Tag Archives: Anna Campbell

THIS WRITING LIFE: ARRC Part 2 – The Photos

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I’m sure you’ll see from these photos that everyone who attended the weekend’s Australian Romance Readers Convention in Canberra had an absolute ball.

Victoria Dahl during her keynote speechI think the highlight for me (other than catching up with old friends and meeting new) was Victoria Dahl’s speech on unsympathetic heroines. I’ve never read any of her books but was left so impressed that by the end of her talk I’d bought two of them. Gotta love technology.

The booksigning was, as it always is, loud and enormous fun. I’m very grateful to that most excellent of book sellers, Booktopia, who generously gave away multiple copies of Rocking Horse Hill over the course of the weekend. So many people came up to me to get them signed and have a chat. It really made my convention. There were plenty of delegates with The French Prize too, which they’d received in their welcome bags thanks to Harlequin Australia. All of us came away loaded with excellent reads. I’m looking forward to Yes, Chef by Lisa Joy (thanks to Penguin Australia), The Brewer’s Tale by Karen Brooks and Luna Tango by Alli Sinclair, who also won the ARR Award for Favourite New Romance Author (both titles from Harlequin).

Here are some of my favourite happy snaps from the weekend. There would have been more only it appears I have managed to kill yet another camera. Sigh. Oh well, at least this one was only a cheapie, unlike the last.

Hot Chocolate, the blow-up horse, being given the kiss of life by Cathryn Hein in the QT bar at ARRC 2015

Hot Chocolate being given the kiss of life by me in the QT bar (pic thanks to Amy Andrews)

I arrived in Canberra a day early and after a spot of shopping wandered off to check out the Spirited: Australia’s Horse Story exhibition at the National Museum of Australia. The exhibition was nearing its end and the shop had discounted all its stock. Naturally, with all that lovely horsey stuff on offer, I went on a bit of a spendy-fest and one of the items I came away with was an inflatable horse. I thought I might use him as a prop during the booksigning or simply as a fun toy for my office.

But as I passed the bar on the way back to my room, I found myself waylaid by Anne Gracie and Kelly Hunter. I resisted their entreaties to join them hard. Really hard. These ladies are persuasive though, and it was with great reluctance *cough* that I settled down for a catch-up over a few drinks.

The crowd soon grew (must have been our magnetism) and somehow the blow-up horse was dragged out for a show-and-tell. After a bit of encouragement, I agreed to inflate him. What an effort! It was a close run thing but I eventually managed to get him blown up without passing out. He then needed to be christened, and while a few names were bandied about I believe it was Amy Andrews who came up with Hot Chocolate. And thus Hot Chocolate he became.

Anne Gracie with Cathryn Hein admiring Hot Chocolate the blow-up horse in the QT bar at ARRC 2015

Anne Gracie with me, admiring Hot Chocolate the blow-up horse in the QT bar at ARRC 2015 (pic thanks to Amy Andrews)

I’m proud to say that Hot Chocolate even scored a mention in Helene Young’s wonderful opening keynote speech, and was much-admired by many over the weekend.

My shy roomie at ARRC 2015, Rachael Johns

Rach was feeling a bit camera shy…

My ARRC roomie was good buddy and rural romance star Rachael Johns. She took a bit of prodding to get up on Friday morning. Rach blames the 3 hour time difference from WA to the ACT but I don’t know…

As mentioned, Helene Young (whose novel Safe Harbour also won Australia’s Favourite Romantic Suspense award) gave a wonderful opening keynote speech, in which she talked about her reading and writing journey. Helene was followed by book launches for Rachael Johns (The Road to Hope) and Shannon Curtis (Tribal Law). All proceeds from Tribal Law’s sales go to ARRA so if you haven’t yet nabbed a copy, go get! You’ll find across all major ebook platforms, including amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Smashwords or your favourite retailer. Or order the paperback from Booktopia.

Dangerous Liaisons panel at ARRC 2015. L-R: Cathryn Hein, Shannon Curtis, Helene Young and Bronwyn Parry

L-R: (a grumpy-looking) me, Shannon Curtis, Helene Young and Bronwyn Parry (thanks to DB Tait for the pic)

The rest of my morning was taken up by the Red Dust Heroes panel with Rachael Johns, Lisa Ireland, Alissa Callen and myself, and superbly moderated by Jeanie Misko, followed by the Dangerous Liaisons panel where I was joined by Bronwyn Parry, Helene Young, Shannon Curtis and moderator with the mostest, Amanda Knight.

Saturday night was awards night, and what fun was had! The theme was roaring 20s (or something like that!) so there were lots of flappers.

Rach and me getting ready for the ARR Awards dinner at ARRC

Me and Rachael Johns getting ready for the awards dinner. A couple of glammypuss flappers!

Me with Red Sand Sunrise author and all-round gorgeous person Fiona McArthur showing off our sexy flapper outfits

Me with Red Sand Sunrise author and all-round gorgeous person Fiona McArthur, showing off our matching sexy flapper outfits.

Some of the crowd at the awards dinner.

Great crowd at the awards dinner!

Fiona Lowe, Shona Husk, Delwyn Jenkins and Cheryl Adnams all dressed up for the ARRC 2015 dinner

L-R: Fiona Lowe, Shona Husk, Delwyn Jenkins and Cheryl Adnams.

Kylie Scott (deserving winner of Australia’s Favourite Romance Author and more) sponsored a photo booth at the dinner where a lot of fun was had. Here’s my collection.

Pictures from the ARRC dinner photobooth

Another highlight of ARRC was the booksigning. This is such a great event and very well attended.

The booksigning room

Alyssa Montgomery, me and Trish Morey

Alyssa Montgomery, me and Trish Morey

Cathryn Hein and her blow-up horse at the ARRC 2015 booksigning

Me and Hot Chocolate the blow-up wonderhorse.

Sunday was another full-on but fun day. As mentioned, Victoria Dahl gave a great speech and there were plenty of fascinating panels to keep us perky after a big night.

Anna Campbell, Christina Brooke and me enjoying the romantic destinations panel

Anna Campbell, Christina Brooke and me enjoying the Romantic Destinations panel.

L-R: Kate Cuthbert (moderator), Margareta Osborn,  Cheryl Adnams, Barbara Hannay and Victoria Dahl.

L-R: Kate Cuthbert (moderator), Margareta Osborn, Cheryl Adnams, Barbara Hannay and Victoria Dahl on the Small Town Seduction panel.

Reader Jeanie Misko  enjoying the Changing Lanes panel at ARRC 2015, featuring Trish Morey and Fiona McArthur (plus Amy Andrews and Fiona Lowe out of shot).

Reader (and our fab Red Dust Heroes panel moderator) Jeanie Misko enjoying the Changing Lanes panel, with authors Trish Morey and Fiona McArthur in the background.

Overall, a wonderful time was had at ARRC 2015. Everyone left Canberra feeling fab except for poor Hot Chocolate, who was feeling very flat that it was all over.

