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Zoe Louisa, Australian Country Music Artist.

Posted on 15 January, 2013 at 20:42 Comments comments (3)

G'day! :)

Hope you've all had a wonderful week so far. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you that have voted for me in the Australia's Favourtie Novelist feature on Booktopia. I have made it to the finals and am amongst such fabulous talent....the voting for the finals is open until midday Sunday so please pop on over if you haven't placed your vote already.... 

This week I'm thrilled to welcome Zoe Louisa as my guest. She is a gorgeous and highly gifted woman, and with the voice of an country angel how could you not love her songs? You will find yourself addicted to her voice from the second you listen to her...And, I reckon she looks a lot like Taylor Swift, too, don't you?

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

What inspired you to become a country music artist? 
 Country Music found me. I’ll give it a go to explain. I have always loved music and have wanted to sing and perform since I overcame my shyness as a small child. I’ve searched to find “MY” Music. I’ve learned classically, experimented with many genres...opera, musical theatre, jazz, pop, contemporary and more. I’ve loved them all but there was always something missing until I started songwriting. My songs told my stories and shared part of me. The sound behind my stories was always “Country”.  

Can you tell us a bit about your most recently released album, or song? 
 My most recently released song is called “Coffee Boy” ( It is such a fun song, just like the special moment the idea came to me. I was down in Tamworth at the Australian Academy of Country Music and wandered into town one morning to get a coffee.  
So picture this....I have ordered my coffee and turn around to wait and there he was..... my “Coffee Boy”. He was next in line, he ordered, stood next to me and started talking and asking me about myself. His voice was beautifully Australian and his face was fresh, open and honest. He was the inspiration for the song! 

What are you working on now? 
 I am currently working on the concept for the music video to accompany “Coffee Boy”. It is such an exciting project. I’m working with an amazing, creative crew. It’s really different to my last clip which I loved, but am enjoying the diversity.  I can't wait to get into the studio and start filming. 

Have you got a favourite song that you sing? If yes, what it is?
I love all my songs and many that others have written but my all time favourite song to sing and share from all my originals is “I Promise” .
 It is a song I wrote for my family so the message is very special and I believe it fits my voice perfectly. If I had to choose a song I didn't write, then it would probably be Kerry Picklers song “Red High Heels”. It’s such a upbeat, fun song and I love performing it. 

Swag or room service for a romantic date? 
 Room Service :)   

 Holden, Ford...or something else? 
 Hmmm Both :) Is that an option?   

Favourite Food? 
 Bad food- Chocolate (Hello, My name is Zoe and I am a chocoholic...) Good food- pumpkin/potato   

 Favourite Movie? 
That’s a very hard one... I love so many movies. I absolutely loved 
“The Help” the acting was incredible and it was just an overall amazing movie. I also loved “Country Strong’.  Both of these movies had strong messages within them.

Favourite Aussie saying?
Probably “Don’t get your knickers in a knot”. I’m very calm by nature and think people in general should learn how to stay calm and relaxed. (If your not Australian “Don’t get your knickers in a knot” means chill out and don’t get agitated/annoyed)

 If you could have a kangaroo, koala, wombat, crocodile, galah or python as a pet which one would you choose, and why? 
Definitely a Koala. They are such beautiful animals, cute and cuddly and such an Australian icon.     

 Who would you like to trade places with for a day, alive or dead, and why? 
 Dolly Parton.... I love her music, her energy, her humour. It would be amazing to see how she writes/performs, learn some of her business savvy  etc..  

 If I looked in your fridge right now what would I find?
 *goes and checks fridge... Veggies.....loads of variety, fruits like mango, kiwi fruit, pineapple, yoghurt.......yum. Oh and chocolate (of course)   

 Craziest thing you’ve ever done?
 I’m a pretty safe person by nature, so crazy is not a regular thing for me, however, I canoed and snorkelled over a ship wreck and coral reef in a remote area of Papua New Guinea. Amazing but absolutely crazy....very deep water. 

