Well, sort of. I’m actually still in Goa, but I’ve been interviewed on the Reflections for Reality blog, in their Barren Island Books section. Take a look!

http://www.afesmith.com/blog/barren-island-books-natalie-k-martin

Whoop!! Sexy Julian is BACK! Erotica author extraordinaire Brooke Harris is back with the sequel to the fabulous Rules of Harte and on 24th November, Change of Harte will be available to buy. I’m so, so excited to get Brooke onto WaW for a Q & A session. So, ladies, get ready…

But before you get too excited, let’s rewind.

Give us a quick introduction to your lead characters?
Eva (Evangeline Andrews) is starting over. She’s a New Jersey Girl in Dublin and desperate to be normal, but the secret she carries around is almost as hard to hide as her accent.

Julian Harte is hot, smart and a complete alpha as*hole.  He enjoys a challenge, but is always left sadly disappointed by his opponents. Then he meets Eva…

Visual representation of the characters?
Oh God I just love this part. Okay, so if I was Casting Director for the film I’d so be begging Josh Duhamel to play Julian. 6’2’’, dark brown eyes, dark brown hair, sallow skin. Have you seen that man in a three-piece-suit? Holy-hotness. All smoldering and broody. Yummy.

Julian Harte Josh

Eva is your understated beauty. 5’5’’, mousy-brown straight hair and bright green eyes.  Katie Holmes would be perfect. Think her Dawson Creek days.

Katie Holmes as Eva

 
What gets them out of bed in the mornings?
Eva is all about building a new life for herself, hiding her past and keeping her head down. All while freaking out about how to avoid the attention she’s attracting from her new boss.

For Julian? Bed is boring. He doesn’t spend much time in it. He can think of far more interesting places for a little *ahem*

What do we need to know about them?
They’re both good people, despite not always knowing that about each other. One of them is as broken as the other, but together they make a whole.

What do the both of they keep in their pockets/purses?
Eva has Watermelon Lip balm, some Clear Mascara and a folded invitation to a Black Tie Ball. She most likely has some dollars mixed in with the euros in her wallet.

Julian is far too much of an enigma to know what’s in his pockets *sigh*

What’s your favourite line from the book?
“You’re beautiful always, Evangeline but you’re perfect when you smile. You smile when you come.”

What can we expect from the sequel/your next book?    
Change of Harte (Harte, #2) is out November 24th. I’m so excited to continue Julian and Eva’s story. Fans get to know the characters much better. I had so much fun writing this book. It was a bit like hanging out with old friends. Here’s what it’s all about…

Julian vows to put what Eva needs above what he wants. But what if she needs the truth?

Evangeline Andrews is home. Well, near enough. Even though she carries a crumbled piece of paper with her mother’s address in New Jersey on the back, she has an endless list of excuses not to visit. But unknown to Eva, the past is about to visit her. And it’s not accepting excuses.

Julian Harte is content to let whiskey and sex fill the Eva-shaped hole in his bed until he discovers the man who almost destroyed her is back in her life. Letting Eva go is no longer an option. But Julian will have to face his own demons when he leaves Dublin, and helping Eva will expose the secrets behind his games. Secrets which could leave her hating him forever.

Round Two. Game on. This time there are no rules.

O. M. G. Talk about hotness! Roll on November 24th. You can get yourself ready for Julian by getting your hands on Rules of Harte until then and you can also get in touch with Brooke on the following links. Go spread the world!

Rules of Harte on Amazon

Follow Brooke on Twitter – @brookeharris_

Find Brooke on Facebook – BrookeHarrisWrites

Blog – www.brookeharrisauthor.wordpress.com

So this edition (edition? Feels weird to call it that. Anywho) is a little bit different. I didn’t meet Kelly on my travels. We’ve known each other since we were teenagers, up in the land of Sheffield. Her house was directly behind mine and as I was mates with her sister, our paths crossed a lot. It just so happens that she’s got major wanderlust, so much so that she’s off to travel the world next year.

Say hello to Kelly….

hollywood

Who is Kelly?
I’m an accountant from Sheffield who loves to escape the place but always comes home to my family. I love travelling, trying new things, being wonderstruck by people and places all over the Earth and currently, trapeze. I get passionate about things for a while then when I’ve got so far I need something else to captivate me.

