Ally Blake Romance Author - Blog

Latest news from Australian romance author Ally Blake, writer of fun, fresh flirty romance novels.

Tuesday 31 October 2006

seen in stores

Wanted: Outback Wife has been seen in stores in Australia! I am so excited. For though I seem to have books coming out around the world every month for the next half a year, this book is my first release since April. Wanted: Outback Wife is book four in the gorgeous Brides of Bella Lucia miniseries.


Londoner Jodie Simpson needs to land a Melbourne husband - and quick. But can she and her friends pull this off with only six weeks until her working visa runs out?

Suddenly this shy British girl finds herself with a line up of males willing to be the other half of her two year marriage deal. There's her neighbour Scott, who has a penchant for mesh shirts, Barnaby the visual merchandiser whose favourite gay bar is just around the corner from her apartment, or the funeral director with the gravity defying Adam's apple.

Of course, even though he lives miles from her adopted city, has more brothers and sisters than she has family in the whole world, and he makes her feel like this project could last more than the allotted two years, there is always Heath Jameson...


Romantic Times 4 stars
Ally Blake continues the Brides of Bella Lucia with Wanted: Outback Wife (4), as she affectionately mocks the "marriage of convenience" convention while utilizing it effectively. This is good fun, and Heath's a treat on many levels.

Cataromance 4 stars
Fresh, vibrant and written with plenty of sassiness and style, Ally Blake’s feel good romances are among the best in the business and Wanted: Outback Wife is certainly no exception! In Wanted: Outback Wife, Ally Blake sprinkles her story with charming humour, powerful emotion and heartwarming romance and she will make you laugh, cry and sigh with bliss!

Buy it here...

Excerpt here...

Hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing about it!


Monday 30 October 2006

the first page challenge

Julie Cohen has put out a first page challenge - for authors to show how they create character and conflict in the first few lines of a book. I am currently doing proof edits for my first Modern Extra book, GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS, so I have pasted the first time we meet each character here...


Flynn Granger was a leg man.

(Sorry, I love this line!!! I knew who my guy was the moment it hit the page ;))

‘You’ve got legs of your own so what’s the big deal?’ his best friend George would ask when the subject arose. Needless to say George was a breast man.

During such conversations Flynn would lift a trouser leg, showing off his favoured argyle socks and an unequivocally masculine calf covered in dark hair, with its scarred knee from a horse-riding accident, and shaped by years of bike riding and what amounted to an addiction to his rowing machine.

Then he’d say, ‘George, buddy, I may have two very fine legs of my own, but there is simply no comparison. The sight of a woman’s calf muscles working as she passes by in a pair of high heels does it for me every time. I love the slight criss-cross of the feet, I adore the soft indent behind the knee, and I am putty in the presence of a sway that starts at the floor and goes all the way up.

Here I would hope the reader would take Flynn as a laid-back, confident, lover of women! So far all character, no conflict. Hmmm... Interesting.


Abbey Parrish tugged her borrowed, too-tight pencil skirt downward, but the lowest she could manage without having the waistline around her hips was for it to end up three inches above her knees which was actually about three feet shorter than she would have preferred for it to be.

‘Five minutes is all I have allowed for you, Ms Parrish,’ said Wanda, a stern looking woman in head-to-toe navy, a pageboy haircut, and tiny glasses, as she led her into Flynn Granger’s office.

Abbey’s hand only shook a very little when she ran it over her smooth French twist. ‘I understand. And I appreciate you squeezing me in.’

Okay, so Abbey's not quite so confident. She'd rather not be in a short skirt, her hair is bound in a French twist, her hand shakes, she can't even think in grammatically correct sentences ;). And she's heading into the lair of a playboy...

Julie has made me realise many of my openings are all about character rather than conflict. I've quickly skimmed through a bunch of them, and I think it's really important to me that the character is likeable from the first line. That they are funny, or vulnerable, or empathtic, or dreamy. Whatever. So long as they make an instant connection with the reader I am happy for the story, and the conflict, to take a backseat...

How about you?

Wednesday 25 October 2006

whotta week so far...

Another busy week is chugg-chugg-chugging along.

Monday I went to a lovely lunch with the Mobsters, a bunch of Melbourne-based romance authors.

I arrived in the city early and sat looking over the Yarra, and taking in the sghts at Southbank which features in so many of my books. The sun was glinting off the river. Men in suits dappled the footpaths. I got big smiles from a group of Swedish tourists. I love my rare days in the city!

And a big thanks to the gorgeous Fiona Lowe who brought us all roses from her garden. Mine is now drying beautiflly beneath my computer monitor.

Next Liz Fielding's new website has just relaunched and she was kind enough to allow me to design it for her! It was so much fun as Liz is so lovely, so it was just too easy to come up with something bright, and sparkling like her. Have a look around and let me know what you think...

And today my brother-in-law is in town and he just rang to say he's on his way home with ingredients to make my very fave spaghetti marinara.


Monday 23 October 2006

hero inspiration

As promised here are some more of my fave Christian Bale pics.

