Tag Archives: Kaz Delaney

THIS WRITING LIFE: Riding a Post RWA Conference High!

I’m home and back on the writing job after a week away in Western Australia at the 2013 Romance Writers of Australia Riding the Waves conference. What a ball was had! Romance writers are the kindest, friendliest and most generous people out there which makes conferences a hoot. They’re also hugely inspirational, loaded with wonderful craft and business information, and a fantastic way to connect with people who understand exactly how crazy this writing affliction can be. I always return from conferences more than a little bit excited and ready for action, which is just as well considering I have edits coming and a new book to write. This lark can’t all be flitting around Australia, hanging with glamorous authors…

I had hoped to share a pile of glossy, vibrant photos with you, but some numpty managed to upset the camera settings and half of them came out blurred. Sigh. Fortunately a few survived that I can present for your viewing pleasure.

Oh, and so you’re warned, this post is LONG!

Opening night on Thursday was Destiny Romance’s first birthday and, boy, was it loud. Plonk a hundred or so romance writers in a room, feed them cupcakes and bubbly, and you have a racket on your hands. But what a fun night, and what a delight to receive a fabulous Classic Penguin goodie bag at the end of it. Mine contained Anna Cowan’s much lauded Untamed and Peta Crake’s Harbinger, both of which I was thrilled to collect. Afterwards, Destiny Romance and Penguin Australia authors were treated to dinner at a very nice Italian restaurant and more chatter.

Margareta Osborn, me and Kathryn Ledson at the Destiny Party

Margareta Osborn, me and Kathryn Ledson at the Destiny Party

Carol George, Destiny Romance editor, welcoming and thanking everyone, and toasting Destiny's fabulous first year

Carol George, Destiny Romance editor, welcoming and thanking everyone, and toasting Destiny’s fabulous first year

Fab bag and even more fab reads thanks to Destiny Romance and Penguin Australia.

Gorgeous bag and even more gorgeous reads thanks to Destiny Romance and Penguin Australia.

Friday saw dedicated delegates attend either the Venus On The Half Shell workshop presented by Kim Hudson, or the Elizabeth Jolley Conference – Reading and Writing Romance in the 21st Century. Me? I snuck off and played golf at Joondalup Resort. What can I say? A girl has to wear off cupcakes, fizz and spaghetti vongole somehow, and the course was brilliant!

But I was back in time for the all-important Harlequin Nautical or Nice cocktail party. At my first RWA conference, back in 2007(?), hardly anyone dressed up. A feather boa here, a quirky outfit there, but mostly normal cocktail-conference dress. Now everyone’s into it and the atmosphere is fantastically silly.

Rural romance authors Fiona Palmer and Jennifer Scoullar.

Rural romance authors Fiona Palmer and Jennifer Scoullar.

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Ondine series author Ebony McKenna. You can show me to my berth anytime, Ebs!

Paula Roe as the world's most glittery desert island!

Paula Roe as the world’s most glittery desert island!

Rural romance author and good buddy looking super cute in her onesie!

Rural romance author and good buddy Rachael Johns looking super cute in her onesie!

Glam pirate Fiona Palmer

Glam pirate Fiona Palmer

Saturday morning saw the conference proper begin. Julia Quinn’s keynote address of her top 4 list of top 4 lists was wonderful and if there’s one thing I’ll forever remember from Riding the Waves it’s her saying: You will never hurt your career by helping another author. Yeah.

Harlequin’s sponsor address followed with Margaret Marbury (Vice President, Harlequin Single Title – HQN, Mira, Luna) and Sheila Hodgson (Harlequin Mills and Boon, London) talking enthusiastically about eHarlequin, their range of imprints, and what Harlequin can offer authors.

