Escape to wondrous worlds

Nicole Murphy & Elizabeth Dunk

Nicole Murphy & Elizabeth Dunk

Flash Fiction Saturday - Much Ado About Love

9 Jan 2016

Much Ado About LoveMuch Ado About Love is now out! If you’ve read it and loved it, I’d really like to know. Getting feedback from readers is like catnip to authors!

As I mentioned last week, there’s sparks between Trix Leon and Ben Anthony. Outside of the bedroom, they border on being mean to each other. Inside the bedroom, they’re very, very nice.


God, he hoped Trix had the window open, Ben thought, as he ran across the grass to the cottage. At first, he’d used the door but when Ro arrived, they’d started with the window. Not that Ro couldn’t possibly know what was going on—but he sensed that Trix wanted to keep her in the dark and he wasn’t going to argue the point.

He grinned when he got there—the drapes were drawn across, but a towel had been placed over the sharp metal frame to ease his entrance. He pushed the curtains aside and climbed in.

‘On the towel.’

He reacted to the words and stood on the towel folded on the floor before he looked up at Trix.

Words died in his throat. Her hair was still up, but not in the tight bun of the day. Instead, it was loosely gathered behind her so tendrils curled around her face. It was casual, easily taken down—sexy.

The light makeup was off her face, revealing the freckles that he adored. He’d spent many hours staring at them, loving that he was the only one who knew the secret hidden by her foundation.

She had on her pink, fluffy robe. He couldn’t see any evidence of something underneath it, and the idea that she was so nearly naked had his body reacting.

‘We need to get you out of those wet clothes,’ she murmured and moved forward.

He hadn’t got that wet on the run across, but he wasn’t going to disagree with anything that might see him become naked sooner rather than later.

She grabbed the bottom of his T-shirt and lifted it. Ben held out his arms so it slid up over his body, his head, and Trix tossed it aside.

She looked at him, sighed and smiled. ‘You’re too beautiful for your own good, Anthony.’ She lifted a finger and traced it slowly around one nipple, then the other. They hardened at her touch. ‘It’s why you’re so disgustingly arrogant.’

‘Not arrogance if it’s based on truth.’

She tweaked a nipple and he gasped. ‘It certainly is arrogance.’ Before he could respond, she’d lowered herself to her knees and was pulling his belt through the loops.

There were many, many entrancing things about Trix Leon, but the best was seeing that cool, professional front she put on during the day and knowing that deep down, she was hot and rampant and desperate to feel him inside her.

She undid his trousers and pushed them down to his knees, then his boxers. Ben looked down and watched her slim, golden hand reach forward and wrap around his erection. The contrast of her skin against his was stunning—beautiful.

‘Hello, my friend,’ Trix whispered. ‘I’ve missed you.’

She leant forward and her tongue dashed out over the top of his cock. Ben moaned, his legs quivering as blood rushed to his erection, swelling to the point of discomfort.

Trix stood and stepped back. She smiled, wicked. ‘I ran a bath, to warm you up.’

‘Couldn’t be any warmer,’ Ben said, then was proven a liar as Trix undid the tie of her robe and pushed it off her shoulders to the floor.

Sweet Mother Mary, she was stunning. Full breasts, slightly curved stomach leading the gaze easily to the golden curls between her legs. The swell of her hips. The silkiness of her thighs.

‘Come on.’ She turned and Ben stood still for a moment to watch the wave of the muscles in her backside as she walked into the ensuite.

Then he kicked off his trousers, his shoes and socks, and followed.

He stopped in the doorway to admire the new view. She’d lit candles and placed them around the huge spa bath. Trix stood in the centre, the water still and at knee height.

Seeing this bath the first time had been the moment he’d realised the truth about Trix. Up until then, he’d thought what they had was brief, that somehow he’d heated her up and that soon she’d cool down again.

That huge, sumptuous spa told him that Beatrix Leon was a sensual woman who knew how to relax and how to play. He’d known then that it was going to be a long, long time before they tired of each other.

‘Looking won’t achieve much,’ Trix murmured and she sat down, nestling her buttocks in the far corner of the triangle.

Slowly, Ben stepped into the water. Perfect temperature. Trix smiled and spread her legs and he knelt between her knees, her body within his reach, but him not yet touching her.

He took a deep breath, the steam bringing her scent to him—sweet and musky and completely Trix. He leant forward until their noses were almost touching, and breathed in again.

He was getting giddy, his head spinning. His body tightened and his cock throbbed.

Then Trix pressed a button and the spa jets started up. While the water began to swirl around them, he was aware of one jet of bubbles that travelled from between her legs to dance around the head of his erection.

‘Dear God.’ His head fell back, his attention focussed on the delicate touch and tickle on his sensitive skin.

‘I hope you’re not planning on spending the entire night over there,’ Trix said.


Much Ado About Love

Opposites attract—but that doesn’t mean the road to happy-ever-after runs smooth…

Trix Leon and Ben Anthony have two things in common—they don’t believe in love and, together, they set the sheets on fire. Their relationship is safe, uncomplicated, and just what they both need—until John Aragorn shows up and gives them a third thing in common: an enemy.

When their friends decide it’s time for Trix and Ben to admit to themselves—and each other—how they really feel, Trix and Ben are caught in a whirlwind of emotion, a promise of something more. But Aragorn is determined to destroy everything: Trix’s hard work, her future, and her chance at something more with Ben.

