Aug 7, 2017

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

Right now is conference season for romance writers. The USA RWA conference concluded just recently, the Australian RWA conference commences Friday, 11th August (concludes Sun 13th August) and the New Zealand RWNZ conference commences on Friday, 18th August, to conclude that Sunday.

It's no secret what goes on at these events. If you follow your favourite romance author on Twitter or Facebook, sooner or later a selfie will pop up, followed by a string of more photos, as the weekend progresses, and we decide we really need to share THIS moment. Oh, and that one, too. It's a time for all of us romance authors to crawl out of our writing dens, blink at the harsh sunlight, and then find other like-minded individuals who don't find conversations such as "they're going to do it during the snowstorm", or "I need to kill off the uncle so they get a chance to meet", or "he's going to get bit by a rabid werewolf, and then hunt her..." completely weird or disturbing (I'm not even going to mention the secret surprise baby conversations).

It's also the time when a fair amount of awards are announced, and I'm awfully chuffed to share that my Nocturne novel, Warrior Untamed, has picked up a Prism Award at this year's RWA Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal (FF&P) event at the RWAmerica conference.
Admittedly, this was a tricky story to write. I had a bad boy hero who was ... bad.
Now, one of my pet peeves in a romance novel is when the Alpha Hero is what I call an Alpha Hole. You know that guy, the one who is an absolute prick to the heroine, who is either rude, disrespectful or just plain mean and nasty, and when our heroine falls for her, you scream at the book because you're so frustrated your fictional gal pal is sacrificing her dignity for someone who doesn't deserve her... the kind of guy you'd warn your best friend/sister off, because he's no good.
See, the problem with the bad boy hero is making them bad, but redeemable (OMG, check out Amy Andrews books for seeing that done really well. And sexily).
 Buy Tribal LawI first introduced Hunter and Melissa in Tribal Law (another award-winning book, if I do say so myself), and that's where the bad karma for these two start. Warrior Untamed continues their story, and I have to say it was one of the most satisfying books to write, to make this couple, who are so bad to each other and dysfunctional with each other, find their way to bringing out the gold in the other, and realising they've become better people because of each other.

To celebrate the award wins, I'm giving away 2x copies of each book, Tribal Law and Warrior Untamed. Just leave a comment - what is a deal breaker for you when it comes to a romance hero? I'll pick two winners from the comments and contact you!

And, just because I mentioned 'Chicken Dinner' in the title of this post, I'm going to share an ultra easy recipe for those looking for a simple slap-up dinner...

Apricot Chicken
1x double breast chicken (or 8x thigh fillets), diced.
2 tblspns olive oil
I cup flour
salt and pepper for seasoning
1x 405ml tin of apricot nectar
1x 410 tin of halved apricots (drained)
1 packet French Onion Soup Mix
chopped parsley for garnish

  1. Turn oven on to 180 deg C (160 deg C fan-forced).
  2. Put flour, diced chicken and salt and pepper for seasoning in a plastic bag, and jiggle until chicken is coated in seasoned flour. 
  3. Add oil to a pot that can transfer to oven, heat on medium, and fry coated chicken until golden brown. 
  4. Pour in apricot nectar, drained apricots and soup mix, stir until combined.
  5. Place pot, with cover, into oven for approximately 1-1/2 hrs. 
  6. Garnish with parsley and serve with rice or pasta and steamed greens.
*This recipe can also be used in the slow cooker. At step 5, place in the slow cooker, set for a minimum 5hrs, and walk away. Then do step 6.

Enjoy! And don't forget to leave a comment! I want to know your deal breakers!


  1. Woohoo Shannon huge congrats on the win I really need to read this series :)

    Oh and have lots of fun in Brisbane :)

    For me I read a lot of different types of heroes (I am reading an Alpha Hole at the moment) and yes he will be redeemed I am sure :) but for me I love a hero who shows strength courage and has a sense of humour as well and of course knows how to love a heroine :)

    Have Fun

    1. Gimme a strong guy, any day of the week! Thanks, Helen!

  2. Congratulations on your splendid win with the Prism Award, Shannon! That's so exciting! :-)

    I think the main deal breaker for me is a hero who intentionally physically hurts the heroine against her will -- there's nothing the least bit romantic in that. I love a good bad boy hero, though. I love to see all of that swaggering arrogance bought to its knees. :-)

    1. Thanks, Michelle! And yes, I'm right there re the hero. Saying that, my guy did try to kill my gal - but in his mind there was a really, really good reason. As it is, she got him back - hence my dysfunctional duo! I think the challenge is writing to that fine line without crossing it!

