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ARRC2015: concurrent session 1B

24 October 2014

arrc2015_banner_dark_200x200Here is the next in our series about the panel sessions at ARRC2015. You can find further details on the convention, including the full program and registration links here.

This week we are talking about…

Concurrent session 1B—Animal instinct

Join our authors as they talk to Sharon Sherry about all things shifter.

In this panel we will explore the attractions of the shifters and the two sides of them—a protective side and their savage side. While they might not rule the clan, they are alphas one and all when it comes to the ones they love.

When we need a hero, there are plenty to choose from and some feisty heroines too. What makes them a match for the shifters, able to bring these strong guys to their knees? How can two different types of people be ‘the other half’ of someone?

How have these characters wormed their way into our hearts when they are so different to us and are they totally fictional?

Why do our authors write about these characters and which ones are their favourites (the hardest question to ask a multi-published author)?

Our authors will read one of their favourite passages (from their own or a co-panellist’s novel) that they think sheds a bright light on why we love a shifter romance.

Our conversation will be wide-ranging as we explore the many shifters available to feed our appetite for these stories which—at the heart of it—are romantic, rich tapestries of stories.

The panellists

CS1bPublished for over five years, Angela Castle is proud to be a best-selling author. To date she’s penned over 32 titles, with many more to come. Angela is known for her sexy sci-fi series and Australian shifters series, one of which made the New York Times best seller list. Angela is a single mother who lives just outside of Melbourne with her three children.

Hazel Gower has been a published writer for over two years, but she has been a storyteller all her life. She writes mostly paranormal romances involving shifters, but does have a few contemporary romances. She’s written and published over twenty books. Hazel lives in a coastal town in NSW with her four children and hubby.

New York Times bestselling author of the Psy-Changeling and Guild Hunter series, as well as the new Rock Kiss series, Nalini Singh is passionate about writing. Though she’s traveled as far afield as the deserts of China, the Highlands of Scotland, and the temples of Japan, it is the journey of the imagination that fascinates her most. She’s beyond delighted to be able to follow her dream as a writer. Nalini lives and works in New Zealand.

Rhian Cahill is the author of over 20 novels and novellas. She has written contemporary romance, erotic romance and paranormal romance. Rhian lives in Sydney, Australia.


Release day: The Boyfriend Sessions

23 October 2014

Today is the official release of The Boyfriend Sessions by Belinda Williams (ebook, Momentum). Here’s blurb:

The Boyfriend SessionsPlease take your seats. The journey to happiness may involve some turbulence.

Christa Morrison has commitment issues, a fact that quickly became apparent after fleeing a romantic proposal in Paris, the thunder of impending wedding bells ringing in her ears.

Back in Sydney, she turns to her closest friends for reassurance. Instead they offer her a startling and painful diagnosis: she’s a relationship junkie. The cure? An extreme rehabilitation program guaranteed to reform even the most L-word illiterate.

With her girlfriends along for the ride, Christa commits to their radical plan and the chances of recovery look good. The only problem is Max Spencer. The one guy Christa—and her friends—never expected her to fall for. But he’s proving to be a temptation she may not have the willpower to resist…

For a shot at happiness, is being with Max worth betraying her friends? And will Christa have the strength to trust her heart when her colorful relationship history comes back to haunt her?

It might just be enough to make a poor girl leave the country (again).

Belinda dropped by today to tell us a little about this book:

I wrote the The Boyfriend Sessions to give myself a break after writing a dark romantic suspense. On the surface, The Boyfriend Sessions is light-hearted and offers readers a sense of fun, but there’s deeper themes at play too. Christa and Max’s journey is about learning to overcome wounds that leave a deep impression and developing the courage to live again, even if it means risking new scars. It’s about the friendships that see us through the good and bad, and the sort of love worth falling hard for. I hope my readers enjoy reading The Boyfriend Sessions as much as I enjoyed writing it.

You can find out more about this book from Belinda’s website and buy it at Momentum.

Release day: When Stars Collide

22 October 2014

Today is the official release of When Stars Collide by SE Gilchrist (ebook, Escape Publishing). Here’s the blurb:

When Stars CollideThe third full-length novel in SE Gilchrist’s bestselling erotic SF series mixes one sexy spy, a soldier looking for salvation and an unlikely mission to save the world.

Reece, contortionist bubble dancer and part-time spy, has one goal – a safe haven and independent life far from the war.  But her plans go awry and her future becomes dangerously uncertain when she is falsely accused of the murders of her friend and a Darkon traitor. Now her new list of goals includes payback.

In her way is Ulrac, a banished Darkon patroller responsible for incarcerating females for barbaric ‘treatments’ and ‘research’ on the planet Isla. He’s determined to use the capture of the spy and her intel to win the approval of his father – a hard-line Traditionalist with his own agenda – and help him overthrow the current ruler of Darkos.

