Tag Archives: Australian Romance Readers Association

THIS WRITING LIFE: ARRC Part 2 – The Photos

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I’m sure you’ll see from these photos that everyone who attended the weekend’s Australian Romance Readers Convention in Canberra had an absolute ball.

Victoria Dahl during her keynote speechI think the highlight for me (other than catching up with old friends and meeting new) was Victoria Dahl’s speech on unsympathetic heroines. I’ve never read any of her books but was left so impressed that by the end of her talk I’d bought two of them. Gotta love technology.

The booksigning was, as it always is, loud and enormous fun. I’m very grateful to that most excellent of book sellers, Booktopia, who generously gave away multiple copies of Rocking Horse Hill over the course of the weekend. So many people came up to me to get them signed and have a chat. It really made my convention. There were plenty of delegates with The French Prize too, which they’d received in their welcome bags thanks to Harlequin Australia. All of us came away loaded with excellent reads. I’m looking forward to Yes, Chef by Lisa Joy (thanks to Penguin Australia), The Brewer’s Tale by Karen Brooks and Luna Tango by Alli Sinclair, who also won the ARR Award for Favourite New Romance Author (both titles from Harlequin).

Here are some of my favourite happy snaps from the weekend. There would have been more only it appears I have managed to kill yet another camera. Sigh. Oh well, at least this one was only a cheapie, unlike the last.

Hot Chocolate, the blow-up horse, being given the kiss of life by Cathryn Hein in the QT bar at ARRC 2015

Hot Chocolate being given the kiss of life by me in the QT bar (pic thanks to Amy Andrews)

I arrived in Canberra a day early and after a spot of shopping wandered off to check out the Spirited: Australia’s Horse Story exhibition at the National Museum of Australia. The exhibition was nearing its end and the shop had discounted all its stock. Naturally, with all that lovely horsey stuff on offer, I went on a bit of a spendy-fest and one of the items I came away with was an inflatable horse. I thought I might use him as a prop during the booksigning or simply as a fun toy for my office.

But as I passed the bar on the way back to my room, I found myself waylaid by Anne Gracie and Kelly Hunter. I resisted their entreaties to join them hard. Really hard. These ladies are persuasive though, and it was with great reluctance *cough* that I settled down for a catch-up over a few drinks.

The crowd soon grew (must have been our magnetism) and somehow the blow-up horse was dragged out for a show-and-tell. After a bit of encouragement, I agreed to inflate him. What an effort! It was a close run thing but I eventually managed to get him blown up without passing out. He then needed to be christened, and while a few names were bandied about I believe it was Amy Andrews who came up with Hot Chocolate. And thus Hot Chocolate he became.

Anne Gracie with Cathryn Hein admiring Hot Chocolate the blow-up horse in the QT bar at ARRC 2015

Anne Gracie with me, admiring Hot Chocolate the blow-up horse in the QT bar at ARRC 2015 (pic thanks to Amy Andrews)

I’m proud to say that Hot Chocolate even scored a mention in Helene Young’s wonderful opening keynote speech, and was much-admired by many over the weekend.

My shy roomie at ARRC 2015, Rachael Johns

Rach was feeling a bit camera shy…

My ARRC roomie was good buddy and rural romance star Rachael Johns. She took a bit of prodding to get up on Friday morning. Rach blames the 3 hour time difference from WA to the ACT but I don’t know…

As mentioned, Helene Young (whose novel Safe Harbour also won Australia’s Favourite Romantic Suspense award) gave a wonderful opening keynote speech, in which she talked about her reading and writing journey. Helene was followed by book launches for Rachael Johns (The Road to Hope) and Shannon Curtis (Tribal Law). All proceeds from Tribal Law’s sales go to ARRA so if you haven’t yet nabbed a copy, go get! You’ll find across all major ebook platforms, including amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Smashwords or your favourite retailer. Or order the paperback from Booktopia.

Dangerous Liaisons panel at ARRC 2015. L-R: Cathryn Hein, Shannon Curtis, Helene Young and Bronwyn Parry

L-R: (a grumpy-looking) me, Shannon Curtis, Helene Young and Bronwyn Parry (thanks to DB Tait for the pic)

The rest of my morning was taken up by the Red Dust Heroes panel with Rachael Johns, Lisa Ireland, Alissa Callen and myself, and superbly moderated by Jeanie Misko, followed by the Dangerous Liaisons panel where I was joined by Bronwyn Parry, Helene Young, Shannon Curtis and moderator with the mostest, Amanda Knight.

Saturday night was awards night, and what fun was had! The theme was roaring 20s (or something like that!) so there were lots of flappers.

Rach and me getting ready for the ARR Awards dinner at ARRC

Me and Rachael Johns getting ready for the awards dinner. A couple of glammypuss flappers!

Me with Red Sand Sunrise author and all-round gorgeous person Fiona McArthur showing off our sexy flapper outfits

Me with Red Sand Sunrise author and all-round gorgeous person Fiona McArthur, showing off our matching sexy flapper outfits.

Some of the crowd at the awards dinner.

Great crowd at the awards dinner!

Fiona Lowe, Shona Husk, Delwyn Jenkins and Cheryl Adnams all dressed up for the ARRC 2015 dinner

L-R: Fiona Lowe, Shona Husk, Delwyn Jenkins and Cheryl Adnams.

Kylie Scott (deserving winner of Australia’s Favourite Romance Author and more) sponsored a photo booth at the dinner where a lot of fun was had. Here’s my collection.

Pictures from the ARRC dinner photobooth

Another highlight of ARRC was the booksigning. This is such a great event and very well attended.

The booksigning room

Alyssa Montgomery, me and Trish Morey

Alyssa Montgomery, me and Trish Morey

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

Me and Hot Chocolate the blow-up wonderhorse.

Sunday was another full-on but fun day. As mentioned, Victoria Dahl gave a great speech and there were plenty of fascinating panels to keep us perky after a big night.

Anna Campbell, Christina Brooke and me enjoying the romantic destinations panel

Anna Campbell, Christina Brooke and me enjoying the Romantic Destinations panel.

L-R: Kate Cuthbert (moderator), Margareta Osborn,  Cheryl Adnams, Barbara Hannay and Victoria Dahl.

L-R: Kate Cuthbert (moderator), Margareta Osborn, Cheryl Adnams, Barbara Hannay and Victoria Dahl on the Small Town Seduction panel.

Reader Jeanie Misko  enjoying the Changing Lanes panel at ARRC 2015, featuring Trish Morey and Fiona McArthur (plus Amy Andrews and Fiona Lowe out of shot).