 If you were going on holiday tomorrow, where would it be? 
 So many places.....Top 3 destinations would be....England to see one set of my grandparents... back to Papua New Guinea, where I spent some of my childhood years and catch up with family and friends.... and finally, Tamworth in January, to catch up with music friends and be immersed in Music and surrounded by inspiration. 

 Four words that describe you... 
 I asked a few people to answer this question for me. Mum: Astonishing, talented, loving, true. Best friend: Caring, creative, inspiring, giving.     

If you would like to find out more about Zoe these are the links...

Thanks for popping in for a chat today, Zoe. It's been wonderful learning all about your exciting life. You're a truly beautiful soul!

Next week my Country Music guest is the very Australian and very talented Larry Cann. I'm looking forward to chatting with him.

Until next week, keep smiling and dreaming
Mandy xx 

Harmony James, Country Music Artist.

Posted on 9 January, 2013 at 18:55 Comments comments (0)


Welcome to this year's first blog, one of many over the coming months devoted to Aussie Country Music Artists and Awesome Aussie Authors. 

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Years...are you sticking to you New Years Resolutions? My genuine pledge to stay away from peanut M&Ms for the entire year of 2013 lasted all of 2 days. :) Oh well, maybe next year? :) 

Yesterday I was voted number 1 in the 3rd heat of Australia's Favourite Novelist, and OMG I am over the moon!!! 
Thank you to all that voted for me :) You all rock, country style! xx

Right, onto this week's country music blog and I'm very excited to announce my lovely and very talented guest, Harmony James. If you haven't heard Harmony sing, do yourself a favour and listen to her video clip that I have attached above. She has got the most amazing voice!

Welcome, Harmony...

What inspired you to become a country music artist?
My love of western novels, music and writing had me on that path from a young age, but I really went country when I first heard some cassette tapes from the US with the Judds and Randy Travis.

Can you tell us a bit about your most recently released album, or song?
Emmylou’s Guitar - the current single, was inspired after I moved to the city and there were all these buskers being ignored by the busy people in a hurry to get somewhere. It’s really about seeing people out there having a go, and finding yourself identifying with them, wondering what their stories are, and really feeling like you want them to succeed.

What are you working on now?
I’ve just wound up the bulk of the years touring and right now I am back to songwriting and sleeping in my own bed a while.

Have you got a favourite song that you sing? If yes, what is it?
I really enjoyed doing the duet ‘Reach for You’ with Shane Nicholson, but on my own ‘Tailwind’ never gets old for me. I still enjoy singing that song every time.

Holden, Ford...or something else? 
Holden, or if I was super rich it would be a big old Chevy pick up!
Favourite Food? 
Roast lamb for a real special occasion
Favourite Movie? 
Cool Hand Luke
Favourite Aussie saying? 
Tell him he’s dreamin

Who would you like to trade places with for a day,
alive or dead, and why? 
Aretha Franklin performing Natural Woman live. That would be fun.

If I looked in your fridge right now what would I find? 
Loads of boiled eggs

Craziest thing you’ve ever done? 
Changed my name when I was 14

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

Four words that describe you... 
Honest, daring, motivated, cheeky

Thanks for popping by, Harmony. It's been wonderful chatting with you today. 

If you would like to learn more about Harmony James please swing by her website...

Next week I have the gorgeous and very gifted Zoe Jones visiting. I look forward to hearing what she has to say about her exciting life as a country music artist. 

Until then, keep smiling and dreaming!
Mandy xxx

Ben Ransom, Country Music Artist.

Posted on 12 December, 2012 at 17:58 Comments comments (1)


G'day :)

I hope you are all having a fabulous day!
Today I have an incredibly talented country music singer in my company, Ben Ransom. He has a voice so well suited to country music, husky, twangy and powerful. I reckon he's going to make it, big time! In kicking off 2012, Ben was successful in becoming a finalist in the coveted Toyota Star Maker competition and in July 2012, became a Graduate of the CMAA Academy of Country Music.

