It’s February 1st, Winner Announcements, Acknowledgements and This Week’s Schedule!

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   It’s A Wrap!

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Our first Down Under Author Showcase ended yesterday and what a marvelous event it was.  We had the participation of 28 authors and 2 independent Down Under publishers and  gifts from the Embassy of Australia and the Embassy of New Zealand here in DC.  My thanks again to Bottom Drawer Publications, Wayward Ink Publications and all of the wonderful authors from Down Under!  It’s been grand!  Let’s do it again next year!  And if you need a refresher, our Down Under Author Showcase Page will remain up until its updated at the next Showcase!

I discovered many new authors myself and am still happily buried in John Wiltshire’s series “More Heat Than The Sun”, and then will move on to more discoveries from authors this month.  I hope everyone had a great time and made discoveries of their own, that extends not only to authors and books but facts they learned about Australia and New Zealand as well.

Some of my favorites?

wombat poop

glowwormstane-mahuta-223Kelpie walking across the backs of sheepWombat poop looks like cubes. -picture 1

There are caves in New Zealand where glow worms light the ceilings like stars -#2

An ancient tree so old it has its own name and looks like an elf should be standing  beside it.

Flightless parrots, mobs of camels and kelpies who cross the backs of sheep!

And so many places of incomparable beauty from the red dirt deserts of the Northern Territory to the beaches of the south, to the hills so green in New Zealand they remind you of emeralds and mountain lakes with water so clear it looks crystalline.  And don’t get me started on all those cities and towns I now wish to visit as well!  What were your favorite facts this month?

Over the next several days I will be  announcing winners of the various contests.  Today we will start with the winners of our Down Under Scavenger Hunt.  Here they are!

Down Under Author Scavenger Hunt Winners!

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The Winners of our Down Under Scavenger Hunt are, in the order that their entries were received:

 

First Place: Julie Small              $75.00 Amazon gift card

2nd Place:Vitajex                             First Choice of any of the following gifts listed below

3rd Place:Jennifer Florence       2nd choice of any of the following

4th PlaceShirley Speakman        3rd Choice

5th Place Antonia Aquilante        4th Choice

6th Place:H.B.                                   5th Choice

7th Place:  Hannah B                     6th Choice                 

   Prizes to Choose From: Choice of 1 box from Australia or New Zealand Gift Box (large), Choice of 1 of the Smaller AUS or NZ Gift Box* or

 Under the Southern Cross Anthology from Dreamspinner Press – a total of 5 e books*

How to Speak Kangaroo or your choice of any 2 books from our Down Under Authors*

Note: I will be posting some pictures of the boxes later today!

Now as the dust settles from our first big event, just a note that May will be Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Authors Across the Pond Showcase…all month long!  Just a little something to scribble on your calendars!

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Now here is This Week’s Schedule at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words…

Sunday, February 1:

  • Cover reveal – Jackie Nacht’s Venomous Mates ‘Strike of the Diamondback
  • In Our Book Spotlight:  The Bucket List by RJ Scott
  • Down Under Winner Announcements and this Week’s Schedule

Monday, February 2:

  • More Winner Announcements!
  • Release Day for John Inman’s Payback! (contest)
  • Chris Scully ‘Nights Like These’ Virtual Tour (contest)
  • A MelanieM Review: Infected: Epitaph by Andrea Speed
  • A Sammy Review: Night Like These by Chris Scully

Tuesday, February 3:

  • More Winner Announcements
  • Excerpt Tour for Sin City 2 by Morticia Knight (contest)
  • A Sammy Review: The Mechanical Chrysanthemums by Felicitas Ivey
  • A BJ Review: Second Act by Kaje Harper
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Tame A Wild Human by Kari Gregg

Wednesday, February 4:

  • More Winner Announcements from Down Under Author Showcase
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Shy by John Inman Audio book
  • Excerpt Tour with D. P. Denman’s Bare Threads (contest)
  • A Sammy Review: Dex in Blue by Amy Lane
  • A Stella Review: Backwoods Asylum by Megan Derr

Thursday, February 5:

  • More Winner Announcements
  • Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock’s The Merchant of Death (contest)
  • In Our Book Spotlight: RJ Scott’s Alpha, Delta
  • A Stella Review: Rabbit Season by Megan Derr
  • A Sammy Review: Ethan In Gold by Amy Lane
  • A MelanieM Review: A Wedding to Die For by Xavier Mayne

Friday, February 6:

  • More Winner Announcements , last author contests end!
  • A Sammy Review: An Infatuation by Joe Cosentino
  • A MelanieM Review: Trowchester Blues by Alex Beecroft
  • A BJ Review: Payback by John Inman
  • A MelanieM Review: The Bucket List by RJ Scott

Saturday, February 7:

  • Final Down Under Author Showcase Announcements!
  • A MelanieM Review: No Boundaries (Phoenix, Inc. #1) by S.E. Jakes

ayers rockview from Mt. GamblerAUS desert120-mount-cookAustralian Feral camelbaby sheep

Down Under Showcase Author: Bette Browne

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Meet Bette Browne!

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Bette Browne is the author of Exposed, The Not Quite Shakespeare Anthology, Dirty Martini, among others listed below.

To get to know Bette Browne  a little better, the author agreed to write a guest post about Christmas in Australia. It’s a fascinating window into how much we differ and yet are so much alike. Look for that below and the Down Under Scavenger Hunt word found somewhere within.

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Author Bio 1

Bette Browne is wife to an extremely understanding husband and mother to two very tolerant children. In her mind they are the most accepting family in the world, allowing her the freedom to indulge her passion for fiction, whether it is reading or writing it.

 

She enjoys traditional male/female romances, but male/male is her passion. In her mind nothing is more erotic than two (or more) beautiful men finding love together.

 

For Bette, the fight for tolerance in all its guises is an important one, and hopefully her contribution, even if it is only in the form of the occasional love story, is one she will continue to happily find the time for.

