Independence Island Novella Series

Welcome to the Independence Islands page, where you can stay up to date with fun giveaways, background information and lots more about each of the books in this fun contemporary series -which includes my first published contemporary novella, Restoring Fairhaven (now available!)

This month's release: Heart Pressed by Melissa Wardwell 

Crushes are great for grapes, wine, and romance—not so great for hearts.

The Sweetheart Festival, an Elnora Island institution, has sparked more than a few romances over the years, but who would have thought it would light a fire in two hearts from two of the island’s oldest families. When Amara Martin and Dante Greco meet, sparks fly that may ignite more than romance.

Two wineries, old feuds, generations of traditions.

Seeing the attraction at Amara and Dante’s chance meeting, Beth Stevens and Scott Anderson join forces to do a little matchmaking, not realizing the pressure it would bring to both households and their own hearts. The new couple must decide if they will adhere to tradition or break free from expectations and choose love. Pressure on every side threatens a love that hasn’t yet had a chance to ripen—for both Amara and Dante as well as for Beth and Scott.

In this “forbidden love” novel, Heart Pressed continues the Elnora Island romances of the Independence Islands Series featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily-ever-afters.

Like what you see? You can buy your copy of Heart Pressed here 


You can also enter the giveaway to win an ebook of Heart Pressed AND a $5 Amazon gift card. How fantastic is that? 

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Visit all the blogs and enter the giveaways & find out some great cookie recipes with the authors of the Independence Islands series.

Melissa Wardwell - February 23

Kari Trumbo - February 24

Rachel Skatvold - February 25

Tabitha Bouldin - February 26

Carolyn Miller - February 27

Chautona Havig  - February 28

Sandy Barela - March 1

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My Favourite cookie recipe

Firstly, Americans need to know that here in Australia we often call cookies biscuits. Our scones are more like what you might call biscuits. Just go with it - the world is a wonderful place, and the English language can mean different things at times!

I’ve made a version of these yummy bickies / cookies every Christmas, and use them as gifts or even to hang on the tree (which sometimes doesn't work so well, given it’s usually pretty hot for Christmas here in Australia!) But this recipe is perfect whatever time of year (and doesn't need the icing, so it's even easier)


Ginger Christmas Biscuits (Cookies)



5 ounces butter

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup golden syrup (or treacle)

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cloves

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla essence

4 cups plain flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

Icing to decorate



Step 1

Melt the butter, brown sugar, treacle, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in a saucepan over a medium heat. Set aside.

Step 2

Stir in the eggs and vanilla essence. Stir in the flour and baking powder until smooth. Divide the dough into 3 portions. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until firm.

Step 3

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking trays with nonstick baking paper. Roll out 1 portion of the dough between 2 sheets of baking paper. Use Christmas cookie cutters to cut out biscuit shapes. Place on the trays.

Step 4

Use the end of a piping nozzle to make a hole in the top of each biscuit. Bake for 5-10 minutes or until golden and firm. Repeat with the remaining dough portions. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Step 5

Decorate with icing, silver balls and other edible decorations. Thread with ribbon to hang on the Christmas tree. Enjoy!

Regaining Mercy

RESTORING FAIRHAVEN  ~ now available

Samantha Green of Greener Gardens gets more than she bargained for when she is employed to restore the overgrown gardens of the estate owned by a reclusive writer, whose romances about unrequited love have become bestsellers and movies, despite never having a happy ending. New to this role, Sam is determined to succeed, despite facing challenges with the business and her family.

Max Fairhaven just wants to be left alone. But the green-thumbed intruder to his island hideaway is stubborn, and her quick wits and sunny disposition

soon get under his skin. Between banter and garden renovation she gradually brings some much needed life to this widower, as he begins to engage with the real world.

Can happily-ever-afters be found in real life as well as fiction?

REGAINING MERCY  ~ Coming June 29, 2021

A mother ready to do anything for her son. A man determined to win the woman he loves.

Going on Love at First Glance had seemed like such a good idea. She didn’t care about finding Mr. Right. Mindy Murray chose the reality TV show for more mercenary reasons.  A mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do when it comes to feeding her son.

When Mindy returns to Elnora, the girl from the “wrong side of the island” just wants a chance to rebuild her reputation. Too bad the folks at church don’t practice what the preacher preaches.

Enter Dermott Reilly. The interim boss at Greener Gardens has always had a soft spot for Mindy and her son, but with his new responsibilities and an important garden contest, he finds it difficult to prove himself to her. A tropical storm and a missing child prove that sometimes grace appears in the most unusual ways.

My Garden >


I suppose it was inevitable that my Independence Islands books would focus on gardening. Anyone who knows me knows I love gardens - perhaps that's partly due to the fact that I'm married to a horticulturalist. When we moved into our house our garden was very bare. Over the past twenty years my hubby has planted many decorative and useful plants, including a pear tree with over twenty different varieties grafted on it!

Australian plants >

These are just a sample of some of the flowers, trees and plants you can find here in Australia 

Gardens Around the World >

I've been very fortunate to visit a number of gardens in interesting parts of the world. In England, many of the grand estates have equally fascinating gardens and grounds to explore. My husband worked at Lyme Park, the setting of the 1995 production of Pride and Prejudice (with Colin Firth as Mr Darcy)! Poison gardens are another fascinating thing to explore, as have been gardens in the US, Canada, New Zealand and closer to home. 

If you enjoy looking at pictures of plants, flowers and gardens, then please follow me on Instagram, where I regularly post pictures of what's growing in my garden, as well as fabulous pictures from my travels - in addition to my bookish posts, too.

Follow me on Instagram at @carolynmillerauthor

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