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Australian Romance Readers Convention 2015

What a fabulous weekend at ARRC2015. It was so well organised. The hotel (QT) was very spiffy and the guests were awesome.

I’ve been dieting so the first glass of bubbly on Friday night at the Harlequin cocktail party went to my head.I managed another at the ARRC welcome cocktail party, well half. The food was quite delicious and the the event was well attended. I didn’t got to the trivia quiz but I heard it was a ball.

Saturday morning, Helene Young did her speech and then I went to some panel sessions.To my embarrassment I had a slight hangover and had to medicate. The event was catered so I was navigating the food around my diet at morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea. The food was very good btw but I had to limit my intake. My mate, Nicole Murphy, was on a panel and then it was time for the booksigning event. The only physical books I had were the other me’s Dragon Wine series, which aren’t romance. What a thrill to see people buy Shatterwing. The cover was a real hook for people, particularly dragon lovers.

I sat next to Jennifer Kloester. I sat next her to her last time too. That time I bought her biography of Georgette Heyer. This time I bought her Georgette Heyer’s Regency World, which I have devoured. I also bought two of her novels. She was a lovely companion for signing and an interesting and smart woman. She has really improved my knowledge of Georgette and given me an excellent resource. I’m currently drafting a Regency Romance.

Here is a shot of Jennifer and me.

Jennifer Kloester and Dani Kristoff

Jennifer Kloester and Dani Kristoff

The awards dinner went off very well. The optional dress was 1920s style and some people go to so much trouble. The costumes  (and the bling) were amazing. The food was pretty good. Would you believe Kylie Scott won 4 awards. The lovely Anne Gracie took out the award for best historical and Rachel Johns for contemporary I think. I just had to buy one of her books. She writes rural romance.

I had a glass of bubbly again at the Momentum drinks and then I had to not drink during dinner so I would be sober enough to drive home. Matthew would have rescued me but didn’t need to.

Sunday was another good day. I was on a panel talking about magic, or ro-magic, the term they are giving light romance with magic in them. I caught the end of Victoria Dahl’s guest of honour speech which was entirely appropriate to International Women’s Day.

Monday after the convention, there was a lake cruise. Now I’ve been in Canberra for nearly 20 years and I’ve not done the cruise before. It was a perfect day for it. The weather had been so lovely the whole weekend I was so pleased for the guests that the weather stayed so fine. The cruise was three hours long and so mellow and picturesque. The lunch was pretty reasonable and I had a lovely glass of sauvignon blanc.


The Govenor-General's House, Yarralumla, Canberra

The Govenor-General’s House, Yarralumla, Canberra

The High Court

The High Court



Black Mountain Tower, Canberra

Black Mountain Tower, Canberra

Pamela, Aimie and Anne Gracie

Pamela, Aimie and Anne Gracie

The wake

The wake

Aimee and Pamela on the bus

Aimee and Pamela on the bus

The shoreline

The shoreline

A big thank you to Deb, Cora and the committee for a great convention.

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What I’m working on right now

I’ve always wanted to write a Regency Romance. As a spec fic writer I always wanted to combine a Regency with fantasy, but then Susanah Clarke got there before me.

This year, it’s time to write the dream project, the one that I have been carrying around with me for over ten years. Warning there’s a Scottish Historical  Romance (or two) floating around in my brain too.

I’m not sure what name this will eventually get published under but the other me and Dani are talking about the project. Tentatively titled The Tainted Lady, I started drafting over the Australia Day weekend. This last week the words have been pouring out of me and I’m halfway through the first draft.

I’m not sure what’s got me going. The Jane Austen Festival I’m attending in April or millinery classes where I talked about bonnets with the teacher. I love Victorian period too. I’m just a sucker for fantasy and romance.

The Tainted Lady is straight Regency Romance, no paranormal elements. My first ever attempt at writing in 2000 was a Scottish Romance. I wrote about 700 words and thought they were crap. I knew nothing about writing then. I didn’t know the first draft was ‘meant’ to be crap. Anyway, the scales have shifted and I’m writing romance and I’m exceedingly happy about it.

Having spent January staring into space and then by the end of the month watching every single historical drama  I must have set myself up to write Regency. I went on a retreat on Australia Day weekend and only made up my mind the day before about what I was going to work on.

To finish off this post. A photo of me in Regency garb.

Donna regency 1photo by Trudi Canavan

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Spiritbound’s blurb. The truth is out there

Exciting things happening this week. I was checking the title for Spiritbound, something I should have done before naming my book. Here I was thinking I was a genius with titles only to find that there are other books by big name authors using the title Spiritbound. I apologise for that. It wasn’t intentional. I actually did think I was brilliant for thinking it up. Why Spiritbound? Well it’s about the characters Grace and Declan, who being of the folk have an unique connection, they are bound by their spirits. Hence the title of the book.

