Tomayto, Tomahto

Back when I was much younger, I remember enthusiastically talking to an established author. I LOVED reading as a kid, so getting the chance to talk to a Real Life Author was exciting. I babbled to him that one day I’d love to be a writer, too.

His response was… less enthusiastic.

“DON’T,” he answered. “You live in New Zealand. Your cultural references are all wrong for a global audience. Even your experience of the seasons is backwards. You’ll confuse a global audience, and never make any money. Don’t waste your time.”

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Which put me off writing for a long time. Until the indie publishing revolution came about, and I thought, “screw it. What do I have to lose? Let’s just see what this global audience thinks.”

Fair to say, the response has been far better than that author led me to believe! But I’ve also been quite careful to avoid New Zealand-isms, and make sure all readers can understand what I mean.

But every now and then, the occasional one still slips through. When I was editing the latest book, Open Home Closed Heart, I made a reference to Tess only drinking long blacks.

And then I thought: have I ever heard someone call it a long black when I’ve been overseas? A quick google told me, nope, that’s a name only used in New Zealand and Australia. (My editor is Australian, which further explains how it slipped through.)

Right, got it, Tess drinks black coffee now.

And then I was on Twitter the today, and I was unexpectedly caught out again!

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(Don’t judge me, chocolate porridge is delicious. Or should I say chocolate oatmeal?)

The cross-cultural differences just sneak in there, damn it. You’ve gotta be eagle eyed.

Any differences that have caught you out before? If you’re a writer, do you watch out for them? And if you’re a reader, do they bother you?

 

P.S. Open Home, Closed Heart is available on pre-order now, for a special reduced price of $0.99. So far all the advanced reviews have been five stars, so grab your copy quick!

Amazon: http://ow.ly/9vOU3012bpJ

iBooks: http://ow.ly/iEIx3012bs2

Nook: http://ow.ly/QjfV3012bF3

Kobo: http://ow.ly/Igho3014cN0

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Magic Moments With Sea Monsters

A few readers have asked me if you really can go for a night snorkel with manta rays. The answer is 100% yes you can!

I’ve actually done it myself, and it was magical. Magical enough that I knew it had to be included in Hawaiian Heartbreak, and I made sure it was involved right from the first outline.

So, to satisfy curious minds, I’ve found a video of it. There’s a little bit of advertising because I just found it on Youtube, but it’s also a great video, promise!

Did I just add something new to your bucket list?

 

(If you’re on Twitter or Instagram, I love to chat. http://twitter.com/AuthorLibby and http://www.instagram.com/authorlibby/)

Hawaiian Homecoming

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Release day is finally here! You can now find out how things end for Kayla and Jay, when you download the final book right here. It’s already getting some good reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, which is a relief after so long nurturing these books!

For those of you waiting to binge the trilogy in one go, the release of the combined volume is only a few hours away. But you can pre-order your copy right here, and it will be waiting for you on your Kindle soon.

Happy reading everyone!

Reality Strikes Again

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This picture is causing me a problem. Let’s start from the beginning so I can say why.

Those of you who are reading my current series will know, when I set the book in Hawaii I decided to make full use of the beautiful scenery. It would be a crime not to. For a romance novel this means many things, including… apply your morning sunscreen everywhere.

I admit, thinking over all the beautiful spots in Hawaii wasn’t hard. Talk about spoiled for choice. Having a ridiculous amount of options meant that it also wasn’t hard to think up realistic places where a newly in love couple might sneak away for “privacy” and “alone time”.

But in Hawaiian Homecoming (first draft has passed the halfway mark by the way, woohoo!) we’re back in New Zealand. What is it, when it comes to writing about your own country, that you have to fight yourself to see it through rosy glasses? To see all the gorgeous tourist traps, rather than “ugh, Auckland, your traffic is just the worst“.

But I’ve had a think and remembered my many beautiful holidays around New Zealand, and of course I’ve already talked about Waiheke being one of those. Vineyards! Beaches! Fewer people, giving us options for “privacy”!

