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MAKING HER MARK: A Guest Post by Renee Dahlia


2018 is the year I discovered I’m bisexual. In hindsight, it’s odd that it’s taken me so long to figure this out. I’ve always had plenty of friends who are various types of queer, or as one of my gay friends C* says ‘part of the QUILTBAG’ – a joke that toes that line between cute/funny and offensive depending on who you are (which is on brand for C*). I’m sure they all knew before I did. The low-key queer representation in my 2018 release, The Heart of a Bluestocking, simply reflects my friendship group in real life. My own discovery came about when I started writing the second book in my Merindah Park series (out 2019 with Escape: Harlequin Australia Digital). The heroine demanded to be bisexual, and so I started doing a bunch of research to figure out what was happening in my brain and in her story. I discovered the Kinsey Scale – and as a trained scientist, this scale spoke volumes to me.

Oh, that fascination I had with a friend at university was actually a crush. Huh, no wonder it was always a bit awkward between us.
Hey, remember that time at high school when someone made a mean joke about whether I’d ever want to fuck a woman, and I hesitated to answer because my brain was all ‘omg yes’ but I didn’t want to make the meanness worse…
That meme saying ‘heterosexual means seeing a nice couple and wanting to bang one and be the other. Bisexual means wanting to bang them both.’ And nodding, yip, that’s me.

Basically, the process of writing Making Her Mark was all about me discovering myself, and in terms of bisexual representation, the book is probably clunky as hell (or I’m overthinking it!), but it’s me working out things, so I’m happy with that. I deliberately (and maybe this is a flawed idea) didn’t get a sensitivity read done on Rachel’s character. I did get a sensitivity read done on the hero, who is Aboriginal, and one of the Aboriginal teachers at my son’s school helped me with that angle. Thanks, Uncle Hilton.

My partner and I spent a long time discussing my discovery and how it affected us (not at all!), and I’ve started to use partner instead of husband in an effort to be more inclusive to other relationships. We’ve been married* for fourteen years, and I guess there is a sense of passing as heterosexual most of the time. [*that’s a whole other story about how I wouldn’t do it if I had my time again, but that’s mostly about family expectations and their religious impositions than about my relationship which is solid.]

In many respects, 2018 has been an eye-opening year for our family. One of our kids had some struggles at school at the start of the year, and after many doctors and behavioural therapy visits (and me quitting my day job to focus on helping him), he has made huge improvements. Putting in place strategies, such as a calm zone in his classroom, has helped him avoid having a negative label (Oppositional Defiance Disorder) attached to him for life. He is also likely to be on the autism spectrum, and I don’t believe that ADHD or autism are disorders, just different ways that bodies and brains work, although he does need learn to navigate the world from his different point of view. The fourth book in the Merindah Park series discusses some of these issues. (Gosh – that series is doing a lot of things!)

Quitting my job to help my kid had the added benefit of giving me more time to write, and that means I’ll have lots of books to release in 2019. The Farrellton Found Family series will be a mixture of F/M, F/F, and M/M books; while the Merindah Park series is all F/M. The Bluestockings (my debut series) is all F/M, and I’m planning a follow up series to them featuring their daughters. Set just after WWI, the first book will be F/F and set in Wales.


About the Author

20180810_054827884_iOSRenée Dahlia is an unabashed romance reader who loves feisty women and strong, clever men. Her books reflect this, with a side-note of dark humour. Renée has a science degree in physics. When not distracted by the characters fighting for attention in her brain, she works in the horse racing industry doing data analysis. She writes for two racing publications, churning out feature articles, interviews and advertorials. When she isn’t reading or writing, Renée wrangles a partner, four children, and volunteers on the local cricket club committee.

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The Heart of a Bluestocking


When an uncommon lawyer meets an unusual doctor, their story must be extraordinary…

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TheHeartOfABluestocking lowresSeptember 1888: Dr Claire Carlingford owns the bluestocking label. Her tycoon father encouraged her to study, and with the support of her two best friends, she took it further than anyone could imagine, graduating as a doctor and running her own medical practice. But it’s not enough for her father. He wants her to take over the business, so he can retire. Then his sudden arrest throws the family into chaos and his business into peril.

Mr James Ravi Howick, second son of Lord Dalhinge, wants to use his position as a lawyer to improve conditions for his mother’s family in India. When an opportunity arises to work for Carlingford Enterprises, one of the richest companies in the world, Ravi leaps at the chance to open his own legal practise. But his employment becomes personal as he spends more time with Claire and she learns the secret that could destroy his family.

Both Ravi and Claire are used to being outsiders and alone. But as they work together to save their respective families from disaster, it becomes clear that these two misfits might just fit together perfectly.


Merindah Park:
The first in the series is out April 2019. Pre-order it here:
The second in this series, Making her Mark, features a bisexual heroine.

Farrellton Found Family:

The first in this series, Betrayed, will be up for pre-order in late January 2019. The second in this series, Liability, is an ff story.

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