September 2021 Newsletter

News from Applecross

September 2021

The latest update from Amanda Giorgis, best-selling author of the Applecross Saga.

Home news

New Zealand has been plunged back into lockdown again in recent weeks. While this is a matter of great inconvenience to everyone (and we do take our lockdowns seriously in New Zealand), I have to say that life doesn’t change all that much at Applecross headquarters. No passing traffic, neighbours quite a long way away, but kind enough to keep in touch, and food (for humans, dogs and chickens) being delivered in a contactless way. We do miss the odd trip out for a good coffee, so I have been brushing up my rusty barista skills with our all new coffee machine. Flat white, anyone?

Bird of the month – The Grey Ghost

Famous for its ghostly grey appearance and bright orange wattles, the last credible sighting of the once common South Island Kokako in New Zealand was in 1967. Some years later the Department of Conservation declared it extinct, although this was altered to an official status of ‘data deficient’ when stories began to emerge of occasional glimpses in the dense West Coast bush.

Recently, a recording has been made of what may prove to be the kokako’s distinctive call. It is being analysed and cameras have been set up in the surrounding area of bush. It is probably the best evidence so far of the bird’s continuing existence. 

Will there be a chance to see the resurgence of the Grey Ghost in my lifetime? We have managed to bring back the takahe, the kakapo and even the North Island kokako with his distinctive blue wattles. Oh I do hope someone claims the reward of $10,000 soon! 

In the meantime, due to the lack of the real thing, I can only show you a photograph of a model in the Reefton I-site.

Read more about the hunt for the South Island Kokako here

Book News

My own reading has been a bit haphazard lately, especially since I discovered the delights of borrowing ebooks from our local library. I’ve been dipping into some new authors for me, and can recommend ‘The Pretty Delicious Cafe’, by Danielle Hawkins. A light hearted, easy read with a good storyline, set in lovely countryside north of Auckland. Her descriptions of a busy cafe in a holiday area were all too familiar after my many years working in a cafe in Twizel.

Talking of north of Auckland, you must all read ‘Blood on Vines’ by a fellow author friend, Madeleine Eskedahl. Set in the vineyards around the town of Matakana, be prepared for a bit of a gory opening, but then sit back and enjoy the ride while we find out ‘whodunnit’. This is Madeleine’s first novel, and it is a cracker!

I always have difficulty putting my books into one single category. Yes, they are historical fiction, but they are saga, adventure and romance too. But there are two categories that Book 1, ‘The Wideawake Hat’ fits into perfectly, and that is True Crime (James Mackenzie’s trial, conviction and pardon) and Strong Women (you can’t get more resilient than our heroine Sophia).

If that’s your kind of reading, have a look at these two great special offers.
Historical Fiction : True Crime and Punishment
Strong Women in Historical Fiction

Lockdown may not be much fun, but it does give authors a chance for some uninterrupted writing time. I am well over half way into Book 5, ‘Mixed Blessings’ now. I have been enjoying some research into the early days of the city of Christchurch too. Did you know that the streets, which are in a grid pattern, are almost all named after diocese or bishoprics of the mid 1800s? When they ran out of English dioceses, they started on the provinces. Hence we have Colombo, Tuam, Barbadoes, Armagh, Tuam and Cashel Streets, among others.

Mixed Blessings will be available in early 2022.

Finally, may I make a plea? When you have finished reading any of my books, please consider writing a review online, on the platform you used to buy the ebook, or on Goodreads, or wherever you can shout it from the rooftops! Not only does it help to increase sales, but it gives me a great boost of confidence as I write Book 5. Thank you.

An Applecross Companion

You will find a list of Applecross folk and their dogs in The Applecross Companion. I will be adding more to the companion as time goes by.

It is still a work in progress, but you are welcome to dive on in there and take a look. Go to – use the password ‘Applecross’ to get access.

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

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