It Happened one Christmas…

Happy release day to us!

I am delighted to be a part of this anthology of short Christmas stories by a group of Canberra romance writers. The collection features six short stories from Regency England to present day Canberra, but all set at Christmas (of course!). Best of all, it’s on sale for a short time only.

You can buy it from Amazon Au here

and Amazon here.

And you can read more about it here:

No Room at the Inn, by Elizabeth Squire

 Audrey Townshend does not want her family to dictate who she should marry. She does not want to be stranded in a snowstorm, and she certainly does not want to be stranded with Viscount Harrison Drummond—the one man she has sworn to avoid at all cost. Harrison destroyed her trust once before, so how can she trust him to protect her from ruin this Christmas Eve, while also resisting the temptation of his devastating kisses?

Last Christmas, by Justine Lewis

Last Christmas, Hollywood heart-throb, Lachlan McLean, broke Gemma Fitzgerald’s heart.  This Christmas he’s back. Gemma’s determined not to be hurt again, but Lachlan has other ideas …

Cruise to Nowhere – A moment in Time Story, by Joanie MacNeil

 Handsome, charming widower Nick is ready to risk his heart again. When he and Kelli meet on board a Cruise to Nowhere, he knows she is the one for him. Her emotions still in tatters from her former marriage to a manipulative, controlling man, Kelli’s biggest fear is losing her heart to the wrong man for a second time.

Is their mutual attraction merely a holiday romance, or could it be a forever love?

A Good Man for Christmas, by Darcy Delany

Cam is the military man who’s returned home to his family’s farm outside Canberra to heal his body, mind and spirit. Viv is the woman who has returned to say farewell to her grandparents after they perished in the Canberra bushfires of 2003. Will Cam and Viv overcome their shyness to share a waltz that lasts forever?

Star, by FJ Roberts

How does a spy with stage fright end up in the spotlight?

Agent Natalia Jones works best in back rooms and shadows.  She can track down criminals under the radar as long as she is a faceless woman. She learned years ago that an audience only means heartbreak for her. Tonight, she is out of choices: her mission will force her to confront her deepest fears.

Rock star Gabriel King won’t back down; his hit song ‘Black Christmas’ tells it like it is and now the death threats are rolling in. Online cowards are not going to stop his last minute performance at Christmas Carols in his hometown, and a bodyguard on stage with him would be ridiculous.

Until he realizes his bodyguard is his high-school crush, Natalia Jones. Now he can discover why she suddenly hated him all those years ago. Maybe they can harmonize once more.

Jojo’s: Christmas Beginnings, by A.T. Morgan

Christmas to Josephine Branda means too many bad memories of loss and intense heartache. She decides to leave her corporate city life for a fresh start on the South Coast. With help from her Aunt and Uncle and her best friend, she sets about making her dream store JoJo’s become a reality.

Meeting a new man is not on her agenda.

Calling romance writers and readers! Help!

Calling all romance writers and readers!

Donna Maree Hanson, Author and PhD Candidate

I am currently undertaking a PhD through the University of Canberra in popular romance fiction and as part of that study I have two surveys going.

I’ve got a great response rate so far but I need more. Yes MORE!!!!

If you are a READER of popular ROMANCE fiction can you help me out? The more readers who respond, the more valid the findings will be.

If you are a popular ROMANCE fiction AUTHOR your response to the survey will really help me out!

In both cases I’m after honest views.

Romance writers can be romance readers but I have questions on their romance reading  in the writer survey so you don’t need to do two surveys.

I think the survey can take up to 15-20 minutes to do.

It is mostly tick boxes but your free text comments are very valuable.

I am also going to select some people for a follow up…

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A Laptop of One’s Own

The question I’m asked most about my writing is ‘When?’ When do I find the time to write between a demanding day job, two young kids and a busy husband?

I was talking to a friend the other day about writing and after discussing the When, she asked about Where: Where is my writing space? What is my set up at home?

Stephen King, unhelpfully I think, said in On Writing that a writer needs to be able to shut a door. I’ve spoken to wannabe writers and aspiring writers who focus on their writing space (or lack of it) rather than on what they are actually going to write. A nice desk, in a beautiful office would be  great, but it isn’t essential.

Virginia Woolf of course wrote about the room of one’s own. But as well as being a literal room for space, privacy and lack of interruptions it was also a symbol for larger issues like leisure time and financial independence. These are all still hurdles for writers to some extent.

The most important thing I take from Woolf’s work is the bit about killing the Angel in the House. Even more than those little darlings that routinely need to be edited out of my manuscripts, the Angel in the House is the thing that needs to be murdered every single day. It’s the voice that tells me I should cook, clean, do my tax return. It’s the Mummy Guilt; the pressure to be a perfect wife and mother. I have to tell myself I don’t need a spotless house, I don’t to cook a gourmet meal every night, I don’t need to spend three hours a week volunteering at my kids’ school or join the fete committee (let’s face it, they wouldn’t want me anyway).

