Monday, April 29, 2013

Pre-order up already

I have the best writing friends. They notice things even before I think to look!

The Virginity Mission has the pre-order up already on Amazon and iTunes - and it's not even May!

So if you're into pre-ordering, you can do that now (but don't do my trick and double up!)

I think this is an excuse for the cover again... isn't it? Lily Malone would say yes, so here it is, in large size :)

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sunday Story

Book Cover:  Rough DiamondI've been in a reading binge and read some cracker books, so I thought I'd share them.

Rough Diamond is funny - but it might require a quirky selective Aussie humour judging by some Goodreads reviews :) It's a kind of crime novel with a goofy heroine who gets caught up in something way above her head, and capabilities. I laughed lots but it's also poignant and serious is places too. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Allegiance Sworn (The Light Blade, #3)Allegiance Sworn is the 3rd novel for Kylie Griffin's Light Blade series and I think each book is stronger. This story is more action-packed than the last two, and the characters take a lot of effort to trust one another. The secondary characters are fabulous but the hero and heroine stole my heart.

Rachel Bailey's No Stranger To Scandal has become my favourite Rachel Bailey book but I'm not sure why (don't you hate that?!). I think it's because they should never have gotten together (another forbidden love) but the attraction was too strong to fight - but it wasn't just attraction, Lucy and Hayden matched on so many levels.

PictureBronwyn Stuart's Regency stories are not about the Ton but the "fallen" side of the Regency society (like the bastards, girls who've had a rough life behind closed doors) and I love them. Behind The Courtesan is brilliant. It's gritty and harsh. The main characters, Blake and Sophie, have been through so much, it's going to take a hell of a lot to bring them together - and it does! I couldn't put this down. It's fantastic.

I saw that this story had some horrid reviews... but I don't think they're justified. If you're looking for a pretty Regency story, this isn't it. If you like meaty books, try it.

Mistress to the CrownAnother historical is Isolde Martyn's Mistress to the Crown. This is beautiful. My hubby read and enjoyed it too when he was book-less on holidays - and I think it's the first historical he's ever read.

The Dissolute Duke
And yet another historical, Sophia James' The Dissolute Duke is the end of a series for her and my favourite of the series. This is Lucy Wellingham's story. Lucy is the youngest child with 3 older brothers. She's wild for a Regency society daughter, and this story is so perfect for wild Lucy - it doesn't tame her but curbs her perfectly with the wildest man she could end up with!

And that's my read-a-thon over. Now I better get back to writing!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Phallic Friday - penis envy

A fun post for today - well I hope you find it fun!

This past week I've had the pleasure of the company of my family - my dad, a sister and her 2 kids - Mr 5 and Ms 1.5. I was Mr 5's chosen bath helper and the other night we were in the bathroom and I was trying to get him out of the bath and dry - not an easy feat some nights. Somehow we had a conversation that went something like this -

Mr 5 - I have a penis.
Me - Yes, I know. You're a boy.
Mr 5 - I have a sac too with my testicles.
Me - Yes. Boys have that too.
Mr 5 - You don't have them.
Me - No, I don't.
Mr 5 - They're not much fun to have.
Me - Well, I think they'd be great. You get to pee wherever and whenever you want to.

Conversation got distracted and I can't remember what happened - which seemed the theme for the week.

Next day, Mr 5, Dad and I go out fishing in Dad's tinny (small boat). After a time Mr 5 has to pee. So Dad holds the bucket for Mr 5 to aim at (a cut off milk container, no huge bucket here - the bait was sacrificed for the peeing). I couldn't help myself but point out that for 40 years I had been hanging on to my pee in the fishing boat, while all the boys who fished with us, could just pee into a container while I had to avert my eyes and grinding my teeth with jealousy. Dad laughed. He could hardly remember such occasions but I could rattle them off the top off my head.

Mr 5 realised that having a penis wasn't so bad.

Aunty Cate realised she still had penis envy!

Thursday, April 25, 2013


I'm not a morning person but one day of the year I get up without too much grumbling and head on to the Dawn Service for ANZAC Day. I've been doing this since I was about 12 or so. As I kid I took my dog with me (for protection) and I'd stand quietly in the shadows and pay my respects. It was something I felt very strongly about. My grandfather served in WWII in the Army and his brother served in the Air Force. My Great Uncle had no children and I have inherited his war service medals, which I consider a great honour. I tuck the small band of ribbon into my pocket and think of them both during the service.

