I knew that C.S. Lewis and I had more in common than our Christianity when he said, "You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me." Welcome to a celebration of faith, tea, and the written word. I'm always engaged in a book, and whether it's one I'm reading or one of the inspirational historical romances I write, there's always a cup of tea close by. Join me in a cup as we chat about faith, our favorite books and the exciting places our reading and writing adventures take us.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Moment of Calm for the Week

It's a crazy time of year, isn't it?

The kids are back in school, church programs are back in full swing, and summer vacation is definitely over. Around here, folks are suffering from allergies, bad colds, and a stomach flu that I do not want to get.

My oven isn't working, my garden needs to be tended, the calendar is full, and I'm on deadline. I don't feel like I will get things done on time and/or well. Sound familiar?

I'm taking a minute to take a deep breath and remember what It's All About.

I love this shade of green, and I love this verse. It takes me right back to the center of my faith, and leads me to quiet reflection on who I am and Who He is.

I hope your week includes a few moments of restful reflection, praise, and thanksgiving.

Image result for scripture meme

Monday, September 19, 2016

Celebrate The Rails to Love Romance Collection with a Giveaway!

All Aboard!

It's almost release day for The Rails to Love Collection!

Journey the Transcontinental Railroad along with nine unlikely couples who encounter all the dangers and disappointments of traveling the rails in the late 1800s. From sight-seeing excursions to transports toward new lives, from orphan trains to circus trains, can romances develop into blazing love in a world of cold, hard steel?

Look at those authors! Wow! Here's the blurb on my story, The Honeymoon Express:

Can a jilted bride and a mysterious frontiersman thrown together on a trip meant for honeymooners  solve a crime--and find love--before the end of the line?

I'm celebrating with giveaways over the next few weeks...and here's the first!

It runs from Sept 19-11:59 pm EDT Sept 24, so don't delay!

(psst...it's on sale for HALF PRICE on Amazon right now! Here's the link!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Austen in Austin Volume 2 is out and Volume I is on Sale!

Austen in Austin, Volume 2, is out from White Fire Publishing!

All new authors, all new Austen re-tellings with a Texas twist.

Simply Lila by Suzie Johnson, based on Lady Susan

Yearning to find a real-life hero, a wallflower must learn to live outside the pages of an Austen novel.

Fully Persuaded by Niki Turner, based on Persuasion

A brokenhearted artist struggles with the shame of her family s bankruptcy and the return of her first love whose proposal she d spurned because he was poor.

Mansford Ranch by Dina L. Sleiman, based on Mansfield Park

An aspiring novelist with a keen eye for character must determine who is worthy of playing her own leading man.

Sense and Nonsense by Lisa Karon Richardson, based on Sense and Sensibility

A would-be missionary is determined to make it to Ceylon, but when her funds disappear, she has to accept help from the man she most wants to avoid.

Click here to buy!

Volume I, which contains my novella One Word From You, is on sale (click here to buy).

Monday, September 12, 2016

Cover Reveal: Seven Brides for Seven Mail Order Grooms

Last week I revealed the cover of the Of Rags and Riches Collection, coming July 2017. Today I want to share my June 2017 cover...Seven Brides for Seven Mail Order Grooms!

Isn't it a beautiful cover? I love it. These stories all surround the women in a Kansas community that's seen its population of men decimated by the Civil War. The stories are tender, funny, touching, and sweet, all at the same time.

My novella, A Clean Slate, is about the town schoolmarm, and she is absolutely, 100% positive she wants nothing to do with the men coming to town in response to the ad for husbands. But you and I both know things won't stay that way!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Cover Reveal: Of Rags and Riches Collection

A few weeks ago I announced that I was part of an upcoming romance collection from Barbour, Of Rags and Riches. Now I can share the cover and the other authors!

I am so honored to be in a collection with these amazing authors!

My story, The Right Pitch, is one I've wanted to write for a long time. Here's a hint: baseball!

The book will be out in July of 2017. More to come!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Regency-era Mourning

mourning fashion
Belle Assemble morning gown, 1818
Mourning was a big part of life during the Regency era, not just a stage of grief or a period or adjustment, but a literal season set by society which dictated one's clothing and behavior.

The length of one's mourning period depended upon the relationship to the deceased, and customs could vary by social class.

