Hi everyone!

I’ve been spreading myself rather thin in the last year, with three blogs and many many many many book projects. The book projects are all staying, so to make more time for them, I’m streamlining my blogs!

In future, romance-related posts will appear on my regular blog, Mortal Words. If you want to keep up with reviews, romance news, interviews, new releases and up upcoming romance writing projects, pop on over there to subscribe.

In coming months, my publisher Clan Destine Press, will be reissuing my existing erotic romance stories under my regular writing name – Narrelle M Harris. That name will also appear on my upcoming romance novels, The Adventure of the Colonial Boy (Holmes & Watson, via Improbable Press) and a paranormal gay romance novel, Ravenfall (I’m awaiting some feedback from my beta readers before doing the final round of edits).

I’ll leave Adventurous Hearts here, but I won’t be posting any new material on this site.


Announcement: Improbable Press

ImprobablePressGentlebeings, I am very excited and thoroughly delighted to announce my newest book project!

A well known UK publisher of Holmesian fiction has started a new imprint – Improbable Press!

Improbable Press will specialise in Sherlock Holmes romance and erotica, across both Victorian and contemporary settings.

And I’m absolutely thrilled to announce that Improbable have said yes to my pitch for a Victorian-era Holmes/Watson romance to be called The Adventure of the Colonial Boy.

Colonial Boy will be set in 1890s Melbourne and Victoria (during the Great Hiatus) and is slated for release in 2016. So I had best get my skates on and start researching/writing!

Wendy C Fries – author of The Day They Met and also known for her erotic fiction as Atlin Merrick – is the new imprint’s acquisition editor.

sixsecretlovesOther titles due out in the next year from Improbable Press are Atlin Merrick’s The Six Secret Loves of Sherlock Holmes, due out in October 2015, Verity Burns’ All The Difference, and another Atlin Merrick, The Night They Met.

It would be wonderful if you liked Improbable Press’s Facebook page to keep track of the books and release dates – and to let us know you’d like to read Sherlock Holmes romance erotica, both canon and contemporary.

Quintette of Questions: Shona Husk

Quintette asks writers five quick questions. This week’s interview is with:

Shona Husk

outofplaceFinal1.     What’s the name of your latest story – and how hard was it to pick a title?

Out of Place is book 2 in the Face the Music series, it was decided early on that all the books would be ‘Out of…’ so it was just a question of deciding what worked for each book. In this book, Ed and Olivia aren’t quite getting in synch.

2.     If you could choose anyone from any time period, who would you cast as the leads in your latest story?

I don’t know…casting is one of those things – everyone’s idea of sexy is so different. Not only that, but sometimes someone who doesn’t automatically jump to mind could actually be perfect because they bring a certain something.

3.     What five words best describe your story?

Sexy, summertime, romance with angst 🙂

4.     Who is your favourite fictional couple?

Tricky…I don’t know that I have one. Maybe John Crichton and Aeryn Sun from Farscape.

5.     What song always makes you cry?

I don’t think there are any songs that make me cry, but there are some that I find terribly romantic like Dance With You by Live, and Never Seen Anything (Quite Like You) by The Script.

Dance With You

Never Seen Anything (Quite Like You)

About Out of Place (Face the Music 2)

Every band is desperate for that first big break – but what happens after that?

Ed Vincent, front man of Selling the Sun, has a really bad case of second album jitters. Nothing he writes measures up to the expectations placed on him after the success of the first album. The tensions between band members are rising and everything seems to be falling apart just as they get started. Perhaps it wasn’t meant to be: not every band gets to write their name on the pages of history. But the band has always been Ed’s dream, and if Ed gives up, will he have any dreams left?

Chasing dreams is something that other people do. Olivia Doyle put her life on hold after a car accident killed her fiancé and nearly claimed her life. Now with a three-year-old son and a part-time job, she knows she is stuck in a rut, but has no idea how to climb out. Then she meets Ed.

