Monday, November 10, 2014

Hello, hello? Anyone out there?

I couldn't blame you for wondering what on earth ever happened to that Emmie person who wrote a few books and then vanished off the face of the earth. Because that's kind of what happened. Things have been . . . well . . . busy. Let me give you a brief summary:

One of the best things about moving to the US
was getting to celebrate Halloween this year!
I moved countries
I moved to San Francisco, USA, from Melbourne Australia. Moving house is always a busy, stressful time. Believe me, I know -- this was my 28th move (yeah, I know). But moving *countries* is a whole new ball game and I really had no concept of the time it would take to get settled and feel organized.

I started a new, full-time job
Enough said. :)

I found some real-life romance
I found a Mr Love, and for a long time there hasn't been any need for fictional romance. Because my life is now blissfully full of it. (Awww....)

I moved three times since arriving in San Francisco
Because, roommates. Horrendous, awful, hilarious, insane roommates. They will be characters in a book one day. Also, until my current home (a lovely one-bedroom apartment that I DO NOT SHARE WITH ANYONE which has a view of trees and a lake) I didn't have any environment conducive to pulling out the computer and writing words.

I got sick and hurt myself 
People told me that moving countries meant you were exposed to new germs. I didn't give that any thought, since I've travelled so much in my life and figured it just wouldn't be a problem. Then I had four colds in four months. And then I fell over and sprained my ankle quite badly. Not expecting sympathy, just another thing that happened in these past months.

My brain just wasn't filled with stories for a while
I think, maybe, I burnt myself out a little. I had four books published last year (two of them were novellas, but still). I also self-published for the first time, which is an entire learning experience of itself. I think I was a little tired and, with a new non-writing related full-time job, the muse just went on a vacation.

So! That's the Story So Far. The good news is that it feels like muse might be returning. She's rusty and hard to coax into action, but I can definitely feel her back there, tickling my brain, waking up the voices that want to be heard again.

This weekend I attended the RWA San Francisco chapter meeting. As with any romance writing group I've ever been part of, it's full of lovely, friendly, encouraging women. Also some very inspiring, very successful ones!

My goal now is to get some writing done before I go back to the December meeting. Fingers crossed I can get the muse stretched and supple and ready for action soon!

Thank you for hanging in there with me. Big thanks to those readers who've written to me, wanting to know when the next book will be out! Hopefully I will reward you for your patience soon!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Charmed is out now!

Perfect Christmas reading -- light, fun, HOT, and with a touch of magical whimsy! Charmed is a novella with all the right ingredients for a good night's reading, whether you're snuggled up against the snowy cold, or hunkering with the air conditioner to beat the heat!
You can buy Charmed on Amazon, and from the Destiny Romance website.

Oh, and watch out for that extra bit of spice -- only appropriate at this time of year. And if you read it and loved it, I'd so appreciate you leaving a review on Amazon or Goodreads. Thank you!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


Well, life has been pretty exciting this year, I must admit. By New Year's Eve 2013, I will look back on a pretty full and exhilarating year: lots of travel, fun times, great food, delicious wine, time spent with friends and family, and four -- count them, FOUR -- books published in just these past twelve months.

What I'll also be celebrating is that I've made a very big decision. I am about to take a risk and change up my life: in January 2014 I'll be moving to live in San Francisco.

I'm moving to take up a new full-time day job, which I'm really excited about. Yes, one day, I do want to be writing full-time, but right now that's not what life has in store for me. But I do definitely see myself with a writing desk that looks out over gently sloping grapevines (Yarra Valley? Hunter Valley? Napa Valley?) as I pen another book that will jet straight to the stop of the USA Today best-seller list in the not-too-distant future.

There are also plenty of opportunities the move presents for me from a writing perspective. New people, new places, new experiences -- these are things my muse loves. There'll also be the opportunity to meet new writers -- I'm hoping there's a San Francisco romance writing group out there that would welcome me as a member so I can keep hanging around with like-minded people, people who aren't concerned about the fact that I hear voices of imaginary people in my head.

