Friday, December 26, 2008
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Okay, okay, I'm exaggerating but as romance lovers, I think that's what we have to do.
We have to be proud of the romance genre.
We have to hold our head up and meet gazes head on when people ask what we do and we respond 'romance writing.'
We have to proudly display that cover of a bare-chested hero in a steamy embrace with a gorgeous heroine while we're reading on the train.
We are romance ambassadors, every single one of us.
Last night, I was interviewed by several journalists in India to coincide with Harlequin Mills and Boon's 100th anniversary and the writing competition they've just launched there (more about that on Monday.)
The interviews went for 50 minutes total with a wide array of questions and the one thing that struck me, that has struck me repeatedly when I've done library talks or been a guest speaker elsewhere, is how fabulous romance is and how lucky I am to be part of it.
It's a genre that generated $1.375 billion dollars last year, with the biggest seller being contemporary series romance (Mills and Boon series romances), with 25.7% of the romance pie, followed by contemporary romance 21.8%, historical romance 16%, paranormal 11.8%, inspirational 7.1%, romantic suspense 4.7% with other subgenres to follow.
Harlequin sold 130 million books worldwide, equating to 1 book every 4 seconds and is the biggest romance publisher in the world.
These are statistics to be proud of.
These are statistics we should know as romance ambassadors.
Say it loud and say it proud.
"I love romance!"
That's my 'write not-so-whisper' for the day.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
First up, an author who is a new auto-buy for me.
I've just finished reading Richard Montanari's "The Skin Gods" and it was brilliant! Started it yesterday, couldn't put it down (and yes, I'm on deadline and trying to get this book done!) but here I sit at my computer with my word doc opened and my nose buried in this book desperate to finish it.
Harlan Coben and Tess Gerritsen are auto-buys for me, Richard Montanari is now part of that list. If you enjoy thrillers, grab his books!
I recently glommed Barbara Samuel and I'm off to glom the rest of this fabulous author's books too.
The other thing I had to share is the new cover for my next Modern Heat (March 09 in the UK).
I thought my Navy SEAL was hot in 'Purchased for Pleasure' but boy, does this guy rival him or what!!!
Right, you won't hear from me tomorrow.
I'm trying to finish this book!
Saturday, December 13, 2008
I'm hoping to make this a weekly weekend series though in all likelihood, I can see it featuring fortnightly...or maybe longer, we'll see how we go!
(And if you miss out on a post, you can see the lot in the sidebar link and on my website.)
So, how do we make our readers care?
The idea for this series was sparked while I was watching Prison Break this week.
This series is the best yet, with the writers giving every character motivation for their actions, no matter how nefarious.
But what really struck home was when I choked up over a former bad guy dying.
How did the writers do that?
How did they make me care enough about a 'baddie' to feel sorrow when he died?
It all comes down to this.
If you give your characters sufficient, believable motivation for their actions, readers will be behind them all the way.
How many times are you reading a book or watching a movie and enjoying it, only to be jolted out of the suspended reality by the character doing something completely out of character?
It takes us out of the story.
It ruins our suspension of disbelief and makes us question everything about the remainder of the book/movie.
You don't want to do this to your readers.
You want them swept along in the story, so caught up in the characters' lives they absolutely must keep turning pages until they reach 'the end'...and leave them wanting more, particularly your next book!
A strong, real, believable motivation is gold.
That's my 'write whisper' for today.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Receiving emails discussing my books or saying how much they're enjoyed never fails to bring a smile to my face.
The funny thing? I never thought of writing to my favourite authors to thank them for their brilliant books.
Adele Parks was the first author I emailed and her response was lovely.
So imagine how stoked I was when she commented on my 'glomming' post over at the PHS last week. I had a distinct fan moment!
Now her latest book is hitting the shelves and I can't wait.
Hers are keepers for me.
Who's on your keeper shelf these days?
Monday, November 03, 2008
I actually got up in front of 200 plus people and discussed the life of a romance author and the wonderful world of Mills and Boon.
From the number of people who came up to me afterwards and said it was fantastic and inspiring and fabulous, I reckon I did okay ;)
The day was all the better because I got to catch up with a bunch of old friends.
I nattered almost the whole way of the longish drive with my oldest school friend (she was meant to do the talking so I could save my voice but somehow-as usual apparently!-I ended up doing most of the talking. Jenny said I always liked to tell a good story at school...)
When I arrived, I was interviewed by the Great Southern Star newspaper with loads of happy snaps and caught up with Mel, a writing buddy from way back.
Then onto lunch where a bunch of my uni mates formed a table to support me. How great is that?
So more nattering with Teresa (who roped me into this in the first place, thanks T!), Mary and Leanne, before I did my thing on the stage, followed by devouring the cakes. Oh boy, the cakes...quite simply, a highlight of the day!
I signed books, chatted some more, was barrel girl for the raffle and was presented with a stunning box of flowers and a L'Oreal gift pack (the sponsors of the day.)
