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Christmas traditions in the time of Jane Austen

Regency Christmas dinner complete with pudding

The Regency period of English history was technically only the years 1811-1820, but practically ran the adult life of King George IV, from the late 1700’s through to 1830, and is sometimes referred to today known as the “long Regency.” Christmas in those days was most definitely not the commercial holiday we celebrate today. There was no mad rush to shop for the latest gadgets, no stockings hung by the fire with care, and certainly no white-bearded gentleman with a sleigh and reindeer flying through the night skies.

Attending church service on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day was a must for the English in Regency times, although only a few of the carols we sing now would have been sung in church then as hymns, such as The First Nowell.(Yes, that spelling is the correct one!)

Instead of everyone looking forward to just December 24th or the 25th, a Regency Christmas was a much longer celebration of dancing and dining spread out over the period of ‘Christmastide,’ from Christmas Eve to January 6th, Twelfth Night. (Hence, ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas.’)

Preparations, however, began long before December 24th. ‘Stir-up Sunday,’ the Sunday before Advent, marked the unofficial start to the Christmas Season, so-called because of the traditional church service held that day, but also becoming the day that Christmas puddings and cakes were prepared, in order to allow enough time for them to ‘mature’ (which called for regular doses of brandy!)

Jane AustenChristmas was a time to reflect upon one’s religious faith and to enjoy the companionship of friends and family. Jane Austen mentions Christmas in each of her six major novels. For instance, in Emma, she wrote, “At Christmas everybody invites their friends about them, and people think little of even the worst weather.” In addition, the aristocracy and the landed gentry were expected to entertain their tenants and neighbors and show generosity through charitable acts.

During the four-week period from Advent until Epiphany, the upper classes held balls, parties, dinners and other social events, welcoming both family and friends. Since everyone was usually together, it was also a time for courtships and weddings. Even though there was no Santa Claus, December 6th, St. Nicholas’s Day, was marked by the giving of small gifts. There was no exchange of presents on the 25th itself, but giving ‘Christmas Boxes’ of food and gently-used items of clothing and household goods to servants and to charity was the custom on St. Stephen’s Day, the day after Christmas, now celebrated as ‘Boxing Day.’

Holly, ivy, evergreen and laurel were brought into the house on Christmas Eve, since it was considered unlucky to bring greenery inside before Christmas. These remained in place until the Epiphany on January 6, when they were taken down and often burned to prevent bad luck for the rest of the year. Indoor decorated trees were rare and found only in a few houses of wealthy families with German connections, where they were a long-standing tradition.

Of course, we can’t forget mistletoe, although the custom was more likely practiced below stairs than above. (The requirement of plucking a berry every time a kiss was stolen beneath the bough was already in place, and once the berries were gone, alas, the kissing was over.)

Christmas Day meant Christmas dinner, with the best a family could afford…turkey, goose (the most traditional), mutton, or venison might be served, and for the rich, the table could be laden with all of these at once. A Christmas dinner would not be deemed complete without the aforementioned pudding. The pudding would be doused with even more brandy and then set aflame, a key theatrical aspect of the holiday celebration.

(For the brave of heart among you, or for those who just enjoy setting their food on fire, some traditional holiday pudding recipes can be found at: http://britishfood.about.com/od/christmas/a/xmaspud.htm )

Epiphany on January 6th marked the official end of Christmas festivities. It was yet another feast day to mark the coming of the Magi, and as a result was the traditional day to exchange gifts.

Joseph-Grimaldi_1630699cOne final English Christmas tradition that was present in Jane Austen’s time and is still alive today is the Christmas pantomime. The pantomime usually opened on Boxing Day. Joseph Grimaldi, the famous clown who lived from 1779 to 1837, regularly performed in one at Drury Lane Theatre in London, a theatre often visited by characters in Regency romances.

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A new anthology “Short & Sweet” 10-minute Romances to Warm Your Heart!

I’m happy to announce the release of a new anthology that I’m so pleased to be a part of. The title is Short & Sweet: 10-Minute Romances to Warm Your Heart. Visiting today to tell you all about it is one of my anthology partners, Yvonne Weers, who created this pretty cover and really did all the heavy lifting on this collection. ~ Kadee

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Thank you, Kadee, for inviting me to share the story of how our anthology came to be.

