01-19-19 – Judith Ashley – My Sanctuaries and Safe Havens: Writing and Spiritual Practices

Thursday, June 1, 2017


I’m so excited about this month’s blog. The topic? Singing the praises of local authors that inspire me.

Much as I’m still a Kiwi at heart, Australia is my home. I feel extremely lucky – blessed, even – to be included among such an incredible bunch of authors.
The list of featured authors below is by no means exhaustive, but hopefully it’s representative of the wide range of talent we can boast Down Under.


Not only is Helene Young an incredibly talented and multi-award-winning author, but she’s a staunch advocate for more Australian-based romantic suspense – a stance I agree with 110%.
Not only is Helene a fabulous writer, she’s also a pilot, a sailor, and a photographer. She’s published six award-winning novels and is currently working on her seventh whilst cruising the coast of Australia with her husband aboard their catamaran, Roo Bin Esque.
Australian Romance Readers Association (ARRA) voted Helene’s latest book, Northern Heat, ‘Favorite Romantic Suspense 2015’. If you’re a lover of the genre, give this book a go. You won’t be disappointed.

In remote northern Australia, Conor Stein is living under an assumed name and rebuilding his shattered life. Working at Cooktown’s youth centre has given him the chance to make a difference again, and a chance to flirt with Kristy Dark. When he finds himself dragged into a murder investigation, with more lives at risk, he knows he’ll fight to the death to protect those he loves.
After tragedy tore her family apart, Dr Kristy Dark fled home to the steamy north with her feisty teenage daughter, Abby. She hoped being part of the small community would help them both heal. When late one sultry night Conor staggers into the emergency department supporting a local fisherman with a gunshot wound, she has no inkling her world is about to be turned on its head.
As a cyclone tears through Cooktown, cutting them off from the world, the real killer moves to silence any witnesses. With their lives on the line, Kristy will have to summon her courage and place her trust in Conor, or they’ll both lose someone they love.


Rachel lives with her own personal hero and four dogs on the east coast of Australia. An ex-social worker and ardent dog-lover, dog mum and dog foster-mum to any dog in need, Rachel loves making up stories for a living. And why not, when she’s so good at it.
Rachel is a long-time author for Harlequin Desire, but in recent years she’s dipped her toes into other waters. Finn Factor is a new adult romance, and truly delightful. If you love the genre, definitely give this book a go.

Sometimes all a girl needs is a little practice…
It’s been twelve months, three days, and eleven hours since accounting student Scarlett Logan made it past a second date. A pitcher of mojitos in hand, she employs her supreme graphing skills to narrow things down to one horrifying explanation. Kissing. Clearly someone needs to teach her how to kiss properly. Like, say, her best friend and roomie, Finn Mackenzie. He’s safe, he’s convenient, and yeah, maybe just a little gorgeous.
Finn knows exactly why Scarlett’s boyfriends are disappearing quickly. Him. Not a single guy she’s brought home is nearly good enough. And he’ll be damned if he lets some loser give her “kissing lessons.” No. He’ll do the honors, thank you very much. The moment their lips touch, though, everything turns upside down. But Scarlett deserves the one thing Finn can’t give her. And if he doesn’t put an end to the sexy little shenanigans, he’ll teach Scarlett the hardest lesson of all…heartbreak.


Sandi lives in the beautiful Dandenong Ranges with her husband and furry family. Besides the obvious of reading and writing, she loves fitness and strength training, canoeing, relaxing, being around great people, home, red wine in front of an open fire…
Sandi’s debut rural crime thriller Tell Me Why won the 2015 Davitt Award Readers’ Choice and was also shortlisted for the 2015 Davitt Award Best Debut.
Sandi’s latest instalment in her Harvey & Franklin series, Dead Again was released in April 2017, and I was lucky enough to take part in her book launch party.
If you love crime, especially in small, rural towns, then give Sandi’s books a go.
Picturesque Daylesford has a darker side.
Melbourne writer Georgie Harvey heads to the mineral springs region of central Victoria to look for a missing farmer. There she uncovers links between the woman's disappearance and her dangerous preoccupation with the unsolved mystery surrounding her husband.
Maverick cop and solo dad John Franklin is working a case that's a step up from Daylesford's usual soft crime; a poison-pen writer whose targets are single mothers.
Georgie's investigation stirs up long buried secrets and she attracts enemies. When she reports the missing person to the local cops, sparks fly between her and Franklin. Does he dismiss the writer too quickly?
A country cop, city writer, retired farmer and poison-pen stalker all want answers.
What will they risk to get them?
What will be the ultimate cost?


