Mar 31, 2010

Catwalk Wednesday (& Winners!)

Name: My name is Molly and this is my sister Matilda. We can barely tell each other apart so I won't bother trying to teach you. Every cat knows humans have limited brain capacity *yawn*. We came from the vet to live with this family of four with the two little screechy humans who hurt our ears with their wails and screams. Really, they could just meow to get their way like we do, all that noise is a waste of energy. They should sleep more, perhaps then they wouldn't be cranky and pull our tails. The larger of the two lets us sleep on her bed sometimes. She's okay, I guess.

The two bigger humans share their sleeping space with us after dark but they don't sleep well. The male of the species kicks and snores. We like the lady though, she moves over and gives us room. And she doesn't make big grunting chainsaw noises!

Occasionally when we are finished chasing each other around this house of chaos, we find nice places to rest and recharge. I got the better end of this deal, I think. Just don't tell Matilda.

What do you like the most about your sister? She takes the blame for me sometimes. Truth be told, the humans can't tell which one of us is which when we are streaking around the house jumping off the walls (there are really good ones at the end of the hallway). If it was just me, I would forever be in trouble.
What is your favourite food? The spiders that come inside on hot days or in the middle of winter. Pity I have to share them, but there are plenty to go around. The humans call them Huntsmen. We call them a great playful snack. The lady gives us treats when she sees us with a Huntsmen.

What is your favourite treat, besides spiders? Matilda loves yoghurt. She eats it with the screechy little ones sometimes. Me, I like banana cake. I'm just not sure why the lady gets so upset when I eat it off from the container.

Where is your best spot to sleep? Anywhere, *yawn*, this spot will do nicely. Too much talk makes me sleepy.


Catherine has won KALLIE REVEALED. Send me your email addy Catherine, and I'll send you an e-copy of my short story the moment it comes out, April 20th! Hope you enjoy =)
Natalie Acres, don't forget to send Zana your email to claim your fantastic prize of TEMPTING THE NEGOTIATOR!

Mar 29, 2010

Short and not so Sweet

Reading: Kiss of a Demon King by Kresley Cole
Watching: X Men: The Last Stand
Listening to: Gladiator soundtrack
Making me smile: I’m going on holidays this week!

Thought I’d share some fast facts on the category short stories available from Harlequin:

Fact 1: They’re up to 15,000 words long. About a quarter of the size of a regular category story. The perfect size to fit into a busy day!

Fact 2: They come in three flavours: Nocturne Bites (paranormal), Harlequin Historical Undone (Historical) and Spice Briefs (hot, sexy and a little bit naughty)

Fact 3: They’re only available as eBooks. For non-eBook readers, a great way to dip your toe into eBook waters! For eBook connoisseurs, they’re available from all major eBook retailers for download to just about any device.

Fact 4: Sometimes these stories are standalones and sometimes they continue on stories and series from their sister lines Nocturne, Harlequin Historical and Spice.

Fact 5: The fabulous Mel Teshco has a Nocturne Bites out right now, HER DARK LORD and I’m super excited as my Bites, HUNTER'S SURRENDER will be out in three days!

Writing for Nocturne Bites, we can tell you it’s a line where the editors are looking for strong sensual, fantasy and danger elements, a fast paced paranormal novella with a great hook. They also like to see an alpha male entranced by the heroine, with a mission orientated story and a complex world.

Here are the blurbs and some short snippets:


Vampire hunter Rand Wilder hated vampires—even if they were as beautiful and alluring as vampire princess Dominique Valois. For years he fought the beings who had killed his father, resisting their dangerous sensuality. Yet even Rand was tempted by the intoxicating Dominique and her shocking offer: to hurt the vampire court by taking her virginity....

A desperate need to ruin her reputation had forced Dominique to seek out the hunter known as The Darkness. But she hadn't expected Rand to be so captivating and compassionate.... Soon a very different sort of need drove her desire to take Rand to her bed. And with Dominique's survival depending on it, she would have to use all her skills of seduction to make this strong hunter surrender to passion....

That luscious mouth moved like a whisper over Rand's, small nipping bites that teased, barely giving him a taste of her.

But what grabbed at him was the trace of hesitancy. Like Dominique hadn’t kissed many men.

