I'm Compulsively Watching Hoarders Again (and cleaning out my closets)  

Posted by Heidi

I ran across this post (written in 2009, back in the day when I blogged instead of writing books) and since I am back to watching Hoarders (and Hoarding:  Buried Alive) I thought it appropriate to rerun.  (Note, much with my daughter has changed--we are in the SAME boat, now!  Love it!)


Hello My Name I Heidi and I’m a . ..   

Ever watch that show Hoarders?  I caught my first episode during summer reruns and thought it was fascinating television.  By the time the new season premiere rolled around, I was hooked.  Since then I have come to a conclusion and it ain’t pretty:  I’m a compulsive hoarder in the making.  Or perhaps I am one as we so-to-speak (there’s nothing like a good case of denial to get the ball rolling like a wad of tin foil, added to and added to over the years ‘til it’s good for nothing but a potential hole in the floor—just in case one might need to peel off an ancient piece and use it to store your ABC gum for future use).   

For years I have hoarded books (if I read it and even mildly enjoyed it, I saved it for my now-real-but-once-fictional daughter—sadly, she’s only interested in books about vampires), dolls (for same daughter who couldn’t care less), pretty dishes (ditto or is that trio?) and Christmas decorations (an example of such is the photo of the cute house I bought after Christmas last year and need far, far less than a hole in the head provided said hole is to facilitate the much needed lobotomy) (plus, daughter hates clutter AND Christmas) (sorta--she just hates the music and the cluttery decorations) (the present part she likes just fine) (too bad she’s not getting much of that this year) (do you get the feeling my daughter and I are like two ships passing in the night?) (sigh). 

As one can imagine, this has kind of killed the appeal of the show for me.  Now I watch it (cause I hafta) with a pit in my stomach and a mingled expression of horrified fascination and self-pity.  I gaze around my little home and suddenly that pile of home school materials that dwell on the living room floor (they have no home of their own) takes on a sinister appearance.  The small mountain of bagged items that were once eBay fodder but have little chance of selling this season/this year/ ‘til the cows come home due to the economy that I can’t bring myself to get rid of because they might have sold for big money once upon a time look like a pile of pure denial.  The papers and other minutia, worn out and homeless, that litter the kitchen counter look like nothing but a pile of trash.  (It is a pile of trash but let’s not split hairs.) Even the dog, splayed on the floor like a tacky, white(ish—she needs a bath) fur rug, seems like something that really oughta go.  

The important distinction here is that people become hoarders due to/via their anxiety, something which I seem to have more and more of each and every day. Now, THAT I can get rid of (or not. Whaddya think? Any takers?  I hate to think of it, unwanted and wasted.  It really should have a good home. Ah, nuts, maybe I’ll just hang onto it  . . . just in case. You never know when you might need it.)
 
(I can't resist adding, here, that this is one reason ebooks are so grand.  Just sayin' .  . . )

 

Goodreads Giveaway for Miss Armistead Makes Her Choice  

Posted by Heidi



Miss Elizabeth Armistead, India born and raised, is happily betrothed to British soldier, Duncan Cruikshank. When she arrives in London a month prior to the wedding she meets Mr. Lloyd-Jones and soon finds that he has invaded even her dreams. Besides Duncan, Mr. Lloyd-Jones is the only man who makes her feel as if he sees past her exceptional beauty to the person within. Her mother would prefer Elizabeth marry the rich and well-connected Mr. Lloyd-Jones while his sister is ecstatic that he is now free to woo Miss Armistead since he has broken off his engagement to the disgraceful Cecily Ponsonby. However, Elizabeth's commitment to the man she promised to marry is at odds with the likes of Mr. Lloyd-Jones who has cried off from one engagement already. How can she betray the man she believes to love her for her virtues so as to indulge her love for a man she fears she cannot trust? 

Jaded and betrayed, Mr. Colin Lloyd-Jones and Sir Anthony Crenshaw make a solemn vow to avoid the Marriage Mart for the duration of the London season. When Sir Anthony is called away on a journey in the company of his grandmother's ward, Miss Delacourt, Colin finds he cannot abide by their agreement, especially when his father expects him to squire his sister to society's endless balls and routs. When Colin encounters the breathtakingly beautiful Miss Elizabeth Armistead, he is intrigued by her lack of fascination for his great standing in society, family fortune, and captivating charm. When he learns that she is already betrothed, he feels himself safe from hurt in her company until he discovers the secret she has been guarding, one that threatens to batter his vulnerable heart all past mending.



