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Jenn McLeod

Posted on 2 April, 2014 at 20:58 Comments comments (1)

G'day :)

Today I'm chatting with the extremely talented, Jenn McLeod, about her new release, Simmering Season. 

No stranger to embracing a second chance or trying something different, Jenn took the first tentative steps towards her tree change in 2004, escaping Sydney’s corporate chaos to buy a small cafe in the seaside town of Sawtell.

Moving to the country was like coming home and she now spends her days maintaining her NSW property and writing contemporary Australian fiction—life-affirming novels of small town life and the country roots that run deep.

Securing a two-book deal with Simon and Schuster, her debut novel—House for all Seasons—was released March 1, 2013 to rave reviews. Book 2 in the Seasons Collection—Simmering Season—follows April 1, 2014, with books 3 and 4 contracted and scheduled for release April 2015 and 2016.



Hi Mandy,
 
It’s great to be back with a new book – Simmering Season. When I last visited you (12 months ago) I was talking about House for all Seasons and my writing journey and I confessed then to being torn about which keyboard was my greatest passion – the piano or the computer?
 
Well, by composing a song for my latest book I’ve managed to combine both. Readers of House for all Seasons might even recognise the song’s title. I’ve used Amber’s story in Part Three – Amber Leaves.
 
While Simmering Season is predominantly about a small town school reunion that brings home more than memories for local publican, Maggie Lindeman, another thread runs through the story, shining a spotlight on reality TV – talent shows in particular.



 
It was Susan ‘I Dreamed A Dream’ Boyle and her 2009 Britain, You’ve Got Talent audition that prompted me to write the original Simmering Season plotline. Listening to her sing that night filled me with mixed emotions. I knew at the time I was relating to the song and to her story; I, too, was not getting any younger and dreamed of someone discovering I had talent – writing, not singing!
 
Once the You Tube clip went viral overnight, the media frenzy began and, inevitably, the woman’s public meltdown. I remember thinking at the time: With the show over, who was looking out for this woman? Vultures wanted to exploit her, social media trolls were horrible, and the press hounded. Despite the do-gooders attempts to groom and change her (not withstanding her incredible talent) Susan Boyle was never going to fit the mould or the industry's crushing standards: how to look, act, speak.
 
So I wondered …  How does an ordinary and vulnerable person cope in such a situation? How do you prepare yourself? And the question that has prompted thousands of plots …  “What if ?”
 
My original manuscript focused on a fictional reality TV show that misused and manipulated, giving people a taste of celebrity and getting their hopes up, only to discard them once the show ended. But as you’d know, Mandy, draft manuscripts can morph into something else all by themselves.
 
Enter Simmering Season’s lead character – nicknamed Magpie – bold and protective:  a devoted mother, daughter and wife grappling with her responsibilities, as well as being the reluctant town publican and community event organiser for the town’s centenary and school reunion. Maggie’s so busy keeping those balls in the air (and like most women our age believing she can do it all) Maggie has no idea the perfect storm is headed her way in the form of school crush, Dan Ireland, now a work-weary Police crash investigator who married her best friend, and an unexpected houseguest for the summer.
 
It’s Maggie’s husband, Brian, who is drawn into the reality TV world. He’s the kind of man so desperate for his is fifteen minutes of fame he’s prepared to forget his wife and son, leaving Maggie to cope on her own until she can sell the pub and return to Sydney. Only trouble is, Maggie is falling in love – in love with life, her dad’s old pub, and the idea of a second chance for her family in Calingarry Crossing
 
Even though the reality TV theme became secondary in the final version, I still managed to keep my song. I’d penned Amber Leaves – the song – back in 2011. (Although I suspect another, more suitable, word for ‘penned’ might be procrastinated!) The manuscript’s words weren’t flowing at the time; the song did. Jodi Picoult had just released her novel, Sing You Home, which included music. While I was no Jodi Picoult (at that time I didn’t even have a publisher, much less one prepared to entertain such self-indulgence in a no-name author) I thought, What the heck?
 
Well, I did get a publisher – Simon and Schuster’s Head of Publishing – and I got to keep my song.
 
Since then, Simmering Season has grown, draft after draft, bringing new Calingarry Crossing characters to life.
 
Bringing my song to life has been a great experience, too. First I had to convey the lyrics and the melody with no musical instruments at hand. So I emailed a recording of me singing to a long-time family friend – Minsky’s Piano Man for the last 30 years – John Watson. When John returned his arrangement and I heard him singing my words I cried – kind of like the first time you see your book in print.
 
Any readers in Sydney who frequent Minsky’s wine bar (Cremorne/Hayden Cinema complex) on the weekend, please head on over to The Piano Man (late session) and request Amber Leaves!  Music and lyrics by Jenn J McLeod. Arrangement by The Piano man himself – Mr John Watson. I’m in the process of getting a studio recording of the song and would love to pop back here when I have it, Mandy.
 
In the meantime find out more about my books and other trivia on my website 

Connect with me
Facebook:        /JennJMcLeod.Books
Twitter:           @jennjmcleod


It's been such a pleasure having you pop in today, Jenn. Thanks for sharing the inspiration behind Simmering Season. I can't wait to read it!

