Monday 25 September 2017

Author Spotlight - Juliet Madison

She's prolific. She inspires. It's especially joyous to introduce you to author Juliet Madison.


Juliet Madison is a bestselling and award-nominated author of 17 books in fiction and self-help, an inspirational colouring book artist, and a self-empowerment and writing coach/tutor.
With her background as a naturopath and a dancer, Juliet is passionate about health, fitness, and living a positive life. She likes to combine her love of words, art, and inspiration to create books that entertain and empower readers to love, laugh and live.
Juliet lives on the picturesque south coast of NSW, Australia, where she spends as much time as possible writing and as little time as possible doing housework. She is a proud member of the Romance Writers of Australia and loves to interact online with readers and writers. You can contact her on Twitter:, on Facebook:, and through her website:

Latest Release/s:

The Secret Letters Project:
A journal of reflection, growth, and transformation through the art of letter writing:

Memories of May:
They say that truth is stranger than fiction, but for Olivia who runs the family bookstore and is writing her grandmother's memoir with the help of bestselling author Joel Foster, she is about to find out that love is stronger than time:

What is one 'must have' when you are writing?

My timer. Without this, my mind gets too distracted or thinks about other things I should be doing!

What are you reading at the moment?

My son's manuscript, Cecilia Ahearn's How to Fall in Love, and I have almost finished Doreen Virtue's book The Courage to be Creative.

Like to share something that recently made you happy?

I recently launched my non-fiction book The Secret Letters Project with a worldwide event encouraging people around the world to leave inspiring letters for strangers to find. What made me really happy was getting some amazing emails from 'strangers' who had found some of these letters, and how they had made a positive impact on their day, or their life overall.

What is the last photo you took with your phone?

My homemade healthy toasted granola that is gluten free, grain free, and paleo. Sadly, after I took this photo I accidentally dropped 1/4 of it on the floor!

If you were the main character in your favourite book, who would you be?

One of the characters from Enid Blyton's The Magic Faraway Tree so I could explore magical lands and slide down the slippery drip in the middle of the tree! Those stories made me love stories.

What is the premise of your latest book?

My latest fiction release is Memories of May, part of my Tarrin's Bay series but still a stand-alone story. It's about Olivia, a single mother who runs the family bookstore started by her grandmother. Her grandma is dying, and Olivia is writing her life story with the help of a course from author Joel Foster, who wrote a bestselling memoir after his wilderness survival experience. He encourages Olivia to create some memories and book-worthy moments of her own, and with his help, she starts to rewrite her own life story, as they discover that true love may not only be found between the pages of a book.

What unique challenges did the book pose?

As well as writing from the point of view of the two main characters, Olivia and Joel, I also wrote historical scenes from the POV of Olivia's grandma, May, when she was a young woman. I've never written anything historical before, so that was new to me, and it took a bit of mental effort to figure out how to intertwine those scenes with the present day story so that everything was revealed at the right time.

What are you working on at the moment?

I'm writing the 6th book in the Tarrin's Bay series, June Promises, and also working on a women's fiction novel yet to be contracted, fingers crossed!

What is your writing schedule? Morning, afternoon or night?

I hardly write anything in the morning, that is when I like to do other things like social media, household stuff, and planning new things in my schedule (or sleep in!). So it's usually afternoons and evenings, any days of the week that I can.

Are you a plotter, pantser or somewhere in between?

Plotter. Though I often 'pants' the first scene or chapter of a new book to see where it takes me. Then I plot!

What do you love to love?

I love to love the special people in my life. These connections are the most important thing in life.

What do you love to laugh at?

I'm a fan of those silly GIFs and stickers on Facebook comments and in messenger. I can amuse myself for quite a while searching for funny ones!

What do you love to learn about?

The universe, spirituality, and how we can be the best version of ourselves.

Monday 18 September 2017

What is Love? Part 4 - Body Language

By Cassandra Samuels

Body language. We know we use it, sometimes unconsciously, sometimes not, in our everyday lives. You've probably seen enough TV to know it is helpful in solving crimes, eg. the TV series Tell Me Lies (a show that follows a group of deception experts), and more recently the TV show Bull.

But what about body language when it comes to love, to attraction, to desire?

It's a complicated science but there are some simple things to do to show that you are attracted to another. Some are subtle and some not so subtle. Here are a few:

Courtesy of Communication

Open gestures of availability are things like uncrossed arms and legs, smiling, and looking the other person in the eyes. All these indicate interest in the other person and attraction.

Mimicking the other person is playing mirror-mirror, i.e. copying the other person's poses and gestures. If they tilt their head you do too; if they smile and blink, you copy. Purposely holding back on these indicators has been shown to actually make the other person more interested in you (delayed gratification anyone?). It is because they see their own attraction reflected in your body language.