Reader (and our fab Red Dust Heroes panel moderator) Jeanie Misko enjoying the Changing Lanes panel, with authors Trish Morey and Fiona McArthur in the background.

Overall, a wonderful time was had at ARRC 2015. Everyone left Canberra feeling fab except for poor Hot Chocolate, who was feeling very flat that it was all over.

Hot Chocolate the blow-up wonderhorse felt very flat that ARRC was over.

Never mind. We’ll resurrect him again in 2017!

If you’re after a romantic read that won’t let you down and would like a list of all the 2014 ARR Award winners, you’ll find them all on the ARRA blog.

 

THIS WRITING LIFE: ARRC Part 1 – The Videos

Phew! What a weekend we all had at the Australian Romance Readers Convention in Canberra. The weather was perfect, the atmosphere wonderful, the speakers and panelists clever, interesting and funny, but most of all what a thrill it was to catch up with so many lovers of romance novels. We’re an amazing bunch of people, that’s for sure.

The convention committee and Australian Romance Readers Association deserve every accolade for this event. It ran like clockwork from start to finish, and without fail everyone I spoke to enjoyed themselves hugely. I sure had a ball!

For the first time at an event I played roving reporter and took a series of videos of authors, readers and industry people. You can find them collated on my YouTube channel, but here are some of the best. Oh, and my apologies for the sound quality. Next time I’ll remember to pack a microphone!

Kylie Scott and Amy Andrews

For more on these best-selling ladies, check out these links.

Kylie Scott: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Latest release: Lead (Book 3 in her fab Stage Dive series).

Amy Andrews: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Latest release: Ask Me Nicely (which follows on from the super hot No More Mr Nice Guy).

Helene Young

Connect with Helene via her website, Facebook and Twitter.

Latest release: Safe Harbour (read it before Northern Heat hits the shelves!)

Rachael Johns

Discover more about Rachael at her website, on Twitter and via Facebook.

Latest release: The Road to Hope (the much-anticipated follow up from her best-selling debut, Jilted).

Jennie Jones

Connect with Jennie via her website, Twitter and Facebook.

Latest release: The House at the Bottom of the Hill (from Jennie’s best-selling Swallow’s Fall series begun with The House on Burra Burra Lane).

Lee Christine

Find out more about Lee at her website, on Twitter and Facebook.

Latest release: In Safe Keeping (an urban romantic suspense you won’t want to miss!)

Readers Helen and Barbara

Destiny Romance’s Carol George

Discover more on the Destiny Romance website.

Reader Pamela

Anna Campbell and Christina Brooke

For more on these fab authors, check out these links.

Anna Campbell: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Latest release: What A Duke Dares (another wonderful read in Anna’s Sons of Sin series.)

Christina Brooke: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Latest release: The Wickedest Lord Alive (brilliant book with a very strokable cover!)

Booktopia’s John Purcell

Want books? Then look no further than our home-grown bookstore Booktopia.

Hope you enjoyed the videos!

 

 

Australian Romance Reader Awards Finalist!

2014 ARRA finalist badgeWheeee! Yesterday the Australian Romance Reader Awards finalists were published and I was thrilled to bits to be included, especially with such amazing company.

ROCKING HORSE HILL is up for Favourite Contemporary Romance, THE FRENCH PRIZE is on the Favourite Romantic Suspense list and I’m super chuffed to be up for Favourite Australian Romance Author 2014.

Thanks so, so much to everyone who nominated me and my books. It’s a delight and an honour. You can find the full list of finalists on the ARRA blog.

Winners will be announced on March 7th in Canberra at the Australian Romance Readers Convention awards dinner. If you love romance novels and talking books and have yet to register for this event, please do! It’s a truly wonderful weekend. You’ll make lovely new friends, discover new authors, meet your favourites, have the chance to collect and win all sorts of goodies, and return home warm with laughter and great memories.

Find all the details at the ARRA website or click on the banner below. Hope to see you there!

ARRC2015+banner+KNs

 

FRIDAY FEAST with Anna Campbell

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Now this is an exciting Friday. Not only do we have a most awesome author as guest, with all sorts of indulgent delights and a giveaway, it’s also Book Expo Australia weekend and the final round of the AFL season (for international visitors, that’s our beloved Australian Rules Football).

All happening!

But first, AFL. Have you seen where my darling Sydney Swans are perched? Yes, there they are at the top of the ladder looking magnificent. With the finals just around the corner I’m gathering all my lucky Swans charms, including my knitted octopus and gnome, and rubbing their bellies for luck to ensure we suffer no injuries before the finals. And that we win against Richmond Saturday night, of course!

Author Anna Campbell

Photo courtesy of Robyn Hills www.robyngraphs.com.au

If you’re in Sydney on Saturday and Sunday, take a trip out to the showgrounds for Book Expo Australia where you’ll find panels, talks, the Australian Romance Readers Association stand and more. I’m on two romance panels on Sunday, at 10-30am and 3-45pm, as well as feature author on the ARRA stand from 2-30 to 3-30pm. Come say hello.

And now to one of my favourite Friday Feast guests ever, Anna Campbell, also known affectionately as the Romance Queen for her multiple ARR Awards and other accolades. And let’s not forget brilliant Regency romances. Anna’s latest has just hit the shelves and as a total fan girl I cannot wait to get stuck in. Take a look…

WHAT A DUKE DARES

Cover of What a Duke Dares by Anna CampbellA reputation at risk

What woman in her right mind would say no to marrying the dashing Duke of Sedgemoor? Miss Penelope Thorne, that’s who. She’s known Camden Rothermere since they were children – and she also knows she’d bring nothing but scandal to his name.

Cam can hardly believe Penelope turned down his proposal. But if she wants to run off to the Continent and set the rumor mill ablaze, he can’t stop her. Then her brother’s dying request sends him to bring home the one woman he thought he’d finally gotten over.

The only way they’ll both get back to London without their reputations in tatters is to pretend they’re married during the journey. That means kissing like they mean it and even sharing a bed – until it becomes hard to tell where the game ends and true desire begins…

Oh, oh, oh. Don’t you just WANT IT NOW! Of course you do, and What a Duke Dares can be yours with just a few simple clicks. Try Booktopia, Bookworld, Book Depository, Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Google Play, JB Hi-Fi, Barnes & Noble or your favourite book store.

Not sure? Then why not read an excerpt to see what wonders awaits.

Now let’s go dancing with Anna.

Having a Ball with the Duke!