There were Victoria and Melbourne representatives of the MS society at the lunch and I'm sure they would've been blown away by the attendance.
A great time was had by all (oh, and the frock and shoes were a hit too!)
Saturday, November 01, 2008
I'll be back Monday with all the goss from the charity luncheon.
Monday, October 20, 2008
When I fell down,
For all the times you tied my shoes
And tucked me into bed,
Or needed something
But put me first instead.
For everything we shared,
The dreams, the laughter,
And the tears,
I love you with a "Special Love"
That deepens every year..."
I stumbled across this poem a while back (author unknown) and it really struck a chord.
My mum is amazing.
She's warm, vivacious, energetic, optimistic, caring and has raised me to be the person I am.
Until I had my own kids, I didn't realise the extent of a mother's love: how utterly overwhelming and amazing and never-ending it is. It's something I know I've taken for granted at times over the years.
So happy birthday Mum!
Thanks for the being the wonderful person you are.
I love you.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
My editor has read 'Journey of the Heart' and loves it, but my hero Ethan is too nice!
I need to alpha him up.
That's the trouble with using Hugh Jackman as hero inspiration. He's a genuinely nice guy and it's difficult to make him otherwise.
So going to be busy the next few weeks wrestling him into shape.
Not to mention the countless parties: tonight, 2 on Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, the following Saturday and Monday.
October is a crazy month.
And don't those revisions always land at the hectic times?
For now, Britt and Nick will have to wait...considering where I left them last, I doubt they'll be complaining!
Thursday, October 09, 2008
And this one's extra special because it's my first Harlequin Presents!
Yes, I had 2 Harlequin Presents Extra releases earlier this year but this one's my first straight Presents and I can't wait for it to hit US shelves. So look out for my sexy boss coming to you in Feb!
And a quick wave to all the ladies who attended my talk at Kew library. It was a fabulous turn out, with at least 8-10 writers in the group of 30-odd.
Question time went almost as long as the talk and it's great to see so many people interested in writing for Mills and Boon, and in romance in general.
Now, if only I could banish the thought of speaking in front of 200 people in 3 weeks, I'd be feeling a lot better...
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
If you like your heroes commanding and your heroines quirky, sassy and sweet, you'll love THE BOSS'S BEDROOM AGENDA.
Here's a snippet to whet your appetite:
“Don’t worry, Professor, I’ll look after you.”
She raised her cranberry martini in his direction, her hand jerking when she registered the shocked look on his face meant she’d let that little gem slip out.
“What did you just call me?”
“Professor,” she mumbled into her drink, using the glass to shield her burgeoning smile at the frown creasing his brow and making him look more professor-ish than ever.
She waved away his question, sloshing some of her drink onto his leg in the process.
She grabbed at the napkin serving as a coaster on the table and dabbed at the spreading gin stain on his pants.
“Leave it, it’s fine,” he snapped, stilling her frantic hand while she tried not to yank hers out from under his.
If she thought he looked hot it had nothing on the effect he had on her body when he touched her.
It had taken all her willpower back in his office not to lean into him when he’d taken hold of her arms in a purely reflex gesture, the type of rescuing gesture a guy like him would make.
He was a gentleman, no two ways about it, so what was she doing here flirting with her boss?
This was madness. What had she been thinking?
She hadn’t thought as usual, caught up in living for the moment, flying by the seat of her pants.
Story of her life, really.
“You didn’t answer my question.” He released her hand before taking a healthy slug of his boutique beer. “Why professor?”
“It’s a term of endearment.”
She raised her martini glass in his direction before draining the rest of her drink. Better to scull and appear a lush than accidentally upend it over his chest.
Though if she got a chance to dab at that broad expanse of muscle because of it…
You can also buy here!
Monday, September 29, 2008
A PIECE OF HEAVEN features an American Indian hero, complete with acne scars and paunch, and she makes him sexier than sexy!
Luna, the heroine, is an alcoholic.
The way Barbara weaves a beautiful tale around these characters (along with a host of fabulous secondary characters) made me never want to put this book down.
If you haven't read Barbara, you absolutely have to.
The way she layers emotion and brings characters to life is nothing short of brilliant.
Monday, September 22, 2008
I'm giving away a signed copy over at THE ROMANCE STUDIO today.
This book isn't scheduled for US release so it may be your only chance to get your hands on a copy.
Though I'm giving away several copies of HOT NIGHTS WITH A PLAYBOY in my newsletter contest coming up this week so if you want to be in it, sign up by emailing me.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Saturday, September 06, 2008
The date didn't happen.
I was so excited, got all dressed up, bub down for a long nap and happily watched by grandpa, and headed off in the car.
Not 10 kms up the road, a slow moving truck flicks up a rock and puts a chip in my windscreen the size of a 10 cent piece. Ka-ching! Moula to fix when we got home.
It was only a minor blip but I instantly thought, 'what else is going to go wrong today?'
