What’s in a Name?


I recently purchased a book I’d been looking forward to reading because I’d heard a lot of good things about it. Erotic menage romance so copious amounts naughty business were bound to occur and I was in the mood for that (it happens). I opened up the book only find the heroine’s name was the same as mine. It was a bit jarring to me because I’m not used to seeing that, but I figured I could go with it, ignore that it made me feel odd for some reason and get on with reading.

Then I turn the page and discover one of the heroes names is the same as… the husband of a really good friend of mine.


I couldn’t read the book. I’ve passed it on to the friend in question who thinks it’s all pretty funny and is going to have a go at reading it. So perhaps it’s just me. I have a weird idiosyncrasy where I can’t read books if the hero’s name is the same as a friend’s husband, my father or one of my brothers. I see that name and I just put ‘em down. I think it must have to do with the theory that as readers we view the heroine as a placeholder for ourselves (placeholder: a theory about the reader’s identification with a character.  Part of a reader’s experience with a book is to “take the place of the heroine” and fall in love with the hero). Who wants to put themselves in the ‘place’ of a woman who’s having sex with a guy whose name is the same as her brother’s? Again, EEEEEEWWWWWW.

I don’t actually read romance novels because I want to imagine myself in that heroine’s place. I read for the overall story, the character development of each person in the book, the underlying issues and to study the interesting dynamics between those two (or three) particular people, because no couple (or trio J) would ever be exactly alike, so it’s interesting every time. These are much the same reasons I write romance too BTW, not to have or create some vicarious fantasy sexual experience. Personally I’m interested in what happens to a person emotionally throughout the story, and sex brings up a lot of emotions so it’s fertile territory for the exploration of inner angst, hopes, dreams, hangups, you name it. Given all that perhaps if I did read a story where the hero’s name was the same as someone very familiar to me in my real life, I could get into it and dismiss that aspect as the pages turned. I don’t know. I gotta say, I don’t try. Eeewww.

What about you? Are there any names that turn you right off a book immediately, hero or heroine’s? Any other little reading quirks you want to share?


Nothing Tastes As Good As Thin Feels


If you’re wondering, that is my new motto.

And it shall remain my motto for the next four months. Or as long as it takes me to lose all this excess weight I am carrying around with me.

I love the motto. Descriptive isn’t it?

Man, I love food. Everything about it. I love biting into something and the flavor explodes on my tongue, and fills my mouth, and all I can think is…


Which kinda explains why I now have to do some serious dieting. So I have begun the arduous journey. Two Saturdays ago, I started Lite n Easy. Know what that is? It’s the easiest way to diet. You get a week’s worth of food – breakfast, lunch, dinner and all your snacks –  delivered to your front door. All you need to do is open it, warm it and eat it

Easy as.

Well, until you’ve been on it for a week, and then you start to think about all the other food available out there.

The roast lamb that the rest of the family is eating. The chocolate that you can’t even look at for fear of diving on it. The ice cream that’s sitting in your freezer, softly singing, “Eat me, eat me. Please, eat me.” Even the fruit cake, that ordinarily you would never have touched with a ten foot pole, starts to look incredibly appetizing.

Uh, if you’re wondering, I’m at that point now. And I swear, I never knew ice cream could sing so sweetly.

But I shall persevere. I shall put cravings aside and stick humbly to my Lite ‘n Easy. Because summer is upon us, and I would like to take my kids to the beach. I would like to run through the waves with them and not be mistaken for a whale beaching itself. (Okay, it’s bad, but not that bad yet.)

So please, wish me luck as I venture forth on this journey. Hopefully, when I see you on the other side, it’ll be a lighter, healthier, happier Jess.


Ah, and one more thing…

No, it has nothing to do with dieting. This is all writing related. I received my cover for Winter Fire yesterday – my novella from the Red Hot Winter Anthology. (Lexxie Couper also has a novella in the antho, called Triple Dare. She also recieved her cover, and it is just as stunning as mine. Alas, she is away now, and I have no access to her cover, so can only post mine.) What do you think?

I know. It’s GORGEOUS!!!


