How much do you read?!

Once again, I’ve sadly neglected this poor blog! If you’re still with me, thanks for hanging in there. I’m much more active over on my Facebook page, so if you’re on Facebook be sure to come on over and say Hi!

Anyway a week ago I went to Brisbane for the second ever Genre Con in Australia. Last year’s sounded so fabulous that I signed up pretty much as soon as they opened registrations this year and I was NOT disappointed! I caught up with my good friend Cathryn Hein, lunched with a bunch of amazing women and writers, met new friends and heard fabulous local and international writers talk about their processes, etc, which is always inspiring! I also met the fabulous Dianne Blacklock and Anita Heiss who I’ve been tweeting with for a couple of years. They are just as magic in person as they are online and I can’t wait to read their books. I’m currently reading Dianne’s latest THE BEST MAN and enjoying it immensely.

best man

Speaking of reading, one of the common threads many of the guest speakers said was that to be a writer you also have to be a reader. I have always believed this to be the case – I can’t understand how you can be a writer and NOT a reader – but at Genre Con, I realised something terrible. My reading life has been suffering this past year as I have more and more writing commitments and deadlines. I’m lucky now if I read one book in two weeks whereas I used to read two to five in ONE week!

Nowadays I mostly read at night in that tiny window between falling into the bed and falling asleep. I’m usually knackered from the requirements of the day and sometimes only read for ten or fifteen minutes. This could be why I haven’t been able to get into many books of late and I’ve decided it has to change.

As a writer, reading is WORK! Yes, terrible chore I know but it is a FACT. I NEED to read to keep up with what is out there, to refill the well and to learn from other fantastic writers.

So, that’s the biggest thing I brought away from Genre Con. I’m going to read more and I’m going to read widely. I bought a book by the enigmatic Chuck Wendig when I was in Brisbane and one by the divine Kathryn Fox. These are books I would likely not pick up normally but hearing these amazing writers talk I just could not miss out on their work.

chuck

Anyway… sorry for all this waffling, but I’m basically curious. How much do YOU read!? How many books a week? Do you read mostly in one genre or widely?

Tempting tidbit from Elise K Ackers

One of the BEST and worst parts about being a writer is that I meet other fabulous writers and want to read ALL their books. I do my best (but it’s not very good at the moment) so I thought why not share all these wonderful people and books with you. So I thought I’d start showcasing some of this awesomeness on my blog. From now on, I’ll be sharing my friends’ releases with you and giving you a tantalising extract to tempt you!

First up is the gorgeous Elise K Ackers with her new book ASK ME FOR TOMORROW published by Destiny Romance. I must quickly say here that although I haven’t read this book I LOVE Elise’s work and am actually quoted on the cover of her December release! But today we’re looking at ASK ME FOR TOMORROW!

Cover:

AskMeForTomorrow_cover

Blurb:

Three years after losing his wife, Dean Foster feels like he’s living in a daze. When he finds himself attracted to his new employee, it comes as quite a shock.

Single mum, Alice Jaye, is struggling to make ends meet. She’s too tired to flirt with her gorgeous new boss and firmly maintains a professional distance. But when their children bring them into close contact, keeping their relationship strictly business isn’t easy.

As Alice and her son spend more time with his family, Dean’s heart begins to open once more. But can he risk starting all over again?

This eagerly anticipated book in the Homeland series is a tender, heartwarming story about letting go of the past and giving love a second chance.

Excerpt:

Eyes still on the road, he leaned forward in the seat, listening for the offending sound. After a moment he thought he might have caught it in the left part of the dashboard. He strained closer, only to wonder if he hadn’t misheard, because now it seemed to be coming from the passenger door.

It was only when the scent of flowers came to rival the scent of fruit that he realised how close he had moved to Alice. His cheek was close enough to her chest that a good bump in the road would probably embarrass them both.

‘Sorry,’ he said, moving quickly back to his side of the car.

Alice laughed and settled more comfortably into her seat. ‘It’s fine. Do what you’ve got to do.’

He glanced over, surprised by the subtle flirtation. She was smiling with one side of her mouth again. He grinned and looked back at the road.

He thought about her legs and perfume as he continued to listen for the elusive sound, but there was only the rain, her breathing and his fast beating heart.

