February Newsletter

Staying at home

We have been fitting a new kitchen at Applecross HQ so there has not been time for much travelling around this month. Once everything is finished (and I can’t wait for that), we are planning to follow the NZ tourism advice to ‘Do something new, New Zealand’ with a trip to Reefton and Hamner Springs before Easter.

In the meantime, and closer to home, our field has been cut for 11 bales of hay, the hedges have been trimmed by a giant James Bond like machine, our new chick babes are growing fast (three of these cuties will be joining our flock soon) and the tall Viper’s Bugloss weeds are very tempting for all sorts of birds, especially the greenfinches.


I have been busy putting the last few chapters of ‘The Cedar Trees’ together (see below) so there hasn’t been much time for reading. I’m ploughing on with Michael King’s ‘The Penguin History of New Zealand’, but can only manage a few pages at a time as there’s so much to learn about in every paragraph. I am so pleased to hear that New Zealand history is going to be compulsory in NZ schools soon, including the sometimes controversial early days of European occupation and the effect it had on the first Maori settlers. I am often horrified at kiwis’ lack of knowledge of their own past. I don’t understand why it has taken so long for those in power to realise our children need to know our story? Being aware of the past is the only way to make sense of the present and influence the future.

In between, I enjoyed ‘A Splendid Ruin’, by Megan Chan, a new author to me and a surprise find on Amazon. I am just about to start re-reading the first 6 books of Lucinda Riley’s Seven Sisters in readiness for number 7. Who can fail to be excited by the prospect of finding the elusive 7th sister and solving the mystery of Pa Salt?

There’s far too many books on my ‘want to read’ list at the moment. Those with a New Zealand theme include Auē by Becky Manawatu, State Highway One by Sam Coley and The Tally Stick by Carl Nixon – hmm, there’s a bit of a crime/mystery theme going on there too, it seems!


Do you remember James, Edmund and Samuel reading the first edition of The Press and the Otago Daily Times in ‘Shepherd’s Delight’? It was an article in one of these publications that set Samuel on his fateful journey to the goldfields.

That was in 1861. The Press (based in Christchurch), is celebrating 160 years of publication this year. Each day up to the actual anniversary in May they are reprinting articles of interest year-by-year. Fascinating stuff, especially for an author who likes to include some true-life events in her stories.

Books 3 and 4, ‘Guy Pender’ and ‘The Cedar Trees’ are set around 1867. So here is the reprinted article for 1867. Imagine that dreadful man, Basil Drummond’s excitement at hearing of a real, live moa. Mind you, he would probably want to shoot it and mount its stuffed body in a museum!


An Applecross Companion

The trouble with a family saga spanning a long period of time is that you end up with a lot of characters. Add to that the propensity for the victorians to have large families, and it is all to easy to lose track of who is who.

A while ago, I began to write myself a list of all my characters, with a little description about each person. I wonder, dear readers, if you would appreciate having access to the document, perhaps as a page on my website accessible only to my subscribers?

I also think I should include a glossary of the Maori words and phrases I have used, and perhaps a rough map of the areas included in the books.

What do you think? Any ideas of other things to include? Please do email me at amanda.giorgis@icloud.com with any thoughts and suggestions. I do love hearing from my readers with feedback (good and bad, of course).

The Cedar Trees

I typed the very last sentence of Book 4, ‘The Cedar Trees’ a week or so ago, and my goodness, it is a bit of a cliffhanger!

The hard work of proof reading and editing begins now, but we are aiming at a release date by Easter 2021. You will be able to pre-order the e-book version very soon.

If you are really quick, you are welcome to receive a free author review copy (ARC) in .epub format. But be quick – only the first 5 email requests will receive a free copy, on the condition that you will write an honest review on your chosen platform as soon as the book goes live. Emails to amanda.giorgis@icloud.com

In the meantime, it may be a good moment to catch up on the books 1-3. Visit the website to find out where to buy copies – https://amandagiorgis.com/buy-online/

2 Comments on “February Newsletter

  1. I just wanted to tell you that I really have been enjoying your books. I just finished the fourth and look forward to the next. I would like a map and a list of the characters. I must admit that I had to figure Daisy out in the last book. Also, I might be mistaken, but I think Betsy mixed up Edgar with Edmund outside the store one day. It was bound to happen with all those traveling through to the Basin.

    • Thank you, Sandy. I am really pleased to hear you are enjoying the books. Your eagle eyes have indeed spotted Betsy referring to Edmund rather than her husband, Edgar and I have put that right now, thank you. I am working on producing a list of characters at the moment and will let you know when it is available. As the Basin grows in popularity it gets harder and harder to keep track of who lives where, even for me as the author!

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