1. Saying goodbye to Blaze

    As some of you may already be aware, Harlequin has announced the closure of its Blaze category line. (If you haven’t heard this news, Dear Author has posted the official announcement.)

    Obviously, this is a sad not only for me personally, but for all the people who currently write for Blaze and for our wonderful readers. Blaze was a line that got me hooked one some of the writers who’ve inspired me greatly (like Sarah Mayberry, Jill Shalvis and Leslie Kelly). I love their steamy sex scenes, fun settings and concentrated, addictive romances.

    Blaze will finish up in June 2017. This means some changes to my series and, of course, a little uncertainty. This isn’t the first time I’ve gone through a line closing. 2c26b51f42e195a85487e1b524bccfa0In fact, I blogged about it last November. I said something then, which remains true now:

    It’s easy to let the fear overwhelm you. But writing is my life…

    Therefore, this change won’t stop me writing. Nor will it slow me down. My husband and I joke that I’m a good mix between both Pinky and The Brain, but less evil…when I’m not torturing my heroes, that is.

    But I did want to write to all my wonderful readers and let you know what this change means for my Dangerous Bachelors Club series.  As it stands there will be four books:

     

    There is a possibility of a 5th book to come out as a Blaze, but I don’t want to promise that in case it doesn’t happen. I know many readers were waiting for Owen’s story, in particular. I will do my best to give him the HEA he deserves in whatever format that might be. So stay tuned, and once I know more I will update you.

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    While I’m sad to see Blaze go, I understand that in this industry change is the only constant. As always, my focus is on writing the best stories I can, improving my craft and reaching as many people as possible with the message that a happy ever after is possible.

  2. Just in case you’re new…

    April 18, 2016 · About Me, My Books · (0) Comments

    Hello! First up, I have to apologize for letting my little blog gather dust the last few months. The start of 2016 has been a busy one and I’ve been plagued with some health issues that have sucked up what little energy has been left over after meeting my deadlines. But I’ve missed posting here and would like to make it more of a regular thing. So, here we are.11891251_1659466744266787_7880075496173469026_n

    To get back into the blogging spirit I thought it might be fun to do a ‘getting to know me’ type post. Kind of a Stefanie London 101 in terms of me as a person and as an author.

    If you’re new, hello! If you’re returning, then welcome back. Thanks for being awesome.

    I’m Stefanie, author, caffeine addict, collector of lipsticks. Owner of stuffed llamas. I’m an Aussie gal who managed to survive the Australian wildlife for thirty years before moving to Toronto, Canada. After working in Human Resources, Change Management, Communications, Retail, and Makeup Artistry, I gave it all up to pursue writing full time. I honestly think it’s the best job in the world and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else with my life.

    I grew up on a steady diet of Agatha Christie, R.L.Stine and Sweet Valley High books until I eventually started ‘borrowing’ books from my mother’s shelf. I didn’t develop a strong appreciation for romance until I got married and decided I wanted to fulfill my lifelong dream of being a published author. When trying to figure out what I wanted to write, I gravitated to romance because I’ve always been interested in people. And what is romance about, if not people? (well, there’s shifters and aliens and the like, but you know what I mean!)

    Aside from my love of books I’m a fan of anything zombie-related, I love playing board games (my current fave is Agricola!) and I have a newly developed appreciation for baseball.

    Want to know more? Here’s some rapid fire info:

    • I live with my husband and our best friend/roomie, we’re all Aussies and we’re very loud when watching the baseball.
    • I studied ballet from the ages of 5 until 16 when I had to give it up due to ankle injuries and tendinitis. I continued to dance other styles until I was 20.
    • I miss Australian coffee SO MUCH. But I love poutine. Also, Canada does grilled sandwiches very well…I appreciate that.
    • I’m really clumsy (clearly all that money my parents invested in my ballet classes didn’t give me any grace or balance. Sorry Mum!). In fact, to ‘do a Stef’ in our household means to walk into an open cupboard door. Yes, it happens often enough that we have a name for it.
    • I got glasses and braces in the same week when I was fourteen. I have never grown out of the awkwardness.

    So, what’s the deal with your books?

