Tag Archives: Heartland

Teaser Tuesday!

8 Replies

Teaser Tuesday MemeWelcome to Teaser Tuesday where I share snippets from new and past releases and works-in-progress, and occasionally nag author buddies into doing the same.

Wow. What a month we’ve had on Teaser Tuesday, with lots of guests, fabulous book giveaways and a whole lot of fun. Now we’re on the home run to the end of the year and I’m hoping to score you some super guests over that period. I reckon next week’s Romance Writers of Australia conference in Sydney will be the perfect place to arm-twist friends into a visit.

I thought we’d check out an oldie today. Heartland first came out in 2013 and it’s a book I still take a lot of pleasure from. I adored the characters in this. Matt and Callie, our hero and heroine, were lovely to write, but it was Honk the mad goose and Wal, Matt’s great uncle, who gave me the most laughs. They were both grumpy and snappy, and yet their hearts were in the right place. Well, Wal’s was. I have no idea what goes on in a territorial goose’s heart or head!

Here’s a taste of Wal, who’s unhappily stuck in hospital after an accident.

 

Like the previous day, Wal was in a cranky mood when Callie called into the hospital with a fresh bag of grapes and The Weekly Times. Thanks came in the form of a grunt, but he kept sharp eyes on her when she dragged up a chair and sat down.

Heartland - rest of the world cover‘Hope you’re looking after Phantom properly.’

‘I am.’

‘And Honk.’

‘Him too.’

Wal worked his mouth for a moment and Callie had to clench her teeth to stop from smiling. She’d known a lot of men like Wal from all the bars and clubs where she’d worked. Nine times out of ten the crankiness hid a kind soul. The saddest were the old men still coping with the loss of their wives. The pain was so acute they wanted to take their anger out on someone, especially the young who had so much in front of them, but scratch a little and they were simply lonely men, fearful for the future.

What Wal was scared of Callie couldn’t fathom, but she planned to find out.

 

Purchase Heartland in ebook and print from these retailers.

 

Amazon.com | Amazon.au | Amazon.uk

iBooks | Kobo | Nook | Google Play

Bookdepository | Booktopia

 

For another excerpt, the story behind the story and more, check out Heartland’s book page.

 

Newsletter subscription banner

Teaser Tuesday!

2 Replies

Teaser Tuesday 2017 logoWelcome to Teaser Tuesday, where I share snippets from new and past releases and works-in-progress, and sometimes nag author buddies into doing the same.

Wow, what a brilliant weekend I had in Narrandera with the NSW Rural Women’s Gathering. Give me some time and I hope to share some photos from it.

It’d be lovely to have a rest after road-tripping, workshopping and book signing, but not for this little black duck. Not only do I have books to write, and another soon to release (The Country Girl – ooooh, I can’t wait!!), I have another big event coming up.

Scone Literary Festival runs over the weekend of Friday 10th to Sunday 12th. My panel is on Sunday at 11-50 am and runs until 12-45, where we’ll be discussing rural and regional stories from around Australia. This will fascinating, so please come along if you’re in the area.

Right, now for a nice snippet to whet your book lovin’ appetite.

We haven’t had something from Heartland for a while, and I do adore this book. Matt is so sexy and cheeky, and the perfect match for Callie. I particularly like the climax and final scenes of this one. They get me teary every time.

Here’s Matt attempting to coax Callie around for dinner…

 

Heartland - Australia and New Zealand cover

ANZ cover

Only too aware how much work she had waiting but strangely compelled to watch him, Callie slid into the shade of the back eaves as Matt headed to the rear of the float.

In a few minutes the bike was loaded. Sighting her in the shade, he waved before walking to the LandCruiser’s driver’s door and tugging it open. He stared at the interior for a moment, then back at her. ‘Come round for dinner. Tonight.’

Callie regarded him uncertainly. ‘You mean like a date?’

Matt leaned his back against the cabin and puffed out his cheeks. ‘How about calling it being a friendly neighbour?’

She thought on it for a moment then shook her head. ‘Thanks, but I have a lot to do here.’

Heartland - rest of the world cover

Rest of the world cover

‘You sure?’

‘Positive.’

He blew out a long breath and gave a ‘well, I tried’ shrug. ‘Your loss.’

