Fiona Palmer on the 2015 RWA Conference in Melbourne

20150629_133200I’ve just returned from the Romance Writers of Australia Conference in Melbourne, catching up with fellow authors, publishers and agents, so I thought I’d mention three books from other Australian romance writers that I’ve loved in recent times. They are all from different genres but they can all be connected through similar threads – a touch of romance, suspense and action.9781864712032

Beyond Fear by Jaye Ford is such an engaging read. It tells the story of Jodie, who survived a terrifying assault at seventeen. She goes to a cabin with friends to relax but is convinced they are being watched. Her friends think she is over-reacting and she starts to doubt herself.  This was such a page-turner, but you just had to keep reading, even at the scary parts.  Jaye writes terrific, easy-to-read thrillers filled with suspense. You won’t be disappointed. It was loved by all at our book club.

I do enjoy reading action-packed stories, as much as I like watching a James Bond movie or spy thriller. I find Tony Park’s novels just as engaging, with a great mix of romance, action, and the gorgeous landscapes of Africa. The Delta was one I really enjoyed about Sonja, an ex-soldier turned mercenary, who is out to save her beloved Delta. There is also a bit of romance to keep me happy. Tony writes about Africa so well, you feel as if you are there. Considering he spends half his year travelling Africa, it’s easy to see why.  He is a master at 9780330404037weaving all the details in and even though the book seems large, you’ll not want it to end.

This last book I want to mention was a great surprise. Elise K. Ackers’ Small Town Storm was a fabulous read. It had me guessing and I love it when I’m wrong. It’s about Erica, who returns home to the place where nineteen years ago a crime almost killed her. But not long after she’s back, a woman goes missing and fingers are pointed at Erica – and the cop in charge of the investigation, Jordan, is a man who she has history with. I guess I went into this story expecting a romance but ended up with so much more.

Check out Fiona Palmer’s author page here


the-saddler-boysThe Saddler Boys

by Fiona Palmer

For a limited time only, pre-order The Saddler Boys and you will receive a signed copy. Please note: offer available while stocks last.

School teacher Natalie has always been a city girl. She has a handsome boyfriend and a family who give her only the best. But she craves her own space, and her own classroom, before settling down into the life she is expected to lead.

When Nat takes up a posting at a tiny school in remote Western Australia, it proves quite the culture shock, but she is soon welcomed by the swarm of inquisitive locals, particularly young student Billy and his intriguing single father, Drew.

As Nat’s school comes under threat of closure, and Billy’s estranged mother turns up out of the blue, Nat finds herself fighting for the township and battling with her heart. Torn between her life in Perth and the new community that needs her, Nat must risk losing it all to find out what she’s really made of – and where she truly belongs.

PRAISE FOR FIONA PALMER

‘Fiona Palmer just keeps getting better.’ Rachael Johns

‘Palmer’s passion for the land bleeds into the story, and her scenes are vivid and genuine, just as her characters are.’ Book’d Out

‘Fiona Palmer has well and truly earned her place as a leading writer of one of Australia’s much-loved genres.’ Countryman

Pre-order your copy of Fiona’s The Saddler Boys here

BOOK REVIEW: Hot Point by M.L. Buchman (Reviewed by Kat Mayo)

Firehawk helicopter pilot Vern Taylor can’t help but be distracted by gorgeous mechanic Denise Conroy. Fighting forest fires with Mount Hood Aviation is a far cry from some of the violence Vern has seen…until they find out that MHA isn’t all that it seems.

I love heroines who have non-traditional careers, and helicopter mechanic fits that bill. I particularly love Denise’s camaraderie with the other women of MHA, and I love that she’s a bit of a contradiction – mostly shy around other people, but with a sharp mind and a weakness for fast cars. Vern is an absolute sweetheart and pure romantic fantasy. But hey, a hero who is as comfortable with just snuggling as he is at awesome helicopter sex ticks the box for me!

Grab a copy of Hot Point here


hot-pointHot Point

The Firehawks Series : Book 10

by M.L. Buchman

The elite heli-aviation firefighters at Mount Hood Aviation depend on sexy Denise Conroy, master mechanic, to keep them flying smoothly through the air.