Hot Chocolate the blow-up wonderhorse felt very flat that ARRC was over.

Never mind. We’ll resurrect him again in 2017!

If you’re after a romantic read that won’t let you down and would like a list of all the 2014 ARR Award winners, you’ll find them all on the ARRA blog.

 

THIS WRITING LIFE: ARRC Part 1 – The Videos

Phew! What a weekend we all had at the Australian Romance Readers Convention in Canberra. The weather was perfect, the atmosphere wonderful, the speakers and panelists clever, interesting and funny, but most of all what a thrill it was to catch up with so many lovers of romance novels. We’re an amazing bunch of people, that’s for sure.

The convention committee and Australian Romance Readers Association deserve every accolade for this event. It ran like clockwork from start to finish, and without fail everyone I spoke to enjoyed themselves hugely. I sure had a ball!

For the first time at an event I played roving reporter and took a series of videos of authors, readers and industry people. You can find them collated on my YouTube channel, but here are some of the best. Oh, and my apologies for the sound quality. Next time I’ll remember to pack a microphone!

Kylie Scott and Amy Andrews

For more on these best-selling ladies, check out these links.

Kylie Scott: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Latest release: Lead (Book 3 in her fab Stage Dive series).

Amy Andrews: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Latest release: Ask Me Nicely (which follows on from the super hot No More Mr Nice Guy).

Helene Young

Connect with Helene via her website, Facebook and Twitter.

Latest release: Safe Harbour (read it before Northern Heat hits the shelves!)

Rachael Johns

Discover more about Rachael at her website, on Twitter and via Facebook.

Latest release: The Road to Hope (the much-anticipated follow up from her best-selling debut, Jilted).

Jennie Jones

Connect with Jennie via her website, Twitter and Facebook.

Latest release: The House at the Bottom of the Hill (from Jennie’s best-selling Swallow’s Fall series begun with The House on Burra Burra Lane).

Lee Christine

Find out more about Lee at her website, on Twitter and Facebook.

Latest release: In Safe Keeping (an urban romantic suspense you won’t want to miss!)

Readers Helen and Barbara

Destiny Romance’s Carol George

Discover more on the Destiny Romance website.

Reader Pamela

Anna Campbell and Christina Brooke

For more on these fab authors, check out these links.

Anna Campbell: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Latest release: What A Duke Dares (another wonderful read in Anna’s Sons of Sin series.)

Christina Brooke: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Latest release: The Wickedest Lord Alive (brilliant book with a very strokable cover!)

Booktopia’s John Purcell

Want books? Then look no further than our home-grown bookstore Booktopia.

Hope you enjoyed the videos!

 

 

THIS WRITING LIFE: Highlight Reads of 2014

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I read so many memorable books this year that it’s hard to choose which were my highlights but I’m going to give it a go, ending with a

Book Hangover Of The Year Award

for the book or series that left me totally bereft and rudderless on completion.

For more information or to buy any of the books, click on the headline or covers.

So… in no particular order, here they are!

Dinner at Rose’s by Danielle HawkinsCover of Dinner at Rose's

I adored this book. It was quirky, romantic and made me laugh and cry. And it featured a hot dairy farmer. Not to be missed Kiwi rural romance. (Hawkins’ second novel, Chocolate Cake For Breakfast, was also a beauty).

the-winter-brideThe Winter Bride by Anne Gracie

The Chance Sisters series has been wonderful so far but The Winter Bride is my favourite. Damaris and Freddy are such great characters. Following their journey to happily ever after was hugely satisfying. Please read this series. It will make your heart sing.

Marina by  Carlos Ruiz ZafónCover of Marina

I can’t rave about this book enough. I’m a huge Zafón fan. His gothic stories captivate from the opening page but for me this is his best. It was mesmerising.  The moment I finished I wanted to go back and read it all over again. Even typing this makes me want to reach for it. Runner-up for Book Hangover of the Year. Yeah, it was that good.

being-jadeBeing Jade by Kate Belle

A riveting, complex and beautifully written tale of love, betrayal, tragedy, and the difference between love and sex. What a talent Belle is.

Odd Thomas by Dean Koontzodd-thomas

Oh, this was fun. Spooky, quirky and perfectly paced. A rollicking ride through our hero Odd Thomas’s most interesting life. With bonus Elvis sightings.

holding-out-for-a-heroHolding Out For A Hero by Amy Andrews

What a hoot! A sexy sportsman hero, a determined heroine and loads of memorable secondary characters. Wish Andrews would hurry up with the sequel.

daughter-of-smoke-and-boneDays of Blood and Starlight and Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor

This trilogy (starting with Daughter of Smoke and Bone which I read in 2013) was amazing. The writing is lush, and the world-building and characterisations are first class. Absolute page-turners.

thornwood-houseThornwood House by Anna Romer

I’m a terrible sucker for a gothic story and this Australian-set tale didn’t disappoint. Romer has a distinctive and appealing writing voice, and the romance in this was subtle but very fulfilling. Her next, Lyrebird Hill, is near the top of my to-be-read pile.

Mr Impossible by Loretta Chasemr-impossible

No wonder this romance is considered a classic. It has everything. Great setting, amazing characters, adventurous plot, witty dialogue and a completely gorgeous romance. Not to be missed.

rivers-of-londonRivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch

Like Harry Potter for grown-ups! Huge fun. I’ve already read the 2nd in this series, Moon Over Soho, and plan to keep going. It’s just too much fun to stop now.

Her Christmas Earl by Anna CampbellHer Christmas Earl

Maybe it was my mood, maybe it’s a result of reading a Christmas themed book on Christmas Eve but this has just shot to the top of my Anna Campbell favourites list. Who’d have thought being locked in a wardrobe could be so much fun?

 

And now for the big one…

My Book Hangover of the Year Award goes to

The Grisha Trilogy:

Shadow and Bone, Siege and Stormand Ruin and Rising

by Leigh Bardugo

Grisha 1.0

I gobbled these books one after the other and was so bereft after finishing this romantic fantasy series it took me nearly two weeks to settle into another book. I missed the characters dreadfully and if it weren’t for my gigantic to-be-read pile I would have gone back to the start and read it all over again. Stunning.

*

What were your highlight reads of 2014? I’d especially love to hear which one gave you the biggest book hangover so I can check it out myself. Unlike other hangovers, book ones are good for us!

 

 

FRIDAY FEAST with Anna Campbell

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Now this is an exciting Friday. Not only do we have a most awesome author as guest, with all sorts of indulgent delights and a giveaway, it’s also Book Expo Australia weekend and the final round of the AFL season (for international visitors, that’s our beloved Australian Rules Football).

All happening!

But first, AFL. Have you seen where my darling Sydney Swans are perched? Yes, there they are at the top of the ladder looking magnificent. With the finals just around the corner I’m gathering all my lucky Swans charms, including my knitted octopus and gnome, and rubbing their bellies for luck to ensure we suffer no injuries before the finals. And that we win against Richmond Saturday night, of course!

