Ally Blake Romance Author - Blog

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

Tuesday 28 February 2012

ebook of the month...the city

First published in April 2007
Boardroom Hotshots collection
eBook out now!


The city:
Melbourne has played a huge part in the tone and feel of many of my books and this one was no exception.  Melbourne has such an easy elegance, a cosmopolitan charisma.  The hero, Flynn, fit it like a glove.

The excerpt:

Two hours later Abbey and Flynn stood leaning their forearms on a bridge rail overlooking the Yarra River as decorative flames did their hourly dance, leaping high into the air from the waters outside the Crown Casino complex.
Abbey let out a sigh as the warmth from the latest burst of flame cooled on her cheeks.
‘What are you thinking?’ Flynn asked.
Abbey laughed.  In the real world that was meant to be her line.  If this was a real date.  If she wasn’t Clarissa Parrish’s uptight granddaughter and he wasn’t Flynn Granger, the playboy of the western world.
‘You say you’ve read Chic Magazine,’ she said, grinning up at him.
‘I have, on occasion,’ he said, spinning to lean his back against the rail so he could see her better.
She breathed in deep through her nose and looked out towards Flinders Street train station slumbering along the other bank of the river.  Better that than finding herself further lost in those hard planes, and that titling smile, and those eyes.
‘Then you should know that’s the one thing you never ask on a date,’ she said.  ‘Especially a first.  Or it will definitely be the last.’
‘So are you suggesting that before I made that tiny faux pas, there was the possibility of more?’ he asked.  She gave in and glanced his way in time to see him lift one perfect dark brown eyebrow.
‘Did I convince you, even a little?
So she’d had a little too much white wine.  So she’d laughed so hard during their main course her cheeks still hurt.  So she’d actually been bowled over when from nowhere he’d pulled out a fluffy toy goldfish, the kind to be found in the Aquarium gift shop, wrapped in a blue satin bow and presented it to her.  So she’d felt like she was walking on air as Flynn had held her hand protectively in the crook of his arm as they’d ambled the length of Southbank to walk off dinner.
She still knew the best thing to do, the best thing for the column and for her self was to not admit a lick of it.  To say she was utterly unmoved.  To say he’d tried to prove his point and failed and that the battle would continue.
But the truth was, he’d gone out of his way to try to show her how nice it felt to be on the receiving end of romance and gentlemanly behaviour, and instead of being unimpressed and indifferent, she’d turned into a completely gooey female and fallen for it hook line and sinker.
Falling, falling, falling, she thought, bending further over the rail to look down into the swirling black depths of the river.
Re-released as part of the Boardroom Hot-shots collection.
PaperbackBuy the eBook.  Buy from iTunesMore about the book

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Saturday 25 February 2012

My favourite...movies I'd happily watch every day

Marley and Me 
... love the family stuff.  Love their houses.  Love how real it all is.  Gets better with every watch. 

... and I pretty much do...every day.  Yay me for the foresight of having daughters!

Notting Hill
...if this comes on TV, it never gets switched off!  Ditto Love Actually, actually.

16 Candles 
...I pretty much could have just written "John Hughes".

The Devil Wears Prada
...gotta love a good make-over tale!  And the fashion, it just doesn't date.

Field of Dreams
...I'm a complete sucker for a good baseball movie.   For the Love of the Game.  Eight Men Out.  Moneyball.  Heaven!  But Field of Dreams is magic.

Easy A
... I wanna be Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson when I grow up!

Dan in Real Life
... glorious gorgeous honest lovely romance about grown-ups.

Any I need to be adding to the list?  More of my favourites here.

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Thursday 23 February 2012

I'm reading... Nora Roberts


I read my first official Nora Roberts book only a couple of months back after my mum shoved the first of the Bride Quartet into my hands and said "Read them now!"  Loved them to pieces.  Lovely, warm, inclusive reads. (She'd loaned them from the library.  Needless to say she got the box set for Christmas ;).)

