Friday, April 24, 2009

Guest Blogger Anna Cleary

I'm tickled to welcome another of the Modern Heat gang to the Playground! Anna Cleary may seem sweet and nice, but she's one of those tough Aussie women (Australia, I'm convinced, is one of the most dangerous places on earth, and therefore, I'm afraid to go visit). Give her a big Playground welcome!

Hello, Playfriends! Anna Cleary popping in, with a gentle smack on the soft, pure cheek of my brave and talented Mod Heat sister, Kimberly Lang, and a warm thank you to all the gang at the Writing Playground.

(Must admit, I’ll be treading quite carefully with Smarty Pants. )

In a very few days my third Harlequin Presents, Untamed Billionaire, Undressed Virgin, will launch in bookstores across North America. In honour of this momentous occasion, it would give me the greatest pleasure to award a copy to the reader who can post a comment that makes me laugh, cry, or experience a rush.

As its title suggests, Untamed Billionaire, Undressed Virgin is a romance. In fact, it may even be my most romantic romance to date. It stars Sophy Woodruff, a tender girl and one of those dreamy, intuitive Pisceans you meet under willow trees. The sort who are affected by moonlight, small children and handsome, laughing devils with dark, satanic eyes and wounds to their souls.

Ah yes, I hear you sigh. Another fantasy filled romance. Blatant, wanton escapism. Isn’t it time these romance writers learned to keep their feet on the ground?

Impossible in my case. My poor editor’s having a terrible time of it, though maybe I did have one delicate toe touching the rug when I dreamed this one up. Some of it grew from a little net cruise I took one morning— Yeah, yeah, procrastinating—in which I stumbled upon a website where people post messages. Messages such as this.

Dear Jenny L*****, who gave birth to a daughter in the Wallsend Public Hospital on 21st April 1986. Kate would love to contact you.

There were hundreds of them. Heartbreaking little messages, every one of them signifying a world of pain and loss and sacrifice. And hope.

So then I thought of Sophy, my neverfailing optimist.

The mysterious Connor O’Brien is the love of Sophy’s life, but resistance is uppermost in his frozen heart, and the beautiful virgin has quite a time of it reeling him in.

She meets the brooding secret agent at a moment when she’s at an emotional crossroads, a time when the fates have chosen to tantalise her with the possibility of love in the guise of her birth family, confronting her with her essential loneliness.

My darling Connor—oops, I mean her darling Connor, is tempted by her beauty and vulnerability. Sorely tempted, in truth, and now he faces a crisis. To love her and leave her, or just to leave her?

Ah, the dilemma. But, I hear you cry...Is it emotional? Is it steamy? Does it live up to The Promise?

Well, I cried often enough. My heart was wrung, and I was the one making it up!

Was I crazy for Connor O’Brien?

Yes, yes, and a reverberating YES!!!

As for The Promise. Well, you’ll have to read it for yourself.



PS. Did I mention that Sophy’s a virgin? (At the start of the book, that is. Don’t want to say any more.) Oh, and I have a very strong feeling that SP may do well here in Australia.


Okay, gang, time to make Anna laugh or cry with your comments. No fair telling stories about PC's ongoing adventures and mishaps! I warn you, she has a wicked sense of humor. She's the reason I'm now afraid of platypuses...


anna cleary said...

Platypuses are fine so long as you don't get entangled with those poisonous little spurs on their back legs. You just have to remember not to creep up on them!

Robyn Grady said...

Hi Kostas! Er, I mean, Anna =)

Don't know about platypuses, and I'm not sure whether this is a sad or funny story, but my husband had an altercation with a kangaroo once. Back when Australia Zoo was simply Beewah Reptile Park, a pre-teen dh visited on a school excursion. A sign leading into the main area said, 'Don't pat the kangaroo with the red collar.' DH went up to a kangaroo that was collar free. After the roo had limbered up and dh had been knocked to the ground, the longish fur around the roo's neck shifted to reveal, you guessed it.

