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Ecstatic

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The word ecstatic means: Feeling or expressing overwhelming happiness or joyful excitement, and that is what I’m doing here today.

I haven’t posted in a very long time. I’m not sure anyone out there remembers this site or will even read this post, but that doesn’t matter.

Let me explain… I do not consider myself a writer.

I am a reader.

I wrote a book that did not come from talent or imagination. It was just me telling my life story, punctuation, spelling errors and all. I started this blog to publicise that book, but soon found myself happier reading other blogs than writing one myself. So I stopped.

Now why am I sitting here today?…  Writing. Good question!

The only answer I can think of is excitement. I’m so excited, I can’t sit still and I want to shout from the roof top.

I’m going to England!

I’ve been there before. Many times actually, but this time is different. This time I’m going on a ‘literary pilgrimage’.

My parents are coming to Norway (where I live) for a visit, this Spring. My mother suggested that maybe her and I could take a little trip, an excursion while they are here. My first thought was Paris but then a friend soon put another idea into my head. Her and her daughter had just purchased cheap tickets to London and asked if we would like to travel with them.

Except for seeing a show and afternoon tea, London didn’t tempt me. Knowing however, that my mother didn’t care where we went, a thought crossed my mind. The same thought that crosses my mind whenever I think of England. Jane Austen.

Jane Austen has long been my favorite author. I’ve read all her books and although pleasurable, not an easy task. At least not for an American like myself. It’s like reading in another language, new and romantic. I love everything about them. While there is plenty of plot and adventure, they are genteelly written and domestically structured around marriage. They are about women.

If you have never attempted to read one of Jane Austen’s novels, you should, or at least see one of the many films based on them. I’ve seen both the Hollywood and BBC versions, (many times over) neither of which disappoint.

For me it’s not just her writing, but the author herself that entices. I want to walk where she has walked. And that is exactly what I am going to do come June, with a trip to Bath and Chawton cottage.

We will be taking a bus trip from London to Bath, stopping off at Stonehenge. Jane Austen lived several years in Bath. Here we will see the Roman Baths, take afternoon tea and of course visit the Jane Austen Centre.

We will also visit Chawton. I have a friend living near London named Claire, who has kindly offered to drive us. We will visit the village and cottage where Jane Austen spent the last eight years of her life. The literary shrine where six of our greatest novels were first written or given their final form.

I can already hear the birds singing and I’m ecstatic…

A list of my favorite Austen books, in order:

  • Sense and Sensibility
  • Persuasion (surprise)
  • Pride and Prejudice (usually the most popular)
  • Emma
  • Mansfield Park
  • Northanger Abbey

Start reading, Mom!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scotland

I was in Scotland this past week to meet with a group of women writers. All of us have written or are in the process of writing books about women and the perils they sometimes face. We were there to listen and support one another through the tough process of writing, publishing and promoting our stories. I feel honored to have been included in this newly formed alliance and look forward in seeing where it takes us…

Ingrid Schippers the Dutch co-author of Bloodlines Touch Not the Cat, and I, stayed at the Bargany B&B in Troon. I had a beautiful view of the Firth of Clyde from my room and woke up every morning to the delightful smell of a full Scottish breakfast waiting. Ingrid is also in the process of writing a life-make-over book for women.

Full Scottish breakfast

On our first evening before meeting up with the others, we had dinner at a local pub and were joined by her co-author of Bloodlines, Tom McKerley. Tom lives in Troon and their book is a Scottish Genealogy Mystery Novel, which is a fantastic book that I highly recommend. No surprise Ingrid and I ordered fish & chips for dinner, while Tom ordered Haggis (I did try it and here is the picture to prove it) It tasted okay, I guess, but I don’t think I’ll be eating it again.

When in Scotland, do as the Scottish…

The following day, Ingrid and I set out for the town center and what do you think was the first thing we came across? A used bookstore – which is every writers dream! I was thrilled to find a book of Scottish Love Poems. A great souvenir.

We also stumbled across a great little coffee shop that sold original Scottish arts, craftwork and jewelry called, The Little Shop With No Name. Where we procrastinated intensely over a selection of homemade cakes offered and ultimately ended up with an assortment of them all. They were delicious and easily washed down with two cups of piping hot, green tea.

Lemon Drizzle Cake, Scottish Dumpling, Rich Macadamia Fruit Cake and Cinnamon Apple Scones – yummy!

We worked off our sugar rush with a long walk, on the soft sandy beaches of Troon…

Later that evening we joined the others in a literary powwow, which lead the way to plenty of laughter, a few tears, some spicy Indian food and Champaign. I’m glad I went.

Troon Center

The promenade along the beach

Thanks for a great day Ingrid!