Tag Archives: Promises

FRIDAY FEAST with Cathryn Hein

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Hello Feasters! Yes, it’s ME on Friday Feast today, all ready to spoil you with something deliciously bad for you but perfect for winter. However, I know you’re itching to hear the latest Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf news. Much to our shock, after combining well last week Jim and I headed into the second round our club’s foursomes championships as the nett score leaders. Alas, the curse struck. We were poo. Collapsed in screaming heap of three putts and duffed shots. My darling Swannies, however, did not, beating Richmond by 11 points and leaving them in third behind the Hawks only on percentage. Rah! Now, the second half of this year is rather exciting for me. Not only will The French Prize release in September, my debut rural romance Promises is re-releasing at the end of August in the smaller and cheaper ‘B’ format with a new cover (which I can’t show you just yet). This is a lovely book with a gorgeous story, a courageous heroine and a hero torn by his past. Truly sigh-worthy (if I do say so myself!). Plus lots of funny horses. Take a look.

PROMISES

Promises by Cathryn HeinA father with something to hide, a jockey with a taste for blackmail, a man with an agonising secret… and a young woman in love, defying them all. Sophie Dixon is determined to leave her tragic past behind and forge a bright future on her beloved farm. While looking to buy a new horse, she is drawn into her neighbour Aaron Laidlaw’s orbit, despite the bad blood between their families. As the racing season unfolds, Sophie and Aaron’s feelings for each other deepen. But Aaron is torn, haunted by a dark secret he fears can never be forgiven – especially by Sophie. Sophie believes herself strong, but the truth behind her mother’s death will test her strength, and her love, to the limit. She’s been broken once. No one wants to see her broken again. Least of all the man who has grown to love her. You can buy Promises right now with just a few clicks. Try Booktopia, Bookworld, Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, JB Hi-Fi, Google Play, QBD The Bookshop, Angus & Robertson, or direct from the publisher Penguin.

Winter Nesting

Ah, comfort food. From thick, vege laden soups through to slow-cooked casseroles and fantastically fattening desserts, there is nothing quite like loading up on rich food in the winter. There’s something so warm and homely about a house that smells of good food when it’s miserable outside. We call it “nesting” in the Hein house. Kind of like date night but without going out. Usually there’ll be some sort of casserole, tagine or curry burbling away in the oven or on the stovetop. Something that requires a long, slow cook like spicy lamb shanks, beef in beer, our awesome goat tagine recipe, or even one of our favourite curries (of which we have many). While that’s cooking, we’ll have the stereo going, maybe a Guinness will be cracked, and I’ll be working on some sort of tasty dessert that we won’t need but we’ll eat anyway. The house will smell wonderful and feel cosy and we’ll be all snug and happy. Seriously, if it weren’t for the cold, winter would be my favourite season simply because of the food. It’s 11 degrees and raining as I write this. Last Friday I finished the 2nd draft of The Falls, my 2015 rural romance, which means I’m having a little holiday before knuckling down to my next romantic adventure. Time to indulge in recipes like the one I’m about to share. Something that has winter and nesting written all over it. It’s luscious, beautiful tasting and not terribly healthy. But who cares? You can exercise it off in the spring.

Braised French Green Lentils with Sausages

2 tablespoons duck fat 1 onion, finely diced 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped 150 g mild pancetta, finely dicedMcKenzies French Style Green Lentils 2 celery stalks, finely diced 1 small carrot, finely diced 150 ml dry white wine 185 g French green lentils 3 sprigs thyme 2 bay leaves 1 litre beef stock 6 Toulouse sausages (or any other good quality pork sausage) Melt the duck fat over a medium heat in a heavy casserole. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until soft. Add pancetta, celery and carrot and cook for 5 minutes or so. Add wine, lentils, thyme, bay leaves and stock. Bring to the boil then lower to a simmer. Cover and cook for approximately 1 hour or until lentils are tender. Taste and season with salt and pepper as necessary. When lentils are ready, grill the sausages. When they’re nicely done, spoon lentils onto plates and top with sausages. Enjoy!   Okay, my Feasty lovelies, what’s your favourite naughty winter indulgence? Is it super-fattening chocolate pudding? Maybe pints of Guinness are more your go. Perhaps you like nestling down in your local pub or club or booking yourself into a day spa for some pampering. Or maybe, most excellent and discerning person that you are, you hang around bookshops, stocking up on goodies. Share and give us all ideas on how to make our winter special. Want to find out more about me than my love of naughty wintery comfort food? Check out my website. You can also find me playing around on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. And while you’re exploring, take a minute to sign up to my newsletter. All the news and releases and special things direct to your inbox. Sign up at the bottom of my Home page or via my Contact page.

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…

THIS WRITING LIFE: Sex and the Rural Romance Author

Got your attention? Good, because this is serious stuff!

