Dec 30, 2015

New Year's Eve

So it's the end of 2015 and we're all set to celebrate the segue of one year into the next, and make resolutions about things we want to do differently in 2016. Right?

For me it's a yes and no to both.

I love the IDEA of seeing in the new year, but I often find it an anti-climax, and fireworks have failed to hold my interest for a few years now (plus I always think of the number of dogs panicking and running away from home with all the scary noise). 

Chances are that celebrations at the Bailey house this year will be a glass of bubbly and perhaps a sparkler on the verandah earlier in the night, and in bed asleep long before midnight.

I'm not enamored by resolutions either - they seem to have a bad track record among the general population. However, I do think it's a magical time for two things, and I plan to do both this year:

1. A recap of the year that has been. Mr Bailey and I take some time to talk about the things the year has brought, and be grateful. It's often surprising what one of us remembers and the other has forgotten from the year.

2. Make goals. These are different to resolutions, because they're not about change, they're more like plans and things we'll work towards. Also, they don't have to be limited to one year. We once made a complex five year plan that had many elements outside our control, and clinked our champagne glasses to the plan at midnight on a NYE. The whole thing fell into place 10 days after the five years was up, so we're firm believers in the NYE goals.

What about you? Are you celebrating big? Will you even make it to midnight? Do you have rituals that you follow every year? 

Whatever you're doing on NYE, from my little family to yours, I hope your 2016 is awesome! 

Dec 28, 2015

2015 - the year that was by Amy Andrews

2015 has been one crazy-ass year for me. It was crammed full of book releases and travel, an award or two and some work and family milestones. So, as we all look forward to what 2016 holds, I thought I'd look back at the year that was.

January - 

Release of two books. My only Harlequin medical and only print book for the year, It Happened One Night Shift and a Tule novella The Hero

February -

I officially resigned (had been on leave for 7 months) from my job as a paediatric intensive care nurse after 21 years. A big, scary decision but one that felt like its time was due and I'm pleased to report that, so far, it seems to have been the right one. The big change I've noticed more than any other? I wake now between 6 and 7 most mornings. This is UNUSAL IN THE EXTREME for me. After being a shift worker for 27 years I thought being tired all the time was the norm. Now, I'm usually awake before my husband (although never out of bed!) who looks at me when he wakes and demands to know who the hell this "new" woman is!

My little brother became a TV star as one of the "sharks" - investors - on Channel 10's Shark Tank. He's now been nominated for a Logie.... None of us can really get our heads around it, including him :-)

March - 

Release of Ask Me Nicely. This is the sequel to my USA Today bestselling Brazen from Entangled Publishing - No More Mr Nice Guy - and I had been overwhelmed by the number of people who'd contacted me re Sal getting her story. So.....Sal got her story!

May - 

Release of Limbo, my weird, funny, quirky, woo-woo, disgraced PI meets ex-rock-chick-cum-cadaver-make-up-artist story that pretty much no-one read. Sob! Such a shame but that's the nature of the business. I suspect readers just thought it was too different. Regardless, I love it and loved writing it and sometimes, as an author, you just have to write the story that's calling you. I'll be writing the second book next year because Joy and Dash are too strong to ignore.

June -

Release of Seduced by the Baron, the 4th in the Fairy Tales of New York series that I wrote with three other fab authors - Kelly Hunter, Lucy King, Heidi Rice - for Tule Publishing. We all had a great time basing each of our stories on a fairy tale - mine is Cinderella.

No More Mr Nice Guy was nominated for the HOLT Medallion and was an Award of Merit recipient.

July -

I was very luck to travel to New York for the annual Romance Writers of America conference. It was my first time ever travelling overseas by myself but I managed just fine and was gone for only 8 days! Talk about a whirlwind! But again, due to having all my diurnal rythms back to normal by not working shift work anymore, it was the least jetlagged I've been in a long time! Oh and NYC was its divine self! The crowning glory was going to the Harlequin Black and White cocktail party for its authors at the Waldorf Astoria - its a real pinch-me night that one :-)

August -

Release of The Colonel's Daughter which was the Scorpio edition of the Zodiac Series from Entangled Publishing. It was my first ever bodyguard story and although that book kicked my butt in so many ways as I was writing it, I was so pleased to have the opportunity to finally write a trope I've always wanted to tackle. I love me a good bodyguard story!

