Non-Scary Halloween Favorites

Photo by Helena Lopes on Pexels.com

Those who know me personally understand that I do not like to be scared. I am the type of person that might jump if you call my name too loudly, even though we are in the same room and I saw you coming.

I still manage to enjoy Halloween, focusing on the cute pumpkins, happy children, and yummy treats instead of the gore, thrills, and psychological scariness of the holiday. Maybe it’s because I have kids now, but I feel like Halloween costumes and decorations are getting scarier and gorier each year.

The question of why that is (or even if that is) would need a whole blog post to itself, so we’ll set that aside and focus on what I consider to be the good parts of Halloween. This year, my kids won’t be trick-or-treating, but we can still have fun! Here is a short list of some of our favorites Halloween things.

Pumpkin Carving

Pin van Leanne op Jack
Sadly, I can’t find who created this adorable pumpkin. I love it though!

My kids have always loved carving pumpkins, and my husband is a gem and takes over the messy bits for me. I’m thinking of trying this cute idea. A pumpkin house!

Cute Movies/TV Shows

We have a super-low tolerance for scary. I mean, the old Disney Halloween specials are too spooky for us. But this Curious George special has been a hit with my kids. It’s pretty darn cute. Other good options include the Blue’s Clues Halloween specials and the classic Buffy the Vampire Episode “Fear Itself” (for older kids).

Halloween Treats

Crescent Mummy Dogs
Hot dog mummies. Courtesy of Pilsbury.com

Candy aside, themed treats are just fun. We’re planning on making these cute hot dog mummies this year. There will also be lots of pumpkin flavored things, because I just can’t get enough.

I plan on getting myself a non-scary Halloween themed romance novel, making myself a chai latte, and enjoying Halloween to its non-scary fullest. I hope you and yours can do the same.

Stay healthy. Stay safe. Take care, dear readers.

Music to Write By – Guardians

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Pexels.com

Well, hello October. You snuck in, didn’t you?

In-between grappling with Halloween Covid choices (treat or treating? pumpkin patches?) and costume creation, I have been working on a brand new story. For those of you who are keeping track, yes, I am still in edits for my latest publication, Interrupted Plans.

This work, which I’m calling Guardians for now, is a young adult fantasy romance. I guess. Genres aren’t really my thing. I had the initial spark of an idea about three years ago, but suddenly it’s taken off in my brain and I can’t brainstorm anything else but this.

Guardians is, like all my work, a romantic tale. There are star-crossed lovers, there are magical beings, and there is a big evil dude bent on the acquisition of power. There may be two interwoven plot lines. There are definitely angel wings.

Those of you who have followed me for a while will know that whenever I begin a new project, I begin a new playlist. (Insert rant about Google’s new changes to Play Music here).

Today I want to share a few of my new musical discoveries. First up, Atlas: Hearing by Sleeping at Last:

Is that not a magical piece of music? It screams for writing. My fingers itch just listening to it. Another new favorite is Run by Ludovico Einaudi:

It is so good! Poetic and sweeping and just darn lovely. It fits one of my characters perfectly. It’s sort of become her theme song.

I hope your October is full of joy. Take care and stay well.

Audiobook Giveaway!!

Did you know that A Chance Encounter in Pemberley Woods is now available as an audiobook? To celebrate, I’m hosting a giveaway! There are several ways to enter.

  1. Sign up for my newsletter
  2. Head to my Facebook Page and like this post
  3. Check out my Instagram feed. Like this post and tag a friend.

You can a chance to win for each action, so that’s three potential entries! Don’t worry, if you are already subscribed to my newsletter you automagically are entered to win a copy of the audiobook.

And to keep things legal and above board, here is the legalese:

➡️➡️TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY:

1️⃣ Follow @brigidhueywrites on Instagram

2️⃣ Like this post

3️⃣ Leave a comment tagging a friend who loves romantic things!

The winner will be selected by random draw and notified via DM. Just confirm that you received the message and I will send you your code for a FREE copy of A Chance Encounter in Pemberley Woods audiobook!

You have until Wednesday, September 30 at 9AM (EST) to enter.

Giveaway is open to everyone. By entering, you are agreeing to the Official Rules located at brigidhuey.com/giveaways. If you don’t want to enter through Instagram, you can also enter by sending an email to brigidhueywrites@gmail.com with “Audiobook Giveaway” in the subject line. Entrants release Instagram from any liability associated with entering this giveaway. This giveaway is not affiliated with, sponsored by, or endorsed by Instagram.

