Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Charmed is out now!

Perfect Christmas reading -- light, fun, HOT, and with a touch of magical whimsy! Charmed is a novella with all the right ingredients for a good night's reading, whether you're snuggled up against the snowy cold, or hunkering with the air conditioner to beat the heat!
You can buy Charmed on Amazon, and from the Destiny Romance website.

Oh, and watch out for that extra bit of spice -- only appropriate at this time of year. And if you read it and loved it, I'd so appreciate you leaving a review on Amazon or Goodreads. Thank you!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


Well, life has been pretty exciting this year, I must admit. By New Year's Eve 2013, I will look back on a pretty full and exhilarating year: lots of travel, fun times, great food, delicious wine, time spent with friends and family, and four -- count them, FOUR -- books published in just these past twelve months.

What I'll also be celebrating is that I've made a very big decision. I am about to take a risk and change up my life: in January 2014 I'll be moving to live in San Francisco.

I'm moving to take up a new full-time day job, which I'm really excited about. Yes, one day, I do want to be writing full-time, but right now that's not what life has in store for me. But I do definitely see myself with a writing desk that looks out over gently sloping grapevines (Yarra Valley? Hunter Valley? Napa Valley?) as I pen another book that will jet straight to the stop of the USA Today best-seller list in the not-too-distant future.

There are also plenty of opportunities the move presents for me from a writing perspective. New people, new places, new experiences -- these are things my muse loves. There'll also be the opportunity to meet new writers -- I'm hoping there's a San Francisco romance writing group out there that would welcome me as a member so I can keep hanging around with like-minded people, people who aren't concerned about the fact that I hear voices of imaginary people in my head.

I'm also hoping that I'll be able to attend RWA Nationals in July, and finally get to meet face to face with my gorgeous and talented critique partner, Robin Covington.

Right now though, I've got a lot to do. I'm packing up my apartment to rent it out. There are things I need to sell (fridge, washing machine, dryer, couches, book shelves -- all in very good condition if you happen to be in the market!), things I need to store, and things I need to throw out. These are big decisions. I've also got a new book coming out in December, so there's a little bit to do to get that organised, too.

As most of you probably know, I'm a pretty keen social media user (Facebook, mostly) so I intend to keep in touch with you all with frequent updates about my San Francisco adventures, there and here on my blog! And I am very keen to hear from you at any time -- feel free to drop me a line. And if, by chance, you have friends or family in San Francisco who you think might enjoy meeting a slightly homesick Australian author, please let me know -- I'll be after all the friends I can get!

Right now, while I work through my 'to-do' list that's eleventy billion items long, I'm using this song as my anthem. Whenever I start to get a little too stressed about everything, or start to feel the pang of "what the hell am I doing?", I put this song on, LOUD, and have a little disco dance around. It reminds me what this new journey is all about -- looking back one day and saying, "I did it all".

Saturday, November 16, 2013

My Halloween Experience

I don't really have a bucket list, but if I did, being part of Halloween in the US would definitely be on it. And, now, it'd be on it with a tick against it, because on 31 October this year, I was there!

I hadn't really planned for it, and so unless I was prepared to go out and spend money purchasing a costume, I just had to make do with what I had in my suitcase. So I went with wearing all black, some bling, a lot of make-up and a hot-pink bob-haired wig. (Doesn't everyone routinely have one of those in their luggage??)
Not much of a costume, really, but it did the trick.

I headed out into the Castro district of San Francisco with a friend who knew that the Castro was The Place To Be on Halloween night. And he was right! The crowds were amazing, and everyone had put so much effort into their costumes!
I'd heard that there had been a few issues on Halloween night in previous years. However my experience was nothing but lovely, apart from one moment when the crowd got VERY crowd-y and I felt a little squished and a tiny bit panicked. But then we got through that and everything was fine.
Everyone was friendly, and fun, and in the mood to show off. In fact, one girl, dressed as a witch, spotted me surreptitiously taking her photo and insisted we get a shot together!
My friend and I did stop in for a drink at one bar. He was very impressed by the fact that they were playing "Sweet Transvestite" from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and I knew ALL THE WORDS.

So a big CHECK against "be part of Halloween". The only problem is, now I want to do it again!

PS -- This weekend, Dance With Me is a Kindle countdown deal on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. If you haven't got your copy yet, check it out for only $2.99 until Sunday PST!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A travelogue in cocktails...

