Colour Me Happy

I love experimenting with hair colour.

It might have been different if I’d been born with honey blonde hair, or midnight black, or rich chestnut, or flame red – then I would have been a very happy naturalist.

But being born with what I call medium-grade rat – not too light, not too dark, not too interesting, not too anything other than indistinct – I’ve felt no compunction to stick with the colour I was born with. And I have to say, the urge to whack on a scalp full of dye and see what happens, purely because my own colour is not so fabulous, is something I’ve come to appreciate. Put simply: change is fun.

Over the years, I’ve been through most of the traditional colours – variegated browns, every red from burgundy to copper to strawberry, a smorgasbord of blonde from gold to platinum, and the darkest shade of chocolate through to blue black. I’ve done two-tone, highlights, lowlights, permanents and semis, flirted with deep purple rinses and had a few pinkish moments.

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Me as a relatively recent platinum blonde

In fact, there was a period of my life where I went through so many colour changes, my work colleagues joked I must have been in the witness protection program! When I look back at photos of myself from those days, I’m torn between laughing and wincing. But the truth is, I regret not one thing.

Which is probably why I enjoy plotting my characters’ hair. Fair or dark? Naturally, or by choice? Short or long? Straight, wavy, curly? Neat or tangled? Do they spend time worrying about their hair, or dash a comb through it and go? Fiddle with it or leave it alone once it’s done? Like or loathe going to the hairdresser?

Just answering those questions, I already have an idea about my characters. And in the interests of full disclosure, I’m going to answer those questions about myself:

  • Naturally dark
  • Fair by choice
  • Depends on the month but currently collar-length
  • Wavy
  • Tangled
  • Fiddler extraordinaire
  • Like the hairdresser, but it’s about the ends result, not the experience

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    Current hair!

At the moment, I’m sporting a mid-range bob in red gold (I think it’s a reaction to writing a few too many redheaded heroines, and perhaps a little obsession with Demelza Poldark). I am, however, already thinking ahead to early 2016 when I’m contemplating going pixie blonde (think Mia Farrow in the 1960s).

Is it a coincidence that the heroine I’m currently writing sports a baby blonde pixie cut? Hmm, I’m starting to see a pattern.

I’d love to hear if you’re a naturalist or an experimenter. Meanwhile, I’ll leave you with one of my most recent redheaded heroines…

Cover USHe suggested a ‘friends with benefits’ arrangement…

It was going to be:

  • Two nights a week
  • Strictly confidential
  • One month only…

It might have been his proposition, but lawyer Kate Cleary is so buttoned up she whips out a contract for them both to sign! Seeing her in her high heels and stockings, all Scott Knight can do is sign and quickly move on to the implementation stage!

 Kate couldn’t be more jaded about relationships. After all, she’s in the business of ending marriages! Millionaire architect Scott might be seriously sexy, but he’s also a complicated enigma—one she’s quickly becoming determined to solve…even if that means breaking the terms of her own watertight contract…

I hope you’ll check out my website, or connect with me on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest!

So Unsexy…..

So….I thought I’d jazz things up a bit in my newfound fitness regime by a saucy little pole dancing class. Sexy, right? Rowr! Rowwwwrrrrrr! I’m 45, pretty fit but with (ahem!) some muffin action along the hip area and….errr…..room for improvement. So, pole dancing on Friday night it was! I put on my black skort and was prepared to DAZZLE…. images Unknown-1 And then, in the first, ohhhhh, two or three minutes? Maybe four. I broke my little toe. Not sure how. All we were doing was walking sexily around the pole. In bare feet. POLEAXED from the get go! Deeply unscrumptious. And I’d made the pain even more awesome by not saying anything and doing the rest of the class. On the plus side, whilst everyone was complaining about their thighs hurting from all the intense clinging action – the throbbing pain in my toe over-ruled any other sort of bonus pain I was experiencing (top tip to the unintiated).

This was later to be eclipsed by a rather spectacular high speed spin hook twist and release that ended in more of a thunky collapse. Oops.
Oh! I think I left out the bit about how I had to sit in the corner for a spell to fight the waves of nausea developing after a particularly exacting Sexy Walk & Spin session. Which, of course was when my “pal” whipped out her phone to take a photo for my husband.

What made it even more tremendous, was the fact half the village knew what I was up to. Even better? They were all gathered at the public house breathlessly awaiting the return of my newly sexified self. Hobbling in with the beginning flushes of bruised inner thighs and a purple little toe hadn’t been my initial intention, but I went with it. And then recruited the three gals behind the bar to join me in the next session. I figure – why not just go with it? I’m going again next week. But I think I will tape my toes.

Ooo – and I almost forgot (here’s the plug part!) – my hero and heroine meet in some relatively (un)sexy conditions – covered from head to toe in muck on a climbing mesh in the middle of a Muddy Fun Run. Nothing says Hello Luscious like the sucky thwacky magic of a full body collision. Check out Dr….to Duchess? coming out this August. k2.items.cache.2ff2ba0051687eef5ca0459cf942940c_Genericnsp-113 Are there any sexy things you’d love to have a shot at? I would definitely love to have a huge loft apartment where I can play Flashdance all night long after a hard day’s welding. Have any of you tried something new that’s gone off piste? I do every single day. So don’t be shy.

