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Feature book: An Affair with a Spare

21 November 2018

An Affair with a Spare by Shana Galen

Series: The Survivors #3
Subgenre: historical romance
Release date: 3 Jul 2018
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Format: paperback / ebook
Length: 416 pages
RRP: US$7.99

Each one of the Survivors has his speciality. For Rafe, he is able to seduce women for information, but can he seduce his target to find out why she is in England?

Collette Fortier, or Fournay as she is known in England, is looking for information to help release her father from gaol in France. During the war he was Napoleon’s assassin, but now the Bourbons are back in power he has been gaoled. Collette wants him free. She has to play a determined game to get the codes she needs to translate a message that could provide vital information. However, her habit when she gets too nervous is to spout information about the sexual habits of hedgehogs.

Rafe Beaumont is the epitome of attractive masculinity. When he was young he was known as Rafe the Forgotten, as the youngest child in his family. He was such a placid child, and constantly left behind. His father even forgot to employ a tutor for him! But Rafe is hiding a secret about his mother and the day she left, and it affects how he interacts with women. Rafe doesn’t need to seduce women, as they fall at his feet. He was a member of the Survivors, Draven’s group, a group who still solves people’s problems. Draven has told Rafe he needs to find out why Collette is in England. What Rafe struggles with is that Collette doesn’t seem to have any interest in him. An absolute first for him!

As they are together more, as friends, Collette is forced to rely on Rafe for assistance. She knows that Lady Ravensgate, her supposed cousin, is working for the Royalists in France, and as time goes on Lady R becomes more impatient with Collette not being able to find the needed codes. Rafe and Collette prepare their own plan to rescue her father, which turns them into fugitives. There are many obstacles for them, mainly thieves and thugs, on the way to rescuing Collette’s father. At the final point, her father is rescued but then they must flee the country. Rafe struggles with duty and honour.

Rafe and Collette have chemistry, and the sex is phenomenal for them. Collette was not a virgin and hadn’t expected to fall in love. Rafe never wanted to marry or fall in love, so it makes for interesting conversation and actions when they can’t keep their hands off each other!

I am really enjoying this series by Ms Galen. Each man in the group is getting his story and the woman he deserves after their trials during the war. In this story, Draven gives some sage advice to Rafe about love and loss, which is based on his own experience. It is another piece of information about Draven. The reader is also able to meet some of the other men, those who have married and those who are yet to meet their future woman.

Reviewed by Heather

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


Author spotlight: Kelly Hunter

20 November 2018

We’re featuring a wide range of Australian authors participating in ARR2019 next year in venues across Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.

Today we’re having Elevenses with Kelly Hunter, author of 30 romances in the genre of short contemporary romance. She will be attending ARR2019 in Sydney.

When did you first realise you wanted to be an author?

I blame Enid Blyton and the Magic Faraway Tree for a lot of my sins. Then Noddy, Secret Seven, Famous Five etc. I was a very shy, only-child kid who did a lot of car time with books. That old Cicero saying: if you have a library and a garden you have everything you need. Give me a few books and a car park, salt and vinegar chips and a red raspberry drink and I will make do.

Why romance and not a different genre?

Because there’s nothing I like exploring more than connections within community, between friends, between family, between lovers. Those tightly focused life experiences that an individual can make, break or change are important.

What was the first romance you read and why did you love it?

I can’t remember. I do remember Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery and avidly tracking the relationship between Anne and Gilbert, if that’s any help. (PS. The latest Netfix version? No. Just no.)

What is the single most important characteristic for an aspiring author wanting to be a published writer?

Learn. It’s one of the joys of writing (absolute control of story world is another). The learning never ends.

What is your favourite part of creating a story?

Character creation.

What is your best tip for fighting writer’s block/ writer’s fear?

I don’t have any tips. It’s a career problem. Doesn’t matter how far along you are in said career. Most authors I know have experienced it at some point.

Pick a favourite (bold your preference)

  • series or stand-alone?
  • ebook, paperback or hardcover?
  • first person or third?

Who has been an inspiration to you, in life or your writing career?

So many people. This industry is full of accomplished, nurturing, absolutely amazing women.

Tell us about your latest release in 100 words or less 

It’s an Outback Bride story called Maggie’s Run: part of a four-book collaboration of people and place with three authors (Fiona McArthur, Cathryn Hein, Victoria Purman). It’s Australian small-town set, and I love that about the series. We’ve more coming up.

What else will you be working on in 2019?

Another Outback Bride. A third Mills & Boon king (of a four-book series) is coming out in Jan—Untouched Queen by Royal Command. The last Jackson brother standing. A Montana Born son. An off-the-wall single title lovingly referred to as The Friday Night Drinking Ladies.

Please recommend an Aussie romance you read recently.

