May 26, 2017

A love shower


Boy, sometimes it's hard to live in this world. If you've ever spoken to me you'll know I'm a north of England girl, it's in my accent, in my blood, in my core. Being a Yorkshire lass I got a special dispensation to marry a Lancashire man (joking! But the Wars of the Roses are still alive and kicking up north!!)... My husband's from Manchester, my babies were born there, I worked and lived there for ten years and a lot of my friends and extended family are there. It hurts.

So I couldn't write today's blog without mentioning them because I can't stop thinking about them and the place and what happened. Bear with me, please.

But I don't want to think in negative terms (even though I'm so bloody angry and sad) all the time, right now the world needs a love shower, we need to celebrate the good in the world, we need to keep reading and writing our wonderful hopeful stories and we need to hold on to our belief that love wins out.

What am I loving today?

Facebook
Which seems odd, I know. But it keeps me in close contact with people all over the world. It helps me know where they are, it reminds me of things I was doing years ago that make me smile. Plus, cats. Everything is better with a cat meme

Sunshine!
It's the simple things- being outdoors, breathing in fresh air, getting the joints and muscles working

Paying It Forward / Random Acts of Kindness
This is a story of a man in a town north of here who bought 30 people a cup of coffee just...because. And then there were the homeless men in Manchester who helped after the attack, then went quietly back to living on the streets and the taxi drivers who took concert goers home for free and the people who opened their homes and gave food and shelter to those who needed it. Paying it forward certainly makes you feel better- give it a try!

Music
Uptown Funk... makes me smile. I play it loud and sing at the top of my voice and dance, because music makes you feel better!!




Romance books
Hope, fun, sexy times, conflict, angst, more sexy times, laughter, kisses and love, love, love!! 

First responders, nurses, doctors, porters, hospital staff, firefighters, police
Because they put others before themselves every single time.

Coffee, chocolate, crystallised ginger, tart cherries, coffee, cheesecake and WINE!!!!!

Family and friends and that means y'all too! 
We share the good times and the difficult ones. We've got each other's backs. We hold each other up and provide comfort when we're down. Yeah...it's okay to be sentimental...it's a love shower, remember?



What are you loving today?

May 24, 2017

Farewell to "The Saint" - Kandy Shepherd



Vale, Roger Moore. British actor Sir Roger Moore, died aged 89 yesterday, May 23. I felt sad at the news. Roger Moore played James Bond, Simon Templar “The Saint” and, earlier, medieval hero on horseback, Ivanhoe as well as starring in Maverick. 

Roger Moore was a favourite of mine, not just because of his acting skills or the roles he played, but because I found him incredibly handsome. I really like tall blond men. I fell in love with him on screen as Simon Templar, the suave, crime-solving adventurer who meted out his own idea of justice, hero of the 1960s English television series The Saint. The series was based on the best-selling novels of the same name by Lesley Charteris. The Saint was described as “romantic adventure”—no wonder I loved it!

Roger Moore
I first saw The Saint when I was a teenager. No videos in those days just black and white repeats on Australian day-time TV. The series already had a retro vibe by that stage but I stillI loved it. (The dancing scenes at cocktail parties are particularly cheesy!

Simon Templar was gorgeous, witty, laid back in the extreme, definitely a lady’s man and a bit of a rogue. Oh, and did I mention tall and blond. My ideal man, I thought! I liked Roger Moore as James Bond, but to me he was Simon Templar. (Daniel Craig is my favourite Bond.


First appearance as "The Saint" in the first episode The Talented Husband
 Fast forward twenty years to when I met my (tall, blond, handsome) husband. We soon established he was also a fan of The Saint. Yes, he liked Simon Templar and the overall retro coolness of the series. But most of all he liked Simon Templar’s sports car, the iconic Volvo P1800. While I was ogling Roger Moore as Simon Templar, hubby was ogling his car!

The other star of The Saint - the Volvo P1800

 Several years into our marriage, my husband managed to acquire an original, white P1800 for himself. It’s his pride and joy. My daughter and I tease him that he loves that car more than he loves us. He has to think about his reply!

My hubby's pride and joy
Husband has the boxed sets on DVD of all the series of The Saint. When we watch it together, he is looking for glimpses of the car. My eyes are still firmly trained on Roger Moore.

