Cover reveal: OUTBACK DREAMS

I’m beyond excited to reveal the cover for my October release OUTBACK DREAMS (Harlequin Australia). I was going to wait till nearer the time to share but in the end I just couldn’t wait and I think you’ll understand why!

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As usual my newsletter peeps were the first to get a look at the hunk above. If you’re not a subscriber but would like to be, you can sign up at the bottom of my website – http://www.rachaeljohns.com 🙂

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Do you re-read books!?

Sorry it’s been a while since I’ve blogged – life’s just been flying by at the moment!! But lately I’ve been thinking a lot about books I’d like to re-read. Books that left me feeling as if I wish they hadn’t ended, books I wish I’d written, true comfort reads. I’ve decided that despite the MASSIVE, tottering TBR pile (both in print and on my tablet), I’m going to re-read some books over the next few months.

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Below is my list of books that truly held me captivated at various times in the last ten years or so. I’m really interested to see if there are books that I loved the first time round but don’t feel the same about second time around. Often I believe whether I like a book or not, depends on what else is going on in my life and how I’m feeling at the time of reading.

In no particular order this is my list of books I’d like to re-read:

  • Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty – I started listening to the audio book of this while driving (2.5 hours) from our house to the airport for a conference once. I loved it so much, I found the book in the airport bookshop and finished it on the plane!
  • Bridget Jones Diary by Helen Fielding – this was such a fun read and I read it around the time I started writing, so I think it was quite influential in my initial attempts.
  • I Have A Bed Made Of Buttermilk Pancakes  by Jaclyn Moriarty – I was writing reviews for The West Australian when I read this book and was glad I didn’t have to review this one. It was just so amazing and cleverly written – if I remember, scenes are kind of written backwards (had to explain) and I knew I’d never be able to convey it’s ingenuity properly. Saying this, I recommended it to someone a couple of years back and they didn’t like it at all.
  • A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby – I used to read a lot by this author and along with About A Boy, this was one of my faves. It’s about a bunch of suicidal people who meet on a rooftop one night, ready to throw themselves off (and if I recall correctly), they convince each other to give it one more week and then meet again.
  • Faking It by Jennifer Crusie – read this after hearing Jenny speak at a RWAus conf. The book is as funny as the author herself!
  • Mr Perfect by Linda Howard – after Leah Ashton recommended this author, I downloaded this audio book. Loved it so much I went out and bought the print copy and can’t wait to dive into it again.
  • The Magnate’s Indecent Proposal by Ally Blake – my all time favourite Mills & Boon, about a couple who meet when they accidentally switch phones. Funny and sexy, the first third of the book at least is them text messaging each other.
  • Carole King Is An Alien by Yasmin Boland – this is one of two novels written by astrologer Yasmin Boland and I’m gutted she never wrote anymore. Can’t remember exactly why I loved this book (great reason to reread) but I totally did. Think it was it’s quirkiness.
  • Marrying Daisy Bellamy – gorgeous love triangle romance from awesome author Susan Wiggs. Such a heart-warming, feel good story and one of the first of hers I ever read.
  • Love Rat by Moya Sayer-Jones – again I can’t recall why I loved this book but it’s on my keeper shelf so I must have!

So that’s my list – I’m gonna be busy – and I’m sure I’ll think of more as I embark on this project.

I’m curious… do you re-read books and if so what are your faves?

My Secret Life with Jennifer St George

A massive welcome to the hugely talented, all round fabulous author Jennifer St George!! I’m lucky enough to have met Jennifer and done a brilliant media workshop with her. All her books are in my leaning tower of to be read !! Cannot wait, because if they’re only half exciting as her secret life and hold a fraction of her effervescent personality, I know I’m in for a treat. Jennifer is published by Destiny Romance and her latest release is The Love Deception (what an awesome title)!!

Without further ado.. take it away Jen:

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Before I moved to Byron Bay and began writing romance I worked in marketing and management consulting for twenty years. That life is so different to the one I have now, it feels like it’s a secret even to me.  That life involved lots of international travel, hotels, exhaustion, elation and some incredible memories. Fortunately that life has given me lots of inspiration for my stories and is the reason why I set them in exotic international locations. As they say, write what you know.

In that secret life, there are lots of highlights. Here are a couple of memorable moments:

Being picked up by the KGB

I’d flown to Moscow to launch Guinness beer in Russia. When I walked off the plane I was taken by security through a side door and my passport taken away.  To say I was a little nervous was an understatement. But I was quickly ushered through a VIP exit and into the hands of the KGB. Well in reality I was picked up by the head of a Russian drinks distribution company. He’d formerly been a KGB submarine officer. The stories he told! Still it all felt very exciting and a bit risky.

After the launch we walked out into the snowy night through Red Square, past Saint Basil’s Cathedral and to some local vodka bars. I’ve never seen so much vodka in my life. I keep tipping my drinks into a nearby pot plant or I would have been face down under the table.

I’ve never been back to Russia but often think of that exciting time surrounded by Russians, vodka and snow.