Author Anna Campbell

Photo courtesy of Robyn Hills www.robyngraphs.com.au

If you’re in Sydney on Saturday and Sunday, take a trip out to the showgrounds for Book Expo Australia where you’ll find panels, talks, the Australian Romance Readers Association stand and more. I’m on two romance panels on Sunday, at 10-30am and 3-45pm, as well as feature author on the ARRA stand from 2-30 to 3-30pm. Come say hello.

And now to one of my favourite Friday Feast guests ever, Anna Campbell, also known affectionately as the Romance Queen for her multiple ARR Awards and other accolades. And let’s not forget brilliant Regency romances. Anna’s latest has just hit the shelves and as a total fan girl I cannot wait to get stuck in. Take a look…

WHAT A DUKE DARES

Cover of What a Duke Dares by Anna CampbellA reputation at risk

What woman in her right mind would say no to marrying the dashing Duke of Sedgemoor? Miss Penelope Thorne, that’s who. She’s known Camden Rothermere since they were children – and she also knows she’d bring nothing but scandal to his name.

Cam can hardly believe Penelope turned down his proposal. But if she wants to run off to the Continent and set the rumor mill ablaze, he can’t stop her. Then her brother’s dying request sends him to bring home the one woman he thought he’d finally gotten over.

The only way they’ll both get back to London without their reputations in tatters is to pretend they’re married during the journey. That means kissing like they mean it and even sharing a bed – until it becomes hard to tell where the game ends and true desire begins…

Oh, oh, oh. Don’t you just WANT IT NOW! Of course you do, and What a Duke Dares can be yours with just a few simple clicks. Try Booktopia, Bookworld, Book Depository, Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Google Play, JB Hi-Fi, Barnes & Noble or your favourite book store.

Not sure? Then why not read an excerpt to see what wonders awaits.

Now let’s go dancing with Anna.

Having a Ball with the Duke!

Cathryn, it’s always a pleasure to be here to do a Friday Feast post and to talk about my latest release. Thank you again for inviting me!

My new book (out 26th August from HarperCollins Australia and Grand Central Forever in North America) WHAT A DUKE DARES starts out as a road-trip romance as the Duke of Sedgemoor (the daring duke of the title) reluctantly escorts his childhood bugbear Penelope Thorne back to England from Italy. But most of the book takes place in England, allowing me to have fun with high society life during the glittering London Season.

Rogue from GCP siteNot only that, I get to talk about clothes (my heroine’s dress sense plays quite a large part in this story) and sparkling jewels and dancing the night away in the arms of a handsome rake or two. I haven’t had the chance to go wild in society since MIDNIGHT’S WILD PASSION. The two earlier Sons of Sin books, SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED and A RAKE’S MIDNIGHT KISS, take place out in the English countryside so nobody gets to go to the ball.

I always loved reading the ball scenes in Georgette Heyer when I was a girl (still do). There’s something so glamorous about the gleam of candlelight and an orchestra playing a waltz, which at this stage was still considered a touch scandalous, and ladies dressed up to the nines in silks and satins. Not to mention all those elegant gentlemen in their black and white.

Rake AmazonDuring the London season, most balls didn’t start until 10pm, giving guests the chance to have dinner first. In fact, being invited to dinner at the hostess’s home before the larger entertainment was considered a signal mark of honor. Then the party would continue until around 3am. No wonder those Regency girls all slept in so late!

Around midnight, a lavish supper would be served in a separate room (you needed a big house to do this properly!). Wine and champagne would flow, and also punch and popular Regency drinks like ratafia and orgeat. Webster’s defines ratafia as “a liqueur made from an infusion of macerated fruit or fruit juice in a liquor (as brandy) and often flavored with almonds.” Orgeat (which was pronounced or-zha, think Zsa-Zsa Gabor) is another almond concoction made with an enormous amount of sugar.

Pardon me, but I think both of these sound quite revolting and I’ll stick to the champagne. At the famous Almack’s rooms, they only served lukewarm lemonade! Something many a Regency hero complains about when he needs to seek a wife in that temple of the aristocratic marriage mart.

The Great Lobster CookbookThe food for supper was a mixture of sweet and savory and there was usually vast amounts of it, including quite substantial items like roast chicken or lamb, pies, seafood, and vegetables. Something that has intrigued me ever since my first Georgette Heyer was the lobster patties that her heroines nibble on. Partly because they sounded scrumptious.

So today I went on the hunt for a lobster patty recipe. This, with some tweaks, is the best one I found. It sounds like a lobster-filled vol-au-vent, which makes sense if you’re in your good clothes, I suppose, although I’d always imagined something a little more like a Thai fish cake.

I hope if you hold a ball and serve these luscious delicacies that you’ll remember to invite me!

Lobster Patties

Ingredients:

8 oz. (225g) flaky pastry

8 oz. (225g) cooked lobster meat

quarter pint (125ml) thick white sauce

1 tbsp. cream

pinch of paprika

1 tsp. chopped parsley

salt and pepper

beaten egg to glaze

squeeze of lemon juice

Cooking Instructions:

Pre-heat oven to 450F/230C ,Gas Mark 7.

Roll pastry thinly and cut into 3 inch (7.5 cm.) rounds.

Line some fairly deep patty tins with half the rounds.

Add the chopped lobster to the white sauce, cream, lemon juice, seasonings and parsley.

Put a spoonful of the mixture into each patty case, moisten the edge of the pastry and put another round on top, pressing the edges well together.

Crimp the edges and make a hole in the top of each patty with a skewer and brush over with a little beaten egg.

Bake for about 20 minutes in the pre-heated oven.

ENJOY!

Don’t those sound delicious? No wonder Regency heroines can’t get enough of them! I can’t offer anyone today a lobster patty in the mail – I suspect food poisoning might be an issue. Or perhaps hungry postmen! But if you comment on this post, you’ll go in the draw to win a signed print copy of WHAT A DUKE DARES.

Did you hear that, Feasty lovelies? Darling Anna is offering a…

GIVEAWAY!

But as always you’ll have to do a little smidgin of work and answer this simple question from Anna:

Lobster patties sound pretty delicious and decadent to me. What’s the most deliciously decadent thing you’ve ever eaten and where did you eat it?

Ooh! Decadent food, where to start! I was lucky enough to dine with friends at a two-star Michelin restaurant in France. We were so spoiled! We even had our own water waiter, with a choice of waters. The canapés were amazing, the veal I ate sublime. It was all very indulgent, and wallet draining, but we couldn’t help it. We were in France! Sometimes you have to do these things!

So what about you? Perhaps you’ve scoffed truffles in Tuscany, or caviar while dining alongside the Caspian sea. Maybe it was prawns in Australia’s top end. Or the seriously naughty chocolate cake your mum made for your birthday one year. As long as it’s indulgent and special, anything goes!

Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 2nd September 2014. Open internationally. Rah!