My Favourite Couple: A Down Under Divas Guest Blog by Tez Miller


Over the next few months I’m going to randomly open the Diva floor to a guest blogger. You’ll never know who it’ll be until Sunday night, but let me assure you, you’ll never be disappointed. To begin this fine new tradition, let me introduce Tez Miller.

I met Tez at the very first ARRC in Melbourne last year and since then have stalked her…err…befriended her online via Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads. She is an awesome Aussie (even if she’s a Melbournian *grin*) and she has an awesome blog where she writes some of the best (and wittiest) reviews I’ve read.

Please make her feel welcome.

Oh, and a little contest, just because. To tie in with Tez’s sci-fi(ish) theme, I’m going to give away a copy of the entire Lexxie Couper Spaceport ebook series (that’s FOUR books, boys and girls). All you gotta do is tell us (and Tez) who your favourite fictional romantic couple is and why. The winner will be announced twenty-four hours from now.

And now, on to Tez…

I’m not big on romance; I prefer it as a subplot at best. Yet I was asked to guest-blog here at Down Under Divas. Is there method to Lexxie Couper’s madness? 😉

Relationships in all their various forms are intriguing. Tension is the key to character interaction. You think once the book is over, the couple never has any issues? Not if they were real! Childcare, in-laws, crummy jobs, mortgages, broken-down cars, money troubles, addictions…

You actually like this, Tezzy? All this dread, despair, and depression? Well, I don’t like living it, but relationship problems make for more interesting fiction. Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to introduce you to my favourite couple of all-time: Meet Futurama‘s Lurr and Ndnd, Rulers of the Planet Omicron Persei 8.

Whether they’re demanding the rest of a Single Female Lawyer episode, preparing to eat a human, or arguing about aphrodisiacs, this pair is always awesome, and it’s all down to their witty banter. In short, they’re bitchy to one another. They call each other out on their shiz. They don’t suppress their thoughts and emotions – they put ’em out there.

In my favourite episode, “Spanish Fry”, we learn that Lurr and Ndnd just don’t fancy each other anymore, though they try. Lurr even acquires what he’s heard is Human Horn, an aphrodisiac, until he’s informed of the lower horn. He’s all set to mutilate human lad Fry, who suggests our Omicronian overlords work on their issues first. Lurr doesn’t think there’s a problem, but his wife thinks he’s not as sweet as he used to be. Of course, Lurr claims he was never sweet…

The two are Happy for Now at the end of the episode, but the tension and bitching is the drawcard. You know shows where there’s a lot of sexual tension and it’s awesome, but once they actually get together viewers lose interest? Being happy just isn’t tense, isn’t conflicting.

So let your fictional couples fight after they’re supposedly HEA. I’m sure the Down Under Divas can come up with some sharp barbs for their characters – after all, there’s nothing more Aussie than sledging 😉 Unleash the bitch in fiction, and your stories will be better off for it. It would be un-Australian not to 😉

Tez Miller
Reader. Reviewer. Blogger.
Urban Fantasy & Futuristic

Oh hell, just post man pics


Was going to do a lot of things this weekend, including thinking up a really ingenious post for the Diva’s blog. Unfortunately, my back is playing up as it likes to do sometimes. Serious nerve pinching muscle spasms all day yesterday, which makes doing the school run and looking after a toddler mighty fun :(. Anyway, sitting at the computer is still extremely uncomfortable, so I’m going to do a lazy post with man pics. Well, everyone likes man pics, right? I’ve just started typing the second draft of my firefighter menage spectacular, so I thought I’d go with the theme and post the pics I’ve been using for inspiration.

What a way to cool off...


Save me! Save me!


Anyone for a shower?



Double trouble

I’m feeling very inspired to go write more now, despite being in agony. Better than painkillers, these guys 🙂

Have a great weekend!


FeverCon Fever hits this Down Under Diva


Well color me excited.

And please, help me give Zina Lynch (Reader, Heatwaver and friend) a big hug for making me a part of FeverCon this year.

Yep, I was miles away, oceans away, in Australia, when FeverCon took place. But Zina (bless her) made sure I didn’t miss any of it. She and I both Love Karen Marie Moning, and when I heard Zina was going  to Fevercon, I may have expressed a little envy. (Okay, so I threw a hissy fit and bawled like a baby with jealousy, but let’s just skip that part.)

