Tag Archives: Laura Hile

Loving Jane Austen’s Persuasion

persuasionpanelToday Susan Kaye and Laura Hile join a panel of authors (Karen Cox, Regina Jeffers, Shannon Winslow, and Melanie Stanford)  to discuss our love for Jane Austen’s Persuasion.

A big thank you to  author Karen Cox for hosting us!

“Persuasion-esque authors are a sisterhood of sorts,” she writes. “We know that Darcy gets the majority of the press around Austen-World, but…Wentworth…Letter!…Pierce my soul!!!”

Come by and enjoy the rest of the article here: Persuasion Panel

The Nerd in search of a Dinner Date

Beneath that pocket protector beats a sincere heart!

Seeking a date for Valentine’s Day?  Jane Austen’s Sir Walter Elliot points you in an unlikely direction.

Enjoy this excerpt from Sir Walter’s new advice e-book, Marrying Well for Fun & Profit:

OOO

Sir Walter is over the moon. He finally has a book all to himself.

Soon to be a bestseller, of course… according to Sir Walter

My Dear Vulgarian Miss,

As winter begins to flee, a particular sort of male emerges from hibernation. I refer to the Nerd in search of a Valentine’s dinner date.

As a modern woman you are familiar with the type. Highly intelligent, the Nerd spends countless hours at a desk, often with nothing but a computer, a caffeinated beverage, and the light from his desk lamp to keep him warm.

You laugh at him behind your hand, for he is a witless wonder when it comes to courtship. Alas, the gentleman’s art of sophisticated flirtation is beyond him.

Image: Betsy Weber (Creative Commons Flickr)

Image: Betsy Weber (Creative Commons Flickr)

But my dear, consider carefully before you disregard him as a suitor. For while ‘nerd’ is certainly a four-letter word, it is usually accompanied by a six-figure income.

Think Bill Gates, but on a smaller scale.

In social situations the poor fellow will be tongue-tied by your beauty, so it is best to prepare for a conversational disaster. No doubt he will be fortified with compliments, calculated to charm and beguile. Do your best not to laugh when he employs one of these timeworn pick-up lines…

I less than three you. 'nuff said. <3 Image: John Nakamura Remy (Creative Commons Flickr)

“I less than three you.”  ❤
Image: John Nakamura Remy (Creative Commons Flickr)

  • ‘Your name is Leslie? Look, I can spell your name on my calculator!’
  • ‘Roses are #FF0000, violets are #0000FF…’
  • ‘I wish I was an ion so I could form an exothermic bond with you.’
  • ‘You must be an asymptote; I just find myself getting closer and closer to you.’
  • ‘Forget hydrogen, you’re my number one element!’
  • ‘My sudden, protracted cardiac arrhythmia tells me I love you.
  • ‘Are you the square root of 2? Because I feel irrational when I’m around you.’
  • ‘If you were a graphics calculator, I’d look at your curves all day long!’
  • ‘Why don’t you join me on World of Warcraft tomorrow? I’ll even give you my avatar’s name.’
Image: Betsy Weber (Creative Commons Flickr)

Image: Betsy Weber (Creative Commons Flickr)

Remember, my dear, that a sincere heart beats beneath that pocket protector. And that six-figure income on the tax return is easy on the eyes, even if he is not.

Cordially yours in the upward climb,

Sir Walter Elliot

 

NASA scientists have discovered a new form of life.
Unfortunately, it won’t date them either.
STEPHEN COLBERT

OOO

Want more of Sir Walter’s wit and wisdom?
Such a deal at 99 cents!
Marrying Well for Fun & Profit at Amazon

Laura Hile (1)

Pride & Precedence: Snow Woe

giovanniboldiniafternoonstroll-mm21

There is a song from your modern era called I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas. Seriously? Snow has become not my dream but my nightmare.

Granted, a dusting of snow would be charming at Christmastime—if it came and then went away. This year? Snow continues to fall and pile up. It’s like one of those annoying houseguests who will not go.

Our “White Christmas” became a “White New Year’s” and then a “White Epiphany.” If we stiil have snow on the ground at Candlemas, I will lose my mind.

The vulgar expression “Cabin Fever” describes the situation at Uppercross Cottage. We are housebound because of the snow, and let me tell you, it is Too Much.

trees-15For one thing, the cottage is always, always cold. Why not burn a forest of trees for heat? What are we saving them for? I know, posterity. Bless me, since the days of our courtship I’ve been told that the Musgrove wealth is found not in monetary assets but in land. Well then, we ought to plant acres of trees so that we can cut down what we need. Trees do nothing but stand there. Why not make them useful?

