New release!

a-the-cinema-of-lost-dreams-2Release day is always exciting, especially when the book is being released worldwide in print and e-book. Today is the official release of The Cinema of Lost Dreams.

Here’s a little more about the book:

In Alli Sinclair’s moving story of love, loss, and ambition, two independent women, born decades apart, strive to fulfill their dreams.

In the movies, anything is possible. But as location manager Claire Montgomery knows, real life offers constant challenges, especially in an industry dominated by men. For her new project, Claire needs access to a beautiful Art Deco cinema located in Starlight Creek, a small town in northern Australia wine country. Though the movie theater and its elderly owner, Hattie, are both charming, Hattie’s handsome great-nephew isn’t so easy to convince. Claire must win their trust and permission, though even if she succeeds, she’ll face more complications that she could have anticipated . . .

1950s Hollywood: Lena Lee has worked hard to get ahead in Hollywood without getting caught up in backstabbing and infighting like so many other actors. In an era when censorship is rife and accusations of communism are rampant, Lena sees her star on the rise. But with increased visibility comes a greater awareness of what’s expected from women in her position. Lena is not willing to stay silent and go along with the game. Will she risk her career—and a newfound love—to stand up for what she thinks is right?

Thank you to everyone who has already pre-ordered a copy and thank you so much to the lovely reviewers who have already read and posted their thoughts. And a special thank you to all of you who support my books and spread the word, especially on release day! You’re the best!

Buy links:

AMAZON

iBOOKS

GOOGLE PLAY

KOBO

NOOK

 

 

Behind the Story: Michelle Montebello

Low_Res_File_Michelle_Montebello_032-3Today I’m very excited to introduce you to the lovely Michelle Montebello. Michelle is a writer from Sydney, Australia where she lives with her husband and two children. She is the author of the Belle Series which earned her 2018’s Best New Author in the AusRom Today Reader’s Choice Awards, as well as a finalist place for Book of the Year for Interwoven and Author of the Year. She loves to travel and has explored most continents, with more to go on her bucket list. She also has a keen passion for reading, tennis, spending time with her family and the dramatic arts.

Hello Michelle! Please tell us about your story behind the story.

Thank you, Alli, for having me on your blog today! I’m excited to talk about my latest novel, The Quarantine Station, which releases on March 6th2019. It’s a historical romance about forbidden love set in 1918 and the present day.

What inspired you to write The Quarantine Station?

Long before I started writing this novel, I’d been visiting the site on Sydney’s North Head, now known as The Q Station. It has always been a place of intrigue for me. I’d been on the ghost tours (quite scary), walked through the heritage buildings and strolled along the wharf where the boats once came ashore with the sick. It’s richly historic, much like slipping down the rabbit hole to another time.

But the idea of writing The Quarantine Station didn’t come to me until late 2017.

How did the idea develop?

I was on a history tour at The Q Station and it occurred to me that there was more to that wonderful place than just stories of sickness and sadness. Lots of people came and went during the course of quarantine. Some lived and worked there for many years, from the early nineteenth century.

And there I saw it, in that hot pot of isolated society, the potential for love. Beautiful, enduring, captivating love!

Once the idea came to me, I was hooked. I was wrapping up the final book in my Belle Series and got started immediately on The Quarantine Station. I had the place and time period decided. I had research underway! My characters and storyline had come together. I was staring down a plot filled with mysterious love, a century-old scandal, lost diaries and plenty of secrets!

How did the Quarantine Station challenge you as a writer?

The Quarantine Station was my first foray into historical romance. I loved researching for my Belle books, but writing a historical novel took my research to a new level. The challenge was in staying true to the station and its character, to the period in which I was writing in and to the medical knowledge of the time.

It was important to find the correct balance between fact and fiction, to ensure that amongst the facts, I could still weave a beautiful love story of hope and endurance that would transport readers from their lounge to another place and time.

The-Quarantine-Station-EBOOK (final)The rules were crystal clear. She broke them all…

1918 … When Rose Porter arrives on the shores of Sydney with little more than her suitcase, she must take a job as a parlourmaid at the mysterious North Head Quarantine Station. It’s a place of turmoil, segregated classes and strict rules concerning employee relationships.

