Jul 28, 2010

Blame it on the Moonlight

Reading: Lover Mine by JR Ward
Listening to: Best of Fleetwood Mac
Watching:  True Blood
Making me smile: The fact the conference is only a couple of weeks away.

My second Harlequin Spice Brief comes out in a few days. This one is quite a bit more romantic than my first. The cover is absolutly perfect to the story.It depicts the opening scene almost as I pictured it when writing.

About the story

After catching her fiancé—make that ex-fiancé—with another woman, Jasmine heads into the woods to be alone. But her solitude is broken when a black wolf approaches her...and turns into a wildly sexy man. Though she sees danger lurking in his eyes, it doesn't scare her away. Instead, it only fans the flames of her passion....

An Excerpt:
Lucas crouched low in the dew-dampened fall leaves carpeting the forest floor, his mouth filling with saliva. The woman sitting in the clearing looked good enough to eat and it’d been a long time since he’d sunk his teeth into something that juicy.

She was out here all alone, vulnerable to the many dangers lurking in the woods. He should know. He was the most dangerous of all.

The woman sat on a flat rock, her thighs drawn against her chest, honey blonde hair falling over the arms she braced across her knees. The blanket slipped to expose a creamy shoulder and bare legs crossed at the ankles.

Oh for a taste of that skin — to just nibble on the spot where her neck met her back, to dip into that honey pot.

The woman lifted her head. Tears glittered in the moonlight leaving silver trails down her pale cheeks. But even tear-stained she was the most beautiful thing in these woods. The hunger in him grew.

I am also on Kylie Griffin's blog today - and will give away a copy Blame It On The Moonlight to one lucky poster who comments on both blogs.

***Warning - story content sexually explicit.***

If you don't want to go into the draw - please say "don't include me in draw"

Catwalk Wednesday

Name: Jazzie May. Or Jasmine Maybelline. Or Jazz.

Abode: My brothers, my humans and I all live in house surrounded by trees.

Human Slave: Rachel Bailey.

Likes: My brothers. I love them all. I like to kiss them and sniff them and sit near them. And if they growl at me and tell me to stop, I have to put a paw on their head to hold them still while I kiss them. Sometimes it's hard work being adoring.

Dislikes: When my brothers misbehave. Sometimes I have to tell them to obey the humans. A couple of times I had to tell Fergus a *lot*. The humans took him to the vet afterwards, but, honestly, if he'd been a good boy it never would have happened.

Special Skill: I can smile. They say it's only Dalmatians who can do it, but the vet told my human that very clever dogs can copy the action from humans around them. What, they doubted I was clever?

Sociable or Aloof: Sociable! I love people and dogs.

Night Owl or Early Bird: Early bird. I start nudging my male human from when the sun comes up. There's *so* much to do - we can't waste time sleeping!

Favourite Pastime: Tennis. My human hits the ball for us twice a day and Dougal and I have the job of retrieving it. It's an important job but I'm up to it. (And I get way more than half the balls.)

Best Friend: Dougal. He's just so handsome - maybe because he's a Border Collie like me?

Most embarrassing moment: There's such a thing?

Jul 25, 2010

The Joy of Puppies

I'm writing this from a friend's place and she has ... a puppy! The pup's name is Cosmo and she's a black schnauzer, only been away from her mother for a week.

It's been a while since I've spent time with a puppy and I'd forgotten how much they sleep! The peeing, I remembered, and the chewing everything in sight, but the sudden onset of puppy sleep was something I'd forgotten. Very trusting creatures, puppies, to fall so utterly asleep on the lap of a complete stranger!

This is me and Cosmo (just before she discovered that dreadlocks are fabulous things to chew on!)

It's been a great weekend all round -- a writing retreat with a bunch of friends from my local writing group. We all beavered away busily for two days. The others were writing new words, editing, revising, whereas I spent most of my time drawing maps for the fantasy novel I've just finished. I commandeered the dining table, covered it in sheets of newsprint, and drew map after map after map. I now have something that (kind of) resembles the kingdoms in my book.

And now the weekend is over and I have a puppy sleeping on my lap, twitching and squeaking as she dreams. Bliss!

Do you have any puppy memories to share? (Or kittens, since this is LoveCats, after all!)

Jul 24, 2010

Caturday Jigsaw!

Here's the gorgeous Fonzie (who lives with Amy Andrews) back, this time in a jigsaw.

Jul 23, 2010

******Book Winners*****

The winners of Rowena Cory Daniells books are Cathryn Brunet and Christina Phillips!
Congrats ladies!!
Please email the lovely Rowena at...

Jul 22, 2010

Rowena Cory Daniells

After attending a fabulous workshop by Rowena Cory Daniells at last year's RWAus conference, I'm thrilled to have her here as a special guest at the Lovecats blog!