And then there is the smoke: from fires, from sputtering candles, and from cigars. I am continually coughing because my husband will not take his cigars out-of-doors as he ought. My father-in-law’s pipe? Insupportable! Smoke indoors is almost bad as the smell of damp wool, which is everywhere.

popula626We have the same dismal callers again and again, and Charles will invite them to stay. And then, of course, I must feed them. The ugly caps and wrappers they wear are painful to behold, not to mention their red noses and  chapped cheeks. Our conversations center around one thrilling subject: the weather.

Our darling boys are behaving like savages. They laugh and screech, and their footfalls pound along the hallways and up and down stairs until my head aches. The nurserymaid is no help. Her solution is to put them in the bath, allowing them to shout and splash water everywhere. Charles bundles them up and takes them to visit his parents at the Great House, but that is no better. The boys run wild there, while my in-laws discuss my shortcomings as a mother.

Next winter, I shall insist that Charles to take me to Bath. My father has a very fine house there; we would be in no one’s way. In Bath, no one minds the weather. There are card parties, concerts, and interesting people. Here we have the same musicians, the same dances, and the same people.

Thanks to “Old Man Winter” every one of our neighbors has a cold and sniffs—continually.  My poor nerves are worn to a frazzle. But do our neighbors care? They smile and wave and say, “Cheerio!” as if they are happy about the snow.

I’d like to give that Jack Frost a piece of my mind. And a good swift kick in the pants, too.

Most cordially,

Mary Elliot Musgrove
Daughter of Sir Walter Elliot
Future Mistress of Uppercross

New Release!
Sir Walter Elliot’s Marrying Well for Fun & Profit is now a Kindle e-book.
More about that tomorrow.

Mary’s “portrait” is Afternoon Stroll by Giovanni Boldini

The day I wore Pajama Pants to Walmart

Thanks to Marianne Hawthorne for this fun meme

Thanks to Marianne Hawthorne for the meme. Click the image to see her Pinterest collection.

When snow and freezing rain hit the Pacific Northwest, we kind of lose our minds.

Snowpocalapse!
Hunker down!
The end is near!

Okay, so we’re not quite that bad. Thing is, we get snow every two to three years in this part of Oregon. It really throws us for a loop.

I ought to add that we do not salt our roads. That’s right; we’re the only state that doesn’t. And I recently learned that the de-icing chemicals we use are not effective when temperatures drop below 28 degrees. Brilliant.

No salt, no plow, no problem. I live on the corner.

No salt, no snow plow? No … uh … problem.

We are all kinds of crazy, yeah.

Which brings me to Walmart, early Saturday morning, just as a snowstorm hit.  The day I wore my jammie pants to go shopping. I did.

The’re black, and they used to be workout pants, but the thing is, I slept in them the night before. I threw on my long down coat (also black), a somewhat-fashionable scarf, and shoes. I was good to go.

walmart-pajamaSo now I am one of the “People of Walmart.” Even though ours is the neighborhood grocery store kind. And everyone there, though harried by the falling snow, was fully dressed. Below-freezing temperatures are helpful that way.

Darcy-By-Any-Other-Name-blogsz-2In other news, a sale and an e-book giveaway.  Tomorrow check out Anna’s review at Diary of an Eccentric and enter to win the Kindle edition of Darcy By Any Other Name. Even if you own this book, you should enter. If you win, I’ll gladly send the prize to one of your friends.

To celebrate, I’ve reduced the Kindle price by $1.00. Because ice and snow season is reading season, right? So let’s get down to business.

Laura Hile (1)

Hound Dog Love

A quiet afternoon with a favorite book.

Spending time with another favorite book…

Alas, I am that teacher, the one who makes 7th grade students cry. Not with my rapier wit or sarcasm, tempting as those weapons are. No, I have them read a book about a boy and his beloved dogs, a story told from the heart.

redfern-cover“Why?” students lament. “Why do you make us read this?”  As if I had tortured them or something. From the first pages the story is wonderful, and it pulls readers right in. We never want it to end.

“Because good fiction is powerful,” I tell them. “I want you to understand how a well-written story can reach into the human heart.” I’m the fiction writing teacher. I say stuff like that.

