Children of the Empire: A Journey Down Under

Cat 243 Dover by Mary Jo

The Mayhem Consultant and I have just returned from a three week trip to Australia and New Zealand, which was officially to speak at the romance writer conferences in both countries, but really because we’re inveterate travelers.  We visited Oz and NZ a number of years ago, and I’ve been wanting an excuse to go back ever since.   

It was a charmed and wonderful trip, and my deepest thanks to the two romance writing groups for inviting me.  But along with schmoozing and sightseeing and eating, I had occasional thoughts about the countries that were once part of the British Empire: the “pink bits” on the old world maps.  Now most are member of the Commonwealth of Nations (formerly the British Commonwealth), which currently includes 53 nations, most former members of the empire.

Globe I’ve been in a number of those countries: the US, since I was born here, Canada, which was pretty close to where I grew up, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and several of the Caribbean nations.  I’m always fascinated by the similarities created by a large dose of British culture over many years, and also the differences created by each nation’s individual history. 

And of course from the tourist point of view, it's easier to go to places where English is the national language.  More or less. <G>

Using a staggering number of AmEx points, I was able to book us business class tickets for most of the trip, which made the loooooong flight from Baltimore to Brisbane much easier. 

Auckland I had not been looking forward to the 8 hour layover we would have to make in Auckland before flying on to Brisbane, but that turned out to be Very Cool.  We broke out of the secure area at Auckland airport, found the information desk, and a nice woman located a delightful four hour van and driver charter.  We had a private tour of Auckland on a perfect sunny spring day.  We even saw a penguin swimming in Auckland harbor!  So what could have been a dreadful layover became a fun tour of a beautiful city.

From Brisbane we flew up to Cairns, the touring center for North Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef.  I gather that in summer, the area is miserably hot and muggy, but in winter, it’s lovely—think Phoenix in February. 

We hopped onto a ferry that took us 45 minutes out to Green Island, which is a day trip destination for people coming to sample the delights of the reef, but it also has a fine, quiet hotel with each cottage set in the midst of lush rain forest greenery. 

We stayed three nights, seeing the reef in a glass bottom boat and visiting the little Crocodile zoo that specialized in scary saltwater crocodiles.  Some of them just sat around, still as stone, with their mouths open in case something walked in.  And when they leaped straight in the air to get a piece of chicken on a rod……….!!!!!  Mean dudes.

We also went parasailing, gliding high into the sky and looking down on Green Island and the boats and the shadows of the reef.  Pure tourist stuff, and great fun.

We could have spent weeks just in North Queensland and that’s only one small part of Australia, but it was time to head to Brisbane for the conference.  Aussies are sometimes called Ozzies, and believe me, those Ozzies know how to have a good time!

Australia has been shaped by its fast expanse of ancient land, and the fierceness of much of the sun-struck interior.  It’s the most urbanized country in the world, I’m told, with most of the population concentrated in coastal cities.  This year’s RWAustralia conference was held in Brisbane, a beautiful city on the eastern edge of the country. 

Both conferences were much like American RWA conferences, with similar kinds of workshops.  But since both Australia and New Zealand have much smaller populations than the US (about 22 million and 4 million respectively) the conferences are smaller.  While there are many talented and successful authors, most of them writing for Harlequin Mills & Boon, the pool is small, so they enjoy bringing in foreigners with funny accents who may have different slants on writing and publishing.  In return, both groups are wonderfully welcoming and supportive, and just plain fun.

Most Commonwealth countries have a lot more tea around, and if one is really lucky, they’ll have cream teas with scones and real Devonshire clotted cream.  Yum!  I found that tea breaks are built into conferences—when Anne Gracie and I gave a full day workshop on storytelling in Brisbane, the seven hour session included three meals. <g>  Morning and afternoon tea had snacks—sweet in the morning, possibly savory as well in the afternoon.  Lunch, interestingly, didn’t include dessert, but just wait a couple of hours for afternoon tea.  <g>

After a great conference, it was off to New Zealand and three days in the country before the Kiwi conference in Auckland.  Like many Commonwealth countries, vehicles are driven on the left side of the roads.  (Same in Australia, but I didn’t drive there.)  I drove right hand drive cars when I lived in England, but that was a long time ago, and I was rusty with the rental car I drove in New Zealand. 

Note: staying on the correct side of the road isn’t the hardest part of making the shift, though mistakes can be disastrous.  Much harder is knowing where the left side of the car is.  There’s a tendency to clip hedges while driving.  It’s no fun picking up a strange car at an airport and going out into rush hour traffic and construction (there is always construction around airports) with a strange car, but I managed to get to our destination without turning into a hood ornament on a large truck.

Since most of New Zealand is south of Australia, it gets colder in winter, with alps and snow and great skiing on the South Island.  On our first trip, we traveled from Auckland to Milford Sound in the far south, but since August is winter and our sightseeing time was broken into two three day pieces, I figured that it would be easiest to stick to the north part of the north island.

New Zealand is a farmer’s paradise of greenery, with both islands looking as if they were designed by a really good Regency landscape architect.  There are many tiny villages and farms, and lots of truly fabulous B&Bs.  We stayed at three of them—each wonderful in a different way. 

The farm stay at Bonnie Brae Farm was particularly amazing—we ate with the family, feasting on great local produce.  As an old farm girl, I loved riding over the hills on a hay bale on the tractor’s lift—and was fascinated that it was possible to grow citrus trees next to fruits like peaches and apples, and for all of them to produce fruit.  (When we said yes, we’d like fresh squeezed orange juice for breakfast, our hostess scooped a double handful of her oranges from a bowl on the coffee table and went into the kitchen to juice them. <g>) 

While Australia is an ancient land, New Zealand is geologically perhaps the newest RotoruaNZ1_ROT nation on earth (though Iceland might be a contender.)  The town of Rotorua on the North Island is famous for both geothermal activity and Maori culture.  We enjoyed both.  Our first night, we attended to a Maori cultural show and dinner (the Maori warriors were wearing traditional costume, which is to say, not very much!  On quite a chilly night.)  And naturally went to see the geysers and bubbling hot pots in an area right next to the town. 

The next day we went to the Agrodome for a farm show.  We’d done this 25 years ago, and it was such fun that we went back.  I’d gotten sheep facts for my books the first time around, and now the Agrodome has added new attractions.  You still get to meet the different breeds of sheep and see Maori show Mitai herd dogs work, but there’s also an organic farm tour.  Since it was pouring rain, we were glad to be on a wagon covered to keep off the worst of the rain as we were pulled by a tractor again. 

The Agrodome also had a first class gift shop.  We were fascinated to discover knit garments made of a yarn spun from possum fur and merino wool, with maybe a little nylon or silk added.  The result is a gorgeous, lightweight, incredibly cozy material.  The sweaters are great fun to pet.  <g> 

240px-Brushtail_possum The possum in question is different from our American variety, which look like large gray rats.  The brush tail possum is an import from Australia and a major destructive nuisance in New Zealand, so I think that turning them into sweaters is a fine idea. 

It was interesting to see lovely, civilized Kiwis talk about running possums down with their cars whenever they can.  (The possums do a lot of damage to the forest and native birds.)  When the conversation turned to possums, inevitably someone said with exasperation that the little beasts are actually a protected species in Australia.  (Apparently New Zealand is paradise for possums as well as farmers.) 

But all vacations must end, and deadlines loom, so after a couple more days of touring, we headed for home.  I am vastly pleased with myself for finishing the draft of a fantasy novelette while flying through the night between Auckland and Los Angeles.  It was the only lick of writing I did the whole time, but at least it’s something! 

