Tag Archives: Momentum Books

FRIDAY FEAST with Amy Andrews

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Happy Valentine’s Day! Are you feeling the luuuurve? Or are you suffering a touch of the bah humbugs over the day?

I’m on holidays so I’m most definitely feeling loved up. Er…*cough*… I’m not sure that came out quite right. I meant I’m feeling relaxed and happy with the world. Not the… um… you know, which is not something I want to talk about or you want to hear!

Okay, let’s start again.

Welcome to this Valentine’s Day version of Friday Feast featuring a lady who knows all about heart flutters, in more ways than one!Photo of Amy Andrews, author

But first, because I just know you are fascinated, this week’s edition of Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. Despite one day of brilliance, I’m losing the Great Murray River Challenge miserably. I swear my other half is cheating on his scorecard. Either that or he has snuck death-seeking balls into my bag. On the other hand, I’m having fun so not all is lost.

Now back to my guest. Amy Andrews has published forty books. Yes, FORTY. And if that isn’t enough, she’s been nominated for FIVE Australian Romance Readers Awards this year. Fortunately Amy is also a most excellent lady and we love her, despite her clear penchant for overachievement and making the rest of us look bad.

Amy’s latest release (and ARR Award nominee in both the Favourite Contemporary Romance and Sexiest Hero categories) is Holding Out For A Hero. Take a lookie…

 

HOLDING OUT FOR A HERO

 

Cover of Holding Out For A Hero by Amy AndrewsWhen sensible schoolteacher Ella Lucas rides into her home town on a Harley and seduces the resident football hero, Jake Prince, she figures she can be forgiven and move on. After all, she’s just buried her mother.

Two years later, back in the city, their paths cross again but this time Jake is in the process of destroying her favourite dive bar. With her home facing a wrecker’s ball, her school being closed down and her 15-year-old brother hell bent on self-destruction, it’s the last straw. Throw in a dominatrix best friend who is dating a blue ribbon guy so straight he still lives at home with his mother, it’s no wonder the sanest person in Ella’s life is a dog.

With all this to contend with, the last thing Ella needs is Jake back in her life. But, as fate would have it, Jake is the only chance she has to save her school.

As the school football season heats up, old secrets threaten to surface and Ella takes on greedy developers, school boards and national tabloids. But can she save not just her home, her school and her brother, but also the reputation of the man she’s never been able to forget? And, more importantly, does she want to?

Holding Out for a Hero is a quirky, heartwarming tale of unlikely romance, friendship and family.

 

Now that sounds seriously sexy! And Jake and Ella can be all yours with just a clickety-click from Amazon (for your Kindle or Kindle reading app), iTunes, Google Play and Kobo. It’s on my e-reader. Go and put it on yours!

Now come blow kisses at Amy. She has chooocooolate!

 

Claytons Cooking Part 2 – The Valentine’s Day chapter

Or

My Cheating Heart

 

So, we’ve already established I’m not a cook. That I cheat in the kitchen – often. That I construct dishes from pre-made ingredients and kind of smash it all up to make something new and exciting.

Yep, that’s the way we rock in my house. And everyone’s still alive and adequately nourished.

Yes, I’m a fraud who does not belong on such a magnificent blog with people who make their own spaghetti sauce. From scratch…

But Cathryn likes to indulge me so I thought I’d treat you to another easy-peasy food construction tip for Valentine’s Day!

Now…Valentine’s Day means chocolate right? Well, you know, it means love and romance and all that good stuff too but let’s face it, we’re women, right?

So….back to chocolate.

How about this Valentine’s Day you surprise your lover with some home-made chocolates? Well, you know, home-made in the loosest sense of the word….

The first thing you need is some chocolate moulds. Now, I used to have a stack of plastic moulds that I bought from Robin’s Kitchen years ago when I did this kind of stuff with the kids. I’m sure I had hundreds of them. No, I do have hundreds of them. I just couldn’t find any today when I came to do this recipe…. We food constructors are also bad at keeping track of our kitchen stuff… So I popped out and bought a proper you-beaut sturdy petit four tin. Impressive right?