If I had to choose one guy to be my hero inspiration for the rest of time and one guy only (apart from my darling husband of course - waves and kisses sweetheart!) this would be the guy.

For my myriad reasons why, check out my Male on Monday slot at the Pink Heart Society.

Or just browse here a little while and you won't have to ask!

Can you blame me for using him - again - as hero inspiration for my current book even though I have used him before?? A guy with this many expressions, moods, personalities?

He just makes it too easy!

Now off I go to hang out with Saxon my latest hero. Seriously, Morgan doesn't stand a chance! La-di-dah! What a tough job ;).

Wednesday 18 October 2006

all systems go

I have just had word from my editor that my next ModEx proposal, working title THE SWEETEST THING, is a go. I'm so excited as I am almost 10,000 words in and loving it to bits!

THE SWEETEST THING stars Morgan - the PA to a Parisienne fashion mag doyenne who has an addiction to good coffee and free designer stuff, Saxon - a seriously sexy entrepreneur who loves his mother and extinct British rock bands, a midnight blue 1968 MK II Jag named Bessie, a gelataria called Bacio Bacio, a green Balenciaga dress, a chalet in the snow, and the best of Melbourne in winter and Paris in summer...

I could write this book forever and be happy doing so! But let's hope it takes less than that as I have a December 7th deadline.

Wish me luck!


Tuesday 17 October 2006

big weekend

I had a lovely weekend!

After sending off my book, I had a great Saturday starting with a birthday party for my friend's one year old Tom. He is such a gorgeous little man - pictured here with the other gorgeous man in my life. The cake was a disaster which made it much more fun than if it had been perfect. The company was lovely as I was able to catch up with a friend I hadn't seen in a few months. And Tom was so excited by all his presents - though one helium balloon would have been enough to keep him happy all day.

Next we went to a Greek wedding. Again fabulous company, I haven't laughed so hard in ages! And a friend and I danced the night away doing all sorts of traditional greek dances we had no idea how to do. And I got to wear a new dress which is always fun.

Now I am hard at work on my next ModEx, currently entitled 'The Sweetest Thing'. I am hoping the end of the book may take me to Paris, as such I have blogged about my favourite places in that fair city - some out of the way spots that have remained in my heart.

Chck out
The Pink Heart Society to find out more!


Friday 13 October 2006


My latest epic has come in at 53,000 words and considering a week ago it was 67,000 words, that's some feat!!! I read through it one last time today and had a giggle and even a tear. There is one line that breaks my heart every time I read it. I love that!

Hope my editor loves it too ;).

Now tomorrow I can enjoy my friend Sheree's little boy Tom's first birthday party, and tomorrow night my hubby and I are going to a weeding. It will be my first big fat Greek wedding with over 400 guests!!!

Here is another picture of fluffy Laverne to make you all go "aaawwww". And no that is not an egg, it is a mandarin from our mandarin tree which keeps us in vitamin C all winter and gives shade to the chooks.

Tuesday 10 October 2006

meet the cluckers

Meet my two chooks - Laverne and Shirley.

They live inside a warm black cage at night (during winter we put in in our back shed with a light on it to keep it extra warm!) and they have the run of the backyard every day.

They make gorgeous cooing clucky sounds when they hear the back door open. The peck and scavange and have made friends with all the local birds who think their cage is like a party house with all the food and water on tap!

They've even made friends with the local cats who haven't actually reaslied they are birds. We often find tabbies sitting in the backyard licking their paws with the chooks pecking a foot away.

So far no eggs, which was the point in the first place. But now they are just so fluffy and cute that they are part of the family. Along with Mary and Frederik the black-headed pythons, the four gold fish, Squiffy the dog, and my husband I fear I am outnumbered!

Monday 9 October 2006


Over at the Pink Heart Society we are having a fabulous discussion about what makes a keeper! to become a member, go to the blog and join the yahoo group! And bring your answers to these great qeustions!

What is the border line for you between a book that is 'good' and a book that is a keeper? What makes it with hanging on to?

For me I just know. I won't always keep books by a favourite author if the book didn't do it for me. I'm tough! Though some authors don't disappoint. Dick Francis and LaVyrle Spencer are a couple of faves that I have to keep a hold of. I seem to find it hard to break up sieres tho. I have kept all the Harry Potter's and Stephanie Plums, even though finding time to re-read is so hard when there are so many NEW books out there!

What's the most important emotion you look for in a book (besides a good romance)?

Laughter and tears. If a book can send me to both places it's a joy.

How many books do you have on your keeper shelf?

So many I can't see the back rows for the towering front rows!

Name any fifteen books from your keeper shelf.

In picked 10 to avoid carpal tunnel!

