Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Dragons and downpours

Second stop on our roadtrip: the delightful town of Bendigo.

Once again, the actual size of the town surprised me. I'd visited over 10 years ago and remember it being a lot smaller.
Not anymore.
Loads of intriguing stuff to do and see.


-visiting the Golden Dragon Museum, steeped in Chinese culture, and snaffling some printed material that has spurned a book series niggling in the back of my mind...

-antique tram ride around the town for kidlet and hubby while toddler and I cuddled up on the couch and read books

-descending 61 metres underground into an old mine and kidlet being far braver than I thought

-walking through the Chinese gardens while rain dripped off the pagodas around us

-brunch in a cafe on the shores of a lake while the rain bucketed down

-discovering the best restaurant on Bath St on our last morning that served a delicious vegan brekkie (and I'm not even vegetarian!)

-watching the drama unfold as Australia's first woman Prime Minister rose to power (not my highlight, my hubby's, who is glued to current affairs while I prefer to bury my nose in a good book.)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The great Victorian roadtrip

We had a ball on our week away, exploring a few old Victorian towns.
First stop: Ballarat, Victoria's 3rd largest city/town.
-visiting Sovereign Hill for the first time. While the kids loved panning for gold and going underground, I'm addicted to their aniseed drops made on site.

-running wild through the Botanical Gardens and being the only ones there.
-discovering the best wooden toy park ever on the shores of Lake Wendouree.
-ogling the gold discoveries at the Gold Museum
-dinner with my oldest uni buddy, who made the most sublime lemon tart ON THE PLANET!
-brunches at an old pub: the brekkie pizza with egg, bacon, tomato, onion, hash browns and sweet chilli was the best!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Did you miss me?

I'm back from my research roadtrip later on today.

Did you miss me?

This is the hero inspiration which spurred me on this road trip in the first place.
He strutted into my mind, fully formed, along with the heroine, a first scene and another scene involving him half naked.
Yes folks, after a blissful month off, the first time I've ever taken more than a week off from writing, it's back to my PC to launch my next story.
*warming up fingers*

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Weekend Book Club: Badlands

While I've been hooked on YA novels, I've ignored my passion for thrillers.

So when my YA shelf ran dry last week, I picked up this off my TBR pile.

I first read Richard Montanari last year, when I bought a copy of The Skin Gods and absolutely loved it so was looking forward to reading Badlands.

I love a good thriller and while this book was good (well researched, well plotted, well themed) the villain didn't have quite the same 'creep' factor as his earlier book.

The author did too good a job of making me sympathise with the villain because of his upbringing and I ended up feeling sorry for him while being a tad repulsed.

Doesn't stop me from wanting to read more Richard Montanari.

What are you reading this week?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Bon chance

I love discovering my books translated into different languages and this one is especially gratifying because it's a reprint of book previously released in France!
THE WEDDING CONTRACT, my 2nd book (and highest earner by far) has already been released in France several years ago and is now making another appearance this month in an anthology with Sarah Morgan and Lee Wilkinson.
Interestingtly, lawyer Steve Rockwell has been my most alpha hero and theme park operator/aromatherapist Amber his opposite in every way, yet this marriage of convenience story has resonated with readers around the world.
I think some books just 'click' with readers and this book is one of them.
Bon chance for moi!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Guest author: Mira Lyn Kelly

It's with great pleasure I introduce you to a new Harlequin Modern Heat/Presents Extra author, Mira Lyn Kelly.
Mira is my shelf buddy in the US this month with her first book so I thought I better grill her.
1)Tell us about your first book and what inspired you to write it.

WILD FLING OR A WEDDING RING? is the story of an almost-one-night-stand that just won’t go away. The setup for this book came to me while I was playing around with a conflict that many women face...The choice between following their hearts and following their heads. Doing the smart thing, or doing the thing that feels good...and just hoping it doesn't turn out to be the worst mistake of their lives. Cali has made the wrong choice once already, and she's spent years trying to make up for that mistake. But then she meets Jake, and once again she's faced with that same choice...
From the back cover:
On her first night in Chicago, Cali McGovern meets seriously sexy surgeon Jake Tyler. Since she's still sore after her last relationship, her head's yelling Run—but her body's screaming for his touch…. For the first time ever, her head gets overruled!
Jake isn't looking for a wife—been there, done that. But his hot new neighbor is in town just long enough for a wild fling…perfect! Yet when the time's up, he can't say goodbye. Is that just because of their sizzling chemistry—or something a whole lot scarier?