If you’d like to learn more about Anna and her truly wonderful books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook, Twitter using @AnnaCampbellOz and Goodreads.

This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Pintip, who has won a copy of Anna’s What a Duke Dares and is in for some fabulous reading. Thanks to everyone who joined in the Friday Feast fun and shared their beautiful and indulgent experiences. You made us all very hungry!

THIS WRITING LIFE: GenreCon 2013

Ahh, Brissy, what a warm and friendly city. And made even better by the staging a few weekends ago of GenreCon, the conference designed for that most excellent of authorly species, Genre Writers. I’ve been a quite a few Romance Writers of Australia conferences now and GenreCon was a lot like one of those, except it had men. A lively, lovely lot of them too. It also had, thanks to the irrepressible Alex Adsett of Alex Adsett Publishing Services, karaoke, an event from which my voice didn’t recover for a week. A week of gravel-throat and I didn’t even get to sing Dancing Queen or Paradise by the Dashboard Light. Although I did get hear editor and writer Patrick O’Duffy do the most amazing deep-voiced version of Total Eclipse of the Heart imaginable.

But I’m getting ahead of myself…

 

Friday: The Start of Sleep Deprivation

 

Before karaoke and the conference proper, there was lunch on Friday at GOMA Restaurant with romance authors Amy Andrews, Anna Campbell, Keziah Hill, Rachael Johns, Bronwyn Parry, Helene Young and myself where much prosecco was drunk, rabbit terrines savoured, desserts drooled over, and happy birthday and Frocktober ditties sung. There may have also been unsubtle mention of the Penis Beaker Debate and He of the Mighty Wang (Amy Andrews’s fault). Personally, I think we added a nice splash of colour and noise to the restaurant although I’m not sure the staff would agree, but at least they were good sports about our rowdiness.

GOMA lunch ladies, left to right: Anna Campbell, Helene Young, Rachael Johns, me, Bronwyn Parry, Keziah Hill and Amy Andrews

L to R: Anna Campbell, Helene Young, Rachael Johns, me,  birthday girl Bronwyn Parry, Keziah Hill and Amy Andrews

Friday night was the opening night reception on the State Library of Queensland’s aptly named Queensland Terrace. Fantastic venue, partially open to the sub-tropical air and a great area in which to mingle, sip wine and eat naughty things.

Anne Gracie and Alex Adsett

Best-selling Regency romance author Anne Gracie and Alex Adsett

Anna Campbell, Lea Scott and Sandy Curtis

Regency romance superstar Anna Campbell with crime and thriller authors Lea Scott and Sandy Curtis

Rachael Johns and Dianne Blacklock

Good buddy and fellow rural romance author Rachael Johns with women’s fiction author and lovely lady Dianne Blacklock. Best-selling babes!

Amy Andrews and Sandy Curtis

Romance author Amy Andrews (and Penis Beaker Debate enabler) with Sandy Curtis

This was followed by a trek back to the bar at Rydges South Bank, the official conference hotel, then cabs into town to Fat Louie’s for some karaoke where so much silliness was had that this may become tradition. I hope so, although if next time anyone tries to make me sing Summer of ’69 again there will be reckoning…

Chuck Wendig in full karaoke throttle

Author and Terrible Minds blogger Chuck Wendig in full karaoke throttle. I have no idea what he was singing but by that time of night I’m not sure anyone did!

Saturday: Brain Awakenings

 

Saturday opened with the Power of Genre Fiction, featuring speeches by Anne Gracie, Kathryn Fox and John Birmingham to well and truly put us in the mood. I then attended Rule of Knowledge author Scott Baker’s Worth A Thousand Words workshop which I found brilliant. Scott has spent the last year working with Peter Jackson on the Hobbit films and was also a consultant in the film industry as well as lecturing at the Australian National University in digital video. How well he knows his stuff was shown in the booktrailers he made which are nothing like I’ve ever seen and, quite frankly, amazing.

Scott Baker

Rule of Knowledge author and booktrailer guru Scott Baker

In fact, this was such an interesting session that I’m considering writing a separate post on it, so stay tuned! After lunch I attended the Writing Fast workshop with Anne Gracie, Charlotte Nash and Anita Heiss, hosted by Denise Rossetti. Thank goodness for Anne making me feel semi-normal over my painful writing process, because Charlotte Nash’s super speedy production levels just left me feeling completely inadequate and even more depressed about my output. But you know what? We all have our processes. I’m slow and horribly pedantic, but I get there in the end. Time to stop beating myself up about it.

Denise Rossetti and Charlotte Nash

Award winning erotic romance author Denise Rossetti and Ryders Ridge author Charlotte Nash

Writing Fast was followed by What Writers Get Wrong with Helene Young, Kathryn Fox and Deborah Burrows. My take away from this was that if you don’t know something, then ask. People tend to be fascinated by this strange writing business and are usually delighted to help.

Helene Young

Award-winning romantic suspense author Helene Young, looking lovely as usual.

John Connolly In Conversation was the last Saturday session and it was funny and fascinating, with the auditorium completely charmed and engaged. One point John made that struck me enough to write down was: In genre fiction, it’s the characters the readers care about, and authors can and do make a living off this affection and investment in character. An important thing to remember when writing.

John Connolly in conversation

Internationally best-selling Irish author John Connolly in conversation

Dinner at Rydges was a great night with crackup author and Terrible Minds blogger Chuck Wendig entertaining the crowd with his 25 Reasons Why I F**king Love Genre Fiction followed by a Q&A with Escape Publishing’s Kate Cuthbert. And then, surprise-surprise, another, even later night gasbagging in the bar.

Listening to Chuck Wendig

Some of the rapt dinner crowd listening to Chuck Wendig

 

Sunday: Can We Do It Again?

 

Alex Adsett of Alex Adsett Publishing Services and karaoke organiser

Alex Adsett of Alex Adsett Publishing Services and karaoke organiser

Sunday’s Plenery Session was The Future of Genre Fiction, featuring agent and contract lawyer Alex Adsett, Leanpub’s Peter Armstrong, and author and academic Anita Heiss. Alex, seemingly unharmed and in good voice despite Friday night’s  karaoke-ing, gave a great overview of industry changes (including a handy tip about reversion clauses on print rights with digital deals), while Anita’s discussion about targetting her audience was equally thought-provoking.

Anita Heiss

Author and academic Anita Heiss

Peter Armstrong of Leanpub

Peter Armstrong of Leanpub

But it was Peter’s rundown of the history of genre fiction and serialisation which had my mind a-spinning and triggered an excellent discussion with good buddy and GenreCon roomie Rachael Johns as we headed back to the hotel to check out, and which so caught us up that we missed the next workshop. A bummer because by all accounts Beyond Rippling Muscles and Uzi 9mms was a hoot.

Amy Andrews, Rachael Johns and Dianne Blacklock looking mighty fine for a Sunday lunchtime.

Amy Andrews, Rachael Johns and Dianne Blacklock looking mighty fine for a Sunday lunchtime.

