Everything I Learnt About America…

…I learnt from Mari Carr.

‘Tis true. Honest. Until Mari Carr and I decided to write a series of books together, I was 100% convinced Thanksgiving was something Hollywood invented so movies like Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Son in Law and Home for the Holidays could be made. Okay, 60% convinced.

Until Mari Carr and I decided to write the Foreign Affairs series, about a group of Aussies from the Outback and the city-slicker Americans they seduce, I was more than convinced the only beer in America was Miller (and I thought it was Millers. With an “s”).

Okay, so I wasn’t that clueless to the North American world, but Google can only help you out some of the time. And Meg Ryan, Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock and the Men in Black aren’t entirely the font of New York City knowledge this little Aussie hoped they would be.

For starters, Google doesn’t tell me you could walk twenty New York blocks and not once bump into someone you know. If I was to believe Jerry Seinfeld, my heroine–Monet Carmichael–should be running into her friends any time she decided to go for a stroll. It was Mari who pointed out the chances of that happening are slim.

Mari also told me exactly where an Aussie cowboy would go to buy a suite in New York–and it isn’t the local Target down the road.

When I sent Mari the first draft of Book Two of the Foreign Affairs series, Misplaced Cowboy (which sees an Aussie stockman come to New York to meet with a woman he met online) it was full of these


Everytime I came to a bit of information or detail about New York or America I was clueless about, I would write XXXX and continue on. Poor Mari had a lot of XXXXs to address.

  • What kind of beer is favoured in US bars (Miller Lite. No S)
  • Where someone in the US would buy clothes a cowboy would wear (Urban Outfitters)
  • The food ordered in a typical New York cafe (NB: it’s not fish and chips)
  • Whether Americans consider Vegemite a condiment or a spread (apparently it’s neither. “That funny black shit” is the answer Mari gave me)
  • How long it takes to walk four New York blocks (longer than ten minutes…which kinda sucks when you only want your character to be beside each other for that length of time)
  • What a New Yorker does to a car that almost hits them in the street (flipping off the bird, as opposed to hurling abuse at them)
  • and my all-time favourite…how big a Thanksgiving Day parade balloon is. The best way to show you how little I knew about Thanksgiving Day parade balloons is to cut and paste Mari’s email response to me when I asked if they were about twenty foot big:
ROTFLMAO Jesus no. They are hundreds of feet big. Like fucking HUGE.
Mari Carr
New York Times Bestselling Author
Yes, it’s true. Everything important I know about America I learnt from Mari Carr…and my education is just beginning. There’s still another two books to write :)

Foreign Affairs, Book One

Annie Prince has impetuously flown halfway ’round the world to visit a sexy cowboy she met online—only to find herself stranded in Sydney. Seems she and Dylan crossed wires, and he’s on his way to New York. His twin, Hunter, saves the day and whisks her back to the family cattle station. Hunter’s as easy on the eyes as Dylan, and even easier to talk to. Annie might have flown to Oz to meet one brother, but soon sparks are flying with the other.

Hunter considered Dylan a dumb arse for jetting off to America for some stranger—until he met Annie. Turns out the New Yorker is a smart, funny, hard-working jillaroo…and hotter than the Aussie desert. Hunter’s not normally one to poach his brother’s women, but he can’t keep his hands, lips, tongue and other body parts off this sexy city girl.

When raging lust leads to emotional attachment, where does that leave Annie and Hunter when her vacation comes to an end—or when Dylan finds out?

To learn what Mari Carr learnt from me about Australia, check out her blog here. Suffice to say, I think Hugh Jackman taught her more than I did 😉
You can pre-order Misplaced Princess from Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Ellora’s Cave already. Misplaced Princess will be available June 20. Misplaced Cowboy will be available end of August and on pre-sale soon.
CONTEST: Okay, here’s a simple one. Tell me in the comments below something Mari may not have told me about America. Something quirky and interesting. In 24 hours time I will draw a winner from all the comments here and that lucky person will not only get a really sexy bound travel journal, they will also get a packet of Tims Tams AND a small jar of Vegemite, just to really experience the Aussieness of the Foreign Affairs series.
To go into the draw TWICE, also tell me your favourite sentence of the Misplaced Princess excerpt you can find HERE 


  1. blodeuedd says:

    I saw a mentioning of toms tams on twitter and had to come on over. And find out that I am the last person to answer any questions 😉 I know America from movies and books. That is what I get from being European. But let’s see, I recently read that the place with the most spoiled kids in America is Manhattan and Brooklyn coming in second 😉

  2. Nancy Gilliland says:

    Hmmmm…something about America Mari didn’t tell you?? Well, since she’s on the east Coast, I’ll bet she didn’t tell you about the most visited landmark in the Mid-west-the St. Louis Arch, Gateway to the west, right here in St. louis on the west bank of the Mississippi River.At 630 feet, it is the tallest man made monument in the U.S,

    Favorite sentence from the excerpt (actually two):
    His mother claimed he’d been cursed with a sarcastic streak as wide as Farpoint since the day he was born. While his mum found it annoying, Hunter had never found a good reason to curb that personality trait.

    • Mel Bourn says:

      That is true Nancy! I have lived in the St. Louis area 15 years now and have never been up in the Arch. How sad is that?!?

  3. Kathryn Barnum says:

    Hmm…something quirky about the U.S.? There’s a place in Nebraska called “Carhenge.” It’s literally a replica of Stonehenge, but the standing stones are vintage cars, painted gray, and put up on their ends. Yeah, we Americans are super classy :)

    As for my favorite sentence from the excerpt, it’d have to be “Never one to pass up an opportunity, he accepted the embrace, loosely wrapping his arms around her back.”