He can’t have the distraction of a relationship, and she has no time for anything casual. On the surface, they’re in completely different places, but love has a way of finding middle ground.

About Shona Husk

Shona HuskShona Husk is the author of the Shadowlands, Court of Annwyn and the Face the Music series. You can find out more information about Shona and her edgy romances at the sites below or join her newsletter.

Buy Out of Place (Face the Music 2)

Would you like to answer a Quintette interview? Email me at!

The Books of Love: The Apothecary’s Garden by Julie Bozza

Reviewed by Minion Beck


Hilary Kent, a Londoner all his working life, retires to Wiltshire after an estranged cousin unexpectedly leaves him an inhabitable tower surrounded by an overgrown physic garden – and that’s when graduate student Tom Laurence suddenly erupts into his life, convincing him that together they can restore the ancient garden to its former glory.

Tom’s cheerful friendship is the best thing that’s ever happened to Hilary and he’s perfectly content with that until, to his astonishment and confusion, it seems that Tom’s affection for him is beginning to grow into something more … something he feels he probably shouldn’t allow …

The review…

When I was sixteen, my favourite movie of all time was released: A Room with a View with Maggie Smith (does that woman ever age?) and Helena Bonham Carter. It was a rich adaption of the book written by E.M. Forster and I was enchanted. It wasn’t a popular film and was quickly pushed to the independent movie houses. Every week while the film ran, I’d catch the train into the city, walk up to the Forum Theatre on the corner of Flinders and Russell Streets and I’d watch every viewing surrounded by the opulence of Grecian statues, gargoyles and a surprisingly realistic fake night sky.

I became obsessed with this film. Once it was out on video, I bought it. Even though I was too poor to own a video player. I also bought the DVD and blue ray versions as soon as they were available, despite not being able to actually watch them on any device I owned. Like Gollum, I would caress and cosset; I’d stroke the cases and whisper “precious”.

Every now and then, I’d find someone interested in seeing what all the fuss was about and I’d let them borrow my precious so they could watch the Best Movie Ever. Inevitably, they’d come back with a pensive look on their face and say, “Nothing actually happened!”

Now I will freely admit that I may be slightly biased about this movie, but when people say “Nothing actually happened!” I usually suffer a wee break with sanity. Because this is a real review for a blog and shit, I won’t go into detail, but suffice to say, I wail; I develop a vocabulary that would make Rosanne Barr blush; and I have been known to tear at my hair as I scream “OF COURSE NOTHING HAPPENED YOU NIMROD … THAT’S THE WHOLE (NASTY WORD) POINT!”

This book, The Apothecary’s Garden, gave me the same feeling as my first viewing of The Best Movie Ever. I was instantly enchanted.

I usually read a book of this size in a few hours, but I didn’t want it to end and managed to drag the experience out over 4 days. This story of unconventional love is whimsical and almost magical in its purity. I cried, not because of the ending, but because it ended.

Nothing actually happens yet everything happens. A man who has merely existed for 65 years is given the chance to actually live for the remainder of his life. A man who grew up in an era where the act of loving another man was illegal, was able to find acceptance for his irregular relationship; and in that acceptance, could grow into his loving potential. Tom brought energy, vitality, passion and love into a barren existence and just as he nurtured the garden; he nurtured Hilary.

This book won’t be for everyone. It is sweet and romantic. Languid in pace. The language is quintessentially English and there is a lot of tea.

I spent seven years living in England and I love the whimsy and fussiness of the over-regimented society. No, I couldn’t live there anymore, but reading or watching an enchanting, gentle story that captures the essence of the beauty that can be England and its people; that makes my heart happy.

Julie Bozza has become an author I will automatically buy and be warned, dis her, or this book, and I may just frighten you with my response.

In summary … Just wonderful and highly recommended.

