Wednesday, 10 September 2014

down memory lane..

Was trying to explain to my nine year old that when I was in primary school we didn't have computers. It was like trying to explain chaos theory to an ant! I don't often wander down memory lane, but thinking about what life was like for me at nine kept me entertained for quite some time. Here are some differences I found:

1. Mobile phone

If you wanted to talk to someone when you were out and about, this was your only option. Then you had to find one that worked and hope you had enough coins to last the conversation! If someone wanted to talk to YOU when you were out of the house - they waited until you got home! 

2. Computer games

You plugged this monster into your TV then killed the space ships, or made pacman eat everything in sight, or even more exciting - tennis! Oh, the hours I spent hitting a wee white line between two other wee white lines... Good times!

3. Listening to music

My first record was an Elvis Presley Christmas album. I scratched it within five minutes of trying to listen to it! My jungle book album was a favourite until my older sister stood on it and then it was goodbye king of the monkeys... Now we download music to our itty bitty MP3 players. Am I the only person on the planet who's freaked out that they can't SEE their music? I want to hold it, put it in a machine and play it. I miss LPs...

4. Watching TV

I remember fixing the reception on this by thumping it hard. Then there were the coat hanger aerial years...
All that effort to make sure we had access to all THREE channels! 

5. Black and white was cool

Champion the Wonder Horse! LOVED this show when I was a kid. Especially loved the theme song. This was back in the days when, even though we had colour TVs, we didn't mind watching black and white programmes. Now my kids think I'm nuts if I ask them to watch something that doesn't have colour. And if we go see a movie, they only want to come along if it's in 3D.

6. Hong Kong Phooey

Okay this is here for no reason other than I love Hong Kong Phooey. It was only on air for one season in the early 70s, but with repeats I think I watched it for about five years! After all, he is the number one super guy... :)

Right, that's it for my childhood walk down memory lane. It's time to get back to the present and my Invertary series. Goody Two Shoes should be on shelves - virtual and real - in about two weeks!!! (About time, I hear you cry!) :) And book three - Calamity Jean - is currently being written. Hopefully, now I'm well again, Calamity Jean shouldn't take too long to get to you.

Thanks again for all your patience! 

Friday, 5 September 2014

man vs magpie...

My husband's latest obsession is of the bird kind - at least he's moved on from cutting down trees. We couldn't afford to lose anymore buildings! Anyway, back to the bird. There's a magpie on our hill that keeps attacking Hubby. No matter what he does to deter it, the bird keeps coming back.

I don't get this. Almost every animal, and bug, in Australia can kill you, but they warn people about angry birds?!!
Where are the signs warning you about poisonous spiders that hide in your shoes???
(Sorry, I have PTSD from my last trip to Oz!)
I was going to post a movie of the ongoing fight between hubby and the magpie, but I can't get one without camera shake - I laugh so hard. It's pretty clear that the magpie is winning the war. Yesterday, the bird swooped my husband and flew away with his hat. The hat he'd painted with eyes to keep the bird away.

yes, there are eyes on the internet ready for you to print ...
Today, in an escalation, hubby borrowed an air rifle from the neighbour. He's spent the morning stalking the bushes taking pot shots at the bird. Our hill is very steep and pretty barren, my husband is easy to spot. I'm sure I heard the magpie laughing at him. With Hubby's army training it's just a matter of time before he loses the plot completely and I find him in camouflage gear with bits of bush stuck to him. It's definitely war. The entertainment value of that bird alone is priceless, so I'm rooting for the bird!

I've been looking up magpies on the internet - yes, I should be writing - and found that Australia has an epidemic of magpie attacks. Youtube is full of people filming themselves under attack. Big brave Aussies taking on the tiny wee birds. ;) You don't see them harassing the crocodiles like that... Anyway, here's one Aussie guy's solution:

I'm not showing this to my husband.
We have three cats. I can just imagine what Hubby would come up with using my cats and a roll of duct tape...

Okay, enough of this! I need to get back to work. Goody Two Shoes is days away from release. Thanks again to everyone who has been so patient with me while I've been ill this last year. It feels good to be writing again - even if it is about magpies! 

