Mar 30, 2011

Catwalk Wednesday

My name is Chicken and I am queen of the garden.

I have my own house outside with a pen, but the gate is always open. Personally, I think I should live in the house with my human slave, Cathleen Ross. Sometimes when she leaves the door open, I rush inside and sit on her desk, next to her computer.

I love food, any food. First, I go and sit outside the back door with Peasant-the-dog and Fatso-the-cat, then when I’ve eaten all of their food, I rush around to the front and eat with my friend, Poppy-the-rabbit. Other wild animals come and join us because the food is so good. Cathleen has finally worked it out that I like to have my food served properly so I have my own tray. Beautiful, isn’t it?

My favourite food is top quality mince. It’s quite pathetic because my slave expects me to take turns with Peasant and Fatso. I never take turns if I can help it and I have even been known to attack Peasant if Cathleen shows her favour over me. I love to crow in the morning right next to Cathleen’s bedroom so she gets up and feeds me. Cathleen tried to explain to me that she didn’t know that chickens crow. She even used a statue of a rooster to explain that a rooster looks different from me. Personally, when I heard that a rooster doesn’t lay eggs, I thought that’s the life for me. Cathleen said she’s very disappointed in me because I won’t lay anymore. Why should I? They hurt when they come out and if she thinks I’m contributing to that egg basket, she’s kidding herself!

My human slave has some strange ideas about chickens. She thinks when there’s a heat wave that it’s okay to dress in her swimmers, grab me and put me in the swimming pool. It is never okay to do this to me. I don’t like swimming. Now when I see her in a costume, I run and hide. Cathleen’s so embarrassing sometimes.

Don't forget about my slave's latest book release, LOVE, LUST AND LIES

Mar 28, 2011

Random, unprovoked self-promo

A blog post in two parts
by Nikki Logan

Part the Firste

A very special book hits shelves in the UK next week—the first category romance I ever wrote. This book won me the attention of Harlequin Mills & Boon editor, Kimberly Young, who went on to become my first editor after she selected my manuscript as winner in a competition. This book boosted me over the 'slush pile' and onto her desk although, as it happened, she went with my second as my debut and I did revisions on this one to make it suit the Romance line.
So for me it’s very special. Honor and Rob falling in love will always be my first-Harlequin-love and I really, really liked them as ‘people’.

Not sure when this will come out in the US or Downunder (RIVAs launch in the UK first) but I’ll be sure to let you know. AVAILABLE IN E-BOOK or PRINT right now from

Part the Seconde

Pretend for a moment that we’re having this conversation in early January instead of late March J  I’m someone who believes that Christmas is a time for family and for putting yourself first and, as such, I really don’t like to be on a book-deadline over that time.  But I also don’t like to just stop and lose momentum and so over the Chrissy break just gone I set myself a new challenge—to make a book trailer.

Now I will put up my hand to say that I’m not really a fan of the book trailer as a sales tool for the actual book. And I think a poorly constructed trailer actually undoes all the work of the perfectly constructed book. But—with a decade of experience in the ad trade in a past life—I’m totally for them as author awareness/branding tool. I also didn’t want to have to make a trailer for every one of my books because who has that kind of time!!

So, I decided to make a trailer that could just tick along behind the scenes and slowly get around. I wanted it to say ‘Nikki Logan’, I wanted it to be professional and I wanted it to reflect my nature-based focus.

Here’s the end result. I hope you guys like it.


PS: My book trailer goals are to make one as clever, brilliant and memorable as the one on YouTube for Sense & Sensibility and Seamonsters. (Go ahead, google it. You absolutely won’t regret it J) Let me know if you know of a trailer as worthy, I love to watch the good ones.

Mar 27, 2011

Sunday Smooch

Welcome to another LoveCats DownUnder Sunday Smooch!

Today we have a smooch from Playboy Doctor to Doting Dad by Sue MacKay, but first ...

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

Congratulations, TashNZ! Can you please contact Liz Fielding at

liz (at) lizfielding (dot) com

and she'll send you a copy of Chosen as the Sheikh's Wife.

And now for today's Sunday Smooch from Playboy Doctor to Doting Dad by Sue MacKay, a Mills & Boon Medical Romance which will be released Downunder in April!

A&E doctor Kieran Flynn with his delicious Irish charm has always called the shots – until now!

Arriving in Nelson to run the A&E dep
artment for two months, Kieran is greeted with not one but three life-changing bombshells:

1) He’ll be working with nurse Abby Brown – he hasn’t seen her since their magical night together two years ago…
2) He’s now daddy to a bouncing tot called Seamus!
3) His buried feelings for Abby make this hospital’s new playboy want to swap all-night parties for reading bedtime stories to the s
on he can’t imagine being without…

So he intended staying here for the evening. Then she’d make the most of having him around. Maybe even get a bit further ahead with integrating him into the children’s lives. ‘How’re your bathing skills?’

‘I’m very capable of taking a bath, though I do prefer a shower.’ His smile widened into a grin.

