GUEST BLOG: Bestselling author Fiona Palmer on what she’s been reading

Fiona PalmerHarvest has started over here in the West of Australia but the rain keeps coming and holding up the headers. I’ve been a bit busy with visits to Perth for Monster Jam (with the kids), Rural, Regional and Remote Women’s Network meetings and related work, then throw in kids’ sports, carnivals, hockey and golf AGM’s, housework, farm work, and writing my next book, which means I haven’t got much time left to read. It’s really sad, but I’ve only managed to read one book in the last month, Rachael John’s The Patterson Girls.

Rachael is a great friend of mine, we have done a few book tours together and support each other in our writing. But that isn’t why I read her work. I pick up Rach’s books because she writes easy to read stories and has an engaging storytelling ability that keeps you turning each page frantic in anticipation. Her books are always full of emotion and The Patterson Girls was definitely that! It follows four different sisters who come home to spend Christmas with their father, six months after their mother has passed away. Each sister has their own journey and while together they learn of a family curse.  Rachael’s stories are going from strength to strength and she’s making a big name for herself.

Even though I haven’t read this next book I’m still recommending it because my mum read it and loved it. Anything my mum has enjoyed I know I will too. The Tea Planter’s Wife by Dinah Jefferies is about Gwendolyn, who leaves her home at nineteen to travel across the world to Ceylon where her new husband Laurence owns a large and prosperous tea plantation. I’m keen to read this story because my grandfather was adopted when he came to Australia as a one-year-old from England. On his adoption papers it lists his father’s name, which states that he was in India working on a tea plantation and that is all we know of him. My mum said she couldn’t put it down, it had her intrigued and she said it was a beautifully written drama. I can’t wait to read it myself.

The Patterson Girls The Tea Planter's Wife












That’s it, just two books from me this time. I am busy trying to write my next book set in Lake Grace, which follows on from The Saddler Boys and includes a Vietnam veteran.  I’m looking forward to including all the little stories I’ve gathered from the vet’s I’ve been talking to. In the meantime, I’ll be spending most of my time on Holly, the New Holland header, and working on my plot as I harvest.

Grab your copy of The Saddler Boys here!

The Saddler Boys

Fiona Palmer The Saddler Boys

School teacher Natalie has always been a city girl. She has a handsome boyfriend and a family who give her only the best. But she craves her own space, and her own classroom, before settling down into the life she is expected to lead.

When Nat takes up a posting at a tiny school in remote Western Australia, it proves quite the culture shock, but she is soon welcomed by the inquisitive locals, particularly young student Billy and his intriguing single father, Drew.

As Nat’s school comes under threat of closure, and Billy’s estranged mother turns up out of the blue, Nat finds herself fighting for the township and battling with her heart. Torn between her society … Read more

Grab your copy of The Saddler Boys here!

Read an extract of The Saddler Boys

GUEST BLOG: Lauren Kate talks about her 5th Fallen novel, Unforgiven.

UnforgivenMy first vision of Unforgiven came to me accompanied by music: a stunning redhead strums a lyre beside an ancient river, making up a song about a boy whose existence she only senses. The fierce dreaminess of the music makes it clear she was always already in love.

I didn’t know Lilith when I wrote her briefly into Passion, but I knew her affair with Cam had determined much of his fate. She was the key to understanding him. When I met her again in Unforgiven, three thousand years had passed, but she was still singing the same mesmerizing song. An electric guitar and synthesizer added new texture, a rock band was now backing her, but the lyrics and the melody hadn’t changed.

Her song is called “Exile,” though Cam will always know it as “Lilith’s Song.” The song is real, as is Cam and Lilith’s band Revenge.

I’ve long wanted to tell Cam’s side of the story. The love expressed through Revenge’s music makes the release of Unforgiven especially exciting. I hope the story thrills you, and that you listen to Revenge’s music with someone you always already loved.

Grab your copy of Unforgiven here!


Lauren Kate

Unforgiven“High school can be hell.”

Cam knows what it’s like to be haunted. He’s spent more time in Hell than any angel ever should. And his freshest Hell is high school, where Lilith, the girl he can’t stop loving, is serving out a punishment for his crimes.

Cam made a bet with Lucifer: he has fifteen days to convince the only girl who really matters to him to love him again. If he succeeds, Lilith will be allowed back into the world, and they can live their lives together. But if he fails . . . there’s a special place in Hell just for him. Tick-tock.

