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The Countdown Begins

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In honor of Jane Austen . . .

I’m brushing up on my Jane Austen because I am speaking on her in April at my local libraries (in conjunction with the PBS Masterpiece airings of all the movies) and I ran across this. I found it rather vexing that anyone would find it intolerable to watch all six hours of P&P. Really, why would you have friends like that?

So I have to ask, did any of those sound familiar to you? Seeing that I was called “Lizzy” as a child, I don’t find it odd at all that one would want to be called that. But I suppose if your name was Kit or Mary or Haven it might be viewed as slightly odd to suddenly want to be called Lizzy.  But then again maybe not, if it were Mr. Darcy following it up with a, “Ah, there you are, my dear sweet Elizabeth.”

Well, a girl can dream.

BTW, Happy Birthday, Kit. A day late. :)

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I am such a bad hostess!

I totally forgot to post a cover of Sophia Nash’s book, The Kiss, for everyone to see. And it is such a great cover, I can’t believe I forgot to share. Mea Culpa and my apologies! And if you click on it, you can go right to Sophia’s page and read an excerpt!

And if Sophia snubs it me for it, I deserve it. :)

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Welcome Sophia Nash

This week I am turning over the Monday morning duties to my good friend, Sophia Nash. Sophia has graciously offered to helm the blog today and tell you all about her new book, The Kiss, which hits the shelves tomorrow. I love Sophia’s books, which are lush, wonderful stories, and I like Sophia because she makes me laugh.

EB: The Kiss received a Top Pick from Romantic Times and is an All About Romance Desert Isle Keeper, congratulations. What drew you to writing this story of unrequited love?

Sophia: I had always wanted to write a book about unrequited love because it’s almost universally experienced by everyone at one point or another. Is there a more difficult sort of love? And what if the person afflicted was a lady of courage and strong character but who was unwilling to declare her love for fifteen years because he is her best friend? Can you imagine the intensity of the moment when she finally tells him? Can you imagine her happiness when the hero pulls her into his arms and kisses her? That was the premise of The Kiss.

EB: You use Cornwall as the backdrop for your books. What makes that your favorite setting?

Sophia: Cornwall is one of the most startlingly beautiful places in earth. The windswept cliffs echo stories of love lost and love found. And there is such history there. The Kiss is set in Helston, Cornwall on a fictitious estate. But the prominent landmark, Loe Pool, does indeed exist. It was once an ocean inlet until a shingle bar formed naturally transforming it into the largest lake in Cornwall. It’s a sanctuary for many birds, and yes, even otters! But I shall hint that the next book in the series, will move to London and further north.

EB: Oh, thanks for the great pictures. I’m adding Cornwall to my long list of “must visits”. So we share a love of England, but the Regency as well. On the Enter the Era page at your website, you have a Regency lexicon, which is a “must visit”, but do you have any other favorite Regency interests you want to share with us?

Sophia: Fanology! Who knew opening and closing a fan could be so dangerous? Here is a fictitious situation to illustrate a few gestures and their meanings taken from 1791 “Fanology” by Charles Francis Badini.

Say a lady spots a handsome gentleman across the ballroom staring at her. She touches the tip of her fan with a finger indicating “I wish to speak to you.” Or she may twirl her fan in her left hand to indicate, “We are being watched.” He glances toward the garden and disappears. When she spies him in the shadows there she is too nervous to speak so instead she presses a half closed fan to her hips, suggesting “you may kiss me.” And if she is very bold, she might even place her fan near her heart, meaning “I love you.” Is this not better than text messaging “want 2 hook up”?

EB: If someone wants to reach you or read an excerpt from The Kiss or A Dangerous Beauty (which I understand is also up for an RT award, so again congratulations!) where can they find you on the web?

