Saturday, December 25, 2010

Wishing you all ...

A very happy Christmas filled with peace and love...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


While I was packing up old photos I discovered these newspaper clippings from my daughter's dancing days.
In an artistic expression of reconciliation, the company Vicki danced with, Dancenorth, collaborated with Mornington Island Dancers to take a new piece called Luli around the country. The performance showed the two styles of dance separately in the first act and then in combination in the second half.

It was fabulous.
The show's opening was spellbinding with absolute silence -- and an Aboriginal man in the centre of the stage making fire by rubbing a stick onto bark. The anticipation in the audience as they waited for that first spark was palpable.
On tour, they travelled across the north of Australia to Broome and then through southern states. Aboriginal elders on the tour gave Vick a tribal name -- Brolga, which is a dancing bird.
Happy memories.
But I'm equally proud of my daughter these days. She's an occupational therapist working with autistic children.

Friday, December 17, 2010

A little gem of wisdom...

Yetserday we moved out of our apartment and our furniture and boxes are in storage until after Christmas. I'm exhausted from all the packing, packing, packing, and the heat... which is quite disgusting...and hits like a wall of damp sweat the second you move out of air-conditioning.
The great thing is that I've streamlined our possessions yet again (that's the one really good thing about moving). I went through every file in my filing cabinets, recycling masses of unnecessary paper, and that set the standard for my approach to this move.
Now, until Wedensday, we're house-sitting for my son and his family who are heading even further south for Christmas than we are. We're also caring for their cat and dog... Winnie and Rosie...
This is the photo they framed for us for Christmas, a picture we'll treasure to be sure...

On the writing front, I have revisions, but I can't face them till we're settled at Tarzali (after Christmas).

And this might sound irrelevant... giving how blessed I am, but I wanted to share these wise words I read recently in a novel by one of my very fave authors, Rosmunde Pilcher...

The secret to happiness is making the most of what you've got.

It might sound obvious, but it struck a chord with me.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Starting early ...

We had an early Christmas dinner with our NQ family last night as we're all heading in different directions for the big day.
I made a yummy dessert from a recipe in this month's Australian Country Style magazine.
It's so simple and scrumptious I had to share it here.

500 grams of Christmas pudding
I kg vanilla ice cream
pinch of allspice
400 ml pure cream
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
100 g butter, chopped

Grease 25 x 10 x 8 cm deep baking pan (mine wasn't exactly that size) and line with plastic wrap. Crumble Christmas pudding into coffee bean size lumps, either by hand or with food processor. Place ice cream in a large bowl. Mix in pudding and spice by hand (latex gloves are recommended as protection against the cold). Spoon mixture into prepared baking pan. Cover and place in freezer for at least 30 mins, or until firm.

Meanwhile stir cream, sugar and butter in a heavy based saucepan over medium low heat until sugar has dissolved and mixture comes to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer until a smooth caramel sauce forms.

Turn ice cream pudding out onto a chopping board. Remove plastic wrap and place slices of pudding on serving plates . Spoon warm caramel sauce.

Oh, and here's a pic of a little person helping me to decorate our nostalgic piece of  Christmas  kitsch -- a lolly tree that used to belong to my grandmother.
Now back to packing.

Friday, December 10, 2010


Have you asked Santa for an ebook reader?

If you have, you might like to check out  Harlequin ebooks where thriteen of my books are available as ebooks, including Molly Cooper's Dream Date, which will be on the shelves in the US next month.

Here's a taste of Molly and Patrick's story... (blogger chopped off the email addresses -- probably thought they were real. :)

To: Patrick Knight
From: Molly Cooper
Subject: We’re off – like a rotten egg

Hi Patrick,

I can’t believe I’ll actually be in England in just over twenty-four hours. At last I’m packed (suitcases groaning) and my little house is shining clean and ready for you. Brand new sheets on the bed – I hope you like navy blue.
I also hope you’ll feel welcome here and, more importantly, comfortable. I considered leaving flowers in a vase, but I was worried they might droop and die and start to smell before you got here. I’ll leave the key under the flowerpot beside the back door.
Now I know that probably sounds incredibly reckless to you, but don’t worry – the residents of Magnetic Island are very honest and extremely laid-back. No one locks their doors.

