Archive for January, 2009


My Favorite Gadget

walk1I remember the first gadget that started my infatuation with technology: a cool silver and blue clip-on Sony Walkman.  Now, things have come a long way since the mid-80s and their massive packaging, with gadgets getting smaller and cleverer (remember those Nokia mobile phones the size of house bricks?).  I’ve moved on to CD Walkmans, then a generic MP3 player, to a you-beaut Toshiba Gigabeat.  I’ve upgraded my massive SLR camera to a digital (although the photo quality is just not quite the same as a traditional camera).   For Christmas I got an e-book reader, the BeBook, and I’m thrilled to have a gadget that stores hundreds of books and weighs less than a paperback, saving masses of shelf space.

I haven’t succumb to the phone upgrade yet – I’m quite happy with my LG hot-pink flip phone because I don’t NEED to take photos, read email and surf the ‘net with it – I have said digital camera and computer for that 🙂  I also love those little USB flash drives that can hold everything from documents, photos, music and downloads… I have several 😀

mac1But all that pales by comparision to my iMac Book.  I’ve only had it for a week but I’ve in loooove with its sleek white design, speed, wireless capability and simple ease of finding what you need quickly.  Even the most simple things like the magnetic closure and power cable attachment is exciting!  Yes, I still have my big desktop PC (the very clever but slow, sensitive, unreliable long-time partner) but my little white Mac is just so fast and RELIABLE.  It’s like having an exciting, cute new love interest who actually listens to you 🙂

What’s your favorite gadget?  Is it something that’s made your life easier?  More fun?  More interesting?


Nibbles Anyone?

No, I’m not talking about food, but about reading styles. The idea came up in comments on another blog, and I thought it’d be fun to discuss it here today.

I’m one of those people who always has a book in their handbag – so I can nibble away at it whenever there’s a bit of spare time. But, at heart, and if I have the time, I’m a all-in-one-go reader. If a book catches my attention, I’ll hunker down and likely not move until it’s finished. I’ve learned not to start books at 11pm…because I’m never going to read just a chapter!

What about you? Can you nibble? Or do you gulp read? I know some people have several different books – one for the purse, one in the car… Do any of you do that? Tell us all your reading secrets! 🙂


downunder day!

Australia Day is around the corner. On January 26th Aussies celebrate their nationality, our beautiful big country and the many things we take pride in and hold dear.

 Meat pies and backyard barbies, pavlovas and vegemite toast.

Kangaroos and koalas, wattle blooms, the Great Barrier Reef and the quiet majesty of Ayres Rock.

great-barrier-reef We remember our brave diggers and “two-up”, and joke about “sheilas”, “fair dinkum” and “Crikey, mate!

 Aussies also boast incredible talent…Errol Flynn, Chips Rafferty, Peter Allen, The Bee Gees…Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman (plug: go see “Australia“!), Kylie Minogue, Crocodile Dundee, Donald Bradman, Evonne Goologong Cawley, Miles Franklin, Thomas Keneally, Tim Winton. Colleen McCullough…

ash-and-me-at-lone-pine2We’ve come a long way since Henry Lawson waxed lyrical about “the bush”. In the twenty-first century, Downunder writers are rocking the romance publishing world. I’m proud to be a part of the wave.

I have an Australia beach towel, sun cap and other fun Aussie stuff to give away, including a latest release. Just share with us what you love about Australia, where you’d like to visit or maybe who you’d like to meet (yeah, as if we don’t already know, lol).



Tempting the Devil AND Anna Campbell

This week our guest is ANNA CAMPBELL, down-under author of hugely popular and always-desirable historical romances for Avon. Her first two novels, Claiming the Courtesan and Untouched won plaudits from reviewers, readers and contest judges–both were RITA finalists, amongst numerous other awards–and with her much anticipated Tempt the Devil now available (run, don’t walk, to grab your copy!) we invited Anna in for a quick chat over a glass or two of bubbly.

Welcome, Anna. Let’s start with a quick introduction. Who is Anna Campbell?

AC:  What can I say about Anna Campbell? International woman of mystery. Black belt in karate. Danced with the Bolshoi. Modeled for Picasso. Fought off Japanese whalers on the coast of Greenland. Worked for the CIA… Oh, you mean me? THAT Anna Campbell! Sigh. She’s much less interesting! Book nut. Always wanted to be a writer. Completed her first novel after finishing high school and then it took her 27 years to get a publishing contract (during which time she COULD have done all that other stuff!). First book came out in 2007, CLAIMING THE COURTESAN. Second book UNTOUCHED. Third book TEMPT THE DEVIL has just hit the stands in America. I live on the Sunshine Coast in subtropical Queensland in Australia.

Have you always written historical/regency era romance or have you dabbled in other genres as well?

AC: The nice thing about having 27 years to play around and experiment is that I got to try an awful lot of genres! The book I finished after high school was a medieval romance (the romance element has stayed pretty constant). I tried to write Harlequin Presents and completed eight manuscripts that will never see the light of day, a fact for which the world ought to be grateful! I tried family sagas, both contemporary and historical. I tried romantic suspense – believe me, not my strength! I tried historical romance set in a variety of periods and places including Elizabethan England, Renaissance Italy, late 19th-century Australia, 18th-century Hungary. Anything but the Regency in fact! Then one day, I sat down and wrote a comedy set in the Regency and felt like I’d come home. The period suits the way I use language and the larger than life stories I want to tell.

