ARRC 2011


It’s Monday morning, the weekend is over, but the buzz still remains.

Yep, ARRC 2011 is finished, but it was a fabulous weekend. The ARRC committee did an incredible job organising the entire event, and I have to say loud and clear, HATS OFF TO THE ENTIRE COMMITTEE!

So, I met some wonderful people there, readers and writers alike. Some new faces, some old…and some old faces bringing along new faces. (Yeah, Lisa, I’m still blushing that both you and your mum read my books. Altho having met your mum now, I’m blushing AND smiling!) I got some old books signed, and some new. And I stupidly left books I REALLY wanted signed at home. (Insert here: Tracey O Hara’s Dark Brethren series.)

Ah, and I have discovered some new-to me-authors, which is brilliant. Lisa Heidke and Christine Darcas both write contemporary (Chic-lit style) romance set in Aussie. Can’t wait to tuck in to their (signed) books. The minute I saw Christine’s book, Spinning Out, I knew I had to read the book. That could be a picture of me on the cover:

Lexxie Couper, Rhian Cahill and myself had a blast sitting on the Erotic Romance panel, with fellow erotic romance authors, Denise Rossetti, Maggie Nash and Cathleen Ross.

And I thoroughly enjoyed sitting on another panel with Erica Hayes (proud author of what her hubby calls the ‘faery porn’ series, Shaowfae Chronicles), Anna Campbell (who NEVER stops talking. No seriously, never!), Shannon Curtis and Helene Young (both of whom are new to me authors, write romantic suspense…and I’m looking forward to reading.)

Now apparently the Paranormal Romance panel Lexxie and Rhian participated in rocked! But I believe things spiraled downhill after Lexxie introduced….wait for it…duck shifters. (Perhaps they can comment on that?)

The book signing was really cool. The part I loved best? Sitting a couple seats away from International best selling author Cindy Gerard, and watching the line of readers anxiously awaiting her autograph twisting way back through the room…as I twiddled my pen with my nothing to do. 😉

The highlight of the weekend had to be the Australian Romance Readers Awards dinner on Sat night.And if you’re wondering why it was the highlight, well, 3 of the Divas were nominated for awards:

Lexxie Couper: for best erotic romance of 2010 for Savage Transformation and Copping A Feel

Rhian Cahill: for best erotic romance of 2010 for Coyote Home and Coyote Wild

Jess Dee: for Best erotic romance of 2010 for Raising the Stakes, and Favorite Australian Romance Writer of 2010.

And lookie here:

Yep. Raising the Stakes won. 😀

Other award winners were Nalini Singh (THREE AWARDS!), Anna Campbell (TWO AWARDS!), Helene Young, Paula Roe and Kandy Shepard. (In fact, Helene Young has  a couple of pics on her blog of the winners if you’re interested.)

Ah, take a look at the books I got to take home:

In all, we had a brilliant time. But, I don’t want to draw this post out much longer for fear of boring you to tears. RC and Mr C have taken TONS of pics. Hopefully, RC will put  a few up on the blog after this.


Five of the Best

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I rarely agree with any of those compilations of the ‘best of’ things, like best songs or best movies. My favorites never seem to be on the list. This is probably why I do the top fives. The writer in me editing someon else’s work. Today I thought I’d throw together five movie lines that never seem to appear on any of those best of lists.

1.         Clint Eastwood in Unforgiven, the scene at the end when he walks into the bar and shoots the place up to avenge his friend who was hanged.

Gene Hackman: “You just shot an unarmed man!”

Clint: “He should have armed himself”

Good point.

2.         Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca. There are so many excellent ones. But the one that’s my personal favourite is a little less sophisticated. Rick is having an argument with a rather large gentleman played by Sydney Greenstreet, during which he states:

“You’re a fat hypocrite!”

That’s telling him.

3.         Billy Crystal in When Harry Met Sally. I know the I’ll have what she’s having line is the most famous of the movie, but I always laugh out loud at the scene at the beginning when Harry first says men and women can’t be friends because a man will always want to sleep with an attractive woman:

Sally: “So you’re saying a man can be friends with a woman he thinks is ugly.”

