Tag Archives: Rocking Horse Hill

Teaser Tuesday!

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

Are you ready for Easter? I hope the weather behaves for us all and we can get out and about. Jim and I won’t be travelling far, mainly catching up with friends locally and enjoying the beach and harbour. And enjoying my beloved Sydney Swans AFL team. Although, given the number of losses we’ve suffered so far this season, I’m not sure enjoying is the right word. It’s felt more like despair and frustration. Still, early days. Our hopes for the season aren’t dead yet.

The eternal optimism of fandom, eh?

I’ll probably make another batch of hot-cross buns too. They’re so easy using a bread-maker and they’re beautiful fresh out of the oven, and they make the house smell heavenly! I’ve been making them for ages from a recipe that I adjusted for use. You can find it here in this old Friday Feast, if you want to give it a try. (Remember that blog series? Faaaabulous recipes from a stack of even fabber Aussie authors.) Honestly, these hot-cross buns are dead simple and the most work you’ll have to do is kneading in the sultanas.

Looking at that Friday Feast reminded me that it was very close to this date five years ago that Rocking Horse Hill released. Rocking Horse Hill has now gone onto to spawn the (loosely related) Levenham Love Story series which has been huge fun to write, and for which Eddie and the Show Queen will be the next addition.

So to celebrate its five year anniversary, here’s a little snippet from Rocking Horse Hill. This one features Audrey Wallace, aka Granny B and matriarch of the privileged Wallace family. She’s naughty, clever and doesn’t suffer fools but she’s also generous, loyal and adores her family and community. I love her and I know many of you do too.

Here’s Granny B with the book’s hero Josh, who she invited to the Wallace family’s historic home for a drinks party …

‘Thinking about the last time you were here?’

He turned to Granny B. ‘How did you know?’

Rocking Horse Hill by Cathryn Hein - global cover‘I would consider it rather unusual if you didn’t recall that night.’ Granny B nodded Em’s way. ‘Fortunately, she’s grown up since then.’

‘We all have.’

‘Yes. Rather nicely, in your case. Although you always were a good-looking boy.’

He leaned in close and lowered his voice to a tease. ‘Granny B, are you flirting with me?’

She cocked her head and considered. ‘Do you know, I think you’d rather like it if I was.’

‘You bet I would.’

She laughed throatily. ‘Oh, I do so like you, Joshua. It’s good to have you back.’

Rocking Horse Hill is available in paperback and ebook from these stores. You can also order personally signed copies direct from me. Simply contact me via the Contact page of this website and we’ll sort it out.

Booktopia | Angus & Robertson | Bookdepository

Amazon.com | Amazon.au | Amazon.uk

iBooks | Kobo | Google Play | Barnes and Noble

Remember, if you want to be the first to hear about Eddie and the Show Queen’s release, or any other upcoming books, make sure you join my newsletter. You’ll not only keep up with all the news, sneak peeks and other fun-stuff, you’ll receive a couple of free short stories to enjoy over a cuppa. Join here or click the image below.

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Teaser Tuesday!

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

First up, there will be no Teaser Tuesday next week. I’m heading off to Sydney on Thursday for the Romance Writers of Australia annual conference and it’ll be a veeeeery busy weekend. History has shown that it’ll take a good four or five days to get my voice back properly and catch up on all the sleep I’ve lost. So I’m thinking ahead and cancelling next week’s Teaser Tuesday so I have one less thing to worry about, but we’ll be back on the 28th for certain.

I can’t wait to catch up with all my author friends. Romance writers are huge fun. They’re also very savvy, generous with sharing what they’ve learned, and inspiring. Just the sort of people to rev me up for the rest of the year.

Onto what we’re here for: a teaser!

Last week we had Wal from Heartland being grumpy. This week I thought we might show popular character Granny B in full stride. She’s appeared in a few books now and I hope to see her in a few more. She’s too much of a hoot to write to let go of yet.

