Category Archives: Writing

A Chat with Andrea Patten

Andrea Patten with Inner Critic

Like many of us, Andrea Patten has been writing books — at least imaginary ones — since she could first hold a crayon. A favorite place to play was her grandmother’s desk with its endless supply of scrap paper from Gram’s classroom projects. “I’d spend hours on my stories, adding colorful covers and carefully stapling each masterpiece together. I loved writing “by Andrea Patten” in my best version of fancy handwriting on those covers.”

So, of course, one of the places her writer’s journey frequently took her was to ghostwriting. So much for the byline, huh?

“I worked for several people whose vision was far more inspiring than their ability to share it. I’m not sure how it happened the first time, but it was never uncommon for my immediate supervisor or her boss to stop by my desk and ask me to “have a look” at a speech, an article, a letter, or a memo before sharing with a wider audience.”

But those experiences helped her learn to write in different styles and voices: a CEO’s speech to motivate the staff required different writing chops than persuading legislators to provide funds for homeless teens.

“I wrote curricula and reports, financial disclosures and direct mail pieces… Brochures, classified ads, grant applications, staff bios, and company histories. It was excellent training and helped me appreciate the impact good writing can have,” says Patten.

Eventually, Andrea started to discover her voice as a writer. It’s honest, straightforward, and often funny.

“I worked in human services for a long time and wanted to continue to help people. I realized that part of that might come from sharing some of the fascinating ideas I’d picked up along the way. What Kids Need to Succeed is a book I wrote for parents, but it includes wisdom from the business world: when setting goals and making plans, start with the desired outcome in mind. Part of that book’s purpose was to help parents stop getting discouraged with day-to-day challenges and think about the bigger picture: raising future adults.”

Her latest release has similar roots. “Everybody talks about the Inner Critic, but most of the available advice doesn’t work. You can try to ignore “that voice” until you’re blue in the face but that’s not enough: the name of the game is to get it on your side… to make it an ally. You can learn to use its’ energy to your advantage.”

And, to anyone who has struggled with an Inner Critic (or Inner Editor or Inner Bully) this is very good news, indeed.

Here’s an excerpt from The Inner Critic Advantage: Making Peace With the Noise in Your Head by Andrea Patten

A few million years ago, when the inner alarm bell sounded, all stress was short-lived: prehistoric primates either responded and escaped or became part of the predator’s buffet. Period. Either way, intense stress did not last long.

Modern stress is different. It’s cumulative — and from the lizard brain’s point of view — relentless. From the jarring sound of the alarm to the gloom and doom news report that accompanies morning coffee, there’s no break. Commuting. Car horns. Caffeine. Kardashians. And that’s even before you get to work.

Most of us don’t pay attention to regular, vanilla stress. It gets stuffed because we think we should be able to handle it. We tamp it down or ignore it and assume we should be able to just power through.

Can you imagine the impact this has on the primitive part of the brain? From that perspective, we’re ignoring death threats which tends to make it cranky. Louder. More insistent. No wonder it wants to take over — you’re not paying attention and giving it relief.

Remember, the survival center’s job is to alert us to potential threats: it is NOT for deep thinking, nuance, delicate wording or high-level negotiation.

Continuing to ignore the needs of our primitive brains can lead to chronic stress, making us unreasonable and sometimes causing arguments. I don’t think that’s what it intends to do — it’s really just the old brain’s way of trying to get your attention.

To help you. When trying to get along with people at work or seeking compromise with a loved one, we need to get that thing tucked in.

Despite the problems it has caused for you, there’s much to respect and appreciate about that old brain. It:
• loves you and wants to keep you safe,
• is part of your hardwired survival mechanism,
• constantly scans your environment for threats, and • will not back down until it has been heard.

It takes hard work and a special sort of mindfulness to turn an Inner Critic into an ally, but do you have what it takes to turn it into an advantage?

##

Check with your local indie bookstore for the softcover version of The Inner Critic Advantage: Making Peace With the Noise in Your Head by Andrea Patten. It is also available in e-book or softcover on amazon.com
Here is the Amazon link for all US formats.
Here is the link for Amazon UK. Andrea Patten-cover

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Filed under Andrea Patten, thoughts, Writing

The Trouble to Check Her Blog Tour: Guest Post by Maria Grace

We have a guest with us today.  Please enjoy this excellent post by Maria Grace.  Maria Grace is currently engaged in a blog tour promoting her new book, THE TROUBLE TO CHECK HER, a Pride and Prejudice re imaging focused on Lydia Bennet.  I have read it and enjoyed it very much.