Paths to Third Party Publication saw Abby Zidle (Simon & Schuster, New York), Nina Bruhns (Entangled Publishing), Sheila Hodgson, Bernadette Foley (Hachette Australia), Kate Cuthbert (Escape Publishing), Alisa Krasnostein (Twelfth Planet Press), and moderator Alex Adsett (Alex Adsett Publishing Services) take the stage to discuss how to submit to publishers and what they’re looking for. My impression was that they were all hungry for your work. Really hungry, and throughout the panel I kept thinking what a great time it was to be an author. We are wanted, no longer beholden and we have options. A lot of options.

Shelia Hodgson, Alex Zidle, Nina Bruhns, Alisa Kradnostein, Bernadette Foley and Kate Cuthbert

L to R: Alex Adsett (moderating), Shelia Hodgson, Alex Zidle, Nina Bruhns, Alisa Kradnostein, Bernadette Foley and Kate Cuthbert

Morning tea: bacon and egg muffins and pastries. Enough said!

For my first breakout session I did Nina Bruhns’s session on Save the Cat! which I loved. She talked about the 10 types of movies (fascinating stuff), loglines and why you need them, and Blake Snyder’s Beat Sheets for plotting. Really useful stuff and some of the worksheets are available on Blake’s website under the Tools tab. Quite a few writers I know swear by his Save the Cat! book and after the amount I got out of this session I’ve decided to join the crowd and have just ordered it.

Nina Bruhns presenting her Save the Cat! workshop

Nina Bruhns presenting her Save the Cat! workshop

I loved Nina’s “when you’re stuck” tip, which I’ve heard a few times before but it never hurts to hear these things again. If you’ve come to a standstill, make a list of 10, 20 or more different things that could happen in your book. Be outrageous, take the editor off your shoulder and just brainstorm. It doesn’t matter if they’re clichéd or unrealistic, write them down. The more you list the more likely you are to come up with something fresh and unexpected to brighten and intrigue your reader. I’m testing this right now as I broaden the plot outline of my next rural romance and have already come up with a couple of good ideas.

For breakout session two I moderated the Shark In Your Story panel (which for some daft reason I couldn’t stop thinking of as the Jump The Shark panel) with Helene Young, Shannon Curtis and Bronwyn Parry. As you’d expect from ladies so highly acclaimed for their romantic suspense novels, the panel was full of fascinating titbits, especially when it came to crafting great villains (Shannon likes to get her freak on; Bronwyn tends to get her ideas for villains from the news). I wish it had gone on longer but there was lunch and more chattering to be had!

The Shark in Your Story panel L to R: Shannon Curtis, Helene Young and Bronwyn Parry

The Shark in Your Story panel L to R: Shannon Curtis, Helene Young and Bronwyn Parry

For breakout three, I joined best-selling historical romance author Anne Gracie and a round table of published authors to discuss business. Again, I wish we had longer because I feel like we barely skimmed the surface, especially when it came to rights and contracts. These are issues authors can never know enough about. Maybe next year in Sydney, when author day returns, we’ll get to talk about the business side of writing a bit more.

Thanks to the Australian Romance Readers Association we had another authorfest on Saturday afternoon with an ARRA booksigning event. 50+ authors seated in the one room with their books for sale and pens poised for signings.  Not quite as loud as the Destiny Party, but close! I sat between paranormal and fantasy romance author Kylie Griffin and best-selling author of The Girl in Steel-Capped Boots (and others) Loretta Hill. Kylie’s books sold like crazy which was delightful to see, and I was seriously chuffed to do a few signings myself. I don’t think I’ll ever get over that thrill. It’s something very special.

All action at the ARRA booksigning

All action at the ARRA booksigning

Amy Andrews came prepared...

Amy Andrews came prepared…

Ebony McKenna brought her ferret, Fiona MacArthur only needed her charming self.

Ebony McKenna brought her ferret, Fiona McArthur only needed her charming self.

Eleni Konstantine wearing her conference team hat. Sweet!

Eleni Konstantine wearing her conference team hat. Sweet!

Me!

Me!

Elise Ackers. An author to watch!

Elise Ackers. An author to watch!

Oof, those romantic suspense types... Helene Young with Bronwyn Parry.