    I write sexy contemporary romances, this means there are ‘on screen’ love scenes with descriptive language (and I love me some descriptive language haha!) All my books have a ‘happy ever after’ and generally can be read as standalone, even when in a series. Not sure where to start? Here are some recommendations:

    The USA Today Bestselling series!! Behind the Bar (Entangled Lovestruck) – sexy romantic comedies

    Paul and Des Chapman are the sexy brothers you’ve been looking for! These sexy Italian-Australian brothers run a bar  and make a lot of mischief on the road to finding love. The series is currently two books in (with two more hopefully on the way).

    Read this series if: you want a light-hearted, ‘warm and fuzzy’ series with plenty of laughs.

    Start here: The Rules According to Gracie (Behind The Bar #1) and Pretend It’s Love (Behind the Bar #2)

    The Dangerous Bachelors Club (Harlequin Blaze) – super steamy romance with a touch of mystery

    The men who work for Cobalt & Dane Security are here for your protection (and pleasure!) This series has ex-cops, former FBI officers and sexy computer geeks.  It’s steamier than my other works, but there’s still plenty of emotion and each book has a satisfying HEA.

    Read this series if: you like a little mystery and light suspense mixed in with your romance.

    Start here: A Dangerously Sexy Christmas (Dangerous Bachelors Club #1) and A Dangerously Sexy Affair (Dangerous Bachelors Club #2)

    Still not sure? Short on time? Try a low commitment option.

    Loving the Odds is a fun, sexy novella set at a Vegas romance genre convention. It’s not linked to any of my other series and you can pick up a copy for only 99c!

    Or, if you fancy something totally for free, I have my small town romance, A Kiss in Kite Harbor, available as a free gift for newsletter subscribers.

    Want to see where I work?

    Check out this video I made a few months back where I give you a tour of my work space.

    That’s all for today’s post! I hope you enjoyed this little look into me and my books. If you have any questions that you’d like me to answer, please feel free to contact me.

  3. Pretend It’s Love becomes a USA Today Bestseller

    February 27, 2016 · My Books · (0) Comments

    This book.

    I’ll be honest, The Rules According to Gracie was initially intended to be a standalone novella. But I became curious about the laid-back, skirt-chasing Paul after turning the first book in. When I started writing his story, I realized that he was, in fact, a little misunderstood. He was a loyal, kind-hearted guy who might be a little rough around the edges, but in the best way possible.

    Each book is a different experience for me – some books need to be dragged out, kicking and screaming. Others plod along slowly, all of a sudden picking up pace when you least expect it. But both of my Behind the Bar books seemed to fly out of my fingers. I don’t know why.

    And, best of all, they resonated with readers. Especially Pretend It’s Love.

    Then, last week, this book broke another record for me. It landed on the USA Today Bestseller list at spot #115. There aren’t the words to describe how utterly shocked I was.

    This book has brought me an immense amount of joy to see how much readers loved Libby and Paul’s story. Now, it’s helped me achieve a career goal that I jotted down a year ago in the hopes that I might one day (in the far off, distant future) see my name on a bestseller list.

    If you bought a copy of this book (or any of my other books), thank you. If you’ve left a review (even if you hated it), thank you.If you’ve tweeted/messages/told a friend about my book, thank you. Without the wonderful people who chose to click the buy button on my books, I wouldn’t have my dream career.

    So again, a million times thank you.

  4. How should you end your chapter?

    February 18, 2016 · Video, Writing Craft · (0) Comments

    Hi guys! It’s time for another video. This is from my writing craft series and it’s all about ‘chapter hooks’ i.e. how to end your chapter and to propel your reader into the next chapter. I hope you find it helpful and interesting. As always your feedback is most welcome, so feel free to leave comments and video requests on this blog post or over on Youtube. Mwah!

  5. The Year Ahead…

    It’s mid-way through February and I’ve barely stopped since J and I got back from Europe. There were copy edits, proofs and final bits and pieces for Loving the Odds which is out next month. I’m also working on the third book in the Dangerous Bachelors Club series for Harlequin Blaze (yes, this series finally has a name!!) So there has been lots of BIGFAT time (BIGFAT = Butt Is Glued Fingers Are Typing, which I’ve borrowed from my old writer’s group back home).

