Where did the idea for Bad Bachelors come from? The question also known as: what kind of crazy person dreams up an evil idea like this?? When I was first working on the proposal for this series, the idea was more of a match-making app. However, I saw an article talking about the creation of the review website Yelp, but for people. In the end, I think it was an April fool’s joke. But the plot bunnies were running wild at that point, and who am I not to give a good home to some adorable little plot bunnies??
So, I switched my idea from being about match-making to being about a “bachelor review” app. While the series itself is absolutely a rom com and highly focused on the romance, I did want to use the app as a way to highlight how social media influences behaviour and perception. We got the internet when I was sixteen, and I have been on Twitter and Facebook for over a decade.
I’ve also worked in an information and internet security team for several years as well (which is why you’ll find elements of social engineering, hacking, phishing etc. popping up in my books from time to time). Needless to say, I have a fascination for online behaviour and the pros and cons of social media’s impact on our world.
That’s the background of Bad Bachelors. Like I said, this is absolutely a romance book. But if you like stories that have something meaty in the background, then this might give you an idea of what to expect. I can’t say too much about the thread that runs through the stories without spoiling anything. But, for those who’ve already picked up a copy, there’s more to come about the mysterious creator, why it was created and Manhattan’s reaction to it.
As for the characters, Darcy and Reed are possibly two of my favourite heroine and hero combinations ever! They’ve got a great frenemies to lovers vibes, sexual tension that’s off the charts and there’s so much banter is made my heart full writing every word. Plus there’s a pinch of family drama as well, just to keep the characters on their toes.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this insight into the idea for the series and that I’ve piqued your interested in book #1. Check out the following links to see where you can buy a copy of Bad Bachelor in your location.
Needless to say, I’m pretty excited. It’s always great to see a book be released into the wild after months of writing, revising, editing and tinkering (oh, and sleepless nights. There are usually a few of those!)
I’m particularly excited about this book because I had such a great time writing it. Not all books fly out of my fingers, to be honest – I wish they did! Each book has it’s own journey and sometimes the characters take their time opening up to me. Or sometimes the story veers off-track and needs to be redirected. But Pretend It’s Love made me laugh, cheer and smile a lot while I was writing it.
This is book #2 in the Behind the Bar series, following on from The Rules According to Gracie.
Bar manager Paul Chapman is sick of his family’s traditional ideals. Marriage, babies, and a white picket fence? Not his gig. But now that his ‘golden child’ big brother is tying the knot, Paul’s screwed. His ex will be there…and she’s having his cousin’s baby. Unless he wants to show up to the wedding alone and face his family’s scrutiny, he needs a girl on his arm. Now.
Cocktail specialist Libby Harris has spent her life earning the nickname Little Miss Perfect, all to win the love of her wealthy, controlling father. But she deviated from his plan, and now her business is on shaky ground. If it fails, she might as well kiss his respect—and her dream—good-bye. Her only hope? Convince the hottest bar in town to take on her product.
Luckily for her, the owner’s brother is sexy as sin and in need of a perfect girlfriend…
So many people asked me if there would be more stories in the series after the first one came out and I was thrilled to be able to give Paul his HEA. Now, in other good news, I’ve been given the green light to write Emmaline’s story (Gracie’s sister) although it won’t be part of the Behind the Bar series. But I didn’t want to leave her hanging after the hell I put her through in The Rules According to Gracie, so don’t worry – I have plans for a very special HEA for her.
So, what’s coming up next?
My first book in the Security Company series for Harlequin Blaze is out November 1st!! I’ve already submitted book #2 in this series, which will be out April next year.
The Lovecats Downunder have just announced an exciting new project, which will be coming out December 1st. Hot Christmas Nights (A LoveCats Downunder box set) will feature 7 steamy Aussie and NZ Christmas novellas.
NB. My story is actually linked to my Kite Harbor series and features Neve Ritter, the globetrotting sister of Nate from A Kiss in Kite Harbor.
Oh, and I made a video recently too. This one is all about finding publishing opportunities for your romance novel – where to look to find special calls and how to jump over that slush pile.
Writing every book is a unique experience. Sometimes the words flow and the characters speak loudly, other times it can be like pulling teeth. Writing A Dangerously Sexy Christmas was one of those flowing books, a huge welcome after I’d spent a few months working on another book that was giving my trouble. I was thrilled when I got the news that Harlequin Blaze wanted Rose and Max’s story and I could not be more excited about joining the Blaze line. Even better, the love the security company featured in this book so much that I got the go-ahead to write more stories in this world!
