Monday, December 11, 2017

There is Always a Tomorrow - Spotlight Book Tour

Publication Date: November 5, 2017
Timelight Press: eBook & Paperback; ISBN: 9781788039666
Series: Graham Saga, Book #9
Genre: Historical Fiction/Time-Slip

There is Always a Tomorrow is the ninth book in Anna Belfrage’s time slip series featuring time traveller Alexandra Lind and her seventeenth century husband, Matthew Graham.

It is 1692 and the Colony of Maryland is still adapting to the consequences of Coode’s Rebellion some years previously. Religious tolerance in the colony is now a thing of the past, but safe in their home, Alex and Matthew Graham have no reason to suspect they will become embroiled in the ongoing religious conflicts—until one of their sons betrays their friend Carlos Muñoz to the authorities.

Matthew Graham does not leave his friends to rot—not even if they’re papist priests—so soon enough most of the Graham family is involved in a rescue attempt, desperate to save Carlos from a sentence that may well kill him.
Meanwhile, in London little Rachel is going through hell. In a matter of months she loses everything, even her surname, as apparently her father is not Master Cooke but one Jacob Graham. Not that her paternity matters when her entire life implodes.
Will Alex and Matthew be able to help their unknown grandchild? More importantly, will Rachel want their help?

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

Anna was raised abroad, on a pungent mix of Latin American culture, English history and Swedish traditions. As a result she’s multilingual and most of her reading is historical- both non-fiction and fiction. Possessed of a lively imagination, she has drawers full of potential stories, all of them set in the past. She was always going to be a writer – or a historian, preferably both. Ideally, Anna aspired to becoming a pioneer time traveller, but science has as yet not advanced to the point of making that possible. Instead she ended up with a degree in Business and Finance, with very little time to spare for her most favourite pursuit. Still, one does as one must, and in between juggling a challenging career Anna raised her four children on a potent combination of invented stories, historical debates and masses of good food and homemade cakes. They seem to thrive…
For years she combined a challenging career with four children and the odd snatched moment of writing. Nowadays Anna spends most of her spare time at her writing desk. The children are half grown, the house is at times eerily silent and she slips away into her imaginary world, with her imaginary characters. Every now and then the one and only man in her life pops his head in to ensure she’s still there.

Other than on her website,, Anna can mostly be found on her blog, – unless, of course, she is submerged in writing her next novel. You can also connect with Anna on FacebookTwitter and Goodreads.

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away 2 eBooks & 2 paperback copies of There is Always a Tomorrow! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on December 21st. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

There is Always a Tomorrow

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Christmas at Grey Sage - My Review

I love reading Christmas books, so I was very excited to receive this novel in the mail.  This particular story starts out in the past but then moves forward to the present in order to help the reader understand why certain characters struggle with this time of the year.  Unfortunately, not every Christmas brings joyous cheer, but even in the midst of change, the lives of these characters reveal that life must and can go on.  Each individual comes to the inn with troubles, but through the kindness of those that run Grey Sage, people are able to relax, shed their burdens, and walk away with a fresh start.  This story is much more than a holiday tale, because it shares what people really need to feel and know at Christmas time.  They need to know that someone loves them and that hope can always be found. 

I enjoyed getting to know the characters within this book, and it is interesting to note that these are characters.  In fact, they are labeled the “Unlikely Christmas Party.”  Each member of the group is so unlike the other—you wonder how they found each other and why they are traveling together.  Yet despite their differences, they make up the perfect holiday party.  It is amazing to see how each person helps another to heal, and how each person shows grace to another individual. 

When I started reading this book, it was not what I expected, and the beginning of the text might be a bit slow for some.  Once I started meeting the members of the traveling party, and began to understand their backgrounds, then the story became more and more interesting.  Conflict and getting to know the human heart makes this book great.  It is definitely a book that shows the reader what reality is, but it also reveals the importance of hope and goodness and what those truths can do to encourage others to never give up.  

If you are looking for a story that captures the spirit of Christmas, then I recommend reading this book.  Happy reading and Happy Christmas! 

This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to Litfuse for my copy.   

This Christmas, there’s plenty of room at the inn.

Nestled in the snow-covered Sangre de Cristo Mountains near Santa Fe, the Grey Sage Inn looks like the perfect place for weary travelers to escape the craziness of the Christmas season. There’s plenty to see in historic Santa Fe during the day, and the inn’s owners, Maude and Silas Thornhill, are happy to spend their evenings hosting this year’s guests from across the country.

