escape publishing

TBYL Events finds out how to take “The Next Step”

One of the things that I like to try and do with TBYL is to help take the guess-work out of bookish things for bookish people. Our book reviews try and help take the blind-punt out of choosing your next book and our online store is about making it easier for you to pick up your next read once you’ve chosen it.

Last night’s TBYL Event, “The Next Step” was largely about taking some of the guess out of getting published, demystifying the writing game. I really hoped that we’d be able to help people make their writing dreams a reality.

I was thrilled to be joined by Kate Cuthbert, Managing Editor from Escape Publishing (the exciting new digital publishing arm of Harlequin) and two current Escape authors Rhian Cahill and Charmaine Ross.


I wanted to find out a little more about what’s involved in getting published. What should a story look like? What are editors looking for and where do writers find themselves coming undone?

Luckily, Kate was both willing and able to answer these questions for us. She very kindly gave us a run-down on what Escape Publishing was all about, and how digital publishing works, including what digital publishing requires of authors. Whilst digital publishing is fast-paced, requiring pretty well-structured submissions and quick turn-arounds, it also affords a great deal of flexibility. This flexibility is unprecedented, allowing for the entry into the market of new authors, new genres (and genre mash-ups) and the thing that I like most, a wonderful variety of story lengths; “Escape Publishing accepts stories from anywhere between 5000 words and 500,000.” Hence we’re seeing an amazing range of short stories, novellas and tomes all on the market, ready for us to download onto our e-readers.


Kate shared some really practical tips for writers, such as the importance of editing… edit, edit, edit, structural edits and copy as well. She suggested that writers always have others read their work prior to submission, and that they take the time to step away from their story before trying to edit it. A little time and space between yourself and your work works wonders for the editing process. Kate also stressed the importance of not including too much backstory, presenting believable characters who live up to their description, and developing stories with strong, compelling (and propelling?) pacing.

And with romance, don’t ever forget the happy ending!


It was also really interesting to hear from Rhian and Charmaine, particularly considering that they both had quite different experiences of writing – their genres were different, their methods were different, the challenges they faced were different – but still, essentially, they both had to write, it was a compulsion and something they’ve been doing since they were quite young. Being published was a dream come true, and seeing copies of their digital books sell steadily was a real affirmation of their craft.

I asked them what it meant to become published, and they both agreed that as exciting as it is, it’s also a lot of work. It would seem that both Rhian and Charmaine set themselves writing goals, daily and weekly, in order to get their stories to come to life. Once manuscript has been accepted a new kind of work begins… editing, editing, editing, cover-art, promotion. It’s a job, but nice work, if you can get it.


Personally, I found this session incredibly insightful and from feedback I’ve received, so did the audience – they’re questions were fantastic too, really getting to the heart of romance-writing as a career.

A huge thank-you to Kate, Rhian and Charmaine, as well as to Escape Publishing. Thanks so much for making the evening so entertaining and informative.


Our next TBYL Event will be an online one, so our friends across the country (and the globe?) will be able to get involved. Stay tuned also for announcements regarding our next real-life event coming soon.

And hey, happy writing!

Five More Things

Monday again, and I’m tapping away like crazy, working on lots of reviews and interviews for the TBYL blog. Here’s an update on what’s going on and coming up for TBYL…

Firstly, you might have already noticed, but the TBYL Reading Pile is busting at the seams with exciting new titles. If you’ve not already, can I suggest that you take a look at the Reading Pile for some great reading ideas? I’d love to know what you like the look of… 

all that isSecondly, I’m reading in a few different directions this week – there’s just too much to choose from to just pick one book! I’ve got three titles on the go at the moment; All That Is, by James Salter, Shooting Star, by Clayton Zane and  Dark Matter, by Brett Adams. All I can say at this stage is that I wish there were (many) more hours in the day!