Until next time, keep smiling and dreaming!

Mandy xoxo
 
 
 
 

 

A love like Johnny and June's :)

Posted on 27 January, 2014 at 23:57 Comments comments (0)
G'day!

It feels like a lifetime ago since I wrote my last blog, and it kinda is. So much has happened in the past year, some of it heartbreakingly tough but also some of it so amazingly beautiful. And today I want to tell you about the "beautiful", because I think we all need to hear about the good stuff in life…it feeds our positive side. We hear enough of the negative on the nightly news.




Over the past few years, in all my novels, I have passionately written about two people falling in love, and through my writing I have expressed the way in which I longed to be loved myself. I mean, lets face it, love is the universal language. It's what we all desire, and all dream of. I don't think any of us should give up on the notion that there is that one person out there that would make the earth shake beneath our feet, that would move heaven and earth to show you just how much they love you, and would love you in a way you never thought possible. True love is certainly a beautiful thing to believe in. 



Being a huge fan of Johnny Cash, my all time favourite movie is Walk The Line. I have to confess I've probably watched it at least twenty times, and I love it just as much every time I do. I have always been amazed by Johnny and June's love and have longed for this kind of connection, you know, the kind of connection where a person can touch your soul just by looking into your eyes. I never believed I would find it, knowing Johnny and June's love was one in a million. But, I have found it with my beautiful fiancé, Clancy. And I tell you what, it is the most amazing feeling in the world, to be so passionately, deeply, overwhelmingly in love. He has changed my life for the better, and proven that true, soul-deep love defies all odds, no matter what. I feel extremely blessed to have crossed paths with him in this lifetime.



So, for all of you lucky enough to have found this kind of love, a big happy hurrah to you and your loved one! And for those of you searching for it, please don't ever give up. Because if you truly, deeply believe in something enough, with all your heart and soul, there is a big chance it will become your reality. We are all worthy of the love we dream of, and life is too short not to be happy. 

So, with that thought...

Keep smiling and dreaming
Mandy xx

 






Pamela Cook

Posted on 9 January, 2014 at 19:21 Comments comments (0)
G'day!  :)

My goodness, it feels like forever since I've done a blog…and it almost is! So much has happened in the past year, which has made it hard to keep up with the fast pace of my life, but I'll save that for another blog. For today, I have the fabulous rural romance author, Pamela Cook, here to talk about her writing and why music plays such a big part in her books.

Hi Pamela, and welcome...



 Hi Mandy
 
Thanks for having me on your blog. Since finishing my second novel, Essie’s Way, I’ve been having a break from writing, so it’s good to be hammering the keyboard again, even if just for a short post. Since your blog features so much great country music I thought I’d share some of my own musical influences and some of the songs mentioned in my books.
 
In my first novel, Blackwattle Lake, the main character Eve is a feisty, independent type who grew up in the country and has now returned to it after twenty years. As I was writing the story a number of songs popped up in the narrative, the first one being P!nk’s Funhouse (I adore P!nk). Just like in the song, Eve’s return to her old home is haunted by ghosts from her past rather than the evil clowns in the lyrics. She doesn’t get far into that song before the radio is switched off!
 
Although she has lived in the city for many years Eve is a country girl at heart and loves being back in the open spaces, the bush and back around horses. She nurses an injured horse, Rain, back to health and takes her out for a ride, where she remembers one of her favourite songs, Run With The Wild Horses:
 
Without being conscious of it, Eve began to sing. It was a song about wild horses and being fearless. The irony of the lyrics made her smile. Too many times she’d thrown caution to the wind and look where it had gotten her. The song had been a favourite for years, part of her repertoire. She loved to sing, more than anything, apart from riding. You could lose yourself in a song – well and truly escape.


 
When writing Essie’s Way I also found songs that reflected the character’s mood jumping into the story. The main character in this book is Miranda McIntyre a hot-shot city lawyer on the brink of getting married who takes a road trip in search of her possibly-still-alive grandmother. Driving south along the NSW coast in her VW convertible Miranda flicks the CD player on:
 
She pressed a button and the roof folded back, section by section, until the wind was blowing through her hair, streaming over her face. Reaching behind her head she pulled out the elastic that held her blonde waves in place and let her hair fly loose in the breeze. Crowded House was crooning a song about taking the weather with you and she sang along, feeling surprisingly and suddenly liberated. She leant into the curves with the car as she steered around one bend and then another. The road drew closer to the coast where the ocean shimmered in the glare of brilliant sunshine and she felt the dampness of salt on her cheeks and on her tongue. She found herself smiling, as she drove through seaside towns that reminded her of somewhere she’d been as a child or perhaps only longed to go, past beaches bathed in promises.
 
The second main character in the novel, Esther, is older and enjoys music of a different style:
 
The old woman stood on the verandah, her hair tossed by the salt breeze that had blown in with the setting sun. She tucked the violin beneath her chin and closed her eyes. The strings were taut beneath her fingers and as she caressed them with the bow her body relaxed into the sad, sweet sound they made. Notes drifted into the air, mingling with the whisper of the ocean and the gentle snoring of the black dog who lay at her feet, before they lilted across the sand and out over the waves into the dusk.
 