But an unusual snowstorm throws a wrench in the festive mood. The sprawling inn becomes close quarters as stranded guests discover this Christmas won’t be the relaxed vacation they expected. Tension and fear mount as the storm worsens, and Silas, a retired doctor, is called away in the middle of the night to care for a neighbor. The snow and stress unlocks tongues—and in the unexpected conversation that follows, secrets and pasts are revealed, and hearts are healed.

In the midst of snowdrifts and fireside conversations, of tales of days gone by, the warmth of Christmas brings a renewed hope as these trapped strangers become friends—proof again that the joy, hope, peace, and love of Christmas can be experienced no matter where you are.

Phyllis Clark Nichols believes everyone could use a little more hope and light. Her character-driven Southern fiction explores profound human questions from within the simple lives of small town communities you just know you've visited before. With a love for nature, art, faith and ordinary people, she tells redemptive tales of loss and recovery, estrangement and connection, longing and fulfillment, often through surprisingly serendipitous events. 

Phyllis grew up in the deep shade of magnolia trees in South Georgia. Now she lives in the Texas Hill Country with her portrait-artist husband, where red birds and axis deer are her ever-ravenous neighbors. 

She is an English major and classically-trained musician, seminary graduate, concert artist and co-founder of a national cable network for the health and disability-related programming. After retiring as a cable network executive, Phyllis began leading mission teams to orphanages in Guatemala and now serves on three non-profit boards where she works with others who are equally passionate about bringing hope and light to those who need it most.

Find out more about Phyllis at:

The Tilting Leaves of Autumn - Spotlight Book Tour

Series: Seasons
Historical, Romance
Publisher: Bird’s Nest Books
Publication date: November 22, 2017
The southern town of Saisons lies at the crossroads between North and South, progressive and genteel antebellum life. Between East and West, between history and heritage, and new frontiers. Downton Abbey meets Gone With the Wind.
It’s 1912, in a world where slavery is dying and women’s rights are rising, and four young women who once shared a bond—and experienced a tragedy—question their own truths.
Scarlett was the shrinking violet in the group. Faithful to her friends, and hiding secrets of her own. When Mercedes steps in to rescue her, she unknowlingly plucks the thread that unravels Scarlett’s whole world.
But as Scarlett strives to hold fast to what is familiar the fabric of her life continues to come undone and secrets that are best kept hidden are exposed.

I’ve always had voices—er, stories in my head. I once said I should write them all down so someone could write them someday. I had no idea at the time that someone was me!
I have been writing since 1995, and began working in earnest on my debut novel, Tessa in 2013.  Meanwhile, I cranked out a few dozen poems, made countless notes for story ideas, and earned my BFA in Interior Design.  I lived with depression for many years, and the inherent feelings of worthlessness and invisibility; I didn’t want to be who I was and struggled with my own identity for many years.  My characters face many of these same demons. 
I write stories of identity conflict. My characters encounter situations that force the question, “Who am I really?” For all who have ever wondered who you are or why you’re here, my stories will touch you in a very real—maybe too real—and a very deep way. I know, I write from experience.

1. Why did you decide to self-publish rather than go with a traditional publishing house?
I started writing without considering how to publish. As my first novel was nearing completion, I told a friend I had found a publisher. Turned out to be a vanity house and my friend directed me to KDP on Amazon, and then when I needed print copies I chose CreateSpace. I’d not be averse to traditional publishing although I’ve been told it’s “not my sandbox.” LOL
2. If you could go to lunch with one of the characters from The Tilting Leaves of Autumn, who would you pick and why? (great question!)
How to pick just one!! I’m gonna say Tierney. She’s got a story (more might show up in The Whispering Winds of Spring) but she speaks French and I want to learn!
3. Who was the hardest character to write in The Tilting Leaves of Autumn? The easiest?
Hardest probably was Fontaine. He’s such a complex character, two sides—before and after—the vile and hateful side was painful and heartbreaking to write.
Easiest was Scarlett because I feel her pain and struggle. I was never physically abused as she was, but the fight to break away from my dysfunctional past.
4. What inspired the idea for The Tilting Leaves of Autumn?It’s a part of the whole of Seasons. I really met the four main characters as I wrote The Long Shadows of Summer. Scarlett’s story was made evident and took on its own life in the second book.
5. What do you want readers to take away from reading The Tilting Leaves of Autumn?
I want readers to see that God is always with us, no matter our circumstance, that He pursues us in ways that we may not realize, ways that only have meaning to us as He seeks us.

