Jun 29, 2016

Do You Nap?

I have this romantic vision of a perfect day spent in bed, reading and dozing off whenever I become sleepy. Probably sipping tea and snacking too. Sounds divine, doesn't it? But whenever the opportunity presents itself to have such a day, I never actually do it.

See, I'm a non-napper. 

I'd love to be a napper, but napping doesn't love me. I wake up groggy and cranky and have a brain fog for the rest of the day. (A full nighttime sleep seems to reset everything.)

My mother is a napper. Mr Bailey is a napper. My dogs are SERIOUS nappers. So why doesn't it work for me? If I do lie on a bed to read during the day and my eyelids become heavy, I have to fight it and jump out of bed to wake up again.

My new foster dog, Harry -- the one Napping  With Abandon in these photos -- takes napping to a whole new level. He loves nothing more than to be on a couch, having a little sleep. He's not fond of nature, he'd rather stay right where he is, thank you very much. And I have to say I'm rather envious.

Am I alone in this -- does everyone else love to sneak in a nap whenever they have a chance? Has anyone been a non-napper and worked out a way to successfully do it?

I'd love to hear your thoughts -- especially because it's a freezing cold day here and I have a good book I could snuggle under the covers with if I could fix this!

Jun 27, 2016

Wedding Speeches by Amy Andrews

I watched Four Weddings and a Funeral (for the 46th time) recently. One of my fav scenes in the movie is the disatrous best man speech given by Tom at Bernard and Lydia's wedding.

Here's a little reminder -

So then, of course, that led me to go looking for other best man/maid of honour speeches. Trust me, do not do this unless you want to waste a large portion of your day. But its great for procrastination purposes!

Here are a few for your enjoyment.

There's nothing like a witty speech that will be remembered for a long time to come!

Have you ever been to a wedding with a funny/witty speech that has stayed with you?

Jun 25, 2016

Sunday Smooch - The Bridesmaid's Baby Bump - Kandy Shepherd

Welcome to another LoveCats DownUnder Sunday Smooch!

Today we have a smooch from Kandy Shepherd but first 

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

Can you please contact
 to receive your e-copy of your choice of Anne McAllister's Tanner Brothers 

And now for today's Sunday Smooch from Kandy Shepherd


The billionaire bachelor's baby! 
When party planner Eliza Dunne meets billionaire Jake Marlowe at a wedding, she decides to finally give in to the sparks that have always fizzed between them! 
The connection is so intense that Jake can't resist Eliza—but with the divorce only just final after his unhappy marriage, he's not ready for anything serious. But when Eliza tells him her shocking news—she's pregnant with his baby!—he has one certainty: he wants to be at the center of his new family, as a husband and father…

The Bridesmaid’s Baby Bump is the third and final book in the linked mini series ‘Sydney Brides’ from Harlequin Romance.

Eliza Dunne and billionaire Jake Marlowe have twice been bridesmaid and best man at the weddings of Elizas two business partners at Party Queens, their party planning business, and Jakes two best friends. (Gift-Wrapped in Her Wedding Dress and Crown Prince’s Chosen Bride.)

The attraction between them was instant—but Jake was still trapped in an unhappy marriage. Both honourable people, they did nothing about the attraction. Now Jake is divorced—and finally ready to pursue Eliza, who has her doubts about the domineering way he has gone about it.

He has hi-jacked her short vacation in Port Douglas in tropical Queensland and is driving her from the airport to her resort in his car. Before the smooch—their first kiss—she has suggested they’ve been over-thinking things. Why don’t they just relax and enjoy each other’s company? Jake has swerved the car onto a layby under some palm trees overlooking the beautiful Pacific Ocean.

‘Shall we agree not to worry about tomorrow when we haven’t even had a today yet?’
Eliza had been going to add not even a morning. But that conjured up an image of waking up next to Jake, in a twist of tangled sheets. Better not think about mornings. Or nights.
Jake’s grin widened. ‘You’ve got four days of vacation. I’ve got nothing to do except decide whether or not to offload my house in Port Douglas.’
‘No expectations. No promises. No apologies.’
‘Agreed,’ he said. He held out his hand to shake and seal the deal.
She edged closer to him. ‘Forget the handshake. Why don’t we start with a kiss?

