Posted in About the Book

Dance With Me: Companion Dance Videos to Accompany the Novel

I’m putting together a little something extra for the readers. This is not a spoiler. This post is meant to be a companion to my novel Dance With Me.
You can view these videos before, during, or after you read the book. I hope you enjoy! 

*Note: Ballroom dancing can, at times, be rather steamy. I worked to bring you videos that showed off the elements of the dance but stayed low on the “steam meter.” It was important to me that my readers feel comfortable reading or viewing anything that I post. While I could never promise that no one would be offended, I feel comfortable saying that you can view these videos with confidence. 

Dance 2 FWill a new partnership tear their worlds apart … or will it be the piece they never knew was missing?

In 1959, Arleen Thatcher and Neil Fox are fierce competitors on the dance floor, so they’re the least likely pair to enter a televised competition together. But when rivaling studio owners decide to team up, the two find a partnership they never thought possible. 
Arleen’s reputation around town is reason enough for Neil to keep his distance from his new partner. But as Neil gets to know Arleen, he discovers a side of her few others have seen, one of dark family secrets and carefully-constructed facades.
God’s plan for their partnership may involve more than a single dance; it may be the key to the healing Arleen so desperately needs. 

The Art of Love series is compiled of stand-alone novels where the characters tell their own stories and love means so much more than passion.

Ballroom dancing in 1959 had looked a bit different. Just take a look at those dresses! There are a couple of places in the novel where Neil mentions Arleen’s poofy dress, and he would have been seeing something along these lines.

THE JIVE: 

The jive was something that I wanted to highlight because it’s iconic to the period. In reality, in terms of competitive ballroom dancing, the jive wasn’t included. Yet. But I felt that the book couldn’t be complete without it so I chose to include it.

The video above is a short crash-course into the jive. It explains the rock step (which is mentioned by name in the novel) and it highlights the various handholds. It’s 3.5 minutes well spent.

Below are two full routines for your viewing pleasure. The first one is to “Jailhouse Rock” and the second one features the “theme” song of the novel, “Great Balls of Fire.” 

 

THE WALTZ:

The waltz is probably the most recognizable dance, but I still want to share some videos with you.
Above is a short beginners’ look at the waltz. It showcases the iconic square circles.

And here is a full routine to enjoy. These two aren’t professionals but they did a great job and I loved the song since it’s on the Dance With Me playlist.

 

THE QUICKSTEP: 

 

The quickstep is probably one of my absolute favorites. It’s elegant similar to the waltz, but it’s fast paced like the jive. Before and during the 1950s, the quickstep was a simplistic dance. But there was one couple in particular who began to shake things up a bit and it would soon become the standard. Once again, I hit the fast forward button on history and allowed Neil and Arleen to dance the faster version even though it was just a tad early.

The chasse is mentioned in the novel by name so you’ll want to see the video above and the basic breakdown of the most iconic moves making up the quickstep.

And below I have a full routine for you. I hope you find a new favorite style of dance here and pick up on the elegance and fun that makes up the quickstep. 

 

THE TANGO: 

 

This is another dance that we often see used in movies, typically danced with two people who are at odds with one another.

Above you’ll find a slower breakdown of the dance. And below is a full routine. This one had inspired the lift featured in the book. 

 

THE PASO DOBLE:

 

This one is similar to the tango in that it appears to be a fight between the dancers. The dance is actually taking place between a bull and a bullfighter. In the novel, Neil and Arleen put their paso doble together by incorporating battling dance moves and loads of passion. And like the tango, the paso doble is known for its passion and high energy. I’m sharing two full-length examples. 

 

THE INSPIRATION: 

The moment I saw this video, I wanted to tell the story of a pair of dancers who were still dancing together in their golden years and still bringing people to their feet.

I was already writing the first draft of Dance With Me when 2018’s Winter Olympics started. But I was struck by the chemistry between Tessa and Scott. While I didn’t create Neil and Arleen with them in mind, the two certainly nailed the sort of chemistry I envisioned between my characters. 
Neil doesn’t favor Scott, but oddly enough Arleen favors Tessa a great deal. 

