Tag Archives: Wayward Heart

Teaser Tuesday!

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

First up, some disappointing news. I am no longer able to attend the West Coast Fiction Festival on November 3rd in Scarborough, Western Australia. I can’t tell you how sad I am about this. I was really looking forward to this event. There’s nothing quite so wonderful as meeting readers in person. Jim and I even had an epic road trip planned for the journey over. Have you heard about the Nullarbor Links? It’s the world’s longest golf course. How can a golf-mad girl resist that?

Ah well, we’ll just have to organise another trip over to WA. I’ll be keeping my beady eye out for opportunities I promise.

If you’re in the west or heading that way in early November, then this event is going to be brilliant, with 60+ authors coming from all over Australia and overseas, and every one of them eager to meet you and sign books. You can still secure tickets via the West Coast Fiction Festival website. Get in quick though. The VIP tickets are already sold out and day passes are going fast.

Righty-o, let’s get on to today’s teaser.

This one’s from Wayward Heart, a story of love, loss and new beginnings. Digby has arrived at Jasmine’s house only to find strange goings-on…

 

He frowned as he noticed her phone. ‘No wonder you didn’t hear the phone. The power cord’s slipped out.’ He reached to plug it back in.

‘Don’t!’ Jasmine grabbed his wrist, shaking her head with shallow jerky movements. ‘Please don’t.’

Wayward Heart by Cathryn HeinDigby eased away, alarm and anger churning. The grip on his arm was like a claw. Someone was hurting her. He felt icy with the need to hurt whoever it was back. ‘What’s going on, Jas?’

As if suddenly aware of how much she was revealing, Jas released him and waved airily, the action as fake as her smile. ‘Oh, it’s just a few crank calls. Kids probably. I figured it was easier to unplug it. They’ll get sick of the game eventually.’

‘Crank calls and a lock on your gate. Doesn’t sound like a game to me.’

She stilled, her eyes dropping to the floor, her tone barely more than a whisper. ‘Don’t, Digby. Just leave it. Please. It’s not—’ She breathed in hard and lifted her pleading gaze to his. ‘I can handle it.’

‘Handle what?’

But she shook her head again.

Fear made him harsh. ‘Handle what, Jas?’

 

Wayward Heart is available now in ebook and print from these excellent retailers. You can also purchase personally signed copies direct from me. Simply email me via the Contact page of this website and I’ll shoot you the details.

Booktopia | Angus & Robertson | Dymocks

Amazon.com | Amazon.au | Amazon.uk

Kobo | iBooks | Google Play | Barnes & Noble

If you’d like to learn more about Wayward Heart and how I came to write this emotional story of healing and hope, please visit its book page.

While you’re here, make sure to join my newsletter. You’ll score a couple of free short stories to enjoy over a cuppa and be the first to hear about upcoming releases and more. A must!

 

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WAYWARD HEART on sale!

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Wayward Heart on sale

Ooh, I love a good sale and there are plenty happening right now, but WAYWARD HEART’s is the one you need to know about!

For a short time only, WAYWARD HEART is heavily discounted across major ebook platforms. This emotional rural romance is perfect for relaxing with over the summer holidays (or winter if you’re not Down Under), so why not grab it cheap while you can?

Secure your bargain-priced copy today from:

Amazon.com | Amazon.au

Kobo | iBooks | Google Play

But get your skates on, this discount is for a limited time.

 

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Teaser Tuesday!

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Teaser Tuesday 2017 logoWelcome to Teaser Tuesday, the series where I share snippets from new and past releases, and works-in-progress, and occasionally twist the arms of author buddies to do the same.

So much happening!

Yesterday was the official release day of the smaller (cheaper – yay) ‘B’ paperback format of Wayward Heart, complete with its gorgeous new cover.

I’ll always treasure the original version with its breathtaking lovers’ embrace, but I do love this new one. I like the way the designer has Wayward Heart’s heroine Jas looking up and out into her future. It suits the book perfectly because the story is all about two damaged people finding their way forward. And finding love too, of course. It’s a romance, after all.

The second thing that’s happening is that it’s now LESS THAN ONE MONTH until the release of The Country Girl. Oooooooh, I can’t wait. So ridiculously excited about this book. Stay tuned for lots of upcoming goodies, including more snippets, sample chapters and possibly even some recipes from Tash’s kitchen.