Comfort TV

Lord Reith summarised the BBC’s purpose as being to inform, educate and entertain.  That’s still included in the BBC’s mission statement today, and in those of many other broadcasters around the world.  But I’d like to add one more category.

Comfort TV.  What you watch when, for whatever reason, you just can’t face doing anything else.  It’s for those days when you collapse on the sofa, and stare at the screen, hoping against hope that there’s something which will neither inform or educate you, but remind you of good times.  Like comfort food, comfort TV might not be part of a daily or even weekly diet, but there are times when nothing else is going to do.

There seems to be an increasing amount of comfort TV around these days – I think that’s because a lot more ‘vintage’ TV is being screened now, and for me one of the essential ingredients of comfort TV is that it brings back memories.  Another ingredient of the ultimate comfort programme, is that it holds no surprises.  And, of course, a happy ending is always good.

So my ultimate Comfort TV programme?  ‘Murder She Wrote’ ticks all the boxes for me.  The first, and most important, reason is that I used to watch it with my Mum, and so it never fails to bring back nice memories of the two of us, working our way through a box of chocolate covered cherries and staring at the screen.  (Actually the chocolate covered cherries count as great comfort food, too.)  And Jessica Fletcher has a number of qualities that I admire. She’s broad minded enough to take pretty much everyone as she finds them, and yet she knows her own mind and doesn’t take any nonsense from anyone.

The happy ending is always guaranteed, partly because I’ve seen most of the episodes before so I know what’s going to happen, and partly because Jessica always gets her man (or woman).  And I’ve recently found myself even more in awe of the redoubtable Mrs Fletcher, because she manages to wear perfectly co-ordinated outfits and keep her kitchen tidy, while she’s on a deadline.  What A Woman!

How about you?  What never fails when you’re in need of cheering up?

 

The Outback and The Reef and a new release by Fiona Lowe

P1030846I’m just back from 17 days in western Queensland. We explored the Savannah country, cattle country, dinosaur country, rainforest and the biggest marine park in the world; the Great Barrier Reef. We canoed on the Lawn Hill creek past sleeping freshwater crocs, we hiked rugged gorges carved out by millions of years of rushing water, we followed the path trod by dinosaurs and shallow seas swum by the terrifyingly huge Kronosaurus, camped under a full moon as Bettongs visited, rafted the rapids on the Tully river through world heritage rain forest and we snorkelled on the outer reef with Nemo and friends and gave thanks reef sharks are so little.  It was a fantastic trip but I’ll let the photos tell the story :-)

Have you had a holiday/vacation recently? Where did you go?

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A blue wren

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A Galah

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Galahs at sunset

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Termite mounds

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The cheeky Kookaburra who stole my banana!

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Thirsty kangaroo

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There’s a lot of nothing out there

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The Gregory River Gulf Country QLD

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Water lillies at Boodjamulla National Park, Lawn Hill Creek, on the NT/QLD border

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Lawn Hill Gorge where we canoed

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Ghost gums grow in the most amazing places!

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Lawn Hill Creek where we swam and kept an eye out for Freshwater crocodiles

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Sunset at Lawn Hill

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Gibber plain and fossils

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It’s a red country

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Mt Isa underground hospital built during WW2

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No traffic jams out here unless you count the grey nomads

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Kronosaurus!

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Camp life

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Sleeping under a full moon was like sleeping with the lights on.

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A cold morning. Me in my PJs making brekkie with a penny! Had to keep my one polarfleece kinda clean #analretentivetendencies

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Pyramid Rock in Porcupine Gorge National Park

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Charters Towers, World Theatre

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Townsville: back on the coast

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1920s pub

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Between Port Douglas and Cairns

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Green Island, Low Isles, The Great Barrier Reef

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Gouldian Finch

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Koalas sleep 19 hours a day…bit like cats!

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Eclectus Parrot

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Cassowary

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Salt water crocodile….the scariest thing on the planet.

DSCF4202And while I was away, Truly Madly MontanaTheres a released :-) It’s book 2 in my Medicine River

series and it’s currently got a 4.5* average on Amazon and Goodreads :-). As one reader said, “An Aussie doctor in scrubs? Nom!” You get two romances in one book! The blurb says, “Summer in Montana brings heat with a chance of romance in the new Medicine River Romance from the award-winning author of Montana Actually

Sexy and charming Australian doctor Will Bartlett will do anything to help out a friend, even if it means moving to Bear Paw for the summer. Some small-town hospitality, and the uncomplicated friendship of his co-worker, Millie, is just the ticket to shake off the restlessness that’s been gripping him lately.
Fiona Lowe ARRA ad
Millie Switkowski, RN and medical student, is home for her clinical rotation, and she’s determined to make this summer so much better than last. She’s got a year of medical school under her belt, her diabetes is under control and she’s kicked her crazy crush for Will Bartlett, who only ever treated her as “one of the guys.”

