Tag Archives: Admella Beach

10 Secret Things About Summer and the Groomsman!

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Summer and the Groomsman

Crack the champas, bring out the choccies, for today is Summer and the Groomsman’s release day. Whee!

For those of you who have pre-ordered copies of my new rural romance, THANK YOU! I hope they’re a-winging their way into your e-readers, phones, tablets and computers now (although because we’re always early here in Australia we might have to wait until midnight ticks over in the USA before the files are actually released).

Most of all I hope you enjoy Harry’s and Summer’s sweet, cute romance. I had a ball writing it.

And now, for your delectation, here are…

10 SECRET THINGS ABOUT SUMMER AND THE GROOMSMAN

1/. Poor Harry was not always Harry. He started out as Cameron (Cam) but he never really fitted that name. So I changed it to Henry, which I adored. Then I discovered that Henry clashed with a character from Admella Beach (the two stories overlap) and I had to rename him Harry. Summer was always Summer.

The change from Cameron to Henry was not without its dramas. Idiot me did a universal change for Cam without specifying whole and capitalised words only, resulting in EVERY letter sequence of “cam” changing to Henry. Thank god for the undo button.

2/. The idea for the story came to me in a day spa at the QT Hotel on the Gold Coast where I was staying for the 2012 Romance Writers of Australia conference. Good buddy Rachael Johns and I decided we deserved a pampering and booked ourselves in for a morning of bliss. Harry drifted into my brain during a very pleasurable massage. I don’t know why I don’t try this plotting method for every book. It’s lovely!

 

Me and Rachael Johns at the 2012 RWA conference

Me and Rach at the RWA Gold Coast conference wearing red for for the Heart Foundation, that year’s charity.

3/. Harry’s looks were very loosely inspired by Midshipman Alonso Frame (actor Russell Tovey) from Doctor Who’s Voyage of the Damned (he’s the one with the gunshot wound in the TV trailer).

4/. Summer and the Groomsman’s stunning cover was designed by Kellie from Book Cover By Design. To say I’m thrilled with it would be an understatement.

5/. Gavin Chalk’s property, where Summer agists her horse Binky, was inspired by one where I once kept my beloved first horse Mysty. It was also the location where my dad, an ex-jockey, infamously fell off her one Christmas and broke his wrist, resulting in endless teasing about his riding prowess.

6/. Summer and the Groomsman is my first self-published work. It was a hell of a learning curve but very exciting. Special thanks to author and editor Dianne Blacklock who edited the novella and was a great pleasure to work with, Kellie from Book Cover By Design, and to wonderful people like New Zealand author Maggie Le Page who held my hand throughout the journey, and happily answered all my dumb and panicked questions. Also to the private BI50Days loop for their support and error spotting, and Rachael Johns for her endless belief and encouragement.

7/. The exterior of the church where Em’s and Josh’s wedding takes place was inspired by my home town of Mount Gambier’s Christ Church where my Mum and Dad were married.Christ Church Mount Gambier

8/. Because this book is my first to be published world-wide I agonised over what spelling to use – Australian English or US. Initially I directed edits be skewed for the US market but when the time came to accept the changes I couldn’t do it, and so the novella remains Australian. With the setting and characters all Aussie, it just seemed right.

9/. Sometimes I write books to music, sometimes I don’t but almost every book has at least one “theme” song. Summer and the Groomsman is one of the few that doesn’t. No idea why. It just happened that way. I suspect it was because the story and characters were vivid to me from the start and didn’t need the extra creative input.

10/. Harry has a brother Eddie, who is very competitive, convinced he’s far more heroic than his brother could ever be, and now won’t stop nagging me to write his story. Looks like I’ll have to book myself in for a spa session and indulge in another long massage to find out what it is!

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I hope you enjoyed these ten secret things. But what I really hope is that you have a ball with Harry and Summer and all the Levenham crew.

Keen to read an excerpt? You’ll find one on Summer and the Groomsman’s book page on this website plus others on Teaser Tuesdays here and here. And don’t forget you can download samples from ebook retailers.

Of course, I know that deep down you’re excited enough to want a copy right now, oh yes you are! To satisfy that want, simply clickety-click on these retailers and Summer and the Groomsman will be yours.