Thirdly, for this month’s TBYL Book Club we’re going to be talking about our favourite literary mums! You can find out more here, but essentially, it’ll give us a chance to think about our favourite bookish mothers and the books that our mums (and other lovely ladies) love the most. Plus, for something a little different, we’re going to be holding our club discussions on the Facebook page in May. To get involved, just join our Facebook community.

And fourth, there are still a handful of tickets left for the TBYL Event The Next Step. As well as being a fantastic chance to chat with publishers and authors from Escape Publishing, the event will be held 22 May 2013 (7pm) at the Wheeler Centre, Melbourne. Book your tickets now!

Rules of ConceptionFinally fifth, I wanted to make sure that you knew that there are two copies of Angela Lawrence’s The Rules of Conception from Harlequin up for grabs at the moment. It’s super quick to enter, you’ll find full details in this month’s edition of TBYL News: All Things Bookish… Don’t miss out, this is a really funny book on a fascinating topic.

So that’s a little of what’s going on with TBYL at the moment, so much fun, and lots of goodies coming up for all you lovely bookish people!

Join us: Facebook and Twitter
Sign up for TBYL Book Club here…

Out Now! TBYL News: All Things Bookish May 2013

A fun edition of TBYL News: All Things Bookish… this month – competitions, handmade goodies and great events to start off the year!

next steps collageTBYL News is a great way to catch up on recent reviews, upcoming news and words from my lovely special guests. This month you’ll find a chances to win a great book from Harlequin, and read all about our next TBYL Event!

Click here to read TBYL News: All Things Bookish… May 2013

If you’d like to subscribe to the newsletter, you can click here. This’ll mean that you get our monthly news by email, on the first Monday of the month. Perfect!

Join us:   Facebook  and  Twitter
Find out more about the TBYL Book Club here

Five Things

It’s a new week, and there’s so much going on in TBYL-land that today’s post brings you five small things of note…


The first thing is that, despite being a little busy doing the day-job on Monday and Tuesday, the transit time gives me a fabulous chance to get some reading done. I’m pleased, as it’ll give me a chance to get into my Mother’s Day reading A Grandmother’s Wisdom by Catriona Rowntree (Allen and Unwin). I’ve only read a chapter so far, but so far it’s very sweet

Thing two is about a bookish chat we’re about to start. The April TBYL Book Club starts today, and I’m looking forward to hear what you think about The Unfinished Journals of Elizabeth D by Nichole Bernier (Allen and Unwin). You can read a review here and join the conversation here.

Thing number three is a wonderful development for the next TBYL Event The Next Step. As well as being a fantastic chance to chat with publishers and authors, attending this event will also give you the chance to win an USB key from Escape Publishing, loaded with titles from Charmaine Ross and Rhian Cahill. There are three up for grabs, and winners will drawn on the night. The event will be held 22 May 2013 (7pm) at the Wheeler Centre, Melbourne. Book your tickets now!

newspaper_bw3The forth thing is that next Monday, the May edition of TBYL News: All Things Bookish… will be published. It’ll have interviews, favourite reviews, special offers and a fantastic book give-away. If you’ve not subsribed to receive it by email, you can SUBSCRIBE here!

Finally, thing five is all about staying in touch. Our Facebook community is growing bigger by the week, and I wanted to invite you to Like Us  if you haven’t already. It’s the best way to keep up to date with what’s going on with TBYL. We’re on Twitter and Pinterest also, if that’s more your thing. Can’t wait to connect!

So that’s a little of what’s going on with TBYL at the moment. There’s also lots of author-interviews in the pipelines, as well as a new mobile friendly TBYL Store in the works, but more about that later…

Join us: Facebook and Twitter
Sign up for TBYL Book Club here…

TBYL Events: The Next Step

I’m thrilled to be able to reveal the details of the next TBYL Event, which will be held on Wednesday 22 May 2013, 7pm – 8pm at the Wheeler Centre, Melbourne.