Merino Mary Jo, hoping she gets to go Down Under again some day

 

145 thoughts on “Children of the Empire: A Journey Down Under”

  1. Thanks for the lovely travelogue, Mary Jo. Though I’ve read much about Australia and New Zealand, I don’t see a vacation there any time soon, so it was nice to be an “armchair traveller.”
    You’re right about the cream teas. We spent 3 weeks touring England, Ireland and Wales, and the Devonshire clotted cream was a definite highlight!
    P.S. Really enjoyed Loving a Lost Lord! Can’t wait for the next in the series!

    Reply
  2. Thanks for the lovely travelogue, Mary Jo. Though I’ve read much about Australia and New Zealand, I don’t see a vacation there any time soon, so it was nice to be an “armchair traveller.”
    You’re right about the cream teas. We spent 3 weeks touring England, Ireland and Wales, and the Devonshire clotted cream was a definite highlight!
    P.S. Really enjoyed Loving a Lost Lord! Can’t wait for the next in the series!

    Reply
  3. Thanks for the lovely travelogue, Mary Jo. Though I’ve read much about Australia and New Zealand, I don’t see a vacation there any time soon, so it was nice to be an “armchair traveller.”
    You’re right about the cream teas. We spent 3 weeks touring England, Ireland and Wales, and the Devonshire clotted cream was a definite highlight!
    P.S. Really enjoyed Loving a Lost Lord! Can’t wait for the next in the series!

    Reply
  4. Thanks for the lovely travelogue, Mary Jo. Though I’ve read much about Australia and New Zealand, I don’t see a vacation there any time soon, so it was nice to be an “armchair traveller.”
    You’re right about the cream teas. We spent 3 weeks touring England, Ireland and Wales, and the Devonshire clotted cream was a definite highlight!
    P.S. Really enjoyed Loving a Lost Lord! Can’t wait for the next in the series!

    Reply
  5. Thanks for the lovely travelogue, Mary Jo. Though I’ve read much about Australia and New Zealand, I don’t see a vacation there any time soon, so it was nice to be an “armchair traveller.”
    You’re right about the cream teas. We spent 3 weeks touring England, Ireland and Wales, and the Devonshire clotted cream was a definite highlight!
    P.S. Really enjoyed Loving a Lost Lord! Can’t wait for the next in the series!

    Reply
  6. From MJP:
    Hugh Jackman is definitely a good ambassador for Australia. Just and Peter Jackson and his Lord of the Rings movies do a dynamite job of showcasing the incredible New Zealand scenery.
    For some reason, Australia and New Zealand have always intrigued me, which is why I’ve been to both places twice and would love to go again and see more. Qantas and Air New Zealand have been running great specials on tickets Down Under, and it’s cheaper to eat and sleep in either country than just about anywhere in Europe, I think. But it’s still a looong way off and takes time.
    Cynthia, so glad you enjoyed LALL! The second book, Randall’s story, now has a title: NEVER LESS THAN A LADY, and it’s scheduled for May 2010.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  7. From MJP:
    Hugh Jackman is definitely a good ambassador for Australia. Just and Peter Jackson and his Lord of the Rings movies do a dynamite job of showcasing the incredible New Zealand scenery.
    For some reason, Australia and New Zealand have always intrigued me, which is why I’ve been to both places twice and would love to go again and see more. Qantas and Air New Zealand have been running great specials on tickets Down Under, and it’s cheaper to eat and sleep in either country than just about anywhere in Europe, I think. But it’s still a looong way off and takes time.
    Cynthia, so glad you enjoyed LALL! The second book, Randall’s story, now has a title: NEVER LESS THAN A LADY, and it’s scheduled for May 2010.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  8. From MJP:
    Hugh Jackman is definitely a good ambassador for Australia. Just and Peter Jackson and his Lord of the Rings movies do a dynamite job of showcasing the incredible New Zealand scenery.
    For some reason, Australia and New Zealand have always intrigued me, which is why I’ve been to both places twice and would love to go again and see more. Qantas and Air New Zealand have been running great specials on tickets Down Under, and it’s cheaper to eat and sleep in either country than just about anywhere in Europe, I think. But it’s still a looong way off and takes time.
    Cynthia, so glad you enjoyed LALL! The second book, Randall’s story, now has a title: NEVER LESS THAN A LADY, and it’s scheduled for May 2010.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  9. From MJP:
    Hugh Jackman is definitely a good ambassador for Australia. Just and Peter Jackson and his Lord of the Rings movies do a dynamite job of showcasing the incredible New Zealand scenery.
    For some reason, Australia and New Zealand have always intrigued me, which is why I’ve been to both places twice and would love to go again and see more. Qantas and Air New Zealand have been running great specials on tickets Down Under, and it’s cheaper to eat and sleep in either country than just about anywhere in Europe, I think. But it’s still a looong way off and takes time.
    Cynthia, so glad you enjoyed LALL! The second book, Randall’s story, now has a title: NEVER LESS THAN A LADY, and it’s scheduled for May 2010.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  10. From MJP:
    Hugh Jackman is definitely a good ambassador for Australia. Just and Peter Jackson and his Lord of the Rings movies do a dynamite job of showcasing the incredible New Zealand scenery.
    For some reason, Australia and New Zealand have always intrigued me, which is why I’ve been to both places twice and would love to go again and see more. Qantas and Air New Zealand have been running great specials on tickets Down Under, and it’s cheaper to eat and sleep in either country than just about anywhere in Europe, I think. But it’s still a looong way off and takes time.
    Cynthia, so glad you enjoyed LALL! The second book, Randall’s story, now has a title: NEVER LESS THAN A LADY, and it’s scheduled for May 2010.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  11. I’m a big fan of Auckland myself. And being so sheep-ish I absolutely adored the Agrodome, which we visited during our stay at Rotorua. I had to be pried away. That entire region has the most magical lakes and forests, not to mention the bubbling mud and the steam holes.
    I agree, taking business class flights is a much more comfortable way to travel those long, long distances.
    Glad you had a great getaway!

    Reply
  12. I’m a big fan of Auckland myself. And being so sheep-ish I absolutely adored the Agrodome, which we visited during our stay at Rotorua. I had to be pried away. That entire region has the most magical lakes and forests, not to mention the bubbling mud and the steam holes.
    I agree, taking business class flights is a much more comfortable way to travel those long, long distances.
    Glad you had a great getaway!

    Reply
  13. I’m a big fan of Auckland myself. And being so sheep-ish I absolutely adored the Agrodome, which we visited during our stay at Rotorua. I had to be pried away. That entire region has the most magical lakes and forests, not to mention the bubbling mud and the steam holes.
    I agree, taking business class flights is a much more comfortable way to travel those long, long distances.
    Glad you had a great getaway!

    Reply
  14. I’m a big fan of Auckland myself. And being so sheep-ish I absolutely adored the Agrodome, which we visited during our stay at Rotorua. I had to be pried away. That entire region has the most magical lakes and forests, not to mention the bubbling mud and the steam holes.
    I agree, taking business class flights is a much more comfortable way to travel those long, long distances.
    Glad you had a great getaway!

    Reply
  15. I’m a big fan of Auckland myself. And being so sheep-ish I absolutely adored the Agrodome, which we visited during our stay at Rotorua. I had to be pried away. That entire region has the most magical lakes and forests, not to mention the bubbling mud and the steam holes.
    I agree, taking business class flights is a much more comfortable way to travel those long, long distances.
    Glad you had a great getaway!

