Romance

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

Close to Home by Pamela Cook - A Review by Diana Thompson

Our romance writer-in-residence Diana Thompson reviews a new release from Pamela Cook. You can grab a free ebook from Diana right now. Check out her website for more In Close to Home, Charlie Anderson chooses to live an uncomplicated, emotionally stable life. Her career, working as a vet for Primary Industries, is fulfilling, her speciality being the Hendra virus. However her life away from work is lacking and she seems very much alone. When her boss sends her to the coastal village of Naringup to investigate a possible outbreak of the virus, her world is suddenly upended.

Naringup, a coastal farming and horse breeding area, holds many bitter sweet memories for Charlie. Having been sent there as a teenager to live with her only remaining relatives after the death of her parents, she returns to face what is left of her dysfunctional family. She struggles to reconnect with her cousin Emma, who was left behind when Charlie chose to leave for university and Emma carries a huge amount of resentment, whereas Charlie has never looked back. As the government appointed vet, she has her work cut out for her, dealing with the horse and farming community who choose to deny the possibility that the Hendra virus could travel so far south to affect their livestock and livelihoods.

She enlists the help of local park ranger Joel Drummond to help with educating the locals on how to deal with the bat populations that carry the virus and roost in the adjoining National Park. Joel provides a romantic interest and Pamela realistically develops their relationship as the story unfolds.

s-close_to_home_COVERShe portrays the original rundown and ordinary township through Charlie’s memories, and tracks the town’s development into a vibrant village with an influx of city dwellers moving into the area. As the story builds, so does the tension between Charlie and her cousin Emma, fuelled by Emma’s abusive and bullying husband. The undercurrent of familial abuse is carefully woven through the story.

As each chapter develops the divide between the farming community and the scientists fighting to protect them grows wider and more secrets are uncovered about Charlie’s past and her relationship with her family, until the story builds to an explosive climax that nobody could predict.

Pamela writes with great feeling about Charlie’s struggle to overcome the emotional disconnect between herself and Emma and how by overcoming the resentments they both carry from the past, both are able to heal and rebuild their relationship. The characters are well written and the story unfolds and builds easily to the climax, with a few surprises thrown in along the way. An enjoyable read with plenty of emotion woven into the mix.

Check out Diana's website for a free ebook and passionate romance!

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.
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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.
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Hungry for more? Grab a free romance ebook now

Beginnings and Endings - a short story by Diana Thompson

Have you submitted your entry to our short story competition yet? After receiving some new material from some of our authors in the last few weeks (including Peter Yeldham and Dorothy Johnston) we're thrilled to be able to bring you a brand new short story from our romance writer, Diana Thompson. Check out more of Diana's tantalising work in our store

‘I remember the first time I saw you, wearing a figure hugging yellow sun dress, a standout against the deep gold of your summer tan. I'll never forget the brilliance of your electric blue eyes and your messy French braid straining to contain your thick blonde hair. Even then it was difficult to resist tucking the escaping wayward strands behind your delicate ears. From the cute dimples when you smiled at me, to the hot pink toenails peeping from your wedge sandals, in that instant I knew I was a goner. Highly inappropriate, now I think about it, me hiring you to tutor my younger sister Grace in piano, but I took my duties as her appointed guardian seriously after our parent’s untimely death a year ago. Anything to make her days happy and provide a safe and secure home for her.

What I’d expected when I had placed the advertisement was a middle aged schoolmarm, not the drop dead gorgeous vision of you in front of me. I just googled piano tutors and your name was at the top of the list. It was only later that I read your resume and realised you were a child prodigy and had played in concert venues all over the world. I’d hit the jackpot that day. 

I remember trying to control the tremors in my hand as I shook yours and how at that moment I didn’t want to let go of you. Did you know that from that moment, I rearranged my entire working schedule so that I could be at home for all of Grace’s lessons and not miss a minute of seeing you during those few weeks over the summer holidays?

