Feed Your Reader: Weddings and Kings!

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The Belshaw brothers are back in Balkissoch…

Bridie Porter is wearing her Vera Wang gown and veil in the back of her wedding limo when she receives a compromising text about her hotelier groom. Panicked, she tells the driver to keep going and she flees from Melbourne to the small town of Balkissoch in the Adelaide Hills.

It’s the perfect pit-stop to hide from her ex and the press and to earn enough cash to stay out of sight. Unfortunately, the admin job she gets is for a wedding photography business and she’s had her fill of weddings lately. But it’s slim pickings on the work front in a town so teeny. And her new boss is strangely compelling…

After the rush and adrenaline of his job as an LA paparazzo, the last place Cody Belshaw wants to be is back in the small town where he grew up. But thanks to a clause in his father’s will that amounts to blackmail, Cody and his two brothers are stuck running a wedding business for at least a month. If there’s one thing that he’s learned in LA, however, it’s to keep business and pleasure very, very separate. Which makes his new admin employee the definition of temptation.

Bridie is desperate to stay anonymous. Cody seeks out secrets for a living. As they delve into the world of brides, boutonnières and dogs-as-best-men, both Cody and Bridie will have to decide if this is a fling…or forever.

Available now


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From award-winning author Alison Stuart comes a stirring historical trilogy about soldiers, spies, and the strong women that love them.

By The Sword

England 1650. In the aftermath of the execution of the King, England totters once more on the brink of civil war.

Kate Ashley finds her loyalty to the Parliamentary cause tested when she inherits responsibility for the estate of the Royalist Thornton family.

Jonathan Thornton, exiled and hunted for his loyalty to the King’s cause now returns to England to garner support for the young King. Finding Kate in his family home, he sees in her a chance at a life he doesn’t deserve.

But love is fragile in the face of history. What hope can one soldier and one woman hold in times like these?

The King’s Man

London 1654: Kit Lovell is a disillusioned Royalist who passes his time cheating at cards, living off his wealthy and attractive mistress and plotting the death of Oliver Cromwell.

Penniless and friendless, Thamsine Granville has lost everything. Terrified, in pain and alone, she hurls a piece of brick at the coach of Oliver Cromwell and earns herself an immediate death sentence. Only the quick thinking of a stranger saves her.

Far from the bored, benevolent rescuer that he seems, Kit plunges Thamsine into his world of espionage and betrayal – a world that has no room for falling in love.

Torn between Thamsine and loyalty to his King, Kit’s carefully constructed web of lies begins to unravel. He must make one last desperate gamble – the cost of which might be his life.

Exile’s Return

England, 1659: Following the death of Cromwell, a new king is poised to ascend the throne of England.

Imprisoned, exiled and tortured, fugitive Daniel Lovell returns to England, determined to kill the man who murdered his father. But his plans for revenge must wait, as the King has one last mission for him.

Agnes Fletcher’s lover is dead, and when his two orphaned children are torn from her care by their scheming guardian, she embarks on a perilous journey to save them. She didn’t plan on meeting the infamous Daniel Lovell.

Thrown together with separate quests – and competing obligations – Daniel and Agnes make their way from London to the English countryside, danger at every turn. Will they find the peace they crave, or will their fledgling love be a final casualty of war?

Available Now

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Friday Five: Bronwyn Stuart

2373Author: Bronwyn Stuart

First published with Escape: April 2016

Favourite romance trope: Beauty and the beast.

Ideal hero (in three words): Sexy, intelligent and built!

Ideal heroine (in three words): Sassy, independent and feisty!

Latest book: She’s The One

 

What began your romance writing career? Why do you write romance?

I was working night shift for a security firm and had just finished reading a book with the worst ending (sorry, can’t remember the title) and though I could do better. Turns out I was wrong! Took me nearly seven years before I had learned enough to be published.

I am completely addicted to two things. Happy endings and the aww moment when your heart sings and you hear angels in your mind because the moment of ‘I love you’ is just so beautiful. Why be brutal and kill your characters when you can help them find true happiness.

How do you write? What is your process like?

I sit back in a comfy chair with my feet up and put my laptop on my lap. Once my butt hits the chair, I try not to get up again for at least two hours. I set myself a word goal of around 1000 words an hour and don’t let the internet distract me. If I need to research, I do it very quickly or I come back to it later.

