Archive for February, 2009


The Australian Romance readers conference 2009

As I type, it’s Saturday night and I’ve just spent over a day with 200+ lovers of romantic fiction in Melbourne for a weekend of talk, gossip, laughter, info, books and general merriment at the Australia’s very first Romance Readers Convention.  As a veteran of writers conferences, I was prepared for a slightly different experience – and boy, is it ever!    Driven as I am by deadlines, I find I don’t spend as much time reading for pleasure and this weekend gave me back that simple joy of discussing reading (as opposed to plot, character arcs, GMC yada yada).  Plus it’s a great way to meet readers who love your books and meet new ones.   

So, let’s start at the beginning.  I flew into Melbourne on Thursday and checked into the lovely Jasper Hotel, our venue of choice.  After getting over the shock of my blood-red hotel walls (each floor is different – lime green, bright blue…), I scored a jackpot – dinner with the conference organizers and Mary-Janice Davidson, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Susan Grant and Dianna Love!  😀  We ate at a great Greek restaurant on Londsale Street, I broke my shoes and we stumbled back to the hotel to rest up for the big day tomorrow.  

Friday was spent shopping (Borders was an obvious stop!) then Friday night and the welcome reception soon rolled around.  A few hours of greeting old friends, chatting to new ones and I was ready for bed (unfortunately my roomie Sandra and I spent a few more hours gossiping and watching The Wedding Crashers…)

Saturday – and a hilarious opening welcome speech delivered by Mary-Janice Davidson.  That woman does have a way with words and soon had the whole room in stitches.  The mood was contagious, with our local academics discussing “what they really think about romance”.  I moderated a panel on “Aussie Voice – why the whole world loves our accent” and then ate a way-too-quick lunch before jumping into a hilarious talk on where authors get their ideas, featuring Liz Maverick, Amy Andrews, Mary-Janice Davidson and Susan Grant.  (and good news – all sessions were taped so everyone can enjoy the ARRC!)  Then came the fabulously attended book signing.  Despite the massive queue for Sherrilyn Kenyon, everyone was so happy to be there and Sherrilyn smiled all the way through.

The Awards Dinner was heaps of fun, with awards for 2008 given to:

Tomorrow should be another full day with lots of talking, industry news and laughter – and of course, books!  The buzz overall is one of joy and  camaraderie, with everyone thrilled to be talking about romance books.  The  organizing committee have done a wonderful, professional job considering they only had around a year to plan and put on this event.

Now, here’s a question for you – if you could meet your favorite author, who would it be and what would you ask them?


most romantic moments

Bron: I was going to talk about the most romantic moment I’ve experienced but today, while collecting my bunch of perfect rose buds from the florist, I heard about a sweet romantic gesture and I just had to share. 14th wedding anniversary. Lovely man arranges with a florist to deliver 14 single roses to his wife at work, one by one, half an hour apart. Each rose has a single letter attached. The first is I. The second is S, the third T, I, L, L, L, O, V, E, Y, O, U ! A simple, perfect sentiment but how much more romantic is that than a bunch of 14 roses with the
same message attached?
Paula: For romance, you can’t go past the candlelit dinner or unexpected flowers.  But it’s the little gestures that make up the big romantic picture for me – making dinner after a long day, watching House with you when he could be watching  cricket on the other TV, putting together that new Ikea bookshelf even though you’re perfectly capable of doing it yourself.  Holding hands is incredibly romantic, too! For those who’re romantically challenged, has a top 10 list of “small gestures that turn women on” (interesting men use ‘turn on’ and we use ‘romantic’ <vbg>!)  they are:
Organize a sexy scavenger hunt
Tell her she’s beautiful
Write a handwritten letter
Take her out for lunch
Cook her favorite dish
Take her on an ‘official’ date
Buy her a token present
Dance with her
Give her a flower
Pamper her

Scoffee_heart22andra: I don’t have just one special most romantic moment. But a regular small, touching supply. Every weekend, my husband, who is the most practical and pragmatic and generally unromantic person I know, makes me my morning latte. And every time he uses a little gizmo and sprinkles a chocolate heart on my coffee (all neatly aligned because he’s a builder, after all). And every time my own heart melts just a little.


Robbie: Here’s something from “the younger generation”. On New Year’s Eve, my daughter went to a party given by the boy who had always liked her in high school. His parent’s house is on acreage, and just before midnight he asked her to walk with him through the paddocks. Along the way, horses began to follow. One nuzzled at her shoulder, as if to push her along. They arrived at an area where a picnic blanket was laid out before two flaming torches. Did the night end in a kiss? I have a feeling that it did.




Share with us your most romantic moment (or one you’ve heard of) for a chance to win a copy of Robyn’s latest Harlequin release, Naughty Nights in the Millionaire’s Mansion.




Sandra Hyatt – With Questions

My big day is coming soon, (if you call July soon, which given the speed with which January vanished could well be, like, tomorrow). The day when my very first Desire, will hit the shelves, and actual live people can buy it…or not.