With the release of Dance With Me, I've been writing a few blog posts here and there, often reflecting back on my trip to Mexico and Guatemala that was the kickoff inspiration for Polly and Josh's story. Looking back on my photos, I was struck by how many pictures I'd taken of food and drinks (and bars) -- particularly cocktails. It got me wondering -- was it just that particular trip that had me taking multiple photos of alcoholic beverages?

So I took a stroll back through my photo albums. Hmm. It would seem that it's not just Mexico and Guatemala that inspire that particular side of my photography bent.

So I thought I'd take you on a little trip through my alcoholic photo collection...

This is one that possibly kicked it all off -- this is a wall in the bar that (in my head) Polly and Josh meet. It's in Guatemala, and it opens right out on to the street. I sat in this bar and drank red wine and wrote in my journal for many hours one afternoon. No one was perturbed. Sitting quietly with a drink and reflecting seems to be something the central-American culture is very okay with.
To a totally different extreme -- this is a glass of champagne at one of the golf clubs in Palm Springs, California. I had a lovely weekend there with some very generous friends who I'd only just met, but who invited me to stay with them in their condo. They took me sight-seeing and we enjoyed many lovely drinks and cocktails over that weekend...
When you're travelling, delays happen. It's not always fun, but it's a pretty standard part of life if you travel a lot. One of the best ways to get through it is to have a good book on your Kindle (may I suggest: Dance With Me?) and to search out a glass of vino to take the edge off. This is in the airport at Charlotte, North Carolina, where I once spend a long five hours waiting for my flight to leave. But the chardy (Russian River) was decent, at least. 
 Sometimes, in some particular places, wine is simply not the right choice. Some places call for cocktails. Austin, Texas, really calls for beer. And I had one of those. But being gluten-intolerant, beer doesn't really agree with me so after one (Shiner Bock, the local brew) I needed to switch to something else. I don't remember what was in this cocktail (possibly that's a good thing!) but it was definitely delicious.
 And while some places are beer places, when you're in a wine region, you really must go with wine. And when you're at the Chandon winery in Napa Valley California, well, then, you really do need to have bubbles. There's just no choice!
 Yes, this photo is sideways. Sorry. But it gives you some idea how potent it was! This cocktail was the intro to a divine dinner for my birthday in Hong Kong a couple of years back. I was so grateful to a couple of work colleagues who took me out and showed me a wonderful night. And that cocktail... delicious.
 Last one -- because, let's face it, this is getting kind of embarrassing, I didn't even have to look really hard to gather this collection! This photo is of a delicious red wine (vino tinto) at a Mexican-inspired cafe in Rose Street, Venice Beach, Los Angeles. I stayed in Venice Beach long enough to try out most of the cafes and bars, and this was one of my favourites. I didn't always have wine at lunch (because sometimes you can't always take a nap in the afternoon...) but when I did, it was worthy of taking a photo.
So, there you go. My alcoholic photo album. Do you have a similar obsession? Is there anything you always take photos of when you're travelling or on holidays?

Monday, October 7, 2013

Special advance release!

...sounds a whole lot better than "Amazon published it a week earlier than I'd expected", doesn't it? So let's go with that. Special advance release ahoy!

Dance With Me is now out there in the big, wide world. Yay!! 
You can buy it on Amazon only at this point, but if you have an iPad (or read on an iPhone), all you need to do is download the Kindle app from the Apple app store and it can be yours! It will be available on other platforms and stores early next year. 

In the meantime, grab a copy, grab a glass of red wine, and settle in to read all about Polly and Josh and their travels around the world... 

Monday, September 30, 2013

Finally, I can reveal...

...the secret project that's been keeping me so busy these past few weeks -- too busy to blog! And here it is:

Dance With Me is my first foray into self-publishing and it's a full-length women's fiction novel with romance at its heart. It's about Josh and Polly -- two characters that have been knocking around in my head for the longest time. Finally they demanded to be set free!
Here's a summary:

Polly Heatherton’s life isn’t turning out the way she thought. So, after a really, really bad day that involves losing her job and breaking up with her boyfriend, she packs her bags, leaves Australia behind and steps out on the trip of a lifetime to work out what comes next.

In Guatemala she meets incurable white knight, Josh Byrne, an American trying to hold together his fractured family. That isn't turning out so well, so he focuses his heroic tendencies on rescuing Polly.

Josh and Polly have a fling that is supposed to be short-lived. Instead it sets them on a journey that takes them through three countries, two emergency room visits, one incredible dance lesson, and a huge amount of vino tinto.