It took me three weeks to work up the nerve to ask you out for a date, and I can remember how I was both relieved and excited when you agreed. I’ll never forget our first shared meal, at the “Boathouse” down on the pier and how we chose the seafood platter, feeding each other the delicious fresh morsels, washed down with boutique beers. I can remember your first time trying an oyster. You smothered it in seafood sauce and when I asked how you liked it, your answer was,

“Well it tasted really nice, except for the fishy slimy bit.”

Do you remember how we talked and laughed for two hours without taking a breath, until the staff threw us out to prepare for the dinner crowd?

I remember taking your hand in mine and walking along the beach, sharing gelato in waffle cones. You weren’t sure about my green tea and lime combo and chose a safer option of raspberry and vanilla instead. I couldn’t help teasing you about your rainbow painted toenails and wondered whether you were making a political statement in your own quiet way. But no, you were simply calling them your happy toes, celebrating their freedom from the constraints of heavy socks and winter boots. I remember as the sun was setting, you shivered in the cooler air and I wrapped you in my jacket and held you against my chest. I remember the steady beat of your heart beneath my hands and the softness of your lips as we shared our first kiss. You tasted of raspberries and vanilla and I’ll never forget your sighs as our kiss deepened and you wrapped your arms around my waist, hugging me close. I knew then that I wanted you to be mine for forever.

Three months, two days and four hours later, I remember dropping down on one knee and proposing to you on the beach where we had our first date and shared our first kiss. You probably didn’t realise at the time that I was terrified that you would turn me down. What could a junior partner in an architect’s firm, with the family responsibility of a younger sister offer a world class concert pianist? You had job offers flowing in from all over the country and I was so proud of your incredible talent and so afraid that I would lose you to fame and fortune. But you proved me wrong once again when you dropped to your knees, took my face in your hands and said a resounding yes.   

The day of our wedding, I couldn’t stop myself from meeting you halfway down the aisle. You looked like an angel. My angel. And when we finally repeated our vows and before the celebrant had time to pronounce us husband and wife, I already held you in my arms sealing our union with a scorching kiss. I will never forget, knowing you were mine now, forever.’

My phone rings loudly, snapping me out of my memories. It’s the office and I ignore the call and let it go to voicemail. I know they’re worried about me and only trying to be supportive, but I can’t face going back to work, not until I can get my shit together and beg you to forgive me. I’ve always been the strong one. Had to be for Grace. But without you in my life, I’m nothing.

My finger hovers over the send button but there is still so much I need to say. I look around our living room at the three weeks, two days and four hours of accumulated garbage. Stacked pizza boxes fight for space in the kitchen with empty Thai takeout containers. Beer and wine bottles fill the overflowing recycling bin. Time I took back control and cleaned the place up instead of wallowing in misery, day after day. Time I cleaned myself up before Grace comes home from college for the holidays. She would be so disappointed in me and even though she wouldn’t voice it, just one look in her eyes and I would see it. I’ve caused enough distress and disappointment to myself and everyone around me. I refuse to let depression suck me any further into its dark void.

The couch has become my only comfort. My safe place in an empty shell of a house. No sounds emanating from the music room as you practice, hour after hour. No delicious baking aromas in the kitchen, from your passion for cooking. Nor the blasting of the sound system playing your eclectic favourite songs, anything from heavy metal to Simon and Garfunkel. Just the never ending silence of my own company.

I return to the keyboard.

‘Sleeping alone in our bed is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Without your body pressed against mine, listening to your soft sighs as you settle in for the night, I toss and turn endlessly. I miss your drugging kisses and your passionate response to our lovemaking. Even the everyday habits that form such an intrinsic part of who you are and who I love. It’s the little things I remember. No sugar in your coffee, but honey in your tea. Dark chocolate - not milk. Filling the vases with fresh flowers every week.  

Your bedtime ritual of applying hand cream to your long fingers and wrists, keeping them soft and supple and callous free from hours of piano practice. The soothing scents of lavender, rose and geranium, all of your favourite essentials oils still linger in our room, reminding me every day that you are absent from my life.

