Apr 28, 2010

Anna in the Spotlight

Reading: Lover Avenged by JR Ward (still)

Watching: MasterChef Australia (again)

Listening to: Maximum Bass

Making me Smile: My dishwasher anniversary present

Anna Hackett has kicked off her work boots, tossed aside her hard hat and left behind mining engineer 'stuff' to chat about her love of paranormal writing (while sipping a chardonnay or two from the Hunter Valley).

Not only is she one of our own lovecats, she is a fellow Nocturne Bites author, with whom I'm happily high-fiving the end of our wonderful but tiring promo blog tour!

Anna, why paranormal romance, and Nocturne in particular?

I’m obsessed with ancient history, myths and legends. I love reading romance and have done since I first raided my mother’s stack of Mills and Boons. I’ve loved pulse-pounding action-adventure ever since I could reach my Dad’s shelf of Wilbur Smith and Clive Cussler books. Put all that together and I think paranormal romance was a definite for me since it has all those elements.

I love reading paranormal romance. Reading Christine Feehan’s Carpathians series is what really sucked me in and since then there are so many fabulous paranormal authors to choose from. I was attracted to Nocturne because I read they were looking for dark, sexy reads that were fast-paced, action-packed and mission-oriented. That sounded just right for my stories.

In all your stories, have you ever had a fav character?

That’s an evil question. All my characters are my favourites! Right now I guess my favourites are the ones from my latest release, HUNTER’S SURRENDER. Dominique is tall, elegant, smart and knows what she wants. Rand is rough, tough and battle-scarred, but there’s a gentle streak buried deep.

Career aspirations?

Be the best storyteller I can be. I want to write the stories I love to read. I want to write both romance and mainstream action-adventure thrillers.

Anna in five years from now?

Up to my eyeballs in deadlines for all my upcoming books! Writing in multiple genres. Writing full length novels as well as still writing short stories. I love the intensity of the shorter stories.

Do you see yourself writing any other genres?

I kind of already answered that. In romance, I’ve got plenty more paranormal stories to tell and some romantic suspense stories. In addition to that, I have some pulse-pounding action thrillers begging to be written.

If you could meet any author in history, who would it be?

Another tough question! I can’t answer…the list would be too long (-:

Apr 27, 2010

Catwalk Wednesday

Red Aussie Terrier: Name: Lion (or La-li – when my humans bred small humans they thought they could call me this version of my mighty name… and decide that I’m a beautiful girl. Girl?! It’s lucky they drop so much food.)

Human Slave: I am just a teeny tiny (honest) bit obsessed with my male human. I cry whenever he’s home and not within a metre of me. Said human REALLY appreciates my devotion.

Likes: Food. A lot. And did I mention my male human?

Dislikes: The indignity of having to toilet in the rain, cold, dark heat. The floor looks good to me.

Super Power: I have bionic knees. Honestly. Who would have thought a young (then) dog would need each back knee reconstructed? Male human grumbled something about cost and dragging myself on a wagon but I got my knees.

Best Friend: Mat. He’s big. He’s dopey. But he’s the brawn to carry out my master plans. And sometimes he does look strangely attractive…

Border collie x kelpie: Name: Matrim (Big Mat)

Human Slave: My humans are good but my Lion owns me. Unless he pushes his luck and then I remind him that I’m the biggest.

Likes: Balls. Balls. Where’s the ball? Did you say ball?

Dislikes: Tiled floors. Just between you and me, they scare the crap out of me.

Best friend: Lion of course. Although the small male human is learning to throw the ball better. I think I can train him.


Wanted: your pet!

Lovecats wants YOUR pet to feature on its Catwalk Wednesday.
Interested? Email Mel at

Apr 25, 2010

Mr Darcy's Doom ... ?

Taming the Forest King, by Claudia J Edwards

Listening: Twinset

Watching: Midsomer Murders

Making me smile: The birds have finally found the treat-filled pine cone I put out for them -- much to their delight!

I'm hunting out research books for my next regency romance, and have stumbled across a gem: Fordyce's Sermons to Young Women, first published in the 1700s. It was from this book that Mr Collins read aloud after dinner, when he visited the Bennett family in Pride and Prejudice.

Need I tell you, Fordyce writes, that men of the best sense have usually been averse to marrying a witty female? You will probably tell me, they were afraid of being outshone; and some of them perhaps might be so.

Can you imagine Elizabeth Bennett listening to this? Or Mr Darcy, for that matter!

