Tag Archives: Young adult

FRIDAY FEAST with Beck Nicholas

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Hello, lovely people, and welcome to another fantabulous edition of Friday Feast! Today is very special because we have on a debut Australian author, a book giveaway and a totally slurpilicious recipe. Much cause for celebration!

Unlike a certain beloved football team whose performance in the  AFL Grand Final still makes me want to sob with heartbreak and bewilderment. But enough of the Sydney Swans. Cos, quite frankly, I’m still too upset to talk about it. So, in Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf news… well, at least I wasn’t as bad as my football team! Not even close. Although I did send a ball hurtling into a dam. Actually, make that two balls. Oh… Hang on. It was three. Sigh. But I did spot a frill-necked lizard and had a brown snake go slithering across the fairway. Just as a bonus!

Speaking of bonuses, that’s what you’re in for today, so read on.Young Adult author Beck Nicholas

I am absolutely chuffed to welcome Beck Nicholas to Friday Feast and to showcase her debut young adult novel, Fake. Beck hails from Adelaide and has been a long time member of the Romance Writers of Australia, and we’ve caught up at many a conference. I was thrilled when I heard Harlequin would be publishing her first book and even more delighted when I saw the fantastic cover she’d been given. Now it’s wonderful reviews I’m seeing!

Fake is on the shelves now and while it might be marketed at young adult readers, adult readers will be in for a treat too. Take a look.


Cover of Fake by Beck NicholasSeventeen-year-old Kath McKenny has a date to the end-of-term party with her since-forever crush. He publicly messaged her to confirm, but there’s been a recent status update: he’s taking the new girl — giggly, pretty, well-developed Lana Elliot — instead.

After being thoroughly humiliated in front of half the school, best friend Chay talks Kath into revenge: a scheme to create the perfect — and very fake — online guy for Lana. Once she falls for him, they’ll show her what it’s like to get brutally dumped.

Everything is going to plan until Kath starts spending more-than-just-friends time with the other new kid in town — Lana’s dreamy older brother, Sebastian. Kath finds herself getting in deep — in love and drowning in guilt, she tries to put an end to her prank, but it’s taken on an unstoppable momentum of its own, with very real consequences.

As her plotting begins to unravel, so do the people Kath thought she knew:
Her mother has a secret online life.
Her father has a whole new family.
Her best friend is barely recognisable.
Her boyfriend has a disturbing hidden past.
And her enemy is more familiar than she knew

Doesn’t that sound a blast? You should buy a copy right now. For the paperback visit most splendiferous online bookstore Booktopia. Also Bookworld, Dymocks, Angus & Robertson, QBD The Bookshop, Collins Booksellers, direct from the publisher Harlequin, or your favourite bookshop or chain store. For the ebook try Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play, JB Hi-Fi or your favourite retailer.

Still not sure? Try this excerpt on for size.

‘Kath! What are you hiding here for?’

I look up, into the frowning face of Chayanne Davy. She’s been my best friend since fourth grade when she cut my finger in a fight over a piece of purple ribbon. She didn’t do blood and promptly fainted, meaning we both spent the rest of the lesson in the nurse’s office. Now, she looks even more pissed than she did then. Her eyebrows, a dozen shades darker than her bleached hair, are lowered in a scowl.

I shrug. ‘This is where we always sit.’

She drops a folder on the damp grass and settles beside me with an exaggerated sigh. ‘But now you’re dating Joel, you need to hang out near the canteen in case he wants to talk to you.’

‘He bought me an ice-cream almost two weeks ago. It’s hardly a commitment.’

‘You’ve finally got Mr Hottie’s attention and now you’re going to blow him off?’

I’m not sure a meet-up at Sweety’s Icecreamery, two doors down from my house, even counts as a date. I shrug again.

Chay flashes me one of her infectious grins. Her bright red lipstick matches her sandals which, combined with tiny cut-off shorts, are completely inappropriate for the chill in the air. ‘So did I imagine the fact that he asked you to the end-of-term party?’