 

Dancer Hiding

You can read Neil and Arleen’s story on April 8, 2019. It will be available on Amazon in ebook and paperback and FREE on Kindle Unlimited. It is available for pre-order today. You can also add it to your Goodreads list. 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements
Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Between Two Shores by Jocelyn Green

47The daughter of a Mohawk mother and French father in 1759 Montreal, Catherine Duval finds it is easier to remain neutral in a world that is tearing itself apart. Content to trade with both the French and the British, Catherine is pulled into the fray against her wishes when her British ex-
fiance, Samuel Crane, is taken prisoner by her father. Samuel asks her to help him escape, claiming he has information that could help end the war. 

Peace appeals to Catherine, but helping the man who broke her heart does not. She delays . . . until attempts on Samuel’s life convince her he’s in mortal danger. Against her better judgment she helps him flee by river, using knowledge of the landscape to creep ever closer to freedom. Their time together rekindles feelings she thought long buried, and danger seems to hound their every mile. She’s risked becoming a traitor by choosing a side, but will the decision cost her even more than she anticipated?

What I Loved:  Green is one of those historical authors that I always look forward to reading and never regret picking up. Between Two Shores was a stunning novel. Green’s understanding of the history, setting, and the various cultures help the story to leap off the pages. She’s a very gifted historical author and I highly recommend her work if you haven’t picked up one of her novels yet.
I’m gonna be honest, this was not a fluffy story. Far from it, actually. But it’s the sort of story that causes the reader and the character to grow. Now, when I say this wasn’t fluffy, I don’t mean that it was graphic or outside the Christian bounds. I only mean that there was a plot twist that I found as painful as the character did. Readers don’t need to proceed with caution, but they should expect a heavy, yet beautiful, story when they pick this one up.

Rating and Recommendations: I recommend this one to Christian Historical fiction fans, those looking for a deep, challenging story, and for those wanting to delve into the British, Native American, or French conflicts in the 1700s. I’m giving it 5 stars.

~I received a copy from Bethany House. I was not compensated for this review. All thoughts are my own.

Posted in Book Reviews

Looking for Reviewers!

Looking for Reviewers! Dance With Me is almost ready. It’s time to collect interested bloggers for the blog tour. If you love Christian Fiction, Christian Romance, or a clean story set in 1959, fill out the form to join the tour!

*If you’re not a blogger but are interested in reviewing the novel, please sign up here

 

Dance 2 F
Full Description:
Will a new partnership tear their worlds apart … or will it be the piece they never knew was missing?

In 1959, Arleen Thatcher and Neil Fox are fierce competitors on the dance floor, so they’re the least likely pair to enter a televised competition together. But when rivaling studio owners decide to team up, the two find a partnership they never thought possible.
Arleen’s reputation around town is reason enough for Neil to keep his distance from his new partner. But as Neil gets to know Arleen, he discovers a side of her few others have seen, one of dark family secrets and carefully-constructed facades.
God’s plan for their partnership may involve more than a single dance; it may be the key to the healing Arleen so desperately needs.

The Art of Love series is compiled of stand-alone novels where the characters tell their own stories and love means so much more than passion.

 

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: The Secrets of Paper and Ink by Lindsay Harrel

46Brought together by a charming bookstore in England, three women fight to defy expectations, dream new dreams, and welcome love into their lives. 

As a counselor, Sophia Barrett is trained to help people cope with their burdens. But when she meets a new patient whose troubles mirror her own, she realizes she hasn’t dealt with the pain of her recent past. After making a snap decision to get away for the summer, Sophia moves overseas to an apartment above a charming bookstore in Cornwall, England. She is hopeful she will find peace there surrounded by her favorite thing: great literature. 

Bookstore owner Ginny Rose is desperate to save her business without asking for help from a husband who’s decided to take a break from their marriage. Ginny never imagined she’d be solely responsible for keeping afloat her husband’s dream, but the unexpected friendship with her new renter has her feeling more optimistic. Between the two of them—and Ginny’s brother-in-law, William—the bookstore might stand a chance. 

