Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Everybody Knows Your Name

by Christine Wells

It will come as no surprise to many of you that I've been traveling a lot lately. First it was New Zealand and the awe-inspiring mountains, cool alpine streams and the eccentric Lanarch Castle with its Alice in Wonderland gardens. Then a week or two at home to do edits for WICKED LITTLE GAME followed by another jaunt, this time to Japan, where the autumn foliage is spectacular, the Geishas gorgeous and the sake potent, whether taken hot or cold.

Tommorrow we head up to the Great Barrier Reef with my sister-in-law and her family and later in the month, up to our beach house for Christmas and then on to another coastal resort.

Phew! That's a lot of traveling for someone who's a homebody at heart. In between all this globe-trotting, I've caught up with writer and reader friends and that has been even more fun because of the contrast between the foreign and the familiar. If anyone ever gets a chance to stay with Anna Campbell for a weekend of wine, seafood --take it! Denise Rossetti and I are already discussing how we can wangle another invitation.

No matter where I go, or how wonderful a time I have there, I'm always glad to come home to Brisbane, Australia--to the bright subtropical light that stings the retinas as soon as you get out of the plane and the sky that seems somehow bluer, to the humidity and the heat and the scent of fresh-cut grass mixed with barbecue scents and watermelon by the pool. And toilets you don't have to squat over:)

Similarly, I love coming 'home' to the Bandit lair...where everybody knows your name.

Because this will be the last time I'll be posting for the year, I'd like to say a HUGE thank you--first to the lovely and talented Banditas, for being the best friends a girl could have and to the Bandita buddies, who have enriched all our lives and supported us in so many ways.

To all of you who aspire to be published, may 2009 be your year to shine, and to all our published friends, may you hit the New York Times list or win a RITA (or both) and may all of you stay happy and healthy and keep coming back for good times in the Lair.

So what's your favourite thing about home? Are you a traveler or a homebody? What is your #1 dream destination?

Oh, and I'm very sorry that I STILL haven't announced the winner of my last contest. And the winner is...MsHellion! You've won a signed copy of THE DANGEROUS DUKE. Congrats and if you send me your details at christineATchristine-wellsDOTcom I'll get that book to you pronto.


Helen said...

Is he staying another day

Have Fun

Christine Wells said...

Helen!! She's done it again!

Helen said...

The chook must have known the grandkids are coming for dinner tonight and wanted to spend some more time with them LOL

You certainly have done some travelling lately Christine and still more to come lucky you. But in saying that I too am a homebody I really am very comfortable here in my home where I have all of my creature comforts my own bathroom and of course my bed and then there are the bookshelves with piles of books that also help to keep me company and take me on adventures.

The weekend at Anna's with Denise must have been a real fun time just what songs did you all sing ?

As for a dream destination that I would love to visit I guess that would be England Scotland and Ireland places that are so steeped in history and that I have read so much about in books that one day I would love to go there and see some of the places that I have read about.

Have Fun

Christine Wells said...

Helen, you would adore the Pump Room in Bath, I'm sure! Bath is a place you really feel like you're back in Regency England. And then all those stately homes...ahhh.

But yes, I like my own bed (and equally importantly, my own pillow!) Also my computer with internet and email. I suffer severe withdrawal without them!

Songs? Ah, now, that would be telling:) You know, I didn't have the rooster pegged as loving children but there you go. He's a bird of many talents. Have fun!

Donna MacMeans said...

Congrats Helen on snagging the bird!

Christine - That photo of the geishas was fabulous! I'd love to go to Japan. And I can't tell you how jealous the photo of the beach made me as I sit here watching more snowflakes pile up outside.

I would love to be more of a traveler especially this dark, cold time of year. Alas, it appears I'm destined to be more of a homebody. One of these days, though,I'm packing my laptop and flying to any location that has an internet connection. I shall be a writer without boundaries *g*. I hear the Golden Rooster knows all the best places.

