Jan 31, 2011


Name: Sarsen the Fearless. My sister is Satin the Fraidy-cat because she jumps at her own shadow.

Night Owl or Early Bird: Well that depends on what I can catch (birds are very tricky they fly away so fast). Generally I’m more a of a lizard cat. They are the perfect size for snacking on.

Dislikes: Being carried around the house by miss 4. I am not a baby-doll, nor a sack of potatoes. The smallest slave doesn’t seem to grasp that. And while she does give very nice pats and cuddles, she still insists on picking me up under the armpits so my feet drag on the floor. Very undignified.

Favourite Pastime: Sleeping. I like to follow the sun as it moves around the house. This can take all day to accomplish and by the time I’m done doing that it’s time to have a quick snooze on the end of my slaves bed (or if its winter under the doona). I have been known to claw the sole of their feet if they try to kick me out. What is the point of having slaves if not to warm the bed?

Most embarrassing moment: Being caught sleeping next to the dumb, but warm and soft, dog and then being photographed. Humans have no sense of class I am sure they are planning to use it against me one day.

Most memorable: Catching a rat almost as big as my sister. My slave shrieked in delight then gathered it up before the dog could eat it. I never did see where she put it…

Jan 30, 2011

Sunday Smooch

Welcome to another LoveCats DownUnder Sunday Smooch!

Today we have a smooch from Walk On The Wild Side by Natalie Anderson, but first ...

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

Congratulations, Kylie! Can you please contact Tracey O'Hara at

tracey (at) traceyohara (dot) com

and she'll send you a copy of Death's Sweet Embrace.

And now for today's Sunday Smooch from Walk On The Wild Side by Natalie Anderson...


There’s nothing like a kiss! As in real life, kisses in stories often herald the turning point in a relationship – sometimes they’ve been waiting so long to happen it’s such a relief, sometimes they’re playful and passionate and fun and sometimes, they’re a result of a pent-up mess of emotions – anger, frustration and desire…

One crazy afternoon on the beach...
A fling with sinfully hot champion snowboarder Jack Greene isn't Kelsi Reid's normal
behaviour... but one glimpse of his wicked blue eyes has Kelsi throwing caution to the deep blue sea (along with her clothes!). After all, who better to go crazy with than a man who deserves a gold medal for his prowess on the slopes and in the bedroom...? Then Kelsi crashes down with a terrifying bump - of the baby kind. They couldn't be worse matched - Jack is Mr Right-Now, while Kelsi craves stability. But it's hard to keep your feet on the ground once you've met the man who turns your world upside down...

“It’s going to be fine,’ she smiled but it wasn’t a natural one. “It’s all going to be ok.”

“Oh?” He stopped. She still had her back pressed against the window, as far away from him as possible.

“Sure,” she nodded. “I have a good job. I have no worries financially. It won’t be easy, but it’ll be doable.”

Somehow that didn’t make h
im feel any better. Now she was suggesting she didn’t even want his money? Ridiculous. Doing it alone wasn’t easy – even with only one child. His instincts sharpened – body becoming even more battle ready. “What will you do with the baby?”

“When it comes I can keep working from home. Later I can return to the office part-time and work my hours back up as it gets older.”

“You’ve thought all this through,” he said, not keeping the sarcasm out.

She looked cool. “Funnily enough, I haven’t been able to think of much else.”

Okay so he knew it was the twenty-first century and all and there were plenty of working mothers out there, plenty of solo mothers too, but there was that basic instinct in him now rearing its
head up from the cave it had been born in, saying the man ought to provide for his woman and child. And there was another instinct rising too, threatening to override everything – his need for this woman – pushing him to do the thing he’d been dreaming of for ever. “And where did you see me fitting in with this?”

“I don’t.”

“Pardon?” Jack couldn’t control the snap of his muscles.

“I already said you don’t need to worry about it.” Kelsi looked away from the wild expression in his eyes. “I c
an manage just fine on my own.” And she could. And she would.

“Really.” He looked furious. “Ok, let’s say, for a second, that that’s true.” He walked towards her, his anger surging ahead of him in an invisible cloud. “Let’s say you can manage just fine on your own and you don’t need me.”

Kelsi froze, despite her instinct screaming at her to run. And then it was too late. He swiftly pulled her into his arms – lifting her right off her feet. Her heart thundered at the feel of his hard strength pressed so close to her. And it almost beat right out of her chest as his mouth descended.

Her whole body convulsed as his lips pressed hard on hers. It was anger she tasted, but also passion. And she couldn’t do anything except put her arms around his neck and hold on. She tried so hard to stop the spinning inside but she couldn’t contain the response, couldn’t stop herself softening, opening for him and feeling the rush of desire for more. He was all strength, all passion. And all fury.

She shuddered deeply again as he ravaged, showing her no mercy, kissing her until she succumbed c
ompletely – not just to his desire, but to her own. Until suddenly she kissed him back as keenly and as wildly. Until just as suddenly she panicked and pushed him away hard.

He dropped her and she gasped.

