AUGUST

CELEBRATING ROMANCE AWARENESS MONTH

8-24 What Makes Your Romantic partner “The One” for You?
Hosted by Romance Author Lyncee Shillard

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Come Away With Me

I'm pretty sure most of us love to travel. Whether it's just to somewhere in our own State, a bit further afield or overseas. It usually means we're off to see and/or do something interesting and new. While I love the excitement of being out and about in a new city or small town, or even exploring more thoroughly somewhere I have been before, for me a big part of my enjoyment also comes from where I stay.

I am so not a backpacking kinda girl. Did that (for a few nights with my daughter in Riga) and
once was more than enough.  There's a bit weird, then there's 'let's just get whatever paint is cheapest'. There's a market for it, but it's not me.

I don't know why, but for me to feel good, my surroundings have to be attractive to me. Not necessarily luxurious, but well put together. 

Ok, I do have champagne tastes and sort of a beer budget but if I'm going away I do dig into the bank account to make sure I can indulge my desire for delicious surroundings. My idea of 'delicious', though, leans more towards something that is unique and quirky, rather than your standard contemporary or classic glam.

I've stayed in lots of hotels, most have been really nice, but I've been lucky enough to stay in two that fall into the 'my absolute favourites' category (so far).

We had a trip to the States that was primarily business but I thought it would be lovely to stay somewhere special before we headed into that long LA to Melbourne flight (after a not so short flight from Florida to LA). I found an absolute gem - The Redbury.

The location is iconic - the corner of 'Hollywood and Vine'. Sadly that's all I can say a out the location. It's not a particularly nice part of LA, very tired and run down with a really ugly empty lot on the actual corner (used for car parking). But as depressing as the surrounds were, the hotel was divine.

You only have to look at the fabulous entry to know that inside isn't going to
be neutral and marble and gilt and glass. It's all moody lighting, lots of red, black and white. There was so much to look at just on the way to your room. A simple thing like waiting for the lift was a pleasure and every time out of the room there was something you'd missed seeing the last time.

All the rooms are different and, even as a writer, I struggle to describe their fabulousness. Nothing particularly ornate, but eclectic mixes of furniture and decor (like old-school record players in many of the bedrooms.). Maybe not everyone's idea of fabulous and gorgeous, but it ticks all my boxes for somewhere super special to stay.

My second stunning hotel stay was in Sydney at the spectacular QT.

Again, just so much going on here that words aren't nearly enough. Visual overload. Definitely not everyone's 'cup of tea' - definitely not if you don't like a detached hand on the wall that holds your room number. I thought that touch was awesome, but not everyone has my bizarre tastes! 
They had me at their sexy logo !

Then the slightly spooky hands on the walls outside the rooms, holding your room number. So cool !

And definitely at the fur throw that waited for me on my bed.

Again, it was a matter of everywhere you looked, there was something fantastical to see and it would take many visits to take it all in.

A highlight is the lounge/sitting area with a wall of old suitcases. I have a penchant for old suitcases, so this room was just bliss. These are obviously 'my people'. The random mannequins dotted around were also bizarrely beautiful.

Again, I struggle to explain it all.  If you're on a visit to Sydney and feel like spoiling yourself, have a visit or a stay. It won't be like anything else you've ever experienced. 

Sighhhhh. I love revisiting these amazing hotels and it's made me want to find another weird and wonderful place to stay.  Better get back to writing and maybe sell some books to fund my dream!

When Andra isn't daydreaming about sexy, romantic places to stay she writes steamy romance. Find out more about her writing life at www.andraashe.com  
 










Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Adventures in Travel... by Delsora Lowe


I had planned on telling the story of when I was ten, and my father was assigned to work in Taiwan for the Agency for International Development in the early sixties. After flying to San Francisco, we had a few days to explore the city, driving up and down steep hills in a convertible, with my mom in a panic 😊. Then we landed in Hawaii where they put fragrant leis over our shoulders. I don’t remember much, except the perfumed air on the breezes and the incredible fresh fruit.

When we landed in Taipei, and watched as a red carpet was rolled out to meet the plane, we found out we were the first jet to land at the airport. We walked the red carpet to cheering dignitaries from the city and the country.

Unfortunately, this story doesn’t make a great blog, because that is all I remember. Except as an adult, it is my claim to fame to declare I once walked the red carpet. 😊

So instead, my blog will be about my life’s journey in the book I most recently edited, The Inn on Gooseneck Lane. I realized how much of myself I put into the book. Just snippets of my life at various stages, that added detail to various scenes.


My hero, Brad, is an outdoor adventure leader, who has settled down in his small Vermont hometown, to help his mom recover from breast cancer surgery. He’s bought a sporting goods store. And ends up helping the local inn owner with a cross-country ski week for the over-fifty crowd. In this one paragraph description, there are many areas that have touched my life.

