Rock Stars and Talking Cats

Our new edition is only fifteen weeks old and constantly stalking the guitars. Here he is sneaking up to his  current favourite . . .

Stalking guitars

Ah ha – caught you red-pawed, Loki, you sweet little devil!

Stalking caught red pawed
Loki the lilac point Siamese. He talks too – which would tickle Bran’s funny bone no end.





Hate to Love You Romance Books

Lately, I’ve been thinking about romance tropes, in particular the hate to love you or refuse to let myself love you ones, pondering why I like them so much.

In fact, I wrote Siren’s Wave to satisfy my, possibly, not quite sane need to read about a guy who would rather break than accept his feelings.

Which is funny, because let’s face facts, in real life who would want to be the heroine in such a tale?  Imagine the pain of pining for a cold-hearted, confused boy who’s stumbling around saying and doing stupid things, fighting how he feels tooth and nail. I don’t imagine it would be much fun to be the girl who tames him. At least not until the happy-ever-after part happens.

I grew up in a rough area of Melbourne, surrounded by bad-boy alpha types who were often just a night’s revelry away from their next stint in jail. And then there were the rockers I worked with in the music industry–super confident, entitled, and always looking for their next conquests. It was such a joy to see these hard hearts melt in the hands of the right girl. Wait a second … I think it is pretty clear how my tastes in romance tropes were formed.

So, although the reality of loving an unwilling doofus is unappealing, I think I get so much pleasure in enemies-to-lovers reads because nothing beats love triumphing over the cynical hearts of these boys who are all–feelings? what the hell are they? It’s so good!

I need to feed my addiction folks, so if you have any recommendations, please send them my way–comments–my email–or you could even try to telepathically communicate them if you’re shy … who knows, I might just receive your signal!

I’ll post a list of my favourite books starring such troubled and feckless lads down the track, but in the meantime, here’s a few tales that I’ve recently enjoyed. They don’t necessarily fit into the hate-to-love trope … they’re just great reads.


Just One Day by Gayle Forman is an absolute treat for those who have a penchant for Shakespeare or who just love engaging, clever story telling and characters that you’ll root for all the way. The other books in the series are total delights, too. My fave is the second book. Which is yours? Click on the cover to read the blurb. They’re a bit on the expensive side e-book wise, but the paperbacks should be available at your library.

The Cruel Prince Holly Black

Holly Black’s The Cruel Prince is a gorgeous read and, although it’s more a fantasy than a romance, Prince Cardan (yes please!) and Jude certainly look like they could be shaping up to be a perfect example of the hate-to-love-you relationship that I enjoy so much. Yippee! This book is beautifully written, and every scene featuring the above-mentioned duo sparkles with a thrillingly perfect tension. It’s for young adults and up. I can’t wait for book two. Click on the cover to read more. Does it sound like your kind of thing?

A duke in shining armor Loretta Chase

So in Loretta Chase’s A Duke in Shining Armor it is rollicking fun to see the protagonists, forced into close and often hilarious proximity, grow to like each other. Ripley and Olympia are wonderful examples of people who are confused by and fighting their feelings. Hence why I’ve had extreme trouble putting this book down.

I’m three quarters of the way through it and have spent most of the time brimming with the warm fuzzies that I’ve come to associate with a top-notch ‘Loretta Chase ride’.  It’s like the Magnum ice cream of books. So much yumminess–the humour, the dialogue, and the requisite rakehell falling for a smart girl in spectacles. I’ll be praying that book two in the series is about Ashmont. He’s a guy I’d love to see fall at the feet of a girl. Painfully. His story could be awesome.

Now, where was I? Oh yes … frustrated Ripley is clodding about in a wheelchair, Olympia thinks all chance of happiness has passed her by, and Ashmont is being a wonderfully clueless dis-Grace.

Until next time X

Not Your Average Bee Keeper …

Well, my electricity is out for the day due to ‘maintenance’. No problem. I’ll simply sit here growling softly to myself, fiddling on my phone and running its battery down. I don’t mind the inconvenience and pain-in-the-butt timing. (I crossed my fingers when I typed that people). I had only planned to finish and whoosh Silva out later tonight to anyone still awake and keen to start reading it. But that’s okay. That’s fine.

Thankfully, I printed the whole thing out last night so at least I can do the last minute tweaks on paper – just as we did back in the dark ages.

And then wait for the power company to hook me back up …

So, what does one do when foiled? Look for distractions on the internet, of course. (Until their battery runs down). I found a nice one to share… Here’s a diverting bee keeper called Ton.

This has to be a Nima Benati shot as it has all her trademarks – stunning styling, composition and the coolest of colours. And Ton!

Now, time to stop whining and get back to work …

Hokusai at the NGV – Siren’s Wave – captured in the curling talons

I defied Melbourne’s chilly greyness yesterday and went along to the National Gallery’s Hokusai Exhibition to view the Great Wave Off Kanagawa (or waves to be precise) up close. Painting well into his late eighties, Hokusai was an incredibly prolific artist so there was an abundance of work on display, all of it gorgeous.

I had a good laugh at the reflection of a running man I unwittingly captured in my photo of the wave. There’s definitely ‘no exit’ from those gnashing talons as Bran could attest.

No Exit Great Wave

Twin terrors …

Twin Waves

She studied him while he studied the print. She looked at the wave tendrils curling around his bicep. The bright blues and stark whites. Similar but different to her own tattoo. Then his strong jaw, the high cheekbones, and those eyes like blinding gemstones. Relished the warmth of his denim and t-shirt clad body beside her. His smell. Citrus and delicious boy.