 

The Dance of Courtship

To be fond of dancing was a certain step towards falling in lovePride and Prejudice, 1813

 

Jane Austen’s society was governed by strict rules regulating the interaction of the sexes. Young women were always chaperoned in the company of men, leaving the dance floor one of the only places that young people could interact a little more freely. Under cover of the music and in the guise of the dance, young people could talk, flirt and even touch in ways not permitted elsewhere, making it an ideal place to meet potential spouses and carry on a courtship.

 

Dance Partners

 

Every dance required a partner. During a public assembly, the Master of Ceremonies assisted couples by making introductions and suggesting partners to those who wished them. At a private ball, everyone was considered introduced, so any young man could ask any young woman to dance. A young lady signaled she was interested in dancing by pinning up the train of her gown. If asked to dance at a private event, she could not refuse unless she did not intend to dance for the rest of the night.

 

Gentlemen were expected to engage a variety of partners throughout the evening. Failing to do so was an affront to all the guests.  The way a gentleman asked for a dance could begin a subtle and powerful conversation with a woman which would not otherwise pass by the watchful eyes of chaperones.

 

The offer might be made with eye contact and a quick gesture toward the dance floor; a smile, a bow and flowery words; a sweaty palmed, stammered request; or even a shrug and an eye roll of ‘well, I suppose you will do.’ A gentleman might request a dance in advance—a definite compliment to the lady. On the other hand, saving more than two dances for a particular partner was detrimental to a young lady’s reputation. Even two dances signaled to observers that the gentleman in question had a particular interest in her.

 

Dancing

 

Balls might begin with a mixer dance in which dancers switch partners frequently, enabling dancers to ‘sample’ every partner on the floor. These provided an excellent opportunity to scope out partners for future sets, particularly if one was looking for someone of a particular skill level or personality to pair with.

How much can one learn in a fifteen- to thirty-second set of steps with a partner whose name you do not even know? Quite a bit actually. One might meet ‘Henry who lists to the left’ who leans to the left, does not hear the caller well, and easily confused. ‘Bob the leprechaun’ might be all smiles, but unable to count rhythm to save his life or his partners. ‘Dashing Dandy’ might be all too aware of the dashing figure he cuts to care much for his partner. ‘The Colonel’ could take himself and the dance very seriously and disapprove of missteps deeply.

Ladies too demonstrated their disposition on the dancefloor. The Bingley sisters, in very fancy gowns indeed, could be inclined to looked down their noses at less experienced dancers and effectively put them in their places. In contrast, Lady Congeniality might make it her place to make everyone feel welcome. Whomever might be there, the ball room floor was lively and full of characters.

The dances for the evening were all built from an array of standard steps.  Most of them were simple maneuvers like: partners turn by the right hand and two couples all join right hands and turn once around. Complex movements like figure eights, ‘hays’ and dancing down the set were included as well.  In many of the line-based dances, couples would ‘take hands four from the top’, that is they would form groups of two couples who would dance together for one repetition of the music. In simple dances, both couples would perform the same steps throughout the dance. More complicated dances might have the first and second couples executing completely different steps with one more complex than the other, as in Mr. Beveridge’s Maggot (featured in recent movie adaptations of both Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and Emma.)

At the end of that repetition, the final steps ‘progress’ couples into new groups of four, first couples moving down the set to be first couple in the group one down from their previous position, and second couples moving up. In order for progression to work, couples at the top and bottom of the set would wait out a repetition of the music and not dance. This waiting out period offered a prime opportunity for couples to interact relatively privately on the dance floor.

In the span of a several minutes-long repetition, dancers might exchange pleasantries, flirtations, or even cross words. Whatever their conversation, though, they still had to pay attention to the music and other dancers so as not to miss their entry back into the set. At the next repetition they would rejoin the set, switching their role in the dance from first to second or second to first couple.

Not all dances offer these ‘time out’ periods. Circle dances and those done in sets of two or three couples required dancers to participate constantly, so little or no conversation might take place.  Even so, a great deal of dance floor communication is possible without dialogue.

Speaking without Words

Eye contact could play a huge role in dance floor tête-à-têtes.  From a practical standpoint, the eye contact made for a useful way to stave off dizziness from many rapid turns, but it has the potential for so much more. Eye contact might range from friendly and flirtatious to downright intrusive. Some partners engaging in constant eye contact, could hold their partners an intense, almost physical grip. Such exchanges could become demanding and intimate, isolating the couple in a room full of people.

