Welcome to the Coastal Christmas Blog Hop!

Want to be in to win a $150 Amazon gift card, 30 ebooks from romance writers around the world, and a copy one of my books as a special Christmas present? Silly question, right? Read on to find out how . . .

I’ve met people from the Northern Hemisphere who have told me they can’t imagine Christmas in summer. They’re used to the mistletoe, the cold weather, the short days. In New Zealand, we’ve just passed the summer solstice when we hurtle straight into Christmas, so the days are long, the nights short, and the sun is high in that blue, blue sky. Sure, we still have Santa, dressed in his totally inappropriate red suit with the white fur trim (pass the man some water, stat!), we still have all the decorations and traditions, but with a summer twist that makes them different – and to me, all the more special.

Christmas for me is spent with family. This year it’s in Hawke’s Bay, where I live, and it will undoubtedly be hot hot hot. No roast turkey with all the trimmings. No way. We’re much more about throwing things on the BBQ, about easy salads, and yummy chocolates, kept cool in the fridge.

Pavlova, that delicious meringue and cream desert, piled high with fresh fruit, is a major feature in our Christmas. Each year, someone will make one, and it’ll be devoured, zero chance of any leftovers. Last Christmas it was my turn, so my sister and I went about making it on Christmas Eve. And it was a work of art. When making a “pav” you run the gauntlet between a masterpiece and sunken disaster, the top collapsing in on itself at the last minute. Not last year. Last year’s was perfection.

The cream whipped and the berries prepared, ready to fulfil their role as the pavlova’s crowning glory, I went out to the laundry where I’d stored it, keeping it cool in the day’s heat. And there it was, sitting on my grandmother’s pretty plate, our new kitten’s front paws placed delicately on the side as he licked the top of our creation, purring his wee head off.

And look at me in this picture! I was so proud.

Gutted? You could say that. But, as we had all the berries and cream and a table-full of people wanting their Christmas desert, I made the call to whip up a batch of crêpes, which we filled with the cream and berries.

It was tasty, but I’ve noticed I haven’t been put in charge of the pavolova this year . . . .


And here he is, the kitten culprit.

It was hard to stay mad at him for long—because look at him!—and all was well in the end.




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Here’s the book blurb:

Cassie Dunhill and her friends make a pact to marry the next guy they each date. What could possibly go wrong?

Cassie is sick of dating. It’s been ten years and it’s time, time to find The One. It’s either that or buy a fetching habit and veil and abandon the whole thing. But Cassie believes in love, and she’s not ready to give up yet.

Cassie and her best friends make a pact that the next date they go on will be their One Last First Date. The pressure is on to find Mr. Right, and Cassie’s the first to find him: Parker Hamilton. He’s good-looking, smart, cultured–and a doctor. Despite his obvious credentials, Cassie’s not taking any chances. She’s vetted Parker so thoroughly she could offer some pointers to the CIA. Needless to say, he passes with flying colors.

Things get complicated when Will Jordan, her irritating work colleague, muscles in on her dream job and her love life. Will is a typical guy, complete with nicknames for everyone, even Cassie. His good looks and relaxed, easy nature can be distracting. But Cassie can do without that kind of distraction right now, no matter how good Will looks with his shirt off.

In the end, is there only One Last First Date?

Remember, there are some BIG prizes up for grabs. So enter the rafflecopter below:

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PLUS, the chance to win ebooks by commenting on each author’s blog.

All prizes will be drawn on Christmas Eve.



Posted in Blog.


  1. Well this Christmas we are trying as a family to set a new tradition. We will be journeying to a small town called Carmel by the Sea. It is a lovely place in California. I laughed and laughed at your kittens antics – which I’m sure wasn’t funny at the time. Pavlova sounds amazing. On Christmas Eve, we try to bake a Birthday cake for Jesus. I usually make a chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting.
    Merry Christmas

  2. The “pav” looks delicious….And naughty, naughty, cute little kitty 🙂 – thanks for sharing!

  3. I doubt I’d have been so phlegmatic about the ruined pav, but hey, I can’t argue with crepes! Merry Christmas!

  4. Looks like your kitty has a sweet tooth.

    I’m entertaining family on Christmas Eve and then going to my parents for Christmas Day.

  5. That pavlova looks amazing! I have never had it, but I am certainly going to look for a recipe and try it very soon. I think having a warm Christmas would be really great. Merry Christmas!

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