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Author Contacts

Contact/Follow Bette Browne at:

Email: authorbettebrowne@gmail.com
Website (Blog): http://bettebrowne.blogspot.com.au
Facebook: https:www.facebook.com/bette.browne.1
Twitter: http://Twitter.com/bettebrowne
Goodreads: 12327021-bette-browne

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Author Books Stories Down Under1 copy

✍Bette Browne Books:

Second Chances Anthology (Dirty Martini) Bottom Drawer Publications
Dirty Martini (published at Bottom Drawer Publications):Dirty Martini cover

Blurb:

This story was originally included in the SECOND CHANCES Anthology released in August 2012 and has been individually released to celebrate BDP’s anniversary.

Daniel Fletcher knocks back his third vodka of the night after running into his ex out with the same lover he had found him with in their bed two months before. He’d ended their relationship that night but coming face to face with them still together makes the pain of the breakup still very real.

Nathan Smith has seen more men than he count drowning their sorrows in a bottle at his bar. He understands – he’s been there himself. One night a handsome brunette with sad blue eyes makes Nate want to assure him that everything will be okay. The connection he feels from a fleeting touch, as he walks the man out of the bar, shakes and stirs him in ways that he never expected.

What starts out as a means to forget might just be what they both need.

The Candidates *M/M Romance “Love Has No Boundaries” Story
Not Quite Shakespeare Anthology (The Jacobite)
Exposed (Love’s Landscapes Story)

Coming soon:
Bared (Exposed Sequel)

 

Genres: contemporary fiction, M/M romance

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Contests and Giveaways:

1. Today’s Giveaway (thank you, Bette Browne) is an eBook copy of the winner’s choice of  Dirty Martini, or even the anthology Second Chances (Dirty Martini is in it) . Enter using this Rafflecopter link here.

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Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

2. Down Under Scavenger Hunt – find the Hunt “word or phrase” in bold green .

Collect all the words from each author and submit the list in writing no later than midnight on February 1st. Make sure you include an email address where you can be reached. Prizes will be given to 5 people selected, from 1st place to 5th! Happy Hunting.

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Christmas Down Under by Bette Browne

Christmas and summer, and why as an Australian the blend of the two is so incredibly important to me . . .

As you read this, you will most likely be trying to forget Christmas (or whichever holiday you might celebrate at this time of year). I know I do in the immediate days and weeks following it, happy to pack it away in neat boxes until next year. But as I write it is still looming in the very near future, barrelling down upon me so quickly that I feel if I blink I might miss it. As much as I love the holiday season, it makes me sweat big fat drops of perspiration (literally as well as figuratively—it is summer here right now after all) and causes my blood pressure to soar—but I really do love it, and all the crazy joy associated with it.

So why would I write about a holiday that will be well and truly over by the time anyone reads my words? Because if the Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words team want to showcase the differences between Australia (and New Zealand) and much of the rest of the world, i.e. the Northern Hemisphere, then Christmas in summer is one of them as far as I am concerned.

Picture this, it’s Christmas Eve, those nearest and dearest to you are done with work for the day, excited that they’re about to have a few days off, and have converged on your house this year, Eskys in tow (that’s a cooler, btw) loaded with icy cold beers??????????????????????????????????????? and bottles of wine, and maybe a kilo or two of fresh trawler-caught prawns. The kids—nieces, nephews, friends, whoever—already dressed in their swimsuits, have towels slung over their shoulders, but not for long. As soon as they get the okay from their parents, those towels are re-slung over the pool fence, or straight onto the ground, and the splashing begins—they won’t get out until you drag them out later that evening with threats that Santa won’t come if they are not in bed and asleep by midnight (although it will actually be 10 p.m.—sanity does prevail!). Of course, after all that activity sleep will come easy, and their pool-red eyes will close fast. Thank you! The adults enjoy the balmy evening sitting under the twinkling fairy lights strung around, occasionally slapping away a mosquito as twilight descends (Where are those mosquito coils again?), discussing in quiet tones how many presents are still left to be wrapped after the kids are asleep and what’s on the menu at their house tomorrow. That conversation might move to whether Uncle Jim (or Tom or Fred or . . .) will be joining the festivities this year, and how many beers he’ll drink before he becomes argumentative and wants to fight.

It’s still 30°C at nine p.m., and the forecast for tomorrow says it will be another hot one, maybe even reaching 42°C. As a few of you wander the neighbourhood, glass of wine in hand, to look at the Christmas lights on the houses, you all discuss how to beat the heat on the most-loved-day-of-the-year. Envy abounds that you have a pool, but it will be too hot to be in it if the temperature reaches that high. What will actually happen is that you’ll huddle away inside until late in the afternoon, leaving Uncle Jim snoring on the couch, and you’ll all pile in the car to go to the beach to enjoy both a swim and the cool sea breeze that will break the heat, and calm everyone’s escalating (by then) nerves. And then you’ll mosey on home, tired and sated, able to now utilise the pool and the outside entertaining area and graze on leftovers and finally relax.

It’s Christmas Day. Everyone in your house is still asleep, for how long you have no idea, but you’re awake, so you’re going to make the most of the slightly cooler morning and get a start on things. You drink your first cup of coffee looking at the flashing lights on the Christmas tree, happy that wrapping any extra presents is not something that needs to be done this morning—you were organised this year. Then you go to the kitchen.

Everyone’s awake now. Presents have been opened, and the kids are enjoying the spoils of the day. It’s nice to have a moment to enjoy that—it’s maybe your favourite part of the whole silly season, even as they get older. But there is only so much time you can sit and relax.

The temperature is rising, and as you move around the kitchen and perspiration begins to cover your body, it is finally time to turn on the air-conditioner. It would be miserable today without it; besides, you need to try and fight the heat of the oven cooking the turkey and roasted vegetables you just can’t do without. That’s certainly a tradition you have never been able to let go of. Many have, because really who would cook a roast dinner during the hottest part of the year, choosing instead to feast on the magnificent seafood so plentiful in this part of the world. But you love it, Christmas just isn’t the same without it, and you have the air-conditioning to help stave the heat.