Some partners might offer little in the way of eye contact, even to the point of avoiding any direct gaze with their partner. An avoidant partner could silently communicate a variety of things, from their own insecurity with the dance steps to distain for their partner.

Subtle physical contact on the dance floor, usually restricted to taking hands or joining arms at the elbow for a turn, also speaks volumes. Hands might be taken, barely touching and only as long as necessary, or held reverently, lingering as long as possible in the connection. In moves like passing ones partner in the middle of the line or circling back to back, how close or how far away ones partner remains communicates a strong message.

The way partners dance together creates a conversation of facial expression and body language as eloquent as the finest speeches.  A more experienced dancer can subtly and patiently assist a less certain dancer through complex steps with glances and subtle gestures, encouraging and praising with eyes and smiles.  Conversely, experienced dancers can declare disdain and even judgment on a struggling dancer even to the point of rough pushing or pulling that dancer into their correct position.

Partners who are equally anxious about getting the steps right, and good humored in their anxiety, could assist one another, laugh at missteps, and celebrate their victorious achievements progressing through a series of complicated steps. The experience could create a bond over the shared challenge. A gentleman might even kiss a lady’s hand after surviving such a trial—a most romantic gesture indeed.

When two proficient dancers partner, the flow of their coordinated movements could create a connection between them, linking them in purpose and action. The communication and energy flowing between them can be visceral and compelling, poignant as the deepest conversation.

Each dance itself possessed its own character, some being staid and elegant and others playful and flirtatious. Lord Byron’s Maggot—by the way, a maggot referred to a catchy tune, what we would today call an ‘ear worm’—suits its namesake. One set of steps involved a woman a man with a flirtatious ‘come hither’ beckon to follow her. The three couple dance, Hunt the Squiril (sic) requires the first couple to chase each other, weaving through the other dancers.  These suggestive moves could be made as token gestures or with sincere energy.

It is easy to see how in the period, where conversation was restricted to ‘polite’ topics and interactions between unmarried individuals were strictly chaperoned, the dance floor offered the one place where open expression was considered acceptable. There, individuals could be dramatic, funny and flirtatious without censure from society at large—provided of course that they did not take their self-expression too far. Therein lays the power and allure of the dance floor for hero and heroine, for there alone might they express what they could not say directly.

The Trouble to Check Her Cover

Take a peek at the book blurb for THE TROUBLE TO CHECK HER!

 Lydia Bennet faces the music…

Running off with Mr. Wickham was a great joke—until everything turned arsey-varsey.  That spoilsport Mr. Darcy caught them and packed Lydia off to a hideous boarding school for girls who had lost their virtue.

It would improve her character, he said.

Ridiculous, she said.

Mrs. Drummond, the school’s headmistress, has shocking expectations for the girls. They must share rooms, do chores, attend lessons, and engage in charitable work, no matter how well born they might be. She even forces them to wear mobcaps! Refusal could lead to finding themselves at the receiving end of Mrs. Drummond’s cane—if they were lucky. The unlucky ones could be dismissed and found a position … as a menial servant.

Everything and everyone at the school is uniformly horrid. Lydia hates them all, except possibly the music master, Mr. Amberson, who seems to have the oddest ideas about her. He might just understand her better than she understands herself.

Can she find a way to live up to his strange expectations, or will she spend the rest of her life as a scullery maid?

Buy Links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01CTLTE6I

BN NOOK:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-trouble-to-check-her-maria-grace/1123601415

KOBO:  https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/the-trouble-to-check-her

Meet the Author!

Though Maria Grace has been writing fiction since she was ten years old, those early efforts happily reside in a file drawer and are unlikely to see the light of day again, for which many are grateful. After penning five file-drawer novels in high school, she took a break from writing to pursue college and earn her doctorate in Educational Psychology. After 16 years of university teaching, she returned to her first love, fiction writing.

 

She has one husband, two graduate degrees and two black belts, three sons, four undergraduate majors, five nieces, six new novels in the works, attended seven period balls, sewn eight Regency era costumes, shared her life with nine cats through the years and published her tenth book last year.

