Tag Archives: Santa and the Saddler

Teaser Tuesday!

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

Woah, hasn’t the year flown! Here we are in December with Christmas sparkling around the corner and a shiny new year poking its head over the horizon. I hope it’s been a brilliant year for you and your families.

This will be the final Teaser Tuesday of the year. I’m off to visit family in north Queensland and to enjoy some outback heat and dust, and to relax with a bunch of books I’ve saved for the break. A couple I’m really looking forward to are Anna Campbell’s The Laird’s Christmas Kiss and Labyrinth of the Spirits by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, but there are plenty more on my pile.

I’ll also be sending out a newsletter very soon with an exclusive present inside. If you’re not already a subscriber, join the cool people now so you don’t miss out.

It probably comes as no surprise that my final teaser for the year is from my 2017 Romance Writers of Australia Romantic Book of the Year finalist Santa and the Saddler. It’s a Christmas book after all, but it’s also a gorgeous read for any time.

What you may not have seen is that it’s temporarily discounted to only 99 cents on Kindle, in the iBooks store, and on Kobo the US and Canada. Bargain!

Here are those links:

Amazon.com | Amazon.au | Amazon.uk

iBooks | Kobo

Now for a lovely snippet. Dressed in an unflattering Santa suit for his shift at a local pub, Danny makes a quick call into the local saddlery to order a present for his little sister and encounters Beth.

 

Four others waited, and from their pissed-off expressions and the way they were glancing at their watches, they’d been doing so for a while. An extremely pretty brown-haired girl was at the register, ringing up a purchase. Her lightly freckled cheeks were flushed and tendrils of hair had escaped her bun to fall around her face. She was wearing a bright red top with a cartoon reindeer on the front, the singlet’s cut revealing tanned, muscled arms and very straight shoulders.

Santa and the Saddler by Cathryn HeinShe was his age, mid-twenties maybe. A quick glance at her hands revealed no rings. Pretty, possibly single, and here was Danny looking like a dick in a Santa suit. He could kill his boss, he really could. There was such a thing as taking the Christmas spirit too far, and Jase had done it.

‘Oh,’ said the woman Saddlery Girl was serving, holding up a finger. ‘Just one more thing.’ She dashed off, leaving the girl to smile a brittle apology at the other customers.

‘I won’t be long.’

Danny’s eyebrows lifted at the English accent, so incongruous to her freckled, summery Australianness.

‘You said that five minutes ago,’ muttered the bloke in front of Danny, throwing another look at his watch. He clocked Danny’s stupid costume. ‘Nice suit.’

Like he hadn’t been hearing that all week. But Danny never saw the point in being cranky, and it was Christmas. Season to be jolly and all that.

‘Thanks. Just spreading the cheer.’

He glanced back at Saddlery Girl and found her looking him up and down. Realising she’d been caught, she raised a single eyebrow. Danny smiled and winked, delighted when she grinned broadly in return, showing off perfect white teeth and laughter-filled golden hazel eyes.

The entire room somersaulted.

Oh man, she was pretty.

 

These two are so gorgeous together. Just the read to make you feel warm and gooey this Christmas.

Those bargain-buy links again:

Amazon.com | Amazon.au | Amazon.uk

iBooks | Kobo

See you Friday for My Favourite Reads!

 

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Teaser Tuesday!

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Teaser Tuesday MemeWelcome to Teaser Tuesday, the blog series where I share snippets from new and past releases and works-in-progress, and occasionally twist the arms of writer buddies to do the same.

Are you all ready for Valentine’s Day tomorrow? We’re not! Not that the Hein house doesn’t have its romantic moments but with a house move coming up we have other things on our minds. Cleaning out accumulated junk being the biggest. I swear stuff breeds at night.

As for books… ay yi yi! They definitely breed.

Speaking of books, on this week’s Teaser Tuesday I thought I’d tease you with a couple of lines from a work-in-progress. Those of you familiar with the Levenham Love Story books might remember a minor character called Eddie Argyle. Eddie is Harry from Summer and the Groomsman’s younger brother, and has popped up in a couple of books, namely Santa and the Saddler and Chrissy and the Burroughs Boy.

Now he’s getting his own story – Eddie and the Show Queen.

And who’s the Show Queen? That’d be Alice Lindner, Chrissy’s perky blonde friend from Chrissy and the Burroughs Boy.

No release date for this one yet, but it’s likely to be around October/November.

A word of warning. This is an unedited snippet, which means it might change a lot between now and release day. In fact, it might not even make the final cut. I think it will though. I’m rather fond of this scene.