I'm so thrilled that Sarah Mayberry agreed to provide a cover quote. And one of the thrilling tasks was gathering together quotes for the inside of the book -- you know, those inside pages of glowing praise from reviewers and other authors? I've got one of those -- and it still makes my tummy go a little skwimmy every time I look at it. 

I'm also absolutely thrilled with the cover. How pretty is it?? My friend and awesome graphic designer Leanne Kingwell did a brilliant job of interpreting my brief. Especially when I gave her about a billion "I like this cover" examples, that were all totally different... ;) 

I've learned a lot, and for other authors I'm thinking I might write a couple of blog posts about some of the tricky things I've navigated on my path to self-publishing. But I've got a few things to get organised before I can get on to that! 

At this stage I'm aiming to have the book available from 15 October. Watch this space -- I'll let you know!! 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Wrap-up of RWA 2013 -- Riding the Waves

Me and the Destiny pirate, who was giving out roses
to all the Destiny authors, in celebration of Destiny's
first birthday. Great party! 
The title of this year's Romance Writers of Australia conference, Riding the Waves, was very appropriate for me. I was riding the waves of back spasms and pain killers, neither of which is the most suitable state to be trying to absorb knowledge, network with peers, and meet and greet readers. But I survived! And although I struggled, the conference was far too good to miss out on, and so I soldiered on.*

Unfortunately it meant that I had to abandon my plan to post updates from each day of the conference, as I did last year. So instead I'm going to give you a wrap-up of my highlights. Without further ado:

Friday workshop - Venus on the Half Shell (The Virgin's Journey)
Loved it! The workshop by Kim Hudson was a proper, true workshop -- she had plenty of activities and variety in her presentation to keep a massive roomful of people informed and entertained all day. I enjoyed revisiting the Virgin's Journey and even though I have a terrible habit of buying craft books and never reading them, I am going to make an effort to read Kim's.

A lot of Kim's points really resonated with me, because I tend to have the most sympathy with the female characters I write. And although the virgin's journey isn't necessarily feminine or masculine, in our world (and the romance genre world) the elements of the journey tend to be more related to women. It was also great to revisit some concepts and to spend a little time thinking about my WIP. I wrote down a couple of key points that have gone into my writing this week, so time well spent!

Main conference
So many sessions! I didn't get to everything (unfortunately due to aforementioned illness, some rest breaks were required) and there were often competing sessions where I wanted to go to more than one on at the same time! I do hope we're going to get to a point where all the sessions are recorded for later listening like they do at RWA US.

I was grateful to Alex Adsett for her informative and interesting session on publishing contracts. It could have been a really dry session, but Alex kept it informative and practical and although I know I'll never be an expert, at least I know now some of the key points to look out for when I'm next sent an inch-thick stack of paper covered in legalese. (Aside: I love how now I think of that as a "when" and not an "if". Hopefully I'm not jinxing myself!)

I also very much enjoyed the opening session on Day 2, Survivor: Submission Island, where a panel of agents and publishers were read the opening scenes from various books and asked to hold up signs as to when they would stop reading if it was a submission they'd received. Afterwards, they discussed why they'd made the decisions they had. (Congratulations to the brave people who put forward their work for dissection!)

My main lesson from this session? Publishing is a very, VERY subjective business. If you know your book is good, have some relatively objective outside feedback that it's good (not just your friends and relatives) but you still keep getting rejected? Keep trying. You just haven't found the agent/editor that's right for you.

I also enjoyed the self publishing panel with Cathleen Ross, Nina Bruhns (linking to her Goodreads account because her website appears to have been hacked, agh) and Kandy Shepherd. Interestingly, talking to a friend who attending the RWA US conference, they said that the conference was full of self-publishing sessions, and that they were among the most popular at the conference. This was the only self-publishing session and I wish there had been more, because the content covered was so broad. I could definitely see a need for beginner/intermediate/advanced style sessions that covered the kind of information relevant depending on your progress in the area.

I'm being nice. My friends, of course,
are nautical.
That said, I definitely learned a lot, including how daunting self-publishing can be. Definitely not the magic train to fame and riches that some consider it to be. But also possibly worth a try if you're willing to put in the hard yards. I'm appreciative of all three authors being so honest and candid in sharing their own stories and successes and failures.

Social events

I did have a lovely time at the "Nautical or Nice" cocktail party. I went with "Nice" figuring there'd be plenty of nautical to go around. I'm not sure if the pink hair is really me, but it was fun for a night!

