I found such a lovely five star review for Passionfruit & Poetry on Amazon this morning!
The best Christmas present!
This is definitely a feel-good read. Jeanie has self-esteem issues. She thinks she is unattractive and therefore, unlovable. Haunted by bullying by the students she went to school with, she would rather stay out of the public eye. But her grandmother keeps pushing. She sees Jeanie as being so much more.
Enter Xander. Attractive, self-assured, and successful, he sees in Jeanie exactly what her grandmother sees.
Such a wonderful story! Big girls deserve love, too. Don't pass this one up. It will warm your heart.
Here's a little snippet....
With a steadying breath, 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.
You can find Passionfruit & Poetry on
Amazon | iTunes | Kobo
and at all good e-tailers
Today is Blog Tour Day. This blog tour is where writers and authors answer questions about their writing process. My friend Joanna Lloyd posted hers last week. She has written two wonderful historical romances Beyond Innocence and Shadow Beneath the Sea. You can check out her writing process here: Joanna Lloyd - Author of Historical Romance.
What am I working on?
I am always working on multiple projects. Currently, I am revising LILY'S LEAP, my romantic romp through nineteenth century Australia. It will be re published in the middle of next year. I am also editing JAZZ BABY. It's a 1920s romance set in Sydney against the backdrop of the rough and tumble world ruled by the Madams of Darlinghurst and Surry Hills. I'm really excited about it especially as I have been asked to write a sequel. And then there's my family saga FROM THE OCEAN TO THE OUTBACK. Book I is written and strangely Book III. I hope to make a start on Book II after Christmas. Then there are the sequels to MATILDA'S FREEDOM and LILY'S LEAP - Hannah and Beth's stories.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I like to write Australian historical romance, and contemporary romance. With the exception of A WINNING STREAK, my take on the myth of Atalante, all my books are set in NSW, several in Wollombi my home town and of course Sydney, my old stamping ground. TREE CHANGE is a coastal romance set on the NSW Central Coast and in Sydney and THE PROTEA BOYS a rural romance very loosely set in Wollombi and on the old protea farm I once owned!
Why do I write what I do?
I write contemporary and historical romance set in Australia mostly because I LOVE living in Australia and I like to share this wide brown land I have made my home. As time goes on I'm leaning more towards historical romance however my family saga FROM THE OCEAN TO THE OUTBACK will span the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty first century - unless...see the next question.
How does your writing process work?
I was a total pantser, I did not plan a thing. As time has gone on I have developed this hybrid kind of style. I 'pant' the first three or four chapters then take a long hard look at what I have written and make a rough plan. Then I make a mind map/draft of where I think the story will go. Write some more and repeat the process. When I'm writing a historical romance obviously there's a bit more research and checking (I LOVE research, too)and sometimes that affects the plot. I'm very fortunate to have a couple of great critic partners and a long suffering daughter who listens to my mad ideas.
Once the first draft is down I edit and edit and edit....and send chapter by chapter to my CP.
My ideas seem to come from strange places and usually begin with the setting. I work in the local museum every few weeks and MATILDA'S FREEDOM definitely started there. PASSIONFRUIT & POETRY came about because my car broke down and I treated myself to cake and coffee in the local café, aptly named The Queen of Tarts and JAZZ BABY was the result of a visit to a wine bar in Sydney! So now you know all my secrets!
Thanks for stopping by and reading my post!! Have a great Christmas and New Year. You can check out Ann B Harrison, Eva Scott and EE Carter's writing processes on December 30th! Just follow the links below.
Ann B Harrison -
Elizabeth Ellen Carter was not born with a silver spoon in her mouth – but it may have been a pen. Ever since then she has been writing… and writing… and writing.From writing news and feature stories for newspapers to advertising copy (it’s less glamorous than Mad Men) and web site content, she has most recently turned her hand to writing novels in her favourite genre – romance.
Her first novel, Moonstone Obsession was shortlisted for the 2013 Romance Writers Of Australia’s Emerald Awards for unpublished manuscripts. It was published by Etopia Press on October 18, 2013.
She is currently working on her second historical romance set in England in the years after the Conquest of England by William in 1066.
I love Christmas – especially an Aussie Christmas! When I was growing up (in England) I used to dream of sunny beaches and the impossible idea of having a hot Christmas. It seemed like the ultimate fantasy.
I’ll never forget my first view of Sydney as the plane came into land, it was December 24th, Christmas Eve, my birthday. The sun shone and the sea sparkled and the white-topped waves crashed on the sandy beaches. I’d made my fantasy a reality! To cut a long story short – Australia became home.
The ritual of Christmas Day became a breakfast of smoked salmon, mangoes, ham, pineapple and presents. The esky is packed with prawns, blue swimmer crabs and champagne and we take off in the boat for our favourite beach or waterway.