Post another excellent lunch (the food was fabulous at GenreCon!) I attended the Thinking Like A Pro workshop with John Connolly, Valerie Parv and Keri Arthur, followed by Know Thine Enemy with Chuck Wendig, PM Newton and Kathryn Fox. The fact that I stayed awake throughout both after an extremely late night proves how entertaining they were.

Thinking Like A Pro Workshop. L to R: Aimee Lindorff (Chair), Keri Arthur. John Connolly and Valerie Parv

Thinking Like A Pro Workshop. L to R: Aimee Lindorff (Chair), New York Times best-selling paranormal and urban fantasy author Keri Arthur, John Connolly and romance queen Valerie Parv

The Great Debate: Genre Just Wants To Have Fun was a blast. John Birmingham opened strongly with a story about a certain literary author’s pillow problems that had everyone laughing, only to be neatly countered by Anne Gracie with her “Paris” jibe.

And a new nickname is born: Anne Gracie giving John Birmingham her "Paris" dig

And a new nickname is born: Anne Gracie giving John Birmingham her “Paris” dig

Lindy Cameron and Dianne Blacklock (gorgeous lady!) put in sterling efforts but the negative side, with their brilliant goblin story and Scott Baker’s clever revisioning of The Raven, were just too strong. And so it was proven that genre doesn’t just want to have fun. Which could be said for all GenreCon attendees, I think. We had fling your arms in the air and sing it out, loud and proud fun, certainly. We had karaoke, great food, met lovely old friends and made gorgeous new ones, but thanks to a fantastic program, excellent speakers and plenty of opportunity to network, we also learned an enormous amount. And for that I can’t thank Peter Ball, Meg Vann and their team of ninjas enough.

A wonderful conference. I’ll be back in 2015 with bells on.

 

 

FRIDAY FEAST with Anna Campbell

A happy bouncy Friday to you all! I hope you’re all revved up for a fantastic weekend. I know I am. It’s AFL Footy Finals time and my beloved Sydney Swans are out to defend their premiership crown, plus I have one of my favourite Author Anna CampbellAussie authors visiting Friday Feast. Too much excitement!!

Multi-award winning author Anna Campbell writes luscious Regency period historicals overflowing with passion and emotion. They’re simply brilliant reads and I’m a huge fan-girl who gets more than a little bit giggly in Anna’s presence. Thanks to winning ARRA’s Favourite Australian Romance Author Award four years in a row, it’s fair to say she’s the reigning queen. A girl’s bound to get a bit silly!

Anna’s latest release is A Rake’s Midnight Kiss, a book I’m very much looking forward to reading, not least because of its magnificent cover. Take a look…

 

A RAKE’S MIDNIGHT KISS

 

A Rake's Midnight Kiss by Anna CampbellIt Takes a Lady…

Brilliant scholar Genevieve Barrett knows how to keep a secret. Her identity as the author of her father’s academic articles has always been her greatest deception-until a charming housebreaker tries to steal the mysterious Harmsworth Jewel from her. She doesn’t reveal that she recognizes her father’s devastatingly handsome new student as the thief himself. For Genevieve, this will be the most seductive secret of all…

...To Catch a Thief!

Sir Richard Harmsworth has been living a lie, maintaining a rakish facade to show society that he doesn’t care about his status as a bastard. Yet long haunted by his unknown father’s identity, Richard believes the Harmsworth Jewel will confirm his claim as the rightful heir. But when Richard sets out to seduce the bookworm who possesses the stone, he instead falls for its beautiful owner. But even as she steals Richard’s heart, Genevieve will be in greater danger than her coveted treasure…

 

You want this, oh yes you do! And you can score your own rake with just a few easy clicks. Try most excellent Aussie bookseller Booktopia, otherwise Amazon or Bookdepository. For the ebook, try Kobo, Amazon (Kindle), JB Hi-Fi, Google Play, iTunes or your favourite retailer.

And now I present the Romance Queen. Take it away, Anna!

 

Life is a Picnic!

 

Hi Cathryn! Thank you so much for having me as your guest today on Friday Feast. You know I love being here, although I always feel like I emerge five kilos heavier after I’ve read your guests’ posts! Yum, yum, yum. Followed by nom, nom, nom.

Oh, dear, I’m starting to sound like an Internet Cat! I promise no cheeseburgers were harmed in the making of this post.

One of the fun things about visiting this blog (apart from hanging out with the very groovy Cathryn) is talking about scenes in my latest release that involve food. Last time I was here, I discussed yummy American wedding cakes. AndSeven Nights in a Rogue's Bed by Anna Campbell the time before that, I talked about a scene in SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED involving seduction by baklava.

By the way, if anyone wants to try this out on me for real, I’m game. I LOVE baklava!

In A RAKE’S MIDNIGHT KISS, my latest release, more meal scenes are more prevalent than usual, partly because my rascally hero Sir Richard Harmsworth has infiltrated himself into the heroine’s home under a false identity. There are quite a few prickly conversations over the dinner table as Genevieve strives to dampen his seductive wiles. Needless to say, she doesn’t get far, but watching heroines try and depress our heroes’ impudence is always fun, isn’t it?

Probably the most enjoyable meal for my hero and heroine takes place on a punt in Oxford. Richard has lured Genevieve into floating away to a secluded spot under a willow where sensual pleasures are rife. Including lunch!

These Regency rakes know how to picnic in style. Fine gilded china. Crystal glasses. Linen napkins. Silk-covered cushions. Vintage champagne – allowing me to employ that romance staple, the heroine wrinkling her nose at her first taste. It’s a scene that pops up often in a romance. I think it’s a show don’t tell moment to demonstrate that the hero intends to sweep our heroine away into a world of new and glorious experiences.

Like all good Regency picnics, the one in A RAKE’S MIDNIGHT KISS involves roast chicken. So I thought today, I’d share a VERY complicated recipe for chicken.

 

Anna Campbell’s Chicken and Wine

(degree of difficulty: 1 million stars)

A chicken ready for roasting with a bottle of wine

  1. Cover the bottom of a baking dish with oil of choice.
  2. Place in conventional oven at 180/200 degrees Celsius. Heat for 30/45 minutes.
  3. Take fresh or defrosted chicken and remove fat from the cavity. Rinse out the cavity. Wrap in tea towel to absorb extra moisture. Don’t refrigerate at this point.
  4. Pour large glass of wine and sit down somewhere comfy. Drink at own pace. Refilling as needed. If you are the heroine of a romance novel and the wine is a sparkling variety, wrinkle your nose, giggle winningly and say, ‘Oh!’ to the bubbles. Await kisses.
  5. When oil is sizzling hot (and preferably before you’ve had TOO much wine), place chicken in baking dish, breast down. Move around a bit to seal and to stop skin sticking to the pan. Baste.
  6. Return baking dish to the oven for 45 minutes.
  7. Repeat step 4.
  8. Stagger to oven. Turn chicken over and baste. Return to oven. If it’s a large chicken, leave it another 40/45 minutes. For a smaller chicken, around 30 minutes, but check regularly after 20 minutes, basting each time.
  9. Repeat step 4.
  10. Remove chicken. Let it sit for 15 minutes. Carve and eat.
  11. Open a new bottle of wine if old one is exhausted.
  12. Repeash shtep foursh. Hic!