I gave away a pub in Ireland

Well I did the publicity anyway.  This was another Guinness promotion and the company organised a competition in the US to give away a pub in County Cork.  Ten Americans were flown to Ireland to compete in pub games to win the pub.  As we were in a tiny little village by the sea, I couldn’t convince many media to attend the event, so I produced a VNR (video news release) and brought down a satellite truck and beamed the story out from there. The story went wild. I fielded calls from all over the world. Jay Leno’s people even rang.  The resulting coverage reached over 40 million people. A bit of a career highlight.

Presenting to financial gurus in New York

I ran some analysis on a major US oil company and discovered something very interesting about their share price. The firm I worked for felt I had to present these results to the financial team in New York. I was terrified. These were US financial gurus. One guy had written the major financial textbooks used in the ivy-league MBA programs. I travelled to NY with the partner of the firm who worked on my presentation all the way from Sydney to NY. I had four hours sleep and then was up at the podium. I was so tired, I don’t really remember giving that presentation or the questions they asked. Afterwards, I had enough time for a walk down Fifth Avenue, have a meal and it was back on the plane. It was insane. I decided then management consulting wasn’t really for me!

I have some amazing experiences in my career, but at the other end of the spectrum, I spent a long time promoting toilet paper and fork-lift trucks, nearly crash-landed in both Geneva and Edinburgh and worked way too many 14-hour days. But all the ups and downs have provided an endless supply of settings and scenarios for my stories.  In fact, all that waking up in different hotels in different countries was the inspiration for my latest release, The Love Deception. I’d often wake up and not know where I was. This is my heroine, Felicity Carter’s experience at the beginning of The Love Deception. From that point on, her life is a rollercoaster ride in the search for truth, understanding and ultimately…love.

What a great concept Jen, I might have to move The Love Deception up my tower 🙂 And I must say I really do hope you put giving away a pub in a book one day!  You can find Jen online at her website, on Twitter and Facebook!

The Love Deception is available now from iBooks, Amazon and Destiny romance, check out the blurb below:

130528 The Love Deception cover

When Felicity Carter wakes up naked in a strange bed, she has no idea how she got there. And  no recollection of meeting the gorgeous man calmly offering her breakfast. Shocked and embarrassed, Felicity flees – hoping that their paths never cross again.

The last thing she expects is to discover that her mystery man is Damon Fullbright, partner at the law firm where Felicity has just started work – and her new boss! Damon is appalled to find the young woman he rescued has been hired to work on his team. Apart from anything else, he doesn’t need the distraction.

Despite their early misconceptions, their appreciation for each other  – both personally and professionally – begins to grow. But when Damon discovers what Felicity’s been hiding, how will he ever trust her again?

A gripping romance that combines courtroom intrigue with a dash of Barbados, The Love Deception is the latest book from Jennifer St George.

The Busy Writer’s Guide to Bake Sales

Last week, I had a MASSIVE deadline. In case you missed my stressing, I had to finish OUTBACK BLAZE (of which I’d had two months to write) and this just happened to coincide with the school cake stall!!! ARGH!!!! I could NOT waste the kidfree day I had the day before the cake stall to don an apron and go all Nigella Lawson!! I had a book to finish.

Of course, books or no books, I am first and foremost a mother and I take this job very seriously. As well as wiping snotty noses, almost killing myself on Lego in the middle of the night and listening to the most boring books in the world for reading homework every night, this means doing my bit for school fundraisers! So, I had to get over my stress and BAKE. But I wanted something easy. Stuff that would taste good, that I could cook a couple of days before and most importantly would be quick and easy.

ENTER fabulous 4 Ingredient Cooking! Has anyone got these recipe books? I don’t have yet but I liked these gorgeous ladies on FB a while back and have been being tantalised by delicious and easy recipes ever since.

I knew that these recipes would be my saviours and so I scrolled back through FB for one I’d already tried – Caramel cookies – and looked on their website for more (decided on Pineapple cake). A friend also mentioned a THREE ingredient (yes, you read that right) BROWNIE (that lasted up to three months)! I so had to try that. In the end, I made about four plates of biscuits, three plates of brownies and two cakes and here I am to share with you how. It took me just one morning and they all tasted fabulous.

Check out my Smartie cookies. These use the 4 Ingredients Caramel Cookie recipe, which I found on FB and I added my own flourish of three Smarties on top of each one! These went down a treat!

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Because it was a CAKE stall, I thought I’d better make a couple of cakes and I found this Pineapple Cake on the 4 Ingredients website. I figured pineapple is moist, which meant the cakes should last a couple of days and it DID. I iced them both the night before with a simple cream cheese icing and they smelt so good, I am going to make one for myself tomorrow 🙂 Sorry – I didn’t take a photo of this, OR the Nutella Brownies, which you all must do yourselves a favour and make.

I’m not sure who to attribute this recipe too because there are a number of websites sharing it, but here’s what you’ll need:

*1 Cup Nutella
*2 Eggs
*10 Tablespoons all purpose flower

Basically mix all these babies together, chuck in a square brownie tin and bake to gooey perfection. About 180 degrees (celcius) for about half an hour. This recipe is SO delicious, I forgot to take a photo cos I was too busy trying to cut it and plate it without eating it. I might have to make another batch tomorrow!!!!

So folks… what’s your favourite easy recipe? Go on, please share!!