    Reply
  16. From MJP:
    **being so sheep-ish I absolutely adored the Agrodome, **
    LOL! BAD Margaret. *g* The Agrodome is delightful–entertainment and education at once. Watching one of the “eye” dogs stare down a sheep was very interesting. Sort of like watching a vampire mesmerize a victim.
    Kim, I’ll see if I can come up with a parasailing picture! I’m having problems with the files being too from my new camera, so I have to work that out. It was great fun, though.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  17. From MJP:
    **being so sheep-ish I absolutely adored the Agrodome, **
    LOL! BAD Margaret. *g* The Agrodome is delightful–entertainment and education at once. Watching one of the “eye” dogs stare down a sheep was very interesting. Sort of like watching a vampire mesmerize a victim.
    Kim, I’ll see if I can come up with a parasailing picture! I’m having problems with the files being too from my new camera, so I have to work that out. It was great fun, though.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  18. From MJP:
    **being so sheep-ish I absolutely adored the Agrodome, **
    LOL! BAD Margaret. *g* The Agrodome is delightful–entertainment and education at once. Watching one of the “eye” dogs stare down a sheep was very interesting. Sort of like watching a vampire mesmerize a victim.
    Kim, I’ll see if I can come up with a parasailing picture! I’m having problems with the files being too from my new camera, so I have to work that out. It was great fun, though.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  19. From MJP:
    **being so sheep-ish I absolutely adored the Agrodome, **
    LOL! BAD Margaret. *g* The Agrodome is delightful–entertainment and education at once. Watching one of the “eye” dogs stare down a sheep was very interesting. Sort of like watching a vampire mesmerize a victim.
    Kim, I’ll see if I can come up with a parasailing picture! I’m having problems with the files being too from my new camera, so I have to work that out. It was great fun, though.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  20. From MJP:
    **being so sheep-ish I absolutely adored the Agrodome, **
    LOL! BAD Margaret. *g* The Agrodome is delightful–entertainment and education at once. Watching one of the “eye” dogs stare down a sheep was very interesting. Sort of like watching a vampire mesmerize a victim.
    Kim, I’ll see if I can come up with a parasailing picture! I’m having problems with the files being too from my new camera, so I have to work that out. It was great fun, though.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  21. I am so jealous! My DH and I hope to some day make this trip. Retirement is a couple years away and we hope to be able to travel a lot when that time comes. It will be a toss-up between Ireland/Scotland/England and this trip as to which we do first. It would have been nice to be able to take this trip when we were younger.
    Glad you had a great trip and were able to squeeze so much into it.

    Reply
  22. I am so jealous! My DH and I hope to some day make this trip. Retirement is a couple years away and we hope to be able to travel a lot when that time comes. It will be a toss-up between Ireland/Scotland/England and this trip as to which we do first. It would have been nice to be able to take this trip when we were younger.
    Glad you had a great trip and were able to squeeze so much into it.

    Reply
  23. I am so jealous! My DH and I hope to some day make this trip. Retirement is a couple years away and we hope to be able to travel a lot when that time comes. It will be a toss-up between Ireland/Scotland/England and this trip as to which we do first. It would have been nice to be able to take this trip when we were younger.
    Glad you had a great trip and were able to squeeze so much into it.

    Reply
  24. I am so jealous! My DH and I hope to some day make this trip. Retirement is a couple years away and we hope to be able to travel a lot when that time comes. It will be a toss-up between Ireland/Scotland/England and this trip as to which we do first. It would have been nice to be able to take this trip when we were younger.
    Glad you had a great trip and were able to squeeze so much into it.

    Reply
  25. I am so jealous! My DH and I hope to some day make this trip. Retirement is a couple years away and we hope to be able to travel a lot when that time comes. It will be a toss-up between Ireland/Scotland/England and this trip as to which we do first. It would have been nice to be able to take this trip when we were younger.
    Glad you had a great trip and were able to squeeze so much into it.

    Reply
  26. Hi Mary and John. I’m glad to see you arrived home safe and sound.
    From the RWNZ Conference committee we thank you for your gracious praise. We loved having you visit with us and give so freely of your time and knowledge. I personally learned heaps, being a budding historical writer. I look forward to seeing you again at one of the RWA conferences, something I’ve promised myself once I get my first contract.
    Many thanks from New Zealand
    Bronwen Evans

    Reply
  27. Hi Mary and John. I’m glad to see you arrived home safe and sound.
    From the RWNZ Conference committee we thank you for your gracious praise. We loved having you visit with us and give so freely of your time and knowledge. I personally learned heaps, being a budding historical writer. I look forward to seeing you again at one of the RWA conferences, something I’ve promised myself once I get my first contract.
    Many thanks from New Zealand
    Bronwen Evans

    Reply
  28. Hi Mary and John. I’m glad to see you arrived home safe and sound.
    From the RWNZ Conference committee we thank you for your gracious praise. We loved having you visit with us and give so freely of your time and knowledge. I personally learned heaps, being a budding historical writer. I look forward to seeing you again at one of the RWA conferences, something I’ve promised myself once I get my first contract.
    Many thanks from New Zealand
    Bronwen Evans

    Reply
  29. Hi Mary and John. I’m glad to see you arrived home safe and sound.
    From the RWNZ Conference committee we thank you for your gracious praise. We loved having you visit with us and give so freely of your time and knowledge. I personally learned heaps, being a budding historical writer. I look forward to seeing you again at one of the RWA conferences, something I’ve promised myself once I get my first contract.
    Many thanks from New Zealand
    Bronwen Evans

    Reply
  30. Hi Mary and John. I’m glad to see you arrived home safe and sound.
    From the RWNZ Conference committee we thank you for your gracious praise. We loved having you visit with us and give so freely of your time and knowledge. I personally learned heaps, being a budding historical writer. I look forward to seeing you again at one of the RWA conferences, something I’ve promised myself once I get my first contract.
    Many thanks from New Zealand
    Bronwen Evans

    Reply
  31. Hi Mary Jo, glad to hear you enjoyed your experience downunder, notwithstanding the driving!
    I found the pubbed author chat on Sunday (the RWNZ conference) most interesting, lots of lightbulb moments for a relative newbie.
    I also picked up one of your books – Loving a Lost Lord – and thoroughly enjoyed it. My first historical!!
    Hope to see you again someday.

    Reply
  32. Hi Mary Jo, glad to hear you enjoyed your experience downunder, notwithstanding the driving!
    I found the pubbed author chat on Sunday (the RWNZ conference) most interesting, lots of lightbulb moments for a relative newbie.
    I also picked up one of your books – Loving a Lost Lord – and thoroughly enjoyed it. My first historical!!
    Hope to see you again someday.

    Reply
  33. Hi Mary Jo, glad to hear you enjoyed your experience downunder, notwithstanding the driving!
    I found the pubbed author chat on Sunday (the RWNZ conference) most interesting, lots of lightbulb moments for a relative newbie.
    I also picked up one of your books – Loving a Lost Lord – and thoroughly enjoyed it. My first historical!!
    Hope to see you again someday.

    Reply
  34. Hi Mary Jo, glad to hear you enjoyed your experience downunder, notwithstanding the driving!
    I found the pubbed author chat on Sunday (the RWNZ conference) most interesting, lots of lightbulb moments for a relative newbie.
    I also picked up one of your books – Loving a Lost Lord – and thoroughly enjoyed it. My first historical!!
    Hope to see you again someday.