My characters seem to find solace and inspiration in music, just as I do, and I’m looking forward to discovering what songs and artists my next batch of characters are drawn to.
 
In the meantime here’s a quick blurb on Essies’ Way:
 
A captivating story of family, love and following your heart, from the author of Blackwattle Lake.
Miranda McIntyre thinks she has it all sorted. A successful lawyer, she s planning her wedding and ticking off all the right boxes. When searching for something old to go with her wedding dress she remembers an antique necklace from her childhood, but her mother denies any knowledge of it. Miranda is sure it exists. Trying to find the necklace, she discovers evidence that perhaps the grandmother she thought was dead is still alive.
Ignoring the creeping uncertainty about her impending marriage, and the worry that she is not living the life she really wants, Miranda takes off on a road trip in search of answers to the family mystery but also in search of herself.
  Ultimately, she will find that looking back can lead you home.
 
 
Connect with Pamela:
 
 
Facebook: www.facebook.com/PamelaCookAuthor
 
Twitter: @PamelaCookAU

 

Connie Kis Andersen, Country Music Artist.

Posted on 8 May, 2013 at 22:40 Comments comments (0)





G'day :)

Today I'm chatting to the very lovely Connie Kis, about her life as a very talented country music artist.

Welcome, Connie, let's get to it….

What inspired you to become a country music artist? 
No ‘inspiration’ really ... just no choice.  Once you get a taste for creating music, it becomes quite infectious and if there were a more positive analogy, I would use it, but right now I can’t think of one and so all I can say, it’s like a virus, once you’ve been infected, you will always carry the bug.  My first instrument was a banjo -mandolin.  My first gig of renown as a child was on the stage with Slim Dusty.  I guess my initiation into country music couldn’t come better than that! 

Can you tell us a bit about your most recently released album, or song?  
My current album is a self-titled album called; CONNIE KIS.   Except for one song which is in public domain, I wrote or co-wrote all of the tracks.  Even on this cover song, my producer, Doug Wayne and I had a lot of creative input and gave it a complete new arrangement.   I feel it is my best release to date and I am thrilled with the way it came out.  The album was awarded the 2011 WA Best Independent Country Music Album and no less than four self-penned songs from it were awarded song-writing awards from festivals across Australia with three of the singles released to Australian Country Radio charting in the Australian Country Music Charts – two of them (A Man In Boots and Steamy Dreams) being  Top 5 hits.     

What are you working on now?
I am currently working on a concept called; ‘Showcase Australia’ which will showcase Australia and all things Australian through the magic of music. Over the last 18 months I have laid the ground work through my weekly radio program by that same name  - promoting the music of Australia’s Country Music artists to the world.  The program is broadcast weekly through Nashville Broadcasting Radio Network FM and it’s world-wide affiliates, through Neon Productions Radio (USA), through Country Music Radio Nashville where it is repeated 4 times per week and through the Music Radio Network in Australia and includes 14 terrestrial stations throughout Australia from Qld to Victoria.   My next step is to expand on the concept of showcasing Australia through the magic of music ... so stay tuned.     

Have you got a favourite song that you sing? If yes, what is it? 
Actually ... I have TWO favourite songs that I sing and wish I had written.The first is a song written by Hugh Prestwood for Trisha Yearwood called; ‘The Song Remembers When’.  As a songwriter, we live and breathe the song, and know how much a song can take you to a place long forgotten when heard on the radio.  My goal is to write such a song – one that will express my thoughts and feelings in a way that will resonate with the listener and bring to them, their own unique experience –a recollection.  And if that experience is long past  ... my song will be the trigger that brings that memory to the fore ... The other song that means so much to me and one that I love is ANYWAY; the song by Martina McBride.  She and songwriters Brett Warren and his brother, Brad Warren wrote the very poignant lyrics and music for ANYWAY.  I think the inspiration came from a quote from Mother Therese ... the lyrics go like this ... You can spend your whole life building Something from nothin' One storm can come and blow it all away Build it anyway  You can chase a dream, That seems so out of reach And you know it might not ever come your way Dream it anyway  God is great, but sometimes life ain't good When I pray it doesn't always turn out like I think it should But I do it anyway I do it anyway  This world's gone crazy And it's hard to believe That tomorrow will be better than today Believe it anyway  You can love someone with all your heart For all the right reasons In a moment they can choose to walk away Love 'em anyway  God is great, but sometimes life ain't good When I pray it doesn't always turn out like I think it should But I do it anyway Yeah, I do it anyway  You can pour your soul out singing A song you believe in That tomorrow they'll forget you ever sang Sing it anyway Yeah, sing it anyway I sing I dream I love Anyway. When I was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer  in Jly 2011 - shortly after the release of my new album; Connie Kis,  I truly was heartbroken, given the amount of blood sweat, tears and money I had invested in my project.  Instead of being able to tour and work my album, found myself undergoing 9 months of treatment including several surgeries – one very major one where I spent 5 ½ hours on the table ... followed by fortnightly chemotherapy for 6 months and then further surgery after that ,... the following 9 months (up until just recently) were almost just as challenging given the adjustments I had to make to get used to my new inner workings.   But the song ANYWAY inspired me and I too did it anyway ... I worked my music hard online and kept my ordeal private and out of the public eye for as long as and as much as I could ... I think I had to ‘fess up’ to the public when I couldn’t get to Tamworth in 2012. 




