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  • Writer's pictureMaya Linnell

December newsletter with giveaways and Christmas updates

Happy December, friends! I hope this finds you happy, healthy and festive this weekend. Read on for my last newsletter of the year, three fab giveaways (be quick though, they're only open for a short time), recipes, book suggestions and two great author interviews for your reading pleasure. Thanks so much for joining me on the newsletter this year. I've loved having you as part of this community in 2020. Sending summer vibes and holiday greetings your way x


Just a reminder you can find my books in all good book stores and libraries in paperback, eBook and audiobook, or order Bottlebrush Creek and Wildflower Ridge online.


Happy readers with prizes

I was blown away to see almost 300 entries in my pre-Christmas mega book giveaway last newsletter. A huge thanks to everyone who entered and the publishers for collaborating! Our winners came from Victoria, WA and NSW. Big congratulations Cindy, Leah and Tilly, Karen and Kylie, I know you'll put those novels to good use. Read on for more great giveaways this month!


December author spotlight

I'm super lucky to have two Aussie icons in the spotlight this month. Grab a cuppa, enjoy their interviews and then head across to enter the giveaways, thanks to Penguin Random House and Hachette.

Fiona McIntosh is a commanding figure in the Australian writing scene, with her novels quickly topping bestseller charts after release. Her masterclass retreats also book out many months in advance by eager writers keen to learn from one of Australia’s finest. I had the pleasure of meeting Fiona at an author talk in 2017 and can confirm her events are every bit as enthralling as her books.

Fiona's latest novel, The Champagne War, takes readers from the boggy and bloody trenches of the First World War to the grand estates of France’s Champagne-making families. Fifth-generation champenoise, Sophie Delancre, proves a fabulous lead as the savvy, independent and ambitious head of the Delancre dynasty. Read the interview and then enter the flash giveaway for your chance to WIN a copy!



One of Australia's favourite actors, William McInnes turned his hand to novel writing in 2005. His new novel Christmas Tales is a darling collection of stories about Australia's festive traditions and memories from Christmasses past. I read half of this novel in one sitting, with tears of laughter streaming down my face. It's relatable, touching and perfectly conveys our dry Aussie humour. Click below to read my interview with William and enter the contest to WIN yourself a copy!



Earrings & books giveaway

I'm collaborating with Shaunagh from @Doll.House.Jewellery this weekend to give away signed copies of Bottlebrush Creek and Wildflower Ridge plus a $45 voucher to spend on earrings - woohoo! I'll be express posting the signed books on Monday, so you'll be sure to have them before Christmas. Perfect summer reading material, or for somebody special on December 25! Shaunagh is restocking her website as we speak, so check her website Sunday night for the latest products.

Entry is via Facebook and Instagram

You just need to:

  • Share and like our post about the giveaway (live from Saturday morning)

  • Be following both @maya.linnell.writes and

  • Tag me when you share the post

Winner will be drawn Sunday at 8pm, Australian addresses only please. Good luck!



Border openings, baking and near-broken noses

What a month! I was delighted to see the borders open. I've made three fabulous trips to South Australia in as many weeks to visit my family. There were tears and laughs after nine long months apart. I hope you are enjoying the freedom to see your loved ones again, too.

Highlights of this month's baking include these Jammie Dodgers by @sophieBakes and an outstandingly moist fruit cake from Fiona Lowe. Click here for the recipe and the story of the near broken nose, the timber box and the great Christmas cake rescue, which we'll remember for many Christmasses to come!

After an epic four weeks of thinking, procrastinating and rewriting, I'm thrilled to say Magpie's Bend is one step closer to the finished product you'll see in the book stores next June. I find structural edits the most challenging part of my writing process, making late November my biggest deadline of the year.

I spent the first fortnight tinkering with the easy stuff and getting my head around the bigger changes. In the third week I found oh-so-many 'essential' jobs around the house (re-grouting a shower grate and copious weeding, anyone?), then the final week was a mad, all-consuming dash to the finish line. The word count of the manuscript whizzed around like a yo-yo as I added, trimmed and rearranged. Starting at 102,000 words, it dipped to 89,000 at the lowest point and finished around 92,000 words.

A highlight of edits was a delivery of homemade cream puffs from my fabulous neighbour Karena (of October newsletter fame) on the day of the final read through. What a treat to keep me going!

It's great to see my recipes out in the wild (thanks to Dominique and Michelle for the above photos of the sponge cake and yo-yos). Flower-wise, I'm loving the first flush of roses. Black Caviar (pictured above) is my new favourite and I *may* have more roses on my Christmas wish list. My dahlias are getting taller (I expect to see the first blooms before December's end) and the sweet peas are bursting with fragrance.

Thanks to the veggie garden, we're eating sugar snap peas and snow peas nearly every night of the week, there's still oodles of rhubarb, fresh onions and potatoes, and an abundance of eggs. The seventy-billion tomato plants (propagated in the depths of lockdown) are coming along beautifully outside and the fruit trees look exceptionally happy this year.

In our prep for December 25, we'll be making gingerbread houses (using THIS recipe), there's a high chance Nigella's chocolate pav recipe will get a workout, and with a bit of luck, there'll be fresh, locally caught crayfish for Chrissy dinner.

I've also been talking about Christmassy traditions over on Bookish Bron's blog and diving deep into the drafting process of Bottlebrush Creek with Dani on the Words & Nerds podcast. And if you need one more Christmas book to get in the spirit, I can recommend Sandy Barker's new romance novel, The Christmas Swap, an uplifting and sweet story set in Melbourne, Colorado and England.

That's just about all from me. Have a fab December folks, stay safe this festive season and good luck in this month's giveaways. Love, Maya x

PS if you're stuck for Christmas gifts, books make brilliant presents! Bottlebrush Creekand Wildflower Ridge are available in paperback, eBook, Audio in all good book stores or you can find them here. Thanks for your support folks, I couldn't do this without you!


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