And the Winner Is…

Last night was the launch party for our celebration of the newest release, Whispered Kisses, as well as the release of my first audiobook, Snow Storms & Kissing Games, produced (narrated) by Sophie Andrews. I have to say – it was a BLAST!!! If you were not able to make it, you sure missed out on a fun time! Very intense, very fast paced, but definitely one for the books!!


If you were there, THANK YOU!!!! I enjoyed all the games, all the goofs, and all the pictures – but most of all I enjoyed just getting to hang out with some fabulous women – and man – and talk about Jane Austen’s books. I was so busy last night that I was unable to enter into the conversation as easily as others, but my supporting team helped out in enormous ways and I loved every minute of it.


Speaking of my supporting team – I cannot forget to mention them, so I guess I better put that in here now. I have never even been to one of these parties, but Rose Fairbanks talked me into doing it, and in fact donated a bunch off the gifts. So thank you Rose!! My other cohorts in planning the details of our every 15 minute rounds were Zoe Burton, Eileen Brown, and Sophie Andrews. Even though the time difference did not allow Sophie to be there for long (she lives in England), she did get to pop in during the early minutes to give us a video introduction to start our night. If you missed that, I will post it here below. Although the prize from last night has already been chosen, you still have a chance to be entered to win another prize to be given out here on my blog on Fridady when I interview Sophie about her first job as producer of an audiobook. So stay tuned!



We also had some wonderful prizes donated, so a quick shout-out of thanks goes to Jeanna Ellsworth, KaraLynne Mackrory, Melanie Schertz, and Joy King, (as well as Rose, who I have already mentioned). THANK YOU to all you ladies for your generosity!


And now for the winners. These are the winners of each of the timed slots:

6:00-6:15   Kathy Langstein Berlin – Winner of autographed print book of ‘Whispered Kisses’ (donated by author, Sarah Johnson)

6:15-6:30   Regina McCaughty-Silvia – Winner of EBook of ‘Whispered Kisses’ (donated by author, Sarah Johnson)

6:30-6:45  Tina Carter -Winner of EBook by Jeanna Ellsworth (winner’s choice) (donated by author, Jeanna Ellsworth)

6:45-7:00  Lynn Bischoff – Winner of Shirley’s Soaps (donated by Rose Fairbanks)

7:00-7:15  Stan Hurd – Winner of autographed print book of ‘The Gentleman’s Impertinent Daughter’ (donated by author, Rose Fairbanks)

7:15-7:30  Balcita Blue – Winner of EBook by KaraLynne Mackrory (winner’s choice) (donated by author, KaraLynne Mackrory)

7:30-7:45  Kathy Langstein Berlin – Winner of print book by Jeanna Ellsworth (winner’s choice) (donated by author, Jeanna Ellsworth)

7:45-8:00  Debbie Fortin – Winner of Bingley’s Teas (donated by Rose Fairbanks)

8:00-8:15  Sylvia Claire Chan – Winner of autographed print book of ‘I Promise To…’ (donated by author, Zoe Burton)

8:15-8:30  Lynn Bischoff – Winner of audiobook ‘Snow Storms & Kissing Games’ by Sarah Johnson and Sophie Andrews (donated by author, Sarah Johnson)

8:30-8:45  Kathy Langstein Berlin – Winner of print book, winner’s choice, by Melanie Schertz (except new book) (donated by author, Melanie Schertz)

8:45-9:00  Lynn Bischoff – Winner of Shirley’s Soaps (donated by Rose Fairbanks)

9:00-9:15  Amanda Henry Roe – Winner of autographed print book of ‘Letters from the Heart’ (donated by author, Rose Fairbanks)

9:15-9:30  Angela Winthrow – Winner of the EBook ‘On the Road to Ramsgate’ (donated by author, Melanie Schertz)

9:30-9:45  Amanda Henry Roe – Winner of Bingley’s Teas (donated by Rose Fairbanks)

9:45-10:00  Melanie Schertz – Winner of Shirley’s Soaps (donated by Rose Fairbanks)


**Any of these prizes can be traded for an ebook of Whispered Kisses or an Audiobook of Snow Storms & Kissing Games. I will be in contact with each of the winners individually, so no need to tell me which you would prefer here.