Amy Andrews's petit fours tin

Next you need chocolate. What? You didn’t think I was actually going to make the chocolate did you? Perish the thought! But I do advise you to buy the most expensive cooking chocolate you can find – might as well dazzle your significant other with the taste of it, right? I used Cadbury. It’s more expensive than most but worth it.

Photo of the chocolate Amy used

Lastly you need stuff to mix in to the chocolate. I’ve used pistachios, coconut, peppermint essence, sprinkles and cranberries. Also Cointreau and rum. Because alcohol. But you can use whatever you want – chilli anyone?

Ingredients for flavouring the chocolates

Now all you do is melt the chocolate. You can get really authentic and do it in a double bowl over a boiling saucepan of water but why? Throw it in the microwave and it’s melted in like 1 minute! Plus, no saucepan to wash up!  Pour the melted chocolate into the individual moulds about half way up. Add whatever bits and pieces you’d like to each one, give it a gentle stir then fill the rest of the way with more chocolate.

Petit fours tin filled with chocolates

Refrigerate!

The end.

And here’s what they look like after they’ve been chilled a while.

The finished chocolates on a plate

Now, if you want to make it really special you can find a cute box or some cellophane and present them nicely. Knowing my hubby he’d prefer me to line them up on his naked body and lick them off after they’ve oozed a little but, you know, whatever works for you! 🙂

Happy Valentine’s Day!

For a chance to win a digital copy of my Aussie romcom Holding Out For A Hero tell me – do you like chocolate? Got a favourite brand? Or do you prefer something non-edible for the big-day-of-lurve?

 

And a big chocolate-flavoured Valentine’s Day right back at you, Amy! I now have a fair idea of what you’re doing today. Don’t wear out your tongue!

*cough*

Oh, dear. We really are having one of those days on the Feast, aren’t we? Never mind. Valentine’s Day is but once a year. Next week we shall return to normal innuendo free programming.

But only after we’ve given away a Kindle copy of Holding Out For A Hero!

You heard Amy. Share your favourite chocolate or whatever turns you on for Valentine’s Day and you’ll go into the draw. Me, I have a deep, deep affection for Jeff de Bruge chocolates, a brand I fell for when we lived in France. Luscious little babies. My mouth waters just thinking of those truffles. Otherwise, feed me red wine.

What about you? Maybe you like to suck on a Lindt ball? Perhaps pink champagne is more your go? Or maybe the best Valentine’s Day gift you could receive is a promise to babysit and 12 hours uninterrupted sleep. Share and you could win!

Giveaway closes midnight AEST 18th February 2014. Open internationally. Rah!

Don’t have a Kindle e-reader? That’s okay. You can download the reading app to your phone, tablet, laptop or computer and read where you like. It’s easy!

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

This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Ingrid who has won herself a copy of Amy’s Holding Out For A Hero. What fun she’ll have! Thanks to Amy and to all who joined in the Friday Feast fun. Hope to see you again soon.

 

 

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

 

 

 

FRIDAY FEAST with Caitlyn Nicholas

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Happy Friday, Feasters! Did you back the winner of the Melbourne Cup? I didn’t, but that’s hardly new. Last time I picked a winner on Cup day it was the year Subzero romped home in the mud, waaay back in 1992 when I frocked up and caught the train to Flemington only to spend the day getting rained on. Cold, wet but fun and a very, very Melbourne experience.

Now, my Friday Feast guest this week hails from not from the fine city of Melbourne, but its arch rival Sydney. We won’t hold that against her though.

Caitlyn Nicholas not only writes one of the best “mummy blogs” going, she also pens wonderful contemporary romances. And I can say that with conviction because I have Caitlyn’s latest release burning up my Kindle right now.

Check it out!

 

DRIVE ME TO DISTRACTION

 

Sometimes life or death decisions are easy. Alex Radford has a choice – borrow the money to treat her mother’s rare and aggressive cancer from sleazy moneylender Hamish MacCameron. Or do nothing and watch her die.

