Friday, 15 May 2015

Spotlight - Tess Woods




Hi everyone.

The lovely Tess Woods is with us today to answer a few questions and tell us a bit about her novel, Love at First Flight. Tess lives in Perth, Australia with one husband, two children, one dog and one cat who rules over all of them. Love at First Flight is her first novel for HarperCollins.

Welcome Tess!

 

What inspired you to write this story?

I've always been inspired by the tragic love story, the story of great love that just can't be. My favourite book The Bridges of Madison County stayed with me years after reading it and played on my mind. Then I read Twilight and out of nowhere I had to write my own book. Before this I had never entertained the idea of writing. But the longing in Twilight and the knowing that the one you love is the one that is dangerous for you resonated with me and I just had to write about that. So with the themes of desire and danger, I wrote a book about a married mother, because I wanted to write of what I know. I wanted to bring the great love story into the world of the typical suburban mum who is chasing after kids, working and running a home. I wanted her to have that Romeo and Juliet moment. So I wrote 'Love at First Flight'.

 

Are you working on anything at the present?

I’m writing my second book and I’m very excited! I am writing a contemporary romance called Flat White With One which is about my main character Mel’s son as an adult (he is a teenager in Love at First Flight). Nick is Australia’s most popular football player, a real playboy who falls for a young, conservative Egyptian girl named Anna with a tragic past who is anything but the typical footballer’s girlfriend. Flat White With One is their love story. Nick and Anna are tested by her family, Nick’s football community and the Australian public as nobody seems to approve of them being together.

 

How do you come up with the titles to your books?

I actually didn’t come up with the title for my book! I came up with Flight. But I got a memo from my editor, Anna, that Flight could be about birds or kites and she wanted something that sold the story more. I received that email while I was having lunch with my friend Emma on her birthday. I complained and moaned about needing to change the title. Emma came up with Love at First Flight. I emailed Anna. She thought I was a genius. I happily took the credit! I’ve been told by my literary agent that she is letting me keep the title of my next book Flat White With One for now so we’ll have to wait and see if I don’t end up naming that one either, hey!

 

 

What is your favourite book?

The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller captured my heart like no other love story could. I read it in one sitting, I simply couldn’t put it down. That such a passionate love story could take place between two quite outwardly plain, middle-aged people in sleepy Iowa, where not much ever happens, was amazing to me. The connection between Francesca and Robert and their tragic Romeo and Juliet ‘not meant to be’ love pulled at my heartstrings. They made me believe in love at first sight and I went on to write my own book inspired by their intense love. I thought Robert Kincaid was the most romantic male character I have ever come across.

“But, I am, after all, a man. And all the philosophic rationalizations I can conjure up do not keep me from wanting you, every day, every moment, the merciless wail of time, of time I can never spend with you, deep within my head. I love you, profoundly and completely. And I always will.”

 

What made you want to be a writer?

I’ve always been a hopeless bookaholic. I was inspired by other writers and other stories. Books like Tully, The Bridges of Madison County and The Horse Whisperer stayed with me and inspired me. But when Stephenie Meyer wrote Twilight, something shifted inside me when I read it and I just had to write a book myself!

 


Love at First Flight – Blurb

A family is threatened by an irresistible attraction in this compelling debut that will appeal to fans of Liane Moriarty and Anita Shreve.

 

Looking back on it now, I can see it was instant. The second we locked eyes. Boom. Just like that. The me I had spent a lifetime perfecting began its disintegration from that moment. And despite the carnage it brought to all our lives, I still don’t regret it. 

 

What would you risk to be with the love of your life? And what if your soul mate is the one who will destroy you? 

 

Mel is living the dream. She’s a successful GP, married to a charming anaesthetist and raising a beautiful family in their plush home in Perth. But when she boards a flight to Melbourne, she meets Matt and her picture perfect Stepford life unravels as she falls in love for the first time ever. 

 

What begins as a flirty conversation between strangers quickly develops into a hot and obsessive affair with disastrous consequences neither Mel nor Matt could have ever seen coming. Mel’s dream life turns into her worst nightmare. 

