Eliza Henry Jones Talks About Her Novel Ache

Welcome author of In the Quiet and Ache. “Eliza Henry-Jones was born in Melbourne in 1990. She was a Young Writer-in-Residence at the Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers’ Centre in 2012 and was a recipient of a Varuna residential fellowship for 2015. She has qualifications in English, psychology and grief, loss and trauma counselling. She is currently completing honours in creative writing – exploring bushfire trauma – and works in community services. She lives in the Dandenong Ranges with her husband and too many animals.” http://www.harpercollins.com.au/9781460750384/#sm.000013x3sti4gof8ssqbvqu70beyi


I recently read Ache and was seduced by the emotions and the poignantly written characters; individuals, families, communities, animals and the landscape  – a vivid and bold major character in this novel. The compelling writing will touch all that read it. I highly recommend this read.

Listen to Eliza  here:



Guest Post – Sasha Wasley Talks Wine, Writing and Her New Release

Sasha Wasley

Welcome Sasha Wasley to my blog.

Sasha Wasley was born and raised in Perth, Western Australia.

She has completed a PhD in cultural theory and loves nature, Jane Austen and puns.

Sasha is a farming wannabe, with a passion for animals and the land. Although she’s in her forties now, she still wants a pony.

Her debut novel, a young adult paranormal, was published in 2014. Today, she lives and writes in the Swan Valley wine region with her partner and two daughters, surrounded by dogs, cats and chickens.

Sasha writes mystery, paranormal and young adult novels as S.D. Wasley.

Welcome Sasha.


I was caught by your blog’s title and immediately tempted to find a way to match the theme – at the same time as introducing Dear Banjo to your followers. As I love wine, and my book is a love story, I felt it was a great opportunity to talk about … wine and love!
My favourite tipple is a fresh sauvignon blanc, and I love both the Australian and New Zealand varieties. In my book, however, my main characters love red wine. The story is set in Mount Clair, a fictional town in the Kimberley region of WA. It’s hot and humid up there, and I imagine red wine drinkers are in the minority, so this was a nice little trait for Willow and Tom to have in common. Let me share the scene where their love of red wine is particularly relevant. Formerly best friends, the two have experienced a long rift, during which they did not have any contact at all. But they’ve made peace and are friends again in this scene, and Willow and her family visit the neighbouring cattle station for Tom’s birthday barbecue.
From Chapter 14
There was a small bunch of people Willow didn’t know, presum¬ably Tom’s friends from town, sitting in a group. Willow went to say hello to the Forrests. Tom, already cleaning the barbecue, offered her a drink.
‘I’ve brought wine,’ she told him. ‘I just need a glass.’
‘Of course.’
‘Come with me. I’ve got something special for you to drink tonight.’
She followed him into the house and he took her into the spare room. He bent down to open what looked like a dark cabinet in the corner and she heard the clink of bottles.
‘What’s that? A bar fridge?’
‘A wine fridge. I love reds but you can’t keep them properly in this climate. My wine fridge stores wine at the right temperature.’
He straightened and showed her what was in her hand. She gasped.
‘No way. Henschke Hill of Grace?’
Tom waved the bottle in front of her face, his eyes alight with anticipation. ‘Shall we?’
‘You shouldn’t open this tonight. Wait till your thirtieth.’
‘I’ve got something even more special for my thirtieth.’ He opened the fridge and pulled out another bottle.
‘What the hell?’ She stared at him. ‘Grange? Just how well are you guys doing here?’
‘It’s only one bottle. We don’t have a cellar full. I bought it a cou¬ple of years ago and decided to save it for my thirtieth.’
‘And the Hill of Grace for your twenty-ninth?’
He shrugged. ‘That was more of an impulse decision. But you like red, I like red. Hardly anyone in Mount Clair does. So …’
The corner of his mouth was tugged up in an expectant half-smile. She couldn’t help a little answering enthusiasm. ‘Let’s do it!’ He had the corkscrew in his hand before she’d even finished speak¬ing. ‘Cork,’ she breathed.
‘No screw tops for us!’
‘Where are the glasses?’
He nodded towards a cabinet against the wall and she opened the glass slider to pull out two big, dusty wineglasses. Spotting a pillow on the spare bed, Willow whipped off the pillow case and used it to polish the glasses.
Tom guffawed. ‘Classy.’
‘Resourceful,’ she returned.
He popped the cork and sniffed gingerly. ‘Oh, god. Yes.’
Willow almost bounced on the spot with excitement. ‘Is it good?’
‘Beyond good.’ He poured and handed her one. ‘Check us out, hiding in the spare room to drink the good stuff.’
‘Ours. Ours alone,’ she intoned and he doubled over laughing.
They clinked glasses carefully and sipped, watching each other’s faces. Tom waited for her judgement, although she could see he liked it just from his expression. The wine was beautiful and she sighed with pleasure.
‘Tom. It’s the nectar of the gods.’
‘It’s the aged nectar of the gods,’ he said. He gestured towards his wine fridge. ‘Wait till my thirtieth. It’s just a shame I offered half to another living human,’ he added, narrowing his eyes at her in classic villain style.
‘You’ll be lucky to get half the bottle, sharing with me,’ she said.
He laughed, but those blue eyes were on hers and they seemed a little intense. She sipped again, her body heating up uncomfortably.