My history with these authors began a year ago, when an email went out on a writers’ loop that someone wanted to form a critique group specifically targeting a popular woman’s magazine. I expressed an interest in joining and they welcomed me with open arms.

Over the following year, five of us wrote, critiqued, and submitted many stories. Then tragedy struck when one of our members, Karen, passed away after a long battle with cancer.

The shock of losing a friend affected everyone and the group’s activity came to a sudden stop. After a time of grieving, I offered to organize, format and publish a collection of our short stories and dedicate it to Karen. This project has not only provided a sense of closure for everyone but has also had the unexpected benefit of producing a joyful celebration of our collective talents.

Today, I’m honored to share Short & Sweet: 10-Minute Romances to Warm Your Heart, a collection of short stories written by Kadee McDonald, Bonny Dahlsrud, Beth Boyden, and myself, releasing today, June 15th. I hope you enjoy our anthology as much as we enjoyed bringing them to you.

Yvonne Weers is a California transplant living in rural Nebraska with her husband of 33 years. Together they have two adult children, a daughter-in-law, and three crazy doodle dogs. She spent childhood summers lounging on beaches, riding horses, and has lived in South Africa and Taiwan. Yvonne writes wholesome romance for the cowgirl at heart. Check out her author bio at: Yvonne’s Amazon Author Page

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Short & Sweet: 10-Minute Romances to Warm Your Heart is AVAILABLE NOW!

Click here to download your copy today!

Do you love reading sweet romance, but can never find the time for a nice long novel or even a shorter novella? This volume of 20 quick love stories from four talented authors is the answer! Read one (or more!) at lunch, on a coffee break, while riding the bus to work, or even while waiting for an appointment at the doctor’s office. a matchmaking grandma hopes to knit two hearts into one. A guy meets his dream girl on a commuter train, but a misunderstanding causes a sticky situation. Mistaken identity at a library leads to a new romance. And a meeting of The Red Hat Society brings two sweethearts back together after time and distance have kept them apart. Settle back and savor these short, sweet romances guaranteed to warm your heart. Enjoy! ♥

A Short History of Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day has always been celebrated with candy, flowers and greeting cards, some heartfelt and others sappy, right? ??

Well, no…not exactly.

There really was a St. Valentine…at least a dozen or so of them, in fact, depending on whether one consults the lists of martyrs of the Roman Catholic or the Eastern Orthodox Church. The name “Valentine” (or “Valentinus”) is from the Latin word, valens, meaning “strong.”

The simple feast (or Commemoration) of St. Valentine in the Roman Martyrology, the Catholic Church’s official list of recognized saints, has traditionally been February 14th, reportedly the date in the year 273 when Bishop Valentine of the Diocese of Terni (in what is now Italy), was imprisoned and killed in Rome.

The truth behind the legends of this particular St. Valentine are murky, to say the least. In 3rd century Rome, Emperor Claudius II believed that young men who were single, without the encumbrances of wives or children, were more dedicated, so he forbade his young soldiers from marrying. Bishop Valentine defied this decree and continued to perform marriages, a stand that cost him his life.

The first recorded connection of St. Valentine to the concept of “romantic love” was in the poem by Geoffrey Chaucer, Parlement of Foules, in 1382, which was written to celebrate the first anniversary of the engagement of King Richard II of England to Anne of Bohemia, who were married when each was but 15 years old. (Without doing any further research, methinks that might have been an arranged marriage.)

Later writers such as John Donne and Shakespeare (in “Hamlet”) also mention Valentine’s Day. By 1797, a British publisher printed The Young Man’s Valentine Writer, with a number of suggested verses for young lovers who felt they were not capable of composing their own. By the early 1800’s, the Regency period in England, factory-produced paper valentines became popular, with fancy ones adorned with real cloth lace and ribbons for those who could afford them. It was also common for friends and lovers of all social classes to exchange handwritten notes and small tokens of affection.

Real lace became paper lace by the mid-1800’s. In the United States, Esther Howland received an English valentine from one of her father’s business associates. Since her father operated a book and stationery store, Esther decided to create and mass produce valentines in the late 1840’s, using decorations imported from England, and is known as the “Mother of the Valentine.”

Hand-written valentines thus led to greeting cards, which paved the way for Valentine’s Day to become the commercialized, multi-billion-dollar industry it is today. Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France and Australia. Paper cards, e-cards, flowers, chocolates, and even diamonds are now necessary accoutrements each February 14th to go along with those three little words that never seem to go out of style: “I love you.”

