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Author spotlight: Jakki Frances

2 February 2023

In the lead-up to ARR2023 in February 2023 we will be spotlighting the authors who will be signing. In the spotlight today we have Jakki Frances. Jakki will be signing in Brisbane.

Who was the first romance author to catch your interest?

Margaret Mitchell

What do you write?

Contemporary romance and Aussie shifter/fantasy romance

Which usually comes to you first—characters or plot (or something else)?

That really depends on the story … Sometimes it’s a character, sometimes a plot, sometimes just an inkling of a feel. In an upcoming story the character came first (at the request of a friend who wanted to be a romance hero) and then I built a story around him, a story I wrote earlier this year was inspired by the song Hotel California—it ended up a time/reality shift story.

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

Keeping Control. Amy Schuemer feels like Mel to me (despite it not being a rom com), matched with Chris Hemsworth as Michael and Cailey Fleming as Sonnie.

Tell us about your latest release in 100 words or less:

Wailing Wiccan. Book 3 of the Mountain Magic series, follows the insta-true love between Willa the witch and Saskia the new vamp on the mountain. From the first moment they met, they knew theirs was a love that would overcome anything … Or so they thought.

What else are you working on at the moment?

On top of writing a series of short stories that will first be released in anthologies and then all together as a box set, I’m working on a standalone book set in outback WA, what begins as an email internet romance and becomes something more without either party realising. (Inspired by a camping trip to Kununurra WA and a cowboy/cover model from Oregon.)

Jakki’s latest releases:


Tickets for ARR2023 are now on sale here. You can find the full list of signing authors here.

Join us in the ARR2023 Attendees group on Facebook.


Publisher pitch: Totally Bound, Feb 2023

2 February 2023

Totally Bound brings you two stories in our Cupid’s Academy Valentine’s Collection, ghosts in a brewery, a duke reacquainted with his first love and a hot handyman in Abbeydon. Plenty of romance for the month of love!

Find out more on our website.

Here’s what’s coming up in February …

7 February

Cupid’s Academy Valentine’s Collection

It’s Valentine’s Day, and the halls of Cupid’s Academy are filled with lovestruck pupils. Whether it’s the head boy with his secret crush, the new girl flooded with love at first sight, or the captain of the football team and his biggest fan, it seems no one has escaped Cupid’s arrow. All other studies are forgotten when love is on the syllabus.

Stolen by Jayce Carter. Larkwood destroyed my freedom when they took my selkie skin. Larkwood has changed, and it’s my chance to finally get back what they stole. As we—me and the two men I’ve tried to forget—all venture into the most dangerous place in Larkwood to find what was stolen from me, there is no bigger threat to me and my freedom than the two men I’m falling for.

Truly, Madly, Deeply by Jambrea Jo Jones. Chrissy Young hates Sinclair Brown. He always tries to outshine her. Sinclair is oblivious to the fact that Chrissy hates him. He has his head down and is just trying to get through college and maybe have a little fun along the way before life takes over. What happens when the two are forced to spend time together? Can they work side by side to find love?

14 February

Brewed Hope by Emma Penny (Orders to Haunt #2). Marco, Bryson, Shawn and Ayden have been friends for years, but their brewery business is floundering. In desperate need of income, Audrey takes a job at the brewery to go undercover and help Marco haunt his friends and repair their business. Audrey has a new brew to craft—hope.

21 February

The Duke’s Lost Love by Cassie O’Brien and Raven McAllan (The Scots and the Sassenachs #3). Mrs Evanna Percival-Smyth, has agreed to chaperone the Lady Cairstine McColl during the young lady’s stay at Corbridge. The Duke of Glenard arrives in the town to prevent his daughter from paying a blackmailer’s ransom demand. What he does not expect when he gets there is to find her in the company of his first love, Evanna.

28 February

Abbeydon Attraction by Roxanne Blackhall (Bristol Park #1). Cat has been left the sole ownership of a family resort in Abbeydon. The hard reality when she sees the dilapidated condition of the place means she must roll up her sleeves and get busy, with help from the local handyman, who is too hot and charming for words. Cat needs to learn to trust to save both the property and their relationship.

Author spotlight: Aaron L Speer

1 February 2023

In the lead-up to ARR2023 in February 2023 we will be spotlighting the authors who will be signing. In the spotlight today we have Aaron L Speer. Aaron will be signing in Sydney.

Who was the first romance author to catch your interest?

Surprisingly Bram Stoker’s Dracula. I found the book to be highly erotic in a Gothic romance tone.

