Character is in the eye of the beholder…

Hello, my lovelies!

I must apologise for the radio silence. I have been editing the BOOK THAT REFUSES TO KNOW WHEN IT’S BEATEN and my anal brain will not let me play on the blog until it is done.

But I have beaten my brain into submission for a moment, to share some thoughts about the book that I have coming out tomorrow (my time – 16th of September, all going to plan…)

DESTINY_Playingbytherules_cvr smallIt’s called Playing by the Rules and I think I have mentioned it before. 😉  Once or twice.  Not going to bore you with the details (you can follow the links if you want more info), because there’s something particular I wanted to talk about.

See, with this book, I have spread the word that it is available on Netgalley, for reviewers, with the result that I have some reviews on Goodreads already.


First, because not everyone gave it five stars.  What’s that about? 😉

Not really, folks.  Seriously, though, I am fascinated by how differently different people see characters.  Of course, not everyone is going to like every book.  And I can easily accept that some elements of the story don’t suit some readers.  But I’m intrigued by the reaction to characters, particularly, in this book, the heroine, Kate.

Now, Jo, the heroine of my first book, Rules are for Breaking, I can understand people not liking.  She’s prickly and difficult and set in her ways (although also very likeable, at least according to me).  But I thought Kate was a bit of a love.  In fact, the first time I wrote her, she was so nice she was boring.  Part of the editing process I went through with this book was toughening her up a bit.  And some people agree with me, that she’s nice – but others think not.  It seems she is a little like Mort, the cute lemur from the movie Madagascar.  For some people, he (and Kate) are like this:

A little sad, a touch vulnerable, but mostly adorable.

But for others, Mort (and poor Kate) come off like this:

A little annoying.

So I have a challenge for you, should you choose to accept it.

Playing by the Rules will be available very soon from all the usual outlets, for a very reasonable price (on the Australian Amazon pre-order page, it’s only $3.67).

If you would like to, buy the book, read it, and let me know what you thought of Kate and Josh and their story.  I would love to hear what you think!

(If you’d like to also leave a review on Amazon or iTunes or wherever you bought it, or on Goodreads, if you’re on there, that would be lovely too.  But I realise finding the time to read at all is a big ask for many of us, so please don’t think it’s expected.)

Thank you for considering the challenge and I hope all is well with you and your sometimes-adorable, sometimes-annoying friends (real or imaginary)!


PS – note on outlets.  It’s hard for me to check international sites.  It SHOULD be available from the 16th of September in your timezone.  If it isn’t, can you please let me know and I’ll get on to the publisher to sort that out.  Thank you!

Just flying through to say…

RAFB cover with ARRA Finalist graphicThat I just discovered that Rules are for Breaking is available in print (almost certainly for a limited time) from the Penguin website.  That was a nice discovery, as they aren’t available in the Australia Post shops any more.  Also, I kind of love that I have more than one title up on the website now, even if the second one hasn’t landed yet.  Small joys! 😉

Ta-da! Book (and other) news

DESTINY_Playingbytherules_cvr smallI have a new cover!  Which is because I have a new book coming out.


This one is another contemporary romance, a companion book of sorts to my first one.  Those of you who read it might remember Kate, the heroine Jo’s pregnant sister-in-law?  Well Playing by the Rules is the story of how she came to be Jo’s sister-in-law.

Here’s my quick, hasty-tasty blurb for Playing by the Rules…

Playing by the Rules is the story of Kate, a woman who had her life all planned out – until her intended dumped her. Now, her best friend is pushing her to have a fling and, with the gorgeous Josh on offer, she’s very tempted.

But she’s never been very good at casual. Before long, she fears she’s falling for him: a man who can’t commit to anything past lunch and who’s flitting off for another adventure at the end of the week. She doesn’t know the rules of this game but it seems its name is heartache…

Tempted?  I hope so!  And if you are, you don’t have too long to wait.  Playing by the Rules is out next month from Destiny Romance.  The buy links should all be live on September the 15th – trust me, I’ll let you know!  (UPDATE: There’s a ‘coming soon’ link up now, with a rather cute blurb on the Destiny site.  I’m coming soon!)

