Tag Archives: Jane austen

A Lovely Summer Day in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia–Beth Trissel


lavender in the garden

(Lavender, dill, and cosmos in the garden–image by daughter Elise)

“To sit in the shade on a fine day and look upon verdure is the most perfect refreshment.”  ~Jane Austen

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.”  ~John Muir

I believe that there is a subtle magnetism in Nature, which, if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright.  ~Henry David Thoreau

lovely pool of water

A tranquil pool of water back in the country–image by Elise

“To me a lush carpet of pine needles or spongy grass is more welcome than the most luxurious Persian rug.”  ~Helen Keller

white kitten in garden“I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.”  ~e.e. cummings

“The poetry of the earth is never dead.”  ~John Keats

“One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.”  ~William Shakespeare

(Kitten in our garden. Image by Elise)

“Joy all creatures drink
At nature’s bosoms…”
~Friedrich von Schiller, “Ode to Joy,” 1785, translated from German

“To one who has been long in city pent,
‘Tis very sweet to look into the fair
And open face of heaven, – to breathe a prayer
Full in the smile of the blue firmament.”
~John Keats, Sonnet XIV

hyssop in the garden“I know the thrill of the grasses when the rain pours over them.
I know the trembling of the leaves when the winds sweep through them.
I know what the white clover felt as it held a drop of dew pressed close in its beauteousness.
I know the quivering of the fragrant petals at the touch of the pollen-legged bees.
I know what the stream said to the dipping willows, and what the moon said to the sweet lavender.
I know what the stars said when they came stealthily down and crept fondly into the tops of the trees.”
~Muriel Strode, “Creation Songs

“Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life.”  ~Rachel Carson

(hyssop in our garden–image by Elise)

My Fall Garden in the Shenandoah Valley–Beth Trissel


Saturday Sept. 29th, was a splendid day to be outdoors and work among the flowers and vegetables in my garden(s). So inviting, in fact, that I overdid it and hurt my back, but back to the beauty of my autumn garden. Daughter Elise took some wonderful photos I’m pleased to share with you, though nothing truly captures the garden like being there. Still, we try, and both of us love this time of year. 

The first image featured is of the old red barn in the background with perennial New York Asters, also called  Michaelmas Daisies, and Tithonia (Mexican Sunflower) in the front. These flowers attract an amazing variety of butterflies, bees, and all sorts of pollinating insects. The air is murmurous with the hum on a sunny afternoon and iridescent wings sail from flower to flower. I also grow zinnias, phlox, and other butterfly friendly plants, and don’t use any harmful sprays, so have a paradise for them.

Fairies also delight in my garden, so my seven-year old niece. Cailin, tells me. She said her favorite fairy, Florist, often lives among my plants–though she still visits Cailin–and there’s  a whole fairy school in my garden. Good to know. I’m honored, and feel certain the tiny fairies are clever enough to evade the Praying Mantis busy catching a last snack before frost (usually mid-October) carries them away. Their egg cases are safely tucked among the leaves in readiness to hatch out next spring, then baby mantis hop all over the place.  Finding an interesting new bug or sighting a lovely butterfly is all part of the joy of the garden. Several of my grandbabies and two young nieces reveled with me in the glory of the day.

“In the garden, Autumn is, indeed the crowning glory of the year, bringing us the fruition of months of thought and care and toil. And at no season, safe perhaps in Daffodil time, do we get such superb colour effects as from August to November.” ~Percy Bysshe Shelley 

***We love our pumpkins. This a Cinderella pumpkin–our favorite.

I cannot endure to waste anything as precious as autumn sunshine by staying in the house. So I spend almost all the daylight hours in the open air. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

“Autumn is as joyful and sweet as an untimely end.”  Remy de Gourmont

‘Autumn arrives in early morning, but spring at the close of a winter day.’ ~Elizabeth Bowen

***Zinnias and Asters

Gardens are a form of autobiography.  ~Sydney Eddison, Horticulture magazine, August/September 1993

‘There is no season in all the year so beautiful, so radiant with glory, as the early autumn. There is no time when the human soul drinks in so fully the glory and beauty of nature. All objects of beauty are more beautiful while passing away from us. The closing up of a beautiful life—the fading of the holy stars in the dim light of morning—the ending of a quiet summer day and the passing away of the bright summer glory, are all more sweet and lovely as they are lost to us. The death-glow always beautifies anything that wears the trace of beauty ere it goes back to nothingness. We do not understand the secret of this principle, yet we know that it is some law of the infinite mind.’ ~Northern Advocate

***My youngest grandson, Owen, with some of our Cinderella Pumpkins, an heirloom variety used for the original illustrations in the famous fairy tale.

