A Shiny New Era

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I’ve been loyal and faithful for a long time. But it’s time to have a chat with my significant other. I just don’t think I’m a one-store kind of woman.

My books have been going straight to Amazon so far. And I’ve loved working with the ‘Zon – still do, in fact. Their Select programme lets readers who pay a monthly fee treat my books like they’re in a library, checking them out for no further cost to them, while I get paid by pages read.

But. The price of the system is being exclusive to Amazon. So, while I love making books available for readers to try, I can’t ignore the readers who don’t use Kindle. It’s just not fair to them.

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This was the first picture that came up for “open relationship”, and it’s being included purely for that glorious bucket hat.

So I’ve had a chat to Amazon about trying an open relationship. Now I’m flirting with iBooks, Kobo, and Nook. They’ve been very attentive so far, which I do like in a partner.

As of now, I can’t see me going back to exclusivity. So hello, Nook and iPad readers! It’s a delight to meet you, let’s hang out some time.

 

P.S. Bonus points to anyone who caught the Lion King reference in the title, and now has the song stuck in their head.

 

(Current book progress: 26,378 words into first draft)

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Romance Isn’t Dead

I’m a sappy romantic. I’ll admit it. So unexpected from a romance author, I know! Flowers, chocolates, big gestures, sign me up. But after the flowers have wilted and the chocolates mysteriously disappeared, there’s some really weird things I find romantic.

If I get home after a long day, and the house is all clean and tidy without me ever saying a word about it, then you can bet I’m suddenly in the mood. If dinner’s made as well, then all bets are off.

And I’m not talking in the mood as in, “OK, here’s your reward”. As in I’m suddenly physically very attracted to my husband and not in the mood to waitA clean house has somehow become a major turn on. What?

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Tell me that’s not doing something for you

Which makes me feel very old fashioned! It’s not as if I’m usually responsible for all the chores or anything, we both pull our weight. The best explanation I can think of is that I’m naturally fairly lazy, and unexpectedly not having to do my share is a relief. Then, what can I say, he gets the benefit of that rush of happy hormones.

I’m still working out how I feel about this one. While I do, help a girl out! I’m not the only weird one am I? Anyone else have something odd that gets them in the mood?

 

Reality Strikes Again

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This picture is causing me a problem. Let’s start from the beginning so I can say why.

Those of you who are reading my current series will know, when I set the book in Hawaii I decided to make full use of the beautiful scenery. It would be a crime not to. For a romance novel this means many things, including… apply your morning sunscreen everywhere.

I admit, thinking over all the beautiful spots in Hawaii wasn’t hard. Talk about spoiled for choice. Having a ridiculous amount of options meant that it also wasn’t hard to think up realistic places where a newly in love couple might sneak away for “privacy” and “alone time”.

But in Hawaiian Homecoming (first draft has passed the halfway mark by the way, woohoo!) we’re back in New Zealand. What is it, when it comes to writing about your own country, that you have to fight yourself to see it through rosy glasses? To see all the gorgeous tourist traps, rather than “ugh, Auckland, your traffic is just the worst“.

But I’ve had a think and remembered my many beautiful holidays around New Zealand, and of course I’ve already talked about Waiheke being one of those. Vineyards! Beaches! Fewer people, giving us options for “privacy”!

And really, why wouldn’t you get a bit carried away in a vineyard. They’re so pretty.

But now we go back a square. I spent a weekend in Martinborough, where there is also many vineyards,  and you can have a lot of fun cycling from one to the other for wine tastings. And this picture shows the moment where I realised there was a small problem with my plan. Can you spot it?

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Those vines do not give much cover! There’s a difference between a little exhibitionism, and risking arrest for public indecency.

I do like the idea of love among the vines, though, so I’m sure I can come up with a fix. And if you have a solution, do tell me!

Well, Damn. Muscular Men Make Bad Boyfriends?

This just in, apparently muscular men make bad boyfriends. Hot off the press from the University of Westminster, the study’s found the more muscular the man, the more likely he is to be sexist and even hostile to women.

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Maybe if we just don’t talk? I could live with that arrangement.

The reasoning for it (researcher’s words here, not mine, don’t shoot the messenger) is apparently men who are sexist also work on being muscly, because it fits their idea of what a “real man” looks like.

Now, they only surveyed 327 British men, so I’m hopeful it’s all a big misunderstanding. And I, for one, am not going to stop daydreaming about muscular men.

