A Year of All-Star Love

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WOW…
I heard this morning that I’ve garnered an all-star badge for October, meaning that I’ve spent twelve months in the top thirty amazon-exclusive authors in the UK. I’ve had a lot of love from the States too having been in their charts more often than not, and I just can’t quite get my head around it. This has been the most incredible journey.

Being an indie author is a fascinating scenario. On the one hand, the freedom and autonomy to write whatever I wish and publish according to my own schedule is really awesome. But, on the flip-side, there’s no safety net or hand-holding by industry pros who’ve done this stuff a bazillion times before. I’ve learned so much in the eighteen months or so that I’ve been publishing.

By far the most important piece of advice that I hold in my mind, and tell people who ask, is to respect your readers. I write the kind of books that I love to lose myself in. I would never publish a novel if it didn’t feel right. In fact, I have several of those. Characters languishing in a state of unsatisfied non-conclusion, waiting for inspiration to come to their rescue. They’ll probably never make the leap from idle data in my macbook to living peeps on the web (of course, I could never delete them either – horrifying thought!).

My first job, at thirteen, was as a kitchen hand in a small but incredible restaurant. The chef was at the tail-end of an illustrious career that had seen her working at The White House and as executive head chef at various five star hotels around the world. She used to say to me that dessert is the most important part of the meal. People will remember the dessert; good or bad. While that’s hard advice for me – a diabetic – to take, I understand the kernel of what she was saying. You’re only as good as your last … *insert any product or service*.

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Clare Connelly’s Maiden Voyage: THE ITALIAN BILLIONAIRE’S BETRAYAL

When I published my first book, THE ITALIAN BILLIONAIRE’S BETRAYALa novel that I am still incredibly proud of, I had nothing to lose. I had no expectations of success, either. I pressed publish without understanding the magnitude of what I was doing. I knew only that I needed to write. And of course I cherished a secret dream that I might find some people who liked to read the kinds of books that I write – people like me! The snowball effect was gratifying and terrifying in equal measure.

Now, when I press publish, I feel a great ball of anxiety at unleashing my stories in case they somehow don’t meet the expectations of my lovely, lovely, loyal readers. So badges like this, my all-star title, make me breathe a little easier, and hesitate a little less when I send my creations out into the amazon world.

As always, enormous thanks to you guys for reading not just my books, but this random spurting of thoughts. I’m off to wrangle small people now… CC.x

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Starry Starry Night.

I don’t ever look at my books on the Amazon website. I am funny about bad reviews. If I read one, I hear it over and over and over and over again in my head, and it haunts all the words I put down on paper thereafter. Shudder. It’s a curse for a writer to hear criticism as one types, and a thick skin is something I have *never* possessed.

However, every now and again, I have to go to my books to link them to articles etc. And today, when I did, I saw this:

Lots of stars!

All those gold stars make me so happy. I write because I love to write; but the feedback of my readers makes my heart sing. And because I go online so infrequently, I was *not* expecting to see this lineup of lovelies. Thanks for your kindness and support. It means the world to me. CC.x

No. 1 Bestseller … Utterly amazing.

Bartered to the Sheikh
The no. 1 Bestseller Bartered to the Sheikh

One of my latest books recently became a number one bestseller on the UK amazon romance charts. Bartered to the Sheikh is a story that I loved writing, so I have been thrilled with the response it’s received (as I am with all my book babies). But being number one with competition from such incredible authors is both humbling and surreal. I feel fortunate every day to have found such a supportive and dedicated base of readers.

I’m a romance reader too, and we’re a voracious bunch, aren’t we? Once you find a novelist you enjoy, it’s so delightful to be able to work through their entire catalogue. I often have my head in a book, and would always choose reading over telly (is there any greater pleasure than soaking into a warm bubble bath with a great book, and preferably a glass of champagne? Heaven!).

I’m heading overseas this Christmas. My husband and I lived in the UK for several years, pre-kiddies, and with my sister and her family having recently moved over, I’m taking advantage of the opportunity to go and re-visit some of our favourite spots. It will be tremendously thrilling to introduce the little ones to the many wonders of a city such as London. We leave early December, and in my mind, I’m almost seeing that date as ‘the end of the year’. I suppose it is, to all intents and purposes, in so much as I want to get so much done before we take off.

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Four christmas romances involving powerful men and the women they love

I’m working on a trilogy about three sisters, and being lost in their world is immensely rewarding. The book spans the world – from London to Greece to a faraway desert Kingdom, and back to a pristine wine growing area in western Australia. As to the characters, Ava, Sophie and Olivia are intelligent, sassy, funny and unique. I gravitate to writing sibling relationships into my books, and I suppose it’s because I am one of three myself, and I just adore both my sisters. The nuanced relationships forged since birth are unlike any other, and they’re great fun to portray in words.

I also have the long-awaited release of A CASACELLI FOR CHRISTMAS on the horizon – the paperback version of the Casacelli quadrilogy, which makes great holiday reading. It’s got a beautiful floral cover, perfect for reading in public places.

In the midst of this, I’m also launching my annual festive spirit into being – a somewhat terrifying spectre. There’s christmas carols and a tree, gingerbread houses and cakes being baked. Have I mentioned before how much I adore Christmas? It’s a hive of activity here, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I write Christmases that are cold and snowy, set either in the States or the UK, and yet my Christmas is so different. Here in Australia, it’s synonymous with sunshine and warmth, fantastic seafood, pristine beaches, sand that sticks to your suncream coated skin, the smell of rain in the afternoon, and the drone of lazy mozzies buzzing in the air. It’s magic, but in a  completely different way. In any event, the royal icing is not going to make itself. Off I go; the kitchen calls.

Wherever you are, and whatever you’re busying yourself with at this time of year, I wish you well. And if you’re one of my readers, I give you my enormous gratitude for your support and loyalty. Until next time, CC.x