Sophia: I always like to hear from readers who can reach me via www.sophianash.com. But I regularly hang with the hilarious gang at Romance Novel Television and avonauthors.com. If you want to see me make a fool of myself riding a mechanical bull or make inane comments a la Joan Rivers during the RITA awards, you can check it out at www.romancenovel.tv. And don’t miss the best interview ever with Elizabeth herself who has promised to teach me how to cable stitch this summer!

EB: Sophia, thanks for dropping by! Questions for Sophia anyone?

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Presidential Madness

And no, I am not talking about the election. And not even the fact that it is President’s Day. I’m talking about the Presidential Madness that has enveloped my nine year old son. He lives and breathes presidents like most boys do baseball players, hockey stars or soccer icons. It was a horrible shock when I had to tell him, “Sorry, honey, no there are not Presidential Trading Cards.”

I mean really, who wants to end up with a collection of Millard Fillmores?

No, in our house it is all about the presidents. Presidential biographies. (Who knew rough and tumble Andrew Jackson had running water installed in the White House?) Presidential landmarks. (Any guesses who is buried in Grant’s Tomb? And that I am the worst mother in the world for not including this in our trip to NYC last fall.) Presidential exhibits, such as the current exhibit at the Museum of History and Industry here in Seattle. I had to promise in blood that I would take him during his Spring Break. No Disneyland for this kid–we are off to see Lincoln’s actual stovepipe hat. I believe that beats Thunder Mountain any day.

Nothing like being the go-to guy in the third grade on all matters presidential. Even his teachers defer to him. If I sound a little proud, believe me I am. I discovered my love of history by reading biographies when I was nine. Clara Barton, Florence Nightengale, Harriet Tubman, Nellie Bly. We should all have our heroes as we grow up. People who distinguished themselves and offer us a glimpse into what an ordinary person can do or become. Even Andrew Jackson. Because who doesn’t like their politics and politicians to be clean?

Who were your heroes growing up?

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Again, Gotta Share . . .

English Invasion. Read all about it. And this time there will be no dumping the stuff in the harbor, not at this price. But make sure you scroll through the comments to see what SFC of  Manchester had to say about our generally barbarous treatment of tea.  I had to laugh.  Hope you do too!

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It's that week . . .

I know, I’m supposed to wax poetic about this week because I am a romance writer. It is rather like carrying the standard in this business. Oh, it’s Valentine’s Day, let’s trot the local romance writers out of their caves, dress them in red and have them go on and on about the power of love. Gads, I think I am going to choke on my box of chocolates.

It’s not that I am against romance. Or Valentine’s Day–because any day where a man actually feels compelled to act on his guilt of not being romantic enough the rest of the year, is cause for celebration, especially when it involves diamonds or roses, preferably in that order. It’s the trotting out the romance writers that bothers me. Like I have some insider’s advantage that makes me an expert on the subject of love. Believe me, most days I am just lucky to get my knitting straight . . .

Now I have to interrupt this blog to explain why it sort of ends right there. I had this entire, wonderful blog about the event at Maple Valley written, and then one of the little shits, aka little heroes, decided to turn off the router, and when I went to save the blog, I lost it into the ether. Okay, I am not feeling the love at this moment. And it was a great blog. Sigh. Suffice it to say, I explained how I feel about doing public events until I get there, surrounded by friends and readers and good buddies and rediscover the love that is writing romance. You would have shed a tear at the end of it. I did. And that was before I discovered the technical difficulties. So instead, here are the pics and to each and every one of you, I wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day.

And if you happen to see me on the news for selling my child on eBay, please come and be one of my jurors. I know you all will understand my pain.

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Gotta Share

Read Christina Arbini’s blog yesterday and spent a good thirty minutes afterward laughing my ashes off.  Go check it out.

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Is that a . . . ?!