Then Sophia finds a notebook in the bookstore that contains journal entries from Emily Fairfax, a governess who lived in Cornwall more than 150 years ago. Sophia learns that Emily harbored a secret passion for becoming an authoress—as well as a deep love for her childhood friend, Edward, whose station she dared not dream to touch. 

Eager to know more of Emily’s story, Sophia goes on a quest—dragging Ginny and William with her—to discover the heart of the woman behind the beautiful entries. Soon Ginny’s need to save the bookstore becomes more than a way to save her marriage, and Sophia finds new purpose of her own. Together they find that sometimes both heartache and hope can reach across the centuries.

What I Loved: Harrel has a gift for plucking the reader out of their home and transporting them to a foreign country. She writes as an export. Beyond the fun travel details, there’s a beautiful soul-deep journey for the character and the reader. There’s a dual-timeline here, so the reader is treated to two contemporary storylines and one historical story. The history lover in me rejoices at Harrel’s decision to incorporate pages from a journal.
I will admit that this one took me a few pages longer to get fully wrapped up in, but the dramas of the heart tends to be a slower journey compared to war fiction, which I had been reading a great deal of lately. But I found the characters easy to relate to and the spiritual message comes in clearly near the end and left my heart warm and satisfied.

Rating and Recommendations: I’m giving The Secrets of Paper and Ink 5 stars and highly recommend it to those who enjoy Christian Fiction, dual timelines, women’s fiction, or those wanting to travel in the pages of a novel.

~ I received a copy from the publisher through NetGalley. I was not compensated for my review. All thoughts are my own.

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: The Sky Above Us by Sarah Sundin

49Numbed by grief and harboring shameful secrets, Lt. Adler Paxton ships to England with the US 357th Fighter Group in 1943. Determined to become an ace pilot, Adler battles the German Luftwaffe in treacherous dogfights in the skies over France as the Allies struggle for control of the air before the D-day invasion.

Violet Lindstrom wanted to be a missionary, but for now she serves in the American Red Cross, where she arranges entertainment for the men of the 357th in the Aeroclub on base and sets up programs for local children. Drawn to the mysterious Adler, she enlists his help with her work and urges him to reconnect with his family after a long estrangement.

Despite himself, Adler finds his defenses crumbling when it comes to Violet. But D-day draws near. And secrets can’t stay buried forever.

Bestselling author Sarah Sundin returns readers to the shores of Normandy, this time in the air, as the second Paxton brother prepares to face the past–and the most fearsome battle of his life.

What I Loved: I’ve been invested in the Paxton family since page one of book one. The Sky Above Us was just as remarkable as The Sea Before Us, and I’m eagerly waiting for book 3 of the series.
The Sky Above Us was everything I’ve come to expect from Sundin: a sound message for the soul, endearing characters, a timeless romance, an accurate WWII setting, and all the historic details your heart can hold.
I always appreciate Sundin’s characters because they’re often humble Christian role models. Violet and Nick were two of those characters. Her heart longed to go out into the missionary field, and yet there was room for sweet Violet to grow. Sundin did an excellent job with this character. There’s something satisfying about rescuing the bad boy, and we get a dose of that here too! Adler was a terrific bad-boy-turned-good and a great lesson in accepting God’s forgiveness.
If you’re familiar with Sundin’s work, then you already know that she brought out all the stops to create a novel that you feel as if you can step into. And if you haven’t picked up one of her novels yet, then you’re really missing out.

Rating and Recommendations: I gladly give it 5 stars and recommend it to WWII fiction fans and Christian Historical Fiction fans.

~ I received a copy from Revell. I was not compensated for this review. All thoughts are my own.

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Castle on the Rise by Kristy Cambron

21A storied castle. A band of rebels.

A nation chasing a centuries-old dream of freedom.

And three women who rise above it all . . .

When Laine Forrester travels overseas to attend her best friend’s vineyard wedding, she expects to find the bride on the brink of a fairy-tale life. But after a series of unforeseen setbacks, it seems the storybook lives they’d imagined are suddenly ripping apart.

With hopes of resurrecting a happy ending, Laine agrees to accompany the newlyweds to the groom’s home in Ireland—never expecting she’d be the one drawn in by its wide-open moors, backroads bordering the Irish Sea, and a mysterious castle that dares to keep its secrets hidden.

