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Release day: Evie Undercover

7 July 2015

Today is the official release of Evie Undercover by Liz Harris (paperback, Choc Lit). Here’s the blurb:

Evie UndercoverWhen libel lawyer Tom Hadleigh acquires a perfect holiday home, a 14th century house that needs restoring, there’s a slight problem. The house is located in the beautiful Umbrian countryside and Tom can’t speak a word of Italian.

Enter Evie Shaw, masquerading as an agency temp, but in reality the newest reporter for gossip magazine Pure Dirt.

Unbeknown to Tom, Italian speaking Evie has been sent by her manipulative editor to write an exposé on him. And the stakes are high – Evie’s job rests on her success.

Pour a glass of prosecco, sit back and enjoy. An ideal summer read!

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

Evie Undercover is a romantic comedy, set in Umbria, Italy, and in London. For me, there are three must-haves for a rom com—a fabulous hero; a spirited heroine, and a story that keeps pages turning. Also, ideally, a romantic setting. Not only is lawyer Tom good looking, but he’s got a brilliant sense of humour, which I think is one of the sexiest characteristics a man can have. As for a spirited heroine, well enterprising Evie Shaw, part English, part Italian, certainly fits the bill. Anyone who could play the trick she did on their first night together in Italy … But Evie’s been given a mission by her editor, with only one week in Italy in which to achieve it, and failure isn’t in a word in her book! And for a romantic setting, there couldn’t be anywhere more romantic than Umbria, a part of the world I know well. It lies in the heart of Italy, a country famous for olives, wine, music and love. And of course, pasta! As for the story. The restoration of Tom’s Umbrian house is nearing its completion and if he’s going to spend August there as he wants to do, he needs to order furniture as a matter of urgency. Alas, though, there’s one teeny problem: Tom can’t speak a word of Italian; his Italian surveyor can’t speak a word of English, and his regular interpreter isn’t available to accompany Tom. Yes, that’s where Italian-speaking Evie comes in. She’s sent to work for Tom, ostensibly as an interpreter, but in reality to write an exposé on him or lose her only offer of a magazine job after months of searching. But the path for the investigative journalist seldom runs smooth, as Evie is about to find out, and it certainly never does when the subject in hand is as luscious as Tom, nor when the sleek Italian surveyor, Eduardo di Montefiori, has a sister as beautiful as Gabriela.

You can find out more about this book on Liz’s website and purchase it at Booktopia.

All ARRA members who leave a comment on this blog article will go in the draw to win the book. Giveaway closes on 21 July 2015.

Guest blogger: Donna Maree Hanson

5 July 2015

Donna Maree HansonBelieving in love and the happy ever after

Sometimes our happy ever after takes a little while to arrive. As a mature woman, I’ve seen a few things in my time, been a single mother for more than ten years with all the hardship and issues that go with that. I’ve had relationships fail too. But I’m a lover of romance at heart, even though I write some pretty dark stuff in other genres.

Sometimes reaching out to someone you’re attracted to is one of the most difficult things to do. It could be my age bracket, but asking my Matthew out on a date nearly gave me a heart attack. I swear to God, I lay on my bed with heart palpitations for half an hour. You will think me a bit of a coward, but I actually texted him an invite to dinner.

It was an amazing connection that I made and followed through on despite the fact that in my mind men usually asked women out. Old fashioned… I know. Also Matthew was younger than me and to my mind that was somewhat of an impediment. Me=cougar?

It turns out that asking Matthew out on a date was one of the smartest things I have ever done in my life. I have no regrets! We have been happy together for more than six years now. I’m not sure whether being the chooser made the difference for me. I know that I spent a long time thinking about it, what I wanted in my life, what was important to me and whether Matthew was compatible with those things. Funnily enough, he is also a writer and likes many of the things that I do, such as action movies and science fiction and other geeky things. I’d known him for a long time through my writer group too, which also helped in the getting to know him stakes.

My relationship with Matthew has shown me aspects of romance that I never really understood before—the friendship and companionship and the joy in liking each other. It’s the connection we have that makes everything else easier to deal with. He has certainly inspired many of my romantic scenes and let me understand what a normal relationship should or could be like. This was something that I wasn’t prepared for but that I wholeheartedly accept. (Here I was thinking I knew it all—but I come from a dysfunctional background so what did I really know?) Until I experienced it myself I really didn’t understand what I had been missing. We are friends and we like spending time with each other. I’m not saying this is a template for others, but it works for me. I also think he’s easy on the eye.

