Oct 27, 2010

Werewolf: A Brief Overview


The winner of Carnal Moon or any backlist title is Cass Green! Let me know which book you'd like Cass and I'll send it to you ASAP. Happy reading!!


What I'm reading:
Poison Kissed by Erica Hayes
What I'm listening to: Planets by Shortstack
What I'm watching: The Block
What's making me smile: Release day for Carnal Moon!

A Werewolf or Lycanthrope (often shortened to Lycan) is a wolf-like paranormal/mythical creature, which is said to have existed throughout much of history, most notably Europe. A werewolf is a person with the ability to shapeshift into said wolf-like creature, a transformation that most often occurs with the appearance of the full moon.
They are noted for their superhuman strength and senses, and in many novels and hollywood movies, often for their indiscriminate killings.

It is said that drinking rainwater from a werewolf's footprint can pass the 'affliction' onto an ordinary mortal, other beliefs state sleeping outside on certain summer nights with the full moon shining directly on the face, will bring on lycanthrope. Of course, in most fiction, generally a non-fatal bite or deep scratch wound is all that is needed to bring about the change.
Unlike vampires, religious artifacts don't repel or kill a werewolf. A silver bullet is said to kill a werewolf, and in some legends, wolfsbane is an effective deterrant.
Maybe a bolted door with shuttered windows would do the trick??

Has anyone read any great werewolf books lately? What worldbuilding rules did the author set for the characters?
I'm giving a copy of CARNAL MOON or any one of my backlist e-books to one commentator =)

Catwalk Wednesday

Name Tomasina. Although my female owner thinks I’m a female, I’d wish she’d just use Thomas, like her DH.

Abode: I really haven’t one. You see I got lost and huddled against a doorstep when the dogs were after me, and this strange creature took me out into her backyard. Well, I couldn’t complain could I. Heaven is not only in a chocolate.

Human Slave; No. human amusement. You should get go of her face when she comes close to me. I pretend it’s ever so attractive, with those large round domes centered above her talking device, but I guess a frog like me shouldn’t complain.

Likes: The new swimming pond of red they have so obviously provided for me. It’s sanctuary.

Dislikes Urgh!! When those creepy human fingers stroking my head and back. I sit there like some jackass, and pretend to be the totally gorgeous frog she thinks I am.

Ambition: To get the hell outta here and find something that resembles my species.

Sociable or Aloof: Very sociable. Why do you think I sneak out at night, and occasionally stay over?

Night Owl or Early Bird: Night, definitely. It’s alive with almost every type of liquor insect I desire.

Favourite Pastime: Well, seeing I’m a male in disguise we won’t go there. Sleeping I guess for now.

Favourite Toy: I haven’t got one.

Best Friend: I’m looking for her.

What do you like to sharpen your claws on. Claws… what are they?

Most embarrassing moment

Oh when I skipped up the steps after being away for two days, and got a lecture. Oh, and get a load of this. She said I’d been bad, where did I go, she missed me. My head aches. I just needed water so I flopped into my red pool while she told me I wasn’t going to have anymore sleepovers. Life truly sucks at times.

Oct 25, 2010


I have a new release out in the UK next week—The Soldiers Untamed Heart—and it features a single-mother-of-one heroine with a Wedge-tailed Eagle tattooed across her lower back. I had a great time wading through tattoo websites and magazines looking for the right artwork, I never found it but those searches sure showed me what I do and don’t like in a tattoo.

I know I really like tribal and celtic art—the more unique the better. Cultural symbols, animal motifs, plants, mythic.


I know I really like the roman numeral tattoos that some men wear down the inside of their arms even though I haven’t got a clue what they mean. I definitely like the tattoos that symbolize something special for the wearer rather than just being spectacular. I know I don’t like the heavily coloured art or the dense, grouped tattoos. And I really don’t like skulls and bulging eyed monsters and swastikas and things that are nasty. I figure it must do something to your head to wear a symbol of hate on the outside of your body for life.

In 2004 US author Shelley Jackson wrote her short-story ‘Skin’ entirely on the bodies of volulnteers from around the world—word by word. She found 2095 people willing to be walking fragment of literature have a word tattooed on their body…chests, foot souls, finger webbing, under their watch… Talk about suffering for art! You’d want a word of significance wouldn’t you for all that trouble… not just a ‘the’ or an ‘a’. (Tho I am suddenly reminded of the old joke ‘Welcome to Jamaica-Have a nice day’).

