Feb 29, 2016

Meet Hoblet (plus a winner!)

First, I have a winner to announce from my last post: Diana Tidlund, email me at rachel (at) rachelbailey (dot) com with your choice of either The Finn Factor or The Summer of Jake, and I'll get it out to you!

If you follow me on Facebook, you'll know that I'm fostering a greyhound who needed some surgery, rehab, and a little TLC. His name is Hoblet and he's the sweetest, bravest boy! I'm quite in love with him already.

Here's a little video the rescue group made to raise money for his surgery - it's basically the 'before' shots. (Don't worry about the appeal information - they raised enough money. Yay!)

He's now had the surgery and the fabulous vet hospital put a plate in his leg and, despite some complications post-surgery, he's doing really well.

This pic is while he was still in hospital:

And this one is once he's home - we'd just come back from the local vet for a bandage change on Saturday:

And here he is (with a blue bandage!) in his special play pen. He needs to be on a lead or in this little pen  all the time so he doesn't do anything to hurt his leg. It's not a bad combination, actually - a writer on deadline and a dog who needs someone to sit nearby for long stretches of time. We're getting a rhythm together of him sleeping in his favourite bed while I write, then he goes into the little pen so I can shower or get lunch.

He still has a long way to go before he can be put up for adoption - under the bandage is an open wound that still might need surgery, then there will be rehab over a couple of months - but in the meantime, he's bringing a lot of joy to our house.

Letting him go at the end will be difficult, but if he finds a loving forever home then I will have room to foster another little soul and help save its life too. I'm hoping I can do it. Cross your fingers for me!

Tell me, have you ever had to give up something you loved? I'd love to hear about it. Any tips?

Feb 26, 2016

A Walk In The Park...?

By the time you read this I'll be knee deep in dubbing, loading up my backpack and crossing things off my equipment list, because tomorrow (Saturday) The Doc and I are flying down to one of my most favourite places in the world-Queenstown- in readiness for a four day (53.5km) hike into the wilderness.

Planning for this trip began just under a year ago when we decided that, instead of getting maudlin about our empty nest, we'd do something challenging and exciting together. My baby flew the nest last Saturday to start his next adventure and so tomorrow we're doing the same.

The Milford Track is dubbed as 'The finest walk in the world' and will take us tramping through fiordland, traversing waterfalls, through rainforests and wetlands. I've seen lots of amazing photos and read up as much as I can and now I can't wait!

Ready to pack!
It's a one-way walk and we have guides, so I'm confident we won't get lost, but we still have to carry reasonably heavy packs for four long days. I have 'walkers wool' and band aids for blisters, paracetamol for aches and pains and, apparently, there is wine available at the lodges we stay in along the way! What else could I need?

There is no internet anywhere on the track and no 3G service but some electricity at the lodges so I'm hoping my kindle holds out- it's locked and loaded with some fabulous books...if I have the energy to read in the evenings. One of the hardest things will be being out of contact with the 'real' world for 4 days...will be interesting to see how that feels!

The Tongariro Crossing 
We've been putting in some serious practice and I've rediscovered my love for 'the great outdoors'- something which was put to one side when the boys came along and we got busy being parents. So, hopefully, my enthusiasm will make up for any physical barriers I encounter!

(And don't be surprised if a hunky gruff walking guide appears in one of my next books!)

Wish me luck! I'll post photos here next time...oh, and apparently 90% of people doing this track get rain (which is why the waterfalls are so beautiful and the scenery so lush, I guess)- pray for sunshine!

Have you recently re-discovered a passion? Are you outdoorsy or do you prefer a cuppa and a good book?

Feb 24, 2016

Talking about tomatoes - Kandy Shepherd

When I was editor of a gardening magazine I found everyone wanted to talk to me about their tomatoes.  In summer, they become almost a national obsession with gardeners.

