Mar 19, 2018

Slowing Down with Stefanie London

My husband and I have a long-standing joke about my "plate." My plate is my time, energy and headspace and the things on my plate represent how I chose to spend those things. Like a real plate with food on it, the mental plate needs to have a balance of things in order to be healthy. Work, family time, personal time, hobbies all need to be put onto the plate in a good ratio to keep us happy and fulfilled.

Sadly, my plate has been out-of-whack for some time. That's the thing about having a job that you love more than any other thing you've ever loved to do: it's easy to work yourself into the group. Long hours, late nights, weekends, sacrificing social occasions and time with loved ones.

The hardest thing of all, is that my brain won't switch off even when I have stepped away from my computer. I think about my stories all the time. I think my characters and the worlds I've created all the time. And writing books and meeting my deadlines is one piece of the publishing pie, there's all the promo, admin, editing etc. that goes along with it.

I used to joke with my husband when he said I had too many things on my plate that I would simply "find a bigger plate."

But there's only so much one can give up before work becomes the only thing getting focus in life. As much as I adore writing and I would not give up this career for anything, I've realized that a bigger plate is just not available to me. My body and mind are craving the things I'd given up, craving a healthy balance.

So this is why I'm going to become a Lovecat in the wild. The need to carve out more time for myself unfortunately had to come from somewhere. But I want to take this opportunity to thank the Lovecats for taking me on back in 2014 when I was green and new and so wide-eyed. The support I've received from the wonderful ladies here is something I'll be eternally grateful for.

Thanks also to all the readers of the Lovecats blog! The community here is so warm and welcoming, you're all fantastic. I have one more post to go live after this (my Sunday Smooch for Bad Bachelor) and after that you'll be able to find me on my website and via any of my Newsletter and Facebook page.

Thanks for making me feel like part of the family x

Mar 18, 2018

Sunday Smooch with Andrea Bolter

Welcome to another LoveCats DownUnder Sunday Smooch!

Today we have a smooch from Andrea Bolter but first... 

The winner of last week's Sunday Smooch Giveaway is Quinn Fforde

Congratulations, Quinn! Can you please contact amy (at) amyandews (dot) com (dot) au to receive your prize.

 And now for today's Sunday Smooch from Her Las Vegas Wedding.

From a convenient fiancé …To an inconvenient attraction!

When hotel heiress Audrey Girard’s safe, convenient wedding to a business partner is called off, she’d left to contend with her ex-fiancé’s brother – wild, brooding chef Shane Murphy. And there’s certainly nothing safe about Audrey’s attraction to Shane – every day they work together is even more dangerously tempting! Could there be a Las Vegas wedding in the cards after all?

