Tag Archives: Simmering Season by 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.

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.