Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Pink Heart Picks February - Lights...Camera...Discuss!

Welcome to February's Pink Heart Picks Book Club! Last month we had a marvelous time and I'm glad you're here today to discuss this month's pick! And hey, if you haven't read it yet, have a look at the review and comments...because there's still time to grab it from the stores if it sounds like your cup of tea.

Did you notice the play on words in the blog title? Not very subtle, am I? This month's title was Nikki Logan's debut Lights...Camera...Kiss the Boss!

It's always really fun to read a debut and see what the different lines are buying, and Nikki's story is an emotional, modern type story, very city lights and glamour but with a really nice earthiness to it thanks to the gardening aspect. The hero and heroine have past history, but in so many ways they are complete opposites! Ava might have lost her mother at a young age, but she had her father and brother to give her family security. Daniel, however, not only lost his mother but had a horrible childhood thanks to his father. Ava's family kind of became his family, until one awkward, devastating night changed everything. Ava's a mother earth, nurturing kind, while Daniel's only motivation is climbing the corporate ladder to prove he's a success.

Now Ava is at Daniel's mercy...she has to become presenter of a TV show rather than staying behind the scenes, and if she doesn't, she'll be in breach of contract. Dan's job's on the line too, but convincing Ava to do it is the least of his worries. Pressure from above means using tactics he doesn't like...and keeping it from Ava. It means pairing her with a screen-partner with a womanizing reputation (and let me say, he was one of my favourite characters in the book. Love it when things are so not what they seem). It means having feelings for her but not acting on them. For Ava, it means still loving Daniel even when things go wrong. Then it means being very, very angry with him when the truth behind it all comes out.

It all culminates in an awards show surprise that adds that touch of fantasy and glamour and a lot of Romance. I don't want to say more and be too spoilery if you haven't read it, but we all know that when a man has to choose between whatever his goal was and love, and he does it publicly, it's something (remember Notting Hill and the press conference? Grand gesture!).

So what did you all think? I'm really looking forward to discussing it with you!

And now...I also have to announce the March pick!

March might come in like a lion and go out like a lamb, but here it's all about DESIRE. And I can't wait! I had a look at the Desire offerings for March and one story in particular just struck my fancy. We'll come back here on March 30 to discuss next month's read: Secrets of the Playboy's Bride by Leanne Banks!
You can get it through e-harlequin now in either print or e-book, (and you can browse the book first if you like!) and it releases on March 16 in stores.

Happy Reading!


  1. I agree it is always great to read a debut author. Nikki brings a sparkle to her writing and it iwill be interesting to read future books as she learns to work with her talent.
    I suspect she is capable of writing a far bigger book and will be one of the Jewels in the Crown in years to come.
    I loved Dan's speech at teh end. A real heartstring puller.

  2. Nikki, the passion you feel about our natural environment shines through your heroine, helping to make her a living, breathing person to the reader. Can't wait to read more :)

  3. Loved Ava & Dan's story. The characters sprang to life from the first page, keeping me hooked until the last. A fabulous read, Nikki. Can't wait until your next book hits the shelves.


  4. Hi everyone - gosh a few earlybirds here already.

    Donna - Thank you again for choosing my book for February and remind me to put you on the payroll, that's the best summary of my book I've seen yet. LOL.

    Michelle - thank you, obvioulsy I would *love* to be a jewel in any crown; anywhere, anytime. I'm conscious that there's still so much to know and explore and I'm so eager for any feedback (like this) because that's what will help me develop, hearing what worked for people, what didn't, what could have worked better. So bring it on people, happy to have any and all feedback. More than happy in fact - HUNGRY for it.

    Anita - yay for nature. I hope this book has just enough nature for the enthusiasts and not too much for everyone else.

    Janine - if I've hooked you, can't ask for more. They sprang to life for me too... quite insistant in telling their own story, in fact.

    It's evening Down Under and I have a work thing tonight so I'll be popping in and out in case there's any questions etc. Until later...

  5. I loved this book. Dan and Ava are so perfect for each other. She is so beautifully naive and Dan isso protective of that. Gorgeous. Even the secondary characters have heart and soul. Read this book, you'll love it.

  6. Different Alison here, in case anyone is confused!
    I loved the title of this book, and was delighted it was picked for discussion this month. Dan was an interesting character - in so many respscts, alpha male but, like so many people in real life, stuck with a rotten boss and put in a position when he felt he had to go along with things.
    I loved the ending (or at least the awards show, which I think would work so well as a cinematic scene!) but I did wonder about him giving away Cadence's secret, however fired up he was, because it wasn't really his to tell.
    It felt a very urban book to me, despite the gardening motif, because always in the background was the big city of Sydney. I've been to New Zealand, where my brother lives, but never Australia - and as I really don't like hot weather I don't think I'll be going soon! But it was interesting to read about it, and feel the heat and busyness (and business!