“What do we do about that?” he demanded.

Kelsi quickly took three paces away, her emotions tossed about like corks on a stormy sea. What was he thinking kissing her like that? “You think complicating
this even more is a good idea?” she demanded shakily.

“It’s that co
mplicated already, I don’t think this is going to make much difference.”

“You’ve got to be ki

“I still want you.”

Want to know what happens next? Just leave a comment to be in the draw for a signed copy of Walk on the Wild Side!

Come back next Sunday, when the winner of today's giveaway will be announced -- and a smooch from Million-Dollar Amnesia Scandal by Rachel Bailey will be posted!

Jan 28, 2011

Pets in Books

Reading: Siren by Tara Moss
Listening to: Free Falling by John Mayer
Watching: Vampire Diaries (Season 2)
Making me smile: My cute as a button new born son!

I’m so excited to be posting here for the first time, even if I am a little behind schedule! I had a good excuse though, with our first baby arriving 3 weeks early . . . small but healthy, and super cute! So a huge thank you to Natalie Anderson for stepping up to fill my spot last week.
At the moment I’m working on the proposal for my fourth book with Harlequin Romance, and I’ve just realised it’s my first story that doesn’t include any pets. Yet. As a very passionate animal lover who enjoys nothing more than being surrounded by animals, I seem to have turned all of my characters into animal lovers too. Or at least they are by the end of my stories!
From a loving Golden Retriever who helps heal a little girl’s broken heart in my first book, to a waggy-tailed little scruff ball of a dog in my second book and a Labrador puppy in my third, there’s no escaping the four-legged creatures. I’ve also added horses into my last one for my cowboy hero, which was great fun to do, and let me share a personal interest with my readers.

But just because I love animals doesn’t necessarily mean all the potential readers of my books will, so it’s a matter of writing pets into each story without letting them become too dominant. My question here is whether you like reading about animals, or whether you’d prefer the characters you read about to be pet-less! I also seem to have a penchant for writing children into my stories, but that’s another question entirely and one Natalie talked about last week.

Soraya's debut Harlequin Romance, Soldier on Her Doorstep, is out in the UK in June/USA July. For more information head to www.sorayalane.blogspot.com

Jan 26, 2011

Romance from a male perspective

What I am reading: HOME: Alison Parr

What I am listening to: Wild Ride, Jennifer Crusie

What I am watching: The Wire

What is making me smile: My niece's engagement.

I thoroughly enjoyed Marion Lennox’s article in the current Hearts Talk “From a Male Perspective” in which Elliot Hannay convincingly explained why he thinks Last of the Mohicans is “one of literature’s great romances.” It was insightful and entertaining. I particularly liked the bloke’s take on the romantic high point when Elliot describes how, with both of them facing almost certain death in the morning, Hawkeye puts the ‘hard word on Cora.” Refreshingly to the point, with no romantic languishing of hot, seducing eyes or brooding presence or other such nonsense.

Of course, I then had to ask my own husband what he'd class as the greatest romance and with it, the romantic high point. G. looked hunted – this is a man who reads only science fiction and philosophy. Writers like William Gibson might be brilliant, but they are not great on love stories. After a few minutes of silence as he racked his brains, I tried to find a common language in film. “Hans Solo and Princess Leia?” I suggested. No! Farscape and Firefly didn’t cut it either. Ideally, he felt, love should have the elements of tragedy within it to prove how strong it is. Last of the Mohicans certainly had that.

This reminded me of the scene in Cross Stitch where Claire is captured by Jamie’s arch enemy, Randall, who wants nothing more than to imprison and torture Jamie again, before executing him. Jamie breaks into this enemy stronghold to rescue Claire armed only with an unloaded pistol and a great line in bluff. She hasn’t even been a good wife to him up to now, is only in this predicament because she ran away from him. Yet still he risks it all…. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, G. hasn’t read the book so couldn’t comment.

We went to the DVD shelves. English Patient? Strike. Casablanca? Strike. Finally he settled, somewhat grudgingly, on Pretty Woman because Richard Gere goes against everything he personifies to pursue his love for Julia. The high point is his arrival in the Cadillac with the flowers. “Because of the car?” (G.’s also an avid car lover). G looked appalled. “No, the car is awful but he’s doing it all for her. The car, the flowers, climbing the ladder, it’s all for her. He’s putting himself aside entirely and knows he’s always going to be stigmatised for choosing her but he goes ahead anyway. His love is truly pure.”

So here’s the question to ask the men in your life. Which is the greatest romance and what is the romantic high point? Or share your own views on the subject. For the moment, I’m going with Jamie’s rescue, though I admit, I’m also off to the library to get hold of Last of the Mohicans again and am quite prepared to change my mind.

Jan 24, 2011

My blokey secret...


by Nikki Logan

I have a few New Year traditions that are more entrenched than I realised until I was extended the proverbial offer-I-couldn’t-refuse in 2010 and I did refuse it. For me, New Years has become about the Edinburgh Military Tattoo (delightful again this year), the mother of all office clean-ups in the air-con on New Year’s Day (start the year as you mean to continue...) and the big one: The Dakar.
Ten years ago I never would have imagined that I’d get excited by synchronised drumming followed by spring-cleaning followed by a fourteen day car race.

