Category Archives: Interviews

10 Random Things About Me…

Thanks to everyone who’s congratulated me on the launch of the first book in my Delta Girls series, SIGHT! If you missed the release day post with all the info & links and photo with my big goofy grin, here it is.

There’s currently a blog tour happening with reviews and posts and giveaways, thanks to tour organiser Me Myshelf And I, and one of the posts is: 10 Random Things About Juliet. So if you’d like to know some slightly weird and random tidbits, head on over to Taking It One Book At A Time!  I had a lot of fun writing it. I can’t believe I used the phrase ‘bad grandma’ in there somewhere, not to mention something about dancing in the kitchen and something to do with rapping, which, just so you know, I will not do. Ever.

And there is also an awesome 5/5 review over there for SIGHT. Thanks to Jessica for reading the book and sharing her thoughts! 🙂

Click here to read 10 Random Things About Juliet.

Click here for the links to the other blog tour spots.

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~ Juliet xx

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MY TEN MUST-HAVES

Today I’m sharing a quick guest post I did recently on the AusRomToday blog.

What are 10 things you can’t live without? Here are mine:

MY TEN MUST-HAVES.

🙂

Happy Release Day to Alli Sinclair for LUNA TANGO!

I’m jumping up and down with excitement for my buddy and critique partner Alli Sinclair on the launch of her debut novel, LUNA TANGO!

Luna Tango releases in print and ebook today in Australia and New Zealand with Harlequin MIRA, and can be bought from all good bookstores both online and offline. So once you’ve read this post, go out and grab one! It’s a fabulous story.

And see the bottom of this post for details of a one-of-a-kind competition you can take part in! 😉

high resHere’s what the book is about:

Desperate to understand the reason her mother abandoned her twenty years ago to become a world-class tango dancer, journalist Dani McKenna delves into the world of tango in the hope of exposing decades of lies and deception that have threatened three generations of her family.

When Dani meets the enigmatic Carlos Escudero—a revered tango dancer and man of intense passion—they work together to understand why her grandmother lives in fear of all things tango, and how the brutal murder of a tango music legend in 1950s Buenos Aires now affects her family.

Despite her lack of rhythm, Dani and Carlos create their own dance of the souls, until the differences in their cultures causes a deep rift. As she seeks to reconnect with Carlos and rebuild her family, Dani finds tango—the dance of passion—becomes a complicated dance of betrayal.

 

Alli, Will you be having an official book launch to celebrate?

Oh, yes, most definitely! I’m holding a tango event at Readings Hawthorn (Melbourne) on 21 August and it’s an open invitation for anyone who wishes to come along. A wonderful tango duo will be performing and they will also give attendees a simple tango lesson to whet the appetite. Drinks and food and tango show are all included in the $10 ticket and any proceeds of ticket sales will go to the Parkinson’s Victoria. This cause is very close to my heart as my dad suffered this terrible disease and Luna Tango is dedicated to my wonderful dad who passed away recently.

You can buy tickets here:

How does it feel to have your first book published?

Surreal at the moment! I’ve had quite a while to get used to the idea that my dream is finally being realised but I really don’t think it’s sunk in yet!

Describe your book in three words:

Passionate, intriguing, sexy.

If Luna tango was made into a movie, who would you cast in the lead roles?

Well, duh, alli profileGilles Marini for Carlos Escudero, the sexy tango dancer. And as for gorgeous, Aussie journalist Dani McKenna, none other than Jessica Marais.


What are you working on next?

Book two of The Dance Card Series. This time it’s about flamenco and is set in Granada, Spain.

How can readers connect with you?

Website : FacebookTwitter : BlogPinterestGoodreads

 

>>LUNA TANGO can be purchased from bookstores in Australia and New Zealand, or you can order the ebook or paperback online:

PRINT:

Harlequin Australia / Booktopia / Bookworld / Boomerang Books / Fishpond / The Nile / Readings

EBOOK:

iTunes / Amazon AUS / Amazon / Kobo / Google Play

 

Congratulations Alli! Wishing you the success you deserve for this fabulous book. 🙂

 

> COMPETITION:

Today is also the launch of a super special competition. The winner will receive a one-off prize that has been created especially for this competition. Click HERE for more information.

> BOOK LAUNCH EVENT:

When: 21 August

Where: Readings Books in Hawthorn, VIC.

Why: Internationally acclaimed tango dancers will perform and attendees will have the opportunity to participate in a tango lesson. Proceeds of ticket sales will go to Parkinson’s Victoria in honour of Alli’s father who recently passed away and to whom Luna Tango is dedicated. Ticket bookings essential.

Cost: $10, includes wine and food and dance lesson.

Details & Bookings: http://www.readings.com.au/event/wine-romance-and-a-tango-lesson

 

Paris Letters – interview with memoir author Janice MacLeod

I’m thrilled to welcome Janice MacLeod to the blog today, the author of the memoir PARIS LETTERS which I read and loved recently. In the book she shares how she went from being a busy and worn out copywriter to simplifying her life and becoming an artist in Paris, finding unexpected love on the way.

Janice sold, donated, or got rid of most of her belongings and saved enough money to quit her job and buy some time to travel, not knowing what would happen next but trusting that she was following the right path to make her life what she wanted it to be. Now, she is married and runs a painted letters from Paris subscription service, combining her love of words, art, and Paris…

 

Janice MacLeod Author Photo credit Krzysztof Lik1. Did you ever imagine when you first went to Paris that you would end up living there?

Not in a million years. I thought I’d like to live in Rome. When I first planned my European itinerary, I made Rome my final stop so I could either stay there and eat pasta every day or figure out where to go from there. But of course, by then I had met the lovely Christophe in Paris who had asked me to return. Since I gave up my job and my apartment in California, I figured, hey why not? Paris is hardly outer Mongolia. I’d go and see about this Christophe fella. And of course, I fell in love with the city around the same time I fell in love with him. Paris is definitely well suited for me. For an artist, the streets provide constant inspiration.

 

2. Describe your life before Paris in three words and your life after Paris in three words:

Before Paris: Stressed. Traffic. Alone.

After Paris: Inspired. Stroll. Love.

 

3. You mention in your book that you write three pages in your journal every day, as recommended in Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way. After doing this for so long, do you ever struggle with what to write or is it one of those things where the more you do it the more you can do it? How helpful is journaling in your life now?