Henschke Cellar Door, SA (pic: Henschke.com.au)

I went to visit the Henschke cellar door in South Australia during a visit to the Barossa region in 2009 and it was such a wonderful experience. Not only is the winery itself the most charming, picturesque, historical spot, surrounded by green valleys, vineyards, and those amazing German-style churches – but the wine is incredible.
I stayed in Angaston, home of the famous dried fruit company, and I didn’t quite make it to the town named for my ancestors, Wasleys, which is in the same region. Sadly, the town of Wasleys suffered from terrible Pinery fire that ravaged the region a couple of years ago. I certainly want to go back and explore the area more thoroughly – the history and the buildings, as well as my own family heritage. And the wine may have a little something to do with it, too!

Thank you, Reading, Writing and Riesling, for allowing me to ramble on about love and wine, two of my favourite topics! I do hope your readers enjoy Dear Banjo.

Follow Sasha

Let Me Introduce Author Sandy Vaile To You

Welcome  to my blog Sandy Vaile.

Sandy Vaile, author of romantic suspense, is here to chat about her new book, “Combatting Fear”, and what drives her.

sandy vaile

Sandy Vaile is a motorbike-riding daredevil who isn’t content with a story unless there’s a courageous heroine and a dead body. When she’s not devising horrible things to do to fictional characters, she writes procedures for high-risk industrial activities, mentors new writers through the Novelist’s Circle critiquing group, judges romance writing competitions, presents literary craft workshops, and writes the odd article and blog.

Combatting Fear is Sandy’s new book.

combatting fear cover

How far would you go to save a child that wasn’t yours?

Mild-mannered kindergarten teacher, Neve Botticelli, leads a double life. At home with her paranoid father, she is a combat trained survivalist who lives off-the-grid.

When self-made billionaire, Micah Kincaid, storms into town in search of his four-year-old son, Rowan, he’s pushy, entitled, and stands for everything Neve despises.

But something far more sinister than a cheating estranged wife, is lurking in rural Turners Gully, and it has its sights set on little Rowan’s inheritance. It turns out there is one thing Micah and Neve can agree on, and that’s keeping Rowan safe.

As they work together to free Rowan, they glimpse beneath one another’s guises, and realise that falling in love could be even more dangerous than hunting deadly criminals.

Buy “Combatting Fear” here…

Buy “Inheriting Fear” here…


Listen to what Sandi has to share with us here:


Thanks so much Sandy – I really love the personal connections a video interview brings to a Q & A.


Stay in touch with Sandy via her website, Facebook or Twitter

Guest Post – A.K. Alliss

Guest Post – A.K. Alliss

Readers and writers – some great insights here about writing and the publishing process  at Booksandbeyondreviews https://booksandbeyondreviews.com/2017/02/12/guest-post-a-k-alliss/

Books and Beyond Reviews

In a new feature to my blog, I am pleased to welcome A.K. Alliss, author of Frame, to Books and Beyond Reviews as my first ever guest post. I had the pleasure of reading Frame, which I reviewed here. In this post, he discusses the period of time running up to the launch of a new book. So without further ado, welcome A.K. Alliss!

fb_img_1456325114135Releasing a book traditionally, in a lot of ways, is a game. It’s a game of patience, of nail-biting worry and sleepless nights. To the new author, the world and characters that they have created are everything, but to everyone else, they are undiscovered, unknown and largely, unimportant. While that might sound pessimistic, the author will reach a point where they’ll have to posses a fairly pragmatic attitude when considering expectations of success.

Transitioning from an independent to traditionally published author is an exciting, yet…

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Let Them Eat Cake – Guest Post by Lesley Truffle

Let them eat cake    

by Lesley Truffle

I discovered the joy of cake early in life. It was a rare treat and cake recipes were sacred texts, especially Winston Churchill’s 80th birthday cake recipe. These fruit cakes were baked in advance, stored in our antique sideboard and fed a bottle of brandy. No kidding, those cakes really liked to drink. Size wise the cakes were heifers and could only be handled by my mother. I watched in awe, as over the course of several days she drizzled brandy over the cakes. The heady aroma of drunken fruit cakes meant Christmas was about to be unleashed.