Harry: “No, he’ll pretty much want to nail her too.”

 That’s men for ya.

4.         Goldfinger the villain in the James Bond movie of the same name. He has just tied 007 to a table and a lazer beam is about to burn off a sensitive part of his anatomy. Bond yells:

“Do you expect me to talk?”

Goldfinger (laughing): “No Mr. Bond, I expect you to die.”

5.         This is extremely low brow, but I love the part in Happy Gilmore when Shooter McGavin is talking tough to Happy:

Shooter: “I eat pieces of shit like you for breakfast.”

Happy: “You eat pieces of shit for breakfast?”

Oh, the wit!


RT 2011 is fast approaching


Not too long to go. In fact, right about now (9.45am), but in ten days time, RC, Lex, Sami and I will be sitting in a car/taxi on the way to the airport, about to fly to LA!

I confess, I have my concerns. Not about RT or flying. (Hell, I cannot wait for RT!) Nope, see, it’s the trip to the airport that worries me. Where are we going to fit all the luggage?

Quite apart from all the regular clothes we have to pack, there’s a ton of other goods accompanying us on our trip. And remember, there are FOUR of us.

Let’s get a check list out, and see what’s coming along:

1) Promo material: postcards, bookmarks, magnets etc. (Oh, and for the record, this excludes the boxes and boxes and boxes of goodies waiting for us at Lila Dubois’s place in LA.)

2) Tim Tams

3) Fancy dress items for all the balls. (Faery wings – you ever tried packing faery wings in a suit case? – mask, vampire  and Bollywood outfits.)

4) Tim Tams

5) Give aways/prizes/auction items: Including books, Tim Tams, Aussie knick knacks, Aussie treats, Tim Tams, tote bags (wait til you see the Diva tote bags Lex had made up), key rings etc.

6) Tim Tams

7) Freddo frogs (Chockies for the uninformed. The staple diet of the 1-8yr old Aussie population.)

8) Tim Tams

9) 10 pairs of shoes each. (What? One for every day we’re away. At least.)

10) Tim Tams

11) Down ski jacket, winter boots and thermal underwear. (Have you seen the temps in LA? Last I checked it was like 10 C — in SPRING. I’m from Sydney. Weather just doesn’t get that cold here!)

12) Tim Tams

13) Fave books for fave authors to sign. (Altho I might skip those and just buy some new ones while I’m there. Much more exciting that way.)

14) Tim Tams

15) Laptops. (Well, we have to check emails, post blogs, find time to write every day…)

16) Tim Tams

17) Books, E-readers and iPads

18) (Only added after publishing this blog, coz there had to be something I forgot!) Our own books!

Hmm, I think I may have covered the basics. In case I’ve left anything out, I’m off shopping today. I intend to walk each one of the five levels of Westfield’s Bondi Junction (shopping center/mall), seeking out that one imperative item I know we’ll forget.

Any suggestions? Any last minute requests? Anything we’ve forgotten? Like, oh I don’t know, Tim Tams maybe?

Let us know. There’s still time. Not much, though. JUST TEN DAYS!



Wacky Wednesday.


Yep, that’s what today is. I woke up this morning and reminded myself it wasn’t Thursday therefore I didn’t have to get Princess & the Pea up early for school. Great, extra hour in bed. THEN I’ve spent the rest of the damn day thinking it’s Thursday and therefore in a mad panic because I’m not ready for the Australian Romance Readers Convention this weekend! I swear, I’m going to forget something…….


It’s Wednesday! That’s an whole 24hrs more than my wacky brain thought I had. Woot! Now I’ve got time to blog, time to write, time to pack (this would be the important one because hanging out at the ARRC naked isn’t a good look), time to gather my promo items and time for the last minute promo things to arrive. Oh, and I’m not even going to mention the housework I can get done. *grin*

And as it’s wacky Wednesday for me I thought I’d share something a little different from my usual. Bondi Beach Boys is my first contracted story with m/m elements. Oh, there’s a female in there too but the guys surprised me before I’d even made it past the first chapter! I honestly had no idea they were ‘together’ until after I wrote the scene. *shakes head* Pesky characters. Anyway, here’s the blurb and an exclusive (unedited) snippet.

