New Beginnings: Spring is Near

Butterfly II

Happy Wednesday! Today I am sharing a glimpse at a recent page in my smash book. I have always been drawn to butterflies and this coming Spring is inspiring me to create in depths I haven’t reached before. They’ve been bottled up inside me far too long and the Butterfly is about new beginnings. How fitting.

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Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you. -Nathaniel Hawthorne

Novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne was a 19th Century American writer whose literature of the Nation’s Colonial history is well noted. His writings focus is around new England and evokes moral Puritan inspiration.

What stories have you read by Hawthorne?

Stephanie

Be Still My Heart: The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner

Early on in the month I was approved of an (ARC) The Jane Austen Society
by Natalie Jenner
from St. Martin Press through NetGalley. My first thoughts were, “How glorious the title was, the premise, Jane Austen, the cover, debut novel, new author I haven’t read, memorable characters, new beginnings, and strong literature. Maybe not all in that order but Jane Austen fans get me. I began my journey back into Jane Austen’s world last night and much to my surprise, even at the early stages of the story, I’m completely and madly in love with the what I’ve read, and a few characters thus far. How can this unknown writer- to me- capture my heart so quickly? These days, it is extremely hard to hold my interest in stories.

I can tell that Jenner knows her stuff, as my Grandmother would to say. It’s as if Jenner knows Jane Austen’s mind and heart. As if she has had an engrossing conversation with Austen about her characters motives and emotions. I felt a kinship to the story and two of the characters in the first scene.

Now my evenings can’t come fast enough to lose myself in the world of Jane Austen and the people who live in the town of Austen’s final home and connection the Great House and over a hundred years later after her death. May this story continue to capture my undivided attention. Right now, I have no doubt. -Stephanie

The Jane Austen SocietyThe Jane Austen Society
by Natalie Jenner
St. Martin’s Press
General Fiction (Adult), Historical Fiction
Pub Date 26 May 2020

Description

One hundred and fifty years ago, Chawton was the final home of Jane Austen, one of England’s finest novelists. Now it’s home to a few distant relatives and their diminishing estate. With the last bit of Austen’s legacy threatened, a group of disparate individuals come together to preserve both Jane Austen’s home and her legacy. These people—a laborer, a young widow, the local doctor, and a movie star, among others—could not be more different and yet they are united in their love for the works and words of Austen. As each of them endures their own quiet struggle with loss and trauma, some from the recent war, others from more distant tragedies, they rally together to create the Jane Austen Society.

A powerful and moving novel that explores the tragedies and triumphs of life, both large and small, and the universal humanity in us all, The Jane Austen Society is destined to resonate with readers for years to come.

 

Layered Pages: Art Of Journaling

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Every year I journal events, moments, thoughts, poems and what not. For 2020, I decided to make an art journal made from my fabric scraps. Each page will be a hand stitched pouch that I can put photos of my art and my writings. The pictures show the fabric pages I have created thus far.

When I’m jotting down my thoughts on paper, my mind brings me back to the story, “Possession by A.S. Byatt.” The thought of my journals being discovered a hundred or so years later…

The journals, letters and poems unearthed in the story “Possession” are by two literary sleuths. How romantic is that?! I highly recommend you read the story and watch the movie based on the book. The actors who star in the film are Gwyneth Paltrow, Aaron Eckhart, and Jeremy Northam. I’ve watched that movie a dozen times throughout the years while my imagination runs wild!

The art of journaling comes from your heart. It is what you make of the moment of thought and self expression. -Stephanie

PossessionAbout the book:

Possession is an exhilarating novel of wit and romance, at once an intellectual mystery and triumphant love story. It is the tale of a pair of young scholars researching the lives of two Victorian poets. As they uncover their letters, journals, and poems, and track their movements from London to Yorkshire—from spiritualist séances to the fairy-haunted far west of Brittany—what emerges is an extraordinary counterpoint of passions and ideas.

Quotes from Possession:

“My Solitude is my Treasure, the best thing I have. I hesitate to go out. If you opened the little gate, I would not hop away—but oh how I sing in my gold cage.”

― A.S. Byatt, Possession

“Think of this – that the writer wrote alone, and the reader read alone, and they were alone with each other.”

