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Archive for July, 2015

NoPlaceLikeYouI am super delighted today to be able to feature on my blog one of my very good friends, Marnie St. Clair. She has her first novel, No Place Like You, out with Escape. It’s a lovely rural romance set in country Australia, with characters that will truly touch your hear. I loved it and I know you will too.

But, before you rush off to buy it, let me introduce you to Marnie and let her tell you a little bit about herself and her new novel.

Hi Marnie. Thanks for being a guest on my blog. It’s really exciting to have you here for the first time to celebrate your new release with Escape, No Place Like You.

MSC: Thanks for having me, Leisl!

LL: Can you tell us a little bit about your new novel?

MSC: No Place Like You is a contemporary romance set in a fictional country town a couple of hours west of Sydney. It was somewhat inspired by my mother-in-law. Much to her horror—I don’t think she pictures herself as a romance heroine. She spent most of the year in Sydney’s North Shore (weirdly, she boarded at PLC even though she lived in the same suburb), but every summer her family migrated to their property somewhere in the vicinity of Bathurst. This is pretty much the backstory of my heroine Lily, and by default, my hero Josh—the station manager’s son, who lived on the property year-round. The book is a little about class differences and a lot about forgiveness.

LL: Is this a standalone novel or are you planning a little bit of a series?

MSC: A second book is in the works, featuring Kate and Saxon, who now have to deal with the aftermath of their delightful interlude in No Place Like You.

LL: Authors are always being told it’s best to diversify in this ever changing publishing environment. Do you write only contemporary romances with a rural flavour, or do you also write in other genres too?

MSC: I adore crime and tend to gravitate towards adding just a dash of something mysterious. Or sometimes a bucket-load. See next question…

LL: What are you working on currently?

MSC: I am currently polishing up a fast-paced and fun mystery romance Blue Illusion, which pits a street-wise femme fatale against a charming rake of a PI in the hunt for a long-lost sapphire necklace. It’s planned as the first in a series of five featuring the detectives at de Crespigny Investigations.

LL: Sounds intriguing. Actually, I’m being coy, I know it’s good as I’ve read the first one! Can you share with us your ‘Call’ story?

20150513_123240MSC: Picture this. We’re in the deep dark depths of the summer holidays. I’m just back from taking my girls to a chocolate festival at the Immigration Museum (a fabulous tasty cultural experience). There’s an email from Kate Cuthbert from Escape in my inbox, saying she loved No Place Like You and was interested in acquiring it. Already high on choc-related sugar and caffeine, I add copious quantities of adrenaline and Aussie bubbles. Leisl, you know I struggle for calm at the best of times…

LL: LOL. That doesn’t sound like you at all! How long have you been writing for and what led you to being published?

MSC: I started playing around with writing after the birth of my younger daughter in 2007. Quickly realised I needed help and joined the RWA in 2008. Found my lovely and amazing writing group in 2009. Finally decided I did actually want to finish something and get published around 2012. Pitched something woefully underbaked at the RWA conference in 2013. Spent another year redrafting my manuscript and finally felt it was ready to resubmit at the end of 2014. Voila, No Place Like You.

LL: What do you think is the best advice you could give to a new writer with an aspiration to being published?

MSC: Hmm, tough one. Something like, have faith and push through. Honestly, everyone thinks their first draft is shit—first drafts are shit—but just keep pushing through to the end. Don’t worry if you get there and it’s a mess—your story is in there somewhere. Have faith and revel in the torture of redrafting.

LL : What inspires you to keep writing? Where do your writing ideas come from?

MSC: Reading, I would say. When you read a book that elicits a full-body visceral reaction, whether it’s fear or gleeful anticipation, lust or love, I’m like, I want to do that. Also, although I don’t think of myself as overly nurturing, I have a strong desire to comfort. Books can hold your hand through difficult times, and I feel compelled to offer something like that.

Writing ideas? Who knows? To (mis)quote Keith Richards: they’re all up there—stick your antennae up and wait.

LL: What are Marnie St Clair’s pet peeves? What are your favourite things?

MSC: Pet peeves. You know, I really hate smug. I thought this must be universal, but talking to a friend the other day, she didn’t get the smug thing at all—she hates self-pitying whingers. Wow. I’m totally fine with self-pitying whingers. In fact, most of the time… Wait, was she trying to tell me something?

Favourite things. Fragrant flowers. Baltic linen. Winter boots. Sand and stars. Mongolia, for some inexplicable reason.

LL: I’m with you on the flowers, winter boots and stars. Can take or leave the linen and sand. Mongolia – I think it would be fascinating.

Thank you so much for being a guest on my blog today, Marnie. It was fun finding out a little bit more about you and your writing.

NoPlaceLikeYouYou can buy Marnie’s novel, No Place Like You from:

http://www.escapepublishing.com.au/product/9780857992581

Author bio:

I grew up in country NSW but now live in a lovely leafy suburb of Melbourne with my weather man husband and two gorgeous daughters. Apart from a deep and abiding love of all things romance, I have a wide array of unusual and embarrassing passions including playing Bridge, growing succulents, visiting deserts and getting down on the Zumba floor. No points for guessing which is the embarrassing one.

You can find out more about Marnie at: marniestclair.com

Destiny Promo PhotoTonight I have Bernadette Rowley here to chat about her new novel, The Lord and the Mermaid, newly out with Momentum. She also chats about her love of fantasy and world building. So get yourself a hot drink (hot chocolate with honey is my favourite on a cold night), settle in and enjoy finding out more about Bernadette and her work.

Hi Bernadette. Thanks for being a guest on my blog. It’s really exciting to have you here once again to tell us about your new novel, The Lord and the Mermaid.

Hi Leisl, it’s great to be back!