 

For a long moment Alice said nothing. Eddie held his breath as her gaze flicked over his face. A chance was all he wanted, to prove that he wasn’t who she thought, and to make amends for the hurt he’d somehow caused her and still didn’t understand.

That he was still the bloke she’d once loved.

‘Go on then,’ she said. ‘Surprise me.’

He tapped the raffle book. ‘This Show Queen thing is open to anyone. I could have a go.’

Alice laughed. Eddie didn’t. He’d thought it was quite a clever idea.

‘What’s so funny about me entering? No reason I couldn’t win this thing.’

‘You? As Show Queen?’

‘King, not queen.’ There was nothing queenly about Eddie. ‘Why not? It’s not like it takes any special skill. It’s just running a few raffles.’

‘Just a few raffles, huh?’

He shrugged. ‘Maybe a sausage sizzle.’

Alice’s blue eyes took on a dangerous glitter. ‘Go on then. Enter. I dare you.’

 

As you can probably guess, Eddie takes up the challenge, leading to all sorts of shenanigans in his race to impress Alice.

But will it work? Sorry, can’t tell you. You’ll have to wait until release to find out!

By the way, those fab folk at Booktopia are celebrating their 14th birthday with a sale and free shipping offer. If you’re in Australia or New Zealand, you could grab the paperbacks of Santa and the Saddler, Chrissy and the Burroughs Boy, Summer and the Groomsman or any of my novels freight-free. Cool, huh?

Booktopia

Note: For free shipping use promotion code BIRTHDAY at the checkout. Code can be used as many times as you want. Ends midnight Australian Eastern Daylight Time, Wednesday 14th Feb, so you’d better be quick. Minimum spend $17.

Go get ’em!

Newsletter subscribers are always first to hear details of any new release. If you’re not already part of the cool gang, join here. You’ll even receive a couple of short stories to enjoy over a cuppa.

 

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Huge 12 Days of Down Under Christmas Giveaway!

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12 Days of Down Under Christmas 2017

Welcome to the 12 Days of Down Under Christmas super giveaway.

I’m thrilled to be a part of this event. What authors! What prizes! What fun you’re going to have!

The promotion runs from Saturday December 2nd (December 1st for US folk) until Tuesday 13th December, and hops from author to author. Each day a new post will go live, featuring something fun and Christmassy, and an individual giveaway.

Feel free to go your hardest and enter all the giveaways for more chances to win great prizes.

But wait, there’s more!

On top of the individual blog prizes, you’ll have the chance, via Rafflecopter, to enter the overall prize which is for a $50 Amazon gift card. How cool is that?

We’re at Day 7 already, but that doesn’t mean you’ve missed out on the previous posts and giveaways. They’re still open and will remain open for entries until December 13th.

You’ll find the list of participating authors and links, and the major Rafflecopter giveaway at the end of this post. Have fun reading and entering!

But first…

My 12 Days of Down Under Christmas Fun

I’ve decided on two special things for you, both with a suitably seasonal theme.

Santa and the Saddler by Cathryn HeinThe first is a beautiful recipe that will have friends and family oohing and ahhing over your cleverness. The second is a giveaway which, given it’s the season to be jolly, can only be for a paperback copy of my Christmas themed, Romantic Book of the Year finalist, Santa and the Saddler.

Those of you who have followed this blog for a long time might recognise this recipe from a 2011 episode of Friday Feast. I’ve decided to share it again because it’s truly delicious, one of my all-time favourite do-ahead desserts, not difficult, and looks stunning.

The kind of indulgent dessert that everyone should have on their Christmas party table.

WHITE CHOCOLATE DECADENCE

Begin this recipe one day ahead. The undecorated cake will keep for three or four days in the fridge (probably more if you can resist eating it for that long), which means you can make it well in advance. I don’t recommend freezing. I tried it once and it seemed to abnormally affect the texture.

Use full fat everything. This creamy cake is meant to be decadent!

White Chocolate Decadence

Ingredients

450g cream cheese, at room temperature

¼ cup (60 ml) caster sugar

3 teaspoons (15 ml) cornflour

3 eggs

1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla bean paste

3 teaspoons (15 ml) finely grated lemon zest

2 cups (500 ml) sour cream

1 cup (250 ml) thickened cream

240g block of good quality white chocolate, melted then cooled to lukewarm. I use Lindt.

Fresh seasonal fruit and fruit puree to serve.

Method

Preheat oven to 180 C. Grease a 20cm springform cake pan and line base and sides with baking paper. Wrap the outside of the tin tightly in a few layers of foil. It is important that the tin is made waterproof or water will leak into the tin during cooking and spoil the cake.

Or you can use a well-lined, plain round cake tin and pray like crazy that the cake doesn’t crack when you invert it at the end!

