Author Archives: Robin Helm

About Robin Helm

Robin Helm has published all three volumes of The Guardian Trilogy: Guardian, SoulFire, and Legacy. She also recently published the Yours by Design Series: Accidentally Yours, Sincerely Yours, and Forever Yours. She and her husband have two adult daughters, two sons-in-law, two granddaughters, and a Yorkie Poo named Toby.

Attack of the Nekkid Guy, Part 2

Hide your children!

I received quite a shock last night, and I still ain’t over it.

I’d just returned home from helping to lead a Children’s Choir Christmas program followed by orchestra practice for our cantata at church.

My mind was filled with lovely, happy thoughts about Hallmark movies and puppies.

I stretched out on the couch in front of the TV, booted up my laptop, went to Amazon, and there it was! I covered up my eyes, but it was just too late.

I’d already been incensed – flashed right in front of my husband and everybody! That man on my screen wasn’t wearing nothin’ but a smile!

Don’t look, Ethel!

After fighting off one 99 cent nekkid guy about three weeks ago for best seller status, I saw a 99 cent nekkid SANTA had knocked A Very Austen Christmas down to second place.

Santa

And he’s headless! He’s a nekkid torso Santa! That’s just too scary for me. I’m near about sure he leads straight to a permanent place on the naughty list.

I’m gonna board up my chimney, lock my doors, and stay out of the malls. I don’t think nobody needs to see a nekkid, headless, torso Santa.

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A Very Austen Christmas giveaway



Laura Hile, Wendi Sotis, Barbara Cornthwaite, and I are thrilled to be guests on Chautona Havig’s blog today.

Come read her interviews and her 5 star review.

You may be quite surprised at some of the things you learn about us. In fact, I think some of us were surprised when we read each other’s answers.

And there’s a giveaway. Entering is easy. Simply tell Chautona your favorite Jane Austen supporting character.

Because you want to win this eBook. It’s like a Christmas present to yourself!

We Beat the Nekkid Guy!

Did that sound weird?

20171114_001731_resizedI was so excited to see this that I immediately took a picture. You see, I’m well aware that our Christmas anthology can be #1 in one hour and #2 in the next. In fact, that’s happened several times since we (Laura Hile, Barbara Cornthwaite, Wendi Sotis, and I) hit #1 Best Seller status (in our category) on Amazon.

I wanted to have that picture to live the moment over and over. I even reverted to my cheerleader days, chanting, “We’re number one! We’re number one!” I nearly tripped over my office and broke another ankle. Ha! It wasn’t pretty.

Now, about that nekkid guy – we didn’t literally beat a nekkid guy, so you can relax now. We don’t plan to take the journey into that particular genre. Ever.

20171114_001849_resized

Do you see that third book in the row? That’s a $.99 nekkid guy cover which promises a certain kind of book. Clean books that cost $3.99 rarely beat such an animal. A book just like that one kept my last solo publication, Understanding Elizabeth, from ever reaching #1. I can’t even say the name of that book in polite company. Not in impolite company, either.

The book in the middle is a $.99 anthology. It’s rare to outsell anything which is $.99. That’s another cause for rejoicing.

The middle book and A Very Austen Christmas switch places every time either one of us sells a book or two. I’m okay with that. It’s a mostly clean read with a non-nekkid-guy cover.

At least we’re remaining the #1 new release.

This is a book that friendship built. It was a labor of love and support between friends who’ve never met. I think the four of us should get together soon. What do you think? Should we meet in Oregon (Laura), New York (Wendi), South Carolina (me), or Ireland (Barbara)? Just a hint concerning my vote: my heritage is English/Scots/Irish.

A Very Austen Christmas

Book Launch Tomorrow!

A Very Austen Christmas - 3DIn early June, Laura and I broached the idea of an anthology to include all the authors of Jane Started It, along with our lovely friend, JAFF author Wendi Sotis. Susan Kaye, Pamela Aiden, and Gayle Mills originally intended to be a part of the project, but real life threw several hitches in their plans. Laura Hile, Barbara Cornthwaite, Wendi Sotis, and I kept the dream alive.

Tomorrow, that dream will be realized with the book launch of A Very Austen Christmas, hosted by Claudine Pepe at JustJane1813.  We are very much looking forward to reading Claudine’s review (our first one!), as well as chatting with our readers.

The kindle version is already available for pre-order (to be delivered tomorrow) on Amazon, and the print copy is live, though they are not yet linked together.

