Tag Archives: Carina Press

FRIDAY FEAST with Janni Nell, Robert Appleton, Shirley Wells and Julie Moffatt

Well, Feasters, they say change is as good as a holiday so this week we’re doing something a little different. Friday Feast is showcasing not just one author, but FOUR!

Allegra Fairweather series author Janni Nell is celebrating the inclusion of her novella Dance of Flames in the excellent anthology, Carina Press Presents: Editor’s Choice Volume II by bringing her fellow authors, Robert Appleton, Julie Moffatt and Shirley Wells along to the party.

I was fortunate enough to meet Janni at last year’s Romance Writers of Australia conference in Melbourne, when Carina Press Executive Editor Angela James treated her authors to lunch. Janni hails from Sydney and her Allegra Fairweather series has proved hugely popular, no doubt helped by Allegra’s gorgeous guardian angel, Casper. Trust me, that’s one ghost you’d want haunting your house.

Dance of Flames is the third book in the Allegra series, with Allegra Fairweather: Paranormal Investigator and South of Salem preceding it, and a fourth book, Island of Secrets, out in July, but don’t worry, you will adore Dance of Flames as a stand-alone book.

Here’s the blurb:

DANCE OF FLAMES

 

Family vacations fill me with horror–and for a woman who makes her living as a paranormal investigator, that’s saying a lot. Still, I couldn’t turn down a month in sunny Spain and the chance of flamenco lessons with Casper, my gorgeous guardian angel–even if it did mean sharing a villa with my mother.

But it’s true what they say, there’s no rest for the wicked. We’d barely unpacked when the maid started having dreams of being tortured on the rack–dreams my intuition tells me are something more than your average terrifying nightmare. After all, we are in the land of the infamous inquisition, and she does have those unexplained marks…

So for now my dance partner’s going to have to wait for me to get to the bottom of this mystery, and when I do, I plan to send evil packing.

 

Fantastic-sounding, isn’t it? I know you want to rush off and buy it but in the words of The Demtel Man, wait! There’s more!!

We’re promo-ing an anthology, remember?

 

Carina Press Presents: Editor’s Choice Volume II brings together four gripping novellas by some of genre fiction’s hottest voices! Explore interstellar space with Robert Appleton, get caught up in a caper with Julie Moffatt, dabble in the paranormal with Janni Nell and solve a murder aboard a cruise ship with Shirley Wells in this collection of stories reflecting the variety of Carina Press books!

 

You want this anthology, don’t you? Oh, yes you do! A few little clickety-clicks and it could be yours virtually in an instant. Go on….go! Casper will never haunt you if you don’t buy!

And now I bring you Janni, Robert Appleton, Julie Moffatt and Shirley Wells.

 

Menu for Mystery

 

Hi Cathryn, thanks for inviting us to the feast today. At the end of 2011 four authors were each invited to submit a novella for the anthology Carina Press Presents: Editor’s Choice Volume II. Robert Appleton, Julie Moffett, Shirley Wells and Janni Nell rose to the challenge. The novellas are all set in different parts of the universe, and we’ve put together a meal reflecting that diversity. Beginning with Norwegian bread, we move on to Spanish salad, followed by an out-of-this-world main and concluding with an American sweet treat.

 

Shirley Wells writes the Dylan Scott mysteries for Carina Press. Dead Calm is set on a ship cruising the Norwegian coastline.

Shirley has provided a recipe for the traditional soft flatbread, Lefse, which is delicious spread with butter and sugar or jelly.

Norwegian Potato Lefse

 

Ingredients:

18 medium-sized potatoes peeled

4 cups plain (all purpose) flour

1 tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

Half cup of butter

Half cup of heavy cream

1/ Boil potatoes until soft. Drain, mash well and leave to cool.

2/ Combine mashed potato, salt, sugar, butter and cream in a large mixing bowl. Cover and chill in fridge overnight.

3/ Mix flour and mashed potato mixture. Mould into walnut-sized balls and roll out on well-floured board.

4/ Cook on a hot griddle.

5/ Stack on top of each other, separating with wax paper.

6/. Enjoy!

