Tag Archives: Jenn J McLeod

FRIDAY FEAST with Jenn J McLeod

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Welcome, food and book lovers, to another scintillating edition of Friday Feast. This week we’re getting seasonal with a rural romance author keen to tempt your tastebuds with comfort food, plus your chance to win a 3-book-pack giveaway!

But first, the ongoing curse that is Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. You may recall how last week I had a return to form. Well, that didn’t last long. My round began sort of okay but steadily descended into something akin to golf hell thanks to some ordinary irons and idiot putting, which was annoying because I’d woken feeling pretty positive. Then the sky began to darken  Author Jenn J McLeodand yet another storm began to brew, and once that happened I was shot. If there’s one thing that gives me nervous turns, it’s waving a bunch of lightning rods around in bad weather. And to top off a most forgetful day, we were hammered by hailstones on the way home. Naturally, none of this will stop me heading out for another hit this week, although I’m stuffed if I know why!

Our guest today is Jenn J McLeod whose first novel, A House For All Seasons, was in the top ten debut releases for 2013. Since then she’s followed her success with Simmering Season and now Season of Shadow and Light. Book bloggers 1 Girl, 2 Many Books and Write Note Reviews describe it as her best yet.

Check it out.

SEASON OF SHADOW AND LIGHT

Season of Shadow and Light by Jenn J McLeodSometime this season…

The secret keeper must tell.

The betrayed must trust.

The hurt must heal.

When it seems everything Paige trusts is beginning to betray her, she leaves her husband at home and sets off on a road trip with six year old Matilda, and Nana Alice in tow.

But stranded amid rising floodwaters, on a detour to the tiny town of Coolabah Tree Gully, Paige discovers the greatest betrayal of all happened there twenty years earlier.

Someone knows that truth can wash away the darkest shadows, but…

Are some secrets best kept for the sake of others?

Jenn has this to add about Season of Shadow and Light: With early reader reviews already in, I am super excited about this story of secrets and love, of family loyalty, and of trust—the kind that takes years to build but only seconds to wash away.

Season of Shadow and Light releases today which means you can order it right now from that most excellent of book stores Booktopia. Also Bookworld, Angus & Robertson, Abbeys Bookshop, Boomerang Books, QBD the Bookshop, Amazon.au, Kobo, iBooksGoogle Play and JB Hi-Fi.

Here’s Jenn!

Suddenly Sous-Vide

You said you want a dish, Cathryn? I’m bringing you and your readers the best dish—eva! His name is Aiden and I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed bringing him to life in my latest novel, Season of Shadow and Light, which officially releases today!

I guess you could call Aiden Paige’s love interest in the story, and although far from Mr Perfect, the thing I loved most about Aiden was creating the perfect chef. (Can’t say I met many of those in my time as a café owner!) As Paige says at one point . . . (here’s is a tiny excerpt about a tiff)

Most chefs she’d known were highly- strung, with short fuses.

‘You know what?’ she fired back, fully prepared to tell this guy where to shove his platters, only to see a smile creep across Aiden’s face.

So totally unexpected—so absolutely gorgeous—her brain felt suddenly sous-vide, with every expletive instantly and silently sucked out, the bag then sealed tight. Although why she worried about offending this guy, she didn’t know. So far she’d witnessed him cursing into his mobile, throwing phones, happy to leave cows stranded, issuing orders and generally being a prattish, mulish, moronic chef. Typical, in other words, and Paige had met very few in the business who weren’t precious. Yes, he’d had cause to hit the roof about traipsing manure through a clean kitchen—any kitchen—minutes before service, but now here he was smiling.

Enjoy that? I suppose you’re expecting I contribute a ‘sous vide something or other’ recipe now. I would, only life these days (on board Barcoola—my caravan) demands less complication, largely due to limited cooking equipment. (Because life’s too short to wash up too many pots.)

But here is one of Aiden’s kiddy creations that Paige’s little daughter, Matilda, pronounces: “macromi sneeze”.  And bonus! This version is low calorie.

Aiden’s Macromi Sneeze!

Jenn J McLeod cooking in her caravan 'Barcoola'2 x cups raw macaroni noodles

1 x 65g pkt of cheese and leek soup mix

2 cups skim milk

1 level tbsp. parmesan cheese

½ cup grated cheese (reduced fat, if you like)

Salt and pepper to taste.

