Tag Archives: Dymocks

FRIDAY FEAST with Jenn J McLeod

You know, there’s something thrilling about seeing another author succeed, especially when you know how hard they’ve worked to achieve their goals. I was so delighted when Jenn J McLeod announced that she’d been contracted by Simon and Schuster Australia, and even more excited to discover her debut novel, House For All Seasons, is the Dymocks Pick of the Month in the March issue of the Australian Women’s Weekly. Now how’s that for praise!

And well deserved too from the rave reviews that keep appearing. Here’s a few examples:

From the inside out, this book is beautiful. A story that sweeps you in and holds you there. There’s a little bit of magic in this one. Bree ~ 1girl2manybooks

This book is a must read and is the first on my top ten books list of 2013. I cannot say enough good things about this book, I highly recommend it as a must-add to your personal library. Jennie ~ Daystarz’s Books

Impressive, huh? Now take a closer look…

 

HOUSE FOR ALL SEASONS

 

HFAS front cover working

Four women,

Four lives unravelled.

The truth will bind them forever.

Bequeathed a century-old house, four estranged friends return to their New South Wales hometown, Calingarry Crossing, where each must stay a season at the Dandelion House to fulfil the wishes of their benefactor, Gypsy.

But coming home to the country stirs shameful memories of the past, including the tragic end-of-school muck up day accident twenty years earlier.

 

Poppy, a tough, ambitions journo still craving her father’s approval;

Sara, a breast cancer survivor afraid to fall in love;

Amber, a spoilt socialite addicted to painkillers and cosmetic procedures;

Caitlin, a third generation doctor frustrated by a controlling family and her flat-lining life.

 At the Dandelion House, the women will discover something about themselves and a secret that ties all four to each other and to the house – forever.

 

Oooh, intriguing! Nothing like a juicy secret to keep you turning those pages and you can own your own copy right now by clickety-clicking on over to Booktopia (a bookseller I am feeling the luuuuurve for after their sponsorship of ARRC2013). Or try Dymocks or QBD The Bookshop. If ebooks are your thing, then try the Kobo store (which I also luuuurve thanks to Kobo’s ARRC 2013 cocktail party and multiple ereader giveaways), Amazon Kindle or Apple’s iTunes store.

Now that you’re all stocked up, please welcome Jenn!

 

Come home to Jenn J McLeod’s Friday Feast

 

Cathryn, your publishing journey inspired me to keep trying. I remember the day you announced online your two-book deal with Penguin. Having submitted a novel myself I was certain I’d be taking this journey with you. But my big announcement would be another twelve months away – also a two-book deal – with the amazing Simon & Schuster.

So now I’m here, right where I want to be, with my debut novel on the shelves and joining you on a Friday Feast. Life’s good. But life’s even better with good food, so let’s talk about that.

Being part of your Friday Feast I can’t help but smile as it combines my two greatest passions—writing and food; I’ve been lucky enough to make a business out of them both.Chicken Asian Salad

I’m so passionate about food I walked away from a well-paid corporate job in Sydney to swap city chaos for a new life in the country as owner of a small café. (I mean, let’s face it, I’d drunk loads of coffee throughout my career. How hard could making one be?)

My tree-change was like coming home. Coming home to the country is also the theme of my Australian small town stories and House For All Seasons is the first of two set in the fictional town of Calingarry Crossing.

House For All Seasons is a story about small-town life, family relationships and country roots that run deep. And yes there’s a cafe in it, even though I have since sold my cafe to focus on my new career as published author *big grin*. I instead spend my days writing contemporary women’s fiction and running Wagtail Cottage— a dog-friendly B&B we purpose-built for people who travel with their pets.

Salmon fillet w cous cousWhile I initially enjoyed the café business, it has ruined eating out for me. (I can’t help but size up a meal when it’s delivered, knowing the cost of producing the dish was a fraction of what you’re paying by a none-too-happy waiter usually.)

On the positive side, having learned so much about cooking I can satisfy my passion for food preparation by providing healthy (garden fresh where possible) evening meals to our B&B guests. Meals such as:

BBQ chicken with Asian-inspired noodle salad

Char-grilled Atlanic salmon fillet on Moroccan-spiced cous cous w/ homemade mango chutney, minted yoghurt and a warm fetta, pistachio & bean salad

But my Friday Feast offering is from our breakfast basket which we stock with homemade jams and goodies including…

 

Jenn’s Home-Made Muesli

Brekkie!

