Meet my fellow Romance Writers of Australia author, Leisl Leighton

Leisl Headshot tweetToday I’d like to introduce best-selling Australian author, Leisl Leighton.  Leisl is a tall red head with an overly large imagination. As a child, she identified strongly with Anne of Green Gables. A voracious reader and a born performer, it came as no surprise to anyone when she did a double major in English Literature and Drama for her BA, then went on to a career as an actor, singer and dancer, as well as script writer, stage manager and musical director for cabaret and theatre restaurants (one of which she co-owned and ran for six years).

After starting a family Leisl stopped performing and instead, began writing the stories that had been plaguing her dreams. Leisl’s stories have won and placed in many competitions in Australia and the US, including the STALI, Golden Opportunities, Heart of the West, Linda Howard Award of Excellence, Touch of Magic and many others.

Leisl lives in the leafy suburbs of Melbourne with her two beautiful boys, lovely hubby, overly spunky dogs, Buffy and Skye, and likes to spend time with family and friends. She is addicted to the Syfy channel, and her shelves are full of fantasy and paranormal books and scifi DVDs. She sometimes sings in a choir, has worked as a swim teacher, loves to ski, can talk the hind leg off a donkey and has been President of Romance Writers of Australia from 2014-2017.

It’s a pleasure to have this talented woman here today, and to find out about her books. But before we do that, let’s get her to answer three questions. Who in your life is your greatest cheerleader or support in your writing?

My whole family really – my hubby, my two boys, my mum and dad and my brother and sister. Also, my best friend, Helen, who passed away last year from cancer. She was always a massive cheerleader, encouraging me and telling me I was an idiot if I told myself I couldn’t do it, because she knew I could. I’ve also got some wonderful writing friends who always make me feel good about myself and pick me up when I’m down and celebrate the successes, no matter how small.

That’s awesome. None of us can do it without some support and a few pep-talks now and then. Now, next question. How important do you think marketing is for authors today?

Hugely important. I wish I was better at it. I’m constantly reading about it and trying to educate myself, but I know I can do better. However, time is a factor because I do work part time and have a family and struggle all the time with giving up writing time to market.

I agree that marketing is a big challenge for almost every author. We want to spend our time writing, not working out how to get the word out. It’s definitely a balancing act. Now, one last question for you. Where did you get the idea for your first or latest book?

The idea for my CoalCliff series came to me in a dream as many of my ideas do, but it was also an idea based a bit in reality too. I used to go to a horseriding camp at a Palomino stud when I was in my teens and into the first few years at Uni when I went from being an attendee to being hired to look after the kids on the camp. I started having a series of dreams about the camp, but those dreams weren’t about me or anyone I knew on the camp and had a definite romance and suspense element to them. After a number of dreams occurred, I realized a few characters were returning in them and a plot was developing, so I started to explore that and that’s how I came up with Climbing Fear. Blazing Fear came into being when I was writing Climbing Fear as I began to think about a few of the other characters who appeared in Climbing Fear and wondering about what made them tick.

That’s fantastic … I love romantic suspense, and credit my love of writing to reading books by Daphne du Maurier, who many refer to as the Queen of Romantic Suspense!  So, let’s hear a bit more about this book, and where we can find it.

Climging Fear Cover

Climbing Fear is available on Amazon NOW as a pre-order, with the release on 12th June.

A Coalcliff Stud novel – His beloved home is under threat, and with it the beautiful, haunted woman he’s never been able to forget …

X-Treme TV sports star Reid Stratton has everything-until his best friend falls to his death on a climb while shooting their show. In the fierce media fallout, Reid begins to question everything about himself. Crippled by a new fear of climbing, Reid returns to CoalCliff stud, his family’s horse farm, to recover.

Single mother Natalia Robinson is determined to start afresh, away from the shadow of her past. A job at CoalCliff Stud where she lived as a child is the perfect opportunity to live the quiet life she always wanted. But she is unprepared to see Reid, and is even more unprepared for the passion that still burns between them.

But after a series of menacing events threaten the new home she is trying to build, Nat realises that Reid is the only person she can rely on to keep her and her daughter safe. Together, Reid and Nat must face the pasts that haunt them if they are to survive the present and forge a future of hope.

If you’d like to know more about Leisl or her books, or to connect with her online, you can visit Leisl’s website, or visit her author page on Amazon.


