Tag Archives: ARRA

This Writing Life: Hot Chocolate Rides Again. Well, almost.

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It’s Friiiiiidaaaay, and that means I’m in Melbourne for the 2017 Australian Romance Readers Convention. Rah!

Registrations for the convention have closed but you can still come to the book signing at Bobby McGees at Rydges Melbourne on Saturday afternoon, between 4 and 6 pm where you can chat with all your favourite authors, get your books signed, buy latest releases or just mingle and enjoy the buzz.

Breaking News

And in breaking news, if you drop by my table you’ll be able to meet the new, improved, all singing, all-dancing cousin to the late and sadly missed, blow-up wonder horse Hot Chocolate!

Eh hem.

Perhaps I should clarify.

In March 2015, I travelled to Canberra for the Australian Romance Readers Convention, arriving a day early because I wanted to take in the Spirited: Australia’s Horse Story exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia.

The exhibition was in its final days and the gift shop was offering great discounts on their stock items. One of these happened to be an inflatable horse. I was on my way back to my room via the bar when I was waylaid by some author friends (eyeballing you, Anne Gracie and Kelly Hunter) and on discovering I’d bought a blow-up horse, they insisted it be inflated (see piccies here and here). Kylie Scott then christened the horse Hot Chocolate.

Since then, Hot Chocolate has followed me to every book signing event, packed flat in my suitcase and then inflated back to gorgeousness when needed. It wasn’t long before a book signing didn’t feel like a proper book signing without Hot Choc perched on my table.

Cathryn Hein and her blow-up horse at the ARRC 2015 booksigning

Me and Hot Chocolate the blow-up wonderhorse.

Alas, Hot Chocolate wasn’t a hardy soul. Besides some serious conformation issues, he was rather thin skinned, and at the ARR Awards in Sydney in 2016 he sprang a major leak.

Naturally I pulled out all stops in my efforts to save him – as was outlined in this blog post: The Great Hot Chocolate Emergency – but on arrival at the ARRA booksigning in Adelaide August last year, it was obvious that Hot Chocolate’s injuries were catastrophic. Sadly, the decision was made to humanely dispatch him to that great horsey heaven in the sky.

Since then, I’ve been scouring the world for a replacement and discovered some mighty beasts (did you know you can get life-sized inflatable horses? I want one soooooo badly!) but none captured my heart until I discovered this little fellow.

He may be small, but what he lacks in height he sure makes up for in entertainment value.

Take a look!

Isn’t he the coolest?

So, if you’re in Melbourne this Saturday and can make it to the ARRC booksigning, please drop by my table and say hello. We’d love to see you!

 

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Teaser Tuesday!

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Teaser Tuesday 2017 logoWelcome to Teaser Tuesday, the blog series where I share snippets from my novels, old, new and in progress, and occasionally invite author friends to play.

This coming Friday the 2107 Australian Romance Readers Convention kicks off in Melbourne at Rydges and I can’t wait! This is a convention focused on readers, and the joy of chatting to people who adore the genre and are enthusiastic about it is huge. It’ll also be lovely to catch up with author buddies who I usually only get to chat to online.

I’ll be at the convention all weekend so please come up and say hi. I promise to be friendly! You can also catch me at the booksigning at Bobby McGees from 4 pm – 6 pm on Saturday, on a speed date on Sunday morning at 11 am, and on the Regular Joes panel at 1-30 pm with Jennie Jones, Kelly Hunter and Joanne Dannon, with Penelope Janu moderating. For other panels and events, check out the convention program.

The Regular Joes panel has had me thinking about characters and the kind of heroes I like to read and to create. It doesn’t take much thought to work out that for my rural romances I like to write about ordinary, Aussie blokes. The sort who play footy and cricket, who like to have a beer with their mates and their dads, who adore their families and are loyal, kind and honest. Pretty much the same as most of the men in my life.

Most of all they must love the heroine with a fierceness that tells you they would move the world to make sure she’s never hurt and that she’s always happy. Which is what we all want I suppose. Someone – man or woman – who adores us despite all our human failings and idiosyncrasies. Who sees us as special and precious and a person to be cherished. And this in turn makes them special.

I could go on, but this is a Teaser Tuesday and I need to get teasing. But I am going to share a little of one of my favourite regular Joe characters – Matt from Heartland.