I don’t want you to fret though, so I’ve also left a spare key at reception at The Sapphire Bay resort where I used to work until yesterday.
“Used to work.”
That has such a nice ring, doesn’t it? I’ve trained Jill, the owner’s niece to take my place while I’m away, and for now, at least, I’m giddily carefree and unemployed.
You have no idea how much I’ve always wanted to live in London, even if it’s only for three months. Thanks to you, Patrick, this really is my dream come true, and I’m beyond excited. I don’t think I’ll be able to sleep tonight.
Have you finished up at your work? Are you having a farewell party? Mine was last night. It was pretty rowdy and I have no idea what to do with all the gifts people gave me. I can’t fit as much as another peanut in my suitcases, so I’ll probably have to stash these things in a box under the bed (your bed now). Sorry.
By the way, please feel free to use my car. It’s not much more than a sardine can on wheels, but it gets you about. Don’t worry that it’s unregistered. Cars on the island don’t need registration unless they’re taken over to the mainland.
It was kind of you to mention that your car is garaged just around the corner from your place, but don’t worry, I won’t risk my shaky driving skills in London traffic.
Oh, and don’t be upset if the ferry is running late. The boats here run on “island time”.
Anyway, happy travels.

London here I come!


P.S. I agree that we shouldn’t phone each other except in the direst emergency. You’re right – phone calls can be intrusive (especially with a ten hour time difference). And they’re costly. Emails are so handy – and I’ll try to be diplomatic. No guarantees. I can rattle on when I’m excited.


To: Molly Cooper
From: Patrick Knight
Subject: Re: We’re off – like a rotten egg

Dear Molly,

Thanks for your message. No time for a farewell party, I’m afraid. Had to work back to get my desk cleared. Rushing now to pack and get away. Cidalia (cleaning lady) will come in some time this week to explain everything about the house – how the oven works etc.

The keys to the house are in a safety deposit box at the Chelsea branch of Barclay’s bank on the King’s Road. Square brick building. My colleagues have instructions to hand them over to you. You’ll just need to show your passport. You shouldn’t have any problems.

Have a good flight.

Best wishes,

To: Patrick Knight
From: Molly Cooper
Subject: I’m in London!!!!!!!

Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow!

If I wasn’t so tired I’d pinch myself, but I’m horribly jet lagged and can hardly keep my eyes open. Insanely happy though.
Your very gentlemanly colleague at the bank handed over the keys and wished me a pleasant stay at Number 34 Alice Grove and then I trundled my luggage around the corner and –
Patrick, your house is –
Divine will have to suffice for now, but the truth is that your home is more than divine.
Too tired to do it justice tonight. Will have my first English cup of tea and fall into bed. Your bed. Gosh, that sounds rather intimate, doesn’t it? Will write tomorrow.



Sunday, December 05, 2010

A busy Advent...

We're moving... packing boxes, sorting out what to put in storage at son's and what to take with us... dusting books, earmarking all my keepers... tossing out clothes I've "grown out" of... and tossing old manuscripts (yikes... found silverfish)... so much to think about with Christmas coming as well.

Meanwhile, granddaughter Lilly is loving this Jacquie Lawson Advent calendar. Check it out. Each day leading up to Christmas,  there's a new animated surprise and it's not too late to get started. It's gorgeous and so much fun.

And it's not only for little people

Thursday, December 02, 2010

word pictures...

Don't you just love the international language of art? These are drawings sent to me by children from:


and Africa...

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

November progress...

Couldn't send my book last night as there's a computer glitch at the other end, so I get to play with it for just a little longer.

Meanwhile our building project continues apace. These pics were taken on the weekend. The tiles haven't been grouted in these photos, and there's still a way to go, but it's starting to feel v exciting.

Below is the connecting corridor... between the old and the new... and I'm planning little courtyards on either side. Gotta keep it romantic. :)

And this is part of the new bedroom. It shows a view through to the bathroom and the nook at the end of the bedroom where the wardrobes will go.
Below is the first piece of stained glass I bought, and it inspired us to keep looking for the others.