There are five series and we have them all
Were you a Roger Moore fan? Any favourite retro TV shows or movies? Have you ever fallen in love with a car? Are you a dark haired hero fan or like a blond hero—or even a redhead? I’d love to see your comments!


May 22, 2017

Monday Ramblings by Amy Andrews

Its release day for me so I am a bit all over the shop at the moment 😍 and consequently a little late for this blog.

So here are some Monday ramblings from a mushy release day brain.

Hot Mess. You should buy it. Fireman + reunited lovers + amnesia = all the romance awesomeness. Yes, even if I do say so myself 😘 Best part? It's first in a series of 4 hot firemen! So what are you waiting for??


I have a new website. Its soooo pretty. Click here and it'll take you there!



Do not watch the new Anne of Green Gables series if you are an Anne purist. The second episode is all kinds of weird....

 
I love the beach in all its moods...


What do you think of my new cover for Holding Out For A Hero which I'm self-pubbing and should be out very soon? 

  
It's almost June!! Just in case anyone had forgotten...Pretty soon there'll be those annoying people who pop up and tell us how many shopping days until Christmas!

New bio pic for my sister and I to use in some Ruby award publicity.What do you think?


We had the option to go for  serious shot but what the hell, right?
Life is serious enough.....

Reckon that's a good note to end it on. Is anyone elses brains as mushy as mine at the moment? Care to add a random thought for us all to ponder?




May 21, 2017

Retro Sunday Smooch:

Welcome to another LoveCats DownUnder Sunday Smooch!


Today we have a Retro Smooch from At The Billionaire's Beck and Call but first...



... the winner of last week's Sunday Smooch Giveaway is Wolfy! Can you please contact stefanie(at)stefanie-london(dot)com to receive your copy of Betting the Bad Boy.



Today's Sunday Smooch is a retro smooch from Rachel Bailey. 
From Rachel:
At The Billionaire's Beck and Call? was first released in 2010, but has remained one of my favourites. Maybe it's all the chocolate in the scenes since Macy is running a chocolate company...? Yeah, that's probably part of the reason. Oh, and Ryder. Definitely one of my favourite heroes. At the Billionaire's Beck and Call? is set in Australia's fabulous Melbourne and since I'm taking a trip to Melbourne this year, it seemed a good time to revisit Macy and Ryder.

Corporate raider takes contract wife

In a merger tailor-made for the tabloids, tycoon Ryder Bramson sought Macy Ashley's hand in marriage. But his true goal was to buy her father's company—and thereby wrest control of his own conglomerate from his illegitimate brothers. To ensnare Macy in his web of intrigue, Ryder first offered the beautiful businesswoman a job in his start-up. Yet slipping the ring on her finger proved more difficult.


Being a brash billionaire's corporate pawn wasn't independent-minded Macy's style. One the other hand, being the focus of this irresistible man's passion just might win her over to his scheme...


[Set up: Ryder is ready to ask Macy if she’ll agree to a marriage of convenience, so he asked her out for drinks and is now seeing her home. But he’s been having a little trouble keeping his mind on the goal.]




Their first date had gone well, all things considered. Now he just needed to garner an invitation to her apartment and outline his offer and its merits.


Three steps into the silent foyer, Macy turned on the marble floor and faced him. “I only have to go up that elevator. You’ve seen me home.” She moistened her lips and he couldn’t have dragged his gaze away with a gun to his head. Her scent, something exotic, surrounded him.


She was so damn beautiful he had to replay her words in his head to get her meaning. Was it a good thing or bad that the woman he wanted to marry made his body overheat and frazzled his brain? 


“Invite me up,” he said.


She shivered almost imperceptibly, but then arched one eyebrow, as if in control. “Why would I do that?”


A slow smile spread across his face. Her veneer of control called to him, compelled him to move closer. He could see her writhing in his bed, in his arms, under him, all thoughts of control long gone.  


His voice, when he found it, was rough. “There’s something I want to talk to you about.”


Macy glanced at his mouth then met his eyes. “I don’t think talking’s what you have in mind.”


He reached and found her fingers with his, holding them at his side in the lightest of clasps. “Sure, just because I want to talk doesn’t mean I’m not aching to touch you.” To kiss you. To taste you.


Her pupils dilated to almost cover her hazel irises but she didn’t move.