The thought fired through him. Emotions—hot, rich emotions—stormed through him and riding the wave was the strongest desire he’d felt.

It’d been so long since he’d felt pleasure, enjoyed anything other than killing. It’d been far too long since he’d held another against him. He needed to taste her.

HER DARK LORD by Mel Teshco

When dhampir Kia Montana takes a man home, she isn't looking for names or a relationship—she only wants someone who could satisfy her lust for both sex and blood. But Kia's new mission is to find Sean Maximillus, Lord Vampire and the lone being capable of curing Kia's mother. Kia thought she found the key to success with Ronan, a mysterious man who promises to take her to Maximillus...and who shares a carnal passion with Kia even bloodlust couldn't match.

But Ronan also seems to know too much about Kia...things she never told him. And as she is drawn deeper into Ronan's world, he reveals secrets that will change Kia's life forever....

It took all of her will power to remain still, to not react and stay passive under his passionate mouth that so effortlessly claimed hers.

His head reared back, his eyes burning like hot coals. “Dios. You cannot fight against your blood instincts.”

“Maybe not, But I’ll sure have fun trying,” she hissed.

His eyes glazed red, and she realized her challenge had sent him over the edge. She smiled, her fangs pushing against her gums until they burned and ached while she fought, and won, control over her physical response.

Her downfall would be on her terms, not his.

For the chance to win some vampire Bites, please check our blogs (Anna's Blog and Mel's Blog). We're giving away a free Bites every week through the end of April to celebrate our releases!

Mar 27, 2010

Caturday - Fergus on the Lounge

Here's Fergus, one of my dogs, doing his lounging-on-the-sofa thing...

Fergus suggests you do this puzzle with snacks in hand. He's awfully fond of snacks.

Mar 25, 2010

Romancing Erotica

What I'm Reading: Angels' Blood by Nalini Singh
Listening to: Muse
Watching: Computer screen. Earlier: So You Think You Can Dance
Making Me Smile: Acceptance email today for Ice Cold Lover

With my first contemporary short KALLIE REVEALED coming out next month (April 20th) through Ellora's Cave, I wanted to talk erotica writing and what I've learned in the process.
I've learned writing erotica is *not* easy. In fact, love scenes that are full of emotion, that are visually graphic (and I don't just mean eliminating purple prose here, readers want vivid details, want to live the sex) and are just a little bit different to the many other intimate scenes out there in fiction land, can make you want to tug your hair out.
I've also discovered, for me at least, that though these scenes are the most challenging part of my writing, they're the most rewarding too, if done right (gulp!)
Let's face it, without great, explicit and believable love or sex scenes in an erotica, it really isnt erotica, and I, as a writer, have not only lost my readers expectations, but have failed in my job as an erotic author.
Damn - I'm scaring myself!!!
In KALLIE REVEALED I toyed a little beyond a hero/heroine love scene with f/f and m/f group sex. Although it wasn't heavy I still wanted the scene to be integral to the heroine's inner growth, wanted her journey to become one of self-empowerment and acceptance after a devestating event rocked her world and took away not only her joy for life, but a love for herself.
If there'd been no character development for my heroine, in my mind, her having gratuitous sex wouldn't have raised the act much above porn, and I'd have found myself uncomfortable writing it...the words wouldn't have freely flown.
Of course, everyone has different beliefs, different ideas and different tastes. (How boring if we didn't!) What do you as a reader find a turn-off in a love scene?
To celebrate the release of KALLIE REVEALED, I'm giving away an e-copy to one lovely commentator =)

Mar 24, 2010

Catwalk Wednesday (& Winners!)

Name: Nigel in the language of the two-legs. Meep-wee-pwahee! in belly-scraper.

Human Adoptive Parent: Nikki ( Logan )

Likes: Carrot. Bok choy. Time in the garden nibbling on grass or dichondra

Dislikes: Blue-coat two-legs (aka. vets), being groomed, being held

Ambition: To devise the great escape. If only it didn’t require quite so much focus… and energy… and awake time…

Favourite Pastime: Sleeping. Anywhere, anytime, any surface.

Best Friends: The shrill-calls. Four of ‘em. I used to live in the bottom of their aviary. Now we’re neighbours and the two-legs promise me they’ll rig up my home so I can travel between my house and the shrill-calls' . I'll believe it when I'm scraping my round little belly through the new link. In the meantime, that black dog is kind of okay. He keeps an eye out for me when I'm in the garden so that the ravens don't swoop down and carry me off. I guess that's appreciated. ..