Again you look at the clock (such a shame that even a day like today can’t run without one) and notice the guests will be arriving soon. Time to go and change into the lovely soft summer dress you decided on for the occasion.

Lunch is served. Well not really, it’s later than that. It’s been just too hot to eat—and you’ve been nibbling all morning. But you look at your beautiful table, proud of your achievement. The lovely place settings, the bon bons, the lovely centrepiece, and the food, so much food—turkey, potatoes, gravy, ham, pork, vegetables, some seafood, salads, and more . . .

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As I read back over what I’ve just written, I wonder whether Christmas in Australia is actually any different at all to anywhere else in the world. Yes, the weather is hot, excruciatingly so at times, and that is a big difference, but in so many ways it’s the same: being overwhelmingly busy, threats that Santa won’t come if the kids aren’t asleep, the gifts, the food, Uncle Jim (and his drinking problem) . . .

I am fortunate enough to have experienced a Northern Christmas, and don’t get me wrong, I loved every moment of it, and would love to do it again one day, but would I trade? No. There was no riding of new Christmas bikes on the driveway, or beach swims at the end of the day, or even that leisurely stroll around the neighbourhood to view the Christmas lights. It just wasn’t he same. It didn’t herald the beginning of my children having their long summer break, or mark the end of yet another school year, or the precede the Boxing Day sales (similar to Black Friday in the USA).

I suppose what it boils down to is that Christmas, or anything else for that matter, is what you know along with memories forged over a lifetime. It’s what you have grown up with that makes something special, as well as the people you are able to spend it with.

Maybe one of the wonderful Down Under authors being showcased needs to write an appropriate Aussie/NZ Christmas tale. Now where is my notepad . . .?

Happy “belated” holidays!

Bette

[STRW Note: No, there are no misspellings, that’s the difference between US English and Down Under English (with differences still between NZ and AUS.}]

Down Under Day 27-Welcome, Barry Lowe, AUS and NZ Facts of the Day

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Welcome, Barry Lowe!

Our countdown continues and today our featured author on our Down Under Author Showcase is Barry Lowe.  Barry Lowe is a prolific Australian writer with a penchant for hilarious titles and thought provoking plot lines.  Be sure to search out the wonderful interview he gave us along with his bio, books and giveaway!

For the rest of the week, each author’s contests will continue into February to give everyone ample chance to locate the authors and listen to the stories they have to tell.

 

Now onto our Australian and New Zealand facts of the day.  I’ve learned about cube-shaped wombat poop and wild Australian camels,  subterranean glowworms who turn their cavernous ceilings into glowing night skies and red dirt deserts among the driest places on earth.  What have been your favorites facts so far?  Have you been able to answer the questions I have posed along the way?  Hmmmm.  Maybe you might want to backtrack and pick them up.  Figure them out…..maybe there’s  another contest still to come?

How I am enjoying this journey!

Australian Fact of the Day – It’s all About The Trees!

In the US we are proud of our trees, from the oldest in our great Redwood forests to the beauty of our flowering Magnolias in the south.  Here are some facts about the trees and forests in Australia!Valley of the Giants

Australia’s tallest trees can be found in the south-west of Western Australia in the Valley of the Giants. Giant tuart, karri, and rich red jarrah which live for up to 500 years can be found here. The 1000 kilometre (621 mile) Bibbulmun Track traverses a variety of jarrah, marri, wandoo, karri and tingle forests as well as internationally significant wetlands.tree top walk 2

The cool temperate rainforest of the World Heritage-listed Tasmanian wilderness contains some of the oldest trees on the planet including the rare Huon Pine.

The majestic Wollemi pine is a remnant from a 200 million year-old landscape, when Australia, New Zealand and Antarctica were joined together as the supercontinent Gondwana. It was thought to have been extinct for millions of years, until rediscovered by a bushwalker in 1994. Fewer than 100 trees exist in the wild, growing in the deep rainforest gorges of the Greater Blue Mountains.Wollemi pine

That first photo should resemble one you would take if you visited a certain park in Northern California. Which park would that be and why?

 

 

New Zealand Facts of the Day – forests of New Zealand

New Zealand’s high rainfall and many sunshine hours give the country a lush and diverse flora–with 80 percent of the trees, ferns, and flowering plants being native.

From the kauri forests of the far north to the mountain beech forests and alpine tussock of the Southern Alps, you’ll find fascinating plants and trees in every region. You’ll be awed by the majestic evergreen native forests that include rimu, totara, many varieties of beech, and the largest native tree of them all, the giant kauri.

Waipoua is home to Tane Mahuta, king of the forest and the largest remaining kauri tree in the country. The 1,500 year old Tane Mahuta is 51.5 m (168 feet) tall, with a girth of 13.77 m(45 ft).
Tane Mahutatane-mahuta-223 -see picture at right.
The forests of Waipoua are vitally important refuges for threatened wildlife. The endangered North Island kokako and the North Island brown kiwi both live here. More abundant are the kukupa/kereru (New Zealand wood pigeon), fantail, pied tit, tui, grey warbler, shining cuckoo and kingfisher. Another distinctive creature is the large and very handsome kauri snail, a carnivore kauri snailwhich feeds mainly on earthworms, slugs and soft-bodied insects.

A lasting reminder of the once-thriving kauri industry are the kauri dams. Kauri driving dams were built by loggers to drive large quantities of kauri logs downstream from remote areas. While they played a major role in the destruction of the forest, they were also impressive engineering feats, built without drawings or detailed calculations, yet able to withstand the pressure of tonnes of water and kauri logs which were swept through with tremendous force when the dam was tripped.

kauri-forest-565In the Kauaeranga Valley on the Coromandel, kauri was logged extensively for over 50 years with more than 60 dams built. In 1970 remaining areas of surviving forest were deemed protected as part of the Coromandel Forest Park.

