Valentines talks at Penrith Library

On 14th and 18th February I’ll be giving a talk on “A Day in the Life of a Romance Writer” !

Details are:

Monday, 14th February @ 10.30am
Penrith City Library, 601 High Street, Penrith
Bookings: (02) 4732 7891

Friday, 18th February @ 6.30pm
Penrith City Library, 601 High Street, Penrith
Bookings: (02) 4732 7891

So if you’re in the Sydney area, I’d love to see you.  Come along and say hi, ask questions and talk to fellow lovers of the romance genre!


Christmas is looming…

last year's effort - The Death Star

Reading: Dead in The Family by Charlaine Harris
Listening To: Lift by Sister Hazel
Watching: Bones Series 5

So it’s getting hotter, the cats have been shedding and there’s a sense of impatience, irritation and/or short tempers  in the air.  This all means Christmas in my house.

You know what else means Christmas?

  • The smell of plastic, wrapping paper and sticky tape 😀  Yep, like a Pavlovian reaction, as soon as I get a whiff of plastic, I automatically think of Christmas.
  • Baking fruit mince pies (my mom’s are the BEST!) and roast turkey.  I looooove turkey!!! And prawns.  And trifle.
  • Lunch.   Christmas at our house means a smorgasbord spread, full of cold cuts, cheese, crackers, prawns and assorted salad.   I’ve found that as you get older, when the joy of opening presents becomes less important,  food takes priority.
  • An early, early morning.  Thank you, 10yo child of mine 😉
  • Lamenting the fact I have no air conditioner in my bedroom.  THIS YEAR (royalties willing) I am going to buy one.
  • Lego.  I love Lego.  My son loves Lego.  My 15yo nephew loves Lego.  I’d probably build Lego even without the excuse of a Lego-obsessed child.
  • The line.  And we say it without fail, every year, barely an hour after every present’s been opened.  There’s a bag of rubbish on the floor, boxes have been ripped apart, toys are strewn and the tree is looking bare underneath.  We all look at each other and say the line:  “Huh.  Well, that’s it for another year.”

uh... don't think you'll fit, Sophy.

And of course, after Christmas comes the sales.  The crazy, crazy sales that means filling up that brief bare wardrobe space with NEXT years’ presents.  Like Mother Nature, my wardrobe abhors a vacuum.  Dammit.

Classic Romance Covers

Watching: Percy Jackson & the Lightning Thief
Listening to: Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen
Reading: Charlaine Harris’ True Blood series (Eric… yum!!)

So during these school holidays, I’ve been blowing off the dust from my book shelves and checking out my old historical romance covers of yesteryear.  I remember how awesome I thought these were when I bought them (mumble mumble) years ago.  But now, of course, most are extremely dated.  So I thought I’d share a few memorable ones.

1981 cover

Bitter Passion, Sweet Love by Patricia Ott – I would say this was my first erotic romance read.  Classic English beauty gets kidnapped by wild sheikh.  There’s group sex, multiple partners and some forced seduction scenes (one aided by drugs that was so graphic, I regularly read it aloud to my enthralled/horrified girlfriends when I was 12!).  Wow!  All for the bargain price of 79c.  Sadly, I can’t find any mention of the author any where on the web.

ahhh, the memories of 1983!

While Passion Sleeps by Shirlee Busbee – check out that lurid red!  That billowing hair!  That back-breaking embrace!  I adored this cover at the time (hmmm… I guess I had limited taste at 14).  And the story, as I remember it, was just as fab – kidnapping, forced seduction, arrogant hero.  The heroine was feisty, too, but the issue that continues to grate on me was that the hero never believed she was a virgin until the very end, when he overhears her talking to a maid about it.  Until then he thought she was a bit of a slut.  Hmmm… I should probably re-read it again and see if my memory is reliable.

original 1980 cover

Lady Vixen by Shirlee Busbee – loved, loved, loved this book!  One of my first historicals I ever read – around the age of 11, I think.  Shirlee Busbee (along with Johanna Lindsey and Kathleen Woodiwiss) was one of the first greats of historical romance for me.   Heroine (Nicole) had the same name as my best friend at the time 🙂  She runs away from bad relatives, dresses up as a boy (the heroine, not my friend!) and stows away on a ship as a cabin boy.  There’s an arrogant alpha male, a bit of intrigue/mystery about spying, soft violence (he ends up cracking her wrist when she won’t release a weapon), and – I’m pretty sure – a few forced seduction scenes.  I especially loved her return to her rightful place in society.  And I loved the cover art – I ended up reproducing it as an art project in high school.

ahhh, that's better...

original 1978 (!) cover

A Pirate’s Love by Johanna Lindsey – there’s pirates (of course!), an abduction, some forced seduction.  The heroine’s eyes change color when she’s angry.  The hero whips her for disobeying him, which is pretty un-PC these days.  And while the original cover wasn’t exactly bad, this later version is beautiful and elegant.  Interesting to note that from Once A Princess (1991) onwards, Marketing started putting flowers/symbols on Johanna Lindsey’s covers, but still had the clinches on a step back (inside the front cover).  Me, I much prefer the style of the revamped A Pirate’s Love.

can you believe this was done in 1986?

Angel in Scarlet by Jennifer Wilde – it’s high time I read this book again.  Such fun, such a great heroine.  And how gorgeous is that cover?   She’s a street urchin, he’s her rescuer, teaches her how to act, eat, socialise, so a huge Pygmalion theme going on there.  Gainsborough paints her portrait.  Umm… I think she writes a book?  See, told you, I have to read this again!

Do you have a favorite book that has  a less-than-flattering cover?  A revamp that does the story better justice than the original?  Or just a cover that makes you howl with laughter?  Share!

National Treasure, how I love thee…

Playing on the iPod right now: Party in the USA by Miley Cyrus

National Treasure (starring the fabulous Nicholas Cage) is one of my favorite action/adventure/romance movies ever. It and #2 are all I’ve been watching these last few weeks (when my 9yo loves a movie, he looooooves it.  All I can say is thank God for DVDs).

What’s there NOT to love? A treasure map, conspiracy theories, gripping action, bad guys, cute good guys, family conflict and romance.  It’s great clean fun, no swearing (I counted one ‘bloody’ in the first movie) so it’s a great way to involve my son in all that fab American history, which I adore.  He’s been googling “Declaration of Independence”, “US Presidents” and “American Constitution”, much to my delight.  He even pop quizzes me – “Mummy, who was the first person to suggest daylight saving?” (answer – Benjamin Franklin).  And yes, I also admit to a bit of a girly crush on geeky Riley Poole (aka Justin Bartha).  He has the best lines!

I’m doubly thrilled to see that they’re making National Treasure 3 in 2011.  I can’t wait!

want jewelry!

fearlessness_bgI’ve been increasingly intrigued by the simple, gorgeous necklace Mariska Hagitay wears as Olivia Benson in Law & Order: SVU. So I googled “Mariska Hagitay necklace Olivia Benson Law and Order” and I ended up at Giving Tree Jewelry. I seriously LOOOOVE this site! Oh, and I found the necklace – it’s called “Fearlessness”, which I kinda need sometimes.  Check it out.