Jan 30, 2012

Series Book Love

My latest release, What Happens in Charleston... is part of a 6 book continuity, DYNASTIES: THE KINCAIDS which made it a bit more special and fun to write.

There were six authors on an eLoop, all discussing things like the overarching plot of the books, the details about family Sunday lunches and what a little boy would call his aunts. Fun!

The full list of Kincaid stories:

Sex, Lies and the Southern Belle
Kathie DeNosky, January

What Happens in Charleston...
Rachel Bailey, February

Behind Boardroom Doors
Jennifer Lewis, March

On the Verge of I Do
Heidi Betts, April

One Dance with the Sheikh
Tessa Radley, May

A Very Private Merger
Day Leclaire, June

 All the stories are about the rich, powerful Kincaid family, and I was given the second son (well, I should say the second *legitimate* son!), Matthew Kincaid. From the back cover:
Money has always given Matthew Kincaid whatever he wanted. Yet now his son needs something even his millions can't buy. The widower's sole recourse is the surrogate who gave birth to his child—for she is also the boy's true biological mother.

Susannah Parrish needs no prodding to offer her assistance—a child's life is at stake. But to their mutual surprise, the minute she's back in Charleston and residing in Matthew's home, passion consumes them. Is this a relationship doomed by deception? Or is it the one chance at a love they both secretly crave?

I totally fell in love with Matthew and his son Flynn while writing their story, and wanted to be friends with Susannah. And now I really want to visit Charleston and the other places in South Carolina that I researched!

Writing one book in a series about a complicated family made me think about other series I've started then gobbled up. Some recent ones I've loved:

The Lucky Harbor books by Jill Shalvis - I've read the first two, Simply Irresistible and The Sweetest Thing, and have the third on my bedside table. Gorgeous!

The Harry Potter series, which weren't recent reads but I did recently buy the last movie, so it still feels recent and I still don't want to leave that world.

The Outback Baby books, with Their Newborn Gift by Nikki Beynon, The Cattleman, the Baby and Me by Michelle Douglas and One Small Miracle by Melissa James. Beautiful stories!

The Spymaster books by Joanna Bourne. This was thanks to a tip from Helen in the comments to a post a couple of months ago where I was asking for recommendations. She recommended one of these, and I tried My Lord and Spymaster from the library. Adored it, so am now in the process of buying them all. Thanks, Helen!

And one I haven't read yet but can't wait to get my hands on: Kylie Griffin's Vengeance Born and Alliance Forged. I love a good fantasy and these promise to be fabulous.

So, what series have you been enjoying lately?

Jan 29, 2012

Sunday Smooch - Rachael Johns

Welcome to another LoveCats DownUnder Sunday Smooch!

Today we have a smooch from One Perfect Night by Rachael Johns, but first ...

the winner of last week's Sunday Smooch Giveaway is -- Helen!

Congratulations, Helen! Please contact Rachel at rachel (at) rachelbailey.com and she'll send you your prize.

And now for today's Sunday Smooch from One Perfect Night by Rachael Johns.

[Set up: Cameron has taken his company’s party entertainer (or so he thinks) to a party at his Aunt’s place. He’s been attracted to her from the get-go and can’t resist flustering her a little by teasing her under the table.]


When there was no response to her gentle call, she sucked in much-needed air and began the walk past the garage toward the road. Her fairy heels clicked against the cobbled path as she contemplated how accepting Cameron’s family had been. She got the feeling he’d been hoping to shock them by bringing her, but no one had raised an eyebrow at her costume and all had been accepting without question. She couldn’t help wishing it wasn’t a farce…that somehow she could be a part of such a large close-knit family.

As she reached the end of the building, a hand shot out and tugged her toward a deep rumbly voice.


A voice that sent pheromones rushing to her head, a voice she’d now recognize instantly. A voice that wiped her mind clean of all thought except its owner.
Cameron pulled her tight against his body, his hands rushing to cup her cheeks as his lips desperately sought hers. Her breasts tingled against his chest and his arousal pressed against her thigh. The containers clattered to the ground.
“Leave them,” he ordered, pulling away only long enough to utter this direction.
Somewhere a dog howled its disapproval.

“With pleasure,” she slurred, her body drunk from the pleasure of one illicit kiss. The setting reminded her of her first kiss behind the sports shed on the school playing field.

That was where the similarities ended.

He twisted her round and she thanked the Lord for the support of the garage door as Cameron leaned in close and claimed her mouth once again. No teenage kiss had ever come close. And she knew, as his tongue trailed a line between her lips, as her mouth opened and welcomed him, as his hands sought her buttocks and drew her so close she couldn’t tell where his heat finished and hers began, that no kiss would come close ever again.

She knew she ought to resist. Rob her lips of his mouth and tear her hands from his heat, but resistance was futile. If he didn’t mind playing with fire, if he didn’t view their working relationship as a problem, who was she to object?
Her hands roved over his arms, his shoulders and his perfect six-pack abs. Every muscle in his body seemed to be drawn bowstring tight. She pulled back, staring into his eyes. Her gaze met with a raw energy she wanted to believe had everything to do with the way she felt in his arms, but a tiny voice inside reminded her of his strange reaction when he’d heard about Ella’s pregnancy.