Then Zina made me even more envious (read: bloody freaking jealous) telling me Gena Showalter and Kresley Cole were going to be there too. Hello? Stick the knife in a little deeper why don’t you?

Three of my favorite authors, together in one room, and me, half a world away. Does not seem fair, does it?

So you can imagine my excitement, when yesterday I opened an email from Zina to find these pics attached. Ready for them? Here we go:

Yep, that is Karen Marie Moning, holding up a sign that says… Ahem…

“Hello Jess

Diva Down Under!”

Oh, and those two gorgeous ladies? Uh huh, Kresley Cole and Gena Showalter, holding up the sign. FOR ME!

This here is Zina (God love her) and KMM’s hubby, Neil Dover. He’s a singer and made the album Bloodrush. He’s also making an all new album for the release of Shadowfever.

(Did you notice his hat?)

This here is Phil Gegante. He’s an actor – and the voice behind many of KMM’s books. (Oh, and did you notice his hat? It’s there specially to look more Down Underish – just for me. :D)


Ahh, KMM’s inspiration for Jericho Barrons, actor Eric Etebari. Mmmm. Nice. And the riding crop in the first pic? Apparently he’s holding it up just for me. 😉

And this one, just to make me more jealous, Zina and fellow Fever fans at the conference.

Yep, I love all of these pics. And yes, it’s probably a good thing I wasn’t at FeverCon, coz in all likelihood, I would have become a feverish stalker of KMM, Gena and Kresley.

Zina – if you’re reading this: THANK YOU!!!


Tuesday’s Teaser


Lot’s going on in my life right now so the writing has taken a backseat for a bit but I have pulled myself away long enough to tease you all. *grin*


“Stop.” Ryan stood up straight but Claire’s legs kept their pelvises locked tight.

He reached around behind him to loosen her hold and get his pants off when the worst thing in the world struck him. He didn’t have a condom. His wallet was at home and he never even thought to put one in the pocket of his sweats. Squeezing his eyes shut he threw his head back and groaned.

“What?” Claire’s breathless question brought his head up and he opened his eyes to stare into ones filled with confusion and uncertainty.

“No condom. I never thought….”

She let her legs slip from his hips and with her palms splayed on his chest she shoved him. He stepped back and Claire hopped off the counter to stand in front of him.

“We don’t need a condom.”



Can I Get A Yay?


I was going to blog about Sexpo today, the sex exhibition Jess, Rhian and fellow Aussie author, Maggie Nash attended on Friday just gone, but something has happened to change that. (Besides, Maggie and Jess have done an awesome job of covering the event, so check out their blogs here and here. But be warned, NSFW.)

So, what happened today that made me change my mind about regalling you all with tales from the den of carnal pleasures (aka, Sydney Sexpo)? I signed a new contract this morning.

Little bit of backstory before I tell you about the new contract. I started my professional writing life with erotic sci-fi. I grew up watching Dr Who and Star Trek (and my first crush was on Han Solo) so naturally when I decided to write an erotic romance what better sub-genre to explore than sci-fi. Actually, it was’t even as planned as that. I opened a new Word doc and began writing with no real idea of what was going to come out of my brain. Pretty much all my books are written this way, which can be surprisingly fun or frustratingly annoying. My first ever erotic tale was definitely sci-fi. Shifting Lust is still my best seller at Changeling Press and I have to say, the hero–a brooding, menacing bounty hunter called Raiven a’Tor still has a very special place in my heart.

After that came more sci-fi with elements of paranormal. Then came paranormal all by itself (Savage Retribution, Captive Heat, Death, The Vamp and His Brother to name a few). Then I went back to visit sci-fi again, this time with fantasy elements (the infamous The Sun Sword is that book, which only recently came out in print.) followed by some more sci-fi, this time with a foursome unlike any other (Spaceport: R&R). Never in amongst all that did I dream I would ever write a contemporary erotic rom-com. But I did.

