Thursday, September 29, 2011

Two year old power struggle...

One twin has the watering can, and one twin has the hose. A power struggle becomes a lesson in co-operation. Fascinating.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Calling all aspiring romance writers...

A message straight from Mills and Boon...

If you think you would loved to be a published romance author, then make sure you check out the New Voices competition. M&B are looking for a new author to join the glittering talent at Mills and Boon and it could be you!

During the competition you have the chance to work with a range of author mentors, including moi, so come along and join in the fun at

Friday, September 16, 2011

I heart this Aussie cover...

This collection includes one of my personal favourites... In the Heart of the Outback.

Dido's song White Flag was the inspiration for my heroine Fiona McLaren.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Monday, September 12, 2011

Our day at the Yungaburra Book Fair

It was great fun, talking on a panel with Helene Young and Elizabeth Martin.

Mandy Magro was also there, signing her exciting new Penguin release, Rosalee Station, and it was great to meet another NQ romance writer.

The theme of this year's Book Fair was Books and Cooks, so on our panel, we made lots of cooking/writing comparisons. The best meals, so chefs tell us, are those made from great quality fresh ingredients. We decided that creating books is similar, and we talked about the distinctive ingredients of our books, as well as the important ingredients of any good story.

We also talked about TV shows like Masterchef and made comparisons between cooking and writing again, in that some people can produce a stunning meal for a dinner party, but would rather crawl away and lie in the foetal position than try to feed 200 people on a regular basis.

I know lots of writers who can write beautifully, but can't take the grind of writing all day, every day.
Of course, that term of "churning them out" arose in the middle of this discussion. I don't know how many times I'm asked, 'Are you still churning those books out?' I have to say I'd love it to be that easy. For me each new book is a new challenge, and sometimes it feels like climbing Mt Everest.

Anyhow.. we also talked about favourite cook books -- mine is Tessa Kiros's Falling Cloudberries. I love it not only for the delicious recipes and beautiful photographs, but because Tessa is also a wonderful writer.
This book is about the influence of her various family members (Greek Cypriot, Finnish, Italian...)
Just as a tiny example, I love what she writes about her grandfather.

'Pappou was quiet; he had integrity and no flashness about him. He always wore a perfectly ironed shirt, gilet in winter, polished shoes, had his hair slicked back with the special cream he ordered from Italy. He never demanded acknowledgement, but dashed around quietly with the energy of milk just at that rolling boil.'

On the panel, we also shared favourite recipes. This is mine, passed on from daughter Vicki. (friends and family will vouch for its yumminess)

 Greek Lemon Cake

125 g butter
1 cup caster sugar
4 eggs
1 cup coconut
1 cup SR flour

1 lemon (juice and grated rind)
1 cup sugar
½ cup water
Preheat oven 160 º-180º C. Greaseproof a round 20 cm cake time. Cream the butter and sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time with a wooden spoon. Stir in coconut and flour. Bake in oven 45 mins to 1 hour.
Make the syrup after the cake is cooked. Combine the sugar, water, lemon juice and rind on stovetop and bring to boil. Let cake stand for 15 mins and then gently spoon syrup over cake while syrup is still hot. Spoon syrup little by little to prevent cake from collapsing. Don’t be afraid to keep going even when you think the cake can’t absorb any more syrup. It can – and that’s what makes it so yummy. Delicious with cream or icecream or both. 

After the panel discussion, our little group of FNQ writers gathered  at the Whistle Stop Cafe for lunch. Great food, fab coffee.

The girls who worked there, also were involved in the Book Fair and dressed up to add to the fun -- and one was a bride-to-be. V appropriate. :)

All in all, a great day!!

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Yungaburra Book Fair

If you're a North Queenslander, I'll be appearing with fellow local writers Helene Young and Elizabeth Martin at the Yungaburra Book Fair on September 10th. Do please come and say, 'Hi!'

The theme for this year's fair is Cooks and Book, so we'll have plenty to talk about, seeing these combine our two favourite things -- eating and reading.

I'll have books to give away, and we'll also be handing out our favourite recipes. And of course, there'll be a host of new authors and happenings for Tablelands writers and readers to discover.

Rabbit food??

Here I am with acres in which to grow things and I've discovered the joy of having vegies in pots. These lettuce are so fresh and crunchy and handy, for a quick lunch accessory. I have started a herb garden next to the pot (right outside the dining room) and there's another pot with baby spinach, as well as a punnet of seedlings to fill in the spaces after I've pulled something out. So easy and so much fun... and yikes, it's even healthy.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

The road to Mt Garnet

Yesterday afternoon, we took a short drive west to Mt Garnet, as I wanted to head into cattle country to drink in the light and the landscape to get into the mood for my next book.
It's amazing how quickly the country changes once you head west. In no time we were seeing scenes like this.
And road signs like this. It's a list of all the cattle properties that can be reached down this road. (You can click on the pic to make it larger, if you'd like to read the names.)
Here's a typical front gate (for Wild River Station), and below is the row of letter boxes that belong to this property. (It's not far enough outback here for the mail to be delivered by plane.)
We had afternoon tea at Innot Hot Springs where the creek water really is a warm as a nice hot bath, and we checked out the famous Mt Garnet rodeo and race track.  I find it quite exciting that I can slip half an hour away and be in such very different country.
Just to show you the contrast, this was the road back from Mt Garnet (complete with warning sign just in case you didn't believe this was cattle country.)
And twenty minutes later, we were back on the Tablelands with totally different trees and clouds rolling in.
All in all... a fabulous and inspiring afternoon.  

Friday, September 02, 2011

Harry's boots?

I'm racing to write this in a big hurry after a very busy week, but if you're Australian, are you watching Silent Witness tonight? I'm so worried about Harry Cunningham, and was so shocked when he was shot last week.
Harry (or rather actor Tom Ward who plays him) has been the inspiration for several of my heroes. And the big surprise last week was that not only was he shot (and apparently killed) but he was shot wearing RM Willimas boots.
At one stage there was a close up of him putting the boots on and the label was clearly visible. (product placement??)
These boots are hugely popular here (and these days, are hugely expensive). E has a pair which he loves -- swears they're the most comfortable shoes he's ever worn. The Outback magazine has readers sending in photos of their favourite RM shots. Babies or puppies are frequently filmed with them. I'm afraid my pic of E's boots is rather boring...

He wanted me to polish them first, but there wasn't time...

OK, it's Friday night... wine is being opened, steak is on the barbie... and I have to go, but wanted to let you know I haven't fallen off the planet.
But I AM worried about Harry.