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Recharging your batteries.

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You know it’s not just our bodies that need recharging. Most of us live busy lives being dragged from one activity to another and we forget that our bodies aren’t the only things to suffer. We try and get to bed early, eat the right food, take our vitamins and any number of other things designed to keep us healthy but that’s only part of the story. It’s often not until our mind start to play tricks on us that we realize we’ve neglected it. Things you would normally remember are completely forgotten, sensible, sound dreams suddenly become all too real nightmares, when someone isn’t where they’re supposed to be the worst scenarios flash through our mind when just days ago we wouldn’t have battered an eye. Straddling the fence between sanity and insanity has never seemed more real. Sure our lives are insane but not that insane. But how do we stop the slide? What do we do to recharge our minds? And what can we do to ward off that fence sitting?

For those of us that are readers we already have the answer. Dive between the pages of a good book and our minds relax as we take a journey of someone else’s making. We love, we laugh, we stress, we play, we do everything the characters in the book do from the safety of our chair. While resting our butt we’re resting our brain, taking a load off from our own reality to play in someone else’s. Who knows, we might even find ourselves in some far off exotic country seeing things we’ve never dreamed of seeing. Falling in love with a handsome millionaire, riding on the back of a bike with the town bad-boy, hooking up with the one that got away, the possibility are endless. Oh, and if the book you’re reading belongs to one of the Down Under Divas the orgasms are endless too. *grin*

So grab a cuppa, take a load off and prop up your feet, pick up a book and lean back. There, now doesn’t that feel better? If you need me I’ll be in the recliner next to you. I’m planning to forget all about dinner, the washing, the vacuuming and have myself a good long ride with a sexy cowboy. *wink*

Oh my. That’s one bad-boy cowboy that can take me on a ride any day.

Rhian

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The Lives I Live (Or Surpising Saturdays)

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So today I’m standing in the kitchen making the fifth tray of choc chip cookies for my six year old’s party tomorrow, and I’m struck by the disparities of my lives. Yes – I did say lives. See, I have two of them.

In my first life, I’m me. Wife, mum, sister, daughter, friend. I bake cookies and cakes and pack party favours for my kids’ parties. I make dinner every night (okay, I organize dinner every night, as all too often we get take out), I make sure school lunches are ready, school uniforms are washed, clothes are clean, the dish washer is stacked. (I’d love to say I make sure the house is spotless, but sadly housework seems to be one of those things that is just beyond my abilities). I’m the one who drags herself out of bed at the crack of dawn to make sure the rest of the household gets up in time for school/work. I’m there dropping kids at school, collecting them afterwards, racing from swimming class to tennis lessons to soccer, overseeing homework, and then generally collapsing into bed every night, just in time to (hopefully) be a good wife.

Then there’s my other life. The life that surprised the heck out of me today when I realised it was indeed mine. It’s the life where I cannot wait to strip people naked and get them to do indescribably erotic things to one another. See, in this life I create romantic worlds of love and sex. And the sex is not limited to a loving couple, a man and woman intent on facing a future of marriage and happy ever afters. Nooo. God forbid this life should focus on the mundane or the normal. See in this life, my characters who seek their happy ever afters have begun to seek it not with one other person, but two.

I’m living a menage life. (If there is such a thing.) No, it’s not real. No, it’s not my secret fantasy, but yes, I adore getting lost in the lives of threesomes. In the dynamics they create which cannot fit the expectations or normalities of happy couples. I love the interaction between three protagonists, between three people who cannot seem to keep their hands off one another. I love how the dynamics change the extraordinary into the perfectly acceptable. Just yesterday I delved into the world of Grace, Trev and Max. Or should that be Trev, Grace and Max? or Max, Grace and Trev? Because seriously, when these three get together, anything goes.

And tonight I found myself wondering, does anyone else have two such separate lives? Is there anyone else out there who makes choc chip cookies for a six year old’s party, while estimating how many orgasms one woman could have with two men, in one scene, without the book or plot becoming unrealistic. I’m curious to know.

I’m also somewhat curious what I’m going to be thinking about as I bake the birthday cake later on.

😀

Jess

I Can’t Think Of Anything To Go With ‘Friday’ Friday

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I know, I know. The subject is lame, but I have the cold from hell and my muse refuses to come play with me when I’m a snot monster, so I Can’t Think Of Anything To Go With ‘Friday’ Friday is what you’re getting.

Well, what you’re actually getting is a question. And I want an honest answer.

If “they” could make a movie of any book you’ve read (doesn’t have to be a romance), what would the book be and who would be the stars?

Mine?

Undead and Unwed, by MaryJanice Davidson. Starring Gwyneth Paltrow as Queen Betsy and the deliciously brooding Clive Owen as Eric Sinclair.

