Tag Archives: Loretta Hill

Rural Romance Book Heaven Could Be Yours!

How would you like the chance to win a Valentine’s bouquet that lasts forever? Well, perhaps not forever, but a bloody long time.

Then you need the…


Valentine’s Day Giveaway!

There are 6 book bouquets – yes, SIX! – up for grabs, with each bunch containing 5 of the best from our Australian rural romance stars. We’re talking the likes of Rachael Johns, Fiona Palmer, Loretta Hill, Helene Young, Tricia Stringer, Barbara Hannay, Fleur McDonald, Fiona McArthur, Jenn J McLeod, Mandy Magro, Margareta Osborn, Bronwyn Parry, Jennifer Scoullar and many more. And all you have to do to be in the draw is sign up to the australianruralromance.com blog. Easy-peasy.

Lucky me is in two book bouquets, one featuring a signed copy of Promises, the other a copy of Heart of the Valley. Check out the amazing company I’m in…

Australian rural romance book bouquet with Promises


Australian rural romance book bouquet with Heart of the Valley

And there are another four fabulous book bouquets up for grabs. Wow!

So either click on one of the images above or hit australianruralromance.com to lodge your entry.

This is a fantastic opportunity to score books from some of Australia’s most popular writers, for yourself or to share. Don’t miss out!

Winners will be drawn on February 14th. Australian postal addresses only.


FRIDAY FEAST with Loretta Hill

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Greetings, and welcome to another year of fabulous Feasting. Yes, after a busy summer break, Friday Feast is back and what a year we have planned. Lots of wonderful Australian authors are already booked in, super excited to share their new releases, favourite recipes and more.

We’re going to start the 2015 feasting year with a big tastebud bang too, but more on that in a moment. It’s time for news from Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. Ahh, what to say about the summer so far… it’s been good and it’s been bad. I lost the Great Christmas Golfing challenge, as per normal, but arrived home to put in a stellar performance in my club comp which cost me another stroke off my handicap. Naturally, I haven’t been able to play to it since, but I’m working on it!

Author Loretta HillTime to turn to our guest, and I’m delighted to welcome Loretta Hill back for another dose of Friday Feast goodness. Loretta, as you know, took the Australian  book market by storm with her debut The Girl in Steel-Capped Boots, following that success up with The Girl in the Hard Hat and The Girl in the Yellow Vest.

Loretta has a new novel out, one that’s set in Western Australia’s Margaret River wine region. Wine, women, family drama and fun. This one’s bound to go down a treat.

Check it out…


Cover of The Maxwell Sisters by Loretta Hill‘You are cordially invited to the wedding of Phoebe and Christopher . . .’

All families have their problems. No more so than the Maxwell’s of Tawny Brooks Winery. Situated in the heart of the Margaret wine region, this world-renowned winery was the childhood home to three sisters, Natasha, Eve and Phoebe.

Today all three women are enmeshed in their city lives and eager to forget their past – and their fractured sibling relationships. Until Phoebe decides to get married at home . . .

Now the sisters must all return to face a host of family obligations, vintage in full swing and interfering in-laws who just can’t take a hint. As one romance blossoms and others fall apart, it seems they are all in need of some sisterly advice.

But old wounds cut deep. Somehow, the Maxwell sisters must find a way back to one another – or risk losing each other forever.

The Maxwell Sisters is a heartwarming romantic comedy about three extraordinary women on a journey to find love and rediscover family.

Doesn’t that sound a hoot? You want it, don’t you? Oh, yes you do! And in just a few quick clickety-clicks it can be yours. Buy The Maxwell Sisters now from Booktopia, Dymocks, QBD, Boomerang Books, Collins Booksellers, Kobo, Amazon, iBooks, Google Play, or JB Hi-Fi.

All set? Then prepare yourself because what Loretta is sharing is mouth-watering!

Moussaka to the Max!

Hi Cathryn!

Friday Feast happens to be the perfect blog for me to be visiting right now with my book, “The Maxwell Sisters.” just released this month. It’s a story jam packed with food, wine and romance – my three favourite things in the world. I can’t imagine a better place to be talking about it than your foodie paradise online. So thanks for having me, girl.

The Maxwell Sisters” apart from being full of good things to eat is about family and sisters. I come from a big family myself and have three sisters of my own. Any family event we have is always full to the brim with food. Usually too much. It’s the way we express ourselves. Maybe it’s my ethic background but to us… food is love. Nothing gives me more contentment or that feeling of utter belonging that an overly full belly and fridge full of left overs. Is that weird?

