Wednesday, January 29, 2014

“Shall I lay out one of your novelty handkerchiefs today, sir?"

What ho, what ho, what ho!  The February I'd Like to Share event is this Saturday (Um. How is it February already.   Time is flying by a little too fast.  This does not please Cute Owl.) so dear Firmin, this is just a brief reminder that my salary has not been-- 

I'm wearing that joke out, aren't I.

So, uh, anyways. If you want to submit posts for the January I'd Like to Share link-up, please go do so over here.   Remember, just one link per person per month-- happy sharing!

*insert witty outro here*

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Handy-Dandy Helpful Hair Guide, From the Ladies of Period Drama

This guide is meant to be a Helpful Tool to all you ladies out there who have hair and would like some Handy Tips on How to Manage it.  I am not a hairstylist, nor have I ever been to beauty school, so I would prefer not to be sued or held responsible if you follow my advice and end up bald-- in other words, swim at your own risk.

Oh, and you should know that the Useful Advice that this article is about to spit at you is presented in random order, and that Tip No. 1 is not necessarily more important or more chronologically essential than Tip No. 9.

Let us begin.
(I'm not ready yet.  Not without my bucket.  Rules and tools are schools for--- shutting up.)

1.  Red hair is a blessing, not a curse, and if one is fortunate enough to possess locks of this particular shade, one should not attempt to change their hue to something darker-- otherwise, one may end up Green, and it's not easy being Green. People might be tempted to ask if you ate grass as a child, and this is an awkward conversation starter.

2.  Don't let a guy cut pieces off unless you're absolutely sure of his intentions.  He might turn out to be a total jerk and end up sending the hair back to you with a note along the lines of "you started it."  Not fun.

3.  Stop worrying about your hair being overly frizzy.  There is no such thing as too much volume.  No, seriously.  Go big or go home.

4.  If one should be so unfortunate as to contract smallpox and is left with disfiguring scars all around one's face, wearing one's hair in unflattering side ringlets can help to disguise the pockmarks.  Well... sort of.

But please do keep in mind that smallpox scars mysteriously seem to fade as one becomes more and more of a selfless person, and by the time one weds one's true love at the end of the film, they will be--ta-da!--practically nonexistent.

5.  I don't care what the fashion is, girl, don't run a lawnmower over your head.  Unattractiveness (seriously? that's a word) aside, it's just not safe.

6.  Chestnut tresses fetch a pretty price during wartime, and if one's father has fallen seriously ill and is in need of expensive medicines, by all means go ahead and sever your "one beauty."  (Trust me, it isn't your only beauty.  That and the existence of the Loch Ness monster are lies perpetrated by the media to get you to buy magazines.  Don't fall for the myth.)

7. Rain may spoil a splendid 'do, it is true (you see I'm a bit of a poet...) but if you time things right, you may just get a proposal from the guy you've been in love with for years if you run into him dripping wet.  Moral: never carry an umbrella.

8.  Letting your haphazard younger sister curl your hair before you go to your first ball is totally a good and well-researched idea, strongly founded on previous examples of skill and steadfastness from said younger sister. (That was sarcasm.)  No, seriously, don't let her near you with a curling iron unless you want to go dancing completely bald in front.

9.  It is a truth universally acknowledged that many--even most--girls look prettier when the hair is, to be blunt, "down."  This, however, is only acceptable pre-nineteenth century.  (Half-up is the general consensus once you start sliding into the eighteenth; be warned.)  Don't let the movie stylists lie to you.

NO REALLY I'M SERIOUS HERE.  You are a full-grown and respectable woman of the Regency period.  Stop the madness.  PUT IT UP.  NOW.

10.  Remember what we said before about volume?  Yeah.  That.  Did you think we were kidding?  Your hair can never be too fluffy.  Trust us on this.  Poofy hair has a power not to be reckoned with-- if your one true love happens to be dying, just run to him with a head full of frizz and floof and he will get better out of sheer terror and self-defense.  This experiment has been tested in Avonlea and is proven to work.  (Oh, and actually telling him you love him will help, too.  Just a hint.)

11.  Don't listen to naysayers-- your natural color is beautiful just the way God made it, and if you so firmly believe that making it different will snag the guy of your dreams, consider rethinking your motivations.  (Also consider how old he is.  Yeesh.)

12.  All that previous stuff aside... if you're only the second daughter, it's really not important what your hair looks like. Sorry, sweetie. But if you're the eldest, then go for those curl papers and call for Sarah, because we need to get you married off now.