But the war of the Seven Galaxies has reached a critical stage, and personal plans and goals suddenly hold very little meaning. The enemy is poised to unleash a terrible weapon and no one stands between him and total domination of all the universes.

No one – except Reece and Ulrac.

SE dropped by today to tell us a little about this book:

When Stars Collide finishes off the external story line that carried through from Legend Beyond the Stars and Star Pirate’s Justice. The villain makes an appearance along with several other characters from previous stories who have a role to play in order to see a cessation to the war. I found it both challenging and fun tying all the loose ends together. Plus I loved the research on stars going supernova and the devastation a meteorite impact would cause on a planet. In When Stars Collide, I introduce a new hero who’s a bit ‘darker’, more angst driven than my previous guys and I needed a heroine who could push ALL his buttons and make him smile. And I found her, a contortionist bubble dancer and part-time spy. When Stars Collide contains a love story, steamy passion, action, political intrigue, betrayal and revenge. I hope readers find When Stars Collide a satisfying and ‘explosive’ finale.

You can find out more about this book at SE Gilchrist’s website and can buy it from Amazon AUS.

Feature book: Children of the Mist

22 October 2014

Children of the MistChildren of the Mist by Jenny Brigalow

Morven is a feisty young schoolgirl who loves to board with her friend Zest. She is smart, a little cocky and is loved by her parents. Her mother is a diplomat and her father a lecturer at the university. She has a good relationship with both her parents. She’s a bit of a wild child in that she doesn’t suffer fools lightly and tells them so but is not particularly arrogant about it. She has a bit of a compulsion to count things if she’s bored or feeling stressed.

Zest (love the name) is a werewolf. His age is not really established, but he seems to be in his late teens. He is more grown up than Morven, but that could be because he’s been without parents for a while. He lives alone, is street smart, caring and compassionate and seems more socially intelligent than you would expect from a teen boy (no offence meant).

Morven loves being with Zest but doesn’t realise she actually loves Zest until just before she leaves him on her quest to Scotland. Zest does love Morven, as both friend and more, but as she is just turning sixteen he doesn’t tell her, he is gentlemanly and only kisses her when she starts on her solo adventure. The bond between Morven and Zest is clear from the beginning of the story and tendrils of sexual attraction begin to peek out through the book. There are one or two innocent kisses along the way, but more importantly, they have each other’s backs and save each other from peril.

Despite the characters being young—Morven turns sixteen during the course of the book—it was a captivating read. You could really feel the love of boarding (skate boards) and feel the wildness of being that age. I appreciated Morven’s innocent pleasure in things like a new skating shirt and the difficult choice of a new board. The story felt well-paced except perhaps the final few chapters when Morven meets the Scottish part of her family where some of the action felt a little hurried. While there is a thread of romance, this book is about friends and Morven’s transformation to vampire. It was an enjoyable read and a welcome relief from the angst that currently seems to typify young adult novels.

Reviewed by Gina

A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.



Feature book: The Summer of Jake

22 October 2014

The Summer of JakeThe Summer of Jake by Rachel Bailey

Annalise Farley is an up-and-coming fashion designer but she needs to get her designs into a store. Life is running as smoothly as it can when one has not got a job and time to design more clothes. She is happy in her unit at Bondi with her pet cat Rover, who thinks he is a dog, and her yellow Mini. Annalise is an only child and feels that she has never come up to scratch in her parents’ eyes. As a teenager she makes a friend for life in Kelly Maxwell and Kelly has a hunk of a brother, Jake. He is a surfer and at the age of 16 Annalise had a major crush on Jake. She spent a lot of time either at the beach watching Jake surf or at Kelly’s home playing lots of music; she was made to feel a part of the loving family by their mum, Eden.

Jake Maxwell is the son to a rock star father and his mother is a singer. At the age of seven his father walked out on them and passed away soon after from the effects of alcohol. Jake is left with lots of pressure to not end up like his Dad and with the media making hints about this, Jake becomes a champion surfer and later a business owner and does really well with his life. He is very close to his mother and sister and has travelled the world but when he decides he wants to hook up with a lady he is acquainted with, he decides that he needs help to change a bit, after all this woman is much more sophisticated than Jake. Of course Jake is not looking for anything permanent in his life.

Annalise is having one of those days when her phone rings and she is really shocked when it is none other than Jake Maxwell who she has not seen in a long while, the last time at his sister’s wedding. When he asks her to help him with catching another woman but is more than willing to help Annalise get some of her designs into his shops what can Annalise say but yes. This starts a fun and very sensual journey.

