Tag Archives: Author Events

This Writing Life: ARR 19

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Last weekend I attended A Romantic Rendezvous in Sydney at the Bankstown Sports Club, where a lovely time was had by all.

There are four events in the A Romantic Rendezvous series, with Brisbane and Sydney held last weekend and Melbourne and Perth scheduled for this coming weekend (30th and 31st March). They were (and are) chockers full of authors representing every romance genre, and feature special guests like Aussie urban fantasy star Keri Arthur (who generously filled in at the last minute when Sherrilyn Kenyon had to pull out) and American historical author Celeste Bradley.

It’s always a thrill to catch up with readers, new and old. I love a good natter and what better topic to natter about than books?

I had planned to take lots of photos but got distracted, as tends to happen at these events. But here are a few piccies of the event for you to enjoy.

If you haven’t booked for this weekend in Melbourne or Perth, that’s okay. I’m sure you’ll be able to buy a ticket at the door. Visit the Australian Romance Readers Association for attending authors, venue details and times.

Me all set up and ready to go at ARR19, Sydney.
Me all set up and ready to go!
Authors Maddison Micheals, Amanda Knight and (standing) Bronwyn Parry at ARR19, Sydney.
Authors Maddison Micheals, Amanda Knight and (standing) Bronwyn Parry.
Jodi Perry, whose gorgeous book cover tablecloth I'm seriously jealous of, at ARR19, Sydney.
Jodi Perry, whose gorgeous book cover tablecloth I’m seriously jealous of!
Fellow Outback Brides author Kelly Hunter with Avril Tremayne at ARR19, Sydney.
Fellow Outback Brides author Kelly Hunter with Avril Tremayne.
Kandy Shepherd and special guest Keri Arthur at ARR19, Sydney.
Kandy Shepherd and special guest Keri Arthur.
Ann B Harrison with her gorgeous cowboys.
Ann B Harrison with her gorgeous cowboys (photo courtesy of Ann).
Penelope Janu, Amanda Knight and me at ARR 19, Sydney.
Penelope Janu, Amanda Knight and me (photo courtesy of Amanda).
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This Writing Life: Scone Literary Festival

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The Hunter Valley in New South Wales is one of my favourite places (and the setting for one of my most popular rural romances, Heart of the Valley), so I was thrilled to bits to when Scone Literary Festival invited me to appear on a panel.

Books in the heart of wine and horse country? How could I possibly say no?

The festival was held on the weekend of the 10th -12th November and the weather couldn’t have been more gorgeous. Not only the weather, but also the venue – Scone’s pretty Arts and Crafts Hall which has a lovely outside area and was the perfect place for al fresco lunching and the festival’s “Soiree in the gardens” on Saturday night.

Scone Arts and Crafts Hall

Scone Arts and Crafts Hall

The line-up of speakers was even more impressive, with broadcaster and columnist Phillip Adams, journalist and hugely popular non-fiction author Peter FitzSimons, acclaimed author Don Watson, Gold Walkley award-winning journalist Joanne McCarthy, and The Dressmaker author Rosalie Ham and the film’s producer Sue Maslin, along with many other excellent writers.

I was delighted to be on a panel with fellow author Kim Kelly, who read aloud the most beautiful piece of writing from her book Wild Chicory, and artist, photographer and author David Darcy. Check out David’s website for a look at his work. It’s amazing. Paula Stevenson did a stellar job facilitating our session, during which we discussed rural and regional stories from around Australia and how we develop our characters and settings. It was terrific fun.

The entire program was filled thought-provoking, sometimes heartbreaking and sometimes funny talks and panels, and the Festival’s atmosphere hugely amiable. Bookseller Ian from Hunt A Book (how cool is that bookshop name!) was a joy, and the catering excellent (country cooking… my mouth waters just thinking those words).

If you love ideas and stories and talking books, a bucolic setting and country hospitality, then this festival is for you.

Keep an eye on the website, or the Festival’s Facebook or Twitter feed for updates about next year’s event.

Thanks to Jan Sinclair and her team for a truly memorable weekend.

Here are a few piccies for you to enjoy!

Scone’s gorgeous mare and foal statue

Scone’s gorgeous mare and foal statue. Naturally I had to pat it.

Peter FitzSimons was hugely entertaining, and his chat with Phillip Adams covered everything from his new release Burke and Wills to republicanism, to the way Australia celebrates its failures, along with many other topics in between.

Peter FitzSimons and Phillip Adams

Peter FitzSimons and Phillip Adams

As a fun interlude between sessions, the festival featured “pop-up poets” who charmed us by reading their own or other’s works.