I was also guilty one and told myself things like ‘I will write when I have my own study’. But thinking this is as helpful as thinking ‘I will write when I have time.’ If you’re waiting for a free year with nothing but free time and a beautiful study in which to sit, you’ll probably never get a book written. You need to make the space, just like you need to make the time.

I don’t mean you need to build an extra room on your house, but I’ve never had a study, the best I’ve had is a nook – an alcove near the kitchen. The kids can’t see me, though I can hear them and there’s no door between me and the endless questions and requests to mediate. But it’s the best I can do. I’m also at my most productive when they’re in bed, though as they get older and their bed times get later this golden time is shrinking. I have to make do with the time and space I do have.

Which is where the laptop comes in. If only Virginia had a laptop (Come to think about that how did anyone write before PCs? A post for another time maybe).

The laptop is portable – you can pick it up and move to a quiet part of the house. Or the library. Or a café if you are so inclined (I’m not, but that’s just me). A laptop with an internet connection is a room in itself – all the reference materials you could need. With Pinterest and Scrivener who needs note boards anymore?

And if the computer is truly your own you have privacy as well. No one to judge your search history. No fear that anyone will read your work before you’re ready for them to. And it’s all yours whenever, or wherever you are able to write.

While an actual room would be fantastic – I think the room Virginia Woolf wrote about is more metaphorical – freedom, privacy, time and lack of guilt are more important than a closed door.


I’m on AusRom Today with a fun post. Sadly there was a budget I had to stick to but I did my best…

Build Us Your Story with Justine Lewis I’m always up for a challenge, though staying within budget was very difficult (and sadly I have expensive tastes). Sigh Worthy Male lead I’d spend $5 …

Source: BUILD US YOUR IDEAL STORY with Justine Lewis

Release day: The Reluctant Lover

It’s release day and I’ve been so busy blogging on other sites I haven’t blogged on my own, but here’s a taster from the ARRA blog – thanks for having me on today!

Today is the official release of The Reluctant Lover by Justine Lewis (ebook, Penguin Australia). Here’s the blurb: Katherine Bright is one of Australia’s most acclaimed television jour…

Source: Release day: The Reluctant Lover

Cover reveal

I am just delighted to share my new cover! The Reluctant Lover will be out on 15 March 2016. I loved writing this book and can’t wait for it’s release 🙂

The Reluctant Lover


Katherine Bright is one of Australia’s most acclaimed television journalists, but rumor has it her show is about to be axed. Katherine has interviewed presidents and brought down corrupt governments but her ratings are plummeting. Katherine has given up everything for her career—her marriage and the chance of having children— she isn’t about to give up on her show easily.

Enter Liam Kennedy a young gun, foreign correspondent back in Australia for an awards night. Liam is the whole cliché – tall, dark and totally kissable. Except for one thing. He’s younger than Katherine. Much younger. And when Katherine realizes she needs Liam to save her show she finds herself in an impossible situation.

When good tropes turn bad

Amnesia. Mistaken identity. Marriage of convenience. Accidental pregnancy. These are all classic romance tropes. At the moment I’m in the middle of my own romance trope.

Well, sort of.

I’m in a cabin in Yosemite National Park and snowed in. And the furnace isn’t working, which means that the only means of heating the entire house is the pot belly stove in the living room. I’m wearing my parka and boots and the only reason I don’t have my gloves on is so I can type this.

The Snowed In trope. Sibling of the Stranded On a Tropical Island Trope. And the second cousin to the Stuck In An Elevator trope.

The pot belly fire is taking a while to get going. The thermostat says 44 degrees. Fahrenheit. And I’m not sure I want to translate that to Celsius. The management of the cabin should be bringing some electric heaters soon, but the road was only just drivable when we arrived three hours ago and it has been snowing heavily ever since. And it’s now dark. Staying here in the cold is still preferable to getting back into the car and going anywhere.

I also did that City Girl Goes To The Snow And Wears Inappropriate Shoes Thing too, but it wasn’t cute. It was wet. And it hurt when I fell (I’m from Canberra, I’m wearing solid boots, but the grip on the sole has worn away just a bit too much and wasn’t up to the challenges of black ice).

I am here with my own hero – my wonderful husband. So far so wonderful. But our two kids are also here.

And my parents. And if the portable heaters don’t arrive it looks like we’ll all be hunkering down in the living room by the fire as the rest of of the house is too freezing to inhabit.

I’m not exactly living a romantic dream. We are all being very polite and trying to keep spirits up but the kids have been in the car all day and are exhausted. Oh and the satellite television isn’t working. Mr Lewis is getting twitchy from internet deprivation. And so is my father, though he doesn’t dare complain as this trip was his idea.

The DVD selection is dire. My mother and I think the book selection is pretty good, though she did rip the Kate Morton out of my freezing hands. The pair of us would be happy but Patricia Cornwell isn’t going to keep my five year amused.

So basically, I’m in the middle of a romance trope gone bad.

(So this post has nothing to do with any of my books. They feature a secret royalty/mistaken identity trope, a boss’s daughter/from different worlds trope, and my latest release features and older woman – younger man trope).

What’s your favourite romance trope?