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FRIDAY FEAST with Anna Campbell

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Greetings, Feasty lovelies, and welcome to a positively cherry-topped Friday Feast. This week we play host to one of my favourite historical romance authors who has the perfect accompaniment for a cuppa. Plus there’s an even more perfect giveaway!

Not a lot to report this week from the Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf trenches. We suffered so much rain on the morning of our ladies open day the event was washed out. With the weekend equally soaked, there was no chance for play. I can only hope that the time off will result in some easing of my current formus horribillus (a dreadful disease no golfer wishes to catch).

Historical romance author Anna CampbellNow onto my delightful guest!

It’s always a pleasure to host historical romance author Anna Campbell on Friday Feast. Not only do I have a major fan-girl crush on Anna and her books, her posts are always hugely entertaining. I fondly refer to Anna as the Romance Queen, thanks to her many awards and best-selling status. And because in person she does have a touch of regality!

I’m also very excited to have a copy of her brand new release, A Scoundrel by Moonlight beside me as I type. I’ve loved all the books in Anna’s Sons of Sin series and it’s wonderful to see it continuing on. Can’t wait to get into this one.

Take a look.

A SCOUNDREL BY MOONLIGHT

A Scoundrel by Moonlight by Anna CampbellAnything can happen in the moonlight…

Justice. That’s all Nell Trim wants – for her sister and for the countless other young women the Marquess of Leath has ruined with his wildly seductive ways. Now she has a bold plan to take him down… as long as she can resist the scoundrel’s temptations herself.

From the moment Nell meets James Fairbrother, the air positively sizzles. Yet for all his size and power, there’s something amazingly tender in his touch. Could he really be such a depraved rogue? The only way to find out is to beat the devil at his own game… one tempting kiss at a time.

 

Doesn’t that sound wonderful? And you can be guaranteed that this will be a highly emotional, passionate and romantic read. Believe me, with Anna you’re in expert hands. Which means you’ll be wanting to buy a copy of A Scoundrel by Moonlight right now. In which case, get clickety-clicking straight over to those good people at Booktopia, Bookworld or Angus & Robertson. You can also purchase a copy from Book Depository. For the ebook, try Amazon, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, or your favourite retailer.

Now please give a bow to Queen Anna.

A Happy Accident!

Hi Cathryn! Thank you for having me as your guest today. I always love visiting your blog – and this time I’ve got a recipe that is genuinely mine.

Last year, I was waiting for a visit from my dear friend and regular Friday Feaster Annie West and I’d decided to make cherry nut cookies, an Australian Women’s Weekly recipe that’s one of my favorites.

Quote from A Scoundrel by Moonlight by Anna CampbellSacre bleu, what was I to do when I was halfway through cooking them and discovered that I didn’t have a major ingredient? These lovely little buttery morsels are usually rolled in crushed peanuts before you put the cherry on top. But my pantry was bare of crushed peanuts.

As any good writer will tell you, when you’re stuck, improvise. I had a bag of flaked almonds which I keep on hand for apple crumble.

Problem solved – almost.

The flaked almonds were far too big to sit on the outside of my biscuits. So I decided to try mixing them in with the dough. Worked a treat – as Annie was kind enough to tell me.

I’ve since made this a couple of times and I think I actually prefer them to the original. So it’s time to share my recipe with the world.

Quote from A Scoundrel by Moonlight by Anna CampbellA happy accident is how I’d describe my latest book, A SCOUNDREL BY MOONLIGHT which is out in North America this month.* The Sons of Sin series grew out of a stand-alone proposal to Grand Central Forever in New York for SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED. They liked the idea so much, they wanted more of the same with some linked books. So I hastily put together a trilogy about three friends who meet at Eton. In one way or another, the shadow of bastardy looms over Jonas Merrick, Richard Harmsworth and Camden Rothermere, but all three discover their true selves when they fall in love.

As I wrote the books, another man loomed larger and larger. James Fairbrother, Marquess of Leath, is mentioned in book 2, A RAKE’S MIDNIGHT KISS, as the villain’s nephew. He plays a much more significant role in book 3, WHAT A DUKE DARES, when his sister forms a scandalous liaison with Harry Thorne, the heroine’s brother.

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When Grand Central approached me about continuing the series, Leath was the obvious hero to choose. So A SCOUNDREL BY MOONLIGHT was born. Because I love to put my characters through the wringer, I make him fall in love with a woman who threatens everything he’s always wanted. Life as a writer is fun that way.