Aspiring jewelry designer Rose Lawson doesn’t want a bodyguard. Especially the hot, muscle-y one her father hires after a break-in at the jewelry shop where she works. It’s only when her home is also ransacked that Rose realizes the sexy (but infuriating) bodyguard might come in handy…especially on a cold winter’s night.
Max Ridgeway is a former Aussie cop who’s got something to prove in New York. He’s convinced that someone dangerous is behind the robberies and that Rose needs protection. His protection. But what’s even more dangerous is the sexy tension between them—because a hot little fling could compromise their lives…and his heart
Here’s a sneak peek at the first chapter! I hope you enjoy it <3
PERSONAL SECURITY DETAIL was a lot like baby-sitting. All Max Ridgeway had to determine was whether the person under his protection would be the model child or the toddler from hell.
“Do you always disregard your personal safety, Miss Lawson?” he asked.
Two cat-like eyes glowered at him. But if he was going to protect her, he needed to know if she would throw herself into harm’s way. Or run. Or walk down a dark alley in the middle of the night.
“You say you don’t want my protection. Tell me if I’ve misunderstood you.” He leaned back in his chair and laced his hands behind his head.
She squared her shoulders against his visitor’s chair and displayed what he imagined was her most dazzling smile. Rose Lawson’s eyes were almond-shaped and a most unusual shade of yellow-green. She had thick curling lashes, a heart-shaped face and glossy pouted lips made for sin. The whole sexy package probably turned other men to goo. But her appearance—while thoroughly enjoyable—would not distract him.
“You’ll have to excuse the mix-up,” she said in a smooth voice that sent a shot of heat through him. Her accent was strange. Definitely American, but the gentle lilt of her words suggested extensive time overseas. London, according to his research. “My father hired you, but he can be a little…overprotective. I won’t be needing your services.”
Her insistence on refusing his protection meant she would be a royal pain in the butt to have as a client. Only she wasn’t the client; her father was. She stood up and raked a hand through her chin-length brown hair, the artfully curled lengths falling back into place as she released them. Her eyes flicked over him, lingering on his face before she checked her phone.
“Sorry to waste your time,” she said in a tone that didn’t sound sorry at all.
The wall clock of his office ticked loudly in the silence. Each second was another he couldn’t have back.
Rose walked toward the door, her heels clicking against the office floor. Skin-tight black jeans accentuated her legs, and a loose top in black silk acted as a canvas to the ornate red, gold and yellow necklace that hung down to her navel. Her file indicated she was a jewelry designer. Perhaps she’d made the necklace herself.
He let her get to the door of his office before stopping her. “I didn’t say you could leave.”
Her shoulders stiffened and she spun to face him. The charming smile slipped and she regarded him coolly. “I wasn’t aware I required your permission.”
She pulled on a heavy black coat. Jewel-studded gold bracelets clinked, making her movements seem musical.
“As of now you’re in my charge.” Max stood, walked over to her and leaned his back against the wall. “Your father hired me to look after you until we can figure out who broke into your store.”
At the mention of her father Rose became wary, distant. “Probably a bunch of kids. I work in a jewelry store. It’s not hard to believe it was a crime of opportunity. Besides, it’s not even my store. The owner doesn’t seem to think she needs protection, so why should I?”
“Your father obviously thinks you need it.” Max tossed the comment out to see what reaction he’d get.
“He doesn’t know what’s best for me.” She gritted her teeth. “Besides, this happened two whole days ago. If someone was after me, wouldn’t they have done something about it by now?”
“Not necessarily. And as for your ‘kids’ theory, the store was broken into, but the perp didn’t take anything.” He cocked his brow. “That doesn’t sound much like a crime of opportunity to me.”
“All the jewelry is locked in a safe, as are the stones in the workshop.” She tilted up her face to his, exasperation clear in her eyes. “They’re high-grade safes, not something that can be pried open with a crowbar. And I lock the safes whenever I close up. We also have a security system, cameras and a duress button.”
Max couldn’t help but notice the way the colored beads around her neck sparkled like fire…the same fire that lit up her eyes. She was feisty, all right. He’d have his hands full keeping her safe, especially if her father’s suspicions turned out to be true.