How unexpected that Alice Jaye would manage to shine a light in the darkened corners of his desire. She wasn’t the kind of woman he was used to – he was surrounded by gregarious, fun-loving chatterboxes, women who had a lot to say, who would talk over him to get their point across. Yet here was Alice, reserved and relatively even-tempered, inciting thoughts that hadn’t crossed his mind in a long time.

Did this mean that Dean was open for business again? Was he seriously thinking about venturing forward into the new and unknown? What would people think of him moving on – would they think it was too soon? Did such opinions matter?

Want it now!? ASK ME FROM TOMORROW is available now from Destiny Romance, iBooks and Amazon.

Reblogged from Booktopia’s Booktoberfest

This month Booktopia is celebrating Booktoberfest and lots of publishers have come on board to join the fun. Harlequin Books (my fabulous publisher) have a great prize pack up for grabs, if you buy any of the books in their Booktoberfest spotlight from Booktopia!

Order Outback Dreams or any of the books in the Harlequin Booktoberfest Showcase to go into the draw to win one of six Rural Romance Prize Packs valued at $120!

Prize Pack Includes: Outback Dreams by Rachael Johns, Driftwood by Mandy Magro, Nobody But Him by Victoria Purman and Right as Rain by Tricia Stringer (Published 1st of December).

For further details click here!

There’s also some other special content on the blog this month and I’ve contributed a piece about the Five Writers I Want To Be When I Grow Up. Reblogged below 🙂

Five Writers I Want To Be when I Grow Up

By Rachael Johns

As a romance writer and an English teacher, books are my LIFE. So I have many favourites and many writers I admire. Aside from writing, reading is pretty much the thing I like to do more than anything in the world for so many reasons. Reading is relaxing and therapeutic; it takes me away from the real world and lets me indulge in fantasies (yes, sexy farmers for example), and having books around means I’m NEVER bored. My only disappointment when it comes to books and reading is that I’ll never have enough time to read all the books I want to. Yes, this is a very sad fact.

I have a number of must buy authors – some I’ve even been lucky enough to meet – and I’d like to share with you my Top Five Writers I want to be when I grow up.

1. Marian Keyes – she’s funny in person and on paper. I love her quirky characters and her delicious humour. (fave book – Last Chance Saloon)

2. Helen Fielding – she created one of my all time favourite books Bridget Jones’ Diary, a book that has been read and loved by women all around the world.

3. J K Rowling – I’m a HUGE Harry Potter fan. I read them all when they came out and continue to re-live their fabulousness now as I read them with my boys. Her imagination is awesome and I just wish Hogwarts was real!

4. Kristan Higgins – her books are pure delight to read. Gorgeous heroes and heroines you just want to wrap your arms around and console for their embarrassing moments. And she’s also funny and witty in person. I met her earlier this year at the Romance Readers Convention and wanted to kidnap her. (fave book – Too Good To Be True)

5. Sophie Kinsella, Lisa Jewell, Cathy Kelly, Liane Moriarty, Nora Roberts, Dorothy Koomson and Linda Howard – okay, I cheated and listed more than five but these authors all inspire me to write better every time I read one of their books!

Click here to order Outback Dreams from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore

I’d love to know who are your favourite writers and what particular you love about them!!

My Secret Life with Victoria Purman

I’m delighted to have my shelf buddy for October and Harlequin sister (sounds nicer than stable mate) on the blog today!! Victoria has a new contemporary BEACH-SET romance out and I have it on my Kindle and am desperate to start it. I ‘met’ Victoria on Twitter and then we met properly at this year’s Romance Writers of Australia conference in August, so I know her book is going to be fabulous because SHE is!! 

Anyway, I’ll stop yakking and hand over to the star herself. Welcome Victoria…

VictoriaPurman-190

My Non-Writing Life

By Victoria Purman, author of “Nobody But Him” Thank you Rachael for having me on your blog! Our lovely host has asked me to talk about what I do when I’m not writing.

The first thing that springs to mind is: sleeping, of course!

Because, you see, I’ve succumbed to the Dreaded Writers’ Disease. Although definitely not fatal, it means that if I’m not pounding the keyboard, I’m thinking, plotting and obsessing about my characters and how I can throw every obstacle in their way before they reach their happy-ever-after!