'The Hobbit' by JRR Tolkien
'David Letterman's Top Ten Lists'
'HMS Ulysses' by Alistair Maclean
'The Prince in Waiting Trilogy' by John Christopher
'Cyrano de Bergerac' by Edmund Rostand
'Olivia' by Ian Falconer
'Welcome to Temptation' by Jenny Cruisie
'Catch 22' by Jospeh Heller
'the Spy who Came in From the Cold' by John le Carre
'The Princess Bride' by William Goldman

How often do you add books to your TBR pile? How long do you hang onto a book in your TBR pile before you give it away because you realize you're probably never going to get around to reading it?
I have a TBR drawer beside my bed I just realised I haven't opened in a year and a half. Forgot it was even there consdering the towering pile next to my bed. I clean out once every six months or so.

Do you ever loan out your Keepers? Or are you like me and very anal about who you loan out Keepers to?

Only to two people. My mum and my husband Aunt. both are voracious readers with similar taste, and they always return!!! They are also big book buyers rather than library goers so I love them!!! If I introduce them to a new author they will BUY the next books themselves.

Have you ever read a book that was a "keeper" for another reader but when you got your hands on it and read it, you didn't feel the same way? What book was it? What was it about the book that didn't make it a keeper and just an "OK" read for you?

Plenty. That's the fun thing about being in a book group. Trying things you wouldn't normally try. I found some beautiuful books that way and others I just couldn't fathom. I discovered Alice Sebold and Jodi Piccoult through my book group, and couldn't get a grip on The Time Traveller's Wife (sorry Trish!!!) or Mary Moody at all.

If you had to recommend a book or two to a new romance reader, who has never read a romance and is looking to get into them, what books would you recommend and why?

I'll often pass on the names of my faves. Nic, Trish and Natasha being an easy to convert I've found! Also Jenny Crusie and Janet Evanovich tend to bridge alot of readers. I have found time and agin when they read one category romance they sit up and say "well I had no idea they were so wonderful!"

Thursday 5 October 2006

good morning

Okay, so yesterday I sent off proof edits for my tenth book BILLIONAIRE ON HER DOORSTEP back to my editor. I looove this book. Adored writing it (for the most part ;) - I have kindly forgotten about the horro month in the middle where I got stuck and couldn't see my way clear). So it was a real pleasure to revisit Tom and Maggie.

I also finished draft on my next Romance yesterday! With a whole 5 days to spare until deadline!!! Yay me!!! The fact that it is 66, 869 words when it needs to be ~ 52,000 cannot be the issue this morning or I might just cry. The issue is that I allowed myself the pleasure of writing those two beautiful words: THE END.

So that was my yesterday.

And this morning? This morning the last of the Robbie Williams tickets went on sale. I missed out the last two times I tried, clicking "reload" on the internet and redial on the phone for two hours each time with no luck. No joy. No light at the end of the tunnel. Not a surprise considering he's the fastest ticket seller EVER! But I never gave up. Never surrendered to the idea that my friends and I would not be going. I told them to keep strong, to save their pennies as I would come through.

So today at 9am I rang the ticket place and got through!!! Still, I sat on the phone for 45 minutes, this time battling against a touch phone system that had flaws up the wazoo and kept sending me in a loop that simply wouldn't give me tickets. In the end I pressed a button to get me an operator, frustrated that I would miss out again. Grrrr....

At the same time I checked the internet and the only tickets coming through were standing level. Being that I am no longer 17 this just wasn't an option. I was ready to give up, to hang up, to finally realise Robbie and I were not going to have a date in late December as I had hoped. And then the operator came on the line.

"Hi," said I, "I know there are probably only standing tickets left, but I thought I might as well hang on and ask."

"How many?' asked she.

'I need four."


Okay so this wasn't looking good. After another fifteen minutes of computer errors, hopes dashed as even tickets in blocks of 2 and 2 were not to be found, the lady on the phone put me on hold to find out if any more tickets might go on sale later on.

I cleaned beneath my fingernails, checked my email, doddled, and didn't even have a flciker of a hope.

And then she came back on the phone. "Okay, so we have four tickets, Level 2, Gold Section. Seated. Do you want them?"

Did I???

The tickets are fantastic, they are for the very last night of his World Tour, and Robbie and I will be together again!

This has been a good morning!!!

Monday 2 October 2006

nice review

My next book release WANTED: OUTBACK WIFE has just been given a four star review by Romantic Times!

Desperate to remain in Australia and avoid the family drama awaiting her in England, jewelry maker Jodie Simpson is willing to do anything. Finding an Aussie husband for the period necessary to obtain citizenship seems a little extreme -- but with no other options in sight, Jodie ends up wed to rancher Heath Jameson. But what's in it for Heath? The possibility of having a real wife eventually, perhaps?

Ally Blake continues the Brides of Bella Lucia with Wanted: Outback Wife (4), as she affectionately mocks the "marriage of convenience" convention while utilizing it effectively. This is good fun, and Heath's a treat on many levels.

This book is available now online in the UK and North America or on shelves in bookstores in October. It is part of the Brides of Bella Lucia miniseries which have been getting rave reviews all over the place, including Linda Goodnight's 4 and 1/2 star Top Pick! Check out our blog about the series for all the inside goss.

Also next month's Harlequin Romances are now up at the Harlequin Romance Authors blog, and the covers are just goooooorrrrgeous!!! Check them out here...