Jun 29, 2011
by Sharon Archer
The lid is off gadget box two so I’m sharing a selection in a photographic tour!
And they came into the house Two by Two! After all, if one is good, surely more is better!
This is a device for re-setting little ink-jet cartridges so you can use every drop of ink in the container! I’ve no idea how it works but it makes my budget-chromosome super happy.
A USB stick and antenna that enable a computer to work as a television. We got this for the trip around Australia on the motorbike. The trip was awesome – alas the computer/television was not. Glenn tweaked and tweaked and tweaked some more but it never worked.
The PDA! Very old now but an excellent gadget for many years. The keyboard was just the bee’s knees! I lusted after this!
A low-tech gadget and just what every up-and-coming golfer needs - a golf ball monogrammer. Surely it has to help your golf swing!
And of course, each of these gadget comes with its own cord! Naturally each cord has different plugs so no cord can be used for multiple devices. Is there a plural noun for electrical leads – I’m thinking of coining one – a spaghetti of leads!
Any thoughts on the collective noun for leads? Or even a collective noun for gadgets?
I'm giving away another copy of THE MAN BEHIND THE BADGE to celebrate - the paperback edition of the book has sold out on the Mills & Boon Australia website! Other editions are still available from other sites (links on my website) and the e-Book is still available from Mills & Boon Australia.
Jun 27, 2011
New York, New York...!
|Ferguson Photography |
|RIVA (UK, July)|
Our itinerary is stupidly large, of course. We’ll cull enroute. We’ll miss some great stuff, I’m sure, but we can’t see everything. I want to see architecture, I want to see parks, I want to see museums, I want to see the mysterious ‘lower’
|The gothic Woolworth Building |
Jun 26, 2011
Today we have a smooch from Rapunzel in New York by Nikki Logan, but first ...
the winner of last week's Sunday Smooch Giveaway is -- Scarlet Wilson!
Congratulations, Scarlet! Can you please contact Zana at
zanabell (at) xtra (dot) co (dot) nz
and she'll send you a copy of A Risk Worth Taking.
And now for today's Sunday Smooch from Rapunzel In New York by Nikki Logan...
Once upon a New York minute…a Knight-in-shining-pinstripe rushed to the aid of a beautiful Maiden. Galloping up a crumbling tower block, he crashed into the chamber where she was imprisoned! The Maiden gasped and said … that she was perfectly happy, thank you very much, and certainly didn’t need saving, especially by a smug, designer-suited billionaire, and why had he just kicked in her front door?
It’s sometimes hard for a modern damsel in distress to admit she needs rescuing – but at least this heroine plans to rescue her hero right back!
Setup: Nathan and Tori have just enjoyed a sensual feast on the roof of her building—it’s not a date, it’s not!—and too much margarita leads to too much truth between them and Tori ends up wrapped in his coat…and his arms.)
Time to move.
But no sooner did her body warn her to withdraw, than those strong arms tightened. Keeping her close. One hand slid around to her back and recommenced its hypnotic circling there. Tori fought the insane desire just to melt into Nathan. To surrender…everything…for a moment and let someone else take all the weight.
For a few heavenly moments.
She leaned more closely into his hard body and added a fistful of his sweater into her tight clutch to keep them close. Her eyes drifted shut. Somewhere a thousand miles off, music tumbled out of a window, the ballad drifting up to them on the night air. He leaned a fraction to his left and she followed him, loath to lose his warmth and the connection so soon. Then he moved back slightly to the right, that magic hand going around and around against her spine the whole time. And she followed.
Step, after step. Swaying left then right.
The rocking motion soothed as much as it serrated her body against his in a delicious, subtle, unfamiliar friction.
‘Tori…’ he mumbled, after a lifetime of gentle movement ‘…are we dancing?’
She didn’t lift her lashes. The real world wasn’t welcome back just yet. She mumbled a no. ‘We’re shuffling.’
She felt him smile against her forehead. ‘Okay then.’
They swayed in silence for the rest of the song. Nathan gathered her more firmly to him and she burrowed happily into his hold. Eventually their feet slowed to a halt and he rubbed his face down hers, nudging it out and up, while his hands stayed tightly locked around her body. The seductive graze of his prickled jaw against hers, the blazing tangle of his breath and the hammer of his chest against hers… All whipped her heartbeat into riot and sent her senses skittering wildly around them like a mini dervish. A tonne-weight pressed in on her chest.
Oh god, he was going to kiss her…
And if he didn’t, she was going to kiss him.
Or possibly die from oxygen deficiency.
She lifted her heavy lids and glanced at him. This close, his blue eyes were as clear and deep as any glacial lake but fringed by dark, soft lashes and blazing the icy fire of a question unasked. Somewhere in their depths a cautious uncertainty did a lazy backstroke but it was overwhelmed by the bubbling energy and focus of the last thing she’d ever expected to see from him.