Matt sees himself as just a normal bloke who has a dream of being a farmer. But he’s also been a soldier, one who’s been wounded in Afghanistan and lost mates in conflict. He’s had a difficult upbringing, with distant career-obsessed parents who use money to show love. And he’s been badly hurt in the past, by the heroine Callie’s sister no-less, yet he has never lost the hope that one day he will find the right girl. And when he does, he’s going to cherish her forever. Which is kinda gooey-making to my thinking, but in my defence I am a romance author. These things are meant to make me gooey!

Anyway, here’s a sample of Matt being sexy and seductive with Callie while undertaking the mundane chore of stripping house paint.

 

After a brief discussion, they decided it was best to tackle the worst parts first, even if it did mean working in the sun. After taking it in turns to regrease themselves with sunscreen, they carted their equipment to the badly weathered western side of the house. Declaring that the tool-bringer gets to decide who uses it, he banished Callie to Wal’s low-set scaffold and took over the under eaves work on the ladder.

Heartland - Australia and New Zealand cover

Australia and New Zealand cover

‘What are you looking so pleased about?’ she asked when she caught him grinning down at her.

‘Nothing.’

She narrowed her eyes and pointed her scraper at him. ‘You’re up to something.’

He feigned innocence. ‘Me? Never.’

Callie watched him for a moment before resuming her work. A minute later a flake of paint dropped between her breasts. She frowned and picked it out only for another to hit her shoulder.

‘Great view from up here,’ he said, one eye closed as he aimed another paint scrap at her chest.

Heartland - rest of the world cover

Rest of the world cover

The scrap stuck on the swell of her right breast. She picked it off, rolling her eyes.

‘Very schoolboy.’

‘I can be very adult if you want.’

Callie did want. Scraping this side of the house was a mistake. She was hot, sweaty, bored and, after a week of non-stop work, in need of some fun. She gave him one of her sideways looks, mouth quirking in an ‘I dare you’ smile.

He sobered fast. ‘Keep that up and there’ll be consequences.’

‘Oh, yeah. What sort of consequences?’

‘Like I said, keep that up and you’ll find out.’

 

Heartland is now available worldwide in e-book and print. Purchase now from Amazon.com, Amazon.au, Amazon.uk, iBooks, Kobo, Booktopia, Bookdepository, Fishpond or your favourite book retailer.

Want to learn more about Heartland? You’ll find story behind the book, reviews, and more excerpts on its book page on this website.

 

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This Writing Life: I’m an Australian Romance Reader Awards Finalist

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Silly Wayward Heart gif

Wheeeeeeee!

I am so, so chuffed right now. Not only is it my birthday but I’m an Australian Romance Reader Award finalist in 3 categories. THREE! How cool is that?

Both SANTA AND THE SADDLER and WAYWARD HEART are finalists in the Favourite Contemporary Romance category, and I’m up for Favourite Australian Romance Author 2016.

And something I’m particularly thrilled with, WAYWARD HEART is a finalist in the member’s choice category of Favourite Cover from a Romance Published in 2016.

I love that cover and it’s such a delight to know others do too. Have you read the interview with actress and model Kate Swan about the photo shoot for it? That’s great fun.

Check out all the finalists on the ARRA blog.  As you’ll see, I’m in amaaaaaazing company.

Winners will be announced at the Awards Dinner, held at the Australian Romance Readers Convention in Melbourne on Saturday 25 February 2017. If you’re in town, why not join us? It’ll be a blast!

 

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High Tea and High Fun at the 2015 Australian Romance Readers Awards!

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It was a gala day last Saturday with the Australian Romance Readers Association‘s A Romantic High Tea event and the 2015 Australian Romance Readers Awards, both held in Sydney at Cello’s Restaurant in the Castlereagh Hotel. And what a brilliant time was had!

Stuck in front of our computers, deep in imaginary worlds, writers tend to live comparatively solitary lives, which makes it huge fun to get out, frock up, and meet with passionate readers and writing buddies. Events like these are also terrific for the romance genre. They’re where we get to show off what enthusiastic readers and talented writers we have in Australia. We’ve known for years how special and important the genre is but many others have no idea. The message is getting through though, as was demonstrated by the industry representatives present at the awards and their generous sponsorship.

Here are a few photos from the High Tea and 2015 ARR Awards dinner. If you’d like the full list of awards and winners, you’ll find them all on the ARRA blog.