Pop up Poet Richard (Rick) Wright.

Pop up Poet Richard (Rick) Wright.

Above is Rick Wright whose aunt was the distinguished Australian poet Judith Wright, and who is a talented poet and author himself. I was honoured and delighted when Rick gave me two of his books: Poemotion, which is filled with terrific bush-style poetry, and the beautiful hardcover Hold Fast: History, heritage and the challenges of life for a primary producer heading into the 21st Century.

Poemation and Hold Fast by Richard Wright

Poemotion and Hold Fast by Richard Wright

Hold Fast is fascinating!

I’ve had the notion to set a book in the New England area for quite some time (20+ years, in fact, from when I used the travel the area in my pasture seed selling days). Hold Fast makes me want to do it even more. It’s also a must-read for anyone interested in the agricultural history of this rich and stunning region, and with the trials and joys of rural life.

Hold Fast and Rick’s poetry books can be purchased direct from Rick via his Hold Fast website.

Don Watson and Phillip Adams

Don Watson and Phillip Adams

Don Watson in conversation with Phillip Adams was another excellent session. It was interesting to hear about his relationship with former Prime Minister Paul Keating, for whom he was speech writer, and also about growing up in Gippsland. I really need to read his book The Bush, although the book I’m most curious about is Death Sentence: The Decay of Public Language.

Tom Thompson telling us about the photos in ‘To Beersheba 1917’

Tom Thompson telling us about the photos in ‘To Beersheba 1917’

October 31st marked the 100th anniversary of the Australian Light Horse Charge of Beersheba, during World War I. With perfect timing, Tom Thompson launched his new book To Beersheba 1917 at the festival. To Beersheba 1917 contains 100 previously unpublished photographs from the Haydon Family archive at ‘Bloomfield’, Blandford. Check out their website for more about this historic property and some excellent photos. It’s well worth a visit.

Guy Haydon famously rode his horse Midnight in the charge, during which poor Midnight was killed (a story in itself, and which you can discover more about on the website). The photos Tom showed were incredible. Although many were heartbreaking too.

Horsing around on the Hunt A Book bookstall.

Horsing around on the Hunt A Book bookstall. If you’re ever in Scone, drop in and say hi to Ian.

The “Soiree in the gardens” on Saturday evening was a sublime event, with music, local wine and nibbles, and Jan entertaining us with a song.

Soiree in the gardens

Soiree in the gardens

Soiree in the gardens, Scone Literary Festival 2017

Committee president Jan Sinclair singing for us.

The Dark Art of Writing Domestic Drama panel featured (L-R) Paul Mitchell (We. Are. Family.), Melissa Lucashenko (Mullumbimby – longlisted for the Miles Franklin Award) and Mel Jacob, and was facilitated by Joanne McCarthy.

The Dark Art of Writing Domestic Drama panel

The Dark Art of Writing Domestic Drama panel

I was lucky enough to enjoy a good chat with Mel whose book In Sickness, In Health and Jail:  What Happened When My Husband Unexpectedly Went to Prison for Two Years sounds a great read.

Scone's lovely The Thoroughbred hotel.

Scone’s lovely The Thoroughbred hotel.

That’s me done for the year with writing events. Which is just as well, because I’m veeeery behind with my writing and we have a big few months coming up with a relocation and a few other changes.

And, of course, the release of The Country Girl on December 18th. Can’t forget that!!

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This Writing Life: 2017 NSW Rural Women’s Gathering

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It’s been a while since I’ve managed a This Writing Life post. The last one was back in July (yikes!) when I shared piccies from Taronga Zoo.

It’s not that I haven’t been doing things. I’ve been out and about quite a bit this year. It’s more a matter of squeezing in the time to do up the posts. My number one priority is writing books and that sometimes means that the blog must miss out.

But not this week!

In a better-late-than-never post, today I’m sharing photos from the 2017 New South Wales Rural Women’s Gathering held in Narrandera, Friday October 27th to 29th.

What a brilliant weekend.

I have fellow rural romance author Jane Carter (new release: Prodigal Daughter) to thank for my attendance at this event. Jane is a Narrandera local and suggested at the 2016 Romance Writers of Australia conference that we could present a writing workshop at the Gathering, and I jumped at the chance. I am so, so glad I did because I had a BALL.

Me and Jane Carter at our trade stall.

Me and Jane Carter at our trade stall.