Release day is December 18th in paperback and ebook, but you can avoid the Christmas rush with a pre-order. Try: amazon.comamazon.com.auamazon.co.ukiBooksKoboGoogle PlayBooktopia, Dymocks, or Angus & Robertson Bookworld.

But today it’s all about Wayward Heart and the release of the ‘B’ format paperback. Watch out for it in stores.

Enjoy this bit of sexual attraction between Digby and Jas.

 

Jas was in the garage when Digby arrived back, tins of paint and some ratty bristled paintbrushes lined up on the concrete. The way she grinned on seeing him killed any lingering trace of the bad Wayward Heart by Cathryn Heinmood brought on by the scene with his mother at Camrick. Jas was sexy, exciting and real. His blood, so long sluggish and viscous with sorrow, surged life once more through his veins.

She sauntered towards him in a pair of well-fitting faded jeans and a purple polo shirt that was either ancient or had shrunk in the wash. The hem skimmed the waistband of her jeans, revealing a tiny sliver of pale skin with each sway of her hips. The neck gaped from the strain over her breasts. Eyes on his, Jas stopped right in front of him and placed her hand over his heart, before standing on tiptoe to kiss him.

A kiss that had him dumping the plastic bags he was carrying to lean her against the rear of her car and shove his hands up her shirt.

Wayward Heart is available in print and ebook from these stores. Grab your copy today!

Dymocks

Booktopia

Angus & Robertson Bookworld

Amazon.com | Amazon.au | Amazon.uk

Kobo

iBooks

Google Play

Barnes & Noble Nook

Learn the story behind how I came to write Wayward Heart in Of Beaches And Brothers, And Friends to Lovers. You can also discover its theme song and more in 6 Secret Things About Wayward Heart.

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A new cover for Wayward Heart!

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As mentioned in this week’s Teaser Tuesday, my rural romance Wayward Heart is getting a facelift.

Yes, that breathtaking clinch of the original cover will soon be no more.

Sad, very sad. I have fantasies about that clinch. Serious ones involving rugged men with big hands and sweeping hair and stubbled jaws, and lips like… Err, sorry about that. Got lost for a moment.

Anywaaaaay…

We may be losing the sexy clinch but it’s being replaced with something just as gorgeous.

Why? Because there’s a new edition coming out on November 20th – the smaller, cheaper ‘B’ format paperback. With The Country Girl hitting shelves on December 18th, this was a perfect opportunity to update Wayward Heart’s cover so it’s more in line with this new release.

So without further ado, here it is.

Wayward Heart by Cathryn Hein

Isn’t it beautiful? Stunning colours and I love the new tag line: They’ve found strength in each other, but can they find love? Pretty chuffed with that one. The quote from Yours Magazine isn’t bad either.

What do you think? Give your thumbs up (or down) in the comment box below. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

 

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Teaser Tuesday!

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Teaser Tuesday 2017 logoWelcome to Teaser Tuesday, the series where I share snippets from new and past releases, and works-in-progress, and occasionally badger author buddies into joining in the fun.

Today is a bit special. Why? Because today we have some breaking news:

Wayward Heart is getting a facelift.

Yup, the sexy clinch that we all adore is being sidelined. I’m a bit sad, to tell you the truth. I LOVE that cover, but with the release of the smaller (and cheaper) ‘B’ format paperback edition on November 20th, Harlequin decided on a redesign to keep the cover in line with my December 18th release, The Country Girl.

All will be revealed veeeeery soon. On Friday, in fact. Right here on the blog. So make sure you pop back for a looksie.

In the meantime, enjoy this teaser from Wayward Heart and its totally sighworthy original cover.

 

She gave a soft laugh and just as quickly sobered. ‘God,’ she breathed, closing her eyes. ‘This is so weird. You’re my best friend’s brother. I’ve never … you know.’

Wayward Heart by Cathryn Hein‘Me either.’

‘But it feels right though, doesn’t it? For us?’

He stroked curled fingers down the side of her face. Her skin was like satin, warm from the fire and flush with her yearning. Eyes hooded, she pressed catlike against the contact, as if it was something exquisite. The start of a moan vibrated inside Digby.