What do you write?

Paranormal romance, thrillers, MMA, contemporary, mafia

Which usually comes to you first—characters or plot (or something else)?


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

Night Walker. I’d cast some Spanish hunk to be Dante and Margot Robbie as Alex.

Tell us about your latest release in 100 words or less:

Rebel Savage. For Holly Vincent, the fact that her boss told her, emphatically, hell no, was only a minor deterrent. She wanted the biggest story in Iron Forge. The one thing no one else dared to investigate; the Rebel Souls MC. This was her chance for the big time. Great reporters make the story and chase their dreams. But never in her wildest dreams did she imagine what this night would present her. Not only did she infiltrate the inner sanctum, but now she was witness to a murder. The biker wars of Iron Forge were not a myth and not only was Holly right smack in the middle, she only had one hope to keep her alive; the most feared rider of all the Rebels. Benjamin Bracken.

What else are you working on at the moment?

Owned by the Mafia is due to be released in March. A dark romance where a Mafia Don negotiates with a woman to be his sex slave, in order to absolve her brothers crippling debt.

Aaron’s latest releases:

Tickets for ARR2023 are now on sale here. You can find the full list of signing authors here.

Join us in the ARR2023 Attendees group on Facebook.


Release day: Jack & Eva

1 February 2023

Today is the official release of Jack & Eva by Frances Dall’Alba (ebook and paperback, self-published). Here’s the blurb:

Jack & Eva by Frances Dall'AlbaBroody meets bubbly … and a bunch of cuddly tree kangaroos.

An emotional and passionate contemporary romance set in Australia.

Very few people can keep up with Eva Stamford. She’s chatty, volunteers everywhere in the community, and has one passion in life—saving the Lumholtz tree kangaroo before the curse comes true.

Jack Waller, broody, gruff and man of few words, couldn’t be more different. He’s returning to his childhood home to make good on a promise to his mother. His return shouldn’t be a problem, except it seems that everywhere he goes, Eva is there. The more time they spend together, the harder it is to ignore the chemistry intensifying between them. And Jack is learning fast, it’s either the whole Eva package including her tree kangaroos, or nothing.

Eva needs to stay on Jack’s good side because his property borders the Tree Roo Rescue Park. Any changes he makes to the property might unsettle her furry babies, and this can’t happen on her watch. Then she needs to tell Jack about the curse, and forget about encouraging one final fling.

In the calamity of a storm where Jack finally learns some truths, Eva’s greatest fear is finally realised. The terror that her day will end exactly how the curse predicts, has her fighting back. She’s not leaving until Jack stops hurting.

When the tempest blows over, is there a chance of beating the curse and living a life together? Or is this destined to be a train wreck — with a bunch of furry animals caught up in the middle?

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

As with all my books, they are full of emotion and passion, and always end with the HEA. More importantly with this book, it showcases the amazing work being done by one incredible North Qld woman, who is dedicating her life to the research and protection of the very unique Lumholtz Tree Kangaroo. Found only in the scattered rainforests of the Atherton Tablelands, believe me, there is a species of kangaroo that lives in trees.

You can find out more about this book, including where to buy it from at Frances’ website.

Feature book: Sword of Darkness

1 February 2023

Sword of Darkness by Keri Arthur

Series: Relic Hunters #2
Subgenre: urban fantasy
Release date: 25 Oct 2022
Publisher: self-published
Format: ebook and print
Length: 356 pages
RRP: $6.99 (ebook); $30.79 (print)

My two favourite pixies are back! This time I get to review book 2 in the Relic Hunters series.

Loved it!

Bethany and Lugh, the brother and sister duo—aided by a cast of characters—are back on the hunt for the Sword of Darkness which was stolen in Book One. They need to find it before the other two Claws of Agrona and it are reunited, and chaos will rain down upon the world. So, the race to find it continues. It’s an adventure-filled ride.

Bethany and Lugh are aided by natural enemies in a light elf, Mathi, and dark elf, Cynwrig. There are a few other characters ‘helping’ them investigate, research, steal into places they shouldn’t be and generally get into a lot of strife. They meet lots of new colourful characters, both friend and foe, along the way.

The Sword of Darkness calls darkness to it and there are folks out there determined to make the darkness disappear so the enemy cannot walk in the light. Our intrepid crew is dead set against that being the outcome.

