Tag Archives: Rocking Horse Hill by Cathryn Hein

Australian Romance Reader Awards Finalist!

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

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

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

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

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

ARRC2015+banner+KNs

 

FRIDAY FEAST with Cathryn Hein

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Greetings, Feasty lovelies, and welcome to another tastebud tantalising edition of Friday Feast. This week: rocking on with a bargain priced Rocking Horse Hill, getting stoned with fruit (well, maybe not high but certainly very happy), and a book giveaway you will luuuurve.

First, news from Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. I’m on the improve, oh yes I am. And I can Cathryn ready to golfprove it because I only hit ONE ball into a dam on the weekend… I think. It’s entirely possible I blocked memory of the others. All this ball loss does get traumatic at times. Not to mention expensive.

But onto some Feasty goodness. This week you have ME as the guest and I have a treat for you too. A few of them, in fact.

Now, in case you haven’t heard, the ebook of my fourth rural romance Rocking Horse Hill is currently on sale for only $4-99 across all platforms. A saving of eight dollars of the normal retail price. How’s that for a bargain? And it’s a great read, if I do say so myself!

Take a look…

ROCKING HORSE HILL

Rocking Horse Hill by Cathryn Hein coverWho do you trust when a stranger threatens to tear your family apart?

Ever since she was a little girl, Emily Wallace-Jones has loved Rocking Horse Hill. The beautiful family property is steeped in history. Everything important in Em’s life has happened there. And even though Em’s brother Digby has inherited the property, he has promised Em it will be her home for as long as she wishes.

When Digby falls in love with sweet Felicity Townsend, a girl from the wrong side of the tracks, Em worries about the future. But she is determined not to treat Felicity with the same teenage snobbery that tore apart her relationship with her first love, Josh Sinclair. A man who has now sauntered sexily back into Em’s life and given her a chance for redemption.

But as Felicity settles in, the once tightly knitted Wallace-Jones family begins to fray. Suspicions are raised, Josh voices his distrust, and even Em’s closest friends question where Felicity’s motives lie. Conflicted but determined to make up for the damage caused by her past prejudices, Em sides with her brother and his fiancée until a near tragedy sets in motion a chain of events that will change the family forever.

Like the sound of that? Then grab it now at a rocking price. Try Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play and JB Hi-Fi. Prefer the smell and feel of paper, then clickety-click on over to Booktopia, Bookworld or Angus & Robertson. Or why not pop into your favourite local bookshop or chain store?

Stocked up? Excellent. You can now come and get stoned with me.

Ahem.

Summer Lovin’

Today I made my first cherry purchase of the season.

What? Not impressed? Huh. Fine. I know this may not sound much to you, but it matters bigtime to me. You see, I don’t just love cherries, I worship them. They are by far my favourite fruit. Come cherry season I cannot stuff enough of those babies into my mouth.

I like the way they burst. I like the intensity of their flavour. I like that funny sensation I get when my front teeth pierce the skin. I like how they colour my fingers all pink. I like how you can be munching through a bowl, thinking how delicious they are, and then suddenly get one whose sweet amazingness outshines all the others and makes your brain go all bright like it’s been filled with sunshine. I like how deeply, almost sexily red they are. I like to stroke them…

*cough*

Sorry, but I did say that I worshipped them.

Anyway, today I scored my first batch of new season cherries and I had plans for these things. Cooking type plans. I was going to turn those plump little morsels into a beautiful French dessert. Until I ate one…. um, okay, I ate many. Then I thought: Why waste my darlings on a dessert when I can scoff them pure and whole, the way nature intended?

So I turned to summer’s third best stone fruit, the humble apricot (the second being nectarines). Now normally it’s hard to go past a beautifully blushed apricot but when there are cherries being all Eat me! Eat Me! it’s easy. I mean, apricots  are all demure peachy blush while cherries are vibrant and siren-like. If cherries were a man they’d be… I dunno. Think of someone dark ‘n hot ‘n dangerous maybe. Someone sultry and sexy, with smooth skin and taut muscles and long lashes and brown come-hither eyes.

Washed new season cherries and apricots

But I digress… cherries kind of have that effect.

Because this Feast is about Rocking Horse Hill, and with the heroine Emily Wallace-Jones being such a wonderful cook and gardener, I needed a recipe that she would make and share with friends and family. She’s a seasonal girl, our Em. She likes to let nature dictate what’s on the menu. And in summer, with her orchard in full production, you can bet she’d be inundated with stone fruit.

I think – no, I know cos she is, after all, my invention – that a lovely French clafoutis would be exactly the dish she would cook.