There was an interesting article that appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age newspapers recently about ‘heat’ ratings in romance novels, which prompted me to ponder sex in our home-grown rural romances and what reader expectations might be on that front.

Heartland by Cathryn Hein coverI have no idea, and that bothers me because I’m all for fulfilling my readers’ expectations, but I’ve had no feedback or seen any comment about the sex in my books at all. The explicitness has varied with each release, so what then do readers prefer?

For me it all depends on the characters. Callie and Matt in Heartland, being the people that they are, seemed to suit spontaneous, rompy sex and I had a hell lot of fun writing those scenes.

Matt stumbled his way to the single bed until they fell in a tangle of sweaty arms and legs amid creaking springs and laughter. Callie’s shorts winged across the room, following his cargo pants, the last of her underwear sling-shotting after them. Callie laughed as Matt’s jocks caught on his springy cock, enjoying his hungry, almost pained expression as she levered him out and tugged them over his hips and down his legs. Grinning, she twirled the jocks around her finger before flinging them toward the wardrobe.

I would have felt awkward doing the same for Sophie and Aaron in Promises because they were quite sweet characters, while describing the bedroom antics of my 2014 release Rocking Horse Hill’s privileged heroine would have made me feel like a dirty perv. She’s definitely not the sort of person who would appreciate others being privy to her private life (although, given Rocking Horse Hill’s sexpot hero, I bet she has an amazing time in the bedroom).

So I asked a couple of rural romance buddies how they decide how explicit to be with their sex scenes…

 

Fiona Palmer, best-selling author of The Family Farm, The Sunburnt Country and other great rural reads is of similar opinion to me:

Cathryn, I agree that it is up to the characters. In one of my books it happens on the back of a ute and in another book the sex scene called for a more soft gentle approach.  The Outback Heart by Fiona PalmerSo I go with what I feel, what I think the characters would do and see where it leads. I do love good sexual tension in books and so I like a little sneak peek of when they get to finally act on this tension. I personally enjoy the hot parts, but it doesn’t sway my like or dislike of a book if it has hot sex or not. Just like in Pride and Prejudice, sometimes just the touch of a hand can mean so much more.

I haven’t heard back from any readers saying they didn’t enjoy the sex scenes in my books. (In fact I have the blokes asking for more!) So I will just keep going based on what I think the characters need and want.  Here is a snippet from my latest book The Outback Heart and this paragraph is the raunchiest of the whole sex scene.

‘Amazing.’ Troy’s gaze swept across her breasts as she arched her back, waiting for his touch. A shaky hand caressed her soft skin, his thumb flicking over an already hard nipple. Indi tightened her legs around his waist as he bent to taste one bud, before moving to the next, his tongue flicking and teasing. His hand went down to where she was hot and moist. Indi dug her fingers into his shoulders as a moan fell from her lips.

 

Rachael Johns, best-seller and Australian Romance Reader Award winner expands on the sex depends on character theme:

I consider my rural books very much romance books and therefore exploring the chemistry between the main characters is a must for me. But how heated and graphic that exploration is really does depend on the hero and heroine in each book.

Outback Dreams by Rachael JohnsThings such as whether the characters have just met play a factor and also their previous relationship experiences. In my first book Jilted, Ellie and Flynn were high school sweethearts and the attraction between them was always spicy but at the beginning of the book they are trying to fight it because of the hurt they both carry.  In Man Drought, Imogen and Gibson experience instant attraction but they both have reasons to steer clear of the opposite sex, however each interaction between them gets hotter and hotter till it blows up in his ute on the side of the road. That might be my sauciest rural romance scene.

If I know my characters well, I find the sex scenes almost write themselves. In Outback Dreams, my latest release, Faith and Monty have been best friends forever but have only just realized they also find each other attractive, so their first sex scene had a different tone again.

Her smile gave her consent and within seconds they were tumbling backwards, pausing only to tear up the zip on the tent, before collapsing on top of their waiting swags. She couldn’t tell who hit the ground first but they both reached for each other, tearing at each other’s clothing like hungry beasts. In complete darkness and with no method to their madness they didn’t seem to be getting anywhere, so Faith pulled back and took care of her own clothes. Monty did the same and when he reached for her again, she felt his warm, naked flesh against hers.

A moan of approval slipped from her lips.

Damn the dark. She willed her eyes to adjust so she could look her fill at the specimen beside her.

And then he was touching her. He pulled her towards him, tugged a blanket over the top of them and smoothed her hair. ‘You okay?’

Okay? Words could not do justice to her level of okay-ness. Why had they never gone here before? ‘Yes.’

I like reading about the sex between two people who are in love or at least on the road to falling in love, and so I like to give a glimpse of this to my readers as well. However, I don’t get too graphic with my sex scenes as I believe it is the emotional not the physical side of a love scene that is most important.

