Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Q & A with Carolyn Miller on Her New Book Underestimating Miss Cecilia



Over the last few weeks I have so enjoyed reading Underestimating Miss Cecilia by Carolyn Miller! I asked Carolyn if she would stop by and answer a few questions about Miss Cecilia for Becky's Bookshelves. She agreed. Here's to House Parties, Prodigal Sons, and Finding True Love! I hope you enjoy!

Tell us about your new release, Underestimating Miss Cecilia that is coming out July 23!


Underestimating Miss Cecilia is the second book in the Regency Brides: Daughters of Aynsley series. It’s about shy, sweet Cecilia Hatherleigh who has always been in love with Edward Amherst, the boy next door. Yet he’s never seen her as anything but the quiet girl in the background as he flirts with the other vivacious women of the ton. 


When a near tragedy brings Edward’s attention to his family duties, this prodigal son decides he needs to settle down with a proper wife. Cecilia hopes to convince him to choose her—but God may want her to forget the wayward nobleman and put her future in His hands alone.


These two try to find their way toward happiness, but prejudice, political riots, and the changing face of England’s societal structures begin to block them at every turn. Can their struggles turn to triumph—or will their paths permanently diverge?


How do you picture the Aynsley family?  How do you picture Cecilia, Edward?  


We’ve met the eldest sister, Caroline, in A Hero for Miss Hatherleigh, and seen something of her strained family situation. Caroline and her sister Cecilia are both blondes, like their mother, in contrast to their youngest sister, Verity, whose dark, petite looks some might consider elfin. Cecilia is a much quieter, more reflective person than Caro, her softer nature meaning she is often talked over, or ignored. She is ladylike, and enjoys writing in her diary, and needlework and other domestic accomplishments.
Edward has “blond hair that never needs curling tongs” and handsome (of course!). As someone who works as a lawyer, he spends a great deal of time indoors - so he’s not the super-buff cliched hero! He is kind, thoughtful, and aware his reputation needs to be lived down. It was fun to write about them! 


I noticed you have compared one of the  main characters to the prodigal son. Can you tell me more about that?  


Have you ever wondered what life would have been like AFTER the prodigal son returned? His father was glad to have him back, but there were definite signs of strain with his brother, which I can’t imagine would have been easily resolved. Coupled with this is the guilt I imagine he would feel, something that can be a lot harder to shake off than we think. So it was interesting exploring the ‘what if’s’ of his personal remorse and this family dynamic, and what ramifications it might have had for the wider community. 


What do you love about the Regency period?  


Oh, there is so much to love! The Regency period (1811-1820) was a time of great change and excess (such as the extravagances of the Royal Pavilion in Brighton), adventure and exploration ('Elgin's marbles' - Greek artefacts brought to London by Lord Elgin - were first displayed at the British Museum in 1817), and social upheaval, such as the Luddite uprisings, as rural workers fought for their traditional ways of life to be maintained against the rise of industrialisation.

Social division was strictly upheld, the social order ranging from royalty to aristocracy to gentry to the middle and lower classes. A person 'in trade' tended to be stigmatised by the upper classes, whilst the servants, labourers, and poor could only dream to have life be so fine. Yet despite the warfare and social unrest, this was also a time of great achievement in culture and technological advancement, leading to the Britain of today. 


What inspired you to write this book?  


I was interested to explore what life would be like for the prodigal son after his return, and Edward was the perfect vehicle for this. Plus I wanted to include something about the legal system, which I hadn’t really explored previously, and how different subsets of English society (such as the gypsies, Irish, and working classes) were treated by those in authority.


Does the cover fit your image of Miss Cecilia, or do you have another image in your mind?  


I love the thatched cottage on the cover, and I think Miss Cecilia has something of the soft shyness I envisaged. I’ve had lots of lovely comments about the eye-catching pink that has been used!


What is the most interesting thing you learned doing research for Underestimating Miss Cecilia?  


Did you know that in Regency times it was illegal to have anything to do with gypsies - and that even talking to a gypsy could be punishable by death? In fact, in the late 1700s a 14 year old girl was HUNG for talking to a gypsy! Isn’t that terrible? So the Regency era was not all roses and country manors, despite what the movies might imply!


What is your favorite Regency  event to write about?  


I really enjoyed writing about the country house party, in particular the Regency games. That was fun to research.


Cecilia is a quieter character in my opinion.  Did you enjoy writing about her? How did she come to be?  