Home To Turtle Bay by Marion Lennox. Marion Lennox stories are so full of heart, joy and warm fuzzies and this one is all that and more.

If you haven’t booked your ticket for ARR2019 yet, you can buy one here.

Release day: Not So Happily Ever After

19 November 2018

Today is the official release of Not So Happily Ever After by Christina Phillips (ebook and print, Entangled Publishing). Here’s the blurb:

He’s no prince…

Two years ago, I accidentally, yeah maybe on purpose, crossed that line with my best friend and it ruined everything. I haven’t seen him much since.

But now he’s standing at my door.

Same lumberjack build. Same dark hair that begs my fingers to run through it. And then he gives me that half smile, and I know I’m about to agree to do something I’m going to regret.

I’ve got to spend two months with him now… and that’s not the worst part.

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

Not So Happily Ever After is the third British Bad Boys book, and features Mackenzie, who is the younger sister of Harry and Lucas (the heroes of books 1 and 2) and Will, who is best mates with Lucas. While I was writing the first book in this series (Cinderella and the Geek) I had a different hero in mind for Mac. But as I wrote the second book (Once Upon a Player), it became clear that something was going on between Will and Mac—so I had to find out what!

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

Guest blogger: TM Clark

18 November 2018

Nature of the Lion was released on 16 November and, while I was lucky enough to put up my book trailer from the Harlequin/HarperCollins design team, and share the awesome experience with everyone on social media, I actually got to spend the day with a group of enthusiastic writers at the Sunshine Writers Retreat.

After running my book trailer at my presentation, I said: ‘And this book was released today.’ I received a spontaneous round of applause, and the whole mood of the room was immediately electric and energised. While I smiled and kept calm outwardly, inside I was swallowing hard to keep the panic in check.

It’s only five years since my first novel, My Brother-But-One, was released on almost the same day back in 2013, and I still keep needing to pinch myself to check that it’s all real. It’s no longer ‘my little hobby’, as someone once referred to it. I’m living the dream—I’m a full-time novelist. I was standing in front of 30 eager writers (both published and aspiring), who had paid good money to hear what I had to say. What if what I had to say didn’t help them on their journeys? After all, it was not so long ago, I sat where they were, eagerly listening to what others had to say about how they constructed their books, and yet I was standing there sharing with them one of the biggest joys in a writing year—the release of my book-baby into the world. And the reality hit: book 5 was really out there, and there was no way of ever putting the lid back on it!

During the masterclass, we got to the topic of how accessible authors are these days, compared to the days of Hemmingway. And we were talking about the different styles of messages I get from readers, and how not only do readers lift you up on down days with their emails and posts on your page, but how they come to be part of our lives as authors. Much of my mail comes as emails, and some via my social media. Some come addressed to Mr Clark, Terry or Tim, but I don’t care. The androgynous TM is the intended recipient, and what matters is that a reader somewhere took the time to reach back, and correspond with me from out there in the wild frontier of the world.

I have a reader who I have never met in person. One of his first messages to me on my Facebook author page was: ‘I’ve just finished reading Child of Africa, all four books were great reads. Don’t leave it too long before your next novel.’ Of course I sent a message back informing him of when the next one was going to be out etc, and it has started an amazing correspondence of waking up to notes like this: ‘Just checking up on how the new book is going, you have only four months till Christmas, and I was hoping it would be out so that I send a few hints to family.’

Another reader sent me this: ‘Hope you are writing today and not doing anything else. I need that book at Christmas.’

I have also been told by a reader on my FB page to: ‘Get off Facebook and go write, I really want the next story.’

I have smiled and laughed at every one of these comments, and loved that the readers know that:

1. I’m a procrastinator. (Love the idea of writing, but sitting down and writing is often further down on the scale—perhaps ‘avoided’ is better suited, until I sit down—then you need to drag me away, and it becomes, ‘obsession’ …)

2. They care enough about my books and my characters, to find me on FB and take the time to make contact.

With readers like these, it’s hard not to want to get up and look at emails and messages in the mornings, and I can’t help but feel truly blessed that in a world where there are so many books out there, and such a wide choice, that there are readers who still want to read my words. Unlike my characters in Nature of the Lion, who are being picked off by being in the crosshairs of a hunter’s weapon, when readers have an author in their crosshairs, it’s usually a positive experience.

Thank you to every reader out there that I know, to those I will never know, and those that are yet to find me and share my world. You make this job worth getting up in the mornings and sitting down in front of the computer worth it. Thank you for sharing Nature of the Lion’s release day with me wherever you are. I was with like-minded writing people, who made my day extra special. I hope that one day I will share their release days with many of them, as I believe that there is always room in this beautiful world of ours for more books!