Welcome, Ben, it's so great to have you here today. 

So let's get to it...

1. What inspired you to become a country music artist?
To be honest I wasn’t inspired to become a ‘country’ music artist as such, rather...I got categorised in that genre because of the way I write, look, perform and act. I was inspired to become a singer/performer from the feelings and emotions that music can evoke and the energy that it generates... There’s nothing like the buzz you get from performing! 

 2. Can you tell us about your most recently released album or song? 
My most recently released song was two weeks ago...called “Truck Stop Honey”. It is the first single from the forth coming album ‘Slow Burn’ which will be released in January (2013) at Tamworth. It’s an up-beat rollicking song about love and life on the road. Inspired in part by actual events... I was travelling back from Canberra to Sydney and pulled into a truck stop for petrol and a drink; when I got a laugh out of a truckie trying his best to pick up/impress the girl behind the service counter. He he...classic! 

 3. What are you working on now?
 I am currently working on getting the album together, ready for release in January. Also getting the show together for the festival. 

4. What is your favourite song to perform?
My favourite song I like to sing changes all the time with my mood. One song that always makes me get a shiver up my spine when I sing it live is a cover of Cold Chisels’ Flame Trees’.

 5. Swag or room service for a romantic date? 
Definitely room service for a romantic date! I rough it all the time and there is less space to get your moves going in a swag. 

 6. Holden, Ford...or something else? 
 I have a ford at the moment and it’s a piece of shit. But it has been an extremely reliable piece of shit that continues to perform even though its owner should be arrested for neglect! 

(I'm still chuckling at this, Ben!)

 7. Favourite food? 
Spaghetti Bolognaise 

 8. Favourite Movie? 
Too many to list... I love escapism though and 
Star Wars always takes me away.  

9. Favourite Aussie saying? 
She’ll be right! 

10.  If you could have a kangaroo, koala, wombat, crocodile, galah or python as a pet which one would you choose, and why?
Crocodile... closest living relative to the dinosaurs and I loved dinosaurs as a kid.  

11. Who would you like to trade places with for a day, alive or dead, and why?
Hmmmm.... Elvis! It’s good to be the king! 

12. What would I find in your fridge right now? 
Beer and meat! (Have to admit there is some salad tucked away in the crisper...the wife looks after me! 

13. Craziest thing you've ever done? 
Skydiving! Who in their right mind would jump out of a perfectly good plane? Amazing ride down though. 

14. If you were going on a holiday tomorrow where would it be?
Tour through South America... I haven’t been there yet. 

15. Four words to describe yourself, Ben? 
Hard Working, Loyal, Fun, Loving.

Thanks for popping by, Ben. It's been wonderful chatting with you!

If you'd like to find out more about Ben please swing by his website...

Next time I have the very gifted Harmony James chatting to me. Her voice is absolutely amazing and her country songs are so beautiful. Make sure you pop on by to learn all about her in the new year.

I won't be back blogging until January the 10th as I'm taking a few weeks off to enjoy time with loved ones over the festive season. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all, from the bottom of my heart, for believing in me as an author and supporting me by buying Rosalee Station and Jacaranda. Massive hugs to you all! I feel truly blessed to be where I am today in my career and I couldn't have done it without each and every one of you beautiful people. Cheers! May you all have a wonderful Christmas filled with love, laughter and memorable moments! Catch you next year! :)

Until next 2013, keep smiling and dreaming!
Mandy xx

Adam Brand, Country Music Artist.

