Monday, January 29, 2007

Top Gear

Now I'm not a petrol-head. Cars - take em or leave em! (I won't mention of course I'm in the middle of writing a book about a female Formula One driver - but I didn't pick Formula One because I like cars, just because it's dominated by sexist wankers - yup, I'm sure you're stunned to hear it. Formula One is filled with misogynistic males, and I'm going to give them hell in my next novel!)

Ahem, anyway for an evening of bonding with your signifinant other (without the onerous task of getting nekkid) check out Top Gear at 7.30pm on SBS. It's a car show which reviews top of the range super cars, Aston-Martins, Ferraris, Lotus', Lambourgini. And they're damn sexy. Damn Sexy.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Back to Reality

Well after the excitement of last week it's back to reality in the Nicholas household. The pool is still leaking, the gutters need replacing, someone has left a smelly nappy in the bin, my christmas pile of dirt is turning into a cat toilet, and the dog needs a bath. Beds need to be washed, there is a suspicious sticky patch in the middle of the kitchen floor, Hairy Maclary is going around on the DVD for the thousandth time and I need to think of something for lunch and something for dinner.


But as weeks go, the last one wasn't too bad! Bushfires, book releases, rave reviews, Bugalugs first steps and a sucessful foray into potty training.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

It's Official - Romance is good for you...

Women who read romance novels make love with their partners 74% more often than do non-readers (Psychology Today).

Nuff said really!

My First Review

Just when I thought I was starting to calm down a touch, I get my first review.

Jaymie at Fallen Angel Reviews has given me five angels (out of five)! It'll be up on their website tomorrow night.

Here's what she said...

My favourite line is the last one. Wheeeeee!

Julie Marchant is a woman who doesn’t play, her life is her job. She doesn’t take time for the little things in life, for her it’s all about getting ahead. Julie’s not unhappy; at least she doesn’t feel that she is; she’s just very determined. She thinks that as a woman in a man’s world, she has to be better, faster, and smarter, or they’ll eat her alive. Julie purchases gems from all over the world and because of that, the rich and famous seek her out for her opinion and expertise. It’s at a party thrown by one of these rich and famous people that she meets Mitchell Cartwright. After a night of all-consuming passion, Julie doesn’t hear from Mitch again and her life is never the same.

Mitch’s motto in life is “No Regrets”. So when he runs into Julie again, in a country far from their home, he’s not about to let her get away. He has a bit of guilt for walking out on her without a word, but he’s not going to dwell on that. Instead he intends to remind Julie of how good it was between them. With Laos falling into civil war, Julie and Mitch are trapped and must find a way home. What Mitch does know is that Julie is harboring a secret. Because of their past, she doesn’t trust him with the trouble she’s in. What will happen to their budding relationship if Mitch learns she’s deceived him is anyone’s guess.

Running Scared is an action-packed, thrill ride. From their whirlwind one-night stand to fleeing a country in civil war, Caitlyn Nicholas keeps readers guessing and clamoring for more. Julie is sophisticated, but very lonely. She’s dedicated and loyal, yet she doesn’t trust easily. Mitch is happy with his globe-trotting, bachelor life. He answers to no one and he prefers it that way. Both Mitch and Julie are set in their ways, so reading their power struggle is entertaining and sizzling. I really enjoyed reading Running Scared. The characters are great and the plot is exciting, I didn’t want to put it down. Ms. Nicholas has a way with words. Set in several different countries, the descriptions of customs, the scenery and the people just seem so real. Running Scared is a remarkable book and should not be missed.

What am I doing to celebrate - presently enjoying a tea cappuccino (because the tea vending machine hates me), and later taking a whirl around Woolies in search of nappies, eggs and mayonnaise.

Its a glamorous life.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

I'm Published!!

Hurray! Running Scared went live at midday.

So how on earth did I get to this point?!!

Pregnant with Bugalugs, my second baby, I was exhausted, overwhelmed and depressed. My husband suggested I do some writing, a project just for me. So I set my self a goal, get to Chapter 3 and I can join Romance Australia, a couple of months later, I filled in my application form. So on to the next goal, finish the book and I can enter the Emerald writing competition. I nervously sent the book off, and didn't do too badly in the competition, and I got some great feedback.

After a rejection from Mills and Boon, just for fun I submitted the book to Samhain Publishing, not really thinking that it would get anywhere. After all it was my first attempt at writing and I fully expected to have a draw full of 'practice' manuscripts before I got anywhere. A week after sending it off I received a contract via email. I couldn't believe it!

Linda, my editor, and I have had a heavy year of editing. Running Scared needed a lot of work. I completely tossed out the first chapter and rewrote it, changed pages and pages of description into dialouge, and included several new characters. Linda patiently taught me all about commerical writing, passive voice, and how to punctuate.

