Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Visit to Vienna with Nancy Jardine

Okay, I am GREEN with envy. I have the fabulously talented Nancy Jardine at Tattered Pages today, and after reading this post, have decided to add Vienna to my bucket list! Let's all visit this city rich with history and beauty with Nancy!

Hi, AJ. I’m totally delighted to be visiting you today. I’m still on a high from the recent release last week of my novel–Topaz Eyes – an ancestral mystery, published by Crooked Cat Publishing. My main characters, Teun Zeger and Keira Drummond in Topaz Eyes, spend a little time in the US, but they also spend a lot of time in some lovely cities in Europe. Some of my mini-blog tour posts feature the places they encounter and today I’m concentrating on the elegantly beautiful Austrian city of Vienna.  (Details of other posts on my blog: )

What has Keira found in Vienna? And what might she view with her hunky Californian, Teun, the guy she’s paired up with to find the missing jewellery that once belonged to a Mughal emperor? The tourist spots are endless, the architecture fantastic. There are so many museums, art galleries and famous public buildings it is so difficult for Keira to choose which to visit- then again, there are so many sinister things happening as well in Topaz Eyes that they’re not really there as tourists!  

Vienna had to appear in my writing, sometime. I’ve been lucky to visit many exciting places and Vienna definitely qualifies as one of them. It’s a spectacular city to visit. Full of grandeur, the wealth of different architectural styles is absolutely breathtaking. So much can be done on foot, but equally there are other ways of seeing the attractions of this splendid city.
Recently inaugurated, the new Ring Tram system makes it even easier to see the old inner city areas since it has a hop-on, hop-off system. Around half an hour will take you round the perimeter of the old city, making it just perfect for a first reconnaissance, after which you can choose which attractions first take your fancy. Keira found the Ring Tram just a tad threatening- not the pleasant prospect she expected-but the visitor in general will love it. You’ll have to read the book to find out why Keira didn’t like it so much!
The huge Kunsthistorische Museum has such wonderful collections it’s far too difficult to decide exactly what to spend time on. I could have spent my whole week’s holiday in that one museum. Go early in the day would be my advice because you just might need to rest your legs now and again.

Alternatively you might prefer to laze away your afternoon at the park called the Prater. On a sunny, warm day you can loll about the wonderful park areas, picnic on the grass, enjoy the world passing by…or you could be up on the giant Ferris wheel getting a bird’s eye view of the city. My trip was during October and not so warm, but the view from the top of the Ferris wheel was stunning. No ordinary Ferris wheel, the Prater wheel has cars, holding quite a few people—as in a cable car.   

Or what about trotting around the old city in a horse drawn carriage? That was fantastic fun, though not exactly for the limited pocket!

If you’re more of a modern art lover you cannot go to Vienna without visiting the Gustav Klimt collection. The Kiss, by Klimt, is quite amazing to view—its golden hues and deep colours have a vitality that I found astounding considering the painting is now more than a century old, painted in 1907/1908.

There are so many art galleries in Vienna that the decision to visit boiled down to what my husband and I could reasonably fit into our short holiday. Visiting the Schonbrunn and Belvedere Palaces was a must since the belongings of the Habsburg rulers are at the heart of Viennese culture.

I would love to have seen the famous stallions of Vienna- a Lipizzaner show being described as a feat of unparalleled horsemanship, and a stupendous ballet.

The New Year’s Day Concert broadcast from Vienna and seen on millions of TVs worldwide was no stranger to us. I really fancied a night in that fantastic building of glittering chandeliers, full of splendidly dressed patrons. It wasn’t to be-although we did a tour of the building one morning.

Time and money were major consideration on my short visit, the horses didn’t win either, but a night at the opera did. What we went to was just absolutely splendid. A Mozart Opera performed by the Statsopera, in the Musikverein was breathtaking. Our holiday fund didn’t run to seats close to the stage- not quite. We were way up in ‘the gods’, in seats at the very font, though if you are the least bit inclined to suffer from vertigo-don’t go! The view was incredible - opera glasses definitely recommended - although the overhead translation of the libretto is an extra bonus! 

That’s only a tiny bit of what we saw in Vienna, and what’s available to see. Vienna truly is a fabulous city to visit and I’d love to go back again. What about you? Would you like to see the city that Keira and Teun had some scary moments in?

AJ, thanks for letting me share a little of Vienna with your readers. I hope they enjoy reading about the city, and I’d love them to tell me if they enjoy reading about the exciting happenings to Teun and Keira while they’re Vienna, in Topaz Eyes.


What details can you add about Vienna? It can be anything, so long as your answer includes the word Vienna! Please leave your answer in the comment box, along with your email address, to be entered into the drawing for an e-copy of TOPAZ EYES.  (takes place on 15th December)


A peculiar invitation to Heidelberg embroils Keira Drummond in the search for a mysterious collection of extraordinary jewels once owned by a Mughal Emperor; a hoard that was last known to be in the possession of Amsterdam resident, Geertje Hoogeveen, in 1910.