Amazon.com

Amazon.au

Amazon.uk

Kobo

iBooks

Nook

 

Thank you. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to stick a bottle of fizz in the fridge for later. One must celebrate book releases in style. ‘Tis the rules!

PS. Due to Summer and the Groomsman hogging the bloggy limelight, there will be no Teaser Tuesday today. Never fear, it’ll be back in all its tantalising glory next week.

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FRIDAY FEAST with Cathryn Hein

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Greetings food and book lovers, and welcome to another slurpalicious edition of Friday Feast. This week you again have the pleasure of my company, and I have a tasty and simple Asian inspired meal for you that you’ll love.

But as usual, let us endure the embarrassment that is Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. I thought it was happening, I really did. There were definite signs of improvement last weekend My new blue oveheart marked golf balland I was beginning to feel a glimmer of confidence. Then, because I somehow qualified for this year’s Women’s Golf Nepean Gold Brooch, on Wednesday I zoomed up the road to play the final at Leonay Golf Club. It started so well… Par, then bogey (not so good) then another par. Rah! I had form! Alas, it then descended into what at times could only be called utter humiliation. On a positive note, it was a gorgeous day and the other ladies were lovely and kind. If only Oh, Great Golfing God had been, but the bugger hates me. Must be the blue love hearts I’ve painted on my balls.

Time for a look at one of my books. This week: Rocking Horse Hill. This is the first in a loosely related rural romance series I’ve nicknamed the Levenham Love Stories. The Falls is already out, Summer and the Groomsman is in production (news on that soon), and I’m currently working on another full-length related novel with the working title Admella Beach. So Rocking Horse Hill is ground zero, so to speak.

Take a look…

ROCKING HORSE HILL

Rocking Horse Hill by Cathryn Hein coverWho do you trust when a stranger threatens to tear your family apart?

Ever since she was a little girl, Emily Wallace-Jones has loved Rocking Horse Hill. The beautiful family property is steeped in history. Everything important in Em’s life has happened there. And even though Em’s brother Digby has inherited the property, he has promised Em it will be her home for as long as she wishes.

When Digby falls in love with sweet Felicity Townsend, a girl from the wrong side of the tracks, Em worries about the future. But she is determined not to treat Felicity with the same teenage snobbery that tore apart her relationship with her first love, Josh Sinclair. A man who has now sauntered sexily back into Em’s life and given her a chance for redemption.

But as Felicity settles in, the once tightly knitted Wallace-Jones family begins to fray. Suspicions are raised, Josh voices his distrust, and even Em’s closest friends question where Felicity’s motives lie. Conflicted but determined to make up for the damage caused by her past prejudices, Em sides with her brother and his fiancée until a near tragedy sets in motion a chain of events that will change the family forever.

A moving family drama and passionate love story by the author of Heartland, Promises and Heart of the Valley.

Romance. A sexy hero and clever heroine, both with complex pasts. An eerie volcano. A meddling granny. Family drama. Donkeys! What more could you want? Buy Rocking Horse Hill right now from Booktopia, Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Google Play or your favourite book retailer.

And now for something slurpalicious.

My Leetle Dumpling…

I am a dumpling devotee, and proud of it.

I don’t mean European-type dumplings, made with flour and so on – although old-fashioned golden syrup dumplings are pretty tasty, and the occasional herb or cheesy dumpling-topped casserole can be a treat too. No, my dumpling love is for Asian-style dumplings. Little parcels of savoury goodness that can be anything from slippery to crunchy, and all textures in between.

They’re a sensation in flavour too, from interesting meat fillings to nourishing vegetables, even doughy delights on occasion. You can find them steamed, fried, boiled, or a combination. And they come in all shapes and sizes too, from crescents to buns to open-topped cups and prettily pleated balls.

With their flavours, aromas, texture and beauty, dumplings appeal across the senses. Plonk me in an Asian restaurant or noodle bar and my eyes will immediately go a-hunting for them. Any sort will do – potstickers, bao, buns, dimsum, wontons and more – there seem to be an endless array.

Sadly, you can’t eat out all the time. Well, you can, but that would mean no cooking and life without kitchen fun is too horrible to contemplate. And if, like me, you need your dumpling fix often, that means making them at home.

