Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Romancing the Hop

Romancing the Hop

     Hope you will come and join Romancing the Hop. It's going to be great fun with lots of prizes up for grabs. So click on the link below and join the fun! August 31st - September 3rd. 

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Spotlight - Danielle Lisle

Hi everyone,
                     Today, I have the wonderful Danielle Lisle dropping in for a chat. Danielle's debut book The Roses Bloom, which is the first installment of The Rogues of Deception Series, has just been released by Total-E-Bound.
                      Danielle has been kind enough to offer a pdf copy of The Roses Bloom. So leave a comment and your contact details and we'll select one lucky reader.
                      Thanks Danielle for stopping by and telling us a little bit about yourself.

Where are you from & why do you love it?
While I find my life surprisingly boring, a lot of the time my location alone seems to gain interest from others. I live on a small acreage in the rural area of the Northern Territory, about 40mins outside Darwin. Think Crocodile Dundee and ‘Mick’s Place’ and you’ll be darn close to identifying my piece of the world. In fact, several scenes of the movie were filmed not too far away from here. Adding to that, Parks and Wildlife recently pulled a two meter Salty (croc) from our local creek *shudders*. No swimming in our local watering hole either – well, not unless you are planning to be something’s dinner anyway.
Snapping Handbags aside (don’t you just love the local dialect?) it’s a very picturesque place to live. Right now as I recline on my couch to type this, I can hear the crickets chirping and frogs calling to potential mates as the rain drizzles in a late seasonal shower. There is not a car horn or noisy neighbours within range, one thing I certainly don’t miss about city life.
What type of romance do you write?
Currently I am writing Historical Erotic’s. It’s odd how this came about, as I started writing stories aimed at the HM&B Desire line. A critique partner suggested I try writing an erotic and The Roses Bloom was the result. Not bad for a first attempt, even if I do say so myself.
What was the first thing you had published?
Hmm, *scratches head* this is a tough one. Prior to taking on the role as mother and more recently writer, I was previously employed in Human Resources. I could generally be found in the company newsletter promoting a new policy or procedure as it came into practice, no doubt a win with every line-walking employee in the organization. *snort*
When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
About 3 months into motherhood. Changing nappies all day can do that to a person.

If you weren’t a writer what would you be?
Insane. *grins*
I would likely be heading back to work about now, but becoming a Published Author has allowed me the freedom to stay at home. I am very lucky.


Gerard Butler. *swoons* That man inspires my stories so much he should be getting a chunk of the pie. In fact, yes, he can. The only condition is he comes and requests it. *evil grin* Sorry Hollywood, you’re not getting him back! Bwahaha!

 - Well, that's all well and good but you have to promise to share!
I don’t think I have any….
How do you overcome writer’s block?
I think writers block comes part of the parcel with any form of writing. I have about 15 manuscripts on the go at any one time, mostly because I need to be in a specific mood when I write them. Some are comedies, so it stands to reason that I need to be in a quirky mood or at least feel jovial to write them. It’s a lot smarter to play a practical jokes on a fictional characters than someone in real life. I have no desire to be tied to a street lamp in my undies as payback for one of my pranks. Well, unless some handsome solider wanted to save me…?
Other manuscripts are serious and inspired by real life tragedies and are perhaps therapy for me in a way. I think because my mood changes like the weather (and my husband generally says, not for the better!) I move from story to story to curb any writers block. It can be somewhat frustrating though, as some manuscripts may sit dormant for a while until they curb my curiosity again, or I’m in that particular mood.