Cook past as directed on the packet.

Rinse well and eave to one side.

Using the same saucepan combine milk and dry soup mix using a whisk.

Bring to boil gently, stirring continuously.

Place noodles in sauce and fold until pasta is well coated.

Variations: add ham or bacon for a calorie hit. Or fresh tomato if you want to be good. Herbs are another nice touch.

 

Mmm. Comfort food, something we adore here on Friday Feast. Thanks for sharing, Jenn. I’m sure you must have some adventures cooking in the confines of the caravan. It’d certainly test me!

GIVEAWAY!

Now, my gorgeous Feasty fans, to celebrate the release of A Season of Shadow and Light, Jenn is running a special three-book giveaway across all the blogs she’s touring. To be in the running to win a pack containing all three of Jenn’s releases – that’s A House For All Seasons, Simmering Season, and A Season of Shadow and Light – simply leave a comment below revealing what your favourite camping food is.

I bags barbecued snags! But maybe you love bush damper while camping, or grilled steaks. How about a yabbie or two, or maybe potatoes baked in hot coals and then smothered in butter?

Simply share your favourite camping food and you’ll be included in the draw. This is a serious prize, so get typing!

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Please note: Giveaway will be drawn by Jenn from all comments left during her blog tour, and announced on her website at the end of May 2015. Australian postal addresses only.

If you’d like to learn more about Jenn J McLeod and her books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook and Twitter using @jennjmcleod.

Rural Romance Book Heaven Could Be Yours!

How would you like the chance to win a Valentine’s bouquet that lasts forever? Well, perhaps not forever, but a bloody long time.

Then you need the…

AustralianRuralRomance.com

Valentine’s Day Giveaway!

There are 6 book bouquets – yes, SIX! – up for grabs, with each bunch containing 5 of the best from our Australian rural romance stars. We’re talking the likes of Rachael Johns, Fiona Palmer, Loretta Hill, Helene Young, Tricia Stringer, Barbara Hannay, Fleur McDonald, Fiona McArthur, Jenn J McLeod, Mandy Magro, Margareta Osborn, Bronwyn Parry, Jennifer Scoullar and many more. And all you have to do to be in the draw is sign up to the australianruralromance.com blog. Easy-peasy.

Lucky me is in two book bouquets, one featuring a signed copy of Promises, the other a copy of Heart of the Valley. Check out the amazing company I’m in…

Australian rural romance book bouquet with Promises

 

Australian rural romance book bouquet with Heart of the Valley

And there are another four fabulous book bouquets up for grabs. Wow!

So either click on one of the images above or hit australianruralromance.com to lodge your entry.

This is a fantastic opportunity to score books from some of Australia’s most popular writers, for yourself or to share. Don’t miss out!

Winners will be drawn on February 14th. Australian postal addresses only.

 

NIGHTS IN WHITE SATIN: Rural Romance Authors Come Out!

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And come out we did, but perhaps not in the way you’re thinking…

A few weeks ago I posted an update to Facebook where I mentioned that my gorgeous niece About to make my debut at the 1985 Highland Debutante Ball in Mount Gambierwould be making her debut soon. With it I attached of photo of me on my big day and asked if anyone else had made their debut. The update was hugely popular, with readers posting photos and stories from their own debutante balls.

Which then caused fellow rural romance author Karly Lane to state what a cool blog post this would make. I then emailed a heap of rural romance authors, asking who had made their debut and would be willing to go public with memories and photographs. Karly, Jenn J McLeod and Tricia Stringer answered the call. Margareta Osborn did too, but sadly her photos have gone walkabout.

Now, in case you haven’t the faintest idea what a debutante ball is, let me explain…

It’s an old-fashioned event, dating from the times when young, usually aristocratic ladies “came out” to society. In other words, they were fair game for marriage. Modern Australian debutante balls are rather more egalitarian and, I suspect, a lot more fun. They’re group affairs, where everyone frocks-up, gets presented to a local VIP, has a bit of a dance, and mums ‘n dads and family and friends all stand around with their chests puffed out.

As for what they mean… I don’t know. I suspect the event’s paternalistic symbolism has long passed – certainly it had for me! – and now coming out as a debutante holds no more meaning than a first school formal. What it is though, for those that did it, is a wonderful night, forever cemented in memory.

