Holiday Fun with Anna Campbell

A couple of years ago Melanie discovered a new to her author, she then proceeded to start cyber stalking her to win her latest book. When she got to meet her in person Anna squealed my cyber stalker, and a friendship was born. When we were planning this series it was no brainer we wanted Anna to participate. So without further ado we will turn it over to Anna as she tells us about Christmas Down Under. She has a Christmas surprise as well. 

Christmas in Australia

Hi Heather and Book Reading Gals! Thank you for asking me to participate in your Holiday Spectacular.

Here in Australia, Christmas falls right in the middle of summer so all those wonderful scenes of Santa urging reindeer through snow and robins shivering in frost and carol singers rugged up to the nines have no relevance at all. Which doesn’t stop a million Christmas card retailers! We still get all the winter imagery for Christmas.

It’s kind of… surreal.

Christmas in Australia, or at least the coastal bit of Australia I come from, is made for the beach. Or if you haven’t got a beach handy, the pool. Or at the very least a hose in the back garden. It’s a time of long summer days and sitting in the evening with a glass of crisp white wine. Speaking of wines, there’s also the whine of mosquitoes. Summer is mosquito season here! Christmas coincides with our long summer holidays and with all the summer fruit being in season. Yum!

It’s also cricket season. Cricket is the big summer sport down here – with a bit of world-class tennis thrown in. I remember screaming fights with my father when I was a teenager because he wanted to watch the test match (test matches go on for what to a teenager is an excruciating four days of nothing happening) when I wanted to watch something else. This was back in the days of one TV families. I went to boarding school and holidays were my only chance to watch TV. The irony is I’ve become quite fond of cricket as I’ve got older.

When I grew up, most people still did the big traditional English lunch. Even though in our climate it is completely insane. We had roast turkey, roast pork, ham, roast potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, stuffing, beans, cauliflower in cheese sauce, gravy. Then followed it up with hot plum pudding with hot custard, cream and ice-cream. I’m surprised we didn’t all die of heart attacks – the temperature outside can approach 104 degrees F/40 degrees C and the humidity can hit 100%. As you can imagine, after lunch, everybody just collapsed like drunken elephants to sleep off the mountain of food!

These days most people do something much more climate appropriate. Seafood and salads or a barbecue on the ubiquitous beach. But I was indoctrinated early. If it’s not the sort of meal that makes you feel like you’ve eaten a ton of bricks, it’s not Christmas.

Another thing I remember fondly from those long Christmas holidays when I was a young ‘un is lying around reading book after book. Mainly romances. That’s definitely a good memory!

If you’re in Australia or New Zealand and you’re short of reading matter over the holidays, HarperCollins here have put out CLAIMING THE COURTESAN, TEMPT THE DEVIL and MY RECKLESS SURRENDER as an e-bundle called THE COURTESAN COLLECTION at a bargain price. It’s available from 13th December from all good e-book retailers. Here’s the Amazon link:

My recipe isn’t really a recipe but it’s very yummy.

Summer Fruit Salad:

Chop up fruit in season, for example, plums, peaches, cherries, mangoes, watermelon, apricots, nectarines. Mix together in a large bowl. For a touch of decadence, stir in a splash of sweet liqueur (Frangelico is nice for this). Serve alone or with cream or ice-cream. Makes a lovely breakfast dish (without the Frangelico – well, all right, add the Frangelico if you want, it’s Christmas!).

Wishing you all a very happy Holiday season and all the best for 2012!

***So how old were you when you read your first romance? Was it over a summer holiday? Do you remember what it was? I’ve got a signed copy of MIDNIGHT’S WILD PASSION going out to one lucky commenter. Good luck. Open World Wide***





  1. Gail Nichols

    I started reading romances whenI wa in junior high school and read “Gone With i The Wind in 3 days and have been reading them ever since I am a huge fan of your books Ms.Campbell:)

  2. dorthy

    I was 13 I believe. Yes, it was over a summer holiday. I was at my Grandparents house, and ended up staying up all night just so I could finish it. 🙂
    The book was FIRST LOVE WILD LOVE by Madeline Baker.

