Touched To The Soul by Elsa Winckler @elsawinckler #Romance @etopiapress

Touched to the SoulTouched to the Soul by Elsa Winckler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Touched To The Soul is book #2 in a romance series around strong women from the Sutherland Family and powerful handsome men from the Cavallo family. The books are primarily set in South Africa and are quick easy read romances with popular storylines and happy ever after endings.

The story takes off at the wedding of Caitlin Sutherland and Don Cavallo, and is the tale of Zoe and Dale. Zoe is a successful interior designer and Dale is a hotel owner. There is already an underlying interest between the couple but when they share a kiss at the wedding reception, sparks start flying. Sensible headed Zoe, needs to put some distance between herself and this man that she can’t stop thinking about. She’s already refused to be his new interior designer and she hot foots it off to London for several months.

But time and distance do nothing to dampen the flames of desire they both feel. When she returns to South Africa, she finds Dale has already signed her company contract and she is forced to work closely with him. The next few working days are a dance around their emotions until they finally get together, but it’s not going to be an easy ride.

A sweet romance with a dose of heat for readers and a satisfying ending.

This review is based on a free copy of the book given to me by the author.

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Touched To The Heart by Elsa Winckler

Touched To The HeartTouched To The Heart by Elsa Winckler

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Touched To The Heart is a quick easy read, hot romance. It ticks all the boxes of a good chick lit/ Rom com and if I’m not mistaken has plenty more stories to follow it.

The book is set in South Africa, we meet Caitlin Sutherland a physio who doesn’t trust men, especially those who shave their legs and who are cyclists. But when she’s bowled over by her emotions to a man she’s only just met, she’s left dazed and confused.

Don Cavallo is one of four handsome brothers who love cycling as a serious hobby and escape from the high profile lives they lead as hotel tycoons. He meets Caitlin during the Wines to Whales cycle race where she is working as a physio for the cyclists. A man who has yet to find a woman who can hold his attention, Don’s attention is grabbed from just one touch of Caitlin’s magical hands.

Plenty of hot sexual tension will Caitlin must learn to trust a man? And will Don ever want more than just a fling?

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Romancing September #RomancingSeptember – Day 27


Welcome to Day 27 of Romancing September Across The World Tour. Today our guest is Romy Sommer. Catch up with more from Romy in a few hours with the second part of our tour when Stephanie chats to her.

To catch a star new

Where is your home town?

I live in sunny Johannesburg, South Africa where the weather is warm, the lifestyle is outdoorsy and the people are always on the go.

How long have you been writing romance?

I started writing about eight years ago, not planning to write romance (which I’d hardly read before that point!) until another writer friend told me I “had a voice for romance”. I bought a pile of romance novels from a second hand bookshop, and so began my love affair with romance.

What is your favourite sub-genre of romance?

I enjoy historicals set in unusual periods, and YA or paranormal with some romantic elements, but my favourite sub-genre is definitely contemporary romance. Flirty, modern, relatable stories.

How do Christian and Teresa meet?

The meeting between Christian and Teresa was inspired by a scene from Singin’ in the Rain. I showed the movie to my daughters and as I was watching I thought “that could so happen today!” and so I have Christian running away from his too-adoring fans and jumping into Teresa’s car to escape. She assumes he’s trying to hijack her – as I probably would if a complete stranger jumped into my moving car!

What or who are Westerwald?

Westerwald is the fictional European country I created. It lies roughly where the Rhine River lies in reality, along the border between Germany and France. It’s a country of castles and vineyards, with a river running through it, and still ruled by an Arch Duke. Teresa lives in the tiny nation’s only city of Neustadt (New Town) and Christian is a movie star there to film his latest adventure film.

Why must Teresa apply to be Christian’s PA?

After their first, not very auspicious meeting, Teresa would be happy to never lay eyes on Christian again. But her father arranges her a job as Christian’s PA with a secret ulterior mission: to find out how he came into possession of a national treasure that disappeared from Westerwald about thirty five years earlier. It turns out she makes a pretty good PA, but does she find the answer to her secret mission? You’ll need to read the book to find out!

What is the National treasure?

