I've handed over to Samantha today. Here is the first teaser for her new book Revenge in Rio...sounds great!
Revenge in Rio
With release day only 22 days away - honestly I'm not counting down like a crazy woman (hmm, ok, maybe just a teensy bit crazy!) I thought I would share some lovely little teasers with you. I can't take the credit for making them sadly, that's where the talented Laura at MusicPlusBooks came into play and did her thang!
So, here we go. This is teaser number one for you and features at the end of chapter one. Watch out for number 2 this time next week!
Hope you enjoyed!
Two years ago - almost to the day I decided I was going to attack my bucket list and I wrote the first scene of a story that would become TREE CHANGE. It was published in November 2012.
Needless to say the story went through many incarnations but those first words stayed, though not at the very beginning book....
From his vantage point high on the cliff top, Jake could see Cassia across the beach, paddling through the shallow water as though she didn’t have a care in the world, bending occasionally to collect fragments from the sand. The cold water didn’t seem to bother her. She held her shoes in her hand as she danced through
the shallows. He smiled at the picture she made, the sun silhouetting her long legs through her flimsy, bohemian skirt.
A large wave surged up the beach, and Cassia was unexpect- edly knee-deep in the foam. She tipped her head back, and her flaxen hair cascaded down her back. He laughed aloud as she skipped away from the tide line, then turned back to the ocean. Counting the waves. She was the only person he knew who followed the ridiculous belief that the seventh wave was always the biggest.
Cassia! Welcome home.
Jake drew a long, relaxing breath, unable to drag his eyes away from her, and he started down the path to the beach. Her flawless skin was almost milk white from her time in the city, her body lithe and trim from working in her studio. He didn’t need to see her eyes; their dark, velvety depths haunted his dreams. Even from a distance, her charisma enveloped him—an innate sexiness she was totally unaware blending with her fey sense of belonging to the very ground she walked on.
He had to play this carefully, and he wasn’t sure he’d be able to. It had been difficult enough to stay away for the past eighteen months, to leave Cassia in Sydney believing that their life together was over...
So..two years on to celebrate TREE CHANGE is available on iTunes and Amazon for $0.99 cents.
I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!
Amazon.com | Amazon.uk | B & N | iTunes | Breathless Press
Sunday, September 15, 2013
Matilda's Freedom by Téa Cooper
Courtesy The Literary Connoisseur
In Nineteenth Century Australia, we meet the tomboy and shy debutante Matilda, who's just been offered a job to become Christopher "Kit" Matcham's sister's governess, or "companion." While fancying Kit and after contemplating this divine opportunity to travel and explore, Matilda says yes.
The passion and longing between Kit and Matilda is undeniable. Told in Kit and Matilda's perspectives, we all know how much they want each other, how much they crave one another. But with the difference in their classes and social standings, their romance may not come as easily as we would hope.
Reasons why I love Téa Cooper's stories: 1) Her main characters (the females) are absolutely incredible. Strong, smart, clear head on their shoulders, and they stand by what they believe in- always. 2) Her male main characters are equally as lovable! Though I sometimes feel, like the heroines, that I want to reach through the book and throttle the male main characters because of the decisions they make. But they are still lovable, romantic and sweet. 3) Téa Cooper's writing is very easy to read and not unnecessarily complicated in any way. I have problems with certain authors and their writing...where they try too hard to describe a scene and the page inevitably becomes a jumble of unnecessary descriptive words. I am very pleased to say that Miss. Cooper's writing is very far from that, where every chapter is enjoyable.
With every Téa Cooper book I read, I love her work more and more. I can't say, "I don't know what it is..." because I do know what it is! Her books are easy to fall in love with and easy to enjoy.
When I read Passionfruit and Poetry, I was on vacation enjoying scenery, basking in the bliss of being on vacation and loving every bit of literature I read. I thought perhaps I was in a fantastic state of mind and maybe I wouldn't have the same reaction to Matilda's Freedom, but I was proven wrong. No matter the atmosphere, no matter the state of mind, no matter the situation, Téa Cooper's work will always make me feel happy, content and will always fill my heart with blissful enjoyment.
Amazon.com | Amazon.uk | iTunes | Kobo | B & N
Thank you for the invite to take tea with you today, Tea :-)
It's an absolute pleasure to see you here especially if we are going to go ghost hunting! I love a good ghost story.