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If you enjoy reading traditional Regency romance, please check out my free novella, An Arranged Valentine, available only on Amazon and through Kindle Unlimited. Here’s a bit about it:

An Arranged Valentine - revised 1-31-2016

In the coldest days of February, can St. Valentine generate enough heat to melt these two strangers’ hearts into one?

“…a perfectly lovely afternoon read.”

“This is a wonderful little gem of a story, heartfelt and touching.”

“Of course, the over riding situation is one where it suits both parties to be arranged.”

“An Arranged Valentine” is a traditional Regency romance novella told in 10 short chapters.

Miss Penelope Braxton has never met either sensible George Harburton or his more dashing younger brother, Henry, but she agrees to grant her dying father peace of mind by considering marriage to one of them.

The advantage of the match for the brothers is evident in the form of Miss Braxton’s substantial dowry. However, her money takes second place when the brothers realize the extent of Penelope’s courage, wit, and devotion.

Henry doesn’t plan to give up his philandering to romance Penelope. George’s days are filled with the running of the family estate and he has never put aside his duties long enough to contemplate marriage. When one of the gentlemen changes his ways, will he be able to compose the perfect poetry to win Penelope’s heart?

An Arranged Valentine can be found here on Amazon.

“Mail Order Love” – short clean western romance series from author Beth Boyden

The Gambler’s Girl

What if your long-distance sweetheart was an up-close disaster?

Ann Forsyth arrives in Texas on a hot summer day. She’s left her troubles far behind, and all she wants is to settle down with Reichard Monroe. He’s handsome, his penmanship is good, and he says he’s everything she’s dreamed of.

But the stories he told and the man she meets have nothing in common.

Ann finds herself relying on strangers and her own wits and character, as she tries to piece together a new life in the west. And when another man catches her eye, she must find her way between duty, self-preservation…

…and hope.

The Minister’s Match

Clara wants nothing more than to start over. Her Aunt Francis and Uncle Lyle have supported her since her parents’ death, but their house is a suffocating environment full of judgment and conflict.

When she begins to correspond with Rev. Holloway, a Texas minister in want of a wife, she knows she’s found her way out. Before long she’s on a train headed West, certain that she can begin a brand new life.

But with her aunt’s angry, condemning voice echoing in her head, Clara finds that it’s not so easy to get a fresh beginning. There are gossipy congregants, well-meaning friends, her sweet new husband, and her own ideals to consider, all pulling her in different directions. She’s about to find out if she can bend far enough to please everyone…or if she’ll shatter under the strain.

The Schoolteacher’s Sweetheart

Marian Yates wants something more out of life–romance, adventure, excitement. She longs to step out of the dull everyday routine of her Texas schoolteacher’s life and fall in love with a stranger.

In Brody Calhoun, she seems to have found her perfect match. He’s tall, dark, and handsome, with a thousand stories from far beyond her tiny hometown. He’s mysterious and unpredictable, exactly like the heroes in Marian’s favorite books.

But Brody is haunted by more than memories. And when his past comes between them, Marian must discover his secrets–or lose the man she loves forever.

 

Buy Links:

The Gambler’s Girl: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01D0TJ0NU

The Minister’s Match: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M29ACYD

The Schoolteacher’s Sweetheart: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N1ZZ1RB

 

My review of The Gambler’s Girl:

“The Gambler’s Girl” is a lovely, clean western romance. It’s short and easy to read, with characters you’ll care about and root for. Ann is pretty and sweet, and her handsome hero gallant and swoon-worthy. If you like western romance, you’ll enjoy this one, for sure. 🙂 ~ Kadee

“Trouble Cove,” sweet historical romantic suspense from author Nancy Lindley-Gauthier

Trouble Cove from Nancy 3-9-2017

 

BLURB:

Far from the all the action of World War I, in a charming tourist’s spot on Cape Breton Island, Elizabeth Eames has stumbled into the most wonderful man in the world. She’s landed herself in a world where wealth reigns supreme; where any eligible bachelor would meet her mother’s aspirations. Of course, she’s dead set on the one she’s certain should not be mentioned in her letters home. Actually, there’s a lot she’s not mentioning. Something is not-quite-right at the grand resort Oceanside, but Elizabeth isn’t giving up her one great chance…

 

BUY LINKS:  AMAZON  B&N.com  Wild Rose Press-paperback

 

“Making the change to e-books” from author Carol Browne

I’m very happy today to welcome author Carol Browne, who’s here to share her epiphany about e-readers and why she’s now a believer. Carol, the site is all yours!