Reviews:


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        Miss Armistead Makes Her Choice by Heidi Ashworth 

   

     


          Miss Armistead Makes Her Choice   
     

          by Heidi Ashworth   
   

         
            Giveaway ends June 27, 2014.
                 
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Miss Armistead Makes Her Choice Blog Tour and $50 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway  

Posted by Heidi



A themed tour with Prism Book Tours


It's the Grand Finale for THE ROSE GARDEN TOUR for
Miss Armistead Makes Her Choice
by Heidi Ashworth



Roses in the Miss Delecourt Series




It all begins when the Dowager Duchess of Marcross sends her grandson, Sir Anthony Crenshaw, to accompany her niece, Miss Ginny Delacourt, to their country estate to check on the roses. The Dowager is concerned since her neighbor is keen on stealing cuttings from her spectacular rose garden for Rosehaven, his rose-inspired country home. On the way, they have a carriage accident and are held up by highwaymen but it isn't until they are quarantined at Rosehaven for the pox that Ginny's and Sir Anthony's love begins to bloom.




Thus the series begins...






Launch - Author Interview



What do you hope readers take with them when they read your book?

I hope that they develop a lingering affection for the characters and that they get something more from it than pure entertainment. I hope that my stories illustrate what it means to truly love someone rather than to simply be infatuated or "in lust" and that there is a realization that great relationships require work and sacrifice.



Kelly P's Blog - Excerpt




Colin opened his mouth to reply, but his attention was abruptly born away by the sight of a young maiden's face as it appeared at the door of the carriage.  She was breathtaking, her heart-shaped face possessed of a pair of large, impossibly green eyes set off by arched brows, black as the hair that curled along her temples.




"If you have had your fill," Sir Anthony drawled, "you had best look away.  You are utterly defenseless in the face of such beauty."




Pieces of Whimsy - Author Interview



Tell us a little bit about your book, Miss Armistead Makes Her Choice.




Miss A is a traditional regency romance (i.e. clean and sweet) about a man who is determined to stay away from women for the time being and a woman who is engaged to be married to another. They feel an instant attraction for one another but neither feels themselves free to pursue it. However, they also feel safe to spend time together since it is clear that they can never be anything but friends. As they draw closer to one another, each must learn to trust in spite of betrayals in their past. It is my most romantic story yet!




Brooke Blogs - The Betrothal




A Maid suitable for marriage

The Regency era is known to be one of the most romantic of all time. One reason for this is the manner in which people became betrothed. Though regency romance novels abound with tales of formally arranged marriages, it was not a time period known for an overabundance of rigid strictures. It was this very freedom from constraints that made the regency the romantic period we so love. Though it was not unheard of for a gentleman to approach the father of the maiden he favored to beg his permission prior to offering marriage to the young lady, it was not required or even particularly the norm. And though there were bound to be fathers who were incredibly controlling and who wished to arrange the marriages of their daughters, it was most likely a rare occurrence.







My Ereader and Me - Tens List





1. I have an identical twin.

2. I am one of eight children and the sixth of seven daughters–all from the same two parents.

3. I am obsessed with pink roses...


Coffee Books & Art - Author Interview



Did you do any kind of research to determine the details of your   characters lives / lifestyles?


Yes, I had to do research about India since this is where the heroine was born and raised.  It was very interesting.  Of course I have done quite a bit of research with regard to the regency era from my first book going forward.  It is an endless source of fun for me.




I Am A Reader - Characterizations


Though it is tempting to choose from pictures of famous people, I steer away from that.  My characters are very real people to me and I simply can't think of them as such if they look and (inevitably) behave like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.  Once I have decided the color of my characters' eyes and hair, I spend time googling "men with brown hair and gray eyes" or "women with red hair and blue eyes".   It is rare that I find a photo of a person that exactly matches up with what I think he or she should look, however, I have had more luck with period paintings.  Though a representation of a real person can never look like the people I imagine, I enjoy selecting illustrations of people who come close.






The Wonderings of One Person - Author Interview

What was the inspiration for Miss Armistead Makes Her Choice?



Prism RoseI knew that I wanted my next book to be set in Miss Delacourt’s world.  I had just finished writing The Lord Who Sneered and found myself wondering what happened to a gentleman to whom Julian, Lord Trevelin briefly refers.  This gentleman had been engaged and found it necessary to break the engagement, something that was rarely done by the male in the regency period.  I wondered what happened to him and decided to make him the friend of Sir Anthony (the hero in my first two books) which made it possible to go back to the beginning of our association with Sir Anthony and Miss Delacourt and have some fun with that.  The theme of the book, that of how our appearance says nothing about who we are inside, is one that I touched on in The Lord Who Sneered and could not stop thinking about.  This theme is pivotal to the plot of Miss Armistead Makes Her Choice.



The Written Adventure - Excerpt

She supposed it was to avoid the debacle of their last waltz that he took such great care to hold her at arm's length. Yet, she wished he would grasp her so tightly that she could not be faulted if she were to rest her cheek against his chest, her head tucked under his chin while he spun them about the room. There was a peace she felt in his arms that was unlike any she felt, even in the embrace of her papa, in whose presence she felt like a child no matter her years. The mere existence of her intended husband served only to remind her that she must lend her strength to others whilst fearful that the strength demanded should run out before it was no longer needed. As she compared one circumstance to another, she was astonished to learn that, in the arms of Mr. Lloyd-Jones, she was exactly enough.



Getting Your Read On - Review

"I love books that transport me back to old English times. Regency romance is one of my favorite genres, especially when an author writes in a way that scenes just come alive in my head. This was a book that filled my head with beautiful visions and played out like a movie...



This was a fun, diverting read. Clean and proper, just like I like them."



Mommynificent - Review


"I absolutely loved this book. It is the perfect novel for any fan of Jane Austen looking for a light-hearted escape and a fun and highly romantic read...

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I would definitely recommend it for any and all Jane Austen lovers, and I highly look forward to reading other books by this author..."


Rose #13



My Devotional Thoughts - Review HERE

"From the first page of this romance, I was completely smitten. This is a completely clean historical romance, and the story is simple but well-written. Although the ending is assured, the author quite deftly included a bit of tension right before the conclusion. That extra measure alone has made me a super fan of this author! In addition to this, the writing style is quite reminiscent of the classic authors such as the Bronte sisters and Jane Austen. I had to remind myself that this is a book written by a modern author because it is unlike the vast majority of historical romances I have read."



Katie's Clean Book Collection - Review



"I really enjoy this time period and the characters in this story are delightful! I love the references to Miss Delacourt...




I loved the mystery and suspense element, which wasn't the main theme. It added a little flair to the ending and was just the right touch to the story."



Laughing With Lizzie - The Regency Era


The regency is a time period full of drama and romance. Very much like the second decade of the 1900′s in America (think flappers and prohibition) its fashions, culture and sensibilities were vastly different from those just prior and just after. It was a period of transition in England, the only country which experienced “the regency” (this same time period is referred to as the “empire” period in France and was the tail end of the “colonial” era in America) and had its own fashions, (ankle-length muslin dresses were worn primarily during this time) language terms (what was known as a reticule in the regency was a pocketbook, bag or purse shortly thereafter) and what we would call fads (the rage for all things classical Greek in dress and furniture comes to mind).



I Love to Read and Review Books :) - Author Interview

What is your favorite flower?




This is also one of those exceptions: roses (though I really love tulips, daffodils, impatiens...sigh, there are so many gorgeous flowers!) But roses are, hands down, my favorite. Yes.




Bookworm Lisa - Review



"The book explores a myriad of emotions. There is love, betrayal, guilt, jealousy, compassion, kindness, etc. Each emotion is portrayed well. I felt empathy for the character's in their trials. I felt that the time period was well portrayed. The characters were well developed and believable.



This is a great book to read in the summer. It is light and engaging."



Mel's Shelves - Review



"I was sure the ending would be happy but it almost seemed like an impossible situation. How would loyal, determined Elizabeth get out of an engagement to a blind man? There are some twists and turns and I had to keep reading to find out what was going to happen next. The entire book was enjoyable and what I love the most is that it's 100% clean!!



This is the first book I've read in the Miss Delacourt series, and even though it's #6, I didn't feel lost at all. I'm sure there are some references and characters that I didn't quite understand so it would be fun to read again after I've read the other ones!"





My Love for Reading Keeps Growing - Excerpt

"Mr. Lloyd-Jones, I must beg you to stop!"


"Why?" he asked as he tossed the hat to the ground and took her hands in his.  "Are my attentions so unwelcome?"



"No!" she said so quickly that he felt he had reason to hope.  "That is to say, there is naught in your manner or your character that I find in the least unwelcome.  If I were but free," she said, shaking her head, her eyes wet with tears, "but it is of no use.  I have made my choice and I must abide by it."






Miss Armistead Makes Her Choice

(Miss Delacourt #6)

by Heidi Ashworth
Adult Historical Romance
Ebook, 274 pages
April 24th 2014 by Dunhaven Place Publishing



Mr. Colin Lloyd-Jones and his friend, Sir Anthony Crenshaw, make a pact to avoid the fair sex during the course of an entire season in order to nurse their wounded hearts. As they shake hands on it, they have no idea that one would soon be off on a trip to escort a young lady to the country and the other soon to fall head over heels in love with Miss Elizabeth Armistead. Sadly, Miss Armistead is only interested in those she trusts not to become so besotted with her beauty that they cannot see her true self. Prior to meeting Colin, she had only met one man fitting that description and she has promised to be his bride. However, Mr. Cruikshank is not due to arrive in London for a full month. Can Colin convince Miss Armistead that he loves her for more than her beauty before her betrothed's ship arrives on British shores?


Purchase from Amazon.




Heidi Ashworth, author of the popular Miss Delacourt series, including the award-winning Miss Delacourt Has Her Day, is a busy wife and mother who's grateful for a bit of peace and quiet in which to write. An unapologetic anglophile, she is determined to return to England to see the home of Jane Austen, a landmark she missed during her first trip across the pond, though she knows Lord Byron's house to be a suitable substitute. She's smitten with books, chocolate, and roses, not necessarily in that order, and is never averse to a round of Guitar Hero.



Website - Blog - Goodreads - Facebook





Tour-Wide Giveaway

- US Grand Prize: $50 Amazon gift card and paperback copy of Miss Armistead Makes Her Choice
- 3 ebooks of Miss Armistead Makes Her Choice (US and open INT to these countries: England, Canada, Belguim, Germany, Ireland, Mexico, Poland, Italy, France, Japan, and Australia)

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The Lord Who Sneered and Other Tales is a RONE Award Finalist  

Posted by Heidi




Miss Armistead Makes Her Choice  

Posted by Heidi


Next in my Miss Delacourt series:  Sir Anthony Crenshaw and his friend, Mr. Colin Lloyd-Jones, are both nursing broken hearts.  They make a pact that they will not participate in the delights of the London Season so as to avoid the fair sex altogether.  And then Sir Anthony is conscripted by the Dowager Duchess of Marcross to escort her great-niece, Ginny Delacourt, to the country after her lackluster debut.  When Colin first sees Miss Armistead of the emerald green eyes and coal black hair, he forgets all about whomsoever it was who broke his heart.  What's a newly free bachelor to do?  

Available as an ebook on pre-order at Amazon now!

The RONE Awards and Me  

Posted by Heidi


I am super delighted that both of my 2013 releases, Lord Haversham Takes Command and The Lord Who Sneered and Other Tales, a Regency Holiday Anthology, have been nominated for a RONE Award.  This is sponsored by InDtale Magazine. For either of these books to become finalists in the competition, they need votes.  If you would like to vote for either of these books, you will need an InD'tale log in.  It is super easy to sign up and super easy to vote.  Voting for my category does not begin until March 24th.  


Lord Haversham Takes Command was also nominated for a Whitney Award.


The Lord Who Sneered and Other Tales is my most recent release.

My Favorite Gluten Free Products--Easy, Cheap and Delish!  

Posted by Heidi


I have been eating gluten free for over three years and have tried a lot of different products.  Different taste buds have different, well, tastes, so what I think is perfect might not sit well with you.  However, if you are just starting out on the gluten free journey, this list will give you a great place to start.  As always, check ingredient lists for products that do not clearly state they are gluten free as formulas change. Also, if you have nut allergies, be wary as nut flours are often used in gluten free products.

By easy, cheap and delicious, I mean, when comparing apples to apples.  None of this stuff is truly cheap but I feel that the items below give the biggest bang for the buck.

Mary's original All Gone Crackers--a serving of these have half a serving of protein and are filled with seeds--these are a staple of my gluten free diet.
Calbee's Snapeas, original flavor--these are not technically a gluten free food since gluten is not present to begin with (like an apple or potato), however, I adore these and so I thought I would mention them.
Sof'ella Chocolate Cake Mix--has more lift than other mixes and tastes divine.
Glutino's Perfect Pie Crust Flour--this is a miracle!  I use it when I bake from scratch, sometimes by itself and sometimes in combination with other cup for cup gluten free flours, depending.  It certainly makes the best pie crust of any other flour I have tried and it's great in cookies and other delicate baking.
General Mills Brand Corn/Rice Chex--every flavor is delicious but I like the cinnamon rice chex best because cinnamon is an awesome energy booster.
Crunchmaster's Multiseed Cracker, Rosemary and Olive Oil--Yum!  The original and garlic flavors are good, too.
Udi's White Sandwhich bread--for a gluten free peanut butter and jelly sandwhich, this bread can't be beat.  It actually has more nutrients in it than their multi-grain bread.
Costco brand multi-grain bread--a delicious, dark, multi-grain bread great for toasted cheese and lunchmeat sandwhiches.
Pamela's Pancake Mix--this makes great pancakes and waffles.  I have used it to make chocolate chip cookies per the directions, but I prefer others for that.
Costco Frozen Pepperoni Pizza--best ready made frozen pizza, in my opinion.  (I think it is Kirkland brand.)
Udi's frozen pizza crust--if you are going to assemble your own pizza, I really like Udi's crust.
Trader Joe's chocolate cupcakes--TJ's just unveiled their gluten free cupcakes. They are a dollar each (compared to $3-$4 each at gluten free bakeries) and loaded with delicious buttercream frosting.  They are 330 calories each and taste like it.  Simply divine!
Lucy's Cookies--I prefer to make my own but if you want store bought cookies, the kind that crunch, Lucy's chocolate chip, maple, sugar and chocolate chocolate chip versions are the best I have ever tasted (these are pricey, people but worth it!)
Noodles--I prefer Schar's.  Noodles are probably the easiest thing to find that tastes close to the original but I prefer a blend of rice and corn noodles--Schar does it best.
Trader Joe's GF Joe-Joe's--there are lots of GF Oreo substitutes out there--these are the best.  The others are too sickeningly sweet.
Betty Crocker Brownie Mix--pretty much like the real thing.  Honest.
Glutino brand pretzels--both plain and chocolate covered.
Amy's Black Bean Soup--I haven't found a truly tasty canned soup but this is edible and has some high notes.
Schar's shortbread cookies--both plain and chocolate covered--also their version of Mother's Fudge Cookies is pretty good.
Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa Mix--the only one I have found that says Gluten Free right on the box.

Sadly, I have not yet found a ready made gravy mix, rolls, doughnuts or gnocchi that I find worth eating.  Let me know if you find any.

Items I have bought but have not yet tried:  Trader Joe's new Mac and Cheese, Whole Foods brand ready made pie crust (this is a tough one--all the others I have tried was like eating bricks) and Trader Joe's brand new cup for cup gluten free flour--much cheaper than King Arthur's (it's okay) or Better Batter (which I hate) and about the same as Glutino's Perfect Pie Crust flour which I use for more than pie crust.

Recipes I love that taste pretty much like when made with wheat flour:

Any Chocolate Molten or Lava Cake
Any cream puff recipe
Cookies with almond flavoring

In short, any recipe that contains enough flavor from chocolate, eggs (such as cream puff choux) or other strong flavorings like almond, and requires a smaller amount of flour than a cake or regular cookies, is going to come out pretty well.  You might need to add xanthun gum (I have developed a sensitivity to this which I hear is common) or Guar Gum to make things stick together better but most cup for cup gluten free flours contain one or both.  Also, extra egg white can create miracles.

Bon appetit!