The long-awaited new novel in the global bestselling Fallen series.

Grab your copy of Unforgiven here!

Watch the Book Trailer:

Grab your copy of Unforgiven here!

About the Author

Lauren KateThe author of several pseudonymous novels for Alloy’s Inside Girl series, as well as The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove, and the bestselling Fallen series, Lauren Kate grew up in Dallas, Texas. She received her Bachelor’s degree in the deep South at Emory University, then went to New York for a brief stint in publishing, before enrolling in the University of California’s Davis Master of Arts Creative Writing program. She finished her degree at UC Davis, where she also teaches. She lives and writes from an old farm house in Winters, California.

Visit Lauren Kate’s Booktopia author page

Nine naughty questions with… Trish Morey, author of upcoming Cherry Season

The Booktopia Book Guru asksCherry Season

Trish Morey

author of Cherry Season

Nine Naughty Questions

1. I wonder, is a Romance writer born or made? Please tell us little about your life before publication

I think, maybe a bit of both. I came to writing like so many of my colleagues, via a totally unrelated career. I was a mild-mannered chartered accountant before the writing bug bit hard and wouldn’t let go.

However as a teen I always fancied myself a writer (until talk of the real world and needing a “proper” job intervened).

(PS: I was kind of kidding about the mild-mannered bit…)

2. For all the glitz and the glam associated with the idea of Romance novels, writing about and from the heart is personal and very revealing. Do you think this is why Romance Readers are such devoted fans? And do you ever feel exposed?

A romance writer can’t just pay lip service to the emotions – romance readers will spot insincerity at fifty paces. So if you want to connect with your readers, you have to be prepared to pour yourself onto the page. Sure, sometimes it’s hard or confronting, but then, we’re not writing autobiography, we’re writing fiction. It’s about tapping into our experiences, our heartbreaks and highs, our joys and our grief, and putting the characters in that place instead.

Ultimately it’s not about you, the writer, and you have to be able to let that go.

3. Please tell us about your latest novel…

Cherry Season is a story about what happens when polar opposites attract. Dan Faraday is a 37 year old uptight third generation cherry orchardist with both age and an overblown sense of responsibility weighing down on his shoulders.

Lucy Marino is a 24 year old California girl backpacking her way around Australia and who gets a job picking cherries on the orchard, and immediately the two are at loggerheads.

It’s a story about spark, finding home and finding love where you least expect it. And it’s a book about cherries too, of course :)

4. Is the life of a published Romance writer… well… Romantic?

If ugg boots, too much coffee, screaming deadlines and mad hair 99% of the time is romantic, then sure.

But there are times you have to go to Santorini and watch a sunset, or visit a winery and learn how to dosage and disgorge a bottle of sparkling wine that you can later crack open and taste, all in the name of research.

So yeah, there are moments of sheer unadulterated romance that make up for that other mental 99% of the time.

5. Of all of the Romantic moments in your life is there one moment, more dear than all the rest, against which you judge all the Romantic elements in your writing? If so can you tell us about that special moment?

This is funny. Ever heard that expression “about as romantic as a road accident”? Well, that could have been coined for my hubby. Don’t get me wrong, he’s one amazing guy, but he’s not the most romantic man on the planet (which may or may not explain why I feel the need to make stuff up :) Then again, we’ve been married longer than twenty-seven years now and I’m crazier about him now than ever.

I figure if I can give my characters a taste of that kind of romance and a love that turns into a bone deep commitment, that means your characters are going to stick together whatever life hurls at them, then I’ve done my job.

Trish Morey6. Sex in Romance writing today ranges from ‘I can’t believe they’re allowed to publish this stuff’ explicit to ‘turn the light back on I can’t see a thing’ mild. How important do you think sex is in a Romance novel?

Sex is one part, and often a very important part, of any romantic relationship. But in romance, it’s not about the sex per se – it’s about the emotion, for without that, the sex is nothing more than a physical act that comes as no surprise to anyone.

Intimacy is a huge, risky step and takes courage and trust, because when our characters take off their clothes, they’re not only baring their bodies, they’re often baring their souls. Now they’ve got nothing to hide behind, and all sorts of secrets and fears and hang ups can be exposed, exposing the characters to all kinds of grief in the process.