MacCameron has an agenda. He wants Alex in his bed, and he wants her to help him exact revenge on his sworn enemy, Robert Dryden. He is only too happy to lend her what she needs, but the strings attached form a tangled web from which Alex has little hope of escape.

It’s not all bad. Since she was a girl Alex has had one dream: to become a Formula 1 driver and show the boys how to drive a race car. MacCameron’s money gives her a shot at fame, and in a move that scandalizes the F1 racing fraternity she becomes the new driver for Rob Dryden’s struggling F1 team, Prometheus.

Alex tries to keep her distance from Rob, knowing that one day she will need to betray one of the few people who ever had faith in her. But things begin to unravel when Hamish MacCameron is murdered and she and Rob are the top suspects on the list …

 

Sounds cool, doesn’t it? Sleazy moneylenders, murder, fast cars, steamy attraction…. yep, it’s all there in one fab book. A book you can own right now! So click on over to Amazon for the US Kindle Store or the UK Kindle Store, the Kobo bookstore or Google Play for epub file using devices, or for Apple’s various i-things try the iBookstore.

Prefer to try before you buy? Then sample away at publisher Momentum Books.

Sorted? Excellent. Now you can play with Caitlyn. But remember to keep your dog at a distance. She’s a dangerous woman…

 

How To Poison Your Dog

 

Greetings feasters and the lovely Cathryn.

Firstly, Cathryn is guest blogging over on my blog today, don’t forget to pop over and check her interview out.

Cathryn: it’s a cool interview too… but I’m horribly biased!

Today I’m blogging about a very dangerous recipe.  Make it at your peril. The last time I did it cost me $270. I kid you not.

It was an idle Sunday afternoon. My husband was at work, and the kids were home, bored, bickery and in need of distraction.  This recipe is an easy one for kids to make, quick, low on the washing up and totally yummy. Also chocolate.

It worked a treat.  Within an hour we were munching on warm brownies and I had my feet up, leisurely sipping a cup of tea and congratulating myself on redirecting an afternoon of cranky kids into a spot of domestic bliss.  There was a bang on the front door, the neighbour kids were after some company and everyone, including me, rushed outside to play (well I watered the garden and kept an eye on things).  A strange clattering noise made me hurry inside, to find, to my horror, that we’d left the pan of brownies on the coffee table and the dog had helped himself.  To the lot.

Now chocolate is poisonous for dogs.  So after a quick call to our local after hours vet, the dog, the kids and I pile into the car and rush down to the surgery.

Poor Sebastian (he’s a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel) had a miserable night of throwing up at the vets. But by the time we picked him up he was completely recovered, bright eyed, bushy tailed, utterly unrepentant and ready to do it all again.

$270 later and we were able to bring the damn animal home.

Sigh.  Lesson learned.

I do still love this Brownie recipe though. I’ve been making it since I was eight years old and it is utterly delicious.

 

Caitlyn’s Disastrous Brownies

4oz butter (110g)

2oz plain chocolate (dark, I use 70% Lindt) Have made it with milk though.

2 eggs, beaten

8oz white sugar (225g)

2oz plain flour (50g)

1 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt (I tend to leave it out)

4oz chopped nuts (I use any I have around, walnuts this batch, pecans the last)

Pre-heat oven to 350 F or 180 C

Melt butter and chocolate (I do this in the microwave)

Stir all ingredients into melted butter and chocolate

Bake in oven for 30mins, until the mixture shows signs of shrinking away from the side of the tin, and the centre feels springy. A knife inserted in the centre should come over clean.

Leave to cool in the tin for 10mins

Eat and Enjoy.

 

So what’s your food versus animal story? Cat coughed up a furball in the soup? Dog destroyed a dessert your mother-in-law slaved over for days? Pet parrot taught the local padre some blue language? 

Time to fess up, Feasters. Come on, it’s cathartic to reveal these things!