From the storied streets of Dublin to the shores of the Emerald Isle, Laine is drawn in to the land and its rich history. The castle ruins whisper stories of Issy—a photojournalist battling through the 1916 Easter Rising, and Maeve—the castle’s lady of legend, fighting for survival through the 1798 rebellion that started it all.

Spanning more than two centuries, Castle on the Rise unites the legacy of three women who must risk mending the broken places within for life, love, and the belief that even through the depths of our pain, a masterpiece of a story can emerge.

My Thoughts: I’ve been looking forward to the next Lost Castle novel, and I was not disappointed. In fact, I found it a treat to revisit with book one’s couple, Ellie and Quinn, and I loved that the old couple wasn’t the main focus of the new story although we do get to see how their lives are progressing.
The vivid landscape described throughout the novel was certainly a high point. While my personal tastes are to have a little less description, Cambron’s talent here cannot be denied. She really does paint a pretty picture with words.
I only wish the spiritual content was as vivid. For me, that was the one area that I felt was lacking. The contemporary storyline, in particular, felt undone in terms of a spiritutal conclusion. But perhaps we’ll see more growth for Laine in the third book. And I do have to point out the many mentions of pubs and having a pint of Guinness. As a dry Baptist, this was a bit off-putting for me. But I will say that none of the characters were ever seen drunk. But the pub and the pub owners were prominent characters in two of the timelines.
Ahhh and the timelines!! I’m a historian at heart and I adore dual timelines. Cambron lovingly crafted three separate timelines around the same key locations and families. Both of the historical threads featured war or uprisings so they were often action packed. She gained my attention early on and kept it the whole way. Each moment in history felt authentic and rare. I didn’t know much Irish history, so I felt like the chosen eras were lesser known, but they quickly felt like home. For me, it’s the historical aspect that really made the story shine and why I gladly give it 5 stars.

Rating and Recommendation: I recommend it to those looking for Irish Historical novels, dual timelines, lovely castles, or Christian Historical fiction. And I’m giving it 5 stars and eagerly await the conclusion of the series.

~ I received a copy from the publisher through NetGalley. I was not compensated for this review. All thoughts are my own.

Posted in About the Book

Life After the Epilogue: A Bonus Scene for The Accident by A.M. Heath

For a special treat, I have a bonus scene for The Accident. This scene DOES contain some spoilers and is best enjoyed and understood if you’ve already read the novella. So if you found this page a little too early, I encourage you to bookmark it or look for it later under the “Bonus Scenes” section on my Novel Extras page here on the blog. 
And if you haven’t read the novella yet, you can read a sample or pick up your ebook copy for .99 on Amazon.

