Because we all need a hug sometimes




Five Awards


It seems lately everyone has been getting nominated for awards.  Oh, let’s just point to the elephant in the room and call it an elephant: all the divas with the notable exception of one (cough, splutter) have been nominated for something. Ah yeah, I AM that notable exception. Oh right well I haven’t actually published anything this past year, that does make it a little difficult to be considered for competitions and such. And my diva counterparts are pretty awesome so what are ya gonna do, huh?

Congratulate them, that’s what. And drink a glass of wine for each nomination (hic). Congrats to Lexxie, Rhian and Jess for being nominated (multiple times) in the Australian Romance Readers Awards. Woohoo! Have fun at the awards dinner later this month… I won’t be there, sniff. No need for sympathy though, I’ll be fine. Where is that wine now?

In honor of my friends’ success, I thought I’d give out a few awards myself. A few people in the news deserve them I think.

  • Charlie Sheen gets the Biting the Hand that Feeds him award for issuing a bizarre public tirade against his hit show’s creator, during wish he wished him ‘nothing but pain’ and theorised that he could destroy the man with his ‘fire breathing fists’. O-kay. Charlie also gets the Pot Calling the Kettle Black award for advising Lindsey Lohan just a couple of weeks ago to  work on her impulse control. Hey kids, just say no to drugs, okay?
  • The Oh Not Another Misogynist Being Rewarded for his Inbred Hatred award goes to Eminem. Hey mate, we get it. You hate hos and bitches, they’re all out ta getcha and should go straight to hell should they, say, NOT LIKE YOU or perhaps ask you to stop taking drugs and hitting them.  Please stop singing songs about burning women in houses, it’s creepy.
  • Steve Martin deserves the Great Unchangeable Face award. I watched Planes Trains and Automobiles the other week and It’s Complicated this week. He looked almost exactly the same in each film. The benefit of going grey young?
  • The award for Internet Ingenuity goes to Samhain Publishing. Their new website’s banner changes every week, not just the book covers, but the whole design. It’s wicked.
  • Sucking up to the Favorite Publisher award? Ah, that would be me. Look at that, I got something after all!


Vote For Your Favorite Samhain Cover!


Well this is all very exciting. The list of monthly Samhain cover art winners for the year have been posted, and now it’s time to vote for your all-round favorite.

The cool thing is you get to cast two votes:

The first for your fave ebook cover


The second for your fave print book cover.

The winners of these will win the SAMMIE for either Best Ebook Cover or Best Print Cover!

How does it work?
You have until March 15 to vote, and here’s where you can cast those votes:

Ebook Poll

Print Poll

Here is the list of nominees (and just to make your choices a little easier, I’ve highlighted a couple of suggestions for you.)


Wicked Sexy by Alexander, R. G.
Little Red and the Wolf by Paige, Alison
Wolf Games by Arend, Vivian
Pas de Deux by Jayde, Fiona
Dragonborne by Ryan, Chandra
I Married a Dragon by Rae, Beverly
Sanctuary Unbound by Rogers, Moira
Bear Necessities by Bell, Dana Marie
What She Wants by Rainey, Anne
Savage Transformation by Couper, Lexxie
Wolf Tracks by Arend, Vivian
Cowgirls Don’t Cry by James, Lorelei
Raising the Stakes by Dee, Jess

Crux Rogers, Moira
Howling for My Baby by Beverly Rae
Brotherhood of Blood by Bianca D’Arc
Dream Machine by Jayne Rylon
Sanctuary by Moira Rogers
Lycan Tides by Wildes, Renee
Mating Games By: Dana Marie Bell
Myla by Moonlight by Inez Kelley
Virtually Hers by Gennita Low
Night is Darkest by Rylon, Jayne
The Sun Sword by Couper, Lexxie
Crossroads by Rogers, Moira
Turn It On by Arend, Vivian

Happy voting


The Big Finale


Sometimes writing a book is a real struggle. Scrap that—at all times, writing a book is a real struggle. Some days it’s a struggle


 authors enjoy in a perverse kind of way. Other days it’s sheer hell. We all at one time or another (and another and another) wonder why in God’s name we continue doing it.

