Elsa’s Stand

Today the wonderful, witty and wise Cathryn Hein is visiting my blog. If you haven’t tried any of her rural romances then you’re in for a treat. She writes clever heartwarming stories that often have cheeky, memorable animals in danger of stealing centre stage.

Her latest release, ELSA’S STAND, is part of a series and I loved the first two books by Kelly Hunter and Victoria Purman. You don’t need to read them first, but I’m sure you’ll want to read them after you’re devoured ELSA’S STAND. And make sure you read all the way through today’s blog post! There may just be a giveaway hiding in there somewhere 🙂

Please welcome Cathryn!


Hi everyone and a big thank you hug to you, Helene, for having me on your blog today. I’m delighted to be here and very excited to be chatting about my new release Elsa’s Stand.

Elsa’s Stand is part of Outback Brides, a stunning new contemporary rural romance series set in the historic gold rush town of Wirralong, in the shadow of Victoria’s magnificent Grampians, and includes stories from fellow Aussie authors Kelly Hunter, Victoria Purman and Fiona McArthur.

It’s taken longer than I thought, but I’ve finally written about an area I’ve adored since childhood. I first visited the Grampians as a youngster and continued to do so into adulthood. It’s only a couple of hour’s drive from my home town of Mount Gambier and its southern-most tip, Mount Sturgeon, has mesmerised travellers on the Glenelg Highway for years. Its peak seems to stare stony-faced over the landscape like a mighty god.


I can still remember my dad walking out to the very end of The Pinnacle, a rocky spur that offers a stunning view over the ranges and Halls Gap, far below. This was in the days of no safety barriers, not even a warning sign. I was very young – perhaps 6 or 7 – and that thin wedge of rock looked frighteningly narrow, terrifyingly high and too fragile to take the weight of a bird let alone my dad. I bawled the entire time he was out there, convinced he was going to overbalance and fall, or that thin needle of rock was going to snap off and send him hurtling into the abyss below.

Despite his horsing around neither happened, but it remains a vivid memory and I’m still not great with heights. My dad used to pick up snakes for fun too, usually when we were out rabbitting and miles from help. And the man wonders why I have phobias. Sheesh.

These days I visit the area to see a girlfriend and her family, who live nearby, to the east of Halls Gap. In fact, the landscape in Elsa’s Standmight bear a suspicious similarity to that around my friend’s place. Hey, a girl’s got to take her inspiration where she can!

Jack, the gorgeous hero of Elsa’s Stand, often finds himself looking toward the ranges, pondering his life, his newly inherited property Strathroy and its legendary sapphires, and, more frequently, Elsa. She’s fire and sky, just like the opals he used to mine near Lightning Ridge. Is their indisputable chemistry enough to make him stay? He thinks so, but love is never so easy.

Not in my romances, at least!

Elsa’s Stand is available in ebook and print today from your favourite online retailer.


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Elsa’s Stand by Cathryn Hein

When the sudden death of his mother forces outback opal miner Jack Hargreaves home to Wirralong, his plan is simple: mourn his mother, sort out the family farm, and get the hell out of the town that has always hated him. But Elsa O’Donoghue, the beautiful hairdresser with a big heart and even brighter smile, has other plans.

From the moment Jack strides into her salon and helps himself to her clippers, Elsa is in lust. He might be a poster boy for the strong silent type, but she senses there’s a good man behind that stoic facade. With her business taking off, Elsa is finally ready for a relationship and Jack is just her kind of man. Not to mention, she’s never said no to a challenge.

Worried their association will harm Elsa’s business, Jack tries to avoid her, but Elsa is irresistible. Soon, she has him believing and hoping for a future with her in Wirralong, but another family tragedy shatters Jack’s fragile dream. Jack knows he must leave Elsa to protect her, no matter the cost to himself.

Doesn’t that sound like a whole lot of love going somewhere to happen? I’m mid-way through the book now – and I really should be packing for today’s trip to Lake Macquarie where Cathryn and I are joining up with Christine Wells and Janette Paul for a couple of author events at the libraries – but it’s sooooo hard to put down!

To go into the running for a copy of ELSA’S STAND tell us about your favourite/worst hairdressing experience. Do you love the head massage, the blow dry, flicking through magazines, chatting, changing colour? Changing styles? I’m ridiculously loyal to my hairdressers – I now have three scattered around the country so I can always find one to help me look my best!

We’ll draw the winner on Friday 20th July and announce that here in the comments. Meanwhile, happy reading to you all!!


35 thoughts on “Elsa’s Stand

  1. My hairdresser Jill has been doing my hair since I was a tweenager and her barely qualified. we have a great friendship catching up on everything every 6 weeks and I just plonk myself in the chair and she knows exactly what I need, be it a restyle or just colour , foils and a trim… I couldn’t be without her expertise and friendship. I have told her on many occassions she is never to retire as there will never be another as good as her.

  2. Thank you all for sharing your hairdressing stories. Seems like we all appreciate a head massage and a reliable haircut – not to mention time to relax!

    Delores, congratulations!!! Capt G drew your name out of the hat so if you email me your postal address I’ll nip ashore tomorrow and send Elsa’s Stand out to you.

    Thanks again, everyone, happy reading and enjoy your weekend what ever you have planned!

