Tag Archives: Australian Writers

Teaser Tuesday!

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Teaser Tuesday 2017 logoWelcome to Teaser Tuesday, the blog series where I share snippets from new and past releases, and works-in-progress, except on the days when writing buddies come along to play.

Today I’m delighted to welcome Vanessa Carnevale to the blog. Late last year I had the great pleasure of being interviewed on Vanessa’s podcast and had a wonderful chat about writing and publishing. If you have any interest in either of those subjects, or just enjoy hearing authors talk about their craft and business, then I can highly recommend Vanessa’s Your Creative Life podcast and it’s 60 episodes. That’ll keep you going!

But we’re not here to talk about podcasts. We’re here to talk BOOKS! And Vanessa has just released her debut novel – applause all round, please – and it’s gorgeous. The Florentine Bridge is a luminous story of love, travel, and making the most of life’s second chances.

This one’s on my to-be-read pile. It should be on yours too.

Please welcome Vanessa to tell you a little about The Florentine Bridge and share a teaser from it.

 

Author Vanessa CarnevaleThanks for having me Cathryn! I’m so pleased to be here sharing a snippet of my debut novel, THE FLORENTINE BRIDGE! The story follows the journey of a young Australian woman and aspiring artist by the name of Mia, who has been cancer free for nine months. Even though she’s been given the all clear, her perspective on life has changed and she’s lost the motivation to paint. So when the opportunity to travel to Tuscany presents itself, she takes it in the hope that her travels might help her find a way to overcome some of the challenges she’s been facing. I never intended to write a love story–that was a total accident! Mia meets a handsome Italian mechanic by the name of Luca, that sweeps her off her feet and shows her what it means to trust in life again.

The excerpt I’m sharing here is when Mia meets Luca for the first time.

 

I’m sure he’s been watching me. He’s wearing a pair of denim jeans and a light-blue polo with the collar popped, not perfectly straight but with one side slightly higher than the other. His messy dark-brown hair could do with a trim. He’s wearing a pair of loafers without socks and I can’t tell what colour his eyes are because he’s wearing a pair of dark sunglasses. He’s probably in his early twenties. My eyes trace the form of his clean-shaven face and my heart skips a beat when I reach the The Florentine Bridge by Vanessa Carnevaledefinition of his jawline. This guy is beautiful. My eyes travel down to his perfectly formed biceps, and I have to look away. I glance down at my old pair of jeans and ballet flats and wish I’d taken the time to at least iron my shirt and make a half-decent effort. I look so … Australian.

I stand up and try to smooth out the creases in my shirt. I may have just showered, but my hair is in a messy ponytail and my face is bare of makeup. He lifts up his sunglasses, and now he’s squinting to get a better look at the girl who has come to stay here—the girl from Australia, with no fashion sense whatsoever.

Buongiorno, signorina!’ he calls.

I manage a small wave in response, and by the time I reach him, I seem to have lost my voice. I don’t know whether to speak in English or to try out my limited Italian. ‘Hi there! Ciao!’ I blurt.

Oh my God, he’s so incredibly handsome.

Ciao, sono Luca, Luca Bonnici.’

‘Nice to meet you, I’m Mia.’

He steps towards me, towering over me slightly, and I can smell his aftershave. It’s subtle, but I recognise it from my brief stint at Myer’s cosmetic counter; I know I’ll never forget the scent of Gucci by Gucci Pour Homme again. 

 

Tuscany, a handsome Italian mechanic, love… totally sighworthy. Which means you’ll want to grab a copy right now. Try Booktopia, Angus & Robertson Bookworld, Fishpond.com.au, Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play or your favourite book retailer. Go on, everyone deserves a vicariously lived Tuscan holiday!

To learn more about Vanessa, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using @v_carnevale.

 

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Merry Christmas!

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Greetings from north Queensland! After a 2000 km drive we’ve made it to sunny Collinsville where we’ll spend a joyous Christmas with family being thoroughly spoiled and overfed. Perfect.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your wonderful support throughout the year and to wish you a gorgeous Christmas filled with much love and laughter. Along with a Christmas stocking filled with romance novels, of course.

May 2017 be as sparkly and brilliant as my mother-in-law’s Christmas tree!

Christmas tree gif

Apologies for the wonkiness. Creating gifs isn’t my forte but like all Christmas gifts, it’s the thought that counts!

 

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Wayward Heart’s Cover Model Reveals All!

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Oh, my lovelies, I am so thrilled, for today we have a very special event: an interview with Wayward Heart’s cover model.

How cool is that?

If you’ve been following me around the internet, you’ll know how obsessed I am with this cover. I just adore it. The colours are beautiful, the romantic feel spot on, and the image that Harlequin’s clever designers have used is perfect. I’ve fallen so in love with it that I can’t remember how I initially imagined Jas and Digby. When I think of them now all I picture is the book, that’s how perfectly they’ve been shown.