What was your ‘aha’ moment? (i.e. the moment you decided you wanted to hit the road)
I was 25 and I’d just bought a house with my long-term boyfriend. It was stunning, 4 beds, 4 loos, all the trimmings. I spent the first 4 months putting my stamp on it before I decided it wasn’t what I wanted. This probably harps back to my staying power with hobbies.

Heartbreakingly I left my seemingly “perfect” life and moved back home with my parents. Back in my box room I felt more free than I had in a long time. It was then I decided I wanted to feel even more freedom. So I booked a flight to Thailand, alone. My first solo trip ever.

Where’ve you been so far?
I started off in Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. I enjoy going to places that will challenge and develop me both in terms of language barriers and cultural differences. I’ve since done Northern Italy (Milan, Verona, Lake Garda, Venice), Holland, Moscow and road-tripped across America (San Francisco to Miami via the Deep South).

What’s the single best thing about travelling?
Not having anywhere to be, just taking life as it comes.

And what’s the single worst thing about travelling?
Jet lag and general tiredness when you try to fit too much in to a small amount of time. It can make you grumpy and irrational and ruin the experience of being somewhere if you’re not careful.

Where are you planning to go next?
September 2015 I’m starting a 2 year around the world trip but still trying to decide where to start. At the minute I’m thinking St Petersburg, Russia, then take the Tran Siberian train across the country, stopping in Vladivostok then crossing over in to China.

What are your top 3 tips/advice for anyone considering backpacking?

  1. Enjoy every minute. Try to remain positive even when you lose your passport, miss your bus, get caught in a 1am thunderstorm with your backpack on and have to walk 3 miles to your hostel. It’s all part of the adventure and beats whatever monotonous activities your mates are getting up to back home HANDS DOWN.
  2. Talk to people. A lot of the time people are in the same boat, wanting meet new people too but are afraid to strike up conversation first. Just take a deep breath and go straight in there. If they’re cool, great, you’ve got a new friend to try out new places with. If they’re not, quite simply try another.
  3. Keep a diary – on paper, on a blog, a video diary, by whichever means. I started doing it because I have a terrible memory. But the more you see and do the more easy it is to forget the small things that were pretty mesmerizing at the time. It’s heartening to read through and remember how certain sights, smells and people made you feel. I also love my personal videos, they really capture the exhilaration I felt at the time.

Aw. Big thanks to Kelly. And I am not at all jealous about her world trip.

Not at all.

(Lies)

A while back, I did a post with the intention to get someone in the big, wide world inspired to go travel. I introduced Michael Margolies, an American travelling the world and sharing his adventures via a podcast, Walking The Earth. Well, it’s that time again.

This time, I’m introducing Adoki, a super cool guy I met, also in Chiang Mai. Right from the off, it was all about awesome coincidences. He’s also from London and it turned out I’d met a friend of his in Bundi, Rajahstan a week or so earlier, and to add to that, we also share the same birthday! So, I thought it’d be cool to get him on the blog for a Q & A.

Who is Adoki?

Who am I?
Maybe the most important and most difficult question. I’m currently in the process of becoming a philosophy teacher and am loving teaching extra large mind expanding concepts to little adults. I’m a believer of the Holy Trinity, Science-Spirituality-Philosophy, and feel within these holds a key to something beyond comprehension.
I love to see new things; to experience goose bumped infused moments that remind me about how finite and important life (I & U) is (are).

I have few passions but seek to fill my life with them as much as possible. Music. Food. Travelling ( being one of the reasons I fell into the education profession as it fills in two important criteria; meaning and holidays to find meaning). Once I was told that my totem animal was a bear. I like bears. Winnie The Pooh Is a Taoist Philosopher.