2) How do you juggle home life with career? Do you have a writing schedule?

With four children between the ages 8 and 5, it can definitely be tough. But I do my best to work around the kids schedule. This past year, the youngest of my brood hit pre-school, which gives me a couple hours each day of time to write when they're out of the house. In addition to that I often get up early and also write for an hour and a half after they go to bed. It still gives me time with everyone in the middle of the day, and then an hour or so to relax with my husband once I shut down the computer for the night. That said, when it's deadline time, everything changes radically!

3)You’ve visited Australia for the first time and are stranded in the outback - what books are a must have?

Ooh, well in addition to entire Nicola Marsh entire backlist *grins*...Anything by Suzanne Brockmann. She's my all time favorite addictive author and I currently have the shakes waiting for her next book to come out. Also, I love Stephenie Meyer, Charlaine Harris, Lara Adrian, and Tessa Dare.

4) What’s up next?
My second book, TABLOID AFFAIR, SECRETLY PREGNANT! is a "friends-to-lovers" story scheduled for Nov 2010 release in the UK. I’m currently at work on my third book, (working title: Mergers & Reacquisitions) a "Reunited Lovers" story that I’m hoping to have turned in this month.
Mira Lyn Kelly grew up in the Chicago area and earned her degree in Fine Arts from Loyola University. She met the love of her life while studying abroad in Rome, Italy, only to discover he’d been living right around the corner from her for the previous two years. Having spent her twenties working and playing in the Windy City, she’s now settled with her husband in rural Minnesota where their four beautiful children provide an excess of action, adventure, and entertainment. With writing as her passion and inspiration striking at the darnedest times, Mira can always be found with a notebook at the ready. (More than once she’s been caught by the neighbors, covered in grass clippings, scribbling away atop the compost container!) When she isn’t reading, writing, or running to keep up with the kids, she loves watching movies, blabbing with the girls, and cooking with her husband and friends.
Mira is giving away a signed copy of her current release, WILD FLING OR A WEDDING RING? to one lucky commenter.
Thanks for dropping by, Mira.
(and for taking my backlist with you when you're next stranded in the outback!!!)
I'm away all this week (my first break in 5 years!) but never fear, I've pre-loaded posts for your enjoyment :)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Weekend Book Club: Prom Dates from Hell

I read this on a recommendation from a friend and PROM DATES FROM HELL didn't disappoint.

The author's voice sparkles on every page and I really enjoyed the normality of high school tribulations mixed with a healthy dose of mystery.

Here's the blurb:

Maggie Quinn knew high school was hell, but even she thinks the smell of brimstone is a little out of the ordinary. When she’s the only one to see that something supernatural is stalking the school’s ruling clique, it’s up to Maggie to channel her inner Nancy Drew and ferret out the origin of the ancient evil, before all Hell breaks loose at the Senior Prom.

There are several follow up novels to this one and I'll be looking them up.

I love a novel that can make me smile.

What are you reading this weekend?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The closest I'll get

My hubby always says he wants me to be the next Nora Roberts.

Looks like this is the closest I'll get.

Must say, I was pretty chuffed when Barbara Hannay let me know last week we were in a Swedish anthology with Nora Roberts.

I also chuckled when Barbara pointed out we'd need a magnifying glass to spot our names :)

But they're there. Alongside Nora.
Hubby, eat your heart out!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Release month giveaways

Today I'm guest blogging over at Jennifer Shirk's.

Come visit for a chance to win a signed copy of my current release, THREE TIMES A BRIDESMAID...

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Weekend Book Club: Matched

Thanks to the Book Fairy delivering another lovely package to my door last week, I got to read an ARC of one of BEA's hot YA titles: MATCHED by Ally Condie.
To be released 30th November this year, this is one intriguing book.
Here's the blurb:
In the Society, Officials decide. Who you love. Where you work. When you die.