Welcome Rowena! First off, congratulations on your upcoming trilogy release: The Kings Bastard, The Uncrowned King & The Usurper.

Thanks Mel. To be honest, I edited all three books ( 3 levels of edits and each book is over 100K) in the first few months of this year and I’m just feeling relieved it is over. I’m sure the excitement will catch up with me.

Each book of ‘The Chronicles of King Rolen’s Kin’, are released a month apart—great news for us readers, but how are you feeling (g)?

LOL. I just answered your question. At the same time I was teaching 3 subjects at college, renovating my house and writing a new book. Why did I do this to myself?

How did the concept come about?

The books have been growing for ages now. I set out to write the kind of book that you curl up with on a Saturday afternoon after a hard week at work. The kind of book that you reward yourself with. So it is a traditional fantasy, in that it is a medieval setting about the struggle for the throne. But then I had fun playing with the tropes of the genre. Instead of the younger twin wanting to usurp his twin the heir, he’s happy to be the spare heir, that sort of thing.

World building is obviously integral to your fantasy trilogy. Can you tell us how you developed your character’s playground?

It is funny what inspires us and what stays with us. When I was about 10 my family went to play tennis at a set of courts in the back blocks of the Gold Coast. This was in the days when the holiday strip was not as gaudy and glitzy as it is now. My parents loved to play tennis and they told me to watch my little brothers, 8 and 5 and my sister 3. Behind the courts was a stretch of land backing onto a creek. There were white sand dunes, scrubby trees and it was the perfect place for us to play (in those far off days when kids ran wild most of the time).

As the eldest I was used to organising the games and I always saw myself as a sort of hero character so we'd play these long involved games with my younger siblings as my army, following orders, fighting great battles against enemy foes.

While running down one high white sand hill through the hollow into the next we left my little sister behind. Halfway up the next dune I turned around to find she'd run through the deepest part of the hollow and the sand, which appeared to be solid, had given way. She was knee deep in some sort of sticky sand-clay mix and couldn't get out. Having seen plenty of Tarzan movies, I immediately thought of quicksand.

A real emergency! I told my brothers to stay back, afraid that they'd get trapped too, and edged forward. The sand's surface broke up under my feet. It was cold and smooth and wet, and I didn't know what was under there. My eight year-old brother (who was almost as big as me) came and grabbed my arm to pull me out if I got stuck. I managed to grab our little sister's arm and hauled her out of the sticky sand-clay which did not give her up easily. Meanwhile the five year-old brother danced on the edge of the danger zone in desperate to help and likely to get himself into trouble.

End of story, she was fine and we kept on playing. I don't think we even told our parents about it, because by the time they finished playing tennis our game had moved on and that was old news. But I will always remember that sense of something under the ground opening up and proving dangerous.

In King Rolen's Kin power seeps up from the land's heart, infecting people and animals. Only those trained to contain this power go near Affinity Seeps. So a childhood adventure was inspiration for something in my book many years later. These days I don't order my younger brothers and sister about to play out my great battles, I have a cast of characters and they play out the battles in my books.

You’ve also had some speculative fiction work published, one of which won World Best Fantasy. Enquiring minds would love to know all about it?

Mel, I had a story in Dreaming Downunder, an anthology that won World Best Fantasy. So my story (hopefully) contributed in a small way to that win.

You’ve studied martial arts and the art of the samurai sword. Have you used this knowledge in any of your story telling?

I definitely have used my practical knowledge of martial arts in fight scenes. I’ve also done heaps of research into great military leaders, their battle strategies and what makes men willing to die for a leader. It is all part of building a believable character.

You have six children and have served on various writer committees. I’m guessing you are super organised! What is your writing routine?

Gah! My writing routine has been hopeless since I became an associate lecturer. I used to get up, get everyone off to school and work, then write with total concentration. Now I’m stealing every spare moment I can. The other night I couldn’t sleep, so I got up at 3am and wrote through until 6am when I had to start the morning routine. But you can’t do that too often.

And finally, if you could impart just one gem of wisdom for aspiring writers, what would it be?

Read widely in your genre and associated genres. Read the books that are shortlisted and win awards to see the direction your genre is taking. Read real life accounts for authenticity so you can bring something fresh to your genre. Join a writing group where the other members are as passionate about developing the craft of writing as you are.

And lastly, Never Give Up, Never Surrender! (Spec Fic fans will get the Galaxy Quest movie reference). More than one tip, I know but all are important.

Thanks so much Rowena, I can’t wait to read The King’s Bastard, out this month!

***Rowena has very kindly offered to give away 2 of her books to two lucky commentators!***

And the question is: In the King Rolen’s King trilogy there are places where power seeps up from the earth’s heart. What are these called?




Jul 21, 2010

Catwalk Wednesday

Names: Fonzie and Lally, brother and sister.