“Autumn mornings: sunshine and crisp air, birds and calmness, year’s end and day’s beginnings.” ~Terri Guillemets

“I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.” ~Henry David Thoreau

“Autumn seemed to arrive suddenly that year. The morning of the first September was crisp and golden as an apple…”  J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

***Pumpkin blossom with a pollen covered honey bee

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”  ~L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

“Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.” ~ Lauren DeStefano, Wither

“She looked like autumn, when leaves turned and fruit ripened.”  ~Sarah Addison Allen, Garden Spells

“Her pleasure in the walk must arise from the exercise and the day, from the view of the last smiles of the year upon the tawny leaves and withered hedges, and from repeating to herself some few of the thousand poetical descriptions extant of autumn–that season of peculiar and inexhaustible influence on the mind of taste and tenderness–that season which has drawn from every poet worthy of being read some attempt at description, or some lines of feeling.”

Jane AustenPersuasion

“I loved autumn, the one season of the year that God seemed to have put there just for the beauty of it.” ~ Lee Maynard

“Gardening is about enjoying the smell of things growing in the soil, getting dirty without feeling guilty, and generally taking the time to soak up a little peace and serenity.”  ~Lindley Karstens, noproblemgarden.com

***More of our much-loved Cinderella Pumpkins, like orange jewels. Surely, we have the most sincere pumpkin patch around.

My Writing Journey and A Nugget of Wisdom–Beth Trissel


Why be a writer? Because you’re burning up with stories and ideas you just have to get down on paper (virtual paper these days) or you’ll go mad–probably are a bit crazy anyway. I have this theory about writers, those who are on medication and those who should be. I am, but wasn’t for years. Not until my breakdown right in the middle of Chapter Two of my upcoming release, Kira Daughter of the Moon. Took me years to finish that novel. *Note, it’s also essential to love chocolate and coffee, or in my case, Earl Grey tea. Writers function on caffeine. Avoid the whiskey.

In the beginning (about age twenty) I drew a picture of a clock with a dissatisfied face and angrily named it a ‘watch-gog’ because I felt that’s all I was doing, watching others live their dreams, and yearned to throw myself into a creative venture. But what?  All my family members were artistic and Lord knows I’d tried. Painting and drawing eluded me. I was no hawk-eyed photographer. I’d made some swell collages, but that didn’t seem enough. My arts and crafts weren’t as expertly done as others. Though, I must say, those tuna fish cans I decorated with Christmas scenes were charming.

Yes, I loved to write, since I could hold a crayon, and poured myself into poetry and short stories. Was there something more?  For the next twenty years I crafted pieces about rural life and gradually gained the seed of confidence to give myself permission to attempt those historical romance novels I so loved to read.  At long last, I’d begun. Could it be, was I actually a writer, and how would I know when I’d ‘arrived?’

Mountains loomed before me, and still do, with every new book. Publication, of course, was the ultimate pinnacle of success, but I discovered contests–some quite prestigious. If I excelled in those, not only might it pave the way toward my giddy goal but would lend me the credibility I hungered for. Certain I was ready for the initial launch, I entered my first RWA® Chapter Contest. While awaiting the results, I planned my acceptance speech for the awards banquet.  Whether they even had one or not, I don’t recall, but clearly remember sitting in utter bemusement holding those first score sheets. “You broke every rule,” wrote an equally bemused judge.

Rules???  Was Charles Dickens guided by rules, and what of Jane Austen? *Note to self, you are not Dickens or Austen, nor do you live in their time period. But that same judge tossed me a lifeline, “You have talent,” she said, “apparent in your beautiful descriptions.”