“The security system was disarmed and the cameras turned off. And yet they left without touching the safe or stealing anything. You don’t find that strange?”
“No, I don’t. Perhaps they were interrupted, or it was just a random act of vandalism.” She stepped toward the door. “Now, if you’ll excuse me…”
If it had been the act of a bunch of kids trying to vandalize the neighborhood, then why had they stopped at her store in particular? A store with a high degree of security. Why not bust up a few windows of the shops next door?
Rose Lawson was definitely in danger. Max pressed a palm to the door frame next to her head, blocking her exit.
“We haven’t finished.”
Her cheeks flushed deep pink, making her fair skin seem even lighter and her yellow-green eyes even more vivid. “Who do you think you are?”
“I’m the guy who’s going to protect you, Rose.” For some reason his heart was beating a little too fast, his blood pumping a little too hard. “And I take that seriously.”
“Look,” she said, jabbing a finger into his chest. “I don’t need anyone to protect me, least of all some beefed-up GI Joe wannabe.”
Ouch. The lady had an acid tongue. That shouldn’t have surprised him. Women as beautiful as she was often had the world at their feet and they didn’t appreciate it one bit. He resisted the urge to tell her just how wrong her assessment of him was, how totally off base and ignorant and narrow-minded—
“Hit a nerve, did I?” She smirked, the pale pink shine of her lip gloss catching the light.
“Sticks and stones.” Max leaned forward, bringing his face closer to hers. “I’ve endured a lot worse in my life. So you can throw those petty little insults around as much as you like, because they won’t change the fact that from now on I’m going to be your shadow.”
In the silence that followed the raggedness of her breath amplified. Her fingers danced at the edge of her necklace, tracing the beads and counting them as if it were a rosary.
“Now,” he said, stepping back and dropping his arm. “I’m taking you home.”
“The hell you are.” Rose glared up at him. “I don’t want a bodyguard, or whatever you’re called.”
“Security consultant,” Max corrected, inwardly laughing as she rolled her eyes.
“I don’t need one of those, either. I’m fine. It was just a one-off incident.” She pushed a stray tendril of hair from her face.
“I’ll see you home anyway, just to be sure.”
He’d been hired to protect Rose, and he’d do just that. Max’s gig with Cobalt & Dane Security might not be the career he’d dreamed of as a young lad in Australia, but the job had come when he’d needed it most. It was all he had. His old career was in tatters, his fiancée was a distant memory and his best friend…
Max swallowed. He would succeed at this, and if that meant following Rose home against her wishes, then so be it.
One of the things I had on my list of writing goals for 2015 was to try branch out. Namely in the form of self publishing. I knew I wanted to be a hybrid author (meaning an author who does both indie and traditional publishing) as soon as I started writing but last year was all about getting some stories out into the world via the two publishers I’m signed with.
This month I’m making good on my goal. The Small Town Summer box set is now out *happy dance* Working with these eight amazing author was an absolute dream and the final product is something I am truly proud of. My story, A Kiss in Kite Harbor, is the kick-off to my new small town contemporary romance series which will have all of the hallmarks from my Harlequin & Entangled books, in addition to a fun and diverse cast of small town characters.
For a very limited time we’ve got the box set at 99c! You can find out more about my story where to find the box set here.
For the writers who follow this blog, I’ve also done a discussion video on my thoughts around the pros and cons of indie vs. traditional publishing. Hopefully it might help some of you who have a manuscript near complete and are wondering which direction to take! As always, these are just my thoughts and experiences…it’s no gospel by any means ;)
Phew! That was a long post. Next week I’ll be away at the Romance Writers of America conference, which is very exciting! But I always look forward to coming back home and getting stuck into some more writing and, of course, chatting with my lovely readers <3
Just in time for the warm weather (or, for my friends in the Southern Hemisphere, just in time to be in denial about winter) – the Small Town Summer box set is available for pre-order!! *happy dance*
Here’s our glorious cover:
Doesn’t it just scream summer? I absolutely love it. A huge thanks to Talina from Bookin’ It Designs for working her cover magic. Now, what’s inside the box set?
From warm sunny days to long sultry nights, spend your summer falling in love in a small town! These nine contemporary romance novellas featuring sassy heroines, sexy heroes, and lots of heartwarming romance make the perfect beach read. Whether your pleasure is sweet small town romance or smolderingly sexy love stories, there’s something in the Small Town Summer box set for everyone!