Cassandra O’Leary lives in Melbourne, Australia with two gorgeous, high-energy mini ninjas and – her words J – her spunky superhero. Cassandra describes herself as a writer/corporate wordsmith and communications specialist, avid reader, film and TV fangirl and admirer of pretty, shiny things.
Cassandra’s debut romcom, Girl on a Plane, was published by Harper Collins UK in July 2016. I was lucky enough to read and review a copy of this fabulous story before release, and I can honestly say, it’s everything a good romcom should be.
A sexy, sassy, holiday read.
When feisty Irish flight attendant Sinead Kennealy locks eyes with sexy Australian CEO Gabriel Anderson in First Class, sparks fly. But as they jet across the globe from Melbourne to London, it’s clear that they’re in for a turbulent journey . . .

Stressed-out Gabriel doesn’t do relationships. And Sinead isn’t about to be fooled by another bad boy after escaping her stalker ex. Then a storm hits, causing the plane to land unexpectedly, and Sinead and Gabriel are thrown together in Singapore.
The pressure rises as Sinead’s unhappy past threatens to catch up with her. But might Gabriel be the one to heal her heartbreak? If he could open up about his troubling secrets, maybe a relationship could actually get off the ground. Fasten your seatbelts – this WON’T be a smooth ride . . .


Jennifer Lynne lives in Melbourne, Australia. When she’s not writing, Jen works in her admin day job, runs around after the family, pampers various very spoilt cats and tries to find a smidgen of time for her husband.
Jen is an award-winning author of short contemporary erotic and sexy romance, often with paranormal/fantasy elements.
Her popular Gods of Love series features erotic Greek gods and modern-day mortals in need of sexual healing. For lovers of erotic romance, this series is a must.

The Greek gods of desire are skilled at satisfying the erotic needs of mortals who cross their path. But where do the gorgeous erotes turn for sexual healing when loneliness strikes at each eternal yet world-weary heart? Together for the first time in one anthology collection, these three critically acclaimed novellas show that even the gods themselves are not immune from the influence of love.
Platinum Passion
Aphrodite Calling
Sex Club Secrets
Immortal Seduction
Demon of Envy

Thank you so much for stopping by!

There are so many other Aussie authors I admire: Anna Campbell (regency historical romance), Keri Arthur (fantasy, horror and romance), Rachael Johns (rural romance), Valerie Parv (category romance and sci-fi), Annie West (sexy category romance), Amy Andrews (romantic comedy), Stefanie London (sexy contemporary and category romance), Rachael Johns (rural romance) and I could go on forever!
This list is by no means exhaustive, but hopefully it gives you an idea of how much talent and fabulous stories we have Down Under. And maybe, just maybe, among my suggestions, you'll find a new favorite author or several 😊

Who are your all-time favorite authors? Do any of them live in your backyard? (metaphorically, of course! 😄) I'd love you to share them here.

Have a happy, safe and laughter-filled June and I look forward to seeing you next month!


Sarah Raplee said...

Thank you for introducing me to these awesome Aussie authors, Michelle! I'm adding them to my To-Be-Read Page on Pinterest!

Michelle Somers said...

That's awesome Sarah.
You won't regret it!
Thanks so much for stopping by.
Michelle xx

Sandi Wallace said...