    Plus, J and I are going through the process of applying for Permanent Residency here in Canada. It’s hard to believe our two-year Visas are going to be done so soon and we’re not quite ready to leave. Thankfully, that process is going well so far.

    That has meant that planning for the year has taken a bit of a backseat, as has this blog. But here’s what’s going on in 2016:

    • The Dangerous Bachelor’s Club series is contracted to be six books long, so I’ll be working on the next few installments of that. I’m so excited to flesh out the world I created last year and also to give HEAs to the characters you met in A Dangerously Sexy Christmas.
    • I’ve started working on a new series for Entangled Indulgence, which surrounds a wealthy Australian family who run a department store company. The first book has been drafted and (bonus!) the heroine is Emmaline Greene, whom you met in The Rules According to Gracie (Behind the Bar book #1). A lot of readers wanted to know if poor Emmaline would get her own HEA after what happened to her in that book. Good news is, yes! I wasn’t going to leave her hanging ;)
    • Speaking of the Behind the Bar series…I’m toying with writing a third book. If you read Pretend It’s Love then you may remember Noah, who was Des’s groomsman and practically-adopted brother. I just can’t seem to leave this world behind.

    In terms of non-writing stuff that’s happening this year:

    • I’m going back home for a visit!! I love living in Canada and being able to travel, but it’s been almost two years since I left and I miss my family a lot. I also miss Australian coffee and smashes avo on toast. So, I’m killing two birds with one stone ;)
    • I’ve set up my Goodreads challenge at 60 books for the year. It’s been a slow start, but after I’ve met my latest deadline I’m going to spend a week catching up. Plus I’ll have that super-long 35-hour travel time to and from Australia in May, which should help.
    • I’m getting back into making YouTube videos are a little unexpected downtime with my channel. I was a beauty blogger and vlogger before I started writing fiction, so I really enjoy making chatty videos and helping other on their writing journey.

    Speaking of which, here’s my latest video and my first one for 2016! I recently participated on a romance author panel and I had such a wonderful time, I thought I would share some of the common questions that I get asked about my work and about being a romance author.

  6. The Christmas Gift

    December 15, 2015 · My Books, Short Reads · (0) Comments

    It’s hard to believe Christmas and the new year are coming around once more. No matter how much I plan, they seem to sneak up on me every year. This year, however, I had to be more organised than normal as my husband and I are spending Christmas and New Years Eve overseas. We leave for Iceland this weekend and then we’re travelling to England and Germany. Exciting times!

    But I couldn’t end the year without saying thank you to my wonderful readers. Honestly, you guys make it all worth it. Being an author isn’t the easiest job in the world but it is the job that I’ve loved the most, that inspires me constantly and makes me want to leap out of bed in the morning and get to work.

    So, as a token of my appreciation I have published a little short story for you all on Wattpad. This 900 word story was originally written as a Christmas-themed writing challenge a few years ago. Now I’ve updated it, given it a cover and put it out in the world:

    Ellen is spending her first Christmas without her husband, Dean. Though she tries to put on a happy face for her two daughters, she can’t help but struggle to get into the holiday spirit.

    Click here to read the Christmas Gift.

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    This is the perfect bite-sized story to accompany a cup of tea or hot chocolate if you’re looking to infuse your afternoon with a little Christmas magic.

    I hope you enjoy it! Thanks for all your support this year, for the reviews and comments and messages. You guys rock.

    May your Decembers be full of love and joy, and may you have an incredible start to 2016. I’ll see you next year.

  7. Sleighs Bells in the Sand – first sneak peek!

    There’s nothing more exciting than seeing a story finally come to fruition. When I’ve finally gotten the characters out of your head and given them wings, when they find a satisfying Happy Ever After, I can’t help but feel like a proud mamma.

    I’ve recently had the incredible opportunity to collaborate with 6 other amazing Aussie and NZ romance authors (whom you might recognise from the LoveCats DownUnder blog) to pull together this fun and sexy box set. Hot Christmas Nights features seven holiday stories set in Australia and New Zealand (so no snow and warm cocoa in these Christmas stories!)

    We’ve got second chances stories, summer storms, friends falling in love, cowboys, millionaires and more!