What have I become??

Yet I find myself strangely drawn to that nasally, cockney voice on SBS who rattles on about sports-drivers Roma and Peterhansel and Sainz and Coma and Despres. I love the heart-stopping, gasp-worthy exploits of those crazy men in their crazy machines hurtling over the sand-dunes at death-defying speeds.

There’s a few things I love less about the Dakar (deaths, injuries, destruction) but I tend to block my ears and go la la laaa about that for this one race of the year.

For the uninitiated, the Dakar is predominantly a ‘desert’ rally/race held previously in East Africa but now in South America thanks to the big honking target drawn on its back due to international popularity and the tendancy for extremist activity. It is open to anyone with a vehicle, second-mortgage on their home or a entourage of sponsors to pay the entry fee and...well...a death-wish. Bikes, cars, quads and even the big support trucks get in on the action. Some truck driver a few years back said ‘hey, we’re out there anyway, we can go fast… let’s race!’ and so now the giant Kamaz trucks are an iconic and insane part of the Dakar experience. I can only imagine how tightly everything would have to be strapped down inside to stop every single spare part ending up like a jigsaw. 
Marc Coma
2011 Winner - Bikes
(& Spanish eyecandy)
The Dakar is about dirt and mud and sweat and endurance and speed and agony and triumph and loss. It’s about a whole bunch of men and the occasional intrepid woman—who (on the whole) are old enough to know better—hammering their bodies year after year and trying to get to the end of the run. Hundreds start. Handfuls finish. It’s about corporate funded super-teams with dozens of support crew going up against self-funded first-timers with the guy-from-down-the-street-who’s-great-with-bikes along to help out. It’s about camaraderie and adrenaline.

Nasser Al Attiyah
2011 Winner - Car
(& Quatari eyecandy)

It’s about me sitting on my air-conditioned sofa imagining I’m doing all of those things for half an hour every night the first fortnight in January. And maybe…just maybe…about smiling quietly to myself at all those dusty, sweaty, fit, riders and drivers with their lovely accents…

And to anyone who is wondering where the relevance is to a romance blog... You only have to watch half-a-dozen suited up riders walking in slo-mo to the dawn start line, or stripping off their shirts out in the desert to tighten a scorching hot muffler, or blowing a kiss to their wives from the winner's podium. The Dakar is romance for blokes. I promise...promise... that this is about as blokey as I get all year and we've gotten it out of the way nice and early.

Sadly the Dakar is over until New Year 2012. But boy do I have a corker of an idea for a story ticking over…!

So what's your secret, blokey vice? Football? Motor-racing? Air-racing? Do you like to peruse car auctions? Hang out in hardware stores? Come on...fess up... You're amongst friends :)

Nikki's current release 'The Soldier's Untamed Heart' has a heroine with a blokey job--security coordinator. Check it out onshelf now.

Jan 23, 2011

Sunday Smooch

Welcome to another LoveCats DownUnder Sunday Smooch!

Today we have a smooch from Death's Sweet Embrace by Tracey O'Hara, aka LoveCat Tracie Sommers, but first ...

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

Congratulations, Linda Henderson! Can you please contact Nikki Logan at

nikki (at) nikkilogan (dot) com (dot) au

and she'll send you a copy of The Soldier's Untamed Heart.

And now for today's Sunday Smooch from Death's Sweet Embrace by Tracey O'Hara...

After thousands of years of secret conflict, humans and parahumans have reached an uneasy truce. But unspeakable evil now threatens to shatter the tenuous peace. Teenaged shapeshifters are being slaughtered by a twisted, sadistic serial killer who rips their still-beating hearts from their paralyzed bodies. A task force must be formed to halt the madness—a union of avengers including the vampiric Aeternus, Christian Laroque and Antoinette Petrescu, as well as Kitt Jordan and Raven Matokwe, members of enemy Animalian tribes…and forbidden lovers. A centuries-old feud has divided their shapeshifting peoples, and if their passion is discovered it will doom them both. But past hostilities must be put aside, for the killer they seek is but the first sign of a blossoming terror rising up from their long-buried pasts: the all-consuming nightmare of The Dark Brethren.

[Set-up: Kitt and Raven are past lovers. He has been running from people hunting him and seeks refuge in her apartment. It’s the first time they've been alone since he returned...]

Kitt pushed the eggs around on her plate and sipped at the juice while Raven fell on his food like a man who hadn’t eaten for weeks. Fatigue descended on her again, but the thought of bed raised other images. Images she shouldn’t be picturing. Dangerous images. Her animal lust threatened to overwhelm her, so she picked up her plate and carried it into the kitchen.

