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Weekly musing: LGBTQI romance

19 April 2018

This week I am exploring LGBTQI romance.

I will admit I had not read this subgenre until I set about exploring it for this post. It was not something that had caught my interest before, but I found much to like about it. I’ve also found that there are many heterosexuals who enjoy ‘queer’ romance.

LGBTQI romance is a genre that is focused on the romantic relationship between lesbian/gay/bi/trans couples. It will usually be between two people, however there are some books that branch out into menage, but I found them to be more on the ‘erotic’ side.

LGBTQI romance explores the same tropes and elements found in mainstream ‘straight’ romances, with common ones being: reformed players, second chance at love, opposites attract and forbidden loves.

If you are a lover of this genre, I would love some recommendations. Who are your favourite authors and must-reads in LGBTQI romance? What would you suggest for someone new to the genre?

Here are my book recommendations …


  • Lies My Girlfriend Told Me by Julie Anne Peters
  • Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden
  • Beauty and the Boss by Ali Vali
  • Dress Codes for Small Towns by Courtney Stevens
  • Living Out Loud by Nyrae Dawn and Christina Lee
  • Autoboyography by Christina Lauren
  • The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich
  • Next Year for Sure by Zoey Leigh Peterson
  • If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo


  • Trusting Him by Laura N Andrews (Bromley Brothers)
  • The Love Song of Sawyer Bell by Avon Gale (Tour Dates)
  • Far From Home by Lorelei Brown (Belladonna Ink)
  • Prophesy by AE Via (The King and Alpha)
  • 27 Hours by Tristina Wright (The Nightside Saga)
  • Illegal Contact by Santino Hassell (Barons)
  • Manic Pixie Dream Boy by KA Merikan (The Underdogs)
  • Just Drive by LA Witt (Anchor Point)

And here are my favourite covers:

Happy reading!

#SecretProject #Discussions #LoveReading


Feature book: Daughter of Mine

18 April 2018

Daughter of Mine by Fiona Lowe

Subgenre: contemporary
Release date: 20 Feb 2017
Publisher: MIRA Australia
Format: print and ebook
Length: 435 pages

The opening line of Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina reads: ‘Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way’. I instantly thought of this when I started reading Daughter of Mine. There are many secrets bubbling under the surface of the wealthy, seemingly happy, seemingly perfect, successful, influential Mannering family in Victoria’s Western District.

Three adult daughters—a surgeon, a sheep farmer’s wife and a schoolteacher—each struggle in different ways since their father’s death. Their mother is battling private issues plus her ever-hovering nemesis, depression. The girls don’t always get on; sometimes they have raging disagreements. But, so far, through thick and thin, they’ve managed to keep their heads up and soldier on with pride intact and the family integrity in their core.

Then suddenly it all begins to unravel in an astonishing deluge. Fiona Lowe, you must have had the most tremendous fun dreaming up how you could batter this family from every direction!

First their mother’s youthful lost love (who nobody knew about) reappears—and moves in with their mother. Loyal to their father’s memory, worried about their mother’s mental health and the obligatory keeping up of appearances in the district, this is a shocking turn of events. The girls don’t know how to process it.

To add to this, a sudden accusation of criminal embezzlement brings stunned chaos to the family. Then an unexpected pregnancy. Then—well, I don’t want to give the whole game away, no more spoilers, but the surprises and shocks just keep coming. Gasp-worthy shocks, exposing deep family lies and secrets (past and present) the girls simply weren’t aware of.

Reading how the family struggles—and it becomes a very real struggle—is very poignant. They are deeply hurt, exposed, shamed and put to the test. Family politics become volatile and explosive; rifts seem inevitable and vast.

And yet the heart of this story is family love. Fiona Lowe, how you turned the story around is amazing. The ending is a good ending, hopeful as this family rises like a phoenix from its ashes and rebuilds itself on the love it already had, secreted deep within—but never trusted before.

Bravo, Fiona. What a story.

reviewed by Malvina

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

Release day: Burned

16 April 2018

Today is the official release of Burned by Christina Phillips (Viking Bastards MC #3) (ebook and print, Entangled Publishing). Here’s the blurb:

She’s the one girl he can’t forget…

Ten years ago I offered her everything, and she threw it back in my face. When she walked, I vowed no other woman would ever screw with my head the way she did. I moved on. Now I’m the V.P. of the Bastards, run my own nightclub, and nameless sex keeps me sane. No commitment or ties, just the way I like it.