Then we have a day when we actually finish a story, something we’re actually happy with (well, as happy as a writer can ever be with their own work :)). Ah, we think. That’s why we do it.

On Thursday night I finally typed THE END on my current WIP, the culmination of almost two years of writing struggles. There were times I wondered if I’d ever finish anything again, so this completion is particularly special for me. And I’m celebrating it.

Premature, perhaps, because it hasn’t yet been critiqued, let alone submitted or accepted. But I’ve decided to pat myself on the back sooner rather than later. After all, it’s the hard work of writing the damn book that is the real achievement, not publication or rave reviews. Not that we don’t like those things. It’s just that I’ve grown to believe we really ought to congratulate ourselves on doing the work for the work’s sake, and treat everything else as gravy. Otherwise our pride in our writing achievements is dependant on the reaction of others, something we can’t control. Who wants to rely on someone else for their own self-worth?

So what am I going to do? Watch A Single Man, because I’ve wanted to for ages and I haven’t gotten around to it yet, make a dent in my ever-growing TBR pile and buy myself a new ipod. Yes, I’m nerdy even in celebration mode :). Oh okay, I might have a few glasses of wine over the weekend too.

So what do you do when you want to treat yourself?


Sometimes we just need a smile (or two)


It’s been one of those yucky days. You know them. You just feel down for no reason. And whatever happens just makes you feel worse?

Well, I figured, instead of boring you with my woes, I’d find some things to make us all smile.


Has there ever been a funnier cartoon strip than Calvin and Hobbes?

Okay, so Gary Larson comes a close second:

Hope I’ve given you at least one smile today.



The Day To Declare Undying Love…


…so it’s Valentine’s Day. You know, the day all those with love in their heart let it pour out in a blazing show of romance. Unless you’re me of course. I spent the day writing sex, or more to the point, horrotica sex. Which isn’t that romantic when it comes down to it. So I’m a bit glum, a bit blue and a tiny bit hoping and praying my husband’s going to ignore our mutual agreement to NOT do anything for Valentine’s Day and suprise me with a massive bunch of roses. What are the odds of that happening? Unfortunately, bugger all, I suspect.

So, what better way to perk myself (and all you other’s with the Valentine’s Day blues) than to take a look at Valentine’s Day through the infinitely powerful medium of….YouTube.

So, my first exploration is the First Kiss. That very first moment when your lips touch those of the one you love.

And then there’s the kiss you’ve been aching for for so long it seems it’s never going to happen…and then it does!

Then of course, there’s the moments of awkward clumsiness…

Followed by moments of stunned shock…

And then comes the declaration. Those three little words that change everything.

And before you know it, the question is popped…

…and things get all…wet…

Okay, those last two were just an excuse to watch Colin Firth clips, but you get the idea.

Love is, indeed a wonderful thing.

Happy Valentine’s Day, World. May you find your heart warm with love and your arms warm with the one you love.


UPDATE – My husband came home from work with a single long stem red rose for me *sigh* Guess who is getting all romantic tonight? 🙂

The Politics of Prophylactics


I was reading a novel a little while back and was totally jarred out of the story when in the third chapter the couple had unprotected sex. This after they’d met only 24 hours before. The conversational exchange went something like this:

Him: I don’t have protection

Her: It doesn’t matter. I’m safe.

Him: I’m safe too… are you sure?

Her: I have to have you in me—now!

Er, WTF??? You know someone less than a day and a mumbled ‘no I don’t have any of those STD things baby’ is going to pass for protection? Not in my universe.

