Apr 29, 2011

Catwalk Friday

Name Gidget

Abode Kilmore

Human Slave Vicki

Likes Attention, food, hunting, taunting the dog

Dislikes Being moved (off Vicki's lap) when sleeping

Ambition To be centre of attention all of the time

Sociable or Aloof Sociably aloof

Night Owl or Early Bird Flexible

Favourite Pastime Sleeping on my lap

Favourite Toy Anything can be a toy

Best Friend Vicki (and the dog)

What do you like to sharpen your claws on Tree trunks

Most embarrassing moment A star doesn't have embarrassing moments

Apr 28, 2011

BLOG PARTY - Book Pack Winner!!

Thank you to everyone for stopping by to help us welcome Leah to the LoveCats! And for all the wonderful advice for our lovely bride-to-be!

Leah's having a bit of time off for her big day and to go on her honeymoon now but after that, she'll be up on the blog roster to chat regularly!

So without further ado, Leah has picked her blog winner and it's

Tracey T!!

Congratulations, Tracey! Could you please email me on
sharon (at) sharon-archer (dot) com
I'll pass your details on to the rest of the LoveCats so we can get those books winging their way to you!

Apr 27, 2011


The LoveCats are excited to announce we have a NewCat joining us!

Please help us welcome  
Leah Ashton!!

Leah worked with an editor after winning the Harlequin Mills & Boon New Voices Competition in November 2010, and was offered a contract on February 25th, 2011. Her first book, Secrets & Speed Dating, will be published as Mills & Boon Riva/Sweet/Romance and will be released in the UK in October this year, and in the US and Australia in 2012.

Before we got to down to business, we asked Leah our fun NewCat questions!

Leah's Pointer, Stella
Favourite animal?
Horses. I was a horse mad kid that grew up to be a horse mad adult. Sadly I had to sell my horse in 2005 as I just didn't have the time to commit to riding and competing any longer.

Favourite mythical animal?
Unicorn (see above :) ).

First category book you read?
The first one I remember absolutely adoring was Gina Wilkin's "A Stroke of Genius" that I bought secondhand as a teenager and kept hidden at the back of my bookcase. It went missing when I moved out of home and I'm still searching for a replacement copy.

Last great category book you read?
Anything by Sarah Mayberry or Nikki Logan - although I also really enjoyed Mira Lyn Kelly's Front Page Affair.

Something we wouldn't know about you?
That I'm getting married in less than four weeks!

Thank you for giving that peek, Leah, and CONGRATULATIONS! We send you a great big LoveCat hug to you and your hero for a purrrfect happiness! And now on a more serious note... can you tell us a bit about your journey through the New Voices program with Harlequin and on to the exciting moment that you were offered a contract.
Leah's cat, Luna

The New Voices competition was such an amazing opportunity that I absolutely had to enter - despite the nausea inducing reality that The Whole World would be able to read my entry. With this competition, there was nowhere to hide!

I purposefully entered something completely new to New Voices, so I wouldn't be too attached to it when it (inevitably) crashed and burned. When it didn't, and I made the Top Ten, it was such a shock! It also made the next two rounds just that little bit harder, as I had absolutely no idea what would happen next.

But with lots of help from my lovely mentors - editor Meg Lewis and author Jessica Hart - as well as my writing friends (a particularly huge thank you to Lovecat Nikki Logan) I made it through Round Two (Chapter Two) and then my final round entry of a pivotal moment from my book won the competition. Winning the competition was one of the most amazing things to have ever happened to me, and I am so grateful for every single person who entered the competition, and everyone who voted.
Stella in action!

New Voices itself was a huge amount of pressure and stress, but it utterly paled in comparison to writing the rest of my book. The full story is on my blog (trust me, it's long!). The short version is that I threw out my half finished book - twice - before I finally got it right. My editor, Meg, was incredible, and kept her faith in me, even when privately, I wasn't so sure.

Leah writing her New Voices entry in Croatia
What I learnt was that I have to listen to my gut when I write, and I have to write the story that resonates with me. Consequently you'll see that the New Voices version of Secrets & Speed Dating is very different to the finished book - but a much better book for it, I think. Once I let go of trying to write the rest of the New Voices entry, and instead decided to just write Sophie and Dan's story, it all (finally!) fell into place.

Thank you for sharing that, Leah! We asked Leah what question she'd like to ask our commenters and she's come up with a fabulous and very pertinent one...

What is your best advice for a bride to be?