She stood at the sink, scraping the barely touched meal into the trash, when Raven came in. The room suddenly felt smaller than it did a moment before. He was watching her; she could feel his eyes burning a spot between her shoulder blades but didn’t dare turn. It would be her undoing. His breath touched her skin as he came nearer and reached around to put his empty plate on the sink.

“Here, let me.” His fingers closed over hers and he took the plate from her hands.

Her fatigue fled. She turned around. Big mistake. His wide soft mouth was close, very close. She snagged her lower lip with her teeth and pressed herself back against the sink.

He closed his eyes and inhaled deeply. “You smell so good.”

“So do you,” she said, her voice barely above a whisper. “Too good.” Her inner snow leopard growled.

He placed his hands on the counter, either side of her body, still not touching her. As he leaned in, she leaned away, keeping her eyes locked on his full sensual mouth. Memories of what those lips could do to her sent a flush across her skin.

His chin brushed the tip of her nose as he planted a kiss between her eyebrows, then he tilted his head to her neck and breathed in deep. When he raised his head again, his eyes were closed, as though he was savoring her scent. Then his lips burned the indentation at the base of her throat. Her head fell back, granting him greater access, and she clutched his shoulders for support.

Raven pressed one hand on her lower back and the other between her shoulder blades. His hands traveled down to her hips and slid up her sides, dragging over her top. She allowed him to unzip her slacks and untuck her shirt. He pinned her with his hips, and his fingertips trailed down her inner arms, tracing the ridges of her ribs through the thin shirt material. She buried her hands in his hair and crushed his lips to hers. She wanted to breathe him in, to quench her hunger and her felian lust.

Death's Sweet Embrace is out at the end of this month in bookstores across North America. Tracey has one copy to give away to a lucky commenter!

Come back next Sunday, when the winner of today's giveaway will be announced -- and a smooch from Walk On The Wild Side by Natalie Anderson will be posted!

Jan 20, 2011

Books from the past we love to keep...

Reading: Pray for Dawn by Jocelynn Drake
Watching: Sam Stosur win tennis!
Listening to: the frogs outside
Making me Smile: Thinking how lucky I am

Unlike many of my writer friends, I don't shelve a lot of my books. Of course there are exceptions to that rule (g). I've clung onto a few of my books for twenty-five years or more, the ones that have touched me in some way, resonated with me...ones that are just darn good reads.
Right now I find myself thinking back on the books I've loved, even as a child. The Black Stallion (of course!) The Silver Brumby series, The Secret Garden and The Wishing Chair. Actually, just recently I've ordered some 'learn to read' books for my youngest daughter, ones I still remember from thirty-five years ago (LOL - am I *really* that old???)
Not all of my keeper books are paranormal ones, although yes, J.R Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood series has its own shelf.
My favourite 'old' books are actually good old fashioned romances. Top of my list:
1: The Wilder Shores of Love, by Madeleine Ker (1987) -The heroine Margot, is a heroin addict. The hero, Adam, literally kidnaps her and forces her off the habit.
I *love* this story - and it's a harlequin presents!! How the lines have changed - and you'll probably notice, the titles too.
2: Eagles Prey, by Lucy Gordon (1987) - Sara, a wildlife photographer goes to the very remote and supposedly uninhabitable, Farraway island to photograph golden eagles. Rorke, hiding out on murder charges, uses her as bait to lure the real killer to him.
This one is a Silhouette Desire, again very different to how the lines are today - same again with the title.
3: No Gentle Seduction, by Helen Bianchin (1991). Lexi has it all, a great modelling career, wealth and looks. But her father is ill...and Georg Nicolaos is ruthless enough to take advantage of the fact.
Another Presents line, and quite a lot like the modern presents, the rich heroine, the richer hero. This one is just a great read.
4: Lady Vixen, by Shirlee Busbee (1980). The heroine Nicole is desperate to escape from her abusive relatives. On seeing Christopher (Lord Saxon) she devises a plan. Cutting her hair and dressing as a cabin boy, she stows away on his ship. Lots of twists and turns, but you can guess the attraction when he discovers the 'he' is a 'she'!
This was possibly one of my first historical romances (Avon), and possibly still my very favourite. Of course, it's a bit of a bodice-ripper, but I seriously don't care in this one instance (g)

So what about you guys? Any old favourites out there I should know about? I'd love to hear about them =)

Jan 19, 2011

Its a beautiful, bouncing, baby boy!

Reading: My revision notes from my ed for the 100,000th time
Watching: Golden Globes highlights
Making me SMILE: Soraya’s news that I’m about to share...

Okay, so as you know there are a few of us newbie Cats on the block this year – Riva/Desire/Presents Extra author Robyn Grady, Cherish/Romance author Soraya Lane and me (Natalie Anderson, Riva/Presents Extra). Now it’s supposed to be Soraya’s first blog today but I’m so thrilled to report that just over 24 hours ago, Soraya gave birth to her first child – a lovely, healthy baby boy!!! So she’s in hospital (both she and babe are doing very well) and today you’re stuck with me.

