• Blog

    Coastal Romance Christmas Blog Hop – Christmas by the sea


    Coastal Romance Christmas Blog Hop Promo
    It is hard to grow up in Australia and not associate Christmas with the beach. Christmas means the start of the summer holidays. It means long lazy days by the sea. It means sunburn, barbeques and late nights sitting out under the stars. It means mosquito bites, sand in your swimmers and icy cold drinks.

    When we were kids we were fascinated by the idea of a white Christmas. All the television shows and movies had snow and mountains. People drank egg nog (what was that), built snowmen and sat by the fire.

    I suppose even now I think of a winter Christmas as romantic but seriously what can be more romantic than cocktails and prawns on the beach?

    In fact I fantasise about taking my family to a gorgeous island in the Whitsundays for Christmas not unlike the one that Cassie visits in Hearts Afire. (Of course it would be inappropriate for me to flirt with a sexy fireman while on vacation with my husband and daughter I know that).

    Hearts AfireIn reality my real Christmas looks an awful lot like one that Allegra from my first novel Mr Right and Other Mongrels might enjoy. I think it’s probably equally romantic. We will spend the day bobbing on our boat on Sydney Harbour while children jump of the back and we feast on prawns and turkey and ham (and of course some champagne!)

    I imagine if I lived in the Northern Helpisphere that would be a very exotic and romantic way to spend Christmas. In fact many young single visitors to Australia spend Christmas Day on Bondi Beach http://sunburntchristmas.com.au/

    I kind of like to imagine that somewhere in that crowd of people are two people who will find each other and forge a beautiful relationship…or will find each other, get separated and spend a while finding their way back together in the spirit of a true epic romance.







    Mr Right and Other Mongrels














    Don’t forget to enter for your chance to win 26 e-books and $100 Amazon GC.

    Coastal Romance Christmas Blog Hop PromoEnter here:


    If you leave a comment here and tell me about your most romantic Christmas or the destination you think would be most romantic you can win a copy of Hearts Afire and a $5 Amazon GC.








    12/21/2013 01:50:31 pm

    Oddly enough I think I’d enjoy a southern hemisphere Christmas more than my usual northern hemisphere one. I don’t like the cold although snow for Christmas can be overlooked.

    I love your thought of two people meant for each other meeting on the beach. That’s a beautiful sentiment.

    Mary McCoy
    12/21/2013 06:37:28 pm

    I would think that visiting Australia with my husband and relaxing on the beach would be romantic. We will be getting a total of 8+ inches of snow today, so I dream of a non-snowy Christmas!

    12/22/2013 03:22:01 am

    think Paris would be nice

    Donna D
    12/22/2013 05:15:50 am

    I’ve spent Christmases in New Mexico, California, Oklahoma, The Netherlands, and Germany — all northern hemisphere — co Christmases have been on the cold side. Some have had snow, some ice {and that’s not a good thing!}, even some rain, as well as sunny and somewhat warm. And I’m not sure I could get in the Christmas ‘spirit’ if there wasn’t some cold temperatures leading up to the season. BUT, just once I’d like to spend a warm Christmas — maybe even ‘hot’ in Australia or New Zealand.

    Marcy Shuler
    12/22/2013 07:17:30 am

    I’ve never had a warm beach Christmas and I’d like to experience it, just once. Hawaii or Australia would work. The thought of prawns on the beach sounds romantic to me. While snow is pretty to look at it’s not as much fun to shovel or drive in. 😉

    Donna Newman
    12/23/2013 04:56:27 am

    I think Rome is a very romantic spot. I love Italy was there when I was a kid and would love to go back someday.

    Sherry Gloag
    12/23/2013 06:40:06 am

    I have friends in Australia and would love the chance to combing meeting up with them and a warm Christmas 🙂

    Linda Townsend
    1/1/2014 12:15:11 am

    I live in central Florida, so we have beaches that can be quite warm during the winter months… today is not one of those warm days… but it’s not cold either… My fav places for Christmas memories are the local theme parks. There’s so much to do at both Universal and Disney – most people just think of the rides but there is so much more! Thanks for the giveaway(s)!

  • Blog

    Musical Monday – Christmas themed – some Australian Christmas songs


    This musical Monday I thought I’d introduce you to some Australian Christmas music. It’s all very well to sing about snowmen and white Christmases and fireplaces but here in the Southern Hemisphere we don’t have Christmas like that.

