Teaser Tuesday!

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

We have another guest this week, one you’re going to luuuuurve, but first you must endure news from the Hein House.

We’re home from our Queensland trip. Rah! Which means I’m back to working hard on Scarlett and the Model Man. The End is most definitely nigh now. Well, the end of the first draft that is. There’s a lot of ground still to cover after that point but hitting The End is always a milestone worth celebrating. I cannot wait to share this book with you. Scarlett and Sam are gorgeous together. Makes me all gooey just thinking about them!

Enough of me and my gooeys. We’re here to enjoy a teaser, brought to you this week by Jenn J. McLeod. Yay!

Although she’s had a few guest appearances on (now archived) blog series Friday Feast, this is Jenn’s first time on Teaser Tuesday. I’m so glad to have her on, too, because I adore the sound of her new release House of Wishes. I know you will too, when you read the excerpt.

Here’s Jenn to tell you more about House of Wishes and share her teaser.

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Author Jenn J McLeodHi Cathryn! Hi all!

So great to be here on Teaser Tuesday—and WHAT a Tuesday it is. Woot!

This is release day for my 6th small-town novel and possibly the most exciting launch day ever because of all it took to get here.

As Australia’s nomadic novelist, I’ve been caravanning my way through bucket list locations since hitting the road fulltime in 2014. That was the year Simmering Season came out—my second novel set in Calingarry Crossing (with House for all Seasons being the first). And guess what? On both those bookish occasions I was here, on Cath’s Friday Feast. I even gave away my very yummy and oh-so-easy homemade muesli recipe. (If only it was as simple to set up a publishing biz, eh?)

Being an author-publisher is another bucket list item and with a hankering to return to Calingarry Crossing for some time, the perfect book to begin this journey had to be House of Wishes. Thanks to a coffee catchup with awesome reader fans, Sharyn Rees and Janine Kimberly, I’m back in Calingarry Crossing with the Dandelion House ready to reveal its secrets. (Don’t worry if you are new to my novels. All my stories are standalone reads, although House of Wishes does have a sprinkling of character cameos. I really had fun with that aspect.)

In a nutshell, House of Wishes is a family relationship story about the choices we make, the connections that matter, the secrets we keep, and the power of a wish. With two story threads (current day and 1974) there are also two love stories. Even though the novel begins with a grieving daughter discovering her mother’s last wish, I promise the story is not all sad. As with all my books, you’ll laugh, maybe you’ll cry, but what I really hope is that you’ll love Tom and Don, because I do have fun writing a male point of view.

Please, let me know. I love to hear from readers.

House of Wishes is available in print and ebook through all online retailers. If you prefer supporting your local bookshop, ask them to order a copy in.  Or you can buy direct from me via my web shop and I’ll send a signed copy with a snazzy bookmark.  Don’t forget, you can also choose to ask your library to order in a copy.

I hope you enjoy this House of Wishes excerpt.

If you have a wish you’d like to share, leave it in the comments below. I reckon the power of a wish is so much stronger when it’s shared. I’ll start: “I wish for an e-reader that magically fills with endless Aussie fiction.”

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‘I’m so very, very sorry for the confusion,’ a voice says.

Beth hears words reminiscent of her mother—a chronic apologiser raised by religious parents—but when she stands, she sees a woman whose voice is as ethereal as her appearance: skin ivory, hair ebony, eyes cerulean, but with lips blood red.

‘Hello, I’m Jesamiah Huckenstead. This should’ve been with your mother’s ashes.’ The stranger, dressed entirely in mauve and smelling like a life-size lavender bag, holds out an envelope. ‘As you’ll see, her wishes are very specific.’ The woman is talking while walking a bewildered Beth back through the reception area, opening the front door wide to let her pass. ‘Should you need to contact me, however …’

Beth glances at the proffered business card:

Madgick & AssociatesTrust Managers

In Madgick we trust.

‘Take care of yourself, dear,’ the woman says, letting the stationery and the envelope fall into the gift bag with the ashes. ‘Have a good and safe trip.’

‘Trip?’ Beth repeats.

House of Wishes by Jenn J McLeodWith her head spinning from the somewhat rushed exit, both her hands busy with bags, and her gaze intent on the contents, it takes her a few seconds to look up. When she does, the woman is gone, the door sign flipped to CLOSED, and Beth is on the footpath outside Forget-Me-Knot Funerals alone—utterly and desperately alone.

*

Back in her car, Beth eases the envelope open as if whatever is inside needs to stay contained until she’s ready. The truth is, Beth is nowhere near ready for more surprises—good or bad. She’s already said goodbye to her mother too many times: at both the hospital and the funeral service. Beth’s not sure she can manage another farewell. Not yet.

A tear lands on the two notepad pages she’s slipped from the envelope but, with barely a few lines above the scrawled signature, there’s little ink to smudge. The page is headed: MY WISH, while the other sheet is reminiscent of a treasure map, a childlike diagram with squiggles and symbols surrounding a circle at the centre. The envelope’s contents pose two simple questions in Beth’s mind: When had her mother prepared for her death? And why is she wanting half her ashes placed with her partner in a lawn cemetery of his family’s choosing, but insisting her grieving daughter spread the rest in a country town Beth has never heard of before now?

‘Why, Mum?’ She slumps in the car seat, slaps the letter on her knees, and opens the Maps app on her mobile phone. ‘And where the hell is Calingarry Crossing?’

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Wow. What a teaser. Loved it. And I bet you did too which means you want to get your hot little hands on this book right now. Oh, yes you do!

Houses of Wishes is available now in print and ebook from these retailers:

Amazon.com | Amazon.au | Amazon.uk

Apple Books | Kobo | Google Play | Barnes & Noble

Booktopia | Angus & Robertson | Bookdepository

Remember, you can also order signed copies direct through Jenn’s website, where you’ll also score a cool bookmark.

Now, as Jenn said, sharing can make wishes stronger. So here’s mine. My apologies for it being not very light-hearted but it’s heartfelt. I wish this rotten illness I have would disappear right now so I can stop taking all these horrible drugs and get my life back to normal.

What’s yours? I rather like Jenn’s of an e-reader full of Aussie reads – but I think we’d all like that. Join in the fun and share away in the comments. You never know, it might help make your wish come true!

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

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My Favourite Reads of October 2019

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My Favourite Reads image

Welcome to another My Favourite Reads.

What an excellent reading month! I enjoyed every book (except for the DNF – did not finish – but I don’t talk about those), with the majority falling into the thriller/mystery/suspense category. Not sure why that was, it just turned out that way.

It was a close-run thing but in the end I my favourite read was…

The Taking of Annie Thorne by CJ Tudor

The Taking of Annie Thorne by CJ TudorI adored The Chalk Man, Tudor’s debut novel. It was brilliantly written, creepy, compelling and fun (my thoughts on it here).