Fonzie - I was the original and Amy even put me in a book! I was supposed to be doing this by myself but as usual my sister went all diva on me.

Lally (yawning) - I came 6 months later and much better behaved I might add - I'm the calming influence. And I don't need to be affirmed by such trifling things as books.

Human Slave: Amy Andrews


Fonzie - food and my humans. I love it when the kids throw things for me to fetch and I adore my human man Mark - I think I have a bit of a crush, I would do anything for him. He plays rough with me and loves to razz me up. I hang on his every word and whine at the door for him to come and pat me.

Lally - food. As per my adorable picture. My human Mark is forever muttering the word diet around me but lucky for me, my human Amy always rushes to my defence. She understands that a plus size female is a mighty thing and that its simply not fair to be afflicted with oestrogen ....and hello - I am a female lab!!! Everyone knows we carry our weight around our middles. Sheesh! Oh, and I adore the hydro bath.

Fav Pastime:

Fonzie - fetching! Boy do I love fetching - anything. The bigger the better, But the thing I love the most is when my human Mark gets out the lawn bowl and rolls it along the ground with all his might. I love watching my human's faces as I practically dislocate my jaw to bring it back to them. And then I go again. Oh and howling at passing ambulance sirens

Lally - I DO NOT like to fetch. I mean, I can fetch - I am way faster than I brother if I want to be, I just chose not to. Really, why run around like a mad thing when you can lie in the sun, steal pats from distracted humans and follow a trail of kiddy crumbs - which just happen to me my fav pastimes. The only time I will deign to do so is if my brother is attracting too much human attention. Then I will race ahead of him and "steal" the prize. And refuse to give it back.


Fonzie - my sister stealing the prize and refusing to "drop"

Lally - what's not to like?

Fav toy:

Fonzie - my indestructible Kong ( and aforementioned lawn bowl)

Lally - whatever my brother wants the most

Night Owl or Early Bird:

Fonzie - sleep who needs sleep?

Lally - sleep? everyone needs sleep

Jul 19, 2010

Technology - don't you love it?

Reading: Wild Ride by Jenny Crusie & Bob Mayer
Listening to: heaps of stuff, looking for songs for a soundtrack for a new book
Watching: Who Do You Think You Are
Making me smile: Dougal (left) wondering why I wanted him to stay still beside the book while I took a photo. Humans are strange and unpredictable. (He refused to have the photo with his nose *in* the book as I'd hoped.)

I'm having a love-hate moment with technology today. My computer has entered its retirement (before I was ready) and so a new computer came home with us yesterday.

I'm not completely savvy with technology - I kinda bumble my way through (and then email Lovecat Tracie with an SOS ;)) and it usually works out. Today I can't send emails from one of my addresses and that's driving me crazy. And I'm having great difficulty finding where everything is (new operating system) and transfering my old things over to my new computer (because of the aforementioned retirement).

*But* I just got off my treadmill after listening to my ipod. I love my ipod. Love it, love it. I wasn't sure what I'd think when I first was given it (for Christmas 18 months ago) but I use it constantly. It has the soundtracks for my books, it has audiobooks, it has 'breakfast music' that dh and I play each morning.

Hence the love and the hate happening on one morning with technology.

So, what technology do you love, and what do you have a love-hate relationship with? I'm needing people to commiserate with and to get excited with as well. ;)

Jul 14, 2010


READING: Hot Shot by Suzanne Brockmann

WATCHING: Outrageous Fortune - yay, it's back!

LISTENING TO: French Kiss sound-track

MAKING ME SMILE: Having a week at home to write!

Today is a salute to that most difficult skills of all; writing the opening words of a novel. They should be pithy. Piquant. Vivid. Thoughtful or thought-provoking. Funny is good too. The first sentence needs to catch the imagination, arrest the attention of the most casual of glances. At its finest, it should provide a glimpse of the central theme and set the tone whilst enticing readers not only to continue to the end of the first paragraph but to also have fingers half-way to turning the first page.

It’s a big ask from a few words and yet we have scores of fine examples which do achieve all that and more.

Some opening lines have gone down in the Literary Hall of Quotes and it is fitting to begin this tribute with the Goddess of Romance writing, Jane Austen. Come on, all together now:

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.

Not to be outdone, Dickens later gave us: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...

Another classic comes from Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina:

All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.

The giants of literature aren’t the only ones to have inspired openings. One of my personal favourites couldn’t be simpler: I come from Des Moines. Someone had to.

With those words I became an instant fan of Bill Bryson and continue to be a groupie to this day.

I also have a fondness for the somewhat thoughtful The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there. (L.P. Hartley The Go-Between). I read this book as a teenager and it was the first time I became aware of the unreliable narrator and was fascinated to see the story unfold on two levels.

