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ARR2019: tickets on sale

16 October 2018


Reader tickets for ARR2019 are on sale today!

ARR2019 will be held in three (possibly four) locations:

  • Brisbane, 23 Mar 2019
  • Sydney, 24 Mar 2019
  • Melbourne, 30 Mar 2019
  • Perth, 31 Mar 2019 (pledge support for this event here)

Our special guests at the events will be Sherrilyn Kenyon and Celeste Bradley. There will also be local authors at each signing. You can find the full list of authors attending here.

Tickets available are:

  • General admission, $25—all-day entry
  • VIP ticket, $55—all-day entry, plus a bag and souvenir booklet (only 50 available for each event)

Here’s the link to book your tickets. Once you have booked, join us in the Facebook Group for attendees.

(Members, be sure to use the discount code to claim your member discount. It is available in the October newsletter.)

If you do get a souvenir booklet, be sure to collect a signature from each attending author—you can then enter the Signature Hunter competition on the day to win a bag full of goodies donated by the authors.

We are also planning special member-only breakfasts at each event. Tickets for these will be sold separately. Members, watch the newsletter for further details later in the year.


Release day: Awaken

16 October 2018

Today is the official release of Awaken by Cassandra Dean (Tales of Dormiraa) (ebook, self-published). Here’s the blurb:

Guardian to the royals of Dormiraa, for seven years Bharia has protected Princess Thalia on her royal tour…and for seven years, duty has compelled she ignore her craving for fellow Guardian, Stahg. Finally returning home, an ambush separates guardian from charge, Bharia and Stahg finding themselves for the first time alone.

Without the princess between them, long suppressed passion erupts, and Bharia discovers Stahg has hidden his own craving. But when they find the princess, when they reach home, can duty and desire coexist?

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

I’m so excited that Awaken is now available! This book is my first foray into self-publishing, and it’s been a wonderful journey to get it to publication. Starting life as an e-serial in my newsletter, Awaken is a companion novella to Slumber, a retold version of Sleeping Beauty and The Glass Coffin. Awaken features one of my favourite tropes, a heroine and hero secretly in love with each other and torn between duty and desire. I had such fun writing their tale and I hope you enjoy it just as much.

You can find out more about this book, including buy links, at Cassandra’s website.

ARRA newsletter #111

15 October 2018

Purple news

The October issue of the ARRA newsletter is out today. Members should have received the download code via email.

Here’s a quick run down on what you can find in the newsletter this month:

  • lots of updates on ARR2019: Treasure Hunt winners, official bloggers, TICKETS ON SALE!, pledge support for a Perth event
  • highlights from this year’s romance reader survey (pg 6)
  • FREE BOOKS! (pg 9)
  • Charlotte’s Web Watch column features Unwrapping Romance (pg 10)
  • a review of the first New Romantics Book Box (pg 12)
  • win a $10 gift card if you can Find the Heart!

Plus our regular columns—romance roundup, publisher news, self-publishing highlights, weekly musings, events, reviews, freebies, author interviews and upcoming releases.

If anyone has any publishing news or deals to report, please send information through. And we are always looking for authors to do a Q&A for the newsletter. If you haven’t done one yet, please contact me at

PS – if you read the newsletter in the Members’ Lounge, be sure to leave a comment for us – we would love that!

Happy reading everyone!

Guest blogger: Wren St Claire

14 October 2018

Romancing the blockchain, or books the old-fashioned way …

As a reader do you yearn for books the old-fashioned way? Do still like to read print books over ebooks, do you wish you could own your ebooks and share them with friends and family, or even sell them once you’ve read them? Are you frustrated with the postage cost for print books and the lack of availability of print books of your favourite authors in Australia through Amazon? Are you irritated with the flood of poor-quality ebooks available and frustrated with trying to find books and new authors that you want to read amongst the avalanche? Do you wish there was an alternative?

As a reader you may not have heard of the blockchain, but you have probably heard of crypto-currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. You may not have heard of either. If you haven’t you’re about to.

Publica has brought the blockchain to publishing. In simple terms, blockchain technology is the platform invented to manage and deliver crypto-currency. It has a number of characteristics that make it a very attractive platform to manage business transactions. Here are a few of them:

  • direct payment transactions, no intermediary (like a bank) required
  • instant recognition of payments for all parties
  • highly secure
  • ability to bake the transaction rules into a contract that goes with the exchange.