Buy The Apothecary’s Garden

See more at Manifold Press

About Minion Beck

minon beckMinion Beck is an irreverent middle-aged woman with an extremely warped sense of humour and an inability to sit still. She is a mother, an author and now, a minion for all things literary. With a penchant for reading erotic romance and out-of-control caffeine addiction, you can usually find her bouncing around sprinkling fairy dust and joie de vivre … unless it’s before her first cup of coffee … in that case she bears a startling resemblance to Voldemort and should be approached with caution.

The Books of Love are romance book reviews of both new releases and old favourites.

The Books of Love: A Pride of Poppies anthology

Reviewed by NM Harris

24982563The blurb…

Ten authors – in thirteen stories – explore the experiences of GLBTQI people during World War I. In what ways were their lives the same as or different from those of other people?

A London pub, an English village, a shell-hole on the Front, the outskirts of Thai Nguyen city, a ship in heavy weather off Zeebrugge, a civilian internment camp… Loves and griefs that must remain unspoken, unexpected freedoms, the tensions between individuality and duty, and every now and then the relief of recognition. You’ll find both heartaches and joys in this astonishing range of thought-provoking stories.

The review…

As the centenary commemorations for World War I begin in earnest in 2015 (and will continue for the next few years), this anthology is perfectly timed. War brings all kind of suffering, to combatants and civilians, to those fighting with their comrades in numerous armies, and to those still at home.

Among the hundreds of thousands who fought, died, loved, lost and suffered were people of the LGBTQI community who experienced the additional stress of being unable to publicly acknowledge their experiences – both the horrific and the joyful.

A Pride of Poppies is a superb collection of stories that give voices to those who were silenced by the mainstream at the time. The stories are told across a rich array of experiences, including an intersex man facing his choices on enlistment, a ‘lesbian Lothario’ providing company to the women of her mail route, men in a German internment camp in England finding comfort in the midst of trauma, a bereaved mother visiting the sickbed of a wounded man who was her son’s particular friend, and two young men in French Indochina finding strength in each other as they struggle in their occupied homeland.

There are stories in the trenches, at sea, on the English homefront and in far-off places where the war’s impact is unexpected. But don’t get the idea that each one is a story of sorrow and misery. Far from it. There is so much love and hope in these tales, too. Happy endings as well as heartbreaking partings. The broader experience of the whole of humanity is reflected in these small and personal love stories.

Every story is a gem, though a few shone a little more brightly for me. I am an enormous admirer of Wendy C Fries Sherlock Holmes stories, and her beautiful contribution, I Remember, is lyrical and had me happy-weepy, sorrowful and glad for Christopher and James who can only write in a kind of code to each other. Eleanor Musgrove’s Inside, set in an civilian internment camp, shows life for those deemed ‘enemy aliens’ in a sympathetic light. At the Gate by Jay Lewis Taylor is another that had me tearful for the man who could not be seen to mourn too much for the man he loved. Julie Bozza (author of the excellent The Fine Point of His Soul) gives us the fresh and lovely Lena and the Swan, or The Lesbian Lothario.

A Pride of Poppies opens a window many lives affected by The Great War, not just in Europe, not just on the battlefield, but for so many lives changed and challenged in so many different ways.

The authors and publishing house all donated their efforts to this book, and a minimum of 60% of the proceeds are being donated to the Royal British Legion, which runs the UK’s Poppy Appeal. But don’t buy this wonderful anthology for that reason. Buy it because it’s a damned fine read which will break your heart, fill it with hope and remind you that love will find a way to grow, even under the harshest conditions.

Buy A Pride of Poppies

Read more about A Pride of Poppies and the anthology authors at Manifold Press.

The Books of Love are romance book reviews of both new releases and old favourites.

Night Terrace: Love Songs

photo-originalThe Splendid Chaps are running a new Kickstarter to fund the creation of the second season of the fabulous Comedy SF adventure, Night Terrace. I’ve already pledged to support it – having loved the first season so much! And here are the Splendid Chaps to talk to us about Love Songs.