I would love to tell you it gets easier, but that third page is still a pain much of the time. Though it has become easier to show up at the page. I can now open my journal and begin quite easily. Journalling has helped me organize my thoughts, my day and my future plans. Being the master of my own business requires a lot of planning. The journal is where I carve out time to plan. It’s also where I dream. It’s also where you’ll find my daily list of things to do. Writing everything down has made me more efficient with my days.

 

Janice Wedding 2 credit David Bacher4. Did it cross your mind that you might meet an eligible bachelor while travelling, or was your whirlwind romance totally unexpected?

Not only did I not expect romance, I had given up entirely on finding it. Back when I lived in Los Angeles, I really thought the love of my life was there and all I had to do was find him. After many disappointing dates, I gave up looking for him. I was in complete acceptance that it might never happen. In a way, I broke up with my imaginary boyfriend who lived in Los Angeles. I took off for Europe, and of course, there he was waiting for me to arrive. Even when I met Christophe, I didn’t think we would have a relationship. I was traveling through Paris. Knowing I was just passing through and having already given up on romance likely made me more open to simply living in the moment with this handsome butcher. And that likely helped romance blossom. Life is funny that way.

[Juliet ~ It’s amazing how letting go can lead you to something wonderful 🙂 ]

 

5. At the back of your book you list a ton of helpful ways to declutter, simplify your life, and save or earn money. For people who are overwhelmed with their lives and want to get started on making some changes, what three tasks do you suggest they start with?

1. Oatmeal. The cheap bulk kind. It’s healthy, filling and so very affordable. You can get ahead in a lot of aspects of your life by eating oatmeal in the morning. I don’t cook mine. I toss it in a bowl with some nuts, seeds, cinnamon and whatever milk I have on hand.

2. Live beneath your means. You’ll likely start saving and be able to pay off credit and boost your bank account. Being able to live life with a chunk of change in your pocket provides an air of peace and calm in your life.

3. Write in a journal daily. I came up with so many ideas on how to save money (like saying no to group dinners that left me drained in spirit and pocketbook) and earn money, which led to my Etsy shop that now brings in most of my income. And in between all that, I had my Lists of Things To Do each day, which just made me more efficient in my days, resulting in more energy to clean out my drawers and sell household items online.

 

6. How did you go about getting your memoir published?

Once my romance and artistic life started to blossom in Paris, I realized this might make a memoir that would help and inspire. I consulted Linda Sivertsen over at http://bookmama.com/. She helps people create a book proposal. I researched agents who are great at selling memoirs and found Laura Yorke at the Carol Mann Agency in New York (laura@carolmannagency.com) and sent her a note explaining my book. She agreed to see my book proposal. She signed me right away and we went about pitching the book to publishers. We landed with Sourcebooks and I couldn’t be happier. This publisher is fantastic. Great editors, great publicists, great resources for authors.

[Juliet ~ Congrats!]

 

Janice MacLeod St Andre Paris Letter Photo Krzysztof Lik7. You created a business selling painted letters from Paris. Do you have a favourite Paris Letter so far?

The most recent Paris Letter is always my favorite. I never know exactly how it will turn out. The process is magical, even for the one holding the brush.

[Juliet ~ I look forward to receiving mine in the mail each month!]

 

8. When you’re not writing or painting or enjoying the sights of Paris, what do you like to read?

I love reading memoirs, but only happy stories. Tragedy bums me out. I also like historical fiction because it’s a history lesson wrapped in the shiny bow of an entertaining story.  Though lately I must admit, more of my free time goes to lounging around Pinterest. It may be the best museum I’ve ever visited. And that’s saying something as one who lives in the City of Museums.

[Juliet ~ I totally share your love of Pinterest! I think I’m addicted.]

 

Paris Letter Sample 19. My readers love romantic stories with a happy ending (or at least, a happy new beginning!), what’s next on the horizon for you?

I love romantic stories with happy endings, too. The other night I watched The Notebook (again!) but this time with French voiceover. And I bawled my head off (again!). But it was the good kind of crying. So satisfying.

[Juliet ~ I must watch that one again!]

Next on my horizon is a big move. Yes, Christophe and I are cleaning out our drawers and discussing next steps. We are such compatible travelers and our wanderlust is in full gear. We are both nomads at heart. I also have a couple book ideas bouncing around my head. And of course, another line of letters will come out that aren’t about Paris. They’ll likely be about wherever we show up with our suitcases. Oh the intrigue. I’ll report more over on my blog: janicemacleod.com

[Juliet ~ Intriguing indeed! I look forward to following the blog]

 

10. And lastly, can you impress us by telling us something really cool in French? 😉

Alas, I cannot impress you with my French. My French is not impressive.

[Juliet ~ It’s gotta be better than mine 😉 ]

 

Thanks for sharing your story, Janice!

>> Follow Janice’s ongoing journey at her website/blog.

>> To get a copy of Janice’s memoir, PARIS LETTERS, check out your local bookstore or buy via the links on this page HERE. 

>> And for a little taste of Paris delivered to your letterbox each month, subscribe to her personalised, painted letters HERE.

 

Paris-Letters-by-Janice-MacleodHow much money does it take to quit your job?

Exhausted and on the verge of burnout, Janice poses this question to herself as she doodles on a notepad at her desk. Surprisingly, the answer isn’t as daunting as she expected. With a little math and a lot of determination, Janice cuts back, saves up and buys herself two years of freedom in Europe.

A few days into her stop in Paris, Janice meets Christophe, the cute butcher down the street—who doesn’t speak English. Through a combination of sign language and franglais, they embark on a whirlwind Paris romance. She soon realizes that she can’t ever return to the world of twelve-hour workdays and greasy corporate lingo. But her dwindling savings force her to find a way to fund her dreams again. So Janice turns to her three loves—words, art, and Christophe—to figure out a way to make her happily-ever-after in Paris last forever.

 

At Home With Jenn J McLeod [Interview & Aussie Giveaway!]

To celebrate my new releases THE JANUARY WISH and FEBRUARY OR FOREVER, the first two books in my small town series set in Tarrin’s Bay; The Town of New Beginnings, I’m running a special interview segment called ‘At Home With…’

Today, we’re paying a visit to fellow small town storyteller, Jenn J McLeod… And just as her stories have lots of secrets, today she has a secret of her own to share! Read on…

 

Jenn1. Hi Jenn, where are you from and how long have you lived there?