My mother was devoted to the late Winston Churchill. He was right up there in her pantheon of gods that included Napoleon Bonaparte and the infamous poet, Lord Byron. Framed reproductions of Napoleon’s portraits graced our dining room. It was disconcerting – when I was on the telephone being sweet talked by some randy schoolboy – to find myself eyeball to eyeball with Napoleon. He had a suspicious stare, especially in his baby portrait. Even when I looked away, I could still feel Napoleon’s cold baby blue eyes boring into the back of my skull.

In our house birthday cakes were usually sponge cakes. If time was short, plain sponge cakes were purchased and the packaging hidden deep in the kitchen bin. These shop bought sponges were disguised with fresh strawberries, jam and whipped cream. For adult birthdays, the sponges were slathered with coffee icing, whereas for children it was chocolate or pink icing.

I’ve never managed to master the creation of sponge cakes. I recently consulted a clever woman known for her sumptuous sponges and delectable baked goods. Glenda maintains that one must sift the flour at least three times, or you’re not really trying. Apparently it is air that gives the sponge its lift – or as dedicated pillow plumpers put it – its loft.

My Yorkshire puddings have been known to lie down and take a kip. Glenda suspects that I’ve been a bit heavy handed mixing the batter. Furthermore, you must handle scones with featherlight fingers, and never overwork any dough or it toughens up. I should have learnt these rules in high school cookery classes but I didn’t. We had a draconian cookery teacher who stalked the kitchen, hovering over our shoulders, as we nervously rubbed butter into flour for shortcrust pastry. Mrs Sullivan assessed our efforts, ‘No. Too much’… ‘No, no. Not enough’. It was humiliating when she raised her voice, ‘You. Weren’t. Listening. Were you?’

She was right. I wasn’t. I loathed her classes because she’d sucked all the joy out of messing around with flour, butter and eggs. To make matters worse I hadn’t confessed that the embroidered name on my starched kitchen cap wasn’t mine. There’d been a mix up in the needlework class and the teacher had pencilled the wrong name on my cap. I was an unassuming child raised in the English manner and rather than make trouble, I’d dutifully embroidered the cap. I then spent the following year inadvertently snubbing Mrs Sullivan when she called out my supposed name. My inattention resulted in mediocre grades for Cookery.

Nigella Lawson is the antithesis to Mrs Sullivan. Licking a wooden spoon in Mrs Sullivan’s class was a heinous crime, whereas Nigella believes in the bacchanalian joy of food. She likes nothing better than licking mixing spoons. Nigella not only licks, she purrs. For many years, we’ve lived in a world of celebrity chefs promoting carb laden cuisine.  Bacon ice-cream anyone? At the same time, muscular ‘reality’ TV weight loss trainers sagely advise the contestants, ‘Treats are for dogs.’

Glossy fashion magazines frequently pose the question, ‘Why don’t French women get fat?’ There’s an entire diet book industry built around this dodgy question. After all, French cuisine is lauded for its exquisite gateaux, pastries and national dishes that rely heavily on butter and full fat cream. Interviews are regularly conducted with fashionable Parisian women, who swear they owe their petite figures to portion control. Treats are strictly monitored: a tiny piece of Camembert, one petite madeleine or a whisper of chocolate gateau. Strangely enough – even their dogs look lean.

But you only have to leave the epicentre of fashionable Paris, and take a train to the outer suburbs or the provinces, to realise that not all French women are fixated on being Greyhound lean and hungry. Curvaceous French women can be seen dining in public, enjoying flavoursome creamy, garlic laden dishes and recklessly swilling down champagne and cocktails. For lunch, they publicly indulge in tasty charcuterie and chunks of Brie cheese. And at breakfast, the ladies aren’t shy about adding extra butter to their croissants.  The sinful lusciousness of it all – sugar, carbs, alcohol, chocolate, butter and cream. Vive la France!



‘Lesley Truffle’s new book, The Scandalous Life of Sasha Torte, is published by HarperCollins Publishers and available now – http://www.harpercollins.com.au/9781460751442/the-scandalous-life-of-sasha-torte/#sm.00008ghxp0glwfs5r7510ylxwi26l.’



Lesley Truffle credit Tanja Ramljak.jpg

Lesley Truffle credit Tanja Ramljak














Welcome AK Alliss to My Blog




AK Alliss

Atlas Productions Pty Ltd

ISBN: 9780995377615

Last year I was privileged to read the unpublished manuscript of AK ( Adam) Alliss’s contemporary novel, Frame.

AK Alliss introduces himself, talks about his writing and discusses Frame in this short video.  My review will follow shortly.

Thanks so much for sharing you story with us Adam.