 

Karly Lane, best-selling author of North Star, Morgan’s Law and Bridie’s Choice is also mindful of her readers:

I’ve noticed a steady increase in what my editor and publisher expect in my books. In North Star I was asked to trim a lot of the scenes, but in Morgan’s Law I was asked to show the readers more!Bridie's Choice by Karly Lane I think publishers are aware of the whole Fifty Shades of Grey epidemic and that women’s fiction is undergoing a shake up at the moment, and so they’re willing to stretch the boundaries a little more than they may once have.

I personally, write what suits my plot and characters. I won’t write an explicit love scene just to keep up with a current trend. I had a reader who told me she allowed her young teenage daughter to read my books because she knew they weren’t too overly explicit. I’m very conscious of what my readers like which is why I won’t be jumping on the mommy porn band wagon just for the sake of it.

This quote from Bridie’s Choice gives a good example of Karly’s boundaries.

She heard him groan softly next to her ear, and she urged him onto his back, following him down until she straddled him. His surprised chuckle soon faded and was replaced with an intense look as he cupped her face in his hands, holding her gaze silently for a long moment. The depth of feeling in that one shared look made Bridie quiver with a mixture of emotion and lust. Leaning forward, she kissed him, pouring into the kiss the feelings she knew she couldn’t voice.

His hands slipped to her waist, holding her firmly as she began to move slowly against him. The gentle moans of their mutual need drifted away on the breeze above them.

 

Mandy Magro, best-selling author of Rosalee Station, Jacaranda and Flame Tree Hill has a different take:

I like to leave the bedroom door wide open, in ALL my novels. Driftwood 3Actually, I love to take my characters out of the bedroom to make it even steamier 🙂 When two people fall in love, the most intimate way to show this is through love making, be it slow and sensual or hungry, hot and steamy. I love writing these scenes and will endeavour to include them in each and every one of my future novels.

Mandy demonstrates just how steamy with this excerpt from her November 1st release, Driftwood.

Taylor panted as she reached out and gripped the sides of the rock, her hips arching into Jay’s lusciously warm mouth, his tongue and lips seducing her into seventh heaven. Her eyes closed in ecstasy as she teetered on the edge, her entire body quivering. How could a man send her into a sexual trance so beyond the normal realm she felt as though she was floating into an abyss? Finally, succumbing to his enchanting mouth, she toppled over the edge of self-control and screamed out his name, pulsating against his ravishing tongue as she climaxed to the point of breathlessness, every centimetre of her shuddering.

So, dear readers, what do you prefer? Well described sex or more teasing hints? The door open or closed? Do you need sex to complete the romance side of the story? Or does it depend on the characters or plot?

Comment away! Fiona, Rachael, Karly, Mandy and I would love to hear your thoughts.

If you’d like to know more about Fiona, Rachael, Karly, Mandy and their books, or wish to follow them on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks, you’ll find all the links on their websites. Just click a name below to discover more.

Fiona Palmer

Rachael Johns

Karly Lane

Mandy Magro

Cathryn Hein

 

 

FRIDAY FEAST with Me!

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!

Don’t mind me, just channeling a little Lewis Carroll to celebrate the release of my new rural romance, Heartland. Cathryn Hein Author PhotoBooks always seem to take so long to birth that it’s wonderful when they finally pop out, all pretty, pink (or in Heartland’s case, blue), and shiny.

Yes, yes, I know it’s my baby and I’m terribly biased, but Heartland really is a comely thing. I love its soaring black cockatoos, stunning sky and summer-parched landscape. And the model? She’s the perfect Callie.

But it’s the content that matters, and Heartland has been earning praise. Oh, yes it has!

9/10 from 1 girl, 2 many books and this gorgeous comment:

“It’s easy to overhype books in your mind sometimes, which can lead to them not living up to expectation. That was definitely not the case with this one – it was everything I thought it would be and more. It’s a beautiful story of finding courage to be happy and letting go of the past but without forgetting it.”

And 5/5  from Marcia at Book Muster Down Under.

“Cathryn so skilfully combines atmosphere with location, creating a world which offers authenticity and a full range of sensory stimuli.  As I felt the sun stinging my shoulders, the red dust settling on my tongue and licked the saltwater from my lips, I was immediately pulled in by her fluid and easy writing style and a narrative which has a well thought-out pace, enabling this reviewer to live vicariously through her well rounded human (and animal) characters.”

But you know what else is really cool about release time? I get to take over Friday Feast.

Ahh yes, tis a frabjous day indeed!

 

HEARTLAND

 

Heartland_cvr_640x480A powerful, passionate and moving rural love story from Cathryn Hein, author of Promises and Heart of the Valley.

