Saturday, June 30, 2018

Book Trailer Premiere - The Artisan Heart by Dean Mayes

Australian author Dean Mayes and Central Avenue Publishing are proud to present the official book trailer for Dean's highly anticipated new novel "The Artisan Heart", which will be released world wide on September 1st 2018.

Featuring music from "Swear and Shake" with haunting vocals from Kari Spieler, "The Artisan Heart" trailer showcases the mood and the romance of Dean's long awaited return to his romantic roots in a tender story of damaged hearts and second chances.

Hayden Luschcombe is a brilliant paediatrician living in Adelaide with his wife, Bernadette, an ambitious event planner. His life consists of soul-wrenching days at the hospital and tedious evenings attending the lavish parties organized by Bernadette.

When an act of betrayal coincides with a traumatic confrontation, Hayden flees Adelaide, his life in ruins. His destination is Walhalla, nestled in Australia’s southern mountains, where he finds his childhood home falling apart. With nothing to return to, he stays, and begins to pick up the pieces of his life by fixing up the house his parents left behind.

Isabelle Sampi is a struggling artisan baker raising her hearing-impaired daughter, and has no time for matters of the heart. Yet the presence of the handsome doctor challenges her resolve. Likewise, Hayden, protective of his fractured heart, finds something in Isabelle that awakens dormant feelings of his own.

As their attraction grows, and the past threatens their chance at happiness, both Hayden and Isabelle will have to confront long-buried truths if they are ever to embrace a future.





To celebrate the release of the trailer for "The Artisan Heart" Dean is giving one lucky reader the opportunity to win a fabulous prize pack! In partnership with Janesce Australia and Swear and Shake, Dean is offering;

* A signed paperback copy of "The Artisan Heart".
* A Gift Certificate from Janesce Australia to the value of $50 (valid on-line or in-store).
* A copy of Swear and Shake's 2016 studio album "The Sound Of Letting Go" (which served as the musical inspiration for the novel).


To be in the running to win, entrants can do either of the following;

* Visit Dean Mayes - The Hambledown Dreamer at Facebook. Like the page and share the pinned post featuring the trailer. Tag Dean in your post and include the hash-tag #TheArtisanHeart. 

* Comment on this post below and tell Dean in 25 words or less what intrigues you the most about The Artisan Heart. 


For those of you who are active on Twitter, follow Dean's account @Hambledown_Road, like and quote re-tweet the pinned post at the top of Dean's feed. Tag @Hambledown_Road in your re-tweet and include the hash-tag #TheArtisanHeart.

For those of you who are active on Instagram, follow Dean's account - deanfromaustralia, like the post featuring the trailer for The Artisan Heart and repost it on your own feed, Mention deanfromaustralia in your post and include the hash-tag #TheArtisanHeart.

At this time, The Artisan Heart competition is open to entries world wide and will run from today until midnight on Sunday, July 15th 2018.

Please join Dean and Central Avenue Publishing in celebrating the release of the official trailer for Dean's highly anticipated new novel "The Artisan Heart" - available in-stores and on-line everywhere from September 1st, 2018.


Saturday, June 23, 2018

Home & The Artisans - An Evening With Greta Bradman.

On Friday evening, I fulfilled something of a promise to myself that had been delayed for a couple of years, owing to the recent challenges I've had health wise - of which regular readers of my blog will no doubt be aware. 

Having parted company with my wife and son, who were off to a thrilling AFL match between Port Adelaide and Melbourne at the Adelaide Oval, my daughter Lucy and I went to see our first performance by Australian soprano Greta Bradman at St. Peter's Cathedral. 

Greta is touring around Australia presently, in support of her new album release 'Home' - a lovingly curated selection of music inspired by her love of home, family and love itself.

(image credit: Decca/Universal.) 

Already the album has proven a hit with fans around the world, continuing an upward trajectory for Greta, which has just been so wonderful to observe since she began performing back in 2010.