So I knew when I reunited these three estranged sisters at their childhood family home in the Margaret River Wine Region, there was going to be lots and lots of food involved. Today, the recipe I want to share is for a classic Greek Moussaka.

The Maxwell sisters (Natasha, Phoebe and Eve) have a Greek mother who spoils them with her signature dish when they all arrive home. They kind of need spoiling because they’re all in a pretty bad way. Secrets, betrayal, relationships gone wrong. You name it. They’ve all got something sitting on their chest. There’s nothing like a bit of mother’s home cooking to get them all opening up to each other.

I also thought Moussaka was a great metaphor for the Maxwell sisters because it too has three essential parts.  The thick spicy sauce that has that rich in your face flavour – I’d like to liken that to the eldest Maxwell. She’s been hurt badly and is hoping to hide it all from her family. After first bite however, her hidden layers are about to be revealed.

The white sauce is more like Eve. She’s desperate to be subtle and thinks of herself as more of the background girl in the Maxwell family. Shy and quiet, this book allows Eve to realize her full potential. And yes, she does come out on top just like the sauce.

Finally, we’ve got the eggplant – the essential ingredient that holds it all together. That’s Phoebe down to a tea. She’s the reason everyone has to return to Tawny Brooks Estate. She’s getting married. And if ever there was an event fraught with family drama, it’s a wedding.  It’s going to take all her efforts to stop things from falling apart.

If you’re going to have wine with this and I insist you must. I would go for a nice robust red, dense earthy and flavoursome. Maybe a spicy shiraz or a cabernet sauvignon. Choosing a wine is mostly about matching the intensity of the food to the intensity of the wine.  So you want something with a good body.

Funnily enough, this is exactly how I went about choosing the romantic love interests for each of my three heroines. Wink! Wink! Nudge! Nudge! 🙂

I hope you’ll take a moment to read their story, enjoy the romance and perhaps have a slice of moussaka on the side.

Bon appetite!

Loretta Hill



Moussaka plated up

The Meat Sauce  ( Natasha Maxwell)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 brown onion, chopped

2 cloves of crushed garlic

800g beef mince

1 can crushed tomatoes

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/3 cup grated cheese

Lemon wedges


  1. Fry onion and garlic for five minutes in oil
  2. When onion has just softened, add mince and brown.
  3. Add tomatoes, cinnamon and allspice.
  4. Bring to the boil.
  5. Reduce heat to medium-low, simmer for half an hour or until sauce has thickened.

Eggplant an sauces ready for layering

The White Sauce (Eve Maxwell)

75g butter

1/3 cup plain flour

2 cups milk


  1. Melt butter over medium-high heat.
  2. Add flour and stir until bubbling. Gradually stir in the milk and bring to the boil.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer until mixture has thickened. Turn off stove.

final eggplant layer of the moussaka

Bringing it all Together (Phoebe Maxwell)

2 large eggplant, thinly sliced

Oil spray

White sauce

Meat sauce


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan-forced.
  2. Spray sliced eggplant with oil and fry in a pan over medium-high heat for until browned on both sides. Transfer onto a plate
  3. Grease an ovenproof dish. Place a third of the eggplant, slightly overlapping, over the base of the prepared dish.
  4. Spread half the meat sauce over eggplant.
  5. Repeat layers, ending with eggplant.
  6. Spread white sauce over eggplant. Sprinkle with cheese.
  7. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden.
  8. Stand 15 minutes.
  9. Garnish with lemon wedges.

Moussaka ready for the oven


*GROANS* Have you any idea how much I adore moussaka, Loretta? And this sounds perfect too. All that smoky eggplant goodness, with full-flavoured mince and creamy béchamel sauce. It just CRIES OUT for a glass of Margaret River red followed by a lovely flop about with The Maxwell Sisters.


Now, my Feasty lovelies, Loretta has a wonderful blog tour going on at the moment. Not only is she here, she has a full-on schedule of bloggy goodness happening, including:

Jan 12th – Margareta Osborn

Jan 19th – Jennifer Scoullar

Jan 27th – Helene Young

Jan 30th – Friday Feast

Feb 2nd – Fiona Palmer

Feb 9th – Jenn J Mcleod

Feb 16th -Rachael Johns

And as part of this tour, Loretta is giving you the chance to win a signed copy of The Maxwell Sisters. All you have to do is leave a comment here, or on any of Loretta’s other blog posts listed above, and you’ll go into the draw. Winners will be announced on Loretta’s blog on February 23rd.

So, to get you in the commenting mood, how about answering this:  What recipe or meal, do you enjoy making with family?

