Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Bucket List ~ Aaron and I at Badlands National Park
~ The Americana Kitsch and Culture Tour 2011
The Bucket List

On Friday this week, 2 May 2014, my launch for my very first romance erotica book happens. Was this always on my bucket list?

Actually, it wasn’t.

Last year, I hit the dreaded fifty and some part of me simply rebelled. I wasn’t ready to hang up my sensuality, leave it at the door, like a grubby pair of worn out shoes. Almost ready for the rubbish bin, no longer fit to wear out in public.

I started to write again, surprised at the characters turning up, what they were doing, and where they were going. Because I didn’t think I was going anywhere with it, I didn’t think to corral them in any way. I just let them do their own thing. Imagine my surprise, when they started to turn up every day, words in hand, attitudes on display. “Here’s today’s words.” They’d thrust them at me.

“Er…okay, thanks.” I’d take them, wondering about some of the places they wanted me to take them in the story. I thought, would people really read that? It was pretty bloody exciting for me, but would other people think that? I wasn’t sure, so new to this genre, that I didn’t have a clue that it was the number two best selling genre out there, and the market was hot. I talked to my mentor, who told me to let my rogue character have some room to move. Nicknamed bloody Charlie and now deeply loved by everyone who reads about him, I finally had to let him do his own thing. And thank God I did.

Here I am, one year later, publishing on Friday. Wow. J It’s an amazing feeling. I can barely comprehend it.
My book cover!! Wow!! :-)
I wouldn’t have gotten here without the help of some people along the way who really need mentioning. Susan Davis, my editor. She has been fabulous to work with and so encouraging. We just seemed to be on the same page. How could you ask for anything more?

Lea Schizas at MuseItHot Publishing—what a powerhouse of energy and enthusiasm. I feel like I lucked out, getting into Muse.

Mikey Rakes, who’s publishing soon under Michele Micheal Rakes. She believed in me and taught me so much about editing and being a better writer. She also encouraged me to make my first submission. I wouldn’t be here without her.

The great people at ERWA and Muse who are a daily support for me, you know who you are. J My good friends who have been behind me one hundred percent.

And finally, my late husband Aaron Brent Amor, who died earlier this year at forty-five, with a bucket list still in him. Without his amazing back up and support, I wouldn’t be here now. He wanted me to be a writer…and here I am. Thank you darling man.
This image of two blended images 'mysteriously' appeared on Aaron's fb page after he died
I hate death. It’s so final. And it’s not the dead who suffer, but those who are left behind… We don’t get over a death, we go through it. It reminds me to live though. That life’s for living. Not when I’m seventy, but right now.  

If I look back, I realize in truth, that writing a book and getting it published in ‘a real publishing’ house was probably always on my bucket list. So, thank you every single person who made that a reality for me.

I like to know what’s on people’s bucket lists. I have a list a mile long of places I still MUST travel to. I would have loved to do them with Aaron, he was the most wonderful person to travel with. We had a ball. J See—The Americana Kitsch and Culture Tour RV USA road trip blog.    
Aaron with our 30 foot RV 'Charlie'
I’m a born gypsy, my love of travel started with my mum’s world trip in 1972. Incredibly glamorous to us in little old New Zealand. Mum bought me a big map and we made colored pins and flags, so I could map her way around the world. I loved it. I fell in love with the postcards and the odd disconnected phone calls. Sometimes we’d wait hours for a call to come through. It would have been ‘booked,’ then it would be queued up and gone through numerous operators to reach us. We’d sometimes only get five frustrating minutes on the phone to her, before the connection was broken. But it fueled my love of travel.  
I had a world map when Mum went on her tour and colored pins to stick all over it. I LOVED it.
It was then backed up by Friday afternoons at Primary School where we got to watch all sorts of films. Some about things like logging in Canada. Others on how the Inuit’s dried their washing up in the wilds of Alaska, but many were on more exciting travel countries. Though the drying of washing in the frozen tundra of Alaska has remained with me to this day. It was quite fascinating.  

And it’s ALL fascinating to me. When I travel I want to experience ALL of it. I once met a man who went to France for a month and miraculously managed to not eat a single piece of fabulous French cheese from a market, or a Tarte Fraise. Or even go to a cheap bistro. They brought ham and baguettes, making their own sandwiches each day. I was horrified. They had the money, but lacked the imagination to realize that France’s food culture is one of THE things you ‘go to see’ in France.  