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Why you should read romance novels...

If you aren't already addicted to reading romance, here are 5 reasons why you should be! :)
1. It's cheaper than divorce
Seriously. If your husband is driving you nuts and you want to trade up, then get a book boyfriend! Not only is it a holiday for your brain, but being in happy land with the perfect man for a couple of hours actually makes you less likely to kill your husband in his sleep! :) It's a scientific fact...honest...

A good romance novel will avert this kind of disaster... :)

2. You can't gain weight from it

Unless you stuff your face with chips while you're reading! As far as I can tell there are four things that lift a woman's mood like no other. Chocolate, wine, sex and romance novels. Now the first two lead to wider hips and choices you'd rather forget. The third is dependent on someone else's schedule - usually!  But a romance novel is always available, never increases your hip size and is rarely a choice you will regret!

yes, they look good - but think of your hips! :)

3. Romance novels don't cause nightmares

You are  always guaranteed a happy ending that will put you to sleep with a smile on your face. I used to read a LOT of crime novels and found I was sleeping less and waking up screaming more. Now I sleep more and don't want to wake up from the yummy dreams full of men with perfect abs!

okay, so you choose which image you'd rather have in your head at bed time!

I know which one I would choose!
 (p.s. this is also the reason I watch Arrow!)       

4. You get to be obsessed in a group.
There are more groups for readers of romance than any other genre. More conferences where you can get together and talk about book boyfriends and hot scenes, without people calling the local asylum to come pick you up. More romance authors are readily available to their fans than any other author group - we love to talk to our readers. So the upshot is, not only do you get a great read, you get a community along with it!
 An ebook reader will help hide all those "special" covers that publishers think we love... :)

5. The books are brilliant!

There are more romance writers on the New York Times best selling list than any other genre. Trust me people, these writers know how to write! The quality is high. The happy ending is guaranteed. The heroes are to die for. What else do you need? Get started reading romance today! :)

now available on Amazon for 99 cents

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Everything is story fodder...

Writers always get asked where they get their story ideas and we always think that's an odd question. Stories ideas are everywhere and everyone has them. We all go into work Monday morning full of stories from the weekend. The only difference between writers and non-writers is that we spin ours out until they reach book length! Every experience can be used in a book. But, I've found, the most humiliating ones are the best.

Take my contribution to the Second Chances boxed set - Laura's Big Break. Laura is terrible at riding a bike. She has one disaster after another while on a cycling trip through Holland. Unfortunately, most of what Laura does, I did before her. I was a cycling legend in my husband's home town. In a country where most people learn to cycle before they can walk, I was a source of fascination. Especially for the kids - they'd never seen an adult fall off a bike before.

There's no way I could do this!!
This is because my husband bought me my first ever bike when I was 25.And he didn't just buy me a normal bike. Oh no. He bought a granny bike. Which meant it had no handbrakes, or gears, and you had to cycle backwards to stop the thing. Add to this the fact I am five foot two and all bikes in Holland are made for giants and you have an accident waiting to happen. Not only did I have to remember to cycle backwards to stop, I then had to fall over slightly so my foot could reach the ground! Just let's say I'm not known for my coordination and I never managed to get the hang of this.

Yep. It all looks lovely, until you're in the canal...
My cycling became the stuff of local legend. I was entertainment for the masses. Wherever I went people stopped to watch me wobble by, screaming and squealing, as I balanced miles above the ground. I cycled into the same wall, in front of a busy market, three times. When people stopped laughing they would clap. I also cycled into a canal. My husband had to pull me and the bike out of it. And I got my bike stuck in tramlines in Amsterdam. I screamed as a bell ringing tram aimed for my backside. Some poor guy, who was laughing hysterically, ran into the road and hauled me off the bike, then yanked it from the tram tracks and my life was spared. Again, people clapped. And laughed.