So the minute The Next Always - the first in her new Inn Boonsboro trilogy -- came out, I pounced.  As before it was a warm romantic read, though I have to say I warmed to the Bride girls a little more.  Deeper conflict perhaps?

A little bit of trivia on this one for ya!  The books are set in Robert's home town and take place inside places close to her heart some of which she even owns in real life!  There is even a very sneaky reference to Eve and Roarke, written by Nora's alter ego JD Robb.  Cheeky ;).

THE NEXT ALWAYS by Nora Roberts is warm and friendly with a slew of lovely characters to whom you can't wait to see what happens next!

More about the author here.  Buy the book here.

Next I’m reading... CAN YOU KEEP A SECRET? by Sophie Kinsella.  What are you reading?  Which book MUST I read this year?  Find the other books I've enjoyed in my "I'm reading..." series this year here!  Or join me at Goodreads.

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Tuesday 21 February 2012

ebook of the month...the hero

First published in April 2007
Boardroom Hotshots collection
eBook out now!

The hero:
As an author one of the hardships is needing to spend many fruitful hours scouring the internet for pictures of hero-worthy men.  As such, by the time Ic ame to write this book, I had amassed a comfortable selection of photos of one Jeremy Northam.

Flynn Granger is beautiful, charming, and just a little jaded with the kind of dark haired dark eyed thing I could write each and every time I put fingers to keyboard! So when I needed to pin him down a little more specifically in my mind Jeremy did just fine ;).

The excerpt:

He held out the page.  She pushed away from the kitchen bench and cautiously came to him to take it as he had known she would.
She reached out to take the page and he pulled it closer.  Her brow furrowed and she glanced up at him, her sweet blue eyes confused, not having yet caught onto the fact that he’s just changed the rules of the game.
She reached out again and he hid the page behind his back so that as she reached for it she stumbled closer until they were mere inches apart.  So close he could smell the soft apple scent of her hairspray.  He could see a faint darkness in the delicate skin below her eyes that told of too many late nights.  He could see a small raised patch of dark pink skin where she had overly worried her bottom lip.
His mouth watered at the thought of going there, tasting her, spending hour upon hour just drinking in all that softness.
‘Flynn,’ she said, a warning tone in her voice.
‘Abbey,’ he said parroting her tone.
‘Give me back the page,’ she said.
‘What’s the magic word?’ he asked.
‘Please?’ she said between gritted teeth, holding out her hand, palm up, her eyes glittering, animated by the excitement of battle.
He flicked the page from one hand to the other behind his back.  If she wanted it she was going to have to come and get it.  The minute she made the final lunge he tucked the page quickly into the back of his trousers, and grabbed a hold of her thrusting hand.
‘Hey!’ she called out.
‘Hey yourself,’ he murmured.
She blinked once, but didn’t pull away.  And that was all the encouragement Flynn needed.  He turned her hand over and ran his thumb along the faint blue lines snaking up her delicate wrist.  So pale.  So soft.
Her eyes fluttered downward, and her brow crinkled as she watched his hypnotic caress.  But she couldn’t hide the fact that her pupils expanded.  Or that her breaths grew unnaturally shallow.  Or that the hairs on her arms stood on end.  Her reaction to him was so swift and so pronounced Flynn felt his legs go weak as all of his blood rushed north.
He brought her hand towards his lips, her soft warm small hand.  If she allowed him to kiss her palm, if she let him get that close, he’d know that despite her views about his views, despite their working relationship, he had her --
Re-released as part of the Boardroom Hot-shots collection.
PaperbackBuy the eBook.  Buy from iTunesMore about the book

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Saturday 18 February 2012

my shows I can watch over and over

Arrested Development.  OMG a movie is finally on its way!!!  I must have watched the announcement on Youtube a hundred times. 

Gilmore girls.  I watch it beginning to end at least once a year.  Love love love the snappy dialogue, the charming setting, the heavenly relationships, the romance...  Sigh... 