The women I met and heard talk were amazing. There was Jane, of course, but also Narrandera’s newly elected local NSW Member of Parliament Steph Cooke, who gave a very funny opening speech (and gave me an excellent idea for a character). Plus Kate O’Callaghan, general manager of Southern Cotton, Dame Marie Bashir, former Narrandera local and second longest serving Governor of NSW (among other achievements).

Betina Walker of Whispering Pines Organics related her incredible and inspirational story at the gala dinner, and who you can learn more about in a video here. We were also entertained with talks from Rosalie Ham, author of The Dressmaker, and Sue Maslin, the producer of its hit film.

There was also Fran McLaughlin from Big River Herbs at Narrandera, Jane Sibley from Hilltops Honey at Young, and winemaker Belinda Morandin from Morandin Family Wines at Griffith, Jane’s friend Tracey Boschetti, and that’s just to name a few of the rural women at the event who demonstrated the success that can be achieved with a bit of grit and self-belief. Wonderful, wonderful.

Besides the keynote speeches and trade stalls, there were also plenty of workshops covering everything from getting friendly with your chainsaw, to estate planning, how to be fire wise, secrets to community engagement, flamenco, making mead, rural mental health and much, much more. The full program can be found here.

Next year’s gathering is at Merimbula, on NSW’s beautiful, southern Sapphire Coast, on 19th – 21st October. I’m marking my diary. For more info, check out the 2018 Gathering website.

Now here’s a few happy snaps from the weekend. Enjoy!

Nothing like a road trip, especially when there’s sweet things involved, and Junee Licorice and Chocolate Factory hit the spot. But it was the truck artwork outside Gasworks Garage opposite that really put a smile on my face.

Gasworks Garage's cute truck and animal sculpure, Junee

Opening night of the Gathering was at the Fisheries Travelling Stock Reserve where we shared a variety of “bush food” prepared by local Wiradjuri Elder Michael Lyons, including kangaroo curry and witchetty grubs, along with lovely local wine.

Dame Marie Bashir at the 2017 NSW Rural Women’s Gathering,

Dame Marie Bashir. Couldn’t have asked for a more gorgeous evening for the opening.

Me, Jane Carter and Tracey Boschetti enjoyed some local wine.

Me, Jane Carter and Tracey Boschetti enjoyed some local wine.

Once darkness fell, we were treated to the Cad Factory’s open-air video, sound, light and textile artwork, Shadow Places. Sadly, the photos don’t do it justice, but it was certainly intriguing and a lovely way to end the evening.

One of the Shadowlands art installation.

This was an ever changing video projected on to large square haybales. Visually stunning.

A Shadowlands art installation.

This one was very Blair Witch Project. Remember the scary film from the late 90s?

Shadowlands art installation

This one was pretty but also a little alien. I kept thinking something was about to hatch from it.

Gathering 'ear tag' lanyard

Loved our Gathering lanyards made of cattle ear tags. And having the program attached proved a veeeeery handy thing!

2017 NSW Rural Women’s Gathering, Narrandera.

Celebratory cake cutting on the Saturday of 2017 NSW Rural Women’s Gathering, Narrandera.

gala dinner 2017 NSW Rural Women’s Gathering, Narrandera.

Gala dinner yumminess!

Rosalie Ham at the 2017 NSW Rural Women’s Gathering, Narrandera.

Rosalie Ham entertaining us with how she came to write The Dressmaker.

Table decoration, 2017 NSW Rural Women’s Gathering, Narrandera.

The tables at the gala dinner were cleverly decorated with a dressmaker theme. We were even given cute little pin cushions to take home.

2017 NSW Rural Women’s Gathering, Narrandera.

Raffle draw and thank yous at the dinner. Followed by dancing. Such fun!

I hope you enjoyed this small insight into the terrific event that is the NSW Rural Women’s Gathering. If you get the chance, come along to the next one in Merimbula. I promise you’ll leave it feeling truly inspired.

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UPCOMING EVENTS

May is such an exciting month. Not only is Rocking Horse Hill out there on the shelves, I’m getting out and about too.

Keep your diaries open for these events:

ROMANTIC WRITERS MORNING

10 am Friday 9th May, Penrith NSW.

Join me and good buddy Rachael Johns this Friday, at Penrith City Library, 601 High Street, Penrith NSW.

The event is free but you can book at the library front desk or call (02) 4732 7891

Come along if you can. This one’s going to be a blast!

BOOK LAUNCH

7pm Tuesday 20th May, Mount Gambier Library, SA.

poster

AUTHOR TALK

5pm – 7pm Wednesday 21st May, Hamilton Library, Victoria.