To celebrate the new release, Harlequin/HarperCollins have put Child of Africa ebook in the Black Friday promotion, so from 16 to 24 November 2018, it is promotionally priced at $0.99 on

As a special to ARRA readers of this blog, I will give away to a reader who comments on this blog post, this awesome necklace that was made by a friend in South Africa. The knots move to make it long or short so that it can fit with anyone’s needs. I loved the layers of different blue in the stone, it reminds me of an African sky. (Open to AUS/NZ only. Giveaway will close on 2 December.)

You can find TM Clark here: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Nature of the Lion

Hiding from the law, they never expected to be caught in the crosshairs of a hunter…

​After relocating to South Africa on the heels of scandal five years ago, Chloe and her invalid father, Mike, once wealthy Zimbabwean landowners, now have little. Away at university, Chloe has had to rely on her father’s best friend Enoch and his son Xo to watch over Mike.

When a violent confrontation puts Chloe in danger, Enoch steps in to help – with inadvertent fatal results. With increasing pressure from a right-wing group on the police to charge Enoch, this mismatched family have no choice but to flee back to Zimbabwe.

But crossing the border will be dangerous and near impossible with their route taking them amid warring dissident armies and landmines, and their every footstep is stalked by a shadowy ring of hunters – whose trophies are taken from more than animals…

Only with help from Nick, formerly a soldier under Mike’s command, now a professional game ranger, will the fugitives have a chance of making it home. But Nick has long struggled to come to terms with his fellow soldiers’ choices before their unit was abandoned. Will his past demons put them all at risk?

ARR2019: official bloggers

17 November 2018

Meet our ARR2019 bloggers

We have two ‘official’ bloggers for ARR2019—Ann-maree in Brisbane and Charlotte Anne in Sydney. They will come along to the events as our guests and report on the day. Here they are:

As a young girl I hated to read; I would cry when my mother made me read at home. When I was about 10 or 11 I found Sweet Valley High books and my love affair with books began. I lost my job about eighteen months ago, and I found books to be my salvation over the boredom as my days were not as busy as they once were. So ‘Reading for the love of books’ started as a way to project my passions, as well as my desire to help authors find new readers. I only started my blog in April 2017, as I was doing a lot of advance reader copies of books for many authors and wanted another platform besides Amazon, Goodreads etc.

Both my blog and my Facebook page are a platform for my reviews, cover releases, sales blitzes, advertising, free ebooks, giveaways, discounted ebooks, but most of all it’s all about books. It can be a very busy hobby but one that gives me so much enjoyment and the knowledge that I am helping others is the best feeling. My day job is as a bakery assistant and very removed from what I do for the pure enjoyment of reading.

Ann-maree Howarth

I’m an archaeologist by training and I love everything history. So when I watched Lucy Worsley’s documentary A Very British Romance—where Lucy talks about the evolution of the romance novel over three centuries—I instantly fell in love with the idea of reading my way through the 18 books she featured. That’s how my blog was born. I wanted to document my reading journey and connect with other like-minded romance readers. In the nearly two years since then, I’ve finished eight of those novels, including by authors such as Frances Burney, Jane Austen and Charlotte Brontë. While I’m still planning to read the other ten, I’ve also widened the scope of my blog. I now write about the other historical romance novels I’ve been reading, as well as my own attempts at writing regency romance.

Reading romance has become a really important part of my life these last few years. And I’m absolutely thrilled to be the official blogger for ARR2019 Sydney this coming March. If you’d like to check out my blog, you can find me on Tumblr and Twitter. I look forward to seeing you there.

Charlotte Anne

Have you purchased your tickets for ARR2019 yet? Find all the details here.

Australian Romance Readers Survey 2018: results

16 November 2018

The Australian Romance Readers Survey for 2018 was launched on 15 August and closed on 30 September.