    Reply
  35. Hi Mary Jo, glad to hear you enjoyed your experience downunder, notwithstanding the driving!
    I found the pubbed author chat on Sunday (the RWNZ conference) most interesting, lots of lightbulb moments for a relative newbie.
    I also picked up one of your books – Loving a Lost Lord – and thoroughly enjoyed it. My first historical!!
    Hope to see you again someday.

    Reply
  36. Mary Jo and MC, it was a pleasure to meet you both and to have you both Downunder! You guys helped make our conferences the fabulous events they were.
    Thanks so much, Mary Jo, for being such a gracious, intelligent and generous speaker. I love being a romance writer. You meet the best people.
    All best from Downunder on our first day of spring,
    Trish

    Reply
  37. Mary Jo and MC, it was a pleasure to meet you both and to have you both Downunder! You guys helped make our conferences the fabulous events they were.
    Thanks so much, Mary Jo, for being such a gracious, intelligent and generous speaker. I love being a romance writer. You meet the best people.
    All best from Downunder on our first day of spring,
    Trish

    Reply
  38. Mary Jo and MC, it was a pleasure to meet you both and to have you both Downunder! You guys helped make our conferences the fabulous events they were.
    Thanks so much, Mary Jo, for being such a gracious, intelligent and generous speaker. I love being a romance writer. You meet the best people.
    All best from Downunder on our first day of spring,
    Trish

    Reply
  39. Mary Jo and MC, it was a pleasure to meet you both and to have you both Downunder! You guys helped make our conferences the fabulous events they were.
    Thanks so much, Mary Jo, for being such a gracious, intelligent and generous speaker. I love being a romance writer. You meet the best people.
    All best from Downunder on our first day of spring,
    Trish

    Reply
  40. Mary Jo and MC, it was a pleasure to meet you both and to have you both Downunder! You guys helped make our conferences the fabulous events they were.
    Thanks so much, Mary Jo, for being such a gracious, intelligent and generous speaker. I love being a romance writer. You meet the best people.
    All best from Downunder on our first day of spring,
    Trish

    Reply
  41. What a wonderful travelogue, which of course has me turning green with envy, and dreaming of packing a large bag and heading Down Under. I’ve always wanted to visit both countries, as they appeal to my interests—very outdoorsy, with lots of wonderful sports and hiking; great beaches and reefs. And fabulous wine! Sounds pretty perfect to me!
    Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  42. What a wonderful travelogue, which of course has me turning green with envy, and dreaming of packing a large bag and heading Down Under. I’ve always wanted to visit both countries, as they appeal to my interests—very outdoorsy, with lots of wonderful sports and hiking; great beaches and reefs. And fabulous wine! Sounds pretty perfect to me!
    Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  43. What a wonderful travelogue, which of course has me turning green with envy, and dreaming of packing a large bag and heading Down Under. I’ve always wanted to visit both countries, as they appeal to my interests—very outdoorsy, with lots of wonderful sports and hiking; great beaches and reefs. And fabulous wine! Sounds pretty perfect to me!
    Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  44. What a wonderful travelogue, which of course has me turning green with envy, and dreaming of packing a large bag and heading Down Under. I’ve always wanted to visit both countries, as they appeal to my interests—very outdoorsy, with lots of wonderful sports and hiking; great beaches and reefs. And fabulous wine! Sounds pretty perfect to me!
    Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  45. What a wonderful travelogue, which of course has me turning green with envy, and dreaming of packing a large bag and heading Down Under. I’ve always wanted to visit both countries, as they appeal to my interests—very outdoorsy, with lots of wonderful sports and hiking; great beaches and reefs. And fabulous wine! Sounds pretty perfect to me!
    Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  46. From MJP:
    Patricia–choosing between Britain and Down Under will be a rough choice! For a history buff, it’s hard to beat the UK, but Australia and New Zealand are easy to get around in because of less traffic. You’ll just have to do both when you can. *g*
    Bronwen, thanks for stopping by the blog. I look forward to seeing you at RWA 2011 in NYC after you have a contract in hand! I need to return some hospitality to you. *g*
    Jan, I’m glad the published author chat was of value. There was such a range of experience in that room! I love chats like that where we can share what we know. I’m also glad that LALL didn’t put you off historicals forever. *g*
    Thanks for the kind words, Trish! As you say, romance writers are the nice people, which is a big part of why we had such a fabulous trip! My thankk to you and your colleagues.
    Nalini–I’ll probably see you in the US before I make it Down Under again, but I hope to be back someday. Lovely to meet you, and good luck with that writing schedule!
    Andrea, as the Jock Wench you would totally love Australia and New Zealand, and of course the people are fabulous. When you go, schedule for the winter so you can visit the romance writer conferences!
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  47. From MJP:
    Patricia–choosing between Britain and Down Under will be a rough choice! For a history buff, it’s hard to beat the UK, but Australia and New Zealand are easy to get around in because of less traffic. You’ll just have to do both when you can. *g*
    Bronwen, thanks for stopping by the blog. I look forward to seeing you at RWA 2011 in NYC after you have a contract in hand! I need to return some hospitality to you. *g*
    Jan, I’m glad the published author chat was of value. There was such a range of experience in that room! I love chats like that where we can share what we know. I’m also glad that LALL didn’t put you off historicals forever. *g*
    Thanks for the kind words, Trish! As you say, romance writers are the nice people, which is a big part of why we had such a fabulous trip! My thankk to you and your colleagues.
    Nalini–I’ll probably see you in the US before I make it Down Under again, but I hope to be back someday. Lovely to meet you, and good luck with that writing schedule!
    Andrea, as the Jock Wench you would totally love Australia and New Zealand, and of course the people are fabulous. When you go, schedule for the winter so you can visit the romance writer conferences!
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  48. From MJP:
    Patricia–choosing between Britain and Down Under will be a rough choice! For a history buff, it’s hard to beat the UK, but Australia and New Zealand are easy to get around in because of less traffic. You’ll just have to do both when you can. *g*
    Bronwen, thanks for stopping by the blog. I look forward to seeing you at RWA 2011 in NYC after you have a contract in hand! I need to return some hospitality to you. *g*
    Jan, I’m glad the published author chat was of value. There was such a range of experience in that room! I love chats like that where we can share what we know. I’m also glad that LALL didn’t put you off historicals forever. *g*
    Thanks for the kind words, Trish! As you say, romance writers are the nice people, which is a big part of why we had such a fabulous trip! My thankk to you and your colleagues.
    Nalini–I’ll probably see you in the US before I make it Down Under again, but I hope to be back someday. Lovely to meet you, and good luck with that writing schedule!
    Andrea, as the Jock Wench you would totally love Australia and New Zealand, and of course the people are fabulous. When you go, schedule for the winter so you can visit the romance writer conferences!
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  49. From MJP:
    Patricia–choosing between Britain and Down Under will be a rough choice! For a history buff, it’s hard to beat the UK, but Australia and New Zealand are easy to get around in because of less traffic. You’ll just have to do both when you can. *g*
    Bronwen, thanks for stopping by the blog. I look forward to seeing you at RWA 2011 in NYC after you have a contract in hand! I need to return some hospitality to you. *g*
    Jan, I’m glad the published author chat was of value. There was such a range of experience in that room! I love chats like that where we can share what we know. I’m also glad that LALL didn’t put you off historicals forever. *g*
    Thanks for the kind words, Trish! As you say, romance writers are the nice people, which is a big part of why we had such a fabulous trip! My thankk to you and your colleagues.
    Nalini–I’ll probably see you in the US before I make it Down Under again, but I hope to be back someday. Lovely to meet you, and good luck with that writing schedule!
    Andrea, as the Jock Wench you would totally love Australia and New Zealand, and of course the people are fabulous. When you go, schedule for the winter so you can visit the romance writer conferences!
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  50. From MJP:
    Patricia–choosing between Britain and Down Under will be a rough choice! For a history buff, it’s hard to beat the UK, but Australia and New Zealand are easy to get around in because of less traffic. You’ll just have to do both when you can. *g*
    Bronwen, thanks for stopping by the blog. I look forward to seeing you at RWA 2011 in NYC after you have a contract in hand! I need to return some hospitality to you. *g*
    Jan, I’m glad the published author chat was of value. There was such a range of experience in that room! I love chats like that where we can share what we know. I’m also glad that LALL didn’t put you off historicals forever. *g*
    Thanks for the kind words, Trish! As you say, romance writers are the nice people, which is a big part of why we had such a fabulous trip! My thankk to you and your colleagues.
    Nalini–I’ll probably see you in the US before I make it Down Under again, but I hope to be back someday. Lovely to meet you, and good luck with that writing schedule!
    Andrea, as the Jock Wench you would totally love Australia and New Zealand, and of course the people are fabulous. When you go, schedule for the winter so you can visit the romance writer conferences!
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  51. Mary-Jo I am so glad you enjoyed your time with us. I know I certainly enjoyed listening to you at our conference- funny accent(LOL)and all.
    Don’t mention possums…argh… to a gardener. They Loooove roses. Until I moved into town I’d forgotten what a rosebush covered in flowers looked like. In the old days every farm house had a wonderful orchard and fruit galore,but with possums …forget it.
    The best possum is the one made into socks and you can walk on the little beasties. Although I had to crack up when an American tourist in my shop expressed much concern about all the dead baby bears on our roads. ..Ah we don’t have wild bears here in New Zealand.
    We look forward to seeing you again.

