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March 2017: Cooks, Books and Chooks

Okay, where to begin … (she takes a deep breath):
 
One book written since the last newsletter — Matilda Book 7: A Land of Love and Flame, another sent to the printer after last-minute revisions, then absolute last-minute revisions and then we-are-sending-it-to-the-printer-in-two-hours revisions — Miss Lily’s Lovely Ladies (Book 1), for all who love the Matildas, and lastly Millie Loves Ants, the most gorgeous picture book with Sue deGennaro that had its beginning when Sue and her daughters visited us here and I explained how I’d once had a job as an echidna-milker (will tell you that story in April when the book comes out).
 
Add a visit from family with much playing of ‘chase the wolf about the bush’; the loss of our darling Peg; an injury to my shoulder caused by my refusing three offers to carry my luggage (N.B. never refuse an offer to carry your luggage especially when in the afternoon tea of life) resulting in an inability to type for a while (now healing well).
 
Result: The blog is late.
 
Also I’ve just begun writing Miss Lily 2 (the Prinzessin is currently under siege in the Bavarian Socialist Republic), and a contribution for two panels on the Productivity Commission’s attempt to change Australian copyright law to a vague ‘fair use’ plan that the USA has already admitted is a failure. An author’s place is behind the keyboard, not trying frantically to represent themselves in court over every copyright infraction …
 
I am also dancing every now and then at the thought of Diary of a Wombat which is in rehearsal with Monkey Baa Theatre, opening on 18 March at the Darling Quarter Theatre AND I CAN’T WAIT!!!!

 

Also the Wombat conference is on in Penrith the same weekend for lovers of all things wombat. Have almost finished writing the keynote address.
 
Also there are two million ripe tomatoes, many pots of apples to stew and freeze for winter crumbles, a pile of fascinating 1920s and ‘30s facsimiles of source material for the Miss Lily series; plus a new lot of white chocolate fudge to make for Bryan, as well as his biscuits and various other joys of life …
 
In other words, apologies for being late. Will try not to be late again. But I probably will.
 


Books coming soon


Miss Lily’s Lovely Ladies

A tale of love, espionage and passionate heroism. Inspired by true stories, this is a take on how the ‘lovely ladies’ won a war, the first in a new series that shows the changing concepts of what it means to be a woman – and a fulfilled one – beginning in 1913.


Millie Loves Ants

With the glorious Sue deGennaro, this is a story we dreamed up three years ago watching her daughters explore the valley.


Goodbye, Mr Hitler

The sequel to both Hitler’s Daughter and Pennies for Hitler and the hardest book I have ever written and, possibly, the best. And to the thousands who have written asking questions about both the earlier books: this book will answer them and I hope give far more.

Third Witch

This is the fourth in the Shakespeare series. It is about ‘the Scottish play’, with absolutely no witchcraft and enough love to balance the evil and a woman’s voice to lessen the misogyny. And, if you think you know the play, you may not expect this ending, which has everything Shakespeare put in it – and more.
 


Recent books

If Blood Should Stain the Wattle
Age range: 12+
 


The sixth book in the Matilda series, written for young adults 12 and upwards.

This is Australia from 1972-1975, with the Whitlam government sweeping away twenty-three years of Coalition tradition as seen through the eyes of a country town. It was a time of intense idealism throughout the nation – even if many of those ideals differed deeply.

In Gibbers Creek, Jed must choose between her old love, Nicholas, who is the new Labor Party MP, and Sam from the Half Way to Eternity commune; Scarlett dreams of becoming a doctor, despite her wheelchair; Ra Zachariah waits for the end of the world and the coming of a new one – and is prepared to be ruthless to make sure it arrives.

And Matilda Thompson will see her father’s political dream from the 1890s made real; she will see mistakes, conspiracies, anguish and elation; and finally be proud that, even as the nation is torn apart in the Dismissal, no blood stained the wattle.


The Secret of the Black Bushranger

Age range: 8+
 


The third in the Secret History series. Barney has finally been given his farm, making him the youngest landowner in the colony. But is the escaped convict he helped a laughing villain or a freed slave who cannot endure chains again?  Who was John ‘Black’ Caesar? The result of years of research into this previously unknown corner of our history, this book combines adventure with insight into the early years of our first colony.


Grandma Wombat (with the brilliant Bruce Whatley)

Age range: Everyone!
 


Our grandkids are always perfect. Even if you are a wombat. Especially if you are a wombat … and your grandson is as stroppy as you are.

Also look for:
Wombat Goes to School. Perfect for kids about to start school or who need some extra enthusiasm for the years to come.


The Diary of William Shakespeare, Gentleman

Ages: 12+
 


Could the world’s most famous author stop writing when he retired? Part love story, part historical detective work, this is the story of the young Shakespeare told by the old one, and the book where I discovered evidence that possibly, even probably, Shakespeare faked his own death. Read the book to find out why.
 


Schedule

This doesn’t include many other non-public events, it’s just meant as a guide to where I may be if there's anything else possible while I’m nearby. For bookings, check the terms on the website and/or contact Booked Out


10 March: Adelaide Writer’s Week. I’ll be on a panel chaired by David Marr on the proposed new copyright debacle

15 March: Another panel at the Playford Hotel in Adelaide on the new copyright proposals and their potentially devastating impact on writers and Australian creativity

18–19 March: Keynote at the Wombat Protection Society Conference, Penrith, NSW

18 March: First public performance of Diary of a Wombat. Yay!

April: Release of Miss Lily’s Lovely Ladies (Book 1), and Millie Loves Ants with Sue deGennaro

20 April: PR for Diary of a Wombat. What and where I do not know …

7–9 April: Newcastle Writers Festival and performance of Josephine Wants to Dance with the Newcastle Youth Orchestra

20 April: Melbourne: contact Booked Out

21 April: Wheeler Centre, Melbourne. Conversation about Miss Lily’s Lovely Ladies.

26–28 May: Townsville Literary Festival.

June: release of Goodbye, Mr Hitler.

3 June: Keynote at Australian Childcare Alliance Conference, Gold Coast, QLD

8–9 June: Adelaide SEATA.

8–9 June: Sydney, launch of Goodbye, Mr Hitler and talks at the Sydney Jewish Museum

July: Release of Third Witch

August: Release of Wombat Wins paperback

September: If Blood Should Stain the Wattle paperback released

October: Koala Bare released

December: A Land of Love and Flame released (Matilda Book 7)

 


The March Garden
March is the harvest month: the time to gather in what you have grown and keep safe for winter. It’s a gentle month; the sun isn’t as fierce and there’s a touch of lushness in the growth — the autumn flush before the winter.
Read more here.
 

Autumn Harvest Recipes

As the weather gets colder, you may want something warming and hearty. Here are some of my favourites:

Spiced Baked Sweet Potatoes

Lemon Eggplant 
Grilled Mushroom Sandwich
Baked Chicken Balls
Red Onion Tart
Rhubarb with Orange Rice Pudding
Sweet Apricot Soufflé
Baked Coconut Custard







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