Fordyce goes on to say: From the brandishings of wit ... who would not flee? But when that weapon is pointed at a husband, is it to be wondered if from his own house he takes shelter in a tavern?

So was Mr Darcy doomed to spend much of his married life hiding from his witty wife in the local tavern? What do you think?

(My vote: Not!)

Apr 22, 2010

Laurann Vs Twister

Reading: Lover Avenged by JR Ward
Watching: MasterChef Australia
Listening: Muse
Making me Smile: upcoming release!

I'd like to introduce fellow Ellora's Cave writer, and all round wonderful lady, Laurann Dohner. She writes fan yourself *hot* cyborgs and alien men, and is a big favourite with many Ellora's Cave readers.

She told me a 'real' story recently about a tornado she lived through, and I was so intrigued I asked her to share the story with us at Lovecats.

Here's her story, and some of her lovely eye candy covers, along with her most recent blurb.

Thanks Laurann!

My best friend and I were visiting a relative of hers in another state. We’d driven her small sports car and were on our way back home traveling down a lonely stretch of highway. It was overcast and we were hearing reports about tornados touching down on the radio. Shannon was excited because she’d never seen one. I was driving and to my left a while later I saw a funnel in the distance.

“There you go.” I let go of the wheel to point it out to her.

She was nearly bouncing in her seat, that excited, and I had to laugh because who gets excited over a funnel? Obviously my best pal. Within five minutes I was feeling apprehension since more of them were springing up around us and then I looked in the rearview mirror to see a bigger one on the road behind us. It seemed to be using the road as a map to come right at us so I stomped on the gas hoping to outrun it. Shannon’s joy had turned to terror, understanding the danger we were in.

Ahead of us we saw a bridge and other cars were parked under it blocking the road, the only place they could find shelter from these baby funnels that were dropping from the sky so I parked the car and realized the tornado was still heading for us. I shouted at Shannon to get out of the car, looked up to see that people were already crowded up in the rafters so I told her to grab her purse. I got her to the round supports that held up the bridge. I showed her that I was wrapping my wrists around my purse straps, my purse on the other side of the beam, and in effect lashing myself to it. I saw pure panic in her brown eyes and yelled (the sound was bad at this point) to do the same. In seconds the tornado reached us, wind howled through the underpass and my hair blinded me. I was pulled away from the beam and it literally sucked me off my feet. I couldn’t see anything because the wind was intense, the noise so loud I couldn’t even hear Shannon or myself screaming, and my wrists hurt where the straps of my purse dug in painfully. In what was probably ten to fifteen seconds it was over even though it seemed like minutes.

My shoes and the hairpins that held my hair in a bun had been sucked right from my body. I turned my head to see three cars were just gone, including Shannon’s. Shannon was crying, staring at me, and deathly pale. We had some mild bruising and scratches from debris but otherwise we were fine.

They found Shannon’s car a few miles away in pieces where it had slammed into the ground. Her uncle had to come collect us from the police station and drive us home. I asked Shannon while we were waiting for him to arrive if she ever wanted to see another Tornado in her life.

She just shook her head, still in shock, and said. “I know what carpet feels like when it gets vacuumed.”


All Rena wanted was to steal back a spaceship and earn enough money to buy her freedom from her travesty of a life. Her mission to recover stolen property from pirates backfired and she became a possession w

hen she encountered cyborgs instead. Now, one of them will own her. Rena is a survivor…and she wants the very tall, big, brutally sexy cyborg who doesn’t like to share anything that belongs to him.

Steel is beyond irritated when he is maneuvered into ownership of a fragile human female. She’s not nearly big enough to handle his size or strength, yet she’s determined to get him into bed—into her. Steel realizes just what this little female is capable of when he awakens, chained to his bed, with her riding his very turned-on body. For a man who prides himself on his unyielding control, Steel soon finds Rena stripping him of it an inch at a time.

Apr 21, 2010

Wanted: your pet!

Lovecats wants YOUR pet to feature on its Catwalk Wednesday.
Interested? Email Mel at

Apr 15, 2010

Confessions of a (Semi-) Reformed Duck Liner!

by Sharon Archer

Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

– Nottinghill.... yep, again!

– Best of Buddy Holly

Making me Smile
– these doctor ducks!

Before I started writing, I was a medical scientist. My days were spent at a laboratory bench and my watchwords were accuracy, meticulous technique, mathem
atical precision and rigorous quality control! These are great traits for a medical scientist because there is nothing worse than having racks loaded with urgent special stains, for instance, and then finding out you’ve run out of the reagent you need next.