“I’m taking you home,” Cameron growled, his face still only inches from hers, his hands tangled in her hair.


Knowing as the word slipped from her lips in a husky breath that he wasn’t simply escorting her home. Knowing that he expected an invitation inside for Considering she’d only just met him, considering who he was…the mere thought of what coffee entailed should have sent her running for the mountains. And, he was obviously far more experienced than she.

Instead it made her legs wobble, her pulse thunder and her breasts ache.Perhaps pure physical gratification was exactly what she needed to forget her woes for the night. Would it be so wrong to take what Cameron was offering, to prove to herself she was as female as the next woman?

To be in the draw to win a copy of One Perfect Night, simply answer this question:

What is the most public place you’ve ever been kissed?

Released last month, One Perfect Night is available from
Carina Press.

Come back next Sunday, when the winner of today's giveaway will be announced -- and a smooch from What Happens in Charleston by Rachel Bailey will be posted!

Jan 27, 2012

A cat called Curious and the cuteness of kittens!!!!

 It's all a go in the Anderson household!!! We haven't had any pets in the last few years (other than goldfish and a wormfarm). I had decided not to get a cat or dog for a while as four preschoolers were more than enough for me to be caring for!!! But now my youngest - the twins - have turned five and I had promised them that when they started school we'd get a pet.

We decided on a cat. Dogs, as much as I love them, are still a bit much work for us right now.  We decided to get our cat from the SPCA or the Cats Protection League  - and then we decided to get two, so they'd be company for each other.

Curious in her new fave place,
with the lego boxes under my
son's bed.
I phoned both the SPCA and the Cats Protection League and the CPL had some kittens that we could look at that very day, so we committed over the phone to taking two and arranged a viewing and pick-up time. But then my very sweet seven year old boy burst into tears - terribly distressed. He'd wanted to get a kitten and an older cat who might have a hard time finding a home.

Well, you can't ignore a wonderfully empathetic and caring instinct like that now can you?!?! So we piled into the car and went of to the SPCA to their 'cat room' - and went in, waiting to see if any of the mature cats would be comfortable enough to approach five kids (four mine plus a stray for the day) and me.

One did. So we scooped that big tortiseshell lady into the cage, took her home and THEN went to the CPL, confessed all to them but couldn't resist still taking two of the kittens all the same. I  figure the kittens will have each other for company and they'll let the lady be.

The kittens - one totally black, one with white bits, have been named Toffee and Pop (after the famous Toffeepop cookies we have here in New Zealand), while the big moggy has been named Curious.

So here's the photo gallery - most of the stuff I have on camera for Curious at the moment is movies and she had an Awfully Big Adventure last night which I'll tell you about some other time... (let's just say she lives up to her name!!) but we hope she learns to trust us soon and enjoys her new home with us.

The kittens are total cuteness of course, scamping round and playing and sleeping lots and lots.
Sisters cuddling.

Jan 25, 2012

Getting "The Call"

by Emmie Dark, brand-new LoveCat

One of the most common questions I’ve been asked since I got “the call,” apart from “where do you get your ideas” (C’mon, seriously? I thought authors were joking when they warned me about that.) is “tell us about your call.”

In romance writing circles, “the call” is talked about in awed, hushed tones usually reserved for religious conversion. And perhaps the two things do have something in common. It’s true that as a writer, “the call” will change your life forever.

So, my call story? I’m glad you asked...! But let me take this opportunity to also provide a few handy hints for those of you still waiting for the call—now that you know how important this story will become for you in your writing life.

My first handy hint is as simple as this:


Whatever time of day (or night).
Whatever you are doing at the time (with certain, obvious, exceptions).
Whatever the caller ID says.

Because I so nearly didn’t.

It was early. Well, 7.30am is early for me. And the phone said “Blocked number”. For me that’s usually a no-brainer—let it go through to the keeper.

But some kind fairy somewhere was looking out for me, because some unknown instinct made me pick up the phone and take the call. And there was a little crackle of static on the line. Just enough to make me realise it was a international call. A part of me—the more pragmatic part—said, “Great another telemarketer, just what you need before you’ve even had a cuppa.” Another part of me—the more sublimely hopeful part—said, “You never know, this might just be it!” And then giggled, because that’s what sublimely hopeful parts of you do.

The silently giggling part of me choked when my caller introduced herself and said she was calling from Harlequin.

The rest of me made a gurgling noise that eventually resolved itself into some kind of greeting and confirmation that I was, in fact, me.

My second handy hint: have a pen and paper nearby and take notes. Because there is not a chance in hell that you’ll remember any of the important information from that call. And there is quite a bit of important stuff that will get talked about. Things like revisions, deadlines, contracts and the like. You need a pen and paper handy and you need to write it all down—trust me.

My third and final handy hint: work out how you're going to celebrate, taking into account various times of day that YOUR call might arrive. Had it been 7.30pm there's no doubt champagne corks would have popped at my house. But at 7.30am? With a day's work ahead? That made celebrating a little more difficult. I wished I'd thought that through in advance and bought some celebratory chocolate chip muesli and hidden it in the cupboard.