Excerpt From: The Rose's Bloom
Northern Dorset Forest, England, 1803.
A clear blue sky was a rarity at this time of year. England had the worst weather, apart from Scotland, perhaps, where it rained no matter what the season.
Damon knew he shouldn't complain, especially on a day as grand as this. The birds were singing, the wind whispered softly as it passed him, and the wildlife rustled in the underbrush. He was not after a small creature. No, he had his sights on a mighty stag. His man of business had mentioned seeing one in the area when he had recently journeyed from London. How prized would the animal look hanging on his wall? Of course, his study was already filled with the heads of other beasts, but Damon would make sure his staff found room for this creature's massive antlers.
Approaching the large, winding river where he hoped his prey would stop to drink, Damon was surprised to notice a white mare tethered to a fallen tree. The mare raised her head as he approached, though she paid him and his black stallion little mind, finding the greenery below more appealing. He noticed the horse wore a sidesaddle and Damon's eyebrows drew down as he looked for another steed. The mare was a fine horse, her saddle also of noble quality, yet it was unlikely a lady of nobility would have ridden out alone. A lady would never be found unchaperoned. It could ruin her reputation.
Scanning the tree line along the wide river, he became more puzzled as time progressed. Had the lady come to some harm? Where was she?
A sudden ripple in the water caught his attention. A woman rose, gasping for breath, taking the air deep into her lungs before she laughed, flipping onto her back, floating around as she gazed up at the blue sky.
It took Damon a moment to overcome his shock at the woman's sudden appearance before he noticed she wore nothing but her slip. A very sheer slip. His eyes moved hungrily over the wet material, which clung to the vibrant curves underneath. The round softness of her breasts and the darker shadow at the apex of her sex intrigued him, as it would any hot-blooded male. His cock hardened as he sat upon his steed, conflicted between twin desires—to watch, or to make the girl aware of his presence? The former won out, and he encouraged his steed backwards, into the thickness of the forest along the river, concealing their presence. He was thankful for the soft splatter of water falling from the small waterfall upstream, masking his steed's hoof falls.
Unable to bear not viewing her for long, Damon dismounted and tethered his stallion to a branch before hurrying back towards the river, where he perched himself against a tree like a hunter stalking his prey.

Danielle's second book in the Rogues of Deception Series, The Virgin at Goodrich Hall, will be released on the 1st October, 2012.
 Links -:

Thanks so much Danielle, for dropping by and good luck with your Rogues of Deception series. I can't wait to read them!

Nicole xx

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Hello again,
                    Well for someone who is usually pretty quiet it looks as if I'm having a blabby sort of day. I should be writing but I'm playing around instead. Here's what I've been working on.


And here's another...

Last one!

My tech-head son raises his eyes to heaven but I'm pretty proud of them.

Nicole  xx

Capturing Bliss - Cover Artist Valerie Tibbs
Until The Stars Burn Cold - Paid image from Bigstock.
The Trinket Seller's Daughter - Paid image from Bigstock.
Books & faded rose - Paid image from Bigstock.

Ranting on Research

                                                                                                                         Paid image from Bigstock
Hi everyone,

                    Today I wanted to write about research and how important it is. I know... I know, it seems obvious but it has been lacking in several books I’ve recently read. Now, we are only human and all of us make mistakes. But I’m not talking about minor points or little mistakes. No, I’m talking about the glaringly evident, the ones that scream from the page ‘Look at Me!!!’ or slap you across the side of the head.

            I’m not naming names or pointing fingers, but in this day and age there is little excuse not to get your facts right. If you don’t know something, please do a little research and find out. Google and Wikipedia are not infallible, but at least it’s a place to start.

            I spent a great part of my life combing through books seeking facts and information. I love it and I’m pretty damn good at it, although I can still get things wrong.

            As writers we take the facts and merge them with our stories; sometimes we manipulate them and even use poetic license, but the basis is there. I know a bit about the Middle Ages (mainly in Britain) – ever since I was a child I’ve read about it. Medieval History was one of my majors and I obtained my Honours degree in Medieval Literature. I continue to read and study it, as the love affair is far from over and the thirst for knowledge never stops. To paraphrase an old saying “the more you learn about a subject the less you know.”

            There can be a tendency to get lost in research. It happens all the time. You can spend a day or more playing with details when it will eventually only amount to a couple of sentences in your book. Many, many of you out there know exactly what I mean.

            I’m not asking for a detailed list of how many men and ships were launched at Troy or in which battle did the English longbow first appear. Nor am I saying that you need a degree to write historical romances... you don’t. But you do have to be willing to go the distance and put in some research time.

            If you are writing about another country/time period, please get your basic facts in order. Simple things, like what plants and animals are indigenous. In that time period were those particular foods available. If wrong, these points can be as jarring as hearing ‘G’day mate’ in a thirteenth century court (Okay I made that one up but I have read ‘Hey you!’ in a medieval and not in a... hey nonny nonny way). We cannot replicate the different time periods to the letter but we can try and create a feeling for it or a slightly tinted vision.

There are amazing writers out there whose research is impeccable. So let’s emulate them and aspire to greatness.

Rant over and putting away my soapbox.