Jake knew there was a dating after divorce guideline regarding the first physical encounter, but he’d be damned if he could think about that right now. Any thoughts other than of Eliza had been blown away in a blaze of anticipation and excitement at the invitation in her eyes—a heady mix of sensuality, impatience and mischief.
She slid a little closer to him from her side of the car. Reached down and unbuckled his seat belt with a low, sweet laugh that sent his awareness levels soaring. When her fingers inadvertently trailed over his thigh he shuddered and pulled her kissing distance close.
He focused with intense anticipation on her sweet mouth. Her lips were beautifully defined, yet lush and soft and welcoming. She tilted her face to him, making her impatience obvious. Jake needed no urging. He pressed his mouth against hers in a tender kiss, claiming her at last. She tasted of salt—peanuts on the plane, perhaps?—and something sweet. Chocolate? Sweet and sharp at the same time. Like Eliza herself—an intriguing combination.
She was beautiful, but his attraction had never been just to her looks. He liked her independence, her intelligence, her laughter.
The kiss felt both familiar and very different. Within seconds it was as if her kiss was all he’d ever known. Her lips parted under his as she gave a soft sigh of contentment.
‘At last,’ she murmured against his mouth.
Kissing Eliza for the first time in the front seat of a four-by-four was hardly ideal. Jake had forgotten how awkward it was to make out in a car. But having Eliza in his arms was way too exciting to be worrying about the discomfort of bumping into the steering wheel or handbrake. She held his face between her hands as she returned his kiss, her tongue sliding between his lips to meet his, teasing and exploring. He was oblivious to the car, their surroundings, the fact that they were parked in a public layby. He just wanted to keep kissing Eliza.
Was it seconds or minutes before Eliza broke away from him? That kind of excitement wasn’t easily measured. Her cheeks were flushed, her eyes shades brighter, her lips swollen and pouting. She was panting, so it took her some effort to control her voice. ‘Kissing you was all I could think about that night in the castle.’
‘Me too,’ he said.
Six months of pent-up longing for this woman erupted into passion, fierce and hungry. As their kiss escalated in urgency Jake pulled her onto his lap, one hand around her waist, the other resting against the side of the car to support her. He bunched her hair in his hand and tugged to tilt her face upward, so he could deepen the kiss, hungry for her, aching for more. The little murmurs of pleasure she made deep in her throat drove him crazy with want.
His hands slid down her bare arms, brushed the side curves of her breasts, the silkiness of her top. She gasped, placed both hands on his chest and pushed away. She started to laugh—that delightful, chiming laughter he found so enchanting.
‘We’re steaming up the windows here like a coupled of hormone-crazed adolescents,’ she said, her voice broken with laughter.
‘What’s wrong with being hormone-crazed adults,’ he said, his own voice hoarse and unsteady.
‘Making out in a car is seriously sexy. I don’t want to stop,’ she said, moaning when he nuzzled against the delicious softness of her throat, kissing and tasting.
The confined area of the car was filled with her scent, heady and intoxicating. ‘Me neither,’ he said.

Making out in cars seems deliciously forbidden doesn't it? I loved giving Eliza and Jake their first kiss in a car.
I remember the time as a teenager I'd gone on a date with a intriguingly older, sophisticated guy. We were parked in his sports car outside our house smooching in the front seat when my mother decided it was time to water the garden. There she suddenly was hosing the grass on the pavement near where we were parked. How embarrassing! Needless to say Older Guy decided maybe a schoolgirl wasn't for him - I didn't see him again!
Have you had a memorable/disastrous/embarrassing kiss in a car? Or heard about one? Make a comment to be put in the draw for a signed paperback copy of The Bridesmaid's Baby Bump.

