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Author spotlight: Cathryn Hein

5 December 2019

For ARR2020 in March we will be featuring more than 90 romance authors across five cities. If you live in (or near) Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth or Adelaide, come along and meet local authors, as well as our international guests—Darynda Jones and Susan Donovan.

Today we are spotlighting Cathryn Hein. She will be attending ARR2020 in Sydney.

How old were you when you first started writing romance?

I was in my late thirties when I finished my first manuscript, but I’d written off and on for most of my life.

Who was the first romance author to catch your interest?

Michelle Paver. Her book A Place in the Hills completely transformed my reading world. As did her Daughters of Eden trilogy. The way those books made me feel … I wanted MORE!

Have you written genres other than romance (or are you thinking about it)?

I’ve only written romance but I would love to write horror one day. I adore horror novels. I think it comes from being give a book of original Grimms’ Fairy Tales when I was a kid. They were deliciously awful.

Choose one of your books to turn into a movie—who would you cast in the lead roles?

April’s Rainbow. Chris or Liam Hemsworth as Tristan and Jessica De Gouw as April.

What is the hardest part of creating a story?

Creating a hero and heroine who, despite their differences, faults and conflicts, are likeable and clearly destined to be together.

What is your favourite place to write?

In my office. I have everything at hand.

Have any of your characters been inspired by real-life people?

Not so much the people in their entirety, more a distinctive mannerism or saying.

What was the last romance you read and loved (and why did you love it)?

The Glittering Hour by Iona Grey, although it was more love story than romance. The writing was beautiful and it made me bawl.

Tell us about your latest release in 100 words or less

Eddie and the Show Queen is book five in my loosely related Levenham Love Story series. To win back the love of his life, Alice Lindner, giant-sized Eddie Argyle enters the local Wine Show Crown contest. He thinks it’ll be easy, but the show queen contest isn’t a quaint country competition, it’s a blood sport. Besides, Alice wants to win the crown herself as tribute to her late mum, and there’s no way she’s letting Eddie get his big hands on it. Sweet, funny and emotional, Eddie and the Show Queen will make you smile and sigh.

What else will you be working on in 2020?

A sequel to Elsa’s Stand, featuring Elsa’s beautician friend Serenity and bad boy Jesse Hargreaves, and a yet-to-be-named single-title rural romance. There will also be edits for Scarlett and the Model Man, book six in the Levenham Love Story series.

If you haven’t booked your ticket for ARR2020 yet, you can buy one HERE.

 

 

Favourite reads: Nov 2019

5 December 2019

Books_purpleWelcome to our favourite reads for November. 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 November …

Beautiful, Fragile by Michelle Montebello (contemporary romance)

This is such a beautiful, moving and emotional story. I loved it from page one; I loved getting to know Faith and Will and loved sharing their journey, a second-chance romance and a journey that is about opening up and re-learning a lot for Faith after she is found on a beach in Spain injured and missing ten years of her life. Don’t miss this one—truly it is a must read. [Helen, NSW]

Speechless by Kay Elle Parker (erotic romance)

This story stays in your mind for a long time after you finish reading it. Jenna is kidnapped by a man who abuses and tortures her for years, until she becomes just ‘Twenty-two’ and his slave. After Jenna escapes, she’s rescued then nursed to health by Connor O’Malley and his friends, while hunted by her captor who plans to kill her. Despite the heavy subject matter, it’s a romance, with a BDSM daddy/little girl theme. The author handles the topic of Jenna’s abuse well but, be warned, the story is an intensely emotional read, and it might be a trigger for some. [Kylie, NSW]

Reaper’s Property by Joanna Wylde (Reapers MC #1) (motorcycle romance)

This book is exactly what I was looking for: edgy, dark and a whole lot of loving. Wylde sets a high bar for motorcycle romances of the future. From the outset, our hero seems brutish and not a little violent, but once you read further your perception starts to shift and you realise he’s actually really loving and protective. And the heroine has just the right amount of attitude to make his life all that much harder! Fantastic characterisation and a plot to match. [Charlotte, ACT]

The Magic of Christmas by Alyssa J Montgomery (contemporary romance)

This book has two damaged people find each other, and oh, the trauma in their past. There is also a surprise someone who might have something to do with ‘the magic of Christmas’, but you can make up your own mind about that! Jack is a fabulous hero and Grace is lovely, inside and out. You really want them to succeed at love and find happiness. What a beautiful book to read at Christmas! [Malvina, NSW]

Twelve Days of Christmas by Trisha Ashley (contemporary romance)

