Jul 25, 2014

Random thoughts with Louisa George

Thoughts of a slightly jet-lagged brain…I've just returned from 9 days' child-free holiday in Hawaii and it was total bliss. But now my inbox is overflowing, my book deadline approaches and my brain is still hankering to be by the beach and not in front of a computer screen in freezing temperatures. So, as my head is flitting from one random thought to another I'd thought I'd share…

1. I'd never really been in to cocktails until two years ago when I went to RWA in Anaheim and had my first mojito. Now, you could probably say that Mojitos are my catnip. Here's one from Hawaii. YUMMY. There were so many to choose from, and all so pretty. It would have been rude not to sample these wares, surely?

2. Sometimes watching a movie you don't think you're going to enjoy can be surprising. I recently watched DIVERGENT and it was pretty cool. A lot like The Hunger Games in many ways (dystopian future, people living in groups according to their skills etc). It turned out to be the perfect attention-holding plane movie. Conversely, sometimes, much hyped movies are a total let-down, yes? Noah anyone?

3. The difference in the price of books depending on where you live is astonishing. We visited Barnes and Noble in Maui and spent-up large- limited, sadly, by our baggage allowance. In NZ newly released books are usually around $36.00 each, in USA they were $15. But oh, the joy, of being able to pick up the ones we wanted without worrying excessively about the cost!


4. My son just went to his first school ball. My, how those 16 years have flown by. Here he is in all his finest. Such a proud mum!


5. Finally, I have a new release out this month. You all probably know that my first romance read was by Amy Andrews and it was her book that inspired me to start writing medical romance. Huge fan-girl thrill, then to see my book and hers on the shelves together! It's amazing what you can achieve through blood, sweat and tears! Thanks for the inspiration Amy!


So, any random thoughts flitting through your brain?  Are you a cocktails person or do you prefer wine/beer? Any recent proud moments? Any disappointing movies or surprisingly good ones? Care to share?

Whatever happened To.....Give-away winner

The winner of a copy of Once Upon A Bride is.........Cindy Hamilton!




Cindy, you can email me at mail (at) helenlacey (dot) com to receive your prize.

Thanks for commenting!

Bad boy giveaway winner!

The winner of the giveaway of 200 Harley Street, The Shameless Maverick goes to….drum roll please….




LANEY4!  


Congratulations Laney4, please contact me-  louisageorgeauthor (at) gmail (dot) com  and I'll pop the book in the post!






Jul 23, 2014

A Writer's Garden aka A Neglected Garden

There was a time when I spent my weekends gardening. That was when I worked in an office and the weekends were my leisure time, but since I became a writer my garden has become very neglected. Weeks, months can go by without me pulling out a single weed, so I’m always surprised when a plant puts on a wonderful show despite my neglect.

I’ve been writing for 11 years now, nine of them as a published author with deadlines, and over that time I’ve developed a penchant for plants which survive, and even thrive, without any TLC whatsoever, or maybe a prune once a year. Now, because there are many busy people out there who don’t have time to garden, I’ve put together a list of my top five plants that are spectacular survivors. The photos below are from my own garden as proof. Fill your garden with these (if they’re right for your climate) and you’ll always have something beautiful in your outdoor space to lift your spirits.

1. Hibiscus

I love this shrub! We have several specimens in our garden and apart from a light prune in September - if I get a chance - they are on their own.











2. Rose

If you come across a ruin of a house with an overgrown garden, you can almost guarantee that there will be a rose somewhere amongst the tangle. It is the ultimate survivor. Yes, it loves a good prune, but it does well without it too.






3. Wisteria

It just keeps growing and growing, and producing a spectacular show of flowers in Spring.


4.Succulents

Succulents come in lots of varieties and they are fabulous plants for the neglected garden. With or without flowers, they fill a bare spot perfectly.


5. Nasturtiums

Although they are annuals, I have had nasturtiums in my garden every year since scattering a single packet of seeds more than a decade ago. They self seed and look great. Plus, you can eat the leaves and flowers in salads.



So there you have my top five. Do you have others that should be on the list? Remember, we’re not talking about favourite plants here, but foolproof options for the frustrated gardener.

Jul 21, 2014

Funday Monday on the LoveCats!

Today we've got a Funday with a message!

July is Jul-EYE - Eye Health Month!  When did you have your last eye check? 




So if you haven't been for a while, how about picking up the phone and making an appointment!

And purely for fun, here's a cat's eyes puzzle from those clever people at JigZone!  It's a different shape cut today so good luck!

Click to Mix and Solve


Jul 20, 2014

Sunday Smooch with J.K. Coi .......

Welcome to another LoveCats DownUnder Sunday Smooch!