 

Love at First Flight will take everything you believe about what true love is and spin it on its head.

 

 

Here’s a snippet –

‘Alright, love, have a good night.’

‘You too, hey? Be safe. Don’t talk to strangers. See you tomorrow. Love you.’

His voice was warm. No suspicion there whatsoever. Of course there wasn’t, Adam trusted me. I’d never given him reason to be suspicious before.

‘Love you too, Adam. See you tomorrow, darling,’ I croaked.

I dropped the phone into my bag and walked back into the bathroom, with a sudden sharp headache behind my left eye.

‘How’s Hercules?’ Sarah looked up from painting her toenails.

‘He’s fine,’ I said flatly. ‘He says hi. He’s having an early night.’

‘God bless him, like he needs the beauty sleep,’ she laughed.

I regarded myself coolly in the bathroom mirror. ‘You are a stupid, stupid woman,’ I hissed at the reflection.

 I vigorously shook Matt from my head, wiped off the red lipstick, replaced it with a clear gloss, and sent a mental kiss to my unsuspecting husband who was missing me back at home.

No more nonsense.

Finished.

 

If you would like to find out more about Tess, here are her links. J

 Website:


 Facebook page:


Goodreads:


Amazon:


iBooks:


Kobo:


Barnes and Noble:


 

Thanks for stopping by.

Nicóle  xx

 

Friday, 8 May 2015

Spotlight - Lee Christine




Hi everyone.

Today we have the fabulous Lee Christine joining us. Lee writes romantic suspense and her story ‘In Safe Arms’ was a finalist in this year’s Australian Romance Readers Association’s Favourite Romantic Suspense category.  

She’s here to give us a little peek at her latest book – A Dangerous Arrangement.

Welcome Lee. J

 

Thank you so much Nicole for having me on your blog today!

 

Churches, ancient ruins, monuments, pasta, gelato, Campari, Venice, Vatican City, high fashion, opera, Pavarotti, architecture, the Amalfi Coast…

You guessed it.

I-t-a-l-y!

One of my favourite countries in the world to visit and the setting for my latest romantic suspense, ‘A Dangerous Arrangement’.

Five years ago, a holiday in Italy inspired me to write a novel set in this unique and wonderful country. After travelling throughout Europe, my husband and I decided to ‘wind down’ towards the end of our trip. We boarded a magnificent cruise ship in Venice and for the next sixteen days visited Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro and Sicily as well as circumnavigating Italy.

The security on the ship was amazing, and as I write romantic suspense, I began thinking how a villain might breach that security. All from the comfort of my sunbed, of course. Also on board was an accomplished, primarily Russian, string quartet and the seeds of a story began to form in my mind, a kind of ‘cat and mouse’ chase beginning in Venice and continuing along the Italian Riviera.

A crime, a naval architect, a musician and a super yacht, an American heroine, an Australian hero, a love story that takes place in a truly international setting.

 

 

Blurb

 

When violinist Marina Wentworth arrives in Venice en route to a cruise ship for a short working holiday, the last thing she expects is to be confronted by a handsome stranger demanding answers. After going to great lengths to keep her real reasons for the trip a secret, Marina refuses to let her immediate attraction to Dean Logan derail her plans.

Desperate to recover his latest super yacht designs, Dean doesn’t want to believe the lovely violinist is involved in the devastating cyber-attack that threatens to destroy his yacht building empire. However his growing feelings for Marina fail to extinguish the nagging suspicion that she is hiding something.

Set against the backdrop of Italy’s Amalfi Coast, Dean and Marina must navigate the dangerous waters of secrecy, attraction, and the fusion of two very different worlds. Will their lives remain discordant, or will they take the chance at true harmony?

 

Here’s a snippet of A Dangerous Arrangement

 

Ten minutes later the tender was in the water, and Dean was adjusting the ties on her lifejacket. It reminded Marina of the day in Sicily, when she’d worn the bike helmet, though on this occasion his hands lingered a little longer as he adjusted the strap.

‘What became of the Harley?’ She raised her arm so he could adjust the side ties.

‘It’s on board, with some jet skis and other fun stuff. It’s a nice bike. I don’t feel like parting with it at the moment.’

