Jan 12, 2010

Day One

Name – Cattus isolatus
Common name- The Western LoveCat
Home Range

The Western LoveCat (Cattus isolatus) is a shy, solitary creature that prefers to hole up in its den scribbling incomprehensible symbols on paper than mix with other cats like its more gregarious, eastern cousins. It is primarily crepuscular and sleeps away the middle part of the day dreaming of far-away places.

Hello and welcome to the LoveCats DownUnder blog, Day One! Zana, Sharon, Rachel, Tracie, Mel, Emily and I hope that we'll see you regularly for updates on what we're all doing.

But first, a quick introduction to me....

I live in Perth, Western Australia – about as far west as you can go before you run out of country. Perth is the world’s most isolated capital city (thousands of miles in either direction before the next major city) which makes us a more insular, home-oriented (aka lazy) mob. Fortunately we enjoy a sensational Mediterranean climate and fabulous coastal lifestyle (sheltered, as we are, by the eastern coast of Africa :) ) and so there is no shortage of beautiful places in which to enjoy wonderful activities. Most of them natural.

Is it any wonder I’m a nature-based author? All my stories have a wild element in them and I like to create settings which become one of the characters in the book. I get really excited when someone says they took their kids to a national park or out bird-spotting or even that they got stuck into their garden after reading one of my books. If I can enrich reader hearts as well as reintroduce them to the natural world around us… my work is done.

My debut 'Lights, Camera…Kiss the Boss’ is out now in e-book format. It hits shelves in the US/UK in time for Valentines Day. I’m giving away a fantastic ten-book prize pack including an advance copy of 'Lights, Camera...' to the commenter who can paint me the most vivid, gorgeous word-picture of the place they go to re-connect with nature.

Good luck!


  1. I don't get outside that much or travel that much because I have to use a walker to get around. I dream of a garden, a beautiful English garden with a fountain and a gazebo in the middle. I could sit in the gazebo and enjoy the lovely flowers and plants in my garden. I'd have elaborate beds of herbs, I love herbs, especially mints. I could be surrounded by the lovely smells of mints, basils, lavenders, and the beautiful climbing roses that would wind their way up the walls of the gazebo. Hummingbirds would be flying around seeking nectar and beautiful butterflys would be nestling on the lovely blooms. Goldfish would be playing in the water and dragonflys would be flying around the lily pads. Sigh, this would be a beautiful place. Wish I was there right now. We are covered in ice and snow and the chill factor has been below zero for a while. You are lucky to have such a wonderful climate. I live in the middle of the USA in Southwest Missouri and we do experience all 4 seasons in all their glory. Fall is my favorite.

  2. Happy launch day!!

    Congratulations to all of you with this new blog & looking forward to your posts.

    Nikki - congrats on your debut book (squee on the e-book).

    Where I go to re-connect with nature.... the beach. It is a symphony for the senses - the breeze & sun caressing your skin, the salt in the air, the lapping of the waves, the beauty of the water stretching out to the horizon against the sky's backdrop.

    I love just sitting and looking out to the beach. I love walking along the sea. This time of year it's scorching especially in the evening as the sun is setting (being in Adelaide our sun sets over the water) but it is glorious to see the vibrant colours sinking over the horizon.

    BTW - I love the Welcome Cat video - that's gorgeous!! And The Western LoveCat piccie.

    E :)

  3. OMG only two comments thus far and already they are soooooooo eloquently written. Hmmm... nature! I DREAM of re-connecting with nature. I'm more a tree and land person than a beach babe. I adore a garden in which animals - wild and kept - can abide. So I guess my favourite places to reconnect with nature are semi-rural parks or wildlife centres!

    Can't wait to meet the rest of the LoveCATS!


  4. This is a great blog site and a great post.

    Congratulations to all of you!

    You made me homesick Nikki. I used to reconnect with nature by going down to the Swanny/Nedlands beach and blobbing in the swell. There was something meditative about that. At the moment I look out at my very snowy back yard and watch the squirrels finding new and inventive ways to get to the neighbour's bird feeder. Last year's baby squirrel is almost grown and I keep wondering what will happen in another couple of months.

    Good luck with the new blog and all the writing it represents.