And now, for the reason why the blurb above is a quick, hasty-tasty one: I’m not in Kansas any more, Toto!  In fact, I am typing this from Perth – or, more correctly, for those who know Western Australia, Fremantle –  where I have come to attend the annual Romance Writers of Australia conference.  The conference doesn’t start till Thursday night, but I have family here, so I’ve come a bit early to catch up.

I probably won’t be posting much to the blog over the weekend, but I will be tweeting, from, so feel free to follow the shenanigans there.  And watch this space next week when I get back.  I’m planning a bit of celebratory carry-on for the new book, which will probably include prizes…

It’s always hard to know what readers will like, but this book is close to my heart.  I am very fond of the characters and the story and I really hope you will like it as much as I do.

But for now, off to the conference, to learn to be a better writer and to see my writer buddies.  I hope you have as great a weekend as I hope to!

Feeling the Gratitude today

So, yesterday, Melbourne, my town, turned on one of those glorious autumn days that make you want to frolic and gambol and otherwise bask in the sunshine and revel in being alive.  And then I turned on the radio and this was on, which seemed appropriate:

Although in my case it was more go outside and loll in the hammock, rather than in bed, but you get the idea.

But I was good.  I did do some work, I just did it at a coffee shop with outside tables, where I could bask in the real sunshine (and frolic in my imaginary world).  And I enjoyed it.  And it has put me in a good mood today, which is lovely.  So I want to share some things I’m grateful for.  First, at the moment, I am most pleased with this:

Books actually bought for reading!

547323_332176723551639_366061772_nIt’s a book.  It has my name on it.  It has a gorgeous cover.  All of these things have existed since October last year.  But now it is available in three dimensions, with actual paper between covers, for people to buy*.  This makes me glad.  And a little squoogly.**

(*In Australian Post shops if you are in Australia.  My apologies if you aren’t!  One day I will have many books and they will be available in all formats everywhere, but it is not this day. Sadly.)

(**Squoogly is a word we have invented in our house for that combination of bashful and delighted that you get when someone compliments you fulsomely – or when you see your first book available for sale.)

I am also grateful to friends who bought the book (see first photo) and took pictures of it in the wild (see both photos).  They make me squoogly too! (See**, above.)

I am also pleased that we have a tiny, miraculously tiny frog in our frog tank.  Last year, our little frogs successfully bred in captivity, surprising and delighting us.  They produced one normal-sized frog and one we called Frodo because he was little and gorgeous.  But this year, although we got spawn and even tadpoles, we didn’t get any new frogs.  At least, so I thought, until I saw the tiny, tiny one the other day.  He’s the size of a quarter of a thumbnail.  He’s so small it was hard to believe he wasn’t just a trick of the light.  But he’s real and he’s still there and he feels like a tiny miracle.  I’m finding tiny tiny insects to feed him and hoping we can keep him alive and growing.

And then there’s this:

I enjoyed the Hobbit movie but best of all, I think was the dwarves singing.  I sincerely hope there will be more in the next two.

And there are many more things to be happy about, but I’ve rabbited for long enough.  What are you happy about today?

Recipes are just a click away…

I promised you recipes (there was a twitter conversation with at least one person) and I am keeping this promise.  But I’m keeping it over at my fellow wordpresser and RWA sister’s blog.

I’m at Cathryn Hein’s Friday Feast today, talking a bit about food and books and giving recipes for quick hasty tasty Evans favourites: dukkha (as it is not made in the Middle East, I’m sure, but still tasting good), Cajun Rare Salmon, Smashed Potatoes and Greek Salad.

Yes, it is a culturally diverse meal ( I prefer ‘diverse’ to ‘messed up’).  I live in Melbourne, a city which has never met a cuisine it didn’t want to absorb and run with.  To be honest, the same could be said of much of Australia.  In recent years (and apart from the Aboriginal Australians, it’s all recent) we are a country of immigrants so we have a lot of different influences in our kitchen pots.  For which I, for one, am very grateful!

