Saturday, March 18, 2017

Things of Beauty: February

Early mornings and all nighters (okay, not quite, but it felt like it!) February was about everything farm for me, and did I love it! So much in fact, that I constantly find myself wondering, was there anything else in it?

Very Favorite Things
Arwen's and my first honest-to-goodness farm job, driving to said job with the country music blaring (more below), gobbling up a western story one cold rainy Sunday afternoon (I feel like a turkey saying that, but gobble is the word!), storybook gigantic snowflakes mixed with blossoms on the above Sunday (I could scarce believe the wonder of them).

Several things, and all of them lovely. The Man Called Noon by Louis L'Amour and The Fellowship of the Ring being definite highlights; you could say my reading was a bit diverse. :)

Did I write some story snippets? I think I did . . . ;) Blogging I did do, so words and I did brush shoulders several times at least. (Using the above photo gives me Much Joy, because "she is" the heroine of the story I'm currently editing. :))

Daffodils gone wild, and snow falling in front of blossom trees.

In the Kitchen
Making Communion bread for Church; speak of nerve wracking! :)


Country music.
Old style country (think Willie Nelson and Bobby Bare and you'll have the feel) I've always loved, but modern country? Not so much. Arwen would even play it and I would shudder at the sound. Then I found myself driving the gravel country roads with the sunrise brimming the grey hills, and at night when the lights on my dash were the brightest around... and it may just have slipped into my soul.

Chubby little piglets are seriously the cutest baby farm animals.

Farmwork - bit fingers and escaped animals included- fills my heart like nothing else.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Cover Reveal: With Blossoms Gold by Hayden Wand

The moment I heard Hayden was releasing a single edition of her newest fairy-tale I knew I must be a part of it. I had yet to even read the story, but I had read her Beauty and the Beast retelling,  A Wulver's Rose, and there was that in it which, capturing my imagination, made me quite sure I would love With Blossoms Gold, too - and did I enjoy it!

That being so, today I'm over-the-moon thrilled to be part of the cover reveal...

Isn't it splendid? I love how deliciously rich the coloring is and the arrangement is, of course, perfectly stunning...

But what is it about ask you? Read on and you will know all -

She never wanted to leave the tower. He never wanted to rule the country.

Nella has lived quietly in her tower in the woods for over a decade. After dangerous accusations drove her and her grandmother away from their village, they escaped deep into the forest where no one would try to harm them. Now, after her grandmother's death, Nella is alone, and she is determined to stay that way. She has no patience for a world she deems judgmental and ignorant.

Or so she tells herself. In reality, her paralyzing fear prevents her from stepping foot outside of the tower.

Prince Benedict Allesandro is an adventurer- a rescuer who prides himself on saving the weak and unfortunate. When he hears rumors of a beautiful damsel trapped in a tower, he rushes to her rescue...only to find a woman who most definitely does not wish to be saved.

But when war breaks out, this reckless prince and reclusive maiden are faced with overcoming their deepest fears in order to determine not only their own fate, but that of their entire country.

Coming April 2, 2017

About the Author
Hayden Wand is the author of the novel HIDDEN PEARLS as well as the novella "The Wulver's Rose," which was published in the FIVE ENCHANTED ROSES collection. A Christian and a 2012 homeschool graduate, she currently attends a local college where she studies history and haunts the campus library. Hayden can be found on Goodreads or her blog.

Have you read this, or any other, of Hayden's stories? If not I recommend you do so at once. :)

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

I Love Austen Week Tag

What better say I than a good old Jane Austen Tag for Valentine's Day? So here, courtesy of the one and only Hamlette and her lovely party, are my answers - 

Which did you experience first, a Jane Austen book or a movie based on one?
Pride and Prejudice in audiobook form. We listened to it aloud so many times! I think we even listened to it when moving across the country. So yes, even though I wouldn't say it is my favorite it was a story that has always been with me, as in fact, have all of her stories. :) 

What is your favorite Austen book?
Sense and Sensibility or Mansfield Park; however, Persuasion is very short and sweet... 

Favorite heroine? Why do you like her best?
Fanny. She is sweet and gentle, yet refuses to be swayed by the opinions of anyone. 

Favorite hero? Why do you like him best?
My favorite Austen gentleman is surprisingly enough Tom in Mansfield Park (more on that anon), but for heroes... Never, never did I think I would be saying this, but I really think it might be Captain Wentworth; however, Colonel Brandon and Edward come in as very close seconds. 

As for reasons for admiration... Colonel Brandon is the most gentlemanly man I've ever known, Edward has glints of humor and Captain Wentworth just has a zing about him. 

Do you have a favorite film adaptation of Austen's work?
The '08 Sense and Sensibility is STUNNING in my opinion, the '81 adaptation of the same is lovely and the '95 Pride and Prejudice and the '09 Emma  are simply definitive things, but the one I love best overall and for everything that makes it up is the '07 Persuasion 

Have your Austen tastes changed over the years?
Not really.

If you could ask Jane Austen one question, what would you ask her?
"Miss Jane, do you enjoy riding?"

Imagine someone is making a new film of any Jane Austen story you choose, and you get to cast the leads. What story do you want filmed, and who would you choose to act in it?
Ha, I have no idea! I'm actually quite content with the adaptations there are so I haven't really got strong feelings about the matter. It would be fine perhaps to have another, more lavish Mansfield Park, but in many ways I think the 1986's couldn't be topped so there it is. :)

Share up to five favorite Jane Austen quotations!
Random Austen sayings are always coming to mind, especially in regards to certain branches of society, but my very favorite (especially as done by Jeremy Northam) is Mr. Knightley's: EmMMA! :)

" 'I see what you think of me,' said he gravely; 'I shall make a very poor figure in your
 journal to-morrow.'

'My journal!'

'Yes; I know exactly what you will say: - Friday went to the Lower Rooms; wore my sprigged muslin robe with blue trimmings - plain black shoes - appeared to much advantage; but was strangely harassed by a queer, half-witted man, who would make me dance with him, and distressed me by his nonsense.' "
- Northanger Abbey

"A lady's imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment."
Pride and Prejudice

" 'My Dear Admiral, that post! - we  shall certainly take that post.'
But by coolly giving the reins a better direction herself, they happily passed the danger; and by once afterwards judiciously putting out her hand, they neither fell into a rut or ran foul of a dung-cart; and Anne, with some amusement at their style of driving, which she imagined no bad representation of the general guidance of their affairs, found herself safely deposited by them at the cottage."
- Persuasion 

Finally... this may seem a rather odd choice, but for various reasons it is one of the most memorable to me -

"The sufferings Lady Bertram did not see had little power over her fancy; and she wrote very comfortably about agitation and anxiety, and poor invalids, till Tom was actually conveyed to Mansfield, and her own eyes had beheld his altered appearance. Then, a letter which she had been previously preparing for Fanny was finished in a different style, in the language of real feeling and alarm; then, she wrote as she might have spoken. 'He is just come, my dear Fanny, and is taken 
up-stairs; and I am so shocked to see him, that I do not know what to do. I am sure he has been very ill. Poor Tom; I am quite grieved for him, and very much frightened, and so is Sir Thomas; and how glad I should be if you were here to comfort me. But Sir Thomas hopes he will be better to-morrow, and says we must consider his journey.' " 
- Mansfield Park 

And now I want to go read every single one of these books again!

Thank you so much for the great questions, Hamlette! I greatly enjoyed answering them. :)

Friday, February 3, 2017

Things of Beauty: January

In previous years I've done my collectives every two months. This year I've decided to be Proactive and Ambitious. I'm going to do them every month.
 So in proper form here is the beginning, behold...


Very Favorite Things
Deep crunchy snow (which equals the best sledding I've ever known), my bright eyed and bushy-tailed kitten kitchen helper ( I was going to get a photo of him, but then he went to climb on the dish shelf...), Lara Casey and her blog (more below), being lost in turn-of-the-century Appalachia in the middle of the famous Hatfield-McCoy feud (very safely, thanks to The Feud by Dean King)... and also everything in this post.

The Feud: The Hatfields and McCoys, The True Story by Dean King. Oh I read other things, too, but this was the story of the month. Never have I had a more spellbinding reading experience.
It captured my imagination so greatly during the day that I dreamt about it at night and that is rare indeed for me. :)

I finished my first Western short story! It was uncharted territory for me and I still need to edit, but it has been written! One afternoon I sat down to edit, became lost in reading some snatches of story for my medieval tale ... and ended up writing an entire scene for it. The experience opened new depths in the story for me and ended up being quite achingly grand, which, while quite surprising for me, left me tripping over myself with joy.

The first season of F Troop - Hands down the wittiest western I've ever seen. Wilton and Wrangler Jane are pretty much the most adorable couple ever; they are almost cute beyond BELIEF.

Funny Face (1957) -  Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire are just perfect together. It is one of the most sigh-worthy bits of loveliness I've ever seen

And... I've mentioned it before but I must again Felicity: An American Girl Adventure. Every moment  of this film is simply brimming with charm and happy feels.

In the Kitchen
Hemp Hearts on my breakfast Chocolate Smoothie Bowl - They are the most incredibly delicious bits of edible goodness EVER. Also, Butternut Squash Black Bean Enchiladas aka the definition of healthfulness in its yummiest form.

Beloved Harvest (a Blog)
The writer has worked on a ranch, trains horses, takes photos, and writes splendid I'm-feeling-every-word posts about the West and life in general. Do toddle over and read her "About" page or her Leaving a Wild Land post and most especially this one; yes ma'am, this lady is seriously amazing.

Lara Casey's 2017 Goal-Setting Series
Her enthusiasm about living your goals each and every day, and gusto for living in general, is completely infectious and I'm uber excited about practicing her ideas in February.

Be it putting down a thing or two that I've been thinking about that day, or a tangible moment such as an evening laced thickly with stars, I've found I just like it again, and that makes me very happy.

The Jive
 Swing with the gung-ho happiness of rock-n-roll; that's the Jive. Between the crazy fun moves and laughing-so-hard-I-can-hardly-breath, I always finish dancing exhausted and totally happy.

What were some of the delights of your January?

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

My Heart's In The Highlands

My heart's in the Highlands, my heart is not here,
My heart's in the Highlands a-chasing the deer,
A-chasing the wild deer and following the roe--
My heart's in the Highlands, wherever I go!

Farewell to the Highlands, farewell to the North,
The birthplace of valour, the country of worth!
Wherever I wander, wherever I rove,
The hills of the Highlands for ever I love.

Farewell to the mountains high cover'd with snow,
Farewell to the straths and green valleys below,
Farewell to the forests and wild-hanging woods,
Farewell to the torrents and loud-pouring floods!

My heart's in the Highlands, my heart is not here,
My heart's in the Highlands a-chasing the deer,
A-chasing the wild deer and following the roe--
My heart's in the Highlands, wherever I go

I always seem to forget how much I love poetry; the whisper of dreams made tangible, the sweetness of beauty so plain.  In addition I've never really known much about Robert Burns except to have a vague idea that some of his most lovely poems had not so lovely double meanings. But then I happened to find out that it is his birthday today (thanks Goodreads!) and then I read the above. I still canna say about the rest of his work, but this, this is a whisper of loveliness, and reading it is a celebration all itself. 

My heart is not here... does it not simply sing with the song of Eternity put in our hearts? The words tingle and burn with the excitement of it and that is true art. 
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