Teaser Tuesday!

53 Replies

Teaser Tuesday 2017 logoWelcome to Teaser Tuesday, the series where I share tasty teasers from new and past releases, and works-in-progress, and occasionally con good author buddies into doing the same.

Did you know there are only six weeks left until Christmas? You’re probably more than already aware given how much Christmassy stuff is already adorning the shops. They don’t like to let us forget the silly season’s arrival, do they?

I don’t mind so much this year. Why? Well, The Country Girl is scheduled to release on December 18th and that means there’ll be at least six days’ worth of Christmas shopping time for all you lovelies to grab a copy and stuff it into your, and all your bookaholic friends and families’ stockings. Woohoo!

Yeah, I know, I know. It’s all about me. But I LOVE this book and am so excited that you’ll soon be able to read it, and better still, be able grab a copy before you trek off on lazy summer holidays. The perfect book to make you even warmer and fuzzier, but without the sunburn (or frostbite for those in northern climes).

What you won’t have to wait for is our regular and hugely popular guest Anna Campbell’s new novella The Christmas Stranger because it’s coming out on Amazon this week. Rah!

Here’s Anna to tell you all about it. Make sure you read right to the end, because there could be a giveaway on offer.

Who says Christmas doesn’t come early?

Author Anna CampbellHi Cathryn!

Thank you for having me as your guest. I do so love to visit you – and what better time of year to swing by than in the run-up to Christmas?

I must be feeling particularly Christmassy this year because I’ve got two novellas out, and I’ve also put a previously published story into a great Christmas anthology called Romance Under the Mistletoe (check it out – great value!).

Today, I’m here to talk to you about The Christmas Stranger: A Regency Novella which touches on so many themes pertinent to the Season of Goodwill. Love at first sight. Finding a family. Taking a chance. Moving from darkness into light. Plus there’s a definite fairytale element to this romance!

Maggie Carr has been the housekeeper at isolated Thorncroft Hall for five years, and she’s convinced life is passing her by. But everything changes when architect Josiah Hale stumbles across her doorstep in the middle of a snowstorm. Joss brings the spirit of Christmas back into Maggie’s life, as you’ll see in this excerpt when our seemingly mismatched couple go in search of holly and ivy to decorate the rambling Jacobean mansion.


Thorncroft Hall, Yorkshire, 22nd December, 1821

Maggie laughed. And found herself laughing again and again, as she and Mr. Hale wandered the snowy woods behind the house in search of greenery. She’d thought they’d cut a few sprigs of holly before they headed home, but the cart was soon laden with boughs of pine and holly, enough to make the whole house bright.

The weather held while they were outside. Now and again, there was a glimmer of pale sunlight through the thick clouds. But as they turned back to the manor, the snow started again.

She turned her face up to the flakes and out of childish habit, stuck her tongue out to catch a couple. When she realized Mr. Hale was watching her, she blushed at her nonsense.

The Christmas Stranger by Anna Campbell“It’s supposed to be lucky,” she said defensively.

“I hadn’t heard that.” He stared at her as if he’d never seen a woman before.

“Mamma and I used to play games in the snow. I don’t know if it’s a real superstition or not, but we always did it.” Her eyes flickered down, then up again. “You must think I’m silly.”

He smiled at her, and her foolish heart stuttered, although surely only the fading light lent such tenderness to his expression. “It’s nice to see you being a bit silly. You mostly seem to take life very earnestly.”

She should tell him to mind his own business. But she found herself responding honestly. “In recent years, I haven’t had much fun. We used to. Papa was a very jolly vicar. Everyone loved him, and his parishioners were devastated when he died. They wanted us to stay in the village, but they were so poor themselves, we couldn’t take their charity. Mamma and I continued to celebrate Christmas after we came here. I just…I just seem to have got out of the habit.” She smiled at Joss. “Thank you for reminding me that it’s the season of goodwill, not the season for sitting around feeling sorry for yourself.”

“You’re such a sparkling girl.” Her gratitude didn’t seem to please him. Instead he looked troubled. “You should have the world at your feet.”

She fought to keep her smile in place, although she cringed at the poor figure she cut with her lack of sophistication and drab clothes. When she’d give anything to dazzle him with her wit and beauty.

And all was not lost. He’d called her sparkling.

“Well, I do have the king of Christmas in my thrall,” she said lightly.

To her surprise, he touched her cheek with one leather-gloved hand. The contact was over in an instant. Surely she must imagine the blast of heat sizzling through her, heat that made a mockery of the freezing air.

“You do at that,” he said softly.


You can read a longer excerpt and the blurb on my website.

The Christmas Stranger is only 99 cents on Amazon.com

Here are the buy links: AmazonBarnes and NobleKoboiBooks.

The Christmas Stranger meme

So let’s talk Christmas decorations. Are you a pile it on everywhere, the more the merrier type? Or are you a decorations minimalist? Do you put up the tree the minute you hear the first Christmas carol at Coles? Or are you someone who waits until Christmas Eve to stick up one string of tinsel?


I’ve got a Kindle download of A Christmas Stranger: A Regency Novella for someone who comments today. No geographical restrictions.

Good luck in the draw! And wishing you all the best of the Season!

Please note: Giveaway closes midnight Friday AEST, 17th November 2017. Open internationally.

Great question, Anna. We’re hopeless with Christmas here in the Hein house, mostly because we tend to head interstate for Christmas to spend Christmas with family. But even when we do stay home – as will be the case this year – half the time we end up forgetting to put up the tree. Then a few days before the big day we look sheepishly at each other and go ‘oops’.

Anyway, Christmas isn’t about decorations and trees. It’s about being with or thinking about the ones you love.

And drinking fizz.

And eating naughty food.

And squealing over all the awesome books you’ve received in your stocking, like The Country Girl (ooh, I am SHAMELESS!!)

Are you forgetful like us, minimalist or get totally in the decorating spirit the moment the calendar flips over to December (or earlier)? Share and you’ll go into the draw for a Kindle copy of Anna’s gorgeous new book The Christmas Stranger.

If you’d like to learn more about Anna and her books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook and Twitter using @AnnaCampbelloz.


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53 thoughts on “Teaser Tuesday!

  1. AvatarDebby Price

    I used to decorate from top to bottom, after the children left our daughter claimed Christmas and wanted our best decorations. LOL She has them and many more. She has one room she leaves up all year with her Christmas decorations and it also doubles as her library. My mother used to find red brick chimney paper and decorate a wall in the living room and the coffee table. When our son was about 6, he decided he was the only one who could decorate the tree. We had some funny looking trees for a few years.

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      It sounds like you’ve really gotten into the spirit over the years, Debby! Love the idea of the red brick chimney paper. That’s so clever. I bet it looked wonderful.

      Thanks for sharing and good luck in the giveaway.

    2. AvatarAnna Campbell

      Wow, Debby, sounds like you’re a family who takes their Christmas decorations seriously. Love that Christmas is such an event for you all. Hope you’ve got photos of the funny looking trees – what a lovely memory.

  2. Avatarflchen1

    The combination of lazy and minimalist works out for us 😉 We do love the make sure the stuff the kids have made is prominently displayed, but no big lights displays or anything for us! Looking forward to your Christmas stories, Anna!

    1. AvatarAnna Campbell

      Thanks so much, Fedora. Writing a Christmas novella has become part of my Holiday celebrations every year! I must say these days, I go pretty minimalist but I appreciate the people who go to a lot of trouble. There are some amazing light shows in our area.

      1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

        Showing of kids’ decorations is such a lovely thing, Fedora. It gives them such pride. I think that carries through even when you become a big kid/adult.

        Thanks for sharing and good luck!

  3. AvatarMelissa Woods

    We love decorating our tree. We have a mixture of bought items and the ones that my children have made. They have to put on certain branches (my son is ASD and the the baubles have to be the right colour, shape and sparkly enough). Each year both kids put the angel on top. This year will be a little hard, as we lost my dad to cancer in May, but my mum is coming, so it will be a day to remember him. He loved being Santa. And as we live on the coast, lots if seafood will be eaten. Yum, yum. Hope you Cathryn and family, and Anna and family have a wonderful Christmas too.

    1. AvatarAnna Campbell

      Melissa, so sorry to hear about your dad. I still miss both my parents when Christmas comes around – so many lovely memories but the loss does bite hard at this time of year. He sounds like a lovely man. Lovely that the whole decorations/tree/Christmas thing is such a wonderful family celebration for you. All the best to you too!

      1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

        Oh hugs, Melissa. This Christmas will be a tough one without your dad but I’m sure the day will be full of wonderful memories of him too.
        Yum on the seafood! It just suits our climate better, doesn’t it?

        Thanks so much for dropping by. All the best in The Christmas Stranger draw!

  4. AvatarFil Pensabene

    Love the Christmas decorations and the more the better. I love putting them up with the Carols playing on the CD. The only downside is that we have to put them all away again for next year! 😊

    1. AvatarAnna Campbell

      Fil, actually your reply made me smile because my heroine says almost exactly that in the novella! But as my hero points out, if all you’re worried about is the cleanup, you’d never do anything. Thanks for swinging by!

      1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

        You’re a true Christmas romantic, Fil! But yes, pulling them down again… not many people’s favourite chore. Worth it for the fun and joy they bring though, hey?

        All the best in the giveaway!

  5. AvatarAnnie West

    Hi Cathryn, hi Anna! Lovely to see you here together. I so enjoyed your Christmas Stranger, Anna – and for those wondering, I was lucky enough to read an early version. Definitely and luscious slice of Christmas cheer!

    As for decorations, not till December for us. I love Christmas and the decorations, but if they were up for half the year I don’t think it would feel as special.

    1. AvatarAnna Campbell

      Thank you so much, Annie! It was such a blast when you enjoyed the story when you got a sneak preview. I’ve been down with you when you’ve set up the tree – such a fun way to pass a few hours! Hic!

  6. AvatarGail Hurt

    I love your books Anna and I can’t wait to read this book. I need to start reading Christmas books to help me get in the mood.

      1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

        Gail, I’m starting to think it’s not Christmas without a lovely Anna Campbell story to put us in the mood!

        Thanks for visiting. All the best in the giveaway draw.

        1. AvatarAnna Campbell

          What a lovely thing to say, Cathryn! Thank you! I have to say this year, my original plan was to just have the reissued Mistletoe and the Major which originally appeared in a short-lived anthology. But I got so many requests for something new, I wrote the Christmas Stranger.

  7. AvatarShelagh Merlin

    I go all out with Christmas food and fizz and any other alcoholic beverages I can somehow sneak onto the menu. Decorations? Sorry. We threw out our sad little Christmas tree about four years ago amd I don’t miss it a bit. I do display any Christmas cards that come my way though.

    1. AvatarAnna Campbell

      Shelagh, I’m with you on the food and drink – I do fairly minimal Christmas decorations these days. Like you, though, I display Christmas cards. With the rise of the ecard, it’s a bad sad – it’s not nearly the show it used to be.

  8. AvatarChristina Jacobs

    We are a Charlie Brown Christmas tree kind of house. Nothing over the top. While I have tons of decorations my husband was ruined by his dad on the season so I only get a little taste of it. Plus the dogs always seem to want to eat the ornaments when we aren’t looking.

    1. AvatarAnna Campbell

      Ha, you gotta love those naughty dogs, don’t you? I have a little wooden tree that used to play Silent Night – now it’s, uh, silent! It’s very cute – very Black Forest. Always love getting it out. So I’m definitely in the minimalist camp.

      1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

        Bless our four-legged friends! Maybe they could have their own tree hung with doggy biscuits.

        All the best in the giveaway, Christina.

        Anna, I’m going to ask to see your Black Forest-like tree next visit!

  9. AvatarCarolyn

    Much more restrained since the girls left home. But don’t start decorating until mid-December, leave up to mid-January. Then both girls get Christmas decorations for their birthday

    1. AvatarAnna Campbell

      Carolyn, traditionally decorations should stay up into January. Lovely that the girls get Christmas decorations as presents for their birthdays. Means there’s a whole stack of special memories there.

      1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

        What a cute thing to have on your daughters’ birthdays, Carolyn. As Anna said, I bet that gives them some lovely sparkly birthday memories.

        Thanks and good luck!

  10. AvatarLouise Risser

    My husband, if he had his own way would decorate for Christmas all year round. We do display some decorations all year round in our hutch.

      1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

        You husband sounds like a true Christmas-o-phile, Louise! Hmm. What do you call a person who loves Christmas? Must be a proper name for it. I’ll have to google!

        All the best in the draw, Louise.

  11. AvatarRebecca S

    I live a few states over from the rest of my family so I typically travel back to my parent’s house to see my brothers, parents, and in-laws. It is a crazy time but mostly fun. As a result of the travel, I don’t decorate quite as much as I would if I stayed home. I put up decor around the house (I love greenery, snowmen, and deer!), but I don’t do a tree. Typically, I try to do a winter theme with a few Christmas items (like nativities and a village) to remind me and my husband of the season, but make it easy to take down and transition into a winter theme to enjoy a few weeks longer when I get home. Thank you for the chance to win! I love Anna Campbell’s novellas 🙂

    1. AvatarAnna Campbell

      Hi Rebecca! Firstly, thanks for saying you’re enjoying the books. Love to hear that. Australia’s really interesting with the decorations – most of them are based in winter for a Northern Hemisphere Christmas but in fact it’s about a million degrees outside. Definitely beach weather!

      1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

        It’s weird, isn’t it, Anna, how wintery so many of our decorations are when it’s usually stinking hot.

        Christmas tends to be crazy with travel for many of us, Rebecca. Nice that you still put up decorations to get in the mood. We’re a bit too lazy here. Really must make an effort this year.

        Good luck!

  12. AvatarKate Sparks

    I have lived in 4 other homes and now the proud owner of about 16 plastic tubs of holiday decorations!

      1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

        Ha ha ha ha ha!!! Just think how gorgeous you can make things with the contents of all those tubs, Kate!

        Not that I’d envy you taking them down…

        Thanks for the laugh. All the best in the draw.

  13. AvatarCheri

    Since our children are all grown and our only grandchild just turned 2 decorating at our house has been slim pickings! Kids want it but don’t wanna help. Husband wants to watch football or wrestling…I decided last few years its enough. I break out a bottle of chilled white wine and our little tree (we downsized) and whatever happens happens. Whatever goes wherever well that’s it. If I gotta do it alone I’m gonna have fun and do it my way. When the bottle is gone the decorating is over 😳💯

    1. AvatarAnna Campbell

      Ha, Cheri, that’s gorgeous! Gave me such a laugh. Good for you! I particularly like the sound of the nice wine to go with the decorating. That’s my sort of Christmas!

  14. AvatarLaurie Logan

    In past years we’ve waited to put up the tree until Christmas Eve when all the family was home (and also so the dog and cats had less time until Christmas to tear it all down!). We moved this year to a bigger place for our four generation family and we will be putting up the tree and decorations earlier for the grandkids to enjoy. I’m from the mindset that less is more so I tend to put up only my favorite things but with the kids I have the feeling that we’ll have a lot more decorations!

    I’m looking forward to reading this Christmas story, Anna. Looks wonderful!

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      I’m looking forward to it too, Laurie. This one of Anna’s sounds super romantic and very Christmassy.

      How exciting to be enjoying Christmas in a new house and even better, to have everyone around to share the fun. Sounds like you’re in for a lovely time.

      Thanks and all the best in the draw.

    2. AvatarAnna Campbell

      Hi Laurie! How lovely to see you here. Laughing at you trying to outmanoeuvre the dogs and cats when it comes to the tree! Sounds like you’ve got a huge and very joyful family Christmas ahead of you this year. I wish you all the best – and I hope you enjoy The Christmas Stranger!

  15. AvatarKim

    Congratulations on the new release. I really like Christmas decorations, but haven’t decorated as much lately. I always plan to add to my collection with the after Christmas sales, then don’t get around to it.

    1. AvatarAnna Campbell

      Kim, I hear you on the after Christmas sales. In years when I’m organised – which don’t pop up that often, unfortunately – I always pick up a stack of nice Christmas cards half price too. Thanks for the congrats!

  16. AvatarAnna Campbell

    Thanks so much to everyone who swung by – wow, the Christmas decoration discussion turned out to be really interesting. And thanks to Cathryn for hosting me. I always love calling into her blog! Happy Christmas to all those who celebrate!

  17. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

    Always a pleasure to host you, Anna.

    Now that was a lot of fun. Great comments, everyone. As for the giveaway winner, Anna is being super generous and picked THREE winners. Congratulations Gail, Laurie and Melissa. Anna will soon be in touch to organise you Kindle copy of THE CHRISTMAS STRANGER. Happy reading!

    If you missed out, THE CHRISTMAS STRANGER is only 99c on Amazon. A bargain and a lovely read to put you in the festive mood.

    Thanks again. See you next time!

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      Absolutely, Stacey. The paperback releases the same day as the ebook – December 18th – and will be available in all the stores, like Big W, Dymocks etc. Just in time for Christmas.

      As you can imagine, it’s a ridiculously busy time of the year and staff will be flat out keeping the shelves restocked. so if The Country Girl isn’t on shelves on the 18th, they’ll be there very soon after. But, really, they should be out on that date.

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