Come back next Sunday, when the winner of today's giveaway will be announced and a smooch from Annie West's The Flaw in Raffaele's Revenge will be posted!

Smooch Graphic by WebWeaver

Jun 24, 2016

What Kind Of A Reader Are You?

Book group- always fascinating, entertaining and, of course, alcoholic! It's interesting to people-watch and glean insight into my friends' reading behaviour.

There are some who take months to read one book, who devour every word and commit it all to memory and spend ages talking about what worked and what didn't. Who analyse everything and notice things I completely missed.

There are some who take months to read a book because they fall asleep after the first paragraph (my hand's up here on occasion!).

My book group reading haul for this month
People who race through, wanting dialogue and action and to find out what happens...(dare I admit--- I often read the end first, too!)

There are some who read three books at once depending on their mood.

Some who take eight books home to read, knowing they will never get through them all in a month, but just wanting to have them anyway. (Guilty as charged!)

One who won't read anything sad.

One who won't read any historicals.

Some who never read a book at all, but come for the company. (Which is absolutely fine too!)

Some who read so many they have to bring notes on each one!

Then there are the bookmark-ers and (the horror!!!) corner benders. (NO!!!!)

I love my book group with a passion- we always have fun, catch up on the gossip and share our love of great books.

Are you part of a book group? Any other reading types you've seen? What kind of a reader are you?

Jun 20, 2016

Rediscovering my childhood & teenage favourites

A book of goodies unearthed!
Recently, when I was back home in Australia, I had a job to do. While staying at my parent’s place, I had to clean out a bunch of old things in the cupboard which had been boxed up and were gathering dust. Mostly, it was old ballet costumes, wedding paraphernalia, and paperwork that needed shredding.

However, I did stumble across a treasure trove of old books.

A bunch of my old favourites were sitting there like a time capsule. Sweet Valley High, Goosebumps, Fears Street, Nancy Drews and more.

I had a great time rifling through the old books, some of which were older than me!

I thought it might be fun to share some of my favourite books from my childhood and teen years with you all.

Sweet Valley High: Man, I LOVED these books. As a self-confessed goodie two shoes I was totally Team Elizabeth, although I did devour The Unicorn Club books when they had a short-lived run (well, short-lived by SVH standards, anyway). I’m certain The Unicorn Club was the inspiration for Mean Girls. I also dabbled with Sweet Valley Twins, Sweet Valley University and many of the other spin-offs.

Fear Street / Teen Horror: I feel like teen horror was the big thing back when I was growing up. Those that outgrew Goosebumps moved onto R.L Stine’s older line of books which had all kinds of horrors like family curses, ghosts, vampires, cursed cars (yes, The Cataluna Chronicals were indeed about a haunted car), evil twins and step-siblings, haunted houses and more. I was also a huge fan of Christopher Pike and the Point Horror books.

Nancy Drew: Man, I gobbled these up pre my foray into Agatha Christie. Mystery is a genre that has always been close to my heart and I think it started here. In fact, I really want to go back and re-read a bunch of the Nancy Drew novels. Unfortunately, the ones I found at home wouldn’t fit in my suitcase but they’re in my old cupboard for safekeeping.

V.C Andrews: Looking back, I probably started reading these books earlier than I should have. There’s definitely some mature content! In my defence, I did start with the teen series (The Orphans and The Wildflowers) before moving onto the more adult series. Although, confession time, of all the VC Andrews books I’ve read I STILL have not read Flowers in the Attic. Sad, I know. Must fix that.
What were some of your favourite books to read as kid or teenager? I’d love to hear about them!

Jun 19, 2016

Sunday Guest Smooch, with Anne McAllister

Welcome to another LoveCats DownUnder Sunday Smooch!

Today Bronwyn Jameson hosts a Guest Smooch from the fabulous Anne McAllister but first an announcement...