Betsy Taylor turns 30, gets laid off, is killed by an SUV and wakes up dead all in the same week. The vampire community is convinced she’s their prophesied Queen. But she’s not having any of it—she’s got shoes to buy! And now the undead world is being turned upside-down by a Bela Lugosi throwback and her subjects expect her to take care of it! Why didn’t she read the handbook? But her would-be consort, Eric Sinclair, is (annoyingly) ever-present. If only he wasn’t so tall, dark, gorgeous…and undead.




Thursday Thought

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I’m passionate about music—almost as passionate as I am about writing and reading. I’m a rock chic from way back, but I appreciate all types of tunes. I listen to everything from Pink, to Harry Connick Jnr (because he’s soooo cute in that Sandra Bullock movie Hope Floats. Oh Harry, you can build me a house any time), to Aretha Franklin, Powderfinger, and I’ve even been known to dance around the house to The Bee Gees. Yes, it’s attractive that.

As a result I have quite an extensive music collection, which comes in handy when I’m trying to get in touch with my characters. One of the most integral pieces of information I need to know about them is what kind of music they listen to. My hero from Born Again Virgin liked the Eagles and CCR—she liked jazz and soul. Nick from Fijian Fling played guitar himself, and in one scene I have him strumming a cheesy old Roger Miller tune because it suited the vibe of the location and his character. In Sunset Knight, my heroine gets caught by the hero in the opening scene dancing around to Christina Aguliera’s Dirty. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xztA9WtC8xQ&feature=related. You can just imagine those moves. How embarrassing. As for Brody Nash, he was into a mix of Nirvana and old songs. One scene is played out on a sunny day beside his yacht and I always pictured Otis Redding’s Dock of the Bay playing from a tinny radio in the background.

When I need to create a mood for a book I put together a soundtrack, something I can play when I need to switch from mummy/wife/worker mode into writer mode. At the moment I’m putting together a bunch of music that reminds me of heat and isolation, because my book’s set largely in the Australian Outback. Country Rock makes up the bulk of the list, artists like Steve Earl, Sheryl Crow, John Mellencamp and some Bruce Springsteen, because who doesn’t love a little Bruce now and then? He sings a lot of great songs about small home towns, and I’m on Fire has one of the best song lyrics ever written about a man pining for the woman he can never have:

 Sometimes it’s like someone took a knife baby edgy and dull and cut a six inch valley through the middle of my soul.

 I love a good pine.

I take most of the musical allusions I make in my initial book drafts out of the final product. I figure not everyone’s as into music as I am and I don’t want to bore people or pull them out of the story with a pop culture reference that brings them into reality, and out of the romantic fantasy I’m trying to weave around them. But then, when I find them in other authors’ books I love it. In that moment it’s like the book’s creator and I are on the same wavelength, which adds to the experience for me.

So what do you think about it? Do musical/movie/other pop culture references in books add or subtract from your enjoyment as a reader?

Sami

Tuesdays Teasers

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The title says it all doesn’t it? Today I’m going to give you a couple of lines from Doing Logan. I’m working on edits now and will hopefully have a release date in the next few weeks but for now…….

**

“If I come in there, it won’t be for coffee. I’m too old for games so I’ll tell it to you straight. I want you. I’ve always wanted you.” He leaned closer. “And if I come in for coffee I’ll have you.”

**

“Sorry.”

There was no time to wonder what Logan was apologizing for. Her back hit the wall and his mouth slanted over hers. This kiss was nothing like the one in the car. Hot lashes of his tongue had her opening to him. He swept inside, touching, tasting, devouring. Wet velvet ribbons unfurled inside her and rolled out until every inch of her melted against his hard body. With lips, tongue and teeth he ate at her. Consumed her in a fiery lip-lock that incinerated all memory of previous kisses.

**

“Before we go any further you have to know, this isn’t a onetime deal. We do this and it’s the start of something. I won’t be your rebound guy. I’ll be the only guy.”

The fierceness of his final words surprised her. Meredith searched his eyes, for what she didn’t know, but suddenly getting into bed with Logan Foster wasn’t just about sex. And she wasn’t sure she was ready for anything more.

**

How’s that for all stirred up?

RC

Magnificent Monday

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Monday is the day one of the Divas will post an example of something they think is magnificent. It could be anything, from an excerpt from their latest WIP, a movie they’ve seen, a book they’ve read, recipe to make you drool, or some magnificent eye-candy that will also make you drool. Whatever it is, Monday is the day for magnificence here at Down Under Divas and to begin with, we have the very delicious, very delectable, very sexy, very magnificent…Ryan Kwanten.