Information from Bethany’s newly discovered godly father and a hag goddess, through a few other magic users, comes in cryptic and often unhelpful clues and sends the team off on a few tangents. Bethany’s newly activated powers of the wind are brought to bear with some interesting results. Some of them are painful and some just don’t kick in when needed. She’s flying blind on a number of things and not getting much of an education about it all from those who should be helping. It’s a ‘sort it out yourself’ mentality even as things keep going wrong and a bit of education would surely help.

There are funny moments as the two elves—neither of whom would marry a pixie—vie for Bethany’s sexy self. 62 years of age for a pixie is about 1/5 of her lifespan, so she’s still relatively young. Elves are also long-lived though her elves are both much older in years than Bethany.

Lugh has a love interest because he finally stopped running from it, and that adds some moments of fun and lightness too. She spent ten years of her life in a relationship with Mathi and is now very happily dallying with Cynwrig. Smoking hot is how he comes off.

There aren’t too many male pixies out there for Bethany to consider marrying so why not brush off the cobwebs with a sexy dark elf who can also help their quest. Win-win-win.

Did I mention Cynwrig is smoking hot?

The ending of this book is cliff-hanging stuff and Book 3 needs to come soon, please, Keri!

reviewed by Sharon

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

Author spotlight: TL Hamilton

31 January 2023

In the lead-up to ARR2023 in February 2023 we will be spotlighting the authors who will be signing. In the spotlight today we have TL Hamilton. TL will be signing in Melbourne.

Who was the first romance author to catch your interest?

Diana Gabaldon

What do you write?

Spicy romance

Which usually comes to you first—characters or plot (or something else)?

Characters, or a particular scene or question I have to explore.

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

The Winning Ticket. Christina Schmidt as Jess and Patrick Dempsey as Henri Fletcher.

Tell us about your latest release in 100 words or less:

My latest release was ‘The Winning Ticket’, a short story in The Billionaire Fling charity anthology. Jess is a plus-sized single mother who lost her confidence long ago. When she wins the chance to dine with billionaire Henri Fletcher, she’ll rediscover herself in a tantalising encounter she won’t soon forget.

What else are you working on at the moment?

I’m currently writing book one in a new contemporary reverse harem series, The Not So Secret Life of a Wish Maker.

TL’s latest releases:

Tickets for ARR2023 are now on sale here. You can find the full list of signing authors here.

Join us in the ARR2023 Attendees group on Facebook.


Publisher pitch: Escape Publishing, Feb 2023

31 January 2023

Escape logo_200x150Ah, February, the month of romance. With Valentine’s Day putting love in the spotlight, it’s the perfect time to fall for On the Down Low by Renae Black, a new Australian rural romance author.

As always, we’d love to know what you think. Check in with us in all the usual places! Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and on our website.

Happy reading!
The Escape Team

Here’s what we have coming out in February …

One the Down Low by Renae Black (rural romance). Hallie Harris has gone as far away as possible to escape the humiliating revelations of her last relationship. Love is the last thing on her mind when she arrives at Karilga, a remote cattle station in outback Queensland, to teach eight lively children. That is, until she locks eyes on aerial mustering pilot Ryan Walker. But how could a highly skilled pilot who lives and breathes the land ever fall for this hot-mess city girl? Quiet and reserved, Ryan’s used to chasing down wayward cattle and flying his helicopter in the dangerous dead man’s zone. But when it comes to the beautiful girl from the city, he’s out of his element.

Release day: My Montana Valentine

30 January 2023


Today is the official release of My Montana Valentine by Elsa Winckler (ebook and paperback, Tule Publishing). Here’s the blurb:

Cover image of My Montana Valentine by Elsa WincklerHe doesn’t believe in happy endings…

Saddled with the impossible task of finding a feel-good story, journalist Aiden O’Sullivan reluctantly accepts his godmother’s invitation to visit Marietta, Montana, to experience the small town’s Valentine’s Day celebration. Upon his arrival, a minor ankle injury lands him in the ER of the local hospital when his godmother insists a doctor should examine it.

After her parents’ untimely deaths, Dr. Vivian Miller moved from Sacramento to Marietta with her siblings. Apart from the freezing cold and rampant gossiping, life in town is uneventful. Until a music teacher at the local high school brings her godson to the ER. Vivian has a soft spot for children and hurries to help, only to find the “godson” is an opinionated, rude journalist with no visible injury to his foot.

Vivian has no time for journalists, even the drop-dead gorgeous kind. Aiden isn’t in town for long, but he quickly becomes involved in the lovely doctor’s problems, something he’s sworn will never happen again.

Will these two strangers end up finding a home together at the foot of Copper Mountain?