C_Elloras Cave

C_West Australian

Angelina Jolie

Some of the world’s most famous ink….

Sometimes it is possible to upstage an enormous ugly tattoo…. Aussie footballer, Ben Cousins...

This is one of my favourite literature tattoos – the cover of Denise Rossetti’s Gift of the Goddess. It breaks pretty much all my newly discovered tattoo-rules but…hey, a girl can change her mind, right?

Do you have a tattoo (or more than one)? Why did you get it? Do you consider it art, adornment, acknowledgement, or literature? Or are you thinking about one? I'd love to share it vicariously...

Oct 23, 2010

Caturday Fun

A Bad Cat Day

The link to this came from the gorgeous Cathy. Thanks, Cathy!

The thing I love about this clip, is that cats aim so high. Sure, they fall sometimes, but the reason they're such a spectacular species is they think they can do things that other species don't even attempt. Go, cats!!

Oct 21, 2010

EMILY MAY interview

by Zana Bell

What I'm Reading: Beauty and the Scarred Hero!

What I'm Listening to: Robert Plant and Alison Krauss

What I'm Watching: Grand Designs

What's Making Me Smile: long weekend coming up!

The wonderful Emily May has done it again! Beauty and the Scarred Hero hooked me in the first chapter and I landed up reading it in one sitting. Happily, Emily is with us today to answer some questions:

Hi Emily, congratulations on the new book which is very much a Beauty and the Beast story – I’m interested which came first. Did you start with the storyline for a particular reason or was it the idea of a scarred hero that attracted you?

Thanks, Zana. I'm glad you enjoyed the book!

I must confess, I didn’t set out to write a Beauty and the Beast story at all! I started with two things: a heroine who rescues a runaway bride; and a scarred hero. The end result was a Beauty and the Beast story (quite to my surprise).

A happy surprise, because it works well! Now, Isabella is an older heroine than usual for a Regency novel. Why is that? What did you feel a more mature woman could bring to romance?

In Regency England, ladies made their debuts in their teens and married young, but I prefer a heroine who’s not straight out of the schoolroom! Someone like Isabella, who has life experience and a strong character. Plus, a heroine who was still a spinster in her mid to late twenties is clearly not marriage material—which makes the romance even more fun to write!

You have clearly done extensive research into the battles Nicholas fought in. Were there any sources you found particularly helpful?

Both James in The Earl’s Dilemma and Nicholas in Beauty and the Scarred Hero were ex-soldiers, so I’ve done quite a lot of military research. I used textbooks, but I also found Georgette Heyer’s two Napoleonic War novels very helpful (The Spanish Bride and The Infamous Army). Heyer did a massive amount of research, and The Infamous Army used to be required reading at Sandhurst (the British military academy). I also went back to the original sources, thanks to Google Books. I have some eye-witness descriptions of the battles of Waterloo and Badajoz on my website (www.emily-may.com).

I think I see th
e influence of the splendid Georgette Heyer in your writing. Is that right? Which writers or books have most influenced you as a writer?

Oh, yes, I’m absolutely influenced by Heyer! I love her books. I first started reading Heyer as a teenager (The Masqueraders, recommended by my father, who’s a Heyer fan too), and she’s why I adore the period and why I wanted to write Regencies in the first place. So you could probably say that she’s influenced me most on my writing journey! (As an aside, if anyone hasn’t read The Grand Sophy, they should do so immediately!)

What is it about Regency England that makes you set your books during this era?

What’s not to love about the world of Pride and Prejudice and The Grand Sophy? There are so many things I enjoy about the Regency, Zana! The tightly constrained social rules, where a misstep could be ruinous. The absurd extravagance of the Season and, conversely, the hidden underbelly of society (I venture into the slums in my third Regency, The Unmasking of a Lady). I love the opportunities for humour—but also the opportunities for touching on darker, grittier subject matter. From a distance, Regency England looks so civilised, but scratch that surface and you’ll find all sorts of unpleasant things lurking beneath. It’s great fun for a writer!

What’s next on the horizon for you?

I’ve just started a new Regency, about a penniless spinster who writes titillating tales in order to earn money. The hero, who’s recently returned from Waterloo, is determined to discover her identity.