Bonus: If you're at all acquainted with a certain Miss Margaret Hale, get her to teach you her ways.  And then pass the tips off to the rest of us.  We beg you.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A Bookish Chat with Melody

Today ushers in the first installment in the Bookish Chat series, which I mentioned back in... December, I think.  This will be a monthly feature in which I interview someone of my acquaintance who is Into Books, so to speak, and hopefully we shall all learn and profit from the experience.  Take out your notebooks, children.

Our first guest speaker will be Melody of Regency Delight, whom I may have mentioned a time or two on this blog before.  I would tell you a bit about her, but actually she's going to do that herself, so I shall let her take it from here. *hands microphone*

Welcome to the podium at Yet Another Period Drama Blog, Melody! Have some tea to calm your nerves and tell us a little bit about yourself. Name, general age-ish (feel free to be as vague as you like), hobbies, least favorite type of shoe, favorite flavor of ice cream, and how you started blogging. Ready, steady, go!

Goodness, mentioning podiums to me will make me nervous! Can we just pretend we’re having a nice, cozy chat in my living room? I shall gladly accept the tea, however. Thank you.  I believe you just told everybody my name, but it’s Melody. As Elizabeth Bennet would say, “I am not one and twenty,” but how much less than that is up to you to imagine. When I have extra time you may find me writing long emails (or even real letters), sewing (I’m currently in the extremely early stages of a Regency Dress Project… we’ll see how that goes), pretending I can play the piano, enjoying a good period drama or, of course, a book. I’m also a bit too skilled at wasting time, which could include anything from staring out the window daydreaming to scrolling aimlessly through Pinterest.

Least favorite type of shoe? To wear, or to see? To wear—anything that hurts. To see—anything that makes you cringe just to look at it because you KNOW it must be hurting.

I don’t have a favorite flavor of ice cream, but when I was younger I would have said cookies and cream. So let’s just go with that.

I started blogging like most people—went to and clicked on the button to create a new blog.  ;)

Ahem, forgive my sarcasm. I started blogging mainly so that I could have a place to talk about Jane Austen. I was running out of ‘real-life’ resources for this. And before I knew it I had all sorts of delightful (online) Janeite acquaintances, and I was starting to learn just how many fish were in my sea, haha. The sea of the Jane Austen fandom, you know. Because it’s big.

~Okay! So now that we know a little bit more about you (well, okay, the adoring PUBLIC knows a little more about you-- I already know everything about you because I am your best friend), let’s ask some bookish questions. Tell us about three books that you loved when you were little-- that is, under ten or so. 

If you know everything about me, why don’t you answer these questions FOR me? Hmmm? Betcha couldn’t. ;) (She'd do it better than anybody else, though.)

For some reason the first book I thought of is Pepper’s Journal: A Kitten’s First Year by Stuart J. Murphy. It’s a picture book, and it was supposed to have been designed to teach children about calendars, but I just loved looking at the pictures and reading all the journal entries that the girl made about her new cat. When we got a kitten (I was six at the time) I even tried to follow suit, but the journaling didn’t last very long. Somehow real-life cats don’t seem to be as easy to write about.

Surprisingly, I'm actually having trouble answering this, even though I did love books as a little girl.  I guess being the youngest in my family, once I lost interest in certain books they were only to be forgotten with no siblings to pass them on to.  But let's see here... well, I loved Beverly Cleary's Ramona series, in particular Ramona's World and Ramona Forever, though I'm not sure at what age I liked which ones.  And just for a bit of Young Reader Trivia (about myself, that is) the first book I ever remember reading all by myself (with no one to help when I got stuck, you know, and not counting things like Bob Books) was Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman . For some reason I remember that quite clearly. And then afterwards yelling up the stairs “MOMMY, I read this WHOLE THING by MYSELF!” Heehee.

~Oooh, I loved Are You My Mother? when I was little too. :D Anyone who knows you even a little bit will know that you are a big fan of Jane Austen. (Well, duh.) Which book of Jane Austen’s would you recommend to a newbie fan, and why?

Definitely Pride and Prejudice. It’s the brightest and most sparkling, it’s the easiest to read, I think the characters are the most identifiable of any of her books, and you don’t have to be accustomed to Jane Austen’s wit to find it as funny as you’re supposed to. (You do, however, need to have a proper sense of humor. If you don’t… well, I doubt you and Miss Austen will travel far together.)

