Heart Note cover reveal excitement!

I’m so excited to show-off the cover for my new romantic comedy Christmas novella, Heart Note.

So, without further shenanigans, here it is!

Heart Note: A Christmas romcom novella cover

Cover reveal – Heart Note: A Christmas romcom novella


I wanted an image that was fun, flirty, a little bit sexy and very Christmassy. I think the cover designer, the fabulously talented Lana Pecherczek from Author Zoo, did an amazing job.

This novella is the first in my planned Spritzer Chicks series, set in and around a perfume counter in a major department store. So of course it also had to feature perfume as part of the theme.

Thanks also to Rachel’s Random Resources for hosting a cover reveal across social media. Rachel is super efficient and ace!

I hope everyone thinks this cover is as gorgeous as I do. As an author, it’s made me even more excited to finish writing this story and to get it out there into the world for readers to enjoy.


Title: Heart Note: A Christmas romcom novella

Author: Cassandra O’Leary

List price: $2.99 (US)

Release date: 6 November 2017

Pre-order now: Amazon, iBooks, Kobo and Barnes & Noble (Nook)



A funny, romantic comedy Christmas novella, perfect for fans of Love Actually . . . from the award-winning author of Girl on a Plane.

Love is like a fine perfume. The top note draws you in, an instant attraction, but the Heart Note is the true essence. Like true love – a great perfume should be a woman’s perfect match.

At least, that’s what perfume counter manager, Lily Lucas, tells her customers in one of Australia’s largest department stores.

It’s almost Christmas, the store is bedecked with baubles and Lily has about eleventy billion gifts to wrap and sell. She and her team of spritzer chicks are glamorous, professional and hoping they don’t have to wear the hideous red onesies and reindeer antlers the store manager has in mind.

The high point of Lily’s work life is Christos Cyriakos, ex-cop, security guard, possible Greek god. He’s a mystery box she’d love to unwrap. But can she trust him?

All Lily wants for Christmas is to kiss Christos (and more), catch a band of thieves running amok in the store, and live happily ever after. Is that too much to wish for?


I hope you’re all looking forward to reading Heart Note!

Love Gone Wild conference thank you image

Love Gone Wild!

This past weekend I was lucky enough to attend the Love Gone Wild conference run by Romance Writers of Australia in Brisbane. I don’t think I’d be underestimating if I said the effect of the weather on my mood was magical. Goodbye, frosty Melbourne! Hello, sunny Brisbane!

As soon as I arrived on Friday afternoon, I shucked off the multiple layers of Melbourne clothes and enjoyed the sunshine and 28 degree C temperature. And the super swish room at the luxury Pullman Hotel and my two fun room mates didn’t hurt either.

Love Gone Wild cocktail party

Then it was a chance to get ready for the Love Gone Wild cocktail party, a costume or fancy dress event that’s always a hoot! It was amazing to see some of the wild animals let loose on the dance floor. I especially loved the flamingos and a certain ninja turtle who I didn’t even recognise under her body paint! Check out the pictures below, I’m sure you’ll see what I mean!

Business Hub

Over the next two days I set about learning lots of new information from the fantastic guest speakers in the new Business Hub stream. The content from Google, Draft2Digital and iBooks left my head spinning…but in a good way. I came away with heaps of things to research and study. I’m looking forward to implementing some digital marketing and promotional ideas over the next few months.

Awards Dinner and Butterfly Ball

The Awards Dinner and Butterfly Ball on Saturday night was a great chance to shake our tail feathers, too. And so many writers that I know and admire were up for the big awards. Special super-dooper congratulations to my fellow Melbourne Romance Writers Guild members, Miranda Morgan and Janis Linford, who were both contest finalists. Correction, Miranda also won the Ripping Start contest!

Of course mega-awesome authors Avril Tremayne and Amy Andrews are two of my absolute favourite Aussie authors, so it was wonderful to see them pick-up the big gongs. Congratulations to both of you. Mwah!