    My story, Sleighs Bells in the Sand, is part of my Kite Harbor series even though it takes place in Sorrento, Victoria. For those who read A Kiss in Kite Harbor, you might remember a reference to the hero’s travelling sister. Well, this is her story…now we get to find out what happened while she was off globe-trotting while her family was left behind.

    Read on for a sneak peek at chapter one…


    Hot Christmas Nights - lovecats box set FINAL 500px

    Pre-Orders are available now! Amazon US | CA | UK | Aus

    American Neve Ritter has traveled all the way to Australia to avoid her family for the holidays. But her plans did not include accidentally breaking into the house of a hunky lawyer who’s looking for a little solitude of his own. When a summer storm traps them together, Neve realizes that maybe Santa has been listening to her wishes all along.

    Chapter One

    Neve Ritter turned her face up to the sun and breathed in deep. She was finally here, in the picturesque coastal town of Sorrento, way down at the bottom of Australia. Miles and miles away from home—a whole hemisphere, in fact.

    Ready to spend Christmas all by herself.

    It was more than a little daunting. She’d never spent Christmas alone, ever. Even last year when she’d packed her bags and left her family, she’d spent the holidays in an English hostel surrounded by people and warmth and cheer. But now she needed to think, to reflect. And that wasn’t exactly a group activity.

    Her muscles protested as she stretched her arms above her head and forced her blood to get moving. The nine-and-a-half-hour flight from Thailand followed by a two-hour drive from Tullamarine airport had made her as stiff as over starched sheets. And the air had been hot and dry like the blast from an open oven when she’d stepped out of her rental car.

    It was weird to think that so many people celebrated the Christmas in the summer. Did their greeting cards have snow on them? Did they still drink mulled cider and have turkey for lunch? It was hard to believe anyone would want to roast a bird in this heat. Maybe that’s why all those Aussies were always throwing shrimps on the barbie.

    No, not shrimps. Prawns. Better get the lingo right while she was here.

    The scent of ocean salt and eucalyptus danced along the warm breeze as she took in her surroundings. The tourist beach wasn’t far from the house she’d been told, but here—among the looming trees and shrubbery in every shade of green and brown—she felt far away from everything, especially civilization.

    Popping the trunk on her rental car, she set her bag on the gravel driveway. The wheelie bag—which converted into a backpack—contained the not-so-worldly possessions she’d left home with twelve months ago, her sights set on adventure and truth. And she’d gotten both of those things, but the truth hadn’t set her free as the old saying suggested.

    Maybe skeletons were kept in closets for a reason. More fool her, she’d not only let them out but she’d chased them around the world…and for what?

    A lump lodged in her throat but she swallowed it down. She wasn’t going to feel sorry for herself. Pity was for chumps. Besides, she had a beautiful beach house all to herself. She could laze around for the next week doing nothing but swimming in the ocean, catching some sun and reading. Who wouldn’t want that?

    A voice niggled in the back of her mind, telling her she’d be lonely. It had been a long time since Neve had chosen to be alone. But this was different. Peace and quiet would help her figure out how to come clean with her family.

    Regardless, she had a flight booked for New Year’s Day. Her return to her hometown of Kite Harbor was inevitable, and while it wasn’t set in stone it was set in non-refundable plane tickets. And that was kind of the same thing.

    She jabbed the passcode into the house’s pin pad a little harder than she needed to. When a soft click confirmed her access, she entered. The air was surprisingly cool considering the house had been apparently unoccupied for some months.

    All the shades were drawn, and the house was clean and tidy. A puffy green sofa sat in the middle of the open living area, flanked by two small side tables. There was a flat screen TV, shelves heaving with well-loved books and board games, and a rug that looked soft and cozy as though it had been designed for bare feet.

    Tempting as it was to start with the grand tour, Neve was desperate for a coffee. Leaving her bag in the main room, she wandered over to the kitchen and within minutes the air was filled with a delicious aroma. Cradling the coffee cup between her hands, she leaned back against the kitchen counter and sighed.

    Guilt was already winding its suffocating arms around her. It would take a while to come to terms with what had happened this past year. Of what it meant to close the door on a relationship she’d always hoped to rekindle. But the words ‘I don’t want anything to do with you’ were forever etched into her brain.