➡️➡️TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY:

1️⃣ Sign up for my newsletter via Facebook

2️⃣ Leave a comment tagging a friend who loves romantic things!

Already a newsletter subscriber? No problem! Just tag a friend and you’ll be entered.

The winner will be selected by random draw and notified via DM. Just confirm that you received it and I will send you your code for a FREE copy of A Chance Encounter in Pemberley Woods audiobook!

You have until Wednesday, September 30 at 9AM (EST) to enter.

Giveaway is open to everyone. By entering, you are agreeing to the Official Rules located at brigidhuey.com/giveaways. If you don’t want to enter through Facebook, you can also enter by sending an email to brigidhueywrites@gmail.com with “Audiobook Giveaway” in the subject line. Entrants release Facebook from any liability associated with entering this giveaway. This giveaway is not affiliated with, sponsored by, or endorsed by Facebook.

Michaelmas Pie

As Michaelmas approaches, I though I would share a recipe I found for the delicious sounding Michaelmas pie.

This recipe comes from the LittleShamrocks blog:

12 oz All-Purpose Flour, sifted
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
3 oz Vegetable Shortening
3 oz Chilled Butter, diced
3 oz Chilled Water
Pinch of Salt
2 lb. Cooking Apples
1 Cup Sugar
1 Teaspoon Ground Cloves
1 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
12 oz Blackberries
1 Egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 350F.

Prepare the pastry. Place the flour in a large bowl and stir in the cinnamon and salt. Rub in the butter and shortening with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Make a well in the center and add the chilled water. Bring the mixture together using a round-bladed knife. Once it has come together, knead for a brief moment and place in a plastic bag and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Peel and core the apples. Cut into large chunks and place them in a saucepan with the sugar, cloves and nutmeg. Cover with a lid and gently cook for 5 minutes or until the apples have softened. Fold in the blackberries and remove the saucepan from the heat. Cool completely.

Remove the pastry from the fridge and roll out 2/3 on a lightly floured surface. Line an 8 inch metal pie plate. Prick the base of pastry with a fork. Strain the fruit, reserving the juices and spoon the fruit mixture into the crust. Roll out remaining pastry and lay over the fruit.

Lift back the edge and brush the base with a little egg and seal the edge. Trim and crimp the pastry edges. Brush the surface with the remaining egg and make a couple of slits in the top. Scatter a little more sugar over the pastry and bake for 35 minutes. Serve hot or cold with ice cream or fresh whipped cream.

For more information about the history and traditions of Michaelmas, sign up for my newsletter!

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Music to Write By – Interrupted Plans

Another Installment

Hello, dear readers. I’m back to share with you my latest additions to my writing playlist. If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you’ll know that music is essential for my writing mojo. When I start a new work, I create a new playlist. It’ll usually be filled with instrumental pieces, but occasionally songs with words get in there too.

I have a favorite playlist that I continually add to, which I’ve called “Historical Romance.” I’m creative like that. This is what I listened to while writing Interrupted Plans.

The Songs

The first piece I’m sharing today is called “The Northbound Train” from the BBC adaptation of North & South by Elizabeth Gaskell. It’s composed by Martin Phipps, a favorite of mine. Take a listen:

It’s just so good! The next piece is from a soundtrack near and dear to my heart. “Leaving London,” from Patrick Doyle’s Sense and Sensibility soundtrack. This track is particularly relevant to the story line of Interrupted Plans!

If you have never listened to much Patrick Doyle or Martin Phipps, please, please, please check them out. So much loveliness! Take care, dear readers. Stay well.

P.S. If you’re interested, check out more of my Music to Write By series, click the Music to Write By tag below.

An Introduction to Introductions

Description=Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle as Mr Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet in a dramatisation of Jane Austen’s “Pride & Prejudice” for the BBC, pictured at Harrow School, Harrow on the Hill – 28.08.1994. Copyright Alan Weller / The Times.

I thought I had a pretty good handle on how to address a lady or gentleman of the Regency Period. In the midst of editing my latest novel, however, I’ve learned so much about the intricacies of this seemingly simple occurance. A man walks in, he says hello, the lady responds. That’s it, right?

Oh, no. There is so much more to it.

A primer

One of the things I learned through reading various blog posts was that a gentleman must ask to be introduced to a lady. And the lady may decline! She could just say, no and walk away. I find it fascinating how behaviors change over time. I feel like you couldn’t pull that off today without being called rude. Back in the Regency period, it was considered a way that a lady could protect herself from unwanted acquaintances.