My lips twitch but I refrain from repeating the jig I’d performed in the privacy of my bedroom. ‘Nope.’

Truth be told, for a while I’d worried that I’d dreamed the casual invite to the annual dress-up celebration. I’d been polishing off the remnants of my strawberry shake and the final slurp nearly drowned his words.

Wasn’t that fun? Now go buy. Go on!

Sorted? Excellent. Please enjoy some delicious naughtiness with Beck.

A Little Fakery

I am a regular reader of Friday Feast for the brilliant excerpts (to make my TBR pile groan)and the recipes. Part of the excitement of that call with my first sale was the prospect of at last being a guest myself. Here I am with FAKE on the shelves and my turn in the FF spotlight. Thanks for having me Cathryn (even though we might have a slight disagreement on footy teams – Go you Crows, 2015 for sure!).

There isn’t a lot of cooking in Fake – apart from one horrible experiment when Kath makes her fave lunch of banana and peanut butter warmed on fresh bread. The thought of it actually makes me gag but I remember a friend at school LOVING the combination. Personally I preferred the timeless (but perhaps equally disgusting) potato chip sandwich for my no-mum-around meal.

Although there aren’t many cooking moments, the characters do spend an awful lot of time visiting Sweety’s Icecreamery where they enjoy ice-creams and milkshakes… and a little romance.

Today I’m sharing a recipe inspired by the mint milkshake in the book. It’s is more of a building than cooking one but is super delicious. And you know sometimes it doesn’t hurt to Fake it a little.

Choc-mint Ice-Cream Sandwich

One tub awesome choc mint ice-cream (whole tub not required for dessert)

Choc chip cookies (or buy some)

150g softened butter

1/2 cup caster sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 egg

1 1/2 cups SR flour

1 cup milk chocolate bits


First, cream butter and sugar. Add in egg and vanilla and beat well. Mix in sifted flour and choc chips, until well combined.  Place heaped teaspoons of mixture onto lined tray, and press gently flat.

Bake at 180C for 10-12 minutes or until golden in colour and slightly gooey.

Choc chip cookies

Choc sauce

200g 70% Cocoa dark chocolate

185ml thickened cream

Break up choc and mix together. Heat in microwave or over double boiler gently, stirring often to combine.

Broken up chocolate ready for melting


Place dollops of ice-cream between two cookies. Then simply drizzle the warm choc sauce over the top.

Choc-mint Ice-Cream Sandwich


I’m not sure how many this makes thanks to family scavenging as I cooked but all the components can be enjoyed on their own too.

For a chance to win a signed copy of Fake, comment below to let me know your favourite after school snack or an easy dessert.


Thanks, Beck! And how good does that sandwich look? Mmm. I adore mint chocolate so this is right up my alley.

Now, you heard Beck. There’s a…


Rah! We so adore a giveaway on Friday Feast. It’s such a great way to discover a new author and this giveaway is totally easy-peasy. All you have to do to win a signed paperback copy of Fake is leave a comment sharing your favourite after school snack or easy dessert.

In the interest of playing along, I’m going to divulge one of the snacks I used to sneak in as a teenager: zap a snack-sized tin of corn in the microwave, drain and then stir through one (or many more) of those individually wrapped cheese slices. Zap a bit more until the cheese is melted, then scoff with spoon. Embarrassing to think about now but I loved that mix.

Your turn to share!

Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 7th October 2014. Australian postal addresses only.

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

This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Shelleyrae who has scored a copy of Beck’s fabulous debut release, FAKE. Thanks so much to everyone who joined in the Friday Feast fun. There were some wonderful after-school snack blasts from the past, as well as some, how shall we say… not for the fainthearted foods mentioned!

FRIDAY FEAST with Kaz Delaney

Oh, my lovely Feasters, I am practically squirming with excitement. Today on Friday Feast we have one of the most talented Australian writers around, and if that wasn’t enough, she’s a funny, wonderful person to boot.