Warning – adult content – m/m sex


After weeks of lusting over a couple of hot surfers, Piper Doyle has the opportunity to turn fantasy into reality. There’s just one problem. They’re her new clients. When the men offer a no strings attached affair Piper has a decision to make, one her body made for her weeks ago. She isn’t about to let this once in a lifetime chance to live out her wildest fantasies pass her by.

Samuel Bridges and Nathan Russo share everything. From their home to their business to the occasional woman and even themselves, but they’ve never shared what they feel for Piper before. What starts out as hot sex with a willing woman turns into something neither of them ever expected. It’s hard to believe a woman could fit between them so seamlessly. It’ll be even harder to keep her there.

When physical chemistry becomes emotional entanglement can three individuals untie the strings enough to walk off into the sunset together or will the ropes of society strangle what could be?


Sam scanned the tables searching for the brunette. Disappointment surged when she proved nowhere in sight. He and Nate had gotten used to seeing her these last few weeks. Dropping his bag he leaned his board against the car and knelt down to retrieve the car keys from the bottom of the backpack. Keys in hand he pressed the button to unlock the doors. Nate stepped up next to him and Sam noticed his friend doing exactly what he’d done the minute he’s stepped on the footpath.

“Damn. She’s gone.”

“Yeah,” Sam said as he glanced at his wristwatch. “Looks like we’ve all got somewhere to be this morning.”

“Bugger. If I’d known that I’d have hung around longer before hitting the waves.”

Sam smiled, he’d had the same idea but what he really wanted to do was find out who she was. It had been building for days—weeks—and this morning when they’d pulled up and she’d been walking into the café he’d decided it was time to introduce himself. Another look at his watch told him they didn’t have time to dwell on her early disappearance.

“Tomorrow I think I’ll skip the surf and have a smoothie instead.” He grinned over his board at Nate and tossed him the keys.

His mate snatched the keys out of the air one handed. “Not without me you’re not.”

They locked their boards into the special racks and climbed into the car. Sam pulled on his seatbelt as Nate started the engine, air blasted through the vents, the stale hot gust slammed into his face before the air-con kicked in to cool it. Maybe he should offer to teach her to surf when he talked to her in the morning. No doubt about it, he’d be making a new friend before lunch time tomorrow.

Five minutes of fighting with traffic and they were pulling into the underground garage beneath their house and office. He and Nate ran their business from the first floor of the three-storey refurbished home. Sam had a soft spot in his heart for the place; it had been their second doer-upper. The first had netted them enough profit that turning this one over hadn’t been a necessity and it hadn’t taken much thought for them both to agree it made a good base for their growing business.

Nate parked the car and got out, heading straight for the door leading into the basement and the spiral staircase to the other levels. It was Sam’s day to clean the boards and put them away. By the time he was done and heading upstairs to shower Nate was coming back down in their usual business attire, cargo pants and polo shirt with the company logo over the left-hand breast pocket. The emblem was the only thing they’d requested the new site designer keep, he was looking forward to seeing what the guy had come up with. He was even more looking forward to not having to update the site in the future.

With the company growing it was proving more and more difficult to keep up with all aspects of the business and like some of the actual labour, they were hiring someone else to oversee this part. He’d gotten the recommendation for the designer from the guy they’d sold their last house to, Jeff’s website was brilliant and as far as Sam was concerned it took someone special to make a dentist’s online presence look good.

He tossed the wet towels in the laundry as he strolled passed, he’d throw them in the washer after their meeting. Walking into the bedroom he headed straight for the bathroom. Stripping out of his shorts he stepped into the large shower recess. The supersized area was his biggest indulgence, multiple jets angled to hit every part of the body, an alcove with a bench seat and a glass wall that looked out over the ocean, all pleasure for the senses. Sam reached for the soap and lathered it in his hands.