Nicole  xx

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Spotlight - Krystal Brookes

Hi everyone,
                     Today I have the lovely Krystal Brookes dropping by for a chat. Krystal is a fellow Pink Petal Books author and has several stories published with them. Her first story 'Bounty' is a sci fi tale and her second, 'Highland Fling' is part of the Kilrigh Heat series.

Hello and welcome!

Thanks for having me, Nicole.
How do you develop your plot and characters?
I’d love to have a real answer to which includes hours of meticulous plotting and scribbling ideas down in a note pad in a coffee house down by the beach.  But the truth is, I’m a complete pantser.  I make it up as I go along. I’ll quite often talk to friends about my characters or plots and that helps me decide for certain where certain stories or characters are going.
What comes first, the plot or characters? 
Definitely plot.  I tend to make my characters fit the story I want to write.
Are you working on anything at the present? 
 I have number of irons in the fire.  A new erotic science fiction story about a ship lost in space, the third book in the Kilrigh Heat series, set at New Year.  A ménage fan fic.  I also have a number of stories that I’ve started but it will take a while to get round to writing them properly
What books or authors have most influenced your own writing? 
 I got into writing through reading Star Trek Voyager fan fiction, so a number those writers really influenced me: Elem, Megara, Maulmistress to name just a few.  I read a lot of Lynsay Sands, Molly Harper, Em Petrova, Suzanne Rock and I just discovered Sylvia Day. Francine Pascale and Enid Blyton were my early influences.
How do you come up with the titles to your books? 
I usually look for a play on words or something that stands out in the book.  Gemma is a bounty hunter in Bounty so it kind of just seemed appropriate.  I don’t want to spoil it by explaining further.  In Highland Fling, Fiona doesn’t want a long term commitment so she suggests having a fling with Brodie.  It’s set in the Scottish islands and was a good play on words.
If you were stranded on a desert island and were only allowed to have five modern conveniences with you, what would they be?
 iPad, coffee maker, generator, wifi modem, flushing toilet.
What is your favourite book? 
 It changes weekly, though I love Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason.
What is a talent you wish you had, but don't?
Drawing.  I can’t draw a straight line with a ruler.
Are you messy or tidy?
Very, very messy
What is your favourite food?
Meat Feast Pizza with onions and mushrooms
What inspires your writing?
Just my over-active imagination. Sometimes TV, other books or conversations I have with other people.
Are you a sweet tooth? – what's your favourite sinful sweet/cake/chocolate etc.
 Definitely.  I love sweet pastries; especially yum yums (though I doubt anyone outside the UK will know what a yum yum is.)
What made you want to be a writer?
 A desire to be able to exercise my over-active imagination on a daily basis.
Dreams and aspirations... what’s the one thing you want to do, see or experience above all else? 
I want to be able to give up my job and become a full time writer.
Highland Fling – Blurb
When Fiona Campbell travels home to the Island of Kilrigh for her best friend's wedding, she doesn't count on meeting up with Brodie MacNeil, her childhood friend. Fiona can’t help but be charmed by the Laird’s handsome son – until he starts to tell her some home truths.
A city girl at heart, Fiona tries to resist his charms and his offer of a life together on the tiny island.  Can Fiona heal the rift with her father enough to accept Brodie's offer and take on the job as the island’s vet or will she walk out on the one man she truly loves?