Photo by Louisa Stokes, www.freedigitalphotos.net

So first up, can I say a huge congratulations to Soraya and her husband and welcome the world’s newest little hero :)

(That's not him in the photo btw - I'm still waiting on visuals - can't wait to meet him!!!)

Anyway, because of Soraya’s wonderful news, I got to thinking about babies. Funny that!

Babies and children often feature in romance novels and for a reason – they’re popular! Especially in the ‘home and hearth’ lines. But in the line I write for – now known as Riva in the UK, babies don’t tend to arrive during the book. They’re sometimes in an epilogue, more often in the far off future... Although it has to be said that the ‘unplanned pregnancy’ is definitely a popular ‘hook’. I’ve not written many pregnancy stories up to now (I think it’s because I have four kids of my own, and I like to escape to a child-free, ‘glam’ zone in my writing-  at least for a little while!). But then I came up with a hero and heroine and I just knew I had to put them in this position and let them work their own way out of it...

Unplanned pregnancies are common. Yes you can have supposedly safe sex and still get pregnant especially, as my hero and heroine discover, when there’s lots of salt water, sand and ferocious energy involved ;) But these two point blank refused to go straight down the ‘we’d better get married’ route which is often what happens on the pages – or at least  in the opinion of one of the two main characters. No, my two non-conformists stop and consider all the options (and flat out non-options – marriage is a no-go for them both). They eventually decide they can be very modern and come up with some kind of co-parenting scheme that will work just fine... Of course, things get complicated - (for the couple, not for the pregnancy fortunately!). Walk on the Wild Side is out in Feb in the UK and in April in the US. I found it a challenging one to write – in part I think because I always want the heroine to be sure she’s loved – for her to know that had she not gotten pregnant, she and this hero would have gotten together and found the happy ever after anyway...

Do you enjoy unplanned pregnancy plotlines? How about children in stories – do you like to have them chattering on the page? I do think there’s something wonderful about seeing a hero interact with a young child – especially when he may have always considered them some kind of alien species... Or do you prefer your romances to be nappy-free?!

By the way, Soraya has a FANTASTIC child character in her debut book – Soldier on her Doorstep (out in June in the UK). There’ll be tears from you – I promise! Stay tuned for more info to come on that one :)

Jan 16, 2011

Sunday Smooch

Welcome to another LoveCats DownUnder Sunday Smooch!

Today we have a smooch from The Soldier's Untamed Heart by Nikki Logan, but first ...

the winner of last week's Sunday Smooch Giveaway is -- CATSLADY.

Congratulations, catslady! Can you please contact Emily May at

emilywritesregencies (at) gmail (dot) com

and she'll send you a signed copy of the Summer Blockbuster containing The Unmasking of a Lady.

And now for today's Sunday Smooch from The Soldier's Untamed Heart by Nikki Logan...

Brooding ex-soldier Clint McLeish isolates himself in the outback. He trusts no-one, but his wildlife park needs a security coordinator--someone as tough as him, as intuitive as him. Someone with luscious curves, eyes to drown in and an enticing tattoo peeking out from under her tank top...?

Romy Carvell is no man's fool! She can see there's something missing in rugged Clint's life, and if she can overcome her inhibitions, she may be the woman to finally tame his heart.

In The Soldier's Untamed Heart (out this month in bookstores as Harlequin Romance in North America and Mills & Boon Sweet in Australia/NZ) Romy Carvell has been working for a few weeks for brooding, ex-military Clint and avoiding him like the plague. She grew up with a military father and doesn't like 'the system'. But tonight is a work function and they've attended together. The more Romy avoids Clint the surlier he gets until she finds him tucked away in an alcove behind the building. She realises his aloof silence is not becuase he's so bad-ass, it's becuase he's so bad-with-crowds. Romy is about to leave him to his misery when his hands snake around her waist, steal her breath and he pulls her gently against him back into the sheltered alley alcove....

‘We never got to finish our dance,’ he said.

Walk away, Romy

What had happened to the smart, savvy woman who raised a child, protected a family and sacrificed everything for her son? She fled completely in the face of the blatant desire pulsing from the over-sized testosterone bomb in front of her.

A surge of want answered deep in her body. The primal creature hungering for satisfaction. How bad could it be to give Cinderella one last dance with the Prince? Clint sensed her acquiescence and pulled her gently into his arms. She let herself lean into his solid frame, tucked in closer than she needed to be even in the close confines of the doorway, and pressed her cheek to his shoulder. He gathered her up against him. Their feet started moving in time with the distant music but it was automatic. Romy couldn't hear a thing over the march of his heart under her ear. It took only seconds for her own to fall into synch.


Her hands slipped around behind him, spread across his massive back, splayed and sure. He cocooned her until her face buried in the crook of his neck, comfortably, snugly. Like the safe harbour of her fantasies.

Nothing could harm her while she was in these arms.

They shuffled left and right, barely moving in the evening breeze. Seasons came and went, ages passed, continents drifted and still they pressed together, swaying.