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On Friday night before the High Tea, I caught up with Rachael Johns and Emily Madden at Jamie Oliver’s Italian restaurant in Sydney. Naturally, there was fizz!

Rachael Johns, Cathryn Hein, Emily Madden at dinner

Hot Chocolate the Blow-Up Wonder Horse has been coming to events with me since last year’s Australian Romance Readers Convention in Canberra. Admittedly, he doesn’t get a lot of care, being thrown around in suitcases and the occasional bar, but I had hoped he’d last a bit longer than a year. Sadly, with only a few hours until the High Tea, Hot Choc sprang a leak. As you can see, it left feeling him very deflated…

A saggy and flat feeling Hot Chocoalate

Guests on my High Tea table received April’s Rainbow mugs filled with Chupa Chups and decorated with ‘love’ butterflies. Cos we’re all about the luuuurve at Chez Hein and ARRA!

High Tea guest gift

Here are my gorgeous High Tea people! We had such fun. I can’t thank them enough for coming along and being such great company. As you’d expect there was LOTS of book talk. Cello’s Restaurant is a lovely venue too, full of light and pretty architecture. Perfect for A Romantic High Tea.

L-R: Malvina, Amy, Belinda, Me, Veronica, Suzanne, Jo (who came all the way from Edenhope, Victoria!).

High Tea guests

Some of the scrumptious treats on offer.

High Tea treats

Amy, me and Belinda.

Amy, me and Belinda at High Tea

Me and Suzanne.

Suzanne and me at High Tea

ARR Awards MC and Favourite Paranormal Romance winner Shannon Curtis doing her stuff. And do it very well she did!

ARR Awards MC - Shannon Curtis

Guest speaker Kat Mayo. Her speech “There’s never been a more exciting time to be a romance reader” was excellent. You can find the transcript on her Bookthingo Blog. Well worth a visit and read.

ARR Awards guest speaker Kat Mayo

Rachael Johns with one of her two ARR Awards. Way to go, buddy! Rachael won awards for Favourite Short or Category Romance and Favourite Contemporary Romance.

Rachael Johns with one of her ARR Awards

Me and special person Len Klumpp who’s a great supporter of Australian romance and ARRA, and who, along with his wife Carolyn, travelled all the way from Tamworth for the event. Len also presented Helene Young with the award for Favourite Australian Romantic Suspense (great stuff, Helene!).

Great fan and ARRA supporter Len and Cathryn at the ARR Awards

We had a lovely lady named Linda on our table. Linda had come all the way over from Western Australia, and was absolutely delightful company. I was so thrilled to have met her. The photo-bomber is Amy Andrews who just can’t help herself!

Cathryn and Linda at the ARR Awards

Me trying to pinch Shannon Curtis’s and Cathleen Ross’s ARR Awards. They really should share… Cathleen won her award for Favourite Sci-Fi, Fantasy or Futuristic Romance.

Cathryn, Shannon Curtis and Cathleen Ross at the ARR Awards

And finally, but not in the least bit last – in fact she was first, first, first! – Anne Gracie, who took out three awards on the night: Favourite Historical Romance, Favourite Continuing Romance Series and the big gong, Favourite Australian Romance Author. Well done, Anne!

Anne Gracie collecting one of her ARR Awards

I would like to thank the hard-working and dedicated members of ARRA for making the High Tea and ARR Awards such brilliant events. It was a very special weekend that I’ll remember very fondly. I, and everyone I spoke to, had a ball. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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This Writing Life: Finalist Fabulousness!

The Australian Romance Reader Awards finalists were announced last Friday and I was thrilled and honoured to be listed two categories: Favourite Australian Romance Author 2015 and Favourite Cover From A Romance Published In 2015 with Summer and the Groomsman. Yay!

happy gif

Seeing as Friday was my birthday, that was a very, very nice present.

Thanks to everyone who nominated me and Summer and the Groomsman. I’m grateful and humbled, and did I mention thrilled to bits? If I weren’t trying to be good at the moment, I’d crack some celebratory fizz, but we’ll save that for another day.

If you’d like to see the full list of finalists, you’ll find them on the Australian Romance Readers Association blog. And if you’re looking for your next great read, why not try an author or book from the lists? You’ll be guaranteed of a top-notch read and help our home-grown talent.

Winners will be announced at the Australian Romance Reader Awards dinner, Cello’s Restaurant, Sydney on Saturday 19th March.  Hope to see you there!

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