The winner of last week's Sunday Smooch Giveaway is Laura Russell. Congratulations, Laura. Can you please contact yvonne (at) yvonnelindsay (dot) com to receive your signed copy of Arranged Marriage, Bedroom Secrets.

And now for today's Smooch from Cowboys Don't Cry, by Anne McAllister.

Don’t Fence Me In!

When Wyoming cowboy Robert Tanner promised to help out the new owner of the Three Bar C, he didn’t expect to have to teach a city girl schoolteacher how to run a ranch. Worse, Maggie MacLeod was a beautiful feisty redhead with flashing eyes and kissable lips — a woman who could tempt a saint.

Tanner was far from a saint. He didn’t do permanent, he didn’t do relationships. The smart thing would be to leave. But a man was only as good as his word. Trouble was, the longer he stayed, the more Maggie got under his skin…
While showing his new boss around the Three Bar C, ranch foreman Robert Tanner notices a cow having difficulty calving. With Maggie’s help and some difficulty, he delivers the new baby calf...

Maggie dropped the rope and knelt down beside it. "Is it—" her voice was hollow, her face ashen.

Tanner didn’t answer. He hunkered down over it and cleared its mouth, waited. Nothing. He bent and blew in it, forced air down into its lungs once, then again. Again.

It gagged, then choked. All four legs twitched. One eye opened, then the other.

“It’s alive!” Maggie exulted. She laughed. She crowed. She crouched down and planted a kiss on its messy head. Then she looked at Tanner, her green eyes sparkling. "You did it! Oh, Robert! You did it!”

And then she launched herself at him and kissed him, too.

The force knocked Tanner flat on his back. His arms came up and went around her all of their own accord. All the breath went right out of him.

The warmth and the weight of her robbed him of whatever coherence the sheer impact hadn’t. Only his body responded, and his lips. Hers were warm and wet. His were starving. He couldn’t help himself. Desperation could only protect him so far. Common sense simply fled.

When her lips touched his, he kissed her.

It had been years since he’d kissed a woman like that. Fourteen long, hungry, lonely years. There had been women in his life since his divorce from Clare. But they had been few, and none of them had promised more than a night’s satisfaction.

Maggie did—as he’d known she would.

The notion terrified him. He jerked his head aside, then grasped her arms and tried to shove her away.

Maggie pulled back, her face flaming. But still she straddled him and he could feel the press of the juncture of her legs against him. He shoved himself up, but that only made matters worse.

"Oh!" She scrambled off him and he got to his feet, turned his back, adjusted his jeans.

"I’m...sorry," Maggie said in a tiny voice.

"It’s all right." It wasn’t. It was awful. It had felt so good having her on top of him, her breasts pressing against his chest, her lips on his. He reached over and snagged his hat out of the muck and jammed it on his head.

He hoped to God she hadn’t noticed the way his hands had gripped her waist, hadn’t felt the instinctive masculine response of his body to her touch.

He got to his knees and ducked his head, reaching for the calf and hauling it up next to the cow’s head.

She lifted her head, put out her tongue and gave it a tentative lick. The calf made a noise and nuzzled against her. Her eyes, rheumy and lacking luster, brightened. She licked again, nosed her child, licked some more.

"Mother love," Maggie said softly. Her voice sounded a little bit hoarse.

Tanner nodded. He didn’t answer because he knew his would have been a whole lot hoarser. He didn’t look at her either, just gathered up his rope, tugged his hat down harder, then got to his feet and moved toward his horse. Maggie started to follow him, then turned back.

"Look, Robert, just look at them," Maggie said. "Isn’t it wonderful?"

She was dirty and slightly disheveled and with just a hint of embarrassment still in her cheeks, she looked positively radiant—the most beautiful woman he’d seen in his entire life, Clare included.

"Wonderful," Tanner croaked and turned desperately back to his horse.

Excerpt from Cowboys Don't Cry, the first in Anne McAllister's THE TANNER BROTHERS trilogy, published in March/April/May 2016 by Tule Publishing.