 

She can be contacted at:

author.MariaGrace@gmail.com

Facebook:

http://facebook.com/AuthorMariaGrace

G+:

https://plus.google.com/u/0/103065128923801481737/posts

On Amazon.com:

http://amazon.com/author/mariagrace

Random Bits of Fascination (http://RandomBitsofFascination.com)

Austen Variations (http://AustenVariations.com)

English Historical Fiction Authors

(http://EnglshHistoryAuthors.blogspot.com)

On Twitter @WriteMariaGrace

On Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/mariagrace423/

Maria Grace, author

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Filed under 19th century England, Blog Hop, Jane Austen, Writing

The Writing Process Blog Hop

Best-selling author Patrick Redmond (his latest novel is THE REPLACEMENT) was kind enough to tag me for the Writing Process blog hop. You can visit his blog here: http://patrickredmondbooks.com/blog/2014/04/21/writing-process-blog-hop . He had been tagged by Marie MacPherson, author of THE FIRST BLAST OF THE TRUMPET, (Her blog is HERE http://mariemacpherson.wordpress.com/2014/04/14/writing-process-blog-hop-2 ) who encouraged me to participate. I thank them both!

A few simple rules apply to this blog hop: 1. You publish on a Monday the week after being tagged and answer four questions and 2. Link back to the blogs of the person who tagged you to let him or her know you appreciate it. On to the questions…

Question1: What am I working on right now? I am working on another novel set in the late Georgian/Regency era, a romantic historical novel involving a young woman coming into her own. She is rather shy and uncertain of her place in her world, and is not very trusting of her own abilities and choices. I also have notes for a sequel to my first published work in process, as well as a non-fiction project.

Question 2: How does my work differ from others of its genre? This question is almost impossible to answer. I would like to think that my personal tastes, values and interests influence my characters and their stories. However, since one or another of my characters takes over at some point, other issues and viewpoints can creep in. It is impossible to keep my own feelings out of the story, but sometimes the characters take the story into directions I had not planned initially.

Question 3: Why do I write what I do? I write what I enjoy reading. I have always loved historical novels, whether romantic or otherwise. Historical novels can provide painless doses of historical information that inspire the reader to find out more. They take the reader away to another time and place. They introduce the reader to characters that will hopefully become almost alive, people one would like to befriend or the villain that one loves to hate. Novels explore the human condition, emotions, reactions-characters in a novel sometimes show us something about ourselves. Historical details of time and place can give us parallels to our own time and place-we can see how far we have come in some respects and how some things remain constant in others. Although I love novels that have a grand sweep of stirring events, my favourites tend to involve the personal, the interactions of normal people in their own daily lives and, if possible, a happy ending.

Question 4: How does my writing process work? I must confess that I don’t have a set process. The beginning varies. It may start with a “What if…” question. Sometimes a character wakes up in my mind. Occasionally, scraps of a dream become an inspiration. Once I have the initial idea, I try to identify the characters whose voices will be the main ones for my story. I flesh out those characters first: name, description, likes and dislikes, talents and interests, family background. Research is crucial. Although I tend to focus on the personal lives of my characters, sometimes real people creep in. I also want the place descriptions to fit, the locality to be accurate. While I want my characters to be unique and appealing, I also want them to be true to their time and place. I make a general outline of the plot, and add notes of details I want to include. Then I do more research. Sometimes the writing comes quickly, other times, not so much… Then that little piece fits into the puzzle and I’m off again. I reread and edit as I go along, to make sure that the story line fits together.

Who is next? I would like to tag

Barbara Monajem
Barbara Monajem writes award-winning historical romance and paranormal mysteries, including THE MAJIC OF HIS TOUCH, UNDER A NEW YEAR’S ENCHANTMENT and her most recent BACK TO BITE YOU, due out May 1st! She blogs with the Pink Fuzzy Slipper Writers HERE http://pinkfuzzyslipperwriters.blogspot.com/ and has her own website HERE http://www.barbaramonajem.com/
Barbara Monajem-Under A New Years Enchantment-Harlequin 2014

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Introducing THE RUSE by Felicia Rogers

It’s Christmas time, and books make fantastic gifts. Author Felicia Rogers is offering a holiday special of her novel, The Ruse, just in time for a last-minute gift, or for one’s self if looking for something to read when it’s too wintery outside! Felicia is a new author for me as well-we’re all for a treat! She has provided the post below-take a look…

The Ruse, Andrews Brothers, Book One

The Ruse

The fix is in…but her heart can’t be fooled.