Also, a person of higher rank must acknowledge you first. If they do not ask for an introduction, you cannot. Think Mr Collins embarrassing Elizabeth by going up and introducing himself to Mr Darcy, a man of superior rank. Gasp!

This knowledge has been incredibly helpful to me while crafting my stories. If you’re interested in learning more, check out these blog posts:

Making Introductions in Jane Austen’s World by Maria Grace

Introductions in the Regency Era from Historical Romance Review

10 Dos and Don’ts to Become a Lady in Regency England from The History Collection

Culzean Castle

Culzean Castle photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Let’s just take a minute to bask in the beauty of this fairy tale castle. Culzean Castle is located on the Ayrshire Cliffs of Maybole, which is on the Eastern coast of Scotland. After a little research, I picked this castle as the home of one of my characters in my current work in progress. His name is Mr Wessex, and he inherited this place from his mother’s family. Lucky guy, huh?

Mr Wessex moves from the South of England to Scotland upon his inheritance. He refuses to give up on the castle, which is my story is in need of repair and fresh funds. In actuality, this castle was built in late 18th century, maybe 30 years or so before Mr Wessex comes to own it.

I love writing fiction. Need a problem? Invent one! Need a solution? Create it!

The real Culzean Castle was designed by a gentleman named Robert Adam. Though he grew up in Scotland, Robert Adam traveled to mainland Europe to take in as much architectural knowledge as possible. When he returned to England in 1758, he and his brother John began to work hard to establish themselves. Eventually, their style came to be known as the Adam style. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, “The Adam style was marked by a new lightness and freedom in the use of the classical elements of architecture—a fresh combination of many architectural elements.” Check out the full article here for more fascinating info about Robert Adam.

The oval staircase at Culzean Castle. Photo courtesy of National Trust for Scotland

Summer of…love?

In a world gone mad…no wait, that’s not right. In a world turned upside down, but in a good way, except for the COVID-19 part….no, no, no. In these unprecedented times…*sigh*

What can I say? Take care, dear readers. Remember that love heals even the most wounded of hearts. Take a break, read a romance novel, and then get back out there and share the love.

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Kittens & Keets

Some days I just can’t…(Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com)

The kids and I have been on the struggle bus lately. No one seems to be able to focus. I struggle to focus on writing, and they struggle to focus on schoolwork. When we start arguing during lessons, I know it’s time to take a break from homeschooling and recharge. We typically do this by stopping table time (read: books lessons) and going on outings. We’d hit up the Cincinnati Zoo, the Cincinnati Museum Center, and ALL the playgrounds.

For obvious reasons, we can’t do that right now. The weather has been challenging, too. It’s been very rainy and unseasonably cool here. In short, we’re all feeling like you probably are: a bit out of sorts.

A solution presents itself

Last week while numbing out on my phone, I was trolling the Petfinder app and stumbled upon the Ohio Alleycat Resource & Spay/Neuter Clinic. Their website said they needed fosters for various cats and kittens. My mind started working…

I signed us up to foster cats and/or kittens. We’ve been approved and are awaiting our first fosters right now. You can imagine how often the kids ask me if OAR has texted me yet. I was feeling pretty good. We’d be helping animals, while giving ourselves new purpose and fuzzy goodness. Even my husband, though not an animal person, was okay with the plan.

And yet more weirdness for 2020

Then one night while watching Frozen II (this is relevant because Frozen II is amazing and Anna is my hero), my daughter noticed the parakeets doing something a little strange. Yep, they were mating. Dang it.

A bit of background. When we first got our parakeets, we had two males. George sadly passed away a week or two after we brought him home. We went back and got Tonks, who I thought was a boy. Nope. Turns out Tonks is female. So Fred and Tonks were together in the cage, but I wasn’t worried. They weren’t very friendly with each other (parakeet females won’t mate if they don’t approve of the male) and I was doing all the things to decrease the odds of mating (changing their cage setup regularly, not providing nesting boxes, covering their cage earlier at night).

Jeff Goldblum Life Finds A Way GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Well it turns out that Ian Malcolm was right. Life finds a way. So now I’m scrambling to learn all I can about brooding parakeets and raising ‘keet chicks. It seems doable…I think. If all goes well, we’ll have some very cute and tame young parakeets in about two months. Gulp.

I’m just hoping for a happy ending.