Now Ben and Trix are left fighting for the one thing that neither of them knew they wanted: love.

http://www.escapepublishing.com.au/product/9781760370015

Flash Fiction Sunday - Much Ado About Love

3 Jan 2016

Much Ado About LoveOn Tuesday, Much Ado About Love (my new contemporary romance) is released into the world.

It is based on Shakespeare’s fantastic play Much Ado About Nothing and I have to wonder if he had as much fun writing the story of Benedick and Beatrice finding their happily ever after as much as I did with Ben and Trix. The two of them just spark off each other – both sexually, and also with an at times almost disdainful repartee that was pure pleasure to write.

Here’s the first scene with Ben and Trix together. Read it and you’ll see how much fun I had!


From the other side of the bus appeared a tall, well-built woman with a shock of black and white hair. She barrelled toward Trix, her hands outstretched.

‘Trix, always so eager to welcome trouble.’

‘You are never any trouble, Petrea.’ Trix took hold of Petrea’s hands and the two women pressed their cheeks together.

‘Me? No. But I know some of my people are, and yet you come greet us.’ Petrea Aragon, co-founder of one of the most prestigious law firms in Sydney, released her and held her hand out to Ro. ‘Wonderful to see you again, Ro.’

‘And you.’ Ro shook with a happy smile. ‘We’re very much looking forward to this week’s happenings.’

‘As am I.’ Petrea winked. ‘So let’s get this started, shall we?’

Petrea bounded down the stairs to pick up a suitcase. Everyone else was milled at the back of the bus, bags in hand, awaiting instructions.

Trix turned to head into the building before her traitorous eyes could look for him.

‘Follow,’ she heard Petrea say. Within moments, the lawyer was walking by Trix’s side.

‘How’s Brian?’ Petrea mentioned Trix’s brother, who she’d dated in university. It was how Petrea had found out about Messina six years earlier and had become one of Trix’s most regular clients. Every six months since then, she’d brought the partners and top lawyers from her firm for a week’s retreat of team bonding and to ensure they didn’t get too locked into their work.

‘He’s well. Sends his love. He and Helen have taken the girls up to Queensland for a few weeks.’

‘Lucky duck. I’m in need of a holiday.’

‘This isn’t?’

Petrea laughed. ‘A change is supposed to be as good, isn’t it? If only I didn’t have these ne’er-do-wells to look after.’

‘I’ll have you know I do very well.’

His voice was like chocolate, dark and velvety, and it flowed over Trix and awoke sensations that she tried very hard to forget existed.

‘I believe she was referring to out of the courtroom.’ The words were out of Trix’s mouth and directed over her shoulder before she’d really had time to consider them.

What was it about Benjamin Anthony that made her want to both hurt and seduce him at the same time?

‘Give me a chance, my dear Lady Disdain, and I’ll prove how well I can do out of the courtroom.’

Trix hoped the shiver that ran over her body wasn’t obvious to anyone. She was all too aware of one particular room where Ben did very, very well.

‘It has been my experience that men who talk themselves up do so out of insecurity.’

‘Have you had a lot of experience?’

Trix looked over her shoulder. He was grinning at her—the wicked, open smile that right now made her grind her teeth with frustration, but later would make her body turn to liquid.

No man deserved to be that gorgeous—black hair that fell casually to frame his blue eyes, a strong jaw and cheekbones, full lips. His good looks were a major part of why Ben Anthony was so arrogant.

Then there was his body…

‘More experience than you can handle, Mr Anthony,’ she said sweetly.

‘Are you trying to scare me or seduce me, Ms Leon?’

She wished they were alone so she could tear his clothes off. ‘If I was trying to seduce you, you’d know it.’

‘Then consider me shivering in my boots.’

‘And with that, I’m calling an end to skirmish one,’ Petrea said as they stepped into the Frances wing. ‘The two of you can pick it up later.’


Much Ado About Love

Opposites attract—but that doesn’t mean the road to happy-ever-after runs smooth…

Trix Leon and Ben Anthony have two things in common—they don’t believe in love and, together, they set the sheets on fire. Their relationship is safe, uncomplicated, and just what they both need—until John Aragorn shows up and gives them a third thing in common: an enemy.

When their friends decide it’s time for Trix and Ben to admit to themselves—and each other—how they really feel, Trix and Ben are caught in a whirlwind of emotion, a promise of something more. But Aragorn is determined to destroy everything: Trix’s hard work, her future, and her chance at something more with Ben.

Now Ben and Trix are left fighting for the one thing that neither of them knew they wanted: love.

http://www.escapepublishing.com.au/product/9781760370015

Welcome 2016!

1 Jan 2016

And the new year begins.

I feel strange about 2016. I’m being positive, and I know that lots of great things are going to happen, but there are shadows and hardship that will happen as well.

The thing I’m taking with me is that I’m starting 2016 with my own health issues sorted - both the boob stuff and the depression. Also, work is going to be much less stressful, so I’ll be able to better cope with the shadows when they arise.