Here’s Granny B in full flight in Rocking Horse Hill.

 

‘You look amazing,’ she said, as her grandmother helped Em out of her coat and hung it up. ‘Been somewhere?’

Today Granny B’s elegance had reached an even more impressive height. A pair of navy cigarette pants showed off long legs enhanced by a pair of low-heeled patent pumps. Her gold silk shirt sported a high collar, the neck fixed with a tasteful but expensive pearl brooch that matched the triple-stranded pearl bracelet around her left wrist. Her make-up was deftly applied: rouge adding colour to her heavily powdered cheeks, eyes smoky with eye shadow and liner.

Rocking Horse Hill by Cathryn Hein - global cover‘A late afternoon tea with Barry McClintoff and that idiot new councillor, Herriott.’

‘I gather it wasn’t fun.’

‘I do so loathe vegetarians. Ridiculous people.’

‘Could have been worse,’ joked Em, desperate to keep things light. Granny B’s tumultuous mood did not bode well. ‘She could have been vegan.’

‘Indeed.’ Granny B maintained a special dislike for vegans. ‘Hard to trust these people, though, isn’t it? As I pointed out, if nature had wanted us to be vegetarian she would have given us a rumen. Anyway, how does the silly woman think we grew brains the size we did?’ Granny B huffed. ‘And she refused wine.’

‘She probably had to work.’

‘That may be true, but it’s hardly supporting local agriculture. Barry and I made up for it. Enjoyed a rather nice pinot from Ryan’s. That winery is doing very well for itself. I proposed to Barry that we host a local wine festival to run concurrently with Art Week, but the Herriott woman thought the idea “unwise in light of the town’s youth drinking culture”. What about the rest of us? Just because she’s part of the lunatic greenie fringe doesn’t meant the rest of us should suffer.’

‘Gran.’

Granny B rolled her eyes. ‘Don’t start, Emily. I’m seventy-nine years old. I’m permitted my prejudices.’

 

Ah, I do so love Granny B. She’s so haughty and naughty!

Rocking Horse Hill is available now in print and ebook. Try these retailers:

Amazon.com | Amazon.au | Amazon.uk

iBooks | Kobo | Nook | Google Play

Bookdepository | Booktopia

If you’d like to know more about Rocking Horse Hill or read another excerpt, check out its book page on this website. For extra background, read The Story Behind Rocking Horse Hill.

Granny B also appears in Wayward Heart, Summer and the Groomsman and Chrissy and the Burroughs Boy. She’s also up to her usual mischief in my current work-in-progress Eddie and the Show Queen. Stay tuned for news on that one!

See you again on the 28th.

 

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Teaser Tuesday!

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 let good writing buddies join in the fun.

I’ve had an exciting week. My next Levenham Love Story novella Chrissy and the Burroughs Boy is with my editor getting her expert treatment, and my cover designer presented me with some amaaaaazing cover concepts.

With edits to be done, proof-reading and other bookish things to be sorted, there’s still a bit of work to do before Chrissy and the Burroughs Boy will be available for pre-order, but it’s definitely a-coming.

Because my head is still in the Levenham zone, I thought today we’d go back to the book that started these stories – Rocking Horse Hill. The other day, while I was making a few last tweaks to Chrissy and the Burroughs Boy, I had to go back to Rocking Horse Hill to check a few things. Reading this book reminded me how much I love this setting, not to mention the characters. After four published works set in Levenham and another not far away, and with more to come, I’m so comfortable with this place it feels like home.

Anyway, here’s a little paragraph from Rocking Horse Hill in the heroine Emily’s point of view, describing her feelings about the volcanic crater she’s had an affinity with since childhood. Enjoy!

 

Her grandmother turned from the avenue to contemplate the crater. Em followed suit, grateful for the change of weather and the weak, though welcome, cast of sun. The day was sad enough without drizzle.