Jane said...

Congrats on the GR, Helen.

I love the comforts of my home. I love sleeping in my own bed and lying on my couch to read. I love to travel. I've been to Tokyo a few times and it's lovely, but a bit of culture shock. I would love to visit Egypt, Tanzania, England, Italy and Tahiti.

Anna Campbell said...

Helen, what's your secret? Have you bought a new perfume or something? Chookel No 5?

Christine, what a lovely post. And can I second all your thanks to the Banditas and buddies who have so enriched my life? You're all wonderful! And I'm not saying that just because I've got a hangover from my wild writer friends visiting.

Hey, you and Denise are most welcome any time. Didn't we have fun? It was just one of those weekends where everything went right.

I'm like Jane. I LOVE my home. I like to retreat into it and just enjoy the fact that it's set up to make me happy. But I also love to travel and meet new people and see new things. I guess I'm hopelessly confused!

Hey, congratulations, Hellion. You've got a treat ahead of you with the Dangerous Duke!

Christine Wells said...

Hi Donna, we're in the middle of one of our summer storms at the moment, so here's hoping for better weather up north!

Oh, I love that idea of the writer without frontiers! And it's true, you can write anywhere you can take a laptop so I hope your dream comes true.

Christine Wells said...

Hi Jane! I agree about the culture shock in Japan. I found it difficult to get used to not being able to read almost anything that was put in front of me. I felt shockingly ignorant and a little helpless, too. But the Japanese people I came across were SO kind and willing to help that it made things a lot easier.

Oh, yes, I'd love to see Egypt, having read so much about it. Maybe one day...

Christine Wells said...

Foanna is the consummate hostess! We did have a lovely time. And I'm a little like you, Anna. I love seeing new things and I always feel that managing in a foreign country is really good for my confidence but I always like to get home at the end of it all.

Chookel No. 5??? Snork!

Tawny said...

Oh Christine, a tiny part of me envies your travels. But most of me is thrilled to stay home. I'm never a happy traveler and so impatient with crowds and waits and all the usual stress that comes with trying to get from one place to another. Even planning to go away in a week or so makes me wish already that I was back home.

I love Northern California. Even more, I love my house and my bed and the butt-imprint on my office chair *g* Its comfy and cozy and familiar.

Margay said...

Wow, Christine, you get around! I wish I could, but I'm kind of tethered to the home base currently. I would love to go to England, Ireland, Scotland and France (for a start) some day. Ah, well, guess I'll just have to read about it for now. Have a great holiday season.

Deb Marlowe said...

Lovely post, my secret twin! I'm so glad you've had such a great time! My dh loves Japan. I hope to go with him someday.

Maybe someday we can meet in the middle--Bath sounds good! I'd love to go back. In the meantime travel safe and have a lovely holiday!

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Okay Helen, what are you feeding that chook that he won't leave your side??

I would like to see Ireland, England, and Scotland but that is very doubtful.

I love being home with my son and my cats and my books, so many books so little time.

Caren Crane said...

Helen, we may have to get a writ to wrest that bird away from you! *g*

Christine, we are so glad to have you back home safely! Your globe trotting was exhausting for me. I think I love traveling and home equally well.

I envy your trips to NZ, Japan and all over Oz. I have never been to ANY of those places and long to go! I was born with itchy feet and a love of the open road. I just got to plan a trip (quite spontaneously) last night. I'm going to see my bff from high school. She lives in Chicago and even though it will be March (brr!) it will be wonderful!!

Always when I'm traveling, though, I reach a point where nothing but home will do. When I get home, I always think how much prettier NC is than other places I've been. It's an adopted home, but it's mine now!

Terry Odell said...

I've been lucky enough to have done some of my dream trips already -- Alaska, Hawaii, Australia. Most of my travel has been in conjuction with business--usually hubby's. So I've also managed to get to Germany, Holland, and Italy, and Poland.

