Diana Thompson's 'Winterflood's Passion' is FREE for a limited time.

We're thrilled to announce that Diana Thompson's debut romance work Winterflood's Passion is now available for FREE on the Amazon Kindle Store. Click here to download now! You can also check out Diana's website for an exclusive sneak peek at her unreleased novel, coming soon! Check out a bonus extract from Winterflood's Passion below!

Daniel Winterflood.

Why did the name sound so familiar to her? Charlotte searched the recesses of her memory. She couldn’t place him among James’ and Phoebe’s friends in Sydney. She must have met him at some time in the past. Maybe it was at their wedding? Needless to say, it would be exciting to have James come and stay again, and to bring Daniel along with him.

James’ phone call had come as a surprise. He and Phoebe had stayed with her at Ranleigh only a fortnight ago and she hadn’t expected to see either of them again for at least a month. Still, James’ work as a business broker took him all over the country. The winery sale he was working on down here in the Southern Highlands would be a lucrative deal for him. Besides, she’d missed having visitors at Ranleigh Park. It alleviated the boredom and monotony of endless days spent mostly by herself, far too much alone.

20150617-Winterfloods-Passion-Cover-only-RGB-195x300If she was brutally honest, she was becoming boring and apathetic, leaving the property less and less these days, usually only for shopping visits to Bowral or committee meetings for the charities she was involved with. Not healthy for someone who was only twenty-eight.

Charlotte missed her sister Phoebe, but with three year old Emily and five month old Jackson, it was becoming more difficult for the family to come and visit her. Phoebe and James lived on the upper north shore of Sydney, a two hour drive from Ranleigh Park in the Southern Highlands. It was too far to have weekly visits and catch up for coffee chats with each other, made more difficult since the children took up so much of Phoebe’s time.

Nevertheless, happy with the news that James would be visiting with the mysterious Daniel, Charlotte smiled to herself. The day matched her mood. The sun was high up in the sky, having burnt off the early morning mist that often settled over the highlands, and was already warming the rich dark soil. The scent of fresh new growth filled the early spring air.

She and James had always been close, ever since his marriage to Phoebe four years ago. They had grown even closer since Michael’s death. James had been there for her throughout that devastating ordeal. He had been her tower of strength and was more like the brother she had never had. Charlotte was excited to have company for a change — human company, not the four legged kind.

It was lovely to have the two dogs, Ned and Toby, her Hungarian Viszlas. They were gun dogs born and bred, both a rich russet gold colour and impossible to visually tell apart, but the total opposite in personality. Toby was the leader, fearless in all his pursuits, while Ned was essentially very blonde, constantly being led into trouble by Toby and always the one caught in the act. She enjoyed riding the horses on a daily basis, and preferred her beloved Molasses, a gentle rich roan mare. Michael’s favourite horse, Connor, a massive shiny coal black stallion, was a handful. She fought his will power constantly, ever mindful of being kicked or bitten. Michael had his measure and Connor would behave beautifully, but it was open warfare if anyone else tried to ride him. She loved the four animals dearly and would not have parted with a single one of them, but she couldn’t have a spirited discussion about current news events, politics, fashion, wine or food with her four legged family. It was the company of people she craved.

She scanned the old French railway clock on the end wall that hung just above the mantle over the large black enamel Belling stove. Ten o’clock. James and Daniel were due at four, so she had plenty of time to saddle up Molasses to get in a couple of hours of solid riding before their arrival. She quickly removed a tray of chicken thighs from the freezer and placed them into the double French porcelain sink to thaw. A bowl of rhubarb and apple picked from the farm garden that she had cooked the previous day would make an excellent dessert with a nice crumble topping.

The four large guest bedrooms ran along the hallway to the right of the kitchen with the main bedroom at the very end of the house. Each bedroom had its own en-suite, purpose-built during the renovation, for the privacy and comfort of their house guests. Charlotte opened up the linen press to extract fresh bedding and towels for two of the bedrooms. James would be in the blue room beside hers and Daniel would be in the coffee coloured bedroom, being the next one along the hallway towards the back of the house. As she couldn’t recall having met Daniel at all, this would afford her a little more privacy.

When she and Michael had the interior of the house refurbished, Charlotte had chosen a different soft colour for each room and then sourced the furnishings and linen to match. Michael had given her carte blanche and she would spend hours seeking out the appropriate fabrics, sheets and towels on her shopping trips into Bowral or up in Sydney.