 

DEAD CALM

Murder on the Arctic Sea

Detective Dylan Scott thinks cruising well above the Arctic Circle in November is nothing short of madness. He has zero interest in seeing the elusive aurora borealis, but agrees to the Norwegian holiday to keep his wife and mother happy. At least the biggest problem he’ll have to deal with is boredom. But that boredom quickly dissipates when the unpleasant elderly woman in the neighboring cabin is found dead.

Everyone thinks Hanna Larsen had a heart attack. Everyone except Dylan. Dylan is convinced there’s a killer aboard the Midnight Sun–a killer who may strike again…

 

Janni Nell’s Dance of Flames, an Allegra Fairweather novella, is set in Spain. Here is a salad to honour that lovely country.

Janni’s Spanish Chicken Salad

 Ingredients:

500g cooked chicken (warm or cold) chopped

150g sun-dried tomatoes

150g Spanish olives

Mixed lettuce leaves

½ green capsicum – sliced

½ Spanish (red) onion – sliced

2 tablespoons walnuts

1 tablespoon olive oil

grated cheese (any cheese will do – parmesan and cheddar both work well)

1. In a salad bowl put chopped chicken, lettuce leaves, olives (drained), sun-dried tomatoes (with some liquid from jar). Toss lightly and season to taste.

2. Fry capsicum, Spanish onion and walnuts in olive oil for 1-2 minutes. Place on top of salad.

3. Sprinkle with grated cheese.

 

Robert Appleton, author of Pyro Canyon, has chosen a dish for our main course. This description will make your mouth water.

For my birthday last year, the entire family ate at a highly regarded Italian restaurant, one, if I’m honest, a tad more upmarket than my usual haunts (i.e. the waiters really do curse speak in Italian). Emboldened by the profligacy on display—and the small fact that I wasn’t paying—I went and ordered the most expensive meal on the menu, Medalione Pancetta. Medallions of fillet wrapped in Italian cured back in red wine sauce. Such a dish I’ve never had before or since, for two good reasons: one, it was astonishingly, galactically delicious in a way I can’t begin to describe; and two, it drew sniggers from around the table when it arrived, because it was the tiniest thing you’ve ever seen in your life. I mean without the side serving of boiled potatoes (three) and fresh veg (whoopie do!), I’d have finished the most expensive meal on the menu in two bites. Seriously, it took more jaw action to order the thing than to eat it. But I’ll never, ever forget that taste. It was truly out of this world. And no matter where I go and who I’m with, it will always remind me not to order cheap…especially when someone else is paying.

 

PYRO CANYON

It’s a galaxy-wide red alert…again.

And it’s Corporal Gus Trillion’s job at the Propaganda Office to drum up recruits. But the colonists have heard one too many calls to arm to care. Disabled in battle and on the verge of burnout, Gus feels pretty apathetic himself–until his reporter friend Lyssa Baltacha stumbles upon top secret satellite footage indicating that the treacherous Sheikers are planning to invade human-occupied space. Now Gus and Lyssa must find a way to galvanize humanity to rise up against the enemy–before it’s too late…

 

Julie Moffett, author of No Money Down, the latest in a fun series featuring the young geeky spy Lexi Carmichael, concludes our feast with a mouth-watering sweet.

Julie found this decorating tip online a while back, and has used it for her son’s parties. They were a huge hit! So here’s the scoop…

1.)     Make your favourite cupcake

2.)     Decorate using chocolate frosting and arrange the frosting for ears and top of head like the accompanying picture.

3.)     Take an Oreo (or similar type cookie) and open it up so there is frosting on both sides and put on the cupcake for eyes.  Take two brown M&Ms and place on centre of cookie middle.

4.)     Add yellow M&M or Nerd banana-shaped candy for nose.

5.)     Voila! You have a delicious owl cupcake.

 

NO MONEY DOWN

Me and the legendary Zimmerman twins–it’s a friendship made in geek heaven. And it all started back when I worked for the NSA…

My best friend Basia dragged me to the beach for her idea of a vacation. All those annoying people, sand in embarrassing places–not exactly R & R for a girl who doesn’t like the sun, the ocean or bathing suits. I couldn’t wait to get back to work.

But things started looking up when I ran into Elvis and Xavier Zimmerman. We discovered we had a lot in common: gaming, anchovies, hacking. After that, the vacation was perfect–until I accidentally broke some poor guy’s fingers. Then Broken-Fingered Guy disappeared, and things got really dicey. With the Secret Service and a bunch of thugs suddenly after me, all I wanted was to solve the mystery and enjoy what was left of my vacation–preferably alive.

