Posts Tagged ‘Destiny Romance’

Madeline AshToday I have Madeline Ash as a guest blogger. Madeline is a pocket-sized powerhouse who writes stories that are real and have sweet sizzle. I’ve enjoyed her other books and am looking forward to reading her latest, Love & Other Lies.

Madeline’s new heroine is an interesting mix of sweet, sexy and flawed. I love a flawed character and so was really interested to hear what she has to say on the matter. Take it away Madeline.

Writing Immoral Heroines (and why I think that’s okay).

Abby, the heroine in my new release Love & Other Lies, has a history of compulsive lying. Honesty is highly valued in our society, so liars are understandably regarded as immoral, and due to that, when I was first struck by the idea for her character I worried readers wouldn’t accept her. Even I had difficulty relating to a character who had lied to people she loved for so many years.

Concerned, I researched immoral female characters and came across this blog post on The Border House, entitled Immoral Women: Why We Need More of Them. At one point, the author Katherine Cross says,

“Consider my title here: “Immoral Women.” Even now it conjures images of promiscuous, ‘loose’, or otherwise proudly sexual women, which is a testament to the suffocating and dehumanisingly limited framework with which women are saddled. I want that notion of immorality to be expanded to be something more fully human.”

Katherine raises a good point. The immorality of female characters is often related to their sexualities. And when a female character isn’t immoral, she’s often virtuous to the point of flawlessness. She’s an inaccurate representation of what it is to be a woman; what it is to be human.

Humans aren’t perfect. We make mistakes. Our experiences shift our behavior. Sometimes humans do bad things for good reasons, sometimes for not so good reasons. Imperfection is real, and this made me feel better about writing Abby’s story – it made me feel more confident about the way readers would react to her history of lying.

While romance has had its fair share of virtuous and morally pure heroines in the past, times are changing. We now have heroines that fall within, around, and outside of morality – they cheat, lie, and steal – and we still love them. They’re real, raw, and refreshing.

Loving these heroines of course relies on them being well-motivated. When I wondered how well Abby would be accepted by readers, I came to realise that it would come down to her reasons for lying in the first place. It’s like Helena in Orphan Black (anyone else watch that?). Because we understand why she acts the way she does, we can love her despite her (horrifying) flaws.

Katherine Cross also states, “Evil manifests itself in our world mainly in the form of people who are utterly convinced they are doing the right thing. Morality is rather tricky like that.”

Although I’m not talking about evil, just immorality, the above still applies. We can forgive a character when we believe they are doing the wrong thing for the right reasons. Due to this, characters aren’t necessarily immoral – just morally compromised.

Love and Other LiesPersonally, I think it’s okay to write about female characters who aren’t perfect – who are particularly imperfect. And I LOVE that digital and non-traditional publishing has opened up opportunities for unconventional characters and storylines within romance. I know I wouldn’t have been able to sell Abby to a traditional publisher five years ago. They wouldn’t have wanted to take the risk.

What do you think? Do you prefer writing/reading about female characters that represent the best of humanity, or are you okay reading about (well-motivated) immoral female characters in fiction?

Thank you for having me on your blog today, Leisl! X

It was an absolute pleasure, Madeline, and thanks so much for being here. And by the way I LOVE Orphan Black – fantastic show and a great example of a flawed heroine – in fact Helena isn’t the only one in that show who is immoral in some way and yet we love them (Sarah and Mrs S anyone?)

Love & Other Lies:

Small town vet Abby Benson has fled to the country to put her shameful past behind her. She’s just beginning to find her feet again when handsome stranger, Rue Thorn, arrives in town and begins to stir things up. Rue is gorgeous, kind and thoughtful and the two share an instant attraction. But convinced he’ll despise her if he learns about her history, Abby reluctantly keeps him at arms’ length.

Determined to win Abby over, Rue tries to reshape himself as the sort of guy he thinks she might be interested in. And for a while it seems his act is working. But when he finds out that Abby has been lying to him, it isn’t long before everything start to unravel …

A moving story of trust, forgiveness and the power of love from the author of Uncovered by Love and The Playboy’s Dark Secret.

