Café Cala welcomes Dana Mitchell

Hi Dana, Welcome to Café Cala.

Dana mitchell

It’s great to have you visit Café Cala. I’ve been making cranberry and almond biscotti this morning. Would you like tea or coffee with yours?Hi

Maggie, thanks so much for having me here. Mmmm, cranberry and almond biscotti, sounds divine! I’ll have mine with an Earl Grey tea please.

1 Where did you get the idea for The Venetian Affair?

Venetian Affair came from a number of different sources. I had already thought of my character, Helen, her personality, her life etc. I wanted to put her in the most colourful, most romantic and amazing spot in the entire world in direct contrast to her own life. Venice was perfect!

2 What have you found most rewarding about your writing?

Firstly, completing something that I started for once. So often I try things and let them go by the wayside. Writing is the only thing I’ve ever kept going with. Tied with that are the amazing friends I’ve made when I started my journey. And I keep meeting more each year. Fabulous!

3 How did you start writing?

My DH once told me I should write a book, because I read so many of them. I thought that was a great idea!

4 What would you say has helped you most?

Joining the Romance Writers of Australia, hands down. The organisation is completely devoted to helping you achieve publication with a range of tools, contacts, industry know-how and that all important annual conference. I can’t recommend it enough. That and my critique partners. They are gold!

5 What are you working on at the moment?

I’m working on my second submission to Destiny Romance, due to submit early January.

6 What advice would you offer aspiring writers?

Join the RWA! Like NOW! Enter the competitions. Then enter some more and then enter more after that. Competitions give you that all important feedback that is so crucial to honing your skill. And join a writers group or find a critique partner.

7 Which authors do you enjoy reading?

I like a range of authors; Christina Dodd, Lisa Kleypas, Robyn Donald, JR Ward, Karen Marie Moning, Meljean Brook, Anne Stuart, Robert Holdstock, Robin Hobb, Douglas Adams, Stephanie Laurens…too many to name here!

A venetian affair

Her thoughts whirling, Helen rubbed her forehead and tugged at her hand but he refused to let go. ‘Are you hurt anywhere else?’ he asked in Italian.
‘No,’ she answered in his language, tugging on her hand again. Once more, he refused to let go. Looking down, she felt her bones melt, that feminine awareness and something deeper, something more primal, spreading through her. Her blood stained the long fingers that cradled her hand. He carefully wrapped a pristine white handkerchief around the wound, staunching the seeping blood. ‘You will need to see a doctor,’ he informed her. Before she could reply, voices shouted nearby and the three police officers left quickly, leaving them alone.
‘Thank you for your help, I’ll call for the ambulance.’
The man didn’t move, but watched her in the half-light of the alley, still cradling her bloodstained hand. For a moment their eyes met and myriad half-formed sentences traipsed through Helen’s mind, gone before she could explain the connection she felt. It was bigger than words – like something invisible had engulfed the both of them, binding them together with an irrevocable bond. The breath stuck in her throat…

You can purchase A Venetian Affair from iTunes, Kobo, Amazon US, Amazon AUS and BigW eBooks to name a few sites. It’s also available on Google Play as well as directly from Destiny Romance.

Please visit me at Facebook or Twitter. Would love to connect! Thanks again, Maggie, for hosting me today!

My pleasure, Dana. Love your book!

Café Cala welcomes Margo Gibbs

Hi Margo, Welcome to Café Cala.

Emma and Margo Gibbs4

It’s great to have you visit Café Cala. I love what I’ve seen of your book and the fantastic illustrations and I’m intrigued that you co-author with your daughter, Emma. I’ve been making a raspberry and coconut loaf this morning. Would you like tea or coffee with yours?

Yes, please I’d love a long black coffee.

1 Where did you get the idea for Mirabella the Mermaid Detective?

Mirabella is based on a story I used to tell Emma when she was little. A few years ago we decided that we wanted to develop it further, so we made her a detective that lives on the Great Barrier Reef and wrote our first book about her first adventure.

2 What have you found most rewarding about your writing?

The most rewarding thing about writing Mirabella is getting to know the Great Barrier Reef and its amazing diversity of inhabitants. Every creature we feature is a real resident of the Reef, and we’ve carefully incorporated factual details so that the books are both entertaining and educational.

3 How did you start writing?

We’ve always told stories together and when Emma started working in Film and Television it evolved into an official working partnership. Both of us had written independently, but always ran ideas past one another and realised that we should officially collaborate.

4 What would you say has helped you most?

Our relationship allows us to really explore and challenge ideas in a constructive way, because we know each other so well. We both have complementary skills and a shared vision for everything we work on, but that we each truly love and value the other is probably the best part of our writing partnership. Also, reading A LOT of good writing! We read film scripts, writing bibles, great fiction, great non-fiction – everything. Reading a lot of good writing is the most helpful tool to continually developing your craft.

5 What are you working on at the moment?

We’re currently working on Mirabella book 2 and 3, an animated factual web series and a dystopian future adult TV series.

6 What advice would you offer aspiring writers?

Write. Read good writing, as much as you can in the genre you want to write in. Explore the world and your own imagination so you have something to write about. Then write some more.

7 Which authors do you enjoy reading?

Kids/YA – Wendy Harmer, Adrian McKinty, Aussie Chomps/Bites/Nibbles, J K Rowling, Kathryn Lasky, Suzanne Collins, Veronica Roth.

Adult – Way too many to list!

Writing references – Robert McKee ‘Story’, David Trottier ‘Screenwriter’s Bible’, Blake Snyder ‘Save the Cat’, Karl Iglesias ‘Writing for emotional impact’.

Thanks a lot, Margo. I look forward to recommending Mirabella to my granddaughter.


Mirabella the Mermaid Detective is a first chapter eBook, full of adventure and colourful illustrations, for 7-11 year olds who love solving mysteries.

You can find it at: (links to buy through here)

Mirabella the Mermaid Detective
Come on an underwater adventure with Mirabella the Mermaid Detective! Mirabella is a mermaid like no other. She loves exploring, solving mysteries and going on adventures with her two best friends, Seamese the lionfish and Luna the cuttlefish, in their home of Muria on the Great Barrier Reef. After breaking centuries of tradition by becoming the first mermaid ever to cut her hair, Mirabella puts herself in unimaginable danger trying to find a family of parrot fish who have mysteriously disappeared in the open ocean. About the authors:
Margo & Emma Gibbs are a mother-daughter writing team from the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia, who have been creating stories together ever-since Emma was very little (over 20 years ago). They both love reading, exploring the magical natural world around them, and secretly both wish that they were mermaids. Mirabella the Mermaid Detective is their first book.