At this time of year I like reading (and rereading) Christmas stories, and a fave I read every year is Trisha Ashley’s Twelve Days of Christmas. A cook/house-sitter who doesn’t do Christmas takes on a house-sitting job in a remote Lancashire location … and finds herself sucked slowly into celebrating Christmas with a bunch of strangers, who become family. No hot-and-heavy sex, but lots of Christmas food and squirty cream—the only vegetables that appear are carrots for the horse … [Anne, Vic]

Wicked Pleasure by Taryn Leigh Taylor (The Business of Pleasure #3) (erotic romance)

In this Harlequin DARE we have a kickass hacker and a less-than-completely-scrupulous cyber-entrepreneur, who have an instant connection to each other, but the circumstances of their meeting are not that conducive to romance. What follows tests both their loyalties and their hearts, with a mystery to solve and baggage to overcome. The path to happiness is not smooth, but there is plenty of banter, humour and meeting of minds (not to mention meeting of bodies <g>). I enjoyed every bit of it! [Deb, NSW]

Man Cuffed by Tanya Eby and Sarina Bowen (Man Hands #4) (romantic comedy)

The hero in this story is a big growly cop and the heroine is a actress slash waitress who has just moved in next door. Meg is an awesome character—she’s warm and open and also just a little bit crazy. There is so much to enjoy in this story, not least the laugh-out-loud moments and the solid friendship that grows between Meg and Mac, who start out with a fake romance and end up with the real thing. [Debbie, ACT]

Australian Romance Readers Survey 2019: results

4 December 2019

The Australian Romance Readers Survey for 2019 was launched on 15 August and closed on 30 September.

A total of 339 people responded to the survey (up from 299 last year).

You can download the full results HERE, but here’s a look at some of the interesting results:

  • The majority of respondents were from NSW (127), with high rates for Vic (72) and Qld (60). Next was WA (36), ACT (18) and SA (20). The NT had 3 respondents and Tas just 2. The percentages of all these are very similar to those from the 2018 survey.
  • This year we had 5 male respondents (up from 3 last year).
  • The age range for respondents trended older again this year, with more than 65% of respondents over 45 years, and no respondents under 20 years.
  • Facebook remains the preferred social media platform at 92.58% (down from 94.4% last year). Goodreads was second at 68.25% (up from 64.1%), followed by Instagram at 59.64% (up from 53.3%), Twitter at 44.21% (down from 47.7% last year) and Pinterest at 38.58% (down from 42.86%). Similar to last year, 33% of respondents have their own website or blog.
  • 82.53% of respondents said that 50% or more of the books they read are romances (80.3% last year), with 11.75% saying all the books they read are romances (down from 17.9% last year).
  • Available reading time is still hard to find, with 56.04% of respondents reading only 1–2 hours a day (57.2% in 2018); 30.96% of respondents did manage 3–4 hours a day (down from 32.6% last year), with 11.76% reading 5–6 hours a day. Four lucky respondents said they read romances more than 7 hours a day!
  • For many readers there was a rise in the number of romances read, with 40.66% of respondents saying they read less than 5 romances a month (compared with 44.7% in 2018), and 12.05% of respondents saying they read more than 15 romances a month (up from 11.3% in 2018).
  • The most popular sub-genre this year was again contemporary romance, read by 82.01% of respondents (80.6% last year), followed by historical romance (64.94%), romantic suspense (56.40%), romantic comedy (53.05%, up from 45.9% last year) and rural romance (49.39%). Just outside the top 5 again were paranormal romance (48.48%, up from 45.2%) and erotic romance (42.68%, down from 43.4%).

  • In response to the question about which one sub-genre is read most often, contemporary romance was again in front at 26.23% (up from 24.6% last year). A distant second was paranormal romance at 13.89% (similar to 13.4% last year), then rural romance at 11.73% (down from 12.0% last year), and historical romance at 10.80% (down from 14.1%). There was a drop for erotic romance at 4.01% (5.4% in 2018), but small rises for romantic suspense at 8.64% (6.9% in 2018), traditional Regency at 6.17% (3.6% in 2018), new adult at 1.85% (1.4% in 2018), and YA at 1.85% (1.4% in 2018).
  • This was the third year that we asked respondents whether they read mainly traditionally or self-published authors. ‘Traditionally published’ was at 39.80% (down from 42.5% in 2018) and ‘hybrid’ was at 37.04% (up from 36.7%), with 10.8% reading mainly self-published authors (down from 11.5%).
  • Ebooks were once again the most frequently purchased book format, accounting for more than double the purchases of all paper formats combined. The chart below shows a small increase for mass market purchases (20.44%, compared with 20.1% in 2018), while ebook purchases rose (65.4%, up from 60.2% in 2018). Trade paperbacks were down (10.38%, compared with 15.0% in 2018), with audio books up slightly (3.46%, compared with 3.3% in 2018).