The Taking of Annie Thorne is just as good, possibly even better. I think, perhaps, it’s a bit darker than The Chalk Man. It has more horror-y bits, which I loved (beetles: they do it to me every time), and it also has that same theme of adults returning to the scenes of their childhoods to solve a mystery. I like that. It’s very Stephen King.

I loved the writing, I loved the characters, I loved the brilliantly developed setting and I loved how flawed Joe was. This is a haunted man who’s done himself some serious damage over the years. He’s also a terrible smartarse and driven by revenge. All of which should make him unlikeable, yet I was happy to spend hours with him because he was also clever and witty, and determined to solve the mystery of his sister even though the risks were enormous.

I couldn’t put this book down. And don’t get me started on the twists, some of which were absolute doozies. I figured CJ Tudor would become an auto-buy author from The Chalk Man. The Taking of Annie Thorne has cemented it.

Bone White by Ronald MalfiBone White by Ronald Malfi

I’ve been a Ronald Malfi fan since reading The Night Parade (my thoughts on that here), which I thought was brilliant. Then came December Park which was even better (I chat about that here). And now there’s Bone White. While still a thriller, this had some juicy horror elements, which puts it smack in my zone. I am BIG into horror right now, as you’ve probably guessed from past My Favourite Reads posts.

Bone White is set in Alaska, in an isolated timber village at the edge of winter. The shortening days, incoming weather and suspicious locals only adds to the creepy, threatening atmosphere. Malfi is so good at producing anxiety in his reader. I felt on edge the entire time I was reading and loved every minute.

Another highly recommended read from an auto-buy author and my second favourite read of the month.

Strangers by Michaelbrent CollingsStrangers by Michaelbrent Collings

After a bit of a binge, I promised myself I wasn’t going to read a Collings book this month. I was going attack my enormous to-be-read pile from the top and work my way down. Which I did, for a while. Then I hit a book that wasn’t doing it for me – the DNF I mentioned in the intro – and didn’t know what to read next, and then it was oooooooh, looksie, another Michaelbrent Collings. I’ll just take a peek…

Best laid plans and all that, eh?

Anyway, Strangers was fab and fast, and so hard to put down that I read it in a day. It’s thriller-horror, if you’re wondering, and an excellent one. Great premise and loved the twists. Very clever.

I bought his new one, Scavenger Hunt, on its release day. It sounds like a cracker too. I wonder how long I can go before I read it? My to-be-read pile is at its biggest ever and I really want to get it under control. Alas, I fear the lure of another Collings page-turner may prove too strong!

Demanding His Desert Queen by Annie WestDemanding His Desert Queen by Annie West

Another fabulous, passionate and emotional romance from the Queen of Sheiks. Demanding His Desert Queen is a lovers reunited, marriage of convenience story, where the marriage is not very convenient at all.

There’s a great deal of tension in this romance, which makes for fast page-turning and Annie has created an interesting world, especially for Karim, but it holds dangers for both lead characters. The politics of the country that Karim has been asked to rule added a lot of depth to the conflict.

Demanding His Desert Queen will make your heart tumble about as you share in Safiyah and Karim’s fears, passion and elation. Go grab a copy today. You’ll love it.

Bad Blood by John CarreyouBad Blood by John Carreyou

I’m not a big non-fiction reader but like many others I was fascinated by the scandal surrounding medical tech company Theranos when it hit in 2017. There were so many serious names involved, from Henry Kissinger to Rupert Murdoch and distinguished others, and then there were the gobsmacking dollars involved. Dollars that were, ultimately, lost.

Theranos’s founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes was a Stanford dropout with plenty of smarts and major ambitions. Her hero was Steve Jobs, whom she modelled herself on, sometimes comically if you count the wardrobe full of black turtleneck sweaters. Bad Blood documents her, and Theranos’s, rise and fall, the personalities involved, and the damage it caused, some of it tragic.

As with the The Woman Who Fooled the World: Belle Gibson’s cancer con, and the darkness at the heart of the wellness industry (which I talk about here) I’m once again amazed at how easily clever people can be suckered in by charisma. Oh, I’m sure I could be just as vulnerable – I’m as human and as fallible as the next person – but when you’re investing hundreds of millions of dollars in a company, surely you’d want a little more than verbal assurances that the technology works?

Incredibly interesting.

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne JonesHowl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

Hayao Miyazaki’s animated film of Howl’s Moving Castle is a household favourite, so when the book came up as an Amazon Daily Deal I snapped it up. For some reason, I thought it was a short story but it’s a full-length novel.

And a wonderful one. It was fun, moving, rich and very satisfying and gave me a different insight into the film too. There’s quite a lot added and quite a lot left out, but wonderful characters are a feature of both book and film.

Loved it.

The Accusation by Wendy JamesThe Accusation by Wendy James

I’ve read two? Three? of James’s books. The Mistake was brilliant, as was The Lost Girls and I have The Golden Child on my want-to-read list. I hadn’t planned on picking up The Accusation until I’d read The Golden Child but then I heard James speak at Newcastle Library with Sarah Barrie, Anna Snoekstra, and Nicola Moriarty and her discussion about The Accusation had me intrigued.

I love it when a book leaves me anxious and guessing. Being a little bit familiar with James’ work, I’d expected this and The Accusation brought on those feelings well. This was a very modern story too. A cautionary tale for our times but with age-old motivations.

Good stuff. Highly recommended.

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What did you enjoy reading in October?

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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 nag author buddies into doing the same.

What’s news from the Hein house? Well, not a lot because I’m currently in outback Queensland where we’re helping out my parents-in-law for a few days. As you’d expect when you’re north of the Tropic of Capricorn in November, it’s hot.

Speaking of hot (oh, I luuuuurve a good segue), have you snapped up your hot-priced copy of The Country Girl from Amazon’s Australian store yet? There are only days left to run on this promotion so make sure you do before it returns to normal price.

I mentioned this on my Facebook page, but I’ll mention it here too because I’m about to give you your first sneak-peek of Scarlett and the Model Man and with Facebook only showing a teensy percentage of page posts to followers, you probably missed it.

At the end of October, I travelled up to the Maitland Regional Art Gallery to see the Nightingale and the Rose exhibition, featuring artworks by two-time Archibald Prize winner Del Kathryn Barton. When I originally came up with Scarlett’s character while writing Eddie and the Show Queen, I used Barton’s style as the inspiration for Scarlett’s, although Scarlett’s works are a bit more… erm… risqué. Those who have read Eddie and the Show Queen will know what I mean.

The Nightingale and the Rose is a collaboration between Barton and filmmaker Brendan Fletcher, and brings to life Oscar Wilde’s fairytale in an animated work. It was gobsmacking. The colours were incredible, the intricacy of the works and their animation mesmerising, and Wilde’s short story tugs hard at your emotions. I could so easily imagine Scarlett being involved in a project like this. Perhaps if she gets a mention in another Levenham Love Story, she will.