Luke Andrews, Baron of Stockport, is in trouble. He needs a wealthy bride to secure future funds for his financially shaky estate, but the belle of the London season is a spoiled terror with an arrogant father. They’d try the nerves of a saint and Luke can’t quite bring himself to make an offer he knows he’d regret.

Meanwhile, Luke’s half-brother Chadwick never could resist a good game of Faro, or anything else, for that matter. With the baron away, Chadwick will play — gambling the estate’s remaining funds into oblivion. He needs to devise his own scheme to replace the money he’s lost, before his brother returns.

In Stockport village, Brigitta Blackburn doesn’t have two sticks to rub together — literally. With the estate in financial distress and rents high, food and wood are scarce. When she sneaks onto the baron’s land to steal some firewood, she’s caught, hauled before the play-acting “baron,” Chadwick, and offered a solution to her plight… and his.

But Chadwick’s ruse embroils them all. How can Brigitta accept what she thinks to be true, when she really yearns to follow her heart?

–a traditional Regency novel

Buy it Now:
Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/lkdksyd
Amazon UK: http://tinyurl.com/lt2lwkn

On sale for 0.99 from Dec. 24th to Dec. 29th!!!

****

See what one reader said about The Ruse:

By Kivey on Amazon: I honestly LOVED this book it was so awesome. Luke is a hunk and his brother well you all will see if you read it :). This book was very suspenseful. I was on the edge of my seat and laughed the heroine is just sooooo spunky. She is truly one heroine I wouldn’t want to mess with.

Excerpt:
Fountains bubbled and birds landed in the baths. Luke took the long trail and walked by the fishing pond and hunting grounds. A rock jutted out from the mountain and Luke paused, blocking the sun from his face.
From his high perch, the ruins of Stockport Castle tumbled across the green below. He remembered being a lad and staring at the ruins while holding tightly to his father’s hand. His father’s vivid descriptions had almost made him feel as if he’d walked through the hallowed halls that lay destroyed.
Reality of how things that stood the test of time could still plunge into nothingness gnawed at his innards and he wished his father was around to offer wisdom.
Downhearted, he shoved his hands in his pockets and turned. Upon approaching the manse, he knitted his brows. A line of people gathered. Behind them, carriages lined the road almost as far away as the village.
He strode toward the crowd and joined them. Raindrops fell and he tugged his top hat lower. The throng groaned and waved umbrellas aloft. Before them the manse doors parted and they entered the east wing of the estate.
Tourists dressed in fine frocks with plumed hats filed into the main room, staring avidly about at his home. An individual Luke had never seen acted as a guide, lifting his hands and pointing at one side of the curved staircase. There a woman of refined grace descended.
The guide announced, “Introducing Baroness Stockport, Brigitta Andrews.”
Luke blinked rapidly as the woman turned, smiled, and waved. The crowd returned her actions. She continued to descend until she reached the landing, where she stopped.
From the opposite set of stairs, his half-brother Chadwick, dressed in regal attire, descended. The red coat emphasized his broad shoulders, which he held back. His face scrunched, he didn’t look at the crowd, but instead focused a look filled with unrequited hatred toward the woman on the landing.
The guide lifted his hand toward Chadwick and said, “Introducing the Baron of Stockport.”
Luke covered his gasp and huddled deeper into his coat. What is the meaning of this?
Before any further thoughts could drift through Luke’s mind, Chadwick stopped in the middle of the stairs and shouted, “And just what do you think you’re wearing?”
The woman bristled. “I’m wearing the yellow today, my lord.”
“The yellow? Blah. I’ve told you I detest yellow. Get thee upstairs and change this instant.” He pointed his finger above and the lady cocked a brow and glared.
“You will not tell me what to do! I’m the baroness and I can do as I please. If I want to wear yellow, then I shall wear yellow!”
Chadwick didn’t waver and Brigitta hitched her skirts and ran upstairs. Chadwick faced the crowd and apologized for his wife’s behavior before casually turning on his heel and leaving himself.
Shocked, Luke blindly followed the crowd. The guide led them through the entire east wing. They studied the wall of family portraits, swooned over the ancient family heirlooms, and ended with a riding tour of the grounds.
With each new sight his ire increased. While he’d been strangled initially by feelings of cold, blind rage, the trip on horseback through the grounds cooled his temper and now he was naught but confused.
The event ended and the visitors left in their carriages. Discreetly, Luke sneaked into the house through a downstairs window and raced on tiptoe to his chambers. He sat at a desk and pondered until his head ached. Finally, he pulled the servant’s rope that led directly to his personal valet’s room. He paced, his mind jumbled with nonsensical thoughts. The door opened and he blurted, “Jarvis, I have a problem.”
The valet entered and closed the door. A blank stare covered his face as he blurted, “My lord, we weren’t expecting you. Welcome home.”
“There is something foul at play here.”
Jarvis squinted, lifted his nose, and sniffed.
“Not an odor, Jarvis.”
He lowered his chin. “Excuse me, your lordship, but I fail to understand your meaning.”
Without pretense, Luke said, “In the east wing, Chadwick is pretending to be me!”
“Are you sure?” asked Jarvis, his voice lending to a squeak.
He rounded on the servant. “Yes, I’m sure! They called his name as the Baron of Stockport and last I checked that was me!”

