Monday, May 23, 2016

Book Giveaway Contest!!!

My publisher recently mailed me an ARC (advanced reading copy) of my upcoming debut novel, Between Two Fires, and I’ve chosen to offer it to one of you! The book doesn’t come out officially until August 23rd, but I plan to run this giveaway contest between now and the middle of June.

To win an early release copy of Between Two Fires, simply join my mailing list here (bottom of the home page)!

By subscribing to the mailing list on my website, you’re automatically entered to win! The winner will be announced in the middle of June. I keep my newsletter updates sparse, but informative, so don’t fret, you won’t get spammed. Plus, I reveal plenty of secret awesome news about my upcoming book only via my online newsletter.

Thanks for your support!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

My Garden

This year I started a little experiment in my yard. Every year I enjoy my garden, and often save the seeds from previous growing seasons. This year, however, I’ve experimented in spending zero money or water on my yard, yet still determined to have my garden.

How can I do this, you ask? Well, I’m saving water from various sources within my house, i.e. every time I run the shower or tub for the kids in order to heat up the water, I save it in buckets. Or if I need to heat water to wash dishes, I once again save the water. All this water that used to simply go down the drain, I now use to water my garden. On top of that, Mother Nature has been pretty cooperative this year and has applied a few gentle spring showers to keep my plants growing.

I know this experiment won’t last indefinitely, and that’s I’ll eventually need to use the hose as my crops get bigger and need more water, but in the meantime I’m enjoying being eco-friendly and economical for my water bill as well. How’s your spring shaping up?

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Trouble To Check Her

Lydia Bennet faces the music…

Running off with Mr. Wickham was a great joke—until everything turned arsey-varsey.  That spoilsport Mr. Darcy caught them and packed Lydia off to a hideous boarding school for girls who had lost their virtue.
It would improve her character, he said.
Ridiculous, she said.
Mrs. Drummond, the school’s headmistress, has shocking expectations for the girls. They must share rooms, do chores, attend lessons, and engage in charitable work, no matter how well born they might be. She even forces them to wear mobcaps! Refusal could lead to finding themselves at the receiving end of Mrs. Drummond's cane—if they were lucky. The unlucky ones could be dismissed and found a position … as a menial servant.
Everything and everyone at the school is uniformly horrid. Lydia hates them all, except possibly the music master, Mr. Amberson, who seems to have the oddest ideas about her. He might just understand her better than she understands herself.
Can she find a way to live up to his strange expectations, or will she spend the rest of her life as a scullery maid?

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Author Bio:
Though Maria Grace has been writing fiction since she was ten years old, those early efforts happily reside in a file drawer and are unlikely to see the light of day again, for which many are grateful. After penning five file-drawer novels in high school, she took a break from writing to pursue college and earn her doctorate in Educational Psychology. After 16 years of university teaching, she returned to her first love, fiction writing.

She has one husband, two graduate degrees and two black belts, three sons, four undergraduate majors, five nieces, six new novels in the works, attended seven period balls, sewn eight Regency era costumes, shared her life with nine cats through the years and published her tenth book last year.

She can be contacted at:
Random Bits of Fascination (
Austen Variations (
English Historical Fiction Authors
On Twitter @WriteMariaGrace

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Autobiography of W.B. Yeats

I recently finished reading the autobiography of one of my favorite poets, William Butler Yeats. An intriguing look into the mind of a man torn between his head and his heart, I couldn’t help from feeling a bit sorry for him. He constantly wanted to believe in the tender emotions of the heart, but also constantly questioned it with a cold rationality.

I was struck by a passage about a mountain near his home called Knocknarea (pronounced Nok-na-ray). I’ve climbed this mountain myself (my wife and I visited it on our honeymoon), and have felt its magical presence – Queen Maeve is reputed to be buried atop an ancient cairn on its summit. Anyhow, one night Yeats sees a light in the distance climbing the mountain and times its ascent at five minutes – knowing no human could scale the heights that quickly as it takes the better part of an hour to climb the mountain. This is in the 19th century, so what did he see? He runs after the light, trying to discover what it is, hoping in his heart that it has something to do with the fairies or the supernatural, yet deeply doubting it at the same time and figuring it must have some rational explanation.

He never finds out what it was, but the incident clearly sticks out in his mind ever afterward. What do you think it might have been? And how to you balance the beliefs of your heart with the rationality of your mind in everyday life? It’s no small question, that’s for sure.