Anyway, enough of me gushing and let’s say a big sunny cheerio to Kate Swan, who’s probably freezing her toes off in the UK right now.

 

Actress and model Kate Swan

Actress and model Kate Swan

Hi Kate and welcome!

Thanks so much for taking the time to join us. It’s very exciting and the first time we’ve had a cover model on the blog. I can’t wait to discover more about how this job came about and that clinch with Mr Sexy Snog Man (as I lovingly call him in my head), but we’ll get to that.

In the meantime, perhaps you can tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m an actress represented by The Markham Agency, London. And also run my own company ‘Forever Fairy Tales Ltd’ supplying bespoke entertainment for children’s parties specialising in Princess and Superhero characters!

I mostly work in theatre although am looking to move in to period drama and film.

Since a young age, I was interested in fashion, models and glamorous movie stars. I started building a portfolio with local photographers, and occasionally get bookings via Instagram. I follow photographers that interest me and that’s how I found Rehka Garton. She’s been doing book covers since a young age.

 

Wow. Rehka’s website looks amazing. Definitely worth checking out, and what fun your children’s parties must be. There’s nothing like being a princess!  And I see from your Spotlight profile that you’ve done a lot of Royal Shakespeare Company training. That’s really impressive and makes me even prouder to have you on my cover.

So, is Wayward Heart your first book cover? How did you get the gig?

Rehka decided to cast me for her next book cover shoot, but needed a male model also. And after a Facebook suggestion, that’s how I met the stunning Jack. He’d never modelled before, but looked perfect! We met the day of the shoot, and instantly struck a great working relationship and ‘on screen’ partnership. Half our shoots are spent laughing along with the photographer! We now offer ourselves as a professional pairing for couple shoots and advertisement.

 

That’s such a great story and how cool that this has led you and Jack into doing more work together. You could become romance cover royalty!

Speaking of which, how does it feel to be on a romance novel cover? What do your friends and family think?

I think my mum was most excited! She works managing libraries across Hertfordshire, and can’t wait to see the books on the shelf. As I have four out now for various authors. Wayward Heart will always be special as it was my first booking and chosen cover!

 

Aww, that’s so nice. I’m chuffed to be your first.

Now, can you share what a typical shoot is like? Have you experienced any funny moments in your career?

Oh plenty! It’s my favourite thing to be on set, in any form, whether its theatre or camera. I always feel in my element and most alive when I’m acting. Normally it’s an early start, costume fitting, then hair and makeup. Unless scripted or directed, I tend to input ideas and move in the moment, playing as I go until the feeling becomes fluid and natural. Being an actress, my modelling is highly influenced by a character and ‘telling the story’ through a staged scene (pose). Perhaps its why book covers are my niche!

Actress and model Kate Swan

Actress and model Kate Swan

I have had advert auditions, usually odd: perhaps being asked to look into the camera and cry on cue (with no reasoning!) Or scrub a pretend bath whilst miming ‘Flash’ by Queen! But you’re usually in the room for no more than a couple of minutes. I hope to land one soon.

The funniest moment of my professional career, was playing ‘Elizabetta’ in Dracula, a scare show performed in Stratford-Upon-Avon. In the opening scene after black out I had misread my spacing in the dark, and knocked into a table, smashing two prop glasses all over the stage floor! So when the lights came back up it was up to sexy vampire ‘Elizabetta’ to glide on stage with dustpan and brush and clean the mess in character (staring out an audience member) so the two actors playing Dracula and Johnathan Harker could carry on the scene.

There’s nothing like life theatre but I literally wanted to die inside. But as we came off finally the laughter commenced!

 

Funny, especially having a sexy vampire do something so domestic! I can understand the wanting to die feeling. I’d feel the same but I guess this is where your professionalism and training kick in and you simply act your way through it.

And now, my favourite bit, that clinch…

Wayward Heart’s cover image is so breath-taking and romantic. Did it feel like that at the time or is the truth that it was awkward and you nearly fell on your bum? It’s okay, you can tell us.

Wayward Heart by Cathryn Hein

Me and Jack have a great chemistry and seem to ‘look’ right as a romantic pairing. Since, we’ve done wedding shots and a period book cover photoshoot. From the moment go we clicked and nothing was awkward. He’s a great kisser, I can’t really say it’s a ‘job’. The shoots are really relaxed and creative. We’ve become a great team.

It’s like working with my best mates, we have a good laugh, but I always know we’ll produce something exciting.

 

I have a terrible crush on Mr Sexy Snog Man Jack. Even worse now you’ve told me he’s a great kisser (I knew he would be, deep sigh).

Is he truly that gorgeous in real life? Do you think he’d mind a middle-aged Australian romance author as a stalker-friend? I promise not to be too creepy.

Mr Sexy, invites your musing with open arms! We are both so grateful for you choosing our shot from R.G Photography.