Buy The Ruse on Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/lkdksyd
Buy The Ruse on Amazon UK: http://tinyurl.com/lt2lwkn

ROMANCE AUTHOR
Felicia Rogers

Felicia Rogers

Felicia Rogers is an author of eight novels and two novellas. When she’s not writing, Felicia volunteers with the Girl Scouts of America, teaches at a local homeschooling group, hikes, and spends time with her family.

To find out more information about Felicia Rogers use the links below. She loves hearing from readers.

Website: http://www.feliciarogersauthor.weebly.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FeliciaRogersAuthor
Email: feliciarogersauthor@yahoo.com
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/FeliciaRogers

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Filed under Love story, Regency society, Romance, Writing

Something Special…

Cover Jane Austen 'My Dear Cassandra' 001

A very special package came to me from England the other day. A dear friend sent me a copy of The Illustrated letters Jane Austen ‘My Dear Cassandra’. She sent it because she knows my love of all things Austen, and knew I would enjoy it. And I do…

I never liked reading letters written by famous people before. Somehow, I felt like it was an intrusion on the writer’s privacy, even when the writer was long gone. It’s hard to really “get” letters sometimes-you weren’t there for the inside jokes. When it’s an historical figure, there is so much background information that you don’t have. Context can be difficult. As I got older, however, I acquired a taste for reading them. One gains so much insight about the writer and his or her time. It is amazing, sometimes, how contemporary an individual from long ago can seem when one is reading her private thoughts. I have found Jane Austen’s letters to be fascinating, because of her wry, and frequently caustic, wit and the emotions which show through. Having read the Oxford edition of her letters, and used them for research purposes on more than one occasion, I am familiar with some of her letters and enjoy dipping into them.

This little books, however, is something special. Penelope Hughes-Hallett selected some of Jane Austen’s letters to her sister Cassandra, and others, and compiled them with illustrations-portraits, landscapes, drawings, paintings- carefully selected to illustrate the people, places and activities that Austen discussed in each letter. They are extremely well chosen, and give an additional dimension to the letters. The reader can actually “see” more of the context of each letter. This is a delightful book, and I would recommend it to any Jane Austen fan. I would especially recommend it to anyone who has shied away from reading her letters for any reason.

Although this is not a new book (originally published in 1990, with subsequent reprints), it seems to be readily available through AbeBooks, the Tattered Covered, and other book outlets. I highly recommend it, whether you want to read it yourself or desire it as a gift for your favorite Janeite!

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Filed under Jane Austen, Reviews, Writing

Tasty Summer Blog Hop-Lucinda Brant, Guest Post

Welcome to the Tasty Summer Reads Blog Hop!

It is my great pleasure to introduce the lovely and talented author Lucinda Brant, who will be posting her Tasty Summer Reads blog as my guest today. Lucinda writes Georgian historical romances with wit and adventure, and crimances (crime with lashings of romance). Her latest release SALT REDUX is the sequel to the internationally best selling SALT BRIDE, and is a 2013 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards Finalist. You can read more about Lucinda on her website http://www.lucindabrant.com And now for Lucinda…

Welcome to the Tasty Summer Reads Blog Hop!
New release:
SALT REDUX: Sequel to SALT BRIDE
Jane and Salt—four years of Happily Ever After
Sir Antony Templestowe—four years of Exile
Lady Caroline—four years of Heartache
Diana St. John—four years plotting Revenge