Photo by adamr.

Thanks, Kadee!

As a voracious book reader, I have lived my life believing in the superiority of the printed book; then my beta-reader kindly gave me her Kindle. Once I had figured out how to use it (three weeks well spent), my perspective underwent a sea change.

When I bought my first eBook and saw it download to my Kindle, it was a magical moment. I was also delighted to discover the device doubles as a flash drive.

There’s something amazing about travelling around with an entire library of books at your disposal and in these days of multi-tasking, being able to read, eat and drink at the same time in total comfort is most welcome. To someone like me on a low income, the availability of cheap or free eBooks is a blessing too.

From an eco-friendly point of view, no trees are cut down to make eBooks. Digital publishing also allows more authors to put their work before the reading public, often publishing great work that traditional publishers have rejected because they aren’t commercial enough.

I once assumed the device itself would be a distraction but, if you’re an avid bookworm, the body of an e-reader is no more of an intrusion than the body of a paperback; no more of a hindrance to your enjoyment than a screen is when you are watching a good movie.

Many will disagree. A teenage friend of mine prefers printed books because he likes the act of turning the pages. For me, the Kindle’s page-turning function is quicker and easier. Plus, you can say good-bye to the exasperation of having your bookmark fall out and not being able to remember where you were up to.

Meanwhile, another friend of mine is changing her opinion about eBooks. While moving to a smaller house, she regretted her vast collection of paperbacks that would have to be accommodated in less space—and then discovered many of them were moldy and infested with mites. Yuk. She’ll be buying her first Kindle soon!

There is still a place for printed books in my home. I have about a dozen I will always cherish, but these books belong to an exclusive club. It’s unlikely I’ll be adding new members.

Unless they’re written by me, of course!

Carole Browne writes speculative fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. She is also a ghost blog writer, proofreader, copy editor, and copywriter. Along with a passion for gardening, Carol is an avid animal lover. Stay connected with Carol on Facebook and on Twitter.

Memorial Day in the United States

Today, let’s join with my fellow author Stan Hampton in remembering those who have served and those who have fallen in the service of the United States. We pray that everyone has a safe Memorial Day weekend.

Memorial Day

by SS Hampton, Sr.

Today is Memorial Day. It is a 3-day weekend for much of the country—a weekend of family get-togethers, BBQs, and great sales. That is fine.

But please do not forget the real meaning of Memorial Day. Though there had been several local observances, a national Decoration Day was created by “an organization of Union veterans” on 5 May 1868, to be observed on 30 May of that year by the nation in “decorating the graves of war dead with flowers.”

It was after World War I that Memorial Day came to recognize all of those who fought and died in America’s wars. From the American Revolution (1775-1783) to Desert Shield/Desert Storm (1990-1991), the total American combat deaths number 651,031; the greatest number of war dead was 291,557 suffered by the Greatest Generation during World War II (1941-1945) .

As for the Global War On Terrorism (2001-), or the Long War as some may call it, according to the Defense Casualty Analysis System, 5,363 men and women have died in combat.

Unfortunately, the world is not a safe and secure place. Yet, we know that in our nation there will never be a shortage of uniformed volunteers willing to stand between unarmed men, women, and innocent children, and the senseless evil in the world.

On Memorial Day this year remember the “National Moment of Remembrance”—at 3:00 PM local time across the country, everyone is encouraged to take a moment to reflect on those who have given their lives for our country. Whatever war they fought in, all of those who made the ultimate sacrifice have names, whether those names loom large in history books or are known only to their families.

And some of us know the names of comrades who made that sacrifice during the GWOT.

Finally, if you have never heard Taps, the final farewell to fallen comrades, take a moment to listen. Take a moment to remember, and to whisper, “Good bye. And thank you.”

~Stan

 

SS Hampton, Sr. is a full-blood Choctaw of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, a divorced grandfather to 13 wonderful grandchildren, and a published photographer and photojournalist. He retired on 1 July 2013 from the Army National Guard with the rank of Sergeant First Class; he previously served in the active duty Army (1974-1985), the Army Individual Ready Reserve (1985-1995) (mobilized for the Persian Gulf War), and enlisted in the Nevada Army National Guard in October 2004, after which he was mobilized for Federal active duty for almost three years. Hampton is a veteran of Operations Noble Eagle (2004-2006) and Iraqi Freedom (2006-2007) with deployment to northern Kuwait and several convoy security missions into Iraq.

He has had two solo photographic exhibitions and curated a third. His writings have appeared as stand-alone stories and in anthologies from Dark Opus Press, Edge Science Fiction & Fantasy, Melange Books, Musa Publishing, MuseItUp Publishing, Ravenous Romance, and as stand-alone stories in Horror Bound Magazine, The Harrow, and River Walk Journal, among others.

In May 2014 he graduated from the College of Southern Nevada with an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Photography – Commercial Photography Emphasis. A future goal is to study for a degree in archaeology—hopefully to someday work in and photograph underwater archaeology (and also learning to paint). He is currently enrolled as an art student at University of Nevada-Las Vegas.

As of April 2014, after being in a 2-year Veterans Administration program for Homeless Veterans, Hampton is officially no longer a homeless Iraq War veteran.

Hampton can be found at:
Dark Opus PressEdge Science Fiction & Fantasy PublishingMelange Books – MuseItUp PublishingGoodreads Author Page – Amazon Author PageAmazon UK

“Never Too Late: Your Roadmap to Reinvention” from best-selling author Claire Cook

Reinvention - Claire CookAfter giving us eleven novels in fourteen years, Claire Cook (Must Love Dogs) has reinvented herself once again with her first nonfiction book—Never Too Late: Your Roadmap to Reinvention (without getting lost along the way).

Wondering how to get to that life you really thought you’d be living by now? Finally ready to dig up that buried dream? Still trying to figure out what you want to be when you grow up? Then Never Too Late is the book you’ve been looking for.

Claire Cook speaks to real women—our fears and obstacles and hopes and desires—and gives us cutting edge tools to get where we want to go. Bursting with inspiration, insider stories, and practical strategies. Filled with humor, heart, encouragement, and great quotes.

You’ll hop on a plane with Claire as you figure out the road to your own reinvention. She’ll share her own stories, successes, and failures, as well as those of other reinventors, plus tips for getting a plan, staying on track, pulling together a support system, building your platform in the age of social networking, dealing with the inevitable ups and downs, overcoming perfectionism, and tuning in to your authentic self to propel you toward your goals.

A little bit memoir, a lot inspiration, Never Too Late: Your Roadmap to Reinvention (without getting lost along the way) is real, grounded, and just the book you need to start reinventing your life.

Claire shares the opening of Never Too Late: Your Roadmap to Reinvention (without getting lost along the way) on YouTube.

Find out more at ClaireCook.com and connect with Claire on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Amazon

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Claire Cook

Claire Cook wrote her first book in her minivan outside her daughter’s swim practice when she was 45. At 50, she walked the red carpet at the Hollywood premiere of her second novel, Must Love Dogs, starring Diane Lane and John Cusack. She is now the USA Today bestselling author of 11 novels, and her first nonfiction book, Never Too Late: Your Roadmap to Reinvention (without getting lost along the way) is now available. Read excerpts of her novels and find book club questions at ClaireCook.com.

“The exuberant and charming Claire Cook is one of the sassiest and funniest creators of contemporary women’s fiction.”—The Times-Picayune

Hang out with Claire!
http://ClaireCook.com/newsletter/
http://facebook.com/ClaireCookauthorpage
http://twitter.com/ClaireCookwrite
http://pinterest.com/ClaireCookwrite

USA Today Bestselling author Claire Cook comes for tea

MLD-New LeashUSA Today bestselling author Claire Cook visits today with news about Must Love Dogs: New Leash on Life, the second book in her Must Love Dogs series.

Good morning, Claire, and welcome!

Thanks so much for inviting me, Kadee. It’s such a treat to make a new friend, and one who serves tea, no less!

The pleasure is certainly all mine! Please take a seat. While I pour us each a cup, would you tell our readers a bit about yourself?

