May 22, 2017

Monday Ramblings by Amy Andrews

Its release day for me so I am a bit all over the shop at the moment 😍 and consequently a little late for this blog.

So here are some Monday ramblings from a mushy release day brain.

Hot Mess. You should buy it. Fireman + reunited lovers + amnesia = all the romance awesomeness. Yes, even if I do say so myself 😘 Best part? It's first in a series of 4 hot firemen! So what are you waiting for??


I have a new website. Its soooo pretty. Click here and it'll take you there!



Do not watch the new Anne of Green Gables series if you are an Anne purist. The second episode is all kinds of weird....

 
I love the beach in all its moods...


What do you think of my new cover for Holding Out For A Hero which I'm self-pubbing and should be out very soon? 

  
It's almost June!! Just in case anyone had forgotten...Pretty soon there'll be those annoying people who pop up and tell us how many shopping days until Christmas!

New bio pic for my sister and I to use in some Ruby award publicity.What do you think?


We had the option to go for  serious shot but what the hell, right?
Life is serious enough.....

Reckon that's a good note to end it on. Is anyone elses brains as mushy as mine at the moment? Care to add a random thought for us all to ponder?




May 21, 2017

Retro Sunday Smooch:

Welcome to another LoveCats DownUnder Sunday Smooch!


Today we have a Retro Smooch from At The Billionaire's Beck and Call but first...



... the winner of last week's Sunday Smooch Giveaway is Wolfy! Can you please contact stefanie(at)stefanie-london(dot)com to receive your copy of Betting the Bad Boy.



Today's Sunday Smooch is a retro smooch from Rachel Bailey. 
From Rachel:
At The Billionaire's Beck and Call? was first released in 2010, but has remained one of my favourites. Maybe it's all the chocolate in the scenes since Macy is running a chocolate company...? Yeah, that's probably part of the reason. Oh, and Ryder. Definitely one of my favourite heroes. At the Billionaire's Beck and Call? is set in Australia's fabulous Melbourne and since I'm taking a trip to Melbourne this year, it seemed a good time to revisit Macy and Ryder.

Corporate raider takes contract wife

In a merger tailor-made for the tabloids, tycoon Ryder Bramson sought Macy Ashley's hand in marriage. But his true goal was to buy her father's company—and thereby wrest control of his own conglomerate from his illegitimate brothers. To ensnare Macy in his web of intrigue, Ryder first offered the beautiful businesswoman a job in his start-up. Yet slipping the ring on her finger proved more difficult.


Being a brash billionaire's corporate pawn wasn't independent-minded Macy's style. One the other hand, being the focus of this irresistible man's passion just might win her over to his scheme...


[Set up: Ryder is ready to ask Macy if she’ll agree to a marriage of convenience, so he asked her out for drinks and is now seeing her home. But he’s been having a little trouble keeping his mind on the goal.]




Their first date had gone well, all things considered. Now he just needed to garner an invitation to her apartment and outline his offer and its merits.


Three steps into the silent foyer, Macy turned on the marble floor and faced him. “I only have to go up that elevator. You’ve seen me home.” She moistened her lips and he couldn’t have dragged his gaze away with a gun to his head. Her scent, something exotic, surrounded him.


She was so damn beautiful he had to replay her words in his head to get her meaning. Was it a good thing or bad that the woman he wanted to marry made his body overheat and frazzled his brain? 


“Invite me up,” he said.


She shivered almost imperceptibly, but then arched one eyebrow, as if in control. “Why would I do that?”


A slow smile spread across his face. Her veneer of control called to him, compelled him to move closer. He could see her writhing in his bed, in his arms, under him, all thoughts of control long gone.  


His voice, when he found it, was rough. “There’s something I want to talk to you about.”


Macy glanced at his mouth then met his eyes. “I don’t think talking’s what you have in mind.”


He reached and found her fingers with his, holding them at his side in the lightest of clasps. “Sure, just because I want to talk doesn’t mean I’m not aching to touch you.” To kiss you. To taste you.


