Maya's August 2020 NEWSLETTER with bestseller news, scone tutorial and a giveaway
Sending sunshine from my house to yours, and virtual hugs to everyone in lockdown again. We've been staying very close to home as more cases crop up locally, so I hope you're all keeping well where ever this newsletter finds you.
Pop the kettle on and settle in for all the latest on Bottlebrush Creek, our lamb-raising adventures and a great giveaway!
My oh my - I sure picked the wrong month to do DryJuly! There were so many things to celebrate last month, kicking off with Bottlebrush Creek going into its FOURTH reprint, then making #6 in The Australian Fiction Bestsellers list for June, and featuring at #4 in the Weekend Australian's Top 10 romance books last weekend (eight weeks after release) with several of my favourite authors.
Huge thanks to everyone who got their hands on a copy, your support has been wonderful and very much appreciated. This little author did several happy dances around her kitchen and felt very rebellious cracking out the champagne to celebrate. Next year I'll be smarter and support the OcSober cause instead!
Magpie's Bend has flown the coop
I was thrilled to hit 'send' on my 2021 book, which I've tentatively named Magpie's Bend. The second draft took longer than I'd expected but Lara's story is now in the hands of my wonderful publisher, Annette at Allen & Unwin, and I'll wait on the edge of my seat for her feedback.
The title may well change between now and publication, but I can guarantee the plot line will feature Lara McIntyre, a handsome newspaper reporter called Toby, a cheeky magpie called Vegemite (modelled on Nipper - pictured above - who flew into our lives last summer), Basil the troublesome kelpie, plenty of baking (particularly sourdough), and the Bridgefield General Store, which faces the fight of its life. It pleases me no end that so many of you guys are eagerly waiting for your McIntyre sisters 'fix', I can't wait to share this next story with you.
Launching left, right and centre
Wow, July was a humungous month! I recorded eight online events for Bottlebrush Creek plus radio and newspaper interviews. If you missed them, you can check out the replays online. Highlights include Sandie Docker singing me happy birthday on her Friday Book Bites series, the low down on how I scored my publishing contract with Tabitha Bird for Brisbane Libraries, my love/hate relationship with country music explained to Marnie from Frankston City Libraries, why a trailer load of goats appeared in Bottlebrush Creek with Janine from Casey Cardinia Libraries and the smooth run from journalism to fiction with Monique from Koorliny Arts Centre. I've realised I do a LOT of talking with my hands and my expression, pretty sure I'll come back as a sign language interpreter in my next life.
If you're keen to ask a fresh question, there are more events in the pipeline. I'll add them to my website soon!
I love aiding and abetting keen bakers, so it's fabulous to see readers having a crack at the recipes on my website. Clare @ClareGriffinWriter and Abby from Portland both did a great job with the coconut cake recipe featured in last month's newsletter, Jodi from @JFgibsonWriter made the perfect batch of blue-ribbon yo-yo biscuits and Zak from Beachport knocked his grandparents socks off after watching our YouTube tutorial and making the microwave chocolate self-saucing pudding.
Scones for breakfast, lunch and tea
In June I roped four author friends into sharing their favourite scone recipes and books about baking in an online event 'Cooking the Books' for the Australian Romance Readers Association. The recording went live yesterday. If you fancy seeing how I make my scones (thankfully I didn't burn the house down whilst making them live to camera), and hearing how Kaneana May, Leonie Kelsall, Cathryn Hein and Carla Caruso like their scones, catch the video and scone tutorial here.
I also made it my mission to try Kaneana, Leonie, Cathryn and Carla's recipes too (purely for research, of course) and I can guarantee they're fabulous. I've added links to their recipes at the end of my scone recipe here.
Five fast minutes with Barbara Hannay
I can't resist a good Australian story, and Barbara Hannay tells them so beautifully!
Thanks to Penguin Random House, I was delighted to receive an advance copy of Barbara's new novel The Sister's Gift. Like all of her books, I devoured it in just a few days. I'm also thrilled to have her in the spotlight this month with a giveaway. Click HERE to read more on Barbara's fabulous new novel, her knack for solving plot holes on long beach walks, having her novel optioned for film and your chance to win a copy...
Lamb spam, lockdown & lots of rhubarb
Not sure about you guys, but I think the sight of a wagging lamb tail is possibly the sweetest thing ever! Our little orphan lamb flock has increased and although we've weaned the first lot, we are still bottle-feeding the newest arrivals, Colin and Brianna. They all race down the paddock to greet us every morning, noon and night, and each have their own personalities.
We've had glorious frosty mornings and clear days here in south west Victoria, and I've loved spending weekends in the garden - moving rose bushes to sunnier spots, dividing clumps of sedums, pruning old roses, planting new roses and harvesting an endless supply of rhubarb and coriander. My hellebores, wallflowers, daffodils, jonquils and daisies bring cheer to my winter garden and my north-facing lounge window is proving the perfect sun-trap to bring on my spring seedlings.
If we go into lockdown again, I know I'll have plenty of jobs in the garden to keep me busy. Speaking of lock-down, I can recommend this face mask pattern to any keen sewers. Don't forget you can use the woven recyclable shopping bags as the 'filter' layer and your snazziest fabric to spruce it up.
As well as scones, we've been baking this delicious Cobb Dip as recommended by @KerriTurnerAuthor and experimenting with biscuits and slices from a vintage Woman's Weekly recipe book, and the gourmet Silver Spoon cookbook Mum and Dad gave me for my birthday.
I hope this newsletter brings a splash of sunshine to your Sunday. Please know I'm sending love and smiles your way, and hope your weekend is full of good books, good food and good company (even if it's the virtual variety!).
Stay well, stay safe and stay warm! Love, Maya x
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