Posted by Anna Sugden Jan 22 2015, 1:32 am in A Perfect Catch, Anna Sugden, cookery, La Proposition Ideale, new experiences, New Jersey Ice Cats, new skills, New Year, New Years Resolutions, travel
A belated Happy New Year to you all. I hope 2015 is treating you well and that you have lots of wonderful things to look forward to this year.
I’m not one for New Year’s Resolutions. With the benefit of my advancing years, I’ve learned that I rarely keep them — for a variety of reasons, not just laziness — and they become something to beat myself up about around September. Not very healthy! What I’ve learned to do instead is to take some time to think about what I want to do that’s new over the coming twelve months.
Some years, the focus is on travel and visiting new places. One of the benefits of being a romance author is that I can go to the national conference and either visit somewhere new or use it as a stepping stone to somewhere new. We also have family and friends scattered in different places, which gives plenty of opportunity for visiting and exploring. Last year, for example, the new places we visited were Kelowna in BC, Seattle, Edisto Island in SC and Columbia in SC.
Even when we return to a place we’ve visited previously, we always try to see something new. Again, last year, we returned to San Antonio and Amsterdam. The Riverwalk had changed enormously since our last visit to San Antonio, so that was fun to explore. Amsterdam is a great walking city, so you can potter away for days and see new areas. But the new experience for us was going to the recently refurbished – and spectacular — Rijk’s Museum.
This year will get off to a great start when Doc Cambridge and I head to Paris for the day, to a book signing. Although I visited Paris many years ago, it was only on an in-and-out business trip and it wasn’t the best experience. This time will be very different, I’m sure. For a start, we’re going to travel on the Eurostar – the train that goes under the Channel – a new experience! Then, we’ll be meeting some of my French readers for a fun day to celebrate the launch of La Proposition Idéale — book 2 in my New Jersey Ice Cats series (ie A Perfect Trade).
Some years, the focus is on learning a new skill or advancing an existing skill. Over the last couple of years I’ve learned how to knit in the round, crochet and make jewellery. Earlier this month, I went to a session at my local WI (Women’s Institute) and learned the art of straw plaiting. While I wasn’t very good at it and probably won’t do it again, it was fun to learn all about an important trade from this area.
Another area where I like to have new experiences is cooking. I keep meaning to make a new recipe from each of the recipe books in my collection, but I get so busy I stick to the old favourites. However, again, in previous years I’ve been on courses to learn the art of Indian cookery and how to make sushi! (I was much better at sushi than straw plaiting!)
Over to you – do you like to have new experiences in a new year? Have you planned any for 2015 – travel to new places, courses for new skills or cookery? One commenter will get to have a new experience as they will win a copy of my new book, the third in my New Jersey Ice Cats series – A Perfect Catch – which will be out in a couple of weeks.
Posted by Anna Campbell Dec 9 2014, 12:01 am in Anna Campbell, Annie West, Australian Authors, Back in the Italian's bed, Bargain Books, Bought by the Italian, contemporary romance, ebooks, Hot Italian Nights, novellas, travel
Annie hard at work researching in Italy!
Delighted to have as my guest today Annie West, who is here to tell us about her fabulous new novella, BOUGHT BY THE ITALIAN, book 2 in the Hot Italian Nights series.
I’ve read this story and believe, it’s a sizzling little romance. And all for the princely sum of 99 cents. If you want to buy it for Kindle, just click on the cover below. For other formats, Annie has given us links.
Road Trip to Romance
Hi Anna! Hi Banditas! And hi to the GR dude too. It’s lovely to be back, visiting in the lead-up to the festive season. Anna, thanks for letting me share my little adventure with you all.
Sometimes the life of a writer is so tough – solitude, writers’ block, aching body from being attached to a computer too long, concerns about sales or marketing or bad reviews. But at other times, a writer’s life is sheer delight. I want to share one of those times with you.