He leaned over and brushed his lips lightly across hers, meaning it to be no more than a peck, a brief demonstration of his words. He began to pull away but couldn’t help gently touching her mouth again. Those lips had been on his mind for twelve hours straight. Just one more touch...


Her mouth yielded, opened to him, and he needed no second invitation for something he’d been wanting to do since she’d arrived at the bar. As he deepened the kiss, he moved forward, closing the distance but not pressing against her – not yet – the bulk of his coat ensuring a respectable distance. Her tongue lightly touched his, a caress sweeter than he’d even imagined.


Drunk on her exotic scent, he lifted his hands to cup her face, finding her cheeks were like silk under his palms. He felt her hands on his shoulders, lightly, then more assured as they traveled an exquisite path to his neck before her fingers tangled in his hair. He was lost.




At The Billionaire's Beck and Call? was originally released in Australia in Nov 2010. Ryder’s half-brother, Seth Kentrell had his story in Million-Dollar Amnesia Scandal in March 2011. And the third brother, JT Hartley’s book Return of the Secret Heir was released in October 2012.

You can still buy At The Billionaire's Beck and Call? from iBooksAmazonBarnes & Noble, and other retailers.


At The Billionaire's Beck and Call? is set mainly in Melbourne. I'm planning a trip there this year, so I' thinking about the city a lot. To be in the draw for a copy of At The Billionaire's Beck and Call?  just leave a comment, and tell me if you’ve ever been to Melbourne (and if you have, do you have any suggestions for places to see?). If you win and you already have this book, you can choose another book from Rachel’s backlist.


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


Smooch Graphic by WebWeaver

May 19, 2017

What are you watching now...What did you watch back then....

When I was a child, I was hooked on certain TV shows....Little House on The Prairie, Eight Is Enough, Family. Little House was without a doubt, my favorite. I had devoured the books and adored the TV show. Even today, the opening credits and music makes me all warm and fuzzy. The tight family unit, Pa Ingalls's integrity and Ma Ingalls's steadfastness always worked its magic.






As I got older I changed to Dallas, Dynasty, Falcon's Crest (or anything else my parents thought was unsuitable for a teenager) I loved the glamor of Dynasty, the contrasting badness and goodness of JR & Bobby Ewing in Dallas, and just adored the twisting and turning relationships in Falcon's Crest (And I had a major crush on William R Moses, who played one of the sons) so, his tumultuous relationship with Melissa always had me hooked. Looking back, I can now see how this good guy (in contrast to some of the other characters) always was at odds with other characters, because he had a strict moral code, but also the pressures of doing what his family expected. So, in a way, Cole Gioberti was one of the first heroic archetypes I was drawn to, and certainly the kind of hero I write today. Here's a quick snippet -


Nowadays, I don't watch a lot of TV. Mostly movies, but I do try and watch reruns of the Mentalist and my favorite show, Game Of Thrones. When I think about why, I'm a touch confused. The first time I tried watching GOT, I failed after the first episode...too much violence and gore. But my husband urged me to persist, and I did...and six odd seasons later, I am absolutely hooked. I think it's because I can clearly seen the defining character types...pure good V pure evil. (A throw back to my old JR V Bobby Ewing days, maybe)

And Of course, Game Of Thrones has Jon Snow...the guy who believed he was never meant for glory...the illegitimate son of a nobleman, destined for a life guarding a great big wall of ice. And of course in true hero fashion, he defies the odds and becomes the man he was destined to be. I love Jon Snow's character - torn, conflicted, loyal, arrogant, honest....you get the picture...the stuff of great heroes!

Warning - the following clip has some swords and violence.






Here's a few other shows I give an honorable mention -

- Grace & Frankie
- This Is Us
- Chicago Fire
- Big Bang Theory


So, what are watching? Do you like the same type of TV/Movies as you did when you were younger? Do you prefer crime, drama, comedy?





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May 17, 2017

SIX THINGS: READING, WATCHING, LISTENING


by Bronwyn Jameson

Can you believe we’re approaching the halfway point of 2017? Okay, a slight stretch of mathematics but you get my drift. Another year is speeding by, hence, it is time for a catch-up on what’s been occupying my mind...in other words, what I’ve been reading, watching and listening to.