I’ll start you off. Nothing like a good barbecue to get everyone involved, even if most of that entails standing around the barbie, poking steaks or sausages and criticising their degree of burnt-ness!

So what’s your favourite meal that involves the family? Get commenting and you’ll go into Loretta’s The Maxwell Sisters blog tour giveaway draw.

If you’d like to learn more about Loretta or her books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook and Twitter using @LorettaHill7.

THIS WRITING LIFE: Riding a Post RWA Conference High!

I’m home and back on the writing job after a week away in Western Australia at the 2013 Romance Writers of Australia Riding the Waves conference. What a ball was had! Romance writers are the kindest, friendliest and most generous people out there which makes conferences a hoot. They’re also hugely inspirational, loaded with wonderful craft and business information, and a fantastic way to connect with people who understand exactly how crazy this writing affliction can be. I always return from conferences more than a little bit excited and ready for action, which is just as well considering I have edits coming and a new book to write. This lark can’t all be flitting around Australia, hanging with glamorous authors…

I had hoped to share a pile of glossy, vibrant photos with you, but some numpty managed to upset the camera settings and half of them came out blurred. Sigh. Fortunately a few survived that I can present for your viewing pleasure.

Oh, and so you’re warned, this post is LONG!

Opening night on Thursday was Destiny Romance’s first birthday and, boy, was it loud. Plonk a hundred or so romance writers in a room, feed them cupcakes and bubbly, and you have a racket on your hands. But what a fun night, and what a delight to receive a fabulous Classic Penguin goodie bag at the end of it. Mine contained Anna Cowan’s much lauded Untamed and Peta Crake’s Harbinger, both of which I was thrilled to collect. Afterwards, Destiny Romance and Penguin Australia authors were treated to dinner at a very nice Italian restaurant and more chatter.

Margareta Osborn, me and Kathryn Ledson at the Destiny Party

Margareta Osborn, me and Kathryn Ledson at the Destiny Party

Carol George, Destiny Romance editor, welcoming and thanking everyone, and toasting Destiny's fabulous first year

Carol George, Destiny Romance editor, welcoming and thanking everyone, and toasting Destiny’s fabulous first year

Fab bag and even more fab reads thanks to Destiny Romance and Penguin Australia.

Gorgeous bag and even more gorgeous reads thanks to Destiny Romance and Penguin Australia.

Friday saw dedicated delegates attend either the Venus On The Half Shell workshop presented by Kim Hudson, or the Elizabeth Jolley Conference – Reading and Writing Romance in the 21st Century. Me? I snuck off and played golf at Joondalup Resort. What can I say? A girl has to wear off cupcakes, fizz and spaghetti vongole somehow, and the course was brilliant!

But I was back in time for the all-important Harlequin Nautical or Nice cocktail party. At my first RWA conference, back in 2007(?), hardly anyone dressed up. A feather boa here, a quirky outfit there, but mostly normal cocktail-conference dress. Now everyone’s into it and the atmosphere is fantastically silly.

Rural romance authors Fiona Palmer and Jennifer Scoullar.

Rural romance authors Fiona Palmer and Jennifer Scoullar.


Ondine series author Ebony McKenna. You can show me to my berth anytime, Ebs!

Paula Roe as the world's most glittery desert island!

Paula Roe as the world’s most glittery desert island!

Rural romance author and good buddy looking super cute in her onesie!

Rural romance author and good buddy Rachael Johns looking super cute in her onesie!

Glam pirate Fiona Palmer

Glam pirate Fiona Palmer

Saturday morning saw the conference proper begin. Julia Quinn’s keynote address of her top 4 list of top 4 lists was wonderful and if there’s one thing I’ll forever remember from Riding the Waves it’s her saying: You will never hurt your career by helping another author. Yeah.

Harlequin’s sponsor address followed with Margaret Marbury (Vice President, Harlequin Single Title – HQN, Mira, Luna) and Sheila Hodgson (Harlequin Mills and Boon, London) talking enthusiastically about eHarlequin, their range of imprints, and what Harlequin can offer authors.

Paths to Third Party Publication saw Abby Zidle (Simon & Schuster, New York), Nina Bruhns (Entangled Publishing), Sheila Hodgson, Bernadette Foley (Hachette Australia), Kate Cuthbert (Escape Publishing), Alisa Krasnostein (Twelfth Planet Press), and moderator Alex Adsett (Alex Adsett Publishing Services) take the stage to discuss how to submit to publishers and what they’re looking for. My impression was that they were all hungry for your work. Really hungry, and throughout the panel I kept thinking what a great time it was to be an author. We are wanted, no longer beholden and we have options. A lot of options.