The moment their gazes met, all the reasons this was a bad idea—how unprofessional it was, why she didn’t deserve a moment like this and why he was totally unsuitable and unsafe for her—dissolved just like her caution when she was facing a new mountain for the first time. Something other than sense was ruling play here, surging through her bloodstream and setting fire to every cell it passed. Bringing them scorching to vivid life.
Baying for more.
Tori let her mouth follow her eyes and turned her head naturally into the heat of his, dropping her lips slightly open.
His focus flicked down to them a bare moment before he closed the gap on a whispered groan.
The moment her lips met Nathan’s soft, warm ones, she lurched with the involuntary gasp of air that rushed in. He captured her parted mouth with his again. He tasted of tangy citrus and chili and something rarer, something indefinable. Something she’d never experienced but wanted, in that moment, to keep forever. Her blood pounded everywhere it came close to the surface and robbed her of strength. Her mouth slid against his—tasting, exploring, feeding—and her hands curled more tightly into his sweater to keep him close. His shifted one hand lower, to press her hips into him and the other, higher, tangling in her hair and taking the weight of her head as she let it fall back to give him more access.
To be in the draw to win a signed copy of Rapunzel in New York, simply leave a comment!
As Nikki Logan’s fabulous New York kiss hits the interweb she’s en-route to that very city herself, heading for the Romance Writers of America national conference in Manhattan. Nikki will check in from Times Square to pick one lucky commenter to win a copy of Rapunzel in New York.
Come back next Sunday, when the winner of today's giveaway will be announced -- and a smooch from Dating And Other Dangers by Natalie Anderson will be posted!
Jun 24, 2011
Dangerous Dates & Earthquakes!
I wasn’t going to mention earthquakes this blog – but is really is at the forefront of my brain at the moment (and Soraya’s!) - so do put up with us won’t you! Poor old Christchurch has had thousands of earthquakes since that first big one last September – twenty-nine over them a magnitude 5 or more.
So I’ve had a very busy week organising all the children with personal emergency survival kits. I know, perhaps I’m taking the ‘be prepared’ thing a little far – but, as another mother and I were laughing, it is one way of feeling like you have just a little control in a situation where there isn’t a lot of control going around.
I used to be the last-minute sort of person who always drove with the fuel on empty. Now, if it gets even halfway to halfway, I’m at the gas station and refilling again. I also have bottled water in the car, a first aid kit, plus emergency food rations (i.e. a couple of packs of muesli bars).
And yes, now my fours kids have an emergency kit at the bottom of their bags, plus a really sturdy raincoat rolled up in there too. I’m not quite at the stage of waking them in the middle of the night for emergency drills, and permanently dressing them in escape-easy trackkies like that Ben Stiller character in The Royal Tennenbaums – but I’m not far off! Their kit has some hand sanitiser, wipes, plasters, mini-torch, whistle, emergency contact numbers, and some high-energy muesli bars. It’s only a small bag, and I’ve kept it light.
Having made the kits all neat and then talked the kids through the contents (and that they weren’t toys!), I then got to thinking I was getting a bit over-the top in this – perhaps just a little.
I mean, if any aftershocks are over a certain magnitude, then the children are not allowed to re-enter the school buildings anyway – so the kids can’t get to their bags. It would only be if they happened to have their bag with them or were allowed to take them as they evacuated buildings after a shock...
Then we got the school newsletter last night – and the school has asked us to provide asap (i.e. today) a little snaplock bag for each child containing a couple of muesli bars and a card with emergency contact numbers. The school has sourced silver blankets for each child – and these emergency supplies will be kept in a small shed accessible for teachers – outside of the main buildings. So, perhaps I wasn’t being so over the top. Because it’s not a matter of if the kids will end up on the field waiting to be picked up again, but when. And winter is thickening and let me tell you, when those big aftershocks happen, the traffic is unbelievable. A usual thirty minute drive turns into hours.
Needless to say, I’m not straying far from our neighbourhood!
So yes, I have gone all girl-scout and am ‘prepared’. We all avoid car-parking buildings (and any other multi-story buildings), locate the exits of every structure we enter and at the same time keep calm and happy. But I think there’s something very instinctive that rears up when it comes to protecting your kids – or people you care about - and making sure they have everything they might need. You want to keep them safe.
Now Nadia, the heroine in my upcoming release “Dating & Other Dangers” - is all for being prepared too. And all for keeping herself – and other women – safe. her way of 'making a difference' is to run a website and forum called WOMANBWARNED.COM – an 'all about dating' website. Because after all, the dating scene can be fraught with danger! She has tips on what to do on dates, suggestions for dates, how to stay safe and so on... And there is a name and shame section for those ‘stay AWAY from him’ dating snakes. Her community are voluble at dishing the dirt on serial cheats and sneaks...
