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.