It’s funny, when I used to imagine being a published author, I didn’t imagine book covers, or seeing my name on Amazon, or a cheque arriving in the mail. I imagined that phone call. I imagined hearing the words “we want to buy your book”—that was the little visualisation that helped encourage me.

Now that it’s happened, I have no idea if they were the words that were used. It was something to that effect, anyway. And it was just as awesome as I’d always imagined. There’s a reason “the call” is so revered in writing circles—because it’s totally as splendid, awe-inspiring, breath-taking and amazing as you think it will be.

My first book, a SuperRomance titled Cassie's Grand Plan will be out in March. Are you waiting for “the call”? What celebrations do you have planned? Or if you've already had the call, how did you celebrate? 

Jan 23, 2012

My writing partner: my subconscious

by Nikki Logan

I have a new book out. Yay!! I haven't had a book out since July which--for me--is a really long time. That's what I get for having four releases in six months last year!

My latest release actually started two years ago when I wrote 'Their Newborn Gift' -- a story in which the heroine needs the father of her (secret) child to help save its life. Actually that's out this month, too, in Australia in an anthology with two other 'bestselling Australian authors'.(Love anything that has my name and the words 'best' and 'selling' in it. Lord I hope that's true!)

You can find out more here.

Anyhoo... back to my latest release. So....

The first draft of 'Newborn Gift' originally featured an opening scene in which the heroine was walking into a remote hospital to undergo an embryo transfer, impregnating herself with her sister's babies.

That premise didn't work for that story and so I put it in my 'come back later' file, but the idea never left me. It would emerge at the worst possible moments--when I was supposed to be concentrating on another story--and jump up and down demanding my focus.

And so I finally gave it the attention it craved and--ever willing to do it's own part--my subconscious had half-written the story in the interim.

And so the premise was born: a woman who has fought the courts to be allowed to implant her (dead) sister and brother-in-law's embroys inside her in order to keep them in the family. The mystery brother who appears, still dusty from the outback to throw a spanner in the works. And the only reasonable solution to a situation in which possession really is nine-tenths of the law...?

Marriage of convenience.

My first MOC story and I didn't even intend for it to go that way. I thought I was writing a virgin-birth hook. What did I know! My subconscious had it all in hand. So there I was, happily describing the awful scene in the hospital in which the hero slaps a legal injunction on the heroine to prevent the embryo transfer and suddenly he blurts out the short-term solution to their legal problem. Even he didn't see it coming.

If she has the disputed babies inside her (possession) then he would equal the playing field by keeping them (and therefore, her) with him on a property in the highlands of Australia until the courts had finished hashing it out.

Well...alright then! Their Miracle Twins was born.  (download it here)

Cue fabulous Aussie setting, cue gorgeous family, cue deception. My poor heroine who is so starved for a loving family... the moment she finds one it's not one she can keep.  Same with the hero, the moment she finds a man she might love, he's only in it for the embryos.

I've learned not to argue with my subconscious in life. It's almost always right. So I don't know why I don't trust it more in my writing. Clearly it has a plan!

Do you have an inner voice that knows better than you do? Do you trust it when it speaks or do you bend it to your will? 

Jan 22, 2012

Sunday Smooch - Rachel Bailey

Welcome to another LoveCats DownUnder Sunday Smooch!

Today we have a retro smooch from The Blackmailed Bride's Secret Child by Rachel Bailey, but first ...

the winner of last week's Sunday Smooch Giveaway is -- Marybelle!

Congratulations, Marybelle! Can you please contact Helen Lacey via the contact form on her website and she'll send you a copy of Made For Marriage.

And now for today's Retro Sunday Smooch from The Blackmailed Bride's Secret Child by Rachel Bailey...

Nico Jordan is about to face the woman who ripped his heart out

When he was twenty-two, he loved Beth utterly and completely – and she left him without a word, for his older, richer half-brother. In the intervening seven years, Beth has borne his brother a son, and Nico has become wealthy in his own right, and a renowned playboy. But the torment of knowing she belongs to his brother, Kent, has never dimmed. 

Beth Jordan is relieved when Kent, the man who blackmailed her into marriage, dies – she’ll finally be free. Unfortunately her freedom won’t extend to reclaiming her lost love. Seven years ago, she left the only man she’d ever loved, Nico, to protect him. But now Nico has arrived on her doorstep, wanting to see his nephew for the first time. How will she face him once he realizes he’s the father of her son?

[Set up: Nico and Beth are attending the launch of a new wine at the family winery. When Beth needs some air and wanders out on the balcony, she finds Nico sitting on the balustrade in the darkness.]

She moved down, to within a few feet of him. “Tell me about the limelight.”


Even this close, she couldn’t see him clearly in the blackness.

“I think here is just fine.” She wrapped her free arm around her middle and lifted the wine to her lips, taking the last sip.

“For now,” he conceded and she could see the moonlight glint on his teeth as he smiled. “I don’t seek the limelight the way Kent did. I don’t hate it, either. I don’t have strong feelings about it one way or another.”

“If you don’t hate it, why not stay inside tonight and make use of it for Jordan Wines?”

He held out his hand for her empty glass and placed it beside his. “I had something on my mind and wanted space.”

“Kent?” she whispered.

His eyes were strangely reflective, the predator that had lurked there earlier absent. “You.”

