Monday, May 23, 2022

Songs From the Movies

After I saw Music & Lyrics I sang that ridiculous I'm Living With a Clown Above My Bed forever. Remember when all the little girls--and, okay the moms--were singing Let It Go from Disney's Frozen? I love the I See You theme song by Leona Lewis from Avatar. More recently nobody talks about Bruno!

Here's a quick list I came up with. Are any of these on your favorites list? Which ones are stuck in your head for life?

* This Old Time Rock & Roll, Bob Seger, Risky Business
* The Time of My Life, Jennifer Warnes & Bill Medley, Dirty Dancing
* Take My Breath Away, Berlin, Top Gun
* Unchained Melody, Righteous Brothers, Ghost
* You've Got A Way, Shania Twain, Notting Hill
* To Make You Feel My Love, Tricia Yearwood, Hope Floats
* Summer Nights, John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John, Grease
* Eye of the Tiger, Survivor, Rocky III
* Under the Boardwalk, Bette Midler, Beaches
* My Heart Will Go On, Celine Dion, Titanic
* Pretty Woman, Roy Orbison, Pretty Woman & Warm Bodies
* Circle of Life, Elton John, The Lion King
* I Will Always Love You, Whitney Houston, Bodyguard
* Shallow, Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper, A Star is Born
This is Me, Keala Settle, Greatest Showman

Of course, there are so many more, I couldn't even make a dent in iconic movie songs. I did note that so many of the greats are from decades past. I love the soundtrack of Guardians of the Galaxy--those are all fabulous oldies. But now I can't hear Come and Get Your Love without seeing Chris Pratt kicking little alien creatures aside.

What are your favorite unforgettable songs from the movies?
Any from recent years?

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Book Cover Eye Candy

I adore the covers of Whisper My Name and Maybe I’m the One, and I’m counting on readers loving it too. Sometimes I buy a book just for the cover. On the other hand, I’ve passed by some terrific stories because the covers turned me off. I can think of one in particular. I got the book in my stack of entries to judge for a contest. I even put it off until the last, only to discover it was an incredible story that hooked me from the get-go and never let go. I liked the author’s voice and style so much that I hunted her backlist and read as many as I could get my hands on. So, what was it I didn’t like about that cover, you ask? It was a cartoon cover. I had never before purchased a book with a cartoon cover—now I have!

Most of us have auto-buy authors – an author you buy simply because you know they’re going to deliver a story you will enjoy, no matter the subject or the cover. I have several of those. The cover is only the sprinkles on the icing on the cake, because the cake and the chocolate filling are the book, and I never pass up chocolate cake.

I’ve purchased books based on reviews – like movie reviews, trailers and posters that draw me to see a movie. Not because the review was glowing, but because the synopsis told me the book was about a subject or character I knew I would like. I’ve bought books because someone recommended them to me.

I have purchased a book because of an ad. I’ve never bought one because of a quote on the front or because I saw the book trailer. I recently bought a book on the recommendation of a reviewer I trust and the comparison she made to an author I like. I loved the book.

Covers are enticing. I’m impressed by colors and textures, like hair and fabrics. And I prefer cover people with heads. I don’t like to stare and stare, trying to figure out where the story peoples’ faces are. I read more on my Kindle than I ever did before, but I confess I do miss holding that book and gazing at the cover


What are the top three elements about a cover that entice you to buy a book?

How about romantic movie posters?

Friday, May 13, 2022

The Stages of a Finished Book Cover

A readers, we usually take book covers for granted. If it's uninteresting, we pass it over. If it catches our eye, we look further--at the author, at the blurb, at the price. The image is there, and if we've bought the book, we think it's alluring or enticing or romantic or at the very least, interesting.

As indie authors, we agonize over covers. I was traditionally published for many years, and I had some input into the cover: in the form of a ten page form and examples that were considered. Often tossed aside, but considered. I was immune to getting a cover that barely resembled my story. I learned to appreciate and respect that the publisher had a huge marketing department that studied trends and reader likes/dislikes and sales. So designing my own covers was a new and admittedly liberating experience. Sometimes I think I get it right. But it takes me many tries to reach that point. Thankfully, I have my critique group and my street team to bounce the ideas off.

I Sorta Do was written as a Harlequin Heartwarming in the day, and then moved to the Duets line for its debut. That was a long time ago. I had rights returned and I rewrote, revamped, and updated this story for today's readers and to fit into the Aspen Gold Series. I just love that stories can continue to live on and find new readers.

I didn't have the manuscript ready, but I started working on the cover ages ago, and it developed over time. Honestly the final cover and title didn't come into being until I was nearly ready to upload the book for pre-order.

I've had so many compliments on the cover and the title. Robyn Roberts says it catches her eye every single time - I love it too. And I love the story. It's a romantic comedy about an impulsive photographer and a buttoned-up single dad who strike an unlikely bargain for a week. Well, actually, she sorta coerces him into the deal.

Check out the many phases of this cover and title until it became today's version.

How fun is that?

You still have until the 24th to pre-order at $1.99!

Get your copy now.



Husband needed: One week commitment. Children optional.

I, Francie Karr, take you, Ryan MacNair, in bogus matrimony to convince my grandma and high school reunion class that I’m blissfully married—you provide the kids. A week should do it. You pledge to be so irresistible that you charm the Spanx right off those stuck-up gossips. Your touches should make their eyes pop, and your kisses be so intoxicating that we don’t have to fake that part. Oh, and we promise not to let this family—or this electricity between us—feel real.

Sizzling sweet romance by a USA Today bestselling author

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Read an Excerpt: I Sorta Do


Read an excerpt:

    Once again, her impulsiveness had landed her in a jam. Francie Karr rifled through a stack of papers on her gigantic wooden desk and picked up the letter for the tenth time that morning. The official confirmation of her obligation to attend the class reunion. She’d placed the irksome reminder on the edge just so, in case her cat took a notion to jump up on the desk and bat the paper into the wastebasket. He hadn’t. The traitor.

    She’d used the envelope postmarked Spencer, Colorado as a coaster for the better part of a week before piling invoices on top of it, but the return address still remained legible.

    No, the letter was still here and she hadn’t forgotten about the impulsive promise she’d made, so she guessed she was going to have to send the reunion committee an email about her arrival plans. She’d first ignored the group Facebook message from the planning committee requesting she be the photographer for Spencer High’s fifteenth class reunion. She’d asked if they didn’t have a local photographer, but the relentless social media members had been adamant it be someone from their class, so she’d grudgingly agreed.

    What had she been drinking? She’d known then, just as she knew now, that she wasn’t going to be able to attend the class reunion. She was going to have surgery that week. Or something else was going to come up. A debilitating sickness maybe. Perhaps even a death—her own would be convenient.

    The intercom buzzed her that someone was downstairs, and she walked distractedly to the panel, the wrinkled letter in her hand. “Yeah?”

    “Miss Karr, it’s Ryan MacNair. I’d like to speak with you for a few minutes, please.”


    He repeated his name and added, “We spoke last month. About the brooch you had appraised? You told me to call back at a more convenient time.”

    “Oh.” She glanced around the cluttered loft where she lived and worked. Photographs hung on every wall—some were even framed. Stacks of books teetered on end tables, and every pair of shoes she’d worn recently were beside the sofa. The place wasn’t going to suddenly become neat and organized, and the time never got more convenient, so she might as well let him in.

    “Come on up.” She jabbed the button that unlocked the security door and sauntered back to her desk.

    How hard could it be to fake her own death? She’d seen it done on TV plenty of times. She could assume a new identity and move her studio to Peoria under a different name.

    Francie flopped onto her office chair and grimaced at her own thoughts. No. YaYa needed someone to check up on her often and make sure the care center was doing a good job. Deserting her dear fragile grandmother was out of the question. It distressed the old woman enough to think Francie wasn’t married yet. Disappearing was a purely selfish thought. Self-preserving and really clever—but selfish.

    How on earth then was she going to get out of this dreadful class reunion? What was she going to tell her grandmother? YaYa was the only person in the world she was close to. The only person whose opinion mattered. But YaYa didn’t agree with Francie’s decision to choose a career over a marriage and children.

    A few months ago, to alleviate the old woman’s worry over her being alone, Francie had told her she’d gotten married.

    To a rich man.

    To a rich man with kids.

    To a rich handsome man with kids.

    How in blazes was she going to get out of this one?

    A knock sounded on the door.

    Francie crossed to open it.

    “Hi, Miss Karr—”


    “Francie. Thank you for seeing me.”

    She swung the door open wide and ushered a tall dark-haired man in a tailored navy-blue suit into her studio. “Would you like a soft drink? The coffee’s been sitting since morning.”

    “No, thank you.”

    “Well…” She wandered back to her desk chair and sank onto the comfortable cushion, her gaze immediately landing on the letter that still lay on her desk. Darn cat anyhow. Darn YaYa for thinking a woman couldn’t be fulfilled with her career.

    “I have an offer for you,” MacNair said. He glanced around, then moved a stack of manila envelopes from the seat of the chair opposite her desk to the only available spot on the floor and plucked the crease at the knee of his trousers as he sat. “Are you moving out?”

    “No, why?”

    “Um, no reason. Do you recall why I’m here?”

    Absorbed in her predicament, Francie tapped a fingernail against the edge of the desk. The reunion was less than two weeks away now, and she still hadn’t figured out what she was going to do.


    “What? Oh. No, I guess I’ve forgotten what it was you wanted to see me about.”

    “The brooch you had appraised at Grambs & Sons last month.”

    “Right. That pin was in a box of old junk that I bought at an auction. I buy things like that for my still life photography. The piece will make amazing shot in black and white, with maybe a pair of gloves. Kind of draping out of an old jewelry chest with a piece of lace beneath it.”

    “Several months ago, I put the word out to all the jewelers that I was looking for that particular item,” he said. “Grambs called me after you’d been in. That brooch rightfully belongs to my daughter. It’s her inheritance.”

    She’d found the perfect pair of old lace gloves. What had she done with them? “Uh-huh.”

    “It belonged to my paternal grandmother. Unfortunately, my grandfather’s will was contested, and the jewelry went to one of my aunts who only wanted what she could get out of everything. Just to be spiteful, she wouldn’t even let my father buy the pieces he wanted. I can’t even remember why she started the feud with my father in the first place. I’m not even sure she remembers.”

    “She sounds lovely.” Francie picked up a pen and doodled a sketch of her idea on the letter.

    He blinked at her. “She sold it all, and we’ve been trying to find the pieces to buy them back. My father had intended for that brooch to remain in the family.”

    Francie’s attention drifted to Peyton Armbruster’s scrawled signature on the page, and Francie knew she couldn’t stall any longer. She either had to come clean...or come up with a husband.

    “The brooch was appraised at five thousand dollars,” MacNair said. “Miss Karr, I’ll double that offer.”

    At his concerned tone, Francie glanced up into his grave features, and finally his words sank into her dilemma-drugged brain. He was as intense about the silly old brooch as she was about taking a husband to the reunion.

    For the first time she took a long assessing look at Ryan MacNair. His dark hair, bearing a distinguishing widow’s peak, was neatly styled and brushed back from a square-jawed face. Dark brows were divided by a V of anxiety that didn’t diminish his well-bred features. The dude was impressively handsome.

    He had a nice straight nose and an interesting mouth that could probably slide into a knockout smile if he’d loosen that tie and give himself a little air. His navy suit and cranberry silk tie were of the best quality and taste, and he wore them with ease and panache. He was rich. Not her type—if she had a type—but wouldn’t he impress the Spanx right off her classmates back in Spencer? And YaYa wouldn’t be able to stop smiling. She imagined her grandmother looking him up and down with approval.

    "You planned to use the brooch in some photographs," he said. Have you done that?"

    “Are you married?”

    He blinked, his warm brown eyes showing confusion over the abrupt change of subject. “I’m divorced,” he said finally. “Is that relevant to the discussion?”

    Actually, a discussion took two people, but she spared him that reminder, and let the ever-turning gears in her mind whirl with possibilities. “I’m just beginning to sympathize with your situation, Mr...”


    “Mr. MacNair. I’d certainly feel bad if something of my grandmother’s was sold off against my wishes.”

    He nodded, his brow still furrowed. “Then you’ll sell it to me?”

    “You really want this brooch, don’t you? It means a lot to you. And to your father.”

    Still his carefully guarded expression didn’t change. “Yes.”

    “So, I guess my decision carries a lot of weight.”

    “It does,” he admitted, though his aggravated expression showed his reluctance to do so.

    Francie smoothed the letter, refolded it and placed it inside the stained and warped envelope. “Perhaps we can negotiate after all.”

    He gave a shake of his head. “Money isn’t the issue here. The brooch has sentimental value. Ten thousand. Fifteen.”

    “No. Not more money,” she said with a flick of her hand. “In fact, if you agree to this idea, you can keep your money.”

    His frown deepened. “What idea?”

    “I’m in a predicament myself. I’m afraid I’ve done something—said something—impulsive, and now I don’t have any way out of it. Except maybe through you.”

    He raised one dark brow. “I don’t understand. What does your predicament have to do with me?”

    “I told my grandmother that I’d gotten married.”

    “And that’s a problem?”

    “Yes, it’s a problem. It wasn’t true. It isn’t true.”

    “You told her you were married?”

    She nodded.

    “But you’re not married. And you weren’t married.”


    “Then why did you tell her that?”

    The question was so simple. The answer was so complicated. “Because I’m not.”

    He stared at her.

    “It’s a long, boring story,” she supplied. “Maybe sometime we’ll go over the details, but for now I’ll just say I had my reasons.”

    “So, you lied. And now this lie is causing you a problem.”

    “Oh, yeah. A super-sized problem.” She stood and walked restlessly to the row of tall windows and gazed, unseeing, down on the street

    “What does your lie have to do with me?”

    She turned back. “I’ve been cornered into participating in my class’s fifteen-year reunion in my hometown. YaYa is expecting me. And she’s expecting me to bring a husband.”

    With a wary expression, he waited for her to speak.

    “You can have the brooch...”

    He leaned forward in the chair like his Spidey-senses were on alert.

    “...if you come to Spencer, Colorado with me as my husband for a week.”


Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Let’s Celebrate May! Donna Fasano's Carrot Loaf Cake & Beach Bundle

Get this 3-book bundle for 99¢. Save $7 off the regular price!

What’s better than a day at the beach? That would be a day at the beach with a bundle of romance novels! In the Romance Beach Bundle 2, USA Today Bestselling Author Donna Fasano brings you three romantic books that are sure to warm your heart and put a smile on your face.

The titles included in this boxed set of romance books are:

Return of the Runaway Bride

Once upon a time... there lived a lovely young woman named Savanna who was engaged to Daniel, a handsome law student. Theirs was to be a fairy-tale wedding. But Savanna's second thoughts were too big to be ignored, so the would-be bride ran away.

As the years passed... Daniel's heart turned to ice. It was this unfeeling man that Savanna faced upon her return. The love of her youth is now a stranger. Can Savanna ever make Daniel understand why she abandoned him? And will she convince the man of her dreams he will always be her Prince Charming?

Take Me, I’m Yours

Sexy single dad Derek Mitchell has learned the hard way to never trust a beautiful woman. So although he would always be indebted to Lainey Adams for thwarting a kidnapping attempt on his beloved daughter, he isn't about to show his gratitude by offering his heart on a silver platter!

But what's the brooding bachelor to do when his matchmaking millionaire father rewards Lainey's heroism—by giving her a share of the family fortune? Despite Derek's love phobia, something about the beguiling Lainey touches his soul, filling him with hope...and desire. Yet he senses that she is keeping secrets—the kind that could shatter his world.

The Single Daddy Club: Derrick

The Single Dad: Ex-military man Derrick Richmond. Solitary and satisfied…until little Timmy was dropped into his lap and Derrick had to learn to be somebody's daddy.

The Single Woman: Schoolteacher Anna Maxwell. Fate might have denied her a family of her own, but Anna still had plenty of love to give, if only someone would notice.

The Solution: Anna would teach Derrick all he needed to know about kids. Father and son would give Anna some precious memories. Then the schoolteacher and the single dad would go their separate ways. Unless one little boy figured out a way to make Miss Maxwell become his mom!

Donna says: I decided to do something nice for myself this weekend, so I baked a Carrot Loaf Cake. I’m the only one who eats dessert in my house, so didn’t want a huge cake. This loaf cake is the perfect size for a small get together. I hope you’ll give this recipe a try.

Carrot Loaf Cake 

For the Loaf Cake:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup neutral oil (vegetable, canola, sunflower)
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/2 cups carrot, peeled and grated (3 to 4 medium carrots)
  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces
  • 1/2 cup coconut chips
  • Optional add-in: 1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries 

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt


1.    Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease a 9-inch x 5-inch loaf pan with baking spray. Set aside.

2.    Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg until thoroughly combined. Set aside.

3.    In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs, brown sugar, sour cream, and vanilla extract until thoroughly combined. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir just until combined. Fold in the grated carrot, nuts, coconut chips, and any optional add-ins.

4.    Spread the batter evenly in the loaf pan and tap the pan lightly on the counter to remove any air bubbles. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes. About half way through baking, take a look at the loaf. If it looks brown on the top, lay a piece of aluminum foil loosely over top to prevent over-browning. Ovens vary, so watch your loaf carefully. The cake is done when a wooden toothpick is inserted near the center of the loaf and comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool in the pan.

5.    While the loaf is cooling, make the frosting. The easiest method is to use an electric mixer. Beat together the cream cheese and the butter until combined and creamy. Add the sugar, vanilla, and salt. Beat on low setting until smooth, creamy, and spreadable.

6.    Remove cake from pan and top with frosting. The sides should remain bare. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.


Thursday, May 05, 2022

Grandma's Noodles

My best memories from my childhood are those of times spent with my grandparents, my grandmother in particular. She was a devout Christian woman who raised six children during the depression, and who never had an unkind word to say about anyone. Her own mother died when she was young, and she was raised by a family member. 

Neither Grandma or my mother ever drove. On Saturday mornings, my grandparents used to pick up my mom and I, and we went shopping. We did a lot of window shopping as I recall. I saved my meager allowance and spent it on clothes and accessories for my Barbie.

In the fall, we’d get in the car and drive out into the country, where we’d all get out on a secluded road and pick up walnuts. Back at home, my mom and Grandma cracked walnuts until their fingers were stained dark.

On Saturday evenings, Grandma washed her hair with Dial Shampoo. I still remember the scent. My mom set Grandma's hair in pincurls with bobby pins. My grandfather never attended church, but he drove Grandma every Sunday and they stopped to pick me up on the way. She sang in the choir and often sang solos in her sweet soprano voice. To this day I never hear O Holy Night without remembering her singing it at Christmas. Grandma never wore trousers. Even cooking, she wore a dress with an apron.

Grandma was a great cook, and we had a big dinner every Sunday after church. My aunts and uncles and cousins came too. She made noodles with every meal, even if there were potatoes. Now I realize it was one of the many ways she’d learned to stretch a meal. They had fruit trees, so apple and peach pies were a staple.

If there was a craft to be made, she tried her hand at it: Sewing, doll making, doll clothing, wreaths, tissue box covers. She never threw anything away, even reusing bread wrappers and twist ties. When the church choir got new robes, she’d always bring several home for the old wardrobe that sat in the basement. My cousins and I spent hours dressing up and putting on plays with those recycled choir robes.

Once during a snowstorm, I was riding with my grandparents, my grandfather driving, when we hit a patch of ice and the car slid and spun. My grandmother said one word: “Jesus!” The car stopped sliding, and we drove safely home. She lived her life as an example of a person who loved her Lord and her family, and a believer who trusted in the power of that mighty name of Jesus. I’m convinced her prayers for me played a big part in the person I am today.

I have a few beloved items that belonged to her and several recipes in her handwriting, but what most reminds me of her are the small moments, like when I’m spending time with my grandchildren, when I tie on an apron—or when I set a bowl of noodles on the table. I treasure those memories as I treasured her.

Wednesday, May 04, 2022

Grocery Girl: Virginia'dele Smith

If you like strong but vulnerable characters, emotional growth, and quaint backdrops, then you’ll adore Virginia'dele Smith’s celebration of joy.

Maree Davenport refuses to let a tearful past rule her future. After losing her parents at the age of five, the big-hearted fabric designer is determined to embrace her feelings and find happiness no matter what. So when she literally runs over a handsome new firefighter in the produce section, the hopeless romantic is certain she’s just collided with destiny.

Everyone Rhys Larsen ever loved has died. And though he may have hit it off with the pretty girl at the store, the haunted EMT knows better than to let her into his heart. But when an accident leaves her wounded and in need of care, he vows to nurse her back to health.

As Maree struggles to break through the grieving man’s walls, she fears his deep-seated superhero complex will make him unreachable. And as Rhys grapples with trying to protect the beautiful woman from his curse, he worries he’ll have to choose between doing the right thing and true love.

Can this conflicted couple reconcile their opposite takes on adversity and find purpose in each other’s arms?

Grocery Girl is the touching first book in the Green Hills wholesome small-town romance series.   

Tuesday, May 03, 2022

Here come the brides! Beaumont Brides Boxed Set: Laura Haley-McNeil

"All three books have wonderful characters with realistic problems. Laura Haley-McNeil writes books that are clean, have faith, and are well written."                    - amazon review

Book 1: Wherever Love Finds You
It’s his game. He makes the rules. Rule number one – only he can break the rules.

Zach Lowe lives his life without relationships in business and personally. Getting involved doesn’t work well when you’re the Black Knight of Wall Street.

Ellora Duvall, the sweet kid who crushed on him in high school, waltzes into the world of corporate finance with the same wide eyed innocence she had in chemistry class. He hadn’t expected her to affect him the way she did, but he’s in control. A few weeks with Ellora will be pure pleasure, then he’ll move on. She’ll understand. He should, too. Who broke his rules?

Book 2: When Love Whispers

Sometimes, love comes in packages.

As the top ranked student at Charleston’s military academy, Preston Lowe excels in class, in sports and with women. Only Willow Dockery, a barmaid at the city’s trendy nightclub, sees the pain in his eyes when he’s out with friends having a good time. But Willow doesn’t know how Preston inwardly struggles to forget a past that could derail the career he’s worked hard to achieve.

Willow wrestles with her own secrets. After a disastrous relationship leaves her broke and disillusioned, she vows never to let anyone rob her of her dreams again. But as she gets to know Preston, it’s as if their tumultuous pasts meld together into something so startling it transforms their relationship and their lives forever.

Book 3: Call It Love
A kiss isn’t just a kiss …

Struggling actress Addison Duvall hustles background acting jobs at the Hollywood studios in hopes for her big break. When she’s cast as the stand in for the lead actress in a blockbuster spy film, she can’t believe her luck. The surprises rush in―her first test shot is with Hollywood heartthrob Spencer Kingsley. Her even bigger surprise is when the director yells, “Action!” and Spencer presses his lips to hers in a kiss.

Behind Spencer’s Hollywood façade hides the secret pain no one suspects. He’s the first to take a risk except when it comes to his heart. He can’t deny he and Addison have chemistry―chemistry onscreen and off―and he’s tempted to lower his guard. She seems real, not like the women he usually meets.

Once Addison’s star rises, so do Spencer’s doubts. She’s no different than the others looking for the connection to catapult their careers. He won’t let another woman damage his heart. His decision made, Spencer wishes her success.

But it’s already too late. How does he heal this Addison shaped hole in his heart? Should he risk more heartbreak for another chance at love?



Monday, May 02, 2022

Monday, April 25, 2022

The Guy From the Internet & Shortbread: Birdie Song

In The Guy from the Internet, Holly and her mum talk about lemon myrtle shortbread. For anyone who doesn’t know, lemon myrtle is a native Australian “bush tucker” herb often used in Aboriginal cuisine and medicine. The plant is nicknamed “Queen of the Lemon Herbs”, which should give you an idea of its flavour punch.

Lemon myrtle as a flavour is gaining popularity here in Perth. Personally, store-bought lemon myrtle products are a little strong for my liking, but you can get dried herbs online to make your own amazing citrus goodies to your taste. Be warned: it’s quite lemony, but with a unique flavour of its own.

Sweet & simple shortbread

This is my favourite shortbread recipe. It’s super simple, just like good shortbread should be, and a great start for creating biscuits with a flavoursome twist.

Basic Shortbread

125g butter

55g sugar

180g plain flour

1. Combine butter and sugar, and mix well, being careful not to overwork the butter.

2. Gradually add the flour, massaging it with your fingertips until the whole mixture resembles breadcrumbs. It’s important to use your fingertips here, as you don’t want the heat from your palms to melt the butter. If your fingers are naturally quite warm, run your wrists under cold water to help cool them down.

3. Press the crumbly mixture into a block, then cut into slices and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.

4. Bake for 15–20 minutes in a pre-heated oven at 190°C (374°F).

Deepen the flavour: Add a little lemon zest and vanilla essence in step 2 to complement the buttery flavours. Alternatively, use a lightly salted butter instead of unsalted butter to balance out the sweet.

Savour it savoury: Sugar in a recipe doesn’t mean you’re confined to making it sweet. Don’t be afraid to experiment with substituting a portion of the sugar for grated cheese, a little onion powder and garlic powder, and a dash of Worcestershire sauce.

Spice things up: Add a small amount of a sweet spice, such as cinnamon, ground ginger, caraway, cardamom, or nutmeg to bring new dimensions to a traditional shortbread.

The Guy from the Internet by Birdie Song

A sweet romance with a touch of family drama.

Holly Chee does not have her life together. She’s flip-flopped on uni courses and career choices, and somehow scared off her long-term fiancée-to-be, much to the chagrin of her immigrant parents.

But she does have her streaming channel, where she broadcasts her art from her one-bedroom Mount Lawley apartment. And she has that guy from France… assuming he’s even who he says he is.

The Guy from the Internet is a sweet #OwnVoices Asian-Australian romance novella, set in the world of Somerville Downs.


Want to sample Birdie’s work first? Her short story The Guy from the Flower Shop is free on Kobo, B&N, Apple Books, Booktopia, and Angus & Robertson until 30 July 2022.

About Birdie Song

Birdie Song is an Asian-Australian writer. She pens sweet stories featuring hopeful characters and optimistic endings (spoiler alert). She believes love is more important than labels, integrity is a person’s most attractive quality, and that no one should be judged for putting pineapple on a pizza.

Her latest release is a “meet ugly” novelette. Enjoy a touch of sweet Australian romance with The Guy from the Park.

Visit Birdie’s website

Follow Birdie Song on BookBub