The time has come…
How does a brother cope with life knowing his sister is a murderess? How can a nobleman have the life he has always wanted when a lurking evil consumes his thoughts and haunts his dreams? What will it take for good to triumph over evil?
For readers who enjoyed Salt Bride, the story continues…
2013 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards Finalist
http://lucindabrant.com/salt-redux.php

Salt-Redux-Cover-500x750

Now for the Random Tasty Questions:
1) When writing are you a snacker? If so sweet or salty?
I drink coffee; lots of it! Making a cup of coffee gets me up out from in front of the computer screen. I have a Nespresso machine. I take my coffee black with one teaspoon of raw sugar. I usually just drink the coffee but occasionally I will indulge in a snack, usually a piece of the latest cake I’ve made – some faves are Zucchini and Carrot cake, Pear, Raspberry and Pistachio bread, Orange, Almond and Coconut cake.

2) Are you an outliner or someone who writes by the seat of their pants?
I use an A5 20 ring binder full of notes for each WIP. I get dressed for work each day in my writing PJs. I buy my “writing” PJs from http://www.peteralexander.com.au which have funky designs for summer and winter. Ah, the life of the full time writer.

3) When cooking, do you follow a recipe or do you wing it?
I’ve been cooking now for a long time, so don’t follow recipes but my taste buds! But I am new to making cakes. My daughter, who has moved out of home, was the cupcake and sweets maker. So I will follow a recipe when making a cake or dessert.

4) What is next for you after this book?
I’m currently writing book 4 in my Roxton series, DAIR DEVIL, which begins on the night before book 3 ends. It’s about a minor character in book 3 Alisdair (Dair) Fitzstuart, heir to the earl of Strathsay, and Aurora (Rory) Talbot, granddaughter of England’s spymaster general. It should hit the cyber shelves before Christmas.

5) Last question…on a level of one being slightly naughty and ten being whoo hoo steamy, how would you rate your book?
My books have elements of naughty, but if you mean the mechanics of sex, then no. But there is enough sexual tension to get all hot and bothered, that’s for sure!

And now for the really tasty part: the recipe!

Brussels Sprouts, Cranberry and Almond Warm Summer Salad
(sorry, but I don’t use precise measurements – but this is easy to do!)

About 20 Brussels sprouts topped and chopped in half
a quarter of cabbage (any kind) chopped
a big handful of dried ready to eat cranberries
a big handful of slivered almonds
Rice Bran oil to mix

Steam Brussels sprouts in microwave until tender but firm (but not mushy)
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and toss to coat with oil
Place in an ovenproof dish and heat in a moderate oven until Brussels sprouts have caramelized

Serve as an accompaniment to lamb, chicken or beef.

I have tagged author Prue Batten to carry on the hop. Prue Batten writes Historical Fiction and Fantasy. Her fantasy novel A Thousand Glass Flowers received a silver medallion in the 2012 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards. Her latest book is the second in her Gisborne saga Gisborne: Book of Knights.

I’ll now have you hop on over to Prue Batten’s blog! http://pruebatten.wordpress.com/

Other Tasty Summer Reads Blog Hop participants are:
Christy English http://www.christyenglish.com/2013/07/17/tasty-summer-reads-blog-hop/

Anna Belfrage http://www.juditharnoppnovelist.blogspot.com/ or http://www.juditharnopp.com/

Diana Russo Morin http://www.donnarussomorin.com/index.html

Nancy Goodman http://rakesroguesandromance.com/2013/07/11/welcome-to-the-tasty-summer-reads-blog-hop/

Lauren Gilbert https://laurengilbertheyerwood.wordpress.com/2013/07/19/tasty-summer-reads-blog-hop

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Filed under Blog Hop, Cooking, Guest post, recipes, Romance, Writing

Tasty Summer Reads Blog Hop

Welcome to the Tasty Summer Reads Blog Hop!

First, I’d like to thank the lovely Christy English for inviting me to participate.

Here’s how the hop works! Each author invites up to five other authors to answer five questions about their current summer release or WIP and a tasty recipe that ties into it! It gives readers the opportunity to add these awesome treats (and reads) to your to do list 🙂 I have invited the delightful Anna Belfrage and the wonderful Lucinda Brant to join in the hop. Anna will be getting her post and recipe up, so just click on her link below to see what she’s got cooking! Lucinda’s treat will appear here as she will be a guest poster on this blog, so watch this space!
Well, I guess I’ll start us off!