He reached out and snagged her hand, dragging her closer, until she stood in the vee made by his thighs. A rush of heat pooled low in her belly, goose bumps erupted across her skin.

Head cocked to the side, he looked up into her eyes, his expression pensive. “Why are you on my mind so much?”

Their gazes held for an eternity and her breathing quickened. There was an honesty in his eyes that reached out to her heart, as if in the darkness of the balcony, the world could disappear and leave them cocooned in shadows. It was that dangerous illusion at work again.

Attempting to break the spell, Beth casually shrugged a shoulder. “Because you’re here in New Zealand to see me.”

“Not just now,” he said quietly. “Always.”

How she wanted to believe it was because he’d never stopped loving her, but if that had been true, he’d have come for her. Would have at least checked on her after Kent took her out of the country. It was a senseless fantasy she’d only let herself have on dark, lonely nights—she knew if he’d come for her, her sacrifice would have been for nothing. It was far better that he’d stopped loving her when she left.

So instead she smiled and offered the only plausible reason. “Probably because I’m the only woman to walk away from you.”

His mouth hooked up at one corner. “Maybe.”

He laced his fingers in hers and tugged her closer still, onto the circle of heat that surrounded his body. A shiver raced over her skin, as if her flesh recognized his was close.

“Nico, what was between us is long over,” she said, knowing it was to convince herself as much as him.

“Really?” he asked lazily, and abruptly the reflective mood morphed into an electric simmer.

Beth began to step away, but he held her hands firm. “If it’s over,” he said, “why are you standing here in the dark with me?”

She could smell his clean scent, wanted to bury her face in his strong neck, but kept her voice even. “Because we were talking.” 

“Would you be standing this close to any of the men inside if you were talking to them?”

“No,” she admitted.

“Would you let them do this?” He encircled her in his arms and brought her flush against his seated body, his chest against her stomach, his face in line with her breasts. Her breath caught at the hard, erotic feel of his erection pressing against her thigh.

“I’d say no, probably slap them.” Her eyes drifted closed.

A hand crept up the back of her neck and brought her head down. “Tell me no,” he said against her lips.

“No,” she said and kissed him.

The Blackmailed Bride's Secret Child was a 2010 Cataromance Reviewer's Choice Award Winner and is still available in eBook from eHarlequin, Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble. To be in the draw to win a copy, tell me have you wanted to have a second chance to do things again, the right way? Maybe a lost love, or career choice, or the time you didn't buy those purple shoes that you wished you had?

Come back next Sunday, when the winner of today's giveaway will be announced -- and a smooch from One Perfect Night by Rachael Johns will be posted!

Welcome Party Winners!

Thanks to everyone who visited and helped us welcome our two new cats! Such a fun party.

We have two winners of the monster prize packs of books! Each of our new Cats randomly chose one winner each...

Pack One:
1. Cassie's Grand Plan, Emmie Dark
2. Her Desert Lover: Treasured (anthology), Annie West
3. Beauty & The Scarred Hero, Emily May
4. Nice Girls Finish Last, Natalie Anderson
5. Made for Marriage, Helen Lacey
6. Millionaire Playboy, Maverick Heiress, Robyn Grady
7. Savage Dragon (download), Anna Hackett
8. Single Father: Wife and Mother Wanted, Sharon Archer
9. Surgeon in a Wedding Dress, Sue Mackay
10. The Secretary's Secret, Michelle Douglas
11. Their Miracle Twins, Nikki Logan
12.  What Happens in Charleston…, Rachel Bailey
And the winner of Pack One is:
Ellen Too!

Ellen, email me: rachel (at) rachelbailey (dot) com and I'll organise the delivery. Congrats!

Pack Two:
1. Girl in the Bedouin Tent, Annie West
2. Bachelor Dad, Girl Next Door, Sharon Archer
3. Beauty & The Scarred Hero, Emily May
4. Escape for New Year, Robyn Grady
5. Hunter's Surrender (download), Anna Hackett
6. Made for Marriage, Helen Lacey
7. Mills & Boon Loves, Leah Ashton
8. Nice Girls Finish Last, Natalie Anderson
9. Surgeon in a Wedding Dress, Sue Mackay
10. The Secretary's Secret, Michelle Douglas
11. Their Miracle Twins, Nikki Logan
12. What Happens in Charleston…, Rachel Bailey
And the winner of Pack Two is:
Michelle Sommers

Michelle, email me: rachel (at) rachelbailey (dot) com and I'll organise the delivery. Congrats!

Jan 20, 2012

Two Steps Forward . . . . One Step Back.

Reading - The Castaway Bride by Kandy Shepard
Listening to - Hits of the 80's (tragic)
Watching - Deadwood

Ever had something happen in you life where you feel like it’s an ongoing challenge? You know, those things where no matter what you do, and end never seems like it’s in sight. I’m currently in the middle of one of those things.