Fortunately, dumplings are dead easy.

No, don’t you look at me like that. They are! And I’m going to prove it with my recipe for dumpling soup.

I adore this soup. It’s simple and seriously tasty. Oh, and healthy. The soup itself is embarrassingly easy: stock, lemongrass, ginger, ketjap manis. The vegetable part is whatever you feel like.

It’s also versatile. These dumplings are made with prawn meat but I’ve made them with pork mince and chicken mince as well, to great success, varying the other ingredients to include spring onions, chilli, soy, whatever takes my fancy (leftovers of these versions are really tasty cold). Steamed spinach, soy and water chestnut is another fab combo.

Best of all, there should be enough dumplings remaining to serve with dipping sauce for extra indulgence!

I have no idea where the original recipe came from. I have a feeling it’s an amalgam of several, mashed around until I came up with a version that I liked most. All I know is that I’ve been making it for donkey’s and it’s foolproof. I make it for two as a main meal, but it can easily be divided to serve four. You just won’t have leftover dumplings.

So here it is. Enjoy!

Dumpling Soup

Cathryn's dumpling soup, ready to slurp

Ingredients

12 Australian green king prawns (approximately 12 prawns)

60g (approx) tinned water chestnuts, drained and roughly chopped

3 French shallots (eschallots – the small brown, oniony ones), peeled and roughly chopped

1 tablespoon cornflour

1 egg

½ teaspoon sesame oil

1 packet gow gee wrappers (30 wrappers). Wonton wrappers work fine too, you’ll just have triangles instead of crescents

1.5 litres of chicken stock. Vegetable stock works really well too

6 thick slices of fresh ginger

1 stem lemongrass, outer skin removed, the stem bashed about a bit to release flavour

1 tablespoon ketjap manis

Vegetables of your choosing. I tend to use variations of snow peas, spring onion, baby bok choy, choy sum, bean shoots and/or finely shredded cabbage. Whatever’s in the fridge crisper that requires very short or no cooking.

Method

Peel and devein your king prawns.

Australian green king prawns

Plonk the prawn meat, water chestnuts, shallots, sesame oil, egg and cornflour into a small blender and pulse. Don’t over process. It won’t matter if there’s a few chunky bits. In fact, they make the dumplings more interesting.

Chopped ingredients in processorNote: If you’re using pork or chicken mince, whiz the shallots and chestnuts (or whatever other flavours you’re using) until finely chopped, then add the other ingredients and pulse until just combined.

Lay out your gow gee wrappers on the bench. Have a pastry brush and a cup of water on standby.

Gow Gee wrappers laid out, ready for filling

Spoon about a teaspoon of prawn mix onto each wrapper.

Prawn filling on gow gee wrappers

Using the pastry brush, moisten the wrapper edges, then fold over and press firmly to seal. It doesn’t matter if some mix oozes out or there’s a few dodgy bits. These dumplings are very forgiving. Layer them on a plate and stick in the fridge until needed.

Filled dumplings

Pour the stock into a large saucepan. Add ginger, lemongrass and ketjap manis. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 10 minutes or so. This stage can be done well in advance, if you need.

Saucepan of flavoured stock

Meanwhile, add your chopped veg to the bowls. Yes, they’re raw but when it’s poured over the hot stock will cook them to crunchy perfection.

Prepared soup bowls with the vegetables

When you’re ready to serve, bring the stock back to a good boil and lower in your dumplings, one by one. Because they’re cold, they’ll drop the temperature right down. Keep the heat high, stirring your dumplings gently, until the soup returns to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 5-7 minutes or until all the dumplings are floating and look juicy and cooked.

Spoon however many dumplings you want for your soup into each bowl and pour over the stock.

Leave any leftover dumplings in the saucepan with a little stock so they don’t dry out or stick, lid on to keep them warm. Then, when you’ve finished your soup and if you have room in your belly, serve the dumplings on plates with a dipping sauce on the side. You can use straight soy, smears of chilli sauce, or I use this quick-to-make, tasty sauce. Simply mix together:

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 teaspoons sesame oil

1 tablespoon Chinese black vinegar

Thinly sliced birdseye chilli. How much and whether you leave the seeds in or not depends on how hot you like it.

