Tuesday, April 26, 2011

You know you're Australian...

When this is your view from your bedroom window.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Royal Wedding...

Are you getting into the Royal Wedding mood? I'm working myself into "royal mode" this week by reading Sophie Page's absolutely gorgeous book 'To Marry A Prince.'
You may remember Sophie as Sophie Weston. She used to write the most wonderful romances for Mills and Boon , and under her real name, Jenny Haddon, she's also written a book on punctuation called "Getting the Point" and has been president of the Romantic Novelists' Association in the UK.
'To Marry A Prince' is a perfect contemporary fantasy written in Sophie's bright, clever, - and dare I say sassy - yet very British style. You can read an interview with Sophie, including the interesting alternate England she created for this book, on the Words Wenches' Blog.

I'll certainly be watching the wedding on television. My childhood was dominated by images of the Queen's Coronation. I had the most beautiful picture book with full page colour plates of the entire spectacle -- with the golden coach, the ladies in waiting, the crowded cathedral and that heavy crown being placed on Elizabeth's head. For years, I turned frangipani flowers upside down to become ladies in waiting. And I had sets of blocks and jigsaw puzzles with pictures of Prince Charles and Princess Anne. And the Corgis, of course.
My younger sisters were named Elizabeth and Margaret, and on the day the Queen came to Sydney, my mother was in labour with Margaret, but she insisted on seeing the Queen first, before she went to hospital. So it's almost obligatory for me to be a royal watcher.
However, I do love some of the less reverent souvenirs that are out there at the moment, like these William and Kate tea bags. And this mock up of the Royal Wedding on youtube is a hoot.
One of my friends is going to a wedding party where everyone will wear hats and they'll eat roast beef and Yorkshire pudding followed by jam rolypoly. Another friend is considering hiring a wig of long brown hair. What are you planning for the big day?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter sunshine...

I hope you've had a lovely Easter weekend. Our weather has been glorious and we've had a great time. For us, Easter began with the arrival of a new box of little guineas to add to our flock. They'll have to stay in the cage till they're big enough to fend for themselves, but even then, it's a mean old world with hawks and currawongs and dingoes out there. So we'll hope to keep a close eye on them.

Then our guests arrived on Good Friday, bringing with them a beautiful wrasse which we cooked whole in E's special asado barbecue, after the guys encased it in a special flour and salt mould, a little like the clay around beggar's chicken.
When we broke open this casing, the fish inside was delicious.

On Saturday -- an absolutely beautiful, crystal clear day without a cloud, we went to the Yungaburra markets. I loved this sign on an old " junk" stall which I had to share.

And I bought these cute pencil cases for my granddaughters (other people can give them Easter eggs :).
Also, our guests bought me these beautiful gloriosa lilies. Aren't they perfect?

Yesterday, after they left we got back into gardening and painting, making the most of the lovely sunshine.
Today, I started writing again, but I'm not really getting into this story, possibly because the outside is calling to me. Will try again tomorrow. :)
What was your weekend like?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Post revision haze...

OK... revisions have been sent and I'm coming up for air. And I'm whinging, because last week while I was tied to my desk, we had absolutely glorious sunshine and today -- you guessed it -- it's raining again.
Clearly, I'm not meant to do the weeding, am I? But I'm not really in the mood for housework either.

But there's always cooking. I recently read Promises to Keep by Jane Green. Jane is my auto-buy at airport bookstores and I bought this book on my trip to Sydney. If I'd known it was about someone dying, I may have had second thoughts. I just grabbed and ran, but I have to say, Jane handled the subject very deftly and still manged to deliver an uplifting ending.

And... a bonus of the book was that each chapter ends with a thoroughly tempting recipe. I've already tried her Spinach and Chickpea Coconut Curry. As we have visitors coming for Easter, I want to try this Almost Flourless Orange Cake with Marmalade, which I've copied for you. Sounds yummy, doesn't it? To discover the other recipes you'll have to buy the book, or visit her blog.

