Well, Feasters, they say change is as good as a holiday so this week we’re doing something a little different. Friday Feast is showcasing not just one author, but FOUR!

Allegra Fairweather series author Janni Nell is celebrating the inclusion of her novella Dance of Flames in the excellent anthology, Carina Press Presents: Editor’s Choice Volume II by bringing her fellow authors, Robert Appleton, Julie Moffatt and Shirley Wells along to the party.

I was fortunate enough to meet Janni at last year’s Romance Writers of Australia conference in Melbourne, when Carina Press Executive Editor Angela James treated her authors to lunch. Janni hails from Sydney and her Allegra Fairweather series has proved hugely popular, no doubt helped by Allegra’s gorgeous guardian angel, Casper. Trust me, that’s one ghost you’d want haunting your house.

Dance of Flames is the third book in the Allegra series, with Allegra Fairweather: Paranormal Investigator and South of Salem preceding it, and a fourth book, Island of Secrets, out in July, but don’t worry, you will adore Dance of Flames as a stand-alone book.

Here’s the blurb:



Family vacations fill me with horror–and for a woman who makes her living as a paranormal investigator, that’s saying a lot. Still, I couldn’t turn down a month in sunny Spain and the chance of flamenco lessons with Casper, my gorgeous guardian angel–even if it did mean sharing a villa with my mother.

But it’s true what they say, there’s no rest for the wicked. We’d barely unpacked when the maid started having dreams of being tortured on the rack–dreams my intuition tells me are something more than your average terrifying nightmare. After all, we are in the land of the infamous inquisition, and she does have those unexplained marks…

So for now my dance partner’s going to have to wait for me to get to the bottom of this mystery, and when I do, I plan to send evil packing.


Fantastic-sounding, isn’t it? I know you want to rush off and buy it but in the words of The Demtel Man, wait! There’s more!!

We’re promo-ing an anthology, remember?


Carina Press Presents: Editor’s Choice Volume II brings together four gripping novellas by some of genre fiction’s hottest voices! Explore interstellar space with Robert Appleton, get caught up in a caper with Julie Moffatt, dabble in the paranormal with Janni Nell and solve a murder aboard a cruise ship with Shirley Wells in this collection of stories reflecting the variety of Carina Press books!


You want this anthology, don’t you? Oh, yes you do! A few little clickety-clicks and it could be yours virtually in an instant. Go on….go! Casper will never haunt you if you don’t buy!

And now I bring you Janni, Robert Appleton, Julie Moffatt and Shirley Wells.


Menu for Mystery


Hi Cathryn, thanks for inviting us to the feast today. At the end of 2011 four authors were each invited to submit a novella for the anthology Carina Press Presents: Editor’s Choice Volume II. Robert Appleton, Julie Moffett, Shirley Wells and Janni Nell rose to the challenge. The novellas are all set in different parts of the universe, and we’ve put together a meal reflecting that diversity. Beginning with Norwegian bread, we move on to Spanish salad, followed by an out-of-this-world main and concluding with an American sweet treat.


Shirley Wells writes the Dylan Scott mysteries for Carina Press. Dead Calm is set on a ship cruising the Norwegian coastline.

Shirley has provided a recipe for the traditional soft flatbread, Lefse, which is delicious spread with butter and sugar or jelly.

Norwegian Potato Lefse



18 medium-sized potatoes peeled

4 cups plain (all purpose) flour

1 tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

Half cup of butter

Half cup of heavy cream

1/ Boil potatoes until soft. Drain, mash well and leave to cool.

2/ Combine mashed potato, salt, sugar, butter and cream in a large mixing bowl. Cover and chill in fridge overnight.

3/ Mix flour and mashed potato mixture. Mould into walnut-sized balls and roll out on well-floured board.

4/ Cook on a hot griddle.

5/ Stack on top of each other, separating with wax paper.

6/. Enjoy!



Murder on the Arctic Sea

Detective Dylan Scott thinks cruising well above the Arctic Circle in November is nothing short of madness. He has zero interest in seeing the elusive aurora borealis, but agrees to the Norwegian holiday to keep his wife and mother happy. At least the biggest problem he’ll have to deal with is boredom. But that boredom quickly dissipates when the unpleasant elderly woman in the neighboring cabin is found dead.

Everyone thinks Hanna Larsen had a heart attack. Everyone except Dylan. Dylan is convinced there’s a killer aboard the Midnight Sun–a killer who may strike again…


Janni Nell’s Dance of Flames, an Allegra Fairweather novella, is set in Spain. Here is a salad to honour that lovely country.

Janni’s Spanish Chicken Salad


500g cooked chicken (warm or cold) chopped

150g sun-dried tomatoes

150g Spanish olives

Mixed lettuce leaves

½ green capsicum – sliced

½ Spanish (red) onion – sliced

2 tablespoons walnuts

1 tablespoon olive oil

grated cheese (any cheese will do – parmesan and cheddar both work well)

1. In a salad bowl put chopped chicken, lettuce leaves, olives (drained), sun-dried tomatoes (with some liquid from jar). Toss lightly and season to taste.