Nothing was left to chance. If it was within my control, then controlled it would be.

My ducks were lined up - always!

So... when I started writing, I expected to be able to translate this ruthless organisation over to my creative process.

It didn’t work!

For a long time, I felt hamstrung, a creative push-me-pull-you, unable to make headway in any direction. My internal medical scientist wanted to fill out character charts, plan the order of each scene, line up the ducks in order of height, weight, colour, feather type. Any measurable characteristic would do. While my muse was bored! She wanted to dive right in, scatter the ducks across the pond, see where they ended up. See what they looked like from this angle or that angle. Or from underneath! She was a rebel! And my medical scientist thought she was a pain in the... you-know-what!

Luckily, about the time things were getting a bit fraught, I discovered Stephen King’s autobiography, On Writing. I realised it was okay to let go, not to know everything, to go boldly! It’s not comfortable... but it’s the way it is!

Today, my duck-liner is out of her comfort zone again. Our modem has died – it’s taken weeks of gasping and staggering and hours of first aid from the ISP helpdesk but, finally, it’s stopped!

I’ve begged for cybertime from a friend so I can post this blog. I mightn’t be able to answer your comments in a timely fashion but I’d love to know...

Do you line up your ducks? Or have you discovered things about yourself that have annoyed you? Or maybe, delighted you?

I’ll give away a copy of my latest book to one of my commenters... as soon as I can get back on to the ‘net to speak to you again!

Apr 13, 2010

Catwalk Wednesday

Name - Yeti
- Bribie Island
Human Slaves
- Tina, Shaun, Kyle (13) and Barry (11)
- running sideways like a spider. Clawing everything and anything is exciting to me. Curling up next to the computer when his slave is typing.
Dislikes - his reflection in the window. I meow at it, hiss and spits and it doesn't go away even when I puff up like an orange bottlebrush.
mbition - to be big and fat like his adopted brothers Binx and Baggie.
Sociable or Aloof
- Sociable to the point of being a pain, forever talking (much like his human slave).
Night Owl or Early Bird - Neither, just fits in with whatever the humans are doing. Making sure I'm real easy to live with at the moment, until I am settled in...
Favourite Pastime
-Attacking electrical cords!
Favourite Toy - walking on my slaves keyboard and my little yellow mouse with a few feathers as its tail.
Best Friend - At present would have to be Binx, because he lets me chase his tail, jump on him, and sleep by him without attacking me. But I really am trying hard to be friends with Baggie.
do you like to sharpen your claws on - everything at the moment, waiting for an internet
ordered scratch post to arrive. Hurry up postman!

Apr 12, 2010

Book Binge

Reading: The Five Greatest Warriors by Matthew Reilly
Watching: Eagle Eye with Shia Le Beouf
Listening to: Bad Romance by Lady Gaga
Making me smile: I have another week of holidays!

I’m on holidays right now (and loving every minute of it!) My favourite holiday activity: reading. Voracious, obsessive reading. I read after I get out of bed, I read after lunch and I read at night tucked up in bed. I love staying up late reading knowing that I don’t have to get up early.

Luckily I have a Kindle now, so hubby isn’t complaining about the weight of my suitcase. Right now I’m in the Hunter Valley and in between massages at the spa and wine tasting at the vineyards, I’m reading. Sigh, I’m a happy woman.

So, here are the books I’ve knocked off my TBR pile over the last week and a bit. They're an eclectic mix: some category, some single title. Some romance, some thriller. Some new, some I’ve read before (multiple times).

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
What the Librarian Did by Karina Bliss
Extreme Exposure by Pamela Clare
Her Dark Lord by Mel Teshco
Something About You by Julie James
Time to Die by Wilbur Smith
The Stanislaski Brothers by Nora Roberts
One for the Money by Janet Evanovich

Still to read:
The Five Greatest Warriors by Matthew Reilly
Dream Man by Linda Howard
Warrior’s Woman by Johanna Lindsey

Whew, I have been busy. So what books are reading right now? I’ve got another week of holidays and I’m certain I can squeeze in a few more good books (-:

Image: Nguyen Thai | Dreamstime.com

Apr 10, 2010

Caturday Hangman

I've made us a Lovecats Hangman game! All the answers are the names of Downunder category authors. Be warned, if you miss one, you'll go back to the beginning (but at least you'll know those answers!).

