Téa is giving away a digital copy of her other historical, Lily’s Leap, to one randomly-chosen commenter. Be sure to (1) answer the blog question, and (2) leave your email address in your comment. Good luck!
Hi Susana, Thanks for inviting me to your blog once more!
We’re back in Wollombi again for my second Australian historical romance and this time I thought I’d tell you a little about Wollombi’s Aboriginal history. (It used to be pronounced ‘Wu-lum-bee’, though today it is pronounced Wo, as in wok – lum, as in thumb and bi, as in buy).
Wollombi is an aboriginal word meaning meeting place or meeting place of the waters. Three brooks converge in Wollombi—Congewai Creek, Wollombi Creek and Yango Creek—and for thousands of years, the Awabakal, Darkinjung and Wanaruah people used the area as a ceremonial meeting place. The place is seeped in a history that goes far back far beyond European settlement.
Mount Yengo stands guard over the village. It is said to be the spot where Baiame, the Creator God and Sky Father jumped back up to the spirit world after he created all the rivers, mountains, and forests which is why it has a flat top.
The sandstone hills surrounding are littered with caves worn by the rising waters of the creeks and the winds that whistle through the valley. Many of them are on private property (mine included) and have the most wonderful aboriginal art.
There’s a rock that is said to be Tiddalik the frog and I couldn’t help but include it in Matilda’s Freedom.
Jem is an aboriginal stockman and he tells Matilda and Kit’s sisters the story of Tiddalik the Frog but there isn’t— to the best of my knowledge—a cave below him; that was little bit of poetic license, but nevertheless the story is well-known and told to children throughout Australia.
Here’s an excerpt from Matilda’s Freedom. Jem is quite a character and appears in Lily’s Leap as well. I hope you reading about him as much as I enjoyed writing him.
Matilda settled back to listen as Jem’s deep, dark voice filled the cave. ‘Tiddalik was a giant frog who lived in the Wollombi Valley back in the Dreaming. One day, he woke up and he was very, very thirsty.’ Jem’s eyes bulged as he licked his lips and clutched his parched throat.
Beth giggled and copied him.
‘He was so thirsty he began to drink from the brook, but instead of drinking only what he needed, he continued to gulp the water, not caring about anybody else. In the end, he took so much his tummy nearly burst.’ Cheeks protruding and eyes wide, Jem rolled from side-to-side. ‘He was so full he could hardly move away from the empty creek. All the other animals got really worried. With no water, they’d die. They knew they had to get Tiddalik to give some of the water back up. They got together and made a plan—if they could make Tiddalik laugh, he would bring all the water back up and everyone could share. In the end, the eel made him laugh, and all the animals could survive and enjoy life.’
Matilda glanced at the girls, waiting for their appreciation of the happy-ever-after ending. Jem, however, had more to tell. He lifted his index finger to the roof of the cave and raised his bushy eyebrows. ‘Tiddalik, though, he was punished for his greed. He turned into stone and sits just up there,’ he inclined his head to the roof of the cave, ‘punished for being greedy and not thinking about others.’
‘And so we call this Tiddalik’s cave,’ said Beth, breaking the ominous silence. ‘It’s not really, because he wouldn’t fit in here. Would he, Jem?’
‘You’re right, Beth. He wouldn’t fit; he’s way too big. But it’s a safe place to be when the water comes.’
Isn’t it fun to hear about folk tales like this? Tell us about one from your neck of the woods!
About Matilda’s Freedom
An unconventional woman clashes with colonial society in this spicy and sweet Australian-set historical romance.
His carefree bachelor days over, Christopher Matcham returns to Sydney to take responsibility for his mother, two stepsisters, and the family property. Fortune smiles on him when he is introduced to Matilda Sweet, a woman in need of work. Though unusual, Christopher senses that her fresh ideals and positive outlook can only benefit his sisters, so he hires her as a companion.
By the time they arrive at Christopher’s family home, the two are fast friends. But Matilda’s unorthodox ways and her convict heritage make her a second class citizen to the family. Christopher has responsibilities, and they include an advantageous match. A breeches-wearing, fish-pond-swimming, plain-talking convict’s daughter will never fit in. After all, romance is a luxury the upper classes cannot afford…
Digital Edition: AU$4.99 | ISBN: 9780857990600| Length: 59,000 words
Publication Date: July 1, 2013 | PDF – MOBI – EPUB | Historical Romance
Sydney, Autumn 1856
‘Paris is a city of contradictions—rich and poor, the glamorous and the debauched—and I loved every moment of it.’
Christopher Matcham turned his head as the girl’s breath caught, although he was uncertain whether the sound was from shock or delight. In another situation, he might have interpreted it as a sign of pleasure. Rocking back in his chair, he stared across the table at the delectable Miss Matilda Sweet.
Matilda radiated vitality and vivacity. In the flickering candlelight, her skin had an almost amber hue, highlighting her honeyed hair. Her wide eyes beckoned to him, and a tiny pulse flickered along her elegant neck. She might be a currency lass and of convict stock, but her looks were far from disappointing. She was so different from the women of Sydney society—and that of Paris.
‘Kit, I think you’re getting worse with age instead of better. Remember, there are ladies present.’
The delighted grin on Emily Bainbridge’s face belied her husband’s words. ‘Richard, don’t be such a stuffed shirt. I would love to hear about Paris. We get so little news from elsewhere, and I’m sure Matilda doesn’t mind.’
The girl smiled and lowered her eyes behind lashes that would have done a courtesan proud. Her hand fluttered to the column of her throat.
‘I am totally fascinated. I cannot imagine what Paris must be like. They say half the world visited the city for the Exhibition Universelle.’
Matilda’s low contralto rippled across his skin like a warm brandy, and the temptation to lean across the table and inhale her scent was almost overpowering. Clearing his throat, Christopher dragged his eyes away from her generous mouth and made an effort to pay due attention to his host and hostess.
‘Paris is certainly a fascinating city, full of intriguing layers. The upper classes cling to the skirts of the Emperor and Empress while on the seamier side, the commoners flex their muscles and enjoy life. The cafés are open day and night, and the entertainment is outrageous. La chahut dancers have claimed the streets as their own. Their acrobatic skills are phenomenal. The dancers kick their legs so high they can remove a man’s hat and then, of course, display delightful glimpses of their under—’
About the Author
Téa writes contemporary and historical romantic fiction featuring strong-minded women and sexy Australian men. Love and life Down Under isn’t always easy. Her heroes and heroines have to fight long and hard for what they believe in before they reach their happy ever after.
Matilda’s Freedom is Téa’s second Australian historical romance. Her first Lily’s Leap is available now and she is currently working on her third Face of an Angel set on a schooner somewhere between Hobart and Sydney.
Her three contemporary romances Tree Change, The Protea Boys and Passionfruit & Poetry are available on Amazon.
To keep up with all of Téa’s news, visit her website www.teacooperauthor.com where you will find links to her blog and social media pages.
Previous posts by Téa Cooper on Susana’s Morning Room
Tree Change, a contemporary Australian romance
The Protea Boys, a contemporary Australian romance
Lily’s Leap, a historical set in Australia
Passionfruit & Poetry, a contemporary Australian romance
Images Wikipaedia Commons and JohnLCoombesPhotography