I can’t remember which Romance Writers of Australia conference it was – it might have been my first or second – but some woman called Kerri Lane aka Kaz Delaney was MC, and she was hilarious. Her Jenny Cruisie stalker speech in particular had the audience teary eyed with laughter. Now, I had no idea who this woman was (mind you, I didn’t know who Jenny Cruisie was either) but I can distinctly remember thinking, ‘Far out, this woman is funny. She should really write a book.’

Write a book. Yes, well, *clears throat in embarrassment*. It turns out Kaz has written a lot of books, as Kaz Delaney and Kerri Lane, for children, young adults and adults. She is, what you’d call, quite famous, actually.

Which brings me to her wonderful new release. Not so much famous (yet) as…


Dead, Actually


Dead, Actually is a scathingly funny and sexy mystery set in the depths of Gold Coast society (is that an oxymoron?). Whatever. You’re going to LOL and love it.


Willow’s having a bad week. A dead body, a funeral and now she’s being haunted by the star of it all, the dead queen of Ruth Throsby High herself, JoJo Grayson.
Being dead hasn’t made JoJo any nicer. She’s still venomous and vacuous and, unfortunately, determined to stick around unless Willow finds out what happened.
But the mysteries keep multiplying. There’s a missing phone. An anonymous blackmailer. Dirty secrets that won’t stay buried. And the blame is being cleverly pointed right at Willow.
The only good thing? The gorgeous Seth Pentecost. He’s got his own agenda but it looks like he’s going to help Willow out. Could JoJo’s death be what it takes to finally bring Seth into Willow’s life

And now I give you the famous funny lady herself, Kaz Delaney.



If you’ve never had a leg of lamb greet your guests at the door, you’ve never lived


Thank you Cathryn for inviting me to share Friday Feast – this weekly blog is indeed a feast for the senses and I adore it, so I’m thrilled to be here. I love reading all the recipes and tips, and want to come to dinner with you all, though after my offering today I suspect not many people will be lining up to come to my place for dinner!!! Mind you, if you DO decide to pop over, I can almost guarantee you of some excitement! 😉

It may not be the kind of excitement that the characters in Dead, Actually are experiencing because, sadly, I don’t have any snarky ghosts on speed dial, despite having seen a few in my life. My dinner parties also won’t involve blackmail. Not often, anyway…

No, my specialty is dinner with that little bit extra thrown in. Sometimes I feel like Tim – that guy from the old Demtel ads: ‘But wait there’s more!’  Trouble is, none of us know what that ‘extra’ will be until it happens. So far it’s never involved a set of steak knives which is a GOOD thing considering every one of those ‘extras’, so far, has been classified under the heading of ‘DISASTER’.  And steak knives and disaster uttered in the same sentence? Ouch. Not even I’ve fallen that far. Yet.

However, before I reveal all and thus plunge myself into that cold, cold pool of humiliation let me say that I love to cook and bake. And though you’ll find it hard to believe – I’m quite good at it. My mother gave up accountancy to become a chef and she was always ahead of trends. Apart from that I love food and love being in the kitchen. I love experimenting and am notorious for never having recipes and have always believed cooking was one of my strongest talents. Closely followed by joke telling and party-karaoke (also called kerri-oke in some circles).

 I’m losing you already, right? ­ ☺ It’s okay – you’re safe. This is a karaoke-free blog.  And besides, no fermented liquids have passed my lips.

So here I am – plunging…

The first experience from my vast repertoire of disasters happened way back in our marriage. I was a (very) newbie-wife and it involved important people (as in dh’s boss) coming to dinner. I had baked a leg of lamb. How safe could you get, right? Besides, I was still a newbie cook as well.

Anyway, just as dh opened the door to our guests, I was pulling the roasting pan from the oven. Now, our flat was small and it had polished floors.

