Powerful words and a recipe

There’s no question that the right words hold power. We teach our children to say “please” and “thank you” and marvel at the effect.

In real life, we need more than good luck to make payments and communicate. We need the right “password”!

In fiction, for every genre, readers know that certain words signal key actions. Consider how the right words in fantasy literally “spell” a change in circumstance. 

Where would wedding scenes be without the words “I do” and romances without “I love you?”

I’ll never get over the power of words and the joy of laying them down, one after another, as a writer, to open up new possibilities.

Words have the power to change our worlds.

In fiction and in life, through trials and tribulations, lost lovers reunite, fractured relationships heal, broken promises are revisited and the words “I’m sorry” and “you’re forgiven” make all the difference.

Thanking beta and ARC readers

I am enormously grateful to several of my writing buddies and VIP readers who’ve given me valued feedback on my next book, Summer Beach, the first in my Escape to the Coast series, as I try to find the right 75,000 or so words before releasing it to you!

Gail, from the US, kindly helped check for typos and has given it five stars already!

“Love this story from beginning to end,” Gail said.

Warmest thanks to you, Gail, and to all my other beta readers and VIPs who enjoy my books and help others to discover them.

Image courtesy Wilhelm Gunkel

Flame’s cake recipe 

Readers of House of Diamonds may remember Stella’s mother, Flame, a drifter. House of Spades takes up Flame’s story when she’s living in a caravan in the beautiful Byron Bay hinterland and trespasses on the farm of widower Ross Archer, rekindling his interest in life, love and his land.

One of my readers challenged me to make one of the cakes I dreamed up for House of Spades, flung together by Flame, who uses up whatever she has lying around.

As I’ve never ventured beyond using one (excellent) chocolate cake recipe, I made a resolution to expand my cake repertoire this year, beginning with this one.

Please note that Flame’s recipe changes every time, so, like Flame, I used what was already in my cupboards. She might throw in zucchinis instead of bananas, or a tin of crushed pineapple instead of dried apricots and ginger ale.

Here’s what I used …

Two smallish overripe bananas, mashed

1 grated pear

¾ cup almonds, whole

1 cup of dried apricots, whole

1 cup of dates

¾ cup oatmeal

⅓ cup coconut

Half cup sunflower seeds

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

2/3 cup almond meal

1 cup ginger beer (you could use fruit juice, milk or almond milk)

⅓ cup brown sugar

½ teaspoon salt

1 scant tsp baking powder

1 and a half cups of plain flour

4 eggs, shaken in a jar (try substituting mashed banana for a vegan version!)

Stir together. (NB quantities are approximate. If it’s too sloppy, add more flour and baking powder. If too dry, slosh in more liquid or another egg.) Spoon into microwave bundt tin. Cook on high for 14 minutes. Let stand for five minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack. 

Here’s how it turned out. A dusting of icing sugar would have improved the look. Too late for the photo… We ate the cake!

Eat rapidly (because of the eggs) or refrigerate. It’s a heavy cake, not light and fluffy.

I liked it, though it might not suit everyone’s palate. After all, Flame’s taste veers towards the practical rather than high-end cuisine.

Find House of Spades in my House of Jewels series.

On the lookout for more books?

As usual, I’m glad to share with you a host of free and affordable reading options from like-minded authors.

Enjoy browsing this April Book Hunt stash of free Women’s Fiction and this Spring Fever for Sweet Romance promo.

Here’s a Clean Contemporary Fiction promo and here’s a Sweet and Wholesome giveaway and some Clean Romance Deals.

Never too late for a second chance in love includes House of Spades and House of Clubs, my House of Jewels seasoned romances.

And see what you can find in this Spring into Romance selection.

Festivals for readers and writers

The Sydney Writers Festival takes place from 22 to 28 May and will include a Romance panel for the first time. I’m attending that session so will let you know how it goes. So often, “romance” books are compared unfavourably with “literature” but can’t we just enjoy all sorts of books for different reasons?

I popped into the recent Newcastle Writers Festival for a session on “Who gets to tell Australian stories”. Big thanks to the panel, of journalist and Hip Hop & Hymns author Mawango Gbogbo, illustrator Dub Leffler and editor Winnie Dunn, and their moderator, editor, author and Sweatshop Literacy Movement founder Dr Michael Mohammed Ahmad.

“I am yet to see myself reflected back at me,” said Mawango.

“I really want Australian readers to broaden their perception of Australia,” said Winnie, who described Australia as “a complicated continent.”

They argued effectively that Australia and the world are richer when stories from multiple perspectives are shared.

Words on the Waves, the Central Coast Writers Festival, will take place from 31 May to 5 June, and I hope to volunteer. I was photographed at Terrigal where I met up with New Zealand creative Jordan Harcourt-Hughes who first told me about the virtual #5amWritersClub. We still agree it’s a wonderfully productive time of day, with the only distraction a spectacular sunrise!

Happy reading!


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