This whole thing got me thinking about how we handle the issue of contraception/protection in romance novels. I’ve been reading contemporaries for a long time (think back to those harlequin temptations with the yellow back covers and the swooning women in tafetta on the front) and I think the progression has gone something like this:

  1. Not mentioned at all for fear of ruining the fantasy element of the love scene. Protagonists didn’t make love until they’d already established they were in love, anyway.
  2. Protection sometimes mentioned, only ever by the hero. Heroine was too much of a ‘good girl’ to even know what those things were for, let alone to know where to buy them.
  3. A mutual discussion might have taken place, with the hero being ultimately responsible for providing the necessary equipment.
  4. Heroines knew what they were, how to use them and where to buy them. This is probably about the time condom companies started bringing them out in all those pretty colours. 
  5. Present day – unprotected sex is rarely seen in a smart, contemporary romance novel (except when an unplanned for pregnancy is needed as a plot device. Not my favourite plot turn, BTW, but good on you if it’s your thing). Responsibility can be taken by either or both parties.

I’m glad that we’ve reached number five. It always bugged me when I was reading my romances back in the day and the couple got ‘swept away’, particularly if the hero was a bit of a playboy. I thought the heroine was mad to trust him, but that could be me. I’m a ‘go get a blood test and give me the paperwork’ kind of girl.

A few years ago I attended a day long workshop conducted by Jennifer Crusie for hundreds of rapt RWA members. During the course of discussions she mentioned she thought it was a bit skeevy for a guy to carry a condom in his wallet. I had a mini-debate with her about it at the time (I so should not be allowed in the front row of anything). The way I see it, if we’re at point five in the politics of prophylactics, someone has to handle protection. If it’s sleazy for the man to have them on his person, what about if a woman carries them in her purse? Is this totally unacceptable? And if no-one carries them, there’s less of a chance they’ll be used, isn’t there? Isn’t making sure they’re used more important than what someone will think of you being in possession of them?

The things that occupy my thoughts. Anyone else want to weigh in on this vital issue?



A Personal Invitation To You…




You Are Personally and Cordially Invited to Attend

The Soft Opening of Australia’s Newest FIVE-STAR Luxury Resort

BANDICOOT COVE on Bilby Island.

Bring a plus one if you desire.

All expenses and needs will be catered for

as we test our customer services in preparation for the Grand Opening.


The secret’s out. The hottest, sexiest new resort in Australia is about to throw open its doors. And at Bandicoot Cove this means only three things:  luxury, decadence and indulgence.

Located on the lush, beautiful Bilby Island, just off Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, the resort has been making waves among jet-set travelers the world over.

What is it about this magnificent hotel that inspires love, lust and lots and lots of sex?

Could it be the five star opulence, or is it just something about the air out there…?

You can find out on the 23rd of August, when the first book in the Bandicoot Cove Anthology releases.

Exotic Indulgence, a super sexy, red-hot short story, written by Lexxie Couper, Vivian Arend and myself is just the introduction to a series of books that’ll have you reaching for the phone to book your very own tropical escape.

I caution you, read these books only if you have a good man, a good toy or a good block of ice at hand!

EXOTIC INDULGENCE: The Unofficial Blurb (Shh… Don’t tel Viv or Lex that I’m posting it.)

It’s time for an indulgence, or two…or three.

Kylie Sullivan has the world at her feet. Managing Australia’s newest, hottest luxury resort, Bandicoot Cove, is everything she’s ever worked for and everything she’s ever dreamed about. Far as she’s concerned, life doesn’t get any better.

The resort launch is one month away and everything is going as smoothly as can be expected. If she could only handle her personal affairs as easily as her business ones. The three men she’s been seeing on a casual basis make all her sexual fantasies come true, but when push comes to shove, and reality sets in, will she be able to choose just one of them?

Far as Brad, Hemi and Finn are concerned, life has a whole lot of unexpected pleasures in store for Kylie. The woman spends too much damn time on the job. They’re determined to prove that a mixture of work and play will not only make life better, it can make life absolutely perfect. And the only choice they want her to make is to say yes to an ongoing extravagance of passion.

Exotic Indulgence: An Unofficial Excerpt

He looked her dead in the eye. “Would you like me to take them off?”

The question sent her thudding heart slamming into her ribs.

His blue gaze bore into her, sending ribbons of desire spiraling down her spine. Damn it, this was Brad and Hemi’s fault. Because of them she’d developed a taste for gorgeous men. And this bartender extraordinaire was one gorgeous man.

She bit back her smile. Cocky little shit. She was so going to take him up on his challenge. She gave a sharp nod in his direction. “Yes, actually. I would.”

