Category Archives: Holiday

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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Giveaways!

 

A Very Austen Christmas…

There are several giveaways still active for A Very Austen Christmas and even more coming in December.

A Very Austen Christmas - 3D

Serena at Savvy Verse & Wit posted a lovely book review with an excerpt from Laura’s story. The giveaway will end December 5.

Nissa, Of Pens and Pages, presented the backstory of my original character, Thomas, along with a wonderful review. Her giveaway ends  December 9.

On Laura Hartness’s blog, The Calico Critic, you’ll find an excerpt from my story, as well as a giveaway ending December 9.

Giveaways at Claudine’s JustJane1813, author Chautona Havig’s lovely blog, Ceri’s Babblings of a Bookworm, and Janet’s More Agreeably Engaged have already ended; however, there are author biographies, story blurbs, author interviews, story excerpts, and great reviews at those sites.

Upcoming giveaways, reviews, and other fun events are scheduled throughout December at Meredith’s Austenesque Reviews, Elisabeth’s Poolside Musings, Candy’s So Little Time, Anna’s Diary of an Eccentric, and Rita’s From Pemberley to Milton.

In other exciting news, Laura Hile is releasing the second edition of her Mercy’s Embrace books. Her book one, So Rough a Course, cover reveal  will be at JustJane 1813 on December 2. That’s tomorrow! Be sure to stop by and cheer her on.

You’re going to LOVE the new covers. I’ve seen them, and they are truly beautiful. I would love to post her new cover myself, but you’ll just have to wait until tomorrow. (Insert evil laugh.)

More to come, too! Watch for upcoming reviews, blog posts, and giveaways of So Rough A Course at Savvy Verse & Wit, Of Pens and Pages, and The Calico Critic.

Another bit of good news – Laura Hile, Wendi Sotis, Barbara Cornthwaite, and I have all lowered the prices of our other books throughout December. Merry Christmas!

We’re Thankful for YOU

I came here with the intention of putting up a vintage picture of a turkey and wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving.  However, when putting up the title, I thought it more appropriate to say that we are thankful for you, the readers.

Without readers writers are still writers, they just make up stories for themselves. While fun, that can get old. Or become a plot for an episode of Criminal MInds if not kept in check.

So, here’s the obligatory turkey pic:

                            HAPPY THANKSGIVING

Thank you for taking time to give us your time.

The Ladies of JSI

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.

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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!)

Regrets, I Have a Few

The 4th of July is a happy holiday. Picnics and fireworks. My life has been such that I haven’t noticed holidays much. It may change soon, it may not.

Anyway, the 4th is one of those days that has many meanings to many people. To me it’s about freedom and that always leads me to thinking of those who make it possible. I was in the Air Force from January 1977 to January 1981. Me and Jimmy Carter were serving together. My one regret in life is that I didn’t stay in for 20 or more years.

I’m not much on the big regrets. Hurting someone with my imprudent tongue is a biggie, but other than that, there aren’t many things to wish were different.

For those of you who served, thank you. For those serving now, my prayers for you and your families. For those who will serve in the future, you will be doing a great and noble thing.

Photo from the Gary Sinise Foundation. Support if you can.

 

 

Father Time

photo (2)It’s Father’s Day, and a corner of my living room is filled with boxes. They contain treasures from an unlikely antique collector, my dad. He loved to tinker. We had a sailboat for the weekends, and our crowded garage housed his sometimes-running classic car. When I was a girl he discovered clocks and the excitement of auctions.

I smile to think of my reserved, book-loving dad–by day an aerospace engineer–caught up in the drama of bidding. He had limits: $25 for a table or wall clock, $125 for a grandfather. But for something special he would go higher. A little. He was, after all, an engineer.

Dad’s been gone twenty-five years. Mom recently downsized to an assisted living apartment, so not every clock could come along. Benjamin Bell, one of the prizes of Dad’s collection, came to me.

The brass face is inscribed with the clockmaker's name: Benjamin Bell Uttoxeter, c. 1761

A shot of “Benny Bell’s” brass works in their traveling box

There are benefits to having a son named Benjamin! Then too, my brother has the moon-face grandfather clock (just visible in the top photo). Growing up, I thought every family should have at least three. We did.

The purchase date (1969) was carefully recorded in my dad’s notebook, price $210. How he would smile to see his clock–a Father’s Day gift to me–here in my house.

Is it too tall?

Here he is in my house, without the hood.

The clockmaker’s name is inscribed on the face, as is customary. In 1761 he was listed as being twenty-four years old. Time for more smiling. Could Mr. Bell of Uttoxeter be an almost-contemporary of Jane Austen’s?

Best of all, 250 years later this clock still works. Okay, so sometimes the hands get hung up, but Mom says it keeps perfect time. The strike, however, is anything but elegant. A hammer crisply strikes an iron coil–clang!

So “Benny Bell” now lives in Oregon, and drama is afoot. This afternoon we will remove the works from their box, set them in the case, and place the hood. And the photo shows the problem.

Is our c. 1980 “energy-saver” ceiling tall enough? The tape measure says maybe. By, like, a half-inch. Here’s hoping!

Happy Father’s Day!

UPDATE: It fits!! With not even two inches to spare!
And to think I almost gave up on having this clock because I thought it wouldn’t.

Laura Hile (1)