Swag or room service for a romantic date? 
Room service PLEASE! 

Holden, Ford...or something else? 
Anything that is reliable, fuel efficient, fast, and big enough to carry a PA as well as my suitcases/clothes ... and it MUST have a good stereo. 

Favourite Food? 
My favourite food depends really on how hungry I am and what time of day it is ... I must admit though, I am a sucker for a fruit smoothie that is choc full of berries, yoghurt, cranberry juice and bananas!  Cheese is another favourite snack food. 

Favourite Movie? 
Hmmm ... hard one.   Especially since I forget movies very easily and cannot recall them at all.  But the first one that has popped into my head was ‘The Notebook’.  I think it might be a bit of a ‘chick flick’ but it’s a classic and no matter how many times I see it, I still manage to shed a tear. 

Favourite Aussie saying? 
“Onya mate …” 

If you could have a kangaroo, koala, wombat, crocodile, galah or python as a pet which one would you choose, and why? 
A Kangaroo ... I had a female Joey as a kid (“Joanne”).  She was the sweetest little thing.  Would sleep in a bag on the door knob in my bedroom at night and talk to me.  I loved her nature.   I know kangaroos are sensitive, intelligent creatures.  Besides, I already have Galahs … :)   

Who would you like to trade places with for a day, alive or dead, and why?I have never thought of trading places with anyone ... I am quite content in my own shoes.  Thinking about it though, maybe Patsy Cline ... just to get a feel of what it was REALLY like in the old country music days  ... as opposed to now. 

If I looked in your fridge right now what would I find? 
Cranberry Juice, soft drinks, cheese, wine, cashew nuts, bananas, mincemeat and salad vegies and wholemeal crumpets. .. oh ... did I say wine .. ? 

Craziest thing you’ve ever done? 
Riding across Australia on my 750 cc motorcycle. 

If you were going on holiday tomorrow, where would it be?  
Phuket 

Four words that describe you 
Sensitive, self-assured, honest and reliable 

Thanks for popping by for a chat, Connie. It's been wonderful mate! And, you truly are an inspiration. Good luck with everything! 

If you'd like to find out more about Connie please visit her website at

Only 2 more weeks and my third novel, Flame Tree HIll, will be hitting the shelves…exciting times!

Until next time, keep smiling and dreaming,

Mandy xoxo




Susan Lily, Country Music Artist

Posted on 16 April, 2013 at 18:03 Comments comments (1)










                                                G'day :)

Today I'm chatting to the very lovely, and hilarious!, Susan Lily, about her life as a country music artist.



Welcome Susan, let's get to it…

What inspired you to become a country music artist?
I always wanted to sing but never really made it out of the bathroom until I could do I could do it comfortably.  So naturally, I took the comedic road as a stepping stone to becoming a music artist and songwriter.  It’s normal isn’t?  I was a standup comic for about 4 years and during that time I stumbled my way through song parodies and original comedy songs.  I’d be so nervous about playing guitar that I made it part of my act to get my fingers caught in the strings on the fretboard or drop my pick.  I also learned how to own a stage as big as any football field so the first time I sang with a band my personal space felt invaded LOL!! 

Can you tell us a bit about your most recently released album, 
or song? 
 “Miss You Much” is the third single from my debut album BUTTERFLY (out on CD baby) and is a song about missing my childhood and my home.   I grew up (mainly cos I can’t get any lower) in a little town called HAY in outback NSW.  I used to escape down the river with my dog (Snoopy), peanut butter sandwiches, a book, a drink and when I ran out of food I’d go home.  Being down there gave me a sense of freedom and adventure.  It’s hard to do that when we are grown up (though my inner child is still very much alive and kicking).     

What are you working on now? 
 Yesterday my songwriting mojo jumped in front of me when I was walking to the tram stop.  It sidetracked me with lyrics and melody which soon found themselves recorded to be worked on later.  So now I’ve got two new songs that are shaping up really nicely.  I recently quit my day job, packed up an entire house, donated gear to charities and friends, moved cities and, embarked on a beautiful new relationship with a man I’ve adored for a long time (sort of stuff you’d find in a romance novel *hint*).   So, not much really!!!! My priorities are wide and varied.  I’m beginning to network for gigs, muso friends and, venues.  I made my debut last night at The Governor Hindmarsh Hotel and they almost needed a big hook to get me off stage.  I’ve gone from being a very shy child to a stage junkie haha.  I’m also busy with job applications, songwriting and arranging, plus rehearsing for the other open mikes that I’m planning to play at.  I’d love to say that I have time to smell the roses but I can’t find any at the moment so I will just have to be happy with dancing in a pink tutu on the back of a white rhino (lol).     



