Aug 1, 2014

Who ya gonna call? Stressbusters.

By Barbara DeLeo

Things are madder than usual in the DeLeo household, and that's pretty mad. I have a new day job, revisions are due in on a book on Monday, strategic planning is happening on the school board taht I sit on and I have another book due in in a month. I'm  also trying to get organized to go to conference in Sydney and Auckland. Oh, I'm also registrar for one of those conferences—I really mustn't forget that or I'll have 150 irate romance writers hunting me down

So, it's pretty clear what I'm doing at a time like this, right? Setting daily word counts, making sure I'm prioritizing everything and driving through that pain barrier, yes? Ahhh, no. Today I had one hour free from teaching and kid wrangling and trying to stem a tide of ants in the kitchen and what did I do? I went and had a facial, of course!

 Okay, the truth is that I'm a little bit addicted to looking after myself. I go to my chiroprator once every six weeks, a massage therapist about the same, and my beauty therapist about every month. Whenever I go to one of these places I always come away feeling completely different about the challenges ahead. I seem to think more clearly and I certainly smell a lot nicer. I've realised they all have a common factor that helps to turn my day around - a bed, with soothing music playing in the background and a chance to close my eyes in the middle of the day.

Yesterday I went to see my beauty therapist, Cherie. She's an old friend and walking into her treatment room is like being whisked away to some exotic, perfumed paradise. I'm not even sure what Cherie did to my face yesterday but there were hot towels and foamy stuff and thirty minutes to forget about my deadlines.

How about you? What do you do for yourself on a regular basis that makes you feel fantastic?

Jul 30, 2014

Gratuitous Holiday Snaps Ahoy! by Amy Andrews

 So, I've been overseas and had the *best* time and instead of doing a full on blog today I thought I'd just share some of my pics - hope that's okay by everybody. If you don't want to see boring pics of Paris and London and Scotland though, I understand perfectly if you want to mosey on to another blog :-)

London First. And the weather was glorious! Also caught up with some KISS buddies, Heidi Rice and Fiona Harper who took me to a great pub nearby for some drinkees. And yes, it is a shocking selfie of all of us!

Oh and my book, Risky Business, released while I was away - trying to do a blog tour while on holiday with unreliable internet is not recommended! Warning: cheeky sales pitch coming up. Have you got yours yet? You can click here and it will take you straight through to Amazon :-)

And I went into Richmond and caught up with the lovely Mills and Boon crew who had champagne for me and then my lovely ed, Kathryn,  took me to lunch at this funky place where the food was way too pretty to eat! Although I did!

 I also found my upcoming KISS/Modern Tempted release, The Heat Of The Night and 2 other of my books on shelf at WH Smith! I had a great conversation with two little old ladies who were browsing in the romance section at the time and even hand sold one of my medicals - score!

Then we had a very relaxing week on a canal boat floating around the waterways of the midlands in mostly gorgeous weather. Its a great way to relax and let the world pass you by! One of the best parts about the canals is the wonderful pubs that line them and then of course that means fabulous English pub food - our favourite! And don't my hips know it! The birdlife was also amazing - lots of little baby birdies everywhere!

After we got off the canal boat my family went off while I spent a day at the RNA conference in Telford. I met up with lots of fab writing buddies (Fiona Harper couldn't resist photo bombing me and Jessica Hart!)  and even my old editor the gorgeous Lucy Gilmour.

Then we took a trip up to Scotland for a few days. This was castle territory for us. Edinburgh castle. Urquhart castle on the banks of Loch Ness and Eilean Donan castle. A mix of weather in Scotland.

We rounded our trip off in Paris. Brilliant weather in Paris, quite hot actually, but a gorgeous backdrop to famous places! 

Flying home was nerve wracking given what had happened only a few days before but we flew into Brissy safe and sound and the good news is I think, a week later, I'm finally over the last of the jet lag!

Been on a holiday lately?

Jul 28, 2014

Dreaming of Summer

Is it summer in your part of the world, or winter? It's winter here in Australia and I'm rugged up during the day and sitting in front of the fire at night. 

I love winter - love being able to snuggle under the covers at night, love the smell of the fireplace through the house, love eating warm pudding. But towards the end of winter, I start dreaming about summer...

Warm days at the beach, lighter clothes, ice cream (though, honestly, I eat ice cream in winter if I feel like it).

My rom-com, The Summer of Jake is out in a few days - timed for the northern hemisphere's summer. It's set at in and around Bondi Beach in Sydney, and Jake and Annalise spend some of the time in the water and doing summery things.

And seeing the cover and title around, makes me think of summer and all the things I'll be doing when it arrives DownUnder.