Well, we were on the freeway, almost to the city, when we got a call from DS1's kinder. There had been an incident. We had to get there asap.
So cue the exit off the freeway, get back on, in the opposite direction.
The exquisite lunch we had booked never happened.
Our first date in goodness knows how long...nada.
But the kids are all right and that's the main thing.
And after being quoted $200 to fix the windscreen (my hubby got this on the first phone call!) I rang around and got someone to come out and fix it for $65. That first mob is famous and first port of call for most people...robbery!
The highlight of my day?
Curling up and finishing Barbara Samuel's NO PLACE LIKE HOME.
I met Barbara at the recent RWAus conference and was blown away. She's my idol.
So I rushed home that night and bought her entire backlist.
'No Place Like Home' is the first book I read...and oh my...she's brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.
I cried and I never cry with books. Movies, yes. Books, rarely.
Here's what it's about.
Sometimes a wrong turn is the only way home. . .
No Place Like Home tells the unforgettable story of a family bound together by tradition-and the emotional journey of an estranged daughter risking everything for a second chance at life and love.
Twenty-one years ago Jewel Sabatino left her childhood behind and never looked back. After a magical taste of fame, she found herself alone with a son to raise and not much else. She survived with the help of Michael, her one true friend. But now Michael is too sick to care for himself, and Jewel has run out of options. She leaves New York for the hills of Colorado, unsure if the family she ran from will welcome her back.
For Jewel, coming home is falling back into a world that smells of Italian restaurants and home-baked pies. It is the laughter of sisters preparing for a summer wedding, and the peaceful haven for a treasured soul mate's last days. It also means facing the unforgiving eyes of a father betrayed by his favorite child-and letting go of a son who is ready to become a man. But most of all, it is the love she discovers in her own wary heart when Michael's brother Malachi unexpectedly arrives on her doorstep.
I will be devouring the rest of the books.
In fact, I'm already half way through MADAME MIRABOU'S SCHOOL OF LOVE and I only started in last night!
I want to be Barbara when I grow up. :)
Saturday, August 16, 2008
This is one of my favourite pics of Hugh Jackman.
Unfortunately, I can't use it to fuel a scene in the book as Ethan isn't a motorbike kind of guy. But I'm generous. Thought you might enjoy this over the weekend.
Writing-wise, I managed 13000 words this week. I'm just over half way and the story is still flowing beautifully.
The downside? Have woken with a sore throat again. So can't push myself over the next 5 days. Must be healthy for conference. Will resort to Alphie during the day and trying to get to bed earlier at night. That's my battle plan to attack this super bug doing the rounds of Melbourne at the moment.
I will be in glossy, glam author mode next week. I will, I will, I will!
Saturday, August 02, 2008
Well, if you want a few hints on how to create Mod Heat characters, I've posted an article at the Harlequin Presents Blog.
Hope it helps :)
Friday, August 01, 2008
HOT NIGHTS WITH A PLAYBOY (Sexy Sensation) and THE DESERT PRINCE'S PROPOSAL (Sweet) are OUT NOW!
Remember what a few reviewers had to say:
"fast, wonderfully well-written read, it rekindles every fantasy about Prince Charming, exotic desert lands and being swept off my feet I ever had. Ms. Marsh's characters are quick-witted, intelligent and definitely have chemistry enough to make the romance sizzle. The setting is wonderful, with plenty of details to make it all come to life. THE DESERT PRINCE'S PROPOSAL is a great, bite-sized romance! Well done!" (Romance Reader at Heart)"Forget about Sex and the City:The Movie, if it's fresh, flirty and feel-good you're after then pick up Nicola Marsh's latest Modern Heat: Hot Nights with a Playboy!...a steamy, sexy and fun contemporary romance that sparkles with glamour, humour, sophistication, passion and plenty of style!...a fast-paced sizzler by a writer who writes deliciously sensual contemporary romances that pack plenty of emotional punch! Don't miss it!" (CataRomance)
Looking forward to hearing more reader reviews :)
Saturday, July 19, 2008
So if you like writing sexy, have a fun, fresh, flirty voice and would love to be published in this series, why not give it a go?
All details for the FEEL THE HEAT contest are here.
Friday, July 18, 2008
The title is MIT DIR IM SIEBTEN HIMMEL which translates to 'With You in Seventh Heaven'.
I'm always intrigued by foreign translations and the titles. And I often wonder if the stories are the same or something gets lost in the translation?
Would love to hear from anyone who has read my books in another language :)
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Here's a snippet:
The fabulous Nicola Marsh always manages to imbue her award-winning Harlequin Romances with lots of fun, wit and sophistication, whilst retaining the warmth, tenderness and intensity of the Romance imprint that has kept readers from all over the world entranced for decades!