When I was in Intermediate school, I had a wonderful teacher Ms. Robinson, who always told us wonderful stories about the world in general. In her class room, she had terrific tongue-in-cheek posters that said things like: Go to Moscow—paint the town red. I didn’t really get the double meaning at the time, but it fascinated me none the less.  

The images in my mind of Russia are opulent (fake) fur hats, big overcoats, trimmed in fake fur, vodka and caviar. And the wonderful onion domes of the churches. For reasons I can only describe as sheer insanity—I want to go to Russia in the winter. It seems perfect to me. No doubt, five minutes into the extreme cold and snow, I’d be swearing like a trooper. And frantically working my bloody iPhone—with my frozen fingers—trying to rebook myself out of there pronto to somewhere warm and sunny.

But still…the romantic notion is there. I want to hear the sexy sultry Russian accents around me, see the exotic bone structure of some of the woman. I hate vodka and caviar, but well…I still want to go to Russia.
St Basils Cathedral in St Petersburg ~ The most beautiful of the Russian churches.

Isn't she just so beautiful!

Mum’s world tour with my Grandfather in 1972 created the quintessential basis for my travel yearning. Travel was so glamorous back then. People still got on planes in their best outfits. Proper shoes and stockings for the woman—a good going away flying outfit. A tie for the men and a jacket, and some smart dress shoes, nicely polished. Hats and gloves had bitten the dust in the ‘60s, but still—people traveled in style! People also smoked like trains on aircraft—so some things have changed for the good. And besides, I’m with the artist SARK, who once traveled in her pajamas. She met someone who looked like Bob Hope as she was strolling down the concourse.

“Nice PJ’s,” said Bob.

SARK said to her friend, “That looked like Bob Hope.”

Her friend said, “That was Bob Hope.’

I can really see how traveling in your jammies would be soooo comfortable. I don’t actually own any nightwear, but the thought is wonderful. I could have special travel jammies or perhaps a negligee. That’s bound to get me noticed. J  

I have three basic unbreakable rules when traveling—always travel with a feather pillow, a hottie (hot water bottle) and every pair of underwear you own.

If the bed’s awful, at least you can get your head comfortable. On an aircraft, you can squish and squash a feather pillow into all sorts of shapes that allow you to get some sleep. If you’re cold or have a sprain, a hottie fixes all that ails. And at least if you’re wearing a grubby shirt or dress, clean panties make up for other deficits.
Always travel with a hottie. :-)

I want to go back to Ireland again. It’s hard to get sick of Ireland. The lyrical voices, fabulous soups, eye popping greenness, and the feeling of magic.

I’d pop into Waterford Crystal and order a HUGE flower vase thingee for the center of the table. Enter Trinity Church in Cork and look up the Irish rellys which elude the genealogy websites. Stand on Morrison Quay at number 11, where my Great Great etc Grandfather had his Dental Surgery practice. Then toddle down to Kenmare for several days on the Beara Peninsula and just soak it up. I want to sleep in the marvelous rooms at Brooklane Hotel in Kenmare. Go into the bar for a drink, have a bowl of soup and soda bread. Then be staggeringly full just from the soup. No room for a main meal. Afterwards, I’d sit in front of the fire and stare at the Poppy painting in their lounge.
Trinity Church where my family got married and baptized, Cork City, Co. Cork, Ireland
Morrison Quay where my Gr Gr Gr Grandfather had his dental surgery. Notice Trinity Church in this photo and the one above.

The gorgeous, elegant and super comfortable Brooklane in Kenmare, Co. Cork, Ireland

I’d shop at Quills, and get that most prized of Irish souvenirs—the gumboot. Handy for trekking over fields and stiles to see Stone Circles—especially Ardgroom. I’d have one more go at driving to the North of Ireland and track down more Irish rellys. Passing through Galway and breathing it in. There’s nowhere, quite like Galway.
Ardgroom Stone Circle ~ A magical still activated stone circle
From there, a short drive back to Waterford area and hop on a ferry to Northern Wales in the summer. I think that season is roughly around July 17th every year or thereabouts. The rest of the time, the weather is shocking, but I love Wales.

Then tiki-tour down to the farthest tip of Cornwall, near Lands End. Stopping in the wee village of St. Just and standing in the graveyard surrounded by relatives. Quite literally, half the people buried there are my family, mostly miners. What a unique feeling that would be. I want to go into a shop and recognize a family feature in someone’s face and ask them, “Are you a Lanyon by any chance?”

And for them to say, “Yes, you must be too, from the look of you.”

The wee mining village of St Just. That church has married, baptized and seen the deaths of so many of my relatives, going all the way back to the time it was built.