I wrote my first novel in my minivan at 45. At 50, I walked the red carpet at the Hollywood premiere of the adaptation of my second novel, Must Love Dogs, starring Diane Lane and John Cusack. If you have a buried dream, trust me, it is NEVER too late! And I guess it’s no surprise that reinvention is the overarching theme of my novels and my life. I like to think my novels have helped lots of women find their own next chapters, and I also take great joy in sharing what I’ve learned so far on my Reinvention and Writing pages at www.clairecook.com.

I’m the USA Today bestselling author of eleven novels, and I’m hard at work turning Must Love Dogs into a series. Book 2 is called MUST LOVE DOGS: NEW LEASH ON LIFE and I can’t wait for you to read it. My books have been called everything from romantic comedy to women’s fiction to beach reads to chick lit. Honestly, it doesn’t matter to me what you call them. I just hope you read and enjoy them!

Claire CookI’ve been a judge for the Family Circle magazine fiction contest, a finalist and a judge for the Thurber Prize for American Humor, and the Beach Read Festival fiction and grand prize winner. I’ve spoken at the Tennessee Williams Literary Festival, Cape Cod Writers Center, Savannah Book Festival, the California Women’s Conference, and given keynotes at the Dress for Success International Conference, the Missouri Writers Guild Conference, and the Amelia Island Book Festival. My books have been translated into 14 languages.

I was born in Virginia, and lived for many years in Scituate, Massachusetts, a beach town between Boston and Cape Cod. My husband and I have recently moved to the suburbs of Atlanta to be closer to our two adult kids, who actually want us around again!

I have the world’s most fabulous readers and I’m forever grateful to them for giving me the gift of this career. Midlife Rocks!

It certainly does! I’m a big fan of actor John Cusack, who co-starred with the amazing Diane Lane, in the film adaptation of your book, Must Love Dogs. What was it like working with him?

John Cusack felt like someone I might have gone to high school with—down-to-earth, fun, just a nice guy. I remember him taking the time to hang out with the extras during his breaks. I remember him casually eating a burrito while his makeup artist applied foundation to his hands around it. I remember yakking with him so often on the set—politics, the fact that his mother used to summer in the beach town where I lived, writing stuff – that it suddenly hit me that if I kept it up he might ask security to get that stalker author away from him. So the next time he walked by I pretended to be cool and looked in the other direction. He put his face in mine and said, “Claaai-re” —just like we’d gone to high school together!

What fun! Are there more stories about meeting and/or working with the other wonderful actors in the film you can share? And what was walking that fabulous red carpet for the movie’s premiere like?

Quick impressions of the other actors: Diane Lane was such a good mom and was thrilled that her best friend in real life, Elizabeth Perkins, was playing her sister in the movie. Christopher Plummer was so charming and debonair – once when I entered the room, he gave an exaggerated bow and announced, “The author is here!” And Dermot Mulroney kept bringing in pictures of his son to show me.

And as a surprise, the entire cast autographed a Must Love Dogs director’s chair for me. I refused to check it with my luggage at LAX – I carried it right on the plane with me. It sits in my dining room now, and I like to think of it as my throne, because the entire Must Love Dogs movie experience felt like being queen for a day on that old T.V. game show.

My family and I walked the “red” carpet at the Must Love Dogs Hollywood premiere. (It was actually a green Astroturf carpet with fire hydrants and adoptable dogs!) Gary David Goldberg stood up and told the packed, celeb-studded audience (Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Brooke Shields, Henry Winkler!) that none of us would be here tonight without Claire Cook and her wonderful novel, and that he started out as a fan of my work but we’d since become close personal friends and I was one of the few people in his life he could count on to always give him the truth in the kindest way possible.

What amazing experiences! Now, I know we’d all love to hear more about the second book in the Must Love Dogs series, New Leash on Life. What can you tell us about it?

Must Love Dogs: New Leash on Life is my way of thanking my readers for supporting my books and also to encourage new readers to discover them! Readers have been asking me for more of the Must Love Dogs characters for years, so I finally listened to them, and I decided to jump right in about six months after the first book ends:

Life after divorce for Sarah Hurlihy used to consist as juggling her job as a preschool teacher with the demands of her interfering family. But after a rocky start, Sarah and John Anderson have shared six months of dating bliss. Now their relationship is basically on hold because Sarah’s brother, Michael, and his dog, Mother Teresa, are staying with her. And John’s new puppy, Horatio, hates Sarah. With a passion.