I remember us celebrating the announcement of your concert tour to Europe with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra. I’ve always been blown away by your incredible talent and I was so proud of your achievements at such a young age. 

What I wasn’t proud of was my uncontrollable jealousy towards Erik, your new conductor. It was the first time in my life with you that I felt inadequate. I expected an older man, balding with a bit of middle age spread, not a thirty five year old with movie star looks and more talent in his little finger than I could ever hope to achieve. I felt shut out by your shared passion in music and it didn’t take a blind man to see how he looked at you.

 That I could understand.

Every time he took your hand at each concert finale, together bowing to the audience, it cut more deeply into my heart. He was touching what was mine and although you never gave me any reason to doubt our love, my jealousy overwhelmed me. Only able to catch quick conversations on Skype between venues just added to the tyranny of distance. I was missing my other half. 

The final straw was when Erik answered your telephone in your hotel room, late at night and well after the concert had finished. I’ll never forget his exact words.

“Arianna is in the shower right now. I’ll let her know you called.”

The bottom fell out of my world in that instant.          

What I’ll never forget is the terrible argument we had when you came home and the unforgivable accusations I cast at you. I’ll never forget the hurt in your eyes and I’ll never forgive myself for causing you that pain. I can understand why you left. Hell! I’ve regretted every word I spoke since that moment. I know I was projecting my insecurities onto you and pushing you away in the process. Pushing you right into his waiting arms.

I broke what we had and I was too stubborn to listen to what you had to say. Too consumed by jealousy and a hurt so deep, I thought my heart had been torn out.

Arianna, I love you more than life itself. You are the other half of my whole and I hope you can find it within your heart to forgive me. I miss every minute of every day without you and I’ll even stoop as low as pulling the Grace card. 

She misses you too!

All I’ve ever wanted was for you to be happy, and if being with Erik makes you happy then as much as it will break my heart, I will give you your freedom. But I will never stop loving YOU.’

My finger hovers over the send button. I’ve never bared my soul so openly before, but I can’t hold my feelings inside any more. I’ve had so many regrets over the last few weeks, but it is with relief that I finally press the send button. I feel as if a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I need to shower and shave. To regain a semblance of myself and face life again. It will be different without Arianna, but what choice do I have?

Sleep still evades me, but at least this morning I have the energy to return to my ten kilometre run down to the docks and back. I’ve missed pounding the pavements, the heat of the sun on my back as it rises and the sweat pouring out of me washing away the toxins. I’ve missed both the physical and the mental benefits from the burn in my muscles to the clarity of thought it brings.

Standing at the sink, a towel around my neck soaking up the sweat, my doorbell rings as I gulp down the last of the orange juice, straight from the carton. Can’t be Grace, college doesn’t end for another couple of weeks.

I open the door and my heart stops beating.

“Hey,” is all I can muster.

“Joshua, can I come in?” Her words are tentative and her body is tight with tension.

I let her pass me and follow through to the living room. I still can’t speak. The memories of our first meeting slam into me once again. She turns.

“Joshua, I have to say this quickly. You were right. Erik was manipulating both of us. I confronted him about your phone call. The one he never told me about. I’ve never had feelings for Erik. We are just work colleagues although he has now admitted he wanted more. You are my husband and the only man I love. Can you ever forgive me for giving you any doubts? You are my other half, my life.” She grabs both ends of my towel and pulls me towards her.

I can see the truth in her eyes and her love for me reflected there.

Our lips meet and I know that my life as I know it has returned.

Unbridled Passion

Let us tell you about Nick, the sexy vet. Last year, Diana Thompson released her stunning debut romance novel Winterflood’s Passion. Raunchy and immensely readable, the book created a loyal fandom hungry for more. Diana always knew the characters had lives larger than what she provided in that first work. So it is with a great deal of pleasure that For Pity Sake Publishing is able to announce the release of Unbridled Passion, the next book in the Bowral series, arriving on shelves with plenty of time for Christmas.