Anyway, to encourage you to hop over and have a look at the post, here are some pictures…

Cajun Salmon with Smashed PotatoesDukkah ready to eatGreek Salad


Tired but happy traveller returns: ARRC13 and me, THE AUTHOR!

I have been absent from the bloggery for a while.  For those who noticed, I’m sorry, truly.  It’s not that I haven’t had ideas for posts.  My brain it teems with schemes (as usual).  But a couple of things got in the way of me getting them onto the blog.  The pictures below show the fun one:

It's me! At a real live book signing with real books!And here I am being famous author person (or at least a passable facsimilie in this particular moment)

I have been out of town.  In Brisbane, Queensland, to be precise at the very wonderful Australian Romance Readers’ Convention, run by the even more wonderful Australian Romance Readers Association.  (If you love Romance, you really should check them out.  And give them money.  And come to the next ARRC!)

At this wonderful weekend, I got to be An Author. And talk about being one (a talk which involved a miniature T-Rex for reasons not even I can explain).  And attend an author signing. AN AUTHOR SIGNING! ON THE SITTING DOWN SIDE OF THE DESK! SQUEEEEEE!

Continue reading

Extraordinary insight in one so young

This impressively insightful young woman is proof, should we need it, that models are not, by definition, stupid but they are defined by their image.  As she points out, we all are, in this wacky ‘legacy’ we’ve created.

My heroine Jo, in Rules are for Breaking is not a model, but she uses the same expression – ‘winning the genetic lottery’ – to describe her looks.  She’s not boasting; it comes up in the context of how it has emphatically NOT led to the glamorous and happy love life that people expect.

So you want to be a writer…

I have many ideas for posts in this series.  I’m actually brimming over with notions and really looking forward to nailing them down in the hope they will help.

But today, I have to finish clearing out a second-hand store’s worth of STUFF out of my house to make room for my husband’s new billiard table.  He never wants anything but this is something he has wanted for ages and I am going to make it happen, if I have to drag the stuff to Vinnies on a wagon!

Also, today I am also on blog duty over at Romance Writers of the Apocalypse (where I’m talking about choosing a word for the year).

So today I am just going to share one idea and a little story to get started.

The idea is this:

Writers write.

I know.  You’ve heard it before.  But it’s true.  The key thing that separates writers from non-writers is that writers write.  I will talk more about how, when, how often and the like at a later time, but I think the key thing here is persistence.

Which brings me to the story.  As regular readers know, I had my first novel published this year.

What you may not know is that I didn’t write it this year.  I didn’t write it last year either.

The novel that finally became Rules are for Breaking was written some years ago.  I submitted it at the time; it was rejected.  At the time, the market for that kind of romance was fairly limited, so rather than try to submit it elsewhere, I put it aside and moved on.  Then I ran into some major personal dramas that put writing on hold for the best part of two years.  I didn’t get much new work done.  But I came back (see the persistence theme beginning).  Having tasted the joy of finished stories (even rejected ones) I needed more.

So I started writing a different book (my girly thriller) and, in due course, I submitted the first three chapters of it to a competition run by the Romance Writers of Australia.

I didn’t win. (Did you really think the big finish was this quick?  Have you never seen any movies?)

I came second.  (Rejoicing!)

The editor who judged didn’t request my manuscript.  (Misery!)

But she gave my details to another editor at Penguin, who was starting up a new digital romance imprint, called Destiny Romance.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

(Actually, there is more to this story, but that, including the completely wrong way to handle a phone conversation with a potential publisher, is for another time!)

The point here is the one that my husband made at the time.  I said that this opportunity had come out of the blue.  He said no, it hadn’t.  He said it had come because I had kept working.  Yes, it was for work that I did earlier, but it was the work that I was doing now that got it noticed.  It was, in his words, all part of the body of work.

Or in other words, it happened because I kept writing.

