Tag Archives: Wendi Sotis

Two more A Very Austen Christmas giveaways

A Very Austen Christmas has been flying with her own wings for ten days now.

Thanks to readers like you, the #1 Best Seller spot in Amazon’s British Anthologies continues to be ours.

This week, two opportunities for you to win an eBook.

More Agreeably Engaged’s Janet Taylor is showcasing excerpts from each of the four stories.

And there’s an excerpt from Laura Hile’s The Christmas Matchmaker at Ceri Tanti’s Babblings of a Bookworm too.

Just leave a comment at each of these blogs to enter. How easy is that?

If you win, Christmas will be coming to your Kindle!


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!)

Guest Author: Wendi Sotis!

My guest today is author Wendi Sotis, who has just published Safekeeping, a contemporary mystery thriller with a nod to Jane Austen.


I “met” Wendi Sotis about seven years ago on a JAFF forum, and we began to beta for each other. Since that time, Wendi has published seven books, while I have published six. We have worked together on all sixteen of them. She is presently working on a new Austenesque story, A Lesson Hard Learned, as well as a non-Austen Regency romance, The Pact. (The Pact is shaping up to be my favorite of all of her books!) She’s a very dear friend of mine who not only betas for me, but also formats my e-books and critiques my covers.

Wendi is an indie author from New York. She has triplets who are rapidly turning into young adults, and her husband Matt does the art work for her covers. She’s one of the administrators of Beyond Austen.com, along with me, Gayle Mills, and Annette Wristen. All of her books are clean, flinch-free, and very entertaining. Wendi has a degree in psychology, and I love the way her mind works.

Her author page on Amazon gives more detailed information about Wendi, as well as links to her other books.

Wendi's books

What was your inspiration for writing Safekeeping?

I dreamt about it!  Since literally dreaming up story ideas is common for me, I often incorporate dreams into my books, though usually not as heavily as Safekeeping does. Sometimes I dream the beginning or middle of a story. Usually, it’s one scene or even a snippet of a scene. This time, I dreamt the solution to the mystery/suspense part of the story. Once I wrote that down, it was just a matter of working backward from there… asking myself, “How can I make this happen?” I love amnesia stories, and it was easy to incorporate that into this one. As a matter of fact, I had originally began a different story as an amnesia story, and had to rewrite it once I decided to go in that direction for Safekeeping.

Tell us about your characters in Safekeeping.

Elizabeth and Darcy in this book are not from Pride and Prejudice, as they are in my other books. Their names are a wink at Jane Austen’s classic, and Pride and Prejudice is part of the story, but Safekeeping cannot truly be considered JAFF. I’m not sure I should give away more than that!

How much research did you do?

I LOVE to research, so I always do a great deal of research for all my stories. For Safekeeping, knowing all I could find about amnesia was a biggie. A few friends, including you, Robin, helped me with some details about Florida (as well as “traveling” along the route Elizabeth would take in Florida using Google Earth.) I picked the brains of a physical therapist, who is the son of a friend, about certain injuries that Elizabeth had in the story. I talked to other friends who had similar injuries or had to wear casts/boots in the past, including your blog-mate, Gayle. I put a great deal of time into naming my fictitious towns. For example, much of the story takes place in Mt. Wonnig, in upstate New York. Wonnig is one possible word for “delightful/blissful” in German (or at least that’s what Google Translate tells me.) My husband helped me watch quite a few car chases on YouTube. And I’m still receiving spam from private investigating equipment companies 😉

 What was the hardest part of writing this story?

Making the two time-lines fit together so the climax of both happened at the same time. Safekeeping is actually two stories in one—Elizabeth’s prior life and her life after the amnesia— fused together in her discovery of who she is… was… is. I actually wrote the two story-lines separately, then had to find places in the “amnesia” parts for her to remember. How to transition between the two time-lines smoothly without a big jolts to the reader was also challenging. Formatting that aspect for print/eBook without it becoming annoying or confusing was a difficult decision to make. I don’t think this book can be made into an audiobook without hiring two narrators.

Deciding details about Elizabeth’s injuries and giving her time to heal enough to remove the cast without the story becoming boring was also tough. At almost last minute, I decided to have her break a non-weight-bearing bone in her leg and sprain her wrist instead of breaking it.

And for some reason, I had a difficult time deciding how and when in the story to take her cast off. I was completely stuck on that for months!  Once I got past that, everything flowed easily. I wrote the remainder of the story—about 100 pages in the printed book—in a little more than a week.

Are there messages or themes you hope your readers will get out of this book?

Unlike a lot of writers, I don’t start out with a message or theme I’m trying to convey—just what I hope will be a fun and interesting story—but I think I do it unconsciously. Usually, readers will tell me they saw a message in my books that I didn’t realize I put there! It’s a pleasant surprise when I have an “Ah ha!” moment like that.

What would be the perfectly specific genre title for Safekeeping?