As a platform to manage publishing transactions it’s even more attractive. On Publica as a reader you can:

  • Purchase and own an ebook. Unlike on Amazon and other ebook marketplaces like Apple, Kobo and Nook, where you only lease the ebook, on Publica, because of the blockchain technology, you own the book.
  • Because you own the book you can in turn share it or sell it.
  • Because the blockchain can set up contracts to determine what can and can’t be done with the ebook, you can potentially convert your ebook into a print book.
  • Support your favourite author to publish their next book through a crowd-funding option that gives you access to special content and pricing and ownership of a special limited edition version of the book.

While crypto-currencies and blockchain technology are currently only used by a small sector of the community, Publica is working on a method of streamlining the purchasing of books with crypto-currency so that it will be easy for readers to purchase and for authors to get paid. One of the attractive parts of the Publica proposition for authors is that they will get paid instantly and get to keep 90% of the purchase price of the book, unlike with other platforms where they get to keep 70% of net in the best deals and much less in others. So as a reader, if you want to support your favourite authors, purchasing their books through Publica could be a good way to do it.

It is early days for Publica at this time, but this technology promises to be the way of the future, one that eliminates the need for an intermediary (like a bank or an aggregator like Amazon) and enable buyers and sellers, readers and authors to transact directly. This highly secure direct transaction capability is set to disrupt all sectors of business, including publishing. Watch this space for more information and how Publica can bring you more high-quality books at cheaper prices and with benefits you can’t currently get through existing platforms.

For more information on Publica visit

Wren St Claire is an Australian romance author who lives in Brisbane. You can find her here: Website | Facebook

Proof of God

The Catholic Church is in crisis. A psychotic Priest is on the loose in the Vatican, Physicist Dr Ciara D’Angelo, has just proved the existence of God and the Church’s child abuse scandal is front page news.

Monsignor Alexander Kirshman, charismatic personal secretary of his holiness Pope Paul VII, has twenty four hours to rescue Dr D’Angelo from the clutches of a madman and attempt to avert a plot to destroy the Church from within.

In the process, Alex will lose his faith, find earthly love and discover the true meaning of Grace.

Feature book: The Dirty Book Club

10 October 2018

The Dirty Book Club by Lisi Harrison

Subgenre: chick lit
Release date: 10 Oct 2017
Publisher: Gallery Books
Format: hardcover / ebook
Length: 320 pages
RRP: A$29.99 / A$7.99

If you hesitate to read this because of the title, fear not and dive in. It’s not a ‘dirty book’ (although what is that?!). Rather, it’s about a group of four women who form a book club reading erotica, thinking it might help them in their lacklustre sex lives. Years down the track, they then ‘bequeath’ the DBC and all the books they’ve discovered to four more women who really haven’t got much in common—yet.

There’s very much an element of secrecy in the DBC. Only one person outside the group knows—or maybe thinks he knows—what it is, but really doesn’t know what goes on in the meetings, or what’s in the mysterious boxes that only become unsealed after he’s left the room.

Follow that? Intrigued?

The strength of this book is the astonishing girl bonding that occurs. The originals were fast friends before they formed the Club. The later four don’t really know each other at all, so haven’t got that deep friendship to fall back on when things get rocky with relationships. There’s the element of will the DBC last? with the latter four as they stagger through dramas, disasters and what could be perceived as betrayals.

Under this guise, there’s an astonishing array of Big Issues that present. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but among other things the girls face extra-marital affairs, huge job changes (one is massively stressful), the creation and destruction of dreams, unwanted pregnancies and all the tensions produced there, unwanted legacies that the girls don’t know what to do with, secrets, lies, relationship issues with the men in their lives, and tension between themselves as they struggle to maintain some sort of friendship and at least give the DBC a go.

You’ll love the dialogue and scenes between the girls. Achingly honest, often brutally cutting, often fuelled by alcohol or lack of sleep or panicked drama, it will make you cry in the sad parts, then laugh and wish you had BFFs like these.

More women’s fiction with romantic elements than romance, this is a strong book to enjoy.