  3. Beebs

    The first romance I remember reading is Jane Eyre, I was about 11 and spending my summer hols with my nan. She always encouraged reading and gave me the book.


  4. Ebony M.

    I was a teenanger when i read my first romance novel. I think it was Anne of green gables or another book . lol 🙂 I love book giveaways !!! 🙂

  5. Na S.

    I think I was around 14 and I can’t remember the title but it was a category romance. I didn’t start reading romance regularly until I was twenty and Brenda Joyce’s The Masquerade was my “first” one.

  6. Anna Campbell

    Hey, isn’t that red flower snazzy? HI Gail! Thanks for swinging by. By the way, did you see you were one of Sue Grimshaw’s winners at the Romance Bandits on Saturday? Congratulations! This will make you gasp with horror – I’ve never been able to finish Gone with the Wind. Haven’t tried it for years – maybe I should give it another go. Thanks for saying you’re a fan, mwah!

  7. Anna Campbell

    Dorthy, lovely to see you. Did you see you were one of Sue Grimshaw’s winners at the Romance Bandits on Saturday? Congrats! Isn’t it a wonderful feeling when you discover the romance genre? I’ve been hooked ever since that first one. Although it sounds like you started ‘hotter’ than I did 😉

  8. Anna Campbell

    Beebs, I LOVE Jane Eyre. My mum gave it to me when I was about nine and I was too young to appreciate it – got bogged down in the boarding school bits. But I read it again when I was about 18 and it’s been one of my favorite books ever since. My grandmother was a big reader too – she gave me some wonderful romances to read over the years.

  9. Anna Campbell

    Ebony, I missed out on Anne of Green Gables. Only realised what fun it was when I saw the TV show years later. Good luck in the draw!

  10. Anna Campbell

    Na, so glad you stumbled into the genre. There’s some wonderful books out there to read, aren’t there? Good luck in the draw.

  11. Kim in Hawaii

    Aloha, Anna! Sadly, I was 37 years old when I discovered romance. I read very little until then. It was the spring in the Netherlands and we were cleaning out the American Spouses’ Thrift Shop. We sent most of the store to Afghanistan to support an orphanage adopted by the NATO peacekeepers. Leftover were the English language books, including a stack of paperback romances. I fell in love with Historical Romances.

    Mele Kalikimaka!

  12. aurian

    Thank you for the lovely blogpost, I sure would not mind visiting Australia. I would love to see the Orchids that grow in the wild. We don’t have those spectacular flowers in Holland, just some tiny ones. Cricket, never seen on Dutch tv yet either.

    My first romance novel, wow. I was not even in my teens I believe, and grabbed one of my mothers books. Don’t worry, no sex scenes back then, just a kiss. Or people returning from their honeymoon. I’ve been reading books, all kinds, ever since I learned how.

  13. Anna Campbell

    Kim, happy Holidays to you and yours! I”m always fascinated when people started reading romance. A lot of us who started early had a mother (or a grandmother) who pushed the books on us. So glad you found romance!

  14. Anna Campbell

    Aurian, orchids in the wild are reasonably rare here too. You have to battle your way through very thick rainforest (with crocodiles and spiders and snakes) if you want to see them in their natural state. They’re very spectacular, though. My mother had a Cooktown orchid which hardly ever flowered but when it did, it was amazing. Huge and white and purple. Yeah, when I started reading romance, it was a kiss (if you were lucky!) at the end. Things have definitely changed since then!

  15. Lisa Hutson

    I was a grown up when I read my first romance. Fell in love with them right away. I dont remember the authors. Only that they were all harlequin. From the library. 🙂 Of course, once the kids came, the reading was suspended. But once the youngest got a little older, I started again. And have not stopped. Now, I read so many different authors!! And love the happily ever after!

  16. catslady

    I want to say I was in junior high. My older sister got me my first romance book one Christmas. I believe it was called “A kiss, is a kiss, is a kiss” or something like that. From there I went on to gothics but it was Kathleen Woodiwiss that really got me hooked.