Whiz cheese and sugar in a food processor or mixer until smooth. With the motor running, add cornflour, then eggs one at a time, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides. Add vanilla, zest and creams, and ¼ teaspoon salt, and process until just combined, scraping down sides.

Add chocolate and pulse until smooth. Pour the mixture into the lined tin then set on a folded tea-towel in a large roasting dish (the tea-towel prevents the tin slipping around). Pour hot water into the dish until it comes halfway up the sides of the cake tin.

Bake for 45 minutes, then leave the cake in switched off oven with the door closed for one hour. Remove tin from roasting dish, remove exterior foil and cool cake completely on a rack, leaving it in its tin. Cover and chill overnight.

Turn out onto a plate or cake stand. Remove baking paper, top with fruit then drizzle with fruit puree. Slice using a hot, dry knife.

Go on, make it. I dare you.

GIVEAWAY!

What’s your favourite Christmas dessert? Do you have something special that you make, like a pudding using an old family recipe, or perhaps you prefer to whip up a simple but colourful fruit platter (much easier and more refreshing when faced with a stinking Aussie summer’s day)?

Share your favourite Christmas dessert for parties or the traditional lunch and I’ll pop you into the draw to win a copy of my gorgeous Christmas themed Australian rural romance, Santa and the Saddler!

Open worldwide.

Giveaway closes midnight Australian time, Wednesday December 13th 2017.

As promised, here are the links to all the other giveaways and the major Rafflecopter draw to win a $50 Amazon gift card.

Good luck!

12 Days of Down Under Christmas participants

(remember, these giveaways will remain open until the end of the promotion, so make sure enter them all for even more chances to win)

Day 1 – Kris Pearson

Day 2 – Joanne Dannon

Day 3 – Cassandra O’Leary 

Day 4 – Annie Seaton

Day 5 – Monique McDonell

Day 6 – Kate O’Keeffe

Day 7 – Cathryn Hein

Day 8 – Tracey Alvarez (live from  December 9th Australian time)

Day 9 – Leeanna Morgan (live from December 10th Australian time)

Day 10 – Wendy Vella (live from December 11th Australian time)

Day 11 – Charmaine Ross (live from December 12th Australian time)

Day 12 – Aislinn Kearns (live from December 13th Australian time)

Major $50 Amazon Gift Card Prize

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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SANTA AND THE SADDLER is a Romantic Book of the Year finalist!

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Cover of Santa and the Saddler by Cathryn HeinI’m thrilled to bits to announce that SANTA AND THE SADDLER is a finalist in the Romance Writers of Australia’s 2017 Romantic Book of the Year Contest, aka the Rubys, in the novella category.

Squeeeeeeee!!

This is my first Ruby final so I’m over the moon, and it’s for a story that I adore and had the most joyous time writing. Beth and Danny were such sweethearts and so cute together the book almost wrote itself.

Also exciting is that I’m very close to finishing its sequel, Chrissy and the Burroughs Boy, which features Danny’s sexy older brother Nick. This novella will be out later in the year so keep an eye out for the cover reveal and pre-order links. They’re coming veeeeery soon. As always, newsletter subscribers will be the first to hear. If you’re not already a subscriber, simply tap, click or swipe here to join the cool people.

In the meantime, if you’ve yet to enjoy Santa and the Saddler, it’s available right now in ebook and paperback from these excellent retailers. Grab your copy today!

Amazon.com | Amazon.au | Amazon.uk

Kobo

Google Play

iBooks

Nook

Booktopia

Bookdepository

Angus & Robertson Bookworld

Fishpond.au

 

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Teaser Tuesday!

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Teaser Tuesday 2017 logoWelcome to Teaser Tuesday, the blog series where I share juicy snippets from upcoming and past releases, and works-in-progress.

Those of you who are regular readers of the blog will know that Jim and I recently had some fun tooling around the outback (you can find more info and lots of photos on the blog post This Writing Life: An Outback Queensland Adventure).

One of the things I noticed about Queensland’s western downs was how many windmills there were, and how important they still are in maintaining water supplies to stock and rural properties. There are reasons for that – they’re reliable, efficient, relatively cheap and low maintenance. The big 35-foot Comet windmill at Hughenden, which is now a tourist attraction but was originally at Wirilla Station, could pump a million litres of water a day and supplied water for stock via bore drains that stretched up to 45 kilometres long. They’re pretty impressive figures.

Every windmill reminded me of Danny from Santa and the Saddler, and how much he’d love seeing them, especially the monster sized ones. For those of you who haven’t read this story, Danny is a metal fabricator and windmill engineer, and he’s passionate and proud of what he produces. And it’s kinda sexy. Well, I think it is. But it’s nice when you come across someone who’s enthusiastic about what they do and believe in it.