‘If you say so,’ replied Callie, wondering if overinflated egos were a Graney family trait.

‘I do. I cook a pretty mean steak, you know. I’ve even been known to serve it with salad.’

‘I’m sure I’ll survive.’

A lazy smile hooked Matt’s mouth as he looked her up and down. ‘Of that I have no doubt.’

 

Heartland is available for purchase in paperback and ebook from these retailers.

Grab your copy today and get caught up in Callie and Matt’s gorgeous romance. There’s even a bonus naughty goose!

Amazon.com | Amazon.au | Amazon.uk

iBooks

Kobo

Nook

Bookdepository

Personally signed print copies are also available for purchase direct from me. Email me at cathryn@cathrynhein.com or via the contact form on this website for details.

Discover the inspiration behind Heartland in A Memory Story, or read another excerpt on its Book page on this website.

 

Newsletter subscription banner

Teaser Tuesday!

2 Replies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Heartland - Australia and New Zealand cover

Australia and New Zealand cover

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

‘Nothing.’

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

He feigned innocence. ‘Me? Never.’

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

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

Heartland - rest of the world cover

Rest of the world cover

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

‘Very schoolboy.’

‘I can be very adult if you want.’

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

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

‘Oh, yeah. What sort of consequences?’

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

 

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

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

 

Click here to join my newsletter today

 

Teaser Tuesday!

Teaser TuesdayIt’s time for another tantalising treat thanks to Teaser Tuesday, the series where I share snippets from my novels, old, new and in progress, and occasionally let author buddies take over.

I am so, so tempted to share a few more paragraphs from Santa and the Saddler, the novella I’m currently writing, because I’m hopelessly in love with the story and the characters and want to share them with the world. But I’d better not. If I do manage to get this book out in time for Christmas, I’ll be exposing it that much you’ll be sick of me. Same goes for Wayward Heart. I’m reading page proofs at the moment and I’m so excited about its release it’s giving me tingles. Can’t wait!

So this week we’ll revisit an old release. Heartland is a really fun book with a super sexy ex-solider hero and a sassy blonde heroine with an intriguing tattoo. And a mad goose. We mustn’t forget Honk. That bird is such a mischief maker.

Here’s a bit of early attraction between Callie and Matt. Matt has been watching Callie with a litter of puppies…

 

‘You can have one if you like,’ he said, moving out of the shadows and walking toward Callie. ‘Wal’s giving them away to good homes.’

Heartland by Cathryn HeinShe didn’t start, making him wonder if she knew he’d been watching. Giving an ecstatic cock-eared puppy a last tickle, she rose and faced him, smiling.

‘I doubt I’d make a good home.’

‘You sure? They’re pretty cute.’

‘Ahh, but cuteness isn’t everything.’

He rubbed at his jaw, glad that he hadn’t bothered to shave; the bristles helped make his scar less confronting. ‘Probably just as well, otherwise I’d be stuffed.’

She studied him a moment, gaze lingering on his scar before sliding away. ‘I’m sure you do all right.’

©Cathryn Hein

Heartland can be yours right now from Amazon, iBooks, Kobo or Google Play. For print copies, visit Booktopia, Bookdepository or your favourite book store.

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

 

Never miss a new release. Click to subscribe to Cathryn Hein's newsletter.

Teaser Tuesday!

Teaser TuesdayIt’s time for another tantalising treat thanks to Teaser Tuesday, the series where I share snippets from my novels, old, new and in progress, and occasionally let author buddies take over.

This week, a few paragraphs from my rural romance Heartland and the scene when our hero Matt first encounters the book’s heroine Callie, mistaking her for her elder sister Hope. Though they knew one another as young teenagers, it’s been a long time. Both have grown up and changed a lot, and in intriguing ways!

 

What was wrong with him? So she was a hot-looking blonde. Like he hadn’t come across one of those before.

Rattled by the strength of his attraction, Matt straightened and tilted his head at the exit. ‘I guess I’d best go check on Wal.’

Heartland by Cathryn HeinThe dullness eased; life returned to her expression. ‘Of course. Will you tell him I’m glad he’s okay and that I’ll visit tomorrow? Oh, and tell him not to worry about Honk. I won’t forget to lock him up.’

