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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


Feature book: A Virgin for a Vow

11 April 2018

A Virgin for a Vow by Melanie Milburne

Subgenre: contemporary
Release date: 1 Jan 2018
Publisher: Mills & Boon Sexy
Format: print and ebook
Length: 256 pages

She lives a lie, mostly.

Abby Hart hides her background as she doesn’t think that her real life would be acceptable to her readers. She writes a column for a magazine, her dream job. As part of her writer background, she has a loving fiancé and a terrific life. Then she is invited to a much sought after ball and she needs to produce a fake fiancé. Enter her friend Ella’s brother, Luke Shelverton. Abby virtually begs him to do this one thing for her. Luke feels obligated after Abby helped him one night.

His appearance at the ball with Abby creates another problem. He wants her. The pair leave after the agreed two hours but receive a phone call letting Luke know he has won a holiday to a private island. Luke gives it to Abby but she is adamant that he needs to come too. So he takes time out from his bio technical business (much to the delight of his personal assistant) to go to the island with her.

Abby and Luke grow closer during their stay, and Luke is getting uncomfortable. Abby tells him about her background and he is totally blown away by her real life. He admits to Abby that he feels guilty over his fiancée’s death five years earlier. He tells Abby that he had broken up with her just hours before her accident. He feels he should play the lost love card for her parents. Then a call from work comes in and he goes back to solve the problem. He leaves Abby on the island. It is over.

Abby pours her heart out to her readers about her past, and hopes they will still be accepting. Luke sees it and realises how much he loves her and she him. Is now up to him to let her know. What Luke does is in keeping with the romantic nature that Abby has said her ‘fake’ fiancé has, and you will have to read for yourself what he does …

This is Ms Milburne’s 75th book for Harlequin Mills and Boon. What a terrific career of telling stories and this one doesn’t disappoint. Abby has stylised how she wants her fiancé to be (and probably what every other woman wants from their man) and it comes to be. This comes across on the pages. Despite their backgrounds and events that have affected them, Abby and Luke were meant for each other.

reviewed by Heather

A review copy of this book was supplied by the author’s publicist. ARRA members who leave a comment on the blog by 25 April will go into the draw to win a copy.

Feature book: Secrets of the A-List #5

11 April 2018

Secrets of the A-List #5 by Helen Lacey

Subgenre: Contemporary romance
Release date: 1 Oct 2017
Publisher: Harlequin Mills & Boon
Format: ebook
Length: 71 pages
RRP: A$1.99

This is one novella in a series about a billionaire on the verge of death. In this section of the series the family are circling the wagons to stop any bad publicity and the press know that Harrison Marshall is on the verge of death and not recovering as per their story. Elana, Harrison’s daughter, is about to be married and is taking a trip to Paris. Rafe, her brother, is accompanying her and is in love with his sister’s fiancée after they shared a kiss.

More secrets are revealed in this section of the overall story arc. Luc wants the house keeper, Vanessa, who has a deep secret. She also has one about Harrison’s wife and best friend. We also meet the lady pregnant with Harrison’s child. And then there is Gabe, also known as the fixer. Everyone is trying to find the identity of the fixer, so Gabe plays it very low.

It was very interesting to come into the middle of a story arc. You aren’t totally left without understanding of the events but it really makes you want to read ALL the stories just to find out the beginnings and all the secrets!

Reviewed by Heather

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

Release day: Mornings on Main

10 April 2018

Today is the official release of Mornings on Main by Jodi Thomas (paperback, Harlequin HQN). Here’s the blurb:

When Jillian James lands in the small town Texas community of Laurel Springs, she’s definitely not planning to stay—except to find a few clues about the father who abandoned her and destroyed her faith in family.

Connor Larady is a single dad, and the only one caring for his grandmother, Eugenia, who has Alzheimer’s. And now he has to close Eugenia’s quilt shop. When Connor meets down-on-her-luck Jillian, he’s out of options. Can he trust the newcomer to do right by his grandmother’s legacy?

Jillian is done with relationships. But as she grows closer to Connor and Eugenia, she must consider giving up her nomadic life for a future with those who need her.

Weaving together the story of three generations of women looking for a place to belong, Mornings on Main asks us to consider how we make our memories—what we remember, what we forget, what becomes part of our story—and remind us that it’s not where we live, but how we live that counts.