She’s set it up with the very best of intentions – she doesn’t want to see any woman hurt (emotionally or physically) - not when information can warn. But yes, okay, maybe she can go a little over the top in that desire...
Then she’s confronted by one of the guys who’s been named and shamed.
Ethan Rush has ‘wicked temptation’ stamped all over him – and Nadia is not as immune as she’d like to be. Not when he’s funny and charming, not to mention challenging. So as prepared as she is, there are some things threatening to slip out of her control - exactly how is a woman supposed to stay safe???
By staying away from him of course... but what if he's not going to let that happen???
So lovely readers, I've gotten my author copies for this one - and am keen to give one of you a copy. All you have to do is leave a comment and let me know if you've got your emergency/civil defence or first aid kit up to date! Or, that you're about to get it together now ;)
EDITED LATER TO ADD: Okay! the husband has drawn a name from the hat! TashNZ - can you email me natalie(at)natalie-anderson(dot)com and I can get it in the post to you!
Thanks so much everyone for your comments! :)
Be sure to take care, take charge and take risks!!! - the fun ones ;)
From the back of DATING & OTHER DANGERS:
Nadia Keenan's first date Dos and Don'ts:
1. Do boost your confidence by looking hot.
2. Don't put out until at least date two.
3. If the man is trouble (however sexy!) do report all on womanbwarned.com
After being trashed on Nadia's website, serial dater-and-dumper Ethan Rush is about to put Nadia's rules to the test!
He's determined to change her mind about him.
She's determined to prove him for the cad he is.
Let the battle of the dates begin...
And do come back on July 4 for a Sunday Smooch and see what sparks fly the first time one lays lips on the other!
Jun 22, 2011
Heading Out On The Highway
by Zana Bell
Head out on highway,
Looking for adventure,
Or whatever comes our way.
But in what car? What does your car say about you?
However much we might deny it, our choice of vehicle speaks volumes about our character. My car is a Subaru station wagon. I got it because I wanted something big and safe for my son to learn to drive in. It still bears the scars of his first six months but I look on these as well-earned war wounds. It’s Japanese because I want a car that starts every day, first go. I love my work horse, my trusty steed. No skittish filly for me.
My husband now, he’s different. He has an ongoing love affair with sports cars. In theory, I like convertibles, too. They are sexy, racy, fun. Think Monti Carlo and the French Riviera. Think Route 66.
Then think of NZ in rain. Our first convertible was a 1963 MG midget and many was the time we’d have to suddenly pull over, leap out and begin pulling the soft top up by hand. The clips were old and rusty and those truculent little demons used to resist all my efforts while the rain strummed down.
The next car, an MG TC replica was beautiful. Classic. And a nightmare. It was so noisy, it was impossible to talk. We’d go on drives and just nod at each other like this was the most fun in the world. The soft top leaked only on the passenger side. Those were the good days when it went. Most of the time it was content to sit in the garden, deigning to be taken on the road at all.
Since then, numerous sports cars have joined and left our family. Currently we have a Porsche boxter. Finally, a convertible I love. First of all, it goes. The soft-top goes on and off automatically. It’s a beautiful jade colour. Women look at it and say, “How pretty.” Men fold their arms and say, “Well, you can always paint it, mate.” I suspect its days with us are numbered.
However much I sigh about cars in real life, I love choosing them for characters. In A Risk Worth Taking, both characters are bikers. Right from the start, even before I had much idea of character or plot, I knew they’d both be motorcycle enthusiasts. Wonderful Anita Joy, herself a bikie, was a huge help in choosing appropriate models for them.
Why bikers? Because motorbikes are the most fun I’ve ever had on a road. First of all, they spell freedom. As Steppenwolf put it in Born to Be Wild
Fire all your guns at once and
Explode into space.
They are also sexy.
Just wrap your legs round these velvet rims
And strap your arms round my engine
I want to know if love I wild girl, I want to know if love I real
(Bruce Springsteen: Born to Run)
I wrote my book with those two songs running constantly through my head.
Tell me about your favourite mode of transport or travelling song and be in to win a copy of A Risk Worth Taking.
Jun 21, 2011
"Toy Boy!" Blog Winner
Thank you, everyone! It's been the best fun to hear your gadget and gizmo tales and to compare notes! By a process of careful scientific selection... ahem... I've picked a name out of the barrel!
