Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Summer Holidays - Annie West

When I was young I remember returning to school after the long Christmas break (it's summer in Australia so we have our long vacation now) and the teacher would always ask us to write a composition about what we did in the holidays. It always seemed such a chore, but now I love to think about what I did during my time off.

Often my report would talk about visiting beaches as I spent the hot summer trying to keep cool in the water. This year that hasn't been a problem. In fact (shocking) I haven't been to the beach once over Christmas.

Instead we managed a very short trip away to the mountains to do a bushwalk called the National Pass walk. The track descends in rock-cut steps carved out of sheer cliff, passes under some gorgeous waterfalls and up at the other end. Part of the track is like a tunnel chiselled along the centre of the cliff with stunning views out over the Grose Valley on the other side. Much as I love the bush I do wish someone would instal a cable car!
As you can see from the photos we had gorgeous weather apart from the thunderstorm that hit us on the way back and sprinkled hail on us! Then, walking back to our rented accommodation on the side of the road, a council truck hit a pothole and drenched us from head to toe. Good thing we had a hot shower and dry clothes to look forward to. Not to mention great Thai food and some excellent reading.

After that came the delightful, busy festive Christmas season with too much food, lovely gifts and time spent with family. It's great being home for Christmas and enjoying the things that have become family tradition over the years. I've even begun to spend just a little more time in the jungle I call my garden (sadly neglected lately as I worked to finish a book). The gum trees are full of cicadas so it sounds like summer and we're getting visits from lots of birds. Here's a snap I took at my parents' home of Rainbow Lorikeets.

There's something to be said for having a quiet vacation time. I have plans to destroy my part of my TBR pile and maybe even tidy up a cupboard or two and get organised for 2010. Little things, but so pleasing.

What about you? Did you have a lovely Christmas break? Did you have a quiet time with family and friends or do something adventurous or unexpected?

I'm celebrating the start of the new year with a smile because I have two books in current release. In North America there's BLACKMAILED BRIDE, INEXPERIENCED WIFE and in the UK there's FORGOTTEN MISTRESS, SECRET LOVE-CHILD. Pop over to my website if you'd like to find out more about them or to enter my new year's contest.



Mary said...

Wow, I love your photos. My photos never come out as good as that.

We stayed home and had the family over for christmas this year.

Annie West said...

Hey, thanks Mary! Most of mine don't either. I took a lot more than you can see here!

Personally I love the one of the rainbow lorikeets. They're such noisy, fascinating birds.

I love having a family Christmas at home. Sounds like fun.

Helen said...


I do love those pictures I am not sure I could do that walk anymore although Hubby and I spent a lot of time at The Blue Mountains when we were going out together and did lots of walks.
This Christmas I was lucky enough to get 11 days straight off work but they were very busy getting all the cooking done and presents bought and wrapped but I have 3 sisters and I live in Sydney one in Queensland one at Tamworth and one on the Central Coast and this year we all spent it together with our families and had an awesome couple of days I really look forward to the times we can spend together.
Glad you had a great Chrissy as well.

Have Fun

Sharon Archer said...

Hi Annie
Love your pics - I saw the larger versions on Facebook! Just stunning.

Do you use a digital camera? I've assumed that you did but I could be wrong! I find that the digital cameras are just fantastic - hard to believe that I was so resistant to us getting one for ages. Now I'm a convert. I love being able to check to see if the pic is any good without having to go to the expense of developing it before I know.

We had a quiet Christmas/New Year - very much home bodies after our big trip in the middle of last year.

All the very best for 2010!

Rebekah E. said...

We stayed home and pretty much got snowed in. Couldn't get our trucks out of the driveway for a couple of days.

Dorthy said...

I love the pictures! Especially the one of the birds. There are so vibrant!

I so far have had a lovely Christmas break. We still have 1 week left. The kids keep getting bored, because we keep having snow storms and they can't go outside, but other than that all has been wonderful.

Congrats on the 2 releases, I have Blackmailed Bride, Inexperienced Wife in my TBR pile. I can't wait to get my hands on it :-)

Michele L. said...

Hi Annie!

Oh wow, what an amazing bushwalk! I have been on walks through the woods but have never seen anything so beautiful as that! Those birds are absolutely gorgeous! I get a lot of hummingbirds at my front door every year at my feeder which is so much fun to watch.

Do you know that hummingbirds are very tame? They always come right up to me as if they know me. I talk to them and they hover by listening to me.

My Christmas was absolutely wonderful! So very laid back, no rushing around, got all my shopping and wrapping done early, and had a wonderful time with family and friends celebrating.

Let's all hope that 2010 is a wonderful, fun and prosperous year for us all! A big hearty congratulations on your books Annie! I bet you are on cloud nine!

Happy New Year Annie!

Anna Campbell said...

Annie, I love that your fans get a double whammy of you right now. Both BLACKMAILED BRIDE, INEXPERIENCED WIFE and FORGOTTEN MISTRESS, SECRET LOVE-CHILD are fabulous reads! Just the thing to while away a hot summer holiday here in Oz or to warm up a cold winter in the Northern Hemisphere.

Loved the post and the photos are gorgeous. Especially love the rainbow lorikeets. As you know, they love to destroy a couple of my trees in the garden and they're so beautiful, I ALMOST don't mind. Although they're terrifically noisy, aren't they? Almost as noisy as a lot of romance writers when they get together! The walk sounds beautiful although I must say I won't be doing it until the cable car goes in!

Had a visitor filled Christmas which was lovely - and I caught up on some reading and some mindless TV. Just what I felt like!