Heat flushed her cheeks as an unbidden picture of a naked Kieran in the shower winged through her mind. Of course he’d be naked. How else did anyone have a shower? Naked. It had been hard enough seeing him in his swimming shorts at the beach. That broad expanse of chest, those firm muscles that rippled every time he moved. She swallowed. A flutter of excitement tripped across her skin.

‘It sounds perfect.’ Then it dawned on her what she’d said. ‘I mean, the wine and dinner, not the -.’ Shower. Getting in deeper here. She drew air into her lungs. Held it, counted to ten, twenty. Felt Kieran standing beside her. Breathed out, and turned to look at him. And immediately wished she hadn’t. Similar emotions reflected back at her.

His finger lifted her chin up until their gazes caught, held. ‘It does, doesn’t it?’

His mouth came closer to hers, and closer, until slowly, tenderly, his lips brushed over hers, came back and covered her mouth. The kiss was long and slow, and filled with promise, igniting the tiny flame of need that had mostly sat curled in the pit of her stomach since the day Kieran had arrived, so that now it flared through her body, making her tremble and reach her arms up and around him. To hold him, to feel his lean body against hers, to taste his mouth on hers - bliss. She gave herself up to the moment, to Kieran, knowing full well this was as good as it was ever going to get.

‘Abby, are you kissing Uncle Kieran?’

Olivia’s high voice screeched across her senses, slamming her back into reality. Jerking away from Kieran she stared down at her niece as though for the first time ever.

Kieran saved her from having to answer. ‘No, Olivia, Uncle Kieran was kissing Abby.’ Then he looked at her, his eyes the colour of the sky on a hot summer’s day. ‘Guess we’ll have to finish this later. Which am I doing first? Bathing?’ He grinned. ‘Or shopping?’

To be in the draw to win a signed copy of Playboy Doctor to Doting Dad, answer the following question:

In this book Abby loves Kieran’s Irish lilt. Does it have the same effect on you?

Come back next Sunday, when the winner of today's giveaway will be announced -- and a smooch from The End of Faking It by Natalie Anderson will be posted!

Mar 24, 2011

Food in stories - do you find it stimulating?

Reading: “Story” by Robert McKee and a selection of glossy magazines
Listening to: Lionel Ritchie & Guy Sebastian, All Night Long 2011 release for the Chch Earthquake & QLD Flood relief (get it from iTunes)
Making me smile: The cutest little 8 month old we have staying with us for a couple of days!

Two great passions in my life are reading and food – although I must admit my cooking has sometimes been ruined by my reading! And I think you'd be hard pressed to find a book that doesn't reference food or eating at some point! From kids books on, food features - 
remember in all the Famous Fives how the kids ate something every other page – ginger beer, and sandwiches and lashings of whipped cream; Noddy had his jammy buns; Harry Potter and the others have fabulous feasts at Hogwarts. Food, or recipes, have been used to structure novels (like a ‘recipe at the start of each chapter’ style) and  favourite characters' food choices have spawned crazes for certain foods!

Image by Ambro.
And of course in romances so often we have the hero and heroine dining together – it’s a pretty popular thing to do on a date after all! And I confess to loving it when the hero cooks for the heroine (wish fulfillment anyone?!). It can be such a great way to show caring and the development of a relationship. And it can be a very sensual experience too – the sating of one kind of hunger while tempting another... Often authors even have recipes up on their websites for the dishes referred to in certain books – which can be so fabulous and fun.

But sometimes, I must admit to struggling with what the hero and heroine are actually eating. Now, it probably makes a difference in that I’ve been vegetarian for twenty years and am currently vegan  - so yes, detailed descriptions of lamb racks or lobster don’t really do it for me! And yes, it’s going to rule out a lot of recipes that other people would be melting over. So when I’m reading and hit scenes where I’m not so fussed on the menu, I mentally swap the dish for one of my own choosing...

When my first book came out, all my friends tried to tell me the heroine was actually, truly me because she liked all my favourite foods (in particular pineapple and raspberries). So, indignantly, (because that heroine was absolutely  not me) in my second book I made the heroine a total carnivore! Since then my characters have had lots of meals that might or mightn’t be meaty – like soup or pizza – and left it for the reader to put on their own topping  say – but one of my favourite things to have my characters indulge in is, of course, dessert. I figure most people enjoy pudding!  Then there's - ahem - breakfast, which to my mind is the best meal of the day! ;)

And then of course, there’s that other great passion that you can link in with food -  in the book I just sent in, my heroine decides to do some wicked things with her bottle of maple syrup...

In WALK ON THE WILD SIDE – out now in Australia/NZ and in April in the US, there’s a phase where Jack turns up at Kelsi’s door every night and cooks her dinner – using the excuse that his kitchen is undergoing repairs, but really, it’s because it’s the one way he can spend some time with her. She knows the inoperable kitchen thing is an excuse, but she believes he’s only cooking for her because he’s concerned for their unborn baby... intentions, motivations, subtext... are really so much more important than what’s actually on the table ;)

But, let’s talk about it anyway – does it bother you at all when you’re reading a book and the characters are eating something you don’t fancy? Do you like reading detailed descriptions of what they’re eating or do you not notice so much? Have you ever read about a meal in a book and wished you had the recipe - even gone to an author’s online home to find such a recipe? 

