Maya's September Newsletter with giveaways, recipes and lamb spam
Hello friends and a big HELLO SPRING!
I don't know about you guys, but I just love the change of seasons, and the transition from winter to spring feels like the best one of the year.
Big shoutout for all my fellow Victorians in lockdown, especially those in Melbourne, and those in charge of home schooling little people. We've had good days and tough days as home schooling and lockdown drags on, so if you're feeling a bit weighed down too, please know you're not alone!
A very big welcome to my new subscribers, I'm so glad to have your company. Read on for book news, more great book giveaways, podcast recommendations and a snippet from our home to yours. x Maya
Sharing is caring
Recipes are for sharing, right? You'll always find recipes on my website and social media pages and it makes me smile every time I see friends having a crack at my favourites.
Big congrats to Charlotte from Hamilton for making her first batch of yo-yos from the blue-ribbon yo-yo biscuits recipe, the lovely Leeann from NSW for her first ever attempt at scones using this scone recipe (and pairing them beautifully with my books, homemade lemon curd and dahlias), and Janine from Casey Cardinia Libraries who made a ripping batch of fluffy scones (and will likely be in charge of office smoko forever). They look great, ladies!
With the SA borders still closed, I won't be heading interstate to wish my Dad Happy Father's Day in person. Luckily for Jase, it means he'll get all the Father's Day fuss this year. The kids and I are looking forward to tomorrow's feast, topped off with either lemon meringue pie or pavlova for dessert. I'd love to know what special meals you make for family occasions.
We have not one, but TWO fabulous guests this month, and a bumper edition of prizes.
Five fast minutes with Nicole Hurley-Moore
Do you like a bit of gold fever in your rural romance?
Nicole Hurley-Moore's newest book The McAlister Legacy came out earlier this month, and I was lucky enough to read an early copy thanks to my publisher Allen & Unwin.
I really enjoyed the dual timeline and the element of mystery, as well as the gold fever running through the book. Nicole's characters are warm, her settings are always well written and it's a cosy read that will appeal to a wide audience.
Click here to read more on Nicole's new novel, her lucky desk cat, her dream career in medieval history and your chance to win a copy.
Five fast minutes with Eva Scott
Eva Scott is a newcomer to the paperback rural romance scene and I fell head over heels for her sweet story Lonely in Longreach, published by Harlequin Mira this week. The quirky news articles scattered throughout the story made me grin, as did meddling teenage matchmakers and the rugged outback setting.
Eva writes with a fantastic fluency and humour that will make her a big hit with fans of this genre. Click here or the button below to discover Eva's interest in glass blowing, the books on her bedside table, more about her new novel and how you can win one of two giveaway copies.
CONTEST NOW CLOSED!
COMING UP - I've got more fabulous interviews and giveaways on the horizon, with Monica McInerney and Chris Hammer lined up for October and November, plus some extra special pre-Christmas giveaways in the pipeline. Feel free to forward these newsletters to your book-loving friends so they don't miss out!
What's in a name?
I recently posted on social media about naming characters, and the dramas with rhyming names, names starting or ending with the same sound and hazards of doing a group find/change. Here's a few insights into the character names and how they came to be.
Penny: In honour of the female lead in the Inspector Gadget TV show (a childhood fav)
Diana: Named after Diana Barry in Anne of Green Gables
Angie: I once had a boss called Angelique (Angie for short) whose name I loved
Lara: I needed something different to the other three sisters!
McIntyre: Maiden name of a friend who went through a rough marriage and emerged stronger than ever
McIntyre Park (Merino Stud): Named after Mac Park in Mt Gambier, the motorbike race track I spent many, many weekends at as a kid
Claudia: After a character in the Babysitters Club books. Claudia was called Molly in early drafts, but Claudia felt like a better fit after 80,000 words
Violet and Rosa: Two baby names that I loved but didn't make the final cut for my daughters
Tim: Name of my My Child doll from when I was 8
Patterson: Surname of my first crush
Max: Originally called Con in first draft, made for major headaches when I changed later
Evolution of my manuscript's name: Angie's Book, A Cottage on Enderby Lane, Plumtree Hollow, A Cottage on Enderby Lane (again), Golden Wattle Creek, Black Wattle Creek, Bottlebrush Creek (who said naming a book was easy?!)