This at least was a place to begin. And so I did. With each step forward, there was always someone along the way to lend yet more constructive criticism which I balked at, but eventually accepted and grew from. Along with those beneficial guides were individuals who continually smacked me down. Most of them were called agents and editors. But I got back up, brushed myself off, and onward ho I went.  I cherished the good rejection letters, a personal note containing a high-five along with the inevitable ‘but.’ But, your work doesn’t—fill in the blank.

Yes, indeed, I’ve had hundreds of rejections over the years. To cheer myself up, I’d throw mini rejection parties (weekly) attended mostly by myself and the dogs. We jigged around the kitchen to lively Celtic music. Well, at least I did. They tolerated being leapt over in my spritely steps. Being on Riverdance was another dream, but I digress. (Often)

Back in the snail mail days, my dear hubby handed me my mail referring to these inevitable replies as my ‘Dear John’ letters. To gain the fortitude needed to open these dreaded missives, I inked the initials C. D. H. on the outside of my SASE which stood for Courage Dear Heart, a reference to my beloved Aslan from the Narnia Chronicles by CS Lewis. Later, I found it easier to be rejected by email, though not a lot. 

Eventually, after about ten years, I landed an excellent agent and thought this is it–I’ve arrived in the Promised Land! But no, not even she could sell my work to traditional NY publishing houses, no matter how much she extolled it or how many awards I’d garnered. They didn’t want stories set in early America.  Not sexy, not kewl.  Since when?

So my agent and I amicably parted ways and I spotted a new ship on the horizon, an untraditional publisher,  fast–gaining recognition, The Wild Rose Press. Right off, I was smitten by the name and their rose garden theme. Next to writing, my passion is gardening.  At the top of their homepage is a rose that looks very much like my favorite variety by English breeder David Austen called Abraham Darby. It was a sign unto me. I was forever seeking signs…must be my superstitious Scots-Irish forebears.  It’s also Biblical…

Many years and awards later, I have multiple books out with The Wild Rose, more releases coming this fall, and several self-pubbed titles. My best-selling novel, American historical romance, Red Bird’s Song, is the first book I ever wrote, oft rewrote, and the one mentioned above in that contest where I broke all the rules. 

I’ve learned so much in my journey, it’s difficult to know where to begin when offering advice to aspiring authors. One nugget I’ll share is to be specific in your word choices. Don’t ‘move’ across the room when you can stomp or tip-toe. Rather than a vague choice like ‘object,’ how about a dusty heap of bones? Anything that gives a clear visual will grab the reader far better than iffy imagery. Appeal to all five senses–make that six, and don’t neglect the deep sense a character possesses of what has been, is now, and may be.  Take care not to overuse words, expressions, descriptions, or words ending in ‘ly.’ No doubt you’ve heard this countless times, but ‘show don’t tell’ is vital. Keep any telling to relevant snippets interspersed with action and dialogue.

Most of all, write what you love and persevere. Learn from those helpful guides along the way. Keep on going like a sled dog in a blinding snow storm.  For years, that’s what I compared myself to. Remember,“You are not finished when you lose, you are finished when you quit.”

Did I ever threaten to quit?  Many times. And then I’d ask myself, what are you gonna do now.  Write, of course.  It’s what I do.

*Image above of me writing with some of the grandbabies beside me. Pic of my favorite rose taken by daughter Elise. The rest of the images are royalty free.

Inspiring Pinterest Pins


From 42 Moving Pinterest Pins for Language Lovers:

Because I love great quotes, I’ve been asked to bring this excellent post to your attention, which I’m glad to do as it includes some of my favorite authors!  Pinterest is a wealth of information, also inspiration.

First up, my all time favorite Author C.S. Lewis: “I have learned now that while those who speak about ones miseries usually hurt, those who keep silence hurt more.”

Wow.  How wise and moving is that?

And from humorist Will Rogers: “Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”

Keep on going and growing!

From Margaret Atwood:

“i believe that everyone else my age is an adult while i am just in disguise.”

Me too. 🙂

On Happiness:  “I think we like to complicate things when really it is quite simple; find what it is that makes you happy and who it is that makes you happy and you are set. Promise.”

Eons ago, I paid a therapist to tell me this.  It’s how I came to be a writer.  And I do hang out with people who make me happy, except when they drive me nuts.

And from  2 Corinthians 12: 10  “For when I am weak then I am strong.”  Ultimate wisdom can certainly be found in the Bible.

From beloved Author Jane Austen: “It isn’t what we say or think that defines us but what we do.” (From Sense and Sensibility)

From the sharp-witted mind of Mark Twain: “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”

And I can’t resist adding this from Twain: “Better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt.”

About Magic from Roald Dahl: “Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”

Here’s some Motivation for you by an unknown contributor: “Stop saying ‘I wish’ and start saying ‘I will.’

“To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.” ~ Joseph Chilton Pearce

Man does he have that right!

A Perfect Day from one of my favorite English poets John Keats: “Give me books, fruit, French wine and fine weather and a little music out of doors played by someone I do not know.”

On being Bonkers from Lewis Carol:

The Mad Hatter: “Have I gone mad?”

Alice: “I’m afraid so, you’re entirely bonkers. But I’ll tell you a secret.  All the best people are.”

To dreams:  “Why stop dreaming when you wake up?”

Here’s a good one for a worrier like me: “Stop thinking of what could go wrong and start thinking of what could go right.”

And a super quote from the ever optimistic Walt Disney, whom I remember watching on Sunday evenings when I was a child.  He introduced the Wonderful World of Disney television show and enchanted us all.  I loved him and his legacy lives on.

“Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious…and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”  ―Walt Disney

***For the complete list of these wonderful quotes/pins visit:

42 Moving Pinterest Pins for Language Lovers:

Sweet Saturday Sample From Time Travel Romance Somewhere My Lass #3


For more authors participating in Sweet Saturday Samples click Here.

Excerpt: Mora Campbell focused her giddy senses on the gentleman kneeling by her side. He stared at her as if she were a silkie or some other fantastic creature. Even with her head aching like the beating of a Hielan drum, the appeal of her rescuer wasn’t lost on her. My, but he’s a handsome one. Eyes colored like a brooding sky. The strength in his face bespoke the bearing of a great chieftain. His demeanor marked him as a leader. Surely he was a commanding laird.

As her vision cleared, she looked more closely. There was a dearly familiar quality about him, though she couldn’t fathom why. Searching the haze fogging her mind, she strained to remember.

Her thoughts swirled around the beloved image of a man. Niall. He looked like Niall. And he had the same masculine allure and deeply sensual air. Why was his thick brown hair clipped so short? It should fall down around his well-muscled shoulders. Outlanders might wear their hair shorn in sech a manner, but he didn’t seem to be foreign. Unless…

Her eyes dropped lower. What did he mean by wearing the clothes of an Englisher, if that’s what they were? They looked to be some sort of trews or breeches, she guessed, and a jacket right enough, but not in any fashion she’d ever seen before. The narrow striped scarf he wore at his neck was most peculiar. What purpose did it serve? And the cane he held in blood-stained fingers had the oddest face. Frightening even. If he were an Englisher, he had style all his own.

He laid the cane down, his intent gray eyes searching hers. “Who struck you?”

The force of his gaze held her. “The MacDonald, the divil.”

Her apparent champion narrowed his gaze. Lifting one hand, he lightly touched the tender lump on her forehead. His scent wafted around her—masculine and clean, like fresh wind on a braw day. She breathed it in, savoring his essence.

“You’ll need a Cat Scan, and the police will be here any moment.”

She had no notion what service this cat he spoke of might render her or what these police were, but she liked the gentle feel of his fingers and the way tufts of hair curled at his strong neck like tendrils of ivy on a stone wall. She wanted to smooth his hair with her fingers…stroke the line of his neck.

“Who are you? Why are you here?”

His query disrupted her musing in a low tone pleasing to her ears. Though his voice lacked any recognizable accent, she’d swear she knew it in her very being.~

“Beth Trissel has a way with her characters that brings them to life in your mind’s eye as fully realized people, who you want to win their battles, and find ever-lasting love. Her plot is complicated and unpredictable, and her eye for the detail of ancient Scotland is wonderful. Romantic fiction has been enriched by adding the time travel aspect to it, breathing new life into a genre that stretches back to the Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters.
The kind of book you can get lost in. Well-written and exciting, Trissel hits a home run with her time-crossed lovers.” ~Amazon Reviewer Robin Landry

Somewhere My Lass is available in various eBook formats from my publisher The Wild Rose Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other online booksellers.

One touch of nature makes the whole world kin. ~William Shakespeare


“I believe that there is a subtle magnetism in Nature, which, if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright.”  ~Henry David Thoreau

*Image by my talented photographer brother John Churchman.

“You can’t be suspicious of a tree, or accuse a bird or a squirrel of subversion or challenge the ideology of a violet.”  ~Hal BorlandSundial of the Seasons, 1964

“Some keep the Sabbath going to Church,
I keep it staying at Home –
With a bobolink for a Chorister,
And an Orchard, for a Dome.”
~Emily Dickinson

“Joy all creatures drink
At nature’s bosoms…”
~Friedrich von Schiller, “Ode to Joy,” 1785, translated from German

“To sit in the shade on a fine day and look upon verdure is the most perfect refreshment.”  ~Jane Austen

“I am not bound for any public place, but for ground of my own where I have planted vines and orchard trees, and in the heat of the day climbed up into the healing shadow of the woods.  Better than any argument is to rise at dawn and pick dew-wet red berries in a cup.”  ~Wendell Berry

“I remember a hundred lovely lakes, and recall the fragrant breath of pine and fir and cedar and poplar trees.  The trail has strung upon it, as upon a thread of silk, opalescent dawns and saffron sunsets.  It has given me blessed release from care and worry and the troubled thinking of our modern day.  It has been a return to the primitive and the peaceful.  Whenever the pressure of our complex city life thins my blood and benumbs my brain, I seek relief in the trail; and when I hear the coyote wailing to the yellow dawn, my cares fall from me – I am happy.”  ~Hamlin GarlandMcClure’s, February 1899

“There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more.”
~George Gordon, Lord ByronChilde Harold’s Pilgrimage

“Great things are done when men and mountains meet.  This is not done by jostling in the street.”  ~William Blake

“To me a lush carpet of pine needles or spongy grass is more welcome than the most luxurious Persian rug.”  ~Helen Keller

“To one who has been long in city pent,
‘Tis very sweet to look into the fair
And open face of heaven, – to breathe a prayer
Full in the smile of the blue firmament.”
~John Keats, Sonnet XIV

“Fieldes have eies and woods have eares.”  ~John Heywood, 1565

“You must not know too much, or be too precise or scientific about birds and trees and flowers and water-craft; a certain free margin, and even vagueness – perhaps ignorance, credulity – helps your enjoyment of these things…”  ~Walt WhitmanSpecimen Days, “Birds – And a Caution”  (Thanks, Corinne)

“Butterflies are self propelled flowers.”  ~R.H. Heinlein

“If nothing ever changed, there’d be no butterflies.”  ~Author Unknown

Images by my mom and daughter Elise

“I have the simplest tastes~I am always satisfied with the best.” ~Oscar Wilde


“Better a witty fool than a foolish wit” ~Shakespeare

“Nobody has ever measured, even poets, how much a heart can hold.”~ Zelda 

“Anxiety is love’s greatest killer. It makes others feel as you might when a drowning man holds on to you. You want to save him, but you know he will strangle you with his panic.”~Anais Nin

“Anthropology is the science which tells us that people are the same the whole world over-except when they are different.” ~Nancy Banks Smith

“A true friend is somebody who can make us do what we can.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

“If a dog will not come to you after he has looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.”~ Woodrow Wilson

“The test of an adventure is that when you’re in the middle of it, you say to yourself, ‘Oh, now I’ve got myself into an awful mess I wish I were sitting quietly at home.’ And the sign that something’s wrong with you is when you sit quietly at home wishing you were out having lots of adventure.” ~Thornton

“History teaches us that men and nations behave wisely once they have exhausted all other alternatives.”~Abba Eban

“The trouble with her is that she lacks the power of conversation but not the power of speech.” ~George Bernard Shaw

“He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends.” ~Oscar Wilde

“He was happily married – but his wife wasn’t.” ~Victor Borge

“You have delighted us long enough.” ~Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice)

“I didn’t attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.”~Mark Twain

“There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full.” ~Henry Kissinger

“Can’t act. Slightly bald. Can dance a little.”~ Screen Tester on Fred Astaire

Nature is a writer’s best friend ~Agavé Powers


I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.  ~ e.e. cummings

The poetry of the earth is never dead.  ~John Keats

To sit in the shade on a fine day and look upon verdure is the most perfect refreshment.  ~Jane Austen

Autumn, the year’s last, loveliest smile.
~William Cullen Bryant

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more.
~George Gordon, Lord Byron, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage

I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.  ~John Muir

Man’s heart away from nature becomes hard.  ~Standing Bear

I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in.  ~George Washington Carver

The human spirit needs places where nature has not been rearranged by the hand of man.  ~Author Unknown

You can’t be suspicious of a tree, or accuse a bird or a squirrel of subversion or challenge the ideology of a violet.  ~Hal Borland

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.  ~John Muir

Some keep the Sabbath going to Church,
I keep it staying at Home –
With a bobolink for a Chorister,
And an Orchard, for a Dome.
~Emily Dickinson

Great things are done when men and mountains meet.  This is not done by jostling in the street.  ~William Blake

Fieldes have eies and woods have eares.  ~John Heywood, 1565

Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life.  ~Rachel Carson

Climb up on some hill at sunrise.  Everybody needs perspective once in a while, and you’ll find it there.  ~Robb Sagendorph

Nature is the art of God.  ~Thomas Browne

Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
~Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Every leaf speaks bliss to me,
Fluttering from the autumn tree.
~Emily Bronte

The morns are meeker than they were,
The nuts are getting brown;
The berry’s cheek is plumper,
The rose is out of town.
The maple wears a gayer scarf,
The field a scarlet gown.
Lest I should be old-fashioned,
I’ll put a trinket on.
Emily Dickinson
Nature XXVII, Autumn.

Autumn’s the mellow time.
~William Allingham

Pride and Prejudice


Being a HUGE Jane Austen fan, and Pride and Prejudice ranking as my favorite of all her works, I have, of course, read the novel several times.  The book I acquired (years ago) is an antiquated volume, probably gleaned from my English Prof father now that I think of it, with beautiful period prints of the characters.

Mr. Darcy and his friend Mr. Bingley look like such pompous ‘prisses’ in them.  Very effeminate and not at all the macho Mr. Darcy we envision today after Colin Firth immortalized the role.

I don’t know as I ever regarded Bingley as manly to begin with.  More of a likable puppy.  Far too uncertain of himself to be admirable, alth0ugh I applaud his good heart.  Darcy’s nemesis, Mr. Wickham, may have been despicable, but he was manly. Rupert Friend (pictured) as Wickham in the 2005 version is gorgeous!

Of all Jane Austen’s heroine’s I like Elizabeth Bennett and Emma the best.  Emma is my second favorite of her novels, so it figures. Both of those women have gumption.  Lizzy’s older sister Jane is almost unbearably good while younger sister Lydia is unbelievably self-centered and stupid.  Such vastly different siblings in that family, but it happens.  And the silly, dramatic mother and sharp-witted father are wonderfully drawn.  Not to neglect Lady Catherine de Bourg and the odious Mr. Collins.  Fabulous characters all.  Ms. Austen must have known people like that in her family and her community.   So do I. 🙂

My favorite film production is the 1995 mini series with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle.  A win, win.  I loved it when Lizzy comes to Mr. Darcy’s palatial estate with her sane aunt and uncle and encounters him there accidentally, and the way he gazes at her when she plays the pianoforte, and, and, and.  I can’t rave enough about this production.

I also enjoyed the 2005 version with Keira Knightly and Matthew Mcfadyen, even though her hair drove me nuts.  As I understand it, bangs weren’t fashionable until later in the 1800’s.  But it’s still an excellent film.  And that scene when Lizzie and Darcy meet at dawn is exquisite, though the one that follows at the end of the movie would have put Jane Austen to the blush.   Too much intimacy for her novels, but I enjoyed it. 🙂  It’s such a shame that Austen, like so many other creative geniuses of their day, didn’t live to see the enormity of her success.

The soundtrack in the 2005 production is one of my all time favorites ever, not that I didn’t like the 1995 one because I did.   So, certainly I must include some delicious clips for you.

Here’s that wonderful lake scene I mentioned above.

And the trailer from the 2005 production for those of you who missed it.  I suppose there might be one or two of you still out there.

Those Wonderful Dances from Bygone Days~


I absolutely love 18th and 19th century dance scenes in period movies.  And no one does them better than the British.   So romantic and beautiful, and did I mention romantic?  Some of the best dance scenes are in the various films based on Jane Austen novels, but there are many, many others too.  There’s a delightful one in Miss Potter and Becoming JaneThe Young Victoria is a visual feast...I’m drawn to these scenes like a moth to a flame.  Sigh.  Why can’t we still dance like that today?

Naturally, I’ve studied up on these old dances, even consulted an elderly expert at one point who then gave me his large collection of notes and research info.  Entrusted me with this rich legacy which has been invaluable in my writing.  He said no one else had expressed the interest in his research material that I had and he was getting on in years  and wanted to pass it on to someone who would appreciate it.  That would be me.  The best dance scene I ever wrote based on his copious notes hasn’t yet been published.  But it will, eventually.   First, I must finish the book.

Of course, I’ve included various dances in many of my books.   I love the English Country dances, not to neglect the foot stomping jigs and reels that were enormously popular in less formal circles, but I have also included more formal dances.   Back in the day, my home state of Virginia was filled with colonists who were ‘mad about dancing” according to one historian.

He also mentioned that his 19 yr old daughter was the oldest virgin he knew as folks married quite young back then.  Come to think of it, I wed my high school sweetheart at 19.  But I digress.  Frequently.  I flit between subjects like a butterfly.  Can’t blame it on advancing years, though.  I always have.

My light paranormal/historical romance Daughter of the Wind, set among the Scots-Irish in the Alleghenies, opens with a lively dance at the McNeal homestead when the hero arrives, shot, and bangs on the door.   Breaks up that party.

My colonial American romance short A Warrior for Christmas (in The American Rose Christmas Anthology) has a charming dance scene or two that I loved writing.  The frontiersman/former Shawnee captive hero, a rugged young man more comfortable with war dances, attempts the minuet.

The waltz in light paranormal Somewhere My Love is one of my most romantic offerings ever, if I do say so myself.   Actually, that book has two waltz scenes.  And I had a blast writing the amusing and tender dance scene in Somewhere My Lass. I dabbled in dancing when writing my colonial American romance Red Bird’s Song in a most unlikely way considering it’s set in the rugged frontier.  Trust me to work in a dance somewhere.  And it’s Romantic too, most certainly.  All of these scenes are, along with the tension or whatever else is unfolding in the story.  The characters don’t just dance.  Although I happily could.  I didn’t manage to get a dance into Enemy of the King or Through the Fire although I referred to dancing.  They are both such fast-paced adventures, we really didn’t have time to linger over a dance.  Except at the cast party, of course. 🙂

Does anyone not love these wonderful old dances from ages past?  And the costumes…I’d love to have a different one for each day of the week (or month) from various eras.  Today I shall be Lady so and so in my voluminous colonial American gown.  Tomorrow, I’ll swirl about in my Regency do, then ride off in my carriage to attend a ball in the Victorian age.  Not to neglect the Edwardian era which had wonderful gowns.  Now and then I’d get down with the Scots and kick up my heels in full clan regalia.

I  suppose all these costumes might appear slightly eccentric to onlookers.  Like I’d care if I had them.  And filigree jewelry.  I’m quite taken with the word filigree, defined as ‘delicate, lacelike ornamental work of intertwined wire of gold, silver…’

And now, I’ll send you off with a dance!  What else?