Oof, those romantic suspense types… Helene Young with Bronwyn Parry.

Jennifer Kloester with Juanita Kees

Jennifer Kloester with Juanita Kees

Paranormal and fantasy romance author Kylie Griffin.

Kylie Griffin. There weren’t many of those books left by the end.

Harlequin Romance author Michelle Douglas with historical author Michelle Diener

Harlequin Romance author Michelle Douglas with historical author Michelle Diener. I was thrilled to score Michelle Diener’s kindly donated raffle prize, complete with pretty bookmarks, and look forward to sinking my nose into her stories.

Visiting US author Maisey Yates with Rachael Johns

Visiting US author Maisey Yates with Rachael Johns

Then it was out for dinner and a frock up before returning to the Esplanade Hotel for dessert and the RWA’s Awards Gala, where there was much applauding and cheering for our contest and RuBY winners, and where I was delighted to see Bronwyn Jameson awarded life membership of the RWA. So well deserved. Then we had… dancing! I tell you, these romance girls (and boys) know how to rock on.

A glamorous night awaits!

A glamorous night awaits…

...with desserts. Lots of desserts!

…with desserts. Lots of desserts!

The rural romance girls!

The rural romance girls.

Amanda Knight with Bronwyn Parry

Amanda Knight with Bronwyn Parry

Rachael Johns and Beck Nicholas

Rachael Johns and Beck Nicholas

Harlequin Sexy author and hot sheik expert Annie West with best-selling historical romance author Christina Brooke

Harlequin Sexy and Presents author and hot sheikh expert Annie West with best-selling historical romance author Christina Brooke

Kat Mayo with Alex Adsett

Kat Mayo with Alex Adsett

Me and Fiona McArthur

Me and Fiona McArthur

Those romance gals sure know how to boogie!

Those romance gals sure know how to boogie!

Found resting their dancing feet in the Esplanade Hotel's bar afterward: Jennifer St George and Amy Andrews

Found resting their dancing feet in the Esplanade Hotel’s bar afterward: Jennifer St George and Amy Andrews…

...Christina Brooke and many others. Glam ladies with stamina!

…Christina Brooke and many others. Glam ladies with stamina!

Sunday morning. Ahh, yes, a few bleary eyes can be seen, but all in good cause: ie fun. Harlequin’s second sponsor address followed and my heart was all a-flutter at Kate Cuthbert’s news that Escape’s Australian-set rural romances are doing well in the US. Could this be the start of an Aussie invasion? I hope so!

Then the scary Submission Island panel with Margaret Marbury, Abby Zidle, Laura Bradford (Bradford Literary Agency), Nina Bruhns, Joel Naoum (PanMacmillan/Momentum) and Alex Adsett. Manuscript openings were read out and the panel held up STOP signs when they’d heard enough. Wow. Just… wow. If you ever needed a show of how hard it is to hook an editor or agent then this is it. But what also sank in for me was how subjective opinions are when it comes to manuscripts. Some panellists dropped out early, others hung on to the last. Sometimes there was a point where a few would be put off by the same sentence or paragraph and cards would flip up all at once. Overall, it was a insightful demonstration of how authors not only have to have thick skins, but tenacity too. Keep trying. Just because one or two agents or editors don’t like your work, that doesn’t mean there isn’t someone out there who’d love it.

Survivor: Submission Island with L to R: Margaret Marbury, Abby Zidle, Laura Bradford, Nina Bruhns, Joel Naoum and Alex Adsett

Survivor: Submission Island with L to R: Margaret Marbury, Abby Zidle, Laura Bradford, Nina Bruhns, Joel Naoum and Alex Adsett

I did Anne Gracie’s The Power of Detail for my first Sunday breakout session and enjoyed it immensely. Anne is a passionate speaker, with a real knack for getting information across in a way that resonates, and I walked away with excellent tips on how to bring the particular and every person together in my writing.

