Cake and Cover Competition

This week, The Cake Maker’s Wish finally made it out into the world after I began working on it five years ago! I had a wonderful time launching it online last Sunday afternoon. If you’d like to see the video, you’ll find it on Facebook here.

Now… for your chance to win a gorgeous prize pack!

Once you have your copy of The Cake Maker’s Wish, simply take a photo of it with some cake (any cake!) and post it to Facebook or Instagram, tagging me so I know it’s there, and using the hashtag #cakeandcover

Here’s an example:

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The winner will be chosen from a shortlist and win this wonderful prize pack, including a brooch and matching earring set from Ruby Olive, a copy of The Beekeeper’s Secret (for you to enjoy or pass on to a friend), my favourite brand of chai (and this one is chocolate chai!), and Lindt chocolate.

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The winner will be chosen on 2 July. I can’t wait to see your entries 🙂

Happy reading and caking!

Jo x

Mini Meringue Bites

These meringue bites are so simple (and inexpensive), they’ll become your go-to treat for any last-minute guests dropping in for coffee, or maybe use them as additional birthday party treats.

This is another recipe from The Cake Maker’s Wish. My cake maker, Olivia, gets to have fun creating a wedding cake for a celebrity couple and adds meringues as embellishments to her design, which is another great use for these mini meringues.

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The basic meringue recipe is simple but it’s also flexible as you can change the colour (pink, blue, white, caramel or rainbow unicorn!) or flavour (think vanilla, chocolate, coffee, rose or orange blossom) to suit your taste or needs. Glam them up or keep them simple. They can go as far as your imagination desires.

This one can also be gluten free. (In theory, cream of tartar is gluten free but if you have any concerns about it being processed in the same facility as grains then check with the manufacturer.)

Ingredients

  • 4 egg whites, room temperature… free range, please… I love my chooks 🙂
  • 1 cup of castor sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • Add colours or flavours of your choice (e.g. vanilla, rosewater, orange blossom water, coffee, chocolate powder, strawberry powder, jam etc.). Add these to the desired taste or effect but most flavourings only require about half a teaspoon.

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 120C.
  2. Beat your egg whites and cream of tartar until they are beginning to hold shape.
  3. Add in your sugar a little at a time, mixing well between additions until the sugar is completely mixed through and the meringue is white, fluffy and holds stiff peaks.
  4. Add your vanilla and/or flavourings or colourings of choice and beat through.
  5. Pipe your mini meringues onto baking trays lined with paper. Bite-sized pieces could be the size of a twenty-cent coin.
  6. Place the trays in the oven and reduce the heat to 90C and bake for around an hour and a half. You want them to cook slowly so that they harden into bites.

Tip

Have fun with these! You could try splitting the meringue into two halves and colouring them differently, then putting both colours into a bag and piping them in a swirl to show both colours.

How 1 Euro Italian houses and The Cake Maker’s Wish are Related

Since I started writing The Cake Maker’s Wish (all the way back in 2015), my imaginary idea of reviving a dying little village by importing people from around the globe has gone a little more global (and viral).

Today, you can buy an Italian house for only 1 Euro, in the same country that previously gave away castles, monasteries and towers. Ireland has called for residents of Australia and USA to emigrate to the tiny island of Arranmore. Spain has had a problem of abandoned villages across the country, so the officials from Galicia set about giving away one of these villages. In all of these examples, the goal has been to give the properties to someone who has detailed plans to renovate, restore and add capital back into the local area, to save a dying population and/or economy, and restore economic trade to the local business owners. This is exactly the premise that I used for the setting of The Cake Maker’s Wish, though at the time, I didn’t know it was really ‘a thing’.

Where it all began…

In 2015 I travelled to the UK on a writing trip to meet with my UK publisher and agent, to delivery an author talk in Abergavenny in Wales and to do research to look for a new story. I travelled with my dad, my sister and my sister’s baby (who was 14 months old). As part of that trip, we rented a stone cottage in the Cotswolds where we based ourselves for ten days and travelled the area from there.

I was lucky enough to get to know some of the locals. Two of them—men who’d grown up in the village in the fifties—made me a cup of tea to tell me about what life was like when they were young. In that conversation, they lamented the fact that the village had changed so much from when it was owned by the Lord of the Manor, which had created a unified, collaborated feel through the workers, with a thriving community spirit. Over time, as the village was sold off, wealthy investors from the city would buy up cottages as holiday homes, but that meant that most of the properties were sitting empty for most of the year. The village couldn’t function as it used to, no longer community-sufficient, with people having to travel further and further away to find work and services and the house prices forcing workers out of the market.

