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A Christmas Picnic - and a big prize.

The Coastal Blog Hop book winner from my site was Kara, my book winner from the overall rafflecopter was Rhonda, and the rafflecopter $150 Amazon gift card winner was Dina.

Thanks so much to all who entered. Hope your Christmas was the best yet xx Fi

A Christmas Picnic with Fiona McArthur

Yesterday I had a writer's picnic.

Because it’s summer (gardenias), and it’s nearly Christmas (reindeer) , and the grass is green, the skies are blue, and the shade under the trees make it cool and breezy. Why not have a picnic outdoors instead of on the veranda?

It's special to sit around and natter and watch the cows wander in the paddocks and it doesn't matter if there's two people or ten.

A bit like having a celebration in a park.

My mum always loved an outdoor event. My dad grumbled and grumped and put down the current book he was reading to make it happen. He didn’t really mind because he got to watch mum create a tiny alfresco dining room in the woods, and she’d smile that excited, delighted, I-just-want-to-hug-you smile, and make tiny, egg-shiny sausage rolls with real pastry, not the frozen stuff I use, and pineapple punch in a bowl with floating fruit, and potato salad with egg and chives and bowls of salad and pineapple out of the tin to barbecue.

I can still see Dad spraying himself with Aeroguard for the flies, pulling on elastic-sided boots for the stinging nettle, jamming his battered hat on his fading red hair as he loaded the carry-all on the tractor with picnic baskets and barbecue implements and chairs to take down to the woods.

He’d mutter about barbecues when he had to cook the meat while they had a perfectly good stove inside, but he could flip those sliced potatoes so thin and golden-crunchy, and the onion and lamb chops melted in your mouth, and the tomato sauce dripped. Ahhhh.

That’s what happens at Christmas. You think of family members and friends whose mortal selves have flitted away to heaven but the love you feel in your heart warms you, and the memories live on and smile at you at Christmas. Lots of smiles for mad outdoor events that didn’t always go to plan. Gas bottles that ran out at a crucial moment, dogs that couldn’t leave snakes and blue-tongue lizards alone, bees and ants that gate-crashed, and chairs that wobbled on uneven ground.

And afterwards, when we were all replete and ready for an afternoon sleep like you do on days that feel like Christmas day, there was the tractor, chugging back up the hill to the house, mum sitting on the big circular mudguard smiling, her hip jammed against dad's as he steered them home, the carry-all loaded with the remains of the feast

And there’d be kids in whatever dusty, cobweb-ridden paddock basher would start at the time, the dogs running behind, and we’d go wash up and pack it all away and cover the leftovers and then sit around in the lounge room and listen to dad’s tall stories and all our mad dreams, and laugh about the time that…

So, I’m having a picnic, though it will be walking distance to the kitchen, under a tree, and just looking out at the paddocks. Everyone will bring a plate of food to share, because I’m not much of a cook, (I'm a midwife and a writer though and I've published two books with Penguin this year and one with Harlequin :)

and we’ll have jugs of soda water and fresh lemons off the tree which I do make, and wobbly chairs and Aeroguard and friends, ...and as you can see I've prepared a little food.

But this is our picnic, t'was fun and funny, and relaxing xx

Which, apart from my wish for you to have a very happy Christmas season with lots of picnics and smiles, brings me to the reason for this ramble. No, not to show off my Christmas nails. Though, aren't they pretty?

On-line, we’re also having a Christmas Blog, which is another way to say a bunch of authors have gone on a book-sharing picnic – with one new blog a day till Christmas - and I'd love you to put in for the chance to win.

So please do enter, because

I hope you get a stack of smiles and a picnic basket full of love in your holiday sack, and if you win you’ll certainly get lots of lovely e-book stories to share with your family and friends and wonderful memories to carry you into the new year with promise and joy. Although my book will be a snail mail posted paperback if that's okay.

Our COASTAL CHRISTMAS BLOG HOP! (organised by Annie Seaton - again I'm not a cook :) You can use this link every day


You could win:


Second Prize: 30 EBOOKS


Everyone who comments on a blog goes into that author's draw to win a copy of their book. Or in my case, comments on my contact page or click the new book reminder tag. Just remember, I’ll be posting a book to you, not an e-book.

So, to win, you need to:

(1) Enter the Rafflecopter (a rafflecopter is a secure, tamper free choice of winner)

(2) Comment on each/ or as many as you like/ or even one blog of the 30 (depends how many entries you want)

I'm scheduled for the 14th of December, but you could be entering this each day (and any of the past or future blogs before Christmas Eve!)

You can see Shehanne Moore's blog from yesterday here

and Fiona Marsden's blog here for the 15th

Know someone who'd enjoy THE BABY DOCTOR for Christmas? Just saw

the new will post out the paperback copy for $24 including postage in about 3 days but it should be in beautiful bookstores and Big W as well. And if you're in the US, woohoo, then

My non-fiction AUSSIE MIDWIVES is there in paperback, ebook audio and MP3 for any aspiring, retiring, or midwifery loving people out there, too.

Wishing you peace and joy and a fabulous 2018 xxFi

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