Shelia Hodgson, Alex Zidle, Nina Bruhns, Alisa Kradnostein, Bernadette Foley and Kate Cuthbert

L to R: Alex Adsett (moderating), Shelia Hodgson, Alex Zidle, Nina Bruhns, Alisa Kradnostein, Bernadette Foley and Kate Cuthbert

Morning tea: bacon and egg muffins and pastries. Enough said!

For my first breakout session I did Nina Bruhns’s session on Save the Cat! which I loved. She talked about the 10 types of movies (fascinating stuff), loglines and why you need them, and Blake Snyder’s Beat Sheets for plotting. Really useful stuff and some of the worksheets are available on Blake’s website under the Tools tab. Quite a few writers I know swear by his Save the Cat! book and after the amount I got out of this session I’ve decided to join the crowd and have just ordered it.

Nina Bruhns presenting her Save the Cat! workshop

Nina Bruhns presenting her Save the Cat! workshop

I loved Nina’s “when you’re stuck” tip, which I’ve heard a few times before but it never hurts to hear these things again. If you’ve come to a standstill, make a list of 10, 20 or more different things that could happen in your book. Be outrageous, take the editor off your shoulder and just brainstorm. It doesn’t matter if they’re clichéd or unrealistic, write them down. The more you list the more likely you are to come up with something fresh and unexpected to brighten and intrigue your reader. I’m testing this right now as I broaden the plot outline of my next rural romance and have already come up with a couple of good ideas.

For breakout session two I moderated the Shark In Your Story panel (which for some daft reason I couldn’t stop thinking of as the Jump The Shark panel) with Helene Young, Shannon Curtis and Bronwyn Parry. As you’d expect from ladies so highly acclaimed for their romantic suspense novels, the panel was full of fascinating titbits, especially when it came to crafting great villains (Shannon likes to get her freak on; Bronwyn tends to get her ideas for villains from the news). I wish it had gone on longer but there was lunch and more chattering to be had!

The Shark in Your Story panel L to R: Shannon Curtis, Helene Young and Bronwyn Parry

The Shark in Your Story panel L to R: Shannon Curtis, Helene Young and Bronwyn Parry

For breakout three, I joined best-selling historical romance author Anne Gracie and a round table of published authors to discuss business. Again, I wish we had longer because I feel like we barely skimmed the surface, especially when it came to rights and contracts. These are issues authors can never know enough about. Maybe next year in Sydney, when author day returns, we’ll get to talk about the business side of writing a bit more.

Thanks to the Australian Romance Readers Association we had another authorfest on Saturday afternoon with an ARRA booksigning event. 50+ authors seated in the one room with their books for sale and pens poised for signings.  Not quite as loud as the Destiny Party, but close! I sat between paranormal and fantasy romance author Kylie Griffin and best-selling author of The Girl in Steel-Capped Boots (and others) Loretta Hill. Kylie’s books sold like crazy which was delightful to see, and I was seriously chuffed to do a few signings myself. I don’t think I’ll ever get over that thrill. It’s something very special.

All action at the ARRA booksigning

All action at the ARRA booksigning

Amy Andrews came prepared...

Amy Andrews came prepared…

Ebony McKenna brought her ferret, Fiona MacArthur only needed her charming self.

Ebony McKenna brought her ferret, Fiona McArthur only needed her charming self.

Eleni Konstantine wearing her conference team hat. Sweet!

Eleni Konstantine wearing her conference team hat. Sweet!



Elise Ackers. An author to watch!

Elise Ackers. An author to watch!

Oof, those romantic suspense types... Helene Young with Bronwyn Parry.

Oof, those romantic suspense types… Helene Young with Bronwyn Parry.

Jennifer Kloester with Juanita Kees

Jennifer Kloester with Juanita Kees

Paranormal and fantasy romance author Kylie Griffin.

Kylie Griffin. There weren’t many of those books left by the end.

Harlequin Romance author Michelle Douglas with historical author Michelle Diener

Harlequin Romance author Michelle Douglas with historical author Michelle Diener. I was thrilled to score Michelle Diener’s kindly donated raffle prize, complete with pretty bookmarks, and look forward to sinking my nose into her stories.

Visiting US author Maisey Yates with Rachael Johns

Visiting US author Maisey Yates with Rachael Johns

Then it was out for dinner and a frock up before returning to the Esplanade Hotel for dessert and the RWA’s Awards Gala, where there was much applauding and cheering for our contest and RuBY winners, and where I was delighted to see Bronwyn Jameson awarded life membership of the RWA. So well deserved. Then we had… dancing! I tell you, these romance girls (and boys) know how to rock on.