So when I write romance, I’m writing from a sense of belief in love and happy ever after. The elements of fantasy are derived from the world building and the tropes of the particular genre I’m using, be it witches using magic or people travelling in a space ship. The important thing to me is that these are real people with genuine feelings and relationships in my stories. (Real in my mind!) I also like to have my characters have strong relationships with other characters, such as mothers, sisters and friends, as well as a connection to the hero. This seems natural to me, as we don’t live in isolation from others generally. One’s friends and family can add some interesting spice into relationships too. For me, connecting with others is what makes life worthwhile. Writing allows me to connect with a much broader spectrum of people. Waves!

Donna Maree Hanson writes across a number of genres. Under her real name, she writes dark fantasy and light SF romance, with Rayessa and the Space Pirates. Under her pen name, Dani Kristoff, she writes paranormal romance with two series under way. One featuring witches in Sydney and the other a sorcerer and werewolf in Canberra.

You can find Donna here: Blog | Facebook | Twitter

New RayessaRay and Essa’s Space Adventures

In Rayessa and the Space Pirates, Rae made a startling discovery about her past. Now her twin sister Essa has her own adventures to pursue.

Essa Gayens is starting to accept her sister Rae into her life, sharing a dorm room in their swanky private school on Earth. Smarter, savvier and more in touch with the world than Rae, Essa’s feelings of superiority and advantage are shaken when their mother goes missing, along with Rae’s boyfriend, Alwin.

When Rae takes off after them into outer space, Essa is spurred into action. Very soon, Essa is hot on her trail, sneaking out of school, bribing officials and begging Captain Thorn Hanover to take her on his ship.

Thorn is a hunk, and Essa is thrilled with the prospect of an interesting trip, but Thorn has no interest in a spoiled rich girl. Not only does he reject her advances, he sets her up on the chore roster and expects her to work for her passage.

Essa has never been anything but a pampered princess, but both Rae and Thorn are challenging her to dig deeper, to be more. But to aspire is to risk failure, and Essa has never really risked anything before. Can she start with her heart?


Mary Jo Putney to visit Australia

3 July 2015

Mary Jo PutneyHistorical romance author Mary Jo Putney will be visiting Australia in August for the Romance Writers of Australia conference (and our signing event). Mary Jo has kindly agreed to answer some questions for us …

What kind of books did you love when you were a child?

Adventure, romance, and strong heroines! Horses and science fiction were also high on the list—but really, I’d read anything. <G>

Do you remember the first romance novel you read?

I always loved a romantic subplot in a book, but the first true romance I read might have been Georgette Heyer’s Sylvester: or, The Wicked Uncle. It was sort of mock Gothic in the set up, and it triggered a head-first plunge into reading Heyer.

How old were you when you knew that you wanted to be a writer?

I always loved stories and thought that being a writer (by which I meant ‘novelist’ without ever defining it to myself) would be the coolest thing imaginable. But I grew up in farm country a long, long way from writing and publishing and it never occurred to me that I could become a writer. I’m still kind of shocked by it all. <G>

When did you first sit down and start to write? How long after that before you were published?

I started writing on 22 March 1986.

It was the first Saturday of spring. I’d gotten my first computer and printer on 31 December 1985 (so I could deduct it on my taxes), the Mayhem Consultant showed me how to use the word processing program, and once I got a handle on that (‘When you fix something, it stays fixed!!!’), I decided to see if I could take the ideas floating around in my head and write a book.

The Diabolical BaronThe beginning of spring seemed like a good omen and on Saturday I didn’t have to work on my regular job (freelance graphic designer). So I sat down—and started to write a book. Yes, really. <G>

My first book, a traditional Regency called The Diabolical Baron, was published in November 1987.

How hard was it to first get published?

This is kind of embarrassing. Everything fell into place really fast. A friend of a friend who was an author was willing to look at the first chapter, she gave me the name of her former agent, the agent took me on and sent out the partial manuscript (119 pages at that point), and I was offered a three book contract three months after I started the first book. It was a different world then, and I had a good natural voice for Regency. But I was stunned then, and I’m still stunned now!

What authors do you read and/or admire now?

Oh, lots! All of my Word Wenches historical romance blogging buddies, including Anne Gracie and Jo Beverley. Fantasy authors like Patricia Briggs and Sharon Shinn. For romantic suspense, it’s hard to beat Jayne Ann Krentz. I could go on and on, but I’ll quit now. <G>

MJP CoversNot Always a Saint (Book 7 of the Lost Lords series) is due out in August and you have a story in The Last Chance Christmas Ball collection due in September. What can we expect from you in 2016?

I’m working on my historical romance for next year, which is called Once a Soldier. It’s a spin-off from the Lost Lords series I’ve been writing
for Kensington, and the hero, Will Masterson, has been in the background of the series from the beginning. Finally, it’s his turn!