I mathematically believe in the high probability of alien life form and my favorite food is Plantain (cooking banana). (√∞=♥)

Tell me a bit about your music and what inspires you
I love many genres and all inspire. Jazz, dub, minimal tech, classical. But, I feel my inspiration comes from electronic music and sounds in general (unorganised sounds). Just thinking about it, I feel this could stem from the dichotomy, or illusion of separation, of the two. Sounds are spontaneous, uncoordinated; one minute you hear a bird chirp, the next a plate crash. They could be said to harbour a life of their own. Adding to that, I feel if we disassociate from the cause of some sounds and hear it as an abstract entity floating on its own, it takes on another meaning (try listening to the sound the tyres of a moving car make of the road – very relaxing). On the flip side of that, there’s electronic music. Synths, pads, drum loops, midi key boards; all of these not only incorporate the fact that humans are able to evolve technologically at an amazing rate, but for me encapsulates that thing, that ‘je ne sais quoi‘, that soul. Search and listen to ∆ZTEK – Feelin.

What was your ‘aha’ moment? (i.e. the moment you decided you wanted to hit the road)
Working in a Cuban bar at the age of 20 and meeting and working with people from all over the globe. Seeing them see London from a point of view I had become accustomed to was so refreshing. Not only did it make me want to enjoy the city of my birth more, but it also made me realise that there was a whole world waiting and wanting to be seen.

Where’ve you been so far?
Australia (Melbourne, Perth), Holland (Amsterdam), Mexico (Mexico city, Tulum, Guadalajara), USA ( Los Angeles), Spain (Melila, Madrid, Valencia, Almeria, Granada), Morroco, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong and Italy (Rome and Sorrento).

What’s the single best thing about travelling?
Fear. Awkwardness.  Being alone yet with so many others. The food, sound, smells, textures, unfamiliarity. A deep inexpiable connection with humanity/reality. To see a manifestation of the divine that has never been described in any Holy Book. 

And what’s the single worst thing about travelling?
The actual traveling part can be tedious. Living out of a bag and knowing the futility of unpacking because soon you will be on the road again. I hate that shit.

Where are you planning to go next?
I feel I need to reconnect to the Mother Land. As being from African decent, I feel it definitely needs to be explored at greater depth. So much negativity is heard in the media I feel I want to see all aspects of Africa, not just what’s fed to me on the news and adverts for aid.

What are your top 3 tips/advice for anyone considering backpacking?

  1. Be brave. Let your fear and anxiety be the catalyst, metamorphosing you to the true you.
  2. Be water. Flow, don’t be solid. Adapt.
  3. Be vigilant. All kinds of people exist in the world. Learn to filter the negatives.

Big thanks to Adoki for featuring on the blog. Adoki, I have your water canteen. I’ll bring it to you soon!

You can connect with Adoki and check out his music here:

Facebook – Adoki The Anomaly | YouTube |  SoundCloud | Bandcamp

One of the cool things about travelling is meeting other people – something that’s surprisingly easy. It’s a great way to find inspiration about where to move onto next or even to take the leap and head out with a backpack yourself. So, I’ve decided to get some of the people I met on my travels for guest posts and hopefully inspire others to get out there and explore!

Back in April, towards the end of my trip in Chiang Mai, I switched guesthouses and met Michael, an American traveller who was staying in the same place. Like a lot of other people, he’s documenting his trip but what’s cool is that he does his via his podcast Walking The Earth, and I even got to be featured on an episode. I’m stoked to have gotten him on my blog for a quick Q & A. You can find details of his podcast and social media links below – so say hello!

Episode 21 no textWho is Michael Margolies?

I’m an American backpacker who is finding his way in the world! After working as an engineer for 5 years, I left my job in August 2013 to travel for an extended period and eventually try my hand at entrepreneurship. For almost a year now, I have been solo backpacking, learning about myself and the world around me. During my trip, I have also been keeping myself busy hosting a travel podcast.

A podcast you say . . . tell me more
Walking the Earth-1
Walking the Earth Podcast is a show about the backpacking experience. In the initial episodes, I share my personal journey via Skype calls to my childhood friend Justin Cassel who is back home in the US. The show has since evolved to feature guest appearances by a diverse array of fellow travelers and locals who share their stories and perspectives. One guest I had the pleasure of bringing on the show was you Natalie! (For folks interested to hear, you can check out that episode at: wtepodcast.com/2014/05/01/episode-21).