    H! :)

    H Maree Davis http://winkgirls.blogspot.com/

  5. ConCATulations on getting your blog up and purring!

  6. Nikki! Fellow CATtery blogger! You were here bright and early! How purrfectly delightful to see Linda, Eleni, Rachael, Maree and Nancy have already been in to say hello - and drop some lovely feline puns! LOL

    I get back to nature by wandering down the paddock! The cow next door has just dropped her calf and the people on the other side have Shetland and thoroughbred horses (that's the long and the short of it, isn't it!)

    I confess I won't be doing any wandering down the paddock today though, with 104 F forecast. Whoa! Way too hot!

    Happy Launch!


  7. Congrats to all on your blog launch - loving it already!!
    I think the place I go to re-connect with nature is my inlaws farm in the lovely Adelaide Hills. Walking through the areas they've kept as natural scrub or their pine forest is almost magical - especially seeing it all through the eyes of my suburb living children. Princess Four sees fairies flitting alongside the kangaroos through the trees and Master Two raves about the 'moos' (big moos, little moos, ah baby moos...).
    That said, I love our little vege garden too!


    Especially Linda, all the way from the frozen north! You’ve painted *such* a gorgeous image of your dream garden. When my book releases, checkout the extra material in the front, it talks about ways of greening urban spaces including bringing the outside inside for people who can’t access outside gardens for all kinds of reasons. Maybe you can make a place inside your house that will go someway to meeting the amazing garden of your dreams… I hope so…

    Eleni, lovely to see you here so bright and early ;) I confess I’m more of a forest girl than a beach girl but I do know exactly what you mean. There’s something so very… restorative… about a long, pristine beach and a vast expanse of ocean. The perfect place for me would be where thick forest runs right to the edge of the sea – best of both worlds. (and yes, how cute are both those images… now that I see them side-by-side I’m thinking they’re almost the came cat!)

    Rachel – They’re a hard act to follow, huh! But I’m with you… A natural space isn’t quite complete without wildlife *in* it. I don’t need it presented formally, in my face, I like those moments where the *actual* inhabitants of a place briefly reveal themselves then disappear. Or when you can’t see them but you know they’re there somewhere… *sigh*

  9. Congratulations on your blog launch, it's fantastic!

    I'm going to tell you about something that happenend a few days ago, at our place, that reconnected our family with nature.

    We had a spiny visitor turn up right near our front door, in our garden. This echidna decided to burrow into a space between our back fence and our front steps and sample our gourmet ants.

    We have ants in large numbers and varieties, so the echidna dug and in and didn't move for hours, despite the interest of our dear dog.

    It was amazaing to watch how powerfully the echidna could dig its way through our soil. And we felt honoured that it stayed near our front door until nightfall.

    Just watching a native animal like that is fabulous for reconnecting with nature.

  10. LOL, H, you have your own nature TV show right outside your window. I’m suddenly thinking of those YouTube videos set to the music of Mission Impossible with squirrels trying to access yummy snacks ;) What a contrast from squirrels and icy conditions to an Aussie beach on a warm day. Just goes to show how adaptive humans are that we can survive the transition at all! Thanks for popping in and *waving* to the Wink girls.

  11. LOL Nancy – thank you for droppig in and for the ConCATulations. We’ve discovered there is no end to the cat-related puns when you really start thinking about it...

  12. Morning Sharon! It’s bright and early here, too, but just three hours later ;) Yep, people who are lucky enough to live rural get the double-whammy of the man-made nature of agricultural land and the truly wild space of adjoining/neraby bushland/forest with all the native critters scampering around. So you get the up-close animal interaction and the wild experience, too. *sigh*

  13. Becca – welcome. Yeah there’s something so special about taking kids into wild places and you’ve nailed it. For us it’s ‘beautiful’ ‘tranquil’ ‘special’ but for children it really is ‘magical’. I remember a croft of pine trees that were between my house and my school which got the most beautiful, streaming light at about 8.30am. The whole croft lit up with a magical glow. So as we’d drive past on the way to school I’d slide my eyes sideways to try and catch the fey folk unawares. LOL. Sadly I never did.

    IMHO no child on this planet should be raised without spending some time in a natural place – forest, beach, desert, whatever. Just so they have a choice.