Today we have a smooch from J.K. Coi  but first 


... the winner of last week's Sunday Smooch Giveaway is Lauren James .....

Can you please contact rachel (at) rachelbailey (dot) com to receive your copy of The Summer Of Jake .........


And now for today's Sunday Smooch from J.K. Coi ........


This rivalry is too hot for the tropics…


Elizabeth Carlson and Ben Harrison used to be friends, 
coworkers...and almost lovers. But
that was before Ben proposed mixing business with pleasure. Elizabeth refuses to lose her heart to a hotshot tycoon with a cutthroat, take-no-prisoners attitude. Not with the prospect of starting her own company at stake.

Driven to succeed in all areas of his life, Ben couldn’t resist the temptation to make Liz his. But then she walked away, igniting a bitter rivalry. Competing for the same contract at a Caribbean conference ignites sparks too hot to ignore, and Ben’s determined to finish what they started, even if it’ll only last a few steamy, tropical nights.


Elizabeth’s resolve begins to crumble under Ben’s blatant seduction. Can she walk away from a hot island fling with the sexiest man she’s ever known with her heart intact, or will losing herself in Ben destroy everything she’s fought to achieve?




Scene set-up -  [Ben and Beth are snorkeling in Antigua during their one day off before they go head-to-head as business competitors during an important industry conference. They’ve been dancing around each other, neither one certain if they can trust the other, only certain that these feelings keep getting stronger.]



With a hand pressed to her chest, she gazed into the water as Ben sat down beside her. The shark had followed them right up to the hull of the boat.

As she watched, it turned away, making a wide circle around the area she and Ben had been swimming in. As if it didn’t have a care in the world, it slowly zigzagged back and forth a little bit before heading out towards the shallows of the reef, where it disappeared once and for all.

“Wow.” She glanced up at Ben. “That was…” She shook her head, speechless. Unsure how to explain what she was feeling. Now that she was safely in the boat and it was all sinking in…

Ben reached up and wiped the wet hair off her forehead, his fingers leaving tingles across her skin. He frowned. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have brought you out here. I thought—”

“That was the most amazing thing I’ve ever done.” Yes, it had also been one of the craziest, scariest moments of her life…but she wouldn’t take it back now for anything.

“The sharks here are rarely aggressive, but I still should have warned you.”

“Maybe,” she admitted with a grin. “But if you had, I probably wouldn’t have come. And then I wouldn’t have this unbelievable memory to take back home with me.”

He suddenly smiled. “Then I’m glad I could help you build some new memories today.”

Her head was still spinning, her blood still pumping. She didn’t want the feeling to end. The vibe between them flipped just like that, her fingers twitching to reach out for the strong, gorgeous man in front of her.

Taking a deep breath, she got up on her knees and threw her leg over his lap. She knew he was the one who could keep those feelings alive and give her new, more intense sensations. She wanted that more than anything.

Battling a surge of shyness, she wet her lips. “I don’t think I’m done building new memories,” she whispered. “Not just yet.”

She placed her palms on the rise of his hard pecs, her heart skipping when his muscles jumped beneath her touch. She curled her fingernails into his bare skin, still wet but warm from the sun. Water droplets tracked down his torso to the waistband of his swim trunks, and she smiled.

His arms came around her. Water pooled on the cushion under her knees, but the breeze had picked up and dried their skin quickly—probably turning her curly hair into a damp, frizzy halo. But she wasn’t cold, not even though she had shivers. Far from it.

“Beth.” His voice was little more than a groan.

His gaze dropped to her mouth.

“Ben.” Her voice was hoarse, the word burning all the way up her throat as much as his touch on her waist burned all the way to the core of her.

He watched her, his gaze suddenly smoking with intensity. Slowly, he pushed his fingers into her hair and tugged her closer until her chest pressed against his.


He kissed her, tentatively and gentle. But her heart pounded too hard for gentle, the adrenaline raced too fast in her veins for gentle. She kissed him back with her whole body. Her arms wrapped around his neck, her thighs tightening over his hips. She gasped his name as his mouth traveled down the column of her throat, leaving a trail of heat more penetrating than the sun’s bright rays. 


To go into the draw to win a digital copy of In Bed With The Competition, leave a comment to this question -

What has been your favourite vacation and what made it special or fun?


Come back next Sunday, when the winner of today's give-away will be announced and a smooch from The Shameless Maverick by Louisa George will be posted!


Smooch Graphic by WebWeaver

Jul 18, 2014

Whatever happened to......

By Helen Lacey

I'm always chuffed when readers write to me about secondary characters in my books and ask when they are going to get there own happily-ever-after. It's lovely to know that readers connect with characters enough to care about what happens to them once the book is finished. I'm currently in the middle of writing my seventh book for Harlequin Special Edition and with each book, new characters emerge, and with new characters there are new and endless possibilities.

