Author Archives: Cathryn Hein

Cathryn Hein

About Cathryn Hein

Best-selling Australian romance author, mad keen but inept golfer, and die-hard Sydney Swans supporter. For news, excerpts and more visit cathrynhein.com

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Topics I could give an impromptu speech on

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Wednesday Blogging Challenge banner

Welcome again to the Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge, a year-long challenge set by the good folk at Long and Short Reviews that anyone can participate in. Check out the site to see who else is playing along.

This week’s topic is a doozy.

Topics I could give an impromptu speech on

I can think of two without even blinking. The first one would be about my adoration for my KitchenAid mixer. The other would be about my writing process.

Both are easy-peasy because 1/. My love for my mixer knows no bounds and 2/. I’m the only one who is expert on my writing process so no one will know if I’m telling the story right or wrong. Ha!

My KitchenAid mixer

My beloved KitchenAid mixer. I have the pasta attachment too. So beautiful. Sigh.

Other things I would wax lyrical about… books I love, what I’m reading now, books on my to-be-read pile, books I plan to buy. Anything about books, really.

Local restaurants and pubs. I could go to town on that subject too.

Also favourite wines.

And beers.

Food. Anything about food and cooking and cookbooks.

How I deserve a new set of golf clubs because it can’t possibly be me that’s the problem with my game. Oh no. That’s just silly thinking. Everyone knows it’s always the equipment at fault in these cases.

Um

How sexy Chris Hemsworth is. I could probably chat for a while about that.

I could also carry on for quite a while about stationery. I really like stationery, especially beautiful notebooks with quality, fountain pen friendly paper. They make me very happy.

And finally, I could chat about how much I’m enjoying this blog challenge. It’s developing such a lovely community feel and I’m discovering all sorts of weird and wonderful things. I hope you’re enjoying it too because we have lots of weeks of fun topics still to come.

Okay, what topics could you give an impromptu speech on?

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Never Miss a New Release meme

Teaser Tuesday!

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Teaser Tuesday MemeWelcome to Teaser Tuesday, where I share snippets from new and past releases and works-in-progress and occasionally cajole an author buddy into doing the same.

Like today!

But first, news from the Hein House.

I missed my Serenity’s Song deadline. I hate that so much. Fortunately, the publisher has been very kind and given me an extension. Which means there’s nothing happening in the house except the sound of typing, usually accompanied with much moaning and muttering.

Chocolate crackle biscuits

Chocolate crackle biscuits

And cooking. I’ve been doing a lot of cooking, especially baking because it’s something I love and it gives me a break from the computer. I’m also self-isolating due all the immune-suppressant drugs I’m on and there’s bugger-all else to do. Besides clean, which is no fun at all.

So far I’ve experimented with a new pizza dough technique (first was a bit of a dud, second not too bad – my biggest issue is not owning a proper pizza oven but I’m working on that), chocolate crackle biscuits from the April edition of Delicious magazine (total win!), sour cream banana cake (another winner), a new technique for

Plum and Hazelnut tart

Plum and Hazelnut tart

getting super crackly crackling on roast pork, also from the latest Delicious mag (it worked!), a new stir-fry recipe using chilli jam (nothing to get excited about) and Neil Perry’s recipe for plum and hazelnut tart (very nice).

I hope you’re faring well and keeping safe and looking after your physical and mental wellbeing. It’s a stressful time and it’s important to be as kind to ourselves as we are to those around us.

Speaking of kind, today we’re being treated to another gorgeous guest. Please give a huuuuuge welcome back to Teaser Tuesday regular Anna Campbell!

Anna’s latest, The Highlander’s English Bride, released last week and looks and sounds fabulous. Luuuurve that kilty cover. Reviews so far have been glowing too. I already have a copy on my e-reader and am looking forward to getting stuck in.

It’s always a delight to host Anna on Teaser Tuesday. Her posts are such fun and often there’s a giveaway. Will there be one this week? You’ll have to read on to find out!

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Anna Campbell author - thumbnailHi Cathryn!

Lovely to be back on Teaser Tuesday. Thank you for having me as your guest today.

One of my favorite tropes as writer and reader is the marriage of convenience. It works particularly well in a historical setting where divorce was so difficult that it was basically impossible. I’ve written a few MOC stories, and they’re always fun.

Sometimes, but not always, the marriage of convenience comes about because the couple are caught up in a scandal and a wedding is the only way to restore the heroine’s reputation. That’s the case with my new release, The Highlander’s English Bride, book six in my bestselling Lairds Most Likely series. Hamish Douglas and Emily Baylor are discovered in a compromising situation at a public event, and they have no choice but to walk up the aisle together.

The problem is that Hamish and Emily have always had a volatile relationship – in fact, they fight like cat and dog. What on earth will become of them, this incompatible pair locked together for a lifetime?