There are good things to look forward to for this year, so let’s focus on that:

  • I have two books coming out this year - next Tuesday sees the release of ‘Much Ado About Love’ and Valentine’s Day is the release of ‘Maree’, from Down and Dusty
  • I’ll be submitting two books to publishers - ‘My Fair Billionaire’ to Escape Publishing and ‘Hope Lost’ to Ticonderoga. That will be in the next few weeks.
  • I’ll be writing, editing, polishing and submitting ‘The Importance of Being Ernestine’ to Escape Publishing by the end of the year
  • I’ll be completing the draft of the final gadda book (title to be determined)
  • My youngest sister is getting married - it’s going to be an awesomely geeky wedding I think
  • I’m going to be getting healthier and fitter
  • I’m going to spend more time with my friends - there’s talk of a retreat in the next few weeks (I’ll only manage one weekend but that will be good)
  • I’m going to make it to most of Conflux this year (my sister is getting married that weekend so not all of it, but more than the day I managed in 2015) and hopefully I’ll make it to another convention as well (crossing fingers)
Otherwise, who knows what the year will bring? All I do know is that I'm married to a fabulous man, I've got great family and friends and I can deal with ANYTHING life throws at me.
So bring it on, 2016!

 

End of year review

31 Dec 2015

This could well be the last post on this blog - hubby is working on the new one at the moment! It will be one of the last anyway.

I always review the year at this time. This year, there’s soooo much negative stuff I can write about but I can sum that up on one line - one of the worst fucking years of my life.

In order to not focus on the negative, and to go into the new year with a positive outlook, I’m going to focus on the good things that happened this year and when I do that, there’s a lot.

  • I wrote an entire novel this year. ‘My Fair Billionaire’ is the second in the Acts of Love series. It’s currently with beta readers and will hopefully go to the publisher by the end of January
  • I finally got ‘Hope Lost’ (the second book of the new gadda trilogy) sorted and it’s with beta readers as well. Looking at having it to the publisher by March
  • I wrote ‘Maree’, my installment in the Down and Dusty version of Secret Confessions from Escape Publishing (first book, ‘Casey’ by the fabulous Rachael Johns, is out on Sunday!). My book is out February 14 and you can pre-order it here
  • I completed the edits for ‘Much Ado About Love’, which is released next Tuesday! Just a week! You can pre-order it here
  • I oversaw the running of another fabulous Aurealis Awards ceremony in Canberra in April
  • Hubby and I got a new family member - Pinky, who has proven to be such a joy. He and Freddy (our budgies) are the lights of our life
  • One of my sisters got married and another got engaged - wonderful family news
  • Had a couple of lovely weekends away - one with friends down in Victoria, the other with family in Moss Vale
  • Successfully got through the biggest year at work in the history of the company
I suppose really the big thing is this - I'm not only still standing, but I still have hope and joy about life which is amazing. I know now that I can get through anything. Sure, there will be times when life gets tough (hopefully not like it did this year but still) but I know that I can get through and come out on the other side stronger.
So all in all, as fucking shitty as it has been, I have to say - thank you 2015.
Roll on, 2016!

New website

19 Dec 2015

So the problems with updating this website have become so ridiculous - I’m going to be building a new one.

Hubby is working on the basis of it at the moment and over the next two weeks, I’ll be transferring information over and updating it so by the time Much Ado About Love is released, it will all be up to date.

If you’ve got nicolermurphy.com bookmarked - don’t worry, that address will stay the same so shouldn’t affect  you at all!

In the meantime - I’ve sent My Fair Millionaire off to beta readers. Will get those comments back early January to finish revising and send to publisher at the end of January.

I’m about to return to the re-write of Hope Lost - book two of the gadda trilogy. I have to re-read to work out where I got up to in the re-write before. It’s been a while - I think I stopped working on this in September. I’m hoping to work super hard over the next two weeks and get the re-write done by the time the comments on the contemporary romance come back.

This afternoon however there won’t be any writing done. This afternoon is about Star Wars. Finally, I get to see the movie I’ve been waiting for since 1983!

To celebrate, I posted a blog on the Escape Publishing website about me and Princess Leia. Hope you enjoy - https://escapepublishingblog.wordpress.com/2015/12/18/im-lucky-i-grew-up-with-leia/

Mea culpa

5 Dec 2015

Mea maxima culpa.

Unfortunately, I’m still not able to upload images onto this blog. I had a brilliant idea to get around it, but that’s not going to work either.

So in the meantime - if you’re following my author page on Facebook, you’ve seen the new cover of my upcoming release Much Ado About Love. If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you can also see it there - @nicole_r_murphy.

Hopefully I’ll get this site back up and running by the end of the year.

So what’s been going on in the meantime? Well, since I last posted, the year (if you can believe it) got worse.

I had started having some issues with one of my breasts in December last year. February, some tests showed I had a condition called papillomatosis. Not a big deal, except for the discomfort, and annoyance, and the fact it can slightly raise your risk of breast cancer. So it was decided to go see the surgeon.

Well, I didn’t get into the surgeon until August, but then things moved pretty quickly. He decided he did want to remove a large proportion of the papillomatosis, and I was in hospital in September for the surgery. It went well (I had a slight infection, but all in all not too bad). They didn’t remove all the papillomatosis, so I knew there was potentially more surgery in the future, but some time off I thought.

When I went to see the surgeon three weeks later, I wasn’t prepared for what they said. They’d found some abnormal cells amongst the tissue they’d removed. The pathologists couldn’t decide if it was a benign condition or early stage cancer. When in doubt, they plump for the more dangerous of the two possible findings. So three weeks later, I was back in surgery, this time having a whole lot of that breast removed. They also took tissue from the other breast - not that anything was wrong with it, but they wanted to resize it so it would match the other one.