I was really touched by their sadness and went back to my rented cottage and sat down with a notebook and pen and thought, well, I’m a writer, surely I can bring this village back to life on the page. And that’s how it started.

And now…

I confess to being truly delighted that my imagination has conjured something that isn’t completely out of the box at all, that its themes and efforts of small communities trying to survive and hold onto their connections is very real, and that equally real efforts are happening around the world right now to save them. In my heart, I am a girl from the village. I may have been born in Brisbane but I have now spent almost fifteen years living in small country towns. I know the huge beating hearts that live in them and how important it is to support them and celebrate them. This is exactly what my new novel does.

The Cake Maker’s Wish is out 2 June but you can pre-order it now from all good bookstores and online retailers. I look forward to sharing the imaginary village of Stoneden in the Cotswolds with you very soon!

 

Listen to Buddhism for Meat Eaters, right now.

If you can’t wait for the paperback edition of Buddhism for Meat Eaters, you can listen to it right now through Audible, read by Kate Blakk.

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Publisher’s Summary

For many years Josephine Moon struggled with the question of eating meat, fervently wishing to live as a vegetarian yet requiring meat in her diet. From Josephine’s philosophical, spiritual and physical battle with eating meat came, Buddhism for Meat Eaters – a book for animal lovers, the environmentally and ethically conscious, and generally thoughtful people who eat meat but perhaps aren’t entirely comfortable doing so. 

Open, honest, and utterly without judgement, Buddhism for Meat Eaters encourages listeners to be more mindful about their choices, rather than berating themselves for them, and offers ways for people to live ethically, honestly and guilt-free, whether as a carnivore, vegetarian, or vegan. This highly practical guide also includes workbook-style activities and topics for consideration to guide you in your own journey to making wiser decisions on how you consume, how you live, and how to change the world around you.”

 

If you’re an Audile member, you can pick it up for just $14.95 or 1 credit. If you love audio books but you aren’t a member, I can highly recommend it. I am a huge fan of audio books and look forward to spending my credit each month.

Happy listening!

Why Do You Want to Read ‘The Gift of Life’?

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Recently, I offered my mailing list subscribers the chance to win a copy of The Gift of Life. All they had to do was tell me in 25 words or less why they wanted to read it. I hadn’t expected to be so delighted by reading their responses, and thought I’d share some with you. Maybe you’ll find a good reason in there to add The Gift of Life to your reading collection when it is released into the world next week on 2 April.

The winner of the competition was April Nisbet, who shared “your books are medicine for my soul. I can always connect to your characters, I feel their passions and their fears from page 1.  ”

April also sent me another email telling me how The Tea Chest inspired a total life turnaround for her, fuelling her passion to begin working with tea. She even took her copy of The Tea Chest to Darjeeling for research (see photo), and will be completing her tea blending certificate later this year. April is actually the third person who has shared that The Tea Chest had this affect on her. I can’t tell you what a privilege it is to be a writer and have people not only enjoy my books but actually find meaning in their own life because of them.

Thank you to everyone who entered this competition. There were so many wonderful entries and it was such a joy to read them.

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I have had a transplant and hope to see the emotions of the situation of donor & recipient expressed realistically, sensitively & positively. (Karen K)

I have always wondered if there was a spiritual connection between the donor and recipient of a heart transplant (Delores B)

…life is a precious gift (Sue E)

I often replace your books with my daily meditation practice (April N)

I have been involved in many organ donations aka “the gift of life” as a nurse in ICU (Karen J)

Just read “The Chocolate Promise” for the fourth time. Totally LOVE all four novels so far and can’t wait to read “The Gift of Life”!!! (Ainslie H)

Love all your other books and know I will love this one just as much.  (Corinna)

…sometimes I need a reminder to appreciate all I have and the people in my life (Liz H)

I am waiting for a heart/lung transplant (Heidi D)

Love, love, love all your books. (Chrissy B)

Josephine is my favourite and she is yet to write a book I don’t adore. (Bryannan K)

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If you’re feeling inspired to read The Gift of Life, you’ll be able to get a copy of the book from anywhere good books are sold, Big W, airports, K-Mart, and Target. Or you can buy online at

Booktopia

Get it on audio here (Audible)

Get it at Amazon here

Book Depository (with FREE international shipping)

 

A Writer’s New Year’s Resolutions

Happy new year! Have you made any resolutions yet? I’ve set my three writer’s resolutions. But before I get onto that, let’s check out how I went with 2013’s writing resolutions.

