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Harlequin Spotlight – Escape Publishing featuring A Man Like Mike by Sami Lee



Our mission: To connect readers all around the world with the stories they want to read.
We love romance, all romance, so when we imagined Escape Publishing, we imagined an imprint without restrictions, where romance readers can find the romance they want, in the style they want, at the length they want, whenever they want. In short, you want it – we’ve got it.
If it’s science fiction, fantasy, contemporary, historical, erotic, gay romance, inspirational romance, urban fantasy, paranormal, or YA romance – or any mixture of the above, Escape Publishing’s got it. We offer all levels of sensuality from the sweetest kisses to the hottest encounters. We offer different lengths, from short stories through novellas to full length novels. Our novels are standalone, loosely connected, or part of an ongoing series.
Escape Publishing is dedicated to bringing talented Australian voices to a global audience. All stories are DRM free, and available world-wide.

Q: Escape Publishing is a part of Harlequin Australia, but how is it different?

Harlequin Australia is a traditional print publisher that publishes its titles digitally simultaneous with print. Escape Publishing is a digital-only publisher that publishes most titles in ebook formats only and some titles in print-on-demand format as well. Some other differences:

• Escape Publishing does not pay advances, but because of the different cost structures involved in digital-only publishing it offers a higher royalty rate than traditional print publishing.

• All Escape Publishing titles are signed with global digital rights and are distributed internationally. This means they are available via the following platforms: Amazon’s Kindle, Barnes & Noble’s Nook, Apple’s iBookstore, Google eBooks, Kobo, Booki.sh and many others.


Q: What is digital-only publishing?

Escape Publishing publishes books first and foremost as ebooks. Our ability to make your book available to paying customers is not limited by print bookstore shelf space, which means we can accept more diverse titles from our authors. Publishing digitally also means that Escape Publishing can publish books much faster than a traditional publisher.


Q: Why publish with Escape Publishing?

At Escape Publishing, our mission is to connect readers all around the world with the stories they want to read. We recognise and appreciate great storytelling in all genres, particularly in romance and if you are a romance author or reader, then you know that Harlequin IS romance. We know what good romance is and know how to make it sell. This is due to our close relationship to readers and our dedication to satisfying their need for good stories.

We also look after our authors: from acquisition to publication and beyond, we work with our authors in a partnership to make sure your book is the best it can be in terms of editorial and packaging, and is supported with great initiatives for sales, marketing and PR.

Some questions and answers about Escape Publishing: 


Q: Will Escape Publishing publish my book in a paper edition?

Escape Publishing titles are available primarily as ebooks. However, for some titles we are open to making them available as print-on-demand. The standard Escape Publishing contract also includes the option to publish your book in a traditional print deal with Harlequin Australia if both parties decide it is worth doing.


Q: Do I have to live in Australia to be published by Escape Publishing?

No. Although Escape Publishing is based in Australia, we are a global publisher with access to all international ebook and print-on-demand markets, as well as an internationally focused marketing team.



If you’re interested in submitting to Escape Publishing, we’re waiting to hear from you.


I was excited when I first heard of the Australian arm of Harlequin going digital first with Escape.  I got even more pumped when I saw the early roster list of authors.  Some of them I’ve read before and liked their work.  Well, when I saw in Netgalley that Escape had started to upload their books…I pounced.  I choose A Man Like Mike for various reasons that I will go into with the review.  🙂
Some people don’t like that some of the bigger publishers have gone digital first.  For me, as a writer, I think it provides a bigger pool for authors to query, submit and write for.  You want to write for Harlequin?  Try writing for the digital only arm.  I know that I’ve submitted a romantic thriller to the Digital First Arm of Harlequin.  I even have a story that I plan on submitting to Escape in the near future.
Author Interview:

Welcome Sami Lee! Please start off by telling us a little about yourself.

I’m a wife, mother, employee, writer of sweet, sexy, really sexy and blow the back of your head off sexy romance novels. So obviously I am Wonder Woman 2.0, with what is very possibly a case of multiple personality disorder. You could call my life the United States of Sami.


You’ve written several erotic romances, but A Man Like Mike is your first sweet romance. Why did you decide to close the bedroom door all of a sudden. What gives?

I have a lot of ideas in my head, so many I’m quite sure I’ll never get a chance to write them all. Most of these ideas are contemporary romances. Some of the situations and characters just don’t lend themselves to an erotic plotline. A Man Like Mike was one of those ideas. Heroine Eve finds herself unexpectedly responsible for raising her best friend’s baby, and cohabitating with that baby’s uncle. As a mother of two small children, I’m very aware that erotic times and nappy changing are natural enemies J. The book just had a sweet, old fashioned feel to it and I wanted to be true to that.


Or maybe I just loathe being predictable J.


What was your inspiration for the story?

My daughters, who I refer to online as Princess and Cherub. In the book Eve struggles with motherhood. I drew inspiration for those struggles from my own. Being a first time mother is hard! I had nine months to prepare and I still felt all at sea. Eve never expected to be a parent at all and finds herself taking on that responsibility without warning or preparation. I can’t imagine how difficult that would be!


Please share your setting for A Man Like Mike. Have you ever lived or visited there?

I set the book in a real suburb on the outskirts of Brisbane, not too far from where I live. It’s on the banks of a large bay and is populated by Queenslander style houses (they’re like cottages raised off the ground to make catching cool breezes easier). Out of all the books set in Australia, I’ve noticed there aren’t all that many sent in Queensland. I like that the setting makes my book a little different.


When did the writing bug first bite?

English was always my favorite subject at school, and I used to love it when the teacher set a creative writing task. I started writing short stories in between times, but they never stayed very short. I always loved to embellish! When I was about 16 I wrote a story that featured all my friends falling in love with exotic exchange students and other hunky types. It was my first hit, with people bugging me for pages before I’d finished writing them. Talk about writing to deadline. I fell in love for the very first time right then (with the power of words of course!).

