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About Annie West
Although in recent years I haven't done a lot of travelling, what I love about seeing new places is the chance to discover how other people live. I'm particularly interested in architecture and history, so anything historical has my attention. Here are some pics of various places I've visited both in Australia and overseas.
A recent trip to Western Australia gave me the opportunity to visit some convict era buildings, in particular The Freemantle train station.
And this beautiful church which unfortunately was closed and I was unable to peek inside.
In my younger years, I was lucky enough to spend three weeks exploring Bali and came away impressed with the beautiful people and their way of life. Here is a shot of a wonderful piece of architecture and culture in Bali - a traditional water palace in Ubud and a historic temple gate. I love the attention to detail and the rich culture imbued with each piece of architecture .
And this is a picture of Balinese farm house up in the mountains. My girl friend and I were invited to spend some time with a Balinese family in their very small and primitive home. They were so generous with the little they had and afterwards we travelled through the mountains on motorbikes. A fabulous holiday I'll never forget.
A few years ago, I visited the US on two separate visits spending time in the Florida Keys and also visiting the state of New England. Such an amazing contrast between hot and cold lol, although I was lucky to visit Rockport in late spring. I love how the Americans use timber when building their homes (compared to Aussies who favour bricks and tiles). Some houses reminded me of doll houses although on a much larger scale!
What I loved about the Florida Keys (apart from the snorkelling with sharks and kayaking) were the quaint canals. There was one behind my brother's house and I enjoyed many an early morning paddling down the waterway and watching the varied birdlife.
Unfortunately I didn't get to see inside Hemingway's house but here it is from the outside.
And just to round off a short glimpse into some of my journeys, I'd like to finish with a house built underground. I've been to Cooper Pedy twice both times when travelling around Australia and both times it was so hot, just breathing seemed an effort. However once inside an underground house it was deliciously cool.
What's your favourite place you discovered in your travels?
Thanks so much for hosting me here today.
Gilchrist lives in the Hunter Valley, Australia with her family and pets and is
the author of over twenty books, several of which have finalled in writing
contests. As S. E. Gilchrist, she writes science fiction, ancient historical,
apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic romances and romantic suspense. As Suzanne
Gilchrist, she writes women’s fiction and contemporary small-town romances,
often with a splash of suspense.
Suzanne takes a keen interest in the environment
and animal welfare and loves bushwalking and kayaking, spending time with
family and friends and walking her dogs. She co-runs Hunter Romance
Writers and is
the organiser of several group writing ventures.
Gilchrist is published with Escape Publishing / Harlequin Australia and is an
Gilchrist on the web:
Take Me Home (Bindarra Creek A Town Reborn)
Forgiving the past was too painful until now.
Almost forty, Abby Taylor has built a new life
for herself in the small country town of Bindarra Creek. When an old friend
convinces her to give two adolescent boys a temporary home, she is torn between
a growing love for these orphans and the grief in her past.
After his marriage fell apart, Roman Taylor has
focused on his career. An unexpected phone call sends him rushing to Abby’s
side where he is drawn into his estranged wife’s new life – a life that could
offer a future he thought he’d lost forever.
Will they seize this second chance to have a
family of their own? Or will fate once again destroy their dreams?
Welcome to Bindarra Creek – A Town Reborn, a
fictional town set on the western slopes of the New England tablelands. Take me
Home is the first book in this new group writing venture series. With a
community full of quirky characters, the books feature compelling romance,
heart-warming family life, drama, and even suspense.
Hello, dear readers and welcome aboard my whirlwind world tour. I’ve been blessed enough to visit a few exotic destinations in my lifetime. From the samurai palaces of Japan to the wild plains of Africa, I have been inspired by history and scenery to write stories. Exotic islands aside, there is no destination more exciting or glittery than Las Vegas, right? But more on that later.
