total). See the prizes on offer and enter here:

http://julietmadison.wordpress.com/2013/10/01/release-day-starstruck-in-seattle-plus-bumper-giveaway/