AND finally, the GRAND PRIZE WINNER is:




Thank you all for coming, and I will be in touch with you to work out the delivery of your prizes.

The Peculiar Ramblings Library – Grand Opening!



As many of you know, my friends and I have had a monthly newsletter, Peculiar Ramblings, for nearly six months now. It is exciting to see it grow and bring us all together in amazing ways. I have found an wonderful group of co-workers, and most of all friends, in the ladies who help me every month. – Leslie Diamond, Zoe Burton, Rose Fairbanks, and Eileen Brown.


We are all authors, and what an author needs most is readers. So, in an effort to provide our Peculiar Ramblings authors with a safe place to post our stories, whether short or long, for everyone to read, we have built a digital library. It will be ever growing as we each add more of our stories, both old and new, to the library shelves. We hope you enjoy the site and come back often to visit, keep up on the postings going up, and comment – after all, your comments give us authors the boost we sometimes need to push through a difficult writing session.


In order to provide the safety needed to have these stories remain free to all, however, it is necessary that our library be password protected. So please keep the following case sensitive password in mind when logging in:  AustenClassics!

This is the same password we use for our Peculiar Ramblings Newsletter every month. Hopefully that will keep things easy for you (and us!!).


I would be remiss if I did not mention my special thanks to Stephanie Hamm for her help in dealing with the coding issues that came up. I am not as adept at coding as she is, and she was able to fix the small details that boggled my mind. She was a true Godsend in the last few weeks of preparations, and the wonderful look we have achieved is due to her efforts. So thank you, Stephanie!


The library can be found by clicking the images in this post, under the new Library tab on the menu, or at the following url:


So now, we take out the virtual scissors and cut the ribbon on the brand new – Peculiar Ramblings Library! WELCOME and ENJOY!



Exciting News!!



Such exciting news this week – Snow Storms & Kissing Games is now in audiobook format, and is available through Amazon, Audible, and iTunes. Here are the links to purchase it:

Amazon   |   Audible

(Sorry, I can’t open the UK and CAN sites to add those links, so these are just for US, and I cannot open the iTunes one on my computer to get the link for them.)


This has been a fun project and even though there were a few stumbling blocks along the way, I am grateful for them as they led to a final product that is so much better than I could ever imagine!


The narrator for this book, and hopefully for future audiobooks as well, was the lovely Sophie Andrews of Laughing with Lizzie. She is from England and put a fun twist to the story, especially for me. She was able to bring out the personalities of each of the characters so well, even at some points making them come alive more than I even had in my mind when I wrote them.

I will be hosting Sophie’s first blog interview for her new audiobook business next Friday – February 20th, and would love to have some reader questions for her. So please comment, send me a message, or email me with your questions for her.





Guest Post: All You Need Is Love

Our guest this month in the Peculiar Ramblings Newsletter is Joy Dawn King. She is an avid reader, but did not read Jane Austen until she was 55 years old.  It was love at first read. While living in the Andes Mountains of Ecuador last year, she wrote her debut novel, A Father’s Sins: A Pride and Prejudice Variation. Joy is currently living back in the US, in the beautiful state of Oregon, with her husband, John, and is finishing the revisions for her Bingley/Jane story called Finding Their Way. I hope you enjoy this guest post as much as we all did – and thank you Joy!!
If you would like to receive our newsletter every month, with guests posts like this and other articles, games, and stories, you can sign up here.
“Love Is All You Need” – The BeatlesYesterday at the grocery store checkout I found myself surrounded by pink and red heart shaped boxes of candy. The store was softly playing love songs from the 1970’s and there was a display of gaudy greeting cards for the last minute shopper that had apparently been rejected by Hallmark. It must be close to Valentine’s Day.Even though I do not celebrate the holiday, my thoughts turned to romance. Would I personally think it romantic to receive these gifts? If we did celebrate this day, would my husband think to purchase these treasures in plenty of time or would he be one of the hordes that would attack the shelves at the last minute in an effort to scrounge something to please his wife of almost 35 years?I knew the answer.