Have you ever had a clafoutis? It’s one of the world’s easiest desserts to make and one whose success relies almost entirely on the quality of the fruit used. So choose that fruit wisely. You can use anything really, but beautifully ripe stone fruit always works well. Cherries are traditional but I just couldn’t bring myself to cook my precious batch. So apricots it is. I can sacrifice them.

This recipe has been adapted from the clafoutis recipe in Bien Cuisiner du marché à votre table by Marie-Claude Bisson, a lovely big fat 800 recipe cookbook that’s well worth buying if you love French family food and don’t mind a bit of translating. Some recipes I’ve seen call for almond flour and whatnot but that sounds far too heavy. This clafoutis produces a silky light custard with the fruit juices running through. It’s easy and beautiful and very moreish.

Apricot Clafoutis

The baked apricot clafoutis served with a drizzle of cream.

Ingredients

4 eggs

Pinch of salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

125g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling

80g plain flour

60g butter

250ml milk (or use 125ml cream and 125ml milk for a richer result – but straight milk works fine)

500g apricots or the fruit of your choice

Method

Preheat the oven to 180C.

If using smaller fruit like cherries, stone and keep whole (there’s a special depipping gadget for this – or you can halve them, whatever you like). For larger fruit, remove the stone and cut in half and place in a ceramic dish cut side down (or up, if you prefer that look).

Beat the eggs, salt, vanilla and sugar until pale and creamy.

Sift the flour nice and high over the egg mixture and fold in. Melt 30g of the butter and gently stir that into the egg mixture along with the milk. The mix will be quite liquid but airy.

Pour over the fruit. Dot with remaining butter. Bake for 30 minutes, depending on the shallowness of your dish, your oven’s temperament, the alignment of the stars etc etc. Remove and sprinkle with extra sugar while it’s still hot.

Serve with cream and smiiiiile at all that summer goodness.

Serves 6.

 

Doesn’t that sound easy and delicious? Believe me, it is.

And because this post is about Rocking Horse Hill being bargain priced and not just my cherry obsession, I think we should celebrate the fact with a…

GIVEAWAY!

Yes, you could win a pretty purple paperback copy of Rocking Horse Hill, signed to you or whomever you like in case you want to give it away as a present (now there’s a Christmas gift idea for the reader in your circle). But as always you have to work to be in the draw, oh yes you do!

I want to know your favourite summer fruit and how you like to prepare and eat it. Naturally, there will be bonus points for anything involving cherries.

Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 18th November 2014. Australian postal addresses only.

If you’d like to learn more about me or my books, then take a leisurely stroll around my website. While you’re there, sign up to my newsletter which delivers all my book news direct to your inbox along with exclusive goodies and giveaways. You can also connect with me via Facebook, Google+ and Twitter using @CathrynHein.

This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Maria who has won a signed copy of Rocking Horse Hill. Thanks to everyone for joining in the fun. Lots of fruity ideas! 

A Rocking Bargain!

Heads-up, everyone.

ROCKING HORSE HILL IS ON SALE!

Yes, you can pick up the ebook version of my best-selling rural romance for only…

Doesn’t that make you feel…


It does me, because WHAT A BARGAIN!

Only for a limited time, so don’t miss out. Buy now from:

Kindle

kobo

Google play

Available_on_the_iBookstore_Badge_US-UK_146x40_0824

jbhifinowbooks

Go on, I promise this book will fill you up with lots of wonderful emotions like this…

 

THIS WRITING LIFE: Bloggy Goodness

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With the release of Rocking Horse Hill I’ve been cantering around the blogosphere, waving my Come Read Me! banner and generally having a rompy old time of it.

Take a look at where I’ve appeared this week:

ROCKING ALONG

On wonderful multi award-winning Australian romantic suspense author Helene Young’s blog, where I show off how life really is in my office

Check this one out. It’s a hoot!

GETTING ANIMAL

With rural romance author Alissa Callen where I take a look at anthropomorphism. Something I practice a lot!

MOTHER’S DAY PRESENT DILEMMAS

Come have yours solved on Margareta Osborn’s blog. Not only are there some perfect-for-mum book suggestions, but revealing insights into what fellow rural romance authors Margareta Osborn, Fiona Palmer, Rachael Johns, Alissa Callen and I plan for this Sunday.

WRITERS ON READING

My answers to Pamela Cook’s wonderful series on books authors read and love. Discover my favourite literary villain, what book has made me laugh out loud, which has made me cry, and more!

OLDER BLOGS

Some blogs I’ve appeared on in previous weeks…

The Australian Romance Readers Association: Rocking Horse Hill Release Day. With a giveaway just for members too. Closes May 13th

My blog: 10 Secret Things About Rocking Horse Hill. All is revealed!