  17. dorthy


    Yes I did see that I was one of Sue Grimshaw’s winners 🙂 Thank you.
    And, yes it is a wonderful feeling to discover the romance genre 🙂 I did start a litle hot, but then cooled off again for a while. 🙂 But all in all it was a great book to start into the Genre with.
    After re-reading your blog post I noticed you didn’t mention your first romance book. Do you remember what it was?
    I couldn’t imagine Christmas without cold weather or snow…well maybe without snow, had plenty of those but I’ve always had cold weather. Since your Christmas season is in summer, is Easter in Fall for you? A couple of years ago my kids had fun looking for easter eggs in the snow 🙂

  18. Anna Campbell

    Lisa, I can’t get enough happily ever after either. It’s always so hopeful and affirming, isn’t it? Glad you’re feeding your romance addiction these days! Long may you continue!

  19. Anna Campbell

    Catslady, love the title of that first romance! When I was a teenager, I devoured Kathleen Woodiwiss. Used to read her in my maths classes under the desk. Got caught a couple of times – oh, dear, was I in trouble!

  20. Anna Campbell

    Yes, Easter is an autumn festival here – never actually thought of that before. But all the spring symbolism is as skewy for us as the Christmas winter symbolism now I think about it. Easter eggs in the snow? That blows my mind! My mum gave me my first romance novel – it was called The Touch of Silk and it was by an Aussie author called Joyce Dingwell. It was a Mills and Boon (Harlequin) and I was immediately hooked on the genre. They kissed at the end, I remember, which I rather liked in Hyde Park in the middle of Sydney although most of the book was set in Macao. I love the exotic settings of a lot of those old Mills and Boons. Made me a killer in the geography category of Trivial Pursuit! 😉

  21. Aretha zhen

    Hi Anna! Thank you for this opportunity to win your book. I am soo excited . So, the first time I read romAnce is when I was 14 years old and I read it under my blanket because I’m afraid my mom will susPect what I read and I was hiding it from her hehe. I remembered perfectly well the very first romance I read is bride of his choice by Emma Darcy . This book is so good and made my cry on and on:). I read it during Christmas holiday . I was lucky enough to get this book as a Christmas present :). Cheers

  22. Nicole Hill (@nicolehill17)

    I was 23 when I read my first romance. I never read romances because I thought they were trashy useless books that only dim witted females read because they did not have the aptitude to comprehend anything more difficult. I used to work at a call center and one day was so bored that when the lady next to me offered me a romance to read in between calls, I thought well what other choice did I have. I could not put it down! I was nearly literally salivating on my desk. I took it home and finished it that night at which time, I had to immediately wake my husband up. 😉 I have been hooked every since and read at least four to five a week. The book I read was Dark Desire by Christine Feehan.

  23. TBRG (Post author)

    The first romance I read was a category I read one and fell in love. My next book was Johanna Lindsey’s Brave the Wild Winds, I was 14 and the book had just come out. That as they say was all she wrote.

  24. Anna Campbell

    Aretha, how cool that an Aussie author turned you onto romance! Makes my patriotic heart glow. Laughed at you reading under the blanket!

  25. Anna Campbell

    Nicole, I think it’s so sad that so many have been brainwashed against reading romance – and mostly without any of them ever actually trying one. The other thing is in this day and age, there’s such a variety of romance available, I can’t imagine anyone hating romance in general. So glad you came over to the dark side 😉

  26. Anna Campbell

    TBRG (Heather?), I went through a real Johanna Lindsey craze at one stage. Seriously, they were like a drug to me. I used to read three or four a week. Haven’t read one for a while but I remember how addicted I was!

  27. infinitieh

    Hi, Anna! I only started reading romances a couple of years ago. I was sick in bed and decided to borrow an ebook from the library. I chose a book with a dog on it. It was Jennifer Crusie’s “Anyone But You”. Yes, I started with a contemp.

  28. Heather-admin

    Yes that was me! At one point I owned all of Johanna Lindsey’s books. I;m slowly getting them all again.

  29. Anna Campbell

    Sheree, Jenny C is a great one to start with. I use her Welcome to Temptation as a conversion tool. I dare anyone to say romance can’t be smart after reading that! Love the dog in Anyone But You.

  30. Anna Campbell

    Heather, very sadly, I think most of my JLs went in one of my many moves. I should try them again!


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