Cathryn, it’s always a pleasure to be here to do a Friday Feast post and to talk about my latest release. Thank you again for inviting me!

My new book (out 26th August from HarperCollins Australia and Grand Central Forever in North America) WHAT A DUKE DARES starts out as a road-trip romance as the Duke of Sedgemoor (the daring duke of the title) reluctantly escorts his childhood bugbear Penelope Thorne back to England from Italy. But most of the book takes place in England, allowing me to have fun with high society life during the glittering London Season.

Rogue from GCP siteNot only that, I get to talk about clothes (my heroine’s dress sense plays quite a large part in this story) and sparkling jewels and dancing the night away in the arms of a handsome rake or two. I haven’t had the chance to go wild in society since MIDNIGHT’S WILD PASSION. The two earlier Sons of Sin books, SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED and A RAKE’S MIDNIGHT KISS, take place out in the English countryside so nobody gets to go to the ball.

I always loved reading the ball scenes in Georgette Heyer when I was a girl (still do). There’s something so glamorous about the gleam of candlelight and an orchestra playing a waltz, which at this stage was still considered a touch scandalous, and ladies dressed up to the nines in silks and satins. Not to mention all those elegant gentlemen in their black and white.

Rake AmazonDuring the London season, most balls didn’t start until 10pm, giving guests the chance to have dinner first. In fact, being invited to dinner at the hostess’s home before the larger entertainment was considered a signal mark of honor. Then the party would continue until around 3am. No wonder those Regency girls all slept in so late!

Around midnight, a lavish supper would be served in a separate room (you needed a big house to do this properly!). Wine and champagne would flow, and also punch and popular Regency drinks like ratafia and orgeat. Webster’s defines ratafia as “a liqueur made from an infusion of macerated fruit or fruit juice in a liquor (as brandy) and often flavored with almonds.” Orgeat (which was pronounced or-zha, think Zsa-Zsa Gabor) is another almond concoction made with an enormous amount of sugar.

Pardon me, but I think both of these sound quite revolting and I’ll stick to the champagne. At the famous Almack’s rooms, they only served lukewarm lemonade! Something many a Regency hero complains about when he needs to seek a wife in that temple of the aristocratic marriage mart.

The Great Lobster CookbookThe food for supper was a mixture of sweet and savory and there was usually vast amounts of it, including quite substantial items like roast chicken or lamb, pies, seafood, and vegetables. Something that has intrigued me ever since my first Georgette Heyer was the lobster patties that her heroines nibble on. Partly because they sounded scrumptious.

So today I went on the hunt for a lobster patty recipe. This, with some tweaks, is the best one I found. It sounds like a lobster-filled vol-au-vent, which makes sense if you’re in your good clothes, I suppose, although I’d always imagined something a little more like a Thai fish cake.

I hope if you hold a ball and serve these luscious delicacies that you’ll remember to invite me!

Lobster Patties

Ingredients:

8 oz. (225g) flaky pastry

8 oz. (225g) cooked lobster meat

quarter pint (125ml) thick white sauce

1 tbsp. cream

pinch of paprika

1 tsp. chopped parsley

salt and pepper

beaten egg to glaze

squeeze of lemon juice

Cooking Instructions:

Pre-heat oven to 450F/230C ,Gas Mark 7.

Roll pastry thinly and cut into 3 inch (7.5 cm.) rounds.

Line some fairly deep patty tins with half the rounds.

Add the chopped lobster to the white sauce, cream, lemon juice, seasonings and parsley.

Put a spoonful of the mixture into each patty case, moisten the edge of the pastry and put another round on top, pressing the edges well together.

Crimp the edges and make a hole in the top of each patty with a skewer and brush over with a little beaten egg.

Bake for about 20 minutes in the pre-heated oven.

ENJOY!

Don’t those sound delicious? No wonder Regency heroines can’t get enough of them! I can’t offer anyone today a lobster patty in the mail – I suspect food poisoning might be an issue. Or perhaps hungry postmen! But if you comment on this post, you’ll go in the draw to win a signed print copy of WHAT A DUKE DARES.

Did you hear that, Feasty lovelies? Darling Anna is offering a…

GIVEAWAY!

But as always you’ll have to do a little smidgin of work and answer this simple question from Anna:

Lobster patties sound pretty delicious and decadent to me. What’s the most deliciously decadent thing you’ve ever eaten and where did you eat it?

Ooh! Decadent food, where to start! I was lucky enough to dine with friends at a two-star Michelin restaurant in France. We were so spoiled! We even had our own water waiter, with a choice of waters. The canapés were amazing, the veal I ate sublime. It was all very indulgent, and wallet draining, but we couldn’t help it. We were in France! Sometimes you have to do these things!

So what about you? Perhaps you’ve scoffed truffles in Tuscany, or caviar while dining alongside the Caspian sea. Maybe it was prawns in Australia’s top end. Or the seriously naughty chocolate cake your mum made for your birthday one year. As long as it’s indulgent and special, anything goes!

Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 2nd September 2014. Open internationally. Rah!

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

This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Pintip, who has won a copy of Anna’s What a Duke Dares and is in for some fabulous reading. Thanks to everyone who joined in the Friday Feast fun and shared their beautiful and indulgent experiences. You made us all very hungry!

FRIDAY FEAST with Christina Phillips

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And another fantastic Friday rolls around. This week I’ll actually get some Swans footy!

With my darling boys having a bye last week it was all a bit colourless in the Hein house, although the neighbours were probably grateful. No mad yelling at the telly to put up with. There was the Open golf, of course, but that’s not really a sport to get yelly on the couch about, is it?

Which brings me to some Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf news. Despite not playing to the handicap I already have, I somehow managed to shave another stroke off it over the weekend. ‘Tis this newfangled Slope/GA Handicap system. It can sneak up and bite you on the bum and not even offset the pain with a win!

Speaking of winning, this could be you on Friday Feast this week. But more on that later…

Today’s guest is Christina Phillips, an ex-pat Brit who now lives in sunny Western Australia with her high school sweetheart and their family. Christina writes scorching-hot paranormal, historical and contemporary romance. Not only are her stories super steamy, they’re gorgeously written, which is why she’s a triple finalist in the 2013 ARRA Awards for Favorite Erotic Romance, and finalist in the 2012 ARRA Awards for Favorite Paranormal Romance. Christina is a also a double finalist in the EC Golden Ankh Awards for Favorite E-book of the Year 2014.

Check out Christina’s latest release, Her Vengeful Scot.