But as Rose learns, some rules were made to be broken.

2019… Over a century later, Emma Wilcott lives a secluded life in Sydney where her one-hundred-year-old grandmother, Gwendoline, is all she has. Gwendoline is suffering dementia and her long-term memories take her wandering at night. Emma realises she is searching for someone from her past.

Emma’s investigation leads her to the Quarantine Station where she meets Matt, the station carpenter, and together they unravel a mystery so compelling it has the power to change lives, the power to change everything Emma ever knew about herself.

Buy Links:

PRINT EDITIONS

AMAZON

iBOOKS

KOBO

BARNES & NOBLE

To find out more about Michelle, you can visit her website: www.michellemontebello.com.au

GIVE AWAY:

Michelle has kindly offered to give away three e-books of The Quarantine Station. All you need to do is answer Michelle’s question in the comment section below and you will go into the draw. Competition closes 13th March, 2019 at 11.59 pm (AEST).

Michelle’s question: If you could step into a time machine and travel back in time, which period would you choose and why?

UPDATE – WINNERS ANNOUNCED!

Congratulations to Jaykky, Kim and Ellise McCune – please get in contact with us through my contact page so Michelle can send you the link for your e-book. Thanks to everyone who commented and stay tuned for more give aways!

 

 

Story Behind the Story: Iris Blobel

50703039_2015973481784787_1566545534024417280_nI’m super delighted to introduce you to Iris Blobel, who was born and raised in Germany and immigrated to Australia in the late 1990s. Having had the travel bug most of her life, Iris spent some time living in Scotland, London, as well as Canada where she met her husband. Her love for putting her stories onto paper only emerged a few years back, but now her laptop is a constant companion. Iris resides west of Melbourne with her husband and her beautiful two daughters as well as their dog. Next to her job at a private school, she also presents a German Program at the local Community Radio.

Take it away, Iris, tell us your story behind the story!

Thanks, Alli, for having me on your beautiful blog today to introduce your readers to my latest release INNOCENT TEARS.

I have to admit, I would’ve never expected to write books. First, writing was never my thing, I’m more into numbers, and second, English is not my native language. But, hey, I like to give most things a try.

My first book was born out of boredom and I have to admit the response from readers was overwhelming to say the least. The feedback was great. Yet, all of a sudden I had all these voices in my head wanting their own story. LOL. So I did. And, wow, my second book was picked up by a publisher. I was suddenly obsessed with writing.

INNOCENT TEARS was my third book. The story is set in Melbourne and I was pleased when the rights were returned to me early last year. Even though I loved the previous cover, I love the current one just that little bit more.

Anyway, INNOCENT TEARS grew out of many different ideas. The main idea, though, came to me when we went to Europe a few years back. My husband and my girls returned to Australia a week earlier while I went to Dublin to visit a friend as well as doing some research for my book JOURNEY TO HER DREAMS. My husband did a great job, being house husbandfor a week, but in between the lines I did hear from my daughters that the routinewas out of whack. My thoughts and ideas went into overdrive: how would it be for a man to suddenly have to take on a parent role, and vice versa, how would a child feel after losing a parent.

And this is how I came up with INNOCENT TEARS.

I have since published my BEGINNINGS series which is set in Hobart and ECHOES OF THE PAST, a standalone book set at the Victorian coast. All my books (except one) are available free for KU subscribers.

48422717_612618932513341_3073366597155422208_n.jpgINNOCENT TEARS
Becoming a parent can be daunting at the best of times, but for Flynn McCormack, a business lawyer in Melbourne, it pulls the feet right out from underneath him. He’s become a father to six-year-old Nadine literally overnight. He didn’t know about her existence, and the news throws him into chaos, even more so when he is asked to take over custody.

With the help of Emma, an employee at the hotel where Nadine and her grandparents are staying, Flynn tries to do the right thing. Yet, the right thing in his eyes differs from his parents’ ideas, and Emma is voicing her opinion, too, leaving Nadine right in the middle of it all, still grieving the loss of her mother. There’s no doubt she’s afraid about where and with whom she will settle.