For a couple of years in high school I studied geology. That’s when I saw my first photo of the Dolomite Mountains in the north of Italy. Instantly I was in love. I vowed to visit. Of course I didn’t. I was busy with family and work, mortgage and commitments. Till this year when I was in Europe for a readers’ convention and convinced my husband we really needed to drive over the Alps…as you do. He took a bit of convincing but finally he agreed and we found ourselves driving from Austria to Italy and spending time in the Alto Adige aka the South Tyrol.
Heaven! At almost every hairpin bend (and there were lots, I counted), another ‘Wow’ would burst out (usually from me). The scenery was stunning. The roads, well, they were an experience in themselves, especially as we arrived on a holiday weekend so everyone in Italy who owned a pushbike, motorbike or luxury car (as well as tourists like us) were out to enjoy the balmy weather and great scenery. And occasionally overtake just before a hairpin bend…
We found lovely towns with friendly people. We discovered at least some of those people take their dogs up the mountains in cable cars! We tasted lovely food, both Italian and German style (since this used to be part of the Austro-Hungarian empire). We got snowed on and sunburnt. We walked in mountain meadows and saw marmots up close. We heard the local language, Ladin, an ancient tongue used by only about 30,000 speakers, and only heard in these mountain valleys. (As Mr. West is a language buff, he was thrilled.) We tasted wonderful regional wines and basically soaked it all up.
By the time we left I was even more in love with the place than I’d been when it was just an armchair travel dream.
Because I’m a writer, that meant I had to write about it. I’d already published a novella earlier this year (BACK IN THE ITALIAN’S BED) and readers had been asking about a story for Chiara, a character in that novella. I had deadlines for my longer books. but the lure of the mountains won out and I carved out time for a second novella, inspired by my trip.
I was also inspired because, browsing the net, (as you do when you have several deadlines looming and you really should be writing so of course you need displacement activity…) I found a photo that WAS Chiara and her lover Gennaro. I wrote BOUGHT BY THE ITALIAN, inspired by the photo you see on the cover now, and by my memories and photos of the Alps. What a happy ending!
It’s not the end though, because I have half an idea for another story that might just start in this part of the world. I’m wondering if that means another research trip, but Mr. West is looking at me with raised eyebrows, which means I may have to wait awhile.
If you’re interested in the story inspired by these mountains and my road trip, here’s a taste:
She’s up for sale, and he’s the highest bidder.
Gennaro De Laurentis might prefer motorcycle leathers to Armani, but when it comes to what he wants, he’s as ruthless as any corporate raider in a killer suit. And he wants Chiara, the unforgettable woman who denied the passion sizzling between them and walked away without a backward glance. Now he has the high society princess back in his power – and he’ll risk everything to make her his.
When glamorous fashion designer Chiara Armati goes up for auction, she’s selling her company over dinner for charity. Nothing else. As bidding rises to astronomical heights, she gets nervous. Yet only when she discovers her purchaser’s identity does she realise she’s caught in a trap. She’s never stopped wanting Gennaro or forgiven his betrayal. Now she’s at his mercy – and he’s as irresistible as ever!
BOUGHT BY THE ITALIAN is on sale for just 99c at:
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/bought-by-the-italian-annie-west/1120836889?ean=2940149986385
and Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/497810
Have you ever been on a great roadtrip? Or is there one you’d love to take? I’m up for suggestions!
I’d also like to take the chance to wish all of you a safe, happy and wonderful Christmas!
Thanks, Annie! Get commenting, people! Annie has very generously offered two commenters today their choice of her full-length romances (international). Good luck!
Posted by Anna Campbell Nov 4 2014, 12:01 am in Anna Campbell, Australian Authors, contemporary romance, Destiny Romance, e-books, interviews, Jennifer St. George, Penguin Australia, Tempted by the Billionaire Tycoon, travel
One of the fun things about being a Romance Bandit (and believe me, there are LOTS of fun things about being a Bandita!) is that I get to host some of my favorite people on the blog. Aussie author Jennifer St George fits the bill admirably. She’s always fun and smart and ready to support another writer so I’m delighted today to have her as my guest in the lair.
