Well, I’ll be

DIME

Thank you, Matthias Shapiro, displayed under CC license,

This weekend the grandkids were with us. Actually they came over on Thursday and left about two on Sunday afternoon. If I had a dime for every, “No-o-o-o-o,” or “M-i-i-i-n-n-n-e,” that came from our two-year-old grandson, and the accompanying “Sto-o-o-p it” from his eight-year-old sister, I’d now be on a sandy beach with a cold drink in my hand. (No umbrellas, I don’t care for sticks in my drinks.)

 

VERAThe Super Bowl was played this past Sunday. Again I didn’t watch. And, again, by Tuesday I don’t remember who won. My biggest upset on Sunday was not having a new episode of “Vera,” (a cop show, nothing to do with Wang or Bradley),  to watch on Brit Box. This is why we stream at our house. When networks are so callas as to preempt shows, I can get my fix by watching old episodes while waiting for the new.

If you’ve never seen Vera, it’s typical cop-with-probs show. But, for a writer, it’s a great lesson in character evolution. In the first season, Vera is pretty terrible with people. Murderers, muggers, and victims are all treated the same. Children are anathema. We are now in series eight and Vera has grown! She is now able to put her hand on a weeping victim’s shoulder without gagging. The gesture is awkward as hell, but I suppose when your mother dies when you’re young and your widower father is a sullen poacher/taxidermist, who lives at the crossroads of No and Where, there is little need for deportment.

If you have access to Hulu you can see the first three seasons.  Acorn TV (streaming) has seasons 1-7, and Brit Box (streaming) is the only place to get season eight.

And so, I wait.

 

 

 

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FREE Understanding Elizabeth

My latest novel, Understanding Elizabeth, is on Book Bub today!

I have never been good at keeping my feelings to myself, so I’m going to FREELY admit that I’m VERY excited about being on Book Bub. I tried years ago to promote my books with them, but I wasn’t accepted. For me, this is a milestone.

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The giveaway is for Amazon Kindle only, but if you don’t own a Kindle, that’s not a problem. I downloaded the Kindle app for FREE to my phone. Now I have several thousand books at my disposal wherever I am.

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Stuck standing in line? I whip out my phone, go to the app, and read. Waiting at the doctor’s office? I actually like it. Stuck in traffic? It doesn’t bother me.

And – because I love you all so much, and I’m just that kind of person (Ha!) – I’ve lowered the prices of ALL of my books to $1.99 for the two day sale. Even A Very Austen Christmas is $1.99 for two days!

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So, hurry over to Amazon and download some enjoyment for those times you’re sitting somewhere bored to death. You won’t regret it.

Here’s a little secret: If you already have the book, you can “gift” it to a friend for FREE!

More to Love

Excerpt from my new WIP

Elizabeth sat alone, smiling as she watched the couples dancing gracefully around the floor. Occasionally, she nibbled at the cooky she held, taking comfort in the richness of the sweet almond confection. As she was a great favourite of Longbourn’s cook, Mrs. Bailey, who had learned the recipes for several types of cookies while a young woman in America, Elizabeth was never without several of the tasty morsels in her reticule. Mrs. Bailey kept her well-supplied.

Toni Collette in 1996 version of Emma

The lady is pleasantly plump, not hugely overweight. I’m seeing this body size as my Elizabeth in More to Love.

Knowing her mother would disapprove of her eating while she waited for an invitation to dance, Elizabeth practiced her usual ruse. She hid the jumble in her embroidered handkerchief, careful to let no one see it. In any case, she was rarely asked to dance, cooky or not, as there were always more ladies than gentlemen at Meryton’s Assemblies. This night had been no exception. She had danced only one set.

Her sister Jane’s amiable partner for an earlier dance, Mr. Bingley, stood fairly close to Elizabeth, chatting with a handsome, austere man. Mr. Bingley’s voice carried over the music and gaiety, impossible to ignore.

“Darcy! Why are you standing here with your arms folded when there are so many uncommonly pretty girls lacking dance partners? You should not keep yourself apart from the company in such a stupid manner when lovely young women are seated and gentlemen are scarce. ’Tis rudeness itself. I must have you dance.”

“I certainly shall not,” answered the gentleman, drawing himself up to his full, intimidating height, looking down his nose at his friend. “You have been dancing with the only handsome girl in the room, and your sisters are engaged at present.”

