‘While Love Stirs’ by Lorna Seilstad

ls wlsSTORY: After graduating from Fannie Farmer’s School of Cookery in 1910, Charlotte Gregory is ready to stir things up. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to travel, lecture, and give cooking demonstrations on the very latest kitchen revolution–the gas stove–and certainly doesn’t mind that the gas company has hired the handsome Lewis Mathis to perform at her lectures. Lewis encourages her work, especially her crusade to introduce fresh, appetizing, nutritious food to those convalescing in hospitals. But young hospital superintendent Dr. Joel Brooks is not convinced any changes should be made–especially by this outspoken young woman.

When Charlotte and Joel are coerced into planning a fund-raising gala for the hospital, will this combustible pair explode?

Fan favorite Lorna Seilstad is back with a breezy, lighthearted love triangle that will keep readers guessing. Attention to historic detail adorns the timeless story of a young woman looking for true love and making her way in a rapidly changing world.

REVIEW: Charlotte Gregory and her sisters, Hannah and Tessa, grew up on a farm and know what it’s like to have to work hard.  When Hannah married her husband, Lincoln, Charlotte and Tessa were invited to live with his wealthy Aunt Sam.  The sisters lost their parents some years earlier and have become a comfort to Aunt Sam.

It is now 1910, and Charlotte has just graduated from Fannie Farmer’s School of Cookery.  She has always loved to cook and her dream is to be a chef.  Ah – but those jobs seem to be reserved for men. She then enters a cooking competition sponsored by the gas company and wins a new gas stove and a job offer.  Cooking with gas is the new and modern way to cook.  Her job takes her to different cities where she lectures and demonstrates cooking with gas.  She has one week working and one week off. 

Around that time, her sister, Hannah, has just given birth to a little girl.  While visiting her at the hospital, she meets her sister’s doctor, Dr. Joel Brooks.  While Charlotte is impressed with the doctor’s manners and good looks, she is appalled at the bland food being offered to the patients.  An outspoken woman, Charlotte tries to introduce better cooking and nutrition ideas to the hospital itself.  The nurses are all for it but the doctor is not open to change in that area.  He feels that what monies the hospital has should be used for new equipment. 

When Charlotte is free from her lecturing job, she is determined to see that changes are made at the hospital.  A stubborn young woman, she is well paired with Dr. Brooks who is just as stubborn.  While sparks fly with their disagreements, they also begin to light up an attraction between the two.

Aunt Sam suggests a fund-raising ball to help purchase some of the things the hospital needs and set up a kitchen with a goal for better food for the patients.  This means that Charlotte and Joel are working closely together to prepare for the ball.

This book offers several plots woven together so there is never a dull moment.  There are bits of interesting cooking tips, a mystery, crazy weather events and medical emergencies.  That means there is something for everyone.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and look forward to more from this author.

Connie for b2b

Fan2Author Interview with Becky Monson!

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000031_00006]b2bConnie: Becky, before I start with the questions, how about you tell us a bit about your writing career so far?

Becky Monson: My writing career started when I was working in an office and I was basically the only person there. It was incredibly boring. So I decided I was going to write a book. That was long before Thirty-Two Going on Spinster came out and what the story started as, is not what it became. I wrote the story over many years, stopping to have a baby and then picking it up again. It wasn’t until I heard about a friend who was self-publishing and doing fabulously that I decided to really finish it. It’s been a crazy and fun rollercoaster ride over this past year and a half. I’ve loved it!

b2b: What was your favorite book as a child?

BM: I would have to say Charlotte’s Web. I really adored that book. Still do.

b2b: Is there a book you’re never tired of reading over and over?

BM: I can read Can You Keep a Secret by Sophie Kinsella over and over again and never get sick of it. Also the Harry Potter series.

b2b: Do you like reading classics and is there one that you’re embarrassed to say you’ve never read?

BM: I used to love reading the classics, but it’s been a while. I’ve never read Gone With the Wind. I know, I’m ashamed. It’s on my to-read list, though! So hopefully soon!

b2b: Is there a book that you recently read that you wish you had written?

BM: Oh my gosh – have you read any of Penny Reid’s books? If you haven’t, go get them now. She is so fantastic. Smart, witty, romantic. Anytime I read her books I think, dang it! Why can’t I write like her? I tell her that I want to be like her when I grow up, only I’m five years older. She’s an author to watch, for sure.

b2b: What’s a movie adaptation of a book that you loved or that you wish it is made?

