Archive for March, 2014

Mary CostelloMy guest today is my release buddy and fellow Destiny Romance author, Mary Costello. Mary is one of those people that when you meet her you can’t help but like her. She is warm and funny and passionate and this is reflected in her writing. Her new novel, Irresistible Enemy, was released alongside Dark Moon last week and is a fun, contemporary romance set in farmland Victoria.

But Mary isn’t just here today to talk about her new book (although, there is room for that too!), she is here to share with us her Top 10 Turn-Ons for the romantic Hero. Take it away, Mary.

Top 10 Turn-Ons – The Stuff of Romantic Heroes

 The best thing about being a Romance writer is that you get to conjure up your own idea of a hero. By the time I was a couple of chapters into Irresistible Enemy, I was besotted with my hero, Hart Huntingdon, and that made the rest of the story great fun to write.

When it comes to heroes, readers want characters who know how to attract, and also how to connect. As women, we’re increasingly demanding about what we want from both the men we encounter in real life and the fictional heroes we dream and drool about. We can afford to be. We’re now more independent, more highly educated and more financially secure than any previous generation. We have a lot to offer, we expect a lot in return.

Our high expectations may rarely be met in our everyday reality, and that’s why we turn to our Romantic heroes who can fulfil all our fantasies, at least in the imagination.

Romance novels abound with all sorts of fascinating and desirable men, but there are some characteristics common to most swoonable heroes.

1) He must look good. 

Looks aren’t everything, and first impressions aren’t the last word, but who’s going to fall for a daggy character? A hero doesn’t have to be Beau Brummell, and he needn’t be conventionally handsome, but he must be physically attractive, and he must take care with his appearance. It’s not just about aesthetics; good grooming means he cares about the heroine’s feelings, and he’s prepared to go to some trouble to show that.

N.B. – a pleasing amount of manly stubble is very attractive. All that testosterone has got to come out somewhere…….Irresistible Enemy

2) He must have something to say.

The strong, silent type is fine, but only up to point – there’s nothing appealing about a man with no conversation.  Don’t expect dazzling wit and pithy pronouncements unless you’re reading a Regency Romance, but if our hero can talk about his ideas and opinions, and ultimately reveal the truth about his feelings, it’ll be worth hanging on his every word.

3) He must be prepared to listen.

Women, like all human beings, want attention and want to be heard; and we demand the same for our heroines. The odd bunch of flowers might make a woman feel special, but a man who listens with interest makes her feel real, and lets her know he takes us seriously.

4) He mustn’t be obsessed with money.

Sure, it makes the world go round, but a money-grubbing hero is unlikely to put many women in a spin. These days, women are financially savvy. We’ve got our own mortgages, income-protection insurance, super plans and investment portfolios. We just don’t want to talk about them all the time. There’s an old saying, a woman knows the value of love, but a man knows its cost. Our heroine is there to help teach our hero what really counts.

5) He mustn’t talk about sport all the time.

We get enough of that in real life! A hero who’s obsessed with nothing but footy/rugby/car racing will have us yawning by page 3. Okay, maybe some of us don’t mind ogling big thighs in shorts, but that doesn’t mean we want to hear details of league tables, test scores, and endless stats on everything from horsey handicaps to free-kick counts. Our hero’s got to be more obsessed with our heroine than with David Beckham.

6) He mustn’t drink too much.

It’s been claimed that beer is a contraceptive – it’s certainly no aphrodisiac; and beer breath is an instant turn-off, even on the written page. Our hero wants to spend his time and money on our heroine, not on pints and chasers.

7) He mustn’t love himself too much.

Vanity is a passion killer. No heroine wants a man who thinks he’s more attractive than any of the females in the room. As for those who flash serious muscle – a good body is great, so long as he spends more time with our heroine than in the gym.

8) He mustn’t put himself down.

A misery guts will never make a hero. If he thinks he’s a loser, he probably is. Readers crave a man who is positive, who has goals, and the belief in himself to achieve them. Self confidence in a man is more of a turn-on than a chin dimple.

9) He mustn’t patronise our heroine.