  7. What a fabulous debut. As a recent visitor to Sydney and a lover of Australian TV, this book really came alive for me. Nikki I would love to see Cadence's story at some time in the future. She's a vibrant personality and too alive to be a secondary character.

  8. Ooo haven't read this one yet. It sounds just the sort of thing I'd like.

  9. Thanks for picking this book for your book of the month. I have to tell you - I loved it. I loved Nikki's voice, the nature theme woven so well into the story-line that didn't beat you over the head, the reunion of Ava & Dan, & the resolution. I too loved the secondary characters which really fleshed out the story.

    Alison no. 2 I so agree that while Dan's situation is a real one. People do have to do things they don't like in jobs. However, I think the giving away Cadence's secret was needed. He needed to apologise to her for his part in the 'image' making the TV industry has. And he trumped it by his own declaration.

    Hope you do visit our fair shores on day (we get winter here too )

  10. Nikki's debut story signals the start of what I'm sure will be a long best selling career. LCKTB has such a strong voice and great characters which draws you in and doesn't let you go until the end. Of course the awards dinner is a classic scene. Can't wait to read more.


  11. Wow, you all showed up before me...and I'm Atlantic time and usually one of the early birds!

    I didn't get a lot of sleep last night, so I'm in the mood for some pain au chocolat and espresso. Who's with me?

    Nikki - thanks for popping by and joining in!

    I did want to ask...did you have trouble with Cadence and Bryce? (It is Bryce, isn't it? My copy is in the basement and my brain is fuzzy without my morning coffee yet.) The reason I ask is they were such an unusual and wonderful couple and I LOVED them. Was it hard to keep them minimal during the story? Definitely speaking as one who loves writing secondaries here...

  12. To both Alisons, thankyou. Dan's an interesting paradox because yes he is so protective (eventually) of Ava but then yes he does kind of 'out' Cadence. I did originally have him not use her name but in the end I felt like his sword-falling had to be complete, no-holds-barred confession. And it was a chance to help out Brant who was contractually hog-tied (kind of a karma thing). But a good example of how tricky it is to keep a flawed hero heroic all the time. I think Dan might not have done it that way if Cadence had been a different kind of woman.

    It's fantastic how ppl are responding to Cadence - defending her honour, loving her dark aspects, her show-ponyness. I would LOVE to give them their own story but it's not on the agenda with my editor. I have thought abt a free novella on my website to give them their own HEA, kind of a parallel story and they'd love it too because (Donna) they certainly were angling for page space.

  13. Following on from Alison 2 & Eleni's comments: As a reader I forgave Dan for revealing Cadence & Brant's secret. I suspect Brant was just waiting for someone to make the decision for them. He would have been relieved that their relationship was finally exposed and they could live openly. Besides, Nikki let us know it all turned out well for them.


  14. Brant! That's it! I knew Bryce wasn't quite right, and I think that name popped into my head because I just read a story with a Bryce in it. Sorry Nikki!

    I agree with Janine, too, about outing the secret. I saw it as a sort of validation and acceptance of her, and since Dan was already falling on his sword, it meant that Brant would not bear any sort of "punishment" for spilling the beans.

    Nikki also did tie up the thread by showing a glimpse into the future.


  15. Tracey, Eleni and Fiona - thank you for enjoying it so much. I worked in the TV industry for years and went to a lot of these type of gala functions but no-one ever did anything quite as gasp-worthy at those. Perhaps a case of wishful thinking on my part. And I remember being told early on 'there's nothing worse for your characters than their black-moment being public'. So I ran with that!

    Biddy - yes! Run out immediately & pick-up a copy. LOL. Especially if it's right up your alley.

  16. The blog on HR about careers fits right in with Nikki's fantastic book. There's landscaping, and then there's LANDSCAPING A LA AVA.
    Congratulations on a book with a new Australian voice. Keep them coming, Nikki!

    Rebecca Winters

  17. LOved LCKTB. I thought you did wonderfully with your secondaries Nikki. Thanks for a great read, looking forward to your next book!

  18. Nikki, I'm ashamed to say that I'm still partway through the book (isn't that the worst thing about writing? It sure gets in the way of your reading time!) but I LOVE your voice and the natural ease with which you tell the story. (Love and envy, of course!) It's a really delicious book and a stunningly assured debut - one of those books that makes you especially look forward to bedtime, and keep finding excuses to go off and soak in the bath. Thanks for the lovely read! (And thanks Donna for picking it for the bookclub and drawing my attention to a great new author!)