HER VENGEFUL SCOT

Her Vengeful ScotTo avenge his sister’s honor, he must destroy the woman he wants most in the world…

Ordered to remain in Pictland, Cameron MacNeil fights the lust that consumes him whenever he encounters the aloof princess, Elise. Not only is she a cursed Pict, she belongs to the man he has vowed vengeance upon.

Despite her reputation, Elise has no interest in men until she meets Cameron. Lacking the famed Scots charm, his blunt ways enchant her and he ignites a passion she long thought dead. When she is freed from her difficult marriage, Elise places her trust in the tough Scot warrior who has stolen her heart.

Bound by blood oaths, the only way Cam can protect Elise from political schemes is to make her his bride. When Elise discovers the truth, she fears everything she knew about her husband was a lie. All she can do is trust her goddess was right and Cameron is her one true love.

Go on, admit it. You’re after a bit of hot Scot right now, aren’t you? So get clicking! Buy Her Vengeful Scot right now from Amazon, Kobo, Google Play, All Romance eBooks, Barnes & Noble, or the publisher Ellora’s Cave,

All loaded up? Excellent. Now give a big welcome to Christina.

Hunting Out Good Food

Thank you Cathryn for inviting me onto your Friday Feast today!

Well over in WA it’s been both cold and wet (I know I should be used to this kind of weather since I hail from England but uh, no.) So I thought today I’d share a yummy winter meal that my mum used to make when I was a child. She only made it on rare occasions, probably because it takes two and a half hours prep time (excuse me while I laugh hysterically at this point! And never fear, this version takes about 10 minutes prep time which is not only far more civilized but also about my limit!!)

We knew it as Chicken Hunter Style and to my shame it was only when I was an adult that I realised it was an Italian dish by the far more exotic name of Chicken Cacciatore 🙂

There are of course many variations of this dish, including adding various peppers. I don’t bother adding peppers to anything since my darling family will meticulously fish out every single one on their plates before they can take the first bite. On the other hand I do add celery because I love cooked celery even though said beloved family… don’t 🙂

Chicken Hunter Style Recipe

Chicken Hunter Style

One four pound chicken cut into pieces

Salt

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 thinly sliced medium onion

226g thickly sliced mushrooms

2 thinly sliced garlic cloves

1/3 cup red or white wine

1 810g can of plum tomatoes in their juice (or 21/2 to 3 cups of peeled and chopped firm ripe tomatoes with their juices. Guess which I do…)

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon dry thyme (or 2 teaspoons fresh, chopped)

1 teaspoon dry oregano (or 2 teaspoons fresh, chopped)

Method

Rinse, pat dry and season chicken with salt. Heat oil on medium heat and brown the chicken pieces. Set chicken aside.

Add sliced onions and mushrooms to the pan (and any peppers or celery 🙂 ) Cook until onions are translucent then add the garlic and cook for another minute.

Add the wine and give it a good stir. Simmer until the wine is reduced by half and then add the tomatoes and stir in the pepper, thyme, oregano and a teaspoon of salt. Simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Place chicken pieces on top, skin side up, lower the heat and cover with the lid slightly ajar.

Cook on a low simmer, turning and basting from time to time, until chicken is tender (about 30 to 40 minutes).

 

Ah, now there’s a lovely fast recipe to keep the hordes happy this winter. Thanks, Christina. I can just imagine this with a load of crusty bread to mop up all the juices. Mmm.

Speaking of juicy things, we have a…

GIVEAWAY!

Christina is very generously offering one lucky reader the chance to win an ebook copy ofhersavagescott_msr the first in her Highland Warrior Series, Her Savage ScotAll you have to do is tell us in the comments what your favourite casserole is. Easy!

Perhaps you’re a bit partial to an Irish stew, or lean toward the spicy with some chilli con carne. Maybe a vegetarian stew is your go? Share, and we’ll pop you into the draw to win an ebook copy of Her Savage Scot.

Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 29th July 2014. Open internationally. Rah!

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

This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Meredith who has won her own sizzling hot Scot! Thanks to everyone for playing along. Always a hoot!

 

FRIDAY FEAST with Shona Husk

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Oof, it’s been a big week. So much to catch up on after my trip away to South Australia and western Victoria but a very lovely time was had so all worth it.

We have an excellent guest on Friday Feast today, and a regular, but first you must endure Author Shona HuskUs Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf news because I’m chuffed. Chuffed, I tell you!

Yes, I played well enough last week to lose an entire stroke off my handicap. Whee! Lots of long puts sunk and I only hit one ball into a dam. Marvels!

Which gives me a very nice segue back to today’s Friday Feast guest because she is a true marvel. Why? Because Shona Husk gave us TOBLERONE BROWNIES! Plus she’s a pretty awesome author. Shona is a three-time Australian Romance Reader Award finalist and best-selling author of multiple contemporary, fantasy, paranormal and sci-fi romances (her Shadowlands series is fantastic). Whatever tickles your romantic fantasy, Shona has a book for you.

Her latest release is The Changeling Soldier. Check it out.

THE CHANGELING SOLDIER

Cover of The Changeling Soldier by Shona HuskHer time in the mortal world is running out…

After fleeing Annwyn three centuries ago, Ella built a life in the mortal world making gowns for European royalty and playing in mortal intrigues. Now those Courts are long gone, and she dresses Hollywood starlets. Mortals come and go, but Ella always ends up alone. She longs for the home she left behind.

He’s been dreaming of the coming battle all his life…

Isaac Norton is a returned soldier. Now home, he’s restless and his recurring dream is becoming more frequent: he’s fighting on a snow-covered field stained with blue blood. When he sees Ella, he knows she isn’t human. And she knows what he is, a changeling.

Ella can give Isaac the answers he needs, but there will be a price to pay: his soul.

Ooh, now there’s a story with a lot at stake! The Changeling Soldier releases June 3rd but you can pre-order it right now for a measly 99 cents. What a bargain! Order the ebook from Smashwords, iBooks, Kobo, Barnes & Noble for Nook, All Romance eBooks or you can buy a print version from  Amazon or Createspace.

Go on! It’s 99 cents and you’ll have a cracking time!

Speaking of a cracking time, here’s Shona.

My Favourite Cookbooks

I love cooking, not the huge labor intensive dinner party style cooking, but the sling it together with love style of cooking. Simple and delicious. It should be no surprise that one of my favorite cookbooks is Jamie Oliver’s 15 Minute Meals (No, I have never cracked the 15 minute mark but it’s still something I aim for).

Cathryn: Neither have I with the 30 Minute, Shona, but it’s still fast-ish and the results are pretty tasty!

