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The ARRA Awards

Every year ARRA (the Australian Romance Readers Association) holds an Awards Dinner to present awards concerning the books published the previous year. Books are nominated and later voted on by ARRA members — non-members cannot vote. I’d booked to attend this year’s dinner, as I do every year, but sadly, it had to be cancelled.

So this year, eight of us — all romance writers on retreat — sat around in a hotel room in Queensland, and watched the awards as they were announced on YouTube. We ate yummy takeaway food and cheered and raised our champagne glasses to the two in our group who won awards, as well as our other friends who were listed or won. It was a lovely night altogether.

I was thrilled to receive several awards. I won Favourite Historical Romance 2022 with The Rake’s Daughter

 I also won Favourite Australian Romance Author 2022.


The Rake’s Daughter also won the Favourite Romance Cover 2022. 

You can watch the awards here, or read the list here.

I would like to thank the  ARRA organizers (all hard-working volunteers) and also all the ARRA members who voted for my book — I was thrilled to bits to win my two awards — and have passed on my congratulations to the Berkley Cover Art department, who were responsible for the cover of my book that won Favourite Cover. I know they’ll be rapt.

Congratulations to ALL the winners, and also to ALL who finalled. 

And now it’s Sunday morning and I’m sitting in my bed typing this, with the big doors open to the sound of the waves and the lorikeets chittering in the trees. It’s not as hot or as humid as it was when we arrived, either, so it’s very, very pleasant.

On Retreat

I’m away on my “annual” one week writers’ retreat after missing it for the last three long CoVid years. We’ve been doing it for 15 years. There are nine of us, all romance writers of various sorts — I’m the only historical writer — and after the first few years where we moved around and held the retreat in different places and different states, we’ve settled in the last ten years at a place on the Gold Coast of Australia, in south-east Queensland.

We stay in an apartment hotel opposite the beach. I’m sitting in bed writing this, and looking out onto this morning view, with the waves swishing rhythmically and birds calling. They’re mostly rainbow lorikeets — gorgeously colorful,  chittering and screeching as they flit between the trees. The sea and sky make for a constantly changing, endlessly fascinating vista. 

We each have a separate apartment, except for two people who share a two bedroom suite, and that’s where we all gather to meet in the evenings. We each have our own rooms because it’s very much a working retreat — several are on deadline — so the mornings are quiet times for writing. (And an occasional quick swim before breakfast.)

We generally meet for lunch and dinner — home made or take-away — the hotel is close to all kinds of restaurants. Our rooms all have a kitchenette, so we can cook if we want. But the local restaurants are good and their food is tempting so at least one meal a day is bought. On the first night together we grab fish and chips and champagne  — it’s now a tradition.

On the first night we have a “round robin” where we report on our year and what we’ve been doing — professional but also personal, where appropriate. We’re on email throughout the year but this in person talking is more personal and intimate. Talking to real people makes a huge difference, and since we’ve all been friends for such a long time, we share quite a lot. We also talk about our plans for the retreat.  I’ll share mine in a day or two.

German Translations

Two new German translations landed on my doorstep this morning — one is in  novella collection with the wonderful Mary Balogh, and Merline Lovelace. Mine is the Christmas novella which in English was called The Virtuous Widow. The others you can try to translate yourself. 

The English edition of the second book  is Marry in Scarlet, the story of George, Lady Georgiana Rutherford and Redmond Jasper Hartley, the fifth Duke of Everingham. 

I love getting these translations. It never fails to stun and delight me that my stories are being read in other countries.