Well, if you’re an old hand with romances, I think you can guess. Snicker.

But of course, it’s the journey that makes a romance fun – and Hamish and Emily have a long way to go before they get their happy ending, including a setting shift from London to Hamish’s estate in the beautiful Highlands of Scotland. This scene below takes place when Emily pursues her husband to Glen Lyon to try and convince him that they need to become more to each other than wary strangers. Hamish answers the door naked except for a bedsheet – which starts this topsy-turvy reconciliation off in high style.

By the way, if you’ve got a yen to read some of my other MOC stories, check out Lord Garson’s Bride, What a Duke Dares, Captive of Sin and Her Christmas Earl.

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Glen Lyon, the Western Highlands of Scotland, September 1823

For a long moment, they stared at each other. Emily wondered how different things might have been if Hamish had stayed in London. She had an inkling that he was thinking exactly the same thing.

Eventually he straightened in his chair and sent her a direct look. “Just what are you doing here, Emily?

The Highlander's English Bride by Anna CampbellShe swallowed. The moment arrived, and she was nervous. Which made no sense at all. Her explanation should be easier, now she knew that Hamish had missed her and that he’d stayed faithful. But those revelations remained too astonishing for her to rely on them.

She swallowed again and cursed that her voice emerged reedy and unsteady. “I decided my place was with my husband.”

If she expected him to react to that announcement with any gratification, she was to be disappointed. The chiseled features remained unreadable as he said slowly, “Did you indeed?”

She rose, hoping it might make her feel less at a disadvantage. “I did.” When he didn’t immediately respond, she forced out the hardest bit. “I hoped…I thought if you were willing, we might try to find some common ground in this marriage.”

Hamish stood up, hitched the sheet higher, and wheeled toward the steps.

Speechless, Emily watched him go. She felt as though she’d sliced out her heart and laid it at his feet, and all he did was run away. Again.

“Hamish?” she asked shakily. “Did you hear me?”

“Yes,” he said without turning back.

“So what do you say?”

At least she no longer sounded like a complete ninnyhammer. Shock receded under the more familiar urge to biff him with the nearest stick.

He didn’t look back as he started to descend the stairs. “I say that if this is what you’ve come all this way to talk about, I need to be wearing more than just a bedsheet.”

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

or get instant satisfaction by purchasing The Highlander’s English Bride from any of these stores:

Amazon.com | Amazon.au | Amazon.uk

Apple Books | Kobo | Barnes & Noble

Thanks so much, Anna! This one gave me a lovely laugh. Not to mention a very pleasant mental image of Hamish in a bedsheet.

Now, my darlings, the moment you’ve been waiting for. Yes, we have a

GIVEAWAY!

Here’s Anna to tell you what you need to do to play along.

So who would you like to see answering the door in only a bedsheet? If you read The Highlander’s English Bride and you picture Chris Hemsworth as Hamish, you won’t be far off the mark, so I’ll vote for CH. And if he’s otherwise occupied, I’ll take Jason Momoa. How about you?

I’ve got a download of The Highlander’s English Bride to give away to someone who leaves a comment on this post. No geographical restrictions.

Rah! We do love a good giveaway on Teaser Tuesday and this question is a beauty. I do find myself hard pressed to choose anyone beyond Mr Hemsworth because… HEMSWORTH!

Mr Momoa is rather delicious too. Funny you should bring him up. He gets a mention in Scarlett and the Model Man for his deliciousness too.

Hmm. I think I’d also be quite happy with a semi-naked Sydney Swans star Buddy Franklin. Actually, I’m not particular. Give me any Sydney Swans team member and I’d be a happy, happy girl. I love my boys. Sigh.

It’s over to you now, my darlings. Let us know in the comments who you’d like to answer the door in a bedsheet and we’ll pop you into the giveaway draw to win an ebook download of The Highlander’s English Bride.

Please note: Giveaway draw closes midnight Friday Australian Eastern Standard Time, 10th April 2020. Open worldwide.

If you’d like to learn more about Anna and her wonderful novelsplease visit her websiteYou can also connect via Facebook and Twitter using @AnnaCampbelloz.

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Never Miss a New Release meme

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Favourite Book Series and Why

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Wednesday Blogging Challenge banner

Welcome again to the Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge, a year-long challenge set by the good folk at Long and Short Reviews that anyone can participate in. Check out the site to see who else is playing along.

This week’s topic is a beauty.

Favourite Book Series And Why

Oh, I could wax lyrical about this subject! So. Many. Fab. Series.

The Courtney Novels by Wilbur Smith

When the Lion Feeds by Wilbur SmithMagnificent, sweeping stories loaded with adventure, drama and history. And Sean Courtney. What. A. Man. Sigh.

I devoured these books (and all his others) throughout my 20s and 30s, but it’s been ages since I’ve read a Wilbur Smith. I really need to remedy that.