If he calls her ‘Babe’ or ‘kitten’, or refers to women collectively as ‘chicks’,  then our heroine needs to kick him in the teeth. He needs to understand that women aren’t small, helpless animals; au contraire.  Respect is a minimal requirement.

10) He mustn’t be scared of commitment.

Most heroines won’t be satisfied with a one-night stand. They may not necessarily want to have the hero’s baby in Chapter 1, but a heroine wants to know that the man she’s sleeping with sees her as something other than a temporary recreational option. As readers, we want to know that their relationship has a future – that they’ll become friends and partners as well as lovers.


Thanks Mary, that was fun and pretty well spot on! Now it’s time to tell us about your book and it’s top 10 winning hero, Hart Huntington.

Irresistible Enemy:

Cassie Bowtell is a plain, no-nonsense girl, and Hart Huntingdon is a man surrounded by glamorous women, but Cassie attracts Hart with her courage, honesty and her dedication to the injured animals in her care. Hart stands for everything Cassie despises, and having been badly hurt in love, she’s determined to repress any emotional impulses that go against her better judgement.

You can buy Mary’s books, Irrisistible Enemy and The Reluctant Wag here:The Reluctant Wag

Amazon US    Amazon Australia    Destiny Romance     itunes

Mary’s Bio:

Mary Costello is an Irish-Australian freelance writer, and despite living most of her life in Australia, she hasn’t lost her accent, or the sense of being somewhere exotic. She lives in Melbourne’s bushburbs with her husband of many years, who, oddly, bears no resemblance whatsoever to a romantic hero. They live with a flock of recovering battery hens and their two daughters, for whom Mary aspires to arrange advantageous matches to men of large property.

Mary’s first book, Titanic Town, Memoirs of a Belfast Girlhood, was published twenty years ago, but she only recently turned her pen to Romance, inspired by the heroics of the men of Aussie Rules football. The result was The Reluctant Wag.

Her new release, Irresistible Enemy, is a very different book. Set in the bushy fringes of Melbourne, it brings into collision a dedicated wildlife warrior and a high-powered property developer for whom ‘habitat’ means luxury houses.

Find out more about Mary here: Blog    Facebook


I’m talking today on the Destiny Romance blog about how I handle writing and motherhood and why I do it.

So many people ask me how I manage to fit it all in and why I would do such a hellish thing. How on earth did I manage to write my first novel, Killing Me Softly Cover2Killing Me Softly, let alone a second one in Dark Moon and all the others I’ve written and am working on.

Sometimes, I’m not sure how to answer them because I’m not at all sure myself, especially when it feels like this:

Imagine my pride that he truly looks like he would suck your blood!

But at other times it feels like this:

My Happy Family


and things are so wonderful that I feel like I’m flying (or skiing on a beautiful day like this with the people I love the most!) All I know is that it is necessary for me to do it and because it’s necessary and because I love it, I find the time.

What do you find the time to do that other people might think is crazy?

DarkMoon_coverPeople often ask me when they find out that I write paranormal fiction, why I write it. The short answer I give them is that I enjoy it and I read it and those are the stories that come to me. It seems simple. But the long answer is something far more involved.

Right from when I was little I was attracted to the mystical and mythical, the fantastical and purely far out. My mother used to watch episodes of the old Star Trek and Dr Who and The Twilight Zone while breast feeding me and my brother and I think somehow it seeped into my psyche. As I grew up, the programs we loved to watch together as a family were sci-fi and fantasy style programs and the movies we most loved were always the same. To this day, I still love Dr Who and Star Trek and Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Back to the Future, Tron and Gremlins – stories of the fantastical mixed with the larger epic themes I so loved in mythology and with strong story arcs for those that were series.

And the books I loved to read tended to be the same, with stories of mythology and retellings of ancient legends, of Gods and Goddesses and magic and faeries mixed in. FrankensteinI loved stories set on other planets, either in outer space about little green men or in some far distant time where pieces of our history were blended with pieces of mythology from all across the globe. Grimm faerytales were devoured alongside Aesops fables and stories of the Tuatha De Dannan. I loved ghost stories and stories of mediums and people who had been reincarnated and tales of the eternal fight between Heaven and Hell. I went through a gothic horror phase, reading the classics – Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, The Picture of Dorian Grey and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde – as well as more modern versions by masters of paranormal suspense like Stephen King, Peter Straub and Anne Rice.