Yep – you can see where this is headed, right?

Distracted by the sound of jovial greetings, I fumbled. The pan tipped and I lost control. Wide-eyed, I watched the lamb joint slip over the edge and hit the floor.

And skate. Right across already mentioned polished floor.

And stop at the front door.

Right at the feet of our guests.

No one said a word. Silence.

I had two choices. I could scream out the back and never return, or pull on my big girl panties. I chose the latter. With as much dignity as I could muster, I simply, calmly, walked to the door, stepped in between the equally stupefied guests and husband, and picked up the errant leg of lamb, turned and carried back into the kitchen. I didn’t say a word.

No one did. Half an hour later, I served it.

I can’t remember those people ever coming back to dinner.

The second also involves a roast and this was only a few year ago. My daughter and her family were on a teaching exchange in Canada, and Nicole, her beautiful Canadian counterpart arrived and we were taking care of her. Introducing her, showing her around etc. On her second night here, we had them (she and her brother) here for dinner. What to serve? We had no idea of their preferences or beliefs so I decided on an array of Aussie things as we had the rest of the family over as well.

So, there I was. A wee bit frantic, ensuring the guests were comfortable. The evening began well, but it was typical of many nights with new people involved. Everyone was trying so hard, but there was just that hint of unease that happens when people don’t yet know each other. Laughing just a tad too heartily and then those moments of awkward silence that people rush to fill…

Well baby – did I have the panacea for that…

One of those food choices was a roasting joint and I was in the midst of making my special gravy to serve on the side when this particular disaster happened.

My gravy-making dish was an oven-proof glass roasting pan that had been passed down from Mum and used a trillion times. It was fabulous but apparently it was rapidly reaching its use-by date. So, there I was, standing over the hotplates, stirring the gravy when there was the most ear-shattering sound. Everyone rushed down to the kitchen…

And suddenly the laughter wasn’t forced. Or over-hearty.

It was spontaneous and knee-weakening. People who’d met merely minutes before clung to each other. Some flopped onto the floor. Tears flowed freely down cheeks – though not one was cried in sorrow. Shrieks of laugher filled the whole house and my annoyed indignation did nothing to abate that.

Why? Exploding gravy. That scrumptiously tasty gravy exploded. Not only did the glass pan go off like a bomb, it rained gravy all over me. My face, my hair, my carefully chosen clothes. It dripped off my nose, my eyebrows.

That exploding gravy experience became ‘our story’, and as annoying as it was (and yes, potentially dangerous) it broke the ice (along with my fave roasting pan!) and cemented the friendship. Just last year she was back for a visit with her new husband the first thing Nicole asked was whether we were having gravy. ☺

So, there I am. Naked, exposed and humiliated. Anyone care to join me? To tell their own story and make me feel better? Or offer sympathy? Sympathy is good. Either one will afford you an opportunity to win a copy of my latest YA, ‘Dead, Actually’. A cross-over novel for everyone who can remember their first love and doesn’t mind the odd bit of ghostliness, blackmail and a mystery thrown in.  Under the circumstances, I decided against leaving you with a recipe. Might be safer… ☺ However, to make up, I’ll throw in a sparkly gold bouillon shaped key-ring!

Thank you for having me here, Cathryn!


Oh, thank you, Kaz for such a wonderful post, complete with skating lamb and exploding gravy. Such fun!

Now, Feasters, you heard our fabulous guest, offer your story or a big dose of sympathy and you could win a copy of the brilliantly titled and fabulously written Dead, Actually and a gold bullion-shaped keyring. Which is, let’s face it, pretty damn awesome. So get commenting!

Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday, 3rd April AEST. Open internationally.

If you would like to learn more about Kaz please visit her website. You can also connect via her blog, Facebook and Twitter.


Kaz’s Dead, Actually giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to Kelly, the lucky winner of this fabulous book. Thanks to everyone who joined in the fun. Who knew dinner parties were so fraught with danger!