And really, why wouldn’t you get a bit carried away in a vineyard. They’re so pretty.

But now we go back a square. I spent a weekend in Martinborough, where there is also many vineyards,  and you can have a lot of fun cycling from one to the other for wine tastings. And this picture shows the moment where I realised there was a small problem with my plan. Can you spot it?

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Those vines do not give much cover! There’s a difference between a little exhibitionism, and risking arrest for public indecency.

I do like the idea of love among the vines, though, so I’m sure I can come up with a fix. And if you have a solution, do tell me!

Finally!

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It’s here! It’s finally here! I know, I’m sorry, the cliffhanger was mean, but now you can have your answers. Hawaiian Healing has just gone live on Amazon, and you can check it out here  http://www.amazon.com/Hawaiian-Healing-Heartbreak-Book-ebook/dp/B017QBKHS0/

There’s already some lovely reviews on Goodreads, so thank you to my advance readers who took the time to share their thoughts. There’s even a review that’s already been posted to Amazon – super quick!

If you’re an advance reader and for some reason haven’t got your copy yet, please tell me. I don’t want to leave anyone out in the cold, and every now and then the mailing list develops a few kinks. Not the fun kind 😉

For now… I’ve had my break, and it’s on to writing the third and final book. 8,000 words down, several thousand more to go.

 

Kayla came to Hawaii to heal her broken heart. Not to get it smashed all over again. 

Jay took over her mind and body, consumed her, and then he was gone. 

All she has left are the questions she can’t run from any longer. Can she survive without him? What’s more important, love, or the life she’s built at home? And why does it suddenly seem like Jay’s hiding something? 

The second book of three in the Hawaiian Heartbreak trilogy. This book is recommended for readers over the age of 18 due to explicit sexual content.

Beware Mixing Writing And Marriage

Writing is a wonderful career choice in many ways, but in other ways it can hurt the ones you love.

Not because you have to choose to be solitary for long stretches. I love taking a break for coffee dates or a movie, and the rest of the time they’re probably relieved I’m out of their hair.

Not because you compare your husband to your book boyfriend, because hey, who do you think helps with inspiration.

It’s because you constantly rabbit on to them about details from the book, such as, I don’t know, the time you spent in Hawaii. You might ask your husband what he remembers the air feeling like, what the people were like, what you did, what you ate.

And then one day your husband wakes up, rolls over, and says sadly: “I think… I think I was just dreaming. And now I have this keen awareness that I’m not in Hawaii.”

Me too, babe. Me too.

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Why Hello, Waiheke

In a small country like New Zealand, people get disproportionately excited when the outside world notices us. Actually, we’re technically not all that small – by land mass, we’re twice the size of England. The more you know, hey?

But, we still look tiny because we’re next to that overgrown monstrosity Australia (shakes fist) and we have an eeny weeny population. When people notice anything other than our rugby team or hobbit movies, it’s a Big Day.

So you should’ve seen my Facebook feed explode when Lonely Planet picked a New Zealand spot for one of it’s top 10 for next year! Waiheke Island (say it with me, why-hih-kee) got into the Top 10 Regions for next year’s best in travel. In fact, it’s number five! It even beats Hawaii, which I personally disagree with, but you never really appreciate what’s on your own doorstep, do you?

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Waiheke’s definitely pretty, I’ll give it that.

Anyway, I had a more personal reason to be excited. The last book in the Hawaiian Heartbreak trilogy (currently under construction) is set in New Zealand, and includes some important things happening on Waiheke Island. What can I say, there’s vineyards, beaches, and plenty of little isolated spots to sneak away together. Romance novel kryptonite!

Apparently I need a job predicting hot travel trends, because Hawaiian Healing also includes a nod to Iceland. It’s a tough life, but someone has to sit around daydreaming about the best places to travel, then write it all down.