Networking like a #LoveArmy

But most of all, the conference was a chance to network with like-minded romanciers, the fabulous (mostly) women writers who focus on the positive, the good, the love in the world. Something we all need right now. Someone on Facebook mentioned that RWA is like an army of love. I totally agree and propose we all need #LoveArmy buttons.

Anyway, without further ado, please enjoy this Storify round-up of some of the social media around conference including lots of photos.

P.S. I’ll also be writing something else about the conference soon for the Romancing the Genres blog! Yes, I’m going to be a Genre-ista! How exciting. 🙂


Lazy Days of Summer sale – 45+ free and 99 cent reads!

Lazy Days of Summer promotional image

Summer? What’s that? As I write, I’m sitting here in Australia in my fluffy cardigan and Ugg boots, but of course it’s summer for my northern hemisphere readers.

Want to laze poolside or on the sand with books that’ll heat you up, sizzle your skin, and melt your heart? Why not steam up your Kindle this summer with romance e-books from some top Aussie and New Zealand authors? Grab a cocktail and pull up a chair!

Lazy Days of Summer Sale

We’ve got 45+ FREE and bargain 99 cent romances to get you through the rest of summer. From sexy or sweet contemporaries to romantic comedy, historical, paranormal, romantic suspense, erotica, women’s fiction, and urban fantasy/sci-fi/fantasy – we’ve got you covered. Full list of Lazy Days of Summer sale books available here

My romcom novelette, Chocolate Truffle Kiss, is included. Still only 99 cents and a five-star swoony read according to Amazon reviewers. But it’s also FREE at the moment to my newsletter subscribers!

Chocolate Truffle Kiss 5 star promo graphic

Free novelette for newsletter subscribers!

Check out the books on sale!

There’s a whole lot of fabulous authors participating in this sale, including Tracey Alvarez, Nicola Marsh, Louise Cusack, Joanne Dannon, Cheryl Phipps and many more.

Visit the sale webpage hosted by Tracey Alvarez today.  

Book Boyfriend Blog Hop post header image

Book Boyfriend Blog Hop for #ChickLitMay

Welcome to my stop on the Book Boyfriend Blog Hop for #ChickLitMay. I’m pleased to introduce you to a grumpy but gorgeous romcom hero, Gabriel Anderson, from my debut romantic comedy novel, Girl on a Plane.

Meet Gabriel Anderson from Girl on a Plane

“I suppose I should tell you something about myself even though I hate giving media interviews. By now I know it goes with the territory of being a CEO of a global travel company. I’m Gabriel Anderson, I’m 32 years old and I live in Melbourne, Australia. Some women tell me I look like a surfer, and it’s probably true. I love to surf and swim. Travel is my other passion. But travelling as often as I do, there’s been no time for anything serious with a woman, that’s for damn sure.”

Image of Gabriel Anderson, hero in Girl on a Plane

Image of Gabriel Anderson, hero in Girl on a Plane

“There’s something else you should know about me – I’m in no mood to deal with distractions or time wasters. Everything was going smoothly in my world, even if it was constantly busy. My migraines have been coming on hard and fast and I have my Mum’s illness always at the back of my mind. But I had it all under control. Now, everything is up in the air. Because of her.”

“Let me explain. I met a woman named Sinead, a flight attendant with Mermaid Airlines. She has the sexiest Irish lilt to her voice and that’s what I call her: Irish. She’s tall and stunning with platinum blonde hair and the most amazing breasts…but that’s not what I find most attractive about her. Oh, no. She’s got me thinking about her constantly, with the way she made me laugh, about Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee of all things. When she teased me about Nude Espresso and winked at me as she swayed down the aisle of the plane.”

“After one night together in Singapore, I knew I’d never get enough of her. She’s incredible. A firecracker. The only woman I want. I want her in my bed, I want her with me. If I have to chase her to London, or Dublin, or freaking Japan, I’ll do it.”

“I’m going to make her mine.”

Image of Gabriel Anderson, surfer CEO

Image of Gabriel Anderson, surfer CEO

About Girl on a Plane

Girl on a Plane is the debut romantic comedy novel by Cassandra O’Leary, released in 2016. Winner of the global We Heart New Talent writing contest run by Avon Books/HarperCollins UK. Cassandra was also nominated for Best New Author in the AusRom Today Reader’s Choice Awards 2016.