A glamorous night awaits!

A glamorous night awaits…

...with desserts. Lots of desserts!

…with desserts. Lots of desserts!

The rural romance girls!

The rural romance girls.

Amanda Knight with Bronwyn Parry

Amanda Knight with Bronwyn Parry

Rachael Johns and Beck Nicholas

Rachael Johns and Beck Nicholas

Harlequin Sexy author and hot sheik expert Annie West with best-selling historical romance author Christina Brooke

Harlequin Sexy and Presents author and hot sheikh expert Annie West with best-selling historical romance author Christina Brooke

Kat Mayo with Alex Adsett

Kat Mayo with Alex Adsett

Me and Fiona McArthur

Me and Fiona McArthur

Those romance gals sure know how to boogie!

Those romance gals sure know how to boogie!

Found resting their dancing feet in the Esplanade Hotel's bar afterward: Jennifer St George and Amy Andrews

Found resting their dancing feet in the Esplanade Hotel’s bar afterward: Jennifer St George and Amy Andrews…

...Christina Brooke and many others. Glam ladies with stamina!

…Christina Brooke and many others. Glam ladies with stamina!

Sunday morning. Ahh, yes, a few bleary eyes can be seen, but all in good cause: ie fun. Harlequin’s second sponsor address followed and my heart was all a-flutter at Kate Cuthbert’s news that Escape’s Australian-set rural romances are doing well in the US. Could this be the start of an Aussie invasion? I hope so!

Then the scary Submission Island panel with Margaret Marbury, Abby Zidle, Laura Bradford (Bradford Literary Agency), Nina Bruhns, Joel Naoum (PanMacmillan/Momentum) and Alex Adsett. Manuscript openings were read out and the panel held up STOP signs when they’d heard enough. Wow. Just… wow. If you ever needed a show of how hard it is to hook an editor or agent then this is it. But what also sank in for me was how subjective opinions are when it comes to manuscripts. Some panellists dropped out early, others hung on to the last. Sometimes there was a point where a few would be put off by the same sentence or paragraph and cards would flip up all at once. Overall, it was a insightful demonstration of how authors not only have to have thick skins, but tenacity too. Keep trying. Just because one or two agents or editors don’t like your work, that doesn’t mean there isn’t someone out there who’d love it.

Survivor: Submission Island with L to R: Margaret Marbury, Abby Zidle, Laura Bradford, Nina Bruhns, Joel Naoum and Alex Adsett

Survivor: Submission Island with L to R: Margaret Marbury, Abby Zidle, Laura Bradford, Nina Bruhns, Joel Naoum and Alex Adsett

I did Anne Gracie’s The Power of Detail for my first Sunday breakout session and enjoyed it immensely. Anne is a passionate speaker, with a real knack for getting information across in a way that resonates, and I walked away with excellent tips on how to bring the particular and every person together in my writing.

For the post lunch breakout I attended the self publishing panel with Cathleen Ross, Nina Bruhns and Kandy Shepherd. As with all the other panels, this contained more gems of insight from highly experienced authors, from the importance of meta-data, to advertising, to making sure that your books look as professional as traditionally published editions, and beyond. Given the attendance and range of questions, I suspect there’ll be even more on self-publishing at next year’s conference.

Self publishing panel with L to R: Kandy Shepherd, Cathleen Ross and Nina Bruhns

Self publishing panel with L to R: Kandy Shepherd, Cathleen Ross and Nina Bruhns

My last session was a free-for-all chat with Julia Quinn where delegates could ask her anything. I was so pleased to hear she was an edit-as-you-go writer too, because that’s how I work and I can’t help feeling that it somehow lets me down productivity wise. Doesn’t look like it’s hurt Julia!

Those that attended the Navigating the Choppy Waters of Online Reviews panel with Sarah Wendell (Smart Bitches, Trashy Books), Kat Mayo (Bookthingo and Booktopia) and Kate Cuthbert said that was worth attending too, offering plenty of cautionary advice about social networking and online communities.

We closed the conference with plenary addresses from Kim Hudson and Sarah Wendell, more raffles (I won something, rah!), the announcement of next year’s conference venue (Romance Rocks at the Novotel Sydney Olympic Park, double rah!) and Anne Gracie’s now traditional stand-ups where we celebrate all our achievements for the year (rah, rah, rah!).

After that, it was back to the bar for more chatter, a few drinks and farewells.