I also love that I can hand his 15 and 30 minute meals books to the kids and they can select the menu for the week (as an added bonus if they don’t like it I can remind them that they picked it).

My other favorite cookbook is one I was given for Christmas (I might have suggested that was what I wanted). Silvia’s Cucina is full of Italian yumminess. I started with the desserts, then moved my way to gnocci and pasta before trying bread. OMG! I haven’t bought a loaf of bread since January.

While I’ve had a bread machine for over a decade it was never great for sandwiches and the texture wasn’t quite right. Silvia’s bread is awesome. I love the overnight no knead recipe (it has 3 ingredients!) and the kids like her soft crust yoghurt bread. Silvia’s Cucina has been a great addition to my library. While many of these recipes are a little more time consuming, slow roasted goat and Nona’s polenta and pork ribs are so worth the wait—and perfect for making on the weekend.

Lastly Curtis Stone’s What’s for Dinner. This is another one that I can hand to the kids so they can choose the meals. Potato and corn chowder is very popular, as it the banana bread (although I must confess taking out half the walnuts and swapping them with choc chips).

I can’t leave without sharing a recipe, this is one my sister sent me and it’s for no bake chocolate slice. From ihearexercisewillkillyou.com (my notes are in italics, this recipe is also super easy to halve if you are running out of things but still want a sweet treat, it’s also super rich so cut small squares!)

The Best No-Bake Bars You’ll Ever Eat

1 cup peanut butter (I use crunchy)

1/2 cup honey (um, I never actually measure I do it by eye as it’s less of a PITA)

1/2 cup unrefined coconut oil (be sure to use unrefined for the coconut flavor) (health food shop)

2 cups dry oats (not instant) (I use rolled, I’m guessing that’s the same as dry as it turns out fine)

1 C shredded coconut

1/2 C chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

1 1/4 cups dark chocolate chips (200g of 85% Lindt is awesome)

1 t vanilla extract

Melt peanut butter, honey and coconut oil over medium-low heat. Once melted, remove from heat and add oats, shredded coconut, chocolate chips and vanilla. Stir until chocolate is entirely melted. Pour into a 9×13 pan and cool in the fridge. When it’s set, cut into bars and enjoy. Store in the fridge. If they last that long!

***

While I do use the internet to find recipes, it’s not the same as flicking through a book and feeling inspired to try something new. What are your favorite family (and time friendly) recipe books?

 

Oh, that’s easy…*trots off to survey collection* … er, perhaps not so easy after all. I love all my cookbooks. Some I read for fun and inspiration but never really cook out of, others I try loads of things. Probably my most used is Rick Stein’s Mediterranean Escapes. There are some cracking recipes in there like lahmacun (a delicious lamb pizza type dish) and pollo alla diavola. And tonight I’m making the lamb tagine with prunes and almonds. I agree with Shona about Jamie Oliver too. If you’re time pressed, Jamie Oliver’s 30 Minute Meals has some pretty tasty recipes in it. Try the piri-piri chicken and the stuffed Cypriot chicken. Plenty of others to play with too.

What about you? What’s your favourite cookbook? Share the love. I’m sure we could all do with another on our shelves. Although don’t tell my other half that!

If you’d like to learn more about Shona and her books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter using @ShonaHusk or sign up to her newsletter for all the latest releases.

FRIDAY FEAST with Helene Young

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Hello Feasters, and welcome to another truly excellent Friday filled with food and fabulous authors.

But first…. DID YOU SEE MY SWANNIES? At last, we have scrambled our way into the eight. Now, if we can just do the righty and give Hawthorn the spanking they deserve tonight all will be well in Swanfan world. Which reminds me, all is rather well with Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf news too. No, I don’t have my new 3 wood yet, it’s on order, but I did play well enough last week to win a golf ball.

Go ahead and laugh, but remember: From little things, big things grow!

Speaking of growing, how about the superstar growth of our guest today! Helene Young ishelene-young-2-0 not only a multi-award winning author, with Australian Romance Reader Awards and RWA Romantic Book of the Year honours galore, she’s also one of Australia’s best-selling authors. And a lovely lady to go with it.

An airline pilot now living on a catamaran in Queensland (I know, I know), Helene continues to write romantic suspense novels that capture the Australian landscape beautifully, as well as keeping you on the edge of your seat.

Her latest release is Safe Harbour. Take a look…

SAFE HARBOUR

Cover of Safe Harbour by Helene YoungWhen Darcy Fletcher drags a handsome sailor from a stricken yacht, she finds herself drawn into his mysterious world.  Having saved his life can she now rescue him from his dark past? Or will that endanger all she holds most dear?

Noah, keeper of the peace and guardian of the Banskia Cove secrets, can’t tell Darcy the real reason this man has washed up on their shores. If she knew the links between the stranger and her own dysfunctional family, she’d flee the Cove and he’d lose her love for good.

As they take refuge in an old whaling station, only one thing is certain – by morning, no one will be the same again. Lies will surface, hearts will break, and not all will find safe harbour.

Doesn’t that sound exciting? This is one book you won’t want to miss and it can be yours now with just a quick trip to the shops or a few clickety-clicks of your mouse (or finger taps for you tablet and phone users). Buy Safe Harbour now from Booktopia, Bookworld, Collins Booksellers, Dymocks, QBD the Bookshop, Angus & Robertson, Fishpond, or your local independent. For immediate download of the ebook, why not try Amazon, iTunes, Kobo, Google Play, JB Hi-Fi or your favourite ebook retailer.

Now kick back and be comforted by Helene!

Fresh Is Best

Thanks to Cathryn for allowing me to visit Friday Feast one more time – I’m very honoured 🙂 I’ve discovered so many wonderful recipes on this amazing blog and it goes from strength to strength.

So, Feasters, let me start with a question. How do plan your meals? Do you begin with a recipe or do you source the ingredients first? I have to admit that I was someone who would decide on the menu, usually by drooling over glossy photos in magazines and recipe books. Then I’d head out to scour the shops for the ingredients. Sometimes I’d be beside myself scene from manly marketbecause pomegranates weren’t in season or the tender asparagus shoots looked more like stakes I’d use to prop up a wilting tomato plant that something that would grace the smoked salmon ravioli. Or rhubarb was only to be found in the frozen section and the new potatoes were decidedly last season…

And then I had an epiphany. How about I check out what’s in season and then build the menu around that? You can stop laughing right now… For a girl who spent a lot of time in restaurants – both working and eating – you might assume it would be basic stuff, but clearly I’m a slow learner. Now we’re living aboard a boat with limited storage it’s even more important. We choose the fresh, glossy produce and then decide what to cook. Simple food takes on a new flavour when it’s market-day fresh.