There’s no doubt vine-ripened, freshly picked tomatoes taste fantastic. And in most places Down Under they’re easy to grow. In our part of the country there’s a local rule that decrees no planting out before Melbourne Cup Day (first Tuesday of November) because of the danger of late frost. But apart from that it’s just plant them, give them fertilizer (in our case courtesy of our hens and horses), water them and wait for tomatoes. Oh, and protect them from hungry birds.

I'd be happy to share with the local bird-life
but they'd scoff the lot if I didn't net my tomatoes!

But for the last three years our crops have been useless: too much rain, not enough rain, whatever the reason the result has been the same—no tomatoes.

That’s why we’re loving the bumper crops this year. The tomatoes have been so abundant we’ve had to look at ways not to waste them. I’ve recently made passata—fresh tomato sauce—and just yesterday tried making semi-dried tomatoes.

Best Romas I've every grown!

I picked the Roma tomatoes—egg shaped, not as juicy as other varieties. 

Roma's ready to go!

Then I cut them in half, sprinkled with salt, olive oil and thyme from the garden, and cooked them in a slow oven for about three hours until they were crisp around the edges but still soft in the middle. 

They don't look very pretty but the semi-dried tomatoes taste wonderful! 
Packed in oil and kept in the fridge they’ll keep for about a month—though I doubt they’ll last that long at our house!

These will be great in sandwiches, salads, pasta and pizza!

There’s a certain satisfaction in preserving crops from our garden. I’ve made pesto from the basil as well as plum jam this year  (for some reason none of our other fruit trees produced anything, unseasonal weather patterns I suspect.)

But I think of our forebears and am so thankful we don’t have to rely on my labour to keep us in fruit and vegetables throughout the year. Harvest time is the hottest time of the year and preserving in a sweltering kitchen isn’t something I’d want to do as anything other than an occasional hobby!

Of course my husband, while enjoying the fruits of my labour, reminds me that with a looming deadline, I should be working on my novel. And that all this tomato preserving is just another form of procrastination!

My next Harlequin Romance Crown Prince’s Chosen Bride is out on March 1. The heroine is a chef turned party planner—and she doesn’t make tomato sauce or plum jam in the story though she does make a wicked white chocolate mud cake…

Do you grow vegetables and/or make preserves or are you quite happy to buy them? Any successes or disasters to recount? I’d love to read your comments!

Feb 22, 2016

Audio books - yea or nay? by Amy Andrews

So I've been walking (grumble grumble....) to try and get fitter and lose weight (again. Grumble grumble....) The thing is I really HATE exercise. And not the tough hard slog of it - although that doesn't exactly set my world on fire - but the sheer utter B.O.R.E.D.O.M. of it!

I swear, it's what puts me off the most. I know people who listen to music to help them through - never worked for me. I know authors who nut out all their plot issues and dream up new ideas while exercising. Not me. I spend the entire time thinking - god, this is boring, god this is soooo boring, dear god this is soooooo boooooring.

Yes. I am like a petulant teenager whilst exercising.

And then..... (I feel like I need a harp sound here)

Oh look....I found one!

I got myself an Audible subscription.

Best. Decision. Ever.

I've only downloaded one book (so far, but it is 64 hours!!) It's a book I've been meaning to read for about a decade mainly because my bestie has been nagging me about it for that long. And everyone in romancelandia adores it and now there's the TV series...well, I couldn't watch that without at least reading the first book in the series, right?

So - Outlander it was.

 And because it was a much anticipated read, I made a pact with myself. Its my walking only book. I am NOT allowed to listen to it unless I'm walking. I figured if I liked the book enough it will help with motivation. And, its worked a treat! Because I'm enjoying it very much.

Now, when I go for a walk, I tell the hubs, I'm off to Scotland.

Yes, I literally feel like I'm in Scotland! Much more so, I think, than if I'd been reading it myself which has been an absolute revelation. I  wasn't prepared for it to be such an immersive experience. I think its the passivity of it all. Being read to like this has completely freed my mind to go into the world of the book. Of course, I do this when I'm reading to myself too, but I realise now, that it's nowhere near as vivid. I think the process of reading itself occupies my brain just enough to make it an active experience and therefore roots me, even if only a little, in my own world. But with nothing else to do other than listen? I am right in the room as Claire meets Jamie for the first time and tends to his dislocated shoulder. I can see him and her (thanks to the TV series, its those characters I see). I can really feel the earthen floor under my feet, smell the fire and the stench of unwashed men and raw whiskey, feel the nip in the air outside and the palpable air of comrades in arms.

