Dreams of Argentina with Alli Sinclair

Today I have yet another friend (aren’t I blessed) and fabulous author on my blog –   a warm welcome to Alli Sinclair. I first met Alli a few years ago at the Romance Writers of Australia conference and instantly fell in love with her, so I’m so pleased she landed a three book deal with my wonderful publisher HARLEQUIN BOOKS! Alli’s book sounds amazing and I loved the sample I read, so I can’t wait to pick my own copy up next week when I go to Perth… but until then, it’s over to Alli to talk about her love of Argentina and how it inspired LUNA TANGO.

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The first time I arrived in Argentina, I had dreams of scaling Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the Americas. Before commencing the expedition I had a five day layover in Buenos Aires and what started out as a simple exploration of the Paris of the Americas led to a never-ending love affair with Argentina.

The natural beauty, divine architecture, rich cultural heritage, friendly people (and mouthwatering ice-cream!) captivated me in a way no other country has done since. The hauntingly beautiful tango music captured my soul as I learnt to dance in traditional tango halls, the experience changing my life forevermore.

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One of my most prized possessions are these tango paintings I bought from an artist in San Telmo, a district in Buenos Aires crowded with cobblestoned streets that snake between baroque buildings housing antique shops and 1940s style restaurants. As the tango musicians played and dancers created magic with their graceful moves, the artist handed me the paintings and said, ‘I hope you have a nice place to hang my art in your home.’ Not long after I realized the paintings, and my heart, had found a new home—in Argentina.

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BLURB:

Tango, like love, is complicated

Desperate to understand the reason her mother abandoned her twenty years ago to become a world-class tango dancer, journalist Dani McKenna delves into the world of tango in the hope of exposing decades of lies and deception that have threatened three generations of her family.

When Dani meets the enigmatic Carlos Escudero—a revered tango dancer and man of intense passion—they work together to understand why her grandmother lives in fear of all things tango, and how the brutal murder of a tango music legend in 1950s Buenos Aires now affects her family.

Despite her lack of rhythm, Dani and Carlos create their own dance of the souls, until the differences in their cultures causes a deep rift. As she seeks to reconnect with Carlos and rebuild her family, Dani finds tango—the dance of passion—becomes a complicated dance of betrayal.

Check out Alli’s fabulous book trailer here.

And you can find Alli online at her website, on Facebook and Twitter.

And Alli is launching a super special competition on the official release day this Friday – the  winner will receive a one-off prize that has been created especially for this competition. Click below for more information:

 
For those in Melbourne and surrounds, you are invited to the Luna Tango book launch and tango event held on 21 August at Readings Hawthorn. Tickets are $10 and will include a tango show and lesson, wine and food. Proceeds of tickets will go to Parkinson’s Victoria, an organisation very dear to Alli’s family.
 
Please note: due to limited space ticket bookings prior to event is essential.
 

PATTERSON’S CURSE week two!

Hi folks

Week two is just kicking off here in PATTERSON’S CURSE land so as promised here’s my update.

Progress thus far:

  • two chapters
  • 10,348 words

This is not quite as far along as I was hoping to be by now as I’m aiming for 15k per week. However this week I had an evening event in a town two hours away and also the final read through edit of THE ROAD TO HOPE (out March 2015) to do. So I’m trying not to berate myself too much.

In addition to these chaps I made a lot more notes this week about what will happen in certain scenes and tried to jot down some sort of time line for necessary events. Much of my “plotting” happened when I’m out on my daily walk with Rose my dog and if I feel the need, I use the voice recorder on my phone to make I don’t forget.

I’m working my way into this novel, which is a little different (as I said to my others).

I have four sisters – Madeleine, Lucinda, Charlie and Abigail – and the challenge for me is telling their stories equally, knowing when to change from one point-of-view to another. I think this will be easier as I progress into the story but in these early chaps when I’m trying to set the scene, it’s a bit like a jigsaw puzzle.

In my romances I try to get to the action of the story fairy quickly – I guess I mean showing the conflict and attraction between the hero and heroine at at least the first couple of chapters, but I have noticed in women’s fiction authors often take more chapters to set up the premise.  That is certainly my experience so far with PATTERSON’S CURSE. I’m trying not to stress too much about this and just follow my gut and I’m praying like crazy it’s working.