I loved Anne Rice’s Interview with a Vampire series, but it was her other books, The Mummy and her Taltos series that really influenced my reading choices as I moved from my teenage years into adulthood. MagicianI ‘found’ Raymond E. Feist and fell in love and from there a whole new world opened up before me. He mixed fantasy and mythology with an almost Stargate like travelling through worlds. He had magic and Elves and Dwarves and dragons and invaders from another world living alongside the average regular overshadowed by an evil so great it scared the Gods right through the entirety of his series. Just brilliant.

But I also longed for books with a fantasy/paranormal bent that had more romance in them. For years there was a dearth of such books and then holy guacamole, after the brilliant Buffy the Vampire Slayer hit our TV screens with her hot, forbidden romance with Angel, there was a surge in the kinds of books I longed to read to complete my literary sci-fi/fantasy/paranormal/romance diet. Buffy the Vampire SlayerAnd this led to a resurgence of not only paranormal movies and TV shows with a romance bent, but more and more wonderful shows with a mix of scifi, fantasy and paranormal, hit our screens and sent me into viewing nirvana.

Vampire Diaries, The Originals, Teen Wolf, True Blood, Sanctuary, Warehouse 13, Haven, Lost Girl, Once Upon a Time, Torchwood, Dr Who, Stargate, Firefly, LOTR, Game of Thrones…the list goes on and on. Too much fabulous TV and not enough time to watch it, especially if I’m going to get through all the series I love to read.

For a nerdy girl like me, it is a wonderful time to be a reader and a viewer and I wouldn’t have it any other way. So, why do I write paranormal and fantasy? For my answer, see the above! J


DarkMoon_coverToday is the day I’ve slaved so hard for – the release day of Dark Moon. Big thanks go to so many people (family, friends, writing groups and critique partners) but especially on this day to my editors at Penguin’s Destiny Romance and my agent, Alex Adsett, who took a chance on it and me and saw something special.

I am so proud of this book because it was the start in a new chapter of my writing. With great trepidation I took it to my writer’s meeting and sent the first few chapters off to competitions in the US hoping to get some decent feedback – but I got far more than that. It immediately struck a chord with judges and with my writing group and it encouraged me to keep trying this new thing I was doing. That all seems like an age ago. But finally it is here and it already has some wonderful reviews written up for it.

5 Star Review on Goodreads and 4 Star Review on Goodreads and BooksnKisses review blog. I’ve had my first bit of fan mail over it on my FB Author page and a great response to the cover and the blurb.

Full moon on Dark Moon's Release Day morning.

Full moon on Dark Moon’s Release Day morning.

So, I was already feeling really positive about it, but then this morning I got up at 5.30am to write and one of my sons woke up around about 6.30am and came into my ‘office’ (the loungeroom where my desk is set up) to say goodmorning and give me a hug when he said, ‘Mummy, look at the full moon. Isn’t your book about the full moon and what it does to the werewolves and witches?’ I looked out the window and sure enough, there was the full moon glowing in the dawn sky. It felt like a good thing, given my son was right (he actually listened to me rabbit on about it! – go figure) and the full moon features prominently all through the book, and in the rest of the series, which I am currently writing. So I quickly took a photo of it (excuse the bluriness, I was being bumped my Mr 8yrs who still wanted a mummy hug)

And, as of today, you can get Dark Moon at:



Destiny Romance


Google Play

and other eBook retailers. I hope you all love Skye and Jason’s journey as much as I enjoyed writing it.

I love a good paranormal story, and this one sounds thrilling. This is the 2nd Guest Blog I’m hosting for Fabulosity Reads. I will state, once again, that I have not read this book, but i am hosting these guest blogs because I think it’s fascinating to find out about other writers and what they are writing. And so I will now hand over to D.M Sears to tell us a bit about herself and her book, Eden’s Darkness. Take it away D.M.

Edens DarknessWhat would you do if the person you loved the most became the very thing you were fighting to destroy?

Eden will have to answer that very question before her quest is through. The land she has come to love is at dire risk of being lost to the shadows seeking to consume it. Circenn, now the consort of Darkness, waits to claim her granddaughter and her powers, unaware that Darkness has his own agenda.