I like to put my characters through the wringer in all kinds of ways. Sex is just one way.

7. Romance writers are often Romance readers – please tell us your five favourite (read and re-read) Romance Novels or five novels that influenced your work most?

It was a box of Mills & Boons from my Granny’s nursing home that I devoured when I was fifteen that made me want to be and believe I could be a writer – I so wish I’d taken note of the author names (back then I do believe I was much more interested in some much needed sex ed:-))

When I caught the bug again, it was Emma Darcy (love love love her Holly Christmas!), Miranda Lee (fabulous sex!) and Alison Kelly’s strong sexy stories that I loved. All our fabulous Downunder Sexy authors really, because that strong, confident voice resonated with me.

And then I discovered Jennifer Crusie and her full length contemporaries, like Welcome to Temptation and that leapt out and smacked me over the head and said, it’s okay, you can do sexy *and* funny.

So here I am now, writing sexy and funny and having a ball.

Emma DarcyMiranda Lee











8. Erotic Romance writing is ‘so hot right now’, do you have any thoughts on why?

Haha, could it be the sex, perchance? Writing has become much more graphic sexually over the last forty or fifty years, and men’s fiction has led the way. Women’s fiction is catching up. And now you can read on a Kindle or similar and nobody on the bus on the way to work knows what you’re reading – it’s liberating and discrete at the same time.

9. Lastly, what advice do you give aspiring writers?

To writers in general – just write. The more you write, the better you’ll get. And don’t believe it when people tell you that you have to write a certain way. Just write the story, and sort the rest out later.

To romance writers in particular – all of the above – and join Romance Writers of Australia if you are serious about pursuing a career in romance writing.

Trish, thank you for playing!

Pre-Order your copy of Cherry Season here!

Cherry Season

Trish Morey Cherry Season

Dan Faraday is too busy for love. With the long hours running the family orchard, he doesn’t have time to go on dates, and if he did, he would be looking for someone who fits into his ten-year plan. Someone traditional, reliable and dependable – someone just like him.

Someone the total opposite of beautiful drifter Lucy Marino. A free spirit who chases the moment, she’s in town for the fruit-picking season. The only certain thing in her life is constant change and while she’s tempted to see how cute Dan might be if only he smiled, she’s not the type of girl to wait around.

But as the cherry trees blossom, Lucy and Dan are increasingly drawn … Read more.

Pre-Order your copy of Cherry Season here!

A dysfunctional family, country town tension and a little romance with a park ranger … Pamela Cook talks to Booktopia TV about her new book, Close to Home

Australian rural fiction writer, Pamela Cook, talks to us about her new book Close to Home a heartwarming story about letting go of the past and embracing the future. There’s a dash of a dysfunctional family, a smidgeon of country town tension and a little romance with a park ranger …

Cook is also the author of Blackwattle Lake, an engaging novel of finding your place in the world and Essie’s Way, a captivating story of family and love

Grab your copy of Close to Home here

Close to Home

Pamela Cook

Close to Home

Orphaned at thirteen, Charlie Anderson has been on her own for half her life. Not that she minds – she has her work as a vet and most days that’s enough. Most days. But when she’s sent to a small town on the New South Wales coast to investigate a possible outbreak of the deadly Hendra virus, Charlie finds herself torn between the haunting memories of her past, her dedication to the job and her attraction to a handsome local.

Travelling to Naringup means coming face to face with what is left of her dysfunctional family – her cousin Emma, who begged Charlie not to leave all those years ago, and her aunt Hazel, who let her go without a backwards glance. But it also means relying on … Read more.

Grab your copy of Close to Home here 

 Grab your copy of Close to Home here 

BOOK REVIEW: The Secret Years by Barbara Hannay (Review from Hayley Shephard)

From London to Tobruk to Australia to New Britain to Cornwall to Australia and then back to Cornwall and back to Australia again, The Secret Years follows a difficult yet heart-warming journeythe-secret-years that spans years and continents.

After an intriguing prologue we are introduced to Lucy, a soldier on a return flight from Afghanistan heading home to Townsville. She hopes to start planning her wedding but after arriving her fiancé changes her mind; he can’t handle her job with the army while he has – for all intents and purposes – a desk job. That’s not the end of it as her mother, who has jumped from one rocky relationship to the next her entire life, has moved in with a man who this time around seems perfect; and that makes her all the more nervous about messing it up.