Meet my fellow Romance Writers of Australia author, Ann B. Harrison – with a New Release


Today I’d like to introduce best-selling author, Ann B Harrison. Ann has the perfect backdrop for her imagination to run wild, the lush wine growing region of the Hunter Valley in Australia. She alternates her time between writing western romances, romantic suspense and walking her dog, Chilli.

Two kinds of hero make Ann to a mass of nerves. The hot cowboy with a slow sexy drawl (she used to live out in the desert where they were more common than where she lives now) and a man in a kilt. Imagine Jamie Fraser and you’ll understand why. She can’t wait to visit Scotland where she can get her fill of the tartan clad hotties for, um, research purposes, of course.

In the meantime, her dear husband puts up with her talking to her characters and getting lost in worlds only she can imagine as she battles to bring stories to the page for everyone to enjoy.

Ah yes, the life of the author’s husband … 🙂  Now, Ann, I have three questions for you and then we’ll learn all about your new book! 

First, what inspired you to become an author, and how old were you at the time? Funnily enough, I never planned on being an author. I was happy so long as I had a book in my hands and that was from a very early age. One day in 2010 I had a sentence go through my head when I woke up and every day it grew. I decided to write it down and that became a three book YA series. My brain hasn’t stopped since.

Ha! Well, you’ve been busy then if you only started writing in 2010 … did I see 35 books for you? Well done! Now, next question … If you could tell your younger self something you know now, with respect to your writing career, what would it be? Start earlier. Seriously, I don’t know how I’m going to get all the stories in my head out with the years I have left.

Great advice!  Wish I’d started earlier too. I’ve got three books floating around in my head at the moment, so I know the feeling.  Last question … what three things would you say are the most important for an aspiring author to keep in mind as they being their writing journey?  Listen to those that go before you and know what they’re doing, learn from anyone prepared to teach you and never give up if this is your dream.

Well said!  Now, tell us about your new book.


The Convenient Cowboy is the second in my Hansen Brother’s Series.

It follows the trials and tribulations of three young men who lost their parents at an early age and have to make the best of their lives after the grandfather who raised them, dies. This means changes which can be a challenge.

You can find it on Amazon, or on my website.



Thanks for joining me today, Ann, and I look forward to seeing more of your books in the future!

Meet my fellow Romance Writers of Australia author, Juanita Kees – with a New Release

Juanita - from Amazon US230_Today I’d like to introduce my fellow RWA author, Juanita Kees. Juanita escapes the real world by reading and writing Australian Rural Romance novels with elements of suspense, Australian Fantasy Paranormal and Small Town USA stories. Her romance novels star spirited heroines who give the hero a run for his money before giving in. She creates emotionally engaging worlds steeped in romance, suspense, mystery and intrigue, set in dusty, rural outback Australia and on the NASCAR racetracks of America. When she’s not writing, Juanita is mother to three grown boys and has a passion for fast cars and country living.

**Juanita’s books contain mild language but the doors are closed on sex scenes.**

Welcome, Juanita! Some of my family are big NASCAR fans, and I must say I enjoy seeing some of the photos. Now, I’m going to tell my readers about some of your books, but first we want to learn a bit more about you, so I’ve got three questions for you. Firstly, what got you started writing?

I inherited my imagination and gift for story-telling from my father and wrote my first book between the pages of my mathematics exercise book at the age of sixteen. The story evolved over many years until it finally found a home with a publisher back in 2012. The book was first released as Fly Away Peta, but when the publisher sold out, it was revamped and re-published as part of the Under the Law series by Escape Publishing as Under Shadow of Doubt.

Oh, I love that title, Under Shadow of Doubt! A must read to add to my TBR list! Now, 2nd question, what challenges did you face when you first started writing?

In 1999, I’d just started to embark on my publishing journey when I found out I was pregnant with our second child. That was a surprise, I tell you! I thought I had flu 😊. Writing took a backseat as I juggled full time work, two kids (eight years apart), nappies, bottles and a husband who worked awkward shifts. It gave me time to learn more about publishing and writing, though, for which I am very grateful.

And here I thought it was challenging to write between riding my horse, playing cards, and socialising!  Ha, ha, ha!  Kidding … I did try to write while I was still working full-time and that was a challenge, but probably nothing like what you did!  So, one last question. Who in your life is your greatest cheerleader or supporter of your writing?