She put her arm around his shoulders and squeezed hard. He smiled at the wave, tucking strands of hair behind his ears.

Over in the corner, whispering and giggling, a group of high school girls made their own detailed inventory of all his good parts. It would be a sizable list. No doubt another photo session loomed with her acting as the shoot producer, props manager and lifestyle photographer all rolled into one. Maybe this time she’d leave them to it.

… Ava appreciating beauty and all its inconveniences at the NGV’s Hokusai exhibition, Siren’s Wave Book 2 – THE WAVE.


Sirens riding a wave and annoying fishermen!




One of us needing an art break/mini snooze in the gallery …


Hokusai’s the Great Wave now at the NGV!

Hokusai tattoos, coffee, and rock and roll love stories …

Right now I’m pretty happy to be drinking coffee and reading The Age newspaper. I’m getting all fired up to head to Melbourne’s National Gallery, the NGV as we Melbournians like to call it, to dream my way around the Hokusai exhibition.

I love all his work, but I can’t wait to see The Great Wave Off Kanagawa, undoubtedly, the most famous of the woodblock prints in his fabulous series Thirty-six Views of Mt Fuji.

Meanwhile, in Siren’s Wave Book 2, Bran and Ava have already paid a visit to the NGV and checked out the print that inspired their tattoos. While there, Ava discovers something shocking that hits her exactly like a tidal wave. Something she’ll have to keep hidden from Bran or risk blasting their happiness into smithereens.

Spectrum Hokusai
Spectrum, The Age newspaper – ‘Riding the Wave’ an article by Kylie Northover. The NGV’s Hokusai exhibition runs from 21st of July until the 17th of October.

Grinning, he said, “What are you looking at? Wanna find a column to hide behind and make out for a bit?”

“No! God. Is there any place in the world you think unsuitable for getting it on?”

“That question’s rhetorical, right? You already know the answer.” Waving the catalogue at her, he said, “Hey, says here that Hokusai used around thirty different names over his lifetime. Mostly ones he made up himself.”

“Maybe you can use one of his spares when the limelight gets too stupid for you and you need to go incognito?”

“Huh. Maybe. How about Gakyojin? I think it suits me.”

She pulled the brochure from his hand.“Um, lets see … apparently that means ‘man crazy about drawing’.”

Trailing heat up her thigh, he ran his finger over the paper in her lap and asked, “Is there one for ‘man crazy about sexing up his girlfriend’?”

She laughed while he gazed at the art blazing bright against the dark-blue wall.

“What is it about that wave, Ava? I fucking dream about it. It’s weird.”

Bran and Ava at the NGV’s Hokusai exhibition – from The Wave chapter, Siren’s Wave book 2.

Bad Bran, Angry Ava …

. . . VS Brave Bran, Amiable Ava.

Gorgeous shot of Hanna Sorheim and Ton Heukels by Matteo Montanari for Cargo Collective.

“Well, that’s confirmed it. I reckon you’re about seven parts optimist and three parts moron. That’s a dangerous combo, Ava.” – Bad Bran, Thin Ice.

Christopher Mason
Christopher Mason looking very Bran-like

“Finally,” she said. “You’re a bit slow, aren’t you?” His scowl grew. Don’t believe me. I’m lying, she thought. The words tried to break through her lips, but she wouldn’t say them. He needed to move on already, bother a different girl. – Angry Ava, The Kitchen.

retro girl fighting

partner_in_crime_Nima Benati crop
Ton Heukels – Partners in Crime shoot crop for Patrizia Pepe by the very talented Nima Benati

Gripping the table with both hands, his eyes gleamed a translucent blue-green like chunks of raw beryl. “I . . . well . . .” He closed his eyes, rubbed his forehead and took a breath. “How can I say it, Ave? You’re the water. The wave. The ride. The whole lot.” – Brave Bran, This is What You Want.

“Okay then. I know you’ve never said it in the whole of your life. It’s hard. I understand that and I’ve been patient, but it’s only three words. And if you mean them, it should be okay, right? So I’ll be the brave one and say it first.” She took a big breath. “I love you.” Ava grimaced at her food. “Wow, it does make you feel vulnerable. But does that help?”  – Amiable Ava, This is What You Want.


Dreamy waves and Jungian gems.

“Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”Carl Jung, Swiss psychoanalyst.

According to Jung, our dreams deliver subconscious information, long neglected or ignored, needing to be integrated into our waking lives. I like the concept of our wily night-minds waiting for the opportunity to show us things hidden from the daylight. ‘Yes, asleep again! Now come on you fool, look at this. Look!’

The Dream J.A. Hazel
The Dream – by J.A. Hazel

A while back, this vivid image of me on a mountain, for some reason naked and unusually happy about the great wave roaring forth, startled me awake and made me get the paints out before breakfast!

As you can see, I’m certainly no Van Gogh, but the picture rocked and rolled around inside my head, demanding to be exorcised.

I’m glad that I didn’t let it fade away and scratched it out onto canvas because it contained symbols that hovered and sparked feelings that eventually became my book, Siren’s Wave. So, from the watery dream realm came an earthy enterprise that kept me entertained and busy. And a little obsessed? Probably. Something long neglected was brought to life in Bran and Ava’s story. What exactly? Hmm, let’s see … Be brave. Face fears. Share the past. Be open. Be yourself. And more. So much more, in fact, but that’s another story.

Mountain J.A. Hazel
The Dream – J.A. Hazel – detail of a nuded up me loving the fact that a wave is about to swallow me up. ‘Woohoo … this should be fun!’