As you might know, I’m a passionate and dedicated horse owner. My husband and I have eight horses of varying breeds and ages. About six months ago one of our horses, Angel, sustained a serious injury on her leg. It was in the worst possible place and at the time seemed insurmountable. I was devastated, as she is a sweet natured beautiful big chestnut Thoroughbred and the granddaughter of a champion race horse called Octagonal. Pedigree aside, we knew the injury was the worst we’d seen. The vet came out, gave us the options and we had to make a hard decision. We were either in, or out. So we decided to give it a go and see if we could get her well. This meant a week of intravenous penicillin, plus daily painkillers, and once the first week was up, a twice daily dose of powdered anti-biotic and anti inflammatory meds. And bandages – poultice, cotton wool wrap, elastic bandage and crepe cover bandage – changed every two days. She also had to be confined in a small stall in my backyard to limit movement to the injury and fed twice a day to maintain her weight.

The first month was hard going – with numerous vet call outs and several bouts of lameness. But gradually we saw some improvement.  We took photographs every time the bandage came off and sent them to the vet for updates. We continued with the medicine and the feeding. And slowly, she started to improve. Six long months later we were sure we’d come to the point where the bandage could come off, as the wound was now almost healed. But then a few weeks ago, we had a major setback. During a bad electrical storm she spooked and tore the injury. Then came x-rays, more medication, and more bandaging. It set us back three months.

But the whole situation has made me think about choices and how we sometimes naturally push forward with things even though it might seem hopeless. Much like a writer keeps writing through rejections and set backs. Or how a parent keeps parenting even when the kids make them crazy. Or how a brand new puppy owner keeps putting down that newspaper, knowing the pooch will one day get it right. There’s satisfaction in trying when the odds are stacked against success. Perhaps because it makes the reward so much sweeter.

And Angel? Well, she’s still in my backyard, still munching on grain and whinnying for more when I go outside to hang out the washing.

So, have you ever beaten insurmountable odds? I’d love to hear your stories.

Jan 18, 2012

Cat Party! Welcome Annie West & Emmie Dark!

The LoveCats have some thrilling news: two new cats are joining the pride today - fan favourite Annie West, and debut author Emmie Dark. Yay!

And it's such fabulous timing to welcome *two* new Cats, since this month is our blog's second anniversary! To celebrate both events, we're giving away TWO prize packs of books.

Annie (on the left) writes for Modern / Sexy / Presents and her books have been USA Today bestsellers, Cataromance winners, RT Readers Choice Award nominees, ARRA Awards finalists, Borders bestsellers along with heaps of other awards.

Emmie (on the right) writes for Superromance and her debut book, Cassie's Grand Plan will be out in the US in March. Emmie won RWAustralia's coveted Emerald Award for unpublished authors in 2011, and has since sold her second book (which will also be out this year!).

The sad news for the Cats is that our vacancies were caused by two of our regulars are stepping back for a while - Zana Bell (a founding Cat) and Soraya Lane. Soraya is taking a step back from blogging with the LoveCats to spend all her spare time writing ... when life isn't so hectic with her toddler she'll be back! Zana is focusing her writing talents on some new projects and we hope to hear from her soon!

In the meantime, pull up a chair, grab a glass of catnip punch and prepare to meet our newest recruits via our probing questions...

Does anyone with fur, feathers or scales share your life now, or in the past?

Annie: Daisy is my furred companion. She’s been with us for 15 ½ years and she’s old enough to have become a laid back, companionable indoor dog after years of being an energy-filled, can-I-find-a-break-in-the-fence beagle. She keeps me company, sleeping right next to my computer. Many of my best scenes are written to the gentle background of canine snoring.

Emmie: Not right now. Unfortunately, as an adult I’ve developed allergies to cats and dogs, but we used to have the most beautiful Persian cat as a family pet. Her name – very innocently – was Pussy Cat. She was the most majestic cat, very snobbish, like all Persians, and I’m sure she hated being called Pussy.

Even though you're now a Cat, if you could be any mythological creature, which one would you be?

Annie: Definitely a dragon. They can fly for a start which is an enormous plus, and shallow as I am, I like the look of them. Not those poor worm-like creatures you see in old icons of St George with a javelin, but the brilliantly coloured, sinuous and fascinating beasts. Breathing fire would be handy too – for bbqs and for discouraging unwanted visitors.

Emmie: I’d like to be a Muse from Greek mythology. It would be pretty fantastic to spend my days flitting around inspiring artists and writers to be creative. I also have a crush on the movie Xanadu and if I could do my inspiring while wearing rollerskates and ribbons in my hair a la ONJ, so much the better.

What was the first category book you read?

Annie: Sadly I can’t remember. It was borrowed from a friend’s house and was one among MANY. It was love at first read for me with category romance. I suspect it may have been an old Anne Hampson or Violet Winspear her mother had been hoarding. Definitely it was by an English author.

Emmie: I don’t remember. My sister and I were obsessed with reading Loveswept books back when we were teenagers. There are a few books I read back then that still stick with me – they were quite the education...

What was the last category book you read that you loved?

Annie: The Doukakis Apprentice by Sarah Morgan. What a treat!

Emmie: I can’t chose just one! I love reading SuperRomance (of course!) and I love the books of my fellow Melburnian SuperRomance authors, Sarah Mayberry and Joan Kilby – they’re both auto-buys for me. There are so many great authors out there – too many books I want to read and not enough time to do it in.

What's something we wouldn't know about you?

