Monday 24 April 2017

Miranda's April Musings

How Do You Choose What To Read Next?

Part One!

It's a problem, isn't it? You read a super good book, sigh, cry, hug it to your heart, kiss the cover (er, not that I'm admitting to that...), etc. etc., and put it on the keeper shelf. (Maybe stuff it somewhere on the keeper shelf might be a better description. Or make space where there is none and ruthlessly shove it in, aha...) Oh, the desolation at having finished! Will there ever be another book so wonderful, so moving, so thrilling, so romantic?

My gorgeous new mug, ooh ooh.

The answer is, and I'm not making this up, of course there will. Take heart, mes amies, there is always a teetering tottering tower of romance to choose from. Thank you, romance writers, I love you all!

The very second, and even before (don't you love that pre-ordering function from Amazon?) one of the marvellous ladies from this blog - Marilyn Forsyth, Cassandra Samuels, Karen Davis I'm looking at you - publishes a newie, it's pre-ordered in a flash. Happy day when it arrives on my Kindle as Marilyn's book recently did; and I'm anticipating Karen's book eagerly. Sharon Burke and Enisa Haines, it won't be long now... 💕💕

Photo credit:
Photo Credit:

And when I simply and utterly love a book to bits, I also love the function on Amazon that says: Customers who bought this item also bought - and there's your reading list for the next two months. Or two years. Scroll down and see it here, for Marilyn's first book. There's also the Top 100 Bestselling Romance feature on Amazon, which is fun to browse through. Total clickbait for me.

In my neck of the woods, Sydney, Australia, we have some fabulous bookstores which draw me in as shiny diamonds attract others. I'm talking Dymocks, Abbey's, Berkelouw Books, and Harry Hartog. If you're drawing a blank about what to read next, pay your fave local bookshop a visit, stay a while, drool a little, and you will come out with treasures.

Me? I just have to scroll through my Kindle (overstuffed, ridiculously so) or my shelves (ditto), and I'm spoilt for choice. I never seem to have a problem about what book to read next.

Funny thing, that.

What about you?

Love from Miranda xxx

Love to love: Easter eggs. I think I've just consumed my body weight in them plus hot cross buns. Love this time of year!

Love to laugh: At my TBR list. Psst, confession: I think even if I live to be 1,000 years old I'll never read all the books waiting for me. But I'll give it a jolly good shot.

Love to love: Knowing all those excellent reads will happen. I am ever the optimist.

Monday 17 April 2017

Author Spotlight: Cathryn Hein

Here at Breathless in the Bush, we love to celebrate our Aussie Authors. Our special guest for this month's Author Spotlight is the lovely Cathryn Hein. Welcome Cathryn!
What is one ‘must have’ when you are writing?

A glass of water. Writing can be thirsty work!

What are you reading at the moment?

The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley. Finishing will mean I’ve read every one of her releases. Kearsley’s stories and writing are mesmerising.

Name one thing you’re scared of.

The stuff of nightmares! Image courtesy of Pixabay.

Crocodiles. I refused to play golf at a course in Townsville over Christmas because a 3.5 metre saltwater croc had taken up residence in one of the dams. No one else seemed to be too worried but I KNOW that thing would have sought me out.

Like to share something that recently made you happy?
Wayward Heart being winning favourite cover at the recent Australian Romance Reader Awards. That was so cool!

What is the last photo you took with your phone?

A photo of the dinner I was making – pot-roasted chicken with chorizo, leeks and cider from Rick Stein’s Spain cookbook. I love to cook and take a LOT of photos of food.

What is the premise of your latest book?

Wayward Heart is a friends-to-lovers romance about two broken people who discover unexpected strengths in each other, but one is hiding a damaging secret and someone wants it exposed.

What unique challenges did the book pose?

Keeping Digby and Jasmine sympathetic for the reader given their difficult backgrounds and life choices. Although it can be read as a stand-alone, Wayward Heart is also a follow-on story to Rocking Horse Hill, which meant I needed to bring readers up to speed about events in that book without info-dumping or boring those who already know the facts. It’s a tricky thing to manage.

What are you working on at the moment?

Edits for my next release. We’re still nutting out a title but I’m RIDICULOUSLY excited about this book. I think it’s my best yet.

What is your writing schedule? Morning, afternoon or night?

Definitely mornings. I’m usually at work around 7am. I take a long break around 11 or 11.30, when I exercise and have lunch and sometimes read for a while, after which I return to work, finishing up around 5 or 5.30pm.

Are you a plotter, pantser or somewhere in between?

Somewhere in between. I was a pantser and I still think it’s my preferred way to write but I’ve learned that I make more efficient progress if I plot.

Do you listen to music as you write?

Sometimes. Every book is different. For example, I wrote April’s Rainbow with INXS’s “Afterglow” playing on a loop, while other books, like Wayward Heart, have had entire playlists. Almost every book I’ve written has had at least one theme song. The only exception to that so far is Summer and the Groomsman. I have no idea why. It just kind of worked out that way.

What do you love to love?