Jun 20, 2011
Married to Mr Gadget!
by Sharon Archer
|Why have one when you can have two... or more!|
Yep, men love technology! And my husband, Glenn, is no exception! The latest gadget arrived a couple of weeks ago - a GPS. Things didn't look promising to start with... it couldn't find where it was! Not a great start for a gadget that's supposed to tell you where to go!
Anyway, we went out with it in the car for the very first time. As we turned out of the gate, an emotionless female voice said...
- Drive for two point three kilometres. Then
- In eight hundred metres, prepare to turn left.... and
- In three hundred metres, prepare to turn left.... and finally
- Turn left at the next intersection.
But then, as Glenn accelerated up the hill, she said the magic words...
- You are over the speed limit!
So have you got gadget lovers in your life? Or perhaps you're the gadget lover? Confess all!
I've got a copy of The Man Behind The Badge to give away to one of my commenters!
PS No husbands were hurt in the writing of this blog article. In fact, Glenn sourced gadgets for photographing. When I cried "Enough, enough!"... his plaintive voice came from down the hall, "But I haven't opened the other box yet!"
Jun 19, 2011
Today we have a smooch from A Risk Worth Taking by Zana Bell, but first ...
the winner of last week's Sunday Smooch Giveaway is -- Cristal Ryder!
Congratulations, Cristal! Can you please contact Robyn at robyn-grady (at) hotmail (dot) com and she'll send you a copy of The Billionaire's Bedside Manner.
And now for today's Sunday Smooch from A Risk Worth Taking by Zana Bell...
He doesn’t just want her.
He wants it all.
Any red-blooded American male would be all over Cressa Curtis. She’s gorgeous, she’s wild and clearly she’s open for a no-strings-attached adventure. But Adam Walker’s been there, done that. And now he wants more for himself. Even with his history, Adam still believes in love and family and marriage and the whole white picket fence—hardly what Cressa is offering. Besides, everything about the crazy Kiwi spells danger and distraction—two things Adam can’t afford to risk with his sights set on medical school. He’s only in New Zealand for a month.
Surely he can resist Cressa’s advances that long….
[Cressa is baffled by Adam. The Texan biker is clearly as attracted to her as she is to him. So why does he persist in trying to deny it? She’s offering him a no-strings passionate fling – surely every guy’s dream. But Adam, despite his bad boy looks, just won’t play. Bent on seduction, she takes him to a beautiful, secluded beach where, much to her fury, he dares to psychoanalyse her.]
Adam’s eyes held hers. “You know, I think under all your wild child crap is a strong, amazing woman waiting to come out.”
She didn’t know whether she’d just been insulted or complimented. She could feel the jut in her jaw, her smile both defence and attack. “Thank you, Dr. Freud. So tell me. Did you just take my photo to put on your Facebook page?”
She wanted to crack that control of his; that measured, measuring objectivity he was using to create a barrier. It looked like she succeeded when a slow smile, sexy as all hell, spread across his face. One hand came up to cup the back of her head, drawing her face inch by slow inch, closer to his. He leaned in, his features completely filling her line of vision. The waves breaking on the shore echoed the beat of her heart. When his face was just millimetres from hers, he paused, their breath mingling. Then softly, very softly, his mouth brushed hers. For a second she tasted the salt on his lips and then they were gone.
“No,” he said, his voice low and husky, “that photo was for me.”
Then the hand holding her head released her and Adam was already rising, picking up his towel in a movement that obscured his lower torso. The scar running along his spine was white against the brown skin, healed but clearly visible. He looked down at her and she blinked up at him, dazed. Disorientated. And burning for more. Adam’s smile was wry, his eyes once more objective as they looked directly into hers.
“When we first met, I admit there was a connection.” His eyes strayed to her mouth, then looked back into her eyes. “But nothing’s going to happen. I get that you are all here and now but you’ve got me wrong. I’m not like that at all. I’m flattered, I really am, but no more games. Okay, Cressa?”
She looked at him. His expression was reasonable but his body was taut.
He eyed her. “What? No arguments?”
“Nope, I heard you. Friends, right?”
“Yeah, friends, for sure.” Still his eyes narrowed as she smiled up at him.
She reached out a hand. “Pull me up then.”
He took it and pulled her to her feet. The towel stayed firmly clutched to his midriff.
Friends? Yeah right. She didn’t know whether the day had been a step forward or two steps back but of one thing she was sure. Their dance hadn’t ended, whatever Adam might think. It was only just getting started.
To be in the draw to win a signed copy of A Risk Worth Taking, let Zana know,
Which is your favourite beach?
Come back next Sunday, when the winner of today's giveaway will be announced -- and a smooch from Rapunzel in New York by Nikki Logan will be posted!