Is is possible for fun foodie scenes to stimulate your senses as much as some of those other scenes might?

Now, there aren't any recipes at my website yet sorry, but do head to my Facebook page  
- occasionally I talk about the wicked things you can do with fruit leather ;)

Mar 22, 2011

The Truth About Cats and Dogs

READING: Countess Billie
MAKING ME SMILE: Europe next month!

I am a cat person. I love their independence of spirit, their indifference to the desires of their owners (owners? I hesitate to use the word), their aloof self-containment. Dogs are lovely but their devotion can seem excessive. I find it hard to gaze into adoring eyes. The weight of a loving head on the knee becomes burdensome after a while.

Yet I have to admit, when I think of animals in literature, dogs seem to have it over cats all the way. I can immediately think of famous fictitious dogs: Lassie, Toto, Marley, Santa’s Little Helper, Lady and the Tramp. Georgette Heyer often tucks a dog into her books as a barometer of the trustworthiness of her heroes.

Cats are not so easy. Garfield. Thomasina. Puss in Boots - especially with Antonio doing the voice. Help here, please. There have to be more!

Why is this? I refuse to think that dogs have more personality, but because they wear all their emotions on the outside, they are far easier to write about. A sphinx-like cat stare does become a bit repetitive to describe, however restful it is to live with.

Cats, alas, often end up in villainous roles. They are the familiars of witches (oh, add Salem to the mix), the arch baddie (Shere Khan) or the organised thugs (Truth about Cats and Dogs). New Zealand breeds particularly tough fictitious felines such as Scarface Claw and Horse. Dogs are always the dependable helpmeet, the h/H’s best friend. Often they rise to heroic roles and will even give their lives to save the ones they love. Cats would watch on unblinkingly. I know that.

But just as I feel there have to be good roles out there for actresses over fifty, I feel sure there much be heroic, self-sacrificing cats in fiction or real life. I’d be grateful to anyone who can supply me with examples.

What are your views on cats and dogs as characters? Who are your favourite animal characters?

Mar 21, 2011


Reading: The Girl in the Picture - Denise Chong
Listening to: the birds waking up
Watching: the day get started in our bay

This year I'm trying to hold onto summer for a lot longer than it intends staying. I love all the seasons but this year I would like a bit more of the sunny days on the deck. We have a large deck that for about four months becomes an outdoor lounge where we eat all our meals, entertain friends, barbecue, and have the occasional party.

The sea is cooling down making kayaking a wee bit chilly around my bottom but the water is so calm that I still head out whenever I can. Soon we'll have ice on the roads and fog lurking at the edges of the bush. The wood pigeons will head elsewhere, the dog will lie ever so quietly on his bed in case we notice him and send him outside. But on the plus side of those cold months is lighting the fire and curling up with a good book. Or a glass of wine and a good man - my good man.
Put it that way and maybe I can let go of summer after all. Of course we're really mid autumn now but I'm pretending otherwise. The temperatures have helped me here. And when I get fed up with winter there's spring to look forward to - daffodils and lambs.
Definitely prefer summer.

My second book PLAYBOY DOCTOR TO DOTING DAD is out now in the UK and will be downunder in April. Guess what? It has a summer setting. I have a copy to give away to one blogger today. Tell me about your favourite season.

Mar 20, 2011

Sunday Smooch

Welcome to another LoveCats DownUnder Sunday Smooch!

Today we have a smooch from Chosen as the Sheikh's Wife by Harlequin Romance author Liz Fielding, but first ...

the winner of last week's Sunday Smooch Giveaway is -- sheandeen (Nancy)!

Congratulations, Nancy! Can you please contact Nikki at

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

Since you already have a copy of Friends to Forever, Nikki will send you a copy of Shipwrecked with Mr Wrong!

And now for today's Sunday Smooch from Chosen as the Sheikh's Wife by Liz Fielding, out this month in the US in the 2-in-1 Becoming the Tycoon's Bride.

After a beautiful stranger discovers his long-lost heirloom under a floorboard, Sheikh Fayad al Kuwani swoops in to protect innocent Violet Hamilton. Now, with greedy enemies gathering, the only way he can keep her safe is to put her on his private jet, take her to his desert kingdom and…marry her!

[Prior to the kiss...

Violet Hamilton, having found a priceless khanjar hidden in her grandmother's house, has been whisked away to Ras al Hajar by Sheikh Fayad al Kuwani for her own safety. On arrival she presents the khanjar to the old Emir and finds herself tricked into a public declaration of marriage to the Sheikh. Her new husband is immediately declared Emir. She takes a dim view of the proceedings, certain that she has been used by him to gain the throne.]

‘Whatever happened to
your much-vaunted chance to say “no”?’ Violet demanded, kicking out in an attempt to free herself, furious. Hammering on his shoulders, his back. ‘I trusted you, but your words are worth nothing, Fayad al-Khalifa. I gave you your khanjar and you used it to buy your country. Used me to buy the alliance of the Sayyidi.’

‘Will you just listen to me!’ he thundered. Forget calm. Forget quiet reason…

‘Oh, that’s right. Shout. The male answer to everything.’