Hope to have more of an update on how the story is progressing next week.

Until then.

x

Rach!

A Fish Called Lisa – guest post! AND GIVEAWAY

Today I have a very special person on my blog. Not only have I just read her debut book BREAKING THE DROUGHT, which I loved but I have met Lisa Ireland and am lucky enough to call her my friend. Lisa’s new book is a rural romance published by Escape Publishing and tells the story of a city girl gone bush – one of my favourite rural romance tropes. I’ll stop babbling over and hand over to Lisa to tell you all about her inspiration for this great book, but don’t forget to comment at the end of the blog to win a copy of BREAKING THE DROUGHT!

Welcome Lisa…

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A Fish Called Lisa

In my recent release, Breaking the Drought, city girl Jenna is a fish out of water, struggling to survive a week in a tiny country town.

Poor Jenna, I really put her through the wringer in my story. She has to face some hard realities of country life (and she gets to reap some of the rewards too, of course!) After all I put her through Jenna might be comforted to know that once upon a time I was the new girl in a country town.

As a graduate teacher I was posted to a small school in rural Victoria. I was delighted with my appointment and was sure I would take to country life like a duck to water. After all, I came from farming stock. My dad grew up on a dairy farm not far from my new home. And I’d been holidaying in the country all my life. How hard could the transition be?

Hmm … Apparently weekends being spoilt by my aunt at her country home didn’t adequately prepare me for life away from the big smoke. I had more than one embarrassing moment.

Take for instance the time I ran screaming from the equipment shed because I spied a snake settled amongst the cricket stumps and volley balls. One of the grade six boys comforted me by explaining gently that it was “only a snake” and “he’s probably more afraid of you, Miss, than you are of him.” Yeah right!

Then there was the mousetrap incident. Not long after I moved to Longford there was a mouse plague. I was woefully unprepared for this event. In addition to being afraid of all rodents I’m also terrified of dead things. I tried to deal with the never-ending stream of mice in my house by using those plastic mousetraps that are completely covered so you can’t see what’s inside. But I was too much of a wuss to empty them so I would just put the whole thing in the bin. I was spending an absolute fortune on mousetraps!

When my colleagues discovered this fact I was the butt of staff room jokes for about a month. However, I’m happy to say my co-workers took pity on me and spent some time helping me to “mouse-proof” my house. And they took turns to come by and empty the traps for me too. How’s that for neighbourly love? Eventually my problem was solved for good when I acquired a cat.

I was also teased by my colleagues about a number of other “city girl” quirks, including my penchant for inappropriate footwear and my tendency to run out of petrol on a regular basis. I lived about 20 kilometres from the nearest petrol station. Having come from the city where there’s one on every corner I wasn’t used to planning ahead! Luckily one of the perks of living in a small town is that when you’re in trouble (conked out on the side of the road!) it’s never long before someone you know stops to give you a hand.

Just like Jenna, I was a fish-out-of-water when I first moved to the country from the city, but it wasn’t long before long rural life got under my skin.

I don’t live in Longford anymore, but I’m still a country girl at heart.

Thanks so much for sharing your hilarious stories Lisa. I know there are lots of country-girls-at-heart reading this blog and I hope they’ll read your story and enjoy it as much as I did. Read the blurb below and feel free to share your embarrassing or scary country stories in the comments section. 

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BREAKING THE DROUGHT Blurb:

When a smooth-talking, sophisticated city girl comes striding into town on her stiletto heels, he’s the last person who wants to notice…

When Jenna McLean gets roped into attending a matchmaking ball in a small country town, she holds no illusions of meeting the man of her dreams.  A no-nonsense magazine editor, Jenna doesn’t believe in leaving love to chance, which is why she’s developed Marriage Material – a fool-proof framework for husband hunting. Shearers and farmhands need not apply.

Sheep grazier Luke Tanner has met women like Jenna before, and knows not to waste his time. With the drought dragging on and bushfire season around the corner, the last thing he needs is a spoiled city girl like Jenna adding to his problems. He’ll help out with the ball because it’s good for the community, but he won’t dance, he won’t flirt, and he definitely won’t be matched.