Reviewed by Mary D

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

Guest blogger: Renée Dahlia

7 October 2018

From the old wooden chest

My family has a rich history in aristocratic Europe—having fled the Russian Revolution with jewels sewn into their clothes, they eventually settled in Holland. Living in Amsterdam brought with it new members of the family, including Josephine d’Ancona—born in the Dutch East Indies, her father was a Dutch diplomat of French heritage, and she was one of the first women to graduate as a doctor in Holland. The Bluestockings series is loosely based on her achievements. As a family we know almost nothing about Josephine’s father, yet with an aristocratic surname, my imagination would love to think of him as descended from French Revolution escapees. The circle of the two families torn apart by different revolutions and brought together in Holland appeals to me, although I am conflicted by being on the wrong side of history in both cases. The French nor the Russian aristocracy (and English for that matter) tended to suppress the general populace, and it’s no wonder the people rose up against them.

The Heart of a Bluestocking is the third book in my Bluestocking series and can be read as a stand-alone title. By the time we meet the three friends again in The Heart of a Bluestocking, both Josephine (To Charm a Bluestocking), and Marie (In Pursuit of a Bluestocking) have their happily ever after. Claire’s father is a rich manufacturing tycoon, who has taken advantage of the Industrial Revolution to make a substantial fortune. His money is the key reason Claire has had the opportunity to travel and become educated. Now she has graduated, Claire is determined to stay single. She has goals to achieve, and she understands how much she would have to give up when she marries:

‘Those are pretty words. I’m sure you are aware that the law doesn’t agree with you,’ she said tightly.

‘Not precisely. The Married Women’s Property Act of 1882 allows a woman to keep the possessions she brings to a marriage.’

‘That doesn’t make her any less of a possession herself.’ The whisper in her ear became a wild roar, and she spat out, ‘I refuse to be any man’s possession. No matter how prettily he speaks about challenges and ego.’

‘I don’t believe I was speaking about you. Just a general comment about my own preferences,’ he said.

She gasped and her hands flew to her flaming cheeks. How dare he?

‘I suppose you prefer someone pretty with a large fortune too,’ she said, as snidely as she could manage, but her voice cracked with the underlying conflicting emotions.

‘A large fortune is always desirable.’ Was it her imagination, or did his eyes just dip down and graze her body? Her skin came alight with his visual caress.

‘And beauty?’

‘Beauty is everywhere. It’s the cheapest quality any potential wife can offer, and the old saying is true, external beauty fades. If I had to choose a wife, I’d want one who has internal beauty. Who will be beautiful to me for all time, even after her hair greys and her skin wrinkles. I want someone to share my life with …

I have enjoyed writing about the Victorian era, especially in the 1880s, with the conflux of social change, the emergence of suffragettes, formal education becoming more available to women, the rise of technology and subsequent shift in wealth base and, of course, the beginnings of globalisation via steam ships and the telegraph. As part of this shift in society, this book reflects a much more diverse and inclusive cast than many historical romances. I did a lot of research for Ravi, my Anglo-Indian hero, to ensure I gave him a historically accurate and kind story. In my research, I found that Anglo-Indian people in the Regency and Victorian eras are much more common in real history than we ever see in historical romance, with up to one-third of British East India company employees giving all their assets in their wills to their Indian wife and Anglo-Indian children. The two books I found most helpful (among all the reading I did) were An Era of Darkness by Shashi Tharoor and These Days by Sunil Gangopadhyay, set in the 1857 Uprising. I also used three sensitivity readers, and this helped improve Ravi and his brother’s characters, as well as including a few Hindi phrases.

Ultimately, The Heart of a Bluestocking is about two people who don’t quite fit the standard of their time—Claire is an educated woman in 1888, while Ravi often finds himself torn between the different worlds of his father and mother. As the tagline says: When an uncommon lawyer meets an unusual doctor, their story must be extraordinary …

Renée Dahlia is an unabashed romance reader who loves feisty women and strong, clever men. Her books reflect this, with a side-note of dark humour. Renée has a science degree in physics. When not distracted by the characters fighting for attention in her brain, she works in the horse racing industry doing data analysis. She writes for two racing publications, churning out feature articles, interviews and advertorials. When she isn’t reading or writing, Renée wrangles a husband, four children, and volunteers on the local cricket club committee.