 

Whee! That’s what I call a feast! Thanks, Janni, Robert, Shirley and Julie for your wonderful recipes and descriptions. And congratulations on your inclusion in the anthology. That Deborah Nemeth knows how to pick the best!

And now, my lovely Feasters, our authors today have been super generous and are offering one clever commenter the chance win the entire anthology. Yes, not one ebook. FOUR! But as usual you have to work for it.

We want to hear the strangest meal you’ve ever eaten. A few crunchy insects in Chang Mai perhaps? Testicles on a Mongolian steppe? Extremely rare veal kidneys, as I was served in a posh restaurant in France where the waiter flounced – yes, an awesome full Gallic sniff and flounce – off with my barely-touched place. Come on, we’ve all had them. And if you haven’t, we’ll even be kind and let you cheat by revealing the strangest place you’ve ever eaten instead.

But get in quick. Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday 26th June 2012 AEST. Open internationally – yeeeeehaaa! And don’t fret if you don’t have an ereader, you can still read a PDF file of the anthology on your computer or on your smartphone. Easy-peasy!

If you’d like to learn more about the authors and their faaaabulous books, a click on their names will open up their website.

Janni Nell

Robert Appleton

Shirley Wells

Julie Moffett

All the authors’ books are available from a variety of ebook stores, including Kindle, NookKobo, and many other places, and also as audio books from Audible. Yes, you can plonk them on your iPod or smartphone and listen away. Ain’t technology marvellous?

And don’t forget the Carina Press website, where no great story goes untold. You’ll read yourself silly here!

FRIDAY FEAST with Joan Kilby

Okay, I know I say this every week but today I really am excited. Contemporary romance author and all round lovely person Joan Kilby is my Friday Feast guest today and WHAT a post she has for us. I’m squirming in my seat right now I’m so thrilled! Squirming and drooling and thinking that I’m so inspired I might have to sneak into the city for a session at that Asian gem Little Malaysia (faaaaab restaurant off Little Bourke Street in Melbourne).

Now, when Joan isn’t making me horribly jealous with her travels, she writes wonderfully emotional contemporary romances for Harlequin Super Romance and Carina Press. Twenty-two of them to date! Joan’s latest is a wonderful story titled Protecting Her Son and it’s been gaining some rave reviews like this from Bookish Jottings:

Sparkling with believable characters that jump off the page, wry humour, nail-biting intrigue and emotional romance, Protecting Her Son is a superb tale of old wounds, second chances and healing love from the outstanding pen of Joan Kilby. Julie Bonello, Bookish Jottings

Take a closer look…

PROTECTING HER SON

 

Crossing the thin blue line…

Paula Drummond is finally back on a police force. And with so much at stake–she’s a single mum atoning for an almost career-ending mistake–she’s not risking anything but stellar performance. That means, regardless of whatever attraction is brewing between her and her partner, Officer Riley Henning, she will not get involved.

Still, working side by side with a man as hot as Riley and not giving in to temptation isn’t easy. Especially when he goes above and beyond to help keep her son safe. With all that evidence piling up, it seems as though her partner on the job is destined to become her partner in bed…and maybe even in life.

 

Sounds like a brilliant read, doesn’t it? Protecting Her Son is available for purchase now direct from Harlequin, from Amazon and many other bookstores.

And now I pass you on to Joan. Enjoy!!

 

Travels With My Stomach

 

I love traveling in Asia, mainly, I have to admit, for the food. Penang, especially, is a foodie’s paradise with fabulous Malaysian, Chinese and Indian food and local specialities.

One of my favorite eateries is a Chinese vegetarian restaurant, Luk Yea Yan on Jalan Macalister. They do an amazing breakfast/lunch buffet with forty different vegetarian dishes and four types of rice. I’m not vegetarian but I love this food.

The day I took this photo we were early, before all of the dishes were out, but by nine o’clock every bain marie is full.

The veggies are super fresh. Every morning a small army of women can be seen out back through the open-sided building, cutting up bushels of produce.

And the tofu! In Melbourne, even in Asian suburbs like Springvale, we have a limited range of tofu but at this restaurant there must be about twenty different types of tofu and soy protein foods.

