New covers never get old

TANGO-POD-MESECINOM-00007423582175Today I’m super excited to reveal the Serbian cover of Luna Tango (Australian/NZ edition) which is also called Midnight Serenade (USA/Canada/UK edition). I love how the publishers in the different territories I’m published in put their own spin on covers and titles – it’s always a surprise to see what they come up with!

Just to show you how different the take can be on one story, I’ve posted the Australian/NZ and USA/UK/Canada editions as well. 

By the way, I have some exciting news about to be announced so if you would like to be one of the first to know, please sign up for my newsletter HERE.

 

 

Midnight Serenade – cover reveal and preorder!

You may recall I signed a three-book deal with the wonderful Lyrical Press (Kensington Books) so my books will soon be available outside Australia and New Zealand. I’m happy to announce my first book MIDNIGHT SERENADE (Luna Tango in Aus/NZ) will be available on 5 July with UNDER THE SPANISH STARS is coming out on 6 December. Book three is likely to come out mid 2017. The first two books are now up for preorder!

For book reviewers, MIDNIGHT SERENADE is currently up on Netgalley.

So, without further ado, I will treat you to the cover of MIDNIGHT SERENADE today with UNDER THE SPANISH STARS to follow in the next day or two. 

For those living outside Australia and New Zealand, these books will be available worldwide, so if you have any friends or family who may be interested in my stories, please feel free to send them the link to the books. 

Ooh – and keep an eye out for Goodreads give away AND a way to unlock some special material prior to release day!

Drumroll, please …..

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Isn’t it beautiful? I absolutely love the pose of the dancers with Buenos Aires in  the background and my gorgeous heroine, Dani, with her blonde hair and luscious red lips. 

Here’s a rundown on the story with pre-order links:

On the sultry streets of Buenos Aires, the daughter of a world class tango diva searches for answers about the mother who abandoned her—and uncovers decades of lies and deception…

After twenty years of wondering why her mother chose tango over her, Dani McKenna finally travels to Argentina. What was it about this beautiful, mysterious land that enticed one woman away from her own child—and broke another’s heart? As a journalist, Dani may have the opportunity to find out. And an enigmatic tango dancer may hold the key to her quest—if she can break down his defensive walls.

Carlos Escudero had been Dani’s mother’s protégé. Tragedy ended his career and he refuses to be interviewed. But he will give Dani some insights, on one condition: she must agree to his tango lessons. As the two begin the intricate dance of passion, Dani’s quiet, logical world is exchanged for one of music, motion—and mystery. For the clues to a dance legend’s murder may lead Dani to the truth about the past and its impact on her family—and free her to move toward a future she can claim as her own at last…

You can preorder through (please check your ebook seller in your country for links outside of the USA):

THE BOOK DEPOSITORY

KENSINGTON BOOKS

AMAZON

IBOOKS

KOBO

BARNES & NOBLE

Magic On A Table

I came across this video of a couple dancing tango on a table and it mesmerised me. I hope you enjoy watching this amazing couple – not only are they talented dancers, they have incredible balance and trust in each other to perform such a dance on a tiny piece of wood high off the  ground!

Video by Fakundo Amaya and dancer Tamii Borda. Music is La Cumparsita performed by Feliciano Brunelli

A whirlwind of a month!

August has traditionally been a busy month writing-wise for me and this year it multiplied three-fold! For those who may not have kept up-to-date on my Facebook Author Page, here’s a quick rundown on my crazy (but oh-so-fantastic!) August:

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What’s Love Got To Do With It Panel – Jess, Alli, Kerri, Erica, and Fleur (Image by Helen Konstan)

Let’s start with the Bendigo Writers Festival. I was lucky enough to participate on three panels – What it Takes; What’s Love Got To Do With It?, and Writing Game. To say I was nervous is an understatement, especially when the first panel was broadcast through The Wheeler Centre and people all over the world could watch it – and they did! I’ve provided a link below to the video if you would like to see what I got up to. A special thanks to the AMAZING team at the Bendigo Writers Festival who put on such a fabulous event that ran smoothly and was held in some gorgeous venues. I hadn’t been to Bendigo for years and after spending such a wonderful weekend there I have made a promise to myself to visit this beautiful place more often. And a very big thank you to my fellow panelists and hosts – Emily SextonLuke CarmanFleur FerrisAlicia SometimesJess AnastasiKerri ArthurErica HayesKate LarsenJohn Purcell, and David M Henley. You all made this nervous author feel comfortable and I loved the conversations we had on our panels. Thank you to all the people who attended the festival and the panels – I loved your questions and enthusiasm for reading.

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Image by Ballmann-media – Wikimedia Commons

Next up was the announcement of the Dance Card Series sale to Kensington Books. That alone would have made August a super happy month! So for those of you outside Australia and New Zealand, you’ll have a chance to read this series when released (dates to be advised). I am super excited to see this series travel the world!