    Reply
  52. Mary-Jo I am so glad you enjoyed your time with us. I know I certainly enjoyed listening to you at our conference- funny accent(LOL)and all.
    Don’t mention possums…argh… to a gardener. They Loooove roses. Until I moved into town I’d forgotten what a rosebush covered in flowers looked like. In the old days every farm house had a wonderful orchard and fruit galore,but with possums …forget it.
    The best possum is the one made into socks and you can walk on the little beasties. Although I had to crack up when an American tourist in my shop expressed much concern about all the dead baby bears on our roads. ..Ah we don’t have wild bears here in New Zealand.
    We look forward to seeing you again.

    Reply
  53. Mary-Jo I am so glad you enjoyed your time with us. I know I certainly enjoyed listening to you at our conference- funny accent(LOL)and all.
    Don’t mention possums…argh… to a gardener. They Loooove roses. Until I moved into town I’d forgotten what a rosebush covered in flowers looked like. In the old days every farm house had a wonderful orchard and fruit galore,but with possums …forget it.
    The best possum is the one made into socks and you can walk on the little beasties. Although I had to crack up when an American tourist in my shop expressed much concern about all the dead baby bears on our roads. ..Ah we don’t have wild bears here in New Zealand.
    We look forward to seeing you again.

    Reply
  54. Mary-Jo I am so glad you enjoyed your time with us. I know I certainly enjoyed listening to you at our conference- funny accent(LOL)and all.
    Don’t mention possums…argh… to a gardener. They Loooove roses. Until I moved into town I’d forgotten what a rosebush covered in flowers looked like. In the old days every farm house had a wonderful orchard and fruit galore,but with possums …forget it.
    The best possum is the one made into socks and you can walk on the little beasties. Although I had to crack up when an American tourist in my shop expressed much concern about all the dead baby bears on our roads. ..Ah we don’t have wild bears here in New Zealand.
    We look forward to seeing you again.

    Reply
  55. Mary-Jo I am so glad you enjoyed your time with us. I know I certainly enjoyed listening to you at our conference- funny accent(LOL)and all.
    Don’t mention possums…argh… to a gardener. They Loooove roses. Until I moved into town I’d forgotten what a rosebush covered in flowers looked like. In the old days every farm house had a wonderful orchard and fruit galore,but with possums …forget it.
    The best possum is the one made into socks and you can walk on the little beasties. Although I had to crack up when an American tourist in my shop expressed much concern about all the dead baby bears on our roads. ..Ah we don’t have wild bears here in New Zealand.
    We look forward to seeing you again.

    Reply
  56. Mary Jo
    It was great to meet you and John. Thank you for your lovely words about our conference.
    Hope that you make it down here again soon and that I have the pleasure of your company again.
    I hope John is still enjoying his possum jersey and that it keeps him very warm during your winter.
    Pat

    Reply
  57. Mary Jo
    It was great to meet you and John. Thank you for your lovely words about our conference.
    Hope that you make it down here again soon and that I have the pleasure of your company again.
    I hope John is still enjoying his possum jersey and that it keeps him very warm during your winter.
    Pat

    Reply
  58. Mary Jo
    It was great to meet you and John. Thank you for your lovely words about our conference.
    Hope that you make it down here again soon and that I have the pleasure of your company again.
    I hope John is still enjoying his possum jersey and that it keeps him very warm during your winter.
    Pat

    Reply
  59. Mary Jo
    It was great to meet you and John. Thank you for your lovely words about our conference.
    Hope that you make it down here again soon and that I have the pleasure of your company again.
    I hope John is still enjoying his possum jersey and that it keeps him very warm during your winter.
    Pat

    Reply
  60. Mary Jo
    It was great to meet you and John. Thank you for your lovely words about our conference.
    Hope that you make it down here again soon and that I have the pleasure of your company again.
    I hope John is still enjoying his possum jersey and that it keeps him very warm during your winter.
    Pat

    Reply
  61. Hey Mary Jo and MC, it was lovely to meet you in Australia and again here in New Zealand. I’m thrilled you both had such a great time here. I always love hearing about my country through another’s eyes–especially when they’ve enjoyed it as much as you two have. Best wishes to you both (and the little fuzzy critters )

    Reply
  62. Hey Mary Jo and MC, it was lovely to meet you in Australia and again here in New Zealand. I’m thrilled you both had such a great time here. I always love hearing about my country through another’s eyes–especially when they’ve enjoyed it as much as you two have. Best wishes to you both (and the little fuzzy critters )

    Reply
  63. Hey Mary Jo and MC, it was lovely to meet you in Australia and again here in New Zealand. I’m thrilled you both had such a great time here. I always love hearing about my country through another’s eyes–especially when they’ve enjoyed it as much as you two have. Best wishes to you both (and the little fuzzy critters )

    Reply
  64. Hey Mary Jo and MC, it was lovely to meet you in Australia and again here in New Zealand. I’m thrilled you both had such a great time here. I always love hearing about my country through another’s eyes–especially when they’ve enjoyed it as much as you two have. Best wishes to you both (and the little fuzzy critters )

    Reply
  65. Hey Mary Jo and MC, it was lovely to meet you in Australia and again here in New Zealand. I’m thrilled you both had such a great time here. I always love hearing about my country through another’s eyes–especially when they’ve enjoyed it as much as you two have. Best wishes to you both (and the little fuzzy critters )