A Q&A with best-selling rural romance author Fiona Palmer. Quirky!

Write What You Know: a writing article on Write Note Reviews. One for authors.

A Q&A on book review site Book’d Out. Come see my sticky note obsession!

Aussie Author Round-Up on Book Muster Down Under. Discover my writing motto.

Friday Feast with Cathryn Hein ie me! Home-made Hot-Crossed Buns.

Friday Feast with Cathryn Hein (Again!). Sweet seduction with a dead easy chocolate pudding.

What Every Author Needs on Rachael Johns’s blog. Friends, that’s what!

Have fun. I did!

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!

FRIDAY FEAST with Alissa Callen

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Hello, my Friday-loving lovelies, and welcome to another mouth-watering edition of everyone’s favourite food series, Friday Feast!

Things have calmed down a little at Chez Hein now that the initial flurry of Rocking Horse Hill release run-around has passed, which means I can now concentrate better on other things, like my darling Sydney Swans and golf. My boys had a most excellent win last week in the footy. I, in golf, did not. Well, not when it counted. Whupped butt ANZAC day when I went out for a practice hit and then it all fell apart in the comp on Sunday. Sigh.

However, all going well this afternoon I’ll become the proud owner of a new 3 wood…

Speaking of afternoon delights, this week’s guest has some beautiful afternoon tea recipes to Author Alissa Callenshare. A born and bred country girl living in the central west of NSW, Alissa Callen’s books are a wonderful addition to the rural romance genre. It’s in the sweeping Australian countryside and small rural towns that she knows so well that Alissa sets her stories. What Love Sounds Like is out in ebook right now, while the first book in her Red Dust Outback series, Beneath Outback Skies, has just hit the shelves in paperback.

The second in the Red Dust Outback series released this week. Check out Down Outback Roads.

DOWN OUTBACK ROADS

Cover of Down Outback Roads by Alissa CallenSometimes you need to give yourself permission to fall in love.

Kree Garrett’s younger brother Seth is all the family she has left, so when he goes missing in the Australian outback, she doesn’t think twice about leaving her American home to find him. When Seth is rescued Kree vows to find a way to thank the small town of Glenalla. It isn’t long before she falls in love with the tight-knit rural community. But is it really the town she’s falling for?

Ewan Mackenzie has given up everything for his brother’s family, but he can never give enough to assuage his guilt at what happened one dark night, years ago . . . Ewan knows he doesn’t deserve a second chance at happiness, but when beautiful, open-hearted Kree stays to fight to save his home town, he finds it hard to keep his distance.

Can Kree and Ewan leave their pasts behind for long enough to find a future together?

Doesn’t that sound romantic? Ahh. Makes my heart all a-flutter reading that. You can own a copy right now with just a few clickety-clicks. Purchase your ebook copy of Down Outback Roads from Amazon for Kindle, Kobo, iBooks, Google Play, JB Hi-Fi or your favourite ebook retailer.

Now settle back with cuppa and munch on this!

Afternoon Tea Treats with Alissa Callen

In my new release, Down Outback Roads, I had so much fun using food as a way to integrate the two different worlds of my main characters. Kree Garrett is from the Rocky Mountains in America while Ewan Mackenzie is from the small rural town of Glenalla, Australia.

Kree quickly develops a liking for iconic Aussie lamingtons while Ewan, who initially can’t bring himself to eat peanut butter with chocolate, crosses to the dark side and tries American peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies. Much to the delight of his small twin nephews, quietly-spoken Darby and mischievous Braye, he finds the cookies not only edible but also delicious and goes back for seconds.

Lamingtons

Lamingtons

1 plain and unfilled sponge or vanilla cake cut into squares. Can be made from scratch, a packet mix or purchased.

Chocolate icing:

2 ½ cups icing sugar/mixture

¼ cup cocoa powder

2/3 cup warm water

Sift together dry ingredients, whisk in water until smooth.

Tip 2 cups desiccated coconut into a wide-mouthed bowl.

Roll chocolate-covered cake in coconut until evenly coated.

Lamingtons can also be sliced and filled with whipped cream or jam before being rolled in the chocolate icing and coconut.

Allow to set and then enjoy 🙂

 

 Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Cookies

Peanut butter and choc chip cookies

1 cup of peanut butter (crunchy or smooth)

1 cup brown sugar

1 large egg

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1/2 cup chocolate chips

Mix first four ingredients. Drop small spoonfuls of mixture onto a lined biscuit tray, keeping in mind the cookies will spread. Press in the chocolate chips onto the cookie tops. Bake in a moderate oven until golden.

For the batch in the photo my kids substituted small chocolate m and m’s instead of chocolate chips.