And here's the exciting new bathroom floor.
Now, I have to start packing as we're hoping to rent out our city apartment and become full time country folk. Eeek, I'm living my heroines' lives.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Turning two...

Just quickly... because I'm v busy writing...
But yesterday, the twins had an early birthday, because their real birthday is between Christmas and New Year and that is so awkward.
Pics show Sophie in fairy costume:

and Milla not in hers, as she got out of it as fast as she could.

And the slip n slide, which proved to be an enormous hit -- perfect for NQ.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Rescuing my hero...

Like many writers, I'm superstitious about talking about a work in progress, which is why I rarely talk about my writing process. If I say something in public, I nearly always have to eat my words. :)
And it's happened again.
The other day, I said here on this blog that by the time I get to the end of writing a book, all the fiddling is done, and it's ready to send.
Right now, I'm on Ch 11 of current manuscript, about to move into final scenes -- and I've realised I have a problem!!!! It's my hero, of all things! The most important character in any romance.
Help!! I've just realised my guy is terribly bland. I wanted him to be straightforward and uncomplicated, but I should have known that in storytelling that equates to boring. So now, I have to go back and give him a layer of complication. Luckily, the seeds are already there. I just have to bring them out more. Bring him out more.
Wish me luck!!!

Monday, November 22, 2010


For my WIP I'm loooking at these pictures of Prague. Take a look. It's so easy to see why many people consider Prague to be the most beautiful city in Europe. So hard to do it justice in words.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Boy, the movie

Saw the New Zealand movie Boy last night. LOVED it! Not a romance, but beautifully crafted. Such economical, layered story telling.
Apart from the beautiful scenery and the beautiful Maori actors, I loved the way everything that happened in the story had a deeper meaning, and almost every line of dialogue and secondary character (or animal) were there for a purpose. The children are amazing.
I enjoyed it even more than Whale Rider or Once Were Warriors.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Something old and something new...

As you've no doubt guessed, I've been quiet here because I'm racing toward a deadline. Book is due Nov 30th, but I want to get it finished before we go to Tarzali next week for another FNQ Romance Writers meeting.
Then I can read it in the car and spend a few days "playing" with it before I press"send". At least that's the plan.
I don't do a quick first draft and then go back and revise. I can't move forward until I'm happy with the previous scene, which means I do a lot of re-writing as I go, so by the time I get to the end, I'm usually just about "done". That's why I write more slowly than many, I guess.
With each book, I tell myself I'm going to write a fast draft straight through without stopping and then revise, but I can never do it. I'm not sure if that's a weakness, like not being able to stick to a diet, or simply my process. I know I'm not the only writer who writes this way.
This current book has plenty of internal conflict and tension until a big climax in the middle and then I have to work pretty hard at rebuilding the tension for the second half. Like kids, every book presents a new and different challenge -- as well as new joys.
Oh, and speaking of new joys -- I watched the first epidosde of Raising Hope last night. Loved it!!!! It's about a young man who spends one night with a muderer (she's a stranger to him), and she subsequently has a baby in jail and claims he's the father. She ends up in the electric chair, so he keeps the baby. It's kinda like The Castle (Aussie comedy film) meets Secret Baby.
The single dad is so sweet and his family are colourful and dysfunctional, but with surprising (small) glimmers of depth. Oh, and already there's a budding romance. I'm looking forward to watching more episodes.

Friday, November 12, 2010


While I stayed in town with my head down, busy writing, Elliot has been to the Tablelands and has brought back photos.

First... my orchids are in flower and I'm missing them :(

We can now see how the views through our new bedroom widows are shaping up. As you can see we still have some of the stained glass (found in a demolition yard/recycled from the old Ayr hospital) to use in the bedroom. (They are also in the dining room).

And we have a roof...
Actually, we are told we now have internal walls as well. Getting v exciting...

Monday, November 08, 2010

Cover excitement...

I've had a few emails lately from authors expressing serious cover envy, so I thought I'd show you why...
Isn't this exciting? Blind Dates and Other Disasters is an anthology to be released in January 2011, and it includes Ally Blake's and Fiona Harper's very first books, (The Wedding Wish, and Blind Date Marriage respectively) and my Blind Date Surprise.