Marina looked at the silver painted speed boat tied up to the back of the yacht. ‘You certainly love your big boys’ toys.’

He straightened and gave her a lopsided grin. ‘Some people might say I’m overcompensating for other deficiencies.’

She blushed, and it took every ounce of her self-control not to look at his crotch. ‘I didn’t say that.’

But she’d known where a comment like that would lead, and she’d gone ahead and said it anyway.

‘You’re welcome to find out for yourself.’

‘Dean!’

He laughed, and eventually she smiled and looked away. Her darn mouth was at the mercy of her subconscious.

Time to change the subject.

‘The tender’s different to the ones on the cruise ship.’

‘Comparing this to a ship’s tender is like comparing a racing car to a people mover.’ He pointed to the tender. ‘This baby is made of carbon fibre and fibreglass. It’s capable of 45 knots. It’s racing boat engineering.’

She laughed, revelling in their new camaraderie. ‘Well, excuse me for not being up on my tenders.’

His reassurance there was nothing between him and the heiress had already brought them closer. Even more so, their willingness to learn something from each other.

He smiled, looking so boyish in his tee-shirt and boardies it was hard to believe he owned a multi-million dollar company.

‘Okay, I think we’re good.’ He glanced over his shoulder. ‘Alain, we’re off.’

Alain emerged from somewhere behind them and began untying the bow line that attached them to the yacht.

Then Dean clambered on board with the same ease he’d displayed on the gondola. And just as he had in Venice, he reached out to her. This time, she took his hand without question, and as she stepped across the small gap, confident in her lifejacket, he wrapped a muscular arm around her waist and lifted her into the boat.

‘Welcome aboard.’

He held her a little longer, a little closer than necessary, his warm, hard body pressed against hers until Marina silently cursed the barrier of the lifejacket.

Then his arm loosened, and he pointed to a seat close to the front. ‘Take that one.’

As she sank into the soft, white leather, Alain tossed the rope to Dean and the tender began drifting away from the yacht.

Dean looked at her as the first mate disappeared inside. ‘Ready?’

She nodded, heart hammering with excitement as he turned the ignition switch and the luxurious boat roared to life.

He raised his voice above the roar of the three outboard motors, positioned the throttles and trimmed the tender. ‘I’ve designed this to deflect spray while we’re underway. You won’t even get wet, especially when it’s calm like today.’

‘Getting wet isn’t an issue. It’s sinking that worries me.’

He winked then covered his eyes with the trendy Ray Bans she recognised from Venice. ‘When you’re with me darlin’, that’s never gonna happen.’

 

 


 


 


 


 

 

If you would like to find out a little bit more about Lee here’s her website –


And if you love romantic suspense check out Lee’s ‘In Safe’ series.

 


 

 

As always thanks for stopping by.

 Nicóle xx

 

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

McKellan's Run - Update




 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Hi everyone!

Yes, I know I’ve been remiss and haven’t posted anything in ages. There’s really no excuse, except that I’ve been swept up with McKellan’s Run release.

So down to business – here are the winners of all the McKellan’s Run Giveaways.

 

Congratulations to Katherine and Niki who both won a copy from this blog.

The winners in the Goodreads Giveaway were – Vanna, Cherie, Maria, Jacinta and Sharon.

And from the Second Chance Giveaway from Allen & Unwin congrats to Caz, Rachael, Chantell, Trudy and Sharon!

 

Thank you all so much for taking the time to enter! J

There’s one more chance to nab one. I’m over at Breathless in the Bush talking about writing what you know. If you leave a comment you’ll go into the draw to win a copy of McKellan’s Run.


 

Hope you’ll join me again later this week when I have Lee Christine popping in to chat about her new book – A Dangerous Arrangement.

 

Thanks for stopping by.

Nicóle  xx
 
 
 
Graphics – Have a Slice Productions
Original cover – Christa Moffitt, Christabella Designs
Cover photography – Ron Lang. Getty Images.
 

 

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

McKellan's Run Release Day Giveaway



Hi everyone,

To celebrate the release of McKellan’s Run, as promised I’m doing a giveaway which is open internationally.