My favourite dish is a mock lemon chicken that has a crispy outside, a layered chewy-smooth interior in a light tangy lemon sauce. So delicious!

The food is not only delicious and healthy, it’s incredibly cheap. Mike’s heaping plate cost about $3.

For dinner we ate at the nearby Indian Nasi Kandar restaurant. The chicken tikka is tender and succulent, best I’ve ever had. They also make fresh roti, stretching the dough filo-thin on a big griddle and folding it into ghee-licious layers.

Mike’s favourite roti was murtabak, filled with chicken, onions and egg and eaten with a spicy sambar gravy.

My guilty pleasure was roti bom laced with condensed milk. If I closed my eyes I would have sworn I was eating a warm Danish pastry.

(I didn’t have my camera with me that day so the murtabak and roti bom photos are from the Internet.)

One day we took the funicular railway up Penang Hill and came across an Indian hawker selling this chickpea snack. He told me the ingredients but not the quantities.

I came up with the following recipe at home. You could vary the quantities to taste.

 

Penang Hill Chickpea Snack

400 gm tin chickpeas (about 1 1/3 cups)

1/2-1 cup Bombay mix (a spicy Indian snack mix available from supermarkets)

1/2 small red onion, finely chopped

1/3 English cucumber, diced

Juice of half a lime

Heat the chickpeas in the microwave. Mix well with the other ingredients, adding the Bombay mix last so it stays crunchy longer. Enjoy as a snack or side dish. Eat it with a spoon or fork unless you don’t mind getting your fingers messy.

 

After Penang we headed to Bali. When we first went there many years ago the food was spicy and everything was fresh. Now that tourism has exploded the food has become westernized and bland even in the remote fishing village in Amed where we spent most of our time. (Amed features in my Superromance, To Be A Family, out later in 2012.)

We did find a fab little restaurant in Sanur called The Coconut Tree. Their nasi goreng, made with organic vegetables, was probably the best we’ve had anywhere.

Our favorite dessert in Bali were the banana wraps at our small hotel. They’re probably not authentic Indonesian food but they’re really yummy and very simple to make. One day I watched the girls prepare them so I could replicate the dish at home.

 

Banana Wraps with Coconut and Melted Palm Sugar

-Thin pancakes*

-Sugar bananas (regular bananas will do but they need to be ripe and sweet)

-butter to fry in

-fresh coconut, grated**

-melted palm sugar (maple syrup is great, too)

Make the pancake and keep it warm. Slice a banana in half lengthways and fry in butter till hot and lightly caramelized. Put the halves of the banana back together and roll up in the pancake. Chop the pancake into chunky pieces and arrange in a log or in a circle. Sprinkle over a generous helping of grated fresh coconut and drizzle with melted palm sugar or pure maple syrup.

*the pancake should be about 3 millimetres thick. I found a crepe batter was too thin so I used an American pancake recipe and thinned it down with skim milk.

**grating the coconut by hand gives the most aesthetically pleasing result but is time-consuming. When I have dinner guests I hand grate it. When it’s just for the family I blitz it in the food processer. Tastes the same, just doesn’t look as nice.

 

On an earlier trip to Cambodia we saw women making palm sugar by the side of the road. They tap the sugar palm much like a maple tree and boil up the sap over open fires until it crystalizes. The palm sugar is completely different and much nicer than that which we buy in shops here. It actually tastes a lot like maple sugar.

While in Siem Riep we loved the Cambodian barbecue–paper thin beef grilled on a charcoal-filled cone and surrounded by stock in which we cooked the veggies. The yellow dipping sauce was absolutely delicious. I don’t know what was in it and I’ve never been able to find a recipe. Does anyone have any ideas?

 

I’d love to hear about favourite dishes you’ve encountered on your travels–wherever that may be. Did you try to make it later at home, and was it successful?

I’m giving away a copy of my latest Superromance, PROTECTING HER SON to one lucky commenter. The book was a March 2012 North American release and will be out in August 2012 in Australia and New Zealand.