Anyway, here’s a little taste of Danny and Beth from Santa and the Saddler. Make sure you read to the end because there could be a GIVEAWAY!

 

‘So this is your grandfather’s saddlery,’ he said.

‘Yes. And Grandma’s. They own it jointly.’

‘But you’re English?’

‘Actually, I was born in Australia. In Adelaide, but my dad’s a Brit so I’m both.’

Danny blinked. ‘Your accent’s from your dad?’

She looked up, laughing softly. ‘No. We moved to England when I was five. I did all my schooling there, and my apprenticeship. I only moved back to Australia sixteen months ago, when Mum decided to come back. What about you? I’m betting a born and bred Levenham local. In fact, I bet you can trace your ancestors back to settlement. Am I right?’

Cover of Santa and the Saddler by Cathryn Hein‘Not quite settlement but the Burroughs have been here a while. I went to St Joseph’s Primary and then on to Levenham High, same as Mum and Dad and my grandparents.’

‘After that?’

‘Like you I got an apprenticeship. Metal fabrication.’ He shrugged. ‘Been in the same job since. The boss is decent bloke, the money isn’t too bad, and I like what I do.’

‘And what’s that? What you do, I mean.’

‘I build windmills. You know, that pump water. Other stuff too, but mainly that.’

She set down her awl and flexed her hands as she regarded him with interest. ‘Do farmers still use those?’

The question didn’t surprise Danny. A lot of people were sceptical when they heard about Levenham Windmills.

‘Yep, and with good reason. Windmills are cheap and last forever — well, not forever, but a long time. Plus they pump day and night whenever there’s wind, and with a well-engineered mill it doesn’t take much of that for it to work. There are no power bills, bugger-all maintenance — with ours at least, can’t speak for our dodgy opposition — and you can install them most places. Hard for stock to damage them too.’

‘You sound proud.’

He liked the smile in her voice, the approval, and his chest swelled with it. ‘I suppose I am.’

 

Sigh. I so love Danny as a hero. I’m currently writing the next Levenham Love Story which features Danny’s brother Nick and having a brilliant time. When a Burroughs boy falls in love, he goes all in and will do anything to take care of his girl, even if he ends up looking like a twit to do so.

But enough of that. I’ll be sharing more about that next story – Chrissy and the Burroughs Boy – when it’s done, which will hopefully be soon.

In the meantime, you can buy Santa and the Saddler from your favourite ebook or print retailer. Try Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play, Nook, Bookdepository, Booktopia or Angus & Robertson Bookworld.

Now, as mentioned in the intro, we have a…

GIVEAWAY!

This one’s easy-peasy too. Simply share your dream job and you’ll go into a random draw to win a print copy of Santa and the Saddler.

I’m opening this internationally too. So wherever you are in the world, you could win.

Please note: Giveaway closes midnight Friday AEST, 28th April 2017. Open internationally. Rah!

If you’d like to learn more about Santa and the Saddler, including the story behind the book, reviews and more, please visit its book page on this website.

 

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This Writing Life: Home Town Homage

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As many of you will know from last week’s This Writing Life post, Tales from the Real Rocking Horse Hill, I recently ventured to my home town of Mount Gambier in the lower south-east of South Australia to help celebrate my dad’s 80th birthday.

I was also fortunate enough to be interviewed on ABC South-East radio by Selina Green, which was enormous fun, and by Amelia Pepe from local paper The Border Watch. Amelia wrote a wonderful piece about my long connection to and love for to the area and included a great photo of me with Wayward Heart at the top of Mount Schank.

The Border Watch article

The Border Watch article. Such a thrill to appear on a page in my home town paper!

In case you missed it, there’s a video of me climbing the volcanic crater here, along with more on the inspiration behind the fictional Rocking Horse Hill of my stories.

Besides the 80th birthday bash, I had a wonderful time playing tourist. I adore doing this because of the creative energy it provides, and no matter how well you think you know an area, there are always new and amazing things to see and experience.

Here are some photos from a few of the adventures I had, as well as places that have inspired elements in my stories. I hope you enjoy them.

 

Mount Gambier’s biggest tourist attraction is the stunning Blue Lake. In the winter the lake is a dull grey but from December until March it turns an exquisite cobalt blue. To really appreciate the extraordinary colour it needs to be seen live, but you can get a bit of an idea from this photo.

Besides being beautiful and excellent exercise to walk around, the lake also supplies the town’s water. And no, it doesn’t come out of the tap that colour!

Mount Gambier's famous Blue Lake.

Mount Gambier’s famous Blue Lake.