Cathryn Hein Flyer A4 (1)

AUTHOR TALK

10am Thursday 22nd MayBalmoral Bush Nursing Centre. Bell Street, Balmoral, Victoria.

MORNING TEA

10-30am for an 11am start, Thursday 12th June. Hawkesbury Library. Deerubbin Centre, Windsor NSW.

Come along if you can. I’d love to see you!

This Writing Life: Doing the Kermit Flail

kermitflail

Yes, this is me right now.

Why? Because today I heard that Rocking Horse Hill has gone to reprint again. That’s a whole lot of lovely horsies galloping about.

To say I’m thrilled to bits would be an understatement. I can’t thank everyone who has supported this book and spread the word enough. In the iconic words of Jeff Fenech, I love youse all!

Rocking Horse Hill is currently featured in the latest BigW and K-Mart catalogues, available in all the ebook stores like Amazon, iBooks, Google Play, Kobo and JB HiFi, and from online retailers like Booktopia and Bookworld. Your local bookstore would also love to help you out with a copy.

Speaking of ebooks, my previous releases are all currently discounted so if you haven’t read Promises, Heart of the Valley or Heartland yet, now is your chance to grab an ebook bargain. Hurry though, these special prices are for a limited time only.

Last weekend I ventured up to Katoomba in the Blue Mountains for a booksigning at the new BigW store there. What a wonderful display the staff made, and everyone was really warm and welcoming. It’s such fun to get out and meet old and new readers.

BigW RHH 2.0

Speaking of meeting people, if you’re in western Sydney don’t miss A Romantic Morning with myself and Rachael Johns at Penrith Library, 10am Friday 9th May. We’ll be chatting about our inspirations and writing, and signing books. Tickets are free from the Penrith Library service desk.

I’ve also just confirmed a date for an event at Hawkesbury Library. Join me for morning tea and a chat, 10-30am for an 11am start , Thursday 12th June at the Deerubbin Centre, Windsor.

Keep your eye out for more events, including talks in western Victoria and the official book launch at Mount Gambier Library.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a bottle of fizz to crack…

Love, Lust & Dust!

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I’m thrilled to be in the Sunraysia district this week. It’s a fascinating area with a wonderful history, friendly people and loaded with beautiful produce. Foodie heaven! Oh, and there’s great golf too. Hmm. I may have to move here…

If you’re in the area, I’m talking at Red Cliff’s Library this afternoon and Mildura Library this evening. Would love to see you. There’ll be lucky door prizes too.

Poster for Cathryn Hein library talk 13th February 2014

This Writing Life: Media stardom

Oh, all right, so it’s not media stardom. But I was still pretty chuffed to score a full page spread about my recent South East South Australia library tour in my hometown paper, The Border Watch.

 

 

Thanks so much to Cathryn Harris and all the staff at the Mount Gambier, Bordertown, Millicent, Naracoorte, and Port MacDonnell libraries for making the tour such a success. I had a ball!

And while I’m here, check out the fantastic hat that the ladies at Port MacDonnell Library presented to me as a thank you gift (along with some other lovely goodies).

 

 

Complete glamourpuss. Yep, that’s me!

For those unfamiliar with the area, Port MacDonnell is a fishing village about 30 kms south of Mount Gambier and “Australia’s Southern Rock Lobster Capital.” The town recently celebrated the opening of its new Port MacDonnell and District Maritime Museum, which I was lucky to catch a sneak peek of during my visit, and it’s wonderful!  Full of interesting exhibits and artefacts from all around the district, but what fascinated me the most were all the shipwreck displays, especially that of the SS Admella in 1859, which claimed 89 of the ship’s 113 passengers and crew.

Two days after the steamer hit Carpenter Reef two brave seamen finally made it to shore. Exhausted, they trekked to the lighthouse at Cape Northumberland, only to discover the lighthouse had no telegraph and the keeper had lost his horse a few days before. It took another trek to a farm followed by a ride to Mount Gambier before authorities were alerted. Thanks to severe swells and inaccurate communication, it wasn’t until 8 days after the wreck that a lifeboat reached the Admella survivors, of which, by now, there were very few. I can’t even begin to imagine how terrifying that must have been.

The history of this wreck and its social and political impact is well worth exploring. So next time you’re planning a trip to South Australia, make sure you include the Limestone Coast and Port MacDonnell. A visit to the museum, fish and chips (or maybe a crayfish sandwich) on the foreshore followed by some local adventuring and you have yourself a mighty fine day.