Cassia has always trusted their choices. It’s barely any price to pay for a long life, the perfect job, the ideal mate. So when her best friend appears on the Matching screen, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is the one . . . until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. Now Cassia is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path no one else has ever dared follow—between perfection and passion.
Dystopia is hot in YA at the moment and this is the first dystopian novel I've read (apart from George Orwell's 1984 in high school, yonks ago!)
(Dystopia: an imaginary place (usually the future of our world) where people lead dehumanized and often fearful lives; where everything is as bad as it possibly can be.) Yes, I had to look it up when I first heard the term bandied around!
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, particularly the skilful way in which the author weaves snippets of the dystopian world throughout. Nothing is overt, the subtlety adding to the nuances threaded through the story.
The developing relationships between Cassia and Xander/Ky keep the reader turning pages to discover what happens next.
And I dare anyone to reach the end and not wonder 'what happens next?'
What are you reading this week?

Friday, June 11, 2010


Here's a snippet of Bryce in THREE TIMES A BRIDESMAID...

Bryce was in his element.
Great party, great food, interesting people, sparkling conversation; and a stunning woman by his side.
Eve chose that moment to enter the room and his gaze zeroed in on her, his gut instantly tightening with longing as he watched her sashay between tables towards him.
She was something else.
He’d dated models and soapie starlets exclusively following the bust-up with Jackie but none of them held a candle to this beautiful woman.
It was so much more than her appearance. Her quiet confidence, her subtle class, combined with a killer brain had him wanting to get to know his faux date a lot better.
Reaching his side, her glossed lips curved in a tentative smile, a smile that tugged on his heartstrings, a smile that insisted he sweep her into his arms and show her exactly how gorgeous she was with a kiss to end all kisses.
But it wasn’t the time or place. Or was it?
She wanted to convince her friends they were dating, what better way than to…
“Whatever you’re thinking, get it out of your mind right now,” she said, the flare of heat in her eyes making a mockery of her words.
“Where’s the fun in that?”
He whipped out her chair, placing a hand in the small of her back to guide her down, not surprised by the slight stiffening.
Eve may have made it clear she didn’t want anything from this dating deal beyond what they’d agreed but her body didn’t lie and right now it was begging him to put their platonic agreement to the test.
“The girls are very impressed.”
“With me?”
“No, with my new Blackberry.” She rolled her eyes as he laughed. “What do you think?”
“I think I’m going to have a lot of fun convincing your friends we’re a couple.”
“You’ve already done a good job so far.”
“Bet I can do better.”
He ran a finger down her bare arm, lingering in the hollow at her elbow, savouring her sharp intake of breath as he continued downward to caress her pulse point, the frantic beating a clear indication he was having the same affect on her as she was on him.
“I think you’ve done enough.”
Her voice sounded shaky but she didn’t move away and emboldened by her nearness, her intoxicating vanilla fragrance so reminiscent of the delicious dessert she’d concocted the other night and the heat simmering between them, he slid an arm around her waist and pulled her flush against him.
“Not nearly enough,” he murmured as his gaze locked on hers, daring her to stop him, hoping like hell she wouldn’t.
“This isn’t part of the deal—”
He kissed her, driven by an all-consuming need to discover how she responded to him as a man, how she felt in his arms, how she tasted.
He’d aimed for a gentle testing kiss, an affectionate kiss between a couple just getting to know each other. However, when she angled her head ever so slightly and parted her lips on a small, satisfied sigh, he lost it.

(And for the Dan McPherson fans out there, Dancing with the Stars is back on soon!)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Borders bestseller!

I'm thrilled that one of my current releases, OVERTIME IN THE BOSS'S BED, has hit the Waldenbooks (Borders group) Top 10 bestseller list this week!

Woo hoo!

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Laws of attraction

Because I'm still thinking about the SATC2 movie...I was always an Aiden fan.
Big was too arrogant, a real player and what he did to her in the first movie...grrrr, more of the same IMHO.

I loved what the writers did by bringing Aiden back in SATC2 and the dilemma/confusion Carrie faced.

This is one of the moral questions my friends and I discussed after the movie.