Jun 16, 2011
Guest Author: Wendy Marcus
Wendy S. Marcus lives in upstate New York with her husband, two of her three children, and a much loved Bichon Frise named Buddy. A nurse by trade, after years of working in the medical profession, Wendy has taken a radical turn to writing hot contemporary romance with strong heroes, feisty heroines, and lots of laughs. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with her family and blogging/e-mailing/tweeting with her online friends. To learn more about Wendy visit her website, http://www.WendySMarcus.com.
Please welcome debut author Wendy S. Marcus to the Lovecats blog. Wendy’s very first Harlequin Medical Romance: WHEN ONE NIGHT ISN’T ENOUGH, is up for sale in stores and on Amazon UK and Mills and Boon Aus/NZ, coming soon to stores in Aus/NZ and Amazon U.S.
Wendy, thanks for visiting us today, can you tell us a little about yourself?
I am a registered nurse and I hold a Master of Science Degree in Health Care Administration. I have three children ages 19, 17, and 14, a husband and a cuddly Bichon Frise I adore. I live in the beautiful Hudson Valley Region of New York. While I’m a real homebody and prefer family activities to almost anything else, I love to dance and party and channel my wild child when I have the opportunity. (Like RWA national. Anyone going?)
We’re always fascinated by a first sale story—can you tell us yours, and the writing journey that led to your first sale with harlequin?
I started writing in 2007 and received ‘The Call’ in 2010. Here’s how I got there. When I first started out I took a class on writing popular fiction at my local community college. I joined Romance Writers of America and studied books on the craft of writing. I entered RWA contests, and after making the finals of a few, I figured I was ready to start submitting my work. WHEN ONE NIGHT ISN’T ENOUGH is actually the second full manuscript I wrote and I’d planned to submit it to Harlequin Superromance. Then one day, while perusing the Internet, (one of my favorite past times) I came across a link to a pitch contest for Harlequin Medical Romance. I didn’t know much about medical romance but decided since my hero and heroine were doctor and nurse I’d give it a try for some experience. And holy cow! I was one of five winners! I got assigned an editor and under her watchful eye I revised (aka rewrote) my entire manuscript. Twice. Until it was good enough to be called a Harlequin Medical Romance.
What or who is your writing inspiration?
So here’s an odd story. My writing inspiration is Carrie Underwood. Never heard of her? Probably because she’s a country music singer here in the U.S. Here’s a small-town girl who grew up on a farm and had a dream to become a professional singer. So she mustered up her courage and tried out for a huge reality show here in the U.S. – American Idol. Hundreds of thousands of people try out. In 2005 country girl Carrie Underwood, who had never flown on an airplane until American Idol, won. Over the next few years she put out several CDs, won top awards in the music industry, toured the country in concert, had a role in a film, and snagged herself a professional hockey player. Not only do I find her music enjoyable, but I respect her work ethic and am in awe of all she’s accomplished in a few short years. So when I find myself slacking off I remind myself: Carrie Underwood didn’t get where she is today by playing Spider Solitaire/tweeting/facebooking when she should be working.
A brief overview of One Night Isn’t Enough.
Nurse Ali Forshay has found the perfect man for her. Dependable. Routine. Boring. Exactly what she wants to ensure a quiet, stable and anonymous life. Then his friend, Dr. Jared Padget, shows up and goodbye fairytale ending. The man’s a schmoozer. A womanizer. A whoo-a-woman-into-bed-using-any-means-necessary kind of man just like her father. And Ali wants nothing to do with him. But he’s so tempting. Thank goodness his temporary assignment at Madrin Memorial is over, and he’s heading out of town.
If only he hadn’t shown up at girls’ night out on the eve of his departure. If only he hadn’t taken her up on her drunken one-time offer. If only he hadn’t come back when he’d promised to stay away…
Read an excerpt here: http://wendysmarcus.com/excerpt-when-one-night-isnt-enough/
Five words to describe you:
Favourite author and/or book?
Choosing one is so hard. Is it okay if I cheat and pick three? Since no one’s here to tell me noooooo…
1) Victoria Dahl
2) Robyn Carr
3) Lisa Kleypas
Favourite writing quote?
“Writing is rewriting. A writer must learn to deepen characters, trim writing and intensify scenes. To fall in love with the first draft to the point where one cannot change it is to greatly enhance the prospects of never publishing.” Richard North Patterson
Writing ambition in five years’ time?
I would love to see a book I wrote for sale at a store in my town. But with the decreasing number of book stores here in the U.S. and the increasing popularity of e-books, I’m not sure how realistic that goal is.