“The Next Steps” is a perfect session for all of us who dream of one day being published, but who aren’t quite sure where to start…

the next step

It’s your chance to get some tips, straight from the source, on how best to achieve your dream of being a published author. TBYL Events is proud to present Kate Cuthbert, Managing Editor from Escape Publishing (the exciting new digital publishing arm of Harlequin) and two successful Escape authors Rhian Cahill and Charmaine Ross.

They’ll be sharing their experiences of writing and publishing, offering advice on everything from pitching your ideas, developing your story, manuscript presentation, and hints on the submission process.

This one-hour session is an opportunity to tap into the exciting world of publishing, to ask questions and to share experiences with other aspiring authors.

If you’d like some take-away information, you can download a brochure here and you can find out more about Escape Publishing and our special guests Kate, Rhian and Charmaine on the TBYL website.

Tickets are just $20 ($15 concession) and seats are limited. You can book now…

Join us: Facebook and Twitter
Sign up for TBYL Book Club here…

Escape with Chaos Born

Yesterday, we had a chance to meet editor Kate Cuthbert, from Escape Publishing and so today, I thought it fitting that we have a bit of a chat with one of Escape’s talented authors, Rebekah Turner.

Chaos BornRebekah’s novel, Chaos Born is one Escape’s first releases and offers up a teasing romance against a dark, gas-lit setting:

A fresh and exciting debut novel introducing the Chronicles of the Applecross. Lora Blackgoat, smuggler and mercenary, has been lying low after a job gone bad made her a laughing stock in the industry. When a childhood friend turns to her for help, Lora leaps to restore her reputation and starts hunting a killer who is stalking the gas-lit streets. She never expects that her path will lead her to the Order of Guides, a sadistic militant religious organisation – or to Roman, a deadly and dangerously attractive half-angel warrior who also hunts the killer. When Lora discovers that the killer has broken fundamental laws of magic to enter the city, she also uncovers a conspiracy that leads back into her own dark past.

I had a chance to ask a few questions of Rebekah, and got to know her and her writing a little bit better…

Would you like to introduce yourself a little?
I live in Brisbane with my husband, two kids and a nervous Boston Terrier. In my past I’ve worked as a graphic designer in the corporate world. I now work part-time and spend rest of the week being a child-wrangler.

How did you get involved with Escape Publishing?
I attended the 2012 Romance Writers Convention at the Gold Coast. A panel of different publishers pitched to the conference attendees on why they should submit their manuscripts to them. After hearing the Escape editor say they had a two week response time, I jumped at the chance to submit. I got a request for a full very quickly, then an offer of publication after three weeks.

What does the establishment of Escape Publishing mean to you?
I think Escape Publishing is an exciting publishing model, with a fast response time and supportive editors. Being part of Harlequin Australia also means they have a well recognised brand name already in place.

Do you have any suggestions for other writers who think that Escape might be a good option for their manuscript?
Escape is focused on Australian writers, with a world-wide audience. So, it’s a great opportunity to get your novel out into the world and you don’t have to wait six months for a response.

Your novel is wonderfully visual, very cinematic in many ways – it reminded me quite a bit of films such as Bladerunner and Underworld. Where did you draw your inspiration from when writing ‘Chaos Born’?
My characters came first, then the world crystallised around them in the re-writes. I used a few techniques I found online to flesh the world out and also compiled a very detailed scrapbook to help me visualise what Harken City looked like. I wanted the world to be dark, moody and fantastic, but with a realistic baseline.

What do you hope your readers will enjoy most about your new novel?
I hope readers will have some fun reading Chaos Born and enjoy Lora’s misadventures as much as I did writing them.

What’s next for you? More Lora or something different?
I’ve been writing book 2 in The Chronicles of Applecross series, with a focus on Lora’s deepening relationship with the half-angel, Roman. I’ve also working on a sexy paranormal romance. The working title is Biker Werewolves in Tasmania and involves a burnt out, ex-homicide detective and a disgraced werewolf pack enforcer.

If you’d like to check out this title and many others pop on over to the Escape Publishing website today!
What would you pick from the Escape Publishing offering?

