Archive | November, 2013

A Marriage in Middlebury Kindle Giveaway

20 Nov

Enter Today | 11/18 – 12/12!
anita higman a marriage in middleburyThanks to Litfuse Publicity Group, I received an advanced copy of Anita Higman’s latest, “A Marriage in Middlebury,” released Nov. 5. Click the image to the left to enter the “Tea for Two” giveaway by Dec. 12!

Everyone has a plan for their lives, but often times a decision we make, or a decision made for us sets us on a new path. Higman’s story of forgiveness in “A Marriage in Middlebury,” follows a young couple torn apart from a forced decision, and how their lives move forward on separate paths, only to reconnect many years later.

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight,” — Proverbs 3:5-6

Charlotte Rose Hill is a lovable character whom everyone appreciates, but she quietly harbors offenses and heartbreak with a smile on her face. When her first love, Sam Wilder, reappears in her life with his fiance, Charlotte learns valuable lessons in forgiveness and reconciliation. The other colorful characters of the small-town setting add to the theme of second chances.

I asked Ms. Higman a few questions about the inspiration and setting of her latest novel:

Q and A with author Anita Higman

Q: What was the inspiration behind this story?

A: The idea for the heroine and the story, “A Marriage in Middlebury,” came from my absolute love of tearooms in Texas. More than a decade ago I met a women named Linda Becker who opened a tearoom in the Houston burbs called Tea for Two. Her eatery and gift shop did so well she opened a second shop. Throughout the years I’ve enjoyed her wonderful tearoom fare as well as the quaint ambiance. Linda’s tearoom isn’t just a cafe — it’s a gathering place for friends, a place to eat home-cooked food and a place so cozy you don’t want to leave. As a writer I thought it might be fun to create a heroine who owns a tearoom similar to Linda’s.

Q: You write of teas, flowers, and antiques (among other things), are these some of your favorite things?

A: Yes, absolutely. I love tea, because it’s such a friendly beverage. I have loved flowers my whole life and had a big garden when I was growing up on our farm in Oklahoma. My favorite flowers are irises, lilacs, and bridal wreath. It’s funny, but the older I get, the more I love antiques. I wonder if there is a correlation there…

Q: What is your favorite movie to watch and what tea would you drink with it?

A: I love the latest version of “Jane Eyre.” Amazing film. I’d choose Earl Grey to go with this movie, but then I love Earl Grey with everything.

Q: I love the small town setting. Is it based off a place you’ve lived or visited?

A: Middlebury, Texas is a fictitious town, and yet the area where it is located is all correct. I grew up on a farm near a small town, and so I’m very familiar with the inner workings of small-town life. Fascinating stuff.

When novels come to life

14 Nov
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Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley in “Pride & Prejudice” at the Lakewood Playhouse. Photo by Kate Paterno-Lick

I am always in awe of the caliber of talent and the creativity of the stage production of Broadway shows. I have been fortunate enough to see a variety of musicals on the West and East Coast.

It was only until recently I had the opportunity to experience the intimate setting of a playhouse. Last Friday my Jane Austen-loving friends and I watched opening night of “Pride & Prejudice” at the Lakewood Playhouse.

This year marks the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s classic romance, and it’s the 75th anniversary season of the live community theatre. On the outside perimeter of a giant shopping center lies the Lakewood Playhouse, founded in 1938. The 180-seat theatre is stadium seating around the center stage, so there really isn’t a bad seat in the house.

Lucky for us, we were right in the front row, so close I felt I was a part of the show. The play features 23 local actors and it was fantastic! As scenes played out right in front of us I enjoyed how so much was done with just a few physical props. The timeless tale was told in a three hour long production with an intermission.

Two characters stole the show in my opinion, “Mrs. Bennet” and “William Collins.” Both portrayed their over the top characters with enthusiasm and gusto. They were so fun to watch and added the humor Austen’s writing calls for.

The play adaptation of “Pride & Prejudice” is just one of many, many done in film, television, plays and musicals. A multitude of books have also been written as a spinoff to Austen’s 1813 classic.

What have you seen at a playhouse? What did you think?

What I’m Reading Wednesday

12 Nov

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I grew up in the small town of Graham, Wash. Some call it the “country.” 

When I was a kid the town’s population was just a few thousand and in recent years has grown to more than 23,000, complete with a Starbucks and fast food.

But growing up small town I never rode a horse, never went to a rodeo, never milked a cow, never fed chickens, and never got to experience ranch life. Many of my friends had farms and animals and I remember being surprised after a sleep over to learn the bacon I was eating at the breakfast table came from their land.

In Nicholas Sparks’ latest novel, “The Longest Ride,” New Jersey city girl Sophia meets country boy Luke. The couple meet at a post-rodeo country barn dance in North Carolina, and it was there I took a trip down memory lane…

After my freshman year at Washington State University my curiosity of the world outside my hometown prevented me from moving back home for the summer. Instead, I boarded a Greyhound bus and traveled 24 hours to Montana/Wyoming where I had the summer job of working at a restaurant at Yellowstone National Park.

The seasonal job attracts college kids from all over the world. I quickly made friends with a sweet girl named Linda, who like me was 19. But unlike me, Linda actually grew up in the country in Livingston, Mont.

For 4th of July weekend Linda took me home with her, and I went to my first rodeo and country barn dance.

After the summer I returned to my university surrounded by wheat fields and then moved on to city living, not thinking much about my time in Livingston until I read “The Longest Ride.”

Staying true to his North Carolina formula, Sparks weaves two love stories between two different generations and ties them together with an artistic bow at the end. I admit, there were a couple times I got a little teary-eyed, but nothing compared to previous tragic works of Sparks.

After I finished the book my husband asked me, “Does the guy get the girl?”

Sigh. “Yes, he did.” And a whole lot more in between, but I’m saving it for you to find out for yourself.

I’m looking forward to who will be cast to play Luke and Sophia in the movie adaptation set to release February 2015. Any guesses?