During the holidays I received a card from a friend. For some reason, the card hung around my desk and I couldn’t bring myself to toss it. For some reason I kept thinking about her and finally, faced with cleaning the desk (which meant tossing the card) and doing something else (like clean my desk), I grabbed a note card and wrote her a quick letter. I just jotted down a few things . . . Thinking of you . . . hoping all is well in your new home . . . will we catch up in SF? Sure I could have sent her an email, but for some reason my heart was telling me to take the time to write a personal note. So I did and popped it into the mail. And like most things in my cluttered, overdrawn head, I promptly forgot about it.

Until last week. When I went to get my mail from my PO Box, I pulled out an envelope. And when I saw the return address, I smiled. She’d written me back. I promptly walked over to Starbucks, ordered my coffee and opened my letter. I felt like I could hear her voice. She wrote a long letter back, for there was much to tell, not all of it good news, but I understood then why I had been thinking of her, and knew that I had done the right thing to send her a note.

The funny part was, as I was just settling in to read my letter, the lady at the next table leans over and asks, “Is that a real letter?” I nodded, and she just shook her head. “I didn’t know anyone wrote letters any more.”

Well, yes, yes they do. And now I ask you–who have you been thinking about lately? An old friend? A long distance friend? A cousin you haven’t talked to in years? Someone you know who is having a difficult period and could use a little nudge of kindness? You know exactly who I mean–so now take the next step.

Find that leftover box of notecards you haven’t used in years, a pen, and write them a letter. Heck, type them out a couple of pages. Clip a cartoon from the paper that you think would make them smile. Print out a picture of the kids and slip it inside. Share a memory of them that you hold dear. And then send it. In a few days, your message will touch someone’s heart.

BTW, postage is .41 cents, just in case you are like me and still have a bunch of .37 cent stamps in the drawer.

And Happy Birthday, Kelly Green, my dear childhood friend. I always smile on February 4th when I remember all those years we shared together. I just wish I had your address . . .

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Monday Meanderings

I wish I could be inspired this morning and give you something to ponder over the next seven days, but I’ve had the flu for a week and running my push one button have a latte coffee machine is taxing my bandwidth right now. So I thought I would share something I found amusing. My husband took the little hero to the Mariner’s Fan Fest on Sunday. Little hero LOVES baseball, DH DETESTS it, so it is a real sign of a father’s love that he would spend the day at Safeco Field with two 9 year olds as they feast on baseball hopes and dreams. But the point of this story isn’t that my husband is a real softy when it comes to his sons, or that he cooked all week while I was sick but that he just doesn’t listen sometimes. Take yesterday morning. He’s getting ready to leave and I shout at him from the shower to get the tickets for the Fan Fest. So I tell him, “they are on the calendar.” He comes back two minutes later and huffs and puffs that they aren’t on the counter, so where are they? On the calendar, like I told you. Sigh. They don’t listen. So here are two funnies I thought I would share on just that theme:

A husband read an article to his wife about how many words women use a day…30,000 to a man’s 15,000. The wife replied, “The reason has to be because we have to repeat everything to men… The husband then turned to his wife and asked, “What?”

Continuing this, I have to share that my husband, when he buy me flowers, always chooses some god-awful Safeway bargain mum collection, with these gaudy yellow pompom mums. Not especially my favorite. Okay, quite frankly I think they are just horrid. If they would just stick their nose into that dammed mum and sniff they would realize they are bringing home something closely related to Skunk Cabbage. When I see men leaving the grocery stores with those, I cringe, because to me they scream “I know I have to get her flowers and this is quick, cheap, and will get me off the hook, maybe even get me some.” So when I saw this recently, I nearly died laughing.

While attending a Marriage Seminar dealing with communication, Tom and his wife Grace listened to the instructor say, “It is essential that husbands and wives know each other’s likes and dislikes.” He addressed Tom and asked, “Can you name your wife’s favorite flower?” Tom leaned over, touched his wife’s arm gently and whispered, “It’s Pillsbury, isn’t it?

Yeah, I suppose I could be getting a 5 lb sack of flour. Of course, if he reads this blog entry, I know I will be.

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