Mid 2009, Mari Carr asked me to be a part of Ellora’s Cave Tempt the Cougar series, a strictly non-paranormal, non-sci-fi series. I was as nervous as all hell, but love Mari sooo damn much I couldn’t say no. Copping A Feel was released August this year and, according to my EC editor (the most fabulous Kelli Collins) it was the best thing I’d ever subbed to her. “Freaking hilarious” I think was the words she used.
Of course, me being me, I didn’t believe her and before I knew it, I was submerged again in the paranormal worlds where wild horny sex happens between non-humans and the fate of the world hangs in the balance (Savage Transformation and Endless Lust). Savage Transformation was released last month and Endless Lust will be coming soon from Ellora’s Cave. But somewhere in amongst all that timeline, my Samhain Editor, (the most wonderful Heidi Moore) threw down a challenge. Write her a menage contemporary erotic romance. And do it in 10 days.

So, I did. I opened a new Word doc, put my fingers on the keys and waited. And a few minutes later I wrote this line…

Joseph Hudson tossed his snowboard aside, threw his goggles over his shoulder and swung a fist at his best mate.

Nine days later, I subbed Triple Dare, a 25,000 word m/f/m erotic rom-com to Heidi. Here’s the unofficial blurb.

Joseph Hudson is serious, determined and phenomenally successful. He isn’t Australia’s Businessman of the year for nothing. So how does he find himself lost on the side of a mountain in the Colorado Rockies in the middle of winter with night fast approaching? Three simple words….I dare you.

Fear isn’t in Rob Thorton’s vocabulary, life is for the taking and Rob uses both hands. Daring his best mate into an impromptu snowboarding trip to the US is just the latest in a lifetime of dares. Besides, Rob has an ulterior motive for the trip. And a plan…

Anna McCarthy has seen plenty of trouble in her job as Park Ranger and nothing spells more trouble than the two Australians on her mountain. Even with all her skills Anna can’t stop her body responding to their smooth Aussie accents or the sexy muscles beneath their ski suits.

Finding themselves in a remote cabin, Anna knows keeping a close eye on them isn’t enough. With a storm raging outside, the temperature in the cabin continues to rise until all bets are off.

After all, who can say no to a dare? Especially a triple dare….

Turns out, Triple Dare was quite good. Good enough for Samhain to include it in their Red Hot Winter Antho coming out January which still totally blows me away. Heidi said it was the best thing I’ve ever written (and she’d contracted four of my books at this stage–none of them contemporary) and demanded I write a sequel. So I did. And this morning, I found a contract for Dare To Love in my inbox.

So what is the point of all this rambling, Lexxie, I hear you say. The point is this. Just cause you think you’re a dyed-in-the-wool one thing, doesn’t mean you are. If you never challenge yourself, you’ll never know what you can do. I never ever thought I’d one day be writing erotic rom-coms, but I’ve written three and have another six bubbling about in my brain. Six non-paranormal, non-sci-fi, non-the-world-is-threatened-and-everything-is-dire erotic rom-coms that just won’t stay in the deep recessess of my mind. A mind I was believe could only write weird, twisted and down-right disturbing.

So, don’t let the fear of not-knowing or the certainty of only knowing the safe stop you. If you want to do something you haven’t tried before–do it. Cause you never know where you’ll end up.

Winner of the Raising The Stakes ARC

Leave a comment

Thank you everyone for your birthday wishes and your advice.

I so appreciated your words. I loved reading ALL of your comments, and am still thinking of ways to start water balloon fights with my kids.

The winner of the ARC of Raising The Stakes is… Maggie.

Congrats to you.

This is what she had to say:

Happy birthday!

I think to aid in the feeling young (and I purposefully have not read any other posts, so I apologize if there are any identical twins), you need only to have the ability to look at the little things with appreciation: beautiful sunsets and mild nights, the way your kids look asleep, and of course having great friends to go out with. I highly suggest making an event of a regular girls night (if you don’t already have one) and have different themes each time: movie night, try a new restaurant night, get mani-pedis night, whatever.

I know those help me, so may you feel every young without ever making the same youthful mistakes!

And that would be way #3: remember the mistakes you made when you were young enough to believe you knew everything :)


Maggie, please contact me at:


and we can sort out the prize.

Congrats again,


Newsflash: Erotic Romance Author Keeps Straight Face


Sometimes it’s funny being an erotic romance author. It’s even more interesting when you keep said second job secret from those you work with at the less interesting first job. And it gets very peculiar when noone at said first job seems to have a mind that works quite like that of an erotic romance author’s (which is to say they don’t work blue).