We've put together a LoveCats Book Pack to send to one of our party guests! Just leave a comment and you'll be in the draw!

In the LoveCats Book Pack....
  • Robyn Grady - Amnesia Ex: Unforgettable Vows
  • Sharon Archer - TBA
  • Zana Bell - Tempting the Negotiator
  • Michelle Douglas - Christmas at Candlebark Farm
  • Emily May - Beauty and the Scarred Hero
  • Nikki Logan - Friends to Forever
  • Sue Mackay - Playboy Doctor to Doting Dad
  • Natalie Anderson - Walk on the Wild Side
  • Rachel Bailey - Million-Dollar Amnesia Scandal
  • Mel Teshco - Moon Thrall (ebook)

Apr 25, 2011

(Bird)Life Imitating Art

by Nikki Logan

This month a nice little piece of synchronicity has happened that has me smiling. In 2010 I wrote a book called Rapunzel in New York for RIVA (out in July, UK) with a heroine who lives in a tall Manhattan apartment building where she watches and enjoys the exploits of a pair of peregrine falcons who mate and raise chicks on the ledge of her high-rise bathroom.

This past fortnight in Toronto, home of the Harlequin head offices, staff in Harlequin’s North York offices have been captivated by the courting and nesting behaviours of a pair of falcons in the building across from their windows. Head of Harlequin, Donna Hayes (a keen birdo) first spotted the pair and then reported them to a group with an interest in urban raptors. After painstaking stakeouts the pair were individually identified as three-year-old Quest, a female who’d come across from the US and two-year-old Kendal--as Twitter delightfully put it ‘a hot, younger Canuk’.

Typical romance audience J

'Kendal' bringing a love tribute to his US girl
www.thestar.com  Carlos Osorio/Toronto Star
Harlequin staff now spend their coffee breaks squeezed around the best viewing windows and the couple of telescopes quickly set up by the company for the purposes of peregrine monitoring. They were all-a-twitter on Twitter when Quest laid her first eggs last week.

All this interest in peregrines is very timely given my Rapunzel in New York comes out in July. While Quest and Kendel have brought the people of Harlequin together with their nestbuilding activity in North York, my fictional falcons Fred and Wilma bring my hero and heroine together with their nestbuildilng activity in New York. IT guru Nathan Archer is ordered by the NY courts to help reclusive Viktoria Morfit set up a webcam to take her nesting falcons to the world after he busted down her door in a misdirected Prince Charming moment. Their love story unfolds parallel to Fred and Wilma's as they raise then finally release their young family.

I adored researching 'Rapunzel', particularly the bird elements (warning: watching real hungry birds on nest-cams is way more addictive than any game equivalent) and so I was so excited when the news of the Quest/Kendal/Harlequin love-trianagle broke on Twitter.

Read more about it in the Toronto Star piece here .

Fast Falcon Facts
  • Birds-of-prey scraping out a living in cities are part of a group called ‘urban raptors’.
  • Falco peregrinus (Peregrine Falcon means ‘wanderer’). The only place on the planet you won’t find this species is Antarctica.
  • They do well in very big cities because they prey on smaller bird species and particularly pigeons which thrive in human-heavy areas.
  • Peregrines are monogamous and will return to the same place to breed season after season.
  • Their nests are called 'scrapes' because they barely go to any effort at all, simply making a groove in the dirt/substrate and laying their eggs straight on top.
  • Peregrines will lay between 3 and 5 eggs which incubate for 35 days before hatching. They fledge (get full flight feathers) after another 45 days. By three weeks of age, the voracious little chicks are ten times their birth size.
  • Hunting peregrines can reach 300+km an hour. Faster than a tornado!

Apr 24, 2011

Sunday Smooch

Welcome to another LoveCats DownUnder Sunday Smooch!

Today we have a 'classic' smooch from Nikki Logan's Their Newborn Gift (2010), but first ...

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

Congratulations, Kaelee! Can you please contact Jules at

authorjules (at) gmail (dot) com

and she'll send you a copy of Her Innocence, His Conquest.

And now for today's Sunday Smooch from Their Newborn Gift by Nikki Logan ...

One big secret… 
When Lea became accidentally pregnant she decided that she would go it alone. Rodeo star Reilly wasn't the sort of man who'd want to be tied down. But five years later she needs to tell him her secret...

One tiny blessing… 
Learning he's a daddy is bittersweet for Reilly, because his little girl is fighting to survive. Her only hope is a new brother or sister. Can he and Lea create a newborn miracle--and a future together?

