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ARR: treasure hunt

15 August 2018

In 2019 ARRA will be hosting our first multi-city, multi-author Romantic Rendezvous series. These events will be held on two consecutive weekends in March 2019:

  • Brisbane, Saturday 23 March
  • Sydney, Sunday 24 March
  • Melbourne, Saturday 30 March

Each event will be a full-day signing, and we will also be organising special member-only activities at each event.

So far we have more than 60 authors signing at the events—and some will sign at more than one city. We also have two special international guests who will be announcing soon. Below is a list of all the attending authors (so far).

Tickets for the event will go on sale in October, but today we are launching our special online Treasure Hunt with the opportunity for readers to win one of three VIP tickets to our Romantic Rendezvous events.

All you need to do is find our button (shown right) on the websites or blogs of the authors marked with an asterisk below, click the symbol and then send the email to us. Each participating author has a unique code number, so you can enter once for every code you find. But don’t expect it to be easy to find them all—it is a treasure hunt after all.

The button is linked to an email command—when you click on it an email should open in your email program with an author code pre-filled in the subject line. If you don’t have your email program linked, you can hover over the button to see the code and then email us at arra.contests@gmail.com, including the words “Treasure Hunt” AND the code number in the subject line.

The Treasure Hunt will close at 5.00 pm on Sunday 30 September.

Terms and conditions are available here.

Here’s the list of authors who will be at one or more of the Romantic Rendezvous (with those taking part in the treasure hunt competition marked with an asterisk):

There will be more authors coming soon, so check back!

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Australian Romance Readers Survey 2018

15 August 2018

It is time once again for our annual Australian Romance Readers Survey. We started the survey in 2009 so that we could collect statistics that are about Australian romance readers. This is the ninth year that we have run the survey, with the questions refined slightly each year in light of feedback from survey respondents.

If you would like to be involved, just click on this link and follow the prompts: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/TJCQKG2

The questions are pretty straightforward, but please let us know if you have any questions.

Anyone who reads romance and lives in Australia can answer the survey, so please feel free to pass the link along to anyone you know who reads romance. But please mention it is for Australian romance readers only.

The survey will close on 30 September and we will let you all know the results soon after that.

Thanks in advance.

ARRA newsletter #109

15 August 2018

Purple news

The August 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:

  • our Treasure Hunt competition for ARR2019 starts today – see the lead article for details
  • it is annual survey time! (see pg 9)
  • some photos from our Bella Andre event (pg 10)
  • a special article from Carla Caruso on food in romance novels (pg 12)
  • Charlotte’s Web Watch column features Ms Lynn Reads (pg 16)
  • 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 arra.editor@gmail.com.

PS – if you read the newsletter in the Members’ Lounge, be sure to leave a comment for us – we would love that!

Happy reading everyone!

Release day: A Pivotal Right

15 August 2018

Today is the official release of A Pivotal Right by KA Servian (Shaking the Tree, book 2) (ebook and paperback, Sweetpea Publishing). Here’s the blurb:

Florence struggled for breath as she stared in the face of a ghost. “Jack?”

Twenty years after being forced apart Jack and Florence have been offered a second chance at love. But can they find their way back to each other through all the misunderstandings, guilt and pain?

And what of their daughter, Viola? Her plan to become a doctor is based on the belief she has inherited her gift for medicine from Emile, the man she believed was her father. How will she reconcile her future with the discovery that she is Jack’s child?

A Pivotal Right is the second book in the Shaking the Tree series set in colonial New Zealand. It continues the story of Jack and Florence begun in The Moral Compass.

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

The Shaking the Tree trilogy—The Moral Compass, A Pivotal Right and Slaves in Petticoats—grew from my fascination with women’s history and an interest in the journeys undertaken by immigrants in search of a better life for themselves and their families. I’m an immigrant, so this is a subject close to my heart. I wanted to explore the difficulties immigrant women faced in the Victorian period, to look at the role of women in society and explore the fight women undertook to gain basic rights such as enfranchisement and control over their property and children. I actually get pretty emotional when I talk about the suffrage movement because it was the first time in history, after thousands of years of subjugation, that women stood up and fought for their rights and I’m very grateful for what they achieved. It doesn’t bear thinking about what our lives would be like today if they hadn’t made that sacrifice for us. Having said all that, I was very aware that I didn’t want the novels to be dry historical accounts, so I’ve wrapped my themes in engaging stories about strong, compelling characters. I hope you enjoy them.

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

Release day: Bewitching the Beast

15 August 2018

Today is the official release of Bewitching the Beast by Tamara Hughes (ebook, Soul Mate Publishing). Here’s the blurb:

Ethan Lockwood hates what he’s become—a slave to a parasitic monster whose victim’s names pepper the obituaries. He’s possessed by The Beast, a dragon who feeds off human spiritual energy. After a year of fighting The Beast’s demands, Ethan is losing the battle. The creature is taking over his mind, body, and soul. When he spies Tess, he can relate to her weary look and the sadness in her eyes, but her aura shines like a beacon, attracting The Beast. Ethan is forced to drain her energy, but for a split second, she subdues the creature inside him, compelling the spirit to slumber. How? Can she somehow free him from The Beast? Ethan chases after her. He can’t afford to let Tess die.