I hope one day you’ll all try this complicated but rewarding recipe. I’ve made it several times myself to great headaches, um, success.

So let’s talk picnics. What’s your ideal picnic location? Picnic menu? Picnic companion? Or don’t you like picnics at all and you’d rather do you nose wrinkling indoors?

I’ve got a print copy of A RAKE’S MIDNIGHT KISS (with de rigueur champagne scene and roast chicken) for one commenter today. Giveaway is international!

 

Roast chicken and wine…ooh, Anna, you’ve captured my heart! I can so, so relate to this kind of cooking. Happens rather regularly here on Friday nights thanks to Friday Feast inspiration.

Now, my most gorgeous Feasters, you heard Anna. A print copy of A Rake’s Midnight Kiss awaits one lucky commenter. So get those typing fingers ready and share your picnic love (or unlove).

Me, I adore a good picnic, even good old Aussie ones with ants and flies and other critters. My darling beloved used to treat me to rainy day picnics, where we’d lay out a rug on the lounge room floor, crack a bottle of excellent white wine, have a bucket of prawns at the ready and opera (yes, OPERA – we’re classy folk here at Chez Hein) on the telly. Prawns, a good white, Turandot, and a lovely time can be had. As long as my darling Sydney Swans aren’t playing at the time, of course!

Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 10th September 2013. Open internationally. Rah!

If you’d like to learn more about Anna and her wonderful books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook and Twitter.

 

This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Paula who won herself a copy of Anna’s new release A Rake’s Midnight Kiss. Thanks to everyone who took part. Hope you had as much fun as Anna and I did.

Rising to the challenge!

Earlier in the year I signed up for the Australian Women Writers Challenge, with the goal to read at least 10 books by Australian female authors this year. By mid-Feb, when I did my last update, I’d read four. Ten was looking easy. Then I managed to get a bit distracted and didn’t read any for a few months, but lately I’ve been back on the job, reading some wonderful Aussie authors, and discovering some great new voices.Australian Women Writers Challenge 2013 logo

Added to my read list are:

The stand-outs were The Secret Keeper (Kate Morton is such a wonderful storyteller), These Haunted Hearts (I adore Anna’s lush historical romances and this one, with a bonus ghost story, was gorgeous!), and Ask Me To Stay (Elise Ackers is a new author to me and one I’ll be reading again. I loved this story and she has an unique voice that I really warmed to).

I’ve been a bit naughty-good on the book buying front lately and have plenty more books by Australian authors loaded in my e-reader. I haven’t reached my goal yet (and do novellas and short stories count?) but I’m confident I will. Mind you, a nice long lazy holiday with plenty of reading time wouldn’t go astray, and it’d rather help if I could finish my own book, but that (I hope) is for later in the year. Anyway, this is meant to be a challenge!

How about you? Read any wonderful Australian female authors lately that you want to tell everyone about?

 

FRIDAY FEAST with Anna Campbell

48 Replies

It’s always a joy to have Anna Campbell on Friday Feast. Not only is she wonderfully talented she’s a lovely lady and a very generous author.Anna Campbell 43970006

I call Anna my Romance Queen and while the title may be tongue in cheek, it’s not without genuine merit. Last month, Anna won five Australian Romance Readers Awards. Five! She’s also won or been a finalist in awards as prestigious as the Romance Writers of Australia Romantic Book of the Year, Romantic Times Readers Choice Awards and the Romance Writers of America RITA Awards. And for four years running, Anna has been voted ARRA’s Favourite Australian Romance Author.

I bow to thee, my queen!

Anna’s latest release is as lush and emotional as all her others. Take a look.

 

THESE HAUNTED HEARTS:

 

A REGENCY GHOST ROMANCE

 

 

THH low resOn one fateful wedding day at Marston Hall in 1818, four linked destinies hover in the balance.

Josiah Aston, Earl of Stansfield, wakes to discover he’s seventy years dead and he alone can free his beloved wife Isabella’s tormented soul. But first he must convince her to trust him against all the evidence…

Lady Isabella Verney, beautiful and tempestuous, married the man of her dreams, only to die violently on her wedding day. Every clue points to Josiah as the murderer…

Is true love strong enough to defeat ancient malevolence forever?

Miles Hartley, Viscount Kendall, is society’s ideal catch, but what does that matter if he can’t convince Calista Aston that he loves her? When an age-old curse strikes, only by proving himself worthy of her faith can he save their happiness…

Lady Calista Aston, noted bluestocking, fears she loves Miles Hartley not wisely, but too well. On her wedding day, her doubts place her at evil’s mercy. When death and disaster loom, is it courage or mad folly to believe that Miles loves her in spite of all her faults?

On one fateful wedding day at Marston Hall in 1818, will the lovers emerge triumphant or will darkness conquer all?

 

 

Ooh, a ghost story. Right up my alley. I bet it’s right up yours too, so why not do some clickety-click buying while you’re here? Or read an excerpt and then buy. Haunted Hearts is available now direct from Amazon for your Kindle and Smashwords for all ereaders and tablets. It’s bargain priced too. Only $1-99, so no excuse for holding back. I haven’t.

Book buying complete? Excellent. Now all hail the queen!

 

Chinese Food at the Wedding?

 

Hi Cathryn! Thank you for having me as your guest at your Friday Feast! As you know, I love your blog and the Friday Feasts are the icing on the (wedding) cake.

Hmm, am I being deliberately obscure? I think I might be. Although I imagine Chinese people will look at that title and go, “Yeah, we have Chinese food at weddings. What’s so special about that?”

Let me make myself clearer!

I’ve got a new e-novella out right now, an extended version of a story that first appeared in THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF GHOST ROMANCE in June last year. THESE HAUNTED HEARTS features two romances for the price of one, Calke Abbey bednot to mention a cursed Chinese bed based on the Great Bed at Calke Abbey in Derbyshire. Like the bed in THH, this bed was an 18th century royal gift stored in pieces in the cellars of a stately home. Like the bed in THH, this bed is hung with priceless silk embroideries. Unlike the bed in THH, the Great Bed at Calke doesn’t curse any bride who sleeps in it to a violent death (or not as far as I know!).

As you can imagine, within the space of a novella, and with two couples to sort out, not to mention numerous baleful supernatural influences to vanquish, nobody really has time to sit around and nosh. But given that this story is based around two weddings, I thought I’d talk about wedding cakes today.

I’m actually un-Australian. I hate fruitcake. Which means Aussie wedding cake isn’t my favourite thing. On the other hand, some U.S. friends made me an American wedding cake when I visited in 2007. This is basically a butter cake with yummy butter icing. Yup, that’s the one for me. Until recently, I had no idea that American wedding cakes were different from the traditional English/Australian version. I thought Cathryn’s food-mad readers might be interested in seeing a recipe for one.