  14. Nikki, *loved* your Western Cat "Cattus isolatus"!

    I started thinking about your question about where I go to reconnect with nature, but then I read Linda's reply about the garden and I thought, that's what I want! Then I read Eleni's description of the beach and wanted that too. =)

    Then a pattern was forming because I read about Rach's semi-wild areas and Heather's snow and squirrels and wanted both those too! And Sharon's cow paddocks sound lovely.

    But the place I *actually* go is more like Becca's - I have some bush around my house and I swear I almost see the fairies myself when I walk out every day.

  15. Fabulous blog - romance and cats, just about the two best things in the world.

    Ideally my commune with nature would be a little cottage in an English village (in my dreams) but anywhere with lots of 'green' and not traffic noise soothes my soul. Even tho I live in a block of units, outside every window is greenery so if I have no other option just being at home is pretty good.

  16. just popping in to say *meow* to all the cool cats here. I will post about nature after work.

  17. Congratulations on the new blog!

    I prefer to commune with nature in the elegant surrounds of a five-star hotel penthouse suite. The feel of 1000-count cotton sheets against my bare feet, the rush of bubbles as I submerge into the spa bath. The organic bath products (of course) bring the scents of lavender, eucalypt and bergamot into the air. Along with that I of course pay attention to my diet, eating and drinking only the very best nature has to offer, preferably strawberries and Veuve Clicquot.

  18. So now I know. I'm a *western Lovecat*!

    Congrats on the new blog, ladies! Totally love the idea (*big* cat person here). And congrats on your first book, Nikki! I seriously can't wait to read it. I've heard many glowing reports :)

    Back to nature for me is dragging myself out of the aircon and jumping aboard big boat to sail around not-too jumpy seas. Atop the fly-bridge, book in one hand, seagulls wheeling overhead (there's a glass of champagne in there somewhere too...did someone mention Veuve Clicquot?) and that's me getting close to nature.

    Robbie, waving hi to everyone!

  19. Hello LoveCats!

    My favourite place for re-connecting with nature is Wharariki Beach, a beautiful, rugged, remote west coast beach at the base of Farewell Spit, far, far away from anywhere. It's not easy to get to -- sealed roads, then gravel roads, then a walking track over farmland -- but the isolation makes it even more special ... that first glimpse of the sea between the hills, the sound of the waves growing louder, that last scramble up the sand dunes, and then you're finally there! It's the most magical place I know, with archway islands and headlands that are honeycombed with tunnels and caves and -- if you're lucky -- baby seals swimming in the rockpools. I wish I was there now!

  20. Whoo Hooo On the first Cats post!! Lovely opening Nikki =)
    I love reconnecting to nature and have been to many places that call to me. I love mountains and valley views that lead to the ocean, love seeing the awesome colours of a rainbow while the air is still shimmering with rain - but there's something extra special about a big waterfall tumbling into a pristine lake. The sound of water, the cooling spray, the visual of nature at its most elemental... *sigh*

  21. Congratulations on LoveCats DownUnder. The blog looks great, and so do all those books...

    I live in the lower Flinders Rangers of SA, so bushwalks just before or during winter are great. The birds, creeks with water in them, the quiet is wonderful. Alligator Gorge is under an hour away from us, so picnics are often had there. Its a shame that during this type of weather, its too dangerous to visit.

    Congrats again on all your books. I know I can't wait, to join the 'published' community along with you all.

  22. Hi to all you LoveCats *waving*. Congrats on your new blog.

    Nikki, picking one spot is really hard!

    The one I visit most of all is right outside my office window - I don't have to leave my chair. When I need to get my thoughts straight I gaze out to a gorgeous tea tree. It sways gently in the breeze, alight with the golden green of new tips lit with the afternoon sun. The brown dots of old woody fruit cases speckle the older foliage. The screeching call of rainbow lorikeets feeding on the pale blossoms pierce the quiet afternoon. Their bright blues, yellows and greens stand out in contrast to the tree's pale grey bark. As dusk falls, the nectar entices the nearby family of ringtail possums to our house. Trampling across the roof like a herd of elephants, they climb into the tree, wrapping their tails around the sagging branches for support. The drakened sky echoes with their grunts and twitters.