    Reply
  66. From MJP:
    Thanks to all you Ozzies and Kiwis for stopping by! I laughed about the ‘dead baby bears’ on the road. Not unsurprisingly, the possums do look like they’re related to both kangaroos and koala, and they’re kinda cute if one doesn’t know about the damage they do.
    Shirley, I like your belief that they should be turned into socks and walked on. *g*
    Sara, I’m glad the brainstorming workshop produced a light bulb moment. It can be a really useful technique if you have good mates to play with.
    Pat, I’m sure that you and Gracie and Bronwen and the other hard-working people who put on the Auckland conference are now kicking back and relaxing. A good conference requires a LOT of work!
    As for the MC’s possum silk sweater–I couldn’t get it off him for a week. *g* Only the fact that it’s summer here in the US made it possible for me to coax it away.
    Yvonne, it was lovely to see you twice. We need to try for thrice now. *g*
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  67. From MJP:
    Thanks to all you Ozzies and Kiwis for stopping by! I laughed about the ‘dead baby bears’ on the road. Not unsurprisingly, the possums do look like they’re related to both kangaroos and koala, and they’re kinda cute if one doesn’t know about the damage they do.
    Shirley, I like your belief that they should be turned into socks and walked on. *g*
    Sara, I’m glad the brainstorming workshop produced a light bulb moment. It can be a really useful technique if you have good mates to play with.
    Pat, I’m sure that you and Gracie and Bronwen and the other hard-working people who put on the Auckland conference are now kicking back and relaxing. A good conference requires a LOT of work!
    As for the MC’s possum silk sweater–I couldn’t get it off him for a week. *g* Only the fact that it’s summer here in the US made it possible for me to coax it away.
    Yvonne, it was lovely to see you twice. We need to try for thrice now. *g*
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  68. From MJP:
    Thanks to all you Ozzies and Kiwis for stopping by! I laughed about the ‘dead baby bears’ on the road. Not unsurprisingly, the possums do look like they’re related to both kangaroos and koala, and they’re kinda cute if one doesn’t know about the damage they do.
    Shirley, I like your belief that they should be turned into socks and walked on. *g*
    Sara, I’m glad the brainstorming workshop produced a light bulb moment. It can be a really useful technique if you have good mates to play with.
    Pat, I’m sure that you and Gracie and Bronwen and the other hard-working people who put on the Auckland conference are now kicking back and relaxing. A good conference requires a LOT of work!
    As for the MC’s possum silk sweater–I couldn’t get it off him for a week. *g* Only the fact that it’s summer here in the US made it possible for me to coax it away.
    Yvonne, it was lovely to see you twice. We need to try for thrice now. *g*
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  69. From MJP:
    Thanks to all you Ozzies and Kiwis for stopping by! I laughed about the ‘dead baby bears’ on the road. Not unsurprisingly, the possums do look like they’re related to both kangaroos and koala, and they’re kinda cute if one doesn’t know about the damage they do.
    Shirley, I like your belief that they should be turned into socks and walked on. *g*
    Sara, I’m glad the brainstorming workshop produced a light bulb moment. It can be a really useful technique if you have good mates to play with.
    Pat, I’m sure that you and Gracie and Bronwen and the other hard-working people who put on the Auckland conference are now kicking back and relaxing. A good conference requires a LOT of work!
    As for the MC’s possum silk sweater–I couldn’t get it off him for a week. *g* Only the fact that it’s summer here in the US made it possible for me to coax it away.
    Yvonne, it was lovely to see you twice. We need to try for thrice now. *g*
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  70. From MJP:
    Thanks to all you Ozzies and Kiwis for stopping by! I laughed about the ‘dead baby bears’ on the road. Not unsurprisingly, the possums do look like they’re related to both kangaroos and koala, and they’re kinda cute if one doesn’t know about the damage they do.
    Shirley, I like your belief that they should be turned into socks and walked on. *g*
    Sara, I’m glad the brainstorming workshop produced a light bulb moment. It can be a really useful technique if you have good mates to play with.
    Pat, I’m sure that you and Gracie and Bronwen and the other hard-working people who put on the Auckland conference are now kicking back and relaxing. A good conference requires a LOT of work!
    As for the MC’s possum silk sweater–I couldn’t get it off him for a week. *g* Only the fact that it’s summer here in the US made it possible for me to coax it away.
    Yvonne, it was lovely to see you twice. We need to try for thrice now. *g*
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  71. Hi Mary Jo and MC, it was lovely to meet you both.
    The Historical workshop was great. I’m enjoying the “lost Lords” series. Look forward to the next one next year.
    Best wishes to you both. It was a real pleasure having you with us.
    Giovanna Lee (NZ – beautiful sunny day)

    Reply
  72. Hi Mary Jo and MC, it was lovely to meet you both.
    The Historical workshop was great. I’m enjoying the “lost Lords” series. Look forward to the next one next year.
    Best wishes to you both. It was a real pleasure having you with us.
    Giovanna Lee (NZ – beautiful sunny day)

    Reply
  73. Hi Mary Jo and MC, it was lovely to meet you both.
    The Historical workshop was great. I’m enjoying the “lost Lords” series. Look forward to the next one next year.
    Best wishes to you both. It was a real pleasure having you with us.
    Giovanna Lee (NZ – beautiful sunny day)

    Reply
  74. Hi Mary Jo and MC, it was lovely to meet you both.
    The Historical workshop was great. I’m enjoying the “lost Lords” series. Look forward to the next one next year.
    Best wishes to you both. It was a real pleasure having you with us.
    Giovanna Lee (NZ – beautiful sunny day)

    Reply
  75. Hi Mary Jo and MC, it was lovely to meet you both.
    The Historical workshop was great. I’m enjoying the “lost Lords” series. Look forward to the next one next year.
    Best wishes to you both. It was a real pleasure having you with us.
    Giovanna Lee (NZ – beautiful sunny day)

    Reply
  76. You loved us, Mary Jo and John, and we loved you! It was such a pleasure to hear you speak; what a gracious and lovely lady you are, and very inspiring. I also holidayed in the far north (Port Douglas, north of Cairns) straight after the conference, and spent some time sitting by the pool reading Loving A Lost Lord. Can’t think of a nicer way to enjoy tropical Australia. Thanks so much for coming down under.
    Malvina

    Reply
  77. You loved us, Mary Jo and John, and we loved you! It was such a pleasure to hear you speak; what a gracious and lovely lady you are, and very inspiring. I also holidayed in the far north (Port Douglas, north of Cairns) straight after the conference, and spent some time sitting by the pool reading Loving A Lost Lord. Can’t think of a nicer way to enjoy tropical Australia. Thanks so much for coming down under.
    Malvina

    Reply
  78. You loved us, Mary Jo and John, and we loved you! It was such a pleasure to hear you speak; what a gracious and lovely lady you are, and very inspiring. I also holidayed in the far north (Port Douglas, north of Cairns) straight after the conference, and spent some time sitting by the pool reading Loving A Lost Lord. Can’t think of a nicer way to enjoy tropical Australia. Thanks so much for coming down under.
    Malvina

    Reply
  79. You loved us, Mary Jo and John, and we loved you! It was such a pleasure to hear you speak; what a gracious and lovely lady you are, and very inspiring. I also holidayed in the far north (Port Douglas, north of Cairns) straight after the conference, and spent some time sitting by the pool reading Loving A Lost Lord. Can’t think of a nicer way to enjoy tropical Australia. Thanks so much for coming down under.
    Malvina

    Reply
  80. You loved us, Mary Jo and John, and we loved you! It was such a pleasure to hear you speak; what a gracious and lovely lady you are, and very inspiring. I also holidayed in the far north (Port Douglas, north of Cairns) straight after the conference, and spent some time sitting by the pool reading Loving A Lost Lord. Can’t think of a nicer way to enjoy tropical Australia. Thanks so much for coming down under.
    Malvina