I'm also hoping that I'll be able to attend RWA Nationals in July, and finally get to meet face to face with my gorgeous and talented critique partner, Robin Covington.

Right now though, I've got a lot to do. I'm packing up my apartment to rent it out. There are things I need to sell (fridge, washing machine, dryer, couches, book shelves -- all in very good condition if you happen to be in the market!), things I need to store, and things I need to throw out. These are big decisions. I've also got a new book coming out in December, so there's a little bit to do to get that organised, too.

As most of you probably know, I'm a pretty keen social media user (Facebook, mostly) so I intend to keep in touch with you all with frequent updates about my San Francisco adventures, there and here on my blog! And I am very keen to hear from you at any time -- feel free to drop me a line. And if, by chance, you have friends or family in San Francisco who you think might enjoy meeting a slightly homesick Australian author, please let me know -- I'll be after all the friends I can get!

Right now, while I work through my 'to-do' list that's eleventy billion items long, I'm using this song as my anthem. Whenever I start to get a little too stressed about everything, or start to feel the pang of "what the hell am I doing?", I put this song on, LOUD, and have a little disco dance around. It reminds me what this new journey is all about -- looking back one day and saying, "I did it all".

Saturday, November 16, 2013

My Halloween Experience

I don't really have a bucket list, but if I did, being part of Halloween in the US would definitely be on it. And, now, it'd be on it with a tick against it, because on 31 October this year, I was there!

I hadn't really planned for it, and so unless I was prepared to go out and spend money purchasing a costume, I just had to make do with what I had in my suitcase. So I went with wearing all black, some bling, a lot of make-up and a hot-pink bob-haired wig. (Doesn't everyone routinely have one of those in their luggage??)
Not much of a costume, really, but it did the trick.

I headed out into the Castro district of San Francisco with a friend who knew that the Castro was The Place To Be on Halloween night. And he was right! The crowds were amazing, and everyone had put so much effort into their costumes!
I'd heard that there had been a few issues on Halloween night in previous years. However my experience was nothing but lovely, apart from one moment when the crowd got VERY crowd-y and I felt a little squished and a tiny bit panicked. But then we got through that and everything was fine.
Everyone was friendly, and fun, and in the mood to show off. In fact, one girl, dressed as a witch, spotted me surreptitiously taking her photo and insisted we get a shot together!
My friend and I did stop in for a drink at one bar. He was very impressed by the fact that they were playing "Sweet Transvestite" from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and I knew ALL THE WORDS.

So a big CHECK against "be part of Halloween". The only problem is, now I want to do it again!

PS -- This weekend, Dance With Me is a Kindle countdown deal on and If you haven't got your copy yet, check it out for only $2.99 until Sunday PST!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A travelogue in cocktails...

With the release of Dance With Me, I've been writing a few blog posts here and there, often reflecting back on my trip to Mexico and Guatemala that was the kickoff inspiration for Polly and Josh's story. Looking back on my photos, I was struck by how many pictures I'd taken of food and drinks (and bars) -- particularly cocktails. It got me wondering -- was it just that particular trip that had me taking multiple photos of alcoholic beverages?

So I took a stroll back through my photo albums. Hmm. It would seem that it's not just Mexico and Guatemala that inspire that particular side of my photography bent.

So I thought I'd take you on a little trip through my alcoholic photo collection...