If you’d like to learn more about Caitlyn and her books, including her December release Geek Girl saves the world novella, Dark Moon Rising, then please visit her website. You can also connect via Caitlyn’s truly excellent blog, Twitter and Facebook.

FRIDAY FEAST with Kylie Scott

Grab your survival kits, dear Feasters, because the Zombie Apocalypse is here!Kylie Scott Author Erotic Romance

Well, not necessarily the Z.A., but certainly an author who knows what it’s all about. Kylie Scott is a Queensland gal who loves her B grade horror, the more screamy and blood-splattery the better, and what better horror subject to write about than zombies? Throw in a super scorching love story (not with said zombies – that would be icky) and you have the bones of a cracking debut novel.

Take a look…

 

FLESH

 

Ali has been hiding in an attic since civilisation collapsed eight weeks ago.

When the plague hit, her neighbours turned into mindless, hungry, homicidal maniacs.

Daniel has been a loner his entire life. Then the world empties and he realises that being alone isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Finn is a former cop who is desperate for companionship, and willing to do anything it takes to protect the survivors around him.

When the three cross paths they band together; sparks fly, romance blooms in the wasteland and Ali, Daniel and Finn bend to their very human needs in the ruins of civilisation.

Lust, love and trust all come under fire in Flesh as the three band together to survive, hunted through the suburban wastelands.

 

Doesn’t that sound exciting? Love, lust and trust…ooooooh! Flesh releases October 1st but you can pre-order it right now from Amazon for your Kindle, or from the iTunes store. For other retailers check out the Flesh page at Momentum Books. So hurry up and secure your copy.

Now here’s Kylie!

 

First up, a big thank you to Cathryn for giving me a spot to celebrate the release of my first book ‘Flesh’.

The idea for ‘Flesh’ came from a mix of my love of Romance stories and all those wonderfully grungy action films back in the ‘80s. Do you remember them? Movies like Terminator and Aliens were my personal favourites, where one lone woman stood tall to the end, fighting the good fight. It didn’t matter how afraid they were, these girls didn’t back down. They fought on with their hair way out of place and without the benefit of tight clothing. Come aliens, the end of the world or whatever, Sarah Connor and Ripley did us proud. Now those women were tough.

‘Flesh’ starts a couple of months after the complete collapse of society. Imagine it, no running water or electricity and supplies would be scattered or scarce. The very thought of existing without the internet sends me running for cover! With the world upended, life might revolve around adapting and just plain good old surviving from day to day. I like to believe in such a situation, love and hope would become more precious than ever. Certainly, the standard rules for dating and wooing need not necessarily apply. And now that I come to think of it, they always said there was safety in numbers…

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Food wise you’d probably be eating a lot of baked beans and tinned soup. Or maybe even those dreaded Military Rations we always hear about. I’ve always wondered if they’re as bad as they sound. To celebrate the fact that hopefully we don’t have to find out anytime soon, I decided to make something packed full of fresh ingredients. I hope you like it.

 

Feta & Chickpea Salad

400g tin of chickpeas,

drained and rinsed

100-150g of feta, diced

1 punnet of cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in halves

2 celery stalks, diced

2 large carrots, diced

A handful of snow peas, cut into thirds

½ red onion, finely diced

1 avocado, diced

1tspn minced garlic

Juice of ½ a lemon

½ tblspn of your favourite balsamic, French or Italian salad dressing

Combine all ingredients in your favourite salad bowl and mix carefully.

If you like, you can set aside a little of each veg to sprinkle across the top to pretty up your presentation.

Should chickpeas not be your thing, try replacing them with a cup of couscous instead. Delicious!

 

Nice salad, Kylie! Perfect for keeping that post-Apocalyptic metabolism going….or for a weekend barbecue with family and friends.