― A.S. Byatt, Possession

“…words have been all my life, all my life–this need is like the Spider’s need who carries before her a huge Burden of Silk which she must spin out–the silk is her life, her home, her safety–her food and drink too–and if it is attacked or pulled down, why, what can she do but make more, spin afresh, design anew….”

― A.S. Byatt, Possession

 

 

New Beginnings for Layered Pages

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Layered Pages will now be a blend of literature (Book Sales Starting on Friday), art, photography, and fashion! Be sure to tell your friends all about the new changes to Layered Pages!

My latest listings on Poshmark is now live! 10 listings in all! Be sure to check this out and my other items in my closet!  Make a bundle and get 15% OFF 3 or more items from this closet! Poshmark Website 

Use my code ARTSYCOUTURE42 to sign up for Poshmark and get a $5.00 credit!  

This past weekend I was going to get my art on but I did not get a moment to do so! Very frustrating but I shall make up for it soon and share with you all my upcoming creations.

What I’m reading: Sailing Lessons by Hannah McKinnon

On the shores of Cape Cod, the Bailey sisters reunite with their long-lost father for a summer of hope and forgiveness in this heartfelt novel from the author of the “sharp and evocative” (Kirkus Reviews) Mystic Summer, The Lake Season, and The Summer House, sure to appeal to “fans of Elin Hilderbrand” (Booklist).

Wrenn Bailey has lived all her life on Cape Cod with her mother Lindy, older sister Shannon, and younger sister Piper. Growing up, life was dictated by the seasons with sleepy gray winters where only the locals stayed on, followed by the sharp influx and colorful bustle of summer tourists who swept up the elbow of the Cape and infiltrated their small paradise.

But it wasn’t just the tourists who interrupted Wrenn’s formative years; her father—brilliant but troubled photographer Caleb—has long made a habit of drifting in and out of his girls’ lives. Until the one summer he left the Cape and did not return again.

Now, almost twenty years later, Caleb has come back one last time, suffering from pancreatic cancer and seeking absolution. Wrenn and her sisters each respond differently to their father’s return, determined to find closure. But that means returning to the past and revisiting old wounds—wounds that cause the tightknit Bailey women to confront their own wishes and wants, and admit to their own wrong-doings over the years. In a place that brings both great comfort and great pain, the Bailey sisters experience a summer on the Cape that promises not only hard endings, but perhaps, hopeful new beginnings.

 What I’m listening to: Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman-Fabulous so far!

“A psychological thriller that captivated me from page one. What unfolds makes for a wild, page-turning ride! It’s the perfect beach read!”—Reese Witherspoon (Reese’s Book Club x Hello Sunshine book pick)

A shocking discovery on a honeymoon in paradise changes the lives of a picture-perfect couple in this taut psychological thriller debut–for readers of Ruth Ware, Paula Hawkins, and Shari Lapena.

If you could make one simple choice that would change your life forever, would you? 

Erin is a documentary filmmaker on the brink of a professional breakthrough, Mark a handsome investment banker with big plans. Passionately in love, they embark on a dream honeymoon to the tropical island of Bora Bora, where they enjoy the sun, the sand, and each other. Then, while scuba diving in the crystal blue sea, they find something in the water. . . .

Could the life of your dreams be the stuff of nightmares?

Suddenly the newlyweds must make a dangerous choice: to speak out or to protect their secret. After all, if no one else knows, who would be hurt? Their decision will trigger a devastating chain of events. . . .

Have you ever wondered how long it takes to dig a grave?

Wonder no longer. Catherine Steadman’s enthralling voice shines throughout this spellbinding debut novel. With piercing insight and fascinating twists, Something in the Water challenges the reader to confront the hopes we desperately cling to, the ideals we’re tempted to abandon, and the perfect lies we tell ourselves.

 

Wish-List 5: Books by Stacy Green

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The first weekend of this month I was going through my Kindle looking for something to read other than book I needed to review. I was restless with worry on a personal matter and needed to distract myself and came upon, Skeleton’s Key (Delta Crossroads Trilogy, #2) by Stacy Green. I haven’t read any of her stories up to that point and even though Skeleton’s Key is the second book, I decided to read it anyways. I read the story in a day and a half! I couldn’t believe how fast I got through the story but it was that good and I love the author’s character development and-of course-southern stories are my cup of tea.