I’ve got one signed copy and one digital (Amazon Kindle) copy up for grabs.

So if you would like to enter just fill out the pink contact form which you’ll find on the right hand side of this blog site (about halfway down).

Just leave your name, email and the answer to this question –

What’s my heroine’s name in McKellan’s Run?

 

The giveaway is open from 21st April – 1st May 2015. I’ll randomly select the winners via the tried and true top hat method.

Top Hat modelled by Alannah
 

If you’re in Australia there’s also a chance to win one of five copies on Goodreads.


 

Violet Beckett once made the mistake of falling for the wrong McKellan brother. Now, eight years later, fate has brought Violet back to her home town with her daughter, Holly.

As soon as Violet runs into Charlie ‘Mac’ McKellan, she wonders if she should run all the way back to the city. But something about him makes her want to linger. Can she trust him, can she trust herself or will she be burned again?

Charlie McKellan has had a soft spot for Violet Beckett for longer than he can remember. It almost killed him to watch his brother woo her, use her and finally lose her. From his very first encounter with Violet he’s hooked. But how can he convince her that not all McKellans are the same?

 

Short Amazon link http://goo.gl/QY4lyE

Short Amazon Au link http://goo.gl/ZFMGL4

 

Thanks so much for stopping by and good luck.

Nicóle  xx

Monday, 20 April 2015

McKellan's Run - Trailer


Hi everyone.

So I’m finding it hard to contain my excitement as McKellan’s Run is almost here.

Today I received these!

 


If you’re in Australia, I have a Goodreads giveaway happening at the moment. There are five copies of McKellan’s Run up for grabs.

Here’s the link.
https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/135455-mckellan-s-run
 

I’ll organise an international giveaway in the next few days, so stayed tuned. J

 

And to top everything off we now have a trailer, thanks to Have a Slice Productions.

 

 

 







Violet Beckett once made the mistake of falling for the wrong McKellan brother. Now, eight years later, fate has brought Violet back to her home town with her daughter, Holly.

 

As soon as Violet runs into Charlie ‘Mac’ McKellan, she wonders if she should run all the way back to the city. But something about him makes her want to linger. Can she trust him, can she trust herself or will she be burned again?

 

Charlie McKellan has had a soft spot for Violet Beckett for longer than he can remember. It almost killed him to watch his brother woo her, use her and finally lose her. From his very first encounter with Violet he’s hooked. But how can he convince her that not all McKellans are the same?

 

It’s still on pre-order at the moment.

 

Short Amazon link http://goo.gl/QY4lyE

 

Short Amazon Au link http://goo.gl/ZFMGL4

 

Thanks so much for stopping by.

 

Nicóle  xx



Monday, 13 April 2015

Spotlight - Jessica Cale




Hi everyone.

Today we have the lovely Jessica Cale stopping by to give us a peek into her latest book, Virtue’s Lady. This is the second book in the Southwark Saga, the first being – Tyburn. As you may have gathered from the titles, Jessica writes delicious historical romance.

Hi Jessica and welcome! J

Thank you so much for hosting me, Nicole! I am so glad to be here today to share a little bit about my new release, Virtue’s Lady.

 

Virtue’s Lady is the second book of The Southwark Saga, and follows Lady Jane Ramsey as she attempts to give up her life of wealth and privilege when she falls in love with Mark Virtue, a carpenter and ex-highwayman. It is a bit of a departure from many historical romances in that much of it takes place in Southwark, one of the poorest areas around London and a haven for criminals. Instead of marrying into wealth, Jane is actively trying to marry out of it.

 

Why?

 

It’s easy to imagine that life as an heiress would have been comfortable and easy, but for Jane, it’s not. She has had almost every aspect of her life from her clothing to her education carefully chosen for her, and her father has even picked her future husband: a syphilitic earl more than three times her age. Jane wants out, and she’ll give up anything to have her freedom. Her life in Southwark isn’t easy, but she has to go through it to find out what she’s made of.