William Gibson’s first sentence to Neuromancer sends a tingle down the spine. I wish I’d written it!

The sky above the port was the colour of television tuned to a dead channel.

Some first sentences provoke curiosity in the most disengaged reader.

I write this sitting in the kitchen sink.

'Why?' we ask. But Dodie Smith doesn’t immediately answer the question in I Capture a Castle. She plays with us just a little more...

That is, my feet are in it; the rest of me is on the draining-board, which I have padded with ours dog’s blanket and the tea-cosy. I can’t say that I am really comfortable, and there is a depressing smell of carbolic soap, but this is the only part of the kitchen where there is any daylight left. And I have found that sitting in a place where you have never sat before can be inspiring – I wrote my best poems while sitting on the hen-house.

The narrator is already vividly alive, the setting strongly drawn in a few lines.

Nick Hornby’s first sentence of How To Be Good drags the reader rapidly into the next three sentences:

I am in a car park in Leeds when I tell my husband I don’t want to be married to him any more. David isn’t even in the car park with me. He’s at home, looking after the kids, and I have only called to remind him that he should write a note for Molly’s class teacher. The other bit just sort of ...slips out.

The theme is there and so is a sense of voice.

Then there is the genius of Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep.

It was about eleven o'clock in the morning, mid October, with the sun not shining and a look of hard wet rain in the clearness of the foothills. I was wearing my powder-blue suit, with dark blue shirt, tie and display handkerchief, black brogues, black wool socks with dark little clocks on them. I was neat, clean, shaved and sober, and I didn't care who knew it. I was everything the well-dressed private detective ought to be. I was calling on four million dollars.

Setting, character, motivation and style all economically and vividly portrayed.

Ronald Hugh Morrieson memorably set the rollicking tone of his The Scarecrow; a half-comedic half-gothic tale of murder and mayhem in small town New Zealand with:

The same week our chooks were stolen, Daphne Moran had her throat cut.

Did J.K. have a shiver of presentiment of the phenomenon she was about to spawn when she penned the now historic words:

Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.

I could go on and on. Writing this blog gave me a happy excuse to sit amongst my books, dabbling first into this one, then into that. The only problem was that so many opening sentences enticed that I found myself being irresistibly drawn back into story after story. Opening lines indeed doing their intended job.

If anyone out there has some more gems to share, I’d love to hear them.

Catwalk Wednesday

It's me again, Betty Boo, aka Boo or Terry the Terrorist. I know you've been hanging out to know more about me so here I am with more pics and answers!

Night Owl or Early Bird: This depends on when others in the house are trying to sleep. As a general rule, when everyone else is sleeping, I practice my elephant run. Currently, even though I only weigh 3 kilograms, I can sound like a herd of horses running through the house. Once I sound like a herd of elephants, I will be happy.

Favourite Toy: Anything that is not actually mine.

Best Friend: Friend? Who needs Friends!? It’s Show BUSINESS not Show Friends!

Favourite Past Time: Building my empire.

What do you like to sharpen your claws on?: The leather sofa. This seems to cause the most grief for my subjects.

Most embarrassing moment: I do not participate in embarrassing behaviours.

Jul 12, 2010

A Perfect Sunday

Reading: Sweet Temptation by Maya Banks
Watching: Sherlock Holmes
Listening to: Sarah MacLachlan
Making me smile: BBQ in the bush

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to blog about today – then I thought I’d share my Sunday. A day in the life of a writer.

We’d organized to have a BBQ lunch out in the bush at a nearby river, so I got up early-ish (sleeping in is sacred in my house on the weekends) to get some writing done. I’m very close to finishing the (very rough) first draft of a book I’m working on, so I wanted to get my pages done for the day.

I’ve been writing at the kitchen table lately (despite the perfectly good desk in my perfectly good office) and after putting some music on (Sarah MacLachlan) I got to work. I managed 11 pages (~2,750 words) before we needed to head out. I was very pleased and I’m thoroughly enjoying every minute of the story I’m working on.

The track out to the river was pretty rough -- you need a 4WD with high clearance. But it was well worth the effort. We set up on the edge of the river where the water runs clear and isn’t very deep – so no need to worry too much about crocodiles.

We had a great BBQ -- food was excellent! My keen photographer husband explored with his camera and got some wonderful shots. I’m still pondering how I can fit the setting into a future story (-: We also had a (mostly) friendly monitor lizard drop by!

By the time we got home, I was feeling tired and lazy. So I sat down to read with my Kindle to read. After dinner, I managed a few more pages on my story. All in all, I brought my page count for the day to 18 (~4,400 words).

A great day of writing, a wonderful BBQ lunch with friends in a beautiful setting and some reading. Sunday doesn’t get much better than that.

How did everyone else spend their Sunday?

Images: Karl Hackett