The national treasure is a very ancient ring, a silver dragon curled around a blue lapis lazuli stone. There are only three in existence, and they are the rings of the heirs of Westerwald, passed on to the sons of the Arch Dukes. So how did one go missing and finally end up with a Hollywood actor?

Although this is book 3 of The Westerwald series can it be easily read as a stand-alone book?

There are a few references to characters from earlier books, and the missing ring question is raised in the previous book, The Trouble with Mojitos, but yes, To Catch a Star can definitely be read as a stand-alone.

Tell us what you are working on at the moment.

At the moment (as I answer these questions) I’m working on a fun short story project for my publisher, Harper Impulse. They invited readers to write an opening first paragraph on a Christmas theme, chose one winner, and then fifteen Harper Impulse authors have been tasked to each write a short story starting with that same paragraph. All fifteen stories with be published together in an anthology for Christmas. I’m very excited to see how different each of the stories will be!

Where can readers find out more about you?

Romy 2014

I have a blog, and am on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter. I’m also on Goodreads but I have to admit I don’t hang out there much!






Buying links

To Catch a Star is published by Harper Impulse, a division of Harper Collins, and is available from the following online retailers:

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Find out more about Romy from Stephanie Hurt’s blog and all our Romance writers


Guest Author Susan Scott


Today our guest is Susan Scott, author of yesterday’s book In Praise Of Lilith, Eve And The Serpent In The Garden Of Eden And Other Stories. Here is a link to the post

Susan Scott

Let’s find out more about Susan and her writing.

* Where is your home town?

 – I live in Johannesburg South Africa.
* What inspired you to put together this collection of essays?
– 5 of them are personal, 2 are quasi academic and as you know they are deeply psychological. From my studies in clinical psychology at university and ongoing study of C.G. Jung and other in-depth psychologists and writers, I realised more and more the value of self. I wanted to show how the seemingly mundane contains the sacred within and that there is universality in this.
* Can you briefly tell the readers what you learnt from creating your secret garden?
– When I committed to this project, it was very interesting to me how it began to unfold. In my instance I said ‘yes’ to the call of the yearning of creating my own secret space and began the action of implementing it. It is like saying ‘yes’ to the psyche and then experiencing the support that comes. As I cleared weeds and brush, sticks and stones, deadwood and dug deeper to prepare the soil and space, I thought how akin this was to clearing the psyche – getting rid of deadwood that no longer serves one and making way for new life, new energy and room for other things to grow – in the psyche. The ego took a back seat while I was doing this hard, physical, yet meditative work, and I found it liberating clearing useless deadwood in my psyche which made room for new energy to emerge.
* What sort of rubbish were you finding on the beach? How did it make you feel?
– the same sort of rubbish that one finds on pavements in towns and cities and even out in the country. Broken glass, plastic bottles and bags, fishing line caught up in rocks, rusting tins, cigarette ends, bottle caps, styrofoam containers. I felt pretty despairing about this care-less, thoughtless and destructive acts of discarding unwanted, non-biodegradable trash onto erstwhile pristine beaches or anywhere else. I wondered why it is that there is so little respect for Nature and all she gives us. Why make ugly what is beautiful? Is it some sort of destructive act against our own selves, this thoughtlessness and un-caring?
* Can you tell the readers who Lilith was?
– According to the Midrash (early middle ages exposition of the Bible by Jewish scholars), she was the first wife of Adam in the Garden of Eden, made from the same dust and clay and at same time as he, therefore they were equal. She was expelled from the Garden for refusing to be subordinate to Adam. She has both divine and demonic powers. Folk lore sees her as a demon, wreaking revenge for her banishment wherever she passes. In our contemporary lives and as women she is seen as daimon, or inner wise voice.  She’s been likened to the Black Madonna. Her repression still reverberates – as does her return. She needs to be redeemed through conscious awareness of her. We each have a light and dark side in simplistic terms and much of the wounding that comes from repression inter alia needs healing in order to be as whole as possible.
* What do you believe her role was in connection to Eve?
– Lilith spent a long long time in the depths of the Red Sea lamenting her repression and exile. Anything that is repressed will re-appear. Lilith appears in disguise as the serpent, and approached Eve in the garden when she saw Eve languishing against the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (the first appearance of the opposites, central to in-depth psychology – and all of us). She offered Eve the apple, which Eve accepted. In psychological terms this can be seen as the way of rising from that undifferentiated state of unconsciousness, and into another world, albeit it a world of pain and pleasure, joy and grief, light and dark – a world of opposites, contained within us all. Our task is to find a way of uniting or finding a balance between those opposites. Lilith gave Eve the opportunity for consciousness, away from unconsciousness, blissful it may have been in Paradise. Both women said ‘no’ to injunctions, and both were consequently banished and repressed. Both were trailblazers whose trails are still deeply felt.
* Can you tell us briefly where our dreams come from?
– They come from the very person having the dream. And more specifically from the dreamer’s unconscious, that deep limitless reservoir. An ordinary event may be the hook on which the dream is hung, but they are worthy of deep consideration no matter in which way they present themselves to the dreamer. I like the saying from The Talmud: ‘An unexamined dream is like an unopened letter’.
* What made you decide to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro?
– I didn’t decide, it was decided for me. I signed a document in a wonderfully reckless moment at a birthday lunch. The hostess put a pen in my hand with a document in front of me stating the intention to climb the highest mountain in Africa the following year. My name along with hers and one or two others was at the bottom of the document. The hostess said ‘SIGN!’. So I did, little knowing …
* What were the worst/best bits of the mountain climb?
– There were so many bests. Without doubt, summitting! Actually being there at the top! Such an expansive feeling! Doing this with friends and the camaraderie among us, while each struggled in unique ways, is paradoxical in its way and is a lasting memory. The most difficult was for me coming down the mountain. For me that was unbelievably tricky. I’d forgotten that once you get up, you have to come down …
* Where can readers find out more about you?
– my website is probably the best bet. I’d love to connect with your readers. And thank you very much Rosie for this opportunity to express myself. It’s such a kind gesture to widen the field. I know we’re all very grateful.
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Thank you Susan your book is full of deep and interesting topics.