In addition, there were two types of mourning, Full and Half. In Full mourning, one wore matte black, but after a suitable period (about halfway through the mourning period), one could transition to Half mourning and wear subdued colors like lavender.

The guidelines listed here are by no means comprehensive, but they give us an idea of what mourning was like during the Regency.

Lengths of Mourning Period:

Spouse:  1 year
One's child:  6 months – 1 year  (the older the child, the longer the mourning period)
Parent or In-Law:  6 months–1 year
Grandparent:  6 months
Sibling:  6 months
Aunt or Uncle:  3 months
Cousin: 1 month

What did a woman wear and do during mourning?
Image result for regency mourning
Fashion Plate 1810, Wikipedia commons
Full mourning required a black wardrobe. Fabric choices included crepe (lightweight silk), bombazine (heavier silk), velvet, or sarcenet with no shimmer or sheen--fabrics should be matte or dull. Oftentimes a woman would have her current gowns dyed black, because new wardrobes were so expensive. Her accessories would also be black, from gloves to cap, and she would not wear anything shiny or sparkly, like jewels. She also might wear a veil.
Mourning tiara, worn 1818 and thereafter:
Mourning Tiara 
She should not attend social functions during this time. She could, however, receive calls.

If she mourns the death of her husband, she must not marry again for a year. This way, if it was discovered she was expecting, there would be no doubt of the paternity of the baby.
Ackermann, Mourning Dress,, 1819
Ackermann's, 1819
Halfway through the mourning period, her wardrobe could soften to include "sober" colors like lavender, brown, mauve, and gray. Apparently she could also incorporate patterns into her wardrobe, as in the fashion plate below.
Fashion Plate (Half Mourning Walking Dress), London, England, Early 19th century, Los Angeles County Museum of Art:
Fashion Plate, Half Mourning, 
She could wear modest jewelry, and a popular thing to do at the time was to wear a pendant or brooch incorporating the deceased person's hair.
Mourning pendant in memory of Betsy Robinson who died in 1809. With dual hearts, an eternity knot of hair, initials and the sentiment ‘The  union of hearts constitutes our happiness’.:
1809, From the artofmourning.com
She could begin to attend social activities, but should choose wisely and not appear to be having too good of a time.
Mourning Hats, 1805.:
Mourning hats, 1805
Men had mourning rules a little easier.

 Many gentlemen wore black anyway, so they often wore clothes they already had in their closets, like black coats. They could also wear black neckcloths, an armband of black crepe, black ornamentation on their hats, and black gloves.

A widower was expected to take time to grieve, but business or parliamentary obligations necessitated that he did not hide away for long. He could remarry within the year.

In Half Mourning, a gentleman might resume his regular wardrobe but continue to wear a black armband.

Children mourned, too, and wore black, and/or black bows or sashes were sewn onto their clothes and hats.

Considering how many relations one had, and that the life expectancy was not what it is today, a person could possibly spend years wearing mourning attire!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Back Cover Copy--Something to Squeal About

What an emotional weekend! Back to school here at home, but we also moved our oldest into her dorm to start her freshman year at college.

I'm proud of her, but miss her. Last night was our first family dinner with that empty spot at the table. I held it together, but I would be lying if I didn't say I was sad.

Parenting is a lifelong grieving process, according to one person I spoke to. I think he's got a point. Letting our kids go as they grow is a series of goodbyes (to different stages) and much as it is hellos (to new ones). I'm celebrating my kids' growth and achievements, but I think it's ok to be a little sad at a time like this, too.

So it was a nice treat to look up the link for my upcoming Love Inspired Historical, The Reluctant Guardian, and see that the back-cover copy has been written. WOW! The team did an amazing job capturing the story:

Under the Spy's Protection 

When Gemma Lyfield inadvertently interrupts a dangerous smuggling operation in her English village, she's rescued by a mysterious Scottish spy. Now with criminals after her and her hopes for an expected marriage proposal recently dashed, she will make her society debut in London. But not without the man tasked with protecting her…

Covert government agent Tavin Knox must keep Gemma safe from the criminals who think she can identify them—a mission he never wanted. But as he escorts her and her rascally nephews around London, the lovely English lass proves braver than he ever imagined. Suddenly, the spy who works alone has one Season to become the family man he never dreamed he'd be.


No cover to share yet, but when I have it I will pop it up here! I can't wait!

The Reluctant Guardian releases Feb 2017!