The setup:
Lea Curran had a hot, unforgettable one-night stand six years ago when she was weak and vulnerable, and she came away pregnant. She made the decision never to tell the father, Reilly Martin, the King of the Suicide Ride rodeo champion of north-west Australia. But her daughter is five years old now and wracked with Aplastic Anaemia and all treatments have failed--the only thing that can help her now is a stem-cell transfer from the umbilical cord of a sibling. A full sibling.

So Reilly's back in her life, not at all happy about being blackmailed into fathering a second child but just as determined to do what he can to save the little girl he never knew he had.  Lea and Molly are staying with him out on his enormous, lush property so that she has more immediate emergency care in case anything happens to her on her remote one.

They find themselves in the kitchen...talking....and then somehow the conversation turns to the subject of whether a good kiss is about sex or romance.  Poor Reilly isn't taking the pressure well...

Their entire conversation since she’d unwittingly stumbled on him in the kitchen was leading to this moment. And they both knew it.

‘If a kiss was just about sex,’ Lea breathed the words against his lips, tipping her face so that her forehead almost rested against his, a sweet, trusting little move that roused every primal instinct lurking deep in his body, ‘then we’d be kissing now.’

Reilly snatched forward with his lips to prove his point. She avoided him with a quick twist that put her mouth perilously close to his throat. His ear. Awareness shivered down his neck as her hot breath danced around him. Her hair brushed against his hypersensitive flesh.

‘But what makes a kiss romantic, about so much more than sex,’ she drew his face like a magnet, curling towards those pink, ripe lips, ‘is the question mark. How will it taste?’ She rubbed his stubbled cheek with her own soft one, dragging the corner of that delicious mouth closer to his. ‘How will it feel?’

His eyes fluttered shut as she traced their lids lightly with her lips.

God above, she was going to kill him. Five year old memories surged around the room practically crashing into the furniture. His mouth was at once dry with anticipation and wet with desire as her lips returned to hover just millimetres from his.

‘And most importantly…’ she raised smoky eyes, a tiny smile shaping her mouth. Her hands were braced either side of his hips on the kitchen table and he closed his eyes as she leaned that final inch forward. Thank God. ‘…how will I possibly survive never knowing?’

She pushed herself to her feet and away from him and crossed back to the hob to see to the bubbling kettle. His eyes opened in disbelief, his body screaming with the denial. Never knowing was no longer an option.

And it had nothing to do with romance.

Lea gasped as strong, masculine hands spun her back just as the simmering kettle started to sing. Its mounting pitch matched her fever exactly. Reilly folded her into strong arms and tipped her half off her feet before she could even suck in a breath to protest. Her hard, pregnant midsection pressed against his hard un-pregnant one.

His blazing mouth—soft and powerful, familiar and new—slid over hers, demanding a response she was gasping to give. Hot and wet and urgent. Exactly as she’d remembered in her dreams. Her little lesson in romance had sapped her of resistance, and she literally panted for a kissing lesson from someone she was fast considering the sexiest man alive.

Never mind that he held such a low opinion of her, he kissed like a God. Her breath ached in her tight, trembling chest.

He consumed her; feasting on her lips and pressing her body perfectly into his hard one, his tongue burning the inner reaches of the mouth she helplessly opened to him. The heady lip-work seemed to strengthen him everywhere she was weakening and he held her up as her legs gave out.

The oxygen that should have been surging through her body pooled into her core, prioritising her vital organs as though her life was in danger.

Of being kissed out of her perhaps.

The kettle was piping now, spewing steam out of its angry top, and forming a layer of sweat on the overhead cabinets that rivalled the rapidly forming dampness on her own skin. Some desperate, distant part of her consciousness ordered her hands to remain clenched, not to join the fray. But the roaring thunder of her blood drowned out the request, and her hands did what she suddenly realised she’d been wanting to do since that first day at Yurraji. They fought their way under the layers of his clothing and spread out against the furnace of his muscular back.

She knew those muscles like Braille. Every dip. Every rise. Every sinew.

God, how she’d missed them.

Her mind screamed a protest at her body but it came out as a choked mix of fury, frustration and desire. Reilly must have felt it more than heard it over the protesting kettle, but he righted her up onto her feet and let his hands slip up into her hair. Her shirt rode up against him as she swayed to her feet, and she realised she was stretching up to prevent their lips from breaking apart.

She was kissing him.