Jen’s latest release is the sparkling and sexy contemporary romance TEMPTED BY THE BILLIONAIRE TYCOON. Here’s the blurb:
Three strikes and you’re out…
A series of strange accidents are occurring at Sirona, a luxury spa resort in the picturesque English countryside. Billionaire owner Nic Capitini wants the person responsible, the resort’s GM Poppy Bradford, sacked. But the law requires he give three official warnings. Nic checks in undercover to gather the evidence he needs.
Despite first impressions, it isn’t long before Nic realises that not only is Poppy beautiful, she’s a brilliant manager who runs the resort superbly. And the chemistry between them is undeniable. When Poppy herself is threatened, it seems clear the incidents are part of a systematic campaign of sabotage. Even though he believes she’s innocent, Nic knows Poppy is hiding something. But will learning her secret mean losing her forever?
Hmm, a resort in the English countryside? I’m there!
You can find Jen on social media:
Blog: http://www.jenniferstgeorge.com/blog and http://lovecatsdownunder.blogspot.com.au/
Jen, I’m delighted to welcome you back to the Romance Bandits and congratulations on the release of TEMPTED BY THE BILLIONAIRE TYCOON. Can you tell us something about this story?
TEMPTED BY THE BILLIONAIRE TYCOON is the second book my Billionaire Romance series with Destiny Romance.
What were the inspirations behind this story?
TEMPTED BY THE BILLIONAIRE TYCOON was inspired by two recent trips. One to a health retreat which gave me my heroine’s profession and one to France and the UK which was the inspiration for the luxury locations in which the book is set. Each time I visit Paris (and during a trip to Versailles for the first time) I’m in awe of the beauty and romance of France. My heroine, Poppy feels this too as it is her first trip to this amazing country. My hero of course has seen it all before, being an international entrepreneur, but it all feels that little bit different now he is with Poppy!
Me with Aussie authors Helene Young and Jennifer St. George at the Gold Coast Libraries Literati Event in 2012.
What’s coming up next?
I’m currently working on the third book in my Billionaire Romance series. I’m currently playing with lots of different characters and settings waiting for it all to come together.
We’re very nosy here in the lair. We’d love a peek at your writing day. Was there anything you learned during your time as a corporate wonder that has helped you in settling down to life as a writer?
What did I learn from my corporate career that has helped me with writing? Discipline. Discipline. Discipline. Getting my head down and getting the job done. I get up early every day (and I’m a night owl…definitely not a morning person) and get 1000 words done before the rest of the house wakes. That way, no matter what the day throws at me, I’ve got words down on the page. Also, you can never stop learning, improving, refining your skills. I continually find ways to learn and I know I can always do better.
Contemporary romance is taking the world by storm. Have you any theories as to why this genre is the flavour du jour right now?
Great question and I’m not sure. Maybe it’s because people can relate to the stories as they are written with contemporary themes and situations. Although, my stories do have a lot of ‘escapism’ elements. I mean, it’s not everyday you stumble into the glamorous world of a billionaire and he sweeps you off your feet into the world of luxury only accessed by the mega-rich.
Oh, if only I would! Is there another genre you’d like to try?
I love reading crime. I love a good thriller – Michael Connelly, Patricia Cornwell, David Baldacci. I’d love more time to read crime and I’d like to one day have at go at writing it. I have a story in my head that won’t leave me alone (it’s based on a dream I had when I was twenty, so it’s been tapping on my brain for a long time), so I hope one day to get that story down on paper and out into the world.
Ooh, sounds intriguing. Do you have a question for the Banditas and Bandita buddies to get conversation going?
So I love featuring glamorous locations (Paris, Barbados, Brunei) and having my characters engage in luxurious activities such as slipping over to Paris on a private jet for dinner, cruising on a super yacht or dining on a Caribbean beach. If you could have a billionaire lifestyle and money was a non-issue, what would you like to do?
A bit of a twist in today’s prize. Jen has offered a download of TEMPTED BY THE BILLIONAIRE TYCOON but for people in Australia only – so if you’re an Aussie, please tell us so in the comments so we know you’re in the draw. Jen’s book is available internationally from all good e-book retailers!