He stepped closer, his eyebrow raised, humor gleaming in his eyes. “Pardon me?”

“I said yes,” Kylie struggled to keep the humor and the lust from her tone. The man possessed more goddamned sex appeal than anyone had a right to own.

Another step. “Yes what?”

“Yes, I want you to take your shorts off.”

The humor vanished, replaced with a spark of fire. “Why?”

Why? Why the hell did he think? His hard, naked, male flesh, visible from the waist up, tempted her until her mouth watered. What would his hard, naked, male flesh below the waist do to her?

Hah, as if she needed to ask. “Because I will not allow insubordination, and dressed like that you are defying my wishes.” Damn, how’d she get her voice to sound so hoity?

He stepped ever closer, and his eyes narrowed, hungry flames visible beneath endlessly long eyelashes. So close now, she caught a scent of his aftershave—a waft of fresh, island air and sensual, sexy man. “Would you rather I pandered to your every wish?”he asked.

God, yes!

“If it means you’ll finally dress correctly, then yes. Absolutely.” The need to lean into him, touch him, was overwhelming. She restrained herself, straightening her shoulders instead, then wished she hadn’t. Her breasts poked into her shirt, and the damned cotton tortured her already aroused nipples. Coupled with the shivers down her spine, she refused to think what Mr. Bartender was seeing. Because he sure as hell was seeing something. His gaze had settled on her chest and a knowing smile touched his lips.

“Baby, I know exactly how to dress to please you.” And with that, he plucked the water from her hand, tossed it aside and kissed her.

Kylie had time only to take a wild breath, her heart jumping erratically, her skin tingling, before surrendering to his attack.

The instant their lips met, she melted. Any semblance of resistance to his charms evaporated as his tongue sought and found entrance to her mouth. She opened up for him, let his tongue take possession of her mouth and his body take possession of her mind.

His lips seduced, his tongue ravaged and his hands roamed freely over her back, up her sides. His fingers whispered over the edge of her breasts, then caressed down to her arse, pulling her into the cradle of his hips, pressing his erection against her belly.

Riotous yearning unfurled in her chest. Goose bumps erupted over her skin, and wet heat flooded her pussy.

Here and now she was his. Only his. Just like she had been last night. And three nights before that. And—

He tore his mouth from hers with a soft growl. “Kylie, fuck. You drive me crazy.”

She moaned. “Don’t stop kissing me. Please.”

“H-have to. Have to get rid of your shirt, feel your skin.” His fingers tangled with her buttons, tormenting her breasts beneath.

She couldn’t wait, couldn’t stand the cool air brushing her lips. Not when she ached for him, craved him. Grabbing his cheeks to steady his head, she crushed her mouth to his, demanding the kiss he’d refused. He fed it to her. Deliciously. Even as he slipped one button after the other through their holes, he opened up to her, allowing her to feast on his mouth, his tongue, his lips. Feasting right back.


Exotic Indulgence releases alongside Viv’s book, Paradise Found on the 23rd of Aug, at Samhain Publishing.

Lexxie’s book, Tropical Sin relases two weeks later on Sept the 6th.

And my novella, Island Idyll releases on the 23rd of of Sep.

We’re looking forward to spending lots of time with you under that Queensland sunshine…



Wednesday’s words.


Lexxie hinted at a little project her and I have going last week. She even gave you a little snippet of her part of it. Now it’s my turn. Truth Or Dare is, as Lexxie said, going to be out sometime later in the year but I figured you guys deserved a little sneak peek. It’s unedited but I think you’ll get the idea. Enjoy. Oh, and if you’re under 18 SCRAM!


Even now, sitting out under the stars every nerve was on high alert. Heated blood pumped through his veins and filled his cock. The driving pulse a beat of sexual need he hadn’t experience in a very long time. He wanted nothing more than to strip Miki out of her flimsy dress, toss her over the table and fuck her senseless. His imagination conjured up images to torture him further—Grant thrusting between her sweet cherry lips while he drove himself deep into her tight cunt.