So, here’s my first piece of advice, if you want to be a writer:


Because if you do, you too will have the chance to communicate some of the way you see the world with other people.  And some of them will ‘get it’.  And that is the true joy – and I couldn’t mean that more sincerely – of things like this: 2012 ARRA finalist

So, here’s today’s question for those who want to be writers: Watcha workin’ on?


Okay, I had a post organised for today.  It was all about how I’ve determined that I’m going to finish long-standing crafty projects and post more of my quick and easy recipes and all that good stuff.  But then, I saw THIS.

The Australian Romance Readers Association has published the finalists for their 2012 awards and I AM ON THE LIST!

Or rather, this is:

Rules are for breaking

My little Romance is flying the flag for my publisher, Destiny Romance.  Whatever happens now I’ll always be the first Destiny title nominated and I am THRILLED.  THRILLED, I tell you!

If you are looking at the list, I’m in Favourite Contemporary Romance (man, I loved typing that!).

For those not familiar with the Australian Romance scene, there are some very experienced and deservedly successful authors on that list.  I am honoured – and frankly a little staggered – to be included among them.

I discovered my listing last night while I was casually checking on Facebook before going to bed.  I was cruising down the list, smiling at all the friends and familiar names I saw, including several who are nominated multiple times, when BAM! – there I was.

I read it at least three times just to check I wasn’t hallucinating.  Then I checked with a night-owl friend on FB that she could see it too.

But it seems it is real.

I am so grateful to the members of ARRA who voted for me to get me to this stage.  I was feeling a little down and discouraged last night, then this landed like a message from the universe.  I’ve been too stunned to really feel it up to now, but as I type this I’m starting to tear up.  To everyone who has supported my little book, my first dip into the waters of publishing, thank you!  You rock!

Thank you too, to Carol and Sarah from Destiny for believing in me, for Arwen who helped edit and Alex who designed the cover, to Clare and Annabel from Curtis Brown and to everyone who helped make this happen.

And for any Australians who haven’t bought it yet – or who might like to buy an award nominee [squee!] as a gift – it’s still on sale for a few more days through all the outlets: Destiny, Kobo, Google Play, iTunes and Amazon.

Get in quick and grab some of the other Destiny titles as well while you’re at it!

I’m off to drink champagne for brunch!


Forgive the squealing, I’m a bit excited!

Okay, Friday is supposed to be a favourites post, but I have had some good news and I really want to share.

First, and most importantly, my book, my little romance which Destiny Romance took a chance on, is now officially available worldwide!

Rules are for breakingIf you’re on Amazon or Apple, and can buy from the US or UK sites, I believe it’s completely good to go!  It’s been a bit of a wait, so I’m thrilled to finally be able to announce this.

But wait, there’s more!

Grand Gift Ideas from Penguin

Yesterday, I discovered, in the Penguin email newsletter that they think my book is a Grand Gift Idea! (Note capitals!)  There are a couple of other books in the newsletter, it’s true, but the prettiest one is in the bottom right corner.  Scroll down and you’ll see!

On top of all of that, lest Australian readers think they’re being left out of the good news, Destiny is having a sale on all of their titles (because much as I love my book, there are actually some other authors in the line and a big variety of romances and they’re lovely) from the 16th of December through to the 17th of January.  The reduced prices will be available through all the Australian retail sites as well as the Destiny site, so if you were planning on getting someone an e-reader for Christmas (or you get one yourself) this is a great time to stock up on some holiday reading at great prices!

So, it’s party and giveaway time here at Wine, Women and Wordplay.

I have been putting together an email mailing list so that I could let people know when there’s news (just in case they don’t check the blog every couple of days 🙂 ).  I already have some people on the list and they have already gone into the draw for this gorgeous bangle

Pand two copies of my book.  Since the news is now out, I will be closing the competition early next week and doing the draw then.  So if you want to go into the draw, sign up now!  The form is here.

And now I’m out of news, finally!  So, because it’s Friday, I will share a favourite thing, in the form of this song, by the very talented Emiliana Torrini.  It suits my mood!

Thanks for reading and avagoodweekend!