“Need some help with that?” Nate asked.

“I’d love some but we don’t have time for that right now.” Sam eyed the bulge in the front of Nate’s pants. “What’s got you all hot and bothered?”

“The brunette.”

Sam arched a brow. “Really?”

Nate laughed. “Like I don’t know you’ve been jerking off to the image of her in your head for the last few weeks.”

Sighing, Sam turned under the spray to rinse off. His friend was right, the little brunette had gotten under his skin in a big way. And considering he didn’t even know her name, never mind the colour of her eyes, he was probably in big trouble.

“Don’t stress it. We’re in the same boat.” Nate held out a towel. “Tomorrow we get to know her.”

“Tomorrow.” Sam agreed, the word a promise and a prayer.

Nate left Sam to get dressed and made his way back to their office. He’d already rung Burt, their foreman and knew the Baker Street job was on schedule, he’d spoken to Emily at the bank about their overdraft and he’d cleared the conference table ready for the meeting with the web designer. All that was left to do was start the coffee. Sam walked in, his blond hair still damp from the shower and Nate glanced at the clock to see if they had time for a quickie. They had thirty minutes until show time, plenty to get his rocks off and remove the raw edge he was currently riding on.

“Drop your pants.” He basically growled the words as he stalked Sam across the room.

“Like that is it?” Sam smiled at him with that know-it-all grin that always got Nate’s demanding nature riled up.

“Yes. Drop ’em.”

Sam turned his back, pushed his hips back pointing his arse at Nate and with a wiggle said, “Make me.”

Nate almost crash tackled him to the ground. In record time he had the button and fly of Sam’s pants undone and the gorgeous cock hiding inside in his hand. He stroked hard, the way he knew Sam liked it. A moan slipped from Sam’s throat and Nate ground his erection into the curve of his friends arse.

“I need….”

“I know.”

Sam broke from his grasp and pushed his pants down. Why was it Sam always knew how to soothe the savage inside of him? They’d been friends long before they’d become lovers and Nate still, to this day, thanked the woman who’d turned them. Fumbling with his belt, he struggled to control his trembling fingers.

“Jeez, she’s really got you on edge.” Sam brushed his hands aside and dispensed with Nate’s trousers.


“Good. We’re in the same place then.”

“No offense, but I’m gonna pretend you’re her when I bury my cock in your arse.”

“None taken.” Sam slid a condom down his length sending fire into Nate’s balls and a shudder up his spine. “I’ll be doing the same when I fuck you.”

Nate laughed as he shoved Sam over to the table. “Hold on.”


Bondi Beach Boys – coming soon from Etopia Press

So what did ya think?


A Blast From The Past – Shifting Lust


I’m feeling nostalgic today so I thought I’d share with you a little snippet from my very very first release, Shifting Lust. Now I wrote this a looong time ago (almost six years ago in fact) but I still have a soft spot for the hero, a brooding inter-galactic bounty hunter called Raiven a’Tor.

And just for some fun, I’m going to give away a copy of Shifting Lust to one lucky person. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post during the next 24 hours. Share with us you’re first ever romance book you read if you can remember, the first book you ever wrote or anything else that tickles your fancy. Simple. I’ll draw one comment from the cyber hat in 24 hours time and viola, WINNER!

Anyways, here you go…a little blast from my past…

Book Summary
Two solar years ago, Chamelyon shape-shifter Kyra Issarei fled from the man she loved to save his life. Now held captive as a sexual pawn in an intergalactic battle for supremacy, it is that very man who will defy death to save her life. 

Working as a body-decoy isn’t exactly the safest job in the galaxy, but Kyra hadn’t planned on being deceived by her latest client, Xia, the virgin Princess of the Five Moons. Trapped in the not-so-virginal Princess’s form, Kyra is mistakenly taken hostage by the sadistic Murukhan Warlord Mur’dek, who plans to use the Lunarian princess to further his galactic domination – and satisfy his own sexual appetites. With Xia’s insatiable lust running rampant in her head, Kyra knows she will become an all too willing participant in the Warlord’s brutal seduction. That means she’s in a whole world of danger because when she orgasms, she will briefly revert to her true form. And Mur’dek wants nothing more than to kill Kyra Issarei, last of the Chamelyon shape-shifters.