Girl on a Plane book cover

Girl on a Plane by Cassandra O’Leary, book cover image


When feisty Irish flight attendant Sinead Kennealy locks eyes with sexy Australian CEO Gabriel Anderson in First Class, sparks fly. But as they jet across the globe from Melbourne to London, it’s clear that they’re in for a turbulent journey . . .

Stressed-out Gabriel doesn’t do relationships. And Sinead isn’t about to be fooled by another bad boy after escaping her stalker ex. Then a storm hits, causing the plane to land unexpectedly, and Sinead and Gabriel are thrown together in Singapore.

The pressure rises as Sinead’s unhappy past threatens to catch up with her. But might Gabriel be the one to heal her heartbreak? If he could open up about his troubling secrets, maybe a relationship could actually get off the ground. Fasten your seatbelts – this WON’T be a smooth ride . . .

BUY NOW – Girl on a Plane is now available from major e-book retailers

Enter to win the Book Boyfriend Blog Hop GRAND PRIZE

Book Boyfriend blog hop prize image

Vote for GABRIEL ANDERSON as your book boyfriend – email traciebanister@gmail.com

Hop to all the stops, collect the candidate’s name at each stop, then submit all 30 names to that same address in order to be entered in our Grand Prize giveaway. This giveaway includes a Kindle Paperwhite + 30 e-books, one from each of the authors participating in the hop. My book, Girl on a Plane, is one of the prizes on offer!

Entries for the hop will be accepted until Sunday 21 May, midnight E.D.T. in the United States. A winner will be chosen on Monday 22 May. This Grand Prize giveaway is open internationally.

Visit all the authors in the Book Boyfriends Hop…

Valentine's Down Under promotional banner

Valentine’s Down Under giveaway – 25+ FREE romance books

Happy Valentine’s Day! I hope your day is filled with love and laughter…maybe even a happy ever after. To help with making your day magical, I’m sharing some details of a fabulous giveaway I’m part of this year

Valentine’s Down Under giveaway

Sun, sand & surf – February Down Under is always scorching hot! And so are these 25+ FREE romances set in Australia and New Zealand! From sweet to sexy to smoking, these books will transport you into a world of Down Under Happy-ever-afters.

Download some of your new favorite New Zealand and Australian authors’ free books while you can – visit our host Tracey Alvarez’s website for details.

Simply click on the book covers you wish to download, and follow the Instafreebie site instructions to have your books emailed to you!

Chocolate Truffle Kiss

If you haven’t read my fun romcom novelette, Chocolate Truffle Kiss, now is your chance. It’s included in this Instafreebie promotion FREE along with so many other great books.

Chocolate Truffle Kiss promotional graphic

Here’s a little taste of Chocolate Truffle Kiss:

Your eyes meet mine, then retreat
Softness behind glass
Let me break your barriers

The poem on the blackboard enticed her to enter. Just like everyday…

Writer, Beth, visits the same café every afternoon, enjoying her latte and a chocolate truffle while scribbling in her notebook. The delicious treats keep her coming back day after day, not to mention the inspiration she finds there – Samuel. The barista is tall, dark and delicious, and his stare could melt chocolate from a hundred paces.

Since her divorce, Beth’s love life has been close to extinct, but the sight of Samuel, his dark, brooding good looks and amazing dragon tattoo, kick it into overdrive. A smouldering volcano waiting to erupt in flames of passion. But Beth knows it’s unlikely he’d go for her, an older woman, when he could have anyone.

Over the course of a week, the tension between them rises almost to boiling point. When Beth’s friend lets it slip that Beth fancies Samuel, in fact she has a mega crush on him, their customer/barista relationship is tested…but could it be more than one-sided? Is Samuel writing the blackboard poems especially for Beth? Could he be watching and wanting her too?

Note: Chocolate Truffle Kiss is a novelette of approximately 9500 words. This edition also contains an excerpt of my debut novel, Girl on a Plane.