What do you do when you’re stuck with a scene?

If I’m really stuck and I’ve gone back a few scenes and still can’t get unstuck, I take a really long bath with someone else’s book and relax. Usually the answer comes to me with a word or a phrase or a similar reaction/action in that book and then I can get back to mine. Most of the time a writing block is actually because your story or plot has gone wrong or you’ve manipulated your characters somewhere they didn’t want to go.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk? Or any cute quirks in general?

My office is a renovated caravan It’s one big quirk on two wheels. My house was too small for my own space so my dad and I rescued a dilapidated van and spruced it up into a creative haven just for me.

What are your favourite types of book covers? What draws your eye to a romance cover?

My favourite contemporary covers are the ones where the lovers embrace and they’re looking deep into each other’s eyes. Since historical romance is my first love, I adore the covers with the long, bright dresses or even the Scottish Laird in his kilt and nothing else. So basically, intensity jumps off covers and pulls me in, but so do bright colours and snappy titles. And yes, I do judge a book by its cover!


29691In the game of love — and TV — you play to win or you lose your heart.

Millionaire Banjo Grahams originally signed up for She’s The One drunk as a skunk and willing to do anything to bed Australia’s most beautiful women, but when he sobers up he realises he could lose much more than his reputation if he goes through with it. Unable to back out of an ironclad contract, he makes a deal with the network boss to rig the show, picking the lucky bachelorette ahead of time and guiding the season to meet his own ends and keep the board happy.

When her father tells Eliza Peterson she isn’t going to produce She’s The One, but appear as a one of the contestants, she is livid. Competing for some guy on reality TV is no way to earn his — and the network’s — respect and show them she is capable of producing shows of her own.

But for all the planning and staging, somehow the show takes on a reality of its own, and the goals of Eliza and Banjo fall away from something neither of them expected — love.

 

Nominated!

We are so proud to be nominated for nine Australian Romance Reader Awards for books released in 2016!

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We acknowledge especially Sarah Barrie, who has two books nominated, and our wonderful Secret Confessions: Down & Dusty authors who have both single title nominations and a nomination for best series.

You can find all the nominees here.

As always, we thank the Australian Romance Readers Association for all their hard work in running the awards every year, and we look forward to seeing everyone at the awards dinner on 25 February.

 

 

December Gift Guides: A Little Bit of Magic

by Louise Forster

The trouble with finding that perfect gift for an uncle who only reads the sports pages and political satire cartoons, who loves throwing a steak on the barbecue, with a beer in one hand and tongs in the other, while listening to AC/DC is really difficult. The man loves inappropriate T-shirts, with inappropriate slogans and/or graphics. He’s not a bad person: on the contrary, he’s a big-bellied, big-hearted, generous person who contributes to many worthwhile causes, including marriage equality. He does get a kick out of verbal run-ins, loves the sparring. He’ll argue a point that is the opposite of how he feels with conviction, just so he can work out the other person … or push their buttons.

He has two teenage daughters who often find themselves in the middle of a heated debate with him. I’ve watched him grinning as in midstream he’ll swap sides. It doesn’t take long for his girls to catch on, and that’s when they give him a groan and an eye-roll before wandering off.

I could buy him a T-shirt that says, I Fear No One … I Have Daughters.

But I asked avid reader, DH, what he thought would put a huge grin on the man’s face Christmas morning. His immediate answer was anything by Ilona Andrews. But start with the Magic series. He’ll get a kick out of Kate Daniels and Curran.

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28381If your uncle likes stories about secrets and small towns, may we suggest Louise’s latest book, Tumble Creek?

December Gift Guides: For BFFs

By Rhyll Biest

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The title I’ll be buying for working women friends and colleagues this year is Feminist Fight Club, so they can enjoy a laugh while learning how to tackle the Manterrupter, (who talks over female colleagues in meetings) or the Bropropriator (who appropriates their ideas) in addition to a bunch more practical hacks for dealing with other external (sexist) and internal (self-sabotaging) behaviours that plague women in the workplace. And the Canberra Centre Dymocks definitely deserves some love during the holiday season for their friendly and knowledgeable staff!