Best-selling author Anne McAllister has written nearly 70 romance novels—long and short, contemporary, time travel, and single title.  She has won two RITA awards from the Romance Writers of America—for Cowboy Pride and The Stardust Cowboy—and has had nine other books which were RITA finalists.

A former editor once told Anne that she wrote "died-with-their-boots-on cowboys", meaning  rugged, realistic, down-to-earth cowboys who don’t own multi-national corporations on the side.  She likes her cowboy heroes to be honourable, tough, competent and generous.  Tall, dark and handsome also helps.

Are you a fan of the cowboy hero? What qualities do you admire in them?  

Leave a comment and you will be included in the draw to win a digital copy of your choice of Anne's TANNER BROTHERS.

Come back next Sunday, when the winner of today's giveaway will be announced and a smooch from The Bridesmaid's Baby Bump by Kandy Shepherd will be posted!

Smooch Graphic by WebWeaver

Jun 17, 2016

Happy Friday!

It's Happy Friday today!

Actually, every day is like a happy day to me. But I love Friday's. The weekend is coming, football is on TV, it's take-away dinner night, and my lovely hubby very often brings me home flowers.

Today I'm heading out for a walk with this guy....Boss, my awesome boy.

Getting flowers......

Getting time to spend with my beautiful horse Zeb

Getting to see my latest release Lucy & The Lieutenant on this shelves at a local store....

Are Friday's a happy day for you? A wind down day as you head into the weekend?

What are your tips for a happy Friday?

Jun 15, 2016

A Tale of Two (Okay, Three) Covers - Annie West

I couldn't help but talk covers today. I've got a new book out next week ( but you can pre-order!) and the difference in the covers for this one fascinates me. You'll see as you scroll down the page. I'll put them in the order I saw them. First is the North American cover:
Now is probably the time to tell you what the book is about so you can see how the covers fit. This is my reverse beauty and the beast story, where the hero, once dubbed The Sexiest Man in the World, is the beauty (on the surface) and the scarred, reclusive heroine is the Beast. Of course things aren't quite as simple as that. Here's the back cover text to give you a taste of it:
A fragile beauty that tamed the beast within… 

Relentless Italian Raffaele Petri needs reclusive researcher Lily Nolan to see his revenge plans come to fruition. But the damaged beauty is feisty, argumentative and all too intriguing to be ignored!

Scarred as a child, Lily shut herself away from cruel prying eyes, so working for a man as breathtakingly handsome as Raffaele makes her own physical imperfections harder to bear. Until Raffaele's kisses awaken the untouched woman inside.

As Raffaele's retribution draws closer, Lily must use her newfound strength to help him release the torment eating at his soul. But will Raffaele risk his vengeance for her love?
So, here's the Australian/New Zealand cover. As you can see, it uses the same picture as the American cover and focuses on passion and the Manhattan rooftop setting (the story is set there and on a Caribbean island resort).
When I wrote the story I had a very, very strong image in my head of the hero. He's my first blond hero. Not just blond but golden, old-gold hair and golden skin. Yes, I know Italian heroes aren't generally blond but he's from the north and he takes after his mother's non-Italian side of the family. Have you seen 'The Talented Mr Ripley'? It featured a younger, gorgeous Jude Law, looking tanned and, yes, golden, with those bright searing eyes. That's how I imagined Raffa, my hero who dragged himself from poverty and made it to the top in a tough world. He's beautiful to look at but hard as nails underneath, till he meets Lily who makes him feel things he'd never felt before.
Okay, then, here's the UK cover to complete the trio. It's got the glamour and the sensuality of the others. In fact I think there's a hint of sexual tension that's stronger here in the other two, and I'm sure it will make people look twice - which is what I ask from a title. I'm just wondering if readers will blame me when they discover that the Raffa inside is clean shaven, golden-skinned and blond instead of bearded, pale and dark-haired.
What about you? Do you mind if the cover of a book doesn't exactly represent the characters within? Or do you just enjoy the cover and then forget about it when you're reading?
I'll give away a signed copy of a backlist book to someone who leaves a comment (and it doesn't matter where you live). I'll post the winner's name here before the next post on Friday.
If you want to buy THE FLAW IN RAFFAELE'S REVENGE, all the usual bookstores have it and you can find links and an excerpt on my website. But here are a couple of quick links:

Jun 13, 2016


I don’t know about you but I find myself doing a lot of volunteering. I think it has something to do with the fact that I have trouble saying no but also because I love it.