Annie: It’s been a few years but I used to be an expert fairy floss maker. I was pretty good at snow cones and cinnamon donuts too!

Emmie: Hmm. I’ve already given away my secret love of Xanadu and Loveswept books, I’m not sure there’s much left. My pedantic dictates regarding drinking tea are fairly well documented across the interwebs. I think all that leaves is the fact that I recently bought a new television. A massive, enormous, far-too-large for my tiny lounge room TV. It’s so confusing when you’re in the store, because even huge ones look tiny when they’re up on a wall with forty other huge ones. So far friends who’ve seen it have just tended to say ‘Huh, that’s a big television’. They’re right.

As mentioned above, we have *2* prize packs to give away to random commenters. 

Pack One:
1. Cassie's Grand Plan, Emmie Dark
2. Her Desert Lover: Treasured (anthology), Annie West
3. Beauty & The Scarred Hero, Emily May
4. Nice Girls Finish Last, Natalie Anderson
5. Made for Marriage, Helen Lacey
6. Millionaire Playboy, Maverick Heiress, Robyn Grady
7. Savage Dragon (download), Anna Hackett
8. Single Father: Wife and Mother Wanted, Sharon Archer
9. Surgeon in a Wedding Dress, Sue Mackay
10. The Secretary's Secret, Michelle Douglas
11. Their Miracle Twins, Nikki Logan
12.  What Happens in Charleston…, Rachel Bailey

Pack Two:
1. Girl in the Bedouin Tent, Annie West
2. Bachelor Dad, Girl Next Door, Sharon Archer
3. Beauty & The Scarred Hero, Emily May
4. Escape for New Year, Robyn Grady
5. Hunter's Surrender (download), Anna Hackett
6. Made for Marriage, Helen Lacey
7. Mills & Boon Loves, Leah Ashton
8. Nice Girls Finish Last, Natalie Anderson
9. Surgeon in a Wedding Dress, Sue Mackay
10. The Secretary's Secret, Michelle Douglas
11. Their Miracle Twins, Nikki Logan
12. What Happens in Charleston…, Rachel Bailey

To be in the draw to win one of the prize packs, just leave a comment. You might like to tell us your answer to one of the questions we asked Annie and Emmie. =)

Jan 16, 2012


Reading: I Don't Know How She Does It by Allison Pearson

Listening to: Gin Wigmore

A few days ago Anna wrote about New Year's resolutions. I don't set any as they'd never make it past the first twelve hours of January 1st. But I am a big fan of goals for my career. Goals help keep me focused and on track throughout the year. With goals I achieve far more writing than if I leave it all to chance. If I know I've got a year to write a book it will take me a year and I'll write most of it in the last couple of months. Whereas if I sign a contract to do three or four in a year I will do them. My contracts are part of my goals.

I think I've always set goals, whether it's been to score high in professional exams, to get a promotion or study further. But I find as a writer working from home I need those goals to get me sitting down at my computer daily. It's too easy to be distracted, especially at the moment when the water's sparkling and calm, and the kayak looks tempting. So I have daily, weekly, yearly and five yearly targets. Not to say I always reach them. Not me.

Years ago while working in real estate I wrote up goals, one of which was to fly the Alaskan Highway. One of our top salesmen asked me when I intended doing this and I told him "when I've sold x number of houses". His reply, "That's a dream, not a goal. To be a goal you need to have a finite date." He was right. Ahh, and I've never flown that highway.

I belong to the Blenheim romance writers group and at the beginning of every year we hand in a list of our writing goals for the coming twelve months. The best bit about this is in December when, with cocktails at the ready, we open the envelopes and have a darned good laugh.

Do you have goals? Do they keep you focused?

Jan 15, 2012

Sunday Smooch: Made For Marriage

Welcome to another LoveCats DownUnder Sunday Smooch!

Today we have a smooch from Made For Marriage by Helen Lacey but first ...

the winner of last week's Sunday Smooch Giveaway is -- CATHERINE!

Congratulations, Catherine! Can you please contact Wendy at

wendy (at) wendysmarcus (dot) com

and she'll send you a copy of Once a Good Girl.

And now for today's Sunday Smooch from Made For Marriage by Helen Lacey .....

Equestrian Callie Jones was used to difficult parents at her riding school. But Noah Preston took the cake. How dare he question her teaching abilities, after his headstrong daughter paid no heed to rules—her teacher’s or her father’s?
Single dad Noah was ready to apologize for overreacting. But he wasn’t sorry for the way the stunning American riding instructor made him feel. And he soon learned that there was more to Callie than her smarts, sass and fire: a shattered heart that threatened to splinter even further. Could he make her see that he—and his family—were for keeps?

[Set-up: Callie has retreated to the stables after Noah left the riding school where his eldest daughter is having lessons. She'd spent the previous evening with him and his children - and knows she is getting in deep. They'd argued earlier that afternoon about her reluctance to get too involved]

         She was glad when she heard Fiona’s car pull up outside and called for her to join her in the tack room. Only it wasn't her friend who stood in the doorway a few moments later. It was Noah.

         He was back. And he clearly had something on his mind. Callie got to her feet quickly. Her heart pumped. “Did you  . . . did you forget something?”