 

It was important to me to set Virtue’s Lady in Southwark because I wanted to see what Jane was made of, too. She surprised even me! There are plenty of stories out there where people learn to live among the wealthy, but I wanted to write something that I felt hadn’t been done before. What if my heiress not only survived the slum, but liked it there? What would make her leave home, and why would she want to stay?

 

More than anything, this is Jane’s story the way she wanted to live it. She and Mark both had such strong personalities in Tyburn, that for Virtue’s Lady, I let them take the lead and live the lives they were going to live anyway. Their story is as individual as they are, and I hope you enjoy it.

 

 

From toiling for pennies to bare-knuckle boxing, a lady is prepared for every eventuality.

 

 

     Lady Jane Ramsey is young, beautiful, and ruined.

    After being rescued from her kidnapping by a handsome highwayman, she returns home only to find her marriage prospects drastically reduced. Her father expects her to marry the repulsive Lord Lewes, but Jane has other plans. All she can think about is her highwayman, and she is determined to find him again.

    Mark Virtue is trying to go straight. After years of robbing coaches and surviving on his wits, he knows it’s time to hang up his pistol and become the carpenter he was trained to be. He busies himself with finding work for his neighbors and improving his corner of Southwark as he tries to forget the girl who haunts his dreams. As a carpenter struggling to stay in work in the aftermath of The Fire, he knows Jane is unfathomably far beyond his reach, and there’s no use wishing for the impossible.

    When Jane turns up in Southwark, Mark is furious. She has no way of understanding just how much danger she has put them in by running away. In spite of his growing feelings for her, he knows that Southwark is no place for a lady. Jane must set aside her lessons to learn a new set of rules if she is to make a life for herself in the crime-ridden slum. She will fight for her freedom and her life if that’s what it takes to prove to Mark—and to herself—that there’s more to her than meets the eye.

 

 

 

Here’s a snippet –

She hung up the dress, admiring her handiwork. It was not something she would willingly wear, but she hoped the lady would be pleased with the final result. She heard the front door behind her as she bent to pluck a stray thread from the skirt. “We’ve shut for the day,” she called over her shoulder.

When she heard no response, she turned.

Mark Virtue stood behind the counter, his hand still on the doorknob. His long brown coat hung open over his dusty work clothes, the undyed linen of his shirt straining across his broad chest. That chest, a warm expanse of smooth skin over hard, sculpted muscle, was a work of art. Though she had willed herself to forget him, her hands remembered.

Her lips remembered, too.

She licked them with the tip of her tongue, her mouth gone quite dry.

“I didn’t believe it,” he said, his gaze moving from her shapeless leather shoes to her dirty, gloveless hands. Jane looked down, suddenly aware of her shabby work dress. Compared to the other gowns he had seen her in, it was little more than a rag, really. She had braided her hair over her shoulder to keep it out of her stitching and now she wondered what she must look like to him. She touched the end of her braid self-consciously, a touch of embarrassment coloring her cheeks.

She cursed herself for her embarrassment. She had as much right to be here as anyone, and she was done apologizing to Mark Virtue. She straightened her spine and looked him square in his devastatingly blue eyes.

Her knees may have trembled a bit. She did a good job of hiding it. “Well?”

Mark stepped toward the counter. “I sent you back to your father not a fortnight past.”

She shrugged, borrowing the gesture from Carys. “I didn’t go.”

“I see that.”

He paced around the side of the counter while maintaining what little distance he could in the close quarters of the shop.

Jane stepped back, hiding the toes of her soft leather shoes under the hem of her dress. Her slippers may have been stolen, but she still had her silk stockings. She wore them even now, not that he needed to know that.

He had rather liked them, if she remembered correctly.

She swallowed. “What do you want?”

He raised his eyebrows in surprise. “I’ve come to see the new shop girl everyone’s talking about. You look the part, I’ll give you that. Perhaps a touch more dirt, just here...” He brushed her skirt.

Jane crossed her arms over her chest. “Is that what you think this is? You think I’m pretending?”

“Rather unconvincingly, I’m afraid. All the shapeless dresses in the world couldn’t disguise the fact that you’re a lady. Lowering yourself to wield a needle doesn’t make you one of us.”