Bingley’s voice softened. “She is an angel, is she not? The most beautiful creature I ever beheld.” He sighed. “However, there are plenty of suitable young ladies who are available.”

Elizabeth smiled upon hearing his praise of her sister. His pleasant manner and good sense caused him to rise several notches in her estimation.

The young man continued, “Look! There is her sister, and she has a very pretty face, too. I daresay she is most agreeable. You must ask her to dance. Allow me to ask my partner to introduce you.”

She felt the weight of the gentleman’s disapproving stare and glanced away.

“She is tolerable, I suppose, but there is rather too much of her to tempt me. Return to Miss Bennet and bask in her smiles, for you are wasting your time with me.”

Elizabeth’s eyes filled with unshed tears as she crushed the cooky hidden in her handkerchief. While she had never been obsessed with her looks in the way her younger sisters were, she always took pride in her appearance. Her father had often complimented her beautiful skin and her lustrous, thick hair, while her mother made sure her bonnets and dresses were stylish.

Even so, she grudgingly acknowledged to herself that she had been avoiding mirrors for at least two years now, and lately, her gowns had become uncomfortably snug.

True or not, his comments wounded her deeply. Though she was well-known for her intelligence and quick wit, she yearned to be told she was altogether lovely. She had many friends, but she feared that being bright and cheerful with a pretty face described a governess or a lady’s companion, and she did not aspire to those vocations.

Secretly, Elizabeth wished to be the wife of a gentleman who adored her, as well as a mother to children she would love, regardless of their outward features. She prided herself on valuing the characters of her friends and relatives rather than their physical attributes.

Too be judged so harshly by a person she had never met was disconcerting. Her view of the world and her place in it was shaken.

In the moment the haughty gentleman had declared her to be “too much,” she had become, to herself, “not enough.” Not good enough. Not pretty enough. Not tempting enough.

Mr. Bingley, sweet man, would not agree with his friend. “How can you say that, Darcy? She has a perfect complexion, beautiful eyes, and dainty hands which are lovely. Her entire face is alight when she smiles, and I have also observed how graceful she is when she walks. Surely you have noticed that.”

Thomas Beaudoin

Thomas Beaudoin is my model for Darcy. My husband cannot object. He always wants to watch Hallmark movies, and Mr. Beaudoin starred in a new one – Love on the Slopes. I’d love to have his face on a cover.

Darcy snorted. “I have. Who could miss it? She approaches the refreshment table every half hour, and she is sorely mistaken if she thinks her handkerchief hides what she is constantly eating. Bingley, I am not in humour to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men, especially when that slighting is so obviously justified in this case by the lady’s lack of discipline.”

His companion rather testily replied, “I would not be as fastidious as you for a kingdom. You are determined to be disagreeable, so I will leave you to it. Furthermore, I shall dare your disapproval and ask her myself.”

Elizabeth hardly ever allowed herself to dislike people she had never met, but she was willing to make an exception for tall, dark, brooding Mr. Darcy.  Upon further reflection, she was somewhat surprised to realize she truly despised him, despite his unusual beauty and aristocratic profile, which was most unusual for her. She had never met the gentleman, yet she could hardly stand the sight of him. Odd, for she was generally accepting of everyone.

Seeing Mr. Bingley approaching her, she stuffed the handkerchief into her reticule and placed it under her chair. Her determined attempt at a pleasant countenance was successful.

A moment later, Mr. Bingley appeared before her, bowed, and extended his hand with a smile and a request.

Elizabeth stood and placed her hand in his, determined not to disgrace herself. She held her head high and fixed a smile upon her face, allowing her brilliant, green eyes to sparkle with mischief as he escorted her past Mr. Darcy onto the dance floor.

As she and Mr. Bingley moved through the steps, she glimpsed Mr. Darcy watching them several times, an inscrutable expression on his striking face.

Assuming that he looked at her only to find fault, her active mind formed a scheme, and she could hardly wait to set it in motion.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

What do you think? Have you ever been judged harshly concerning your physical appearance? I have, so I have years of material to access in this story. My sister Gayle gave me this idea, and she will have much to contribute.