Of course I have to give kudos to the excellent narrator. Davina Porter is fabulous. Who knew a person could do so many distinct Scottish accents - male and female?? Maybe if she wasn't so good, I'd feel differently about the whole audiobook experience but, as it is, she's initiated this virgin with a very skilled hand! Or should I say voice?

The best thing? The walk goes so quickly and I don't even feel like I've been exercising at all. I just feel like I've been whisked away to Scotland!

I am a complete convert! Both to Outlander and audiobooks. Exercise not so much.... But I've found a way to make it bearable and that is something I NEVER thought possible.

What about you guys out there in the blogosphere? Have you tried audiobooks? What's been your experience? Do you think they're more immersive than reading yourself? Or is that narrator dependent?

Feb 21, 2016

Sunday Smooch - A Vow To Secure His Legacy

Welcome to another LoveCats DownUnder Sunday Smooch!

Today we have a smooch from  Annie West but first 

... the winner of last week's Sunday Smooch Giveaway is Mary Preston!!

Can you please contact amy(at)amyandrews (dot)com(dot)au to receive your copy of NUMBERED.

And now for today's Sunday Smooch from A VOW TO SECURE HIS LEGACY.

 One Night With Consequences

“Marry me. This week.” 

After losing her mother, Imogen Holgate believes she’s living on borrowed time with the same terminal illness. So the cautious accountant blows all her savings on a once-in-a-lifetime trip around the world, where she meets sexy Parisian Thierry Girard. But after two steamy weeks there are permanent consequences to their temporary affair…

Now with more than herself to think about, Imogen turns to Thierry to help, but the last thing she expected was for him to imprison her with a gold ring!

Scene set-up

Imogen is ticking Paris off her bucket list. She knows she's fatally ill and wants to live before she dies. An affair with a gorgeous Frenchman wasn't on her list but the attraction between her and Thierry is instantaneous. She's just told him he's kind for spending the evening helping her see Paris and seeing her back to her hotel room.

Smooch  -

‘I’m not good at kind.’ He stroked a finger down her cheek in a barely-there touch that rocketed to the centre of her being. ‘In fact, I excel at doing exactly what pleases me most.’ His head dipped and Imogen’s breath stalled as his breath caressed her lips. ‘And what pleases me most is to be with you, Imogen.’

Imogen swallowed hard. It was what she wanted, what she’d steeled herself to ask. Yet part of her, the cautious, reserved part that had kept her safe for twenty five years, froze her tongue.

Safe? There was no safe, not any more. Not when she could count the future in months, not decades.

‘Or am I wrong?’ His hand dropped and still she felt his touch like a sense memory. ‘Do you not want-?’

‘Yes!’ Her purse tumbled to the floor as her hand shot out. She clutched his fingers, threading hers through them. The flash of heat from the contact point was like an electric charge. ‘I want.’

How badly she wanted. Need was a shimmering wave, engulfing her.

He didn’t smile. If anything his features grew harder, flesh pulling taut across those magnificent bones. His fingers tightened around hers.

‘I can offer you short term pleasure, Imogen. That’s all.’ His eyes narrowed as if he tried to read her thoughts. ‘If that’s not what you want-’

Her finger on his mouth stopped his words and sent another ripple of sensual awareness through her. Despite his honed, masculine features his lips were surprisingly soft. She felt light-headed just thinking about them on her mouth.

‘That sounds perfect.’ She drew a breath shaky with grim amusement. ‘I’m not in the market for long term.’

