Fan Girl Friday – Traveling with Maisey Yates

Thanks Paula, for having me here to fangirl. It’s hard for me to pick just one thing to fangirl about, really because I’m sort of a geek by nature. That means, when I love something I LOVE it. (I write a lot of heroines like this too. Because I choose to believe it’s charming.)

LOTRLord of the Rings? Love it. Wore an elven cloak to the movies. Romance novels? Well, I fell so hard for those I had to start writing them so I could be immersed in all of it.

But what am I really a fangirl about? Traveling. This is kind of a new obsession of mine that’s come along with my romance career. I’m able to go to conferences all over the place for work (write off! Woohoo!) and that means…well, a lot of things.

First off, I like organizing my packing. I like going through my clothes and deciding what to bring. I love organizing what I’ll wear to what…

Then there’s the restaurant possibilities! This is where I reveal that I’m a total nerd. I love to scope out the restaurants at the places I’ll be. I like to get a good look at the menus in advance. You know, so I can pick what I’m going to order.

Hey, shush, choosing what you’re going to order at a restaurant is a big deal! And since I’m from a small town where fast food places out number any sort of good eating, it means I have to be prepared to take in the glory and wonder of the selection in the various cities I get to go to.

google earthOh yeah, and I Google Earth things. Because I like to scout out the new place I’m visiting! I’m getting to be such a travel fangirl that I’m even harassing my husband over his next trip. He’s going to the UK in May, and neither of us have ever been before.

So what am I doing? Googling pubs and mapping walking routes between must-see sights for him. I’m lucky he hasn’t disowned me.

I personally am doing a lot of traveling this year! And every trip is to a destination I’ve never been to before. In May I’ll be in Kansas City for the Romantic Times Convention, in June I’ll be in Cincinnati for Lori Foster’s Reader Author Get Together and in July I’ll be in Atlanta for the Romance Writers of American Convention.

But my biggest trip is in August and it’s a childhood dream come true (really!). In August I’m going to the Romance Writers of Australia Convention (and giving a workshop!). It will be my first trip away from my continent (I have been out of the country, but just to Mexico) and I’m really excited.

Except one thing. Yeah, I’m a travel lover who hates to fly. But no matter! I’ll withstand it.

And yes, I’ve already googled restaurants.

What’s your favorite part about traveling?

 heir to a desert legacyUSA Today Bestselling author Maisey Yates lives in rural Oregon with her three children and her husband, whose chiseled jaw and arresting features continue to make her swoon. She feels the epic trek she takes several times a day from her office to her coffee maker is a true example of her pioneer spirit.  In 2009, at the age of twenty-three Maisey sold her first book. Since then it’s been a whirlwind of sexy alpha males and happily ever afters, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. Maisey divides her writing time between dark, passionate category romances  set just about everywhere on earth and light sexy contemporary romances set practically in her back yard. She believes that she clearly has the best job in the world. You can find her on the web, Twitter and Facebook.

Fan Girl Friday – The Soundtrack of My Life by Anna Campbell

Anna Campbell 43970006Hi Paula! Thank you for inviting me to your Fan Girl Friday! I think this is such a fantastic idea for a series of blogs. It’s always fascinating to see what gets people excited, isn’t it? And I don’t mean in a romance novel sense – or not completely!

I’m a music maven from way back. Pretty much any sort of music. I’m not fussy. I started playing the piano when I was five and even had mild delusions that I might make a career in music at one stage in my young life. I still find great joy in thumping out a show tune or two on the piano (the neighbours don’t find quite so much joy but, hey, they can always move!).

Today I thought I’d rave about some of my favourite music – soundtracks!

I write to music. There’s something about music that places me right in the world of the story. However, because I’m an auditory writer (I hear VOICES, call for psychiatric aid!), I can’t handle words to go with the music. As a result, I listen to a lot of classical music – thank goodness for ABC Classic FM in Australia, 24 hours a day, ad free, and you can stream it on your computer – and a lot of movie soundtracks.

Epics 4There’s some great music out there in the movies. Where would Lawrence of Arabia be without that haunting theme? Would Dr. Zhivago’s miserable love life be half so miserable if he hadn’t stared longingly into space to Lara’s Theme? Would Judah Ben-Hur move right over into the realm of Judah Ben-Really-Girly if that lush, dramatic music by Miklós Rózsa hadn’t scared the horses?