However, this may vary from person to person. In certain cases I may recommend other books first, if I can tell one of the others would be more of a favorite. For instance, if they prefer a more romantic and emotional story, Persuasion is what I’d put into their hands. It’s also the shortest. ;)

~What is your favorite biography? Tell us a wee bit about it.

Ooooh. Um… I don’t really think I have a favorite biography. See, with biographies and most nonfiction, I tend to poke through them rather than read the things in the entirety. This may shock you (ha), but I’ve looked at more biographies of Jane Austen than anyone else… and I can’t pinpoint a favorite. None of them have really swept me off my feet. I tend to prefer books that include her biography but also have other interesting stuff. 

Hey, isn’t dodging questions a normal part of interviews?

~Oh, indeed it is.  You should run for office, m'dear.  ...KIDDING.  Okay, so I’m well aware that you, like me, are fond of quotes, and the more bookish the better. What are some of your favorite quotes about books?

Eeheeeee. :D *clears throat*

“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.” ~Henry Tilney, Northanger Abbey

“The pleasure of reading is always doubled when shared with a friend.” ~J.C. Gress

“Never judge a book by its movie.”

" ‘Oh! it is only a novel!’ replies the young lady…in short, only some work in which the greatest powers of the mind are displayed, in which the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusions of wit and humor are conveyed to the world in the best chosen language.” ~Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

(I know there are many others I adore, but my memory is not cooperating. :P)

~What did you most recently finish reading? Would you recommend it?

Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay. I finished it within four days and that’s quite rare for me, because I’m not a fast reader so it takes quite a bit of time. ;) Would I recommend it? To the readers of this blog, yes. Because anybody bookish will connect with this book in several ways; it’s simply spilling over with classic literature quotes and references, some other books I know of or have even read, also some period dramas and… that’s just fun. (The main character is a bookworm, obviously. Also a writer! This is not particularly a JA spin-off as it may sound; it’s set in present day.) I mean, the book starts with a dedication worded the same way as Anne Shirley’s in the second movie… how cool is that? (It, cough, ends with a quote from P&P05 but… that was the only reference to that movie so I can overlook it. :P) I should probably write an actual review instead of rambling like this, but anyway, though there were some things I didn’t like, overall I enjoyed it muchly (storyline is good too) although some of the themes are Not Suitable for Young Readers.

~Did you discover any good new authors in the last year? Which of their books did you like best?

Hmmm… there were only a few books I’d read by authors I hadn’t read yet and I wasn’t particularly thrilled with any of them, although I did enjoy With Every Letter and On Distant Shores by Sarah Sundin… overall. Although some of the attraction-kissy-nonsense kind of disgusted me although it didn’t go as far as some Christian romance novels I’ve tried to read. :P I did do some serious eye-rolling, though.

~Quick! First funny quote from a book, off the top of your head!

“Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail.
Mind! I don't mean to say that I know, of my own knowledge, what there is particularly dead about a door-nail. I might have been inclined, myself, to regard a coffin-nail as the deadest piece of ironmongery in the trade. But the wisdom of our ancestors is in the simile; and my unhallowed hands shall not disturb it, or the Country's done for. You will therefore permit me to repeat, emphatically, that Marley was as dead as a door-nail.”
~A Christmas Carol

~What are your thoughts on the subject of e-readers?

While they can probably have some particular uses, for the most part I’m against them. Real books are some of the best things in the world and I hate to have wonderful things replaced. By modern nonsense. Folks, if I’d lived at the turn of the century I probably would have been one of those people against “progress.” :P Some things back then were an improvement I’ll grant you, but now… we’re advanced enough already, thank you. You can stop now. New does not mean better.

~What would be your response to someone who told you she never read books?

Something like this, I would imagine.

~In what part of your library would you be most likely to be found?

Depends on the occasion… I might wander around, or if I need to wait a while and have a new book I want to read I might just find a random chair somewhere and settle down. And, cough, sometimes if I’m waiting for a family member and don’t have anything particular to do I’ll go get on one of the computers. I know, horrid, right? “Maybe I have a new EMAIL!” :P

~What is the best nonfiction book you’ve read in the last few months? Tell us a tiny bit about it.

Like I said, when I read nonfiction I tend to just poke through them… so I guess that will have to count. Well, it was awfully fun reading The Making of Pride and Prejudice. Which is a book about, fancy this, the making of Pride and Prejudice. The 1995 miniseries, that is. :) It has a lot of interesting information behind it along with just fun facts.

~If you could have a fictional side character over for tea in the nearish future, who would you choose and why?

Yikes! That’s a hard choice! But on a whim, I’ll say Philippa Gordon from Anne of the Island. Just because she’s a girl so I’d feel more comfortable with her, she’s likely to have some interesting clothes to admire, know her way with teacups and of course the most important thing—she’s hilarious and would be a most excellent conversationalist.

~Quick, name a book you love that begins with N.

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. What? That’s the first thing I thought of!

~Somehow I knew you'd pick that one.  Heehee.  (The letter was chosen at random, by the way.) And now... recommend six titles for the lovely readers of this blog. Any titles. Six of ‘em. Do it. Now. (No, I’m not bossy.)

Six? SIX? Don’t you know what you’re tempting me to do when you say that??? Okay, okay. I won’t do it. I shall conquer this. :D

(If any of you figure out what’s going on here, I’ll be very proud of you.)

Emma by Jane Austen
Running Out of Time by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
The Luckiest Girl by Beverly Cleary
The Anne series by L.M. Montgomery (and if that’s cheating, then Anne of Green Gables—and they can figure out the rest for themselves.)
Henry Tilney’s Diary by Amanda Grange
There, three classic, three non-classic.

Thank you very much for hosting me, dearling! I’m honored to be able to start it out and I look 
forward to reading future bookish chats. Goodbye, everyone! *mock-princess/celebrity wave*


Thank YOU, Melody, for participating in this little interview!  Our friendship was, I believe, cemented at the very beginning by our shared love of good books-- as P.G. Wodehouse said, "There is no surer foundation for a beautiful friendship than a mutual taste in literature."  We owe a lot to our bookshelves.  :D  If you'd like to read more of Melody's writings, do please check out her blog-- Regency Delight (Jane Austen, &c.).

We'll have a new bookish interview guest in February, so do stick around!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Emma: Homeschool Edition (Chapter Five)

So sorry for the delay with this newest chapter, folks!  I was sick for nearly two weeks-- lovely way to welcome in the new year-- and blogging took a backseat.  I'm back in the saddle again, though, and hopefully Emma will return to regular appearances as well.  

    "I do not know what your PO may be, Mrs. Weston," said Mr. Knightley, as the two friends met over pumpkin spice lattes, "of this great closeness between Emma and Harriet Smith, but I think it a bad thing. They are beginning to call one another besties."

    "A bad thing! Do you really think it a bad thing? Why so?  Beside the besties part, of course; I know you have a ridiculously old-fashioned objection to such colloquialisms."

    "I think they will neither of them do the other-- or the other’s vocabulary-- any good."

    "You surprise me! Emma must be an excellent influence on Harriet: and by supplying her with a new object of interest, Harriet may be said to do the same for Emma. I have been seeing their intimacy with the greatest pleasure. How very differently we feel! Not think they will do each other any good! This will certainly be the beginning of one of our debates about Emma, Mr. Knightley."

    "Perhaps you think I am come on purpose to debate with you, knowing how long it has been since my forensics classes in college.  Besides, Mr. Weston is out, and you must fight your own battle."

    "Jack would undoubtedly support me, if he were here, for he thinks exactly as I do on the subject. We were speaking of it only yesterday, and agreeing how fortunate it was for Emma, that there should be such a girl at church for her to associate with.  You know how few young single people are even in the church, much less ones with whom Emma can hold an intelligent conversation.  Mr. Knightley, I shall not allow you to be a fair judge in this case. You are so much used to living alone, that you do not know the value of a companion besides your laptop screen; and perhaps no man can be a good judge of the comfort a woman feels in the society of one of her own sex, after being used to it all her life. I can imagine your objection to Harriet Smith. She is not the superior young woman which Emma's friend ought to be. But on the other hand as Emma wants to see her better informed, it will be an inducement to her to improve her own mind by extensive reading, as Mr. Darcy would say-- and if Emma wishes to snare herself a Mr. Darcy, she had better get going.”

    "Emma has been meaning to read more ever since she was twelve years old. I have seen a great many of her reading lists at various times -- and very good lists they were -- very well chosen, and very neatly arranged -- sometimes alphabetically, and sometimes by some other rule.   She even made herself a Goodreads account when she was only seventeen -- I remember thinking it did her judgment so much credit, that I actually sent her a friend request; but if her homepage does not lie, she has been on page forty-two of Anne’s House of Dreams since 2009.  I have done with expecting any course of steady reading from Emma. She will never submit to any thing requiring industry and patience, and a subjection of the imagination to the understanding. Where Anne Taylor failed to stimulate, I may safely affirm that Harriet Smith will do nothing. You never could persuade her to read half so much as you wished. You know you could not."

    "I dare say," replied Mrs. Weston, smiling, "that I thought so then; -- but since we have parted, I can never remember Emma's omitting to do any thing I wished."

    "There is hardly any desiring to refresh such a memory as that" -- said Mr. Knightley, feelingly; and for a moment or two he had done. "But I", he soon added, "who have had no such charm thrown over my senses, must still see, hear, and remember. Emma is spoiled by being the cleverest of her family. At ten years old, she had the misfortune of being able to answer questions which puzzled her sister at seventeen. She was always quick and assured: Isabella slow and diffident. And ever since she was twelve and Isabella was married, Emma has been the sole homemaker in her father’s house. In her mother she lost the only person able to cope with her. She inherits her mother's talents, but also her flair for the dramatic."

    "I should have been sorry, Mr. Knightley, to have had to come to you for references if Mr. Woodhouse had ever let me go.  If I’d wanted another job, I do not think you would have spoken a good word for me to anybody. I am sure you always thought me unfit for the position I held."

    "Yes," said he, smiling. "You are better placed here; very fit for a wife, but not at all for a tutor. But you were preparing yourself to be an excellent wife and homemaker all the time you were with the Woodhouses. You might not give Emma such a complete education as your powers would seem to promise; but you were receiving a very good education from her, on the very material matrimonial point of being submissive and giving in; and if Jack Weston had asked me for advice about woman to court, I should certainly have named Anne Taylor."

    "Thank you. There will be very little merit in making a good wife to such a good man as Jack Weston."

    "Well, to tell you the truth, I am afraid your servant’s heart is being thrown away on such a pleasant man as Jack. We will not despair, however. He may grow irritable from the excess of comfort, or his son may annoy him."

    "I hope not that. It is not likely. No, Mr. Knightley, do not foretell irritation from that quarter."

    "Not I, indeed. I only name possibilities. I do not pretend to Emma's genius for intuiting and guessing. I hope, with all my heart, the young man may be a Weston in merit, and a Churchill in income. But Harriet Smith -- I have not finished about Harriet Smith. I think her the very worst sort of companion that Emma could possibly have. She knows nothing herself, and looks upon Emma as knowing everything. She is a yes-woman in all her ways; and so much the worse, because it is all unintentional. Her ignorance is hourly flattery. How can Emma imagine she has any thing to learn herself, while Harriet is presenting such a delightful inferiority? And as for Harriet, I will venture to say that she cannot gain by the acquaintance.  “Hanging out” with Emma, as Emma puts it, will only make all her other friends pale in comparison with Emma’s far better company.  She will grow just snobby enough to be uncomfortable with those among whom she has been educated and brought up. Emma’s way of looking at the world is to say that if a girl can name all the Duggars, run a household with some semblance of efficiency and has a rudimentary knowledge of why Marxism is wrong, she is perfectly prepared to take on the world.”

    "I either depend more upon Emma's good sense than you do, or am more anxious for her to have a friend; for I cannot complain of the acquaintance. How sweet and happy she looked last night!"

    "Oh! you would rather talk of her appearance than her mind, would you? Very well; I shall not attempt to deny Emma's being attractive."

    "Attractive! say gorgeous, rather. Can you imagine any thing nearer perfect beauty than Emma altogether?  Why, she would put Job’s daughters to shame."

    "I do not know what I could imagine, but I confess that I have seldom seen a countenance more pleasing to me than hers. But I am a partial old friend."

    "It is the amount of raw food in her diet that gives her skin such a lovely glow, I am sure; Emma always gives me the idea of being the complete picture of health. She is loveliness itself, Mr. Knightley, is not she?"

    "I have not a fault to find with her appearance," he replied. “I think her all you describe. I love to look at her; and I will add this praise, that I do not think her personally vain. Considering how many selfies she takes, she really appears to consider them of much import; she certainly never tags them ‘ugly’ or ‘ew’ in a bid for attention on Facebook.  No, her vanity lies another way. Anne, I am not to be talked out of my dislike of her friendship with Harriet Smith, or my dread of its doing them both harm."

    "And I, Mr. Knightley, am equally firm in my confidence of its not doing them any harm. With all dear Emma's little faults, she is still a sweetheart. Where shall we see a better daughter, or a kinder sister, or a truer friend? No, no; she has qualities which may be trusted; she will never lead any one really wrong; she will make no lasting blunder; where Emma errs once, she is in the right a hundred times.  We will just have to agree to disagree."

    "Very well; I will not harp on this any more. Emma shall be an angel, and I will keep my snark to myself till John and Isabella come at Christmas.  John regards Emma with a reasonable and therefore not a blind affection, and Isabella always thinks as he does; except when he is not quite paranoid enough about the children getting enough vitamin K in their diets. I am sure of having their opinions with me."

    "I know that you all love her really too well to be overly harsh; but excuse me, Mr. Knightley, if I take the liberty (I consider myself, you know, as having somewhat of the privilege of speech that Emma's mother might have had) the liberty of hinting that I do not think any possible good can arise from Harriet Smith's friendship being made a matter of much discussion among you.  Isabella freaks out very easily, and should not be made to worry about her sister’s associations."

    "Don’t worry about it," Mr. Knightley assured her, "I will not raise a stink about this. I will keep my comments to myself and my MySpace page, which no one visits anyway. I have a very sincere interest in Emma. Isabella does not seem more my sister than Emma; has never excited a greater interest; perhaps hardly so great. There is an anxiety, a curiosity in what one feels for Emma. I wonder what will become of her!"

    "So do I," said Mrs. Weston gently; "very much."

    "She always declares she will never marry, which, of course, means just nothing at all-- it is just a cover-up so she will not seem too eager to find a spouse.”  (This said in sarcasm.) “But I have no idea that she has yet ever seen a man she was really attracted to. It would not be a bad thing for her to be very much in love with the right kind of guy.  I should like to see Emma in love, and in some doubt of its being requited; it would do her good. But there is nobody hereabouts to win her heart; and she goes so seldom from home."

    "There does, indeed, seem as little to tempt her to break her resolution, at present," said Mrs. Weston, "as can well be; and while she is so happy at home, I cannot wish her to be forming any attachment which would be creating such difficulties, on poor Mr. Woodhouse's account. I do not recommend matrimony at present to Emma, though I mean no slight to the God-ordained state, I assure you."

   Part of her meaning was to conceal some favourite thoughts of her own and Mr. Weston's on the subject, as much as possible. There were wishes in their household respecting Emma's destiny, but it was not desirable to have them suspected, lest they be accused of being bitten by the newlywed Cupid bug; and the quiet transition which Mr. Knightley soon afterwards made to "What does Jack think of the new iPhone; does he agree with me that the old one does very well, and new gadgets are now unnecessary?" convinced her that he had nothing more to say or surmise about the Westons’ possible matchmaking schemes.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

*clears throat importantly*

*random pretty photo to keep the Real Photo for this post from showing up
on people's dashboards*

"Good afternoon, young ladies, and welcome to Camp Inch.  My name is... *flips note cards*... Miss Inch.  Yes, Miss Inch."

Um, no, scratch that, reverse it, and insert this instead.

"Good morning, bloggers, and welcome to January 15th."  (That's today.  It's a joke.  Stop looking at me funny.)  Today is a big day, because today the cover for a very great book is being revealed to the world.

In July 2013 I did a lot of exciting things-- I visited a blogging friend for the first time, rode on four different airplanes, and beta-read a manuscript.  It is the latter item that I wish to address today-- namely, the manuscript.  Because, people, that manuscript was the cat's pajamas, and now it is a book.

I'm not sure that you heard what I just said.  NOW IT IS A BOOK.  A REAL BOOK.

It hasn't actually been released yet (February 14th is the big day) but the public gets to see the cover today, and I am thrilled and honored and divinely delighted and all that jazz to be one of the people revealing the cover to you all.

*reveals cover*

Fly Away Home, as the book is called (I'm saying that for the benefit of those who can't read-- all the rest of you, one would presume, saw it on the cover photo up above), is a simply smashing novel.  And though I am a biased sort of girl and the author happens to be a personal friend of mine (let's hear it for Rachel Heffington, known to me and my sisters as Jeeves the One and Only), I can truthfully say with absolutely no malice aforethought that this book is a winner.  YOU MUST READ IT FOR IT IS WONDERFUL AND SPLENDID.

You probably would like to know something of what it is about.

Callie Harper is a woman set to make it big in the world of journalism. Liberated from all but her buried and troubled past, Callie craves glamour and the satisfaction she knows it will bring. When one of America's most celebrated journalists, Wade Barnett, calls on Callie to help him with a revolutionary project, Callie finds herself co-pilot to a Christian man whose life and ideas of true greatness run noisily counter to hers on every point. But when the secrets of Callie's past are hung over her head as a threat, there is space for only one love, one answer: betray Wade Barnett to save her reputation, or sacrifice everything for the sake of the man she loved and the God she fled. The consequences of either decision will define the rest of her life.

Self-preservation has never looked more tempting.

Seriously, guys, it's awesomeness sauce.  It's clever, it's funny, it's tear-jerking, it's romantic, it's witty, it's a breath of fresh air in the modern world of Christian fiction.   It's better than cough drops, I tell you.  You should read it.

...But of course you can't, as it's not out yet.


In the meantime, go stalk the Goodreads page.  Good hunting!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Yes, I'm Overusing Tags... Hush.

I've seen the New Year's tag floating around for three new years now, and I figured it was about time I answered it.  :D  It's tremendously long, so consider yourself warned.  

What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?

~Graduated high school!
~Met my best friend face-to-face.  :D
~Took an eight-day vacation (that turned into nine days when our connecting flight got delayed, cough) with my mom to a state we'd never visited.  (see above :D)
~Got excited about the Academy Awards.  Heehee.
~Started taking voice lessons.
~Started tutoring.
~Started Civil War reenacting, joined a local military group and began volunteering at a historical mansion for their living history programs.
~Launched my historical costuming business.
~Got my own cell phone.
~Got my driver's permit!

Did you keep your New Year's resolutions, and will you make one this year?

I don't really make New Year's resolutions, so... nope.  :P  

Did anyone close to you give birth?

Our next-door neighbors had an adorable baby boy, and my youngest sister is completely in love with him. :D

Did anyone close to you die?

My great-grandmother passed away on June 6th.

What countries/states did you visit?

Stayed in the U.S., heehee.  Mostly in my own state, too.  I did go out and visit Melody's in July, but I'm not going to tell you what it is.  :P

What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?

A driver's license.  More patience with people.  Less desire to control things.  More sewing experience. More compassion and a better ability to encourage people.

What date from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory?

July 9th.  :D

Did you move anywhere?

Nope!  And after having moved six times in my life, I'm quite happy to stay where I am for now.

What was the best month?

July.  Can't think why.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Finishing high school at long last.  Heehee.  Also finishing the first draft of the book I'd been working on for over a year.

What was your biggest failure?

Losing my temper so often.

Did you suffer illness or injury?

Umm... I got sick quite a few times, but nothing serious.

What was the best thing you bought?

My laptop.  I love her to pieces.  Her name is Kevin (and yes, Kevin's a girl).

(read this book, it's good)

Whose behavior merited celebration?

I was incredibly proud of my sisters for their hard work on their National History Day projects.  One of them even made it to the national competition, which was awesome.  

Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Um... the people at the top of the U.S. government food chain.  Heh.

Where did most of your money go?

Joann Fabrics, Goodwill and the Apple store.  :P

What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Visiting Melody!  Petie's visit!  The prospect of visiting Ally!  Seeing the Les Mis movie for the first time!

What was the best concert you’ve been to this year?

I've been to more musical events this year than any other year in my life, I do believe.  Les Miserables in January, a friend's private cello recital in January, a local symphony orchestra's open rehearsals throughout most of the school year (we made it to all seven of them this year and they were fabulous), my sister's piano recital in February, my aunt's community theatre production of The Sound of Music in July, our local community theatre's production of Fiddler on the Roof in December and then our local regional theatre's production of Mary Poppins, also in December.  

What song/album will always remind you of 2013?

The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall.  This was the year I really got into Phantom, and it will always have special memories attached to it because of how much Melody and I sang snatches of it together.  Heehee.  

Compared to this time last year, are you:
1. happier or sadder?  Happier!
2. thinner or fatter?  Actually a bit thinner.  This pleases Cute Owl.  :P
3. richer or poorer?  Slightly richer.  I've been working longer.  Heehee.

What do you wish you’d done more of?

Spent more time with my siblings.  Written more.

What do you wish you’d done less of?

Waste time on the Internet.  Ahem.

What was your greatest musical discovery?

I discovered a ton of great artists/songs this year... Bernadette Peters, Cecilia Bartoli, Aaron Tveit, Natalie Dessay, Barbra Streisand, Mark Vincent, and kind of rediscovered Italian opera in general.  It's so awesome. :D

How did you spend Christmas?

With my family at my maternal grandmother's.  Almost everyone on my mom's side was there this year, which was great.

How are you spending New Year’s?

Well, it's over now, but I spent NYE with my family having a movie marathon and then NYD with Margaret Hale and Marie and their family, which was lovely. 

Who did you spend the most time on the phone with?

Melody.  :P

What was the best book you read?

Ummmmmm.  I read a lot of good ones.  

Did you fall in love in 2013?

Do fictional characters count?  :P

What was your favorite TV show?

Road to Avonlea!!

Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

Do fictional characters count? :P

What did you want and get?

My own computer!

What did you want and not get?

Ummmmm... a 19th-century cottage in England?

What were your favourite films of this year?

I'm taking this to mean movies I saw for the first time this year, not necessarily movies that came out this year, so...

Les Miserables (2012)
Great Expectations (2011)
The Shop Around the Corner (1940)
Jane Eyre (2006)
A Tale of Two Cities (2009 concert)
Old Yeller (1957)
Lark Rise to Candleford (2008-2011) Yes, I'm including TV shows in this, it's my list.
Jeeves and Wooster (1990-1993)
Cars 2 (2011)  Don't judge me.
Emma Approved (2013-)  This is a web series, but hush.  GO WATCH IT.

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

My eighteenth birthday coincided with another family event so we ended up celebrating on a different day (which we usually end up doing with birthdays anyway :D)-- had a quiet family party at home (lemon cake and Anne of Green Gables) two days before and then went out to dinner with my family on the actual day.  And talked on the phone with Melody. :D

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?

Twenty-first century librarian.  Heehee.  Sweaters, skirts, collared blouses... and more contemporary-looking tops and scarves.  But if I could wear any era's clothing all day long, I'd pick outfits from the 40's and 50's.  

What kept you sane?

God.  And I don't mean that flippantly-- I just mean that I can't imagine where I'd be or what state my mind would be in without Him.

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

*ahem* It was actually a tie...

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Ummmm... getting a book published?  Honestly, this was a great year, and I'm very thankful for it.  Not in an Elsie Dinsmore way-- it definitely wasn't perfect, but overall I was quite satisfied.  I'm trying to get better at being satisfied with things in general.

What political issue stirred you the most?

"From politics it was an easy step to silence."
~Jane Austen

Who did you miss?

Melody.  Um, duh.  All my lovely bloggy friends who live so very far away.  :(

Who was the best new person you met?

I've met several fantastic people through Civil War reenacting and am looking forward to getting to know them better in 2014!

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.

The more you think you know, the more you have to learn.  :P
Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

So much of me
Is made from what I learned from you
You'll be with me
Like a handprint on my heart
And now whatever way our stories end
I know you have re-written mine
By being my friend...
...I do believe I have been changed for the better
And because I knew you
I have been changed for good.

~"For Good," by Stephen Schwartz, Wicked

Five personally significant events of 2013:

~Graduating high school
~Launching my sewing business
~Starting voice lessons
~Getting my driver's permit
~Flying out of state to visit Melody (there seems to be a theme in a lot of these answers...)

Five things I want to do in 2014:

Visit Ally :D
Sing in a recital
Publish a book with an agent
Attend more Civil War reenactments
See Melody again (praying it will happen!)

Five people I’d like to know better in 2014:

All my blogging friends! Thanks so much for staying with me through 2013, folks!  I'm so looking forward to what this new year holds!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

I'd Like to Share: January 2014

So sorry this is late, folks! Here's hoping the picture for this month will make up for my tardiness.  (I've been sick.  Lovely way to ring in the New Year.)  Can you believe it's been over a year since the premiere?? (You see I'm a bit of a poet and you did not know it...)

Ahem.  Cutting to the chase.

In the Inspirational category...

Analiese nominated Hamlette for "White Christmas" (1954)
Miss Jane Bennet nominated Sierra Bailey for What Are You Advertising?
Eva nominated Anne-girl for Wishes
Katherine Sophia nominated Jessica for Living My Life and Dreams... Cur Non
Kiri Liz nominated Lauriloth for Writing Lessons of 2013
Miss Dashwood nominated Maribeth for The Great Subject of Romance

In the Just Plain Interesting category...

Emma Jane nominated Belle for It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

In the Humorous category...

Eowyn nominated Mrs. Darcy for 15 Signs You Belong in a Period Piece Romance (please note that Mrs. Darcy did not actually write this post; she just shared it on her blog)