How long since he’d touched someone with that kind of tenderness? How long since he’d found intimacy, since the burn of loneliness had been soothed?

‘Yes,’ he said as desire bulldozed over his guilt. Right, wrong, he didn’t care. He simply wanted.

 

Wayward Heart is available in print and ebook from these stores. Grab your copy today!

Booktopia

Angus & Robertson Bookworld

Amazon.com | Amazon.au | Amazon.uk

Kobo

iBooks

Google Play

Barnes & Noble Nook

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

Learn the story behind how I came to write Wayward Heart in Of Beaches And Brothers, And Friends to Lovers. You can also discover its theme song and more in 6 Secret Things About Wayward Heart.

And don’t miss this interview with Wayward Heart‘s cover model, who reveals aaaaaall about that sexy clinch.

Want another excerpt? Visit Wayward Heart’s book page on this site or download a free sample from your favourite ebook retailer and enjoy.

 

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Teaser Tuesday!

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Teaser Tuesday 2017 logoWelcome to Teaser Tuesday, the blog series where I share snippets from new and past releases, and works-in-progress, and occasionally have writing buddies sharing the fun.

Those of you who follow me on Facebook know that I spent a goodly part of last week searching for the perfect man to grace the cover of Chrissy and the Burroughs Boy (coming soon!). Getting a book’s cover right is vital. Not only does it need to attract interest so readers pick it up, it must also satisfy in other ways. There’s nothing quite so delicious as stroking a cover you love, especially when you’ve finished the book and are feeling all gooey, and still thinking about the characters and their journey. I’ve even been known to cuddle them. These things aren’t quite as much fun with an ugly cover.

I’ve been lucky enough to score some gorgeous covers but must say that the one I love the most is Wayward Heart’s. It’s swoonworthy, and I’m not the only one who thinks so with Australian Romance Readers Association members voting it best cover in the 2016 awards.

I love everything about it, from the gorgeousness of the models to the bright red title to the golden background. From first concept it was a winner and best of all it yells ROMANCE loud and clear. A cover that’s out and proud? Gotta love that.

In case you missed it, you can learn about the photo shoot and that clinch on the blog post Wayward Heart’s Cover Model Reveals All.

Speaking of romance and awards, if you’re looking for a new read then you can’t go past the Romance Writers of Australia Romantic Book of the Year finalists, which I’m super chuffed to be one of with Santa and the Saddler. Check out the Booktopia blog for all the finalists and categories.

Right, on to this week’s snippet. This is from Wayward Heart which gives me an excellent excuse to grab a copy out and caress the cover, as you do. The hero Digby has arrived at our heroine Jasmine’s house and knows something is up. She’s keeping a secret, but what?

 

Digby followed, studying her as she fetched glasses. She’d sounded welcoming, yet every movement seemed stiff and self-conscious, and it was nothing like the gentle pleasure of his previous visits.Wayward Heart by Cathryn Hein

‘I can go, if you don’t want me here.’

She stopped, her expression appalled. ‘No! No, don’t think that, please. I like having you call in. It’s nice.’ She smiled and this time it felt genuine. ‘I’m just a bit distracted. Work.’ She shrugged. ‘You know how it is.’

He did. Or rather, he used to. Work seemed long ago now. He glanced around the room while Jas rummaged for a corkscrew. His late uncle James would be horrified they weren’t decanting the wine or letting it breathe, but Digby didn’t care. The faster they had their drinks and were settled, the sooner he could find out what was going on.

 

Purchase your copy of Wayward Heart from Amazon, Kobo, Google Play, Nook, Booktopia, Angus and Robertson Bookworld or your favourite retailer.

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Teaser Tuesday!

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Teaser Tuesday 2017 logoWelcome to the tempting goodness that is Teaser Tuesday, the blog series where I share snippets from my novels, past, present and in progress, and occasionally con author buddies into taking over.

In breaking news…

I’ve just finished the first (and usually hardest) round of edits on my next full length release. RAH!!

And guess what? We finally have a title. It’s going to be called:

The Country Girl title announcement

The Country Girl is scheduled as a January release but you should be able to find it in stores in late December. I’ll confirm that nearer to the date.