And now here it is.


Monday, January 22, 2007

On the verge of Publication

Calm reigns, weather eased, fire under control, hubby home and managed to not fall off roof when cleaning out gutters, kids asleep, pets fed.

Oh yes. And tomorrow I become published!


Slaving away, updating the website...

Bushfires Update

Diana and I are being Very Brave Indeed. At home with the kids, husbands unable to get to us as the roads are all closed, and news just through that the bushfire is heading west, towards us. When Beanie wakes from her nap I'm going to go and stress-out at her house!

The smoke has given me a headache, my throat is sore and my eyes are hurting. Ash is falling in the backyard, next-door is hosing down their house and everyone who is at home is quietly clearing leaves from gutters and peering anxiously at the choppers circling.


I am not good with bushfires. Not good at all. They make me edgy and tetchy and I hate the smoke and the sirens and the endless helicopters. I spend a lot of time staring out the window at the smoke, then worridly doing a lap of the house, only to come back to the window again. Its a pointless waste of time. The fire that is bothering me today is kilometres away and heading east into the National Park. We can't even smell smoke at the moment. But still I go, around the house, then stare out the window.

I think it's my inner drama queen. I hate to admit it, but if I was ever in a real disaster I'd be the one running around the periphery screaming. Of course I'd like to think that my Britishness would kick in, I'd get all stiff upper lippy and nobly sacrifice myself to rescue a puppy. But given that the very sight of the water dumping helicopter reduces me to a nervous wreck, I somehow doubt it.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Fire Weather

We've got fire weather. Forty degree heat and a horrible hot gale. Frankly it may as well be a blizzard for all that we can go outside. The lawn is burnt to a crisp, the liquid amber's leaves are drooping, and all the gum's are shedding their dead branches, mostly onto the part of our roof that is made of tin. Bang, BANG, clunk. Hubby is dying to go outside and play with the swimming pool. The new pump was installed on Friday, after two months with no pump and warm weather, the pool had turned into a primeval bog, seething with mosquito larve which seemed immune to blasts of chlorine. The filter has taken care of them now! Alas it is too hot to even stand on the pavers out there. I was hanging out the clothes, but had to come inside and do some blogging. Far far too hot.

I've been down to Hornsby this morning with Beanie in search of colouring-in books, things to paint and other distractions. We shall be having a cup-cake cooking extravaganza later on as well, and then once the garden is shaded, around 5pm, we'll go outside for a bit of splashing in the paddling pool. They're still predicting a late change, lordy I hope it hurries up.


Friday, January 19, 2007

My mate Wend.

Had an email from my mate Wend this morning. She's an awesome chick! Sometimes she masquarades as a mild mannered librarian, but the rest of the time she spends droving cattle through the high country. Yup. One day shelving books, the next organising hundreds of cows, a dozen dogs and several horses, oh and her husband.

Here's a bit of what she wrote.
After a dry beginning to the year we left Stuartfield with the cattle on Anzac day 2006 reaching Califat in late May and left again heading west in early June. We stayed on the road until the week of the wedding, weaving our way through the Junee, Temora, Young, Cootamundra and West Wyalong areas.

On the Monday following the wedding we started to slowly work our way towards home finally reaching Califat on 15th November. We carted water for the cattle almost the entire time we were away. Early in October we travelled over a stock route contaminated with dumped car batteries, we lost a few cattle and it was necessary to test all of the adult cattle in the mob for lead residue - we blood tested 734 cattle the day after we reached Califat - there is a cut off period for testing for lead residue - we had a day to spare. The $15,000 cost of testing has cleared all but a handful of the mob for sale, those testing positive will be with us for fourteen months.

A few days after testing the mountain cattle left for the trip through Kosiosko National Park and reached Stuartfield on 23rd December. During the bush trip I had a very pleasant 10 days working at the Tumut Shire Library although it meant a juggling act to move the cattle and feed those left at home.
Kinda makes our ongoing swimming pool troubles look a little small and pointless.

Awesome, awesome chick!

Just a reminder that Woolworths is donating all its profits to Drought Relief on 23rd January. Yes I know that they are part of the problem (paying the farmers nothing and charging us the earth), and its all a huge publicity stunt. But at least on that day they'll be doing the right thing.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Running Scared - its finished

Hurray. It's done and dusted! No more changes can be made. I've put the excerpt that will be listed on the Samhain website below. Just ten days to go before the electronic version is available online.

Still can't believe I wrote it!

Running Scared - excerpt

It was much busier outside than it had been earlier. Several other groups sat and chatted at the tables on the lawn. Mitch steered Julie toward a small table tucked away at the side of the lawn, and they sat looking out across the harbour.

The evening breeze had dropped and the still harbour reflected the lights of the city like a mirror.

