Jun 29, 2014

Baking Daze

by Rachel Bailey

There's been a lot of baking at my house recently. It must be something about the cooler weather that makes me want to turn the oven on.

The first photo is a lemon drizzle cake that is divine, and fairly easy to make. Mel Scott / MJ Scott shared the recipe with me and I think it's going to become a regular in our house. In fact, there's a how-to video that makes it even easier - I'll post it below in case anyone gets the urge. 

We're also quite fond of sultana cake (or, as I've recently discovered, it would be called yellow raisin cake in the US). When it's warm from the oven, with a cup of tea or coffee, there's not much yummier.

We've also been making puddings - chocolate molten puddings, to be precise. Though it's quite possible that there will be some sticky date puddings in our near future, since Mr Bailey usually makes them about this time of year.

The third photo is not baking, but it is made in the kitchen - chocolate coated popcorn. It's school holidays, so there's been some of this eaten in the last few days.

And in other news, my upcoming new adult rom-com has a title: The Summer of Jake. Thanks for all the suggestions on my last post! The winner of the Name This Book contest is Dora Bramden. Dora, drop me an email and I'll send you a copy of The Summer of Jake when it comes out.

And in the meantime, tell me what your favourite thing to bake is - do you have a go-to recipe? Maybe a family favourite? Or perhaps something that you can throw together easily? I'd love to hear about it! And maybe try baking it myself. :)

But first, that easy recipe for the lemon drizzle cake that I promised you! If you make it, let me know.

Sunday Smooch With Melanie Milburne

Welcome to another LoveCats DownUnder Sunday Smooch!

Today we have a smooch from Melanie Milburne ---- but first 

... the  winner of last week's Sunday Smooch Giveaway is Bette Hansen.....

Can you please contact Amy Andrews on amy(at)amyandrews  (dot) com (dot) au to receive your copy of Risky Business .........

And now for today's Sunday Smooch from At No Man's Command by Melanie Milburne ........

The shock engagement of the century! 

It looks like our favorite tearaway, the notorious Aiesha Adams, is trying to change her spots. Inside sources have revealed that not only is she currently holed up in the Scottish countryside with the gorgeous aristocrat James Challender, but the pair are secretly engaged!

We've always had a soft spot for Aiesha, and with rumors of her unhappy childhood trailing her footsteps wherever she goes, we knew her wild streak hid something more. But we thought Aiesha and James were sworn enemies...perhaps when there are fireworks outside the bedroom, the sparks are just too impossible to resist!

Scene set-up [Aiesha Adams is a deeply flawed young woman whose tragic past is still influencing her actions in the present. A former street kid, she is now a Vegas lounge singer who keeps attracting scandal no matter what she does to try and avoid it.

There was another thing I wanted to switch around. Instead of being a hardened playboy, well to do bred, highly educated James Challender is uptight. Even a little repressed, which is why the wild and willful and unpredictable Aiesha is such a threat to him!]

Smooch  -
Aiesha lazily stroked her fingertip over the thick and neatly aligned Windsor knot of his tie, close to where a pulse was beating like a piston in his tanned and cologne-scented neck. She breathed in lemon and lime and something else that was elusive and yet potently addictive. ‘What are you afraid of, posh boy?’ Her fingers slipped down from the knot to play with the end of his tie like a mean cat does with a mouse’s tail. ‘That this time around I might prove to be irresistible?’

  She heard his jaw lock. Heard his teeth grind. Saw his pupils flare as his eyes flicked to her mouth for a nanosecond.

   ‘I can resist you.’ His voice was so deep and so husky it sounded as if it had been scraped along a rough surface and only just survived the journey.

   Aiesha looked at the dark pinpricks of regrowth surrounding his mouth and chin. He had a strong, uncompromising mouth, his top lip neatly sculpted, but his lower lip was fuller, rich with sensual promise. Something unfurled deep and low inside her belly, like a satin ribbon running away from its spool…

How bad is too bad for a heroine?  Are there any traits or past sins you would not forgive her for? I would love to hear your opinion! A signed copy of AT NO MAN’S COMMAND is up for grabs for one commenter!

Come back next Sunday, when the winner of today's giveaway will be announced and a smooch from His Irresistable Protector by Michelle Douglas will be posted!