  23. Hi Love Cats

    As another big cat person I must say i already love this site - cats and very talented romance writers what's not to love. Anyway my favourite place to reconnect would have to be a cottage garden. Lots of flowers, shady trees, green grass, definately a fountain or two, comfortable outdoor furniture, depending on the waether - a cup of tea or cold drink and most importantly my cat, Chloe curled up under my chair for the most part. It's so relaxing to write, read, dream and just occasionally drop your hand down and scratch your cat behind the ears for a few moments - its amazing how long they purr for.
    Best of luck with the site but you won't need it.
    Love Tracey

  24. Hey ladies

    Such a wonderful launch day! Congratulations!

    And from another cat lover to all of you - meaowwwww.....and an affectionate rub - stunning job guys! Waving her paw to everyone!

    mmm its so hard, I so wanted to say the on my boat in the ocean, or my garden, or the beach, or the forests, or remembering the sun-burnt grass on the African lowveldt...but I can't as while they are all so beautiful, they are not 'my place'.

    For me 'my place' where I reconnect with nature is when I kiss my boys in bed, and they look so much like me when I was their ages...I then think - wow - I was part of creating this other human being, and I know that nature is brilliant, and wonderful. And I am totally spoilt to have had mother nature hand me not one but two gifts to nurture and mould and hopefully let go free when the time is right for them to fly on their own.

    So I guess where I go for peace - when the the boys are sleeping, I peek into their rooms ( teenagers now so no sharing my bed anymore!) and remember that once they were small enough to hold in my arms, and too soon, they will pass on out into the world, and I will have been responsible for their creation. Its the best time, as they won't talk back in their sleep, and the 'energiser bunnies' that are teenagers, are at last horizontal - just peaceful warm bodies - safe in slumber.

    Congrats Nikki on your book - can wait to read it when it comes out!

    Bye 4 now

  25. Hi Nikki
    I love your picture of Construction Cat in his hat! I was always wary of cats until we had children, and the requests for a pet got unbearable. Wish we'd got one a lot sooner. Ours is a lovely creature, and as Tracey says, seeing him respond to a bit of love and attention is a real stress buster.

  26. Forgive the mega-post for all of today's visitors.... but thank you Ladies for coming along and commenting.

    OH Sue! What a great experience. Echidnas are one of the species I was thinking about earlier when I said you know they’re there but you seldom see them! But you have and what’s more he’s made himself at home in your garden. Fabulous.

    Sarma – yes – a cottage in the English countryside filled with rambling roses and tumbling streams and bumbling bees *sigh*. I share your dream... maybe we could live there together... LOL...

    LOL Emmie – I guess there’s a nature-lover in there somewhere amongst all that luxury. When you start to add water-fall showers and mist-filled private atriums filled with plants you got me! But hey, at least it's getting you connected with yourself again, and that's what really counts.

    Robbie! *mwah* to see you here. Ah the wonders of the high seas (or calm seas in your case) - the wind in your hair, the spray on your sunglasses, the salt on your eyelashes. Gorgeous!

    Oh Emily – you are a woman after my own heart. Wharariki Beach sounds lovely. It all sounds lovely! I’m going to have such a hard time choosing from amongst our Day One visitors.

    Mel – right back at ya with that waterfall. I’m suddenly having thoughts of Daniel Day-Lewis in a loincloth… “I will find you.”
    I stood below one inside a cavern opening in Jungfrau mountain in Switzerland and was nearly deafened by the sound of millions of litres of water pounding down out of the glacier encasing the mountain. It tumbled down and out (still close to freezing) and then poured out into the most spectacular river in a flower filled field... *sigh*. Worth the ringing ears for a day.

    Tamara – ah the Flinders Ranges. Beautiful indeed. So ancient and enduring. I hope everyone over there is okay with this awful fire-season. Am off to look up Alligator Gorge which has snaffled my attention for investigation… ;)

    Anita – you’ve transported me to your office window. I can see that tea tree and smell those possums (LOL). Amazing description. And yes they *are* rather elephantine, aren’t they. Rainbow Lorikeets (as much as they’re not loved by conservationists over here in WA) are simply a stunning bird capable of extraordinary physical and vocal gymnastics.

    Tracey – yes, the perfect partner to a lazy day out in the garden… the loyal feline companion. I’m loving the image of dappled light, long lazy afternoons and possibly naps in a hammock much like my Western LoveCat owns. Complete with Chloe of course.