So here we are, in all our white-frocked, innocent glory. Enjoy!

CATHRYN HEIN

Portrait - croppedI made my debut in 1985 at the Mount Gambier Highland Debutante Ball, coming out to the mayor Mr McDonnell and member for Mount Gambier, Harold Alison, with my partner David Earl (who I had a SHOCKING crush on – oh, the agony!).

It was fabulous, teenage crush agony and all! Being 1985, everything Lady Di was the rage and I wore a suitably puffy, blindingly white dress made my by clever Auntie Merna. Because it was the Highland Ball, we wore sashes. Mine was dress Stewart tartan held in place with a silver and topaz brooch, both of which were Mum’s. I think from when she played bagpipes in the Blue Lake pipe band and which I also think she wore at her debut. It’s terrible that I can’t recall. Sadly, neither can Mum now with Alzheimer’s having stolen her memories.

There were fifteen in my debut group, many school mates and good friends, and deb chatter kept us occupied for weeks. As did rehearsals. I can’t remember how long they went for but it was at least a few months. You, and your partner, had to be dedicated to do the ball.

Dancing at my debut

It’s a while ago, but I was sick with nerves, terrified I’d trip over or wobble on my curtsey or completely forget how to dance the Pride of Erin. But it all went smoothly and everyone had a ball.

It was the best fun, worth all the rehearsals and frock worries. I felt like a princess!

KARLY LANE

How to bring a halt to a productive writing day! There I was madly writing, ok so I took a small break and went on Facebook…anyway, it was there that I came across Cathryn’s debut post and when I answered the call for fellow debutantes to raise their hands, I ended up getting side-tracked while going through old photo albums to find some happy snaps of my Karly Lane in her debut dressown big night.

I have to admit, I was not that keen on making my debut initially, despite the fact I’d grown up hearing about my mother’s debut, where, as the story goes, she and her best friend poured through the school year book to pick out who they were going to ask to partner them, kinda like ordering from a catalogue! The boy she chose, initially turned her down, and then when he told his mother he’d been asked to partner someone in the debut, his mother MADE HIM go back and accept! That boy turned out to be the man who became my dad! So I always knew it was a big deal for my mum, but I was surprised to discover that it was also a huge deal amongst my class mates in Parkes, where I went to high school, located in central west NSW. In fact, it turned out to be a really big deal. My grandparents even travelled out to Parkes to be there, as well as other family so I was feeling pretty special on the big night.

I do remember that choosing the dress was quite stressful… all the tantrums, tears and pouting…and that was just from my mother! However, we all somehow managed to survive and I ended up with a gorgeous dress.

Karly adjustedBut now, as a mother of teenagers, I do think back and feel a bit bad. I can’t remember how long we had to practice for, it felt like months. Every week we’d turn up to the local leagues club and head upstairs to get ordered around the room by a pair of cranky old ducks, (I said I felt bad about it now!)  These poor women selflessly sacrificed their time year after year to create these elaborate events, putting up with a bunch of whiny, hormonal teenagers who I’m sure tested their patience to the limit ninety-nine percent of the time. And yet, they somehow managed to turn all those sullen, uncoordinated teens into the epitome of grace and elegance. To those women, I’m really sorry for any eye rolling I may or may not have done at rehearsal.

Looking back, I realise I didn’t appreciate the tradition and history behind the event at the time, but I’m very glad that I did it just the same.

Poppys Dilemma - tinyKarly’s latest rural story is Poppy’s Dilemma, available right now from your favourite bookstore. For instant book gratification, try Booktopia, Bookworld, Amazon, Google PlayiBooks, JB Hi-Fi and Kobo.

JENN J McLEOD

The Accidental Debutante

jenn collage

Presentation of Debutantes

at

Police Commissioner’s Ball 1976

to

His Excellency the Governor of NSW

Sir Roden Cutler.

I think I was supposed to be 18 but… they were a girl short and I was tall and because Dad (as a member of the Police Band) was the pianist, I stepped in at the last minute.

The trouble was, however, at 16 I was so tall they needed to source an extra tall trainee constable to be my partner.

In final rehearsals we were all told not to put too much pressure on Sir Roden’s hand in case we toppled him on his wooden leg! That put the fear of God into me, so it was a very wonky five-second curtsey while he spoke to me about my dad and what a very good musician he was.