And yes, he’s a stunner, as well as a great guy!

 

A stunner, great guy AND a fantastic kisser? I’m definitely going to stalk Jack now.

Thanks so much, Kate, for giving us such a great insight into how Wayward Heart’s cover image came about and a sneak peek at your life. It was fascinating and fun. We all appreciate you taking the time to share and wish you the very best in your career.

So, lovely readers, if you’d like to discover more about Kate, you can follow her on Twitter using @kateswanact or connect via Facebook. You’ll also find Kate’s acting profile on Spotlight.

We mustn’t forget Jack either (as if!). Follow him on Twitter using @J_Niko_CP

Don’t forget to check out ‘Rekha Garton’ Photography!

 

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Teaser Tuesday!

 

Teaser TuesdayWelcome to Teaser Tuesday, the blog series where I share snippets from upcoming and past releases, and works-in-progress and occasionally invite writing buddies along to play.

Wayward Heart is now officially one day old. Yesterday was release day and what fun was had with its Six Secret Things blog and sharing of quote memes on social media. As well as the usual celebratory fizz.

I also bought myself a gorgeous bunch of pink roses and ate more than my usual quota of cherries. Because RELEASE DAY!

In the past my books have come out on a Tuesday or Wednesday but Wayward Heart bucked the trend by hitting shelves on a Monday, which has freed today up for another delicious instalment of Teaser Tuesday, and another delectable taste of Jas and Digby.

Sigh. I love this book. The friends-to-lovers trope is a favourite and these two make it even more gorgeous and sexy.

Enjoy!

 

She stilled, her eyes dropping to the floor, her tone barely more than a whisper. ‘Don’t, Digby. Just leave it. Please. It’s not—’ She breathed in hard and lifted her pleading gaze to his. ‘I can handle it.’

‘Handle what?’Wayward Heart by Cathryn Hein

But she shook her head again.

Fear made him harsh. ‘Handle what, Jas?’

‘It’s nothing, honestly. I made a mistake and it’s taking a bit of sorting out, that’s all. It’ll be fine. I’ll be fine.’

She returned to pouring the wine. Digby rubbed the back of his neck and studied her. Whatever Jas claimed, she clearly wasn’t fine. Her eyes were hollow and worry kept her normally full mouth small. Protectiveness simmered inside him. He’d always been a bit weak, a bit soft. Privilege and wealth had made life too easy, but loving and losing Felicity had changed him. Digby knew what anger was now, what unfairness was. Courage that had once been unreachable for him had been found thanks to Felicity, and it still burned. He wasn’t afraid to use it either. What was there to fear for himself? He’d already lost everything that mattered.

 

Wayward Heart is available right now from these excellent stores:

Booktopia

Angus & Robertson Bookworld

Fishpond.com.au

Amazon.com | Amazon.au | Amazon.uk

Kobo

iBooks

Google Play

Go on. You know you want to and it’ll make you (and me) feel all lovely!

 

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It’s Wayward Heart Release Day!

Wayward Heart quote meme - Not be her rebound

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!

Yes, my lovelies, it’s Wayward Heart’s release day. A time when you have the joy of learning secret things about this gorgeous book, and its characters and setting, and where much fizz is drunk and naughty things eaten in the Hein house.

I am so thrilled to have this book out. It was always my goal to tell the individual stories of the three female friends from Rocking Horse Hill. Emily Wallace-Jones had hers told in that book, while Teagan Bliss’s was revealed in The Falls. Now it’s Jasmine Thomas’s turn and while all three books are special, I think this one has nailed it.

Wayward Heart is a friends-to-lovers story and I don’t know about you, but I reckon that trope is one of the most delicious there is in the romance world, probably because it’s so believable. Jas and Digby have never considered each other to be more than mates, but when circumstances bring them close, they discover unexpected strengths and wonders in each another. What happens next is totally sighworthy, if I do say so myself!

Anyway, as has become tradition on release day, here are some secret things about Wayward Heart. Enjoy!

6 SECRET THINGS ABOUT WAYWARD HEART

1/. Wayward Heart contains the most sex I’ve written in a book since Callie and Matt wouldn’t stop going at it like rabbits in Heartland.

2/. Usually (but not always) I have a theme song for my books. In the case of Wayward Heart, I had a whole theme playlist. On it were songs like Hurt by Johnny Cash, Chances by Athlete (made famous in Doctor Who’s Vincent and the Doctor episode) and Run by Snow Patrol.

But the song I played the most and put me very much in Digby’s head is a weird one. I’m not sure that you know but I’ve been a Eurovision Song Contest tragic for well over 25 years. I just adore it. Anyway, the Norwegian entry from the 2015 contest in Vienna was a song called A Monster Like Me by Mørland & Debrah Scarlett, and it fitted Digby perfectly.