A shuddered vibrated down his spine and his balls drew up into his body pushing pre-cum from his straining cock. Dayne couldn’t hold back the groan and the rough noise slipped past his lips to echo in the quite pre-dawn hours.

“Are you alright?” Miki laid her hand on his arm.

Dayne froze in place, just that simple touch enough to push him to breaking point. Miki had no idea what he was thinking, what he was feeling. What he wanted to do to her. With her. With Grant. She would probably run screaming into the night if she knew how close she was to being assaulted. And that’s what he was afraid of. He wanted her so badly that he wouldn’t be gentle, couldn’t be.

“Miki, you need to remove your hand from Dayne’s arm.” Grant leaned forward.

“What? Why?” she turned to look at his friend.

“Because if you don’t he’s gonna lose control and I’m not sure I can stop him if he does.”

“Lose control? I don’t understand, Grant.”

She turned her confused gaze his way and Dayne wanted nothing more than to pull her into his arms and tell her it would all be okay. But he couldn’t make that promise when he had no idea if things would be fine. If there was any hope of that happening he had to come clean. Needed to tell her the truth of what he wanted—what they wanted. And when he did she just might dare to take a chance.

Dayne stood, dislodging Miki’s hand as he did. He took a step away and drew in a deep breath. This was it, do or die. Truth and dare.

“Miki, I’m on a short fuse where you’re concerned. I’ve always wanted you, I’ve never hidden that fact but now the want is more potent, more adult and if you touch me again I’m afraid I’ll snap and not be able to hold anything back.” Her eyes widened as he spoke and her hands shook as she twisted them together in her lap but she didn’t run. “It’s time for our own game of Truth or Dare, Miki.”


So, what do you think?


Sexy Or Not (The Colin Firth Edition…)


You know it was coming, didn’t you?

1/ Colin. Just Colin. What can I say? He’s smiling. His hair is wispy. He’s wearing a timeless suit and black tie. Is he sexy?

2/ Colin. The King’s Speech Colin. He’s looking very regal. Very imposing. But is he sexy? Hmmm, I’m not sure. Better take a look at some more piccies, yes?

3/ Colin. I’m-relaxed-and-happy Colin. Oh, that smile. Damn, I could lose myself in that smile.

4/ Colin. I’ve-just-won-an-award Colin. Yes, you did win an award, Mr. Firth. The award for being one of my biggest inspirations.

5/ Colin. Is-that-a-devilish-smirk Colin.

6/ Colin. *sigh*

Okay, you probably noticed I kinda stopped making comments as to why this man should be considered sexy. There’s not much I can say is there. He IS sexy and, as you’ve probably worked out by now, this Sexy Or Not edition was just a blatant excuse for me to go searching for new Colin piccies on Google. Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Just to show you how damn much Colin Firth has influenced my heroes, here’s a little snippet from Copping A Feel, my erotic rom-com from Ellora’s Cave. (Note the heroine’s name – Darcy *grin*)


She started, her heart racing, her stare jerking to the framed poster for the BBC’s Pride and Prejudice hanging above her bed. “It’s a classic,” she murmured, her throat tight. She looked at the image of Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy, the epitome of the alpha romantic hero—handsome, arrogant, dominating, rent vulnerable by the one woman he fell in love with.

Arrogant. Dominating.


She closed her eyes, the image of the actor cast as her favorite fictional character replaced by an image of Jarrod St. James, his lopsided grin cocky, his eyes ablaze with undeniable desire.

Oh, Darci, what you’re thinking is lunacy, you know that, don’t you?

Jarrod’s lips moved up the column of her neck with languid intent. “‘In vain, have I struggled’,” he whispered against the sensitive dip beneath her ear. “‘It will not do’.”

The breath left Darci in a groan, the words of Jane Austen’s most famous hero flooding her sex with cream. No, it wasn’t Mr. Darcy’s quote that did it. It was Jarrod. Jarrod saying them, Jarrod knowing them, and knowing what they meant. Jarrod admitting what was between them wasn’t expected nor deniable.

Jarrod touching her, kissing her, holding her.

Jarrod. Just Jarrod.




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