You know, there’s something thrilling about seeing another author succeed, especially when you know how hard they’ve worked to achieve their goals. I was so delighted when Jenn J McLeod announced that she’d been contracted by Simon and Schuster Australia, and even more excited to discover her debut novel, House For All Seasons, is the Dymocks Pick of the Month in the March issue of the Australian Women’s Weekly. Now how’s that for praise!
And well deserved too from the rave reviews that keep appearing. Here’s a few examples:
From the inside out, this book is beautiful. A story that sweeps you in and holds you there. There’s a little bit of magic in this one. Bree ~ 1girl2manybooks
This book is a must read and is the first on my top ten books list of 2013. I cannot say enough good things about this book, I highly recommend it as a must-add to your personal library. Jennie ~ Daystarz’s Books
Impressive, huh? Now take a closer look…
Four lives unravelled.
The truth will bind them forever.
Bequeathed a century-old house, four estranged friends return to their New South Wales hometown, Calingarry Crossing, where each must stay a season at the Dandelion House to fulfil the wishes of their benefactor, Gypsy.
But coming home to the country stirs shameful memories of the past, including the tragic end-of-school muck up day accident twenty years earlier.
Poppy, a tough, ambitions journo still craving her father’s approval;
Sara, a breast cancer survivor afraid to fall in love;
Amber, a spoilt socialite addicted to painkillers and cosmetic procedures;
Caitlin, a third generation doctor frustrated by a controlling family and her flat-lining life.
At the Dandelion House, the women will discover something about themselves and a secret that ties all four to each other and to the house – forever.
Oooh, intriguing! Nothing like a juicy secret to keep you turning those pages and you can own your own copy right now by clickety-clicking on over to Booktopia (a bookseller I am feeling the luuuuurve for after their sponsorship of ARRC2013). Or try Dymocks or QBD The Bookshop. If ebooks are your thing, then try the Kobo store (which I also luuuurve thanks to Kobo’s ARRC 2013 cocktail party and multiple ereader giveaways), Amazon Kindle or Apple’s iTunes store.
Now that you’re all stocked up, please welcome Jenn!
Come home to Jenn J McLeod’s Friday Feast
Cathryn, your publishing journey inspired me to keep trying. I remember the day you announced online your two-book deal with Penguin. Having submitted a novel myself I was certain I’d be taking this journey with you. But my big announcement would be another twelve months away – also a two-book deal – with the amazing Simon & Schuster.
So now I’m here, right where I want to be, with my debut novel on the shelves and joining you on a Friday Feast. Life’s good. But life’s even better with good food, so let’s talk about that.
I’m so passionate about food I walked away from a well-paid corporate job in Sydney to swap city chaos for a new life in the country as owner of a small café. (I mean, let’s face it, I’d drunk loads of coffee throughout my career. How hard could making one be?)
My tree-change was like coming home. Coming home to the country is also the theme of my Australian small town stories and House For All Seasons is the first of two set in the fictional town of Calingarry Crossing.
House For All Seasons is a story about small-town life, family relationships and country roots that run deep. And yes there’s a cafe in it, even though I have since sold my cafe to focus on my new career as published author *big grin*. I instead spend my days writing contemporary women’s fiction and running Wagtail Cottage— a dog-friendly B&B we purpose-built for people who travel with their pets.
While I initially enjoyed the café business, it has ruined eating out for me. (I can’t help but size up a meal when it’s delivered, knowing the cost of producing the dish was a fraction of what you’re paying by a none-too-happy waiter usually.)
On the positive side, having learned so much about cooking I can satisfy my passion for food preparation by providing healthy (garden fresh where possible) evening meals to our B&B guests. Meals such as:
BBQ chicken with Asian-inspired noodle salad
Char-grilled Atlanic salmon fillet on Moroccan-spiced cous cous w/ homemade mango chutney, minted yoghurt and a warm fetta, pistachio & bean salad
But my Friday Feast offering is from our breakfast basket which we stock with homemade jams and goodies including…
Jenn’s Home-Made Muesli
Food for me these days is healthy, fresh and homemade. This recipe is so simple you’ll never buy highly sugared/salted, packet muesli again.
I make a big batch (you might like to halve it, but it does last for ages – I store it in a big ice cream container) as it’s more economical to use both shelves in the oven. So if you have two good-sized roasting trays, use the following big batch quantities:
500 gram pkt of rolled oats, coconut (long thread is best), sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, canola/vege oil, honey, hot water. After cooking add sultanas and toasted almond flakes (optional).
Preheat oven at 150 degrees
Boil the kettle
Spray two good-size roasting dishes with spray oil (to minimise sticking.)
Spread the 500 gram pkt of rolled oats over the two sprayed pans.
Add 1½ cups of coconut
1 cup sunflower seeds
¼ cup sesame seeds
Mix well then:
Pour (drizzle) ½ cup of oil
½ cup honey
½ cup of boiling water. Add water slowly, mixing all ingredients. (The hot water will soften the honey to make blending easier.)
Place the roasting pans in the oven and SET THE TIMER for 10 mins.
Check/stir mixture every ten minutes until the entire contents is a golden colour and dry. Depending on your oven it could take about an hour.
(And don’t do what I do; get so caught up in writing you don’t hear the oven timer!!!!!)
Set a timer for each ten minutes rather than rely on your memory.
Once the cooking is complete, stir immediately to both cool and lift baked bits off the pan. (Makes for easier cleaning.)
You can also toast flaked almonds (separately as they don’t take long) and add with your choice of dried fruit. (I use sultanas.)
Oh yum! That sounds delicious, Jenn. Actually your Wagtail Cottage sounds gorgeous and one of these days I plan to visit it in person.
So, my lovely Feasters, what’s your favourite breakfast? Are you a healthy muesli sort or completely naughty and skip it all together? I’m a Vita Brits girl, except on weekends before golf, then it’s a big cooked brekky courtesy of the man of the house. He does a fiiine job too.