Apart from our love of history we both have a fascination with ghost stories and mine, I suspect, began with my mother’s tale of a ghostly encounter in a Youth Hostel in Wales when she woke during the night to the sensation of a woman’s fingers brushing her cheek. She could clearly see a woman bending over her and as she watched the figure dissolved into the wall.
Oh yes - you have set the mood...queue goose bumps.. it reminds me of the portrait with the moving eyes over the stairs at my boarding school!
My own paranormal experiences have been far less impressive and really take the form of an emotional response to a place rather than ghostly figures. The dungeons at Warwick Castle overwhelmed me with such a sensation of misery I have never been able to set foot in them again. Other “close encounters” include an unexplained object that appeared in a photograph at the Roman fort of Housesteads on Hadrians Wall.
I have, to the best of my knowledge, worked in two haunted buildings and while I have plenty of evidence of the buildings’ ghostly residents they decided to leave me alone. Both buildings were owned by the Army and the witnesses to the paranormal activity were not the sort of people given to flights of fancy. Soldiers are not known for their overactive imaginations. I have posted blogs about “Albert” and “Esmerelda” and you are welcome to visit my blog and read their stories.
Over the years, wherever an opportunity has presented, I have gone on ghost tours - some hokey and some downright spooky. You will have found me trailing lantern bearing guides all over the world from York in England to New Orleans, Edinburgh to Port Arthur in Tasmania (now there is a spooky place!) to name a few. Just recently I caught up with the ghost tour that runs in my own home town which was great fun. I live in one of the earliest settlements in Victoria and in its hey day it was a rough and ready port town so there are plenty of ghostly encounters to be had.
Books about ghosts and haunted places abound on my bookshelves because behind every good ghost there is a potential fodder for a writer and in my 2012 release...GATHER THE BONES, I pulled together a few of these stories and created my own ghostly characters.
I loved Gather the Bones. I couldn't put it down - in fact I was annoyed when it ended. Is there more to come?
Sadly there are no more ghost stories in the foreseeable future but I had so much fun writing GATHER THE BONES that I am sure there will be a few more ghostly visitors in books to come!
Thank goodness for that. I'm off very soon to Maitland Gaol to see what ghostly visitors they have there. I'd love to capture a blob on camera! Thanks so much for stopping by. You have been a delightful, if slightly chilling, Téa Time Treat!
GATHER THE BONES
The horrors of the Great War are not the only ghosts that haunt Helen Morrow and her late husband's reclusive cousin, Paul. Unquiet spirits from another time and another conflict touch them.
A coded diary gives them clues to the mysterious disappearance of Paul's great-grandmother in 1812, and the desperate voice of a young woman reaches out to them from the pages. Together Helen and Paul must search for answers, not only for the old mystery, but also the circumstances surrounding the death of Helen's husband at Passchandaele in 1917.
As the mysteries entwine, their relationship is bound by the search for truth, in the present and the past.
About Alison Stuart
Alison Stuart is an award winning Australian writer of historicals with heart. Whether duelling with dashing cavaliers or waywards ghosts, her books provide a reader with a meaty plot and characters who have to strive against adversity, always with the promise of happiness together. Alison is a lapsed lawyer who has worked in the military and fire service, which may explain a predisposition to soldier heroes. She lives with her own personal hero and two needy cats and likes nothing more than a stiff gin and tonic and a walk along the sea front of her home town. She loves to hear from her readers and can be found at her website, facebook, twitter and Goodreads. Her ghost story, GATHER THE BONES, is a “Downton Abbeyesque” haunting love story set in 1923.
Excerpt from GATHER THE BONES
When the turn of the handle still did not shift the ancient door, Helen leaned her shoulder against the wood and pushed. The door creaked reluctantly and opened on to a large room dominated by two massive bookshelves taking up the spaces on either side of an old fireplace. A long, low window looked out over the moat to the driveway. Ancient framed maps and paintings of Holdston Hall crowded the remaining wall space. Several smaller family portraits were dotted among the maps and watercolors, including two head and shoulders studies of a man and a woman painted during the Georgian era and a couple of later Victorian models with severe, frowning faces.
Helen walked over to the Georgian pair and studied them closely. She could see at once that they had been painted by different hands, probably at different times and yet they had been framed identically and hung together as if in life they had belonged as a pair.