Airplane expert that she is, Denise has never found an aircraft that she can’t fix. Her floundering love life, however, is a puzzle that she hasn’t been able to put together. Mount Hood Firehawk pilot Vern Taylor can’t repair a plane to save his life, but he was born to fly. Vern’s take-charge attitude toward every situation combined with his irresistible artistic side make him an accident waiting to happen.

But when Denise and Vern crash together in the Central American jungle with wildfire on one side and a full-fledged military coup on the other, they’ll have to work together to get out alive. It will take all their skills combined to keep passion from igniting a dangerous new flame.

Grab a copy of Hot Point here

BOOK REVIEW: Lady Emily’s Exotic Journey by Lillian Marek (Reviewed by Kat Mayo)

I love a good Regency as much as any romance reader, but I’m so glad that we’re continuing to see authors exploring different setting and time periods in historical romance.

Lady Emily’s Exotic Journey is set in Constantinople. Forget ballrooms and tea – Lady Emily Tremaine explores the ruins of Nineveh and experiences the wonders of travelling on an ‘odiferous donkey’. And of course, there’s French adventurer Lucien Chambertin to make this the most thrilling adventure – if he can just learn to let go of his past and embrace the call of true love.

For me, I really love odiferous donkeys! True love is a bonus. :)

Grab a copy of Lady Emily’s Exotic Journey here


lady-emily-s-exotic-journeyLady Emily’s Exotic Journey

The Victorian Adventures Series : Book 2

by Lillian Marek

From sensible, sheltered girl
Safe in the embrace of her loving family, Lady EmilyTremaine longs to feel more intensely alive. Surely the magic and mystery of Assyria and the fabled ruins of Nineveh will bring about the transformation she seeks.

To the woman his heart desires
Scarred by his past and estranged from his noble grandfather, French adventurer Lucien Chambertin desires neither a home nor the chains of emotional attachment. He seeks only to explore the far reaches of the world. But he did not know the world contained the likes of Lady Emily—whose curiosity and sense of wonder match his own.

Grab a copy of Lady Emily’s Exotic Journey here

BOOK REVIEW: When a Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare (Reviewed by Kat Mayo)

‘…he was…an impoverished, unloved orphan with a passion for books. Her every feminine impulse jumped into attention.’

An introvert, Maddie Gracechurch invented a fiancé – conveniently abroad, fighting in the war – to avoid ballrooms and the pressure of having to find a suitable match. But when said fiancé turns up at her doorstep years later, marries her without so much as kiss (okay, one kiss), Maddie knows she’s in Very Big Trouble.

Logan Mackenzie needs a place for his men, coming home from the war. Marriage to Maddie is the quickest and surest way to ensure that they have a home. But as it becomes increasingly clear that there’s more to their marriage than convenience, how can they be sure that what they have is love and not just a way to avoid their deepest fears?

I might be biased because I’m an unashamed Tessa Dare fan girl, but when I learned that Tessa is releasing a Scottish romance (they seem to be making a resurgence!), I knew I had to feature it in the Romance Buzz. Her writing is always rich with nuance. We don’t get many truly introverted heroines in romance, and Maddie is charming and so very worthy of a happy ending!

Grab a copy of When a Scot Ties the Knot here


when-a-scot-ties-the-knotWhen a Scot Ties the Knot

The Castles Ever After Series : Book 3

by Tessa Dare

On the cusp of her first London season, Miss Madeline Gracechurch was shyly pretty and talented with a drawing pencil, but hopelessly awkward with gentlemen. She was certain to be a dismal failure on the London marriage mart. So Maddie did what generations of shy, awkward young ladies have done: she invented a sweetheart.

A Scottish sweetheart. One who was handsome and honorable and devoted to her, but conveniently never around. Maddie poured her heart into writing the imaginary Captain MacKenzie letter after letter … and by pretending to be devastated when he was (not really) killed in battle, she managed to avoid the pressures of London society entirely.

Until years later, when more…

About the Author

Tessa Dare is the New York Times bestselling, award-winning author of more than a dozen historical romances. A librarian by training and a book-lover at heart, Tessa makes her home in Southern California, where she lives with her husband, their two children, and a pair of cosmic kitties.