     He came around to her side of the car and helped her out. There were no other cars anywhere. They were miles away from town under the sunset and the hush of nightfall.
     With no warning whatsoever, Shane rested one hand on each of Audrey’s shoulders. He leaned down and kissed her on the lips. His mouth pressed against hers in a closed-mouth but adamant kiss.
     Her neck flushed instantly. Having him close to her was a little bit familiar now after their bodies had writhed together with their sexy dancing at Big Top. But he hadn’t kissed her that night, and this new intimacy was an alarm to her system.
     A shock that she missed with all of her might when he took his lips away. Her lungs ceased functioning. They were furious at him for having taken his lips from her. All she could seem to want was for him to kiss her again. Oxygen in, carbon dioxide out, she reminded herself of the basic breathing process.
     “Come here,” he said, filling her with the hope that his mouth would graze hers again. Her eyelids fluttered uncontrollably.
     But no. He lifted her up and sat her on the hood of his jeep. Then hoisted himself onto it as well. He maneuvered backward so that he could lean back against the glass of the windshield with his legs outstretched on the hood. Then he helped shimmy Audrey backwards so that she could do the same.
     She somehow didn’t care that she was wearing a business dress and heels. His spontaneity was liberating.
     Now they were able to continue to watch nature’s spectacle with a warm breeze gliding across their faces.
     Audrey had to settle herself down. He’d obviously kissed her by mistake. Out of some kind of urge that probably had nothing to do with her. She shouldn’t read anything into it.
     Maybe sensing Audrey’s discomfort, Shane thankfully broke the quiet. “What was Josefina saying to you about tragedies?”
     Audrey creased her brow, not sure what or how much was appropriate to tell Shane. “I told her that my mother had died three years ago. Josefina thought that loss was a similarity to share.”
     Shane chuckled wistfully, “Does it work that way?”
     Audrey shook her head. “I was wondering the same thing.”
     They took in the majesty of the sunset again. The sides of their bodies pressed into each other.
      Then Shane turned himself until he was facing her.
     “So soft,” he murmured as he dotted kisses all over her face.
     His beard stubble felt exactly as she imagined it would, rasping across her cheeks with a welcome harshness. Filling her with the need for contact that was wholly male, wholly biological. Something that she’d dared not think of in years.
     When his mouth inched down her neck, her head fell backward.
     With a flattened palm, he caressed the length of her throat from behind her ear to the swerve of her shoulder. His lips moved under the collar of her dress. In a beat, her back arched to meet him.
     Flowering with anticipation, her parted lips waited for him to return upward. As if he knew she couldn’t delay a moment longer, his open mouth rejoined hers. A quick succession of kisses was followed by a longer one that melded them into each other.
     Her arms reached around his neck. His mouth possessed hers, communicating what she had to hear. She met his every sensation, the kisses swirling deeper, further, quaking both of them at their epicenters.
     “What are we doing?” she muttered, with no idea of the answer to the question.
     He whispered, “Sharing loss.”


To go into the draw to win a copy of Her Las Vegas Wedding just leave a comment. Question: I'm drawn to stories about powerful yet damaged men. I'm fascinated by the man who rises to success even though demons haunt him in the quiet moments. Do you like that kind of hero in a story? Why?

Come back next Sunday, when the winner of today's giveaway will be announced and a smooch will be posted!

Smooch Graphic by WebWeaver

Mar 16, 2018

Reunion stories.....


Helen here...

I was talking with a work colleague the other day about our favorite books and movies and mid way through the conversation she said - "So, you like movies where they used to know each other, but now hate each other for some reason or another, meet up again, realize they still want one another, get through all the history and baggage from their past and then get back together?"

I thought about that for a moment and replied, yes, I guess I do.

One of my favorite stories (and favorite Austen) is Persuasion...I always thought that Captain Wentworth was waaaay more tortured and adorable in his stoic, unforgiving way that everyone's perennial favorite, Mr. Darcy. And even though I think Ann was a ninny for letting him go in the first place, I love how she clearly still loves him ALL the way through. (I like every movie, TV version of this book, but particularly the BBC version with Kieran Hinds as Wentworth) Although I do like also Rupert Penry Jones and Sally Hawkins in the 2007 movie.

And what about John McLane fighting bad guys for two hours to save the life of his estranged wife Holly, in Die Hard? Sigh. I love that torchy and wounded (both emotionally and physically - who can forget the scene with the glass and his bare feet)  

And Sweet Home Alabama...I love the part where Melanie (Reese Witherspoon) tells everyone at her wedding to McDreamy (yeah, that guy from Grey's Anatomy) that she can't marry him because she gave her heart away a long time ago, and never really got it back. liquid silk to a romance authors ears.

But, even though I LOVE reunion stories, I've never really written one, until now. I'm delighted to have a new release in April from Harlequin Special Edition, titled A Kiss, a Dance & a Diamond. It's my fourteenth book for Harlequin, but my first 'real' reunion story. (And my hero's name is Kieran as a kind of tribute to Mr. Hinds in Persuasion)

Do you have a favorite reunion story?

Or maybe you prefer friends to lovers? Or love at first sight?

Leave a comment here of on the LoveCats Facebook page, and I will choose a winner to receive either a print or eCopy of A Kiss, a Dance & a Diamond.