The man had obviously been a Morrow. Like the other portraits of Morrow forebears, dark hair tumbled over his handsome aristocratic brow and he glared at the artist, his stiffness emphasised by the high collar of a scarlet uniform. Charlie’s fair hair, inherited from his mother, made him quite a cuckoo in the family portrait gallery.
In contrast to the formality of the male portrait, the woman beside him glowed with life. A fierce intelligence burned from her light grey eyes. A tangle of chestnut curls framed her face and her mouth lifted in a half smile as if any moment she would burst into laughter. She wore a green gown that exposed a great deal of décolletage in a manner fashionable in the early part of the nineteenth century and no jewelry except a slender gold chain, with a locket hanging from it, nothing more than a blur of gold under the artist’s brush.
Helen shivered and pushed the windows open, admitting a breeze that carried with it the waft of warm grass and the sounds of the country--birds and the distant hum of a steam engine driving a threshing machine.
Along with these comfortable, familiar sounds drifted another faint sound, a whispering, a woman’s voice half heard, the words indistinct and undecipherable.
Helen frowned and tilted her head to listen, turning back into the room.
“Can you hear something, Alice?” she asked.
Alice looked up from turning an old globe on the table.
“No,” she said.
Helen looked around. The whispering seemed to come from within the room, not through the open windows. She stood transfixed, staring at the two wing chairs by the fireplace. The whispering grew more insistent, more urgent. Wrapping her arms around herself, Helen gripped the sleeves of her cardigan. The back of her neck prickled, her breath almost stopped.
As she took a step toward the chairs, the whispering ceased and she let out her breath and straightened her shoulders before crossing to the windows and pulling them shut.
“Come on, Alice,” she said. “We’ll be late for supper and I don’t want to annoy your grandmother on our first day.”
A big thank you to everyone for joining in the Three Wishes Blog Blitz to celebrate the launch of Juliet Madison's latest book I Dream of Johnny.
The winner for commenting on my blog is
SAM STILL READING
There is a copy of Passionfruit & Poetry waiting for you Sam!
…You have been contacted and need to reply within 48 hours to claim your prize, so please let me know if you didn’t receive my message. Congrats!
Thanks again everyone, it was fun and I enjoyed reading everyone's wishes!
Here's an excerpt from Passionfruit & Poetry
Jeanie walked up, hand outstretched and a tight smile plastered on her face. “Good morning, Mr. Fitzgerald.”
He turned and a gasp of surprise froze in her throat. Colored contacts. It had to be – his eyes were exactly the same navy as his shirt. Definitely contacts. Somehow her hand ended up in his – she glanced down at it and something jumped inside her, then she jerked her hand back as he started to speak.
“Good morning, you must be Jeanie. Your grandmother was just telling me about the lovely little business she’s been running here for longer than I can believe.”
Forcing her lips back into a smile Jeanie studied the navy-eyed smooth talker, trying to ignore the coy titters emanating from the direction of her grandmother. On closer inspection he wasn’t as young as she’d thought, which was probably why Gran was making such a fool of herself. Once a man turned thirty, he was fair game in Gran’s book – any younger and she deemed it cradle snatching.
Fine lines radiated out from the corners of his eyes and the non-designer stubble on his chin gave him an almost negligent air, as though he’d been in a bit of a hurry to leave the house, and the creased linen shirt only added to it.
She cleared her throat and beat down the flush on her cheeks. “We don’t get many complaints. Gran’s the talented one. I just make the coffee and clear the tables.”
His vivid gaze roamed backward and forward across her face and a shot of something as potent as the brandy Gran put in her Christmas cakes raced through her. Her toes tingled. She lifted her hand to her face and brushed her hair away from her forehead. Perhaps they’d need the fans on with all these extra people around. It was very warm in the café.
“Have we met before?” he asked.
The latest review for MATILDA'S FREEDOM has absolutely thrilled me! As a writer there is nothing more exciting than to know someone 'gets' your book! I have to share it!
I know I'm enjoying a book when I start talking to the characters as the book progresses, and that's what I did with Matilda's Freedom by Tea Cooper. Not so much with Matilda, a sensible, outgoing woman who knows who she is and what she wants, but with Christopher, or Kit, as he's referred to in the book. His obvious enjoyment of Matilda's bottom as he viewed her for the first time in her riding breeches made me chuckle. His predicament, where he claims to be shackled by convention, had me trying to talk some sense into him.