It’s both very exciting and very scary, and frankly, I’m leaning a little toward the scary side. I’ve done my part, I wrote the book. Then, once my wonderful editor at Desire bought it I more or less waved good bye to it.  Harlequin (after asking for suggestions) chose a title for it – Having The Billionaire’s Baby, they’ll design a cover, and they’ll write the back cover blurb. So at this point in time I have no idea what it’ll look like when it’s sitting there on the shelf, and what it will say on the back.


So, here comes a question. How much do things like title, and cover image and back cover blurb, effect your choice of whether to pick up a book and buy it? I tend to be a back cover blurb and read the first page kind of gal. How about you?


Do you pick up the one with best looking hero on the cover? Conversely are there things on a cover that can put you off? A blonde hero? A moustache? I’ve seen some absolutely gorgeous and luscious covers and some…not so gorgeous.


Same with the title, what grabs you, billionaire, pregnant, Sheik? And is there anything that can put you off? Billionaire, pregnant, Sheik?


Ditto with the back cover blurb, how much does it influence your decision to buy? What intrigues you? What makes you slot it back into place on the shelf and pick up the next one?


So even though I have very little say in these things I’d really like to know what you all think. And then I’d really, really like to see how mine is going to look.



I love February!

Let me tell you why…


It’s my birthday month (which, just quietly, makes it the best month of the year 😉 ) and, its the first month of release for my Rogue Diamonds mini-series. How did Rogue Diamonds come about as a title for the mini-series? Well, with this year being the 60th anniversary of Harlequin/Silhouette in the USA, it led me to thinking of diamonds. To be honest it really doesn’t take much to get me thinking of diamonds…I do like sparklies, 😀


So, anyway, when dreaming up the series I thought of old school buddies who have remained close friends but who liked to play a little on the wild side.


The past:


“All of the students in your year are diamonds…some polished, some still a little rough. All, except you three. You, sirs, are rogues!”


So said Thomas Woodley, the favourite professor of Brent Colby, Adam Palmer and Draco Sandrelli, after he caught them demon riding (high speed runs on their motorbikes on dangerous roads at night with no headlights on) when they should have been at their private boarding school’s honours ceremony.


The present:

The Rogue Diamonds are drawn together for the memorial service of Prof. Woodley’s late wife, and after the service two of them are thrown into contact with women they never expected to see again.


So, who are the Rogue Diamonds?


convenient-marriage-inconvenient-husbandBrent Colby (CONVENIENT MARRIAGE, INCONVENIENT HUSBAND, US Feb 09, Aus/NZ Mar 09) was always the bad boy at school and the one who instigated most of the boys’ adventures. He’s the ‘scholarship boy’ from the poorer side of the family and he always felt he had something to prove. An innovative man, he fell headlong into his first million dollars only to lose it just as fast. Unfortunately, at the same time, he also lost the woman he loved. With his exceptional drive and entrepreneurial skills he’s rebuilt his world, bigger better and far stronger than before, but he’s never forgotten the woman who chose money over his love. When she fronts up to him in the men’s room of the Jubilee Hall at Ashurst Collegiate, he’s more than intrigued about why.


secretbabyDraco Sandrelli (SECRET BABY, PUBLIC AFFAIR, US Mar 09, Aus/NZ Apr 09) is the sole surviving son of Italian aristrocracy and lives in the Sandrelli ancestral palazzo in the Tuscan countryside. A natural charmer, he’s had it all, but he learned loss at its most painful level when his fiancee died of a congential heart defect while pregnant with his baby. A short and fiery affair with a New Zealand girl, Blair Carson, touring his homeland has an unexpected repercussion when he discovers Blair is catering the memorial service at Ashurst Collegiate. He wasn’t ready to let her go the first time, he certainly isn’t ready to let her go now, especially not when he discovers she’s carrying his child.


pretend-mistress-bona-fide-bossAdam Palmer (PRETEND MISTRESS, BONA FIDE BOSS, US Apr 09, Aus/NZ May 09) is a workaholic. The survivor of twin sons born to the powerful billionaire Palmers, he’s been groomed to take over the running of the family business. All his life he’s only felt as if he was half of what his parents were due and works darn hard to make up for that by being twice as good at everything. His office is run with incredible precision at all times yet somehow secrets are being filtered out to his arch rival, Josh Tremont. When Adam discovers his assistant, Lainey Delacorte, is hiding the truth about herself, he’s determined to get the bottom of her deception and discover if she’s responsible for the information leaks–no matter what it takes.


So, do you want to win an autographed copy of the first of the Rogue Diamonds, CONVENIENT MARRIAGE, INCONVENIENT HUSBAND? All you need to do is comment on this blog and hazard a guess at what day my birthday is. If you get it right I’ll include a cute paua shell inlaid kiwi phone charm with your book. If there’s more than one correct answer by the end of the week I’ll put each name in a hat and draw one winner. Happy February!