As a proviso, I’ve never made American wedding cake, but I found what looks like a good recipe on The Wedding Information Site. I’ve adapted this recipe to my own taste (meaning the Chinese bed has cursed any mentions of that abomination margarine to oblivion!).

You can keep the decorations on your American Wedding Cake simple by adding fresh or silk flowers. Or you can decorate it by adding twisting garlands of roses and leaves made from royal icing or sugar paste. This recipe will make three round or square cakes 28cm, 20cm and 12.5cm. This size will serve approximately 80 people depending on how you cut it.

 

American Wedding Cake

wedding cakes 2

Ingredients:

600g butter
600g of caster sugar
12 eggs
600g self-raising flour
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
1-2 tablespoons cold water
450-550g raspberry or apricot jam
Vanilla Butter Cream:

The secret to making a good buttercream frosting is to beat it long enough to incorporate and dissolve all the ingredients into the butter, creating a fluffy and creamy texture. Soften the butter to room temperature for at least 3 to 4 hours for best results. Don’t use melted butter as this just creates a sloppy mess.

2 cups of salted softened butter

4 teaspoons vanilla extract

12 cups of sifted icing sugar

12 tablespoons of heavy cream

Using an electric mixer, beat the softened butter until it becomes light and fluffy (can take over 5 minutes to achieve). Stop the mixer often to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.

Add the vanilla extract and 1 cup of icing sugar and continue to beat for 2 minutes.

Alternately add the remaining icing sugar and 4 tablespoons of cream and beat very well.

Once you have the desired consistency, continue to beat the frosting for 5 minutes more until it is very fluffy.

As you use the frosting you may have to add the remaining 4 tablespoons of cream to keep the consistency smooth.

The Cake:

Grease and line three round or square deep cake tins 28cm, 20cm, 12.5cm.

Cream butter and sugar together until very light and fluffy and pale in colour (this can take up to 5 minutes or more of beating).

Beat in the eggs, one at a time, following each with a spoonful of flour.

Sift the remaining flour and fold into the mixture with water.

wedding cakes 3Divide the mixture between the prepared tins and bake in a moderate oven (180C). Allow about 40 minutes for the small tin, 1 hour 10 minutes for the middle size and about 1.5 hours for the larger cake, or until they are well risen and firm to the touch.

Turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely. Split each of the cakes into three layers and sandwich back together with the jam.

Place the two smaller cakes onto thin silver boards to same size as the cake and the bottom tier on a lager silver cake board.

Brush off any loose crumbs from the cake. Use part of the butter cream icing to cover each cake.

Position the cakes on top of each other and smooth the butter cream as much as possible using a hot wet palette knife if necessary.

Decorate the cake as you wish with hand made decorations, silk or fresh flowers.

 

So are you a fan of wedding cakes? What sort of cake did you have at your wedding? Or if you’re not married, what sort of cake would you like? Can you convert me to the joys of margarine? Hmm, think I might know the answer to that one. I’ve got a download of THESE HAUNTED HEARTS: A REGENCY GHOST ROMANCE for someone who comments today!

 

You had me at that frosting, Anna. It’s as luscious as one of your books! And I am so, so with you on the butter front. Margarine is awful stuff and, as we all know, butter tastes better.

So get a-commenting, Feasters, and reveal your wedding cake stories. There’s a faaaabulous prize up for grabs!

Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 2nd April 2013. Open internationally. Whoop!

If you’d like to learn more about Anna her wonderful, wonderful books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook and Twitter. Anna can also be found regularly blogging at Romance Bandits.

This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Cheryl who has won herself an ebook copy of Anna’s wonderful new novella, These Haunted Hearts. Thanks to all who took the time to comment. Hope to see you again soon.

And a fantastic time was had by all: The 2013 Australian Romance Readers Convention

What can I say about the recent Australian Romance Readers Convention, held at the Mercure North Quay in Brisbane, except that it was simply a wonderful weekend? I’ve yet to come across a single attendee who didn’t enjoy themselves. Lady Jane’s Salon on Friday night was huge fun, as were the cocktails, nibblies and socialising afterward. Keynote speakers Rachel Vincent, Kristan Higgins and Anne Gracie held their audiences mesmerised and from every session came great gales of laughter. The trade stands were great, snacks and meals tasty and plentiful, and the awards dinner and bling-off a hoot. As one commenter on the ARRA loop so perfectly put it, the entire convention “ran like a Rolex”. The organisers deserve chocolate and foot massages for life for the effort they put in.

The best thing? I came away from ARRC loving the romance genre more than ever. Not only is it uplifting and satisfying to read, it’s filled with passionate readers and authors who are proud of the genre they adore and don’t mind saying so. Thank you ARRA and the ARRC team for a brilliant time. Bring on 2015!

Here are a few happy snaps I took on my phone (so forgive the poor quality).

 

Rachael Johns, Lisa Heidke and Cathryn Hein ARRC 2013

Rural romance author and ARRAward winner Rachael Johns with best-selling women’s fiction author Lisa Heidke and me.

Anna Campbell and Kristan Higgins ARRC 2013

Historical romance author, multiple ARR Award winner and all-round Romance Queen, Anna Campbell with keynote speaker Kristan Higgins.

The Romance Hour - moderator  Kate Cuthbert, Amy Andrews, Nalini Singh, Cathy Maxwell and Anna Campbell ARRC 2013

The Romance Hour session: Moderator Kate Cuthbert, Harlequin author Amy Andrews, paranormal romance author Nalini Singh, historical romance author Cathy Maxwell and Romance Queen Anna Campbell. What fun this was. A whole panel of mega-sellers talking about their writing and books. Cathy Maxwell was a hoot!

Cathryn Hein and Indigo Bloom Kobo Cocktail party ARRC 2013

Me with erotic romance author Indigo Bloome at the Kobo cocktail party which, thanks to Rachael Johns, I was lucky enough to attend. Indigo was so interesting to talk to. What a rollercoaster ride she’s had since the release of Destined to Play

ARRAward winner Rachael Johns 2.0 ARRC 2013

Rachael Johns with her ARR Award. Absolutely thrilled for her!

Kristan Higgins at the booksigning

Romance author Kristan Higgins at the booksigning. She was a lovely lady. Such fun and her keynote speech had the audience laughing and crying in turn.

Keynote speaker Anne Gracie ARRC 2013

Historical romance author Anne Gracie, whose speech was nothing short of brilliant.

Kristan Higgins, Bronwyn Parry, Jennifer Brassel, Hope Tarr and moderator Melanie McMillan - Authors as Readers session

Authors as Readers session with Kristan Higgins, ARR Award winner Bronwyn Parry, Jennifer Brassel, international guest and Lady Jane’s Salon founder Hope Tarr and moderator Melanie McMillan. This was such a fun session, even if the hotel roof did begin to leak halfway through.