You’ll probably gather from the above list that I have a soft spot for music from epics. Somehow those BIG stories seem to bring out the best in composers. All the conflict, adventure, tragedy, romance and excitement. All those HUGE emotions and scenes.

epicsPlaying pretty constantly on my CD player these days is a fabulous compilation called Epics: The History of the World According to Hollywood. It’s got pretty much everything, including a lot of music I’ve tried to buy but failed to find like Taras Bulba and The Robe. For less than $40, this is more music than your average film buff can handle! Here’s the Amazon link.

Epics 3Other favourite soundtracks include Gladiator, Braveheart, The Big Country, and The Magnificent Seven. Not to mention my all-time favourite, The Last of the Mohicans. I’ve often screamed out “I will find you,” when I’m looking for that one!

Epics 2There’s one more soundtrack I’d like to talk about because it relates directly to my latest release, an e-novella called These Haunted Hearts: A Regency Ghost Romance. One of my favourite movies is an old-timer called The Ghost and Mrs. Muir with Gene Tierney and a very sexy Rex Harrison as the ghost. It has a heartbreakingly romantic score by Bernard Hermann who wrote the music for many of Hitchcock’s films.

Here’s a YouTube video with stills from the film and some of the gorgeous music full of the sound of the sea and the deep, unfulfilled longing that invests this lovely story.

I tried to invest These Haunted Hearts with something of that same mystical yearning – although my story has a MUCH happier ending!

So do you like soundtracks? Any favourites? I’ve got a download of These Haunted Hearts: A Regency Ghost Novella up for grabs today for someone who comments!

THH low resQueenslander ANNA CAMPBELL’s sweeping, emotional historical romances have been published internationally and have won numerous awards including Romantic Times Reviewers Choice, the Booksellers Best, the Golden Quill (three times), the Heart of Excellence (twice), the Aspen Gold (twice) and the Australian Romance Readers Association’s most popular historical romance (five times). She has twice been nominated for Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA Award and three times for Australia’s Romantic Book of the Year. The Australian Romance Readers Association voted Anna their favorite Australian romance author of 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. Book 2 in the “Sons of Sin” series, A RAKE’S MIDNIGHT KISS, is out in September 2013. Visit her via her website (where you can also read an excerpt for These Haunted Hearts), Facebook and Twitter.

The One Where I Had a Bit of a Problem…

Reading: Twitter
Watching: Horrible Histories
Listening To: Oh, Sherrie by Steve Perry

Gilles Marini as Marco CorelliSo after I handed in my latest book (AJ and Matt’s story for those of you following at home), I dove straight into my next one, the one I’d dubbed ‘Hot Marco’.  Marco Corelli is cousin to my hero in Bed of Lies and made a brief appearance in that book.  And as soon as he did, I knew I had to give him his own story. The visual for Marco was immediately obvious to me – Gilles Marini (right), who you may have seen in Brothers & Sisters and Sex & The City.  So with him in mind, I wrote a synopsis and began to write the story.

And then something went wrong.

I’ve been reading a lot of fan fiction and Twitter role playing accounts and as I got drawn into these varied characters and scenarios, suddenly, Marco was not Gilles anymore.  He was… someone completely different.  I saw Marco as a bit of a womaniser, a guy with commitment problems, a guy who’s pretty much in it for the good time. And yes, a guy with some complicated emotional issues.  But also he is an incredibly fierce friend, a guy who outwardly, is tough as nails but inside is a vulnerable guy who’s deathly afraid of showing weakness.  aidan turner as marcoThis was not Gilles Marini.  It was… Aidan Turner.  Aidan Turner the vampire from Being Human.  Aidan Turner from The Hobbit.  Aidan Turner with all his crazy emotional issues, his struggles, his casual regard for relationships.

aidan turner as marco3It’s amazing what the change of visual can do for your story.  Aidan became Marco in all his charming, swaggering, damaged glory.  I loved how he’s just taking over the story, running with his role and shaking up my heroine’s life.

To give you a bit of a teaser, this story is about best friends turned lovers, a sudden pregnancy and decades-old secrets suddenly uncovered.  It’s set in Queensland, Australia, one of my favorite places, on a fictional tropical island that just happens to be owned by Marco.  Lots of emotional sparks fly between my hero and heroine as they battle to overcome their own relationship problems to get their happy ever after!

Fan Girl Friday – You Can’t Take the Sky From Me… by MJ Scott

I have several severe TV writer crushes.  Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing), Amy Sherman-Palladino (Gilmore Girls), Steven Moffatt (Coupling, Doctor Who), Richard Curtis (Blackadder, Vicar of Dibley).  Men and women who write stories with wit and romance and a strong dash of humour and heartbreak.