If you’re interested, this is the full list. Maybe the next book should be set in Romania?

Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Regions 2016

  • Transylvania, Romania
  • West Iceland
  • Valle de Viñales, Cuba
  • Friuli’s wine regions, Italy
  • Waiheke Island, New Zealand
  • The Auvergne, France
  • Hawaii, USA
  • Bavaria, Germany
  • Costa Verde, Brazil
  • St Helena, British Territories

What’s your favourite on the list?

Hawaiian Heartbreak Release – Free For Now!

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What do you do when you meet someone who could be the love of your life, but to be together, one of you will have to give up everything?

Kayla had her life all mapped out, before her ex-boyfriend tipped her world upside down by cheating on her. But she’s had her time licking her wounds. Now she’s ready to take time out for herself on a dream vacation in Hawaii. If that won’t pull the shattered pieces of her heart together, nothing will. 

What she hadn’t planned on was falling for someone new. Especially someone tall, tanned, and distractingly sexy. What starts out as a fun holiday fling quickly turns into a full-blown love affair, with neither wanting to face up to the fact that the clock is ticking until Kayla has to return home. 

The first book of three in the Hawaiian Heartbreak trilogy. This book is recommended for readers over the age of 18 due to explicit sexual content. 

Exciting news, guys! I’ve been keeping you updated for so long, you probably thought the book would never materialise. But the day is finally here – Hawaiian Heartbreak is being released on Kindle.

It’s only free for a few days, so do hit download quick. Click here, and you should be taken right to it. A print version is coming, so if you’re holding out for a hard copy, you won’t need to wait much longer.

Once you’ve finished the book, I’d love if you could take the time to review it. An Amazon review either helps fellow readers find something good, or helps me do better as a writer. So don’t hold back – good or bad, it’s a win-win! If you’re a fellow blogger and want to review it there, go for it, I’d love to see what you think of it.

Happy reading!

Throwback: Tropical Dreaming

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I love travel, but New Zealand is absolutely terrible for it. It’s quite far away from anywhere you want to visit, so any time you’re making plans, you end up factoring in a 10 hour (or more!) plane ride.

The exception is if you’re wanting to go to a tropical island, lie on a white sand beach and read a book. Then it’s just a hop skip and a jump!

This photo was taken in Rarotonga, the main island of the Cook Islands. Excuse the horizon being slightly squiffy, it’s hard to focus when you’re at an outdoor bar, Corona in hand, and you’ve just been swimming in the sea. It’s a tough life, really it is…

Have you traveled anywhere recently? Or are you, like me, stuck inside daydreaming about beaches?

A hike, some sweat, and a diamond ring

Anyone who’s been reading my blog for a while knows I’m currently working on a trilogy set in Hawaii. There’s a reason for that; it has to be one of the most romantic places I’ve ever been to! I can see why all you Americans go on honeymoon there.

Why hello, beautiful
Why hello, beautiful

In the first couple of days that we were in Honolulu, we hiked up Diamond Head. It’s an old volcanic cone right in the midst of the city. It doesn’t look so high when it’s next to skyscrapers, does it? I. Nearly. Died. Between the heat and the steep climb, I was highly relieved to get to the top.

The view was entirely worth it. Honolulu is stunning, with skyscrapers going right up to the beach, giving you a beautiful contrast of the modern world in paradise. This should probably be the part where I promise you I’m not being paid off by their tourism board – it’s difficult not to wax lyrical about this spot!

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Check out how clear the water is!

I really like the story behind the name. Apparently in the 19th century, British sailors turned up, and thought calcite crystals on the volcanic cone were diamonds. That must have been quite a disappointment when they figured out the mistake!

Nowadays the name tends to inspire guys looking for a special spot to propose. I’m not sure how happy I’d be for someone to pop the question while I was all red-faced and sweaty, but hey, I guess when you’re being proposed to you probably don’t care!

Where’s a romantic spot you’ve visited lately? Or even better, an awkward proposal spot?