The Full List of 100 Books to WIN, supporting Townsville and surrounds with funds for flooding relief

Thrillers, romance, suspense, fantasy, contemporary, rural, memoir, historical and kids…. whatever you read, you’re sure to find something in this list, with plenty left over to fill your gift buying needs for a long time to come!

Here it is, the full list of 100 books up for grabs in the giant book raffle, raising much needed funds for flooding relief support for residents of Townsville and beyond. A huge thank you to all the Aussie authors who have donated their books to this cause and another round of applause to everyone who has already bought tickets in this competition. Your ticket money will be going straight to GIVIT, the charity coordinating the distribution of donations. You still have time to buy tickets, with 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes being drawn on Friday 29th March at 9am.

Without further ado… here they are.

Josephine Moon Three Gold Coins + The Gift of Life + The Beekeeper’s Secret +

The Chooclate Promise + The Tea Chest

Monica McInerney The Trip of a Lifetime
Lia Weston Those Pleasant Girls
Rachael Johns Lost Without You
Michelle Johnston Dustfall
Michaela Daphne Purlieu
Rachel Bailey The Finn Factor
Liz Byrski A Month of Sundays
Karen Viggers The Orchardist’s Daughter
Michael Trant Ridgeview Station
Christian White The Nowhere Child
Annie Seaton Diamond Sky
Lisa Ireland The Shape of Us
Anna Campbell A Scoundrel By Moonlight
Wendy J Dunn Falling Pomegranate Seeds
Barbara Hannay The Summer of Secrets
Kirsty Manning The Jade Lily
Darry Fraser The Widow of Ballarat
Tess Woods Love and Other Battles
Anna Daniels Girl In Between
Jane Gillespie Journey to Me
S.D. Wasley Downfall
Fiona Palmer Sisters and Brothers
Vanessa Carnevale The Florentine Bridge + The Memories that Make Us
Christine Wells The Juliet Code
Helene Young Return to Roseglen
Kali Napier The Secrets at Ocean’s Edge
Michelle Endersby Awakening Around Roses
Louise Guy A Life Worth Living
Emily Madden The Lost Pearl
Jodi L Perry Nineteen Letters
Louise Allen The Sister’s Song
Charlotte Nash Saving You + The Paris Wedding + The Horseman
Donna Cameron Beneath the Mother Tree
Kylie Ladd The Way Back
Fiona Lowe Home Fires
Sally Hepworth The Family Next Door + The Mother-in-law
Jay Ludowyke Carpathia
Lauren Charter The Lace Weaver
Nene Davis Whitethorne
Esther Campion The House of Second Chances
Beth Prentice Dangerous Deeds
Phillipa Nefri Clark The Stationmaster’s Cottage
Eliza Henry Jones P is for Pearl + Ache + In The Quiet
Rhonda Forest Two Heartbeats
Lisa Ireland The Shape of Us
Kelly Rimmer The Things We Cannot Say + Before I Let You Go
Pamela Cook The Crossroads
JoanneTracey Happy Ever After
T.M. Clarke Nature of the Lion +

(Child of Africa; and Slowly! Slowly!) (to go together)

Cass Moriarty Parting Words + The Promise Seed
Maggie Christensen A Model Wife
Joanna Nell The Single Ladies of Jacaranda Retirement Village
Sandie Docker The Cottage at Rosella Cove
Lynne Leonhardt Finding Jasper
Sara Foster The Hidden Hours
Lily Malone Butterfly House: Who Killed the Bride?
Di Morrisey Arcadia
Robyn Cadwallader Book of Colours + The Anchoress
Amanda Hampson Sixty Summers
Jenn J McLeod A Place to Remember
Katherin Johnson Matryoshka
Kristine Charles Love Sabre
Alicia Tuckerman If I Tell You
Torre DeRoche The Worrier’s Guide to the End of the World
Terry L Probert Kundela + Voss: The Price of Innocence
John Purcell The Girl on the Page
Judy Nunn Sanctuary
Amanda Curtin Elemental
Cassie Hamer After the Party
Michelle Dalton (via Sarah Williams) Epona
Sarah Williams The Outback Governess
Rashida Murphy The Historian’s Daughter
Stephanie Parkyn Into the World11
Alissa Callen The Round Yard
Kerri Turner The Last Days of the Romanov Dancers
Candice Fox Hades + Gone By Midnight
JP Pomare Call Me Evie
Christopher Raja The Burning Elephant
Kirsten Alexander Half Moon Lake
Catherine Evans, Kim Petersen, Beth Prentice Untamed Destinies
Lea Davey Silworm Secrets + The Shack by the Bay

1st prize: 70 books

2nd prize: 20 books

3rd prize: 10 books

Researching The Gift of Life: Watching a Heart Transplant to Finding the Silent Story

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Research is my happy place. I do extensive research for every book I write and it’s where I learn not just technical information but also start to find my character development, settings and plot points too. I get to travel within Australian and overseas for location research, which is a great gift. I interview people, spend hours on the internet, watch loads of YouTube videos and, inevitably, buy a lot of reference books. It is the phase where anything is still possible, ideas are still forming and excitement takes me back again and again for more.