He closed his fists in her hair and gentled his mouth. Slower, wetter, more rubbing, more heavy breathing. Lea rubbed her body against his as the kettle kept up its piercing aria.

Undeniable, 100-proof sex. The man had made his point.

She pushed away, gasping and dragging her wrist across her throbbing mouth. With trembling hands she turned and put the kettle out of its misery and the ear-splitting crescendo died instantly away.

In the new silence, her chest heaved. His chest heaved. Tortured breathing filled the air. It was a tiny comfort that Reilly looked as stunned as she felt. His molten eyes assessed her warily as she backed toward the door. But he didn’t stop her leaving.

‘I’m just… I think I’ll… bed.’ Words just would not form on her swollen lips. ‘Alone.’ she added hastily as a dangerous gleam sparked in his eyes.

Again, silence.

She turned and wobbled to the doorway on jelly legs. But as she disappeared through it she heard Reilly’s voice as he cursed, thick and low.

Their Newborn Gift is available right now as a free e-book from Mills & Boon's www.everyonesreading.com and so EVERYONE GETS A FREE PRIZE!!! Woo hoo.  Look for the baby on the cover.

Come back next Sunday, when we'll feature a smooch from The Bought-And-Paid-For Wife by Bronwyn Jameson!

Apr 22, 2011


pic by luigi diamanti

So it's Good Friday - I'm alone in the house (my family have gone on a mission up to Christchurch to take care of some quake related biz) and I'm here with my manuscript and some (but no doubt not enough) chocolate. My fault, you see for the second year in a row I forgot to do the Easter shopping sooner rather than later so when I finally made it to the supermarket, it was to find most of the egg range had sold out. 

Bad bunny!!!

However, I did gather up a few million of those mini-marshmallow things so hopefully when small children return, the bunny will have hidden a few about the house...

And - despite the revisions and deadline I'm under - there's no risk of my scoffing the bunny stash - for my new personal favourite chocolate is New Zealand made Whittaker's Ghana Peppermint - with 72% cocoa. I had some for breakfast this morning as I missed out on the Hot Cross Buns too (they'd completely sold out).

But of course Easter isn't all about eggs and eating now is it?! Well, actually for some it might be, for others it is a time of huge religious significance and reflection, for others it's just really nice to have a few days holiday... This year for me, it's a time to get the book finished.

 No matter what Easter means for you, I do hope you have a lovely few days, that you maybe get to spend some quality time with family and/or friends and that if you're traveling you have safe, happy and fun journeys! And if you're alone, like I currently am, then I really hope you have a FABULOUS book to curl up with and enjoy!!!!

with very best wishes,

Apr 20, 2011

Dream Jobs

Reading: The last book of Rachel Vincent’s Werecat series – “Alpha”
Listening to: “Home” by Michael Bublé (on repeat while I write!)
Making Me Smile: My cute baby who’s trying so hard to laugh for the first time ☺
Watching: Oprah

I don’t often watch daytime television, however given the amount of time I now spend sitting feeding my little boy, every now and then I flick it on. Yesterday, I saw a fabulous Oprah show about dream jobs – people who were being paid to do what they love. From florists to shoe designers and cake bakers, they had a dream and they had managed to fulfil it.

Having always dreamed myself of becoming an author, I can honestly say that I’m now living that dream. I still work a day job – as a freelance writer – but now I’m also paid to write romance. Hopefully that will become a full-time career on its own one day, but right now I’m just so excited to be seeing my name on the cover of beautiful books.

Even when I’m tired or stressed, I look forward to sitting down at my laptop and flexing my fingers to write. For me, there is nothing more special than devising characters and making them fall in love on the page. After years spent honing my craft and trying to get published, I love the fact that I’ve achieved my goal of attaining my dream job.
So my question to you is, are you in your dream career? And if not, what would you love to be paid to do?

My debut release, Soldier on Her Doorstep, is released in the UK in June. I'll be giving away a copy on my blog as soon as my author copies arrive, so keep an eye out! www.sorayalane.blogspot.com

Apr 18, 2011

Easter Reading

Reading - Girl Missing, Tess Gerritsen
Listening to - my DB doing the dishes for me so I can write this.

Easter is nearly here and we have friends coming to stay so they can escape the shaky ground of Christchurch for a few days. For me Easter is about family and friends, chocolate of course, and reading a good book.

Unfortunately I won't be reading at all this year. My girlfriend does not read. I find this so hard to accept. How can anyone not want to curl up with a great story and escape the mundane things of everyday life? I've tried telling her what she's missing out on but not a spark of interest. We'll have fun talking nonstop all weekend.