Writing this, feeling the sun on my back and listening to the cicadas, I realise just about all my books includes those places where I have spent delicious coastal Christmases.
Come and share a few:
Where would you choose to spend a delicious summer Christmas? Leave a comment and let me know then tell me which of my books you’d like to read over the Christmas break and I’ll pick a winner.
Have a brilliant Christmas wherever it may be and thank you for all your support in this, my first year, as a published author!
1. For a gift copy of one of my books of your choice, tell me where you would choose to spend a summer Christmas.
2. Don't forget to enter the raffle copter below to go in the draw for a $100 gift card and 26 books from the authors participating in the hop. You can enter every day! Follow the blogs below on each day leading up to Christmas Eve for more chances to win this fabulous virtual gift basket.
3. If you’d like to keep up with my news and subscribe to my blog – there’s a little sign up box on the right hand side at the top.
Our Christmas Blog Hop Calendar
Maureen O Betitia
Barbara Cool Lee
Hi Susana! Welcome back.
Boxing Day is one of my favourite days - you can't imagine how horrified I was to discover it wasn't celebrated in America. There I was doing my wonderful New York Christmas and no Boxing Day! It's a fabulous tradition and I'm thrilled you've included it in your book.
I'm looking forward to reading A Twelfth Night Tale. It'll be a great way to celebrate after all the excitement of Christmas Day - maybe on Boxing Day!
The origin of the term “Boxing Day” is uncertain, but the European tradition may have come from as far back as Roman times, when owners would present slaves and people of lesser status with gifts on Saturnalia. Or the term may have come later when it was the custom to place metal boxes outside churches to collect alms for the poor and needy on the Feast of St. Stephen, which falls on the same day.
In the English tradition, Boxing Day was a time to reward servants, tenants and tradesmen with gifts of money and/or food. Because servants were required to work on Christmas Day, it was tradition to give them the next day off to spend with their families.
Fox hunting was a popular sport on Boxing Day as well. The weather was usually not too much of a problem; contrary to popular thought, the winter weather in much of England tends to be quite mild. The winter of 1813, when A Twelfth Night Tale takes place, was a particularly cold one. But that didn’t stop Lucy and Andrew from braving the cold to collect greenery to embellish Livingston Hall with Christmas cheer on Christmas Day. Nor did it prevent them from taking the children and distributing boxes to the community on Boxing Day.
These activities had the effect of pulling Andrew out of his melancholy and opening his eyes to the desirability of the grown-up Lucy. Lucy dared to hope that Andrew’s attentiveness might be a sign that he was seeing her with new eyes. But he was still nursing a broken heart, and with an offer of marriage from a wealthy viscount expected at any moment, could she afford to gamble that Andrew would come up to scratch before it was too late?
A random commenter on this post will win a Twelfth Night Tale Christmas charm bracelet.
Susana is going all out to celebrate the release of A Twelfth Night Tale!
Besides the Grand Prize—a Giant Treasure Box—she is giving away a Twelfth Night Tale Christmas charm bracelet (silver-plated) for one random commenter on each of the twelve stops of the tour.
Click here for the Rafflecopter for the Giant Treasure Box!
A Twelfth Night Tale Giant Treasure Box*
· lovely gift box
· A Twelfth Night Tale Christmas charm bracelet (silver-plated)
· Father Christmas figurine
· Three Wise Men figurine
· Thomas Kinkade photo collage
· Treasuring Theresa mug
· Treasuring Theresa necklace
· Treasuring Theresa keychain
· two Christmas ornaments from Scotland (Mary Queen of Scots and fleur-de-lys)
· two decks of Ellora's Cave playing cards
· two perfumed soaps from Scotland
· fizzing bath salts from Scotland
· Celtic pen from Scotland
· “jeweled” soap
· nail clipper keychain from London
· stuffed toy bear
*In lieu of the treasure box, a winner from outside the U.S. will receive a gift card from the book retailer of their choice.
About A Twelfth Night Tale
A wounded soldier and the girl next door find peace and love amidst a backdrop of rural Christmas traditions.
Without dowries and the opportunity to meet eligible gentlemen, the five Barlow sisters stand little chance of making advantageous marriages. But when the eldest attracts the attention of a wealthy viscount, suddenly it seems as though Fate is smiling upon them.
Lucy knows that she owes it to her younger sisters to encourage Lord Bexley's attentions, since marriage to a peer will secure their futures as well as hers. The man of her dreams has always looked like Andrew Livingston, her best friend's brother. But he's always treated her like a child, and, in any case, is betrothed to another. Perhaps the time has come to put away childhood dreams and accept reality…and Lord Bexley.
Andrew has returned from the Peninsula with more emotional scars to deal with than just the lame arm. Surprisingly, it's his sister's friend “Little Lucy” who shows him the way out of his melancholy. He can't help noticing that Lucy's grown up into a lovely young woman, but with an eligible viscount courting her, he'll need a little Christmas magic to win her for himself.