I will be heading to the beach this summer and have decided to take along, Tin God (Delta Crossroads Trilogy #1) and Ashes and Bone (Delta Crossroads Trilogy #3) to read for my beach reads. I can’t wait! It will be a treat! Be sure to check them out on Amazon. I do believe there are listed at a good price on the Kindle.

Now, after exploring Stacy Green’s other stories, I came across another new series she has with a character (Cage Foster) that is on the trilogy I told you about above. How neat! I like how she is writing series of books set in south and has created a world of great southern characters that you can really get to know and love. -Stephanie M. Hopkins

The Lies We BuryThe Lies We Bury: A gripping psychological thriller (Cage Foster Book 1) by Stacy Green

It’s the case that has tormented him for years…

Detective Cage Foster’s past has come back to haunt him. It’s been seven years since two girls disappeared because of his rookie mistake, and since then he’s lived under the weight of guilt. Now Annabeth, one of the girls, has been found, but with her comes more unanswered questions. Cage realizes this time there’s no room for error because the serial predator is still out there and still on the hunt.

Doubts plague Cage while he races to put the pieces together. Where has Annabeth been all these years? And why does believe she’s Lyric Gaudet, granddaughter of a powerful New Orleans voodoo priestess?

As Cage gets caught up in the mysterious black magic community of New Orleans, secrets are revealed, and he realizes it’s no coincidence Annabeth believes she’s Lyric. The girls’ pasts are somehow tied together—worse, the killer is watching and Annabeth is the target.

And Cage is running out of time.

Here are other books by Green that I am curious about and have added to my wish-list:

Killing JaneKilling Jane (Erin Prince #1) by Stacy Green

What If Everything You’ve Ever Heard About Jack The Ripper Is Wrong …

A young woman is brutally murdered in Washington D.C., and the killer leaves behind a calling card connected to some of the most infamous murders in history.

Jack The Ripper

Rookie homicide investigator Erin Prince instinctively knows the moment she sees the mutilated body that it’s only a matter of time before someone else dies.

She and her partner, Todd Beckett, are on the trail of a madman, and a third body sends them in the direction they feared most: a serial killer is walking the streets of D.C.

The Clock Is Ticking.

Erin must push past her mounting self-doubt in order to unravel a web of secrets filled with drugs, pornography, and a decades-old family skeleton before the next victim is sacrificed.

The Only Way To Stop A Killer Is To Beat Them At Their Own Game.

Into the Devil's UndergroundInto the Devil’s Underground by Stacy Green

Formerly published as Into the Dark, heavily edited with NEW SCENES.

“Why are you here?” Butterflies swarmed in her stomach. Sweat rolled down her forehead and stung her eyes.

Laugh lines appeared at the corners of the man’s eyes. “You don’t know, Miss Emilie?”

Her heart skidded to a stop. How does he know my name? Throat constricted, she shook her head.

“For you, Miss Emilie. I’m here for you.”

For Emilie Davis, it was business as usual in her job as bank manager of WestOne until two men storm in demanding cash. However, it doesn’t take long before Emilie learns one of the men isn’t there for money–he’s convinced they have a connection and has come to claim her. And he won’t give up.

When hostage negotiator Nathan Madigan and Las Vegas SWAT enter the bank on a rescue mission, Emilie’s captor makes a shocking escape into the abyss that lies beneath the city: the Las Vegas storm drains, a refuge for the downtrodden and the desperate.

Through the darkness of the Devil’s Underground and secrets from her past, Emilie finds there is no escape from her stalker. She turns to Nathan, who is determined to save her no matter what it takes.

Welcome To Las VegasWelcome To Las Vegas by Stacy Green

Tate is afraid of the dark. But his junkie sister has disappeared into the terrifying storm drains below Las Vegas. The tunnels stretch hundreds of miles beneath the city, housing the city’s homeless and criminal element. Armed with only his flashlight, Tate wades into the gritty depths of the storm drains to rescue his sister from her demons.

Every step into the smothering darkness challenges Tate’s resolve. With his sister’s life and his own sanity at stake, Tate must face his fears or risk fading into the dank oblivion of the Las Vegas tunnels.