Less subtle, perhaps, is hair flicking and exposing of the neck that women sometimes do when presented with a handsome man. You can try wearing your hair down, and keeping hands and wrists visible to display the soft skin of the wrists is also highly attractive for men.

Tilting your head can expose pheromones which can send a pretty strong message to the other person that you would like them to kiss you or at least get closer to you. The neck is a highly erogenous zone. Biting the lips or licking the lips is another way of showing you wish to be kissed by that other person.

Delaying a smile or a head tilt when you first meet a person you like can make the eventual showing of your attraction, by mimicry or other hints, more powerful, and make the other person feel like you have rewarded them and see you in an even better light.

courtesy of Pexels
Using the tone of your voice, lowering it or slowing down your speech patterns a little, can indicate attraction (not everyone can have the natural low husky tones of Demi Moore).

How can you read the signs of attraction? When we are attracted to someone, we blush. It is said to mimic the orgasm effect where we get flushed. It is a natural way the body tries to attract the opposite sex.

Is your heart racing when you look at that certain someone? This is another sign of attraction. Check out the feet of the person you are attracted to. Are they pointing your way? Yes? Then he is certainly interested, if not totally attracted to you. Facing away? You are not in the race.

These are just a few ways to gauge attraction. The topic of body language is huge and would take years to master, but I hope you have enjoyed this brief overview.

Next time you are in a local café, take note of the body language of the pair at the next table. Are they attracted to each other or just friends?

Have you ever met someone and felt your heart rate speed up and your face heat? And did it lead to seeing that person again?

Love to Love meeting my new grandson.

Love to Laugh at funny cartoons.

Courtesy of

Love to Learn about Body Language.

Monday 11 September 2017

What I Loved About the Historical Novel Society Australasia Conference

 by Marilyn Forsyth

Image courtesy of HNSA

I just spent the most fabulous weekend at the Historical Novel Society Australasia (HNSA) conference in Melbourne. It was the first one I’ve attended and I assure you it won’t be the last. Sadly, the next isn’t until 2019, but at least it gives me plenty of time to save up 😊.

The selection of sessions, practical workshops and academic sessions was absolutely sensational (the only problem being that there were too many choices)! Everything you could ask for, from being allowed to heft pieces of medieval armour to listening to a panel of feisty romance authors vent their ire at the proposition that romance is written to a formula.

Lisa Chaplin’s From Elevator Pitch to Finish proved to me yet again what a wonderful author and teacher Lisa is. I attended her Deep POV workshop some years ago and it was shortly after that that my debut novel The Farmer’s Perfect Match was accepted for Harlequin’s MIRA line (due in no little way to Lisa’s suggestions, I’m sure). Fingers crossed, I now have the perfect pitch for my current wip.

I found out from the panel discussing Bio Fiction: Can You Defame the Dead? that according to Australian law, no, you can't defame the dead, or their descendants. Handy to know for those Aussie writing historical fiction.

The Outlander Effect: Parallel Narratives was of particular interest because my latest work is a time-slip novel. Ella Carey, Felicity Pullman, Belinda Murrell and Gary Crew gave some great insights into how to bring a dual timeline novel to life while maintaining the authenticity of both timelines and their characters' stories.
Looking like a dag

Having missed out on the Weapons session at last month's RWA conference (clashing sessions), I was so pleased to be able to attend the session on Armour with Matt Curran. I was able to get a tangible feel for the medieval past by trying on a chainmail hood and a twelfth century Norman helmet (recreated).

The discussion about the difference between historical romance and a historical love story was a lot of fun. The panel, consisting of Lisa Chaplin, Anna Campbell, Isolde Martyn, and Alison Stuart, presented a lively and entertaining discussion with a lot of laughs. 

The panel discussing Authenticity vs Truth: Does Historical Fiction Need to be Accurate? was interesting, but without arriving at a definitive answer, of course. There will always be those who believe that historical fiction should serve the narrative versus those who believe writers have a moral obligation to get the facts of history correct (even in fiction).

Photo courtesy of Jel Cel (HNSA)

I’m lucky enough to have had two books published (in a different genre to historical fiction), but there was so much I wasn’t aware of with regard to the process. Thank you to the panel of Pathways to Publication for outlining the different reasons why mss may not make the cut.

The last session, Writing Outside Your Comfort Zone: Sex and Violence, provided a lively conclusion to the conference. Thanks to Kate Forsyth, Anna Campbell and Luke Devenish for the laughs.

