Interview with author Rosemary Macindoe

My latest review was focused on the novella The Toorak Jackpot by Australian author Rosemary Macindoe. I really enjoyed this read and was very pleased to get to e-meet the author who kindly agreed to an interview.

Thank you for agreeing to this interview. First, tell us more about yourself and your background. What led you to become an author?

R.M: I am an artist and writer living in Melbourne Australia. I’ve always enjoyed writing and I studied German and Russian Literature at Melbourne University when I completed an Arts Degree in 1986.

Since leaving University I have studied Graphic Design, and Business Computing. I am a self trained artist who has worked in retail and banking part time. I have a website which show cases my exhibition history.  For the last three years I  have concentrated on producing this novel in memory of my late father, Jock Macindoe who spent most of his life living in Toorak where I grew up there. However now I live with my husband, Ian and our two dogs in Parkville. Parkville a suburb near the centre of Melbourne and is the subject of my next novella.

The Toorak Jackpot is your first novel. You told me that it took you three years to complete it and you even did the illustrations yourself! How did you come up with the idea for this plot and what are you most proud of?

I came up with the plot after I went out with a lawyer who said “You’re T.P.” meaning, I’m a “Toorak Princess”. A Toorak Princess is really seen as a girl who is rich and spoilt. In Melbourne there are jokes about Toorak Princesses. Somehow this joke triggered by thinking about how my father who was a “Toorak Prince” and how he had a very difficult life despite coming from a wealthy family. He was a soldier in the Second World War and spent four years in a German Prisoner of War Camp in northern Germany. He nearly died in the war but survived to come back to Australia and set the world on fire in a career in Law and marry my late mother, Diana. Together they had five children. I have four older brothers who all have a sense of humour. The plot developed round a character who struggles to become a Toorak Prince and was based on men I met at a Melbourne Shoe Shop where I worked for two years in my early thirties.

The thing I’m most proud of is simply completing it! I found it enormously difficult to be funny every day when I turned up to my studio in Richmond to write it.  It took me a long time to bring it up to a publishing standard and had two round of editing and a number of friends give input.

Can you describe your writing process? What are your main challenges? What do you love the most about this journey?

I love creating a fantasy whether visual or literary.  I love uplifting people by writing something with a happy ending.  I find the main challenge is finishing something and knowing when to stop changing things.

Your book is set in Melbourne, Australia and offers a strong sense of the Aussie lifestyle (culture, politics, humour, etc.), which is not very common in the book industry. Most novels usually take place in the US or Europe. Was it something you had in mind while writing it? Do you think Australia should be more represented in fiction worldwide?

I wasn’t really thinking of a global context when I wrote the book but now that I have an ebook out there I am very excited about the potential audience for the work. I think it is fun to have a novel set in Australia.  This country ought to be more represented in the media because Australia is a special country with a lot to offer the world. Melbourne is a very beautiful city.

There are countless books being published each month and it can be difficult to make one’s book stand out in this wonderful sea of novels. What would you say to readers to convince them to pick The Toorak Jackpot?

Readers who want to be entertained and find an uplifting quick dose of escapism can’t go past “The Toorak Jackpot”

Are you working on a new novel? If so, can you tell us what it is about?

I have ideas for a new novella but it may need some research and I do want to do some painting for a little while. I may start on the next writing project after I’ve done some reading at the end of 2017.  It will be another comedy set in Parkville this time about an old crackpot and his two scheming children.  Stay tuned…


Art has been important to me all my life. My mother Diana, encouraged me from the word go to explore my talents. Her sister Rosalind, was an accomplished Sydney artist who lived a bohemian life with a studio in Darlinghurst, Sydney in the 1980s. This world of painting and creativity seemed very exciting to me as a teenager. After leaving school in 1983, I was determined to study the History of Fine Art at Melbourne University and then pursue a more hands on artistic direction once leaving University. Design school followed and years of private training in life drawing and painting. I’m still learning although I am now largely self- taught.

I have had three solo exhibitions exploring different genres of Art from portraiture to landscape. I am about to start a new series of paintings about the joy of life in Richmond and South Yarra because painting is one of the most enjoyable things you can do and life just keeps getting better!

Currently, my studio is filled with paintings and drawings that I have brought out of storage along with my latest work. Most of these can be viewed on this website although this is just a sample of my work.

Anyone viewing this website is welcome to visit me in Richmond and see the full range of my work.  I would love to hear from you!




Cutting Words [P.A Laver]

A war of words…

Assistant editor Annie McGuire has just been given the assignment of a lifetime.

Her boss, the Senior Editor of fiction at McMahon Martin Publishing no less, has chosen Annie to edit one-time, blockbuster author James Raymond’s new book.

This is the chance Annie has been waiting for and she’s desperate to prove her worth as a serious editor.

It’s time to make the leap to senior editor, after all if she doesn’t someone else surely will.

With her qualifications and experience, nothing could go wrong… right?


It turns out Annie is totally oblivious to the details and politics of how the motorbike riding, egomaniac author was enticed away from his old publisher.

When two ambitious chief editors of opposing New York publishing houses go to war, there is bound to be collateral.

But will Annie’s career take the full force of the damage?

With rumours swirling that Raymond’s new manuscript is a flop and his own agent publically voicing his concern at every opportunity, does Annie have any hope of turning this around?

Or is Annie’s own story destined to come to a tragic end…?

Set in the cut throat world of publishing, Cutting Words is a heartfelt tale about never giving up on your dreams.

My thoughts on the novel: Have you ever wondered what it is really like working in a publishing house? Having the opportunity to read and edit masterpieces while helping to bring new talents into the limelight sounds like a dream job for any booklover! Well, the reality may be quite different and Cutting Words gives an interesting take on this business where it’s not always about the arts.

Best-selling author James Raymond embodies the “villain”. The success of his previous book clearly went to his head and he’s coming across as rude and full of himself. His total lack of respect for people like assistant editor Annie is appalling. He believes his work is so good that it’s disrespectful to him to let it be reviewed by a mere assistant editor. After all, it can only require a few punctuation tweaks… at best ! So, how would a newbie like Annie know any better and dare to add a cascade of colourful tags everywhere there’s an issue? From reworking the structure to making sure that the timeline and the twists are taking place at the right time and in a credible manner, Annie spent a tremendous amount of time and energy dissecting the novel.

These initial chapters really managed to describe how editing really happens. I thought it was a major highlight of the novel, giving the reader a new perspective on the art of “making” books worthy of being published.

The confrontation scene was very vivid and heartbreaking because of Raymond’s condescending attitude. You end up feeling really bad for Annie because you’ve just read about how much work and dedication it took her to review a really poorly written novel. The impact of this key scene will last till the very last chapter where both characters are finally reunited. Will they bury the hatchet? Will Annie get back her self-confidence?

You could think that James’ narcissistic attitude is too pronounced at times, but somehow, the author makes it credible, even offering an interesting ending showing that James’ personality isn’t so black and white. His psychological profile is well written, especially in the final chapters where the readers finally understands why he behaves the way he does.

I was simply annoyed by a formatting issue with the Kindle version. Throughout the novel, a lot of words were glued together, which was quite irritating.

Cutting Words is a pleasant, entertaining novel that will give the reader a new appreciation of the important role of editors and their “professional” eye. But, it’s also quite eye-opening regarding the politics and arrangments happening in the cruel, harsh little world of publishing. Who knew?

My score: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Midnight & Mistletoe at Cedarwood Lodge [Rebecca Raisin]

Planning a New Year’s Eve Party might be the kind of event Clio Winters used to dream about organising, but when everything is feeling a bit up in the air, she has to hope that this New Year, her wish really will come true.

My thoughts on the novel: Just 100 pages long, Midnight & Mistletoe is one of three books in the Cedarwood Lodge series by author Rebecca Raisin. I haven’t read the two previous installments entitled “Brides & Bouquets” and “Celebrations & Confetti”, and maybe at the beginning I sometimes felt as though I was missing some background info for the main characters. But, in the end, I really enjoyed this festive, New Year’s Eve-themed novel and felt like it can be read without knowing a lot about the previous episodes. It also made me want to read these two first novels.

Despite a couple of minor typos here and there, it is a really lovely, easy to read book I recommend to chick-lit lovers. It is a romantic and heartwarming tale about love, family, friendship and forgiveness (and true love!)

It’s a great read just a few days before ringing in 2017!

Score: ♥ ♥ ♥

Interview with author Darcie Boleyn

Last weekend, I finished reading A Very Merry Manhattan Christmas by Darcie Boleyn, a great holiday novel I reviewed here. Darcie Boleyn kindly answered a few questions. Hope you’ll enjoy learning more about her!

Thanks for agreeing to this interview. First off, can you tell us more about yourself? How did you become an author?

D.B: I’ve always written, and as a child I used to enter short story and poetry competitions. This continued when I went to university but then, as life became busier, writing took a back seat. I nursed the dream to write for years when my children were young, and I tried to write a novel but spent far too much time procrastinating, which meant that it didn’t get finished. A few years ago, my husband encouraged me to really try again, and following a few false starts, I finally had that amazing acceptance email. Since then, I haven’t stopped!

Your latest novel A Very Merry Manhattan Christmas is a festive, enchanting read whose main character, Lucie, has a very dark, heartbreaking past. Where did you find the inspiration to write such a poignant story that manages to combine both light and deep content?

Thank you so much! I try to combine comedy with reality in my writing. I want to create moments where readers laugh out loud but also ones where they feel other emotions, as, after all, life is a mixture of good and bad times. I also aim to give my characters motivation for their behaviour and decisions, whether linked to positive or negative experiences. I begin with an outline and character profiles, but as I write, these take off in all directions and the characters tell me things about themselves; it’s very exciting. Lucie was actually hiding her darkest secret from me, until I reached the point where she reveals it. I had an idea of what it was but when she actually spoke about it, even I was surprised.

What do you love the most about storytelling?

Creating new characters and watching as their lives unfold. It’s a very enjoyable process and the way I described it recently to my husband was like entering a dark corridor where the lights come on automatically, one at a time, as I move forwards. I don’t always know exactly what’s at the end, or even the next step, but as one light comes on, I can see more of the way ahead and this keeps going until I reach the end.

What do you find hardest in the writing process?

The fact that I have a day job too. There are days when I long to just stay home and write but I can’t and this definitely slows me down. Also, when you write, you’re putting yourself out there, and if you’re gentle and a softy like me, you do have to try to toughen up when it comes to some of the more critical reviews.

Can you describe your typical writing day?

I write whenever and wherever I can, although my most productive time seems to be early morning straight after breakfast. I make a cup of tea or coffee, read over my notes and the previous scene, visualize the scene I’m about to write, then off I go!

What advice would you give to aspiring writers willing to write a good Christmas story?

All stories are different and depend upon the author’s own views of Christmas and own experiences. For me, a Christmas story should include some traditional Christmas themes and activities but also create that all important festive setting. Elements such as the weather and music can all help to pull the reader into your novel, so really appeal to the five senses. In a more general sense, I would encourage aspiring authors to keep trying. The success of the ebook industry means that there are more opportunities to become a published author than in the past. Whether you’re a plotter or a pantser, you just have to sit down and write. You can edit later, but you have to get the words down on the page first.

Are you currently working on a new novel? If yes, can you tell us more about it?

I’m working on a summer novel right now and it’s set in beautiful Italy. I don’t want to say too much at this point because it’s early days, but I hope to have some very good news to reveal in coming months.

Thank you so much for hosting me at your lovely blog! Have a fabulous Christmas!

Love, Darcie XXX


Darcie Photo copy 2Darcie Boleyn has a huge heart and is a real softy. She never fails to cry at books and movies, whether the ending is happy or not. Darcie is in possession of an overactive imagination that often keeps her awake at night. Her childhood dream was to become a Jedi but she hasn’t yet found suitable transport to take her to a galaxy far, far away. She also has reservations about how she’d look in a gold bikini, as she rather enjoys red wine, cheese and loves anything with ginger or cherries in it – especially chocolate. Darcie fell in love in New York, got married in the snow, rescues uncoordinated greyhounds and can usually be found reading or typing away on her laptop.

Connect with Darcie online:






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Warm your heart with this perfectly festive romance…

Lucie Quigley hates Christmas. It’s the time of year when everything goes wrong in her life. So this year, when she’s asked to be a bridesmaid at her friend Petra’s Manhattan wedding, she jumps at the invitation to escape the festivities.

Dale Treharne has been best friends with Lucie for as long as he can remember. He’s used to looking out for his oldest friend and when she asks him to be her plus one, he can’t seem to find a reason to refuse. Instead, he sees it as a way to help Lucie get through what is, for her, the most miserable time of the year.

In New York, as the snow starts to fall, Lucie and Dale start to realise that their feelings run deeper than just friendship. But can they overcome their pasts, and make it a very merry Manhattan Christmas?

A Very Merry Manhattan Christmas – Book Spotlight

In my writing, themes such as the importance of family and friends and the modern family unit often emerge. I’m a hopeless romantic; I believe in true love, and that it’s worth fighting for. I also adore Christmas and hope to spend it in New York one year. I went out to Manhattan in late October 2009 and my husband proposed to me in Times Square, so New York has a special place in my heart.

A Very Merry Manhattan Christmas is about two friends, Lucie and Dale, who’ve always been there for each other. This year, Lucie has been asked to be a bridesmaid at her friend Petra’s Christmas wedding in New York. She asks Dale to go with her because they do everything together and because she can’t imagine going without him.

I wrote the story in the summer, as often happens with Christmas books. My family find the whole process quite amusing, as while the sun is shining outside the window (on those days when we get sunshine, of course) and others are jetting off on exotic holidays, I’m hidden away in my study humming along to Christmas tunes and yearning for a mince pie.

My inspiration for the story started as a seed of an idea that bloomed into a novel. I love festive stories, especially A Christmas Carol, and one day I started thinking about a character who might, in some ways, be a modern female version of Ebenezer Scrooge – but not as miserable or miserly. I thought, what if there were a few ghosts of Christmas past haunting her; a few events that she couldn’t quite get over? Then I added a very positive spirit of Christmas present – to help her learn to love the festive season – in the hunky form of Dale.

But will he be the spirit of Christmas future?

You’ll have to read A Very Merry Manhattan Christmas to find out!

The Empire State Cat’s Christmas Gift [Nic Tatano]

The night her house catches fire, kick-ass lawyer Tish McKenna’s neatly ordered life is thrown into chaos. At least she’s alive—thanks to her adorable cat, Socks!—and after her near-death experience Tish realises she wants more in her life than late nights and case files…

Professionally speaking, hot-shot attorney, Spencer Capshaw hadn’t realised how far off track he’d come. Sure, he had his reasons originally—saving his dad’s life required more money than the DA’s office paid him—yet helping corrupt corporate bigwigs was not why he became a lawyer…

With a little help from a furry friend, these two lost souls find each other in the heart of Manhattan. But when Tish and Spence are pitted against each other in a trial that pushes them both to their limits, can their budding relationship survive?

My thoughts on the novel: If you’re looking for a lovely, warm and festive rom-com, look no further. This novel is a combination of Ally McBeal and a typical Meg Ryan movie, all wrapped up with a magical touch of holiday cheer. What’s not to love?

Tish and Spencer are two charming characters with strong personalities. They’re brought together thanks to Benny, a very endearing secondary character, and also through the unexpected help of Tish’s cat. But, when the reader learns the pair already crossed paths years ago, you only want to keep turning the pages to find out whether the stars will finally align perfectly for them.

It’s particularly refreshing reading about Spencer’s frame of mind. He’s an astonishingly romantic male character. The way he depicts his relationship goals in life is utterly sweet. Any romantic soul indulging in this novel will really enjoy this part of the book.

As far as the narration goes, it flows really well with a series of vivid, well-paced twists, all set in wonderful, magical New York.

The author instills a good amount of humour in serious scenes like the court hearings where the female judge is worth mentioning. It’s an amusing character in all its seriousness. I really enjoyed the dynamic created between the two attorneys and the judge. I couldn’t help but think of episodes from Ally McBeal.

I highly recommend this novel. It will easily appeal to those who love a fun, heartwarming love story with a happy ending.

Score : ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

The 12 Dares of Christmas [Leigh W. Stuart]

Lauren Hall has one wish for Christmas this year — raise money to build a new, no-kill animal shelter for the town of Sycamore Cove. And she is prepared to do anything to make it happen. Even dare a man she just met to perform a strip tease for the local knitting society.

Gabe Nicholson has one wish too — obtain the job of a lifetime to launch his career. Only his wishes get snowballed when his best friend’s little sister hands him a pair of stripper pants and a bottle of eggnog-flavored body oil.

It’s all sugar plums and mistletoe until a scandal caused by Lauren’s fundraiser threatens to ruin it all. With Gabe’s work opportunities disappearing before his eyes and Lauren’s fundraising efforts tanking, their game of dares stands to burn them both. Unless it ignites a spark of Christmas magic.

My thoughts on the novel: I would like to thank NetGalley and City Owl Press for giving me the opportunity to read this book. From the lovely cover to the enticing summary, I knew it would be a great pick. And after reaching the ending, I concluded that it was indeed a good Christmas book to recommend. The 12 Dares of Christmas is a page turner that will make you feel warm inside this holiday season.

The plot is fun, yet credible. The characters are relatable and lovable. Throughout the many twists and turns, you find yourself asking for more chance meetings between the two main characters, Lauren and Gabe who are undeniably attracted to each other. This inevitably leads to pretty steamy scenes that will most definitely send the temperature rising through your roof, in case you’re having a cold, cold Christmas.

This novel has all the main ingredients required for a successful Christmas story.

A fun and romantic read not to be missed.

Score: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