‘Violet, this isn’t helping –’

‘It’s helping me.’ She lifted her head, looked down at him. ‘So, your Emiri Highness? What happens now? I’m supposed to go away and get swaddled in veils, is that it? Sit on the white sheet and wait for you to come and unwrap me?’

So intent was she on making her point that she’d forgotten to struggle and with a nod to the driver, he bundled her into the back of a waiting limousine.

They were cut off from the world, even from the driver, who was hidden behind a darkened wall of glass, but Violet was not frightened.

She was furious.

She’d given Sheikh Fayad everything he wanted. Fallen for all that fake sincerity. Believed him.
And here she was with a man – a virtual stranger -- who’d tricked her into marrying him. Sitting in his lap, his arm around her, his breath warm against her hair.

Fight. She’d fight…

‘You’d better be wearing body armour!’ she warned.

And without warning Fayad laughed. How dare he laugh at her… ‘I’ve married a cat,’ he said. ‘I’d always heard that Sayyidi women fight like tigers.’

‘I’m not Sayyidi. I’m Hamilton…’

‘No, you’re not, Violet. You’re mine. You’ll always be mine…’ And he kissed her, not gently. Not to distract her from some painful moment, but like some desert lord who, having captured a prize, aroused by the chase, was determined on making her his.

And that he was aroused she was in no doubt.

But that was his problem, not hers.

Her problem was that, as his kiss became deeper, the satin pleasure of his tongue giving rather than taking, it was not him she was fighting, but her own body’s shockingly urgent response.



She felt hampered by far too many clothes. The long skirt, the thaub were encumbrances, not just holding her down but keeping them apart. She wanted freedom to move, wanted to feel his hand, his hot mouth upon her skin, upon breasts tight with need. Wanted him to sooth the heavy, yearning ache between her thighs.

She wanted, she discovered with a jolt of understanding, to be blissfully, and repeatedly … overwhelmed.

To be in the draw to win a signed copy of Chosen as the Sheikh's Wife (in the 2-in-1 Becoming the Tycoon's Bride), simply tell Liz what it is about a sheikh romance that you love!

Come back next Sunday, when the winner of today's giveaway will be announced -- and a smooch from Playboy Doctor to Doting Dad by Medical romance author Sue MacKay will be posted!

Mar 17, 2011

Lovecat: Tracey O'hara

Please raise your glass and give a warm, fuzzy welcome to fellow Lovecat, writer friend (and conference roomie) Tracey O’hara, whose 2nd Dark Brethren novel is set to be released April 1st in Australia.

Tracey, can you give us 5 words to describe Death’s Sweet Embrace?

Dark. Rejection. Love. Retribution. Family.

Christian and Antoinette feature in your first Dark Brethren novel, Night’s Cold Kiss, do they get to make an appearance in Death’s Sweet Embrace?

Yes, although Christian is only in the book briefly, Antoinette has a fairly major and active role in DSE and she is even more kick ass than ever.

I loved Antoinette. What is her role this time around?

She is learning to use her new powers and revelling in the way she can now hunt and kill her Dreniac enemies.

Tell us a little about your main characters in this book?

Kitt is a doctor. Though she has been a medical examiner for the past several years, dealing with only death, she still has a healer's instincts.

Raven is a very hot and dangerous man. He’s a past member of a secret covert black ops team and an assassin. But he cares deeply for Kitt and the twin daughters they share from an affair they had 18 years earlier.

Lots of deep conflict with Kitt having to leave behind her daughters?

Yes in her grief over her husband’s murder, she didn't know how to protect them and thought sending them away was the best way. Emmett was her husband in name only, but he was her best friend and her protector. They kept each other’s secrets.

I've been lucky enough to read some of your WIP, (future book 3) and loved it! Do any of the DSE cast make a comeback?

Yes - we will see a few. Of course there are the old favourites - Oberon and Antoinette. Though they only play a cameo this time. Sin’s Dark Caress mainly concentrates on the two main protagonists. There is a lot going on for them.

Tracey, you work full time, you’re a wife, mother and housekeeper, where do you find the time to write?

You really have to make the. It can be very tough juggling everything and sometimes you drop a few balls. But you have to pick them up again and keep juggling.

Thanks Tracey, I am really looking forward to book 3 of the Dark Brethren! Tracey also writes deliciously hot, erotic shorts for Spice Briefs as Tracie Sommers.

Buy link

Mar 16, 2011

First Cover Joy!

