Monday 28 January 2019

New Year's Resolutions: Managing a Writing Career

By Alyssa J. Montgomery 

I'm thinking about New Year’s resolutions and my writing goals. I already have my publishing schedule for this year and deadlines set by my publisher, but what about my goals for managing my career as a writer?

After I received my first publishing contract I quickly discovered that the business of writing involves so much more than writing a publishable story! In fact in a hyper-crowded marketplace, marketing can make all the difference. 

This year I decided one of my NYE resolutions should be to consciously manage my writing career, including paying more attention to marketing. 

Sounds easy, right? For me, it isn’t because I have a day job that’s demanding in terms of time, emotional and physical energy (a private speech pathology practice which I own, work and manage!), a family to love, enjoy and organise and a home and several animals to look after, and friendships to enjoy and nurture. No different from most other writers and my health is pretty good, yet I find it a juggling act and I confess that I don’t always catch all the balls I throw up into the air, so what can I do better?

I'm told I need to spend time daily both writing and setting aside time to attend to ‘author-ly business’. I can’t write every day, but this year I’ve resolved to either write and/or attend to some of the business of writing on a daily basis. This should also help me focus on my writing career more.

Every minute spent marketing—whether it’s through social media, blogging, newsletters, book signings, organising pre-launch promotions, answering emails from readers or organising promotional merchandise—takes time away from writing. It’s important to continue the momentum of promotion from one book so that it flows on to the next. So I’m going to try to find a better balance. 

In 2019 I hope to find more time to develop my writing as a business. 

Anybody got any good tips to help me along the way? 

What are your writing New Year’s resolutions?

Love to Love: Meeting goals I've set.

Love to Laugh: When things go wrong and I can't meet those goals (it's either laugh or cry!)

Love to Learn: About how to improve my approach to managing my writing career.

Monday 21 January 2019

The Breathless List 2019

Every year at this time, we Breathless ladies have the unenviable task of nominating our favourite Aussie romance read of the previous year. This year, with so many wonderful books published in 2018, it was an almost impossible task! 

The good news is: we did it!

And here they are...

Buy link

Miranda: A Baby in His In-tray by Michelle Douglas

This book is hands down gorgeous, my happy pick for The Breathless List. It has a twin swap - which Michelle absolutely nailed, a suddenly dumped baby, and a befuddled businessman trying to figure out if the baby is his - or related to him somehow (cue lots of family conflict). 

It is truly a sweet and lovely romance as Liv and Sebastian find themselves, find each other, and find out what a family really means. The most lovely thing about this book was the nice, decent and fair way Liv and Sebastian treated each other. Sometimes this is forgotten: H&Hs can go all conflict-icky with each other and behave less than splendidly. 

Here, despite all the dramas and disasters, their beautiful characters shone through. Plus, cutest cover ever! Bravo, Michelle! 

buy link

Alyssa J Montgomery: Shock Heir for the Crown Prince (Book 1 of the Four Kings series) by Kelly Hunter

I’ve always loved Kelly Hunter’s voice and this second chance, secret baby plot romance ticked all the boxes for me. I loved Ana—a strong heroine who attained her career goal, supported by her parents, despite becoming a single mother. I also loved that her mother was a strong woman and that they had a close bond. Even Ana and Casimir’s child is no pushover!

Casimir is also strong but has the weight of his kingdom pressing down on him. His father was an unyielding man and Cas is determined to be a better ruler. Casimir has definite visions for his kingdom, an unshakeable sense of duty and loyalty but will listen to advice—up to a point! Only Ana is able to get him to lighten up.

As is Kelly Hunter’s usual style, there’s lots of humour in the dialogue where the heroine gives as good as she gets and even has Cas on the ropes at times. The royal advisor Rudolpho is also a great character. He’s wise and possesses a droll sense of humour.

Buy link

Sharon Burke: The Laird’s Willful Lass by Anna Campbell

Fergus Mackinnon is used to being in command and in unquestioning obedience from his servants and tenants. He became Laird of Achnasheen when he was only a child, and people have met his autocratic expectations ever since. Fortunately, his decisions are always correct, and people understand this. When he marries, he will naturally require the same level of deference from his wife.