 

Deeeeelicious, Alissa! As one would expect from a country gal. And who can go past lamingtons? My other half turns into the Cookie Monster whenever he spies a plate. They are the perfect morning or afternoon tea treat.

Now, speaking of treats…

GIVEAWAY!

Alissa has very generously offered one lucky reader the chance to win a Kindle copy of her charming and heart-warming book What Love Sounds Like, featuring a an outback based Cover of What Love Sounds Like by Alissa Callenspeech pathologist, a man who believes money is as important as breathing, and a little girl who will bring them together.

To be in the giveaway, simply reveal what sweet treat you enjoy from another country.

That’s an easy one for me. Baklava! This Greek treat is such a favourite, with its sticky syrup, nutty layers and beautiful pastry. Gawd, I really want a piece now!

What about you? Maybe a traditional Devonshire tea is your go. Perhaps pecan pie from the US or an Italian canoli. There’s a whole world of sweet treats out there. Share your favourite and you’ll go into the draw.

Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 6th May 2014. Open internationally. Rah!

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

FRIDAY FEAST with Cathryn Hein (again!)

24 Replies

Hello, my lovely Feasters! Welcome to this ANZAC day edition of Friday Feast. Did you brave the cold for dawn service this morning? We did, and it was as moving as always.

Lest We Forget.

Now, as is tradition, it’s time for your favourite sporting update in Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. There is good news to report. Ha! You didn’t expect that, did you? Well, it appears the Easter Bunny bought me a golf swing and it was magnificent to behold.

Okay, that’s a lie. Magnificent was my beloved Sydney Swans victory over Fremantle in the AFL, something my swing could never be classified as. Doesn’t matter. The Easter weekend was stunning weather-wise and I had great fun on the golf course (except for those two balls in the dam on the 18th on Saturday – that wasn’t fun at all). Plus I won the Sunday competition. All right, so there were only five in the field but ppht, who cares about that? Bar me, they were all men and a victory is still a victory!

Another victory is Rocking Horse Hill finally hitting the shelves. Yeehaa!

ROCKING HORSE HILL

Rocking Horse Hill by Cathryn Hein coverWho do you trust when a stranger threatens to tear your family apart?

Ever since she was a little girl, Emily Wallace-Jones has loved Rocking Horse Hill. The beautiful family property is steeped in history. Everything important in Em’s life has happened there. And even though Em’s brother Digby has inherited the property, he has promised Em it will be her home for as long as she wishes.

When Digby falls in love with sweet Felicity Townsend, a girl from the wrong side of the tracks, Em worries about the future. But she is determined not to treat Felicity with the same teenage snobbery that tore apart her relationship with her first love, Josh Sinclair. A man who has now sauntered sexily back into Em’s life and given her a chance for redemption.

But as Felicity settles in, the once tightly knitted Wallace-Jones family begins to fray. Suspicions are raised, Josh voices his distrust, and even Em’s closest friends question where Felicity’s motives lie. Conflicted but determined to make up for the damage caused by her past prejudices, Em sides with her brother and his fiancée until a near tragedy sets in motion a chain of events that will change the family forever.

And you can buy this exciting read RIGHT NOW!

For the paperback why not support your local bookstore? You’ll also find Rocking Horse Hill at chain stores like BigW, K-Mart and Target, and excellent online retailers like Booktopia and Bookworld.

For the ebook, clickety-click on over to Amazon for an instant download to your Kindle, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play or JB Hi-Fi.

All loaded up? Oh, you’re good people! Now we can get on with some…

Sweet Seduction

There were many things I loved writing about in Rocking Horse Hill. The hill itself was a big one. The animals, of course. The indomitable Granny B. And Josh and Em’s history-burdened relationship.

The other thing was the food. Wallace-Jones women are renowned cooks. Em often has her friends Teagan and Jas over for dinner and a girly gossip. Tuesday night dinner at the Wallace-Jones mansion in Levenham is tradition, and Em’s mum Adrienne always cooks up something wonderful and comforting. When this family entertains, they do it in style.

One of my favourite scenes in Rocking Horse Hill is the first night Josh comes to Em’s for dinner. They’re both a bit nervous and want to impress, but neither wants to look like they’ve made too big an effort. So Em takes great care with her menu.

Here’s a little taste of what happens…

Dessert was as big a hit with Josh as the main course. He settled back to regard her with a lazy, satisfied smile. ‘If you set out to impress me, I’m impressed.’

Em’s desire soared hill-high. She smothered it with domesticity. Figuring that he wouldn’t be easily fobbed off, she allowed him to help with the dishes, and was glad she did. The practical chore took the edge off, and let them talk about developments in the town and local gossip. By the time the last dish was stowed and the benches were wiped, they were back to easy friendship.