For example: conversation had at work involving someone in fairly high level position:

Someone else: Hey boss, what did you get your wife for her birthday?  

Boss (with perfectly straight face): A pearl necklace  

Sami: Utter silence. Too busy trying not to choke on birthday morning tea goodies behind concealing hand.

Someone else (no appearance of detecting possible double meaning of boss’s response): A black one or a white one?

Sami: Literally unable to breathe at this point. Pretends great interest in nearby bulletin board and exotic brand of French Onion dip.

Boss: A white one! I’ve never seen a black one.

Someone else: The white ones are the most common ones.

(No kidding)

Sami: manages to swallow French Onion dip laden rice cracker and exit room before smile becomes too obvious.

Later that week Boss (a different boss this time), started talking about how hard it was to get up in his manhole. Dear Lord. If they knew Sami was currently writing scenes involving two firefighters who were leaning toward some bisexual experimentation her workmates would quite possibly choke on their lattes.

Then, to top it all off, Boss, Sami and third party were discussing upcoming roster. Boss said to third party he could start his shift early so he could be home in time for dinner. “You can go home, get undressed and spend some time with your wife.”

Oh yep, the coffee came back out Sami’s nose. She was soundly scolded by boss for taking things the wrong way. Sami insisted there was really only one way to take ‘get undressed and spend some time with your wife’. It is very different from saying ‘get changed and spend some time with your wife’.  (You see how every word choice makes a difference?) Nonetheless the admonishment stood. Sami silently admonishes boss’s weak sense of humour.

I so don’t want these people to find out what I do for a second job.


A birthday present for you


(Note from Jess on the 16th of Oct: Haven’t forgotten about the contest. Will select a winner tomorrow: Sunday)

Yep, it’s my birthday today.

I’m 41.

No, there’s no way to escape it, and yes it makes me feel very, very sad. (Well, except maybe for the thought of presents, which makes me feel lots happier.)

So, how should I celebrate?

Well, that’s an easy one. By giving you a present.

I haven’t had a release of a new book in a looooong time. Which is why I am so excited about my December release of Raising The Stakes.

So excited, I thought I’d give away an ARC to one lucky reader. Anyone interested?

All you need to do is leave a comment on one of two blogs. This one, or International Heat. (I’m feeling a little lazy, so I’m posting identical blogs.)

So what should you comment about? Easy. I’m looking for advice on how to feel younger. And buh-lieve me, I am open to any options. Any.

Be as creative as you like, as fun as you like, as honest as you like.

One lucky winner will receive the ARC of Raising The Stakes.

Now there’s one little problem.

I haven’t yet received my cover art for the book (coz I’m fussy and cover artist Scott Carpenter is probably ready to ring my neck around now.) So the prize winner might have to wait a couple weeks before receiving the ARC. Unless you’re happy to take it coverless, then you can have it ASAP.

Not sure if you want to win it?

Well, have a read through the blurb, and you can decide for yourself.


Play out the hand her way…or fold?

Three of a Kind, Book 2 (The sequel to Going All In)

After four years, Megan Loxley has given up waiting for her best friend, Desmond Reed, to realize she loves him. It’s time to move on. When Des introduces her to his poker buddy, Alex Truman, the instantaneous sparks that flare between them signal her life is about to change forever.

Des could kick himself. How could he have failed to notice the perfect woman was by his side all this time? Now it’s too damn late. And her innocent prodding about why he’s suddenly so distant is only making his hunger for her worse. Then she gets one step too close—and his self-restraint snaps.

Stunned, bewildered, furious, Meg can’t help but respond to the kisses for which she waited so long. God help her, she loves Des. And Alex, too. Immeasurably. Now what?

It may make her the greediest woman alive, but she’s determined to win the next hand— even if she has to change the game a little. First step: state her wildly sexy proposition in a language both men will understand…and hope they’ll stick around and play by her rules.

Warning: If you’re looking for a cool game of poker, you won’t find it here. This novella is so hot the cards are still smoking. The heroine may be new to the game, but she knows exactly how to play her two kings.

Good luck!


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