Almost Flourless Orange Cake with Marmalade
1 orange
3 eggs
1/4 cup plain flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup ground almonds
1/2 cup marmalade
icing sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (350 F) Grease an 8 inch springform pan and line it with greaseproof paper.

Put the orange in a pan, cover it with water, and simmer for an hour (or nuke in microwave for about 25 mins) until soft. Cut the orange in half, remove pips and puree in a food processor.

Beat the eggs and sugar until pale and thick. Fold in the flour, baking powder, almonds and orange puree. pour into the tin and bake for an hour.

Melt the marmalade in a small pan then pour through a fine sieve, pressing to get all the juice out. Spread the rind free juice over the cake.

When cool, sift icing sugar over the cake. Mix whipped cream with the orange rind and serve alongside.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


I have my head down trying to address my editor's revision suggestions, which I know will make my current ms much better. But sometimes hacking your work to pieces and rebuilding it again can be very hard. Not that I'm precious about my work -- it's more the mental gymnastics involved. Writing a first draft is fun -- mostly. I write instinctively a lot of the time and hope for the best. But afterwards, fixing up a book can feel like a very difficult maths problem. Don't ask me why -- it just does. And at these times I feel like Winnie the Pooh, a Bear of Very Little Brain.
But I haven't forgotten my lovely blog visitors. Some of you are probably wondering when I'm going to show pictures of the inside of our house, as you know we've been working on it for years, slowly changing a six by six shed into an unashamedly romantic country cottage. I promise I'll have pics very soon.
 But here's a taste.This is a photo I showed last year when we busily painting. (We're still painting, actually. E's just finished the bathroom.)
Below you can see what this window looks like now with furniture in situ. I promise the photos in future will be more exciting than this. :)

Would you believe, we still don't have our ensuite bathroom plumbed? Everything's just sitting there, looking gorgeous, and waiting to be used. It's been so wet this year the plumber hasn't been able to dig up the ground to sink pipes and pits, or whatever. But we're booked in for the first week in May. Too late for our Easter and May weekend visitors. (sigh) But before my Roadshow visitors. Phew.

Saturday, April 09, 2011


I have at last updated my website. I'm sure you'll be very pleased to know that I've moved on from 'Happy New Year', and I now have details about my new release Rancher's Twins: Mum Needed.

If you're Australian, you're probably shaking your head over this title. As you know, we don't have ranchers in Oz. We have cattlemen. And we don't have moms. We have mums. My publishers have made a concession to this by changing one of these words in the title for the English and Australian releases, as you can see in the covers below...

Aren't the different approaches to marketing interesting?

The story is partly set in America and my heroine Holly is American, living in New York. By calling Gray, my Australian hero, a rancher... this story can be marketed in America under the Rugged Rancher's logo, which is rather cute. Who am I to argue with marketing?  

I think Gray and Holly's story is actually a bit deeper than the title suggests. My idea for it was born in Coogee last year at our writer's retreat, and I had some wonderfully helpful conversations with Anne Gracie, who is very experienced in teaching adult literacy. I won't say too much more as I don't want to add spoilers. You can read an excerpt here.

Romantic Times had nice things to say... This heart-warming tale is filled with memorable characters grappling with an emotional situation. Hannay handles the transition from mourning to romance gracefully. Four stars.

Speaking of reviews, Molly Cooper's Dream Date  also scored a wonderful, oh-my-goodness review from Cataromance

Monday, April 04, 2011

There's something about roses...

You'll have to forgive me for being excited about growing roses.
I know these aren't spectacular or special, but after living in the dry tropics for so long, it's a novelty to be able to grow temperate plants.
We have so much rain here, however, that this climate is still not suitable for a lot of rose varieties.
I do love having flowers in the house.
When I was growing up, my mother had a lovely garden (actually, she still does) and we always had vases of flowers in our bedrooms, as well as the living areas.
Friends who came to play were v impressed.