Guest Author Patrick Brigham

Today our guest is Patrick Brigham, author of yesterday’s book Judas Goat – The Kennet Narrow Boat Mystery. Here is a link to the post if you missed it.

Patrick Brigham

Let’s find out more about Patrick.

1)  Where is your home town?

I was born in a village just outside the town of Reading in Berkshire England.

2) How long have you been writing books?       

I started to write seriously in the late 80’s at a time when the UK was enjoying one of its many economic crashes and I had to put my day job on the back burner, along with the many others who got hammered alongside me. A friend suggested that I joined a writers club in Wimbledon where I was encouraged to write. It was where I met two quite well known authors, who obviously hadn’t joined in order to learn how to write, but went there because they said that they enjoyed the company of other writers and the inspiration this promoted. Writing is a lonely profession.

3) What was the key idea which started the storyline for you of Judas Goat – The Kennet Narrow Boat Mystery?       

Because I was the editor of a news magazine in Bulgaria, I was fascinated by the prospect of murdering myself as a fictional character, which is what seems to happening to Liam Side in Judas Goat. So I bumped myself off on a Narrow Boat, after which the story started to develop. I had always been very anti arms trade, seeing it as a scourge  which causes so many unnecessary deaths and so that became one of the main themes of this book. It underlined the fact that for someone to pull a trigger, first there has to be a trigger to pull!

4) I believe you’ve lived and worked in Bulgaria, how long were you there for?       

I lived there for nearly twenty years although I’d been there regularly, before the so called political changes in 1989, and met many of the Communist players.

5)  Can you tell the readers what led to Liam Side having business dealings with Bulgaria.

In the book it is made clear that most of his business dealings are on behalf of South Africa where he is from originally. This means that he travels a lot around the world including the Soviet Union, its satellite countries and client states. For this reason he is sucked into a shady arms deal mainly because his daughter’s  life has been threatened if he does not cooperate. However, because he is a cool character, he manages to turn this threat into an invitation for his co-conspirators to            ultimately meet either justice or their ultimate doom –hence the title Judas Goat!

6)  Can you explain the political relationship between South Africa and Bulgaria which led to Thomas Biko being in Sophia.       