  19. I enjoyed it, but it took me a bit to warm up to Dan. By the end he definitely won me over. The ending was one of the best I've read.

  20. As an aside, I forgot to put in the post that eharlequin has a special on Desire titles - buy 3 for 9.99. I think they are also celebrating their 2000th Desire title with Brenda Jackson. If you're thinking of picking up next month's selection, that's a great way to do it!

    I'm off to watch dd1's volleyball game, so I'll leave some strawberries and chocolate behind to keep you all going.

    And Nicole I definitely agree with you about the end. I loved that part.

  21. It's always exciting to have a new author recommendation and this book sounds fantastic. Can't wait to read it Nikki! It will be my weekend treat :-)

  22. Hi Nikki, your book sounds wonderful and I'm going stop in the bookstore this week and pick it up for weekend reading. Congratulations on your debut!

    Donna, great choice for next month, will be sure to pick that up as well.

  23. Just finished reading the book and enjoyed every minute of it. Put me on the glad Dan outed Cadence side. I loved all the spin doctoring going on as it seemed so real. I don't follow television or movies much but I often think that people pay an awesome price in the lack of privacy for their fame.

    I loved the gardening spaces discribed in the book--reminded me of my brother's apartmant balcony which had enough room to seat just 2 because there were so many planter boxes on it.


  24. I was waiting for ages to read your debut, Nikki (no, I'm not a stalker but a member of RWAus, LOL!) and it didn't disappoint. Well worth the wait.

    I loved the balance between the external conflict and the internal conflict of the characters. You managed to fit in a lot in such a short wordcount.

    I was a bit surprised about 'jealousy' angle of the plot as aspiring authors are told this is cliched and usually doesn't work, but I think it worked beautifully in your book!

    My question: I know you wrote this ms initially targeted at 'Blaze'. Besides toning down the sexual content, how much did your ms change in your rewrite to make it fit 'Sweet'?

    Best of luck with your writing career!

  25. Wow - go to bed and see what you miss! Ladies thank you. I've gone beyond surprised with a stop-over at pleased and just reached my destination: Stunnedville, Australia.

    Call it a new author thing but while you secretly hope people will love it you never expect that people will *love* it, you know? Boggling...

    Kaylee - yay for your brother. If you picked up the UK or NA version there was a couple of extra pages on how to bring a bit of urban-nature to any environment and creative use of balconies was right up there. Makes me wish I had one to play with.

    Donna - thanks so much for choosing 'Lights, Camera...' it's been such a pleasure to hear directly from people who've read my book after it just being me and the copyeditor for so long - LOL.

    Take care everyone! See you next month.

  26. Whoops, nearly missed you Angie...hang on, just replying...

  27. I really enjoyed this book. Dan and Ava are perfect for each other. I really couldn't put this one down. It grabbed me from the start. Great secondary characters too.

  28. Angie - the Blaze MS was the one that caught Kim Young's eye BEFORE this story caught her more. This one was my attempt to see how I went at a Sexy Sensation (Modern Heat) so yes, I had to mostly close the door on the sexual activity and dig deeper into Ava's hurt about how Dan treated her in the past as well as give Dan a more internal aspect to his motivation. So his career focus became a father-thing.

    It really wasn't much to do (which tells me I'd missed the target for a SS).

    And yes, I guess I'm the classic case of 'what you don't know can't hurt you'. I really didn't know that jealousy was unheroic or that minor characters should be more in the background or that revenge stories are overdone - all things I've heard since :) I was just exploring the boundaries of the line. They're much more flexible than were all told...as long as you keep it well motivated.

    I was asked to tone down the number of times Dan is complicit in setting Ava up. From three to one. At the time I wailed at the loss of some great scenes but now I see it was the perfect thing. Nicky S said she had trouble warming up to Dan and it's probably because he's twisting her arm and then doing the Network's bidding until he says 'enough'. Not very attractive, no! But romance is nothing if not about redemption, right....

    I did have to change one thing

  29. Thanks for the insight, Nikki :)I love hearing how a book's evolution came about, and part of that is the 'behind-the-scenes' that readers never hear about. It's great that you managed to push the boundaries and pulled it off beautifully.

    Well done on writing and crafting a wonderful book. Can't wait to read more :)

  30. My book just came and I hope to be able to read it soon. One month I'm going to get the book read on time.

  31. Well, Mistress of the Dark, I know how you feel. I ordered my book on Feb 5th, and just got it this morning. I'm a tad ticked.

    But from all the comments here, I'll get over that real quick once I start reading it.

    I also had a heck of a time finding here, but seeing as I didn't find it at all last month until someone gave me a link, I guess that's an improvement.