Kyra Issarei traced her fingers lightly down the princess’s bare arms, the feather-light touch sending a ripple of excitement through her. It was always this way just before a shift. Her fingertips continued their journey of exploration, down long, smooth thighs to bent knees, then back up to a toned flat stomach where a sparkling moon-diamond studded the princess’s navel.

A shiver whispered down Kyra’s spine. Wait, she told herself softly. Wait. It will come. Her body responded with a throb of hot anticipation between her legs. Eager. Impatient.

She looked up into the princess’s beautiful face. Eyes the colour of blue ice regarded her. Warily. That wasn’t surprising. What she and the princess were about to do was the stuff of dreams. Legends.

“It will be fine,” she whispered, listening to her own voice, knowing in just a short moment it wouldn’t sound like hers anymore. “Relax.” Her fingertips worked their way to the princess’s collarbones, neck, temples. “I’m told it is very pleasurable. Like –” Kyra paused. She was about to say “an orgasm,” but the princess wouldn’t know what she meant by the comparison. The Princess of the Five Moon’s royal virginity was famed throughout the six systems. “– like slipping into a bath of Elixia Ambrosia,” she finished instead. Surely the princess would understand that comparison. Only royalty was permitted the sinfully exotic liquid.

Another hot pulse fluttered between her thighs, this time stronger. It’s coming. It’s closer.

“You understand what this means?” Kyra whispered, her question husky. She needed to ask. Before it was too late. “The High Priestess told you what I’m doing?”

“Yes.” The princess’s voice was just as husky. “Cy told me everything.”

“Good.” Kyra drew in a trembling breath, feeling the wave building. So close. She moved her hands quickly, burying them into the princess’s thick, silky hair, the midnight strands slipping between her fingers. The shift! The hot pulse between her thighs was almost unbearable. It had been so long. The shift! The shift! A sharp gasp burst from Kyra’s throat and she threw back her head, her neck and spine arching as the shift began. Oh, Gods of Kaius! The shift!

Faintly she heard the princess cry out, a sound ripe with pleasure and release that bounced around the cavernous Temple of Calis. That must be a first, Kyra thought vaguely. The shift was still occurring and during the change her mind was a tidal pool, filling her with the thoughts and dreams of her client in a rush of emotions and senses that left her gasping, panting and trembling.

Her muscles tensed as the shift rolled over her. Her flesh became liquid, hot and cold, burning, icy, as the change continued. Her limbs became longer, her breasts fuller, heavier, the nipples pinching into rock-hard nubs as the cold temple air kissed them. She rolled her neck, feeling long hair flowing from her close-cropped scalp feather across her bare butt, the sensation like the touch from a lover’s tongue. The end was near; Kyra could sense it in the almost desperate mounting of pleasure rolling through her. The best, however, was yet to come.

Here. I’m open.

She relaxed her mind, preparing for the most exciting but dangerous part of her job. Exquisite stabs of scorching heat burst through her as her mind filled with Princess Xia’s psyche — her id. Without it, the shift would fail and the client would die. Immediately and painfully.

The princess twisted into her personality, burying, seeking. Here she is. It was then, as a rush of hot, powerful lust flooded through her body, Kyra realised she’d been deceived.

She sucked in a breath, staring hard at the panting princess. How has she kept it a secret? Shaking, she removed her hands from the princess’s tousled hair, struggling to control her breaths as the new sensations of Xia’s psyche made themselves known in her mind. Her flesh.

“It’s done!” the princess gasped.

Yes, it was. Kyra looked down at her sweat-slicked body, seeing limbs bearing no resemblance to her own. Feeling a hunger craving to be filled swell in her gut. Her pussy.

“Oh, Gods, I’m free!” the princess cried, joy and elation in her voice as she leapt to her feet.