 

Thank you so, so much, Joan, for your amazing post. The photos and descriptions are gorgeous. I have severely itchy feet right now, but it looks like I might just have to satisfy my foodie wanderlust with some banana wraps. Far out, that looks gooooood! And don’t get me started on murtabaks…

Now, my drooly feasty lovelies, you heard Joan. We have a wonderful, wonderful book up for grabs. All you have to do is share a favourite dish from your travels and any success (or failure) you had in recreating it. I have one – the goat’s cheese tart taught to me by a lovely lady in Provence. The version I make here is okay, but doesn’t compare to the one made at Tessa’s cooking school. It’s the goat’s cheese. She used this amazingly wrinkly smelly one that gave the tart fantastic piquancy that I can’t seem to recreate. Sigh. Will just have to go back…

Giveaway open internationally (rah!). But you need to be quick because it closes midnight Tuesday, 19th June 2012 AEST.

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

FRIDAY FEAST with Jenny Schwarz

Happy Friday and welcome to another fabulous edition of Friday Feast. And what a treat we have this week!

Break out the good china and cock those pinkies because Carina Press author and proud West Australian Jenny Schwarz is here to talk about that most delicious and civilised of traditions, afternoon tea.

Jenny has the most marvellous book out at the moment. It’s a steampunk. Don’t know what steampunk is? Think a Victorian-era parallel world full of brilliant contraptions and technology advanced way beyond what we understand from the time, sometimes even beyond our own modern technology. A great example is the graphic novel series and film, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, but there are many more. Google and ye shall find.

But you know what makes Jenny’s book different and even more exciting? It’s Australian steampunk. How cool is that!

Check it out…

Wanted: One Scoundrel

All suffragette Esme Smith wants is a man. A scoundrel to be precise. Someone who can be persuaded to represent her political views at men-only clubs. As the daughter of the richest man in Australia, Esme can afford to make it worth the right man’s while.

 

Fresh off the boat, American inventor Jed Reeve is intrigued by Esme’s proposal, but even more interested in the beauty herself. Amused that she takes him for a man who lives by his wits, he accepts the job—made easier by the fact that he already shares her ideals. Soon, he finds himself caught up in political intrigue, kidnapping and blackmail, and trying to convince his employer he’s more than just a scoundrel…

Isn’t that fantastic? Definitely one for the to-be-read pile and available right now with a speedy click.

As usual I’ve rabbited on far too much, so time for me to shut up and hand you over to Jenny.

Hi, Cathryn!

Thanks for inviting me to Friday Feast. I’m here to celebrate the joys of afternoon tea, memory and writers’ inspiration—plus Mum’s custard sponge cake recipe 🙂

Last year I wrote a steampunk story, Wanted: One Scoundrel set in Western Australia during the goldrush of 1895. Back then, WA was known as the Swan River Colony and ambitious and/or desperate men from the eastern colonies flooded over here to try their luck. My great-granddad was one of them.

Strangely, when I wrote my history-with-a-twist story I didn’t realise great-granddad had arrived in the state that early or that my great-grandma had grown up here. Amazing what you can find out with three tools: Google search, Births, Deaths and Marriages registers and Trove.

But as I thought about my family history I realised that its traditions had been the basis for the afternoon tea scene in Wanted: One Scoundrel. Not that my family were rich—far from it! Great-granddad worked on the railways. But they did enjoy their afternoon tea.

As a kid in the ’70s and ’80s I grew up with Sunday afternoon tea at Grandma’s every other week. Three generations of an extended family would gather around Grandma’s kitchen table to eat, talk and then wander around the garden for more talking!

Social commentators and historians label things “colonial” or “interwar” or “modern”, but in real life, people don’t stop doing something just because the calendar or century has changed. I grew up with the experience of a working class Sunday afternoon tea tradition that started in the colonial days—and it was fun.

The best days were in winter. Grandma had a wood stove and I was allowed to feed it. Once tea was made in a big brown teapot and covered in a tea cosy to steep, another kettle of water was kept simmering on the stove for top ups. We ate scones—yes, even pumpkin ones!—sandwiches (ham and tomato, which when I think about it, maybe went all the way back to great-granddad’s habit of raising his own pigs and smoking his own ham), various biscuits and cakes that changed over time, but I really remember the lamingtons.