My Jim. Love him to bits.

What do you love to laugh at?

Pretty much everything, but lately I’ve been getting great joy from the Twitter feeds of 100% Goats and We Rate Dogs. They’re a hoot!

What do you love to learn about?

Food! I adore cooking and will happily spend hours in the kitchen, whipping up recipes. I also love eating out and trying new things.

Short Bio
Cathryn Hein is the best-selling author of ten rural romance and romantic adventure author novels, and regular Australian Romance Reader Awards finalist. A South Australian country girl by birth, she loves nothing more than a rugged rural hero who’s as good with his heart as he is with his hands, which is probably why she writes them! Her romances are warm and emotional, and feature themes that don’t flinch from the tougher side of life but are often happily tempered by the antics of naughty animals. Her aim is to make you smile, sigh, and perhaps sniffle a little, but most of all feel wonderful.
Cathryn currently lives at the base of the Blue Mountains in New South Wales with her partner of many years, Jim. When she’s not writing, she plays golf (ineptly), cooks (well), and in football season barracks (rowdily) for her beloved Sydney Swans AFL team.
Cathryn’s latest release is WAYWARD HEART, available in all good bookstores and online now.
Discover more about Cathryn and her stories at
Contact Cathryn via:

Monday 10 April 2017

What is love? Part one

By Cassandra Samuels

What is love - by Take That.

What is love?
is it a truth?
Or is it a fear?
Is it a rose to for my valentine?
What is love? 

Is it only words?
I'm trying to find?
Or is it the way, that we're feeling now?
What is love? 
If love is truth, then let it break my heart.
If love is fear, lead me to the dark.
If love is a game, I'm playing all my cards.
What is love?
Courtesy of

This age-old question has plagued mankind since the beginning of time. And no, I don't have the answer but I'd like to delve into the science of love and attraction in this series of blog posts.

Modern psychology splits love into four categories of love.
1. Compassionate love - Love between friends
2. Fatuous love - Sexual attraction
3. Romantic love - All-consuming sexual attraction and commitment
4. Consummate love - intimacy, passion, and commitment

The ancient Greeks had their own version.
1. Eros - Passionate love
2. Philla - Parental love
3. Agape - God's love for mankind

So let's get scientific for a moment. What is it that makes us feel in love?

It is a neuro peptide called Oxytocin (High levels of this "love hormone" have been observed in couples in the first six months of a relationship - otherwise known as the honeymoon period.). We all have Oxytocin along with other neuro chemicals like Dopamine and serotonin. Oxytocin is the part of us responsible for our social and romantic behaviours.

Courtesy of The Neurosculpting Institute
Oxytocin has been dubbed the hug hormone, cuddle chemical, moral molecule, and the bliss hormone. It's a busy little bee isn't it? What would we do with out it? We all know how important connection in the form of touch and mental stimulation is for well-being. Imagine a life without a hug or any human touch? It's a horrible thought.

Love is complex. Too complex to explore and discuss in one post,  watch out for more in later posts.

Have you, or someone you know, ever fallen in love at first sight?

Love to love
This song by Take That.

Love to laugh
At my grandson dancing to the Wiggles.

Love to learn
About the laws of attraction and what makes us human.

Monday 3 April 2017

What You Need to Know about Writers' Retreats

with Enisa Haines

Distraction. Procrastination. Muse on strike.

Image courtesy of:

If you're unfocused and time-poor one way to boost your creativity is a writers' retreat set in serene, inspiring surroundings. Imagine spending hours in your own room focused on your writing and getting the words out. I could. And after that time of uninterrupted writing you can take breaks for meals to replenish your energy and go for walks through the forest or along the meandering creek to inspire your muse. Spending time with other writers and learning about various aspects of the craft from each other is an added bonus.

Image courtesy of:

There are many different types of retreat:
You can get away alone - the Solo Retreat. You and a few writer friends can allocate time together - the Do-it-Yourself Group Retreat. You can connect with a small group of other writers - the Communal Retreat. Choices to suit every writer, that's a plus.

If you don't want to travel far, the local library, park, community centre room or a cafe are great locations to get away and write undisturbed.

Image courtesy of:

If you are able to travel far from life's distractions and obligations, then there are houses, lodges or country hotels offering rooms, desks, bathrooms, all set within idyllic scenery and available worldwide.

Image courtesy of:

If you can take a day away and treat yourself to a place where you can let your creativity loose, do so. I would. If you can steal a weekend, a week or a month away, even better. However long the time you take a writers' retreat will motivate you to write. Wether you take it alone, with writer friends or writers you will connect with for the first time, a writers' retreat will inspire you. Whatever your goal, a writers' retreat will help you reach it.

And that, for writers, is priceless.

Have you attended a writers' retreat? Did you find it beneficial for your writing?

Love to love that I'm going on a writers' retreat in Wales in December.

Image courtesy of:
Love to laugh: Am I crazy trading the hot sun for a cold that will freeze my bones? Oh, the lengths writers go to for their craft!

Love to learn: Connecting with other like-minded writers is always a plus.