This is tough to announce. I'm going to miss my promised pre-Christmas pub date with Anticipation. Being sick for over a week with a hideous head cold has knocked my schedule so far out that I have now lost my windows with the various people who make the manuscript into a book. Confronting that reality has made me face up to another one - the concern that in rushing to get this book to readers who have been so patiently waiting, I am not going to be able to give this book the polish I very much want to before I release it. If I was writing for a traditional publisher still, I would be begging my editor for more time to take another pass. I'm not, though - I'm writing for you and me now, and that means I have to make the tough call to sit tight on this manuscript until it feels as good as it can be. I love Eddie and Blue so much (particularly Blue, she's so feisty!) and I want their story to be as good on the page as it feels in my head. If that makes sense.
So, here's what I am going to do: no promises on delivery for this book. It will be early next year, but I'm not promising anything specific because I want to get this RIGHT. That is always my first priority with anything I put out there with my name on it. I want to give readers my best. I'm going to post some excerpts and other material I've been looking at and listening to here and on my blog over at my website in the meantime, to hopefully tide you over and get you in the mood.
I'm so sorry if this announcement disappoints anyone. I have been so thrilled that I've had so many messages from readers asking for Blue and Eddie's story. It's kept me toiling at the keyboard even when parts of this story have had me absolutely pulling my hair out. I love that you love these two as much as I do. Please just bear with me for a few more weeks and I promise you'll have it in your hot little hands!
I'm a little late with this announcement, but I'm going to blame it on the fact that I'm still pretty stunned that both of the books that were finalists in the Romance Writers of Australia Romantic Book of the Year and Ella Award (for romantic novella of the year) WON!!! There I was, sitting in the ballroom at the Romance Writer's conference in Sydney, and they called my name out not once, but twice. It still feels surreal, three weeks on.
The two stories nominated were Her Favourite Rival, and Worth The Risk. Her Favourite Rival is a Super Romance, and you can find an excerpt and some background information on the book here. Worth The Risk started life as a free on-line read for Harlequin, and Mills and Boon Australia released it as a bonus. The good news is that it's still available as a free on-line read here. All ten chapters are there - you simply need to click through to each new instalment to keep reading.
I can't tell you how chuffed, excited, honoured, humbled and delighted I am that these two stories struck such a chord with readers. As I often tell people, writing can be a lonely profession sometimes, which makes letters and other contacts from readers incredibly precious and rewarding, and awards like this so encouraging and wonderful. It is AWESOME that people enjoy my stories, and I have the BEST job in the world, hands down.
As I did on the night, I want to acknowledge again that I wouldn't be writing any of this and there would be no books for readers to enjoy if it wasn't for my wonderful editor, Wanda Ottewell. I have been incredibly fortunate to have Wanda as my editor through every book I wrote for Super Romance and Blaze, a run of 30 odd books. I know from talking to other Harlequin authors - and just authors in general - that it's rare to have the one editor for so many books, but what makes me extra, super-duper lucky is that not only did I have that continuity, the person I told all those stories with is Wanda.
Wanda is amazing with story. She remembers my characters from past books better than I do sometimes. She knows when to push me, when to pull me back. She says all the right things when I ring to tell her my hard drive has failed and that I haven't backed up for 50,000 words. She is the best coach, friend, counsellor, co-conspirator a writer ever had, and I absolutely acknowledge the powerful contribution she has made to my work and my career.
The other person I need to acknowledge is my husband, Chris. We have been together for more than 20 years now, and he has kept me laughing, kept challenging me, kept supporting me and loving me and feeding me and being kind to me through thick and thin. He is a brilliant writer and storyteller in his own right, and some of my best story ideas and scenes have been inspired by his words or advice. He is my secret weapon, and I would not be the writer I am today without him by my side. I love you so much, Chris, and your support means the world to me. Thank you for being as excited about these awards as I am.
Right. I will get off my podium now, but before I go I'd liked to acknowledge all the lovely readers out there who have taken the time to write to me or send me things via my publisher or make contact in some other way to let me know that my books have touched them. Your kind words are a gift beyond measure, and your demand for more keeps me at my keyboard. Thank you!