Marina Lucchetti is a well-known artist in Florence.  She has achieved success, admiration, and independence even though she is competing in a man’s world. Marina is passionate about her art and vows to remain single. No man will stand in the way of the career she loves.

When Marina’s father is injured in a carriage accident, she agrees to remain at Achnasheen and paint the beautiful estate scenery while he recovers.

Fiery desire battles with good sense as both hero and heroine are swept away by irresistible passion, while recognising they can never fully commit to each other.

Buy link

Marilyn Forsyth: Three Gold Coins by Josephine Moon

One wonderful memory from my travels around Europe in my twenties is a magical night when I threw a coin into the Trevi Fountain. So, from the moment Laura Foxleigh tosses her gold coins into that fountain, stating ‘I am in Rome’, I was hooked by this book. The vivid details of the Italian people, their culture and the landscape (plus cute goats, plus cheese-making!) brings the story to life in the loveliest way.

I loved the vulnerability of sweet and sexy Matteo, goat farmer, and the bravery of Laura, who leaves Australia for Italy to escape an abusive ex. That both characters have what many consider disabilities (no spoilers) is what draws them together.

The book is sensual without being overtly sexy. It also has a dark edge to it that kept me turning the pages. If you enjoy romance, armchair travelling, and books that deal with ‘real-life’ issues, you’ll love this one.

(And in case you’re wondering, yes, I did go back to Rome.)

Buy link

Cassandra Samuels: Bittersweet by Jacquie Underdown

I really enjoyed this novel and remember being quite embarrassed that I was tearing up on the plane on the way to see my daughter in Brisbane. 

There is a lot of emotional turmoil in this book but the heroine Amy uses her skills as a chef to keep her friend’s cupcake bakery open while also trying to support her friend's husband. I won't tell you why as it will ruin the book. The hero Tom is a fly-in-fly-out contractor who has shunned his part in the family vineyard, but with Amy holding the fort he feels the need to be there for his brother and for her. 

This is a book about love, family and friendships.

Buy link

Enisa Haines: Maggie’s Run (Outback Brides Book 1) by Kelly Hunter

Maggie’s Run is the first in the Outback Brides series and, wow, it’s magic! 

Maggie Walker is riddled with self-doubt and her sleep plagued with nightmares ensuring she’ll never forget her traumatic past. When she inherits Wirra Station, her cold, austere great-aunt Carmel’s home and never really hers, she doesn’t want it, but her visit there brings her back in contact with Max O’Connor. The one person she feels close to yet she fights to keep those feelings back.

Max, owner of the property next door, wants to buy Wirra Station, but he also wants Maggie, the girl he’d long-ago lost his heart to, to know what she’ll miss by selling. Can he convince her to stay?

Witty humour, secrets and intrigue, romance both tender and sensual, and the so-so-beautiful happy ending Maggie and Max very much deserve. Thank you, thank you, Kelly Hunter! 

Buy link

Jayne Kingsley: The Trouble with Choices by Trish Morey

Set in the beautiful Adelaide Hills, The Trouble with Choices follows the story of the three Faraday sisters, Hannah, Beth and Sophie. All carry romantic baggage and are hiding secrets from each other. Each has a choice to make that will direct their futures. 

It's a beautiful and heartfelt story that had me laughing, sighing and wishing it would never end. 

Was your favourite amongst our top picks? If not, leave a comment mentioning which Aussie romance published in 2018 you absolutely loved. We're always looking for great Aussie authors to read and support. 

Love to Love Aussie romance authors and their books.

Love to Laugh Full stop.😄

Love to Learn that the next book in the descriptive thesaurus series is The Emotion Thesaurus Second Edition! This new edition has added 55 more emotions, bringing the total to 130 and almost doubling it in size! You can check out the full list of emotions (and some sample entries) HERE.

If you’d like to pre-order, you can find it on Amazon, Kobo, Apple Books (iBooks) and Indiebound.

Also, Angela & Becca are giving away a free webinar recording of one of their popular workshops on Emotion, so head over if this is an area of struggle for you.

Monday 14 January 2019

Monday 7 January 2019

We can't wait to reveal to you our favourite Aussie romance reads of 2018!