I am so excited about this book, and I know I say that with all my releases but this one is special. The feedback from my agent and editors has been fantastic, and I just adore this story and its characters and can’t wait for you to learn about their lives. Tash and Patrick are gorgeous, if I do say so myself!

It seems only fitting to celebrate the end of first edits by sharing a snippet of The Country Girl. Make sure you read to the end though, because there could be a GIVEAWAY!

 

The Country Girl’s heroine is Tash Ranger, a star food blogger who’s just landed a major cookbook deal. For research and inspiration, she’s moved back to her parents’ property in the far western districts of Victoria. In this scene, her city friends Thom and Ceci have trekked to the country for a visit. Ceci is riding Khan, a horse Tash has acquired, without a helmet when Tash’s neighbour Patrick, with whom Tash has been clashing, rocks up. Sparks fly!

 

Tash was so lost in her thoughts she failed to notice that a vehicle had pulled into the farm until it was too late. Her heart bounced high into her throat. She snatched at Ceci’s leg as Patrick’s ute veered away from the flat and speared straight for Khan’s paddock. ‘Quick. Get down.’

‘What for? We haven’t finished filming.’

‘Please, Ceci.’

Ceci narrowed her eyes at the rapidly approaching vehicle. ‘Who’s that?’

Tash tugged even harder on her leg. ‘Someone who’s going to kill me if you don’t get down.’

‘Why?’

Too late. Patrick was already through the fence and striding towards them. Thom had the camera up, filming everything.

In seconds Patrick’s face was in hers. ‘Are you crazy?’

‘Oh, wow,’ said Ceci, openly ogling Patrick who was, Tash had to admit, looking stupidly sexy in jeans and a white polo shirt that hugged his chest and showed off his broad shoulders and muscular arms. Whatever. He was in his butthead mood and while Ceci clearly found it attractive, Tash didn’t.

 

As you can probably guess, the hero of The Country Girl is Patrick and he’s a bit of a babe, even if he does drive Tash crazy – in more ways than one. Over coming months I’ll be sharing more about him and all The Country Girl gang so watch out for that.

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

GIVEAWAY!

It feels like ages since I’ve done a giveaway so time to remedy that. For your chance to win a signed print copy of my latest release WAYWARD HEART, simply share your favourite way to spend Easter.

Wayward Heart by Cathryn HeinDo you love to spend the weekend curled up with a good book and scoffing chocolate or are you one of those who loves nothing more than to pack up a tent and trek off into the wilderness?

Growing up, we spent most Easter weekends at our beach shack on the lower south-eastern coast of South Australia. The weather was almost always foul but I adored it. There were some pretty dramatic storms and I loved watching the ocean churn and break over the reefs, and we had a pot-bellied stove that we’d load up so full its belly would glow red. I wouldn’t mind doing that again. It’d be perfect for writing.

What about you? Reveal your favourite Easter fun and I’ll pop you into the giveaway draw.

Please note: Giveaway closes midnight Friday AEST, 14th April 2017. Australian postal addresses only.

To make sure you get all the inside info about The Country Girl, or any of my releases, please sign up to my newsletter. Besides being the first to receive updates, you’ll receive a couple of short stories to enjoy over a cuppa and access to other funstuff. Oh, and I’ll love you. A lot.

 

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Teaser Tuesday!

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Teaser Tuesday 2017 logoWelcome back to another scintillating edition of Teaser Tuesday, the blog series where I share snippets from new and past releases, and works-in-progress, and occasionally get writing buddies to play along.

Recently I had the great joy of attending the 2017 Australian Romance Readers Convention at Rydges Melbourne (check out all the photos in last week’s This Writing Life post). What a fantastic weekend was had, and made even better by my latest release WAYWARD HEART winning the member’s choice award for favourite cover in the Australian Romance Reader Awards. Rah!

I was so thrilled to win this, and even more so for my editor and the cover designers at Harlequin Australia. After all, it was they who did all the hard work. All I did was tell them that I loved it when I saw the concept.

After this lovely award, it only seems fitting to share a snippet from WAYWARD HEART.