Ah, lamingtons. Mum experimented with them once. She’s Polish—which means an entirely different food tradition that Dad’s family never adjusted to. She used a light cupcake mix in place of the traditional sponge cake. It made dipping the squares in the chocolate syrupy mess and then in the coconut much easier. I wonder if anyone has ever taken that idea to the next step and made lamington cupcakes, dipping the mini-cakes?

But when I look back at childhood cakes, my favourite has to be Mum’s custard sponge. Even now, she still uses it as the basis for her famous Christmas trifle. The recipe is decades old, so I’ve no idea where she found it—apologies if I’m trespassing on someone’s copyright, but here is the yummy recipe.

Custard Sponge Cake

Oven temp: Heat oven to 220C (reduced to 160C when cake goes in)

4 eggs

6 oz sugar

4 oz custard powder

1 oz plain flour

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/2 teaspoon bicarb soda

2 tablespoons water


Beat eggs and sugar together till thick and creamy, add water and continue beating for a few minutes. While the lovely mix master beats the concoction, sift the dry ingredients together 3 or 4 times then fold gently into the beaten concoction. Pour into a 9 inch greased tin. Heat oven to 220C then reduce to 160C when the cake goes in. Bake for 30 minutes. Don’t let anyone jump up and down in front of the oven during baking, though this actually a fairly robust sponge. Store in fridge, or better yet, in tummy!

I hope I’ve stirred up your memories of afternoon teas and childhood treats. I’d love to go all nostalgic with you, so please share them! Chocolate crackles, anyone? And looking to the future, well, how can we resist afternoon tea at the Writer’s Bar at the Raffles in Singapore? One day…when I’m rich and famous…or when I win Lotto…I hope to see you there!

*

Well, I can vouch for this cake because I made it yesterday and it turned out lovely, as you can see from the pics above and to the right. Naturally, I then had to make pot of tea cut myself a slice for my morning break. Gorgeous flavour and wonderfully light texture. I’ll be making this again and perhaps using it in a trifle as Jenny mentioned. Hmm…

Thank you so much for coming on Friday Feast, Jenny. It’s been a delight.

Does any else have any afternoon tea or childhood treat traditions? Honey crackles are mine. Oh, I LOVED those, and don’t get me started on caramel tart. To this day I still can’t resist its sticky sweet lusciousness. What triggers your childhood memories and turns you gooey with want? Please share. We’d love to hear.

If you would like to hear more about Jenny and her wonderful Australian steampunk and paranormal romances, please visit her website. You can also connect via Twitter, Facebook and Google+

FRIDAY FEAST! with Rachael Johns

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My buddy Rachael Johns received the best Christmas present this week. ONE PERFECT NIGHT, her debut novel, released on Monday from Carina Press and has been earning rave reviews. With good reason!

I loved this book. It’s a wonderfully emotional read with likeable characters you can’t help but barrack for. And, very apt for this time of year, it has a Christmas theme. So if you’re looking for a gift for the reader in your life, or perhaps for yourself, you’ll be on a winner with ONE PERFECT NIGHT.

Here’s the blurb for you.

Peppa Grant’s fellow employees may call their new CEO Mr. McSexy, but she’s also heard that he’s aloof and distant. Cameron McCormac certainly seems cold toward Christmas when she meets him at the company’s annual party…but he’s also the sexiest man Peppa has ever seen. And when he offers to forgive the damage she accidentally caused to his expensive car in exchange for accompanying him to his family’s holiday get-together, she agrees.

Cameron needs a date to the family party to get his matchmaking relatives off his back. Their chemistry is instant and undeniable, leading to an incredible one-night stand. But Peppa wants love and family, while Cameron’s only interested in temporary pleasure. When their relationship takes an unexpectedly serious turn, will he run the other way—or will he give love a second chance?

Hooked and want more? Of course you do. Well, either rush on over to Carina Press and hit that “Buy” button or read an extract here and THEN rush over to Carina Press and hit the “Buy” button. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Rachael has plenty of other books in the works, but I’m super excited about her rural set romance JILTED, which is coming out mid 2012 from Harlequin, and is one you’ll definitely want to keep an eye out for. JILTED features the sexiest sheep farming hero – the sort of man to give you warm fuzzy daydreams and Farmer Wants A Wife fantasies. You can keep up with all the news about Jilted and Rachael’s other books on her website, blog, Facebook page and Twitter.