I wrote a novella! More specifically, I wrote a fun, heartfelt, sexy little story of 40,000 words for Montana Born Books, and it's out (officially) on Kindle on the 14th of April. For those of you who are quick off the mark, Almost a Bride will be at the special introductory preview price of 0.99 cents for two days only - that's the 13th and 14th of April, US time, I've been told. After that, it will revert to its normal price of $2.99. I'll post buy links here they moment I have them, so keep checking back if they're not here yet. *** Okay, the deal is up, and here's the link. I hope you enjoy!!
Here's the book blurb so you know what I'm rambling on about:
Tara Buck has always been the good sister, level-headed by comparison to Scarlett, her flaky, impulsive twin. But when Tara learns her fiancé has been cheating on her with one of his school students, the orderly world she’s created for herself suddenly feels as if it’s falling apart. For years she chose the safe option, but from now on she’s going to live a little, stretch her wings…be a little daring. And if that means acting on the long-suppressed feelings she’s always had for Reid Dalton, then so be it!
Reid has wanted Tara from the moment he met her, but she’s always been out of bounds. Not only is she his patrol partner at the Bozeman PD, she’s also engaged. But then her relationship blows up, and Reid finds himself battling his own instinct to stake his claim with the finest, hottest woman he’s ever known.
Even if anything did happen between them, it would only ever be temporary – Reid’s a born wanderer, while Tara’s roots run deep in Marietta. So even if things are good between them, it seems their romance is destined to be short and sweet…
This book is set in Marietta, Montana, the fictional town in which all the Montana Born books are located. Surrounded by ranches, mountains, lakes, this is a small town of 10,000 souls, and over the coming months, many, many stories will be told about its residents. Tara and Reid, the heroine and hero of my book, were both born and bred in Marietta, and while Reid has always had a severe case of wanderlust, Tara is deeply attached to her home.
Once they get past the other things keeping them apart, this fundamental difference in how they see the world causes some issues for their burgeoning relationship. I'm not going to blab more in case I ruin the read for you, but I hope you get a kick out of these two people - I loved finding their happy ever after.
Her Kind of Trouble, my last Super Romance for a while, also came out at the beginning of April. This book was a dream to write. I had such a clear image of Vivian and Seth in my head, and I loved writing their provocative banter so much... Viv and Seth's story has some sadness in it, as well as some seriously hot steamy bits. I've been getting some truly lovely and touching feedback from readers about this one, and am over the moon that people are loving it so much.
Finally we come to Satisfaction. I have been so, so excited that so many people have had good - no, great! - things to say about this book, and that so many people are excited about the sequel, Anticipation, which I am hoping to have out by August. I can't wait to stretch my wings some more in the world of self publishing. Please keep writing to me and making contact via Facebook andTwitter - I love hearing from you, love hearing what you're excited about and what you want more of.
And in case you haven't noticed it, I have a new SUBSCRIBE button at the bottom of the navigation menu on my site (to your right, top corner). Click on that yellow button and fill in your email address, and I will make sure you always know when I have special deals going and new books coming out. Nothing horrible or spamm-y, I promise!
Okay. Off to write some words for the day. Happy reading, everyone.
Thank you so much for your patience! Satisfaction is finally here. Yahooooooo.
After a busy week of sending files back and forth to formatters and copy editors and finalising the cover, I finally got Satisfaction uploaded to Smashwords, NOOK, and Amazon this weekend. For those of you who read in epub via Kobo or iBookstore, please bear with me a little longer as it always takes longer for those retailers to upload books with saucy content. And Satisfaction has got the saucy going on, I promise!
If you can't wait, Smashwords provides epub files that you should be able to read in both ibooks and on your Kobo reader. I promise I will post the moment I know that the book is live at Kobo and iBookstore.
