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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.

Feature book: Olivero’s Outrageous Proposal

1 July 2015

OliverosOutrageousProposal_WalkerOlivero’s Outrageous Proposal by Kate Walker

Alyse Gregory is young and happy with her life. She has a title, although she does not use the title. She works hard and still lives with her parents. Her mother is not a well woman and needs lots of care and attention, which Alyse helps her father give. Her father loves her mother very much and dotes on her, never questioning anything she does. Alyse has been getting pressured by her father’s boss’s son, Marcus Kavanaugh, to marry him. She is not sure why he has taken such a sudden interest in her, and she is not keen on Marcus at all. Now her father is also suggesting that marrying Marcus would be a good idea. Alyse attends a charity ball that she knows Marcus will also attend, and if she can make Marcus see that she is with someone else, he may leave her alone. Then she spots him across the room. Just as she is about to give up on her scheme, a tall dark and handsome man enters, and everything in her body sizzles. He is the one, although she has no idea who he is.

Dario Olivero has grown up with his mother in the poorer areas of Italy. Although very much loved by his mother, his father is wealthy businessman Henry Kavanaugh, who has always refused to acknowledge him. Dario has worked hard and learnt the art of fine wine making and now is a very wealthy man himself. He still craves that acknowledgment from his father and has never stopped trying, even after the death of his mother years before. And now he has finally received a letter from his father, but there is a clause in it, and he must decide if revenge is what he really wants from his half-brother, Marcus Kavanaugh.

The spark that erupts when Dario and Alyse first see each other is one massive hit that could light up the whole ballroom. Neither has felt this way before, but they must see each other. Their first meeting is one not to miss. They leave the ballroom together, get in Dario’s car and then end up at Dario’s penthouse where things move very quickly. But a disturbance at the door changes everything, even more so when Dario realises who this beautiful woman is.

This is such an emotionally powerful story of revenge, desire and a marriage of convenience as two people learn a lot of truths about family. The setting is just wonderful—a villa in Tuscany, Villa D’Oro, where many sensual nights are spent together and lots of discussions take place. Love grows stronger by the day, but there are still a few hurdles to cross until they reach their wonderful HEA. This is a story that will pull you in from the first page and keep you turning the pages until the end. I loved this one and highly recommend it.

Reviewed by Helen S

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

Feature book: Moonlight Plains

1 July 2015

Moonlight PlainsMoonlight Plains by Barbara Hannay

This is a really good story set in two different eras: firstly, in World War II, Townsville 1942 and secondly, Townsville 2013. Both these times are linked with characters in the story. This story had me turning the pages, and I really enjoyed going between the times, getting to know all about the Yanks (Americans) and the way of life back in 1942.

Sally Piper married her school sweetheart and was very happy with her life as a journalist. When tragedy strikes and she is widowed, her life as she knows it is shattered. Two and a half years later, her friends are always trying to get her to party, encouraging her to meet someone else. After all, she is still young, but it is hard for Sally. She spends a lot of time visiting her grandmother, who has Alzheimer’s and lives in the nursing home. With her dog, Jess, Sally gets to know a lot of the residents. She becomes very close to Kitty Mathieson, who has been around Townsville since she was a young girl. Kitty was there during World War II when all of the Yanks came to stay. So when Kitty talks Sally into going to a wartime themed dance they are holding at Charters Towers, even lending Sally one of her original dresses from the era, Sally accepts with the intention of doing a wartime story about the planes that had come down on the homestead of Moonlight Plains, where Kitty lived a lot of her life.

Luke Fairburn, Kitty’s grandson, had grown up on cattle stations around the top part of Queensland, but his real love was being a carpenter. He had learned this love from his late grandfather, Andy Mathieson, on visits to his grandparents’ cattle station, Moonlight Plains. His grandmother is now in a nursing home, and the homestead is in disrepair. Luke is restoring the place with a lot of love and care. Luke has no intentions of settling down with one woman. He has short affairs, which suit him fine. With all of the history in the homestead, Luke is at the dance, enjoying himself, learning more about the history of the planes coming down and the history of the homestead.

Sally and Luke meet at the dance. They start up a conversation that leads to Luke taking Sally out to the homestead and looking around. They discuss doing a story on the restoration and the history, which Sally hopes to sell to a magazine. Luke is all for it as it should help him get more work when this job is finished. But one thing leads to another, and Sally and Luke end up spending a very nice evening together, which will, in turn, make Kitty smile as well.

This is a fantastic story that shows the loves and journeys of two couples. One part of the story is from 1942—Ed Langley from Boston USA, one of the pilots from the planes that came down, and Kitty who helped save them when she was a young girl, and their love for each other. They were from such different backgrounds, and with a war going on, they had to make difficult choices. Then, current time being Luke and Sally’s story–they journey to a HEA with such beautiful settings in two time periods in the same town. I really love this one, and I highly recommend it to all readers who want to be turning the pages and smiling throughout.

Reviewed by Helen S

A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher. All ARRA members who leave a comment by 14 July 2015 will go into the draw to win this book.


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