One week after we married, all those years ago, my husband, John, had one dozen long-stemmed red roses delivered to me just an hour before he came home from work. He wanted to mark our anniversary. This was the first time that I had ever received roses and it made tears come to my eyes. Then my eyes swelled and my nose started running. Then, I could feel the skin on my face and neck burning and looked into the mirror to see big hives bursting out all over. By the time John got home my throat had started to swell and we thought a trip to the hospital emergency room was in order. However, a dose of Benadryl and removal of the flowers to the back porch took care of the crisis. Apparently, I was allergic to roses. John was crestfallen and I was miserable though the thought behind the gift had been lovely.

For our one month anniversary, John had the same florist deliver a gorgeous potted plant with a small card attached reminding me that he loved me. I placed the plant on a small table in front of our large living room window where it would be the first thing that anyone entering the room would see. I was so proud and my tender feelings of gratitude for my wonderful husband grew. Then, I noticed that small brown things were falling off the green leaves. What could it be? Bugs! The underside of the leaf that it fell from was covered with them. Filled with terror, I swiped that plant off my beautiful table and plopped it onto the back porch. Again, my poor hubby was thwarted in the romance department.

By this time, John was ready to give up on romance. I tried to convey how much his attempts meant to me, but he was feeling like a failure. We hugged, and …. well, the rest of my efforts to soothe him are private, but I’m certain that you get the point. Romance is important in any loving relationship, is it not? John had hit a 10 on the romance meter two months before we wed and he wanted to try to top it or at least equal it for these milestones when he realized how much joy it brought his new wife, but things were not working out. What had he done to reach the pinnacle of success before?

Early in our relationship, John had expressed an opinion about a friend’s ex-wife who had demanded a large diamond engagement ring. When the marriage ended, she was particular about her desire to keep that ring. What this woman did not know was that her husband had picked out a cubic zirconium because he couldn’t afford the real thing. This left a bad impression on John, so he told me that he would NOT spend money on a fancy ring. Two months before we were married I pulled him into a local jewelry store and showed him the wedding set that I coveted. In all our years together, it was the closest that he ever came being disappointed in me. I got over it as he had been clear how he felt about making such a purchase. Two months later, on April 25, 1980, he slipped a ring on my finger. Then he held my finger and started shaking it as the ceremony continued. He kept it up and it was starting to irritate me. Then I looked down. Instead of the plain gold band that I’d paid $2.00 for at a discount store, IT WAS THE RING!!! It was a good thing that Reverend Love at Love’s Chapel in Lake Tahoe, Nevada had probably seen and heard most everything as I squealed and grabbed my almost-husband in a tight hug before he could pronounce us man and wife. Yes, the romantic pole had been set rather high.

Over the years there have been many moments between us that pull at my heart strings when they are recalled to mind. Well thought-out gifts, tender expressions of love and concern, fidelity, loyalty, care and respect have been a constant part of our relationship. Is this not the type of romantic hero that we all enjoy reading about? Isn’t this the kind of husband that you imagine Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy would be to his Elizabeth? It is exactly the kind of man that I married.

So, would John need to grab one of those tacky red boxes off the shelf of our local discount store? Would he give me a card that has a cat with BIG lips puckered for a smooch on the front and hearts floating randomly above those lips? Would he wait until the last minute in a frantic scramble to keep the peace by providing a gift offering of red and pink tulips? No! Why? Because romance is much, much more than just one day a year.

So, think of what your expectations and hopes are for February 14th. I am absolutely convinced that the store hopes and expects that the displays of the candy, cards, and flowers will be cleared before the end of that business day. Undoubtedly, none of it will find its way into my house. If you do celebrate this holiday, I hope that all of your personal expectations are met. If not, remember the words from Nicholas Spark’s book, The Notebook, where he says,

“The best love is the kind that awakens the soul and makes us reach for more, that plants a fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds. And that’s what you’ve given me. That’s what I’d hoped to give you forever.”
Much better than chocolates in a pink heart, don’t you agree?