For the post lunch breakout I attended the self publishing panel with Cathleen Ross, Nina Bruhns and Kandy Shepherd. As with all the other panels, this contained more gems of insight from highly experienced authors, from the importance of meta-data, to advertising, to making sure that your books look as professional as traditionally published editions, and beyond. Given the attendance and range of questions, I suspect there’ll be even more on self-publishing at next year’s conference.

Self publishing panel with L to R: Kandy Shepherd, Cathleen Ross and Nina Bruhns

Self publishing panel with L to R: Kandy Shepherd, Cathleen Ross and Nina Bruhns

My last session was a free-for-all chat with Julia Quinn where delegates could ask her anything. I was so pleased to hear she was an edit-as-you-go writer too, because that’s how I work and I can’t help feeling that it somehow lets me down productivity wise. Doesn’t look like it’s hurt Julia!

Those that attended the Navigating the Choppy Waters of Online Reviews panel with Sarah Wendell (Smart Bitches, Trashy Books), Kat Mayo (Bookthingo and Booktopia) and Kate Cuthbert said that was worth attending too, offering plenty of cautionary advice about social networking and online communities.

We closed the conference with plenary addresses from Kim Hudson and Sarah Wendell, more raffles (I won something, rah!), the announcement of next year’s conference venue (Romance Rocks at the Novotel Sydney Olympic Park, double rah!) and Anne Gracie’s now traditional stand-ups where we celebrate all our achievements for the year (rah, rah, rah!).

After that, it was back to the bar for more chatter, a few drinks and farewells.

L to R: Fiona McArthur, Anne Gracie, Kaz Delaney, Bronwyn Jameson, Alison Stuart and Melanie Milburne

L to R: Fiona McArthur, Anne Gracie, Kaz Delaney, Bronwyn Jameson, Alison Stuart and Melanie Milburne

To the Riding the Waves conference committee and the RWA, I say thank you and bravo. Wonderful, wonderful conference and I can’t wait to do it again next year. So much so I’ve even put my hand up to help.

So now I’m home, furiously plotting when all I really want to do is soak up the glorious weather we’re having and snuggle down on the patio with a book from my RWA haul. But where-oh-where is a girl to start when she has all these beauties on offer?

Books

 

 

 

THIS WRITING LIFE: The 2013 Newcastle Writers Festival

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Miriam Margolyes in fine form

On the first weekend of April I took to the road and headed up to Newcastle – one of my favourite places – for its inaugural writers festival. What a great weekend! Massive kudos, congratulations and thanks to Newcastle Writers Festival manager Rosemarie Milsom and her team of helpers for hosting a truly wonderful event. I’ll be back next year for sure.

Opening night was a blast with acclaimed actor and Dickens devotee Miriam Margolyes expounding on Why Words Matter. Her speech was rambling, funny, poignant and everything in between, and it’s a great sign of her talent that she managed to convince the entire University of Newcastle Conservatorium to sing along with her to Daisy, Daisy. We all decamped across the road to the library for drinks, nibbles and mingling afterwards with huge smiles on our faces.

If you’d like to hear Miriam’s opening night address, The Herald has kindly made the audio available on their website.

Beachgirl!

Beachgirl!

Except for a few dark clouds out to sea, Saturday was a typical gorgeous Newcastle day. We spent the morning taking in some of the (very familiar) sights before wandering up Hunter Street to Newcastle beach for a gaze around. Then it was time to join my fellow Heart of the Matter panellists Kaz Delaney, Michelle Douglas, Deborah Challinor and moderator  Annie West for a spot of lunch at Raw Cafe, a rather inspirational place for a bunch of romance writers given the wait staff!

Inspirational also was the venue for our Heart of the Matter: Writing Romance panel. The session was held at the Newcastle City Business Centre, in an historic sandstone former bank, and the interior was sumptuous, with polished timber panelling, marble mountings and a beautiful chandelier. Although Kaz Delaney, bless her, managed to out-glitter even that with all her bling.