Clock’s ticking, Cinders

It felt entirely natural to tilt her face and nuzzle the place below Clint's jaw. To breathe in the scent of him. To press her mouth into the heavy, thumping pulse there. To taste smooth, male skin for the first time. Her lips roamed his throat, her breasts lifting and falling against his chest, and she pushed onto her toes so she could reach his ear to take one perfect lobe softly between her teeth. It took an eternity.

The rumble in her ears sounded like thunder, but it came from deep inside Clint. The primitive growl excited the blood in her veins as his hands slid up to pull her harder against his straining body. She pulled one hand free and shoved it roughly through his hair, anchoring herself there and using it to hoist herself upwards so she could feast on the heady taste of him. She sank into his throat like a vampire starving for blood.

‘God...’ It was more choke than word. Male and raw. ‘Romy…’

Her breasts strained against the bodice of her dress, almost coming entirely free as she stretched toward him. His hands found the bare, hot skin of her shoulders. The soft, sensitive flesh of her nape. The wild, flushed heat of her cheeks. They braced her jaw, tore her away from her decadent feeding and tilted her gaze upwards. She had just enough seconds to suck in a breath before those magnificent, sinful lips dropped decisively onto hers.

The Soldier's Untamed Heart
is out this month in bookstores North America and Australia/NZ. Nikki has one copy to give away to a lucky commenter! No specific question, just let Nikki know whether this is a kiss you'd like to see moreof. *fans self*

Come back next Sunday, when the winner of today's giveaway will be announced -- and a smooch from Death's Sweet Embrace by Tracey O'Hara will be posted!

Jan 14, 2011

There's a Lot of Love Out There

Trying times are often when we see, and reap the benefits of, the very best in human nature.

I’m a Queenslander. The last time massive floods hit I wasn’t old enough to understand the grief and hopelessness that had gripped my city, Brisbane. I remember seeing the water creeping up our hill and the sludge and smell afterward. I heard but didn’t understand the ramifications of ‘people losing everything.’

Almost forty years on, like the rest of the nation – the world – I’m devastated for the anguish of so many. I’ve been through hard times (who hasn’t), and it’s always been the support of friends and family that has brought me through. When tragedy strikes, people want to help any way they can. Donating food, clothes and cash, foster care for stranded animals, offering someone a place to sleep...

I’m proud to be part of the writing community’s efforts to do their bit. Romance Writers of Australia have organized a book drive. There’s an on line auction happening where authors are donating books and critiques. I’m offering a six month category romance writing mentorship. Whatever the winning bid, I will donate that much again. We’ll keep you updated on those, and other, endeavours. :)

So many harrowing images have emerged. But alongside despair also lives courage and the spirit to survive and thrive. Governments, businesses, neighbors, friends, family…all are pulling together to help. As our Premier Anna Bligh said, “There’s a lot of love out there.”

Has anyone here been affected either by this or a similar situation?

Also, I want to pass on that Rob Hap has won a copy of Amnesias Ex: Unforgettable Vows. Rob please contact me at robyn-grady @ hotmail.com :)

Jan 11, 2011


By Michelle Douglas

Reading: Bedded by Blackmail by Robyn Grady

Watching: Pie in the Sky

Listening to: Creedence Clearwater Revival

Making me smile: The Owl and the Pussycat

One of the things I most love about January is cracking open the plastic around a brand new wall calendar, smoothing it out and then hanging it on the wall next to my desk. Choosing a calendar is serious business. After all, this calendar is going to be hanging above my head for a whole year. I don't want something that's boring and monochrome or that, once hung, I barely notice from one day to the next.

This year I've chosen The Owl and the Pussycat. Here it is.

Isn't it gorgeous!

Why The Owl and the Pussycat?

Well, for starters, I love the poem. It's a wonderful piece of nonsense and it rhymes, and this particular calendar has the most wonderfully evocative illustrations with the strangest details.

Also, The Owl and the Pussycat is a love story. Sigh. I write love stories. Sigh. So my calendar is inspiration.

But the major reason I've chosen The Owl and the Pussycat calendar for 2011 is whimsy - pure and simple. Playfulness and fun and laughter are their own rewards. This calendar makes me smile. And quite frankly I've come to the conclusion that the meaning of life is surrounding yourself with things that make you smile. It's hard to be gloomy when you have so many things to smile about.

So what about you, are you as hooked on calendars as I am? What calendar do you have up on your wall?

Jan 10, 2011

Smart New Year’s Resolutions

Reading: Heartbreaker by Linda Howard
Watching: Top Gear
Listening to: Lullaby by Jewel
Making me smile: My new laptop

January is the month that many a person across the globe is busy making New Year’s Resolutions...to lose those last five kilos, to get that book of the heart written, to find a new job, to blog more….

BUT…we’ve all been in the position where many a New Year’s Resolution has fallen by the wayside. Life intrudes and by half way through the year we realise we don’t have a chance of success and by December we realise our resolutions were too ambitious, too big, too unrealistic.

So how do we make realistic resolutions that we have a good chance of making reality? I’ve borrowed a little tool from my day job that we use to set business goals and objectives and it absolutely applies to resolutions. We need to set SMART resolutions.