Thomas Biko is the new South African Ambassador. A supporter of the ANC, he has been placed there by supporters of Nelson Mandela after the political changes within South Africa. Liam Side tries to help him to purchase necessary plant and equipment, missing from SA due to the past embargo.

7) Why is Antony Kwong based in the UK? And how would you describe his type of business?

 Antony Kwong is a very typical shady businessman who enjoys the thriving commerce of London and the fact that it has so many banks and historical connections with international trade. We must never forget that trading is a major part of the many activities in the City of London, as is commodity trading and maritime insurance. Unfortunately, arms trading also becomes a part of this business – officially and unofficially – as many tyrannical third world dictators try to stay in control of their countries and to exploit their own population.

8) Yuri Vassilev turned out to be very helpful to Lambert, tell us about his career path.       

He would be a career policeman attached to the Ministry of The Interior. He is an exception to the rule and as a civilized man, wishing to distance himself from the  corruption which Communism breeds. Forget Karl Marx and Lenin, Communism is about power and money and he just wants to be a good policeman. He is also useful and appears in my forthcoming novel too.

9) Tell us about your other book, Herodotus.

Herodotus – The Gnome of Sofia is a light hearted look at the bumbling antics of a largely inward looking and mediocre diplomatic corps, whose mantra is ‘If you do nothing, you do nothing wrong.’ Imbued with elitism and totally self serving, in this book we can see their world gradually falling apart when you the reader,            discover that the British Ambassador’s wife is in fact the daughter of Britain’s most notorious spy, Jim Kilbey. Not a particularly nice woman and rather like her natural father in many ways, she turns out to be treacherous, selfish and – showing all the signs of being a sociopath – not far distant from her father Jim Kilbey’s            disreputable character.

10)  What are you working on at the moment, do you have an expected publishing date?

In an Angel over Rimini, once more come across Detective Chief Inspector Michael Lambert, this time working for Europol. This is also a story which has two prongs – one past and one present – when he is sent by Europol to help investigate the abduction of a little English girl from Rimini in Italy. A part of the obnoxious trade in human beings and misery, Lambert discovers that the Italian police have practically given up trying to trace her. A problem of perception, Vice Inspector Bosola of the State Police is convinced that she was murdered by her parents and buried somewhere locally, despite the fact that there is evidence which shows that she has been kidnapped and transported into Europe. Lambert pursues the evidence which leads him to Greece, into Eastern Europe and back to Germany.

The second prong of this mystery is an historical one which involves his late father Billy. He served as an RAF officer in a Pathfinder Squadron, during the allied invasion of Southern Europe and what has become known as ‘The Dirty War.’ It seems that he may have had an affair with a beautiful Italian aristocrat whilst serving in Bari and that Michael Lambert might have a secret Italian half brother . But who is Billy Lambert really and why did he always carry a pistol?  There appears to be a mystery side to Billy Lambert which his son knows nothing about and possibly a murder as well! When DCI Lambert finally reaches through the smoke and mirrors he discovers the true story.

Judas Goat - The Kennet Narrow Boat Mystery

 Find a copy here from or

Thank you Patrick and Good Luck with the next book.

Guest Author Jane Godman

Today our guest is Jane Godman author of yesterday’s book Legacy of Darkness. Here is a link to the post if you missed it.

Jane Godman

Let’s find out more about Jane.

1) Where is your home town?

I live in Birkenhead, which is on the Wirral Peninsula in North West England. It’s on the opposite side of the River Mersey to Liverpool and the iconic ‘ferry ‘cross the Mersey’ originates here.

2) How long have you been writing? How long have you been writing for Harlequin?

I’ve written for as long as I can remember. As a teenager, I lived in South Africa, and my best friend and I discovered the novels of Kathleen E Woodiwiss when we were thirteen. We used to spend our evenings writing books in the style of ‘The Wolf and the Dove’. I had a big birthday (let’s just say it had a zero at the end) two years ago and my friend gave me an amazing present. She had kept one of the books I wrote when I was fourteen! It’s a medieval romance, written in felt tip pen. I’m very proud of it and it gave me the push I needed to start submitting my work to publishers. My first book, The Rebel’s Promise, was published by Front Porch Romance in February 2013.