The. Dreaded. Red. Collar!

DH doesn't discriminate. At an even younger age he visited Smokey Dawson's Ranch and was bitten on the belly by a Shetland Pony. Ouch!

Anna I have your book here and am desperate to read it, but must, must get this next deadline out the way. I know I'll enjoy it as much as your previous tales. Your love scenes burn the page!!!

Robbie x

anna cleary said...

ROTF, Robbie. There you go, Kim! Didn't I tell you? THis is Australia. Even the Shetland's here are tougher than the average pony. It must be the water, I guess. This is why we regularly produce big strong lean bronzed guys like Hugh! (My goodness, that Kostas. THose eyes! Isn't he from Melbourne?

I think you know *all* about sizzling up the page Robbie. After certain scenes in your Confessions story I had to be packed in ice.

Looking forward to the next one!

housemouse88 said...

Hello Anna,

I'm not quite sure this will make you laugh but it is a sight to behold. Just picture, a horse, several cats, a rooster, and two hens, all eating together. No one gets pushy except the horse every now an then. They even eat leftovers together. Chickens eating chicken and our horse will even eat chili beans. We have a wonderful time with our animals. Oh and by the way, the rooster and hens sleep with one of our dogs outside. It is a pretty picture. Have a great day.

Problem Child said...

You guys are up early... :-)

My baby B-i-l was bitten by a wombat on a family trip to Australia. The place is a hazard, I say!

Last year, on my annual plotting retreat with my CP, we stayed in a lovely B&B. The owners had a couple of cute dogs with roam of the place. One of them bit me -- for no good reason, mind you!

I'll be taking Anna's book on my trip to the in-laws in May. Can't wait!

anna cleary said...

Housemouse, sounds like your animals have learned the meaning of trust. There must be plenty of love going the rounds there.

I'm a little bit worried though about your chickens and the horse. LOL. The horse is definitely making me laugh.
Thanks for this wonderful post


anna cleary said...

Goodness PC. You do live an exciting, incident packed life. You would think a CP retreat would be safe from the dangers of the wild.
Where was this B&B?

Playground Monitor said...

Did someone mention Hugh? That man is just beyond talented. And he's pretty easy on the eyes too. I just can't believe the critics panned "Australia." Did they not see Hugh shirtless and dripping wet? Huh?

This should make you laugh. It's been making my family laugh for 23 years.

When #2 son was about 3 years old, he was still home with me during the day while big brother was in school. One day he kept pestering me for candy and I kept telling him he couldn't have any. Finally I set him on the kitchen counter so he was eye level with me and I said,"Son, read my lips. You cannot have any candy."

He reached out, took my face between his chubby little hands and said, "Mama, listen to my face. I want some candy."

I lost it and he got candy. And now when you want to make a point in our family you say, "Listen to my face."

And if that didn't tickle your funny bone, my daughter-in-law posted on Facebook a few weeks ago that the grandbaby(she's almost 3) wouldn't go to daycare until DIL let her wear her clip on earrings, her rainbow necklace, her rain boots and raincoat. When she got to her classroom she stopped in the doorway and waited til her best friend Jeremiah looked her way. I'm sure if she knew the words "I'm ready for my closeup, Mr. DeMille" she would have uttered them. She's going to be such a little diva but we love her anyway. ::grin::

Welcome to the Playground, Anna. It looks like I'll be adding your book to my toweing TBR pile. I do love a virgin heroine.

anna cleary said...

Thank you Ms Playground Monitor. That's a lovely welcome. Love your stories. They gave me a good laugh. BTW, was it you who posted Kostas? Where do you find these likely lads?

And you know,all the people in my admittedly little neck of the woods who saw Australia DID like it. I think it opened some themes that have never been properly aired in Australia, and for some they may have been confronting.

Hope you enjoy UBUV as much as I enjoyed your recent blog.

