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Release day: The Postmistress

17 June 2019

Today is the official release of The Postmistress by Alison Stuart (ebook and print, Harlequin Mira). Here’s the blurb:

To forge a new life she must first deal with her past…

1871. Adelaide Greaves and her young son have found sanctuary in the Australian town of Maiden’s Creek, where she works as a postmistress. The rough Victorian gold mining settlement is a hard place for a woman – especially as the other women in town don’t know what to make of her – but through force of will and sheer necessity, Adelaide carves out a role.

But her past is coming to find her, and the embittered and scarred Confederate soldier Caleb Hunt, in town in search of gold and not without a dark past of his own, might be the only one who can help. Can Adelaide trust him? Can she trust anyone?

When death and danger threaten – some from her past, some born of the Australian bush – she must swallow her pride and turn to Caleb to join her in the fight, a fight she is determined to win…

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

Welcome to Maiden’s Creek, a small, Victorian gold mining settlement of the 1870s. This is a town that never sleeps; the battery stampers are at work 24 hours a day, 6 days a week. Life is hard in these hard rock mining towns, but it is an excellent place to escape to—if you want to escape! I am looking forward to introducing you to the inhabitants of this town—from the bank managers, the pub owners and the miners to the ladies of the night. Everyone has their secrets and the hills hold them close. The Postmistress is the first in a series of stories set in this little town and I hope you enjoy Adelaide and Caleb’s journey!

You can find out more about this book at Alison’s website (where she is running a contest) or buy it here.

All ARRA members who leave a comment on this post will go in the draw to win a print copy of the book. The giveaway will close on 1 July.


Guest blogger: Becca Seymour

16 June 2019

Meet-cute addiction

meet-cute (n) an amusing or charming first encounter between two characters that leads to the development of a romantic relationship between them. (English Oxford Dictionaries)

Charming and amusing! These two words capture the concept behind meet-cutes in romantic novels so perfectly. They’re exactly the emotions I look for in some of the romance books I read and write.

With a long list of romance tropes that I adore—and I’m sure you have your own lengthy list—it was only fitting, especially considering my slight obsession, that the meet-cute in my latest release stood out.

Yes, I love meet-cutes in romances.

It can often be my absolute favourite plot device. That one scene where the couple meet, in often an unusual, awkward, or a particularly adorable way, has me swooning something fierce.

How could I not gush and melt when a future couple meet for the first time?

With most of my novels, I start with the idea of the couple’s meet-cute. With my new release, Let Me Show You, the concept when planning immediately had me grinning. There’s nothing I love more as a reader and a writer than that first point of contact. I love the possibility it offers, adore how one critical moment can set the tone and the course for the romantic development between characters.

With this in mind, the meet-cute in Let Me Show You, which we find in Chapter 3, essentially does that. Not only does it set the atmosphere and tone for the lightness and low-angst nature of the book, but it also introduces almost a whimsical chemistry between the protagonists, Tanner and Carter.

Spoiler alert: the meet-cute is one of mishap, involving a broken floorboard, a mad dash from the shower, and a towel that doesn’t survive the exchange.

Humour works so well for many meet-cutes. I absolutely love meetings that set the butterflies going and make me catch my breath too. But for Let Me Show You, comedy and making the reader (and characters) cringe a little was the only way to go.

While we have two characters who are opposites on many levels, their romantic journey, as sparked by their meet-cute, quickly begins to highlight their similarities. Both protective and loyal, Carter and Tanner, show their determination to be optimistic and make the best out of sometimes crappy and ridiculous situations. Their attitudes about family and loyalty are the same, as is their desire for a forever.

It’s this connection that we see immediately in their first meeting that follows them through the novel. And hopefully, it’s enough to keep you wanting to read on and cheer for this fun couple.

When a meet-cute includes all of the feels, ones that result in swoon-worthy moments (and quite possibly cringe-worthy ones too), it sets the tone for the unfolding romance and will successfully hook you in and have you clambering to reach the happily ever after.

Regardless of what subgenre of romance you read, there’ll be countless amazing books that are so memorable because of the one chance meeting. Have a think, make a list, and perhaps revisit them, even if it’s to simply reread that one joyous moment of the meet-cute.

While you’re at it, leave a comment letting me know some of your favourite reads containing a memorable meet-cute.

Becca Seymour lives and breathes all things book related. Usually with at least three books being read and two WiPs being written at the same time, life is merrily hectic. She tends to do nothing by halves, so happily seeks the craziness and busyness life offers. Living on her small property in Queensland with her human family, as well as her animal family of cows, chooks, and dogs, Becca appreciates the beauty of the world around her and is a believer that love truly is love.

You can find Becca here: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | BookBub | Amazon

Let Me Show You

When a veterinarian and a construction worker connect, it takes mishaps, mistakes, and a Rhodesian Ridgeback named Rex to show them they’re made for each other.