         He stood in the doorway, his eyes locked with hers. “Do you still love him?”

         She was poleaxed. “What?”

         Noah was in front of her in three steps. “Your fiancé. Do you still love him?”

         “He's dead,” she whispered.

         “I know. But that wasn’t the question.” He reached for her, slid one arm around her waist and drew her against him. “The thing is,” he said, holding her firm. “If you still love him, I’ll do my best to stop . . . to stop wanting you.” His other hand cupped her cheek, gently, carefully. “But if you don’t love him, then I’d really like to kiss you right now.”

         Her insides contracted. “No,” she said on a breath.


         “I don’t love him.”

         His green eyes darkened as he traced his thumb along her jaw. “Good,” he said softly.

          And then he kissed her.

         Callie let herself float into the warmth of his mouth against her own. It was a gentle possession, as if he knew her, as if he'd been kissing her forever. Only one other man had kissed her before this, and as she allowed Noah’s lips to part hers, any recollection of that faded, and then disappeared. He didn’t do anything else – he just kissed her, like he couldn’t get enough of her mouth, her taste, her tongue.

         Instinctively, Callie’s hands moved along his arms and to his shoulders. She touched his hair, felt the silky strands beneath her fingertips and slanted her mouth against his. Finally, when he lifted his head Callie felt so much a part of him she swayed towards his chest. Noah held her still, one hand on her shoulder while the other splayed on her hip and she lifted her chin higher to look into his eyes.

         “Noah – I think . . .” Callie willed herself to move, but found such incredible comfort in his arms she simply couldn’t.

         He didn’t let her go either. “You think too much. How about you stop thinking and just feel.”

         Feel? Oh, how she wanted to just feel. But her doubts tormented her, taunting around the edges of her mind in a little dance, telling her that taking meant giving. And giving was . . . giving felt as far out of reach to her as the stars from some distance planet.

         He leant into her, like he knew her fears. “I’d never knowingly hurt you, Callie.”

         In her heart she knew that. “But . . . but I might hurt you.”

         “I’ll take that risk.” He kissed her again, long and slow and deliciously provocative.

         Heat radiated through him, scorching her and Callie wondered if she might melt. Kissing had never felt like this before. Nothing had ever come close to this. He was strong and safe – a haven for her shattered heart.

To be in the draw to win a signed copy of  Made For Marriage tell us what  you think are romantic places to be kissed (like the stables from this smooch)

Come back next Sunday, when the winner of today's giveaway will be announced -- and a smooch from One Perfect Night by Rachael Johns will be posted!

Jan 13, 2012

I'm Talking Good Chests!

...of the male variety...

by Robyn Grady

We all have different tastes. Some of us are partial to jaws or lips. Maybe you're an abs girl. Hard strong thighs are always well appreciated. But there is nothing that says, "I will find you/rescue you/protect you" better than a built broad chest.

Presenting, our own Hugh Jackman! This shot's been doing the circuits for years and from my heart, I'd like to thank all those astute magazine editors for trusting their instincts there! (He was *fabuous* in Boy from OZ!)

You may or may not be a fan of the new series of "Two and a Half Men". You might have opinions on his breakup with Demi. But you simply have to agree that this man has a dynamite chest! He's also a great actor. My suggestion "The Butterfly Effect." Take it away, Ashton Kutcher!

Okay. So you've been waiting. Y'all know me well! I do have a favourite celebrity/actor/singer/chest. And this is maybe my favourite shot of it, er, him. Gerard Butler...

There are people who don't have the natural 'got what it takes'. They take the fast track. Not sure that it works...

What's your fave part of the male anatomy?

(Remember, this show's G rated =) )

Corresponding names will be appreciated!

Jan 11, 2012

Summer Holidays, Settings and The Secretary's Secret

by Michelle Douglas

Reading: The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruis Zafon
Watching: House
Listening to: Adele
Making me smile: hazy beach days

Last Wednesday I made an odyssey to the seaside township of Tuncurry. Why? The dedication in my latest book – The Secretary’s Secret (out now in Oz/NZ) – might explain why:

To my grandparents, Bunny and Beryl Snaddon, with love and thanks for all those wonderful summer holidays!

From the time I was a baby until I was about eight or nine years old, my family spent the summer holidays in Tuncurry – at Tuncurry Beach Caravan Park in my grandparents’ caravan, to be precise. (After that we moved around the headland to Hallidays Point, but still spent a lot of time in Tuncurry as it was the nearest place to stock up on groceries)

As a general rule, I prefer to set my stories in locations that I’m familiar with, so when my secretary in the big smoke suddenly finds herself pregnant and decides to move back home, I decided to make that home Tuncurry. I may not have visited my old childhood haunt in twenty years, but in my mind I could still see it all so clearly.

And I have to say, when I revisited Tuncurry last week, I wasn’t disappointed. This is what I found:

The Rock Pool: This is a great place for small children and it’s where I learned to swim. Alex, my hero, takes the odd dip here. You can see from the photos below how popular this spot is in summer.

Wallis Channel (leading from the sea into Wallis Lake): Kit teaches Alex how to fish from the breakwater where this photo is taken. This, I have to say, is where my memory broke down. I’d have sworn black and blue that the breakwater was waaaay longer and the rocks bordering it waaaay bigger. I, umm, think I took some poetic liberties with this in my story. :-)

The Dolphins: who often frequented the channel and obviously still do. They visit in my story too!