And if that isn’t enough, I attended the annual Romance Writers of Australia conference which is always a major highlight of my year. It’s a chance to meet old friends and new, learn about craft and marketing, and revel in the joy of hanging with my tribe. This year was extra special because Luna Tango won favourite contemporary cover of the year. Woo hoo! I have some super fabulous cover fairies at Harlequin MIRA (Australia). They truly are wonderful.

Here are some snapshots from the conference:

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Winner of favourite contemporary cover!

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The super charming Graeme Simsion and I sat next to each other at the Australian Romance Readers Association book signing (note Graeme’s red rose in his lapel matches my tango dancer’s!)

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The wonderful Angela Ackerman who writes amazing craft books with Becca Puglisi. Their books changed the way I write – in a super positive way!

And if you would like to check out the panel I did at the Bendigo Writers Festival, here it is (it starts about 34 minutes in).

http://www.wheelercentre.com/events/what-it-takes

Mi Helado Es Su Helado (My Ice-cream Is Your Ice-cream)

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Photo by Simplicius (wikimedia commons)

When the plane touched down at Ezeiza International Airport, Buenos Aires, I had a backpack full of climbing gear and a head full of dreams about summiting Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the Americas. I hadn’t expected to land in Argentina for the first time and feel like I was finally returning home. At the airport, Spanish with an Italian lilt blasted over the speakers and women with legs like spaghetti paraded in short, tight mini-skirts. Dark-haired men that could easily have been models sauntered through the airport, comfortable in their own charm and sex-appeal.

By the time I hit Buenos Aires proper I’d decided that this was the place of my heart – and I hadn’t yet tried the ice-cream. Half the population of Argentina comes from Italian heritage, easily identified by their passion for coffee, cakes and ice-cream. Argentines have a great love for “lunfardo” (slang), as do Australians which was one of the first things I found we had in common. Slang and wine, but that’s a whole other post.

It took me three visits to Argentina before I finally took the plunge and moved there. The first friends I made in Argentina were through bonding over homemade ice-cream. It’s not uncommon to find ma and pa shops on every street corner, a rainbow of frozen flavors just waiting to be devoured. Plastic chairs and tables are set up on sidewalks and locals gather to eat, laugh and gossip. It didn’t take long to find my favorite ice-cream shop, and I set about trying to fit in. Boy, that was a lot harder than I expected. I thought my love for Argentina would give me an automatic “in.” Here was a single woman who uprooted herself, moved to their country and had fallen in love with the people and culture. But wariness lined their acceptance. When I was asked “Boca or Riverplate?” I thought they were talking about political parties. I had no idea which football (soccer) team you barracked for could have such an influence on how people view you.

Often, I was asked why I would choose Argentina when I could live elsewhere. I never found it difficult to answer. The language, warmth of the Argentine people, astounding scenery and lifestyle all added up to something I couldn’t resist. Now don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of amazing places in the world, but for so many reasons, Argentina captured my heart. But no Argentine could understand why I would want to live in their country, even though their patriotism is amongst the strongest I’ve ever experienced. Fortunately, my Argentine friends embraced me and my flawed Spanish, inviting me to family functions, including weddings and milestone birthdays. I learnt how to tango (very badly), eat asado (Argentine BBQ) without looking like I’d just had a bath in a tub of fat and I perfected how to swill copious quantities of Mendocino wine without falling over. Life was good and it didn’t take long to adjust to my new country.

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Design by Soprani

In the early days, though, especially when my Spanish was worse than a toddler’s, I felt left out. The gap between languages left me floundering, especially in large gatherings and I felt like an imposter. I desperately wanted to be “one of them” yet my accent gave me away every time. But the harder I tried to learn Argentine ways and their Spanish, the more accepted I became. When people realized I wasn’t just flitting through, they took me more seriously and went out of their way to help me negotiate customs and language challenges.

When the economy in Argentina took a dive in 2001, many Argentine’s couldn’t escape their dire circumstances. And even though it was never mentioned, I know many friends and colleagues were thinking that the gringa could go back to her life outside the financial shambles of Argentina at any time. I wasn’t privileged by any means, but because I came from a non-South American country, people naturally assumed I was rich. But man, I was far from it. Although if you measure richness by experiences and the depth of friendships made in Argentina, I was richer than all the Spanish galleons put together. But I stuck it out, protesting right alongside the nation. That single action changed how I was viewed forever and finally, I felt I was amongst my people.

And in case you need to know, my answer is Boca.

What have you found in common with people from other cultures? Did that commonality help build friendships? * Originally posted on Novel Adventurers

I Heart Libraries

talkingLibraries have always held a sense of wonder and adventure for me—the chance to discover new worlds, live vicariously through a range of characters (both good and bad), and to be taken on a journey like no other. I’ve always admired the people who work in these magnificent institutions as their love for the written word is as intense as mine.

Over the years I’ve met librarians who have enthusiastically helped me with research, recommended new authors to read, and ensured my kids have the same wondrous experiences as I’ve had within the walls of the library.

So it was with great pleasure that I participated in my very first library event as a published author this week. The event coincided with Valentine’s Day and I was fortunate to be presenting with the wonderful Fiona Lowe–a multi-published and award-winning author who is experienced with library appearances and did a fabulous job of trying to calm my nerves (of which there were many).