Wilson Rawls published only two books, and it took time for Red Fern to gain popularity. “The best horse doesn’t always win the race,” the Irish say. But now this book is regarded as a must-read for 9 to 14-year-olds. And for grownups too…

A signed copy, found by a teaching friend

A signed copy, given to me by a teaching friend

Red Fern’s setting comes from Rawls’ childhood experiences. He was not well educated–a thing he was embarrassed about–but he sure knew how to tell a story. There’s a lot of wisdom in those pages.

Every year I have students tell me that Where the Red Fern Grows is now their favorite book. If you’re looking for a heart-warming read, why not give this book a try? It’s about a lot more than a boy and his dogs.

Laura Hile (1)

 

Darcy’s Cyber Sale

darcy-cyber-sale-1Now that I’m an indie publisher, I get to sell stuff on Black Friday. Hey, and on Cyber Monday too.

Because the dates are mine to choose, why not run the sale for the entire week? So that’s what I’m doing. Yay!

Now through Tuesday, November 29th, the Kindle edition of Darcy By Any Other Name is only $2.99. That’s 660 pages of escape-from-reality fun.

Did you know that you can gift an e-book for Christmas delivery? That’s right. Buy now while the price is right, and set the delivery for whenever you’d like. Gift shopping made easy!

Laura Hile (1)

Come along inside!

“Now, the very next time this happens,” said a gruff and suspicious voice, “I shall be exceedingly angry. Who is it this time, disturbing people on such a night? Speak up!”

Poor Rat! Poor Mole! To be freezing in the snow, having to encounter the grouchy, fearsome Badger. Would he give them a scold? Bar the door against their need?
mrbadger“O Badger,” cried the Rat, “let us in, please. It’s me, Rat, and my friend Mole, and we’ve lost our way in the snow.”

“Why, Ratty, my dear little man!” exclaimed the Badger, in quite a different voice. “Come along in, both of you, at once. Why, you must be perished. Well I never! Lost in the snow! And in the Wild Wood, too, and at this time of night! But come in with you.”

wind-in-the-willows-1As you probably have realized, this is from Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows. I love Ratty and Mole and Badger, and the first five chapters are my favorites. (Mr. Toad does not deserve rescuing, but our three heroes are true friends to try.) How I’d love to “mess about in boats” as they do, and then hole up, warm and snug, during the stormy winter months.

A bookworm’s paradise, their gentle woodland world. To be sure, dangers are present, but their friendships are hearty and patient. Even Mr. Badger’s gruff manner conceals a warm and loyal heart.

wind-in-the-willows-3And truly, is there anything better than a welcome, especially one that is unlooked-for? How wonderful is that friendly open door, offering shelter from the howling wilderness. Within is warmth and cheer and (of course) plenty of food.

Badger agrees. “This is not the sort of night for small animals to be out,” he said paternally. “I’m afraid you’ve been up to your pranks again, Ratty. But come along; come into the kitchen. There’s a first-rate fire there, and supper and everything.”

wind-in-the-willows-5I love the theme of finding shelter among kindly folk, whether I’m turning pages to follow Bilbo, as he makes a hurried descent into Rivendell (that Last Homely House east of the sea), or I’m with Lucy Pevensie, taking tea with Mr. Tumnus in Narnia.

Maybe it’s because this is how I work out my struggles and conflicts. “Come and have coffee,” I say, “and let’s talk things over.” (Bonus points if there’s a fire on the hearth and if wind howls and dashes rain against the windows.)

wind-in-the-willows-4A good beginning, but Badger is the true master. “He sat in his arm-chair at the head of the table, and nodded gravely as the animals told their story; and he did not seem surprised or shocked at anything, and he never said, ‘I told you so,’ or ‘Just what I always said,’ or remarked that they ought to have done so-and-so, or not to have done something else. The Mole began to feel very friendly towards him.”

It’s the quiet part of autumn now, the lull just before the Thanksgiving – Christmas rush. And you know what? We can pretend to be Mole! “Once well underground,” he said, “you know exactly where you are. Nothing can happen to you, and nothing can get at you. You’re entirely your own master, and you don’t have to consult anybody or mind what they say. Things go on all the same overhead, and you let ’em, and don’t bother about ’em. When you want to, up you go, and there the things are, waiting for you.”

Wisdom from woodland animals. Who knew?
 
Laura Hile (1)