Josh glanced at his watch. ‘I suppose I should get home. It’s been a big day.’

‘You sure you don’t want coffee?’

‘Thanks, but no.’ Josh wandered towards the sliding door, carrying his jacket, Muffy trailing behind. At the glass he stopped and gave the dog a stern look. ‘You look after your mistress now.’

To Em’s astonishment, Muffy pressed her shoulder into Josh’s leg, a sign of affection Em had always considered exclusively hers. Josh ruffled Muffy’s ears before turning to Em. ‘Thanks for tonight. It was great.’

‘You’re welcome.’

They stared at one another. The CD finished. Wind threaded through the roof and brushed against the house.

‘So.’

‘So.’

The temperature rose.

He leaned forward to kiss her cheek but the kiss lingered. The tiny hairs on her skin stirred against his breath. She could feel his swallow of hesitancy, then his long exhale as he made his decision. Another kiss: soft, fluttery. Heat swept her body, scattering it with delicious prickles.

Em closed her eyes against the pull of yearning. ‘Josh . . .’

So what was the dessert Em impressed Josh with? The oh-so-luscious chocolate heaven that is…

Moelleux au Chocolat

Also commonly known as chocolate fondants. This is, as Em points out ‘…a dessert disproportionately impressive to the effort it took to create.’

Honestly, you can whip these babies up in no time. And, because they’re better if you prepare them in advance, you can make them the morning or even the day before you want to serve, and simply keep them in the fridge until you’re ready.

Makes 4. Recipe can easily be doubled.

85g dark, high quality chocolate

85g butter, cubed

85g dark brown sugar

40g plain flour

3 eggs, beaten

Butter

Cocoa powder

Brush 6 ramekins with butter. Be generous. Tip in a spoonful or so of cocoa powder into each ramekin and rotate the ramekin so the powder covers the base and edges. Again, don’t be afraid to be generous. Tip out excess powder into the next one and continue until they’re all well dusted.

Ramekins buttered and dusted with cocoa

Zap the chocolate and butter in a microwave on low, stirring frequently, until melted. Or melt gently on the stove using a bowl set over a pan of hot water.

Mix the flour and sugar together. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs. Mix eggs into the melted chocolate mixture and then into the flour and sugar. Pour evenly into the ramekins, cover and leave them in the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour.

Moelleux au chocolat ready for baking

Preheat oven to 180C. Place the ramekins onto a tray and then into the oven for 15 minutes, although the best timing will probably be a matter of trial and error – the perfect excuse to make and eat more as you test. The edges should be set but the inside runny. Poke it with a skewer if you’re uncertain, but remember your goal is to serve it gooey. Remove, allow to rest for a little, then turn out onto plates. Serve with cream and maybe some tangy berries if you have some handy.

The gooey insides of the fondant

And wait for the oohs and ahhs as everyone dips their spoons into the mounds and out pours all that chocolatey goodness.

You never know, you might even catch yourself a hunky man like Josh with this recipe. After all, the way to a man’s heart…

 

GIVEAWAY

Why not? New rural romances don’t come along every day, do they? And we do adore a lovely giveaway here on Friday Feast.

But you’ll have to work for it and share what you could be seduced with or have been seduced by. Reveal all in the comments and I’ll pop you into the draw to win a signed copy of Rocking Horse Hill.

Maybe you’re a sucker for an old-fashioned evening out to dinner. Or, like me, gentlemanly manners and a bunch of flowers had you turning gooey. Perhaps you were taken in by something adrenalin packed, like a skydiving date. Or maybe you fell in love over a hamper of stinky gourmet cheeses.

Share and you’ll be in with a chance to win.

Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 29th April 2014. Australian postal addresses only.

If you’d like to learn more about me and my books, you’ll find plenty of news around the website. Just click on the tabs at the top of the page. You’ll also find me on Facebook, Twitter via @CathrynHein and Google+.

PS. For those in the NSW Blue Mountains, I’ll be signing books at the new BigW store in Katoomba for an hour or so from 11am tomorrow morning, 26th April. If you’re in the area, Come along and say hello. I’d love to see you.

Rocking Horse Hill Release Day!

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Rah! It’s here at last. My latest rural romance Rocking Horse Hill has now officially hit the shelves.

Have you spotted it out and about yet? Let me know if you have. Even better, maybe take a pic and share it on my Facebook page, Google+ or Twitter via @CathrynHein.

Now, to celebrate release day (in addition to the bottle of pink fizz awaiting me in the fridge) here are…

TEN SECRET THINGS ABOUT ROCKING HORSE HILL

1/. Josh was originally called Nick.