I’m from a real life Calingarry Crossing. Locals in my hometown of Bonville/Sawtell certainly recognise a few landmarks in both House for all Seasons and my 2014 release, Simmering Season. A city girl by birth, I did the big sea/tree change in 2004. Lot’s of firsts followed: running a café, setting up a B&B for people who travel with their fur kids, and writing a book a year for Simon & Schuster. It’s said a rolling stone gathers no moss, so soon I will be on the move – literally – and my “new home” (“Hint”) has me feeling a little on edge, like a small pebble perched precariously on a precipice. (Like that?)

[Juliet ~ Isn’t it great to write stories set in a town based on our own? 🙂 ]

 

2. What do you love about the place you call home?

Right now home is a small acreage, nestled in a rural hamlet south of Coffs Harbour, at the base of the Great Dividing Range, but only a ten minute drive to the beach. Apart from the stars at night, the birds all day, the peace and privacy (should I go on?) my place is like fruit salad – crammed with a dozen different fruit varieties of citrus, custard apple, lychee, mango and persimmon.  Then there’s the vegie surprise patch! I love it when a surprise sprouts out of the compost our vegie scraps produce. It all makes for a very ‘informal’ vegie garden with the most recent sprouting of pumpkin, plus the usual cherry tomato surprise plants and sweet potato!

I love harvest time. Kind of a shame I’ll be in a “new home” and not here to enjoy the winter feast. (“Another hint!” Yes, I have a secret and those who have read my books know I love secrets.)

 

3. Do you have a favourite local cafe, restaurant, bar, club, business, or store? Give them a plug here!

Our old café, Shimmers in Sawtell, is now called Tree-O, and it is still lovely. Recently, a bunch of local-ish authors and I met at The Old Butter Factory in Bellingen. We may have to do that again.

 

IMG_16074. Do you have any pets? If so, what are their names?

Strawberry & Daiquiri are little white fluffy rescue dogs of unknown age and origin. They are old, very naughty and spoilt rotten. But you can teach an old dog new tricks. I discovered this when my little muse, Daiquiri, lost an eye to cancer recently. So adaptable – and even more beautiful, don’t you think? [Juliet ~ Definitely. And yellow is the new black.]

I also had two budgies called Sunshine & Blue Skies. I don’t like caged birds really, but Sunshine was a tiny baby, found in the paddock next door. Too young to fly, I brought her home. Not expecting her to live, she gobbled down seed while sitting on my palm and was quite lively the next morning. When I couldn’t track down where she escaped from I had to get a mate because there’s one thing worse than a caged bird … That’s a lonely caged bird. With a loving relocation to a brand new aviary in the nursing home where my mum lived for a while, Sunshine and Blue Skies can now spread their wings – so I can spread mine soon. (“Hint”)

[Juliet ~ Any ideas yet, readers, about Jenn’s secret?]

 

5. What is your favourite room in the house and why?

My sunroom. I could eat, work and sleep in here. I’ve always said I don’t need a big house. One room to eat, write and sleep would be fine. Guess I’m going to get it after all. (“Hint”)

 

6. If you had to evacuate your house, what three items (apart from people and pets!) would you take?

My computer (and associated bits),

My mother’s memory box,

Oh wait! Soon I won’t have to limit myself to three. I’ll just take the whole house and get out of town. (“Hint”)

[Juliet ~ These hints are very cleverly inserted into your answers!]

 

7. If you had a magic wand, what’s one thing you would change about your home or your town?

Maybe I’ll come back in six months from now and answer that question again, Juliet.

🙂 

 

8. Imagine you have the luxury of a chef for a night and you’ve invited people over for a dinner party, what would you have the chef cook?

I would NEVER have a chef in my kitchen. I’ve seen what they do to appliances and equipment and how they treat food. Sorry, folks, but owning a food business (because I LOVED eating out) has stopped me eating out! Next time you are deciding where to eat, don’t look at the menu, look at the floor!

[Juliet ~ I’ll keep believing that ignorance is bliss 😉 ]

 

9. Name three books on your To Be Read bookshelf or e-reader:

1. Safe Harbour by Helene Young

2. Losing Kate by Kylie Kaden

3. Season of Shadow and Light – yep! That’s mine. I just received the edits for book three so reading for pleasure must give way to reading to deadline.

And I want to see a book on my TBR pile by a new yet-to-be-pubbed author Louise Allan. You can check her blog out here. Sounds like my kind of story telling. http://louise-allan.com

 

10. Name something unique or uncommon that you have in your pantry or fridge:

Too many to mention as I clear out and downsize my pantry (among other things) discovering blasts from the past like a jar of Wild Hibiscus Flowers! All the rage about a decade ago with the champagne set. Who remembers them?

[Juliet ~ Though I have never used them, I do recall seeing the odd recipe with Hibiscus Flowers!]

 

11. If you could live anywhere for one year, where would you go?

We are about to find out! So I’d better clear up those “hints”. While my small towns can keep big secrets, I cannot. Time to reveal.

[Juliet ~ DRUMROLL…]

Check out the new home below:

1913247_479561268812378_2070147548_o

[Juliet ~ Congrats! Looks like you are going to have one hell of an adventure! It might inspire a new story… The Travelling Season? 😉 ]

 

12. You’ve just received a phone call from a friend or relative, and they’ll be arriving in five minutes for a visit. What do you do?

a) Relax on the couch until they arrive.

b) Put the kettle on; place some (probably homemade) snacks onto a tray; set the table; put flowers into a vase; and light a candle (and maybe even make some place cards with your super calligraphy skills).

c) Put the kettle on; tip out a few cookies onto a plate; check your reflection in the mirror, and wait.

d) Freak out; shove excess household clutter under beds, in cupboards, drawers, and the garage; trip over something in the process; hold an ice pack to your bruised forehead while swearing profusely; check the mirror to see if you’re still in pyjamas; frantically change into suitable clothing whilst simultaneously holding ice pack to your head; fall over again; alternate ice pack between head and location of new injury; then shove ice pack under bed and greet visitors with the fakest smile of pure calm you can muster.

My answer: Depending on the friend or relative I might choose: e) hitch up the home and hit the road!