L to R: Fiona McArthur, Anne Gracie, Kaz Delaney, Bronwyn Jameson, Alison Stuart and Melanie Milburne

L to R: Fiona McArthur, Anne Gracie, Kaz Delaney, Bronwyn Jameson, Alison Stuart and Melanie Milburne

To the Riding the Waves conference committee and the RWA, I say thank you and bravo. Wonderful, wonderful conference and I can’t wait to do it again next year. So much so I’ve even put my hand up to help.

So now I’m home, furiously plotting when all I really want to do is soak up the glorious weather we’re having and snuggle down on the patio with a book from my RWA haul. But where-oh-where is a girl to start when she has all these beauties on offer?





Hot News & Events!

Keep your eyes out for some fantastic events happening now and soon…

Heartland Review Fun

A wonderful review of my latest rural romance Heartland on the Australian Romance Readers Association blog.

“I’m missing the people in this story. I didn’t realise until I read the last page and shut the book. When I walked away, from it, I realised I felt bereft.” Rosalie for the ARRA blog.

Isn’t that a lovely thing to say? I’m so delighted.

If you’re an ARRA member, leave a comment and you’ll go into the draw to win a copy of Heartland. Giveaway closes 17th July.

You can read more about Heartland, including an excerpt and the story of how the book came into being, on my website.


Booktopia’s Australian Romance Month, Featuring Fabulous Giveaways

Join most excellent Australian online bookseller Booktopia for their Australian Romance month, where I, and a fine line-up of Australian romance authors, will be entertaining you with our witty answers to questions like: Who do you swoon over? and Tell us something very few people know about you, and the ever so tricky, Finish this sentence: I would do anything for love, but I won’t do  ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­____


You can read my answers to those questions and more on July 12th.

There are plenty of other rural-set fiction authors joining me across the month, including Rachael Johns, Fiona Palmer, Rachael Treasure, Barbara Hannay, Jennifer Scoullar, Loretta Hill, Mandy Magro, Bronwyn Parry, Margareta Osborn, Helene Young, Nicole Alexander, Jenn J McLeod and others!

Plus all month there’ll be competitions to win great books, and if you order an Aussie Romance Author book from Booktopia in July, you’ll go into the draw to win a fantastic book pack. For more details, click on the banner above or visit Booktopia.


Romance Writers of Australia Conference, August 16th-18th 2013

It’s only 6 weeks until the RWA Conference in Fremantle, W.A. and I can’t wait. This is THE event of the year for romance authors, published and aspiring. A chance to catch up with old friends and make new ones, plus learn more about our business and craft. There are also opportunities for authors to pitch their work to leading Australian and international editors and agents.

I have a great deal to thank the RWA for and can’t recommend the organisation and its conference highly enough.

For more information on the RWA and the conference, visit the website.


Australian Romance Readers Association Booksigning Event, Saturday 17th August 2013

I’m signing and so are 55 others local and international authors. These events are a hoot! Register now at the ARRA blog.

BSE3 I'll be signing 500



J’aimee Brooker’s Spotlight On Aussie Rural Novelists

Last week I answered a series of fun questions on contemporary romance author J’aimee Brooker’s blog as part of her week-long spotlight on Aussie Rural Novelists. Find out the one author I’d spend my last $20 on, who I’d be if I was a character from a novel and more!

Also featured were Rachael Johns, Karly Lane, and Jennie Jones. Check it out!


FRIDAY FEAST with Loretta Hill

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Oh, I do adore Friday Feast. Sometimes it’s like owning a bookshop with a bakery and café attached. All those great stories! All that delicious food! Hmm, maybe I should hunt down a wine writer so we can make this place trulyauthor pic perfect…

Speaking of perfect (sigh, love a good segue nearly as much as the Feast itself), today I welcome  back a wonderful Australian author who’s had the perfect start to her writing career. Not only was Loretta Hill’s debut novel, The Girl In Steel-Capped Boots, a rip-roaring chart-busting success, so is her second novel, The Girl In The Hard Hat, which released last month. No wonder given these rave quotes:

This is the sort of book that I would recommend to everyone I know, especially if they liked The Girl In Steel-Capped Boots. And if you haven’t read that one then… you definitely need to! Bree at One Girl… 2 many books!

Well written, witty and entertaining, The Girl in The Hard Hat is an engaging contemporary romance in an unique Australian setting that I can’t wait to visit again. Shellyrae at Book’d Out

Check it out.




HardHat cover finalTo tame a bad boy you will need:

a.      One hard hat

b.      Three hundred and fifty sulky FIFO workers

c.       A tropical cyclone

Wendy Hopkins arrives in the Pilbara to search for the father who abandoned her at birth.

Getting mixed up in construction site politics at the Iron Ore wharf just out of town was not high on her ‘to do’ list.