Warm-hearted, fresh, tender and compelling, Nicola Marsh’s The Desert Prince’s Proposal is the perfect book to lose yourself in on a hot summer night! With a wonderful cast of characters, a fast-paced plot and plenty of emotional power, The Desert Prince’s Proposal is another spellbinding romance from a wonderful novelist with a wonderfully bright future ahead of her.
And over at the Pink Heart Society reviews we have this:
Tender, romantic, warm-hearted, sassy and feel-good, The Desert Prince’s Proposal is a classic Sheikh romance that sparkles with plenty of wit, humour and charm! Don’t miss the latest page-turner by talented romance writer Nicola Marsh!
Right, now I'm feeling pumped I'm off on a research trip tonight.
Will tell you all about it on Monday :)
Friday, July 11, 2008
Nicola Marsh sets the stage for a steamy read in HOT NIGHTS WITH A PLAYBOY. The tropical environment of the photo shoots helps to play on the emotions Abby and Judd are feeling as they work closely together. Both have tried to deny their chemistry but it is impossible when what they really want to do is the direct opposite. I loved the frank discussions of friendship and lust Judd and Abby shared. Complexities abound for them as they do not want to lose their friendship. At the same time, the reader is definitely rooting for them. Their bond is very strong but with Judd’s fears of relationships, of settling down and not traveling all over the world, it makes it difficult for Abby to trust in his avowals of love. HOT NIGHTS WITH A PLAYBOY is steamy and has several interesting character complexities that keep the story fresh.
ROMANCE JUNKIES gave it a blue ribbon rating of 4, a book they would recommend to all their friends :)
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
To this: THE BILLIONAIRE'S BABY (yay, I now have a title!) a Harlequin Romance, out in May 09.
Way too long to wait considering I think this is the best book I've written and I absolutely love it! I hope you will too.
If you want to follow the creation of this book from start to finish, click on the Cover to Cover link in the sidebar.
And if you want to see all the 'under the covers' action and read a brand new excerpt, head on over to my website.
Saturday, July 05, 2008
But if you can't wait that long, both these books are available online NOW!
Fancy a bit of sizzle on a Whitsunday island? Check out HOT NIGHTS WITH A PLAYBOY, available here.
Fancy the scorching kisses of a desert prince? Check out THE DESERT PRINCE'S PROPOSAL here.
Or why not indulge and grab both? ;)
Monday, June 30, 2008
What do you think?
I love it!
That boss can seduce me anytime ;)
This book features Aidan Voss, archaeologist turned temp CEO of Melbourne Museum, and Beth Walker, shoe addict and avant garde metal sculptor.
I had so much fun writing this book (little wonder I had to give Lana, Beth's geeky cousin, her own story!)
And the great news?
This book will be released as Harlequin Presents in the USA in Feb 2009!
Saturday, June 28, 2008
(This is the picture that started it all...sigh, isn't he gorgeous?)
'Making Waves with the Magnate' is done!
Rather fortunate, as had a chat with my editor last night and plans have changed, big time!
Revisions for THE DATING DILEMMA have been shelved, as my next Romance (the one I can't wait to tell you about) needs to be written...now!
This is the commissioned book as part of an exciting new series and my deadline is...like yesterday! Yikes!
So guess who's going to be a busy little bee? Then it's another Mod Heat asap, then while I'm waiting on that one I can tackle revisions.
Throw in several deadlined articles I have to write, a requested short story for a magazine, several interviews, guest blogs and the general life stuff of being a supermum and you'll know why I couldn't sleep last night. My head is buzzing!
So exciting times ahead.
But firstly, Zac needs to be edited next week. That first article has to be written, as does the short story.
Then it's onto...JOURNEY OF THE HEART.
Wait till you here about this story! I love it so much already and I haven't written a word yet!
I'd also hoped to post my cover of THE BOSS'S BEDROOM AGENDA today but must dash (kinder kid off to a party-I swear his social life is more of a whirlwind than mine!!)
There's some great news about its US release too, but I'll leave that till Monday :)
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Here's what ROMANCE READER AT HEART had to say:
"THE DESERT PRINCE'S PROPOSAL by Nicola Marsh is pure fun. A fast, wonderfully well-written read, it rekindles every fantasy about Prince Charming, exotic desert lands and being swept off my feet I ever had.
While this story has been told before in lots of variations, this telling stands apart. Ms. Marsh's characters are quick-witted, intelligent and definitely have chemistry enough to make the romance sizzle. The setting is wonderful, with plenty of details to make it all come to life. THE DESERT PRINCE'S PROPOSAL is a great, bite-sized romance! Well done!"
And just in case you've forgotten who inspired Prince Samman al Wali, here he is. Nice. Very nice.
And speaking of my desert prince, I'm running a HUGE competition to coincide with the release of this book.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
ALL ABOUT ROMANCE are well known and notoriously tough to get a good review from (they range from A-F and if you check out their reviews page, they're liberally peppered with Cs and Ds.)
So imagine my delight when I just discovered THE DESERT PRINCE'S PROPOSAL (out in the UK and US in July) got a B+!!!