After that, my husband traded my granny bike in for a kid's bike with handbrakes and a very loud horn. As my legs are seriously short, the bike fit perfectly. And it had the added bonus of being bright purple and adorned with streamers.
And don't get me started on finding your bike once you've parked it!!
The moral of this story - apart from the fact Scottish women should not be allowed to cycle in Holland - is that everything in life is fodder for a story. The more I humiliate myself, the more fun my characters have.
And hopefully my readers too.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

On kisses, humiliation and wishing for a do-over…

This is a re-blog of my post on the fab Kiwi Indies site
Why not check out the other blog posts on the site? 
Or you could listen to the books from the Second Chances boxed set being read 
while you play around on facebook! :) Here's the post:

We all have something in the past that won’t let go. It’s that itch you just can’t scratch. Or that niggle in the back of your head that won’t leave you alone. It’s the feeling of something left unfinished. Or worse yet, something that was so humiliating you would pay Satan with your soul for a do-over. Or how about that taste of something you had a long time ago that left you hungry for more?

This is why we need second chances. I have a couple of things I’d like a do-over with. There was my teenage crush, Colin. Poor boy, I trapped him in the school library and declared love to him. Would seriously love to go back in time and wipe that from history. I realise now it wasn’t love, more like the feeling I get now when I really need chocolate. Needless to say, he didn’t have the same need. Knowing what I do now, I’d say his need was more along the lines of, “Run. Run fast and far.”
Best second chance movie ever!!
Then there’s Andy. Andy, Andy, Andy—I feel all soft just thinking about you—sigh… That boy could kiss!! But I was so wrapped up in Colin—even though that relationship was all happening in my head!—that I didn’t give Andy a chance. So here I am twenty odd years later, wondering what Andy can do with his tongue now when he could kiss like a superhero as a teen. Seriously, I still dream about that kiss. None have surpassed it. Andy, if you’re out there, you know who you are, I’m sure my husband would give me a pass to lip lock again…maybe…hopefully…sigh…

The great thing about being a writer—apart from the fact you get to lie in bed reading other people’s books and calling it research—is that you do get a chance to change the past. You just do it through your characters. And if you’re any good at the writing thing, the character doesn't screw up their second chance the way you undoubtedly would if you were given one!

So put your missed romantic opportunities aside for a while and live vicariously through the ones in the Second Chances boxed set. You never know, it might give you some ideas for your own do-over.

Second Chances: 7 Sweet & Sexy Romances in 1 Book

And Andy? Please? A phone call???

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

on my disappearing act and new books...

Hello everyone. No, I haven't dropped off the planet - although it felt like it for a few months! Unfortunately I spent the last couple of months of 2013, and the first few of this year, dealing with illness. I'm on the mend now, so nobody panic! :) Thanks to everyone who got in touch to encourage me while I was ill. And in answer to the emails asking when Goody Two Shoes is coming out - hopefully, soon. Thanks for your patience. I realise it's a long time between books and hope that you'll still want to read my work when the book gets out there!

As for other news. A fab bunch of award winning, and best-selling, Kiwi authors have put together a boxed set of their ebooks - and I'm part of it! It's called Second Chances and is currently available for pre-order on iTunes. For the princely sum of 99 cents, you'll get 7 complete novels. Here's a bit about each of the books:
 buy now on iTunes

In Too Deep — Tracey Alvarez
To save her brother from financial ruin, police diver Piper Harland does the one thing she swore she’d never do—return to the tiny island hometown on Stewart Island where Ryan “West” Westlake crushed her heart. West lost Piper once, but now she’s back for an unexpected six week visit. Maybe he wants her a little bit, but can he fall in love with such a flight risk?

The Playboy’s Redemption — Diana Fraser
James Mackenzie is tired of his shallow lifestyle and wants a family. But before he begins his new life he wants to secure the future of the woman he wronged ten years before. The last thing Susie Henderson needs is her ex lover buying the winery in which she works and threatening her independence. Because how can she trust someone who betrayed her, someone who doesn't even believe in himself?

Laura’s Big Break — Janet Elizabeth Henderson
Laura needs to interview war hero Charlie to keep her job. She'd rather stick a fork in her eye. Charlie jokes that he won't say a word unless Laura comes along on his cycling holiday. Sport phobic Laura has no choice but to agree. It's going to be two weeks of hell in Holland - and that's before Charlie discovers she can't ride a bike!