In 2011, my first book HEYERWOOD: A Novel was published. At present, I am completing A RATIONAL ATTACHMENT (working title-I’ve a couple of others in mind as well!), which I expect to be released later this year. Like the first, A RATIONAL ATTACHMENT is a historical novel, set in the late Regency period. My heroine, Anne, is a young woman who falls somewhere between trade and Society, and has to find her way to her own happiness.

Now for the Random Tasty Questions:
1) When writing are you a snacker? Not really. I tend to save my snacking for afterwards. If so sweet or salty? Both! I love chips and dip, nuts, pretzels, and vegetables with bleu cheese dressing. However, I also have a serious fondness for ice cream!

2) Are you an outliner or someone who writes by the seat of their pants? I do some outlining, but mostly I’m a pantser.

And are they real pants or jammies? That depends… If I’m working after I get home from my day job, I’ve got real pants on. However, there are those non-work days, when I may get up and go straight off to write in my jammies. (There have also been the odd middle-of-the-night forays!)

3) When cooking, do you follow a recipe or do you wing it? I used to be religious about making a recipe as written first. Now, I read it and “take it under advisement.” I substitute herbs or other ingredients based on personal taste.

4) What is next for you after this book? My current WIP should be out sometime this year. A RATIONAL ATTACHMENT (working title) is my second novel. When this one is completed, several readers have requested a sequel to HEYERWOOD: A Novel, for which I have a broad outline and some notes already started. I also want to mention that the book CASTLES, CUSTOMS AND KINGS True Tales by English Historical Fiction Authors will be out on 9/23/13. This is an anthology of articles posted by some great writers on the English Historical Fiction Authors blog, to which I have the honor to be a contributor.

5) Last question…on a level of one being slightly naughty and ten being whoo hoo steamy, how would you rate your book? HEYERWOOD: A Novel would actually rate a 0-no naughtiness at all. A RATIONAL ATTACHMENT? Well, that’s still in process!

And now for the really tasty part:
Here’s the recipe! (Really two for one…) Parsnips, a root vegetable that resembles a white carrot with a spicy, sweet taste, is popular in England. This is a variation of a parsnip recipe; I have found many people are not that familiar with parsnips. They work well with carrots, which makes it a friendly combination.

Carrots & Parsnips
3 lbs (48 oz) carrots & parsnips, scraped & cut into pieces (approximately the same size)-this would be about 6 large parsnips & 6 large carrots.
Chicken stock or broth to cover, about 3 cups (24 fluid oz)*
1 or 2 large cloves of garlic, finely minced (depending on your liking for garlic)
1 large shallot or ½ small onion , chopped
Salt & pepper to taste.

Put all in saucepan & simmer until tender but still with some body.
These are good as a side dish as is. Be sure to save the broth for soup or gravy.
*This could be vegetable stock or water, depending on personal preference.

Carrots & Parsnips in Rosemary Cream
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Take above carrots & parsnips out of broth and place in 13” x 9” baking dish. Pour over about 1½ cups of heavy cream (about 1 inch deep, not quite covering the vegetables). Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh rosemary over the top (again to your taste-could be more or less). Sprinkle about ¼ – 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese (I prefer the 6 Italian cheeses that come already shredded together) over the top. Sprinkle on about ¼ cup to ½ cup fresh bread crumbs over the top, and drizzle with 1 – 2 Tablespoons of melted butter. Bake approximately 20 minutes until bubbly, thickened & crumbs are golden.
Serves about 6. (Can be increased for more very easily.)
Be sure to save the broth for soup or gravy.

Note that, if you love parsnips, this is fantastic without the carrots-just increase the parsnips. If you’re not fond of parsnips, leave them out and go the other way… A wonderful side dish with chicken or pork; terrific at Thanksgiving!

LINKS TO OTHER TASTY SUMMER BLOG HOPPERS!

Christy English http://www.christyenglish.com/2013/07/17/tasty-summer-reads-blog-hop/
Anna Belfrage http://www.annabelfrage.com/Home/
Diana Russo Morin http://www.donnarussomorin.com/index.html
Nancy Goodman http://rakesroguesandromance.com/2013/07/11/welcome-to-the-tasty-summer-reads-blog-hop/

HEYERWOOD: A Novel available at Amazon.com and other fine book sites!

HEYERWOOD: A Novel available at Amazon.com and other fine book sites!

Castles, Customs, and Kings-coming 9/23/13!

Castles, Customs, and Kings-coming 9/23/13!

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Filed under Blog Hop, Cooking, summer, Writing