I have a very busy life outside words. The husband and I have three teenage sons, so obviously shopping and cooking are important in our household. I quite like to try new things for The Hungry Horde to eat. Jamie Oliver is a big favourite in my house at the moment because I like his concept of 15 minute meals!

I continue to work part-time and I volunteer on a few organizations: the SA Writers Centre, South Australia’s youth arts body Carclew, and my kids’ high school council.

I love music and can even have it playing in the background when I write. Now the kids are older, the husband and I are able to get out more and see bands again – something we did a lot when we first met.

My top three best live shows during the past five years are:

  • British band Elbow (lead singer Guy Garvey actually looked right at me and we sang together!)
  • Lyle Lovett (brilliant songwriter, brilliant singer, brilliant band)
  • and Carole King and James Taylor together on a double-bill. They must have played a million shows between them but they convinced us they were having a ball (and singing along to “You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman” with my friends is something I’ll never forget).

I could go on: Foo Fighters rocked; k.d.lang was sublime; Keith Urban was incredible and… I’m running out of adjectives.

When I’m driving, I’m ALWAYS singing along in the car, to artists like those I’ve mentioned above, plus country artists like Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert and Lady Antebellum. Years ago, I gave up worrying what it would look like – now I just sing proudly!

Although I don’t get as much time as I used to (now that I’ve got The Writer’s Disease), I do like watching TV series like Hart of Dixie, Castle, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, Miranda and A Place To Call Home.  It goes without saying that the BBC adaption of Pride and Prejudice gets a heavy workout while I’m cooking – I love to have it playing on my iPad while I’m working in the kitchen.

And did I mention reading? How could I forget! I’ll just drop some names: THE Nora, Rachael (of course!), Bronwyn Parry, Helene Young, Sarah Mayberry, Tricia Stringer, Kristan Higgins, Jill Shalvis and Pamela Clare (if you don’t know her, you should definitely check her out, especially her I-Team series which I adore). The best part of being involved in the romance writing community is that there are always new books to read. The worst part is that there just aren’t enough hours in the day to ready everything, right?

When regular life gets too crazy, there’s one place our family escapes to, and that’s the Fleurieu Peninsula on South Australia’s south coast. It’s the place that inspired “Nobody But Him” and it’s beautiful. It’s the perfect place for walks on the beach, whale watching in the winter, body boarding in the summer, beach cricket and champagne on the beach at sunset with awesome friends.

Thanks for having me Rachael! I hope your readers will all join me for a trip to the beach and a little romance this summer.

Victoria

Thanks so much for sharing Victoria – I’m so glad to know that other writers are just as busy as I am 🙂 Now, readers… Victoria has generously offered to do a giveaway of her GORGEOUS book (see the blurb below). To go in the draw to win, simply comment on the blog with your answer to this question:

Q) Describe you best childhood memory of a summer at the beach.

Contest closes midnight Sunday (West Australian time) and I’ll announce the winner next week on my Facebook page and in the comments section of this blog post.

Nobody But Him by Victoria Purman

NBH email cover

She didn’t expect to run into her first love… or to fall back in love with him!

At eighteen, Julia Jones left for the city with a head full of grand plans for an exciting life that certainly didn’t include her hometown of Middle Point – a main street with a pub – or Ryan Blackburn.

But fifteen years – and a lifetime later – she’s forced to put her big city life on hold when she heads home to finalise her mother’s estate. Which is where she runs smack bang into the town’s new champion… the same Ryan Blackburn.

The sensible thing to do? Stay the hell away from him and head back to Melbourne as fast as her stilettos can carry her. But Julia finds his offer of a helping hand and a hot body too delicious to refuse and dives into a reckless, one-time fling.

What she doesn’t realise is that tomorrow has a way of sneaking up, and that saying goodbye to her home town – and to Ryan – is much harder the second time around.

Doesn’t that sound fantastic!! You can grab a copy on Kindle, Google Play, iBooks, Kobo, from Booktopia, Harlequin Books, Dymocks or any of the major chain stores 🙂

And you can find Victoria online at her website, on Facebook and Twitter.