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Directionless

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Am I the only person in the entire world who does not know how to use a GPS/Navigator?

I think I am, and I’m embarrassed to admit it. But last night I had a sleepless night, knowing I would need to use one this morning, and knowing even more I don’t have a clue how.

I’m actually quite excited about today. Australian historical romance author Beverley Eikli is in Sydney, from Melbourne. She’s both a brilliant critique partner and a good friend, and I’ve been looking forward to seeing her.

More than that, she’s just spent three weeks on an extraordinary trip to South Africa. I can’t wait to catch up with her and hear the details.

However, catching up involves getting to the place where she’s staying first. Since that is a good 40 minute drive away, in a part of Sydney I do not know at all, I have to use my husband’s dreaded navigator.

I’m not sure what scares me more. Getting lost, or listening to the nasal voice of Norma (that’s what we named the navigator: Nauseating Norma) barking out instructions and telling me every five minutes or so: “At the next available opportunity, make a U-Turn”.

At least over the years I’ve come to understand Norma and her ways, as nauseating as she may be.

The other day, I was in a strange part of Sydney, desperately trying to get to the city center, with no directions and no map book. I was with my sister, who generously offered to lend me her navigator. Soooo nice of her. I admit. We were in a race against time. I had to get to my nine year old to a party in the next twenty minutes,and it would take roughly that time to get there. I knew the general direction I had to head in, and couldn’t waste precious minutes while my sister entered the address. Putting the car in drive, I headed off, knowing I could key in the address on the way.

Big mistake!

I didn’t know how to key in the address, coz I’d never used her navigator before. Ten minutes later, shaky and lost, I pulled over (in peak hour traffic), and finally worked it out. Meanwhile, my son, sitting in the back, had accessed a GPS on my phone and was happily shouting out directions. (How do 9 yr olds know how to use them and I don’t?) Problem was, Mr 9 had no idea where we were headed, so he’d keyed in the wrong address. (Bless him.)

I finally managed to get the correct address keyed into my sister’s nav, and off we went.

However, my sister’s nav was set to beep, LOUDLY, at every traffic light. When you’re driving in the city center, there are a thousand traffic lights.This translated into a thousand nerve-rattling beeps in the ten minutes we had the navigator on. Coupled with peak hour traffic and the fact that I had not a clue where we were, or where we were headed (we’d put our lives in the hands of the navigator),  I was frazzled.

We got there. Don’t ask me how. I was too busy panicking to take notice. But Mr 9 made the party, and had a fantastic time too. However, the thought of making another unknown journey, so close to the previous one, with nothing but  a navigator to guide me, is scaring the bejeepers out of me.

Luckily the reward at the end will be worth it. Seeing Bev.

Wanna know more about Beverley Eikli?

Visit her website. Or read on for info about her latest release, Lady Farquhar’s Butterfly.

LADY FARQUHAR’S  BUTTERFLY

Falsely branded an adulteress and stripped of her child by her vengeful late husband, Olivia, Lady Farquhar unexpectedly discovers a deep and mutual love with the boy’s guardian, Max Atherton.

But happiness with the kind and amusing Max  is not an option when the secrets of the past return to haunt her.

Blackmailed into a union with her late husband’s confessor, Olivia is unaware of the sinister motives behind the reverend’s desire to make her his wife – or of Max’s efforts to sift fact from fiction in order to proclaim Olivia an honourable woman in the eyes of the world. A woman he can finally, and proudly, claim as his wife.

AVAILABLE FROM:

THE BOOK DEPOSITORY (free worldwide shipping)

AMAZON

WWW.HALEBOOKS.COM

——————

Wish me luck making the journey.

Jess

Savage Transformation AVAILABLE NOW

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Woot!

So it’s out there. It’s live. Is the world ready for shapeshifting Tasmanian Tigers, a feisty Aussie heroine, a gorgeous take-no-prisoners Texan hero and a ruthless hunter with his eye firmly on his prey?

I hope so, cause Savage Transformation is LIVE.
Savage Transformation is the second book in my Savage Australia series. When I first wrote Savage Retribution (a looooong looooong four years ago) this tiny little detective from Sydney made a very small appearance. Detective Jackie Huddart had a secret. She was only on the pages of Savage Retribution for all of about 1 and a half of them, but I knew, knew, there was more to her than she was letting on. I didn’t know what it was, but she was hiding something. Something big.
Here’s Jackie when we first meet her in Savage Retribution
A tiny woman appeared through a massive, white marble archway to his left, her petite, grey-suited frame positively dwarfed by the excess around her. She crossed the floor between the arch and Peter in long, confident strides, the sound of her sensible heels a drum tattoo in the silent house. She drew closer, and Peter made out a smattering of freckles across a pixie-like nose under light brown eyes completely free of make-up. Beside him, Yolanda gave a most inaudible snort. “Dressed by Wal-Mart,” he heard his partner snarl under her breath, German accent thicker than normal.

