Friday, 20 January 2017

THE DARCY MONOLOGUES - OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT & GREAT GIVEAWAY



There are many well-known names behind today’s exciting announcement in the JAFF community and the one person at the center of it all is here today to share this news with us; the lovely Austenesque editor, Christina Boyd.

Christina, there’s a buzz going around the JAFF community that you are heading a new project and it’s a pleasure to have you visit so many Austenesque blogs today to share your big news!

Can you share with us what you’ve been working on behind-the-scenes?

Thank you for hosting and shining your light on this project. I am excited and not a little proud to announce “The Darcy Monologues”—a short story anthology with sixteen of my very favorite Austenesque writers. I doubt anyone will be surprised by my list—authors I’ve either enjoyed working with and admire their work or authors I have simply fan-girl’d over for years: Susan Adriani, Sara Angelini, Karen M. Cox, J. Marie Croft, Jan Hahn, Jenetta James, Lory Lilian, Judy-Lynne, KaraLynne Mackrory, Beau North, Ruth Phillips Oakland, Natalie Richards, Sophia Rose, Melanie Stanford, Joana Starnes, and Caitlin Williams.

Monday, 16 January 2017

A LIE UNIVERSALLY HIDDEN BLOG TOUR - AUTHOR ANNGELA SCHROEDER INTERVIEWS MISS ANNE DE BOURGH & MR JAMES HAMILTON


Fitzwilliam Darcy has always lived a life of duty and honor; his engagement to his cousin Anne de Bourgh fulfills the final wish of his deceased mother. His life is neatly in order to pursue these intentions when he meets Elizabeth Bennet; the one woman who turns his world upside down.
Elizabeth is not indifferent to him, but her life is also on a divergent course. As she prepares to accept a betrothal from a suitor she esteems, she finds herself experiencing unexpected feelings. Yet knowing that Darcy and Anne are united by their love for one another, she attempts to put Darcy behind her. But why does she suspect that Darcy may have similar feelings for her, and if he does, can they really change the course of their future paths?

Anngela Schroeder, author of one Jane Austen variation and a contributing author to the Meryton Press anthology, “Then Comes Winter,” will tour the blogosphere starting from My Jane Austen Book Club today and until  January 29, 2017, to share her latest book, A Lie Universally Hidden. Thirteen book bloggers, specializing in Austenesque fiction and romance stories, will share excerpts, guest posts, an interview with the author and book reviews from this highly awaited Austen-inspired novel.

I've got a very special guest post from Anngela Schroeder to launch the blog tour and the giveaway. Enjoy reading!
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Sunday, 15 January 2017

SPOTLIGHT ON ... FINDING THE RAINBOW BY TRACI BORUM

Life seems nothing more than a quick succession of busy nothings.  ~Jane Austen 
   
This is precisely how Holly Newbury would sum up her life. At twenty-eight, she lives in a charming Cotswold village, serving as caretaker to three younger sisters—a rewarding job, but a tedious one. 

Soon, news of a Jane Austen movie filming nearby creates a snap of change in the air.  The villagers become involved as movie extras, and Holly starts up an Emma book club in honor of the film.  At the same time, Holly's own family drama plays out—her sisters experience heartaches and growing pains, while her widowed father finds new love in an unexpected place. 

Most importantly, the film brings with it an American screenwriter named Fletcher Hays, who ends up becoming Holly's very own Mr. Knightley.  But will she realize it too late?




ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Traci Borum is a writing teacher and native Texan. She's also an avid reader of women's fiction, most especially Elin Hilderbrand and Rosamunde Pilcher novels. Since the age of 12, she's written poetry, short stories, magazine articles, and novels.

Traci also adores all things British. She even owns a British dog (Corgi) and is completely addicted to Masterpiece Theater---must be all those dreamy accents! Aside from having big dreams of getting a book published, it's the little things that make her the happiest: deep talks with friends, a strong cup of hot chocolate, a hearty game of fetch with her Corgi, and puffy white Texas clouds always reminding her to "look up, slow down, enjoy your life." 





Friday, 6 January 2017

BLOG TOUR & GIVEAWAY - AMY D'ORAZIO, THE BEST PART OF LOVE


Blog Tour Opening by author Amy D'Orazio

Maria Grazia, thank you so much for being hosting my “coming-out” party for The Best Part of Love! I hope that everyone will enjoy this book as much as I enjoyed writing it.
The story started with a simple premise — what if Elizabeth Bennet wasn’t what she seemed? What if Darcy came to know her as the country maiden of limited means and poor connexions … and then discovered she was something entirely different?
There have been some excellent books by very talented authors who have explored this theme, but it was in developing the backstory of how and why Elizabeth, a.k.a Lady Courtenay came to be (secretly) wealthy and titled that my story really began. I spent many happy days researching ancient plots, conspiracies and all manner of intrigue to come up with the rest of it.
The story incorporates many of our favorite characters from “fanon” including Lord and Lady Matlock, Darcy’s aunt and uncle, who happen to be intimate friends of Lady Courtenay. Lady Matlock as you will see below hopes to arrange a match between her favorite young countess and her nephew — but alas, Darcy’s behavior in Hertfordshire has come back to haunt him.
Amy 

Friday, 16 December 2016

THE INNKEEPER OF IVY HILL BLOG TOUR - 5 QUESTIONS FOR ... AUTHOR JULIE KLASSEN


About the book

The lifeblood of the village of Ivy Hill is its coaching inn, The Bell. When the innkeeper dies suddenly, his genteel wife, Jane Bell, becomes the reluctant landlady. Jane has no idea how to manage a business, but with the town's livelihood at stake and a large loan due, she must quickly find a way to save the inn.

Despite their strained relationship, Jane turns to her resentful mother-in-law, Thora, for help. Formerly mistress of The Bell, Thora is struggling to overcome her losses and find purpose for the future. As she works with Jane, two men from her past vie for her attention, but Thora has promised herself never to marry again. Will one of them convince her to embrace a second chance at love?

As pressure mounts from the bank, Jane employs new methods, and puzzles over the intentions of several men who seem to have a vested interest in the place, including a mysterious newcomer with secret plans of his own. With the help of friends old and new, can Jane restore life to the inn, and to her empty heart as well?


Visit talesfromivyhill.com to find a map of the village, character profiles, a book giveaway, and more!

Sunday, 11 December 2016

GIVING GIFTS IN JANE AUSTEN

(by Victoria Grossack)

Are you at a loss, this holiday season, at what to give your loved ones?  Why not take a look at the gifts in Jane Austen’s novels and see if they inspire you?  And beware of the pitfalls, as not all gifts are welcome from all givers.

One of the most frequently bestowed gifts in Jane Austen is money.  The amount may be small, such as the single pound note given by Mrs. Norris to William Price in Mansfield Park (this amount is not given explicitly in the text, but Jane Austen herself told her family that was the amount she meant).  Or the sum may be enormous, as when Darcy bribes Wickham to marry Lydia Bennet in Pride & Prejudice.  Today some people turn their noses up at money, but in Jane Austen’s novels, recipients are almost always appreciative.

Assuming you want to be more personal, let’s consider other significant gifts in Austen’s novels.

The pianoforte.  In Emma (spoiler alert), Frank Churchill ‘anonymously’ gives Jane Fairfax a pianoforte to use during her stay in Highbury.  Of course, Miss Fairfax knows who the donor is, but as she cannot say, the gift makes her vulnerable to unkind rumors.  On the other hand, it is a pretty instrument, a generous gift, and she enjoys playing it tremendously.  What can one learn from this?  It’s always good to remember the tastes of your recipients, and to give them what they lack in certain situations.  Still, do your best not to cause mischief and inconvenience.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

ELIZABETH ADAMS, TWO AUSTENESQUE AUDIOBOOKS & A GIVEAWAY

Hello dear friends and thanks for dropping by from time to time to join our online Jane Austen book club. Today I have two Austenesque audiobooks to propose to your attention, Unwilling and The Houseguest by Elizabeth Adams. Discover more about them reading this post and pick up your favourite one. Then enter the giveaway in the rafflecopter form below. Good luck!
Maria Grazia

Unwilling
Mr. Bennet discovers his days are numbered, so he immediately begins to set his affairs - and his five unmarried daughters - in order. Knowing they will fare best should at least one of them find a suitable husband, he cannot refuse any respectable suitors.
The high-spirited Elizabeth suspects something isn't right in the halls of Longbourn, but nothing prepares her for a certain haughty gentleman from Derbyshire. While Mr. Darcy is exceedingly wealthy and handsome, in Elizabeth's eyes, he is also proud, high-handed, and insulting. And unfortunately, desperately in love with her.
Suddenly, Elizabeth is forced to rethink her previous opinions. And accept a choice she never had the chance to make.



Monday, 5 December 2016

GEORGE WICKHAM'S SECRET IS OUT!

Adrian Lukis as Wickham (1995)
It is a pleasure for me to have been invited here to share a moment with you, dear readers, in between campaigns. Indeed, what better excuse to bid my dearest Lydia a fond farewell and retire to my rooms, take up my pen and note down a little something that I hope you might enjoy.

What, though, might a man, a soldier such as I, share with visitors to a salon so esteemed as this? What could I possibly know that might entertain you, might give you reason to afford me a smile?

Well, I turned my mind to this whilst strolling with Lydia in Hyde Park, looking out over the Serpentine that was so quiet now with winter drawing in. The horses thundered on Rotten Row, the carriages rattling this way and that but everyone was, of course, fully and firmly clad.

Twas not always so.

And I was not always a respectable married fellow, nor were all my days passed in boyish play with my brother and friend, Mr Darcy. I know that you will find it hard to countenance, dear reader, but even I, George Wickham, had my moments of bawdiness.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

TALKING JANE AUSTEN WITH ... HELENA KELLY, AUTHOR OF JANE AUSTEN THE SECRET RADICAL

Her just released  Jane Austen the Secret Radical  has been animating a new interesting debate around our beloved Regency lady. Helena Kelly has been under the spotlight in the latest days as the author of this interesting non-fiction book which uncovers Jane Austen as a radical, spirited and politically engaged woman writer. So those who have in their minds the tranquil, smiling woman on the new £10 pound banknote apparently got everything wrong about her.  

After receiving my review copy of this brilliant work and after reading its original analysis, I ended up with a few questions to ask Helena Kelly so I wrote them down and was graciously granted the answers. 

I must thank Helena for her kindness and generosity in the fuss that must have been the promotion of her book in the first days after the release. There have been reviews and interviews even in the major press, but she could find some spare time and answered my questions!  Here I am now, happy and proud,  to share my little interview with you.
Maria Grazia

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Hello Helena and welcome to our online Jane Austen book club! My first question is … I’ve always thought Jane Austen was rather revolutionary, but now you’ve taken a step ahead of me: a radical?

Hello, and thank you for inviting me! The title Jane Austen the Secret Radical isn’t actually mine, but it is a good choice for the book. I don’t know that Austen wanted to overturn things, but she did want to dig down and examine them, to show people how they actually worked, and that’s what radicalism is about, isn’t it, getting down to the ‘radix’, the root of things.

Friday, 18 November 2016

REGINA JEFFERS, ANNUITIES IN THE REGENCY ERA AS THE BASIS OF THE PLOT OF 'MR DARCY'S BARGAIN' + GIVEAWAY

Much of the action of latest release,  Mr. Darcy's Bargain, is based around a scam perpetrated by Mr. Wickham upon the citizens of Meryton, as well as Mr. Darcy's attempts to thwart him. Wickham convinces many in Hertfordshire to invest in an annuity scheme. But how exactly did annuities work during the Regency?

First, if you are like me, your eyes blur over when people in other fields start tossing around the "jargon" associated with their occupations. I do not pretend to be an expert in such matters as annuities, but I will attempt to keep my description of public funds at the time as simple as possible.

First, there were Navy five percent annuities that were produced from about fifty millions of stock, partly formed out of navy bills and converted in 1784, into a stock bearing interest at five percent, whence the name.

Four percent consolidated annuities were popular at the time. They were produced from a like stock as was the Navy five percent funds. They offered a profit of 4% as the title indicated. They originally carried a higher percentage rate.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

A JOURNEY FROM DUTY TO LOVE: MR BENNET'S DUTIFUL DAUGHTER BLOG TOUR + GIVEAWAY


A new great blog tour premieres today  at My Jane Austen Book Club.  Joana Starnes is here to present her latest Pride and Prejudice tale: Mr Bennet's Dutiful Daughter. Enjoy her wondeful guest post and... may I wish you good luck in the giveaway contest?  


Thank you, Maria Grazia, for your kind welcome at My Jane Austen Book Club today to launch the blog tour for my latest book, Mr Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter, with an invitation to Netherfield.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

SPOTLIGHT ON ... MERYTON VIGNETTES: TALES OF PRIDE AND PREJUDICE BY ELIZABETH ADAMS


Mrs. Bennet makes a shocking discovery.
Caroline Bingley learns there’s more to life than chasing after Darcy. 
Elizabeth must navigate a situation she never thought she would find herself in. 
What becomes of Longbourn when the Collins family inherits?
Does Lydia ever realize the error of her ways? 


In this collection of six short stories, the people of Pride and Prejudice move on, grow up, and explore paths not taken. Time leads these beloved characters down roads of self-discovery, courage, and heartbreak. 

And sometimes the journey takes them to surprising places.





 Read an excerpt from "Life After Darcy"
  
Really, what did they expect her to do? Simply move on? Pretend he hadn’t existed? That she hadn’t imagined what their life would be like in the future? Spending summers at Pemberley and the season in town, going to Italy for their ten-year anniversary, presenting their daughters at court, dancing at their son’s wedding. Did they really expect her to just forget it all? Forget him?
Well, she would not. She may not have always loved him as she should, as she did now, but her heart had finally opened and she was not about to give up on this peculiar feeling, no matter what her sister said to her.

Monday, 7 November 2016

KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN LAUNCHED FOR JANE AUSTEN TRAVEL GUIDE



TILBURG, 7 November 2016 – Het England van Jane Austen (Jane Austen’s England) is the first – and only – travel guide devoted to exploring locations in England that have a unique connection with either Austen herself, her work, and/or the adaptations of her books. But it is now only available in Dutch. Author Karin Quint and Gottmer Publishing Group announced today that they are launching a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to publish an English translation of the popular travel guide.

Het Engeland van Jane Austen was written by Karin Quint, a Dutch journalist, photographer and founder of JaneAusten.nl – the only Dutch-language website devoted to the beloved author. ‘I often received requests for information from people who wanted to visit locations associated with her,’ says Quint. ‘It made me realise there was nothing like this out there.’  In 2013 she travelled almost three months through England, researching over 200 locations connected with Jane Austen’s life, books, and the film adaptations of her work. Het Engeland van Jane Austen was published in the spring of 2014 by the renowned Dutch publisher Gottmer. In response to public demand, a second edition was published in July 2016.

Friday, 4 November 2016

MR BENNET'S DUTIFUL DAUGHTER BY JOANA STARNES - COVER REVEAL & GIVEAWAY


Book Description

When Colonel Fitzwilliam’s disclosures are interrupted by the bearer of distressing news from Longbourn, Miss Elizabeth Bennet is compelled to consider an offer she would have otherwise dismissed out of hand. An offer of marriage from the all-too-proud Mr Darcy.

Yet how is she to live with a husband she hardly knows and does not love? Would she be trapped in a marriage of convenience while events conspire to divide them? Or would love grow as, day by day and hour after hour, she learns to understand the man she married, before she loses his trust and his heart?

On the cover


The portrait on Joana’s new book is titled Portrait of Miss Frances Vinicombe
It’s an oil on canvas that measures 92x71 cm. The portrait painting, ranked 2nd most prestigious genre by the French Académie de peinture et de sculpture, depicts the visual appearance of a human subject. While portraitists often strive for exact likeness, the viewer's recognition of the subject is of primary importance. It was common for artists to alter the image to accentuate or minimize the subject's physical, psychological or social traits. Traditionally, portrait paintings have memorialized the rich and powerful. Overtime, however, it became more common for middle-class individuals to commission portraits of their families and colleagues.  

John Opie was a British landscape and portrait artist, who painted quite a few famous people, including the author, Mary Wollstonecraft. (see image below)

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

DARCY'S HOPE ~ BEAUTY FROM ASHES, A GREAT WAR ROMANCE - AUTHOR INTERVIEW + GIVEAWAY



 Darcy’s Hope ~ Beauty from Ashes
A WW1 Pride & Prejudice Variation
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Escape to the era of Downton Abbey and experience all the drama of World War 1 alongside literature’s iconic Elizabeth Bennet & Fitzwilliam Darcy. You'll watch their tender love unfold as they learn to work together and reconcile their differences amidst the carnage of war.
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1916. World War I has turned French chateaux into bloody field hospitals, British gentlemen into lice-infested soldiers, and left Elizabeth Bennet's life in tatters.

Her father is dead and her home destroyed. Never again will Elizabeth depend on a man to secure her future!

But when an opportunity arises to advance her dreams of becoming a doctor, she is elated—until he arrives....

Heartbroken. Devastated. Captain Fitzwilliam Darcy is left rejected by the woman he loved and reeling from the slaughter of his men on the battlefield. “Enough!” Darcy vows. “No more sentimental attachments!”

But arriving at a field hospital to pursue a covert investigation, Darcy discovers his beloved Elizabeth training with a dashing American doctor and embroiled in an espionage conspiracy.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

AUTHOR DENISE STOUT VISITED THE WILL & JANE EXHIBIT IN WASHINGTON D.C.

Denise Stout is an enthusiastic Janeite who was lucky enough to be able to visit the exhibition,  Will & Jane: Shakespeare, Austen and the Cult of Celebrity at the Folger Shakespeare Library. She knows I'd have willingly joined her if only I didn't live on the other side of the pond, so she was so kind and generous to write a report for me personally and agreed to post it here at My Jane Austen Book Club. I hope you'll enjoy reading her musings as much as I did and will appreciate the pictures she sent me. Thank you, Denise! 

                When I first learned of the Will & Jane exhibit at the Folger, I knew I had to go. Living so close to Washington, D.C., the opportunity to view the items on display, especially the undergarment* worn by a favorite Mr. Darcy, Colin Firth, and known colloquially as The Shirt, was more than a goal, it became a must-see. As the weeks passed by, it seemed like the visit wouldn’t happen. My husband surprised me when he announced he would take off on a Friday to accompany me. He travels the Metro frequently, so there was little chance of missing the stop or riding the wrong line to the Capitol area.

Monday, 17 October 2016

LETTER FROM RAMSGATE BLOG TOUR: AUTHOR GUEST POST, EXCERPT & GIVEAWAY


Hello everyone! I'm glad to open a new blog tour for a new Pride and Prejudice variation. There's never too much Mr Darcy & Elizabeth in our lives and Suzan Lauder knows it!  Today she is my guest again  with a new great post. Enjoy your cup of tea!

About the book

Sir, I am not known to you. I fear you may have concerns regarding some intelligence that recently came to me from your sister...
...a simple letter shatters illusions and turns the world upside down!
On holiday in Ramsgate, Elizabeth Bennet befriends shy, romantic Georgiana Darcy, who shares an adoring description of an ideal elder brother. When Georgiana discloses a secret infatuation with her brother’s “close friend” Mr. Wickham, Elizabeth’s altered perception of both men affects her actions and alliances.
The secret within an anonymous letter from Ramsgate ties Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth together but also separates them. A second missive unlocks the disguise, but Mr. Darcy realizes his true passions too late to assist Elizabeth in her darkest hour. Will the shocking disclosure of a forgotten letter transform his understanding of her heart and lead them to embrace their future?
Letter from Ramsgate is a Pride and Prejudice variation suitable for most audiences (youth and up).

Saturday, 8 October 2016

THE MANY LIVES OF FITZWILLIAM DARCY BLOG TOUR & GREAT GIVEAWAY


After Fitzwilliam Darcy finds his suit rejected by the only woman in the world he would ever marry, he looks to make a quick exit out of Kent and go back to his life before he met Elizabeth Bennet. Yet, when he wakes the next day he discovers that getting back to everything he still holds dear may be more challenging than he ever imagined. What if finding his way back means getting another chance to win Elizabeth’s love?

Beau North and Brooke West, co-authors of Holiday Mix Tape from the Meryton Press winter anthology, Then Comes Winter, tour the blogosphere from October 8-October 19, 2016, to share their latest collaboration, The Many Lives of Fitzwilliam Darcy. Thirteen book bloggers, specializing in Austenesque fiction and romance stories, will share excerpts, guest posts, an exclusive interview with the authors and book reviews from this highly anticipated Austen-inspired novel. Four ebooks and four paperbacks are also being included in our giveaways and entry is available to anyone who participates. And this great blog tour starts right here, at My Jane Austen Book Club,  today! Let's welcome Beau and Brooke on their first day on tour.

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Good morning, Maria Grazia, and thank you for welcoming us to your lovely blog, My Jane Austen Book Club. We are thrilled to launch our tour for The Many Lives of Fitzwilliam Darcy here with your readers, and we look forward to sharing a wide range of posts related to this story throughout this tour. Today, we have a post that readers have been anticipating because we are revealing our top three choices for our The Many Faces of Fitzwilliam Darcy contest, where your readers, and anyone else who votes during this tour, will be able to pick our final winning image.

Before the big reveal, I want to thank all of my readers at Just Jane 1813 who contributed such gorgeous and inspiring images! We were truly blown away by your creativity and your search skills. There were so many entries that we had never even considered before, and we have to say that it’s amazing how one character can inspire so much enthusiasm and ardent admiration!

The idea for our contest was inspired by the passionate reactions that so many readers have to Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy; the wealthy and swoon-worthy character that has lived on for more than two centuries in the hearts and minds of so many people.

Thursday, 29 September 2016

SPOTLIGHT ON ... TIMELESS BY DENISE O'HARA + GIVEAWAY


Timeless: A Pride and Prejudice Variation

Elizabeth eagerly awaits her sister Jane's letter while visiting Derbyshire with her aunt and uncle Gardiner. But circumstances cause the letter to be delayed by two additional days. The extra time with Darcy changes the course of both of their lives, in ways no one could have predicted... or even thought possible. In a plot twist, you won't see coming, Darcy and Elizabeth find out if their love is truly timeless...

(This book has a sci-fi element which brings the couple into the present. It's written to be believably scientific.)


Read an excerpt from the book


Lizzy had been a good deal disappointed in not finding a letter from her sister, Jane, on their first arrival at Lambton, and this disappointment had been renewed on each of the mornings that had now been spent there. Today was now the third morning and still no post arrived.  She became slightly worried over this, but she directly abandoned the thought and shifted her focus to something entirely different. A variety of thoughts were vying for her attention; she made a frantic emotional effort to sift them as they flowed in. The manner in which Mr. Darcy continued to behave since first seeing him at Pemberly was at the forefront of her mind.
 “Lizzy dear, good morning,” aunt Gardiner said as her niece entered the breakfast room.
“Good morning, Aunt.” They engaged in tête-à-tête for a few minutes before her aunt informed her that the family would spend the morning taking a walking tour around the town. Lizzy quickly agreed to the prospect of getting to know a few of the modern shops and other interesting sights in the small town of Lambton.
The Gardiners and their niece were preparing to take their leave when the housemaid at the Lambton Inn, where they were staying, opened the door to announce Mr. Darcy.
Lizzy was not expecting to see him today. She was filled with a heightened sense of every feeling when he entered the room. She could not help but notice how very handsome he looked in his black wool suit and black hat. He had come alone on horseback that morning. On seeing the ladies with their hats on already and Mr. Gardiner with his walking stick, he quickly surmised they were on their way out and apologised for his intrusion.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

MR DARCY'S PRESENT BLOG TOUR - REGINA JEFFERS' S GUEST POST & GIVEAWAY

I admit it. I love autumn. I live in North Carolina where for the past two summers we have had a string of 90+ degrees days. This year, since May 27, we have had 82 such days. The lowest temperature we have experienced in three months is 83. So, I am thankful for the latter days of September and the early days of October when the heat and the humidity take a backseat. We will still receive a few days of 85+ degrees until November, but the heat eases, and people start thinking of the upcoming holidays.

Moreover, in my family, we have a series of birthdays between now and years end. I turned a sweet 69 years on September 17. [There was a time I thought being 69 meant one was ANCIENT! Not so much now.] My granddaughter Annalise turns 3 in early October. My stepson Tim will be 40 on Halloween. My grandson James will be 5 in early November, and his father (my son) Josh will be 32 in mid November. We have Thanksgiving in the States at the end of November [which included my late mothers birthday] and Christmas in December. And the much anticipated event at the beginning of January will be a new grandchild. So you can see how my heart grows lighter once the heat of summer disappears.

On one of those recent hot summer evenings, I was speaking to my long time friend Charlotte on the phone, and is customary between us, we were reminiscing about some crazy antics from our childhood. Soon, I was telling her about the year I received four Easter baskets. This was a monumental event for my parents were separated in a time when divorce was still not accepted.My mother did not know whether she could scrap up enough money to purchase an Easter basket, and so she had prepared me for disappointment. Then God smiled on my 10-year-old self for my grandfather bought me a basket, our neighbors, who had no children of their own, did likewise, the woman for whom my mother worked presented me with a third one, and my mother was the bearer of the fourth. It was too much chocolate for one child, but I rationed it out to last a LONG time. What was odd about each was that somehow the little note from the presenters were mixed up, and I kept thanking the wrong people for the chocolate bunnies or the jelly beans. Soon the situation became a family source of laughter.