  • Respondents who indicated they don’t read ebooks at all was up at 10.53% (8.8% in 2018), suggesting the survey reached a slightly different audience again this year.
  • Buying paper books is still low, with 57.50% of respondents buying less than 5 new paper romance books a month (57.8% last year); only 7 respondents buy more than 10 new paper books a month. The number who don’t buy any new paper books each month has remained the same at 33.13% (33.1% in 2018).
  • When comparing ebook purchases to paper books, 66.45% of respondents said more than half of all books they buy are ebooks (up from 64.8% in 2018); 13.29% of respondents buy only paper books (up from 11.4%); and 24.68% buy only ebooks (down from 26.4%).
  • Just under half of respondents own an ebook reader of some sort, with only a few using more than one device. The Kindle was still the most popular device by far (100 respondents), with Kindle Paperwhite the most popular model. Other devices mentioned were Kobo (18) and iPad (11).
  • A new question last year was ‘Do you review books? (including leaving reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, etc)’. The results were: Frequently, 25.47% (compared with 26.18% in 2018); Occasionally, 49.69% (46.55% in 2018); Never, 24.84% (27.27% in 2018).

Thank you to everyone who took the time to fill in the survey.

[This article first appeared in the ARRA newsletter in Nov 2019.]

Feature book: The Duke is But a Dream

4 December 2019

The Duke is But a Dream by Anna Bennett

Subgenre: historical romance
Release date: 30 Jul 2019
Publisher: St Martin’s Paperbacks
Format: ebook and print
Length: 317 pages
RRP: $8.00 (ebook); $15.99 (print)

Lily Hartley is left in the house, as her newly married sister leaves with her husband, and her parents have gone away too. She is on a mission to take the latest article of The Debutante’s Revenge to the newspaper office. Unfortunately, as Lily’s curiosity gets the better of her, and she goes into one of the pubs, she is attacked. Her saviour accidently knocks her, and she is knocked out. He takes her to his home and cares for her. The next morning, Lily cannot remember who she is and why she was in that part of town. She takes on the name Caroline.

Eric Nash, Duke of Stonebridge or Duke of Stoneheart as he is called, still mourns the loss of his twin sister and their father. And he is keeping secrets around their death in a carriage accident. With Caroline, he is able to open up, and he admits to her what happened. But he has become overprotective of his younger sister. Delilah just wants to be free and flirt with the gentlemen. Delilah doesn’t heed Nash’s advice, and finds herself in the situation he warned her about. Nash is able to share this with Caroline (Lily).

When Lily discovers who she really is, she and Nash need to keep their distance. Naturally Lily is upset by this, and Nash tears himself apart. It is Delilah who puts it into perspective for him. He then sets about making the grand proposal.

I am really enjoying this series with the sisters and their friend. The women are strong and willing to do what it takes be ‘modern’ women in Regency England. They have few fears and want to be able to share their strength with other debutantes.

Reviewed by Heather

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

Author spotlight: Lilliana Rose

3 December 2019

For ARR2020 in March we will be featuring more than 90 romance authors across five cities. If you live in (or near) Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth or Adelaide, come along and meet local authors, as well as our international guests—Darynda Jones and Susan Donovan.

Today we are spotlighting Lilliana Rose. She will be attending ARR2020 in Adelaide.

How old were you when you first started writing romance?

I first started writing romance in year 6, when I had to write a shipwreck story. The story started with a girl bumping into a boy on the ship before it sank. I remember my teacher saying I could cut this scene out, since what I had written was too long. I said I couldn’t because they both survive the shipwreck and were washed up on an island. I didn’t realise at the time, but looking back on this memory, I was writing a romance.

Who was the first romance author to catch your interest?

I quite like the books written by Janette Oke. They’re feel good, easy to read, and very different to what I write and usually read. I enjoy going back to her books when I need a pick-me-up in life.

Have you written genres other than romance (or are you thinking about it)?

I have written a middle grade book and a children’s picture book. I’m also doing some life writing about my family history.

Choose one of your books to turn into a movie—who would you cast in the lead roles?

I’d love to see Best in Show turned into a movie. Well, now I couldn’t go past Liam Hepworth to play Max, and Charlotte Best would really bring Zoe’s character to life.

What is the hardest part of creating a story?

Sometimes it’s when I write the middle section of the story, and I know the ending, and that’s what I want to write. I might allow myself to jump ahead and write the ending, but generally I don’t. It can be hard to write the middle in the moment, but it is worth taking the time to try and get the balance of action and story development right. It’s often at this point of the story too, where I might write a scene or two, change my mind, delete them, and rewrite them. It’s a crucial part of the writing process, which can take time, and deleting lots of words, which can be disheartening.