In December 2018, I returned to the USA to celebrate Christmas and a ten-year reunion with family. Our first stop was, of course, Disneyland, California. I got to be a kid again. Yes! I spent five days grinning like a fool every time I saw a Disney princess or Mickey or Minnie. Disneyland truly is a happy place and it was a great start to our four week-long vacation. And no visit to Los Angeles is complete without a stop at Universal Studios. What an experience. I got chased by Zombies, watched a variety show, ate freshly made donuts from a 50’s-style diner and took a tour of the backlot. And with book 1 of Calhoun Customs Garage, Overdrive, in my hand and book 2, Fast Lane in my head, I headed right for….Yep, Radiator Springs and the racetrack.
Next stop: Vegas. From the 52nd floor of the Vdara Apartment Hotel, we had a fabulous view of the strip. So much had changed in the ten years since we’d been there last. This time we actually made it down to Fremont Street to discover the old Vegas. If you want to be transported back in time, Fremont Street is the place to be. Aside from the usual activities on the strip, I got to fly in a helicopter across the Grand Canyon, met Cory from Pawn Stars, visited Rick’s Restorations and got ‘Tanked’! And how could I pass up on a visit to the M&M’s shop when Car 18 is still on the floor? Trinity Calhoun would be proud. Probably the most exciting part of our stay in Vegas was the visit to the Mob Museum in the old courthouse. Wow, what an experience that was! I came home with so many stories in my head after that tour.
Our next destination on the way to Canada was New York. Finally, after years of dreaming about it, there I was in midtown Manhattan with a view of the Empire State building from my window. All the places I’d seen on television came to life.
Rockefeller Centre, Times Square, Ellis Island, the statue of Liberty…I was left breathless at the beauty of a cold and wintery city. The most memorable of all our stops in New York has to be the 9/11 Memorial. Hauntingly beautiful in its simplicity, the vibe of loss and sadness still hung heavily in the air, the impact of how many names are inscribed on that wall around the cascading water hitting hard.
Then came Canada. Our stay here was short, our intent to spend Christmas with family before flying to San Francisco. We packed as much as we could into four short days. A visit to Ripley’s Aquarium blew me away. What an amazing place and not at all what we expected. I finally got to visit the Mennonite Amish community in St Jacobs and bought a beautifully crafted quilt. I loved this little town so much where simplicity is the key to life and the smell of freshly baked bread teased my senses.
All too soon it was time to say goodbye to the family and hello San Francisco. Of all the cities in the USA, San Francisco is the one that makes my heart sing. From Pier 39 all the way across the Bay to Alcatraz, I love this place with all my soul. The most exotic place we visited here was Muir Wood where an early episode of Star Wars was filmed. I could imagine the ewoks popping up out of the woods and fighting off the storm troopers. Chinatown never fails to amaze me with the architecture and street art. Every alleyway told us a different story and the myriad of shops full of gadgets and souvenirs kept us entertained for hours. And perhaps one day, I’ll be able to buy that dream home in Sausalito. Unfortunately, NASCAR season was over and I didn’t get to visit any racetracks on our journey, but that gives me a good reason to go back again.
Thank you for travelling with me today and I hope you’ll enjoy Trinity and Reece’s race to a happy ever after in Fast Lane.
Juanita escapes the real world by reading and writing Australian Rural Romance novels with elements of suspense, Australian Fantasy Paranormal and Small-Town USA stories. Her romance novels star spirited heroines who give the hero a run for his money before giving in. She creates emotionally engaging worlds steeped in romance, suspense, mystery and intrigue, set in dusty, rural outback Australia and on the NASCAR racetracks of America. When she’s not writing, Juanita is mother to three boys and has a passion for fast cars and country living.
Juanita Kees on the web:
Fast Lane (Calhoun Customs Garage Book 2)
Trinity Calhoun is a name everyone knows on the race circuit, but her days in the hot seat are numbered. She’s tired of the limelight, meaningless relationships and long hours behind the wheel. When her father calls her and her sister home, she’s ready. She slips right back into the family business, finishing off the custom car projects her father has lined up. But racing is in her blood and she’s lured back to risking her life on the hot rod drag strips outside of town. It’s there she meets paramedic and volunteer firefighter, Reece Balmain, who has her re-thinking the road her life is taking.