Mar 14, 2018

Fun facts

I suspect most of you will know that I have a new release out this month, but for those of you who don’t…I have a new release out this month! And this is ALWAYS exciting. So in honour of its release, I thought I’d share some fun facts about A BABY IN HIS IN-TRAY.

Fun Fact #1: The inspiration for A Baby in His In-Tray came when I was idly playing the “mash-up tropes” game. You know the one—what would I get if I mashed a Cinderella story with best-friends-to-lovers? What would I get if I mashed a fish-out-of-water story with a marriage-of-convenience? When I mashed-up a twin-swap story with a doorstep baby, A Baby in His In-Tray was born. :-)

Fun Fact #2: Originally the title was A Baby in Her In-Tray. However, when I mentioned the likely title to a few people, much humour was had at my poor heroine’s expense (“In-tray, huh? Is that what they’re calling it these days?”; “At least it wasn’t her in-box”, somebody muttered something about pigeon holes). My editor and I agreed to change Her to His. Who knew one little word could make such a difference. ;-)

Fun Fact #3: If you have a look at pages 10 and 11 of the American edition (the one with the balloons on the cover), you’ll find that they’ve been accidentally reversed. Oops! 

Fun Fact #4: The theme song for this story was Sophie B Hawkins Damn I wish I Was Your Lover. Every time I hear that song I’m transported to the wistfulness, secret longings and cravings that hold Liv and Seb in thrall.

Fun Fact #5: There’s a line of poetry in the book from Byron’s The Destruction of the Sennacherib—The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold.... It’s an amazingly powerful poem, and I stole it from one of my favourite movies (Fever Pitch) uttered by one of my favourite actors (Colin Firth). If you’d like to read the full poem click here: The Destruction of Sennacherib

It was such fun to team my grumpy hero with such a mischievous though kind-hearted heroine, and I’ve been thrilled with the reviews it has received. :-) A Baby in His In-Tray is on shelves now. You can grab it at all of the usual places.

Mar 12, 2018

Finding Time for my Addiction

I have a confession. I’m a magazine addict. I don’t have many vices but a weekend Chardonnay and a great magazine are two of them. Apparently Australians are some of the biggest consumers of magazines in the world. I certainly help with that statistic.

The trouble is I buy them and never have the time to read them. There is always something else more important or urgent to do than sit in by the window in a comfy chair reading a lovely magazine. As I write this, newly purchased issues of House & Garden and Mindfood are taunting me. Read me. Read me. Read me now.

I love that first pass through a magazine when the pages are new and the contents yet to be discovered. Then taking my time on the second pass to read what takes my fancy.

So how do you find time for these little moments of leisure when life is so packed?  After reading Gretchen Rubin’s book Better Than Before, which is all about mastering habits, I now have the solution. I schedule in my magazine reading time and other fun stuff. There’s always more work to do, more writing to accomplish, more preparing for uni lecturing or tutoring or more issues to solve as Chair of the Byron Writers Festival, so with my fun schedule, I get time for non-work things.

I’ve mentioned this scheduling of fun time to friends and some are horrified. “What!,” they exclaim. “Surely having to schedule time for fun is counterintuitive and a little bit sad.”   After trialing this method for a few weeks, I completely disagree. I’ve had more free time than I’ve had in months.

So what do you think? Is scheduling the fun times a great way to ensure you get to do things you enjoy or something else entirely (ie just a little bit sad)?

Mar 11, 2018

Sunday Smooch by Amy Andrews

Welcome to another LoveCats DownUnder Sunday Smooch!

Today we have a smooch from Amy Andrews but first ... the winner of last week's Sunday Smooch Giveaway is Franca Poli!

Can you please contact Michelle Douglas on michelle (at) michelle-douglas (dot) com to receive your prize.

And now for today's Sunday Smooch from ........Fair Game.