Heart of the Matter Paenl: Michelle Douglas, me, Kaz Delaney, Deborah Challinor and Annie West

Heart of the Matter Panel: Michelle Douglas, me, Kaz Delaney (note that glittery gold bag), Deborah Challinor and Annie West

We had a lovely, clever audience who had our brains working overtime with some astute questions. I think this was the first occasion I’d ever described the themes of my work in public. For me it’s forgiveness, especially self forgiveness, and it was fascinating to hear my fellow panellists’ thoughts on the subject. Kaz wrote similar themes to me, but Michelle’s and Deborah’s stories offered different messages. We were also asked what was the worst

Michelle's gorgeous tights!

Michelle’s gorgeous tights!

thing about being a romance author. I said structural edits, which had everyone nodding. Everyone except Deborah Challinor, who, for some odd reason, actually likes them. A sentiment also repeated on Sunday by Courtney Collins, author of the Stella Prize nominated and highly acclaimed novel The Burial, during our A Fine Debut session. This, dear readers, is not normal! I know structural edits are very, very good for us, vital in fact but, believe me, those babies hurt.

Speaking of A Fine Debut, Courtney and I were delighted to host a near-capacity crowd in the City Hall Banquet Room on Sunday afternoon. Rosemarie Milsom was our moderator and she took us through the massive learning curve and somewhat startling experience that was our first books’ birth. I was fascinated to hear Courtney speak about her experience with The Burial, in particular how long she worked on it and the way it seemed to explode into existence for her in the most thrilling way. We’re talking a feature film option, around the world sales, critical acclaim and major

Wondering how the hell to answer THAT curly question!

Wondering how the hell to answer THAT curly question!

literary prizes. And there I was yabbering about being thrown out to do radio interviews with no experience at all, which turned out to be great fun in the end, but nothing like the hoopla Courtney’s had and is still enjoying. Good on her, too. She was lovely and interesting and I’m very much looking forward to reading her book.

So all in all a joyous time, and another heartfelt round of applause must go to the organisers and to Newcastle itself for getting behind this excellent event. There were lines snaking into the street for some sessions and I just loved how there was a session to cater for every taste. No literary snobbery in Newie! I must also say a huge thanks to MacLean’s Booksellers who did a fine job of stocking and displaying everyone’s books. Special thanks to Kylie who had me signing store copies and is going to help me arrange some more talks in Newcastle later in the year. Stay tuned for details on that.

If you’d like to see more photos of the weekend check out the Newcastle Writers Festival Facebook page. And while you’re at it, mark your calendars for next year’s festival. I’ll be there with bells on!

 

 

 

NEWS: The 2013 Newcastle Writers Festival

Only eight sleeps until the opening night of the inaugural Newcastle Writers Festival. I can’t wait! I so adore Newie. The harbour and beaches are beautiful, the city itself has a unique culture that makes it very special, and it abounds in history.

Plus it’s home, or has been home, to some of this country’s best writers.

So why not book a weekend in this fabulous city, say the weekend after Easter? Not only are there excellent Writers Festival panels and chats to attend, you can enjoy many cultural, gourmet and outdoor activities, plus a fascinating working harbour to watch. I mean, who wouldn’t want to camp at this bar and watch a sunset like this?

Honeysuckle Hotel Sunset

I’m on two panels during the festival:

Saturday 6th April

Heart of the Matter: Writing Romance with Michelle Douglas, Deborah Challinor, Cathryn Hein and Kaz Delaney. Hosted by Anne See.

2-3pm, Newcastle City Business Centre, cnr Bolton and Hunter Streets, Newcastle, NSW.

Sunday 7th April

A Fine Debut: The pleasure and pain of your first book. Courtney Collins and Cathryn Hein. Hosted by Rosemarie Milsom.

1.30pm-2.30pm, Newcastle City Hall – Banquet Room – Free Session.

For more information and to book your tickets, please visit the Newcastle Writers Festival website.

 

Hope to see you there!