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

Mornings on Main weaves three women’s stories together as the stories of the town’s history is displayed in quilts. Quilts have always fascinated me. I remember lying under my grandmother’s quilt from that drifted down from the ceiling. I remember my mother quilting long after her mind had been invaded by Alzheimer’s. I love seeing my sisters quilts displayed on their bedroom walls. But, I don’t quilt. My mother only read my first book before she stopped reading completely. I’ll never forget what she said about my patchwork stories that blend together. She said, “Jodi, you quilt with words.”

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


Guest blogger: Jenn J McLeod

8 April 2018

I just this minute saw a review on the Beauty and Lace Book Club website and it reminded me why I do this crazy thing called writing. I rarely cry over a review (not even the odd bad one!) but what Mandy50 wrote kind of got to me, because it reminded me what I love about telling my stories: connecting, affecting, sharing.

People will often ask me how I write a book or where I get my ideas. Rarely does anyone ask why I choose to do something that is soooo much work—the writing, the editing, the promotion. (Let’s face it, there are easier, less stressful jobs that provide a lot more certainty—and a weekly salary!) I did try the ‘not writing thing’ for a while last year and soon discovered my head literally aching from all the ideas and characters and conversations crammed in there 24/7. Writing is a wonderful way of connecting with people—with lovers of good fiction. Only when trying to give the writing away last year did I discover I am obsessed with storytelling and I had lots more to tell, like John and Ava’s story in A Place to Remember—a story about obsession of a different kind.

A Place to Remember is my fifth novel and the ‘behind the scenes’ stuff that went into bringing this epic saga to the shelves was … well … both epic and a saga!!

All four previous novels had begun their lives the same way as A Place to Remember—as a small kernel of an idea, then another and another. A story then grows, line by line, chapter by chapter, until I have about 50,000 words, which gives me a strong beginning, a middle and an end. The remaining 80,000+ words come from writing, revising, re-writing, re-structuring, undoing, re-doing, copying, pasting, deleting … (You get the drift?)

Finally, when I think the manuscript is good enough to submit, an editor from the publishing house takes a first look, forwards some feedback, and we are back on the editing process, but with fresh eyes. That’s when the story starts to unfurl. (I always picture a slo-mo flower—a big yellow daisy—blooming petal-by-pretty-petal.) That early concept takes on a new form, becoming something unexpected and special and so beyond anything I imagined when I first sat down and cracked that kernel open.

So much credit goes to my amazing editing team who worked with me on A Place to Remember, in particular Rosie de Courcy, publisher at Head of Zeus in the UK. Her insights pushed me and my story to reach further than I’d thought possible. What I never imagined is that I would get to work with the same person who discovered and edited Maeve Binchy for 23 years (and was behind the success of Colleen McCullough’s The Thorn Birds in the UK). Or that I would find emails waiting in my inbox in the morning (the UK is working while I’m sleeping) that included lines like: ‘You remind me of Maeve, Jenn, and I would tell her the same thing about her dialogue …’ What a way to start my working day! (This YouTube clip is a behind the scenes look at working with Rosie.)

A Place to Remember is a small step away from my contemporary women’s fiction. According to my publisher, I’ve written a romantic family saga (whether I meant to or not). What I can definitely tell you is this:

  • A Place to Remember is not one love story, but two.
  • It’s not one star-crossed couple, but a second relationship thwarted by class, meddling parents and bad timing (a theme you’ll recognise in everything from classics, like Romeo and Juliet, to The Thorn Birds and The Notebook.)
  • It’s a story about two women—a mother and daughter—who experience love and heartache three decades apart on a central Queensland cattle station.

Thirty years ago, when Ava Marchette, 27 was a city cook running away for the 2nd time in her life, the temporary cook’s position on a central Queensland cattle station seemed the perfect place — until she falls for the owner’s young son. Barely twenty when they meet, John Tate is a beguiling blend of both man and boy and a terrible flirt. Ava’s first mistake is flirting back. Her second is enjoying a clandestine affair right under the noses of John’s formidable parents. Ava knows she’ll never forget the spring she met John Tate, while he’s unlikely to remember a fling with the hired help.

And as fate would have it, she was right.

Their affair is tragic, heartbreaking, and triggers thirty years of secrets and lies until a next generation uncovers the past.

And it’s when her daughter, Nina, decides to follow the clues in the portrait that I got to have a lot of fun portraying a very modern relationship between and country lad and a city girl.