He has but little time to obtain his vessel and find his true form. Will he succeed? And will Eden be able to face the disturbing visions that continue to pursue her

Nightmares will become reality in Eden’s Darkness, Book Two in the Ellethny Series.

Here’s an excerpt:

“It’s an ambush!” Lex yelled, out of breath yet trying to be loud enough for all to hear. Shadows were coming in waves out of the forest blocking any escape route we may have had.

      “Lexington, get behind me!” Val set up a barrier between them and the shades, doing what she could to keep Lex safe this time. “I can only hold this for a few moments. Eden now would be a good time to do something.”

      “You got it.”

      I took off in a dead run calling up my dragon. Bronze scales covered my body from toes to head; my feathery wings transformed into those of the dragon. As I ascended up into the sky, my body finished changing and I was Ryu, in all her splendor and ferocity. The penumbral outline of my birthmark glowed brightly on my dragon’s forearm. Ryu burst through the sky like liquid bronze bellowing white fire from her mouth.

      Be careful my heart.

      You be careful. I am safer than you are right now.

      You have to keep our daughter safe.

      She is fine. Always the worried papa. Let us finish this– I am getting bored.

      You would think this kind of excitement would make your evening.

      Nah, they need some new tricks, been there done that.

      I blew off the situation with my carefree attitude, but deep inside I knew this couldn’t continue. My family and friends were wearing down, and I would be giving birth soon.

      Ryu’s vision allowed me to see everything going on at once. The shades I burned were writhing on the ground, screaming a shrill of agony that was deafening. I searched the ground, monitoring my companions. I zeroed in on Maiya pinned by two shadows; a third was working its way towards her. I searched for the closest of my family to go to her aide.

      Gregor, Maiya needs help–there are too many shadows attacking her at once. Go to her quickly!

      The thought of another person being seriously injured as my uncle had been was not an option.

      That will not happen Eden. I will not allow those insects to harm her.

      I sent a mental swell of pride at him. My vampire, always so chivalrous.

      You are a pleasant distraction my heart, but just now I must stay focused.


      Gregor raced with blinding speed over to the silver wolf and threw the two shadows back; the crunch of bone against rock gave a sickening echo. Koren saw what was happening and ran at the third, clamping his strong jaws around the shade’s neck, ripping the head from the body. Black ooze splattered from the head as it was severed from the neck. Maiya rolled over onto her feet and sprang at another shadow, never missing a beat, always ready for the next assailant. 

I admired my friends and family for fighting with me, for putting their lives in the balance for a cause that was mine.


You can also use this direct link: Giveaway

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575461_650007445027107_1027879458_nD.M. Sears lives in Missouri with her daughter and one crazy cat. Her first paranormal fantasy, Eden’s Mark, was recently published by Solstice Publishing. D.M. Sears is a Director of an early childhood center and bakes cupcakes on the side. She loves most genres of books and is currently finishing Book 2 in the Ellethny Series.

Connext with D.M Sears:


Buy Links


Blog Tour By Badge 600Fabulosity Reads Book Promotions is a book touring website that promotes authors and their precious works to an extensive audience using blogs, twitter, Facebook and other Social Media, with the aim of introducing them to an appreciative readership.

They offer a diverse range of both complimentary and affordable products to help the reach of your book go that much further.



There is nothing I like better than discovering about other authors and their work, so when I was asked by Wendy at Fabulosity Reads to be a host for a few authors on their blog tours, I readily agreed to sign up. Now, I will say I haven’t read these authors work yet and at the moment my TBR pile is quite large, but I will be adding them to my list. If you add them to yours, let me know what you think.

Now, for my first Fabulosity Reads Blog Tour guest – Jennie Marts with her new novel, Easy Like Sunday Mourning.Jen Profile Pic

Jennie Marts bio says taht she loves to make readers laugh as she weaves stories filled with love, friendship and intrigue. She’s the author of the Kindle Bestselling romantic comedy, Another Saturday Night and I Ain’t Got No Body. Reviewers call her book “laugh out loud” funny and full of great characters that are “endearing and relatable.”