The Goat Pie Guy's stallLucky for us there are markets every Sunday in the local park at Manly. Once a month there’s a fantastic Farmers Market with everything from Goat Meat Pies (which are delicious!) to hot smoked salmon and stalls full of fresh produce. You can chat to the stall owner about the best way to cook something new – or new to Capt G in the case of custard apples – and you can sample their wares before you buy.

In Safe Harbour, Darcy Fletcher is a chef and she’s come home to Banksia Cove to open a restaurant in an old whaling station. In her words – ‘There’s unlikely to be any truffle oil on the menu or wagyu beef, but there will be melt in your mouth beef from west of Rockhampton, luscious Scene from Manly marketsseafood hauled from the Pacific, beetroots and sweet potatoes straight from the ground, asparagus spears whose tips have basked in the same morning sun as my patrons. Don’t think you can ask for anything better than fresh food, simply prepared with love.’

So, I’d love to hear how you go about deciding what to cook? Are you a ‘once a week shopper’ or a ‘shop as you go’ kind of cook? Do plan or go with the flow? Join in the discussion to go into the draw for a copy of Safe Harbour. 🙂

And I thought I’d share one of my favourite potato dishes because, for me, winter is all about comfort food and there is nothing more comforting than a well-dressed potato.

Here’s our never fail recipe for stuffed jacket potatoes.

Stuffed jacket potatoes

Choose a potato variety that is good for mashing and baking – Coliban, Desiree or Golden Delight all work well. Select one per person and choose good oval shapes of medium size.

Wash well, pat dry, stab with a fork on top and bottom and then microwave until cooked. Timing will depend on your microwave, but around 3-5 minutes should be sufficient for one potato. Allow to cool enough to handle, place on the bench so it rests easily – usually that will be length ways – then slice a ‘lid’ off the top and put to one side. Using a dessert spoon carefully scoop out the soft flesh, making sure not to break the potato skin, and put into a large mixing dish (depending on how many potatoes you’re cooking).

Add a good dollop of butter, a slurp of milk or cream, a small handful of chives, parsley or any fresh herbs you may have left over. Stir well to make a smooth potato mash (firm not sloppy works best). Then add a small handful of grated Parmesan cheese and season to taste.

You can vary the type of cheese or herbs, add crispy bacon, chopped hard-boiled eggs, or salami, so go to town and experiment.

Once you’re happy with the taste and texture of your filling spoon it carefully back into the shell so that it sits mounded higher than the original size of the potato. Place the lid on top, brush the top and sides with oil and grind a scatter of sea salt over it.

Pop on a baking tray and cook in a preheated 180 deg oven for no more than 30 minutes. They will be fluffy on the inside and delicious and crispy on the outside.

Bon appetit!

I am drooling here. DROOLING I tell you! Helene, that stuffed spud sounds absolutely divine. And perfect for the cooler months when we’re allowed to load up on carbs and buttery things to keep out the chill.

GIVEAWAY!

Now, my delicious little Feasty dumplings, time to join in the fun with another giveaway. This time a copy of Helene’s wonderful new release, Safe Harbour.

As Helene has already described above, simply reveal how you go about deciding what to cook. Are you a planner or a spur of the moment cook? Or do you leave it to the whim of someone else? Share and you’ll go into the draw.

Me, I’m a combination. Sometimes I plan, sometimes I get carried away when I spot something delicious. On Tuesday I discovered a tub of duck fat at my local IGA. Yes, yes, I KNOW it’s super bad for me and cooking duck fatty food on a weeknight goes against my house rules, but it just so happens I have this fantastic recipe for braised Puy lentils…

Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 13th May 2014. Australian postal addresses only.

If you’d like to learn more about Helene, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook and Twitter as @heleneyoung.

And while you’re here, why not check out Helene’s exciting booktrailer for Safe Harbour. It’s a cracker!

FRIDAY FEAST with Anne Gracie

124 Replies

It’s that day of the week again, the one where we celebrate all things bookish and foody on the incomparable(!) Friday Feast.

I’m rather excited about this week’s guest too, because not only does she pen wonderfully warm and smile-inducing books, she’s a lovely lady as well.

And, STOP PRESS: She’s a Romance Writers of America RITA NOMINEE!

Anne Gracie

But first, news from Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. It was not my finest decision to attempt to walk 18 holes of golf in horrible humidity the afternoon after the Australian Romance Reader Awards dinner. Ugly doesn’t even begin the describe my play. Balls were drowned in dams. Swear words were uttered. And if that wasn’t enough, a crow pinched my brand new ball on the fourth. Again. I’m really beginning to hate those birds…

Now onto the also incomparable Anne Gracie! Anne writes GORGEOUS historical romances that truly warm the heart. Her new series features the Chance sisters, with the second The Winter Bride just released. I finished reading the first, The Autumn Bride, only yesterday and can’t tell you the fun I had. Anne’s books make me smile. A lot.

Take a look at The Winter Bride. I so, so, so want to read this!

THE WINTER BRIDE

The Winter Bride by Anne GracieDamaris Chance’s unhappy past has turned her off the idea of marriage forever. But her guardian, Lady Beatrice Davenham, convinces her to make her coming out anyway—and have a season of carefree uncomplicated fun.

Handsome rake Freddy Monkton-Coombes —pursued by muffins, with a view to marriage — finds himself about to be trapped in an untenable situation by his match-making parents, and pays Damaris to enter into a faux betrothal. But then an accident throws them into a compromising situation, and they’re both forced to reevaluate their position.

Will Damaris’s secrets destroy her chance at true happiness? Or can Freddy help her cast off the shackles of the past, and yield to delicious temptation?

With a 4 1/2 star Top Pick from Romantic Times, this is the second in the Chance sister’s series. Publishers Weekly  called it “charming,” and Kirkus Reviews said: “A romantic winner, with Gracie’s typical witty charm and sweeping emotion.”

Seriously, if you haven’t tried Anne then you MUST. Her books are like warm cuddly blankets. You can buy the print version of The Winter Bride now from Booktopia, Bookworld, QBD The Bookshop, Angus & Robertson, Amazon, Bookdepository, Fishpond, Barnes & Noble or your local independent book shop or chain store. Purchase the ebook from Amazon (for Kindle), iTunes, Google Play, Kobo, JB Hi-Fi or your favourite ebook reseller.

Time for some fun with Anne. Enjoy!