Posted on 5 December, 2012 at 16:26 Comments comments (8)
                                                                                                                                                                Hello my lovelies! Have I got some fun for you today! Gee whizz, I'm that excited I'm finding it hard to sit still as I type!!! But I promise to focus, or at least give it my best shot to try and focus :)
My wonderful guest today is a man that has a heart bigger than the Aussie outback, a smile so cheeky it will make you wish you knew what was going on inside his creative mind and a voice so addictive and seductively husky it makes women go weak at the knees . He can dance like a superstar, drive a race car like a pro and when the tough gets going he is more than happy to lend a hand, like he is doing right now with the Salvation Army. Ohhh, swoon, what a man! Yes, it is the one and only, Adam Brand!   
Welcome, Adam, it's wonderful to have you with me today. Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule for a chat.
So, let's get to it...
1. What inspired you to become a country music artist?
First of all music was deep in my heart and then the stories, honesty and realness of country music resonated with me.
2. Can you tell us a bit about your most recently released album, or song?
"There will be Love" is my most recent album and I would say it is the album closest to my heart. It's a collection of songs that I hope take you on a journey of love and hope.... not a fairytale look at love, but an honest account of love, from the good to the sad parts.
What are you working on now?
Probably not the answer you'd expect but what I'm working on at the moment is renovating an old fibro beach shack :)
Have you got a favourite song that you sing? If yes, what it is?
My favourite song changes all the time.... at the moment I love
singing I Was Here
Swag or room service for a romantic date?
1st night swag......second night check into the hotel. Romance can't be contained to just one night!
Holden, Ford...or something else?
Favourite Food?
I'm a foody so that's a hard question! I love pasta, fresh fish, spicy foods.....
Favourite Movie?
Happy Feet!
Favourite Aussie saying? flamin idea...fair dinkum...stumped me on that question.... I'll get back to you!
If you could have a kangaroo, koala, wombat, crocodile, galah or python as a pet which one would you choose, and why?
I recently found out that galahs only mate with 1 partner for life.... that's pretty amazing I reckon, so gimme a couple of galahs :)
Who would you like to trade places with for a day, alive or dead, and why?
Actually wouldn't want to trade with anyone... sorry boring answer!
If I looked in your fridge right now what would I find?
Juice, veges, eggs, olives.......
Craziest thing you’ve ever done?
Jumped over 5 cars in a monster truck.... does that count?
(...I'd reckon so Adam! :))
If you were going on holiday tomorrow, where would it be?
I'm on tour all the time... so I'm gonna say home.... my own bed, coffee in the morning after a walk along the beach, then paint some window frames or something :)
Four words to describe yourself?
Hopeful, loving, persistant, durable
It's been so wonderful having you here today, Adam. Please make sure you share some photos of your beach shack when it's all done. I'm sure we'd all love to see it!
If you'd like to find out more about Adam you can visit his website...
Or his facebook page...
Next week I have the fabulous country music artist, Ben Ransom, visiting for a catch up . If you haven't heard his music yet, why not??!! He's brilliant! And if you have, you'll know what I'm on about :)
Until then, keep smiling and dreaming!
Mandy xx

Amber Lawrence,Country Music Artist

Posted on 28 November, 2012 at 20:07 Comments comments (1)

                                                                                                                                                                                     G'day! :)
Welcome to my second Country Music feature. I'm really excited to announce my guest for today, the lovely and mighty talented 
Amber has been nominated as a top 5 finalist for the 2013 Country Music Awards of Australia for FEMALE ARTIST of the YEAR. This is a huge honour and a prestigious category to be nominated in. Congratulations Amber!

Hi Amber, it's so great to have you with us.
Let's get to it..
Swag or room service for a romantic date?
 A swag is always romantic!

Holden, Ford...or something else?
Well I drive a Ssangyong Korando, and they’ve been kind enough to sponsor me for 2
years, so I’d say Ssangyong!!

  Favourite Food?
Favourite Movie? 
Dirty Rotten Scoundrals
Favourite Aussie saying? 
Bloody Oath

If you could have a kangaroo, koala, wombat, crocodile, galah or python as a pet which one would you choose, and why?
Galah – my nan used to have a Galah, called Pete, and they are a lot of fun!
Who would you like to trade places with for a day, alive or dead, and why?
I’d love to be Shania Twain at the height of her career just for one day! That would be fun!