Does this sound tempting, lovely readers?

Four favorite authors, four heartwarming stories set in Jane Austen’s Regency world.

Robin Helm, Laura Hile, Wendi Sotis, and Barbara Cornthwaite revisit Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and Mansfield Park to deliver the uplifting holiday storytelling you’re looking for.

Her Christmas Gift by Robin Helm
Elizabeth Bennet finds herself snowbound at Rosings with two rejected, but highly eligible, suitors. Does either man have a chance? Will her childhood friend, Meryton’s golden boy, win her affection, or will she accept the master of Pemberley? Perhaps she will refuse them both a second time. Her Christmas Gift deftly combines tension and emotion with humor and romance.

The Christmas Matchmaker by Laura Hile
It’s raining; it’s pouring – and what could be better than a little Christmas matchmaking? So says Emma Woodhouse who is unexpectedly stranded at Netherfield Park. Mr. Darcy disagrees, for she has someone else in mind for adorable Elizabeth Bennet. Amid meddling, misunderstanding, and an unwelcome proposal or two, will True Love find a way?

No Better Gift by Wendi Sotis
On his way to Derbyshire to spend Christmas with his family, Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy plans to retrieve an item he left behind during his rushed escape from Netherfield—and the country miss who touched his heart. Finding Meryton practically deserted, he fears the worst. What fate could have fallen upon this once-thriving village in only three weeks? More importantly, was Miss Elizabeth Bennet in danger?

Mistletoe at Thornton Lacey by Barbara Cornthwaite
When Edmund Bertram realizes that Fanny is the perfect wife for him, he wants to propose without delay. What better time than at Christmas? Ah, but the course of true love never does run smooth …

A Very Austen Christmas - jpeg

The stories are arranged according to length. Mine is really a novella of 30K words, and Laura’s is 24K words. We have decided that we can’t write short stories (insert laugh). Wendi’s is 17K words and Barbara’s is 7K words. Curl up in your PJs with a mug of hot cocoa and enjoy the writing of four friends with quite different styles and story lines.

We hope that Sue, Pamela, and Gayle will be able to join us in our next anthology. (Yes, I just said next anthology!)

Austen Men in My Life

Edward Ferrars

Jane Austen’s father, George Austen, was the rector of the Anglican parishes at Steventon and Deane. Though Mr. Austen came from a wealthy family of wool merchants, his branch eventually fell into poverty. He supplemented his family’s income by farming and taking in three or four boys at a time to teach.

By the accounts I’ve read, George Austen was an educated, hardworking man who enjoyed family discussions about politics and societal norms. He and his family debated amicably, and the atmosphere of his home was intellectually open and amusing.

Edward

Thinking of the clerics Jane wrote, I was struck by the negative portrayals of several of them. Mr. Collins and Mr. Elton leap to mind.

However, she wrote two clerics sympathetically: Edward Ferrars (Sense and Sensibility) and Henry Tilney (Northanger Abbey).

I grew up in church, I went to a religious college, and my husband, brother-in-law, and a nephew are all ministers, so I have known many “men of the cloth” very well.

One of them is a wonderful example of an Edward Ferrars.

Mr. Ferrars made a poor decision as a boy, but he was an honorable man. He committed himself to Lucy Steele. Though he fell in love with Elinor as a man and did not love Lucy, he stood by his original commitment. He tried to tell Elinor, but his sister thwarted him.

Edward Ferrars did not chase material wealth or self-importance. He was the heir of a fortune and could have served in Parliament, but he wanted a small country parish where he could make sermons and raise chickens.

He was gentle, thoughtful, and kind. He did not resent Lucy Steele or his brother when Miss Steele transferred her affections to Robert. He was happy for them, though Robert was free to marry the woman he chose, and he received Edward’s inheritance.

Edward chose to be happy in less than wonderful circumstances. “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” Philippians 4:11. I’m sure everyone has problems, but the important thing is how a person deals with the problems.

No one is perfect, but when I look at my nephew, I see a happy man who loves his life. He’s an excellent husband and father. He works hard in his ministry. He earned his doctorate in theology. He’s intelligent, fun to be around, inquisitive, and forward thinking. He isn’t stuck on himself. He loves people. He’s quite handsome, too, which a man should be if he possibly can manage it.

I enjoy following him on social media, for he’s always upbeat, encouraging everyone around him. At family gatherings I try to make time to talk with him, because he uplifts me without even knowing it.