AWAKENING ANNA, by Wall Street Journal Bestselling author Terri Osburn ANYWHERE WITH YOU, by Heatherly Bell MOONSHINE & MAGNOLIAS, by National Bestselling author Jamie Farrell SUMMER IN STRINGTOWN PROPER, by Liz Flaherty SUMMER STOCK, by Regina Kyle SERENA’S SOLDIER, by Amy Lamont A KISS IN KITE HARBOR, by Stefanie London HER LAST SHOT, by Megan Ryder SWEET HOME ALASKA, by Rebecca Thomas
Sound like the Small Town Summer box set might be your cup of tea? Why not pre-order so you can have it the second it goes live?
Did I mention it’s on sale for 99c until just after release day? Get it now if you want to take advantage of the special price before it goes up to $3.99.
A Kiss in Kite Harbor is the first in my new small town romance series.
Twelve years ago they shared a life-changing kiss…
Now she’s coming back for more…
When successful plus size model, Shelby Jenkins, is forced to return to her hometown of Kite Harbor, Maine, she must face her past demons. But asking for help doesn’t come naturally and it’s doubly hard when she needs it from the boy who broke her heart. Now he’s all grown up and is more tempting than a double fudge sundae with a cherry on top.
Nate Ritter loves being a teacher in the small town where he grew up. When the woman who stole his teenage heart returns, he’ll do anything to prove he’s no longer the insecure boy who betrayed her. As long as he makes sure he doesn’t fall for Shelby since she has a big, exciting life waiting for her back in the city.
Can his shot at redemption be enough to convince her to stay?
Read on for the short blurbs of each story in the set!
AWAKENING ANNA (Terri Osburn) – Librarian Anna Robinson is fascinated by Max Marshall, the hot young writer occupying the bestseller lists, and the apartment above hers. In one night, Max awakens Anna to true sexual pleasure, but the new lovers quickly learn that one night is never enough.
ANYWHERE WITH YOU (Heatherly Bell) – Welcome to Starlight Hill, California, where the wine flows freely and so does the gossip.
Celebrity stylist Kailey Robbins wants a second chance with ex-military pilot Joe Hannigan, but can she convince him that this time she’ll settle down into small town life?
MOONSHINE & MAGNOLIAS (Jamie Farrell) – Shelby’s a newly single mother learning how to be herself again. Zack’s the hot military man next door who loves a good adventure. And a chance encounter at a steamy summer softball game will challenge what they both thought they knew about their hearts, their lives, and their forevers.
SUMMER IN STRINGTOWN PROPER (Liz Flaherty) – Banker Molly Linden never expected to be alone and unemployed at fifty. Buying hunky carpenter Joe Rahilly’s saloon takes care of the employment situation, but she’s still alone. Or is she?
SUMMMER STOCK (Regina Kyle) – Jax Donovan left his hometown—and high school sweetheart Georgi Petersen—for the bright lights of Broadway. Now he’s back, but can he convince the lovely librarian that their romance is worth rekindling, on stage and off?
SERENA’S SOLDIER (Amy Lamont) – Young nurse Serena Adessi can’t wait to be reunited with the soldier she’s loved for as long as she can remember. But when Mace Palmer sustains a career-ending injury while deployed, can she convince him he still has a future worth fighting for?
A KISS IN KITE HARBOR (Stefanie London) – When plus size model, Shelby Jenkins, returns to her hometown she must face up to the bullies from her past, but the only person who can help her is the one who broke her heart. Small town advocate Nate Ritter is ready for redemption, but will he lose the woman of his dreams to the big city again?
HER LAST SHOT (Megan Ryder) – Girl next door Rachel Darling has been in love with local baseball hero, Bastien LeBeau, for her whole life. Now that he’s back in town, can she convince him that she’s the right woman for him or will he lose the best thing that might ever happen to him?
SWEET HOME ALASKA (Rebecca Thomas) – When Lauren Kinkade abandons her Hollywood dreams to run the family business back in Alaska, she reaches out to a former schoolmate to help get things off the ground. Trey Briggs has his reasons for turning her down, but can he really resist the girl he’s always wanted?
Let’s all take a moment to admire the GORGEOUS cover….
Sigh. It’s perfect.