Posted by Cassondra Murray Sep 24 2014, 12:08 am in Cassondra Murray, Cassondra's blogs, hotels, security, travel
The day I turned sixteen, I got my driver’s license in the morning. That afternoon I loaded my suitcase and my guitar into my mom’s car and I drove almost all the way across the state to play music at an event up near the Ohio River. I drove home after the event, and that drive is the subject of another blog post–one about big strapping angels pulling a little girl’s car out of a ditch in the middle of the night (someday maybe I’ll tell that story)-—but bottom line?…I should have stayed in a hotel that night, because I was too exhausted to drive two and a half hours home. But at that time, I’d had very little experience with hotels. It just didn’t seem like a good option.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking I had a bad mom. (She’s 86, still sharp as ever, and I am grateful that I still have her). She was the best kind of mom because she understood what I was about. She knew I was not up to shenanigans, she knew I’d been driving since I was thirteen (that’s a whole nuther blog) and she knew I could take care of myself. And she knew that playing music was all I cared about. I could not wish for a better mom because she encouraged me to pursue my passion, which was music.
Still…there are some things one can learn only by experience.
I’d booked the event near the Ohio River a few months before. I always took an overnight bag in case of some emergency, and though I’d planned to go home that night, I should have stayed rather than drive. It was just too late. That’s a lesson you learn the hard way—that you are mortal and have limits. Another lesson is that you are not necessarily safe in a hotel, no matter how they tout their security.
I learned my lesson that night about my limits when I’m tired, and in subsequent years I learned a lot of other things from other musicians, salesmen (they were almost all men at that time), and other business people living out of suitcases as they moved from place to place. I also learned a lot about how to survive as a young woman traveling alone, about fixing my own car, and about how to tell an honest offer of help from one that came with strings attached.
Over the years I learned to survive in hotels. I learned that to actually sleep, I had to wear earplugs. I learned how to shove a chair under the door handle. This was the days before electronic key cards, so I learned how to be patient and play the desk clerks one at a time, pretending I was locked out so I ended up with every extra key to my room. That way a stranger couldn’t find out my room number and con the desk clerk out of a key to get in, because I had all of them.
Things have changed. Now the keys are electronic, the security is much better, and in good hotels there are actually enough plugs, there’s an iron and a hair dryer in every room, and the lamps have simple switches you can reach by swatting at them in the dark.
Still…they have their security risks.
When I stay in a hotel, if it’s just for a couple of days, I ask for extra towels and I don’t get maid service. That way nobody but me comes into my room. I figure the housekeeping staff is one of the biggest security risks. That housekeeper has a key to every room on her floor.
If there’s a balcony with a sliding door, I leave it locked, with the security device in place. I leave the “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door at all times, so it appears I’m in there, even when I’m not.
In the book I’m writing, my heroine, Del (short for Adelaide because she hates that name) is staying in a hotel. She has something significant stolen out of her room. Something that will decide the fate of her career and her future. This item won’t fit in the room’s safe, so that’s not an option.
So, Bandits and Buddies, I’m trying to stage a hotel room theft, and I need your help. Tell me your hotel stories…
Have you spent a lot of time in hotels?
Will you share your hotel experiences?—What are your favorite hotels–or your least favorites? What’s the most awesome hotel experience you’ve had–and what’s the worst?
What do you think of hotel security?
What do you think are the weak points?
Do you trust the cleaning staff to leave your things alone? Do you take measures to prevent theft when you stay?
If you wanted to stage a theft from a hotel room, how would you get access?
Do you sleep well in hotels?
Do you have any tips or tricks to offer for hotel stays?
Any horror stories to share about hotels?
Posted by Nancy Northcott Aug 26 2014, 12:19 am in baseball, birdhouses, Fall, owls, space shuttle, summer's end, travel, vacations
Yesterday was one of those summer days we just hate around here, hot and muggy. Oppressive. Today, though, was nice. The air felt light. There was even a breeze, and the temperatures were down about 10 degrees from yesterday. It was almost like, well, fall.