There were certainly plenty of entertaining and wonderful costumes. I do like a bit of dress up. I wasn't going to bother this year, but then I just couldn't help myself. And I thought about what I already had, and that with the addition of some white gloves and a pink wig I could pull off "nice" I just couldn't resist...

Any rumours about me and my sore back dancing to Nutbush City Limits on Saturday night after having consumed significant amounts of champagne are totally and absolutely false and I completely reject such claims.**

ARRA signing

It was my absolute pleasure to participate in my second-ever Australian Romance Readers Association signing. The ARRA signing is open to people beyond conference attendees, and offers the opportunity meet and talk with lots of wonderful romance authors -- and get autographs!

Julia Quinn and Sarah Wendell were by far the most "in demand" from the crowd, but I'm quite pleased to say that I didn't go too shabbily with giving away a few Emmie autographs across the afternoon! Last year was my first year and my book had only recently been published, so this year was the first time I had people coming up to me who'd actually heard of me before and told me how much they enjoyed my books. (I'll never get sick of hearing that!)
For me, the highlight was when one reader produced a copy of "Just For Today" that she'd brought from home and had covered in Contact! So delightful to see someone treasure a book in that way, and the fact that it was my book . . . Well! Let's just say it thrilled this little black duck immensely.

In conclusion
Yet another fantastic conference from RWA. It's almost unfathomable to me that this event is produced entirely by volunteers. Every single member of the organising committee has my deep gratitude and thanks. Next year the conference is in Sydney and I'm pretty sure I'll be there. But I'm also hoping I might come along fresh from having attended the RWA US program in San Antonio, Texas. Well, that's the plan, anyway! Fingers crossed!

*If you're attending a similar event and are similarly unwell, I highly recommend publicly announcing your state on social media. Having people concerned for my welfare and continually asking how I was feeling and whether I was okay was absolutely wonderful and made me feel very cared for. Thank you. You'll be pleased to know I'm feeling much better. :-)

**"Completely reject" on the grounds that it may or may not have happened.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Where are you, Emmie?

I'm frantically working hard to meet my deadline, dear readers! I promise I'll be back soon!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Travel tales: In praise of tea

One thing that's surprisingly hard to come by in the US is a decent cup of tea. (Dedicated coffee drinkers tell me the same thing about the coffee...) When I was in LA earlier this year, I clearly hit on the hipster part of town, because tea options were reasonably plentiful.

But, in general, the attitude when you ask for a cup of tea veers from mild confusion to outright disdain from your waiting staff ("Do you realise you're making my life difficult?").

In Artie's Diner (see my story about that over on Louise Reynold's blog) asking for a cup of tea had the waitress frowning, and finally appearing with a crumpled tea bag -- I hate to think where she found it.

Of course my problem is compounded by the fact that I no longer drink black tea. (For some reason it makes me nauseous these days, which is a shame, because I still like the taste!) Asking "What kind of tea do you have?" is akin to asking "Where is your first-born and your sharpest knife?"

My saviour in New York was the artfully named Sanctuary T. They not only had a THREE PAGE MENU OF TEA, but it came with a helpful "mood wheel" so you could pick your tea ACCORDING TO YOUR STATE OF MIND.
Consider my mind BLOWN.

If it needs stating, I fell a little bit in love with Sanctuary T. I went there so often the staff began to recognise me. I had breakfast tea there. I had afternoon I've-walked-a-lot-and-need-a-rest tea there. I had it's-too-early-for-cocktails-but-I-need-a-drink tea there.
This is my breakfast -- did I mention the delicious granola with berries (and yoghurt on the side, without a problem)?

Tea was served in these tall, double-walled glasses. You got a little wooden plate to sit the tea leaves on when it reached your desired strength (a decision they let YOU make, as befits decent tea drinking protocol) and offered free refills of hot water (very useful when you're just up to a crisis point in whichever Kindle book you're reading at the time).

If you wanted sugar (ugh) it was provided in crystal form on a little stick to stir into your glass. Classy.

I think, if Sanctuary T existed in my neighborhood, I'd likely be forced to live there. Just as well then, it's on the other side of the world. Sort of.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Travel tales: Natural History Museum and thinking deep thoughts

One of my "must do's" on this trip to New York was a visit to the Natural History Museum. Yes I've seen the movie, but what actually prompted me was the fact that I recently read the indecently good Aussie novel, "The Rosie Project" by Graeme Simsion. I won't say exactly what happens, because it's kind of spoiler material, but it left me with a keen desire to go explore the museum.