But the king of all my TV writer crushes is Joss Whedon.  I really need to buy that “Joss Whedon is my master now” t-shirt. He really is fangirl squee-worthy and if I ever did have to talk to him I would be a dribbly mess.

BuffyFirstly, he wrote Buffy which had monsters and kickass women and a romance that people still haven’t gotten over (in fact, several romances that people still haven’t gotten over).   The idea of the blonde teen who goes into the dark alley and kicks the monster’s butt instead of getting eaten is my kind of idea. And Angel wasn’t too shabby either, despite the fact it had to get wrapped up too fast. And then, just when I thought I couldn’t love him any more (seriously, once in a writing workshop we were asked to describe who we wanted to be as writers and I said the lovechild of Jenny Crusie and Joss Whedon), he created Firefly.

firefly11A show that on paper seems ridiculous.

A western set in space.

A vast space opera that takes place largely on one tiny ramshackle spaceship on the edge of civilisation.

A protectionist government and man-eating space pirates.

The projection of earth civilisation into space based on the premise that only China and the US survived whatever wars for power might be.  So everyone is bilingual and cross cultural (okay, so actually, having your characters being able to say wickedly filthy things in Chinese to get around the TV censors is sheer brilliance).

mal05But what Joss does brilliantly is write about communities.  By the time I got to the end of the first episode I was invested in the characters and the little family they were building.  A bunch of people finding their place (which is one of my favourite themes in stories).  The loner bad boy captain with the heart he can’t quite cut off (and seriously, what isn’t to love about Nathan Fillion in breeches)?  The warrior woman second in command with the beta-est of beta husbands, the girl genius mechanic and the villainous muscle who isn’t entirely sure why he doesn’t just work out how to steal what they have and leave them in his dust.  The preacher, the doctor and his puzzle of a damaged sister who sets the story into motion.  And the courtesan who has the most respectable job of any of them in that particular culture.

All of them individual and real and with their own agendas.  They fight and they make up and they tease each other and they turn on anyone who threatens them with ferocity.  And despite their better judgement, they stick together and they take on new members of their family who are just going to get them into trouble and they fall in love.

Joss gets community.  He also gets romance though he does have a regrettable habit of putting his couples through hell (he’s not quite on the George RR Martin scale of character death but important people die in Joss’s world).  He writes about fear and strength and love and family. And he does it all while blowing stuff up, pulling off heists and giving his characters some of the best banter going round.

serenityI still want to be him when I grow up.

And I’ll always mourn that there isn’t more Firefly after that one short first season and the movie.  Truly one of the great TV tragedies (why oh why Fox??), considering how much money it’s made in DVD and otherwise.  I watch all of it several times a year and don’t get tired of it. Because in my heart, Serenity is still flying and Captain Mal and the others are still having adventures.  And I’ll be wearing my browncoat proudly.

What TV shows do you love and why?

IronKinMJ Scott is an unrepentant bookworm. Luckily she grew up in a family that fed her a properly varied diet of books and these days is surrounded by people who are understanding of her story addiction. When not wrestling one of her own stories to the ground, she can generally be found reading someone else’s. Her other distractions include yarn, cat butlering, dark chocolate and fabric. She lives in Melbourne, Australia and you can visit her via her website or follow her on Twitter.

Fan Girl Friday – Antici-pation by Yvonne Lindsay

yvonne 9Ha, every time I hear that I have a visual image of that scene in The Rocky Horror Picture Show between Tim Curry as Dr. Frank-N-Furter and Susan Sarandon as Janet Weiss, where Dr. Frank-N-Furter strings out “anticipation” in the perfect illustration of the term.

I love looking forward to things. I think the anticipation of an event or something special is often so much better than the actual occasion. Maybe it’s because I look forward to things so much, I set myself up for disappointment sometimes but overall for me, the journey is way more fun than actually arriving at the destination.

Take Christmas as a child, for example. The whole ritual of going to the tree farm, choosing a tree (thankfully we didn’t suffer any major allergies beyond a touch of hayfever in those days,) driving home and setting it up, the lounge room being redolent with the scent of pine. Mmmm, I can smell it even now. Then there would be the careful decorating of said tree, the anticipation of Christmas Even when miraculously unmarked gifts would appear beneath it. I’d usually wake at some obscenely early hour, gather my pillow and my bedspread and traipse up the hall to the sitting room and lie in front of the tree on the floor, eyeing up all the parcels. I still remember the year when I got there and the parcels were in neat stacks, which certainly didn’t appeal to my visual expectation of what beneath a Christmas tree should look like and I scattered them everywhere because clearly Santa hadn’t had the time. I just couldn’t understand why my mother was so put out and had to squeeze and examine each individual parcel carefully before handing it out to its intended recipient! I don’t even remember what gifts we received that year because for me, it was the looking forward to things that was the most important.

