Tag Archives: These Haunted Hearts

Rising to the challenge!

Earlier in the year I signed up for the Australian Women Writers Challenge, with the goal to read at least 10 books by Australian female authors this year. By mid-Feb, when I did my last update, I’d read four. Ten was looking easy. Then I managed to get a bit distracted and didn’t read any for a few months, but lately I’ve been back on the job, reading some wonderful Aussie authors, and discovering some great new voices.Australian Women Writers Challenge 2013 logo

Added to my read list are:

The stand-outs were The Secret Keeper (Kate Morton is such a wonderful storyteller), These Haunted Hearts (I adore Anna’s lush historical romances and this one, with a bonus ghost story, was gorgeous!), and Ask Me To Stay (Elise Ackers is a new author to me and one I’ll be reading again. I loved this story and she has an unique voice that I really warmed to).

I’ve been a bit naughty-good on the book buying front lately and have plenty more books by Australian authors loaded in my e-reader. I haven’t reached my goal yet (and do novellas and short stories count?) but I’m confident I will. Mind you, a nice long lazy holiday with plenty of reading time wouldn’t go astray, and it’d rather help if I could finish my own book, but that (I hope) is for later in the year. Anyway, this is meant to be a challenge!

How about you? Read any wonderful Australian female authors lately that you want to tell everyone about?

 

FRIDAY FEAST with Anna Campbell

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It’s always a joy to have Anna Campbell on Friday Feast. Not only is she wonderfully talented she’s a lovely lady and a very generous author.Anna Campbell 43970006

I call Anna my Romance Queen and while the title may be tongue in cheek, it’s not without genuine merit. Last month, Anna won five Australian Romance Readers Awards. Five! She’s also won or been a finalist in awards as prestigious as the Romance Writers of Australia Romantic Book of the Year, Romantic Times Readers Choice Awards and the Romance Writers of America RITA Awards. And for four years running, Anna has been voted ARRA’s Favourite Australian Romance Author.

I bow to thee, my queen!

Anna’s latest release is as lush and emotional as all her others. Take a look.

 

THESE HAUNTED HEARTS:

 

A REGENCY GHOST ROMANCE

 

 

THH low resOn one fateful wedding day at Marston Hall in 1818, four linked destinies hover in the balance.

Josiah Aston, Earl of Stansfield, wakes to discover he’s seventy years dead and he alone can free his beloved wife Isabella’s tormented soul. But first he must convince her to trust him against all the evidence…

Lady Isabella Verney, beautiful and tempestuous, married the man of her dreams, only to die violently on her wedding day. Every clue points to Josiah as the murderer…

Is true love strong enough to defeat ancient malevolence forever?

Miles Hartley, Viscount Kendall, is society’s ideal catch, but what does that matter if he can’t convince Calista Aston that he loves her? When an age-old curse strikes, only by proving himself worthy of her faith can he save their happiness…

Lady Calista Aston, noted bluestocking, fears she loves Miles Hartley not wisely, but too well. On her wedding day, her doubts place her at evil’s mercy. When death and disaster loom, is it courage or mad folly to believe that Miles loves her in spite of all her faults?

On one fateful wedding day at Marston Hall in 1818, will the lovers emerge triumphant or will darkness conquer all?

 

 

Ooh, a ghost story. Right up my alley. I bet it’s right up yours too, so why not do some clickety-click buying while you’re here? Or read an excerpt and then buy. Haunted Hearts is available now direct from Amazon for your Kindle and Smashwords for all ereaders and tablets. It’s bargain priced too. Only $1-99, so no excuse for holding back. I haven’t.

Book buying complete? Excellent. Now all hail the queen!

 

Chinese Food at the Wedding?

 

Hi Cathryn! Thank you for having me as your guest at your Friday Feast! As you know, I love your blog and the Friday Feasts are the icing on the (wedding) cake.

Hmm, am I being deliberately obscure? I think I might be. Although I imagine Chinese people will look at that title and go, “Yeah, we have Chinese food at weddings. What’s so special about that?”

Let me make myself clearer!

I’ve got a new e-novella out right now, an extended version of a story that first appeared in THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF GHOST ROMANCE in June last year. THESE HAUNTED HEARTS features two romances for the price of one, Calke Abbey bednot to mention a cursed Chinese bed based on the Great Bed at Calke Abbey in Derbyshire. Like the bed in THH, this bed was an 18th century royal gift stored in pieces in the cellars of a stately home. Like the bed in THH, this bed is hung with priceless silk embroideries. Unlike the bed in THH, the Great Bed at Calke doesn’t curse any bride who sleeps in it to a violent death (or not as far as I know!).