 

Thanks for sharing all about your home life with us, Jenn! And looking forward to hearing how your new home turns out. 🙂

 

> Even though Jenn J McLeod would probably love you to pay a visit, why not visit her online right now?

Website/blog : Facebook : Twitter

Or better still, everyone, tell Jenn where in this big brown land you live, especially if you have a flat block that will accommodate a caravan – at the right price! 😉 She could be coming to a town near you in the near future.

 

> And help her pay for that in-house chef (or housekeeper) by buying a copy of her new book, Simmering Season, here:

Forget the chef, Jenn says. Petrol money appreciated, though, so she can discover new small towns to inspire more small town stories.

[Juliet ~ You’ll have to pay a visit to my small town down south! I am four minutes walk from a caravan park and beach. Not five minutes, four. Though it’s downhill so it could become three. 😉 ]

*BUY NOW from all good Australian bookstores, or there are lots of options here for purchasing: http://books.simonandschuster.com.au/Simmering-Season/Jenn-J-McLeod/9781922052070

 

Simmering Season Jenn J McLeod lgeSIMMERING SEASON

It’s summer storm season and Calingarry Crossing is sweltering.

Devoted mother, sole breadwinner, and now local publican, Maggie Lindeman is back in Calingarry Crossing with her teenage son to sell the family pub, hoping to turn their lives and finances around. The trouble is, the girl people once called Magpie is so busy protecting everyone else she has no idea the perfect storm is heading her way, until her past and present collide with the unexpected to blow the lid off a lifetime of secrets.

BOOK TRAILER: http://youtu.be/218LziN4Ank

 

House for all Seasons Jenn J McLeod>> GIVEAWAY! Australian postal addresses only (or perhaps Jenn might deliver the prize in person!)

Prize: A copy of Jenn’s first Calingarry Crossing novel, House for all Seasons, or if you already have it, a copy of Simmering Season.

How to enter: Leave a comment and tell Jenn where you would spend a week in a caravan and why. (Can’t be 4WD-only access and no National Parks as they don’t allow dogs).

*Competition drawn on Wed 16th April and winner notified by email. You’ll have one week to confirm your prize and provide an Australian delivery address or an alternate winner will be chosen. Good luck!

 

At Home With Karen E. Martin [Interview & Giveaway!]

To celebrate my new releases THE JANUARY WISH and FEBRUARY OR FOREVER, the first two books in my small town series set in Tarrin’s Bay; The Town of New Beginnings, I’m running a special interview segment called ‘At Home With…’

Today, we’re paying a visit to Karen E. Martin…

 

IMG_2261_vote1. Hi Karen, where are you from and how long have you lived there?

Hi, Juliet. 🙂 I’ve lived in Ohio for the last ten years or so, and grew up here as well. I spent nearly ten years living in other places, though, including Morocco, Jordan, Romania, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco. I was working in the ESL field then (English as a Second Language), so I traveled around for different jobs.

2. What do you love about the place you call home?

My home is very cozy. Bright and airy, with all my favorite things displayed around the rooms (objects collected from my travels, books, mementos from childhood, and so on). The furniture is also COMFORTABLE…my sofa has been called The Couch That Sucks You In. I’ve also started developing a fairy garden in my back yard, which is really charming. Windchimes, miniature plants, sparkly suncatchers, and other little objects have been finding their way there for more than a year now. Most of them have been gifts, though some pieces I found in thrift stores or during travel.

[Juliet ~ That couch sounds great! And I want a fairy garden!]

3. Do you have a favourite local cafe, restaurant, bar, club, business, or store? Give them a plug here!

I love going for Sunday brunch at La Chatelaine, an atmospheric French bistro here in town. Super delish quiches and pastries, a nice frothy cappuccino, and a seat at a wrought-iron table on the vines-and-flowers patio. It’s just so…civilized.

4. Do you have any pets? If so, what are their names?

No pets, though we had a succession of cats and dogs when I was a kid (we lived in the country then, so plenty of space for animals to roam). I’d love to have a cat, but I travel too much to properly care for a pet.

back deck lower5. What is your favourite room in the house and why?

I have a meditation room which doubles as a guest room, so it has great vibes. It’s a room full of happy memories and relaxation. I have a modest collection of inspiration pieces, pretty stones, and small pieces of artwork that I draw from to set up seasonal displays, and plenty of pillows for sitting and lounging. I try to keep it uncluttered in there so I always have a peaceful place to go and think when the rest of my life gets chaotic.

[Juliet ~ I want one of those too. 😉 ]

6. If you had to evacuate your house, what three items (apart from people and pets!) would you take?

My computer/external hard drive (almost all of my photos are saved there), the family jewelry I’ve inherited, and a box of hand-written journals I’ve kept from over the years (including the current one I’ve been working on for the last year and a half).

7. If you had a magic wand, what’s one thing you would change about your home or your town?

Easy – I’d add a public transportation system that is clean, efficient, affordable, and comprehensive (goes everywhere you want it to go). I’ve spent a good bit of time in Europe, and I really miss having taxis, buses, and trains that take you everywhere. I would never own a car if I didn’t have to. (FWIW, San Francisco and D.C. were pretty darned good for public transport; having a car was a nuisance more than anything in both places.)

garden8. It’s movie night at your place, the popcorn’s out, and everyone’s nabbed their favourite couch corner or armchair… what movie/s will we watch?

Romantic Comedy, Action/Adventure, or very possibly Disney/Pixar. I like anything light and uplifting. The last TV gathering I had was for the Olympics – we probably get together to watch sports more than movies. College football (regular games) and basketball (tournaments) are something my friends and family often enjoy as a group.

9. Imagine you have the luxury of a chef for a night and you’ve invited people over for a dinner party, what would you have the chef cook?

Probably some traditional dishes from Morocco that I’ve never been able to replicate. Heck with the trained chef, just send me a little ol’ Berber grandmother with her couscousiere, a mud oven, and some palm fronds for kindling.

10. Name three books on your To Be Read bookshelf or e-reader:

Well, the Divergent series looks good. Mostly, I read nonfiction. I’m currently making my way through “Medicine Grove” (a book about healing herbs) and about to start “Post-Tribal Shamanism,” which was written by an acquaintance of mine.