Here's a snippet:
"The Desert Prince's Proposal is a delightful fairy tale, and does a near perfect job of whisking one away from the everyday.
Whether you're in the mood for a quick read or you just need a sweet love story rather than a hot, lusty tale, The Desert Prince's Proposal makes for a wonderful modern-day fairy tale.
The best parts of this book reminded me of afternoons spent watching old romantic movies.
Let yourself get swept away in the fantasy."
I luuuurv the book being compared to old romantic movies...a lovely compliment :)
The review means a lot considering I have a few doubts about this book, being my first 'desert prince/sheikh' fantasy and all...so nice to know I've captured this reviewer's imagination.
Can't wait to hear what my readers think!!!
Monday, June 16, 2008
I've tried to rest as much as possible with 2 very active little boys over the weekend. Even managed an hour and half nap yesterday afternoon which left me feeling almost human again.
Stuffy head still there but aches gone!
Bub still teething so last night, I was up to him at 3.30am, cuddling him in a rocking chair, when the start to my next Harlequin Romance popped fully formed into my head.
I love it when that happens! Most of my books have begun like that, in the wee small hours of the morning, in that half-wake/half-dream state.
This book is so vivid for me. The outline has already been approved by my ed (as it's part of a commissioned Harlequin series-will tell you more about it when I get to the book after I finish Zac) The characters are gorgeous, the emotion is there and the journey they go on...let me just say, it's special. Very special.
I can't wait to start this one. My fingers are itching.
But I have a cold to recover from...a month long one!
And a Modern Heat to finish.
But the dream is there...the excitement is building...and I can't wait to share it all with you :)
Thursday, June 12, 2008
In other news, would you believe the dreaded lurgy is back? Feeling decidedly blah, just like I did this time 3 weeks ago.
Note to self: don't push it!
Now, I just need to listen this time. Annoying, considering Zac and Lana were really getting into some heavy stuff.
They've had fun at the lagoon in Suva, now are back on board dealing with the fall out.
But I'm not going to write today. Must rest...
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
Well, I'm over my little bout of snarkiness from this morning so thought we'd move on with a more positive review :)
I have my first review for THE DESERT PRINCE'S PROPOSAL!
Here's what Catherine Witmer from Romantic Times had to say about it:
Architect Bria Green's chance meeting with developer Sam Wali becomes a fleeting but memorable flirtation. Soon afterward, in the kingdom of Adhara to secure materials for a client, Bria finds out that Sam is actually Prince Samman al Wali. Sam has a proposal for Bria: If she'll marry him, she can design Adhara's new capital city. Bria's tempted, but they're strangers, and Sam's as controlling as her father. She's also halfway in love with him, which presents a problem! Nicola Marsh's The Desert Prince's Proposal (3) will appeal to those who enjoy desert-set fantasies, but others might find Sam's idea of courtship as crazy as Bria does.
He's a strong, alpha prince. Not sure if he takes too kindly to having his wooing techniques questioned ;)
This book is available online now!
In the UK, it's here.
In the US, it's here.
It'll be out on the shelves in both countries in July.
Friday, May 30, 2008
This is a well known fact.
Sadly, my neighbours are moving to the other side of the country, and while I'll miss our brunches, dinners and movie nights, the upside is...they needed to get rid of books. Brand new books. By fabulous authors I haven't tried. Plus a few I haven't read by Dan Brown and Danielle Steele.
And the best bit? 13 hardback Trixie Belden books!!!
I was addicted to this series as a teenager and teared up when I got my hands on these again.
Can't wait to read them all.
Now, if only I could find a spare hour or ten I might be able to make a start...
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Nic still isn't feeling too good so she asked me to stop by and remind you all about BRENDA NOVAK'S auction to raise funds for juvenile diabetes, which ends May 31st.
The array of items to bid on is staggering. Go check it out.
Nic's blown away someone has bid $210 on her critique. Wow, is the pressure on her or what? :)
Get well soon, sweetheart.
(See, I've changed tack. I'm trying to soften her up now, so she'll give me another chance with Lana. Reckon I've got a shot at it?)
Friday, May 02, 2008
And yes, a big 'woo-hoo' as WISH UPON A VALENTINE has sold!
My 17th book and every bit as exciting as my first. :)
It's such a mix of feelings when the sold sign goes up on a book: relief (I can still do this), exaltation (yes! another sale!) planning (what can I spend the advance on? Oh, that's right, school fees) but mostly, satisfaction. A huge amount of satisfiction that another of my babies will see the light of day on a book shelf in a store near you.
I'm especially proud of this book because I think it's a turning point for me.
I really, really invested a lot of time into these characters, into their emotions, into making them come alive and I think it has paid off. It was the first time ever I teared up while writing, and I made my editor cry, twice!
I can't wait for you to meet Camryn and Blane too. Probably around April or May next year. Will let you know as soon as I do.