    It’s hot. We go to the beach, do our Christmas caroling outside in parks and school playgrounds and we eat lunch outside swatting away flies and mosquitos. It’s just a bit different from the Hallmark Channel version but no less lovely.

    This first one is all about Santa and his sleigh except it’s pulled by Kangaroo’s, boomers to be exact and there is not a snowflake in sight.
    This one is more a tale or dysfunction and regret and what happens when you yearn for family and friends because you can’t get home for Christmas. It’s also a song about how we long for tradition and familiarity.

    How to Make Gravy by the wonderful Paul Kelly.

    Hope these songs get your toes tapping and in the Christmas spirit this Monday.


  • Blog

    Sometimes, it’s got to be Christmas – a Holiday guest post from Deb Nam-Krane


    Deborah Nam-KraneSometimes it has to be Christmas
    I confess: I can be a bit of a Scrooge. When I was younger, I loved the idea of the magic of Christmas and the rest of the solstice holidays, but as I’ve gotten older it’s become more of an indulgence in crass commercialism. “Buy this, and everyone will love you because they’ll know how much you love them!” or “If you’re a good citizen, you’re going to buy a lot- the economy depends on you!”

    But while I prefer to mark December 25th with the ancient traditions of my people (a movie and Chinese food), I’d have to be living in a hermetically sealed bubble without access to any other people not to notice that “the holidays” are an important part of everyone’s lives, whether they like it or not. If nothing else, they focus the attention on people gathering together and making an effort to show their appreciation of those who are important to them. If that frequently takes the form of sweaters (worn with or without irony) and way too many baked goods, maybe that’s not such a terrible thing.

    Given that the first book in my series The New Pioneers is filled with college students in a famous college town, it would have been foolish not to have taken advantage of the drama that comes with Christmas. The break in classes, the scramble to travel, the young/new adults who are trying to establish new traditions, the return of important characters and, of course, the potential to meet friends of friends: it’s pretty clear why many YA and NA writers would include at least one Christmas scene.

    In The Smartest Girl in the Room, Christmas is a time that my heroine Emily feels unrooted after saying goodbye to both her best friend and her new boyfriend and not having a home of her own to return to. She enters into an unfamiliar situation even though she’s positive she’ll be outclassed. Instead, she’s introduced to a very important character with a surprising connection to some of her new- and old- friends. But clarity is postponed by the return of a prodigal son (or in this case, cousin)- and the “gift” Emily receives is to be rushed out before she can meet him.

    This is a pivotal moment in my story, and if Christmas hadn’t been available I could have worked it into, maybe, Spring Break. But while I would have had a very good reason for getting people out of town, getting important people back into town would have been harder to explain (unless people usually have a good reason to return to Boston in March or Spring that I don’t know about). It also would have meant moving the entire timeline of my story around; instead of beginning in autumn, I would have had to have started in winter, and then I would have had to have changed some of the catalysts for my story. Doable? Yes. But ask any writer what happens to a story you have to massage one too many times.

    So this year, instead of channeling my usual “Bah Humbug!”, I’m going to wink just a little bit when December 25th rolls around- right after I leave a movie theater and head to my favorite Chinese restaurant.

    About Deb and her writing.

    Deborah Nam-Krane came up with the kernel of The New Pioneers series when she was barely a teenager. It only took 27 years, but she’s finally ready to let the world read it. The Smartest Girl in the Room was released in late March of 2013 and The Family You Choose was released exactly six months later in September of 2013. The China Doll will be released (fingers crossed) by the end of December.

    The Smartest Girl in the Room

    Nineteen year old Emily wants her college diploma fast, and she’s going to get it. But when the perfect night with perfect Mitch leads her to a broken heart, Emily is blind to her vulnerability. When the person she cares about the most is hurt as a result, Emily’s ambition gives way to more than a little ruthlessness. She’s going to use her smarts to take care of herself and protect the people she loves, and everyone else had better stay out of her way. But shouldn’t the smartest girl everyone knows realize that the ones she’d cross the line for would do the same for her?