    Reply
  81. Mary Jo, it was an utter delight to meet you! One of my enduring memories of the Brisbane conference will be sitting beside you on Sunday night at the Turkish restaurant brainstorming plots involving oh-so-sexy concierge heroes.
    Thanks so much for making the conference such an event!
    Michelle

    Reply
  82. Mary Jo, it was an utter delight to meet you! One of my enduring memories of the Brisbane conference will be sitting beside you on Sunday night at the Turkish restaurant brainstorming plots involving oh-so-sexy concierge heroes.
    Thanks so much for making the conference such an event!
    Michelle

    Reply
  83. Mary Jo, it was an utter delight to meet you! One of my enduring memories of the Brisbane conference will be sitting beside you on Sunday night at the Turkish restaurant brainstorming plots involving oh-so-sexy concierge heroes.
    Thanks so much for making the conference such an event!
    Michelle

    Reply
  84. Mary Jo, it was an utter delight to meet you! One of my enduring memories of the Brisbane conference will be sitting beside you on Sunday night at the Turkish restaurant brainstorming plots involving oh-so-sexy concierge heroes.
    Thanks so much for making the conference such an event!
    Michelle

    Reply
  85. Mary Jo, it was an utter delight to meet you! One of my enduring memories of the Brisbane conference will be sitting beside you on Sunday night at the Turkish restaurant brainstorming plots involving oh-so-sexy concierge heroes.
    Thanks so much for making the conference such an event!
    Michelle

    Reply
  86. Mary Jo, thanks so much for sharing your trip. I love to travel and arm chair traveling works when I can’t go myself. I’ve always wanted to vist both Australia and New Zealand, but most often find myself in Scotland–it’s a wee bit closer. Your descriptions were wonderful and I felt like I was experiencing the two countries with you.
    I just finished Loving a Lost Lord and am looking forward to the sequel.

    Reply
  87. Mary Jo, thanks so much for sharing your trip. I love to travel and arm chair traveling works when I can’t go myself. I’ve always wanted to vist both Australia and New Zealand, but most often find myself in Scotland–it’s a wee bit closer. Your descriptions were wonderful and I felt like I was experiencing the two countries with you.
    I just finished Loving a Lost Lord and am looking forward to the sequel.

    Reply
  88. Mary Jo, thanks so much for sharing your trip. I love to travel and arm chair traveling works when I can’t go myself. I’ve always wanted to vist both Australia and New Zealand, but most often find myself in Scotland–it’s a wee bit closer. Your descriptions were wonderful and I felt like I was experiencing the two countries with you.
    I just finished Loving a Lost Lord and am looking forward to the sequel.

    Reply
  89. Mary Jo, thanks so much for sharing your trip. I love to travel and arm chair traveling works when I can’t go myself. I’ve always wanted to vist both Australia and New Zealand, but most often find myself in Scotland–it’s a wee bit closer. Your descriptions were wonderful and I felt like I was experiencing the two countries with you.
    I just finished Loving a Lost Lord and am looking forward to the sequel.

    Reply
  90. Mary Jo, thanks so much for sharing your trip. I love to travel and arm chair traveling works when I can’t go myself. I’ve always wanted to vist both Australia and New Zealand, but most often find myself in Scotland–it’s a wee bit closer. Your descriptions were wonderful and I felt like I was experiencing the two countries with you.
    I just finished Loving a Lost Lord and am looking forward to the sequel.

    Reply
  91. From MJP:
    Giovanna, I’m glad the historical workshop was useful to you. As I said at the time, I’ve never actually given one, despite my years of writing historicals. But I have picked up a few things along the way about historicals. *g*
    Malvina–isn’t mutual love the best? Of course we loved coming to Australia. Who wouldn’t? And you certainly were wonderful to us!
    Michelle–that Turkish restaurant was a fabulous way to end the conference! Let me know when your concierge book is published–I’m going to have to get a copy. It was such a perfect example of brainstorming in action.
    Nancy–it’s awfully easy to make Scotland one’s default travel destination, but if you find yourself Down Under, I guarantee you’ll love it. And the trip is only about–four times as long as going to Britain? *g*
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  92. From MJP:
    Giovanna, I’m glad the historical workshop was useful to you. As I said at the time, I’ve never actually given one, despite my years of writing historicals. But I have picked up a few things along the way about historicals. *g*
    Malvina–isn’t mutual love the best? Of course we loved coming to Australia. Who wouldn’t? And you certainly were wonderful to us!
    Michelle–that Turkish restaurant was a fabulous way to end the conference! Let me know when your concierge book is published–I’m going to have to get a copy. It was such a perfect example of brainstorming in action.
    Nancy–it’s awfully easy to make Scotland one’s default travel destination, but if you find yourself Down Under, I guarantee you’ll love it. And the trip is only about–four times as long as going to Britain? *g*
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  93. From MJP:
    Giovanna, I’m glad the historical workshop was useful to you. As I said at the time, I’ve never actually given one, despite my years of writing historicals. But I have picked up a few things along the way about historicals. *g*
    Malvina–isn’t mutual love the best? Of course we loved coming to Australia. Who wouldn’t? And you certainly were wonderful to us!
    Michelle–that Turkish restaurant was a fabulous way to end the conference! Let me know when your concierge book is published–I’m going to have to get a copy. It was such a perfect example of brainstorming in action.
    Nancy–it’s awfully easy to make Scotland one’s default travel destination, but if you find yourself Down Under, I guarantee you’ll love it. And the trip is only about–four times as long as going to Britain? *g*
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  94. From MJP:
    Giovanna, I’m glad the historical workshop was useful to you. As I said at the time, I’ve never actually given one, despite my years of writing historicals. But I have picked up a few things along the way about historicals. *g*
    Malvina–isn’t mutual love the best? Of course we loved coming to Australia. Who wouldn’t? And you certainly were wonderful to us!
    Michelle–that Turkish restaurant was a fabulous way to end the conference! Let me know when your concierge book is published–I’m going to have to get a copy. It was such a perfect example of brainstorming in action.
    Nancy–it’s awfully easy to make Scotland one’s default travel destination, but if you find yourself Down Under, I guarantee you’ll love it. And the trip is only about–four times as long as going to Britain? *g*
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  95. From MJP:
    Giovanna, I’m glad the historical workshop was useful to you. As I said at the time, I’ve never actually given one, despite my years of writing historicals. But I have picked up a few things along the way about historicals. *g*
    Malvina–isn’t mutual love the best? Of course we loved coming to Australia. Who wouldn’t? And you certainly were wonderful to us!
    Michelle–that Turkish restaurant was a fabulous way to end the conference! Let me know when your concierge book is published–I’m going to have to get a copy. It was such a perfect example of brainstorming in action.
    Nancy–it’s awfully easy to make Scotland one’s default travel destination, but if you find yourself Down Under, I guarantee you’ll love it. And the trip is only about–four times as long as going to Britain? *g*
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  96. Mary Jo and John –
    it was a breath of fresh air to meet you both. Thank you for making the trip.
    Mary jo, you know how to hold a room – it was fascinating to hear you speak – please come again soon!
    Carolx

    Reply
  97. Mary Jo and John –
    it was a breath of fresh air to meet you both. Thank you for making the trip.
    Mary jo, you know how to hold a room – it was fascinating to hear you speak – please come again soon!
    Carolx

