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, March 27, 2013

Regency Monkey Attack!

I'm honored to be a guest over at Regency Reflections, a blog for fans of Christian Regencies. Come on over by clicking here!
File:Wire animals at tower.jpg
Wire animals at the Tower of London, commemorating the Royal Menagerie. Public Domain, by Rodw

I'm sharing about the Zoo at the Tower of London Menagerie, and yes, there was indeed a monkey attack. (Click here to see an image and you'll know why! I wish I could share the pic here, but I'm not sure what the copyright issues are....)

You'll never visit the zoo in the same way again.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Make a Palm Frond Cross

Every Palm Sunday, our church provides palm fronds for us to wave as we walk on a procession around the block. The procession gives us a wonderful feeling of "church family" and the palm fronds are a tangible reminder of Jesus' glorious entrance into Jerusalem.

But what do you do with the fronds when the service is over? The church keeps some (to burn into ashes for next year's Ash Wednesday service), but the rest go home and often end up in the trash.

Another idea? Make a palm cross.
Image:343824 6 bullet 2.jpg
Creative Commons Wikihow

Here's how:

Take a palm frond (a long, slender, "leaf") and hold it upright.

1) Fold the top down, away from you, and fold the bottom up, away from you, to form the shaft of a cross of desired length (about 4 inches or so).

2) Turn the end down and twist around to the right and across the front of the shaft to make a cross bar, proportional to the length of the cross.

3) Fold the end around, behind the shaft.

4) Bring the end from behind, under the center. Fold from the bottom right to the top left and under again from the bottom left to the top right (forming an X pattern).

5) Fasten the end through the back loops to hold the cross in place.
Image:Make a Palm Frond Cross Intro.jpg
Creative Commons Wikihow


Thursday, March 14, 2013

You Speak Viking!

Turn on the TV, and chances are, you’ll see a Viking or two—at least in commercials for the Vikings miniseries on the History Channel.
Contemporary representation from 9th or 10th century
I’m 1/8th Danish, so I’ve always wondered if I have a bit of Viking in me. Actually, some of the other 7/8ths may be Viking, too, considering how many Nordic invaders assimilated into England.

Perhaps because Scandinavian resources were stretched, many Nordic seafarers settled in lands they’d previously invaded. It turns out, they didn’t just incorporate themselves into their new cultures: they also influenced them.

English is a Germanic language, but you might be surprised by how many loanwords we’ve inherited from Old Norse.

Such basic verbs as are, talk, get, guess, give, die, tip, wag, scowl, rap, box, blab, jabber, irk, slaughter, ransack, and rock (as in rock a cradle) are all from Old Norse. 

Here are a few more vocabulary words that came with the Vikings:

  • anger
  • bairn (child)
  • big
  • bug
  • cake
  • egg (as in to “egg someone on”)
  • fellow
  • fog
  • flush (to blush)
  • guest
  • hell (Hel is the ruler of the underworld in Norse mythology)
  • husband
  • ken (to know)
  • low, lowly
  • rape (ick--little wonder this word was associated with Viking raids.)
  • skull
  • sky
  • Thursday (Thor's Day. Friday is possibly Old Norse, too, for the goddess Freja, but it could also be Old English, honoring the goddess Frigg. Most of the days of the week honor pagan gods.)
  • wicker
  • Yule (jul, a winter feast, and the origin of the Yule log)

There are dozens more. Are you surprised by any of these words? Do you find etymology interesting?

* {{PD-1923}} – published before 1923 and public domain in the US.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

And the Winner Is...

Congratulations to Karen Lange!

Karen won a copy of Alison Stone's Too Close to Home. Enjoy, Karen!


I'm around the Blogosphere a bit this month:

Pop by Inkwell Inspirations each weekend this month for a Weekend Scripture/Devotion photo.

I'm also posting there on the 14th and 25th. The topics are Confidentiality and My House at Easter, respectively.

On March 25th, I'll also be on Regency Reflections. Here's a teaser: Regency Monkey Attack.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Ten Things with Alison Stone...and a Giveaway!

Welcome Alison Stone!