 

 

FRIDAY FEAST with Kaz Delaney

Oh, my lovely Feasters, I am practically squirming with excitement. Today on Friday Feast we have one of the most talented Australian writers around, and if that wasn’t enough, she’s a funny, wonderful person to boot.

I can’t remember which Romance Writers of Australia conference it was – it might have been my first or second – but some woman called Kerri Lane aka Kaz Delaney was MC, and she was hilarious. Her Jenny Cruisie stalker speech in particular had the audience teary eyed with laughter. Now, I had no idea who this woman was (mind you, I didn’t know who Jenny Cruisie was either) but I can distinctly remember thinking, ‘Far out, this woman is funny. She should really write a book.’

Write a book. Yes, well, *clears throat in embarrassment*. It turns out Kaz has written a lot of books, as Kaz Delaney and Kerri Lane, for children, young adults and adults. She is, what you’d call, quite famous, actually.

Which brings me to her wonderful new release. Not so much famous (yet) as…

 

Dead, Actually

 

Dead, Actually is a scathingly funny and sexy mystery set in the depths of Gold Coast society (is that an oxymoron?). Whatever. You’re going to LOL and love it.

Description

Willow’s having a bad week. A dead body, a funeral and now she’s being haunted by the star of it all, the dead queen of Ruth Throsby High herself, JoJo Grayson.
Being dead hasn’t made JoJo any nicer. She’s still venomous and vacuous and, unfortunately, determined to stick around unless Willow finds out what happened.
But the mysteries keep multiplying. There’s a missing phone. An anonymous blackmailer. Dirty secrets that won’t stay buried. And the blame is being cleverly pointed right at Willow.
The only good thing? The gorgeous Seth Pentecost. He’s got his own agenda but it looks like he’s going to help Willow out. Could JoJo’s death be what it takes to finally bring Seth into Willow’s life
?

And now I give you the famous funny lady herself, Kaz Delaney.

 

 

If you’ve never had a leg of lamb greet your guests at the door, you’ve never lived

 

Thank you Cathryn for inviting me to share Friday Feast – this weekly blog is indeed a feast for the senses and I adore it, so I’m thrilled to be here. I love reading all the recipes and tips, and want to come to dinner with you all, though after my offering today I suspect not many people will be lining up to come to my place for dinner!!! Mind you, if you DO decide to pop over, I can almost guarantee you of some excitement! 😉

It may not be the kind of excitement that the characters in Dead, Actually are experiencing because, sadly, I don’t have any snarky ghosts on speed dial, despite having seen a few in my life. My dinner parties also won’t involve blackmail. Not often, anyway…

No, my specialty is dinner with that little bit extra thrown in. Sometimes I feel like Tim – that guy from the old Demtel ads: ‘But wait there’s more!’  Trouble is, none of us know what that ‘extra’ will be until it happens. So far it’s never involved a set of steak knives which is a GOOD thing considering every one of those ‘extras’, so far, has been classified under the heading of ‘DISASTER’.  And steak knives and disaster uttered in the same sentence? Ouch. Not even I’ve fallen that far. Yet.

However, before I reveal all and thus plunge myself into that cold, cold pool of humiliation let me say that I love to cook and bake. And though you’ll find it hard to believe – I’m quite good at it. My mother gave up accountancy to become a chef and she was always ahead of trends. Apart from that I love food and love being in the kitchen. I love experimenting and am notorious for never having recipes and have always believed cooking was one of my strongest talents. Closely followed by joke telling and party-karaoke (also called kerri-oke in some circles).

 I’m losing you already, right? ­ ☺ It’s okay – you’re safe. This is a karaoke-free blog.  And besides, no fermented liquids have passed my lips.

So here I am – plunging…

The first experience from my vast repertoire of disasters happened way back in our marriage. I was a (very) newbie-wife and it involved important people (as in dh’s boss) coming to dinner. I had baked a leg of lamb. How safe could you get, right? Besides, I was still a newbie cook as well.

Anyway, just as dh opened the door to our guests, I was pulling the roasting pan from the oven. Now, our flat was small and it had polished floors.

