Tag Archives: Research


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.”


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.


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


THIS WRITING LIFE: A rather pleasant research trip

One of the cool things about being a writer is that you occasionally get to go on field trips, all in the name of research. For a lot of this year I’ve had a bit of a secret project brewing in my brain. It hasn’t made it any further than the plotting stage and I’m not even sure it’ll be written, let alone published. But if the project does go ahead,  it’ll be set in a place very much like the Yarra Valley, a gorgeously lush region north-east of Melbourne filled with vineyards, some top-notch restaurants, the famous Healesville Sanctuary, art galleries, golf courses and lots of other lazy Sunday drive attractions.

I was once reasonably familiar with the region, thanks to my former agricultural seeds career, but that was a long time ago and as I discovered on Sunday it’s changed a great deal. To begin with, there’s been an explosion in grape plantings and every second drive seems to lead to a cellar door. Not that that’s a bad thing – not from this wine lover’s point of view – but it has led to an increase in traffic. Once upon a time this was sleepy-hollow territory. Not any more. We took one look at the line up of cars to get into the farmer’s market at Yering Station and kept driving. I had countryside to ogle and photograph, notes to take and, well, wine to buy!

First stop, De Bortoli Wines at Dixon’s Creek, where we’d really hoped to have lunch. The restaurant, Locale, is renowned for great food but sadly it was booked out. We did, however, buy some amazing cheeses from the cheese room – a sublime, gooey French cheese called Le Dauphin, a delicious taleggio and a Swiss-made variety called, cheesily, Julius Cheeser! Oh, and wine. We bought that too. Those bottles of goodness were simply too lovely to resist.

Have a look at this view from the rear of De Bortoli’s. Perfect looking place to set a book, don’t you think?

I was quite captivated by this horsey property. I can see my hero messing around here. Except for the power lines. Think we’ll leave them out of the description.

Mandala is where we enjoyed lunch. And bought more wine. Very nice wine too! The restaurant, with it’s beautiful huge windows, timber ceiling and light-filled interior would make a great backdrop for a hero-heroine showdown scene. Suitably disguised as a fictional venue, of course!

So, research trip done. Now all I have to do is write the book. Easy-peasy!

Sigh, if only that were so…