When I think about it, I know a few people who are not readers. Does this stem from a childhood where stories were not read to them by parents or siblings? Or did their schools fail them? Then again I guess some people are just not into it, they've got too many other things that draw their attention. But they are missing out on so much.

One of my enduring memories of childhood is of mum, dad, my brother and myself sitting reading books after dinner, music playing in the background. My parents fostered my love of reading, and my dad encouraged my writing. We went to the library every Friday night. I cannot imagine life without books. The first thing I pack for any trip be it for one night or a month is at least two books. What would I do if I only had one and it turned out to be a looser?

Who helped you get started with reading? Does it come naturally to some of us? All I can say is thank goodness I discovered it at a very early age.

Apr 17, 2011

Sunday Smooch

Welcome to another LoveCats DownUnder Sunday Smooch!

Today we have a smooch from Her Innocence, His Conquest by our guest, Jules Bennett, but first ...

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

Congratulations, desere! Can you please contact Nikki Logan at

nikki (at) nikkilogan (dot) com.au

and she'll send you a copy of Shipwrecked With Mr Wrong.

And now for today's Sunday Smooch from:
Her Innocence, His Conquest by Jules Bennett...

Architecture kingpin and expert playboy Zach Marcum knew exactly how to get what he wanted - both on the job and in the bedroom. Until sexy, independent and impossible-to-ignore Ana Clark charged into his life. 
Her construction company could make his luxury resort project a multi-million dollar reality, but he couldn't risk letting the career-driven siren slip past his defenses. Discovering she was a virgin made the seduction stakes even greater, as Zach crossed the line from business to pleasure...

[The Setup ... Ana has owned a construction company and worked with men her entire life. She hears how they talk about their one night stands and isn't impressed with playboy Zach Marcum when he hires her firm. He takes much more than a business interest in her and she hates to admit, but she may not be able to resist his charms. He wants to prove he's not like other men.]

Other than his lips settling over hers in a possessive, yet tender way, Zach didn't touch her. Ana didn't want to respond to those lips, but how could she not? Why did she have to deny what her body so desperately craved, ached for?

It was so easy to give into the gentleness. She'd never known such a delicate manner could be possessed by a man like Zach.

Ana wasn't one for PDA, but they were well hidden by the strategically placed potted palms. Even though kissing in public was never something she would've done before meeting Zach, she was discovering there were a lot of things she hadn't considered before meeting Zach.

With a sigh and a tingle streaming through her body, Ana leaned in just slightly. Enough to let Zach know she wanted this. Still, he didn't touch anymore than her lips and Ana knew, without a doubt, he was letting her decide how far and how intense this kiss would be.

He tilted his mouth just a bit, easing her lips open. She'd given him the go ahead with that little sigh and leaning into him. A light, feathery touch slid across her jawline. His fingertips.

Chills popped up over her entire body. And before she could comprehend another thought, Zach eased back.

Her Innocence, His Conquest is an April 2011 release for Harlequin Desire (US), and a May 2011 release in Aust/NZ (in a duo with Olivia Gates's The Sarantos Secret Baby).

To be in the draw to win a signed copy of Her Innocence, His Conquest, tell Jules in the comments below, what you like to see in a hook or conflict? Reunion Stories? Amnesia? Secret baby? She's waiting to hear your opinions!

Come back next Sunday, when the winner of today's giveaway will be announced -- and a smooch from Hunter's Surrender by Anna Hackett will be posted!

Apr 13, 2011

Before the Memorial

by Michelle Douglas

Reading: Summer at Willow Lake by Susan Wiggs
Listening to: Indigo Girls
Watching: Shirley Valentine
Making me smile: my crockpot

Emily's memorial post last week about Diana Wynne Jones started me thinking. Perhaps because I'd not long returned from the Australian Romance Readers' conference, and thoughts about what I wanted from a book as a reader were crowding my thoughts. [Note the gratuitous photos from the conference - much fun was had in Bondi.]

When I read about Diana Wynne Jones' death and how much Emily had loved her books, I though: Why didn't I know this author when she was alive? Because instinct tells me that I am going to love Diana Wynne Jones. And now I will never be able to write to her and tell her how much her books have meant to me.

Which in turn led me to wondering what still-living authors would I urge my friends to read so they can have the opportunity to write to said author if they wanted to?

This is SO not easy. But here's a couple I've come up with.

