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.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Talk Like Jane Austen Day!

October 30 is Talk Like Jane Austen Day

Have you ever wished your words would sparkle with wit like Lizzie Bennet's?  Or you could dazzle your own Mr. Darcy with Jane Austen-speak? Today is your day, my friend.

I don't know how official that is (see the website), but oh well. It sounds fun. I'm jumping on the bandwagon--er, I am ascending the coach to join in the revelry.
Dearest Jane

(Here goes!)

The aforementioned web address contains helpful phrases to enhance once's participation of the festivities, but for the uninitiated who find too few listed there, there is no need to pull a Friday Face or succumb to a fit of the megrims. Pray, do not despair. There is hope. I beseech you to visit my web page on Regency cant, that delicious "language of the underworld" of which ladies, of course, have no knowledge. At least as far as their Mamas are aware.

Verily, this is no hum. Pour the bohea and settle in for a comfortable coze with a friend.


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Jane Austen for Wee Lit-O-Philes

Jane Austen is now for babies.

I'd seen Jennifer Adams' Pride and Prejudice in the form of a board book, suitable for infants, several months back (illustrated by Allison Oliver), and since then I've secretly coveting it for myself. True, I seem to have mastered the challenge of counting to ten, which is the book's primary goal, but can you blame me for wanting it?
It's a baby book. Of Jane Austen. The illustration of the number 2 is Two Rich Gentlemen, Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley. Come on!

Now, there's a whole play set.
Yes, I will play this with you!
 Here's the description:

With 7 punch-out cards featuring the characters and scenes from Pride & Prejudice: A BabyLit Counting Primer and a box to use as a stage set, you can turn Jane Austen's classic into hours of fun! Stroll in an English village with Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley, act out four marriage proposals, march the soldiers in uniform, or set up a lovely English village with Pemberley, Longbourn, and Netherfield. Introduce your little lit-o-phile into the world of drama by setting the stage with Jane Austen's classic storyline. Includes sturdy box for storage and play.

But wait (I say in true infomercial spirit), there's more! Pride and Prejudice isn't the only classic for your toddler. There's a whole line of BabyLit. Sense and Sensibility is about opposites, of course. But there's also Jane Eyre. A Christmas Carol. Dracula. Wuthering Heights. And so much more!

Too cool!

And there are dolls, too. Behold Mr. Darcy.
 Isn't he cuddly?

Personally, I may also have to order the I Heart Mr. Darcy tote. Just like in Austenland.

All product photos were taken from the BabyLit site (click here to shop). And enjoy hugging your Mr. Darcy!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A Worthy Investment for Writers

Taking a time out from our recent fiction fest! I have to tell you about a rich book for writers. 

The Art & Craft of Fiction: A Practitioners Manual, by Victoria Mixon.
If you're a newbie interesting in writing a novel, or a seasoned author with a handful of books under your belt, this is the book for you. Yes, I'm serious.

Relying on years of experience as an editor and writer, Mixon offers up an intelligent, fun, delightful-to-read book on writing fiction with topics that applicable to every phase in the writing journey, from craft to querying. It’s the type of book you read through and then return to again and again for assistance, or even encouragement as you’re banging your head against your keyboard wondering how to make your story work better.

To add flesh to her points, Mixon’s literary examples to are choice—these are books you’ve actually read. She also makes up her own examples, which are hilarious. Her voice shines through, too, as she adds commentary about her own life. I felt like I was sitting over coffee discussing dialogue and hooks and characterization with a friend, and that made reading a lot more fun.

One of my favorite parts of the books is Everything You Need To Know About Writing a Novel, in 1,000 Words. She made the exercise seem effortless, and I totally wish I’d been able to write this myself!

The Art and Craft of Fiction is deserving of a spot on a writer’s “Writing Shelf.” My copy is already dog-eared and creased, and every time I peek back into it I find a new gem. I highly recommend this book. 

It's available on Amazon for your Kindle or in print format.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Another Keeper from Anne Mateer

Anne Mateer's newest release doesn't disappoint!

Anne Mateer's third work of historical fiction is just as delightful as her previous releases.

Sadie Sillsby works as the assistant to the matron at the Raystown Home for Orphan and Friendless Children and dreams of the day she'll marry her beau, Blaine. But when the matron surprises everyone by announcing her own engagement, Sadie is suddenly next in line for the job. For a young woman who was once an orphan herself, a shot at such an esteemed position is a wish come true.

But the matron of the Home cannot be married. Is Sadie willing to give up her dreams of a life with Blaine and a family of her own? Is she prepared to forgo daily involvement with the children as she instead manages the financial, legal, and logistical aspects of the orphanage? And when it's revealed that the Home is spending a lot more money than it's taking in, can Sadie turn things around before the place is forced to close forever?

I love Mateer's writing style. Her plots, sharp dialogue, and sympathetic characters weave together to create compelling novels, and her early 20th-century settings evoke a familiarity and nostalgia that strike a chord in me.

A Home for My Heart is no different.

Sadie cares deeply for the children at the orphanage. But Blaine, the boy who's loved her since they were kids themselves, can't be part of her life if she takes the job as matron. Sadie therefore faces the difficult choice between the children and her beau--and finds living with that choice isn't as easy as she'd hoped it would be.

Blaine doesn't disappear, of course, although the romance is not the driving force of the story. The focus is on Sadie and her growth. She is sweet, but she can be stubborn, too, and she works hard to "make up" for the ugliness in her past that she feels defines her. She has to learn that it doesn't matter where we come from, God loves us as we are and claims us as His own because He is good, not because we've earned it.

Readers of inspirational fiction will appreciate the spiritual elements and well-crafted story.

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers for review purposes. A positive review was neither promised nor expected.