Her pupils dilated to almost cover her hazel irises but she didn’t move.


He leaned over and brushed his lips lightly across hers, meaning it to be no more than a peck, a brief demonstration of his words. He began to pull away but couldn’t help gently touching her mouth again. Those lips had been on his mind for twelve hours straight. Just one more touch...


Her mouth yielded, opened to him, and he needed no second invitation for something he’d been wanting to do since she’d arrived at the bar. As he deepened the kiss, he moved forward, closing the distance but not pressing against her – not yet – the bulk of his coat ensuring a respectable distance. Her tongue lightly touched his, a caress sweeter than he’d even imagined.


Drunk on her exotic scent, he lifted his hands to cup her face, finding her cheeks were like silk under his palms. He felt her hands on his shoulders, lightly, then more assured as they traveled an exquisite path to his neck before her fingers tangled in his hair. He was lost.




At The Billionaire's Beck and Call? was originally released in Australia in Nov 2010. Ryder’s half-brother, Seth Kentrell had his story in Million-Dollar Amnesia Scandal in March 2011. And the third brother, JT Hartley’s book Return of the Secret Heir was released in October 2012.

You can still buy At The Billionaire's Beck and Call? from iBooksAmazonBarnes & Noble, and other retailers.


At The Billionaire's Beck and Call? is set mainly in Melbourne. I'm planning a trip there this year, so I' thinking about the city a lot. To be in the draw for a copy of At The Billionaire's Beck and Call?  just leave a comment, and tell me if you’ve ever been to Melbourne (and if you have, do you have any suggestions for places to see?). If you win and you already have this book, you can choose another book from Rachel’s backlist.


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


Smooch Graphic by WebWeaver

May 19, 2017

What are you watching now...What did you watch back then....

When I was a child, I was hooked on certain TV shows....Little House on The Prairie, Eight Is Enough, Family. Little House was without a doubt, my favorite. I had devoured the books and adored the TV show. Even today, the opening credits and music makes me all warm and fuzzy. The tight family unit, Pa Ingalls's integrity and Ma Ingalls's steadfastness always worked its magic.






As I got older I changed to Dallas, Dynasty, Falcon's Crest (or anything else my parents thought was unsuitable for a teenager) I loved the glamor of Dynasty, the contrasting badness and goodness of JR & Bobby Ewing in Dallas, and just adored the twisting and turning relationships in Falcon's Crest (And I had a major crush on William R Moses, who played one of the sons) so, his tumultuous relationship with Melissa always had me hooked. Looking back, I can now see how this good guy (in contrast to some of the other characters) always was at odds with other characters, because he had a strict moral code, but also the pressures of doing what his family expected. So, in a way, Cole Gioberti was one of the first heroic archetypes I was drawn to, and certainly the kind of hero I write today. Here's a quick snippet -


Nowadays, I don't watch a lot of TV. Mostly movies, but I do try and watch reruns of the Mentalist and my favorite show, Game Of Thrones. When I think about why, I'm a touch confused. The first time I tried watching GOT, I failed after the first episode...too much violence and gore. But my husband urged me to persist, and I did...and six odd seasons later, I am absolutely hooked. I think it's because I can clearly seen the defining character types...pure good V pure evil. (A throw back to my old JR V Bobby Ewing days, maybe)

And Of course, Game Of Thrones has Jon Snow...the guy who believed he was never meant for glory...the illegitimate son of a nobleman, destined for a life guarding a great big wall of ice. And of course in true hero fashion, he defies the odds and becomes the man he was destined to be. I love Jon Snow's character - torn, conflicted, loyal, arrogant, honest....you get the picture...the stuff of great heroes!

Warning - the following clip has some swords and violence.






Here's a few other shows I give an honorable mention -

- Grace & Frankie
- This Is Us
- Chicago Fire
- Big Bang Theory


So, what are watching? Do you like the same type of TV/Movies as you did when you were younger? Do you prefer crime, drama, comedy?





.