When Callie Reynolds arrives at Glenmore, the property she’s recently inherited, the last thing she wants is to be saddled with a warty horse, an injured neighbour and a mad goose. Haunted by her sister’s death and her fractured family, all she wants is freedom.

But Callie hasn’t counted on falling for Matt Hawkins, an ex-soldier determined to fulfil his own dream of land and family. Nor could she predict the way the land, animals and people of Glenmore will capture her heart.

Callie is faced with impossible choices. But she must find the courage to decide where her future lies, even if it costs her everything she holds dear.

 

Heartland is available now from chain stores (it’s in this week’s BigW Catalogue) and your favourite book retailers, including Booktopia (who, as you recall, we luuuurve because of their most splendiferous ARRC2013 sponsorship). You can also buy the ebook from Amazon (Kindle), Kobo, Google Play and iTunes. For a longer list of retailers please visit the Heartland page on my website.

And now please welcome… er… me!

 

My Kind Of Research

 

Novels take research. Some more convivial research than others and such was the case with Heartland. There’s a fun scene in the book where the heroine, Callie Reynolds, learns to drive Glenmore’s old Fiat tractor. As a child she’d watched her grandfather work machinery plenty of times but she’d never actually done it herself. The Fiat, with its gears and knobs and PTO, leaves her flummoxed, so she calls on Heartland’s sexy hero Matt Hawkins for help. But Callie doesn’t ask outright. Instead, in one of my favourite scenes of the book, she leaves a bemused Matt sifting through their flirtatious banter, trying to decipher what she’s really come over for.

Now, because you’re all special Feasty lovelies, I’ll reveal a bit of a secret. I nicked part of this scene from an old unpublished manuscript. The tractor in that instance was my brother’s ancient Massey Ferguson, but I needed a few more details and wouldn’t be travelling to Mt Gambier for a while to check. Rather fortuitously, I was heading to Stawell for a library talk, and had planned to spend the rest of the weekend out of town on a farm with my girlfriend and her gorgeous family, who also just happened to have the perfect tractor hiding in a shed.

And so ensued a weekend of research merriment!

Ahh, country kids. They’re classics. This lot insisted on being photographed with a stinky dead sheep.

Ahh, country kids. They’re classics. This lot insisted on being photographed with a stinky dead sheep.

The Fiat, now immortalised in a rural romance.

The Fiat, now immortalised in a rural romance.

Stawell, if you’re unaware, is in the Victorian Wimmera, two hundred and fifty or so kilometres from Melbourne and close to the magnificent Grampians National Park. It’s also very close to the Great Western wine growing region. So what’s a girl to do on a Saturday in a wine region? She goes a-tasting, of course!

Where else to venture than historic Seppelt at Great Western, which not only has a wonderful history, it has amazing drives (cellars) you can tour. Seriously, if you’re cruising around the region do not miss this tour. It’s fascinating, enlightening and afterward you can sample wines not normally on Seppelt’s tasting list. Details of the tours, history and wine on Seppelt’s website.

By the time of completion in 1932, Seppelt's drives extended 3km

By the time of completion in 1932, Seppelt’s drives extended 3km

Mould creeps onto every surface in the drives. A bit War of the Worlds red weedy but harmless.

Mould creeps onto every surface in the drives. A bit disturbingly War of the Worlds red weedy but harmless.

The drives were dug by goldminers for sparkling wine maturation. Seppelt's most iconic (and tasty!) fizz is their Salinger range which is made using the best grapes of the year's vintage.

The drives were dug by goldminers for sparkling wine maturation. Seppelt’s most iconic (and tasty!) fizz is their Salinger range which is made using the best grapes of the year’s vintage.

Where some of the special wines are kept locked. Legend has it Dame Nellie Melba took a bath in champagne here.

Where some of the special wines are kept locked. Legend has it Dame Nellie Melba took a sparkling wine bath here. The bathfizz was later poured back into 152 bottles and recorked. One hopes the contents were all wine!

Naturally, enthused by the sight of those bottles and the post-tour tasting, we stocked up and tonight, to celebrate Heartland’s release (because celebrations are indeed warranted!), I’ll be popping the cork on the very nice bottle of Seppelt Original Sparkling Shiraz that I bought post tour. Lovely!

Now, what does one eat when one has built a red wine appetite? A deliciously flavoured casserole, of course! And this one is a beauty.

WINE-Y SLOW-COOKED LAMB

Slow Cooked Lamb casserole

You’ll need to begin this recipe the night before.

1.5 kg trimmed, boneless lamb (leg or shoulder), cut into 4-5cm pieces

4 cloves garlic, crushed

250ml shiraz – use something decent!

A good slug or two of olive oil

1 red onion, finely chopped

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons smoked sweet paprika (I use La Dalia brand Pimentón de la Vera dulce)

2 sprigs of rosemary, leaves stripped and chopped finely

3 red capsicums roasted, deseeded and peeled and cut into strips. Or for speediness and rather excellent flavour, use a jar of wood-roasted piquillo peppers.