Highland Fling – Excerpt
Fiona was practically falling asleep when she heard a low chuckle from somewhere near her feet. She sat up immediately, pulling her skirt down over her thighs. She found Brodie's gaze raking up her legs and over her body, lingering momentarily on her breasts before he turned and looked at Sarah.
“Gary was looking for you, Sarah. Something to do with the baking competition.”
“Oh damn, I forgot,” said the bride-to-be. “I get to choose who is going to make the cake for the wedding. Brodie, will you look after Fiona?” She scampered away without waiting for a reply.
Brodie threw himself down on the grass beside her, his kilt splaying out beside him, and then he smiled.
“Is this Sarah's?” he asked, lifting up the half-finished beer.
“Yes, but...”
“I doubt that she has anything too infectious,” he shrugged, taking a mouthful of the now lukewarm liquid. Fiona picked up her bag and pulled out her phone, trying to ignore her companion. The bright sun made it impossible to see the screen, so she tossed it back where it came from and studied the craggy hills in the distance.
“I'm sorry if I over-stepped the mark yesterday,” said Brodie. “It's just... well... he has missed you, Fee. And he also knows you've been having a hard time. John's been worried sick. You barely even email him anymore.”
“It's none of your business.”
“I know, but he's my friend.”
“I'm not a child anymore.”
His gaze moved over her again as he replied hoarsely, “Oh, Fee, you don't have to tell me that you're not a child.”
Fiona shifted uncomfortably, trying to find a way to change the conversation. His words were stirring feelings in her that she had put to rest a long time ago. She spotted his sporran sitting on the grass between them.
“What's wrong with your sporran?” she asked. He was close now—too close—and his breath on her neck was having a distracting effect.
“The chain broke. I'll be able to fix it easy enough with a few tools when I get home.” His hand was sneaking around her waist and she turned her head to find her lips close to his.
“Brodie, we used to play together in your paddling pool. This is...”
“You are welcome to join me in my paddling pool any time you like.” His voice was barely a whisper before his lips grazed over hers. She closed her eyes and allowed him to tease her bottom lip with his tongue before she parted her lips slightly. He pushed his tongue into her mouth, gently forcing her teeth apart and exploring. She wrapped her arms around his neck and he manoeuvred her back onto the grass, lifting his body half on top of her. As they devoured one another hungrily, he grazed his hand up from her waist to her breast, palming it gently.
She couldn’t believe how easily she had accepted his advance and how quickly her body was responding to his touch. She was usually careful about becoming intimate with a man, yet here she was, making out behind the beer tent with Brodie MacNeil at the Highland games. Fiona's head was swirling and she was very aware of his hardness pressing against her thigh. He groaned as she gently nipped his bottom lip and he thrust his hips against her thigh in response.
Fiona heard his name being called over the tannoy first. She ripped her mouth away from his and batted his hand away from her breast.
“What...?” growled Brodie, moving down towards her neck.
“They're calling you.”
Brodie cocked his head and nodded when his name came over the tannoy again.
“Shit, I'm entered into the caber tossing competition.”
“The caber tossing competition where you throw a big wooden log as far as you can?” She giggled, still aware of his own “caber” pressing against her leg.
“Yes, what's wrong with that?” He frowned.
“Oh, em, nothing. It just seems funny. Here, you'll need your sporran. I have a safety pin to hold the chain together for now.” She quickly removed the pin from her bag and fixed the sporran. He grinned as he left her sitting on the grass, blowing her a kiss before he walked around the corner and out of sight.

Bounty – Blurb

When Gemma Scott’s shuttle crash lands on Alcatraz prison planet, she’s sure of one thing. If the impact doesn’t kill her, the inmates will. She wakes up in the hut of a convicted terrorist and wonders how long it will be until the handsome but dangerous man finds she was the one who arrested him two years earlier. As their attraction grows, they work together to help Gemma escape the dangerous planet. But they can’t deny the sparks that fly between them.
Bounty- Excerpt