Don’t forget to visit the Valentine’s Down Under giveaway page and download your FREE books! Have a happy Valentine’s Day, and happy reading!

Fireworks image

2016: my big arse year of change

2016 has been many things — turbulent, stressful, a big old arse-load of trouble from many perspectives. World events and the death of much-loved celebrities, from David Bowie to Carrie Fisher, have many of us questioning our lives and overall direction. You never know when you’re going to go, after all. I’m not immune from this…far from it.

For me, 2016 has been my big arse year of change, but in a good way. This year I’ve forced myself to pull on my big girl pants and be brave. As a result, I’ve accomplished a couple of things I wasn’t sure I could do. The first one still nearly blows my mind if I think about it too hard. My debut novel was published. That deserves its own paragraph. In bold.

My debut novel was published.

Cue fanfare, heralds of angels singing, etc. This was and is a big deal, but perhaps some of the other things that went along with this milestone are more important. For example, I quit my day job. This also deserves stand-alone paragraph status.

I quit my day job.

The jury is still out as to whether this was a good idea or not! But I found myself extremely stressed, working in a corporate communications environment with lots of deadlines, then book editing deadlines hit on top of those. Add to that the health issues I face as someone with a couple of auto-immune diseases and the hectic nature of life with young children, and I had to make some decisions about the future. I could continue trying to do everything, and some of it was going to slide. Probably my health. Or, I could choose to make some changes.

I decided to focus on what might be possible.

Instead of choosing the safest route and staying in the same job I’d been doing for close to ten years, I looked at the opportunity in front of me. A large publisher accepted my first novel. I’m not counting my chickens, or expecting the big bucks to flow from that book alone. But those manuscripts I’d been hammering away at over the last few years suddenly seem to have potential. I can see the potential. It’s possible *whispers* I might have a writing career in my future…

Next year looks to be as big and change-propelled. My little boy starts school, meaning I’ll have two school boys, no more babies and toddlers. In some ways, this is sob-inducing and an end of an era. But in other ways, it’s exciting. I’ll have more quiet time at my desk at home to focus on work. To write, to plan, to scheme.

My husband is talking about tackling a renovation to our house…one that includes a separate writing room for me. Hopefully I’ll find both inspiration and tenacity to finish more writing projects and continue along this path, even when it kind of meanders into the distance and over some hills.

The view may not be so clear from here, but once I climb to the top of the next hill my direction could be a little easier to navigate. I hope 2017 is filled with opportunities, chance and change that makes the future a little brighter. I wish it for me and my family, and for everyone reading this.

As I ring in the new year, I’ll be toasting to the possibilities next year may bring. Cheers to another big arse year of positive change!

This blog post was first published on Medium.com – follow me there!

Holly Jolly Chick Lit Hop graphic

Holly Jolly holiday giveaway!

*UPDATED* — This giveaway is now closed. I drew a prize winner at random from all eligible entrants at 7.30 pm my time (in Melbourne, Australia), Friday 16 December 2016. The winner is Denise Austin. I’ll email Denise shortly. Congratulations! Thanks to everyone who entered.

Since it’s December and the holiday season is already upon us (Argh! Where did 2016 go?) I’m joining in the fun with a giveaway as part of the Holly Jolly Chick Lit Hop. The group is running the promotion from 5-16 December 2016, with Amazon gift vouchers, books and other prizes up for grabs.

So, confession time… I’ve actually done NO Christmas shopping or decorating around my house yet. I’m madly trying to write and finish off some important admin tasks (overdue taxes *cough*) before the end of the year. But I have taken the time to organise what I think is a fabulous giveaway prize!

Giveaway prize details

Photo of giveaway prize

Photo of giveaway prize – Sweet and Spicy print book, silver angel wings necklace and Hoppy ornament

  • Sweet and Spicy – A celebration of romance (print edition)

A lovely shiny copy of my first-ever print edition of a story I’ve written! My romantic comedy novelette, Chocolate Truffle Kiss, is included in Sweet and Spicy – A celebration of romance, an anthology of over 100,000 words of love stories, published by my amazing writing group, the Melbourne Romance Writers Guild. I’ll sign it for you!