I especially loved all the space and pop-physics stuff. To be clear, I was pretty crap at physics in school. But there's nothing I love more than one of those "what is the universe really made of?" documentaries that pops up on SBS all the time. All that chaos theory, and butterfly wings beating, and dark matter, and quantum mechanics, and string theory, makes me wish my brain would work well enough to be able to really understand it all.

To make you feel either, a) part of an awesomely grand universe, or b) totally insignificant to the point of being completely irrelevant, the Natural History Museum has a "13 billion year journey" walk. It's a gently descending spiral where every metre you walk spans 147 million years in the universe's history, from the big bang to today.
As you walk along the path, major events in the universe's history are pointed out. There are even, in some spots, some meteor rocks and images from telescopes to illustrate the stars' activities at that time.

And then, when you get to the end, the present day, you see this:
Human beings? When did they emerge in this long walk through history? Not a metre. Not a step. Not even the length of my foot. No, in this scale, 30,000 years of human history is the width of a single human hair.

I did this walk first, before exploring the rest of the museum and it's diorama displays, and precious gems, and stuffed animals, and explanations of how volcanoes work. And you know what? The whole time, I was thinking -- "width of a human hair".

And I was also getting kind of angry. Because the more you find out about the universe (both the unimaginably huge universe out there and the unimaginably huge universe inside a single atom) the more you discover how little we really know. How we're on this little planet, around a middling sun, in a non-remarkable solar system in a galaxy that's just one of millions (billions) out there.

Why don't we know more?? I want to know more!

Scientists and astronomers and physicists really need to pull their collective fingers out. There's some important stuff we need to work out!

I can see only one solution. I must become the next companion to the new Doctor. I'm a visual/experiential learner, so clearly the best way for me to learn about the universe is to go there in the Tardis. Excellent.

Now that we've got that sorted, I'll go back to sorting out my photos from the trip. Hopefully the next blog post will make a little more sense and possibly include mention of food and drink...

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Goodreads Giveaway Winners

Thank you to the hundreds of people who entered my Goodreads giveaway for Just For Today...!

There were four winners:

Ambereen Khan
Melinda Rabenstine
Heather Allan
Emily Hutti

Congratulations! Your books are on their way to you now!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Upside Down in NYC

I'd like to think I'm reasonably intelligent. (Reasonably.) And generally speaking, I pride myself on having good navigational ability. I can read maps, and I'm not one of those people who loses their car in the shopping centre car park. In fact with family and friends, I'm usually the one relied upon to find the way back to the exit.

But something weird happens when I travel to the northern hemisphere. My usual sense of direction goes all loopy. Like, practically upside-down.

You know how the water drains down the plughole in the opposite direction in the northern and southern hemispheres? Well, let me add my little theory to this scientific fact. Human bodies are 90% water, right? (Actually a quick Google search tells me it's more like 70%, but still a lot, okay?) So doesn't it make sense that if water twists differently up here, then perhaps my body does too?

Cause there absolutely has to be a reason why I get lost so frequently when I'm overseas.

Yesterday, in New York, I managed to completely confuse myself with "Uptown" and "Downtown" on the subway. It seems pretty obvious, I guess. (Although I will say that the terms are used everywhere without even a hint of what they might mean to the unknowing traveller.)

The street numbering here goes up when you're headed "uptown". And down, when you're going "downtown". But for me, when I get on the uptown train, it FEELS like I'm going DOWNTOWN, i.e. south.

Am I a freak? Is there anyone out there doing research on this fascinating fact? I totally think scientists should get right on this. If only so they can invent a pill that can fix it. I'm totally sick of finding myself on the wrong train.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Celebrating launch day!

Last night I was fortunate to celebrate the launch of Just For Today with my dear friend and Destiny stablemate, Louise Reynolds. (If you haven't read her awesome book "Her Italian Aristocrat", what are you waiting for???)
We enjoyed some duck curry, roti, and a glass (or two, or three...) of a crisp Riesling. And along with saying cheers to Jess and Sean we brainstormed other writing projects and talked for a long time about imaginary people doing imaginary things.

I do wonder sometimes what fellow diners might think overhearing the conversation of two writers. I'm guessing they'd assume we're talking about real people and hopefully think we obviously live very glamorous lives as we discuss their travels to London and New York, and film projects, and very complicated love lives. But then we started talking about my follow up to Spellbound and I'm guessing that the discussion of the "rules" in a magical universe may have had them wondering if it was time to call the loony bin...

