Advance review of ARDENT

Kazza K of On Top Down Under Book Reviews with Substance has reviewed ARDENT by Heloise West, in advance of its release on 1 February 2017. Kazza concluded:

I’ve never read Heloise West before but I was impressed with this book. The writing is pretty tight – it captures the essence of the Italian Renaissance, the mood and the people, very well. … I would definitely recommend Ardent to those who want a well written and interesting historical romance that sets the right tone for the crime and the time.

We’re happy to declare that we wholeheartedly agree!

If you just can’t wait, you can pre-order ARDENT now:

Review of ELEVENTH HOUR

We were delighted to see a new review of the very popular ELEVENTH HOUR by Elin Gregory. Anya at Binge on Books says:

What to Expect: Delightful slow-build spy romance with a cross-dressing MC

What you will love: Intricate world building, intrigues and plot twists, sex scenes that will leave you HAPPY and wanting more, MILLIE is everything and Pritchard is the best manservant ever!

Thank you, Anya. We’re so glad you enjoyed this story as much as we do!

The purpose of a butterfly

An author guest blog
by Julie Bozza

I had quite a conservative and sheltered upbringing (and am eternally grateful to my friend Cathe, and to The Rocky Horror Picture Show, for helping me begin the process of opening out!) but I always took the idea of marriage equality seriously.

I also took the idea very personally, despite being an (apparently) cisgender woman happily married from the age of 20 to a (definitely) cisgender man. (I am actually way more complicated than that, as I suspect many of us are, but people tend to relate to me as such.) Despite having what everyone assumed was a ‘traditional’, legally permissible marriage, I felt the issue of marriage equality had a great deal to do with me and my own choices.

When marriage equality was first becoming a matter of wider public debate, Australia’s prime minister was John Howard, a conservative both personally and in politics. Whenever asked, he always defined marriage as being ‘between one man and one woman – for the purposes of having children’.

I could just roll my eyes at the first part of the definition, as of course that was the actual problem we were all arguing about. But the latter part of his definition really stuck in my craw. ‘For the purposes of having children.’

Mr B and I don’t have kids, and that was a deliberate mutual decision made during the first few years we were together, that we’ve never regretted. But that doesn’t mean our relationship isn’t a ‘proper’ marriage. It doesn’t mean we’re not a ‘proper’ family, despite it being only the two of us. And fie on John Howard for suggesting otherwise. (I am still rankling, all these years later!)

Not everyone wants to get married, of course, but I strongly feel that those who want to should be able to. That includes anyone of any sex, gender identity or sexuality – whether they can or can’t have (their own biological) children, and whether they intend to have children or not.

Marriage is a partnership between individuals, and each relationship will be different, and will grow and change over time. As long as everyone involved is happy and willing, the state can and should offer support, but otherwise mind its own business. In my opinion!

Why am I getting on my soapbox about this particular issue in relation to my novel BUTTERFLY HUNTER…? Because the crux of the matter was really brought home to me while researching for the story.

As can be inferred from the title, the main characters Dave and Nicholas are on a quest in the Australian Outback for a particular species of blue butterfly. As part of my research, I often browsed The Complete Field Guide to Butterflies of Australia by Michael F Braby.

Butterflies go through quite a complex life cycle, which involves four very different forms: egg, larva, pupa and adult. It’s the adult form we tend to think of when we think of butterflies – the beautiful, delicate winged creatures, who might live only for months or even days. For different (human) cultures, adult butterflies have symbolised transformation, change, joy, colour, the soul, and death.

I realise we humans are imposing symbolic meaning, and our love of beauty, on creatures who do not share our ways of thinking. However, it really brought me to a crashing halt when I read the following sentence in Braby’s Field Guide:

The adult, also known as the imago, is responsible chiefly for reproduction and dispersal.

And I’m not saying he’s wrong per se. He’s obviously right at some level. I’m just saying that this reductionist approach to life horrifies me. There is so much more to our human lives than making babies and placing them somewhere useful. Maybe a butterfly isn’t conscious enough in itself to think about more than mating, and then laying eggs in good locations. However, the facts that we can appreciate a butterfly’s beauty, and attach culturally-relevant symbolic meanings to them, proves that there’s a whole lot more to being human.

And so I say again, fie on John Howard and his reductive definitions of marriage, and fie on his successors as well. All these years later, Australia still hasn’t signed off on marriage equality. Let marriage be about choice and love, about transformation and life, about souls and joy. Let it be about a dinky-di fair go for all.

Come on, Aussie, come on! It’s more than time. We are way overdue. Get it done!

New title: BREAK OF ANOTHER DAY

We’re sure many of you are eagerly awaiting the 1 February release date for our two new titles, ARDENT by Heloise West, and HARBINGER ISLAND by Dorian Dawes.

