My busy lifestyle relaxes and eases toward bliss––every time I experience Afternoon Tea. An English tradition customarily savored in the mid-afternoon, there’s something to be said for slowing the pace of one’s life to sip tea, partake of dainty finger sandwiches, scones with Devonshire cream if you’re lucky, and delicate squares served on three-tiered porcelain plates. The presentation alone quiets the frantic heart.
I recently shared this English tradition with my youngest daughter at Venus Sophia Tea Room and Vegetarian Eatery. Located in Victoria, British Columbia, in the heart of China town, we had waited nearly a year to visit the Eatery together. This was my first visit and the experience was perfect!
My favorite part of Afternoon Tea is the scones, but I have to say, the mushroom pinwheels and strawberry mascarpone sandwiches were delicious, too. The image below displays the dainties which were set perfectly. Afternoon Tea can leave you on the fuller side, but the proportions were perfect. We ate everything!
If you’re ever in the vicinity of Venus Sophia, stop by and enjoy Afternoon Tea! (The restaurant advises making reservations ahead of time.) And allot plenty of time for a good visit with good conversation!
Reeling after the death of her father, Lady Sophia can’t accept the news that she’s a bastard. Turning to the parish priest for support, she doesn’t suspect that someone has rewritten her social status. Shunned by society, and betrayed by her former fiancé, Sophia refuses to face further scandal. She depends on Mathias to see her through the nightmare her life has become, but their growing feelings cross the lines of propriety.
After a family tragedy, Mathias Rohland entered the priesthood for all the wrong reasons. When he meets Sophia, he sees the forbidden life he’s always wanted, but his commitment to the church, his vow of celibacy, and a familial promise made, seem impossible to forsake.
Can Sophia overcome the wrongs done and learn the truth? Can Mathias cast off the shackles of his past and bear out a positive future? Sacrificing all for the woman he’s come to love.
The word on the street is politics and I can’t escape the conversation. No matter where I turn: television, my smart device, or social media applications; I encounter a constant verbal diarrhea of confrontational advertising. The mesmerizing posts are like a noxious drug that feed on me. I confess that some comments are entertaining.
“Wake up, Shelley. You don’t like this. The good and the bad are poisoning your reading mind.”
My creative being has always believed that the world would be a better place if we colored our social words with a thoughtful argument, kindness, and respect. Let’s face it, a democracy works better with frank and honest communication. But everyone’s right. Everyone’s wrong, and some doomsayer is probably already predicting that the world will come to an end. Oh dear! I think it’s safest not to take a side. Although I appreciate the honest passions being expressed, I’ve decided to spend less time scrolling and fewer hours watching news opinions to do something else.
I’m returning to the Art of Reading. Books, that is!
And why not? In a fictional world, I can escape to a setting where Outlanders travel through time, Lords fight over thrones, and Tudor Queens pray for a son. Hey, if it gets too shocking, I can always fling the book across the room. But I won’t fling the book because… kindle reader! (An attempt at humor.)
But seriously, there’s something amazing about reading a good book. Why not join me. Put the smart device down for a minute and return to the art of reading. So many genres to choose from!
It’s my first work day of the new year and I’m excited to share the writing projects that I’ll be pursuing over the next twelve months.
Rohland’s Cross, A forbidden Love
Coming this Easter:
Years ago, I wrote a novel about a couple’s forbidden love. Specifically, the ecclesiastical challenge a priest faces when while counselling a fallen woman, he falls in love.
I revisited this novel during the Christmas holidays and liked what I was reading so much, I began the editing and revision process. I hope to publish this book prior to Easter.
Madeleine, A King’s Daughter
Coming in June:
The novel celebrates Canada’s 150th Birthday. The story of Madeleine, one woman of many, who travels to the new world of New France to seek a better future by procuring herself a husband. But will the secret she hides challenge a future with her spouse?
The True-Born King, A MedEvil Romantasy
Coming in December:
This novel will be book three in the Odin Saga. Why do I wait to share this third book? The second novel in the saga, The Ebony Queen, was a complicated story to write. I felt I needed time to properly explore the third instalment to weave proper justice elements into the story.
I don’t want to give too much away, but given the title: when the queen takes ill, her advisors craft a plot to place the rightful king on the throne. But what challenges will the true-born son of King Rickard face should the ebony queen recover, or if Daemonis and his son, the former King Lowell, make their presence known in the new kingdom?
That’s all for the 2017 year. It’s an ambitious goal, I admit, but I’m looking forward to the challenge!
It’s an amazing feeling releasing a new book. Most readers could not comprehend the amount of work that bleeds into a novel from the beginning conception of the story to the final moment when you press the publishing button and release your work into the world. As I release A Lasting Harmony, I want to share a few of the reasons why I chose to write about the heroine Jade Carter ( Bestselling country music star) and her knight in shining armor, Jason Knight.
Every author shares a note of their life story when they write a book, and in a way, Jade Carter is the singer inside my soul that has always wanted to connect with the world on a more personal level. In my past, I’ve played Clarinet in a concert band, sung in a church choir, and even been a vocalist in a garage band. But, as a young girl, I stood at the screen door of my life and sang out to the world
I go out walkin, after midnight, out in the moonlight just like we used to do.
I’m always walkin, after midnight, searching for you….
I must have been all of four or five years old. My life was not idyllic. I was an abused child, living in a trailer court with a mother and father who did not love each other, and I wanted for love. So as my skies turned gloomy, I literally stood at the screen door, singing to the world. I wonder what my trailer park neighbors thought?
?w=300″ alt=”patsy-cline-after-midnight” width=”300″ height=”300″ />I didn’t have a relationship with my father when he passed away in April 2016, but I can thank him for one gift, the introduction of Patsy Cline into my life. He enjoyed a love for country music and one of his records had the song Walkin after Midnight included in the album. As I grew up, I never really formulated the same enjoyment for country music, but I really ‘loved’ this Patsy Cline artist, so this is why her music became a part of my life, and Jade’s singing act in the town of Harmony. It seemed appropriate that Mrs. Arbuckle, or Mrs. A as known to the residents of The Thurston Hotel, would also love Patsy’s music, songs that have a delicious sorrow woven into the lyrics. Sweet Dreams especially, marries Jade to her past, which ignites her inner conflict in A Lasting Harmony, as harmony is something Jade desperately wants as she fights to win over her past as well as her personal struggle with drug and alcohol addiction.
Why can’t she forget her past and start her life anew… Why can’t any of us?
A Lasting Harmony attempts to portray the struggle of addiction as it relates to Jade Carter’s life. In writing this story, I was mindful of the artists that have lost their battle with drug and alcohol abuse. My novel is a contemporary romance, so I have attempted to write my story without going into any great discussion about addiction and its subsequent cost to society. However, it saddens me that our world continues to lose great talent.
The songs that artists were singing, the songs that they could still be singing, will never be written, nor heard, again… How sad is that?
The good news is that there’s a ‘knight’ who live in the town of Harmony, and he will provide the happily-ever-after, and ALasting Harmony, that Jade is searching for. A Lasting Harmony is available now!
I am delighted to announce that my next novel, A Lasting Harmony, will be published on October 27, 2016. A Thurston Hotel Novel, this title is book five in a series of twelve books written in collaboration with eleven Alberta authors.
I really enjoyed writing this book and I hope you’ll enjoy reading it. I’m giving you a taste of what’s to come just over a month from now.
A Lasting Harmony: Backblurb
Fired from her music contract due to drug and alcohol addiction, Jade Carter relocates to Harmony to heal her wounds and rethink her ailing career. But when she checks in at the Thurston Hotel, hoping for a second chance, not everything is as it appears. Taking pity on the singer’s dire situation, General Manager Ben Thurston hires her, but not in the way she expects. Jade is soon attracted to bartender Jason Knight, but will her turbulent history and tenuous actions challenge a future with him?
Jason left the corporate world behind to settle in the Rocky Mountains for a healthier lifestyle. When Jade Carter walks into his lounge and into his life, a love at first sight type of chemistry ignites between them. But when they’re photographed together in a compromising embrace, local media attention forces them into a show of commitment.
Is it just pretend? Or could it be more? Can Jason prove himself to be a knight in shining armor who provides the lasting harmony Jade needs?
To my delight, The Queen’s Bouquet arrived today. I removed the stopper and breathed in the rich perfume, and imagined a time when Marie-Antoinette might have enjoyed the same scent. With exotic notes of savoir-faire and Parisienne history, I find myself wanting to hold this bottle close to my heart!
Le bouquet de la Reine is a collaboration between Guerlain and the Chateau de Versailles. In purchasing the perfume, I have supported the restoration of the royal apartments of the Trianon palace, which was much loved by Marie-Antoinette. Created by french perfumer Thierry Wasser, the perfume is inspired by one of queen Marie-Antoinette’s favourite flowers, jasmine, and the gardens of Versailles.
Having visited the Chateau de Versailles and being that I am a lover of history, it is such a pleasure to have purchased this limited edition perfume. Marie-Antoinette would surely have loved it!
Tulips are blooming in Vancouver and the air is fresh and clean. I glimpse red and yellow petals on the street below from my high-rise hotel window. I yearn to go to the flowers, bend down to the ground in the middle of a busy intersection and breathe their scent. But I don’t permit myself to leave the room. Commitment and a need to write; a need to finish my novel. Instead, I’ll write in view of spring with the aim of achieving today’s goals.
Where do you write? Do you have daily goals? Do you achieve your word count each day?
Normally, I write in my office at home, each and every day with the exception of Sundays. I’ve found over the years that repetition has earned solid results. Dr. Patrick Finn, a University of Calgary professor said at writing workshop:
“You are what you repetitively do.”
He’s right. A regular routine has earned this author a reasonable word count each day. I’ve watched words grow into something amazing as book two of my Odin Saga (1st draft) nears completion. (55,000 words and growing.)
I work to achieve between 500 and 1000 daily words. Recently, I tried something new, a writing date with friends. Writing can be a very internal, lonely place, so it’s fabulous when you’re working through plot issues. It’s also a great way to get to know your writing colleagues!
But wherever you choose to create, be it in a coffee shop or at home, be sure you sit yourself down in a chair and write. For words cannot grow into stories, without your regular writing commitment.
Located in Memphis, Tennessee, The River Inn of Harbor Town lists itself as a ladies traveller preferred hotel. I think the boutique-styled accommodations would appeal to every gender and age, but especially to those that want a relaxed getaway, a romantic escape, or even a peaceful retreat. Overlooking the Mississippi river, it was a pleasure to stay here.
The River Inn offers several amenities for its $257.00 (more or less) per night room charge. At check-in, we were offered a glass of wine. A really nice touch! We sipped our white and red infusions in the front parlour while the pianist (Laura) entertained us with various songs. We were dazzled with our very own private concert.
I prefer fine dining as I appreciate both a culinary experience and a quiet atmosphere. Paulette’s restaurant is located inside The River Inn, which is convenient to guests that don’t want to venture out. The cuisine was tastefully prepared and I thoroughly enjoyed my medium-rare steak. However, guests also have the option of the Terrace and Tug’s, a casual grill. The Terrace is located on the upper level of the inn and offers an amazing view of the Mississippi.
Port and Lindt chocolate was waiting in our room when we returned after dinner. Another complimentary and guilty pleasure.
The inn has reading spaces where you can borrow a book. In the morning, guests will find freshly brewed coffee on the empty shelf.
Breakfast is complimentary if you’re staying at the inn. I really enjoyed the Eggs Benedict.
Finally, you must walk along the banks of the Mississippi river. It’s dog friendly and perhaps like me, you’ll find treasures of yesterday along her shores.
I’ve always been the type of person who enjoys sharing secrets, or at the very least, gossip. So it’s really tough not being able to say a word about my next publishing project.
I’ve entered into a contractual agreement to write a more contemporary novel, a sweet romance, which will be released in the fall.
In the meantime, I continue to write ‘A Rain of Terror’, book two in the Odin series. The first draft is not yet complete, but I hope to publish this novel by the summer solstice. This is very doable given my current writing pace.
I’m really excited about potentially releasing two books this year and can’t wait to tell my readers more.