Now, without further ado, please find the blurb, cover and buy links for Satisfaction:
Maggie Hendricks loves her life. Great job, amazing friends. Everything just how she likes it. There's just one small problem. When it comes to sex, Maggie can’t quite get there. No fireworks, no screaming orgasms. And while she tells herself she’s fine with that, she can’t help wanting more.
When her friend shares the intimate details of a one night only fling with an extremely talented lover, Maggie makes a desperate pact with herself. She will seduce this man and if he can’t get her there...well, then she’ll hand herself over to medical science. A simple enough plan. What could possibly go wrong?
Within minutes of meeting Rafel Oliveira, Maggie knows the answer to that one: plenty. Rafel turns out to be far more than simply talented in the bedroom. As he takes her on a journey toward the ultimate pleasure, Maggie finds herself craving a lot more than his beautiful body. But can she win the one thing that will leave her truly satisfied...his heart?
Please note, you can sample up to 30% of the book at both sites if you'd like to try before you buy.
Dear Reader, this blog post is to apologise to you and humbly request your patience. You see, I was so sure that I would have my next self published book, Satisfaction, locked and loaded and ready to go in January that I came on here and talked about it. So cocky, Ms Mayberry, so cocky. The book was but a bee's dick away from being completed, and I was confident that that cockiness was not unwarranted.
As any writer will tell you, sometimes when you take a break from the work (Christmas, I'm looking at you) and come back to it, you can see things that you couldn't see before. And what I saw was a bunch of stuff I didn't like. Somehow, I had lost my way in telling Rafel and Georgie's story, and it has taken me the best part of a week to woman up and face the fact that I am going to have to do some serious pruning and rewriting to make this little puppy fly. I have a plan, and I am currently rewriting as fast as I can, but this means that there is no chance that I will have the book out this month. I'm aiming for late February, the stars being aligned.
I'm so sorry if I got anyone excited or expectant (and also extremely flattered if you were in either state), but I simply couldn't keep writing forward when my gut was screaming at me that I had gone wrong. My promise to you is that when this book does come out, it will be the best version of this story that I know how to tell. So if you'll just bear with me a little longer, Satisfaction will be with shortly. Ish.
It's not all bad news, though.
I got the cover for my April release today, and I'm going to share it with you now because it's rather gorgeous. I know it's winter in large parts of the world, but doesn't that water just make you want to swim ?(I'm writing this on a 40 degree + day in Melbourne, so go with me on this!) I had an enormous amount of fun writing about Vivian and Seth, and I cannot wait to share them with everyone. Roll on April, I say.
I cannot believe we are staring down the barrel of Christmas yet again. The days have flown by this year, which is why I have been tardy with updating my site. My humble apologies. For those of you who are still talking to me, I have a novella out at the moment in The Christmas Wedding Quilt anthology. Emilie Richards and Janice Kay Johnson (I know, I really lucked out there) wrote the first two stories, and I wrapped things up in this great set of stories centred around a quilt that a dying mother didn't quite finish and four cousins who have lost contact over the years. My story, Nine Ladies Dancing, is about Rachel, a librarian in the small bayside town of Sorrento, and Leo, a fire fighter who is recovering from an injury and mourning the death of a close friend and colleague. I loved writing this story, especially researching quilting techniques, and I adored working with Emilie and Janice. If you're wondering, my novella sits at the sweet end of the steamy spectrum, but there's plenty of romance and tension (well, I hope there is, anyway!) and the anthology is getting strong reviews from readers.