Peter glared at her and she curled her lip at him.

“Detective Thomas?”

He turned back to the tiny woman and for the first time noticed the Glock in its holster beside her left breast.

You’re slipping. Vischka’s more under your skin that you realise.

“Yeah, I’m Thomas.” He held out his hand. “You’re Huddart?”

Detective Huddart nodded, shaking his hand. “Please, call me Jackie.”

Behind him, he heard Yolanda growl. Low and soft.

Jackie Huddart raised her eyebrows, studying his partner with obvious indifference before seemingly dismissing her altogether. “Did you know your sister was missing, Detective?”

Peter’s chest grew tight. Yes he did. And what had he’d been doing? Fantasizing about a femme fatale like a bad Hollywood gumshoe.

Huddart nodded her head again, obviously not needing an answer. “She’s left you a message upstairs.” Without pausing to see if he followed, she turned and climbed the large staircase dominating the foyer, tiny frame moving up each step with fluid, compact grace.

A hand fell on Peter’s shoulder, followed by Yolanda’s warm breath on his ear. Unreadable blue eyes held his. “Well?”

The contact got his feet moving. In what seemed like three giant steps he stood beside Huddart in a luxurious bathroom twice the size of his own bedroom, towering over her and staring at a message written in some sort of black marker on the wall-to-wall mirror over the sunken bathtub. He swallowed, throat tight and mouth dry.

Det. 45217

Heading Nth

Not hurt

Rex?

Peter read the message again.

“Do you know who Rex is?”

Peter traced the hastily written words on the mirror, recognizing Reggie’s relaxed penmanship. “My sister’s pet lizard,” he answered Huddart. “If anyone called my Area Command and mentioned Rex, Command would know immediately Reggie was somehow involved.”

“Ahh, that explains how Sydney City Dispatch knew the message was from your sister then.” Huddart nodded. “The question mark threw us. We thought it may have been code for something.”

He gave her a quick glance. “Do you know when it was written?”

The petite detective shook her head. “The neighbors across the road contacted us fifty minutes ago. They saw the owner’s XKR Jaguar exit the garage, driven by a male, between the ages of 35 and 40, black hair, Caucasian. They were a little bit suspicious because the owner is bald, in his sixties and apparently in New York.”

The click of six-inch heels on tile announced Yolanda’s arrival. As did the musky scent of her perfume invading Peter’s breath. He turned to her, body wanting to respond to her enigmatic presence. He controlled it. But with far greater effort than it should have required.

A cool, blue unreadable gaze flicked over him before she focused her attention on the mirror. “Kohl?” she asked, although it sounded more like a statement.

Huddart nodded. “Looks that way.”

Peter read the message again. Not hurt.

What did Not hurt mean? Reggie was okay? A willing part of the whole thing? Was he missing something? And what did the mention of her lizard mean? Was she trying to tell him something, or just thinking about everyone else—including the bloody reptile—before herself again? “Do we have a track on the Jag yet?”

“Not yet. Area Command is still trying to contact the owner. He’s proving a little tricky to track down. The car has a GPS based security system but we need the access PIN.” A shadow of sorrow crossed Huddart’s otherwise detached expression. “It shouldn’t be long.” She paused. “Do you know who has your sister?”

Peter’s chest clamped tight. The Irishman? McCoy? He shook his head. “No.”

He turned to see Yolanda’s reaction to his answer.

And found the doorway behind him empty.

“Do you know why someone would abduct her?”

Huddart’s question snapped his attention away from his partner’s unexpected absence. “She’s trodden on some powerful people’s toes.” He shoved his hands into his pockets, stare fixed on Reggie’s message.

Not hurt.

Heading Nth.

“Such as?”

Peter huffed out a sigh. “Anyone who conducts animal testing knows who my sister is. She’s had more than one cosmetic company CEO in—”

Huddart’s cell phone burst into life and, pulling it from her jacket, she held up a pointed finger to Peter: “One moment.”

Can you see what I mean? There was something about the way she made Yolanda prickle that made me wonder just who and what Jackie was. (Those that have read Savage Retribution will know Yolanda had her own secret.)

It took almost two years before Jackie decided to share her secret with me. And boy, what a secret.