I'd love to get to Scotland (and with family in the UK, there's really a good excuse), and I've always wanted to go to the Galapagos. That was before it was such a tourist spot, so maybe I'm not quite as anxious to get there, but I wouldn't say no.

Alas, hubby's job doesn't take him places anymore, nor does mine, and the budget doesn't permit much travel. I'd love to do some river cruises, too.

PJ said...

Great blog, Christine. Your description of Brisbane makes me want to get on a plane today! I love to travel, love to discover new places and get to know the local customs and people. Places I haven't been yet but want to see are Scotland, Ireland, England and Australia. Italy is my favorite country to visit. I'd go there every summer if I could. But, though I thoroughly enjoy my travels, I'm always glad to return home to my "happy place" and especially to my dogs. It's so hard to leave them behind when I travel, especially Smokey as she's getting up in years and misses me something fierce when I'm gone. The feeling is mutual.

PJ said...

Okay Helen, what's your secret? Is it the cakes you've been baking? The warm Aussie sun? Inquiring minds want to know! :)

PJ said...

Chookel No. 5! LMAO!

CrystalGB said...

I am a homebody. I can't sleep well unless I am in my own bed. My dream destination is Australia.

Gannon Carr said...

I adore traveling and have been fortunate to have been to many wonderful countries. My dh was in the Navy for 21 years, and we lived overseas twice (Bahrain and Italy), so we "got around. Ireland is still my top "dream" destination, and I plan to get there someday soon. I would also love to go to New Zealand and Australia, as well.

That being said, I love to come home after a great trip--my bed, my pillow, MY home in the beautiful mountains.

Helen, I think that chook is never leaving your house. :)

MsHellion said...

*does a happy dance* I'm a winner!

I'm a homebody, but I do love to travel to new places. (There is nothing I hate worse than spending my vacation time locked up at home. One of my friends takes vacation days to CLEAN HER HOUSE. I think she's insane, completely barking.) My favorite place I've been is Grand Cayman (Please, Sugar Daddy, rescue me and set me up to live there!)--but I have a fondness for Boston too. All those dead writers and trees...and Revolutionary War stuff. I loved every minute of my time there.

My #1 Dream Destination: SCOTLAND. SOoooo want to go there. Falkirk, Stirling, Edinburgh (to see the place where JK Rowling wrote Harry Potter)...the whole bit. Dishy accents, the occasional kilt if I'm lucky...I'd even like to try haggis.

Marisa O'Neill said...

Christine - how wonderful - all the places you have visited! Thanks so much for sharing them with us. And I'm so jealous that you and Denise got to spend time an Anna's home, how marvelous.

I was once a big traveler, never in one place for a long time. Then I got a job where I traveled ALL the time. It was hard to constantly live out of a suitcase. I enjoyed meeting new people and discovering new places. But now, home is always where I want to be. My favorite part of being home is the comfort I find in the familiar.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Welcome home Christine! What a lovely post. I too love the Geisha picture.

Helen, you have to have a secret. Either that or the chook has a favorite gal near your house. I think you and Natalie must live near his secret hideouts or cache's of chook money or something. Ha! Either way, enjoy a chook-day!

Anna, Chooknel? SNORK!

I love traveling. I love coming home too. As to dream destinations, I'm with a lot of the BBs - Scotland. Ireland. England & Wales. I'll take the whole UK. But if I had to choose one, Scotland.

Once I got that (briefly) out of my system, I'd want to go back to Kenya, then to Sweden. Back to France. I really want to see Italy and Greece and Inida too. One of my BFFs is Indian, so we're planning a trip one day to take our kids and show India to them. Same with my other BFF who's Greek. Nothing like going with someone who knows the language...Grins.

I'm a huge architecture buff, so all these "old" countries...

Then there's Aus, and NZ and Fiji...

Sigh. So little time....

flchen1 said...