This video gives a taste of the film Barton and Fletcher created.

And now for a taste of Scarlett and the Model Man. This is first draft stuff, so please forgive any awkwardness.

In this snippet, Sam goes snooping in Scarlett’s artworks and gets more than he bargained for.

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He wandered over to the wall of propped canvases. The colours were incredible, vivid and almost glittery, as if a series of jewellers’ trays had been upended and swirled about. Sam glanced at Scarlett and found her watching him as she poured water.

He gestured at the paintings. ‘May I?’

‘Sure. Knock yourself out.’

He crouched to flick through a layer. The first was painting of a woman standing in a whirlpool of colour that made him think of the oily rainbows that sometimes appeared in spilled fuel. The woman was strangely proportioned – her head overlarge, her body thin but with dramatically defined muscles. She had a sheet draped over one shoulder, her neck long and stretched as she stared at something behind her.

The next painting was of a green-eyed, dark-haired woman, her body pale and arched and surrounded by alien plant life that was creeping hungrily toward her. One arm was lifted as though beckoning the viewer to join her in her fantasy world.

Sam swallowed and flicked quickly to the next painting, and wished he hadn’t. The scene was similar but this time the green-eyed woman’s eyes were closed and her lips open, as though on a sigh. If that wasn’t disturbing enough, her thighs had been eased apart by plant tendrils that had wrapped around her ankles. In the swirly green and browns of the surrounding forest, hooded eyes glowed.

Sam jerked upright and shoved his hands deep into his jeans’ pockets. Now was not a good time to be thinking about naked women, and especially not naked Scarletts.

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He he. I love that scene and can’t wait to share more of Sam and Scarlett with you.

Scarlett and the Model Man will release in 2020. If you want to be the first to hear about it, join my newsletter team. It’s where all the cool people are!

You can also meet Scarlett in Eddie and the Show Queen. Check out its book page on this website for the cover, blurb, links and an excerpt.

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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 wrangle author buddies into doing the same.

Today is one of those days, but more on our delightful guest in a moment.

What has been happening in the Hein house? Well, other than me living up to my dad’s “Us Heins weren’t meant to play golf” lament, it’s been writing, writing, writing here. The light at the end of the Scarlett and the Model Man first draft tunnel is getting brighter, and I’m so keen to reach it. Alas, life has a habit of getting in the way which means it’ll be a while away yet. More on that next week because this week I want to talk about our guest, Nicki Edwards.

You probably know Nicki from her gorgeous medical rural romances. Books like Intensive Care, Emergency Response, Life Support and the wonderful The Peppercorn Project. This month she has a new title out and it’s the silly season all the way with Second Chance Christmas.

Ooh, I love seasonal romances, don’t you? They’re usually a lot of fun and very cute. Second Chance Christmas sounds like it fits this brief to perfection.

Here’s Nicki to tell you more about it. Remember, it always pays to read Teaser Tuesday posts in their entirety because sometimes we hold special giveaways. Will there be one today? Read on and find out!

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Nicki Edwards authorHi Cathryn,

Thanks so much for having me as your guest today. I’m thrilled to share my latest book, Second Chance Christmas with you. The story is set in Canada although it features an Aussie hero and all the language and spelling is Australian. My family and I spent last Christmas in Canada (a trip of a lifetime for our family) and we visited Niagara on the Lake, Lakefield and Huntsville which is why these towns feature in the story. For those who don’t know me, Canada stole my heart 30 years ago when I lived there as an exchange student.

I had a long break from writing during 2018 and most of 2019 and while deciding whether I wanted to continue telling stories, my muse showed up unexpectedly. The writing mojo returned in a rush in August and I started penning another Christmas novella (I’ve written two others, also set in Canada). Well, the book practically wrote itself and what started out as a novella ended up a full-length Christmas story!

Second Chance Christmas features Jack and Olivia and their daughter Scarlett. Their marriage is all but over when Olivia extends an olive branch and invites Jack to spend Christmas in Canada where she has returned home after the breakdown of their relationship. Jack has done some soul searching during the separation and sees the invitation as his opportunity to have a second chance with Olivia.

I hope you enjoy the story which features one of my favourite scenes ever – a dog sledding incident. I won’t give too much away, but let’s say I wrote it from genuine ‘lived’ experience. Lucky for my hubby, he didn’t end up in hospital though!

I hope you enjoy the story.

Much love, Nicki

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As the plane touched down on the tarmac with a shudder and lurch, Jack tipped his head back, closed his eyes and let out his breath.

The window-seat passenger nudged him with an elbow. Jack removed his headphones and glanced over at him. ‘Not a fan of flying?’ the guy asked with a grin.

‘Just glad to be here,’ Jack replied.

The flight had been delayed leaving Vancouver and he was now two hours behind schedule. Olivia hated his ability to be perpetually late. Not that he had any control over time, but if he did, he’d turn back the clock eighteen months. And he’d never be late again.

Second Chance Christmas by Nicki Edwards‘Where are you from?’

‘Australia.’

The man’s eyes widened. ‘That’s a long way, eh?’

‘Sure is.’

He’d taken off from Brisbane twenty-eight hours earlier, excited but nervous. Twelve months was too long. He wasn’t worried about whether Scarlett would remember him, but he was anxious about seeing Olivia. Last year was a disaster and he didn’t want a repeat of that.

‘Hope you like the cold.’

Jack glanced past him through the tiny oval window at blue, cloudless skies. ‘Looks okay out there. I expected snow to be honest.’

‘Still two days. Plenty of time for it to snow before Christmas.’

‘That’s good.’

A white Christmas would be nice, but that wasn’t why he’d flown halfway around the world. He’d come all this way to see his wife and daughter, and they were his priority. His stomach re-knotted itself, as it had done since Olivia’s invitation. A lack of snow was the least of his worries.

The guy was still making small talk, going on about the weather. Jack tuned back in.

‘It’s summer in Australia, isn’t it?’

Yeah.’

The guy shook his head. ‘Dunno why you’d come all this way in the middle of winter. Must be mad, eh? Where’re you headed?’

‘Niagara-on-the-Lake.’

‘Nice one,’ he drawled. ‘Got friends there? Family?’

The knot tightened. ‘Family.’ My wife. My daughter.

Missing Scarlett was a constant hum in the background, no matter how busy or chaotic his life was. And no amount of Facetime would ever compensate for holding her in his arms.

‘Nothing better than spending Christmas with family,’ the guy said, putting a hand to his heart and tapping his chest with a closed fist. A wedding ring shone. ‘Home. The best place on earth.’

‘Yeah, nothing better.’ Jack tried to smile but his face felt stiff and heavy.

When the flight attendant announced they could disembark, Jack quickly stood and retrieved his carry-on case from the overhead locker to avoid further conversation.

‘Merry Christmas.’