“So, is that your usual brand of aftershave?” asked Julie. She was usually circumspect when asking personal questions, but the smell was overwhelming. It also broke the silence that was in danger of becoming awkward.

“Believe it or not, there’s a very good reason as to why I’m doused in the cheapest and nastiest of aftershaves. It’s Hope’s fault. She’s my five-year-old niece. It was my birthday last week and according to her mother she chose this for me herself. I couldn’t disappoint her, so I told her it was wonderful and promised to wear it to the ball.”

“But couldn’t you have just said you wore it or something?” Julie asked.

“I would never lie to a five-year-old,” he said in mock offence. “Anyway, I’m staying at my sister’s place, and Hope was helping me get ready. She put it on me herself.”

As Julie listened, she studied his broad, handsome face. His dark eyes glinted in the low light and his short, dirty blond hair fell across his forehead. As he talked and smiled, dimples put in an appearance, softening his high cheekbones and strong jaw.

“And that,” he concluded, “was how I came to be hiding in the shadows earlier. I was just trying to stay downwind of anyone else.”

The champagne sat forgotten on the table. The energy that flickered between them was more potent than any alcohol. Their conversation was casual, but their senses sparked, awareness flowed, unspoken and unacknowledged. They were so absorbed in each other that everything around them simply faded away.

After a while, Mitch reached out and casually twisted the fine hair that floated just behind her ear, gently around his finger. Julie had trouble concentrating. Heat flowered beneath her skin as the sensitive spot tickled and the sensation traveled relentlessly through her body.

Apparently relaxed, Mitch shifted, laid his warm hand along the back of her neck and began to very gently massage just below her ear. She shuddered delicately, unable to focus on anything but his touch. He seemed to ignore the tension between them and continued with his easy banter, chatting about inconsequential things. Julie couldn’t look away from him. There was a message in his eyes, a look of possessive desire that held her spellbound. She bit back a low moan as longing coursed through her.

Feeling Julie tremble slightly as he touched her, Mitch suppressed a victorious smile, confident the evening was destined to end in a very pleasant and satisfying manner. He ignored the slight qualm he felt, refusing to acknowledge the power of his attraction to her made him feel distinctly out of control. Mitch hated to be out of control, especially around women. Brought up in a life of affluence and privilege, he’d become vastly cynical about the type of women who were attracted to wealthy bachelors. He’d purposefully made his own way in the world, leaving his sister to follow his father into the family business. But this still didn’t deter some who saw the income from his trust fund and the fact that one day he’d be the heir to millions.

It was obvious Julie was no gold digger, but her apparently close association with the incredibly wealthy and corrupt Charles Tregaskis puzzled him. “Do you know Mr. Tregaskis well?” he asked, trying not to appear too curious about their relationship. Mitch had heard many things about Charles, none of them good.

She started, a wary expression on her face. “Charles and I have been friends for years,” she replied with a distinct edge in her voice. “Only friends,” she repeated, looking steadily at Mitch as if he ought to be getting the message to back off loud and clear.

He shifted in his seat, aware he’d touched a nerve and curious to see where it led. Julie sounded suspiciously defensive. “I’ve heard some odd rumours about your Mr. Tregaskis recently.” He pushed her just a little.

Julie’s eyes narrowed. “I’m sure I don’t know what you mean,” she said as she rose to make a polite departure.

“Don’t go,” said Mitch, catching her arm. “I’m sorry, I guess you know more about it than me. Anyway, I shouldn’t be passing on rumours.” He brought out his most charming and endearing smile.

“I’m quite aware of Charles’ womanising reputation,” she said archly, but made no move to leave.

“Oh, I wasn’t talking about that,” said Mitch, taken aback. “I just heard some investment scheme he ran was in trouble.”

“I don’t know anything about it.” She relaxed and sat beside him once more. “We never talk about his legal work. You know, the client-lawyer privilege thing.”

Nodding, Mitch let the matter drop. He had his own opinions about Charles Tregaskis and his dodgy business dealings, but apparently Julie was the wrong person to discuss them with.

Julie relaxed when Mitch stopped talking about Charles and began to flirt in earnest, flashing his heart-melting smile and entrancing her with his dark gaze. She was once again captivated, and he began a slow but precise seduction of her senses. A small strand of her hair had floated loose, and quite casually, he reached out and tucked it behind her ear. At his touch, the electricity hummed between them, her lips parted and desire burned. He caressed the back of her neck with his fingers, running his thumb down her throat to the top of her collarbone and back.

Julie shuddered as animal heat blossomed from the contact of his caress and flowed through her. He leant toward her and for the second time that evening she thought he was going to kiss her. He didn’t. Instead he dropped his hand to her hip, just barely touching her tight nipple as it skimmed past, sending an electric jolt through her. “Let’s get out of here,” he whispered, his breath tickling her ear.