Reading: Archangel's Consort by Nalini Singh
Listening to: Silence - my favourite music!
Makinig me Smile: My first book cover

After years of writing, there is nothing to rival getting “the call”. But once you’ve hit the high of selling, there are plenty more milestones along the way.
Seeing your first cover has to be one of the biggest highlights, and one I’ve just enjoyed. On Saturday morning Natalie Anderson phoned me and I knew by the tone of her voice that something exciting had happened. Imagine my excitement when she told me that my first cover had just been listed on Amazon UK!
After months of anticipating my first book hitting the shelves, it finally feels real. Aside from the birth of my son, my cover has to be the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. Seeing my name on a real book is incredible, and it’s even more amazing to know that next month I’ll be able to see my US cover of the same book, as well as the UK cover of my second release.
At the moment I’m knee deep in hard revisions for my third book, and it’s moments like this that make it all worth it. Because nothing will ever compare to knowing that one day soon, those covers will turn into books that will soon be delivered to my doorstep for me to hold in my hot little hands ☺

Mar 14, 2011

Catchy First Lines

Reading: Abandon the Night by Joss Ware
Watching: American Idol
Listening to: Lady Gaga
Making me smile: Tiny little baby clothes

I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately and was wondering exactly what it is that makes some books suck you in right from the beginning while others can take a little longer to warm up.

I came to the conclusion that there is no simple answer: its great characters, beautiful description, a unique hook, great action, intense emotion, excellent pacing…the list goes on.

But one thing that certainly helps is a catchy first line.

There are some awesome first lines out there in books of all genres. Here are some of my favourites:

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. ~ Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. ~ 1984 by George Orwell

There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it. ~The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C. S. Lewis

Had Eidolon been anywhere but the hospital, he would have killed the guy pleading for his life before him. ~ Pleasure Unbound by Larissa Ione

Ross Wakeman succeeded the first time he killed himself, but not the second or the third. ~ Second Glance by Jodi Picoult

Our own LoveCats are pretty catchy in the first line department as well:

Who knew silence came in so many shades? ~ Friends to Forever by Nikki Logan

He was staring at her again. ~ At the Billionaire’s Beck and Call by Rachel Bailey

Knees gone weak, Phoebe Moore drank in the sight of two bronzed arms angling down over a well-packed T-shirt and large masculine hands raising its black interlock hem. ~ Every Girl's Secret Fantasy by Robyn Grady

And from my latest Nocturne Bites:

She needed a man. ~ One Night with the Wolf by Anna Hackett

So, do you have any favourite first lines? Lines that dragged you into a book and left you wanting more? Lines that have always stuck in your head long after you’ve finished reading.

Mar 13, 2011

Sunday Smooch

Welcome to another LoveCats DownUnder Sunday Smooch!

Today we have a smooch from Friends to Forever by Nikki Logan, but first ...

the winner of last week's Sunday Smooch Giveaway is -- Nas Dean!

Congratulations, Nas! Can you please contact Anna Hackett at

anna (at) annahackettbooks (dot) com

and she'll send you a free download of One Night with the Wolf.

And now for today's Sunday Smooch from Friends to Forever by Nikki Logan! For the first time, we'll be using one of our nifty new 'content' icons...

She was the high-school princess – he was the high-school nobody…

Marc Duncannon and Beth Hughes were the best of friends – until a heated kiss exposed secrets and ruined everything.
Ten years later, Beth seeks out Marc and finds him battling to save a stranded whale. Together on a
lonely Australian beach they face exhaustion, the elements and their own personal demons. They discover that their friendship is worth fighting for, because they share something even stronger – a love that
could last a lifetime.


Set-up: Everything changed between inseparable friends Beth Hughes and Marc Duncannon when they hit puberty and life got complicated. Beth has always blamed herself for the horrible way their friendship ended and has tracked grown-up Marc down to set things right as part of her management of her alcohol addiction. But instead of saying her piece and driving back into the sunset, she finds herself alone on a remote beach, thigh-deep in freezing water, with the man who has so much reason to hate her. But once the euphoria of freeing the stranded whale drains from their systems, Beth and Marc are left weak and exhausted, clinging together in the icy, midnight shallows with the turbulent echoes of that day floating around them… As she sags, broken and emotionally battered against him in the surf, Beth asks Marc what he’d do differently about that last day they were together if they could go back in time…

‘It matters to me, Beth.’ Marc said. ‘Whether you hated it. Whether I damaged our friendship, too.’

Too. Misery came surging back in at the reminder that she’d said the words that destroyed their friendship. Even if she hadn’t set out to. She was only going to ask him to back off for a while. But he’d kissed her and she panicked. Those angry lips pressing against hers, forcing hers wider. The hands that had plunged into her hair to hold her
captive sent electric sparks through her body and threw her into confusion. The press of his eager body into hers made her want things she shouldn’t want. The desperate, intense pain in his eyes echoing hers. The thick smoke-like energy he’d been pumping out all around them.

Did she like it?

Enough to rip his heart out with her reflexive over-reaction.

She took a breath. Held his eyes. Held her breath. ‘I didn’t hate it.’

This is where he’d kiss her in a movie. The water. The cold. The intimacy. And her admission practically cried out for his mouth on hers.

Instead he nudged her head back down to his shoulder and rested his cheek against her wet hair. A particularly full wave washed over them and buffeted Beth against him with its chilly brush. Her heart squeezed hard. Had she been so starved for affection in her loveless marriage that she was finding it now in impossible places? Marc was just moved by their circumstance and harking back to better times. That was all. Waiting for a kiss was stupidly naïve and impossibly romantic.

Since there was to be no kissing, she needed—really badly—to get off him. But her body had practically seized up in the foetal position and straightening her limbs was a new kind of agony. Just when she thought she’d already met all the cousins in the Pain family.