1. I’m starting with “listening to” because I finally delved into Podcasts, following this blog by Stefanie London. My favourite so far is SERIAL, which I found totally addictive if ultimately unsatisfying: that’s the trouble with real life and why I enjoy my fiction with neatly tied, prettily bowed endings. 

2. Speaking of endings, has anyone else seen THEIR FINEST? This movie had so much I loved: the female lead finding her power, the London-WWII setting, the movie-within-a-movie. But then the ending was so aggravating. And pointless (if anyone can explain the point, please do.) Definitely occupied my mind for a considerable time if not in a satisfying way.

3. I started watching the BIG, LITTLE LIES mini-series with some trepidation. I loved Liane Moriarty's book and wasn’t sure the Monterey setting or the casting would work. Very happy to be proved wrong and the brilliant soundtrack has fed my obsession since the series ended. 

4. My current TV fave is the BBC detective drama RIVER, airing on ABC Friday nights. Again, going in I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy this. Woo-woo elements are not my thing, and this series is built around an I-see-dead-people premise. But these characters grabbed me from the opening. Anyone else watching?

5. Naturally I’m watching sport—I am always obsessed with something sports related—and at the moment this is the STANLEY CUP playoffs. I love the speed and skill and intensity of hockey. Oh, and the manly men with beards. What’s not to love?

6. If you haven’t yet done so, you should be READING some of the finalists in the Romance Writers of Australia’s RUBY awards for 2017. Allow me to recommend these bottlers by our super-talented LoveCats, Melanie Milburne and Amy Andrews (writing with her sister Ros Baxter.)




What have you been listening to/watching/reading lately?

May 15, 2017

Stefanie London's baking addiction

I love bread. When I was 15, I worked for the Australian company Baker's Delight (which is called Cobs here in Canada) and one of the best things about the job was being able to bring home fresh bread after every shift. And, if you were working the closing shift, you could take home a more generous amount - which pleased my family to no end.

Now, I know it's something I need to consume in moderation. But I can't seem to full shake my desire for it. I figure, then, that if I'm only going to have it as a treat that I want my bread to be good quality. Fresh and tasty, rather than some of the bland stuff they sell in the supermarkets.

So, I decided to have a go at making a loaf myself.

Voila! Turned out pretty good if I do say so myself.


This was the recipe I used:

It's actually much simpler than I thought it would be. I'd like to try some of the other methods to compare how the loaf turns out, as this loaf was a little more dense that I would like. It's almost like a cross between a Pana De Casa loaf and regular bread. But it toasts beautifully and is nice with a little jam or butter and a cuppa.

Do you make your own bread or is it something you would try?

May 14, 2017

Sunday Smooch with Stefanie London

Welcome to another LoveCats DownUnder Sunday Smooch!


Today we have a smooch from Stefanie London but first...... the winner of last week's Sunday Smooch Giveaway is Tammy!




Can you please contact amy (at) amyandrews (dot) com (dot) au to receive your prize.






And now for today's Sunday Smooch from Betting the Bad Boy....


It's as been A LONG time between drinks for my Behind the Bar series, but I have finally given Noah his HEA. If you haven't read the other two books in the series, not to worry. They work perfectly as standalone stories and can be enjoying in any order. 



Paige and Noah are working together, but she has a rule about not dating colleagues. But Noah isn't one to follow the rules.

“Come on, live a little.” He grinned. “Even Little Miss Perfect has to let her hair down sometimes. Would it help if I made you a bet?”

“Now why would you do that? As my boss, you’re supposed to be setting a good example.”

“Paige, I’ve never been a good example for anyone.” The smile turned from cheeky to wolfish. “And that’s just the way I like it.”

“You think you’re so charming.” She folded her arms across her chest, trying to muster all the bravado in her
arsenal. Which, admittedly, wasn’t much. “But I hate to break it to you, I’m immune.”

“Got that vaccine, huh? Good girls like you always think they’re immune.”

“I am.” She stuck her nose in the air. “I mean, you’re attractive. But you’re not my type. Sorry.”

“Really?” His eyes glinted. “So if I kissed you now you wouldn’t feel a thing?”

He was calling her bluff. The smart thing to do would be to back down and hightail it out of the bar. But Paige’s love of competition ran deep. He’d ignited the side that needed to win—and right now, with everything that was going on in her life, she was craving a win.

“I’m afraid not. Good looks aren’t enough for me. I need spark.” She waved her hand around, taunting him. “Chemistry.”

