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Fennel

Anyone else like fennel? It’s in season now and I love it. It’s crisp and crunchy with a delicate aniseed flavor. I  usually eat it raw, in salads or to have with dips, but I don’t usually cook it.

Today I experimented with it in a “bottom of the fridge” dish — you know, the kind of dish you make out of whatever’s left in the fridge, before you go out and do a big shop.

Normally I discard the tough outer layers of the fennel bulb and the thick stems, but I hate wasting food, so I thought, let’s see how it works if I cook them. 

I sautéed a few chicken pieces and the chopped up outer bits of fennel, including the stems, in oil, added garlic, a chopped carrot and half a red pepper (because this is a “bottom of the fridge” dish, and that’s what I had.)  I added chicken stock and after about 10 minutes I tossed in some rice, to thicken it and let it absorb the liquid.

I have to say it worked a treat. It’s a simple and fairly plain dish, but the delicate flavor of the fennel comes through beautifully and compliments the chicken. You could add parmesan cheese and make it like a risotto, too. Or add some spices — I didn’t use any herbs or spices this time because I wanted to see how it tasted plain. 

Yummy. Chicken and fennel go together beautifully. The pic above is what’s left — that’s going in the fridge to be my lunch tomorrow.

I’m going to make fennel soup next, probably in combination with chicken (or chicken stock) and some other veggies. Because it’s soup weather here — cold and grey and damp.  And because I’m working hard on my latest novel, and when I’m stuck, chopping veggies and stirring soup often helps.

Are you a fennel lover or not? And do you make soup? What’s your favorite?

The ARRA book signing

ARRA stands for the Australian Romance Readers Association, a group of enthusiastic and prolific readers who love romance — of all kinds. Every second year they have a conference, and an  awards dinner in the alternate years. In March I attended the awards dinner and was delighted (and a little overwhelmed) to win four awards. I blogged about it here.

ARRA also holds a big signing at the annual Romance Writers of Australia conference, which in 2016 is in Adelaide. I’ll be there and Ill also be signing copies of my new book — THE SUMMER BRIDE, which comes out on July 5th.

ARRA is holding a treasure hunt, in which free tickets to the signing will be given away — one per author involved. To enter the draw for a ticket, you need to find the ARRA button on an author’s page and click on it. The ARRA website will be  publishing a list of authors involved. mailto:arra.contests@gmail.com?subject=TreasureHunt,Code:1256

You can enter via as many author pages as you like — each button has a different code — one entry per person. 
Here is my ARRA button — click on it, and an email form will  pop up, send ARRA your name and email address (they won’t spam you) and you’re entered.  If for some reason the email form doesn’t pop up, you can grab my code from the image (hover the mouse over it) and email ARRA.
Best of luck, and I hope to see you at the ARRA signing,

 

Romantic Times (part 1)

I went to the Romantic Times Convention in Las Vegas last week, and am belatedly reporting in. 

It was my first time at RT and I only had a vague idea of what to expect. It wasn’t my first time in Las Vegas, but it had changed a lot since I was here fifteen years or so ago, as a backpacker. Bigger, glitzier, and everything coming in a super sized version.

There were more than three thousand people at the RT Convention, so it was pretty amazing that I managed to meet up with some of my friends, and meet some new people as well. On the first day there was a reception for international authors in Kathryn Falk’s suite on the 51st floor. The  pic above is the view from the balcony — stunning, eh?

I met lots of Canadian, British, Australian and New Zealand authors there. In the pic below, with me are Keri Arthur, Helen (a Scot living in Asia), and Tasmina  Perry from the UK.

The next day I participated in a “Meet the Authors From Downunder” event with Keri Arthur, Nalini Singh, Khloe Wren and Nikki Flockton. We ran a quiz with plenty of prizes and giveaways, including Tim-tams on the table and a bag containing books and one of these little fellows. Lots of fun. 

I had a bit of a feather thing going on — which won’t surprise some of you. But this time I managed to infect a few other people.

 

 

I coaxed Mary Jo Putney and Patricia Rice, the other two wordwenches attending RT,  to join me in wearing feathered hats for our historical authors’ panel Rakes Rogues and Warrior Poets. Here we are.

And here is Keri Arthur,  also  be-feathered. This was at the Berkley signing, where Berkley gave all the authors hot pink feather boas to wear. They’re a bit hot and prickly around the neck, so I wrapped mine around my hat, as usual, and convinced Keri to let me wrap hers around her head . . . Suits her, doesn’t it?

Despite the large size of the convention, I kept running into friends and meeting new ones. Here I am with Susanna Kearsley, Nalini Singh, and Meljean Brook — and a signed teddy that’s going to be auctioned for a good cause.

 

I also met and caught up with a range of favourite authors. Here I am with Susan Elizabeth Phillips, feeling like a gushing fangirl

And I really did gush all over C.L.Wilson, whose wonderful fantasy books I’ve raved about before. It was a thrill to meet her, and even though I have all her books at home, I had to buy another one so I could have a signed copy. 

And here is Susan Mallery, whose “Screw the Muse, I’m on Deadline” talk has helped many a friend get a book in on time. I told her so, too.

 

 

In my next blog, I’ll tell you a little more about  the convention and also how I skipped a day of the convention when friends took me a drive out into the magnificent country outside of Vegas.