Image: Gualtiero Boffi | Dreamstime.com

Specific - don’t set yourself a nebulous, generic resolution. If you want to succeed your resolution must be specific. Don’t say “I’m going to write this year” instead say “I’m going to write a 15,000 word short story” or I’m going to write a 50,000 word category book.”

Measurable – you have to be able to measure your resolution to a) track your progress and b) to know when you’ve succeeded! So
you need to know how many words you’re going to write, how many kilos you want to lose or how many times you plan to blog.

Attainable – your goal needs to be realistic. Don’t set yourself a resolution you have no chance of achieving or you’re setting yourself up for failure!

Relevant – too many times I see people set themselves resolutions that don’t align with their passions. If you are setting a resolution to make someone else happy you’re doomed to failure. Make sure your resolution is relevant to you.

Time-based – make sure you have enough time to complete your resolution. It’s also important to set yourself some mid-year, time-based milestones so you know you’re on track.

There's one more important thing about resolutions…don’t set too many for yourself! Pick the two or three that are really important to you and focus on those.

Among my 2011 resolutions is blogging minimum twice per week at my personal blog and working on my new Nocturne Bites for 2011.

So, what are your (SMART) New Year’s Resolutions?

Jan 8, 2011

Sunday Smooch

Welcome to the second LoveCats DownUnder Sunday Smooch!

This week, we have a Regency Smooch! But first -- TA DA -- the winner of last week's Sunday Smooch giveaway is ... ROB HAP!

Congratulations Rob! Can you please contact Robyn Grady at

robyn-grady (at) hotmail (dot) com

and she'll send you your signed copy of Amnesiac Ex: Unforgettable Vows.

And now for today's Regency Smooch, from The Unmasking of a Lady, by Emily May (Summer Blockbuster, out now)

Drawing Room Lady...
It's common knowledge that Miss Arabella Knightley spent her early years in London's slums. But what the Ton doesn't know is that Arabella has a secret: by day she is a lady, but at night she helps the poor--stealing jewels from those who court her for her money but disdain her for her past.

Ballroom Thief!

Adam St Just--one of London's most eligible bachelors--is bored by polite society. Uncovering the altruistic thief's identity is an interesting diversion--but unbuttoning her proves to be even more diverting. There is far more to the infamous Miss Knightley than he had ever imagined...

(May 1818, on a sunny hillside in Sussex. Miss Arabella Knightley experiences her very first kiss...)

Arabella blushed. She became aware of their closeness, the way their arms almost touched, and drew back.

‘No,’ Adam said, putting down the sketchbook. He reached for her wrist, lightly clasped it. ‘Stay here, beside me.’

Her cheeks be
came hotter.

Adam sm
iled at her. ‘Please?’

Arabella hesitated, and then allowed him to draw her back to where she’d
been sitting. She looked at him shyly from beneath the brim of her bonnet. One of his fingers stroked her wrist, drawing a shiver of pleasure from her. ‘Do you mind if I do this?’ he asked softly, leaning towards her, touching his lips to the corner of her mouth, drawing back to look at her.

Her cheeks became even hotter. ‘No,’ she whispered.

Adam smiled. He leaned forward and kissed her again, lightly, softly.

trembled and closed her eyes.

‘The brim of your bonnet is in the way,’ Adam whispered against her cheek.

She opened her eyes. ‘It ... it is?’

Adam untied
the ribbons of her bonnet and laid it aside. ‘That’s better.’ He smiled at her and touched his fingertips to her cheek, her jaw. She shivered. Such a dangerous way he had of touching her, causing pleasure to prickle over her skin.

His head dipped again, his lips touched hers.

This time Adam didn’t stop. His mouth was gentle, coaxing, teasing. Arabella closed her eyes. Her awareness of their surroundings faded. The lemonade and the macaroons, the horse, the hillside, no longer existed. The world narrowed to Adam’s hand lightly at the nape of her neck, to his mouth, to the heat rising inside her—

His tongue touched her lower lip, his teeth gently nipped: a question.
Arabella answered by shyly opening her mouth to him.

Adam kissed her slowly, gently. He tasted of sugar and coconut, of lemon. Delicious. Heady. Heat flooded her body. She leaned towards him and clutched the lapel of his coat.

Seconds, minutes, hours ... she had no idea how long the kiss lasted before Adam finally broke it.
Arabella opened her eyes. His hand was gone from the nape of her neck; her skin felt cold where it had been, bereft. Come back. She blinked and stared at him. Her breathing was ragged, her pulse tumultuous.

Adam stared back at her. His eyes were more black than grey, the pupils dilated. Beneath her hand, hi
s heart beat rapidly. ‘I think we’d better stop,’ he said in an unsteady voice.

Arabella swallowed and nodded, unable to speak. Her awareness of their surroundings returned abruptly: the blanket, the picnic, the horse. She lowered her hand and drew back.

