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 – Rottnest Island with Rachael Johns

the lighthouse

the lighthouse

So, when the fabulous Paula asked if I wanted to appear on her new segment FAN GIRL FRIDAY I immediately replied with an enthusiastic “yes”, but then I looked around wildly for something to write about. Over the next few weeks, a few obvious things came up – Diet Coke (almost everyone knows about my love of the stuff), Trolls (I used to collect them in high school and am still rather fond), cats (love them) and KONGA (a crazy exercise thing I do once a week that no one seems to have heard of in other parts of Oz). In the end, I’ve decided to go with ROTTNEST ISLAND – a place I consider one of the best holiday spots on the planet.

one of the many cheeky quokkas on the island

one of the many cheeky quokkas on the island

Rottnest is a small island off the coast of Western Australia, just 19 kilometres from Fremantle (which incidentally happens to be where RWAus’s next conference is happening). I haven’t been to Rottnest nearly as many times as I like but the times I have been there have all left me with fond-memories.

I went there as a child with my Mum and grandparents, had the most awesome ever year seven camp, went back for a day just after I was married and then took my kids there for a week a couple of years back. There are so many awesome things about Rottnest:

  1. The transport on the island (bar a few service vehicles) is solely bicycles. You can bring your own on the ferry or hire a huge variety of different types once you get to the island. With all the walking and riding you do, you can enjoy holiday goodies guilt-free.
  2. my kids playing out the front of the Rottnest Pub one evening
  3. Quokkas – all over the island you’ll find these gorgeous little marsupials called quokkas. My sons were besotted by them, even after one of them got bitten on the finger.
  4. my kids playing out the front of the Rottnest Pub one evening

    my kids playing out the front of the Rottnest Pub one evening

    Food – you can cook for yourself in the chalets or camping grounds, but there are a zillion (well almost) other choices, most of them kid-friendly. There’s a delicious bakery that also sells yummy ice cream and the pub has a fabulous outside area for kids to run around.

  5. Safety – if you ignore the fact a head was recently found there, Rottnest has that awesome safe feeling that makes you feel as if kids can roam the island and not come into harm.
  6. Beaches/Swimming – The Basin area to swim at is one of the most magical swimming spots I have every encountered.Lighthouse – what island would be complete without a lighthouse? Rottnest’s is gorgeous and not too hard to get to by bike or foot.
  7. Family Fun – there’s a fun park with mini golf, trampolines and other stuff, as well as a movie hall that shows family favourites in the busy holiday seasons.

Honestly, whether you’re five or a hundred and five, Rottnest has something to offer for everyone. I’m feeling relaxed and happy just thinking about it now.

But I’m curious… what’s your favourite holiday spot and why?

Man Drought bookpageStandInStar bookpageRachael has two brand-spanking new books out this month: Man Drought (Harlequin Australia and currently only available in Aus/NZ territories) and Stand-In Star (Carina Press).  Visit Rachael via her website, blog, Twitter and Facebook.

Christmas is looming…

last year's effort - The Death Star

Reading: Dead in The Family by Charlaine Harris
Listening To: Lift by Sister Hazel
Watching: Bones Series 5

So it’s getting hotter, the cats have been shedding and there’s a sense of impatience, irritation and/or short tempers  in the air.  This all means Christmas in my house.

You know what else means Christmas?

  • The smell of plastic, wrapping paper and sticky tape 😀  Yep, like a Pavlovian reaction, as soon as I get a whiff of plastic, I automatically think of Christmas.
  • Baking fruit mince pies (my mom’s are the BEST!) and roast turkey.  I looooove turkey!!! And prawns.  And trifle.
  • Lunch.   Christmas at our house means a smorgasbord spread, full of cold cuts, cheese, crackers, prawns and assorted salad.   I’ve found that as you get older, when the joy of opening presents becomes less important,  food takes priority.
  • An early, early morning.  Thank you, 10yo child of mine 😉
  • Lamenting the fact I have no air conditioner in my bedroom.  THIS YEAR (royalties willing) I am going to buy one.
  • Lego.  I love Lego.  My son loves Lego.  My 15yo nephew loves Lego.  I’d probably build Lego even without the excuse of a Lego-obsessed child.
  • The line.  And we say it without fail, every year, barely an hour after every present’s been opened.  There’s a bag of rubbish on the floor, boxes have been ripped apart, toys are strewn and the tree is looking bare underneath.  We all look at each other and say the line:  “Huh.  Well, that’s it for another year.”

uh... don't think you'll fit, Sophy.