I’ll also probably do a shorter work or two, and I need to get one of my very first books into shape for e-pubbing. Plus, I’d like to do a couple of collections of my shorter stories.

If you weren’t a writer, do you think you would still be working in design?

It’s really hard to say. I loved design and being a designer, but I had a feeling that I wouldn’t be doing design at age 50. And I’m not. <G>

Other than books, is there one item you can’t resist buying?

Fun costume jewellery, particularly necklaces or pins. For example, I love a necklace that I bought in the Caribbean in January. It’s made of flat, brightly coloured coconut beads, it loops around my neck twice, and it has so many different colours that I can wear it with anything. It cost all of ten dollars. <G>

Has there been any interest in any of your books for movies or television given the recent success of young adult franchises and period dramas like Downton Abbey?

There has been some interest and a couple of times options were taken out on my book The China Bride. But I have no expectations that anything will ever happen on that front. Movies are wildly expensive to make, historical settings even more so, and no one is making much in the way of historical romance movies unless the author is Jane Austen. <G> Plus, romances usually have a definite, happy ending, while most of the historical series like Downton Abbey are long-running melodramas.

You started independently producing audiobooks in 2013. What have you learned in the process? How do you choose the vocal talent?

I found it very interesting, but also very time consuming. I did three audiobooks, but when Audible changed the royalty structure so indie audiobooks were making a lot less money, I stopped. I don’t know if I’ll do any more myself, but I am looking into licensing the rights to an audio production company because some ‘readers’ really want the audio.

Choosing the narrators required much hair pulling! I listened to a lot of samples to figure out what I liked in the hope that other listeners will like the same things. I like a deep voice, either male or female, a British narrator since most of my book are set in Britain, a reasonably quick pace, but not so quick it sounds rushed, and a certain expressiveness without the characters actually sounding like they are being acted. Obviously all this is very subjective!

What’s next for you? Any plans to branch out in another genre?

I love writing history, romance, and fantasy in various combinations, and I’ve been lucky enough to be able to do so. For the time being, I’ll continue to write historical romance (I recently signed another three book contract with Kensington,) but I’ll probably do the odd shorter story now and then, sometimes with fantasy. If someone asks me to be in an anthology, I almost never say no. <G>

This is not your first visit to Australia—what did you most enjoy on your first trip? What are you looking forward to on this trip?

This is my third trip! We visited a lot of years ago just for fun. I love the people and the variety, and on this trip, I’m looking forward to seeing something of Melbourne and Victoria. Part of the reason I love visiting is that the US and Australia (and New Zealand and Canada, of course) share British roots, but each country is very much itself. Theme and variations. <G> So I love coming Down Under. Can’t wait to get there!

[This article first appeared in the June 2015 ARRA newsletter.]

Publisher pitch: Totally Bound, Jul 2015

2 July 2015

Totally Bound logo

July has arrived and we are happy to bring you some hot titles to heat up your ereader in these winter months!

We have big changes coming up this month and we are all hard at work getting everything ready for the 7th, which is our official launch day! We are making a move from Totally Bound to Totally Bound and Pride Publishing. All of our GLBTQI titles will be moving home to Pride while Totally Bound will continue to publish the MF and ménage titles you know and love. So, this month for Totally Bound we are starting off our hetero-only publishing lives with a bang!

We have a beautiful new website, with lots of discounts and offers to celebrate! So come on over and see what we have for you!

Our Totally Five Star imprint is continuing to whisk you away to exotic and exciting destinations around the world! The newest addition is Jasmine Hill’s The King of Infierno, available everywhere from 7 July. The King of Infierno spirits you away to the renovated palaces of Madrid, back-alleys and BDSM clubs. This book will take you from Sydney, Australia to Madrid—something I am sure all you readers can imagine! A young virgin comes face to face with an experienced Dom with explosive consequences!

We have a new addition to our What’s her Secret? imprint, Designated Alpha by Crissy Smith. This novel follows on from Crissy’s earlier release, Last Call—where a young woman discovers her own secret identity as a shifter, and nothing can ever be the same again. Designated Alpha charts Piper’s growing understanding of her own development, with her boyfriend Jace there to support her every step of the way. However, sometimes even Jace can’t save her from the perils which await the emerging shifter population. Coming out 14 July, early download your copy from Totally Bound today!