300 g tomato passata

1-2 bays leaves

½ cup shiraz, extra

½ cup beef stock

Place the lamb in a bowl with the garlic and red wine and marinate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 160° C (or whatever temperature equates to ‘slow’ on yours).

Strain off the shiraz marinade and discard. Heat the oil in a large heavy casserole (an enamel-coated cast iron Le Creuset style pot is perfect) and brown the lamb in batches until a rich, dark colour. Remove browned meat and juices and set aside.

Add the onion and paprika to the pan and stir together for 30 seconds or so, then return the meat and juices, along with the chopped rosemary, peppers, tomato puree and bay leaves. Season well with salt and pepper and mix.  Add the extra shiraz and stock, and bring to a simmer. Cover and place in the oven for 1 ½ to 2 hours, checking occasionally to ensure the meat is covered in liquid. When meat is tender, taste and adjust for seasoning.

Serve with lots of crusty bread to mop up the delicious gravy. And don’t forget a nice red wine to match!

And now, because I’m all dosed up with red fizz cheer and book release excitement, I’m going to run a giveaway. Simply reveal a wine-y tale – anything from your favourite cellar door, to a much loved wine-including recipe, to dear old Uncle Albert’s infamous port barrel dunking – and the one that tickles my fancy most will win a signed copy of Heartland.

But get in quick. Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 30th April 2013. Australian addresses only, sorry.

If you’d like to learn more about me or my books, including the story behind Heartland, please visit my website. You can also find me chattering away on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

 

 

HEARTLAND RELEASE DAY!

It’s here! And I came very, very close to popping the champagne before 8am this morning. Why? Because Heartland received the most gobsmacking review from Bree, at 1 Girl, 2 Many Books.

This is just a little of what she had to say…

“It’s easy to overhype books in your mind sometimes, which can lead to them not living up to expectation. That was definitely not the case with this one – it was everything I thought it would be and more. It’s a beautiful story of finding courage to be happy and letting go of the past but without forgetting it. Callie had such a touching vulnerability and Matt such a gentle strength but that didn’t stop it from being plenty saucy either! Another fabulous rural romance release that just proves why this genre continues to grow in popularity.”

9/10

Isn’t that the loveliest thing? Read Bree’s full review of Heartland here.

But wait, there’s more! Bree also has an in-depth Q&A with me, covering everything from how I choose my settings, to my love for the Sydney Swans, to what was the most difficult part of Heartland to write. Plus a teensy bit about my next book. Check it out!

Also around the net, I’m on the Australian Romance Readers Association’s blog, talking about what made Heartland special to write. All ARRA members who comment will go into the draw to win a copy.

Tomorrow, ANZAC Day, I’m at Book Muster Down Under with an author Q&A (including some seriously tricky questions) and with THREE copies of Heartland up for grabs courtesy of my publisher, Penguin Australia.

Friday will see me flopping about with exhaustion… or perhaps not. No rest for the bookish! I’m hosting myself here on Friday Feast and revealing some of the onerous research I had to undertake for Heartland. I’m talking winery visiting onerous. Terrible, but we authors are selfless creatures and don’t mind suffering for our craft. Oh, and there’ll be a Heartland giveaway too. But you’ll have to work for it with a wine-y story!

Also on Friday, I’ll be at Jenn J McLeod’s Author Harvest, discussing garden gnomes, what my protagonists think about me, and the current lust of my life, Inspector Davide Rivera from Rex in Rome…among other equally serious and important things!

Then on Sunday, 28th April, it’s back to ARRA for a guest post titled The Heart of Rural Romance. Find out what makes this genre so great.

Oh, and before I go, three things.

1/. Heartland is in this week’s BigW catalogue. Wheeeeee!

2/. The ebook price promo will run out soon. Get in quick if you want to score Heartland at a discount. Try Amazon (Kindle), Kobo, Google Play or iTunes. There’s also special pricing for Heart of the Valley and Promises.

3/. My Goodreads giveaway closes May 1st. Simply visit Heartland’s page and clickety-click the Enter to Win button.

To finish off , thank you to everyone for your amazing support. I’ve been overwhelmed with congratulations this morning and made to feel really special. I can’t express how much that means to me.

Nearly forgot! I have another Heartland quote for you.

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Mustn’t let all my photo fiddling go to waste!

 

HEARTLAND COVER REVEAL!

It’s been a while coming but here, at last, is Heartland’s gorgeous new cover and blurb. Isn’t it beautiful? From the perfect heroine image, to the soaring blue skies, black cockatoos and summer-parched landscape, I love it!