29577Also recommended for BFFs is Rhyll’s latest novel, Hell on Wheels. What BFF doesn’t want a paranormal marriage-of-convenience story about a roller-derby playing demon princess?

December Gift Guides: For Great Cooks (and want-to-be Great Cooks!)

by Elisabeth Rose

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I’d recommend The Cook’s Companion by Stephanie Alexander for someone setting up house for the first time or someone developing an interest in cooking. It’s pricey so probably for someone a bit special, but it’s a really comprehensive guide for Australian kitchens. It has sections on vegetables, fruit, herbs, spices, cooking techniques, measures etc and is packed with recipes for pretty much everything. Best of all it’s terrific value for money because it has no glossy photos that cost a bomb and waste space.

It sits on a book seat thingy on my kitchen bench and I refer to it all the time. We bought it as our Christmas gift to ourselves one year. Husband and I do that instead of trying to think of something each after 43 years together.


23483.jpgFor fans of romantic mysteries – not thrillers, mysteries – on your list, we heartily recommend Elisabeth Rose who writes romantic suspense with real characters with real problems and real happy-ever-after endings. Perfect for those readers who like their suspense without the gore.

December Gift Guide: For Fantastic Dads

by Catherine Evans

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I bought my Dad (who’s an avid reader in his 70s) a couple of Robin Hobb books. OMG! They’re the gift that keeps giving. He’s addicted, so each birthday or Christmas, he gets another. They’re fantasy, mostly in trilogies that are all interconnected, with about 20 books in total and more coming. I think there’s a couple of years’ worth of gifts!


28148Catherine Evans debuted this year with The Healing Seasona beautiful novel about a man in need of a new start and a town offering them up for a dollar a week. Also available are the two linked stories from Jennie Jones and Lisa Ireland.

December Gift Guides: Mothers and the Macabre

by Sandra Antonelli

My mother instilled me with her love of books, from a very, very young age. While she doesn’t read fiction (except for my books because I am her daughter), when we talk reading, it’s all about non-fiction. We have traded books over the years and over vast distances. We’ve read Simon Winchester’s A Crack in the Edge of the World, Krakatoa, The Professor and the Madman (aka The Surgeon of Crowthorne), Giles Milton’s Nathaniel’s Nutmeg, Dava Sobel’s Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time, as well as an array of non-fiction ranging from the plague to Eleanor Roosevelt.

Books are a Christmas gift-giving tradition.

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Two years ago, Mom gave me the book Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World by Mark Pendergrast. I returned the favour last year, giving her The Poisoner’s Handbook by Deborah Blum.

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She gave me Stiff: Curious lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach.

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This year I’m giving her Wicked Plants: The Weed That Killed Lincoln’s Mother and Other Botanical Atrocities by Amy Stewart, and A is For Arsenic by Kathryn Harkup.

 Gee, it looks like we’ve got some sort of theme here, but I assure you, Mom and I do not have a toxic relationship. We simply have an interest in the unusual. And, it seems, books about somewhat macabre stuff written by women. Merry, merry, Happy, Happy, Ho-Ho-Ho kids!


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If you have someone on your list who loves pop culture, music, movies, and appreciates a quick quip, then we suggest gifting a Sandra Antonelli novel or two. Next to You is her latest.

December Gift Guides: Books for the Whole Family

by Zaide Bishop

Here are my suggestions for gift books:

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My book of the year that I want to gift to everyone is The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F** by Mark Manson. There is literally no one you cannot give that to. Okay, maybe not your grandma but everyone else is yes.


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For someone who has been decimated by 2016 as we all have been, the new Barefoot Investor by Scott Pape.


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For teenagers, Teens Cook: How To Cook What You Want To Eat by Megan, Judy & Jill Carle.


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Also for teenagers: Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld and Margo Lanagan & Deborah Biancotti.


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For middle-grades, Acquisition and its sequel Duplicity by Talitha Kaligo.


 I’d also like to recommend buying these books from Dymocks in Chermside, QLD. They have a Facebook page!


25823For readers who like a little rock ‘n roll (in all senses of that word, we strongly recommend Zaide’s short story as part of the Secret Confessions: Backstage series, which is available in a box set!