‘Easy, Beth. You need to walk off the ache. Your muscles will be eating themselves.’

Pretty apt, really. Starting with the giant, thumping one in her chest cavity. Crawling into Marc’s lap had not been part of her plan as she drove up the coastal highway this morning, but now that she had it was hard to imagine ever getting the sensation out of her mind. Her heart.

But she had to.

Her back screamed as she pushed against his chest and twisted up onto her knees, between his. She gave herself a moment to adjust.

‘Just one more thing…’ Marc murmured, before she could rise much further. Those powerful abdominal muscles she’d spied before he zipped them up beneath his wetsuit did their job and pulled his torso up out of the splash and hard into hers. His lips slid warmly, firmly against her mouth and he took advantage of her shocked gasp to work them open, hot and blazing against her numb flesh. Her lips drank heat from him and came tingling back to life, startled and wary. His hands forked up into her wet hair and held her face while he teased and taunted her blissfully with his tongue, letting her breathe his air as though he were giving her the kiss of life.

Which, in a way, he was.

Relief and a decade of desire surged through her. Forgiveness tasted an awful lot like this.

He lifted his face and stared into her glassy eyes. ‘This is how I would do it if I had my time over,’ he said softly and then lowered his mouth again.

Nikki has a signed copy of Friends to Forever to give away to one lucky commenter. Just tell her whether you have a best friend of the opposite sex from your past that you let go due to social expectation or peer pressure. Do you ever wonder what happened to them? Or have you kept track all these years? Or did you end up turning your friendship to forever?

Come back next Sunday, when the winner of today's giveaway will be announced -- and a smooch from our international guest Liz Fielding will be posted!

Mar 10, 2011

Fan Mail

What I’m reading: Red Lotus by Pai Kit Fai

What I’m listening to: The blessed hum of air-con

Making me smile: It’s Friday!!

We all have favourite books! Those stories that immediately draw you in with gripping emotion and characters you feel you know and want so desperately to win out against the odds. The book I’m enjoying at the moment falls into that category, a keeper I will remember for years to come.

Red Lotus traces the adventures, and hardships, of a girl child growing up in rural China at the start of the 20th century. The prose is beyond beautiful, Li X’ia is everything a heroine should be – brave, intelligent – and the author lives in Australia.

I want to tell this writer how much I admire their talent and fell in love with these characters.

But will I?

Admission. I read a lot, however, it’s rare that I contact authors to praise their work. I feel as though I’m intruding on a busy person’s life, or that surely they must know already the worth of their work. And yet, for me, receiving feedback from my readers is one of the most rewarding parts of my job/passion.

When was the last time you wanted to drop a note to an author about a book you loved, or actually looked up their website and took the plunge?

Mar 9, 2011

A Gaggle of Romance Writers

by Emily May

Reading: The Masqueraders by Georgette Heyer

Listening to: Twinset

Watching: Pride and Prejudice (BBC miniseries)

Making me smile: a visit to Wellington, the most wonderful city in the world!

Conference registrations have just opened for the 2011 Romance Writers of Australia Conference and I've been trying to decide what the collective noun is for romance writers. A pack? A swarm? A gaggle? A clutch? A mob? All in all, I think I like gaggle best -- to me it comes closest to implying all the noise and excitement and energy of a romance writers' conference -- but the word 'gaggle' isn't quite BIG enough, because there's A LOT of noise and excitement and energy at a Romance Writers conference!

The annual Romance Writers of Au
stralia conference is always something to look forward to, but this year's conference is more exciting for me than usual. Not only because it's RWAustralia's 20th conference, but also because ... the LoveCats have put together a panel! It's called The Learning Curve, and we'll be talking about what we've learned about the craft of writing and the business of writing since selling to Harlequin Mills & Boon.

The very first Romance Writers conference I ever went to was back in 2003 on the Gold Coast, when I'd just started writing seriously again. That conference was just The Most Amazing Experience -- the energy, the wealth of information, and the sheer marvellousness of being around so many other people who had the same dream as me was intoxicating. I went there knowing absolutely no one (and rather terrified actually) and utterly clueless about the romance writing industry. I came back filled to the brim with information -- and knowing that one day I would achieve my dream of being published.

I have many wonderful memories of that conference -- and one of them is of listening to a panel of newly published authors talk about their path to publication and what they'd learned since publishing. I did more than listen -- I drank up every word they said!

Last year, when the call for conference proposals went out, I remembered that very first conference and I realised that the LoveCats are in the perfect position to give that panel back to other conference attendees! The upshot was the Learning Curve panel on Saturday afternoon, where seven LoveCats, writing for seven different lines, will talk about what we've learned since selling and answer any questions people may have. I hope those attendees who choose to come to our panel will find it as valuable as the panel I heard way back in 2003!

Those of us taking part in the panel are:

Rachel Bailey (Desire)
Zana Bell (Superromance/MIRA)
Michelle Douglas (Sweet)
Robyn Grady (Desire/Sexy Sensation)
Nikki Logan (Sweet)
Sue McKay (Medical)
Emily May (Historical)

and our super duper moderat
or is Barbara Jeffcott Geris!