Kyra stared at the laughing woman. How has she kept such a sexual appetite a secret? “Princess?” She fought to ignore the want surging through her. “How?”

Xia turned, blue eyes no longer wary. Now they were supremely victorious. She knelt before Kyra, hands snaking out so her palms smoothed over Kyra’s swollen breasts. Her fingers pinched at Kyra’s tight nipples in quick, practiced movements, sending molten pleasure to her very core. Oh, Gods!

“Tell anyone, shape-shifter, and I will kill you,” Xia whispered savagely, twisting Kyra’s nipples painfully. A gasp of raw pleasure escaped Kyra’s throat and the princess smiled. “It feels good, doesn’t it? The High Priestess taught me everything.” Her fingers twisted and flicked again, sending another spasm of agonising pleasure through Kyra’s body, flooding her slick pussy with wet heat. “Everything.”

“But, you’re a virgin.” Kyra’s words were just a breath as she fought with the lust roaring through her. Commanding her. Trying to take over.

Fuck her. Lick her pussy. Suck her tits.

“Am I?” The princess raised one dark eyebrow. She leant closer, full open lips lightly brushing Kyra’s mouth. “You tell me, shape-shifter.”

Xia kissed her, tongue hot, wet and insistent. Licking. Flicking. Sharp teeth biting at her lips. The princess’s animal lust — now a powerfully undeniable part of her own consciousness — welled through Kyra, crashing over her. Fuck her, it demanded. She wants it. She wants it all the time. And now, so do you. Fuck her.

She reached out, knotting her fingers in the hair at Xia’s nape and jerking her mouth free of the sweet invasion. She glared at the princess. “This was not part of the deal.”

“What are you complaining about? You got paid.” Blue eyes regarded her. “Besides, I’m sure you’ll find it very… pleasurable.

Kyra went for her gun. Then remembered she was naked. Curse it!

The princess laughed, the sound throaty and far from virginal. “It’s a shame I have to go. The situation is making me very horny. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to fuck a shape-shifter.” Her eyes skimmed over Kyra. “Almost as much as I’ve wondered what it would be like to fuck myself.”

Kyra lunged for Xia’s throat just as a massive explosion shattered the serene stillness of the temple.

Xia stumbled, falling out of her grasp. “Thanks, shape-shifter.” Laughing, she grabbed Kyra’s long jacket from the nearby marble altar and slipped her naked body into the worn, black leather. “Give my fiancé a kiss from me.” She turned, and with only a few steps, disappeared into the darkness of the temple.

Kyra began to follow, but a deafening hollow boom filled the air, followed by a blinding green light. She flung herself to the ground, instantly recognising the cause of the explosion. Fuck! Sub-Alliotic bombs! Gods, no! The Murukhans!

Debris rained all around. Chunks of the temple smashed onto the marble floor. Kyra curled into a ball, doing all she could to protect her naked frame. Through the cacophony of destruction came the sound of trampling feet. Soldiers.

“Here. She’s here.” A harsh, guttural voice rose above the devastation. “I found the princess.”

Kyra raised her head, shielding her eyes against the falling rubble as she squinted toward the voice. Cold dread sank into the pit of her stomach at the sight of four heavily armed Murukhan soldiers running toward her.

Oh, Gods of Kaius. Help me.

Yet, even the sure knowledge of her fate did not stop the hot hunger sweeping through her, swelling her pussy and filling her with uncontrollable lust. She licked her lips. Males.

From the Mouths of Babes


These always help remind me what’s at the core of what we romance writers try to convey.

And some of them are just plain funny. 

‘Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.’
Karl – age 5

‘Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.’
 Chrissy – age 6

‘Love is what makes you smile when you’re tired.’
Terri – age 4

‘Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK.’
Danny – age 7

‘Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.’
 Bobby – age 7

 ‘Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then  he wears it everyday.’ (Awww!)
 Noelle – age 7 

‘Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken.’
Elaine-age 5

‘Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day’
Mary Ann – age 4 

‘I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones.’
Lauren – age 4

‘When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you.’ (a romance writer in the making there :)) 
Karen – age 7

 And my personal favorite:

 ‘When someone loves you, the way they say your name is  different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.’
 Billy – age 4

Hope you’re having a love-filled weekend.