Photo taken by Nancy Vosburgh-Zane
My mom, who just turned 94, has had two bouts with breast cancer, but all ended well both times. Both my son and I went to college in Vermont. My niece recently attended college in Vermont. On the return trip home after visiting her, is when I thought up the bare bones of this book, as I drove along a gurgling creek running down a mountain. And when I passed a tiny lane with a bridge going over the roaring creek named Gooseneck Lane, I knew I had a story. In my head I plotted the story all the way home to Maine. 

The gurgling, mountainside creek reminded me of years earlier when I visited Vermont, and stumbled on a sweet, small, artsy town, with inns and bed and breakfasts. A town that made it’s living supporting artisans and outdoor adventure activities.


My work at an environmental college has included working with adventure therapy students. One who helped train a seeing-eye dog, her dog being the first to take part in the new college program. So that dog spent many hours sitting in our office, learning to concentrate on her handler and ignore all that was going on around her—what a sweet pup.

Yaz - my grandson's dog
And lastly, I worked at L.L. Bean as a retail store cashier where I spent many hours in the camping and boating / biking departments.
So many of my life’s “travels” found their way into this book.
·         Wine tasting, paired dinners and weddings, which I organized at an inn in Maine when I was the dining manager.
·         Numerous other events that I planned for schools and non-profits, where I traveled all over the country to host the events.
·         Memories of visiting my grandmother in a small town in New York, including her antique teacart that now sits in my mom’s apartment, her Waldorf salad which was one of my grandmother’s favorite things to make, and her gardens full of rhubarb (and the basement full of rhubarb and dandelion wine.)
·         My own outdoor employee adventures of kayaking (ocean and mountain lakes and river rapids), archery, a shotgun shoot, winter camping and cross-country skiing, to name a few. All the experiences that gave me a better understanding when helping customers in the retail store in Maine and assisting on the grand opening of the first store out of state in Virginia, where I put in a week’s work in three days.
·         Wine-tasting trips in Sonoma County in California, where I also planned an alumni event.
·         The famous Maine ice storm, where I was one of the lucky ones and only lost power for less than a day. But I was alone, fending for myself, knowing a huge oak tree limb had just crashed to the ground inches form my kitchen window. I could have used the help of my hero, for sure.
·         The trauma of loving and losing a high-school sweetheart. And then finding him again.
·         And the painted fiberglass cow art—yes, a true story and a sight to behold in small-town Vermont where I traveled to a friend’s wedding. (See below for fun link to painted cows)


All these adventures and artifacts from my life found their way into The Inn on Gooseneck Lane, a fact I didn’t realize until I revisited and revised this book over a year after I wrote it.


So, my question to you - What shows up in or repeats itself in your life, years after a physical or personal journey? I’d love to hear your stories.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

~ cottages to cabins ~ keep the home fires burning ~Delsora Lowe writes small town sweet romances and contemporary westerns from the mountains of Colorado to the shores of Maine.Author of the Starlight Grille series, Serenity Harbor Maine novellas, and the Cowboys of Mineral Springs series, Lowe has also authored short romances for Woman’s World magazine.




Starlight Grille –






The Prince’s Son –

Amazon E-book link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07PZD3FNC/ref=sr_1_2?crid=32PO3EI3KDLQI&keywords=delsora+lowe&qid=1553611414&s=digital-text&sprefix=dels%2Cdigital-text%2C196&sr=1-2-catcorr 

Amazon Print Book Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1091276862?ref_=pe_3052080_397514860

Books2Read link, includes Barnes and Noble and iBooks: books2read.com/u/b6xzr6



CLIP ART LINKS:
Lei: http://www.clker.com/cliparts/M/d/2/N/h/S/hibiscus-lei-th.png

Kayak: https://www.kissclipart.com/kayak-clipart-sea-kayak-canoe-gq5w5g/

State of Vermont: https://pngio.com/PNG/6632-vermont-state-png.html

Red carpet: http://www.transparentpng.com/details/red-carpet-transparent-image-photo_3273.html

Airplane: https://clipartcrossword.com/airplane-clipart-image-6531/

Creek: http://www.clipartpanda.com/clipart_images/lake-clip-art-3614208

Wine, grapes, and cheese: http://www.clker.com/clipart-563994.html

Here’s a fun link to see painted cows: https://www.google.com/search?q=Clip+art+fiberglass+painted+cows&tbm=isch&source=iu&ictx=1&fir=Yp9xnzl_NMQfuM%253A%252CItANxgmZcwlUhM%252C_&vet=1&usg=AI4_-kQBce7efX5iW0QaND6Y-7EZqxykiw&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwj_qObss4LkAhVqRN8KHf7iDpYQ9QEwAHoECAkQBg#imgrc=Yp9xnzl_NMQfuM:


Monday, August 19, 2019

New York Adventures in Travel...by Kristin Wallace

Since this month's theme is "adventures in travel", it seems the perfect time to talk about my trip to New York City in July. 