The Learning Curve panel is featured on the
Romance Writers of Australia blog tomorrow (March 10th), so come along to find out more about what we have planned for our session -- and also check out the other workshops and sessions on the conference pages on the RWA website. I guarantee you'll want to register once you've seen the line-up!

I'm just as excited about this year's conference as I was about my very first Romance Writers conference in 2003. (And just as terrified, too -- I've never presented anything before. EEK!) I hope I see some of you there!

So tell us ... are you going to any conferences this year, Romance Writers or otherwise? Will we perhaps see you at the 2011 RWA conference in Melbourne??? I hope so!

(And can anyone tell me what the proper collective noun for a loud and enthusiastic group of romance writers is?)

Mar 6, 2011


by Michelle Douglas

Reading: Billionaire on her Doorstep by Ally Blake
Watching: The Fast Show
Listening to: The kookaburras laughing in the trees outside
Making me smile: The cooler weather

Yesterday my niece turned 13. Yes, that's right – 13. As in a 1 and a 3 and a teen. THIRTEEN!

I see my niece all the time but yesterday I looked at her – as in really looked at her and...


She's as tall as I am. We still discuss Anne of Green Gables with great earnestness, but (gulp) she has breasts. She shaves her legs. Most disconcerting of all, she was wearing a dress.

Where on earth is my cute little tomboy niece who loved dagging around in her tracky daks as much as her Auntie Michelle?

However, she is at that real gawky stage where her arms and legs seemed to have outgrown the rest of her body – she's all knees and elbows – and she ducks her head a lot when she thinks she might have said something a bit stupid or inappropriate. I kinda took comfort in those things because I have an awful feeling that next time I look – as in really look – my niece is going to be tall, elegant and confident.

I had a front row seat at her birth (literally – I was holding her mother's foot), I taught her to jump, I introduced her to Anne of Green Gables, and I just know that it's me she's going to turn to for advice about boys. I'm not her only aunt, but I am her only aunt who writes romance and therefore I should know, right?


But I figure there's no harm in being prepared. So... What's the best piece of advice you received about boys (or about anything) when you were a teenager?

Sunday Smooch

Welcome to another LoveCats DownUnder Sunday Smooch!

Today we have a smooch from One Night with the Wolf, a Nocturne Bites e-novella by Anna Hackett, but first ...

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

Congratulations, Kylie! Can you please contact Emily at

worldaroundthecorner (at) gmail (dot) com

and she'll send you a signed copy of The Sentinel Mage.

And now for today's Sunday Smooch from Nocturne Bite One Night with the Wolf by Anna Hackett...

Werewolf Jade Thorne needs a man—a young, virile man to give her love and pleasure. As a rare female alpha, she must keep her pack safe by pledging herself in marriage to an aging leader from a rival pack. Until then, she wants to experience the raging passion of a wolf in his prime. She even has an ideal lover at hand: her Second, Christian Tallant.

But Christian is a wolf who will demand to dominate her body, mind and soul. Now Jade must decide if she can afford to submit to his desire—and if one night with the wolf will really be enough....

He growled in her ear. “Tell me what you want.”

Jade stared blindly at the moon partly hidden by the treetops. Her lips parted. What did she want? She wasn’t sure anymore. Not with this man’s hands on her.

His fingers toyed with the next button but didn’t open it. “Say it.”

“Pleasure,” she choked out.

He undid another button. The night air was cool on her skin.

“What else?”

“Desire.” She rubbed against him. “Heat.”

“What do you really want?”

A sob caught in her throat. “You.”

With a muttered curse, his
hand slashed down and ripped the remaining buttons from her shirt. He spun her, yanking her hard against his chest.

Rough hands tangled in her hair, angling her face up to his.

Her gaze clashed with liquid golden eyes.


Christian called himself all kinds of names and fool wasn’t the worst of them. He would damn himself tonight, but at least for one night, Jade would be his.


“Don’t talk. You want pleasure, I’ll give it to you.”

She shuddered. Indecision warred on her face. They both knew they shouldn’t do this.

Then her hands ran across his shoulders. “Show me.”

He crushed his lips to hers, thrusting his tongue into the warm welcome of her mouth. He plundered, he tasted and her head dropped back from the onslaught.

Too rough. He reined in his raging desire. He gentled the kiss, made it an exploration. Her tongue mated with his, strokes that made the blood rush to his groin.

Breaking off the kiss, he let his mouth slide down her neck. She smelled so good and the taste of her skin was mind-blowing. Her hands moved to the back of his head, scraping over his short hair.

How many times had he imagined this? Her is his arms, surrendering to his desire?

One Night with the Wolf has just been released and is available for download from eHarlequin and other ebooksellers.

To be in the draw to win a free download of One Night with the Wolf, name a famous werewolf from history, myth or fiction!

Come back next Sunday, when the winner of today's giveaway will be announced -- and a smooch from Friends to Forever by Nikki Logan will be posted!

Mar 4, 2011

What ARRC2011 Has to Offer!