Dr Carter Falon is content living a quiet life in a small town caring for his animal patients. That doesn’t mean he’s not looking for a distraction. After finding himself precariously wedged … naked and at the mercy of a drop-dead gorgeous construction worker, Carter hires his saviour to renovate his home.

When Tanner Grady’s best friend and new niece needed him, he uprooted and relocated without a second thought. His life has since been centred on work and spending time with his family, but when he comes to the rescue of a cute vet, Tanner finds he’s a lot more interested in the homeowner than the house he’s renovating.

You can buy Let Me Show You here.

ARR2020: special guests

15 June 2019

We are thrilled to announce our two special international guests for the Romantic Rendezvous next year—we will be welcoming Darynda Jones and Susan Donovan to Australia for these events.

In 2020 we will have five events, and both Darynda and Susan will be appearing at all these events:

  • Brisbane—Friday 6 March
  • Sydney—Sunday 8 March
  • Melbourne—Saturday 14 March
  • Perth—Sunday 15 March
  • Adelaide—Tuesday 17 March

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Darynda Jones has won numerous awards for her work, including a prestigious RITA®, a Golden Heart®, and a Daphne du Maurier, and her books have been translated into 17 languages. As a born storyteller, she grew up spinning tales of dashing damsels and heroes in distress for any unfortunate soul who happened by. To date, she is the culprit behind the Charley Davidson series, the Darklight trilogy, and the upcoming Sunshine Vicram trilogy. Darynda lives in the Land of Enchantment, also known as New Mexico, with her husband and two beautiful sons, the Mighty, Mighty Jones Boys.

You can find Darynda here: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Susan Donovan’s books are a ‘perfect blend of romance and women’s fiction’, according to Publishers Weekly. She is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of twenty-seven novels and novellas published by St Martin’s Press, Penguin USA/Berkeley Books, HQN, Amazon and Hachette. She’s a former newspaper reporter with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism from Northwestern University. Susan is a writing coach, editor, and the artist-in-residence at the Adobe Cottage Writer’s Retreat in Placitas, New Mexico, a private space for peace, beauty, and word count.

You can find Susan here: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Tickets for the events go on sale in October.

In the meantime, you can follow our Facebook event to keep up with news. The expression of interest form for authors is still open too. Feel free to pass this link along to your favourite authors!

ARRA newsletter #119

15 June 2019

Purple news

The June 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:

  • ARR2020 announcements—dates and special guests
  • date for next Awards Dinner—be sure to save the date (pg 2)
  • renewals closing soon (pg 4)
  • Charlotte’s Web Watch column features Learning the Tropes (pg 9)
  • another Blast from the Past column from Paula Roe (pg 12)
  • 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 us at

Happy reading everyone!

Release day: Malicious Desire

13 June 2019

Today is the official release of Malicious Desire by Laney Kaye (Bent, Not Broken, book 1) (ebook and print, CrossWorlds Publishing). Here’s the blurb:

*Please note trigger warnings*

They think they can break her, but if life hasn’t done it already, how can four men succeed? And once she finds a way free, she’ll seek revenge…

~ Terror and forbidden desire stalk the heart of the Australian Outback ~

A trip to the beach with her elementary school class turns into teacher Kayla Petrovic’s worst nightmare. Abducted. Held for ransom. For years, Kayla’s believed she’s nothing more than the whore of her alcoholic mother’s taunts, trading her body for a roof, clothes, and money, using men’s hearts to heal her emptiness. But when the kidnappers threaten her students, she’ll sacrifice everything, including the last vestige of her self-respect, to save them.

Hardened army veteran, Captain Nick West, bears his own scars—not all of them visible. But he knows how to handle a world turned to shit. He’ll get in, retrieve the hostages, and get out, doing little damage—except to the kidnappers. They’re fair game. What he doesn’t expect is the kick in the guts of recognizing there’s something special, almost haunting, about the woman he rescues. Doesn’t matter. After years of avoiding weakness, he’s sure as hell not interested in her. Love is a flaw he cannot permit.

Refusing to be labeled as a victim but haunted by PTSD-induced nightmares and ashamed of her illicit desire for Nick, Kayla craves the sweet release of a blade. Yet, when a kidnapper tracks her down, hell-bent on revenge, can she cast off the demons of her past and find the strength to save not just herself, but the only man she may ever be able to love?

Trigger warnings: Inspired by the Faraday School kidnappings and the #MeToo movement, this story may contain multiple triggers including, but not limited to, violence, rape, abduction, victim-blaming and shaming, cutting.

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

Usually I’m a reasonably fast writer—not so with this book! I’m not even going to tell you how long it took to complete … but there was a lot of research involved, as I was determined to get the nuances of the characters perfect. Further complicating this were changes in government departments and the law, which then had to be accurately reflected in the story. However, throughout all the edits and rewrites, Nick and Kayla remained true. Although I’ve written many books, under various names, this is the story of which I’m most proud, as it incorporates facets of both my personal and professional life and is a tale of strength, resilience and redemption.