Available from Amazon, iTunes, and all other good ebook distributors.

Author Bio:

Madeline has always lived in Melbourne. She is emotionally allergic to spontaneity, and yet doesn’t mind the weather that drags her into rain when she’s planned for sunshine. She likes to call this her wild side.

She’s a Virgo, vegetarian, and once had a romantic suspense-style dream in which the hero was a shredded lettuce sandwich and the villain was a cherry tomato. The tomato got away. She took the dream as a sign that she’d better stick to writing contemporary romance.

Her stories have spunky heroines, strong heroes, and as much dialogue as she can cram in. As for why she writes romance, she’s in a long-term relationship with the genre and writing such stories makes it happy.


I have been invited by the fabulous Jennifer St George to participate in the Meet the Character Blog Hop. You can read about her chosen character, the fabulous, sexy and mysterious Nicolo Capitini in Tempted by the Billionaire Tycoon here. Tempted by the Billionaire Tycoon

Jennifer writes sexy romances set in exotic locations and is one of the rising stars of Destiny Romance.

The rules of the blog hop is that I introduce a character from a book I’m writing or is about to be released and answer the set questions about them. Then I have to tag another person to continue the hop. The character I’ve chosen is River Collins from Healer Moon, the second in the Witch Were Chronicles which started with Dark Moon.


1.) What is the name of your character? 

River Collins

2.) Is he fictional or a historic person? 

He is fictional – although he feels completely real to me. 

3.) When and where is the story set? 

The story is set just a few years into our future and is set in Melbourne, Australia. 

4.) What should we know about him? 

River is a Werewolf who has had to suppress his true nature for most of his life when he and his twin sister (Skye Collins) were kidnapped from the Pack they were a part of by their grandparents to keep them safe from the people who had killed Skye and River’s parents. Skye is the heroine of Dark Moon, the first in the Witch-Were Chronicles, and when we meet River in that novel he is most definitely not himself. He has been drugged to help him deal with the anger of his wolf at being forcibly repressed for close to 20 years, and despite a few moments of clarity, seems to be living in a fantasy world. He has a talent for and love of gardening and spends much of his time in the garden doing beautiful landscapes.

DarkMoon_cover5.) What is the main conflict? What messes up his life? 

In Blood Moon, River is off the drugs, but after years of having his wolf repressed, he finds he can’t change into anything but a half-man, half-wolf monster that is so full of rage, it wants to kill everyone, especially the woman who is meant to be his mate, the Pack’s Healer, Bronwyn Kincaid. He is fighting himself at all times and his wolf’s desire to be with his mate – which he knows can’t happen, because he is broken and dangerous. Add to this the fact that the insane Witch from Dark Moon responsible for his parents’ death is after him to use the schism in his nature to help her destroy his people and take all the magic for herself, and there is more than enough for him to be messed up about.

6.) What is the personal goal of the character? 

To save his Pack and his mate and to protect Bronwyn from him and stop the mating from coming into being. He thinks the answer is to get away from them all and kill himself so that he won’t be a part of destroying them – which is more difficult than it sounds, because they are keeping him constantly under surveillance, aware that he is a target. He’d also like to find some way of killing Morrigan, the insane Witch who has made it her life’s mission to destroy the Were.

7.) Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it? 

It’s called Healer Moon and is the 2nd novel in the Witch-Were Chronicles, the first of which, Dark Moon, was published this year.

8.) When can we expect the book to be published or when was it published?

I am still polishing it and writing Blood Moon and Ghost Moon, the 3rd and 4th in the series, but hope that it will be ready to be submitted next year. 

So, that is River’s story. And next week it will be time to hop to Sasha Cottman’s blog to find out more about her chosen character.

sasha cottman author picAbout Sasha

Born in England, but raised in Australia, Sasha has a love for both countries. Having her heart in two places has created a love for travel, which at last count was to over 55 countries. A travel guide is always on her pile of new books to read.