Who among the progeny of Geertje – hitherto unfamiliar third cousins brought together for the quest – can Keira rely on? Distrust and suspicion among them is rife.

Which one is greedy, and determined enough, to hire thugs to tail her… and worse… as she travels to Vienna and Minnesota?  Can Keira even trust Teun Zeger - a Californian she is becoming very drawn to – as they pair up to unearth the jewellery?

As they follow a trail of clues, will they uncover the full collection before the hired gun kills them? Details remain furtive and undisclosed until danger and death forces their exposure. And who harbours the ultimate mystery item that is even more precious than the Mughal jewels?

Greed, suspicion and murder are balanced by growing family loyalty, trust, and love.


Exploring Vienna would have been so much nicer with company, special company.

Every single building needed time to savour. One fabulous piece of architecture led to the next… and the next. Speed-walking the last part of the Hofburg didn’t do it justice. Keira muttered a vow to explore it more thoroughly the following day as her neck craned to the top of a particularly ornate rooftop on the corner building, before she emerged out into the boulevard. Finding the pedestrian crossing at the Ringstrasse was in her favour, she scooted over the road.

After she crossed, she looked back to enjoy the view.

“What the hell?” Her mouth gaped… her eyes, too.

At the far side of the wide stretch of road someone ducked down to tie his shoelace, the whiteness of the hair grabbing Keira’s attention before a steady stream of traffic flowed in front of her as the traffic lights changed.

“Not again!” 

Anger built, the little frisson of initial fear became a heat of annoyance. Why was the bastard still following her? She’d no jewels to protect any more, so what the hell did he think he’d get from her? She squinted in the strong sunlight, cars and vans creating a stroboscopic effect. When the traffic ceased to flow, the lights red again, she faced an empty space.

Author Bio:

An ex-primary teacher, Nancy Jardine, lives in the fabulous castle country of Aberdeenshire – Scotland. Her husband mans the kitchen, her offspring only an hour’s drive away. When time permits, ancestry research is an intermittent hobby. Neglecting her large garden in favour of writing, she now grows spectacularly giant thistles. Activity weekends with her extended family are prized since they give her great fodder for new writing.
A lover of history, it sneaks into most of her writing along with many of the fantastic world locations she has been fortunate to visit. Her published work to date has been two non fiction history related projects; two contemporary ancestral mysteries; one light-hearted contemporary romance mystery and a historical novel, The Beltane Choice, also published by Crooked Cat Publishing.

Nancy Jardine can be found at:
Twitter @nansjar

Topaz Eyes is available from Amazon
Click the link to see the book trailer for TopazEyes
For all of Nancy Jardine’s books see:

Thanks for visiting with us today! And don't forget to leave a comment including
the word Vienna to be entered into the drawing! 


Nancy Jardine Author said...

Hi A.J I'm so pleased to be able to share a little of Vienna with you and your readers today. It is a fabulous city to visit and I'm really pleased ot have sneaked it into my writing. Hope all is great for you just now!

AJ Nuest said...

Hi Nancy! Thank you for being my guest! So glad to have you, hon!

Calisa Rhose said...

Oh. Wow! How lucky were you, Nancy, to go to Vienna. I'm sure I'm as green as AJ right now. Congrats on the release and sign me up for a copy!

Nancy Jardine Author said...

Hi Calisa! Your name is in the hat already! Hopw all is great with you!

Melissa Fox said...

Hi ladies! Nancy, what a great idea to feature the locations in your book on each blog stop. Loved the post--Vienna going on my bucket list, too! Looking forward to reading about your the locations and adventures in Topaz Eyes.

Mackenzie Crowne said...


Add Vienna to my bucket list. Check!
Add Topaz Eyes to my TBR list. Check!


Nancy Jardine Author said...

Hi, Melissa! You're right, Vienna should be on the list! But I'm a sucker for cities with really old buildings and traditions.

Nancy Jardine Author said...

Hi, Mac. Thanks for stopping past. Got you down on the list for the draw!

Cathie Dunn said...

Fab post, ladies! Read this on the bus earlier but couldn't respond.

Loved the post, Nancy. Brought back wonderful memories of a 4 week stay in Vienna one summer in the '80s (~gulp~).

I visited some of the same places as you did but I'm sure a lot has changed. Must take hubby across there one day.

Good luck with Topaz Eyes! :-)

Nancy Jardine Author said...

Hi Cathie! Thanks for popping in, and yes - you need to drag hubby over there sometime... There is so much to see there.

Nancy Jardine Author said...

Hi AJ. The name for my winner has jut been drawn and it is....Mac! Congratulations, Mac, you just got yourself a copy of Topaz Eyes. Thansk you AJ for having me on as your guest - it was lovely being with you!:-)

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