Even though I made the list, I still missed some when I played it. Perhaps I need more coffee... =)


Moved to Caturday Fun Page

Apr 7, 2010

Spicing it up

I am reading: Editing Tracey O'Hara manuscript
I'm listening to: Best of Fleetwood Mac
I'm watching: The original 1975 series of Survivors
Making me smile: Cat picture below (Sigh!!! Work, work, work - that is me at day job)

Last month Mel Teshco did a blog on Romancing Erotica and it got me thinking – not as a writer but as a reader.

What is it about erotica I enjoy? I’ve seen many erotica writers say that it has to have romantic growth of the characters or it is little more than porn. Well, I’m not sure that I agree with that. I guess that is the difference with erotic romance and erotica.

I am not adverse to reading erotic romance. Some of the best erotic stories I’ve read have a strong romantic story. Denise Rossetti, Meagan Hart, Portia Da Costa and our own Mel come to mind. Their stories give me the nice romantic tug as well as the warm tingly, uh-hmm feeling.

But I don’t necessarily need that romantic pull if is a satisfying read (and NO - I don’t mean in satisfying in that sense - you naughty thing). For me it has to be: well written; explicit but not crude; exciting but not depraved; and ending in a way that makes sense to the story—whether that is a happy ending or not.

There are certain things I don’t want to read about, certain things that challenge my sense of moral ethics. We all have our own boundaries, our own lines we aren’t comfortable about crossing. Someone could blush at a chaste kiss and others are happy to read much more risqué romp. One woman’s trash is another’s treasure so to speak.

My first Spice Brief, TONIGHT MY LOVE was definitely not a romantic read. Those of you that have read it will know what I’m talking about. However, my next Spice Brief, BLAME IT ON THE MOONLIGHT (out in August) is totally a love story. The inspiration for each was different, so the stories flowed differently.

(Thanks Tina Clark for the great Cat pic)

So — if you read erotica — what do you look for in your erotic stories? Is it titillation, fun, excitement, or just good ol’ romance with a touch of spice?

Apr 5, 2010


Tempting the Negotiator

Zana Bell (Harlequin Superromance)
**released in Australia/NZ in April as a 'Special Moments' two-in-one

Reviewed by Nikki Logan

Corporate lawyer Sass Walker gets shafted by the boys club back home in New York and sent down-under to fix up someone else’s muck-up in the picturesque New Zealand bay where her company is planning to build a resort. On arrival, she’s immediately taken under the wing of the Finlayson family—specifically youngest brother, surf champion and all round grumpy-pants, Jake who is spearheading the campaign to keep development out of Arohra Bay and who rolls with the principle ‘keep your friends close and your enemies closer’.

Really, really close in the case of Sass. Chemistry is immediate between the two opposing forces—for better and for worse—but eventually the two long-celibate campaigners take all that seething tension to its inevitable conclusion.

Bad idea – really bad idea. Sass is a list-lover, she thrives on systems and keeps the world safely at arms-reach by maintaining a careful control of her environment. Jake is a surf bum, he wears chaos like cologne, and his recent bout of responsibility is not sitting well with the man who likes to flit between countries, women and projects. Deep down, Sass knows there is no way Jake’s going to be able to keep separate what goes on beneath the covers from what's beneath the cover of the contentious report she’s preparing for her head office. But in Arohra Bay—named for the fatal attraction between two Maori lovers—nothing can keep them apart. Not even certain heartbreak.

I loved this book. With its contemporary down-under setting, its nature/conservation focus and really likeable, really human characters it’s exactly the book I like to read and try to write. Being a Superromance, it has the word-length to indulge a posse of minor characters, notably a group of at-risk boys that Jake is taking through a surf-camp type development program. That sub-plot and the environmental thread kept me engaged and reading on well after I should have turned out the light.

Zana’s Sass (“Pain-in-the-Sass” according to Jake) is the kind of flawed heroine I like to meet. She may look like a fresh-from-the-pack Barbie Doll but she’s addicted to cigarettes, she has trouble with intimacy, she comes from a damaged background and she’s let her family—all she has in the world if you don’t count her back-breaking job—fragment and become estranged.

Jake’s a commitment-phobe who comes from a wealthy background but has reactively eschewed all things commercial and turned beach-bum as only someone with a financial fall-back can truly do. Sass rightly pings him for forgetting that there are others in the bay who struggle for a dollar and for whom the resort would be a godsend. In fact, you get the feeling that the charismatic Findlaysons are the only ones actually against the project. But they’re a big force in the town and a big hurdle to scramble over.