    The Family You Choose

    Miranda Harel has been in love with her guardian Alex Sheldon since she was five years old, and Michael Abbot has despised them both for just as long. When Miranda finds out why she wants both men out of her life for good and questions everything she believed about where and who she came from. Finding out the truth will break her heart. Without family or true love, will her friends be enough to bring her back?

    Please connect with Deborah Nam-Krane on any of the following sites:

    Join her mail list to find out first about new releases

    Written By Deb

    Amazon Author Page

    Smashwords Author Page





    The Family You Choose - CoverThe Smartest Girl in the Room - Cover














    Deborah Nam-Krane
    12/3/2013 10:45:10 am

    Thanks for having me Monique!

  • Blog

    Chick Lit Christmas Giveaway 2013


    Chick Lit Christmas Giveaway 2013 Promo
    This is an amazing give-away for American readers who love chick lit and REAL PAPERBACKS.

    You have a chance to win 29 wonderful books delivered to your very own front door. How exciting is that?? I would be beyond excited. (Of course I am not able to enter being one of the authors and living in Australia).

    It’s pretty simple to participate just follow these Rafflecopter instructions and you can have loads of chances to enter!!

    You have to be in it to win it!

    Just think what a wonderful Christmas present this would be for you (or if you have friends who loves to read you could always give the books away!)

    Good luck!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway



    Julie Bobrow
    12/2/2013 04:41:23 pm

    This is a fantastic offer!

  • Blog

    Memories of holiday’s past – the first of the holiday posts this December


    Christmas Star DecorationIt’s funny how, when you sit down to ponder your own holiday experiences, you can be so overwhelmed by memories it becomes hard to decide what to write.

    I consider myself a pretty lucky person because I have celebrated Christmas in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, I’ve celebrated Thanksgiving (Although I’m not American), I’ve been invited to Hanukah celebrations and I’ve even celebrated several Muslim holidays.

    We all think the way we celebrate is “normal”. Doesn’t everyone have a White Christmas or Christmas on the beach, for example. We think our normal is the normal. Celebrating different holidays with different people shows you there is no such thing as normal.

    Even better it shows you there are many, many ways to celebrate.

    When I was a child Christmas looked like this. Wake up in the stinking heat (about 5am if you were me) and do presents with my immediate family, then head to Mass. Next stop family friends for drinks. By noon we were at my father’s family for a long, lovely lunch with pudding, Christmas crackers with the bad paper hats, cheap toys and jokes and lots and lots of cousins. Back in the car and off to the next place for dinner, that was my mum’s side. Repeat the lunch part fo the day, right down to the menu just add different relatives. Finally load into the car again and drive south from Sydney, through the Royal National Park to my grandparents beach house. Anyone exhausted yet?

    One of my favourite Christmas memories as a kid is that my mother would let us have whatever we wanted for breakfast. My sister would choose chocolate custard. I varied my choice a bit – one year it was strawberries and another bacon and eggs. You have to admire someone who did that before the epic day laid out above.

    As an adult my husband and I replicated this huge day trip model until our daughter was three. That was about ten years of married life. Our “best effort” included waking up at our beachside flat, driving to my parent’s house in Sydney’s North, lunch back in the Eastern Suburbs and dessert at my in-laws in a coastal town over four hours north of Sydney. (That was actually a really great Christmas even it might not sound like it!)

    No wonder we ran out of steam! No wonder my favourite day of the year is Boxing Day. My Boxing Day looks like this. Wake up late and eat leftovers all day. Lay in the hammock, drink the leftover alcohol and read a book (My husband always gives me a new book for Christmas). Heaven!

    Once we decided to do my family one year and the in-laws the next our Christmas has developed it’s own rhythm. One Christmas, we were home for lunch because we had family dinner, I asked my daughter what she wanted for lunch. Her answer was party pies. So we had a platter that consisted of prawns, smoked salmon, cherries and party pies – it’s still her favourite Christmas meal.

    As a writer I love reading about how other people celebrate holidays and create their traditions which become their stories. That becomes their normal.

    Mince Party Pies

  • Blog

    Merry Christmas – have a bargain book or two


    $1.99 Christmas Sale 2012 Banner
    Hearts Afire
    This Christmas I’m participating in this sale with authors at anindieaffair.

    Pop over there to read about the books and the 12 authors participating with over 20 books at $1.99.