You can find Renée here: Website | Facebook | Twitter

The Heart of a Bluestocking

When an uncommon lawyer meets an unusual doctor, their story must be extraordinary …

September 1888: Dr Claire Carlingford owns the bluestocking label. Her tycoon father encouraged her to study, and with the support of her two best friends, she took it further than anyone could imagine, graduating as a doctor and running her own medical practice. But it’s not enough for her father. He wants her to take over the business, so he can retire. Then his sudden arrest throws the family into chaos and his business into peril.

Mr James Ravi Howick, second son of Lord Dalhinge, wants to use his position as a lawyer to improve conditions for his mother’s family in India. When an opportunity arises to work for Carlingford Enterprises, one of the richest companies in the world, Ravi leaps at the chance to open his own legal practise. But his employment becomes personal as he spends more time with Claire and she learns the secret that could destroy his family.

Both Ravi and Claire are used to being outsiders and alone. But as they work together to save their respective families from disaster, it becomes clear that these two misfits might just fit together perfectly.

PRE-ORDER NOW from Escape Publishing (out 20 October 2018)

Favourite reads: Sep 2018

5 October 2018

Books_purpleWelcome to our Favourite Reads for September. Each month some of ARRA’s members will tell you a little bit about one of the books they’ve recently read and loved.

These are not full reviews of the books, just honest opinions on why they enjoyed the book so much. Hopefully one of these will strike a chord with you.

So, we asked our members to tell us about some of their favourite reads for September …

Once Upon a Kiss: 17 Romantic Faerie Tales by Yasmine Galenorn et al (fantasy romance)

I was impressed with this collection of fairy tale re-imaginings, with ten of the seventeen stories being memorable and only three not to my taste. Special mention goes to Alethea Kontis (‘The Glass Mountain’), who uses a fairy tale I was unfamiliar with called ‘Old Rinkrank’. I also particularly liked Devon Monk’s ‘A Small Magic’, which is a fascinating version of ‘The Princess and the Pea’, where the heroine can talk only to inanimate objects, including the pea. There were many others I enjoyed and I recommend the collection highly. [Deb, NSW]

The Lost Pearl by Emily Madden

I loved this one from page one, I inhaled, devoured every word a story set across three generations from Hawaii 1941 to Sydney 2016 a young Catherine (Kitty) McGarrie meets the love of her life, her soul mate on her sixteenth birthday and what happens is an amazing story of love, heartache and a lost pearl. Make sure you have a box tissues handy and wipe the calendar because you won’t want to put this one down. I highly recommend this one. [Helen, NSW]

Roomies by Christina Lauren (contemporary romance)

My favourite read for this month is Roomies, by Christina Lauren, who writes fun contemporary romances set in the USA. Roomies is a green card/marriage of convenience story. The heroine has a crush on a brilliant busker. When her uncle needs a new musician for his smash hit Broadway show, she takes him to hear the busker. But he’s an Irishman whose green card has expired. So far I’ve read Josh & Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating and Roomies, and I’m glad to say Christina Lauren has a nice long backlist. [Anne, Vic]

English Lord on Her Doorstep by Marion Lennox (contemporary romance)

Bryn hits an injured dog with his car during the mother of all storms and takes refuge with Charlie, who’s struggling to cope with her grandmother’s ailing farm and old animals (including the dog). At first Bryn is a godsend, helping her, but when she finds out his true identity she doesn’t think she can trust him. A story where grief and trust need to be dealt with, and where romance deserves a chance. Great story. [Malvina, NSW]

Discover Me and You by Susan Sey (Devil’s Kettle #2)(contemporary romance)

I was intrigued by Eli when he appeared as a bus boy in the first book in this trilogy. He was so obviously more than that, but he was gone again before anyone really noticed him. He’s back in this book, and he has his eye on Willa. Willa has spent most of her life being deliberately invisible and she is annoyed by Eli’s attention. Both Willa and Eli have secrets and scandals in their past, which makes for lots of angsty scenes. A beautiful romance, but trust me – read all three books. You’ll fall in love with this whole town. [Debbie, ACT]