Can you tell us a little bit about your new novel, The Lord and the Mermaid?

The Lord and the Mermaid is basically my retelling of The Little Mermaid. Mermaid Merielle flees her people, hoping for a better life. She is determined to find a human man and make him fall in love with her, believing his love will make her human in turn. The man she happens across is Lord Nikolas Cosara, a hunky ship’s captain, who has exiled himself after a past tragedy. He is the last person who would ever love a mermaid but they experience an instant attraction and the story flows from there.

It’s been quite the roller coaster ride for you in the last year or so since your last novel was released, The Lady’s Choice – something I’m experiencing a bit myself at the moment. Can you tell us about it?

Princess Avenger and The Lady’s Choice were published in 2012 and 2013 respectively. Being a new imprint when I started with them, it took a couple of years to find its way and they eventually decided to stop publishing fantasy as a genre. That left me unwilling to part with my series and needing to find a new publisher for The Lord and the Mermaid. I didn’t know if someone else would wish to take me up but didn’t want to go out on my own. I pitched my mermaid story to Momentum’s Haylee Nash at conference and she offered me a two book deal. I got the rights back for Princess Avenger and The Lady’s Choice and have self-published them. I now have the best of both worlds!

0315 The Lord and The Mermaid_v8The Lord and the Mermaid is a novel related to your Princess Avenger series – how is it related? Are any of the characters the same?

Princess Avenger is set in Brightcastle, a city about four days ride west of Wildecoast where The Lord and the Mermaid is set. Both cities are in my fantasy world of Thorius. Readers were introduced to Thorius in Princess Avenger and to Wildecoast in The Lady’s Choice. Some of the minor characters are the same. You could say that the books that have gone before are prequels to The Lord and the Mermaid.

Is it a standalone novel, or is it going to be a part of a larger series? – I love a good series.

You know me, Leisl. If I’m writing a book it’s part of a series, the longer the better. Having said that, The Lord and the Mermaid can be read on its own. Merielle and Nik’s story is the first in the Wildecoast Saga with Momentum.

Where did the idea for this series come from?

It was perfect timing, really, I had a story set in the same world but a different city with new elements (being the increasing threat from the dark elves) and Momentum wanted to start from scratch with this book. So we created The Wildecoast Saga.

Princess Avenger Ebook coverWhat inspires you to keep writing in this world?

I love this world that I’ve created. I can make whatever rules I wish for and my characters have amazing abilities. Why wouldn’t you want to keep writing new love stories that take the secondary themes, of intrigue and war, forward?

You have recently self-published your first two novels after getting the rights back from your previous publisher. Can you tell us a little bit about this process and how you’ve found it? What have you learned from it that’s helping you with your writing in general? Would you self-publish other works in the future again?

Self-publishing was daunting at first but I started with Smashwords and they made it easy. I enlisted a cover designer and she also did the formatting. I was so excited when I saw my very own covers and think they are rather beautiful. I have two more to reveal when I release book 2 and 3 of the Princess Avenger trilogy. I also worked with Tracey O’Hara in editing Princess Avenger and learned quite a lot from that. Don’t we all wish we could go back and fix some of the weaknesses in our first book? I think you learn a little each time you publish a book, no matter how you do it and I definitely will be doing so again. I’m hoping to have part two of my trilogy out this year.

Are you planning any novels in the future that are set in a new fantasy world? Or have you got any aspirations to write in a different genre?

I have no new fantasy worlds planned but I do have the beginnings (first two books) of a space opera series. I also have two books in a junior fiction series written.

the-ladys-choice-cover-newYou’re a vet by day, as well as a mother. How do you find the time to write? Talk us through your process.

The first two days of the week are given over to vet work and then my five day writing week begins! I try to do some every day and when I’m writing draft I aim for one to two thousand words each day. All this year has been given over to editing but I’m currently working on a story that will be book three in the Wildecoast Saga.

I, of course have plenty of housework to take care of but usually write late morning and in the afternoon. I always try to be available to my sons who are 17, 19 and 21. They’ve been encouraged to follow their dreams no matter what.

What’s been the most surprising aspect of your writing career so far? What have you had the most difficulties with? What have you learned the most from?

I can’t believe how long the editing process is and that no matter how good your book is, there are always ways it can be improved. I’ve had the most difficulties with promoting my work – I’m not very good at talking about my books. I’ve learned heaps from each editor I’ve worked with and expect to continue to learn with each book.

Thank you so much for being a guest on my blog today, Bernadette. It was fun finding out a little bit more about you and your writing.

Bernadette has very generously decided to give away a copy of her new novel, The Lord and the Mermaid. All you have to do is comment on what fantasy characters you like reading about? Mermaids, Shifters, Vampires, Elves, Dragons, Fairies… Bernadette will pick the winner from these. So, comment away and share what your favourite fantasy characters are…

You can buy Bernadette’s novels from:

The Lord and the Mermaid: http://momentumbooks.com.au/books/the-lord-and-the-mermaid/

Princess Avenger: FREE at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/546489

The Lady’s Choice: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/546751

World of Thorius Boxed Set: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B010SDVQG0

Author bio:

Bernadette Rowley is an author of fantasy romance who grew up on rural properties on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia. Her teenage years were spent training her beloved horses, reading the fantasy stories of Tolkien, Brooks and Eddings and dreaming of becoming a vet.
She graduated as a vet in 1987 and now works part time, allowing her five days a week for her passion- writing. Bernadette lives in Townsville with her husband of 27 years, their sons and Slippers the cat. Her other interests are reading (fantasy and romance), singing (a capella), cricket and music.

You can find out more about Bernadette at:

http://bernadetterowley.com

https://twitter.com/bt_rowley

http://www.facebook.com/bernadetterowleyfantasy

Romance Writers of Australia