Oh, and Problem Child. I do feel for your little one with the wild wombat. Very distressing. I'm feeling quite mortified on behalf of our wombats. What could have upset the shy, sensitive creature, do you have any idea? Hope it hasn't left a lasting impression!


Playground Monitor said...

I'm glad to know the viewing public enjoyed "Australia." Aside from being a Hugh-fest, I learned a lot. I never knew the Japanese bombed Darwin, and I certainly had no idea about what the government did with mixed race children. The little boy in the movie was amazing.

No, I didn't post Kostas' photo. That was our own Instigator, who is aptly named. *g*

Sherry Werth said...

Hi Anna! I love 'meeting' authors here on the playground and I'll be looking for your new book next week!
Australia has always been one of the places I want to visit someday but now..not so sure...shetlands and wombats and platypi(?)..oh my! :D

Many moons ago before I was married I worked for a manufacturing facility and we all took turns answering the switchboard at lunch. During one of my turns a call came in for one of my co-workers. I rang his extension and told him he had a call on line 4. He was a little older than me and not what you would call gorgeous, but for some reason I thought the man was loaded with sex appeal. After the call I turned to one of my friends and preceded to tell her how 'hot' I thought this man was. He walked through the office a little later with a huge grin plastered on his face and told me he hadn't gotten the call because I forgot to hit the transfer button. Which meant his line had still been connected to mine. :O I turned 4 shades of red, dropped my head on the desk and announced I was quitting. He just laughed and told me I was not quitting and I had made his day, week and year.

BTW - Anna, I LOVE your website design!

Anonymous said...

Welcome to the Playground Anna,
It's so much fun to visit. I am not a writer but I do love reading and will look forward to reading your book. OFF TOPIC - I have great news, I put an offer on a home and I got the news that it was accepted this morning - yeah!!!! It is a foreclosure and will need some fixing up, but with my family (3 brothers & 3 sisters and numerous nieces and nephews) I will have alot of help. I will be within 5 minutes of my sisters and ~ 10 minutes from my mom. I am so looking forwarding to having my own home again as I have spent last 3 weeks living with my sister and her 4 kids. The home is a garden home with a smaller yard for me to take care of, 4 bedrooms and 2 baths. I'm excited, because this time next month I will be a homeowner again.
Again, Welcome Anna.

Problem Child said...

Anna -- My b-i-l was scarred for life. :-) He's almost 30 and he still talks about it-- but that didn't stop him from going back on a trip a couple of years ago. Obviously, no one told him about the platypuses.

robertsonreads! CONGRATS!!

Angel said...

I'm sorry I'm so late checking in today, Anna! SP and I are just getting back from our trip. I'd tell you all about it and the funny (wet!) experience we had, but then I'd have nothing to blog about on Monday. :)

Thanks for hanging out with us on the Playground.


Gina said...

Hi Anna, I have a story that will make you cry. Sorry. I was going to get married on a Saturday and my Dad and Mom woke me early to prepare. So I was just sitting in the living room when my dad asks me to make toast for him, of course I will do anything for my parrents. While I was buttering the toast, my dad dropped down in the kitchen, I screamed and mom came and called the ambulance, When we arrived, we were told he died on arrival. I cried and cried, my. Thank God my fiance took over and called everyone and put off the arrangments. That was 4 years ago.
To tell something happy now, we got married 6 months later and last year when I had my first baby, boy my husband named him after my father.

anna cleary said...

Sherry, when you come out here to visit, don't give a thought to the wild animals. WE have all these big strong emergency rescue guys here to come striding to lift you in their arms and carry you to safety.

Loved your story about your office co-worker.LOL. There isn't a woman in the room who doesn't warm to the idea of a man who isn't necessarily pretty, but is loaded with HOT sex appeal. NOw if that were the first scene of a story--think what you could do with it. Sherry, I think you have the beginnings of a romance right there!

And thanks for visiting my website. Wish I had time to catch up with it more frequently myself!


anna cleary said...