~well done Jo Graves and Natalie Acres for participating on LoveCats and winning free copies of Tempting the Negotiator. If you guys can contact me with your address, I'll get the books in the post.

Mar 22, 2010

Who's Your Favourite Mr Darcy?

What I'm reading: Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings
Listening to:
'Allo 'Allo
Making me smile: The dogs being dogs

Recently I read
The Making of Pride and Prejudice (about the BBC adaptation) which made me desperately want to watch the series again. It also made me think about Mr Darcy. When I first saw Pride And Prejudice in 1995, I absolutely loved the series -- but Colin Firth just didn't work for me as Mr Darcy. I wonder what I'll think when I see the series again? I have a feeling he'll have grown on me!

There were a lot of things I liked about the 2005 movie version of Pride and Prejudice, but again, Matthew MacFadyen as Mr Darcy just didn't work for me. Like Colin Firth, he's not at all how I imagine Darcy.

I'd like to see the original movie with Laurence Olivier as Darcy ... perhaps Laurence Olivier will nail it for me as Mr Darcy!

And I'm looking forward to watching Lost in Austen, which sounds irreverent, but fun. I have no idea who plays Darcy in it -- something to look forward to! Perhaps he'll walk on screen and I'll think Yes, that's Darcy!

And then, of course, there's Bride & Prejudice, which looks like fabulous fun, although (before seeing it) Martin Henderson is not Darcy for me. I'm staying with a friend at the moment and she has a copy ... perhaps that's what I'll watch tonight!

So, do you have an opinion on the various screen versions of Mr Darcy? Who works for you, and who doesn't?
And a final picture, for those of you who love Colin Firth as Mr Darcy. Darcy in his wet shirt...

Mar 18, 2010

Fabulous Settings

What I’m Reading: What the Librarian Did

What I’m Listening to: Chainsaws! They are chopping forests next door. Sigh

What I’m Watching: Grand Designs Revisited

What makes me smile: my dh’s fantastic coffee.

I’ve just settled into reading Karina Bliss’s What the Librarian Did and am struck by how good it is to have an Auckland setting (almost Northland!). For me, as I'm sure it is for you, the setting plays a big part in whether I want to read the book or not. Of course there are the sure fire winners: Italy, Greece, France, Scotland. London - especially if it’s an historical. But what part of our psyche does setting key into? Escape? I loved Susan Elizabeth Phillips Breathing Room as much for the vividly described Italian location as for the wonderful characters. Yet here I am, sighing with pleasure to have a very familiar Auckland setting.

My novel Tempting the Negotiator is set in my beloved Northland, though the actual places are invented. I cannot think of a more idyllic place. You see, I grew up in Africa. Big empty plains, long brown grass, bright blue, empty skies. The ocean one day’s drive East through Mozambique or three days drive down through South Africa. Don’t get me wrong, Africa has its own beauty but I grew up looking at calendar photos of New Zealand, wondering how on earth they could mow all the hills to look so good!

Where I live is a little bit wild, with shaggy mountains, lush forests and the most spectacular beaches and bays. I still wake up some mornings and have to pinch myself because it feels like I’m living in Jigsaw-puzzle Land. Every bend in the road driving to work is a photo opportunity. Which is why there are always big companies coming with ideas to build flash resorts around Northland and why locals always vigorously oppose them.

I could no more resist setting my novel here, than I could resist having a world class surfer as the hero. Surfing has got to be one of the most joyous and free sports ever invented and I had enormous fun researching recklessly crazy big wave surfers who dice with death every ride. Throw in a NY lawyer - a treadmill runner no less - out to take this all away from him and the story takes off. Check out the cover to your right. Doesn’t it capture summer sizzle to perfection?

Other settings I’ve enjoyed in books? Sweden in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Nora Roberts Chesapeake Bay series, Scotland in Diana Gabaldon’s books, Botswana in the No. 1 Lady Detective series – I could go on for quite a while here.

Please share some of the settings you’ve found most evocative and be in to win a free copy of my book.