The Beach: Glorious golden sand and foaming breakers for almost as far as the eye can see.

The Bridge: We walked across it every year. Why? For ice-cream, of course. :)

I had a wonderful day and it seems that the place of my childhood summers is as magical as ever.

Do you have a special summer place?

Jan 9, 2012

History of the New Year’s Resolution

Reading: Whispers from the Dark by Maya Banks
Listening to: Disney tunes
Making me smile:
My very mobile little boy

Some people love them, some people hate them but come the 1st of January, many people feel compelled to set themselves some New Year’s Resolutions. I've set some for myself and (of course) many of them revolve around my writing!

It got me thinking…how did the New Year’s Resolution come about?

Turns out the tradition dates back to the Romans and the god, Janus. Janus was the god of beginnings and transitions and had two faces—one to look to the past and one to the future.

The Romans named the first month of the year after Janus. At the dawn of the new year, they believed Janus looked back on events of the old year and forward to events for the new year. They exchanged gifts for luck, often with images of Janus. (Image: Public Domain)

So, as you’re making your New Year’s resolutions, remember that it’s an age old tradition not a modern invention to drive us crazy! Good luck with your resolutions and I hope 2012 is a wonderful year for you.

Jan 8, 2012

Sunday Smooch - Wendy S. Marcus

Welcome to another LoveCats DownUnder Sunday Smooch!

Today we have a smooch from Once A Good Girl... by Wendy S. Marcus

Prim Victoria Forley’s perfect life changed forever the night she slept with Kyle Karlinsky, baddest boy in town. These days, single mum and uber-perfectionist nurse Victoria has goals that nothing – not even Kyle’s shocking reappearance! – can derail.

But behind Victoria’s oh-so-frosty exterior is a heat that only Kyle can unleash… maybe it’s the right time to be with the wrong guy after all?

[Setup: Head Nurse Victoria Forley has just overheard that the bad boy from her past, the father of her son who’d recently returned to town, got drunk last night and went home with the biggest tramp in the hospital.]

After hanging her coat on the hook behind her office door Victoria turned back to her desk to see Kyle, his hair more unruly than usual, his clothes rumpled and his eyes glassy.
“There’s something I need to -” he said, looking guilty.

“Shhh. Come here.” She motioned for him to move closer. “Bend down,” she whispered. He did. She moved her mouth close to his ear and yelled as loud as she could, “Rough night?”

“Jeeze.” He gripped his temples as if trying to contain the vibration of a gargantuan gong. “Sadist.”

“I’m working. Go away.” She tried to move past him to get to her desk.

He blocked her path. “I forgot how fast news travels here in Madrin Falls. Victoria, nothing happened.”

“That love bite on your neck tells a different story.” It shouldn’t matter, but it did. Hearing about Kyle and Leanne together was hard enough, but seeing evidence of their tryst made her want to strike out and hurt someone. And since Kyle just happened to be handy… “I don’t care what you do or who you do it with.”

“Based on how ornery you are this morning, one might think you care about what I do a little more than you let on.” He reached for her chin, tilted it up and looked directly into her eyes. “Nothing. Happened. When you’re ready to hear the details I’m happy to tell you everything. I’ve got nothing to hide.”

“Except for Leanne’s brand. I may have some concealer in my purse.” She studied the offensive discolored blotch on the left side of Kyle’s neck, tilted her head, pursed her lips, and tapped her index finger on her cheek, pretending deep consideration. “On second thought, flaunt it. It marks you as an easy lay. Maybe you can parlay it into a few more drunken encounters with loose women.”

Kyle’s response wasn’t at all what she’d expected.

He smiled then laughed. “God I’ve missed you.” And he swooped down and kissed her.

Only their lips touched. His soft and supple, sensual as he pressed them to hers. Familiar. He didn’t demand, he offered, exerted the perfect amount of pressure to draw her in. Exquisite. Each one of her protective instincts failed, her thought processes taken over, transported back to innocent times, consumed by rapture. This is what she liked, the promise of more, not the actual more.

A voice sounded in the hallway. Victoria pulled away.

Kyle gawked at her, stunned. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have. I didn’t expect…”

“Go,” Victoria said. Half in a daze, her lips numb, her heart pounding. How could she have let that happen, at work, in her office? Anyone could have walked in. Her face burned with embarrassment and anger. How dare he put his moves on her. And why, after everything she’d been through because of him, did she lack the willpower to resist his kiss?

Once A Good Girl is available now in stores and online the UK and Aus/NZ, and online in the U.S. For links to purchase online, visit Wendy's website here.

To win a signed copy of Once a Good Girl… answer one of these two questions.

1) Is there a bad boy from your past who you’d welcome the opportunity to kiss again? And I want names and details people!

2) Have you ever been the recipient of a heated kiss at work? How did you handle it? Please keep your answers PG rated! (Wendy says: But if you’d like to share the specifics in private, you can e-mail me at Wendy@WendySMarcus.com!)

Come back next Sunday for a smooch from Helen Lacey's Made for Marriage.