  3. My hairdresser is a wonder and I’ve been happy with her for several years now and value her greatly. Previously I had so many disasters I lost count, the worst a colour where I wanted to keep my head in a bag for weeks! Good hairdressers are worth their weight in gold.

    • Oh Trish, that colour disaster must have been a nightmare! Now I’ve gone natural I stress a whole lot less over hairdressers – although a cut I had in Townsville was unbelievably uneven and took weeks to grow out…

  4. My hairdresser is a friend of mine and we share our stories of our children( we both have kids with special needs) and they are in the same class, it’s so good to talk to someone who understands! And it’s the only time we catch up! And her head massagers are great!!

    • That must be very therapeutic for both of you, Judy. Great to talk to someone who understands. And a head massage is such a wonderful way to relax even if it’s only for 5 minutes!

  5. I have a great hairdresser who lived nextdoor to me for a couple of years. Her little boy of about 2 1/2 oneday escaped from his front garden into my front garden and was holding onto my flagpole. The first I knew was my husband telling me there was a naked man in the front garden. Yes he was undressed. He then decided he should visit me by grabbing the flywire security door and rattling it. His mum is one of the first hairdressers who has been able to cut my hair in a style I like and suits me. Thank you Jade for being an understanding hairdresser and listener to my needs
    Thankyou for the chance to win what sounds like another great book written by a great Aussie author. Xxxxx

    • Oh that’s so cute! A naked small man in your garden 🙂 How lovely that you’ve found a hairdresser who’s in tune to you, Jenny. They really are treasures. When we first moved to Cairns I kept going back to Brisbane to my hairdresser there until he retired. Then I found one I loved in Cairns and when we moved back to Brisbane I had to search all over again. I’m so glad I have lovely Kodie at The Halo Room who sorts me out anytime I’m travelling through Brisbane. Although Danielle in Melbourne did a great job as did Scott in Hobart! My collection is growing 🙂

      And thanks for being part of the conversation 🙂

  6. I had a perm which was a disaster, so bad that my hair had to be cut short. now I have found a hairdresser who listens to what I want, creates my ‘natural’ colour and styles it as I ask. Free coffee and pleasant conversation. I come away renewed.

    • Sounds like a lovely way to spend a couple of hours! That must have been confronting having a perm failure, Sonia… My Dad always used to say there was a week between a good haircut and a bad one but I can’t say I agree with him!

  7. Finding a good hairdresser is a must, and I do miss those in my home town, now I live so far away! They are so helpful – while talking about an upcoming costume party a few years ago, the lovely ladies handed me some wigs for my boyfriend and his best mate, the perfect finish to their (very raunchy/revealing) outfits! All they asked for was to see a pic of the result – of course I obliged 🙂

  8. My hairdresser is my cousin and I love how she comes and we have coffee and a natter before she cuts or colours my hair. I love you how I can say you pick the colour and she never picks wrong

  9. There was that one time when my hairdresser cried into my hair. He’s just broken up with his girlfriend….

  10. A trial do for my wedding. Went to a hairdresser with a picture of a soft updo, you know kinda wavey and natural swept up in an elegant way at the back. Well my goodness!!! Took 3 hours as she was always going off to someone else, washed it, tied in rollers so tight it brought tears, took them out brushed and faffed till the effect of the rollers was gone, stitched my hair up to my head with over 100 hair pins, used half a can of hairspray. By the end I was fighting back tears and just paid and left to get out of the place. Always regretted not going back and telling her she was a disaster. Straight home and into the shower. In the end my mum did my hair and it was lovely
    Thanks for the opportunity!!!

    • Oh my lord… You poor thing, Rachel, I feel your pain. I had a disaster just before my wedding when the hairdresser I was supposed to see sold the salon. The new owners didn’t tell me and I turned up for my pre-wedding cut and colour. What a disaster… The colour was wrong, my straight edge bob looked like a ragged doll cut and they spilled bleach down my shirt. I walked out in tears at the end only to find a message from my old hairdresser telling me where he’d moved to. Sigh… He did fix it but I was married with a much shorter hair style than I’d imagined!

  11. I do follow around a good hairdresser, but I must say they change their address so often I usually give up and look for another. I decided a long time ago that a head massage was the best reason to go to the hairdressers. forget the hair just do the massage/

    • That is a downside. My wonderful hairdresser in Cairns moved town and the changed career. But my beautiful girl in Brisbane at The Halo Room has always let me know where she was moving to 🙂 And now I have a lovely guy in Hobart and another gorgeous girl in Melbourne!

  12. Oh I remember back in the days of PERM!!! How many times did I get a perm and come out of the hairdressers looking like I had an afro!!! Wow. Glad those days are gone!
    It is always hard to find a great hairdresser but when you do make sure you keep them!

    • I never had a perm but I was always slightly envious of women sitting there having rods wound into their hair for hours on end! And yes, a good hairdresser is to be cherished 🙂

    • I remember perms, Donna! I had many and I still hanker for one every now and then. They weren’t so great brand new, but when they started to soften… wowsers. All those sexy curls. Well, we thought they were sexy, didn’t we?

  13. The head/scalp massage without a doubt is always the best part of going to the hairdresser & a good one will put me to sleep

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