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Release day: Shadows of Red Earth

15 April 2019

Today is the official release of Shadows of Red earth by Suzanne Cass (ebook and print, self-published). Here’s the blurb:

What if the only thing you wanted in life was your freedom? What if the cost of that freedom was the lives of your family?

Rose Simmonds wants to live like any other normal person. Away from her overprotective family and their dire warnings about a stranger from the past. Away from the cattle farm where she’s been kept safe for so long. So, she hitches a ride with a stranger out in the middle of the desert.

Koen Babroda is hoping for a fresh start. He picks Rose up from the isolated dirt road and promises to give her a lift to Darwin. But he fails to tell her he’s riding a stolen motorbike as he too, runs away from past mistakes.

Even though a physical attraction sparks between them, Koen finds old habits die hard, he has always felt like a misfit and a failure. So, when he betrays Rose, she is stuck in Darwin with no money and nowhere to go. A man tries to abduct her and Rose comes to the horrible recognition her parents were right all along. Someone is out to harm her and her family. Can Koen overcome the weight of his former failings and believe he is worthy of love? Will Rose recognise the strength within herself to be rid of her nemesis once and for all?

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

Shadows of Red Earth is a romantic suspense set in the Outback. It is book 3 in the series, but all books can be read as a standalone. This was an interesting book to write as I’ve always wanted to create an Indigenous character, and when I first started to imagine the personalities for this book, Koen jumped out at me, full of vitality and humour, a real diamond in the rough. Rose is the exact opposite of Koen—naïve and out of touch with reality—but that soon changes, and she shows she has the guts and determination to take the world by the horns. I’ve learned a lot along the way while writing this book, and hope it honours the Aboriginal culture as well as showcases the amazing red-dirt country of the desert and Kakadu.

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

Release day: Wild Heart

15 April 2019

Today is the official release of Wild Heart by Belinda Williams (Hollywood Hearts, Book 4) (ebook, self-published). Here’s the blurb:

Is Hollywood’s most formidable actress a match for one of the world’s toughest stuntmen?

Faith Martin is not having a mid-life crisis. Never mind she’s just turned forty and found a wrinkle. In need of a change from LA, Faith heads to Sonoma Valley in Northern California only to discover the one man she never wanted to see again is living there.

Cole Cooper is more than just a handsome rancher and winemaker. He’s a respected stuntman and Faith knows he’s as dangerous in real life as when he’s diving from cars or throwing punches on-screen.

Then Faith receives the opportunity to star in, as well as direct, a lethal action film that could take her career to new heights. The only problem? The production team want Cole for the job of stunt coordinator, and they’re not prepared to negotiate.

When suspicious accidents start occurring on-set, is Faith prepared to take extreme risks for the most exciting role of her career? And will those risks include endangering her heart?

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

Wild Heart is the fourth book in the Hollywood Hearts series, but all the books can be read as standalones. Readers can expect a bit of everything, as it’s a contemporary romance with some mystery and suspense. I loved writing Faith’s story because she’s such a tough character, yet vulnerable at the same time. This book takes you from the glitz of Hollywood to the beauty of Sonoma Valley and over to Eastern Europe while filming on location. Faith’s leading man, Cole, is both strong and sensitive—an alluring combination!

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

Release day: Rough and Ready

15 April 2019

Today is the official release of Rough and Ready by Cathleen Ross (ebook and print, Entangled Publishing). Here’s the blurb:

Enemy … or obsession?

Before special ops soldier Hugo Boudreaux can move on, he has one last thing to do–fulfill a wartime debt to the friend who saved his life. He must infiltrate a vicious Louisiana MC club to stop their next illegal weapons shipment and send the president to jail. What he didn’t plan on was ending up an unwilling bodyguard to the man’s daughter–innocent and attractive nurse Alice Kaintuck.

Alice wants a normal life with a nice guy. But her rough-edged bodyguard is the sexiest man she’s ever met. Suddenly she can’t stop thinking about just how hot he makes her. Before she knows it, she’s tumbling into his muscular arms … though she’ll be damned if she’ll fall in love with a man as dangerous as her father. Only Hugo doesn’t make love, he consumes her and turns her life upside down with his carnal, erotic sex. Dreams of nice guys vanish when her enemy becomes her obsession …

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

Entangled asked me to write a follow-up book after Snatched. I had just come out of hospital after having a radical hysterectomy and, after several complications and three anaesthetics, my brain was fried. I think it still is. The conversation with my editor went like this:
Editor: “You need to write a sexy follow-up book for Snatched”.
Me, post-hysterectomy: What’s sex?
Editor: “This is a Scorched book, our hottest line. It needs a trope”.
Me: What’s a trope? “Sure,” I say because I’m professional like that.
Editor: “What trope would you like to write?”
Me: “Um, I’m not sure.”
Editor: “What about rough sex?”
Me: Looking down at hysterectomy scar. Erk! “Sure.”
I hope you enjoy Rough and Ready. I can assure you all of it is written from my extensive imagination, which still seems to be working.