Have you got a favourite song that you sing? If yes, what is it? Believe it or not I love to sing my first single! It’s called “Got the Monkey Off My Back” and was released in Dec 2006.  I never tire of it and so many people know me by it PLUS like or love the song.  It’s my most requested song and such a blessing to me as it’s given me a foot inside the door of the country music community radio circuit. It was one of those songs that literally wrote itself.  I had been talking about how great I felt about a burden that had gone from my life and a work mate said that phrase to me.  on the way home in the car it suddenly popped into my head, lyrics and all.  I had nothing to record it with so sang it over and over til I got home, ran up 17 steps, opened my double deadlocked front door, and found my cassette recorder. Six months later I began working with my producer (Paul Norton) on which song to use as my debut single.  I was so embarrassed about what he’d think of the song that I nearly didn’t play it for him.  He surprised me by saying that it was the best one to release and that was one of my first valuable lessons in songwriting for commercial release.  I’ve felt great about it ever since and I’m not sure there has been a set where I’ve not played the song. 

Swag or room service for a romantic date? 
Does room service come with a room or would we be parking or in the bushes?  I’m a tomboy at heart so I do know my way around a swag.  I like comfort but that’s why I replaced the standard mattress with a you beaut self-inflating insulated one (plus it’s really great fun to try and deflate which can also lead to romance....oops!  am I giving away too much? ;) ) 

Holden, Ford...or something else? 
 My pride and joy was a beige brumby ute.  I know!  People used to laugh at me and say it was a “pretend ute” but I loved that beast.  I’d had it for six weeks the day it became a roo destroyer.  $6245.10c later I had the front end of it put back together and then went on countless adventures across NSW and into Victoria.  I used to make jokes about having a beige “uterus” (cos all the boys out home would call their utes that moniker) .  I was a popular gal for awhile.  Then tragedy struck me when I was t-boned by a truck flying out of a servo driveway.  I’m very lucky to be alive but sadly Rufus (his name) didn’t make it.  I cried the day the panel beater said he couldn’t repair him and asked if I could have a few moments to say goodbye.  I will admit the scene of me splayed out on the bonnet crying must have looked a bit strange.  I wanted to give them all something to tell their grandchildren. I have dreams you know, dreams of when I’m old and have bright pink or purple hair.  I’ll be an old crazy lady on a pushbike.  I’ll have bright pink lipstick on my teeth and my skirt tucked into my pants... at the front.... yeah, dreams eh.  Something to look forward to!

Favourite Food? 
 Yes! Haha. I am partial to savoury foods.  Don’t leave an open packet of barbeque or pizza shapes anywhere near me if you want one.  I’m also very in love with silverside and white sauce with mashed potato plus I do enjoy bangers and mash.  I’m also known for my love for Sticky Date Pudding.  So well known in fact, that it’s no secret to anyone anymore.  I even have people on FB commenting about it whenever the chance arises.  

Favourite Movie? 
 That’s a tough question:  I’d have to say that comedies are my favourite genre. The Castle would have to be one of a number of “number one favourites”.  Thoroughly brilliant and quintessential Aussie movie.  

Favourite Aussie saying? 
 “tell ‘em they’re dreaming”  


If you could have a kangaroo, koala, wombat, crocodile, galah or python as a pet which one would you choose, and why? 
 I’d have a galah as they are not as stupid as people make out.  I’d train it to say silly left-of-centre things during conversation  

Who would you like to trade places with for a day, alive or dead, and why? 
Dolly Parton.  I’d love to spend the day at Dollyworld being in-charge 

If I looked in your fridge right now what would I find? 
 A sad looking shelf where the chocolate used to be. 

Craziest thing you’ve ever done? 
We had a bad taste party once and decided to get dressed up BEFORE we went to the supermarket to get our food supplies.    I had green eyebrows and all my hair was plaited in various directions across my head.  I’d made a tutu and wore it over mismatched clothing and footwear (yeah, odd socks and shoes). We danced around the aisles singing any ads we could remember.  Then at the checkout when the girl asked “are youse guys having party?”  we replied “nah, we’re having a quiet night in front of the telly” 

If you were going on holiday tomorrow, where would it be? 
 I’d love to go to Texas, both for the music scene and the cowboys! 

Four words that describe you… 
 Quirky, silly, fun, crazy

Thanks, Susan, it's been fun chatting! 

If you'd like to find out more about Susan Lily please stop by one of her pages…

Facebook page

Susan Lily fanclub group FB

Susan Lily blog

Until next week, keep smiling and dreaming!
Mandy xoxo

The McClymonts, Country Music Artists

Posted on 10 April, 2013 at 18:08 Comments comments (0)



                                                    G'day!

I'm thrilled to announce my lovely guests this week, The McClymonts! 

Today I'm having a one on one chat with Samantha McClymont.



Welcome, Samantha, let's get to it...    


What inspired you to become a country music artist?   
We grew up listening to so much country music that it was in our blood from little girls. We love the stories it tells and the connection the music has with its audience.    

Can you tell us a bit about your most recently released album, or song?   
We released ‘Two Worlds Collide’ last May. It's a very open and honest album. There's certainly a lot more growth musically and lyrically from the last records. We can hear our sound really evolving on this last album.        

