Ally Blake Romance Author - Blog

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

Monday 28 May 2007

meet belvedere

Belvedere would have to be the third main character in my next Harlequin Romance BILLIONAIRE ON HER DOORSTEP. For much of the book takes place within her delapidated but beloved walls.

Belvedere is a huge, ramshackle, dilapidated house on the Portsea cliffs in which my heroine Maggie lives. She is the reason Maggie and Tom, a local handyman, meet. She is as close to my heart as any of the living walking talking characters in the book.

I don't have a picture of her. Nothing even close. But she is sooo clear in my mind from her brushwood fence to her brambled garden I never needed one. Though I can tell you that she is situated on the bluff silhouetted in this sunset view from the Sorrento Pier.

I do picture her at one with the colours of Sorrento. Big beautiful and white. Shot through with the greys of the old wooden piers, the beiges of the beach sand, with views of the beautiful blue skies and ocean, and tinged in the mossy greens of the fabulous surrounding foliage.

Here's how she looks in my mind:

From the top of the dipping dirt driveway he caught glimpses of white wood and a slate grey tiled roof which was not an unusual combination for a house by the beach. What was unusual was that unlike other properties in Portsea, Belvedere wasn’t manicured to within an inch of its life. In fact it wasn’t manicured at all.

As the foliage cleared he saw a house that looked like it had been built over fifty years by half a dozen architects with incompatible visions. At least five levels ambled down the sloping hill towards the cliff’s edge. Most of the original pale green shutters were closed to the morning light, and by the deep orange rust on their hinges he guessed many hadn’t been opened in months. The rest was hidden behind what looked to be years of neglected foliage. If the local council had any idea that this place was in such disrepair they’d be up here in a Sorrento second waving their ordinances on beautification and escalating land value.

Many of the homes in Portsea were empty most of the year and needed nothing more than basic upkeep by overpaid full-time gardeners. As a hire-a-handyman he only did odd jobs. But this place... Already he could see it could do with a lick of paint. And the garden could do with some tender love and care, or a backhoe. It was a renovator’s dream. And Tom would be sure to tell Lady Bryce all of that once he had a damn clue what he was doing there in the first place.

BILLIONAIRE ON HER DOORSTEP is available now at Harlequin online, or wait until it hits bookshelves in the UK and North America come mid-June.


Friday 25 May 2007

meet tom

Okay, so a couple of weeks back, I introduced you all to my Maggie, the heroine of my very soonly upcoming Harlequin Romance, BILLIONAIRE ON HER DOORSTEP. You can read all about her here...

Tom is the hero of. Of course we don't know he's a billionaire until sometime later in the book, so just ignore that title as you read ;).

I love Tom. There I admit it. I am utterly head over heels with the guy. From the moment he gets out of his battered Ute at the beginning of the book, to the very last page, I found his journey an absolute pleasure to be a part of.
He is smart, loquacious, funny, generous, kind and has a serious knight in shining armour complex. And he's knee-weakeningly gorgeous. A handyman by trade, with an outdoor tan, and work-hardened muscles. Doesn't that just sound like heaven?

I casting my Tom, I had some fun and games getting the lovely Trish Wylie to allow me to use 'her' Nathan Fillion. We had some quite heated moments on our blogs some time back, I can tell ya. Friendship stretched to its limits ;). But she sent me this picture so she can only blame herself!!! And she did. In the end she let me use several of his bits and we were fine.

Here's a little taste test to give you Maggie's first impressions of my Tom...

When she’d found Tom Campbell’s name in the phone book she’d half expected some wizened, semi-retired jack-of-all-trades working to earn extra bingo money. She’d fully expected wizened old Tom Campbell to take one look at her brambles, run a sorry arm across his wrinkled forehead, and claim the way through an impossibility.

She’d been prepared for that eventuality, ready for it to be the last in a long line of signs that her experimental life at the beach had come to an end. The other clear signs being no money left in the bank, no brilliance happening on the canvas, and not even the slightest sense that she would ever fit in, no matter how hard she wished she could.

What she hadn’t been prepared for was Tom Campbell himself. He’d surprised the heck out of her by actually being there when he said he would, and also by being the complete opposite of wizened. He was in his mid-thirties with dark hair in need of a cut. He was broad, strapping, in shockingly good health. And had the kind of smile built to warm the coldest heart. Then he’d further compounded her surprise by taking one look at her impossible brambles and saying, ‘Can do’.

The sight of that thirty metre wide wall of thorns should have sent him running in terror. The guy must have needed a pay cheque worse than she did.

BILLIONAIRE ON HER DOORSTEP is available now at Harlequin online, or any day now it will hit bookshelves in the UK June 1st and North America come mid-June.


Tuesday 22 May 2007

girls and boys

I have put up a couple of fabulous and fun new pages on my website, cataloguing all of the pictures I used as hero and heroine inspiration behind each of my books. So if you are on the lookout for someone to picture as you read, or write, your next romance, here's a good place to start.