  • Silver angel wings pendant necklace

A sterling silver plated angel wing pendant on a snake chain. It’s a little bit Christmassy and similar to the pendant my heroine, Sinead, receives from the hero, Gabriel, in my romantic comedy novel, Girl on a Plane. But without the black pearls, because I’m not a millionaire CEO!

  • ‘Hoppy’ Christmas tree ornament

Since I’m an Aussie, I thought I’d throw in a cute ceramic kangaroo Christmas tree ornament. Let’s call her Hoppy. She has a little baby Joey and is wearing a Santa hat!

How to enter*

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Add a comment here on my blog page or on my Cassandra O’Leary Author Facebook Page, telling me your number one Christmas shopping tip! (Because I need all the help I can get) AND
  2. Sign-up to my email newsletter list (add your name and email address to the Newsletter form on this web page). My newsletter has exclusive content such as sneak peeks at my upcoming stories, more giveaways and promotions. My December newsletter is coming out next week.

P.S. – my current newsletter subscribers are eligible to enter.

P.P.S – everyone who signs-up for my newsletter in December will receive a free e-book download copy of Chocolate Truffle Kiss! That’s right, everyone!

Thanks to the fabulous group of authors at Chick Lit Chat HQ for organising the Holly Jolly Chick Lit Hop group promotion on Facebook, especially Tracie Banister and Laura Chapman. If you haven’t already checked out their books, hop to it!

Happy holidays!

*Entry is open internationally. I’ll select one winner on Friday 16th December 2016 and post the winner’s name on my blog page and Facebook page. The winner must provide their postal address to me by email or personal message to claim the prize. I am responsible for running this giveaway in association with Chick Lit Chat HQ and it is not affiliated with Facebook. 

AusRomToday Reader's Choice Awards Nomination badge

Best New Author nomination in AusRomToday Awards!

Best New Author nomination – Vote for me in the AusRomToday Reader’s Choice awards now 

Earlier this week I was excited to learn that I’ve been nominated in the Best New Author category of the AusRomToday Reader’s Choice Awards, celebrating excellence in Australian romance fiction.

This is such exciting news I could barely breathe when I saw the email come through…actually, I’ve had a bad headcold so I could hardly breathe anyway, but that’s not the point! It’s such an honour to be nominated alongside a bunch of super talented authors who I admire.

What an amazing year 2016 has been for me so far. I’ve gone from publishing one short story last year to winning the We Heart New Talent contest and having my first romantic comedy novel, Girl on a Plane, published by the wonderful team at Avon Books/HarperCollins UK. And I’ve seen that book fly high in the Amazon and iBooks charts.

I also quit my day job in corporate communications in June to focus on my writing. That was something of a leap of faith, and so far it’s been a good decision (although I’m not raking in the millions yet, and Hollywood hasn’t come knocking to buy any movie rights…come on Hollywood!) as it’s allowed me time to write and focus on promoting my book properly.

Now, with a nomination for a major national award, I’m almost dumbfounded at how much can happen in a year. It makes me wonder what 2017 will bring!

Hopefully, I’ll soon finish editing my next romantic comedy novel, then I’m working on another manuscript that’s at around 30K words. And there’s another anthology of short stories coming soon from my writing group, the Melbourne Romance Writers Guild, which I’m pleased to be a part of again.

Action stations everyone – 2017 looks set to be huge! I’d better buy some more champagne…

Chocolate truffles image from Freedigitalphotos.net

Cover reveal – Chocolate Truffle Kiss

Cover reveal time! It is with a little too much excitement that I show-off my very first cover for my very first self-published novelette (which is a kind of long short story). Chocolate Truffle Kiss is a 9500 story, originally published in 2015 in the Sweet and Spicy anthology from my writing group, the Melbourne Romance Writers Guild.

But now I’m letting it go, into the world, with its own, fresh cover. I actually designed it myself! It may not win any design awards, but I’m happy with it. I think the woman on the cover is gorgeous and it suits the genre of romantic comedy.