Ms. Cooper's created a memorable cast of secondary characters, too. Kit's mother is a woman who, on the surface, seems terribly fragile following her husband's death. His half-sisters are delightful young women whose progression from society kewpie dolls to engaging young women who love the culture of their countryside is delightfully drawn. Cooper clearly defines the social order of Australia during this period of time, with its rich heritage of aborigines, convicts from England, immigrants from the United States searching for gold, as well as the upper echelons of society.
The description of the wild Australian land in 1856 took my breath away, and the twist at the ending was...well, you'll just have to read it to find out. This was a beautiful novel, and held me spellbound to the end. Don't miss it.
Becky Lower Goodreads
Matilda's Freedom is available on Amazon and iTunes and all good e-tailers. My publisher Harlequin Escape has all the other links. And here's the Goodreads link if you have space on your TBR pile!
Today I’m participating in the Three Wishes Blog Blitz, hosted by author Juliet Madison!
From 2nd to 6th September you’ll have the chance to win some awesome prizes at all the blogs participating in the blitz, including mine. All you have to do is follow my instructions below for winning the prize I have on offer, and then you can click over to Juliet’s blog to enter her prize draw, and see the list of all other blogs taking part and enter their giveaways as well.
How cool is that?
Why is it called the Three Wishes Blog Blitz? Juliet’s new romantic comedy release, I Dream of Johnny, is about three wishes, a high-tech genie in a lamp, and one very unfortunate typo that proves magic isn’t all it cracked up to be…
However I believe in magic...so here are my three wishes and I'm going to check the spelling really carefully!
#1 A shopping trip with Miss Phyrne Fisher...I'm sure I was born in the wrong era. My hair actually sits in a perfect bob (on a good day) but I really need some advice about what to wear and where to buy some clothes so that being granted we need transport...
#2 A Tardis trip, and if .... happens to be available to drive us I won't be disappointed. I'm navigating and we will head for New York...
#3 F Scott Fitzgerald waiting in The Palm Court at The Plaza on 5th Avenue!
And there you have it!
No guesses the era for my current historical romance, (Dolly's Story) except it is set in Sydney not New York!
It all started with a visit to a wine bar in Darlinghurst called Love, Tilly Devine...but that's another story!
And if you'd like to enter my giveaway just tell me the setting of one of my contemporary or historical romances and you'll go in the draw to win that book. (Clue...follow the links!!)
Once you’ve entered my giveaway, visit Juliet’s blog & enter her giveaway too, and visit any or all of the other participating blogs to enter more prize draws. You could potentially win a whole heap of prizes!
Visit the official Blog Blitz post here:
Research and Writing...a subject after my own heart! Everyone knows how much I love Wollombi Museum!! Welcome Imogene!!
Research and Writing...they go together like bees and honey. Without the research, the story is thin. If the facts are wrong, it can stop a reader in their tracks.
I'll admit it. I'm a research nut. My friends nicknamed me Imoooogene because I'm almost as quick as google! (Or so they tell me.) In fact, when a fact needs to be found... I'm pretty good at ferreting them out. I'm also a tech-geek, so those skills go together really well.
It's a joke in our circles that I live for the research. In fact it's become one of the features of my work. When I write it title, even if it's only a short 25k novella, I'm all about making sure my facts were right. I get really upset when I read something and **know** that the facts they are presenting are wrong.
To date, I've had the opportunities to work out "split s manoeuvres" for shuttles entering atmospheres, "Selective mutism in under 6 year olds" for a child who has watched both parents brutally murdered in front of her, through to the "atmospheric layers" and everything in-between. Does this strengthen my writing? I think so. It gives each action a reason for taking place and a realism readers demand.
My current research is delving into the landscape of India: social, political and geographic of 1878. And I'm having a ball. I've also been indulging in my serious fetish - looking at dresses and materials that would have been used by the English in 1878. From moire to lawn, bustles to headwear. Oh yes and even down to malaria and how it would have been dealt with by the doctors and physicians of the time.
I'm also a closet naval fanatic (well, not so closet now!) so I spent hours researching clippers versus cutters and finding deck-plans that would suit my needs, finally coming up with a workable layout for the Zephyr! I've been known to spend a whole day filling in the gaps for one or two paragraphs of writing.
It's my hope that Miss Elspeth's Desires will be finished before Christmas so I can begin on the sequel, Miss Isabelle's Craving.
Until then, I will continue to research my work thoroughly so my readers will continue to enjoy the stories I publish, safe in the knowledge that if it's in the story, then its been researched thoroughly.