    Both my books will be available for just $1.99 through December 26th or Boxing Day (Australian time).

    If you haven’t already take the opportunity to download Hearts Afire or Mr Right and Other Mongrels. If you do I’d love you to pop back and let me know if you enjoyed them.





    Mr Right and Other Mongrels
    I wish you a very Merry Christmas, or Festivus and best wishes for a wonderful 2013 filled with love, laughter and books.

  • Blog

    A catch-up and a review of my free days on Amazon KDP


    Hearts Afire
    I know it’s been a bit quiet here on the blog this past week.

    In Australia the festive season coincides with a mad scramble for everyone to get all their work done before Christmas, when most people have their summer holidays/vacation and also the end of the school year.

    This year my lovely daughter is finishing Primary School. Here our school system runs a bit differently than in the US for example and we have no middle school so they finish Primary school at the end of 6th grade and head straight to High School. The end of primary school means farewells, dinners, graduation ceremonies and in my case – lots of tears.

    Just before the madness began last week I had my first experience of Amazon KDP’s free days with Hearts Afire. If you have a book enrolled in this program you can have 6 free days a month.

    I’d never done it before so I did lots of reading about other author’s experiences and what they did to maximise the opportunity. The reality is you’re aiming to reach people who don’t already know about you when you do something like this not your mother or your friend from the office.

    There are lots of websites, twitter services and facebook pages that let readers know about free books every day so I made a list of them and contacted as many as I could. Some you need a certain number of reviews to qualify for, others need a week’s notice, some want you to pay so you need to look at them on a book by book basis. I didn’t do any paid services because honestly I had no idea if that was worth it for me.

    I chose a weekend because I thought it would be easier for me to keep track of what was happening. I also felt people have more time to read on weekends. I don’t know if that’s true or not and I do know lots of people download books just because they’re free and never read them as well, heck I’ve even done that myself.

    So how did it go? By the end of the two day’s sale I was #3 in free contemporary romance and #8 in the free Amazon store which was pretty amazing. That meant over 15,000 people had downloaded my book. That’s pretty amazing really.
    As a writer your goal is to have people read your work…of course you’d prefer they paid for it…but actually the objective after the joy of writing is to find an audience.

    So I wondered how that would affect my sales when the book was back at $2.99 which is still not a huge cost for a book, is it?

    It’s now 10 days later and the book was up at around the #1,700 mark in the Kindle store right after the promotion ended.

    What this has obviously meant is people have been able to find the book because the sales especially the first three days after the promotion were very good. That was my objective – to be found. I also had sales on Mr Right and Other Mongrels, which I was hoping for, nothing like on Hearts Afire but I’ll take them!

    It also meant people found the book to borrow it. Not one person had borrowed the book before the promotion and lots of people have done so since.

    Sales have declined slowly but are still much better day by day than they were beforehand.

    The upshot is this promotion, for me anyway, was very successful.

    Lots of people have said the free days aren’t working for them anymore. My experience was entirely positive. Why? Perhaps because the book is romance and romance readers are pretty savvy. Perhaps because I had never had a free book before so I was ‘new’ to the readers. Perhaps the beautiful cover caught people’s eye. Perhaps because at least some of the promotional pages I contacted did include my book in their free days promotions (though lots didn’t).

    Honestly, I don’t know exactly why it succeeded but it did and I’m happy about that.

    I’d love to hear other people’s experiences of free days or their thoughts on the topic.


    12/18/2012 06:55:20 pm

    I will confess your free offer reminded me to buy your other book. I have not read either yet but wish you all the luck with your writing.

    Anna Hackett
    12/18/2012 11:05:39 pm

    Hi Monique – so pleased to hear your free days went so well! And Hearts Afire really does have a great cover!

    12/22/2012 04:35:06 am

    I just did a free day and was very happy with the results. I have almost 4000 free downloads. I have noticed a significant uptake in sales since the preview. I have also had some loans, and I had none before. I did the same as you with the free preview sites. And I also posted on a few spots on Goodreads and on Amazon itself on the forum. Am considering a second free preview day since the first one went so well.
    12/22/2012 08:23:53 am

    Thanks Marjorie and Anna….
    It is an interesting experience isn’t it Caroline…lots to learn and lots to gain from it.