Release day is one of the most exciting things an author gets to experience in their career. I’ll be honest, it can be darn frightening too! Will people love the new book? Will the connect with heroine and fall in love with the hero? Will the feel satisfied when they get to the HEA?
To celebrate The Rules According to Gracie being released into the big, wide world I thought I would share what a typical day looks like when I’m writing. Back when I wrote this book I was still working full time in an office, but now I’m lucky enough to have scaled back to split my time between writing and working for MAC Cosmetics (which you might know if you’ve seen my makeup shots on Instagram).
So what happens on a day when I’m writing?
8am – I usually get up around this time (after my husband has left for work) and I start my day off with a cup of coffee or tea. It might not be the best habit but coffee makes me a better person. Trust me.
Coffee always tastes better out of a pretty cup!
8:30am – time to check on my emails that have come in overnight. Since my family, friends and people I deal with are scattered all around the world, I often get emails while I’m sleeping. This is also a great time to check Facebook, Twitter and watch a few sneaky YouTube videos while I have breakfast.
10am – Housework. Yep, it’s a pain in the butt. But I find setting aside a little time to do it each day stops it from piling up.
11am – Non-writing writing work. This means working on promotions, checking in with other writer friends, looking at reviews, writing blog posts for my blog or the two blogs I’m a regular at (check out LoveCats DownUnder and The Pink Heart Society). I also use this time to do any critique work for my wonderful critique partner, Lauren.
12:30pm – Lunch! I make lunch and usually eat at my desk (I know, I know….it’s a bad habit) and watch more YouTube videos or I keep working if I’m super flat out.
Hmmmm delicious Pho
1:30pm – Time to start writing. I love listening to instrumental music while I write and I recently discovered the Vitamin String Quartet who do wonderful remakes of famous songs. I think all those years of studying ballet have made me love instrumental and classical music.
4pm – More coffee. More writing.
Om nom nom
6:00pm – Time to start dinner!
7:30pm – Once we’ve had dinner I love to indulge in a little couch time with my husband. We’re currently watching Modern Family from the first season as well as Brooklyn Nine-Nine (I LOVE Andy Samberg) and we’ll be finishing How To get Away with Murder when it finally comes back on.
9pm – Time to have a shower and change into PJs! I try to read every night for an hour or so before I go to bed, but sometimes I come back to my desk and keep working if I feel extra inspired.
My PJs have legwarmers on the bottom just in case I need to bust out some moves in the bedroom…mind out of the gutter people!
Each day is a little different depending on what I have going on. But I can easily say that spending my days writing and interacting with other authors and readers is the best job in the world!
There are so many people who’ve contributed to helping me find my way as a writer and to reaching this point. A big thanks to all my wonderful writerly friends, to the fantastic people at Entangled for publishing The Rules According to Gracie and to my wonderful family.
The biggest thanks for all goes to my wonderful husband for keeping me sane and believing in me at every turn. You make me happy beyond anything I could have ever hoped for <3
BREAKING THE BRO CODE is out on October 1st and and you can get a sneak peek at the first scene here. If you’ve read Only The Brave Try Ballet then you’ll recognise the heroine, Elise Johnson. If you haven’t read Only The Brave Try Ballet, don’t worry! These books can be read as stand alone books and in any order.
You can now add it to your Good Reads ‘Want To Read’ list.
Here are the GORGEOUS international covers (US, UK and Australia)
In the UK it will also be available in print (under the M&B Modern Tempted brand, same as the UK cover above) In Australia it will also be available in a 2-in-1 print volume (under the M&B Sexy brand – cover below) with another story from Target, Big W and Kmart. The great news about the 2-in-1 is that you also get to read TURNING THE GOOD GIRL BAD by Avril Tremayne who is fast becoming one of my favourite category romance authors!
I will also be hosting a few give-aways during October, so stay tuned for more information on how you could win a signed print copy.
Off limits…and oh-so-tempting!
Elise Johnson has more important things to concentrate on than men…saving her struggling ballet studio for starters! So when gorgeous Col Hillam—her brother’s best friend—saunters back into her life, she’s none too keen.
He might be proposing a purely professional arrangement, but the last time they got carried away by their crazy attraction it ended in disaster! Col knows Elise is off-limits, but it only makes her more tempting…. With chemistry this hot, surely that bro code is now null and void…?