Dumpling with dipping sauce

And there you have it: dead simple dumpling love. Told you it was easy!

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All right, Feasty darlings, what do you love to order or cook whenever you eat Asian food? What delectable dish or ingredient can’t you go past?

Besides dumplings, I am passionate about thick fresh rice noodles. Oh, how I adore those slippery strands. I’ve been known to travel across town to pick up good fresh rice noodles, and buy in bulk. My other favourite ingredient is chilli soybean paste. So hot! So good! So perfect with rice noodles!

What about you? Do you go giggly over gyoza? Perhaps shiver in delight over sago pudding with palm sugar syrup? Even get a tad loony over laksa? Curious minds would love to know!

If you’d like to learn more about me and my books, please feel free to explore this website. There are plenty of cool things to discover, especially on the blog, my about page and each book’s “the story behind” page. You can also connect via Facebook, Twitter using @CathrynHein, Google+, Goodreads and Pinterest.

For all the latest news and new releases, plus free short stories and other goodies, please sign up to my newsletter.

Friday Feast recipe index link.

Teaser Tuesday!

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Time for another Teaser Tuesday, the series where I tantalise you with snippets from upcoming and past book releases, and works-in-progress. This week, a few paragraphs from the rural romance manuscript I’m currently working on, Admella Beach.

Teaser TuesdayThis is another related book to Rocking Horse Hill and features two of the characters from that story, Jasmine Thomas and Digby Wallace-Jones, as well as other much-enjoyed types like the inimitable Granny B.

Love hasn’t been easy for either Jas or Digby and it certainly isn’t without it’s dramas in this story, but there’s no fun in making things painless for people, is there? I have to admit that I’ve gone out of my way to torture poor Digby, but that should make his return to happiness all the more satisfying!

All going well, Admella Beach will release in 2016. If you’d like to be the first to know about upcoming releases, giveaway opportunities, have access to free short stories and more, please sign up to my newsletter.

Now enjoy a teensy taste from one of the early chapters.

 

Digby Wallace-Jones hunched his shoulders against the cold and continued to walk. It was all he seemed to do these days. Walk, drink too much. Not speak. Sometimes, when he looked to the south and saw the hated slopes of Rocking Horse Hill, tears would fall. For Felicity. For himself and the void she’d left.

He missed her like he would miss his heart if it was cut out. Without Felicity life was beatless, bloodless. Nothing flowed in his veins except anger and loss, and the pain of his leftover, never-to-be requited love. Even the nightmares, with their looming, hyper-magnified visions of her perfect face turned to his, gaze resigned yet somehow also thankful, were a kind of blessing. He could touch her in those dreams. Say things. Alter time. Save her.

But there would be no saving her. Right now he didn’t want to save himself either.

© Cathryn Hein

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THIS WRITING LIFE: The Book Hangover

Last week I finished the extremely messy first draft of The Falls, my 2015 rural romance release. Much slurping of pink champagne followed, but so did that horrible, hollow feeling that comes with leaving characters behind; what I’ve come to think of as my book hangover.

It doesn’t seem to matter that I’ll be playing with them again in a week, when I knuckle down to the second draft. Writing The End still brings on a sense of loss and yearning. It happens with every book and I can’t help finding it odd. I mean, by the time the book is through its final edit I’ll be well and truly sick of it. Yet at this point, without fail, all I ever want to do is dive back into my characters’ lives and fall in love with them all over again.

I miss them. Badly. Like this…

empty

I think that’s why we adore serial fiction so much. It keeps us connected with people we’ve been through a great deal with and fallen in love with; that have become part of our world. Which is why I’ve planned three, maybe four loosely linked books to follow on from my upcoming May release, Rocking Horse Hill.

Emily Wallace-Jones, the heroine of Rocking Horse Hill, has two best friends, Jasmine and Teagan. The Falls is Teagan’s story, Admella Beach will be Jasmine’s and there’s a possibility of a fourth with another character. Plus a novella I’ve already half completed called Summer and the Groomsman.

I have to say it was hugely satisfying being able to include Emily and Josh in The Falls, even if only in a minor way. I look forward to doing the same for Teagan and Lucas in the other books I have planned.

Now, if there were only more hours in the day to write these stories…