Here’s a little taste from the hens’ night (some of the book centres around the wedding of Em and Josh from my previous novel Rocking Horse Hill), but if you want to discover exactly what mischief Granny B got up to, you’ll have to buy the book.

Enjoy!

 

Em was in fits of giggles. Non-drinking Teagan, as keen as Jas for Em to have fun, had been surreptitiously topping up Em’s glass whenever she wasn’t looking, and the Wayward Heart by Cathryn Heinresult was a wonderfully relaxed bride-to-be who’d danced the tango and the salsa, and happily joined in a very wobbly cha-cha snake of hysterically laughing women.

‘You’re brilliant, you know that?’ said Em, slinging an arm around Jas and kissing her heartily on the cheek. Despite her champagne consumption, Em remained as stunning as ever in a strapless burgundy satin gown that fitted and flattered her body beautifully. Her hair had been slicked back into a chic bun, exposing her swan-like neck and perfect shoulders.

In a bright blue halter-neck dress that flaunted her generous assets, Jas was feeling equally as wonderful. ‘You should thank your grandmother more than me. She organised most of it. Most of my time was spent calming her excesses. Did she tell you she wanted to hire Puppetry of the Penis?’

‘No, but it doesn’t surprise me in the least. I’m thanking my lucky stars she didn’t hire the Chippendales.’ Em smiled. ‘She was in a class of her own tonight.’

 

Wayward Heart is available for purchase right now from your local bookshop, discount department store and these excellent stores:

Booktopia | Angus & Robertson Bookworld | Fishpond.com.au

Amazon.com | Amazon.au | Amazon.uk

Kobo | iBooks |Google Play |Barnes & Noble Nook

Read about how I came to write Wayward Heart in Of Beaches And Brothers, And Friends to Lovers, the story behind Wayward Heart, or learn about the volcano at the heart of the story in This Writing Life: Tales From The Real Rocking Horse Hill.

 

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This Writing Life: The Australian Romance Readers Convention 2017

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Ooh, I do love a good get-together and the recent Australian Romance Readers Convention in Melbourne didn’t disappoint. It was a weekend packed with panels, gala events, keynote speakers and socialising. Everyone had a ball, from authors to readers to industry.

Hanging with your tribe… honestly, there’s nothing quite so affirming and though I came home absolutely stuffed I’m still on a high. ARRA events are loaded with positivity and warmth, but that should come as no surprise. We’re romance fans!

I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to the organising committee: Debbie Phillips, Heather Kopp, Diane Robson, Pamela Diaz and Juliette Arthur. You created an amazing event that I hope you’re very proud of.

The ARRC 2017 organising committee.

My heartfelt thanks to the ARRC organising committee. Three cheers, huge applause and a big champagne toast to you all.

My sincere thanks also to the ARRA committee and to all the volunteers involved in the running of ARRC 2017.

I have so many highlights I don’t know where to start but I enjoyed the screening of the Love Between the Covers documentary about the billion dollar romance fiction industry hugely. I think I’m going to have to buy a copy so I can watch it again.

Keynote speakers Courtney Milan, Kylie Scott and Kristen Callihan were also wonderful to listen to. I love hearing about other writers’ lives and journeys, and how they approach their books. It’s endlessly fascinating.

Hot Choc Mark IIThe booksigning was a hoot, as always, and it was great to chat to so many readers, some of whom were new to me and some who now feel like old friends. Everyone laughed at the new, improved Hot Chocolate and he didn’t break down once. I think we might be on a winner with this little-but-loud horsey mascot.

The Australian Romance Reader Awards dinner was a wonderful night, and I was so thrilled for Anne Gracie who pretty much swept the pool. The Summer Bride and the Chance Sisters series were truly gorgeous and her wins were well deserved. You can find a full list of the finalists here and all the winners here.

I was even more thrilled when Wayward Heart won favourite cover. That was so cool! I love that cover to bits and it was such a rush to find others love it too. Thanks to everyone who voted for it. Enormous thanks also to editor Rachael Donovan for going with the idea and the Harlequin designers for their outstanding layout. If you missed the blog post where Wayward Heart’s cover model Kate Swan reveals all about the shoot and her sexy partner Jack, you’ll find it here. It’s great fun.

