Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, where I share snippets from new and past releases and works-in-progress, and occasionally con author buddies into doing the same.
Did you pick up any Black Friday or Cyber Monday bargains? I didn’t, but I can’t say I looked that hard. We have too much stuff for our little house as it is. I did get presents, though! Friend and fellow author D. B. Tait (Cold Deception, Desperate Deception, Festive Deception) came to visit and bought me some beautifully scented thyme, which I’ve now planted out. The orange thyme in particular smells divine. I’m thinking I could try that with fish, chicken or duck, or maybe add a few leaves to an orange and polenta syrup cake for a bit of extra zing.
What better lead-in for The Country Girl than recipe talk? Its heroine Tash is not only a fabulous cook and famous food blogger, she’s also a gorgeous person. She’s big-hearted, brave, enormous fun to be with and as irresistible as her cooking. No wonder The Country Girl’s hero Patrick falls for her. I would!
Here’s a snippet where Patrick is feeling a bit low and decides to call on Tash.
He drove up Castlereagh Road with his fists tight around the wheel and his mood spoiled. The sight of Tash’s flat with its cheerily smoking chimney was like a siren call to his longing. If anyone could restore his humour, it’d be Tash.
She didn’t fail him. Patrick found her in her kitchen, dressed in a baggy pink-and-white rabbit onesie complete with floppy ears and paws. For an unsexy outfit, it was strangely arousing. Not that that was unusual. His hormones were so out of control these days Tash could have worn a hessian sack and he’d probably be turned on.
‘Interesting,’ he said.
She presented her bum and wiggled, showing off a large fluffy tail. ‘Like it?’
‘I bought it for a party ages ago. I didn’t feel like writing so I thought I’d make Italian Easter bread and film it instead.’
‘In a rabbit onesie?’
‘Why not a rabbit onesie? It’s Easter Bunny time!’
To celebrate this scene, I created a video of me wearing a pink rabbit onesie and cooking one of Tash’s recipes. Not the Easter bread – far too hard! – but delicious Mini Ricotta Cheesecakes with Currants Soaked in Sherry. You’ll find the video and the full recipe on Cooking The Country Girl.
Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, where I share snippets from new and past releases and works-in-progress, and sometimes con author friends into doing the same.
Spring has sprung gorgeously here in Newcastle. Last Saturday the temperature was over 30°C (86F) and that was at the beach, where it’s normally cooler. Back to normal now in the low 20s, but if that’s a sign of things to come I’d better dig out some shorts and gird myself for the usual startled glances from passers-by as they spot my deathly white legs.
That’s the trouble with being fair-skinned, there’s never much tanning. Just lots of freckles and sunburn. Although these days I’m so smothered in sunscreen that I’m lucky to develop a light fawn sheen by summer’s end.
Hmm. I seem to have gotten off track here.
Right. Something important.
West Coast Fiction Festival
Are you going to the West Coast Fiction Festival at the Rendezvous Hotel, Scarborough, WA on November 3rd? Did you know you can pre-order my books so that you don’t miss out on a signed copy? Time is running out to do so. Deadline for final orders is September 30th but you can secure your copies via this Google formhttps://goo.gl/forms/FN2fM2bN0kLHGkRy2
Now to what we’re here for: a bit of booky goodness.
This week I thought I’d share a few paragraphs from The Country Girl. This one features Pa, who everyone loves for his down-to-earth nature and rural charm. Here he’s being filmed giving garden and other advice for Tash’s online fans.
Pa tapped his nose and resumed writing labels for the crops they were about to plant. Old egg cartons filled with seedlings were spread in organised rows at his feet. Pa had used his own growing mix formula and the plants were vibrant with health. All they had to do was tear off each egg cup and bury it straight into the well-composted soil. An old ice-cream tub held packets of seeds they were direct sowing.
‘Been a few nasty comments,’ he said. ‘You right with that?’
‘I wouldn’t say I like it but I’m used to it. It’s an emotive topic. People are going to argue.’
‘Still. Sylvia said one of them called you a murderer.’
‘Probably a troll. The internet’s full of them.’ Tash was thankful Pa didn’t get on the sites himself; there had been a lot worse name-calling than murderer. She’d removed the more offensive comments but a few always slipped through. ‘Some people get a kick out of inflaming others and starting fights. Makes them feel big.’
She thought he’d let it slide but it was obviously still on Pa’s mind when they began to film.