Excellent, another fantastic book to look forward to!

If you’d like to read more about Emily, you can visit her site at www.emily-may.com. or read more about Beauty and the Scarred Hero at www.emily-may.com/BSH.html. Beauty and the Scarred Hero is available in bookshops in Australia and New Zealand until the end of this month.

Question to the readers – what is it about Regency that you love (or hate!)?

Emily is also here today to answer any questions you might like to ask. A copy of Beauty and the Scarred Hero will given away to one of the lucky contributors to the discussion. Fire away!

Oct 19, 2010

Catwalk Wednesday

Name: Furball
My favourite place it on top of the clothes horse when it's set up
(preferably with clothes on it so I don't fall through - think hammock for cats!). Alternatively, I enjoy the top of the stack of storage crates in my human's office. They're just at the right level to catch the airflow coming from the air conditioner - cool in summer, warm in winter.
Human Slave: Kylie
Lying just under the covers, sharing a pillow, in Kylie's queen
size bed in winter. Eating brussel sprout leaves from the compost bucket. Going on the ran-tan through the house on rainy days.
Dogs. Strangers. Boots. I skeddadle and hide when I see any of
these things.
: I'm King of the Beasts, especially in winter when my mane fills
out. Sociable or Aloof: Don't tell anyone but I'm more like the Cowardly Lion than anyone realises.
Night Owl or Early Bird:
Early Bird. I wake my human carer up at 4.30am on
the dot. Isn't this when everyone wants to go outside for a little wee walk???
Favourite Pastime:
Chasing bugs. I give any human gymnast a run for their
money with my backflips and full twists as I chase my prey.
Favourite Toy:
Hair elastic, especially when it's on the lino floor. It's
a miniature ice-hockey puck. Such fun!
Best Friend: Kylie. I love curling up on her lap or beside her when she's stretched out on the lounge.
What do you like to sharpen your claws on:
The back of any lounge chair.

Most embarrassing moment:
The day I discovered an echidna in my backyard
and confronted it. We had a Mexican stand-off for a couple of minutes and the moment I looked away the bundle of prickles charged me. I jumped six feet in the air, did a 360 while up there and retreated, much to the amusement of Kylie and the neighbours who were visiting us.

Oct 17, 2010

Romance: It's All Around

by Sue Mackay

Romance is alive and well everywhere. My DB and I have just returned from four weeks in Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia, having had the most amazing experience imaginable. In Hanoi we attended a water puppet show and one of the acts was a romance. Very short but definitely a romance.

In Hoi An while sitting on the little balcony outside our hotel room I witnessed more romance. A young Vietnamese girl working as the receptionist at a small hotel welcomed her suitor when he raced up on a motor bike. Over the next half hour they talked, laughed, and when they thought no one was watching, (not having spied me) they touched each other. It was so innocent, and yet so provocative. Forget language barriers, forget cultures, it was romance as we would all recognise.

When the man got up to leave I could feel the girl's disappointment, and yet he had to go. He'd been hanging around the hotel lobby long enough. I sighed, my DB wondered what I was on, and there starts another story.

We had a fantastic trip and I came back with a complete outline for another book. But first I have to finish the current one.

Anyone reading this, feel free to share your romantic story with me. I love romance, I believe it is essential to all of us.

Oct 16, 2010

Caturday Fun

So, it seems that my dogs are slackers and don't help enough around the house. After seeing the clip below, I've decided they need to started earning their room and board. Maybe I can get Fergie wiping down the kitchen bench. Dougie putting rubbish in the bin. Jazz can bring the remote, and Ollie can put the clothes in the washer...

Oct 14, 2010

Favourite Book For The Year

by Michelle Douglas

Reading: For The Sheikh's Pleasure by Annie West

Watching: The bird wars in my backyard

Listening to: Pink

Making me smile: The block of Lindt dark chocolate in my pantry

I made a big mistake earlier this year - a stupid mistake. I became so busy with my MPhil that I made a resolution not to read any more fiction until I'd waded through all the necessary academic texts requiring my attention.

Like I said, big mistake. You'll be pleased to know I've since broken said resolution. No one should ever give up reading for pleasure. The book that broke my drought was a birthday gift - The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society. Believe me, this book was a gift in more ways than one. It was a delight and a joy. I read it twice. It made me realize what a stupid resolution I'd made. It made me realize reading is my life's blood. For all those reasons and more it has become my favourite read for the year.