Now, I’m sure I don’t have to tell you Ryan Kwanten plays the totally sexy, totally clueless hunk Jason Stackhouse on HBO’s True Blood (and if I do have to tell you, you really really need to go out and hire/buy/beg for a copy of True Blood on DVD and watch it immediately). But, did you know Ryan Kwanten is an Aussie? Born and bred?

Kwanten was born in Sydney, New South Wales to Eddie Kwanten, a worker at NSW Maritime, and Kris, a lifeline op-shop coordinator.

He is of Dutch ancestry on his father’s side (which is where that rather exotic surname comes from, I’m guessing). Kwanten has two brothers, Mitchell, who is a musician and Lloyd, who is a doctor. He attended Catholic school and I’m pretty damn certain he was the embodiment of original sin even then.

There’s not much more for me to say at this point, because I think Ryan’s magnificence is pretty self-evident so I shall finish the inaugral Magnificent Mondy with some more images of Ryan being…well, magnificent. (On a less shallow front, I’ve heard he is one of the nicest blokes around with a fantastic sense of humour…as just about all Aussies do *grin*)

(NB – I included the last image to a/show you how un-shallow I am by recognising a man can be sexy as sin fully clothed, and b/ show you just how damn sexy as sin Ryan Kwanten is while fully clothed *grin*)

To Australia Or Not To Australia?

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I’m a proud Aussie. Anyone familiar with me has probably worked that out by now. The words “fair dinkum”, “crikey”, “struth”, “bloody hell” and “by jingoes” regularly pepper my conversations. There are some Australians who suffer what is known Down Under as the “cultural cringe” – a distinct distaste for the more Aussie elements of our heritage. I’m not one of them. I grew up in the outback and love who I am. What better way to say someone is not pleasant to look at than to say “Jeez, they’re as ugly as a hat full of a*se-holes!”

Okay, maybe there are better ways, but the Aussie way seems, to me at least, to have more visual kick and really, what is language for than to plant images in the minds of those we talk to, no matter the medium?

Having said that, I find myself in a conundrum. When does my love-affair with my own country become too much for my readers? Four of my books have Australian heroes. They say “fair dinkum” often. I’ve written four books set in Australia (well, five, actually, but one is still looking for a home) and have at least another three planned. Each time I write a story set Down Under I research the location in great detail, visiting it often if I can, spending hours on the net if I can’t (contrary to belief, Australia is a bloody big place. I can not drive to the Outback or the Great Barrier Reef in a day). Every time I begin to write, I fall in love all over again with my home country and want my readers to do so as well.

But should I?

Judging by the lukewarm reception to Baz Luhrman’s “Australia” (which is a beautiful, wonderful film, btw) anything Aussie isn’t necessarily warmly welcomed in the rest of the world. What does this mean for me? Does this mean I should transplant my heroes and heroines to far off distant shores and planets? Should I return to my sci-fi roots?

My very first Samhain release was Savage Retribution, a paranormal romance that sees an Irish werewolf fighting for his life in Sydney, Australia. I had lots of fun writing this book. I wanted to show what Australia and Australians are like from a non-Aussie’s point of view. The heroine, Regan, is an animal rights activist who rescues a wolf from a notorious science lab only to discover the wolf is really a man…well, a werewolf. Suffice to say, she’s a little surprised. More so when said man forces her to join him on a mad dash that takes them from Bondi Beach to the opulent suburbs on Sydney’s North Shore, in an attempt to escape the scientist/werewolf hellbent on destroying them both. There’s lots of Sydney locations, lots of Aussie characters and lots and lots of “bloody hells”, “fair dinkums” and the odd “crikey”.

My next release (and the long overdue sequel to Savage Retribution) is Savage Transformation, which sees a Sydney cop (who is also a shape-shifting Tasmanian Tiger) team up with a Texan secret agent (who is also a dire werewolf) in a rather dangerous and personal attempt to hunt down a psychotic serial killer of paranormal creatures. The novel moves from one side of the small island of Tasmania, Australia’s smallest state situated on the bottom of the country and I had an absolute blast “exploring” the lush rainforest terrain. And of course, there’s still more “bloody hells”, “fair dinkums” and one or two “struths”.

There is a third Savage book rolling around in my head (this one set in the Outback) as well as a sequel to Death, The Vamp and His Brother set in Sydney, but should I set them somewhere else?  Am I alienating my international readers by setting my books in my home country?

Or should I say, to hell with it?

They say writers should write what they love, and I love Australia, I really do. So, I guess that answers my problem, doesn’t it.

To Australia or not to Australia? Well, in the immortal words of Men At Work…I come from the land Down Under… and I’m proud of it *grin*

(Little note from Lexxie: This is a reworked blog post I originally posted on The Romance Studio’s blog waaaaaay back in January 2009. I thought it kinda suitable for the Down Under Divas.)

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