And my first book has an Army sergeant as the hero. I wonder if there's something in that?

It's a nice excuse for another look at the cover

Happy ANZAC Day.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Wildlife Wednesday

I'm extending my backyard for the next few weeks and going out to the beach. I'm out of immediate backyard things - but my eyes are open to stock up on more :)

This little guy was at the beach, which is a few blocks from my house. Can you see him camouflaged in the vegetation? (In case you can't find him, look just to the right and up from the middle of the picture and look for a grey stripey lizard looking thing - see him?)

He'd be about 7 cm long, so he's pretty little. I looked up Dragons, Lashtails, Lizards and Geckos and damnit, I couldn't find him. Gosh, story of my life lately! I better start finding things I know, not these cute strange things that shouldn't live here :)

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sunday Story

Rainshadow Road (Friday Harbor, #2)I just read Lisa Kleypas' Rainshadow Road. Have you read it? Someone (on a blog somewhere) listed her as their favourite read, and when I went to the library the book sort of leapt at me. So I read it.

I should admit here that I'm not a great reader of pure romance. I like extra things with my romance (like suspense, raunch, paranormal activity, fantasy words, something).

This story sounds like a typical romance - girl has a screwed up life and is making the best of it, breaks up with loser boyfriend, meets the man on her dreams. The man of her dreams had his own screwed up childhood and is commitment-phobic, but through their struggles and self-belief they come together to live happily ever after.

But there was magic in this story. Not just the mystical magic Lucy, Sam and the house possessed ... but magic in the writing.

Both characters have quirks, and wit and empathy. And the writing beautifully draws out these odd things. Here's a quirky passage from Lucy, reminiscing about the lost loser boyfriend, Kevin.

"...her life was entirely different from how it had been when she woke up that morning. How could she go back to the home that she and Kevin had created together? She couldn't sit at the kitchen table with the wobbly leg that both of them had tried to fix countless times, and listen to the ticking of the vintage black-cat clock with the pendulum tail that Kevin had given her for her twenty-fifth birthday. Their flatware was a jumble of mismatched knives, forks, and spoons from antiques stores. Flatware with wonderful names. They had delighted in finding new treasures--a King Edward fork, a Waltz of Spring spoon. Now every object in that house has just become evidence of another failed relationship. How was she going to face that damning accumulation?"

That is such an incredible paragraph for me. It shows me how much she enjoyed living with Kevin, what they shared, and quirky details that make them unique (a wobbly table, a weird clock, odd cutlery) even though most people would have such things in their house.

There are magical descriptions, quirky sentences, images that paint stunning mind-pictures. It's more than just a story. More than a romance. It's a feast for the mind and the senses. And a great lesson about creating unique characters, showing the story and looking at things differently.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Phallic Friday


That's my topic for today - which doesn't seem much like a Phallic Friday post, does it? Let me explain...

My Dad is visiting. Not quite sure how but we ended up talking about an episode of Can of Worms that he saw, where age, sex, and first base came up (My dad and I have weird conversations). Anyway, the show said kids today have blow jobs as first base. Sex occurrs as young as 14. And these issues were discussed by various people.

As we kept talking, I started thinking that the age thing is a big problem. I can't publish a book where people have sex (well, not described anyway) if they're under 18. But in reality, people are having sex at 16, even as young as 10 or 12. The Virginity Mission has the heroine 21 and a virgin... which is kind of out-dated.

Dad watches Glee, where he says homosexuality, cross-dressing, transgender people, marriage, sex and all is portrayed as normal in a high school. I've no idea what age this is though - are they 16, 18, 21?

Should we be publishing books that have information to suit the age that needs it?

Or maybe it's not needed. Maybe you use text books for information and we don't want pleasure reading to expose us to the reality of sex at 16.

I don't know the answers but it was an interesting discussion.

Do you have any thoughts?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Wildlife Wednesday

Okay, I call these locusts... because they're ugly. But they aren't the Plague Locust - which is even uglier, or maybe it's only when they're in bulk they're uglier - so it could be a grasshopper (but in my mind, grasshoppers are prettier than this thing). I know, I'm totally nuts.

The Australian Museum has lots of information. Here's some -
Grasshoppers, locusts, crickets and katydids belong to a group of insects known as orthopterans (meaning 'straight wings').