You can read future posts at Beyond Austen, where you can read works in progress by some of your favorite Austenesque authors. Leave a comment for the authors. Sometimes our readers influence our stories.

Thomas Beaudoin curly hair

The actress in the picture is Toni Collette who played the part of Harriet Smith in the 1996 version of Emma.

And just in case you didn’t notice my Darcy model earlier in the post, here he is again, Mr. Thomas Beaudoin.

The Mercy’s Embrace series is now complete

Suspense, laughter, and love are waiting for you. And a handsome admiral too …

It’s Launch Day for The Lady Must Decide, the third and final installment in the Mercy’s Embrace trilogy.

And, hooray! Claudine has an eBook giveaway going on.

Stop by, read her review at Just Jane 1813, and if you’d like to enter, post a comment. Prize will be winner’s choice — any one of the three Mercy’s Embrace eBooks.

You can see some of the cover in this banner — so beautiful! so worth it! — but you can get an even better look at Just Jane 1813.

Do remember, this is a novel in three parts. They are not stand-alone books; once begun, you will need to read all of them for the complete story.

Ah, but Kindle Unlimited has been designed especially for series addicts. So there you are.

Here is the purchase link at Amazon — where you can also see the cover. But at Claudine’s, you get to maybe win an eBook.  Choices, choices …

Thanks for stopping by and celebrating with me.

*Big, big sigh of relief*

 

This was also posted at Laura Hile: Faith, Hope, Laughter … and Happily Ever After

3 Day Free Spree!

The Queen wishes you to accept her gift of Understanding Elizabeth.

A few weeks ago, I was asked if I would like to be Queen for a Day on the Facebook group, Queens of Medieval Romance. Obviously, I don’t write medieval romance, but they were fine with featuring a Regency romance writer. Queen

 

I got this lovely badge and settled in for my day as Queen. (I always wanted to be a princess, but a queen is even better!)

Then I started thinking, as queens must do, of how to best celebrate my day on the throne, and I thought, “Give them a boon!” That’s a gift in queenspeak.

Free badge

Since I was being recognized as a Regency writer, I focused on Understanding Elizabeth, a Regency romance I published last January. I decided to make it free for THREE days.

My lovely friend and writing compatriot, Wendi Sotis, made a badge for me (because she’s wonderful like that), my encourager and head cheerleader, Laura Hile, told me to go for it, and I set Understanding Elizabeth up in Kindle to be FREE for three days. Ah, the joys of being an indie author! You can get it even if you don’t own a kindle. Just download the kindle app to your phone! Take your books with you everywhere you go!

Crown1

In case you’re wondering, or even if you weren’t, I actually was a queen in my younger years. I was Miss Pageland and the Chesterfield County Farm Bureau Queen. I was also first runner-up to Princess Soya (Soybean Queen) as well as Miss Tiger, and I served as Hostess Queen for the Pageland Watermelon Festival. Ha! (Down South, we have queens for nearly every fruit, vegetable, or flower. We love those crowns, banners, and parades.)

Here I am being crowned Miss Pageland 1973 (I think) by my predecessor, the former Nancy Lyman. I’m doing the ugly cry and everything. And I’m seated on a throne! Excuse me while I delicately dab the tears glistening in my blue/green eyes. Reminds me of the scene in “Designing Women” in which Dixie Carter (Julia Sugarbaker) talks of the night Delta Burke (Suzanne Sugarbaker), her sister, won the Miss Georgia World pageant. A truly hilarious classic. You MUST watch it.

 

Darcy By Any Other Name makes Anna’s Top 10

Gotta love our man Darcy.

Here he goes again, in his own endearing way, capturing hearts and keeping those pages a-turning.

This time he’s won an award for his role in my fun body-swap romance.

A sincere, and very surprised “Thank You” to Anna of Diary of an Eccentric for including Darcy By Any Other Name in her Top 10 list.

These blogger’s lists are so great — the best way to find some really good reads. Take a look!

My Top 10 Favorite Books of 2017

 

This news was also posted at Laura Hile: Faith, Hope, Laughter … and Happily Ever After

End-of-year Pricing

Wintry weather, a bright fireside, and good reading!

Titles by your friends at Jane Started It

What could be better?

For your quiet holiday moments, may we suggest these lovely books? Many are at holiday prices through the end of the year.