Fancy a romantic weekend on the beach? Romance is in the air at Bondi, Australia's most famous beach, where the second Australian Romance Readers Convention will be held at the Swiss Grand Resort and Spa on 25-27 March 2011.

With international bestselling authors Anna Campbell, Nalini Singh and Cindy Gerard headlining, we have over 30 of Australia's favourite romance writers sharing their love of romance.

Delegates will be spoiled for choice with a wide range of panels, and exclusive events such as the 2010 Australian Romance Readers Awards dinner and our silent auction to support those affected by the recent floods in Queensland.

Ever wondered why we love vampires, werewolves and creatures of the dark? Or why short category romance has endured for 100 years? Regency fans are in for a treat as Anna Campbell and Anne Gracie talk about the appeal of the Regency hero and challenge historical romance stereotypes. Whatever your taste, we have a panel for it.

Aspiring writers aren't left out either, with a Publishing Ins and Outs panel.

And due to its amazing popularity at ARRC09, we have two sessions, This One Time and This Other Time, where authors tell us about the crazy side of writing, like what they do in their nonexistent free time, obsessive fans, and the lengths they go to in the name of research.

The hard part is choosing which ones to go to!

Book-signing session
This year, we have more than 30 authors on hand to sign their books for you. This is a fantastic way to get a little face time with your favourite authors and ask a question about their series or your favourite characters. And who doesn't love a signed book?

Awards Dinner

Our awards dinner is a great excuse to dress up and the winners have been voted for by real Australian romance readers. It's just like going to the Oscars, only without the long flight.

Silent Auction

We've all seen the devastation caused by the floods in Queensland and may even know someone who has been affected. We have had an overwhelming number of donations pouring in from generous authors all over the world. With almost 200 items to bid on, including jewellery hand-made by Anne Gracie, canvas prints of photographs taken by Keri Arthur, several ARCs, critiques and of course, signed book bundles. There is even a royal treatment package at the Romantic Times convention in Chicago! The auction has so much on offer and supports such a worthy cause. If you haven't had a chance to browse through the items yet, you can find them here:

ARRC2011 also offers something we couldn't fit into the program and that is the charged atmosphere of being surrounded by other romance readers just like you. This is a great opportunity to meet other people who share your interest in romance, discuss your favourite authors, swap recommendations and celebrate the books we love.

To register or find out more, please visit us at

Membership of ARRA has its perks. For discounts on entry and books from a number of independent bookshops, a monthly newsletter and access to our online romance reading community, join the Australian Romance Readers Association. With membership currently only $10 a year, you get real bang for your buck. Find out more at

(Thanks to Helen and Debbie from ARRA for the post about this exciting event! They'll be dropping by during the day to answer your comments and questions.)

Mar 2, 2011

The (Post) Spring Clean

by Sharon Archer

Outside The Ordinary World, Dori Ostermiller

Listening: The Beach Boys

Making me smil
e: The smell of freshly deodorised carpets!

We’ve had the wettest summer since records began here in Victoria. In fact, nearly half our annual rainfall has come in what would normally be our driest months. There have even been days when we’ve had humidity on a par with the tropics.

With all that dampness, summer warmth and probably the ghosts of much-loved pets, our tatty old carpet has developed an unpleasant mustiness.

Something had to be done!

Carpet and furniture cleaning!

I rifled the Yellow Pages and found the perfect answer – drycleaning! Having experienced carpets after a wet-cleaning process many years ago, the last thing I wanted was to introduce more moisture!

I rang, I quizzed, I booked!

Furniture was moved, carpet that hadn’t seen the light of day for years was exposed, dust bunnies were routed.

And finally, the big day arrived.

The technician was right on time. We walked through the house, discussed electrical connections to be worked around and where the cleaning unit would fit and which items of furniture were to be cleaned.

And then he said the fateful words... “Of course, you’ll have to have somewhere to separate the cushions.”

“Separate the cushions?”

“To dry.”


“The upholstery will be quite wet, because it’s a different process.”

Yikes. “Okay, then let’s not worry about the furniture. Let’s just do the carpets.”

“You do realise the carpet will be slightly damp?” he said.


“Yes. Didn’t you ask?” the technician said.

Well, actually, no! It said drycleaning! How was I to know it really meant driercleaning!

I cancelled the job, pouted for a while and then hit the supermarket for carpet deodoriser. So now the carpets have been powdered and vacuumed and pampered. The musty smell has gone so my nose is happy.

And I got to pondering about the chicken-and-egg conundrum of asking the right questions... if you don't know the right information in the first place, how do you know what the right questions are? And if you do know the right information... well, surely you don’t need to ask the question...

What do you think? I’m still scratching my head!

Public Domain Pictures from

Mar 1, 2011

Winner, winner: Roman dinner!

The winner of Christina Phillips' giveaway of either FORBIDDEN or CAPTIVE (your choice) is....


Woo hoo!

CatsLady you can contact Christina at:

ChristinapPh @ gmail (dot) com

Many apologies for the typo that meant this email address was incorrect. The correction has been made so the address should now work - just take out the spaces. Christina is standing by to hear from you, CatsLady! Congratulations again! If you have any problems, please leave a note here and we'll contact you.