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

 

ARRA newsletter #117

15 April 2019

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:

  • a big wrap-up from the ARR2019 events (and we’ve also opened EOIs for ARR2020)
  • we also had some great media coverage around the events
  • congratulations to the Aussie authors nominated for a RITA
  • Charlotte’s Web Watch column features Reading for the Love of Books
  • another Blast from the Past column this month from Paula Roe
  • a very special giveaway from Kylie Scott
  • 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 arra.editor@gmail.com.

We are looking for authors to do the “Five minutes” Q&A in the newsletter and authors to take part in #AuthorHour Facebook chats this year. You do not need to be a member to do either of these.

Happy reading everyone!

Guest blogger: Vanda Vadas

14 April 2019

Greetings readers and thank you, ARRA, for the opportunity to return as a guest to your blog.

The past few months have been super exciting for me. In February I received news of becoming a BRAG Medallion Honoree for my anthology of short stories, Treasured Love, and March saw the release of my second historical romance, The Prodigal Laird.

The Prodigal Laird is set in the Scottish Highlands one year after the Battle of Culloden, which was fought near Inverness on 16 April 1746. On that fateful day, Bonnie Prince Charlie and his Jacobite forces suffered a crushing defeat against the English, so ending all hope of the Stuart dynasty regaining the throne. Two days from now an annual service will be held at the Memorial Cairn on Drumossie Moor to commemorate the 273rd anniversary of the battle.

Research is an integral role in writing historical fiction. Looking back, I thrived on history classes in high school. I remember sifting through reference books in preparation for upcoming assignments and projects. It was a time when school work was handwritten with accompanying hand drawings. How times have changed!

Nowadays, visiting libraries and researching online is one thing, but to visit a country or place you intend writing about, is another. I was fortunate to visit England and the Caribbean when doing research for my #1 bestselling debut, The Pirate Lord. Likewise, visiting Scotland and Culloden on two separate occasions was invaluable when writing and researching The Prodigal Laird. For me, ‘being there’ provides a rich insight and a better understanding of the life and times of people and places I’m writing about. It makes the writing process all the more interesting and enjoyable.

At Culloden’s Visitor Centre I was delighted to be able to take part in one of the living history presentations. I was instructed on how to hold and use a targe (a Highland shield), a dirk (a long, thrusting dagger), and broadsword. The latter two are mentioned in my book.

While in Scotland, I took a trip to the Isle of Skye. Wow! What dramatic, stunning scenery. I made a point of visiting Dunvegan Castle (below), ancestral home of the Chiefs of Clan MacLeod. The fictional hero in The Prodigal Laird hails from this clan, whose motto is Hold Fast. I was in complete awe while exploring a castle and grounds that have been continuously occupied by the same family for over 800 years.

By the end of my second visit to Scotland, I felt armed with a better understanding of an era about which I was writing. The Jacobite army’s devastating defeat at Culloden in 1746 affected the whole future of the Highlands. It fractured and dismantled the Scottish clans and led to the Highland clearances. This time in history forms the backdrop for my fictional story. Roderick MacLeod, whose loyalty to Scotland and England is tested and divided from birth, is married by proxy against his will to Annabel MacDonald, the seditious daughter of a rival clan.

So, what can you expect from my latest release? In the closing paragraph of her review, Mary Anne Yarde (award-winning author of the international bestselling series, The Du Lac Chronicles) said: ‘The Prodigal Laird is a tautly gripping romance which is absolutely impossible to put down once started. It is engaging, engrossing, enthralling and irresistible. When historical romance is written like this, there is no such thing as too many pages. I highly recommend.’ (You can read the full review here.)

Happy reading!

Vanda Vadas

You can find Vanda here: Website | Facebook | Twitter

The Prodigal Laird

His marriage might cease decades of hostilities between two clans, but that doesn’t mean he wants it─or his bold new wife who is keeping secrets of her own.

Roderick MacLeod arrives in his native Scottish Highlands to pay brief respects to his recently deceased father─the man Roderick blames for the death of his English mother. But before he can return to England, he is saddled with two responsibilities he never asked for: the title of Laird of Clan MacLeod and an unwanted marriage, by proxy, to the daughter of a rival laird.