Over the years I have volunteered for the children’s schools, for the Sunshine Coast Environment Council, Romance Writers of Australia and now my best efforts are going into the Byron Writers Festival.  I’m on the Festival Board. It's very satisfying and a lot of hard work.

We are having a huge year at the Festival. We have introduced a new brand and a new website over the past few weeks and have had a record sell-out of our early-bird tickets. We’ve announced lots of great writers and thinkers including Cheryl Strayed (Wild), William Finnegan, Charlotte Wood, Magda Szubanski, Annabel Crabb, Leigh Sales, Wendy Whiteley and so many more. We officially launch the full program this Wednesday and I’ll be able to tell you more about it then.

It will be a crazy few weeks of work heading up to the Festival, which runs from 5-7 August.  There is also a week of writing workshops the week prior and lots of feature events.  I’m also sending out pleading vibes for good weather (it’s an outdoor event).

So, do you enjoy volunteering? I’d love to hear about some of the work you do.

Jun 12, 2016


Welcome to another LoveCats DownUnder Sunday Smooch!

Today we have a smooch from but first 

... the winner of last week's Sunday Smooch Giveaway is PAM SWAIN!! Congratulations!

Can you please contact Helen via mail (at) helenlacy (dot) com to receive your copy of LUCY & THE LIEUTENANT

And now for today's Sunday Smooch from YVONNE LINDSAY!


An arranged marriage means she’s his bride. Her secrets make her much more… Only from USA TODAY bestselling author Yvonne Lindsay!

Princess Mila will safeguard her kingdom by marrying a neighboring royal she barely knows. But she refuses to let Prince Thierry perfect his romantic arts with another woman. Disguised as his hired courtesan, the virgin princess plans to seduce her fiancé before their wedding night!

The mind-blowing chemistry they discover can’t be taught—or forgotten. Yet Mila’s lie is unforgivable to a man who prizes honor above all. Public scandal threatens all Mila’s dreams and her country’s future…unless this prince can let passion, and his heart, reign supreme.

Mila and Thierry have been out for an early morning ride and have returned to his hunting lodge. The attraction between them is palpable. (Mila is known to him only as Angel and when they first met he introduced himself as Hawk.)

“Shall I go and see what I can put together for breakfast?” she asked.

“You don’t trust me to cook?”

Thierry lifted one eyebrow, as if punctuating his question. Her heart did a little flip-flop in her chest.

“It’s not that,” she protested.

“It’s okay. I am man enough to take advantage of your offer. I’ll go and shower while you do your thing in the kitchen.”

Mila narrowed her eyes at him. “Are you being sexist again?”


“Like you were in New York.”

He snorted a laugh. “Not at all, at least I didn’t mean it to come across that way. To make up for any offense I may have caused, I’ll provide the rest of our meals today. Is that punishment enough for my apparent lapse of manners?”

She couldn’t help it—she smiled in return and inclined her head in acceptance. “Thank you. That would be lovely.”

“And that is the perfect example of how I should have responded,” he commented.

“You’re a quick study,” she teased, feeling herself relax again.

“I’ll need to be if I’m to ace all my lessons with you.”