The Kaiaraara Dam on Great Barrier Island (40 m wide and 14 m high), is one of the largest of 3,000 kauri dams built in New Zealand in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Down Under Day 26: Happy Australia Day! Meet Nic Starr and AUS/NZ Facts of the Day

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Happy Australia Day!

Does that sight above look familiar? Yes, you would think you were looking at a 4th of July celebration.  Instead that’s the Australia Day celebration in Perth. What is Australia Day, you ask? Australia Day, January 26, is the biggest day of celebration in the country and is observed as a public holiday in all states and territories.

On Australia Day, Australians come together as a nation celebrate what’s great about Australia and being Australian. It’s the day to reflect on what everyone has achieved and what they can be proud of in Australia.

Australia Day, 26 January, is the anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet of 11 convict ships from Great Britain, and the raising of the Union Jack at Sydney Cove by its commander Captain Arthur Phillip, in 1788 (you can read a comprehensive history of the evolution of Australia Day here).

Though January 26th marks this specific event, today Australia Day celebrations reflect contemporary Australia: the diverse society and landscape, its remarkable achievements and its future. It also is an opportunity to reflect on the nation’s history, and to consider how all can make Australia an even better place in future.

On Australia Day, over half of the nation’s population of 21 million attend either an organised community event, or get together with family and friends with the intention of celebrating the national day. Many more spend the public holiday relaxing with family and friends.

It’s the Australian equivalent of our 4th of July.  Let’s celebrate with them, raise your glasses, give them a clink and say all together now  “Happy Australia Day!”

Here in the US, Australia Day is celebrated as well. The U.S. Australian embassy has organized a party; G’DAY USA, an Australian diplomacy program in the United States has barbecues, cricket, and dinners lined up across the country; and Australian Nexus, an online hub for Australians in the United Kingdom, has barbecues and art shows, among other events, lined up.  So raise a glass of Fosters, mate, and wish all the Australians, here and at home, a wonderful Australia Day!

Welcome, Nic Starr

 Happy Australia Day!  We’re heading into our last week of our Down Under Author Showcase.  Today’s featured author is Nic Starr.  Author of many M/M romance novels, Nic has a special guest blog today in keeping with the fact that its Australia Day! Please check that out, along with Nic Starr’s bio and giveaway!  And don’t forget to find the Down Under Scavenger Hunt word of the Day!australia-physical-map

Fun Facts about Australia Day – Australia Facts of the Day!

Australia Day is celebrated on the 26th of January every year, marked by most Australians with a day off due to the national public holiday, along with parties, going to the beach and attending fireworks displays.
But do you really know what Australia Day really symbolises? We have compiled a list of some fun and interesting facts about Australia Day and our history that you may not have already known!Australia Day celebration

• The first recorded Australia Day celebrations were held on January 26, 1808 to mark twenty years since Captain Arthur Phillip raised the flag at Sydney Cove.

• Lachlan Macquarie was the first Australian Governor to hold the first “official” Australia Day celebrations in 1818, to mark thirty years of European settlement. The celebrations included a thirty gun salute and a ball at Government House.

• Australia Day was called “Foundation Day” in the early part of the nineteenth century, and was typically marked by sporting events including horse racing and boat races.

• The first colony to declare Australia Day as a public holiday was New South Wales in 1838, on the 50th anniversary of the Sydney Cove landing.

• By 1888 nearly all of the colonies had declared a public holiday to celebrate Australia Day, but it wasn’t until the 1940’s that January 26th was agreed upon by all states as the proper day to celebrate.

• The two animals featured on the Australian coat of arms are the Emu and the Kangaroo – the reason for this being that neither animal can walk backwards, but instead can always go forwards, symbolising Australia’s desire to do the same.

New Zealand Facts of the Daykiwi and NZ country

Does New Zealand have an equivalent to Australia Day and the 4th of July?  Yes, it does.  It’s Waitangi Day.

Every year on 6 February, New Zealand marks the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. In that year, representatives of the British Crown and over 500 Māori chiefs signed what is often considered to be New Zealand’s founding document. The day was first officially commemorated in 1934, and it has been a public holiday since 1974.

For some people, Waitangi Day is a holiday; for many, and especially for Māori, it is the occasion for reflecting on the Treaty. Since the 1970s the style and mood of the commemorations on Waitangi Day have been influenced by the increasingly heated debate surrounding the place of the Treaty in modern New Zealand.

Waitangi Day is recognised as New Zealand’s national day, but the long-standing tensions associated with it are always likely to surface in one form or another. The date is an important marker in the country’s history. Recognition of the significance of the Treaty of Waitangi as the nation’s founding document will continue to encourage leaders, communities and individuals to mark the day in new ways.waitangi_treaty_grounds_te_pito_whenua

So while it’s not yet Waitangi Day, let’s put a note on our calendars for a special upcoming celebration.  Raise a glass of wonderful New Zealand wine, enjoy a movie, perhaps, one of the Lord of the Rings or  Whale Rider (a favorite also of mine) and celebrate with them.

 

 

 

 

Down Under Author Lily Velden

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Meet Lily Velden!

Give me fiction… Reality is overrated.

Lily Velden is the author of  Same Page, The Race Is On, Heart Knot Mine and other listed below.

Today Lily Velden author and owner of Wayward Ink Publishing  (a down under press) is guest blogging about a subject I’m fascinated with…book covers.  Be sure to check that out and leave us a few comments of your own on the subject!

Wayward Ink is helping to sponsor this event and has a special contest for all to enter…more about that later today.

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Author Bio 1

LILY VELDEN lives on the east coast of Australia, her family having emigrated from Holland when she was a child.
She’s both a left and right brain person, holding qualifications in both Finance and Fine Arts. She tells her friends that her way with numbers will make her a profitable artist and writer… one day.

Lily has always had a love of language and a beautifully crafted sentence, and admits to having a fetish for collecting quotes, poems, and song lyrics. What she won’t admit to is how many notebooks she’s filled with those quotes… Her fascination carries on into her artworks where she often incorporates text. When a shoulder injury slowed down her art practice she decided to explore her love of the written word more fully and began writing. “I’ll paint my pictures with words.”