Food for me these days is healthy, fresh and homemade. This recipe is so simple you’ll never buy highly sugared/salted, packet muesli again.

I make a big batch (you might like to halve it, but it does last for ages – I store it in a big ice cream container) as it’s more economical to use both shelves in the oven. So if you have two good-sized roasting trays, use the following big batch quantities:

Ingredients:

500 gram pkt of rolled oats, coconut (long thread is best), sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, canola/vege oil, honey, hot water. After cooking add sultanas and toasted almond flakes (optional).

Preparation:

Preheat oven at 150 degrees

Boil the kettle

Spray two good-size roasting dishes with spray oil (to minimise sticking.)

Method:

Spread the 500 gram pkt of rolled oats over the two sprayed pans.

Add 1½ cups of coconut

1 cup sunflower seeds

¼  cup sesame seeds

Mix well then:

Pour (drizzle) ½ cup of oil

½ cup honey

½ cup of boiling water. Add water slowly, mixing all ingredients. (The hot water will soften the honey to make blending easier.)

Bake:

Place the roasting pans in the oven and SET THE TIMER for 10 mins.

Check/stir mixture every ten minutes until the entire contents is a golden colour and dry. Depending on your oven it could take about an hour.

(And don’t do what I do; get so caught up in writing you don’t hear the oven timer!!!!!)

Tips:

Set a timer for each ten minutes rather than rely on your memory.

Once the cooking is complete, stir immediately to both cool and lift baked bits off the pan. (Makes for easier cleaning.)

You can also toast flaked almonds (separately as they don’t take long) and add with your choice of dried fruit. (I use sultanas.)

 

Oh yum! That sounds delicious, Jenn. Actually your Wagtail Cottage sounds gorgeous and one of these days I plan to visit it in person.

So, my lovely Feasters, what’s your favourite breakfast? Are you a healthy muesli sort or completely naughty and skip it all together? I’m a Vita Brits girl, except on weekends before golf, then it’s a big cooked brekky courtesy of the man of the house. He does a fiiine job too.

If you’d like to learn more about Jenn and House For All Seasons, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook and Twitter.

 

FRIDAY FEAST with Loretta Hill

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Oh, I do adore Friday Feast. Sometimes it’s like owning a bookshop with a bakery and café attached. All those great stories! All that delicious food! Hmm, maybe I should hunt down a wine writer so we can make this place trulyauthor pic perfect…

Speaking of perfect (sigh, love a good segue nearly as much as the Feast itself), today I welcome  back a wonderful Australian author who’s had the perfect start to her writing career. Not only was Loretta Hill’s debut novel, The Girl In Steel-Capped Boots, a rip-roaring chart-busting success, so is her second novel, The Girl In The Hard Hat, which released last month. No wonder given these rave quotes:

This is the sort of book that I would recommend to everyone I know, especially if they liked The Girl In Steel-Capped Boots. And if you haven’t read that one then… you definitely need to! Bree at One Girl… 2 many books!

Well written, witty and entertaining, The Girl in The Hard Hat is an engaging contemporary romance in an unique Australian setting that I can’t wait to visit again. Shellyrae at Book’d Out

Check it out.

 

THE GIRL IN THE HARD HAT

 

HardHat cover finalTo tame a bad boy you will need:

a.      One hard hat

b.      Three hundred and fifty sulky FIFO workers

c.       A tropical cyclone

Wendy Hopkins arrives in the Pilbara to search for the father who abandoned her at birth.

Getting mixed up in construction site politics at the Iron Ore wharf just out of town was not high on her ‘to do’ list.

But when she takes a job as their new Safety Manager she becomes the most hated person in the area. Nicknamed ‘The Sergeant’, she is the butt of every joke and the prime target of notorious womanizer, Gavin Jones.

Giving up is not an option, though.

For, as it turns out, only Wendy can save these workers from the coming storm, find a man who wants to stay buried and … put a bad boy firmly in his place.

From the author of The Girl in Steel-Capped Boots comes another funny and deliciously romantic tale of a woman in a man’s world.


The Girl In The Hard Hat is available now from your local book or chain store. You can also order online from Dymocks, Booktopia and Bookworld, or download the ebook from Kobo, Google Play, Amazon Kindle or iTunes.

Now here’s Loretta!