End result - my breasts are now a third smaller than they were. I’ve recovered well from that surgery and thankfully, they found no further abnormal cells. Because what they found was so small, and was well and truly removed, they decided no further treatment was necessary. So all I have to do now is get scans every 12 months, and hope like hell it doesn’t come back and worse.

So all in all - I’m a very lucky girl. I’ve had a really close brush with breast cancer and I got through it. Not unscathed - I’m still adjusting psychologically to the whole thing, particularly since it’s not something I can forget about because every time I look down, the impact it had on me is clear. But I do not have breast cancer. I am not facing a fight for my life. So fucking lucky.

Of course this has had an impact on other things as well. I’m way behind on all my deadlines. I’ve got two books coming out in the first two months of next year and I’m no where near ready. And I’ve got a lot of writing and promoting to do to try to pull back all the time I’ve lost this year.

But for the first time since January, I feel good. It’s a great feeling.

End of part one of the year from hell

27 Jun 2015

Hello. Wow, the journey I’ve been on for the past couple of months, but finally, I’m back - kinda.

So, let’s see what’s happened since I last posted in April.

  • Work went from heinous to OMG awful. I’ve never been through a period like it, where it was cling on for dear life and hope you survive it. I did, but still somethings went tremendously wrong and there was one day where I honestly considered just walking out. Here’s hoping it never gets that bad again
  • I fell into another depression - went to doctor, got on antidepressants. I’m still struggling with a few things, but I’m in a much better place, thank goodness
  • My computer carked it - it’s completely gone. Hubby is rebuilding it but in the meantime, I’m using another computer and I’ve had to re-learn how to get to everything (including this blog)
  • Still I managed to get some writing done. I finished, polished and submitted a novella for a secret project and I’ve got nearly 50k done on the contemporary romance that’s due at the end of the year.
  • “Protecting her Heart”, book three in my science fiction romance Jorda series, was released. I’ve not been able to do anything to support it which is a shame, because I think it’s a particularly awesome book
  • Our little budgie Casper died last weekend. I’m still really sad about it - we only had her three months, but she was such a character, so funny and brave and so different Freddy, she brought a lot of joy to our world. We’ve got a new budgie now, Ozzie, who’s only a week out of the nest so still very small and a real baby.
So that's it, basically. Combined with Mum's cancer, there is absolutely now doubt that 2015 is the Year from Hell. And it's only half done. What does the rest of the year hold?
Well, here are the things I need to do:
* I've got four more conferences at work. Again, there's going to be another heinous period August to October. Really, really not looking forward to it * I've got two more books coming out this year - one contemporary romance, one urban fantasy. I'm hoping to have the time to do something proper in terms of supporting them * I've got two books to deliver to the publishers - the contemporary romance that still needs 30k written, and an urban fantasy that is drafted. They still need to be revised, sent to beta readers and polished * The secret project will be out later this year as well - I'm really looking forward to that * I've got another novella to do for another secret project
And there's the normal things - look after myself so I can recover from this depression, look after Mum and the rest of my family, look after my husband and support him as best I can.
Most of all, try to find joy and a reason to laugh in every day.

 

Warrior Amongst the Stars

30 Apr 2015

The fourth instalment of our ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ Warrior Amongst the Stars has gone live! You can read all four instalments here - http://nicolermurphy.com/free-stories/warrior-amongst-the-stars/ 

The fifth instalment will be published tomorrow in the Nicole Murphy newsletter (along with some exclusive news and a giveaway). If you want to be part of the choosing of Jannah’s adventures, then you have to sign up to the newsletter, which you can do by clicking the link just to the right of this post.

I’m looking forward to seeing what people want Jannah to go through next.

Apologies for the radio silence

14 Apr 2015

Hello. Been a while, hasn’t it? And really, I’ve not posted properly since late February.

My apologies, but since that time life has gone a little crazy and I’ve not had the time, or admittedly the inclination, to post. My mother was diagnosed with lung cancer and has begun chemotherapy, work has become unbelievably heinous and I organised the Aurealis Awards ceremony, which took place on Saturday night here in Canberra. Honestly, there’s been times in the past few weeks where I’ve not had time to scratch myself.

The writing has suffered through all this. Thankfully I have wonderful publishers who when I told them the news about Mum were more than happy to push out some of the deadlines, relieving me of that pressure. I’ve not had to panic because I’ve only been doing bits and bobs of writing over the past few weeks.

The thing that’s really fallen by the wayside is the ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ serial. I’m hoping to pick it up again for the May newsletter.

Anyway, with the Aurealis Awards done (and they were awesome!), some of the pressure has eased. Work will still be icky until the end of May, but then it should calm down for a month or two before ramping up again. The pressure that won’t ease for some time is Mum but with everything else calming down, I’ll be able to be a better daughter to her.

I’m still on target for the three deadlines that I do have this year. One is for June, for a secret project that I can’t tell you about but is turning out to be so much fun! The other two are for later this year. The draft of Hope Lost is done, and just needs the whole polishing process. I’ve started planning for ‘My Fair Boss’ and I need time to sit and play with ideas and see which is the one that will bite. Once work calms down, it will be full steam ahead with writing. Particularly if I do as I hope and take a week or two off in June.

I knew when 2015 started it was going to be a touch year. I didn’t expect it to kick my arse like it has. Kudos, 2015. Not even a third done and already you are the shittiest year of my life. Can’t wait to see what the next eight months bring.