Now Dragon Con is upon us, ending on Labor Day. While summer doesn’t officially end until September 22, Labor Day feels like it draws the curtain over summer and its freedom. Maybe that’s because school used to start right after Labor Day, not in August like it does now. For whatever reason, Dragon Con itself has become my signpost for summer’s end.
As far as food goes, the end has been in sight for a couple of weeks. Watermelon starts being less good after July 4. By Labor Day, it’s often pretty anemic in both appearance and flavor. Corn on the cob is not as plump or as large.
When I look back at the summer, I managed to do quite a few things I intended. I ate more fruits and vegetables, cut back seriously on soda, and am exercising more–though not as much as I’d like to. The boy and I got his travel arrangements made, and we had a nice, if short, family vacation and saw this unusual birdhouse in a park. We even planted some irises, which steadfastly refused to bloom.
We even went to a minor league baseball game, courtesy of the boy’s boss. The dh used to go to minor league games regularly until the stadium burned down and the team moved to South Carolina, but that’s a long, involved story! Anyway, we were glad to experience this bit of Americana together. And our team won–go, Knights!
And of course, as you may have seen on Facebook, I finally got to see a space shuttle. And it was the Enterprise! I know she never actually flew, but…the Enterprise! I’d wanted to see the U.S.S. Intrepid Museum and the shuttle for a long time.
A big event for us, though it seems fairly insignificant in the grander scheme of things, was spotting an owl in our back yard. We stood under it, talking and taking pictures, and it ignored us totally. It might be a sort of “I know I can take you if I have to” kind of attitude. Still, we were all agog, and watching the big raptor was one of the highlights of our summer.
But I didn’t go out to our local park and watch the geese on the big artificial pond. I didn’t whittle the TBR pile noticeably. I didn’t learn to make pretty raffle baskets (I rely on other bandits for that), nor did I tinker around with changes to my website or paint the upstairs bathroom. *sigh* I keep hoping the painting elves will just, you know, do that, but they haven’t so far!
What did you do this summer that you especially enjoyed? What did you hope to do that you’re probably not going to get done before the seasonal calendar changes?
Posted by Nancy Northcott Jun 26 2014, 12:39 am in comic books, costly, mothers and sons, Nancy's blogs, travel
Whether or not we’re parents, we were all kids at one time or another. All of us stretched our wings and pulled away from the nest in ever-widening circles. The boy has been doing that the past few years. We like his friends, are proud of his choices, and yet…occasionally, the dh and I miss the way it used to be.
I got a taste of days gone by last week. The boy and I went to Washington, DC, so he could apply for a visa to study abroad. This was the trip with the infamous car trouble, which Jeanne and her mechanic stepped up to fix so we could get home. We took the car to the garage first thing, and then the boy and I headed into the city with Jeanne’s dh as our guide.
The visa process took mere minutes, so we headed down to the National Mall to see some of the sights. Just as a note here, if you go to DC, don’t forget your sunscreen. I did, but I didn’t worry about it. What tourist mecca doesn’t sell sunscreen virtually everywhere in the summer?
Um…our nation’s capital? We tried at the Washington Monument (no luck), a kiosk across the street (closed for the next half hour), a street vendor (didn’t sell it but graciously allowed us to use his), and the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum (none in the main gift shop, but we lucked into a tube in the basement).
One of the things I most wanted to see was the Vietnam Memorial, and I didn’t want to shuffle past it with a mob. I wanted to be able to walk up to it, go back and forth along it, and think about what I was seeing. One of our family doctor’s sons (much older than I was, so not a buddy of mine) died in Vietnam. I wanted to find his name, and with the assistance of a park ranger, I did. There’s a battered book you can consult where the wall’s two halves intersect.
It was very moving, the dark stone, the memorial bouquets laid against it, and the people staring up at the names.
From the Wall, we walked down to a reflecting pool, where we bought some water and sat on a bench in the shade to drink it. Suddenly, we heard a lot of loud honking. A massive gaggle of Canada geese rushed over the grass, across the walkway, and into the pool. We called this the Blitz of the Goose Commandos.