Dating Daisy — Joanne Hill
When Daisy Miller discovers a new dating show in town, she auditions in the hope of getting promotion for her ailing bookshop. She figured she’d never win. She was wrong. Ancient History Professor Joel Benjamin—the loser boy Daisy once spent a memorable night with—chooses Daisy. But Joel's only on the show as a favour to his best mate and dating Daisy threatens his dream of becoming an Associate Professor.

The Wrong Sister — Kris Pearson
From the 'Wicked in Wellington' series. Fiona Delaporte has an impossible assignment - to care for her newly widowed brother-in-law and his tiny daughter. (The newly widowed tall, dark and delicious brother-in-law she's secretly wanted for five long, frustrating years.) WARNING: Contains one hot man who always gets what he wants - in bed and out.

Return to Totara Park — Shirley Wine
Winsome Grainger left Totara Park vowing never to return. A vow broken when she and her estranged husband, each inherit a half share in the estate. She has had time to regret not telling Jared why she walked out on him, and their marriage... Too late Winsome learns she’s a pawn in a dark and deadly game. A game whose rules she doesn’t know.

His Christmas Present — SerenityWoods
A romantic Christmas novella. Dion Wallace turns up in New Zealand hoping for a quiet break after the stress of his father's betrayal, and maybe also to reconnect with Megan Green, whom he hasn't seen since they met in Prague a year before. Megan has a Christmas present for him - but it's not quite what he was expecting.

Monday, 11 November 2013

how not to diet like a writer...

A few weeks ago I decided to go on a diet. I approached this latest plan like any good writer would and started with research. I went to the library and borrowed every book on dieting that I could find - low fat, low carb, eat for your blood type, only eat soup, fast for two days, the LBD diet... Then I bought a copies of all the latest slimming magazines - so that I was up to date with the latest diet info.

As soon as the kids were in bed, and hubby at work, I sat down to research. As we all know, a well informed person always succeeds - right? Ten minutes into reading I was hungry. Concentrating is hard work. I picked up the phone and ordered a pizza and chocolate cake. I happily munched my way through a meat lovers pizza, while keeping one eye on the latest episode of Castle, and reading through my research.

After my pizza, and research, I came to the conclusion that the worst thing about dieting was deprivation. I didn't want to miss all those foods that I loved. So I made a list. I put everything I love to eat on it - pizza (of course), cake, fudge, chicken Korma, creamy pasta carbonara, bacon and eggs, exotic breads, steaming hot chocolate with cream - you get the idea. The plan was to keep that list pinned to the wall and remind myself that once I'd lost the weight I could indulge again - in moderation of course. I'd read a LOT about moderation during my research. The main thing to tell myself was that foods I loved weren't gone forever, just for a while. I was optimistic.

Then I had another idea. Why not give a proper farewell to all the foods I love and eat them before the diet starts? That way I could get wanting them out of my system and I'd be able to focus on the diet a whole lot better. It was genius. I spent about ten days eating my way through everything on the list - it was a big list. I ticked each item off as I went, feeling very smug that my diet was going so well already. I'd researched everything I needed to know, I was prepared and I was eliminating the temptation of all the foods I craved. Meanwhile, so that I wasn't distracted from my mission, I kept reading the diet books while I ate through my list and I started a spreadsheet for all the low carb/low fat meals I would eat after I got rid of the temptation.
I even dusted off my treadmill and spent hours planning a walking/running programme for me to follow. I worked hard. In my head.

When the ten days were up I had gained 6 pounds. I was so sick of reading diet books that the mere thought of anything to do with a diet made me feel nauseous. And I was so lethargic from all the food I'd eaten that I couldn't step on my treadmill let alone look at it.

I'd like to say I've learned from this experience, but the sad truth is I probably haven't. Part of me STILL believes that my approach was completely logical. Unfortunately, it's the same part of me that's now 6 pounds heavier...