Once upon a time, we used to have a railway. I can still remember, as a kid, catching the train to a school camp, but the railway closed back in the mid 90s and left a large expanse of land in the centre of town derelict. After a great deal of community consultation, work started on a redevelopment in late 2013. The Railway Lands project was finished in 2015 and it’s brilliant!

I love the “green lungs” concept, the sculptures and interesting playgrounds, and hope the area continues to develop and becomes a community hub.

One of the playground areas at the railway lands.

One of the playground areas at the railway lands.

frog sculpture at the Railway Lands.

Loved this frog sculpture at the Railway Lands.

Shingleback lizard sculpture

Tooling around on a carved shinglenack lizard, as you do.

Mount Gambier also boasts some fine buildings and gardens. This is Jens Hotel in the heart of the town. It’s still a lovely hotel but it must have been an amazing place to stay in its heyday. The main building dates from 1884 but extensions were added in 1904 and 1927, The annex was constructed in 1902 originally as a (rather grand) coffee palace.

The western face of Jens Hotel, Mt Gambier.

The western face of Jens Hotel, Mt Gambier.

Jens Hotel staircase.

Jens Hotel’s grand staircase.

Some of the roses in the Cave Garden in the heart of town.

Some of the roses in the Cave Garden in the heart of town, and which is built around a large sinkhole.

For those of you who have ever wondered what the Australian Arms looks like – the hotel mentioned in Rocking Horse Hill, Wayward Heart, Summer and the Groomsman and where Danny Burroughs works so hard in Santa and the Saddler – then the Gambier Hotel, pictured below and situated on Mount Gambier’s main corner and established in 1862 (although its license originates from 1847), will give you a fair idea.

Isn’t it a great looking pub? My grandmother worked here as a maid in days gone by. As with Jens Hotel, imagine the stories these places could tell.

The Gambier Hotel

The Gambier Hotel on Mount Gambier’s main corner.

We also took a drive down to Nelson, for no other reason than I hadn’t been there for ages. Nelson is a sleepy little town just up from where the Glenelg River meets the sea. It’s a pretty spot, tranquil and with sandy beaches and calm waters, which makes it an excellent place to take the family for a paddle. My dad used to take us night-time fishing on the river estuary when we were kids. Family lore tells that my grandfather ran boxing tournaments here too.

The sandy beach inside the estuary at Nelson.

The sandy beach inside the estuary at Nelson.

Speaking of Santa and the Saddler, every time I see a windmill I think of that book and big-hearted, romantic Danny. For those who haven’t read this story, Danny is a metal fabricator and windmill technician. Despite technological advances, windmills are still used thanks to, among other things, their reliability and endurance.

This windmill was on the road between Nelson and Port MacDonnell, in a major dairy farming area.

Windmill

At Port MacDonnell, a local fishing village, I was delighted to discover this new sculpture by Mount Gambier artist Ivo Tadic. Isn’t it the cutest thing? I’ve since discovered that there’s another limestone sculpture called The Bay Wave at the other end of the port which weighs 50 tonnes, but I missed seeing it. So annoyed! Ah well, another excuse to come back.

The Penguins by Ivo Tadic

The Penguins by Ivo Tadic

Until very recently nearby Cape Northumberland boasted a little (fairy) penguin colony but, sadly, it has been decimated by predators. The hunt is now on to find surviving penguins. And hopefully devise a way to protect them. We need an Oddball!

After a very pleasant stroll about, we enjoyed a lovely lunch at the hugely popular Periwinkles Cafe, where I bumped into one of my old high school teachers, ate boar fish for the first time – delish! – and slurped some very tasty local wines which then needed to be worn off. And what better way than to explore the Port MacDonnell and District Maritime Museum. I’d visited not long after it opened, when I did a talk at the community centre, and it was wonderful to go back. This area has such a rich maritime and agricultural history, and the number of shipwrecks along this coast is astonishing – the SS Admella being being the most famous and one of Australia’s most tragic maritime disasters.

Some of you might recognise the name Admella. It’s the name of the beach outside of Port Andrews where Jasmine from Wayward Heart lives, and where she and her friends Em (from Rocking Horse Hill) and Teagan (from The Falls) love to gallop their horses.

A model of the steamship Admella in the Port MacDonnell and District Maritime Museum.

A model of the steamship Admella in the Port MacDonnell and District Maritime Museum.

This gave me a laugh!!

The donation box at the Port MacDonnell and District Maritime Museum.

The donation box at the Port MacDonnell and District Maritime Museum.

This is Port MacDonnell’s beautiful customs house built in 1863. It’s currently a private residence but a B&B operates as well. It was a multipurpose building, containing the police station and residence, cells, court room, post and telegraph station and school teacher’s residence. Must book a stay here one night. It’d be grand!