What are you working on now?   
We are currently touring an acoustic show which has been a lot of fun. It's so nice to hear the songs stripped back to how they were first written.        

Have you got a favourite song that you sing? If yes, what is it?   
Mine would be 'Piece of Me'   


Swag or room service for a romantic date?   
Swag under the stars but I'm sure you can include some champagne in that too!  


Holden, Ford...or something else?   
Toyota of course!    

Favourite Food?   
Sushi    



Favourite Movie?   
I'm obsessed with watching movies so this is hard. My girly fave is ‘Sliding Doors’    

Favourite Aussie saying?   
She'll be right    

If you could have a kangaroo, koala, wombat, crocodile, galah or python as a pet which one would you choose, and why?   
The one with the least up keep. With all the travelling we do I don't think I would make a very good pet owner at the moment.    

Who would you like to trade places with for a day, alive or dead, and why?
Taylor Swift. Playing to those huge audiences night after night, hearing your songs on the radio... and all those cute boys.    



If I looked in your fridge right now what would I find?   
I'm very much a day to day shopper. Currently there's some fruit and vegies, eggs and two bottles of white wine    



Craziest thing you’ve ever done?  
Don't know if you would say this was crazy but I did fly from America to Australia to be the maid of honour at my best friend’s wedding. I was in Oz for less than 48 hours, and then flew straight back again.  

If you were going on holiday tomorrow, where would it be?   
Would love to see South America  

Three words that describe you…   
OCD, online,-shopper, thoughtful    

Thanks for popping by today, Samantha! 

Next week I'll be chatting to the lovely Susan Lily. 

Until then, keep smiling and dreaming,
Mandy xoxo  

Sunny Cowgirls, Country Music Artists

Posted on 2 April, 2013 at 19:04 Comments comments (0)



                                                                   G'day!

I'm thrilled to announce that I'm talking with the Sunny Cowgirls today!

Welcome, Celeste and Sophie, it's great to have you here. :)


I'll start with you first, Celeste...    

What inspired you to become a country music artist? 
Growing up on a farm and being surrounded by country music. 

Can you tell us a bit about your most recently released album, 
or song? 
Our latest album is our most honest and our most grown up I think! We put all we had into this album, writing the songs and making an album we wanted to make. It’s called “What We Do” and that title pretty much sums up our lives at the moment. We’ve grown into ourselves and feel really comfortable with our music. 

What are you working on now? 
We are currently touring all over the place!! Just been to NSW and VIC and in the next few months we’ll be touring QLD, SA, WA and hopefully TAS.  

Have you got a favourite song that you sing? If yes, what is it? 
I don’t have a favourite at the moment – they’re all fun!!!   

Swag or room service for a romantic date? 
I’d say a swag underneath the stars 

Holden, Ford...or something else? 
Holden 

Favourite Food? 
Very difficult question!! 

Favourite Movie? 
Anything with Will Ferrell in it. Anchorman is a fave! 

Favourite Aussie saying? 
Strewth!!!! 

If you could have a kangaroo, koala, wombat, crocodile, galah or python as a pet which one would you choose, and why? 
A galah so I could teach it stupid things to say 

Who would you like to trade places with for a day, alive or dead, and why? 
A lawyer – because it’d be so different!!!! 

If I looked in your fridge right now what would I find? 
Fresh lamb, rocket, mangoes, berries, parmesan, milk, yoghurt and olives.

Craziest thing you’ve ever done? 
I don’t really do crazy stuff! 

If you were going on holiday tomorrow, where would it be? 
Italy 

Four words that describe you… 
Happy, relaxed, positive, easygoing.  



Okay, now it's your turn, Sophie...   

What inspired you to become a country music artist? 
Our family has always been very musical.  Our dad was in a band back in the day and also wrote songs.  He taught me everything he knew when I was big enough to hold a guitar.  Growing up on a farm in Victoria, surrounded by the country lifestyle and country music, it was something that came very naturally to me.  It’s been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember.  It’s in my blood and it’s not going anywhere! 

Can you tell us a bit about your most recently released album, 
or song?  
“What We Do” is our fifth studio album, and our most honest one to date.  It tells a story of who we are and why we love what we do.  We recorded part of the album with Sam Hawksley in Nashville, and finished it off back here in Australia.  The songs are all written by myself and my sister and are very true to ourselves. 

What are you working on now? 
Right now we are in the middle of a national tour promoting our new album.  So far, it’s taken us to NSW & VIC, with QLD, SA & WA still to come. - A lot of travelling and a lot of dates!  So far, the album has been well-received and people seem to be loving the new tunes, which is always a good thing!  The album tour will take us through to June this year, after that, who knows???  Maybe a holiday! ;)

Have you got a favourite song that you sing? If yes, what is it? 
My favourite song to play live changes all of the time!  You can very easily get sick of a song when you’re playing it every night.  At the moment, “Green & Gold” (our current single) is my fave.  It brings a great energy to the stage and I think all of the musicians have a lot of fun with it as well.  The song is very patriotic and explains how lucky we are to live in this beautiful country of ours.  It always goes down well with those proud Aussies out there! 