    Reply
  98. Mary Jo and John –
    it was a breath of fresh air to meet you both. Thank you for making the trip.
    Mary jo, you know how to hold a room – it was fascinating to hear you speak – please come again soon!
    Carolx

    Reply
  99. Mary Jo and John –
    it was a breath of fresh air to meet you both. Thank you for making the trip.
    Mary jo, you know how to hold a room – it was fascinating to hear you speak – please come again soon!
    Carolx

    Reply
  100. Mary Jo and John –
    it was a breath of fresh air to meet you both. Thank you for making the trip.
    Mary jo, you know how to hold a room – it was fascinating to hear you speak – please come again soon!
    Carolx

    Reply
  101. From MJP:
    Carol, you guys are a terrific audience, so I think you brought out my best speaking chops. I’d love to come again, but honestly, I think you now know everything I know! Maybe in a few years, I’ll have learned a few more things. *g*
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  102. From MJP:
    Carol, you guys are a terrific audience, so I think you brought out my best speaking chops. I’d love to come again, but honestly, I think you now know everything I know! Maybe in a few years, I’ll have learned a few more things. *g*
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  103. From MJP:
    Carol, you guys are a terrific audience, so I think you brought out my best speaking chops. I’d love to come again, but honestly, I think you now know everything I know! Maybe in a few years, I’ll have learned a few more things. *g*
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  104. From MJP:
    Carol, you guys are a terrific audience, so I think you brought out my best speaking chops. I’d love to come again, but honestly, I think you now know everything I know! Maybe in a few years, I’ll have learned a few more things. *g*
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  105. From MJP:
    Carol, you guys are a terrific audience, so I think you brought out my best speaking chops. I’d love to come again, but honestly, I think you now know everything I know! Maybe in a few years, I’ll have learned a few more things. *g*
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  106. (I thought I had commented earlier but I must not have saved it right!) So glad to hear you are both safely home. There is nothing like your own pillow and I have no doubt the cats are being suitably disdainful! DB and I thoroughly enjoyed your company over the weekend in Brisbane.
    BTW I got the ‘job’ so fate is taking me in a new and interesting direction after all!
    Alison

    Reply
  107. (I thought I had commented earlier but I must not have saved it right!) So glad to hear you are both safely home. There is nothing like your own pillow and I have no doubt the cats are being suitably disdainful! DB and I thoroughly enjoyed your company over the weekend in Brisbane.
    BTW I got the ‘job’ so fate is taking me in a new and interesting direction after all!
    Alison

    Reply
  108. (I thought I had commented earlier but I must not have saved it right!) So glad to hear you are both safely home. There is nothing like your own pillow and I have no doubt the cats are being suitably disdainful! DB and I thoroughly enjoyed your company over the weekend in Brisbane.
    BTW I got the ‘job’ so fate is taking me in a new and interesting direction after all!
    Alison

    Reply
  109. (I thought I had commented earlier but I must not have saved it right!) So glad to hear you are both safely home. There is nothing like your own pillow and I have no doubt the cats are being suitably disdainful! DB and I thoroughly enjoyed your company over the weekend in Brisbane.
    BTW I got the ‘job’ so fate is taking me in a new and interesting direction after all!
    Alison

    Reply
  110. (I thought I had commented earlier but I must not have saved it right!) So glad to hear you are both safely home. There is nothing like your own pillow and I have no doubt the cats are being suitably disdainful! DB and I thoroughly enjoyed your company over the weekend in Brisbane.
    BTW I got the ‘job’ so fate is taking me in a new and interesting direction after all!
    Alison

    Reply
  111. Frpm MJP:
    So you got the job, Alison! Congratulations–it sounded made for you. It was lovely to meet you, and particularly lovely that your dh was there to keep the Mayhem Consultant amused. *g*
    My cats don’t get disdainful–they get very, very affectionate. They compete for the best spot on the bed. *g*
    Good luck on the new career path–
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  112. Frpm MJP:
    So you got the job, Alison! Congratulations–it sounded made for you. It was lovely to meet you, and particularly lovely that your dh was there to keep the Mayhem Consultant amused. *g*
    My cats don’t get disdainful–they get very, very affectionate. They compete for the best spot on the bed. *g*
    Good luck on the new career path–
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  113. Frpm MJP:
    So you got the job, Alison! Congratulations–it sounded made for you. It was lovely to meet you, and particularly lovely that your dh was there to keep the Mayhem Consultant amused. *g*
    My cats don’t get disdainful–they get very, very affectionate. They compete for the best spot on the bed. *g*
    Good luck on the new career path–
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  114. Frpm MJP:
    So you got the job, Alison! Congratulations–it sounded made for you. It was lovely to meet you, and particularly lovely that your dh was there to keep the Mayhem Consultant amused. *g*
    My cats don’t get disdainful–they get very, very affectionate. They compete for the best spot on the bed. *g*
    Good luck on the new career path–
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  115. Frpm MJP:
    So you got the job, Alison! Congratulations–it sounded made for you. It was lovely to meet you, and particularly lovely that your dh was there to keep the Mayhem Consultant amused. *g*
    My cats don’t get disdainful–they get very, very affectionate. They compete for the best spot on the bed. *g*
    Good luck on the new career path–
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  116. Thanks for the info. It sounds like a fabulous trip. The world SF convention will be held in Australia next August and I’d decided not to go because I thought it would be too cold to enjoy. Now I’m reconsidering!

    Reply
  117. Thanks for the info. It sounds like a fabulous trip. The world SF convention will be held in Australia next August and I’d decided not to go because I thought it would be too cold to enjoy. Now I’m reconsidering!

    Reply
  118. Thanks for the info. It sounds like a fabulous trip. The world SF convention will be held in Australia next August and I’d decided not to go because I thought it would be too cold to enjoy. Now I’m reconsidering!

    Reply
  119. Thanks for the info. It sounds like a fabulous trip. The world SF convention will be held in Australia next August and I’d decided not to go because I thought it would be too cold to enjoy. Now I’m reconsidering!

    Reply
  120. Thanks for the info. It sounds like a fabulous trip. The world SF convention will be held in Australia next August and I’d decided not to go because I thought it would be too cold to enjoy. Now I’m reconsidering!

    Reply
  121. Beautiful words are always a delight. I enjoy any thing that you write. I have all of your books I think. I may have to go back through my list to make sure. I am always bragging about my talented cousin everytime I buy a new book buy you. Keep writing as I love all of your books. Love you always. Lilly

    Reply
  122. Beautiful words are always a delight. I enjoy any thing that you write. I have all of your books I think. I may have to go back through my list to make sure. I am always bragging about my talented cousin everytime I buy a new book buy you. Keep writing as I love all of your books. Love you always. Lilly

    Reply
  123. Beautiful words are always a delight. I enjoy any thing that you write. I have all of your books I think. I may have to go back through my list to make sure. I am always bragging about my talented cousin everytime I buy a new book buy you. Keep writing as I love all of your books. Love you always. Lilly

    Reply
  124. Beautiful words are always a delight. I enjoy any thing that you write. I have all of your books I think. I may have to go back through my list to make sure. I am always bragging about my talented cousin everytime I buy a new book buy you. Keep writing as I love all of your books. Love you always. Lilly

    Reply
  125. Beautiful words are always a delight. I enjoy any thing that you write. I have all of your books I think. I may have to go back through my list to make sure. I am always bragging about my talented cousin everytime I buy a new book buy you. Keep writing as I love all of your books. Love you always. Lilly

    Reply

Leave a Comment