James and Phoebe always had the room that was painted a soft duck egg blue, with grey blue toile curtains hanging either side of the French doors. Daniel’s room was identical but in a coffee colour scheme. Charlotte had always loved pure white sheeting and towelling. It had been a contentious issue with Michael at the time, as he would often point out to her that keeping anything white in a country house was difficult with dusty roads and dry paddocks in summer.

The soft colour scheme formed a subtle backdrop, enabling her to cover the walls with wonderful original art that she and Michael had collected over the years, trawling through galleries to find just the right pieces for each room to complete their classically beautiful country home.

Charlotte made up each room, smoothing the covers across the queen size antique cedar beds. She plumped up the double pillows and slid back the curtains, catching them on each side with silk tassel tie backs looped onto large brass hooks fixed to the walls. She unlocked the French doors, swinging them open to let in fresh air and light. It was fun to make up the bedrooms ready for guests, and as she ran her fingers along the beautiful sheeting, it reminded her once again of the times the house was constantly filled with visitors. Of course they were mostly Michael’s polo friends, but they were a rowdy, fun lot. Only Phoebe and James came to stay now with the children, but it wasn’t as often as Charlotte would have liked. It was lovely to be surrounded by beautiful things, but what good were they when you couldn’t share them with somebody?

Charlotte shook off the recurring feelings of loneliness and made her way to her room. Whenever she went riding on Molasses it cleared her mind, the fresh air and exercise always lifting her spirits. She felt almost as if something momentous was about to occur. She couldn’t put her finger on what that might be, but it caused her to smile to herself as she changed into her riding gear.

Read the entire book now by downloading Winterflood's Passion - free for a limited time

'An Uncertain Grace' by Krissy Kneen - reflection by David Burton

We're rolling through the Stella Prize shortlist. Catch up on our thoughts on The Fish Girl, The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree and The Life to Come. A declaration before we begin: I know Krissy Kneen. I’ve interviewed her, been Facebook buddies with her, and giggled with her at a couple of events for Brisbane’s Avid Reader. I’m a fan.

The only shame in this is that such a declaration would dilute my praise of An Uncertain Grace in your eyes. Because you must believe me: An Uncertain Grace is one of the most stunningly intelligent novels I’ve read in a long time. You should read it immediately.

Krissy’s writing has most consistently been concerned with sex, including frequent bold experimentations in literary erotica. Her first book, Affection, is an ‘erotic memoir’ - a heart-breaking, compelling, unflinchingly honest account of her relationship with sex and body. Four novels have followed, and an award-winning collection of poetry. In An Uncertain Grace, however, Krissy interest in intimacy, sex and - most powerfully – science, intersect.

an-uncertain-graceThe novel has five parts set over the course of a woman’s (Liv) life. It begins sometime in the near future. Liv has created a virtual memoir. She sends the memory stick to her old university lecturer, who experiences her narrative through a virtual reality bodysuit. He re-lives their previous sexual relationship through her eyes and body. Questions of agency, reality and consent abound. This first chapter alone is worth the price of admission into Kneen’s imagination. In a culture that is obsessed with renewed self-examination on the intricacies of power, sex and working relationships, Kneen provides no clear answers. But her exploration is one of the most compelling, layered and truthful narratives - not in spite of her leaning into science-fiction, but because of it.

The other four chapters have similarly irresistible premises. I heartily encourage you to discover them for yourself, as I did, and allow yourself to be surprised. Otherwise, I’ll outline just what the blurb gives away here. If you want the surprise, skip the next paragraph.

Liv’s career means she is at the forefront of experiments in consciousness and technology. She recruits a convicted paedophile into a trial to experience collective consciousness. Later, she helps design a synthetic boy to ‘love’ men who desire adolescents. In her old age, Liv is trying to find ways to escape her raging body and befriends a youth who is transitioning to a state beyond male or female. In the final chapter, Liv is no longer bound by her body, but still craves love.

Kneen’s literary bravery has long been established. An Uncertain Grace is not a fun roll-in-the-hay piece of erotica, but Kneen has never been interested in that form. Rather, her prowess as a writer who is undaunted by sex creates an alluring gateway into science-fiction, especially when dealing with cerebral, abstract concepts such as collective consciousness or digital preservation of the self. At the heart of every chapter are unforgettable, intriguing characters. Kneen never lets the ideas of the book supersede the story, letting the larger themes of agency and power unfurl at their own accord. This means the book is simultaneously a deeply enjoyable read and an intellectual workout.