The Splendid Chaps team know a lot about sound. They ran the smash hit podcast Splendid Chaps in 2013, and then spun that off into the audio science fiction comedy series Night Terrace, in which Jackie Woodburne (Susan Kennedy, Neighbours) plays a grumpy Doctor-Who-like figure who is annoyed to find her house can travel in time and space.

They know how sound can affect others, but how does it affect them? We asked them to choose their favourite love songs.

Ben McKenzie (producer, writer, “Eddie”)

I love a lot of love songs – most of the Magnetic Fields’ 69 Love Songs for starters – but I think my favourite is one not connected in my mind to a specific romance. It’s also one I would pick – if pressed – as my favourite song of all. Almost Like Being In Love, specifically the version by Nat King Cole. It’s full of joy, excitement and surprise – it captures exactly the feeling of realising that you’re falling in love.

Whenever I feel happy it’s the song that leaps to mind. Like most people I was introduced to it via Groundhog Day but it stands on it’s own thanks to Nat’s voice, which I love, and the lyrics’ embrace of love in general. In the musical Brigadoon, which first popularised the song, it shows how the magical town makes people feel a strange euphoria when visiting. So really it’s a love song for the big loves: love of life, of people, of the world around you. I can’t get enough of it.

Petra Elliott (co-creator, “Sue”)

God, this is a tough one, since I’m not currently experiencing romantic love, and any songs that previously had nice gooey sentiments attached have now been ruined.

Except for this one:

Somersault, sung by the beautiful Sia when she was performing with Zero 7. It’s just so gorgeous, the music is happy, calming, uplifting and the lyrics are passionate and grateful. They detail the type of person I would totally fall in love with: someone who’s there for you (and others) no matter what, who’ll witness your life, share the delicious moments and get you through the not so nice ones.

Lee Zachariah (co-creator, writer)

Love Me Do by The Beatles.

Keep it simple: the key to a great love song. Profession of love. Promise of faithfulness. Polite request for reciprocation. No muss, no fuss. And best use of a harmonica this side of Dylan.

David Ashton (writer, sound designer)

She’s An Angel by They Might Be Giants

Like most They Might Be Giants songs, this one is dense with oddly phrased and oddly specific imagery, but nevertheless this is a song that really captures the giddy rush of falling in love. In the halting rhythm of the verses there’s a sense of disbelief – can this really be happening to me? (“I don’t think anyone’s noticed so I’ll try to act nonchalant”). In the chorus this gives way to slippery-slide guitar and the sheer joy of doing crazy stuff with someone you love.

John Richards (producer, writer)

I was originally going to say the Madness version of It Must Be Love (which I was shocked to discover today was a cover! I had no idea!). But instead I’ll go for one of my other all-time favourite pop songs, and pick Bury Me Deep In Love by The Triffids. Whereas It Must Be Love is about the traditional boy-meets-girl version of love, The Triffids celebrate the version that happens when a rock climber falls off a cliff and dies. No, stay with me.

It’s a song about looking after each other, about the responsibility we share to others – even strangers – through our common humanity. It pleads for us to take care of each other, and hopes we will be taken care of in return. It’s simply beautiful, complete with glorious reverb-drenched late-80s over-production. The band never sounded this slick again (or indeed looked this slick – check out Jill Birt’s hat in the video). But the pleading core of the song is to love each other, and that’s something we can all work harder to do.

Night Terrace is currently crowd-funding a second season. You can find out more – and hear the entire first episode for free – at Kickstarter: Night Terrace

Quintette of Questions: Lizzy Chandler

Quintette asks writers five quick questions. This week’s interview is with:

Lizzy Chandler

Snow River Man1.     What’s the name of your latest story – and how hard was it to pick a title?

The title, Snowy River Man, echoes an early draft of the novel which featured Banjo Paterson’s poem “The Man From Snowy River” – it was a book the heroine read to my hero’s son. After my involvement with the Australian Women Writers challenge, I decided to change what they were reading to Elyne Mitchell’s The Silver Brumby, a story I loved in childhood – but the idea for the title stuck. The story is set near Adaminaby which is closer to Cooma than the Snowy River, but it’s on the border of the Snowy River Shire Council, so I figure that’s close enough.