As this is the final Friday Feast for the year, I want to take the opportunity to wish you a joy-filled festive season and say thanks for following the blog. The Friday Feast series has been enormous fun and I hope you’ve enjoyed the posts as much as I have. Friday Feast will back in the New Year even bigger and better with a delicious line-up of authors and recipes. So stay tuned for January 20th when Brightwater Blood and The Goblin King author Shona Husk shares her completely decadent recipe for Toblerone Brownies. Oh, I cannot wait for that one. My mouth waters just thinking about it!

And now I hand you over to Rachael…

 

The Glamorous Life of a Newly Published Author

Last Monday my debut novel One Perfect Night released with Carina Press. To say I’m ecstatic and that this is a dream come true is probably an UNDERSTATEMENT!!

And the best part of being a real-life novelist? I get to swan around in my pajamas all day (feather boa wrapped around my neck and diamante slippers at my feet), sipping cold champagne brought to me by a topless waiter that looks a lot like Ryan Gosling (oh hell, maybe he IS Ryan Gosling), while I type the odd word on my computer occasionally and block out the noise of my housekeepers tidying up and doing the washing outside my office!!

Have you clicked that this is all some wicked fantasy yet?

Let me tell you what I was really doing on the day of my debut…

For starters I was making THREE KILOGRAMS of meatballs for the local daycare fundraiser. I also worked on checkout in our shop, was woken far too early by my exuberant three year old, broke up fights between him and his two older brothers, did four loads of washing (much of which is still waiting to be folded and put away), took kids to swimming lessons and then made THEM dinner of meatballs (I was on a roll) before going out and acting as a waitress (not topless) to serve this gourmet fare to eight local shire workers for their Christmas dinner. Glamorous? Not exactly.

But one thing that really made me smile that day (apart from the debut book and my beautiful boys) was the meatballs. I’m a bit of a throw a bit of this in here and a bit of something else in there cook and I did the same with these meatballs and they were a HIT. Everyone commented how delicious they were at the Christmas dinner and the kids didn’t make a face and actually ate them. So today on Cathryn’s last Friday Feast of the year, I thought I’d share with you, my simple but delicious meatball recipe. Well, what I can remember of it!

SUPERMUM MEATBALLS

Ingredients:

1kg of mince

2 eggs

a handful of breadcrumbs

1 large grated onion

a small handful of grated cheese (whatever type takes your fancy)

1 clove of crushed garlic

a few splashes of soy sauce

a few splashes of tomato sauce

Method:

Whisk eggs, then mix all other ingredients together with the eggs. Shape into small balls, place on baking tray (probably two, this recipe makes a lot) and cook in the oven until… well, until they’re done!!

Serve with pasta and whatever sauce you like. Because I’m all about the easy, i just bought a stir-through sauce and mixed the meatballs, pasta and sauce together. Delish! For the shire dinner, they ate them on their own or dipped into tomato sauce!

Merry Christmas all!

 

Thanks, Rachael. These meatballs sound delicious and easy. An ideal match for the lazy holiday season, just like ONE PERFECT NIGHT.

Have a safe,  laughter and love-filled Christmas, everyone, and I’ll catch you in 2012.

News and a Promises giveaway

Well, the first round of edits for Heart of the Valley is complete and the next will be here any day. In the meantime, I’m working on my next book, which I’ve christened Where Hope Lies. Not sure if that title will stay but it’ll do for the moment, and WHL is a nice easy acronym to use in emails when I’m chatting with my writing buddies. Not as good as HotV, mind. That one was a beauty!

Heart of the Valley is scheduled for release in May 2012. No sign of a cover yet but I promise to post it as soon as I get the go ahead. Can’t wait to see what it’s like. It’s always a huge buzz to see a new cover.

On the blog touring front, today I’m a guest on Rachael Johns’ Theory on Thursday segment, talking about writing craft and also giving away a signed copy of Promises. So if you want to be in the contest, click on over to Rachael’s blog, discover the answer to the simple question I’ve posed and leave it in the comments. Entries close at midnight Sunday, 20th November 2011. Australian addresses only, sorry.

While you’re there, check out Rachael’s debut release, One Perfect Night, available in December from Carina Press. I have a preview copy of this book and I can honestly say it’s fabulous. A great romantic romp from a wonderful new Australian writer.