Not that she’s abandoned artmaking in its entirety—Lily collaborates on the designs for all her book covers.
There are many things Lily loves, here are just a few of the PG rated ones: a good laugh (all the better if caused by a naughty joke), the smell of freshly baked goods and mown grass, a smile from a stranger, rainbows after the rain, and witnessing a promise kept.

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Author Contacts

You can contact/follow Lily Velden at:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LilyVelden
Blog: http://lilyvelden.wordpress.com/
Tumblr: http://lilyvelden.tumblr.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lily.velden
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Lily Velden’s Books:

NOVELS / NOVELLAS:

Same Page - Front Cover 600x870SAME PAGE (Book 1: How The Light Gets In)- Dreamspinner Press

He was like the only splash of color in a black-and-white photograph.

The man was beautiful.

At an exhibition opening in Sydney, jaded Hollywood heartthrob Jaxon Moncrieff lays eyes on publicity-shy artist Liam Lassiter for the first time and is immediately captivated. But he doesn’t get far into their first conversation before he realizes what he’s feeling is attraction, which brings him up short. Jaxon has always been a womanizer.

Despite his reservations, Jaxon makes a play for Liam, but Liam has his own issues. Unlucky in love and orphaned at sixteen, he is reluctant to open his heart to anyone, and dismisses Jaxon out of hand.

Driven by a need he doesn’t understand, Jaxon organizes a return to Sydney to film his next project. If he can’t be with Liam, maybe they can be friends. Of course, that creates a whole new problem. Now Jaxon is falling in love for the first time. How can he move their relationship from friends to lovers without destroying the trust he’s worked so hard for?

TheRaceIsOn600x900THE RACE IS ON (Book 2: How The Light Gets In)-Dreamspinner Press

Hollywood heartthrob Jaxon Moncrieff and Liam Lassiter are finally on the same page: committed and in it for the long haul. Now they just have to prepare for the inevitable fallout when they reveal their relationship. Between Jaxon’s career and Liam’s need to prepare for a life in the limelight, they decide to wait until filming of Jaxon’s latest project has wrapped.

Unbeknownst to them, the relentless paparazzi photographer Rafael Cacciatore, aka the Hunter, notices a change in Jaxon and is determined to be the first to break the story of who has captured Jaxon Moncrieff’s heart. In the meantime, Liam and Jaxon have enough on their plate working out the not-so-little issue of how and when Jaxon will come out to his family. The paparazzi aren’t even on their radar. The race to out Jaxon is on, and Liam and Jaxon don’t even know it

HeartKnotMine_previewHEART KNOT MINE-Dreamspinner Press

Despite a successful college teaching career, Noah Daniels has become depressed. He feels he’s leading a monochromatic life: love has eluded him. When he’s offered a chance to teach in London as part of an exchange program, he accepts, hoping a change of scenery will do him good. But once he’s there, his outlook on love and sexuality changes in ways he never expected.

Robert Callinan is Noah’s English counterpart in the program. The men exchange not only their jobs, but also their homes, and it is what Noah stumbles across while staying at Robert’s house that sends him on a journey of self-discovery—both mentally and physically. A journey that puts color back into his life… just not in the way he expected. When the exchange program ends, Noah has to go home, but he doesn’t know if he wants to return to the life he left behind

Read an excerpt here.

Gay As Mardi Gras coverGAY AS MARDI GRAS (Novella)-Dreamspinner Press

After the demise of his relationship with his childhood sweetheart, Janey, Jesse needs to get away. His nan has just the thing: a month-long cruise around Hawaii and the Pacific Islands. It seems perfect—until Jesse realizes what kind of cruise it is.

A gay cruise.

Since Jesse’s roommate, Daniel, is recovering from a broken heart, the two decide to buddy up. They hit it off, and with Daniel now Jesse’s partner in crime, they explore the boat and participate in all the fun activities on offer—with some, ah, interesting results for straight boy Jesse.
Genre(s): Contemporary, Humor

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SHORT STORIES IN THE FOLLOWING ANTHOLOGIES
STRIPPED BARE: Animal Magnetism Anthology (Dreamspinner Press)
WRITTEN IN THE STARS: Bollocks! Anthology (Wayward Ink Publishing)
LIFE ACCORDING TO BUDDY: Love, Loss, Laughter & Lust Anthology(Wayward Ink Publishing)
HUNTER OR HUNTED?: Love, Loss, Laughter & Lust Anthology(Wayward Ink Publishing)
DR. JUSTIN GAYLORD: A Likely Story Anthology (co-authored with Taylin Clavelli, Wayward Ink Publishing)

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Contests and Giveaways:

1. Today’s Giveaway (thank you, Lily Velden) is an eBook copy the reader’s choice of her books. Enter using this Rafflecopter link here. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

2. Down Under Scavenger Hunt – find the Hunt “word or phrase” in bold green . Hint: Lily Velden has 2! Collect all the words from each author and submit the list in writing no later than midnight on February 1st. Make sure you include an email address where you can be reached. Prizes will be given to 5 people selected, from 1st place to 5th! Happy Hunting.

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Author Guest Blog

Lily Velden is guest blogging today about….

THE IMPORTANCE OF A GOOD COVER

Let me start by saying how close to my heart cover design is. I have loved the arts, pottering away at it since I was a child. In my late twenties I went back as a mature age student to gain a degree in Fine Arts and have been a practicing artist ever since. A smattering of samples of my work can be found on my website.STRANDED_preview

When I began writing for publication I decided that if it was at all possible, I’d design my own covers, so other than my first published short story in an anthology, that’s what I’ve done.

Wayward Ink is an Aussie publishing house and we like to think we’re easy to get along with, but when it comes to our covers we don’t go by the popular Aussie refrain ‘She’ll be right, mate.’. We realise how important good Cover Art is in assisting authors to market and promote their stories.