At least I thought it did until I saw the film clip and realised it wasn’t about a man giving up the girl he loves, but was instead about a couple of freaky serial killer types…

Ah well.

3/. Wayward Heart was always going to be called Admella Beach after the beach behind Jasmine’s house but for marketing reasons the decision was made to change it. After MUCH brainstorming, we settled on Wayward Heart.

4/. Admella Beach is fictional but it derives its name from the steamship Admella, which was wrecked off the coast of Carpenter Rocks on August 6th 1859. The maritime disaster claimed eighty-nine lives, including 14 children, and has gone down in history as one of Australia’s worst. Only 24 people survived and the story of how they clung to the wreckage for over a week is incredible.

You can find more about the SS Admella at admella.org.au or, if you’re ever visiting South Australia’s Limestone Coast, why not take a trip to Port MacDonnell and visit the Port MacDonnell and District Maritime Museum. Well worth the trip. The Portland Maritime Discovery Centre across the border in Victoria also has a permanent Admella display, including the lifeboat used in the rescue.

A view of the coastline looking west from Port MacDonnell, South Australia.

A view of the coastline looking west from Port MacDonnell, South Australia, not far from where the SS Admella was tragically wrecked.

5/. The 2 opening paragraphs of Wayward Heart came to me in August 2014. I wrote them down and simply carried on with the other books I was working on, and didn’t pick up the story again until May 2015. This happens a lot, but as a career author with contracts to fulfil and readers to satisfy you can’t let yourself get distracted by the bright new shiny things or you’ll never finish anything.

Wayward Heart by Cathryn Hein6/. I think Wayward Heart’s cover is the best I’ve had yet. It’s so sexy and romantic I wish I could dive into it and join them. Actually I’d probably elbow Jas out the way and demand Digby hold me all sexily like that.

Yeah, yeah, so that’s weird, but a girl’s allowed her little fantasies!

Watch out for a really cool Q&A on the blog this coming Friday with cover model Kate Swan, who reveals how the shoot came about, our hero and the details of that clinch.

 

So there you have it, six secret things about Wayward Heart. I hope you enjoyed this bit of  behind the scenes fun.

Wayward Heart is available from today in paperback and ebook from good book retailers and chain stores.

Or you can purchase copies with just a clickety-click right now from:

Booktopia

Angus & Robertson Bookworld

Fishpond.com.au

Amazon.com | Amazon.au | Amazon.uk

iBooks

Kobo

Google Play

For an excerpt and more, including the The Story Behind Wayward Heart, please visit its book page. You can also download samples from your favourite ebook retailer.

As usual, I’ll be celebrating release day with champagne and good things. It might not seem it, but writing a book is bloody hard work. But it’s not just the writing. There’s a whole process to be gone through before a book reaches a reader’s hands and each step involves not just my input but a lot of expert help, from editors to cover designers, marketers and digital people, and others in between. They all deserve a toast for their hard work. So later today I’ll be doing just that, and enjoying it hugely!

 

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How to Make Your Booklover Smile This Christmas

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Over the course of the year, I’ve been keeping tabs on some of the cool booky things I’ve discovered around the internet. Now, with the the season to be jolly upon us, it’s time to share with this booklover’s gift guide.

So, if you’re looking for Christmas present ideas for readers, writers or those who simply appreciate a bit of booklovin’ fun – and that includes yourself – read on.

I had planned to get this up earlier but between Santa and the Saddler’s release in October and Wayward Heart hitting stores and digital shelves this coming Monday, as well as new projects to manage, it didn’t happen. Sorry! I appreciate it might be a bit too late to order some of the items, especially for we antipodeans, but you can always do an IOU, or keep note for next year, order early and impress everyone with your super efficiency.

Anyway, let’s get started on the pressies.

Stroke Me, Stroke Me

I love Paperblanks. They produce the most beautiful, beautiful notebooks. Not only to look at but to write in too. With their wonderfully textured covers and high quality paper, they’re even satisfying to stroke!

My Paperblanks notebooks

These are the two I purchased from stationery lover’s paradise Pulp Addiction in the Hunter Valley, NSW. Paperblanks are also available from the National Library of Australia bookshop or find your nearest stockist at Paperblanks.com.

Come Read My Lovely Legs

How cool are these tights from the Tights Shop on Etsy? They come in a range of colours and quotes, from Jane Austen to Edgar Allen Poe, to Harry Potter and other favourites.

Literary tights

Great fun and very cute, and for the singles among us, what a pick-up aid! Just stretch out your legs and let the bookloving conversation begin.

You can even get them customised with your own text. Anyone for a pair of Wayward Heart or Santa and the Saddler tights?

Cos A Girl Can Never Have Enough

More notebooks, this time from Moleskine. I bought myself this “All You Need Is Love” one from the limited edition Beatles collection because it reminded me of a scene in Santa and the Saddler where the hero Danny sings along in his ute, smug with joy and love, to another Beatles song “She Loves You”. Fishpond has free delivery but the collection is also available from Amazon and Notemaker also has some.