So if you like magic, witches and Sydney’s Balmain area then Spiritbound is for you. I can’t express how much I love this story and on a very personal level what it means to me. Remember it’s a prequel to Bespelled.

Oh I forgot. So while I was checking out the title Spiritbound, I accidentally found that the blurb is out and Spiritbound is up for pre-order already.

And I should mention that I’ll be at the ARRA2015  conference in Canberra 6-8 of March. Come along and meet some fantastic authors like Sylvia Day, Kelley Armstrong, Victoria Dahl and Helene Young. Link at bottom of the page. Time is running out to sign up.

Here is the blurb.

The Sydney coven is suffering from a man drought – some witches complain, and some witches just get creative.

Grace lives with her cousin Elena and her mother Elvira, and life is pretty damn fine, barring the warlock drought that has the coven’s younger witches a bit itchy. Grace isn’t worried – even if a suitable warlock were available, he wouldn’t be interested in Grace. Ever since she raised her dead cat as a child, Grace’s necromancy skills have put everyone around her on edge.

Then her childhood beau, Declan Mallory, returns from overseas. He’s a battlemage and hot property.  To Grace’s dismay, she is but one face among many as the coven witches pull out all the stops to attract the  tall, dark and handsome warlock’s attention. Fortunately their childhood friendship still holds some sway, and Grace and Declan soon find themselves reconnecting on all sorts of levels. But there are dark secrets in the coven, and Declan’s family is determined to shut their relationship down. But Grace has finally found her warlock, and she is not giving him up without a fight: not to the bitch-witches, not to his family, and certainly not to the past.


Spiritbound by Dani Kristoff

Spiritbound by Dani Kristoff

And pre-order link! Here.

ARRA 2015 Here

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The Sorcerer’s Spell 99 cents

I stumbled upon The Sorcerer’s Spell at 99 cents on Amazon.com.au

It is also only .77cents on Amazon.com

I know it’s listed under erotica but it is really hot paranormal romance. The publisher said they tried to change the genre category but it can be hard to do. So don’t let the label stop you!

Why isn’t it true erotica? The story does not revolve around the sex, nor does the sex actually progress the story to its resolution.

Why is it paranormal romance? The story revolves around a romance between a sorcerer and a human and there is a mystery type story line driving the story. It has a contemporary urban setting.

Why is it hot and sexy? There are quite a few sex scenes in there that are steamy and somewhat graphic.

Where does the ‘kink’ come in? The dark sorceress Nira uses sex to fuel her power. The kinkier the better. This is where it gets more difficult to classify as this element is more of an erotica element.

Were any werewolves harmed in the telling of this story? No actual werewolves were harmed in the course of this story but there are a few close calls. A werewolf might get laid. The werewolf in question is quite cool about that.

Here is the Amazon.com link. I have no idea how long the special will last. Go get it!

Here is the Amazon.com.au link. http://www.amazon.com.au/Sorcerers-Spell-Dani-Kristoff-ebook/dp/B00J7GIAPK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1424259495&sr=8-1&keywords=dani+kristoff7335_SorcerorsSpell_MREC

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Cover reveal for Spiritbound

This is so exciting. I love this book and to finally see it with a cover is fantastic!

Spiritbound will be released on April 22, 2015. It’s a paranormal romance ebook and a prequel to Bespelled. That’s right, this story is set before Elena and Jake and it features Grace and Declan.

So without further ado. Tadaa!

Spiritbound by Dani Kristoff

Spiritbound by Dani Kristoff

Many thanks to the design team at Escape Publishing. It’s great.

It looks so fab.

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What has Dani been up to?

I thought it was about time that I got back to you about what Dani Kristoff is up to.

I’ve been advised that Spiritbound, the next in my Bespelled series, is out with Escape in April 2015. I’m very excited that I’ll be getting the edits for this in December. Spiritbound was such a fun project for me. It’s a story of Grace and Declan. If you have read Bespelled you met Grace as part of Elena and Jake’s story. One of my lovely beta readers, Cora, said that Grace farted rainbows and sunshine. I tried to minimise the sunshine and rainbows, but Grace is such a good-hearted character that I didn’t have much success. For me Grace had a very positive attitude to life even though she had suffered. She knew the true worth of those who were closest to her, such as her mother Elvira and her cousin/adopted sister Elena.
I’m not going to say too much more except to say that if you liked Fel, the undead cat, then this is her origin story.
Another thing to point out is that this is a prequel to Bespelled. That is, it’s what came before Jake and Elena. I’m sorry about the stories being back to front but Jake and Elena’s story came to me first and it took me a while to discover how Grace and Declan got together. Another interesting thing in Spiritbound is that it explores the back story to the witches and Declan’s role as the Battle mage.