 

 

All Good Deeds (Lucy Kendall #1)All Good Deeds (Lucy Kendall #1) by Stacy Green

She’s no killer. She’s just taking out the trash. 

Don’t call Lucy Kendall a serial killer. She’s fighting for the innocent, and she’ll do whatever it takes to bring justice.

When a child disappears, Lucy quickly discovers the link to a predator she’s faced before–a man the state of Pennsylvania decided to turn loose on the streets. Determined to find the little girl and put a criminal behind bars for good, Lucy forces her way onto the case.

As the search for the kidnapped child pulls Lucy into a web of evil beyond her darkest imagination, she’ll have to face her own dark truths to save the little girl–and herself.

Don’t Lose Sight

Me outside October 2017

Previously published at L.A.P. it Marketing LLC

I have worked in the book industry for five plus years and have worked with international bestselling authors, award winning authors, publishers, and I am a big supporter of self-publishing. I continue to help authors create a brand on social media to reach a wider audience. Branding is vital for the success of your book and creating new marketing strategies is a must. Having said this, you must not lose sight of why you tell stories or you will lose your readership. When marketing, put yourself in the reader’s shoes, what would you like to see from your favorite authors? What do you want to hear them talk about? What inspires you to want to read stories? Ponder on these things and you’ll find yourself coming up with new ways in showcasing your stories in far more interesting ways than the “buy me” marketing strategy.

Stephanie M. Hopkins

L.A.P. it Marketing LLC

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Giveaways to enter!

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L.A.P. it Marketing is holding a BIG giveaway at their Facebook Page! Be sure to check it out and enter! For US and Canada Residents only. Good luck!

Enter giveaway HERE

Giveaway at Novel Expressions

Novel Expressions Blog Tours Facebook Page is holding a giveaway!  A $25.00 Amazon Gift Card AND a Kindle Copy of Two Journeys Home: A Novel of Eighteenth Century Europe (The Derrynane Saga Book 2) by Kevin O’Connell to one lucky winner!

Enter giveaway HERE

L.A.P. it Marketing Giveaway Announcement

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As many of you know, I started a marketing firm for Literature, Art and Photography. Over at the L.A.P. it Marketing Facebook Page I will be holding a fantastic giveaway starting on February 1st. Several of my clients will be contributing to the giveaway and we would be delighted to have you enter and share about what’s to come. Please follow L.A.P. it’s Facebook for exciting content and giveaways!

Stephanie M. Hopkins

Giveaway Package to one lucky winner:

$25 Amazon Gift Card

A Set of Handmade Bookmarks by Stephanie M. Hopkins

A 5×7 Vintage/Abstract on mix media paper by Stephanie M. Hopkins

8×12 Print Photo of Edinburgh Scotland by WSM Photography

Print book: Heart Soul & Rock ‘N’ Roll: A Mid-Life Love Story by Janet R. Stafford

Print book: The Immigrant by Alfred Woollacott III

Print copy of The Believers In The Crucible Nauvoo by Alfred Woollacott III

Kindle edition of Owen (Book one of The Tudor Trilogy) by Tony Riches

300 Writing Prompts Journal

My Heart Is Like A Singing Bird Quotes to Color book

 

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A Brand New L.A.P. it Marketing Service

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Book Launches is a new marketing service at L.A.P. it Marketing!

PRE-BOOK RELEASE PROMO-ONE MONTH IN ADVANCE/$75

1. Spotlight/Q&A at Layered Pages
2. Cover Reveal at Layered Pages
3. A feature post about upcoming launch on the L.A.P. It Marketing LLC Blog.
4. Share on various social media sites for the entire month.
5. Free add & Video in the BookDoggy Newsletter

PRE-BOOK RELEASE PROMO-TWO MONTHS IN ADVANCE/$100

1.Spotlight/Q&A at Layered Pages
2. A tailored Guess topic post at Layered Pages about upcoming story.
3. Cover Reveal at Layered Pages
4. A feature post about upcoming launch on the L.A.P. It Marketing LLC Blog.
5. Share on various social media sites for the entire month.
6. Free add & Video in the BookDoggy Newsletter
7. Consult on Price Points for ebook