Adam cleared his throat. He refilled her glass. The flask clunked against the little goblet, as if his hand shook.

Arabella sipp
ed the lemonade. Her fingers trembled. Slowly the heat faded, her pulse slowed, her breathing steadied. Kissing, she realised, was a very dangerous pastime.

The Unmasking of a Lady is out now in Australia and New Zealand, as part of the Summer Blockbuster. I have one copy to give away to a lucky commenter. Tell me what you like most about Regency Romances!

Come back next Sunday, when the winner of today's giveaway will be announced -- and a smooch from The Soldier's Untamed Heart by Nikki Logan will be posted!

Jan 7, 2011

The Music of Love

Watching: Who Do You Think You Are
Reading: Simply Irrisistable by Jill Shalvis
Listening to: Diana Krall
Making Me Smile: Fergus pretending to be a good dog so he can come with me today to visit my mum

I've always wanted to be able to play the piano well. I had lessons as a child, I even made half-hearted attempts to practice, but I'm still not that much chop. So I did the natural thing - I created a heroine, April Fairchild, who could play (and sing!) so well that she's become world famous. (And her hero, Seth Kentrell, finds her playing very attractive. :))

The next question was what type of singer / pianist she was. I don't know about you, but I think some slower jazz numbers can be very sensual and just seemed to fit perfectly for a romance. I listened to a lot of Diana Krall, in particular, while writing this book.

Side note: I listened to Ravel's Bollero over and over while writing At The Billionaire's Beck and Call - the slow, controlled build to the explosive end really worked for Ryder and Macy's journey.

So tell me, what sort of music do you think is the most romantic, or the most sensual? And while you're here, go on and make me jealous and tell me if you can play an instrument.

When I get my author copies of April's story, Million-Dollar Amnesia Scandal, I'll post out a copy to one commenter.

Jan 5, 2011

101 Ways to Use Christmas Leftovers

By Sharon Archer

Reading: Mind Race by Patrick Jamieson

Watching: Long Way Round

Listening: Midnight Express

Making Me Smile: Packing away the Christmas tree - it's the twelfth day of Christmas.

Okay, perhaps the 101 is... a slight exaggeration but with your help it might not be! Leftovers are some of my favourite meal starters! And with a fridge bursting at the seams with leftover goodies from the festive season, it’s a chance to flex the creative cooking neuron.

So, leftovers...

Vegetables – great in a frittata or in a bacon and egg pie with the lot. Or ditch the bacon and chop up some of that leftover ham instead.

Leftover ham is also excellent in fried rice. Turkey or pork would be great used this way, t

Chopped up lamb and vegetables mixed up with a bit of leftover gravy make a very nice base for a homemade pie – or if you’re feeling even more creative, mash some potatoes (if they’re leftovers too then so much the better!) and make it a shepherd’s pie!

Too hot for cooking? Perhaps some of that ham could add pizzazz to a rice or pasta salad!

So what are your secrets for using up the leftovers?

Jan 3, 2011

Jane Austen and the New Year!

Emily May

What I'm reading: Jane Eyre

Watching: Dexter

Listening to: Fat Freddy's Drop

Welcome to a brand new year everyone!

To start 2011 with a regency flavour, I'd like to share some quotations from the incomparable Jane Austen.
Since this is a blog for people who love to read, I'll begin with Mr Tilney's views on reading -- or rather, his damning views on people who don't read!

"The person,
be it
gentleman or lady,
who has not pleasure
in a good novel,
st be intolerably stupid."

None of us are intolerably stupid, right? If we were to meet Mr Tilney among the pages of Northanger Abbey, he would suitably impressed by our novel reading and pronounce us tolerably intelligent, wouldn't he? So, from one avid reader to another, let me wish you all many hours of joyful reading this year!

Secondly, here is a piece of Jane wisdom (said by Mrs Morland to her daughter Catherine, also in Northanger Abbey):

"You should never fret about trifles."

I'm a big trifle-fretter, but I'm going to do my best to follow this advice. Hopefully 2011 is the year I'll conquer this habit!

Another excellent observation of Jane's (via the eponymous Emma of Emma) is this:

"Silly things do cease to be silly
if they are done by sensible people
in an impudent way."

I love this quote -- it's definitely an invitation to us all to do silly things!

My favourite Jane Austen quote, however, is this one from Sense and Sensibility (as uttered by Edward Ferrars):

"I wish as well as every body else
to be perfectly happy;
but like every body else
it must be in my own way."

Very, very true. We each need to find our own happiness in our own, unique way. If we haven't already found it, may 2011 be the year that we do!

I'd like to finish with some excellent advice from Jane:

"Run mad as often as you choose, but do not faint!"

And to illustrate the excellence of that advice, here's Mr Darcy in his wet shirt after doing a little running mad (or rather, swimming mad)...

Happy 2011 everyone -- may it be a fabulous year for us all, full of reading, and no trifle-fretting, and lots of silliness, and finding our own happiness, and running mad -- but not fainting!
If you have any favourite Jane quotes, please feel free to share them!