BM: Well, I would love to see Thirty-Two Going on Spinster made into a movie! I think it would be so fun! A book that was made into a movie that I loved was Austenland by Shannon Hale. It was almost better than the book… almost.

b2b: If you were given only one genre to read for the rest of your life, what would it be?

BM: Chick lit, of course! It’s by far my favorite genre. I love that it’s an escape and usually a happy one.

b2b: What was the last book that made you laugh out loud, and what was the last one that made you cry?

BM: The last book that made me laugh out loud was Jayne Denker’s Picture This, which is a super cute book. The last book I read that made me cry was I’m Still Here by Kathryn Biel. Such a fantastic read.

b2b: During a thunderstorm – stay inside or sit on porch watching the show?

BM: I stay inside. Mostly because my kiddos are scared of thunder and lightning. And although he won’t admit it, my husband is too.

b2b: Flannels or Silk?

BM: Flannels.  I like the comfort feeling of it.

b2b: Sports car or SUV?

BM: Well since I’m a mom of three, I can only choose the SUV. I don’t know if I would drive a sports car even after my children grow up. My husband, on the other hand…

b2b: Cats or Dogs?

BM: Cats. But my husband is allergic so we can’t have any animals, which is okay with three young kids – I don’t need to add to the chaos. But when they are older and more responsible, I think it will be sad for them.

b2b: Champagne or Beer?

BM: Neither – I’m a Diet Coke addict. I swear I’m quitting this week, though (I say that 32 Going on Spinsterevery week).

b2b: Movies or TV?

BM: I used to love TV, but the more I write, the less I watch. I do love going to the movies with my husband, that’s kind of our thing. Unless it’s a chick flick, then he’s out and I so I go with my girlfriends.

b2b: What’s your favorite TV show or movie?

BM: The only show I make time to watch is Downton Abbey. I avoided it for a while, but then my husband got me the first three seasons last Christmas and I watched them all in just over a week. I ignored everything! Such a great show, though. As far as movies go, my all-time favorite when I was younger was The Goonies. It actually still might be my favorite.

b2b: Becky, thanks so much for stopping by b2b and we wish you great success with your novels.

BM: Thanks for having me! xoxo

BUY LINKS: Amazon / Nook / iTunes / Kobo

GIVEAWAY!

If you are a fan of chick lit and novels that make you laugh out loud, leave a comment and you may win a copy of Becky Monson’s first novel, “Thirty-Two Going on Spinster” and her new novel, “Thirty-Three Going on Girlfriend.”

Author pic 1bw smallerAUTHOR BIO: By day, Becky Monson is a mother to three young children, and a wife. By night, she escapes with reading books and writing. In her début novel, Becky uses humor and true-life experiences to bring her characters to life. She loves all things chick-lit (movies, books, etc.), and wishes she had a British accent. She has recently given up Diet Coke for the fiftieth time and is hopeful this time will last… but it probably won’t.
Author Links: 32GoingOnThirty / Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads

‘Thirty-Three Going on Girlfriend’ by Becky Monson

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000031_00006]STORY: Julia Dorning thought she would die a lonely spinster. That was until nine months ago, when her world was turned upside down. Now she’s got a dream career as a bakery owner, and a relationship with handsome Jared Moody—a life she never thought possible.

Just as she’s starting to feel comfortable in her new life, Julia is invited to battle it out on national television making cupcakes. An amazing opportunity, if she can muster up the confidence to do it, that is. Then, out of the blue, Jared goes and throws a rather large wrench in their relationship causing Julia to have to make some big decisions. With her two trusted confidants off in wedding la la land, Julia is on her own to figure everything out.
Left to her own devices, will Julia be able to work things out for herself? Or will she make a disaster of it all? Find out in Becky Monson’s sequel to Thirty-Two Going on Spinster!

REVIEW: Julia Dorning is at a happy point in her life.  She owns her bakery and is very happy with her boyfriend, Jared Moody.  However, she has a lot hanging over her head right now because she is facing being in the weddings of her best friend, Betsy Brown, and her sister, Anna.  Julia is to be in both weddings and has agreed to make the wedding cakes for both brides.  Betsy isn’t a problem but Anna is trying to handle all the wedding plans herself thinking that her fiancé, stuffy Jonathan, is too busy being a big-shot attorney.  (Julia’s thoughts – not Anna’s.)  In actuality, Julia is asked to help more and more with her sister’s wedding which keeps her on the go.

