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 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.
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…
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.
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!