Proud daughter, proud dad that night. (And Mum looking very Harlequin in that dress!)

Debut mum and dad - adjusted

Simmering Season cover - tinyThe second in Jenn’s Seasons Collection, Simmering Season, is out now. Grab your copy from Booktopia, Bookworld, Amazon, Google Play. iBooks, JB Hi-Fi and Kobo.

TRICIA STRINGER

Deb Ball Tumby Bay 1973

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Mum made my beautiful dress which I loved. Went to hair dresser for the bouffy hair do. At the time I felt very grown up. I was away at boarding school so didn’t get to attend many practices.

tricia collageOn the night we were all so nervous, would we trip coming down the stairs, would we fall on our face making the curtsy? We bumbled around the floor doing the Queen’s Waltz – an elegant dance that we didn’t do justice to. My partner, Daryl was the love of my life, still is, we’ve been together ever since.

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right-as-rain - tinyTricia’s most recent release is the rural romance, Right As Rain. Available right now from your favourite bookseller, or online via Booktopia, Amazon, Google PlayiBooks, JB Hi-FiKobo or direct from the publisher, Harlequin.

 

I hope you enjoyed this frocked-up trip down memory lane. We sure did!

And we’d also love to hear your debutante ball memories. Please feel free to share along with us.

 

FRIDAY FEAST with Jenn J McLeod

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Yes, my lovelies, it’s Friday Feast time again. And what a scrumptious guest we have lined up.

But first, the update you hanker for every week, and is still going because my darling Sydney Swans lost again and I’m sulking: Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf.

Last weekend I had one of those frustrating rounds where I didn’t play that badly but couldn’t score (hmm, could be a nightclub analogy here somewhere – I didn’t discobop that badly but…). Even a ball sacrificed to the water gods on the 9th failed. The round was at least free of crow thievery, so perhaps that worked on some level. Maybe this week my luck will change. It had better for my footy team…

Now, to our most excellent guest.Author Jenn J McLeod

Come home to the country is Jenn J McLeod’s tag for her books and take you to the country she does. Her debut novel, House for all Seasons, was an instant success, garnering terrific reviews and sales, and leaving readers eagerly awaiting her next. Well, it’s arrived. Simmering Season is now in the shelves and wowing readers.

Take a look…

SIMMERING SEASON

Cover of Simmering Season

Back in Calingarry Crossing to sell the family pub, Maggie Lindeman has no idea a perfect storm is heading her way until her past and present collide with the unexpected.

Maggie once had a crush on Dan Ireland, now a work-weary police crash investigator, still hell-bent on punishing himself for his misspent youth. Dan has ample reason for not going home to Calingarry Crossing for the school reunion, but one very good reason why he should.

Maggie is dealing with a restless seventeen-year-old son, a father with dementia, a fame-obsessed musician husband, a dwindling bank account and a country pub that just won’t sell.

The last thing she needs is a surprise houseguest for the summer. Fiona Bailey-Blair, daughter of an old friend and spoilt with everything but the truth, whips up a maelstroml of gossip when she blows into town.

This storm season, when a school reunion brings home more than memories, Maggie Lindeman will discover  …  there’s no keeping a lid on some secrets.

 

Ooh, a book with secrets. Makes me all squirmy just thinking about it. You can own a copy today with just a few clicks. For the paperback, try the good people at Booktopia. There’s also Bookworld, QBD The Bookshop, Boomerang Books, Dymocks, Angus & Robertson, your local independent book shop or chain store. Ebook lovers, try Amazon, Kobo, Google Play, iBooks or your favourite ebook retailer.

Now that you’re all booked up, here’s Jenn!

What’s Jenn J McLeod got Simmering?

I can’t believe it’s almost one year, to the day, that I was here on Friday Feast talking about my two-book deal with Simon & Schuster. A lot has happened in twelve months – both highs and lows. The highest of highs was signing a contract for books 3 and 4 in my Seasons Collection. So, I have been busy.

Today you’ve asked me to feature something foody from book two. Easy! I’ve actually managed to stir three passions into the Simmering Season pot: writing, food and music )yes, I’ve written a song!)