What are you doing? This is your boss. This job is the only thing keeping your dreams a oat right now.

“You think we don’t have chemistry?” He raised a brow. 

“I don’t,” she lied. “But you’re welcome to try.” The instant the words popped out of her mouth she regretted them. She’d given him the green light to test her boundaries. To kiss her.

Better go home and pack those bags. You’re done for.

“I’ll do the right thing and give you to the count of three to back down.”


Shit. This was getting too real, too fast.

“One.” His hand came up to her face, the backs of his knuckles tracing along her cheek in a featherlight touch.

Say something.

“Two.” His hand curled around her jaw, sliding back until his ngers threaded into her hair.

Say something. Now!

“Last chance, Paige.” His eyes were dancing, wild and untamed. He looked like he wanted to devour her. 
“Three.”

The kiss was hard at first. Bruising. Desperate. But then he slowed things down. One hand pressed into her lower back, forcing her body against his, and the other cradled her head while his tongue brushed against hers. 

He played her body like an instrument. Stroking. Maneuvering. Guiding. And his kiss scorched her insides until she was sure she’d turn to dust in his arms. 



For a chance to win an ebook copy of Betting the Bad Boy (Amazon account required) tell me who your favourite workplace romance couple is! It can be from a book, TV or movie.

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

May 12, 2017

Tripping Around

I'm writing this blog a couple of weeks early as my man and I are about to leave for the other side of the world for a holiday, though holiday is probably the wrong word since we'll be walking many kilometres on a daily basis. I usually come home from trips a little lighter than when I left because of all the walking we do. Counteracts the amazing food I manage to find and indulge in.

First, there's the packing. Never easy for so long but then I figure no one knows me so I can wear the same clothes regularly.
The passports are ready, the bookings for trains, planes, buses, hotels all printed out because my man likes doing things the old fashioned way. They're also all in my e files for the 'in case it goes wrong' moment.

Then there's the final mow of the lawns, filling the bin with loads of chook food so the people looking after the place can get treats every morning, and trying not to get stressed about everything - which I do all too easily. I am a stress machine, end of. Hopefully by now I'll be over that. It's such a waste of time and energy.

Hopefully I'll also manage to add some photos before this goes up. We'll be nearing end of a drive down the Romantic Road in Germany at this stage. We've got brave and booked a rental car for ten days. I spent six months in Canada once and drove every day on what's to us the wrong side of the road. For my man it is going to be a new experience, and could lead to some tension! :) Tension that can be resolved over a beer and yummy food at the end of the day.


May 10, 2017

Hot Mess


I took the inspiration for my blog title from Amy’s newest release (doesn’t it look pretty over in the sidebar there?).

Why am I feeling like a hot mess at the moment?

Because this week I’ve started a new book.

Oh, it’s not that the book is a hot mess. No, no, no! It’s going like a dream. I LOVE my characters. I LOVE the situation I’ve so meanly thrust them in. ;-) I mean, I’m only at day 3 so one would hope my book and I would still be at the honeymoon stage where we’re totally enamoured with each other. It’ll be another week or so before I’m banging my head on my desk and moaning “Hot mess!” out loud.

If I can find the room to bang my head against said desk, that is.

You see that’s my current problem. I always—always—clean my desk between projects. It’s a mind thing—fresh start and all that, a clean slate from which exciting new ideas can spring forth and help me to create magic. At least, that’s the plan. :)

But, Dear Reader, I’m currently in the throes of a PhD (oh, and, yes—it’s a steaming Hot Mess!)…and the PhD in true metaphoric fashion it has taken over my life, infringing on every part of it. Including my desk.

This will give you an idea of the scale of the problem…




See what I mean? In addition to this I have pile of textbooks right behind me, they’re also on the futon, under the futon and beside the futon. I even have a tottering pile in the ensuite of my writer’s loft, but I’m too embarrassed to show you a picture of that. ;-)

But you know what? I’ve discovered that I can work amid the clutter. Who knew? All I need is pen and paper, and a little orange oil burning away in in my oil burner, and I’m all set.

So rather than whinging I’ve decided to embrace my clutter.

I guess that means it’s time now to get back to my twin-swap, doorstep baby story. ;-)

What about you—can you work amid clutter or do you absolutely have to clean up first?