2.     If you could choose anyone from any time period, who would you cast as the leads in your latest story?

Jessica Mauboy as Katrina and (a young) Richard Roxburgh as Jack

3.     What five words best describe your story?

Takes risks for a romance.

4.     Who is your favourite fictional couple?

Frodo and Gandalf. Oh what? They’re not a couple?

5.     What song always makes you cry?

Jenny’s Mermaid by UK folk duo, BarronBrady. The story of the girl in this song always gets to me.

About Snowy River Man

When Jack Fairley’s six-year-old son Nick goes missing from a mountain rodeo, the person he least expects to turn up to help find his son is Katrina Delaney. The last time he saw Katrina, she was in a psychiatric ward, in no fit state to help herself, let alone anyone else.

Katrina has no wish to see Jack Fairley again, but she has dreamed of his missing son. Can she rein in the demons from her past long enough to find the lost child, and maybe even find love?

About Lizzy Chandler

portrait thumbnail LCLizzy Chandler (aka Elizabeth Lhuede) has a PhD in English, is trained as a counsellor, and works on the creative writing and English marking panel TAFE NSW (OTEN). She is the also coordinator for the Australian Women Writers Challenge.

Buy Snowy River Man (e-book only)

Would you like to answer a Quintette interview? Email me at!

New release: Talbott and Burns Mysteries – A Paying Client

The second story in my ongoing M/M series, Talbott and Burns Mysteries, has just been released! A Paying Client sees Elliot and Jack finally get their first paying client for their investigation business!

About A Paying Client

TandB A Paying ClientElliot and Jack’s investigation business gets their first paying customer. A suburban housewife wants to know if her daughter is a witch.

The answer isn’t rocket science.

Elliot at least understands the fundamentals of  rocket science. He knows slightly less about sex, but his long time love (but only new lover) Jack is giving him a thorough grounding in that too.

Now, if only they can keep their mouths shut, not walk into danger again, save the day, and actually get paid, they’ll be doing well.

The second adventure in the Talbott & Burns erotic/romantic mystery series is all about the love…
and the mystery.

Buy Talbott & Burns #2: A Paying Client

Buy Talbott & Burns #1: Homecoming

Read more about Talbott and Burns

The Books of Love: Salamancis by Kerry Greenwood

Reviewed by LynC

SalmancisThe blurb…

[1] Salamancis

Lovers desire to unite with the other half of themselves. When the desire is deep enough, when the love is profound enough, the Gods listen. And they have a funny sense of humour.

[2] Jetsam

Cold, naked, beautiful, expendable, the merman washes ashore at her feet. There is nothing she cannot do to him.

The review…

This is two very short stories from the Clan Destine Press’s Encounters Imprint. I’ve not read any Kerry Greenwood before (although I have gifted some of her Miss Fisher novels and know of her by reputation) so I was totally unprepared for the sheer poetic beauty of her prose.

In the first story – Salamancis – the words just flow, whether it be the lovers engaging in a threesome or making a ritual sacrifice, there is a definite homage to Homer’s epics in both subject matter and style. I found myself so carried away by the sheer beauty that I had to re-read it to get the context.

Unfortunately, when I did that, I encountered horrible jarring sexism hidden in the sensual text. The story is very short and necessarily sparse but I’m sure she could have described the difference between the two protagonists, one male, one female in other ways than ‘His mind is […] all straight lines.’ And she thinks in loops. Other differences are also espoused, but not one of them isn’t a sexist trope.

My advice is to just read it and enjoy, don’t try to analyse. The first reading was pure delight.