Now she’s back, for one week only, gorgeous, successful, and I can’t keep away. She offers a long goodbye, a way to heal our fractured past. She burned me so bad, there’s no way I should even want to be near her. But the more she gives, the more I need. Until I discover the real reason she left, and my whole goddamn world implodes…

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

Some books are easier to write than others, but Burned wasn’t one of them! There were times when I thought I’d never be able to finish the bittersweet story of Ty and Jas, the teenage sweethearts, who meet up again ten years later, and have to face the demons of their past if they want to find a future together. I love this couple, and hope you do too 🙂

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

Guest blogger: Robert LJ Borg

15 April 2018

Aussie author on the Côte d’Azur

I left Australia with an amount of uncertainty at what I might find. When I arrived in southern France in March 2016, I knew I had made the right decision.

France in general is a very beautiful country—I travelled around it a fair bit in the late 1970s; but the south of France is an entity that swallows you whole.

Everything seems to move at a very slow pace in this region and it gives you time to absorb the surroundings. In winter the coastal towns are so laid back you feel as though you are the only one living here—it is so quiet. However, when spring and summer arrive, it’s as though someone has applied a defibrillator to it, as the region suddenly becomes fast paced and alive with tourists, the rich and famous amongst their number. Stunning yachts fill the ports, exotic cars cruise the coastal roads, and restaurants and bars are filled to bursting.

As an author, this time of the year is best, especially for people watching. The more you see, the more character developments start to fill your repertoire to eventually find themselves in one of your stories. It is an inspirational part of the world where history and traditional values play an important role in its very special identity.

My two years on the Côte d’Azur have been an inspiration, which has allowed my writing skills to blossom.

During this time three books were released by Luminosity Publishing under my pen name, Louise Roberts. The third, a 37,000-word novella entitled Dragoon Serenade is located in this area and is set during the lead up to the invasion of southern France on 15 August 1944. The region’s history, its people, the communities that encompasses them has entirely influenced my story. The book trailer can be found on YouTube.

Despite giving my pseudonym the bulk of my time, I have also found some for myself. Apart from writing fiction, I also dabble in travel writing which is, at present, limited on my blog. More importantly, I have had time to completely re-write my very first novel, a crime fiction with sensual romantic elements, Out of the Darkness. Although originally completed in 1994, I never thought it good enough to submit. The calming effect the Côte d’Azur gave me the courage to tear it apart and start again. It was the best thing I did, because the novel will now be released by Luminosity Publishing on 18 April 2018 in digital format and as a paperback on 15 May 2018.

At present I am working on the sequel, but I’m not rushing it as that would go against the way things are done in the south of France.

Out of the Darkness

It’s January 1994 and it is proving to be another hot summer in Sydney Australia. During the early hours, lonely in his thoughts and strolling along the shoreline at Freshwater Beach, Mark Lander, a war correspondent home on leave, is distracted by cries of help from the surf and wades in to rescue a swimmer in distress.

Unbeknown to Mark his courageous action will make him an unsuspecting champion in the defense of the rescuee, Robyn Shelly. Inquisitive by nature, a requirement of his chosen profession, he teams up with his best friend, Detective Sergeant Jim Sanders. Their respective investigations will pull them deeper into a world of violence and mayhem.

Despite his personal emotional anguish, Mark finds himself captivated by Robyn’s beauty and gradually falls in love with her. However, although he gladly accepts the unexpected friendship, will the trials still to come dash any hope of romance and eventual happiness …?

You can find Robert here: Robert’s website | Louise’s website | Robert’s Facebook | Louise’s Facebook | Robert’s Twitter | Louise’s Twitter

A Romantic Rendezvous with Bella Andre

15 April 2018


We are very pleased to announce that ARRA will be hosting a special evening event with Bella Andre while she is visiting Australia in July. Bella is attending the RWNZ conference this year, and will be holidaying in Australia before heading to New Zealand. Which is lucky for us, as she’s willing to do an event for us in Sydney. This is the only event she will be doing while in Australia, and it is also her first trip to Australia, so for many this will be their first chance to meet her.