But of course, meeting Nell Trim turns out to be a happy accident for Leath too! Under normal circumstances, their paths would never have crossed. And their clash makes for fireworks.

What sort? You’ll have to read A SCOUNDREL BY MOONLIGHT to find out!

In the meantime, have fun at afternoon tea with my biscuits.

Anna Campbell’s Cherry Almond Biscuits

Anna Campbell's Cherry Almond Biscuits

Ingredients:

125g butter

¼ cup sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup self-raising flour

200g flaked almonds

Glace cherries

Method:

Anna Campbell's Cherry Almond BiscuitsCream butter and sugar until light and creamy, add egg and vanilla, beat well. Add sifted flour and mix to a firm dough. By hand, mix in flaked almonds until evenly distributed. Roll teaspoonfuls of mixture into small ball shapes. Press half a cherry on top. Put on lightly greased oven trays, allow room for spreading; bake in moderate oven 15 to 20 minutes or until golden. Cool slightly before removing from trays. Makes about 30.

*Aussies can order a print edition of A SCOUNDREL BY MOONLIGHT from Booktopia or the Book Depository. If you’d like an ebook, there will be a local edition later in the year, date to be confirmed.

 

Oh, I love the sound of these, Anna! I must admit, I’d much prefer your almond version than the peanut one. While I love peanuts (my mother-in-law makes the BEST peanut biscuits), I reckon almonds and cherries is a much better match. A cuppa and a biscuit, a squishy chair in a patch of winter sun, and A Scoundrel by Moonlight. Sounds like a perfect morning to me.

Now, my tasty little Feasty beasties, because Anna is such a generous soul (as all good queens are), she’s offering a…

GIVEAWAY!

To be in the draw to win a signed copy of Anna’s brand new release, A Scoundrel by Moonlight, simply answer this question:

Have you ever had a happy accident – something unexpected that happened and took you in a new and better direction?

Maybe you’ve taken a wrong turn and discovered something wonderful, or accidentally hit the one-click buy button on a book or other item you didn’t intend to purchase and serendipitously discovered a gem. Me, I’ve had some gorgeous moments travelling when I’ve gotten lost and found magic. The same with food when I’ve ordered what I thought was one thing only to be served something totally different but also totally delicious (also totally horrid as was once the case with rognons de veau in France *shudder*).

Simply share your happy accident with us and you’ll be in the draw to win.

Please note: Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 12th May 2015. Open internationally. Rah!

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

Friday Feast recipe index link.

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FRIDAY FEAST with Rachael Johns

Friday, Friday tra-la-la-la-la!

Actually, thanks to my darling Sydney Swans succumbing to Fremantle in the AFL Preliminary Final, I’m not feeling all that chirpy. A bit heart-sore, in fact.Author Rachael Johns It would have been so great to make the Grand Final again but my boys should be commended for the amazing effort they put in despite being decimated by injury. Never fear though, we’ll be back even better harder next year.

Speaking of people who should be commended (oh, I kill myself with these segues!), today on Friday Feast I’m thrilled to host my most excellent clever-trousers writing buddy Rachael Johns.

Rach has shot to rural romance writing superstardom thanks to her brilliant books Jilted and Man Drought, and now she has a new one out. Outback Dreams is the first in a loosely related trilogy set in Bunyip Bay and believe me, it’s a cracker.  Plus it has a bonus rural hunk on the cover. Should be more of it!

 

OUTBACK DREAMS

 

Outback Dreams by Rachael JohnsFaith and Monty are both looking for love…but they’re looking in the wrong direction.

Faith Forrester is at a crossroads. Single, thirty and living on a farm in a small Western Australian town, she’s sick of being treated like a kitchen slave by her brother and father. Ten years ago, her mother died of breast cancer, and Faith has been treading water ever since. She wants to get her hands dirty on the family farm. She wants to prove to herself that she’s done something worthwhile with her life. And she wants to find a man…??

For as long as he can remember, Daniel ‘Monty’ Montgomery has been Faith’s best friend. When he was ten, his parents sold the family property and moved to Perth, and ever since, Monty’s dreamed of having his own farm. So for the last ten years, he’s been back on the land, working odd jobs and saving every dollar to put toward his dream. Now he finally has the deposit. But there’s still something missing…??

So when Faith embarks on a mission to raise money for a charity close to her heart, and Monty’s dream property comes on the market, things seem like they are falling into place for them both. Until a drunken night out ends with them sleeping together. Suddenly, the best friends are faced with a new load of challenges…

Monty and Faith are both ready to find a life partner and settle down, but have they both been looking in all the wrong places?

