Logo Reveal: Red Aventurine Press

I have an amazing niece. To be fair, all our women of her generation, whether born into the family or introduced by love matches, are pretty remarkable. There are a few of them – about twenty-one at last count.

One or more of them is an engineer, forensic archaeologist or pharmacist; human relations manager, counsellor, service deliverer or administrator; world-renowned dancer or entrepreneur; military or police; teacher, nurse or artist. We even have one who designs the most extraordinary celebratory cakes with an added passion for getting behind the wheel of her racing car.

I posed the problem of a logo for my new self-publishing press to one of these exceptional people.

Throughout the whole COVID thing, she’s been living and working in a country far away from family in Australia, making contact only through technology. I followed her on Insta, as a good aunt would, and was blown away by her imagination and creativity. She uses the handle, kabocha_no_neko_art.  Her work is different and exciting and fed into my logo plans.

Logo design by Kabocha no Neko. Find her on Instagram; Facebook or buy her work on Redbubble.

The idea of establishing a press name for my self-pub came from members of informative Facebook groups like Indie Royalty and the Romance Writers of Australia community group (thank you!!) I’m happy to be a traditionally-published author, but there’s always a book or two that won’t fit into a publisher’s profile. I wanted to be ready.

Because I also have an interest in crystals, I searched for one encapsulating passion and romance. There were several. I chose red aventurine and bought a couple of ornaments, an elephant and an angel, to act as my daily reminders to get things moving. I suggested my niece might do a line drawing incorporating both, and did she remember I write romance? Adding an allusion to love would be good too.

What she produced was a forward-facing elephant ready to stampede across the globe, with an angel, as protector and guide, hiding in plain sight on the elephant’s back in the form of a pair of wings—shaped as a heart. How neat is that?

“Return to Calypso Station” is the first book published using Red Aventurine Press. It’s currently available on Kindle with the paperback becoming available on August 2. Australian readers can contact me directly if they’d like a paperback copy.

Cover Reveal: Return to Calypso Station

I’m thrilled to present the cover for “Return to Calypso Station”, my fourth full-length novel and my first in a rural Australian setting.

Official release day will be August 2 when the paperback becomes available, though the eBook is already on Kindle.

Cover design by Elle at Coveredpages

Military strategist, Nash Broderick, harbors the dream of coming home to Calypso Station to resume the legacy passed to him by his father but Danielle is there with her son. He’d been in officer training a matter of weeks when he got the news Danielle was pregnant to another man. He’s found excuses for years not to return but now his beloved grandmother has had a heart attack and time is running out. If he doesn’t come home, he could lose everything. Without a Broderick working Calypso, his father’s trustees can redistribute the land amongst the extended family and Nash will have no further claim on his birthright.

Danielle Tillson is a hard working single mother. She tried to forget Nash after he refused to acknowledge the child they created. Now he’s back, and she must protect her son even from the father who denies any parental responsibility. Her son will never know the abandonment she endured – first by her mother, later her father, and then Nash. Her child’s security depends on her work and their home on Calypso Station. If Nash returns permanently, the refuge she has built will disappear.

When Nash is confronted by another betrayal, this time by those he thought he could count on till death, he finds he must unravel the secrets of the past. Only when the truth is revealed, can he plan a way back to Danielle, to rebuild the dreams of their youth and a life for their family. After everything he’s put her through, why would she give him a second chance?

RWA conference and ARR2021

There’s a big weekend coming up for me in August, focussed around romance writers and readers. The Romance Writers of Australia conference is being held at Mantra on View, Surfers Paradise. The annual conference is where I do my writerly professional development amongst a swathe of authors also writing romance – from contemporary and rural like me, through historical, steampunk, suspense, paranormal and fantasy.

The conference coincides with ARRA’s A Romantic Rendezvous on the Gold Coast where I’ll be signing a couple of my books, along with a who’s who list of Australian romance authors, on Saturday, 14th August, 2021 from 5.00 to 6.30 pm.

VIP tickets for the Rendezvous are on sale now. General admission tickets will be available soon, for one of two 45-minute sessions. Find out all the details here: https://wp.me/pGPr3-ay1

I’m looking forward to meeting readers new and old, so come along and say hello.

It’s RELEASE DAY

Catriona Cameron and Lachie McKell have their story out in the world. It’s release day for THE SALIGNAC LEGACY.

I had so much fun writing this story. When I posited the premise to my husband, his response was, “You can’t write a romance about chicken livers!” Well, you can if the chicken livers are fundamental to a centuries old pâté recipe upon which an entire community is dependant and the protagonists live on opposite sides of the world – she in Melbourne Australia and he in the highlands of Scotland.

It’s how they bring both sides together that’s the fun part.

Available directly from champagnebooks.com or through Amazon.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the story!

When plants communicate with each other …

Young corn communicate through clicking noises (https://www.news.uwa.edu.au/201204034491/research/talking-plants)

I’m writing and researching my new romance based around perfumes and perfumery. I’m discovering lots of information I was previously unaware of – like the processes for developing absolutes, concrete, enfleurage pomades and so on.

It is true that every profession controls access to the knowledge within it by applying its own language and attribution of specialised meanings to particular words (eg concrete). While I’m not seeking to invade the profession of the perfumer, I do want to know enough that my characters can navigate that domain without too much embarrassment.