My first Harlequin book, Legacy of Darkness, was published in the January 2014 Shivers digital box set. My second (the sequel to Legacy of Darkness) is called Echoes in the Darkness and will be published in the next Shivers box set on 1st April 2014.


3) How does any author become a Harlequin / Mills and Boon writer?

I think there can be a misconception that there is a ‘magic formula’ to being a Harlequin/Mills and Boon author. When I wrote ‘Legacy of Darkness’ I had no idea that Harlequin were looking for Gothic romances as part of their Shivers line. I wrote the sort of book I wanted to read, in a genre I love. The book was nearly finished when I read an interview in which Malle Vallik, Harlequin’s Director of Editorial Digital Initiatives, said ‘send us your gothics’. So I did. And, just a week later, I got ‘the call’ to say the team at HarlequinE loved my book.

If I had tried to write the book to a perceived formula, I don’t think I would be a Harlequin author today. The old adage ‘write like a reader’ still holds true. If you write the stories you believe in, your passion will shine through and an editor, whether they are a Harlequin editor or in another company, will see that. It will jump off the page.

The other thing I would say to anyone trying to get published is ‘dare to be different’. There are a lot of books out there. There is a key element in Legacy (I won’t say what it is as it would spoil the story for anyone who hasn’t read it) that I thought might put an editor off. Instead, because it pushed the boundaries, it was actually one of the things that the Harlequin team loved. So my advice is ‘never play safe’!

4) Your book is written as a “Gothic” romance, can you briefly explain what Gothic means?

Gothic romances are mysteries, usually tinged with horror and the supernatural. Gothics are often set against dark backgrounds such as medieval ruins, mysterious houses or haunted castles. Traditional gothics had a spirited young heroine, peculiar supporting characters, precocious children and darkly handsome men with mysterious pasts. Authors included Victoria Holt, Mary Stewart and Daphne du Maurier.

Harlequin Shivers, the ‘new’ Gothics, have elements of the unexplained, but they are not paranormal romances. Generally, the heroine and heroine are human beings who may have paranormal experiences. Shivers have high levels of sensuality, but their strong gothic story line makes them much more than an erotic romance. They can be historical or contemporary.

So what can readers expect from a Jane Godman Shivers?

1.         A dark, gloomy and atmospheric setting.

2.         A feisty heroine who pushes the boundaries of her time.

3.         A hero you fall in love with…

4.         …And a villain you fall in love with (for very different reasons)

5.         Dark secrets, the past comes back to haunt the present.

6.         Erotic tension that builds alongside the story. The shivers in these stories don’t come just from the supernatural elements!

5) I briefly touched on the attractiveness of Uther in my review, can you describe him in more details to tantalise the readers?

Oh, Uther! My favourite character from ‘Legacy of Darkness’, perhaps

my favourite character ever, has to be Uther Jago. He is described on the back cover of ‘Legacy of Darkness’ as ‘Uther: a commanding, seductive presence whose leonine power radiates from his every word and gesture’.

Uther is everything a gothic character should be. Handsome, sexy, smouldering…He has dark secrets and innocent Lucy is utterly enthralled by him from the moment they meet. But can she trust him?

I think this excerpt gives the reader a little teaser of Uther’s character:

Unexpectedly, he grasped my hand and held it against the cold stone. “These walls have memories of their own. Feel them, Lucy,” his voice rippled through my mind. “Lords and ladies in their jewelled velvets…sunshine warming pennants and spears…shouts of the joust…the maiden meeting her forbidden love …”

I obediently closed my eyes and heard the rustle of skirts, the soft clandestine whispers of long-dead lovers, and the strains of a lute signalling reckless dance and wild romance. Uther’s low sound—somewhere between a growl and a purr—roused me from my trance. My eyelids fluttered.

“Your face—” his voice was a whispered caress, warm breath stroking my ear “—has the look a woman usually wears only once. When she first succumbs to orgasm.”

I stepped back in shock, the ready tinge of roses staining my face. He turned and walked away as if the searing words had never been spoken. I wondered if they had. Or had this new, brazen creature—the one I had just discovered within me—merely wished them spoken?

6) What was the actual family relationship between Lucy and the others?

