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ARRC2017: concurrent session 7A

24 January 2017

arrc2017-dark_200Here is the next in our series about the panel sessions at ARRC2017. You can find further details on the convention, including the full program and registration links here.

This week we are talking about…

Session 7A—Steampunk romance

This is the second of our two ‘in conversation’ sessions. Erica Hayes, who writes steampunk romance under the pen name Viola Carr, will interview steampunk authors Kristen Callihan and Bec McMaster. They will explore the origins of steampunk, how steampunk differs from sci-fi and historical romance, and talk about some of the authors writing the best steampunk today. Who do they credit with getting them interested in steampunk? What are some of the essential elements of steampunk and are there rules?

The host

7a-photosErica Hayes was first published in 2009. She writes dark, gritty paranormal romance and urban fantasy, as well as romantic science fiction. Her books, including her Shadowfae Chronicles and Seven Signs series, have been ARR Award finalists. Her latest urban fantasy series, beginning with Scorched, features a kick-butt super-powered heroine. Erica also writes edgy steampunk mystery/romance (The Diabolical Miss Hyde) as Viola Carr. Erica and Viola live in the ACT.

The guests

Bec McMaster is the author of the London Steampunk series, and paranormal romance series the Dark Arts and the Burned Lands. Forged by Desire was nominated for a RITA award in 2014, and Of Silk and Steam won RT Reviews Best Steampunk Romance in 2015. Bec lives in a small town in country Victoria.

Kristen Callihan writes in the science fiction/fantasy romance and new adult genres, and is the author of the popular Darkest London and Game On series. She is a three-time RITA nominee, and winner of two RT Reviewers Choice Awards. Her latest series, VIP, has been a roaring success, with the second book, Managed, released in November 2016. Kristen lives in Washington, DC.

Not registered yet? You can find all the relevant information here.

Release day: Wild Horse Springs

24 January 2017

Today is the official release of Wild Horse Springs by Jodi Thomas (book 5, Ransom Canyon series) (paperback, hardback and ebook, Harlequin). Here’s the blurb:

wild-horse-springsIn the heart of Ransom Canyon, sometimes the right match for a lonely soul is the one you least expect

Dan Brigman may not lead the most exciting life, but he’s proud of what he’s achieved: he’s a respected lawman, and he’s raised a bright, talented daughter on his own. But finding a lone, sparkly blue boot in the middle of a deserted highway gets him thinking maybe the cowgirl who lost it is exactly the shake-up he needs.

After losing her baby girl, Brandi Malone felt like her soul died along with her daughter. Now singing in small-town bars to make ends meet, she’s fine being a drifter—until a handsome sheriff makes her believe that parking her boots under his bed is a better option.

College grad Lauren Brigman has just struck out on her own in downtown Dallas when a troubling phone call leads her back home to Crossroads. Her hometown represents her family, friends and deepest hopes, but also her first love, Lucas Reyes. Will Lauren’s homecoming be another heartbreak, or a second chance for her and Lucas?

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

When I began Wild Horse Springs I wanted to write a story about what happens when a fantasy comes true. In the Ransom Canyon series, I have loved writing my sheriff, Dan Brigman. He’s honest and true, to the point of being predictable. Only he daydreams of meeting a wild and beautiful woman and letting himself be drawn into an affair that will leave him with a memory. No strings, no complications. But there is not much chance when the only time he talks to women is to ask for their driver’s license. When he finds a fancy blue woman’s cowboy boot on the center strip of a back road, he tries to picture what the woman who wore it would be like. Finding her becomes his quest.

You can find out more about this book, and the buy links, at Jodi’s website.

Weekly poll: 23 Jan 2017

23 January 2017

It’s heating up in Australia …

Guest blogger: Susanne Bellamy

22 January 2017

susanne-bellamyBirth of a title

‘Push … keep pushing … almost there!’

Giving birth to a book baby is, as with an infant, filled with joy, sleepless nights, and a great deal of uncertainty. Weeks and months have passed as the child of your imagination takes shape and grows until it’s ready to burst into the world. You’ve nurtured it from the euphoria of discovering the seed of its existence, through doubts about your ability to guide this amazing creation all the way to the wonderful shining possibilities ahead of it.

Then finally, all the blood, sweat and tears pay off and your book baby is ready to burst into the world.

And, as with a child, finding the right name can be incredibly challenging. At least it is for me.

Unlike friends who had selected their child’s name before he was born (and fellow authors who have a title before their story is written), my son was three days old before my husband and I settled on his name. It had to suit this tiny being we had created, work with our surname, not have any annoying abbreviated form, and somehow capture the essence of who he is and what he might become. That might give you a clue to the difficulties I have with finding the right titles for my books. A title has to suit the story I’ve created and capture its essence in a few key words.

As I was writing a post about my current Hearts of the Outback series, it occurred to me that these titles were, subconsciously, influenced by all the music I’ve listened to over the years:

Just One Kiss
Heartbreak Homestead (my husband came up with this title but I’m not sure if Elvis’ Heartbreak Hotel inspired him)
Long Way Home (listening to Supertramp at uni in the early 80s)
Winds of Change (makes me think of Bob Dylan’s ‘answer’ blowing in the wind)

I know I’m not alone in my angst over the name game. There are many examples of famous authors whose work-in-progress/original titles were simply awful.

There is a breathless moment as I try out a new title against the story I have just completed, and relief when I realise it’s a perfect fit. A special moment of private celebration between me and my book baby before I set it free to stand on its own merits in the world. Can’t wait to learn the name of book five!