Since her fiancé’s death, Tess Edwards struggles to find new meaning in life. She doesn’t expect that new meaning to involve a sexy photographer who says he’s possessed by an energy-stealing beast. He claims she’s in danger and that he’s the only one who can save her. Great. He’s a nut job—cute, but delusional. She doesn’t believe in dragon spirits and magic, not until she finds her grandmother’s Book of Shadows. She’s descended from witches, and the book warns her of her fate. Although the beast inside Ethan needs her alive, he isn’t the only one of his kind. There’s another, and he wants Tess dead.

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

I came up with the initial story nugget for this book from a song I heard on the radio. The song had to do with a guy saying he wasn’t good enough for the woman he wanted, and it got me thinking. What would he have done to make him not good enough? In addition to historical romances, I love paranormal romance, and my mind went right to ‘What if they met in a bar and he did something to the heroine he later regrets?’ I didn’t want to write about vampires or werewolves. I wanted something new to play around with, so I kept brainstorming. I also started listening to Evanescence songs. Several songs on one of their albums really inspired me, and before I knew it, I was writing about a guy who was possessed by a beast that stole energy from its victims. Without that energy, those victims died in unusual ways. But one of those he preys upon is special, and he has to keep her alive. Tess, the heroine of this story, is special to me too. She surprised me in a big way. I didn’t know exactly what she was going to be like until I started writing from her point of view. And wow! She was really funny in a silly, kind of odd way. She added some refreshing humour to what would have been a fairly dark story. Honestly, she’s probably my favourite character I’ve written so far. If you read Bewitching the Beast, let me know what you think. I love hearing from readers.

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

Feature book: Marry in Scandal

15 August 2018

Marry in Scandal by Anne Gracie

Series: A Marriage of Convenience #2
Subgenre: historical romance
Release date: 3 Apr 2018
Publisher: Berkley
Format: print and ebook
Length: 336 pages
RRP: print A$14.99; ebook A$10.99

I had the extreme good fortune to receive an ARC of this absolutely delightful book from Ms Gracie. No prizes for guessing I loved it, having recently read and raved about Marry in Haste, the first in this charming series.

The second ‘Marriage of Convenience’ story centres on Lily, the youngest Rutherford sister with the soft and forgiving heart, and a short and round physique that somehow doesn’t ‘match’ the fashions. To her dismay she also struggles to read and write. She’s an absolute dismal failure at any kind of school learning, much to the distress and shame of everyone but her staunch and supportive sisters. But she has a clear mind, a keen intellect and an excellent memory. (Please make sure you read the lovely Dedication to those doing battle with reading disabilities; everything will become clear.)

As you might guess from the title, Lily marries to avert a scandal. She’s been horrifically abducted but then almost accidentally rescued by the flummoxed Edward Galbraith, a returned soldier and friend of Lily’s brother Cal (Marriage of Convenience #1). Ned just does what he has to do as an officer and a gentleman, being in the right place at the right time to become a ‘hero’ for Lily, then suddenly he’s marrying her to avoid the ensuing scandal that flares up.

But Ned planned never to marry. He hides deep psychological wounds from the war that have almost paralysed him in terms of living a fulfilling life. He can’t, simply can’t free himself from his demons, and yet—here is he, marrying Lily who, being sweet and loving and really such a gorgeous person, is willing to plumb the depths of Ned’s soul so he can heal.

This is a tender exploration of two very different yet extremely vulnerable, hurting people. I truly think if they hadn’t found each other they might have been lost … The romance became a dance, one step forward, two steps back, but it was beautifully done; very tender. I admit to getting a bit misty eyed every now and then, and cheered them on every step of the way.

I do so love the occasional glimpses we’re given of the Chance Sisters here, from Ms Gracie’s previous series; they add a lovely depth to the book, as do the references to the other Rutherfords from the first book in this series. However, if you haven’t read any of them you can still read this as a standalone. Thanks Anne, you have given us another exquisite tug-at-your-heartstrings romance. A must read.

Reviewed by Malvina

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

Feature book: Marry in Haste

15 August 2018

Marry in Haste by Anne Gracie

Series: A Marriage of Convenience #1
Subgenre: historical romance
Release date: 2 May 2017
Publisher: Berkley
Format: print and ebook
Length: 304 pages
RRP: print A$14.99; ebook A$10.99

Last year I was delighted to learn of Anne Gracie’s new ‘Marriage of Convenience’ series—a romance trope I’ve always enjoyed. I think it really is romance catnip to a lot of people, and fabulous to read in historicals where it makes every sense.

In this first book, returning war hero (and now spy, hunting for an assassin) Major Calbourne Rutherford discovers he’s become Lord Ashendon, with two wild half-sisters and an even wilder niece he didn’t even know he had, plus a neglected estate to manage. Wrangling the girls is a bit like herding cats, so he tries to engage the services of their previous teacher, Miss Emmaline Westwood.

This is the bit that’s brilliant: she refuses; she’s had a better offer—until Cal unexpectedly offers marriage. Even so, it’s a hard decision for Emmaline to make. Cal doesn’t exactly come across as romantic (which is code for Not Romantic At All, a true desperado to marry for reasons Other Than Romance), but he offers every marital advantage such as societal acceptance for someone standing on uncertain ground like Emmaline.

As in all Anne Gracie’s books, she creates a wonderful ‘family’ for us to enjoy, one that even Cal didn’t realise he had. Emm is a gentle, intelligent heroine, and Cal—well, he is terrific, apart from being prickly and hard to get to know … at first … I also loved the nod to the Chance Sisters series—hello, old friends, nice to see you again! A lovely start to another series. Thanks, Anne!

Reviewed by Malvina

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