If I looked in your fridge right now what would I find?
Very few items...I am away a lot, so I usually buy as I go. So you’d be safe to say there’d be some butter, and maybe some olives...and not much else!

Craziest thing you’ve ever done?
Quit a stable job as an accountant to become a full time country singer!!

If you were going on holiday tomorrow, where would it be?
Whitsundays or Port Douglas

Four words that describe you...
Focussed, fun, cheeky, driven
Thanks for popping by, Amber. It's been wonderful chatting with you!
If you'd like to know more about Amber you can go to her website...
Well, my lovlies, next week we have...wait for it...I'm swooning already as I wriggle on the spot in excitement.....Adam Brand!!!! Only 7 more sleeps until you can find out some interesting facts about this
wonderfully big-hearted man.
Until next week, keep smiling and dreaming
Mandy xx


Steve Eales, Country Music Artist

Posted on 21 November, 2012 at 20:11 Comments comments (3)
Today I have the very talented country music singer, Steve Eales, joining me for a candid chat. I 'm really excited to have him here! So here we go...
Hi Steve, and welcome...
What inspired you to become a country music artist?
Mum and Dad were big country music fans when I was growing up so I guess I owe them a lot for that early influence. But just around the time I was getting really serious about recording my own songs I was living in a rural town in Victoria and I spent most of my time either riding horses or motorbikes in the bush. I was driving a timber truck and doing rural fencing, I guess country was what I was all about... and still is. 

 Can you tell us a bit about your most recently released album, or song?
Last year I wrote a song called "love it when it rocks", I'd met the vivacious Chris E Thomas earlier that year and she'd asked about doing a song with me so I included her in on the writing process and we recorded it together... a brilliant move because the song really took off on radio. I've just released a brand new song " The Long Way Here". It's a bit of a diversion from my typical country theme, it's a bit more autobiographical.
What are you working on now?
Right now I'm working on a new track, in fact it's almost ready to record. This time I've flicked the switch back again, back to the same recipe of songwriting that gave me so many award winning songs... With every song I write I try to make it the best song I've ever written. I want to pour out my heart and really connect with people.
Have you got a favourite song that you sing? If yes, what it is?
I get the most crowd reaction out of "Girls on Horses" so that would have to be my favorite song to perform, it's all about how you can make people "feel" your music and that one moves people the most.
Swag or room service for aromantic date?
I love swagging under a billion stars and campfire light to sleep by don't get me wrong but for a romantic night I'm a real spoiler. I treat my girl to five stars and candle light, I'm not a dancer either but I can twirl her around a dance floor. Romance is all about beinga giver, a spoiler.
Holden, Ford...or something else?
I've had some pretty dodgy Holdens and Fords, I think I've had about seven utes all up and I enjoyed them all. Probably liked my F100 the most out of all of them, it caught on fire one day after work. I worked on it all night and I was driving again the next day.
Favourite Food?
I could eat barbecue steak and salad for dinner every it.
Favourite Movie?
I enjoy movies that you can laugh about for days and months afterwards so I think Anchor Man would top that list.
Favourite Aussie saying?
All the really good Aussie sayings aren't printable... But because I do a lot of overseas traveling I always give the classic a good workout... "G'day Mate!" Much to the delight of Americans and Europeans, oh yeah and especially the Asians.
If you could have a kangaroo, koala, wombat, crocodile, galah or python as a pet which one would you choose, and why?
I've had a Galah as a pet once before... I was pretty sad when he died. We just had a koala at home because he was injured, they say that if a koala is hurt he makes his way to within arms reach of a human and that's exactly what this little guy did. So right now I reckon a koala is on top of my list.
Who would you like to trade places with for a day, alive or dead, and why?
I would like to be Steve Irwin for a day and experience his bold enthusiasm and passion for life. More specifically I'd like to be him the day before he passed away and convincemyself not to go swimming for a few days. I miss that bloke.

If I looked in your fridge right now what would I find?
In my fridge you'd find a bunch of girlie food right now. I'm doing a detox so it's full of yoghurt, fruit and salad. I'm getting ready for summer and the next photoshoot...sad huh? 
Craziest thing you’ve ever done? 
On the way back from Tamworth in our tour bus one year our driver got lost down some dirt road and he wouldn't stop for a toilet break. We were relaxing in the back after 10 straight days of playing (there was a tiny bit of alcohol involved in the relaxing part). So after a while I was about to burst. I climbed out of the bus and surfed on the roof at 60ks an hour and let rip, the band was hanging out the window yelling to get back in but our trusty driver kept on going, and so did I.
If you were going on holiday tomorrow, where would it be?
I just got back from a fantastic holiday in Hawaii and man I really wish I was back there right now.

Four words that describe you, Steve...
Positive, creative, inspiring, caring... (I had to get help with this answer)
 If you'd like to find out more about Steve Eales, pop by his webite or facebook page...
Thanks for the chat today, Steve. I really enjoyed hearing all about your life as a country music artist. Good luck with everything!
Next week we have Amber Lawrence joining us, so stay tuned. :-)
Until then, keep smiling and dreaming!
Mandy xx

Ian Parkes-A Youth Not Wasted

Posted on 25 July, 2012 at 6:20 Comments comments (0)
    G’day :)
I’m very excited to announce my guest today, the amazingly talented and down-to-earth Australian Author, Ian Parkes. I'm presently half way through reading Ian’s biographical book, A Youth Not Wasted, and I’m hooked. He had me hungry to learn of his adventurous life in the outback from the get go.
This is a snippet of his prologue, which when I read it, moved me beyond anything I have read in the rural genre thus far…
‘I lay lightly on my back, looking up, feeling the earth’s weight beneath me, observing the infinite firmament above through the thin veil of foliage. As I listened to the creak of the ancient tree’s branches and the flicker of its leaves and the soft tumbles of the campfire coals, I asked myself if this is where I would like to die. Could I close my eyes and pass on here? Fade away, as the campfire faded out? Could I? Well, yes, I could. I felt at ease here. What greater feeling can a country give you than to set you free to pass on in its embrace?’ 
Welcome, Ian, it’s wonderful having you here to chat to today.
Where were you born, raised, schooled and what was the most mischievous thing you did when you were a child? 
 Born in Perth Western Australia, 26 October 1934. I was raised in Mundaring (WA) during World War II and then in Perth where I went to Hale School from 1946 to 1950. Most mischievous thing was stealing cans of condensed milk from my grandparents’ shop in Mundaring and then consuming the contents hiding under the house. 
How long did it take you to get published and how did you feel when you were told you had a contract? 
Started the search for a publisher in December 2009 and secured a contract 09 September 2011. Over the moon. The high point of the whole journey of writing and getting published. 
What time of the day/night do you prefer to write and where do you like to write? 
Morning, from 8:00 to 1:00 and sometimes late in the afternoon.
Can you tell us a little bit about A Youth Not Wasted? And what date it will be released? 
 It is about the five years of my life, from 16 to 21, when I worked on outback sheep stations. Started as a jackeroo, learned to be a stockman and a station hand and was an overseer when I was still 19Publication date is 01 April 2012 
Where do you find inspiration for your stories? 
From my experiences. 
What is your favourite meal? 
 Moghul style Indian curries 
Who is your favourite Australian? 
A very close friend who has been a mentor and a role model for 52 years. 
What is your favourite Aussie saying? 
 There are so many it’s too hard to pick one – and then I can’t be sure that it is really Australian and not a hand-me-down from the U.K. 
Where would be your ideal place to holiday? 
Spain – especially Andalucía.   
Thanks, Ian, for popping by. It was an absolute pleasure having you. 
A Youth Not Wasted is a beautiful memoir - a reflection of Ian's youth growing up in a part of Australia almost forgotten, a world of wool, harsh terrain, physical labour, colourful characters and jackeroos.  With a strong connection to the land, Parkes writes with warmth and candid charm.  This story is tough yet tender, funny one moment, poignant the next, this is a story of a life lived on the land and for the land. And if you haven’t read it already, I urge you to. It’s a story that Ian should be very proud of, and equally we should be, as it is a beautiful journey through Australia’s history and our traditions. His passion for the country is felt through every word, every memory he shares, be they funny or heart- wrenching. This book will be having pride of place on my bookshelf, and will remain etched in my heart for my lifetime. 
Here is a sneak peak into A Youth Not Wasted with the powerful prologue….  
In other news, I’m enjoying the newly arrived English sunshine and am spending loads of time outside. This photo above is me with my father-in-law,Rich, who I love to bits, and my darling little girl, Chloe Rose. It rained for the first 3 weeks here and I was thrilled with the opportunity to sit by the fire and write. But, being the typical Aussie that I am, 3 weeks inside was sending my stir crazy and I rejoiced when the clouds parted and the glorious sun shone down upon us! We have now booked a few outings, the most exciting one a visit to Buckingham Place! Yes, I am going to be walking through where the Queen lives. I wonder if she is going to sit down for a spot of tea and some cream scones? :)
I will post some photos of my adventures in a couple weeks on my next blog.  
Until then, keep smiling and dreaming 
Country cheers 
Mandy xx    