  • Blog

    Christmas Guest Post on Magic from Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy


    One word often describes the holiday season: magic. Even though most of us find ourselves running fast in an effort to keep up with the increased activities, entertainments, and events we want to believe in magic. Maybe it dates back to our childhoods when the sparkle of Christmas lights strung on the tree or the appearance of Santa Claus made magic come alive.

    I suppose most kids believe in Santa at one point in their life although I’ve known a few parents who wouldn’t
    let the legend live for their broods. My own belief in the jolly old elf exceeded the basic expectations but
    then I have a very good reason for that – Santa Claus is my uncle.

    My Uncle Bill Puett put aside his everyday life as a delivery route man for Just-Rite Dairy in my hometown of
    St. Joseph, Missouri each December. Since he happened to be a large man year round, he fit the physical
    description to perfection and his demeanor happened to be both cheerful and giving. He started out playing
    Santa for some dairy promotions back in the day when Just-Rite featured special ice cream novelties for the holidays. Their individual serving size Christmas trees, Santa faces, and big ice cream cakes were a hit in northern Missouri and
    Uncle Bill promoted them well.

    He enjoyed the role so much he bought his own Santa Claus suit and before long, he filled those black boots
    like the real deal. I bought into the entire Santa thing with a whole heart as a young child. Why wouldn’t I when on a routine trip to a local supermarket Santa Claus himself approached me and called me by name? Or how about the Christmas Eve evening visit from my Aunt Janet who just happened to run across Santa Claus out on the
    walk and invite him to come in with her?

    So I grew up believing in Santa, hanging onto the mystery and magic a little longer than most kids probably do. And even when I learned the story of Santa Claus embodies the spirit of love and giving, I still believed in the magic if not the man.

    Believing in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary is an important factor in my Christmas release from Rebel Ink Press. In Sing We Now of Christmas, my heroine is a young bride whose beloved husband fails to return from a Fourth of July fishing trip and is presumed dead. She doesn’t buy it and so she waits with hope in her heart for Christmas, the season when they first met for a miracle. If I hadn’t believed in Santa, then maybe I couldn’t believe in hope either.


    He fit into his faded Wranglers as if they’d been made just for his long legs and his pearl snap button blue patterned Western shirt suited him. He towered above her, taller by several inches even without the worn cowboy boots he wore.
    She inhaled his scent, a potent mixture of musky cologne, tobacco smoke, and beneath it all, Irish Spring soap.
    His hands, still holding her arms, were warm against her bare skin and she was glad, now, that she’d worn the black silk halter top despite the cold instead of the red sweater she’d worn to school. Jessica made her voice work with effort, “Thank you.”

    “No problem,” he said and she drank in his voice, strong and comforting with just enough Oklahoma twang to make it interesting. “Would you care to dance?”

    “I’d love it,” Jessica said as he released his grip on her arms to grab her hand instead. “My name’s Jessica Martin.”

    “I’m Johnny,” he said and she committed the name to memory, “Johnny Devereaux.”

    He led her onto the tiny dance floor just as Mark began to sing the softer, sweeter vintage country song, Lookin’ For Love. The old Johnny Lee song she remembered from that movie, Urban Cowboy, now felt like a theme song. She recalled watching it one late night in college, hating the boot scooting dance moves and the mechanical bull riding but loving the scene where Debra Winger danced to this same music with John Travolta. Such a coincidence she mused, Johnny Lee, John Travolta, and Johnny Devereaux.

    Johnny put his arms around her and she cuddled close against him for the slow dance. They swayed together, their easy motions in time with the music, and she felt safe. Jessica’s head fell short of his shoulder and so as they danced, she could hear the steady rhythm of his heartbeat. Above them, the stationary silver ball that must have once spun reflected the colorful Christmas lights strung above the bar and Jessica felt the strangest sense of coming home in his arms. She wanted to stay there forever, wrapped in that magic cocoon of his embrace, and hold this moment close to her heart.

    From Sweet to Heat: The Romance of Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy

    Website/blog: http://leeannsontheimermurphywriterauthor.blogpspot.com

    Blog: Rebel Writer: Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy

    Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Lee-Ann-Sontheimer-Murphy/e/B004JPBM6I

    Buy Links:



    Book trailer:

    Sing We Now at Christmas