The West Wing.  Aaron Sorkin is a genius.

The Closer.  We’ve watched this from beginning to end again of late and the character development is subtle, true and enchanting.  And as for a charismatic, complicated lead, Brenda is up there with the best of them.

Sex and the City.  The final season is one of the best seasons of television ever.  What the writers put those women through, and how they came out the other end so incandescent, is quite simply magnificent.  And talk about a great last line.  I reckon it speaks to the heart of what romance novels are all about.

"...the most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you can find someone to love the you you love, well, that's just fabulous.”

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Friday 17 February 2012

valentines afterglow

Here are a couple of lovely Valentines gifts given to me by...people who are not my husband!!! 

First up, the lovely Deb, who always brings gooey luscious treats for my salivating girls when she comes to visit.  "I love Deb," they tell me ten times a day.  And no wonder!  Look at this donut.  And yes it tastes exactly as pink as it looks.

Next up, the lovely mob at Harlequin Australia.  Evey year they make me think my husband has been all tricksy and sent me something in the mail.  But no.  'Tis them.  These were melt in your mouth delicious.  And gone in a day. cupboard's now looking terribly bare.


Thursday 16 February 2012

I'm reading... liz fielding

Liz's latest romance, Flirting with Italian is right now up for the RoNA Rose award which is a super big deal in the UK.   And no wonder.   The heroine, a teacher who has run away to Rome after a big break-up, is fun lovely and true, and the hero an Italian Count.  As fantasies go, it's a good 'un!

One of the things I loved best was Sarah's blog.  Asked by her Principal back home to write a blog about her Roman adventure for her students, Sarah smartly knows her students couldn't be bothered reading such a thing!  So she uses the blog as a rich, luscious, experiential and more honest retelling of her time.  And as another way for us to feel her growing feelings for the hero Matteo it's an absolute delight.  It worked so well, I looked forward to those bits with the best kind of anticipation.

Flirting with Italian is a delicious, warm, slow burn of a love story.   And will make you yearn to sit under the Italian sun with the lazy buzz of bees and grape juice pooling beneath your tongue.  And if that isn't reason enough to read a book I don't know what is!

More about the author here.  Buy Flirting with Italian hereAnd find out more about Liz's faaaabulous new book Liz Fielding's Little Book of Writing Romance here.

Next I’m reading...The Next Always by Nora RobertsWhat are you reading?  Which book MUST I read this year?  Find the other books I've enjoyed in my "I'm reading..." series this year here!  Or join me at Goodreads.

Wednesday 15 February 2012

ebook of the month...the idea

First published in April 2007
Boardroom Hotshots collection
eBook out now!

The idea:
I love a good magazine quiz.  Half of me thinks it would be fun to see where I fit, the other half desperately wants to fake the thing to get the best result!  (I don't play fair in Monopoly either ;)).

Anyhoo, the idea of the magazine quiz is where this idea began.   In fact each chapter begins with a run down of the TOP TEN WAYS to get your man, all of which at some point my heroine - a journalist - has written.

But then I made sure that while my heroine Abbey wrote such lists, she wouldn't deign to follow one if her life depended on it.   I gave her a famously rampant feminist for a grandmother, one whose influence couldn't easily be shed.  I then threw her in the path of Flynn Granger, a playboy of the highest order.  And made sure the only way for eaither of the to get what they wanted most was with one another's help.

Then all I had to do was sit back and watch the spark ;).