Accompanied by acclaimed classical pianist Kate Johnson, the capacity audience were taken on a lovely ride through the very essence of Home, which was presented musically as a concept as much as it was a place.

(Acclaimed pianist, Kate Johnson and Lucy.)

The performance itself, in the hallowed environs of Adelaide's glorious Cathedral was at once intimate, soulful, uplifting, and utterly romantic. We we're treated to a repertoire that included movements from Dvořák, Rimksy-Korsakov, Schubert, Chopin, Handel and composers with a much more personal connection to Greta herself. I couldn't go without mentioning one special tune, composed by Greta's grandfather, titled "Everyday Is A Rainbow For Me." Written as a loving tribute to the girl who became his wife, Greta reached across time to pluck this beautiful flower from her grandfather's far away garden and share it with us here in the present. It was an exquisite and personal moment.

(image credit Albert Comper/Lynn Elzinga-Henry.)

What struck me the most about Greta's performance was her relationship with the Cathedral itself. She was cognizant of every nook and cranny of the building, its illustrious curves, its rafters, the volume of the space. How Greta adapted her vocal technique to accommodate her surrounds was fascinating to behold and she projected her voice effortlessly up into the lofty heights above us, delivering through out the building. In chatting with other audience members after the performance, it was clear that no matter where you were in the building, the aural experience was equal. Greta and the Cathedral had a mutual understanding, and were as much a partnership with one another as Greta and her pianist Kate. 
Everyone was drawn into her sphere by the end of the first half. 

And then, a moment happened, that will stay with me and Lucy for the rest of our lives. 

During an interval between songs, Greta related a story about her experience of having had throat surgery a couple of years ago, which would have been quite a risk to her career. 

During that time, she received correspondence from a "bloke" (that made me smile) who was undergoing similar surgery - the first having occurred on the exact same day as hers. 

That correspondence turned into a lovely back and forth over the past couple of years in which Greta and this man encouraged each other and checked in on each others progress. 

She then looked straight at me and said, "That bloke is in the audience tonight. His name is Dean and I'm so thrilled I will finally get to meet him after all this time. I want dedicate this next song - Bach's "Ave Maria" to Dean - to us both - who'd lost our voices and found them again."

To say that I was floored would be an understatement. To say that I was emotional would be accurate. 

Greta fulfilled her promise and we had a lovely moment after her performance, embracing as though we were old friends. We chatted about the performance, with Greta relating her impressions of that special relationship with the Cathedral I mentioned earlier. Greta remarked about how it had evolved from the first time she'd performed there to now and how she understood the building and its eccentricities. I appreciated the meaning of that. Greta engaged in a wonderful chat with Lucy about her dance classes and the upcoming school holidays.

During our chat, I was able to gift her an advance copy of The Artisan Heart. Before I left home, I'd stowed it in my shoulder bag, in the vague hope to leave the copy of the novel with Greta's tour staff.

As a tribute to the connection we'd made, Greta appears in a brief passage in the novel. It was my way of saying thank you to her. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever believe I would have the opportunity to present it to her herself.

(Artisans together - The Soprano, The Writer and Lucy.)

After a photo together, we parted and Lucy and I braved the chilly Adelaide evening to make our way to the Pancake Kitchen for a post performance dessert treat. We were both buzzing over the evening we'd had and the special moments we shared together.

Greta and Kate will go on to tour her album until mid July here in Australia. I'm so thrilled that so many more music lovers will have the opportunity to experience her magic.

'Home' the new album from Greta Bradman is out now

For tour dates, visit Greta Bradman here.


Saturday, June 2, 2018

Dangerous Ideas - The Burden of Expectation by Jennifer S. Alderson

I'm continuing my series of guest posts around Dangerous Ideas and this week, I'm pleased to welcome travel writer and author Jennifer S. Alderson to take the reins of my blog. Jennifer is a travel mystery writer whose novels visit exotic locations and conjure wonderful visuals and descriptions whilst entertaining readers with cracking mysteries that really involve you. Today, Jennifer has offered to explore the idea of fulfilling - or not fulfilling - the expectations of readers.