Smooch Graphic by WebWeaver

Jun 27, 2014

The rules are…there ain't no rules

My boys are getting to the age where rules are tested, authority is thwarted and boundaries are pushed (oh, the joys of teenagers)…but after yet another incident of push-push-pushing I got to thinking about rules last night and that led me on (rather conveniently) to thinking about bad boys…

James Dean- the original bad boy
What is it about a bad boy that appeals to romance readers so much? As someone who has always followed every darned rule ever made I'm scared to even question authority to a certain extent, so I think I'm attracted to the freedom, the nonchalance and devil may care attitude of a bad boy.

Maybe it's because we want to tame them?

I don't know, but I do know I love to read them. I remember one book (medical romance) by Alison Roberts, The Legendary Playboy Surgeon, where the hero doctor rides his motorbike onto the ward to fulfill a dying boy's wish. *SIGH* - who wouldn't be melted by that? (Ignoring the noxious fumes in the presence of oxygen etc….) Then, of course, there's Mr Grey and his fifty shades- so many women appear to be attracted by someone they can 'fix'? And I've just finished reading Molly O'Keefe's RITA nominated book, Crazy Thing Called Love which was a-mazing- and had me crying and laughing, where the hero, Billy, is a very bad boy (truly, I cannot recommend this book enough).

So, now I'm intrigued and interested by bad boys I'd like your thoughts. Does anyone have any bad boy romance books they can recommend? Do you like a bad boy- or are you a rule follower? And- for one commenter- I'll send a copy of my latest release, The Shameless Maverick (Medical Romance) to someone who can tell me which movie the quote in the title of this blog (The rules are…there ain't no rules) comes from.

(Blurb for Shameless Maverick:

Junior Surgeon Kara Stephens has been assigned her first high-profile case. Great news- if she wasn't working with hot-shot Irish surgeon Declan Underwood, the man she kissed at the hospital ball!  Declan may be the best reconstructive surgeon around, but his life in London is a far cry from his poverty stricken childhood. Kara's about to discover that there's more to her maverick than meets the eye.)

Jun 25, 2014

Misremembered Movie Quotes

I read in some movie trivia recently that the Julie Roberts’ movie “Mirror, Mirror!” was so titled to take advantage of the common misconception that the original Snow White movie contained the line, “Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?” The correct quotation is, “Magic Mirror on the wall...”

I was taken aback by this assertion because surely most of use grew up reading the Grimm Brothers’ fairy tale of Snow White and we were quoting the story we’d heard as children rather than the Disney movie? In my brief research, the nearest I could find to the original story collected by the brothers was the translation by Margaret Taylor (1884), and in this version the queen says, “Looking-glass, looking glass...”, so I’m fairly confident that in later versions this would have been updated to “Mirror, Mirror...” and it’s the original Disney movie that misquoted the queen.

Am I odd because I had to research this trivial fact? Well, I admit it. I am odd.

I admit, too, that I was wrong about many of the movie lines I thought could quote correctly. For example, I thought the whispering voice in Field of Dreams was saying, “If you build it, they will come,” but apparently it’s: “If you build it, he will come.”

Clint Eastwood doesn’t say, "Do you feel lucky, punk?" in Dirty Harry, but: “...you've got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?" I would have got that one wrong.

"Elementary, my dear Watson!" Sherlock Holmes didn’t say this in any of the books or subsequent movies. This one surprised me.

When Darth Vader reveals his true identity to Luke, he doesn’t say, “Luke, I am your father.” He actually says “No, I am your father.” I could have sworn...

And then there’s: "Play it again Sam" from Casablanca, but no one ever said it in the movie. Ingrid Bergman says, "Play it once Sam, for old times’ sake." Then she says, "Play it Sam, play As Time Goes By."

Would you have been wrong about these lines too?

Are there any movie lines that you’ve insisted you could quote accurately, only to discover that you had them wrong all along?

Jun 23, 2014

And THIS Is Why I Write Romance!

The wonderful Helen Lacey’s blog on Friday has inspired my blog today so many thanks to her!

I get asked a lot why I write/read romance. Sometimes nicely, a lot of times with a pained derogatory tone that makes me want to slap the person delivering the question upside the head.

Sometimes I answer this well with rational thought and well-constructed arguments.  Other times I’m so damn mad I get flustered and end up falling back on the usual “escapist” clichés.

In future I’m going to refer them to this clip from the movie that Helen referenced in her blog - The Mirror Has Two Faces. 

This. This is why I write/read romance.
And the rest is all just noise.  

I also love this scene.

The movie also has one of the best, sexiest, hottest, emotionally gut-wrenching almost sex scenes I’ve ever seen. I tried to find it on youtube but youtube said no. But trust me, if you haven’t seen this underrated little gem of a movie you should. It’s brilliant. And it’s the best advertisement/defence for love and romance you’ll ever see.