Some of the geese, however, were not so sure they wanted to take this plunge. A bunch of them hung back near the water’s edge. This apparently infuriated one of their peers, who hopped out of the water and bit one of the holdouts on the tail before jumping back in. Seriously. Why this goose got behave this way, and with no retaliation, we had no idea. Whatever the reason, it did not spur any of the reluctant geese to hop in.
Here are the reluctant ones:
One thing that was cool about traveling with the boy was that he’s an adult now, able to decide what to do and figure out how to get where we need to go. I had a folding map. He had a map on his phone, and his was more helpful than mine.
When the car was acting up, I didn’t have to worry about taking care of a toddler if the car broke down. Instead, I had a someone in the shotgun seat who could help me deal with any problem if need be.
To get out of the sun, we walked up to the shade behind the Washington Monument. I’d never been up there before and didn’t realize what high ground it was. We had a great view of the Lincoln Memorial from there. Also the Capitol and the top of the White House.
Those fountains in front of the Lincoln Memorial are part of the World War II Memorial. When we walked by there, the boy took a photo of me in front of the column honoring the Phillippines. My father was born there and joined the navy there, after Pearl Harbor.
Eventually, with a conversation with Jeanne’s mechanic en route, we reached the Air & Space Museum. They had three external doors open on the Mall said, but only one bag check station. Yes, one. Many foreign visitors joined hordes of our fellow Americans in demonstrating our national preference for surging masses over an orderly line. We did eventually get inside, though, and we had a great time poking around.
Here is Chuck Yeager’s plane, Glamorous Glennis, in which he broke the sound barrier. We also wandered through a duplicate of Skylab, walked through an old TWA jet, and admired the Spirit of St. Louis despite wishing Lindbergh had not been so pro-Germany in the lead up to World War II.
There was a great exhibit on aviation in World War I. I was nattering on about the war, telling the boy (a huge LOTR fan) about Tolkien’s service on the western front, the Battle of the Somme, etc., when the boy stopped me.
“Did you say Tolkien fought in the war?” he asked. When I nodded, he said, “Come look at this.”
He pointed to a poster showing French anti-aircraft soldier watching the sky for German planes. I took a picture but I couldn’t get a clear one. Alas, but I didn’t realize something had flicked the camera setting off “auto”). The caption above the poster was “They shall not pass!” Seriously. We loved it!
If you’re not a LOTR freak and so don’t get this, don’t worry about it. “You shall not pass!” is what Gandalf says to the Balrog on the bridge in Morder right before smiting the bridge with his staff and breaking it.
One of the highlights of the trip for me was locating the actual Enterprise from actual Star Trek in the basement gift shop. The boy took a photo of me, but the camera difficulties made it blurry. I do wish I’d thought to check the setting! Anyway, here is a photo I took that turned out more or less okay.
After that, we headed back to Jeanne’s to get the car. We remain deeply grateful to her and to her fabbo mechanic for getting it fixed. It ran like new on the way home.
We finished out the week, the boy and I, by going to the HeroesCon comic book convention in Charlotte. After so many years of going to cons, I have pretty much everything I care about that isn’t totally out of reach (not that I wouldn’t love to own Action Comics #1, the debut of Superman, or Detective Comics #37, the origin of Batman, but let’s be real!). I like to wander and look around, though.
Shown at left is the pillar with the con’s hours, which I photographed because I love Supergirl and Batgirl, who actually had some joint adventures at one time.
I didn’t discover the camera issues until after the con. I knew I was having trouble with it, but it never occurred to me (no idea why!) to check the setting. This is unfortunate because the boy is into cosplay (attending dressed as a character) and made an amazing Magneto outfit, and I took scads of photos, only a few of which turned out.
Anyway, here he is facing off against Darth Vader in the booth of the 501st Legion Carolinas Garrison (stormtroopers).
And here he confronts Iron Man, a perfect opponent for a villain whose power is based on magnetism.
I wasn’t in costume, but I did have on my Superman shirt. It seemed the perfect thing to wear to have my photo taken with Superman’s dog, Krypto, in the DC Comics Petting Zoo.