The words were barely out when his head swooped and his mouth met hers. Firmly, implacably, no teasing, just the sure, sensual demand of a man who knew what he wanted and, Imogen realised as her lips parted, who knew how to please a woman. The swipe of his tongue, the angle of his mouth, the possessive clasp of his hand around her skull were so right, she wondered how she’d gone her whole life without experiencing anything like it.

Whatever she and Scott had shared it was nothing like this.

Thierry circled an arm around her, pulling her against his hard frame. Everywhere they touched, from her breasts to her thighs, exploded into tingling awareness as if she’d brushed a live wire. Darts of fire shot to her nipples, her pelvis, even up the back of her neck as he massaged her scalp and she heard herself moan into his mouth.

He tasted better than chocolate, rich and strong and addictive. She slid her arms around his neck and hung on tight as her knees gave way.

Instantly the arm at her back tightened. He swung her off the ground, high in his arms, making her feel precious and feminine against his imposing masculinity. His mouth devoured hers, seeking, demanding, yet giving so much pleasure exultation filled her.

This was a kiss. This was desire.

She was greedy for him, hungry for the passion he’d stoked so easily. She pushed her fingers through his hair, its soft thickness enticing.
‘More,’ she mumbled against his lips.

One of the things that immediately attracts Imogen to Thierry is his voice - deep, low and with a drool-worthy French accent. Is there an accent you can't resist? 

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

Smooch Graphic by WebWeaver 

Feb 19, 2016

My Favourite Things.....

I haven't done a My Favourite Things post for a while, so I thought I'd start with my six favourite things at the moment and then see what everyone else is 'favouriting' too.

1/ Adrian Van Ziegler - I can't get enough of this talented composer and love listening to him when I'm writing. I love Celtic music (maybe my Welsh heritage) and his music is really romantic and easy listening.

2/ The beautiful flowers my husband gave me for Valentine's Day. There's something extra special about getting flowers delivered and these arrived at my day job just in time for V Day. xx
3/ The hard cover version of my latest release, Three Reasons To Wed, from Harlequin Special Edition. I love the cover of this book and getting the hardcovers still gives me a thrill :)

4/ My cat. This is Candy and she's a perfect little angel (when she's not being a monster) She's a Ragdoll we've had for a few years now. And she's my shadow when I'm at my desk.
5/ Baby hugs! There's something extra special about baby hugs. This is my great-niece Evie. I can remember holding her mum the same way....time sure does get away. Love her gorgeous strawberry blond hair and the blue eyes.
6/ My new pink kayak! Complete with pink paddle. (Please ignore the rather large shark in the background....that is compliments of a friend with a wicked sense of humour...although, maybe I need to think about getting a bigger boat!)
So....what are your favorite things at the moment? Family, friends, holidays or books?

Feb 17, 2016

Titles and Nicknames: What the Author Calls a Book vs. the Published Title

I was musing today on book names. Not so much the title a published book has across its cover, but the name it still carries in my head. Sometimes, when people talk about a story of mine I need to do a quick mental calculation, swapping its published name for the one I used to call it privately while I was writing. Some of those first names stick in my mind a long time and others disappear as soon as a final title is decided on for publication.
Take my next book. 'A Vow to Secure His Legacy' seems an okay title. Yet, I still think of it as 'Bucket List Bride' which is the name I and my crit partner gave it as I was planning the story. It wasn't a title I suggested to my editor as I really couldn't see BLB being used for a Presents story. The story is about a woman who believes she's dying. She decides to spend her last relatively healthy months on travelling the globe to tick items off her bucket list. Along the way she acquires a French lover and then a pregnancy and her plans change. You can see why the name appealed.
Similarly, the book after this one, which is called 'The Flaw in Raffaele's Revenge' is still, in my mind, my RBB or Reverse Beauty and the Beast, as it's about a scarred, reclusive heroine who falls for the most gorgeous man on the planet. Again, not a title I suggested to my editor.
Here are a few others. When I wrote an amnesia story about a hero from Lake Como in Northern Italy it was fated that it would become 'Coma in Como' to me. Most of the time I remember it's now called 'Forgotten Mistress, Secret Love-Child' but I still think of the old nickname just as often as the published title.