An Uncertain Grace joins five other titles in the wonderfully diverse Stella Prize Shortlist. At time of writing, I’ve read all of them. While all are excellent, none have pulled me into their orbit quite as strongly as An Uncertain Grace. I highly recommend it.

Fifty Shades Freed - A Review by Diana Thompson

We sent our resident romance expert and passion fan Diana Thompson off to the flicks this week to catch up on the final instalment in the Grey series, 'Fifty Shades Freed'. Diana is an acclaimed romance writer in her own right, and you can now grab a free ebook from her, plus exclusive discounts to all of her titles!

Finally I have had the pleasure of viewing the much anticipated third movie Fifty Shades Freed in the E L James trilogy Fifty Shades Of Grey.
Apart from Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses I don’t think any other book has caused quite so much vigorous discussion amongst the population as Fifty Shades of Grey, nor done the unforgiveable and re-invigorated the romance genre as a whole.
Love it or hate it, there certainly seems to be no middle ground. Most haters I have spoken to have only read part of the first book. They haven’t read all three and therefore simply do not get the story E. L. James is portraying. I for one have loved the trilogy and have read every book, seen each movie and have now read the Grey series, which is essentially the same story, but from Christian’s point of view. Quite an interesting concept that as a writer I can fully appreciate.
Having enjoyed the first two movies, I wondered how the screenplay writers would be able to tie all the plots together within the given timeframe. Well! I can clearly say that the director and writers have done a wonderful job. I absolutely hate watching movies that bear very little resemblance to the written book and I must say that in all three Fifty Shades movies, the picture reflects the story exactly. Very satisfying.
Once again the story is beautifully filmed, especially the intimate sex scenes which have a wonderful, sensual quality about them. I may be wrong, however we appear to see a lot more of Jamie Dornan completely naked this time around, which is by no stretch a burden to bear. The important story lines are all covered and tied up nicely by the climax of the film.
Much has been written about Jamie Dornan and his portrayal of Christian Grey. Whatfifty-shades-freed we all need to remember is that Christian is not only emotionally damaged but emotionally repressed as well. He needs complete control over every aspect of his life. He has essentially no friends and is surrounded by people he employs from whom he remains emotionally distant. He is emotionally remote from his family and has never cried or enjoyed being hugged. As his brother Elliot states in the movie, Christian marries his first girlfriend - Anastasia. I truly think Jamie portrays Christian well. I mean hell, he isn’t this happy outgoing guy!
Dakota Johnson was also a good match for Anastasia. She has an inherent innocence about her and we have watched her grow in strength from the first movie. She really holds the power in the marriage in this last film. Even Christian states in one laugh out loud part that she’s “scary”. There are three or four very amusing parts that had the audience doing exactly that. I loved the montage close to the end of the movie, we the story is wrapped up beautifully. It was a fitting end to an entertaining evening at the movies.
Hungry for more? Grab a free romance ebook now

The Bowral Bodice-Ripper

When I read the first draft of Diana Thompson's just released Winterflood's Passion I dubbed it the 'Bowral bodice-ripper' a name that has stuck much to the bemusement of the author, I'm sure. An article in the Southern Highland News and the program of the Southern Highlands Writers Festival (where Winterflood's Passion was recently launched) both picked up on the term with unfettered glee at having a novel set in Bowral, a jewel of the Southern Highlands region of New South Wales. Who can blame them? It is a beautiful place and a very apt setting for the passionate love affair between the fictional young and beautiful widow, Charlotte Ranleigh and the dashing, playboy art entrepreneur, Daniel Winterflood. The bodice-ripper part is not so easily explained, except to say that, not being an aficionado of the romance genre; I had no idea before reading Winterflood's Passion that there would be so much explicit sex in a romance novel. Silly me! Hot sex is writ large here - and stirring stuff it is too without being kinky, dark or dysfunctional. The bodice-ripper term refers not so much to the timeframe (bodice-ripper inferring an historical or regency theme) but to the unbridled lust and its many earth-moving incarnations of which Diana writes so skilfully in this, her first novel.

It's certainly not my intention to leave you with the impression that plentiful, well-written sex is the only thing that attracted me to this book as a publisher and a reader. Like most things in life it is far more complicated and multi-factorial than that - so please, let me attempt to explain.

Firstly, Diana's work is very descriptive and I found that really drew me in.  From the herbs that Charlotte grows in her garden to the Aubusson rug and Margaret Olley painting in the living room, to the detailed description of the furnishings in Daniel's bachelor lair in Sydney and every meal they consume together - Diana's attention to detail is, dare I say it, very seductive. A vivid picture is painted around the main protagonists, how they look, feel and live, that I found myself quite spontaneously seeing them in my mind's eye – even wondering who might play them on screen.