Actually, I can wait. Can someone stop the world? I think we all need a break.

It Happened at Cafe Nix

29 Mar 2015

And so it begins!

The 15 stories that make up the inclusive contemporary romance novel that is ‘It Happened at Cafe Nix’ are starting to go live on Wattpad.

Here’s the blurb - Fourteen Authors. One contemporary romance. Fifteen happy endings Edited by Belinda Holmes

Long distance relationships don’t work

Nix Sutherland is at a crossroads. She loves running the family business, the famous Sydney Harbour-side Cafe Nix, and she also loves Linc, whose vet practice is in Melbourne

After months of jumping on planes and swapping cities, both of them too stressed and tired to enjoy being together it’s all come to a head. In the middle of a typically busy day at the cafe that includes everything from broken hearts to breaking waters, cops to canoodling couples, Nix realises that loving the cafe means giving up Linc.

Meet Nix and characters from the novels of favourite Escape authors in fresh original shorts, and experience a day in the life of Cafe Nix.

My story ‘The Silver-haired Saviour’ is chapter one in the book. Poor Maria has just found out her fiancee is cheating on her. Nix’s kindness gives her a temporary reprieve from the pain, but it’s the attention of her silver-haired saviour that proves to Maria life is looking great!

If you click on this link - you’ll start at the beginning and be able to read everything that’s been posted so far (make sure you follow the page to get updated with new chapters).

If you click on this link - you’ll go directly to ‘The Silver-haired Saviour’.

Hope you enjoy!

 

International Women's Day

8 Mar 2015

I think it’s quite fitting that today, I’ll be spending several hours at the Australian Romance Readers Conference.

Romance is THE genre for women. Mostly written by women, about women, for women. It’s the one genre where a woman’s story is not only as important as a man’s - a lot of the time, it’s MORE important.

The things that matter to women are covered in romance. What do you really want out of life? How do you balance work, family and career? How do you meld two lives together into something that ends up stronger than they were as individuals? How do you allow yourself the vulnerability that love can bring without losing yourself?

And other things - this weekend, we’ve talked about issues such as mental illness, disability, career advancement, inspiration, finding one self and being happy with who you are.

All this wrapped up in a package that promises it’s all going to end well - a joy that is sometimes very needed, cause God knows life can be shitful sometimes.

I’m really proud of the fact that I write romance. I’m proud that thanks to my involvement in the Conflux conventions, I’ve helped to develop acceptance of romance in the Australian spec fic community.

Yesterday I spoke to the Canberra Times about this, and here’s the story that resulted. It’s so great that more and more, women can stand tall and proud and admit they read and write romance. Sure, there are a lot of people that diss us over it, but then placed like the Australian Romance Readers Conference prove that we’re not alone and we can turn our backs on those people and find the ones who, like us, believe in love and laughter and joy and happily ever after.

Top secret project - out this month!

2 Mar 2015

You know, I think I’ve been so top secret about this, I’ve not even teased you about it!

Anyway, apart from the novels I’ve been writing and selling over the past couple of months, I’ve also been involved in a fabulous new project from Escape Publishing.

The brainchild of the AMAZING Ainslie Patton (if you’ve not read her stuff yet, you’re missing out on seriously fabulous contemporary romance), It happened at Cafe Nix is a series of fourteen romances that all take place in the fabulous Cafe Nix, on Sydney’s Circular Quay. Nix isn’t just the manager of her family’s restaurant, she’s also undergoing her own romantic trauma. All while witnessing fourteen couples either find or celebrate their own happily ever after. It’s a big day in Nix’s life!

Each of those stories is written by a different author - Ainslie also write’s Nix’s story, interweaving with the others.

Mine, The Silver-haired Saviour, starts things off. Poor Maria has had a shit night, and when Nix shows her some kindness Maria is more than willing to accept. Thanks to Nix, Maria manages to find that the day isn’t so bad after all, thanks to her silver-haired saviour.

It Happened At Cafe Nix Edited by Belinda Holmes

Fourteen Escape authors, one contemporary romance, fifteen happy endings

Long distance relationships don’t work Nix Sutherland is at a crossroads. She loves running the family business, the famous Sydney Harbour-side Cafe Nix, and she also loves Linc, whose vet practice is in Melbourne. After months of jumping on planes and swapping cities, both of them too stressed and tired to enjoy being together it’s all come to a head. In the middle of a typically busy day at the cafe that includes everything from broken hearts to breaking waters, cops to canoodling couples, Nix realises that loving the cafe means giving up Linc. Meet Nix and characters from the novels of favourite Escape authors in fresh original shorts, and experience a day in the life of Cafe Nix.

Authors in order of appearance:

Ainslie Paton                      Menu Choices – Morning Cover

ElizabethDunk                  The Silver-haired Saviour                              In the style of The Lies We Tell

Juanita Kees                       Under His Persuasion                                     Characters from Tag Raiders Series

Sandra Antonelli              Niagara Fallsat Cafe Nix                                 Characters from Driving in Neutral

Jane O’Reilly                      Hunk of the Month                                         Characters from TheHolidaySurvival Guide

Nicole Flockton                 Bound by Their Wedding Plans                  Characters from Bound by His Desire

Cate Ellink                           Deeper Diving                                                   Characters from Deep Diving

Ros Baxter                          Stand and Deliver                                            Characters from Lingerie for Felons

Ainslie Paton                      Menu Choices - Lunch Rush

Jenny Schwartz                 Kissing Time                                                       Characters from Hero Duty

Ainslie Paton                      No Dick Moves                                                  Characters from Insecure

Jennie Jones                      12 Bells and a Baby                                          Characters fromSwallowsFallsseries

Lee Christine                      In Safe Company                                              Characters from In Safe series

Lily Malone                         Angry Birds and Turtle Doves                      Characters from So Far Into You

Rhian Cahill                      Christmas Wishes Do Come True                Characters from Christmas Wishes

Amy Andrews                     Risqué Business                                                Characters from Risky Business

Ainslie Paton                      Menu Choices – Dinner Bell

Would love to show you some artwork, but for some reason Wordpress won’t upload today. Stupid Wordpress. Next time.