But when Will turns out to be Millie’s supervising physician, without warning the summer gets a whole lot hotter than either of them anticipated. With both of them holding onto thorny secrets, can they walk away with their hearts intact?”

You can buy it where all print and eBooks are sold and for ALL buy links, click here.

Happy Reading!

Fiona x

Planning on a good time!

IMG_2014At the end of this week I’m setting off on a very exciting trip- a week in San Francisco with my hubby, then a week in New York with my writing pals! Colour me very excited! I’ve never been to either places so I’m armed with guidebooks and lists and….ahem…a timetable of things to do.

I used to be the kind of ‘see how it goes’ traveller, arriving at a place and following my nose but since I’ve had kids and we’ve taken them on more convoluted trips I’ve learnt to plan ahead (also, we’ve been on a few Intrepid Holidays trips and they have strict timetable we follow to travel around a country/area and we saw that it worked so we adopted this approach). So the last few days hubby and I have been creating a timetable so we don’t miss anything out, and get to see/do everything in the short time we have. The timetable is fairly flexible, but it ensures we don’t spend too much time lazing over breakfast and then suddenly lunchtime appears and we haven’t budged from our hotel.

IMG_2013We’ve booked a few trips- to Alcatraz and Napa Valley, we’re going to see a baseball game and cycle over the Golden Gate bridge. We have time booked in for mooching, the Modern Art Gallery, a walk down the Embarcadero and Fisherman’s wharf…and have a day or so at the end to revisit anywhere we particularly loved. We’ve also booked some restaurants we’ve had recommended too. I can’t wait!

So a few questions: are you the kind of ‘suck it and see traveller’ who arrives in a place and follows your nose? Or do you plan everything in advance like me? AND- is it too much to have a clothing plan too (I have to pack for a holiday and a conference and have limited space so I’m making my clothes do double duty-I actually have a timetable for what I’m wearing each day- Too Much? LOL)

Anything in SF I’ve missed that is a MUST SEE?

Making it permanent

It’s hot, here in the UK.  Not the kinds of temperatures that summer brings in some parts of the world, but I’m still glad that I don’t do a daily commute any more, because the London Underground can be stifling in this heat.  I’m counting myself lucky to be enjoying the summer weather from home.

One thing that’s evident in the street is that there’s a lot more skin on show than usual, and with it, many more tattoos.  Apparently 20% of Brits now have one or more tattoos, and the number rises to 29% amongst the 16-44 age group.  And these seem to range from the beautiful and sometimes witty, to the what-on-earth-were-you-thinking?

When I was little, if you knew someone with a tattoo, it was generally your grandad.  My grandad had a couple from his time in the Royal Navy, an anchor and a chain, to which he subsequently added my grandmother’s name (rumour has it that a previous lady-friend’s name was covered up at some point).  I remember being fascinated by them when I was a child.

These days, it’s predominantly the young who choose to have tattoos, with as many women having tattoos as men.  And tattoos will provoke strong reactions.  Some people love them and some people hate them.  Some are very proud of their body art, some regret it bitterly and some can’t fathom why anyone would want to set foot in a tattooist’s studio in the first place.  It’s undoubtedly a powerful statement to make – most things we do to alter our appearance can be changed with relative ease, but tattoo removal is a long, painful process that isn’t always successful.

David Beckham, who reportedly has 32 tattoos, so could be considered an expert on the subject, is quoted as saying  “I don’t regret any of them.  They all have a meaning.  I think that’s what’s important about tattoos.  If they have a meaning you’ll never regret them.”

And that, in a nutshell, is probably why I don’t have a tattoo.  I did think at one point that I wanted one for my fortieth birthday, but when it got to it, I couldn’t decide on a design – so I came to the conclusion that anything permanent would be a mistake.  If I’d really been serious about the idea, I guess I should have been thinking about choosing a meaning, rather than a design.

And maybe I’m not looking at this the right way.  Maybe a tattoo carries with it the understanding that many of the things we do in life are ‘written’ on our bodies somewhere. I have scars which bear witness to surgeries and accidents, a twisted finger, a lump on my knee, a birthmark, laughter lines and frown lines (I prefer to call those ‘concentration lines’)…  The list gets longer every year, and each year I get to accept and even love them all a little more.  If I’d added a few tattoos along the way, would I still be loving them, or starting to regret them?  Or simply accepting that they’re a part of me, in the same way as the events they commemorate are?  I’m not sure.

According to one poll, 77% of women think that a man with an unusual tattoo is likely to be more fun.  What do you think?  And… no since I don’t have any body art of my own to share, I’m not going to ask.  But if you want to tell, that’s fine with me :)

9781474004510In ‘Daring to Date Her Ex’, Dr Lucas West has two tattoos.  One of them was for his niece – when he adopted her eight years ago, the little girl reminded him that he’d forgotten her birthday the previous year, and so he had the date inked on his arm, as part of his promise that he’d always be there for her in the future. The other reminds him of his lost love, Thea.  But their lives have changed so much, that this tattoo now looks as if it was a big mistake.