I taught my nephew when he was in the sixth grade. Now he’s teaching me.

Austen Men in My Life

Charles Bingley

Writers borrow from their own lives when they construct their characters and circumstances. I am at my most realistic when I insert a scene or person from my own life into the story, for I can feel the emotions and describe the events very well, especially if I was experiencing strong feelings when I lived it.

Austen men

Yesterday, I was thinking of that and of the very different Darcys Laura Hile and I have written. Her Darcys are playful. They banter with cheerful Elizabeth. My Darcys are kind and courteous, but they brood. They’re moody, and Elizabeth is by turns angry, sad, happy – she’s all over the place. Like me.

I have been told that I’m dramatic. I might be.

Anyhow, I now realize that I’ve combined Austen’s characters with bits and pieces of people I’ve known throughout my life. As I processed that epiphany, I began to think of the men (and boys) I’ve known and how bits and pieces of them have made it into my characters. I knew all of them well. Some of them were classmates, some were casual dates, some were/are friends or relatives, some were boyfriends, and one is my husband.

In fact, I have known all of the Austen men. Let that sink in. I was able to think through Austen’s characters and select the man I know/knew who fit that character. I knew Darcys, Bingleys, Hursts, Wickhams, Collinses, Edwards, Toms, Brandons, Wentworths, Tilneys, Knightleys, Churchills, Mr. Bennets, – all of them.

My first boyfriend was definitely a Bingley – sweet, kind, cheerful, well-liked, lovable, unfailingly polite, popular, and courteous. I dated him for three years and never heard a cross word from him, though I’m certain he heard a few from me. Unlike Austen’s Bingley, he was very intelligent and spiritual. I think that’s why my Bingleys are always smarter and more capable than the Austen original.

Is there a Bingley in your past?

For the next few months, I plan to trace Austen’s characters, male and female (yes, I knew those, too) through my life. Please feel free to join me.

Learning Curves

and Earning Curves.

Curves2 About a month ago, I decided that eating right and losing weight wasn’t enough to make me healthy, so I started doing something I haven’t done in at least twenty-five years.

I started working out regularly. Five days a week. Yes, you read that right. Robin, the queen of avoiding exercise, is paying to work out.Curves3

That’s one of my cute little coaches checking out my progress at the laptop. (Curves has machines that spy on you and report back to the coaches. Very 1984.) I want to look like her. Can they make me lose about forty years?

My workouts take between 45 and 50 minutes and consist of 30 seconds on each machine, 30 seconds of aerobic motion between machines, and stretches. I do the entire circle twice, and all the major muscle groups are involved. The final machine tells me my workout is over by flashing “END.” How’s that for propping up a weak short-term memory?

CurvesHere are my results from Thursday. Green dots are great, yellow dots are okay but not great, and red dots are BAD. (Sort of like the colors on traffic lights, but I digress.)

And now for the life lessons.

  1. I have to pay for workouts to be properly motivated to do them. It’s just like everything else. We don’t usually fully appreciate anything that has cost us nothing.
  2. Most of the time, lack of progress is my own fault. My first two weeks of working out, I made very little headway. I wasn’t sore afterwards, and I didn’t sweat. At first, I thought the machines were too easy, but then I realized maybe, just maybe, the problem was me. I started pushing harder for range of motion and more reps. Guess what? I had no trouble working up a sweat, and I was plenty sore. It wasn’t the machines. IT WAS ME. Just like in every other aspect of life, when I have a difficulty, I should examine myself first.
  3. The harder I work, the more I achieve. Though music is my strongest intelligence, I didn’t learn to play the piano really well until I began to practice regularly. (Props to Austen’s Lady Catherine on this one. She was right.) I don’t succeed at anything without putting effort into it.
  4. Sometimes, good intentions aren’t enough. I thought I was doing everything right at Curves, but all my muscle groups weren’t sore. My abdomen wasn’t sore at all. I started paying more attention to the muscles which were supposed to be worked at specific machines. I isolated them and focused on using them, adjusting my body until I felt them. Guess what? It worked. My sore abdomen can attest to it.
  5. Don’t jump to conclusions. A few days ago, I noticed a lump on my arm and nearly freaked out, thinking it was a tumor. Then I realized it was a muscle! I hadn’t seen a defined muscle anywhere on my body in years. I’m flexing now!

Here’s some encouragement for you, lovely readers. Set your goals and go for them.

You can do it!