Saturday, August 9, 2014

Food, family and a giveaway!

Hello everybody! I'm taking a break from writing a new contemporary and all the craziness that summer brings.
 First, there's this!
On August 12th, a boxed set of historical fiction is releasing and I'm so excited to be part of it! It's been quite the learning curve and I feel so very blessed to have found this great group of historical authors. Everyone has pitched in with marketing, digital art, reaching out to reviewers/ bloggers/ magazines, etc. Instead of doing everything on our own, we divided and conquered! So, keep an eye out for TIMELESS, coming to an ereader near you!

But while getting this ready, we had another celebration.
When most of my kids were little, we had this MAGICAL babysitter, Cassey? She came over to the cafe to help me make artisan savory pumpkin rolls way back in October 2012. 
Well, she had a baby (here she is, chillin') and Julianne is such a hoot!
Here's Robert, being the best big brother ever...
He's got mad skills at making the baby giggle.
 They asked us to be godparents and we were so thrilled! Here is Julianne in her baptismal gown. It was made by her great aunt and I searched her out at the reception so I could ask about it. She said it took her ten months and 25 yards of cotton batiste. The petal pattern is her own creation, and it has pintucks, lace inserts, smocking, and tiny pearl button. It was amazing!
I think is my favorite picture. Sure, the dress looks pretty but look at those CHUBBY BABY ARMS.
Robert was baptized, too, and it was so inspiring to see the entire family welcomed into the Christian tradition.
 Here's my husband holding Julianne over the font. (I spy a chubby foot!)
And of course, she started crying! (Looks like Fr. Dave is crying, too!)The water couldn't have been cold. It was about 105F in that little country church! It was way out in the farmland of Dayton, Wa. I'd show you a picture but there's really nothing much there but wheat and farmers and vineyards...
 And peaches! (See what I did there? haha) So, I had these peaches and wasn't sure what to do with them so I went to the source of all wisdom... facebook. I asked my friends what I should make and I got some amazing recipes! But one appealed to my almost (two days away) thirteen year old. So, peach pot pie it was!
This recipe is from Laura Weimer, and it is DELICIOUS. I'm just going to cut and paste her directions because I did it exactly as she said... which is really rare for me.

Peach Pot Pie 
Peach filling 
1 1/4 cups sugar 
1/2 cup cornstarch 
1/4 tsp. salt 
6 lbs ripe peaches (about 16-20 medium), 
peeled, pitted, and sliced 1/2 inch thick 
2 TBSP fresh lemon juice 
2 TBSP butter or margarine cut up 
 Biscuit Crust 
2 cups all-purpose flour 
2 tsp baking powder 
1/2 tsp salt 
1/4 cup plus 
1 TBSP sugar 
4 TBSP butter cut up 
1 large egg, 
beaten 2/3 cup plus 2 TBSP heavy or whipping cream 
 Prepare Peach Filling: In large bowl, combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Add peaches and lemon juice; toss to coat well. Spoon peach mixture into 13" by 9" glass baking dish and dot with butter; set aside. 
 Preheat oven to 400 degree F. 
Prepare Biscuit Crust: In medium bowl, with fork stir together flour, baking powder, salt and 1/4 cup sugar. With pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. (Or to make it easier, like me, put the flour, bp, sugar, and salt in a food processor and mix; add the butter (cut into small pieces) a few at a time and pulse while adding. Make sure the butter is COLD. turn on or pulse for about 5 more seconds, then continue.
(For some reason I have no pictures of this!)
                                          
Stir egg and 2/3 cup cream with fork and add to flour mixture. (do this outside the processor) The dough will seem like it is not wet enough, but keep working it together with your hands and lightly knead it and it will all begin to come together and that way it remains flaky. Once it is all together in a dough, divide this into 12 pieces and flatten each one into a roundish shape and place on top of peaches. 
 They will expand as they cook, so don't worry about them covering the whole thing. Brush dough with remaining 2 TBSP cream, and sprinkle with remaining 1 TBSP sugar. Place sheet of foil under baking dish to catch any overflow.
 Here's the biscuit dough sprinkled with sugar and brushed with cream. It's actually more like a scone, I think.
 Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until peaches are tender when pierced with knife, filling is bubbly, and crust is golden. IMPORTANT: You will need to cover the dish with foil about 1/2-3/4 of the way through to prevent the biscuit from over browning.
 Here they are, half-way done. My house smelled so good I could have sold tickets.
 Cool for 1 hour but is best served warm with whip cream or ice cream!
Each serving: 385 calories/ 13 g. total fat 8 g. saturated 66 g carbs.
 I put on the whipped cream but of course I didn't really let the peach pot pie cool down so it started to melt right away. Just imagine it fluffy and light!
It tasted sooo good. Like fresh scones with peach pie filling. 
I hope you're all having a wonderful August and enjoying the sweetness of friends, family, faith and the bounty around you!

