Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A cover for Zoe!!!

I hope you like it. I'll have an excerpt on my website soon.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Late autumn brings...

Late May means tree daisies flowering in my garden...
I've always been a daisy girl. I wanted to carry them for my wedding (all those years ago), but I didn't stick to my guns. I think they're perfect for a country cottage though, don't you?
I'd show you a picture of them growing outside, but it's been raining all week.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Collage fun...

I still love making collages to support my muse. I don't make one for every M&B, but I'm certainly making them for my longer books. This is the collage I made for Zoe's Muster.
It helped to have all the main characters there on my wall and it also helped to deepen my sense of place for this book. Every time I left my "real world" and came into my office, this collage helped my transition into the world of the book.

So now I'm working on a sequel to Zoe's story and I've made another collage. It took me a while to get it the way I wanted (not in artistic/visual sense, just right for my story). This is how it looked when it was laid out on my dining table before I stuck it down.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Tis the season...

It's autumn again... and at our place that means, among other things, a big crop of pumpkins. Once again, I can't claim any gardening skills to produce these lovely wonders. They come up of their own accord out of the compost heap, and this year they've been given oomph via pig manure.

It just so happened, that some of my friends were also discussing pumpkins and what to do with them (in Australia, we eat them -- we don't just turn them into lanterns or feed them to the pigs) and I remembered that I have the best ever pumpkin recipe, courtesy of Country Style magazine from a few years ago.
Here it is. I promise you, it's divine...

Ricotta gnocchi with pumpkin and blue cheese

500 g pumpkin
½ cup olive oil
500g rictotta cheese
½ cup grated parmesan
2 eggs lightly beaten
1 cup plain flour
1/3 whole nutmeg, finely grated
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 cup cream
200g blue cheese, roughly chopped
Flat leaf parsley, thyme or marjoram leaves, roughly chopped to serve

Preheat oven to 160C . peel pumpkin and cut into 3 equal sized pieces. Grate one piece and set aside. Cut remaining pieces into 5 cm chunks and put in baking dish. Drizzle with half olive oil and bake, turning occasionally for 20 mins until soft.

Meanwhile, combine ricotta, parmesan, eggs, flour and nutmeg in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Mix into dough and then turn onto a lightly floured work surface, divide mixture into four portions. Roll each portion to form a sausage shape about 2 cm in diameter and 15 cm long. Cut into 2 cm lengths and press lightly with a fork on one side to create ridges. Transfer to lightly floured board and repeat with remaining dough.

Cook gnocchi in batches in a large pot of salted water for 4-5 mins or until gnocchi rise to surface. Remove with slotted spoon and transfer to a small baking dish.

Preheat oven to 180C. heat remaining oil in large frying pan over medium heat. And sauté onion and garlic for 2-3 mins till softens. Add grated pumpkin and sauté for 3-4 mins. Add cream and simmer gently for 5 mins, or until sauce thickens. Pour sauce over gnocchi in baking dish.

Dot top of gnocchi with roasted pumpkin pieces and blue cheese. Season with black pepper, cover with foil and bake for 25 mins. Remove foil and bake for a further 5-10 mins or until top is golden and bubbling. Scatter with freshly chopped herbs and serve immediately.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Mt Garnet races...

Last weekend I decided to do some research for my rural romances and we headed out to the Mt Garnet races, which is actually a three day event, although we just went for the one day. I met writing mate Noreen Allen, there. Noreen's been going to these races for years -- in fact she met her husband there and her daughters met their husbands there as well, so you can see it is a Very Important Social Occasion for country folk in these parts. Once upon a time there were balls in Ravenshoe to accompany the races, although that doesn't happen now. 
The huge camping ground next the racecourse was absolutely packed with tents and caravans and established camping shacks. I soon discovered that there are some fabulous rustic dwellings, and that most of the long established families from particular cattle stations have their own designated sites.
Tradition is king out here.

Having once owned one-ninth share in a racehorse, unhappily named Unacceptable, I was keen to make a tour of the stables to check out the hopeful contenders.

Although... to be honest, I don't really know much about racing -- but I did pick the winner of the first race -- this lovely mount. Have to confess, though, that I chose him because I liked the jockeys pink and green silks. LOL.

Of course, high fashion abounded with the usual collection of fabulous hats. 

Even the sartorially splendid boys and girls were lining up to be judged for the Fashions in the Field.

 On the way home, we wandered off the main road to investigate the headwaters of the Herbert River. I do love outback waterways, as anyone who's read my books may have guessed.
And we had the added bonus of spying a flock of emus picking over a newly ploughed paddock. They're incredibly curious birds, and if you wave your hat, they'll come right over to you.
Great fun.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Look out for this guy...

1. FALLING FOR MY MYSTERIOUS is in Australian stores this month. The hero on this cover isn't exactly how I envisaged Jude, but he's still eyecatching -- or at least I hope he is. :) What do you reckon?

2. I've answered questions for Mandy Magro's blog. Mandy's been scheduling great interviews for her Awesome Aussie Authors collection, so you might like to check out her previous posts too, and discover some great new books.

3. The Australian Romance Readers Association is holding a book signing event at the RWAust conference at the Gold Coast in August and registration is now open. Check it out here. http://australianromancereaders.wordpress.com/2012/05/01/book-signing-event-registration-open/

Three lots of news. Oh, and one final piece of news ... my fortieth Mills & Boon has been accepted. It will be called THE CATTLEMAN'S SPECIAL DELIVERY.