Along the way 'The Liakos Legacy' became 'The Greek's Convenient Mistress' and 'The Unwanted Wife' turned into 'The Greek Tycoon's Unexpected Bride'. I still remember and sometimes use the old names for those two as they were both books where, remarkably, I wrote the book because I got the title in my head and just had to write the story!
'Forbidden Desire' turned into 'Defying His Desert Duty'. It's a story very reminiscent of Tristan and Iseult, where the hero falls for the woman he's escorting as a bride to marry his king. Hence 'forbidden', but I admit I tend only to remember the published title of this one now.

There are a number of others, including 'Love at First Sight' which became 'Undone By His Touch'. In that book the hero falls for the heroine while he's blind, but when he regains his sight he recognises her as the woman he's always held responsible for his brother's death. So there's a question about whether he 'saw' her better through his eyes or when he was blind. Sometimes I have to think for a second or two to remember the official title. 

How about you? Do you use nicknames for favourite or everyday things? Do you find yourself sometimes using a shorthand code with your family and friends for things the rest of us would call by another name? Do YOU have a nickname?

A VOW TO SECURE HIS LEGACY will be out soon. Here are a couple of links if you want to order it:
Barnes and Noble
Book Depository

Feb 15, 2016

What's on my desk?

I’m lucky enough to have a dedicated space in my apartment for writing.

I have a desk that sits in the alcove behind our kitchen (great position because it’s close to the coffee machine) where I face a window and have plenty of natural light. It’s small, but it’s comfortable and it's mine.

These are the 6 things you’ll always find on my desk (aside from the obvious, my laptop!):

1. Romance Llama: my writing mascot, a furry stuffed llama with a lopsided smile, lives on my desk. He keeps me company during the day when I’m home alone, and he puts a smile on my face.

2. Noise Cancelling Headphones: Sometimes I’m still writing by the time my husband gets home. Often I write on the weekend. Noise cancelling headphones keep me sane when all I can hear are the not-so soothing sounds of GTA 5.

3. A candle: I’m always burning candles, I love the way they scent the apartment and the flickering flame makes me feel all warm and cosy. The current one on my desk is a pine-scented one - it's very fresh and clean smelling!

4. A notebook: I’m a little bit old school in that I only take notes by hand. I write and plan on my laptop, but when revising or thinking up an idea for a new story I find it easier to write it down. This is also my excuse for buying endless amounts of cute stationary.

5. A throw: It can get very cold when you’re sitting by a window, especially in winter. I love to rug up in a cuddly light-weight blanket when I write – my current one is a fluffy teal one that was a gift from my husband.

6. Flowers/greenery: I'm a terrible gardener but I love fresh flowers. I also have a cute little bamboo plant that gives my desk a nice tranquil feel.

What are the things you always have on your desk?

Feb 14, 2016

Sunday Smooch with Amy Andrews

Welcome to another LoveCats DownUnder Sunday Smooch!

Today we have a smooch from  Amy Andrews but first 

... the winner of last week's Sunday Smooch Giveaway is Lyn M!!

Can you please contact sue (dot) mackay56 (at) yahoo  (dot) com to receive your prize. 

And now for today's Sunday Smooch from Numbered.


What would you do differently if your days were…NUMBERED??

Mathematician and many-time Loser in Love Poppy Devine believes in being prepared. So when she discovers she has breast cancer, all she has to do is dust off the carefully numbered bucket list she prepared years before with her best friend Julia.
There are only two problems:  Quentin, a gorgeous younger man with rock-star ambitions, wasn’t on her list. And take-a-risk Julia, has suddenly come over all disapproving.
Together with Poppy’s hippy mother Scarlet, the three form an unlikely alliance to help Poppy realise her goals. Sky diving, swimming with sharks, cooking classes in Tuscany, visiting an orphanage in India are all part of the journey. Along the way, Poppy is forced to confront her best friend’s grief, her fraught relationship with her mother, and the fact that she really might be using her last available time on earth to make the most imperfect match of her life.
But Poppy comes to learn that when your days are numbered there’s no such thing as perfect and love really is all you need.