British Crime Series

I became addicted to a bunch of them when we lived in France. This was before ebooks and I’d order giant boxes of books from Amazon’s UK store A Clubbable Woman by Reginald Hilland then gobble them down at night in binge reading sessions. Ian Rankin’s Rebus books, the Dalziel and Pascoe series by Reginald Hill, Colin Dexter’s Inspector Morse, Ruth Rendell’s Inspector Wexford books, and PD James’ police commander and poet Adam Dalgliesh, and last but by no means least, the Rumpole of the Bailey stories based on the television series by John Mortimer.

Loved them all.

Pretty much anything by Amie Kaufman

Her books are amazing and usually written in collaboration with another author. The Starbound Trilogy written with Megan Spooner was so lluminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoffsighworthy. As is the Unearthed Duology which I read is in development for film. Rah! The heroes in these series are gorgeous and the heroines always more than a match for them.

Her collaboration with fellow Australian author Jay Kristoff on with The Illuminae Files was gobsmacking. So different. SO GOOD!

I have the Aurora Cycle – another collaboration with Jay Kristoff – in my reading sights for this year. Can’t wait!

Also anything written by Leigh Bardugo

Shadow and Bone by Leigh BardugoThe Grisha stories: Love them SO HARD. I thought the first three books – Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm and Ruin and Rising were awesome and wondered how she would better them, but the Six of Crows duology blew me away too. I have yet to read The Language of Thorns and King of Scars, but I will. I have her new stand alone, Ninth House, to get through first.

Others I adore are Anna Campbell’s Dashing Widows and Lairds Most Likely series, CJ Archer’s Ministry of Curiosities, After the Rift and Glass and Steele books, Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone series, Katherine Arden’s brilliant Winternight Trilogy, Emma Viskic’s Caleb Zelik series, Candice Fox’s Archer and Bennett thrillers, the Gabriel Allon books by Daniel Silva, The Cemetery of Forgotten Books series by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Anne Gracie’s The Chance Sisters series and gawd knows how many others that I can’t recall right now.

Please forgive me for this plug, but I cannot post this without mentioning my very own Levenham Love Story series, the latest instalment of which, The First Levenham Love Story Omnibus coverScarlett and the Model Man, released just last week, and the first three books of which are now available as a boxed ebook set.

I ADORE these books. They are such a blast to write and because the setting is based on the area where I grew up (the lower south-east of South Australia), every story is like coming home.

I have so many ideas for future books it’s ridiculous. Next stop will probably be Tiff and Mr Valentine but no guarantees. It’ll depend on how I feel when the time comes whether I write Tiff’s story or Paige’s, or some other character’s. Nothing like a surprise!

What is your favourite book series?

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Never Miss a New Release meme

Teaser Tuesday!

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Teaser Tuesday MemeWelcome to Teaser Tuesday, where I share snippets from new and past releases and works-in-progress, and occasionally con author buddies into doing the same.

Which is what we have today, but more on our super guest after news from the Hein house.

Scarlett and the Model Man has now been out in the world for a week and it’s been going WONDERFULLY! The feedback and reviews have been terrific, and I’m chuffed to bits that people are loving Sam and Scarlett’s story. As I mentioned in my Six Secret Things About Scarlett and the Model Man release day post, this is the most personal book I’ve written for a while so this booklove awesomeness means a great deal.

Speaking of booklove, those marvellous folk at Kobo are sharing lots of it thanks to their special boxed set promo. For a short time, you can score 40% off selected boxed sets, including my very own First Levenham Love Story Omnibus.

Kobo 40% off boxed set sale graphic

The omnibus already means you’re getting three books at a heavy discount – Rocking Horse Hill, Summer and the Groomsman and Santa and the Saddler – but with the 40% off it becomes huuuuge.

This is for a short time only (until April 1st), so go get ‘em while this promo is hot-diddy hot!

Now to our fabulous guest.

Let’s give a grand welcome back to medical romance writing queen, midwifery expert and fellow Outback Brides author Fiona McArthur. Rah!

Fiona is a regular on Teaser Tuesday and always shares a marvellous excerpt. She’s also a generous lady and you know what generous ladies do, don’t you? They have giveaways. And we luuuuurve a giveaway on Teaser Tuesday, oh yes we do, so make sure you read until the end so you don’t miss out.

Regular readers will remember Fiona’s December release, Midwife on the Orient Express. Well, she’s back with a new midwife story, this time set in Papua New Guinea, and appropriately titled Midwife in the Jungle.

Here’s Fiona to tell you more and to share a snippet.

Fiona McArthur authorHello again as I wave from Cathryn’s lovely Teaser Tuesday to celebrate the arrival of my latest author published book. Out today! MIDWIFE IN THE JUNGLE. I’m having such fun rewriting, recovering and bringing up to date earlier books I loved, as my own publisher, but I still write for PRH, HM&B, and TULE publishers and will shout out when those books pop up as well.