Welcome to Escape Publishing

When I was studying writing at University, my lecturers went to great lengths to inform us that getting published was, to put it politely, challenging. They made a point of making it quite clear that having a great idea, putting together a great story with a wonderful cast of characters was only one small part of the process of becoming a published author.

EscapeBlogTour3This year, new possibilities became available to a group of new emerging authors, with the launch of Escape Publishing.

Harlequin Books already have a reputation for listening to their readers and giving them plenty of accessible titles for them to join. In 2013, they turned their ear to new authors, hearing their cry for an easier, fairer manuscript submission, review and consideration process. And from this, Escape Publishing was born…

Escape Publishing takes a novel approach. Firstly, we are dedicated to our authors. If you’re an author with us… it’s all about you! Our promise to you is a personalised service with a fast turn-around of 3 months, supported by an integrated marketing campaign.

“We’re nimble – we are big enough to take the time to help you craft your manuscript and provide the marketing support to help create a bestseller, but small enough to adapt to, and move with, the market. We have built an unparalleled connection to the reader and with over 78% market share, we know romance!” Managing Director of Harlequin Enterprises Asia-Pacific, Michelle Laforest, explains.

I’m not the best to tell you all about this new publishing house though, rather, I’m pleased to be able to share with you, my Q&A with Escape editor, Kate Cuthbert…

Kate, would you like to introduce yourself a little?
Sure! Hi, I’m Kate. I’m the Managing Editor of Escape Publishing, Harlequin Australia’s new digital-first imprint. I’ve been reading romance since I was about 11, and my first ever romance was a little Mills&Boon novel by Charlotte Lamb, called Dreaming.

And, could you tell us a little bit about Escape Publishing? What sets it apart from other Publishers?
Escape Publishing is the digital-first arm of Harlequin Australia, with the goal of bringing Australian and New Zealand voices to a global audience. We’re flexible, free, and fast – our digital-first model means we can take more risks, fill niche, explore new ground, as well as celebrate fabulous romance traditions. We have a small team, which makes us responsive, but we have the Harlequin team at our back. And we can have you published within 6 months.

Why is Escape so important to you?
As with all romance readers, I’ve seen the market shrink, and then shrink, and then shrink some more – the financial climate has meant that, in a lot of cases, publishers have had to bypass risks and stick to trends. This has lessened our diverse and wide-ranging genre. With Escape, we can start filling in some of the gaps, taking those risks, and catering to what readers want. Further, as an Australian-based imprint, we’re well-placed to really promote Australian voices, which is something we’re really passionate about.

Escape team

The Escape Publishing team!

Do you have Three Top Tips for people out there who might be thinking of putting a manuscript together, and see Escape Publishing as just the ticket?

Tip No. 1
Get someone else to read your manuscript. Digital-first publishing has some ramifications. We move very fast – at the moment we’re about 2 weeks from submission to first response, and just over three months from acceptance to publication. So the initial barrier to acceptance is probably a little higher. We don’t have time for a prolonged editing process, so your manuscript has to be in the absolute best shape it can be. Find someone you trust to read your story – someone who will be completely honest with you. Probably not your mum. You need to know where the holes are, the leaps of logic, the uncharacteristic actions. And edit, edit, edit. Proofread, proofread, proofread.

Tip No. 2
Make sure you have a website and have thought about your online presence. Digital-first readers live online, which means authors have to as well.

Tip No. 3
Hit that submit button. There are so many writers out there who just polish, polish, polish, but never work up the courage to take the final step. But if I don’t read it, I can’t publish it. So take the chance.

What can people expect to see from Escape Publishing in 2013?
So much good stuff! I wish I could tell you all about everything, but I’ll focus on some of our upcoming titles: I’m calling January ‘SF month’, because we kick off our Science Fiction romance section with two great titles: one is Legend Beyond the Stars, which is a very hot adult romance, and we also have Rayessa and the Space Pirates, which is a YA space opera and is a whole lot of fun.