Kate Atkinson. Her books leave me breathless with awe, and have me on the edge of my seat most of the time. I'd suggest starting with her first book Behind the Scenes at the Museum. The story is told through the eyes of Ruby from the moment of her conception. Follow that up with the first of the Jackson Brodie detective novels Case Histories. Atkinson is one of those authors who is said to "transcend her genre," a phrase that sets my teeth on edge, but she truly is a fabulous author.

This is the back cover blurb from Case Histories:

Investigating other peoples tragedies and cock-ups and misfortunes was all he knew. He was used to being a voyeur, the outsider looking in, and nothing, but nothing, that anyone did surprised him anymore. Yet despite everything he'd seen and done, inside Jackson there remained a belief - a small, battered and bruised belief - that his job was to help people be good rather than punish them for being bad.

Cambridge is sweltering during an unusually hot summer. To Jackson Brodie, former police inspector turned private investigator, the world conists of one accounting sheet - Lost on the left, Found on the right - and the two never seem to balance.

Jackson has never felt at home in Cambridge, and has a failed marriage to prove it. Surrounded by death, intrigue and misfortune, his own life haunted by a family tragedy, he attempts to unravel three disparate case histories and begins to realise that in spite of apparent diversity, everything is connected...

I promise it's as good as it sounds

Next, this is a book rather than an author: Two Weeks With the Queen by Morris Gleitzman. This is a children's book and I've read a lot of other books by Gleitzman and enjoyed them all, but this is a stand out. It deals with some pretty grim issues - AIDs and childhood cancer - but it is side-splittingly funny. It will also make you cry. The main character, 12 year-old Colin Mudford, is a true hero and he will steal your heart. I so wish I'd written this book.

So what about you - who is the ONE author you would urge everyone to read? (I have a rather gleeful feeling that my tbr pile is going to grow rather drastically by the time we're finished here).

Apr 11, 2011

New Beginnings

Reading: Night Betrayed by Joss Ware

Watching: Bones

Listening to: Lullaby by Jewel

Making me smile: My tiny new bundle of joy!

I love new beginnings. I love the excitement and hope a new beginning brings, even when it’s mixed with that dash of fear of the unknown.

I love when I sit down to start writing a new story with wonderful new characters and an interesting premise motivating me to capture the story in words. Of course I always want to capture it perfectly and always fear I’ll never do the idea justice, never get the story quite right.

Image: Julija Sapic | Dreamstime.com

I truly love reading a brand new book – whether it’s by a new author or one of my favourites. I hope with each new beginning I’ll get a fabulous story with captivating characters and a wonderful happily ever after. I hope a fav author won’t disappoint and that a new author’s story will be so great I’ll have a new autobuy to add to my list.

Life is full of new beginnings: marriage, birth, divorce, new job, retirement, relocation, new house…the list goes on. No matter what the new beginning, you need to let the hope and excitement lead the way.

Last week I had the ultimate new beginning in my life – I welcomed my tiny new son into the world! Bub is doing amazing well (and is so incredibly cute…I’m biased, I know) and the new parents are negotiating the world of taking care of a newborn and interrupted sleep.

Image: Karl Hackett

So, how about you? Any new beginnings (big or small) in your life lately?

Apr 10, 2011

Sunday Smooch

Welcome to another LoveCats DownUnder Sunday Smooch!

Today we have a smooch from Shipwrecked With Mr Wrong by Nikki Logan, but first ...

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

Congratulations, Danielle! Can you please contact Natalie Anderson at

natalie (at) natalie-anderson (dot) com

and she'll send you a copy of The End of Faking It.

And now for today's Sunday Smooch from Shipwrecked With Mr Wrong by Nikki Logan...

Being maroo
ned in paradise with a stunning woman should be the perfect way for a playboy to get shipwrecked. However, Rob Dalton would have chosen a slightly friendlier companion!

Prickly marine conserv
ationist Honor Brier clearly just wants to be left alone with her birds and turtles. Physically and emotionally scarred, Honor has no time for infuriatingly attractive accidental tourists. yet, tought she won't admit it, Rob's passion for life--and for her--is reawakening her: body, mind and soul....

The Setup ... Biologist Honor Brier has been living in isolation on remote Pulu Keeling National Park since a tragedy ripped her family away from her and left her permanently scarred down her left side. One day the gods deliver her a gorgeous, bright, vital man in the form of shipwreck hunter Rob Dalton who damages his work-boat on the coral atol surrounding the island and has to come ashore to await a shepherd back to safe harbour. Alone on the island it takes a few days before hostilties between them ease. Rob charms her in a hundred ways--even when he's not trying to.