MIDWIFE IN THE JUNGLE starts in Sydney but is mostly set in the wild highlands of Papua New Guinea. Now I haven’t been back to New Guinea since I was the only girl (and 5 boys) on an 18 day school excursion, (without my parents and each kid billeted with a different family in every town ), and I have never forgotten the heat. BTW I was too busy to be homesick.

The point is, PNG captured me all those years ago and remains one of those instances where you can remember the scents, the sounds, the brightness and the sights of something incredibly different for a girl of ten to see and experience.

So I share that with you here and for those who have read MOTHER’S DAY, Jacinta McLeod reappears years later as a determined doctor following her jungle doc into the vegetation.

The excerpt comes from where Jacinta’s stepping off the plane in Port Moresby.

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The Port Moresby humidity hit Jacinta’s face like a hot damp towel as soon as she poked her head out of the air-conditioned plane, but February was the end of summer so maybe it would get cooler.

The heat and bombardment of aromas were overwhelming. The scent of bougainvillea, the heavy sweetness of what she later found out to be the betel-nut chewed by the locals, the overlying cloying smell of rotting vegetation and good old-fashioned sweat all vied for her attention.

Midwife In The Jungle by Fiona McArthurStrangely it was the brightness of the light and the vivid reds in the clothes of the native Papuans that caught her imagination.

Bright green vegetation around the airport made everything else look ordinary, even the aircraft, as she stepped down onto the steaming tarmac.

When she entered the terminal, huge rotating ceiling fans circulated the crowded bouquet of pungent aromas and she could feel the excitement in her blood almost fizzing and the smile on her face stretched.

‘Dr McCloud?’

Jacinta nodded at a grinning porter dressed in white. He waved the sign with her name on it. ‘I’m Jimmy Puk Puk from the mission. I’ll take you cross to the MAF plane.’ He had the brightest set of white teeth she’d ever seen, and Jacinta grinned back.

MAF Plane? Ah, Missionary Air Fellowship plane. Jointly owned by all the missions.

Dressed in shorts and shirt, Jimmy’s feet were dustily bare and he held out his left hand to take her bag. Her eyes were drawn to the healed stump where his right hand should have been.

He caught her glance and grinned again. “That’s why they call me Jimmy Puk Puk. Puk Puk mean croc, ‘cos I took more than his hand when I caught up with that puk puk.’

Jimmy directed her off to a side aisle and broke into a melodic Pidgin English discussion with the customs officer until they were waved through to another gateway and back onto the tarmac.

Hope you enjoy the story. xx Fi

I’m sure we will, Fiona!

Midwife in the Jungle releases today. Grab your copy from:

Amazon.com | Amazon.au | Amazon.uk

Kobo | Apple Books | Nook

Now, as we mentioned in the intro, we’re lucky enough to have a special

GIVEAWAY!

For your chance to win a copy of Midwife in the Jungle – paperback or ebook for Australian addresses, ebook only for international – share with us your hottest experience.

Yes, you may take that definition any way you want!!!

Mine? I have to say it was when we were living in western Sydney and the temperature hit close to 48°C. It was horrendous. The heat was almost tactile – the proverbial walking into a wall. It felt graspable it was so thick. Even breathing was hard. Fortunately we were in a modern, well-insulated house and could hide from the worst of it. Others weren’t so lucky, poor things.

What about you? What’s your hot experience? Don’t be shy now! Share away, we’re all friends here, and doing so could score you a copy of Fiona’s Midwife in the Jungle.

Please note: Giveaway closes midnight Friday AEST, 3rd April 2020. Australian addresses can choose from a print or ebook version of Midwife in the Jungle. Ebook only for international addresses.

If you’d like to learn more about Fiona and her booksplease visit her website. You can also connect on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using @FiCatchesBabies.

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Never Miss a New Release meme

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Favourite Things To Do In The Spring

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Wednesday Blogging Challenge banner
Welcome again to the Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge, a year-long challenge set by the good folk at Long and Short Reviews that anyone can participate in
. Check out the site to see who else is playing along.

This week’s topic needs a bit of adjustment because it’s autumn here and spring for us is a whole winter away.

Favourite Things To Do In The Spring Autumn!

Where to start? Autumn is one of my favourite times of the year because the days are usually mild which makes it great for doing things I adore, like golfing and lunching and generally being out and about and soaking up those warm rays before the winter cold arrives. Activities that are a tad curtailed thanks to the world health crisis.

But there is one thing I love to do in autumn that hasn’t been affected (much) and that’s cooking. So many opportunities!