When I’ve had enough of the cold and damp, I’d hop a plane to the Greek Islands. Sit in a wee Taverna and sip horrible Greek Retsina, while I nibble and slurp at fat Greek olives, sopping up the olive oil with pita bread. I want to blend in (with my red hair and pale white skin—I know, but we’re all allowed fantasies!) and somehow pronounce at least a few words of Greek. I want to be immersed in Greece. I like the Greeks. I’ve had Greek friends and worked for Greeks and always felt at home and comforted by their culture and presence. I get the Greeks. Everything is clear. There are no hidden emotions, life is lived with gusto. I love that.
Oooh... can't you imagine sitting here, slurping on olives, perfect oil, briny feta cheese and retsina. Heaven
No surprise that Muse It Up Publishing is run by the energetic and dynamic Greek, Lea Schizas.

When I lived in Florida and hated it. I used to go to a tiny Greek restaurant nearby and they treated me like a local family person. I could go there when I was alone and lonely, and they’d fuss over me, bringing me gorgeous food. For a short time, I’d feel comforted and cocooned. I liked that feeling a lot.

I want to return to France and soak myself in it.

I love France. The food is beyond belief. The culture is fascinating. How can you not love a nation that reveres food and sets life around it? I don’t have much of a sweet tooth but when I’m there, I eat pastries every morning with ravagement. I eat a flaky buttery crisp croissant every morning without fail, then another in the afternoon because—how can you resist! I wrap my mouth around big slabs of the most perfect Quiche Lorraine only the French seem to perfect. Mine is close, but still doesn’t seem to have enough butter or cream, or something! Arghhhh.  
They have the MOST perfect pastry displays in France. I could drool all day and I don't have much of a sweet tooth but these are so exquisite. Aaron and I used to get a box of things early in the morning. Then we'd say, about half an hour into the drive, "Do you think it's too early for a pastry?" :-)

To sit in a sidewalk café and sip a glass of wine is a perfect moment in France. I love the smell of the heavy clove cigarettes, the French men and the flair they have. They enjoy their clothes. I love the Citron Press where you can get fresh citrus juice. I love the country that has the most sublime cheeses in the world. And thinks that cooking with butter, cream and alcohol are completely natural. I so agree. 

I want to go to the Netherlands in the tulip season and god forbid—ride a bloody bicycle amongst the fields. The fact I’m athletically challenged is neither here nor there. I want to be somewhere where I can take at least a thousand photos of the tulips and be moving at a pace that lets me do that. Okay—never mind. I could walk! I can’t hold a bicycle up, pedal AND take pictures at the same time.
I always think tulips look good enough to eat
I want to go and see Van Gogh collection. I’m bored by his sunflowers and such works, but seeing his later works. Wow. They have so much texture and life in them, they are almost edible.

I want to buy a postcard of a little Dutch girl that mum sent us when she traveled with her father. See the big cheese rounds being wheeled around the market they have somewhere. I want to go to the miniature town that even has an airport. I remembered loving mums pictures.
My sister and I both loved these postcards when we got them from Mum on her overseas trip
I want to go to Germany again when it’s snowing and see the Cuckoo Clock places decked in snow. Go to the delicious village name of Oberammergau. Then eat good German food, full of meat and cream and deliciousness.
The list just goes on and on…

But that’s okay. It’s what makes our life rich and lush. I only wish Aaron was here to do it with. He loved to travel. He loved me being a writer. And my first book Dark War is dedicated to him and my mum Olwyn Loudon, who also died at forty-five. Thank you both for always encouraging me to be me and be a writer. I love you both very much. I wish you were here in person to see this. :-) xoxoxo
My mum Olwyn Loudon ~ super glammy!!! :-)


  1. Fantastic. A phenomenal blog. Your mum was beautiful. Great job, Meg.

    1. Aloha Mikey! Thank you. :-). Thanks on mum too. She was a special person my mum. She was magical. :-).

      Thanks for reading. Aloha Meg. :-)

  2. Aloha, Meg! I loved this, your bucket list, your travelogue, your tribute to your husband. All of it! You're a wonderful writer and best wishes on your upcoming book!

    We have the same bucket list. I love to travel and I'm going to Russia, St. Petersburg this month. I'll tell you how the people dress, etc. Of course it isn't the winter, so you'll still have to go there then. If you like French pastries you need to read my mystery. It is filled with talk of luscious pastries. Yes, we have the same bucket list. I want to see more of the world as well.

    I enjoyed this very much. Thank you, Meg.

