Monday 23 October 2017

The Dreaded Reading Slump

with Miranda

Do You Ever Have a Reading Slump?

Darlings, everyone does...! It might be a busy time of year when you're burning the candle at both ends, maybe feeling too pressured, too tired, too sick, too whatever. Happens to us all, even if you didn't plan it that way. Suddenly that TBR pile (mountain, whatever) seems all in the Too-Hard Basket and you (Shock! Horror!) don't want to read.

Never fear, Dr Miranda is here with some wonderful romantic reading suggestions to help you break out of that dire situation. 

Pick up something 'lighter' than you normally read.

If you normally read 500 page tomes, try a novella instead. Something like the delicious Pursuing Lord Pascal by our friend Anna Campbell. The perfect pick-me-up; just looking at that glorious cover makes me feel better straight away. But psst! Although this is shorter than a full-length novel, it packs a marvellous romance punch. You'll be reading more of Anna's books before you know it.

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Or, pick up a series romance that is shorter than books you normally read. Perhaps Stepping Into The Prince's World from Aussie romance queen Marion Lennox. Yes, please. Sit down with a cup of tea and get lost in her world for a couple of hours. A reading slump get-well pill indeed. And then I can guarantee you'll go and get every Marion Lennox book ever, because you'll be hooked. She may write shorter books but by golly they are beautiful and tenderly romantic, with real-life issues. I love series romances.

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Have fun with your books!

Head off to your local library - gotta love libraries, they're a home away from home. Just inhale and enjoy the whole booky atmosphere. So wonderful! Plus, you'll start seeing titles that tempt. Or, simply go to your own shelves (or your virtual shelf) and start picking up your books, looking at them, rearranging them, reading the blurbs, enjoying the cover art (who wouldn't?!) and maybe...randomly start reading one. Before you know it you'll be half way through. Problem solved.

If nothing else works...

Try rereading an old favourite that makes you laugh and enjoy life. One of mine is this fabulous book by Susan Elizabeth Philips, Nobody's Baby but Mine. Guaranteed to get you into a happy reading place.

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What else? What do you do to break out of a reading slump?

Love from Miranda xx


Love to love:

A book or author that begins a new reading glom for me. Quick, where's their backlist?

Love to laugh:

At old funny faves. A wonderful way to (re)read.

Love to learn:

About new authors, new books, new covers, new everything booky. I am a tragic book troll... But there's worse ways to live. Yes?

Monday 16 October 2017

From New South Wales to South Wales…

By Renee Dahlia

We are very pleased to have author Renee Dahlia as our guest this week.

Renee grew up in a family of storytellers. Surrounded by orators, and books. Even with all that encouragement for books, She had no inclination that she could write, nor that she wanted to write. Instead, she chose to study science, and graduated with a degree in physics and maths. She ended up doing data analysis in a range of industries: road maintenance, natural gas, electricity, and horse racing. 

She joined Romance Writers Australia (RWA) and did as many courses as she could to learn about the differences between fiction and non-fiction. A year later, in August 2016, with two novels complete, she pitched the series at the RWA conference. A few months later, she had a signed contract with Escape.

Nearly twenty years of wondering, and a decade of planning, came to fruition last month for me. No, it’s not finally being published, although my debut novel came out in March this year, and the second one in the series is out now. Last month, I made it to the other side of the world. 
South Wales - Copyright Renee Dahlia
I’ve always travelled through books, letting reading take me to new worlds, other countries, while finances and young children prevented me from doing any real travel. In my twenties, everyone I knew did a Contiki tour. I wanted to get drunk around Europe on a bus too. Instead I woke up stupidly early to brush racehorses, tend to their needs, and earn enough money to pay for my uni degree. After graduating, I’d had it with poverty and went to work, forgoing travel to squirrel away every penny to spend on… you guessed it… horses. 
Copyright Renee Dahlia
At some point, horses gave way to marriage and children, although I still work in the racing industry, in a desk job (welding the degree and the horses together). The desire to travel has always been there, and even when struggling financially, I managed to do plenty of local travel, including camping trips around Tasmania and the southern corner of WA. 

This year, the children were big enough to cope with a longer plane ride, and we had saved up enough for our first major overseas adventure. My partner wanted to see Wales, simply because of curiosity. Why did Cook name us New South Wales? Is there any similarity to South Wales? Throw in some engineering landmarks, some industrial revolution history, and our trip planned itself. London, followed by three weeks in a motorhome driving around Wales.

Copyright Renee Dahlia - Natural History Museum
The fifth book in the Bluestockings series will be set in the British Museum, so that was high on my list. I hadn’t planned to write a fifth book in this series, however, my beta reader for In Pursuit of a Bluestocking fell in love with the hero’s sister and begged me to give her a book! The building itself is a pretentious monument to stolen treasures, however, it’s sister, the Natural History Museum (built in the 1880s to house the overflow from the British Museum) stands as a highlight in our visit. A purpose built building with d├ęcor to suit its reason for being, the Museum’s many fascinating collections are as impressive as the building itself. 

Tagline: When he goes hunting a thief, he never expects to catch a bluestocking...

A train chase set in 1888 that takes readers from Amsterdam, to Paris and finally the U. In Pursuit of a Bluestocking begins in Amsterdam, the city where my father was born, and a place that looms large in family lore. Both my parents speak Dutch fluently, unfortunately mine extends as far as Lord Stanmore’s few words. In hindsight, it’s a shame that I didn’t learn the language properly, however, it has allowed me to write the differences between a native speaker and a hesitant speaker from a place of personal experience. I hope readers enjoy it as much as I enjoyed researching all those wonderful places. 

Has travel ever inspired you to do something you thought you would never do?

I love to love... my family, my friends, my readers.

I love to laugh... at the absurdities of life.

I love to learn... history of science and technological advances.

Contact Renee:
Twitter: @dekabat