‘Will do.’ He paused, hands deep in his pockets, knowing he should walk out right now before he said something else idiotic, but caught by their connection, albeit minor and secret on his part, with Hope. ‘It was good to see you again, Callie.’

‘Good to see you, too, Matt.’ She smiled, and for one incredible moment he was fifteen again, facing Hope in awkward teenage silence while she bounced his lovesick heart with a single look.

‘Maybe I’ll see you around.’

And all Matt could think as he headed back up the hall was that he hoped like hell she did.

©Cathryn Hein

Heartland can be purchased in paperback from Booktopia, Bookdepository or your favourite book retailer. For the ebook, download right now from Amazon, iBooks, Kobo or Google Play. If you’d like to discover more about Heartland, including the inspiration behind the story, check out its page on this website.

Never miss a new release and receive exclusive goodies and giveaways by signing up to my newsletter. There’s even a couple of free short stories for you to enjoy over a cuppa when you do.Click to subscribe to my newsletter

 

Teaser Tuesday!

2 Replies

Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, the weekly series where I tantalise you with snippets from upcoming and past book releases, and works-in-progress.

Teaser TuesdayThis week we’re going to take a look at Heartland, a book that features a girl determined to get out of Dodge as fast as she can, and the super sexy hero who wants her to stay. There’s also mad goose, a cranky but big-hearted old farmer, a warty horse, a frightened teen and a real estate agent who may be good or bad. But you’ll have to read it to find out the answer to that.

I had a lot of fun with this story, especially with the sex scenes. My rural romances tend to keep the door closed on couples in bed, but these two seemed to want to do it everywhere, and often!

Heartland is available now in ebook and paperback from your favourite retailer. Try Booktopia, Amazon, Kobo, iTunes or Google Play. You can also discover how I came to write this story on Heartland’s The Story Behind page.

Now for some flirty banter between Matt and Callie…

 

‘This place used to seem like heaven when I was a kid. I was always so excited to come here.’ She shook her head, expression slightly puzzled. ‘I can’t see it now. It just looks like a normal farm.’

‘I imagine it was the horses.’

‘Yeah. I always was a sucker for anything that neighed.’

‘And now?’

Callie looked up at him from under lowered lashes. ‘Now I’m a sucker for different things.’

He took a step closer and reached up to wrap both hands around an overhanging branch, gratified when her gaze skittered over his flexed biceps and chest. ‘Callie Reynolds, are you flirting with me?’

‘What makes you think that?’

Heartland by Cathryn Hein‘Oh, I don’t know. Maybe the way you just looked at me.’

She shook her head. ‘What is it about you Graneys? You all seem to have egos the size of elephants.’

‘So what was that look for then?’

‘That look, which you so badly misinterpreted, was merely that of a woman in need.’

‘A woman in need?’

Humour lit her blue eyes but her voice feigned seriousness. ‘A woman in deep need.’

Matt pursed his lips, nodding. ‘This deep need of yours, would it happen to have something to do with Glenmore?’

‘It would.’

He flipped through what help she could require and thought he knew. ‘The tractor won’t start.’

‘Attractive and a mind-reader.’

‘Attractive?’

‘I’m a woman in need. Right now any capable man is attractive.’

©Cathryn Hein

Click to subscribe to my newsletter

FRIDAY FEAST with Cathryn Hein

25 Replies

Hello lovelies, and welcome to another fiiiiine edition of Friday Feast. This week: me! Yep, I’m at Author Cathryn Heinthe helm and I’m not only a sharing a recipe for easy soda bread, I’m running a giveaway too.

But before we get into that, let’s all give a big sigh for Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. Okay, so last week was better. Not much better but there was an improvement. I think I only lost one ball. Or was that two? I drown so many it’s hard to keep count and the rounds just blur into one another. Anyway, I have a spiffy new pair of golf trousers to try out this week. They’re Puma which, according to the ads, means Ricky Fowler’s swing is just a mind’s leap away. Or something like that. Yeah, I don’t believe it either.

As I’m sure you all know, my latest release is The Falls. It’s lovely. You should read it.

THE FALLS

Cover of The Falls by Cathryn HeinWill losing the home she loves mean finding the place she belongs?

For as long as she can remember, Teagan Bliss has wanted to manage her family’s property. She’s invested everything in the farm, knowing that when her parents retire she’ll be ready to take the reins. But when a family betrayal leaves her reeling, Teagan is forced to rethink her entire future.

Heartbroken, Teagan flees to her aunt’s property in the idyllic Falls Valley. Vanessa is warm and welcoming and a favourite of the locals who drop in regularly for cocktail hour. Teagan soon catches the attention of sexy local farrier Lucas Knight, and with a new job, new friends and the prospect of a new relationship, she slowly begins to open up again.

But the village is a hotbed of gossip and division and when Teagan gets caught up in town politics, Lucas and Vanessa become concerned. As the tension in town escalates, Teagan must decide who to trust. But when she realises those close to her have been keeping secrets, the fallout may split Teagan apart forever.

The Falls is available right this very moment in paperback and ebook. Visit Booktopia, Angus & Robertson or Bookworld. Also Amazon.au, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play, JB Hi-Fi, Boomerang Books, Dymocks, Collins BooksellersAbbey’s Bookstore, QBD The Bookshop, or your favourite independent book seller or chain store.

Right, time for some foodie fun!

The Staff Of Life

We make a lot of our own bread in the Hein house. I have several tried and true favourite recipes that whup the butts off most bought loaves. One of the absolute best is a minimal Our home-made crusty breadknead, long-rise bread that produces the most beautiful chewy crust; like sour-dough but without all the hassle of maintaining a ‘starter’.

There’s also focaccia, various flatbreads for serving with curries, and a few different soda breads. Delia Smith’s recipe for goat’s cheese, onion and potato bread is a cracker and, like most of her recipes, dead easy to make. If a normal white loaf is all we’re after, a few minutes measuring ingredients for the bread machine and it’s on its way. Plus the bread machine is great for when we can’t be bothered to do a slow-rise loaf. Using the same ingredients, we set it to ‘dough’ and when that’s ready use our special oven technique to get a good crust. The texture isn’t as nice as the slow-rise but it does the job.

FocacciaWhich means it’s not often that our freezer is empty of a loaf of some description. It does, however, happen. And it happened one night a few years back right when I’d made a big pot of winter vegetable soup. With no time to make a proper yeast-risen bread, or the right ingredients to whip up any of my favourite flavoured soda breads, panic ensued.

Okay, not panic. After all, we wouldn’t die or anything if we had soup without bread, but it was annoying.

What to do?

Make the best of it, that’s what.  I checked the fridge and cupboards, had a bit of a think, whacked on the oven and started mixing. The result was a soda bread to be proud of.

Seriously, this bread takes no skill, bugger-all effort and tastes brilliant. You’ll love it.

Cheesy Mustard Bread In A Hurry

525g plain flour – I use bread flour but if you don’t have any, normal plain is just fine.

1 teaspoon bi-carb soda

1 teaspoon salt

50g grated cheddar

350 ml milk

1/3 cup (80ml) of buttermilk, sour cream, cream, evaporated milk, whatever. Or simply make up with milk. Frankly, it doesn’t matter. I’ve used them all and they all taste fine.

1 heaped teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 heaped teaspoon hot English mustard (As with the milk, whatever mustards you have on hand or prefer the taste of – wholegrain works well too)

Thyme or another herb if you have it, otherwise ignore.

Parmesan cheese

Pre-heat oven to 200C.

Weigh out the flour into a large bowl. Add salt and bi-carb. Mix well. Strip thyme stems of their leaves, if using, and throw those in then grate in cheddar and mix again.

Measure out all the other wet ingredients into a separate jug, and whisk until combined.

Cheesy mustard bread ingredients ready to mix

Pour wet ingredients on to dry and mix until you have a sort of dough. Don’t get too excited about kneading it. Just mix until it comes together then form into a nice oval loaf-like shape.

Line a baking tray with baking paper (I used a pre-heated pizza stone this time round) and plonk the dough on top. Using a sharp knife, cut diagonal slashes across the surface. Grate enough Parmesan over the top to suit your taste.

Dough with slashes in the top, ready for baking.

Bung in the oven for 40 minutes until brown and crusty.

Baked cheesy mustard bread.

Slice and serve with butter to many oohs and ahhs!

A slice of cheesy mustard bread

Now, because I have a belly full or bread and am feeling pleased with the world (I had to make a loaf because I had no piccies of it, and then I had to taste test it – honestly, the things I do for you), I think we should have a…

GIVEAWAY!