And in an instant, there it was again. The sensual tension that drew as tight as an overstretched bow between them. Mila felt as if every cell in her body urged her to move toward him. Did he step closer to her? Or she to him? Whether it was either or both of them, somehow they ended up face to face. She felt his hands at her waist again, hers suddenly rested on his chest. Beneath her palms she felt the raggedness of his breathing, the pounding of his heart. And when he bent his head and pressed his lips to hers she felt her body melt into him as if this was what they should have been doing all along.
No more skirting around the subject of getting to know a person. Simply a man responding to a woman. And what a response. She flexed her body against his, relishing the hard muscles of his chest and abdomen against her softness, purring a sigh of pure feminine satisfaction when she felt the hardness at his groin. The concrete evidence that he found her attractive.

All the years of feeling as though she’d never be anything to him but the gauche teenager she’d been all those years before fell away as if they were nothing.

His hands were at her back, pressing her more firmly to him. Her breasts were pressed against his chest and she welcomed the pressure, felt her nipples harden into painfully tight points that begged for more of his touch. The restrictions of her bra and clothing were too much, and too little at the same time.

Thierry’s lips were firm against hers, coaxing. She opened her mouth and gave a shudder of delight as he gently sucked her lower lip against his tongue. The heat of his mouth against that oh so tender skin made her fingers curl against his chest, her nails digging into the fabric of his shirt as if she needed to anchor herself to him, to anything that would stop her from floating away on the tide of responsiveness that coursed through her.

And then, in an instant, there was nothing but air in front of her. Mila almost lost her balance as she opened her eyes and realized Thierry had thrust her from him and taken several long steps away.

“H-Hawk?” she asked, reaching out a hand.

“Don’t!” he snapped in return and wiped a shaking hand across his face. “Don’t touch me. I should not have done that. I apologize for my actions.”

“But…why not? What is wrong? I’m here as your courtesan, am I not?”

Confusion swirled through Mila’s mind as she fought to understand.

“I must remain faithful to my promise. I cannot touch you like that again. This was a mistake. Being here with you, of all people—it’s making me weak.”

There was genuine pain in his voice. Pain laced with disgust. At himself, she recognized, not her.

“Your promise to marry the princess?” she probed, seeking more clarity.

“Yes, my promise to her. And my promise to myself.”

“Tell me of your promise to yourself,” she asked softly.

“I can’t—not right now. Please, go inside the lodge. I just need some time to recompose myself.” He looked at her, his eyes as stormy as a mountain lake on a cloudy, windswept day.

But she didn’t want to let it go. Not when her entire body still hummed with the effect of his kiss.

“No, tell me now. I’m here to help you. How can I do that if you shut me out?” She walked toward him and caught him by the hand. “Hawk, let me understand you. Please?”

What's your favourite wedding story? Is it poignant? LOL funny? A memory of a perfect day? Share with me and all comments will go into a pool from which a randomly drawn winner will receive their own autographed copy of ARRANGED MARRIAGE, BEDROOM SECRETS!

Come back next Sunday, when the winner of today's giveaway will be announced and a guest smooch from legendary romance author, Anne McAllister, will be posted!

Smooch Graphic by WebWeaver

Jun 10, 2016

Bring on the Weekend

This coming weekend the Blenheim Romance Writers are having a retreat in a cottage amongst the grape vines. Amongst the group are Lovecats Louisa George (an honorary member because she likes us so much) and Barbara DeLeo. Though Barb might be a no show due to managing four teenagers and loads of other things while her husband is away. Here's hoping she makes it. It's never the same without her.
We do this cottage visit about three times a year and it is always fun and inspiring. Oh, and work does get done. Quite a lot actually. I enjoy the girl talk, the laughter, coffee, wine, food and the movies we watch at night. We brainstorm plots if we're stuck, discuss what's going on in the industry, and who's the latest success.

So I pack accordingly, and add my walking shoes because it's different territory to what I have at home and sometimes walking is my best thinking time when I'm stuck with my story.

So all set, just need to add some groceries and I'm off.

