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  • Writer's pictureMaya Linnell

Maya's November newsletter with Chris Hammer, a ripper giveaway and award news

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.


Top 5 in the 2020

Best Blogger/Writer/Author award

I was so proud to make finals in the Roar Success Awards! It's my first time entering this new award, aimed at celebrating and connecting small businesses Australia-wide, across a range of industries.

It's never easy mustering up the courage to enter awards of any scale, let alone one where you need to convey your business goals, challenges and achievements in a three-minute video! Regardless of the outcome (announced mid-November), it was so satisfying to reflect on the highlights and hard work associated with my two novels Bottlebrush Creek and Wildflower Ridge, and my three years as a book blogger advocating for the Aussie literary scene.

By the way, if you've loved my books, why not leave a review so other people can find the McIntyre sisters too? Reviews don't need to be long, you can just use stars, or a single line about what you liked. Here's two Bottlebrush Creek reviews that made my day:

'Absolutely brilliant.... Loved every single page' Cindy, Western Australia

'A gorgeous story about family relationships... rural romance at its best' Done & Dusted Books, Qld

Click here to leave a short review on Good Reads.


November author spotlight

Five fast minutes with Chris Hammer

Chris Hammer is one of my favourite Aussie crime authors, and I've been captivated by all three of his novels Scrublands, Silver and his newest bestseller Trust. The series moves from the outback to the coast and now to the city, each more gripping than the next.

Released by Allen & Unwin last month, Trust pulls investigative journalist Martin Scarsden and his partner Mandalay Blonde into a deadly corporate criminal network. It's another absolute ripper, click HERE for my interview with Chris, plus details on his new novel (and see contest below for your chance to win).


HoHoHo - planning ahead for a very bookish Christmas

This year I'm helping you beat last-minute rush. I've teamed up with Aussie publishers to generate some festive book buzz, with four fantastic book bundles to suit every reader. I've chosen some of the novels I've especially loved this year, perfect for putting under the Christmas tree or savouring over summer. I'll share an individual graphic for each giveaway on my social media each day from November 1. To enter, just share the post with the book pack you'd like to win and tag a friend.

You could win:

1. A heart-warming book pack thanks to Penguin Random House, including The Godmothers by Monica McInerney, The Bush Telegraph by Fiona McArthur, The Sister's Gift by Barbara Hannay, a Penguin mug and a Penguin tote bag (Contest goes live Sunday November 1).

2. A thriller book pack thanks to Allen & Unwin, including Trust by Chris Hammer, The Secrets of Strangers by Charity Norman and The Good Teacher by Petronella McGovern. (Contest goes live Monday November 2).

3. A historical book pack thanks to Harper Collins, including The Women's Pages by Victoria Purman, Elsa Goody Bushranger by Darry Fraser and The Daughter of Victory Lights by Kerri Turner. (Contest goes live Tuesday November 3).

4. A junior readers fiction pack thanks to Hachette, featuring all three books in the Morrigan Crow series by Jessica Townsend. (Contest goes live Wednesday November 4).

Are you excited yet? I am! To enter you must:

1. Be following me on either Facebook or Instagram

2. Head to my Instagram or Facebook author page and find the graphic with the books you'd like to win

3. Share the post (make sure you tag me in this post, so I see it)

4. Tag a friend in the comments

And, because I love all my subscribers, you guys get a bonus entry into each contest just for being part of my book-loving community.

Australian postal addresses only please. Contest opens November 1 and closes November 12. You're very welcome to enter all the giveaways, just make sure you tag me when you share each individual graphic, so I can enter you into the draw. Good luck!


Sweet calves & lemon tarts

How has your October been? We've had an awesome month, with the children returning to school, a hint of mild spring weather, a colour explosion with all the irises bursting into bloom, a great sponge cake bake off with Fiona Lowe, a lemon tart or two and the arrival of three gorgeous little calves.

Many of you already know I've got a soft spot for animals. If it were up to me, I'd fill our small property with two of every kind. This new trio of calves took a bit of arm-twisting (Jase shakes his head at my animal-acquiring tendencies), especially as we've not long finished bottle-feeding the orphaned lambs. I'm pleased to report, however, that everyone is smitten. Tess, Rachel and Sadie have soft fur, catwalk-length eye lashes and dark purple tongues that try to latch onto anything (boots, jeans, hands, cardigans and most definitely the milk teats at feeding time). They'e only a few weeks old and from my office I have the perfect view of them galloping up and down the laneway on their long, spindly legs.

My garden keeps delighting me. With a little help from this gorgeous coffee table book from dahlia farming royalty, I'm making several fresh bouquets a week. I've been incorporating herbs (did you know sage has the prettiest purple flower?!), flowers (roses are well underway now and look great with wallflowers, lavender, irises and the last of the ranunculus) and random backyard foliage. I've also taken to carrying pruners in my glovebox for roadside foraging.

With all the eggs our hens are laying (15 a day on average), I'm scouring cookbooks for recipes that use the most eggs. While some people were panic buying loo paper, we started hoarding chickens, and now 16-egg quiches are a weekly dinner staple. Fiona Lowe had the fab idea of a sponge cake bake-off. We both baked this 12-egg sponge cake on the same day (300kms apart) and shared with our neighbours. It was divine, I'll be making it again! I also had a great session in the garden this weekend, planting dozens of baby hellebores Fiona potted up from her garden and brought when she visited last month. Very handy having writer friends with the same hobbies!

I also made my favourite lemon tart, using this recipe, which I've loved for several years. Highly recommend if you've got the magic touch with lemon trees, or like me, you make friends with those talented citrus-whisperers. And I've been loving this sourdough bagel recipe, thanks for the tip Annette.

Writing-wise, I'm elbow-deep in structural edits for Magpie's Bend, which needs pruning, rewriting and polishing before it gets to the copy-edit stage. There's an entire plot line that needs removing, a conflict that needs serious rethinking and little nips and tucks to make it flow better. That might sound drastic, but it's actually a pretty cool part of the process and quite fun when you roll your sleeves up and get on with it. I'm very excited about Lara's story and can't wait to share Magpie's Bend with you in June 2021.


NEXT MONTH- Earrings fans - get ready! I've teamed up with my all-time favourite local maker, Shaunagh from @Doll.House.Jewellery for another book and earrings giveaway! Details in the December newsletter.


That's all from me. Have a fab November folks, and good luck in the book giveaways.

Love, Maya x

Feel free to forward this to a friend in need of some baking, gardening & bookish goodness today!

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