And of course, after Christmas comes the sales.  The crazy, crazy sales that means filling up that brief bare wardrobe space with NEXT years’ presents.  Like Mother Nature, my wardrobe abhors a vacuum.  Dammit.

Sojourn to Surfers

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the pristine Broadbeach sand

For many of you Aussie natives, Queensland’s Gold Coast is a popular summer holiday destination.  As a kid, I remember taking the 1 hour flight nearly every year – we even celebrated Christmas there once, at the wonderfully retro Pink Poodle motel 🙂

With Seaworld and Movieworld, pristine beaches and glorious summer weather in mid-October, it truly is the perfect budget getaway.  So off me and my boy went, spending 6 days at Broadbeach, just south of Surfers Paradise.  We shopped at Pacific Fair, we built sandcastles (well, I built a sand-mermaid that garnered attention and photos from visiting Japanese tourists!) and of course, we frequented the theme parks.  Mister 9yo won a massive plush Nemo in the first five minutes at Dreamworld, we flew in a helicopter at Seaworld and we mucked about on the rides and water attractions at Movieworld.

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the residents at Seaworld

We also got a tour of the Broadbeach police station because, well, we’d never been in one before.  Constable Nick was lovely, showing us the office, the place where they hold the bad guys and out the back where they have the paddy wagons and the cool beach buggy patrol car thingys (which you need a special licence for, apparently).  Here’s some happy snaps for you all to enjoy.

I also did some heavy thinking about my next book, which will be – yes! – Zac’s story.  I alluded to this runaway black sheep of the powerful Prescott family in The Magnate’s Baby Promise and after some very pleasant research of the Gold Coast and Currumbin, I’m excited to be getting his story out of my head and down on paper.  It will be an office/secret mistress romance, with lots of juicy conflict and emotional baggage for him and Emily 😀  Cal and Ava will make an appearance too, and finally get their gorgeous wedding in Jindalee.

my travels to Canberra

My son and I just got back from a weekend at our nation’s capital, Canberra. I love Canberra, from its cool temperatures, to its large, sprawling laid-out-ness, to its barely-there traffic problem.

When we’re there, our regular scheduled program includes Questacon, a science and technology centre designed for kids, National Zoo and Aquarium,  (where I ran into fellow writer Valerie Parv – completely by chance!) Cockington Green (miniature buildings and settings amidst gorgeous English gardens) and the walk-in aviary, where you can hand-feed the local bird life.

And on this trip, I met up with an old school friend I hadn’t seen in 16 years. It was great to spend a few hours catching up, meeting her gorgeous toddlers and lovely hubby and to lament “when we were at school <insert perceived problem that really wasn’t here>”.

On the drive back home, we stopped off at a tiny country town called Collector (check out the photos below- my first go at inserting a Photo Gallery :grin:).

I’d always driven past the turnoff, intrigued by a town with only 150 people. So this time, I detoured. Man, talk about blink-and-you’d- miss-it! It consisted of one information centre and coffee shop, a few houses set back off the road, a school (that I didn’t see), and further round the bend, a pub and a weirdly creepy art-tree-carving-thing that freaked my son out.   Apparently, Collector’s claim to fame is that Constable Samuel Nelson was shot by Johnny Dunn, one of Ben Hall’s henchmen. (Ben Hall was an outlaw, in case you were wondering).

All in all, a nice visit to while away the last few days of school holidays.  And now, back to work!