While at the heart of this story lies a tragedy, as always I’ve ensured moments to make readers laugh. If you’re familiar with my other four novels, you’ll know I like to have fun, and in this book I’ve throw in a few real-life gems (and even buried a little secret of my own among the pages. I wonder if you’ll spot it).

Do let me know you enjoyed A Place to Remember. I love hearing from readers.


Jenn J McLeod moved to the Coffs Coast in 2004 and operated a Sawtell cafe and a B&B before selling everything in 2014 to live a nomadic life in a caravan she calls Myrtle the Turtle. Jenn is best known her Seasons Collection of stories – four life-affirming tales of friendship, family, and contemporary country life, including the 2013 bestselling House for all Seasons. Her fifth novel, A Place to Remember, is her 2018 release and is available in print and as an ebook. You can connect with Jenn online where she wastes good writing time posting travel pics and having fun on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

You can find Jenn here: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

A Place to Remember

A portrait
An obsession
A curious daughter
An affair to remember

Running away for the second time in her life, twenty-seven-year-old Ava believes the cook’s job at a country B&B is perfect until she meets the owner’s son, John Tate. At twenty, the fifth-generation grazier is a beguiling blend of both man, boy and a terrible flirt. Ava’s first mistake is flirting back. Her second is enjoying a clandestine affair right under the noses of John’s formidable parents. Ava knows she’ll never forget the spring she met John Tate, while he’s unlikely to remember a fling with the hired help.

And as fate would have it, she was right.

Thirty years later, Ava returns to Candlebark Creek and so does her daughter, Nina, who is determined to meet her mother’s lost love for herself. While struggling to find her own place in the world, Nina discovers an urban myth about a love-struck man, a forgotten engagement ring, and a dinner reservation back in the eighties. Now she must decide if revealing the truth will hurt more than it heals.

Come home to the country, to Candlebark Creek, and to the Ivy-May Homestead—a fifth generation Queensland cattle station hiding three decades of secrets and lies.

Find buy links here.

Release day: Mission of Pleasure

7 April 2018

Today is the official release of Mission of Pleasure by Afton Locke (ebook, self-published). Here’s the blurb:

Gavin Douglas joins a Scottish mission as a carpenter to escape painful memories of his wife’s death from a back-alley abortion she tried to keep secret from him. The last thing he expects to find in Africa is instant attraction to a native.

For the past year, Zenda has devoted her time to Claymore Missionary, secretly erasing everything taught to her tribe’s children to prevent them from becoming whitewashed. Nothing else matters except claiming her tribal identity as a woman. But before her eagerly awaited rite of passage can take place, Gavin lays his own claim on her body, igniting desires she can’t face losing.

Gavin is horrified to learn of the physical transformation—and associated risks—she insists on undergoing. When he realizes his biggest loss may be yet to come, his only mission is to teach Zenda pleasure.

Daughters of Africa ~ African women who shaped the world and the men who love them

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

When I set out to write this book, I didn’t know a lot about Africa. Immediately, I dug into a big history book that spanned hundreds of years. It was all new to me. Almost nothing about the vast continent with all its diverse climates and cultures had been taught to me in school. I hope to make up for that by bringing stories from the far corners of the world to readers. Now I have ideas for at least ten more romance novels, and I can’t wait to visit someday!

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

Publisher pitch: Tule Publishing, Apr 2018

6 April 2018

Tule PublishingTule Publishing brings you the best in commercial fiction, from romance to chick-lit to compelling women’s fiction. Whether you’re in the mood for sexy or sweet, Tule brings you fresh, modern and exciting plots and beloved classic romance.

Tule has over 80 authors who have unique styles, terrific voices, and have helped us grow to house over 300 titles, and garner eight RITA® nominations and one win in three years.

We love our readers and acclaimed authors! Visit us at or subscribe to our newsletter here.

This April enjoy our newest releases with titles from our Montana Born, American Heart, Texas Born and Muse imprints:

  • A Hot Montana Summer by Karen Foley
  • The Rancher’s Secret Son by Barbara Dunlop
  • It’s Complicated by Nikki Prince
  • Doctor’s Orders by Ann B. Harrison
  • Finding True North by Audrey Wick
  • Bride for Keeps by Nicole Helm
  • Top Shelf by Shelli Stevens
  • Eyes of the Tiger by Patricia Rosemoor
  • Whiskey River Rockstar by Justine Davis
  • A Witch’s Destiny by Leigh Ann Edwards