 

Coming 24th April 2013

Heartland_cvr_640x480

A powerful, passionate and moving rural love story from Cathryn Hein, author of Promises and Heart of the Valley.

When Callie Reynolds arrives at Glenmore, the property she’s recently inherited, the last thing she wants is to be saddled with a warty horse, an injured neighbour and a mad goose. Haunted by her sister’s death and her fractured family, all she wants is freedom.

But Callie hasn’t counted on falling for Matt Hawkins, an ex-soldier determined to fulfil his own dream of land and family. Nor could she predict the way the land, animals and people of Glenmore will capture her heart.

Callie is faced with impossible choices. But she must find the courage to decide where her future lies, even if it costs her everything she holds dear.

FRIDAY FEAST with me!

It’s not very often I get to do a Friday Feast post, although expect to see a bit more of me around Heartland release time. But this week is the Australian Romance Readers Convention in Brisbane, and with so many Australian authors heading along for a weekend of full-on romance (book romance, that is… for me, anyway. Can’t speak for the others!) I thought I’d take pressure my busy guests and take over the slot.

Now, because I’m a complete fusspot who likes her systems, I’m going to stick with the normal Friday Feast format and hit you once again with Heart of the Valley’s cover and blurb. Oof, stop your groaning. You know you haven’t seen it enough!

Besides, this is different. On March 24th the smaller format of Heart of the Valley releases and it has an extra pretty new cover. Compare and contrast with the example on the right. See? What, you can’t see any difference? Phht. Look at the colours! There, what did I tell you? A pretty pinked-up new cover and a slightly altered blurb. All good!

 

HEART OF THE VALLEY

 

HotV Cover - smaller 2013 formatBrooke Kingston is smart, capable and strongwilled – some might even say stubborn – and lives in the beautiful Hunter Valley on her family property. More at home on horseback than in heels, her life revolves around her beloved ‘boys’ – showjumpers Poddy, Oddy and Sod.

Then a tragic accident leaves Brooke a mess. Newcomer Lachie Cambridge is hired to manage the farm, and Brooke finds herself out of a job and out of luck. But she won’t go without a fight.

What she doesn’t expect is Lachie himself – a handsome, gentle giant with a will to match her own. But with every day that Lachie stays, Brooke’s future on the farm is more uncertain.

A vivid, moving and passionate story of love and redemption from the author of Promises.

 

Yet to own your own copy of Heart of the Valley? Then you must satisfy that burning urge and buy! Try your local BigW or bookshop, or go online to Booktopia or Bookworld. If ebooks are your go, try Amazon Kindle, Kobo, Google Play or iTunes. Sorry, international visitors, my books are currently available only in Australia and New Zealand but I’m working on it!

And now I bring you…er…me!

 

OVEN LOVE

 

We have now been in our new house for 15 days. Ahh, the utter bliss of having all my clothes, my kitchen things, my cookbooks! and a lovely big office in which my beloved workstation fits just beautifully. Moving in had its usual issues of breakages and missing items but after 20+ years of doing this we’ve learned that there’s no point in getting cranky. Well, not very cranky. I have been known to crack a wobble over my cookbooks being mishandled and I did nearly lose it this time at the mysterious disappearance of one my favourite French copper pot lids, but overall stoicism was my friend.

Anyway, it’s all very hard to stay cranky when one has succumbed to the intensely blissful delight of  oven love. Yes, I am besotted with an inanimate object. But this, my dear Feasters, is not just any inanimate object. This is a brand spanking new 90cm, 5 burner stove and oven.

Regardez

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Isn’t it lovely? All that stainless steel and heavy cast iron. That deliciously fat size. That range hood with its fantastically bright LED light and timer function. That wok burner. All those settings to suit anything from pizza to pavlova. Sigh. Makes one’s heart rather skippy.

So, you’re probably wondering what I’ve baked. Well, you have to remember that we haven’t actually been moved in for that long, and for the first 5 days at least I was too knackered too cook, but I have managed to make an apricot and Frangelico frangipane tart (yum!), roasted some pork and created beautiful crackling, baked a couple of home-made pizzas, roasted veges, baked a casserole, stirfried about four lots of noodly dishes, and last night I whipped up a tasty leek and fetta tart. Not a bad effort, but you wait until winter when I really get cooking. Then there’ll be some fun!

Which brings me to what recipe I should share. I had great plans of doing a marvelously complicated story called “My Week With Hugh” where I regaled you with adventures from my week of cooking recipes from Hugh Fearnley-Wittingstall’s new cookbook, Hugh’s Three Good Things, a book I won just before Christmas thanks to those fantastically generous souls at The Essential Ingredient (who also run a most excellent website). Alas, time has not permitted and I’ll have to save that for another Feast.