The second thing I love about Winterflood's Passion is that Diana doesn't push the boundaries of fantasy too far.  Sure there's escapism here - beautiful, wealthy people living in luxurious surrounds with fabulous careers - what's not to like? But in amongst all that Diana deftly weaves in some strong correlations with anyone’s real life - a tragic death, misplaced guilt, thwarted dreams and self-doubt. All of these make an appearance and help to ground what would otherwise be fantasy characters that one only reads about in, well, romance novels.

And finally, the greatest appeal of Winterflood's Passion is the context of true love in which the mind-blowing sex is set. Call me old fashioned but reading about sadistic or violent sexual encounters that are way beyond my understanding or aspiration is not my idea of a rollicking good roll-in-the-hay read. Diana's novel strikes a brilliant balance between the raunchy, wanton, get-on-board-or-get-out-of-the-way sex and exquisite love-making between two people with a very deep connection.

Diana Thompson is a long-time friend of mine and a highly acclaimed jewellery designer in her own right.  To my way of thinking, Di epitomises the person who is strangely compelled to write and who's actually sat down and done it while carrying on with life as normal. She is the very type of writer we had in mind when we founded For Pity Sake Publishing and the fact that our fledgling publishing house has been able to produce her first novel brings me more joy that I can adequately express here.

Bowral bodice-ripper it is.



Buy your copy of Diana's debut novel Winterflood's Passion here!

Not a Romance Reader

I’ve never really been one for the romance genre. It’s not to say I don’t like romance novels, it’s more that I’d never really found one that filled me with an urge to read more. Granted, until last year I had only ever read four romance novels, three of them being the Fifty Shades series, the other was a novel by Rachel Gibson, a book so bland I can remember neither the title nor the story. It wasn’t until I read Winterflood’s Passion, the first novel by Diana Thompson, that I actually found a romance novel that I enjoyed. When I read the novel for the first time, what struck me the most was Diana’s ability to create such vivid imagery. Winterflood’s Passion is set in the Southern Highlands, a veritable cornucopia of scenery porn. Diana harnesses the natural Australian beauty of the Highlands and uses her beautifully emotive and rich descriptions to pull the reader deep into her story.  Those of you who have read Fifty Shades of Grey will attest that artful descriptions of scenery were the farthest thing from E.L James’ mind when she wrote the series. It’s safe to say that Diana’s well-rounded approach to romance novel writing was a welcome surprise when I began reading.  I think, like most of us who are unfamiliar with the romance genre, I had constructed an idea of what the novel would be in my head before I even picked up the book. I naively believed that all Romance had to follow that cringe-worthy mould of awkward sexual encounters and the over-use of the term ‘throbbing member’, but Diana’s novel surpassed all expectation.

For me, one of the most interesting aspects of this novel was the development of the protagonist, Charlotte Ranleigh. Charlotte is a young widow who is living in self-imposed exile in her marital estate in the Southern Highlands. Life for Charlotte has fallen into a rut after the unexpected death of her husband, Michael, one year earlier. After Michael’s death, Charlotte is overcome with guilt over their last parting. She closes herself off from everything around her, giving up her dreams of owning an art-school, punishing herself for something which was out of her control. It’s not until Charlotte is introduced to the playboy, art-dealer Daniel Winterflood, that her life begins to blossom again. When Daniel enters the picture Charlotte is given the motivation to start living again. She begins painting once more, and slowly starts to return to her former self. To me, this book was as much about Charlotte’s personal development as it was about the love story between her and Daniel. Diana created an amazingly real and relatable character through her development of Charlotte. It’s almost impossible to not love Charlotte, and through the book I found myself sharing her joy as she began to rebuild her life.

I have never thought of myself as a romance reader, but after reading Winterflood’s Passion (and having a sneaky read of Diana’s next novel, a book which follows the story of the dreamy vet Nick Delaney) my mind has been changed. I can truly say that a love story has never interested me quite like this one, and I think that has to be attributed to the copious amount of thought and time that went into Diana’s first novel. Each character is so sincere and realistic, and you can really see the love and effort that Diana has put in to developing such intriguing and individual characters.

Winterflood’s Passion is a truly unique and beautiful novel that offered me a new perspective of the Romance genre.


You can buy your copy of Winterflood's Passion here!


This blog was originally posted on on the 10th of August, 2015.