Michael hopes absence will, in fact, make his wife Phoebe’s heart grow fonder. Sarah hopes she can do her sisterly duty and send Michael on his merry way before she ends up single again herself.  John hopes Sarah and his puppy can work things out before it’s too late. Sarah’s bossy big sister, Carol, hopes both Michael and their father will start dating again.

When Phoebe packs up their daughters and heads home to Savannah, Georgia, Michael follows her from Marshbury, Massachusetts, and the Hurlihy clan tags along for reinforcement. Including Dad, who has finally upgraded his Smith Corona to a laptop and already has a date with a woman named Sugar Butt.

Must Love Dogs: New Leash on Life is available as an ebook from:

Amazon.com

B&N.com

Kobo

iBooks

Would you prefer a paper book? Find it here on Amazon.com!

Please leave us a comment by clicking on the link at the bottom of this post. Claire and I will be coming back often to see who has stopped by to visit and respond to any questions or comments!

Would you like to connect with Claire online? She’ll tell you how…

I spend a lot of time hanging out on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.  I hope you’ll join me! And don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter here, so you’ll be the first to hear about upcoming releases, as well as giveaways and insider extras.

Thank you soooooo much for having me, Kadee! Both the tea and the company were fabulous! ~ Claire

Nancy Lindley-Gauthier and “Patriot: At Any Cost”

Patriot coverMulti-published author Nancy Lindley-Gauthier stopped by this morning to chat about her delightfully old-fashioned romance set during the turbulent days of World War II. The title is Patriot: At Any Cost, and it’s now available as an e-book and in paperback.

As we here in the States observe Memorial Day, I can’t think of a more fitting tribute to the men and women who fought side-by-side to keep the world safe. As poet John Milton wrote three centuries before the Second World War, “They also serve who only stand and wait.”

Good morning, Nancy, and welcome!

‘Morning. It’s great to be here – I don’t believe I’ve ever been in a tea room dedicated to romances before. Love your deco.

Thanks so much. Please take a seat while I make us each a cup. Is there any special flavor you prefer?

At the moment, I love cinnamon tea. Apple cinnamon quite okay, too.

Excellent! I do have that. Don’t you just love Keurig machines? While it’s brewing, would you tell me a bit about yourself?

I’m a fan of the historical romance. I adore being swept to a different time, but especially the ’40s. The WWII era had the music (“Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree…”), the attitudes, the FOOD, for heaven’s sake; it was an amazing time for woman to start coming into their own, and still… everything was home-made!

Let’s talk about real apple cider doughnuts arriving with that tea. Need I go on?

Hmm…I’ll check the pantry, but I don’t get much call for apple cider doughnuts. While I search, though, I’d love to hear more about Patriot At Any Cost. The cover is striking and promises so much adventure. May we read a little of it?

My mother used to say “Wartime is not like any other time.” World War II created a community spirit that brought people together, and perhaps simplified daily life. Here, on the ‘home-front’ of the rocky coast of Maine, we find a young woman who so wants to contribute…but who feels so terribly left behind.  Not only by the times…but by the love of her life, as well.

Here’s a blurb and an excerpt from Patriot At Any Cost:

Blurb:

Lillian wants nothing more than to join the war effort, especially since her childhood sweetheart is headed to war–and promising to write–to her gorgeous adversary, Celia.

Her accidental introduction to injured pilot Callahan sets her on an unexpected path. She joins the Civil Patrol, but suspects the war will hardly be coming to Maine’s quiet shores.

Or, will it?

Excerpt:

Lillian peeked anxiously into the night from behind the safety of her heavy kitchen curtains. A glimmer from the crescent moon gave away the young couple pressed close together at the top of the granite stairway, scarcely inches from the house.

Lill ducked back, away from the window. A roar filled her ears. She could no more hear the strains of big band music wafting from the parlor radio than register the steady crash of waves out on the point. She shut her eyes but could not block the image of the two clasped so tightly together.

There was no denying the truth this time. She did not need to guess at the identity of the couple. She leaned back and forced a slow, deliberate breath. “I cannot believe this.”

Link:  Amazon.com/Patriot at Any Cost

For info on more of Nancy’s other titles, check out her site: https://nlindleygauthier.wordpress.com/

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