A total of 299 people responded to the survey (up slightly from 285 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 (116), with high rates for Vic (56) and Qld (57). Next was WA (23), ACT (18) and SA (19). Tas had 3 respondents and the NT just 1. The percentages of all these are similar to those from the 2017 survey, with a slight dip in responses from ACT, SA, Tas, Vic and WA and a higher response rate from NSW and Qld.
  • This year we had 3 male respondents (up from 1 last year).
  • The age range for respondents trended older again this year, with an increase in respondents in the 46 to 55 and 56 to 65 age groups and a decrease in respondents under 36 years.
  • Facebook remains the preferred social media platform at 94.4% (up from 92.7% last year). Goodreads was second at 64.1%, followed by Instagram at 53.3% (up from 50.9% last year), Twitter at 47.7% (down from 50.5% last year) and Pinterest at 42.86% (down from 44.3%). As for last year, 32% of respondents have their own blog.
  • 80.3% of respondents said that 50% or more of the books they read are romances (80.7% last year), with 17.9% saying all the books they read are romances (up from 12.9% last year).
  • Available reading time is still hard to find, with 57.2% of respondents reading only 1–2 hours a day (58.0% in 2017); 32.6% of respondents did manage 3–4 hours a day (down from 34.0% last year). Five lucky respondents said they read romances more than 7 hours a day!)
  • There was also a drop in the number of romances read for a lot of readers, with 44.7% of respondents saying they read less than 5 romances a month (compared with 37.4% in 2017), but 11.3% of respondents read more than 15 romances a month (12.6% in 2017).
  • The most popular sub-genre this year was again contemporary romance, read by 80.6% of respondents (84.6% last year), followed by historical romance (63.8%), romantic suspense (52.7%), rural romance (49.1%), romantic comedy (45.9%, down from 52.8% last year), paranormal romance (45.2%) and erotic romance (43.4%, down from 51.7%).
  • Rural romance finally made the top 5 this year, even though it was down slightly from 50.9% last year.

  • There was a further drop for two sub-genres that had made the top 5 in previous years: paranormal romance was 45.2% (down from 49.8% in 2017) and erotic romance was 43.4% (down from 51.7%).
  • In response to the question about which one sub-genre is read most often, contemporary romance was again in front at 24.6% (down from 25.8% last year). A distant second was historical romance at 14.1% (up from 10.5%), then paranormal romance at 13.4% (same as last year), and rural romance at 12.0% (up from 10.0% last year). There was a small rise for erotic romance at 5.4% (4.5% in 2017), but notable drops for romantic suspense at 6.9% (10.1% in 2017), new adult (1.4% compared with 3.7% in 2017), traditional regency at 3.6% (7.1% in 2017) and YA at 1.4% (3.0% in 2017).
  • This was the second year that we asked respondents whether they read mainly traditionally or self-published authors. ‘Traditionally published’ was at 42.5% (up from 40.0% in 2017) and ‘hybrid’ was at 36.7% (down from 40.0%), with 9.3% saying they ‘don’t know’ (down from 12.5%). The biggest change was for those who read mainly self-published authors at 11.5% (up from 6.5%).
  • Ebooks were once again the most frequently purchased book format, accounting for nearly double the purchases of all other formats combined. The chart below shows a small increase for mass market purchases (20.1%, up from 17.9% in 2017), while ebook purchases fell (60.2%, down from 65.7% in 2017). Trade paperbacks were also up (15.0%, up from 13.0%), as were audio books (3.3%, up from 2.3%).

  • Respondents who indicated they don’t read ebooks at all was up at 8.8% (7.6% in 2017), suggesting the survey reached a slightly different audience this year.
  • Buying of paper books is still low, with 57.8% of respondents buying less than 5 new paper romance books a month (59.2% last year); only 5 respondents buy more than 10 new paper books a month. The number who don’t buy any new paper books each month has risen slightly at 33.1% (29.4% in 2017).
  • When comparing ebook purchases to paper books, 64.8% of respondents said more than half of all books they buy are ebooks; 11.4% of respondents buy only paper books and 26.4% buy only ebooks.
  • Just under half of respondents own an ebook reader of some sort, with a number owning more than one device. The Kindle was still the most popular device by far (100 respondents), compared with iPad (15) and Kobo (15).
  • A new question this year was ‘Do you review books? (including leaving reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, etc)’. The results were: Frequently, 26.18%; Occasionally, 46.55%; Never, 27.27%.

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

ARRA newsletter #112

15 November 2018

Purple news

The November issue of the ARRA newsletter is out today. Members should have received the download code via email.

Here’s a quick run down on what you can find in the newsletter this month:

  • meet our official bloggers for ARR2019
  • the verdict is in for ARR2019 in Perth, and the news is good!
  • we are looking for hosts for High Tea in Sydney in March
  • Jayne Ann Krentz is returning to Australia for one encore performance—save the date!
  • summary from this year’s romance reader survey
  • photos from the West Coast Fiction Festival
  • Charlotte’s Web Watch column features Ana’s Attic
  • we have Christmas giveaways! Four pages worth!
  • win a $10 gift card if you can Find the Heart!

Plus our regular columns—romance roundup, publisher news, self-publishing highlights, weekly musings, events, reviews, freebies, author interviews and upcoming releases.

If anyone has any publishing news or deals to report, please send information through. And we are always looking for authors to do a Q&A for the newsletter. If you haven’t done one yet, please contact me at

We are looking for authors to do the “Five minutes” Q&A in the newsletter and authors to take part in the #AuthorHour chat. We are also taking bookings for guest blogger spots for 2019. You do not need to be a member to do any of these.

Happy reading everyone!