    Oh Tina, yes… the wonder of our own human nature. Our own cave or den or nest and our babies in it. A bit of nature that goes with us everywhere.

    Christina – yep, I’m a firm believer that the right-cat-at-the-right time will find you. Animals help bring us closer to nature in so many ways, primarily because *they* love it so much they encourage us out in it.

  27. I've been to Ms Bailey's house - and it is smack bang in the middle of nature. She doesn't have to go anywhere.

    As for me - these days the closest I get is looking at the tree outside my window while I work or playing with my cats. We have 4. So I really so love being a Love Cat.

  28. Hi girls,

    Just wanted to congratulate you on your brand new blog! I'll be looking out for your new releases.

  29. Congrats on the new blog, ladies! What a clever name, too! I'm sure I'll love hanging out here.

  30. Wow! So many great responses. I don't envy you having to choose, Nikki! I love Christina's story about the kids talking her into a cat. =) (And thanks for adding one of your books to our Grand Prize, Ms Hollis!)

    And Tina's story about watching her boys asleep is priceless. And I want to visit Tracey's garden with her Chloe and to sit in Anita's chair to hear the possums!

    Although it sounds like Tamara's picnic spot would be hard to beat, and Robbie's high seas adventure would be fab. (Thanks, too, Robbie for your books both in our Grand Prize and in my pack tomorrow!)

    Oh, just saw Sarma's dream English Village which sounds fab too. Emmie's 5 star penthouse suite made me laugh though! That's probably the one I'll remember most from today's blog. :)

  31. I agree, Rachel, it's going to be tough choice for Nikki! There have been some lovely ways to reconnect with nature and the things that are important.

    And the night is still young for our Western LoveCat! She's got plenty of time left on the prowl!

  32. Now I know we have a cat theme going, but imagine you're a dog. And just a (too) short car ride away is the beach at Wynnum. Not a great sandy beach for humans and swimming. Instead there's a mangrove boardwalk, some mud flats to explore and plenty of seaweed to sniff and roll in. And best of all, the offlead park, with the breeze blowing off the bay and plenty of other dogs to play with. What more could a dog ask for?

  33. Hi Lovecats- I love your kitty themes. Keep them going and I'll come scratching at your door all the time!
    Great debut blog Nikki - I'm looking forward to reading your book.

  34. Hey cool cats - what a great response to the first offical post. Thanks Nikki - I have had so much fun reading all the lovely place people go. The Mangrove mudflats sounds like doggy heaven and since we aren't speciest here - please bring your puppies, ferets, rabbits, squirrels or goldfish - we will play with any furry, feathered or finned friend. Great post Nikki and great comments all.

  35. Hey there lovely puddy-tats, congratulations on the launch of your brave new blog. I'm looking forward to dropping in from time to time.
    May the cream, the bubbles and the words all flow sweetly.

  36. Just wanted to pop in and say congratulations on the new blog! Great first post Nikki. Can't wait to read your book!

  37. Right.... I posted at midnight last night and it's midnight now so now my day is over and it's time to select. *such* a difficult choice because there's so many great answers and I've read them over and over ... But for sheer word-magic I'll have to give it to... Anita Joy and your tea tree, rainbow lorikeets & stomping possums.

    Drop me an email Anita and I'll get your prize out to you. Hurrah!

  38. Thank you to everyone who visited - see you back here bright and early for day two of the LoveCats launch week.

  39. Happy launch day for yesterday!!!!

  40. Happy launch! Looks like loads of meouwing good fun to be had here :)

  41. WooHoo. Thanks Nikki :) What wonderful news to log onto. And what a great selection of books for my TBR pile.

  42. I leave the house and walk through the field of grasses, they are well over my head, but following the well worn path I find my way to the pond. It is surrounded by trees and along with the water lilies, lotus, cattails and other aquatic plants fill it with a lush variety of greens to help cool a hot summer day. I sit on a well placed rock and stay very still and wait. If I'm still enough and quiet enough, the fairies will come back to play, riding their dragonfly mounts. They soar and dive above the water's surface and tease the fish with their antics. One brave pair speed toward a spider's web, but pull up just in time. The wind from their passing vibrates the web alerting the spider of prey that isn't there. I wish I could play with them, but it is not meant to be. My world and theirs can only exist if we don't touch, just watch. I feel them watch me as I watch them.