And finally, readers can find out more about you at:
My website: http://WendySMarcus.com
LIKE me on Facebook: Wendy S Marcus
Follow me on Twitter: @WendySMarcus
Friend me on Goodreads: Wendy S Marcus
Thank you so much for having me here today. As part of my blog tour I’m running a contest where the person who visits me at the most stops through August can win a $50.00 (U.S. currency) Amazon gift card. (This is only stop #12 out of 30 so it’s not too late to enter!) Check out my website for details. I’m also giving away a copy of the UK 2in1 edition of my book which includes a full novel by Janice Lynn. All you have to do is pop on over to my website http://WendySMarcus.com and tell me what you think about it. Is there anything you wanted to know but couldn’t find? Anything you particularly like? Didn’t like? Or if you’re running short on time, answer me this: What is your favorite type of medical hero? Male or female.
Most of you will have heard the news about the earthquakes we’re having here in Christchurch, and being right here at the heart of the shaking, I can attest to how awful it is! But the one thing I am grateful for, aside from my family being safe during such trying times, is being able to escape into my writing. As a writer, at least I can dream up characters and lose myself into their “world”, even if it’s only for an hour or so each day.
The characters for my next book are playing through my mind at the moment, with snippets of dialogue coming to me at the weirdest of times. I’m lucky that my family are used to me having a chuckle at the table and ignoring them as I think about my latest work in progress! And my husband is used to being awake with me at about 3am while I’m sitting feeding our baby, and quizzing him about ideas. Do you think a marine could do this? Why would a Navy SEAL be forced to retire? The list goes on!
But on the topic of Navy SEAL’s, that’s exactly what the hero in my new story is. A gorgeous, tough man in uniform, but one who’s suffering quietly and in need of some love. While I don’t often have to do extensive research, every now and again I need to get my facts straight. And for this book, it just so happens that I have to read up about the Navy. Of course, a girl needs to look at some photos for inspiration too!
That’s how I escape, so how about you? I also love to get out on my horse and ride through the forest, lost in my thoughts and enjoying the partnership between horse and rider; or taking a long walk with my husband and our dogs. But at the end of the day, my thoughts always turn to writing, dreaming about my characters and what they might get up to next.
If you can't think of a way to escape the world today, just sit back and drool over my Navy SEAL .... talk about inspiring!!
Jun 13, 2011
How to get things done...without trying too hard
Watching: Law and Order
Listening to: Lion King Soundtrack
Making me smile: My little boy’s smile
But as a compulsive reader and writer, I hate not having any time to read (books without pictures or rhymes!) or write. And I’m guessing with today’s busy lifestyles, it isn’t just new mums who can’t find the time to tackle their To Do lists or squeeze out some time to relax with a good book!
Image: Agnieszka Pastuszak - Maksim | Dreamstime.com
So, for anyone else who’d love to get more done without expending more effort, here are a few tips that have worked for me:
~ Don’t get distracted – ah, in the Internet age it is far too easy to get distracted with email, blogging and Twitter. The way to deal with it…admit to yourself you’re getting distracted and stop what you’re doing. For me, if I get distracted I lose my window of opportunity to have a shower, put the laundry on or make my lunch while my baby is sleeping!
Image: Martin Allinger | Dreamstime.com
~ Do things little and often – this is a great tip! So many tasks can pile up until they’re overwhelming. Instead do these tasks a little at a time – for me it’s a little bit of ironing each day, a little bit of tidying each day and a little bit of writing each day. This can be a hard habit to get into, but once you’re there you really notice the difference.
So, does anyone else with busy lives have some good tips to share on getting more done (without too much extra effort!!)?
Jun 11, 2011
Today we have a sizzling smooch from The Billionaire's Bedside Manner by award-winning Desire author Robyn Grady, but first ...
the winner of last week's Sunday Smooch Giveaway is -- jacque!
Congratulations, jacque! Can you please contact Mel Teshco at
melteshco (at) yahoo (dot) com (dot) au
and she'll send you a copy of Ice-Cold Lover.
And now for today's Sunday Smooch from The Billionaire's Bedside Manner by Robyn Grady ...
An unexpected visitor was not something billionaire Mateo Celeca wanted to deal with on his vacation. Especially one as beautiful and mysterious as Bailey Ross. She claimed his grandmother had sent her, so he offered her a place to stay. But there was no way he was leaving his "guest" alone at his mansion. If Bailey needed a refuge, she'd come with him…to Paris.
Being with Mateo soon made Bailey forget all the reasons she'd vowed to avoid romantic entanglements. But falling into bed with him could lead her dangerously close to revealing all her secrets…and falling in love.