I’ve not been to New Zealand, yet I have a good mental picture of gorgeous Arohra Bay and of the Maori culture as well as contemporary New Zealand culture. Zana’s writing style is easy to read, and her kiwi characters are suitably potty-mouthed and laconic to make it feel just like home for this Aussie. It’s been a while since I’ve read a Superromance/Special Moments, but if Tempting the Negotiator is a sign of their coming direction I say bring it on!

Zana - you've done the LoveCats proud!! Can't wait for your next one.

Apr 4, 2010

Easter Sunday Cat Tray-lers

Today is a day that signifies re-birth - so to celebrate I will feature some baby cat videos.

First up is a couple of young snow leopards. I'm a bit obsessed with snow leopards at the moment as the heroine in my alter-ego's next book is a snow leopard shifter. 

And how cute is this little guy.

And finally a couple of little Ocelot kittens. Sweet.

Apr 3, 2010

Easter Caturday!

Happy Easter, Lovecats! Emily and I have made a special Easter word search (in case you have any time away from eating chocoate!).

And after you've done the puzzle, let us know if you have any reading plans for the Easter break. Reading any good books? Or just eating chocolate? =)

Apr 1, 2010

The Long Race!

I am reading: The Devil's Cub, Georgette Heyer - because Em's previous blog set me off on a happy revisiting of all GH's great books.

I'm listening to Natalie Merchant

I'm watching - well, about to: The Wire

Making me smile EASTER!

Last weekend I did a half marathon. It sounded like fun at the time. Besides, I really wanted the tee-shirt at the end. After all, how hard could it be to walk that far? Lots of people do it on a weekly basis.

Very hard, as it turns out. It gave me a lot of time to think. Hours and hours. And as I trudged along, I was aware of how like writing a novel it was.

This annual event is at Ahipara, right at the top of the North Island and it all takes place on Ninety Mile Beach. The ultra marathon runners set off at day break, the marathon runners in the early morning. Us half marathoners only join in at lunchtime.

Are ultra marathoners real people? I don’t think so. It is inconceivable to even think about being that fit, that driven, that talented. Nora and Susan Elizabeth, Suzanne Brockmann, they are the ultras! We have our Downunders too; people who have been top of the game for many years. I’m not putting in names for fear of missing someone out. Insert your own choice of authors here.

Being a marathon writer, now that is something else. One can fantasise about that. We see them loping along ahead of us (insert names). In fact, they are looking good for the ultras too. To run alongside them one day...ah, what a thought. A very long shot, of course, but heck, dreams are free.

The reality is, however, that nothing can be achieved until the first half marathon is under the belt.

The only way to be a writer is to write. We know this but just as I find it more enjoyable to read fitness magazines rather than pulling on my shoes, it is easier to sit around, fantasising about the novels I want to write, rather than put in the hours.

The joy and the despair of the Ahipara race is that, because of the glorious long sweep of the bay, I could see the finish from the start line. From the moment I start a book, I always know my final scene, I just never know how I’ll get there. I set off, full of energy, fuelled by a mixture of excitement, hope, and trepidation.

The first hour was great. The scenery was beautiful; wild waves rolling in. I was focused, with a strong sense of purpose.

During the second hour I realised the finish didn’t seem any closer. My cap kept blowing off and I’d have to chase back up the beach, losing time, losing ground (losing files, rewriting). Knees began to ache. The headwind did not let up, even for a minute.

Pain set in during the third hour. I hadn’t trained and developed blisters. I knew I wasn’t going to achieve the time I’d hoped for. If there’d been an off-ramp on that long, lonesome beach, I’d have been tempted to take it. But what would be the point in that? I’d always known that I was only doing the race, not to be competitive but to see if I could see it through. What did it matter that I’d just been overtaken by a woman with a push chair (I kid you not!). I was in a race by myself, for myself.

We write because we have stories we want to tell. In the end, much as we’d love to get them published, we write them for ourselves. To see if we can. It’s important to remember that.

Blisters made the final kilometres agonising but by then I was in the final chapters and nothing, nothing, was going to stop me. Getting across the finish line wasn’t even that magnificent. I was almost too tired to care. I didn’t get a placing, I didn’t achieve my time, I didn’t win a spot prize.

But I got my tee-shirt!

And you know, I did it. Next time, I’ll train, I’ll pack the elastoplasts. I’ll do it better. Just like the next book!

Any footsore/fingersore tales of pain or victory out there to share?