11. Name something unique or uncommon that you have in your pantry or fridge:

Soudaniyah, a sweet/hot paprika from Morocco. I brought it back from there, and use it in a lot of my dishes. Can’t find it here in the States, though it may exist by some name I don’t know here.

12. If you could live anywhere for one year, where would you go?

Tough choice. Right now, I think I’d enjoy a year on a backwater, tropical island somewhere, with just enough infrastructure and connection to the outside world to get by. I’d walk on the beach barefoot everyday and eat the fresh-catch for dinner every night at a thatch-roof cafe on the strand. I’d sit around and drink beer with the locals and just chat, since there wouldn’t be much “entertainment” to speak of (including television). Traffic would be nonexistent (no cars), and most people would hike, bike, or boat to their next destination. I’d make my own bagels and tortillas from scratch, since they wouldn’t be available for sale anywhere on the island. And yeah…I’d love it. A place that’s simple and relaxing sounds very appealing after the last few hectic years I’ve had. [This choice may have something to do with the fact that I just visited Ilha Grande off the coast of Brazil two weeks ago, and absolutely fell in love with it.]

[Juliet ~ Simple and relaxing sounds perfect!]

13. You’ve just received a phone call from a friend or relative, and they’ll be arriving in five minutes for a visit. What do you do?

a) Relax on the couch until they arrive.

b) Put the kettle on; place some (probably homemade) snacks onto a tray; set the table; put flowers into a vase; and light a candle (and maybe even make some place cards with your super calligraphy skills).

c) Put the kettle on; tip out a few cookies onto a plate; check your reflection in the mirror, and wait.

d) Freak out; shove excess household clutter under beds, in cupboards, drawers, and the garage; trip over something in the process; hold an ice pack to your bruised forehead while swearing profusely; check the mirror to see if you’re still in pyjamas; frantically change into suitable clothing whilst simultaneously holding ice pack to your head; fall over again; alternate ice pack between head and location of new injury; then shove ice pack under bed and greet visitors with the fakest smile of pure calm you can muster.

d) Freak out. …Yeah, that really does kind of sum it up.

[Juliet ~ You and me both 😉 ]

 

> Even though Karen would probably love you to pay a visit, why not visit her online right now?

Website : Newsletter : Facebook : Twitter : Goodreads : Pinterest

 

Cover_5_31> And help her pay for that in-house chef (or housekeeper) by buying a copy of her book, MODOGAMOUS, here:

Amazon USAmazon UK

Kate Adams has a steady job, a home she loves in the big city, and good friends who always keep her laughing. Everything is going great—until the night she crosses the line with her best friend Mitch, and the boundaries between friendship and love begin to blur. Things get even more complicated when hunky JP enters the scene. Add to the mix a spunky little pug, and things start to get crazy!

“I was hooked from the moment I began reading!” ~ “Fast paced, well written, and laugh out loud funny!”  

 

>> WIN! An ebook copy of Modogamous is up for grabs! To enter, leave a comment below (Open Worldwide). Winner notified 4th April.

Ten Awkward Questions with Elizabeth Cohen

In this segment, authors will be subjected to a list of awkward questions that may reveal more about themselves than they really wish to share, and they will receive a score on the ‘Braveometer’. If they choose to answer only five questions, they are a ‘Brave Author’, if they answer 6 to 9 questions they are a ‘Mega-Brave Author’, and if they answer all 10 questions they are an ‘Ultra-Brave Author’! 

Please welcome Elizabeth Cohen, whose book The Hypothetical Girl was featured on Oprah.com as Book of the Week…

 

ECohen1. If only one of your books could have been / could be published, which one would you choose? (C’mon, I don’t want to hear ‘Oh, I love them all, there’s no way I could choose.’ Time to be ruthless, these are the Ten Awkward Questions after all!)

The House on Beartown Road (in paperback, The Family on Beartown Road. I love my short story collection, but this memoir is about the hard and beautiful two years I spent with my baby and my father, and it is a cornerstone of my actual and writing lives.

 

2. Okay, now which one of your children/family members would you… nah, just kidding! Which of the following words most accurately describes your best personality trait (you must pick only one!):

Punctual. Good listener. Neat.  Graceful. Generous. Cheerful.

Good Good Good listener. Love to listen. Might take notes. Might steal (be careful what you say to me).

 

3. Which of the following words most accurately describes your worst most challenging personality trait (even if you’re perfect, you must pick one):

Always late. Blabbermouth. Slob. Complete klutz. Scrooge. Grumpy pants.

Oh no, I am NOT perfect. For sure. I will go with slob here. But only in some areas. Like the BACK of my closet. The RIGHT SIDE of my desk. That one drawer you allow to beocme complete chaos (c’mon, you have one too, admit it!). Let’s call it controlled slobbery.

 

4. Have you ever had a romantic crush on one of your characters? Who and why?

I am in LOVE with them, but not romantically. I want to buy them all chocolates and take them to really good, cathartic foreign movies and make them soup because these characters NEED A BREAK. But romantic feelings, nope.

 

newcover5. When writing an important scene, do you act it out to allow you to better describe what’s happening?

Never. But I do dream it. Yes. First. Then write it.

 

6. Do you talk to yourself when writing or coming up with plot ideas?

Never, but I do occasionally talk to my cousin Stuey Cohen or one of my best friends, Ruth Lopez. Then they typicallly say, either—that is hysterical, priceless, or that’s sh*t, babe. I trust them completely. And for that I thank them.

 

7. Who would be ideal to play YOU in a movie of your life?

HAHA. Um. Hmmmm. Julianna Margolies. It is a hair thing.

 

8. If you could be any book character for one day, who would you be and why?

Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice, DUH.

 

9. You’re about to be left on a deserted island for a year, and while your basic food and water needs will be met, you can only bring one extra thing from the following. Which would you choose?

a) A pen and notepad that never runs out

b) An unlimited supply of books

c) An unlimited supply of chocolate, coffee, or alcohol (your choice)

d) A gorgeous man/woman depending on your preference

I am going with the pen and notebook. But I would miss the gorgeous person. I think I would have to write about that.

 

10. If you had the attention of the whole world for two minutes what would you say?

Dear Everyone in the Whole World:

There is much you are likely upset about. Like, for example. the fact that you cannot get really good tomatoes in the winter, your toilet is clogged, that there isn’t enough water for your village, or the person you love just left you. And to that I say, welcome to the tribe of humanity. Whatever you are experiencing has been experienced before and will be again. If you take a moment to think about it, all pain is known pain, and it has all been written about beautifully.