May 17, 2017

SIX THINGS: READING, WATCHING, LISTENING


by Bronwyn Jameson

Can you believe we’re approaching the halfway point of 2017? Okay, a slight stretch of mathematics but you get my drift. Another year is speeding by, hence, it is time for a catch-up on what’s been occupying my mind...in other words, what I’ve been reading, watching and listening to.

1. I’m starting with “listening to” because I finally delved into Podcasts, following this blog by Stefanie London. My favourite so far is SERIAL, which I found totally addictive if ultimately unsatisfying: that’s the trouble with real life and why I enjoy my fiction with neatly tied, prettily bowed endings. 

2. Speaking of endings, has anyone else seen THEIR FINEST? This movie had so much I loved: the female lead finding her power, the London-WWII setting, the movie-within-a-movie. But then the ending was so aggravating. And pointless (if anyone can explain the point, please do.) Definitely occupied my mind for a considerable time if not in a satisfying way.

3. I started watching the BIG, LITTLE LIES mini-series with some trepidation. I loved Liane Moriarty's book and wasn’t sure the Monterey setting or the casting would work. Very happy to be proved wrong and the brilliant soundtrack has fed my obsession since the series ended. 

4. My current TV fave is the BBC detective drama RIVER, airing on ABC Friday nights. Again, going in I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy this. Woo-woo elements are not my thing, and this series is built around an I-see-dead-people premise. But these characters grabbed me from the opening. Anyone else watching?

5. Naturally I’m watching sport—I am always obsessed with something sports related—and at the moment this is the STANLEY CUP playoffs. I love the speed and skill and intensity of hockey. Oh, and the manly men with beards. What’s not to love?

6. If you haven’t yet done so, you should be READING some of the finalists in the Romance Writers of Australia’s RUBY awards for 2017. Allow me to recommend these bottlers by our super-talented LoveCats, Melanie Milburne and Amy Andrews (writing with her sister Ros Baxter.)




What have you been listening to/watching/reading lately?

May 15, 2017

Stefanie London's baking addiction

I love bread. When I was 15, I worked for the Australian company Baker's Delight (which is called Cobs here in Canada) and one of the best things about the job was being able to bring home fresh bread after every shift. And, if you were working the closing shift, you could take home a more generous amount - which pleased my family to no end.

Now, I know it's something I need to consume in moderation. But I can't seem to full shake my desire for it. I figure, then, that if I'm only going to have it as a treat that I want my bread to be good quality. Fresh and tasty, rather than some of the bland stuff they sell in the supermarkets.

So, I decided to have a go at making a loaf myself.

Voila! Turned out pretty good if I do say so myself.


This was the recipe I used:

It's actually much simpler than I thought it would be. I'd like to try some of the other methods to compare how the loaf turns out, as this loaf was a little more dense that I would like. It's almost like a cross between a Pana De Casa loaf and regular bread. But it toasts beautifully and is nice with a little jam or butter and a cuppa.

Do you make your own bread or is it something you would try?

May 14, 2017

Sunday Smooch with Stefanie London

Welcome to another LoveCats DownUnder Sunday Smooch!


Today we have a smooch from Stefanie London but first...... the winner of last week's Sunday Smooch Giveaway is Tammy!




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






And now for today's Sunday Smooch from Betting the Bad Boy....


It's as been A LONG time between drinks for my Behind the Bar series, but I have finally given Noah his HEA. If you haven't read the other two books in the series, not to worry. They work perfectly as standalone stories and can be enjoying in any order. 



Paige and Noah are working together, but she has a rule about not dating colleagues. But Noah isn't one to follow the rules.

“Come on, live a little.” He grinned. “Even Little Miss Perfect has to let her hair down sometimes. Would it help if I made you a bet?”

“Now why would you do that? As my boss, you’re supposed to be setting a good example.”

“Paige, I’ve never been a good example for anyone.” The smile turned from cheeky to wolfish. “And that’s just the way I like it.”