The second story – Jetsam – is slightly longer, and lacks that sense of poetry. Here Ms Greenwood is using her talents to world build a dysfunctional future where the lawyers and Judges are heavily guarded against vicious criminals. Is this a future she, a lawyer herself, fears for humanity? Her protagonist is a Judge, who has rather foolishly slipped away from all forms of electronic security for some precious time with the real world. This real physical world throws up half drowned men and produces gales which require sheltering from, and handy caves out of nowhere to shelter in. What follows as she tries to save him from hypothermia is even more surreal, and just a little pre-emptive and unsatisfying. An interesting world, which could lend itself easily to a full novel, but this story needed a lot more work.

The male protagonist in both stories has the same name, but there the connection between the stories ends. He is clearly not the same person. The worlds in which both Dions find themselves are also very different.

I really enjoyed Salamancis, the first story.

Buy Salamancis by Kerry Greenwood

About LynC

Es iphone pics 566 - LynC outside Md'OLynC is a 50-something year old widow, juggling the demands of writing Science Fiction and being a single Mum.

In the past two years LynC has had four short stories published; one of which — “Nematalien” (on — was nominated for an award in 2013. Her first novel — Nil By Mouth (Satalyte Publishing) — was launched at the Australian National Science Fiction Convention in Melbourne in June 2014.

LynC resides, with her two ‘new’ adults, four cats, and two canaries, in a hidden area less than ten kilometres from the Melbourne CBD (in Australia) surrounded by creeks and wooded hills.

The Books of Love are romance book reviews of both new releases and old favourites.

My bookish Valentine

bookish valentineValentine’s Day is only a few days away now, but if you’re a bit panicky about what to get your book-loving love, here are some ideas.

(And by the way, since Valentine’s day was not *always* a holiday for romance, but has also been a celebration of spring or had rituals to ward off epilepsy in children – I’m all for people marking the day with non-romantic activities. You can always send a non-romantic I Love You to your bestie, after all.)

Adopt a book at the British Library

For the book lover you love, why not adopt a book at the British Library? Adoption will help fund restoration and conservation of one of the many beautiful books in their care. They’ve added some specific romance titles to choose from – including poetry by Lord Byron, an 1822 book of Shakespearean sonnets and even an old edition of Winnie the Pooh. Adoption starts at £25, though for higher amounts you can get a bookplate put in and everything.

romeo-teeGive them an entire classic novel on a T-shirt

Litographs creates gorgeous prints that show the entire text of a classic novel that also makes a picture, which you can get as a T-shirt, poster or tote bag. They even have a range of literary temporary tattoos! For the romantically inclined, there’s The Time Traveller’s Wife, Sense and Sensibility or Romeo and Juliet. (Though anyone who knows and loves me would obviously get me the Sherlock Holmes or Dracula totes.)

Smell like a Book

The original Paper Passion perfume by Steidl is now ‘out of print’ but others thought it was a good idea. Demeter Fragrance Library created Paperback (though the reviews are mixed). posted about a range of other bookish smells, too, including scented candles and a variety of perfrumes, including one taht smells like ink: Byredo M/Mink 3.3 oz Eau de Parfum Spray.

A grammatically correct mug

The Literary Gift Company always has a great range, including jewellery, bags, homewares, stationery and clothing. For the writer in your life, there’s this fabulous set of Grammar Grumbler mugs. (I admit that those ones make me salivate, regardless of my clear lack of need for any more coffee cups in my life.)

The rubber finger marks the spot

I have many bookmarks in my drawer, though somehow I always manage to end up using an old bus ticket or a 7-11 receipt instead. But here’s a nice bookmark for readers of Real Live Books who want to remember what exact line they were up to. Essentially, the Fred and Friends FINGERPRINT Bookmark is a big rubber band with a little pointing hand on it, to wrap around your page and point to the very line you last read.

I hope this gives you a few ideas for your bookish objects of adoration, and if it’s too late for Valentine’s Day, why, there are birthdays and unbirthdays all through the months ahead!


(Book and Flowers Image by Dmitriy Melnikov at; Romeo and Juliet T-shirt image from Litographs)