Now, my lovely Feasters, Kylie has satisfied your bellies, so how about she satisfies your brain too? Tell us your best zombie fighting food or weapon and you’ll go into the draw to win an e-book copy of Flesh (gawd, I LOVE typing that title!). Baseball bats seemed to work pretty well on Shaun of the Dead, but only with a Queen soundtrack. I think there might be potential for crackers because blowing stuff up is always fun. Except for the mess maybe… Anyway I’m sure you can think of something suitably efficient for fighting those pesky zombies. So get commenting!

Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday, 2nd October 2012 AEST. Open internationally. Rah!

If you’d like to know more about Kylie please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook and Twitter.  You may also discover her fighting the good fight at Romance Writers of the Apocalypse.

This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Juanita who has won an ebook copy of Kylie’s fab debut novel, Flesh. Happy reading! And thanks to everyone else who joined in the Feasty Fun.

 

FRIDAY FEAST with Louise Cusack

Brace yourself, dear readers, because this week on Friday Feast we’re entering another realm. Think romance, think fantasy, think the most gobsmacking savoury pie you’ve ever seen…

Oops. Got ahead of myself. Bit hard not to though when your guest is international award winning fantasy author Louise Cusack. Among other achievements, Louise’s best-selling Shadow Through Time trilogy with Simon & Schuster Australia was selected by the Doubleday book club as their ‘Editors Choice’.  In Feb 2012 the series was released digitally by Pan Macmillan’s ebook imprint Momentum Books. Which means you can buy these superb stories right now! On your Kindle! On your Sony, Kobo, phone, tablet, computer, you-name-it!  With just a little click! Instant booklove! Ahh, technology, we readers so love you.

Louise’s resume is incredible. Not only is she a wonderful author, she’s also a highly respected writing tutor, with her own business Writers: Working with Louise Cusack. Louise has completed 150 manuscript assessments, tutored over 80 writing workshops and mentored over 300 hours with more than 50 clients.  There’s more, but I’m feeling awed enough as it is and I’m sure you’d much prefer a peek at the first in the Shadow Through Time trilogy, Destiny of the Light.

DESTINY OF THE LIGHT

Ennae is a parallel world joined to our own world by the Sacred Pool, a portal that can only be opened by one with the Guardian blood running through their veins. It is through this watery gateway that Khatrene leaves her modern-day life behind forever, drawn into a quest that will take her into the depths of the unknown.

Khatrene must fulfil her destiny as The Light, the woman whose child will unite the four elemental worlds. At each turn are real and imagined enemies who will do everything in their power to prevent her from fulfilling the prophecy, including the ethereal and erotic shadow woman, the enigmatic tattooed man, even her beloved brother Mihale.

Talis, her appointed Guardian, must help her through the dangerous terrain of Ennae, sacrificing everything to ensure her safety in a land where magic prevails and nothing is as it seems.

From an exciting new voice in Australian fantasy fiction comes the first book in the Shadow Through Time trilogy. Beautifully crafted and written, Destiny of the Light combines intrigue, magic and horror to create a reality that is out of this world.

Out of this world indeed! An absolute must-buy for romance and fantasy fans alike.

And now, without further ado, here’s Louise…

Thanks for inviting me to share my signature dish King Island Pie.  It’s one I invented myself, and every time I make it I reflect on the fact that cooking is so very much like writing.  Creating a meal is like creating a story where we bring together all the ingredients we like and mix them in pleasing combinations.  Sometimes we surprise ourselves.  I’ve been a vegetarian for over thirty years, and had no idea that my eating choices would impact on my writing, not even when the sepia world of Ennae that I had created for my Shadow Through Time fantasy romance trilogy had no animals or insects in it.

Publishers who bid for the series were excited by the novelty of such a world, peopled only by humans and plants, and for my part I was happy they liked it, but I felt as if I couldn’t take credit.  As a seat-of-the-pants writer I’d simply been describing the world my heroine was entering, as seen through her eyes.  After the first novel was published a friend who knew me well pointed out the obvious, that every brawny, protective hero I’d fallen in love with while writing the series had never eaten meat.  I’d been falling in love with one gorgeous vegetarian man after another, and clearly that’s where my subconscious had been heading while it had been constructing Ennae.  I knew that worldbuilding was a component of what we call a writer’s “voice” and what makes it unique, but will readily admit I was surprised that I’d inadvertently revealed so much about myself!