Lucy and Tynan call each other ‘cousin’ and Demelza asks Lucy to call her ‘aunt’, but their actual relationships are more distant. Lucy’s mother was a second cousin to Uther and Demelza, so Lucy describes her own relationship to the Jago family as ‘tenuous at best’. Which, for Lucy’s sake is probably just as well! As one reviewer recently commented: ‘If ever there was family with skeletons in their closets it’s the Jago’s, who I might add can rival the Addams family in their creepiness and kookiness.

7) The plot had my mind spinning off in all sorts of directions when I read it, did it change much for you when you were writing it?

Yes! Without giving too much of the plot away to someone who hasn’t read it, Uther Jago was one of those characters who just would not conform to the plans I originally had for him. He dictated the pace of the story and I very much went along with it. My original plan for a classic gothic set in a Cornish castle still held true, but some of the plot twists and turns came out of the machinations of Uther Jago. And he definitely took charge when it came to some of the eroticism in the story, as well!

8) You had some fun using old Cornish words, which were your favourite?

I like to bring some authenticity to a story by having the characters use words and phrases that relate to their home and culture. When I researched the story, however, I was surprised to find that, even in 1837, just as Queen Victoria is ascending the throne, the Cornish language was dying out.

I wanted Tynan to use a Cornish endearment as a nickname for Lucy, something that was unique to them. The one that I liked the best was hweg which means ‘dearest’ or ‘darling’. But then I came across kegis hweg, which is celery. So for most of the book Lucy, who is very slender, thinks that Tynan is comparing her to a stick of celery rather than calling her ‘darling’.

9) I enjoyed reading about the trip to Tintagel, what is so special about Merlin’s cave?

Tintagel castle is the legendary birthplace of King Arthur and is believed by some to be the site of Camelot. Merlin’s Cave is situated on the sands below the ruined castle and was made famous by Tennyson who described waves carrying the infant Arthur to the shore. It is said that the wizard Merlin emerged from the cave and carried him to safety.

The cave is very atmospheric, and you can imagine Merlin approaching, with his staff held up to light up the darkness of the cave. It does feel like a place of magic and mystery, and those Arthurian legends come to life along that rugged stretch of Cornish coast.

10) What are you writing at the moment? Will it be another Harlequin romance?

I’m so pleased with the way the Shivers line is developing. HarlequinE has some amazing authors writing gothics and I am thrilled to be in such talented company. My next Shivers, Echoes in the Darkness (the sequel to Legacy in the Darkness), is part of the second Shivers box set which is released on 1st April 2014. It is set about thirty years after the end of Legacy of Darkness and features the next generation of dastardly Jagos.

The blurb for Echoes in the Darkness reads: Not betrothed, but beguiled.

In artistic circles she is the Divine Dita, Paris’ most sought-after nude model. But now she’s not so much posing as playing a role: fiancée to the next Earl of Athal. The charade is a favor to Dita’s friend, Eddie Jago, a dissolute painter…and the aforementioned heir. As deceptions go, it is innocent compared with what will come.

On the grim Cornish coast, from the ashes of a ruined castle rises the Jagos’ sumptuous new manor house. The fresh-hewn stone, however, cannot absorb the blood of centuries or quiet the echoes of past crimes. Dita struggles to decipher the family: the infirm Earl and his inscrutable wife; resentful Eddie; sheltered sister Eleanor. And Cad: the handsome second son whose reputation is spotless in business—scandalous everywhere else.

Drawn by friendship, ensnared by lust, Dita uncovers a sordid tangle of murder, desire and madness. It will lay her bare as no portraitist has done before.

I’m currently adding the finishing touches to the third, and final, book in the Jago series, which is entitled Darkness Unchained.

I also have two ‘stand alone’ Shivers titles due for release over the coming months. Both are set in the 1930s. One is located in a Welsh valley and the other story takes place on an isolated Italian island. I’m really excited about them both because they feature stronger elements of horror alongside the romance in the stories. The contrast really does increase the shivery element. I love writing gothics and, as long as readers want them and Harlequin will have me, I’ll keep writing Shivers!


Legacy of Darkness is currently available as part of The Shivers Line Box set from HarlequinE, released in January and available until the end of March. From April it will be available as an individual book. or


Purchase Links
Twitter @JaneGodman

Thank you Jane, and Good luck with all the writing.