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

I was thrilled to bits when Tule Publishing liked the proposal I sent them for a series of three stories set in the fictional town of Marietta, Montana. Fans of Marietta will know the ‘founders’ of this town are authors Jane Porter, Megan Crane, Lilian Darcy and CJ Carmichael. They drew up maps, fabricated important landmarks like Grey’s Saloon, Sage Carrigan’s Copper Mountain Chocolates, the historic Graff Hotel and began writing stories about the people who live and love there. Many more Marietta stories followed, each Tule author adding more families to the small community settled at the foot of Copper Mountain. I hope you enjoy the Millers of Marietta—a new family of two sisters, Annie and Vivian, and their brother, Mitch, who cross state lines to get away from past hurts and settle in Marietta.

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


Guest blogger: ML Tompsett

29 January 2023

Today’s blog is about what an indie author can and does go through—when they write, create, design, publish, and release a book.

How many of you know what an indie author is and what they do?

Indie authors are the sole person who does everything from the start, middle, and end. Writing, editing, copy editing (that is, before you hire someone to do the final editing process), cover design (if you have the know-how and skills, you can create your own book covers; otherwise, you hire a cover designer or purchase pre-made book covers), interior file design and creation (once again, if you have the skills and know-how, you can create the internal PDF and EPUB formats for your book baby). Then joining different book platforms to upload your digital book files to publish to the whole big world (Amazon, Ingram Spark, GooglePlay books, Draft2Digital, Kobo iBooks and several other platforms).

I am an indie author. And a digital file formatter (I create the interior digital files for other authors’ ebooks and print books). My background is in administration, accounts, secretarial, reception, sales, computer design and layout, web design and a few other areas.

Many years ago, in a time far, far away. At school, I was enjoying life creating teenage love stories. Then, several years later, everything changed, and I was mainly writing to relieve stress, anxiety and a lot of other reasons—as you do. Some people keep diaries or journals. Some people write for fun. My mind connected with my fingers, and a lot of what I wrote back then will never see the light of day. But, at the time, it was a physical release, and it helped mentally and emotionally.

Once I read an article on how JK Rowling had been knocked back multiple times before someone picked up her Harry Potter book. I didn’t want to go through that emotional stress and anguish of submitting to a big publishing house and continue to be knocked back. So instead, I learnt how to become an indie author. Cut out the middleman. I wanted to be a published author and for someone—anyone—to read my book and enjoy it, giving them the ability to escape their own lives and travel on a journey with my characters.

While I enjoyed the different courses in all things writing. I continued to write—anything and everything. I kept on reading print books, mainly from the library. Until one day, a book I had wanted to read only came as an ebook. Well. I had no idea what an ebook was! So off I went and learnt all about ebooks. I even purchased an ereader! My new ebook collection grew and grew.

I was so eager for ebooks, I learnt how to create them myself. In those early days, the ebooks and print book files were interesting, at the least, which was an understatement. Now with modern software and more know-how, I can create better-looking ebooks. The interior files are amazing. As with everything in life, you continue learning your craft and skills. Improve your writing and try different genres to submerge yourself in. Find your niche.

So, becoming an indie author can be challenging. But, you write to your own schedule. You are the one who says what your book title will be and how your cover will look. What genre you will write in. What words, paragraphs, and characters remain in your book.

As you can imagine, there is a downside. Yes, there really is a downside. People expect you to give away your hard work. Oh, yes. It happens all the time. Especially in ebooks. Even though you have worked thousands of hours, working hard with blood, sweat and tears and most likely paid too many hundreds of dollars for cover design, editing, formatting, advertising etc. People still expect to have a free copy of your book. It is distressing enough when you discover your book on pirate sites. The writing industry is not all lollipops, chocolate, wine and rainbows. It can be cruel and heartbreaking.

When it comes to an indie author—you have to do basically everything yourself. Including your own book printing (organising a company to print them, of course), creating your own merchandise and advertising (maybe through another business). It is hard work getting your name out there. You do not publish a book and expect that the next day your book will be a smash hit. There are several steps you have to take first.

Remember—do not rely on your family and friends to purchase and read your books. Most of them will be sick and tired of hearing you talk about your books. And what about your spouse? Most of them do not read their partner’s work. There are the odd few who are champions and will read the books and give their opinions. But most will not. Instead join writers groups that write in your genre.

The everyday author can be unaware of what costs are involved. You have to pay for everything, and it can be expensive. Editing, formatting, cover design, advertising, newsletters, social media ads are just a few expenses.