Our chosen topic, Romance Fiction Is Like A Box Of Chocolates, concentrated on the various genres of romance. To sweeten the deal (pun intended!), we discussed the sub-genres of romance and likened to them to specific chocolate flavours. The audience got the opportunity to taste an array of chocolate as well!

Despite the shaking hands I managed to get through my part of the talk and when I saw the nodding heads and smiling faces, I remembered these people had chosen to be here because they love books and they love libraries—they weren’t relatives I’d collared in to coming along to make up numbers. As soon as the realisation hit, I relaxed and one hour felt like five minutes.

I had to pinch myself a few times as I’ve attended numerous library author events over the years and always dreamed of one day having my own. Thanks to Geelong Regional Libraries, and in particular Waurn Ponds Library, I finally realised that dream this week.

signing use this oneYes, today is Valentine’s Day, but it’s also a recognised day for celebrating another kind of love—for libraries. So to all the people who work in libraries around the world, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I love what you do and the care and love with which you do it because without libraries, our curiosity wouldn’t be sparked, our emotions wouldn’t be challenged, and our quest for knowledge wouldn’t be fulfilled.

And yeah, I heart libraries.

Special thanks to Waurn Ponds Libraries for the photos.

BOOKLUST, WANDERLUST: Best of 2014 in expat books

For those looking for some interesting reads from 2014, this blog post from The Displaced Nation has a list of books that are centred around travel and other cultures. Enjoy!

The Displaced Nation

Best of Expat Books 2014Kindle Amazon e-reader by Unsplash via Pixabay (CC0 1.0)

Seasons greetings, Displaced Nationers. That special time of the year is here again, when we publish our selection of this year’s books with meaningful connections to expats, Third Culture Kids, global wanderers, and others of us who have in some way led “displaced lives”.

Having assembled this list on my own in years past, I am pleased to be joined this year by Beth Green, our BOOKLUST, WANDERLUST columnist, who has also graciously agreed to sign over her column space for the month.

Let’s give Beth the floor:

Happy holidays, all! Preparing for this yearly special, I went back through all of the books I’ve read since January—not such an easy task; I read a lot!—and realized that I hadn’t actually read all that many that were published in 2014. I just now took a look at…

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A Happy Dance!

aus rom 2014 book of the year awardI’ve been quiet of late (as you’ve no doubt noticed), getting Flamenco Fire finished in time for my publisher deadline at the end of the year. I do come up for air every so often, and there’s nothing better than taking a break to celebrate winning an award! Oh yes, Luna Tango won Book Of The Year in the inaugural AusRom Today Reader’s Choice Awards!

Excuse me while I do a daggy happy dance …

Okay, am back.

Writers spend years honing their craft, living through self doubt, clocking up rejections, and wondering if the dream of being published will ever happen. Then when it miraculously does, more doubts creep in – Will readers like my story? Will I sell enough books? Will book reviewers hate it? And on it goes … So when readers vote for their favourite book, or author, cover design, or series, it’s a major boost in confidence to know someone out there loves what we’re doing.

With the Ausrom Today Reader’s Choice Awards, readers were asked to nominate authors and books in the various categories and once these were selected, the month long voting process took place and winners were announced on 1 December. There are some amazing authors who have been nominated and won other categories, so I urge you to go and check out on this page – http://ausromtoday.com/2014-ausromtoday-readers-choice-awards/.

Big congratulations to the winners and nominees in each of the categories and a huge thank you to all who nominated and voted for me. Your support is truly appreciated and I cannot thank you enough. Also, a very big thank you to AusRom Today for all the effort you put in to introducing Australian authors to readers around the world.

Now … back to those edits I go!

A Cover Story

No one can deny publishing is a tough business and every aspect of a book needs to be planned and created to give the book the best chance possible in the market. Covers are one such area that can make or break sales and I’ve been very fortunate that the team at Harlequin MIRA came up with such a lovely concept for Luna Tango. It has  captured people’s imaginations and I’ve received comments such as “breathtaking”, “stunning”, and “beautiful” (I agree, but then again I am a little …. okay … a lot biased!).

The dancers on the front of Luna Tango have always intrigued me and I’ve often wondered who they were in real life. When a book cover is designed, the photographs are bought but there’s rarely any information that comes with those images.

Last weekend a friend kindly offered to take copies of Luna Tango to Adelaide for a tango celebration with guest dancers from Argentina. The dancers were Fabian Salas (renowned for his stage shows and his roles in the movies The Tango Dancer and Evita) and Lola Diaz (a very accomplished tango dancer and choreographer who has travelled the world teaching and performing).

I’m not sure who got the biggest surprise – Lola when she saw herself on the cover of Luna Tango or me when I realised I have finally achieved my dream of finding out the true identity of  the Luna Tango cover girl! It was an absolute joy to thank Lola personally for being on the cover.

Now we’re in contact, I’ll enjoy learning more about Lola and Fabian as they travel the world, enchanting audiences with their beautiful tango dancing. Here are a couple of clips for you to enjoy: