Cupcakes and Cocoa … or English Breakfast and Anzacs

I’m joining a group of fabulous Champagne Book Group authors to discuss our books. We represent a range of genres: fantasy, sci-fi, historical romance, time travel, and contemporary romance (that’s me.) I’ll be talking about my most recent publication, Her Holiday Fling. The Facebook event, Cupcakes and Cocoa, is on December 10, 2022, at 1pm EST. (That’s 5am AEDT on Sunday 11th December in my neck of the woods.)

Each of us is sharing a favourite recipe – beverage or other – to mark the occasion. I’ve chosen to acknowledge the humble Anzac biscuit as my contribution. The snack has a storied history from both sides of the Tasman Sea. That suits me well, given I sit in Australia but my children were born and spent their early childhood years in New Zealand while my husband and I were working and studying there. We still hold the country in great affection, travelling across when we can.

During the first world war, Anzac biscuits were sent to troops by their families. Their calorie load made them a good source of quick energy. Fresh from the oven or weeks old, they remained edible, and of course, they came with love stirred in – by their mums, sisters, wives, or significant others.

I’ve used various recipes over the years. The most consistently good product comes from my sister, Audrene’s recipe. Because everyone has their own idea of whether they should be crunchy or chewy, dark or light, she has helpfully provided options. The standard version is the one I most often use. You’ll see in the pic, I flatten mine with the tines of a fork about three minutes before they’re ready to pull from the oven.

Join us for Cupcakes and Cocoa (or English Breakfast and Anzacs) at 5am, Sydney time, Sunday, December 11, 2022.

Audrene’s ANZAC Biscuits

Standard version:


1 cup plain flour (all-purpose)

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup desiccated coconut

¼ cup sugar (caster if available)

½ cup brown sugar

125 g/ 4 oz butter

2 Tblsp golden (cane) syrup

2 Tbsp water

½ tsp bicarb (baking) soda


Combine flour, oats, coconut and sugar.

In a separate jug/ saucepan, heat butter, syrup and water until butter is melted.

Stir in bi-carb soda.

Add syrup mixture to dry ingredients, stir in well.

Roll into balls and flatten to 1 cm (slightly less than ½ inch)

Bake at 160oC (320oF) for 5 mins until golden.

Soft and Chewy version:  Omit brown sugar; increase caster sugar to ¾ cup

Dark and crunchy: Omit caster sugar; increase brown sugar to ¾ cup

Thin and crispy: Omit caster sugar; increase brown sugar to 1 cup; reduce flour to ¾ cup

RWA conference and ARR2021

There’s a big weekend coming up for me in August, focussed around romance writers and readers. The Romance Writers of Australia conference is being held at Mantra on View, Surfers Paradise. The annual conference is where I do my writerly professional development amongst a swathe of authors also writing romance – from contemporary and rural like me, through historical, steampunk, suspense, paranormal and fantasy.

The conference coincides with ARRA’s A Romantic Rendezvous on the Gold Coast where I’ll be signing a couple of my books, along with a who’s who list of Australian romance authors, on Saturday, 14th August, 2021 from 5.00 to 6.30 pm.

VIP tickets for the Rendezvous are on sale now. General admission tickets will be available soon, for one of two 45-minute sessions. Find out all the details here:

I’m looking forward to meeting readers new and old, so come along and say hello.

Visit of the Water Dragon

Today is one of those days when you know how wonderful it is to live on water. Glancing out of the kitchen window, as I was preparing breakfast, I saw a water dragon on the far shore of the canal. We haven’t seen any around for a while, so sighting this one created a wee bubble of happiness for me.

Then it was gone.

I looked again. A small wake appeared on the surface of the water. The dragon was swimming across! It arrived and sat at the edge of the beach for twenty minutes or so before deeming it safe to emerge.

I don’IMG_8943_Moment (2)_LIt know what startled it and caused it to high tail it back to the canal. Perhaps it was the swoop of the gulls, but scurry it did. I had only a moment to capture a shot as it made its escape (check inside the orange circle.) The debris on the beach is part of a palm frond about a metre long. There are lots of those in the canal right now, thanks to the wind we’ve had over the past few days. The dragon, side-on, was about the same size.

Of course, its appearance triggered a bit of research. That’s what writers do :)

I found that the Eastern Water Dragon has been around for 20 million years, will stay under water for over an hour if threatened, and can be an Indigenous totem. There is a great picture and some useful information on the Backyard Buddies site.

IMG_8924It seems to be a week for visits from the wild.

On Monday morning, there was a pied currawong sitting on the railing outside my study; Tuesday brought this trio of pelicans; Wednesday a series of stingrays swimming by; and today, the water dragon.


Perhaps the Universe is sending me a message? For now, I’ll enjoy the visits as they come and look forward to what tomorrow may bring.


Canal living joy!
Water dragon swims across,
Says hello and skips.