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, January 28, 2013

Happy Birthday, Pride & Prejudice!

Two hundred years ago this week, Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice was published.
Happy Birthday!
Could Jane ever have dreamed how successful and beloved this book became? How many millions she would influence?

Just a few facts about Jane Austen and her (arguably) most famous novel:
  •  Early drafts were titled First Impressions.
  • Jane accepted a marriage proposal from her friend's brother, but the next day she called off the engagement.
  • Whom Jane might have loved is still debated, although it's widely accepted she was in love with Tom Lefroy. Their  "story", and how it might have influenced her writing Pride & Prejudice, became the inspiration for the book/film, Becoming Jane, with Anne Hathaway as Jane and James McAvoy as Tom Lefroy. The film is rather fictional, btw.
    I do so like Tom's waistcoat
  •  Pride and Prejudice has been made into numerous film and television adaptations, including Bride and Prejudice, a Bollywood style treat.

The 1940 film version, where the costumes aren't exactly...period.
  • It has inspired tomes of Austen-related fiction, including Bridget Jones Diary, Austenland, a Jane Austen mystery series, and Pride & Prejudice & Zombies. Even comic books!

  •  Colin Firth remains many fans' favorite Mr. Darcy.

  •    But Matthew McFayden has his fans, too.

  • Then there's Mr. Wickham. He's quite charming. At first.
  •  Jane is so sweet and kind, she's impossible to dislike.
Rosamund Pike as Jane Bennet in Universal Pictures' Pride and Prejudice directed by Joe Wright - 2005

  •   And Lizzie, dear Lizzie. How we admire your spunk and how we can relate to your pridefulness!

So Happy Birthday, Pride and Prejudice. At two hundred, you're still looking good.
Even you, Mrs. Bennet

Monday, January 21, 2013

Congratulations to the Winner!

Congratulations Dina Sleiman, winner of Jillian Kent's Mystery of the Heart!

Mystery of the Heart by Jillian Kent
Thanks to all who entered the drawing for the giveaway, and thanks to Jillian for offering a copy! Dina was chosen at random. Dina--I'll be in touch!

Today on the Inkwell, I have a post on just how unlike June Cleaver I really am.

How's your winter going so far? Did you make any New Year's resolutions? One of mine is to finish a novel and a novella, and since I have a whole year, I'm quite confident I can do it...but I'm not quite sure which novel I'll finish. You see, I have two projects simmering. I have decided to finish a 3-chapter proposal of each book, and work out a plan with my agent.

If you're a writer, what are you working on?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Ten Things With Author Jillian Kent...And a GIVEAWAY!

Welcome Author Jillian Kent to Tea and a Good Book!

 It's my pleasure to welcome Jillian today! Her three Regency novels are delightful (and fascinating). She's also a great person, a gracious spirit who's offered me counsel and support through my writing journey!

Jillian spent the first semester of her senior year of college at Oxford studying British Literature, where she fell in love with England. During this season, she came to appreciate the written word, the rich imagery of romantic poetry like The Highwayman, and historical novels of many types, including Jane Austen and all things Regency.

Today Jillian, still loves to watch Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and Sense and Sensibility, but she also enjoys digging deeper into the darker aspects of the Regency period.  This balance of light and dark is reflected in her books.

Jill received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Bethany College in West Virginia, and her Masters Degree in Social Work from WVU, and she brings her fascination with different cultures and societies into her writing.

Faith is another feature of Jillian's work.  "My Christian faith is very important to me and its only natural that God plays a part in my writing, because He is so much a part of my every day life.  Faith is a journey for each of us, and I love to explore my character’s faith issues--whether they are running toward God or away from Him--and the reasons behind their motives. Fascinating stuff!"

Jill has always been a romantic at heart, so readers will find a good dose of romance woven through each of her novels.  Jill, her husband Randy, and children Katie and Meghan are animal lovers. They currently own one dog, Bandit and a menagerie of cats, Lucky, Yuma, Snow, and Holden. Critters of all assortments make their appearance in her stories.

Here are ten more things you may not know about Jillian:
  1. I grew up on a farm in Western Pennsylvania and shoveled manure for many years.
  2. I  hate to get dressed up. I prefer casual all the way around and definitely sneakers.
  3. Mental health for everyone is a passion of mine and I want to write a non-fiction book someday to help those who have family members with a mental health problem and for anyone who struggles with these difficult and complicated issues.
  4. The first story I ever wrote in school was from the POV of an ant at the assassination of Julius Caesar. Not bad for a kid.
  5. I was a member of Kappa Delta in college and we were considered the “smart ones.” J That’s almost too funny to believe.
  6. The first concert I ever attended was Chicago. It was also my first real date.
  7. My mother wanted me to be a nurse. No thanks. I chose social work and love my position as a counselor for nursing students.
  8. I tried to run away from the hospital in second grade when I was very ill. They caught me.
  9. I was a member of Toastmasters for five years. I’m comfortable speaking in public now and learned to get past that fear.
  10. I’m an Anglophile. Spent a semester of my senior year of college in Oxford, England. 