What is it that makes the Regency era so popular with readers?

AC: I think the Regency period is so popular largely because Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer set stories during that time! Since then, because those two writers were so influential, thousands of books have been set in the Regency and I think readers love the familiarity of it now. The Regency is popular because of the clothes (especially the men’s!), the elegance, the wit, the style. Not to mention that anyone who married in the Regency in the British Isles had a long period of peace and prosperity to look forward to. So the happy ending could be just that! The Regency is long enough ago to still have that fairytale flavour that historical romance readers love. But it’s also modern in many ways – there was a proto feminism, for example, the rise of companionate marriage as the ideal, the industrial revolution, people speaking in a way that’s generally intelligible to a modern reader.

Your books have been described as “regency noir”; how would you describe your style?

AC:  I love that phrase ‘Regency noir’. Stephanie Laurens coined it when she gave me a quote for CLAIMING THE COURTESAN. It makes me smile to realize it’s since become the name for a whole genre of darker historicals. I think the books I’m writing now are dark and tackle powerful themes. Regency noir for some reason also makes me think of dark, delicious chocolate – and I hope my books are a luscious, sensual experience too!

Tell us about your new book, Tempt the Devil? What will tempt us inside that cover (which is gorgeously tempting, BTW)?

AC: I’m billing TEMPT THE DEVIL as a Regency noir AFFAIR TO REMEMBER. It tells the love story of Olivia Raines, London’s most notorious courtesan, and the infamous rake, the Earl of Erith. Falling in love is the greatest risk these two jaded, sophisticated people can take. Hey, thanks for saying that about the cover – it’s pretty delicious, isn’t it? I’m hoping that aside from the cover, the rich sensuality and deep emotions of this story will tempt you! Not to mention that I actually got to write some banter between my hero and heroine. That was fun and took me back to when I used to write comedy!

Courtesans: are they the new black? (And did you start the new fashion?)

AC:  LOL. I’m not sure if I started it. I’ve certainly noticed more courtesans gracing the pages of historical romance. I do think modern readers like a more sexually experienced heroine. Mind you, I’ve just handed in my fourth book and it features my first virginal heroine so I’m hoping readers like the younger, sweeter ones too!

What temptations can’t you resist?

AC:  Sadly, far too many! A good book. Smith’s barbecue chips. My email inbox! Etc. Etc.

We know you read widely and often; what do you look for/get from a good book?

AC:  Oh, I’m still a voracious reader but sadly, since I’ve been published, I don’t seem to have nearly as much time to lose myself in a great story. I look for something that sweeps me away to another world. I love a writer whose words sing to me – Shana Abe comes to mind! I like something that engages my brain and my heart. I want to believe in those characters so strongly, it’s like they’re flesh and blood, and I want to be sorry when I close the cover on the last page because I’m leaving a place where life was vivid and engrossing.

What was your best read of 2008?

AC:  What a great question! I love to talk about great books. I re-read Laura Kinsale’s FLOWERS FROM THE STORM for a review and rediscovered what a masterpiece it is. I hadn’t read it since I bought it in the mid-90s and it was a revelation just how much depth and intelligence and emotion that book contains. Otherwise I’ve read great books by Annie West, Christine Wells, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Tawny Weber, Nicola Cornick and Madeline Hunter. New authors I’ve discovered and now love are Elizabeth George, C.S. Harris, J.D. Robb and Kathleen O’Reilly.

What are you looking forward to in 2009?

AC:  The first thing is the release of TEMPT THE DEVIL. I didn’t have a book out in 2008 so it’s been a while between drinks! I’m looking forward to getting to grips with the new story. I’m looking forward to visiting Washington for the RWA National Conference in July. In Australia, I’m looking forward to the Australian Romance Readers Convention in Melbourne in February and the Romance Writers of Australia Conference in Brisbane in August. I love to catch up with readers and my romance-writing friends.

What can we expect next from Anna Campbell?

AC:  My next release is in November 2009 and it’s another Regency noir (the virginal heroine story). As yet, it hasn’t got an official title but the book’s all approved and at Avon. It’s about a runaway heiress who finds shelter with a man suffering from PTSD after being tortured in India. A lot of this book is set in Cornwall and I had great fun writing the house which is like Manderley in REBECCA. The book I’m currently working on is, like TEMPT THE DEVIL, set in London and it’s one of those “oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practise to deceive” stories.

Thank you, Anna. As always it’s been a delight to sit and chat. We’re all looking forward to reading about Olivia and Erith, and wishing we were eligible for this week’s giveaway. :-/ That would be an autographed copy of TEMPT THE DEVIL, awarded a TOP PICK! by Romantic Times and described as “an unforgettable powerhouse romance.” Read more at Anna’s fabulous website.

Talk to us about your greatest temptation at the moment — have you discovered a new favourite author you can’t get enough of, a new TV fascination, a new shop, chocolate, wine? — and you’ll be in the draw to win. (One entry per IP address; winner drawn Jan. 10.)