Why do you read romance?

Jun 22, 2014

Sunday Smooch with Amy Andrews

Welcome to another LoveCats DownUnder Sunday Smooch!

Today we have a smooch from  Amy Andrews but first 

... the winner of last week's Sunday Smooch Giveaway is Lynnlinwill

Can you please contact stefanie(at)stefanie-london  (dot) com to receive your copy of Only The Brave Try Ballet........

And now for today's Sunday Smooch from Risky Business.

Samantha Evans’s life is going to hell. Not only has she rage-quit her beloved, high-powered job, but she is suddenly afflicted by hormones, free time, and an unavoidable, unignorable, undeniably gorgeous irritant in the form of Nick Hawke, her extreme sports star neighbour, who has come home to take over the reins of his grandmother's second-hand bookshop. Sam needs something to keep her from begging for her old job back until she's good and sure her boss understands how wrong he was, and taking a low-risk, low-stress job helping Nick at the bookstore might be just the thing.
After all, it's not like Nick is the right guy to help her with her hormones. He'll just be fun to look at while she searches for the one
Nick has six months to get over an injury before Everest and a big, fat contract beckon. That means no sports, no danger and, above all else, no risks. It means playing it safe. And Nick Hawke doesn’t do safe. So he’s going to need something to stave off the boredom while selling books he doesn't read to people who wouldn't know a carabineer from a crochet hook. What could be safer than hiring a cranky, unemployed accountant to help run the bookstore? Sam is efficient and methodical and messing up her neat, post-it note world could be a fun way to pass the time….
Risky Business mixes the classic romance of Philadelphia Story, the humour and wit of When Harry Met Sally, and a strong, contemporary Australian setting to create a delightful, irresistible, utterly satisfying treat of a novel.

Scene set-up
Sam and Nick have decided that instead of rushing headlong into bed they're going to take things slowly - just kissing - clothes on, no touching until Sam (who has some body hang-ups) is more comfortable with the situation. The rules slowly go out the window however.....

Another night of frustrated sleeplessness ensued. Samantha walked into the shop the next day one small spark away from complete ignition. She’d taken a few paces towards the back room when Nick's arm appeared from between the bookshelves and yanked her in with him. He gave her a long, deep lingering kiss and before she knew it, the spark had flared and she was on fire.
Wanting him, needing him.
‘I was thinking about the clothed rule,’ said Nick between kisses.
‘Oh yes,’ she said pulling away slightly, ‘do you have another amendment?’
‘I do and it just so happens you've worn the perfect shirt to demonstrate.’
‘I did?’ she said, looking at her black linen Dolce and Gabbano shirt.
‘Hmm,’ he said kissing her neck and slowly undoing the top button. He stopped and admired the view created by popping one little button. He kissed the other side of her neck and undid the next one. ‘I was thinking that I could undo all your buttons and you'd still be fully clothed...right?’
He undid two more. ‘I mean theoretically...’ the last button popped through the hole, ‘your top would still be on.’
Nick could see a glimpse of black lace against soft skin and suppressed the urge to push it open and just stare at her. She needed to be ready for this next step. He could hear his husky breath echo around the confines of the shelves.
Samantha thought it was a very clever way around rule number two. She looked at the buttons on Nick's shirt. ‘So I guess, the same would apply to you,’ she said as she proceeded to undo his buttons. She pressed a little kiss against his chest as each magnificent inch was revealed. When his shirt was finally open she pushed it aside with both hands and licked his chest. From the flat of his dragon-decorated smooth pectoral to the hard ridge of his collarbone.
And that was all the encouragement he needed. He pushed her back against the shelves, kissed her until she was moaning and clinging to him for support and then lowered his head and sucked a hardened nipple through the lacy fabric of her bra. He stroked the other breast in unison, rubbing at its hard centre and muffled her gasp with his mouth.
God. She was killing him! Kissing her, touching her was driving him mad. He wanted to taste her, feel her around him again. Plunge into her. Swallow her cries as she exploded around him.
The door dinged and he pulled his mouth away from her reluctantly. He laid his head in the hollow of her shoulder and tried to regain some control. ‘Next time we do this, I'm going to lock that door,’ he whispered.

Risky Business is up for pre-order now but for your chance to win an e-copy, tell me, have you ever broken a rule that resulted in delightful consequences?

Come back next Sunday, when the winner of today's giveaway will be announced and another smooch will be posted!

Smooch Graphic by WebWeaver