[Set-up: Mateo Celeca felt inconvenienced when Bailey Ross unexpectedly landed on his doorstep. But after offering a place to stay while she sorts herself out – after spending time with her, introducing her to his friends – Mateo begins to look at Bailey not with suspicion but desire. When they arrive home from an evening out, the emotions kindling between them these past days and nights ignite into a fire neither can – or wants – to contain… ]
The tall double doors of Mateo’s suite were open. He didn't bother to kick them shut after he'd carried her through. Nor did he switch on any lamps. What she could make out in the shadows was courtesy of the light filtering in from the hall as well as the moonbeams slanting through a bank of soaring arched windows that looked out over that garden and its statues below.
He stopped at the foot of his bed and his voice dropped to a low rasp. "This is what you want?"
Instinctively, her palm wove around the sandpaper of his jaw. She filled her lungs with his scent then skimmed the pad of her thumb over the dent in his chin. "Yes," she murmured.
His chest expanded, his grip tightened then he lifted her higher in his arms as his head came purposefully down. When his mouth claimed hers, Bailey couldn't contain the moan of deepest desire the sensation dragged from her throat. She didn't want to contain anything. And as his mouth worked magic against hers and his beard grazed and teased her skin, she pressed herself up and in, needing to feel even closer.
Needing him as close as it got.
Her fingers wound through his hair while his throat rumbled with satisfaction and the kiss deepened. Even as her mind and body raged with desire, she was lucid enough to recognize the simple truth. Whatever it was that had sparked when they'd met, it had grown to a point where now they were downright hungry for each other. Starving for each other's touch in a primal nothing-held-back, nothing-taboo, kind of way. She could never get enough of this burn…of the flames that already leapt and blazed near out of control.
When his lips gradually left hers, she felt dizzy. Her eyes remained closed but she heard and felt his breathing. At the edges of her mind, she wondered…why was this coming together so intense? So combustible?
He dipped to sit her on the edge of the mattress. With moonlight spilling in, she dragged the dress up over her head then, in her lingerie, watched as he wound the shirt off his shoulders, the sleeves from his arms. When he was naked, he bent near, slid an arm around her waist and drew her up to stand again. Holding her chin, he ran the wet tip of his tongue along the open seam of her mouth while, at her back, he unsnapped the strapless bra with one deft flick. His palm pressed down the dent of her spine and slipped into the back of her panties. She whimpered as her womb contracted and quivered…a tantalizing prelude to the climax she couldn't wait to enjoy.
His fingertips pressed and seared into her flesh while his mouth covered hers completely again, and all the time her insides clenched and pulsed while her limbs and mind went to mush. She wanted this heaven to go on forever. But even more, she wanted him bearing down on top of her. Inside of her. Filling and fulfilling her now.
Her hands ironed down his sides. When she reached his lean hips, she urged him forward, toward her and the bed. With their mouths still joined, she felt his smile before he broke the kiss long enough to wrench back the sheets. With a determined gleam in his eyes, he crowded until the back of her legs met the cool edge of the mattress. His big hands ringed her waist and her feet left the ground long enough for him to lay her gently down. He followed a heartbeat behind.
Looming above her, everything seemed to still as he searched her eyes in a world of midnight shadows. His deep low voice seemed to fill the room. "I didn't ask you to stay here for this."
She drew an aimless pattern through the hair at the base of his throat. "I know."
"Although I'm not sorry you agreed."
She matched his grin. "I'm not sorry you asked."
He dropped a tender kiss at the side of her mouth, a barely there touch that shot a fountain of star-tipped sparks through her every fiber.
He murmured against her lips. "Come with me to France."
To be in the draw to win a signed copy, answer Robyn's question:
"What’s the most romantic city/place you’ve ever visited?"
Come back next Sunday, when the winner of today's giveaway will be announced -- and a smooch from A Risk Worth Taking by Zana Bell will be posted!
Jun 10, 2011
C'mon and join the e-train!
E-book train, that is.
Who remembers Cat Stevens’ 1970 legendary album, Tea for the Tillerman? The smash hit single Peace Train inspired so many. I was a kid but I listen to that song even now and - revelling in my goose bumps - can’t wait to join the peace train revolution.
There’s another inevitable change happening 40 years later. It has to do with how we want to read our stories and where we, as lovers of books, perceive their future to lie.
Ten years ago I published an ebook but the cover was yuck and the experience bad, bad, bad. In 2011, however, there are fabulous e-readers and the appeal of instant download of quality works is more than inviting. E books are hitting New York Times #1. There are also mega e-sellers opting to sign with traditional publishers – aka (who hasn’t heard of her?) Amanda Hocking.
I confess. I’m of the old school. I work on a laptop all day and lavish the comfortable feel of a paperback when I’m ready to sit back and relax. But I’m aware that I could be a dying breed. In twenty years, will my grandchildren wonder at the oddity of paper books like my own children shake their heads at the notion of encyclopeideas over Wiki.
We have Amanda going from E to traditional. Many other authors self publishing and engaging with readers who adore solely Kindle and alike.