Bless their little hearts


Once a week I go to my kids’ school to help with reading. The younger years have parent-assisted reading groups, where you sit with a group of kids, help them read a book, and then work through some written questions and answers together.

Sounds sweet, huh? Can you just imagine all those little cuties learning to read? Struggling to get their tongues around those difficult to pronounce words, trying to differentiate between ‘were’ and ‘where’ and ‘there’ and ‘their’. Saying ‘th’ instead of ‘s’, and ‘w’ in place of ‘r’.

Adorable, right?


Seriously, after doing this for five years, I can honestly say there is nothing cute or adorable about it.

Don’t believe me? Well, let’s take yesterday’s experience as an example. I had a group of six 6 year olds sitting comfortably on the floor reading. Reading surprisingly well I might add. Until one boy sneezed. That’s all. Just one little sneeze. It didn’t affect him at all. He just continued reading out loud, oblivious to the fact that he now had a long (I’m talking the real six inches long), thick string of slimy, green snot hanging from his nose. And the little dear would have carried on reading quite happily had I not suggested he go find himself a tissue.

So, off he went, jumping to his feet in his eagerness. Unfortunately, the little dear left half the string of snot behind. Left it in a bubbly, slimy pool right at the feet of his adorable little friend. The same little friend who promptly turned green from the sight and began to gag.

So there I am. It’s not yet 9am. My morning coffee is still settling in my stomach, and instead of reading I’m dealing with a pile of snot, a group of squealing kids and one little boy about to throw up.

Adorable, huh?

But you know what? I have to do the early morning reading groups. Because the ones in the afternoon take place after lunch. After the kids have eaten. Now I don’t know what all those kids are given for school lunch, but have you ever heard the expression ‘what goes in, must come out’? It does come out. Trust me. About thirty minutes after lunch is finished. You know all those cute little tushies of theirs? Well, they’re not so cute when they’re spewing forth bursts of foul smelling air!!!

Ah, but it’s not just the physical aspects of reading group that are so endearing. It’s the children’s intelligence as well.

Don’t we all just know our own kids are smarter than Einstein? Each one a veritable little genius?

Newsflash, people. They are not! Seriously? These kids are thick as two bricks.

I know. I sound terrible. I should be banned from reading groups, never allowed to return. But let me throw another example your way.

The youngest kids are given a list of words they need to study over the year and learn by heart. They’re called sight words, basic words you and I wouldn’t think twice about, but I acknowledge, to a new reader they may be tricky. To aid in their learning process, instead of reading books, we hold up flash cards with one of the sight words printed on it. It’s the kids’ task to then identify the word. (Bear in mind, these are the same words they’ve been studying for months. And months. And months.)

So I hold up the first flashcard. It has the letters “T H E” written on it. That’s all. Just three simple letters.

While the rest of the group stares blankly at the card, dear little Jonny takes one look at it, his chest swells with excitement, his eyes pop open, and his hand shoots up into the air. “I know it, I know it,” he cries with joy.

“All right then, little Jonny,” I say, delighted at least one of the kids recognizes it. “Tell me. What is the word?”

Little Jonny is so thrilled to be asked he’s shaking. He can’t get the words out fast enough.  “It’s… It’s… It’s dining room!”

Cue in my patient smile and understanding nod of the head, accompanied by the words. “Almost. Why not try again?”

Comprehension dawns on little Jonny’s sweet face. He knows he’s made a mistake. But that’s okay, because now little Katie has her hand up, and she definitely knows the correct answer.

“It’s not dining room,” she explains patiently to little Jonny. “It’s television!

Ah, yes. Bless their little hearts.

Five years I’ve been doing this, people. Five years!

Hmm, maybe, just maybe, even with all the snot, vomit, smells and ridiculous answers taken into account, I do find them just the teensiest tiniest little bit cute after all…


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