Five years ago, Sasha accidently enrolled in a romance writing course. Other than Pride and Prejudice she had never read a romance book before. She soon discovered that the world of historical romance allowed her to combine her love of history with the passion of romance writing.

You can find out more about Sasha at:,

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Letter From a RakeSasha’s award winning debut, Letter From a Rake and its follow up, An Unsuitable Match are out now at all major e-retailers.An Unsuitable Match Hi Res Cover Pic



It is my pleasure to have Leesa Bow on my blog tonight. I first met Leesa on Facebook when she sold her first book, Winning the Player, Winning the Playerwith Destiny. She struck me as one of those people who are never caught without a smile, someone who is positive about life and their place in it, and in the time that I’ve come to know her, I haven’t been proved wrong. I had the pleasure of meeting her face to face at the RWA conference in Sydney this year and she is one of the loveliest people you are likely to meet – incredibly warm and very generous with her time and efforts to help all her friends and other writers. She has helped me out with a lot of promotional opportunities and it’s a pleasure to be able to give her the opportunity to meet new people here.

It seemed appropriate, with this winning attitude (and given she writes about sports stars and their need to win in their personal and professional lives) that Leesa talk to us today about what winning means to her.

Take it away, Leesa.

Leesa Bow Portrait (small)Thanks for having me Leisl! My name is Leesa Bow and I write new adult contemporary romance with a sport theme.

The term winning has always fascinated me. Winning is ingrained into our DNA and our mere existence comes from our ancestors overcoming huge obstacles to survive. People see winning in life in so many forms, not only the winning in sport, which is the central theme in the stories I like to write. From politics to horse racing, sport and celebrations, even an individual achieving a single goal, the power of success drives us to move forward.

But it isn’t just that. Often on social media I see captions of Winning with a picture of someone doing something simple. People are appreciating the smaller things in life without having to rely on an adrenaline rush for success. To me, enjoying life is about winning. I married a football player and witnessed the highs and lows of professional sports players, appreciated the success after months of intense physical work but when my daughter was diagnosed with cancer, winning took a whole different meaning.

To beat cancer is winning.

To have life is winning.

To give life is winning.

Celebrating happiness is winning.

Charming the OutbackSharing the happiness of winning is good for the soul. Sharing creates more than one winner. People love to win and feel they matter, and that they make a difference. When we feel good about ourselves we open our hearts to love. Writing about love makes me happy so I guess writing romance makes me an absolute winner!

So let me tell you about the fun stories I write. My books are about second chance love and the sports hero whose tough exterior is weakened by love.

Winning the Player is about love catching up to you no matter how far you run. The sport theme is football and basketball. Charming the Outback is a second chance love story set in rural Australia, with a mild football theme. Jardine is book one in my cricket series. It is a young romance about first time love, and I am madly writing the sequel, Caught Out so not to leave readers disappointed.

JardineJardine will be released on December 15, 2014.


At eighteen, Ava is sure she has found her soul mate in Jardine. Convincing their friends and family that what they have is more than just a crush, however, is an entirely different story. Jardine’s parents have his life mapped out with plans that don’t include Ava. 

Their plans to get into med school and start their future together crumble when cricket sensation, Jardine, is selected to play for the Australian team and expected to spend most of the year touring internationally. Ava knows since they agreed to follow their dreams, no matter the cost, she has to let Jardine go.

Ava also discovers a new inspiration to move on with her life. But can she keep it a secret from Jardine? If he discovers the truth, everything between them could be destroyed.


Winning with my books is being able to share my stories with readers, and knowing that they enjoy them raises the successful bar. I liken it to a premiership sporting team, and the supporters getting just as much enjoyment with the added feeling of accomplishment as that of the winning team.

Thanks for reading and a big thank you to Leisl for having me!