Mar 17, 2010

CatWalk Wednesday

Name: MAX – the Cat with Attitude (not all of it good) Born 2000 (in a drain in Singapore). RIP 2006 (he disappeared during a violent rainstorm – probably visiting a drain at the time). Distinguished by having only a little stub of a tail that sat on his backside.

Abode: A high rise apartment in Singapore for the first 3 years of his life and then Melbourne Australia.

Likes: Running water (would only drink from running taps) – maybe it was the Drain Cat origins? Hence lots of pictures of Max sitting in basins or baths!

Dislikes: Not being fed on demand.

What do you like to sharpen your claws on: His human slaves

Mar 15, 2010

Look what the CAT dragged in... DONNA ALWARD

Canadian author and editor of the blogazine The Pink Heart Society, Donna Alward's, latest release, 'Her Lone Cowboy', releases today in North America. It's the second of her 'Cowboys & Confetti' duet started in January.

Welcome to LoveCats DownUnder, Donna. Let's get the most pressing question out of the way first...

Q1. Cat person or dog person?
That’s actually a tough question. Because I have both. But I think…while I love our little Boo dearly…I’m more of a dog person. I think it’s in the eyes. Puppy eyes are so expressive. And I always had dogs growing up but never cats (my mum wouldn’t allow it). We’ve only just brought our first kitty home in December, and I have to admit he’s added a little bit of something special to our household. My friend and CP Michelle Styles says there is nothing like a cat in the lap. She’s right – and there’s also nothing like the devotion of a dog. Dreamer is a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever – as you can tell, she loves the water. I love both our furbabies – how could I not when they’re this cute?

Q2. Your cover for Her Lone Cowboy is wonderfully evocative - just a man and a whole lotta country! What is it about your cowboy that makes him such a loner? Tell us a little about the story.

Can I just say how much I LOVE this cover? I was horribly nervous waiting to see it and boy did they get it right! Noah’s definitely a loner. He’s been a career soldier up until now, when he’s wounded and pretty much guaranteed to stay that way. He and his brother basically grew up without a mother and their relationship with their dad is complicated. He hasn’t seen his brother often in the intervening years. And now he’s come back home not by choice but by circumstance.

When I knew I was going to be writing a physically disabled hero, I also knew one thing – that there would be no room for self pity. Noah might be angry, and get frustrated, but he never feels sorry for himself. For Noah it is all about wanting to move forward and sometimes it doesn’t feel like it’s happening as fast as he’d like. He finds it difficult to accept help – which is where the heroine, Lily comes in. Lily just GETS him. And so when there comes a time that he does seek someone out to talk to, it’s her that he chooses. There were a few scenes in this book that were amazing – and draining – to write. I went through TONS of tissues during two particular scenes. I think at one point I had to stop as I couldn’t see the screen. What a baby I am!

I mention in my Dear Reader that it is hard to think of Noah as disabled. I just got caught up in their story and I still think he’s soooo sexy – despite his scars. Can you tell I’m still a little in love with this book?

Q3. Are you a country-girl yourself? What is it that you love so much about cowboys and ranches?

Aw, you’ve outted me. LOL Yes, I’m a country girl, though I grew up on an apple farm and not one with livestock. Still, being a country girl I feel that connection to the land and wide open spaces. I lived in Calgary, Alberta for several years – home of the Calgary Stampede and a short drive to the Rocky Mountains and ranch country. There is something about the prairie especially that is beautiful. The sky is so huge, and there’s a wild freedom to it. You can stand in the middle of a field and feel small, but also feel how awesomely big it is and marvel at being a small part of a big whole…it’s hard to explain. As far as cowboys and ranches – there is something about the farming work ethic, and a man who is self assured, a man who works the land to be a provider and protector. Hey, you get it – you have your own version with your outback heroes and cattlemen!

Q4. You're Canadian, eh? Right on the coast of Nova Scotia, specifically. What an amazing place to live - what do you see out your window (other than a heap of used Olympic banners)?

After years of being a city dweller (hard for a country girl like me), we moved a few years ago to Nova Scotia, which is much closer to where I grew up. We aren’t “rural” but rather I guess what you’d call “country residential” – our subdivision has minimum one acre lots, lots of trees, and is very quiet. The last place we lived our side door was three feet away from the neighbour’s steps. Here – if I shout, our neighbour and I can communicate while on our decks. Barely.