2/. Originally I wanted to name Em Cashmere. Seriously. Cashmere Wallace-Jones. She then became Emelia before finally settling as Emily.

3/. Rocking Horse Hill is based on Mount Schank, a volcano south of Mount Gambier in South Australia’s lower south-east.

PC261141

4/. Sliding on you bum down the side of a volcano is the best fun ever. I’ve done it!

5/. The inspiration for Rocking Horse Hill’s quarry scar came from Mount Elephant near Derinallum in western Victoria. The quarry was for scoria.

Western quarry scar on Mount Elephant

6/. The book took 7 months to write. Yikes!

7/. Muffy is based on my darling late dog Cooch.

8/. Chelsea was inspired by an Indian runner duck that my brother once kept. That duck could really motor!

9/. Josh bares more than a passing resemblance to Rex in Rome actor Ettore Bassi. I spent a lot of time studying pictures of him for research… as you do.

10/. Donkeys are sweet but can be sneaky little buggers. There are some amazing videos of them around the net, getting up to mischief. Watching them gave me a lot of laughs. Check this too-clever donkey out.

I hope you enjoyed these ten secret things. But most of all I really hope you enjoy the drama and romance of Rocking Horse Hill!

Feeling that itchy urge to buy right now? Then canter on down to your local book shop or chain store, or simply clickety-click on any of these retailers.

Happy reading!

Cathryn

FRIDAY FEAST with Cathryn Hein ie me!

68 Replies

Hoppy Easter, everyone! And welcome to this special Good Friday edition of Friday Feast. I say special a bit tongue-in-cheek because you have ME as your host and guest, something that doesn’t happen often. Actually, you’ll have me this week and next week. Aren’t you lucky!

Unlike my darling football team, who are not.Cathryn holding Rocking Horse Hill

My beloved Sydney Swans, bless them, are currently playing worse football than I’m playing golf, and that’s saying something. And because I still have the footy-sulks you’re going to have to put up with Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf news instead.

Despite difficult conditions –  ie. the course being as soggy as a soppy sponge and the bunkers being flooded – last week I managed to score less disastrously than I have for a while, which doesn’t mean much, really. However I did at least manage to look particularly fetching in purple tartan shorts teamed with a blue and white floraly patterned polo and pink socks. Stylish. Very stylish indeed.

And now… er… here’s ME!

Well, my book: Rocking Horse Hill, which releases in only five sleeps and which is garnering suuuuper reviews!

ROCKING HORSE HILL

Rocking Horse Hill by Cathryn Hein coverWho do you trust when a stranger threatens to tear your family apart?

Ever since she was a little girl, Emily Wallace-Jones has loved Rocking Horse Hill. The beautiful family property is steeped in history. Everything important in Em’s life has happened there. And even though Em’s brother Digby has inherited the property, he has promised Em it will be her home for as long as she wishes.

When Digby falls in love with sweet Felicity Townsend, a girl from the wrong side of the tracks, Em worries about the future. But she is determined not to treat Felicity with the same teenage snobbery that tore apart her relationship with her first love, Josh Sinclair. A man who has now sauntered sexily back into Em’s life and given her a chance for redemption.

But as Felicity settles in, the once tightly knitted Wallace-Jones family begins to fray. Suspicions are raised, Josh voices his distrust, and even Em’s closest friends question where Felicity’s motives lie. Conflicted but determined to make up for the damage caused by her past prejudices, Em sides with her brother and his fiancée until a near tragedy sets in motion a chain of events that will change the family forever.

A cracking family drama and a wonderful romance (if I do say so myself). Why not pre-order the ebook right now? Simply visit Amazon for your Kindle, iBooks, Kobo or Google Play. Do it now and it’ll be delivered right to your device on release day. Easy!

And now more ME!

EASTER TREATS

What are your childhood Easter memories? Are they overloaded with chocolate, camping or perhaps all the glorious colour and action of the Royal Easter Show?

In the Hein household we went to the beach. Marvellous, I hear you say. Lucky you! Er, yes. Lucky us. Except let me tell you a little about the place I’m talking about. Nene Valley is a tiny fishing village right down the very bottom of South Australia. It was named after a barque that was wrecked there in 1854. When I was a kid, at really low tide, you could still see the remains of the wreck but the sea and sand has covered it now. It’s a nice place though. It was then and it still is now, and Mum and Dad’s Mount Gambier limestone shack had everything you could want.

However, think about where it is. Think of Antarctica, think of the Great Southern Ocean, and Map of Australia and Antarctica showing approximate location of Nene Valleythen picture a map of Australia. Bar a few guano-covered islands, between Nene Valley and all those icebergs there is nothing but freezing water and slicing wind. When the weather turns, it’s bloody horrible. And inevitably, so, so perfectly, it would turn Easter weekend.