Swag or room service for a romantic date? 
Depends on who it is! 

Holden, Ford...or something else? 
Holden               

Favourite Food? 
Way too hard to answer!  Love my red meat though. 

Favourite Movie? 
Anchorman 



Favourite Aussie saying? 
“He’s a few head short in the top paddock” 

If you could have a kangaroo, koala, wombat, crocodile, galah or python as a pet which one would you choose, and why? 
Crocodile, because it’s a bit different! 

Who would you like to trade places with for a day, alive or dead, and why? 
Stevie Nicks back in the 70s, because I’m currently reading a bio on Fleetwood Mac and would love to see what the music scene was like back then! 

If I looked in your fridge right now what would I find? 
Meat, lots of fruit and veggies  yoghurt, eggs, cheese, a bit of chocky and of course, beer! 

Craziest thing you've ever done? 
I jumped on the back of an unbroken horse (bareback) when I was 12 as part of a dare.  The horse took off and threw me into a fence.  A few tears and stitches that day! 

If you were going on holiday tomorrow, where would it be? 
Italy 

Four words that describe you… 
Sociable, ambitious, impulsive, loyal

Cheers, Sophie and Celeste, for popping by. It's been fun! 

Next week I'll be yarning with The McClymonts. 

Until then, keep smiling and dreaming!
Mandy xoxo

Katrina Burgoyne, Country Music Artist

Posted on 27 March, 2013 at 20:08 Comments comments (0)






                                                 G'day :)

Today I'm chatting to the very beautiful and extremely gifted, Katrina Burgoyne. Katrina's spine tingling debut single "Ghost" has been tagged the first of many "drop everything and listen" songs off her debut album. Once you hear her voice, I know you'll be hooked. 

Welcome, Katrina, let's get to it mate...


What inspired you to become a country music artist? 
 I’ve always had a passion for music, I started writing my own songs at eleven. Growing up in Gunnedah, NSW, the inspiration from the Country Music Capital- Tamworth was just 45 minutes away. 




Can you tell us a bit about your most recently released album, or song?
I released my debut album in March 2011 “White Flag”. I was so pleased to have 3 top 10 charting singles and 2 Golden Guitar Nominations. It was a great year.     


What are you working on now? 
 I am just about to release a brand new EP with four new tracks, something a little different but something I’m definitely proud of. 


Have you got a favourite song that you sing? If yes, what is it? 
I love singing “the carnival” coming off my new EP.
“Step Inside, step inside you want to feel the thrill of a carnival ride?
Step inside, step inside but we’ll steal your soul if you close your eyes”  



Swag or room service for a romantic date? 
I’ve never been a “country” girl. However recently I had the best date fishing in a tinny. I’m not a “princess” so room service or a swag would make a great date… it’s all about the company and if they can make me laugh. 


Holden, Ford...or something else? 
TOYOTA.. always been a Toyota girl.. I’ve only had 4 cars of my own.. 3 were Toyotas… Just brought a brand new Rav… LOVE IT!  


Favourite Food? 
I love all things sweet…. Homemade is another one of my favourites…. But I also love fruit.  

Favourite Movie? 
Pride and Prejudice- I’m a sucker for the romantic movies.  


Favourite Aussie saying? 
 “Mate” I use this way too much.  


If you could have a kangaroo, koala, wombat, crocodile, galah or python as a pet which one would you choose, and why?
Ewww… Python, Crocodile… NO WAY! I am scared of snakes, and crocks. I would say a Kangaroo because when I come home late a night I have about 15 sitting in my front yard.  


Who would you like to trade places with for a day, alive or dead, 
and why? 
A great songwriter, I would love to get in their head. 

 

If I looked in your fridge right now what would I find?
Chopped up watermelon, last nights road chock, pumpkin salad… and the usual. However I just cleaned out my fridge… yesterday would have been different. 


Craziest thing you’ve ever done? 
 I may have skinny dipped in my local tourist fountain, it was very dark. 


If you were going on holiday tomorrow, where would it be? 
UK, I would love to take a holiday to the UK. 

Four words that describe you... 
Fun, Energetic, Adventurous and Ambitious. 

If you'd like to find out more about Katrina, please swing by her website…

Next time I will be chatting with the Sunny Cowgirls...should be fun!

Until next week, keep smiling and dreaming
Mandy xoxo

Troy Cassar-Daley, Country Music Artist

Posted on 20 March, 2013 at 3:14 Comments comments (1)

  
G'day :)

I'm thrilled to be chatting to the one and only Troy Cassar-Daley ...hope you enjoy eavesdropping on the conversation. :)

Welcome, Troy, let's get to it...

What inspired you to become a country music artist?
I always loved to sing as a kid and once I had started playing guitar, my path became very clear.


Can you tell us a bit about your most recently released album, or song?
My album “Home” is a bucket list record for me to have made, the Nashville players I used were ones I have listened to on records since I was a teenager! The title track Home really describes the first ten year of my life and the house I was raised in.