ONE SECRET NIGHT official jpgIn my experience, the only time I enjoy the event more than the anticipation of it, is when one of my new books comes out and I’m so excited to have my third The Master Vintners book out this month in both New Zealand and Australian market as well as in the North American market. ONE SECRET NIGHT gives readers the story of what happens when Mr Uptight and Totally In Control crosses paths with Ms Free Spirit and Here Today, Gone Tomorrow. Ethan Masters and Isobel Fyfe’s story gave me so many challenges, not surprising really, given how different they are as people. Readers also get to see a little bit more of Tamsyn Masters, Ethan’s sister, whose book I’m writing at the moment (due out December 2013.)

One Secret Night Australia-NZ

So what about you? Are you like me, and relish the anticipation of things, or are you more of an in the moment kind of person? Leave a comment and go into a draw for one lucky winner to choose their choice of book from my back list (stock permitting.)

It took many years and many jobs before USA Today Bestselling author Yvonne Lindsay realised what she really wanted to be when she grew up—a romance author. Once she figured that out, it took 13 years of false starts, rejections, encouragement, and yet more rejections to achieve that goal. Since her first sale in 2005 to Harlequin Desire (then Silhouette Desire) she has contracted 25 titles with her publisher. Yvonne is thrilled to be living the life she always dreamed of and bringing her stories to her readers and can be contacted through her “contact me” page on her website.   You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

Fan Girl Friday – 90s rom-coms with Carla Caruso

It’s a pleasure to be writing on Paula Roe’s gorgeous blog – and here I’m going to confess my fandom of nineties rom-coms!

It doesn’t matter how much CGI and whiz-bang technology they have these days, nothing beats the feel-good, warm, fuzzy nature of a nineties rom-com, I reckon. Here are just a few of the retro flicks I adore and the key messages I’ve taken away concerning matters of the heart…

Sleepless in Seattle 1Sleepless in Seattle 2SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE – Aww! This ’93 flick, starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, had me at “hello” (which reminds me of another great nineties flick, Jerry Maguire, but I digress…) The focus of this film is on a recently-widowed man’s son calling a radio talk show in an attempt to find his dad a partner. One of the female listeners (with tissues at the ready) is Meg Ryan’s character. She finds she can’t get the lovelorn guy out of her mind, even though she’s engaged… This one’s a good lesson in not settling for second best or ignoring those niggly doubts in a relationship. Hey, Mr Absolutely-Perfect-For-You could be just a phone call away!

WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING – Another film with a title alluding to catching zeds, or the lack thereof… I’m sensing a theme here! Anyway, this ’95 flick surrounds a ticket-collecting romantic (Sandra Bullock), who pretends to be engaged to an unconscious man, but can’t fool his (not bad-looking) bro (Bill Pullman). The upshot? Building a web of lies about your life to impress others will only get you in trouble when you should really let your true self shine through.

THE OBJECT OF MY AFFECTION – This ’98 movie centres on a preggers social worker (Jennifer Aniston), who develops romantic feelings for her gay best friend (Paul Rudd) and decides to raise her child with him instead of her domineering boyfriend. The moral of the story? Gay pals are fantastic for shoe-shopping with… not so much for falling in love with.

Only YouONLY YOU – A teacher (Marisa Tomei) believes she’s destined to spend her life with a bloke named ‘Damon Bradley’ after his name’s spelt out on a Ouija board. Days before she’s to marry a podiatrist she may not love, she receives a call from a mate of her fiancé named…Damon Bradley (Robert Downey Jr.)She decides to spend a long weekend pursuing her dream man, who’s holidaying in Venice. The conclusion? Fate works in mysterious ways. She falls in love with Damon, then discovers that he actually lied and that’s not his real name – but she’s still head over heels with him regardless. So much for fate!

CluelessCLUELESS – In this ’95 flick, a popular high school student spends her days playing match-maker, helping her gal pals with fashion choices and looking for a man. The film provides a good lesson in being careful in case you fall for your ex-stepbrother… Actually, on second thoughts, it might be better described as: love can be found in unexpected places and sometimes that’s right under your nose.
So… what’s your fave nineties rom-com, and what did you learn from it?

Second Chance by Carla CarusoCarla Caruso is the author of Second Chance, featuring a feisty heroine, who time-travels back to the summer of 1998 and hopes to reunite with a past love. YOu can get it from Destiny here.