Pursued By Muffins, With A View To Marriage

What’s that, you say? Pursued by muffins?

Yes, muffins. In the words of Freddy, my bad-boy hero in The Winter Bride, muffins are: “Females. Eligible females. Seriously marriage-minded eligible females, usually of the reforming type.” Here’s a taste of the Winter Bride:

Freddy stared gloomily at the plate before him. Lady Bea was convinced that muffins were the Monkton-Coombes food of choice. That was Max’s fault, blast him. He’d told his aunt that Freddy was obsessed with muffins, and of course the old girl thought he meant these blasted bun things. She had him served with them each time he called. And expected him to eat them. With enthusiasm.

He picked up a muffin, hefted it lightly and eyed the fire with a narrowed gaze. It was a good blaze, strong enough to reduce a muffin to ash in a short time.

But would there be an incriminating smell?

He raised the muffin, aimed and was about to toss it in the fire when feminine footsteps sounded in the hall. He dropped the muffin, turned toward the open doorway and saw four smartly dressed females advancing toward him, smiling.

The hairs on the back of his neck rose. Why the devil were they grinning at him like that? What did they know? What did they want?

He had a powerful urge to flee.

So naturally when it came to deciding what food to talk about on Friday Feast, I had to choose muffins.

For a long time the only muffins I knew were the kind you toasted. My first experience of the other kind was many years ago when I was backpacking in the USA — I ordered a toasted muffin and coffee for breakfast.
The waiter eyed me suspiciously. “We don’t toast muffins.”
“Ok,” I said.
He came back with a large cupcake. “I didn’t order this,” I told him. “I asked for a muffin.”
He rolled his eyes at my ignorance. “Ma’am, that IS a muffin.”

So on with the recipe, and I’m sure there will be a few shrieks because actually it’s a friand recipe and I know a friand isn’t really a muffin, but… well, I made these and they’re yummy and easy and I did cook them in a muffin tray. And they look like muffins.

Friands

Friands

 

Ingredients:

175g (1 1/4 cups) pure icing sugar

75g (1/2 cup) plain flour

155g (1 1/2 cups) ground almonds (hazelnuts are yummy too)

3 eggs, lightly beaten

180g butter, melted & cooled a little

150g frozen blueberries (or raspberries or any berries really)

2 tbs flaked almonds

(I was v. liberal with both the blueberries and the flaked almonds)

Method:

1) Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease a muffin tray and dust with a little plain flour.

2) Sift icing sugar and flour, add the ground almonds, then stir in eggs and melted butter. Mix until just combined.

3) Stir in half the blueberries.

4) Distribute mixture between the muffin moulds. Plop a few remaining blueberries on top of each one and sprinkle with flaked almonds

5) Bake for 15-20 minutes or until light golden. Cool for 5 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

6) You can dust them with icing sugar to serve, but I don’t think it’s necessary.

* For gluten-free types, I have made these with gluten-free flour and they’re just as yummy.

 

Thanks, Anne! Those friands sound delicious. And healthy, too. Anything with fruit has to be.

US cover for The Winter Bride

US cover for The Winter Bride

Just the thing to kick back with a book and a nice cuppa.

At the risk of doing another fangirl rave, I loved that excerpt from The Winter Bride. Freddy cracked me up in The Autumn Bride with all his muffin chatter. He sounds such FUN.

GIVEAWAY!

Oh, we love a generous author on Friday Feast and Anne is no exception. Here’s your chance to win a paperback copy of The Winter Bride. Simply answer this question: What is your favourite thing to have with a cuppa? Reply in the comments and you’ll go into the draw.

Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 1st April 2014. Open internationally. Rah!

If you’d like to learn more about Anne and her books – which you do! – please visit her website. You can also connect via Twitter using @AnneGracie and Facebook.

Go Anne in the RITAs!

This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Tami who has won a copy of Anne’s The Winter Bride. A lovely reading time ahead! Thanks so much to everyone who joined in the Friday Feast fun. I hope you come back again for some more foody-booky goodness! 

 

FRIDAY FEAST with Amy Andrews

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Happy Valentine’s Day! Are you feeling the luuuurve? Or are you suffering a touch of the bah humbugs over the day?

I’m on holidays so I’m most definitely feeling loved up. Er…*cough*… I’m not sure that came out quite right. I meant I’m feeling relaxed and happy with the world. Not the… um… you know, which is not something I want to talk about or you want to hear!

Okay, let’s start again.

Welcome to this Valentine’s Day version of Friday Feast featuring a lady who knows all about heart flutters, in more ways than one!Photo of Amy Andrews, author

But first, because I just know you are fascinated, this week’s edition of Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. Despite one day of brilliance, I’m losing the Great Murray River Challenge miserably. I swear my other half is cheating on his scorecard. Either that or he has snuck death-seeking balls into my bag. On the other hand, I’m having fun so not all is lost.

Now back to my guest. Amy Andrews has published forty books. Yes, FORTY. And if that isn’t enough, she’s been nominated for FIVE Australian Romance Readers Awards this year. Fortunately Amy is also a most excellent lady and we love her, despite her clear penchant for overachievement and making the rest of us look bad.

Amy’s latest release (and ARR Award nominee in both the Favourite Contemporary Romance and Sexiest Hero categories) is Holding Out For A Hero. Take a lookie…

 

HOLDING OUT FOR A HERO

 

Cover of Holding Out For A Hero by Amy AndrewsWhen sensible schoolteacher Ella Lucas rides into her home town on a Harley and seduces the resident football hero, Jake Prince, she figures she can be forgiven and move on. After all, she’s just buried her mother.

Two years later, back in the city, their paths cross again but this time Jake is in the process of destroying her favourite dive bar. With her home facing a wrecker’s ball, her school being closed down and her 15-year-old brother hell bent on self-destruction, it’s the last straw. Throw in a dominatrix best friend who is dating a blue ribbon guy so straight he still lives at home with his mother, it’s no wonder the sanest person in Ella’s life is a dog.

With all this to contend with, the last thing Ella needs is Jake back in her life. But, as fate would have it, Jake is the only chance she has to save her school.

As the school football season heats up, old secrets threaten to surface and Ella takes on greedy developers, school boards and national tabloids. But can she save not just her home, her school and her brother, but also the reputation of the man she’s never been able to forget? And, more importantly, does she want to?

Holding Out for a Hero is a quirky, heartwarming tale of unlikely romance, friendship and family.