Hi, Christine! What a traveler you are! I've visited some far-flung places, but would love to see more--more of everywhere! I don't think I'd be up for a huge world tour, at least not all at once, but there are many, many countries and places I'd still like to visit. In the meantime, at least I've got books :)

Congrats on the GR, Helen! Hope he has fun with the grandkids!

Virginia said...

I am a homebody all the way, but I would love to go to Ireland and Scotland. That would be my dream spot to visit.

Genella deGrey said...

Christine - I am simply envious! I love to travel! However, I love my own bed. After a while on the road my back wonders what the heck I'm doing. LOL

I need to get back to Venice, Italy for Carnival. Haven't been since Feb. 2001. Sigh.

My ultimate vacation destination is England, Scotland and Ireland.

Confession: I've never seen a real castle before. I'm sure the experience will bring me to tears, but I want it bad! I love history (obviously) and I'll have to carve out at least three weeks in GB. I love haunted places, too, so I'm really in for a good time when the Powers That Be bless me with my dream trip.


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...


Yes, Aunty is BACK from the wilds of Turkey! Speaking of travel, this tour FAR exceeded my expectations, and all those who have spent more than 5 minutes in the Lair know how difficult that is. :-P SERIOUSLY, I HIGHLY recommend Turkey for anyone with a love of history and/or the exotic.

Christine, I know what you mean about how good it is to be "home" here in the Lair (2 weeks without email and the net nearly did me in) and at home in my own bed. And I echo your sentiments about how WONDERFUL all the Banditas and our Buddies are!

My #1 dream destination at the moment is New Zealand, however, the DH's is Egypt. We'll have to see which gets their way first!

Thrilled to be "home!"

Helen said...

Chookel No 5 what sort of fragrance would that be maybe a wheat and wet feather scent (because it is raining here today) and perhaps a hint of chocolate because he does love the Tim Tams LOL.

Everyone is mentioning some wonderful places to visit and yes Christine I would love to visit Bath and The Pump room I have read a lot about it.

Welcome back Aunty Cindy sounds like the trip to Turkey was great.

Have Fun

Susan Seyfarth said...

Hi, Christine!

I'm a total homebody. And yet I have wanderlust like crazy. Strange, no? I crave seeing the world, yet I hate being a tourist. It feels so...rude. Gawking at a place where people live.

I've decided the only cure is to just move every 3-5 years. that way I can see the world & still be "at home."

Now if only I could get my husband on board with my plan...


Christine Wells said...

This is very interesting to see who is a homebody and who's not. Tawny, I didn't really suspect you'd be a homebody. Whereas of course we know Aunty Cindy has been EVERYWHERE.

My travels have been intense lately but I really haven't seen that much of the world, and as Susan says, I do feel a bit odd being such a tourist. Felt more like a tourist than ever before in Japan, where I don't speak the language. What I'd love to do is go and live in another country, absorb the everyday life, learn the language, etc. But like Peter, I'd still call Australia home... *g*

Well, folks, I'm so sorry to dash off again, particularly as it's such a fun discussion, but I have to roust the kids out of bed now and soon we'll be driving 8 hours north to see the beautiful reef.

I'll be back briefly next week but let me again wish you all the best for the festive season!

Big hugs,

Elyssa Papa said...

Oh, your travels sound absolutely amazing! There are so many places I would love to see. Australia and New Zealand are at the top of my lists---the countries look so beautiful in pictures.

And, of course, I'd love, love, love to go to Ireland. Irish accent. That's all that needs to be written. *g*

catslady said...

I love traveling but haven't really done much for a long time. My husband and I delayed having children 15 years and had some wonderful vacations but once the kiddies came along...I had hoped when they were grown we could continue what we started but times are tough...I love hearing about other's travels though and yours sound wonderful. Now I stay home and enjoy my family, cats and good books!

limecello said...