If you like your heroes seriously gorgeous, laid-back and totally lovable, Blane is the man for you. Little wonder Cam gave him a second chance...I love reunion stories :)
Sunday, April 27, 2008
I'm reading HOT NIGHTS WITH A PLAYBOY at the moment and I have to say, it's one of my favourites. I love the banter between Judd and Abby, childhood friends who are now very hot lovers! And Tom and Tara, the secondary characters, are a hoot too. Love it!
So here's the snippet I promised:
Judd had never been a party guy.
Give him the plains of Africa or the jungles of South America any day. Sahara winds, Amazonian deluges, Asian typhoons…he loved the elements, loved the freedom, always had. He never felt whole unless he had a camera in his hand, capturing the animals that had held him enthralled since he’d opened his first text book at school and seen a huge, scary gorilla with bared teeth staring back at him from the page.
It had been his dream from that day on.
A dream that had evolved, developed, and landed him here, smack bang in babe heaven.
Taking a seat at a table near the bar he watched some of the models boogying on the dance floor and knew that partying definitely had something going for it. The exclusive resort was a walking advertisement for the hottest women on the planet and he wouldn’t be male if he didn’t notice and appreciate the luscious scenery.
As if on cue, Abby walked into the room and his mouth went dry.
In a flash he was transported back to the night of the high school dance and the precise moment he’d laid eyes on her in her first formal dress, a blue satin number with the tiniest of straps and outlandish puffy skirt, tottering down her porch steps towards him in ridiculous heels. She’d taken his breath away, the vision imprinted on his brain forever.
Friends weren’t meant to look like that!
With the dress outlining her body, glossy brown hair piled high with a few curling tendrils framing her face…that face, her blue eyes shining at him with pleasure and more than a hint of mystery in their depths.
And what had he done?
Fired the usual barbs her way, teased her mercilessly, while she stared at him with her beautiful eyes, sucking him in deeper and deeper till he couldn’t think straight let alone be responsible for his actions. So he’d done the only thing any normal, eighteen-year-old guy would have done.
He’d kissed her.
Correction, he’d pounced on her like some maniac, half expecting her to slap him silly. Instead she’d responded like a tigress, fuelling his passion till his hormones warred with his common sense in a raging battle. Fortunately, his common sense won and he’d played the whole incident down, laughing it off as an experiment between two friends trying to prove they’d just entered the world of grown-ups.
Now, staring at Abby in a fitted black halter dress outlining her curvy body to perfection, with her hair piled in a similar arrangement to that fateful night, he wondered if he’d been so fortunate after all.
He stood up and waved her over, drawing a chair out as she neared the table, unable to tear his eyes away from her.
“Not bad,” he murmured in her ear as she sat down, her light floral fragrance beckoning him closer and he pulled back with effort, resisting an irrational urge to place a kiss behind her ear.
She’d always loved it and the scent had haunted him over the years, a poignant reminder of her.
“Is that a compliment, Calloway?”
She’d used a minimum of makeup, just enough to highlight her eyes which glowed luminous in the reflected light from the lit torches around the perimeter of the room as he wondered if they’d always been that blue, that incandescent.
“Call me Judd,” he said, unable to quell the urge to flirt, hoping she’d join in the swing of things.
She batted her eyelashes, designed to tease. “In that case you can call me Abby.”
Judd smiled and reached out to run his hand slowly down her arm in a gesture that was part-friendly, part-daring, enjoying the flare of awareness in her eyes.
Maybe it was the balmy breeze, maybe it was the illusion of being secluded away on a tropical island and far enough away from reality, maybe it was the newfound heat sizzling between them: whatever it was, he wanted to push the boundaries of their friendship and see what happened.
“Abby. What a beautiful name. Conjures up all sorts of images like ancient stone churches surrounded by overgrown cottage gardens with oak trees reaching up to the endless blue sky the same colour as your eyes…”
Abby snorted and rolled her eyes. “Hey! I’m not one of your bimbos. You don’t have to lay it on that thick!”
Judd laughed and shrugged. “Can’t blame a guy for trying. So, what does the name Judd conjure up for you?”
He wondered if she’d take the bait and remember what she’d once told him all those years ago. By the glint in her eyes she wouldn’t disappoint.
“That’s easy, Judd Kane Calloway. A long, thin reed used to put cheeky boys like you back in their place.”
She reached over and tweaked his nose like she used to, resurrecting instant memories of their childhood years and reminding him of how long they’d been friends.
“Now, what does a girl have to do to get a drink in this place?”
“Let me guess, the usual?”
Her blue eyes sparkled with characteristic cheek while her lips curved in a coy smile he’d never seen before. “Nah…I’m feeling reckless tonight. Surprise me.”
As if noticing how stunning she looked wasn’t enough torture she had to go and throw him a curve ball like that. If he didn’t know better, he’d say she was definitely flirting with him again?
But that couldn’t be right. Abby teased him, riled him, and jibed at him but flirt?
