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ARRA newsletter #107

15 June 2018

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:

  • author invitations to ARR2019 will be going out soon (last chance to fill in the EOI), plus a competition coming up for readers—see the lead article
  •  just over 2 weeks left to renew your membership—see pg 4
  •  a special interview with Grace Burrowes—pg 12
  •  a wrap-up from Victoria Purman’s book launch—pg 13
  •  Charlotte’s Web Watch column features Write with Love podcast
  •  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.

Important reminders:
. tickets for Bella Andre in Sydney
. tickets for Grace Burrowes in Melbourne or Sydney
. authors – last chance to put in an EOI 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

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!


Weekly musing: western historical romance

14 June 2018

This week is another favorite genre of mine: western historical romances. These books are set in the American West prior to 1945. Think Frontier USA, the Wild Wild West. (Yes my mind did just start singing the Will Smith song).

Though these books mainly feature cowboys and sheriffs, there are a few that have Native Americans as the main characters. When they are featured the tribes are civilised (never savages) and they showcase the struggle against racial prejudice.

My favorite elements are how western historical romances show how women survive in a very male dominated world while conquering fear and love along the way. Usually either the hero and heroines are seeking an adventure or to conquer the unknown, sometimes it’s both the protagonists seeking these things.

Mail-order brides, abduction, marriages of convenience and revenge are common tropes throughout these types of romances. What are your favourite tropes in western historical romances? I’d love to see a saloon girl heroine; if anyone has any suggestions let me know.

Some of my favourite authors are: Cheryl St John, Diana Palmer and Linda Lael Miller. Who are your favourite western historical romance authors?

My top 10 must-reads:

  • A Lady of the West by Linda Howard (Western Ladies)
  • Frontier Woman by Joan Johnston (Sisters of the Lone Star)
  • Comanche Moon by Catherine Anderson (Comanche)
  • The Husband List by Janet Evanovich and Dorien Kelly (Culhane Family #2)
  • Brave the Wild Wind by Johanna Lindsey (Wyoming)
  • The Bad Man’s Bride by Susan Kay Law (Marrying Miss Bright)
  • Beauty and the Bounty Hunter by Lori Austin (Once Upon a Time in the West)
  • Eyes of Silver, Eyes of Gold by Ellen O’Connell (Eyes of Silver, Eyes of Gold)
  • Nobody’s Darling by Teresa Medeiros

What are your must-read western historical romance recommendations?

And here are my favourite covers:

Happy reading!

#SecretProject #Discussions #LoveReading

Feature book: Stranded with Her Greek Tycoon

13 June 2018

Stranded with Her Greek Tycoon by Kandy Shepherd

Subgenre: contemporary romance
Release date: 22 Jan 2018
Publisher: Mills & Boon Forever Romance
Format: print and ebook
Length: 192 pages
RRP: print A$14.99 / ebook A$5.99

The storm is coming.

Hayley wants to see her husband, the man she separated from years before. She needs his signature on the divorce papers. She could have had her lawyer send the papers, but she wanted to see him one last time. Hayley has been hiding in Australia. She completed her study, and has been a relatively successful engineer. She felt she had to move to the end of the earth to get away from Cristos and his powerful personality.

Cristos Theofanis has no idea why his wife left him. He has spent much money looking for her as he still loves her. He still wants her as his wife. He knows there must have been a trigger for her to leave. He is not sure if it was the fact that he was a model and was earning money for them or her jealously over the female models. Or was there another reason? He has kept a secret from her about his wealth.

Hayley finds Cristos on a Greek island with his extended family at a vow renewal. His family accept her as if she had never been away. Hayley just wants to have the papers signed and to get back to her new life. A storm has isolated all the people on the island including Hayley and Cristos. They have to share a room together. They spend much of the time working through the issues and reasons why she fled.

There are some very intense discussions and observations between the pair, but they are able to sort through their issues. Cristos finally tells Hayley, what he thinks is his personal shame. She cannot believe what he is saying and tells him that it is not his fault.

This story is more about the emotional journey for Hayley and Cristos. How they share their deepest secrets, and this will offer an insight into the reasons why they had come to the point where Hayley fled. There is obviously a good outcome for them. Another great story by Ms Shepherd with all the angst of the emotional journey and the final reconciliation.