She writes from the mountains of Colorado where she lives with her husband, two sons, a parakeet, and a golden retriever named Cooper. Jennie enjoys being a member of (RWA) Romance Writers of America, the Pikes Peak Chapter of RWA, and Pikes Peak Writers. She is addicted to Diet Coke and adores Cheetos. She loves playing volleyball and believes you can’t have too many books, shoes or friends.

Take it away Jennie.

EasyLikeSundayMourningDating is hard…

Single mom Maggie Hayes puts up a tough front to hide her loneliness, spending her days in the courtroom as a lawyer and her evenings as a closet video gamer. Another heartache isn’t worth the risk, not after her husband left her last year for a Hooters waitress. When she decides to try dating again, a cute video game-designing nerd seems like a safe bet….Until he becomes the prime suspect in a murder.

But falling in love can be murder…

Jeremy Rogers makes a good living designing video games, but nothing prepares him for the real world adventure of being accused of poisoning his own employee. Add in falling for a sassy attorney with a competitive ex-husband, a clingy blonde coworker, and a mammoth-size dog that eats his furniture. Suddenly fighting off a screen full of zombies or preventing an alien invasion seems like child’s play.

Game over!

Maggie and Jeremy find themselves embroiled in a game of death threats, lies, and betrayal. Maggie must learn to trust again while playing the most dangerous game of all. Because defeat could mean not only losing her heart, but also her life…

Revisit the quaint Colorado town of Pleasant Valley and sit in with the Page Turners Book Club, a group of book-loving women who double as extremely amateur detectives. Join them as they set out to help their friend, while devouring good literature and some really great desserts.


“Hey, gals,” Maggie said on a rush of air as Edna threw her arms around her in a theatrical embrace. Maggie gave her a quick squeeze, the smell of lavender and vanilla filling the air as she nestled her chin in the cloud of Edna’s silver curls. Mabel reached out and squeezed Maggie’s hand.

Jeremy seemed to be pleased by the appearance of the two geriatric Nancy Drews, but Maggie’s eyes narrowed with suspicion at Edna. “It’s amazing how you always seem to be in the middle of whatever excitement is going on.”

Edna shrugged and gave her a look of mock innocence. “You know me, honey, if there’s a pile of trouble somewhere, I’ll find a way to step in it.”

Mabel cackled at Edna’s joke, then her laugh turned into a phlegmy smoker’s cough, and Edna turned to slap her on the back. “You’ve got to give up those cancer sticks,” she said in between slaps.

“Ahh, bite me,” wheezed Mabel. “I’m gonna die anyway.”

Ignoring the drama of the elderly women, Maggie pulled on Edna’s sleeve. “Who is that guy you were talking to? And what did you find out?” Regardless of her knack for finding trouble, Edna was good at ferreting out information and could usually be counted on to know the inside scoop.

“Do they know what happened to Jim?” Jeremy absently rubbed his tiny grandmother’s back, used to her frequent coughing fits.

Edna whipped out her notebook, holding it within inches of her nose. “Well, I haven’t had a chance to gather too much information, since we just got here and they won’t let us too close to the crime scene. I’m sure they’re dusting for prints and gathering DNA evidence. The evidence always tells the true story, you know.”

“OMG,” Maggie said, mimicking one of her son’s favorite terms. She tried to control her eyes from rolling into the back of her head as she listened to Edna’s CSI-esque interpretation of the scene. “What do you actually know?”

Edna huffed and lowered her voice. “Well, we know a man was murdered here.”

“Oh my gosh. You think? Maybe you should open your own ladies’ detective agency.”

Thanks so much for sharing your work with us Jennie. To celebrate the release of Easy Like Sunday Mourning, Jennie is giving away 3 copies of her ebook. Check out the details here:


You can also use this link to connect directly.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can follow Jennie at: WEBSITE, FACEBOOK, TWITTER

Buy Links: AMAZON

Blog Tour By Badge 600Fabulosity Reads Book Promotions is a book touring website that promotes authors and their precious works to an extensive audience using blogs, twitter, Facebook and other Social Media, with the aim of introducing them to an appreciative readership.

They offer a diverse range of both complimentary and affordable products to help the reach of your book go that much further.

Romance Writers of Australia