Jared owns a consulting company which takes him out of town fairly often.  This is difficult for Julia because she misses him so much.  However, she is staying busy working long hours in her bakery and helping her sister with those never ending wedding plans.  But when she starts to notice a sadness come over Jared and his travel increases, she can’t help but wonder what’s going on.
One of Julia’s passions is watching Cupcake Battles on TV.  Her dream is to be a contestant on the show.  So, one night she makes an audition tape and sent it off to before she could change her mind.  Lo and behold, she is accepted to take part in the competition.  The winner cannot tell who won until the show airs.  I don’t want to give out any spoilers on this competition but to say it’s funny and crazy!
When Jared finally shares his bad news with Julia, her world is turned upside down.  She doesn’t know what will happen to their relationship.  With the stress of this plus the upcoming weddings, Julia is exhausted.
Come share Julia’s life as she takes it one day at a time.  You will love her co-workers and family members.  Each character has been developed perfectly by the author so you feel like you actually know them personally.  The commentary is snappy, witty and fun.  The story is chick-lit at its finest and I loved every word of Becky Monson’s second book.
Be sure to read her first book, “Thirty-Two Going on Spinster.”  Her second book is a spinoff of the first but both are great as a stand alone.  My review of her first book is on Goodreads.
I want to personally offer Becky Monson huge congratulations on both her novels.  Her writing style is terrific and I’m betting other readers will become fans of hers as well.
Connie for b2b
Complementary advanced copy provided by the author

‘Love and Let Spy’ by Shana Galen

sg lalsSTORY: Her name is Bonde, Jane Bonde . . .

A beautiful and eligible member of the ton, Jane has more than a few secrets: she’s one of the Crown’s most elite agents. She may be deadly, but she doesn’t know a thing about fashion, flirtation, or love . . . until Dominic Griffyn shakes up her carefully stirred world and asks her to be his bride. He’s exactly the kind of man she’s not looking for. And he’s dangerous, because falling into his arms is so much more satisfying than saving England from her enemies.

He’s an improper gentleman who needs a wife. . .

Tall, dark, and tortured, Dominic Griffyn is haunted by demons from his past. When his stepfather insists that he marry, Dominic allows himself to hope that the beautiful but mysterious Miss Bonde might help him forget his troubles. As they grow closer, it’s clear that there’s more to Jane than danger. She might be just what his neglected heart needs

REVIEW: It is 1816 and Miss Jane Bonde, a beautiful, slender young woman with blonde hair and blue eyes is happy with her life and has no desire to get married.  Why, you ask?

Because Jane is a spy and a darn good one at that!  Jane lives with her uncle and guardian who has taught her the spy craft.  Now, he is informing her that it is time she gets married.  Balking at his request, Jane wants to continue with her work to catch a very elusive French spy.

At age 32, Dominic Griffyn, stepson of Lord Edgeberry, Marquess of Edgeberry, has also been informed that it is past time that he marries and the families are pairing him up with Jane Bonde.  

Both Jane and Dominic aren’t really keen on this marriage decision but have no choice.  When Dominic discovers Jane’s secret career, he inadvertently ends up joining her on some missions.  Jane does not want Dominic with her because she works better alone.  Their escapades are dangerous and scary, but also humorous at times.

The novel is loosely based on James Bond’s “Live and Let Die” which adds some tongue-in-cheek humor to the story that will have the reader laughing.  But there are some poignant scenes that will touch your heart as well.

This is the third novel of Ms. Galen’s spy series.  The first two novels are “Lord and Lady Spy” and “True Spies.”  Shana Galen has an amazing talent for writing spy novels which has resulted in a huge following.

Connie for b2b

Outlander Ep. 105 ‘Rent’

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Do I need to tell you that there will be SPOILERS? If you’ve not watched the episode, you may not want to read this post.

NOTE: From this point on I’ll not be recapping [there are so many sites that are doing it, and some are really good while others attempt to be funny and come across silly, but to each his own. We are all entitled to our point of view, and let me tell you, there are many] the episode but will let you in on my thoughts about it. You’re welcome to join in the conversation and put your two cents in.

On the road again ... Photo credit STARZ

On the road again …
Photo credit STARZ

Okay, I really need to get a life … As of now I’m all over the road with Outlander series. Seriously, I watch it every day … sometimes twice a day. I need an intervention. I’m not joking people…Inhale, exhale …

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Let’s start with what this episode did for me. I watched Claire get an eyeful of Scotland, and while she got to drink in all the vistas, I was left thirsting for it. I honestly can’t pick my favorite episode so far, but this one tugged at my heartstrings from the first frame!