I think I might have posted a photo of myself holding my book and a glass of wine for each of my book releases.
I guess it's kind of a blog tradition now. Portrait of the author with wine. Sounds about right.

Or, how about:
Portrait of the author drinking wine. Yeah. That's more like it.

The nerves of release day that I spoke about yesterday haven't worn off yet. Wine helps. It's clinically proven.*

Anyhow, for those of you who are twitter peeps, you might want to check out a new account that has popped up: @IamSeanPaterson. Sean's probably going to have some fun stuff to tweet throughout June...

*It may not actually be clinically proven.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Release Day!

I woke up with a little thrill in my belly this morning, because it's release day for Just For Today! (Well, strictly speaking it'll be tomorrow, when it's "today" in the US, but let's not let the international dateline get in the way of a good story)

I can't wait to share this book with the world! I want everyone to fall in love with Sean like I did. And I want everyone's heart to ache just a little for Jess and her brave adventures into the world of dating.

Of course as an obsessive author I've been stalking Amazon waiting for it to tick over to "available". Clearly a few people have been pre-ordering, especially on Kindle, because it's no. 5 on the SuperRomance Kindle Bestseller List. (*squee*)
It's also listed as a "hot" new release -- well, I'll say it is!

Funny, this is my fourth book and I feel like I should be getting used to the whole process by now. But no, I'm all nervous and squirmy and thrilled and restless, like a puppy going to its new home for the first time. So much to be excited about, so much to worry about!

I think I need to make (another) cup of tea and try to settle down to some work... Try to distract myself!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Furry family giveaway winner!

Sorry it's taken me a little while to post the results of last week's giveaway! The winner is.... 

Mara Atienza

Mara told the super-cute story about puppies and cats curling up together as friends. 

Congratulations, Mara! Drop me a line at emmie(at)emmiedark(dot)com and I'll arrange for your copy of Just For Today to be sent out to you! 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Furry family stories

The heroine in Just For Today, Jess Alexander, is a vet. It was pretty brave (or dumb!) of me to write a character who is a vet, because I don't have any pets. Not that I don't want them--I simply travel too much to take proper care of a furry friend. But I am lucky enough to be Aunty to a furry family member: Max.
Max is pretty much the best dog in the whole universe, but then I guess everyone thinks that about their furry family.

He's especially fabulous because of how close he came to almost not being with us.

As a puppy, Max was inordinately fond of sweet things (let's face it, he hasn't quite grown out of it, either). Unfortunately for Max, lots of sweet things are not very good for puppy dogs. He is also a pretty clever pooch, and particularly talented at sniffing out anything tasty that might be in a handbag which has been left within reach.

One day my sister had left her handbag on the floor and Max discovered a packet of headache capsules and had a good old chew on it. The tablets have a slightly sweet coating, and Max found them to be a nummy treat.

The next thing though, poor little Max was being rushed to the vet for a stomach pump and long, watchful night to make sure he was going to pull through. Lucky for all of us, he did.

Those of you who read "Just For Today" might find that story sounds a little familiar once you get a way into the book. When I was researching the book I was lucky enough to get some time with a local vet in my neighbourhood who generously shared his knowledge, and I also reached out to lots of friends to ask them for stories of pet misadventures. There were lots to share! Luckily in almost all cases there was a happy outcome for everyone.

I'm going to do another spontaneous giveaway this week. Tell me about your furry family members' misadventures (happy endings only, though, please!) and I'll chose a random comment on the blog to receive an advance copy of Just For Today...

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Giveaway winner!

The "favourite doctor" giveaway is closed now, thanks to everyone for your marvellous doctor suggestions! The winner is....
Sarah Meral! 

Sarah, drop me a line at emmie(at)emmiedark.com and I'll organise to send your copy of Just For Today to you!

Sarah made the very awesome choice of Dr Walter Bishop from Fringe. (Played by renowned Aussie actor, John Noble, who I'm pretty sure I saw on stage in a totally bizarre and vaguely upsetting MTC production, but it was so many years ago it was before the internet was invented so I can't check.) The fact that I own all five seasons of Fringe on DVD only enhances my cred as a geek, I think...


Monday, April 29, 2013

It's finally here!

I've spoken before about the deliveryman's tendency to lean too heavily on the buzzer, thus when that happened this morning, I had an inkling of what to expect. Yes, I was still in my pyjamas but I told the guy I was "having a day off". I think that sounds better than, "I'm still in my PJs because I was in bed with my laptop and I just got an idea for a really good scene and I had no idea that most of the morning was already gone."

