Putting the Creativity back in Creative Writing: A Guest Post by Deborah Garland

It starts with the question “What inspired you to write this novel?” And the answer might very well be the author had a similar experience with one of the characters. Or used some personal feelings about a subject as a setting or the basis of the conflict. As authors we hear all the time, ‘Write what you know’. But eventually the topics you’re familiar with will run out. Or your work will start to sound redundant.

Of course, other popular novelists have built their brands using the familiar. Most Nicholas Sparks’ novels are set on the North Carolina Coast. Many of the Stephen King’s novels were set in Maine. And then there are similar storylines that are done again and again by authors. Lauren Weisberger who burst on the scene with The Devil Wears Prada wrote several more novels where the main character was thrust into world of glamour, whether it’s Fashion, Public […]

By | 2017-10-21T16:55:26+00:00 October 24th, 2017|Categories: Romance reading|0 Comments

A Guest Post and a Giveaway by IK Velasco

Whenever I get asked the question, “What is one interesting personal fact about you?” I will usually say, “I’ve lived in three countries.” I’m the child of immigrants – born in the Philippines, grew up in Canada, and now live in the US.

My mother’s side of the family is mostly in North America. My father’s side still reside in the Philippines. We had been living in North America for 10 years when we finally went back “home” to visit. I was 19 years old and no longer felt a connection to my country. It was hard enough assimilating to the language, culture, etc. hanging on to my heritage seemed like a fruitless, unimportant thing.

That year, I came back to college in Canada and found the Filipino Students’ Association. The members were all like me – 2nd generation immigrants with varying connections to our mother country. We learned and performed native dances, ate […]

By | 2017-10-21T16:37:07+00:00 October 21st, 2017|Categories: Authors, Guest Posts|2 Comments

October TBR Challenge – Paranormals versus Suspense

October’s TBR Challenge prompt was to read either a Romantic Suspense or Paranormal Romance: AAR reviewers  Lynn Spencer and Caz Owens went for one of each.


Northern Lights by Nora Roberts

I’ve been a reader of romantic suspense for as long as I’ve been reading romance, so when I saw the prompt this month, I immediately decided I was going to go the suspense route rather than paranormal. Even though I’ve read a ton of suspense, both romantic and otherwise, I’ve somehow only scratched the surface of Nora Roberts’ giant romantic suspense backlist. This time around, I decided to read her 600+ page doorstopper of a book, Northern Lights.

Originally released in 2004, this novel details the adventures of an almost-but-not-quite washed up Baltimore cop turned rural Alaska police chief. His new post involves keeping order in the tiny town of Lunacy, with only 2 deputies to help him. It’s […]

Coming Soon… November 2017

It’s not all that often that there’s a hands-down favourite when it comes to a post like this, but a new book from Loretta Chase is a red-letter day on any romance reader’s calendar and many of us here have put a big red circle around 28th November, which is when her latest release, A Duke in Shining Armor is hitting the shelves and our e-readers. Also coming in November is the next in Mary Balogh’s Westcott series, Someone to Wed, along with Loreth Anne White’s next Angie Pallorino novel and the next instalment – Undercover Attraction – in another favourite series, Katee Robert’s The O’Malleys.

Whatever your preference, there’s a lot to look forward to in November, ready to curl up with on those long, cold winter evenings.

What are you most looking forward to reading in the weeks ahead? Drop by and let us know in the comments.


Chessela Helm on Readers Create: Building a Story Together

Romance readers and writers are joined together in a relationship similar to characters who’ve found their happily ever after: neither partner can thrive without the other. Readers support writers by following their work, and writers support readers by writing books they will enjoy. It can be difficult as a writer to gauge what our readers desire, so we usually write the story we are compelled to tell. But what if writers did know what their readers wanted? What if writers could actively collaborate with their readers in order to create a shared story experience?

That’s the purpose behind Readers Create, an online social media project that encourages authors to write a short story with the guidance and input of their readers. Readers Create utilizes the creativity of readers and writers, both established and beginning, in an innovative crowdsourced format.