That’s a hard question, because I have a group of wonderful critique partners who have my back on the hard days as well as the good days. I used to have a Daschund, Sam, who was my sounding board and constant writing companion. Sadly, she passed away last year and I miss her terribly. Second in line to Sam would be my partner, Gavin, who never lets an opportunity slip by to promote my books to whomever will listen. My whole family are very supportive, so I’m blessed.

That’s so important isn’t it, having a supportive family. That’s great.  Now, tell us about your rural romance series, and where we can find the books.

The newest release is Shadows over Wongan Creek

Shadows Over Wongan Creek MedWhen the shadows ride in Wongan Creek…

Fenella Rose-Waterman is happy running The Cranky Lizard winery until a broken relationship lifts the lid on the Pandora’s Box of her past. After years of repressed memories haunting her dreams, she is forced to face the truth to find justice. But with truth comes a danger that puts everyone she loves at risk.

Kieran Murphy left Wongan Creek a newly-wed and returned a widower. He believes he and his young son will find healing in the town that healed him once before. Instead, he finds the woman he loved running scared, her life in turmoil and her business under threat.

As the shadows of the past gather on the horizon, will they lose their chance of happiness or will they find healing together?

Shadows Over Wongan Creek is Book 3 in the Wongan Creek series. To promote the release of book three, the first two books in the series, Secrets at Wongan Creek and Whispers at Wongan Creek  will be on price promotion through the 15th of April, priced at $0.99 each on all digital retailers, or via my website (see link below).

SecretsAtWonganCreek_Large        WhispersAtWonganCreek_Med     Shadows Over Wongan Creek Med

Thank you for joining me here today, Juanita. And readers, do check out Juanita’s website, as she loves to hear from fans and would love for you to share her writing journey.


Meet my fellow Romance Writers of Australia author, Lilliana Rose


Lilliana Rose 2019Today I’d like to introduce my fellow RWA author, Lilliana Rose.

Lilliana is an Amazon Bestselling author, who writes in contemporary romance, steampunk romance, and young adult. She grew up on a sheep farm in Australia, then swapped her workbooks for city heels, and now lives in the city. She enjoys drawing on the contrast between country and city life in the contemporary romance she writes. For her moving to the city was like coming to a different country. She spent a bit of time in genetic research, then teaching, and now devotes as much time as she can to writing.

**Please be aware that Lilliana’s romance books have steamy hot sex scenes, with a bit of language. They are F/M, except the books published with Less Than Three Press which are F/F (mix of sweet and sexy).

Welcome, Lilliana!  You’ve done the opposite of me … I went from the city to the country, and I’m loving it! Guess the saying about the grass being greener really is true. Now, I’m going to tell my readers about your rural romance books, but before that, I have 3 questions for you! Firstly, what got you started writing?

This is a tough question for me because writing is something that I’ve always done. When I was in primary school, about 8 years old, I would sit on the bus on my way to school and write in an exercise book! I wrote pages and pages and pages. It’s all been lost over time, and I wish I still had them, they would be fun to go over and read what I wrote as an 8-year-old!

Yes, the childhood imagination is a wonderful thing. I wrote too, but I mostly drew pictures of horses! and cats. Now, 2nd question, what challenges did you face when you first started writing?

Discipline. I needed to establish a routine to write, which was hard as I was working full time. I had stopped writing when I went to university, but it had been quietly speaking to me, and I couldn’t ignore my passion to write any more. Getting back into writing was great, but tricky balancing it with work, which meant there were times I had to stop writing because of the pressures of work. It’s not so bad now.

I’m so glad you’re finding the time to write now–you’ll have years ahead of you to work on your craft and maybe hit the golden ticket with a movie deal! I waited far too long (I was in my late 40s when I got back into it seriously). So, one last question. Who in your life is your greatest cheerleader or support in your writing?

My dog Kimba, who is currently laying by my feet, telling me to call it a night and go chill on the lounge with him (and that I should get dinner).

Ha ha ha!  My cats do the same thing–they hang out in my writing room with me (of course it has nothing to do with the fact that there are pillows on the floor where they get the sun all day … nothing, I’m sure!)

So, tell us about your rural romance, Chasing Dust Clouds.

Chasing Dust Clouds by [Rose, Lilliana]

Sent to the country to visit rural clients accountant Blaise Johns doesn’t know what to do when he meets a mob of sheep on the road. He accidently runs over one of Dusty Miller’s ewes and his cool crisp competitive demeanour is dented as he tries to figure out how to make amends with a woman who is intent on busting his balls. Then there’s the competition, Aaron, who isn’t going to be pushed aside. As the out-of-towner will Blaise step up to country life for Dusty?