In the meantime, the chapters of the book start going live on Wattpad in the middle of March and on the Escape blog in April. I think you’re going to love this!

Progress report

21 Feb 2015

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve updated you with progress - last weekend I was sick (stupid cold) and the weekend before that I was in Sydney for a friend’s wedding anniversary.

So, how are things going. In a word - fantastic!

Since we last spoke, I’ve added another 20k to the book. It now stands at 34k, nearly one third done. Tensie continues to be an absolutely delight to work with. She’s strong and determined and she’s about to become a spy for the guardians and it’s all such fun to write.

I’m kinda avoiding the more boring, routine (yet utterly necessary) side of the story at the moment, which is where the hero is stuck at the moment. I really need to work it out, and get onto it because it’s the seed for all the shit that’s going to go down in the third quarter of the book. Don’t worry - Tensie will make sure he has some fun!

So I’m on track with my writing. I had hoped to be ahead, but being sick last weekend and this week mucked up my writing. A shame, because edits for ‘Protecting Her Heart’ Book 2 of the Jorda series have arrived, so I need to make time to work on them. And I’ve got a lot coming up in the next two weeks - my final Year of the Novel class on Tuesday night, and I’ve got to pull together the excerpt books I’m going to have at the Australian Romance Readers Conference. And I’m going down the south coast to teach a 3 hour version of my romance/sex scenes workshop, so I need to refine that. And I’ve got rental inspection the week after next and the house needs to be spotless. And I need to start uping the ante on the Aurealis Awards because the ceremony is on in seven weeks and there’s a lot to do between now and then.

So yeah - maybe fantastic is over stating it a bit. But you know what? I’ve been listening to a lot of fabulous music today while I cleaned the house, I’ve managed to get a lot of admin and prep work done, I’ve got a glass of champers in hand and Indian food will be delivered around 7pm for dinner.

So yeah - right now, I’m feeling pretty good.

Australian Romance Readers Conference - just two weeks!

20 Feb 2015

arrc2015_banner_dark_200x200I’m so excited about finally attending my first ARRC - I went to the book signing in Sydney a few years ago, but I’ve not managed to attend the conference.

This year I can go because a) the timing is right and b) it’s in my hometown, so I can afford it.

Here’s the program - https://australianromancereaders.wordpress.com/2015/02/14/arrc2015-program-update/ - it’s absolutely amazing. Every time I look at it, I change my mind about what I want to see. So much great stuff to listen to and think about.

And best of all, I get to spend two days hanging with people who love romance as much as I do - yay!

I’m speaking at 11.45am on Saturday on the ‘Love in Alternate Realms’ panel and I’ll be at the book signing 4pm Saturday with excerpts of my writing. Dymocks (the official con bookseller) will have physical copies of the elusive Dream of Asarlai trilogy for sale. I KNOW!

If you’ve not got your ticket yet, you should. Come and join in the fun! There’s still spaces available. Register here.

Flash Fiction Friday - Loving the Prince

13 Feb 2015

Today, I’m celebrating the fact ‘Loving the Prince’ is on sale at Amazon US and Amazon AUS with an excerpt from the original book in the Jorda series.

As the second book (Winning the King) is Diana’s story, I thought a scene from ‘Loving the Prince’ with Cassandra and Diana interacting would be fun. It will also, for those of you who’ve read ‘Winning the King’ but not ‘Loving the Prince’ yet, show what a bitch Diana was.


Cassandra didn’t see Kernan for the next couple of days but when he came to present his report, the awareness that crawled over her skin made her wonder if she’d ever be over him.

Then she remembered she hadn’t seen Di for a couple of days either, thought about what they’d undoubtedly been doing to each other and nausea rose.

She took the memory stick from his hand and plugged it into her reader. Most of it was as she had expected: increased patrols, new coverings on the ducts, more frequent checks of the building. His idea for securing the enriched balcite interested her.

‘A balcite-threaded glass room, open-roofed, walls reaching to the ceiling. Palm and iris locked, restricting numbers of employees allowed access.’ She looked up at him. ‘Someone could use the tracks to drop down into it.’

‘The tracks would be removed from the area. We would need to think about where we positioned it so we didn’t interfere with the moving of the balcite, but we’ll still know what the internal environment is because it will be the same as the rest of the warehouse and the clearness of the walls will mean the E is still under constant surveillance.’

‘Near the stairway up to the offices.’ Cassandra focussed on the far wall as she thought. ‘We can’t move balcite there anyway because it gets in people’s way and blocks their view as they move up and down the staircase.’ She focussed on Kernan and nodded. ‘I like it. I like it a lot. I’ll send it straight through to security.’