Except I hadn't factored in one thing - my wonderful man. A few days ago he sat me down with a glass of wine and said, 'We're going out to dinner for your birthday next week.' Great, I love dining out.
But he hadn't finished. 'We're going to Quay.' Again, great. Thinking where is Quay? Should I know? Worse, have we been there before? My mind isn't always as sharp as it could be.
'There's a difficulty,' my man continues. 'Quay is in Sydney.'
I'm not getting what the problem is. Sydney is one of my favourite cities and only three and half hours flying away. 'How is this a difficulty ?' I stammer around the excitement beginning to take over. Didn't see this coming.
'You'll have to miss most of the weekend with the girls because we're going for a week.'
Darn, but I do love this guy.
And sorry, girls, but you just couldn't compete.

So a repack is necessary. Change the walking shoes for boots, the wine for a passport (It's all right - they make plenty in Oz.), and the work notes for a great book to read. And take a bag big enough for some shopping because surely something a little swish is required to wear to Quay?

I am so excited, and I think it's because of the surprise element and that I haven't had months knowing about it. I could get used to surprises. What about you? Has someone ever done something special to surprise you?

Jun 8, 2016

What to write next...?

 I have a book due at the end of the month…and, of course, all of my concentration should be on it, but I’ll let you into a little secret—if I don’t know what my following book is going to be about, I get a little antsy. I like to know that advance. Not in any detail, you understand, but in terms of themes and the main tropes. I'm going to write a reunion story next or an office romance or...  If I don't, panic starts to build--and I get short of breath whenever I think about it.

But I’ve yet to settle on anything. Not for lack of trying! I've been playing with all sorts of story ideas, but so far nothing has stuck. That's when I came up with the inspired idea to pop on over here and ask what  kind of story you’d most like to see. :)

So let’s list a few tropes to help us warm up:
* Friends to lovers
* Enemies to lovers
* Reunion story
* Royal story

I’m going to rule them all out. Why? Well, quite frankly, I think a good friends-to-lovers story is seriously hard to pull off. I’ve done two (His Christmas Angel, and First Comes Baby…). So before I dip my toes into those particular waters again, I want it to be because I've been gifted with a marvelous flash of inspiration. :-)

As for the next two—there are elements of enemies-to-lovers in my current story (only minor, though, so I could rethink this). And my February 2016 release was a reunion story. And while I love reunion stories with all of my madly beating heart, it’s probably too soon to do another one just yet.

A royal story will be fun one day. But at the moment I think the Romance / Forever / Cherish line is a bit flooded with them. So I’ll save that one for a rain day.

Some other tropes that do have potential:
* Cinderella story
* Beauty and the Beast
* Office romance
* Marriage of convenience
* Fish out of water story

Do any of them appeal to you?

Instead of an overall story trope, what if I consider some individual story elements, like:

* An unexpected baby!
These are always so much fun. I don’t know why--maybe it’s because babies force a heroine and hero to work out what they want, and to fight for what’s important. Also, babies (especially the fictional kind) are seriously cute. There’s lots of inbuilt emotion in an unplanned pregnancy / baby story.

* Sheikh hero
I’ve never done one, but what do you think? Ooh, I could set the story in a glorious desert landscape with a nearby oasis where my heroine could nibble delicately on dates and Turkish delight. (Uh huh...guess whose fantasy it is to nibble on far eastern delicacies ;-) ).

* Virgin heroine
These can be tricky. But they do tap into a really attractive fantasy of a sexual awakening (Sleeping Beauty!) with a seriously scrummy man. :)

* Glamorous setting
I LOVE armchair travel! Where would you most like to see my romance set—Rio, Trinidad, Egypt, Paris, Singapore, Puerto Rico…?

So come on—play the game. What story would you most like me to write:

* The Sheik’s Pregnant Cinderella
* A Puerto Rican Marriage of Convenience
* The Virgin’s Impossible Boss
* The Sheik’s Impossible Virgin (dear lord I can’t believe I wrote that)
* The Virgin’s Vegas Adventure
* Called to Duty by the Sheikh
* The Billionaire’s Scandalous Deal
* Bodyguard to the Plain Jane

 Please feel free to come up with your own title. You never know, you might just help me find the spark of inspiration that I need. :-)