My forthcoming novel, The Gift of Life, is based around organ donation, specifically, heart transplants. I love anatomy (I studied it for two semesters) and Biology was also my strongest subject at school and I then did another semester of it at uni. As a result, I loved brushing up on all my anatomy and physiology and researching the many causes and treatments of heart failure, some of which lead to the need for an organ donation. I even ended up at the cardiologist myself, as I have a long history of arrhythmias and, as I found out in my research, these can lead to heart failure! (Fortunately for me, the type I have appear to be uncomplicated.) My husband, too, also ended up at the cardiologist, then my mum went… It seemed like every time I turned around, ‘hearts’ were the theme of the day.  One thing I learned through all this research was that we are all vulnerable to heart issues, which can come with a long list of complications, which can also lead to a need for a transplant. I really had no idea how common it was.

The amount of personal testimony I came across (both from the point of view of a heart transplant recipient and also from the family of those who had consented to the donation of their loved one’s organs) is significantly higher coming from the USA than it is Australia. This was both tricky–because the USA medical and legal systems are very different to ours–and also an opportunity to hear different experiences and voices from those who’ve gone through the process.

There is a wealth of videos on YouTube and I even came across one that showed a heart transplant operation. That one was a little tough to stomach, to be honest!

I interviewed two Australian heart transplant recipients, which was a fabulous opportunity to hear their stories firsthand. They were both very different people–he a middle-aged man with a wife, children and career–and she a young woman in her twenties with a long life ahead if only she could get the chance. Their experience of the process was vastly different too. The organ transplant process is a gamble at every stage: the illness, the waiting period, the operation, the recovery, the chances of rejection and ongoing complications.

In the end, I had way more information than I could use in the book, which is normal. The Gift of Life starts two years after Gabby McPhee had her heart transplant; therefore much of what I learned about the difficult, emotional waiting stage (and the ongoing physical rehabilitation and care through that period) had to be cut and left out; however, it’s all there in my mind, forming the basis to the background of Gabby’s psyche.

I also became really interested in the more silent half of the story–the experiences of the family members who make the decision to donate. These stories are harder to find, and understandably so, as their experience is rooted in trauma, shock and grief. But as a writer, that ‘silent space’ is the most interesting to me. The possibility of a new, untold story is the one I want to follow. The wealth of information I found on the other side (the recipient’s stories) served to highlight a gap in the narrative that, when voiced through the character of Krystal Arthur, fleshed out the full circle of life.

I loved researching this book. It was utterly fascinating from beginning to end.

 

The Nash Agency 2018 Writers Retreat

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I am thrilled to be a part of this exciting retreat, offered by my literary agent Haylee Nash of The Nash Agency.

The Nash Agency Writer’s Retreat 2018

When: Monday 3rd September to Thursday 6th September

Where: Cedar Creek Lodges, Mt Tamborine, Gold Coast Hinterland, Queensland

The Nash Agency is pleased to offer our first writers’ retreat.

Open to aspiring, self-published and traditionally published authors, our writers’ retreat offers the chance to hone your craft through sessions with bestselling Australian authors and experienced literary agents, one-on-one consultations with principal agent and owner, Haylee Nash, and engaging and challenging group workshops, as well as offering the space to focus on your writing in the perfect setting.

Here is just some of what you can expect from The Nash Agency Writers’ Retreat 2018:

* Masterclass with top ten bestselling Australian author, Rachael Johns

* Masterclass with international bestselling author, Josephine Moon

* Learn from Alex Adsett about the role of an agent, the importance of copyright and how to understand a publishing contact

* Hear from Haylee Nash about the state of the Australian book market, current trends in publishing and what publishers are looking for

* Polish your pitch to give your manuscript the best chance of snagging an agent and/or publisher

* Partial manuscript appraisals (on three chapters and synopsis), including a one-page report and 15-minute consultation with Haylee Nash

Click here for more information on ticketing, accommodation and more details about the presenters.

I hope to see you there!

Jo

My First ‘Food in Story’ Writing Workshop

Food in Story, Writing Workshop:

 

 

Are you writing a novel? Writing memoir? Writing for blogs or social media?

Food connects us all.

Everyone has stories in their memory and in their heart that include food. Days spent in the kitchen with your mother or grandmother making biscuits. Afternoons wandering the apple orchard, picking fruit with your brothers and sisters. Maybe brewing some cheeky cider with your dad in the back shed. The first time you tasted seafood. The warm, hearty stews that kept you going through a difficult winter. The endless lasagnes left on your doorstep after a bereavement. Every day, we eat. Every day, we create more memories.

Perhaps you would like to take some of those memories and get them onto paper. Maybe you would like to channel your passion for food into writing for magazines. Maybe you would like to know how to enhance your fiction writing with the joy of food.

This workshop is for you.