Oh, gosh, that’s a really good and difficult question! How about: Romantic Suspense/Mystery/Clean Read/Nod to Jane Austen.

Wendi SotisThanks so much for having me on Jane Started It!, Robin. I love this blog!

Thank you for stopping by, Wendi! I’m going to beta your next chapter of A Lesson Hard Learned today, and I hope to get a new chapter of The Pact soon. (I’m a hard taskmaster and a greedy reader.)

Find Wendi on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest. She is presently posting A Lesson Hard Learned and The Pact on Beyond Austen.com.

Beware the Energy Vampires

The Energy Bus

Mark Richt, the head football coach of the University of Georgia, took an unusual approach with his team last year. He had all his players read The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon and had an artist draw a huge picture of an Energy Vampire on the wall of their team meeting room. When a player said or did anything which displayed a negative attitude, he put that player’s picture on the wall. No one wanted to be there. By his actions, Coach Richt was telling his players that he would not allow negativity to sabotage the team and their goals.

I think that’s a good thing to do in every area of our lives. Is a friend’s negativity sucking the creativity and positive energy out of you? I know there are times when we need sounding boards and someone to listen to a rant, but if that’s a constant aspect of the relationship, maybe it would be better to avoid the energy vampire and find a few more positive people to include in your circle. Energy Vampire quote

As a writer, I have to have positive, yet honest, feedback. My betas (Gayle Mills, Wendi Sotis, and Stephanie Hamm) are honest about what isn’t working in my writing, but they also encourage me. They are honest without tearing me down. My friend, Laura Hile, is my writing cheerleader. Donna B., a friend of mine from church, always has a positive word for me. I want to be “that” person for someone else.

Who encourages you?


Sisterhood of the Traveling Books (Episode 7)

Does  The Keys for Love come with the kimono?

Does The Keys for Love come with the kimono?

Those traditional shoes look really uncomfortable, but flip flops go with summer reading, and Wendi Sotis's novella is perfect for a day on the beach.

Those traditional shoes look really uncomfortable, but flip flops go with summer reading, and Wendi Sotis’s novella is perfect for a day on the beach.

For our last big trip away from my daughter’s house on the Marine base in Iwakuni, we went to the Fuji Grand, a seven-story mall downtown.

I don’t know why the Japanese want to be like Americans, but it was amusing to hear the popular music from two or three summers ago playing through the shops.

Some of the misspellings were humorous, too, but I loved them for trying. Their English was much better than my Japanese, though I can say “hello,” “goodbye,” “thank you,” “yes,” and “toilet.” Everyone knows what “toilet” means, fortunately.

I don't think they use contractions in Japan.

I don’t think they use contractions in Japan.

The girls bought a few items of clothing, and I bought some gifts. Later, I’ll show you what I purchased for Gayle. It’s a hoot.

Ronald McDonald has invaded Japan, though they didn't have a full menu. There was NO iced tea.

Ronald McDonald has invaded Japan, though they didn’t have a full menu. There was NO iced tea.

The top floor of the mall was all restaurants, though I wouldn’t call McDonald’s a restaurant. Mel posed by their sign as a joke, but we wanted authentic Japanese food.

I ordered tempura (shrimp and vegetables), but I’m not sure what Mandy and Melly ordered. Whatever it was, it came without a spoon or a fork. Melly was able to get us baby forks (really!), but they had to drink the soup from the bowl. I was glad I ordered mine over rice.

That awkward moment when you realize there are no spoons or forks - and yes, that is a cherry slurpie.

That awkward moment when you realize there are no spoons or forks – and yes, that is a cherry slurpie.

Yes, Mel is using a baby fork. Note to self: Always pack plastic forks in your purse.

Yes, Mel is using a baby fork. Note to self: Always pack plastic forks in your purse.

The Fuji Grand

The Fuji Grand

No one locks their bikes up in Japan. I suppose they don’t steal from each other. However, it was interesting that EVERYONE locks their bikes up on the base. I thought that was sad a sad commentary on our culture. I’ve also noticed that everything is compact here, and everything is recycled. A patch of yard is used for a garden. Nothing is wasted. It seems to me that buildings and cars are designed to be practical, not comfortable or necessarily beautiful.

I also took a few (hundred) pictures of my new granddaughter, Charlie, who is my first and only grandchild. I’ll share some of those with you in my next post. My daughter Melly and I will fly back to the States tomorrow night, losing eleven hours in the process of the twenty-eight hour journey. I’m so glad that I came, though traveling isn’t easy for me. These are some of the best memories of my life. One of these days, I’ll sit in my rocking chair, look at my pictures, and remember my big adventure.

Review of Accidentally Yours

Accidentally Yours by Robin Helm.

Thank you to Wendi Sotis (author of Promises, Dreams & Expectations, The Gypsy Blessing, and All Hallows Eve) for this wonderful review!