The Readers Create model is simple to follow. Writers will choose one or more social media platforms to engage readers, and use questions and polls to […]

By | 2017-10-13T10:34:39+00:00 October 13th, 2017|Categories: Writing Romance|0 Comments

Ginn Hale on When Love is Magic: Finding the M/M Fantasy Romance That’s Just Right.

When it comes to the gay romance I like them best with at least a touch of magic; it can make for fascinating worlds and thrilling conflict. But sometimes it’s tough to find a book that’s just right. That’s when picking up an anthology is the perfect solution.

So when I considered the selection of magical heroes I would like to recommend I decided to spotlight one of my favorite anthologies: Charmed & Dangerous, edited by Jordan Castillo Price. From shape-shifting princes to hard-boiled detective mages these short stories and novellas represent a fabulous mix of magic and romance. They also serve as appetizers to the longer novels and numerous series.

First, Rhys Ford serves up, “Dim Sum Asylum,” a fast paced urban fantasy set in a magical San Francisco, where the faeries aren’t […]

By | 2017-10-09T08:57:20+00:00 October 9th, 2017|Categories: Romance reading|Tags: , , |2 Comments

Huge Harlequin sale

This weekend only, Harlequin has put 500 of its bestsellers on sale for 1.99 each. It’s at all vendors. (Amazon, iBooks, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo.)

The AAR staff picked a few of their favorites and we’d love to hear what yours are too. Enjoy!

Bound by the Sultan’s Baby by Carol Marinelli

By | 2017-10-07T09:22:37+00:00 October 7th, 2017|Categories: Romance reading|Tags: |0 Comments

One Summer Night by Caridad Pinero

When I’m asked to describe the idea behind One Summer Night, I say that it’s a modern day Romeo and Juliet story, but with a happier ending. It is a romance after all!

I was a teen when I discovered Shakespeare’s tale of woe and something about it appealed to me . . . until everyone died at the end. I guess it was the fact that Juliet seemed to be a typical teen just like me at the time. And like Juliet, I was very much beginning to notice boys but I had very strict parents, so any boy was likely the “wrong guy” in their minds. Of course, not like Juliet’s totally wrong guy.

Every time I read the play or saw a movie version, I always wanted to rewrite the ending and when the heroine in One Summer Night popped into my head and wouldn’t let up, I knew it was […]

By | 2017-10-16T09:14:16+00:00 October 6th, 2017|Categories: Authors, Romance reading|1 Comment

Are You Now Or Have You Ever Been Japanese American?

Today we feature something a little different. A friend of mine, Eric Muller, has created a podcast I think is wonderful. It’s called Scapegoat Cities and features human stories behind the Japanese American Internment. I asked Eric if any of his stories featured love affairs. The most recent one, Are You Now or Have You Ever Been Japanese American?, (kinda) does. I loved the podcast and I think you will too. But first, here’s a bit about Eric and his work.


Dabney: Give me some background here. How did you get interested in the internment?

Eric: I’m a professor at UNC Chapel Hill, in the law school, and have been studying and writing about the mass removal and imprisonment of Japanese Americans for the past 20 years. I first began learning about this historical episode when I lived and taught in Wyoming, which was the site of one of the ten […]

By | 2017-10-03T16:13:54+00:00 October 4th, 2017|Categories: Dabney AAR, Interviews|Tags: , |4 Comments

Yeah, thanks, NYT. We’ll take it from here

Hope. Escape. Fun. Happiness Something just for me. Taught me about respect. Joy. Taught me that I deserve a happily ever after, too.

I spent the spring and summer of 2016 listening to women about why they read romance novels. I ran a research project that was specifically interested in how women who see themselves as ‘religious’ interacted with the sex in romance novels, but my participants gave me so many gifts beyond that. Many I heard from weren’t even women of faith, they just wanted to tell me how important these books are to them, how vital they are to their lives. (1)

Because for so many women, they are just that: vital.

I talked to women whose entire sexual health education came from Harlequin, because their schools and families and religious spaces never talked about sex and the issues surrounding it. From the books, these women told me, they learned about consent and respect and orgasms. (2)

I heard from women in helping professions – teaching, social […]