Oh and don't forget to pop in and visit my latest party, the Not A Release Day Party on 9 September! http://www.facebook.com/events/1404732399743476/?fref=ts
AND TO WIN ALL SORTS OF PRIZES CHECK OUT THE GIVEAWAY BELOW!
And here's Imogene's latest release Hesparia's Tears...it sounds smashing!
What will happen when the past catches up?
Galan is from Hesparia, where the females are dying out on his pacific agrarian planet.
Jessa has a past, one she hasn’t earned but cannot escape from.
What will happen when opportunity knocks?
Galan travels to earth, hoping to plead the case for Hesparia. He doesn’t expect Jessa or The Quickening.
Can he make the case for women to migrate to Hesparia and arrange a Diplomatic Alliance? Can they trust one another with their hearts. And can Jessa really escape her past?
The spaceship entered orbit and Jessa watched the tracking on the television. Since learning of the existence of extraterrestrials, it was about all she wanted to do. See where they were and where they planned to land.
The reporter came back on the screen. “We believe they will make their landing somewhere on the continent of Australia. There have been no further radio communications from the craft, however. So it is, at best, an educated guess right now.”
Jessa giggled at the sober face of the young, twenty-something reporter standing outside the Parkes Observatory and the inane follow up comment made by the thirtyish female news anchor.
“Jessa, it’s time for bed!” her mother yelled again.
She sighed dramatically. At twenty-four she was no longer a child, even though her parents seemed to struggle with that small fact.
Maybe it’s time to move out. As quickly as the thought had crossed her mind, she dismissed it. Leaving home meant more expense than she could possibly afford. The thing that really irked her was paying an outstanding legal bill for something she hadn’t even done. It was a refrain that had played through her mind over and over again since the event had taken place. It may have happened years ago, but she continued to pay for her youthful indiscretion. One she had long regretted.
Jessa stood, before heading down the old hallway to the bathroom. Living at home meant sharing a bathroom with her little brother, Ben. Of course, being a boy of sixteen, he was disgusting. There were used razor blades, splashes of water, foam from his recent shaving experience and hairs in the sink. Knowing it would make no difference complaining about it she carefully picked up the discarded detritus and placed it in the bin beside the vanity unit, wiped away the mess and began her own night-time ritual.
Emerging from the bathroom, she spied her mother, standing at the end of the hall in her fluffy blue dressing gown with matching slippers, and her blonde hair sitting high on her head in soft curlers. It was the same scene every night. “Night, Jessa.”
“Night, Mum.” What else was there to say? In a funk, Jessa entered her room, before closing the door then sat down on her single bed. She breathed deeply, letting the oxygen flow through her system, before slowly levering herself down across the mattress. Her blinds were open so she had an excellent view of the star-studded sky. It was a major positive to living on the edge of town, the absence of bright lights.
“Whoever you are, I certainly hope you’re friendly,” Jessa muttered, before closing her eyes, rolling onto her side and willing herself to sleep. For some reason, an excited thrill ran through her system.
Finally, visitors from the stars. No longer was it a figment of someone’s imagination or something from a science fiction novel. The time had come for them to have contact with another species. That was a sobering thought. The Prime Minister had sent a radio message to the ship. God, I hope the Prime Minister didn’t act like a pompous dick. Jessa snuggled down under the covers, waiting for the touch of sleep. Her mind wandered and she drowsed.
Her mobile, sitting on the bedside table buzzed and vibrated. Jessa muttered in the dark, groping for the device. She reached out and found the red leather covered item and dragged it to her ears.
“Jessa, it’s me. Seth. Can you come to the office at the telescope? I need you.” His voice was excited.
She squinted. “I was asleep, Seth. Besides which, I’m off duty until Saturday.” The room was gloomy and she screwed her face up into a scowl, knowing sleep would probably elude her now. “What could be so important that I need to come in right now?” Jessa pushed back the covers, swung her legs over the side then slipped her feet into her old grey slippers beside the bed.
“I can’t tell you over the phone.”
“What?” Something was happening. An agitated thrill filled her chest and for an instant her mind warred with the interest that spiked.
He didn’t need to plead. Jessa was already getting up to hunt out clothes. “Sure. Yeah, I’ll be there in a few minutes.”
“Thanks. You really won’t regret it.” The delight in his voice was contagious.
Jessa hurriedly tapped the end call button.
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