Let me know what you think!

P.S. if you sign-up to my newsletter here on my website before 10 October 2016, I’ll give you a FREE copy of this story! Sign-up with your name and email address, that’s it. Easy-peasy!

Chocolate Truffle Kiss cover design

Chocolate Truffle Kiss cover design


Your eyes meet mine, then retreat
Softness behind glass
Let me break your barriers

The poem on the blackboard enticed her to enter. Just like everyday…

Writer, Beth, visits the same café every afternoon, enjoying her latte and a chocolate truffle while scribbling in her notebook. The delicious treats keep her coming back day after day, not to mention the inspiration she finds there – Samuel. The barista is tall, dark and delicious, and his stare could melt chocolate from a hundred paces.

Since her divorce, Beth’s love life has been close to extinct, but the sight of Samuel, his dark, brooding good looks and amazing dragon tattoo, kick it into overdrive. A smouldering volcano waiting to erupt in flames of passion. But Beth knows it’s unlikely he’d go for her, an older woman, when he could have anyone.

Over the course of a week, the tension between them rises almost to boiling point. When Beth’s friend lets it slip that Beth fancies Samuel, in fact she has a mega crush on him, their customer/barista relationship is tested…but could it be more than one-sided? Is Samuel writing the blackboard poems especially for Beth? Could he be watching and wanting her too?

Pre-order links are live on my Books page!

MRWG members with heart sculpture

Ain’t Love Grand – Romance Australia 2016 conference highlights

For the last four days, I was lucky enough to attend the Romance Australia 2016 conference, Ain’t Love Grand. It was my third conference and probably the most fun!

Below is a Storify wrap-up of my Twitter feed from the weekend, filled with notable quotes, and as someone else told me, lots of impressive cleavage! My writing group pals in the Melbourne Romance Writers Guild (MRWG) were all brilliant as usual, and also looking particularly fabulous…

Super-dooper highlights

On Friday, the Michael Hague Story Mastery workshop was gold, right from the start. Michael is a Hollywood screenwriting consultant, having worked with the likes of Will Smith on finessing a script. His focus on romantic comedies was right up my alley, and I think I’ll gain a lot of inspiration from that session into the future.

Friday night was the cabaret-themed cocktail party. It was a hoot, and of course it was special to me, as I received my First Sale ribbon, acknowledging that 2016 was the year my first novel was published. My debut novel, Girl on a Plane, was only released about a month ago by Avon Maze/HarperCollins UK, so it’s still exciting and new to be an official author. I found time to chat with other authors and fangirl like a boss!

The morning after the night before was all a bit hard…but once I found real coffee and got going, I enjoyed some fab workshops and also brainstormed some new story ideas with some friends.

Then Saturday night was the big gala awards dinner in the Stamford Grand ballroom. I still can’t quite express how excited I was for my writing group friends who were up for big awards. Samara Parish and Jess Devine were Highly Commended in the Valerie Parv Award, and Chris Weston from the MRWG won! Also Stefanie London was Skyping from Canada, watching the announcement of the short, sexy romance category in which she was a finalist. Well done to all!

The biggest news from the awards was the WIN by MRWG’s own Michelle Somers, in the RuBY Award (Romantic Book of the Year) for her romantic suspense novel, Lethal In Love. Our table erupted into hooting and hollering, even from the ladies phoning it in via Skype. Super-dooper mega congratulations Michelle!

Later we danced the night away, busting out some 80s moves and even a shimmy-shake like my own flight attendant heroine, Sinead. This was on special request from Vanessa Carnevale, otherwise I wouldn’t have done it, because I’m such a shrinking violet on the dance floor… 😉

Sunday was more relaxed, but I have to mention the fantasticly funny and inspirational keynote speech from Fiona McIntosh. She challenged us all to work hard, write like it’s a job (it is), bum in seat and come and get her on the bestseller lists. It’s on!

Now the Ain’t Love Grand conference is over, I feel inspired to finish my manuscript (dubbed the Neverending Story) and get onto something new and fresh. Happy writing everyone!