Alison writes romantic suspense for Harlequin Love Inspired Suspense and Samhain Publishing. Her debut novel, Random Acts, was a finalist for the prestigious Daphne du Maurier Award in the unpublished inspirational category. Alison lives in Western New York with her husband of over twenty years and their four children where the summers are absolutely gorgeous and the winters are perfect for curling up with a good book—or writing one. Besides writing, Alison keeps busy volunteering at her children's schools, driving her girls to dance, and watching her boys race motocross.


Thank you, Susanne, for hosting me on Tea and a Good Book. I absolutely love the title of your blog. Tea and a good book are my idea of the perfect evening.

I’m very excited my first book, Random Acts, originally only available in eBook format, has been released in print. I can’t describe the joy of opening the box from UPS to find my shiny books inside.

Susanne invited me to share 10 things about myself. So, here goes:

1.      I graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in Industrial Engineering. I worked for a number of years in the pharmaceutical, aeronautical, and automotive industries. It sounds far more exciting than it actually was.
2.      An advertisement in a women’s magazine for the Institute of Children’s Literature sparked my interest in writing. I never did have success writing children’s books. I found my true calling writing romantic suspense.
3.      I have four children, two boys and two girls. The boys race motocross and my girls are dancers. No, I’m not a dance mom.  Ha ha!
4.      I graduated from an all-girls Catholic high school. (One day I will use this in a book!) I was offended that they required us to take typing. Not keyboarding. Typing. In the eighties, they still taught on electric typewriters. I thought they were training us for a career in secretarial work. (I suppose I was a bit of a feminist, says this now stay-at-home mom/writer. J) Little did I know the ability to type—with speed and accuracy—would be a tremendous asset in my second career as a writer.
5.      I don’t like to fly. I do it anyway.
6.      I don’t like the cold, yet I live outside of Buffalo, NY.
7.      The idea for Random Acts came to me when I read a newspaper article about a young girl who had been coerced into being a drug informant simply because she had been pulled over for speeding. After doing some research, I learned this was not an isolated incident. From there, I thought, “What if…” and a story was born.
8.      My third book, Plain Secrets, will be released by Harlequin Love Inspired Suspense in June 2013. When I was in NYC for the Romance Writers of America conference in 2011, I heard the editors say they wanted to see more Amish stories. That week, I had an idea: “What if a plane crashed in Amish country?” I wrote the story and less than a year later, I sold it to Harlequin! J
9.      I am a homebody. I am never bored at home with a good book or my laptop.
10.  I love tea. It seems the tea choices at the grocery store have exploded. My husband and I are working our way through the different flavors. Right now I’m drinking Celestial Seasonings Green Tea, Blackberry Pomegranate. Yum!

Thanks for indulging me! Just to mix things up, I’m giving away an eBook copy (from Amazon/US or Barnes and Noble/US) of Too Close to Home, another romantic suspense that is due out in print in July. 

The tagline for Too Close to Home is: They say you can never go home. If you do, better watch your back. All you have to do is make a comment. I’ll select a winner randomly. I’d love to know if you have a favorite tea. Or, if you don’t drink tea, what’s your favorite beverage? 

Thanks for stopping by. You can learn more about me and my books on my website: www.AlisonStone.com. Follow her on Twitter: @Alison_Stone or Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AlisonStoneAuthor .

4 STARS "Romantic suspense fans, hold onto your hats because Stone evokes a whirlwind of emotions from the moment her book begins. This engaging story with a tough-as-nails heroine kicks off with a mystery readers will want to sink their teeth into..."
-RT Book Reviews on Random Acts

BLURB: Bitter experience left Danielle hesitant to open her heart. When a family crisis brings her home, the hard-nosed attorney is forced to face the man that let her get away. And that her sister’s accident was staged to mask a beating.

Though Patrick guards his heart, seeing Danielle again reignites their old flame. But no way will he bring her into his daughter’s life, not when her values on faith and family are so different from his own. Yet they must work together to bring a criminal to justice before everything is destroyed—including their second chance at forever. 

*** Don't forget to leave a comment so you can enter the drawing! A Winner will be chosen Friday, March 8. Be sure to leave your email addy in the comment!