What’s your preference? Ebook or print, and why? I guess the world at large is, in Cat Steven’s words, On Our Way to Find Out.
Jun 6, 2011
The Rapunzel Effect...or hairy and hairier
Reading: Writing Screenplays That Sell by Michael Hauge
Watching: P!nk's Funhouse Tour DVD
Listening to: Bette Midler (have a crush on her bluegrass/gospel version of Delta Dawn)
Making me smile: Zumba for the Wii (I'm so bad at it!)
Rapunzel always kind of annoyed me. If her hair was long enough for the prince to climb up to the tower, then why on earth didn't she cut it off, plait it into some kind of rope and climb down the tower herself? Now, of course, it is possible that she might have been afraid of heights. It is also possible that was simply plain vain. After all, what if the prince didn't like her new hairstyle?
Passive heroines are no long in vogue (thank heavens!), but what about long hair?
Did you know that there is a 13-level categorisation system for hair length? At number 1 is chin level hair. Ankle/floor length hair is at number 12 with Fairy Tale Hair at 13 (in homage, I'm guessing,to Rapunzel).
When I was an undergraduate I let my hair grow. I had limited funds and hairdressing expeditions were an expense I decided to dispense with. This may also have been in rebellion to my childhood. We spent a lot of the summer at the beach and as a result my mother insisted I have super-short hair. And, honestly, false modesty aside, I wasn't a pretty child. I remember having arguments with people who thought I was a boy (and ordering me out of the ladies toilets!).
I finished university, I met the man who has since become my dh, and he LOVED my long hair. So I let it be... and it continued to grow - to level 8 Classic length (see below).
I got a lot of comments and people would want to touch it, but hey, it was just hair, right?
Throughout the ages, however, hair has not always been just hair. Hair length has often been freighted with significance. In ancient Greece, long hair was a symbol of wealth and power, while a shaven head was appropriate for a slave. In the Middle Ages in Europe, short hair often indicated peasantry or servitude. In the English civil war of the 1600s hair length could indicate whether one was a roundhead (short hair) or a cavalier (long hair). Hair length even gets a mention in the bible: "Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him, but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For long hair is given to her as a covering" (1 Corinthians 11: 14-15). Short hair has been enforced as a form of control in the military and police forces. In the 1960s, a lot of men wore their hair long as a political or counterculture form of protest.
But sometimes hair is just for fun!
When I started working fulltime in a corporate environment, I did cut my hair - to level 4 (midback level). It's been at that length or thereabouts for the last 8 or so years. A week ago, however, I took the plunge and I'm now at level 2 - flip level. My hair feels so light! I spent the first hour after my haircut tossing my head so I could feel my hair bounce and swish (and probably looking like an absolute lunatic in the process).
Here are the before and after shots:
Remember the movie Sliding Doors? Remember the moment when Gwyneth Paltrow's character lopped her luscious dark locks for that super-short, super-blonde, super-funky cut? Women the world over loved it. How we wear our hair is one of the most important ways we have of presenting ourselves to the world. So, do we really think women with long hair are more beautiful than women with short hair? And tell me - now that regular hair saloon visits are going to become a must for me - have you ever had the haircut from hell?
Back from the Dead...
by Emily May
So, it's winter in Regency London, the Thames has frozen over, and you've gone ice-skating. Horror! You fall through the ice and are dragged out apparently dead. How do you think you would be revived?
Well, let's start by saying that Regency methods of reviving drowning victims were very different from modern methods! Tobacco smoke would probably have been involved. If you were lucky it would have been puffed into your lungs; if you were unlucky it would have been puffed into your...er...rectum.
That's right. One method for reviving drowning victims was a tobacco smoke enema. Here is a picture of one of the devices designed for this purpose.
Enough to put you off ice-skating, isn't it?!
Back in the Regency, 'apparent death' was treated by warmth and stimulation, and tobacco smoke, being a 'stimulating vapour', was a popular cure for drowning. (Tobacco was also used to cure many other ailments, including headaches, stomach cramps, intestinal worms, gout, and -- ironically -- cancer.)
In 1774, two London physicians founded the Society for the Recovery of Persons Apparently Drowned, later renamed the Royal Humane Society. (I much prefer the earlier name!) The society provided a number of tobacco smoke resuscitation kits in strategic locations along the River Thames, for the revival of drowning victims.
So, knowing that if you fell through the ice and drowned, you'd be resuscitated by having tobacco smoke puffed into a place tobacco smoke should never be puffed, do you think you'd have gone ice-skating on the Thames ... or not?
Personally, the tobacco smoke enema is something I would have wanted to avoid -- but the skating looks so much more fun than merely watching from the shore! Would you have risked it, or not?