Ah, Dad, ever the optimist, would head out on Good Friday to lay crayfish pots and nets (you used to be able to net in those days) and rub his hands in glee at the thought of the cray, whiting, bream or snapper soon to be lining his plate. And what would happen, almost without fail? Foul weather. Out there the pots would remain. If we were lucky, the sea would be safe enough in the bay to fetch the nets. But the pots, which were usually laid on the reef where the breakers crashed, had to stay.

So what would we eat instead? Rabbit! Often with the added extra crunch of shotgun pellets. And chocolate, of course. Lots of it because Mum always loaded up. Which was just as well when you consider the seafood situation….

Now, what has that to do with the recipe I’m sharing today or Rocking Horse Hill? Absolutely nothing. But it was fun talking about it anyway.

Seeing as it’s Easter, I thought I’d share my recipe for hot crossed buns, or in this case, uncrossed buns because I’m usually too lazy to make the crosses or glaze them. Who needs that faffing around when they taste good without it anyway?

You can make the recipe the traditional way but why bother if you have a breadmaker? Put the ingredients in the machine in the right order, hit the dough setting and go and read a book. Perfect! It took a bit of experimenting to get the recipe right but it’s pretty foolproof now. The only hard work is kneading in the sultanas and forming the buns and even that takes no time at all. The rest is all done by machine. Lovely!

Hot (Un)Crossed Buns

Hot uncrossed buns

14 grams or so of dried yeast

4 cups plain (bread) flour

1 teaspoon salt

¼ cup sugar

2 teaspoons mixed spice

1 cup sultanas

1 ½ cups warm milk

2 tablespoons melted butter

1 egg, lightly beaten

Mix dry ingredients, including yeast & sultanas, in a large bowl. Add milk, butter and egg. Mix well to form a soft dough. Knead for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Place dough in a greased bowl. Cover and leave in a warm place to rise until doubled in volume. Approx. 1 hour.

(This stage can be done in a bread machine – liquid ingredients first, followed by dry, NO SULTANAS, then set to ‘dough’ function.)

Knock down dough, then knead for 1 minute.

(If you’re using a breadmaker, let it finish its cycle, remove the dough and knead in the sultanas.)

Dough ready for sultanas to be kneaded in

Dough ready for sultanas to be kneaded in

Divide dough evenly into 12 pieces. Shape each piece into a bun. Place slightly apart on a lined baking tray. Leave in a warm place to double in size. Approx 1 hour, depending on ambient temperature.

Or, if you’re like me, take a big cake tin (26 x 26 cm), tear off some baking paper to fit. No grease, just plop it in – the paper overhang makes great handles for lifting the buns out afterwards – then roll your 12 buns and place them in the tin and leave to prove. They’ll be a bit more rectangular than square but it’s the taste, not the shape, that counts. Don’t worry about it. Anyway, if they’re too perfect everyone will think you bought them!

Rolled buns in the tin ready for baking

Rolled buns in the tin ready for baking

If you’re feeling cheffy, pipe crosses onto buns. (Make the paste with 1/3 cup plain flour and 1/3 cup water, mixed until smooth).

Just to prove I can add crosses….

Buns with crosses ready for baking

Buns with crosses ready for baking

Okay, so I’m not great with a piping bag…

Bake at 200⁰C for 15-20 minutes. When baked, place buns on a rack and brush with glaze. (Make the glaze by mixing ¼ cup water, 2 tablespoons sugar and ½ teaspoon mixed spice in a saucepan. Bring to boil slowly, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes)

Finished glazed hot cross buns

Finished glazed hot cross buns

See? Easy! And delicious. Plus your house will smell amazing and you’ll have exerted hardly any effort. Stand by for cheers and compliments when you hand out butter-smothered hot (un)crossed buns to grateful family and friends.

Hot crossed buns broken apart

GIVEAWAY

Why not? It’s Easter. So…

For your chance to win not only a signed copy of my fantabulous new rural romance Rocking Horse Hill, the book that everyone is raving about (it’s my blog, I’m allowed enthusiasm!), but some Lindt chocolates too, simply share your favourite Easter memory or treat. Either one, I don’t care. The main thing is to join in the Friday Feast fun!

Did you shiver in a collapsed tent for an entire weekend? Perhaps you ate too many Easter Bilbys (chocolate ones) and couldn’t move for a day? Maybe you have a wonderful family tradition you could share?

Comment away and I’ll put you in the draw.

Giveaway closes midnight AEST Wednesday, 23rd April 2014. Australian postal addresses only.