The cover is, after all, the first thing a potential reader will see of a book. People are visual—when the word dog is said, they aren’t picturing the letters D-O-G, but rather picturing their favorite pooch. A well-designed cover will entice a potential reader to pick up the book and read the blurb which in turn, if done well, will help encourage them to purchase the book.

Cover artists in the digital age are faced with a new challenge—the final cover must work both as a thumbnail on a website and as the cover of a paperback.AClosedDoor-preview

At Wayward Ink we believe that in order to design a fantastic cover the author’s input is essential—nobody knows their characters and the journey they go on better than the author. It’s important to us that the author be over-the-moon thrilled with their cover. As we say here in Australia, we’d like our covers to put a smile on their dial. In other words we want out authors to be happy, because a happy author is one who can’t wait to share.

Now about Wayward Ink Publishing’s contest:  

WAYWARD INK PRIZES: 3 x $25 gift cards (please let me know if you would like or require more sponsorship) We have paperbacks and gift packs we could do as well. Gift packs would contain: Novelty USB drive, USB extension cord, fridge magnet, 2 x pens, lip balm. (Happy to do these for the event and not just in WIP’s timeslot)

So how to enter?  Write a comment below on book covers, what you like, favorites ones, etc.  Make sure to add your email address in the body.  And use this Rafflecopter link below (different from the Lily Velden giveaway) to enter also:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Day 24 of STRW Down Under Showcase-Welcome, Lily Velden and our AUS/NZ Facts of the Day

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Welcome, Lily Velden

and

Wayward Ink Publications!

 

We’re closing in on our last week of our Down Under Author Showcase, and its been so rewarding to see readers discover new authors and books along the way. And we still have another week to go.  We are finishing out this week with author Lily Velden who is also the owner of Wayward Ink Publications, a Down Under press.

So in addition to all of Lily Velden’s wonderful books, check out Wayward Ink as well!  How can you not love a press that has an anthology called Bollocks! Wayward  Ink is offering up a wonderful contest for all to enter.  Look for the link for Wayward Press as well as the link to Lily Velden’s giveaway! Yes, two giveaways instead of one, plus the Down Under Scavenger Hunt word of the day!

AUS flag over countryNow on to our Australia and New Zealand Facts of the Day!

Australia Fact of the Day

Unusual and interesting facts about Australia include Australia’s only armed rebellion, the “Eureka Stockade” took place in the Ballarat Goldfields in 1854. The goldfield workers (known as ‘diggers’) were opposed to the government miners’ licences. The rebellion became a significant event in the reforming of unfair laws, the developing of democracy in Australia, and the formation of the Australian identity and a fundamental principle of Aussie ‘mateship’. The Anzac soldiers of World War 1 went on to adopt the term ‘diggers’ and Australian soldiers have been known as ‘diggers’ since.interesting-facts-eureka-rebellion

See more here!

What author gave us the recipe for Anzac biscuits? Do you remember?

 

 

kiwi and NZ countryNew Zealand’s Interesting Facts of the Day 

“Lord of the Rings” was filmed entirely in New Zealand.  It’s director?  Sir Peter Robert Jackson is a New Zealand film director, producer and screenwriter living in Wellingon, NZ.The Lord of the Rings

 

New Zealand is part of the Pacific Rim of Fire. Mount Ruapehu, situated in the middle of North Island, is the most active volcano on mainland.New Zealand Mountain

 

 

Down Under Day 23- Welcome, Penny Brandon, NZ/AUS Facts of the Day

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Welcome, Penny Brandon!

It’s Day 23 of our Down Under Author Showcase and we’re heading towards the end.    Our featured author today is Penny Brandon.  It’s through a scene  about an Australian Christmas that I got my first taste of the holiday viewed through an Australian colored lens, so its wonderful that Penny Brandon gives us another perspective on this holiday.  Don’t forget to check out all Penny Brandon’s stories, her bio, and enter her giveaway of the day!

I hope you all are having as much fun as I am with the Australian and New Zealand facts of the day.  If you think about it, drop me a line and let me know which were your favorites.

Thanks to Wayward Ink Publishing, we are adding another contest to the already full pot,  check out your chances to win more gift cards on the Down Under Author Showcase page.  Look for Wayward Ink Publishing and enter via the Rafflecopter link provided.

Now onto our facts of the day for Australia and New Zealand…

 

 

Australia Fact(s) of the Day!

In land area, Australia is estimated to be 7,692,024 square Kilometers and the sixth largest nation after Russia, Canada, China, the United States of America and Brazil. It has, however, a relatively small population.Australia globe

Australia is the only nation to govern an entire continent and its outlying islands. The mainland is the largest island and the smallest, flattest continent on Earth. It lies between 10° and 39° South latitude. The highest point on the mainland, Mount Kosciuszko, is only 2,228 metres.

Australia is the driest inhabited continent on earth. Its interior has one of the lowest rainfalls in the world and about three-quarters of the land is arid or semi-arid. Its fertile areas are well-watered, however, and these are used very effectively to help feed the world. Sheep and cattle graze in dry country, but care must be taken with the soil. Some grazing land became desert when the long cycles that influence rainfall in Australia turned to drought.

 

New Zealand Fact(s) of the Day!

New Zealand is home to the world’s smallest dolphin, the Hectors Dolphin, the rarest sea lion, the Hookers Sea Lion, theHooker's Sealion largest flightless parrot, the kakapo, the oldest reptile, the tuatara, the heaviest insect, a weta, the biggest earth-worms, the smallest bats, some of the oldest trees, and many of the rarest birds, insects, and plants in the world.

Down Under Author: Maggie Mitchell aka Maggie Nash!

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MaggieMitchell

Meet Maggie Mitchell aka Maggie Nash!

 

Maggie Mitchell is the author of  Muses Across Time series, Illuminations (Maggie Nash) and other books listed below.

To get to know Maggie Mitchell a little better, the author agreed to an interview. Look for the interview below and the Down Under Scavenger Hunt word found somewhere within.