First, I attended the Romance Writers of America (RWA) national conference. I got to spend quality time with my closest writer friends, celebrated my birthday, learned tons of information, and celebrated the best in romance fiction. 


Then my parents flew up and we got to spend a few extra days in the city. We did the tourist thing on one of those big double-decker buses and saw more of the city than I have before. I marveled at the architecture. (The buildings are one of my favorite things about New York. We have NOTHING like them in Miami.) We toured The Met Museum where I went ga-ga over the room of Impressionist paintings by Monet and Rembrandt, most of which I’d only ever seen in books. Plus, a super cool exhibit celebrating the history of rock & roll, with guitars that were owned by some of the best rock musicians of all times like Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix.

However, the highlight was a visit to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. I’ve been to New York four times, but this was the first time I actually made it. We did a guided tour so we had someone explaining more of the history of both places for our small group. I’ve always been fascinated by the history of Ellis Island especially. This processing center welcomed 12 million immigrants from 1892 – 1954. Our guide told us that about 40% of Americans today had ancestors who came through Ellis Island. The photos below show Ellis Island as it was when the processing center was being used vs. today.

The bravery of those men and women can’t be understated. And once they got to the mainland, things certainly did not get any easier. On our tours, we saw neighborhoods where many of the families settled, the former tenement buildings that housed multiple families, sometimes in a single apartment. 

 

What an inspiring trip and a chance to check off two items on my bucket list. 

(I’m curious. Can any of you trace relatives through Ellis Island???)

Kristin Wallace is the USA Today Best Selling Author of inspirational and sweet contemporary romance filled with “Love, Laughter and a Leap of Faith”. Her latest book, SECOND CHANCE HERO, part of her Palm Cove Tales series, is available now. 


AMAZON  /  APPLE BOOKS  /  B&N   /   KOBO 

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Romance Me

Welcome to my session in this series of  Blogversations.  I'll post a question and I'd love to see your responses. It's a bit of fun so let's keep the conversation flowing and along the way there'll be prizes!

My question is : Where is the most romantic place you've been, and why was it romantic?

The word 'romantic' conjures up images of sunsets, candles, open fires, champagne, a beautiful bedroom. At the heart of a romantic encounter is most definitely the intention and the emotion and of course the person you're sharing it with but I'm a very visual person and if the romantic gesture takes place in beautiful surroundings, my heart glows just that little bit more.

A rainy afternoon at home with your love can definitely be romantic when you're just concentrating on each other and making the most of your time together, but I will always remember our Christmas stay at the very beautiful Brentwood BnB in the lush bush surroundings of Healesville.

While Christmas is something many look forward to, my partner aren't particularly excited by it all. There is the expectation of spending it with family and that can get complicated and stressful trying to please everyone. This particular Christmas we decided to bypass all the chaos and just take the time for ourselves - our Christmas gift to ourselves.

Christmas is summer in Australia and the weather was glorious. Blue sky, warm (but not hot) temperature. We had our convertible back then, the perfect 'drive in the country' car, and what's not romantic about driving with the top down with the one you love?

Brentwood has half a dozen suites, but it still felt very private. All rooms look out onto rolling green lawns and a gorgeous old-style pond right outside our room. The perfect weather continued and we just chilled out, reading on the lawn, snoozing in our beautiful room and just enjoying the peaceful environment.

They provided a delicious basket of goodies for breakfast and while I did have to do a little cooking, it was worth it to sit at the little table outside our room on a perfect summer's morning 

We opened our gifts to each other in the garden. I will always remember the beautiful note book I
received (what writer doesn't love a lovely notebook?) and a sarong which I wore for the rest of the day. I gave my man an autobiography by someone I knew he was interested in. Such personal gifts added to the romance.

So, why do I think this was such a romantic getaway?

Because we had the time to just be together, concentrate on each other. No distractions of family or of feeling we had to get out and see things or do things. It was a really intimate time and I think it's that intimacy that makes a situation romantic. Yes, you can have that even in a crowded restaurant, or a busy resort if you make the effort, but our having it in beautiful surroundings was just perfection.

We've had other holidays - LA, Fiji, New Zealand - but none had the romance of this idyllic short break away from the rest of the world.

What's your most romantic place and/or time?  What made it romantic for you?