Grasshoppers and locusts have a row of pegs like a comb on their back legs. They scrape these pegs against the hard edges of the front wings to make sounds. Crickets and katydids produce sounds by rubbing their wings together. In order to hear these sounds, orthopterans have a tympanum (ear) on each front leg, just below the knee.

Locusts and short-horned grasshoppers belong in the other suborder, Caelifera, and have shorter and more robust antennae.

Locusts and grasshoppers (Suborder Caelifera, Family Acrididae) are very common insects. However, locusts behave differently depending on their numbers. When numbers are low they act as individuals, in the same way as grasshoppers. But when large numbers are present they behave as a group or swarm, causing plagues.

I did a grasshopper collection at uni and I only include pretty grasshoppers. It took many hours wandering aimlessly with my net to catch enough to make the collection - but I can't remember how many that was. All I remember were the hours to collect, then the yelling at me (by my Mum) when jars of grasshoppers filled the back fridge - because I hated using chloroform to kill them and thought freezing to death was more humane (go figure).

Okay, I need the critter to open his wing for good identification - see these photos are just no good. I should be collecting the critters!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Sunday Story

I'm going to talk about me again - cos it's my blog and I can (big grin) and also because I get to use the hot cover again!

The Blurb & Grease & my nightmare 
This is the blurb:
An erotic new adult romance about old insecurities, new beginnings, and the things you can get up to in a tent…

It’s lust at first sight when Mac sees Jason shirtless and sweating on the back of a truck. Jason is the army sergeant assigned to support the six-week scientific expedition that Mac is participating in, and might just be the perfect candidate for another journey of discovery that Mac is desperate to undertake — sex.

Fraternisation between students and staff might be strictly prohibited, but everybody knows fruit always tastes better when it’s forbidden.

When I was in Year 5 (11 or 12 years old), the movie, Grease, came out (yep, I'm old!). My school went as the Year 6 break up (year 5 got to go - I didn't argue, it was a treat!). We must have gone pretty much the week it came out. I loved it.

Some days after I saw it, there was a big kafuffle about it within the Catholic Church (of which my parents were heavily involved, and I went to a Catholic school). It was a monumental moment in my childhood where I was immersed in controversy that I didn't really understand but I tried hard! I mean, I'd seen a sinful movie!!

My Mum had a big discussion with me about the "bad" things in the movie - which I'd laughed at - and I always thought they were the bare bottoms shown early on (I know, as an adult you almost miss this split second shot - but as a kid I saw it!).

Then she explained that the hoo-har was all about the fact that Sandy had to change to be with Danny - and the change wasn't good. Oh, now I got it - she raunched herself up (remember those skin-tight, black pants, the boofy hair, the makeup?) and this was a no-no in my house. 

Okay, so scroll forwards about 10 years (in which I don't ever doll myself up for men, cos that's so not on!), and I watch Grease again. Oh.... did I miss the plot or what!? Rizzo was pregnant? Who knew. I totally missed all those underlying threads about "growing up" and sex that were in the movie. Wow. I could not believe how innocent my 11 year old self was.

So... when I looked at The Virginity Mission after I wrote it, Mac changes to be with Jason. She does the thing she thought she never would (I can't tell you or I'd give away the story!). In writing terms, this is what you're meant to do. But I've done it like Grease, in a way my Mum wouldn't like (lucky she's not here to tell me off!).

I thought it would just sneak by, maybe without anyone noticing or commenting. (I dream!)

And then I read the blurb Escape did for me. OMG! Right there in B&W is my problem, the problem that I wrote, the problem I created all for myself, staring at me, confronting me - 

 everybody knows fruit always tastes better when it’s forbidden

Oh my!

I've done a Grease. My stomach churned as I read it, terrified I'd be shot down in flames by the Catholic church - and then I remembered, oh hell, I will anyway, the book's about sex - unwedded sex! And I'm worried about a tiny forbidden fruit!!

But my Mum will be pleased, I still have a conscience about some things! :) 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Phallic Friday - penis size

I just read an article that prompted this post. Here's the link to the article:

The article says that ANU scientists did research with 105 Canberra women, between 20 and 40 years old, to determine what made a man attractive. They had 53 3D images of naked men for assessment, created using natural variations in size and body shape which they got from an Italian project measuring 3300 young men (why, oh why, did I study soil!?!?!).