Port MacDonnell's lovely customs house.

Port MacDonnell’s lovely customs house.

Here’s me on the foreshore at Port MacDonnell. This is where Danny first kisses Beth in Santa and the Saddler!

Me with Santa and the Saddler on the foreshore at Port MacDonnell

Casterton, across the border in Victoria, is about 70 km from Mount Gambier and famous for its annual Kelpie Muster and a lovely place to visit. The Albion Hotel has recently had a new lease on life and I can’t recommend it enough. Besides being a magnificent old building, the bistro serves fantastic food. The bistro walls are also decorated with old photographs of the district and kept our little group fascinated for ages. And the loos have toilet roll holders made out of old rabbit traps.

Seriously, this place is a must visit!

The Albion Hotel, Casterton, Victoria.

The Albion Hotel, Casterton, Victoria. You need to come here!

A sample of the wonderful photos on the walls of the Albion Hotel.

A sample of the wonderful photos on the walls of the Albion Hotel. They were fascinating. Such a rich history.

One of the loo roll holders made from old rabbit traps.

One of the loo roll holders made from old rabbit traps. So cool!

Casterton is also home to some wonderful artwork celebrating the kelpie and the region’s history.

'On the Sheep's Back' by artist Annette Taylor.

‘On the Sheep’s Back’ by artist Annette Taylor.

'Jack Gleeson' by artist Barb Dobson.

‘Jack Gleeson’ by artist Barb Dobson. Gleeson ‘s kelpie was the start of the breed. Or so the tale goes.

As regular readers will know, my mum has Alzheimer’s Disease and is now in care in a wonderful facility. They were celebrating Australia Day when I went to visit, with a barbecue lunch, a singer and lots of decorations. She looked happy and healthy, which was great to see. Sadly, Mum has no idea who I am anymore, but that’s the progression of the disease. In the meantime, I’ll take what I can, even if it’s a chat that makes no sense at all and a confused smile. She’s my mum and I love her come what may.

Cathryn and her mum

Me and Mum, Australia Day 2017

For those of you who’ve read April’s Rainbow, which is set in Victoria’s far western districts, this is what the landscape around Rainbow looks like. Sigh. I love it here. Think I might have to write another story located in the area. This is on the Glenelg Highway at the start of the drop into Coleraine.

The stunning country around Coleraine.

Beautiful April’s Rainbow country.

Back in Mount Gambier, I called into the tourist office to pick up some maps to use for research later and spotted this chappie in the pond. Cute!

Tourist office tortoise

The cute little tourist office tortoise. He looks quite small here but he was around 20 cm or so in shell length.

The tourist office also has a great discovery centre and a replica of the Lady Nelson, the survey vessel from which Mt Gambier and Mt Schank were spotted and named by its commander Lieutenant James Grant.

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse of the special area where I grew up and which continues to provide inspiration for my stories.

If you’re ever in far western Victoria or in south-east South Australia, or simply considering holiday destinations, then please put this too unheralded area on your list. There are natural wonders galore, rich and fascinating histories, gorgeous art and architecture, and produce of a quality you wouldn’t believe. For more information and ideas, contact the Mount Gambier tourist office. You won’t regret it I promise!

 

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This Writing Life: I’m an Australian Romance Reader Awards Finalist

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Silly Wayward Heart gif

Wheeeeeeee!

I am so, so chuffed right now. Not only is it my birthday but I’m an Australian Romance Reader Award finalist in 3 categories. THREE! How cool is that?

Both SANTA AND THE SADDLER and WAYWARD HEART are finalists in the Favourite Contemporary Romance category, and I’m up for Favourite Australian Romance Author 2016.

And something I’m particularly thrilled with, WAYWARD HEART is a finalist in the member’s choice category of Favourite Cover from a Romance Published in 2016.

I love that cover and it’s such a delight to know others do too. Have you read the interview with actress and model Kate Swan about the photo shoot for it? That’s great fun.

Check out all the finalists on the ARRA blog.  As you’ll see, I’m in amaaaaaazing company.

Winners will be announced at the Awards Dinner, held at the Australian Romance Readers Convention in Melbourne on Saturday 25 February 2017. If you’re in town, why not join us? It’ll be a blast!

 

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Teaser Tuesday!

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Teaser TuesdayWelcome to Teaser Tuesday, the tantalising blog series where I share snippets from my works-in-progress, up-coming releases and published novels, and occasionally let good writing buddies take the reins. But not today. Today is me and it’s going to be fun!

I hope.

Eh hem.

