Sunday, 23 December 2012

How to train your Dragon...Dictate

Squee!!!! Guess what Santa gave me as a pre Christmas present. DRAGON DICTATE.

So for anyone who knows me pretty well, I have fairly severe tendonitus from years of cutting dressings as a burns nurse and typing of a book.

I was feeling pretty sad about not being able to finish book 2 ( Return to Cardamom, the sequel to Escape From The Forbidden Planet), so my hubby researched it and we found Dragon Dictate.

It takes a bit of time to train your dragon so that the program recognises your voice and gives an accurate dictation, but so far in the few days before we left on holidays, I was able to dictate about 2000 words. It takes a bit of getting used to saying things like, comma, and open quote's but I am a total fan. I have my sequel mojo back and I can't wait to get home after holidays to continue training and dictating to my Dragon.

Anyway, my wrist is getting sore even now, so I will leave you with an exciting announcement.
Free on Amazon Kindle 24 - 25 Dec
(Free Promo activates on US time Zone)

Escape From The Forbidden Planet
Click on link to go to Amazon store

And here is my cover......Again lol, see you in the blogosphere

Friday, 7 December 2012

Holiday Blog Hop Giveaway Dec 7-10

Welcome to the Kids Holiday Blog Hop Giveaway Dec 7-10 

A little about us. We are a group of Middle Grade Authors ( books for kids aged 9-12) who have got together to give away some great books that we would love to share with you. Just click on the button below to find your way to the other awesome blogs. Take your time to hop around and enter each competition and you could win some great books for your kids this holiday season.

Click on the link below to hop over to our host Deana to check out the other blogs.
A little about me:
My name is Julie Anne Grasso and I am an Aussie Independently Published Author. That means I do all the hard work myself.I have a background in paediatric nursing, so I have spent many years literally wrapping children in cotton wool. Every day I witnessed great courage and resilience from the tiny people I cared for, which inspired me to write stories about a little girl elf just like them. Add in some very funky technology, my love of science fiction and my desire to impart great values through my little girl elf Caramel and there you have it, Escape From The Forbidden Planet was the result.

How did I come up with the storyline:
As a kid I broke my leg falling off a trampoline, so not as dramatic as Caramel’s accident, but I spent many hours in hospital healing. It was then that I think my interest in nursing was engaged. I hope to capture the attention of children aged 9-12 through the journey that my little girl elf Caramel takes towards realising her true potential despite her disability. I also absolutely love sticky date and chocolate cake with caramel sauce, so I managed to weave that into the very core of my story. I also wanted to keep it light and entertaining for kids but at the same time, allow them to journey with Caramel as she struggles to overcome great odds to save her family and friends from the clutches of the evil Alexanders.

Enter to Win one of two copies of "Escape From the Forbidden Planet"
  Kindle edition or Paperback, you decide: Entries are open to UK/US/CAN/AU/NZ

Just put at comment at the bottom of this blog with your email address and I will contact you via email if you are the winner.

Here is my Amazon link if you would like to check out some reveiws as well .
But wait, there is more

Grand Prize Giveaway!

As part of the Kid's Books Holiday Blog Hop we are giving away a $30 Amazon Gift Card to one lucky winner. To enter, just leave a comment on this blog along with your email address and you will be in the running to win. You can enter on all of the blogs – that will give you multiple chances to win!
The Giveaway starts 12/7/12 and ends 12/10/12 at midnight. I will notify the winner on 12/11/12 after noon. Good luck!

Here are all the other blogs, so be sure to hop around and enter as many as you like. Happy holidays and thanks for joining the Kids Holiday Blog Hop. Cheers Julie Anne Grasso

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Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Kidlit Blog Hop #6 Forbidden Foods

Hi Everyone, welcome back to the Kidlit Blog hop. Head on over to to leave comments and get to know people.


A few weeks ago I did a post about the names I used in "Escape From The Forbidden Planet," after I had a some cool comments about them so, I thought I would explain their origins.

Which brings me to my next bout of inspiration. 
(well not forbidden but from Escape From The Forbidden Planet foods, but you get the drift)

For anyone who has read my book you may notice that there is quite alot of chatter about Caramel cakes, Pizza, Cinnamon Apple ciders and Mulberry pie. I even had one reviewer tell me that she had to take her husband out for pizza the night she finished my book, as the pizza craving by the end was unbearable. 

Warning the next image may cause a "Pizza Craving".

Fresh Home Made Pizza with "Julianna Sauce"

In the story, Caramel visits her buddy Jorde at his parent's pizza shop. Mrs Oregano is busy making a pot of fresh "Julianna Sauce". So you may be wondering, just exactly what are the secret ingredients of this delicious sauce and why they made it into my book.

Well, Julianna sauce does actually exist, coined by myself and my husband because it is a mish mash recipe that i made up myself but it has become our staple pizza base sauce.  So enough chatter, here it is.

"Julianna Sauce Recipe"
4 Cloves of Garlic, a glug of olive oil, 2 bottles ( 600g) of Passata, 1 tin of diced tomatoes, 2 glugs of red wine, 1 glug of port, a huge bunch of Italian Parsley, a huge bunch of Basil, 1 tsp of sugar, 1/4 teaspoon of chilli powder.

In a moderate pan, fry the garlic in the olive oil for a few minutes until translucent,then add in the passata, tinned tomatoes, red wine, port, parsley, basil, sugar and chilli powder. Bring to a simmer and let bubble away for about an hour until it is thick. Stir occasionally. Freeze into tubs for future pizza shenanigans or glug over chicken schnitzel with jarlsberg cheese.

So why Sticky Date and Chocolate Cake with Caramel Cardamom Syrup. Well it is an actual recipe from a Tupperware cookbook called Cook. I can't obviously detail the recipe but it is as good as it sounds, with a little embellishment of adding cardamom to the caramel sauce. That was for the book lol. It is a cake that I have often made for family occasions and it is a hit every time.

So why Cinnamon Apple Cider. Well that is a slight embellishment from a Caramel Apple Spice drink that you can get at Starbucks. I used to travel extensively through the UK and US and the one thing that I wish we could get in Australia was a real Caramel Apple Spice. Sadly we just don't do them here but I of course had to put them in my book.

So why Mulberry Pie. I have to say that mulberries are so rarely seen on the supermarket shelves in Australia but when we were kids there were mulberry trees in every second back yard. They are divine and much sweeter than a blackberry. I miss them greatly but I think they leave alot of purple bird poop over cars and houses so mulberry trees are not so common. My parents have a air chalet in the country ( sounds very swish but its not really) and my Dad is itching to plant a mulberry, however the neighbours would probably complain. One day I will have a mulberry pie again, fingers crossed.

But wait, one more thing.

Be sure to check it out.
"Escape From The Forbidden Planet"

And here is my cover.....again...

Thanks for stopping by and see you in the blogosphere, Julie Anne Grasso

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Kidlit blog hop #6 :Purple Paw Prints

Hi Everyone, welcome back to the Kidlit Blog hop. Head on over to
 to join in the fun

Today and I am showcasing a wonderful picture book by a friend of mine Sarah Mounsey.
Here is a little about Sarah from her website
I have always loved to write for children and Purple Paw Prints is my first published picture book. I am an Australian and I grew up in Brisbane, although it has not been my home for over a decade. After spending eight years in London I now live in Singapore with my husband and my two young sons. I have always loved to read and write and credit my Mum for this lifelong passion. I remember getting into trouble as a child for sneakily reading books under the table at school and for staying up late at night writing diaries and stories!I am a primary school teacher and I have always loved sharing picture books with my classes. I also love it when my boys ask for “just one more story,” at bed time. My sons are certainly mischievous but I am very grateful that neither of my boys have ever painted a dog like Eddie does in Purple Paw least not yet
Eddie knew as soon as he finished painting Oscar purple that it was a big mistake! Join Eddie and Mia as they attempt to clean their lovable dog Oscar and along the way get into all sorts of wet and purple fun! Purple Paw Prints appeals to children because it uses humour, repetition and alliteration as tools to make it fun and interactive.
I loved this book. A truly engaging story that takes you on a fun journey of discovery as Eddie tries to find a way to fix a very colourful problem. The illustrations are absolutely beautiful. My little Gigi is too young to understand, so I bought some copies for my niece and nephew and friends little boys too. The report was that they read the story at least 7 times the first day, and particularly love the hairdressing page. We can't wait for the next installment, Purple Paw Prints on the Sofa which will be availalbe early next year.
To buy in Paperback visit:
Or as an E-reader visit:
Show More
Show Less

Thanks for stopping by and see you in the bloggosphere, Julie Anne Grasso

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Kid Lit Blog Hop #5 Giveaway

Hi everyone, Once again I am joining in a fantastic blog hop held every first and third Wednesday of the month. The aim is to hop around and support the other blogs, join in the conversation and check out the latest reviews, so  head on over to the

But while I have you here, for the next 3 days (21-23Nov)  free on Amazon Kindle,  I am offering my debut middle grade (yrs9-12) science fiction book "Escape From The Forbidden Planet,"

Head on over to Amazon and get your free copy today, but BEWARE, read at your own risk as this book has been known to cause caramel cupcake cravings

Or you can check out my sample chapters just above this blog post. So what are you waiting for....... 

But wait, there's more, for anyone interested I am joining in a holiday giveaway blog hop so if you are a middle grade or children's author and want to join in, head on over to

Now if you happen to get yourself a copy of my book and enjoy, make an Aussie lassie super happy and head back to Amazon or Goodreads to leave me a review.

See you in the blogosphere, Julie Anne Grasso

Saturday, 27 October 2012


For anyone following my progress you may know that I recently published my Debut Middle Grade Science Fiction novel "Escape From The Forbidden Planet. I have had some great comments about the names that I have used in the book.
It got me to thinking about where they all came from and I decided to write it all down for posterity so here goes.
Caramel Cardamom:
  • Not her real name, her nickname and the name that her clone captor gives her when he sends her to a forbidden planet called,....spoiler, can't tell, you will have to read the book. How did I come up with that. Well, I was sitting pondering one day and I decided that it would be a great name for a character, mostly because I love anything caramel.
Gabriella Cinnamon:
  • Caramel's actual name.:One of my dearest friends is called Gabriella. We watched that movie together A Beautiful Life and loved it when the father called his wife Principessa. It was the obvious choice for a little girl Elvin princess. I also love Caramel Apple Spice drinks from Starbucks with their delicious cinnamon syrup, so Cinnamon was the obvious choice for a last name.
Basil Cardamom:
  • My elves have a signature scent, almost like their DNA so I decided to use names that were fragrant and Basil is one of my most favourite herbs.
Juniper Cardamom:
  • With its obvious aromatic qualities it was a perfect fit for an Elvin Queen
Carob Cinnamon:
  • I can't eat chocolate so Carob is the alternative but it just sounded like an awesome name for a dad.
Arianna Cinnamon:
  • In my nursing career I looked after a little boy whom I bonded very closely with his mum Arianna. She was such a wonderful mum and a great example to me, it was the obvious choice for Caramel's mum.
Jorde Oregano:
  • I went to school with a kid called Jorde and I always like the name. Oregano is a great herb for a pizza loving Elvin family, don't you think and a great name for a pizza joint.
Jimmy Oregano:
  • My pre-school friends name was James. He was Scottish and his dad called him Jimmy. It seemed fitting that he should be in my story.
Julia Oregano:
  • My friend Gabriella often calls me Julia as I went on a mission trip to Brasil many years ago and I was called Julia the whole time. It just stuck and of course I somehow snuck my name into the
Jemm Jasmine:
  • I love the name Jemm after that cartoon that I watched as a kid. Jemm Jerica.  Jasmine is a beautiful fragrance and one befitting a little elvin girl who is Caramel's best friend.

Eliza Jasmin:
  • I love Pride and Predjudice, and I wanted a strong female name so of course, Eliza. It just sounds like an elf name to me too.
Michel Jasmine
  • I just love the name, and it sounded like an elf name to me
  • Well, I had to incorporate my very own little elf into the story of course.

Micah :
  • My dearest friend's little boy is named Micah. He is a beautiful bright, red haired blue eyed boy, just like Micah in my story....
  • Our neighbours child was called Sasskia and I just loved the way it rolled off the tongue and it seemed to fit well with the other kids.
  • I needed a Japanese girls name that could be shortened so that it sounded more Aussie, because every Aussie shortens names. So I asked my dear friend Claire who was living in Japan at the time and we settled on Akirako, because shortening it to Kirra makes it a very Aussie name for a little girl trying to fit into a new country.
  • I love the name Alexander and the triple two just rolled of the tongue. It seemed like the right number for a clone who was ambitious, yet bungling.
Why Elves:
  • Well, I am short of stature, I have pointy ears and my nickname in high school was pixie, so I just always had an affinity for elves.
Why healing:
  • In my nursing days I did a year long study using a laser Doppler in the prediction and determination of depth of burns for children. I always wished that I could heal the little people that cared for, to decrease their suffering.  That's when I hit on the idea of a scanner that could be used to enhance an elves ability to manipulate the body to heal using the power of their thoughts.
Why rainforest and tree's that can be trained into the intricate dwellings that the elves in the canopy reside in.
  • My husband grew up in North Queensland in the cane farming region.  There was a rainforest right next to his house and he spent to many happy hours, roaming and running through the rainforest.  Thats where I got the idea to incorporate the rainforest and the sugar cane farm into my story.
Why trees that can be trained by elves.
  • My dad actually gave me this idea. He read a book many years ago where people could train trees, so I adapted into my story where elves could speak and commune with the trees to trees to train them into amazing and wonderful houses for them to live in.
Why Cardamom:
  • My favourite drink is Chai, which is made with the cardamom pods, black tea, cinnamon and ginger. I loved how aromatic it is and it grows uniquely in cleared rainforest. The perfect setting for my story.
Why does my little girl elf have a limp:
  • Well, when I was a little kid I broke my femur falling off a trampoline. I was in traction for 2 weeks and a cast for nearly 5 months and I had to return later to have surgery to make sure that my legs didn't grow too differently in length. It wasn't quite as dramatic as Caramel's injury but few people realise that I actually have a limp that I compensate for. Caramel's limp is an embellishment of my experience, but it gave me a platform to grow my little girls character.
So there you have it. The architecture of my story, made from a mish mash of my life loves and live experience.
And here is the result: Check out my website for the links to purchase, or add me to your reading list on goodreads.
 Cheers Julie Anne Grasso

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Kid Lit Blog Hop At Mother Daughter Book Reviews

For anyone following my progress, I am joining a wonderful new Kid Lit Blog Hop over at Kid Lit Blog Hop

This will help in developing a dynamic and engaged community of children’s books bloggers, authors, publishers, and publicists, as well as parents seeking out their next great read.

The aim is to hop around and support the other blogs, join in the conversation and check out the latest reviews so  head on over to

While you are visitng, you might want to check out my exciting new book release, available on Amazon in paperback and ebook, cover reveal below. See you in the bloggosphere. Julie Anne Grasso



Sunday, 30 September 2012

Escape From The Forbidden Planet hits the Amazon store

I think I should start this post with a SQUEE!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am in Print, ( on demand) and Ebook in the Amazon store.

For anyone who has been following my progress and would like to take a squiz and purchase my debut independently published middle grade novel ( for ages 9-12) here are the links below

Print on demand

You can also find them on soon when my website goes live

So thank you to everyone who has supported my whimsical folly and  If you happen to obtain a copy and like it,  please return to the amazon store to post your review or add me to your goodreads, that would be most appreciated.

And if anyone missed my cover reveal, here it is again......... enjoy


Thursday, 27 September 2012

Presenting Escape From The Forbidden Planet

Well, here it is folks. For anyone who has been following my journey, today is an accumulation of about 3 years of work, so here goes.

My debut Independently published Middle Grade Children's book   

Drum roll ------------------ Cover Reveal 

It will be available on Amazon as a print of demand as well as an e-book to download next week, so stay tuned and I'll update you all with the links next week.

I also have a new website that Jono has very kindly developed for me so stay tuned folks for which will also be up and running very soon.

Cheers Jules

Saturday, 1 September 2012


GUTGAA Meet and Greet Questions.

If you are following along, you will know that I am participating in Gearing Up To Get An Agent.  An awesome initiative by the lovely Deanna Barnhart. So here we go...

-Where do you write?: On our kitchen table

-Quick. Go to your writing space, sit down and look to your left. What is the first thing you see?
GIGILAND, explanation, the space we have created for our divine miss Gigi to play in.

-Favorite time to write? Early in the morning, around lunch and after dinner, lol

-Drink of choice while writing? Chai latte oh yeah

-When writing , do you listen to music or do you need complete silence? I usually have one or all of the following, Music, Tv, baby mumbling, baby crying, husband asking questions and not getting answers......

-What was your inspiration for your latest manuscript and where did you find it?

Driving down the street in our old neighbourhood, I turned into VESPER street. 

I love coffee so I found a last name for my character by the starbucks cup sizing guide VENTI. 

I also work for a virtual reality medical gaming console company as their nurse adviser, so that sparked the idea of VESPER VENTI'S VIRTUAL REALITY 

-What's your most valuable writing tip?

When editing, read your manuscript out aloud.  I was told that by the very wise and talented Val Taylor, an English writer who I had my first manuscript reviewed by.

Just to let you know a little about me, at present I am stay at home mum with a nerdy sci fi addiction. Yes I own a tardis. I am also a registered with a serious cupcake habit.
I am hoping for an agent one day but I am not content to wait forever , so I have had a fabulous cover designed by an animator friend and I am going to self publish very soon.

So stay tuned for a cover reveal and good luck with your pitches.

Oh finally I am an Aussie, so Gidday. . Yes we really say that lol 
See you all in the blogging hallways,

Julie Anne Grasso

Please remember to stop by as many other bogs as possible, as this fest is all about meeting other writers and making new connections.

You can find the full list of participants here:

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