What are you working on now?I am working on a record with a mate as a special project for next year (top secret)


Have you got a favourite song that you sing? If yes, what i?
At the moment I love playing a song called “Play” as a guitar fan and player it really explains my love affair with the six string devilwe all know as the guitar!!


Swag or room service for a romantic date?
I have slept on many a swag and I never found it romantic! It was always a place to crash out of necessity when drunk or on tour, I think the room service would be good at my age!


Holden, Ford...or something else?
My daily driver is a Hyundai Sant-Fe as we throw lots of crap in it at the farm and its always got a fishing rod in it or a Kayak on top, my weekend cruiser is our old EH Holden (Daphne is her name) of which I have owned 3 before this one, I can fix it and I love the smell of the vinyl and petrol, a great old family member


Favourite Food?
can’t beat a great Steak and veg I reckon (rare please)

Favourite Movie?
tender mercies Robert Duvall love it reminds me of Merle Haggard who I think it was based on.


Favourite Aussie saying?
Jingo’s

If you could have a kangaroo, koala, wombat, crocodile, galah or python as a pet which one would you choose, and why?
I reckon a python as they only need a feed every now and then and don’t make too much noise!


Who would you like to trade places with for a day, alive or dead, and why?
God would be very interesting..


If I looked in your fridge right now what would I find?
Left over roast chook, always a half used pasta sauce, good coffee,and somethings to build a salad with!


Craziest thing you've ever done?
Embark on a career in Music ( mad I know)!!

If you were going on a holiday tomorrow, where would it be?
FNQ!!

Four words to describe you…
Laid, Back, Country, Bloke :)


If you'd like to pop by Troy's website, here it is…

Until next week, keep smiling and dreaming
Mandy xoxo

Shea Fisher, Country Music Artist

Posted on 13 March, 2013 at 20:14 Comments comments (1)





                                                    G'day :)

Today I'm chatting to the wonderfully talented, and very beautiful, Shea Fisher!

Welcome, Shea, let's get to it...

What inspired you to become a country music artist? 
I grew up in a Rodeo family. My Dad is an Australian Champion Bull Rider and Bareback Rider and my Mum is an Australian Champion Barrel Racer. I spent a lot of time on the road driving with my parents while listening to the radio. I still remember the first time Shania Twain came on the radio, I was hooked. I would perform in front of the mirror & would put on performances for my nana.  I spent many hours watching Shania Twain's live videos of her concerts and would try and mimic her every move. I knew at 9 years old I wanted to be a singer! 

Can you tell us a bit about your most recently released album, or song? I have had two albums out in Australia and four #1 songs. In the US I have released one song called “Don’t chase me”. This song was a top 20 on CMT for me in 2009.  My most recent album was self-titled “Shea”. This album was very diverse; it had a lot of different style songs on it from country to pop. This album is a lot of fun to perform live, 80% of the songs are upbeat which I love.    



What are you working on now? 
I am currently in the studio working on some new music in Nashville. To me it is very important to have the right song, I can be impatient at times but this new music will be worth the wait... I promise. It is very fresh, very 2013! I'm excited for everyone to hear it.    


Have you got a favourite song that you sing? If yes, what is it? 
That’s a hard question. I have so many songs I love to perform and that are very personal to me, however I think my favourite song to sing would still be my very first single I ever released in Australia when I was 17. It was my first #1 song “Just the excuse”, this song started off this whole crazy ride for me :) 



Holden, Ford...or something else? 
Hmm that’s a tough one. In Australia I think I would have to say I am a Holden girl but love the Dodge trucks in the US. 



Favourite Food? 
Fruit!!!!! Grapes, Mangoes and Watermelon….yummo! 

Favourite Movie? 
I loved the notebook & Taken. Two very different movies I know... haha. 

Favourite Aussie saying? 
“No Worries” I say this a lot.






If you could have a kangaroo, koala, wombat, crocodile, galah or python as a pet which one would you choose, and why? 
A kangaroo for sure! My mum grew up with a pet kangaroo and said they are awesome pets. Imagine having a pet kangaroo on my tour bus- cool right? 

Who would you like to trade places with for a day, 
alive or dead, and why? 
Jenna Dewan-Tatum, so I could make out with Channing Tatum for the day. Haha!! On a more serious note probably Shania Twain in her prime. I would love to know how that much success really feels- it would be a good way to prepare myself for hopefully the level of success that will come for me one day. 


If I looked in your fridge right now what would I find? 
Lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. 

Craziest thing you’ve ever done? 
Ridden a bull- many times. I was the first girl in Australia to make the National Finals in the Junior Bull Riding in Australia. 

If you were going on holiday tomorrow, where would it be? 
Ow... Bora Bora for sure! Always wanted to go there. Looks Magical!

Four words that describe you... 
Outgoing, Dedicated, Driven & Country

Thanks for swinging by for a chat today, Shea. And all the very best for your continuing success, here and in the US!

If you'd like to discover more about Shea, please drop by her website...

Next week I'm thrilled to announce I have the one and only Troy Cassar-Daley dropping by. Should be fun!

Until then, keep smiling and dreaming!
Mandy :) xoxo



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