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Author Bio 1

Maggie Mitchell lives in her dream place by the sea. Of course, sometimes she even gets the dreams written down in a story. Lucky for her she has a musician for a husband who understands the creative spirit. In her other life she’s a nurse educator who manages Learning & Development for a large private hospital. When she’s not working, you’ll find her out on her balcony enjoying a glass of Moscato or a cappuccino made on her beloved espresso machine.

Author Contacts

Contacts/Follow at :

Twitter @mmitchellwrites
Goodreads : https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4996618.Maggie_Mitchell
Website: www.maggiemitchell.net
Blog: www.maggiemitchell.net
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/maggie.mitchell.129

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Author Books Stories Down Under1 copy

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Books:

Muses Across Time Series:
Chasing Terpsichore : https://www.totallybound.com/chasing-terpsichore
Calling Calliope: https://www.totallybound.com/calling-calliope

Sun Man Meets Moon Woman (in Moonlit Encounters) : Amazon

Genre(s):

Maggie Mitchell – Contemporary/Fantasy/Greek Mythology
(I also write as Maggie Nash – Erotic Romance/Contemporary BDSM/Victorian BDSM/Romantic Suspense)

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Contests and Giveaways:

1. Today’s Giveaway (thank you, Maggie Mitchell) is the Winners choice of:
eBook (any format) of Chasing Terpsichore OR Calling Calliope . Enter using this Rafflecopter link here. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

2. Down Under Scavenger Hunt – find the Hunt “word or phrase” in bold green . Collect all the words from each author and submit the list in writing no later than midnight on February 1st. Make sure you include an email address where you can be reached. Prizes will be given to 5 people selected, from 1st place to 5th! Happy Hunting.

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Author Qand A

How do you think books written from authors in Australia or New Zealand differ in style, language, and culture?

I think Aussie authors like to break rules, so if there is a genre or literary rule to break, the Aussies will give it a try! We’re also very irreverent, and I think that comes through in our voices. I always get a laugh when I read an Aussie book.

My first impression of AUS/NZ was from stories and novels like Colleen McCullough’s The Thorn Birds or Nevil Shute’s A Town Like Alice as well as from movies like The Man from Snowy River, The Dish, Rabbit Proof Fence, Strictly Ballroom, and yes, Crocodile Dundee!  There are so many out there.  What is your favorite AUS/NZ stories and favorite Australian/New Zealand movies?

 

One of my all time favourite Aussie movies would have to be Muriel’s Wedding. It encompasses so much of what it was like growing up in Australia – and the difficulties of trying to fit in to what society wants us to.  The good thing is that it didn’t take itself too seriously.  Who can forget those ABBA costumes!

 

If you were a tour guide, what would you like a visitor to see and what impression would you want them to take away with them when they leave?

 

I think Australia is the best country in the world, but of course I’m biased  If there was one thing I would want people to remember when they leave, it’s the beauty of the wide open spaces, the freedom to do as you please, and the way we all pull together and support each other.

 

What’s your favorite spot to visit in your own country? And what makes it so special to you?

At the moment I can’t go past the place where I live on the South Coast of New South Wales.  It’s a small city with friendly people, and the coastline is awe inspiring. I grew up by the beach, so many years later I feel like I’ve come home.

What are your current projects?

I’m working on more stories in my Muses Across Time series. The next one is about Thalia, and she finds herself stranded on a large sheep station in the Kimberly region in the Top End of Australia. Needless to say, her lack of knowledge of all things farming leads to much hilarity.

 

Down Under Day 22 – Welcome, Maggie Mitchell ( aka Maggie Nash) and AUS/NZ Facts of the Day

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Welcome, Maggie Mitchell!

Today is February 22 and our featured Down Under writer is Australian Maggie Mitchell who also writes under the name Maggie Nash.  Books under both names are listed on her author page so be sure to check them all out.  Find the Scavenger Hunt word of the day and make sure to enter Maggie’s contest/giveaway.

Today it’s a tale of 2 Blue Lakes, one in Australia and one in New Zealand!

 

Australia Fact of the Day:australia-physical-map

Blue Lake is located on Mount Gambier in Southern Australia.  The Blue Lake in Mount Gambier, South Australia is a large deep lake located in an extinct volcanic maar associated with the Mount Gambier. It is one of four crater lakes on Mount Gambier. Of the four lakes, only two remain, as the other two (Leg of Mutton and Brown) have dried up over the past 30 to 40 years as the water table has dropped. Last eruption was over 4,500 years ago.

Blue Lake AUSview from Mt. Gambler

 

 

New Zealand Facts of the Day:

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Blue Lake, in Nelson Lakes National Park, has the clearest water in the world.blue_lake_underwater_2

New Zealand has three official languages: English, Māori and New Zealand Sign Language.

and…….

More people die in New Zealand each year playing lawn bowls than scuba diving. (Imagine the commitment!)

Down Under Author: Isabelle Rowan

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Meet Isabelle Rowan!

Isabelle Rowan is the author of A Note in the Margin, Twelve Days, and many other books listed below.

To get to know Isabelle Rowan a little better, the author agreed to an interview. Look for the interview below and the Down Under Scavenger Hunt word found somewhere within.

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Author Bio 1

By day I teach English and Media in a suburban High School, but whenever I manage to find I spare minute I fill it with writing.

Although I wrote a lot as a teenager academia ate my brain and stifled my urge to write fiction. The odd poem here or a very short story there until a midlife crisis made me pick up my pencil again. Several years of blogging encouraged me to try my hand at longer fiction and my vampire short was picked up by Dreamspinner Press for their Desire Beyond Death anthology.

Although I write mainly mm romance I am also a member of the Australian Writers of Horror Association.

