Tag Archive for: tea

New Things

 by Bethany Maines

I once had a cousin/uncle/grandparent-ish person (he was my second cousin once-removed if you want to get technical here, but the point is that he was in his eighties and I was around ten, you get the idea) who once posed the question that I probably wasn’t supposed to hear – what’s the difference between naked and nekkid?  Naked is simply having no clothes on.  Nekkid is naked, but with intent.  In other words, the difference is subtle and mostly to do with what you intend to do about it.  Which is how I feel about old and vintage.  

My general preference, when given a choice, is for old things.  Which is to say I like old books, old furniture, old clothes and my grumpy old dog.  Although, usually I say vintage, which is the same as old, but with character.  I don’t want new things (unless they’re electronics and sometimes not even then).  I want the things I’ve become accustomed to and work for me.  Which is why sometimes, even when something gets actually too old to use, I still hang on to it.  Recently, my favorite skull-n-crossbones mug developed an unfortunate hairline crack that resulted in it weeping tea over everything.  It was unusable but I hung on to it for two weeks.  What was I planning on doing with this mug?  It wasn’t fixable.  It wasn’t art.  Did I think it would magically heal itself?  It wasn’t until I had resigned myself to it’s passing that I was able to let it depart into the recycling bin.

I don’t think my preference for the old and familiar is particularly unusual.  I think most of us are little grumpy about being forced into new things.  We’re uncomfortable with being uncomfortable.  On the other hand, studies seem to indicate that actively being in a place of uncertainty and learning keeps Alzheimer’s at bay.  Being used to a little discomfort makes us appreciate what we have and have grace for those who also in discomfort. And I think that if a few more people were used to being told no and being a little more uncomfortable then they wouldn’t lose their cool and have public temper-tantrums in the middle of Target (why is it always Target?).  Perhaps we need new things periodically just to remind us that sometimes we don’t always get to keep our favorite mug.  And sometimes we need a new mug to tell us that everything will be OK.  As long as it looks vintage.

And Now…. Book News!

The Cinderella Secret is coming 10.19.20 and there are gifts, prizes, and sneak peeks for you to delve into! The Cinderella Secret is a romantic thriller that continues the Deveraux family saga, this time with Aiden Deveraux, the handsome lawyer going up against Ella Zhao who blames the Deveraux family for her father’s death. With family secrets and thrills at every turn, The Cinderella Secret delivers a one-two punch of passion and action that will keep readers turning the pages.

Pre-Order The Cinderella Secret on all ebook platforms: https://books2read.com/Cinderella-Secret

Bonus Gift  (but just for my friends)

The Lost Heir, a Deveraux Legacy prequel novella, will be released in December, but members of the Blue Zephyr Press / Bethany Maines newsletter will receive it on October 19 with the release of The Cinderella Secret! 
Join here: https://bethanymaines.com/the-deveraux-legacy/


Want a chance to win a free copy of The Cinderella Secret? One lucky winner will also get a copy of Book 1 – The Second Shot.  Giveaway ends 10.17, so snag your entry now!
Enter at: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54817893-the-cinderella-secret

Try Before You Buy

Read Chapter 1 of The Cinderella Secret! 
Read here: bethanymaines.com/cinderella-secret-chapter-1/


Bethany Maines is the award-winning author of the Carrie Mae Mysteries, San Juan Islands Mysteries, Shark Santoyo Crime Series, and numerous short stories. When she’s not traveling to exotic lands, or kicking some serious butt with her black belt in karate, she can be found chasing her daughter or glued to the computer working on her next novel. You can also catch up with her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and BookBub.

👈 The new mug

Anyone for tea and crumpets…and murder?

by Sparkle Abbey

We’re so excited about our new book, Downton Tabby, which is due out in June. Our fab publisher, Bell Bridge Books, is doing some fun promo with a cover reveal at Goodreads on May 15th, a blog tour, special pricing on our backlist, and the placement of a short, featuring Toria, the feline star of Downton Tabby.

We thought you might enjoy reading the short so here goes…

Cats dressed in period clothing

The Pawleys 
A brief episode in the British family history of Lady Toria Cash, the feline fatale of Downton Tabby

“Can you believe that alley cat?” Lady Meow Grandcatham lifted her whiskers in disdain. “Thinking I’d simply fall under the spell of his gorgeous green eyes.”

I shook my head. “He does seem rather cheeky.” I’m Annakatrina, Lady’s Meow’s lady’s maid, and the alley cat she was referring to was Alexander Kittingham who’d apparently made a play for Lady Meow in a big way.

I carefully folded the lace frill she’d worn to dinner and reached for the brush I used every night on her silky black fur. Though I would never bring it up to Lady Meow, talk below stairs was that Alexander Kittingham was not actually a purebred British shorthair. He was often referred to as “Alley” in a disparaging tone, by Thomas Cat, Lord Grandcatham’s valet. Alexander was quite a handsome fellow and a favorite of the ladies around the dinner bowl.

He was nice looking with dark brown fur and deep green eyes, but I was not impressed. You see I’m madly in love with Mr. Bait. Poor Mr. Bait is currently locked up in the pound, but I had no doubt he would soon be freed.

“Beyond cheeky, I’d say.” Lady Meow lifted her paw to her neck. “Would you help me get out of this collar?”

I pulled on the diamond collar with my teeth and it snapped off easily. Carefully placing it in the ornate trinket box, I picked up the brush again.

Suddenly, there was a scratch at the door and I moved quickly to open it.  Lady Vi, Meow’s grandmother, stepped into the room. She was a formidable feline and referred to as the Dogwagger Countess because even the dogs at the neighboring estates were afraid of her. I don’t believe she’d ever actually bitten anyone, canine or otherwise, but all it took was a hiss and the very slight unsheathing of her claws and it was clear she meant business.

“Grandmother.” Lady Meow purred. “What a surprise.”

cat in straw hat“Not an unpleasant one, I hope.” The older feline stepped closer so Lady Meow could bump noses with her.

“I’ll leave you.” I moved quietly on soft paws toward the door.

“No, please stay.” The Dogwagger waved her tail in my direction. “I know Meow trusts you.”

“What is it, Grandmama?” Lady Meow dropped on her haunches. “Is something wrong?”

“What is wrong is my sources tell me someone is publishing a catty tell all tome about the Britain’s aristocats. I am told there’s a whole chapter devoted to the Grandcatham Family.” She leaned on the edge of Lady’s Meow’s bed and smoothed her fur.

Lady Meow began to pace. “Have you told Pappa’?

The Dogwagger shook her head. “No, nor your mother. It will be up to us to sort this out.” She gave a deep sigh and tipped her head to look at me. “We must find out who this low-life is and stop him or her before our good name is dragged through the litter box.” Sharp blue eyes pinned me in place.

“What can I do to help, M ‘lady?”

“My dear, you must be our eyes and ears.” The Dogwagger put her paws together as if it were all settled. “You can go places we must not and you will never be noticed.”

I had the thought that not being noticed was hardly complimentary, but knew she was right.

“You will help us, won’t you, Anna?” Lady Meow crossed the room in a single smooth leap to stand in front of me. Her golden eyes searched my face.

“Of course, I will.” I bowed my head.

And thus began my new career as Annakatrina, Cat Sleuth.

What would Mr. Bait think?

Downton Tabby, book seven in The Pampered Pets Mysteries by Sparkle Abbey, is now available for pre-order at Amazon. Pre-order now and send us an email with “Downton Tabby Pre-Order” in the subject line and you’ll be entered in the drawing for this adorable Andrew Cardew teapot and a canister of special blend, Downton Abbey tea.

Also, if you’re missing any of our backlist this is a great time to grab them. Details here.

And if you want to make sure you’re up on all the Sparkle Abbey news, stop by our website and sign up for updates at sparkleabbey.com.

Art credits: 
Siamese Cat in a straw hat © Nizhava1956 | Dreamstime.com 
Loving cats in 1900 © Lestoquoy Véronique | Dreamstime.com