In this scene he's just witnessed the first midnight turtle-hatching of the season where one hundred leathery little turtles swarm out of an under-sand nest and scramble for the waterline.

Honor is bound by her scientific ethics not to intervene, even when giant frigate birds line the shore plucking the innocent little turtles off one-by-one. But Rob decides he's in no way bound and he rescues six little turtles that were running into the path of danger and sees them safely to the waters edge. Honor's final resistance to him melts under the tropical moonlight.

He offers her a deal - one kiss for every turtle saved.

You don’t want to kiss me.’ Honor knew the impact her scars had on people. She wasn’t hung-up about it but she was also a realist.

‘Correction, I’ve wanted to kiss you from the moment I saw you.’ Sincerity was live in his eyes but still she doubted. Maybe a kiss wasn’t such a big deal where he came from, just a bit of fun? He couldn’t know that she’d only been kissed by two men in her whole life; her first kiss when she was fourteen and then her husband. Rob would make three.

If she was entertaining the suggestion.

She swallowed. Her heart thumped an SOS in her chest but her body wasn’t listening. How good would it be to give in to her yearning, to taste him just for a moment? She imagined how his lips would feel against hers but, more than anything, she wanted to nibble her way along that spectacular jaw line. She could almost reach it from here…

In her dreams. This was just a bit of fun for Rob, gentle flirting. He was probably bored. And the best way to handle a flirt? Call them on it.

‘Fine, one kiss.’

His pupils flared and he bent his head toward her.

‘One small kiss.’

‘One small kiss,’ he nodded ‘for each turtle?’

A crazy part of her was enjoying the verbal foreplay. He was waking nerve endings she hadn’t used in a long, long time. ‘Turtles hatched, or turtles saved?’

He smiled, caught out. ‘Okay, saved.’

Six small kisses. Just kisses. Every part of her wanted to say yes and that alone rang alarm bells. He was perfection in deck shoes, funny and gentle, and all of this probably meant nothing to him. Just a bit of casual sport. It was what he did, after all.

He played.


If he was surprised, he didn’t show it. ‘Where would you like the first one?’

A wild streak she’d virtually forgotten she had surged forward. She stood straighter and looked at him fearlessly. ‘Cheek.’

He smiled, leaned in excruciatingly slowly and brushed gentle lips across one flushed cheek. They were cool and soft against her flaming skin. He smelled of sea-salt and moonlight. She could survive this…


‘Other cheek. That’s two.’

‘Thank you, I can count.’ He leaned to her other side and moved his mouth slightly against her other cheek. Lingering. The scent of warm man eddied around her. It was like a natural stimulant.

‘Three and four?’

Honor took a deep breath. Only two chaste kisses and her heart was ready to beat right out of its cavity. She closed her eyes and every other sense kicked into overdrive. She felt him lean in, the air around her humming at his approach. His lips touched one eyelid and then the other. Soft, slow and delightful.

She’d felt his smile against her first eyelid but when they fluttered open, he wasn’t smiling any more. And he’d shifted closer, almost touching her chest with his.

Mustn’t lean forward… She’d never felt such a burning desire to close a gap in her life. She raised her hands up to his chest to stop herself from doing precisely that but feeling the hard heat of his chest through his shirt only reminded her how long it had been since she’d felt a man’s heartbeat under her fingers. Her lips.


He didn’t need to say it. Wordless, she tipped her head sideways, exposing the long length of her neck. The good side. She pointed to a spot just next to where her pulse beat its fevered tattoo.

He leaned in closer and held her steady with one large hand on each arm. Then he slowly moved toward the place she’d identified. Honor let her heavy eyelids close again, breathless with anticipation, then felt him pull away. Disappointment ached in her throat. When she opened her eyes, his were glittering with desire and something else.


Before she could react, he twisted and narrowed the space between them and then pressed his mouth against the other side of her neck. Right on the leathery patchwork of her scars.

Shock stiffened her body and sensation assaulted her. She pushed away instinctively, but he held fast. Surgery had done nothing to reduce sensation where the grafts had been applied. If anything, the still-healing skin was hyper-sensitive. Electric currents shot out from the warmth of his mouth as he lazily kissed his way over her damaged skin. A lifetime of emotions surged through her—panic, desire, confusion, sorrow—but when his tongue got in on the act, her legs gave completely away.