This tropical air was definitely getting to him.
He called a waiter over, placed their orders including a cocktail for her guaranteed to regain the upper hand and leaned back in his chair.
“Nice outfit, by the way. Glad to know you take my advice so seriously.”
His greedy gaze skimmed the black silk clinging to her curves, ending just above her knees, accentuating her tiny waist, outlining her breasts…
He sat up and sent a frantic glance in the waiter’s direction, wishing their drinks would arrive ASAP.
He needed cooling down, badly.
“You think I wore this for you?”
If her smile had been coy before it turned positively smug now. “Still delusional from all that African heat, huh?”
He couldn’t back down from the challenge in her eyes even though continuing this conversation would only make it harder for him to view her as ‘just friends’ material.
He’d never backed down from one of her challenges and he’d be damned if he would now. Besides, he liked a hint of danger. Kept things interesting.
Reaching out to smooth an imaginary crease from the silk draped like liquid lava across her lower thigh, he said, “Well, I did say wear something sexy and boy, does this dress deliver.”
“Clothes maketh the woman and all that?”
She had him there.
If he agreed she’d know he thought she was sexy. If he disagreed he looked like a heel.
Thankfully, the waiter arrived as he wracked his brain for a quick response and deposited an icy beer in front of him and a wicked concoction of Cointreau, Galliano, pineapple juice and cream in a champagne glass for Abby.
She took a sip, her eyes widening imperceptibly as a faint pink stained her cheeks. “On second thoughts, don’t answer that. It’s got a kick like a mule and perhaps it’s better I don’t know. What my liver doesn’t know won’t hurt it.”
Struggling to keep a triumphant smile off his face, he said, “A Hot Dream.”
To his immense satisfaction, the pink in her cheeks deepened to crimson.
“Mmm…nice,” she murmured, her gaze firmly focused on the cherry stuck on the end of paper umbrella wedged precariously on the edge of her glass.
Her non-committal answer only spurred him on and he chugged on his beer before taking his stirring one step further.
“So, you like hot dreams, huh?”
Her blue-eyed gaze flew to his and for a split second he could’ve sworn he glimpsed a flicker of desire there before she quickly masked it with her telltale sass.
Raising her glass in his direction, she said, “The drink’s great. As for the rest you’ll never know.”
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Last night was the pits!
On the phone to my Internet provider for 3 hours trying to get my emails to come through and my Internet to work.
Got hung up on once after half an hour and in the middle of reconfiguring, got told the same thing to do with the next guy, who then referred me onto my antivirus software company, then rang back and the third guy told me to do the same things but I ended up telling he'd missed a step!
It was a disaster!
Especially when your livelihood depends on the Internet and corresponding with your editor.
Bah!! Was I grumpy? A tad upset? Annoyed I'd wasted a whole evening on the phone only to have everything still not working?
Their solution? Move me onto a higher level technician...who'd look at it in 2 working days!!!
Let's just say I was a little emotional by then and went to bed, only to fall into a dream-filled sleep where I could never access my PC ever again!!!
This morning, the cyber gods are smiling on me.
I'm back and have had a quick look at my 100 plus emails.
And posting that quick blurb I promised you days ago.
Working by day...
Abby Weiss could make her name as a stylist to the stars on a two-week photo shoot in a tropical island paradise. Even better, Judd Calloway, her best friend, will be the photographer. Nothing could be more fun than working with him...
Naughty by night!
...except spending hot, sexy, passionate nights with him! In the years since they last met Judd's become a charming, muscled, gorgeous hunk! Abby can't keep her hands off him-and the attraction's mutual.
And now Judd's got a proposal that he hopes will keep her right where he wants her: in his bed!
Will post the snippet soon!
Oh, it's good to be back... :)
Saturday, April 19, 2008
But here I am and courtesy of Minna, we have another hot hero.
Meet David Boreanaz.
Now, I've heard of wet T shirt comps but never a wet shirt comp for guys. Maybe we can instigate them? ;)
I found another fabulous bath shot of him courtesy of google but it took ages to download and my littlest man isn't napping and yelling the house down, so must dash!
Hope you've got some more heroes lined up for tomorrow and don't go into hibernation mode like I usually do on Sunday :)
Thursday, April 17, 2008
And I think I've found a towel shot to rival the famous 'Hugh Jackman in a towel' pic too. Check this out!
Meet the delicious Eddie Cibrian. (Thanks Dena!)
I'd never heard of Eddie...from my brief google search, looks like he's in Third Watch. Yowza! All that heat plus him on the screen? Must go get the entire collection and watch :)
This job is so tough, you have no idea...but hey, I love a challenge so please keep the hot heroes coming!
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Another total unknown to me, Henry is definitely hero material in an upcoming book.
He comes to us courtesy of Lisa, who says Henry is currently starring in The Tudors along with Jonathan Rhys Meyers (who I already have stored in my hero folder for future reference!), Rufus Sewell and Jeremy Northam. What a cast!