So keep your eye out the Spiritbound!

Also in the Bespelled world I’ve been working on a sequel, featuring Bethanea, Jake’s cousin who lives with Gregor in Lake Macquarie, north of Sydney. Bethanea is known as Nea, and is named for a friend who died of lung cancer this year. Bethanea and Earl’s story is a little bit different, to my mind. I won’t spoil it for you but it’s a bit darker, explores the magical world a little bit more and was difficult to write. We’ll see how it goes through their submissions process but I’ll keep you posted when I hear of progress.

I have in mind another story in the Bespelled series, no title is yet. But the hero is going to be Lyle Wentz, who guest appears in Spiritbound and in Invoked. However, I have to see how well books sell before I commit to writing his story. Unless of course I get an overpowering urge to find out more about Lyle, which is always possible.

The other series that I am writing, starting with The Sorcerer’s Spell, is set in a different world, actually it set in Canberra so maybe I’m not metaphorically speaking about Canberra being another world. What I mean is that this story is a little bit darker than the Bespelled series and it features sorcerers rather than witches. This story is interesting in that it is a little bit sexy, maybe a little bit hot. It’s got kink basically. Don’t let the erotica branding scare you off! Scratches head. Maybe it should. I don’t know.

Anyway I’m currently working on a sequel, currently titled The Changeling’s Curse. It features Rolf, the werewolf, but also advances the storyline of the Collegium and Dane’s fight to uncover who is behind all the attacks. Someone is changing ordinary people into werewolves. This is where my heroine comes in. That’s about as far as I’ve gotten so far with this story. So I’m set for a little adventure to discover a bit more about Rolf and a bit more about Abbie, the feisty red head.
That’s about it from me for the moment.

Note this story was dictated. I have edited it but if there is something strange in the text well I blame the software, not my eyesight.
I’ve been very busy working on a report at work and the RSI is threatening to come back. This has killed my attempt at NanoWriMo. I’m sad about that but keep writing those who are participating.

Here is a random photo from the UK trip. Avebury Manor. This was a fab place to visit because you can sit on the chairs, lie on the beds and touch and question every thing. Penelope Keith hosted the renovation of this on BBC, called To the Manor Reborn and wow they did a fab job. If you see that documentary, you’ll want to see the manor house.

Avebury Manor

Avebury Manor


Navel gazing


I’m currently on holiday in the UK. At the moment we are staying with friends and I’ve been chatting with Nik about body image. I’ve been struggling with my weight and the older I get the harder it is. Gone are the days when I could eat what I want and stay thin. I was active and thin and now well I’m sort of motherly and plump. On holidays that gets worse. All those yummy puddings to try. All those choices on menus. It’s very hard to balance enjoying yourself and staying fit and healthy. Okay let’s rephrase that last sentence. Not exploding out of all my clothes from being a shovel faced eating machine.

I was kind of bitching about my body to Nik, about my thickening middle and looking like a mutant coffee bean. We started talking about body image. When I was young I was thin, but I had rather large breasts. You know I really hated them. I hated the attention they drew. Coming from an abused childhood going through puberty and then attracting unwanted sexual attention was really hard. It messed with my head in a big way that never really went away. I really hated having large ‘boobs’ for most of my life. It’s only now that I’m older that I feel better about my body or so I thought.

These days I’m obsessing about my weight. Now I can either just accept how I look or I can lose weight. Losing weight is proving hard but I do have some control over that part of me, if I really was serious about it. It is hard though, particularly with my lifestyle-desk jockey by day and writer who is desk bound in the evening.

My obsession about my weight is not just about body image. (I’m hedging I think) Being overweight for me is usually a sign that I’m sick. I get sludgey, my digestion goes haywire, my cholesterol gets ridiculous etc. I feel better and healthier about 10 kilos less than I am now.

But the bottom line is we all spend way to much time thinking about body image. We are conforming to some ideal that either we have created ourselves has been put there by the images that we are bombarded with by media. I’m not being pro-or anti obesity. I am overweight and I don’t think it’s healthy. It’s a product of a society of excess. We have in the western world more food and food choices than ever before. But that’s another issue…

If I go back in time, being slightly plump was fashionable. Call me Rubenesque, though really I’m not quite there yet. Lah! You see how hard it is to fit an image?

So navel gazing (if I could see my belly button) should reveal to me a body that is beautiful as it is, where it is. It’s the only one I’ve got. Most parts of it work appropriately. I can see, hear and talk. All blessings that I take for granted.

I wish we could be happy with the beauty we have, rather than measuring ourselves against an ideal but that’s life to a certain extent. I’m going to try from now own to accept who I am and try to be healthy, which means being a bit more trim, but my body is fine as it is.

Cat Sheely

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