The excerpt:

Abbey put a finger over her lips and gingerly picked up the phone and pressed it to her ear.
Alpha Magazine,’ she said, putting on her most sultry voice to the poor wrong number on the other end, while Becky giggled in the background.  ‘To whom may I connect you to?’
After a pause, in which Abbey was sure the caller had realised his mistake and hung up, a deep familiar voice drawled, ‘This is Flynn Granger for Abbey Parrish.’
Abbey slammed her hand over the mouthpiece.  It’s Flynn, she mouthed and Becky slapped her own hand over her mouth, before removing it and flapping it at Abbey and mouthing back, Talk to him!
Abbey banged the phone on the desk a couple of times.
‘What are you doing?’ Becky whispered, her eyes round as dishes.
‘Making it sound like I’m connecting him,’ Abbey said, her voice sounding as panicked as she felt.  Why had she allowed Becky to ply her with Bacardi?  Or make her wear such a tight skirt instead of her favoured loose fisherman pants?  Or choose her as a best friend in ninth grade and make her play hooky from high school to drool over Brad Pitt at the movies?  Or –
A faraway voice called out, ‘Hello?’ and Abbey realised it was coming from the other end of the phone.
She cleared her throat, pressed the phone back to her ear, and said with as much finesse as she could muster,  ‘Abbey Parrish speaking.’
‘Abbey, it’s Flynn Granger.’
‘Flynn,’ she said with great verve as though they were long lost friends.  Becky snorted with laughter and Abbey had to look away.
‘Whoever you’ve hired as your receptionist, she’s a keeper,’ he said.  ‘Rousing telephone manner.’
‘If Alpha gets up and running she’ll be here through it all.  You can count on it,’ she said, shushing Becky with a madly flapping hand.
‘Mmmm.  Especially considering she’s working still at nine o’clock at night.  Not easy to find such dedicated help nowadays.’
‘Right,’ Abbey said, now hitting her forehead over and over with the palm of her hand.  ‘How right you are.  What can I do for you, Flynn?’
‘I’m interested,’ he said, and Abbey’s head slapping and heart stopped as one.  She literally had to thump her ribs to get the latter back up and running again.
‘Interested?’ she repeated, nodding furiously at Becky who was now kneeling in the middle of the room with her hands clasped in prayer.
Flynn laughed, an intimate rumble that tickled at Abbey’s ear, sending a shiver all down her left side.  ‘I’m keen on your proposal,’ he said.  ‘Though I do have some follow up questions.’
‘Okay, of course you do.  That’s very sensible of you,’ Abbey said, her mind spinning that this was actually happening.  The eleven cents a minute she was paying on her Southbank offices suddenly didn’t feel like such a tight squeeze.  Heck she might even turn on a desk lamp before the night was out!
Re-released as part of the Boardroom Hot-shots collection.
PaperbackBuy the eBook.  Buy from iTunesMore about the book.

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Tuesday 14 February 2012

a song, or two, for my valentine

In the spirit of all things lovey dovey, I’m going to tell you all about our song.  Or more precisely, our songs.  Because my husband and I have two.


On our six month anniversary I took my then boyfriend on a date to a secret location.  Giving him directions as we drove from his place until we ended up in my parents’ driveway.  Naturally the guy was surprised ;).  Even more so when we walked down the path to the front door where a make-shift sign read “Café Balke” (a family joke that would take too much explaining!)  Upon knocking, a cute blonde waitress (my then 17 year old sister) opened the door in black skirt and white shirt, and escorted us to our table for two, set up out on my parents’ deck, glowing under the light of the moon, a hundred fairy lights and a candle.

The chef – my mum – whipped up a feast of my favourites - beef stroganoff and chocolate pudding - and then retired to the other end of the house.   

And as the musical strains of Gershwin poured from my old stereo through the open louvers of the sunroom and out over the deck, he asked me to dance, or maybe I asked him, I can’t remember.  But I do remember the song was Someone to Watch Over Me.  And while we slow danced on my childhood deck, with my family holed up watching the small TV in mum’s room, it felt like we were the only two people in the world.

Our second song is MAKIN’ WHOOPEE.

Because the amaaaazing Frank Sinatra impersonator at the Brown Derby in Vegas, Bobby Barrett,  dedicated it to us on our wedding night.  Again we danced.  With the black and white checkered floor under foot, our favourite people laid back in elegant dark brown tub chairs around us, and that voice.  Magical. 

So what's your song?  I'd love to know!