If you happen to be wandering down Beaumont Street, Hamilton, NSW on Sunday and are wondering where all that laughter is coming from, it’s probably all the attendees at the Australian Romance Readers Association lunch. A great group of local readers and writers are coming along so it should be a fun day. We’ll be at Cafe de Beaumont from 11am. Please feel free to stop by and say hello. I promise you we’re all very friendly!

And last but not least, I’m very excited to announce that I have some fabulous Australian writers booked for Friday Feast guest appearances over coming weeks, including best-selling historical author Anna Campbell, and gorgeous Harlequin Desire author and website designer Paula Roe. Can’t wait to see their feasts!

 

FRIDAY FEAST!

This week on Friday Feast I have a special guest – Australian author and all round gorgeous girl, Rachael Johns. Rachael’s first book, ONE PERFECT NIGHT, releases from Carina Press December 19th, just in time for Christmas. Trust me, you’ll want this under your tree. Have a read of this blurb!

 

ONE PERFECT NIGHT

Peppa Grant’s fellow employees may call their new CEO Mr. McSexy, but she’s also heard that he’s aloof and distant. Cameron McCormac certainly seems cold toward Christmas when she meets him at the company’s annual party…but he’s also the sexiest man Peppa has ever seen. And when he offers to forgive the damage she accidentally caused to his expensive car in exchange for accompanying him to his family’s holiday get-together, she agrees.

Cameron needs a date to the family party to get his matchmaking relatives off his back. Their chemistry is instant and undeniable, leading to an incredible one-night stand. But Peppa wants love and family, while Cameron’s only interested in temporary pleasure. When their relationship takes an unexpectedly serious turn, will he run the other way—or will he give love a second chance?

 

Now, Rach promised me something deliciously naughty for this week’s Friday Feast and she hasn’t let me down. Her recipe sounds as moreish as that blurb.

Take it away, Rach….

It’s no secret in our house that I have a sweet tooth. When it comes to chocolate, I’m a connoisseur. When it comes to cake, I’m an expert. When it comes to cooking, I’m a dessert chef all the way.  And I’m also big on the comfort. Sure I wouldn’t turn my nose up at a hearty lasagne or a caeser salad but I’m much more likely to orgasm over a big slice of hot apple pie with ice-cream or a large piece of carrot cake (with extra cream cheese icing, thank you very much).

So when Cathryn asked me to share a recipe for her fabulous Friday Feast , there was NEVER any question that I’d share something sweet, the question was which one of a plethora of favourite cakes would it be.  But it would also have to be something that was quick and easy!! As a busy mum, business owner and writer, time is very limited in my world. Nowadays when I cook I want to whip up something quick and also something that the kids can help with so they get a bit of quality mum time.

So today I’m bringing an absolute favourite recipe from my boylets and me. It isn’t Masterchef worthy but it’s fabulous, home-cooking worthy. And your taste-buds will love you if you make it. As will any heroes in your life no doubt J On the virtual menu is Banana Cake with Choc-Chips!! The Choc-Chips are important. I added them once to an old favourite Banana Bread recipe and I have NEVER looked back.

 

BANANA CAKE WITH CHOC-CHIPS

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup milk
  • 2 medium bananas
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups SR flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 60g butter
  • As many choc-chips as you feel like throwing in – dark, white, milk or a combo of all three for extra specialness.

Method:

Peel and mash bananas; put into bowl of electric mixer. Add sugar, sifted flour (although I confess I’ve never bothered with the sifting bit), lightly-beaten eggs, softened butter and milk.  Beat on low speed until combined, then beat on medium speed for 2 minutes (does anyone actually time these things?). Throw in the choc chips and mix with a wooden spoon.

Turn mixture into greased 23cm x 12cm loaf tin which has the base lined with paper. Bake in a slow oven for approximately 1 ¾ hours or until cooked when tested.  LICK THE BOWL!!! Cool in the tin 10 minutes before turning out on wire rack to complete cooling.

This cake is fabulous cake straight from the oven (well almost) and it also keeps for days in the fridge. It can be heated up and served with cream or ice-cream or just eaten on its own. Definitely no icing required.

*Groan* That sounds (and looks) so yum, and how cute are your boys! I think you can guess what’s on the morning tea agenda in the Hein household next week. Thanks, Rach.