This is one that possibly kicked it all off -- this is a wall in the bar that (in my head) Polly and Josh meet. It's in Guatemala, and it opens right out on to the street. I sat in this bar and drank red wine and wrote in my journal for many hours one afternoon. No one was perturbed. Sitting quietly with a drink and reflecting seems to be something the central-American culture is very okay with.
To a totally different extreme -- this is a glass of champagne at one of the golf clubs in Palm Springs, California. I had a lovely weekend there with some very generous friends who I'd only just met, but who invited me to stay with them in their condo. They took me sight-seeing and we enjoyed many lovely drinks and cocktails over that weekend...
When you're travelling, delays happen. It's not always fun, but it's a pretty standard part of life if you travel a lot. One of the best ways to get through it is to have a good book on your Kindle (may I suggest: Dance With Me?) and to search out a glass of vino to take the edge off. This is in the airport at Charlotte, North Carolina, where I once spend a long five hours waiting for my flight to leave. But the chardy (Russian River) was decent, at least. 
 Sometimes, in some particular places, wine is simply not the right choice. Some places call for cocktails. Austin, Texas, really calls for beer. And I had one of those. But being gluten-intolerant, beer doesn't really agree with me so after one (Shiner Bock, the local brew) I needed to switch to something else. I don't remember what was in this cocktail (possibly that's a good thing!) but it was definitely delicious.
 And while some places are beer places, when you're in a wine region, you really must go with wine. And when you're at the Chandon winery in Napa Valley California, well, then, you really do need to have bubbles. There's just no choice!
 Yes, this photo is sideways. Sorry. But it gives you some idea how potent it was! This cocktail was the intro to a divine dinner for my birthday in Hong Kong a couple of years back. I was so grateful to a couple of work colleagues who took me out and showed me a wonderful night. And that cocktail... delicious.
 Last one -- because, let's face it, this is getting kind of embarrassing, I didn't even have to look really hard to gather this collection! This photo is of a delicious red wine (vino tinto) at a Mexican-inspired cafe in Rose Street, Venice Beach, Los Angeles. I stayed in Venice Beach long enough to try out most of the cafes and bars, and this was one of my favourites. I didn't always have wine at lunch (because sometimes you can't always take a nap in the afternoon...) but when I did, it was worthy of taking a photo.
So, there you go. My alcoholic photo album. Do you have a similar obsession? Is there anything you always take photos of when you're travelling or on holidays?

Monday, October 7, 2013

Special advance release!

...sounds a whole lot better than "Amazon published it a week earlier than I'd expected", doesn't it? So let's go with that. Special advance release ahoy!

Dance With Me is now out there in the big, wide world. Yay!! 
You can buy it on Amazon only at this point, but if you have an iPad (or read on an iPhone), all you need to do is download the Kindle app from the Apple app store and it can be yours! It will be available on other platforms and stores early next year. 

In the meantime, grab a copy, grab a glass of red wine, and settle in to read all about Polly and Josh and their travels around the world... 

Monday, September 30, 2013

Finally, I can reveal...

...the secret project that's been keeping me so busy these past few weeks -- too busy to blog! And here it is:

Dance With Me is my first foray into self-publishing and it's a full-length women's fiction novel with romance at its heart. It's about Josh and Polly -- two characters that have been knocking around in my head for the longest time. Finally they demanded to be set free!
Here's a summary:

Polly Heatherton’s life isn’t turning out the way she thought. So, after a really, really bad day that involves losing her job and breaking up with her boyfriend, she packs her bags, leaves Australia behind and steps out on the trip of a lifetime to work out what comes next.

In Guatemala she meets incurable white knight, Josh Byrne, an American trying to hold together his fractured family. That isn't turning out so well, so he focuses his heroic tendencies on rescuing Polly.

Josh and Polly have a fling that is supposed to be short-lived. Instead it sets them on a journey that takes them through three countries, two emergency room visits, one incredible dance lesson, and a huge amount of vino tinto.

I'm so thrilled that Sarah Mayberry agreed to provide a cover quote. And one of the thrilling tasks was gathering together quotes for the inside of the book -- you know, those inside pages of glowing praise from reviewers and other authors? I've got one of those -- and it still makes my tummy go a little skwimmy every time I look at it. 

I'm also absolutely thrilled with the cover. How pretty is it?? My friend and awesome graphic designer Leanne Kingwell did a brilliant job of interpreting my brief. Especially when I gave her about a billion "I like this cover" examples, that were all totally different... ;) 

I've learned a lot, and for other authors I'm thinking I might write a couple of blog posts about some of the tricky things I've navigated on my path to self-publishing. But I've got a few things to get organised before I can get on to that! 

At this stage I'm aiming to have the book available from 15 October. Watch this space -- I'll let you know!!