Readers will return to Calingarry Crossing for a school reunion that brings home more than memories for the local publican. Maggie Lindeman has no idea the perfect storm is headed her way or that it will blows the lid off a lifetime of secrets when the past and present collide with the unexpected. Will is still in the café and cheeky as ever and Maggie has a barmaid-cum-cook (Ethne) a British backpacker from the seventies who refused to go back! I love Ethne’s attitude to life, her jokes and her weekend specials. And so …

My recipe today is one of Ethne’s.

This dressing really is so simple and versatile – requiring no cooking, no stove, no simmering! It will also store in a squeezy bottle in the fridge for ages – weeks or more if you treat it well (no cross contamination). Fabulous with chicken, salmon, pork, lamb, fetta, mixed with yoghurt as a yummy dip!

Coriander, honey, mustard dressing

In a whizzer/food processor (Ethne uses a magic bullet) …

One bunch of coriander

A generous glug of olive or vegetable oil

A good dollop of grainy or Dijon mustard

Cracked pepper to taste (also add garlic, lemon juice, honey and a smidge of sweet chilli sauce.)

Whiz it all up together and try it. If you like it – stop! If it’s too thick, add a bit more olive oil to get the pouring/squeezing consistency you want.

Here’s the dressing in action – with mango

Chicken and mango salad

(We had such a bumper crop of mangoes this season. Did you know the garbage truck cannot lift more than 70 kilos? I do now, because the garbo refused to empty my bin of possum-munched mangoes until I emptied some out. Needless to say, it has been mango EVERYTHING for months and I really am mangoed out!)

Moroccan chicken with mango and
a coriander, honey, mustard dressed salad

Ingredients/method:

Basically, make your favourite salad in a bowl. (Lettuce, tomato, cucumber, red onion.)

Sprinkle chicken breast with Moroccan spice seasoning (Masterfoods style) and pan cook.

Add dressing to the salad, toss, mound in the centre of the plate.

Once chicken is cooked, slice, present, and add diced mango, toasted almond flakes and drizzle more dressing – to taste.

That’s it!

 

Too easy, Jenn! Not to mention delicious. Spicy anything and mango is a combination made in tastebud heaven, and that dressing sounds beautiful. Definitely one I’ll be trying.

Now, my tasty little Feasters, we have a giveaway!

What is your favourite season produce? Share and you’ll go into the draw to win a signed copy of Jenn J McLeod’s Simmering Season.

That’s easy-peasy for me. The season may be over now (sob!) but I LIVE for cherries. I’m like a bear readying for hibernation with those babies and can’t stuff enough in my mouth, delicious little balls of sweet fruity goodness that they are. But what about you? Do you salivate over the thought of new season apples? Maybe you can’t wait for the Southern rock lobster season. Perhaps it’s spring lamb you dream about. Share, and you’ll go into the draw.

Giveaway closes midnight AEST, Tuesday 8th April 2014. Australian postal addresses only.

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

This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Kirrily who has won a copy of Jenn’s wonderful Simmering Season. Some great Easter reading coming up! Thanks to everyone who joined in. I hope you had as much fun as we did.

Want to take more of a peek at Simmering Season? Check out Jenn’s book trailer:

Hot News & Events!

Keep your eyes out for some fantastic events happening now and soon…

Heartland Review Fun

A wonderful review of my latest rural romance Heartland on the Australian Romance Readers Association blog.

“I’m missing the people in this story. I didn’t realise until I read the last page and shut the book. When I walked away, from it, I realised I felt bereft.” Rosalie for the ARRA blog.

Isn’t that a lovely thing to say? I’m so delighted.

If you’re an ARRA member, leave a comment and you’ll go into the draw to win a copy of Heartland. Giveaway closes 17th July.

You can read more about Heartland, including an excerpt and the story of how the book came into being, on my website.

 

Booktopia’s Australian Romance Month, Featuring Fabulous Giveaways

Join most excellent Australian online bookseller Booktopia for their Australian Romance month, where I, and a fine line-up of Australian romance authors, will be entertaining you with our witty answers to questions like: Who do you swoon over? and Tell us something very few people know about you, and the ever so tricky, Finish this sentence: I would do anything for love, but I won’t do  ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­____

Newsletter_Banner(1)

You can read my answers to those questions and more on July 12th.

There are plenty of other rural-set fiction authors joining me across the month, including Rachael Johns, Fiona Palmer, Rachael Treasure, Barbara Hannay, Jennifer Scoullar, Loretta Hill, Mandy Magro, Bronwyn Parry, Margareta Osborn, Helene Young, Nicole Alexander, Jenn J McLeod and others!