The event will be held on Tuesday 24 July at Kittyhawk in Sydney, from 6.00 pm to 8.00 pm. Tickets will be $32 ($27 for ARRA members). The evening will start with canapes and a cash bar. Bella has specifically requested time to mingle with the readers, so make the most of it! She will also do a Q&A and will sign books afterwards. There will be books on sale at the event, or bring your books from home.

Tickets go on sale today. (Members, check the newsletter email for the discount code.)

Space is limited—book now so you don’t miss out!

Bella Andre’s New York Times and USA Today bestselling novels about “The Sullivans”, “The Morrisons” and “The Maverick Billionaires” have been #1 bestsellers around the world and she has sold more than 7 million books so far! Known for “sensual, empowered stories enveloped in heady romance” (Publishers Weekly), her books have been Cosmopolitan Magazine “Red Hot Reads” twice and have been translated into ten languages. She also writes sweet contemporary romances as Lucy Kevin. If not behind her computer, you can find her reading her favorite authors, hiking, swimming or laughing with friends. Married with two children, Bella splits her time between the Northern California wine country, a 100-year-old log cabin in the Adirondacks, and a flat in London overlooking the Thames.

You can find Bella here: Website | Facebook | Twitter


ARRA newsletter #105

15 April 2018

Purple news

The April 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:

  • announcing one more author event for 2018—can you guess who? Tickets are on sale today!
  • announcing changes for award categories and nominating process (including the chance to win $100 worth of books)
  • a special article from Carla Caruso—what happens after the happy-ever-after?
  • Charlotte’s Web Watch column features Peace Love Books
  • 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.

A few important reminders:
. voting for the awards closes on 22 April
. tickets for the high tea in Sydney (only 5 left!) close on 27 April
. tickets for the awards dinner close on 27 April
. authors—sign up for ARR2019

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

Happy reading everyone!

Weekly musing: multicultural romance

12 April 2018

I was very excited to explore this subgenre this week: interracial/multicultural romance. Mainly this was because I found there wasn’t much of it readily available in stores. However there a publishers such as Arabesque, Kimani and Kensington that cater to just this line, which it fantastic.

Multicultural romance explores romances where the hero and/or heroine is non-Caucasian. There is obvious a huge variety, with popular cultures featured being African-American, Asian, Hispanic, Indian and Jewish, depending on the publishing line.

These stories will reflect the values and dreams of the culture and how these can affect their relationships. Racial prejudice and heritage are integral to the story. But these lines are more than that; they have suspense, mystery, action and everything that the ‘typical white’ lines have. If anything I believe they are a more enriching read.

You’ll find your usual tropes of second-chance at love, jilted brides, redemption, reformed players, friends to lovers and fake engagements in these romances. What are your favourites tropes to read in multicultural or interracial romances?

Authors to try are: Brenda Jackson, Rochelle Alers, Beverley Jenkins, Tellulah Darling, Sonali Dev and Ginger Jamison. Who are your favourite authors writing multicultural romances? What are your must-read multicultural or interracial romances?

Here are my recommendations …

African-American (women’s fiction):

  • Don’t Tell a Soul by Tiffany L Warren

African-American (contemporary):

  • Tonight and Forever by Brenda Jackson (Madrais Family & Friends)
  • The Sweetest Thing by Deborah Fletcher Mello (Just Desserts)
  • A Forever Kind of Love by Farrah Rochon (Bayou Dreams)
  • A Gangster and a Gentleman by Kiki Swinson & De’nesha Diamond
  • Seduced by the Playboy by Pamela Yaye (The Morretti Millionaires)
  • Summer Vows by Rochelle Alers (Hideaway Wedding)

African-American (erotic):

  • Whatever You Like by Maureen Smith (Brand Clan)

African-American (historical):

  • Destiny’s Surrender by Beverly Jenkins


  • A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev (Bollywood)
  • Spice and Smoke by Suleikha Snyder (Bollywood Confidential)
  • Born Confused by Tanuja Hidier (Born Confused)


  • Jericho by Ginger Jamison
  • Liberty by Ginger Jamison
  • A Good Man by JJ Murray
  • Until I Saw Your Smile by JJ Murray

Jewish (new adult):

  • Just Visiting by Dahlia Adler
  • Premature Evacuation by Rachel Shane (Underground Sorority)
  • Get Real by Tellulah Darling (Get Real)

And here are my favourite covers:

Happy reading!

#SecretProject #Discussions #LoveReading