What was your ‘aha’ moment? (i.e. the moment you decided you wanted to hit the road)
I can point to a few key moments. In 2009, I took the full 2 weeks of vacation my employer gave me to travel Europe. That was the first time I met people who weren’t simply on vacation for a couple weeks, but were traveling long-term as part of their lifestyle. From that moment, I said to myself, “One day that’s going to be me!” A few years later, I found myself having what you might call a “quarter-life crisis.” I was “successful” with a “good job” (i.e., making good money), yet I was still unhappy. In September 2012, I took a trip to Peru and participated in several ceremonies with the psychedelic medicine ayahuasca. In those ceremonies, I had many revelations and “moments of clarity,” but one of the big ones was that I was living my life backwards. I was living a life where my highest priority was my career, the conventional wisdom being that career advancement will lead to higher salary and therefore more opportunities to do what I want and be happy. But in fact, I realized this was the “tail wagging the dog” and I should be taking the reverse approach: what do I want to do, and how much money do I need to achieve it? I wanted to go long-term backpacking. And turns out, I already had enough money to do it. It then became strikingly obvious to me that I should do precisely that, instead of listening to the fears implanted in me by my family, society, etc. We speak in depth about ayahuasca in episode #28.

Where’ve you been so far?
I began this trip in India, spending a total of 4 months there. Since January, I have been exploring the countries of Southeast Asia — Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, and currently making my way through Vietnam.

What’s the single best thing about travelling?
Meeting so many wonderful people! It’s kind of funny, but while backpacking, it’s actually easier to meet people than back home. Not only that, but I also find that most of the people I meet are extremely like-minded in terms of values and life philosophy. I can meet somebody for the very first time, from a completely different country, and within an hour, I will often make a deep connection that I rarely share with people back home, even those who I have known for years. Meeting the locals in all of these countries also constantly opens my eyes to new perspectives.

And what’s the single worst thing about travelling?
Saying goodbye to so many wonderful people! As a solo backpacker, your relationships are inherently transient. In the beginning, it didn’t bother me as much because I was always meeting new friends. But now that I have been backpacking for almost a year, it has started to feel somewhat lonely. It is still very easy to meet people, but I know the relationships are temporary (and the intro conversations can become repetitive!).

Where are you planning to go next?
I never have plans – I have trajectories! I’m figuring it out as I go along, but based on some of my current feelings I just described, it seems I might need a little bit more stability. I don’t intend to move back to the US just yet, but I am thinking I will most likely “settle down,” at least temporarily, back in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Chiang Mai, of course, is the same place we met and recorded our podcast episode together 3 months ago! I just relistened to that episode, and funny enough, I even alluded to this vague plan back then, and we talked about all the reasons why Chiang Mai has everything you could want in a place to live!

What are your top 3 tips/advice for anyone considering backpacking?
Don’t plan. There’s a tendency to research and figure out exactly where you are going to stay, what you’re going to do, etc etc. Don’t do it. It will only cause you to miss out on opportunities. Go with the flow, follow your gut, and you will find even better experiences than you could have possibly planned! (Another topic we touched on in our episode)

  1. Don’t plan. There’s a tendency to research and figure out exactly where you are going to stay, what you’re going to do, etc etc. Don’t do it. It will only cause you to miss out on opportunities. Go with the flow, follow your gut, and you will find even better experiences than you could have possibly planned! (Another topic we touched on in our episode)
  2. Bring as little as possible. There’s another tendency to overpack, which kind of falls along the same lines as overplanning, because you want to be prepared for every possible case scenario. But in fact, it’s better to forget something than to bring too much. If you forget something you urgently need, you can probably get it wherever you are, usually for much cheaper. But if you bring too much, you’re now stuck lugging around on your back a bunch of shit you aren’t even using.
  3. Be independent. Go alone or in a small group (the smaller the better!), and be willing to split up and re-converge sometimes. Everyone has different priorities, and you should not have to feel like you are missing out on an experience or forced into something you don’t want, just because of your travel companions. There are also certain experiences that you simply cannot have when you restrain yourself to always operating within a clan.

Big thanks to Michael for featuring on the blog, I’m not at all wildly jealous that he’s still exploring the world! You can find his podcast here: wtepodcast.com

Go natter with him and Justin at: @mikemargolies | @WTEpodcast | facebook.com/walkingtheearthpodcast

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