‘Thanks.’ A pause, then, ‘So, how’s Hera doing?’

Heartbroken. ‘Fine. How about you?’

He shrugged. ‘Luckily, I’ve got this manic boss who’s working me so hard I don’t have time to think about could-have-beens.’

Did that mean he wasn’t doing the nasty with Di at night? ‘Well, if the pace is too much for you, say the word and I’ll find something calmer.’

Kernan grinned. ‘Work me hard. Whip me. I’ll enjoy it.’

Boy, she really didn’t need the mental image of him enjoying a whipping. ‘Begone.’ She waved him away.

When she walked in the front door of their home that night, Cassandra was surprised to find Diana there. ‘Taking a night off?’ Cassandra said as she flung herself onto the lounge.

‘I’m over him,’ Diana said. ‘Only so much a girl can take.’

Of Kernan? Cassandra doubted it. ‘Good.’

A pause, then Diana laughed. ‘It’s killing you, isn’t it?’

‘What is?’

‘Picturing me with Kernan. You’re dying to ask, but at the same time you don’t want to face it because it really will be the end of your dreams for him. I mean, how can he want you after he’s had me?’

‘Fuck off, Diana.’ Cassandra closed her eyes.

‘He likes to undress you slowly.’ Diana’s voice dampened to a soft, throaty timbre, ‘tracing his fingers over your skin, as if he wants to arouse every single inch of you.’

A more exquisite torture had never been devised. Cassandra didn’t want to hear this but Diana was right — she did want to know. Wanted some hint of reality to base her fantasies on.

‘He likes to find every place on your body that will respond to his touch. Every woman is different, and he makes sure he learns what you need, what you like, so that he can touch you to make you greedy for him.’

‘I’m thinking steak for dinner.’ Cassandra tried for nonchalance but was sure her dry throat and quivering insides were evident in her voice.

‘And when he takes you — ’

‘That’s enough.’ Cassandra launched to her feet. ‘I don’t want to hear about you having sex with Kernan.’ She marched into the kitchen, Diana following.

‘Really? I thought it sounded really good. Hot. Enough to make you tingle and squirm. Are you tingling, Cassandra? Are you turned on?’

Cassandra started to bang pots and pans around.

‘I’m turned on,’ Diana said. ‘Shame I’m never going to know if I’m right or not.’

Cassandra dropped the pot she was holding and spun around. ‘What?’

‘Yep. Outright turned me down. Not interested. Not now, not ever. So, I guess it’s up to you to see if it’s three times the lucky charm with the Wiltmore women and Kernan Radaton.’ Diana winked and sauntered out of the room.

Damn her to the deserts of Jorda.

Cassandra pushed down the glee that Diana and Kernan hadn’t been together and turned back to making dinner. It didn’t matter. He wasn’t interested in her and she had no intention of making a fool of herself.

He would remain in her dreams, and that was all.


Cover of Winning the KingYou can buy ‘Loving the Prince’ right now from Amazon at less than one dollar. Here’s the link for Amazon US and the link for Amazon Australia.

You can purchase Winning the King here: All Romance ebooks  / iTunes / Amazon US /  Amazon UK /Google Play / Kobo / Nook / Amazon Aus

Give a story time

9 Feb 2015

blog post on Saturday, I had an awesome writing week last week.

I really shouldn’t have. I had a long and stressful week at work, and I had a minor medical procedure on Thursday which resulted in some serious discomfort. Wednesday I didn’t write at all cause I couldn’t get out of bed. I was tired. I was crabby. Yet I pulled 13.5k out of my arse.

How?

Well, having a schedule and a habit worked. Apart from Wednesday (I’d had a bad night’s sleep and a poopy day at work the day before and I just didn’t get out of bed) I did the same thing I always do - got up at 6am (or earlier if I beat my alarm), went for my walk, sat at my desk and wrote until it was time to shower and go to work. So I was going to get words done, regardless. And I was helped by the fact Thursday morning I was able to write for a bit longer (because of my medical appointment) and Friday I didn’t go for a walk (too sore) so I wrote instead. But still, all in all, I did maybe one hour extra than I normally would. Generally, I aim for 6k during the working week, so 13.5 was extraordinary.

The reason, I think, that the words just flowed is because I gave them time.

I finished drafting ‘Hope Lost’ (the book before this one in the trilogy) on Sunday 25 January. I then gave myself the week off writing. I slept in every morning and just went for a walk. I spent last weekend doing the garden and giving a couple of rooms in the house a good clean. I didn’t put my fingers anywhere near a keyboard.

But my brain was in constant action. The main thing I needed to do during that week was decide who my heroine was going to be (see Saturday’s blog post about that). I made a firm decision on that Monday night. Then I spent Tuesday thinking about this new heroine, deciding who she was, what she did, what she believe in, what her history was.

Over the next few days, the first scene bloomed to life in my head. This was followed by the second, and the third scene. So when I sat down Monday morning to officially begin working on this book (which doesn’t have a name yet), the words were there, ready to flow. And flow they did.

If I’d been writing this week, while doing all that thinking, I have no doubt whatsoever that I wouldn’t have got any where near 13.5k. But by giving my brain time to just let it all happen, when I sat down at the computer, it was ready to go.

Note - I did not wait for the muse to strike. Well, she did strike, but she struck once I told her to strike. The muse works for me, not the other way around. That’s the way it should be.