One of the pleasures of attending a con is the level of energy and excitement in the room. Most people are there because they love some aspect of what’s being celebrated. There was a sort of cosplay hangout near one of the stages, and people were taking pictures of those in costume.
Several people stopped the boy to ask if they could be photographed with him or could take his picture. In cosplay circles, that’s a sign the costume is a hit.
I also got to meet someone I’ve long admired, artist Ramona Fradon. She worked in comics in the late Golden Age and early Silver Age, when women were just not in that field. She revamped Aquaman and helped create Metamorpho, the element man. According to one source online, she was the first woman to work on a superhero comic.
There she is, at left. She was so friendly and gracious.
Sorry it’s blurry. The moral of this story is “Always check your camera settings.” With my old 35mm film camera, I had to do that every time. I tend to trust the digital point-and-shoot, obviously more than I should.
The boy and I had a great time wandering the Dealer’s Room. Part of the fun for me was watching the reception he got after all the hard work he put into that costume. The breastplate is constructed in layers, and the helmet is in segments. It took him days to put all that together. A coworker of the dh’s made the cape.
What about you? Have you ever done cosplay, either at a con or for Halloween (yes, childhood counts)? What was your favorite costume?
What was your most recent trip with someone close to you? What were the highlights?
Posted by Joan Kayse Mar 13 2014, 12:22 am in Ireland, Irish, Joan Kayse, paranormal romance, St Patrick's Day, travel
I miss my homeland.
What, you might say? You miss Kentucky? The States? Your favorite McDonald’s and Diet Coke?
Nope, I’m talking about the land of 3/4 of my ancestors….Eire. Ireland. The Emerald Isle. My heart.
It’s been six years since my last visit. SIX YEARS! That is way too long, inexcusable considering I spent the first 2/3 of my life not even imagining I would ever visit. The budget is being cruel and alas, it will be a while yet before I return.
But I yearn for my ancestral home.
My first visit started out in a stunned state. We de-barked at Shannon Airport to a cold, cloudy, dreary landscape and I could only think “I spent thousands of dollars for THIS?”
Then we left the airport. Dear. God. In. Heaven. It was as if the spirit of the isle reached into my heart and soul and hugged me. As corny as it sounds, I knew I was home. It only got better from there. So here are some of the things I have been missing:
1. The earth. The sky. The rivers. The coast. The rocks. The birds. The flora, the fauna. The sheep. The sun as it breaks out over stone wall lined pastures after a soft rain. There is a richness to sol’s rays there that does NOT exist anywhere else. And the lakes! Blue is to bland a word to describe the beauty of the water. I’m not a hiker by nature but I tell you walking in the woods there? I knew…just KNEW that if I sat on a log I would become one with the earth. Ahem…I also firmly believed that if I looked under the right rhododendron bush, I’d find the King of the Fae 😀
2. The Irish spirit. Ya gotta admire a people so resilient. They meet their challenges and either beat the crap out of them or dance around them. The honor those who have gone before them, respect those who suffered and then thumb their noses at the cause. Every meal includes the potato in some form or fashion and one particular eatery in Killarney…seriously…served potaotes FIVE ways! Roasted, mashed, chips, boiled, added to pasta.
3. The history. Yeah, in the States you have to go through park gateways to see a lot of our infant past. In Ireland, you drive down the highway and past castles, cemeteries hundreds of years old, thatched cottages that invaders missed (Ha!). It’s just part of life there. Part of who and what the people, the land are. All of it right next door to a McDonald’s that serves the apple pie crusted in sugar with REAL clotted cream!
4. The people. Especially the musicians who play in the pubs. These people are transformed as they play ballads, jigs reels. They connect with another sphere of life as they play the fiddle, the bodrhan (my fav), pipes even spoons. I was only feet away watching an older guy play spoons with his eyes closed as he felt the life of the song. Oh and of course the black-haired, blue-eyed stone mason I oogled…er, watched at work on the Ring of Kerry. Momentous time that lead to the premise of my upcoming paranormal Guardian Isle series.
