What do you like in your newsletters?

It’s Friday folks! Although I don’t know why I’M so excited about this fact as weekends mean no school and often children bickering and THIS weekend happens to be the beginning of TWO weeks school holidays.

Oh dear… it’s FRIDAY!

I’ll put that out of my mind for a moment and chat to you about the topic that’s been occupying a fair bit of my mind lately. I love getting newsletters from my favourite author and so decided this was something I wanted to start doing myself. I’ve (or rather my lovely website designer Paula Roe) has added a newsletter sign-up to my home page where you can register to receive my news. If you sign up before October 20th, you go in the draw to win a PRINT copy of my debut book ONE PERFECT NIGHT (not available to buy in print). I was so excited when I received these surprise books and can’t wait to share them with four lucky people.

Have you signed up yet?

Anyway, as I now have a list, I’m contemplating what type of things I want to include in my newsletter. And I’d like to open this discussion up to you – my readers – as well.

What sort of things do you like reading in author’s newsletters? More specifically, is there anything special you’d like me to include in mine?

Would love your thoughts and please don’t forget to enter the contest – sign-up form is at the bottom of the home page on my website.

I hope you all have a fabulous weekend!



Avon Valley Writers Festival and other fun stuff!

And the busy-ness that is my life continues. Last week we had school sport’s carnivals, 100 year celebrations and the circus coming to our home town of Goomalling. We’d actually already seen this particular circus but of course you can’t not go when it’s practically on your doorstep. It was lots of fun though and I think even better than the first time we saw it. Below is a pic of my boys waiting to go into The Big Top:

Then on Saturday night, I had the great pleasure of attending the dinner for the first ever Avon Valley Writer’s festival. I sat at the table with some lovely writers, including Janette Smith (who writes children’s books and is a fab writer) and Rob Kaay, an indie author of sci-fi fiction. Bought both his books for my hubby after hearing his inspirational talk on Sunday about why he could to self-publish his books and the process of how he actually does it. Was also lovely to catch up with Frances Macauley Forde, who writes screen-plays, poetry and children’s books. Unfortunately I missed her talk as it was on the Saturday!

On Sunday I presented a workshop: Plotting Romance Via Characters, in which I talked about the fact I don’t really plot my novels but rather think of a premise and two characters and go from there. I used much that I’d learnt from my good friend Fiona Lowe as I presented to the group the things I think made the difference for me between wanting to be published and finally getting there. The key components of that talk were truly getting to know your characters before your start – most importantly knowing what their self-belief is and how it will colour their every action and every thought.

I came home too tired to write, but have kicked off the writing week with over three thousand words added to Outback Dreams today. In many ways this story has been a breeze to write (touch wood), however because it is linked to two more books, I’m having to think carefully about how I portray and what I give away of the secondary characters that will be stars of the subsequent books. It’s lots of fun really.

With only four days left till school holidays, I’m hoping for a very productive week. Would love to finish this book by the end of October, but might be pushing things slightly! Until next time folks… xo

Putting it out there…

As any blog readers will know… the last few weeks have been busy and slightly stressful ones. On top of that, I’ve been sick and may have glandular fever. Should find out about that tomorrow. In all the busy-ness and stress, I haven’t been eating the best food or exercising much at all.

So come tomorrow – inspired by Fleur McDonald and Fiona Palmer – I’m starting a system detox. For a couple of days, I’m going to eat nothing but fruit and vegetables, then if I succeed at that, day three, I’ll start introducing some protein. Not much though, for one week, I’m going to OD on the fruit and veg and hopefully not much else beside water (and yes, one Diet Coke a day, but shhhh don’t tell Juliet Madison).

I’ll report back soon to let you know how I’m going but in the mean time, I’d love to hear any detoxes you’ve tried before!! Go on… spill 🙂

Jen Tucker talks Old Lady Problems!!

I’m HUGELY excited to welcome my US sister to the blog today – a big round of applause to the seriously gorgeous and absolutely funny Jen-Jen Tucker!!!! Jen has written two fabulous memoirs with just the best titles ever and I dare you to buy them and not fall in love with them.

Today Jen is talking about something we will ALL go through/are ALL going through – GROWING old. I love the message she brings, as it’s one I strongly believe in myself! Let’s all grow old gracefully!!! (well, as gracefully as those of us who struggle to be ladies can do)!

Without further ado… Jen Tucker!!!

