Tag: More Than Words Can Say

A Canadian Castle

I adore castles. They are the stuff of fairy tales. (Even when the real stories behind them are not terribly romantic.) So earlier this summer, when I was taking my daughter to Washington state for a summer internship, we decided to take a couple extra days and explore Victoria, British Columbia. And the first thing I looked for . . . castles!

Craigdarroch Castle was built between 1887-1890 for Robert Dunsmuir who made his fortune from Vancouver Island coal. The castle has one of North America’s finest collections of Victorian residential stained glass windows.

I took far too many pictures to share them all, so I tried to grab a sampling. They have done a fabulous job of restoring the castle rooms with period antiques and mannequins dressed in Victorian clothing, so my history-loving soul was lapping it up. 

It was impossible to get a picture of the entire exterior from the small parking lot surrounding it, so I opted for a corner view that showed off the turret tower.

Here we are looking up the stairwell from the entry way. The paneling was gorgeous!

This one of my favorite Victorian artifacts in the house. This was in the library on the main floor. A book stand with a candle. How easily I pictured myself back in those times working a piece of embroidery while reading a novel. Loved it!

Here is part of the long drawing room. I loved the columns and the gilt work on them. Half was set up as a music room while the other half was more of a place to sit and have tea. (My daughter is obviously thrilled to be in yet another of Mom’s photos. Ha!)

This is one of the Dunsmuir daughters’ bedrooms. I loved the details in the washstand and the moveable stand that would allow her to take tea in bed or work on some correspondence. You can also see some of the stained glass that adorned windows in nearly every room of the family’s portion of the residence. Every set of leaded glass windows sported a unique design.

Here is one of the landings in the stairwell with lovely stained glass.

We finally made it all the way up into the tower and found this intricate mosaic floor. The view was spectacular as well. I can only imagine how much better it would have been when it was surrounded by rolling hills and countryside instead of city buildings.

In contrast to the daughter’s bedroom, this room was reserved for the mistress’s top servant. Notice the sewing machine and silver to polish. She would never sit idle.

This next photo is a bit clever writing that tickled my funny bone. In 1919, the federal government leased the castle and used it as a military hospital for WWI veterans. In 1921, the castle was used as a school – Victoria College. In 1968, it was taken over by the Victoria Conservatory of Music who remained there until 1979. At that point, The Castle Society was allowed to begin work in transforming Craigdarroch into a museum. However, during the 1970’s, while the conservatory was in full swing, the castle played host to many concerts. This tongue-in-cheek article describes one such evening of entertainment. As a writer, I fully enjoyed the clever repartee. 

I hope you enjoy the pictures!

Have you ever visited a caste? If so, which one?

Bargain Book Bonus

It’s rare to have a new release go on sale so soon after making its debut, but Zach and Abigail’s story is doing just that. If you haven’t read More Than Words Can Say yet, now’s your chance to get the e-book version for only $1.99! And if you have read it, this would make a wonderful summer gift to email to a friend or family member.

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Dressing for Independence Day (plus a giveaway)

Nothing puts me in a patriotic frame of mind more than seeing bunting proudly displayed on homes and businesses. In fact, I recently took a trip to Honey Grove, TX, the setting for my most recent release, More Than Words Can Say, and I saw this house.

Not only was this a gorgeous Victorian-era home restored to its former glory, but it was a patriotic home as well. It was only the middle of June, but they already had their bunting on display for all to appreciate and enjoy. I knew I had to take a photo because a key turning point in my story centers around a 4th of July Parade in Honey Grove.

Abigail and her sister Rosalind have decorated their bakery with red-white-and-blue bunting and paper festooning in keeping with the holiday festivities, but in addition to decorating their portion of the town square, they decide to decorate themselves as well. Rosalind (a young beauty) has been chosen at the very last minute to be Honey Grove’s Queen Bee and is to be featured in the parade. Despite the late notice, Rosalind agrees to participate so that she can promote the bakery by handing out honey-glazed biscuits to parade goers. Thankfully, Rosalind is handy with a needle.

Here’s a scene from our hero’s point of view. Like most men, Zach has grown impatient waiting on his wife and her sister to appear . . .

The door opened. Zach spun around at the sound of the hinges.

“It’s about t—” The complaint died on his tongue as his wife stepped through the doorway. She’d abandoned her work apron and changed her dark blue shirtwaist for a white lacy confection with a pleated front that highlighted her abundant curves. She’d tied a red sash around her waist that set off her blue skirt with patriotic flair and had somehow folded a scrap of leftover paper festooning from the shop’s decorations into a circle thing that looked remarkably like a flower. It sat pinned it to her blouse like a brooch. Not only that, but she’d magically woven red ribbon through the braid on her head, a ribbon he was certain hadn’t been there when they’d been working side-by-side that morning.

I imagine Abigail and her sister dressed a bit like this. Abby with a red ribbon at her waist and a patriotic paper flower brooch. Rosalind in a fancier white dress with leftover red-white-and-blue bunting draped over her hips and bustled at the back.

“Isn’t she stunning?” Abigail asked as she turned her face away from him.

She? He only saw Abigail.

However, when Abigail gestured behind her, Zach finally noticed Rosalind stepping into the hall. She didn’t make his heart pound like Abby did, but he had to admit she was a right fine looking female. They must have taken curling tongs to her hair, for it hung in blonde ringlets down her nape in a way that reminded him of the fancy women in New York who used to bring donation baskets to the orphanage at Christmas.

Her clothes were much fancier than her sister’s, too. All white and frilly. She’d taken some of the bunting fabric and fashioned an overskirt that draped down her front and pulled up into a big bow at the back. She wore a straw hat decorated with more of those red, white, and blue paper flower things.

For someone who’d known for less than twenty-four hours that she was going to be the star attraction of the Fourth of July parade, she’d done an impressive job of improvising a patriotic ensemble that would no doubt put Sophia Longfellow to shame.

Abigail shot him a look that felt remarkably like a kick to the shin. Obviously, she expected him to say something. And not to her.

He smiled at Rosie. “I’ve never seen a prettier Lady Liberty.”

Abby beamed at him, making him stand a little taller since he’d somehow managed not to stick his foot in his mouth. Then she took her sister’s hand. “You’re beautiful, Rosalind. No one deserves the title of Honey Grove’s Queen Bee more than you.”

Abigail and Rosalind might not have been dressed quite like the lady on this vintage Victorian postcard, but they were creative in using what they had to create festive and patriotic ensembles.

I don’t have too many patriotic ensembles myself, but when the time is right I have been know to pair red, white, and blue items from my closet in new and interesting ways.

What is your favorite way to decorate either your home or yourself for the 4th of July?

Leave a comment to be entered for a chance to win an autographed copy of More Than Words Can Say and see what disaster befalls Abigail during that fateful parade.

More Than Words Can Say has Released!!!

The wait is finally over!

More Than Words Can Say is now available!

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I’m so excited to share Zach and Abigail’s story with you. Dozens of readers wrote to tell me that they fell in love with Zacharias Hamilton in his big brother role in More Than Meets the Eye. I have to admit that I did, too. Finding the perfect heroine for him, was a challenge, but Abigail’s feisty independence, her big heart, and her dedication to family became a recipe for love that Zach couldn’t ignore. Oh, and she can bake like a dream. The old adage about the way to a man’s heart being through his stomach didn’t become a classic for nothing. Wink, wink.

I thought I’d introduce you to Abigail with a fun little excerpt.

Her cheeks were growing pink. Probably because he was just standing there staring at her like an idiot instead of saying something.

Tightening his grip on the square, he cleared his throat. “What kind of proposition?”

She thrust a set of papers at him, the sheets crinkling as the corners bent against his chest. “A business proposition. A rather . . . um . . . unconventional one, but one I believe will prove beneficial to both of us if you’ll look past the first hurdle.”

He reached for the papers. “That hurdle being?”

She straightened her posture, which was an impressive trick of engineering since she was already standing as stiff as the board he’d been working on moments ago. Then she met his gaze and something grabbed at his gut. “Marriage,” she said. “To me.”

A cough exploded in his throat. He ducked his chin and turned aside, the choking sensation worsening to the point that he had to brace his arms against the workbench as he struggled to control the spasms. He’d always wondered how his brother Seth felt when an asthma attack hit. Now he knew.

“It might appear to be a beggar’s bargain on the surface,” she said from behind him, “but I promise there are benefits.”

At the word benefits, images jumped immediately to Zach’s mind. Vivid images. Of bedsheets and unpinned hair. Of luscious curves, dimpled smiles, and welcoming glances.

His throat constricted further. Not even a cough could escape now.

“To start with, you can have all the sticky buns you like free of charge. For life.”

Breakfast. She was talking about breakfast.

Finally, a bit of air seeped into his lungs, allowing him to wrestle his unruly thoughts into submission as he turned to face Miss Kemp. He leaned back against the workbench, not yet trusting his knees to hold him upright on their own, and forced himself to meet his tormentor’s gaze.

He thrust the crumpled papers back at her. “I ain’t lookin’ for a wife.”

She made no move to collect the unwanted documents. “There’s a law,” she blurted. “A ridiculously archaic city ordinance that precludes women from owning businesses in Honey Grove. After my father died, the city council gave me three months to grieve, then approached me with an ultimatum. If I don’t sell the business, I can either partner with a male financial backer by the end of the month or have the marshal close the bakery doors for me. Permanently.”

Zach frowned. That seemed a bit extreme, but he didn’t doubt her word. Plenty of men believed that women belonged in the home and nowhere else. And he wouldn’t put it past them to enforce their will on her by dusting off some outdated legislation.

“That’s unfortunate, but I still don’t see what this has to do with me.”

Dimples appeared for the first time that afternoon as her lips curved in a triumphant grin. “You, my dear sir, are option number three.”

Grab your copy of Zach and Abigail’s story today!

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  • What are your favorite baked items for romantic occasions?
  • What treats do you bake specifically for that special someone in your life?

By the way, today is my 27th wedding anniversary. Still living the happily ever after and loving it!

Hmm . . . maybe I should whip up some baked goodies for my heroic hubby. Does refrigerated cinnamon roll dough count?