I could go on and on. While I can’t quite make it back right now, I always have the promise that, just like it has for an eternity, home will always be there for me.
What about you? Have you experienced anything similar in your travels? Have you been to Ireland and what do you miss?
Posted by Anna Campbell Mar 11 2014, 11:00 pm in Anna Campbell, Bandita Booty, Harlequin, historical romance, Mills and Boon, Regency romance, Seven Nights in a Rogue's Bed, Sons of Sin, travel
Thanks so much to everyone who went all posh and tea-drinking to help me celebrate the release of the U.K. edition of SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED from Mills and Boon in London. I’m delighted now to announce that the winner of the book is:
Megan, can you please email me on anna @ annacampbell.info with your snail mail details and I’ll get your lovely purple book off to you. Happy reading!
Posted by Anna Campbell Mar 10 2014, 12:02 am in Anna Campbell, Bandita Booty, Great Britain, historical romance, International Releases, Mills and Boon, Regency romance, Seven Nights in a Rogue's Bed, Sons of Sin, travel
Ahoy, my hearties! Feast your eyes on this purple beauty!
What’s that you say?
Is this a new release from Anna Campbell?
Hmm, the title sounds strangely familiar, yet I’ve never seen that handsome fellow and that blonde wench before. Who can they be?
Why, they’re the wicked and sexy Jonas Merrick and the brave and passionate Sidonie Forsythe from the first book in the Sons of Sin series, SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED.
Sidonie, as you’ll notice, has had a bit of a makeover and is now a blonde, but I must say I love the tension between these two in this picture. You just know sparks are going to fly!
If you’re regular visitors to the lair, I don’t think it will be any surprise when I tell you that I’m a bit of an Anglophile (along the lines of the way that Bluebeard had a few marital issues!). But while my books have come out all over the world (we’re currently at 16 languages), I didn’t have a British publisher.
You can imagine my excitement last year when Harlequin Mills and Boon in London bought the first three Sons of Sin books for a range of European territories, including a U.K. release. Yay!
Now I’m delighted to announce for U.K. Bandita Buddies that Rogue came out as a Special Release in both print and e-book in Great Britain on 21st February. A week after Valentine’s Day strikes me as a lucky release day for a romance.
If you don’t live in the U.K., but you’d like one of these gorgeous purple books, you can order them post-free from the Book Depository: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1455512079/ref=as_li_tf_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1455512079&linkCode=as2&tag=romanbandi-20 And I’m also giving one lucky person a chance to win their own lovely purple book at the end of this blog.
There’s a new blurb for the U.K. Rogue:
‘I’m your payment, Mr Merrick.’
When notorious Jonas Merrick finds the wife of his greatest enemy up to her neck in debt to him, he offers her a bargain – she can work off the debt…in his bed. But Jonas is more than a little surprised when her innocent, naive sister arrives in her place, bravely offering herself to the scarred, brooding rake. Unexpectedly moved by young Sidonie’s beauty, innocence and wit, the ruthless loner finds her seduction a much more compelling prospect. Instead of a martyr in his bed, he wants seven days to make her come willingly.
But when the week is up and the world intrudes…will beauty claim her beast?
Works for me!
The U.K. version of SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED is available at all good booksellers including:
The Book Depository
Mills and Boon
You can read an excerpt here: http://annacampbell.info/rogue.html
By the way, the photos illustrating this post are from my visit to Haddon Hall which is one of my favorite stately homes. It’s one of the most romantic places I’ve ever been – no wonder it pops up as the setting for so many historical shows, including the lovely BBC JANE EYRE featuring Toby Stephens as Mr. Rochester. When I visited in 2007, they had costumes from the series on show in the rooms where the scenes had been shot. A lovely touch!
If ever you’re in Derbyshire, don’t miss it.
So let’s stay British with our question today. If you’ve been to Great Britain, what were some of your favorite places and why? If you’d like to go to Great Britain, what would you especially like to see?
I’ve got a signed copy of a U.K. edition of SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED up for grabs today for someone who comments. International giveaway. So good luck!