Gina, that's a heartbreaking story. On your wedding day! Your dad's heart must have been filled with love and pride for you. I'm sure he didn't mean to leave you that day.
So glad you have your lovely guy and your beautiful little boy!

anna x


anna cleary said...

A big congratulations to robertsonreads! Sounds like you have a home!

And Angel. Aren't you the brilliant gal who's finalled in the Golden Heart? Congratulations, and fingers crossed for you!


Kelly Hunter said...

Anna, that Sophy is indeed a gorgeous heroine. I had not a doubt in the world that she would heal the magnificent Connor and that one day all that divine and brooding masculinity would be hers to command. So to speak...

Hmmn. How to give Anna a rush? I'm thinking a fake email. 'Dear Anna, this is your editor speaking. About your next book. Coming along nicely is it? Wonderful. We'd like it next week.'

And Anna, pretty please, you must spill the secret to writing virgins. I swear I've tried with the last few books but it's just not happening for me. Something's at fault here. Imagination or memory? Or both?

Best wishes for magnificent May book sales.


Natalie Anderson said...

Hey Anna - sorry to be a tad late - and I'm not sure I can some up with a good story - but how about I share a little of our day here today in NZ so far... We got up at 5:30 am and drove two hours with the four kiddies still in their jammies to get to our old town in time for our annual ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) service - My Great Uncle is 92 and one of the 5 members of the 20th Battalion able to get to their special service this year. They have their own commemoration in a lovely little residential street which was built on their former training ground. The residents and the battalion work together to put on a lovely but moving service - and each year the numbers watching grow. It was particularly moving for us as he is very, very frail now... and it so important to remember what he and his peers did for us...

...hmmm. Sorry to be one of the serious ones for once!

Your Sophy sounds wonderful... can't wait to get to her!


anna cleary said...

Kelly,thank you so much for dropping by! Oh, and as if you need any secrets to writing virgins. Your marvellous heroines--take Serena in the Maverick's Greek Island Mistress (which, by the way playfriends, is a fantastic read set to blaze from the American bookshelves in May)are strong, loving women in tune with their sensuality. Specially when Serena meets that flyboy with the Johnny Depp eyes.
Anyone care to be carried away to a Greek isle?



anna cleary said...

You always make me smile, Nat. Thank you, you dear girl, for coming. I can't believe you had time to post here today after driving to the ANZAC service.

Don't know if our visitors around the world know it, but April 25 is a sacred day in Aus and New Zealand where we honour our war dead and all the men and women who have fought to defend us since our nations were born.

And I think you all know Natalie Anderson, another of our MOd Heat sisters--and the author of the sizzling Pleasured by the Secret Millionaire. And when Nat's editor used the word 'Pleasured' to title Nat's book--she was speaking from the heart!


Marilyn Shoemaker said...

This is a wonderful romance you won't want to miss. The characters and how you bring them together, brilliant!

Anna and all, posts are great!

anna cleary said...

Marilyn! So lovely to see you here. Come on in, pull up a chair, and let's break open a good old bottle of red. Hold out your glasses, everyone! It's a party!

anna cleary said...

Thank you to all the wonderful people who've taken the trouble to drop by with stories to entertain and delight us. I've had some great fun. It's a difficult choice, but I believe the story that moved me most one way or the other was Gina's. So Ms Gina, if you visit my website you'll find a way to contact me there. Send me a postal address, and I'll pop you a copy of *Untamed Billionaire, Undressed Virgin* in the mail!
THanks to everyone at the Playground for your warm hospitality.
See you all today, I hope, at for some deep musing on the subject of virgins!

cheers and hugs

Smarty Pants said...

Ah, I'm late to the party. Sorry, Anna, but given you posted a fear of me... just as well I suppose. :) I'm not nearly as scary as they make me out to be. At least I think I'm not.

Thanks for joining us. Wonder if I'm tough enough to battle the wicked wombats and crazed platypuses? LOL.