What would a married woman falling into a rut with a husband who'd rather watch TV than go out do when confronted with a very sexy ex lavishing attention and flirting with her?

I won't tell you what our answers were!!

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Feel-good fun

Yesterday, I went to see Sex and the City 2 with good friends.

Like kids, we'd been looking forward to it for weeks.
And after much logistical planning with child minding and working around times for school pick up, we finally chose the date and time.

For someone who doesn't get to the movies any more (and who's worked like a maniac the last few months) I was craving some serious down time and SATC2 didn't disappoint.

I loved it!

Every sparkly-shoe, fashionista, international-glamour minute of it!

My friends and I laughed out loud throughout and had a lovely Thai lunch afterwards where we discussed the moral questions raised and asked each other 'what would you do?'

For a late-comer to SATC I'm such an addict now. And really, really hoping they'll make another movie.

As for my yearning to visit NYC? Only intensifies with every snippet I see.
One day soon, hopefully!

Monday, June 07, 2010


PURCHASED FOR PLEASURE is out in Holland this month and according to my webmistress, the resourceful Paula Roe, the title translates to PURCHASED WHOPPER.

Considering the magazine senior exec 'buys' the Navy SEAL at a charity auction...ahem...

Fries with that?

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Weekend Book Club: Valiant

I consistently hear Holly Black's name mentioned so bought Valiant last week when I saw it at a book shop.

The 'fairy' mention on the cover hooked me.
After reading Melissa Marr's 'Wicked Lovely', I'm intrigued by fairy books, something I wouldn't normally pick up.

And Valiant has hooked me further.

17 year old Val runs away to NYC to escape a double-edged betrayal and ends up living with a gang of squatters in the city's subway.

What happens next is intriguing and gritty.
And who would've thought trolls could be boyfriend material?

I'm looking forward to reading more from Holly Black.

Friday, June 04, 2010


Writing processes intrigue me.
How writers write.
Do they plot? Fly by the seat of their pants? Write to music? Write in silence? Have some magical trick to make words pour out?
If a writer's most commonly asked question is 'where do you get your ideas from?', a close second would be 'how do you write your books?'
Or more technically, 'how do you plot?'
When I first started writing, I was a plotter.
I played around with character charts, answering questions on my hero and heroine, filling in an art sheet with a basic story outline. It helped me, knowing where I was heading with a story.
Then somewhere along the line I changed.
These days, I'm a pantser.
Don't get me wrong, I still need to do a little pre-writing plotting. I need to know my characters but I focus more on their motivations and what drives them rather than knowing their hobbies and family.
I need to know they'll be in conflict and how, not their favourite car or their star sign.
So I jot down a page or two of motivations and conflict. And off I go. Flying by the seat of my pants. And the ride's exhilirating each and every time!
That said, I'm still intrigued by plotting.
And if I get stuck in the sagging middle or need clarification, I always resort to trusty pen and paper to roughly plot the rest of the story=one sentence to describe what needs to happen in each chapter to the end of the book.
There's something comforting in having those sentences, like signposts guiding me to the end. And it makes me write quicker too.
So back to the methodology of writing.
I've read resource books on plotting, have enjoyed them, but they scare me.
Similarly the index card method and breaking your story into acts with climax points and turning points. Fascinating but scary!
I like the uncertainty of not knowing where my characters will lead me.
I like giving them free rein.
But I swear my inner plotter is tempted by all that structured lining up color coded cards on a wall...
So what works best for you?

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Three Times a Bridesmaid...

If you're in Australia/NZ, THREE TIMES A BRIDESMAID... is on shelves now!

Set in my fabulous home city Melbourne, you'll read about familiar sights like Chapel Street, the Melbourne Aquarium, Albert Park Lake and the CBD.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Triple release month!

Rather surreal but this month I have 3 releases!

In the UK, a re-release of A TRIP WITH THE TYCOON, my RT finalist for Best Harlequin Romance 09.

And in the USA, THREE TIMES A BRIDESMAID... hits shelves along with OVERTIME IN THE BOSS'S BED.

Fancy some flirty reading?
Go grab them!

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Romance diva

I'm a Romance Diva for a day.

Go check out my interview with the Romance Divas, plus book giveaway!