Good morning!  Thank you so, so much Rachel for graciously letting me bamboozle my way on to your blog.  It’s been a wonderful week with the launch of my new memoir, The Day I Lost My Shaker of Salt, and ending it here is the icing on the gluten free cake!  Rach, thank you for your encouragement, your friendship, our inside jokes, and tolerating the fact that I can’t help but tweet to you about my mundane days while you’re several time zones away sleeping.  I love you to bits.

Old Lady Problems

 When I look back at my eighteen-year-old self, I had the world on a string.  I had everything I needed, and wanted, right at my fingertips.  As a senior in high school, my list of “must-haves” to be a fulfilled young lady, consisted of electric blue mascara, a bottle of Sun In (always next to my hairdryer), a weekly pizza date at J&G’s in Sylvania, Ohio, and the latest Madonna cassette tape.  Not too tall of an order to fill, to make a teenage gal happy, right?  My busy social calendar, spring break, and spending all of my paychecks at the mall made finishing my last year of High School tolerable.

Once I turned twenty-one, I had evolved.  Translation: I could drink legally and not end up in the pokey!  That’s always a plus, right?  During this new decade, I graduated from Purdue University, met and married my soul mate, Mike, gave birth to two gorgeous boys, all while the energy and stamina of my youth remained.  It felt good to be me.  I loved having busy days at the local zoo and museums with my sweet sons, and evenings out with Mike and our friends.  I was always up for adventures with girlfriends, weekend getaways, and football tailgates.  Bring it!

When I woke up the morning of my twenty-ninth birthday, I instantly knew that something about me had changed.  My once perky boobs (even after two babies) seemed to wander towards my waistline.  My rear end, lifted and looking good thanks to Spinning classes, had migrated towards the back of my knees.  Laugh lines appeared, which were not at all laughable by the way.  All of this transpired while I slumbered.

In one night’s time.

No joke!

This was not the best way to wrap up a decade bookmarked by my frivolous youth on one end, and leaving this decade behind on the other.  The nerve of Mother Nature…

I spent this entire year fretting about turning thirty.  I felt like I was abandoning the best parts of my past.  Leaving them behind.  Gone forever.  Leaving my twenties meant becoming a grownup, and who the heck wants to do that?!?  “Not I,” said Jen-Jen.

Hellooooooo thirties!  I adored you when you breezed into my life!  Wow, was I wrong about you; my humblest apologies.  What I loved most about you, was the opportunity you presented to start a new decade with a zero parked in the last digit of my age.  It was like beginning life anew!  Ahh—what a ride we had together.  You were present when I began my writing career, as I welcomed my sweet daughter, and when we moved across the country with my family.  However, something shifted in our relationship along the way.  I noticed as the numbers of my age went up, so did the numbers on the scale.  That was just cruel.  Why did you betray me like that, my thirties?!  How could you do that to our relationship; to me, when we started off so compatible?!  I thought we had something special.  Bygones…

I am proud to say that I’m presently a card carrying member of the forty club.  What a gift it has been.  Things that were once important to me, surface worries I put on myself as a woman, are no longer a weight around my neck.  So what if my ugly bunions stick out of my flip flops; big whoop.  I would rather stay home for pizza and movies with my kids, than get dolled up and paint the town red.  I spend fewer mornings straightening my hair with irons, brushes, and endless bottles of gunk and embrace my God-given curls.  Yoga isn’t making my cellulite budge like running once did, and I’m okay with that.  I embrace my hail damaged-looking thighs.  I might not even put on makeup today!  How do you like that, electric blue mascara wearing teenager in my past?  I bet you are so embarrassed to be a part of me right now, and that just makes me giggle with glee.  Guess what else my teenage self?  I’m forty, fabulous and I am NOT a grownup; so there!  Ha!

Other interesting developments have occurred in this new decade.  I now swallow half a bottle of antacids before I hit the sheets so my acid reflux doesn’t disturb my beauty rest.  I also indulge in a bedtime snack of Halls cough drops to prevent hacking fits in the middle of the night.  Sleep aids are in my repertoire as well.  Without them, I would never get back to bed after I use the bathroom several times each night.  Mike, my wonderful husband, calls our family room couch his second master suite on the nights I snore.  He has ended his attempts to wake me up by tugging on the sheets, punching me in the arm, or telling me that I sound like an Amtrack train pulling into the station.  He simply grabs his pillows, and moseys down the stairs.  I love that man.

What interesting journeys we all embark on as women.  We all take different paths, yet many of us are attempting to arrive at the same place.  Sloughing off of our hearts, minds, and spirits what our young selves deemed as important, worthy, or beautiful.  What’s beautiful is you, at any age, at any mile marker in life.  Never forget that you hold the key to let all that “stuff” go, and love yourself just as you are.