Savage Transformation tells of that secret. As well as a few more. And then some. Along the way, there’s lust, desire and danger (this is after all, a Lexxie Couper book *grin*)

After waaaay too many years Savage Transformation releases today at Samhain and is also available on Kindle. But I guess that’s Jackie for you. She’s done a very very good job of keeping secrets 😉

Tuesday’s Teasers

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For our teasers today I ask a few friends to join me. *grin*

Oh my! *drools* I think I’m feeling well and truly teased. How ’bout you?

Rhian

Winner of the Savage Transformation ARC

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Is Meg! Yay, Meg. Let me know where I can send it to you and it’s all yours 🙂

Thank you everyone who came, read and commented.

Only a few hours to go before Savage Transformation is LIVE! Yay!

True Love

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I’ve been thinking of true love lately. One could say, well Lexxie, you’re a romance author, of course you should be thinking of true love. Every day in fact, but that’s not neccessarily the case. When you write romance–and in my case, sometimes violent, aggressive romance–you spend a lot of time thinking about conflict, anger and heartache. There is no HEA if they are HATT (that’s Happy All The Time *grin*) so a romance author will spend quite a bit of time thinking of how her/his characters are to be torn apart, how their internal conflicts will be impacted on by their external conflicts, how dark to make the “dark” moment of the plot, how “mean” to be to the characters on the page. (On a side note, one of my favourite review quotes is “Ms. Couper is not one to hold back in order to make us feel better about how things happen.” It’s true. The twisted side of me obviously decided sometime ago that the characters in my dark erotic books need to suffer a bloody lot before they get their HEA.)

The reason I’ve been thinking about true love of late is probably due to the fact I’ve just celebrated my 11th Wedding Anniversary. And the funny thing about this is the fact very first time I met my (then to-be future) husband I went through two very very clear emotional responses to him. Two responses that now makes me realise he was my true love story from the very beginning.

I’d moved to the big city I now call home from a small country town. I’d moved to study art at university and a guy I’d more or less been in a relationship with (kinda) moved with me. We shared a small apartment (in a platonic understanding) half way between uni campus and his new place of work.

Two days after moving in, I went to visit him at work (he’d left his lunch at home and I was on my way to uni to spend a quiet Saturday in the dark room so I thought I’d drop it in to him). I walked into the store he worked at and was approached by another sales assistant who didn’t know who I was.

This guy…

To this day, I will never forget my reaction to “this guy”. I stood motionless, gazing up into his gorgeous face. He was 6ft 3 at least (I’m 5ft 3), lean with broad shoulders, thick black hair hanging over his forhead in a shaggy tumbled mess, straight thick black eyebrows, irises so dark I couldn’t see their pupils and a strong hawkish nose. I was instantly in lust. I thought he was the most sexy, gorgeous guy I had seen in my entire twenty-two years of life.

I introduced myself, my belly twisting into a nervous, excited little note.

Five minutes later, I walked away from the sexiest, most gorgeous guy I’d ever met thinking “what an arrogant bastard”. He was. And you know what, he still is. But now the words I use to describe “this guy” are “supremely confident”. Two years after meeting him in a store, of hanging out with him and his friends, of helping him with uni assignments and having him help me (he was studying a degree in Industrial Design at the same uni as I) I went on my first, honest-to-goodness date with him. We went and saw “Interview With A Vampire” and despite never taking my eyes off the screen I can’t remember a thing about that movie. Four years after that first real date, we got married.

We’ve been through some up and downs, but on the night of our wedding anniversary (last Saturday) my husband and I talked about why we made it to 11 years when so many of our friends and family said we wouldn’t. Y’know what we realised. Even after seventeen years of knowing each other and fifteen years of being in a relationship, we still like being with each other. We still like each others company. We still enjoy each other on every level. We still laugh together, get upset about the same things together, get angry about the same things, get angry at each other about the same things. We still worried about the same things. We are very very different in personality (he’s black and white, I’m all sorts of gray), we have different approaches to every day life (he’s a perfectionist organisationalist, I’m unorganised and way too laid back) and at times we have different philosophies on raising our daughters but we compliment each other so well we’re lost without the other.

When I think of true love, I don’t think of a blissful anger-free existence. I think of my husband, my lover, my best friend and I realise true love is wonderfully real.

Happy Anniversary, Sexy Man. May the next eleven years be as real at the last.

Now, I’ve told you my true love story. You tell me yours. Or even your true love for now story. Go on…you never know what it will make you realise 🙂

Kisses and Giveaways

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I’m doing a chat at the Samhain Cafe in, oh, about half an hour’s time and I am just now organising what I’m going to say. Sigh. Anything could happen over there so if you’re curious, bored or just plain into chatting about books, head on over there for some fun at 9pm US eastern time (11am for Australians).