Lucy’s mother’s uncomfortable (to say the least) relationship with her own father has overshadowed her entire life, with secrets left untold.

Lucy finds an old letter with a photograph of a stunning young woman who turns out to be Lucy’s grandmother, affectionately called George. The letter could help uncover the secrets from the past and from her Mother’s reaction to the letter, Lucy discovers it won’t be easy playing detective. So Lucy sets off to England where it all started; during WWII her Grandfather fell head-over-heels in love with George, a beautiful aristocratic English woman who in turn loved him immeasurably.

While there Lucy finds out things that help set the record straight. We find out why her grandfather sent her own mother back there when she was a child after George had died. Why she was taken from the family’s home in outback Queensland?

Sorry, I have to stop typing out the entire plot; it was just such an awesome read.

Now focus!

The whole story brought tears to my eyes, particularly towards the end of the book.

I loved how she portrayed her female characters. Lucy, her mother and grandmother are strong women who love fiercely.

Barbara Hannay’s descriptions of the surrounding landscapes are also stunning. You feel the heat of Queensland and the bitterly yet magical cold weather of Cornwall.

But what I think I loved most about this story was how easy it was to relate to, how universal the themes are. Everyone experiences heartbreak and regret, and forgiveness is truly a powerful wake-up call…

Grab your copy of The Secret Years here

the-secret-yearsThe Secret Years – Signed Copies Available!*

by Barbara Hannay

For a limited time only, order The Secret Years and you will receive a signed copy. *Offer available while stocks last.

When Lucy Hunter stumbles upon her grandfather Harry’s World War II memorabilia, she finds a faded photograph of a stunning young woman known simply as ‘George’ and a series of heartfelt letters. They are clues about the secret years, a period of Lucy’s family history that has been kept a mystery . . . until now.

How did a cattleman from north Queensland find forbidden love with the Honourable Georgina Lenton of London and persuade her to move to his isolated outback property? And why are the effects of this encounter still reverberating in the lives of Lucy and her mother, Rose, now? As the passions of the past trickle more…

Grab your copy of The Secret Years here

Sink your teeth into the new Twilight Tenth Anniversary/Life and Death dual edition!

Fans of the Twilight Saga: rejoice!Twilight Tenth Anniversary Edition

Today, a special Twilight Tenth Anniversary/ Life and Death dual edition is available, pairing the original Twilight with a reimagining – Life and Death –  by Stephenie Meyer.

The twist?

In Life and Death, the iconic tale is told through the eyes of a human teenage boy in love with a female vampire. So Bella is now Beau; Edward is now female vampire Edythe.

Meyer decided to flip the genders in part due to her readers who approached her at signings, concerned that Bella was too much a ‘damsel in distress’.

Why now?

“It’s amazing to me that ten years have passed since Twilight was first published”, says Meyer. “For me, this anniversary is a celebration of the fans, with all of their incredible passion and dedication. I’m excited to get to spend time with them again.”

Since it was published in 2005, Twilight became a New York Times bestseller, with its sequels New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn selling over 100 million copies worldwide. The series also spawned into a blockbuster film franchise, winning 32 Teen Choice Awards and 17 MTV Movie Awards. Oh…and grossed a whopping $1.1 billion globally!

Grab your copy of Twilight Tenth Anniversary/ Life and Death dual edition here

Fiona Palmer talks to Booktopia TV about her new book, The Saddler Boys!

Bestselling Australian rural author Fiona Palmer talks to us about her new novel The Saddler Boys. And for the lucky that get in quick, they’ll receive a signed copy!

For a limited time only, order The Saddler Boys and you will receive a signed copy. Offer available while stocks last.

The Saddler Boys

Fiona Palmer

the-saddler-boysSchool teacher Natalie has always been a city girl. She has a handsome boyfriend and a family who give her only the best. But she craves her own space, and her own classroom, before settling down into the life she is expected to lead.

When Nat takes up a posting at a tiny school in remote Western Australia, it proves quite the culture shock, but she is soon welcomed by the inquisitive locals, particularly young student Billy and his intriguing single father, Drew.

As Nat’s school comes under threat of closure, and Billy’s estranged mother turns up out of the blue, Nat finds herself fighting for the township and battling with her heart. Torn between her society … Read more

For a limited time only, order The Saddler Boys and you will receive a signed copy. Offer available while stocks last.


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