2. Fry capsicum, Spanish onion and walnuts in olive oil for 1-2 minutes. Place on top of salad.

3. Sprinkle with grated cheese.


Robert Appleton, author of Pyro Canyon, has chosen a dish for our main course. This description will make your mouth water.

For my birthday last year, the entire family ate at a highly regarded Italian restaurant, one, if I’m honest, a tad more upmarket than my usual haunts (i.e. the waiters really do curse speak in Italian). Emboldened by the profligacy on display—and the small fact that I wasn’t paying—I went and ordered the most expensive meal on the menu, Medalione Pancetta. Medallions of fillet wrapped in Italian cured back in red wine sauce. Such a dish I’ve never had before or since, for two good reasons: one, it was astonishingly, galactically delicious in a way I can’t begin to describe; and two, it drew sniggers from around the table when it arrived, because it was the tiniest thing you’ve ever seen in your life. I mean without the side serving of boiled potatoes (three) and fresh veg (whoopie do!), I’d have finished the most expensive meal on the menu in two bites. Seriously, it took more jaw action to order the thing than to eat it. But I’ll never, ever forget that taste. It was truly out of this world. And no matter where I go and who I’m with, it will always remind me not to order cheap…especially when someone else is paying.



It’s a galaxy-wide red alert…again.

And it’s Corporal Gus Trillion’s job at the Propaganda Office to drum up recruits. But the colonists have heard one too many calls to arm to care. Disabled in battle and on the verge of burnout, Gus feels pretty apathetic himself–until his reporter friend Lyssa Baltacha stumbles upon top secret satellite footage indicating that the treacherous Sheikers are planning to invade human-occupied space. Now Gus and Lyssa must find a way to galvanize humanity to rise up against the enemy–before it’s too late…


Julie Moffett, author of No Money Down, the latest in a fun series featuring the young geeky spy Lexi Carmichael, concludes our feast with a mouth-watering sweet.

Julie found this decorating tip online a while back, and has used it for her son’s parties. They were a huge hit! So here’s the scoop…

1.)     Make your favourite cupcake

2.)     Decorate using chocolate frosting and arrange the frosting for ears and top of head like the accompanying picture.

3.)     Take an Oreo (or similar type cookie) and open it up so there is frosting on both sides and put on the cupcake for eyes.  Take two brown M&Ms and place on centre of cookie middle.

4.)     Add yellow M&M or Nerd banana-shaped candy for nose.

5.)     Voila! You have a delicious owl cupcake.



Me and the legendary Zimmerman twins–it’s a friendship made in geek heaven. And it all started back when I worked for the NSA…

My best friend Basia dragged me to the beach for her idea of a vacation. All those annoying people, sand in embarrassing places–not exactly R & R for a girl who doesn’t like the sun, the ocean or bathing suits. I couldn’t wait to get back to work.

But things started looking up when I ran into Elvis and Xavier Zimmerman. We discovered we had a lot in common: gaming, anchovies, hacking. After that, the vacation was perfect–until I accidentally broke some poor guy’s fingers. Then Broken-Fingered Guy disappeared, and things got really dicey. With the Secret Service and a bunch of thugs suddenly after me, all I wanted was to solve the mystery and enjoy what was left of my vacation–preferably alive.


Whee! That’s what I call a feast! Thanks, Janni, Robert, Shirley and Julie for your wonderful recipes and descriptions. And congratulations on your inclusion in the anthology. That Deborah Nemeth knows how to pick the best!

And now, my lovely Feasters, our authors today have been super generous and are offering one clever commenter the chance win the entire anthology. Yes, not one ebook. FOUR! But as usual you have to work for it.

We want to hear the strangest meal you’ve ever eaten. A few crunchy insects in Chang Mai perhaps? Testicles on a Mongolian steppe? Extremely rare veal kidneys, as I was served in a posh restaurant in France where the waiter flounced – yes, an awesome full Gallic sniff and flounce – off with my barely-touched place. Come on, we’ve all had them. And if you haven’t, we’ll even be kind and let you cheat by revealing the strangest place you’ve ever eaten instead.

But get in quick. Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday 26th June 2012 AEST. Open internationally – yeeeeehaaa! And don’t fret if you don’t have an ereader, you can still read a PDF file of the anthology on your computer or on your smartphone. Easy-peasy!

If you’d like to learn more about the authors and their faaaabulous books, a click on their names will open up their website.

Janni Nell

Robert Appleton

Shirley Wells

Julie Moffett

All the authors’ books are available from a variety of ebook stores, including Kindle, NookKobo, and many other places, and also as audio books from Audible. Yes, you can plonk them on your iPod or smartphone and listen away. Ain’t technology marvellous?

And don’t forget the Carina Press website, where no great story goes untold. You’ll read yourself silly here!

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