Which got me thinking about my other favourite reads for the year.

And here they are in no particular order:

Fave category romance: This year I'd be lucky to have averaged one category romance a month. It hasn't stopped me buying them, though. You should see my tbr pile! However, what I have read has been brilliant. I have a tie for first place: A Special Kind of Family by Marion Lennox and Christmas Angel For The Billionaire by Liz Fielding.

Fave non-fiction: How To Suppress Women's Writing by Joanna Russ. This is a wonderfully angry book that made me feel righteously indignant.

Fave re-read: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. I hadn't read this since I was a little girl. It now makes the list of my top 5 favourite books of all time.

What about you? What have been your favourite reads so far this year? (Go on, tempt me, make me blow that stupid resolution so far out of the water that I never make another one like it!)

Oct 13, 2010

Catwalk Wednesday

Name: Dr Watson
Abode: Stalking the food bowl. Failing that: blanket, lap, pillow, dog’s bed, washing basket in the sun. Anywhere it’s warm. Or tasty.
Human slave: sniff. You are all my slaves, feeble vermin. If only I were a little larger, I’d have killed and eaten you by now.
Likes: if you don’t know, I shan’t waste time explaining it. Just do as I say and everything will be fine.
Dislikes: see previous answer. Don’t make me tell you twice.
Ambition: to bend the world to my will, so long as it doesn’t involve too much effort.

Oct 10, 2010

Help me choose a story....

Reading: Scoundrel by Zoe Archer
Watching: The A-Team remake
Listening to: Snow Patrol
Making me smile: Playing Wii with hubby

It’s time for me to start writing a brand new Nocturne Bites. I have one coming out soon called One Night with the Wolf and I want to get started on my next one. I love those moments just before I start a story – where ideas and inspiration churn and anything and possible!

Usually I just *know* which story I want to write next…but this time I have a few different ideas knocking around in my head and one hasn’t risen to the surface yet.

So I thought I’d let the LoveCats blog readers vote on which story I should tackle next. Here are the options:

Dragon Prince – a follow up story to my very first Bites, Savage Dragon. It’ll feature the cousin of the hero in SD who is a dragon prince and wields some powerful elemental magic. The heroine is a human out to expose dragons to the world.

Marked by Shadow – a vampire story set in the same world as my Bites, Hunter’s Surrender. It’ll feature a vampire doctor hero in Las Vegas and a heroine desperate to avenge the death of her sister at the hands of vampires.

At the Wolf’s Mercy – a wolf story set in the same world as One Night with the Wolf. It features a wild alpha hero who leads a wolf pack in the untamed wilds of northern Canada and a pilot heroine who crash lands in his territory.

Racing the Dark – this is a new one. It’ll be set in a world where a small group of humans race against paranormals to secure ancient artifacts of power. The heroine is a tough human dedicated to her cause and the hero is a sexy, mysterious half angel, half vampire.

So vote below and thanks for the help. If anyone has any questions about any of the stories, ask away!


Oct 6, 2010

"Love Is Blue"

by Sharon Archer

g: Mad Men - series one

Listening: to a fantastic thunderstorm!

Reading (and loving!): The Earl's Dilemma by Emily May

Making me smile: The Italian translation of Jack and Liz's story which has just arrived in the post box! "Insieme ancora una volta"

It's spring! Signs are everywhere of flora and fauna revelling in the longer, warmer days. We were away recently, camping with friends near the Kosciuszko National Park in New South Wales. Our camp was visited by a handsome male satin bower bird on the scrounge. Spring is the time when his thoughts turn to "home decor". His sex appeal and ability to be a successful mate are measured by the beauty of his bower and the goodies he's managed to collect to show it to advantage. It's all about blue!

I looked around our camp and realised it must have seemed like a overload to his senses. Fortunately... or perhaps unfortunately from his point of view... all our "blueness" was too large to pilfer. Blue tarps, blue buckets, blue towels, blue plates, a large blue esky, a blue box of tissues.

He was a shy fellow with his glossy midnight plummage and every time I pointed the camera at him he was off! But I found a gorgeous picture on Wiki and this entertaining clip on YouTube.

What signs of spring are happening at your place?

