Guest Blog:Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey by Ginger Monette

I don’t think many folks will be surprised that I love Jane Austen and have a fondness for Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett. Long before I wrote romance, I read it. It is still one of my go to genres to make myself feel better. So when someone tries something new with the stories, I’m so there.

I loved Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies and Jane Austenland. And I love fellow author Ginger Monette’s version that graphs it onto one of the most under represented eras in romance, the First World War.

The best thing with talking to other authors who write in your genre, you can ask for help with those hard to find answers about every day life. Ginger asked me if I had anything on VAD (Voluntary Aide Detachment) training, i.e. nursing assistants, and I asked her about how the men cleaned up when they left the front to go on leave. I sent her articles the information I had from Vera Brittian’s Testament of Youth (and a few others), and she sent me public domain of pictures of the soldiers showers. They reminded me of gym class, but there were some ahem naked men in the photos. Of course, since we both write clean historical romances, it was important we knew about hygiene on the front lines.

But enough about that, here’s an extract from Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey:

9-praise-donwell-abbeyElizabeth bolted from the chair. “Fitzwilliam, wake up!” She nudged his arm in the darkened room, but he continued writhing with great heaving breaths. “Captain!” She squeezed his hand, but he jerked it away, whimpering.

On impulse, she slid her arms under his shoulders and held him close. Instantly his thrashing ceased.

Gently rocking him, she massaged the unbandaged hair at his temple and whispered against his cheek, “It’s all right. Just a dream.”

He breathing slowed, but his body remained tense. “My ribs…hurt.”

She lowered him back to the pillow, then tapped on his hand, Try to relax. All right now?

“Mmm…. Water. And morphine.”

She squeezed his hand and poured water into the hospital cup. She touched the pill to his lips then offered the porcelain straw.

He swallowed. “Who are you?”

Elizabeth froze and closed her eyes. How she longed to tell him the truth, then brush a kiss on his lips, assure him of her love, and promise to stay by his side.

She took his hand and spelled, Miss Thomas.

“Thank you…Miss Thomas.”

Elizabeth sank into the wing chair and released a heavy breath. Could she bear to be so close and yet so far away from Fitzwilliam?

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Days to Celebrate for the Week Ahead

I know many of us love Taco Tuesday. I’ll admit I prefer soft tacos, but I love hot tortilla chips. Which makes me happy that today is National Tortilla Chip Day.

02/25/17 Is National  Chocolate Covered Nut Day. Which is yummy, and can only be improved by throwing in some caramel.

2/26/17 Tell a Fairy Tale Day. I might break out my Disney movies for this. My favorite being Beauty and the Beast.

2/27/17 National Polar Bear Day. I won’t recommend hugging one, but maybe a few brave souls can jump in a frozen lake.

2/28/17 National Public Sleeping Day. I didn’t know this was a thing.

3/01/17 National Dadgum That’s Good Day. Really. Here’s the link.

03/2/17 National Read Across America Day (Dr. Suess Day). This is every day for me.

Until next time

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Sam and Pete

So, I was reading a book on Isle Royale in Michigan and came across a reference. Apparently there was one resident who was quite colorful not only in his language but his use of other words to enhance those assorted four letter words. His name: Sam Hill, of the what in Sam Hill is this?

So I had to look it up on our great World Wide Web and was, naturally, more confused than ever.

Some say Sam Hill is a euphemism for the Devil or Hell.

That works.

Others say, it was about a merchantile in Prescott Arizona (Sam Hill’s Merchantile to be precise) that carried so much stuff folks had to ask Sam Hill what this was?

One or two sources blame a 1820s opera about the Devil and Samial (apparently sounds like Sam Hill)

Apparently, political Sam Hills abound and some credit them with the saying. I’m sure no one is surprised. Politicians take a lot of credit for everyone.

For Pete’s sake this isn’t a political post, so if you want more on Sam Hill, here’s the Wikipedia link.

As for Pete and why we call upon him, apparently that’s slang for God or Christ, because our buddy Pete is actually St. Peter. Oddly, we didn’t start using it (being officially recorded and all) until the 1920s. 


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Before I Lay Down to Sleep

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a clean freak. I can withstand the effort to clean my house until the hairballs are the size of the actually cats, not the dog. Let’s not get carried away here.

I believe in the value of dirt. I worked as a microbiologist long enough to know that most of the ‘bugs’ are actually helpful to maintaining a healthy immune system.

I also have worked as a chemist long enough to be sensitive to most cleaning agents and really don’t feel it necessary to have my house so sterile I can perform surgery on the dining room table.

It is my mess, aided and abetted by they dozens or so people who live in my house. (okay, really there are only four of us, but the mess is equivalent to a dozen or so).

That said, there’s one room in the house that I like having clean in the morning. And when it’s not, I start the day feeling off. It’s the kitchen. When the hubbinator does the dishes, he loads the dishwasher, occasionally washing a few pots, but doesn’t wipe down the counters or finish all the dishes.

It drives me nuts, but it’s his way.

So before I go to bed, I finish  up the dishes. Wipe down the counters. Occasionally sweep.

And when I wake up….

My nocturnal children have returned their dirty dishes to the counter.

Arg. But at least the countertops aren’t sticky. So there’s that.

Until next time.

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Days to celebrate in the Coming Week

While most of us are looking forward to the weekend, here’s some fun days to celebrate when we go back to work next week.

2/17- National Cabbage Day. I hope that means sauerkraut. I love sauerkraut.

2/18- National Drink Wine Day. I didn’t think anyone needed a reason to drink wine, but hey, someone was thinking ahead. Bottoms up.

2/19- National Lash Day. Um, what? Okay, I looked it up. It’s celebrating eyelashes, not the  other kind of lashes.

2/20- National Love your Pet Day. this is everyday in my house. Of course, the cats that aren’t leaving me hairballs tend to be my favorite of the day.

2/21- National Sticky Bun Day. Mmmmm, ’nuff said.

2/22- National Margarita Day. I would think this would be closer to Cinco de Mayo, but hey, we can all use a little vitamin C. Cuz that’s why we drink it, right?

2/23- National Chili Day. Unlike some crazy people, I like beef and beans in my chili.

Until next time.


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Facts vs Alternative Facts

I have been a fan of alternative facts for years. Alternative universes, too. In other words, I love to read fiction. Pretty much any kind of fiction.

But what of our alternative-Alternative facts section? 

Who loves to read nonfiction?

I do, but only within certain areas. I mean I love history books, but these are relegated to those areas where I might potentially write books. Makes sense right? I mean, if I plan to destroy the world using a plague-type epidemic, why not use human behaviors that have already occurred during those times.

Last night, while attending a workshop by Kim Jones on cyber security, he mentioned that he likes to spend 15 minutes a day reading nonfiction in a field that’s not his area of expertise.

Then there’s blogs that I follow where the blogger reads both fiction and nonfiction books at the same time.

I’m a linear thinking person. I like to finish what I start (excepting craft/quilting projects) then move on. But I might give it a try just to see if my brain explodes. We’ll call it an experiment cuz I’m a scientist and it sounds better. Of course, I’m not gonna go crazy and read something completely different. I’ll stick with researching World War 1 and throw in a little fantasy to see how they mix.

If any of you read multiple books at a time, how to you decide which subjects to mix?

Until next time

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Yeah, about that

How did Monday get here so quickly? And where was that blog post I was supposed to write. Stuck in my head, thinking it was Sunday until the alarm rang at 0330 this morning. Fun Times when the vacation ended. Which is where my Friday post went. So sad.

In other news, the trying new recipes is swinging to the mostly good side. I made stuffed pasta shells which the midnight minions are eating (those would be college age children who don’t have to get up until 8am or later). 

I made a not so good strawberry rhubarb pie, so I’ve been giving the stink eye to one book. Of course it’s gotta be the book’s fault it couldn’t be mine. O^o

So, I broke out another book. This one a black bean soup that was apparently a Maine staple. I love black beans and I love soup. Except this one was kinda bland, pretty much like all the other black bean soup recipes I’ve tried. I even added a 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne and some ham. I will try, try again but I’ll be adding some peppers, garlic, and maybe a dash of chipotle peppers.

Frankly, I love it when the authors of a cookbook give details about why these recipes became staples. I would love to know why most recipes from New England call for red potatoes instead of russets. 

Until next time.

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