This story had me hooked from the first page. The banter between Annalise and Jake is so good. Annalise realises the crush she had on Jake at the tender age of 16 is a lot more than a crush, one that has lasted. With Jake trying so hard to not be like his father, there are a few hurdles to overcome and love was never even thought of as part of the plan. With Kelly and Kelly and Jake’s mum, Eden, adding to the story, this is one you will not want to put down. The setting is so good: Bondi Beach, summer and a hunk, what more could you want in a story? Do not miss this one, it is a must read. It will have you smiling, tearing up and cheering them on.

Reviewed by Helen S

A review copy of this book was provided by the author.

Feature book: Tree Change

22 October 2014

Tree ChangeTree Change by Tea Cooper

Cassia is an artist who makes sculptures with driftwood and metal. She moved to Sydney from the north coast to establish herself as an artist and to give exposure to her sculptures. Cassia made sculptures from driftwood when she lived with Jake, but moving to the city has seen her redefine her work and life away from Jake and she now works mostly in metal.

Jake studied environmental science at university and has just finished renovating his beach house. To protect his brother Lyle’s wife, Madeleine, Jake lets her move in with him at the beach house, affectionately known as ‘the Shack’. Madeleine is pregnant and needs to be kept safe from the drug syndicate Lyle is giving evidence against. No one knows Lyle and Madeleine are married and everyone thinks that Madeleine has taken up with Jake and that her baby, Jade, is Jake’s. Jake wants the cash from selling the renovated Shack to buy the family macadamia farm from Lyle, so Lyle, Madeleine and Jade can start a new life in New Zealand.

Cassia and Nick were an item before she moved to the city and Madeleine moved into ‘the Shack’ with Jake. There’s not really much progression of the relationship, more a sadness for opportunities lost. While they find reasons to see each other, circumstances and regrets make this relationship seem futile. While Cassia and Nick do reach a happily ever after, it’s after a lot of ‘I’m sorry’ and long-overdue explanations.

Bearing in mind that everyone has different tastes, the story felt angst-y, and not at all like a tree change as the title suggested, more city change and then back. The believability (for someone who embraces both fantasy and sci-fi) of some of the premises of this contemporary non woo-woo story are low; Madeleine being safe by moving in with Jake; Cassia and/or Jake not calling the police after Cassia is attacked and PUNCHED IN THE FACE; the sex after being PUNCHED IN THE FACE and receiving no medical attention; and the fact that an as-yet-unestablished artist can afford a studio/apartment from which light reflects from the Harbour Bridge just don’t seem likely. Cassia as a character seems believable and her passion for her sculpture reads well on the page, but the story did not leave me feeling happy or satisfied with the romance.

Reviewed by Gina

A review copy of this book was provided by the author.

Release day: Tempted by the Billionaire Tycoon

21 October 2014

Today is the official release of  Tempted by the Billionaire Tycoon by Jennifer St George (ebook, Destiny Romance). Here’s the blurb:

Tempted by the BillionaireThe latest sexy international romance from the bestselling author of The Billionaire’s Pursuit of Love.

Three strikes and you’re out…

A series of strange accidents are occurring at Sirona, a luxury spa resort in the picturesque English countryside. Billionaire owner Nic Capitini wants the person responsible sacked. But the law requires he give three official warnings. Nic checks in undercover to gather the evidence he needs, and when he arrives to find his general manager enjoying the spa’s facilities, he doesn’t think it will prove very challenging.

Despite first impressions, it isn’t long before Nic realises that not only is Poppy Bradford beautiful, she’s a brilliant manager who runs the resort superbly. And the chemistry between them is undeniable. When Poppy herself is threatened, it seems clear the incidents are part of a systematic campaign of sabotage. Even though he believes she’s innocent, Nic knows Poppy is hiding something. But will learning her secret mean losing her forever?

Tempted by the Billionaire Tycoon is part of the Billionaire series by Jennifer St George, but can certainly be enjoyed as a stand-alone book.


#1 The Billionaire’s Pursuit of Love
#2 Tempted by the Billionaire Tycoon

Jennifer dropped by today to tell us a little about this book:

I loved writing this story, crafting the conflict between my characters was intense but so much fun. The book was inspired by two recent trips. One to a health retreat which was the inspiration for my heroine’s profession and one to France and UK which was the inspiration for the luxury locations in which the book is set. Each time I visit Paris (and during this last trip to Versailles for the first time) I’m always in awe of the beauty and romance of France. My heroine, Poppy feels this too as it is her first trip to this amazing country. My hero of course has seen it all before being an international entrepreneur but it all feels that little bit different now he is with Poppy!  

You can find out more about this book on Jennifer’s website and buy it at Amazon.



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