Earlier release of Melaleuca!

Posted on 6 June, 2012 at 18:53 Comments comments (0)
                 G’day! :)   

What a chilly morning it is up here in the North! Not that I’m complaining, I adore the North Queensland winters, endless glorious days with powdery blue skies and enough chill factor to make you feel so very alive! 
My thoughts are with the residents of Gippsland, enduring such terrible flooding. May you all stay safe at this worrying time and I’m sure the whole of Australia is wishing you the same.   

 Today I am announcing some exciting news about my third novel, Melaleuca, but firstly, I would like to thank you all, from the bottom of my heart, for supporting me throughout my writing in so many various ways, for dropping by my blogs, for your supportive and inspirational emails and messages and for going out and buying my novels. Without my loyal readers I wouldn’t be where I am today, living the dream of writing about our beautiful country. I feel extremely blessed. Big grateful hugs to you all! 

 Well, I won’t make you wait any longer!! :) Penguin has announced that Melaleuca is going to be out earlier then we first expected. Normally, my novels are scheduled for release in the month of June each year. But, all that has changed. Yee-haa! I cannot tell you the exact date, yet, but I can let you know that Melaleuca will be released in the first quarter of 2013.  I have been sworn to secrecy  on precise dates but when I am allowed to holler it from the mountaintops…I promise I will!   

 Jacaranda has been on the shelves for 2 weeks now and the promotional side of this has been great fun. Next week I am heading off down to Brisbane to do a number of book signings and radio interviews. If you live around this area and would like to come to one of the events please drop by my events page on my website. I have all the details there. 

Thought for this week 
 “All your dreams are worthy of coming to fruition. Make them so by believing in yourself and having the courage to step into the unknown.”   

            Until next time, keep smiling and dreaming!   
         Mandy x

First chapter of Jacaranda

Posted on 15 May, 2012 at 20:47 Comments comments (2)


Hope you are having a glorious day. It was 10 degrees here in Dimbulah when I woke up this morning...freezing for us Northerners! I know, nothing like the winters down south but our homes aren't built for the cold. Well, that's my excuse anyways! :)

I am thrilled to be sharing the first chapter of Jacaranda with you all today. Only 8 more sleeps until the official 
release date! Although, I have heard there are some stores with Jacaranda already on the shelf...not that I'm complaining about that of course! 

I have also changed my book signing tour. Instead of travelling down the coast I will be flying straight to Brisbane and doing signings around the city and also in places like Toowoomba and Ipswich. It's going to be lovely to meet the readers! I will post the dates up on my website and also on facebook over the next week. 