But it just so happens that I picked up some juicy looking sirloin steaks from the Mulgoa butcher the other day, which then led me to whip up a batch of Café de Paris butter for the freezer. Now, I have no idea how authentic my version is of this butter. I’m not even sure there is an authentic version, but I started out using Neil Perry’s recipe from Rockpool (it’s up on the restaurant website if you search) then over time adapted it using Iain Hewitson’s version from his Tolarno Bistro cookbook and another couple of recipes from cooking magazines, until I arrived at the butter that we now make and love.

There’s something quite seductive about a beautifully cooked steak glistening with a disc of slowly melting Café de Paris butter. Yes, yes, horribly bad for you and all that, but that’s okay. Just don’t have it every day!

Go on, give it a try. You know you want to…

 

Café de Paris Butter

125g butter

1 French shallot, finely diced

1 scant teaspoon of good quality curry powder

1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 clove garlic, crushed

1/2 teaspoon baby capers, rinsed and finely chopped

2 anchovy fillets, chopped

1 small handful of parsley leaves, finely chopped

1 small handful of basil leaves, finely chopped

The leaves from a few springs of fresh thyme

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

2 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce???????????????????????????????

Stick the lot in a food processor and whiz until well mixed. If you don’t have all the ingredients don’t fuss, just use what you have. I’ve made it on occasion missing some of the herbs or spices and it turned out fine. Plus each time I make this butter it tastes slightly different, even when I use every ingredient. Adds to the fun!

???????????????????????????????Using a spatula, scoop the butter out onto a good sized square of plastic wrap then shape into a log. Fold over the wrap and then, holding the ends, roll back and forth until it forms a nice sausage shape. Plonk the sausage in the freezer and simply cut off discs whenever you want some super tasty flavoured butter for your steaks. Easy!

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So, what’s your favourite steak accompaniment? Perhaps you’re a spicy sort and can’t live without a good, peppery sauce. Maybe you’re a naturalist and prefer it bare and beefy. Maybe you like to be extravagant and tournedos Rossini, with its layers of crouton, foie gras and truffle all dressed in a rich demi-glace. I’d love to hear your thoughts. With autumn coming up, and the nesting season approaching, it’s nice to have a few new steaky things to try.

If you’d like to read more about Heart of the Valley or Promises and how they came into being, please visit my website. You can also keep up with my natterings on Facebook, Twitter and Google+

 

FRIDAY FEAST with me!

Happy birthday to Promises, happy birthday to my book! Yes, Feasters, it’s been one whole year since my debut rural romance was unleashed on the Australian public and what a wonderful time it’s had, from posing in Cosmo to lounging nonchalantly across the shelves of BigW and everywhere in between.

Birthdays need a party, even those belonging to inanimate objects, and I do enjoy an excuse to crack a bottle of fizz, so this week on Friday Feast we’re celebrating. But as regulars know there’s a style to this segment and, queen of fusspottiness that I am, I must keep the format intact or risk much twitchiness. So here’s Promises’ gorgeous cover and blurb, cos I just know you haven’t seen it enough…

 

PROMISES

 

A father with something to hide, a jockey with a taste for blackmail, a man with an agonising secret… and a young woman in love, defying them all.

Sophie Dixon is determined to leave her tragic past behind and forge a bright future on her beloved farm. While looking to buy a new horse, she is drawn into her neighbour Aaron Laidlaw’s orbit, despite the bad blood between their families. As the racing season unfolds, Sophie and Aaron’s feelings for each other deepen. But Aaron is torn, haunted by a dark secret he fears can never be forgiven – especially by Sophie.

Sophie believes herself strong, but the truth behind her mother’s death will test her strength, and her love, to the limit. She’s been broken once. No one wants to see her broken again. Least of all the man who has grown to love her.

 

Aww, now isn’t that just lovely? Yes, yes, so I’m biased but that’s my authorly prerogative and I’m going to indulge. Now, for those of you who don’t own a copy I just know – oh, yes I do! – that you are itching, itching I say, to buy one. So trundle on down to your local independent and ask or clickety-click right now over to Bookworld or Booktopia. Prefer the ebook? Promises is also available from the above sites, as well as ebook retailers like Kobobooks and Amazon (Kindle).

And now that little sales spiel is over, here’s…er…me!

 

BIRTHDAY BEEFCAKE

Like the title of this post? I’d love to lay claim to it but, alas, it didn’t come from my RWA Conference exhausted brain but from Anne Gracie, much admired author of wonderful Regency historical romances. Clever lady.

So, yes, beefcake…

Oh, you mean you’re expecting sexy man piccies? Like this, perhaps?

Love the Old Spice Man. Such fun.

 

Not your thing? What about this chappie, looking sternly suave in breeches?

 

 

Can’t say he does anything for me but that’s probably because he’s my great-grandfather. Anyway, always a bit hard to go past a man in uniform and here’s a whole bunch.