Santa and the Saddler has now been out three weeks and I’m thrilled to bits with the feedback and reviews it’s received. Seems as though everyone has fallen in love with Danny as much as I did. Very cool.

I’ve had such a ball with this book that I’ve decided a sequel is a must. So here is a public announcement that next year I’ll be releasing another Christmas story. Its working title will be Chrissy and the Burroughs Boy and the hero will be Danny’s brother Nick (aka Numbnuts).

Now all I have to do is squeeze it into my writing schedule. Somewhere. Oh, and a plot would help, but that’s a minor issue (not). Then there’s editing and a cover and formatting and…

*pants and looks around wildly for escape*

Nah, it can be done. I think. Maybe.

Hmm.

Back to Santa and the Saddler… Last week I gave the go-ahead for print distribution but it usually takes a little while for the books to flow to the online retailers. I will, however, have a limited quantity of personally signed print copies available for purchase direct from me. Newsletter subscribers get first dibs on these, so if you’re not signed up you’d better get onto it!

Or for instant gratification, download the ebook from Amazon, Kobo, iBooks or Nook and start feeling the Danny-luuuuuurve today.

In the meantime, please enjoy this little taste of the Burroughs brothers.

 

Nick wandered to Danny’s side, beer in his hand. He eyed Beth and shook his head. ‘How the hell you got a girl like that will be forever one of life’s mysteries.’

‘No mystery. Smarter, better looking, usual shit.’

Cover of Santa and the Saddler by Cathryn Hein‘Yeah, right.’

They watched Beth chat animatedly with Ebs and Sienna, Danny feeling like he could burst with pride as well as humility. Nick was right. How the hell a gorgeous, clever girl like Beth could be with a simple country bloke like himself was a mystery. Whatever the reason, he was grateful. Grateful, humble, happy, and crazy in love. Forgetting he was standing next to his brother, Danny gave in to an indulgent sigh.

Nick took a suck of beer. ‘So when’s the wedding?’

‘Very funny.’

‘Not that funny. Pretty obvious you’re nuts about each other.’

The comment made Danny wish he had his own beer to suck on. Yeah, they were nuts about each other, but it wasn’t going to be that easy.

 

I’ll be sending a newsletter out this week (Wednesday 16th, ie tomorrow Aust time) with details on how to order personally signed copies of Santa and the Saddler, so if you don’t want to miss out, sign up NOW. I’ll also be including the entire opening chapter of Wayward Heart, which releases next month, and other fun stuff. Click here or below to join the cool people.

 

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Santa and the Saddler Release Day!

Santa and the Saddler quote

Drape that tinsel and pour yourself a giant glass of mulled wine because today we celebrate the release of my first Christmas-themed story, Santa and the Saddler. Rah!

I’ve been wanting to write a Christmas tale for ages and this year I finally had the time, and I’m so damn proud of it I’m strutting around like a puffed-up turkey. This novella is cute, sweet and guaranteed to make you feel gooey.

And it’s not just me saying this. Here’s some of what Talking Books Blog had to say:

I’m a complete fan of the heartfelt small town rural romance reads, and Santa And The Saddler didn’t disappoint. From start to finish, the story held its own. An exceptional, feel good, warm-hearted read not to be missed. 5 Stars

Pretty chuffed about that, let me tell you.

For those of you who pre-ordered ebook copies of Danny and Beth’s lovely romance, thank you, thank you, thank you. Your ebooks should be loading onto your e-readers and apps now (unless you’re outside of our Aussie time-zone, in which case they should load after midnight your time).

I hope you enjoy this lovely tale of a man in a Santa suit and the saddler he falls madly for, and feel the same Christmas magic that they do.

Now, as has become tradition on release day on this blog, here are some secret things about Santa and the Saddler. Have fun!

7 SECRET THINGS ABOUT SANTA AND THE SADDLER

1/. Santa and the Saddler had a few theme songs. Being a Christmas story there had to be seasonal songs involved, and not just carols. These are young modern people, after all. With Beth being mostly brought up in England her tastes lean to British bands, where the Christmas #1 hit is a longstanding tradition (think the movie Love, Actually and you’ll see what I mean). So the first theme song is Slade’s brilliant Merry Christmas Everybody, which is still enormously popular and sells a motza each year, while the second is totally out-there band The Darkness and Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End).

But the main theme song comes courtesy of Australian band Thirsty Merc and their hit Someday, Someday, about a bloke trying to keep his long distance relationship alive. Love this song. LOVE IT!

2/. Danny makes agricultural windmills for a living. I’ve wanted to write a character like this ever since I read an article in The Weekend Australian about the dearth of windmill engineers in the country and the many advantages of windmills over other pumping systems. It’s a sexy job I reckon, but I am a bit weird like that.

3/. O’Brien’s Saddlery, where much of the action takes place, is a very (VERY!) loose amalgam of the two saddleries I used to haunt as a horse-mad girl growing up in Mount Gambier. Unlike in Santa and the Saddler, I’m sure nothing untoward ever happened in their rear workshops, and if it did, I don’t want to know about it. My memories of these places are innocent and I’d like them to stay that way!

4/. Although the book is set during an Australian Christmas, which means summer as well as cricket season, there’s mention that Danny plays Australian rules football for Mount Pitt. For those of you who’ve read Rocking Horse Hill, you’ll recognise Mount Pitt as arch rivals of the Gerrinton Giants, who Josh from Rocking Horse Hill plays for, as does Harry from Summer and the Groomsman.

5/. The whole idea for the story came from the title. I was desperate to write a Christmas themed tale but had no clue where to start, so I began brainstorming titles to see if that helped. As I wanted to keep the same title rhythm as others I’d come up with (Summer and the Groomsman – out now, Eddie and the Show Queen – coming sometime in the future), and I needed something country as well as Christmassy, Santa and the Saddler worked perfectly. Once I had that, the rest was easy.

You can read more about how I came to write this book in Ticking Clocks and Horsey Stock.

6/. Santa and the Saddler is one of the quickest stories I’ve written, probably because it’s one of the most joyous. I just loved writing about Beth and Danny falling in love. It was so damn sweet and cute!

7/. Danny has an older brother with whom he indulges in endless games of one-upmanship. I wouldn’t be surprised if Nick, who’s single, ends up with his own story one day (with Chrissy and the Burroughs Boy for a title?). Maybe if I get organised enough he could be the star of next year’s Christmas novella? Stay tuned!

 

I hope you enjoyed these seven secret things and wish you even more fun with Danny and Beth and all the other characters in Santa and the Saddler.  If you’d like to read an excerpt, check out the book page on this website or download a sample from your favourite ebook retailer.

Or you can simply go ahead and purchase the ebook of Santa and the Saddler right now from:

Amazon.comAmazon.au |Amazon.uk

iBooks

Kobo

Nook

Paperback copies of Santa and the Saddler will be available in coming weeks. As I’ve done previously, I’ll be offering readers the chance to purchase personally signed copies direct from me. Details will be in my next newsletter. Subscribe here to keep up to date with this and other news.

Right. I’m off to double check my bottle of celebratory fizz is in the fridge and cold for later, eat indulgent things and generally flop around feeling wonderful that this story has finally hit shelves.

PS: There is no Teaser Tuesday today due to Santa and the Saddler’s release but it’ll be back with bells on next week.

 

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Santa and the Saddler – Out Tuesday!

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Release date for my Christmas rural romance novella SANTA AND THE SADDLER is at last nigh. Rah!

Tuesday, October 18th 2016

Yes, that’s just FOUR sleeps until the book that’s guaranteed to wrap your heart in glittery tinsel and Christmas happiness arrives.

Pre-order your copy today from:

Amazon.com | Amazon.au | Amazon.uk

iBooks

Nook

Kobo

Paperback editions will be available in a few weeks, with newsletter subscribers getting first dibs on personally signed print copies. Don’t want to miss out? Subscribe today!

Santa and the Saddler - available in ebook and paperback

He’s found the girl of his dreams, but she’s just passing through. Can he turn fleeting Christmas magic into forever?

Windmill fabricator Danny Burroughs doesn’t have time to wait in line at the local saddler—no matter how pretty the girl behind the counter—he’s juggling two jobs as it is. But his little sister has her heart set on a unique piece of saddlery for Christmas and he can’t let her down.

Expert saddler Beth Wells has no idea that when she comes to small town Levenham to look after her grandfather’s shop she’ll be swamped with customers. Overrun by day, Beth is forced to work late into the night on Christmas orders. The last thing she needs is another.

When super-cute Danny arrives at the saddlery after midnight wearing a Santa suit, a broad grin and pleading she make his sister’s present, Beth makes a deal—she will take the order in exchange for Danny’s help. Except this flirty Santa’s idea of helping involves more than stacking shelves, and in the confines of the saddlery their smouldering attraction soon becomes a blaze. But no matter how hopelessly drawn she is, Beth has a job interstate and a mum who needs her. Anything more than friendship is pointless.

Will these two chance-met strangers find the courage to gamble on their love? Or will the girl Danny’s been looking for all his life leave nothing behind but a sweet Christmas memory?

Order now!

Amazon.com | Amazon.au | Amazon.uk | iBooks | Nook | Kobo

 

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