So, without making you wait any longer, here it is, the first chapter of my second novel, Jacaranda. 

Until next week, keep smiling and dreaming
Mandy :) xx

Katherine Scholes

Posted on 13 May, 2012 at 21:48 Comments comments (2)

 I am very excited to announce this weeks Awesome Aussie Author, Katherine Scholes. Katherine is another fabulous Penguin author whom is gifted at writing from the heart, her romance novels leaving you wanting more and hanging out for her next one. She lives an amazing life, visiting countries all over the world for her research. Slightly jealous! And the view from her desk makes me want to move in with her.   

 Welcome, Katherine. I’m thrilled to have you here today. 

Where were you born, raised, schooled and what was the most mischievous thing you did when you were a child? 
I was born in Tanganyika (now Tanzania) in East Africa and began school there.  Later on the family moved to Tasmania.  Any mischief I got up to as a child, I blame on my brother.  One of his ideas was to make ‘darters’ from corncobs with feathers stuck in the end.  We were caught throwing them at our teacher’s chickens.  Luckily no-one was hurt… 

How long did it take you to get published and how did you feel when you were told you had a contract? 
I was very fortunate because the first manuscript I wrote (a children’s book) was published by Penguin Australia.  I was amazed when it was optioned – but I did have to do a big rewrite (including changing the tense and the whole style of the writing) before I got a publishing contract.

What time of the day/night do you prefer to write and where do you like to write? 
I don’t get up early, and only work late at night to meet deadlines.  I like to write for about five hours in the first part of the day (if doing new work).  When I’m editing or researching I can last longer! I have a little office upstairs in our house, which has a view over the beach outside.  My staffy-whippet cross Darcy sits with me, and lets me know when it’s time for a walk. 

Can you tell us a little bit about your upcoming book? And what date it will be released? 
My new novel – which doesn’t have a title yet - will come out in Australia sometime in 2013.  The story takes place in a remote corner of Tanganyika where – just after WWII - the British decided to grow groundnuts on a grand scale to provide oil for the housewives of Europe.  A whole town was built in great haste, and then just as promptly abandoned when the scheme failed after just a few years.  I visited the ruins of ‘Londoni’ last year when I was doing the research.  The true story of the place forms a great backdrop to the experiences of a young Australian called Kitty, the wife of the senior manager.  

Where do you find inspiration for your stories? 
Nearly always, I work with some content or theme connected to my life or that of my family, taken from the past or present.  Linked with this will be a location.  I begin by collecting all the information I can about that place, building up a palette of material.  It takes some time, but gradually links between bits and pieces of information begin to form.  I wait to see what human dilemmas or big themes of life arise naturally from what I’ve found out.  Somewhere in the midst of this, the story grows and the characters emerge.  I keep my focus on my main character as I nearly always write from just one point of view. 

What is your favourite meal? 
 Anything shared at a long noisy table with my extended family and friends.   

Who is your favourite Australian? 
 Bob Brown.    

What is your favourite Aussie saying? 
 I’ve always liked ‘mad as a cut snake’.  It really brings an image to mind…

Where would be your ideal place to holiday? 
 Right now, I’m envying my son who’s just been in India.  If I went there for a holiday I’d avoid the big cities, and probably head to the south.   

Thanks for popping by for a chat, Katherine. It was lovely having you.   

 If you’d like to find out more about the lovely Katherine Scholes and her books you can drop over to her website... 

 Well folks, that was the last of my Awesome Aussie Author series. I hope you’ve enjoyed the journey as much as I have over the past 7 months with each and every author having such unique writing styles and stories. Fascinating stuff!   
Only 9 more sleeps and Jacaranda is officially released. For those that can't wait for the official release date I will be posting the first chapter up on my website this stay tuned!! :)   

Thought for this week
 “Live, laugh, love!”   

 Until next week keep smiling and dreaming 

 Mandy :)