Accident 1600x2400

Life Beyond the Epilogue

October 30, 2017

Ashlyn’s Diary

    Uh-oh. Just when I thought the cell phone thing was behind me, something returned to bite me in the rear. Ok, so here’s what happened at dinner tonight:
    I was lost in my world of chicken quesadillas when Daddy suddenly stopped chewing and stared at me. He leaned both forearms against the table and studied me.
    Momma stopped eating and looked between the two of us.
    I sent a questioning glance to Momma, who only shrugged.
   “Chris, what’s the matter?”
   Dad’s eyes zeroed in on my shirt, then back to my eyes. “It was you, wasn’t it?”
   I set my partially eaten quesadilla down. “What did I do now?”
   “That day at the hospital?”
   I felt the color drain from my face. I stared at him with my jaw hanging open. I had been found out. When he didn’t recognize me after our first real meeting, I assumed I was in the clear. But apparently not.      Dad let out a dry chuckle and wiped a hand over his mouth. He leaned back in his chair.
    “What is it?” Mom asked, looking from me to him, again and again.
    He pointed to me but looked at Momma. “Do you remember reading my message to Ashlyn … you know, in the beginning, when I thought she was you, and I said that some girl walked into my hospital room and stood there staring at me?”
    I watched the color drain from Momma’s face, as Daddy gave her a look with hiked brows, all the while pointing at me with his finger.
    “Ashlyn!” she hissed.
    I shifted on my seat. “Please don’t be mad,” I rushed out.
   Momma’s face melted even further. “Then it’s true?”
   I started but stopped, then finally spoke, “I didn’t plan it. We were there to visit Ms. Amber and Daddy–err, Chris at the time–texted to say he was about to be discharged. I had a chance to see him face to face. I didn’t think about it, I just … did it.”
   “Ashlyn! How could you? What if–”
    I waved her off. “He didn’t know who I was. I pretended to be lost, and he believed me … until now,” I uttered, flipping my gaze back to him.
    Dad only chuckled and rubbed his face again. He does that a lot when he doesn’t know what else to say. “What are we going to do with you?”
    I winced and lifted my shoulders. “Love me?”
   They both laughed.
   “Oh, we’ll love you, all right,” Mom muttered. “So, this whole time, you knew who Chris really was?”
    I nodded. “I knew. I knew he was perfect for you and me. I just didn’t know how to tell him that he didn’t really know you.”
   I turned to Daddy. “But how did you figure it out? I thought you’d recognize me the first time, but you didn’t. Why now?”
    He pointed to my shirt. “You were wearing the same kitty astronaut shirt. It stuck out to me because I thought it was charming, in a weird sort of way. Just now, when I saw the shirt, I had the same thought run through my mind; then it hit me that the last time I had seen a shirt like was on a red-headed girl about your age, your height, and your build standing in my room that day.” He smirked and shook his head.
   “Am I in trouble now?”
   They eyed each other.
   Mom sighed.
   “I won’t do it again, I promise!”
   Momma rolled her eyes, then turned to Dad.
   “What’s done is done, I suppose. But, Ashlyn …”
   “I know,” I muttered, hanging my head.
   He patted my arm, and I looked up at him. “Where has that shirt been all this time?”
   I shrugged. “I found it buried in my closet the other day and washed it.”
   They dropped it and we moved on for the night. But what a close call! Just think, if the hospital visit had come out earlier, I would have been toast. Needless to say, I won’t do that again.

Danielle and Chris:

Chris 9:05 pm:
I’m at the store. Did you finally decide what you wanted?

Danielle 9:05 pm:
Umm …

Chris 9:05 pm:
LOL Is it going to be like this for the next 7½ months?

Danielle 9:06 pm:
LOL I hope not, but it’s been a long while since I’ve been pregnant. Things might have changed since then. 😉

Chris 9:06 pm:
LOL Fair enough.
Well, last night, the little nugget wanted a Butterfinger.

Danielle 9:07 pm:
He said not tonight. I think he wants ice cream.

Chris 9:07 pm:
She wants ice cream, you mean. What kind does she want?

Danielle 9:07 pm:
Moose Tracks. HE definitely wants Moose Tracks.

Chris 9:07 pm:
LOL
Has Ashlyn suspected anything yet?

Danielle 9:08 pm:
Not yet. I want to get this first appointment over with so we can tell her.

Chris 9:10 pm:
I can’t wait. She’ll be a good big sister.
All right. I have the ice cream. I’ll be home soon.

Danielle 9:10 pm:
Okay, thanks. I love you. And drive carefully.

Chris 9:11 pm:
Will do. I love you too.

Danielle 9:11 pm:
Oh, go ahead and pick up a Butterfinger. 😉

Chris 9:12 pm:
LOL I already did. 😉 So far, life has taught me that my little women are tricky, and I had best be on my toes at all times.

Danielle 9:12 pm:
LOL I’m glad to know you’re teachable.

Chris 9:13 pm:
Ha. Ha. Ha.

Danielle 9:13 pm:
😉

Chris 9:13 pm:
Oh, I’ve been meaning to ask you. What do you think of the name Annabelle if it’s a girl?

Danielle 9:14 pm:
Ooooh! I like that! I like it a lot!

Danielle 9:14 pm:
Christopher if it’s a boy?

Chris 9:14 pm:
Sure.
But it’s a girl. 😉

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: A Love Most Worthy by Sandy Ardoin

44She didn’t know which was colder, an Arctic winter or her new husband’s heart.
Hallie Russell believes life should be lived to the fullest. For that reason, she sails to the gold rush town of Nome, Alaska to take her cousin’s place as the mail-order bride of a respected shopkeeper. But when her aloof husband’s wedding-night announcement rocks her plans for their marriage, Hallie sees her desire for a family to call her own vanish as quickly as the dreams of hopeful miners.