Friday, August 16, 2019

Adventures in Travel #scifi #romance

Hi, I'm Pippa Jay, author of sci-fi and supernatural stories to engage your emotions. By strange coincidence with this month's topic, I'm currently on my travels! I'm spending a week on the Somerset/Dorset border with my family. This is the view from my cottage.
I haven't travelled hugely in my life - there's still lots of places I want to go - but we try to go different places in the UK to give our kids a bit of variety. As they've got older, it's been harder to find things to do as a family as they develop their own interests. Walking tends to be met with groans unless there's the promise of ice-cream (or one local specialty here is fudge, middle child's most favourite thing) or cake...which then means more walking to work it off!
Beaches are still popular for our eldest and youngest...except when hunting for sharks teeth and fossils becomes the focus. Some of the day's finds were too big to carry off the beach!




All That Glitters is not Gold...
As an industrial Chemist who has actually worked with gold and gold ores, I'm not fooled by iron pyrite. But it makes a pretty setting for a little ammonite I found on Lyme Regis beach this holiday. The photo makes it look much shinier than it really is but I'm still thinking this will make a nice pendant if I can find a setting to hold it.
Tying in nicely with my love for spaceships both in reality and fiction, and youngest's current interest in warfare, a visit to a local air museum was a must.
A piece of Concord that reminded me of Thunderbirds...


RAF Dalek?
We also took a hike up Glastonbury Tor (my hips are still aching but it was a heck of a view!).





And while we're talking mystical sites, we passed Stonehenge on the way (kudos to my eldest for this stunning shot).
And the local antique shops allowed me to pick up some cute reminders of my feathered fiends back home.
Today I'm taking my two boys deep sea fishing on a local boat trip, something I haven't done since I was their age. Should be fun?????
I'll leave you with one last picture and a quest to spot the lizard. And if you've read any of my books you might have experienced a touch of déjà vu from the photos because somehow the places I like to go on holiday seem to end up as elements in my stories...

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Is time alone romantic???

When you think of a vacation or a treat and romance, I'm sure most people think of time with their romantic partner on... a beach 

or enjoying a peaceful walk
or cuddling in front of a fireplace while Mother Nature and Ole Man Winter are doing their thing....


I'm In the need of a vacation…
I’m soooooo in need of a vacation! Sunday my 7 year-old received a head injury. The hospital isn’t a good vacation spot just in case anyone is considering it.  We are home now. Limited activity, limited diet, pretty much limited every. This isn’t great way to finish out the summer – our trip to the lakes – done. Our annual pirate time – done. 

BUT I know for my sanity, my marriage, and for my 7 year-old that I need to have some sort of break. Realizing when you need some 'alone' time is as important to a solid relationship as 'alone' time together.
One of my amazing sisters is willing to some down and stay with Charlie. What to do??? Plan a readers retreat, of course. You read it correctly – a readers not a writers. I need to recharge – not drain the already low pool of functioning brain cells. Don’t get me wrong I love to write – but’s a job like anything else.

I’ve hosted several reader retreats over the years but whenever I’m stressed to the edge of life, I seek a little alone time. Now some people may find they need just time to stare at the wall and drool. I get that but that’s not for me. My brain wonders and not to positive the side of life so I become more depressed rather than recharged.
Here are a few tips I’ve discovered win planning retreats (personal and group).
1.       Have a focus. I’m going to read. But what? (what are you going to focus on writing – scenes, character develop, etc.) I’m going read an old favorite – a comfort ‘food’ so speak. I’m going to bring a new book that has been on my list for a long time. And a writing craft book.
2.       Have a plan. So I don’t slip into the staring at the wall and drooling situation, I need to have a plan or the books will sit in my bag. So I time block… I know who wants a time schedule on a vacation? But think about if you really want to do the horseback ride through the Woods of Screams, you’ll look up when it happens.
3.       Food. Soooo soooo important! Even if it’s just a day retreat/vacation, you will need food. What and where are you going to? Do you want to go out? Then incorporate that into the time. If you are going for the hermit thing then research who delivers, cost and selection. Or maybe just bring food. Even if you don’t plan on bringing meals, I always suggest snacks.
Remember when planning your DYI vacation/retreat – keep the purpose in mind. I want to read…for pleasure…for my craft…and for my soul. So my choice need to support those. I know very weird for the Queen of Fly-by-seat of your leggings. But I’ve done a ‘go with the roll’ retreat and it was a failure. I came back and felt I’d wasted my time.
Do you enjoy some 'alone' vacations/retreats? If so what are your favorites???
And please join me on August 24th, as I talk about finding the 'one'... the Mr. Right...your soulmate...the man of your dream...your superhero...
You knew I had to find a way to include doughnuts :-)

I want to hear about how you found yours!