Book Release – The Air that I Breathe

I am delighted to announce the release of my new novel, The Air that I Breathe. It is available as a paperback and an ebook from Amazon.com.

This is a book close to my heart as it deals with social anxiety and panic attacks, emotions I have struggled with over the years. Although Zoe and her story are fictional, I have drawn on my own experiences in writing this novel, and hope it will be a story that others who have gone through, or are going through, similar experiences can relate to.

You can read the book description below.

The_Air_that_I_Breat_Cover_for_Kindle

Available from Amazon.com

Zoe Marche is afraid of the outside world. She has created a sanctuary for herself in her little bungalow on the hill, tending her beloved garden and creating magical pieces of art. But an invitation and the arrival of a stranger throw her world off-balance and cause her to question whether there might be more to life than the sheltered existence she has chosen.

Zoe must make a choice. Is she ready to face her fears and live her life the way that others expect of her? Or is she already living the life she was meant to live?

The Air that I Breathe is a story of choices, of possibilities, and of chasing dreams.

The Inspiration of Finn

Wattle Lane

The little dog, Mayzie, in The Wattle Lane novels was inspired by my own dog, Finn. Like Mayzie, Finn is a funny little bitzer with a big personality. He has a tuft of hair that stands up on top of his head and looks so adorable.

Finn was a very mischievous puppy, chewing the corners and legs of furniture, and the edges of every rug in the house. He also managed to destroy every toy we bought him. He took great delight in digging up the back lawn, pulling plants out of the garden, upending plant pots and dragging out the contents. But we forgave him all his naughtiness, because he was only being a puppy, after all. He has a friendly, playful personality, is very sociable and loves to play with other dogs.

Finn is sixteen months old now. He has boundless energy and is still very demanding, but…

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My Heritage Album

Wattle Lane

Heritage scrapbook album

In The House in Wattle Lane, Neave traces the journey of her ancestors through creating a heritage scrapbook album. I began my own heritage album with my great-great-grandmother, who emigrated from the Shetland Islands to New Zealand in 1875. How courageous she and her family must have been to make that long and treachorous sea journey, plagued with storms and illness, to begin a new life on the other side of the world. They had no idea what awaited them when they got there, and to start a new life from scratch must have been very hard indeed. Like many others of their time, they were true pioneers.

I decided to leave the brown album page plain for the background to give the layout a vintagey look. Elements that I used on this page include scraps of lace, a vintage doily, a vintage key, old buttons, bejewelled trim, scrapbook…

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Kunekune Pigs

Wattle Lane

As an animal lover, I like to include animals in my novels. Usually my characters have pet dogs or cats. However, with The House in Wattle Lane, I decided to give one of the characters a pet pig. While I was writing the book, I couldn’t believe my luck when our next-door-neighbours came home with a pig. I was warned not to get too attached to it, as it would only be there for a few months, but still I made friends with him. He was a pink pig with a warm personality. I would look over the fence and see him basking in the sun on the back lawn and he would come trotting over when he heard me call his name. I got to know his favourite foods and would take him over treats. He loved apples and cauliflower and silverbeet and muesli bars and raw broccolli and…

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Chloe’s Caramel Date Squares

Wattle Lane

A recipe from The House in Wattle Lane.

Caramel Date Slice

120g butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 egg
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon golden syrup
1 teaspoon baking soda
1½ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup dates, chopped
walnut pieces

Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Cream the butter, sugar, and vanilla essence until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until combined. Heat the milk and golden syrup in a pan, but do not boil. Remove from heat and stir in the baking soda. Cool, then stir into the creamed mixture. Fold in the sifted flour, baking powder, and cinnamon, followed by the chopped dates. Pour the mixture into a greased or paper-lined slice tin. Bake for 35 minutes. Cool, then ice with caramel icing and cut into squares. Press a walnut piece onto the top of each square.

Caramel Icing

60g softened butter

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A Memory Frozen In Time

Wattle Lane

This photograph is of my paternal grandparents who both died when I was young. I don’t have very many memories of them, so it is nice to have this picture to help me to remember what they looked like.

I used several different techniques on this scrapbook page. I like to build my pages using lots of layers. I created the pattern on the background paper by applying texture paste through a stencil. Then I inked the edges and applied a little tea stain to give it an antique look.

On the second layer I used chalk on the flowers to add colour. Some other elements I added to the page include a vintage doily, dyed with tea stain, a tarnished old key, and some pressed flowers from my garden.

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Little Houses

Wattle Lane

little house 1

When I first saw this little house for sale in a local shop, it instantly made me think of the houses in my Wattle Lane novels – two and a half stories high, with gingerbread trim and an attic tucked beneath the eaves. The miniature houses are made by a local couple who have a laser cutting and engraving business http://www.micara.co.nz. They make a range of different style houses, and also make them in a larger scale for doll houses.

Front and side views Front and side views

Back view of house Back view of house

The little house, just 10 inches tall, sits beside me on my desk while I am writing. When I look at it, I imagine the little scrapbook shop on the bottom floor, and of Angeline sitting in her attic studio at the top of the house, making her paper angels.

Now I just have to decide what colours to paint it. Perhaps…

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Heritage Scrapbooking

Wattle Lane

Heritage scrapbooking is a great way to document the journey of our ancestors, to tell their stories through journaling, pictures, and memorabilia, brought together in a beautiful album for generations to treasure.

In my novel, The House in Wattle Lane, 29-year-old Neave learns about the lives of her ancestors from older family members, and the journey that took them from Ireland to England, and to the small gold mining town of Kerrigan in New Zealand. In a heritage scrapbooking class, Neave documents their lives, beginning with a family tree page like the one below. This is a fictional family tree of the family in the novel to show the sort of thing you could do with your own family tree.

There are many examples of family tree pages on Pinterest and on Google images that can give you ideas. On mine, I used scrapbooking paper, watercolour paints, and cutout…

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Vintage Tearoom

Wattle Lane

The inspiration for Chloe’s Coffee Shop in my Wattle Lane novels came from one of our local cafes, Port ‘O’ Call, situated in the picturesque village of Ahuriri. To view their website click here. Port ‘O’ Call has a wonderful vintage tearoom in one half of the shop, a place where you are transported back to the fifties, with food served on pretty vintage china.

vintage tearoom10

vintage tearoom1

You can choose your own vintage teacup, for your tea or coffee, from the lovely display on the shelves behind the counter.

vintage tearoom4

It is hard to decide what to choose, from the Devonshire cream teas, to the delicious cakes and slices and freshly baked breads.

vintage tearoom2

vintage tearoom3b

vintage tearoom5

The mouthwatering food is adorned with flowers, adding a touch of romance to the delightful setting. My pot of tea came nestled beneath a charming knitted tea cosy, like the one I use at home that my mum knitted more…

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Paperback Release – The House in Wattle Lane

Wattle Lane

I am happy to announce that The House in Wattle Lane (The Wattle Lane Novels: Book 2) is now available in paperback, for those of you who, like me, enjoy reading books the good old-fashioned way.

The House in Wattle Lane

The back cover has a picture of the little dog, Mayzie, who features in the story. And, yes, she does look suspiciously like my own puppy, Finn!

The House in Wattle Lane

The House in Wattle Lane is a story about heritage, scrapbooking, and the importance of family. It also includes some yummy recipes!

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Book Release – The House in Wattle Lane

Wattle Lane

The House in Wattle Lane (The Wattle Lane Novels Book 2) is now available as an ebook on Amazon. The paperback version will be available in the next couple of weeks.

The House in Wattle Lane

Amazon.com

When 29-year-old Neave Hamlin is made redundant from her job in the city, she decides to return to the small town of Kerrigan to consider her future and to reconnect with her estranged father and half-siblings. However, she soon learns that being part of a family is not always easy as she struggles to cope with the emotional dramas of her 14-year-old, half-sister, Lily, who insists that the old family home is haunted, and a less than welcoming stepmother.

After attending a heritage scrapbooking class, Neave is inspired to learn more about the lives of her ancestors. While searching for the truth behind a dark family secret, she discovers that sometimes unearthing the past can shine a light…

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Coconut Lemon Cupcakes

Wattle Lane

This is another of Jodi’s cupcake recipes, from my novel Scrappy Cupcake Angels.