The good news is that most bad things are temporary. That eventually you probably WILL get a good tomato, you will find water or someone nice will likely bring you some, there are these things called “snakes” that can unclog a toilet fast, and they are cheap!  As for the person who left you… They were not worth your time anyway. And the best part: You can write about all of it. You own your story. It is yours, to write or die holding secret. That is a powerful thing, if you think about it. Plus, every single night there MIGHT be a meteor shower.

Love,

Elizabeth
(whose toilet would not unclog for a month, who has eaten many really lame tomatoes, had her water pipes freeze and burst and who was left by her husband…witnessed profoundly beautiful and LONGass meteor showers …and wrote about it all).

Was that two minutes? Well, read it faster, then.

 

Thanks for taking part, Elizabeth, you have been awarded Ultra-Brave Author status on the Braveometer!

>> WIN! Elizabeth has an ongoing 350-word love story contest at www.thehypotheticalgirl.com – click on FLASHLOVE to enter for a chance to win a signed copy of The Hypothetical Girl, open worldwide 🙂

>> You can also visit Elizabeth at Facebook and Twitter, and check out her book here.

Ultra-BraveAuthor

 

 

Alli Sinclair on her 3-book deal, writing, and the allure of the tango…

I’m so excited to welcome my wonderful friend and writing critique partner, Alli Sinclair to the blog today! Alli and I have known each other just over two years now, and barely a day has gone by when we haven’t communicated via facebook message, email, text, or phone! I had the pleasure of reading her book, LUNA TANGO, in manuscript stage, and can’t wait to read the finished product when it releases in print and ebook on 1st August 2014! It’s a rich, absorbing tale of dance, romance, mystery, and family ties. I know readers are going to love it. 🙂

I decided to ask Alli a few questions in honour of her first book deal. Here we go…

 

alli profile1. Congratulations on your three book deal with Harlequin Australia! How did you feel when you received your offer of publication?

Stunned is the first word that came to mind. Hubby saw my face as my amazing agent delivered the news on the telephone and he said he’d wished he’d videotaped it because my expression was priceless. Needless to say there was a lot of happy dancing and squeals of delight from the entire family!

2. Tell us about your book series and can you give us a blurb for your August release, LUNA TANGO?

Luna Tango is the first in the Dance Card series that explores dances and music that capture hearts both on and off the dance floor—Buenos Aires and the tango, Granada and the flamenco, and Paris and the Russian Ballet. With stories about love, loss, passion, and betrayal, the Dance Card Series takes readers on a journey full of colour, glitz, and dreams.

In Luna Tango, journalist Dani McKenna delves into the world of tango to expose the decades of lies and deception that threaten three generations of her family. She’s desperate to understand the reason her mother abandoned her twenty years ago to become a world-class tango dancer, why her grandma lives in fear of all things tango, and how the brutal murder of a tango music legend in 1950s Buenos Aires now affects her family.

Dani meets the enigmatic Carlos Escudero, a revered tango dancer and man of intense passion, who helps her unravel tango’s sordid history. Despite Dani’s lack of rhythm, they create their own dance of the souls until the differences in their cultures causes a deep rift. As she seeks to reconnect with Carlos and rebuild her family, tango – the dance of passion – becomes a complicated dance of betrayal.

Tango-credit--CarlosLuque3. What made you want to write a dance series?

That’s an excellent question and does it sound lame to say I’m not really sure? I grew up with dance and was surrounded by it when I lived in South America so it felt like a natural progression to write about something I love.

4. If you could tango with anyone in the world, who would it be? (I think I know the answer to this!)

You really need to ask this question? Who else but the man who inspired the character of Carlos in Luna Tango – Gilles Marini!

5. Your book has a present day timeline intertwined with a historical timeline. Did you face any challenges writing a dual timeline book? 

It can be a challenge tying up loose ends from the historical timeline into the present-day, but my eagle-eyed critique partners, agent, and editors make sure none get missed! I truly believe it takes a village to write a book!

6. What would you say to aspiring authors who are struggling to get published and feel like giving up?

Try it. Give up for a week, or a month – set a time limit – and see how you feel. If you’re itching to get back to the desk then you’re a writer through and through. This is a tough business and we spend hours, months, years honing our skills and receiving rejection after rejection so the only thing that keeps us going is our love for telling stories and the  hope that one day we can share that passion. If you know you are born to do this then giving up will be the hardest thing you could ever do and that will be the perfect sign for you to continue with your dream. I am all about people pursuing their goals and reaching for the stars!

7. What is your favourite dance movie?

Ohhh…. that’s like asking me to pick a favourite child! No fair! Anything with Gene Kelly (I’m a sucker for Hollywood musicals), Dirty Dancing (that one’s for you, Juliet!), Strictly Ballroom, Moulin Rouge, and… and… there’s too many to mention!

8. What are you most looking forward to about being a debut novelist?

Apart from holding my book baby in my hands? Sharing my characters with the world and giving readers a chance to go on a journey to an exotic destination and experience what it’s like to fall in love with tango.

9. You have a love of history and culture, what is your favourite place in the world, and if you could spend a year living in any time period which would you choose?

Another “pick your favourite child” question! But I have to say Buenos Aires, Argentina is my number one place in the world and has been since I first travelled there in 1995. And as for time period, 1920s Buenos Aires because that is when tango came back from Europe as a “civilised” dance, rather than frowned upon by Argentines like it was many years prior. That must have been an amazing time to see the elite Argentines finally embracing a dance that was once considered “uncouth”.

10. What do you hope readers will get out of reading LUNA TANGO?

An experience that triggers many emotions and inspires the reader to get on the next plane to Argentina or book into a tango class!

11. How can readers connect with you or keep updated on your upcoming release?

12. And lastly, would you like to share your book trailer with us?

Of course! A very talented friend, Sean McGee composed the music and some incredibly clever photographers contributed to the trailer. View the trailer HERE.

Thanks Alli! I can’t wait to see the cover for LUNA TANGO when it’s available, and can’t wait for August! 🙂

*Photo credit of tango: Carlos Luque, wikimedia commons

 

FAST FORWARD Characters answer Five Fun Questions!