Do they look as you imagined they looked? Or did you "cast" someone completely different? I'd love to know!
(I now have comments allowd, have no idea why they weren't!!! Thanks Trish for letting me know ;))

Labels: ,

Saturday 19 May 2007


Today hubby and I made the long trip up north to Healesville Sanctuary as my clever mother had bought him a behind the scenes of the zoo tour for his birthday.

Once we departed the city, the trip was magical, driving through winding roads surrounded on both sides by rolling hills covered in beautiful vineyards, yellow with dry leaves and avenues of trees which have finally begun to turn red and orange and gorgeously autumnal just two weeks before winter ;).

The zoo is all Australian animals, the grounds large and neat and welcoming. The behind the scenes tour, usually people by about 18 people today had just us. So hubby, me and Ian the guide spent two hours together.

Hubby handled the snakes and lizards and monitors and other crazy reptiles of which he is most fond to his heart's content. I was lucky enough to be on the cuddling end of an affectionate emu, a gorgeous ringtail possum, a baby joey called Oz in the hospital nursery (that one I sooo wanted to take home!). 'Twas sooo lovely!

Thanks Mum, thanks Ian, thanks Healesville, thanks heavens for not opening up upon our heads as you looked determined to do, we had a lovely lovey day.


Friday 18 May 2007

so many men, not enough books...

Thanks for all your lovely comments about my lastes book sale. I'm still over the moon!

Oh, and I've changed my hero inspiration.

I did have a very lovely picture of Josh Hartnett which gave me a fabulous meet between Monica and Damien in my current Modern Extra. But the character developing from that meet just wasn't the sharp, slick, too cocky for his own good guy that picture was meant to inspire.

My guy, my Damien, is heaven. He's sexy, beautiful, successful, and just a little bit goofy. Suddenly I found msyelf channeling a little bit of Sam Seaborn and a little Senator McAllister, which if you watch the same TV shows I do you'll know were both played by the delicious Rob Lowe.

In high school my friend Sangeeta was going to marry him when she grew up, but he never did it for me then. Too pretty. Too scrawny. But he's certainly grown into himself beautifully. And now, with that self-deprecating sense of humour, those too good to be true good looks and the way he fills out a suit, he IS my Damien.

So far in the past two days pictures like these have inspired 3000 words which is fabulous! And did you know he turned down the role of McDreamy, from another TV show I adore? Just a little bit of trivia to start your day ;).

Labels: , ,

Wednesday 16 May 2007

between the sheets: sold!

FALLING FOR THE REBEL HEIR, my fourteenth novel, will be a March 2008 Harlequin Romance release. And I am so excited!!! I had a long break between finishing the book and doing the revisions and the distance made for such reading pleasure.

This was the book written through my Between the Sheets series (click on the link below to read the whole lot). The book about the Voyager and the Mermaid. The book that made me turn my eyes to Paris. That had me re-reading Henry V. Reseaching things like Colombian coffee plantations and professional still cameras. And staring at pictures of the gorgeous Rachel McAdams and Marat Safin day in and day out.

Read a brand new excerpt here...

Very very excited!!! I might have to celebrate with and extra throat lozenge tonight ;).

Labels: ,

Tuesday 15 May 2007

busy busy

Am feeling a mite better. Thanks to all of you lovelies who've emailed me with hugs and advice. Have lived on home made broth and water and vitamins and aloe vera tissues the past few days. And am on the up and up. I have to be considering the weekend I have ahead!!!

SATURDAY: Healesville Sanctuary with hubby - my clever Ma bought him a behind the scenes tour of the reptile cages for his birthday. (He loves the things - and we own two snakes, remember?)

SUNDAY: Footy!!! Go Pies! And at night a very much looked forward to Taco dinner at friend's house (both crunchy and soft wraps have been promised)

MONDAY: Lunch with the gorgeous Melbourne lunch mob, and possibly even a visit by Nicola Marsh and her gorgeous newborn bub Jude

TUESDAY: Library Talk at Croydon Library (phone bookinsg still available on (03) 92945640)

WEDNESDAY: Morning Tea & Lunch at my place for my girls Sheree, MJ and Emily and their broods. I hope they remember to bring toys!!!

In between times I also have to clean the house for visitors ;), and write. With a book due in five and a half weeks it's not like I can take a leisurely week off. Okay, I'd better stop listing things. I may just have a relapse!

Sunday 13 May 2007

happy mothers' day!

It's Sunday. I usually work on Sundays. But today am at home sick. Head cold. Sore throat. Stuffy nose. And feeling generally miserable. Boxes of aloe vera Kleenex litter every vertical surface in the house. All I want to eat are mandarins and we've run out.