All you need is love notebook

By the way, if you haven’t tried Notemaker, it’s a marvellous shop. Like Pulp Addiction you can spend aaaaaages there, wallowing in stationery bliss.

A Bum For Your Book

I ordered this handy Book Seat from the manufacturer on Wednesday and it was dispatched within a few hours. Great service! Wonderful to know they’re Australian but the product itself is available worldwide. It’ll balance books, tablets and e-readers in comfort, saving your neck and back, and leaving your hands free to do other things.

I loved the cartoon pattern on this one but The Book Seat has plenty of other patterns and colours available.

Retro comiic Bookseat

And just think how terrific it’d look with a shiny new copy of Wayward Heart perched on it!

Write Your Way To Luuurve

How’s this for the perfect kit for writing stunning love letters, and normal letters, of course. But love letters are far more sexy and, unlike a that raunchy video of you dancing to The Divinyls “I Touch Myself” while wearing nothing but a peek-a-boo bra and ugg boots, less likely to end up on the internet.

Belle Calligraphy Kit

Available from Booktopia, Bookdepository and pretty much everywhere else, and conveniently wrapped in a pretty box, ready for gifting.

Impress Your Friends With Your Unhandyman-ness

I know they’re fake but these book mural removable wall stickers from Readers’ Niche look goooood. And no drill or hammer skills required.

Book mural removable wall stickers

I reckon they’d look great in the loo, but that’s me. They’d sure beat looking at the golf magazines that usually end up in there.

Oh, hang on, I rather like golf mags.

Everyone Loves A Librarian

And you can be one with this personal library kit from Knock Knock.

Personal library kit

Not only will you be able to stamp with abandon, you’ll be able to chase up those non-returning friends and work out in a jiffy who left the red wine stain on page 153 of your favourite romance.

Probably me. I’m a shocker with books. And red wine, but that’s another story.

Sweet Nothings

Leave cute messages to your beloved on your fridge using this magnetic poetry kit set from Pulp Addiction. They’re like sweet nothings in your kitchen and far, far more romantic than a text message. Or that dangerous video I mentioned above.

Magnetic Poetry Kit

You can even buy a cowboy version. Yee-haa!

Warm Your Wayward Heart

What? Surely you didn’t expect me to not put my own book forward as a gift idea? A girl has turkey ‘n fizz to buy!

Wayward Heart by Cathryn Hein

Wayward Heart releases Monday and it’s a gorgeous friends-to-lovers story that will warm your heart and leave you sighing in happiness. Plus its cover is stunning and very, very strokeable. Yes, I’m biased, but I swear on my favourite golf club that these claims are true!

It’s also a breeze to wrap and you can even gift the ebook on Amazon. No hassle, no waiting, too easy. The perfect gift, wouldn’t you say? Grab a copy from these stores.

Booktopia | Angus & Robertson Bookworld

Amazon.com | Amazon.au | Amazon.uk

Kobo | iBooks | Google Play

You should buy it and tell all your family and work colleagues and buddies and the postman and the lady at the shop and, well, everyone in sight to buy it too. Or you could just purchase a bazillion copies yourself and gift them. I’m not fussy. Honest.

 

I hope you enjoyed these suggestions and if you have any of your own, please share. As I’m sure you’re well aware, one can never have enough booky goodness.

In the meantime, happy shopping!

 

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Favourite Reads of November

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My Favourite Reads image

Another fantastic reading month with the highlights being a rather jaw-dropping but enjoyable young adult series, and an outstanding Australian novel from a new-to-me author.

So, by a fraction of a whisker, my favourite read of the month was…

The Royals Series by Erin Watt

Paper Princess, book one of The Royals Series by Erin WattWhich includes the books Paper Princess, Broken Prince and Twisted Palace.

This series was completely over the top bonkers and I loved every word.

Take one teenage stripper determined to drag herself out of the gutter, have her kidnapped/rescued by a man she’s never met yet who says he’s now her guardian, and plonked in a mansion with the dysfunctional, all-male family that is the uber wealthy Royals, and let the fun begin.

And brilliant fun it is too, with insanely spoiled (and twisted) rich kids, bitchiness, sex, murder, shenanigans, seriously hot bods and lashings of teenage angst. I read one book after the other in a matter of days.

An indulgence. But oh, so good.

Christmas Wishes, New Year Kisses by Michelle DouglasChristmas Wishes, New Year Kisses by Michelle Douglas

A lovely seasonal read, featuring two Australian veterinarian best friends who’ve known each other forever, and you know what that means? Sweet, funny animals. And an even sweeter friends-to-lovers romance. Oh, and there’s a beautiful tropical beach setting thrown in to add to the gorgeousness.

This one made me smile and sigh a lot, just as a good romance should.