 

Don’t you just LOVE a friends to lovers story? You can own your copy now with just a couple of clicks. Visit that most excellent Platinum ARRC sponsor Booktopia and buy away or try your local bookseller or chain store. You can also purchase Outback Dreams from Kobo. Amazon (for Kindle), Google Play, JB Hi-Fi and iTunes.

Done? Excellent. Now get ready for some crunchy fun with Rachael.

 

DREAMY DELIGHTS

 

It’s so great to be back on my fab friend Cathryn’s AWESOME Friday Feast. I do feel like a bit of a fraud compared to some of the authors who come on here and offer really complicated gourmet recipes. I’m a simple girl at heart and lately that’s been transferring to my cooking. In fact, if I can get away with NOT cooking, I will. Maybe that’s cos my fussy kids have taken the joy out of it, but there is ONE thing I do enjoy doing in the kitchen and that is BAKING cookies and cakes!

Like Faith, the heroine of my latest release, OUTBACK DREAMS, I am a comfort baker. If I’m in a bad mood or sad about something, there is nothing that can fix my emotions faster or better than baking a cake. In OUTBACK DREAMS Faith has a LOT to get grumpy about – mostly men, aren’t they always the problem? – and she does a LOT of baking. There are references to a number of slices, cakes and biscuits throughout the book but one thing that really gets the hero’s heart racing is her famous Custard and White Chocolate Cookies.

OUTBACK DREAMS excerpt:

‘Damn straight,’ he replied, trying to ignore his body’s reaction to yet another physical interaction, which was all about her.

Come on, she barely touched you.

‘Anyway, right now my stomach is crying neglect. Do you have any of your famous custard and white choc-chip cookies in that esky?’

‘I can’t believe you’re hungry already. We’ve barely been on the road half an hour.’ But she was already unclicking her seatbelt. ‘Pull over.’

While Faith retrieved the snacks, Monty drummed his fingers on the steering wheel and brainstormed safe topics of conversation. He’d never had to think about such things with Faith before; come to think of it, he’d never had to with any woman.

She returned moments later with a large Tupperware container and as she peeled back the lid, the familiar aroma filled the cab.

‘Here you go.’ She handed him a cookie and he took the first bite before pulling out onto the road. After he’d finished the mouthful, he said, ‘How are the catering plans coming along for the ball?’

He heard the roll of her eyes in her response. ‘The catering plans?’ She laughed. ‘It’s not all about the food you know.

 

So, today, I’d like to share with you Faith’s incredibly easy but amazingly tasty recipe. The dough and the finished product are of equal brilliance and one batch will never be enough.

FAITH’S CUSTARD AND WHITE CHOCOLATE COOKIES

 Custard and White Chocolate Cookies

Ingredients:

140g butter, softened

175g caster sugar

1 egg

½ tsp vanilla extract

225g self-raising flour

85g custard powder

85g white choc-chips

Method:

Heat oven to 180C/160C fan. Line two baking trays with baking paper.

  1. Cream the butter and sugar in a bowel until light and fluffy – I use an electric mixer, cos who wants wooden spoon hand sprain?
  2. Add the lightly whisked egg and vanilla and mix well.
  3. Sift in the flour and custard powder and mix until a dough is formed.
  4. Throw in the choc chips and worked together by hand.
  5. Form the dough into small balls, place them on the baking tray and then press down lightly. Be sure to leave a gap because they grow J
  6. Bake for 10-15 mins until golden. Remove and cool on a wire rack.
  7. Try not to scoff the whole batch in one go!

I hope some of you will have a go at this splendidly easy and delicious recipe!! In the meantime, do tell me what YOUR favourite cookie is!

 

Thanks, Rach. Those biscuits (sorry, the Aussie snob in me can’t bring myself to call them cookies) sound completely delish. Just imagine, if I stuffed them with red Smarties, they’d be celebratory Sydney Swans biccies!

Now listen-up, Feasters. Because Rachael is kind and generous and lovely, she’s offering a print copy of Outback Dreams to one lucky commenter. All you have to do is share your favourite biscuit and we’ll put you in the draw.

Maybe you’re an ANZAC biscuit fiend. Perhaps Tim-Tams are your go. Or maybe you’re a secret Iced Vo-Vo connoisseur.  Simply share your biccie (or cookie!) love and you could win.

But get in fast. Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday, 1st October 2013 AEST. Open to Australian postal addresses only.

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