Yesterday I felt much the same and had to stay at home and mope while my footy team, the Collingwood Magpies, played, and beat, their longtime rivals the Carlton Blues in a thriller at the MCG. It was tight. It was hard. The crowd was obnoxious. There was actual full on biffo on the field...or so I'm told. sigh... This was the first time in years I had the chance to go to a Carlton game. Somehow I am always working, or away. But no, the gods conspired to knock me down with aches and pains. Needless to say sitting at home and having to listen on the radio only added to my general air of misery. :(

But I did pull myself together to make honey on toast, and sit out in the sunshine for a half hour this morning while I called my gorgeous Mum to wish her a HAPPY MOTHERS' DAY! The chooks joined in clucking at my feet, and Squiffy the dog sat out beneath the clothesline basking too. 'Twas awfully nice for a while there.

HAPPY MOTHERS DAY MUM!!! (Here are some yellow roses for you!) And to my mother in law Christine!!! And to my sister in law Maria. And to Nic with her gorgeous brand new baby boy. And to all the other mums out there I know and love. Hope you all have been spoilt, or at least had five minutes to yourself for a cuppa and a sit out in the sunshine yourselves.


Thursday 10 May 2007

mothers day book promo

Okay kiddlywinks, the lovely Tessa Radley just informed me that my June book, BILLIONAIRE ON HER DOORSTEP, is part of a fab Mothers' Day promo on eHarlequin. Buy three of the featured books listed here and get free shipping!!!

1. Her Last First Date by Susan Mallery
The Scrapbook by Lynnette Kent
Fortune's Forbidden Woman by Heidi Betts
Mr. Irresistible by Karina Bliss
Risking It All by Stephanie Tyler
The Second Time Around by Angie Daniels
Billionaire on Her Doorstep by Ally Blake
His Only Wife by Cathy McDavid
Always Means Forever by Deborah Fletcher Mello
All About Evie by Beth Ciotta

Browse more Mother's Day Sale books!

To whet your appetite some more, I'd like you to meet Maggie...

I loooved getting to know Maggie. She is so different from any of my previous heroines. Sharp, caustic, always dressed in oversized jeans, oft-washed t-shirts, bare foot and with a bandanna covering her biscuit colured hair. But she lives in her large beautiful, white, rambling, ramshackle house on the Portsea bluff, alone, for any number of dang good reasons.

She could almost be classed a hermit if not for the self-professed Sorrento Artist's Colony, a band of wild and wonderful women who descend upon her every Wednesday to talk art, food, and of course men...

Here's a little taste test to let you know what Tom thought when he first laid eyes on my Maggie...

With a shake of her head, she tiptoed off the drop cloth, scrunching her toes as she wiped her bare feet at the edge and moved to join him.

She walked with a sort of natural elegance, like a ballet dancer, heel to toe, long legs fluid. Her skin had an almost translucent appearance and her clothes hung off her like she had lost weight quickly and had not found the time or inclination to put it back on.

She was pretty tall, too. She must have been near five-ten. Tom drew himself up to his full six feet and one half inch to compensate. And though her eyes were grey, when she wasn’t glaring at him they held hints of the same pale blue found in the clear spring sky behind her.

She pulled the navy bandanna from her hair and used it to wipe her hands, then tucked it into the back pocket of her jeans. Next she yanked a hair band from her ponytail and shook the straight length loose until it hung long and dishevelled half way down her back before gathering it all and folding it into a messy low bun.

This little act was merely a habit, he was sure. Her movements were fast, spare, and not meant to impress. But they impressed him. In fact he found the whole hair shaking move pretty darned satisfying.

Or maybe that was the point after all. Maybe that was how she got her kicks - conning local workmen into her web for a quickie before tumbling them off the cliff onto the jagged rocks behind her secluded home. Perhaps her infrequent trips into town at the wheel of her suburban tank were to buy quicklime and shovels.

She strode past him and into the massive kitchen, and despite his lively imaginings, Tom followed.

BILLIONAIRE ON HER DOORSTEP is available now at Harlequin online, or wait until it hits bookshelves in the UK and North America come mid-June.

Labels: ,

Wednesday 9 May 2007

between the sheets: revisions done!

Off, off and away went my revised manuscript about Hud & Kendall's tale. Or Kissing a Fool or The Mermaid and the Voyager of The Bloody Book as is was known at different times through the writing process.

Now the wait begins to hear if the changes I made make the book are winners. Fingers crossed!

Even though I have a good feeling about this one. There's a small measure of fairy dust sprinkled over it. Or as Kendall would say "a little touch of Harry in the night". And if anyone can tell me where that quote came from, you get...a big high five!

A humungous congrats for all my lovely friends who have been nominated for the fantabulous RuBY award here in Aus. The RuBY is the Romantic Book of the Year Award and it's very close to Aussie romance authors' hearts. For the full list, check out Fiona Lowe's blog - and yes she was one of the nominees!!!!!!