Ellora's Cave • Amazon • Barnes & Noble • Kobo
All Rights Reserved, Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.
A Blush® Regency romance from Ellora’s Cave
The Barlow Home near Charlbury, Oxfordshire
23 December 1813
“It’s so kind of you to call, Lord Bexley. The flowers you sent are simply lovely, are they not, Lucy?”
Unable to miss the warning tone in her mother’s voice, Lucy sat up straight in her chair and smiled sweetly at their caller.
“Oh yes indeed. They are undoubtedly the most beautiful I’ve ever received, my lord.”
Of course, she did not mention that they were the first flowers she’d ever been sent by a gentleman. And considering that there were few opportunities to meet eligible gentlemen in the quiet little neck of the woods where the Barlows resided, the arrangement was quite likely to remain the only floral tribute to come her way.
Her caller beamed with pleasure. “They were the best I could find at the florist, but of course they cannot hold a candle to your beauty and sweetness, Miss Barlow.”
Lucy swallowed and forced herself to reply. “You embarrass me with your flattery, my lord.”
“Not at all,” he insisted. “You were quite the belle of the Christmas Ball last evening, Miss Barlow. I was much envied to be allowed the honor of two dances with you when so many gentlemen had to be turned away.”
The “Christmas Ball” was merely a small celebration at the local assembly rooms. Her mother had encouraged her to favor Lord Bexley, but in truth, Lucy herself had not found him objectionable. He was an accomplished dancer and quite distinguished-looking, in spite of the fact that he had at least twenty years over her.
At eighteen, she was of an age to be out in society, and Lord Bexley, a wealthy widower from Warwickshire, was undoubtedly the most eligible gentleman in the county. Recently out of mourning, he was seeking a new wife and a mother to his three children, and as Mrs. Barlow kept telling her, Lucy should be flattered that he seemed to be favoring her for the role.
Well, she was flattered. Wasn’t she? The number of young ladies far exceeded that of eligible gentlemen, and she didn’t wish to be left on the shelf. With her family in financial difficulties and four younger sisters to be married off, Lucy knew she owed it to them to marry well and do what she could to find her sisters suitable matches as well.
She was prepared to do her duty and make the best of it, but somehow, when she thought of marriage and children, it was not the kindly Lord Bexley who came to mind. It was the face of the strapping, dark-haired Adonis with laughing gray eyes who lived on an adjoining estate with his younger sister—her bosom friend Jane—who had teased her unmercifully from the time she learned to walk. She couldn’t remember a time when she hadn’t been in love with Andrew Livingston—she’d even asked him to marry her at the age of five when he’d been twelve and about to leave for Eton. He’d laughed and quipped that it would be like marrying his sister, and she’d nursed a broken heart ever since.
She sighed as she frequently did when she thought of Andrew and his affianced wife, and her mother glared at her. Fortunately, Phillips wheeled in the tea cart and Mrs. Barlow’s attention was mercifully diverted.
“Please do the honors, Lucy. An excellent opportunity to practice your housewifely skills.”
Lucy flushed. Could her mother’s intentions be more obvious? But Lord Bexley did not seem to notice. He smiled kindly at her somewhat shaky inquiry as to his preferences, and thanked her graciously when she brought him his tea and a plate of cherry tarts.
“Quite charming,” he commented as he regarded her with obvious approval. It was unclear whether he was speaking to her or to her mother, and Lucy wasn’t sure how to respond.
Fortunately, there was a shriek followed by the sound of fierce arguing from the back rooms of the house. Lucy turned instinctively to the door, which was promptly thrust open and filled by the figure of her sister Lydia, who was breathing hard and wringing her hands in agitation.
“Do come, Lucy! Lila and Louisa are having one of their rows again, in the kitchen of all places. Lila broke one of Cook’s mixing bowls, and Cook swears she’ll leave if someone doesn’t stop them and you know you’re the only one who can, Lucy!” She flushed when she saw Lord Bexley and her mother’s angry face. “Oh…pardon me, I didn’t realize we had a guest.” She backed out into the hall, shooting Lucy a pleading look as she did so.
Relieved for an excuse to terminate the social call, Lucy muttered her excuses and scrambled out of the room. But not before she heard her mother’s mortified apology and Lord Bexley’s soothing reply that he found it quite agreeable to discover a young lady so accomplished in the maternal skills.
Goodness, he really was intent on courting her! She should be flattered. She was a sensible girl, and it was pointless to set her cap at Andrew Livingston, in any case. Lord Bexley would be an excellent match for her. His three daughters could not possibly be as troublesome as her two youngest sisters, after all.