Okay, to be in the draw to win a signed copy of Heartland, Callie, Matt and Honk the mad Heartland by Cathryn Heingoose’s story, share with me your favourite bread. Or even your favourite soup. Or just leave a comment. Let’s not make things complicated. I’m feeling far too relaxed for that!

Please note: Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 23rd June, 2015. Australian postal addresses only. 

If you’d like to learn more about me and my books, please feel free to explore my website. There’s lots of cool stuff on here. You can also connect via Facebook, Twitter using @CathrynHein, Goodreads and Pinterest.

For all the latest news, plus giveaways and more, not to mention extra special happy vibes from me, please sign up to my newsletter. It’s fun!

 

Friday Feast recipe index link.

Treasures, Mysteries and Memories – Part 2

8 Replies

Welcome to Part 2 in this series of blog posts where I share a few of the special things we discovered while going through Mum’s belongings after she went into full-time care. My mother has Alzheimer’s Disease, a thieving condition that many of you have had experience of and, sadly, many more will. I’ve written about Mum’s decline and its effect on our family in a previous post titled Mother’s Day Memories, and a little more in Treasures, Mysteries and Memories – Part 1.

Last week I revealed a few of the wonderful treasures and mysteries we found during the clean-out. Today I’d like to share samples of our memory-tugging finds, plus a few amusing (or should that be bemusing?) oddities that Mum had, for reasons known only to her, kept safe.

MEMORIES

As a horse-mad little girl it was natural that I had a collection of model horses. I adored these figurines, playing for hours with them, making up equine adventures or simply gazing at them with painful yearning as I wished desperately for a horse of my own. That wish that came true when I was 10 and, over time, as I grew older and more preoccupied with my living horse and all the dramas of adolescence, my passion for these model horses waned and they were left to gather dust on my bookshelf. Eventually, adulthood arrived and off I galloped to forge an independent life with nary a second thought for the collection I’d loved so much.

Imagine my astonishment when I discovered that Mum had kept every single figurine. Best of all, she’d kept Beauty, the king of them all and a cherished gift from my grandfather. He’s a bit discoloured and cracked but otherwise okay. I loved that horse and for those of you who have read Heartland, the model horse in that book that the heroine Callie rediscovers in her grandmother’s house – also called Beauty –  was inspired by the very horse you’re seeing below.

Beauty, the model horse.

Here’s the full collection. They don’t look like much but for a very long time they were precious to me. Still are now I’ve found them again.

My collection of model horses.

How’s this for another amazing find: the first pair of trousers I sewed with my grandmother, which I made for my teddy.

Mum played and umpired netball on Saturdays and I loathed going to the courts. It was winter and cold, and netball bored the pants of me, plus I could never get the stupid ball in the goals. So Nanny babysat and taught me life skills, like how to knit, crochet, cook and sew, while my grandfather gardened or pottered in his shed crafting toys and widgets, and listening to the racing on the radio. They were lovely times.

Teddy bear trousers

We also found a lot of scrap books. One contained cards from Mum’s 21st, another cards from her and Dad’s engagement. Another held all the cards and telegrams and newspaper clippings from their wedding.

Scrap book of 21st birthday cards

Engagement card scrapbook

Isn’t this clipping from The Border Watch, which I found in Mum’s wedding scrapbook, wonderful? They’ve described everything!

Newspaper clipping reporting Mum's and Dad's wedding.

There were also not one, but two scrapbooks celebrating the Queen’s coronation. The Queen was young, beautiful and I guess the celebrity of the time. All fascinating and fairy tale for a girl growing up in the 50s. When I discovered these scrapbooks I didn’t know what to do with them so set them on the table in the too-hard pile. They stayed there for four days before I decided I couldn’t throw them out.

Coronation scrapbook

Coronation scrapbook

Mum had kept Matilda, the stuffed toy and mascot she and Dad bought for me when we drove to Brisbane in 1982 for the Commonwealth Games. I still remember that trip. Drought had the country firm in its desiccating grip and in one town, somewhere along the Newel Highway where we’d stopped for a rest, the river was so low the water was thrashing and bubbling with dying fish.

We attended the Games opening ceremony and a few other events that I can’t recall, but I do remember it was great fun. Afterwards we enjoyed a holiday in Noosa and I tasted my first avocado. Oh, and Dad nearly got himself killed rock fishing off Double Island Point.

All that and more from a simple stuffed toy!

Matilda, the 1982 Commonwealth Games mascot

Mum spent many years playing drums and bagpipes in the Blue Lake Ladies Pipe Band, and they travelled all around southern Australia competing in competitions and entertaining crowds. I found programs dating back to the 50s from the events she’d played at.

There was also her pipe music book, complete with small notations, and the collars and pocket from one of her uniforms. When I was a child, she’d always kept her drumsticks and the pipe from her bagpipes in her sewing room. I was a bit disappointed not to find them among her things but perhaps they’re yet to be discovered rather than lost.

Pipe band programs.

Pipe music.

Pipe Band pocket and cuffs.

There were also some truly wonderful photos from her time in the band, the majority preserved with care and pride in yet more scrapbooks. She loved those things!

Pipe band photos.

ODDITIES

There were so many things in Mum’s collection that had us asking why? Some items were due to her condition, where she’d picked something up and perhaps momentarily laid it down, only to forget its existence. We found quite a few biscuits for example, stacked among stationery or buried under clothes. There was a bag of whole walnuts and an extremely wizened apple, plus toothbrushes and other highly personal items in places they didn’t belong. But other things were too old to be attributed to Mum’s Alzheimer’s, and it was these that left us flummoxed.

While interesting, why Mum would keep this brochure from Shell on how to efficiently pack a suitcase is unfathomable.

Shell brochure on packing.

As is why she kept this brochure on getting started with your computer…

Computer brochure

… these Avon cologne bottles,

Avon cologne bottles

…this weirdly wonderful book about hosting parties,

Successful party book

…and these brilliant old copies of the Australian Women’s Weekly and Woman’s Day from the 70s.

70s womens magazines.

Another find that had me shaking my head in bewilderment was a sticker dating from my days at Roseworthy Agricultural College, where I did my agriculture degree. Back then B&S balls were at their height, with one scheduled practically every week. I remember doing Grapecrushers in the Clare Valley, Dirtscratchers in the Mallee and others.

Roseworthy’s B&S was called Droopers and infamous. I can’t remember which year it was, but the ball ended up being raided by South Australia’s STAR Force and shut down, shunting piles of drunk party-goers onto the roads. My parents were NOT impressed when they saw it on the news!

Droopers sticker

We were also astounded at the receipts she’d kept. For everything from her wedding photos to the purchase of my parents’ first block of land, to this receipt for swimming lessons. Why? I have absolutely no idea. Sure, the wedding photos and block purchase were important milestones, but swimming lessons? From 1970? Amazing.

Swimming lessons receipt.

She also kept newspaper clippings covering all manner of topics. A mention in the paper about an old boss? Out came the scissors. There wasn’t a lot of point in us keeping these, not when you can access back copies of papers on microfiche, but there was one that I did keep.

You see, it just so happens that I have an idea for a story which was partially inspired by memory of an old house I used to occasionally ride past. It was surrounded by tall pines and other trees, and to my imaginative teenage brain always looked a little mysterious and shadowy, perhaps even a touch creepy. That house was Pine Hall, formerly known as Shaw House, and built sometime in the 1860s or 70s (I think – it could be earlier) by Caleb Fidler, one of Mount Gambier’s great pioneers.

As it was, I’d been hunting around for information on the house and in a serendipitous moment, discovered this Border Watch clipping from January 11th 1993. What caught Mum’s eye about the article I can’t figure out and really, it doesn’t tell me much about Pine Hall either. But the tale is still interesting and I now have a picture of the house to refer to in the future. All good!

Newspaper article featuring Pine Hall.

Thanks for joining me on this journey through some of Mum’s things. It’s kind of nice to know that these photos and reminiscences will be here for me and others, should they wish, to refer back to in the future. There are lots of great memories and a few laughs too, something I think Mum would enjoy a lot. Or, rather, she would once she’d recovered from the horror that we’d been going through her things!

For more information about Alzheimer’s Disease and to help fund research into this awful disease that steals so much from us, please visit the Alzheimer’s Australia website.

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…

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!