FF-BestsellerAmazonFor a bit of fun, the characters from FAST FORWARD have dropped in from the future!

They each have the same five questions to answer, but of course, their answers will be quite different from each other’s. 

If you’re new to this blog or my books, FAST FORWARD is my bestselling time-travel romantic comedy from Escape Publishing. You can read about it HERE.

 

And now, please welcome Kelli, Will, Kasey, Ryan, and Diora!

 

Kelli McSnelly (nee Crawford):

1. What is your favourite invention from the last 25 years?

It’s the e-pad! Otherwise known as an electronic personal assistant device – it straps onto the wrist like a watch, and does everything that a phone, computer, and credit card does. It even starts your car’s engine and locks your house! It’s an all-in-one super-dooper piece of technology and I’d be lost without it.

2. How would you spend your ideal birthday?

Despite what my son may think, judging by his choice of birthday present for my 50th, it is NOT going bungy jumping. It would be a costume party with my family and closest friends, and a heartwarming speech from my husband.

3. What is your best quality?

Back when I was 25 I would have said my appearance, but now that I’m more ‘mature’ I would say my resilience. And I mean that in relation to attitude and personality, not skin elasticity.

4. What is something you wish more people would know or understand?

It is not worth risking your life trying to fit into dodgy support underwear.

5. What would you do if you shared an elevator with an extremely famous person:

If they didn’t instantly recognise me from my modelling days I would introduce myself and ask them to share in a selfie to post on Facebook.

 

Will McSnelly:

1. What is your favourite invention from the last 25 years?

The inbuilt coffee machine in my car, helps to kickstart my work day. That, and the app on my e-pad which sends me useful facts and trivia at regular intervals throughout the day.

2. How would you spend your ideal birthday?

A costume party with my family and friends and a heartwarming speech from my wife. Or, a role-playing game marathon with my mates from the middle-aged gamers club.

3. What is your best quality?

My resourcefulness. Did you know I once resolved a traffic jam whilst wearing a Superman costume?

4. What is something you wish more people would know or understand?

That beautiful women can and do fall in love with smart, sensible, practical men, more commonly known as nerds or geeks.

5. What would you do if you shared an elevator with an extremely famous person:

I’d hand them a business card and invite them over for dinner.

 

Kasey Crawford (sister of Kelli):

1. What is your favourite invention from the last 25 years?

Mine, of course. You do remember what it was, don’t you?

2. How would you spend your ideal birthday?

An intimate occasion at home with my husband wearing our favourite caveman and cavewoman costumes.

3. What is your best quality?

My intelligence.

4. What is something you wish more people would know or understand?

Bugs have feelings too. If you step on them or spray them, you are a murderer. MURDERER.

5. What would you do if you shared an elevator with an extremely famous person:

Obviously, given my claim to fame from my Nobel-prize winning invention, I would be the famous person. I would be happy to sign an autograph if the person in the elevator wanted one.

 

Ryan McSnelly (21 yr old son of Kelli and Will):

1. What is your favourite invention from the last 25 years?

The Kitchen Assistant. Instantly boiled yolkless eggs and super fast meals? Hello.

2. How would you spend your ideal birthday?

Jamming it up with my band mates.

3. What is your best quality?

My friendly nature.

4. What is something you wish more people would know or understand?

That just because a man is passionate about interior decorating and wearing pink aprons while cooking does not mean he’s gay. Even though I am, I do, and I am.

5. What would you do if you shared an elevator with an extremely famous person:

Blabber something unintelligible and make it totally obvious I was having a fan moment (as long as I was a fan of the person).

 

Diora Bellows (nee McSnelly, 23 yr old daughter of Kelli and Will):

1. What is your favourite invention from the last 25 years?

My talking, self-driving car. When it takes over I can take the opportunity to do my nails. Multi-tasking at its best.

2. How would you spend your ideal birthday?

I’d eat as much chocolate as possible, have a pampering session at Queen of Beauty, a nice dinner, and a fun gathering with family and friends (which hopefully doesn’t culminate in me going into labour).

3. What is your best quality?

My assertiveness. Those people who delivered the wrong (baby-poo coloured) pram for my firstborn child didn’t know what hit them.

4. What is something you wish more people would know or understand?

That having big boobs is totally overrated.

5. What would you do if you shared an elevator with an extremely famous person:

I’d calmly ask how their day’s been and  compliment them on their choice of clothing or accessories, leading into a chat about good design and how it’s also important within the home, leading to my original objective which is to hand them a business card for KC Interiors and set up an appointment for a complimentary home styling analysis.

 

Thanks Kelli, Will, Kasey, Ryan, and Diora! What a fun bunch!

 

FASTFORWARD-JulietMadisonAbout FAST FORWARD:

Aspiring supermodel, Kelli Crawford seems destined to marry her hotshot boyfriend, but on her twenty-fifth birthday she wakes in the future as a fifty-year-old suburban housewife married to the now middle-aged high school nerd.

Trapped in the opposite life of the one she wanted, Kelli is forced to re-evaluate her life and discover what is really important to her. Will she overcome the hilarious and heartbreaking challenges presented to her and get back to the body of her younger self? Or will she be stuck in the nightmare of hot flushes, demanding children, raunchy advances from her husband and hideous support underwear forever?

>> Available from all good ebook stores. Links are here.

At Home With… Margareta Osborn [Author Interview & Giveaway]

To celebrate my new releases THE JANUARY WISH and FEBRUARY OR FOREVER, the first two books in my small town series set in Tarrin’s Bay; The Town of New Beginnings, I’m running a special interview segment called ‘At Home With…’

Today, we’re paying a visit to Australian rural romance author Margareta Osborn! She’s also giving away an ebook copy of her new release, Mountain Ash, to someone in Aus or NZ – read on for details…

 

Author photo1. Hi Margareta, where are you from and how long have you lived there?

Hi Juliet. I’m a fifth generation farmer from East Gippsland in Victoria. My family have called the Macalister Valley home since the mid 1800’s so you could say the Osborn’s are a tad entrenched in our neck of the woods. In my twenties and early thirties I moved away on occasions, spending time on other properties both here in Gippsland and up north, but I kept coming back over that cattlegrid leading to home, which I’m sure must’ve driven my father nuts 🙂

My husband and I, along with our three children, now have a beef property in the foothills.