Darcy Clarke

There's nothing I wouldn't do to play for the Brisbane Banshees in the new Women's Aussie Rules league. I think I've proved that given that I'm willing to put up with the coach being my ex, Tony. He may have stomped over my heart, but I've moved on, and I'm focused on my team. I don't need any men in my life–apart from Levi, of course, my roommate, and friend. And my saviour, now that I've corked my thigh in our first game, and need his sports massage skills to get me back on the field. What I feel when Levi touches me … is making things very complicated.


Darcy was always my best friend's girl–Tony's girl. Two years on and she still doesn't know how I've felt all this time. There's no way I'm leaving her in pain when I can fix her injury and get her back to playing the sport she loves. No matter how much touching her makes me want to make her mine at last. Finally, I've got a bit of hope–the last thing we need is Tony suddenly deciding he wants to take Darcy back after all…

Just prior to this kiss, Levi has finally confessed to his secret crush on Darcy and is still confused about how Darcy feels about him with her ex still on the scene.

She took a step towards him. ‘There’s nothing between us, Levi. In fact, I can’t believe I was ever sucked in by him in the first place. I feel nothing for him. Not even anger, anymore. I feel less than nothing.’
The sincerity in her voice rang like sweet, sweet music and he breathed a little easier. But the bigger question was how did she feel about him? Part of him was terrified to ask in case she wanted to keep him firmly in the friend zone but he’d come this far.
His pulse picked up again, chugging hard behind his ribs. ‘And me? How do you feel about me? Because I swear there are times that I catch you looking at me in a way that seems a little ... more than friendly. Like you might be attracted to me, too. And I’m not the only one in this.’
She stared at him for long moments, her cheeks flushed, her eyes as deep and green as a Mediterranean grotto as they locked with his. ‘You’re not.’ She said it so quietly it was almost a whisper. ‘You’re not the only one.’
Levi’s heart chugged to a stop. He could barely breathe. Did that mean what he thought? What he hoped? ‘Please don’t toy with me, Darcy.’
She shook her head as she took a step closer maintaining eye contact. They were close now in a way they’d never been before. Not physically, although she was near enough to smell the sweetness of her shampoo and feel the heat of her body.
The kind of close with potential. That crackled with anticipation. That throbbed with unspoken desires.
‘I have noticed you, as a man, over the last two years. It’s kinda hard not to. As Shayla says, you’re a hottie. The fact you’re not even aware of your sexiness makes you even hotter.’
Levi blinked. Darcy thinking he was a hottie was the kind of thrill he’d thought he’d outgrown in his teens. Darcy telling him he was a hottie with her gaze firmly pinned to his was a serious turn-on.
‘But ... I didn’t think you felt the same and, as you said, we were friends and that’s meant a lot to me. I didn’t want to do anything to upset the status quo either. And then you gave me that foot massage and ... well—’ She dropped her gaze. ‘I’ve been having some seriously indecent thoughts about you ever since.’
Levi swallowed. ‘Christ ... Darcy ...’ He reached for her then, his hands shaking, actually shaking, as they slid onto her bare arms.
Adrenaline. Anticipation.
Five years of denial. Two years of pretence.
‘You’re so beautiful,’ he whispered, the tremble in his voice matching the tremble in his muscles as his arms came around her and she settled into him, rose on her tippy-toes, snaked a hand around his neck.
She gave a husky little laugh. ‘My heart is beating so fast it feels like it’s going to explode.’
Levi tightened his arms around her. ‘Mine too.’
Whenever he’d imagined kissing Darcy for the first time—and he’d imagined it more than was good for his sanity—Levi had pictured something fast and furious.
Quick and dirty. Deep and wet.
He hadn’t been prepared for the preciousness of the moment their lips met. For the desire to just be still, draw out that first butterfly touch of their lips for an eternity.
He hadn’t been prepared for perfection.