In addition to these, we’re delighted to have a new Espresso Shot from Rainbow Award winner Jay Lewis Taylor, following on from his successful novel ACROSS YOUR DREAMS. In BREAK OF ANOTHER DAY we follow further developments in the lives of Jack Townsend – still being blackmailed – and David Lewry and Alan Kershaw – close, but not yet close enough – as they begin to forge new lives for themselves in the aftermath of the war to end all wars.

BREAK OF ANOTHER DAY will be released on 1 February, but is available for pre-order now:

Our Espresso Shots imprint is designed for shorter works, with a more informal publishing schedule than for our ‘regular’ works. The imprint features the same cover for all its titles. Given that the cover will grace stories of any style and any genre, we chose an image that evokes the comforts – and the stimulations – of the reading experience itself.

Recognition for the marvellous ELEVENTH HOUR!

We’re really delighted that our lovely readers seem to love ELEVENTH HOUR by Elin Gregory as much as we do! Not only has it been flying off the virtual shelves and into e-readers like the proverbial hot cakes, we now find that readers have voted it into the Top 20 of the Sinfully Gay Romance Book Reviews Readers Choice Awards as Book of the Year 2016.

Thank you so much to everyone who nominated ELEVENTH HOUR and to everyone who participated!

If you would like to visit Sinfully and vote for your favourites in Rounds Two and Three of the Awards, that would be wonderful. There’s some awesome prizes for readers to win, and you just might find some new favourites, too!

The “12 Days of Christmas” eBook Giveaway – the final draw

To celebrate the festive season – and in honour of whichever way(s) you do or don’t observe it – we’ve been giving away one free book per day, from 26 December to 6 January inclusive. The draws were made as close as possible to 12.00 midday UK time, starting on Tuesday 27 December.

And we’ve just made our twelfth and final draw using random.org! batchelorboy55 is the lucky peep today – and the requested book was ARDENT by Heloise West. (batch, I’ve just emailed this to you!)

We’d like to thank everyone for taking part in the giveaway – we’ve been really delighted by the response. Congratulations again to the winners Petra, Suzanne, Nova, Jay, Chris, Dey, Shirley Ann, Jen, Helena, batchelorboy55 – and Didi twice over – we very much hope you enjoy your books!

 

The “12 Days of Christmas” eBook Giveaway – Day Twelve

To celebrate the festive season – and in honour of whichever way(s) you do or don’t observe it – we’re giving away one free book per day, from 26 December to 6 January inclusive. The draws will be made as close as possible to 12.00 midday UK time, starting on Tuesday 27 December.

We’ve just made our eleventh draw using random.org! Didi is the lucky peep today – and the requested book was the shiny new HARBINGER ISLAND by Dorian Dawes. (Didi, I’ve just emailed this to you, hot off the presses!)

Everyone, including Petra, Suzanne, Nova, Jay, Chris, Dey, Shirley Ann, Jen and Helena, can now enter for the twelfth and final day’s draw. The only person who is ineligible is Didi, having won twice now.

Please note: Feel free to choose either of our new titles, ARDENT or HARBINGER ISLAND, if you wish. However, we might not be able to send it to you immediately, as we are still in the process of finalising the eBook files.

Entry is quite simple, using this form: Click here for the Book Giveaways form. This opens in a new window or tab. You’ll be asked for your first name (or whatever name you’d like to use), an email address, which title you’d like, and in which format. All these fields must be completed before clicking the Submit button.

No one but we admin peeps will be able to see any of the details you enter via the form. However, please be aware that we’ll share the winner’s name and choice of title when announcing the result in the following day’s post. If you’d rather we used ‘anon’, please indicate that in the name field of the form.

Please also note that any comments made on this post are not screened other than via the usual WordPress security. All comments on this post will in effect be public.

All our current titles are available for the giveaway, but only in electronic formats.

If you are successful once, please feel free to enter again. You can win twice before being disqualified for the rest of the giveaway.

So, pour yourself a beverage of your choice and browse our titles. You might like to experiment with the work of a new author, or complete the backlist of a favourite.

Good luck and best wishes to everyone who takes part!

The “12 Days of Christmas” eBook Giveaway – Day Eleven

To celebrate the festive season – and in honour of whichever way(s) you do or don’t observe it – we’re giving away one free book per day, from 26 December to 6 January inclusive. The draws will be made as close as possible to 12.00 midday UK time, starting on Tuesday 27 December.

And we’ve just made our tenth draw using random.org! Helena is the lucky peep today – and the requested book was the very popular ELEVENTH HOUR by Elin Gregory. (Helena, I’ve just emailed this to you!)

Everyone, including Petra, Suzanne, Nova, Jay, Chris, Dey, Didi, Shirley Ann, Jen and Helena, can now enter for the eleventh day’s draw.