But when she takes a job as their new Safety Manager she becomes the most hated person in the area. Nicknamed ‘The Sergeant’, she is the butt of every joke and the prime target of notorious womanizer, Gavin Jones.

Giving up is not an option, though.

For, as it turns out, only Wendy can save these workers from the coming storm, find a man who wants to stay buried and … put a bad boy firmly in his place.

From the author of The Girl in Steel-Capped Boots comes another funny and deliciously romantic tale of a woman in a man’s world.

The Girl In The Hard Hat is available now from your local book or chain store. You can also order online from Dymocks, Booktopia and Bookworld, or download the ebook from Kobo, Google Play, Amazon Kindle or iTunes.

Now here’s Loretta!


Spoon Lickin’ Good


When Cathryn first asked me to write a blog for Friday feast, I knew exactly what I was going to write about, Chocolate Cake! Any time of year, any time of day, chocolate cake is by far my favourite comfort food.  I also have 001four kids. So baking a cake always makes a great activity in which they can get involved.   I measure out all the ingredients and put them on the counter so that they can tip them into a giant mixing bowl. It makes them feel so important – like they’ve really baked this cake all by themselves. After the ingredients are in, they take it in turns stirring – because you know, a good stir is essential to a good cake. But that’s not the best part. The best part is licking the bowl and the spoon afterwards which unfortunately usually doesn’t take nearly long enough.  You see, after that, the questions start.

“Is it ready yet?”

“Can we eat it now?”

“I think it’s cooked mummy!”

Baking in the oven for half an hour is a very difficult concept for a five year old to grasp. Let alone, a three and one year old. My youngest luckily is 3months, so he is content to just watch, gurgle and wave chubby fists.  All the 004same, I hear myself repeating the same phrase over and over, “Not yet. But soon.” Then at last the cake is out and cooling on a rack. They take it in turns sniffing it as if by sucking in the chocolaty steam they can somehow experience coco nirvana.   They’re not half wrong. I say, “Back away everyone.  It needs some time before we can ice it.”  To stall them, I have the ingredients for the icing there so that we can make it. Again using the electric mixer is a very big deal. And when the last spindle has been licked clean the cake looks cool enough to ice. I layer it on with a big plastic spatula. Yumo! The icing is the best part of cake. Thick and buttery. My mouth is watering.  But it’s not my turn yet. I cut all the kids a slice each. We put them on plastic plates and take them outside so they can spill as many crumbs as they like. Michael is asleep now, so he gets wheeled into the bedroom. The other kids park themselves on the garden chairs and don’t move until their faces are covered in chocolate. It’s clean up time. Off to the bathroom to wash up. When they are relatively presentable again and run off to play I creep back to the kitchen and put the kettle on. I then cut myself a very generous slice. With coffee in one hand and cake in the other hand, I shuffle over to my computer. It has been winking at me on the dining table to no avail all afternoon. Hero and heroine have been waiting for their next move. The kids are quietly watching a dvd now. As sweet chocolately goodness infuses my senses, I begin to type.


Here’s a great recipe for a very simple but delicious chocolate cake that I make all the time!



1 cup self raising flour

3 tablespoons cocoa

250g butter

½ cup of caster sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

2 eggs



1 cup of sifted icing sugar

1 teaspoon of sifted cocoa

A tablespoon of milk

2 teaspoons of softened butter



  1. Grease and line one 20cm deep cake tin
  2. Combine flour, cocoa, sugar, vanilla essence and melted butter
  3. Add eggs and mix for one minute
  4. Pour into cake tin and cook for 25-35minutes at 160 degrees C
  5. Icing: Mix icing sugar ingredients together and beat with electric mixer to make fluffy.

Tip : Don’t over cook. Test often with a knife after 25 mins

Ahh, Loretta, you have no idea how tempted I am to dash from the calorific desert that is my office to the kitchen and start baking. As you so perfectly describe, there’s nothing like a chocolate hit to fire up the muse. Thanks so much. These tried and true Friday Feast recipes are like having a precious family cookbook on hand, except in this case, the ‘book’ is full of others’ favourite recipes and made all the more special for it.

Okay, Feasters, what food fires up your imagination? I’ve considered this deeply and think that perhaps it’s good old Vita Brits (or Fart Bricks as my other half so charmingly calls them). A bit dull I’ll concede, but as that’s my usual breakfast fare and given that after breakfast is when I start writing, there has to be some sort of correlation, surely? Mind you, I do have a habit of succumbing to episodes of mad scribbling after a couple of glasses of red wine too, but that’s another tale…

If you’d like to learn more about Loretta and her books, please visit her website. You can also connect via her blog, Facebook and Twitter.