What about you? Are you looking forward to summer? What's one thing you'll do when it hits? Or is it summer in your part of the world already? If so, what are you most enjoying about it?

The Summer of Jake is available for pre-order now from all your favourite retailers.

Falling in love wasn’t part of the plan…
Life is just dandy for aspiring fashion designer Annalise Farley. She has a great job (or she will once her designs are discovered), parents who only slightly disapprove, a cat that thinks she’s a dog, and a best friend…even if she hasn’t seen her in a while. But then Jake Maxwell saunters back into her life. Jake, the love god. Jake, her best friend’s older brother. Jake, who broke her heart at sixteen without realizing it, then left to become a pro surfer. Now he’s back, having taken the surfing and business worlds by storm, and he’s ready for a new challenge—catching the eye of another girl. And he wants Annalise’s help. Helping Jake land his next girlfriend is too fraught with emotional danger for her liking, but then Jake offers to put her designs in his shops. Is that the sound of her life cracking at the seams? It’s hard to tell with Jake smiling at her like she’s the only thing that makes him happy…

Jul 27, 2014

Sunday Smooch with Louisa George

Welcome to another LoveCats DownUnder Sunday Smooch!

Today we have a smooch from Louisa George, but first ...

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

Lyn, can you please contact JK Coi : jkcoi (at) rogers (dot) com to receive your copy of In Bed With The Competition!

And now for today's Sunday Smooch from Louisa George's medical romance 200 Harley Street: The Shameless Maverick

Back cover blurb:

Junior surgeon Kara has been assigned her first high-profile case. Great news- if she wasn’t working with surgeon Declan Underwood, the man she kissed at the hospital ball! Declan’s notoriety with women is rivaled only by his reputation as the best reconstructive surgeon! But Kara’s about to discover there’s more to her charismatic
maverick than meets the eye…

KISS scene… Scene set-up: Kara and Declan have been getting too close for comfort and Kara has asked Declan if she can be moved off his surgical team, to prevent any further liaisons or complications between them.

He didn’t want to be selfish- but he also didn’t want to be short-staffed to the point that something had to give. With the desperate needs of his patients and the reputation of the clinic in his hands he had too much at stake right now.
He bit down on the flare of heat as she glared at him. A challenge. But not, he suspected, with the kind of result she was expecting. Because, instead of annoying him it fired him.
‘Okay, well, leave it with me. I have an urgent report to write in what’s left of this evening. I’ll see you in the morning. We can talk more then.’
Scraping his chair back he stood and walked to her side of the desk. She stood too, picked up her bag and slung it across her body, a very chic leather barrier. Slamming down the venetians he turned to her, watched the steel in her pupils melt into hazy heated green.
She could have left. For that matter, so could he. But the only direction his feet moved in was towards her.
He ran his fingers through a loose curl of her hair, reached out and pulled the messy ponytail down until her blonde hair pooled over her shoulders. Then he grasped a handful of it and breathed in her sweet scent of freedom and heat.
He looked into her face, at the smattering of freckles over her nose, her perfect full lips glistening with a pale barely-there lip-gloss, then into those eyes that searched his soul. His thumb ran a trail down her cheek, landed on her mouth, and she bit gently down on the soft pad and smiled. His groin tightened as spasms of heat shimmied through him.
She gasped, but she didn’t pull away. ‘Two kisses, Declan…’
And both times she’d asked him. Now it was his turn. He leaned into her neck and whispered, ‘Kiss me.’
And he could tell by the way her body softened towards him that she did want that. More than anything. That this buzz between them tugged hard, and that she was struggling to fight it. But he didn’t wait, couldn’t wait, to do what he’d been aching to do since he’d forced himself to walk away last night. He lowered his mouth onto hers, felt the hesitation, the sharp intake of breath, then felt the heat and the need spiral through her.
She wound her hands around his neck as the kiss deepened.
And he should have stopped. He should have allowed her to go, to walk away from his team and to stop this kissing thing… but he couldn’t. Something about Kara Stephens made him want to hold on and never let go.

You can find Louisa’s book at Amazon and in book stores now!

Louisa is giving away a copy of her book to one lucky commenter!  So her question to you is:

Which do you prefer, the city or the countryside?

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

Jul 25, 2014

Random thoughts with Louisa George

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for commenting!

Bad boy giveaway winner!

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


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

Jul 23, 2014

A Writer's Garden aka A Neglected Garden

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

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

1. Hibiscus

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

2. Rose

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

3. Wisteria

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


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

5. Nasturtiums

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

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

Jul 21, 2014

Funday Monday on the LoveCats!

Today we've got a Funday with a message!

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

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

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

Click to Mix and Solve