Here's the description...

Three easy ways to keep your love life clean and simple ...don't get your friends to fix you up. Party planner Holly can't find the perfect man - it's time to turn to her friends to help her out. But after a string of horrific dates, will Jake Lincoln be the man for her? ...don't go on a blind date. Serena wishes she could ignore her unconventional upbringing and settle down with her dream man! So she's heading out on a blind date. But her date is a man who lives by one rule: never get married! ...don't try your hand at internet dating. Annie is stuck in the Outback without any men for miles. When she meets Damien on an internet chat group, she immediately heads to the city to meet him. Then Theo steps in to take Damien's place...

The release coincides with the launch of the new Riva books in the UK --  a line composed of Modern Heat and some Romance authors. The book I call my email book, Molly Cooper's Dream Date, will be released in Riva in March ( US as Harl Rom in January, and as Sweet in Australia in Feb).

Thursday, November 04, 2010

writing advice...

from Janet Burroway's Writing Fiction...

When an unpsoken subject remains unspoken, tension continues to build in a story.
If you're trying to build pressure, don't take the lid off the pot.
Once people become candid, once the unstated becomes stated, the tension is released and the effect becomes cathartic...
Then, you want to give yourself space for a major scene. Here, you want to describe setting and action vividly, and render what they say fully. You've taken the lid off the pot and you want the dialogue to boil over.

Monday, November 01, 2010

The bumpy road...

This morning as I waited for my computer to boot up, I picked up a folder from my bookshelf, curious and wanting to pass the time. Turned out, the folder was actually my rejection collection – a history of my failures in the nineties.

And in case there are any aspiring writers cruising past my blog, I thought I'd record those rejections here, in the hope that you don’t slit your wrists just yet, but keep on trying…
This is why I say we all need to serve an apprenticeship…

1. Jan 12 1994 – Mills and Boon rejection for Impossible Dreamyou tended to develop the minor characters and background details at the expense of the hero and heroine

2. May 4th 1994 – Mills and Boon rejection for Love’s Sentinelthe feeling was that the grounds for conflict between the hero and the heroine weren’t sufficiently developed to generate the extra edge of emotional tension and urgency our readers expect.

3. September 22nd 1994 – Mills and Boon rejection for Aflame – no helpful advice, just a flat no thanks.

4. November 7th 1994 – a letter from Robert Hale thanking me for my enquiry and informing me that they will no longer be publishing Rainbow Romances.

5. November 28th 1994 – Silhouette Books rejected Impossible Dream. (Unfortunately silhouette Books do not traditionally publish stories with a musical backdrop)

6. August 25th 1995 – Mills and Boon rejection for Apprentice Parentslacked the extra degree of emotional punch and excitement for which we look.

7. The Emma Darcy Award 1995 – I’m advised that I was one of 19 entries that made it through to the second reading.

8. November 1996 – Mills and Boon – a letter advising me that having read my synopsis they would now like to read my first three chapters and a synopsis of the rest of the book.

9. April 19th 1997 – Woman’s Day – short story rejection.

10. April 16th 1997 – letter from RWA with a critique of my unsuccessful entry in the Valentine’s Day competition.

11. May 17th 1997 – notification of lack of success in Emma Darcy competition

12. June 12th 1997 – Success at last!! Acceptance of a short story from Woman’s Day.

13. August 18th 1997 – another success! 3rd place in The Opening Chapter and Synopsis competition.

14. August 19th 1997 – getting closer. A Mills and Boon editor liked the first three chapters of Dearly Deceived and requested the rest of the story. She also gave me three pages of revision notes. I would seriously recommend that you try to rework your story with the above comments in mind. You bet!

15. March 13th 1998: The Call! – the phone call from Richmond that changed my life. My husband in the kitchen, where we're preparing tea, handing me the phone, eyes round with excitement: 'It's for you and she's got an English accent!'

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Summer's almost here...

And the poincianas in front of our apartment make it feel as if Christmas is almost here, too...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Oooh yes...

I do like the Finnish cover for The Bridesmaid's Baby.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

coffee with a canine...