Is it dangerous not to fulfill reader’s expectations?

A social media conversation I had with Dean Mayes about reader’s expectations – in his case a man writing romance –made me think about my latest release and the unrealistic expectations my setting and plot may be creating for prospective readers.

Jennifer S. Alderson (image credit

My latest novel, Rituals of the Dead: An Artifact Mystery, is set in the Asmat region of Papua in the 1962 – when it was a colony of the Netherlands known as Dutch New Guinea. For virtually everyone who knows about the Asmat, headhunting is the first thing that comes to mind. Though it is true, this is only one aspect of their intricate culture.

While conducting research for an exhibition of Asmat art in the Tropenmuseum, I read many first-hand accounts written by missionaries, explorers and anthropologists working in the region when it was still a colony. The area was known as a sort Wild West – untamed wilderness and people whose spiritual beliefs were vastly different than western ones. Though several of these travel diaries describe the ferocity of tribal skirmishes and headhunting raids, what stayed with me most were the constant references to the Asmat’s shyness. These striped, feathered, bone-wearing headhunters were shy? It seemed hard to fathom, based on the usual descriptions I come across of the Asmat and the island of Papua New Guinea in general.

In my novel, you won’t find descriptions of headhunting raids or cannibalism. This wasn’t a conscious decision to be politically correct or anything like that. When I began writing Rituals of the Dead, the idea of these fierce warriors being shy kept flitting to the forefront of my thoughts. Perhaps I over compensated by not including a single passage about these practices, but they are not essential to my story. There was no reason to include such information in my book, except sensationalism. Or perhaps, to stay true to readers expectations and assumptions about the region.

I hope my portrayal of the Asmat in the early 1960s is not off-putting, and that readers come away with a broader view of the Asmat, colonial relations and the work of missionaries in the region.

I am truly curious to see how readers react to the story and my descriptions!

Authors, do you think it is dangerous to not fulfill reader’s expectations? Readers, do you enjoy reading books that challenge your assumptions about other cultures and countries?

About Jennifer:

Jennifer S. Alderson was born in San Francisco, raised in Seattle, and currently lives in Amsterdam (the Netherlands). Her love of travel, art, and culture inspires her ongoing mystery series, the Adventures of Zelda Richardson. Her background in journalism, multimedia development, and art history enriches her novels. When not writing, she can be found in a museum, biking around Amsterdam, or enjoying a coffee along the canal while planning her next research trip.

In Down and Out in Kathmandu, Zelda gets entangled with a gang of smugglers whose Thai leader believes she’s stolen his diamonds. The Lover’s Portrait is a suspenseful “whodunit?” about Nazi-looted artwork that transports readers to wartime and present-day Amsterdam. Art, religion, and anthropology collide in Rituals of the Dead, a thrilling artifact mystery set in Dutch New Guinea (Papua) and the Netherlands.

The Lover’s Portrait was Chill With A Book’s January 2018 Book of the Month and won the Silver Cup in Rosie’s Book Review Team 2017 Awards, Mystery category. It also won a Chill With A Book Readers’ Award, Readers’ Favorite 5 star medal, was one of The Displaced Nation magazine’s Top 36 Expat Fiction Picks of 2016, and came in at 14 in BookLife’s 2016 Prize for Fiction in the Mystery category. The Lover’s Portrait was also one of Women Writers, Women’s Books magazine’s Recommended Reads for April 2017.

Her travelogue, Notes of a Naive Traveler, is a must-read for those interested in learning more about – or wishing to travel to – Nepal and Thailand. It was also awarded a Readers’ Favorite 5 star medal.

Visit Jennifer S. Alderson here

Purchase Jennifer S. Alderson's books here.

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