It was a pleasure, Leesa. And thanks for telling us about what winning means to you. You can find out more about Leesa’s books at

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Carla Caruso - author picTonight I’m thrilled to introduce the lovely and hugely talented Carla Caruso to my blog. Carla is a mother of twin boys and in her spare time (not sure when she gets any with twin boys, but she seems to be able to make it. Or maybe she’s Superwoman. My bet is on Superwoman, but that’s probably because I’m rather partial to superhero/heroine stories! 🙂 ) she is also a journalist, the co-editor of Hearts Talk magazine (Romance Writer’s of Australia monthly magazine that goes out to our 1000 members) as well as being the author of five romance novels.

Her writing is contemporary and witty and often has a little fantasy/paranormal style twist that speaks to my heartstrings. Given Halloween is nearly upon us, Carla has decided to talk about the superstitions of All Hallow’s Eve (a topic that is sure to be a favourite in my household at the moment, with my two boys revving up to get dressed up in ghoulish costumes like they did last year!)

Take it away Carla.

Trick or treat? Halloween superstitions!

Thanks, Leisl, for letting me take your blog hostage for a little while [insert evil cackle]!

My name’s Carla Caruso and I’m a romantic comedy author from Adelaide, Australia. My latest releases have a sprinkling of the ‘spooks’, which has had me thinking about Halloween…. Unlucky for Some by Carla Caruso(My novella, Unlucky for Some, is about an ultra-superstitious journo who is given an assignment, ending on Friday the 13th, which will put all her fears to the test. And my novel, A Pretty Mess, is the first in a rom-com mystery series about a neat-freak professional organiser who gets caught up in messy mysteries with a sexy builder!)

But back to Halloween, also known as All Hallows’ Eve! Us Aussies have always considered the October 31st tradition to be more of an American thang… until recently. Have you noticed how our supermarkets are routinely filling up their shelves with faux Jack-o’-lanterns and Halloween-inspired choccies this time of year?

In my hometown, we also have a Zombie Walk at October’s start, where 8000 “living dead” walk from the city’s Rymill Park to Light Square – in costume – to raise funds for Foodbank SA. (Apparently Brisbane and Melbourne has such a walk, too.) That’s a lot of bad makeup and drooling…

I’ve also had an increasing number of trick-or-treaters knock on my door on Halloween. Not that I’m ever prepared. One year I gave a bunch of costumed girls gold coins when we were all out of chocolate (I blame the hubby!), and then another kid, without a costume, showed up, hoping he could get in on the money train, too…

To keep in the ‘evil’ spirit of things, I thought I would share some Halloween superstitions with you, dear readers…

  • Trick-or-treating actually became customary in the US around the ‘50s after it was brought over by Irish immigrants.



  • Carving Jack-o’-lanterns has its roots in a tragic fable. As the story goes, a drunken farmer, named Jack, tricked the devil, but his deception resulted in him being turned away from both the gates of heaven and hell following his death. Having no choice but to wander around the darkness of purgatory, Jack made a lantern from a turnip and a burning lump of coal that the devil had tossed to him to help guide his ‘lost soul’. So the belief became that placing Jack-o’-lanterns outside your pad would help guide lost spirits home when they wandered the streets on Halloween. Since turnips were hard to come by in the US at the time, pumpkins were quickly adopted as the substitute. The vegetable’s spookily carved faces were also said to be useful in frightening evil spirits away. (I’ll refrain from making any jokes here about mothers-in-law…)
  • Seeing a bat on Halloween is considered an ominous sign, according to myth. If a bat is spotted flying around your house three times, apparently someone in your abode – eek! – will soon die. And if a bat flies into your house on Halloween, it’s a sign your place is haunted as ghosts let the bat in…
  • Another superstition is that if a spider falls into a candle-lit lamp and is gobbled up by the flame, witches are nearby. Further, if you spot a spider on Halloween, the spirit of a deceased loved one is said to be watching over you. Which, for some reason, had me thinking of Ghost and that famous pottery scene…
  • In olden times, it was believed that during Samhain – or ‘summer’s end’ – the veil between our world and the spirit world was the thinnest, hence, ghosts of the deceased could mingle with the living. (We know – ugh!) The superstition was that the visiting ghosts could disguise themselves as humans, for example, as a beggar, and knock on your door asking for dosh or food. If you turned them away, you risked being cursed or haunted. Another myth was that dressing up as a ghoul would fool the evil spirits into thinking you were one of them, so they wouldn’t try to steal your soul. Crafty.A Pretty Mess-Carla Caruso
  • And finally, the Halloween hues of orange and black actually stem from the pagan celebration of autumn and the harvest. Orange symbolised the hues of the crops and turning leaves, and black marked the ‘death’ of summer…

Thanks for reading! For more on my books, visit or And happy, spooky Halloween to you!