Updates from my office AKA desk/classroom/dining table
We're in the thick of lockdown 2.0 and the days sometimes blur into one. Mum's classroom involves plenty of science and maths (baking, helping mix bottles for our new orphan lamb Allan, investigating chicken breeding opportunities), ag studies (lamb cuddling, egg collecting and herding Houdini chickens out of the neighbour's back paddock), PE (beach walks, boogie boarding, kite flying and balancing on 44-gallon drums) and English (debating with siblings/mum and a growing collection of short stories they keep asking me to foist on my publisher Annette).
We feel very grateful to have room around us and the beach close by, although I'll never again under-estimate the luxury of a silent house between the hours of 9-3. I'm writing in snatches, and it feels momentous to be 23,000 words into book 4 (Diana's story). The draft of my 2021 book has had the green light from two fabulous beta-readers now, which is always reassuring, and also my publisher, who is reading it as we speak. I'm eagerly awaiting her notes to see what I'm facing with the big-picture edits. It's not out until next winter, but I'm already really excited about Lara's story.
The Bottlebrush Creek promo campaign continued well into August, with the lippy and stage-lighting again dragged into service for events with MidCoast Libraries NSW, Koorliny Arts Centre WA, Glenelg Libraries Vic, Rachael Johns' Online Book Club WA, a panel event at the Romance Writers Australia virtual conference, several podcast interviews and radio appearances (had to laugh at being called a 'love expert' on-air, thanks ABC Ballarat). I've really enjoyed these virtual chats and will certainly be supplementing my 2021 book tour with plenty of online launches too.
Here are a few things making me smile:
Finding family movies on free-to-air TV
I don't watch much TV (too many books to read!), but as a family we've all enjoyed the following movies on SBS on Demand; Strictly Ballroom, Ali's Wedding and Little Nicolas. I also loved the SBS comedy series Fleabag which is definitely NOT kid friendly, but fabulous. Go check it out!
Groceries delivered to my door
Living on a rural property, I was delighted to discover my grocery store delivers out my way for $12. Bargain! I may never set foot inside a supermarket again. The only downside is I've got Buckley's chance of sneaking my usual quantities of chocolate into the house because the children swarm around the grocery delivery van. Every. Single. Time!
Mary, Mary, how does your garden grow?
My yearning for spring hit hard in the depths of winter and I impatiently planted a gazillion seeds. Our north-facing glass doors have proven a fabulous sun trap and I've got a jungle in my lounge room, with dozens of veggies and flowers popping up. In the gardens, the ranunculus are just coming into bloom and the first of the irises are rearing their frilly heads (always the white first). The daffs and jonquils are done, but I've oodles of wallflowers, daisies, lavender and hellebores for posies, enough coriander to fulfil every Thai and Indian dinner whimsy, and rhubarb galore.
Podcasting my way through Covid
My current favourites are Talking Aussie Books (great interviews with writers), Dish The Dirt (behind the scenes on micro-flower farms), Inspirational.Australians (uplifting stories by Awards Australia) and The Book Podcast (now with a great new segment by Cass Hamer).
Top secret business
I also have exciting news that I can't share quite yet, but I promise you're going to like it. Full details soon!
I hope this finds you all in good spirits and keeping warm. Please know I've been really bouyed by all the lovely reviews, messages, Facebook/Instagram comments and shares and all-round fabulous response to my books. With the kids and the animals, I don't always get a chance to reply to every comment, but I see and appreciate every one of your kind gestures. Thank you!
Sending spring cheer your way from SW Victoria! Stay well, stay safe and stay warm! Love, Maya x