  3. Congrads on the awards ! and I just cooked apricot chicken the other night yummy !!! kids scoffed it down,

    He can be hard as nails, but must have a redeeming quality, kindness, a tortured soul that eventually caves under the discovery of one of a kind woman. I like them forward, reserved at first but open to love,a good sense of humour at times and I have to say I do love romance. :D Not mushy but def sweet and endearing :D

    I agree with your post about Aplha hole haha but as long as he redeems himself makes that inner bitch in me settle :D haha


    1. Thank you, Katrina! What a great list. It's kind of like a wish list for a dating ap. Fantastic. Thanks!

  4. Mega congrats Shannon on your award - that's awesome!

    I don't have too many deal breakers - human beings are flawed and I dont mind seeing this in romance. But an irredeemable alpha hole I find hard to persist with.

    1. I should add he better do good grovel or I'm likely to throw the book at the wall :-)

    2. I love a guy - and a gal, for that matter, who are deeply flawed and go through emotional hell to overcome it. But yeah, alpha holes don't grab me.

  5. Congratulations!!

    Come for the romance - stay for the chicken dinner.

    Just don't give me a super, egomaniac alpha. I can't fall in love with that.

    1. Thanks, Mary! Isn't it interesting how we know what we DON'T want, before we even see it! Thanks for the comment!

  6. Congrats Shannon.
    My brain is too frazzled to figure out my deal breakers right now.
    One of the things that your post did was to remind me that I need to keep savings in savings so that I can make it to conference one of these days. That and actually protect my writing time so I stop doing anything but write.

    1. Hi, Lyn! Yes! I understand how life can get in the way of writing, but when I first started writing I heard of a writer who was a chef, worked split shifts, and did her writing in-between those shifts and her family, etc. She became a NYT bestselling author, so I figured I should at least try. My tip for today: you don't find time to write, you MAKE time to write. And as Nike says, just do it. But I'm looking forward to seeing you at conference one of these days!!!!!

  7. Good examples! For me, any cheating or hint of cheating is a hard nope. I'm also not a fan of the ultra-alpha "I obviously know better than you what is best for all of us" attitude ;) That's hard to recover from, unless there might be a good reason initially (i.e., he's in charge of a dangerous military operation in which he clearly has expertise) and he backs way off in private...

  8. Hey Shannon. Mega-congrats on the PRISM win. That is the biz! Oh, and I love conference/awards seasons, even when I'm only following from home. Love to see some of my favourite humans out in the world and having fun.

    As for deal-breakers, I'm going with the doormat heroine. The one who allows the alphahole to walk all over her and wipe the *&%^ from his soles in the process. Not victim-blaming here, just saying that she needs to value her good self and tell him where he can leave those s&%##y shoes (which is not beside her bed!)

    1. PS: the Apricot Chicken recipe takes me way back -- one of the first things I learned to cook in an early share-house.

  9. Hi Shannon - huge congrat's on the Prism award...fabulous news. My deal breaker...hmmm...a dishonest hero (unless he's doing it to protect the heroine in a non alpha way)I like my heroes more on the Beta side...strong, honest and loaded with integrity. But then again, if Darth Vader can be redeemed...maybe they all can be :)

  10. Great post, Shannon. Very enthusiastic too. :) Congrats on the PRISM. I'm getting excited about going to the NZ conference next week. Should've headed across the ditch to the Australian one as it's been three years since I last attended one and plenty of friends I haven't seen for a while. Next year?

  11. Shannon, I'm reading a book at the moment where the hero insists he and the heroine need to get married but for the life of me I can't see why she'd say yes. Of course she's in lust with him but the story is all about how she doesn't trust or want him and there's absolutely no valid reason given for her to cave in and agree. Sigh. Much as I dislike an irredeemable hero I have to say a heroine who's as weak as water annoys me. Not sure I'll finish this book now.