Friday, October 26, 2007

My Latest Contest--A Slight Change in Plans

Hi to all who are or will be checking this blog for news of my Sept/Oct contest winner. So sorry to do this, but I have to go away to the beach tomorrow (tough life, but someone's got to do it!) and I'll be without internet access until late next week.

To make things fair, the cut-off for entry will remain 31 October (my time) so no one is disadvantaged, but I will announce the winner on my return, probably on 3 November. Apologies for the wait!
For those who haven't been to my website, check out my latest contest. You can win a signed copy of SCANDAL'S DAUGHTER, by yours truly and a signed copy of the fabulous THE EDUCATION OF MRS. BRIMLEY by fellow Romance Bandit, Donna MacMeans.
Good luck to all!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Oz Love From Afar, by Trish Milburn, American Title IV Finalist

Christine writes: I'm lucky to have with me today a fantastic writer and fellow Romance Bandit Trish Milburn. Trish is a finalist in American Title IV, a contest run by Romantic Times, with the ultimate prize of publication by Dorchester. Voting has begun in the first round and Trish's entry OUT OF SIGHT rocks, so VOTE FOR TRISH, everyone! See the link below.

Because I'm from Australia, Trish wanted to blog about her long distance love affair with my country.

Trish writes: Have you ever felt an affinity for a place you’ve never been? For me, one of those places is Australia. I’m planted firmly in the middle of the United States, but there’s something very attractive about the Land Down Under.

From what I recall, my first long-distance love of Australia came about through a school project when I was in elementary school. We had to do a report on another country, and for some reason (can’t remember why) I picked Australia. I wrote away to some tourism bureau or travel agency (also don’t remember precisely) and received a packet of information about this impossibly far away country. Love bloomed. The pictures were mesmerizing. The land looked nothing like my world, rural Western Kentucky. I hailed from the land of Daniel Boone and the Kentucky Derby, not boomerangs and the Outback.

In the following years, I read books set in Australia, sang along with “The Land Down Under” by Men at Work, and watched The Man from Snowy River and Return to Snowy River, not to mention the TV mini-series The Thorn Birds. And while I’m sure the cities are lovely and fascinating in their own right (I still remember with awe the turn of the millenium and how gorgeous Sydney looked), I have to admit it was the Outback that captured my imagination. It’s not really surprising that this was the area that appealed to me since I’m also a great lover of the American West. I see a lot of parallels between the two spots on the globe – beauty in its rugged openness, wide swaths of space virtually empty of human habitation, ranches, and the rugged individuals who choose to live there.

My fascination with Australia was strengthened even more when I read Bill Bryson’s travelogue In a Sunburned Country. As he described a train trip across the Outback and a visit to Uluru (Ayers Rock), I felt as if I was finally there, walking upon that continent myself. By the way, I had a memory lapse a moment ago about the name of Uluru and Googled “Big Rock Australia”, and it was the first thing that popped up.

If anyone still needs a reason to love Australia, look no further that the incredibly talented and, let’s face it, gorgeous crop of actors Oz produces. Hugh Jackman. Heath Ledger. Eric Bana. David Wenham. Guy Pearce. Russell Crowe. Need I say more? Okay, there are some extremely talented Aussie actresses gracing screens as well. Nicole Kidman. Toni Collette. Naomi Watts. Miranda Otto. And the fabulous Cate Blanchett.

Add animals like kangaroos and koalas, natural wonders such as the Great Barrier Reef, yummy treats like Tim Tams (yum!), and talented authors like Christine Wells, Anna Campbell and Trish Morey, and what’s not to like?

Maybe someday I’ll see Australia for myself – just as soon as I earn a ton of money and conquer my fear of flying.

The first round of AT IV has begun, and Trish has a killer first line! Vote for Trish's entry OUT OF SIGHT on the Romantic Times website