Wishing you all a Happy New Year and a bright 2017 filled with great books!


Born and raised in Toowoomba, Susanne Bellamy is an Australian author of contemporary romances set in exciting and often exotic locations, and rural romance with a twist of suspense set in Australia, including the bestselling Hearts of the Outback. She adores travel with her husband, both at home and overseas, and weaves stories around the settings and people she encounters.

Her heroes have to be pretty special to live up to her real life hero. He saved her life then married her.

Susanne is a member of the RWA and was a finalist in the Emerald Award. She placed third in the 2015 Pan Macmillan short story competition with Chez Romeo. Mentoring aspiring writers, and working as a freelance editor keeps her off the street! She loves connecting with readers and fellow writers.

You can Susanne here: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads

winds-of-changeWinds of Change

When famous actress, Willa Raynolds, comes home to the Australian outback to film a mini-series, the last person she expects to see is her first love, Jax Heathwood. Their breakup was unpleasant and he is the last person she wants on the set. Jax, an army major, is on injury leave and to his dismay has been seconded to provide technical advice on location for Willa’s series.

But when Willa is the subject of a stalker, Jax’s protective instincts kick in with a vengeance and he realises he’s never got over her.

Who wants to harm her? Can Jax keep her safe and convince her to take another chance on them?

You can buy Winds of Change from Amazon.

Release day: Place to Belong

20 January 2017

Today is the official release of Place to Belong by Claire Boston (book 4, The Flanagan Sisters series) (ebook and print, self-published). Here’s the blurb:

place-to-belongSean Flanagan has spent a lifetime alone and rejected, constantly hiding who he really is.

With a father who deserted him and a mother who despised him, Sean didn’t think things could get much worse … until he was kicked out of home for being gay. Now he’s discovered he has three half-sisters on the other side of the world. This might be his last chance to find people who will love and accept him. But he’s terrified that if they find out who he really is then they’ll reject him like the rest of his family.

Sean arrives in Houston and is stunned by the warm welcome he receives from his sisters. He begins to hope that maybe this time things will be different. That’s when he meets Hayden Johnson. To follow his heart means risking everything with his newfound family.

Hayden is tired of endless dating. He’s looking for a man to love, someone to spend the rest of his life with. His boss’s new brother ticks all the boxes on the attraction scale, but there’s just one problem – he’s not gay.

Will Sean let his fears rule him, or will he let in the chance of love and find a place where he belongs?

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

The Flanagan Sisters was only going to be a three-book series, until I met Hayden in Change of Heart. I fell in love with him and wanted to tell his story. Place to Belong is the result of that. I hope you love him as much as I do.

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

ARRC2017: concurrent session 6C

19 January 2017

arrc2017-light_200Here is the next in our series about the panel sessions at ARRC2017. You can find further details on the convention, including the full program and registration links here.

This week we are talking about…

Session 6C—Regular Joes

Billionaire heroes seem to be a dime a dozen these days. This panel will ask the question: ‘Does the hero have to be a rich successful guy to be a perfect hero?’ We say no. Let’s talk about some of our favourite tradies, sexy geeks, farmers and other regular guy heroes in romance.

The panellists

Cathryn Hein6c-photos is the author of nine Australian-set rural romances and one romantic adventure, with more books in both genres planned for the future. She currently lives in NSW at the base of the Blue Mountains.

Jennie Jones is the bestselling author of seven contemporary small-town romances which include the Swallow’s Fall series and the Rangelands series, and a new Texas-set series due out later this year. Jennie lives in Perth, Western Australia.

Joanne Dannon is the author of seven contemporary romances, and aims to writes books where her readers will be whisked away for a few hours of blissful escapism. She mentors up-and-coming writers, is a regular contributor to Savvy Authors and runs the Romance Writers of Australia critique program. Joanne lives in Melbourne, Australia.

Kelly Hunter is the author of 28 short contemporary romances. Her books have been nominated for many awards—her latest win being a RUBY from Romance Writers of Australia for Best Novella of 2016. Kelly lives on the sunny Central Coast of NSW.

Not registered yet? You can find all the relevant information here.

Feature book: Bound to the Bounty Hunter

18 January 2017

bound-by-the-bounty-hunterBound to the Bounty Hunter by Hayson Manning

Harlan Franco believes that Sophie is sex on legs, very long legs.

Sophie is a PI who works some small cases. She is the daughter of a preacher who moved from place to place as he was really a con artist. Sophie has spent her time earning money to pay back many of the people her preacher father ripped off. She also has her father’s diaries on a Russian called Petrov. She is trying to sort through the information to find what Petrov meant to her father. She has people she cares about, and there is also her collection of snow globes.

Sophie also finds a job in a bar. The bar has many rough types and the rule is don’t touch the girls. In the crowd there is also another who wants Sophie. Harlan struggles with her working in the bar and how much he wants to pulverise any man who looks at her. She finds that she makes some new girlfriends and their girls’ nights are interesting to say the least with the girl snacks, cocktails and vibrators.

Harlan has a job to keep an eye on Sophie. He starts turning up in all the places she is. There also seems to be someone following her and he knows just who it is. He is frustrated by Sophie not wanting to be protected and that she wants to get on with her life. The other aspect is the lust that streaks through both Sophie and Harlan.

There are many secondary characters and these characters will get their own stories and life mate. And I can’t wait to read those stories.

But this book—what do I say, but this book is hot, hot, hot.

Reviewed by Heather

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