    Aloha, Susan Bernhardt

    1. Aloha Susan. I'm making you an honorary Hawaiian. :-). I love how you use it :-). Mahalo. (Means Thank You) in Hawaiian. Aloha Meg. :-) 🌴🌈

  3. Aloha Susan. Thank you! OMG. I can't believe you're going to St Petersburg. How fabulous!! How long are you going for? Yes please. I'd love descriptions and pictures. :-). How glorious. Have a fabulous time. I'm sure you will.

    Isn't travel one of the most wonderful things to do in life. :-). I love it too. I have just bought your book The Ginseng Conspiracy'. Really looking forward to reading it!! ;-). I keep forgetting I have kindle on my phone. My computers a bit dodgy for things like that. Lol.

    Thanks so much for readings blog. And thanks for your kind comments and encouragement.

    Thanks and aloha Meg. :-)

  4. Wow!, Meg! What a post! I love how you embrace life in the midst of death, a real tribute to those you've lost.
    How fortunante that you know exactly where your family comes from. Great pictures. Love your plans. Mine are much simpler. Have a small cottage on the Maine Coast that I can spend the hot Texas months of May through September. Nice to have a dream, even if it doesn't take place.
    Congrats on tomorrow's release. I don't read erotic romance, but I have friends who do. I'll be FBing and tweeting this blog, and I'll shout out your release tomorrow. Enjoy this time, Meg you've earned it. Your family is proud of you.

    1. Aloha Marsha. Thank you for reading my blog and enjoying it. :-) I am a genealogists and have over 6400 names on my family tree. But the Irish side largely eludes me. :-). Their records are awful. But my Cornish side is HUGE. I have it going all the way back to the 1100's. We have an amazing database called the Cornish OPC. (Online Parish) a large group of us volunteer to transcribe old church records of births, deaths and marriages. Wills, emigration. All sorts of Cornish records. We now have over a million in the database. So tracing history on Cornwall is easy. And we all love neon Cornish. Lol. Slightly rabid :-)

      I love the sound of the wee place in Maine for the summer. Just before Bar Harbor. There is a all town that has a lobster pound combined with Texas BBQ. It's wonderful. Texans run in the summer as a fun thing to do. And the combo of Texas BBQ and Maine seafood had us back there everyday to eat. So yummy!!

      Thanks on tomorrow's release. I really appreciate the shout out on fb and twitter. :-)

      Thanks and aloha Meg. :-)

  5. PS. Can't believe I failed to mention the stunning picture of your mother! Priceless! :)

    1. Aloha. Thanks on mums picture. She was a wonderful person. :-). So full of energy and enthusiasm. Thanks and aloha Meg. :-)

  6. What a brilliant post, Meg! I loved your photos, and the one of your mum is absolutely gorgeous. I, too, would love to go to Russia one day. It's my dream to travel by train to St Petersburg. Hope you make your own bucket list come true. Wishing you all the very best on release of your book (Fab cover, by the way!)

    1. Aloha Helena. Thanks for coming over for a read. :-). Ohhh yes. A train to Russia. The Orient Express comes to mind. In the golden age of rail. :-). I love trains. I'm thinking about going to New Orleans on one soon. I hope you get to do that soon. Susan will have a first hand account for us soon. Lucky thing. :-).

      Thanks on my cover and the photos plus launch tomorrow. :-)

      Aloha Meg. :-)

  7. Aloha, Meg! What a fabulous post! What a great celebration of life! Your mom was stunning. Congratulations on your new release!

    1. Aloha Matthew. Thanks south for reading and enjoying my post. :-). I tried to leave a comment on your blog today. And I wrote a big one then it threw me off. Grr so haven't got back yet to try again. But enjoyed it as always. You always have great blogs.

      Thanks on my mum and the Launch tomorrow. :-).

      Aloha Meg. :-)

  8. Oh goodness - what a life you've lived and what a life you have yet to live - Meg...I love your life and all that you've seen and done - your mom is beautiful...just like you: ) I know Susan...and she was stunned into a giant smile of gratitude and honor to see such a nice comment made about her, Meg: )
    She loved working with you and it sounds like she still is loving you two have something going on right now with your amazing characters.
    I've had the opportunity to read Dark War - and may I mention how sensual and heart-full your love story is with Izzy, Henry, and Charlie; ) Your story-stars have great depth and your words bring it all to's an amazing story, Meg.
    Hugs, dear friend - I love learning about my good friends - and this is quite a lovely story about you. Thank you for sharing: )