Also, just to celebrate ourselves, we have a lovely little Australia Day story, set on the beach, about a very serious doctor and a not-so-serious surfer.

Do you have any reading recommendations for our bookish readers? 
Do I?! Well apart from the titles I’ve recommended above, we also have our December titles, which are now available:

New Year’s Kisses by Rhian Cahill is a very romantic, surprisingly sweet, subtly sexy sequel to Rhian’s Christmas Wishes, one of our launch titles.

Short Soup by Coleen Kwan is about best friends, mistakes, dreams, and the healing power of Chinese food.

Summer Fling by Serenity Woods is our first New Zealand story, a contemporary romance about a chocolatier and a sky-dive instructor.

Drawing Closer by Jenny Schwartz proves that short stories can still sizzle!

No Strings Attached by Bridget Gray is sweet, funny, surprising, and set against the aftermath of the Boxing Day Tsunami.

The Danger Game by Caitlyn Nicholas is a quick-paced, breath-taking techno-thriller.


If you’d like to find out more about Escape Publishing, please visit their website here.

Join us:   Facebook  and  Twitter
Sign up for TBYL Book Club here…

Subscribe to TBYL News: All Things Bookish… out monthly!

Friday Bits and Bobs

We’re starting another Friday and finishing off another week, edging one week closer to Christmas. For my own benefit as much as anyone else’s I thought I’d make today’s blog article a headline post full of bits and bobs. Here’s a few shots of information to get you into the weekend…

Find That Book You Like… Online
Did you know that you can find TBYL all over the internet? I spend a ridiculous amount of time online, and I find that each online space is a wonderful place to connect with people in different ways. Maybe you’d like to join me?

You’ll find TBYL on Twitter here…

You’ll find TBYL on Pinterest here…

If you’re looking for a place to chat about books, without leaving the house you’ll find our online TBYL Book Club here…

Of course, you should also bookmark our website as a hub for all these different TBYL goodies, including the online TBYL Store.

Blog Tours

That Book You Like… has a busy couple of weeks with no less than three blog tours on the calendar. On Monday, I’ll be chatting to Sally Harris about her new book Diary of a Penguin-Napper and then later in the week I’ll be catching up with the lovely Kate Cuthbert from Escape Publishing who’ll be telling us a bit more about their exciting new endeavour. After this conversation, I’ll be taking a look at some of Escape Publishing’s newest authors and I might even get to have a chat to some of them. Exciting things happening at Escape, and I can’t wait to be a part of it.

New in the TBYL Store

Have you taken a look at our newest editions to the store? My favourites… handmade Book Covers and Lego Earrings. Both are limited edition pieces, handmade with love and beautiful! Shop Now!

New Friends

Hopefully you’ve already checked out Little Birdy Tix after my feature in this month’s TBYL News: All Things Bookish… but if you haven’t make sure you pop on over and visit their website. They’re an amazing membership-based group that will help you to connect with promoters and artists so that you can check out new and exciting performances around Melbourne and Sydney. Best of all, once you’re a paid up member, event tickets are FREE! I’ve got a membership up for grabs as our newsletter give-away this month, so don’t forget to read the newsletter here and get your entry in!

A New Blog

For those of you who are interested in health and fitness, and would be keen to follow along with my current ‘health project’

I’ve started a new blog called Getting Back To Go. I started the blog mainly for my own benefit as a kind of logbook, and as such it’s a lot more personal than TBYL but if you’d like to watch along as I work at getting my fitness back and increase my ‘wellness’ after finishing breast cancer treatments, you’re welcome to have a read.

You’ll find the blog here…

The Reading Pile

Lastly, if you’re looking for any reading ideas for over the summer holidays, there is an absolute stack of great titles on the TBYL Reading Pile at the moment. Can I suggest a browse?

Happy Friday, and enjoy the weekend!

Join us:   Facebook  and  Twitter
Sign up for TBYL Book Club here…

Subscribe to TBYL News: All Things Bookish… out monthly!