These lovelies were snapped in Stockholm. There seems to be quite a few piccies of Scandinavian good sorts in my collection. No idea why. My finger must have accidentally slipped on the shutter button or something…

Now, seeing as we’re on the subject of beefy things, I suppose a recipe is in order. Except as I flick through my “favourites” self-made cookbook the only thing I can find that remotely fits the criteria of beefy and cakey is this pork and veal terrine recipe. Not quite the celebratory dish I had in mind but it’ll have to do. Besides, it’s simple to make, tastes good and can be enjoyed outside with a glass of dry rosé. My favourite kind of recipe.

 

PORK AND VEAL TERRINE

Fits 28cm/1.2 litre Le Creuset cast iron terrine dish.

375g diced pork (a nice fatty cut)

375g diced veal

125g good quality smoky bacon, pancetta or speck, diced

1 large clove garlic, chopped finely

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

30g shelled pistachios

1 tablespoon cognac (substitute brandy if you don’t have any)

15 or so slices prosciutto (bacon can be substituted but the terrine will be very fatty, as you can see from the above pic)

Preheat oven to 180ºC

Coarsely chop pork, veal and bacon together in a food processor using the pulse function, making sure to keep plenty of chunky bits for texture.

Tip meat into a bowl. Add the garlic, thyme, pistachios and brandy, season well with salt and pepper, and mix well with your hands.

Line a terrine or loaf tin with prosciutto, making sure to leave plenty hanging over the edges as these will be used to cover the terrine top. Pack the terrine with the meat mixture, pressing down well, and drape prosciutto edges over the surface to cover.

Lay a piece of baking paper over the folded over prosciutto and place the terrine lid on top. Transfer to a baking dish lined with a folded tea-towel (this helps stop the terrine slipping about) and add enough hot water to reach halfway up the sides of the terrine.

Bake for 90 minutes, remove from the oven and then remove the terrine from the baking dish. Keeping baking paper in place, take off the lid and set aside. Place a heavy weight on top of the terrine to weigh it down – I use a small wooden board topped with tinned tomatoes but a brick is perfect if you have one handy.

Cool to room temperature, and refrigerate overnight. Turn out onto a board and serve with cornichons and a baguette.

 

Now, it’s a birthday party so that means pressies and it just so happens I have a goodie bag handy. Not only is there a very practical canvas tote, there’s a nice mug and all sorts of items for the discerning Promises fan. There may also be Lindt chocolates inside…

Tell me which of the above beefcakes you prefer – Old Spice Man, Breeches Boy or Sexy Scandinavian  – or your favourite beefy recipe and I’ll pop you in the draw. 

Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday, 28th August 2012 AEST. Australian addresses only, sorry.

If you wish to find out more about Promises or my second novel, Heart of the Valley, including extracts for your reading pleasure, please visit my website. You can also connect via my Facebook page and Twitter.

This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Brenda, who has won a gorgeous goodiebag with bonus choccies. Thanks to all who joined in the fun and helped celebrate Promises‘ birthday. It’s been a hoot!

 

THIS WRITING LIFE: Romance Writers of Australia Conference

Yup, that’ where I’m off to this week. Can’t wait! It’s such fun to catch up with writer friends and talk shop. I’m also a guest on the Diamonds In The Dust Panel on Saturday with Rachel Treasure, Fiona Palmer, Barbara Hannay and Penguin editor Belinda Byrne, discussing all you need to know about rural romance.

For non-writers there is the wonderful  Australian Romance Readers Association Booksigning Event. So if you’re near the Gold Coast this coming Friday, why not pop on by? Sixty-six romance authors will be on standby to have a chat to and sign your books.

4-30–6.00 pm on Friday 17 August at the QT Hotel on the Gold Coast. For more information on the ARRA Booksigning Event please visit the ARRA Blog.

Interested in writing? Why not take a closer look at the Romance Writers of Australia. THE BEST writing organisation in the country. It is. I promise. Plus we have seriously fun conferences.

And finally, a heads-up that there will be no Friday Feast this week due to me swanning around the Gold Coast. But keep an eye out for Friday 24th when I’ll be sharing something special to celebrate the first birthday of my debut rural romance, Promises. There may be a special giveaway…

 

This Writing Life: E-book Update

A quick heads-up for e-book readers. My debut rural romance PROMISES is now available on Kindle and from Kobo, Borders and other ebook retailers for $10. Bargain!

Here are the links:

If you have a Kindle, you can buy Promises here. Currently $10-03

If you own a Kobo, Sony or other e-reader that accepts the ePub format then you have a wider choice of stores and the book is slightly cheaper at $9-99.

Kobo

Booktopia

Borders.com.au

Angus & Roberstson

Dymocks

 

HEART OF THE VALLEY is also available as an ebook from the same retailers for around $19-99