‘Yeah, Merry Christmas to you, too, mate.’

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Merry Christmas indeed, and in Second Chance Christmas we even have a white one. You’ve got to love that. Well, you will, when you grab your own copy. Purchase Second Chance Christmas right now from:

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

Apple Books | Kobo | Barnes & Noble

Booktopia | Bookdepository | Angus & Robertson

Now, aren’t you lovely for reading all the way down to here! That means you get to hear about Nicki’s…

GIVEAWAY!

For your chance to be in the draw for a paperback copy of Second Chance Christmas, simply share where you’d like to spend a dream white Christmas and you’re in!

Sooooo many possibilities. Hmm. I think somewhere in Germany for me, perhaps Nuremberg or Cologne which hold spectacular Christmas markets. I loved Christmas markets when we lived in Europe. They were glittery and lovely and so very Christmassy! And even though it was freezing, visiting them gave us a great excuse to sip gluhwein while wandering the chalets and sampling all the naughty things on offer.

What about you? Where would your dream white Christmas be? Hunting for Santa at the North Pole? Strolling Charles Bridge in magical Prague? Or maybe skiing or adventuring in Canada? So many choices! Share and we’ll pop you into the draw to win a print copy of Nicki’s Second Chance Christmas.

Please note: Giveaway closes midnight, Australian Eastern Daylight Time, Friday 8th November 2019. Australian postal addresses only.

If you’d like to learn more about Nicki and her books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook and Goodreads.

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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.

A much quieter week in the Hein house, although some golf was played. Bad golf. I even had an airy (air swing, no ball touched). So embarrassing. But let’s not talk about that. It makes me feel sooky.

Let’s talk briefly about Scarlett and the Model Man. Things are moving steadily along with this next instalment in the Levenham Love Story series. I’m well past the half-way point and just seeing the first few glimmers of light that signal ‘The End’. The end of the first draft, that is. Even when that’s reached and celebrated, there’s still a lot to do.

I had thoughts of sharing a teensy snippet from Scarlett and the Model Man but have decided to wait a bit longer. Don’t worry, you’ll get plenty of snippets later, I promise. Instead, I’m going to share an except from The Country Girl, the Kindle version of which is on sale right now in Amazon’s Australian store for only $1-99. So cheap!

Now, I know many of you have read this book already (thank you, darling people) but if you haven’t or have been umming and ahhing over whether to give it a whirl, then here’s your chance to pick it at a bargain price.

There aren’t many things you can get for $1-99 that will give you hours of laughs, smiles and mushy sighs as Tash and Patrick work their way to love and Pa delivers his old farmer’s wisdom. The Country Girl will.

This offer runs out in November. Don’t miss out. Grab your Kindle copy today.

Here’s a taste to help convince you that you need this book. In this scene, Patrick has called in on Tash, thinking he can boss her around. Silly, misguided man!

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‘Are you planning on opening a restaurant or something?’

She slid out a plate holding half a dozen small pies. ‘It’s a by-product of having a cooking show.’ Without asking, she folded the pies into piece of lunch wrap and added them to the container. Screwing her nose up, Tash contemplated the fridge door then opened it and rummaged once more inside.

‘I think that’s enough,’ said Patrick, amused.

She held up a clear plastic box. ‘Chocolate-coated honeycomb. Your dad will enjoy that.’

Tash.’

‘I have to get rid of it somewhere.’ She added the container to the pile. ‘It was easy in Melbourne. I had people practically queuing up for stuff. Here …’ She shook her head. ‘No one needs food. They’re all well fed already.’

The Country Girl by Cathryn HeinShe added another box of something and layered the lot into a large blue plastic bag. A bag, he noticed, that carried the logo of a local saddlery store.

Which brought Patrick thumping back to earth and the reason he was at Castlereagh in the first place.

‘Finished?’ he asked.

‘For now.’

‘Good. Because you and I have things to discuss. You’re not to ride Khan.’

Immediately Tash’s arms folded across her chest. Patrick tried not to notice how the movement pushed her breasts up. He needed to get a grip. This was Tash and, more importantly, she had Khan and, worse, had been riding him. Without a frigging helmet. Just because Patrick hadn’t had sex in … His face compressed into a scowl. What did it matter how long? Sex wasn’t everything.

He missed it though. A lot.

The thought resurrected his temper. ‘Don’t look at me like that. You know what that animal is capable of and, let’s face it, you were never in the same league as Maddy when it came to riding, and look what happened to her.’

‘Maddy was galloping helmetless over makeshift jumps in thick scrub when Khan fell. All I plan on doing is pottering around Castlereagh. They are hardly the same circumstances. Besides,’ she said, her chin lifting, ‘you can’t stop me.’

‘I can and I will.’

Unafraid, she came to stand in front of him and looked up. The top of Tash’s head just reached the line of his shoulders and gave him a bird’s-eye view of her cleavage, along with the urge to bury his face between those soft, swollen mounds. An urge that only heightened his anger.

Tash’s smirk was as provocative as her voice. ‘I’d like to see you try.’

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The Country Girl is available in ebook and paperback from these stores:

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

Apple Books | Kobo | Google Play | Barnes & Noble

Booktopia | Dymocks | Angus & Robertson

If you’d like to learn more about The Country Girl, please visit its Book page on this website. Hankering for news on my next release? Newsletter subscribers get all the news and other goodies first. Join the cool readers here.

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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 wheedle author buddies into doing the same.

Did you catch last Friday’s This Writing Life post, where I shared a stack of photos from our visit to Sculpture on the Farm? Check it out here, if you missed it. It’s a blast!

As for Teaser Tuesday, it’s been guest central here lately. Wasn’t last week’s post with Cheryl Adnams great? The Bushranger’s Wife sounds like such a fun read, as does today’s featured book. But more on our most excellent guest in a moment. There is news from the Hein house to be had.

What a week! The first few days were spent writing and getting prepared for a big Rocking Horse Hill ebook promotion. If you’re suuuuuper quick, you might still be able to grab a copy at the bargain basement price of 99 cents. But like I said, you’ll need to be quick because this will end very soon. Find all the store links here.

Then we spent three days in Sydney where we attended the amazing spectacle that is the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, and on Saturday I caught up with Pamela Cook at local Newcastle bookshop Secret Book Stuff, where she talked about her new release Cross My Heart (catch up on her Teaser Tuesday for that book here). Then on Sunday, I spent a delightful (and laughter-filled) afternoon with writer buddies Annie West, Michelle Douglas and Anna Campbell.

Phew!

As you can probably guess, writing took a back seat last week but I’m back in the chair now. If I get excited, I might even share a few lines from Scarlett and the Model Man on Teaser Tuesday next week. We shall see.

Ooh, you are going to LOVE our guest today.

Here to show off her faaaaabulous new read is none other than rural romance and life-lit queen …

Rachael Johns. Whoop!

Rachael’s new book is called Just One Wish and with a tag of “Three women, three secrets, one life-changing journey” you know it’s going to be page-turner. Here she is to tell you a little more about Just One Wish and to share a delicious snippet.

Take it away, Rach!

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Author Rachael JohnsHiya Cathryn and all her lovely readers – thanks for having me on your AWESOME blog.  I’m super excited today because my new book JUST ONE WISH has been out officially for ONE day!!

This book was so much fun to write and has some of my favourite characters I’ve ever created in it. Ged, the main character, is stuck between the opposing views, values and personalities of her mother and grandmother, both strong and domineering in their own ways.

Today I’m giving you glimpse into these three characters as well as Ged’s long-suffering dad. In the snippet below you’ll meet Ged, her dad and her feminist grandmother, Alice – better known as Gralice. I hope you enjoy the taster! And if you want to read more, JUST ONE WISH is available now from your favourite bookshop or online.

Happy reading, Rach!

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Less than ten minutes later I was dressed, no longer looked like an assault victim and, with the help of Gralice and her umbrella, was making my way outside to meet my father who had parked his Holden Commodore (still his pride and joy) on the street.

‘You look swish tonight, Dad,’ I said trying to sound chirpy as he pulled away from the kerb. He was wearing an honest-to-God suit, making him look like a fancy chauffeur. The last time I’d seen him wear it was to his mother’s funeral two years ago. Or was it Will’s wedding? They were around the same time.

Just One Wish by Rachael Johns‘I think I look like a right tosspot. Who wears a suit to have dinner in their own house?’ he said. ‘How’s your foot?’

‘Sore. Thanks for coming and getting us.’

‘It’s my pleasure—gave me an excuse to get away.’

‘Oh Dad, is it that bad?’

‘It’s getting worse by the second. It used to be I couldn’t eat my dinner before she took a photo for that Insta-thing, but now I have to dress like I’m dining with the Queen for a meal in my own house.’ He scratched his near-white, receding hairline. ‘I don’t know how much more of this I can take.’

‘You could always learn to cook yourself, then you can eat whenever the hell you like,’ Gralice suggested.

Dad chuckled as if such a thing was as unlikely as humans establishing a settlement on Mars.

Now’s probably a good time to mention that my mother is what can only be described as an Instagram and YouTube sensation. You may have heard of her. Her handle is @thehappyhappyhousewife, and no one is more surprised than me by the fact she has over a hundred thousand followers on all her social media platforms and her YouTube channel (yes, she has her own) has been trending for months. She’s an advocate for the social movement ‘new domesticity’—a crusade that promotes the revival of the lost domestic arts of cooking, cleaning and taking care of one’s husband and children at the expense of all else.

If you ask her, it’s all about being proud to be a homemaker, not needing, wanting or looking for satisfaction and self-fulfilment outside the home. If you ask Gralice, it’s a terrifying step back in time, a slap in the face to all the hardworking women like herself who fought for gender equality and women’s liberation in terms of their bodies, children, work and relationships. Gralice does not approve of Mum’s new ‘hobby’ any more than my mother approves of Gralice’s lifelong activism.

‘Have you told Mum how you’re feeling?’

‘I’ve tried, but she tells me to stop being a grumpy old man.’

‘Well, you can’t have your cake and eat it too, Tony,’ Gralice said. ‘It’s all the things you’ve enjoyed all your married life that she’s now promoting to the masses. Why should you be the only man to benefit from her archaic ideas?’

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PS. @thehappyhappyhousewife IS a real account on Instagram. Feel free to follow Sappho and get tips about how to live your best housewife life!

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Ooh, I can’t wait to follow The Happy Happy Housewife. I bet that’ll be a hoot of a feed. As Just One Wish sounds a hoot of a read!

And it’s out now. Satisfy your need for this excellent read immediately thanks to these bookstores:

Booktopia | Dymocks | Angus & Robertson

Amazon.com | Amazon.au

Apple Books | Kobo | Google Play

Order from Booktopia and you could not only score a signed copy (limited stocks) of Just One Wish, but do it before October 31st and you’ll go into the draw to win a year’s worth of books!

If you’d like to learn more about Rachael and her books, please visit her websiteYou can also connect on FacebookTwitter using @RachaelJohnsGoodreads and Instagram.

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This Writing Life: Sculpture on the Farm 2019

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Sculpture on the Farm is an art exhibition and competition held at ‘Fosterton’, an idyllic grazing property north of Dungog in New South Wales, and a partner event to the Dungog Festival. What a brilliant way to bring art lovers and tourists to the area! And with the major prize-winning artwork being acquired by Dungog Shire, everyone will be able to enjoy the winner’s sculpture into the future.

This is the second year Sculpture on the Farm has been run. Thanks to being stuck in hospital, I was hugely disappointed to miss last year’s inaugural show and was determined to make it this year. Dungog is only an hour or so drive north of Newcastle, and a lovely little town nestled in the foothills below the glorious Barrington Tops. No matter what the art was like, I was guaranteed gorgeous scenery and a terrific day out.

Last year’s exhibition attracted over 2,000 visitors. Given the stream of cars headed up Fosterton Road to the farm, the wonderfulness of the art on offer and the overall excellence of our experience, I have no doubt this has been well-exceeded this year. I’ll have to make a note to go early next year and beat the crowds.

As with so many rural events, this was run by volunteers and they did a great job. Everything was smooth from the parking to the ticket-buying to the easy to navigate layout.

Make Sculpture on the Farm a must-see for next year. If it’s anything like this year’s event, you’ll love it.

Here are some of our piccies from the day. Enjoy!

Sculpture on the Farm. Dusty Days in the Saddle by Sam Anderson.

Dusty Days in the Saddle by Sam Anderson. This was Jim and my favourite.

Sculpture on the Farm. Sticky Fleece by Greg Salter.

Sticky Fleece by Greg Salter. Some of you may remember a photo I took of a monster fleece in the National Museum of Australia that came from a sheep nicknamed Shrek. The sheep had been left unshorn for years and was in a terrible state when found. The artist has taken the idea of Shrek’s fleece and what wondered what would happen if you could pull objects out of it like a magician’s hat, with the strangest thing being… a donut! I loved this one. It was incongruous and funny.

Sculpture on the Farm. The Theatre of the Shadow by Peter Tilley.

This was the winning sculpture – The Theatre of the Shadow by Peter Tilley. The photograph doesn’t do it justice. It was amazing!

Sculpture on the Farm. Big Old Buck by Tobias Bennett.

Another favourite – Big Old Buck by Tobias Bennett. He looked so proud in his landscape. He even had metal goolies!

Sculpture on the Farm. Waiting for Rain by Jimmy Rix.

Waiting for Rain by Jimmy Rix. This was rather poignant, in particular when it was displayed next to the farm’s rain gauge.

Sculpture on the Farm. The Mob by Catie Sully.

The Mob by Catie Sully. This was huge fun. Like a mob of teenage boys racing off to do mischief.

Sculpture on the Farm. Selfie Girl by Laurent Rivory.

Selfie Girl by Laurent Rivory. “A parody of the self-obsessed, complete with hair extensions, filler lips, Brazillian butt lift and fake eyelashes.”

Sculpture on the Farm. Dance Around the Moon by Inge King.

Dance Around the Moon by Inge King (1915-2016). This could be yours for $75,000.

Sculpture on the Farm. Flowers of Glass by Lynden Jacobi.

Loved these flowers made of old plates. They were so happy! Flowers of Glass by Lynden Jacobi.

Sculpture on the Farm. Heart to Heart by Amanda Harrison.

Heart to Heart by Amanda Harrison “explores friendship, sharing and always being there to listen. Good friends are to be treasured, with joy and grace.” I think this sculpture reflects this perfectly.

Sculpture on the Farm. The Next Generation by Rod Buckland.

Another favourite. The Next Generation by Rod Buckland.

Sculpture on the Farm. Emergent by Bridget Whitehead.

Emergent by Bridget Whitehead. A lovely limestone carving representing a seed that pushes into the ground before emerging upward.

Sculpture on the Farm. Posed by Nicole O’Regan.

Posed by Nicole O’Regan. I liked the animation in this one.

Sculpture on the Farm. Topiarius by Carolyn Rendle.

Topiarius by Carolyn Rendle.

Seed I, II and III by Natalie Duncan. “You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars.”

Sculpture on the Farm. Fore by Gary Boote.

Fore by Gary Boote. One for golf lovers (like us).

Sculpture on the Farm. Much Like Life by Tobias Bennett.

Much Like Life by Tobias Bennett. “Much like life, the universe and everything, there is no beginning or end. Everything is connected in time and space.”

Sculpture on the Farm. Isle of Flowers by Lynden Jacobi.

Isle of Flowers by Lynden Jacobi.

Sculpture on the Farm. Surface Tension by Keith Chidzey.

Surface Tension by Keith Chidzey. This was almost creepy, as if the timber and steel hand was just waiting for a lightning strike to bring it to life.

Sculpture on the Farm. Rowers by David Perkins.

Rowers by David Perkins. This was cute. The rowers move on the breeze or if touched lightly.

Sculpture on the Farm. Chess Set by Gary Boote.

Chess Set by Gary Boote. Made out of mesh bins!

Sculpture on the Farm. The Butterfly Effect by Amanda Harrison.

Had to laugh at this sculpture. The Butterfly Effect by Amanda Harrison.

Sculpture on the Farm. Villanelle by Nigel Dobson.

Villanelle by Nigel Dobson. I liked how this stood out in the landscape.

Sculpture on the Farm. Earth Cry by Keith Chidzey.

Earth Cry by Keith Chidzey. A beautiful sculpture carved out of Huon pine.

Sculpture on the Farm. Sir and Madame Leather by Ren Thackham.

Loved these! Sir and Madame Leather by Ren Thackham. Instead of animals being made into coats, the artist has made coats into animals. So clever.

Sculpture on the Farm. Bush Spirit II by Jane Dawson.

Bush Spirit II by Jane Dawson. “Bronze for strength, its form suggests a movement forward, clothed in the iconic Akubra and Driza-Bone for shelter against the elements, all reference the Spirit of the Bush.”

Sculpture on the Farm. Sirens by Kim Elliot.

Sirens by Kim Elliot. Beautiful.

Sculpture on the Farm. Horse’s Ass by Felicity Cavanagh.

Horse’s Ass by Felicity Cavanagh. Right up my alley.

Sculpture on the Farm. La Foglia by Emilia Krumm.

La Foglia by Emilia Krumm.

Sculpture on the Farm. Malus by Natalie Duncan.

Malus by Natalie Duncan. “malus is the genus the common apple belongs to. This work explores the Garden of Eden tale, and the relationship of Eve and the snake; forever bound together in their crime, the downfall of mankind.”

Sculpture on the Farm. Left, Right, Left by Ionas Kaltenbach.

Left, Right, Left by Ionas Kaltenbach.

Sculpture on the Farm. Maximus by Rod Buckland.

Maximus by Rod Buckland. “This piece was inspired by my late father-in-law Max. Braford bulls are strong and quiet in nature which encapsulates Max. He is mounted on a worn stair tread which represents his footsteps in life.” Lovely and poignant.

Sculpture on the Farm. Besos by Sallie Portnoy.

Besos by Sallie Portnoy. The photo doesn’t do justice to the colours. They were stunning.

Sculpture on the Farm. The Fox and the Moon Stick by Michael Garth.

The Fox and the Moon Stick by Michael Garth. “… an Aesop’s fable yet to be written.”

Sculpture on the Farm. Much Like Water by Tobias Bennett.

Much Like Water by Tobias Bennett.

Sculpture on the Farm. A Long Walk Home by Sam Anderson.

Another favourite. A Long Walk Home by Sam Anderson.

Sculpture on the Farm. The Vision by Ian Scott.

We adored these. The Vision by Ian Scott. “In The Vision, people are staring at something in the sky.” Except it looked like they were staring at us in wonder. What fun!

Sculpture on the Farm. Ginkgo Tree by Rudi Jass.

Ginkgo Tree by Rudi Jass, a kinetic sculpture. I liked how this was placed in a paddock on its own, with the hills as backdrop.

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Which is your favourite Sculpture on the Farm?

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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 do my best con author buddies into doing the same.

Which I have for this week’s Teaser Tuesday. Yes, my lovelies, we have another guest. Rah!

Before I pass you over to our visitor, news from the Hein house.

Umm

Not a lot, to be honest. Except I bought a new KitchenAid mixmaster and have been going a bit potty with it. So potty I’ve been temporarily banned from making any more cakes. Which is fine. I’ll just switch to bread and test out its dough hook instead. Or the bonus pasta roller and cutter set that came with it. Got to run my new toy through its paces!

Enough of that. Time for our guest.

I’m delighted to welcome back Cheryl Adnams to Teaser Tuesday. It’s been a long time since her last visit but Cheryl has been a very busy lady. Not only with writing but travelling too. The Instagram feed of her recent journeys left me green with envy. Oh, the places she went! Check it out when you get a moment. The photos and videos are fantastic.

Also fantastic is Cheryl’s foray into historical romance and women’s fiction. You may be familiar with her highly rated Muller’s of McLaren Vale rural romance series, which included Handpicked, Chasing the Flames and Bet On It. Although still Australian-set, Cheryl’s most recent books have moved back in time to turning points in Australian history. The first was The Girl From Eureka (ebook available now with print coming out in 2020) and now Cheryl’s newest title, The Bushranger’s Wife has hit shelves, and I know you are going to love it.

Here’s Cheryl to tell you more and share an excerpt.