As you can imagine, within the space of a novella, and with two couples to sort out, not to mention numerous baleful supernatural influences to vanquish, nobody really has time to sit around and nosh. But given that this story is based around two weddings, I thought I’d talk about wedding cakes today.

I’m actually un-Australian. I hate fruitcake. Which means Aussie wedding cake isn’t my favourite thing. On the other hand, some U.S. friends made me an American wedding cake when I visited in 2007. This is basically a butter cake with yummy butter icing. Yup, that’s the one for me. Until recently, I had no idea that American wedding cakes were different from the traditional English/Australian version. I thought Cathryn’s food-mad readers might be interested in seeing a recipe for one.

As a proviso, I’ve never made American wedding cake, but I found what looks like a good recipe on The Wedding Information Site. I’ve adapted this recipe to my own taste (meaning the Chinese bed has cursed any mentions of that abomination margarine to oblivion!).

You can keep the decorations on your American Wedding Cake simple by adding fresh or silk flowers. Or you can decorate it by adding twisting garlands of roses and leaves made from royal icing or sugar paste. This recipe will make three round or square cakes 28cm, 20cm and 12.5cm. This size will serve approximately 80 people depending on how you cut it.

 

American Wedding Cake

wedding cakes 2

Ingredients:

600g butter
600g of caster sugar
12 eggs
600g self-raising flour
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
1-2 tablespoons cold water
450-550g raspberry or apricot jam
Vanilla Butter Cream:

The secret to making a good buttercream frosting is to beat it long enough to incorporate and dissolve all the ingredients into the butter, creating a fluffy and creamy texture. Soften the butter to room temperature for at least 3 to 4 hours for best results. Don’t use melted butter as this just creates a sloppy mess.

2 cups of salted softened butter

4 teaspoons vanilla extract

12 cups of sifted icing sugar

12 tablespoons of heavy cream

Using an electric mixer, beat the softened butter until it becomes light and fluffy (can take over 5 minutes to achieve). Stop the mixer often to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.

Add the vanilla extract and 1 cup of icing sugar and continue to beat for 2 minutes.

Alternately add the remaining icing sugar and 4 tablespoons of cream and beat very well.

Once you have the desired consistency, continue to beat the frosting for 5 minutes more until it is very fluffy.

As you use the frosting you may have to add the remaining 4 tablespoons of cream to keep the consistency smooth.

The Cake:

Grease and line three round or square deep cake tins 28cm, 20cm, 12.5cm.

Cream butter and sugar together until very light and fluffy and pale in colour (this can take up to 5 minutes or more of beating).

Beat in the eggs, one at a time, following each with a spoonful of flour.

Sift the remaining flour and fold into the mixture with water.

wedding cakes 3Divide the mixture between the prepared tins and bake in a moderate oven (180C). Allow about 40 minutes for the small tin, 1 hour 10 minutes for the middle size and about 1.5 hours for the larger cake, or until they are well risen and firm to the touch.

Turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely. Split each of the cakes into three layers and sandwich back together with the jam.

Place the two smaller cakes onto thin silver boards to same size as the cake and the bottom tier on a lager silver cake board.

Brush off any loose crumbs from the cake. Use part of the butter cream icing to cover each cake.

Position the cakes on top of each other and smooth the butter cream as much as possible using a hot wet palette knife if necessary.

Decorate the cake as you wish with hand made decorations, silk or fresh flowers.

 

So are you a fan of wedding cakes? What sort of cake did you have at your wedding? Or if you’re not married, what sort of cake would you like? Can you convert me to the joys of margarine? Hmm, think I might know the answer to that one. I’ve got a download of THESE HAUNTED HEARTS: A REGENCY GHOST ROMANCE for someone who comments today!

 

You had me at that frosting, Anna. It’s as luscious as one of your books! And I am so, so with you on the butter front. Margarine is awful stuff and, as we all know, butter tastes better.

So get a-commenting, Feasters, and reveal your wedding cake stories. There’s a faaaabulous prize up for grabs!

Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 2nd April 2013. Open internationally. Whoop!

If you’d like to learn more about Anna her wonderful, wonderful books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook and Twitter. Anna can also be found regularly blogging at Romance Bandits.

This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Cheryl who has won herself an ebook copy of Anna’s wonderful new novella, These Haunted Hearts. Thanks to all who took the time to comment. Hope to see you again soon.