‘Carrots,’ he said, ‘can be tricky to grow if you don’t have the right soil.’ He tilted his head to the side and gazed at the camera in his familiar direct manner. ‘It’s a bit like friendship in a way. You can’t grow carrots on stony ground and you sure can’t grow a relationship. All you’ll end up with is something warped. What you need is soil that yields a bit. Not too soft, but not too firm either.’ He used a trowel to form another narrow channel and sprinkled in the seeds. ‘It’s all right to stand up to your beliefs, but let others have theirs too. Unless they’re one of those stupid terrorist sorts. Those fools need their arses kicked.’ He looked up and grinned. ‘Pardon me. Probably shouldn’t say arse on telly.’
You can purchase The Country Girl online in paperback and ebook from these stores.
I’m not sure why I’m not cooking much. I suspect it’s because my head is too full of Eddie and the Show Queen (this book is taking forever to write, gah!) but also because we’ve been doing stuff on Fridays, which is my usual day for hitting the kitchen for a good cooking sesh.
So what’s this got to do with Teaser Tuesday? Well, the other day when I was tooling around in my files I found the raw footage for a Cooking The Country Girl video I’d planned to share with you (watch the first one here). That never eventuated because of house moving hell followed by internet connection dramas that still haven’t been resolved. Anyway, seeing those video files reminded me of how much I adore that book and that we haven’t featured it on Teaser Tuesday on it for a while. Since early February, in fact.
It also made me think that now my new herb garden is kicking along I should make a big serve of Tash’s tortelli di zucca. It’s perfect for the cold weather and because it contains pumpkin, I can claim it as healthy (we won’t mention the butter and sage sauce). It’ll also give me a chance to get out the pasta machine. I love that gadget. It’s so shiny and cool looking, and fresh pasta is awesome.
Which leads me back to The Country Girl and Tash’s gorgeous, gardening guru grandfather. Here he is with Tash.
Thursday morning brought Pa and a pumpkin the size, weight and colour of a small boulder.
‘Did you put it on steroids or something?’ Tash asked as he hoisted the monster onto the bench.
‘No, Flossie. That’s just good old-fashioned poo.’
‘Nice. I’ll be sure to tell my fans that.’
She eyed it dubiously. A pumpkin of that size was bound to be woody. Maybe she could save it for October and do something Halloween-y with it.
‘Don’t look at my baby like that.’ Pa patted it as though it were a dog. ‘That’s prime Queensland Blue.’
‘A Queensland Blue I’ll need a chainsaw to cut into,’ said Tash, turning on the espresso machine. ‘Or maybe an axe.’
Ah, Pa. He was such a great character to write. Enjoy more of him, and Tash and Patrick, with your own copy of The Country Girl. Available now from these stores:
After our usual January blogging hiatus we’re now back for another year of bookish goodness, and I can’t wait to share more snippets from new, past and upcoming releases from me and good author buddies.
First, a gigantic thank you to everyone who has read The Country Girl. The response has been phenomenal. I can’t tell you how amazing it has been to read your emails and comments on social media. It seems Tash and Patrick’s story has touched a lot of people. I even had a reader email me about one of Pa’s gardening tips. Pa would be THRILLED by that!
Second, a heads-up about the next few months. I’m moving house soon (and city – hello, beautiful Newcastle!) and though we’ve done it many, many times before there’s always a degree of chaos. That means I might not be able to respond to comments here and on social media as quickly as I’d like, but I’ll do my best.
Third, watch this space for news about my coming releases. I can’t reveal anything right now but there are some exciting things happening. As soon as I’m able to share details I will.
Right, on to our Teaser Tuesday. I’m torn between teasing you with a snippet from a work-in-progress because it’s on my mind and I’m excited about it, or another taste of The Country Girl. I think it’ll have to be the latter. Mostly because my current work-in-progress is so messy I fear it’s in no fit state for sharing. Better to save that for later.
So here’s a few paragraphs about Patrick from Tash’s point of view. The man might be sexy, but that doesn’t mean she trusts him.
Patrick grinned. Tash wished he hadn’t. She preferred him bad-tempered. Grinning showed off his dark-haired handsomeness, sparkling blue eyes and straight teeth. And the sod hadn’t shaved today, leaving his jaw sexily stubble-flecked. Worse, he was wearing a pair of jeans that clung to his thighs and showed off his long legs. As for the rolled-up sleeves of his shirt, on Pa it looked agricultural and competent. Patrick made it both those things, and hot.
She didn’t trust any of it. Smiling and looking sexy was one of those things that beautiful people did when they were determined to get their own way and were being thwarted.
Purchase your copy of The Country Girl in print or ebook today from these retailers or your favourite bookstore.