Reviewed by Heather

A review copy of this book was provided by the author. ARRA members who leave a comment on the blog by 27 June 2018 will go into the draw to win a copy of the book.

Release day: The Charm Offensive

12 June 2018

Today is the official release of The Charm Offensive by Darcy Delany (The Modern Day Fairy Tale series, book 3) (ebook and paperback, self-published). Here’s the blurb:

Nick Hammond is a politician on the verge of being dumped by his party. Despite his integrity and being part of the Hammond family political dynasty, the public prefers his slick political rival, Christian Lyons.

To save his career, Nick devises a secret plan called The Charm Offensive. He plans to channel the old-world charm of Clark Gable to win the voters back – and, he hopes, attract the attention of Caroline Brent.

Caroline is the beautiful political journalist dating Christian Lyons. When she discovers a secret about Christian, she’s torn between doing the right thing and saving herself and the man she loves. She needs help, and despite the risk, she feels she can trust Nick Hammond.

But is Nick the man she believes him to be? Or is he just putting on a good political show?

The Charm Offensive is a sparkling story about the rewards that come from taking risks and being our true selves.

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

I am a big fan of old movie actors such as Clark Gable, who effused suave confidence. I wanted to explore whether the romance of old movies was still relevant today—and what better setting than Parliament, something we don’t associate with romance! Nick is my favourite sort of hero—the strong, circumspect type of man. He struggles to show the voters what he can offer them, and also lacks the confidence to approach the woman of his dreams, Caroline Brent. That changes when he channels Clark Gable—a ploy that emboldens him to become his true self. Caroline is a savvy political journalist with a problem and she’s in a quandary about how to deal with it. Although Nick Hammond is her partner’s political rival, he’s the only person Caroline can trust. In the process, though, she discovers there is far more to Nick Hammond than charm and good looks! The Charm Offensive is a story about the modern-day magic that happens when you have the courage to follow your heart.

You can find out more about this book at Darcy’s facebook page or buy it here.


Guest blogger: Helene Young

10 June 2018

Love for all ages

I do love a real-life fairy tale romance like Prince Harry’s and Meghan’s, but as each birthday passes the more I want to read stories about older women dealing with life and all its messy glory. Many of my friends are women embarking on a second, or even third, chance at love. Or they’re breathing new life into a love that’s decades old.

Older love is different to a young love with all that wide-eyed optimism. It’s more cautious, yet liberating. It’s careful yet wild. It’s passionately sexy yet respectful of bodies that have borne children, changed shape, been broken and healed. An older love is all the more powerful for knowing how much it hurts to lose love, for knowing that it takes time to build a love that outlasts the initial surge of attraction, a love that will endure heartbreak and weather the erosion that time brings.

Some of my favourite movies have love story arcs for characters no longer in the first flush of their twenties and thirties. What’s not to love about Liam Neeson’s character in Love Actually, or Tom and Meg in You’ve Got Mail, or Katharine and Henry in On Golden Ponds?

Writers like Barbara Hannay, Fiona Lowe, Liz Bryksi and Anna Campbell all have characters who’ve lived, loved and lost and who’ve found love is possible again. There’s something reassuring about it. Just because I won’t see my forties again doesn’t mean that I don’t want to know love can still strike hard and fast no matter our age. (And for the record I’m not planning on ever trading in Capt G!!)

I do enjoy the escapism of a story by KM Golland or Kylie Scott or one of Annie West’s Sheiks, because they make me smile and give me a great big shot of endorphins—and that’s always welcome. Yet I find it’s the older characters who stay with me longest, who I worry about and empathise with and perhaps that’s an inevitable part of ageing.

Friends have just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. It’s beautiful to hear them finish each other’s sentences, to see them almost dance as they move around their boat galley cooking dinner together, to watch them bicker over something then laugh about it. Their love struck early when they were teenage neighbours and it’s never wavered, which just goes to prove that fairy tales do happen and love can endure a lifetime.

What do you prefer? Reading a romance about your own age group, someone younger, older or doesn’t it matter, provided the emotional journey is satisfying and the ending is uplifting?

Join in the discussion to go into the draw for a copy of Return to Roseglen. The giveaway will close on 24 June.

