Serendipity was working her magic when I first became aware of Western Australia’s Serenity Press. I discovered them in a round about way. Author Kylie Kaden (Losing Kate, Missing You) was the very first person I had interviewed for SheSociety. Kylie then had a story included in ‘Writing The Dream’. This engaging anthology outlined the writing journey of 25 Australian authors and the many different ways in which they were published. Kylie suggested I do a review and I was sent an advanced copy. I loved these inspiring stories and the ethos behind Serenity Press.
Publishers Karen McDermott and Monique Mulligan were champions of Australian writers and being writers themselves understood the many different paths to publication.Their kindness, passion and boundless energy was easy to see and it was clear that these two beautiful souls cared for their authors, illustrators and the publications they were producing. I kept my eye on this lovely, independent publisher. Their mission was to create beautiful books by inspiring and nurturing writer’s journeys-one story at a time.
Serenity Press had already produced two romance anthologies – ‘Rocky Romance’ and ‘A Bouquet Of Love’. They were then looking for submissions for a new anthology called ‘Destination Romance’. As many regular readers will know I often write travel articles. My first ever published article was about my trip to South Africa. I’ve also been working on a romance novel set in the South of France. I had the perfect romantic destination. Did I dare write a story and see if I could actually be published?
‘Destination Romance’ begins in the fictional town of Heart Springs in country New South Wales and centres around J’Adore Travel Boutique. J’Adore Travel is owned by Maggie Redmont and this was to be the starting point for our stories. Monique would be writing Maggie’s story. She had created the scenario and gave us details about the town and its inhabitants.The constraints were that it was to be a sweet romance that was between 10,000 and 12,000 words.
I was instantly drawn to the Tea Lady Café and the name Lavender Jones popped into my head. Once I had my main character and her name, the words flowed and I was able to weave lavender and the healing power of lavender through my story. Lavender had experienced heartbreak and her friends from J’Adore Travel had sent her to Provence for a break and to try out a new gastronomic tour. In a little village in Provence she meets the arrogant French chocolatier Thierry Boucleuse and sparks fly. Will Lavender find new love?
Whilst I was writing my story, many other romance authors around Australia were doing the same and I was so excited when I finally pressed send. At least I’d finished something. Writing a novel had been daunting but a short story had been more manageable for this rookie author. To my astonishment my little, love story ‘ Escape to D’ Amour’ was chosen as one of the ten stories to be published.
In ‘Destination Romance’ ten travellers with escape on their mind book in for their trips of a lifetime through J’Adore Travel. They have no idea their journey will lead to Destination Romance. There are so many different destinations included. A London pub brings the past to the present. A cruise cures a fear of water. And a ‘Golden Oldies Coach Tour‘ gets one couple out of a rut in more ways than one.These stories tell of fresh starts and second chances, of healing and connecting, of temptation and desire.
From country New South Wales to the high seas, from London to the Greek Isles, Provence, Paris, Thailand, New Zealand and more, there’s a romantic destination for everyone, proving that love is all around us. And, that reaching your destination is just the beginning.
I am proud to say that three of the stories chosen were written by Brisbane authors.
Tanya Kean is a mother of two and a writer of contemporary, rural and historical romance. She has been published in several anthologies.Tanya is completing a romance trilogy ‘ Reckless Riders’ and also ‘ Still Waters’ a story set in the swinging Sixties. Tanya’s story , ‘ The Boy Next Door’ moves from London to the Greek Isles.
Melanie Page is a mum and teacher at a local Northside High School. Melanie writes historical, regency and contemporary romance. In 2014 she self published the novel ‘ An Affair of Honour’. Two more books followed- ‘ Sweet Revenge’ and ‘ A Twist Of Fate’. Melanie’s love of medieval history prompted her to write her story ‘ Living In The Past’ which is set in a French village.
And then there’s me – debut author, supply teacher and mother to three amazing and supportive grown up sons who keep reminding me that it’s a real feat for anyone to be published. My story ‘ Escape to D’Amour’ is filled with Provençal scenery, wine, food, flowers and love.
Other authors in the anthology include Mel. A Rowe who hails from the Top End and writes her stories in the middle of the outback. Mel is an international bestseller and multi- genre author.
From Perth we have several authors. They include Carolyn Wren who is the author of eleven books, Monique Mulligan -our fearless editor and author of many romance and children’s stories, Lisa Wolstenholme who has written several romances and is from Wild Weeds Press and Michelle Rule who writes short stories and articles.
There’s Renee Conoulty – well known romance author, army wife and swing dancer and Jean Jenkins who writes short stories and is trying her hand at writing a novel. You can see what a feat it was to have my story chosen. I’m in very good company!
We, three Brisbane authors, will be launching the ‘Destination Romance’ anthology at Avid Reader in West End on December 20 at 6pm. We’ll be in conversation with international bestselling author – T. M.Clark. Tina is a passionate storyteller whose multicultural books detail her love of wildlife and the world. Writing for adults and children, she has been nominated for a Queensland Literary Award and is a Children’s Book Council Notable. She also organises the annual CYA conference here in Brisbane. ‘Nature Of The Lion’ is T.M Clark’s latest book released on November 17. Originally from Africa, Tina now writes from her home, on an island, in sunny Queensland.
For a lively discussion on the anthology, our writing and ourselves pop along to Avid Reader. There’ll be drinks and nibbles, books for sale and we will be available to sign books and answer questions.
Some dreams really do come true and for me, as an author, reaching my destination is only the beginning.
Freelance writer, wife and mother of three sons, occasional supply teacher and aspiring romance author, Michelle Beesley can be most often found in a coffee shop chatting with friends or beside a rugby field cheering on her favourite teams.
Michelle is a prolific—albeit reluctant—traveller, keen walker, bookworm and yoga enthusiast who loves anything pink or sparkly (including champagne!).