Sunday, April 28, 2013

Recipes for Writing

If you're a writer and a working mother like me, you'll find it difficult to juggle everything you need to get done. While you're knee deep in plot and character development, it can be hard to tear yourself away for some of the necessary challenges daily life throws at you, like cooking family meals.

I'm a big fan of quick and easy recipes, so I'm going to share a couple with you which have become my favourites over the years.

I love dessert, but I'm not a person who likes to spend time in the kitchen. Many nights, dessert is an afterthought, especially when dinner has been a quick throw-together, leaving everyone with a hankering for just a little bit more.

Below are two different versions of an apple crumble. The first is for when you already have the oven on, and just want to throw something together for 'after'. The second is a microwave recipe, which takes next to no time to prepare and cook. Your family will love them both. While I haven't specified it in either of these, you can use gluten free flour in the mix for both - which I do as my diet is wheat free - and it turns out equally as nice. In the oven baked version, just use gluten free cornflakes as your option, which I think most are these days anyway.

Oven Cooked Apple Crumble:

1 425g tin pie apples (or stewed fruit)
1 cup plain flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup dessicated coconut
2 cups crushed Cornflakes or Wheatbix
75g melted butter

Put the apples in the bottom of a casserole dish, mix the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl and pour over the melted butter. Spread crumble mixture over the apples and bake in a 180 degree (Celcius) oven for twenty minutes. Without opening the oven, turn off and leave to cook in warm oven for another twenty minutes. Serve with cream or ice-cream, or if you're like me, both!

Microwave Apple Crumble:

1 425g tin pie apples (or stewed fruit)
1 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup dessicated coconut
1/2 cup plain flour
1 tsp cinnamon
100g melted butter

Prepare as for the oven baked crumble and microwave on high power for 5 to 8 minutes. Leave to sit for a further 3 minutes, then serve, with yoghurt, cream, ice-cream, etc.

While they're both quite sweet, they both contain some pretty healthy ingredients so it's also a good way of getting your kids to eat cornflakes, oats, and fruit. You can even serve this up on a cold morning for breakfast with yoghurt...yum!

Happy cooking and happy writing...

If you try these recipes, I'd love to know what you think...

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Time to Blog Hop

It's time to blog hop! Today I'm going to talk about my new project, Two Degrees, and offer a few other fantastic authors to check out. I hope you'll follow the links, and watch the blog grow, as well as follow it back. There are some great blogs to check out...

I've come to this via my very good friend, David Bowman. You can find his blog here:

Let me begin my blog hop by telling you all about my new project:

1: What is the working title of your book(s)?
The working title is Two Degrees. If you’re a New Zealander you will probably get the meaning straight away, but it’s said that there are six degrees of separation between any two people and here in New Zealand, with the population the size it is, this calculation is more like two degrees.

2: Where did the idea come from for the book?
I’ve had the idea for a while, but I’m pretty sure it stemmed from my actual experience years ago of picking up a hitchhiker while I was travelling between Blenheim and Christchurch. Like many of my stories, it’s been mulling around in my brain, waiting for me to put it on paper.

3: What genre does your book come under?
Surprise, surprise, it’s romance! How unusual for me…but like most of my books, this one is contemporary romance…a mainstream story which is character-driven. We all know a Kathryn…maybe we are in some ways Kathryn. She’s headstrong and determined… passionate about animals as she’s a vet. She followed her father’s vocation, but felt like she always lived in his shadow, hence the reason she lives in another city. She feels she failed her parents because her marriage didn’t work out, so now she focuses on the things she can do right.

4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Not sure about the female lead, but the male would have to be played by Timothy Olyphant, although by the time I get it written, he might be a little grey around the temples…hang on, he already is, and very hot for it. Did I say that out loud? Anyway, a younger version of Timothy would be perfect…

Kathryn is tall, graceful, but strong and intelligent…maybe an Uma Thurman type, but again, a little younger.

5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Kathryn takes on more than she bargained for when she stops for a hitchhiker.

6: Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency?
Bluewood Publishing will, as usual, be representing my work.

7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I’ll answer that when I finish writing it…

8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Now that’s a toughie…I don’t like to compare my writing to other authors, or even other books within my genre, so I’ll compare it instead to one of my own. In story, it will be similar to Beside The Brook, in that Kathryn is a very strong-headed woman with good family roots.

9: Who or what inspired you to write this book?
As I said, the story has been in the back of my mind for some time now. Like most of my stories, the basic shell forms and doesn’t flesh out until I find the right character to fit the story. For a long time I didn’t know who Kathryn was. Just recently she has come to fruition, building every day in my mind. Little things about her become clear all the time, and I’m now at the point with her that I can start to write her story.

10: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
There’s a steamy, almost instant connection between Kathryn and her hitchhiker, Gabe. For Kathryn, it’s a daring excitement, something that doesn’t happen in her life very often, and she thinks it will be a one-time thing…in the morning they will part ways and nobody will know any different. She can let loose with Gabe, because she knows he’ll be gone the next time she turns around…obviously, fate has other ideas…

I hope you’ll take a look at my work when it comes out…I’m enjoying getting inside Kathryn’s head, and Gabe promises to be a worthy opponent…

Next on the blog hop is a fellow author who I know you’ll love, M.M. Cox. Megan has had great success with her Teen Mobster series so far, and I look forward to her future releases. You’ll find her blog here, where she’ll be blog hopping on the 1st of May:

After Megan, I hope you’ll hop over and check out Lee Murray’s guest blog at Paula Phillips’ The Phantom Paragrapher blog site. Those in New Zealand may know Lee for her children’s book, Battle of the Birds, which won Best Youth Novel in the 2012 Sir Julius Vogel awards.

I’m very fortunate to be able to work with Lee this year on her new up and coming novel, Misplaced, which I’ll let her tell you all about here on Paula’s blog, on the 15th May:

Last, but not least, my fellow author, Barbara Phipps, will be joining the blog hop on the 29th May. Like me, Barbara is new to the blogging revolution, but she has some great things to say. You can find her blog here:

Thanks for joining me on my blog's been fun!

Monday, April 15, 2013


Recently I came home from work to discover that our house had been burgled. Now we were relatively lucky. Nothing was broken and our house wasn't completely decimated, the probably local thugs were obviously on foot and not professionals as they took only what they could carry...or ride in the case of my bicycle...but they did take all our laptops.

As a writer, coming home to find your precious life lost is quite heartbreaking. I'm relatively new to the concept of backing up, especially to a virtual online device such as is the new technology available these days. Putting your precious data onto a virtual drive that you can physically pick up and take with you, seems to be literally putting it in clouds...which is why, I guess, one of the options is Cloud :)

Again, luckily, I only lost nearly two months of data. Now I've been pretty slack the last few months and haven't written much. My time has been devoted to the publishing business and getting other authors out into the world, so I guess it was quite timely in that I haven't lost anything I can't get back.

However, my message today to the writers out there who are managing to draft more than a few words a day is: Backup! In fact, don't just backup...have a backup of your backup. You just never know when your thoughts and scribblings will be gone...