To celebrate the summer, I'm giving away two copies of Emma, Mr. Knightley and Chili-Slaw Dogs! I wish I could send you peach pot pie... but sadly, I think books would be easier. Enter below for a chance to win. What are you all up to this summer? More importantly, what's cooking??
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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Finally, I'm BACK! Just an update and a taste of what is coming...

Hi everybody!

 Well, that was a nice little break. I went on vacation, wrote some words, cooked some food, wrote some more words, and I'm finally feeling human again!
Here are a few vacation pictures from the Oregon coast. Rocky, windy, sunny, and not particularly warm. :)
 Devil's Punchbowl.
A nice stretch of beach you really can't reach unless you jump off a cliff.
And although it's about 190F here, it's blueberry season and we've been picking until we just can't pink no more. Yesterday we picked 45 pounds! YES.... most go into the freezer so that in January we can make blueberry pie and pretend it's July.
Also, I caught a bad cold and since it's a Washington State LAW that a person can't go out in public with a cold, I had to stay home. By myself. And whine. *sniffle* But I'm much better now and am excited to announce a new project...
A boxed set with some other historical authors! This will be out mid-August. :) Stay tuned.
And saving the best for last..... AUTHOR COPIES OF Emma, Mr. Knightley, and Chili-Slaw Dogs!! Whoohoo! These will be a giveaway in a few days. Shhhh, this was a sneak peek!
And this is coming very, very soon! October is only a few months away. I feel like I've waited for this book for ages and ages.

So, that's the update for now! You can always hop over to Yankee Belle Café and see what I've been cooking. I'm on the weekend crew and I love company.
Check out this weekend's post, including the low(er) fat Mocha Mudslide Milkshakes!

 Until later, my friends!




 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Quick Post to Announce Bonnet WINNER!!

Hi everybody!!

 This is a super quick (read: super dull) post to announce the winner of the awesomely awesome Regency bonnet!

JASNA N.Y., Rafflecopter loves YOU and wants you to have a Regency bonnet!! I'll e-mail you to get your address and then the bonnet will be shipped directly from Regency Austentation. (Goodness, she seems like a lovely woman. Or maybe it's just the Austen connection. I don't think I've met a Jane Austen fan yet who is less than wonderful.)

After hearing all the plan for how folks would wear their bonnet, I'm feeling an urge to get on myself. But as much as I love the green, I think I'm leaning toward ordering a straw bonnet so I can trim it with different colors of ribbon. I'm thinking, if it's straw then I can have pink, blue, green, brown ribbon... Am I right??

I hope you all had a wonderful Memorial Day!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Blog Hop, Baby!

Hey, everybody!
(A little Mr. Knightley to brighten your day.)
 I'm on a blog hop with Regina Scott and we're introducing ourselves to readers hither and yon.
"How?" you ask.

 By spilling the beans on WHAT we're writing, HOW we're different, and WHY we write what we do. :)
(This has nothing to do with anything but *sigh*)
WHAT I'm writing right now:

   I'm in the middle of polishing a YA manuscript that I've been working on with Franny Billingsley through a course she offers. (I can hear you all frowning from here! Or, wait... you can't hear a frown.) I know it seems as if everyone in the whole wide world is writing YA but can you blame us?? Isn't it the best genre ever?? I consider it all a bit of wish fulfillment. I get to go back and rewrite myself as a teen.  I get to be STRONG and FEARLESS and INTERESTING. 
 I know it's not really me, but it feels good anyway. It's a special kind of exciting when I can take a teen character and throw them into crazy situations and they fight their way to a glorious, triumphant end. So, that's what I'm writing right now. It's set on the coast of mainland Japan, hundreds of years in the future and is about as far as you can get from Austen fan fic, And that's okay. We all need a hobby. Some people knit. I put a year into writing a a book that may never see the light of day. :D

HOW I'm different:

 Oooo, boy. Am I different. 
I'm the sort of writer that wants to throw everything in the book and make it fit. Sometimes I can pull it off, and sometimes I have to go back and throw it all out. 
But a friend described my writing like this, "I like salad and I eat a lot of it, especially the kind with tiny cherry tomatoes and maybe a few leaves of baby spinach. If your writing was a salad, it would be ambrosia."
  Ha! I'll just take that as a compliment, whether she meant it that way or not. So, in the romance world of fiction, my writing is the kind with the little colored marshmallows. And the coconut and pineapple and maraschino cherries and pecans and mandarin oranges... 
  Maybe my books are an acquired taste, but I like to think there's a little bit of something for everyone. Poetry, classic literature, humor, romance, faith, progressive social values, family conflicts, race issues, poverty and class issues, and hopefully a fire/plague/online character assassination to make it interesting. 


WHY do I write what I do?
  Basically, I'm easily bored. That's why I have six kids. (Kidding!) 
But truthfully, I need a project. I'm not happy unless I'm trying to learn something new. And writing is always new.  I will never, ever be an expert. There's always so much more to learn, more stories to tell, more characters to dream up, and more plot twists to invent. It;s an awesome hobby and I've loved every second of it. (Hmmm, that's a bit of a lie. I've never loved the rejections or the negative reviews. Ouch. Owie. Wah.)

Thanks for coming along on my blog hop! I'm linking back to Regina Scott's post here, at NineteenTeen. That's a fun blog. Wander around a bit after you've read Regina's post. If you're interested in history, you'll be enjoy the posts. If you love history AND romance, prepare for a treat.


The next stop on the hop will be by the lovely Amy Spitzley over on  her blog and Kristen Ethridge on her blog and Karen Kirchel over on her blog! I'm excited to see where this hop goes next because I sense a turn toward the artistic!
    Their posts will be up in a week. :) As always- take care, my friends! 
  Remember, the post previous to this is the Regency Bonnet Giveaway! So be sure to enter for a chance to win your very own Jane Austen-style bonnet! 

(You know you want one....)

Monday, May 12, 2014

Winners of the soap, the magnets, and the earrings!! And BONNET giveaway!

Hi everybody!

  How was your week? And Mother's Day? I hope everyone had a peaceful, joyous, and love-filled week. As a mom of six kids, I always think I deserve like, a new car or something but all I ever get is flowers.

 Kidding! I loved my flowers! It was sort of a half bouquet from the store, half from the neighbor's garden. (Seriously, it was. They moved and the house has been empty/for sale for a year. We're okay with stealing the flowers that grow in their alley.)

  Most of the day was spent on getting everyone prepared for our state tests on Tuesday. (Shoot me NOW.) As home schoolers, we have state testing just like regular school peeps. Just as much stress, or maybe a little more, since we have to whip these test results out to wave around when people start saying home home schoolers are behind in regular subjects. (True, my kids do have some crazy hobbies that take a lot of their time, but we also keep up on the state standards.) So, if you see us and we're all looking a little wigged out, that's why.

But this week we also had an awesome experience that we couldn't have done if everyone was in school. We got to be the ground crew for our local balloon festival, the Walla Walla Balloon Stampede! Being a crew member meant learning which ropes to hold, which way to fold the fabric, how to be a human sandbag and most of all, HOW TO GET YOUR BODY OUT OF BED AT FOUR AM. Ugh. Can you tell I hated that part?
Here's my second-oldest child holding down the gondola (basket) while they get prepared for passengers. It's about 6AM here so she's only been up a few hours, but she's tiiiiired. Me? I knew there was no way I was getting out of bed at 4AM, so I just stayed up. It was fun, writing all night... until about ten AM and I realized that I didn't get to go to bed until that evening. Ha! All those late nighters I pulled in college at the age of 20 could NOT prepare me for how it felt at almost 40. Ugh.
 But it was great to see items close up, that we usually only see at a distance.
 It was neat to see how fast the balloons inflate... just a few minutes.
 I like how this one peeked over the tree line.
 And this one. Almost like a circus balloon!
Watching the fire so close was a bit weird, but we have nerves of steel in the family! LOL
We also participated in the "night glow" evening, where the pilots stand up the balloons and then light the burners in unison or in rhythm with music. It's fun, and sort of silly, since nobody is GOING ANYWHERE in the dark. But the crowd loves it and we had a good time being ballast again for when they just needed the basket to hover. (Wait, I sense a theme. *gets on the scale*)
So, now that we've talked all about me (isn't that why we're all here? no?) I've got some WINNERS to announce!!

 Bonnie R., Rafflecopter loves YOU and wants you to have some awesome Austen earrings!

Dianne D., Rafflecopter love YOU and wants you to have the Emma Fridge Lit magnet set! (I'm seriously jealous... I think I need to order some of these for my fridge. What a great way to wait for my water to heat up when I'm making tea!)
And finally, Christy M. Rafflecopter loves YOU and wants you to have Pride and Prejudice Ear Grey Tea and Lavender soap! This arrived a few days ago and it smells amazing! Super yum... I maye have to order some for Christmas presents.

(CONTACT me at my facebook page with your mailing address so I can send these onward! )
 Ok everybody! My editor sent me a pic of the final paper copies of Pride, Prejudice and Cheese Grits... and I AM IN LOVE. Seriously. My baby is all grown up! So glossy and bright, such straight lines and crisp pages. I can't wait to start sending out signed copies for review (or as a gift for a special someone). But before then... we'll have to tide ourselves over with a few more giveaway. I still have a small mountain of fan art here on my desk and I vowed to be a good Jane Austen team member and not to HOARD THE GOODIES.

So, this next giveaway is a  Jane Austen bonnet. Admit it, you want your own Jane Austen bonnet to wear around the house as you sip Earl Grey tea and write letters with your quill pen! I know, I know... it's a tough world we live in when every girl isn't given her own lovely bonnet as soon as she comes of age. 
But that's what I'm here for- to help you become as crazily-obsessed with Miss Jane as I am!

 And if you're not convince a bonnet is just what you need, remember this line from Jane's letter to her sister Cassandra: 
"Next week [I] shall begin my operations on my hat, on which you know my principal hopes of happiness depend."
         October 27, 1798
 (You see? Some might say Jane was being a wee bit sarcastic, but there's a little part of me that truly believes a bonnet has everything to do with one's happiness.)


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, April 28, 2014

Winner of LOST IN AUSTEN and a new give away!

Ok, are you all tired of this yet? NO? Neither am I!!

I admit it. I'm a cave-dweller, happily pecking away at my keyboard. When I'm forced to interact with the world I am just like Mr. Bennet. ("Where did you all COME FROM?")
But this whole giveaway thing is just perfect! I get to be sort of social, spread Austen joy, and a little bonus is the fact I can see my desk again. My pile of Austen goodies is getting smaller but there is still MUCH MORE to give away before Pride, Prejudice and Cheese Grits comes out in paper in July!
Speaking of which... Guess what I saw!!!

Yes, it's the cover up on Amazon!! The paper copy is the only option available right now (and for pre-order) but I'm watching for the ebook to pop up. SOOOO exciting! Here's the blurb if anyone hasn't heard about it yet.
         "A lively Southern retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, featuring Lucy Crawford, who is thrown back into the path of her first love while on a quest to save her beloved family home.

Lucy Crawford is part of a wealthy, well-respected Southern family with a long local history. But since Lucy’s mother passed away, the family home, a gorgeous antebellum mansion, has fallen into disrepair and the depth of her father’s debts is only starting to be understood. Selling the family home may be the only option—until her Aunt Olympia floats the idea of using Crawford house to hold the local free medical clinic, which has just lost its space. As if turning the plantation home into a clinic isn’t bad enough, Lucy is shocked and dismayed to see that the doctor who will be manning the clinic is none other than Jeremiah Chevy—her first love.

Lucy and Jeremiah were high school sweethearts, but Jeremiah was from the wrong side of the tracks. His family was redneck and proud, and Lucy was persuaded to dump him. He eventually left town on a scholarship, and now, ten years later, he’s returned as part of the rural physician program. And suddenly, their paths cross once again. While Lucy’s family still sees Jeremiah as trash, she sees something else in him—as do several of the other eligible ladies in town. Will he be able to forgive the past? Can she be persuaded to give love a chance this time around?"


 Whoohooo!!!

 So, to celebrate the sighting of Persuasion, Captain Wentworth and Cracklin' Cornbread, I've got some great giveaways this week!

 But first.... Our winner! AMANDA J, Rafflecopter loves you and wants you to have LOST IN AUSTEN on DVD!

OK, now for this week's prizes!


First of all, these darling earrings by Designs by Annette. I have a few pairs of these (she also does custom orders) and they are just adorable! Plus, they're great conversation starters. You can find out more about the earrings here.

Next, this is one of the funnest prizes I've ever given away. A Persuasion fridge magnet set by FridgeLit! Oh my word... I could play with these all day!

And lastly, a gift for the romantic in all of us. Pride and Prejudice lavender soap by Pen And Candle. I'm very tempted to get the Sense and Sensibility apple lavender lemon zest soap but I'm afraid I would try to eat my own arm. I would smell DELICIOUS.

Ok, my dear friends! Enter early and often- and good luck! One winner per item, so THREE people will get a bit of Austen love this week!



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