Grab a copy of When a Scot Ties the Knot here

What Cathryn Read – Bestselling author Cathryn Hein on her May reading

Australian novelist Cathryn Hein, author of The FallsThe French Prize, Heartland and much more gives her verdict on the books she’s been reading.


Lyrebird Hill

by Anna Romer

I thoroughly enjoyed Romer’s debut novel Thornwood House and her follow up, Lyrebird Hill, didn’t disappoint. The story unfolded beautifully, slipping between the present and colonial times, and held me captivated throughout. As with Thornwood house, the story had a wonderful gothic feel which made the suspense part of the novel even more intense, and Romer is a master at bringing the Australian bush to vivid life.

Lyrebird Hill unfolds with Ruby Cardel discovering that her sister Jamie’s death – an event she’s managed to blank from her memory – may have a sinister connection. When Ruby journeys back to her childhood home, the vault of her memory begins to open, bringing with it uncertainty and danger.

Highly recommended.

Grab a copy of Lyrebird Hill here


Already Dead 

by Jaye Ford

The suspense and action begin almost immediately in this gripping thriller from Jaye Ford and barely lets up until the final page. When an armed stranger jumps into her car, journalist Miranda Jack is forced on a terrifying ride. Her abductor, Brendan Walsh, seems a madman, but as her ordeal progresses and Miranda listens to his paranoid rants, Miranda is left with doubts. Doubts that force her to seek answers even when it appears doing so might place her in danger.

As with Jaye Ford’s previous novels, Already Dead was a page-turner so compelling all I wanted was to gobble it down in one sitting. I loved the thrill ride, loved the touch of romance and loved the landscape. She’s an auto-buy author. Next please!

 Grab a copy of Already Dead here


You’re Just Too Good To Be True

by Sofija Stefanovic

This short book looks at online romance scams, how they operate and the devastating impact they can have on those caught up in them. Triggered by her eighty-year-old friend Bill’s experiences, Stefanovic sympathetically reveals how Bill’s search for online love took him from hope to bankruptcy. It’s sad and frustrating and I feel desperately sorry for Bill and others caught up in these scams. To have the human need for love exploited so badly is horrible.

The story gets even more interesting when Stefanovic decides to lure a scammer into talking to her about their operations, and finds herself in turn being drawn into this morally murky world.

Fascinating. And an eye-opener on how easily people can be manipulated, regardless of background.

Grab a copy of You’re Just Too Good To Be True here


The Diabolical Miss Hyde

by Viola Carr

This book is brilliantly cross-genre, spanning romance, steampunk, horror and crime, and probably a few others, and, as the title indicates, takes more than a little bit of inspiration from classics such as The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Frankenstein and more. It’s dark, no question and certainly not a typical romance, but it worked thanks to an intriguing plot and great characters, and some seriously lush world building.

Crime scene investigator Eliza Jekyll is daughter of the famous Dr Henry Jekyll (from the classic novel) and suffers his same condition. Her “evil twin” is Lizzie, and she’s a blast compared to straight-laced Eliza, if a tad violent-minded. The two are in a constant battle for domination, a battle that becomes more fraught when the Royal Society’s enforcer, Captain Lafayette, comes to assist in the hunt for the bizarre new serial killer stalking London’s streets. For this is the man who could see Eliza’s career and life destroyed. Except Lafayette may not be all he seems either, and Lizzie is on the trail. So perhaps is someone even more dangerous.

Great fun!

Grab a copy of The Diabolical Miss Hyde here


Hein, CathrynThanks Cathryn Hein, we look forward to seeing what you have read next month!

Cathryn Hein was born in South Australia’s rural south-east. With three generations of jockeys in the family it was little wonder she grew up horse mad, finally obtaining her first horse at age 10. So began years of pony club, eventing, dressage and showjumping until university beckoned.

Armed with a shiny Bachelor of Applied Science (Agriculture) from Roseworthy College she moved to Melbourne and later Newcastle, working in the agricultural and turf seeds industry. Her partner’s posting to France took Cathryn overseas for three years in Provence where she finally gave in to her life-long desire to write. Her short fiction has been recognised in numerous contests, and published in Woman’s Day.