  4. Mel Bourn says:

    As most people know, we use miles to measure distance in the US as opposed to km as other countries do. Here in Southern Illinois we may have miles written on our signs, but we measure distance in how long it takes to get there. For example, If someone were to ask me how far is it from Belleville, where I live, to St. Louis, across the river, I would say, “It is about 15 minutes from my house to downtown.” I have to be honest, I am not sure what the actual distance is. But that tells me how long I have to get there.

    My favorite sentence from Misplaced Princess is:
    Bloody hell. Who knew the airport was such a great place to pick up women?

    I love when people say “Bloody Hell.” I always chuckle.

    bournmelissa at hotmail dot com

  5. Sharon M says:

    A quirky fact about the Southern U.S.: “bless your heart” is actually an insult. Can also be used as “bless her heart.” Also, y’all = you all which means it’s plural. Y’all’s is plural possessive.

    My favorite quote: Who knew the airport was such a great place to pick up women? He might have to fly to Sydney International more often.

  6. Casey Lu says:

    Ok you and Mari are cracking me up!! I’ve never traveled north of Kentucky, so I’d probably be just as lost as you in New York. LOL

    • Val says:

      Oh Ms Casey Lu, I had to learn the different slang meanings when we moved from NY to TX. TX is it’s own country. :)

  7. Alex Corvin says:

    There are jug handles in New Jersey instead of left turn lanes and lanes for U-turns. Used in Jersey when giving directions or giving location of where a place is (business, home, etc): What exit means the exit from the NJ Turnpike or Garden State Parkway.

    Fave sentence: He liked a woman with meat on her bones.

  8. Fedora says:

    Ah… Not being a terribly attentive or observant person, I’m not sure what all that’s interesting and/or quirky that I could tell you about the US that THE MARI CARR hadn’t already covered for you 😉 We live in a quiet-ish part of the country, and while we live in an area where spiders and snakes and such aren’t uncommon, they usually aren’t poisonous… unlike the baby rattlers they found at the kids’ elementary school a couple weeks ago ;p

    Hmm… Almost a quarter of the land area of Los Angeles is taken up by automobiles. How sad is that? ;p On the other hand, CA is also home to the oldest living bristlecone pine, considered one of the world’s oldest living things 😉 And well, since it’s also home of Disneyland, the self-appointed happiest place on earth, you’ve got to come back to hang out here soon!

    Eh, never mind! I’m not one for interesting OR quirky facts about America or Americans!

    But from the excerpt, I loved, “His mother claimed he’d been cursed with a sarcastic streak as wide as Farpoint since the day he was born. While his mum found it annoying, Hunter had never found a good reason to curb that personality trait.” Because one thing I appreciate in Aussies or Americans is a well-developed sense of sarcasm 😉

  9. […] just to really experience the Aussieness of the Foreign Affairs series. Head on over to my blog (HERE) and leave a comment if you want to go into the draw Oh, to go into the draw TWICE, also tell me […]

  10. Mary Preston says:

    I do know that America is 14 hours behind Australia – time wise.

    “His mother claimed he’d been cursed with a sarcastic streak as wide as Farpoint since the day he was born.” – he’d fit right in with my family.


  11. Cathy m says:

    Since I am a west coast girl, San Francisco cable cars are the only moving National Historic landmark.

    “Before he could tell her she had the wrong bloke and should go ahead and hang on to her anxiety, she took a step closer and threw her arms around him.”

    Cathy m
    caity_mack@yahoo dot com

  12. June M. says:

    Something quirky about America? I live in Kentucky and pretty much the ONLY thing that people talk about half of the year is sports. Which really gets old if you don’t like sports. I have been known to have to “unsubscribe” from updates from family members during basketball season, cause they would fill up my fb page with pictures and stuff about sports.

    Favorite line: It started as a sweet, friendly kiss, but Hunter wasn’t having any of that shit.

    manning_j2004 at yahoo dot com

  13. Kaz says:

    Here’s something a bit ‘different’. When you are in the South, starting in the state of Texas through to the Carolina’s, if you are in a diner, restaurant, etc… and ask for a Coke, the response is, what kind? “Coke” is used to describe a fizzy drink. 0.0

    • Fedora says:

      YES! I remember learning this from a friend who moved here from Texas–that cracked us all up! In some parts of the country, you ask for a soda; in others, a pop; or, of course, a Coke 😀

  14. Regina Ross says:

    Great Post and my fav line is: It started as a sweet friendly kiss but Hunter wasnt having any of that shit :)


  15. gigi s says:

    Let’s see did anyone tell you about dry counties? Where you can’t buy any liquor….that is just wrong 😉

    Being the Doctor Who fan, did you know they have a theme restuarant in NYC….just and FYI for your next trip.

    It started as a sweet, friendly kiss, but Hunter wasn’t having any of that shit.



  16. shirley long says:

    Hey Lexx–Mari 4got 2 tell u that the best thing about the USA is Texas and the HOT HOT HOT men that live here. My favorite sentence was the very last one “this chick coild really kiss”.

  17. Nancy Walters says:

    Favorite line from excerpt- While his mum found it annoying, Hunter had never found a good reason to curb that personality trait.
    Hmmm. Quirky and interesting??
    Ahh, I know –talking about jarred spreads (vegemite-have never tried but was always curious), have you heard of FLUFF (the best stuff ever) spreadable marshmellow with a little peanut butter or nuttella. The best!

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