 Check out Jillian's latest novel, Mystery of the Heart (Book 3 of the Ravensmoore Chronicles):

Mystery of the Heart by Jillian KentLady Mercy Grayson has secretly been studying medicine in Edinburgh, Scotland. She has dressed as a man to pursue the same passion her big brother Devlin, Lord Ravensmoore, pursued outside the acceptance of society. Her secret has been discovered. Now she's running away from Scotland and her dreams. Will she be able to accomplish what she feels is God's calling, or will the parameters of society and those who want to use her secret to accomplish their own selfish ends determine the course of her future?

Vincent Lyons, Lord Eden, is an adventurer coming home to London to deliver the mysterious Holy Lance to the prince regent who wants to see if the legends are true surrounding this relic that is said to possess both the power of healing and destruction. His life is catapulted in another direction when he meets Mercy who is pursuing a different kind of adventure that will cause him to question everything he believes.

Both will be forced to examine their personal motives when members of a voudon tribe, the Regent, and the London Legend Seekers Club search to possess the ancient relic for their own purposes.

Jillian has graciously offered to giveaway a copy of Mystery of the Heart! Please leave a comment (with your email addy) before midnight, January 20! I'll announce the winner here.

You can pick up Mystery of the Heart on Amazon and visit Jillian's website!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Mystery of the Heart by Jillian Kent

Mystery of the Heart by Jillian KentLady Mercy Grayson is a most shocking Regency miss: to answer God’s call, she’s been disguising herself as a man so she can study medicine in Edinburgh. But then she’s discovered, and while trying to flee her pursuer, she ends up with a terrible choice. She can compromise her reputation and pass herself as a man for a while longer, pretending to be the valet of English adventurer, Lord Eden (and sharing his room), aboard a ship full of frightening practitioners of voodoo. Or she can die at the hands of a mysterious band of men, then and there.

From the start, Jillian Kent’s Mystery of the Heart is an action-packed, fresh inspirational romance. Kent weaves together plot threads I never would have imagined, including African voudon tribes, Bedlam, a club of Legend Seekers, and the “Spear of Destiny,” the fabled spear that lanced the side of Christ while he hung on the Cross and is rumored to possess mystical powers.

While the book contains elements that may make some readers of Christian fiction uncomfortable (mention of voodoo or relics, perhaps) it is made crystal clear by the author multiple times that Christ alone has the power to heal and save. Some readers may also wish to know that Lord Eden is in a state of undress while Lady Mercy tends to his wounds, but there is nothing salacious in the scene.

I enjoyed the fresh plot twists, Kent’s extensive knowledge of Regency London, and the sparkling romance between Lady Mercy and the agnostic Lord Eden. They are quick-witted, interesting characters who must re-examine their beliefs when they face the dangers of those who’d do anything to possess the Holy Lance…and Lady Mercy.

It is absolutely not necessary to have read the previous books in the Ravensmoore Chronicles, although fans of those books will delight at seeing the characters appear here.

I received a galley copy of this book from the publisher for purposes of review. A positive review was neither promised nor expected.

Come back January 17 when Jillian shares Ten Things about herself...and gives away a copy of Mystery of the Heart!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Path of Freedom: A Sweet Quaker Romance

Jennifer Hudson Taylor’s Pathof Freedom is the latest in Abingdon’s Quilts of Love inspirational line, and it’s an enjoyable historical romance set among Quakers in the pre-Civil War south.

Path of Freedom: Quilts of Love SeriesFlora Safewright has no problems living in peace with her fellow Quakers…until Bruce Millikan comes back to town. She’s still haunted by the childhood taunts he spewed at her which colored others’ perceptions of her.  Still, the Lord seems to be calling her and her sister, Irene, to join Bruce in one of his dangerous missions: taking an expectant slave couple north to freedom along the Underground Railroad, with the map sewn into her mother’s quilt as a guide.

The journey is fraught with tension, but the suspense is not entirely related to reaching the north unnoticed. Flora’s skills as a midwife may be put to the test, but such a daunting prospect is rivaled by the anxiety produced by being so close to Bruce, who may be handsome, but surely can’t be trusted. For his part, Bruce may be experienced accompanying escaped slaves north, but this trip is like no other he’s made. He’s not the cruel boy he once was, but how many times can he ask Flora for forgiveness? And can he uphold his Quaker principles and still manage to protect her and their cargo on this journey?

Quick-paced and thoughtful, the story engages questions about forgiveness, justice, and whether it's ok to lie for the right cause. The setting among Quakers is fresh to me (although it took a while to get used to them calling each other "thee"). Readers of historical inspy romance will enjoy yet aother of Taylor's solid romances.

I received a copy of this novel from the publisher for purposes of review. A positive review was neither promised nor expected.