 

2. What do you love about the place you call home?

Beautiful property picI love the evocative, yet solid, sense of place, of belonging, of being part of a community where our history goes back so many generations. It gives us strong roots, a very real and grounded place to call home.

Also, the mountains and the sea are all within an hour of us so it doesn’t matter whether you prefer the high country or the ocean, just make a selection and you can be there without driving all day. We have the best of all worlds here in the eastern part of Victoria.

 

3. Do you have a favourite local cafe, restaurant, bar, club, business, or store? Give them a plug here!

Oh golly. That’s tough. I don’t do restaurants, cafe’s and such. Ummm … probably the Newry pub for a good old-fashioned family meal or the Tinamba Hotel for more upmarket dining. There’s also a fabulous winery just down the road from our farm called ‘Blue Gables’. They make the most fabulous wood fired pizzas!

 

JM Blog - Me with Echo4. Do you have any pets? If so, what are their names?

Lucy, my dog. She’s a Jack Russell, Papillion Cross and she’s one of my best mates. You’ll find her about a foot from my work boot all day long. I also have a beautiful, old ex-buck-jumping mare called Echo. She is my sanity. When the world of books, kids, cattle and life in general gets too much, Echo is my ‘ride out of town.’

 

5. What is your favourite room in the house and why?

As we have just moved farms it’s a little hard for me to answer that one. I haven’t decided yet. Can I say that the hill just 20 metres from the homestead is currently my favourite place? Why you ask? Because this is where my writing shack will be built. It has 360 degree views of rolling hills, Lake Glenmaggie and out across the irrigation flats, depending on which direction you look. It is stunning and my husband’s working out how he can make me a writing hut that rotates. That’ll be something to see!

[Juliet ~ a rotating writing hut? Wow! Though I hope you won’t get dizzy 😉 ]

 

6. If you had to evacuate your house, what three items (apart from people and pets!) would you take?

My hearing aids (worn them since I was seven and can hear pretty much zip without them :)), photo’s and the jewellery box my Dad gave me. In that order.

 

JM Blog - photo of Glenmaggie weir7. If you had a magic wand, what’s one thing you would change about your home or your town?

Blow the garden (which is a dust bowl at the minute), the house (it’ll survive), the area where I live (they’ll survive too), I’d pack the family in the Landcruiser and head north with that wand and wave it over the drought affected parts of NSW and QLD. Those poor people are in diabolical trouble.

[Juliet ~ Good idea.]

 

8. It’s movie night at your place, the popcorn’s out, and everyone’s nabbed their favourite couch corner or armchair… what movie/s will we watch?

The Man from Snowy River (because I LOVE it) or 27 Dresses because everyone tells me its great but be damned if I can find it to hire.

[Juliet ~ 27 Dresses IS a lot of fun!]

 

9. Imagine you have the luxury of a chef for a night and you’ve invited people over for a dinner party, what would you have the chef cook?

Lol. If a fancy chef managed drive all the way out to our farm, he can cook ANYTHING he likes!

 

JM Blog - Me & Lucy10. Name three books on your To Be Read bookshelf or e-reader:

Cicada – Moira McKinnon

A Savage Garden – Chris Muir

The Yellow Eyes of Crocodiles – Katherine Pancol

 

11. Name something unique or uncommon that you have in your pantry or fridge:

Cattle vaccine

[Juliet ~ you have something in common with Alissa Callen 😉 ]

 

12. If you could live anywhere for one year, where would you go?

Northern Territory or Northern outback QLD in the wet.

or

Canada or Montana – I’d love to see the differences in farming here to farming there.

 

13. You’ve just received a phone call from a friend or relative, and they’ll be arriving in five minutes for a visit. What do you do?

a) Relax on the couch until they arrive.

b) Put the kettle on; place some (probably homemade) snacks onto a tray; set the table; put flowers into a vase; and light a candle (and maybe even make some place cards with your super calligraphy skills).

c) Put the kettle on; tip out a few cookies onto a plate; check your reflection in the mirror, and wait.

d) Freak out; shove excess household clutter under beds, in cupboards, drawers, and the garage; trip over something in the process; hold an ice pack to your bruised forehead while swearing profusely; check the mirror to see if you’re still in pyjamas; frantically change into suitable clothing whilst simultaneously holding ice pack to your head; fall over again; alternate ice pack between head and location of new injury; then shove ice pack under bed and greet visitors with the fakest smile of pure calm you can muster.

 

Well first up they don’t usually ring, they just arrive. But If Lucy barks her ‘someone’s here bark’ as distinct from ‘there’s a rabbit/wombat/roo and I’m gunna chase it’ bark, you have time to do C) minus checking the reflection in the mirror. It’s best not to do that. I’d frighten myself on a normal workday!

🙂

 

> Even though Margareta would probably love you to pay a visit, why not visit her online right now?

Website : Blog : FacebookTwitterGoodreads

> And help her pay for that in-house chef (or housekeeper) by buying a copy of her new book, Mountain Ash, here.

 

MAcoverMountain Ash 

From bestselling author Margareta Osborn comes another scintillating rural romance with a devastating love triangle twist.

After years of struggling as a single mother, Jodie Ashton has given up on love and passion. What she craves now is security for herself and her beloved daughter Milly. And marriage to widower Alex McGregor, the owner of the prosperous Glenevelyn cattle station in East Gippsland, will certainly offer that. If only he wasn’t so much older and so controlling.

Needing space to decide her future, Jodie reluctantly agrees to a girls-only weekend at the Riverton rodeo …

Meanwhile, cowboy Nate McGregor vows off women, after his latest one-night stand costs him his job in the Northern Territory. Perhaps it’s time to head back to his family home, Glenevelyn, to check out for himself the ‘gold-digger’ his father seems determined to marry.

But first, on his way through Riverton, he plans to stop off at a rodeo.

Two lives are about to collide in one passionate moment – with devastating results…

…See more here.

 

> MOUNTAIN ASH is also Random House’s MARCH BOOK OF THE MONTH. You can access reading questions here.  

> Should your book group decide to read and review MOUNTAIN ASH, check out this offer!

 

>> WIN! an ebook copy of MOUNTAIN ASH (available to Aus/NZ readers only): Simply comment below for a chance to win. Winner drawn and notified on Friday 14th March. 🙂 

MObooks