It's such an honour to be included with these wonderful Australian women authors. I do love writing my rural crime with a nice sprinkle of romance, and my to-read list has just grown, too. Thank you, Michelle!
Sandi xx

Lauren James said...

I feel so blessed to have easy access to these wonderful Australian authors that I may not have been exposed to if I lived elsewhere. Half my TBR pile is made up of Aussie authors. There's no lack of talent Down Under!

Rachel Bailey said...

How cool to be included with those fabulous authors! Thanks, Michelle! (Though I should point out that The Finn Factor is actually New Adult, not YA - the characters are in their early 20s and the heat level is kinda high. :))

Yep, I agree there is so much talent down under. Some of my faves? Besides the ones you've listed, I also love Michelle Douglas (sweet, cute, quirky category), TM Clark (gorgeous stories set in Africa), Nikki Logan (category romances with animals and nature), Gwendolyn Beynon (epic fantasy set in dark ages Wales), Bronwyn Parry (another awesome author writing rom-suspense set in Australia), Beck Nicholas (fun YA), Madeline Ash (who just finalled in the Rita *again*), and... you know, I could go on for pages!

Cassandra O'Leary said...

Thanks so much for the mention Michelle! As a debut author it's been amazing to have the support of wonderful authors like yourself from the Romance Writers of Australia. P.S. I'm working on two more romcom novels at the moment set in fab international locations including London, Spain and right here in Melbourne, Australia. But my characters are being naughty with shenanigans and hijinks up the proverbial You-Yangs! P.P.S. I love Aussie romcom authors like Amy Andrews and Kylie Scott too.

Jennifer Lynne said...

What a wonderful surprise to find myself on this list, in company with some ab fab Aussie authors. Thank you so much, Michelle!

Michelle Somers said...

Hi Sandi
I was so glad to be able to include you. I just love your books and I hope this post will help more people to discover and love them too ❤
Michelle xx

Michelle Somers said...

Hi Lauren
I feel the same. We have so much wonderful talent here and this was a great opportunity for me to showcase but a few. I have to admit, I'd have liked to add more, but then when would I stop! ��
Thanks so much for stopping by!
Michelle xxx

Michelle Somers said...

Hi Rachel
Thanks so much for sharing your fave Aussie reads. Some of them are mine too. I can't believe I didn't include them! Then again, I could have kept listing. Even now I'm thinking of more 😆
Sorry about the YA reference! And I meant to say NA! Think I must have been writing till too late in the night! I've amended it now!
Thanks again for stopping by and for being an awesome Aussie author 😊
Michelle xx

Michelle Somers said...

Hi Cassandra
It was such a pleasure to include you in my list! And I love both Amy & Kylie. So many great authors I could have added to my list.
Your new stories sound awesome. I can't wait to read them. Although it's tough (and more than a little fun) when our characters get up to shenanigans 😝
Thanks so much for stopping by!
Michelle xx

Michelle Somers said...

Hi Jennifer
I loved your Gods of Love series, and I hope more readers will discover you and love the series too.
Thanks so much for stopping by!
Michelle xx

Helene Young said...

Thank you so much for including me on your list, Michelle!! I'd love to see more Australian Romantic Suspense on the shelves and being published overseas. There are so many wonderful stories to be told.

My list of auto buys is huge - Bronwyn Parry, Anna Campbell, Anne Gracie, Karly Lane, Barbara Hannay, Karen Harper, and the list goes on and on... So many books, so little time!

Michelle Somers said...

My pleasure Helene. You are one of the inspirations who got me hooked on romantic suspense. How could I not include you? 😊
Yes, your auto buys are a great list. Even after I posted, I kept thinking of more authors I should have mentioned. We have way too much talent here!
Thanks so much for popping by 😊
Michelle xx

manho valentine said...

It's such an honour to be included with these wonderful Australian women authors. I do love writing my rural crime with a nice sprinkle of romance, and my to-read list has just grown, too. Thank you, Michelle!
Sandi xx