If you're interested in books, coffee or dogs (or all of the above) I'm sure you'll love this blog link.

You can read the lovely story of how Anne Gracie (Aussie author of wonderful  regency novels) was "chosen" by her dog Chloe .

Monday, October 25, 2010

Back at work...

After two busy weekends with workshops and all the attendant preparation and publicity, I am back at work on my book and it feels good. I was pleased to discover that my characters hadn't run away and started sulking.
I loved doing the workshops, however. It was great meeting so many talented and enthusiastic writers and I'm always reacquainted with so many important aspects of  writing when I'm preparing for these days. The benefits are mutual -- no doubt about that.
Before we left Tarzali, we had a couple of days of sunshine, so progress on the extensions revved up. It was rather exciting to have men in tool-belts about the place -- oh, and to see the building take more shape.
Reports of rain continue, however, so the progress is still slow.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Want inside information?

I belong to Novelists Inc (Ninc), the only writers organization devoted exclusively to the needs of multi-published novelists. Ninc members include authors of all genres of popular fiction.

Ninc has just begun a new newsletter, NINC BLAST, which includes information about our authors' new and upcoming releases, as well as a "Did you know?" feature with tantalizing, little-known factoids about some of your favorite authors. To subscribe to NINC BLAST, please go to our Website. Then scroll down to the middle of the screen, where it says, "Let NINC BLAST you. " Simply click on the pale blue envelope, then follow the protocols.

My radio experience...

I went to the hairdressers this afternoon and came home with much less hair. I'm such a wimp at asking hairdressers to stop hacking. Oh, well, I guess it will grow again.
Anyway, one of my very dear blog visitors has sent me the link to yesterday's ABC radio interview, so here it is, if any of you are interested. Unfortunately, they haven't recorded the fun part, when listeners from all over Queensland phoned in with their opening lines for a romance novel.

There were some very romantic gentlemen who had us sighing over their heartfelt sentiments -- and one man who had quite an intriguing twist -- his opening took place beside a coffin. Michael Clarke, the compere thought we had another Twilight on our hands, but I guessed (correctly) that a new romance was in the wings for our broken-hearted hero.
There was a lady who'd kept a Christmas card from 61 years ago with a message from her husband who has now passed away.
The winner's story began with a woman settling down for a luxurious and exciting plane journey. We just knew the hero was about to sit beside her!
I've never been part of talkback radio before. With a warm and friendly compere in charge, it really was the best fun.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A fun radio comp...

I'll be chatting on ABC regional Queensland radio this afternoon, with Michael Clarke (not the cricketer :) and Cameron Burgess.
We'll be talking about romance and the Queensland Writers' Centre workshop that I'll be giving in Townsville on Saturday, and there'll be a fun talkback competition for the best opening line of a romance novel.
Please join me if you can at 2.20 pm.
Or if you can't join me there -- why not send me an opening line here on this blog? We'll talk about favourite openings of novels, and I'll send the winner a signed copy of my lovely Australian edition of A Miracle For His Secret Son.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Tropical Writers Festival...

I had a fabulous weekend, catching up with the growing circle of FNQ romance writers, as well as meeting loads of new writers. Unfortunately, not everyone, who wanted to, could get into my workshop on Saturday. There'll be another, longer workshop in Townsville next Saturday, if you can possibly travel that far.

The literary dinner with Gretel Killeen as guest speaker was fun. I'd never seen her on Big Brother, so I didn't know anything about her, but those who had seen her before, weren't looking forward to her speech. Turned out she was very engaging and entertaining and clever (the BB persona was a role -- not the real GK) -- and she had lots of things to say about writing and being a woman that we can all relate to -- and she's written 27 (trashy -- her words) books. I bought "The Day My Bum Dropped".

Helene Young and I (and many others) also had book signings and I got to hold my next book (with that lovely cover) for the first time. I'm pleased to say all the copies sold out.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Raining frustration...