I have my own office here too, that looks out over our front yard. The two lots across from us are not developed so when I look out my window, I see our front lawn, my perennial garden, and lots and lots of trees across the road. Quite often I will also see pheasants strutting around or deer – they’d better keep away from my apple trees! J It’s a good life. I love it. And when the trees get too much – it’s a hop skip and a jump to the ocean. I LOVE sitting and listening to the ocean.

Q5. Have you ever been DownUnder? Would you like to come? I can have the spare room ready....

I haven’t! And yes I’d love to visit! I have such itchy feet but travel is expensive especially when you have kids to tow along. And we would have to take them…I love watching them experience new things and places.

My sister did a trip many years ago to Australia and New Zealand and her pictures are so gorgeous. And of course “meeting” so many Aussie authors only tempts me more. The one thing that scares me? You guys have some seriously poisonous species over there. I watched a show once that had the world’s deadliest creatures and I swear half of them were in Australia! LOL You’re made of stern stuff!

Q6. The Pink Heart Society... a great regular read (especially 'Male on Monday'...ahem...) What do you enjoy most about helping to run a blog-a-zine?

Hands down it’s the people I get to meet – even if it’s just cyber meet. This year I’m looking after the calendar and am starting to get over my numbing fear of cold-e-mailing people to be special guests. I learn a lot about different people and parts of the industry. It sounds weird but I can’t tell you how much I get from working with Michelle (Styles) and Jenna (Bayley-Burke) and the rest of our fab group. The PHS rocks and reminds me daily how great it is to be a part of the category romance genre.

Q7. What's next on your to-do list, book-wise?

I just handed in the second book of my current contract, and it was a book that was a slight departure for me but fun! My next deadline is the end of May, so I’m full-speed ahead with a brand new story. You can usually catch up with what I’m doing on my blog ( .

Donna, thanks for your time, I know there isn't much of it, especially in shelf-week. We've loved having you DownUnder albeit virtually. Maybe one day we'll see you here. Until then... race you back to The Pink Heart Society.

Mar 13, 2010

Historical Caturday

In honour of my very first Georgette Heyer novel (I know, I know, what took me so long?) I've made a lovecat word search using some great downunder historical author, plus the fabulous Georgette. I couldn't get the full names of each author, so I've just gone with their surnames, but I'll list the full names in case one is new-to-you:

Sara Bennett
Anna Campbell
Anne Gracie
Georgette Heyer
Sophia James
Stephanie Laurens
Emily May
Elizabeth Rolls
Alison Stuart
Christine Wells

(And, if you're wondering, my first Heyer is The Grand Sophy and now I'm about to dive into Devil's Cub. Yay!)

Mar 10, 2010

Book Adaptations

Watching: Angel (catching up on my DVD goodness)
Listening to: Within Temptation
Making me smile: Being able to spend some quality time with my husband and cooking for my family.

The other night I was watching the Jennifer Byrnes Tuesday Book Club special event where they were discussing the adaption of books to movies. It got me thinking about the movies I've seen made from book and what I enjoy or hate about them.

At first, I was a purist. If the movie was different to the book then it was badly adapted. My husband explained to me that they are two different mediums and it was impossible for the two to be the same. You can’t put everything that’s in a book into a movie, it has to have the essence of the book distilled to make it to the screen. So I started to view the separate mediums as different things.

And today we have to red hot book adaptations in the form of TV programs. DEXTER and TRUE BLOOD.

DEXTER is our friendly neighbourhood serial killer based on the books of Jeff Lindsey. Now I have only read some of the first book and while the similarities are there, they are also different. But Dexter as a TV series is in no way disappointing because it doesn't follow the books - just the contrary. I think it has taken a life of its own and I'm looking forward to watching how the series unfolds and reading the books on a different level. I actually got the chance to see Jeff speak about Dexter and the TV adaption and he was very complimentary about the treatment of his character and the differences. He is also enjoying the series unfold.

The other popular TV adaption is TRUE BLOOD based on the popular Sookie Stackhouse SOUTHERN VAMPIRE SERIES by the talented Charlaine Harris. To me the series has a different feel - the first is roughly faithful to the first book. The characters are different to the book - I feel differently about them. I find Sookie rather annoying at times and Bill rather wet. But I do get a buzz that Sookie is played by a Kiwi, her brother Jason is played by an Aussie, Bill is a Brit and my favorite, Eric, is played by Swedish actor Alexander Skarsgård, the talented son of actor Stellan Skarsgård. What international cast and what a great dynamic they have.