Still, I was thrilled to have the books print published, and am now delighted to see this series have a new life, recently republished as eBooks by Pan Macmillan’s digital imprint Momentum Books.  I’m also excited to be sharing my recipe for King Island Pie with you!  As the name suggests, the pie is iconically  Australian, and for those non-Aussies reading, King Island is a lush jewel that sits in Bass Straight between Tasmania and mainland Australia.  It’s main claim to fame is the King Island Dairy which produces some of the most decadent and delicious dairy products in the world.

When sourcing ingredients for this recipe, try to find as many King Island brand as you can to ensure the rich flavour of the pie.  But when substituting other brands (or lower fat options) you’ll find this is still a fabulous vegetarian meal that will please even the most ardent carnivores.  Trust me, it’s Tradie tested!

LOUISE’S KING ISLAND PIE

Ingredients:

  • a 500g bag of washed baby spinach wilted in the microwave then chopped
  • half a small pumpkin cut into 2cm cubes and roasted in oil
  • a cup of roasted cashews
  • 6 eggs
  • 200-500ml of King Island cream (you can substitute sour light cream)
  • one King Island triple cream brie cut into tiny chunks (you can substitute crumbled Persian fetta and use the fetta oil to roast the pumpkin and brush over the puff pastry)
  • a cup of grated tasty cheese or, for more flavour, shredded Cracker Barrel extra sharp
  • sheets of puff pastry and oil to coat

Method:

  • Mix the eggs and cream together and season with salt and pepper
  • Line a big lasagne dish with Glad Bake and lay out the oiled puff pastry (oiled side towards the paper) to form a shell for the pie.  Seal any joins so wet ingredients won’t leak out and spoil the crusty bottom of the pie
  • Put a layer of pumpkin interspersed with cashews on the bottom, then sprinkle tiny chunks of brie (or crumbled fetta) over that.  Dust with a smattering of grated cheese.  Then layer your chopped up wilted spinach over that and carefully pour the well mixed egg & cream over the top.  Finish off with the rest of the grated cheese and pop into a moderate oven (200 degrees C) for as long as it takes to cook the puff pastry and set the filling.  A clean knife in the middle will tell you if it’s set or still mushy.
  • When cooked, take out of the oven and sit for five minutes before cutting and serving with either salad or light vegetables.  This is a very rich pie, so if you serve it without accompaniment try to have fresh fruit for desert to clean the palate.

As you’ll see from the recipe I’m a bit loose with quantities, and this ensures that every time I bake the pie it tastes different, which I love.  So don’t concern yourself overly with details.  Feel free to put in more or less cheese, to substitute mushroom for cashews or chives for spinach, or potato for pumpkin (roasted potato & well-cooked leek is a particularly delicious combination).  See what new forms you can come up with.  This also works well to make baby pies in cupcake moulds for lunchbox treats.

Enjoy experimenting!  And thanks again Cathryn for giving me the opportunity to share my books and my pie recipe!

I’d love to give the first eBook of my trilogy away to one commenter.  Please tell me the most surprising thing you’ve ever cooked/eaten in a pie, and why you loved/hated it.

Thanks, Louise, for your fascinating post and that completely drool-worthy pie recipe. I’m definitely making this baby. It sounds incredible.

Your question reminds me of an enormously popular pie shop on the Pacific Highway at Frederickton, on the NSW north coast. Fredo Pies produces the most weird and wonderful pies. Among other marvels, you can even eat our coat of arms!

If you’d like to know more about Louise please visit her website. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

Contest entries close midnight Australian time, Tuesday 6th March and open to all. Please remember to include a way to contact you in case you win.

Let the drooling begin!

Congratulations to Nicole H. who has won an ebook copy of Destiny of the Light, the first in Louise’s Shadow Through Time trilogy. Thanks so much to everyone who visited and commented on Friday east.