Broken Homes by Ben AaronovitchBroken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch

Book four in this hugely popular supernatural series and another great romp with PC Peter Grant through Aaronovitch’s strangely inhabited London. I really enjoyed this but the ending? WOAH! It left me so startled and intrigued I nearly went on to read book five straight after, but in the end decided to ration myself.

The wit in this series is a hoot. As are the characters.

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow RowellEleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Rowell’s Attachments moved me so much that it immediately became one of my all-time favourites reads, and while Eleanor and Park didn’t quite hit the same note – probably because it featured teenagers rather than adults, and the hero of Attachments was totally swoon-worthy – it was still a truly wonderful read. Two star-crossed outsider 16 year-olds fall in love despite all the odds against them, and the knowledge it probably won’t last. Wonderful.

I don’t know any other author who describes falling in love with the same exquisite detail and empathy as Rowell. Need more.

Fall by Candice FoxFall by Candice Fox

This crime series is so dark it borders on horror at times, which means I love it. I’m so disappointed that Fox says she has no more plans for Eden and Frank. They were fascinating characters and the plots of Eden, Hades and Fall all took turns that kept me guessing until the end. I really like the way this ended too. Twisted!

The Rules of Backyard Cricket by Jock SerongThe Rules of Backyard Cricket by Jock Serong

If it weren’t for the sheer jaw-dropping over-the-top fun of The Royals series this would have easily been my favourite read. Suspense? Crime? I’m not really sure, but what I do know is that the writing was incredible, as was the gripping plot. So clever!

The Rules of Backyard Cricket starts with our antagonist Darren Keefe having been shot in the knee, bound and dumped in the back of a car, presumably on his way to his execution. As he struggles with his predicament, Keefe takes us back through his notorious life and that of his even more famous cricketing star brother, Wally.

Amazing. Couldn’t put it down. Highly recommended, even if you’re not a cricket fan.

 

What were your favourite reads?

 

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Teaser Tuesday!

Teaser TuesdayGreetings, lovelies, and welcome to another tantalising instalment of Teaser Tuesday, the blog series where I share snippets from upcoming and past releases, and works-in-progress, and also let author buddies play.

Can you believe it’s only THIRTEEN sleeps until Wayward Heart releases?

So close!

I’m still impatiently waiting on my author copies to arrive so I can gaze dopily at them, give the cover a caress or twenty, and sigh heavily at the pure romance of it while imagining myself in that clinch. I was asked on Twitter the other day what Digby looked like in my head and I had to reply that I couldn’t remember because when I think of Digby now all I picture is that cover model. Total babe. I may have to kiss him. A lot.

Which is not weird. Nope. Not at all. Not really.

Okay, maybe a little bit but authors are meant to be a bit eccentric, aren’t they?

Anyway, moving on…

Wayward Heart releases December 12th. Pre-order the ebook today from Amazon, Kobo, iBooks and Google Play, or the paperback from Booktopia, Angus and Robertson Bookworld, or your favourite retailer. Go on, it’ll make you feel good and you’ll get to stroke the Sexy Snog Man. You’ll even be able to kiss him in the privacy of your own home if you want. Surely worth it for that opportunity alone?

Now for a taste of Wayward Heart and its hero Digby Wallace-Jones, a man who outwardly has everything but who inside is broken with grief over the death of his fiancé Felicity. The poor darling. I may have to give him an extra kiss to help him feel better.

 

Digby flicked off the car radio. The last thing he wanted tonight was an announcer’s cheer. What he did want Digby had no idea, but it wasn’t that upbeat inflection or yet another bloody love song. He hated love. He hated everything.

Levenham’s fringes gave way to highway. The speed limit increased to 110 kilometres an hour. He eased his foot down. The lights of his Mercedes scorched the darkness with blazing tunnels of white. He liked the car’s power, the panther speed of its response. Perhaps if he’d bought a Merc instead of that useless Jeep he’d have made it to Rocking Horse Hill in time to prevent Felicity’s panicked flight to the quarry. Seconds had mattered that night. And he’d been late.

Wayward Heart by Cathryn HeinHe sped westward, aware he’d have to turn south soon to avoid any glimpse of the district’s other ancient volcanic cone. There were so many of the things, scattered like acne across the plains of western Victoria and into this lower corner of South Australia. Since the accident Digby couldn’t stand the sight of them. Once harmless hills were now symbols of the earth’s treachery and triggers of pain. He knew his feelings were irrational. The hills weren’t alive. They possessed no conscience. They just were. Still he charged them with blame.

The night was clear and a three-quarter moon cast the rural terrain in an eerie, spectral glow. The kilometres ate away, gobbled by his leaden foot and the car’s supremacy over the land. To the left on a rise, a crop of silvery wind turbines stood in formation like alien creatures about to attack. Digby slowed as his turnoff appeared.