Sunday 6 May 2007

city girl goes bush

Last night we went to the rodeo.

And I don't say that like it's a normal thing. I live in the city. A big city. With tall buildings and lots of men in suits. But last night, just for a bit of fun, the cowboys came to town.

We had front row seats, looking out across a stadium hazy with dust as grown men in plaid shirts, and buckled shoes and cowboy hats slapped their bowed legs around the bare backs fo the most beautiful array of horses and rode for all their might. At first I was pretty taken aback. I hung onto my hubby's sleeve and hoped for no borken bones when they were thrown. Hoped for no saddened horses even more.

Eventually the scenery won me over. The lazy stride, the forward tipped hat, the short hair and strong arms of a cowboy or twenty helped. I loved it best when they'd finished their ride and lined up atop the white horse rails, looking cool as you please.

And I began to enjoy the spectacular and by the end of the night I was whooping it up with the best of the country folk who'd braved the trams and noise and fast talking city people to come to town.

Outside a dozen people protested. I don't even hope to think I know enough about the sport to know exactly why or even if I might agree with them in some small way. But I'm truly glad I got to see the grunt, and muscle and talent, and pain, and quiet strength of watching a bunch of cowboys at play.

Oh yeah, and I wore a cowboy hat too. Fun!

Thursday 3 May 2007

Thursday Thirteen

Jenna Bayley-Burke has been keeping me intrigued with her Thuirsday Thirteen lists and I thought this week, since I have recently sold my thirteenth book, I'd join in. Not every week, I adore lists but don't know how the woman finds the energy!!!

Thirteen opening lines from my first Thirteen books!

1. 'I’m getting married,’ Holly announced as she slammed her briefcase on the desk in her office at Cloud Nine Event Management, fifteen minutes later than her usual start time. THE WEDDING WISH, Harlequin Romance

2. Furiously caressing her favourite calming crystal, a smooth, misshapen ball of blue lace agate, Romy was able to keep her mounting impatience in check. MARRIAGE MATERIAL, Harlequin Romance

3. 'Kelly Rockford. Babe. You’re a hit!’ MARRIAGE MAKE-OVER, Harlequin Romance

4. It was love at first sight. HOW TO MARRY A BILLIONAIRE, Silhouette Romance

5. Gracie Lane was in Rome looking for a man. A MOTHER FOR HIS DAUGHTER, Silhouette Romance

6. Their eyes met across the crowded room. THE SHOCK ENGAGEMENT, Harlequin Romance

7. Ryan pulled off the winding country road onto a long gravel driveway and slowed his car to an idle. A FATHER IN THE MAKING, Harlequin Romance

8. Happy hour at The Cave was drawing to a close, but Jodie didn’t mind at all. WANTED: OUTBACK WIFE, Harlequin Romance

9. Siena Capuletti was going home. MEANT-TO-BE MOTHER, Harlequin Romance

10. Tom Campbell slammed the door of his trusty rusty Ute, not bothering to lock it. BILLIONAIRE ON HER DOORSTEP, Harlequin Romance

11. Flynn Granger was a leg man. GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS, Modern Extra

12. Brooke’s head hurt. MILLIONAIRE TO THE RESCUE, Harlequin Romance

13. Morgan pushed her large sunnies higher onto her nose then stared across Como Avenue, the ice cold Melbourne street in which the cabbie had left her. STEAMY SURENDER, Modern Extra

Click on the book titles to read more.

Which is your favourite beginning? From hero's POV? The heroine's? Something romantic? Something intriguing? What pulls you into a book from the very first line?

Tuesday 1 May 2007

lovely review

I've had some very clever writing friends who've been in this business tell me that the thing with reviews is: When they're good, love 'em, when they're bad, ignore 'em.

Well, Romantic Times have very kindly given me a four star rating and a lovely for my next Harlequin Romance, available online in both the UK and North America today by the way (plug, plug, plug ;))!!! So here 'tis!

Hiring handyman Tom Campbell to clear her bramble-ridden yard so she can access the nearby beach is one of artist Maggie Bryce's smarter moves. Tom's a hard worker, and he quickly becomes a friend. There's a strong attraction between them too -- and addressing it changes things slightly. Maggie's in the process of divorcing her unfaithful husband, and Tom won't get involved with a married woman. But once Maggie's single, there's still Tom's secret to deal with. Ally Blake's Billionaire on Her Doorstep (4) has a wonderfully quirky heroine and a yummy hero -- and the payoff for their slowly developed relationship is sweet indeed.

Awwww, isn’t that nice? BILLIONAIRE ON HER DOORSTEP hits bookshelves across the United Kingdom at the beginning of June with a brand new looking Romance cover, and North America in the middle of the month.

Check out an excerpt here! Or buy the book online here!

Labels: ,