What is your favourite place to write?

I love writing in cafes, though at the moment I’m enjoying writing while sitting on my lounge.

Have any of your characters been inspired by real-life people?

No, they haven’t been, which sort of sounds rather boring.

What was the last romance you read and loved (and why did you love it)?

I’ve been reading a few books by Lauraine Snelling as part of my research for writing my family history. Her books are inspirational, and not at all what I write, but I have enjoyed imagining what life was like for the pioneers in America as I read her books.

Tell us about your latest release in 100 words or less

A Farmer’s Christmas is a novella that continues the story with Raven and Ben from The Royal Show Affair. Christmas will be different for Raven and Ben this year, more than they could ever imagine with bush fires threatening their livelihood. Will it be too easy for Raven to return to the city and her family? Or will she stand with Ben and fight for a future with him?

What else will you be working on in 2020?

I’ll be working on an Academy series, and writing more paranormal romance. I’ll also be converting my rural romances into audio books.

If you haven’t booked your ticket for ARR2020 yet, you can buy one HERE.

 

 

Release day: The Christmas Tree Thief

3 December 2019

Today is the official release of The Christmas Tree Thief by Phillipa Nefri Clark (Charlotte Dean Mysteries, book 1) (ebook and paperback, self-published). Here’s the blurb:

Meet Dr Charlotte Dean. She’s moved to the picturesque town of Kingfisher Falls to leave behind her troubled past as a psychiatrist.

Charlotte has a great view of the town from the balcony above the bookshop. What she doesn’t expect to see is someone stealing Christmas trees from other shop windows.

Suspicion falls on the new family running the struggling Christmas Tree farm. Perhaps this is a stunt to increase their sales.

Charlotte disagrees. But she’s not getting involved. Not when the local police officer already thinks she’s up to no good.

But when the bookshop becomes a target, Charlotte is forced to reconsider her hands-off policy, even if it means putting herself in danger.

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

Dr Charlotte Dean burst into another of my books and demanded her own spotlight. The book was Jasmine Sea, and resident police officer Trev was looking for a bad guy. Instead, he found a lost and distressed psychiatrist. After finishing the last of that series, Charlotte refused to leave me alone, so the Charlotte Dean Mysteries concept was born. The Christmas Tree Thief fitted perfectly to show Charlotte’s first few weeks in her new small-town home.

You can find out more about this book at Phillipa’s website or buy it from Amazon.

 

Author spotlight: Sarah Williams

2 December 2019

For ARR2020 in March we will be featuring more than 90 romance authors across five cities. If you live in (or near) Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth or Adelaide, come along and meet local authors, as well as our international guests—Darynda Jones and Susan Donovan.

Today we are spotlighting Sarah Williams. She will be attending ARR2020 in Brisbane and Sydney.

How old were you when you first started writing romance?

I was 18 when I started writing my first romance. It was a wild west cowboy romance and the story has stayed with me. I will write it properly again one of these days.

Who was the first romance author to catch your interest?

American author Janet Dailey. I found her book This Calder Range when I was 14 and it changed my life!

Have you written genres other than romance (or are you thinking about it)?

I started writing a book I thought was just contemporary fiction. Then my friend told me it was romance. I didn’t even know that was a genre!

Choose one of your books to turn into a movie—who would you cast in the lead roles? Liam and Chris Hemsworth are the inspiration behind my first novel The Brothers of Brigadier Station. Those two in akubras and riding horses! Who wouldn’t want to see that?!

What is the hardest part of creating a story?

Sitting down and typing it. There are so many distractions in life!

What is your favourite place to write?

On my verandah with the birds chirping and a steaming cup of coffee.

Have any of your characters been inspired by real-life people?

Absolutely! The little girl Hannah in The Legacies of Brigadier Station is based on my twin daughters who were the same age when I wrote it.

What was the last romance you read and loved (and why did you love it)?

Simple Truths by Michelle Dalton. I loved learning about South Africa and the love story was heart melting.

Tell us about your latest release in 100 words or less

Christmas at Brigadier Station, Brigadier Station #5 is a sexy, later in life romance. When Tom Carmody buys a run-down cattle station in outback Queensland he is shocked to discover that the woman living next door is none other than Harriet McGuire, his high school crush—the woman who mysteriously never returned to boarding school after the summer break.
As Christmas approaches, rain storms finally break the decade long outback drought. But can the floods wash away the ghosts of the past? Or will they cause yet another disaster?

What else will you be working on in 2020?

I’m working on #2 in the Heart of the Hinterland series and hope to have that one out in May 2020.

If you haven’t booked your ticket for ARR2020 yet, you can buy one HERE.