So I search and I study and I find myself wandering off into unknown worlds, some of which can be confronting, but each provides an education of a sort.

This morning I went down a rabbit-hole exploring the plants that provide us with their very essence in order that we may wear it as perfume or diffuse it as fragrance or employ it medicinally or in some other fashion.

By whatever means, a click here a side-bar there, my internet perambulations brought me to a couple of sites discussing how plants communicate with each other, how they ‘learn’, and defences they might deploy for their own protection or for other plants around them.

Who’d have thought? Obviously, lots of scientists. Check out this National Geographic documentary.

An NPR article on “Are plants talking to each other?” and an Australian Geographic article, “Plants talk to each other” refer to collaborative experiments across the University of Western Australia, the University of Bristol and the University of Florence in which it was discovered that corn seedlings communicate with each other using clicking noises. Fascinating!

I can’t be sure yet how much, if any, of this information will find its way into my story. Let the characters decide.

The Beaullieu Birthright is the second story in my Priceless Heritage series.

The first book is “The Salignac Legacy” which will be released by Champagne Book Group on November 16, 2020.

Cover Reveal: The Salignac Legacy

The new book is published by Champagne Book Group and is due out on November 16.

It’s a contemporary romance set between Melbourne, Australia, Edinburgh and the highlands of Scotland.

Catriona Cameron, petite and feisty Melbourne waitress, has a secret. She doesn’t know it’s secret so much as that it’s a recipe she has promised to hold in trust, to share with no one except her daughter. Everyone has their own family recipes, don’t they?

Lachie McKell is the modern-day Laird and his people are suffering. The last person he knows of, in the line of a 200 year old tradition is dead, the business is failing and people are losing their livelihoods with no hope in sight. But wait! Is that the same product on the other side of the world? What must he do to persuade an Australian recipe-holder to come home to Scotland with him, to give up her secrets and save his community?

Merry Christmas, Liebchen

MerryChristmasLiebchenSmallerWebUse (1)Merry Christmas, Liebchen was first published in “All wrapped Up: A Christmas Anthology” two years ago. That’s no longer available. But Karl and Jolene want their story back out there so I’ve given their novella a life of its own.

It a lovely story of loss, love and Christmas reunions. It’s not available on Amazon because it has been published before, but there are plenty of other options: https://books2read.com/Merry-Christmas-Liebchen. It’s available for 99c.

 

 

Merry Christmas, everyone!

 

A Steamy Christmas, out now

A Steamy Christmas for the CEO (1) (1)

Shannon Slique is my spicy/erotic author alter-ego.  She  has her first standalone novella out on virtual bookshelves.

It’s a lot spicy so definitely only for over 18s, but it’s a romance so there’s the happy ending to look forward to.

A Steamy Christmas for the CEO  is available at the introductory price of $US2.24. It’s a Romance on the Go title at Evernight Publishing, so you can read it on your lunch break.

Let me know what you think – through a review on your favourite ebook site or by leaving a comment here.

 

Kelly’s sister gifts her a box of sex toys for Christmas. Though the gift was meant to be a cynical jab at Kelly’s non-sex life, with Ewen around, who could resist trying them out – not this little dark-haired workaholic.

The High Concept

The high concept is a construct with which I’ve struggled as a new entrant to fiction writing, so today I went looking for some down to earth advice.

I found quite a lot of useful information on a site called #writersstore.

Two writers caught my attention. The first was Steve Kaire who provided this succinct 5-point checklist for what constitutes a High Concept.

https://www.writersstore.com/high-concept-defined-once-and-for-all/

He says the high concept should reflect:

1. Original and Unique Premise

2. Mass audience appeal

3. Story specificity

4. Obvious potential, all in

5. One to three sentences.

Not a big ask at all, really???? Urk. It’s going to take a LOT of practice.

In romance fiction, sometimes it feels like there’s nothing new under the sun, but if one book is to be noticed above another, the high concept needs to be clear in any pitch.

So I tried to find more advice, and again, I landed at #writersstore.

This time, the author of the article was James Bonnet http://www.writersstore.com/conquering-the-high-concept/

This piece offered clear examples. Bonnet’s suggestion is to keep the high concept description to as few words as possible. It should revolve around a fascinating subject, a great title, the inciting action and the hook.

Check out what he says.

There may be hope for me yet!

PitchWars 2019

Well I’ve done it… I’ve entered PitchWars 2019. I looked at it last year but I guess it wasn’t the right time for me to try, so this year I’ve jumped right in.

What is PitchWaPitchWars logors? The PitchWars website explains:

“Pitch Wars is a mentoring program where published/agented authors, editors, or industry interns choose one writer each to mentor. Mentors read the entire manuscript and offer suggestions on how to make the manuscript shine for the agent showcase. The mentor also helps edit their mentee’s pitch for the contest and their query letter for submitting to agents.” https://pitchwars.org/

It gives writers the opportunity to work with folk who really know their stuff. The mentors are in hot demand, and they have lots of authors from which to choose. My chances may be slim, given the competition, but they’re a lot stronger than they were last year when I didn’t apply.

Wish me luck!