I also won the Romantic Book of the Year Award at the Australian RWA in Melbourne with my digital title Risky Business published by Escape (digital arm of Harlequin here in Australia). This book was the first single title I ever wrote and was one of those that almost made it so many times. I scored my first agent off it, it was taken to acquistions here in Oz by a major print publisher etc etc but it just never seemed to get across the line. It was thrilling and rather vindicating several years and many we-love-it-but rejections later to know readers loved it so much to present it with this much coveted award.

September -

Release of the first in my Outback Heat series - Some Girls Do - through Tule Publishing. This was a series I'd been kicking around for a while and had decided to self publish until I ran the idea past Tule. It was blessed with great titles and great covers and I'm so proud of this series!

October -

Release of #2 in Outback Heat - Some Girls Don't. Poor Selena got a bit of a bollocking from reviewers because she chose her career over her man - twice! I won't apologise for her - I love her single-mindedness which if it had been in the hero would have been seen as strong and macho. That's just the way she came to me and I had to be true to her. C'est la vie.

Release of #3 in Outback Heat - Some Guys Need A Lot of Lovin'

Release of a novella - Glutton for Punnishment - in the Seven Sins anthology with 6 other fabulous authors. It was my first forray into BDSM (lite!!) and into self-publishing. It's been pulled now and we'll all be individually publishing our stories in the new year.

November - 

Release of #4 and final book in the Outback Heat series - Some Girls Lie.

My daughter finished grade 12. Anyone who's ever had their last child finish high school will know the amazing sense of relief it brings. She was also awarded the VET (Vocational Educational training) student of the year for doing two TAFE courses as well as her year 11 and 12 workload. Both of my kids are onto the next phase of their lives now and I'm immensely proud of how they've turned out. Just wish my Mum was here to see them!


My husband turned 50, I turned 46 and my daughter will turn 18 on New Years Eve!

So, there you go. Crazy-ass or what? Totally raving bonkers mad. I surpassed 50 published books and felt like writing and social media ruled my life! Next time I say I'm going to say yes to anything that comes along, someone please slap me! I've been taking it easy these last few weeks though and catching up on reading which has been bliss and I'm planning on having a much more sedate year in 2016.

What about you guys. Ever had one of those non-stop weeks/month/years? Whats your top tip for saying no, something you can see I'm very bad at....

PS - My new-to-me author find for the year was Madeline Ash - y'all should go out and read her stuff. It's brilliant!

PPS - if you want to stay abreast of my (much less crazy) release schedule in 2016 you can join my mailing list here.

Dec 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Dec 23, 2015

A peaceful Christmas to all

Happy Christmas to all the LoveCat readers and the LoveCats themselves. This is my first Christmas as a LoveCat and I'm both honoured and delighted to be part of this wonderful blog.

This year is a very quiet Christmas for me and my husband. Our daughter, our only child, is away from us for the first time in her twenty-two years. She's staying with friends in California, a long way from Sydney. They are the nicest possible people so she is in very good hands. But we miss her... 

Her cat Tabitha howled and cried outside her closed bedroom door last night. When I let her in she saw daughter wasn't there, cried some more and slunk out in misery. Of course I consoled her and she slept happily on my pillow. That I didn't have a very good sleep is beside the point, isn't it!

Fortunately we will have the company of two nieces and three great nieces on the actual day. It will be the first time for years we haven't cooked Christmas dinner, as the younger generation is taking over this year.

I'm sharing my all-time favourite Christmas photo. Three years ago my darling old cat Albert found my sweet great niece, then two, admiring our Christmas tree. He ambled over to keep her company and I quickly got this shot. It was his last Christmas, he crossed the rainbow bridge six months later aged twenty-two.
I'm spending Christmas Day with this same  lovely niece - and her hamsters!

Christmas is usually huge for us in terms of entertaining. For years we held a party on Christmas Eve and then woke up and did it all again the next day. It's quite nice to be quiet. But perversely I feel a little let down that I'm not stressing out with all that's to be done!

All over the break, I'll be working on a book due early in the new year for Harlequin Romance so won't have time to miss daughter (lie, I miss her already and she's only been gone two days!)

As a writer, Christmas is lovely for me this year with two new Christmas stories out. My novella Millionaire Under the Mistletoe is part of the wonderful LoveCats boxed set Hot Christmas Nights, seven brand-new holiday-themed romances. Also from me is my Harlequin Romance Gift-Wrapped In Her Wedding Dress which is heavily Christmas themed.