Keep track of what else we have coming up by visiting our brand new, made-over website:

TEB covers_Jul2015You can also like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter where we divulge the entire latest goings on…

Coming up in July …

  • Carousel by Aurelia T Evans
  • The King of Infierno by Jasmine Hill
  • Soul Keeper by Natalie Dae
  • The Final Quarter by Anne Lange
  • Designated Alpha by Crissy Smith
  • Perfect Notes by Jaye Peaches
  • Soul Purpose by Nichelle Gregory
  • Ignite by Kait Gamble
  • Owned Forever by Willa Edwards
  • The Promise of Love by Billi Jean
  • Bliss by Helena Maeve
  • Coyote’s Kiss by Crissy Smith

Release day: Tower of the Ice Lord

1 July 2015

Today is the official release of Tower of the Ice Lord by Anne Mok (ebook, Dreamspinner Press). Here’s the blurb:

Tower of the Ice LordArius the sorcerer has lived in solitude for centuries, watching over his frozen tundra and sending his ice wolves against the kingdom of Evernesse. Only a sacrifice of royal blood can end the war, and it comes when Loren, son of the king of Evernesse, arrives at the Ice Lord’s tower, willing to die to procure peace. Though stunned and mistrustful, Arius agrees. But as the fateful day draws nearer, Arius learns Loren’s bravery and commitment run deeper than he suspected, and Loren begins to see the lonely man beneath the Ice Lord’s mask. Arius’s god demands a sacrifice, Loren might be his people’s only hope, and both men must choose between the conflicting demands of duty and love.

Anne dropped by today to tell us about this book:

I read fantasy because I want to discover worlds I never dreamed could exist, and walk in the shoes of people I never would have imagined. But look closer, and you will find that a fantasy story often has a love story at its heart. Because no matter what world you are from, or who you happen to fall for, part of human nature is the need to love and be loved. My story is about two men who should be sworn enemies, but discover a connection that runs deeper than their differences. Fantasy might be about saving the world. But love is what makes it worth saving.

You can find out more about this book at Anne’s website and buy it at Dreamspinner Press.


Release day: Unlocking Her Surgeon’s Heart

1 July 2015

Today is the official release of Unlocking Her Surgeon’s Heart by Fiona Lowe (Midwives on Call series) (paperback and ebook, Mills & Boon). Here’s the blurb:

Unlocking Her Surgeon’s HeartNoah Jackson just wants to be a surgeon and he’s a GP placement away from fulfilling his dreams. Being in Turraburra, even temporarily, is way out of his comfort zone and he doesn’t need admittedly gorgeous midwife, Lilia Cartwright lecturing him about his bedside manner! But Noah discovers Lilia’s feistiness belies a compassionate and if there is one person who can reach into this delicious but brooding doc’s locked-away heart, it’s Lilia. If she succeeds, could he also heal her heart?

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

If you love the TV show Call the Midwife, I think you’re going to enjoy this story of a rural midwife. In fact, you’ll probably enjoy the whole series of books.

You can find out more about this book at Fiona’s website and buy it at Amazon and where all romance books are sold.

Release day: Three Proposals and a Scandal

1 July 2015

Today is the official release of Three Proposals and a Scandal by Anna Campbell (a Sons of Sin novella) (ebook, self-published). Here’s the blurb:

Three Proposals and a ScandalWhose hot kisses will melt the ice princess? All London is agog to know!

As the season reaches its brilliant climax, three very different men pursue beautiful Lady Marianne Seaton. She’s the marriage mart’s greatest prize – even if cruel and unjust gossip paints her as a woman cold and glittering as any diamond.

Lord Desborough is her father’s choice – rich, powerful, safe. Lord Tranter is society’s darling – handsome, dashing, charming.

Then there’s the dangerous, compelling man nobody in their right mind calls eligible. Elias Thorne, son of scandal, reputed deceiver, possessing a rakish fascination no woman can resist. A lady might choose Elias as a lover, but as a husband, he’s too risky a bet. Even if Marianne’s forbidden yearning for him threatens her future and her reputation.

When Marianne’s suitors pursue her to the year’s most glamorous house party, there will be proposals and passion, rivals and revelations, secrets and scandals.

Let battle commencebut will the best man win?

Anna dropped by to tells a little about this book:

Sometimes when I write a book, a secondary character takes hold and demands a story of his or her own. This is what happened with my 2014 release, What a Duke Dares, number three in my Sons of Sin series. In that book, the hero Camden Rothermere, the duke of the title, marries his true love Penelope Thorne. Sounds great, and it IS great for Cam and Pen. But before scandal forces him into a marriage with Pen, he publicly courts Lady Marianne Seaton. Marianne is then stuck in the unenviable position of being generally known as the woman the Duke of Sedgemoor jilted. I couldn’t help feeling sorry for her, especially when she behaves bravely in difficult circumstances. In Three Proposals and a Scandal, I can finally give Marianne a man worthy of her and one who is capable of wiping out the unhappiness of her rejection. But there’s a lot of drama and emotion before she gets there! I hope you enjoy her journey!

You can find out more about this book at Anna’s website and buy it at Amazon or Smashwords.


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