Awe - enjoy, Christine! I'm so jealous. I love travel (although I am a homebody). I've always wanted to go to Europe - especially Italy... but then again Australia and NZ are high on the list... Pretty much I've always wanted to travel the world. :P

Kate Carlisle said...

Bon voyage, Madame! We'll miss you!

Travels? I need to go back to Scotland and Paris, Italy, Australia and New Zealand, so many other places. But it's always good to come home. I miss my pillow!!

Helen, you've mesmerized him!!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hey Christine! So you're off on another trip? Geesh, you're getting as bad as KJ and Aunty Cindy!

I'm a homebody by necessity. Work and the checkbook keep me close at hand. However, since taking up writing and joining the Romance Writers of America, I've started doing more traveling.

I've been to Denver, Atlanta, San Francisco and hopefully this next summer will see me to my first ever trip to Washington D.C.! And of course this has become even more important for me since the Bandits formed!

Last fall I went on a writer's weekend with my Texas girls, (known as the writer foxes) to the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri. It was a great weekend trip full of laughter, relaxation, wine, and good friends. We're hoping to do another retreat type trip this spring, maybe to Arkansas! The best part of this group? We don't worry about makeup or hair until after we've all sat around drinking morning coffe/tea and talked through the morning!!

And of course my dream vacation? I'd love two weeks in Scotland and a week in England. Sigh....must sell some books for that to ever happen!

Tiffany Chalmers said...

I would travel if I had time and money to do so. Maybe in my future.:)
I like home a lot. I don't go roundabout town much. I'd rather be at home, with my cat snuggled against me and my computer in my lap... jeeze does that make me a bad mom that the kids didn't get mentioned? ;)

Dream Destination: Paris
Though I'd love to meet a Geisha. My friend words for Paul and Joe and on one his trips to Japan, they had a Geisha go around with them on their tour. How cool is that?

Tiffany Chalmers said...

That was Works not words...

Louisa Cornell said...

Chookel No. 5 ?? TOO FUNNY! And Helen definitely has the Rooster Mojo going for her!

I am so jealous of your recent travels Christine! Travel safely now!

I guess because I spent so much traveling as a child (Air Force brat) and then as an adult (opera singer) that I am inordinately fond of HOME! I love my five acres of mostly overgrown woods and wilds. I love my animals (domestic and the wild ones I see.)I like to sleep in my own bed with my own sheets and pillows.

However, I am not averse to traveling for a week or six at a time if the destination is worthwhile. I LOVED my trip to San Francisco for Nationals and meeting the Banditas in person was a big part of that!

My dream destination right now would have to be a return to England with side trips into Scotland, Ireland and Wales.

And after that it sounds like a trip to La Campbell's is THE thing to do!!

Joan said...

Helen? Do you sit up at night with binoculars and a net?

I think you hold the record!

Christine, I envy you your freedom to travel as much as you do. I'd like to come visit ya'll down under someday. (Sing me to you as Nallum in Australia says)

Italy would be cool too, Scandinavia.

And oh...all those wanting to go to Ireland? I hire out as tour director. The cost is reasonable too....daily Sticky Toffee Pudding and I'll whip you around those rolling green hills so fast your head will spin :-)

Keira Soleore said...

I'm such a homebody that I like to stay home even when I'm in town. Compared to me, Christine, you're the mighty adventurous globetrotter.

My #1 destination is Hawaii and #2 destination is wherever RWA Nationals are. For international travel, other than India, the most likely place I'll visit in the next year or two is Australia.

As far as place I'd dream of going to one day: Tibet, Bhutan, Iceland, Greenland, Alaska, Antartica... I know. They're all such brutally cold places.

You all already know my plumbing preferences, so I'll refrain from reiterating them here. :)

jo robertson said...

Hi, Christine, I'm so late to this party that I'm actually attending another one!

Thanks for the lovely words about Banditas and Buddies. So sweet of you. I, too, hope that 2009 will be the year of the Banditas and 20 of us will be published. What a thrill that would be!