Jane clenched her jaw. “I’ve as much right to be here as you do.”

“You have no right,” he insisted. “You can’t play at being poor. This is life to these people. This is my life. You think I ought to stand by while you make a mockery of it by working in a place like this when you can leave anytime you please?”

“I’m not going anywhere,” she nearly shouted. “I told you, Mark, I gave it up. Believe it folly if you will, but it changes nothing. I am never going back.”

Mark looked away. “Give it a fortnight.”

“I beg your pardon?”

“Give it a fortnight,” he repeated. “Work, and struggle, and starve with the rest of us if that is what you think you want. You weren’t made for this world any more than I was made for yours. Sooner or later, you’ll be desperate to go home.”

“I am home,” Jane said through her teeth. “I’m staying here.”

“How long do you suppose you can last alone in a bastard sanctuary with no money and no protection? How do you expect to live?”

“I have a job, in case you were not aware.” She threw out her arms to indicate the shop. “I work day and night, and I have a little apartment with a door that locks. I’ll make do.”

He tilted his head, looking at her curiously. “In two weeks on your own? Maybe you’ve got a protector after all.”

Jane might have been naïve, but she knew exactly what he was implying, and she didn’t like it. She felt the anger rush to her face, unbidden and terrifying in its intensity. She took a deep breath. “Get out.”

“Jane, be reasonable.”

Her face burned. “You’d like me to stand here while you question my virtue? You of all people? You had no trouble dispensing with it when you thought me an actress!”

Mark gave a long sigh. “For that I apologize. I was a fool. I never should have thought that someone like you...” He motioned toward her helplessly.

“Someone like me? Who might that be? Am I a lady? Am I a seamstress? Am I a whore? You don’t seem to like me as any of these things, so why don’t you tell me, Mark, who I ought to be. What kind of a woman am I?”

He took her wrists in his hands and held them to his chest, the irritation in his face replaced by something that looked a bit like shame. “That’s not what I meant.” He lowered his voice, his face close enough that she could smell the tobacco in his clothes. “Do as you please. It makes no difference to me.”

Jane’s fingers spanned his chest of their own accord, responding to his warmth. “It doesn’t?”

He shook his head, his eyes settling on her lips. “I don’t want you to get hurt,” he confessed.

She resisted the urge to lean into him with some difficulty. “I’ve done fine this far.”

“Have you?” He took her hand, turning her palm upwards to examine the damage: pinpricks, swollen fingertips, the ghosts of calluses forming where she grasped the shears.

She tugged her hand away from him but he didn’t let go. He held her gaze, his eyes searching hers, and she was struck again by their extraordinary color. Deep blue, green, and grey, shifted across his irises in restless, churning waves, the color of a storm on the river. They darkened as he raised her hand to his mouth and kissed the palm, the touch of his lips like a balm on her sore skin.

Jane held her breath, waiting to drown.

He smiled his crooked smile, a touch of condescension in the corners. “If all you wanted was another night, you didn’t have to go to such trouble.


 

 

Here’s the blurb from Tyburn, the first book in Jessica’s Southwark Saga.

Notorious harlot Sally Green fights for survival in Restoration London. When a brutal attack throws them together, Sally is torn between the tutor who saves her and the highwayman who keeps her up at night; between new love and an old need for revenge. Winner of the Southern Magic Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence 2015.

 

Jessica Cale is a historical romance author and journalist based in North Carolina. Originally from Minnesota, she lived in Wales for several years where she earned a BA in History and an MFA in Creative Writing while climbing castles and photographing mines for history magazines. She kidnapped (“married”) her very own British prince (close enough) and is enjoying her happily ever after with him in a place where no one understands his accent. You can visit her at www.authorjessicacale.com

 

You can also find Jessica here –



Twitter: https://twitter.com/JessicaCale @JessicaCale

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/+JessicaCaleWrites

Tumblr: http://authorjessicacale.tumblr.com/


Tsu: https://www.tsu.co/jessicacale

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Jessica-Cale/e/B00PVDV9EW/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0


 

 

Thanks so much for dropping by.

 

Nicóle  xx