FRIDAY FEAST with Loretta Hill

This week on Friday Feast we have the girl in steel-capped boots herself, Australian women’s fiction author Loretta Hill. If you’ve been into a book shop or the book section of a chain store recently, which of course you have, you would have noticed the bright, fun cover of Loretta’s debut release, The Girl In Steel-Capped Boots.

I have this book on my to-be-read pile but I’ve heard some wonderful things from others who have read Steel-Cap, and the reviews have been fantastic. So I’m very much looking forward to reading this book.

Here’s the blurb, and if that whets your appetite and want to read more, check out the excerpt at Loretta’s website.

Let me burst your city bubble for you. This is the Pilbara. And it’s the Pilbara that makes the rules…’

Lena Todd is a city girl who thrives on cocktails and cappuccinos. So when her boss announces he’s sending her to the outback to join a construction team, her world is turned upside down.

Lena’s new accommodation will be an aluminium box called a donga.

Her new social network: 350 men.

Her daily foot attire: steel-capped boots.

Unfortunately, Lena can’t refuse. Mistakes of the past are choking her confidence. She needs to do something to right those wrongs and prove herself. Going into a remote community might just be the place to do that, if only tall, dark and obnoxious Dan didn’t seem so determined to stand in her way . . .

The Girl in Steel-Capped boots is a delectable tale of red dust and romance, and of dreams discovered in the unlikeliest of places…

How cool does that sound? Nearly as cool as Loretta’s foodie adventures in the Pilbara. So without further ado, here’s Loretta to tell you all about them!

I’ve never been a very good cook. Anything that you just slap together, tip out of jar or shove in the oven seems to be my forte. Eating on the other hand… I am the ultimate expert! Ask anyone. I’ve tried it all. Of course, I have my

favourites and I need chocolate at least once a day. But in terms of eating exploration…  I love it! The combination of eating and travelling. Travelling to eat. Travelling to try new eating. Or eating and travelling at the same time. I’m in heaven.

I have a book out this month. It’s called, The Girl in Steel-Capped Boots, set on the Pilbara.  The story is based on some of my own experience living and working in this gorgeous part of Australia. While I was there, I really got into the food. Particularly, the seafood. That’s what the Pilbara eating is all about really. Fish, crabs, prawns, bugs, mussels, eels. I’m talking fresh, top shelf stuff, very reasonably priced and lick your fingers delicious. My mouth is watering just talking about it. In fact, if you’re into fishing, you can have all this and more for free. The number one leisure activity on the Pilbara is fishing. Heading on down to your local beach with a fishing rod or spear gun is like visiting a buffet.

Unfortunately, like cooking I wasn’t that skilled at fishing either so instead I made lots of friends and just tagged along on these fishing expeditions with a packet of buns, a tub of butter and a bag of lemons. Some of best weekends I had was sitting on rocks eating barramundi or coral trout cooked in foil on a portable hotplate. Sometimes the only other accompaniment is a can of beer. Nothing can make you feel more native than knowing lunch was swimming not half an hour before.

If fishing is not your thing and you just want a quick fix. I recommend the Point Samson Yacht club. I loved this place so much I had to put it in my book. So when my heroine needed to take stock I sent her off to this venue to stuff her face full of sea urchins and think- Like you do!! The place is a paradox. It doesn’t look like much. No real landscaping. Most definitely no surrounding yachts docked in the bay. More like a tin shed with a sailing mast pushed into the ground beside it- the only outward indication of it’s true calling.

But the seafood! OMG! We had a work function there one night and I was just stunned by the quantity and quality.  For entree I remember sitting around a couple of wine barrels that were filled with prawns on ice and just shelling and eating. Shelling and eating. It was amazing.

You know, someone should have warned me that after writing this blog I was going to feel hungry. Too bad I’m fresh out cray fish! Oh well, there’s always the back up. Time to raid my chocolate stash.

Eat and be merry!

Oh, Loretta, for a girl who adores seafood that sounds perfect! Think I might have to plan a trip…

Thanks so much for coming on Friday Feast and sharing your adventures.

Now, I bet there are a few readers out there with their own seafood heavens. So fess up, folks. Where’s your favourite seafood place?

For myself, I can’t go past our family’s beach shack in the tiny fishing village of Nene Valley on South Australia’s far southern coast. We used to eat so much crayfish us kids would whinge, “Aww, Mum, not crayfish sandwiches again!” before pleading for a barbecue. Imagine!

If you’d like to know more about Loretta and The Girl In Steel-Capped Boots clomp on over to her website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter and via Loretta’s blog.