What about you? Are you celebrating your usual Christmas or doing something different this year? I'd love to read your comment! I'm giving away a free download of Hot Christmas Nights to one commentator.

Dec 18, 2015

Christmas movies that I must watch......

With only a week to go before Christmas, I thought about the movies that I consider my 'must watch' over the Christmas break. Every year I try to watch at least one of these.....

Love Actually......

This one has become something of a Christmas classic.....the intertwining storylines are so cleverly done, the stories range from uplifting to heartbreaking. Who can forget Emma Thompson walking around her bedroom to the haunting sound of Jonie Mitchell and trying to keep it all together for the sake of her family. Or Bill Nigh and his Christmas CD performance. Brilliant!

Sleepless In Seattle....

I'm do love a good Meg Ryan Rom/Com. This is my favorite. interestingly, Meg and Tom Hanks only had a couple of minutes of screen time together....and yet the chemistry is still there.

Die Hard.....Okay, so not a traditional Christmas movie.....but it's set around Christmas and there's Christmas music....and Bruce Willis at his best. (And Alan Rickman) I love the romance in this one too....

It's a Wonderful all time favorite Christmas movie.....and still very pertinent. Jimmy Stewart at his best!

Do you have a favorite holiday movie? I'd love to hear any suggestions.

Merry Christmas to all and a safe and happy holiday!

Dec 16, 2015

Focusing on the Positive - a Year's Blessings - Annie West

 Almost the end of 2015 and I decided it was time to think about the year almost gone and wave it goodbye in style. 2015 has been a mixed year for our family with joys and fun and sadness and crises all mixed together. That's life of course but some years seem a little more 'lively' than others. My initial instinct is to wish the year farewell as soon as possible as there were events I know I won't want to reminisce about. But then I stopped to take stock of the many truly wonderful things we'd been blessed with in that time and how very lucky I am.

First up I live in a democratic, free, peaceful place where I can pursue the work I love, have enough to eat (far too much in fact), get top quality healthcare, education services, and whatever community support I need. We have a comfy home in a quiet setting and if the kookaburras or channel-billed cuckoos choose to wake me in the early hours with their raucous noise, so what? All those things I take for granted every day are enough to make me grateful. Then there are the extra bonuses. Far too many to share here, but believe me, I've been thinking about them. Here are just a couple at random:

1) My garden. Stepping outside and seeing how the tree ferns are faring in the summer heat, saying good morning to the blue tongue lizard who guards our vege patch, or enjoying the green space, is enough to rejuvenate me.

2) Friends. Those I see often and those I only catch up with at conferences. Or those I connect with only via social media or emails because we live on the opposite sides of the world.

Michelle Douglas and Rachel Bailey at the RWA Conference
3) My first gondola ride! I first visited Venice when I was a skint student and my eyes watered at the cost of a gondola trip. This year my daughter and I had a very short but very special stay in Venice and I finally found out what it was like to float around the city in my own private barge for an hour.

4) Winning a Romantic Book of the Year Award. Romance Writers of Australia is a very special organisation for me and probably the reason I ended up as a published author. You can see by the smile on my face how wonderful it felt discovering 'Damaso Claims His Heir' had not only finalled but won!

5) Visiting the UK and (very, very briefly, Ireland) to catch up with very special family and friends and also the Harlequin Mills and Boon team who look after me and my books. There were some indelible memories made, new books plotted, new experiences, places and faces and catching up with 'old' friends who are very dear.

Not only a welcome sign but bubbly too at the editorial office in London!
 6) Time out with family. Perhaps the best thing of all.
Family picnic spot in the Hunter Valley.

There are so many other things I could add here but this isn't the place for an exhaustive list - just a taste.

How about you? Did you have a fabulous year in 2015? What are your top 6 things for the year, or your top 3? Or are you already looking ahead to something special in 2016?

Dec 14, 2015

Pop Stars and Small Towns

When writing a novel, I often find some of my own experiences or loves sneak into the books. In my latest release – Her Small Town Christmas Wish – which is part of the Lovecats Boxset, two of my favourite things have made it into the story.

I love pop and disco music. Love to listen to it and love to dance to it.  When I need a pick me up, I play Earth Wind and Fire’s September. You can’t help but feel good after hearing that tune. 

Taylor Swift concert in Brisbane
Much to my friends’ amusement, I’ve followed Kylie Minogue’s career. She’s about the same age as me and I loved bopping around to her songs when I was younger. My daughter loves Delta Goodrem and Taylor Swift (went to Taylor’s amazing Brisbane concert last week – wow!), so I have lots of their music in the car too. So, as a tribute to young pop stars, my heroine is an Aussie who moved to London and made it big in the pop world.

Byron Bay
The other love that crept it into the story is Byron Bay. My fictional town of Turtle Beach is reminiscent of the town I live in. Coastal, lush and surrounded by sugarcane fields and acres of coffee and macadamia plantations. Place is always very important in my stories.

So, if you are looking for a fun and passionate Christmas read, pick up a copy of Hot Christmas Nights and read fantastic stories by my fellow Lovecats including Rachel Bailey, Michelle Douglas, Louisa George, Helen Lacey, Stefanie London and Kandy Shepherd.

We have the Boxset on sale at the moment for just 99 cents. To get you in the mood, here’s the blurb for Her Small Town Christmas Wish:

When superstar songbird Giselle Harrington is forced to return to her hometown, she’s faced with a house full of terrifying childhood memories. Jake Carlton has never forgotten his teenage sweetheart and now that she’s back, he’s determined to have a second chance to convince her to stay.

Wishing you all a fabulous holiday season.

Dec 13, 2015

Welcome to another LoveCats DownUnder Sunday Smooch!

Today we have a smooch from Sue MacKay

A December to Remember
Out Now: December

Arriving in Laos, Dr Ellie Thompson is determined to look to the future. The last thing she expects is to come face-to-face with her past, in the shape of her one-time best friend Dr Luca Chirsky - or to find him so very attractive!
Luca knows first-hand that love doesn't last, and he won't surrender his emotions to anyone. But after four years apart he's looking at Ellie with new eyes. And this time he knows that one Christmas kiss will never be enough...

KISS SCENE SET UP: Luca and Ellie are strolling through Vientiane after dinner with friends, and discussing their past and things are slowly being relieved that neither knew about the other despite being close friends, when all of a sudden it's too much and they're in each other's arms.


Luca twisted out of her hold, reminding her he was with her. He’d remained silent for so long her mind had taken a trip into things she didn’t need to be thinking about right now. Had her question about missing home hit a chord? Should she press the point? Once she would’ve. But there were years between then and now. She went for the easy option. ‘You’ve gone quiet on me.’

‘I don’t have a home to miss. Angelique and Johnny have their own lives to lead that apparently don’t include me. Auckland is my home town, always will be, but it’ll be there whenever I choose to return.’

‘Hell, Luca.’ That sounded incredibly sad and bleak. Where was the man who was always happy and making jokes, always acting as though he didn’t have a worry in the world? Had he been leading a double life? But then she hadn’t known about his father, or lack of one, until tonight either. She stopped to look up at him, only just seeing his facial expressions in the star-studded darkness. The sadness for him grew into something else, roiling through her so that she wanted to reach out and touch him deeply, to show he wasn’t alone, that she cared. ‘I will never let you out of my life again.’

His jaw moved as he swallowed. He was staring at her, his eyes unblinking. When he spoke his voice was low and loaded with emotion. ‘Thank goodness for that. It’s been too long, El.’

Way too long, and the worst thing was that she hadn’t even noticed until today. Reaching out to him, she was going to hug him, as she used to whenever they’d celebrated an exam pass or lost a patient or felt a little lonely. But then Luca’s arms were tugging her in against his body, his head dipping so that his mouth found hers. With his lips on hers, his tongue slipped inside her mouth.

Ellie breathed deep, drew in Luca, a mix of beer and chilli and hot male. Of safety and—hot male. Surrendering to the need clawing through her, she focused on kissing him back and hoping she was wiping away that sadness that had been rolling off him in waves.

Then as suddenly as it started the kiss ended. Luca abruptly dropped his arms and stumbled backwards. ‘Ellie, I’m so sorry. I don’t know what came over me. Look, that door to our right is your room. I’ll see you tomorrow.’ And he was gone, racing back the way they’d come, out onto the road and still he didn’t slow down.

‘Thanks very much, Luca. You’re sorry? Talk about taking a knife and cutting into me. You’re sorry for a mind-blowing kiss that I reckon you were enjoying as much as I was?’

But she was talking to the night. Luca was way beyond hearing her. Staring around the dark grounds, she could only sigh with relief that the lights were out. Doubtful anyone had seen them kissing. But her heart wasn’t letting her off that easily. It pounded hard and fast while her hands shook and her skin tightened with need. Luca. What had they done? Whatever it was, she wasn’t sorry. But she should be. She’d been kissing the man when only minutes before she’d acknowledged she never wanted to let him out of her life again. Way to go, Ellie. No one kisses a friend like that, with that intensity and emotion. It was sexy; very, very sexy. And her body was suffering withdrawal already. Which meant the future of their friendship was now in jeopardy.

Friendship to romance -  I loved writing this story and making it so hard for Luca and Ellie to resume their friendship when love is sparking between them.
Do you think friends can become lovers?
I have a copy of A December to Remember to give away.


Dec 11, 2015

What's on in 2016

Hard to believe that this is the second week of December, and the new year is right around the corner.
As much as I'm happy for the hours to slow down a little there are things I'm already looking forward to next year.

First is finishing and selling my twentieth M&B Medical story. Also hard to believe that I first got the call for Their Marriage Miracle in 2010. Where have the years gone? There is a stack of books in my office that attest to a lot of time sitting at a desk since then. Explains why I'm doing a lot of power walking at the moment.

I'm hoping to make great inroads into this pile of books, plus the ones he-who-doesn't-understand-the-need-to-read is completely unaware of. I'm referring to those on my tablet. With sun, a deck, and time away from the computer I'm planning on attacking the book piles from Christmas on.


The most exciting things I'm going to enjoy are watching
our two grandies as they grow and develop.
The just turned three year old has enough energy for a small village, and is learning to play soccer, dance on the trampoline and basically take over the world.

His sister is four months old and I know there are going to be lots of exciting changes over the next twelve months. At the moment she's placid, gurgles a lot, and sleeps right through the night, something her brother still struggles with.

And if I needed anything else to look forward to it would be many evenings on the deck with my man and a glass of wine in my hand.
What are you most looking forward to in 2016? Any special family event coming up?
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone.

Dec 9, 2015

2015 Favourites with Michelle Douglas

Seriously, can you believe we’re in December already? I mean, really? It only seems a few weeks ago that we were packing away the Christmas decorations and cheering in the New Year. I know you’re all nodding your heads in agreement, and I could continue along in this vein for paragraphs…but I shan’t sport with your intelligence by reiterating what we all already know (bonus points if you know what that line is from :-) ).

Because the year is drawing to a close, I thought I’d look back on some of my favourite things from 2015. And there are a lot of them. :)

First on the list, of course, are books:

Favourite Category Romance: this is a hotly contested category, but Vettori’s Damsel In Distress by Liz Fielding wins it by a whisker. This story perfectly captures what falling in love feels like. The hero is drool-worthy the heroine is plucky, the setting is romantic, plus there’s a kitten. What more could you want?

Favourite Single Title Romance: A Single Kiss by Grace Burrowes. A single mom and a single dad, two determined little girls, and a whole lot of secrets. Gorgeous stuff.

Favourite non-romance: Jessica Anderson’s Tirra Lirra By The River—an Australian classic. The back blurb doesn’t sound interesting: an old lady returns from London to her hometown of Brisbane. The book, however, is wonderful.

Favourite non-fiction read: I could say Modern Genre Theory, but I’d be lying. While I’ve read some fab non-fiction (Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert being one of them) the winner is Village Vets by Anthony Bennett and James Carroll. Man, I love these guys and I just hoovered back their vet exploits.

Favourite song: This is an oldie that I rediscovered just a couple of months ago—Nobody Does it Better by Carly Simon. It became the theme song for Christmas Wishes, New Year Kisses (my novella that’s in the Hot Christmas Nights box set). It’s been played a lot at my house recently.

Favourite Movie: I only made it to the movies once this year, but The Dressmaker was definitely worth the trip. Besides the fact that Liam Hemsworth is rather, um…lovely, and that are were stellar performances from Kate Winslet, Judy Davis and Hugo Weaving, the story itself is compelling. The main character’s arc is very satisfying. Also, the frocks!

Favourite TV Series: Again, this is a few years old now but I only discovered it this year—The Bridge. The Scandinavian version. Moody, edge of your seat stuff with some seriously interesting characterisations.

Favourite piece of materialistic nonsense: My handbag!

Other highlights:
* Six glorious nights at the beach in February. Oh, happy sighs.
* The ARRA conference in March. I took part in a fabulous panel with Rachel Bailey, Melanie Milburne and Kandy Shepherd.
* The RWA conference in August. It was extra special as I was sitting with Annie West when she won her muchly deserved RUBY! Yay!
* Branching out into the exhilarating self-publishing waters with six of the other LoveCats here to create our own box set of novellas.
* 20th anniversary of the BBC’s Pride and Prejudice. I never tire of watching this!
* Two new Harlequin releases. The Millionaire and the Maid in April, and Reunited By a Baby Secret in September.
* And, of course, getting to spend time with my gorgeous family and friends (including my on-line friends).

What about you? What have been your favourite things from 2015? Is there a book I should add to my to-be-read list, a must-see movie, or a song I should trial for my latest playlist? There's always room for more favourites. :-)

Hot Christmas Nights is available now. Only $0.99 at Amazon.

Dec 7, 2015

A No-Gift Christmas

by Bronwyn Jameson

My family has decided to try a no-gift Christmas this year and the concept didn't sit comfortably for a while.  I confess: I do like to shop and shopping at Christmas is a special delight.  I love the store displays, the decorations, choosing the gift-wrapping, even the challenge of finding the perfect gift for those I love.  

I admit that this "perfect gift" for my very grown-up and citified sons has become increasingly difficult and, okay, expensive to find.  Last year our youngest mooted the idea of a gift-free Christmas but I couldn't pull it off.  We knew it would be Mum's last Christmas and the extended family all came home, even my brother for the first time in yonks.  There were many small people (Mum's great-grands) and how could there not be gifts under the tree?

Courtesy of Faith Family America's Facebook page
This year will be a quite different Christmas.  Our eldest is moving to London after New Years and is in the midst of decluttering and packing.  The youngest is focussed on moving in the New Year.  I've just finished packing up Mum's house and the process has inspired me to declutter.  I admit that I am something of a pack-rat but how did I manage to accumulate so much unnecessary stuff?

When the first "So, Mum, what do you want for Christmas?" call came through I was in the mood to reply, "Honestly? I don't need anything."  Which isn't quite the truth.  What I need is my family around me, loads of laughter, long meals and comfortable conversations.  I need time to reflect, to remind myself of the true meaning of Christmas, and if I feel compelled to shop, then it should be for those who truly need a gift this Christmas.  There are many charities who will help with this.

In the end, my sons and I are content with our decision not to gift each other.   I can only hope that my husband will not go renegade on Christmas Eve, as is his way, and spoil the experiment.  I will let you know how that goes.  

Have you tried a gift-free Christmas?  Did you -- or would you -- miss the pile of presents under the tree Christmas morning?  Or do you believe the true gift of Christmas is found somewhere else?

Dec 4, 2015

It's bloomin' springtime!

I never understood the joy people seemed to get from their gardens. When I was younger I didn't appreciate the time and effort it takes to create a space that you and your family can relax in.

We've been in our current place for more than 10 years now and although we've put a lot of time into renovations inside lately, our outside has been giving us so much pleasure this spring. It's particularly dry in this part of the world for this time of year so I'm having to keep up the watering but it's paying off with lots of colour and lush growth. I know a lot of you are heading into winter so I thought a few pics of my garden might help you to look forward to your next spring. Happy holidays to those who are celebrating at the moment and happy gardening to those of us downunder.
Flowering cherries are one of my favourite trees. I have a few dotted around our half acre.
When we first moved here with four preschoolers I thought I'd pull out some of the seventy five rose bushes. My lovely father-in-law convinced me not to and said he'd help with the upkeep. I'm so glad we still have them!

I planted five new roses this year and this was one of them -"Integrity". 

I love having flowers inside.
I also love my veges. That's my worm farm in the black bucket!
The bees and I love the wisteria. I think I might grab a chair and my Lovecats  Downunder "Hot Christmas Nights" set and get reading under here.

What's hapening in your garden at the moment?

Dec 3, 2015


I'm absolutely thrilled to announce the lucky winners of Anna Campbell's A PIRATE FOR CHRISTMAS!   

So... :::: DRUMROLL PLEASE :::::

Congratulations to 

Louise Jackson


Iris Mattioli

Could you please contact Anna with your email addresses so she can organise your free downloads of the Kindle editions?  Her email address is anna (at) annacampbell (dot) info.


Dec 2, 2015

A Pirate to the Manor Born - with Anna Campbell

I'm so delighted to have lovely Anna Campbell to visit us on the LoveCats DownUnder!  She has a rollicking good Christmas story, A Pirate for Christmas, just released and she's generously giving away a Kindle download to one luck commenter!

Over to you, Anna!

Hi Love Cats! Thank you for having me as your guest today. I hope you won’t mind if I have a brief meander down Memory Lane before I get to my latest release, A Pirate for Christmas: A Regency Novella

Although my family was staunchly Australian, there was one part of the house was forever England.

The TV set.

I grew up on a steady diet of classic UK TV shows. Period drama like Upstairs Downstairs; The Pallisers; Raffles; I, Claudius; literary adaptations like Pride and Prejudice and Anna Karenina.

And British comedy. Lots and lots of British comedy.

Family conversation was littered with references and jokes from shows like The Two Ronnies (Piggy Malone featured strongly), Yes Minister, The Vicar of Dibley, The Good Life, Open All Hours, and Fawlty Towers. Personally I had a liking for the slightly more surreal stuff like the Goon Show and Monty Python, but they weren’t part of the mainstream family diet.

One of our all-time favourites was To the Manor Born, starring Penelope Keith and Peter Bowles, which was originally broadcast between 1979 and 1981, and which is still playing on Pay TV. Clearly everybody else loved this show too. By the way, if you’d like some background on the program, there’s a nice Wikipedia article here.

Audrey fforbes-Hamilton’s family has lived in the manor for 400 years, but unfortunately the money has run out and after her husband’s death, she’s forced to sell to nouveau riche supermarket millionaire Richard DeVere. Worse, DeVere is actually Czechoslovakian so this bastion of English heritage has fallen into foreign, and as far as Audrey’s concerned, completely inadequate hands.

A romance reader can tell right now where this story is going – and 20 episodes later, that’s just where it did go, with Audrey and Richard in love, marrying, and moving into the manor together. On the way, there are some beautifully observed characters, some lovely comedy, and a very nicely done romance. It’s lovely seeing Audrey gradually overcoming her blind prejudice and even lovelier to see Richard teasing her along the way – he knows pretty much from the start that she’s the one for him. Sigh.

Years ago, I saw an interview with the writer Peter Spence, and when he was asked why the show had such universal appeal, he said, “It’s a romance.” And you know, he absolutely nailed it.

Why am I spending so much time talking about old-fashioned sitcoms? There is Manor in my Madness. I’ve always wanted to write something inspired by TTMB and this year’s Christmas novella is it. My heroine Bess Farrar, the vicar’s daughter who is the de facto head of the village of Penton Wyck, is considerably younger and less managing than Audrey, but she shares a managing manner with her inspiration. Scottish Rory Beaton, the new Earl of Channing, is a cuckoo in the nest in this sleepy Northumberland village – and like Richard, he is subject to much wild and unfounded gossip about his past.

Just to clear something up straightaway, he’s NOT a pirate, but everybody thinks he is and nothing he does shifts the public perception. And to be honest, he has quite a bit of fun teasing Bess about his supposedly lawless background before he fesses up to being a gallant naval captain.

I hope you’ll have fun with this story too.

Here’s the blurb:

Pursued by the pirate…

Bess Farrar might be an innocent village miss, but she knows enough about the world to doubt Lord Channing’s motives when he kisses her the very day they meet. After all, local gossip insists that before this dashing rake became an earl, he sailed the Seven Seas as a ruthless pirate.

Bewitched by the vicar’s daughter…
Until he unexpectedly inherits a title, staunchly honourable Scotsman Rory Beaton has devoted his adventurous life to the Royal Navy. But he sets his course for tempestuous new waters when he meets lovely, sparkling Bess Farrar. Now this daring mariner will do whatever it takes to convince the spirited lassie to launch herself into his arms and set sail into the sunset.

A Christmas marked by mayhem.

Wooing his vivacious lady, the new Earl of Channing finds himself embroiled with matchmaking villagers, an eccentric vicar, mistaken identities, a snowstorm, scandal, and a rascally donkey. Life at sea was never this exciting. The gallant naval captain’s first landlocked Christmas promises hijinks, danger, and passion – and a breathtaking chance to win the love of a lifetime.

You can read an excerpt of A Pirate for Christmas on my website here

You can buy A Pirate for Christmas at a bargain price from:

Barnes and Noble

So do you have a favourite British comedy? There’s plenty of great ones to pick from! 

I’ve got a Kindle download of A Pirate for Christmas (international) for one person who comments today. Good luck!