Anna Campbell and Annie West ARRC 2013

Two gorgeous ladies: Anna Campbell and Harlequin author Annie West

 

FRIDAY FEAST with Anna Campbell

Happy Friday, dear Feasters. And what a jolly fine one it is too. Not least because this week we have awesome Regency historical romance author Anna Campbell as our Friday Feast guest.

Have I ever revealed how I came to be an Anna Campbell fan? Well, sometime back in 2009, I commented on a blog post where there was a copy of Tempt The Devil up for grabs and won. Now, Regency isn’t a genre I normally read but when Anna sent me my signed copy of Devil I thought I’d give it whirl. Next thing I know, the Devil’s been devoured and I’m on the hunt for the rest of Anna’s backlist. These books are wonderful – sexy, luscious and drama-filled. A good time rompy read with bonus rumpy-pumpy, and a happily ever after to round things off.

So if you’ve never tried an Anna Campbell, here’s your chance!

 

SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED

 

Will a week of seduction…

Desperate to save her sister’s life, Sidonie Forsythe has agreed to submit herself to a terrible fate: Beyond the foreboding walls of Castle Craven, a notorious, hideously scarred scoundrel will take her virtue over the course of seven sinful nights. Yet instead of a monster, she encounters a man like no other. And during this week, she comes to care for Jonas Merrick in ways that defy all logic-even as a dark secret she carries threatens them both.

…Spark a lifetime of passionate surrender?

Ruthless loner Jonas knows exactly who he is. Should he forget, even for a moment, the curse he bears, a mere glance in the mirror serves as an agonizing reminder. So when the lovely Sidonie turns up on his doorstep, her seduction is an even more delicious prospect than he originally planned. But the hardened outcast is soon moved by her innocent beauty, sharp wit, and surprising courage. Now as dangerous enemies gather at the gate to destroy them, can their new, fragile love survive?

 

Makes me get all squirmy just reading that blurb because I know what a treat you’re in for. If you’d like you buy your own copy of Seven Nights In A Rogue’s Bed you can order the paperback version from Amazon, Barnes & Noble (for US addresses), Bookdepository, Booktopia or Bookworld. If you’d prefer the e-book version try Kindle, Kobo, Google Play or the iTunes store.

And now here’s Anna.

 

Fat Princes with Anna Campbell

Hi Cathryn! Hi Friday Feasters!

Cathryn, thank you so much for having me on your blog today. I love visiting and talking about two of the yummiest things out there – romance fiction and great food and wine.

INTERNAL EDITOR: Um, Campbell, that’s three!

CAMPBELL: No-one expects the Spanish Inquisition!

Oops, sounds like I might already be hitting the vino! I promise this post is about to get more sensible. No recipes for Spam thermidor.

Last time I visited, I was busily writing SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED and promoting MIDNIGHT’S WILD PASSION. There’s always a slight Doctor Who time slip going on in an author’s life – the book you’re spending most of your life thinking about is usually NOT the book you’re spending the remainder of your life talking about.

Now, huzzah, SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED has hit the shelves (25th September, North America, 1st October, Australia and New Zealand). I’ve just finished the second book in the Sons of Sin series A RAKE’S MIDNIGHT KISS which features a lovely picnic scene. Food seems to make regular appearances in my books!

I write books set in the 1820s which counts as late Regency in historical romance. The Prince Regent who ruled in place of his incurably mad father George III took the throne in 1820, becoming George IV. By this stage, Prinny, as he was less than affectionately known, was a middle-aged man with huge health problems, ‘huge’ being the word. He was obese and spoiled and I think miserably aware that he’d squandered his early promise in self-indulgence. After waiting so long for the throne, he died only ten years later, just six weeks short of his 58th birthday. Too much wine, women and song – and you can hold the song!

I’ve included an 1819 cartoon to give you some idea of his appearance. I doubt if this is wildly exaggerated. I’ve seen his coronation robes at Grimsthorpe Castle in Lincolnshire. Carpet Call could cover half a house with that much fabric and still have some left over for the garage. Apparently they were adding gussets right up to the coronation day because his weight was so out of control.

George, as you’ve probably gathered, was into his food the way Lassie was into kids stuck down the well.

One of the most famous banquets ever held took place in 1817 when Prinny hosted a dinner for Grand Duke Nicholas of Russia. The world-famous chef Marie-Antoine Carême (he’s the skinnier guy pictured) created 120 separate dishes for this extravaganza.

A banquet on that scale requires imagination from the host (George had plenty of that!), endless cash (thanks to his long-suffering subjects), and an army of servants. I only tick the imagination box, but I thought I’d share one of Carême’s more straightforward recipes in case you’re three out of three.

Mirlitons à la Fleur d’Orange

Put two yolks and two whole eggs into a basin, with four ounces of pounded sugar, three ounces of sweet macaroon biscuits broken, half an ounce of candied orange-flowers pounded, and a grain of salt; stir these for a minute, and then add two ounces of fresh butter made warm; whip the whites of the eggs very firm; and add them to the preparation; sheet thirty tartlet-moulds, half an inch deep and two inches wide, (slightly buttered) with puff pastry. When the mirlitons are filled with the preparation, sift sugar on them rather thickly through a silk sieve, and when this is melted strew sugar in grains on them; bake them in a slow oven and serve either hot or cold.

A mirliton is a flute-shaped pastry. Recipe thanks to wonderful historical author Miranda Neville.

I’m sure George IV would heartily approve of Cathryn’s Friday Feasts! You can read more about a fascinating if not particularly exemplary life on Wikipedia.

So what’s the hardest thing you’ve ever cooked? I think for me it was a really complicated Tia Maria torte that I’ve sadly since lost the recipe for. What about you?

Just in case you don’t feel like cooking, I’ve got a signed SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED up for grabs to a commenter. Forget the baking and curl up with a luscious romance novel!

 

Those mirlitons sounds as sexy and delicious as one of your books, Anna! Thanks for the fun history lesson too. Prinny sure knew how to party!

Speaking of parties…readers, you could have one of your own with Seven Nights In A Rogue’s Bed by revealing the hardest thing you’ve ever cooked. I’ve had to wrack my brains over this because I’ve attempted a few tricky things over the years, but I do remember making roasted langoustines with lemon risotto cakes and chardonnay beurre blanc for a girlie lunch party when we lived in France. Absolutely beautiful but completely exhausting. Although I wouldn’t mind having another go at it, this time with yabbies or crayfish. Yeah, yeah. Sucker for punishment, that’s me!

Giveway closes midnight Tuesday, 23rd October 2012 AEST.  Open internationally. Rah!

If you’d like to know more about Anna and her sexy Regency historical romances please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and the Romance Bandits blog.

This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Juanita who has won a copy of Anna’s wonderful Seven Nights In A Rogue’s Bed, and a special thank to all you lovely people who dropped by and took the time to comment. Hope to see you here again soon.