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Hooray for Heroines!

I’ve been thinking about women. It was the 99th International Women’s Day last week (March 8th) which started my contemplation and it’s been on my mind ever since.

I think women are great. I’m proud to be one. And one of the things that hooks me when I open a romance is the heroine. Sure, we all want to read about a great hero, but if we can’t relate to the heroine, if she’s weak or TSTL then we won’t go on her journey with her.lizzie396_396x222

One of my favourite heroines is Elizabeth Bennet – she’s smart and won’t lower her standards just to get married, even though society is pressuring her to become someone’s wife. She’s also witty and she loves her sisters. Who wouldn’t want to be her friend? When I reread a favourite heroine’s book, it’s almost like revisiting an old friend.

There are heaps of fabulous real life heroines too – they’re all around us.

I admire women who are passionate about life.
I admire women who make changes happen.
I admire women who are raising the next generation.
I admire women who stand to be counted.
I admire women who are happy with themselves.

Who are the heroines you’ve stood up and applauded, either fictional or in real life?


on the eighth day of Christmas…

We meet Modern Heat author, Anna Cleary!

“Hello there, gorgeous Desirabelles. How thrilled and honoured I feel to have been invited to join your Chridwca0hsg8xcamoyg4ncal4c5zucaffw88vcafv9ekwcawmrgtrcaw109ylcas9hp81carjkav6ca3sbvzfcam0iry8cag0shzycaw4ezujca35afxkcank0fd2calvh14wcagnih3pca3yfbh2cawnl9ud1stmas celebration!
For me Christmas is powerfully wrapped up with memories of my mother. She loved it all so much, the gift shopping for children and grandchildren, the secret wrapping bouts behind closed doors, tinselling the house and trimming the tree, gathering her family around her.
The Clearys hailed from Newcastle, and if you know that lovely sea-side city, you’ll know there are some strong traditions there about what constitutes fine cookery. Mum was a proud contender in the fruit cake and plum pudding stakes.beca04haeeca0ssctuca36p4g2cax25z80caqhh58ycafcz369ca6joilvca5na46zcas72y24ca2u9yzdcaoz21m6ca9aeh7hcasyf3t1caadr4flca4zu9yjca0pjinxcav4asomcamo0xhgcauhkl8p
Every year, from my earliest memories, there was no more significant moment in our family than the annual cutting of the cake.
The size of a small car, it would be lifted down from the sacred place where it had been developing its flavours for weeks. After being taken reverently from its outer container, the various wrappings would be parted—it wore more veils than Salome – and the gathered spectators would exclaim in awed unison when its beauty was revealed, inhaling and closing our eyes to savour that rich, heady aroma.images-cake

Rum, almonds, cherries, brandy, fruit, ginger… Ahh. Intoxicating. To me this will always be the smell of Christmas.
Now for the cutting. Everyone would stand back for Mum to do the honours.
The outer slice would be lain to rest, unmolested, while the next layer in was the testing point. We’d hold out our plates to receive our thickish chunks, redolent of the booze the fruit had been steeped in, and then would come the tasting.
Are there words to describe that dark richness, so mellow on the tongue? Not too moist, not too dry. Neither too sweet nor too piquant. Nutty, fruity, but never too much of either. Aromatic, fragrant…
The compliments would flow, and Mum would glow.
Oh, she was a wonderful cook.

I think many mothers have a special family Christmas cake baking secret. Care to share? I’d love to hear some of them. And in honour of all the great 51eic4t6v0l__ss500_ubuv1mothers of the world I would be delighted to give away a copy of my book currently gracing the bookshelves in the UK. It’s called Untamed Billionaire, Undressed Virgin, and while it might not sound exactly like a Christmas story, it is all about family love and connectedness, and wired for wish fulfilment.

Merry Christmas…
Anna Cleary”


on the 4th day of Christmas…

…I’ve found *four* new Harlequin authors to look out for next year!

I love finding a new author – oh, the delight in knowing I can add someone new to my list of favourites! I love finding someone who already has a backlist because I can go out and buy the whole lot. And I also love coming in early on someone’s career and following them with each book.georgiebook2

So in the Christmas spirit of sharing, and because it’s the 4th day today, I’ve found four new authors whose books will hit the shelves in the next twelve months or so.

Tracie Sommers will have her debut Spice Briefs novella, Tonight, My Love, out in May. Set in Whitechaple, London, it’s a sexy Victorian threesome story with a paranormal twist. Now *that* will be interesting.

New Medical Romance author Sharon Archer, has her first book, Single Father: Wife and Mother Wanted, hitting the shelves in the UK in July. It follows Matt Gardener, whose comfortable life is turned upside down when veterinarian Caitlin Butler-Brown comes to the Grampians looking for her estranged family. I’ve read this one and I have to tell you, it’s delicious.

Our own Sandra Hyatt’s first Desire, Having the Billionaire’s Baby, will be out in the US in July, and it looks to be a fabulous read! It stars two fiercely independent people who find they’re going to be sharing a lot more than the single night of passion that drew them togeorgiebook1gether. Oh, I *love* those stories.

Then Nikki Logan, the newest Harlequin Romance author, will have her first book out in January 2010. Her story is about a tree-hugging landscape designer whose bright career looks shaky when she comes between her long-lost first love and his goal, revenge against his father. I’m really looking forward to it!

So I anticipate 2009 being a year of great reading. Happy sigh.

Tell me who your greatest new-find author was in 2008 – someone who was either new or new-to-you. I have a gorgeous bookmark to give to one commenter to use when they’re reading all their new favourites!