This is the box he handed me:
It's a little bit dusty, as you can see, but it was perfectly intact and took very good care of its precious cargo all the way from New York (according to the mailing label). Once again, I carefully opened the tape and peeled back the cardboard flaps...
Ooh, it's so exciting!

I'm really excited for this book. You can't have a favourite with your books (it's like trying to chose a favourite child) but perhaps, secretly, in your heart-of-hearts, you have a soft spot for one special little one. Just For Today is my special little one. (Well, until the next one comes along, I guess!)

I had the best time writing Just For Today, and I desperately want everyone to love Jess and Sean as much as I do. I had a heap of fun doing research for this book. To help me understand more about Sean's life writing horror genre fiction and graphic novels, I went to a couple of comic/fan conventions, including one for the TV show Supernatural, at which I got a little over-excited.

(I know you're all wondering why I didn't go to a Dr Who convention, seeing as I love that so much, but it was literally a matter of timing -- I just went to whatever was available in Melbourne that month, so Supernatural it was. But if Matt Smith (or David Tennant *swoon*) ever makes his way to Melbourne he'd better be on his guard...)

So! Now I have a boxful of exciting copies of Just For Today. It will be on the shelves in North America AND Australia in June, so you've still got a while to wait before you can get your pretty little hands on this one.

That is, UNLESS you win the giveaway I have just now decided to have, and answer my very tricky question! My question is:

Who is your favourite Doctor? 

There. That'll sort you out. I'll chose an answer at random from anyone who comments on this post in the next couple of days and I'll be in touch to send you your very own ADVANCE copy of Just For Today, so you can fall in love with Jess and Sean, just like I did!
Receiving a box of your own books is seriously one of
the most amazing experiences in the universe.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

June is going to be exciting!

As I've mentioned previously, my new SuperRomance "Just For Today..." is going to be out in North America in June. The exciting news for my Aussie supporters is that it's going to be out in Australia at the same time!

Not only is it going to be on the shelves in June (probably mid-June from retailers like Target, K-Mart and Big W) it's going to have almost the same cover! So you won't have to look for something totally different. Yay!

Here's what Just For Today is going to look like in North America:
Here's what it's going to look like in Australia:
The gorgeous Sean and Jess are there in their absolute perfection!

Don't worry, I'll definitely be back to tell you all about all the release details when the time gets closer. And there will probably be a giveaway (or two or three) too, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Through the looking glass

It's a freaky thing, watching yourself on camera. Do I really look like that? Talk like that? I'd make an appalling actor. Although, I have heard that Hugh Laurie refuses to ever watch footage of himself doing the actoring. He even recorded the entire DVD commentary for one of his movies with his back turned to the screen. So I guess that means maybe I could be an actor, if I followed those rules. But then, again . . . Nope. I'll settle for being one of the people that puts the words in actors' mouths. Well, hopefully. One day. I'm really looking forward to the red carpet premiere of one of my novels becoming a movie. I've got the best dress all picked out.

In the meantime, you can check this out. It's just little ol' me. Talking about Spellbound. With the lovely Carol George, editor at Destiny Romance.

I think it's the first face-to-face interview I've done -- these days publicity is mostly an email-back-and-forward kind of thing. So it was exciting! And scary! And fun!

What do you think? How did I do?

Monday, April 1, 2013

Another girlie crush that reveals my geeky side

If you're a closet geek (or even a not-so-closet geek) then you know all about Dr Who. And if you've never heard of the show, or don't really care, then look away now.

Really, the rest of us won't mind.

Of you go. Shoo.

Doo-de-doo-de-dooo *hums lift music*

Right, are they gone? Those heathens who don't like Dr Who? Phew.

So, now that we're all on the same page, how cool is Matt Smith? And how awesome was the new episode?? I loved it when.... Nah, tricked ya! I won't give away any spoilers.

I've been watching Dr Who since it returned a few years back with Chris Eccleston. I've loved every version of the Doctor since then, although I have a soft spot for David Tennant. (Or Ten, if you're a true geek.) And, I will admit, it took me a while to warm to Matt Smith. (I also think it's taken a while for Matt Smith to warm to the Doctor, but that's another conversation.)
Actually, I've watched it since long before that -- way back when I was growing up in a country town with only two TV channels, one of which (ABC, of course) routinely showed Dr Who as after-school viewing.

I love Dr Who for many reasons. I'm not really one for horror shows or the like (although give me a vampire and I'm there), but part of me does like regressing to those childhood days of watching the Daleks from behind the couch, knowing I'd be hearing those metallic voices in my head later when I was trying to sleep.