“You think you’re so charming.” She folded her arms across her chest, trying to muster all the bravado in her
arsenal. Which, admittedly, wasn’t much. “But I hate to break it to you, I’m immune.”

“Got that vaccine, huh? Good girls like you always think they’re immune.”

“I am.” She stuck her nose in the air. “I mean, you’re attractive. But you’re not my type. Sorry.”

“Really?” His eyes glinted. “So if I kissed you now you wouldn’t feel a thing?”

He was calling her bluff. The smart thing to do would be to back down and hightail it out of the bar. But Paige’s love of competition ran deep. He’d ignited the side that needed to win—and right now, with everything that was going on in her life, she was craving a win.

“I’m afraid not. Good looks aren’t enough for me. I need spark.” She waved her hand around, taunting him. “Chemistry.”

What are you doing? This is your boss. This job is the only thing keeping your dreams a oat right now.

“You think we don’t have chemistry?” He raised a brow. 

“I don’t,” she lied. “But you’re welcome to try.” The instant the words popped out of her mouth she regretted them. She’d given him the green light to test her boundaries. To kiss her.

Better go home and pack those bags. You’re done for.

“I’ll do the right thing and give you to the count of three to back down.”


Shit. This was getting too real, too fast.

“One.” His hand came up to her face, the backs of his knuckles tracing along her cheek in a featherlight touch.

Say something.

“Two.” His hand curled around her jaw, sliding back until his ngers threaded into her hair.

Say something. Now!

“Last chance, Paige.” His eyes were dancing, wild and untamed. He looked like he wanted to devour her. 
“Three.”

The kiss was hard at first. Bruising. Desperate. But then he slowed things down. One hand pressed into her lower back, forcing her body against his, and the other cradled her head while his tongue brushed against hers. 

He played her body like an instrument. Stroking. Maneuvering. Guiding. And his kiss scorched her insides until she was sure she’d turn to dust in his arms. 



For a chance to win an ebook copy of Betting the Bad Boy (Amazon account required) tell me who your favourite workplace romance couple is! It can be from a book, TV or movie.

Come back next Sunday, when the winner of today's giveaway will be announced!

May 12, 2017

Tripping Around

I'm writing this blog a couple of weeks early as my man and I are about to leave for the other side of the world for a holiday, though holiday is probably the wrong word since we'll be walking many kilometres on a daily basis. I usually come home from trips a little lighter than when I left because of all the walking we do. Counteracts the amazing food I manage to find and indulge in.

First, there's the packing. Never easy for so long but then I figure no one knows me so I can wear the same clothes regularly.
The passports are ready, the bookings for trains, planes, buses, hotels all printed out because my man likes doing things the old fashioned way. They're also all in my e files for the 'in case it goes wrong' moment.

Then there's the final mow of the lawns, filling the bin with loads of chook food so the people looking after the place can get treats every morning, and trying not to get stressed about everything - which I do all too easily. I am a stress machine, end of. Hopefully by now I'll be over that. It's such a waste of time and energy.

Hopefully I'll also manage to add some photos before this goes up. We'll be nearing end of a drive down the Romantic Road in Germany at this stage. We've got brave and booked a rental car for ten days. I spent six months in Canada once and drove every day on what's to us the wrong side of the road. For my man it is going to be a new experience, and could lead to some tension! :) Tension that can be resolved over a beer and yummy food at the end of the day.


May 10, 2017

Hot Mess


I took the inspiration for my blog title from Amy’s newest release (doesn’t it look pretty over in the sidebar there?).

Why am I feeling like a hot mess at the moment?

Because this week I’ve started a new book.

Oh, it’s not that the book is a hot mess. No, no, no! It’s going like a dream. I LOVE my characters. I LOVE the situation I’ve so meanly thrust them in. ;-) I mean, I’m only at day 3 so one would hope my book and I would still be at the honeymoon stage where we’re totally enamoured with each other. It’ll be another week or so before I’m banging my head on my desk and moaning “Hot mess!” out loud.

If I can find the room to bang my head against said desk, that is.