Please note: Feel free to choose either of our new titles, ARDENT or HARBINGER ISLAND, if you wish. However, we might not be able to send it to you immediately, as we are still in the process of finalising the eBook files.

Entry is quite simple, using this form: Click here for the Book Giveaways form. This opens in a new window or tab. You’ll be asked for your first name (or whatever name you’d like to use), an email address, which title you’d like, and in which format. All these fields must be completed before clicking the Submit button.

No one but we admin peeps will be able to see any of the details you enter via the form. However, please be aware that we’ll share the winner’s name and choice of title when announcing the result in the following day’s post. If you’d rather we used ‘anon’, please indicate that in the name field of the form.

Please also note that any comments made on this post are not screened other than via the usual WordPress security. All comments on this post will in effect be public.

All our current titles are available for the giveaway, but only in electronic formats.

If you are successful once, please feel free to enter again. You can win twice before being disqualified for the rest of the giveaway.

So, pour yourself a beverage of your choice and browse our titles. You might like to experiment with the work of a new author, or complete the backlist of a favourite.

Good luck and best wishes to everyone who takes part!

The “12 Days of Christmas” eBook Giveaway – Day Ten

To celebrate the festive season – and in honour of whichever way(s) you do or don’t observe it – we’re giving away one free book per day, from 26 December to 6 January inclusive. The draws will be made as close as possible to 12.00 midday UK time, starting on Tuesday 27 December.

And we’ve just (slightly belatedly) made our ninth draw using random.org! Jen is the lucky peep today – and the requested book was, once more, our Austen anthology A CERTAIN PERSUASION. (Jen, I’ve just emailed this to you!)

Everyone, including Petra, Suzanne, Nova, Jay, Chris, Dey, Didi, Shirley Ann and Jen, can now enter for the tenth day’s draw.

Please note: Feel free to choose either of our new titles, ARDENT or HARBINGER ISLAND, if you wish. However, we might not be able to send it to you immediately, as we are still in the process of finalising the eBook files.

Entry is quite simple, using this form: Click here for the Book Giveaways form. This opens in a new window or tab. You’ll be asked for your first name (or whatever name you’d like to use), an email address, which title you’d like, and in which format. All these fields must be completed before clicking the Submit button.

No one but we admin peeps will be able to see any of the details you enter via the form. However, please be aware that we’ll share the winner’s name and choice of title when announcing the result in the following day’s post. If you’d rather we used ‘anon’, please indicate that in the name field of the form.

Please also note that any comments made on this post are not screened other than via the usual WordPress security. All comments on this post will in effect be public.

All our current titles are available for the giveaway, but only in electronic formats.

If you are successful once, please feel free to enter again. You can win twice before being disqualified for the rest of the giveaway.

So, pour yourself a beverage of your choice and browse our titles. You might like to experiment with the work of a new author, or complete the backlist of a favourite.

Good luck and best wishes to everyone who takes part!

The “12 Days of Christmas” eBook Giveaway – Day Nine

To celebrate the festive season – and in honour of whichever way(s) you do or don’t observe it – we’re giving away one free book per day, from 26 December to 6 January inclusive. The draws will be made as close as possible to 12.00 midday UK time, starting on Tuesday 27 December.

And we’ve just made our eighth draw using random.org! Shirley Ann is the lucky peep today – and the requested book was our Austen anthology A CERTAIN PERSUASION. (Shirley Ann, I’ve just emailed this to you!)

Everyone, including Petra, Suzanne, Nova, Jay, Chris, Dey, Didi and Shirley Ann, can now enter for the ninth day’s draw.

Please note: Feel free to choose either of our new titles, ARDENT or HARBINGER ISLAND, if you wish. However, we might not be able to send it to you immediately, as we are still in the process of finalising the eBook files.

Entry is quite simple, using this form: Click here for the Book Giveaways form. This opens in a new window or tab. You’ll be asked for your first name (or whatever name you’d like to use), an email address, which title you’d like, and in which format. All these fields must be completed before clicking the Submit button.

No one but we admin peeps will be able to see any of the details you enter via the form. However, please be aware that we’ll share the winner’s name and choice of title when announcing the result in the following day’s post. If you’d rather we used ‘anon’, please indicate that in the name field of the form.

Please also note that any comments made on this post are not screened other than via the usual WordPress security. All comments on this post will in effect be public.

All our current titles are available for the giveaway, but only in electronic formats.

If you are successful once, please feel free to enter again. You can win twice before being disqualified for the rest of the giveaway.

So, pour yourself a beverage of your choice and browse our titles. You might like to experiment with the work of a new author, or complete the backlist of a favourite.

Good luck and best wishes to everyone who takes part!