My other news for you is that I am almost ready to hit the "go" button for my next self-published digital book. Satisfaction has a cover, but I am holding off on sharing it because I want to make a splash. I will say, however, that my cover designer has thanked me several times for giving her such good material to work with! In case you hadn't worked it out from the title, Satisfaction is a very steamy read. Very. Steamy. The story follows Georgie, a small independent bookstore owner, and her quest to resolve an intimate problem that has cast a shadow over her personal life for years. In short, Georgie can't get there, not with a man, not by herself, and she's pretty much at the end of her tether and ready to seek the help of modern medicine when she learns about the incredibly sexy Brazilian-Australian tattooist working just up the road. According to reliable word, he is The Business in the bedroom, and in a moment of slightly drunken desperation Georgie forms the plan to seduce him and let him work his magic on her. If he can't make the earth move, she will hand herself over to people in white coats and a raft of tests. As we all know, women plan and God laughs, and of course Georgie's not-very-well-thought-out plan goes astray - but in a very delicious way. What follows is a frustrating, compelling seduction that becomes the centre of Georgie's world. It's not until she's knee deep in the best sex of her life that Georgie realises that the man responsible for her satisfaction has become far more than a cure for her frustration. But she's not convinced that Rafele has ever seen her as more than a challenge, or that their lives will mesh outside of the bedroom. Plus there's the very real chance that he's still in love with his ex-girlfriend...
I don't want to ruin all the surprises, so I will stop typing now, but I am hoping to get this out to readers in mid January. In the meantime, any book bloggers or readers who would like to receive early copies for review, please contact me via the contact me button on my website and I will pop your name down and hook you up when the manuscript is ready to rock and roll.
I am thrilled to announce that my e-only novella Her Favorite Temptation is FREE right now on Kindle, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, ibookstore, Harlequin, etc, etc. It's available to Australian and New Zealand readers, as well as Canadian and US readers. I'm not sure about UK and Europe, but my best guess until I hear from readers up that way is that Harlequin might be the best source for the freebie as they tend to sell e-books to anyone from anywhere. Fingers crossed, and if you know any differently, I'd love to hear from you.
So, here are the buy links for Australia. Unfortunately, I cannot get the buy links for the US from Down Under - ah, technology, isn't it awesome? - but there is a list of them over at Dear Author, so here's a link to that post.
It's worth noting that the Australian and New Zealand version of the title reflects Australian spelling, and therefore "Favorite" has become "Favourite". If, for whatever reason my links don't work, Australian and New Zealand readers need to search for "Her Favourite Temptation", while US and Canadian readers should search for "Her Favorite Temptation". Make sense? I hope so.
Now, onto the links for Australian and New Zealand readers:
I hope everyone enjoys this book. It's a long novella - 65000 words, about the length of one of my Blazes - and it's a prequel/parallel story to my September Super Romance, Her Favorite Rival. To find out more books, scroll down to my previous blog post, where I posted quite a bit of info about each book.
First up, I have a digital-only short coming out in August that will be FREE on Kindle, Kobo, ibookstore, etc, etc. Called Her Favorite Temptation, this 65000 word not-really-a-novella links to my September Super Romance, Her Favorite Rival. I am very excited about both these stories. They were emotional books to write, and I found myself getting very invested in finding a happy-every-after for Leah and Audrey and their men, Will and Zach.
A little about each of the books:
Her Favorite Temptation is Leah's story. She's the younger sister, and the golden-haired child of the family. She can do no wrong - as long as what she wants to do coincides with what her domineering mother wants her to do. When the book opens, Leah is making a stand for the first time in her life and not particularly enjoying the resulting heat she gets from her parents. Their conflict makes her question many things about her life, including her distant relationship with her older sister, Audrey. As she grapples with these family issues, she also battles a growing attraction to the sexy, scruffy musician who has moved in next door. Will Jones is one half of the Grammy-award winning duo Galahad Jones, and he finds it both amusing and refreshing that Leah has no idea who he is. He's in town because he's been diagnosed with a potentially devastating condition, something he withholds from Leah until the last possible moment. Their journey toward love and recovery challenges Will's pride and Leah's sense of worth, but it's worth it (I think!).
Her Favorite Rival is Audrey's story. Unlike her younger sister, Audrey was never smart enough or good enough, and after acting out in her teen years she's been labelled the black sheep of the family and treated accordingly. She is extremely tough on herself, holding herself to a high standard, and part of that is excelling - exceeding - at work. She's determined to nail the next promotion that comes up, but she's painfully aware that her greatest rival for the position, Zach Black, is charming, qualified and a real contender. He's also very hot, and even though she tells herself she hates him, it's a position that dissolves pretty quickly when they're forced to work with one another on a project. A new cut-throat CEO, intense work pressure and undeniable desire combine to put both Audrey and Zach through the wringer. The question is, will their burgeoning feelings survive the test?