The road was narrow and isolated, but fully sealed and in reasonable condition. Familiar with the route and confident it was unlikely to be patrolled, Digby lowered every window then pressed his foot down dangerously hard. His grip tightened as the car surged. Fence lines and the occasional shed flew past. Wind blasted across him, buffeting the car’s interior. The land blurred as he lost himself in the sensation of speed and noise and his imaginary race towards her.

It wasn’t enough. It was never enough to drown the echoes in his head.

 

 

Find out more about Wayward Heart and how I came to write it in Of Beaches And Brothers, And Friends To Lovers, the story behind Wayward Heart For another excerpt and more, check out the Wayward Heart book page.

 

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5 Reasons Why Four-Legged Friends Are The Best People

Cathryn as a little girl with Mysty

Me with my beloved first horse Mysty

Anthropomorphise: 1. to ascribe human form or attributes to. 2. to ascribe human form or attributes to an animal, a god, etc. Macquarie Dictionary, 6th ed.

Okay, who’s guilty of doing this with their pet? Lots of you I bet. It seems that when it comes to our beloved animals we can’t help ourselves. They’re so integral to our lives we want to think of them as human. And I say rightly so. You know why? Because without a doubt our four-legged friends are the best of people.

Here’s why.

1/. They’re Joy On Legs

Is there anything as gorgeous as being greeted by an over-excited, thrilled-to-bits pet who misses us desperately even though we’ve only been gone for ten minutes? Sure, children can give this joy, but unless they’re sick, a pet will do it every time. No pouty bottom lips because we failed to bring that new toy or lolly home. No teenage half eye-meets from under long fringes followed by a grunt. But pure, unadulterated Hello-hello, Darling Owner! happiness that gives your heart an instant lift.

Feeling down? Never fear! Simply search ferrets on YouTube and wait for the laughs to start.

2/. They Don’t Talk Back or Tell Secrets

We can tell our pets anything. Anything. And be content that it’ll go no further. No double-crossing or back-stabbing in action here. Whether our pet’s a budgie or a pot-bellied pig it’ll be the perfect listener. Pour your heart out, your secrets are safe.

3/. Companionship

We’re never lonely when with a pet. Admittedly, it’s a bit hard to cuddle up with a goldfish, and I probably wouldn’t be keen on tickling a snake’s belly to see if I can make it wriggle, but they’re

Me and Ram Lamb as a youngster enjoying a rest.

Me and Ram Lamb as a youngster enjoying a rest.

still breathing creatures sharing life with us. That beats the rainbow sparkles off a plastic My Little Pony every time.

Pets are also great protectors against isolation. How easy it is to communicate with a fellow pet lover? Many a friendship or romance has been forged between dog owners out walking their charges, and I certainly have experience of equine-assisted romances. They’re an immediate shared interest and we have the bonus of knowing that if someone cares deeply for a pet, they’re less likely to be a serial killer.

Oh, and if there does happens to be danger, our pets might even be life savers. Google animal heroes and you’ll discover a thousand stories of animals coming to the rescue. Darling things.

4/. Pets Give Good Health

The RCPCA lists a number of health advantages experienced by pet owners, both physiologically and psychologically. Owners are more active and have lower blood pressure and cholesterol. The RSPCA also says that growing up with animals may strengthen our immune systems and that children who have pets are less likely to have days off school from illness. They’re also more empathetic, thanks to the care they must give another living creature who is solely reliant on them for food, shelter and often companionship.

Think also of the specialist animals out there; guide dogs (and horses, yes horses!), seizure-alert dogs, cancer sniffing pets, and animals taken around nursing homes to cheer up residents. Seriously, if all the health advantages of pets could be concentrated and bottled, they’d be marketed as the elixir of life!

5/. Unconditional Love

There’s no love like a pet’s love. It’s non-judgemental and constant. Our pets don’t care about the zits on our chins, our morning dragon’s breath, whether we vote one way or another or are jealous of our over-achieving siblings, or sometimes say bitchy things about the lady down the road. We don’t have to be perfect with our pets. Not even close. They’ll love us regardless.

Okay, so maybe it isn’t love. Maybe we’re being fooled and that adoring look is just so we’ll hand over that juicy scrap of beef or that sweet carrot. Whatever it is, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t feel good and right and real. Compared to the way people sometimes love, pets do a better job.

 

I think the above is why I adore including animals in my books as well as humans. Not only are they a wonderful foil for the occasional drama and conflict people subject themselves to, they can even play a role in resolving it. Combine animal characters with a deliciously heroic hero and a sympathetic heroine, and you have a romance guaranteed to give you that all important sniffle, sigh and smile. But in double dose.

In real life or literature, they’re the ultimate feel-good creatures. The best of people.

How do you feel about pets? Do they give good health and love to you too?