She gritted her teeth and hurried to the kitchen, the ineffectual Lydia as usual trailing behind her. The second eldest Barlow daughter was as helpless as their mother at controlling the two youngest children. When Lucy married and left the house, as she would in time, her bookish middle sister Laura was going to have to take up the reins.
About the Author
A former teacher, Susana is finally living her dream of being a full-time writer. She loves all genres of romance, but historical—Regency in particular—is her favorite. There’s just something about dashing heroes and spunky heroines waltzing in ballrooms and driving through Hyde Park that appeals to her imagination.
In real life, Susana is a lifelong resident of northwest Ohio, although she has lived in Ecuador and studied in Spain, France and Mexico. More recently, she was able to travel around the UK and visit many of the places she’s read about for years, and it was awesome! She is a member of the Maumee Valley and Beau Monde chapters of Romance Writers of America.
Web site • Email • Facebook • Twitter • Linked In • Pinterest • Google+ • Goodreads
Susana’s Parlour (Regency Blog) • Susana’s Morning Room (Romance Blog)
I have just got THE BEST 5 star review for A Winning Streak...feeling a bit overwhelmed!
Here it is!
They say you shouldn't judge a book by its cover. I can't help it; it was the cover that first drew me to A Winning Streak, an erotic release by author Tea Cooper and Breathless Press.
Turns out it wasn't a mistake. A Winning Streak is a real treasure, quick to engage and evocative in its historical setting of Arcadia, amid the rivalry of the Greek Gods. It's sweet and romantic as well as compelling and sexy. Though I have a little insider info on what is expected in erotica, this story still kept me curious about the outcome, and how character's "Winning Streak" would end up.
Let me start off with this: do you remember studying Greek mythology? Personally, that was one of my all-time favorite subjects in my Lit courses. Sometimes it's easy to forget how dark and intensely erotic Greek mythology is often intended to be, or that so many of the stories are informed or driven by sensuality, jealousy, competition, or devotion driving a man to his Gods. A Winning Streak catches all those deep details in a passionate retelling of a wonderful myth. One of its greatest merits, at least in my eyes, is how well it conjures the classical motifs and puts them to use. Tea Cooper is either incredibly intuitive when it comes to this particular genre, or she's really done her homework, because she hits it spot on.
The lead characters are Atalante and Melanion, she a princess returned to civilization after being raised in the wilderness by Artemis, he a hard-working man in service to her estranged father, the King. Upon Atalante's return home, she finds herself entangled in a distasteful situation: her father insists that she marry and bear him a grandson, providing an heir to the throne. Being a chosen daughter of Artemis and sworn to purity in the Goddess' name, Atalante is not thrilled by this demand. Melanion is witness to the arrangement made by the King: Atalante to wed the man who can beat her in a footrace. Atalante's suitors make a daunting gamble, however, because to lose means being sacrificed to Artemis. This is the risk Melanion faces, when he decides he cannot live without Atalanta, and claims the right to race her.
A Winning Streak evokes a gorgeous setting, tapping the luxuries and indulgences of ancient Greece and heightening the passion through the senses. Little moments--Atalante eating a fig offered to her by Melanion, her sojourns to the steaming pools of the bath-house, the evocative dreams and visions bestowed upon the lovers by the gods--keep the story vividly erotic, even in scenes where the clothes stay on. Atalante and Melanion might be reclining together in an olive grove having a simple and innocent conversation, yet you can feel their youthful need and attraction, their fascination and intimacy. The descriptions of fruit and the details of their smooth skin, the warmth of them from being held close to the body, the fog of breath upon their surfaces, really brings out sensuality in the story in a refreshing way, again surrounding the reader with sexy moments everywhere. The footrace makes a very compelling conflict, as you find yourself driven to it wondering how Melanion can hope to win against Atalante, and if he does, what the vengeful gods may do to him for taking away their chosen athlete. The depiction of the race doesn't rush it, either: it's anybody's guess until the end.
Three gods are invoked in the story as well: Artemis, Aphrodite, and Eros. I think that in some retellings of ancient myths, the gods are either too literally present (think Hercules and Xena), or not present at all, left as vague philosophical concepts uninvolved in the world. Classical myth, however, makes the gods both present and yet still supernatural, super-human. In A Winning Streak, this is how they appear. We rarely see one literally, but we feel them in visions and prayers, see their images and wonder along with the characters if what we see is a true message or a trick of the character's desires. The descriptions of them are equally as evocative and sensual as the descriptions of the setting our the pounding desires of the two lovers. One of my favorite details is the perfume of ylang-ylang, denoting the presence and will of Aphrodite. As with the descriptions of the fruit, the baths, the dust of the road, the silk of sheets, I find the descriptions of the gods make this story feel genuinely authentic.
I loved A Winning Streak. I wish there were more! I recommend it, its beautiful and well-written and worth the read.
Here's the link and thank you "Brandee"!
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