 Click here to see Cathryn’s author page

The Falls

by Cathryn Hein

For as long as she can remember, Teagan Bliss has wanted to manage her family’s property. She’s invested everything in the farm, knowing that when her parents retire she’ll be ready to take the reins. But when a family betrayal leaves her reeling, Teagan is forced to rethink her entire future.

Heartbroken, Teagan flees to her aunt’s property in the idyllic Falls Valley. Vanessa is warm and welcoming and a favourite of the locals who drop in regularly for cocktail hour. Teagan soon catches the attention of sexy local farrier Lucas Knight, and with a new job, new friends and the prospect of a new relationship, she slowly begins to open up again.

But the village is a hotbed of gossip and division and when Teagan gets caught up in town politics, Lucas and Vanessa become concerned. As the tension in town escalates, Teagan must decide who to trust. But when she realises those close to her have been keeping secrets, the fallout may split Teagan apart forever.

Grab a copy of The Falls here

RWA Romantic Book of the Year (The Ruby) 2015 Finalists announced

The finalists for this year’s Romantic Books of the Year Award, affectionately known as The Ruby, have been announced!

Voted on by Australian readers, the contest is open each year to any Australian or New Zealand romance author who has published a long or short romance novel with the winners to be announced at the Romance Writer’s of Australia conference in August.


Long Romance:moonlight-plains

Risky Business by Amy Andrews

Deadly Secrets by Sarah Barrie

Moonlight Plains by Barbara Hannay

Attraction by KM Golland


Romantic Elements:outback-ghost

Flight to Coorah Creek by Janet Gover

The Trader’s Reward by Anna Jacobs

Outback Ghost by Rachael Johns

The Lace Balcony by Johanna Nicholls

Riverboat Point by Tricia Stringer


Short Sweet:dr-perfect-on-her-doorstep

Dr. Perfect On Her Doorstep by Lucy Clark

Waves of Temptation by Marion Lennox

A Little Christmas Magic by Alison Roberts

The Maverick Millionaire by Alison Roberts

The Tycoon and the Wedding Planner by Kandy Shepherd


Short Sexy:damaso-claims-his-heir

Wanting What She Can’t Have by Yvonne Lindsay

Romance For Cynics by Nicola Marsh

Tycoon’s Temptation by Trish Morey

Damaso Claims His Heir by Annie West


Never judge Fan Fiction by its inspiration…

A Pound of Flesh by Sophie Jackson, is the latest in a long line of Twilight fan fiction to be published. Jackson’s reason for creating Twilight fanfic alone makes you want to read this book because, let’s be honest, we are all guilty of creating new scenarios in our head and imagining an entirely different story. I’ve done it with so many of my favourite romance books, albeit with a starring role from yours truly.

Sophie has this to say about dipping her toe into the heady world of Fan Fiction.

“When I finished reading them (the Twilight series) the second time, I knew I needed more. I wanted to learn more about the characters, to see them in different situations and following different storylines. That’s when I happened upon FanFiction.net.

The talent in the fanfiction world is truly incredible, and I spent weeks falling down the ‘Twifiction’ rabbit hole, while falling more in love with the idea of writing my own. I was inspired.

I’m a hopeless romantic and a sucker for a love story, which is what I decided to write.”

A Pound of Flesh is part of a series and I can’t wait to read them!


a-pound-of-fleshA Pound of Flesh

A Pound of Flesh Series : Book 1

by Sophie Jackson

The first in a compelling, emotional and sexy series about the ultimate forbidden romance…

Lose your heart to your new bad boy book boyfriend. Wes Carter – sexy, edgy, behind bars, with emotional scars as permanent as the ink on his skin, just waiting to be healed by love…

Fans of Samantha Young, Jodi Ellen Malpas, Jamie McGuire, Katy Evans and Prison Break will find this powerful love story utterly addictive and unforgettable.

Can true love heal the deepest scars?

Wes Carter: Dangerous, brooding and behind bars, Carter’s more…

Grab a copy of A Pound of Flesh here

About the Author

Sophie Jackson is an English teacher from Chorley. Although she read and wrote furiously as a child, she first started writing as an adult, to scratch the creative itch, for the website FanFiction.net, after reading the Twilight series in 2008. She wrote and posted a number of Twilight fanfics, chapter by chapter, and built up an impressive readership.

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