Autumn is fig time, one of my favourite fruits. Which means I can make fig, prosciutto and mozzarella salad or simple desserts like honey roasted figs Bake With Anna Olson by Anna Olsonor fig and hazelnut tart. And mandarins come into season too. They’re lovely to eat on their own or they’re great in this mandarin, pistachio and chickpea cake. Yes, chickpeas! It’s delicious, I promise.

Apples come into season too giving the perfect excuse to make crumble, tarte tatin and other goodies. I’ve been binge watching excellent television series “Bake with Anna Olson” and recently bought the companion cookbook and now have lots of new apple things and more to try. Rah!

Autumn is also the start of the Australian Rules Football season. The Hein house becomes veeeery noisy on Sydney Swans Sydney Swans on tellygame days. I love my boys and like to dress up in my fan gear and cheer loudly. I know they can’t hear or see me through the telly but that’s not the point. It’s the vibes. And I do my best to send plenty of good ones their way. Although last season my vibes must have been duds because we were a bit disappointing. That’s okay. I’ll just try harder this year. Assuming the competition continues. It’s uncertain at the moment. (It’s now on hold.)

I also like to cook footy food to enjoy with the game. Things like celebrity chef (and my crush as discussed here) Home made samosas and bhajisRick Stein’s delicious Cornish pasties or my own made up little beef pie recipe. Or spicy satays, barbecued ribs, hot and sticky chicken wings, and Indian inspired feasts with homemade samosas and vegetable bhajis (pictured left with raita). And Jim makes a mean barbecued steak sandwich, dripping with onions, egg and bacon. All completely bad for you but pffft. Who cares? It’s footy season!

March brings us St Patrick’s Day too. A perfect excuse to stock the fridge with cans of Guinness and Kilkenny, along with the occasional bottle of Australian sparkling shiraz – a lovely autumnal drink. The beers also remind us that it’s time to break out our favourite beef in beer recipe. Delia Smith’s, from her Winter Collection, is awesome.

Casseroles need homemade, slow-rise bread. I came across a recipe for a A slice of cheesy mustard breadno-knead version years ago and have been using it ever since. But if I’m in a hurry I make do with this soda bread recipe, which I shared on my now archived blog series Friday Feast. Or, with more time, I make this focaccia, although I’m very keen to try Anna Olson’s focaccia recipe to see how it compares. If it’s like any of her other stuff, it’ll compare very well. Total new-born Anna fangirl, that’s me.

Hooly-dooly, I nearly forgot to mention Easter! The traffic tends to be diabolical around here then, with everyone heading up the north coast, so we usually stay put and stuff ourselves with seafood, footy and multiple rounds of golf. Chocolate too, although not too much – I can’t remember the Secret France by Rick Steinlast time we bought Easter eggs – and hot-crossed buns. I’ve been making this recipe for years but this Easter I’m going to put Anna’s to the test. I can’t go around buying new cookbooks and not use them, can I?

Speaking of which, I have Rick Stein’s new Secret France cookbook to play with too. Squeee!

So that’s me and my autumn loves. It’s handy that the weather tends to be excellent for golf because if I cook all the things I’m hoping to, I’m going to need all those walky miles, swings and more to wear them off. Golf also gets me outdoors and I don’t know about you, but this self-isolation is starting to send me a bit kooky.

What are your favourite things to do in autumn?

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Never Miss a New Release meme

It’s SCARLETT AND THE MODEL MAN’s Release Day!

Open that box of chocolates hiding in the back of your cupboard and quaff the lot because it’s time to celebrate Scarlett and the Model Man’s release day. Yippee!

Ooh, I’m excited. Can you tell? I’m doing little wiggle-jiggles in my chair right now because I KNOW you’re going to love Scarlett and Sam and their journey to happy ever after. It’s totally sighworthy. I’m getting all heart-fluttery just thinking about what you lucky duckies are in for.

Scarlett and the Model Man cover

He might be the perfect model, but is he the right man for Scarlett?

My heartfelt thanks to everyone who pre-ordered a copy. Depending on where you are in the world, your book should be hitting your e-readers veeeery soon. To those who ordered personally signed print copies, you’re probably holding them right now. Give cover model Sam a kiss for me!

For those who love the thrill of the release day one-click, it’s time for you to exercise your finger. Click-swipe-tap now to secure your copy of Scarlett and the Model Man from any of these retailers.

amazon.com | amazon.com.au | amazon.co.uk

Apple Books | Kobo | Google Play | Barnes & Noble

Booktopia | Angus & Robertson | Bookdepository

Personally signed copies of Scarlett and the Model Man are still available for purchase for only $18, including postage to your Australian postal address. Fill in this form to secure your copy. Orders also include a gorgeous Scarlett and the Model Man bookmark.

Now, as is tradition on release day, here are some secret things about the book.

Six Secret Things About Scarlett and the Model Man

1/. This is the most…

Personal book I’ve written for a while. Scarlett’s loss of creativity was inspired by my own battle. 2018 and 2019 were tough years, let me tell you, but I made it through. Will Scarlett? You’ll have to read the book to find out!

But if you’d like to learn more about my creative (and other) dramas, check out When Life Becomes Fiction, the story behind Scarlett and the Model Man, complete with glamorous photo of moi in hospital.

2/. Regular followers will know…

That it’s a rare book that doesn’t have a theme song or songs. What’s also rare is for a Eurovision Song Contest song not to make it onto the playlist. Because I luuuuuurve the Eurovision Song Contest and have done so since it first hit Australian screens twenty-plus years ago.

Scarlett’s number one theme song doesn’t come from Eurovision. I just talked about Eurovision because… LOVE! Eh hem. It’s a song that released way back in 1982 and I fell head over heels in love with. It’s also a song I’ve wanted to use as a story theme for a very, very long time. Probably since I first heard it.

I can also imagine Sam listening to it on repeat. You’ll understand why when you read the book.

What’s the song? One Perfect Day by The Little Heroes.

Also on the playlist were:

Call Me Maybe – Carly Rae Jepsen

Enter Sandman – Metallica

Nothing Breaks Like a Heart – Mark Ronson (featuring Miley Cyrus)

Home – Kobi Marimi (because there had to be a Eurovision song in there somewhere!)

7 Minutes – Dean Lewis

Slide Away – Miley Cyrus

Show Me What I’m Looking For – Carolina Liar

Castles – Freya Ridings

The Lonely – Christina Perri

Neon Church – Tim McGraw

3/. Scarlett’s art is

Based on that by two-time Archibald Prize winner Del Kathryn Barton. Her work is amazing. I was lucky enough that during the writing of Scarlett and the Model Man The Nightingale and the Rose exhibition – a collaboration between Barton and filmmaker Brendon Fletcher to bring Oscar Wilde’s fairytale to life – was on at Maitland Regional Library. Perfect inspiration!

If you get the chance to see this exhibition, take it. It’s brilliant. Here’s a video to give you a taste.

4/. This is the first time...

I’ve had a bare-chested man featured on the cover of one of my books. Man-titty is everywhere in Romancelandia but I’ve never been blessed with one before. This chappie is my first. He’s a beauty too. Very Sam-like.

And very much how Scarlett sees him

No six-pack, gym-junkie here. Just a toned, healthy man who farmed for a living and surfed for recreation. A man whose belly she’d like to run her tongue over.

Indeed!

5/. As a present to myself

For writing Scarlett and Sam’s story, I bought myself a beautiful necklace featuring artwork by Austrian artist Gustav Klimt. The pendant is made of Gustav Klimt porcelain pendantporcelain and has detail from Fulfillment, one of Klimt’s “Golden Phase” paintings.

I don’t usually reward myself with presents like this. Normally it’s champagne on release day and that’s it, but this book symbolised so much for me (see secret thing #1 above for reasons) that I wanted to attach it to something tangible. What better than a beautiful piece of wearable art?

I do feel Scarlett and Audrey Wallace would approve.

6/. There’s a special

Surfing beach featured in the book called The Shark Hole. I took inspiration for it from the landscape to the west of Port MacDonnell, a lovely fishing and holiday village at the very bottom tip of South Australia. This isn’t a good photo but it should give you an idea of the ruggedness of the coastline.

Beach near Port MacDonnell

If you ever get the chance to visit Port MacDonnell, do so. It’s a wonderful place and the library and community centre has a fabulous maritime museum detailing the area’s history and many shipwrecks. You can also stop in the historic customs house, visit poet Adam Lindsay Gordon’s home Dingley Dell, snorkle or dive at the spectacular Piccaninnie and Ewens Ponds, and stuff yourself silly with locally caught southern rock lobster. Bewdiful!

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I hope you enjoyed this little look behind the scenes at Scarlett and the Model Man. As mentioned in point one, there’s more to be learned in When Life Becomes Fiction, the story behind Scarlett and the Model Man.

If you’re after an excerpt, check out its book page on this website or these Teaser Tuesday blog posts where I share snippets from the story.

Or better still, buy the book!

amazon.com | amazon.com.au | amazon.co.uk

Apple Books | Kobo | Google Play | Barnes & Noble

Booktopia | Angus & Robertson | Bookdepository

Or purchase a personally signed print copy direct from me by filling in this form.

Thanks to all who helped me get Scarlett and the Model Man into virtual stores and your lovely hands, including my editor Alex Nahlous from Alexandra Nahlous Editing Services, cover designer Kellie at Book Cover By Design, and my wonderful writing friends, especially the Battlesticks girls – those ladies are the best. And finally, my Jim. The hero of my life.

Happy reading everyone!

Never Miss a New Release meme

My Favourite Reads of February 2020

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It’s My Favourite Reads time. Whoop! A tad late again this month because of my Serenity’s Song deadline, which is only eleven sleeps away. Eleven, she says shakily. Eeek!

I’m not going to choose a favourite this month because I can’t choose between the first four books listed. They were SO GOOD and deserve to be lauded equally.

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The Vine Witch by Luanne G SmithThe Vine Witch by Luanne G Smith

Oh, I LOVED this book! The Vine Witch is what I guess you’d call a historical fantasy? Whatever genre it is, it totally floated my boat.

Where to start with all the goodness? Well, it’s set in France – tick! It’s set in a vineyard – tick! It has romance – tick! It has dastardly deeds and betrayal – tick! It has good witches who do marvellous things with wine and beer – tick! It’s beautifully written and page-turnery – tick! It has friendship and love and magic – tick! It’s… oh I could go on and on.

Superb. Go read.

And book 2, The Glamourist is releasing in June. YAY!!

The Work of Art by Mimi MatthewsThe Work of Art by Mimi Matthews

I really enjoyed Matthews’ Christmas themed story A Holiday By Gaslight (which I talk about here) and was eyeing off her other historical romances when The Work of Art appeared on sale. Perfect timing. And a wonderful read too.

The Work of Art had a gorgeous, heart-warming romance, lots of mystery and intrigue, dashing heroic deeds, and dogs.

In other words, everything. Highly recommended.

The Greek’s Forbidden Innocent by Annie WestThe Greek’s Forbidden Innocent by Annie West

Best. Annie West. Ever.

This book had me from the opening page and did not let go. The premise is fantastic – to save her friend from an arranged marriage, Princess Mina steps into her place and ends up captive on the hero’s private island. So brave! So swoony!

I also really liked that I got to catch up with Mina’s sister and brother-in-law who I met in The Desert King’s Captive Bride (another fab read that I talk about here). But most of all I loved the hero and heroine and their stories. They were brilliant.

If you love a sexy Mediterranean hero, a strong, relatable heroine and an enemies-to-lovers trope… Actually, no. Scrap that. If you love romance, read The Greek’s Forbidden Innocent. It’s fantastic.

Love Lettering by Kate ClaybornLove Lettering by Kate Clayborn

Speaking of fantastic, Love Lettering rates that accolade too. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. This was so un-put-downable I read it while doing chores, eating, whatever. Any chance I had this book would be in my hands.

It was so unusual too. The hero was like nothing I’ve ever come across before. Reid was sad and quiet but also beautiful, super smart and very, very heroic. I loved him. Really, really loved him. I also adored how Meg and Reid helped each other in small but significant ways. It was so heart-warming and kind. And in a delightful bonus, I learned bucketloads about hand lettering and calligraphy.

Total winner.

I’m going to read more Kate Clayborns. Oh yes, I am!

The Inspector de Silva Mysteries boxed set by Harriet SteelDark Clouds Over Nuala, Offstage in Nuala and Fatal Finds in Nuala by Harriet Steel

Those who caught up with January’s My Favourite Reads post will know how much I enjoyed the first book in The Inspector de Silva Mysteries series, Trouble in Nuala, so it’s probably no surprise to hear I bought the boxed set and gutsed down the next three in this series this month. They’re simply nice cosy mysteries, set in an interesting country at an interesting time.

Lovely books.

For the writerly or creative…

The War of Art by Steven PressfieldThe War of Art by Steven Pressfield

More a motivational book than a craft one, The War of Art looks at what stops you from being creative. I know a lot of authors rate this book highly. I quite enjoyed the single page chapters with their short paragraphs and sentences. It made for a fast read and one that I could put down and pick up at any time without losing the thread.

Unfortunately, The War of Art just didn’t resonate with me. That happens with how-to books. Sometimes they hit home, sometimes they don’t.

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What did you enjoy reading last month?

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Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: The Weirdest Thing I Learned Reading Fiction

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Welcome again to the Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge, a year-long challenge set by the good folk at Long and Short Reviews that anyone can participate in. Want to see who’s playing along or join in yourself? Check out the challenge here.

Oh gawd, I’m on deadline and running waaaay behind, so my response to this week’s topic is going to be short.

The Weirdest Thing I Learned Reading Fiction

Um… probably how to kill someone painfully and inventively? God knows, I read enough horror novels to be a near expert on the subject. This is not an expertise I ever plan to use in my life. In case you were wondering.

I Ate the Sheriff by James Scott BellI also know far too much about the eating habits of zombies thanks to James Scott Bell’s Mallory Caine, Zombie-at-Law thriller series. Still gives me the shudders when I think about it. These books are hoot though. Totally over the top bonkers, which is just how I like them.

On a nicer note, and not particularly weird but I’m going to mention it anyway because this book is gorgeous, I recently discovered a lot about hand-lettering and calligraphy thanks to reading Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn.

What weird things have you learned from reading fiction?

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Teaser Tuesday!

Teaser Tuesday MemeWelcome to Teaser Tuesday, where I share snippets from new and past releases and works-in-progress, and occasionally twist the arms of author buddies to do the same.

We’re going to be short and sweet this week because the deadline for Serenity’s Song is only fourteen sleeps away and I’m not sure I’m going to make it, and I hate being late for things. Gives me the shudders.

There hasn’t been much happening in the Hein house anyway. It’s been BISHOK here (bum in seat, hands on keyboard) and not much else. Except for the Pumpkin, sage and parmesan sconesoccasional spot of calm-inducing baking. Last weekend I made pumpkin, sage and parmesan scones (see piccie) and cheesecake brownies, a household favourite. So now the freezer is groaning with goodies again. Rah!

Well, not so rah for me. Beyond a taste test, I tend to leave my baking efforts for Jim and his morning teas. Deadline also means I’m spending far too many hours on my bum in front of this computer to be eating sugary or cheesy naughties.

Righty-o, time for our Teaser Tuesday snippet. With only ONE WEEK until release day, it should come as no surprise when I say it’ll be a teaser from Scarlett and the Model Man. Because… EXCITEMENT!

For those of you who have pre-ordered personally signed print copies – you lovely, lovely people – some are already in the post, with others heading out soon. If you haven’t ordered and would like one, it’s not too late. Simply fill in this form and we’ll take it from there.

Oh, and because it’s release day next Tuesday, there won’t be a Teaser Tuesday. Instead, as has become tradition with my releases, you’ll be seeing a Secret Things post. Watch out for that. They’re always a blast.

Hmph, we’re nearly up to 300 words and this was meant to be short. Time to get on with it!

Sam has been modelling for Scarlett...

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‘Are you trying to flirt?

Sam slapped his palm on his chest. ‘Wouldn’t dream of it.’

I’m glad to hear that because it won’t get you anywhere.’

‘It won’t?’

Scarlett and the Model Man cover‘No.’

Bummer.

‘You sure? Because I distinctly remember you calling me perfect. More than once.’

Scarlett set down her charcoal and sauntered towards him. Sam’s gaze skittered to her breasts and hips. She might not be as tall as one, but the woman could strut better than a supermodel.

She stopped in front of him. Close. Really close. Sam had to brace hard to keep his eyes on her face and stop them from dropping to see if her singlet gaped enough for him to see the top of her breasts.

Her head tipped to one side. ‘Do I need to remind you of our contract?’

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Ooh, silly Sam. He’s in trouble now!

Find out what happens with your own copy of Scarlett and the Model Man, releasing March 24th.

Pre-order today from:

amazon.com | amazon.com.au | amazon.co.uk

Apple Books | Kobo | Google Play | Barnes & Noble

Booktopia | Angus & Robertson | Bookdepository

Or fill in this form to purchase a personally signed copy direct from me, and receive a gorgeous bookmark to match.

Discover how I came to write Scarlett and the Model Man by checking out When Life Becomes Fiction – The Story Behind Scarlett and the Model Man.

See you next week for the release day Secret Things post!

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Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: One Skill I Wish I Had But Don’t

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Welcome to the Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge, a year-long challenge set by the good folk at Long and Short Reviews that anyone can participate in. Want to see who else is playing along? Visit here and click on the Miscellaneous Musings link near the top of the page.

As you’ve probably determined from the title, this week’s topic is

One Skill I Wish I Had But Don’t

Hooly-dooly, these topics seem to be getting harder. I suppose it is meant to be a challenge though.

Hmm… what skill would I love to have?

I wish I knew how to design my own website. I like this one. The colours are bright and clean and suit my brand, but the site is getting a bit on now and the list of things I’d like to change and add keeps growing. A shop would be nice, for example, and I’d change the layout of the book pages and probably the home page too. I’d also put the subscription form for this blog at the top of the page, above the book covers, instead of below, and make my newsletter signup more prominent because I adore newsletter subscribers. They’re clever, darling book-lovin’ people and I do cherish them so.

Computer Rage pop art picKnowing how to do this stuff would also stop me hyperventilating every time I accidentally crash my website. Something that happens with horrible regularity and is made worse by not having a clue what it was I did wrong.

Doing it myself would also save money. Websites can be bloody expensive. This one was done as a favour by a friend and even then the cost made me wince. Yes, yes, I know there are platforms like Wix and Weebly out there but they’re not all beer and skittles. And call me precious, but I’d like one designed and tweaked just for me. Which I would be able to do, if I had the skill.

Except I don’t and I’m not about to learn because I’d much rather be writing kissing books.

Or playing golf.

Or cooking, restauranting, cheering from my beloved Sydney Swans, or any number of things that does not involve shudder-inducing technical computer stuff.

Best to leave that sort of thing to the experts.

What skill do you wish you had?

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