Estella said...

Great photos!
Our Christmases are always quiet times with family.

Annie West said...

Hi Helen! Well, the walk wasn't long but the steps were challenging. I've got to get fitter before I go back.

Wow, your Christmas sounds fantastic with your sisters and their families all meeting up with you and yours. Just as well you had that nice break to enjoy it. I bet the noise from such a large gathering was terrific.

Annie West said...

Sharon, I'm not surprised you had a quiet time this Christmas. After your big trip earlier in the year. Speaking of photos, I'd love to see some of yours, especially of Broome and the outback. I bet you got wonderful background material for another of your fabulous medical romances. I'm looking forward to a series of outback medical romances from you...Yes, that IS a hint.

Yes, I did use a digital camera. It's tiny which is terrific. The only problem was the scenery was so stunning I wanted to keep carrying it and snap stacks of photos but the steps were so steep I thought it better to keep both hands free.

Annie West said...

Hi Rebekah,

You poor thing. That must have been so inconvenient. But, from over here that sounds so exciting - always assuming you had heating and plenty of supplies. You know the fantasy about being snowed in in a cosy cabin with a gorgeous hunk...sigh. Please don't tell me how far reality is from the fantasy.

From what I hear on the news here the heavy snowfalls have been dangerous in a lot of places. Hope you can get out and about now.

Annie West said...

Hi Dorthy,

You should hear those birds - so noisy! And they're real characters - very acrobatic and fearless.

Yay on having another week on holiday. That's terrific. Hope you get time to read even with the kids stuck indoors. Hope too that you enjoy Dario and Alissa's story!

Annie West said...

Hi Michele!

Wow - hummingbirds? I'm so impressed. I've only seen them once - in a zoo that had a big pavilion full of plants and hummingbirds zipping around past your ear as you walked through. They were amazing. I want to visit.

Your Christmas sounds lovely, especially since you could relax and enjoy it. Doesn't it make a difference when you feel you've done what you need to and you can just enjoy?

Thanks for the good wishes. Yes, here's hoping 2010 is a great year.

Annie West said...

Hi Anna, your visitor-filled Christmas plus some mindless TV sounds just the thing for unwinding after a busy year of writing. Hope you're refreshed ready for your next book. You'd better be - I'm looking forward to it already!

I can imagine the rainbow lorikeets being destructive but they're so fascinating to watch I don't think I'd mind either. Are you sure romance writers together sound like birds? I thought we'd be noisier?

Thanks for popping by. I'll let you know if the cable car gets installed...

Annie West said...

Hi Estella, I'm glad you had a nice Christmas. Being with my family at that time of year always feels special.

Glad you liked the pics!

Maureen said...

Congratulations on your two new books. I enjoy relaxing and reading during this time after the holidays.

Annie West said...

Hi Maureen,

Thanks for the congratulations! It feels special. I love reading at this time too. As soon as I get the current project out of the way I've promised myself a few days reading. It'll be lovely!

Michelle Douglas said...

Annie, your mountain break sounds (and looks) divine -- though I'd personally skip the hail and the drenching from the passing truck!

I have to ask -- will the mountains ever feature in one of your books? There is something wonderfully romantic about them.

Good luck with reducing the size of you tbr pile -- that's on my list of must-do vacation things too :-)

Sir John said...

Great photos, We went hiking in the Smoky Mountains for Christmas. It is so good to get away for a while.
Johnny Ray

Kandy Shepherd said...

Lovely photos Annie. The lorikeets are gorgeous.
I have been overwhelmed with visitors these last few weeks. Great to have them, but I'm exhausted!
Good luck with the US launch of your two wonderful titles-new readers will be in for a treat.

Annie West said...

Hi Michelle, thanks for dropping by. Well, the hail was quite small really and by the time the truck got us we were already drenched. It just made us laugh. I'm sure if we hadn't already been wet we wouldn't have found it so funny.

As for the mountain setting - I do have a tiny niggle of an idea for a story up there. Maybe one day if I can build it into something worthwhile.

Good luck with that tbr pil!

Annie West said...

Hi Sir Joh, or is it Johnny? Hiking in the Smoky Mtns sounds fantastic. There's something about being out in the open, especially away from everything, that is really rejuvenating.

Annie West said...

Um, sorry, that was Sir John. Can't type!

Annie West said...

Hi Kandy, sorry to hear you're exhausted after all your visitors but I bet you had a great time. I hope you find time to work on your next book soon. I'm looking forward to hearing about it.

Happy New Year!

Linda Henderson said...

I spent time with my family over the holidays but seriously haven't been out of my apartment in a while because we've had snow since Christmas Eve. I use a walker and using it in the snow is not fun. So everyone has come to me. It's snowing here again tonight and I'm getting tired of winter already. Wish we had some of your warmer weather here now.

Authorness said...

Congrats on your transatlantic releases this month, Annie! What a great start to the year.

That waterfall looks magical! I'm adding that National Pass walk to my list of things to do in my own backyard.

I was fortunate enough to have two holidays in the middle of 2009, so the Christmas season at my place was very low key. I spent it with the DH, good friends and lots of fine food.

~ Vanessa

Annie West said...

Hi Linda, I can't imagine using a walker in snow. Sounds like a recipe for disaster. It's good that others can come to you. I do hope the snow ends soon so you can get out and about.

Annie West said...

Hi Vanessa, your Christmas with your man and your friends sounds lovely. Hope there are more great vacations in 2010!

The National Pass walk is definitely worth doing. And if you're fit it doesn't take long. Sadly I'm not fit...