As a Super Romance, Her Favorite Rival will be available in both print and e-book, while Temptation will only be available in e-book. My apologies to those of you who are still reading paper-only. If it helps lure you to the "darkside" at all, I was once adamantly anti-e-book, but I am now a passionate e-book convert because I ADORE having all my books with me at once. Getting stuck on the train or being forced to wait for an appointment is a joy when I have so many books to choose from - I may even be guilty of arriving early sometimes just so I have an excuse to squeeze in some more reading time.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy these books if you get a chance to read them. It was a joy writing them - not every second, you understand, because every book has its dark, pesky, crazy moments - but I am very attached to Audrey and Leah after going on their journeys with them, and I hope the same will happen to you!
One of the most common questions we writers get is "where do you get your ideas from?" I know some writers roll their eyes at this question, but I find it very flattering! It reminds me that while having my brain teeming with fictional people, places and conflicts seems extraordinarily normal and dullsville to me, it's not the typical experience of most people. In the same way that I am absolutely crap at numbers, some people couldn't come up with a sustained narrative to save their lives. And that is totally cool, because the world needs accountants AND writers, right? At least I hope they do!
I wanted to offer some insight into the inspiration behind my most recent Super Romance, The Other Side of Us. Which, incidentally, is FREE right now at Amazon, Apple i-store, and Barnes and Noble Nook, I believe. Get your free copy while you can, I say! And I hope you enjoy.
The narrative backbone for The Other Side of Us formed out of a couple of different inspirations. One was a conversation I had with my awesome writing buddy, Joan Kilby. She's a fellow Super Romance author (you should check her books out, she writes the most adorable, sexy, down to earth real men - men who make mistakes and have holes in their socks but who have huge, huge hearts) and I am lucky enough to live in the same part of Melbourne as her. We catch up for walks and talks and lunches, and one day when we were having lunch she told me how her dog, Toby, used to be an escape artist at their former property, always weaseling his way through the fence so he could go next door and play with the dog there. Immediately I thought "wow, what a cute meet. Imagine two people who are forced to interact because their dogs have the hots for each other." I went home, stewed on it a little, than rang Joan and asked if she would mind me using her anecdote as a story starter. She very generously gifted it to me, and I had the first part of my story.
I then started to think about why two people would need to be forced together by their dogs. Obviously, they would have to be neighbors, and they would have to be new neighbors, because otherwise there was no reason for the story to start NOW. I wondered if maybe one of them was a bit of a recluse, a younger version of a curmudgeon. At that point, I was thinking of the hero. And I wondered if the woman who moved in next door might have been burned, badly, by her marriage. I'm not sure why, but I couldn't stop thinking about Charles and Diana and Camilla. I don't know the real details about what went on between them, but one of the popular versions is that Charles never really got over the relationship he had with Camilla prior to marrying Diana, and that he never really gave it up once he was married, either. The idea of a long-standing affair that almost pre-dates the marriage took a hold in my mind. It's such a betrayal, one of those revelations that would really shake the world for a person. The trick, of course, was to make my heroine not look like an idiot for not realising what was going on.
So, I was all ready to go with this scenario, my outline was approved by my editor, all lights were green. Then I finished Suddenly You, the Super Romance I wrote prior to The Other Side of Us, and as I wrote the final chapters it occurred to me that I'd created two commitment-shy, once-burned heroines in a row. I did not want to get to the end of The Other Side of Us and find myself flailing around looking for ways to make Mackenzie's inner conflict different from Pippa's. And then it occurred to me that that would not be a problem at all if I made Mackenzie the curmudgeonly loner, and Oliver the once-burned-twice-shy betrayed person. Instantly my brain lit up like Guy Fawkes night and I knew I was on to something.