So, yesterday I made a silly video in which I cook one of Tash’s recipes from The Country Girl while wearing a ridiculously unflattering pink rabbit onesie. Honestly, the things we authors do for publicity…
Those of you who have already read The Country Girl (thank you, darling people!) will understand the onesie reference, but the rest of you will have to take it on faith that it fits the story perfectly. Which is more than I can say for how that onesie fits me.
Anyway, I hope you get a kick out of me making a tool of myself and enjoy this delicious recipe from Tash’s collection.
No excuses not to make this one. As demonstrated, it’s dead easy!
Mini Ricotta Cheesecakes with Currants Soaked in Sherry
4 tablespoons currants
4 tablespoons sherry
350g fresh ricotta
Grated rind of half a lemon
½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
50 ml golden syrup
1 egg, lightly beaten
Soak currants in sherry overnight, then drain. Drink reserved liquid to put yourself in an excellent frame of mind.
Pre-heat oven to 140 Celsius.
Line a 6-capacity muffin tin with patty cake or muffin cases.
Beat ricotta and mascarpone together with lemon zest and vanilla until smooth. Mix through golden syrup, then egg, and stir until well combined. Stir through currants until evenly distributed.
Spoon mixture into patty cases.
Bake 20-25 minutes, depending on your oven. The cheesecakes should still have a slight wobble in the centre.
Cool in tin, then chill in the fridge for a few hours.
Gobble down accompanied by a glass of aged Pedro Ximenez.
Variations: sultanas soaked in marsala, raisins soaked in rum. Golden syrup can be substituted with honey, if you prefer.
Grab your copy of The Country Girl in ebook or print from your favourite store or these retailers:
Hand around that bottle of fizz and bust that box of chocolates open cos today is the day The Country Girl hits shelves around the globe!
That means it’s time for you to discover cool secret things about the book and for me to waltz around the house drinking champagne and giggling a lot.
It’s also a day when I wax lyrical about how excited I am and what a ball I had writing the book. And yeah, I know, I say that all the time. But it’s true, it really is. I did have a ball writing this book.
It’s because of Tash. That girl just radiates happiness and it’s contagious. Little wonder Patrick can’t resist, no matter how crazy-hard he tries.
The Country Girl is a boy-next-door or friends-to-lovers romance that will wring out your heart, tingle your tastebuds and leave you sighing with happiness.
Grab your copy today from your favourite bookstore or chain, or order online from:
And now, as has become tradition on release day, here are…
6 Secret Things About The Country Girl
1/. The Country Girl’s original title was…
Castlereagh Road, after the road Tash, Patrick and Maddy live on. Then I decided to call it Quarry Road, except that made it sound like a serial killer novel so I reverted to the original.
Unfortunately, Castlereagh Road didn’t appeal to my publisher, and with solid reason. It’s more like an historical novel’s title and would probably fit awkwardly on a rural romance cover. It doesn’t give the right feel for the book either.
After much brainstorming – and I mean MUCH – we settled on The Country Girl.
It’s perfect for the book and for Patrick because no way in hell is Tash just another girl. She’s special. Bright, joyous, big-hearted and irresistible, and the perfect girl to heal his sore heart.
3/. The Country Girl had quite a long music playlist…
The longest since Rocking Horse Hill (which had a whopping 49 songs on its playlist). Usually my playlists hover around 4-6 songs, with one or two setting the theme, but it really does vary between books.
Other songs on The Country Girl’s playlist included:
was Flash. I changed it because it rhymed too closely with Tash and there were too many -ashes going on.
I didn’t settle on Khan straight away though. For a while he was Prince, but that was a P word like Patrick and Pa, and had to go. I also liked Mr Bojangles but that was too close to Tash’s old pony Bubbles.
6/. I have made every one…
of the recipes mentioned in the book. Sadly not with the same success as Tash. But I tried!
I hope you enjoyed these revelations about The Country Girl. Here are those links again for you to grab your copy:
Thanks to everyone who has helped get The Country Girl onto shelves, including editors Rachael Donovan and Di Blacklock, all the amazing team at Harlequin, and my agent Clare Forster from Curtis Brown Australia.
Also to my writing buddies who are a delight and keep me from going potty when this writing biz threatens to send me bonkers. Last but never, ever least, thanks to my Jim. My rock and darling man.
Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, the series where I share snippets from new and past releases, and works-in-progress, and occasionally badger author buddies into joining me.
Well, my lovelies, this is our final Teaser Tuesday for the year. Next Monday is release day for THE COUNTRY GIRL and I’ll be sharing lots of fun things that week, including, as is now tradition with my new releases, a list of secret things about the book. Then it’ll be Christmas and New Year and my usual summer blog holiday.