It’s been a long dry season, but everyone knows when it rains, it pours.  

You can buy BREAKING THE DROUGHT From Amazon, Kobo and all good e-book retailers.

And you can find Lisa online on Facebook, Twitter and her blog.

Lisa is kindly giving away an e-copy of BREAKING THE DROUGHT to one lucky commenter. Leave your comment before midnight Aussie EST on Monday 28th of July to win!

PATTERSON’S CURSE week one!

Hi folks

I’ve been quiet on the blog for a while recently but I thought it might be fun to blog the journey of writing my next book. I’ll try to blog every Monday morning, updating you all on what’s happening in the book and how I’m tracking.

Today is the first day back at school for my boys for Term 3 and I’m kickstarting the new book. Details below:

Title: PATTERSON’S CURSE (this is a working title and may still change)

Word count: aiming for 100k but feel like I might go anywhere up to 120k

Deadline: Dec 1st for my publisher but Nov 1st for me. I like a few weeks to read through and edit.

I will aim to write every weekday and get about 2000 words. I’ll sometimes write on the weekends. I will likely take the October school holidays off to read and hang with the kids. I also have a week away for the Romance Writers of Australia conference in August and a tour with Fiona Palmer in September/October. This means I have about eleven weeks of writing time. At 2k a day I SHOULD achieve my goal. Of course, there’ll be kids sick days, school carnivals, edits and other things crop up in there but I will do my best.

And please feel free to ask any questions you have about my writing process or the book in the blog comments section 🙂

First things first… A clean and tidy desk.

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I’ll take another photo when I’ve finished the book!

I’ve also started a Pinterest page for PATTERSON’S CURSE. To check it out click here! There are four sisters in this story and it’s my first attempt at a more Women’s Fiction than Romance story. And as the title says it’s about a curse. The curse of the Patterson family, not the weed that plagues farmers!

In addition to Pinterest preparation, I’ve started a brand new notebook to record my thoughts, ideas and future directions of the story. I guarantee by the end it will be a total and utter mess.

photo 2-14Now I’m cheating a little bit because I proposed this book to my publisher a while back and wrote the first few pages back then. So I think it’s only fair that I share the first few paragraphs with you to start this blog series. While you read, I’ll get writing!!

 

Chapter One – South Australia

‘Dad.’ The word slipped from Lucinda Patterson’s lips on a whisper as she walked through gate 29 Adelaide Airport and spied her father. The last time she’d seen him was almost six months ago and she wasn’t sure if he looked better or worse. He’d lost weight and appeared to have grown a few more greys in his thick mop of black hair. He stood tall, his glasses perched on his nose as they always were and his arms folded across his chest as he waited in a sea of people desperate to claim their loved ones so the holiday season could kick off.

Thrusting her shoulders back and pushing her chin high to give an air of confidence she didn’t feel, Lucinda side-stepped a couple so lost in a passionate reunion that they either didn’t care or hadn’t noticed that they were holding up the traffic. Once upon a time she and Joe had been like that whenever he came home from his two weeks up north, but lately, not so much. Pushing that thought away, she stepped around them and her dad rushed forward, his arms wide open for her. Her handbag slapped against her back as she flung herself into his arms and dropped her head against his strong, broad shoulders.

‘Dad,’ she said again as tears welled in her eyes.

‘Lucinda,’ he whispered back. ‘My Lucinda.’ His voice held raw emotion, making her feel safe and loved and needed all at once. Still holding her, he shuffled them slightly to the left and out of the throng of people rushing to leave the plane. There wasn’t room for her and her dad and the tongue-locked lovers.

‘How are you, sweetheart?’

His heart-felt question almost unraveled her. It was she that should be asking him that. He’d been the one that had been six months without his soul mate. Although she too had been six months without her mother, living away she’d sometimes forgotten that her mum wasn’t still in their home town of Meadow Brook, making beds, cooking meals and greeting guests at the Meadow Brooke Motel. Living away she could sometimes still pretend that her mum was alive, but being back home for Christmas would put an end to that illusion pretty damn quick.