Besides, this is what we have book boyfriends for. So they can be the perfect man, reality be damned 😉

Anyone else come across this problem with muscular but sexist men? I’ve never noticed, but maybe I was too busy staring…

 

 

All I Do Is WIN WIN WIN

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I can be a little competitive. Nothing outrageous, just I will compete over anything and everything, and I will WIN, damn it. Who can get to the car first? Me! Now let’s go back and pick up all the groceries I dropped to lighten the load.

I like to think this makes life entertaining, but there’s definitely a downside to it. Ever tried arguing with a person who doesn’t see losing as an option? I’ve been known to apologise to my husband with the line “I’m sorry you ruined everything”. Say it in a very contrite voice for maximum effect. Hey, in my marriage vows I promised to love him, nothing was said about maturity.

He may have been thinking of that when he sent me this the other day, with just the message “your theme song”. I have no idea what he’s referring to…

So, do you have a theme song? Share with me!

P.S. Sorry I was absent for a while, I was working on the second book with my editor. It definitely needed my full attention! We’re getting closer, though…

Quality time means quality

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When my husband and I first got together, it was a bit of a revelation to him that sitting side-by-side, staring at a screen, didn’t count as quality time to me. Absolutely not! Time, yes, quality, no.

I’ve found quality time is so important to a happy relationship. My husband and I both work very busy jobs, outside of the normal office hours – I work two, if you count writing romance books! So having at least a couple of times a week where we really talk to each other is crucial. Otherwise, I’ve been known to find out things about my husband’s life from his workmates, which then leads to a grumpy wife, who likes to know everything firsthand 😉

The biggest help was actually setting aside dinner time as catch up time. If we’re both home for dinner, the TV is off, and phones are put aside. Such a simple thing is heavenly! There’s a time and a place for everything, and a time and a place for cutting it out.

I read an article recently that compared being on the phone too much to being unfaithful. Clearly, they’re going to an extreme to make their point, but I think they have a kernel of truth in there. If you’re depriving your partner of your time and attention, for silly things like a phone game or Twitter, are you really being fair to them?

Even if you’re single at the moment, there’s a still a solid argument for cutting down on the scren time. Think about the last book you read, or TV show you watched. Were the characters watching TV or hanging out on social media? Or were they doing something more meaningful and interesting?

Do you find it a struggle to get quality time? Ever considered cutting down the screen time, or even cutting out the screens altogether?

A hike, some sweat, and a diamond ring

Anyone who’s been reading my blog for a while knows I’m currently working on a trilogy set in Hawaii. There’s a reason for that; it has to be one of the most romantic places I’ve ever been to! I can see why all you Americans go on honeymoon there.

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Why hello, beautiful

In the first couple of days that we were in Honolulu, we hiked up Diamond Head. It’s an old volcanic cone right in the midst of the city. It doesn’t look so high when it’s next to skyscrapers, does it? I. Nearly. Died. Between the heat and the steep climb, I was highly relieved to get to the top.

The view was entirely worth it. Honolulu is stunning, with skyscrapers going right up to the beach, giving you a beautiful contrast of the modern world in paradise. This should probably be the part where I promise you I’m not being paid off by their tourism board – it’s difficult not to wax lyrical about this spot!

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Check out how clear the water is!

I really like the story behind the name. Apparently in the 19th century, British sailors turned up, and thought calcite crystals on the volcanic cone were diamonds. That must have been quite a disappointment when they figured out the mistake!

Nowadays the name tends to inspire guys looking for a special spot to propose. I’m not sure how happy I’d be for someone to pop the question while I was all red-faced and sweaty, but hey, I guess when you’re being proposed to you probably don’t care!

Where’s a romantic spot you’ve visited lately? Or even better, an awkward proposal spot?

It’s All In The Little Things

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I’m a big believer in regularly going out of your way for the person you’re with. Telling them you love them, giving them a kiss goodbye, picking up food for their favourite dinner on your way home.

Admittedly, this does mean I can sometimes be a wee bit high maintenance. But hey, if you don’t have high standards, they won’t get met! I like to snuggle up while watching TV, go out on dates regularly, spend an entire Sunday lazing about in bed together. Physical affection is particularly important to me. I love hugs and kisses, even if you’re in the middle of cooking dinner!

I know a couple who I think have got it totally sussed. Little acts of kindness are routine for them. He regularly brings her breakfast in bed, because he’s up first. Whereas she calls him into the bathroom and moisturises his face each morning, like a little mini facial, because otherwise he won’t get around to it.

True, that’s a bit sticky sweet for me to do every day, but boy are those two happy. I think it’s all those little things that add up to a happy relationship.

What are the little things that mean the most to you? And how far is too far, before you become that gross couple everyone avoids?