The picture says it all. Progress on the extensions is slow, slower, slowest, thanks to rain, rain and more rain in FNQ. And this is supposed to be the dry season -- although it's not just here. All of Queensland has been inundated and the SEQ's dams are overflowing, which is very good news. They now have enough water to last till 2018.
Our poor builder is v frustrated, however, and I'm beginning to regret my comments earlier in the year about loving the rain. Although I still can't deny it's great writing weather.

Friday, October 08, 2010

For writers to think about...

Every so often I like to stick bits of writing advice to my desk, so that it's in eye range while I'm working. This is my quote of the week from: Robert McKee.

Master storytellers don’t explain, they dramatise.

It's another way of saying show don't tell, isn't it?

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

a P.S. to yesterday's post...

 Heard a smile-worthy story the other night when I was invited to the book club. After we'd finished talking about the book (the women were very kind) we went on to general girly chat stuff, including kids -- and then one woman told a story about her friend who teaches in a special school. They took the kids on an excursion to Sea World and a boy, who was autistic, got lost. Major panic! Of course they searched everywhere, but couldn't find him and eventually closed down Sea World to conduct a proper, serious, big guns search. Eventually, the teacher saw the boy in the distance, drenched from head to toe, but grinning madly and completely unaware of all the anxiety he'd caused.

In the bus, driving away, he was sitting next to the teacher. 'Want to see what I've got?' he asked with a cheeky grin as he unzipped his bag. And lo, inside -- a peguin!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Book clubs...

Last night I had the pleasure of visiting the Townsville Businesswomen's book club. These lovely ladies had read one of my books (Claiming His Family) and what a lovely night we had. It was very gratifying to find readers who don't normally read M&B, who graciously said how much they'd enjoyed the story.
There was lots of chatter about divorce (an important element in the book's storyline) and children's attitudes to this, and about adoption... and all kinds of issues of supreme interest to women. I should have been taking notes. Such nights are pure gold for authors.
This book club is one that uses books from our local library. The library buys in sets of books specifically for book clubs. Isn't that a great idea?

Lovely cover for my next Australian release...

This totally captures my heroine Freya just the way I'd imagined her. I'm thrilled.

A Miracle For His Secret Son will be in shops in Oz in November, but it's already available on line.

There are more details about the story and an excerpt on my website.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Easy and delicious... especially when you get someone else to cook :)

Not every writer is as lucky as I am when it comes to husbands. Mine is not only my biggest cheer squad, always generous with his time, and ready to read my WIP and urge me on, or discuss potential problems, but he also cooks yummy meals when I want-slash-need to keep writing.

One favourite is Salt and Pepper Prawns (Shrimp) and he's sharing the recipe here.  I can assure you this is v yum. Over to Elliot:-

A good friend, who is well travelled and a great host, does salt and pepper prawns (shrimp) as his signature dish. It doesn’t involve much preparation, is quick to cook and is a great starter -- and he kindly shared his recipe with me.
The focus is on the ingredients and the process, rather that the measurements.
Prawns (you’ll know them as shrimp if you’re North American) are best fresh, but can also be thawed from a frozen pack.
In Australia the best prawns are wild harvest and sold as “banana prawns”. The biggest and tastiest come from inshore waters of the Great Barrier Reef, particularly Cleveland Bay, where we live.
Much of the local catch is exported to Asia and Germany and the friend who provided this recipe is involved in that trade.
 1 Peel the prawns and cut lightly down the back. This is done mainly to allow the cooked prawn to curl and split open, but it also gives you the opportunity to remove the dark vein which some people don’t like. The vein will probably have been removed in frozen pack prawns.
Do not butterfly the prawn (don’t splay the prawn out and flatten it like a cutlet)
2. Dry the prawns and dust lightly with rice meal. Note that rice meal is slightly coarser than rice flour which is too fine and stops the salt and pepper from infusing into the prawn meat.
3 Further dust the prawns in a mixture of four parts fine salt to one part Scheuan pepper. Scheuan pepper is not the same as the normal black pepper and usually needs a good pounding in a mortar and pestle before being put through a fine sieve. It is powerful stuff, not particularly hot, but it can numb your lips if taken raw.
4 Bring peanut oil to a high heat in a wok or large frying pan and sprinkle in some of the salt and pepper mix. Don’t let the oil and mix smoke but ensure that the salt dilutes and the pepper changes from dark reddish brown to grey. Just how much salt and pepper you use will depend on your tastes and a bit of experimenting. The prawns get their unique flavour from the coating and infusion of the cooking oil, but you don’t want them so salty that they lose the pepper flavour.
5 Cook the dusted prawns quickly until they curl and the coating starts to colour. This might only take one minute, or two minutes maximum. Leave them too long and the salt and the heat will make  your tender prawns tough and rubbery. Don’t put so many prawns into the oil that it cools down and stews. Do it in batches and keep the whole thing hot and sizzily.
6 Remove quickly in bulk to avoid some of the prawns being overcooked and let stand to drain on paper towels. Lightly sprinkle with juice from a fresh lemon.
7 Stand for a few minutes to allow the flavours to infuse but serve while still warm, not cold.
A great dish with fresh salads or rice.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