Happy Halloween to you too, Carla, and thanks for sharing those fascinating facts with us – I love stuff like this. Make sure you check out Carla’s novels – they really are excellent reads. And share with us any fascinating superstitious facts you know – who knows, they might end up in one of Carla’s books (or even mine!)

I’m posting today another one of the blogs that I wrote when I was doing my major promo for Dark Moon. I always love hearing about other people’s processes, and because of that I’ve had a number of guests share a little of their own on this blog. So I thought I’d share one of the blogs I wrote where I talk a little bit about that, and the surprise that came when I was writing Dark Moon. This appeared originally on the Darksiders Downunder on their Magic Thursday blog. I hope you enjoy it.


DarkMoon_coverOne of the questions people ask when they find out I’m a writer is, ‘Do you plot out the story before you sit down to write?’ My answer is a profound ‘Noooo’. I am absolutely not a plotter. I usually have a scene or character in my head that keeps playing over in my dreams or speaking to me until I have to write it down. Sometimes those scenes grow into something and sometimes they don’t, but it is as much of a world of discovery for me as the writer as it is for a reader when they sit down to read and enjoy a book.

When I sat down to write Dark Moon, I had a scene playing in my head of two people meeting on a ski slope – one having smashed into the other and taken them for a tumbling toboggan-style ride until they stopped, arms and legs a tangle, bodies aligned in a more than friends kind of way. It was a scene that kept playing in my dreams, one of ice cold snow against heated skin and astoundingly blue eyes revealed with a sexy lift of goggles. It was a scene that would not leave me alone – so of course I had to write it down and see where it led me.

It had all the feel of a sexy contemporary romance and so I started writing it as such. But my characters and plot had other ideas.

My hero, Jason, kept on growling low in his throat and was given to animalistic actions, like being far too aware of scent and skin to skin contact. And then, astonishingly, he turned into a wolf.

I almost fell off my chair when this happened. It was so unexpected. Although, when I read back what I had written, I could see quite clearly that it wasn’t unexpected at all. The seeds of it had been playing throughout every scene. But if he was a wolf, what did this mean to my story and the other characters? My heroine? Was she a wolf too? Most definitely not. Skye had her own deep dark secret that turned my story from being a werewolf story into something quite different.

Skye was a bit more coy and reticent to show me her secret, unlike Jason. But I think that was partly because she really didn’t want to face it herself. But when the blue fire erupted from her fingertips in one scene, she could hide it no longer. She was a Witch. And her powers were exactly what Jason needed to save his people, if only he could persuade her to use them.

The simple scene had morphed into a story about an age old pact and an ancient curse. It was darker and full of a vibrant history that I’d had no idea about when I started. It certainly wasn’t the sexy contemporary story I’d had in mind to write – it was something far more involved and intricate, still incredibly sexy and sensual, but with a plot arc that would play out over a series, not just one book. The redrafting process made me focus on the story and journey my characters were trying to tell me from the start, but I was just too ignorant to see at first. And that’s how it became Dark Moon, the first in the Witch-Were Chronicles.

Non-writers often think I’m a little crazy when I tell them my characters tell me what to write, but I don’t think it’s crazy. It’s just my process and it’s one I’m glad I follow. I love the discovery, the wondering what comes next, the surprise of ‘hey, I’m a wolf’. And I wouldn’t write any other way.

Laura Greaves_Colour_smallerI’m really excited to have long time journalist and new author (a fellow Destineer), Laura Greaves on my blog to talk about her new novel, Be My Baby, and the good and the bad of instant gratification.