 

Now that sounds seriously sexy! And Jake and Ella can be all yours with just a clickety-click from Amazon (for your Kindle or Kindle reading app), iTunes, Google Play and Kobo. It’s on my e-reader. Go and put it on yours!

Now come blow kisses at Amy. She has chooocooolate!

 

Claytons Cooking Part 2 – The Valentine’s Day chapter

Or

My Cheating Heart

 

So, we’ve already established I’m not a cook. That I cheat in the kitchen – often. That I construct dishes from pre-made ingredients and kind of smash it all up to make something new and exciting.

Yep, that’s the way we rock in my house. And everyone’s still alive and adequately nourished.

Yes, I’m a fraud who does not belong on such a magnificent blog with people who make their own spaghetti sauce. From scratch…

But Cathryn likes to indulge me so I thought I’d treat you to another easy-peasy food construction tip for Valentine’s Day!

Now…Valentine’s Day means chocolate right? Well, you know, it means love and romance and all that good stuff too but let’s face it, we’re women, right?

So….back to chocolate.

How about this Valentine’s Day you surprise your lover with some home-made chocolates? Well, you know, home-made in the loosest sense of the word….

The first thing you need is some chocolate moulds. Now, I used to have a stack of plastic moulds that I bought from Robin’s Kitchen years ago when I did this kind of stuff with the kids. I’m sure I had hundreds of them. No, I do have hundreds of them. I just couldn’t find any today when I came to do this recipe…. We food constructors are also bad at keeping track of our kitchen stuff… So I popped out and bought a proper you-beaut sturdy petit four tin. Impressive right?

Amy Andrews's petit fours tin

Next you need chocolate. What? You didn’t think I was actually going to make the chocolate did you? Perish the thought! But I do advise you to buy the most expensive cooking chocolate you can find – might as well dazzle your significant other with the taste of it, right? I used Cadbury. It’s more expensive than most but worth it.

Photo of the chocolate Amy used

Lastly you need stuff to mix in to the chocolate. I’ve used pistachios, coconut, peppermint essence, sprinkles and cranberries. Also Cointreau and rum. Because alcohol. But you can use whatever you want – chilli anyone?

Ingredients for flavouring the chocolates

Now all you do is melt the chocolate. You can get really authentic and do it in a double bowl over a boiling saucepan of water but why? Throw it in the microwave and it’s melted in like 1 minute! Plus, no saucepan to wash up!  Pour the melted chocolate into the individual moulds about half way up. Add whatever bits and pieces you’d like to each one, give it a gentle stir then fill the rest of the way with more chocolate.

Petit fours tin filled with chocolates

Refrigerate!

The end.

And here’s what they look like after they’ve been chilled a while.

The finished chocolates on a plate

Now, if you want to make it really special you can find a cute box or some cellophane and present them nicely. Knowing my hubby he’d prefer me to line them up on his naked body and lick them off after they’ve oozed a little but, you know, whatever works for you! 🙂

Happy Valentine’s Day!

For a chance to win a digital copy of my Aussie romcom Holding Out For A Hero tell me – do you like chocolate? Got a favourite brand? Or do you prefer something non-edible for the big-day-of-lurve?

 

And a big chocolate-flavoured Valentine’s Day right back at you, Amy! I now have a fair idea of what you’re doing today. Don’t wear out your tongue!

*cough*

Oh, dear. We really are having one of those days on the Feast, aren’t we? Never mind. Valentine’s Day is but once a year. Next week we shall return to normal innuendo free programming.

But only after we’ve given away a Kindle copy of Holding Out For A Hero!

You heard Amy. Share your favourite chocolate or whatever turns you on for Valentine’s Day and you’ll go into the draw. Me, I have a deep, deep affection for Jeff de Bruge chocolates, a brand I fell for when we lived in France. Luscious little babies. My mouth waters just thinking of those truffles. Otherwise, feed me red wine.

What about you? Maybe you like to suck on a Lindt ball? Perhaps pink champagne is more your go? Or maybe the best Valentine’s Day gift you could receive is a promise to babysit and 12 hours uninterrupted sleep. Share and you could win!

Giveaway closes midnight AEST 18th February 2014. Open internationally. Rah!

Don’t have a Kindle e-reader? That’s okay. You can download the reading app to your phone, tablet, laptop or computer and read where you like. It’s easy!

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

This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Ingrid who has won herself a copy of Amy’s Holding Out For A Hero. What fun she’ll have! Thanks to Amy and to all who joined in the Friday Feast fun. Hope to see you again soon.

 

 

Mid Summer News

First up, I’m a very proud Australian Romance Reader Award finalist in two categories. Such a thrill!

My rural romance Heartland is up for Favourite Contemporary Romance and, much to my great honour, I’m up for Favourite Australian Romance Author. Winners will be announced at the awards dinner at Cello’s Restaurant, Castlereagh Hotel, Sydney on 22nd March. Tickets to this glittery, star-studded night can be booked through ARRA. Go on, you know you want to be there!

Sitting on the hall table, ready for posting, is a package containing the proof-read pages of Rocking Horse Hill. Which means the next time I see this manuscript, it won’t be looking like this:

Rocking Horse Hill by Cathryn Hein first page proofs

It’ll be in book form with a shiny cover for me to stroke and feel gooey over. Rah!

Which brings me to a release date. Mark your calendars, cos Rocking Horse Hill is coming soon.

Release date for Rocking Horse Hill 23rd April 2014

Speaking of covers, it won’t be long and I’ll have one to show off. Newsletter subscribers score a look before anyone else. So if you want to be the first to see the cover and blurb, as well as catch up on other news, take a trip to my website and sign up.

Currently I’m well into my 2015 book, The Falls, which stars Teagan Bliss, a character from Rocking Horse Hill. This one is set in a gorgeous valley in New South Wales and features some “interesting” villagers, as well as a super sexy farrier hero and an evil cat. Great fun!

For those in the Mildura and Red Cliffs area, I’m coming your way. Just in time for Valentine’s Day too.

Promo for Mildura and Red Cliffs library talk

For more information, please visit the Mildura Rural City Council website.

My new website is nearing completion and should go live mid next month. I can’t wait. It’s so pretty!

Friday Feast is still on holidays but I’ve lined up some fantastic authors to kick the year off. Stay tuned for more on that. But if you’re looking for some recipes to try then don’t forget the recipe index is there for you to salivate over. Toblerone brownies, anyone?

And finally, a quick Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf update. I dropped another stroke off my handicap. I have no idea how or why, but it happened. The Great Golfing God is toying with me…

Till next time, stay cool (or warm!) and enjoy your Australia Day weekend. I know I will!