 

The Falls by Cathryn HeinNB. This post was first published on the blog Two Little Humans and Me as part of the promotional program for my rural romance THE FALLS. A book that features its fair share of naughty pets too, including a horny (in both ways) ram called Merlin, a bad breathed sphinx cat named Blanche and a stinky labradoodle called Saffron.

 

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Teaser Tuesday!

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Teaser TuesdayWelcome to Teaser Tuesday, the tantalising blog series where I share snippets from works-in-progress, up-coming releases and published novels. Unless I’m feeling lazy and invite good writing buddies to fill in for me, like today!

It’s my great pleasure to welcome back multi award-winning historical romance author Anna Campbell to the blog. Regular readers will know Anna pops by quite often, is always hugely entertaining and usually offers a wonderful giveaway.

Today is no different, so read on, my lovelies!

 

Historical romance author Anna CampbellHi Cathryn! Lovely to be back on your blog again. Thank you so much for asking me to do another Tuesday Teaser!

I can hardly believe it’s time to talk about Christmas romances again! This year has just flown. I’ve got two Christmas stories out in 2016, a stand-alone called A Match Made in Mistletoe, and “Mistletoe and the Major,” part of the multi-author, multi-genre anthology Under the Kissing Bough.

Today, I’m going to tease you with “Mistletoe and the Major.” My last couple of Christmas novellas have been comedic romps. But with this one, I set out to write a touching, heartfelt story about a brave man returning from eight brutal years of war to establish a life with the wife he loves, but who he’s not sure loves him.

The excerpt takes place on Christmas Eve, Lord Canforth’s first night back on his country estate after leaving the army. He’s come home to face the fallout from a fraught fortnight’s honeymoon just before he shipped out with his regiment. To his surprise, the innocent and unsure girl he left behind has become a lovely, confident woman in his absence. And at last, they start to talk to each other and heal the wounds left from their past mistakes.

***

Otway Hall, Shropshire, December 1815

Flick’s lips turned down in a self-derisive smile. “I owe you an apology. That was a poor welcome I gave you. An empty house, and a wife stinking of the stables.”

Actually when Canforth had first touched her, he’d caught the scent of crushed flowers and something that was Flick alone. He’d remembered that fragrance immediately—it would always be the aroma of heaven. There might have been a hint of horse and hay, too, but he hadn’t cared. He’d been too busy fighting the urge to bury his face in her hair and tell her how much he’d missed her. Which would have ruined things between them forever. If he leaped on her like a starving wolf the minute he came home, she’d run for the hills.

Mistletoe and the Major by Anna Campbell“It’s still my home, empty or not, and I gave you no warning I was coming. But you haven’t told me why you’re spending Christmas alone.”

She took another sip of wine. “I didn’t feel like going through all the hullabaloo this year. It…it seemed easier to miss you here at Otway than in a noisy, happy crowd of people, however much I love them.”

Shock made him sit up straight and stare at her. “You missed me?”

The question surprised her. “Of course.”

“But I’ve been away for ages.”

She gave a grim laugh. “I know.”

By Jove, that was dashed nice to hear. Dashed nice. To think, she’d missed him. Perhaps his case wasn’t quite as hopeless as he thought. He leaned back and stretched his legs toward the fire. “Well.”

A smile lit her eyes to burned caramel. “Well, indeed.”

She set aside her wine and picked up her sewing, as if she hadn’t changed his world in the space of a second. “It means a plain Christmas dinner, I’m afraid. A returning hero deserves to have all the stops pulled out.”

Another silence fell, this one more comfortable than the last. Canforth finished his wine and let its warmth fortify the warmth seeping into his blood with every moment in his wife’s presence. For years, he’d been cold and lonely. Was his exile finally at an end?

 

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

Under the Kissing Bough, with 15 brand-new Christmas stories, including “Mistletoe and the Major,” is only 99 cents for a limited time.

Under the Kissing Bough boxed set

Buy now from: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and iBooks.

It’s actually pretty funny that I’ve got two stories featuring mistletoe this Holiday season because “mistletoe” is one of those words I consistently type wrongly. It’s either “misletoe” or “miseltoe” or “mistetoe,” or some variation thereof!

Do you have any bugbear words? Words you consistently misspell or mistype? Homophones that trip you up? “Bare” and “bear” nearly always catch me out, although I’m perfectly well aware of the difference between them. How can a bare bear bear it?

GIVEAWAY!

So let’s confess our keyboard sins. I’ve got a Kindle download of Under the Kissing Bough to go to someone who comments today. No geographical restrictions on the giveaway. Good luck!

Please note: Giveaway closes midnight Friday AEST, 25th November 2016. Open internationally.

Ah, those pesky misspelled words. I feel your pain, Anna. I have one I do ALL the time too and that’s mischief. Even though I know how to spell it, for some stupid reason my fingers always mix up the I and E. So frustrating!

What about you, lovely readers? Share your keyboard sins and you’ll go into the draw. I bet there are some auto correct doozies out there too.

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

 

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