What's interesting is that the romance doesn't always turn out as I might have originally intended. That's certainly the case with my September release, Once Upon A Bride. When the heroine in this story first turned up briefly in the previous book, I'd had no intention of having her fall in love with a man who'd also made a brief appearance in book two and four. But, over the course of several books it was almost as if planets were aligning and I had very little say in the matter. They were going to fall in love...with or without me!

Do you ever read a book and think, "I wonder who she/he is going to end up with?"

Sometimes it seems obvious...other times, not so much. And I've always liked the idea of two completely opposite people being drawn to one another and finding their happy-ever-after. Or perhaps it's two people who have been just friends who suddenly find themselves regarding each other differently. Or old loves who rekindle their feelings.



 

Whatever the situation, if it's unexpected it can make the journey a wonderful ride of discovery.

Have you ever read a book and wondered about the secondary characters and then found them with own romance down the track? Or are there any secondary characters from books you've read and loved and who you'd like to see with a romance/happy ending of their own?

Leave a comment to go into the draw to win a copy of my September release from Harlequin Special Edition, Once Upon A Bride.

Harlequin 
Amazon



Jul 16, 2014

Yvonne Lindsay's Lists of Lists!

I'm getting ready to travel back up the US for the Romance Writers of America conference. It's an exciting time but oh, the lists...and the lists of lists of things to do before I go.

Yesterday, I crossed off the two biggies--see my accountant to sign off on tax returns and annual accounts and FINISH THE DARN BOOK! Oh, the relief. I never realise how much tension I carry in my shoulders while I'm working until I actually stop.

But I can't afford to stop. I still have those lists of lists to attend to. Little things for the most part, but vital to my peace of mind so when I leave my family I can jet away with a clear conscience.

I discovered yesterday, on thinking about all of this, that I never really allow myself time to anticipate a trip like this one which, while work related, is the fun side of my work. It's the face to face meetings with editors, meeting readers at signings, mixing with fellow authors who I normally only get to interact with online through email and Facebook and meeting my writing idols. Usually, I arrive at these things still flustered from ticking off all the bullet points on my lists of lists and finishing a book and it takes me a good couple of days to wind down so I can appreciate it all.

I have lists of things to do while I'm in the States, including getting a SIM card for my phone with data so I can celebrate my next release (on 25 July, just in case you're wondering) of FOR LOVE OF A COWBOY. It's my first novella with Tule Publishing's Montana Born Books series and I am so excited to see how it fares with readers. I absolutely loved writing this story. I may even have to add having a glass of champagne to celebrate its release to one of my lists!

Tell me, are you a just-in-time-and-arrive-exhausted person like me, or are you more measured in your planning? If you're the latter, I'd love to know how you do it!




Jul 14, 2014

Recharging with a Annual Family Tradition


by Jennifer St George

It’s submitted. Yes, my fifth book has been submitted to Destiny Romance. Hooray!

As usual, by the end of the editing process I’m exhausted. And more so than usual as I’m also working as the Communications Manager for the Byron Bay Writers Festival which is being held in just three weeks.

Binna Burra Mountain Lodge
So, I needed a bit of well-timed R&R. Fortunately our annual pilgrimage to World Heritage-listed Lamington National Park (Gold Coast hinterland, QLD) coincided with me hitting send! My extended family head to Binna Burra Mountain Lodge for a few days each winter holidays (less snakes and ticks at this time of year).

I love it up in the mountains as it is cold and clear and I love the smell of the rainforest. So different from living by the beach. The sunsets up in the mountains are spectacular.

I managed to convince my brood to do an 18.5km walk and was very impressed they all made it.  It was a long trek for the smaller ones of our bunch.  And for me too as I’d only run the Gold Coast 10km fun run a few days earlier.

We walked through lots of different microclimates on our adventure and crossed a riverbed five or six times. As the track was newly opened after being washed away, there were times when it was hard to determine where the track was which added a little excitement to the enterprise.

I’ve been coming to Binna Burra since I was six years old.  This is a photo of my brother and me. 
We have the same photo of us when we were kids aged six and eight, sitting on the same rock in the middle of the bush.

When we drove back down the mountain, I loved hearing my son say, ‘I’m going to come here every year of my life and bring my kids here too.’  Very satisfying as there was not one computer screen, iPod or other electronic gadget in his hand for the whole holiday.

So, that’s our annual St George family tradition.  Would love to hear about one of your family traditions.

Jennifer's latest release, The Billionaire's Pursuit of Love, is currently on sale at iTunes and Amazon for only $0.99.