2013 Resolutions: How did I go?

  1. I’m not going to read anything I’m not loving. Okay, I give myself points for thinking about this a lot. Alas, I did read quite a few things that I didn’t absolutely love. This is still a work in progress for me.
  2. I’m going to put my writing first. I think I did a pretty good job at this. It didn’t work every day but on the whole I set boundaries and was pretty strong about keeping them. Well done me!
  3. I’m going to decorate my writing room. Sigh. We moved house in September so (a) I didn’t see any point in putting lots of effort into my last writing room, and (b) I’ve been so flat out since we moved that not a lot of prettying has gone into my new room. I’m calling this a ‘let’s try again’ for 2014.

So, okay, not perfect, but not too bad. Now, to 2014.

  1. Stay calm, and have a cup of tea. I’m a bit of a Nervous Nelly at the best of times, but with my first book coming out in April, there’s a lot going on to push my buttons. Last weekend, The Courier-Mail published a very lovely article, ‘Pick of Books with Success Written All Over Them’, about upcoming books and included little-old-me in their picks for 2014. Whoa, Nelly! Some people would get a lot of confidence from an article like that. Me? I think, Holy Cats, What if I Fail?!?!? So, that brings me back to the staying calm and drinking tea–breathe, Joey, breathe. I need to remember that it’s not just me out there. I have an exceptional, proven publishing team behind me that have made countless good choices in their careers so I need to trust, trust, trust. 1533928_256008861229448_473962003_n1545544_256008901229444_56344808_n
  2. Turn guilt to gratitude. Like most mums out there, I want to believe that I can do it all. Of course, I can’t. I need to ask for help and be grateful when it arrives. When the nanny turns up to look after Flynn for four hours so I can do some work, I’m going to practise being excited about that and not guilty. When the invoice comes to pay that nanny, I’m going to practise feeling blessed, not guilty. And when the cleaner turns up to organise the house back to a level of workable sanity, I’m going to practise feeling thankful that I get to prioritise quality time with my toddler rather than the vacuuming. 1528547_256008884562779_1775505474_n
  3. Protect the creative process. There’s a lot of advice out there to tell aspiring writers to treat your job like any other day job. And there’s something to be said for that. Hours at the keyboard count. It is the only way a book will be written. But, at the same time, writing isn’t a normal job. And as Julia Cameron constantly tells us, we need to stock the well before we can take from it to create something new. I am a workhorse. I am built to work. What I find hard to do is play. But it is only by playing that I can stock the well in order to produce fresh, inspiring content. I might be naturally a Clydesdale in nature, but I need to let my unicorn out to play much more than I do if I want to find the magical moments.

So there are my three resolutions for this year. (Plus, I’ll throw in some room decorating too.) Help keep me honest, please! What are your resolutions for the year? I’d love to hear them 🙂

A Writer’s New Year Resolutions

Back to work for me today and I’m thinking about my resolutions as a writer (and reader).

1. I’m not going to read anything I’m not LOVING.

I shudder with the memory of reading this book. No more! Books I love only!
I shudder with the memory of reading this book. No more! Books I love only!

I am a slow reader so I invest a considerable amount of time in a book. All too often, I have kept plodding through a book I didn’t love because (a) I paid for it; (b) I was convinced it must get better; (c) I made a compromise with myself and thought, hey, maybe I’ll learn something from this; or (d) because I am just plain stubborn and like to see things through.

Well, NO MORE. Life it too short and my reading time too precious to be bogged down in something I’m not loving one hundred per cent. Gone are the days when I had to read something (for university, for example). I’m sure I’ve never quite recovered from the torment of reading Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.

2. I’m going to put my writing first.

I’ve spent years writing books and all too often the practice of writing has had to take a backseat to something else–other people, running a horse rescue charity, having a ‘real’ job and making money, and stupid things like housework.

Well, NO MORE. This year, things got serious. This year, I will no longer be a starving artist. This year, I have a job. A REAL job. As a writer. How great is that? 🙂

3. I’m going to decorate my writing room.

This is something I think about doing each year, but never seem to get around to.

Well, NO MORE. This year, I’ll have pictures. Lanterns. Props. Maps. Wall planners. Flowers. Silk. And tissues at hand to mop up the drool from the cat purring in my lap.

So today I take my new year’s resolutions and march forward into a wonderous year of writing. Happy authoring one and all!