Rocking Horse Hill by Cathryn Hein - global cover

Global cover

The ashy paths that once snaked to Rocking Horse Hill’s summit were fading, overgrown with weed or hidden by an encroaching rash of plastic-collared seedlings, planted by a local Landcare group determined to rehabilitate the crater’s eroded and denuded slopes. No matter how important their work, Em couldn’t suppress her dismay at the sight of all the trees. They spoiled the hill’s majesty; made it just another extinct volcano in a land dotted with many. Some of the best afternoons of her childhood were spent on those slopes: sliding from top to bottom on her bum, riding the hill like a giant, dirty slippery dip. Her mother exasperated by her wrecked jeans and inevitable scrapes, while her grandmother and uncle secretly encouraged the fun.

Rocking Horse Hill by Cathryn Hein cover

Australia and New Zealand cover

‘Ugly, aren’t they?’ said Granny B, as though reading her mind.

‘Just a bit, but they’ll go. Eventually.’

What the crater would look like then, Em didn’t know. Darker, she supposed. Perhaps a little mysterious, with the soft trees masking the hill’s true stony nature. She smiled slightly. As a child Em had cultivated all sorts of romantic ideas about the hill, and spent countless days exploring its slopes and crags, imagining secret passages that led, Narnia-like, to parallel universes of mystical animals, kings and brave knights. But there never was and never would be anything mysterious or romantic about the volcano. Thousands of years ago the earth suffered indigestion and burped up molten rock and Rocking Horse Hill was the result. Even so, her heart continued to resist logic. Em loved the hill too intensely for pragmatism, and a person’s sense of home wasn’t something that could be rationalised or calculated. That connection belonged to the soul.

 

Rocking Horse Hill is available worldwide in ebook and paperback. Try Bookdepository, Booktopia, Angus and Robertson Bookworld, Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, Nook, or Google Play.

If you want to be the first to know about Chrissy and the Burroughs Boy‘s release, along with other news and goodies, make sure you sign up to my newsletter.

 

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Rocking Horse Hill is Going Global!

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So much for great plans. I was going to share photos from my trip to outback Queensland today in a This Writing Life post, but I’m up to my eyeballs in edits for my next full length release and haven’t had a chance to organise it. As fun as blogging is, books must come first.

But I do have exciting news!

Rocking Horse Hill – the story that triggered the (loosely) related Levenham Love Story series – is currently available only to Australian and New Zealand readers, but very soon the rest of the world will be able to enjoy this book too, in both ebook and print.

So today it is my great pleasure to present to you its new, rest-of-the-world cover.

Rocking Horse Hill by Cathryn Hein - global cover

What do you think? I love it and that cover model makes a very sexy looking Josh. Slurp!

I’ll have news on the exact release date shortly, along with order links, so stay tuned. In the meantime, you can discover more about Rocking Horse Hill, read an excerpt, reviews, and how the story came about on its book page.

Or, if you’re in Australia or New Zealand and have yet to savour this delicious tale, why not grab a copy today from your favourite retailer? ‘Tis easy with just a few clickety-clicks on:

Amazon.au | iBooks | Kobo | Google Play |Booktopia| Fishpond

 

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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: Tales From The Real Rocking Horse Hill

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Those of you who follow me on social media will know that I’ve recently returned from a trip to my home town of Mt Gambier, in the beautiful lower south-east of South Australia. My dad turned 80 and all the family gathered together for a lovely party at the local RSL.

Me and the birthday boy. Not looking too bad for an old fella!

Me and the birthday boy. Not looking too bad for an old fella!

While I wasn’t home for long, I managed to pack a few adventures into the few days I was there. I’ll be sharing more photos from the trip next Friday but today I have something special.

A Video!

And not just any video, this one is of Rocking Horse Hill. Actually, it’s of Mt Schank but it was this crater that provided much of the inspiration for the fictional volcanic crater Rocking Horse Hill.