If you're in Cairns this weekend...

I'd be there if I could...


On Writing Stories and Film Scripts!

Would you like to know the secrets to becoming a very successful writer for both the screen and the page, as well as discover how to get your film produced or book published?

You are invited to a FREE seminar presented by Best Selling Author Michael Domeyko Rowland in Cairns! Michael has produced, written and directed a cinema film titled Being in Heaven, shot at Fox Studios. He also wrote the best selling book ‘Absolute Happiness’ (90,000 copies) and has written and directed documentaries, as well written and presented dozens of seminars.

The film Being in Heaven has been released across Australia by Palace Cinemas with every city extending their screenings by popular demand.

This seminar will give you the most vital methods to free your ‘inner’ writer and help you complete your story. It is fantastic information that is easy to apply.

Whether you are a professional or aspiring writer, this is a rare and unique opportunity to discover how to create successful stories and get your work produced or published. Over one thousand people have attended this seminar already all over Australia. Now you can join them!

The details of the free seminar are as follows:

Holiday Inn Hotel
121-123 The Esplanade, Cairns (Cnr Abbot St.)
Saturday, 2nd October
2:00pm - 4:00pm

Michael started as an Assistant Director on Wake in Fright (Jack Thompson), Age of Consent (Helen Mirren) and Skippy. He also directed several episodes of the worldwide smash hit series Return to Eden. His personal development seminars are the most popular in the country, with over 220,000 people attending over the past 20 years

Seats are limited, so if you would like to come, please register immediately!

To book phone 1800 67 62 62 or email If you do not book you may not get in as these book out very quickly.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

the writing life...

I've had quite a string of visitors and happenings over the past few weeks (or is that months?) I'd begun to feel rather twitchy about all the writing I was not doing, but I think I've benefited from the break. There's a fine line between keeping up the writing habit and burning out, and there's nothing worse for a writer than feeling like a hamster on a wheel. Now, however, I've dived into a new book and it's feeling good and I'm actually feeling a little flushed, as if I'm falling in love.
Believe me, that's GREAT. Writing days aren't always like that and I might have plenty of dry gullies ahead of me, but I'll keep plugging on, hoping for more good days. Like winning the lottery, I never know when it's going to happen. Not that I've ever won the lottery -- although I have to admit, I felt as if I had on that magical Friday 13th in 1998, when an editor rang me from London.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Tropical Writers Festival...

Just in case you missed my (previously discreet) link on the side of this blog -- if you're in North Queensland, you could well be interested in this exciting writing and reading event happening in Cairns next month. There'll be lots of free events where authors will be talking about their writing and answering questions, as well as signing books. There'll be a literary dinner to which all are welcome -- and writing workshops delivered by James Phelan, Sylvia Kelso, Angela Murphy and moi. Places in my three hour romance writing workshop are filling up fast...
It's going to be fab and you can check out all the details here.
But I'll also be giving a six hour workshop (with lots of meaty details) the following weekend (Oct 23 rd) in Townsville.
I'd love to see you there!

Monday, September 20, 2010

It's spring in my country garden...

Daughter Vicki is visiting us at Tarzali and she wandered off into the garden with a camera...

Unfortunately we have to leave again and I won't see my agapanthus and hippeastrums open, but while we're away, things are happening...