           Darcy drew in a shaky breath as she pulled away from the press of Levi’s mouth. As far as kisses went, it had been about as chaste as they came. But her entire world had just shifted on its axis. The room spun, the sun dimmed, the planets realigned.
She’d just kissed Levi. Her friend of seven years, Levi.
A hundred different sensations swirled and clashed inside her. She’d known him for seven years and never known he could kiss her and knock the world out of orbit.
Of its own volition, her left hand slid from his neck, finding his mouth, her fingers caressing the softness of his lips. She’d felt those lips in every cell of her body. Hell, those lips had rewritten her DNA. Rewritten it with his own code. So no other man and his kiss would ever do.
She never knew a closed-mouth kiss could be so damn ... cataclysmic. The way he was staring at her, looking as nonplussed as she felt, it seemed he might be on the same page.
‘Yeah.’ He smiled and her fingers fell from his mouth. ‘Wow.’
‘Could we do that again?’
‘I think I’ll die if we don’t.’
Their lips met again. Not so still this time. In fact, Darcy’s mouth opened eagerly, needing more of him now. Needing to know what kind of havoc they could create when they let themselves go, feeling the promise of it in her bones, hearing the possibility of it echo in the surge of her blood.
She needed deeper, longer, wetter. She needed tongue. She needed to hear the rasp in his breathing and a groan rumbling up from the back of his throat. And he gave it to her—all of it—his head twisting and turning, branding her mouth, owning it from every possible angle.
His tongue swept into her mouth, thrusting and stroking against hers, dancing and playing, making her pulse beat double-time and her breathing come too fast. Making her moan and clutch at him, making her nipples crazy hard and her inner thighs buzz.
Making her half mad for more.
Her senses filled up with him. With Levi. Her lovely, Levi.
All his usual Saturday morning scents—the taste of coffee on his breath, the aroma of chlorine on his skin and soap powder in his clothes—were so much more intoxicating when his mouth was on hers. Better than anything that could be shoved in a bottle.
Levi. Her heart pounded to the rhythm of his name. How had she not known it would be like this? Why had she closed her mind to the possibilities?
She shifted against him, trying to relieve the tight ache of her nipples and the hot ache between her legs. Trying to dampen her arousal, which was charging way ahead of where they actually were. They were only kissing but it felt like they’d already jumped to third base.

Fair Game is one of a 3 book series set in the new arena of professional female football here in Australia. If you click on the cover it will take you to the Amazon page to all 3 books if you want to check them out. 

Smell plays such an important part in attraction. For your chance to win a digital copy of Fair Game tell me the kind of aromas on your partner that really ring your bell.

Come back next Sunday, when the winner of today's giveaway will be announced and a new smooch will be posted!

Smooch Graphic by WebWeaver

Mar 9, 2018


I'm a list person. I didn't used to be, but over the years I've become more so. Now I think I have lists to remember the lists.
Living out in the Sounds, a longish way from town it is imperative to keep a continuous list for groceries and anything else needed from a shop. The postman does deliver the on line shopping which gives the memory a rest. But we never leave home without the sheet of paper. Funny that wine is always on there somewhere. You'd think I'd remember that. Truth? I do, but I'd hate to forget just once.
Then there are the other lists. Pull the weeds from the drive, clean the chicken house, ring the dentist - no, don't, that's painful - go to book group, da da da. You get it. 

At night, when I'm meant to be sleeping, my mind chucks up all sorts of trivia that for some reason is always way more important than it is during the day. What do I do then? I have two systems.
One - I throw something from my bedside table on the floor and yes, I always remember what it was supposed to remind me of when I get up in the morning.
Two - for those nights when there are many things to remember I write on a pad in the dark and have a hilarious time the next day trying to decipher the mess.

Why am I blogging about this? Well, I just went onto the emails and there's one from the wonderful Michelle Douglas mentioning I'm supposed to be blogging today. I forgot. And it's not on any list. Big slip up there.
But do I forget the important things like birthdays and ringing the kids? Never. As for my writing schedule, it's always happening and my characters are in my head for as long as I need them.
What about you? How do you remember all you have to achieve in a day?