Yep – you can see where this is headed, right?

Distracted by the sound of jovial greetings, I fumbled. The pan tipped and I lost control. Wide-eyed, I watched the lamb joint slip over the edge and hit the floor.

And skate. Right across already mentioned polished floor.

And stop at the front door.

Right at the feet of our guests.

No one said a word. Silence.

I had two choices. I could scream out the back and never return, or pull on my big girl panties. I chose the latter. With as much dignity as I could muster, I simply, calmly, walked to the door, stepped in between the equally stupefied guests and husband, and picked up the errant leg of lamb, turned and carried back into the kitchen. I didn’t say a word.

No one did. Half an hour later, I served it.

I can’t remember those people ever coming back to dinner.

The second also involves a roast and this was only a few year ago. My daughter and her family were on a teaching exchange in Canada, and Nicole, her beautiful Canadian counterpart arrived and we were taking care of her. Introducing her, showing her around etc. On her second night here, we had them (she and her brother) here for dinner. What to serve? We had no idea of their preferences or beliefs so I decided on an array of Aussie things as we had the rest of the family over as well.

So, there I was. A wee bit frantic, ensuring the guests were comfortable. The evening began well, but it was typical of many nights with new people involved. Everyone was trying so hard, but there was just that hint of unease that happens when people don’t yet know each other. Laughing just a tad too heartily and then those moments of awkward silence that people rush to fill…

Well baby – did I have the panacea for that…

One of those food choices was a roasting joint and I was in the midst of making my special gravy to serve on the side when this particular disaster happened.

My gravy-making dish was an oven-proof glass roasting pan that had been passed down from Mum and used a trillion times. It was fabulous but apparently it was rapidly reaching its use-by date. So, there I was, standing over the hotplates, stirring the gravy when there was the most ear-shattering sound. Everyone rushed down to the kitchen…

And suddenly the laughter wasn’t forced. Or over-hearty.

It was spontaneous and knee-weakening. People who’d met merely minutes before clung to each other. Some flopped onto the floor. Tears flowed freely down cheeks – though not one was cried in sorrow. Shrieks of laugher filled the whole house and my annoyed indignation did nothing to abate that.

Why? Exploding gravy. That scrumptiously tasty gravy exploded. Not only did the glass pan go off like a bomb, it rained gravy all over me. My face, my hair, my carefully chosen clothes. It dripped off my nose, my eyebrows.

That exploding gravy experience became ‘our story’, and as annoying as it was (and yes, potentially dangerous) it broke the ice (along with my fave roasting pan!) and cemented the friendship. Just last year she was back for a visit with her new husband the first thing Nicole asked was whether we were having gravy. ☺

So, there I am. Naked, exposed and humiliated. Anyone care to join me? To tell their own story and make me feel better? Or offer sympathy? Sympathy is good. Either one will afford you an opportunity to win a copy of my latest YA, ‘Dead, Actually’. A cross-over novel for everyone who can remember their first love and doesn’t mind the odd bit of ghostliness, blackmail and a mystery thrown in.  Under the circumstances, I decided against leaving you with a recipe. Might be safer… ☺ However, to make up, I’ll throw in a sparkly gold bouillon shaped key-ring!

Thank you for having me here, Cathryn!

 

Oh, thank you, Kaz for such a wonderful post, complete with skating lamb and exploding gravy. Such fun!

Now, Feasters, you heard our fabulous guest, offer your story or a big dose of sympathy and you could win a copy of the brilliantly titled and fabulously written Dead, Actually and a gold bullion-shaped keyring. Which is, let’s face it, pretty damn awesome. So get commenting!

Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday, 3rd April AEST. Open internationally.

If you would like to learn more about Kaz please visit her website. You can also connect via her blog, Facebook and Twitter.

 

Kaz’s Dead, Actually giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to Kelly, the lucky winner of this fabulous book. Thanks to everyone who joined in the fun. Who knew dinner parties were so fraught with danger!