Take it away, Laura.

Just a little patience

The wonderful Meryl Streep once said that instant gratification is not soon enough. As an incorrigibly impatient person, I can certainly relate.

I’m that girl who just can’t wait. The one who watches the pilot episode of a new TV series, then immediately Googles to find out what happens in the finale. If I ask my husband a question via text message and he doesn’t reply right away, I’m all, ‘WHAT CAN HE POSSIBLY BE DOING?’ And I regularly spoil my appetite with sugary treats because I simply can’t hold out until dinnertime (though, to be honest, I don’t feel particularly bad about that).

I even chose the ideal career for impatient people: I’ve been a journalist for the best part of 20 years. I started out on a daily newspaper, where the longest I had to wait between writing a story and seeing it in print was 24 hours. These days I work as a freelance magazine feature writer, and sometimes there’s a month or more between my submitting an article and it hitting newsstands. Even though that’s still no time at all, the waiting is awful.

It might seem strange, then, that I’m also an author. After all, guiding a novel from a spark of an idea to a published book requires patience. Lots and lots of patience, in my case. For various reasons (mostly my chronic procrastination), it took a whopping eleven years to finish writing my novel, Be My Baby, and see it published by Destiny Romance. Imagine the agony!

(The irony is that Destiny, being Penguin’s ‘digital-first’ imprint, is able to publish its titles within months of acquiring them; authors whose novels are published in traditional print editions often have to wait a year or more. Being published by Destiny is about as instant as literary gratification gets, but as Meryl so astutely said, it’s just not soon enough!)

But do you know what? There are advantages to having walked such a lo-o-o-o-ong road to publication. I grew and changed as a person in the years between starting and finishing Be My Baby; that meant the book changed and evolved, too. I’d like to think I made it a little better every time I returned to it with a slightly different worldview. By the time I finally wrote ‘The End’, I’d fine-tuned my concept and knew my characters so well that I was able to say exactly what I wanted to. I’m happy in the knowledge that I wrote the best book I possibly could.

And the thing is, while instant gratification is lovely, delayed gratification is so much sweeter. I love being a journalist, but seeing my name on the cover of a book – a book that I wrote! – trumps all my next-day newspaper and magazine bylines put together. I’m sure we’ve all read about some literary wunderkind who penned a bestseller in five minutes flat and felt a pang of envy, but some clever soul once said that good things come to those who wait. (Maybe that was Meryl, too.)

So has my journey to publication made me a more patient person? Absolutely. I’ve learned to appreciate having the opportunity to take the time to really do justice to my story and my characters. I’d encourage all authors, published or otherwise, to slow down and give their work the time and space it needs. The rewards, in my experience, are infinitely greater.

Now, I’m off to find out what happens in the next episode of Mad Men

BMB_Hi-resBe My Baby:

Ambitious Australian Anna Harding seems to have it all: a glamorous job as a gossip columnist, and a beautiful home in London that she shares with her gorgeous boyfriend, Finn Cassidy. Her only problem is her regular run-ins with their neighbor Luke, who is furious about Anna’s internet shopping constantly being delivered to his place by mistake.

When her flighty best friend Helena winds up pregnant, Anna agrees to be godmother – despite her aversion to children. But then Finn announces he’s moving to Belfast for a great job in television and Helena takes off to Scotland – leaving baby Ivy behind. Suddenly Anna’s perfect life is in pieces as she tries to juggle the baby, her job and a long-distance relationship.

Will Finn wake up to himself and return home or will he be swayed by the charms of his seductive producer? Will the irresponsible Helena finally sort herself out with the help of her eccentric great aunt?  And will Anna’s life ever be the same, especially after Luke’s unexpected response to the chaos unleashed next door?

Nothing is certain in this entertaining and moving tale about the relationships that matter most.


Thanks for that Laura. I think the wait can be pretty special too. And thanks for guesting on my blog.

Laura Greaves is the author of chick lit novel Be My Baby ( Find out more at and

You can buy Be My Baby at:

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