You see that’s my current problem. I always—always—clean my desk between projects. It’s a mind thing—fresh start and all that, a clean slate from which exciting new ideas can spring forth and help me to create magic. At least, that’s the plan. :)

But, Dear Reader, I’m currently in the throes of a PhD (oh, and, yes—it’s a steaming Hot Mess!)…and the PhD in true metaphoric fashion it has taken over my life, infringing on every part of it. Including my desk.

This will give you an idea of the scale of the problem…




See what I mean? In addition to this I have pile of textbooks right behind me, they’re also on the futon, under the futon and beside the futon. I even have a tottering pile in the ensuite of my writer’s loft, but I’m too embarrassed to show you a picture of that. ;-)

But you know what? I’ve discovered that I can work amid the clutter. Who knew? All I need is pen and paper, and a little orange oil burning away in in my oil burner, and I’m all set.

So rather than whinging I’ve decided to embrace my clutter.

I guess that means it’s time now to get back to my twin-swap, doorstep baby story. ;-)

What about you—can you work amid clutter or do you absolutely have to clean up first?

May 8, 2017

Spreading the Love of Reading

The past week has involved a couple of inspiring events for me that have focused on promoting a love of reading in disadvantaged communities.

StoryBoard
Last week, Byron Writers Festival (of which I’m the Chair) launched our StoryBoard Bus, a travelling creative writing program bringing authors and illustrators into schools across the Northern Rivers region of NSW. We are particularly focusing on under-resourced and disadvantaged school groups. The bus was unveiled by special guest, Leigh Hobbs the Australia's 2017 Children's Laureate. StoryBoard will run more than 100 free school visits and master classes each year for the next three years, with authors including Tristan Bancks, Samantha Turnbull, Lucas Proudfoot, Zanni Louise,  Sarah Armstrong, Oliver Phommavanh, Jesse Blackadder and other authors still to be announced. The bus and the program are the result of a huge effort by the Festival team and members of the Board and from support from Create NSW and the Australian government's Stronger Communities program for funding the bus and to the Catalyst program, which supports the ongoing delivery of StoryBoard. A really incredible achievement and seeing it unveiled made all the volunteer hours worthwhile.


Room to Read
I’ve just arrived back from Victoria where my son goes to school. His boarding house organised a charity night where they raised over $10,000 for Room to Read which is an organisation which transforms the lives of millions of children in developing countries by focusing on literacy and gender equality in education.  Room to Read invests in nearly one million children each year so the fundraising efforts of all the boys in the house will help a little bit to contributing to that goal.


So, it’s been quite an inspiring week of being involved in wonderful projects that are focusing on a love of reading. Have you been involved in any inspiring projects lately, I’d love to hear about it.

May 7, 2017

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 Laurie




Can you please contact kandy (at) kandyshepher (dot) com to receive your prize.






And now for today's Sunday Smooch from Hot Mess....


I'm very exicted to see the release of my first ever amnesia book! Hot Mess releases on the 22 nd of May and is the first book in the 4 book Hot Aussie Knights series. If you like what you read in the smooch you can pre-order the book now by clicking on the cover!


http://amzn.to/2p8uJ3d

I never thought I'd get a second chance at a first time with you."

Firefighter Logan Knight thinks it's fate when he meets Arabella Tucker again, nine years after their brief, intense relationship ended. Until he realizes that Bella doesn't recognize him and all of their memories together are completely erased from her memory.

Bella may be oblivious to their history but she can’t deny their scorching chemistry and the possibility of a future with the mystery man from her past. Logan wants a future too, but he can’t go there until Bella knows everything they shared. Her parents, though, want to protect her from the emotional cost of old memories and so Logan is reluctantly persuaded to let the past lie.

But when Bella starts to uncover the truth, she is shocked by the revelations. Can she move beyond the hurt of her shared history with Logan and begin their new story?


Scene set-up

Logan is walking Bella home to her apartment after their first meeting in nine years. It's only inevitable the chemistry that bubbled between them overflows.....