I loved writing about Cecy! Yes, she’s a quieter character - unsurprising when she’s sandwiched between two loud, headstrong sisters - but delving into her personality, her thoughtful, considerate persona, was loads of fun. I knew she had to be quieter because she had to be different to her sisters (readers don’t want the same type of characters all the time) and I wanted to make her kind and gracious, and employ elements of unrequited love which a quieter character can demonstrate a little more easily.


I would love to  hear more about a Regency House Party?  


In Regency times people would be invited to stay at a country manor belonging to a wealthy aristocrat in an attempt to bring eligible young ladies into the circles of those gentlemen looking for a wife. Depending on the tie of year, this might involve picnics, balls, horse-riding, shooting, hunting - and would definitely involve plenty of fancy meals, dancing, and games. These activities provided opportunity for conversation to get to know each other - and possible flirtations! A surprising element of the games employed was the amount of kissing involved - something which can definitely be incorporated into the fun and angst of burgeoning attraction. 


How did you grow spiritually writing this book?  


One of the main things I learned was considering how guilt, condemnation, forgiveness and grace are linked. Sometimes as Christians we can hear a focus on our sinful state, and regard ourselves as sinners, even after we’ve repented and asked God to forgive our sins and accepted His mercy. I think seeing ourselves as forgiven, rather than as sinners, leads to a different emphasis. I believe the Bible shows us that God sees the sin of Christians as covered by Jesus’s blood, so why do we focus so much on our sin, rather than God’s mercy and grace? Focus on sin tends to lead to a focus on our own efforts, on trying to be good enough - to relying on works. If we’re aware of God’s grace, and focus on that, then we’ll be seeing God move in different situations, and be looking at people with grace-filled eyes, rather than seeing their shortcomings and sin. 
I hope the struggle Edward undergoes will resonate with readers, and help people move from condemnation to the freedom of knowing that God has forgiven them. It’s something I’m still learning, but I think it’s central to living life to the full, as Jesus promised in John 10.10.


Thank you Caroline for stopping by and answering our questions!  So excited for Underestimating Miss Cecilia. You can still get the pre-release price here on Amazon. 


Carolyn Miller lives in the beautiful Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia, with her husband and four children. Together with her husband she has pastored a church for ten years, and worked as a public high school English and Learning and Support teacher.

A longtime lover of romance, especially that of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer’s Regency era, Carolyn holds a BA in English Literature, and loves drawing readers into fictional worlds that show the truth of God’s grace in our lives. Her Regency novels include The Elusive Miss Ellison, The Captivating Lady Charlotte, The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey, Winning Miss WinthropMiss Serena's SecretThe Making of Mrs. Hale,  A Hero for Miss Hatherleigh, and Underestimating Miss Cecilia are all available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Koorong, etc

Thursday, May 9, 2019

7 Ways to Raise Kids Who Love Books by Becky Wade

Becky Wade originally wrote this for my blog Ohio Homeschool Assessments.  I am re-posting this Mother's Day Weekend.   I love her books and  just finished her newest book Sweet on You  Today she is sharing how her mom influenced her love of reading in honor of Mother's Day.  Please give a warm welcome to Becky Wade.


 7 Ways to Raise Kids Who Love Books by Becky Wade



Abraham Lincoln once said, "All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother."  If you were fortunate enough to have been raised by a wonderful mother, as I was, then you know how true that statement is!  It would be impossible to define or explain all the ways that my own "angel mother" influenced me, so I've decided to pinpoint just one in this post.

            My mom instilled a love of reading in me. 

            As a girl, I was an avid reader.  Later, after I married, my deep enjoyment of reading led me to become an author.

            So how did my mom do it?  How did she raise all three of her daughters to love books?  Here's how:

            1.  Before I could read, she read aloud to me.  Daily, she took the time to read.  And not just board books or picture books.  She began reading chapter books to me when I was small.  Those detailed stories filled my fledgling imagination with adventure, times long past, love, danger, honor.  I determined at a very, very young age that books were the best form of entertainment.

            2.  Even after I could read, she continued to read to me at bedtime.  Reading was a treat, a reward, a quiet time just for the two of us. "I'm going to have to take away a chapter at bedtime," may have been a punishment in our house but, "Go read for 20 minutes!" never was.

            3.  She took me to the library.  At every other stop on our list of errands (the grocery store, the department store, the post office) she'd say no to the million things I asked for.  But at the library, her answer was always an unqualified, "Yes."  I'd leave with a stack of books and a big grin.

            4.  I had plenty of unscheduled, electronics-free time in my day.  Hours of it.  If I told mom I was bored, she'd supply a few ideas.  "You can make paper dolls."  "Go knock on Allison's door and ask if she's free to play."  "Read."  Then she'd go about her business and let me figure out my own solutions.  I read.  A lot.

            5. My travel accessory was a book.  Whenever we took a road trip or a plane trip, my book was my entertainment device.  After all, books are portable, inexpensive, difficult to break, and don't need to be charged. 

            6.  She shared her books with me.  Starting in my late middle school years, when my reading tastes caught up with my mom's, she began passing the books she'd finished to me.  To this day, we talk about books and authors!  When I visit her house, I take a few of her recommendations home with me.  And vise versa when she visits me.

            7.  She modeled reading for pleasure.  My mom has always read for her own enjoyment.  Stop by her house on any ordinary week night and you'll find my dad watching sports.  You'll find my mom sitting on the end of the sofa near the lamp, reading.  It's easy for us moms to let our busy schedules squeeze our hobbies out of our lives.  But my mom protected her reading time.  And her daughters are the better for it.

Did your mom instill a love of reading in you?  Happy Mother's Day, moms!


Thank you Becky Wade for stopping by!  Here is my review of Sweet on You!


During her childhood in California, Becky frequently produced homemade plays starring her sisters, friends, and cousins.  These plays almost always featured a heroine, a prince, and a love story with a happy ending.  She’s been a fan of all things romantic ever since.
Becky and her husband lived overseas in the Caribbean and Australia before settling in Dallas, Texas.  It was during her years abroad that Becky’s passion for reading turned into a passion for writing.  She published three historical romances for the general market, put her career on hold for many years to care for her kids, and eventually returned to writing sheerly for the love of it.  She’s delighted to be penning warm, wry, and heartwarming contemporary romances for the Christian market.  She’s the Christy and Carol award winning author of My Stubborn Heart, the Porter Family series, and the Bradford Sisters Romance series.
These days Becky can be found failing but trying to keep up with her housework, sweating at the gym, carting her kids around town, playing tennis, hunched over her computer, eating chocolate, or collapsed on the sofa watching TV with her husband.
Connect with Becky through her web site and social media. www.beckywade.com

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Sweet on You by Becky Wade

Every spring I look forward to many exciting happenings. I love to see my tulips bloom, warmer weather for walks and the release of a wonderful new Becky Wade book. Though spring is touch and go in Ohio, Becky Wade came through for me again this year with a great new book, Sweet on You. Sweet on You is the third book in her Bradford Sisters Romance series and it is truly awesome! I am still sighing and feel like a better person because I had the opportunity to read it. 

Sweet on You is the story of Britt and Zander. Britt Bradford is the youngest Bradford sister who is categorized as a warrior princess and is a Chocolatier. ( though that sounds like an athlete for a college team it actually is someone who makes chocolate) Zander has been her best friend since high school and is the faithful silent type. They have hung out forever, but never dated each other. . Sweet on You is their story. 

Sweet on You has mystery, adventure and characters you can cheer for. Becky Wade has woven romance wonderfully into Sweet on You. The characters are interesting and they love God and mature during the story. Becky Wade has a small section at the end of every chapter with texts, high school notes, and diary entries that add depth to the story.

And. . I just keep sighing.  It is a fabulous book and if you are smart you will go and find a way to read Sweet on You right now. Do not wait! Life is too short.

I was given this book by the publisher and not required to write a review. 





During her childhood in California, Becky frequently produced homemade plays starring her sisters, friends, and cousins.  These plays almost always featured a heroine, a prince, and a love story with a happy ending.  She’s been a fan of all things romantic ever since.
Becky and her husband lived overseas in the Caribbean and Australia before settling in Dallas, Texas.  It was during her years abroad that Becky’s passion for reading turned into a passion for writing.  She published three historical romances for the general market, put her career on hold for many years to care for her kids, and eventually returned to writing sheerly for the love of it.  She’s delighted to be penning warm, wry, and heartwarming contemporary romances for the Christian market.  She’s the Christy and Carol award winning author of My Stubborn Heart, the Porter Family series, and the Bradford Sisters Romance series.
These days Becky can be found failing but trying to keep up with her housework, sweating at the gym, carting her kids around town, playing tennis, hunched over her computer, eating chocolate, or collapsed on the sofa watching TV with her husband.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

A Hero for Miss Hatherleigh by Carolyn Miller

At Grayton Beach in FL. 
A Hero for Miss Hatherleigh by Carolyn Miller is the first book in the Daughters of Aynsley series.  This new series follows the three daughters of Viscount Aynsley. In A Hero for Miss Hatherleigh, the oldest daughter, Caroline Hatherleigh, is sent to Devonshire to visit her grandmother and to get away from a current problem.  While she is in Devonshire, she meets a scientist-fossil hunter named Mr. Kirby and his sister who have secrets of their own.  This is a delightful book with a very satisfying ending.

A Hero for Miss Hatherleigh has an absolutely stunning cover.  You feel like you are standing with Miss Hatherleigh on the cliffs of Devonshire. I believe the cover is as fabulous as the book. This book is  a great example of regency writing at its best.   A Hero for Miss Hatherleigh  includes balls, high society, and delightfully interesting characters.  But on top of all that, it includes a fossil scientist. I really enjoyed reading and thinking about how a fossil hunting scientist fit into the regency time period.

Ms Miller brings the gospel into her stories in such a natural way.  I loved watching Caroline's faith grow throughout the story.

This is one of my new favorite books from Carolyn Miller.  I look forward to the next two books in the series. I highly recommend A Hero for Miss Hatherleigh.

I was given the book by the publisher and not required to write a  review.

Carolyn Miller lives in the beautiful Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia, with her husband and four children. Together with her husband she has pastored a church for ten years, and worked as a public high school English and Learning and Support teacher.

A longtime lover of romance, especially that of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer’s Regency era, Carolyn holds a BA in English Literature, and loves drawing readers into fictional worlds that show the truth of God’s grace in our lives. Her Regency novels include The Elusive Miss Ellison, The Captivating Lady Charlotte, The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey, Winning Miss WinthropMiss Serena's SecretThe Making of Mrs. Hale, and A Hero for Miss Hatherleigh, all available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Koorong, etc

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Q & A about A Hero for Miss Hatherleigh with author Carolyn Miller.

I went to the beach last week and A Hero for Miss Hatherleigh insisted on coming along with me! I believe the book looked more at home among the dunes at Grayton Beach and author, Carolyn Miller, agreed with me.

Today Carolyn is visiting Becky's Bookshelves to answer some questions about her fabulous new book A Hero for Miss Hatheleigh which releases next Tuesday March 19. I hope you enjoy Carolyn's visit.

Please tell me about your latest release?

A Hero for Miss Hatherleigh is the first book in my new series Regency Brides: The Daughters of Aynsley. It examines the challenges of social obligations versus family duty, and particularly centers on a fossil hunting scientist and the adventures he and Caroline Hatherleigh experience on England’s south coast. I was partly inspired for this by the tongue twister “she sells seashells by the seashore” which is reputed to be about Mary Anning, a poor woman from Lyme Regis who went on to discover a number of England’s most important fossils on the 1800s. Research into her life and work convinced me that this would prove a really interesting part of history – on a coastline renowned for smugglers, too!

You have a stunning cover. Tell me about how that came to be?

For this new series we wanted a slightly different look to the previous books, and I really liked the covers of Kristi Ann Hunter’s new series, so I asked if we could go in that direction. One of my beta readers (and best friends) Jacqueline Goelst suggested that it would be wonderful to have a cover with the heroine in a blue dress looking out to sea, so the designers at Kregel were very good at implementing this for me. The reddish cliffs are of the coastline near Sidmouth, so it’s great to see how this has come together. And it’s so encouraging to hear so many positive comments about how pretty this cover is!

What research did you do for the book?


Oh, I had to do quite a lot! My sons have been interested in dinosaurs, so it felt quite strange to be the person checking books out from the library about fossils and dinosaur hunters! ☺ I had to delve into geology as well, and it was funny studying up on things I’ve not thought about since high school science.

In addition to the scientific elements, I also looked into the history of the town where this is based, and was very excited (and blessed!) to come across a guide on the internet called The Beauties of Sidmouth Displayed, which scores its own little mention in the novel. It’s fascinating to see how such old towns and villages have changed over time.


Who do you imagine as the characters?

Good question! I’m not as good as some people are with these. Let’s see… for those of you who have seen the Victoria TV series, then the actor who plays the handsome Edward Drummond character might fit Gideon Kirby. As for who might play Caroline Hatherleigh, maybe a blue-eyed version of Lily James, but with chestnut curls?  (Here is Caroline's Pinterest board for the book)  

What made you choose the setting of Devonshire?  

Devonshire was a part of England I hadn’t really used in previous books, and although I’d referenced the seaside in The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey, that was at the tame and urban Brighton. The cliffs and beaches along Dorset and the south east of Devonshire are far more wild, and so have a lot more potential for drama (like smugglers! And cave ins!). And obviously with a fossil hunting scientist involved, it needed to be somewhere near where the fossils are. I didn’t want to pick Lyme Regis (which is where part of Jane Austen’s Persuasion is set), so I chose a location not too far away which was still near enough for a man of science to search for clues to the past.

A Hero for Miss Hatherleigh is the first in the Regency Brides: The Daughters of Aynsley series. Can you tell us more about the other books in this series?

Sure! Caroline Hatherleigh is the eldest daughter of the very rich Viscount Aynsley, and each book in the series tells the story of one of the sisters. Underestimating Miss Cecilia releases July 23, and shows how shy, sweet middle sister Cecilia learns to overcome other people expectations and her own - as well as the challenges of unrequited love.

The third book in the series is Misleading Miss Verity, releasing November 19, which shows the youngest tomboyish sister’s adventures that take place in Scotland, including the restoration of a castle’s lost garden. If you like a feisty heroine, you’ll probably love Verity!


Thank you Caroline for stopping by and answering our questions!  So excited for A Hero for Miss Hatherleigh and the other books in the series. You can still get the pre-release price here on Amazon. 

Carolyn Miller lives in the beautiful Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia, with her husband and four children. Together with her husband she has pastored a church for ten years, and worked as a public high school English and Learning and Support teacher.

A longtime lover of romance, especially that of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer’s Regency era, Carolyn holds a BA in English Literature, and loves drawing readers into fictional worlds that show the truth of God’s grace in our lives. Her Regency novels include The Elusive Miss Ellison, The Captivating Lady Charlotte, The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey, Winning Miss Winthrop, Miss Serena's Secret, The Making of Mrs. Hale, and A Hero for Miss Hatherleigh, all available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Koorong, etc

Connect with her: website | facebook | pinterest | twitter | instagram




Friday, March 8, 2019

$25 Amazon Card Give-Away

Don't you love this photo?  It seems to be somewhere between a  Reading Rainbow episode and  a welcome spring picture!  

I am running a contest to Give-Away a $25 Amazon Card in honor of spring.  Hopefully you can use the money to buy some of the wonderful books I have been talking about.   Rules: The contest is open to anyone I can send an Amazon online gift card to. Please know I VERIFY all winning entries. If you need help please email me.  Good Luck!

If you are on a mobile phone. . go to the end of this post and click on the words "View web version" (It is under a HOME button)   It will take you to a page where if you look in the top right corner you will see the FOLLOW button.  Click on that and Follow Publicly. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Her Last Chance Cowboy by Tina Radcliffe


Her Last chance Cowboy by Tina Radcliffe is the fourth and final book in the Big Heart Ranch series.  It is the story of Tripp Walker, the horse whisperer, and Hannah Vincent who shows up at Big Heart Ranch pregnant and with a sweet five year old claiming to be related to the owners.  The two have enough baggage to fill the back of Tripp’s pick-up truck, but they both have loving hearts and want to change. Through working together, a 100 day horse challenge and the encouragement of their friends they may find they can make things work.

I enjoyed reading Her last Chance Cowboy and found myself very engaged in the story.  Ms. Radcliffe is a charming author and her stories take on real life issues in a way that makes your cheer for her characters and reflect on your own life. The secondary characters are charming and just plain fun.   She has so many fun colloquialisms that I was laughing and smiling throughout the book. I will tell you there is one that involved Aqua Net hairspray that is worth buying this book just to read. Seriously. 

This was  satisfying conclusion to the series.  It is a great story and I highly recommend it.  I was given a copy of the book by the publisher and not required to write a review.  



Originally from Western, N.Y., author Tina Radcliffe left home for a tour of duty with the Army Security Agency stationed in Augsburg, Germany and ended up in Tulsa, Oklahoma. While living in Tulsa she spent ten years as a Certified Oncology R.N. A freelance writer for over twenty years, Tina was a founding member and the manager of Seekerville, a 13 author blog, from 2008-2017. Seekerville has been a Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers award winner 2013-2017. 

An RWA Honor Roll member, Tina is also a two-time RWA Golden Heart finalist, a 2012 ACFW Carol Award finalist for Oklahoma Reunion, a 2014 ACFW Mentor of the Year finalist, and a 2014 ACFW Carol Award winner for Mending the Doctor's Heart.  

Tina is thrilled to announce she is the 2018 ACFW Mentor of the Year and a 2018 ACFW Carol Award Finalist for Claiming Her Cowboy. 
She has also finaled/or won over twenty RWA chapter affiliated contests in her career. As a short story writer, she has sold over two dozen short stories to Woman’s World Magazine. 
Tina is a member of Romance Writers of America, including the Kiss of Death Chapter, FHL Chapter, Desert Rose Romance Writers, and the Valley of the Sun Romance Writers. a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and the Women's Fiction Writers Association.  A popular workshop speaker, she currently resides in Arizona where she writes fun, heartwarming romance.