Dusty is furious at Blaise, but the man won’t go away and leave her to run her farm. A sassy self-sufficient young woman, Dusty struggles to let Blaise who is clueless about the life she lives, in to her heart.

When two worlds, country and city come together, an explosion of differences rocks the foundation of two peoples lives, forcing them to face the future in unplanned ways, and to give each other another chance.

Sound like a great book! And readers, watch out for the Christmas Special:  A Dusty Christmas, out in December 2019!!  You can find all Lilliana’s books on Amazon, and keep an eye out for the new book by following her author page!


Meet my fellow Romance Writers of Australia author, M C D’Alton – with a New Release

me2Today I’d like to introduce author M C D’Alton, a fellow RWA author (Michelle). Welcome Michelle, would you like to tell us a bit about yourself?

My first name is Michelle, but I decided to write under the pen name of MC D’Alton. D’Alton was the last name of my maternal great grandfather.

I am cook, cleaner, taxi driver and all around go-to person in my household. I make sure to spend at least an hour each day writing. I am currently attempting to get a degree in writing.

Born in South Africa, my husband and I packed up and moved to Australia in 2010.

Besides being blessed with triplet boys, moving to a new country was both the greatest adventure, and adjustment of our lives. Raising three children of the same age left no room for my calling as a nurse and so I decided to concentrate on my second love – writing.

My passion for writing about the fantastical and love swept, started at an early age. I lose myself in daydreams and what if’s whenever life spares a free minute. I am a huge romantic but also love drama, mystery, intrigue and the unknown.

My Goal — to create worlds where people can escape to for a few precious moments, places where magic is the order of the day, and love is served on a silver platter.

I hope you enjoy what is on offer.

Thanks, Michelle. We’re going to learn about your new release, but first I’ve got three questions so we can learn a bit more about you. First, what inspired you to become an author, and how old were you at the time?

I was a young child when I scribbled down my first tale. My great grandmother was a phenomenal story teller, I was ten when she passed. I spent hours listening to her tales of her and her rat bag older brother as they grew up on the sugar cane farm in Kwa-Zulu Natal South Africa in the 1920’s.

Because I suffer dyslexia I never was able to fall in love with the language, that and the fact that my year seven teacher refused to teach a dumb child, but I had and always will have a great love for storytelling.

You’re to be congratulated on overcoming the challenges and on persevering with the storytelling! Thank goodness you didn’t let that one teacher put you off your dream! Now, next question: Who are your favourite authors, and why?

Juliette Marillier – she has the most amazing skill of bringing legends and tales to life in epic saga’s.

Diana Gabaldon – This woman can write men like no other author I have ever read and… we all like kilts 😉

Dalene Mathee – a south African author. Go read Fiela’s Child, Circles in a Forest, The Mulberry Forest and you will see why.

Ah, epic love sagas and men in kilts … yes! Okay, one last question: Where are your books set? And have you been there, or spent significant time there?

Some are set here in Australia. One Epona a WIP which starts off in South Africa and ends in the Highlands of Scotland.

Ooooo … that’ll be one to watch for, for sure! Now, let’s hear about this new release of yours. And just as a heads up, M C D’Alton’s book tend to be more on the spicy than clean side. See comment below **

My latest release though, Memories of Love, is a Romantic suspense based on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland Australia. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it is based on the legend of Tristan and Isolde, but it is definitely inspired by the original star-crossed lovers, except that this time they do have a happy ever after!

Final MOL 1 - MC Dalton


Isabella Irish, an up and coming artist, wants to get on with her new life after a bomb blast robs her of her memories.

Mark Cornwall, her manager, persistently pushes for more than a working relationship.

The appearance of a stranger stirs lost memories and deep feelings she can’t explain. Roses, honeysuckle, and a brush with death, lead Isabella to uncover her past and the true love of her life.

Find Memories of Love on Amazon by clicking here.

** With the exception of Roan’s Desire (paranormal erotic short story) in the ‘Romancing the Stones’ Anthology, my books are spicy (not clean) romances. So, there are love scenes but they’re not over the top. I like to leave something to my readers imagination.


Meet fellow RWA author Susanne Bellamy – with a New Release

2011 - headshotsToday I’d like to introduce Susanne Bellamy, my fellow RWA author.