Forgot to mention in Monday's post could all winners email me with their details and I'll send your prizes out.
Thanks for another day of fabulous heroes.
So, who's our next?
Over to you :)
Monday, April 14, 2008
There's nothing quite like researching a book before you begin, finding that perfect picture/expression/gorgeous guy to inspire your writing.
Interestingly, the same sexy guys keep popping up: Hugh Jackman, George Clooney, Wentworth Miller, among quite a few other popular actors/sportsmen/models. Now don't get me wrong, my hero file is bulging with pics and I've even cast my hero for my next book before finishing the current one.
But in my opinion you can never get too much of a good thing and seeing the same handsome faces crop up time and time again got me thinking...
I want to discover some new talent and that's where you come in!
Every day this week, I'd like you to come up with someone different.
Maybe a guy less known, less famous? Or someone famous most of us haven't heard of? Your choice!
I'll be choosing a winner daily and posting his pic here.
Whoever suggests that winner will be receiving 3 books: my 2 recent releases PURCHASED FOR PLEASURE (that Wentworth inspired!), EXECUTIVE MOTHER-TO-BE and my 07 Romance release, PRINCESS AUSTRALIA.If the winner has any of those books, they're welcome to choose a copy of another from my backlist.
So that's a chance to win 3 books, daily, for a week!
All you need to do is leave a comment suggesting your hot hero, preferably with a link so I can check him out, and that's it!
I'll post the winner from the previous day at midday Aussie time, to give everyone over-yonder-seas a chance too.
I'm sure it's going to be an arduous judging task for me but hey, somebody's gotta do it :)
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Ever had those doubt demons chasing you down as you write?
Undermining your confidence?
Want to banish them? Check out my post over at the PHS today!
My lovely ed rang last night to discuss revisions for Wish Upon a Valentine. I made her cry, twice! So I'm glad I wasn't the only one who got a bit choked up over this one. I really love how this story has panned out: loads of emotion yet fun at the same time.
Camryn and Blane are going to be my focus over the next week.
If I don't get distracted by all those hot heroes to come, that is :)
Monday, April 07, 2008
Saturday, April 05, 2008
He doesn't read books (apart from mine when he's on holidays, have to love him for that alone!). Still remember him picking up my very first book, saying he doesn't have time to read, opening the first page out of curiosity then remaining in the chair for the next few hours while he finished it. Brings a smile to my face every time :)
He quite proudly tells all he meets his wife is a romance author. Considering he's a tradesman, most of the guys are in shock or don't believe him, till he promptly refers them to my website. See, PR at its best!
Now he's struck up a conversation with the girl at the local Fish'n'Chip shop he frequents, has discovered she's a romance reader and given her my business card, bless him. Yesterday, I dropped off some of my books for her and she was absolutely thrilled.
Ultimately, don't know if it was a good thing as hubby will probably get an extra serving of chips now, something his waistline doesn't need, methinks...lol...
And now, I'll leave you with something very pleasant for the weekend.
Remember I said I had another lovely pic of Richard Armitage a while back?
Well, here it is. Enough to make a girl with a cold feel a whole lot better with just one look.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
That's about all I have the energy to post today...took preschooler to a Shrek the Third stage show today and while it was fun, having over a hundred screaming kids is a little tiring.
Or maybe that's due to the fact my other darling little boy is probably teething and I didn't get to bed last night till 3.30am!!!
'night...see you in the morning...
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Isn't this one super scorching hot cover?
There is a sizzling scene in the book which starts on the beach (in the waves to be precise!) before Judd and Abby make a run for her hotel room to continue the action and this cover encapsulates the passion, the heat, of that scene perfectly.
I love it!
The book hits UK shelves in June.
In other Modern Heat news, Kelly Hunter and Heidi Rice have finalled in the RITAs with Sleeping Partner and The Mile High Club respectively. Fabulous!
And fellow Romance author Natasha Oakley has finalled too, with The Tycoon's Princess Bride, my favourite category read of 07. Yay Natasha!!
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
I'm not going to rave on about the plot or the story itself.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Here is a pic of my first ever Easter bonnet.
My initial brilliant idea, to stick the chicks and rabbits on the glitter hat underneath didn't quite work...cos glue, even craft glue, won't stick to glitter I discovered. So dug up some tissue wrapping paper, a ribbon (from a Lindt chocolate gift box my fabulous publisher Harlequin sent on Valentine's Day) and a roll of sticky tape which worked much more effectively than the glue.
Voila! Rabbits front and back, chicks galore on top and one very happy little preschooler (who was supposed to help but got tired of it after sticking the first chick. He's a boy, what can I say?)
It was so gorgeous picking him up today, seeing him walk proudly towards me in his bonnet. So, so cute!
Now, I'm wondering if I can recycle it for next year ;)
As much fun (!) as I had making it, I think I'd rather stick to writing...