Rocking Horse Hill by Cathryn HeinThose of you who have read Rocking Horse Hill and Wayward Heart will understand the enormous importance this crater holds for those stories’ characters. It’s been the site not only of heartache and tragedy, but also love and even passion. The hill is so dominant in those two books it’s almost a character itself, and I think the passages where it’s featured show how much I adored writing about it.

There’s a reason for that adoration.

Let me explain…

Wayward Heart by Cathryn HeinIt’s not that widely known, but Australia has one of the best volcanic fields in the world. The Newer Volcanic Province stretches from Melbourne through to Mt Burr, north-west of Mt Gambier and contains a whopping 400+ volcanoes. There are at least 20 eruptive sites around Mt Gambier alone.

Hard to imagine, isn’t it? Yet it’s true, and if you drive through the western districts of Victoria to South Australia along the Princes or Hamilton Highways and scan the landscape you’ll see them. Many are highly eroded but others, like Mt Elephant, Mt Rouse, Mt Napier, Mt Gambier and Mount Schank, stand proudly, their magnificent slopes a reminder that this lush and peaceful countryside was once violent with quakes, molten rock and flames.

Mt Schank has always had a special place in my heart. As kids, a great day out was climbing to the top of the crater and sliding all the way down again on our bums. We’d get filthy, tear clothing, occasionally hurt ourselves and have the best fun imaginable.

There was a kind of romance about the crater too. Unlike all the others, which are spent, Mt Schank is dormant and there was always this delicious fear that it might erupt again. My girlfriend Cathryn (yes, our names were exactly alike) used to live at the base of the crater and her mum would say she could feel it grumbling deep below the earth.

I loved the idea that the volcano was somehow still alive, that it was like a hibernating bear, snoring softly as it waited for the right moment to wake. Looking back at those feelings it seems inevitable that I would one day write about it. Not only write about it but develop a whole series of stories set in the shadow of Rocking Horse Hill.

On my latest trip home, it seemed only polite that I should introduce the mountain to one of the books it inspired.

And, because I thought you’d enjoy the moment too, I recorded the event.

Enjoy!

There was a quarry at Mt Schank but it’s closed now. Rocking Horse Hill’s quarry, the place that broke hero Digby Wallace-Jones’s heart and almost tore his family apart, isn’t based on this one. The inspiration for that comes from Mt Elephant near Derrinallum in western Victoria.

The northern side of Mt Elephant has a dramatic gouge where the slope was mined for railway ballast in the early 1900s, while the cut into the western side was a commercial gravel quarry that operated until the 90s. Both quarries provided ideas for Rocking Horse Hill’s.

The photos below were taken from a distance so it’s a little hard to see, but you can still get an idea of how dangerous the edge of the diggings would be. They’re like savage gashes in mountain’s face, sharp-edged and cliff-like.

The north side of Mt Elephant, western Victoria.

The north side of Mt Elephant.

Mt Elephant's western quarry.

The quarry on the west facing side of Mt Elephant.

I hope you enjoyed this insight into how Rocking Horse Hill came about and the real volcanoes it’s based on.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to work on my fitness. All that puffing and panting on the video has left me seriously embarrassed!

Wayward Heart is in stores now. You can also order the paperback online from Booktopia, Angus and Robertson Bookworld and Fishpond. Or for instant gratification, download the ebook from Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play and Nook.

Discover more about Wayward Heart and Rocking Horse Hill, including the story behind both books, by visiting their books page on this site.

Other books set in the Rocking Horse Hill and Levenham district include Summer and the Groomsman and Santa and the Saddler, with Chrissy and the Burroughs Boy coming (hopefully) later this year.

 

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Teaser Tuesday!

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

I’ve just received edits for Wayward Heart which is very exciting. The book is definitely on its way! I had planned to share a little bit from it but the manuscript is covered in mark-ups and editing notes and a bit messy, and sharing is probably left best for another time, when it’s cleaner. I’m sure Jasmine and Digby would much prefer to be shown off at their best.

Instead, let’s have a few paragraphs from Rocking Horse Hill, the book in which Jasmine is first introduced. Jas is the heroine Emily’s best friend and known for her big heart and sense of fun. Here she is with Em and Teagan (Teagan’s story is continued in The Falls) at Em’s property where they’ve gathered for a girly gossip and to clip their horses for the show season. As you do when you’re horsey gals!

 

Hoping she might learn from the others, or at least calm a little, the girls agreed to leave fractious Astra until last. The filly paced the stable, poking her head out of the half-door before jerking back inside to wheel another agitated circuit. Lod paid her no attention, content to stand dutifully on the concrete in the sun, waiting for his clipping, off-hind leg cocked and his hoof resting on its point. His head was down and eyes half-closed in a doze like his old friend Ox, now equally slumberous in Lod’s stable.

Rocking Horse Hill by Cathryn Hein‘Honestly, you’d send her to the knackers if she weren’t so stunning,’ said Jas, shaking her head as Astra embarked on yet another restless round.

‘She just needs to mature,’ said Em.

Teagan reached up to scratch Astra’s nose. ‘She’s only four.’

‘Ox was calm at four.’

‘Yes, but Ox had no balls.’

Jas grinned and blew a kiss at Ox. The big grey twitched his ears and blinked across the half-door before returning to sleep. ‘Poor thing. I wonder if he misses them.’ She turned back to Em who was perched on a crate, clippers in hand, palm pushing over Lod’s mane so she could clip the top-side of his neck. ‘Speaking of balls, how are things with Josh the Sexpot?’

 

Rocking Horse Hill is available in paperback and ebook from Booktopia, Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Google Play or your favourite retailer. You’ll also find photos and inside information about how I came to write the book on its ‘The Story Behind’ page.

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Teaser Tuesday!

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

As I checked back through my schedule to see what teasers had been featured recently, I was amazed to discover that I have yet to post any from Rocking Horse Hill. Time to remedy the situation.

Rocking Horse Hill is the first in a series of three loosely related books covering three female friends. Rocking Horse Hill tells Emily Wallace-Jones’s story while The Falls follows Teagan Bliss into her new life. News about the third book, featuring Jasmine Thomas, is just around the corner, so stayed tuned for that. Better still, subscribe to my newsletter and you’ll hear it first. There’s also a spin-off novella from the series – Summer and the Groomsman – and I have plans for more. Seems I can’t let go!

But back to Rocking Horse Hill

I don’t know about you, but I adore a first kiss. It’s so exciting! And with a romance, a kiss usually involves a lot more than just a joining of mouths. There’s a whole of emotion behind it, and in some instances a lot of baggage. Which is definitely the case with Josh and Em.

Enjoy!

 

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.’Rocking Horse Hill by Cathryn Hein

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 . . .’

His lips crept in a series of butterfly touches towards her mouth, leaving little puckers of ecstasy in their wake, the chasing skim of his stubble shooting thrills down her back. ‘I know.’

‘It’s too soon.’

‘Yeah.’

‘Then . . .’

And suddenly she didn’t care. It was simply him, back where she needed him.

©Cathryn Hein

Find out what happens next by reading your own copy of Rocking Horse Hill. Purchase from Booktopia, Bookdepository, Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, your favourite bookstore or ebook retailer.

For more information about the book, including review quotes, The Story Behind and another excerpt, please visit the Rocking Horse Hill book page.

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Teaser Tuesday!

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

Today a couple of paragraphs from a Christmas novella I’ve been working on called Santa and the Saddler. I’m only a couple of chapters in and can’t give it too much attention at the moment because my next full-length rural romance must take priority, but it’s looking to be fun.

The story is set in Levenham, the same as Rocking Horse Hill and Summer and the Groomsman, and introduces a couple of new characters. I’m not sure yet if any of familiar crew will rate a mention but I suspect they’ll sneak in somewhere, even if it’s only for a line or two.

Here’s a little taste of hero Danny Burroughs.

 

The pub was already rocking when he arrived. Thanks to boisterous young singles returning from university or new careers elsewhere to their hometown for Christmas, this time of year it always was. Drawn by the fun atmosphere, plenty of regulars and other assorted locals had sidled in for a drink too, and Danny endured calls of ‘Nice suit!’ and ‘Ho ho ho!’ as he made his way to the bar. He surreptitiously gave those he knew well the finger, the others he just waved off, smiling through gritted teeth.

The publican –  a bit too much into the spirit of things for Danny’s liking – had decided that this year, for the week leading up to Christmas, the staff would dress as Christmas characters. Danny had drawn the short straw and scored Santa. Tall and rangy, with spiky dark hair and blue eyes, Danny was as far from Santa as a bloke could get. Barry, the grey-haired night manager, had fared even worse as Mrs Claus, while Karen Simms, who’d been working at the pub almost as long as Barry, had drawn Frosty the Snowman. The only person who looked good was Lily, one of the casual female bar staff, who instead of appearing ridiculous like him, looked as cute as a button in her elf suit. If Danny’s mate Ben hadn’t already claimed dibs, Danny would have tried for her himself, but the two men had their code and Lily was off limits.

Which meant another Christmas spent single.

©Cathryn Hein

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Teaser Tuesday!

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Teaser TuesdayAfter a brief hiatus to celebrate the release of my new rural romance Summer and the Groomsman, Teaser Tuesday, the series where I share tasty morsels of works-in-progress, up-coming releases and published novels, is back. Rah!

Now that the excitement has died down a little, it’s time to refocus and start writing my next book. If only I knew what that was. I have three stories all clamouring to be told, and another abandoned story begging to be finished. This week it’s decision time. I predict much angsting ahead.

Speaking of angsting (like that segue?), let’s share a little of it from my May rural romance release, The Falls. This story revolves around Teagan Bliss, a character you might remember from Rocking Horse Hill. Broken-hearted after a family betrayal, Teagan has fled South Australia for New South Wales and her Aunt Vanessa’s property in the beautiful Falls Valley where she hopes to heal and find her new path in life. Easier said than done!

This is fun scene in Vanessa’s pool where Teagan is trying to relax after a hard day repairing fences, only to be interrupted by the worst (and sexiest!) person possible, local farrier Lucas Knight.

 

The water was bliss, warm enough to be pleasant but cool enough to soak away the heat and hard work of the day. She swam laps before gliding to the middle to lie on her back with her eyes closed in an effort to clear her thoughts. She sang songs in her head, concentrated on the metallic pings of the water, yet no matter how she tried, her mind remained filled with memories of Pinehaven.

And each passing image brought another slow leak of tears.

Cover of The Falls by Cathryn Hein‘Mind if I join you?’

Teagan splashed and turned in fright, swallowing a gush of water as she did. She emerged coughing and hacking with her hair plastered over the front of her face, cutting off her vision. She swept it back, only for the pound in her heart to hammer even worse when she saw who stood at the edge of the pool.

She opened her mouth and shut it, then looked around in a panic. Her towel was thrown over the far seat of the outdoor setting. She’d have to walk a good five metres in her bikini to fetch it, exposing every bony inch of her underweight frame to Lucas.

‘Don’t worry,’ he said, in his deep, smile-filled voice. ‘I grew out of peeing in the pool. You’re safe.’

She glanced back at him again and found herself repeating her gormless cod-mouth gape, only this time it wasn’t due to shock. The man had abs. A full-on sixpack. And hair. A sexy line of it that traced across his chest and down to the top of his board shorts. For some reason she’d expected him to be hairless. One of those blokes who went for waxing because it made his muscles stand out better. But here he was, radiating manliness like Adonis come to life.

©Cathryn Hein

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