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Cheryl Adnams authorHi Cathryn!

Thank you for having me as your guest today. I’m thrilled to be able to tell you and your readers about my latest release, “The Bushranger’s Wife”.

This book is a follow on from my first Australian Historical romance “The Girl from Eureka” which introduced readers to amateur bushranger Jack the Devil. Jack was a fun side character and friend to my heroine Indy.

The Bushranger’s Wife” takes up Jack’s life six years after the famous Eureka Stockade rebellion and he is now a fully-fledged bushranger who is also running a semi-legitimate transport business. The story begins with him robbing our heroine, Pru and her grandmother, and he is instantly captivated. A series of encounters throws the two together until finally an event forces Pru into marriage with Jack. But this is not your usual marriage and some fun scenes as well as challenging moments test the love that they find within what started out as a marriage of convenience.

This scene is one of the fun pre-marriage scenes that Jack and Pru have. I hope you enjoy enough to want to read the rest. Cheryl xxx

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Pru spent a fitful night and was up earlier than usual. She’d tossed and turned in her bed, having worked herself up to a state she knew would only be sated by Jack’s kisses and hands. Hands that he still refused to lay on her, damn him. It was romantic really and she admired him for his patience and his strength, but didn’t he know how much she wanted him to make love to her?

Having dressed and made breakfast, she went to the little spare room to see if Jack was awake. He must have returned very late from town, as she hadn’t heard him come home. The door was slightly ajar and she pushed it a little to see if he was there. No Jack. The bed was made, just as she had left it the day before.

The Bushranger's Wife by Cheryl AdnamsFollowing her instincts out to the barn, Persephone and Misha stood chomping on their morning feed. They lifted their heads to look at her momentarily before digging back into their chaff. He must have come back at some point in the night, or early this morning, and had taken the time to feed to horses. But why had he gone out again?

‘He’s run away again, has he?’ she asked Misha, giving her a good scratch.

A few hours later, Pru heard a horse and wagon coming up the driveway and opening the front door she stepped out onto the wide wooden porch to see Jack just pulling a small dray to a halt at the bottom of the steps. When he grinned at her before jumping down off the wagon, she smiled and placed a hand over her belly. It never failed to amaze her how the sight of him caused butterflies to wake in her stomach.

‘Where have you been?’ she asked. ‘And where did you get the dray?’

‘I’m sorry I was gone so long,’ Jack responded. ‘I needed to go a little further afield for this particular delivery, and required something larger to carry it in.’

‘Another present? For me?’ she asked, clapping her hands in delight.

Taking a step forward to help him unload the dray of whatever he’d bought, she stopped dead when instead he unloaded a man, bound and gagged.

Jack walked his prisoner towards the house and her eyes widened as she saw the man’s distinctive clothing.

‘What’s this?’

‘It’s a priest.’

‘I can see that,’ she said. ‘Why is he bound and gagged and standing on our doorstep?’

‘He wouldn’t come of his own accord.’

‘So … you kidnapped him?! You kidnapped a priest?’

‘He said we had to come to church on Sunday,’ Jack said, as though it ought to make sense to her. ‘But I needed him to marry us today. He refused. So I talked him into it.’

Pru struggled against the smile that threatened. ‘How romantic?

Jack removed the gag from the old priest’s mouth. The man coughed and spluttered. ‘He dragged me out of my bed before dawn. Made me get dressed. Dragged me all the way here from Daylesford.’

‘Daylesford?’ Pru shot another angry look at Jack.

‘Well, I couldn’t use a priest from Ballarat. They all know me.’

‘Really?’ Pru raised an eyebrow. ‘Priests know you?’

Jack rolled his eyes. ‘Fine, so I’ve never stepped foot inside a church in my life. But I couldn’t risk anyone recognising me from town. This was the only way.’

‘Untie his hands too,’ Pru ordered.

But …’ Jack started, rubbing his chin as he hesitated. ‘He already hit me once.’

‘I’d say you deserved at least one, wouldn’t you?’

‘What happened to “how romantic”?’ Jack huffed.

She stepped down the wooden steps and kissed him. Then she slapped him across the back of the head.

‘Ow!’

‘I was being sarcastic, you madman.’ Pru shook her head and turned to the priest.

‘Father, I apologise for my wayward, romantic, husband to be. You are free to go.’

‘Now hold on,’ Jack complained. ‘I brought him here to marry us and that’s exactly what he’s going to do.’

‘I’ll not be married by a man of God who is being held against his will.’

‘I do not know why you agreed to marry this reprobate, child,’ the priest said, rubbing his rope-burned wrists.

‘She proposed to me,’ Jack grumbled.

Pru ignored him. ‘Can I at least offer you a cup of tea before you go, Father?’

The priest looked from Jack to Prudence with some remaining suspicion before he yielded. ‘The name is Father Flaherty. Your friend here did not even bother to ask.’

‘You were too busy taking swings at me,’ Jack threw in.

‘You were dragging me out of my bed!’

‘Jack, enough!’ Pru ordered.

‘A cup of tea, you say?’ the priest said, ignoring Jack and stepping up onto the porch. ‘Don’t mind if I do.’

Both of them turned their backs on Jack and walked into the house.

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Hooly-dooly, how much fun does The Bushranger’s Wife sound!! You want a copy, oh yes you do, so satisfy that want with an instant purchase via any of these links.

Amazon.com | Amazon.au | Amazon.uk

Apple Books | Kobo | Google Play | Barnes & Noble

Happy reading!

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

Make sure you tune in this coming Friday when I’ll be sharing a stack of photos from our recent trip to Sculpture on the Farm. Not to be missed!

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My Favourite Reads of September 2019

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My Favourite Reads image

Welcome to My Favourite Reads for September 2019.

September was a month of fat books, with one over 800 pages, one at 500 and another at 450, I felt like I read seven books instead of five.

My favourite read of the month was beautiful, moving, and a wonderful, wonderful book. Stand by for some serious fangirling.

The Glittering Hour by Iona Grey

The Glittering Hour by Iona GreyI couldn’t rave enough about Grey’s debut novel Letters to the Lost (my thoughts on that here). I adored that book and wondered how Grey could possibly top it, but she has.

The Glittering Hour is stunning. STUNNING!

Gorgeously written, it’s an early 20th century historical that brings to life the intervening war years, with all its social and political upheaval. Selina Lennox, the heroine, is a “Bright young thing” – basically an “it” girl. But her life changes when she meets artist and photographer Lawrence Weston, a man not of her class. What follows is a breathtaking, emotional journey that left me sobbing and wrung out and wanting to go back to the start and do it all again.

A must-read. No, seriously, get reading The Glittering Hour now. NOW.

Labyrinth of the Spirits by Carlos Ruiz ZafonLabyrinth of the Spirits by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

This is the final instalment in the Cemetery of Forgotten Books series and ties together many of the mysteries of the first three novels.