Protected: A Peculiar Ramblings Story: Words of Love

This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series Peculiar Ramblings Stories


Welcome! You have come across a post that is password protected for one of two reasons –

1. This is a story I am currently posting privately.

If this is you, please refer to the list below for the case sensitive password for the story you wish to read.

Cupid’s Throes – password is: Cupid

 2. This is a contributing feature in the newsletter, Peculiar Ramblings.

If this is you, please refer to your emailed newsletter. If you did not receive the newsletter with this password, you can contact one of our editors: Sarah Johnson, Eileen Brown, Rose Fairbanks, Zoe Burton, or Leslie L Diamond. To be added to the list so you know the password in the future, please go here and fill out the simple form:


Please enter the case sensitive password below.

A Peculiar Ramblings Game: Resolutions Puzzle

This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series Peculiar Ramblings Games


We are changing things up a little this month, and instead of a word game, we have a puzzle. We all spent quite a lot of time playing with this ourselves and hope you enjoy it as well. The first person to solve the message and email it to me will win their choice of ebook from any of our published authors (Sarah Johnson, Rose Fairbanks, Zoe Burton, or Leslie L Diamond). Please email the solved message to:



Online jigsaw puzzles from

Protected: A Peculiar Ramblings Story – The Rescue

This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series Peculiar Ramblings Stories


Welcome! You have come across a post that is password protected for one of two reasons –

1. This is a story I am currently posting privately.

If this is you, please refer to the list below for the case sensitive password for the story you wish to read.

Cupid’s Throes – password is: Cupid

 2. This is a contributing feature in the newsletter, Peculiar Ramblings.

If this is you, please refer to your emailed newsletter. If you did not receive the newsletter with this password, you can contact one of our editors: Sarah Johnson, Eileen Brown, Rose Fairbanks, Zoe Burton, or Leslie L Diamond. To be added to the list so you know the password in the future, please go here and fill out the simple form:


Please enter the case sensitive password below.

We have a winner!!

Congratulations from all of us at Peculiar Ramblings to Sylvia Chan, who found the hidden message in our December word search game! (For those of you who are curious, it was “Happy Christmas from us to you”.)  The prize offered was an e-book copy of any book from any of the Peculiar Ramblings authors.  Sylvia chose “Cherished” by Sarah Johnson.


Excellent choice, Sylvia!

For our January game, we chose a slightly addictive interactive activity.  Four of us spent close to an hour each last night, playing with it.  It was fun, and also challenging at times!  I know you will like it…so watch for the newsletter in a couple weeks so you, too, can win a prize!



Facebook Quizzes


Y’all know them – the quizzes that fill your facebook wall that tell you that your friends perfect love match would be Richard Armatage (duh!!) or that your ideal dog is a labrador. You swear you will never take that quiz, that it would just be a waste of your time. Then the inevitable happens – you find yourself clicking on that link and answering the ridiculous questions that will lead to that enlightening moment when someone gets you! You agonize over the questions, saying to yourself, “Hmmm, if I pick this one I might get ___ for an answer. I don’t think that fits me though. Maybe I should go with this other one? But none of these really are what I would truly say/do.” Finally you choose an answer, it is logged into the system, and it goes on to the next question.

The moment you have been waiting for arrives… the anticipation builds… and then, up pops that you are Jane Eyre. Not Elizabeth Bennet. Not Jo March. Jane Eyre! The one character in historical fiction classic novels that you loathe.

ClassicLitCharacter-2Yup, that is me. I was sucked into the “Which Classic Literature Character Are You?” quiz, and I ended up with Jane Eyre. My mom would be laughing about this – I will have to call her later and tell her. Jane Eyre is her favorite historical novel and we debate it vs Pride & Prejudice all the time. (Amended to say that when I called her she busted out laughing. Glad I could make her evening. lol)

What is even worse is when you read the descriptions given for the character, and it just does not ring true of how you think that character is at all.

You are Jane Eyre! You may appear soft spoken but you are a little firecracker and have a lot to say! You are highly intelligent and would make a very good teacher. You are supportive of the ones you love and want to feel equal to your significant other.