Annabel MacDonald thought she had the perfect marriage; her husband’s continued absence allowed her independence and the freedom to secretly hide and abet the escape of her fugitive clansmen. When the husband she’d never met shows up, she must convince him to return to England before he uncovers her many secrets, and perhaps her heart.

Feature book: Christmas with the Duke

10 April 2019

Christmas with the Duke by Katrina Cudmore

Subgenre: contemporary romance
Release date: 1 Oct 2018
Publisher: Mills & Boon
Format: ebook and print
Length: 256 pages
RRP: $5.99 (ebook); $14.99 (print duo)

I do love a second-chance-at-love story, and when you throw in a duke, I’m hooked. This is a modern day story, which is even more thrilling. The prospect of a commoner marrying a duke makes me dizzy with the romance of it all. (Seems like it’s happened just recently … hmm …)

Ciara is back at Loughmore Castle, working as a horticulturalist to protect and nurture the rare plants on the estate. She grew up there, and she and the son of the estate, Harry—no, sorry *cough*, Tom, played with Ciara and they fell in love together as teenagers. Their love burned high and hot, but it was like an upstairs-downstairs forbidden romance, sadly doomed to fail. They were too young, it was too forbidden, they had their lives ahead of them, they came from different society, etc …

Tom hasn’t visited the estate for years, but then his father dies, and he becomes Duke. He returns to Loughmore Castle, much to the disconcertment of the entire staff at his sudden visit, but especially Ciara, because she discovers his secret intent is not to live there but that he intends sell it to pay his father’s debts.

Ciara is horrified. She loves Loughmore and is totally passionate about her work there. And what about the rest of the staff, who’ve lived and worked on the estate for generations? How can Tom simply throw it—and them—away and let some hideous hotel or a golf course happen? It all gets rather heated and ghastly. Tom is surprisingly stubborn, demonstrating feet of clay here. But then he has huge debts to cover, debts his father has run up, and can’t figure out any other way to survive than to sell.

Ciara plots and plans and decides to simply try and win him over by showing him how special, how beloved, how important Loughmore is to Tom, the staff, the locals—and her. She cooks up all sorts of ideas about sustaining the estate, and sells them with endearing charm. I have to say I believed her.

Somewhere along the way, she and Tom begin to fall in love again. Or maybe they never really fell out of love to begin with … Oh, it does get tender and rather lovely.

This is a dear story. It shows how people can need a sense of home in their heart, and how important love is. I especially enjoyed how Ciara stubbornly calls Tom ‘Your Grace’ and he gets impatient and never stands on airs and graces, proclaiming he’s Tom! Tom! Who doesn’t love an unstuffy, down-to-earth Duke? So charming.

reviewed by Malvina

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

Feature book: Christmas with the Duke

10 April 2019

Christmas with the Duke by Katrina Cudmore

Subgenre: contemporary romance
Release date: 1 Oct 2018
Publisher: Mills & Boon Forever Romance
Format: ebook and print
Length: 256 pages
RRP: $5.99 (ebook); $17.99 (print)

Ciara Harris has returned to Loughmore Castle to work in the gardening team as a conservation and heritage horticulturalist, hoping this Christmas will mark a fresh start. Ciara’s character is bright and optimistic, I couldn’t help but love her from the first page. Her inner strength grows throughout the book, as she overcomes a past tragic event.

Tom Benson, Eleventh Duke of Bainsworth has returned to Loughmore Castle after his father’s passing. It’s twelve years since he’s been to the castle, he’s a renowned chef who runs a successful restaurant empire. The fact he’s a duke and a chef pretty much sealed my love of him (Titled and can cook… winning combination right there!) but watching him grow from reserved, hiding a broken heart to open and loving was a beautiful journey.

This is a reunion romance, with a strong element of fish out of water. Ciara and Tom fell for each other as young teenagers, their final summer together consummating their love. But Ciara never felt accepted as part of Tom’s world, he a Duke and she the hired help. Neither set of parents approved, for various reasons that become apparent as you read. A past tragedy holds Ciara and Tom at arms-length, their last encounter one of guilt and sadness. Meeting up again after all this time, they are able to express their emotions and communicate what each felt, allowing them to fall in love again, this time with an openness and maturity they didn’t have the first time around.

I’d call this a very sparkly and romantic read. Perfect for Christmas time with a sigh worthy ending. The reasons holding these two apart are believable and their progression had me flipping the pages with eagerness. You could feel the author’s love of this part of the world on the pages, descriptions were excellent and brought the world alive for me. I’ve never been to Ireland but after reading this it may well be leaping to the top of my travel bucket list. There were also some fantastic outfit descriptions, and a very elegant New Year’s Eve party.

reviewed by Jayne

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