Don’t forget to reach out to your local library and newspaper to let them know you have a book out soon. Are they able to do a public piece on you and your book? Do not fall victim to one of those ‘you pay, and we’ll print your books and advertise and get your book out there’ scams. Most of these businesses are out for money. I have heard of victims handing over thousands of dollars, and their books failed. Please do not do it. No publishing company or business will ask you to pay money upfront to do everything for you.

As for printing my books, the ones I take to signings and other events, I go via Ingram Spark. They will print my books, but only the quantity I require. Plus, they will also distribute your books internationally (all you receive is the small royalty from the sale, as you do not pay for the printing or any other cost). It is always good to see other countries ordering your print books. Other companies can do the same thing, so please do your homework and don’t get your fingers burnt.

Being an indie author can be a good income, but remember: you only get out of it what you put in it first.

Since 2016, I have published eight individual books—these branch out from print books to ebooks and now audible books. I also have two different box sets. My writing has taken me in other areas and romance genres—from paranormal fantasy, urban fantasy and now contemporary, with varying genres of sub-paranormal contemporary with suspense.

My previously published books are: The Guy Next Door. Dark Surprises, You Never Know. It’s You, Kept in the Dark of Love and Lust. Insta Bride and The Bodyguard’s Convenient Marriage.

My latest release, Ghost of a Chance in Love, is contemporary with paranormal and suspense subgenres. The idea came out of nowhere while I was in the shower. A woman who had been seriously hurt. Her husband was dead or missing, and she must discover what happened. Of course, there was a lot more to it, but I think you get the gist of it.
I first published Ghost of a Chance in Love as an ebook, which has now gone wide (available at all good ebook stores). And very soon, it will be in print book and audible. The book genre is different and entirely out of the norm for me to write, especially when the two previous books in the series are contemporary romances. I enjoy not just the writing aspect but that of creating and designing the cover and creating and formatting the interior file so then you, the reader, can enjoy the end product.

Your writing can be what you want it to be. It is best to see what genres are selling and write and publish in those areas. Or write what is in your heart.

Becoming an indie author is a choice you have to think about carefully. It can lead to being picked up by one of the bigger publishing houses. Meet fabulous authors and make friends and join different author groups.

You can write as a hobby or as a business. Once you decide as a business, there are many rules and regulations to follow and abide by. Just like any other small business.

Once you jump through the hoops and cross your Ts and dot your Is, writing can be a fulfilling career. In addition, you can travel and meet fantastic people, and authors you have always dreamt of meeting.

A lifestyle in writing can open many doors. It is up to you, the individual, to step in the direction you want to take.

If I haven’t scared you off the idea of becoming an indie author, it might become something you can try years from now. Just think—those thoughts, ideas and characters demanding to be heard might one day be in print and loved by people worldwide.

See you at the Melbourne ARRA 2023 author signing. Drop by my table and say hello. I will have all my books there and other merchandise for you to take a look at.

Big hugs everyone and remember, you are awesome.

You can find ML Tompsett here: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


Author spotlight: Kathleen Ryder

28 January 2023

In the lead-up to ARR2023 in February 2023 we will be spotlighting the authors who will be signing. In the spotlight today we have Kathleen Ryder. Kathleen will be signing in Brisbane.

Who was the first romance author to catch your interest?

Catherine George

What do you write?

Sweet romance, clean and wholesome romance, friends to more romance, small town romance, rural romance, medical romance, and billionaire romance.

Which usually comes to you first—characters or plot (or something else)?

Plot, I see it completed in my head like a movie. I always say I am not writing the novel, merely having it dictated to me.

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

I’m choosing my favourite book, The Flying Doctor’s Christmas Wish. I am casting Daisy Ridley and Julian Morris.

Tell us about your latest release in 100 words or less:

Heir to the largest toy company in the world, Sawyer is used to being in charge. What he is not used to, is children. Named guardian of two small boys, Sawyer has no choice but to hire nanny Becca Parkes, even if she is the most annoying person he has ever met!

When Becca takes a job as a nanny, she had no idea that she would be working for Sawyer, the most eligible bachelor in San Diego. Too bad he was also the most irritating person she had ever met!

What else are you working on at the moment?

I have several new titles due to be published this year, including The Gunnery Sergeant’s Ready-Made Family (March), a Christmas collection (July), and Seaside Fix-Up (October). I am also involved in a number of charity anthologies, raising money for cancer awareness.

Kathleen’s latest releases:

Tickets for ARR2023 are now on sale here. You can find the full list of signing authors here.

Join us in the ARR2023 Attendees group on Facebook.


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