Ok, I will admit, there is a bit of this particular description in me, but is it truly Jane Eyre? I don’t think so. If I am going to hash out the intricacies of a particular character though I would much rather do Jo March…


You are Jo March! You have a large group of family and friends and they always come first! You are the leader of the group and you are also very innovative and creative. You are clever and can be quite outspoken. You also love to read or write.

Or Elizabeth Bennet…

You are Lizzie Bennett! One of the strongest females in literature, you stand by your opinions and you are fiercely independent. You have great loyalty towards your family and stand by their side no matter [what]. When you are in love you make sure not to lose your own personality, and you are very wise about who you trust.

And so, for you my wonderful readers, I did a coin toss, and Elizabeth Bennet won. (Sorry Jo March!)

ClassicLitCharacter-3I will take the next few moments to break this description of Elizabeth Bennet down and give my personal opinion. I would love to hear your thoughts on this as well.

You are Lizzie Bennett!

OK, stop right there – **sigh** – it should be spelled LizzY (not IE) and BenneT (not TT). Now that we have that out of the way, on with the comments…

One of the strongest females in literature.

I am not sure this is true. I would say she is a timeless character. Maybe this is just a personal opinion of specific word choice. Moving on…

You stand by your opinions and you are fiercely independent.

Sure, I guess you could say she stood by her opinions – at first. But then it is revealed that her opinions are wrong, or rather based on a dodgy person’s words, and her own prejudices against Mr Darcy enlighten her to what her own failures are. Fiercely independent – perhaps. I can give this person that she is not directly dependent upon others much (beyond what is just common for the times). I think this is definitely true of Jane, but we will discuss that next.

You have great loyalty towards your family and stand by their side no matter [what].

The last word in the actual description was “one”, but it is obviously a mistake. So I put what I think it should be here – it makes more sense. Now on to Jane – absolutely she stuck by Jane’s side no matter what. The rest of her family though inspired feelings of embarrassment and regret in her. Her mother was forward and crass at times. Her father was derelict in his duties. Mary was immature and socially awkward. Kitty and Lydia were flirtatious and improper socially. The Gardiners were well-loved and she obviously  respected her aunt’s opinion, but as for the other family, I do not see much loyalty there. Jane is, of course the exception. She is a lovely, polite, sweet individual, and I would say she is easy for Elizabeth to love fiercely.

When you are in love you make sure not to lose your own personality.

I am not certain this is even truly addressed in Pride & Prejudice. It is not so much about this side of what might be her character – it is instead about the pride and prejudices that both she and Mr Darcy have to face to find love. Elizabeth grows significantly in the story. She matures to be the person we can finally see standing up to those in London and being all that Mrs Darcy would entail of her. However, the actual novel ends too early for this particular part to be really answered.

You are very wise about who you trust.

Ok, I must admit that when I read that part I literally laughed out loud. Did this person really even read Pride & Prejudice? Somehow I doubt it if this is what they came away with! The prejudices she has are founded, in part, on the untrustworthy words that she did not take as such, and thus formed an opinion of a gentleman that was heavily skewed from who he truly was.. Now I know Darcy had his own path to changing whatever faults his characters had as well, but since this is about Elizabeth Bennet I feel we must stick with just her here. She was definitely not wise in who she decided to trust. Perhaps in the end she had learned her lesson, but that is difficult to say since we do not have the continuation of this story beyond where Ms Austen decided to end it. It would be an interesting read though if we did. 

So, my friends, what do you think? Let me know your opinions below.

Christmas GIVEAWAY!


Enter to win one of TWO prizes – FREE EBooks (winner’s choice of any of my titles now available at most major online retailers).

With this being the holiday season, and family coming into town in just a few days, I am trying out Rafflecopter for the first time. Hopefully this works well for y’all. If there is a problem and you cannot enter, please just comment below or email me ( and I will enter your name manually.

You can be entered into this giveaway by doing one (or more) of the following:

  • Comment below on this blog post
  • Tweet (once per day) the following message: Christmas Giveaway! Win a FREE EBook by Sarah Johnson! @SarahJohnsonPL
  • Visit my author page on Facebook:


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Merry Christmas my dear friends and readers!