Take note: I’m be leaving the giveaway open a little longer usual because of the holiday break.

Now, if you’d like to learn more about me, just go exploring the website. But you can also play around on Facebook, Twitter via @CathrynHein and Google+.

Six Sleeps Until Rocking Horse Hill’s Release!

Ha! That heading sounds almost poetic.

Only six sleeps until Rocking Horse Hill officially hits the shelves and one of those nights includes a visit from the Easter Bunny. Well, lots of chocolate anyway. Exciting times… or maybe that’s just the sugar high.

Now for news.

REVIEWS

They’re coming in now and they’re WONDERFUL. I’m thrilled to bits that people are loving Em and Josh’s story. Here’s what a couple have said already:

I absolutely loved Rocking Horse Hill. Aussie author Cathryn Hein has created a masterpiece with this novel, her best yet in my opinion. Her beautiful descriptions are so well done as to make it easy to feel I was there with Emily and her animals, gazing at the cypress trees, laughing at the antics of the duck, and chasing the donkeys when they escaped their enclosure, ransacking Em’s vegetable garden. A wonderful novel which I have no hesitation in recommending highly.

5 stars from Brenda on Goodreads

This is a story that will pull you in from the start the charachters are rich and add so much to the story as do the wonderful pets that Em has on the farm. Josh and Em have a lot to overcome and with a bit of danger added to the mix and Granny B meddling they will get to their HEA. This is a story of family and friendships and love lost and won again don’t miss this one.

5 stars from Helen on Goodreads

A book of charming characters from Emily, Josh and Digby to the infamous Granny B, Rocking Horse Hill is a well written story set in South Australia, that has suspense, friendship, loyalties, family relationships and second chances all put to the test for each of the characters in the book. An enjoyable read that takes the steadfastly close Wallace-Jones family through challenges and circumstances that have you on edge in so many pages. Heart wrenching moments and tension that will keep your eyes to the book. Character stories intertwine to form one big story that was a impressive read.

4 stars from Talking Books

And 5 stars from 1 Girl, 2 Many Books with a review and 2 book giveaway to come. Watch out for the link.

GIVEAWAYS

Six sleeps until release means there are only 6 days to get your Goodreads giveaway entry in. Visit Rocking Horse Hill’s Goodreads page, or click on the graphic below. Simply click the Enter To Win button and you’re in. If you’re not a Goodreads member, it’s easy to sign up. It’s a great place to talk books with others, leave reviews and recommendations, and discover new stories and authors.

Goodreads giveaway image - orange border

If you miss out on Goodreads, there’ll be more opportunities throughout the blogosphere, including tomorrow here on Friday Feast. Stay tuned for details on this blog, on my Facebook page, Google+ and Twitter via @CathrynHein.

EVENTS & APPEARANCES

Come and join me for a booksigning at BigW Katoomba on Saturday 26th April. I’ll be there from 11am for an hour or two. I’d love to see you.

Catch me and fellow rural romance author Rachael Johns for A Romantic Morning at Penrith Library, 10am, Friday May 9th. Rach and I are good buddies so this is going to be a blast.

I’m officially launching Rocking Horse Hill in my home town. Come and help me celebrate at Mount Gambier Library, 7pm Tuesday May 20th.

I’ll be chatting at Hamilton Library on Wednesday May 21st from 5-7pm. This will be a lovely evening. About time I gave a chat here. I’ve been meaning too for ages.

Join me at Balmoral Bush Nursing Centre on Thursday May 22nd at 10am. I’m so looking forward to this visit.

 BLOGS

I’ll be visiting…

18th April – Friday Feast with me, here! I’m sharing my recipe for breadmaker hot cross buns. Or uncrossed buns in this case. There may be a giveaway…

22nd April – Rachael Johns’ Blog. Learn how we became friends. There’s even an embarrassing sample of our email correspondence.

24th April – A fun Q&A on bookblogger site Book’d Out. Discover my (second) favourite scene in Rocking Horse Hill, my love of sticky notes and more.

24th April – Write Note Reviews – My view on writing what you know.

30th April – Another fun Q&A, this time with best-selling rural romance author Fiona Palmer. Discover who I’d get to play Josh in the movie of Rocking Horse Hill.

5th May – I’m revealing my writing space to Helene Young (and the world). Scary!

7th May – Join me and Pamela Cook where I discuss my reading loves. Find out what books made me laugh and those that made be bawl like a baby.

I’ll also be answering Booktopia’s Ten Terrifying Questions – and they were! Plus in another post I’ll be revealing my 5 favourite Australian romantic novels.

 

Phew! Looks like I’m going to be one busy girl. Good thing there’ll be plenty of chocolate on hand!