The results gave some interesting data - well, that were written up in the newspaper anyway.

  • Women can assess a man as unattractive in 3 seconds flat.
  • Women find tall men with long penises most attractive.
  • Women had a clear preference for men with penises in excess of 13 cm in their flaccid state (penis length varied from 5 cm to 13 cm), which is larger than the penis supported by 95% of the male population.

This has me thinking... how often do you see a flaccid penis if you're not married/living in a relationship with a man?

Maybe I led a sheltered life but I rarely saw flaccid penises... usually they were somewhat aroused by the time my eyes, or hands, were on them. After the event I would have seen them flaccid but my memory would have been of them much bigger.

So, do we really want 13 cm long flaccid penises? Or has this research been skewed because of the flaccid nature?

Don't penises have varying abilities to enlarge? Some smaller sized flaccid penises are actually very impressive when aroused, whereas some larger flaccid penises don't grow that much. Or am I again making assumptions from not enough sample size (if only I'd measured 3300 young Italian men)?

Personally, I have a limit on penis size. You know, some of those hugely endowed porn stars make me wince. If they're too long and/or too thick, my body just goes a little cold and scared. But maybe I'm a chicken!

Anyway, I'm not convinced by this research. I think I'd like to have been a partcipant. Or even a researcher and made the penises all aroused.

Any thoughts on penis size, or this research?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Introducing... The Virginity Mission

An erotic new adult romance about old insecurities, new beginnings, and the things you can get up to in a tent…

It’s lust at first sight when Mac sees Jason shirtless and sweating on the back of a truck. Jason is the army sergeant assigned to support the six-week scientific expedition that Mac is participating in, and might just be the perfect candidate for another journey of discovery that Mac is desperate to undertake sex.

Fraternisation between students and staff might be strictly prohibited, but everybody knows fruit always tastes better when it’s forbidden. 

Coming 1st June from Escape Publishing

Wildlife Wednesday

A Stick Spider. Or that's what's I've known them as since I was a kid. But knowing my great skill at invention, I better make sure that's what normal people call him!!

Oh wow, normal people call it that too - well, according to wikipedia. Here's what wiki says:

"The spider family Deinopidae consists of stick-like elongate spiders that build unusual webs that they suspend between the front legs. When prey approaches, the spider will stretch the net to two or three times its relaxed size and propel itself onto the prey, entangling it in the web. Because of this, they are also called net-casting spiders. Their excellent night-vision adapted posterior median eyes allow them to cast this net over potential prey items. These eyes are so large in comparison to the other six eyes that the spider seems to have only two eyes.
The genus Deinopis is the best known in this family. Spiders in this genus are also called ogre-faced spiders, due to the imagined similarity between their appearance and that of the mythological creature, the ogre. It is distributed nearly worldwide in the tropics, from Australia to Africa and the Americas."

You know what, I've never gone ogling them to see the ogre face :) Know what I'm doing next time?

Have you ever ogled?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A book cover tells...well, forty one thousand words

The book cover can make or break a story, so they say.

I was in my library this morning consciously aware of how my eye skimmed the spines looking for something to pique my interest (today was colour - a blue-green day). Some days a heap of books leap off the library shelf for me, other days (like today) I struggle to be interested in one.

Initially I didn't think e-books had the same effect. But, oh boy, was I put right. In romance, if you use certain male models on your cover, there are readers who "collect" books just for his image. Blows your mind, right? And when you're looking on e-book sites, often my eye is drawn to a cover that's in those "recommended for you" books, other times I don't notice them.

A cover is important to you and your book. It needs to convey what's in all those words you painstakingly wrote and edited. It needs to encapsulate the story in an image. It needs to draw in readers.

And last night I saw my new Escape cover for The Virginity Mission. Oh, my! It's a stunner. I'd be looking at it twice even if it didn't have my name on it. It tells my story in one image. I love it. The cover fairies have excelled.

And hopefully I can show you really soon....

Monday, April 8, 2013

Pre-ordering books

I'm just going to slip into my "reader" hat here.

There's been a lot of talk lately about pre-ordering being good for author sales, etc. And I have this author friend who has a new release and I suddenly thought, "OMG, I haven't got her next book." So I ordered it right on release day.

Two days after ordering it, what happens!?!? I get an email from another online book company I use saying "Your pre-order is coming."