“I see you’re awake,” a gruff male voice stated.
Gemma looked in the direction of the voice. Wherever she was, it was dark and damp smelling. Her mind was struggling to make sense of what had happened. She could tell there had been an accident but the immediate events before it were extremely fuzzy.
“It doesn’t matter. You’re safe–for now. How are you feeling?”
“Sore and groggy,” she replied quietly.
She couldn’t quite make out the man in the dim light. She didn’t recognize his voice or where she was. Her memory was still fuzzy but something in the back of her mind scared her. She seemed to be alone with this man and she certainly was not in a hospital.
“Yeah, well, that’s what happens when you crash land your shuttle into a planet Ms. Scott.”
“How do you know my name?”
“Your ID was in your pocket. And your phase gun was in your holster.”
“Where is my gun now?” Gemma asked, trying to stop the fear in her voice.
“It’s safe.” The man moved forward into the thin shaft of light coming from the dim overhead light on the ceiling of the hut they seemed to be in. The man was tall, muscular and tanned, with a shock of medium length brown hair. She recognized him, but couldn’t quite recall from where.
“I’d prefer it if you returned my gun. I need it.”
“I said it’s safe.”
She sat for a few moments trying to remember what had happened. She knew she had to get her gun back from this man but her head was too befuddled to form a coherent argument for now.
As the details of the accident came back to her, she squinted again at her rescuer, trying to recall how she knew him. She felt her blood drain as she remembered.
“I need to fix my shuttle,” said Gemma, hoping that he hadn’t realized who she was.
“It’s dark outside, you won’t be able to do anything just now.”
She tried to sit up but a shard of intense pain ripped through her shoulder and made her fall back on the pillow.
“You dislocated your shoulder, so I had to put it back in the socket. It’s going to be sore for a while.”
She rubbed her shoulder and grimaced.
“Thanks, I think.”
“If I’d left you in that shuttle, believe me, you would have been murdered or worse.”
“What’s worse than being murdered?”
“On this planet? Not being murdered and being kept alive long enough to be aware of what they’re doing to you.”
She shuddered.
“Thank you for not leaving me. I heard them banging on the shuttle hull. How did you get rid of them?”
“I have a reputation around here. Apparently I can rip a man’s throat out with my teeth.”
“Oh!” She wasn’t sure she wanted to hear any more. The man smiled wolfishly at her.
“Don’t worry, Gemma. I’m not hungry just now.”
She did her best not to show her fear. Not having her phase pistol was a problem. She always felt braver on the other end of the cold slender metal tool.
“Umm, what’s your name?”
“Rob. Rob Paris.”
His name triggered the memory that she had buried under a hundred other missions. He was a terrorist and she had hunted him for weeks before he had turned up on an abandoned planet on the edge of Terran space. She’d stunned him and kept him unconscious as she had transported him on her shuttle back to Earth to face trial. She wondered if he would remember her. She’d shot him from behind, so with a bit of luck, he hadn’t made the connection.
“Pleased to meet you. Are you a prisoner here?”
“What do you think?” he drawled.
“Well, I assumed but...”
“But what?”
“Never mind. Can I get my pistol please?”
“I said I was keeping it safe.”
“That’s very kind of you but I’d prefer to have it, if it’s all the same to you.”
Rob walked over and sat on the bed. He clasped her chin roughly in his hand and moved her head back, peering into her eyes. He let go as suddenly as he had grabbed her.
“Hmph! You’re definitely slightly concussed. As for your pistol; you’re in no shape to be carrying a fire arm. If any of those brutes came in here, you’d never be able to get it out the holster quick enough to kill them.”
“I always have my pistol set to stun.”
“I noticed.”
“You noticed?”
“Well, I noticed it was set to stun when I took it from you.” Gemma looked hard at him. Did he know? His gaze was unwavering and she was having difficulty reading him.
Gritting her teeth, she swung her legs out of the bed. Her shoulder was agony. Only then did she realize that she was wearing nothing but her bra and panties.
“Where are my clothes?”

Web/blog:        http://krystalbrookes.com
Twitter:              https://twitter.com/KrystalBrookes
Tumblr:              http://krystalbrookes.tumblr.com/

Thanks so much Krystal for coming to play.
Nicole xx

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Until The Stars Burn Cold

Woohoo! Until The Stars Burn Cold will be released by Pink Petal Books on the 20th September.

In ancient Persia, Jinn is cursed into a ring for daring to love the wrong woman. Centuries pass and empires crumble and Jinn is still held captive, frozen in a prison of silver. That is, until antiques dealer Mia Templeton accidentally releases him.

This story is a little different. I've stepped away from my beloved medieval history and tried something new. This time, the story takes place in the fictitious ancient Persian town of Adwan and a modern day rural Australian town. I hope you will enjoy Jinn and Mia's journey.

Nicole  x

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Hi everyone,
                     I was doing a little research for a medieval story I have been writing and I came across this song in Middle English. Thought you might like it.

Nicole xx

Bryd one Brere

Bryd one brere, brid, brid one brere,
Kynd is come of love, love to crave
Blythful biryd, on me thu rewe
Or greyth, lef, greith thu me my grave.

Hic am so blithe, so bryhit, brid on brere,
Quan I se that hende in halle:
Yhe is whit of lime, loveli, trewe
Yhe is fayr and flur of alle.

Mikte ic hire at wille haven,
Stedefast of love, loveli, trewe,
Of mi sorwe yhe may me saven
Ioye and blisse were were me newe.

And now for the English translation -:

Bird on a briar, bird, bird on a briar,
(Man)kind is come of love, love thus craves.
Blissful bird, have pity on me,
Or dig, love, dig thou for me my grave.

I am so blithe, so bright, bird on briar,
When I see that handmaid in the hall:
She is white of limb, lovely, true,
She is fair and flower of all.

Might I her at my will have,
Steadfast of love, lovely, true,
From my sorrow she may me save
Joy and bliss would wear me new (i.e., me renew).