Born and raised in Toowoomba, Susanne is an Australian author of contemporary and rural romances set in Australia and exotic locations. She adores travel with her husband, both at home and overseas, and weaves stories around the settings and people she encounters. Her Outback series, Hearts of the Outback, and Second Chance Love, one of the Bindarra Creek series with other authors, were inspired by her time teaching in far north-west Queensland.

Her heroes have to be pretty special to live up to her real life hero. He saved her life then married her. They live on the edge of the Range with their German Shepherd, Freya. In another life, Susanne was a senior English and Drama teacher with a passion for Shakespeare and creative writing, but now her two children have flown the coop, she writes full time.

What else can you tell us about yourself, Susanne?

I love the freedom that self publishing allows me to write the stories I want to tell, but having a traditional publisher also allows me to connect with an audience I might not otherwise be able to reach. The thought of seeing my book in print on the shelf in bookshops is incredibly tempting, and has been a goal of mine in recent times. I’m looking forward to taking my first selfie-shelfie later this year!

I think once you establish your symbolic capital (reviews, a back list, a good reputation), the trade off of lower royalty rates from a traditional publisher versus a possible 70% from self publishing is compensated by seeing your book on a shelf in your local bookstore and a wider audience connection.

There has been a lot written about ‘write what you know’. To some extent that idea works, but I love any excuse to research for my stories.

I agree, I love doing research! Now, before we learn about your new book, I’ve got three questions for you. What three things would you say are the most important for an aspiring author to keep in mind as they being their writing journey?

  • Read widely, write often, and talk within writing groups for support and encouragement.
  • Don’t expect to be an overnight sensation.
  • A good editor is worth their weight in gold. Find one and always, always, always edit.

So true! Next question, other than stomping your foot and having a hissy fit, what else do you do when you get a review that isn’t so good?

We’ve all had them, the one-star review that is either ‘hated it’, ‘don’t waste your money’, or ‘the author got it all wrong’. The latter happened to me with my first release with Harlequin Escape and the first review posted on NetGalley was a one-star rant that at x% I’d made an error (which of course neither of my two editors, the publisher, nor me, the author, had noticed; only this reviewer ever ‘saw’ it!).

Seriously, after the initial hissy-fit-want-to-write-and-tell-them-why-they’re-wrong reaction passed, I reached a point where I had to shrug and tell myself that this was one reader who had clearly missed details in her race to post first (I doubted she’d read my book, given that the comments she made didn’t even match my actual story).

But sometimes a reader simply doesn’t like your story or style. It may be that it touches on an experience they don’t want to remember, or it may just not be their ‘cup of tea’. Occasionally a reviewer offers a helpful insight into something that didn’t work for them. Then it’s worth considering what they have said and if it tallies with other feedback you’ve received, looking at whether it’s something you need to work on/out/change.

I agree wholeheartedly–that’s a very wise way to look at negative reviews. Last question, what makes you happiest as an author? 

When I embark on a new story; when I write ‘The End’; and when a reader says they couldn’t put my book down and read into the wee hours of morning because they had to know what happened.

Each milestone along the path of each book is worthy of celebrating, and if you happen to enjoy a good single malt whisky, come on over and celebrate with me!

That is awesome, isn’t it, when a reader says they couldn’t put your book down. Makes the whole process worth every moment!

So … enough with the formalities, tell us about your new book.


High Stakes is my first full romantic suspense, although most of my rural romances also include a twist of suspense. Set on the track to Mt Everest Base Camp, it takes the reader on a vicarious trek where the air is thin and the danger – ‘sky high’! **It includes a small amount of ‘clean sex’ and lots of tension.

Dr Marcy Westcott is in Nepal to research a drug that occurs naturally in the Himalayan landscape. When attraction flares with Jake Harris on the Everest track, Marcy is determined to be more like her free-spirited twin sister. Jake believes the attractive doctor is the missing link that will bring down the drug cartel responsible for the death of his brother. He will do whatever it takes to get justice. Unsure who the real enemy is or whether he can trust Marcy, Jake is forced to take on the role of protector. But is Marcy his salvation, or the enemy?

You can find all of Susanne’s books on Amazon, and here’s the link to her newest book on Amazon.  Or you can visit her on her website.

Thanks for joining me here today, Susanne. And I’d love to join you for a drink, but I may bring my own bottle of gin and let you savour the single malt whisky!