Amy says - Just a bit of a warning before you read on....Numbered isn't the typical romance you're probably used to from me. For a start I co-authored it with my sister Ros and secondly, it's more women's fiction. Don't worry, there's a large romantic subplot so, you know....there's kissing and stuff but its an emotional ride which might not be everyone's cup of tea. The scene below is one I wrote and comes with a language warning.

Set up - 
Poppy has just been told that there's nothing more medically they can do for her. Julia has dashed off to find Quentin who is practising with his band in a local church hall. When she gets there, Quentin has already left to go to Poppy and the practise session has broken up. But Spike the drummer is still there.....

Are you okay?’ he asked again.

‘No.’ Julia wasn’t sure why she’d answered. She didn’t want Spike to know her stuff. She didn’t want his pity or his brashness.

‘What can I do?’

Rage, sharp and molten, rose in her again. Do? As if he could do anything. What, just because he thought he was god’s gift to the universe he thought he could also cure cancer? ’Cause that’s what she needed.

Cocky bastard.

She didn’t mean to laugh. And even if she had she certainly wouldn’t have meant for it to sound quite so maniacal. ‘Nothing.’

‘I lost my muvver to breast cancer,’ he said. ‘I was twelve.’

Julia recoiled at the news, a spurt of hot tears scalding the back of her eyes. The thought was horrifying. She couldn’t bear thinking about him at twelve, all gangly and pubescent, losing his anchor. She couldn’t bear the thought of any of it.

She just didn’t want to think.

Her brain ached from the thinking.

‘Can you play?’ she asked, not really conscious of where she was going with it. ‘Loud?’

He shrugged those magnificent shoulders and the dragon danced. ‘How loud?’

Really loud. Loud enough that I can’t hear myself think.’

He looked at her for a few beats, then, without saying a word, he sat down on his stool and started to play.

The first notes hit her as she’d hoped they would. They thudded into her chest hard enough that she wished she was wearing Kevlar, and reverberated through her cerebral cortex with enough oomph to disrupt her clashing thoughts. For long minutes she stood there, eyes shut, and absorbed the crash and boom. She let it shake through her thighs, throb through her belly and vibrate through her grey matter.

She looked around the rickety old hall and found a stash of folding chairs. She grabbed one and sat in the middle of the empty space and let the noise consume her, tapping her cherryslingback shoe to the beat.

Tears came and she let them fall like rain. She watched him watch her as they fell and she didn’t care. Her brain was full of rage and bass meshing together into one blinding blast that left no room for anything else. The beat was intense, angry almost, and Julia revelled in it. Revelled in its vigour and its gutwrenching emotion.

Anger. Her old friend.

She felt good suddenly. Good to have the noise in every cell of her being, to have no room for anything other than the furious beat.

Julia didn’t know how long it went on. All she knew was that at some stage Spike shut his eyes and went to another plain. She wasn’t sure then who he was playing for. Her? Ten? Poppy? His mother maybe? But he sure was working up a sweat. She could see him perspiring from a good ten metres away. He flicked his head to the beat and the sun slanting through the high window behind him caught the droplets as they sprayed
from his hair. There was a dewy sheen to his smooth pecs and she could see moisture gathering in the hollow at the base of his throat.

Her nostrils flared as the salty aroma of fresh sweat wafted towards her. It filled her head and swirled with the earthy masculine beat, pulling at her, potent and real, and she wondered how that hollow would taste.

Suddenly something more than the beat filled her head. Suddenly Spike filled her head.
And that just made her madder.

She stood, angry and repulsed that she could be thinking of sweaty drummers when Poppy, her best friend, was dying. The chair fell back with a clatter and he opened his eyes. His gaze pierced her to the spot. He looked at her like he knew.


A small smile passed over his mouth before he tossed his head again and his eyes drifted shut and Julia felt her blood pressure skyrocket.

How freaking dare he? Did his cockiness know no bounds?