Progress - new WiP

7 Feb 2015

This week, I started the draft of the third book in the new gadda trilogy (for those who have missed some posts - book one is done and is with the publisher for edits, and I finally completed what I hope is the real draft of book two (it’s taken me three goes to get the story right) and then I took a week off before starting the next book).

I had actually started this story a few years ago and written about 30k of it, but then about eighteen months ago when I was re-thinking this trilogy, I realised I had completely the wrong heroine and I needed to start again.

As I write the end of book two, my brain started to move onto book three and I found I had two possible heroines. One was a current minor character in the trilogy, the other a brand new one. Each had their own strengths and weaknesses. Each allowed me to focus on a different aspect of the story.

As I began my week off, the aim was to decide which heroine, and it came down to which aspect of the story I wanted to focus on. Once I knew that, I knew that I was going with introducing a brand new character to the mix.

She’s turned out to be absolutely awesome and as a result, in just five days I’ve written 13.5k of the book. Her name is Hortensia “Tensie” Flaherty, she’s 50 years old and she runs an orphanage in Africa. Soooo not your typical gadda woman. And it turns out Tensie is loyal and fiesty and tough and totally kick arse. I absolutely adore her.

To get this book done in the ten weeks I have available, I need to write a minimum of 11k a week. So far, so fabulous! But I know in five to six weeks it will get harder, because it always does around the two-thirds mark of a book for me. The fun and discovery of the beginning is done. The pace and action of the end is still some distance away. But you’ve got to keep that fun and pace in this bit. It’s hard work, for me at least.

One thing I need to do this week - plan the book out. Make sure it’s hitting the beats. As it’s the last book of the trilogy, I know where it is going to end, but right now I need more clarity about how it’s going to get there.

In the meantime - Love Tensie.

Warrior Amongst the Stars

27 Jan 2015

The fourth instalment of ‘Warrior Amongst the Stars’ - my choose your own adventure - goes out to the subscribers of my newsletter on Monday.

I did intend to share the previous instalment just before the next went out on the blog, and did it for part one but then the rest of it fell down. So I’ve decided to catch you all up.

Click here to catch up with the premise of the story and to go to part one. From there, you can read part two, and part three. At the end of part three, if you want to receive part four when it’s released you can sign up for the newsletter. Do that, and then you get a say in what happens next.

Here’s how it works - the instalments are sent to my entire newsletter (which comes out quarterly) and to people who sign up to receive the monthly instalments. At the end of each instalment there are three options: you can either vote for one of the two ideas I put forward for how the story will progress, or you can suggest your own idea and if I like it enough, I’ll ignore the votes and go with it.

So far, for instalment two and instalment three, a reader proffered an idea that I just couldn’t resist, so the story has gone to a place I didn’t envisage. However, with instalment four, there was no such suggestion and instead the decision was made by a vote.

What will happen with instalment five? Well, you need to sign up to my newsletter, read it and then have your say. Then sign up for the ‘Choose your own adventure’ monthly instalments to ensure you are amongst the first to read what happens and help make the decision on what happens next.

So read the first three instalments here.

Sign up for the newsletter here. The newsletter will direct you to where to sign for the monthly instalments.

Hope Lost - it's done!

26 Jan 2015

Coming in at 113k, this draft of Hope Lost is done. For me, the hope is that I’ve finally got the story right - this is the third complete re-write of it. I’m praying it’s not actually a hope lost but a hope attained, but I’m not going to know that until I revise it and I’m not going to do THAT until I finished the draft of the final book of the trilogy.

In my head, there are bits of the book I’m questioning, but right now I’m too close to it to make an objective judgement. So I’ll put it away, and let it sit in the back of my mind. Then, I’ll use my revision process to bring it back to the fore and hopefully by then I’ll be able to make an accurate judgement as to what will stay and what should go.

Here’s hoping that I won’t decide it needs a major re-write, that I have finally got it right - the character arcs, the plot, the way it fits within the overall story and the way it works as a story in it’s own right. I’m supposed to deliver this book to the publisher in September - I really don’t have time to completely re-do it.

So what now? Well, originally in my yearly plan I’d given myself until the end of February to finish this draft. Not that I need that long to write the 50k needed to complete what I was able to salvage from an earlier draft, but because this book has been such a pain since the moment I started writing it in 2011 that I thought I’d need that time. The fact I’ve got it finished in less than half is a pretty good sign that I have found the right path. So that means that I’ve now got an extra month to draft the last book, and that will make the entire year that much less stressful.

Also, the fact I’ve had such a great writing week and thus I’ve managed to finish it this weekend means I can afford to take a break from writing this week. I’m going to do some doodling about the third book and I’ve got an important decision to make - there’s two potential heroines of it, each will focus on a different storyline and I need to work out which is the best one to show the entire story and be the best heroine for the book. I know who the hero is. This is Owen’s time to shine.

Otherwise this week I can chill. Do some reading (I find it hard to read while I’m drafting). Spend some time with my family. Have a sleep in every morning. And then next Monday, I’ll hit the ground running with the first words in book three (title to be determined).

Recent release

Much Ado About Love

Trix Leon has put her heart and soul into Messina, and now it could all be taken away from her. Ben Anthony seems to have the ability to save her but while she trusts him with her pleasure, will she trust him with her love? Based on the Shakespeare play 'Much Ado About Nothing'.

Buy now from iTunes / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Amazon Aus / Nook / Kobo / Booktopia

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