Plus all month there’ll be competitions to win great books, and if you order an Aussie Romance Author book from Booktopia in July, you’ll go into the draw to win a fantastic book pack. For more details, click on the banner above or visit Booktopia.

 

Romance Writers of Australia Conference, August 16th-18th 2013

It’s only 6 weeks until the RWA Conference in Fremantle, W.A. and I can’t wait. This is THE event of the year for romance authors, published and aspiring. A chance to catch up with old friends and make new ones, plus learn more about our business and craft. There are also opportunities for authors to pitch their work to leading Australian and international editors and agents.

I have a great deal to thank the RWA for and can’t recommend the organisation and its conference highly enough.

For more information on the RWA and the conference, visit the website.

 

Australian Romance Readers Association Booksigning Event, Saturday 17th August 2013

I’m signing and so are 55 others local and international authors. These events are a hoot! Register now at the ARRA blog.

BSE3 I'll be signing 500

 

 

J’aimee Brooker’s Spotlight On Aussie Rural Novelists

Last week I answered a series of fun questions on contemporary romance author J’aimee Brooker’s blog as part of her week-long spotlight on Aussie Rural Novelists. Find out the one author I’d spend my last $20 on, who I’d be if I was a character from a novel and more!

Also featured were Rachael Johns, Karly Lane, and Jennie Jones. Check it out!

 

HEARTLAND RELEASE DAY!

It’s here! And I came very, very close to popping the champagne before 8am this morning. Why? Because Heartland received the most gobsmacking review from Bree, at 1 Girl, 2 Many Books.

This is just a little of what she had to say…

“It’s easy to overhype books in your mind sometimes, which can lead to them not living up to expectation. That was definitely not the case with this one – it was everything I thought it would be and more. It’s a beautiful story of finding courage to be happy and letting go of the past but without forgetting it. Callie had such a touching vulnerability and Matt such a gentle strength but that didn’t stop it from being plenty saucy either! Another fabulous rural romance release that just proves why this genre continues to grow in popularity.”

9/10

Isn’t that the loveliest thing? Read Bree’s full review of Heartland here.

But wait, there’s more! Bree also has an in-depth Q&A with me, covering everything from how I choose my settings, to my love for the Sydney Swans, to what was the most difficult part of Heartland to write. Plus a teensy bit about my next book. Check it out!

Also around the net, I’m on the Australian Romance Readers Association’s blog, talking about what made Heartland special to write. All ARRA members who comment will go into the draw to win a copy.

Tomorrow, ANZAC Day, I’m at Book Muster Down Under with an author Q&A (including some seriously tricky questions) and with THREE copies of Heartland up for grabs courtesy of my publisher, Penguin Australia.

Friday will see me flopping about with exhaustion… or perhaps not. No rest for the bookish! I’m hosting myself here on Friday Feast and revealing some of the onerous research I had to undertake for Heartland. I’m talking winery visiting onerous. Terrible, but we authors are selfless creatures and don’t mind suffering for our craft. Oh, and there’ll be a Heartland giveaway too. But you’ll have to work for it with a wine-y story!

Also on Friday, I’ll be at Jenn J McLeod’s Author Harvest, discussing garden gnomes, what my protagonists think about me, and the current lust of my life, Inspector Davide Rivera from Rex in Rome…among other equally serious and important things!

Then on Sunday, 28th April, it’s back to ARRA for a guest post titled The Heart of Rural Romance. Find out what makes this genre so great.

Oh, and before I go, three things.

1/. Heartland is in this week’s BigW catalogue. Wheeeeee!

2/. The ebook price promo will run out soon. Get in quick if you want to score Heartland at a discount. Try Amazon (Kindle), Kobo, Google Play or iTunes. There’s also special pricing for Heart of the Valley and Promises.

3/. My Goodreads giveaway closes May 1st. Simply visit Heartland’s page and clickety-click the Enter to Win button.

To finish off , thank you to everyone for your amazing support. I’ve been overwhelmed with congratulations this morning and made to feel really special. I can’t express how much that means to me.

Nearly forgot! I have another Heartland quote for you.

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Mustn’t let all my photo fiddling go to waste!

 

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.