1. The first bit I got of this series was the four names of the friends: Mercedes, Simone, Scarlett, and Pearl. They became the main characters of each of the books.
2. The story, however, is not what I had first thought it would be.
3. Nor is the setting—I didn’t know it was 1912 and 1913 until I started trying to place it. For a brief moment, it was set in the ‘60’s, and they were kids.
4. This is my first go at writing in first person. I like it, and have been told I’ve “found my voice.”
5. At one point, Simone calls Mercedes “pragmatic,” and I realized each of my four main characters is one of the four temperaments: phlegmatic, sanguine, melancholic, and choleric.
6. I knew the general setting, and used Google maps to find a town to “borrow.” Saisons is based loosely on Lake City, SC—until I moved it south a little on the Edisto River rather than the Santee.
7. I didn’t know the extent of Scarlett’s abuse until I was writing it. (And no, I’ve never suffered physical abuse.)
8. I know all too well the fight to let go of wrong thinking.
9. I didn’t know Scarlett was a fashion designer until I was writing it. I can visualize her style, and did my best to find images to represent it.
10. I find sanctuary being outdoors like Scarlett did. If there are trees and a river, even better.

Prize pack includes the following: Print copy of the book, tea cup, sample of Saisons Plantation Tea, Earings, Candy, Book mark, pocket watch necklace, and a secret Christmas surprise.
Giveaway ends December 10 at midnight.
Enter the giveaway HERE.

Friday, December 8, 2017

First Line Fridays

As the first week of December comes to an end, I wanted to highlight another Christmas book this week.  This particular one comes from the genre of the classics, which are some of my very favorite books.  Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol is a Christmas tradition that must be read every December, and there are so many film adaptations out there too--some good and some not so great.  Probably one of my favorites will always be A Muppet Christmas Carol that came out when I was a little girl.  This particular rendition adds a bit of humor to the story.  If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it.

Grab the book nearest to you and leave a comment with the first line!

Today I am going to post a line from: 

  A Christmas Carol 
by Charles Dickens 

And the first line is...

Stave 1

Marley's Ghost 

"Marley was dead: to begin with.  There is no doubt whatever about that.  The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner.  Scrooge signed it: and Scrooge's name was good upon 'Change, for anything he chose to put his hand to.  Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail." 

Happy reading and happy Friday!  

Let me know your first line in the comments & then head over to Hoarding Books  to see who else is participating! 

Thursday, December 7, 2017

The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen - Spotlight Book Tour

Publication Date: June 20, 2015
Hardcover, Paperback, & eBook
Genre: Historical Fiction

Everyone should marry once for love – Even Jane Austen
Jane Austen, single and seemingly comfortable in the role of clergyman’s daughter and aspiring writer in the early 1800s, tells friends and family to hold out for true affection in any prospective relationship. Everybody, she says, has a right to marry once in their lives for love.
But when, after a series of disappointing relationships, the prospect of true love arrives for her, will she have the courage to act? The Marriage of Miss Jane AUsten re-imagines the life of England’s archetypal female by exploring what might have happened if she had ever married. It shows how a meaningful, caring relationship would have changed her as a person and a writer.

It also takes her beyond England’s tranquil country villages and plunges her info what the Regency era was really about: great explorations and scientific advances, political foment, and an unceasing, bloody war.  In such times, can love—can marriage—triumph?

Amazon | Austen Books | Barnes and Noble

Whether his subject is literature, history, or science, Collins Hemingway has a passion for the art of creative investigation. For him, the most compelling fiction deeply explores the heart and soul of its characters, while also engaging them in the complex and often dangerous world in which they have a stake. He wants to explore all that goes into people’s lives and everything that makes tThe hem complete though fallible human beings. His fiction is shaped by the language of the heart and an abiding regard for courage in the face of adversity.

As a nonfiction book author, Hemingway has worked alongside some of the world’s thought leaders on topics as diverse as corporate culture and ethics; the Internet and mobile technology; the ins and outs of the retail trade; and the cognitive potential of the brain. Best known for the #1 best-selling book on business and technology, Business @ the Speed of Thought, which he coauthored with Bill Gates, he has earned a reputation for tackling challenging subjects with clarity and insight, writing for the nontechnical but intelligent reader.

Hemingway has published shorter nonfiction on topics including computer technology, medicine, and aviation, and he has written award-winning journalism.

Published books include The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen trilogy, Business @ the Speed of Thought, with Bill Gates, Built for Growth, with Arthur Rubinfeld, What Happy Companies Know, with Dan Baker and Cathy Greenberg, Maximum Brainpower, with Shlomo Breznitz, and The Fifth Wave, with Robert Marcus.

Hemingway lives in Bend, Oregon, with his wife, Wendy. Together they have three adult sons and three granddaughters. He supports the Oregon Community Foundation and other civic organizations engaged in conservation and social services in Central Oregon.

For more information please visit Collins Hemingway’s website and blog. You can also find him on FacebookTwitterPinterestInstagram, and Goodreads.

Chapter 3

Blooming like a fifty-foot hydrangea in the Sydney Gardens behind the hotel, a hot-air balloon towered over a gathering crowd. “Hurry!” Jane said. The exhibition by a French balloonist was the major end-of-summer social event for Bath. The town had been talking about it all week, and she did not want to miss anything. As a girl, just a few years after the first flights had begun, Jane had seen a hot-air balloon drifting southward over Hampshire. Having chased the balloon for the better part of an hour, she succeeded in getting the aeronaut to wave. This huge blue and gold balloon was the first to come to Bath, an indication of how rare aerostats remained.
Jane and her sister, Cassandra, were, however, rebuffed by the attendant at the entry to the gardens. With the delay and the exasperation of their time with Aunt Perrot, followed by the sudden appearance of the balloon through the trees, both sisters had forgotten that today’s demonstration was not included in their season admission. “No change for lace, no change for balloons,” Cassandra said. “We really must wake up rich one day.”
“Here t-they are a-after all,” they heard from behind them. “The l-lovely Austen sisters.”
They recognized the man’s voice and its stutter. Ashton stood behind them, alongside his sister Alethea. Both were smiling.
“We are so glad that you are able to join us,” Alethea said. “We had not heard anything.”
“We had planned to attend,” Jane said, confused. “But I am afraid that in our haste we left our tickets at home.”
“It will take only a minute,” Cassandra said. “Our lodgings are just on the other side of the hotel. Please do not wait for us, though. We would hate for you to miss the launch.”
Now Ashton and Alethea looked confused.
“But Jane, dear, we have your tickets right here,” Alethea said.
“I have no idea what you mean,” Jane said. “We have not—”
“D-did you not receive our letter,” Ashton broke in, “asking y-you to join us?”
“Ashton bought a book of tickets,” Alethea said. “He has been giving them out to friends. We thought to make a small party.”
“We have been gone all morning tending to our aunt and uncle,” Cassandra said. “We must have missed the messenger.”
“How very kind of you to invite us,” Jane said, “but we prefer not to be indebted to others.”
“M-Miss Austen,” Ashton said, “the tickets were only a shilling each to begin with, and they were half price in a book of ten.”
 “It is not the amount involved but the sense of obligation it creates. Your family already does us so many kindnesses,” Jane said. “We will watch from our upstairs window. After the first few minutes, the view will likely be better from there anyway.”
“If you do not accept them,” Ashton said, “the tickets will go unused. You are too wise a steward of finance to permit such extravagant waste.” As always, Ashton’s stutter lessened as his confidence increased; and what little stammer remained became unnoticeable as Jane became attuned to his speech. It was the same way when one stepped outside in the evening. At first the crickets were deafening, yet within a few minutes one could barely discern their presence.
Cassandra’s nudge compelled Jane to capitulate. They entered on Ashton’s tickets, to the amusement of the attendant who had moments before shooed them away. They worked through the crowd, which had swollen to several hundred people. Many more watched from outside the gardens, where the view was free. “I fear paid attendance may not meet their expectations,” Ashton noted. The balloon was roped off from the audience. At intervals were signs that proclaimed the experience and valor of Monsieur André-Jacques Garnerin, the only man still flying from the first generation of aeronauts. The rest had died in crashes or wisely retired. A small man wearing pants and jacket that repeated the colors and designs of his balloon, Monsieur Garnerin barked orders at half a dozen assistants—locals, Jane guessed, given that Monsieur Garnerin spoke to them through an interpreter and did not seem happy with their work. The balloon was not quite full, nodding slightly as if it still napped before the day’s exertions. Every few minutes, Monsieur Garnerin would turn to the crowd with a smile and shrug as if even the most intrepid adventurer faced delays of the most ordinary and infuriating kind.
“The newspaper,” Cassandra said, “says that he was the first man to safely parachute from a balloon!”
“That does admit of considerable valor,” Jane said, “to hurl oneself into space with nothing but a bed sheet to break the fall.”
“I daresay that the parachute may have been safer than the balloon,” Ashton remarked. “Look carefully at the skin.” The balloon’s mottled blue surface was covered with garish gold designs of hieroglyphics and mythological figures and beasts. It was as if the balloon, rather than being the latest advance in science, were itself a creature from a pagan past. The skin was made of silk and paper lined with rubber and alum for fire protection (this, the Chronicle had also explained). A complicated netting encased the balloon. The basket for passengers was shaped rather like a chaise longue, an odd but suitably French flourish for a utilitarian vehicle. At irregular intervals across the monstrous surface were another set of smaller gold designs that disguised their nature: patches.
“Unbelievable!” Jane said.
“This pony has been ridden hard,” Ashton said.
A flurry of activity drew their attention. A couple of workmen brought wooden ladders to a particular spot on the left side perhaps ten feet up. It became clear in a few moments that they had found a leak. Monsieur Garnerin climbed the ladder to inspect the problem. Using a repair kit, he himself made the first set of stitches to overlay a patch onto the balloon skin.
“They could use a woman’s touch,” Ashton said to Jane. “How are your sewing skills atop a ladder?”
“Not sufficient to warrant the responsibility.”
Monsieur Garnerin gave hurried instructions in French to his assistant, turned over the sewing kit to him, and from the ground oversaw the remaining steps in the repair, in which workers spread what appeared to be a rubber compound over the patch. For half an hour, during which time the crowd became restive, the repair operation carried on. Workmen kept the balloon’s brazier stoked to keep the balloon as inflated as possible. The combination of straw, chopped wool, and dried horse manure sent whiffs of smoke through the crowd. The smell reminded Jane of the time when several weeks of severe winter weather prevented her family from the routine process of spreading manure on their fields. The manure pile grew so compressed that it spontaneously combusted, smoldering for days, the heat creating gaps in the snow.
The continuing delay with the balloon caused a few attendees, working-class people for whom the price of admission was a day’s wage, to heckle the Frenchman from the corners. Monsieur Garnerin came forward to apologize and seek the crowd’s indulgence. His appearance was unusual, for his sloping forehead formed a single line with his prominent nose.
“Sometimes the balloon is damaged in transit,” the assistant said, translating for the Frenchman. The assistant had a French accent, but his English was good. “It is a delicate flying instrument, and packing is a complicated process. We should be in the air shortly.” He looked at his pocket watch as if uncertain whether “shortly” would be soon enough.
“They had better hurry,” Cassandra said. “The wind picks up in the afternoon.”
“Meanwhile,” the assistant said, “Monsieur Garnerin will be pleased to answer any questions you may have.”
Monsieur Garnerin smiled gamely and waited. No one had any queries. The lower orders wanted nothing less than to see the impossible—for a Frenchman to rise into the sky and, with any luck, to return to the earth with a thud. The more genteel seemed awed, as if they lacked the vocabulary to express their skeptical questions. Ashton signaled Monsieur Garnerin to come over. When the Frenchman approached, the two men exchanged bows and introductions.
Alerted by Ashton’s notice of the somewhat ragged nature of the balloon, Jane saw similar signs of wear on Monsieur Garnerin. Small, solid, and fit, he had a youthful face and long, dark, wavy locks. Yet the first etchings of age had begun to appear in his face along with a few thin streaks of gray in his hair. Monsieur Garnerin’s suit had undergone numerous minor mendings, well done but obvious to a seamstress’s eye. It was like an actor’s costume: bright and lush from a distance, rather shabby up close.
“You speak French, do you not, Miss Austen?” Ashton asked.
“A little. As do Cassandra and Alethea.”
“Would you be so kind as to assist me?” Ashton asked. Not waiting for a reply, he said: “See if he will take passengers.”
“Passengers? You cannot be serious, Mr. Dennis.”
“I am quite serious. This contrivance is built to hold three or four people. Please, Miss Austen, do as I ask. Is it possible for one to go up in his hot-air balloon?”
Jane had not studied French since she was a schoolgirl. It took her several moments to compose the question, and she was not certain that her phrasing was correct.
Monsieur Garnerin laughed and shook his head—no! “C’est très dangereuse. C’est seulement pour le spécialiste.”
Ashton did not need help understanding the reply.
“Ask what makes him a spécialiste. All he does is set fire to horse dung and climb aboard.”
“Mr. Dennis, I will absolutely not ask such an uncouth question of a man who has taken extraordinary risks in the interests of civilization. What is your specialty, after all, except to be rude to people for no reason?”
Ashton regarded her, as Monsieur Garnerin regarded them both. “P-please ask again, w-with the appropriate level of s-subjection, whether he would c-condescend to allow a p-passenger to ride with him for a sum that would indicate the a-appropriate level of r-respect.”
Jane doubted whether she could translate into French such a complex request. However, the assistant, who turned out to be Monsieur Garnerin’s brother, had been listening. He put the question to Garnerin, leaving out (Jane was sure) everything except that Ashton would pay a great deal of money to accompany the aeronaut. The assistant-brother nodded toward the workmen as if their wages were not entirely secured.
Monsieur Garnerin faced Ashton squarely and said in a thick French accent, “Fifty pounds.”
“I w-would not pay five pounds to ride your infernal m-machine, but I would pay one hundred pounds to buy it.”
Garnerin’s brother translated again, and Ashton asked Jane to confirm the accuracy of the words.
“I am not entirely sure,” Jane said, “but I believe the brother considers you dim enough to pay three hundred.”
“Anyone with the least acuity,” Ashton said to Monsieur Garnerin and his sibling, “can see that you will not have enough francs to return home at the end of your tour. Very likely, this balloon will be left on the dock with most of your other belongings. I offer a fair price to guarantee your safe return home and to make your expedition worthwhile.”
Jane was not certain why his comments vexed her so. She reacted at some deep level to an arrogance in which a man with resources felt content to dictate to a man without. “You cannot buy a man’s life work simply because you have too much money and not enough sense,” she said. “A hundred pounds for an apparatus that will gather dust in your barn? Think about what that amount would do for the poor in your county.”
“I am g-giving him the opportunity to c-continue his life’s work, not to mention staying out of d-debtor’s prison,” Ashton said. “I will find a use for this device.”
The assistant translated these exchanges as they occurred.
“Two hundred pounds,” Monsieur Garnerin said, thickly and nearly unintelligibly.
“One hundred and fifty,” Ashton said. “However, if you kill me, my sister will reclaim the fee.” Once again Monsieur Garnerin heard the offer via the brother, and had him counter at one hundred and seventy five. He smiled and offered a handshake to seal the deal. Ashton took his hand and said gleefully, “Agreed!”
Jane was stunned at both the speed and the amount of the transaction. One hundred and seventy five pounds was enough to feed her family for a year. How could a man decide so quickly to squander so much capital on a purchase as frivolous as an aging, leaky balloon?
“It is not necessary for you to spend money to prove your worth,” she said. “We are more likely to respect a show of restraint.”
Ashton waved her off.
By now, the rubber compound had sufficiently cured. Workers increased the fuel in the brazier. The balloon was full and beginning to bounce against its moorings as if eager, after all the delays and negotiations, to be on its way. Perhaps, Jane thought, the balloon felt insulted by the hard negotiations and wanted to prove that its worth exceeded the bargain price. Monsieur Garnerin raised the rope so that Ashton could join him, and Ashton turned to Jane. She tried to think of something to say on his leave-taking, something optimistic but also involving the kindest of regards in case the flight ended badly. In truth she was not sure how to respond: It was beyond belief that someone she knew was about to depart on the most dangerous mode of transport devised by man. To fly!
But Ashton did not wave farewell. He held out his hand to her. “There is room for two. Hurry, now.”
For the second time in as many days the women stood transfixed. Alethea said: “Ashton, you have run mad—” Jane shook her head no. Upon reaching the basket, Ashton turned back one last time with a beseeching but humorous glance, almost identical to the fleeting look he had given Jane when she refused him at the ball. He made the same coin-disappearing movement as he had the day before, mouthing “Poof!”
“Little brother lacks both mental stability and common sense,” Alethea said. “God help him.”
Just as he began to clamber into the balloon, he stopped one last time and called out: “Miss Austen, you will be the first woman in Bath to fly!”
The first woman—! This was madness—lunacy. The first—. Outrageous. Yet the trees swayed like an expectant crowd. The countryside beyond the buildings, beyond Bath, lay open and inviting. Jane ducked under the barrier, lifted her skirts, and raced to join Ashton where the bright sky beckoned. 

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away two paperback copies of The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules
– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on January 12th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to residents INTERNATIONALLY.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Merry Christmas Charlie Brown!

Charlie Brown: Isn’t there anyone, who knows what Christmas is all about?!
Linus: Sure Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about. Lights please?
And there were in the same country shepherds, abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them! And they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, “Fear not! For, behold, I bring you tidings o great joy, which shall be to all my people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ, the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” And suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the Heavenly Host praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in the Highest, and on Earth peace, and good will toward men.
That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.