    Their arms brushed and she made no attempt to put space between them. He made no attempt either. Her heart pounded at the contact, her whole body coming alive, buzzing with the promise of something beautiful. And when his hand slipped into hers it seemed like the most natural thing in the world to curl her fingers around his.
“So, you really don’t remember any of this?” he asked, flinging his spare arm out to encompass the cityscape.
Arabella looked around her at the city so obviously embedded into his DNA. She wished she did but the truth was nothing about the streets and buildings were familiar.
“I really don’t.” She kept her response light, as the question had been, despite the knot forming between her shoulder blades. She had to remember that she’d thrown Logan for a loop and he needed time to wrap his head around it. She was four years ahead of him in this process.
She was at acceptance. He was still at denial.
“Not even the alleyways? We made out in a lot of alleyways.”
She laughed and the knot dissolved, her pulse tripping at the thought of them not being able to keep their hands off each other. Lordy. How was it possible to be turned on by something she couldn’t recall? She glanced up to find him grinning. She shook her head at him and he laughed, low and sexy, and damn if that didn’t turn her on too.
A few minutes later, they reached her apartment building, stopping in the middle of the footpath and just staring at each other. Arabella’s heart beat double-time and her breath hitched as a low, slow pulse throbbed to life between her legs.
“I can’t believe it’s you,” Logan said, shaking his head.
A group of guys, laughing and joking and reeking of booze, pushed around them and Logan grabbed her hand and pulled her into the shadows between the outside wall and a row of trees that had been planted to grow up through the footpath.
Arabella settled herself against the wall, her shoulder blades nudging the warm stone of the building. He stepped in closer, his hands landing on her waist, his thighs aligning with hers. She sucked in a breath at the delicious heat transferring from his to hers.
His aroma swirled around her. God, he smelled primal. 
Very, very male. With a faint trace of something sweet that might have come from a bottle. Something elusive that made her want to bury her face in his neck to investigate thoroughly. 
“Is this how it was?” she asked, her voice tremulous, searching his gaze for the same kind of crazy that had her in its grip. Her pulse tripped madly at her temple and washed through her ears. “Back then. Between us? This... madness? This... compulsion?”
He nodded, his hands tightening on her hips. “Right from the start. You got on that bus in London and I...” He smiled and she could see the memory glowing in his gaze despite the poor light. “I was a goner.”
She shook her head, trying to clear it of the clash of sensations agitating around inside – lust and sex and desire warring with common sense and propriety and a weird feeling of dislocation. 
She didn’t know this man. Nothing was familiar about him. Nothing. The attraction was intense – also completely insane - but it was new. She had no doubts about it.
“It’s crazy how much I want to kiss you right now,” she whispered, her hands sliding around his neck of their own volition. 
“Then kiss me.” 
Arabella didn’t need any more urging, pushing up on her tippy toes, his warm breath fanning across her cheek as her mouth met his. It was hard against hers and the kiss was hot and deep and sure right from the start. The kiss of a man who’d done this with the same woman a thousand times before.
Who knew how she liked to be kissed.
And Arabella liked it very much.
She moaned as his tongue demanded entry. The hot tang of his skin, the bulk of his chest and thighs, the husk of his breath all overwhelmed her senses. She moved restlessly, instinctively, parting her legs to welcome the thick, strong solidity of a thigh pressing hard and urgent just where she needed it. She rubbed against him and his groan echoed through her bones, flooding her body with a tidal wave of lust.
He tasted like beer and he was solid and hot against her and she wanted him to ruck her skirt up and do her against this wall. The heat where his thigh was wedged roared like a wildfire.
“Christ, Bella,” he muttered, breaking off to press his forehead to hers. “I’ve missed you."

****************************************************************** 
For a chance to win a digital copy of Hot Mess (must have an Amazon account) tell me, amnesia stories - yes or no? Cracktastic or Eye-rolling twaddle? Ever read a really good one that's stuck in your mind? Or even a really bad one? :-)
 
 

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


Smooch Graphic by WebWeaver