Who are you favorite authors, book/series?

I love a good romantic comedy, so anything by Jennifer Crusie, Susan Elizabeth Phillips or Kristan Higgins with put a smile on my face. I also enjoy reading suspense novels and mysteries. I’ve been reading Sue Grafton’s alphabet series since A for Alibi, and I enjoy Tami Hoag and Karen Rose too.


If you could have an author roundtable discussion with any authors, who would you invite?

All of the above! But I’d also love to have Oscar Wilde, if I can have anyone from any time in history. Oh and the Bronte sisters, and of course Jane Austen. It would have to be a big table obviously.


Do you have any hobbies or special things you like to do in your spare time? 

Um… what’s that? J. Writing used to be my hobby, now I’m trying to make it a professsion. I go to the gym, but that’s more masochism than a hobby. I used to enjoy cooking but now it’s a seven day a week chore, not so much. Can you call watching movies a hobby? Singing along to the radio while driving?


Strangest thing you’ve ever heard or seen?

I recently read that If you place a tiny amount of liquor on a scorpion, it will
instantly go mad and sting itself to death. Yeah, I’d be fascinated to see if that were true, but I’m not cruel enough.


Corporate professional Eve O’Brien needs a crash course in parenting when her dearest friend Jacinta and her husband die, naming her sole guardian of their baby son Bailey. As if bright orange goo on her business shirts and terminal exhaustion aren’t enough to deal with, Bailey’s uncle shows up insisting on being part of his nephew’s life.

Roguishly handsome with a devil-may-care attitude, Mike Wilcox is always first with a quip or a flirtatious smile. When he breezily suggests he move in with her temporarily, Eve sees no way to refuse, as the cottage in which she now lives has been left to Mike by his late brother.

On the surface, Mike seems like the perfect housemate. He’s a successful chef, so Eve’s diet goes from fast food to five star overnight, and he effortlessly takes on day-time care of his nephew, while working at a local restaurant in the evenings. But he wears muscle hugging T-shirts and makes the cottage seem like a home, things that appeal to Eve more than she cares to admit.

A lonely, neglected child, Eve has learned to rely only on herself, but soon having Mike around makes her want to believe things can be different. But how can she trust a man who’s lived life by the seat of his pants to stick around for the long haul?


When I was trolling NetGalley a couple of weeks ago, I saw that Escape Publishing had put some of their books out there for review.  While I would have read all of them, Ms. Lee’s book stood out for a couple of reasons.  The first reason is the cover/blurb.  Beautiful cover; it has a baby on it; and the blurb blew me away.  I know that it might have read like a standard romance troupe but there was something in the way that I read it that I had to read this book.  Also, I will admit that I know Sami but honestly, have never read anything by her.  Sure, I’ve bought her books but with my schedule, just haven’t had time to read for pleasure anymore.

When we were discussing Harlie spotlighting A Man Like Mike, Ms. Lee had some concerns.  As an erotic author, were people gonna be put off that she wrote a sweet, closed door sex book?  WTH?  Of course not.  If the reader truly likes your work, they will follow.

Yes, this book has closed door sex in it and you know what?  Sometimes open door sex is unnecessary in a book.  Yes, I said it and I mean it.  This book has everything that I’m looking for in a contemporary romance.  Emotions, laughter, family dynamics, sexual tension, and above all romance.  The romance in the book was very subtle and it sneaks up on you. 

Mike is still trying to deal with the sudden death of his older brother and living in his shadow.  He is hurt that his brother didn’t chose his a Bailey’s guardian but believes that he can move in with Eve and Bailey to help out short term.  He ever expected to fall in love with Eve and crave the life that his brother had.   I truly felt for Mike and the wide range of emotions that he has throughout the book.  Plus, he can cook and take care of a baby.  *sigh*

Eve, too is dealing the sudden loss of her best friend Jacinta.  Their backstory is poignant and a little sad.  I totally understood why Eve was reluctant to let anyone help her with Bailey.  She had something to prove to herself that she could do this and be a much better mom that what she had growing.  Oh Eve…big hug!  Dealing with her feelings for Mike and understanding them were a completely different thing all together.

You will root for this couple from the start.  They were meant to be together from their first meeting at the wedding, to the funeral, to Mike showing up at her door offering to help.  Both are wounded souls to different degrees but in the end belonging, being a family and true love win out.

Don’t miss out a truly remarkable story that Ms. Lee has written.  You will sigh, laugh, cry and sigh with the emotions that this book brings out.




Author Link















6 thoughts on “Harlequin Spotlight – Escape Publishing featuring A Man Like Mike by Sami Lee

  1. Wow, great spotlight and review, Harlie! I agree–I don’t always have to have the door wide open to have a love story I enjoy reading. Thanks, Sami!

  2. Hi Sami
    Really enjoyed the interview. As a mother of nine I can attest to nappies and hot nights not mixing, but it was thanks to me starting reading romances that brought my love life back into action…I think that’s why DH let’s me buy books. Hey wait he promised me a trip to a book store today if I went to Charleston with him…he distracted me with lunch at Ponderosa and a steak.

  3. The book is perfect! It doesn’t need the open door sex scene to make it readable. 🙂

    Thanks for the shout out on the loop, too. 😉

  4. Really great post! I love finding out about new publishers and I’m a reader who’s not ashamed to say I love Harlequin romances! Thanks for spotlighting Ms. Lee’s book…yes there are times you just want an old fashioned romance that focuses more on how they get to love than on what is going on in the bedroom. Good luck to Ms. Lee with sales of her new book:)

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