Happy reading,


You can find Helene here: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Return to Roseglen

At times like these families should be coming together, not tearing each other apart.

On her remote North Queensland cattle station, Ivy Dunmore is facing the end of her days. Increasingly frail, all she holds dear is threatened not just by crippling drought, but by jealousy and greed—and that’s from within her own family.

Can Felicity, who’s battling her own crisis as her fiftieth birthday approaches, protect her mother and reunite her family under the homestead’s faded iron roof? Or will sibling rivalries erupt and long-held secrets from the past break a family in crisis?


Release day: Alien Captured

9 June 2018

Today is the official release of Alien Captured by Marie Dry (Zyrgin Warriors, book 5) (ebook and paperback, Black Opal Books). Here’s the blurb:

In a bleak future, where government systems are breaking down and poverty and violence reign, on an abandoned farm in Montana, Susannah had a simple plan. She’d capture an alien, sell him to the resistance, and use the money to save her son.

Instead, Susannah had an arrogant alien trapped in a pit who acted as if she was the prisoner. He wanted to kill her dog and insisted she should care for the wound he sustained when he fell into the pit she dug to trap him. On top of that, she had no way to know if the resistance got her message. Every day that passed, she doubted her decision to hand Azagor over to the resistance.

But her son, her baby, was being held by people who considered him unclean because he was conceived out of wedlock—and time was running out.

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

In the first book in the Zyrgin Warriors series, Alien Mine, these emotionless scary aliens took over and my fingers just wrote what they showed me. Azagor stepped forward to be introduced to Natalie, the heroine in the first book and wham, I knew him and his story. He was the youngest, just out of his second change and physically still had some growing to do. And he was curious and open to new cultures and I couldn’t wait to write his story. He is brilliant and like a typical Zyrgin never stopped working and improving his environment. I knew he was considered the best technician in the empire, a warrior with courage who was known to be brave in battle. His heroine, Susannah, had shown herself to me and then she hid until book four. Suddenly I knew exactly who she was and I worried. How would he cope with someone who has had no exposure to technology? With a heroine that had been taught that outsiders are evil? I need not have worried. My young alien had grown into a wonderful Zyrgin warrior, exactly the right person to introduce Susannah to the world outside her farm. I hope you enjoy Azagor and Susannah’s journey as much as I did.

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

Release day: Retribution

8 June 2018

Today is the official release of Retribution by Diane Demetre (ebook and POD, self-published). Here’s the blurb:

A gripping romantic suspense of betrayal, hope and love

Who would you kill to escape your past?

Jessie Hilton is tough. Since the age of fifteen, she has dreamed of being a principal dancer with the Australian Ballet Company. Now at twenty-four, she stands on the brink of fulfilling her dream unaware of a secret buried deep within her.

Ex-military officer, Brad Jordan is rebuilding his life with the help of his boisterous Border collie, Whiskey. After helping Jessie out of a tight spot, he discovers a kindred spirit in the ambitious ballerina.

But with the sudden attention of an unwanted admirer, Jessie’s life begins to spin out of control. Called back to her family home in country New South Wales due to her father’s unforeseen illness, she is torn between career and family. As her dream of being principal dancer fades, her stalker edges ever closer. But there is more to overcome than a lurking psychopath. Can Jessie and Brad confront their own demons and escape the past?

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

This story is my way of paying tribute to the people who have endured more than most. Those who have lived hellish childhoods, those who have fought for our freedom, those who have experienced unimaginable trauma and those who may never recover from their suffering. With the overarching theme of forgiveness and redemption, Retribution pays homage to the human condition in all its glory and misery. Having been a ballet dancer, I knew my protagonist had to be a ballerina, as they possess the qualities I needed for my story. Tough, disciplined and ambitious, she had to be driven to achieve her dreams, even against the worst odds. My hero had to be her match; a man with equal power, passion and fortitude. Since I’ve always had great respect and gratitude for the men, women and animals of our country’s armed forces, I knew my hero would be one of them. The other hero of the story is Whiskey, whose boundless energy and devotion saves Brad and Jessie in very different ways. If you would like a behind-the-scenes sneak peek of this book and what inspired me to write it go to

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