Shipwrecked With Mr Wrong is an April 2011 release for the RIVA line (UK), and a June 2011 release for Sweet (Aust/NZ). Have you ever been to an island (secluded or otherwise)? Nikki has a copy of Shipwrecked With Mr Wrong 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 Her Innocence, His Conquest by international guest Jules Bennett will be posted!

Apr 8, 2011

Knocked down seven times, get up eight.

Reading: Just Breathe – Susan Wiggs

Watching: Guinea Pigs jump

Making me smile: Rellies visiting from Sydney

You’ve read books where every word is pitch perfect. Where the characters are so real you feel as if they are speaking directly and only to you. When you reluctantly read the last page – that final sentence – the ending stays with you, a warm knowing feeling. There’s a lesson to take away and it found its way to your heart big time. Last night I began reading Susan Wiggs’ Just Breathe. In the first chapter we learn that the heroine has already been through the wringer: needing to leave her family and hometown, discovering problems with infertility, suffering knockbacks with her job, helping her partner triumph over cancer. This woman is strong, courageous, intelligent, caring, loyal. She faces her challenges head on and conquers them. Nothing can keep her down.

Then her world falls apart.

Writers know we shouldn’t be kind to our characters. What’s a good story, after all, without problems to solve? Without people we aspire to emulate when times get tough? And those kinds of heroes aren’t limited to fiction. When I’m navigating a particularly rough patch, I have looked to persons – real or not – from whom I can draw strength. I have asked myself: What would he/she do? How would they find the grit?

Do you draw from people you admire for guidance, attitude, tenacity when the road ahead looks bleak? Are they real life persons, like role model celebrities, your parents, even children? Have you ever faced a personal trial and wondered how Such-and-Such from That Fabulous Book would handle it?

Two things are for sure. The human spirit is an amazing source of inspiration.

And I can’t wait to see how this Wiggs book ends!

Apr 7, 2011

Universal Panacea - Winner!

Thanks, everyone! I've had a lovely time reading all your fascinating responses to my blog!

And now I've drawn the winner from my trusty bucket of names on paper and the winner is -

Kristina Knight!

Kristina could you please get in touch with me on
sharon (@) sharon-archer (dot) com
to organise a copy of my latest release!

Apr 6, 2011

Universal Panacea

Good Health In A Jar!

by Sharon Archer

Reading: Diana Wynne Jones, Fire and Hemlock

Watching: Frequency

Making me smile: Clever Professor Thomas Holloway!

I’ve just been on the most wonderful few days away at the lighthouse on Bruny Island, Tasmania, with fellow LoveCats, Rachel Bailey and Nikki Logan, and our friend, Alison.

The quarters were cosy and fun and graciously old-fashioned – a delightful cross between staying at my nana’s place and visiting a working museum. And there were treasures that, as a medical romance writer, I couldn’t resist!

The first was a small ceramic pot that had once been filled with Holloway’s Ointment. This excellent multipurpose salve boasted that it was for The Cure of Gout and Rheumatism, Inveterate Ulcers, Sore Breasts, Sore Heads and Bad Legs.

Surely a must for every household medicine chest – and indeed it was in the 1800s.

The man behind the jar was Thomas Holloway. Born in 1800, he was apprenticed to a chemist at age sixteen. But his true genius was in marketing. Thomas began selling his ointment in 1837 and became an extremely successful “patent medicine merchant”. A born entrepreneur, his ointment and pills were advertised in newspapers around the world and offered full printed directions...in any language, even in Turkish, Arabic, Armenian, Persian or Chinese. The products were offered for sale by nearly every respectable Vendor of Medicine through the Civilized World.

In the wonderfully flowery prose of the nineteenth century, one advertisement assures us that the invaluable unguent acts by stimulating the absorbants to increased activity by preventing congestion and promoting a free and copious circulation in the parts affected, thence speedily and effectually it ensures a cure.

So what did this wonder lotion contain? One reference I found suggests one of the ingredients was opium, another reference, that it was mostly beeswax and lanolin.

Whatever it contained, Thomas's ointment and his pills made him a very, very wealthy man and he went on to become a philanthropist endowing the Holloway Sanatorium and the Royal Holloway College (now part of the University of London)....

But that's a subject for a whole other blog!

So have you got any treasures with wonderful descriptive prose you'd like to share? Or perhaps you've seen an advertisement in an old newspaper for a miracle cure that took your fancy?

I'll give away a copy of my latest release, The Man Behind The Badge, to one commenter!