Reece Balmain arrives in Big Fork a broken man. He’s lived and breathed through horror accidents, haunted by the faces of the people he’s cut from vehicles. He knows one thing–speed kills. He’s hoping not to see too much of it in small town Montana, until he hears about the drag races taking place outside of town. He knows Trinity Calhoun. He’s watched her race, seen her win, held his breath when her car somersaulted into barriers in Daytona Beach. He doesn’t like what she does, but he can’t stay away from the woman who’s claiming his heart.
OVERDRIVE (Calhoun Customs Garage Book 1)
Chase Calhoun has worked hard at making Calhoun Customs a world-wide sensation and keeping his father’s dream alive. He hasn’t had time to think about settling down, so he’s not expecting to find love or new life hiding in the attic of their garage among the ghosts of his family’s past.
Charlotte Jackson is on the run from a rebellious past, determined to prove she can be a good mom to three-month-old baby, Zoe. Tired of being delegated to the back office of the racing team her famous NASCAR family owns, she sets out to establish herself as a custom design artist. But she’s out of money, luck and time, and she can’t hide in the attic at Calhoun Customs forever.
While Chase slowly loses his heart to his refrigerator thief and the baby bundle asleep in his laundry basket, Charlotte learns that sometimes family is more than just blood and DNA.
My husband and I arrived in Buenos Aires in the heart
of summer, against everyone’s advice. Even the Argentinian’s leave their
capital city in summer. The days were relentlessly hot, and the evenings were
not much better. And still, I loved every moment of the six weeks we spent
The city was a mish-mash of the old and the new, the
beautiful and the chaotic. Art and culture oozed from every corner. Graffiti
stained walls weren’t vandalism, but magnificent pieces of artwork. Artists of
all kind took to the streets, either as part of a mile-long market or on their
own, with handmade jewellery, paintings, drawings, sculptures. The people were
beautiful and fashion conscious. Men and women alike dressed in the latest
trends, their hair immaculately styled and make-up perfectly applied.
During the day, flocks of tourists gathered at Eva
Peron’s gravesite at the Recoleta cemetery, and we marvelled at the magnificent
sculptures honouring those that had passed. On Sundays, we ambled through the
market in San Telmo, which boasted an array of knick-knacks, artwork, antiques,
plus so much more. Performers kept us all entertained, and the empanadas kept
our bellies full. Tango dancers took to the streets in La Boca. The distinguished
music played in the background as we wandered the cobblestone roads and admired
the brightly painted buildings.
The city came alive in the evening. People drank wine,
kids stayed up late, lovers walked hand in hand … they socialised, laughed,
hung out. Around nine p.m., when people were heading out for dinner, the scent
of barbequed meat—the main cuisine on offer at any given restaurant—filled the
streets. Restaurants grew crowded, and the sound of a thousand voices rang out
as they talked and laughed over a shared meal.
Buenos Aires is a city that blends the faded days of European splendour with Latin spice and passion. Rich with art and culture, food and music, this city will forever hold a special place in my heart.
Rania Battany lives with her husband and three children in the beautiful Yarra Ranges, Victoria, Australia. When she isn’t getting her hands dirty in the garden, frolicking with her chickens or dog, or chasing after her three young children, she is writing contemporary romance novels that tug at the heartstrings or curled up with a cup of tea and a book.
Rania Battany on the web:
Maya is floundering. She’s stuck in a dead-end job, is isolated from family and friends, and her father—the only person that ever truly understood her—has been gone four years. When her boyfriend leaves her for another woman, the rocky foundations of Maya’s life crumble to dust, and she sinks even further into the pit of grief and despair.
Until she meets him. Sam. The one with the animated smile and gentle eyes, who always sees the positive no matter how bad the negative. And the one who reignites Maya’s passion through his enthusiasm and zest, helping to rebuild her life, piece by piece.
But when ghosts from Maya’s past resurface, her decisions almost destroy the few important relationships she has left, and the happiness she’s so recently found is threatened. She must overcome her demons and decide what matters most—the familiarity of the past, or the hope, love and possibilities of the future.
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