Will a letter Flynn receives help him decide what to do?

Available on Amazon for only 99cents or FREE for KU subscribers

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07JH4H1XQ/

Iris’ Social Media Links:

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bQ68rL
Website http://www.irisblobel.com/
Blog http://www.irisblobel.com/blog
Twitter https://twitter.com/_iris_b
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/IrisBlobel
Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4067254.Iris_Blobel
Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/Iris-Blobel/e/B00FNFP3LI/

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Behind the Story: Dave Sinclair

pic at river

Dave at MI6, London, with his own spy, Eva Destruction

Today I’m happy to introduce you to a writer who I’ve known for a very long time – forty-six years, in fact. I could give you an introduction from a sisterly point of view (annoying younger brother and always getting me in trouble with the parents when we were growing up), but truth be told, he’s grown in to an excellent human who is also a talented writer. His latest novel is released today, and it’s a quirky, action-packed ride that will take you into the world of spies and feisty heroines.

Dave is a USA Today bestselling author, screenwriter and a really excellent parallel parker. He lives in Melbourne, Australia with his partner and two crazy daughters. Dave’s overflowing bookshelves include many works by Douglas Adams, P.G. Wodehouse, Dashiel Hammet, Raymond Chandler, Janet Evanovich, Ian Flemming, Zadie Smith and John le Carré (editor note: and his sister, Alli Sinclair’s brilliantly fantastic books!).

So, Dave, what’s the story behind the Eva Destruction novels?

The old writing cliché says write what you know, but I think that’s bollocks. If that was true I’d be writing books about an IT manager that knows how to sing along to Disney movies with a six and eight year old. Far better advice would be write what you want to read. That’swhere the Eva Destruction books came from – I wanted to read about a sassy funny heroine, from a perspective in spy thrillers you never see – the Bond girl.

The name Eva Destruction evokes exactly that, Bond girls of long ago, where did it come from?

Oddly enough, from a blog, remember blogs? A friend wrote a post years ago asking for Bond girl name suggestions, I replied:

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After that it kind of rattled around in my brain for a while, but I didn’t think much of it. A few years later I was reading a funny article on the io9 website by Charlie Jane Anders lamented that we never see Evil Overlord Romance (here). In the article she mentions that most genres are played out, so why not create a romance between a sexy and mysterious overlord who plans to take over the world and the feisty heroine who falls in love with him. Plus lots of cool black uniforms. In a moment of madness I thought, sure, I can do that. In a month I had 30,000 words of a book I was tentatively calling, Not Tonight Dear, I’m Destroying Tokyo. But once I hit the dreaded 30k mark I realised the folly of my ways. There just wasn’t enough story to hold up and it crumbled in on itself.

And there I left it for a couple of years.

One day I was reminded of the name Eva Destruction which soon morphed into “a spy story from the Bond girl’s perspective” idea. Then I realised I already had a large chunk of the story already down and didn’t know it.

The Tokyo story was panel beaten into a completely different beast. Once I had sorted out the new book was from the perspective of a feisty feminist Bond girl everything else fell into place. Thus The Barista’s Guide to Espionage was born.

So the Eva Destruction series may not have occurred if it wasn’t for that one blog reply and a tongue in cheek article?

Probably not. It’s always fraught to ask an author where they get their ideas from, but with this one I can give you exact dates and times. Ha!

And the story has continued in different novels?

Absolutely. I had such a ball writing Barista’s that I didn’t want to stop. The characters where so fun, I know there was more to come. The first novel ends with Eva being offered a role at MI6. How could she refuse? From there, the series has delivered three novels and a novella (which hit the USA Today Best Seller list). The characters have grown and faced far more challenges since the first book. The latest novel, The Dead Spy’s Guide to Espionage kind of brings certain strands to a close that were raised in the first novel.

The Dead Spys Guide to Espionage - Ebook SmallThe Dead Spy’s Guide to Espionage

Eva Destruction Returns!

Forget James Bond.

Forget Jason Bourne.

When the world’s on the brink of a second Cold War, the only person to call is Eva Destruction.

After a bombing in a Russian embassy, the murder of a CIA agent in Budapest, and an attack on MI6 itself, Eva assembles a team of Cold War veterans and puts the pedal to the metal in a race to prevent chaos on a global scale.

With twists at every turn, she’ll do almost anything to bring down those responsible—except drink instant coffee.

The Dead Spy’s Guide to Espionageis a globetrotting, fast-paced thriller that will keep you turning pages well into the night.

Available at – AmazonKoboiBooksGoogle Play, Barnes & Noble

The first book in the series, The Barista’s Guide to Espionage is available at all good (and some not so good) retailers. Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Google Play, Barnes & Noble

To hear more from Dave, check out these places, or sign up for his newsletter here.

Web – https://davesinclair.com.au/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/DaveSinclairAuthor

Twitter – https://twitter.com/TheDaveSinclair

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/davesinclairauthor/

 

Behind the Story: Tracy Brenton

Author Tracy brenton.jpgI’m delighted to introduce you to Tracy Brenton, whose favourite books to read are “kissing books” (full credit to ‘The Princess Bride’) and if there isn’t at least a little bit of romance in a story then she’ll probably lose interest. So it won’t come as a surprise to learn that all of the stories she writes have a romance at their core. Even the zombie ones!

Tracy love all things creative and take way too many pictures of sunsets and all the pretty flowers around her home on the Mid North Coast of NSW. She’s currently working hard on developing a taste for coffee and writing the next book in the Tempest Beach series.

Tracy, we’d love to hear your story behind the story. Take it away!

I’m an accountant by day and a writer by night (& morning, and weekends, and any spare 5 minutes). I started writing about five years ago when I realised I wasn’t doing anything just for me.

I tried a bunch of different things:

  • Dragon Boat racing, which was awesome, but then I injured my shoulder
  • Yoga, which I still do intermittently
  • I joined Rotary, and have been President of my club the last two years
  • And, I did a writing course with the Australian Writers Centre (AWC)

That course was the start of my writing journey. I joined an AWC writing group and wrote a short story for an Anthology we put together, just to see if I could. That story was High Tide and when I released it on its own recently it made number one in it’s Amazon category – short Romance stories – and stayed in the top three for over a week!

After High Tide, I decided to see if I could write a full length novel. After a great start, I got lost and couldn’t figure out what happened next (that book’s still sitting half complete on my cloud drive). So I set out to learn more about story structure, and plotting. When I felt ready for my second attempt at a full length book I gave myself a deadline, my birthday.

Deadlines are awesome. I finished it by my deadline, got feedback, got it edited and started submitting to publishers. It wasn’t quite what they were looking for, so that book’s sitting on the cloud drive too, waiting for its time.

In the meantime I had started writing the next book which turned out to be Spark. Again, I gave myself a deadline. I wanted to see if I could write it in twelve weeks. In the process I became a morning person (that was short lived) and hit my deadline. Mind you, it took another four months to get feedback, a professional editor, and to do all the edits.

I’d pitched Spark to a publisher at a writing conference and they said to send it through once it was finished. So, when it was finished I had to decide – submit or self publish.

I’m a business woman at heart, so have gone down the self publishing route. It’s been a huge learning curve, but my book went live on my birthday.

Spark Cover smallTo make time to write I completely rearranged my life, selling my business and getting a part-time job. My part-time job turned into two part time jobs so I’m actually working full-time hours, but I still have more time than when I was working for myself and it’s made all the difference to getting my book finished.

Fun fact: I can only write first person. I tried third person at first and it wasn’t working. Then I rewrote it in first person and it just clicked. My story suddenly worked and it was easy, it flowed.

So that’s the story behind the story – my first full length book – Spark (Tempest Beach Book One).

I’m about to start writing the second book in the series – Sing. And I’ve set myself a challenge to write it, get it professionally edited, and have it ready to publish in six months. Just to see if I can.

Watch this space in December to see if I made it!

Here’s some more about Spark:

I might be inexperienced, but that’s not going to stop me from saving my brothers business. Even if HE gets in my way.

He might be a black belt mechanic, but that doesn’t make him the boss.

The only problem is, I can’t seem to stop KISSING him.

I won’t let him distract me. I won’t, dammit.

Sparks fly between a sassy business graduate and a black belt mechanic when they join forces to save her brother’s business while he’s in an induced coma after rescuing their parents from a fire.

But the fire was deliberate, and a shadowy underworld threatens not only the business, but their lives.

Throw in a kick-ass crew of sexy martial artists and you’ve got yourself a delicious mix of adventure, mystery and mayhem, complete with a gorgeous beachside location and love at first sight.

2S connectionIf you’d like to purchase a copy:

Amazon Australia –https://amzn.to/2HUEOat

Amazon US –http://a.co/apkoE5w

iBooks –https://apple.co/2rzjGPX

Google Play –http://bit.ly/2jPjPKD

Universal –https://books2read.com/spark-tb1

If you’d like to keep in touch with Tracy:

19S this kiss

 

Behind the Story: Sarah Williams

Retouched 1.jpgToday I’m excited to introduce you to Sarah Williams. Sarah spent her childhood chasing sheep, riding horses and picking Kiwi fruit on the family orchard in rural New Zealand. After a decade travelling, Sarah moved to Queensland to raise a family and follow her passion for writing. She currently resides in Maleny on the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. 

When she’s not absorbed in her fictional writing world, Sarah is running after her family of four kids, one husband, two dogs and a cat. If that’s not enough, she also mentors and teaches writing workshops and hosts Write with Love- a weekly writers and readers podcast.

Sarah, please tell us your story behind the story!

The Brigadier Station Series is a family saga about three sons who each have their own love story. They are very family and small-town community focused.

The Sky over Brigadier Station is the second in the Brigadier Station series which is set near Julia Creek in the isolated Queensland Outback of Australia.

In this novel I reversed the gender stereotype. Riley, my heroine is very Alpha and dominates the relationship while Noah is the one who gets left behind on the station, so she can go fly Helis!

The Sky over Brigadier Station also touches on Domestic Violence and PTSD. These are both big issues I wanted to draw attention to.

The-Sky-Over-Brigadeer-Station-Kindle-FINALMore about Sarah’s book: 

Noah McGuire stayed away from Brigadier Station for a reason. He’s spent almost a decade in New Zealand’s South Island, trying to forget his past. But the memories still haunt him and the last thing he wants to do is see his estranged family and attend his brother’s wedding. 

However, the only way he can collect his inheritance is if he returns to his family’s property and faces the demons he’s been hiding from. 

When it comes to rounding up hundreds of cattle in a day, doing so by horseback doesn’t do the trick quite like a helicopter does and Riley Sinclair is one of the best pilots in the country. It’s a dangerous job, but she has nothing to lose. Until she meets Noah and her bravery is finally tested.

Can they make a life together or is the pull of the sky too strong? 

To connect with Sarah or purchase her book: 

Print and digital through all the usual online retails. Here’s a link: http://www.books2read.com/TheSkyoverBrigadierStation

Sarah is regularly checking social media when she really should be cleaning. 
You can find her online at:
http://www.sarahwilliamsauthor.com
http://www.facebook.com/sarahwilliamswriter 
http://www.twitter.com/SarahW_Writer

Burning Fields events

HARL1021 Burning Fields Facebook Share 2

One of the best parts of being an author is getting the chance to meet readers and other writers. I’ve got a few events in Bellingen, Geelong and Melbourne, and towards the end of July I’ll be heading to the gorgeous Sunshine State and doing a series of author events in bookstores and libraries, and also teaching a one-day writing course with Queensland Writers centre. 

I hope to see you there and please feel free to let your friends and colleagues know about any of the following events if you feel it’s for them. 

Please note: each event has something different to offer, so it’s just a matter of which one appeals the most (or you can always go to more than one!).

Boy, am I looking forward escaping a southern Australian winter and enjoy some sunshine soon!

Here are the dates and events:

BELLINGEN
Bellingen Writers Festival
Saturday, 9 June panel – Writing From and For the Heart (10.30 am)
Sunday, 10 June panel – Challenging Women: Perspectives on Life and Writing (9.00 am)
More information HERE
 
GEELONG
Tuesday, 17 July – 6.00-7.00pm Dymocks Waurn Ponds

I’ll be discussing my research behind Burning Fields, as well as the themes of equality, racism and going against tradition that occur throughout the book. And there’ll be lots of time for questions about anything writing related!

Call the store to reserve your seat: 03 52438720
 
MELBOURNE
Emerging Writers Festival
Sunday, 25 June (Victoria State Library) – Subverting the Genre – 1.30 pm
Tuesday, 26 June (The Wheeler Centres) – Romance writing workshop – 6.30-8.00 pm
More information and bookings HERE

BRISBANE
Thursday, 26 July – RIVERBEND BOOKS
In conversation with TM Clark, we’ll be discussing the research behind Burning Fieldsand the themes of equality, racism and PTSD that run throughout the story. There will be plenty of time for writing-related questions!
More information here and bookings HERE

Saturday, 28 July – WORKSHOP at QUEENSLAND WRITERS CENTRE
Full day romance writing workshop with Queensland Writers Centre
More information and bookings HERE
 
Monday, 30 July – AVID READER
In conversation with TM Clark, Anna Campbell and Ally Blake, this fun and informative panel about romance books and its role in today’s world.
More information and bookings HERE
 
PEREGIAN BEACH
Sunday, 29 July – 10am-12noon
Annie’s Books on Peregian – in-store book signing
More information HERE
 
GOLD COAST
Tuesday, 31 July – 6.30-7.30 pm
Elanora Library
II’ll be discussing my research behind Burning Fields, as well as the themes of equality, racism and going against tradition that occur throughout the book. And there’ll be lots of time for questions about anything writing related!
More information and bookings HERE

Isle of Pines, New Caledonia

New_Caledonia_(Isle_of_pines)_(Unsplash)

Photo by Sébastien Jermer seb  (Wikimedia Commons)

One of the things Tina and I are excited about with the Writers at Sea retreat we’re running at the end of August this year, is the amazing places participants will get to experience. If the idea of sandy beaches and warm azure waters appeals, then the Isle of Pines is the perfect place to visit.

The Isle of Pines is situated 100 kilometres by ocean from New Caledonia’s capital, Noumea, and a visit to this beautiful island will leave you refreshed and inspired. Surrounded by the New Caledonia Barrier Reef, there’s plenty of opportunity to go snorkelling, paddle boarding, sea kayaking, hiking, or lying on the beach reading a book, working on your own book, or having a nap (because why not?).

The world’s largest gecko resides on this island that once served as a French penal colony in the 1800s. When Captain James Cook first saw the island he named it the Isle of Pines because of the tall native pines. It’s an impressive sight and one you’re likely to remember forever.

Aptly nicknamed l’île la plus proche du paradis (the closest island to Paradise), a visit to the Isle of Pines is likely to be high on your list of favourite places ever visited. Yes, I’m that sure you’ll love it!

We stil have some places available on the Writers at Sea retreat and Carnival currently have a sale on cabins so you can snap up a bargain!

For more details, please CLICK HERE.

 

 

Sun, Sea and Writing!

I am so very excited to announce that I will be collaborating with my very good friend and super talented writer, T.M. Clark on a unique writing retreat that sails to one of the Pacific’s most treasured destinations—New Caledonia. The relaxing nature of cruising will give you plenty of time to work on your projects as well as meet like-minded writers. When in port, you’ll have the option of exploring the vibrant local culture, swim in crystal clear waters or stroll along pristine beaches lined with palm trees—the perfect way to inspire creativity and rejuvenate your spirit!

Suitable for writers with any degree of experience, this retreat includes workshops, writing sessions, feedback, and mentoring. There’ll also be time to relax and gaze out at the azure ocean and endless blue sky, take in a show or game of trivia, read by one of the many pools, or undertake an on-shore adventure.

If you’d like to find out more, please click on the graphic below or email me directly. I’m more than happy to answer any questions!