Tragedy led Rance Preston to regret his rowdy ways and open a general store for the miners in Nome. He’s content in his bachelorhood, but his two orphaned nephews deserve a proper and serious-minded mother. Duped once by a vivacious female, he’s determined to never again let his heart overrule his head…until the high spirits of his new bride threaten his resolve. 

When a misunderstanding comes to light, will they allow the gale force winds of insecurity to destroy what they each need most?

What I Loved: I was immediately pulled in and sympathized with Hallie. She had such a sweet personality, but desperate to know that someone loved her. I was intrigued by the historical detail of panning for gold in Alaska and the life-like setting. Ardoin offers beautiful detail throughout the story, but in a way that doesn’t put the plot on hold. The story itself was entertaining, and the spiritual message was beautifully handled. I appreciated the way Ardoin weaved scripture into the story in a natural way. It never felt heavy or forced, but just the right verse at the right time for the characters.

Rating and Recommendation: I’d recommend this one to those who enjoy Christian Historical novellas and I’m giving it 5 stars.

~I received a copy from the author. I was not compensated for this review or required to give a positive one. All thoughts are my own.

Posted in Uncategorized

Valentines Countdown to Great Giveaways Romance Special: Day 6

51023235_10218775640245995_7138630907497283584_nWhen I think of romance, the classic love stories of Jane Austen often come to mind. I want to share some of my favorite quotes with you along with some relationship tips inspired by Austen’s novels. And as a special treat, I’m offering an ebook copy of my novel If Only It Were Yesterday for free on Amazon. My heroine, Liz Cooke, is an avid reader and major Austen fan. You’ll find several nods towards Austen’s work throughout the novel.
And keep scrolling for the joint giveaway and the countdown calendar link. 

I hope you enjoy revisiting these timeless stories, or that it encourages you to pick up a new-to-you Austen novel. If it does, be sure to share with me which one you’re planning to grab first!

*Note: As I was searching for the best quotes to share, clearly I could have chosen a hundred more, but was forced to limit them. I started this post out, strictly quoting the novels. But I soon found out that Miss Austen’s common style was to explain the course of events, rather than allow us to eavesdrop on the happy couple and the professions of love. Because of that, many of the romantic quotes we go around repeating actually come from the movie adaptions and not the original work. In order to keep things romantically focused, I’ll be quoting movies and novels. 

captain wentworth

Pride and Prejudice:
“You are too generous to trifle with me. If your feelings are still what they were last April, tell me so at once. My affections and wishes are unchanged; but one word from you will silence me on this subject forever.” ~ Mr. Darcy

“I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.” ~ Mr. Darcy

Sense and Sensibility:
“To your sister, I wish all the imaginable happiness; to Willoughby that he may endeavor to deserve her.” ~ Colonel Brandon

“I come here with no expectations, only to profess, now that I am at liberty to do so, that my heart is and will always be yours.” ~ Edward Ferrars

Mansfield Park:
“I have loved you as a man loves a woman. As a hero loves a heroine. As I have never loved anyone.” ~ Edmund Bertram

“Surely you and I are beyond speaking when words are clearly not enough.” ~ Edmund Bertram

Emma:
“I cannot make speeches, Emma … If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more. But you know what I am. You hear nothing but truth from me. I have blamed you, and lectured you, and you have borne it as no other woman in England would have borne it.” ~ Mr. Knightley

“Mr. Knightley, if I have not spoken, it is because I am afraid I will awaken myself from this dream.” ~ Emma Woodhouse

Persuasion:
“You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope … I have loved none but you.” ~ Captain Wentworth

“I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight years and a half ago.” ~ Captain Wentworth

Northanger Abbey:
“I felt myself bound to you, by honor, by affection, and by a love so strong that nothing could deter me.” ~ Mr. Tilney

“Now I must give one smirk, and then we may be rational again.” ~ Mr. Tilney

 

Austen-inspired Advice Column:

Pride and Unforgiveness Will Ruin Any Relationship:
“My good opinion once lost, is lost forever.” ~ Mr. Darcy
“I could easily forgive his pride, if he had not mortified mine.” ~ Elizabeth Bennett
Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy show us how these attitudes can cause unnecessary rifts in a relationship. Could you imagine all that these two would have missed out on had they stuck to their earlier feelings? Is there any wonder that the Lord teaches us to be quick to forgive others and to repent of our pride?

True Friendship is Sometimes Painful:
“Badly done, indeed!” ~Mr. Knightley
“Better be without sense, than misapply it as you do.” ~Mr. Knightley
There is no greater example of a true friend in Austen’s works than  Mr. Knightley. At first glance, he sounds harsh, condescending, and the enemy of dear, sweet Emma. But in truth, he’s the truest friend of all. The Bible teaches us that a true friend might wound us from time to time, but it’s the kisses of the enemy that you have to be aware of.

Beware of Their Fruit:
“I cannot think well of a man who sports with any woman’s feelings; and there may often be a great deal more suffered than a stander-by can judge of.” ~ Fanny Price
“I mean to be too rich to lament or to feel anything of the sort. A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of.” ~ Miss Crawford
This is a theme that we can find in all of Austen’s novels. The Bible teaches that just as a tree is known by its fruit, so people are known by their deeds. And it’s only a matter of time before those deeds are brought to light. As Fanny stands between two men, one she had loved a lifetime and another who promises her the moon, it would have been all too easy for her to be swept away by the tender promises of one so attentive and handsome as Mr. Crawford, and for a season Fanny was. But she was never fully certain of his motives and kept him rightly at arm’s length. In time, Mr. Crawford proved who he really was just as his sister eventually shows her true colors. Fanny was not only saved a lifetime of disappointment but was offered her greatest joy.

Being Tongue Tied Could be a Sign of Deep Feelings:
“You have bewitched me, body and soul. And I love, I love, I love you.” ~ Mr. Darcy*
“I cannot make speeches. If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more.” ~ Mr. Knightley
“I never wish to offend, but I am so foolishly shy, that I often seem negligent, when I am only kept back by my natural awkwardness.” ~ Edward Ferrars
“My soul mate must take tea. I wouldn’t even care if he loaded it with sugar or refused to take cream. But all of Jane Austen’s heroes took tea, and she knew a thing or two about worthy men. One could argue that she also died single, but I prefer to think that she died refusing to settle for less. I found it best to stick to her example.” ~ Liz Cooke 
Just as my heroine Liz Cooke learns, sometimes we fictional readers can be a bit blind sighted by what we think the right man ought to do or say. When we see such breathtaking examples of romance, we might be tempted to hold the men in our lives up to fictional standards. But even Austen shows us that sometimes the hero doesn’t always know the right thing to say or do. Think of Mr. Darcy’s insulting first proposal. Or later his declaration of love in which we could say that he muddled because he stuttered his way through it. Mr. Knightley was so in love with Emma that he had very little to say. If the man in your life is shy and not good with his words, cut him some slack. Words and emotions aren’t always easy for people to express.

Impressing the Right Guy Shouldn’t be Hard:
“All were contented to pass quietly and carefully down the steep flight, excepting Louisa; she must be jumped down them by Captain Wentworth. … He advised her against it, thought the jar too great, but no, he reasoned and talked in vain, she smiled and said, ‘I am determined I will.’ … she fell on the pavement on the Lower Cobb, and was taken up lifeless!” 
Louisa Musgrove is a joyful young lady who is enjoying the attention of a rich, older gentleman. The moment she’s most known for, however, is when she lets her silliness run amuck and we find her jumping off the flight of steps in order to have the thrill of being caught by her handsome escort. Oddly enough, it’s this little stunt that takes Louisa down the path to finding the right sort of man for her and … her handsome escort realizes he needs someone more mature … someone he’s never stopped loving. Lesson learned: If you’re tempted to go to the extreme to get someone to notice you  – don’t bother, he clearly wasn’t interested enough to notice your natural beauty on his own. Save your time and efforts for someone who will.