 Coconut Lemon Cupcakes

150g butter
150g caster sugar
3 eggs
1 tablespoon milk
150g flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1 cup desiccated coconut
zest of 1 lemon
extra coconut for decorating

Lemon Frosting

60g butter, softened
250g icing sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon

Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Line patty pans or muffin trays with paper cupcake cases.

Cream the butter and sugar. Mix in the eggs one at a time, then the milk. Add the sifted flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix to combine, then stir in the coconut and lemon zest.

Divide the mixture between the paper cases. Bake for 20 minutes. Cool, then ice with the lemon frosting and sprinkle with coconut.

Makes 12 large or 18 small cupcakes.

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Book Preview – The House in Wattle Lane

Wattle Lane

As promised, I’d like to share with you a preview of my new novel, due for release at the end of January. The House in Wattle Lane is the second book in the Wattle Lane novels. Although it includes some of the characters from the first book, Scrappy Cupcake Angels, it can be read as a stand-alone story.

So, here it is, the first chapter.

Enjoy!

The House in Wattle Lane

Chapter One

As Neave walked for the last time from the high-rise building where she had spent her weekdays for more than a decade, she felt a surge of apprehension mixed with a strange feeling of anticipation—apprehension for what the future might hold, and anticipation of a new beginning. Still reeling from the rowdy farewell that her co-workers had thrown for her, she walked to the basement of the building, clutching her leaving gift—a fancy pedometer and an iTunes gift card—and climbed into…

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Cover Reveal: The House in Wattle Lane

Visit my Wattle Lane blog to take a sneak peek at the cover for my new book.

Wattle Lane

I am excited to show you the cover for my new book, The House in Wattle Lane, which is due out in January.

 The House in Wattle Lane

 This is the second book in my Wattle Lane series and will be available as a paperback and an ebook.

I have always loved old, Victorian houses, the sort with the bay windows, gingerbread trim and an attic tucked beneath a gabled roof. It is the house I dream of living in one day. For me, these charming old houses inspire stories of the generations of families who have lived in them, their hopes and dreams, loves and losses, and maybe a lingering spirit or two!

Chapter excerpt coming soon!

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Book Update

Wattle Lane

For those of you who have read the first book in my Wattle Lane series and wondered if there was ever going to be a second one, I wanted to let you know that it is going through the editing stage at the moment, and is due for release in January.

For a little background on the Wattle Lane novels:

Down a lane, in the small town of Kerrigan, stood three dilapidated, Victorian houses, waiting for somebody to come along and give them new life.

In the first book, Scrappy Cupcake Angels, Angeline buys the end house in the lane and transforms it into a scrapbooking shop. Soon Wattle Lane Keepsakes becomes the weekly destination for four women, drawn to scrapbooking for widely different reasons. Together they help each other navigate their way through life’s challenges, and along the way they discover the true meaning of friendship.

In the second…

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Art Journal Page

A page from my art journal.

Where the Moths Dance

This page in my art journal was inspired by my novel Where the Moths Dance.

The full moon bathes Gum Tree Hill Cemetery in a violet glow, casting silvery shadows across the stone angels. The wind whispers through the towering gum trees that encircle the graveyard, offering protection to all they encompass. Midnight Max, the cemetery cat, prowls stealthily between the graves, keeping a close vigil over his domain, while a solitary crow watches silently from its perch atop a gravestone. Overhead, attracted to the moonglow, moths perform a clumsy dance through the night.

While the dead rest, the graveyard is alive.

Mixed-media moths

Mixed-media moths

Mixed-media moths

Mixed-media moths

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Schooldays Scrapbook

Take a look at a picture of me as a five-year-old, in a scrapbook layout of my first day at school, posted on my Wattle Lane blog.

Wattle Lane

In Scrappy Cupcake Angels, Jodi makes a scrapbook album of her son’s first school year. Putting together a scrapbook is a fun way of documenting your child’s progress. You can include in it things such as their artwork, certificates, stories, lists of books they read, photographs of their friends, school sports days, school trips etc. It can be a fun activity to share with your child. They can help to embellish the pages, and it is a wonderful record of their schooldays for them to look back on when they are grown.

This is a page I made of my first day at school. I like using layering on my pages, so I layered several scrapbook papers and a graph page from one of my old school maths books. I inked or chalked the edges of all the papers to add interest. I added a border of numbered washi tape…

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