The list of my favourite adaptions are:

  1. Lord of the Flies - My goodness I loved that book - and the original black and white movie was one of the rare opportunities where everything I got from the book was in the movie.
  2. Jaws - I read the book after the movie and found both scary and enjoyable.
  3. The Lord of the Rings trilogy - the essence of the books were distilled into the movies. I had a few disappointments, but on the whole it was well done.
  4. The island of Dr. Moreau - totally different feel. I enjoyed the book - but I loved the total cheesiness of the movie - bad acting and all.
  5. The Princess Bride - love the movie and the book was just as enjoyable.
  6. My Fortunate Life - a classic in book form and movie/mini series form. Australian history at it best.
Movie that didn't work.
  1. Brokeback Mountain - big fan of Heath Ledger, but for me I couldn’t watch the movie. The short story was not exactly an enjoyable read but it was a great read (only my opinion). It was full of raw emotion and sometimes ugly insight. For me it isn't that it’s different, it’s because it lacked the something special that I go on the short story.
  2. I can't think of any more at 1 am - I am sure there are heaps.
So what are your favourite adoptions or your least favourite? What worked for you and what didn't?

Mar 9, 2010

Catwalk Wednesday

Name Leo Morey

Abode Chez Morey

Human Slave That would be Trish Morey...

Likes Sleeping, eating, chasing shadows. One day I'm going to catch me one, too!

Dislikes Not being fed. The dog. Being woken from a wonderful sleep by that flashy thing

Ambition See *likes* above

Sociable or Aloof Are you kidding me? I'm a cat right. Of course I'm aloof!

Favourite Pastime Sleeping, eating, chasing shadows.

Favourite Toy The dog's tail

What do you like to sharpen your claws on Preferably the dog, though the sofa comes in handy at times.

Mar 8, 2010

Going Electronic

Reading: Archangel’s Kiss by Nalini Singh
Watching: Bones
Listening to: Il Divo
Making me smile: Marshmallows (I always have a stash)

I’ve been a die-hard, obsessive reader all my life and romance is my first love. I have bookcases full of my keeper books and boxes of the ones I can’t fit on the shelves. I love the smell of books, the feel of them and the joy of losing myself in a great story.

When I lived in the city, the day my favourite author released a new book, I was at the bookstore getting my copy. When I went on holidays, my husband groaned about the weight of my suitcase and all the books jammed inside.

Image: Stanko Mravljak |

Then my husband and I got a transfer with work back to my home country. We’re both in mining and the job was in a small, remote mining town in the Northern Territory…with no bookstore.

I panicked. No more getting books the day they came out! I’d have to order off the Internet and wait weeks for them to get to me (the barge comes to town once a week). Needless to say, there was a lot of drama-filled whining. It was this dilemma that forced me to look at electronic books and eReaders, something I vowed I would never do. Replace a book with a gadget, I think not!

I was still in denial when my husband accosted a stranger with a Kindle at an airport lounge while we were waiting for a flight and asked if we could have a look. Holding it in my hands sold me on giving it a chance.

Then something strange happened…the day I got my Kindle I fell in love.

Since the day I went electronic, I haven’t bought a single paper book. And I don’t miss them. I can carry hundreds of books on one slim device, I can order them the day they come out, I can search books and make notations. My Kindle is lighter than a book, I can change the text size on it to suit me and once I’m lost in a great story, you know what, I don’t even notice if it’s a book or an eReader I’m holding.

For Christmas I got a new Kindle2 and the love affair continues. It’s even thinner, holds more books and I love it even more than my old one. And it has international wireless!! At the airport, two minutes before my flight boards, bam, I can download the book I want.

Hubby is very happy that he inherited my old Kindle and now has one of his own. I’ve had half a dozen friends buy Kindles after looking at mine. And Kindle isn’t the only eReader out there! The Sony eReader is very popular and more and more eReaders are hitting the market.

I don’t think any reader can truly decide if electronic is for them until they’ve read a book on an eReader or at least held one in their hands. For me, going electronic was the best thing this reader ever did.