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


Feature book: A Duke Like No Other

12 June 2019

A Duke Like No Other by Valerie Bowman

Series: Playful Brides #9
Subgenre: historical romance
Release date: 1 May 2018
Publisher: St Martin’s Paperbacks
Format: ebook and print
Length: 368 pages
RRP: $6.28 (ebook); $15.99 (print)

He is told he needs a wife for his promotion. So, he goes to France to bring her home.

General Mark Grimaldi is a self-made general which can be a hard feat in Regency England. He does have some relatives in the ton, but he does not want to be associated with them after the way in which they treated his Italian father. And it was Mark’s deathbed promise to his father that has made him the man he is today.

Lady Nicole Huntington is being thrown into the arms of a Marquess. Her mother and grandmother want her to marry the Marquess. She wants to be a Bow Street Runner. She has worked as an associate for the Runners with some success. Nicole agrees to return to England and play the wife while Mark goes for his promotion. She also has a condition. She wants a baby. Then Mark’s cousin, John, the heir to the title, dies.

Mark and Nicole are thrown together to investigate his cousin’s death which turns out to be murder. There are also other characters, Regina and Daffin (who we meet in the next book). As they investigate John’s death, Mark and Nicole are thrown together, and try to learn more about why they didn’t work ten years ago.

Throughout the book, the reader is taken back to Mark and Nicole’s first meeting and their ensuing relationship. There are some interesting twists to the tale and they discover how much they didn’t know each other before their marriage. As they decide to be together, they do learn those important things, especially when it comes to their love.

This story has the back story interwoven into the current. This ensures the reader really understands why they are where they are but also how Mark came to be the self-made soldier in Regency times. I liked that Nicole was able to do some detective work and able to use her intelligence for good.

I also enjoyed the way in which Mark has a beer with his mates, and then races off to find Nicole, and declare his love for her. An all-round satisfying story.

reviewed by Heather

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

Guest blogger: Juanita Kees

9 June 2019

Creating the Calhouns

Hello dear readers and thank you to ARRA for hosting me on the blog today.

I am a huge V8 racing fan and have had a love affair with cars forever. Growing up in a family of mechanics and panel beaters, it came as no surprise that I would end up working in (and marrying into) the motor industry. My passion for hot rods grew, as did my interest in custom car garages, thanks to programs like Count’s Kustoms, Monster Garage, Overhaulin’ and of course, Australia’s own Greg Rust from Rusty’s Garage. So, when I proposed the Calhoun Customs Garage family to Tule Publishing way back in early 2017, I was very excited to be turning my passion into a series. But how to turn this passion into a romance all readers could love and relate to? Therein lay the challenge.

Ex Nascar race king, Marty Calhoun, has built a legacy for his family, and now it’s time to round them up and bring them home to claim it. Each of his five children have hearts in need of overhauling. They all have hard lessons to learn. The one thing Marty wants most is to see his children find happiness and love at Calhoun Customs Garage. The books were difficult to write, despite my passion for cars. I thought writing them would be a breeze. I knew my plot, I knew my cars, I knew my characters, I had this series in the bag. Right?

Wrong! Like any rebuild, makeover or renovation, I soon found myself all over the track as I hit plot snags, hidden bumps in the road and challenges I’d never expected to have to face, no matter how much planning or plotting I did. I soon realised that, in my attempt to keep the technical side believable, I’d forgotten all about the romance and writing from the heart. But with the help of a group of amazing women, their critique and a very experienced editor whose suggestions often resulted in me rewriting huge chunks of the books, I could overcome all those obstacles.

Interestingly enough, the last contracted book in the series is titled Burnout. A title I couldn’t possibly have realised would have as much significance as it did in my writing journey. Mason’s story was the hardest to write of them all. His journey started with an event in book 1, Overdrive, that shattered his family and became crucial to the over-arching plot of the series. I hadn’t meant it to be that way, but sometimes our characters know better than we do. Boy, did Mason throw me a curveball.

The message I’d like readers to take away from this series is that love has the power to heal all wounds, overcome difficult obstacles, and family is everything. I hope the men, women and children of Calhoun Customs Garage steal your hearts as they find love and rediscover the true meaning of a family bond.

Books in order of release:

Overdrive (June 2018)
Fast Lane (July 23, 2019)
Burnout (TBA, 2019)

Steers full throttle through life, love and redemption to find a home within your heart ~ Isha (Goodreads)

More information and buy links available here.

Juanita escapes the real world by reading and writing Australian rural romance novels with elements of suspense, Australian fantasy paranormal and small town USA stories. Her romance novels star spirited heroines who give the hero a run for his money before giving in. She creates emotionally engaging worlds steeped in romance, suspense, mystery and intrigue, set in dusty, rural outback Australia and on the NASCAR racetracks of America. When she’s not writing, Juanita is mother to three boys and has a passion for fast cars and country living.

You can find Juanita here: Website | Facebook | Twitter | BookBub