Ruby Finalists Announced

A big congratulations to all of the fabulous finalists in this year’s Ruby awards. For you unfamiliar with this, this is the RWA Romantic Book of the Year contest, shortened of course to Ruby!

I am so very excited for you all, and I cannot wait for the awards dinner in August this year – at which the winners are announced.

Happy Reading!
xx Roz xx

Romance Writers of Australia

Drumroll please!  We are delighted to announce the finalists for the reader-judged RWA Romantic Book of the Year contest, better known as the Ruby.

In the ‘Short Sexy‘ division (and please note the description refers to the stories, not the authors, some of whom are quite tall 😉 ) the finalists, in alphabetical order by author, are:

What the Bride Didn’t KnowKelly Hunter
One Secret NightYvonne Lindsay
Never Say No to a CaffarelliMelanie Milburne
A Price Worth PayingTrish Morey

In the ‘Short Sweet‘ division (again, referring to the stories, although the sweet part is, I’m sure, perfectly true of the authors as well) the finalists, in alphabetical order by author, are:

One Life Changing MomentLucy Clark
Gold Coast Angels: Bundle of TroubleFiona Lowe
A Father at LastJulie Mac
Secrets of a Career GirlCarol Marinelli

The ‘Stories with Romantic Elements’ finalists…

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Coming Out as a Chick Lit Writer

It is so important to remain true to your own voice, your own heart. Write what you enjoy and what you like, rather than writing something to satisfy someone else’s preconceptions.

Georgina Penney, my glittery Ninja, puts her experience of how she handled these reactions rather well, don’t you think?

Writing What You Enjoy

by Georgina Penney 

Georgina Penneysml

“I expected so much better of you!”

My brain went plink and I tried my best not to have an over-dramatic moment at the friend reading the first page of a manuscript I’d just spent years working on.

“Ah… what did you expect?” I asked.

“I don’t know… something more you. Have you read God of Small Things by Arundharti Roy? Something like that. You’re so good at describing things! I wanted that. I wanted something more… more…literary”

If you’re a chick lit writer or romance writer who has a history in literary studies like I do, this whole “coming-out-of-the-closet” conversation is probably your worst nightmare when you’re first starting out. It was definitely mine and I’d been anticipating it for ages.

Although, expecting it and experiencing the hot-cold flush of having my work judged against a spectacularly talented Man-Booker Prize…

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Review – Just For Today by Emmie Dark

JUST FOR TODAY coverShe’s not that kind of girl!

Veterinarian Jess Alexander doesn’t have one-night stands with the best man at a coworker’s wedding. But thirtysomething divorcée Jess is definitely in a rut that a night of reckless passion with a younger man just might break. And what better candidate than criminally good-looking Sean Paterson?

Being with Sean is exhilarating. But where could this relationship possibly go? Expecting anything more than a good time from Sean is a one-way ticket to heartbreak. Against her better judgment, Jess can’t walk away from whatever this is…not yet.

Just For Today is a story that won’t stay with you just for today (pardon the pun). It’s one of those books you’ll think about down the track and remember just how lovely it was.

Jess is in her thirties, fresh from a divorce and not sure about re-entering the dating pool. Sean is the younger man, cocky and confident and very sure of the effect he has on the opposite sex. They meet at the wedding of her co-worker, Hailey to his brother, Rob. Sparks fly instantly and they have a hot night together. However, what is originally intended as a “one-night-only” quickly turns into something much more.

What I loved so much about Just For Today was Jess and Sean. They are both such vibrant and real characters. They matched each other so beautifully when it came to intelligence, compassion and love for what they do. The physical connection between them is also really well done.

Both Jess and Sean are flawed – they have and have had problems and issues to deal with in their lives. However, upon meeting each other, it seems to me as if they are finally finding that missing piece of the puzzle they need to move onwards and upwards from their pasts. However, with Jess not wanting to settle for being someone’s second best again and Sean’s somewhat nomadic life, the road to their happy ending may not be as smooth as one would want.

Just For Today left a real smile on my face. It was funny, sweet, smart and emotional. Emmie Dark is definitely one wonderful Australian author to watch out for!

My rating: 4.5 out of 5

Release Date: 1 June 2013

Purchase Links: Amazon – Nook – Harlequin

Note: I was provided with an advanced reader copy of this book by the author, Emmie Dark in return for an honest review.

Review – Italian Affair by Annie Seaton

ItalianAffair-500Free-spirited sex therapist Brianna Ballantine has four days to find a fiancé so she can inherit her birth mother’s Italian villa. Commitment is not on the agenda. Writing her sex therapy book and signing legal papers are. And once all is said and done, she’ll return home to Scotland.

For finance guru Tomas Richards, relationships have been a bad investment—give him stocks and shares any day. When Tomas offers a marriage of convenience to help Brianna secure her inheritance, the sizzle between the sheets promises an affair to remember, despite family complications at every turn.

But Tom must convince Brianna to stay, and make this Italian affair a lifelong commitment.

I’ll tell you, people, after reading this wonderful book, I felt like taking a holiday to Lipari Island. Oh my, it sounds just wonderful. Annie Seaton has such a marvellous and vivid way of describing the characters and the location, you feel as if you are right there on the journey with them.

In this, the second of the Affair series, we revisit the Richards brothers – this time, it’s Tomas. He’s the straight-laced finance guy, a planner to the core, a lover of lists. He makes a break from his life by taking over his aunt’s marina on his mother’s home island of Lipari. At the airport and on the flight, he encounters Brianna Ballantyne, a vibrant sex therapist/writer from Scotland.

Brianna has come halfway across the world and back to find out more about her birth mother. Upon arriving in Sydney, she discovered that her now-late mother has left her a villa on Lipari, but she has a limited time to claim her inheritance.

It turns out there is a provision in her mother’s will that Brianna needs to be married to inherit the villa. Knowing no one and with a very tight timeline, Brianna asks Tom to act as her fiancé. Somehow they end up actually tying the knot, and this kicks off a set of events that neither was expecting……..especially falling in love.

Sometimes, marriage of convenience stories can seem a little far-fetched or silly, but I didn’t get that with this one. Each finds the other attractive (and admits it), but there are no instant declarations of love. The attraction builds after the marriage.

Tom and Brianna has such a wonderful chemistry, and you can believe that this could be real. Ms Seaton does a wonderful job of building the tension between them, a tension which at times sparks from the pages of the book. If you want to know what I mean by that, check out the scene after the dinner at Nonno’s. Hot!!

I love that Tom has respect for what Brianna does for a job, and doesn’t come over all giggly when she tells him what her book is about. Take note, fellas, that’s sexy in my book.

I particularly loved that only hints of the Scottish were dropped with Brianna. Those of you who read my reviews regularly will know that books written in some bizarre faux-Scots dialect get me irritated. So, thank you, Ms Seaton, for allowing your readers to use their imagination here.

This was such a lovely story and when the HEA comes, it is tied up romantically without being too sickly sweet. I am very much looking forward to the next instalment in the Affair series, Outback Affair, which is Alex’s story.

My rating: 4.5 out of 5

Release Date: 10 June 2013

Purchase Links: Amazon – iBookstore – Nook

Note: I was provided with an advanced reader copy of this book by Entangled Publishing, LLC in return for an honest review.