Over the weekend I also got to have a coffee with one of my all-time favourite writers, Juliet Marillier, and to actually meet the fabulous Anna Campbell for the first time in person. Talk about fan girl moments! Loved the way these ladies took the time to talk to their biggest fans (i.e. me :D).

Photo of Juliet Marillier meetup courtesy of Denniel Allysha
I love the conference experience! The interaction between writers of all levels is wonderful to be involved in. Needless to say, I've been totally inspired and can't wait to get back to my story with a heap of fresh ideas for finishing it off. (But I will miss Melbourne - despite the cold.)

What has been a memorable conference workshop you've attended? Would you rather interact or sit and listen to an expert?

Love to love meeting up with Facebook friends in person. I met a few Word Count Warriors for the first time - lovely to be able to put real faces (as opposed to Facebook photos) to names. Plus, I also unexpectedly ran into an old school friend - such a lovely surprise!

Love to laugh along with Anna Campbell's infectious laugh.

Love to learn about the concept of a 'sensitivity reader'. If you have a sensitive issue in your novel, it's a good idea to have an expert on the issue read your book to advise if your treatment of it is authentic. An example might be that if your book delves into the treatment of our Indigenous peoples in the past, your sensitivity reader should be an Indigenous person from the area you write about (the reason being that it's disrespectful for an Aboriginal person from one area to talk about the culture of an Aboriginal group from another area). I'd never heard the term before, but it makes sense to me.

Monday 4 September 2017

Author Spotlight - Bronwyn Stuart

It is with great pleasure I present to you Harlequin author Bronwyn Stuart.


Bronwyn Stuart's love of reading got her into trouble at a very young age, starting with Mills & Boon 'borrowed' from her mother and then progressing to meaty historicals and sweeping sagas. It's only fair that romance pays her back with unique ideas for her own novels. She now writes gritty romance from her treehouse in the Adelaide hills where she lives with her young children, two terror hounds, one fluffy white cat, and a bad boy (now husband) of her very own.

Bronwyn is an award-winning author and multiple contest winner in both Australia and North America. She has three full-length Regencies published in English and Italian with Carina Press and Harlequin MIRA Australia. Her previous contemporary romance from Escape Publishing is entitled Mixing Business with Pleasure and can be found anywhere great ebooks are sold.

You can find out more about her and her books at or catch up with her on Facebook - Bronwyn Stuart Romance Author.

What is the one 'must have' when you are writing?

Apart from my little pink laptop, I have to have lollies or something to chew. I'm a teeth grinder, especially at the intense chapters!

What are you reading at the moment?

I'm about to jump into an Annie West threesome (three books, not three people) that I got at the RWAus conference in Brisbane.

Who is your favourite literary crush?

My crushes change as my reading tastes do. One day it might be a highlander (let's face it, it's always a guy in a kilt) and the next it might be a billionaire. If I could have a rich highlander, I'd be happy.

What is the last photo you took with your phone?

My two Jack Russell Terrors (and yes, terrors, 14 months and 6 months).

What is the premise of your latest book?

My latest Escape Publishing release revolves around the reality TV show, The Bachelor. I was once, unashamedly, an addict. In She's The One, the hero signs up for the show drunk as a skunk and when he sobers, tries to pull out but the contract is ironclad. In a last-ditch attempt to claw back his shady reputation, he demands his 'bride' be chosen before filming.

The heroine is the daughter of the network boss and he basically blackmails her into becoming a bachelorette, the last woman standing. But she has other plans to make our hero fall in love with anyone who isn't her...

What unique challenges did the book pose?

It was challenging to not make a mockery of the actual Bachelor show. We all know it's more scripted than they let on and we all know it's a huge setup, but it's about the journey, the reason I watch it, and I wanted She's The One to have that same exciting romantic journey.

What are you working on at the moment?

I submitted an entry to Harlequin's new Dare line and got a request for more chapters so I'm forging ahead on that. Fingers crossed.

What is your writing schedule? Morning, afternoon or night?

Morning and afternoon while the kids are at school. I'm too tired at night.

Are you a plotter, pantser or something in-between?


Do you listen to music as you write?

I need total silence! Well, birds singing is nice.

What do you love to love?

Not what, but who. I'm fiercely protective of my family and friends and I love to love them.

What do you love to laugh at?

I actually love to laugh. Kids, pets, movies. I try to make people laugh as much as I can too because there's not enough to be happy about sometimes. It's my motto. Love, Laugh, Live. I have it tattooed on the back of my neck. Find someone who makes you laugh, fall in love with that person and then you'll know what it is to truly live...

What do you love to learn about?

I am always learning something new. I consider myself to be quite intelligent so information is like crack for me. Honing my writing craft is at the top of my list but I also love those useless facts, too, the kind that you'll never use for anything but a conversation starter.