 I have a few excerpts of my books’ first kiss scenes to offer up, and with that theme in mind I thought I’d post a few pics of some of my favorite movie kiss scenes (because it’s just too hard to post scenes from books, ya know).

I went to see Four Weddings and a Funeral with hubby on our first date, so this one always has sentimental value to me. Plus there’s always a lot of drama inherent in a kiss in the rain.

Who doesn’t love a man in uniform? Especially the whites… yummo.

Had to wait until the sequel for it... talk about tension!

 We had to wait until the sequel for it. Talk about tension!

“You should be kissed and kissed often–by someone who knows how!” Well sure Rhett, shouldn’t we all be???

You don’t see a lot of upside down kisses these days, so this is always worthy of note. What is so sexy about a masked man anyway?

If you want to go in the draw to win a copy or any of my backlist titles or a $10 gift certificate from My Bookstore and More (that’s two separate prizes) all you have to do is leave a comment here or at my blog. Vote for your favorite kiss or tell me the one you wish was on the list and you’ll go into the draw. It’s that simple.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sami

 

 

 

 

 

 

The End… Or is it?

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On Monday evening I wrote the final line of the third novella in the Three Of  A Kind Series, Full House.

Indeed, it was a wonderful moment. I’d somehow, miraculously, managed to get over  5000 words down in one day, and in achieving that remarkable (for me) word count, I was able to finish the book.

Or was I?

See, it’s never that simple. The next day I sat myself down in front of the computer and rewrote the damn book. Well, not the whole book, but I went through every scene meticulously and rewrote bits that simply weren’t up to scratch. Then I sent the book off to be critiqued, knowing full well when the manuscript comes back, I’ll be sitting myself down in front of my computer once again and rewriting parts of the book. (With thanx to Viv Arend.)

So, a few days to breathe until Viv returns the book, right? Uh uh. Wrong.

Too much other stuff needs to be done, including writing that dreaded synopsis! Or in this case, rewriting it. See, I’d already written it twice before, when I subbed a partial of the book to my editor. However, when I settled down to write the full book, the plot veered way off course, the characters got all stubborn and unpredictable, and what had once been a perfectly outlined story morphed into something else altogether.  And of course it bore no resemblance to the synopsis my editor has. So yep, I had to rewrite it.

In case you don’t know this about me (because I’m very quiet and tend not to vocalise my thoughts) (Snort) I hate writing synopses, and I SUCK at them.

But that’s not all. I still had to make up a blurb for the book. While I don’t mind them so much, I find myself struggling with this one. I’ve got the first half down, and I’m really liking it, but the second part is eluding me. I’ve rewritten it, oh, 137 times, and it’s just not working. Plus, the blurb comes attached to a tag line and a warning. The tag line was the first thing I wrote when I started the book, so I had no problem with that. The warning however is driving me nuts. This is as far as I’ve got with it:

Warning: Author driven half mad by synopsis writing. Displaying serious signs of psychotic breakdown. Do not approach and do not try and engage in conversation. Author is considered dangerous.

As for the blurb, well, it’s certainly gonna change in the not too distant future, but here’s what I have down so far. Waddya think?

Full House: The Blurb

A full house beats a pair any day

It’s been six weeks since Trev Greenfield’s casual lover, Max Ashberg left on his business trip. And in that time Trev’s realized two things: he’s crazy, head-over-heels in love with Max, and he’s falling, head-first, for his new housemate, Grace Miles.

Max never expected to miss Trev quite as much as he does. Nor did he expect to develop such strong feelings for the other man. Now all he needs to do is convince Trev they’d make a top pair. Max knows Trev’s looking for a housemate, and he’s about to suggest a perfect candidate: himself. But his plans are shattered when he discovers a woman—with the face of an angel—living in the room he’d tagged as his own.

Grace never meant to fall for her new housemate, but the chemistry between them is too powerful to ignore. And when the chemistry turns to live electricity in the midst of a power failure, there’s no denying the spark that flares between the two of them. There’s also no denying the shock when Grace comes face to face with a strange—and naked— man in her new home.

It’s up to Trev to convince Grace and Max that if they’re open to the most unlikely possibilities, the three of them could be very happy together.

——————-

So now it’s back to the grind for me. I need to polish up the blurb and find a warning, and I need to wait patiently for the critique. And then comes the hardest part of all, subbing it to my editor – and her very red, very active pen!

Next time when I joyfully announce, “I’ve finished the book,” ignore me. Because until I have that final copy, with edits complete and cover in hand, I am nowhere near “The End.”

Jess

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