    And then there was her family, aka the people she’d ditched after promising she’d be home for the holidays. She hadn’t even been able to break the news via Skype or over the phone. A quick email—barely two lines—had informed them she wouldn’t be returning home as planned.

    You’re a freaking coward. They deserve better than that.

    Perhaps her inner critic was right. She was a coward, but the thought of facing them—of coming home a failure—seemed even harder to bear at such a special time of year. The New Year would give her a fresh start. An opportunity to make things right, she just had to work up the courage to tell the truth.

    The sound of something clicking against the floorboards startled her. The hairs on her arm stood on end. She wasn’t alone in the house.

    “Hello?”

    A low rumbling growl sent a tremor through her as a hulking, black dog blocked the entrance to the kitchen. Its fur was dark as ink and the beast stood almost to waist-height. As it bared its teeth, another low growl rumbled from the back of its throat.

    Holy hell, its teeth looked sharp as knives. Long and pointed and perfectly shaped to pierce through flesh.

    Shit, shit, shit!

    “Easy,” she said, flattening her back to the counter and setting her coffee down. Her stomach clenched as she forced herself to breath slow and steady. She’d be fine against anything—bugs, spiders, snakes…but not a dog.

    Don’t just stand there, do something!

    Her eyes darted around the kitchen. The counters were bare, but a frying pan sat on the stovetop just out of reach. She didn’t like the idea of hitting an animal but if it tried to bite her she was going to need something to defend herself with. She reached out but the dog took a step forward and let out a sharp, warning bark.

    Neve flinched, her heart hammering against her ribcage. How the hell had it gotten inside the house? She was sure she’d closed the front door behind her.

    “Be calm,” she muttered under her breath. “Don’t let it know you’re scared.”

    Terrified was a more accurate descriptor. All she could focus on was the way the dog’s eyes were locked onto her. Like it was hungry and she was a big, tasty bag of bones.

    Think, dammit. What would The Dog Whisperer do?

  8. Harlequin’s Biggest Sale ever!

    November 10, 2015 · My Books · (0) Comments

     

    The people are Harlequin just know how to get my attention. 10,000 titles on sale?? Yes, please! I’m already planning which titles to pick up. Now might be a good time to stock up on some of my favourite authors like Sarah Mayberry, Tawny Weber and Jill Shalvis. Old school Blaze books come at me!

     

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    I have a few Harlequin books included in this sale as well!

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    Only the Brave Try Ballet was the very first book I ever wrote and is the reason I’m writing full time now. It has such a special place in my heart!

    Amazon | B&N (Nook) | iTunes 

    Breaking the Bro Code is book #2 in the duology and was one of the hardest books I’ve ever written. It tackles some dark subject matter but still has lots all my usual fun and flirty banter.

    Amazon | B&N (Nook) | iTunes

    What people have said about Only The Brave Try Ballet and Breaking the Bro Code:

    “Only the Brave Try Ballet is a terrific debut novel that I found difficult to put down! Fun, flirty and emotional, this feel-good contemporary romance will delight fans of Jill Shalvis and Sarah Morgan with its captivating blend of witty repartee, steamy love scenes, powerful emotional conflict and poignant romance.” – Cataromance (Only the Brave Try Ballet)

    “Man, what a fun book! Mind you, it wasn’t all hearts and flowers – there were some pretty deep subjects tackled, but getting there was a great ride…it all came together very sweetly with a satisfactory ending that left me with a big grin on my face.” – Harlequin Junkie (Only the Brave Try Ballet)

    “I adored this read so very much, it had sweet passion, intrigue and such a lovely combination of sweet and sexy meets lust and passion, that it just popped from the pages and I certainly did not want the story to end.” –Contemporary Romance Reviews (Breaking the Bro Code)

    Are you picking up anything from Harlequin’s massive sale? Who are your favourite Harlequin authors?

  9. How to start your story?

    October 15, 2015 · Video, Writing Craft · (0) Comments

    Hi everyone! I’ve got a new video for anyone who’s toiling with the start of a story. Here are my tips for the best ways to start your story, what cliches to avoid and a few tips for assessing your own manuscript.