Oct 4, 2010

In Defence of the Cliche...

by Nikki Logan

When has a word concept ever been such an anathema as the dreaded cliché? Writers fear it, readers bristle at it. Yet it’s often confused with its cousin, stereotype, and generally misused and misunderstood.

The word itself has come to mean something that is overused and trite. Written, visual, aural. Shutters banging against a house wall during a storm or a ticking clock to build suspense – aural cliché. A photograph of a beautiful lake framed in the space between two trees – visual cliché. (Can’t tell you how many pictures in my 'Europe 1990' photo album are framed exactly like that. I thought I was being terribly arty and clever. Erm…not so much.)

Literally speaking, the term cliché originates in the French printing industry. Back in the day when finger-stained typesetters laid out the tiny metal letters of a written sentence in racks to be slotted into printing presses, coated with ink and then transferred as print on paper, some words, sentences and phrases were more oft used than others. Phrases like ‘he said’, ‘couldn’t believe his eyes’, or ‘non-non, Monsieur, we will be caught for certain’ were common enough to be permanently cast as a single piece and kept aside for repeat use.

According to the source of all knowledge, Wikipedia, the word actually comes from the sound made when ‘the matrix is dropped into molten metal to make a printing plate.’


Tssss…. Go on, say it out loud. You know you want to.

Anyway… back then a cliché was a good thing. A time-and-effort saving thing that helped revolutionise the already revolutionary print industry. But today, the poor old cliché has a bad rap. It’s equated with laziness, lack of imagination, absence of new thought. But the reality is that it’s still an efficient way of communicating simple concepts. Like texting, a kind of print shorthand. It’s not lazy, per se. Just…expedient.

Cliché is also often mislabeled and applied to concepts that more rightly belong under that other printing term, stereotype. Again from the printing industry and refers to a phrase/sentence that warrants a whole duplicate copy of the original typeplate, presumably to ward against wear because it was used so very heavily and often. A stereotype is a cliché all grown up. Where a plot or a situation or a setting has become so overused it has become commonly and immediately recognized.

The other woman. The bandana-wearing train-robber on horseback. The frustrated spinster with nine cats devouring romance novels.

Oh… pardon me, my subtext is showing…

Therein lies the most important part of the enemy we know as cliché/stereotype. The only thing technically wrong with either is that they have become ‘common’. So the first person to write it is an artist, everyone else is a thief.

Sure, I don’t want to read a book laden with clichéd phrases or scenes. Yuk-o. But similarly, I don’t particularly enjoy (or even fall for) books where it’s obvious the author has gone out of their way to rewrite clichéd sentences or concepts ‘freshly’. The chances of most of them being able to write something that no-one has ever used before isn’t high and so the book ends up wobbling on its skinny little knees with the burden of page-after-page of overly complicated, metaphorical, granite-based equivalents.

Kind of like that one.

Romance, as a rule, turns successfully on the most clichéd of literary clichés: the Happy Ending. Successfully to the tune of billions of dollars a year. So, clearly there is still a place in our lives for immediately recognizable literary themes like boy-meets-girl and happy-ever-after. Just with moderation. We can still read and love rags-to-riches stories, we can still put a swarthy sheik on the keeper shelf, we can still shed a tear over an Ugly Duckling modernization.

In a genre which unashamedly—in fact, proudly!—targets the common man (or woman, in this case) in volume, why are we so hung up on the presence of the occasional cliché?

Embrace the cliché. Learn to love the cliché. Don’t sacrifice to it on the alter of good taste, certainly, but don’t fear the cliché. Fearing it gives it power.

After all, it’s just a bunch of letters in a drawer in France.

You tell me... Do you slip into a familiar story theme like a comfy pair of slippers or do you like something out-of-the-box every time?

(PS: My latest release is out now in the UK in print and ebook and it's partnered with the wonderful Barbara McMahon. A hot firefighter and scorching ex Special Services operative under one cover!! Tsssss!! Grab it now or wait until January for the US release.)

Oct 2, 2010

Caturday Fun

I'm obviously in a dog dancing mood, because this Caturday I'm posting another video of coordinated canines.

(I'm not sure how to paste the full width of the video on the blog (I'm technically-challenged), but I just played and found you can change it on your screen so you don't cut the right hand bit off:

Right click on the video and scroll down to "Show All" and click. It'll be a bit smaller and show the full width.)