It's okay -- I chose one with its eyes covered.
But probably a good idea not to blink. Just in case.
And in my adult years, Dr Who has provided some of the downright scariest moments on TV bar none: Weeping Angels anyone? Vashda Nerada? That little boy in the gas mask pleading, "Are you my mummy?"


Part of me loves the romance of it. Yes, of course it's a romance (and no, it's not "of course you'd say that"). The Doctor is the ultimate romantic hero -- intellectual, action-oriented, deeply troubled, overly protective of those he loves. And he's a snappy dresser in pretty much all his incarnations. (Although I didn't love the cricket whites from way back.)

This version of the Doctor (Eleven) has developed a bit of a catch cry. Well, there are a few things he says. "Run," "You are brilliant," and "Geronimo" spring to mind. But the one I want to talk about has only started appearing recently. It's simple but meaningful and affecting, like all good catch cries:

"Under My Protection."
A  non-spoilery screen grab from the latest episode.
By this he means everything from his current companion (the quirky, capable and quite loveable Oswin) to the entire planet earth.

Who doesn't love a hero who declares something like that?

I especially like the way the Dr Who writers use it. Because it doesn't disempower the other characters. Oswin (like Amy before her) isn't quivering in her boots waiting for the Doctor to save her. Often it seems an impossible task anyway -- the Doctor is almost always out-matched, out-manned, and definitely out-gunned. But he always turns up, thinks of something, and saves the day. With a little help.

I love it as a hero's cry. I want to write heroes in my books that might not necessarily say these words, but whose every actions are defined by this belief. I want to read books with heroes like that.

Personally, I'd like a world where more people were like that.

But for now, I sleep a little safer at night knowing we're under the Doctor's protection.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Spellbound wins!

Thanks everyone for voting for Spellbound in the Book Whore Cover Wars challenge -- we won!

Spellbound has been doing great, and it's so exciting to see some lovely reviews popping up and to see so many people adding it on Goodreads!

Unfortunately In His Eyes didn't fair so well in DABWAHA, and it's now out of contention. But big hugs and kisses to all of you who braved the insanely complicated voting process to give it a boost!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Please vote for me!!

I'm not above begging.

Dabwaha is incredibly complicated. Sort of. Basically you just go here: http://www.mysideline.com/u/18566/custom/default.htm

Then you create an account -- just your name and an email address and a nickname.

Then in each box where there are two book titles, you pick one of them, working from the left and right-hand side into the middle.

Basically what you need to do is make sure "In His Eyes" ends up as the last name in the middle.

That's it!

I will be eternally grateful!!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Dirty Deeds...

So, as you know, In His Eyes is a finalist in DABWAHA.

The author I've been pitted against in the first round is (evil and mean) Ruthie Knox, and she's already thrown the first punch.

I therefore respond in kind. (Hair pulling postponed -- for now.)

First of all, let's look at (evil and mean) Ruthie:

As compared to the wonderful, fabulous, talented, well, me:

I think that clarifies everything.

Vote 1, Emmie, on 22 March, at the DABWAHA tournament site. (Go here for instructions.)

*NB: Ruthie may not be actually evil OR mean. In fact, I think she's a pretty amazing author and nice person, having got to know her a little on Twitter. You should definitely check out her books. After you've voted for me. :)

Friday, March 15, 2013

It's Spellbound release day!

Spellbound is now out there, ready for your waiting eyes to devour!

Spellbound is only being released as an e-book, which means you need a computer, an e-reader, or a smart phone or iPad to read it. Who knows, one day it might be on a shelf, but you'll have already read it by then, won't you?

Want to know a little bit about it?

Well, here goes.

It's sexy. Like, really sexy. Like, my mother's not allowed to read it. Got the picture?

It's also funny, a little sad, a little quirky, and a little bit magical too.

On the Destiny site, you can read an extract, which is actually the first whole chapter.

And for those of you with Kindles (or wanting to use the Kindle app on your iPhone or iPad), if you jump onto Amazon and it's not available, just click "pre-order" and it'll fly into your device as soon as it's available. (It might take a day or two from now, just while we wait for timezones to sync up...)

I hope you have lots of fun with Belle, Nick and crazy Aunt Gertrude!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

More competition news

On the day before its official launch (which is tomorrow!) Spellbound is fighting it out for cover supremacy on the Book Whore blog. Please pop in and vote for me if you can! You have to agree, it is a GORGEOUS cover...