May you always be blessed, and bless others as well.



       Jen Tucker has never met a gluten free cupcake that she didn’t like.  A former teacher and educator, she worked with children in school, hospital, and enrichment settings for many years. In her years at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, it was Jen’s job to bring the “hands on fun” into the visiting exhibitions in the galleries.  Jen broke away from writing children’s books and thematic units in 2011 with her memoir, “The Day I Wore my Panties Inside Out” which was a semifinalist in the humor category in the 2011 Goodreads Book Awards. She is a monthly guest blogger at the website, Survival for Blondes. Jen lives in West Lafayette, Indiana with her husband, Mike, and their three children. 

You can purchase Jen’s latest book, The Day I Lost My Shaker of Salt, here.  You can also find her on Twitter, Facebook, her blog or on her website at Princess with a Pen

Thanks so much for coming Jen Jen… please do come again soon. x Rach!





The Sunshine Award

The lovely Margaret Lynette Sharp has nominated little old me for a Sunshine Award.

But : there are conditions.

Firstly, I have to reveal some previously secret information.

Here goes.

1. What is your favourite Christmas/festive movie?

Love Actually, without a doubt. I could watch that movie a zillion times and never tire of the beautifully romantic story lines. My fave is the guy that’s in love with his best friend’s wife. Ahhh.

2. What is your favourite flower?

Gerberas – bright pink ones if I can be extra picky!

3. What is your favourite non-alcoholic beverage?

I don’t think this is a previously unknown thing about me – DIET COKE of course folks 🙂

4. What is my favourite passion?

Travel and reading, and I don’t get to do nearly enough of either of them!

5. What is your favourite time of year?

Spring – I love it when it’s bright and sunny but not ridiculously hot!

6. What is your favourite time of day?

Bedtime, when I can curl up with a book and my electric blanket 🙂

7. What is your favourite physical activity?

Aerobics! I actually really love it!

8. What is your favourite vacation?

One of my favourite holiday spots on earth is Queenstown in NZ. Luckily my aunty and uncle have a holiday house there. Unfortunately that doesn’t meant I go there nearly as much as I’d like to.

Now for the next bit.

Nominating people – I’m tired and sick so will probably miss a zillion people, I’d like to nominate and I’m going to be slack and not actually link to people’s blogs. If you accept the challenge, feel free to put your blog in the comments section of this one 🙂

So without further ado, I nominate:

  • Becca J Heath
  • Joanne Dannon
  • Cathryn Hein
  • Jackie Ashenden
  • Maisey Yates
  • Autumn Macarthur
  • Scarlet Wilson
  • Leah Ashton
  • Robyn Thomas
  • Fiona Lowe
  • Fiona Palmer
  • Juliet Madison
  • Jen Tucker
  • Nicole Flockton

They all bring sunshine to my life on a daily basis!

Goodbye Gran…

The last few weeks have been emotionally stressful and sad for me. My dear Gran, who I lived with (with my Mum too) from when I was two years old to when I got married, died last Monday evening. She was 93 and had been ill for a very long time so in some ways it was a blessing to finally know she is in peace. But she was a HUGE part of my life and will be missed always. Below is a peace I read out at her funeral on Friday:



When I think of you Gran, I think of Ponds hand cream and LouLou perfume. I think of your cold, incredibly soft hands and the beautiful embroidery you did. You always told me, cold hands meant a warm heart. You got that one right, Gran.

When I think of you, I think of your famous rice cake and gingerbread slathered with butter. I think of how you were always busy, looking after everyone else, ironing things that didn’t need ironing. That’s one thing we don’t have in common.

When I think of you, I think of your impeccable taste in fashion. You never wanted those old lady clothes – you liked bright pinks and other feminine things.

I think of silly things too… like how you could never get used to be a budgie called Tiger and insisted on calling him Billy.

I think of your patience… in cooking with me, teaching me to cross stitch and simply looking after me when I was sick or sad.

Gran you went beyond the call of duty to me as a grandmother – you drove morning and afternoon taking me to school, you persevered with swimming lessons and getting me in the bath when I wanted neither. You’ve been there for every special moment in my life. Once you mentioned that you worried that being around me so much meant you couldn’t be a proper grandma – spoiling me and such – but Gran, you were more than any grandma could ever be.

It means so much to me that you met my three beautiful boys and lived long enough to see me realize my dream of being a published author. I will always hold near to me the last words you ever said clearly to me – that you always knew I’d do it.

Gran – you were my world and always will be. I’ll miss you forever!