 

Spoon Lickin’ Good

 

When Cathryn first asked me to write a blog for Friday feast, I knew exactly what I was going to write about, Chocolate Cake! Any time of year, any time of day, chocolate cake is by far my favourite comfort food.  I also have 001four kids. So baking a cake always makes a great activity in which they can get involved.   I measure out all the ingredients and put them on the counter so that they can tip them into a giant mixing bowl. It makes them feel so important – like they’ve really baked this cake all by themselves. After the ingredients are in, they take it in turns stirring – because you know, a good stir is essential to a good cake. But that’s not the best part. The best part is licking the bowl and the spoon afterwards which unfortunately usually doesn’t take nearly long enough.  You see, after that, the questions start.

“Is it ready yet?”

“Can we eat it now?”

“I think it’s cooked mummy!”

Baking in the oven for half an hour is a very difficult concept for a five year old to grasp. Let alone, a three and one year old. My youngest luckily is 3months, so he is content to just watch, gurgle and wave chubby fists.  All the 004same, I hear myself repeating the same phrase over and over, “Not yet. But soon.” Then at last the cake is out and cooling on a rack. They take it in turns sniffing it as if by sucking in the chocolaty steam they can somehow experience coco nirvana.   They’re not half wrong. I say, “Back away everyone.  It needs some time before we can ice it.”  To stall them, I have the ingredients for the icing there so that we can make it. Again using the electric mixer is a very big deal. And when the last spindle has been licked clean the cake looks cool enough to ice. I layer it on with a big plastic spatula. Yumo! The icing is the best part of cake. Thick and buttery. My mouth is watering.  But it’s not my turn yet. I cut all the kids a slice each. We put them on plastic plates and take them outside so they can spill as many crumbs as they like. Michael is asleep now, so he gets wheeled into the bedroom. The other kids park themselves on the garden chairs and don’t move until their faces are covered in chocolate. It’s clean up time. Off to the bathroom to wash up. When they are relatively presentable again and run off to play I creep back to the kitchen and put the kettle on. I then cut myself a very generous slice. With coffee in one hand and cake in the other hand, I shuffle over to my computer. It has been winking at me on the dining table to no avail all afternoon. Hero and heroine have been waiting for their next move. The kids are quietly watching a dvd now. As sweet chocolately goodness infuses my senses, I begin to type.

016

Here’s a great recipe for a very simple but delicious chocolate cake that I make all the time!

Ingredients

Cake

1 cup self raising flour

3 tablespoons cocoa

250g butter

½ cup of caster sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

2 eggs

 

Icing

1 cup of sifted icing sugar

1 teaspoon of sifted cocoa

A tablespoon of milk

2 teaspoons of softened butter

 

Method

  1. Grease and line one 20cm deep cake tin
  2. Combine flour, cocoa, sugar, vanilla essence and melted butter
  3. Add eggs and mix for one minute
  4. Pour into cake tin and cook for 25-35minutes at 160 degrees C
  5. Icing: Mix icing sugar ingredients together and beat with electric mixer to make fluffy.

Tip : Don’t over cook. Test often with a knife after 25 mins

Ahh, Loretta, you have no idea how tempted I am to dash from the calorific desert that is my office to the kitchen and start baking. As you so perfectly describe, there’s nothing like a chocolate hit to fire up the muse. Thanks so much. These tried and true Friday Feast recipes are like having a precious family cookbook on hand, except in this case, the ‘book’ is full of others’ favourite recipes and made all the more special for it.

Okay, Feasters, what food fires up your imagination? I’ve considered this deeply and think that perhaps it’s good old Vita Brits (or Fart Bricks as my other half so charmingly calls them). A bit dull I’ll concede, but as that’s my usual breakfast fare and given that after breakfast is when I start writing, there has to be some sort of correlation, surely? Mind you, I do have a habit of succumbing to episodes of mad scribbling after a couple of glasses of red wine too, but that’s another tale…

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

 

This Writing Life: E-book Update

A quick heads-up for e-book readers. My debut rural romance PROMISES is now available on Kindle and from Kobo, Borders and other ebook retailers for $10. Bargain!

Here are the links:

If you have a Kindle, you can buy Promises here. Currently $10-03

If you own a Kobo, Sony or other e-reader that accepts the ePub format then you have a wider choice of stores and the book is slightly cheaper at $9-99.

Kobo

Booktopia

Borders.com.au

Angus & Roberstson

Dymocks

 

HEART OF THE VALLEY is also available as an ebook from the same retailers for around $19-99