This whole episode was an ode to the beauty of Scotland and its past. I salivated over scenes upon scenes of amazing scenery and gut wrenching conflicted emotions of Claire, Jamie and Dougal. I surprisingly didn’t cry at the most dramatic scene in which Dougal rips Jamie’s shirt the first time. I cried at the scene in which 2014-09-07 20.44.01Claire shyly joins the women to help them waulking wool. My heart went out to this young woman who is trying so hard to stay strong. Here more than in any episode she feels as an outlander. In the end the strain of being excluded from the men, she takes a stroll around the village in search of companionship, coming upon some women and you can see the happiness on her face as she joins them. She does everything they do trying to belong and blend in. I give Caitriona Balfe props for embracing this role. She plays the role to perfection. So many people are commenting on her delivery of that famous line “Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ” that I thought I’ll give you my two cents on it. I think that JHRC can be said in so many different ways …it can sound as a prayer, as a curse word, without passion and only as a sigh, softly spoken in awe …and on and on. When I read the books, in my mind and “my own English accent” I say it slower, with an exasperated sigh … but honestly, there really isn’t a right or a wrong way to say it.

Photo credit STARZ

Photo credit STARZ

But I digress … Let me get back to this episode and Jamie next. Have you all noticed the intensity with which Sam Heughan embodies this role in every single episode? I honestly think he’s ‘taken on’ the role so well that he’s playing him with an instinct of who Jamie is to him, rather than the direction. Remember what he said? This is his Jamie too. Ron Moore is damn lucky to have found Sam Heughan and snapped him. I’m gob smacked that GoT people missed on this young man’s talent! It has to be the serendipity, right?!

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LOL! I digress yet again! With each episode we get a new insight into Jamie and who he really is and I’m applauding Ron Moore for not rushing his character in becoming ‘King of Men’ within two episodes. It would have felt rushed and uncharacteristic of Jamie, not to mention inauthentic to the books.

105 o6I loved watching his conflicted emotions and walking that tight rope between what he wants and feels is the right thing to do, and what his duty is, which sometimes is not one and the same. Jamie at this point in the story is still an outlaw [he made himself scarce when they came upon the watch, remember?]; he’s still under the protection of the MacKenzie and on this trip at the mercy of Dougal, an uncle that despite of his love for him, wouldn’t bat an eye to kill him, if he decided not to go with his plan to aid his cause; the English Captain Randall who is

Photo credit STARZ

Photo credit STARZ

dogging him and wants him alive so he can continue his torture of him before he kills him; his growing attraction to a woman that he doesn’t understand but still wants to protect in as much as he’s capable at this time [giving her advice to not judge them so harshly] but conform to the place she is in now. At this point, he’s no kin to her, therefore he has no right to her and taking her side in any argument or situation she finds herself in [he soothes Angus’s feathers after Claire calls them all thieves by calmly telling Angus the food she refused to eat, would only leave them with more] would cast suspicion on him.

2014-09-07 19.25.26Jamie has absolutely nothing right now. No home, no land and really, no real family. The only thing he can do is endure. He gave his word that he will be obedient and that’s exactly what he’s doing. Every scene in which finds Claire in danger or on the ‘outs’ with either the clansmen or the English, Jamie is always watching out for her, but using his brains rather than the brawn. It is exactly what the books describe him to be. He tried to give Claire his best advice tonight. For crying out loud, she called them all thieves! For these passionate, burly and devoted men, that was a huge insult and Angus, who by the way is as hot-headed as she is, did the only thing a hurt man would do, he pulled a2014-09-07 23.00.45 knife on her and told her off. She was quick to judge and Jamie pointed out, and rightfully so, to stop getting her nose into things she clearly does not understand. I do understand her frustration, but man! She doesn’t know when to shut the hell up! But then that’s our Clare! We wouldn’t have her any other way!

2014-09-07 20.53.21Now let me talk about these men a bit more. I was participating in a discussion yesterday in which a commenter [and I can honestly say we all are entitled to our opinions, after all we are watching the show with our on POV, so there will be many interpretations and takes on how we perceive what is transpiring in front of us] is very disappointed with this episode and the way the men came off in it. She sees them as gentlemen and feels that they were rude and crude to Claire, and that they were portrayed in the books much favorably. Personally, I am staying away from the books while I watch this series and more on that later, but let me tell you what I see when I look at these men.

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These men are hard-core warriors first and foremost. They are rebels with a cause they will do anything to achieve and protect. Period. They are stuck with a woman they do not trust and believe her an enemy but have a need of her skills so they will use her for it and if in the process they can find out more about her motives as to why she’s in the Highlands all alone, the better.

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Dougal would not hesitate in cutting her throat, if she proves to be a spy and he even said so himself [to her face when they were leaving the cottage and he was helping her on the horse] in the first episode. A gentleman may think it, but would never say it out loud. Their hostility towards her was always prominent. Colum telling her she’s to stay as a ‘guest’ but meaning a prisoner; Dougal having not one, but two men following her every step, and telling her straight out he believes her a spy; even Jamie knows for sure that she is hiding something, although he admits to her that he doesn’t think her a spy.

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They may appear to have accepted her in the earlier episodes but they haven’t by a long shot. Even the old lawyer Ned is sticking close to her and reporting to Dougal every word she utters. Dougal most of all does not trust her and feels that no matter his obvious lust for her, he wouldn’t think twice in killing her. Yet we see them come to her2014-09-07 20.37.55 defense when other people besmirch her name! This is in no way a contradiction to me. It is the first step in accepting her and possibly giving her a chance. The second round of this ‘manly acceptance’ came when she cracked a joke and all were laughing about it. By the way, my crush continues on Murtagh. LOVE this guy. No matter what, he has only one goal: Keep Jamie safe. Have you seen that look on his face as Dougal rips Jamie’s shirt and he leaps without hesitation?! If Jamie hadn’t stopped him, what do you think would have happened?!

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This episode also opened Claire’s eyes to Dougal’s cause. He is a Jacobite and he will do anything to raise money and put Charles Stuart on the English throne. Knowing what she does about the rising of 1745 and the faith that awaits the clans and Highlanders, she can’t figure out if and how to warn them, yet still stay alive. She tries to tell Ned that it is a fact, and that the history will not record another Stuart on the throne, but it will record the slaughter of the clans.

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“History be damned!” Ned says and you can see that she is heartbroken that in only couple of years these men that are loyal, passionate and true to their King and blue and white flag, will probably all die. I loved the history lesson in this episode and that got me 2014-09-07 21.28.06to thinking about the politics of today and the soon to be decided Independence Vote in Scotland. There 2014-09-07 21.29.03are a lot of rumors circulating about the reasons behind UK not picking up the series and one of the reasons was that this show may influence more people to vote YES. I’m not buying that. first, the politics in the book have nothing to do with politics now. Jacobite rebellions [there were more than one?] is about ‘restoration’ of a King and is not about Independence. This is all about rights and money. I have no doubt it will be picked up soon.

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Let me address the book vs. show.

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I can’t stress enough to all the passionate and dedicated book lovers out there. You have to learn to let go of the books for just a bit. They will be there for you always. The show for me is riveting and interesting enough that I’m not even noticing anything else. To me, it’s like reading new material. I love the Voiceover a lot and my hubby even commented that if Claire hadn’t told him what was in that pipe she gave Ned, how would he have known it?

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My thinking is that the book is one thing and the show another. Both have my favorite couple and I can enjoy both separately, without expectations of one not doing the justice to the other. Not gonna lie, it isn’t easy to do but once you do it, I promise that you’ll enjoy the show much more. To put a better perspective on this, just imagine 25 million people out there that have read the books and now are watching and waiting for “their” special scene to come, and it never appears. Now imagine how hard it is for the production to pick and choose what gets in and what doesn’t. I for one couldn’t do the job they are doing so I’m placing my trust into Ron’s hands. From what I saw so far, he is yet to disappoint me.

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These so-called ‘slow’ episodes are crucial for character development of not just Jamie but everyone else. This may be one woman’s journey and perspective but when all is said and done, this is without a doubt an ensemble SHOW. We should treat it and try to understand it and the motives behind it, as such. I urge people to have more patience. When Roger didn’t show up in that first episode,  a lot of people were all over that episode and everybody kept saying how disappointed they were. I’m 100% sure that we will see him in her flashback. Ron has to use that scene to introduce the character because of his future importance. We need to put ourselves into the story and characters and watch them develop at their own pace not ours. I do sympathize though with you and understand where you’re coming from but patience my friends, and some understanding would serve us best.

Photo credit STARZ

Photo credit STARZ

I can’t finish this post without mentioning the music. It continues to mesmerize and add deeper meaning to each scene and I’m really looking forward to the CD or iTunes of it. Bear McCreary is a genius! Check out his blog. He goes in depth about the music he creates for each episode of Outlander. My poor hubby will have to suffer through many hours of listening on our road trips!

Photo Credit STARZ

Photo Credit STARZ

As for the hour, it went by too quickly! We have only three episodes left before the show goes on a short hiatus and I may need serious therapy after watching episode 16. I remember finishing the book around 4 am in the morning and calling in sick, because I was sick. For days I couldn’t get the images out of my mind and cried like a baby!

Oh, and talk about endings, this episode left me gasping for air …

 

 “Tell me madam; are you here by your own choice?”

WHAT?!

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So what are your thoughts on this episode? Do you think Jamie is under used? Is the show too slow for you? Tell us what you liked the best, worst and anything in between … I am ready for this much talked about Episode 106, are you?

Did you know that you can download Ron Moore’s podcast for Episode 105 / RENT for free on  iTunes or listen to it here.

#AskOutlander/Live Twitter Chat w/@grahammctavish

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 · 20h

Find out what it’s like to portray Dougal MacKenzie tomorrow during a live chat with .

Apologies!!!!I am now ON. got delayed with a table read on my next project. But I’m here now. Will do my best to answer as much as I can!

What Are you wearing rgt now ;-)

My costume for The Finest Hours…

What’s the best thing about the Scots?

Their humour and their compassion

Best distilleries to tour on Islay?

Take your time, do them all…

Who do you believe would win a fight to the death? Dwalin or Dougal?

They’d never fight

PHOTO CREDIT STARZ

PHOTO CREDIT STARZ

How do you get a horse to go to the toilet??

Build a big one….

Who did you meet FIRST on the set of @Outlander_Starz (on the first day)

Sam…

Unicorn or dragon?

Unicorn, the national animal of Scotland….

How do you feel about independence?

I am voting YES

Favorite period for historical study (since you mentioned you enjoy history)?

17th is a fave

Can you describe Dougal in three words for me?

Complicated, intriguing, passionate

PHOTO CREDIT STARZ

PHOTO CREDIT STARZ

Is The Beard high maintenance?!?!

The beard is patient and kind…

isn’t it weird that u have the same surname Jamie’s?!?

A happy coincidence…

Do you think Diana caught the Scottish sense of humor in her writings?

She needed no help there, very funny…

Where’s the first place to go when in Scotland?

I love Skye and Mull

When filming how accurate is your wardrobe? What’s under the kilt?

A cool breeze

Do you eat haggis?

Absolutely!

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Black pudding or white pudding?

Stornoway Black…

Favourite book by Jane Austen? *I know you have read Jane Austen

Emma, and P&P

when your’e not filming or working do you live in the states or in Europe?

a suitcase..

Where is Outlander filmed?

Gods own country, Scotland…

What is it like to work with the horses?

They don’t talk over you.

he shinty game in Ep 104 was crazy! How long did it take to film?

A whole day.

important question: what is your favorite brand of whiskey? Need a suggestion.

Too many…

What’s your favorite character from literature?

Becky Sharp, Vanity Fair….great stuff

Do you wish to return to the stage at some point? Any role u want to do?

Yes, One day….

Where was your cover photo taken? I feel I recognize it

Mount Cook, NZ

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After 4 episodes, my secret crush on Dougal isn’t so secret any more. Thanks!

I won’t tell…

Do you prefer pants or your kilt?

Nothing feels like a kilt….

Who was your role model as a kid?

My Father

How long does it take to shoot one full episode?

Between 22-27 days for every 2 eps.

What role was your first paid performance?

Paris in Romeo and Juliet….Long the ago…

How is it like to shoot in your homeland?

A joy, and a privilege!

Is there anything you’d like to take home from the sets?

My weapons…

Did you already know how to ride? Do u have a favorite horse to ride?

I’ve ridden before, yes

Was there anything about filming Outlander that surprised you?

Horses go to the toilet A LOT

What do you like to do in your free time…hobbies/sports?

reading, history, cycling, drawing

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Who is the prankster in the cast?

Stephen has been known to…

Who is the funniest person on set? :)

LaCroix makes ME laugh!

What’s your favorite place to visit in the world? *And hello!

I loved India…

Which cast member has the saltiest language?

that might be….me…

Who or what inspired you to start acting?

I got into it through writing my own material

Did Claire crack your skull with a foam chair?

Foam!! No, it was a breakaway chair.

Who is your “CONSTANT” amongst the cast/crew

Whoever makes the coffee….

Is there a special school for eyebrow acting?

It’s a very select group…

Which of Dougal’s many facets is your fave to portray?

I’m interested in vulnerability…

What’s the “real life” name of the beautiful horse you ride in Outlander?

Lambert!

Have you kept the beard since you finished Outlander?

You betcha!

Flavored or non flavored lattes?

Never flavored!!!

Did you ad lib any of your lines?

Some popped up…

Does Dougal respect or fear Claire?

He admires her, is intrigued by her….

What is your favorite memory from shooting the show?

xo”The people

What is your next project before Season 2?

The Finest hours for Disney

If you weren’t an actor what profession would you choose?

Was going to be a pilot, like my Dad

How difficult is it to film in the rain/mud?

Harder for Cait, wearing only a shift!

Do you have any idea why Dougal would kill Jamie if Dougal is so fond of him?

He is complex…

104

Favorite swear word?

I like to combine them….

What is Dougal’s favorite thing about @grahammctavish?

We have matching beards…

Do you believe Dougal is an honorable man?

Yes, sometimes…

Do you miss you wearing kilt?

How do you know I’m not wearing it now…

Do you think having a beard makes you an Alpha Male?

I think it keeps me warm in the winter.

I sadly have to get back to work. It’s been great, as always. Thanks for the questions…Tulach Ard!!

Anna Belfrage and 5 Fun Facts about …

THE GRAHAM SAGA

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First of all, thank you dear ladies at bookworm2bookworm for inviting me to post on your blog. Being a bookworm myself, I feel quite comfortable in your company! And now, with no more ado, let us leap straight into the fun facts about The Graham Saga:

1. At last! After years of futilely trying everything from mystic mumblings in the darkness of my wardrobe (I was young and had overdosed on Narnia) to touching every single stone circle I came upon, I had more or less given up on time travelling. And then Alex Lind popped into my head, a vibrant woman born in 1976 – and presently living out her life in the 17th century. Yay! Time travelling by proxy – a much safer approach than the real thing.

“Huh,” says Alex, giving me a look that should reasonably have frozen the blood in my veins to ice, “why must you subject me to all this… this…”
“Adventure?” I offer.
“Chaos! Upheaval!” she retorts. She rubs at her hip, at present very sore after her recent encounter with some bad-ass characters down in Barbados.
“Do you want me to write you back to your own time?” I ask, even if I know what the answer will be. Alex can no more live without her 17th century husband – wonderful, gorgeous Matthew, complete with magic hazel eyes and a slow smile that has Alex (and me) melting like a popsicle whenever he turns it our way – than she can live without her lungs.
“Of course not!” she snaps predictably. I smile, she smiles, we turn in synchronisation to regard Matthew, at present busy with his horse. “But how about something less exciting next time round?” she adds.
“Umm…” Nope. Definitely not less exciting – that’s what you get when you go time travelling.

2. The Graham Saga is set in the 17th century because this is by far one of the more fascinating periods in history – and surprisingly under-represented in historical fiction. The poor century is stuck between the 16th century with fascinating female characters like Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots, and the late 18th, where ladies like the Hapsburg empress Maria Theresa and her more famous daughter Marie Antoinette took centre stage. 

But seriously, the 17th century has so much going for it! The establishment of the American colonies, the birth of modern science and the Enlightenment, the constant religious conflicts between Protestants and Catholics (well: between all Protestant factions as well), the first steps towards the future modern democracies – this list can go on and on.
The Graham Saga touches upon a number of these themes. I put my characters through a lot, so over the series Matthew will experience the utter humiliation of living like a slave, Alex will experience the debilitating fear of being branded a witch, they will lose loved ones, be forced to leave their home in Scotland due to religious persecution, seek a new haven in the religiously tolerant Colony of Maryland, come face to face with the nastier aspects of slavery, come into contact with the displaced Native Americans –and then we have the Graham family’s particular nemesis, the horrible Burley brothers. All in all, a spicy soup that would not have been quite as spicy had it not been set in the –taa daa – 17th century.

3. Things I have learnt while researching this series:
No, it is not fun to use moss instead of toilet paper, but it does the job.
Woollen stocking itch – a lot.
Boiling linen is a very effective way of getting those sheets clean (and I used a pine based soft soap) but it is a killer for your back! Lifting steaming wet sheets with a wooden oversized ladle requires concentration and strength. And let’s not start on the state of my hands afterwards…

4. I never intended to write a series – but once I realised that Alex and Matthew had no intention of leaving me alone until I documented all of their adventures (well, most of them) I decided to write the entire series before doing any thinking regarding publication. And as the series evolved, there were a number of occasions when I had to go back to a previous book and tweak or change something. 

“And what makes you think we’re done with you?” Matthew asks from the corner in my head where he is presently lounging, all six feet plus of him.
“What more can happen to you?” I ask.
In reply, he just chuckles and fades away. I hate it when he does that – fade away, I mean. What if he’ll fade away for good once I’ve released the last book in The Graham Saga? No, no, no, no – I can’t allow that to happen, so I guess I’ll do some extra writing just to keep him and his wife alive and well in my head. “Rachel Cooke eyed her mother with disdain. Old and fat, these days Helen Cooke mostly wept, rocking back and forth as she bemoaned her present fate. Crying never helped. Rachel kicked the cat out of the way and ….” Ha! I wonder what Matthew and Alex will make of little Rachel and her five foot six of prickly adolescence.

5. I really set out to write historical fiction. You know, a serious thing reflecting the chaotic 17th century, with the girl-meets-boy ingredient secondary to the overall intrigue. Alex and Matthew had other ideas, and pretty soon I had a love story on my hands – and quite the sizzling love story at that, what with how those two burn for each other. Not that it is easy for a modern woman to rub along with this 17th century hunk of mine. 

“Mine?” Alex’s tone is frigid. “What do you mean, ‘mine’?”
“In the sense that I created him,” I try, but she is not mollified.
“I hear you saying ‘mine’ again about my man and I’ll rinse your mouth out with lye,” she says. Oh dear… my tongue shrivels.
“It’s not all that easy rubbing along with Alex either,” Matthew points out, bringing us back to the original subject. He smiles at his wife in a way that belies his statement, but I know for a fact that there are moments when he is very tempted to belt this opinionated stubborn woman of his. And as to Alex, there are days when she would gladly kick Matthew, irritated beyond reason by his old-fashioned ways. But the moment their fingers brush, the moment their eyes meet, all of that is irrelevant: the only thing that truly matters is that he is her man and she is his woman – that is how it is, that is how it will always be, from well before they were born to long after their death. (And here the author has to take a couple of composing breaths, utterly weakened by that word “deaths”…)

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03_Anna Belfrage

AUTHOR BIO: Anna Belfrage is the author of six published books, all part of The Graham Saga. Set in the 17th century, the books tell the story of two people who should never have met. Matthew Graham is a devout Presbyterian, a veteran of the Commonwealth armies and a man who, initially at least, has a tendency to see the world as black and white. Alex Lind is an opinionated modern woman who has the misfortune (or not) of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, thereby being dragged three centuries back in time to land concussed and badly singed at an astounded Matthew’s feet.

Anna can be found on amazon and on her website or her blog! You can also find her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.

02_Revenge & RetributionREVENGE & RETRIBUTION

Revenge and Retribution is the sixth book in Anna Belfrage’s time slip series featuring time traveller Alexandra Lind and her seventeenth century husband, Matthew Graham.

Life in the Colony of Maryland is no sinecure – as Alex and Matthew Graham well know. But nothing in their previous life has prepared them for the mayhem that is about to be unleashed upon them.

Being labelled a witch is not a good thing in 1684, so it is no wonder Alex Graham is aghast at having such insinuations thrown at her. Even worse, it’s Matthew’s brother-in-law, Simon Melville, who points finger at her.

Not that the ensuing hearing is her main concern, because nowadays Alex’s entire life is tainted by the fear of what Philip Burley will do to them once he gets hold of them – there is no longer any ‘if’ about it. On a sunny May afternoon, it seems Philip Burley will at last revenge himself on Matthew for every single perceived wrong. Over the course of twenty-four hours, Alex’s life – and that of her family’s – is permanently changed.
As if all this wasn’t enough, Alex also has to cope with the loss of one of her sons. Forcibly adopted by the former Susquehannock, Samuel is dragged from Alex’s arms to begin a new life in the wilderness.

How is Alex to survive all this? And will she be able to put her damaged family back together?

Graham Saga Titles

Book One: A Rip in the Veil
Book Two: Like Chaff in the Wind
Book Three: The Prodigal Son
Book Four: A Newfound Land
Book Five: Serpents in the Garden
Book Six: Revenge & Retribution
Book Seven: Whither Thou Goest
Book Eight: To Catch a Falling Star