I’m still undecided whether to continue Teaser Tuesday next year or think up a new series to entertain you. A good mull over the holiday period will help me decide. Whatever happens, be assured that the blog will go on!
A few exciting things are happening right now that I’d like to alert you to.
First, the 12 Days of Down Under Christmas promotion that I’m involved in, where you can enter lots of giveaways, score free books, and enter a major prize draw to win a $50 Amazon gift card, is on until December 13th.
BUT, the deal ends Dec 11th US time, which means you have minutes to claim this. So hurry!
Finally, another bargain. WAYWARD HEART is currently heavily discounted (more than half price) across all the major ebook platforms. Again, this offer is for a limited time only, so if you want to snap up this emotional and uplifting romance at a bargain price, you’d better do it today. Try: Amazon.com, Amazon.au, iBooks,Google Play
Righty-o, on to our teaser, which is, of course, from my upcoming release THE COUNTRY GIRL.
Only SIX sleeps until release day on Monday 18th December. Sooooo close! If you haven’t already pre-ordered your copy, then there’s still time and you won’t have to suffer the stress of Christmas shopping chaos. Pre-order now from:
Time for our teaser. Here’s a sample of Tash and Patrick shooting sparks off one another. Enjoy!
‘Don’t look at me like that. You know what that animal is capable of and, let’s face it, you were never in the same league as Maddy when it came to riding, and look what happened to her.’
‘Maddy was galloping helmetless over makeshift jumps in thick scrub when Khan fell. All I plan on doing is pottering around Castlereagh. They are hardly the same circumstances. Besides,’ she said, her chin lifting, ‘you can’t stop me.’
‘I can and I will.’
Unafraid, she came to stand in front of him and looked up. The top of Tash’s head just reached the line of his shoulders and gave him a bird’s-eye view of her cleavage, along with the urge to bury his face between those soft, swollen mounds. An urge that only heightened his anger.
Tash’s smirk was as provocative as her voice. ‘I’d like to see you try.’
But more on that in a minute. First up, have you checked out the 12 Days of Down Under Christmas promotion? This baby is HUGE. 12 Australian and New Zealand authors, including myself, have banded together to offer 12 days of gorgeous giveaways and Christmassy fun stuff on our websites and blogs. Kris Pearson, Joanne Dannon, Cassandra O’Leary and Annie Seaton have already kicked off celebrations with their posts, with more authors to come.
I’m day 7, which will be this coming Friday (Aussie time), when you’ll not only have a chance to win a copy of my Christmas themed story Santa and the Saddler but salivate over a beautiful recipe.
Besides the individual author giveaways, there’s a grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift voucher that you can enter too.
Each day I’ll be posting the links to my Facebook page. Follow me there to make sure you don’t miss out on my, or anyone else’s, giveaway.
As mentioned in the intro, THE COUNTRY GIRL is now less than 2 weeks away from release. Are you excited? I can’t wait for you all to see and hold it. A couple of early author copies turned up last week and the book is BEAUTIFUL! There’s gorgeous chapter art that you could even colour in for a bit of mindfulness, should you wish, and the spine and back cover have a pretty, homespun country feel. A perfect representation of THE COUNTRY GIRL’s heroine Tash.
Now for what we’re here for – a little taste of THE COUNTRY GIRL. Another short one this week. I don’t want to spoil things for you.
Here’s a little bit of Tash in foodie mode. Enjoy!
Tash continued to explain the recipe, measuring out ingredients while she chatted. It was a simple recipe, old-fashioned, using basic pantry supplies and indulgent quantities of muscovado sugar and butter. The spin of adding Pa’s home brew would also make it perfect for her cookbook.
‘And now for the ale,’ she said, levering the lid off the bottle. The liquid foamed as she poured. Grinning, she lowered her nose to the bowl. ‘You should smell this. It’s amazing but that’s hardly a surprise. My pa knows how to make a good drop.’
She sobered and stirred. ‘He also knows a thing or two about life. I’ve been mulling over what he said in his last video, about relationships and how you can’t grow them on stony ground. I’m a farm girl, and I know how important it is to look after our soils, to keep them healthy and fertile. If we don’t, nothing flourishes, and Pa’s right—it’s the same with friendships, or any relationship. You need to keep them nurtured. So today I’m going to nurture mine with indulgent food. Although it’s not really the food, but the thought and effort that matters. I want to show my friends that I care and that I’m thinking of them.’
Pre-order your copy of THE COUNTRY GIRL today from: