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.

 

 

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

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.

Happiness is …

IMG_3282Quite a while ago I came across the idea for a Happiness Jar. I first heard about it when Elizabeth Gilbert (of Eat, Pray, Love fame) did a post about her Happiness Jar (link here). The idea is to write down moments in your life throughout the year that make you happy and place them in a jar (or box or container of your choice) and on New Years Eve (or a date you choose) you pull the notes out randomly and relive the happy moments from your year. Some people do it for big events and others daily – I’ve given myself the challenge of going with daily because no matter how bad a day gets I still believe there is something to be thankful or happy for. And on those days where it’s really hard to come up with something joyful from that day, I’m going to give myself permission to dip my hand into the jar and pull out a few notes to bring a smile to my face again.

My family decided to do this as a joint project so our Happiness Jar proudly sits in the middle of our dining table with a pen and post-it notes beside it, ready to be filled when the desire arises. We’re only six days into the year and I’m already thinking we may need to get a bigger jar! And that makes me happy (better go write that down and put it in the jar)!

2014 ARRA finalistI’d already filled in my note for the day but have had to add an extra one because a lovely surprise came along and I think it is definitely a two note worthy day. I discovered I’ve been nominated in three categories for the Australian Romance Readers Awards – voted by ARRA members. I’ve been nominated for:

* Favourite Contemporary Romance

* Favourite Cover

* Favourite New Romance Author

Being nominated for such prestigious awards makes me VERY happy and I am grateful for the people who have nominated me. Below is the link through to the nominees and I would love you to go and check out the authors nominated in the genres you’re interested in – you might discover a really fab new-to-you author! Here’s the link – click here.

I hope 2015 brings you everything you wish for and more. And I certainly hope if you choose to create your own Happiness Jar that it is overflows!

 

 

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:

 

The Macana Brothers

One of the reasons I find tango so fascinating is the various forms in which it can be danced. It’s not always a serious undertaking or hot and sexy or gut wrenchingly dramatic.  Los Hermanos Macana are from Buenos Aires and are a pair of super talented choreographers and dancers who bring their unique dancing and humour to stages across the world. They’ve shared stages with artists such as Mikhail Baryshnkov and Placido Domingo and I am hoping, hoping, hoping they’ll return  to Australia in the not-so-distant future.

Many tango experts will happily give an opinion as  to why men traditionally danced tango together. In fact, there are a lot of theories about how tango started and who danced with whom and why. That’s a whole can of worms and I’ll do a blog post on this in the near future. But I will mention a couple of theories for now and they’re the ones that really get the tango aficionado’s knickers in a twist. The idea is  tango originated in brothels where the men danced with women while they were waiting their turn to step into a room and close the doors. This theory rose in popularity when Argentine writer, Jorge Luis Borges, declared this as a fact and his fans agreed without raising any question. But as Argentina was short on women early last century, it’s hard to imagine why they would be dancing with clients when they could doing … um … what they were employed to do. Another brothel theory is men danced with men while they were waiting their turn to spend time with the prostitute of their choice, and they honed their dancing skills in tango as a way to impress women who had never stepped foot inside a brothel.

Whatever the true reason, when men dance tango together it tends to take people by surprise, even in this modern era. The Macana Brothers have taken traditional tango, added some personal touches, and turned it into a magnificent art form that has captured the hearts of many. I hope you enjoy their work and it brings a smile to your lips!

You can learn more about the Macana Brothers on their website here.