Hi, everybody! I’m excited to be on Beth’s blog and visit with you all about books, cooking, and heroes― three of my favorite things!
I’ve brought a few rhubarb strawberry pies for us to share, so pull up a chair and let’s chat.
First, a little about me. I’m an award-nominated, best-selling writer of Christian fiction and a home schooling mom of six young children who rarely wear shoes. I hold degrees in Linguistics and Religious Studies from the University of Oregon and live with my habanero-eating husband, Crusberto, who is my polar opposite in all things except faith. We’ve learned to speak in short-hand code and look forward to the day we can actually finish a sentence. In the meantime, I truly thank God for the laughter and abundance of hugs that fill my day as I plot my next book. I also write under the pen name of Virginia Carmichael and I love to meet readers on my facebook author pages. I also blog every weekend at Yankee Belle Café and periodically at Huffington Post Books.
Beth: It’s so nice to have you here today, Mary Jane! Thank you for the pie!
So, one of our favorite ways to celebrate St. Valentine’s Day is to bring cookies, fresh fruit, cards and to sing to our friends in the local nursing homes. We’ve been singing to residents for almost eight years and giving concerts on the holidays for about five. When my kids were little, it was just me on the piano and six kids sort of mumbling along, but now we have some real musicians in the house!
My second oldest daughter sings in a professional choral society and also plays the guitar and piano, and my oldest son plays the guitar. Even my seven-year-old has been learning the guitar on a small 12 string classical instrument and he loves the applause he gets from the (oh-so-kind) folks there. They’re always so grateful we visit, but they can’t know how much their love and sweet comments bless my children. I’ve had some very shy kids come out of their shells when encouraged by the older people there. Bless them!
Beth: What a wonderful tradition!
My favorite activity inside or outside the house (besides reading) is cooking!
I love anything fresh! Of course, whether it’s a fresh pear or a fresh cinnamon roll depends on the day. My husband does a wonderful job of growing delicious edibles on our little acre of land in a valley renowned for its long growing seasons. (I try to do my part and not burn the food when I cook it. No promises.)
My posts run the gamut from simple heirloom tomatoes drizzled with balsamic vinegar to individual triple layer chocolate mousse cakes to fresh grilled cactus.
Beth: Oh yum! This post is making me hungry!
I lived in several European countries before settling in Oregon, I have family from Croatia, and my husband is from Mexico so there is no “ethnic” label on our food. If it’s fresh, we’ll try it. And if it’s good, you bet we’re gonna eat it!
We’re blessed to live in a rural area surrounded by farming country, so we can grow and pick our own food most of the year. (And let me tell you, by February, these pictures make me yearn for spring!)
I believe in enjoying all the deliciousness that this world has to offer, especially the natural foods that come right from my own backyard.
I’ve been known for more than my share of kitchen fails but I haven’t been fired yet, so I’ll just keep cooking and posting whatever strikes my fancy!
Beth: I can’t seem to get fired either…
One of my favorite types of characters has to be the unsung hero. I LOVE a humble guy who gets things done without a lot of fanfare or show
Think Mr. Knightley in Emma, Dawsey in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Watson in Sherlock Holmes. Some people call it the Beta Male (opposite of the Alpha hero) but I think they still share quite a lot of characteristics. They’re both protectors, stand up for what’s right, and are fearless in their own way. It’s just that the non-Alpha guy is a lot quieter about it.
Although they certainly don’t lack wit, as we can see from Mr. Knightley’s speeches in Emma. They’re quieter but just as smart and funny. Maybe the only thing missing is the showiness.
Beth: There’s a special place in my heart for those quiet heroes ????
I have a few new books! One is the 6th book in my Cane River Romance series.
One magical bookstore, two best friends, and a whole cast of interfering busybodies determined to help true love happen!
Despite her miserable childhood, Flannery Beaulieu has always loved Christmas, and celebrating Christmas in idyllic Natchitoches, Louisiana is very the best of all. The carols, twinkling lights, smell of simmering gumbo, and the sound of zydeco music can’t be beat. But when Flannery moves into a beautiful apartment over an old bookstore, her orderly life becomes a lot more complicated. She’s not only the pet project of every matchmaker in the city, but her best friend is acting like he doesn’t even want her around.
Remington Becket would never go a day without talking to her, even when he’s halfway across the world. Handsome, bookish, and as happy to be single as she is, Rem is like her other half.
Now, even though he’s living in the apartment right next door, Flannery is sure Rem is avoiding her.
It’s shaping up to be the absolute worst Christmas on record and by the time a once-in-a-century blizzard hits, Flannery suspects moving back to Natchitoches― and into the apartment over By the Book― was a terrible idea after all.
But By the Book isn’t just any old bookstore. It’s a place where faith is real, grace is present, and the miracle of true love happens every day… if only Flannery has the courage to take a risk with her heart.
To catch up on the series, the first five books of the Along the Cane River series are being offered as a boxed set for $2.99!
Beth: I adored Pepper in the Gumbo and I can’t wait to gobble up the rest of the series!
Be sure to check out Romance Grows in Arcadia Valley, the boxed set of SIX brand new novellas by best-selling authors. Join us in the fictional town of Arcadia Valley, Idaho, where a foodie culture and romance grow hand-in-hand.
Six popular and bestselling authors of contemporary Christian romance have teamed up to create an entire world exploring food, friends, and family. Each novella kicks off a three-book series, intertwined with the works of the other authors.
Beth: I’m so excited about this project! Get a peek at the first line of each novella over on First Line Friday #29!
A full-length book will be released every month by one author in the series. This permanent collection is only the beginning of your adventure with us.
Introducing Summer’s Glory, the first full-length novel in the new Arcadia Valley Romance shared world series!
Violet Tam thinks she’s escaped the boy who made her teen years a perfect misery, but when Silas Black comes back to town, she finds herself falling for the one guy she’s always hated.
After his mother passes away, master carpenter Silas Black returned to Arcadia Valley to help his sister run their small farm. He was the town’s bad boy as a teen and it wasn’t just an image. But although the rest of Arcadia Valley has accepted that his juvenile delinquent years are behind him, there’s one woman who can’t accept that he’s really changed.
When Violet Tam reluctantly asks him to join forces to help out a friend in need, they discover there is more to each other than meets the eye, and certainly more than who they were in high school. Silas soon realizes he’s in danger of losing his heart to the strong, intelligent middle school teacher. Add in a shocking robbery, an emergency surgery, and a surprise litter of puppies, and the two former enemies must face the possibility that true love was waiting to bloom for them all along.
Summer’s Glory is a story of humor, grace, and forgiveness set in the fictional farming town of Arcadia Valley, Idaho. Mary Jane Hathaway’s newest installment is sure to delight fans of inspirational novels who enjoy thought-provoking and laugh-out-loud romances that expose the beauty of everyday life and the folly of the human heart. Full of quirky characters, friendship, recipes, and faith, Summer’s Glory is an irresistible beginning to a brand new series.
Thank you so much for having me over to chat and I’d love to hear about your favorite heroes or what you do to celebrate St. Valentine’s Day!