Then the rain came. Bucket loads of it, along with dire warnings from the weather bureau to clear out our gutters and drains because even more rain was on the way. They called it a catastrophic weather event, actually, and it was enough to get me up on the ladder cleaning the gunk out of our gutters. A pleasant task, not! That night, the catastrophe darkened our skies, but my husband and I were smugly confident that our drains and gutters were clear and clean. My brother called just before dusk, as the first flood of water streaked down from the sky. "Good luck," he said cheerfully."I'm looking at the weather radar at work and it's showing black above your place. Nice knowing you." I was talking on the cordless handset, and I walked to the front window as I assured my brother that we were fine, thank you very much, and the weather bureau had got us all panicking for nothing. Then I opened the blind and glanced out at the front driveway and realised that there was a RIVER of water pouring down it toward our house. "%&*$#!!! I gotta go!" I said to him. My husband was in his boxers and a tank top. I was in knickers and a tank top. We were both barefoot. I pulled on some pajama pants, shoved my feet into gumboots and went out to see if we could save our house from being flooded. We worked out quickly that the gravel from our slightly-sloping driveway had been washed down by the enormous flow of water and was blocking the grates on the drain across the foot of the driveway. Because the grate was blocked, water was simply flowing over it and pooling around our house. Creeping higher every second. We both tried to scoop gravel away from the grate but it was impossible to keep up with the amount being washed down by the river in our driveway. We settled for grabbing brooms and trying to channel the water either side of our house so it wouldn't creep any higher.
We worked like wet dogs for half an hour before lightning forced us to take shelter. It was scary and cold, but somehow my husband and I wound up laughing each time we looked at each other, soaked in our underwear and gumboots. I think we must have known at that point that we were going to be okay. Just. And sure enough, we were. The rain subsided, the flow from the street lessened. I walked up through the river-that-had-become-a-creek and saw that the road was completely flooded, the gutters in the street completely blocked or simply overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of the water.
The picture above is the aftermath of our exciting night - all the gravel in the middle ground used to be on our driveway. It doesn't look like much spread out like that, but it took me a whole day of shoveling and moving stuff in the wheelbarrow to clean it up. Fun and games.
It was a scary, crazy night, but the craziest thing of all is that as I was pushing water down the side of my house with a broom, I was thinking "Hey, this would be a great way for Mackenzie and Oliver to get past their initial bad impressions of each other and start to become friends. If her place was flooding and Oliver came over in the middle of the night to help and they were both wet and it was dark... Yeah. That could definitely work."
I'm not sure what it says about me that one of the first things I think about when something happens in my life is "how can I turn this into story?" Probably not something healthy, anyway! But this real-life event became a fictionalised flood in The Other Side of Us, just as Joan's dog story did. Next time someone asks me where I get my ideas from, I'm going to direct them to this blog post. Or maybe I won't, because the other place I get stories from is from listening to the people around me.... and I wouldn't want them to bite their tongues on my account!
PS. I have upgraded the security on my blog and comments are once again enabled. I would LOVE to hear from you, so don't hold back. Unless, of course, you're a spam bot, selling something horrible.
Merry Christmas! Happy New Year!And if you celebrate your festive occasions in another way at another time of the year, happy holiday season!
It was a big day down here in Australia - there was much cooking and baking in the lead up since the pudding had to be boiled (6 hours!) in advance and I needed a dessert to take to my sister's in the evening. Plus I helped my MIL out by roasting the veggies etc and taking them to her place for the midday meal. As usual, by the time the evening wore around Iwas looking less than pristine, with various food stains from helping out in the kitchen, no shoes, smeary make-up and a too-full stomach. Ah, Christmas, you've done it again! But it was a lovely day, and especially fun was watching our dog play with my husband's brother's dog, who was visiting from Sydney. They are both poodle crosses, and they seemed to "get" each other every nicely, indeed.
Today I am resisting the primal urge to visit the local shopping centre to see what the post-Christmas sales have to offer. I have more than enough of everything, lucky girl that I am. But I do love a bargain, too! I'm not sure how long I can hold out....
I hope that you and yours are happy and healthy, and that you have exciting plans for the new year ahead.