At 800 pages it’s a monster, and I admit to having moments of wanting to put it down but I so adored the first two books in the series (The Shadow of the Wind was an incredible read as was The Angel’s Game) and the third book had so many loose ends that I had to see them tied up.

There are some deliciously creepy characters in Labyrinth of the Spirits and I love Ruiz Zafon’s gothic Barcelona. As with all his books, he really brings the city and era to life. It’s fascinating.

I look forward to seeing what he writes next. I hope it’s something like Marina (I talk about that here). That book is amazing.

The Ridealong by Michaelbrent CollingsThe Ridealong by Michaelbrent Collings

I am such a Michealbrent fan. His writing, storytelling and characters capture me every time. I keep wanting to pull apart his books to work out how he’s done things, but I’m always too caught up in the story to stop.

Like Terminal, my last Michaelbrent read (I rave about that here), The Ridealong was a cracking read. It’s a fast-past thriller featuring a teenage girl who goes for a ride-along with her cop dad. All pretty straightforward, except you know from the start that something is very wrong, and as the day progresses it just gets worse and worse.

So, so clever with its concluding twist. Highly recommended.

The Honourable Thief by Meaghan Wilson AnastasiosThe Honourable Thief by Meaghan Wilson Anastasios

Now, this was an interesting read. I thought The Honourable Thief was a stand-alone but it looks like it’s as series now, with another Benedict Hitchens story having just been released.

Another 20th century historical, The Honourable Thief follows the adventures of brilliant archaeologist Benedict Hitchens, a man once feted but who falls from grace in quite a spectacular way.

I enjoyed this a lot. It had some seriously cool moments, but I did find the hero difficult to like. I wonder if that’s me though, comparing Ben to Indiana Jones too much. Like Jones, Ben Hitchens is charming, sexy, brave and clever, and both have their flaws. Ben’s are a bit harder to forgive, though. For me, anyway. I’ve passed The Honourable Thief on to Jim to read and it’ll be interesting to hear his opinion.

Pilgrimage of Death by Sally SpencerPilgrimage of Death by Sally Spencer

I’ve been enjoying Spencer’s Inspector Blackstone series hugely (more on those here) so when Pilgrimage of Death came up on sale I snapped it up.

Pilgrimage of Death is narrated by Geoffrey Chaucer of The Canterbury Tales fame. I studied the tales in year 12 and loved it. Admittedly, it took some serious effort to get the hang of the language, but in the end, I found the Tales bawdy, funny, interesting and clever. Which is exactly how I found Pilgrimage of Death.

Chaucer calls this tale his “who-hath-done-it” and credits himself with creating a new genre. That’s what the book is – a historical whodunnit, featuring the pilgrims from The Canterbury Tales.

Great fun.

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What did you read in September that tickled your fancy?

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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 twist the arms of author buddies to do the same.

Did you enjoy the last few weeks of guests and giveaways? It was great fun, wasn’t it? There were some wonderful answers to Pamela Cook’s question on friendship and Anna Campbell’s celebration of swashbuckling was also a blast.

Today you have me again but keep your eyes peeled for more guests over coming weeks, some of whom write in the best genre of all – rural romance!

What’s been happening in the Hein house? Golf, that’s what. Well, calling the thing I’ve been doing golf is probably not entirely accurate, but I have been hauling a set of clubs around a golf course while hitting and chasing a little white ball.

Those who’ve been following this blog for a long time and remember Friday Feast, may also remember a little segment called “Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf”, which is saying of my dad’s. And, in his case, it’s true. The poor man is even more untalented than me.

Cathryn ready to golfAnyway, in that segment I used to talk about my golfing adventures. Like the time I gave myself a black eye or hit three balls into the water off the first tee on round three of the club championships. None of these things stopped me from playing, though. I loved the silly sport. When you spend a lot of your day parked in front of a computer it’s good to head out in the open air and get some exercise. I haven’t been able to do much of that this year but now my health is on the improve I’m making the effort to get out again.

And it’s good. The getting out, not the golf, and you have to start somewhere, don’t you?

I suppose it’s a bit like writing in that way. I’m still making careful progress on Scarlett and the Model Man but careful progress is still progress. I want this book to be the best it can be. Can’t let you lovely readers down!

As the title suggests, the heroine of Scarlett and the Model Man is Scarlett Ash. She’s an up-and-coming artist who’s gaining attention for her, er, unusual take on femininity.

Those of you who’ve read Eddie and the Show Queen will already know what I mean. For those who haven’t, here’s a small taste of Scarlett when we first meet her.

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Scarlett was as eye-popping as her artwork. Her clothes were simple – khaki camouflage-patterned cargo pants, heavy lace-up work boots, and a black, paint-splattered fine-wool jumper. But it was her hair, eyes and skin that made her spectacular. Everything seemed overdone, from the cascading dark curls to the greenness of her eyes and the porcelain beauty of her face. Dramatic and finely drawn, like her art, and probably just as complicated.

Eddie & the Show Queen coverAlice also suspected she was more than a little drunk. A cosy-covered teapot sat on a bench, along with a sugar bowl and a half-empty bottle of gin. Having greeted Mrs Wallace with undisguised mistrust and Alice with strange interest, Scarlett now paced the studio, sipping from a delicate teacup and sliding narrow glances at Mrs Wallace as the older lady flicked through canvases.

‘I don’t do free, as you well know, Audrey.’

Alice had no idea what the relationship between these two was, but the use of Mrs Wallace’s first name suggested a long association. She hoped that was a good sign.

‘This would be a favour.’ Mrs Wallace smiled in a way that reminded Alice of a politician. ‘To me.’

Scarlett’s gaze sharpened even further. ‘Calling one in, are you?’

Mrs Wallace’s expression remained benign.

Scarlett’s attention switched to Alice. She gave her the same up and down that she had on arrival. It didn’t seem critical, more curious. ‘Are you expecting to model for it?’

‘Model?’ Alice couldn’t help her glance at one of the more revealing canvases. ‘No. Not at all.’ Not those bits anyway.

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Watch out for more of Scarlett in the future as I start to share snippets from Scarlett and the Model Man to whet your appetite!

Eddie and the Show Queen is available now in ebook and print from these retailers:

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

Apple Books | Kobo | Google Play | Barnes & Noble

Booktopia | Angus & Robertson | Bookdepository

I have a limited number of Eddie and the Show Queen paperbacks available for direct purchase. If you’d like one of these personally signed editions, order now using this form. Orders also include a special Eddie and the Show Queen bookmark.

If you’d like to know more about Eddie and the Show Queen and how I came to write the story in Country Shows and Title Woes, the story behind Eddie and the Show Queen. You can also discover Five Secret Things about Eddie and the Show Queen in its release day blog post.

Never want to miss out on a new release? Join my newsletter team. It’s where all the cool people are!

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