She stalked up to the stage, taking the stairs two at a time until she was standing in front of him, breathing erratically. The noise was deafening up here, hitting her in the chest like grenade blasts, the cacophony feeding her fury.

She watched him, utterly mesmerised by the show. His biceps flexing. His forearms straining as he belted the drums like he was possessed, like he was playing for his soul, the tattooed letters on his fingers and the sticks a blur of movement.  He was someplace else. Totally in the moment. And she wanted that. She wanted to be someplace else, too. In his moment.

Far the hell away from hers.

Julia moved closer until she was standing beside him. Close enough to touch him. Close enough to see him breathing hard at what was obviously quite a physical workout. To see the wink of his diamond stud and the sweat on his chest. To see that damn popped button.

And he didn’t smell like beer nuts and hair gel now. He smelled like rock-and-freaking-roll.

He stopped abruptly and his eyes flashed open, capturing hers. For long seconds neither of them did or said anything and only the wild tempo of their breathing broke the deafening silence.

Then she was lifting her skirt. Straddling him. Sliding her hands onto the bare smoothness of his shoulders up into his hair, twisting her fingers brutally into the shaggy locks.

He kissed her then. Not tentative. Not polite. This was no first-kiss kiss. It was demanding. Dirty. And it went on and on. Deep, open-mouthed, head-twisting, tonguefucking,rock’n’roll kissing.

Many people out there like to read what I call "tragic" books. I've never really gotten that myself. Tragedy is all around so I dont really want to read about it. But, I would move out of my comfort zone if it was an author I knew and loved.

What about you? Do you have a hard and fast rule about certain content regardless of who has written it? What are you personal hot buttons that will cause you to avoid a book like the plague? And have you ever set that aside because you trusted the author?

I'm giving away a paperback copy of Numbered (its one of those big suckers too!!) - openly internationally - to one person who joins in the conversation in the comments. Can't wait to hear what y'all have to say.

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

Smooch Graphic by WebWeaver

Feb 12, 2016

I'm so Proud ...

To be a Mills & Boon Author.

And again. I'm very proud to write for one of the most established names in romance publishing.

The reason I'm yelling this from the deck is that a couple of weeks ago I found myself having to defend what I do for a living, and I don't think I should have to.
Now I know that there are plenty of people out there who like to poke a finger at the authors and readers of these romance stories. They are a fact of life and don't bother me.
BUT - we (royal we) were having drinks with friends (whose late wife was a big fan of my books), and met a woman who all but attacked me.
'I hear you write books.'
'Yes, I do,' I said proudly.
'Mills & Boon books.' Sneer.
'Yes, I do.' Still proud.
Then I had to withstand a lengthy one-sided discussion on these books put out by this publisher.
'Have you read any?' I asked.
'Not since I was a teenager.'
Fair enough. Heard it all before. But did my blood boil. I did behave, stayed cool (read heated) and calm (read angry). Thank goodness for wine.

The day the carton containing copies of my very first book turned up here my man took a hard cover copy and placed on the bookshelf in the lounge, and has continued to so with every title since. He's not a reader, hasn't read any of mine, but boy, is he proud of me.

The thing is this: -
It takes time, commitment and sheer determination to write a book of any kind, and that's before we start knocking on editors' and agents' doors. That takes pig-headedness and many bottles of wine.
I have the utmost admiration for all my writing friends and colleagues. Many have achieved outstanding results with their amazing stories, and more will in the near future.

I never go around putting down other people's jobs, be they a cleaner or a doctor. Why would I?
I also believe we authors have one of the best occupations on the planet. We get to make up things, and talk to people in our head while getting away with it. What's not to love about those?

Okay, so now I'll come down off my soapbox. Got that off my chest.
Coming Soon: MarchJust as an aside - this person was more than happy to take home four of my books to give to her friend, who apparently can't read enough of our books. Go her.

Kind of like the title for my next book. Seems appropriate somehow.

Do you ever have to defend something that's important to you? Does it wind you up as I seemed to have been?