I was a bit slack on the photo taking front this time – too busy talking! But I managed to snap a few on my phone. Not the best of quality (sorry) but one thing all the photos show is what a brilliant event this was and the terrific time everyone had.

Enjoy!

Melbourne put on a lovely sunny welcome for us!

Melbourne put on a lovely sunny welcome for us!

Keynote Speakers

Courtney Milan's keynote address at ARRC was excellent.

Courtney Milan’s keynote address at ARRC was excellent. I particularly enjoyed her comments about issues such as cultural appropriation and diversity in romance.

Keynote speaker at ARRC17 Kylie Scott

Kylie Scott knows what kind of images turn romance readers on!

Keynote speaker Kristen Callihan entertained us all on the final afternoon.

Keynote speaker Kristen Callihan entertained us all on the final afternoon.

Booksigning

Amy Andrews and Keri Arthur at ARRC 17

Amy Andrews and Keri Arthur

Ebony McKenna and Bec McMaster at ARRC17

Ebony McKenna and Bec McMaster

Emily Madden at ARRC17

Emily Madden

Fiona Lowe at ARRC17

Fiona Lowe

Kandy Shepherd and Alli Sinclair at ARRC17

Kandy Shepherd and Alli Sinclair

Kylie Scott at ARRC17

Kylie Scott

Lisa Ireland at ARRC17

Lisa Ireland

Sandy Curtis, Anne Gracie and Donna Maree Hanson at ARRC17

Sandy Curtis, Anne Gracie and Donna Maree Hanson

Sarah Barrie and Amy Rose Bennet at ARRC17

Sarah Barrie and Amy Rose Bennet

Tea Cooper and Sandy Curtis at ARRC17

Tea Cooper and Sandy Curtis

TM Clark at ARRC17

TM Clark

Victoria Purman and MJ Scott/Melanie Scott at ARRC17

Victoria Purman and MJ Scott/Melanie Scott

Harlequin Author Drinks

Me, Rachael Johns and Alison Stuart at the Harlequin author welcome drinks.

Me, Rachael Johns and Alison Stuart at the Harlequin author welcome drinks.

Australian Romance Reader Awards Dinner

The ARR Awards dinner crowd.

The ARR Awards dinner crowd.

Rachael Johns did an excellent job as MC for the night.

Rachael Johns did an excellent job as MC for the night.

Anne Gracie collecting one of her many awards. ARRC17

Anne Gracie collecting one of her many awards. Love those cowboy boots!

Meeting reader Deb Bray at the ARR Awards dinner.

I was delighted to meet fan Deb Bray at the ARR Awards dinner. That was a great moment.

Wayward Heart's Favourite Cover Award.

Wayward Heart’s Favourite Cover Award. Wheee!

Panels and Other Miscellany

The Rise of Rural Romance panel featuring Pamela Cook, Charlotte Nash, Sarah Barrie and Nicole Hurley-Moore, with Victoria Purman moderating.

The Rise of Rural Romance panel featuring Pamela Cook, Charlotte Nash, Sarah Barrie and Nicole Hurley-Moore, with Victoria Purman moderating. I enjoyed this a lot. Everyone had insightful comments and I was fascinated by Pamela’s mention of the controversy around her Hendra virus themed book Close To Home. I was also lucky enough to win a copy of Charlotte’s The Horseman. Rah!

Amy Andrews, Christine Wells and me in the bar. Surprise, surprise!

Amy Andrews, Christine Wells and me in the bar. Surprise, surprise!

Loved this sculpture in the nearby Southern Cross Tower.

Loved this sculpture in the nearby Southern Cross Tower by husband and wife team Gillie and Marc. They also created the pit pony at Collinsville, some of the sculptures at Finger Wharf that I also featured on the blog, and the wonderful buried rhino at last year’s Sculpture by the Sea.

Lunch at Thai food guru David Thompson's new restaurant Long Chim at Crown.

The leftovers of lunch at Thai food guru David Thompson’s new restaurant Long Chim at Crown. Amaaaaazing. The Sydney version in Angel Place is now in my sights cos as we all know, a girl can never indulge in enough lunches!

I hope you enjoyed this look at the weekend. If you’d like to join the Australian Romance Readers Association and have opportunities like this to hang with friendly, like-minded people then please check out the ARRA 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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