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Behind the Story: Monica McCabe

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Today I’m delighted to introduce you to the fabulous Monica McCabe. Adventuring is in Monica McCabe’s blood. She’s addicted to travel, National Parks, & exploring new places and mysterious locales. She’s climbed glaciers and ancient Mayan pyramids, dived shipwrecks and reef caves, camped in Sasquatch country, and drove across the USA three times. When not traveling she’s writing romantic suspense and adventure for Lyrical Liaison, Kensington’s digital line. 

Welcome, Monica! Please tell us about your stories behind the stories!

I freely admit that I’m addicted to travel. My favorite thing in all the world (besides critters and a good glass of wine) is to visit places new to me, sparkling locales that I’ve not experienced beyond pictures or Google Earth. Whatever it takes…planes, trains, cars, or boats…it doesn’t matter. Let’s just go!

That wanderlust impacts my writing too. Some authors start their story with characters. The WHO is important. They want to know everything about them – eye color, hair color, where they went to school. Not me. I start my story with the WHERE. Then I move into the WHAT. Until I get deep into location and plot, characters are just a vague impression.

Setting motivates me to begin the book. Imagery helps create my story. I have a blank wall next to my computer and as I build my story world, that wall turns into a collage of pictures that detail out every major scene location. The deeper into the book I get, the more images fill that space.

What inspires me to choose a location? I can’t say. I saw something, heard something. It doesn’t take much to capture my imagination. I’m always game to research location. I love digging in to find the details that make a setting feel real. Google Earth, Trip Advisor, travel journals, tourist sites, I’ve a whole list of places to hit when a destination catches my eye. That’s why every one of my Jewel Intrigue books takes place in locales far away from me.

DIAMOND LEGACY is set in Botswana, Africa. It’s the perfect place for a story about diamond smuggling because minin9781616507077g for the gemstone dominates the country’s economy and work force. Unfortunately, it also inspires a ruthless criminal underground. But you can’t imagine Africa without being dazed over their spectacular animal kingdom. So intro Roz, a kleptomaniac monkey who threatens to steal the show.

9781601836540EMERALD FIRE opens in St. Lucia, West Indies. What better place to hide modern day pirates? Full of secret coves, luxury yachts, & breathtaking scenery, it’s every bit the perfect Caribbean island. It’s also a hotbed of high-seas and high-stakes action that is hard to combat. We visited a few years ago, after I wrote the book. Despite the danger, I absolutely want to go again.

9781601836557PHANTOM PEARL is a book divided. First half takes place in the rainforests of Far North, Queensland, Australia. Remote and beautiful, it’s an exceptional location for an epic WWII mystery. A treasure hunt is on and the truth hides in the wilderness.

Then it’s on to Singapore for a grand finale on Jurong Island, a massive industrial seaport. It’s a maze of piers, cranes, ship traffic and desalination plants. Perfect for a showdown of epic proportions. I’ve yet to visit Singapore, but it’s on my list. Did you know their airport is consistently voted best in the world? It’s a destination all its own.

The best part … all that delicious research seems to be justified. Because book reviews have a consistent theme – vivid imagery, sensory description, a few even declare the setting takes on a life of its own. I had one swear I’d been to Africa. I wish!

That said, research for PHANTOM PEARL hit a whole new level. Hubby and I visited Australia. It was two weeks of pure awesomeness. This article could easily cover how endlessly amazing the country is, but I’ll restrain myself. Let’s just say – if you’ve ever thought about going – DON’T WAIT. DO IT. It is absolutely worth the 17 hour flight to get there.

Meanwhile, I’m hard at work on the next book in the Jewel Intrigue Series. The story opens in the Florida Everglades, but will move to the other side of the planet pretty quick. I’m currently scanning the globe for that second location.

Tell me the #1 spot on your bucket list and you’ll be entered to win a free digital copy of your choice – DIAMOND LEGACY (Africa) or EMERALD FIRE (St. Lucia) or PHANTOM PEARL (Australia). Choose your destination!

To learn more about the series, or to sign-up for her newsletter (it might include travel photos!) visit Monica at her website:  www.monicamccabe.net