Same damn book!

I pre-ordered it months and months ago - but I forgot!

Now I have two of the same book going to appear in my letterbox on the same day - lucky I have friends with birthdays coming up! LOL

Pre-ordering - great for publishers, authors and those readers who have a memory or who are organised! Not good for my bank balance!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Sunday Story

Today I'm going to leave the first couple of paragraphs of The Virginity Mission, kind of a snak peek, which will be out in June with Escape Publishing. Hope you enjoy the sneak peek!

The Virginity Mission

My eyes are drawn to movement. Someone jumps onto the back of the truck and I blink. Once. Twice. My stomach and pelvic floor collide.
Shoulders loom from a snug khaki singlet that ripples across his stomach as he moves. Camouflage trousers do nothing to disguise the tightly rounded butt as he bends over to grab the first backpack to stow. This military man is all lithe, controlled power. He climbs over the back of the truck holding someone’s gear as if it weighs nothing. Those shoulders are massive bunches of corded strength. His arms aren’t hugely bulging but deliciously defined. A sudden desire to have those arms wrapped tightly around my naked flesh burns my brain. Dear God,  I’ve lost my mind. 
I’m on a scientific expedition. Learning is the key to the next six weeks in the north Queensland rainforest—it’s not a sex tour. I’ve never been to the tropics before and I’m eager to find out everything I can. I’m here to contribute, not drool, although if someone catches my eye I won’t say no. But the army men are here to work and they’re not allowed to fraternise with us. It was mentioned more than a few times in last night’s briefing.
Standing in line while waiting for my gear to get packed into the truck, nothing can stop my eyes returning to the army guy. People around me are talking but it’s only background noise. My attention is otherwise occupied.
His dark, close-cropped hair shines with exertion but he doesn’t break stride. He keeps lugging another piece of gear, piling it into the truck as if it weighs nothing. Each piece packed neatly and effortlessly.
Each movement is fluid. Every muscle bending and flexing in perfect accord. He’s like a sleek black panther—all coiled muscle ready to pounce. It’s so damn sexy I can’t look away. My mouth is drying as I watch and every drop of moisture is heading south.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Phallic Friday - BDSM

BDSM is my topic for the day. I know I've talked about this before but it's on my mind again.

Rachel Kramer Bussel was putting together a Short Short BDSM Submission Erotica Anthology (closed April 1) and I wanted to submit. I was in an earlier publication of hers and I liked the experience. She was easy to work with, kept you informed, and I liked the huge mix of stories she selected for her anthology. So I wrote a piece. Now I wait to hear.

So many BDSM books and stories are written from the submissive's point of view - and that's the view I've taken. But what if I wrote it from the Dominant's point of view? I wonder if that would have given me a better chance at selection (being that there were less of those, not that my writing would improve!).

Being a Dominant is a whole other mindset to being a sub. From the voice of the sub, you can explore their fear of failing, their loss of control, their struggle to bend to the will of another. As a Dominant, it's a whole different mindset to explore. It's questioning how far to push, how much can someone take, reading another person, working out what turns them on, all without showing your fear/concern to the sub. Thinking about it, that sounds a lot more interesting and challenging to write.

If I'm not living a BDSM lifestyle, can I legitimately write about it? I've dabbled in it, so I know a little but from the sub POV. What scares me is that I've read some stories that really jar me because of the "incorrectness" of their interpretation of BDSM. What if I balls it up terribly?

I guess I'll never know until I give it a try. Which is why I started with a short short piece. It may let me know if I can legitimately write in this world. But damn, why didn't I write as the Dom?

Do you have views on writers writing beyond their knowledge/experience? Or any views on BDSM?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Wildlife Wednesday

Okay, so Wildlife Wednesday went crazy last week and I'm too scared to change the planned ones in case they all appear at once (that's me blog scaredy cat!). So for a change, I'm going to do a bit on rainforests just because my June release, The Virginity Mission (VM), is set mostly in a rainforest.

VM is set in North Queensland and closer to launch day I'll have those photos. But today, let me show you where I went just recently - Barrington Tops National Park.

These 3 trees were huge and so close together. I couldn't resist a tree hug and this photo.
I love the layers of tiny things in rainforests.

And how greenery grows on everything.

Lucky I didn't stand still for too long :)

And tree ferns are just beautiful.

But waterfalls are my favourite.