I’m also co-director (with Matthew Lang) of the Queermance Festival. Please have a look at our website and maybe join us! http://www.queermance.com.au

Author Contacts

Contacts/Follow at :

Twitter: @Aussie_Izzy
Goodreads: Isabelle Rowan
Website & blog: http://www.isabellerowan.com
Facebook: Isabelle Rowan
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Author Books Stories Down Under1 copy

Isabelle Rowan Books:

InkThe Red HeartThe Road to ByronTwelves Days

 

 

 

 

A Note in the Margin:   Rainbow Awards (Elisa Rolle) – Runner up, Best Contemporary Romance (2009) – Best debut novel (2009)

Blurb: margins

John McCann, a man who judges life by the tally of an accounts ledger, has a supreme goal in life: To achieve, live, and enjoy the rarified executive lifestyle. But he’s encountered one problem: The migraines are going to continue to get worse unless you make some major changes in your lifestyle. What you need is a ‘sea change’… Perhaps buy a nice little business in the country, settle down, something easier to occupy your time…

While John knows the doctor is right, he just can’t resign from the job he’s fought so hard for. He decides the sacrifice of taking a year’s leave of absence won’t interfere too much with his plans, and so he finds himself running Margins, a cozy little bookstore, with the help of the former owner’s son, Jamie. John expects to put in his year, get his stress under control, and then get back to business.

What John doesn’t expect is how Margins and its denizens draw him in, particularly the quiet, disheveled man who takes refuge in the old leather chair in the second-hand book section. John’s plans for an unattached year of simple business crumble when he meets David and is forced to reevaluate life, love and what he really wants from both. John and David are forced to come to terms with their pasts as they struggle to determine what possible future they might build together.

Book Details:

ebook, 276 pages
Published March 2009 by Dreamspinner Press
original titleA Note in the Margin
ISBN139781935192664
edition languageEnglish
seriesA Note in the Margin #1
charactersJohn McCann, David Robinson
settingAustralia

Ink :  Rainbow Awards (Elisa Rolle) – Honorable Mention, Paranormal Romance. (2012)
Snowman  – released mid year (2015)
Novellas:
Twelve Days (A Note in the Margins Story)
The Road to Byron
The Red Heart – our review follows today.
Anthologies:
Under the Southern Cross

Genre(s): Contemporary, paranormal

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Contests and Giveaways:

1. Today’s Giveaway (thank you, Isabelle Rowan) is an ebook of A Note in the Margin. Enter using this Rafflecopter link here. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

2. Down Under Scavenger Hunt – find the Hunt “word or phrase” in bold green . Collect all the words from each author and submit the list in writing no later than midnight on February 1st. Make sure you include an email address where you can be reached. Prizes will be given to 5 people selected, from 1st place to 5th! Happy Hunting.

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Author Qand A

 

A Chat with Isabelle Rowan

What books as a child has the most impact on you?

Stories have always been part of my life. My parents either read to me at night or made up stories. The Wind in the Willows was always my favourite and I honestly believe it still resonates with me in so many ways – I think I was a mole personality (shy and not very brave) wanting to be Toad (adventurous and fearless). By primary school it was The Hobbit and then The Lord of the Rings. Similar themes that I’ve carried over into my own writing – step up, take the risk to be brave and it might just work out. Ha ha, see, I’m still saying might instead of will, but I’m getting there.

Actually The Wind in the Willows plays a role in Twelve Days (Book 2 in the A Note in the Margins series) and this continues into the book I’m writing now – WIP title – Jamie’s Notes.

Where do you draw inspiration from?

Wow, there is no one answer to this question, unless it’s everywhere – sights, sounds and smells! Ink came from my favourite tattoo parlor on Chapel Street. While I was being inked it struck me that the small purple room would be exquisite torture for a vampire. The heady smells of blood and adrenaline. Whereas, A Note in the Margin came from an indulgent night spent in a posh hotel in Melbourne and seeing a homeless man bed down on cardboard in a doorway. I didn’t sleep that night. The Red Heart’s genesis was a conversation with my high school students about the concept of home and country. Many of them are refugees and come from backgrounds I can’t even begin to imagine, so it was amazing to hear them talk country and belonging. Hopefully I captured a little of that essence in the central Australian landscape.

Favorite book/story you have read as an adult?

Poppy Z Brite wrote a vampire novel called ‘Lost Souls’ that I’ve reread so many times that I’ve had to buy at least four copies of the paperback (I still have them all). Her character Ghost stays with me. He is an ethereal character who, although human, seems to exist between worlds. He is a true innocent and for some reason that struck a chord for me.

Do you have a certain regimen that you follow as a writer?

Write whenever I can steal some time. I teach high school so that can be hard. Those who know me or my tweets will know that I usually escape to cafes to write – not with wifi. I have the attention span of an insect so don’t need distractions! Somehow, the steady hum of voices, music and coffee machines soothes me to write. I have a release in June, Snowman, that involves cafes and baristas as well as mountains, dogs and horses!

How do you think books written from authors in Australia or New Zealand differ in style, language, and culture?

Hmm, ask some of my poor frustrated editors! I didn’t realise that there were that many differences until I was told I have very Australian sentence structure. Seriously, I didn’t know there was such a thing! But I do know that we have what a good friend from the US calls Aussie-isms. Other than that I think you’d have to ask a non-Aussie because I can’t necessarily spot the difference – too close to it I guess.

If you were a tour guide, what would you like a visitor to see and what impression would you want them to take away with them when they leave?

I was toying with the beautiful Dandenong Ranges (1 & 2), or my local beaches, but I think the sights and sounds of Melbourne would have to win out. Tourists often head to Sydney and Uluru leaving Melbourne for ‘next time’, but it is an amazing city. So, I would base my tour around Art and coffee culture! We have galleries galore as well as wonderful street art. We could take a tram ride around the city or perhaps up to Lygon Street(3) or down to St Kilda(4). Many café stops would be needed as well as sampling delicious cakes and chocolate. So kick back with an espresso and try to decide how to fit in all the theatre, music, and history Melbourne has to offer.

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What are your current projects?

Snowman is just about to start its editing cycle and that should be released in June.
I’m almost half-way through Jamie’s Note (working title only).
I have a zombie YA novel in the works.
I’ve also started musing on a steampunk novel.