How We Behave Will Reflect on Who We Catch:
“Unhappy as the event must be for Lydia, we may draw from it this useful lesson: that loss of virtue in a female is irretrievable; that one false step involves her in endless ruin; that her reputation is no less brittle than it is beautiful; and that she cannot be too much guarded in her behaviour towards the undeserving of the other sex.” 
To the Austen fan, the name Wickham is never attached to anything pleasant. He’s one of those cads who you think is God’s gift, but after a bit of fruit examination and a background check, we learn that he’s as low as they come. We see characters like this a lot in Austen’s fiction … possibly because we find so many in real life. Sometimes, these guys can blind us to the truth, but be careful that we don’t set ourselves up for failure. Offering the world a cheap version of yourself is bound to attract cheap men. The Bible teaches us to adorn ourselves with the Word of God. Not only is it right, but it’s a great way to increase your chances of catching the right sort of man.

Fiction is Still Fiction:
“It seemed as if the whole might be traced to the influence of that sort of reading which she had there indulged.” ~Northanger Abbey
“What sort of fevered imagination you must have? Perhaps, after all, it is possible to read too many novels.” ~ Mr. Tilney

“Don’t make the mistake of comparing a great reality with a flimsy fairy tale.” ~ Betty Tanner (If Only It Were Yesterday) 
Just like my character, Liz, Catherine Mooreland learns the hard way that fiction is just fiction. Like Liz, Catherine is consumed with makebelieve worlds, so much so that she almost ruins a great relationship in order to chase after her fantasies. Catherine and Liz have that in common. While fiction is fiction, we’ll do well to learn from their mistakes by enjoying our books then setting them down to enjoy our lives and those in it. Your family and friends will benefit from your attention, and you’ll benefit from the clear air.

And I’d like to wrap up this post with one of my absolute favorite Jane Austen movie clip videos. I don’t own the rights to the video. ENJOY! And then be sure to comment and talk Austen with me! Who is your favorite couple?

My post and novel gift is part of a bigger giveaway. So be sure to visit the other stops in this countdown series and enter the joint giveaway. 

Don’t forget to pick up your copy of If Only It Were Yesterday from Amazon
or add it to your Goodreads shelf. 

Valentines special.png

Liz Cooke has two problems in life: Her social media is filled with brewing political conflict and her idea of a perfect man seems to have gone extinct a century ago. Inspired by the contents of an antique trunk, Liz dreams she time-travels to 1885. As she sets out to enjoy the Victorian era in all its glory, armed with knowledge gleaned through historical novels and period dramas, will she find the past to be all that she thought? And does the right man for her exist only in her dreams or has he been in her life all along?
Loosely inspired by Alice in Wonderland, A.M. Heath brings you a fun read chock-full of humor and whimsy with a special message for the avid reader in all of us.

 

 

Posted in Fiction Friday

The Accident’s Blog Tour and Giveaway

blog tour accidentI have a new blog tour in progress, and with a new blog tour comes a new giveaway! I’m giving away a paperback copy of The Accident, a blue infinity scarf as seen in the photo, and a journal. The journal and scarf tie into the story and to two of the lead characters. You can enter the giveaway here.
It closes on Feb 9, 2019, and is only open to continental U.S. residents only. Be sure to swing by the stops on the blog tour for more chances to enter!

grand prize copy

Tour Stops: 

Feb 1: Virginia @ Bigreadersite

Feb 4: Laura @ Blue Eye Books

Feb 5: Kaylee @ A. Kaylee’s Kind of Writes

Feb 6: Amanda @ With a Joyful Noise

Feb 7: Debbie @ Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations 

Feb 8: Deana @ Texas Book-aholic 

accident quotes 4

The Accident is now available on Amazon in ebook and paperback.
You can also add it to your shelf on Goodreads

51023235_10218775640245995_7138630907497283584_n

But there’s more! Today starts our grand Valentines Countdown to Great Giveaways! Come to meet new romance authors, win gifts and prizes and…Enter To Win — $50 Amazon Gift Card. The fun starts today! My day is on Wednesday, so I’ll email you a special invite them, along with your special gift. Here’s the Valentine’s Countdown link so you can get started. Enjoy!