Join with me to discover diverse ways to use food in story. This one-day course gives you a raft of new writing tools to approach food in your writing with more fun, depth and elegance. Bring your pages to life with mouthwatering descriptions and tantalising facts to hook your reader and keep them reading till the very last bite.

To find out more about the workshop, go to my WORKSHOPS page.

Sunday, 5 November, 9am-4pm, Cooroy (Noosa hinterland, Qld)

To book, follow the link here.

I hope to see you soon!

 

The Beekeeper’s Secret has taken flight!

I am so very proud to let you know that my third foodie fiction novel, The Beekeeper’s Secret, has taken flight and is now out on the shelves around Australia and New Zealand (and will be out in the UK/Ireland in July).

I had a great time down in Sydney last week launching this book and was thrilled to be invited to Booktopia to sign a couple of hundred books (which you can order your signed copy here). And I was very blessed to have my friend, Ashley Jubinville, to accompany me, spending an extraordinary number of hours creating a stunning beehive cake for the morning tea spectacular with my publishers.

Thank you to everyone who has bought the book so far and for those who’ve sent me great feedback and/or taken the time to write reviews online. It is much appreciated.

Fly free, little book xx

My Chocolate Tourism Bucket List

Do you love your chocolate? Me too! And other than combining chocolate with a good book, I can’t think of too much better than pairing chocolate with visiting a new place of interest.

While writing my latest novel, The Chocolate Promise (also called The Chocolate Apothecary in the UK), researching and taste-testing chocolate pretty much took over my life—and my dress size! And my palette for chocolate has changed. Only the finest will do these days. So now, I’ve begun writing myself a ‘Chocolate Tourism Bucket List’, to continue my love affair with this heavenly food.

Here are my current Top 5 locations:

  1. Antica Dolceria Bonajuto. This is the oldest chocolate factory in Sicily. Let’s just consider that for a moment: chocolate + Sicily. It’s a no brainer, right? Top of my list.
  2. Puyricard. This French chocolate artisan store is located just outside of Aix-en-Provence in the south232323232fp93232>uqcshlukaxroqdfv67-35;5=3427986;494<24-ot1lsi of France, which is where the main character of The Chocolate Promise spends time with a master chocolatier, roams the beautiful countryside and encounters unexpected romance. I soaked up the research for this part of the novel and am positively salivating to go there in person and enjoy the delights of Provence, including this chocolate store.
  3. Chocolate Walking Tour of Melbourne. A little closer to home for me, this would be a delightful weekend treat. Melbourne is known by many to be the food capital of Australia and I’ve no doubt the chocolate on this tour would leave a lasting impression. I only hear good things about this one. Definitely a To-Do, sooner, rather than later, I think. (At least the plane flight would be a quick one!)
  4. Rococo. I certainly couldn’t comprise this list without including a visit to Rococo in London. You’ll find an acknowledgement to Chantal Coady (founder of Rococo) for her inspiration that influenced The Chocolate Promise and for good reason. I pored over her book, Rococo: Mastering the Art of Chocolate, as research for my novel. I even imported some of her creations. (The milk rose is my favourite.) I think I’d like to rent a flat just around the corner and simply hang out there every day, breathing it all in.
  5. Cailler. I’ve been to Switzerland but only once and I would love to go back there. (I’ve even been trying to work in some sort of Swiss plot into a novel so I can have a tax-deductible reason to go.) And this factory has some pretty great architecture to go with the experience.

So there’s my shortlist to get me (and maybe you) started. I’m sure there are dozens of amazing places around the world that would keep me entertained on my chocolate tours. I’d love to hear your recommendations if you have any?

p.s. Here’s a recipe from Chantal Coady for Chocolate Ganache Teacups, which fortuitously combines two of my favourite foods: chocolate and tea!

Win copies of The Chocolate Promise

Dear readers,

WIN! 10 copies to give away.

WIN! 10 copies to give away.

I have 10 finished copies of my new foodie fiction novel, The Chocolate Promise, to give away.

Christmas Livingstone has ten rules for happiness, the most important of which is ‘absolutely no romantic relationships’.

In The Chocolate Apothecary, her enchanting artisan store in Tasmania, she tempers chocolate and creates handmade delicacies. Surrounded by gifts for the senses, in this shop chocolate isn’t just good for you, it’s medicine.

And then one day a stranger arrives at her front door – a dishevelled botanist seeking her help. She really doesn’t need Lincoln van Luc to walk into her life, even if he does have the nicest blue eyes, the loveliest meddling grandmother and a gorgeous newly rescued dog. She really doesn’t need any of it. Or does she?

Set across Tasmania, Paris and Provence, this is a glorious novel of a creative woman about to find out how far in life a list of rules will take her, with an enticing tangle of freshly picked herbs, pots of flowers and lashings of chocolate scenting the air.

How to Enter: 

To win, all you need to do is join me in the VIP lounge by 20th March by subscribing to my quarterly newsletter. Ten winners will be chosen at random and notified by email. Good luck!!