Readers of Winterflood’s Passion will remember Nick, the unlucky vet who missed out on our heroine Charlotte. Unbridled Passion focuses squarely on picking up his story. Because the protagonists are different from that of the first book, you needn’t have read Winterflood’s Passion to enjoy Unbridled Passion. Indeed, they can be read in any order. But readers of Winterflood’s Passion will be very pleased to know that Charlotte and Daniel definitely make an appearance.

As a hero, Nick is everything a romance reader could want. Sensitive, gorgeous and a keen animal lover. When Jordana Talbot arrives in town, however, their two personalities clash. What happens over the ensuing pages, however, is a must-read for any lover of romance. Unbridled Passion still has all the high drama and intriguing characters of Winterflood’s Passion, but it’s an even raunchier read.

Due for official release late August 2016, you can pre-order Unbridled Passion now and delivery’s on us! Click here.

A Passion for Romance Writing

One of our beloved authors, Di Thompson recently sat down with Barbie Robinson from Artcetera on FM 92.7 Canberra, for a chat to talk all things romance and her plans for future books. Listen below or buy a copy of Di's book here. [audio mp3="http://forpitysake.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Diana-Thompson.mp3"][/audio]

Romancing your readers: becoming a great romance author

So you want to be a romance writer?

Trouble is, you’re not the only one. Even before Fifty Shades of Grey pioneered a new era of pulp erotica, the romance marketplace was incredibly crowded. It doesn’t mean you won’t succeed, but it means you may have to work harder than you first anticipated. 

Romance writing can be fun and sexy, but it’s usually a lot more difficult than amateur authors first assume. Not only are your marketing skills going to need a decent polish, but writing a compelling romance story is trickier than it looks. After all, there’s only so many ways you can write a love story … right?

For a genre that’s defined by such a simple emotional exchange, it’s endlessly diverse. It can be overwhelming for a newbie approaching the romance industry. With that in mind, here are our three essential tips to navigating romance, and taking your first steps to becoming a romance writer.

 

Know your niche

Romance is a genre with a litany of sub-genres. And every decision you make when writing will dictate a lot about where your work is placed in the market. How explicit are you about sex? Is your lead protagonist a strong dominant type, or a quiet, tender type? Does your work take place in the present day? Are there elements of the paranormal? The questions go on. It’s worth spending some time at your local book store and online to fully take in the scope of the romance industry. Being specific about the possible niches you’re interested in writing towards is a great place to start.

 

To self-publish, or not to self-publish?

Writing romance should be a fun experience, but the publishing side of it can have an incredibly steep learning curve. Self-publishing is always an option for writers, but keep in mind that it’s not as simple as throwing a romance short story up on Amazon and watching the dollars roll in. It takes a lot of marketing heft and strategy to really start seeing your readership grow. If this is a path you want to go down, you’ll need to invest in some guides (there’s a heap available on Amazon), and spend some time researching your pathways.

 

Self-publishing is typically suited for those people who want complete and total control over their work, who are incredibly prolific in their writing, and who write shorter titles. A knowledge of the industry is also essential. If you don’t tick those boxes, than you might want to approach a more traditional publisher. (Like For Pity’s Sake, for example.)

 

Don’t forget character

In the mad rush of romance, inexperienced writers can often forget the glue that holds any story together: character. Your readers will hopefully stick with you for multiple books containing the same character, so you want to make sure you don’t skimp on providing a compelling, interesting pair of protagonists. How these two, or three lead characters interact, how their power dynamic shifts, will be at the heart of your novels. So make sure you’re laying the ground work for characters that can provide a rich story. 

 

If you’d like to dive into a particularly delicious romance story, try Diana Thompson’s Winterflood’s Passion, which you can find here. If you have a romance manuscript of your own, you may wish to try out our manuscript appraisal service for tailored advice. 

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 annablackie.com on the 10th of August, 2015.