To schedule your book launch, contact L.A.P. it marketing at lapitmarketing@yahoo.com

Layered Pages 2018 Reading Goals

Me in Summer time 2017This year I plan on having a better year of reading and cranking out book reviews. I got a little behind last year because of my crazy schedule. Devoting time for reading is important and that is one of my main focus this year. I do have reviews to write up and post from last year as well. Lots to do and I’m going to enjoy every bit of it! Check out these titles below. I will also be adding to this list as the year continues but this list is my MUST read list for 2018. -Stephanie M. Hopkins

The Girl in the Glass TowerThe Girl in the Glass Tower by Elizabeth Fremantle

Arbella Stuart is trapped behind the towering glass windows of Hardwick Hall. Kept cloistered from a world that is full of dangers for someone with royal blood. Half the country wish to see her on the throne and many others for her death, which would leave the way clear for her cousin James, the Scottish King

Arbella longs to be free from her cold-hearted grandmother; to love who she wants, to wear a man’s trousers and ride her beloved horse, Dorcas. But if she ever wishes to break free she must learn to navigate the treacherous game of power, or end up dead.

 

THE ALICE NETWORKThe Alice Network by Kate Quinn

In an enthralling new historical novel from national bestselling author Kate Quinn, two women—a female spy recruited to the real-life Alice Network in France during World War I and an unconventional American socialite searching for her cousin in 1947—are brought together in a mesmerizing story of courage and redemption.

1947. In the chaotic aftermath of World War II, American college girl Charlie St. Clair is pregnant, unmarried, and on the verge of being thrown out of her very proper family. She’s also nursing a desperate hope that her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, might still be alive. So when Charlie’s parents banish her to Europe to have her “little problem” taken care of, Charlie breaks free and heads to London, determined to find out what happened to the cousin she loves like a sister.

1915. A year into the Great War, Eve Gardiner burns to join the fight against the Germans and unexpectedly gets her chance when she’s recruited to work as a spy. Sent into enemy-occupied France, she’s trained by the mesmerizing Lili, the “Queen of Spies”, who manages a vast network of secret agents right under the enemy’s nose.

Thirty years later, haunted by the betrayal that ultimately tore apart the Alice Network, Eve spends her days drunk and secluded in her crumbling London house. Until a young American barges in uttering a name Eve hasn’t heard in decades, and launches them both on a mission to find the truth…no matter where it leads.

Saint MaggieSaint Maggie (Saint Maggie #1) by Janet R. Stafford

*I plan on reading the entire series this year!

Maggie Blaine, a widow with two teenage daughters, runs a rooming house smack dab on the town square. In 1860 this makes her a social outcast. Boarding houses are only semi-respectable and hers has a collection of eclectic boarders – a failed aging writer, an undertaker’s apprentice, a struggling young lawyer, and an old Irishman. In addition, she has a friendship with Emily and Nate, an African-American couple with whom she shares her home and chores. It is a good thing the town doesn’t know that Maggie, along with Nate, Emily, and Eli Smith (the free-thinking editor of the weekly newspaper) are involved in the Underground Railroad. When she is asked to house handsome, gifted Jeremiah Madison, the new Methodist minister, Maggie hopes that he will both revive the little church she attends and provide her boarding house with a bit of badly-needed respectability. But Jeremiah comes with some dark secrets that challenge Maggie’s resolve to love and respect all people. As the town’s people reel from a series of shocking events, the compassionate, faithful Maggie searches for truth and struggles to forgive and love. (Based on a historical event.)

The Unexpected DaughterThe Unexpected Daughter by Sheryl Parbhoo

Three people’s lives intersect in a tumultuous yet redeeming way that none of them could have ever predicted. Jenny is a young professional from the South with an upbringing she wants to forget. She meets Roshan, an Indian immigrant who has moved to the United States with his mother, Esha, to escape family ghosts. With strong cultural tradition, Esha has devoted her entire life to her only child, both for his own good and for her personal protection from a painful past. Roshan understands his role as his mother’s refuge, and from an early age, he commits himself to caring for her. But when Jenny and Roshan embark on a forbidden, intercultural relationship, all three get tangled into an inseparable web—betrayal, violence, and shame—leaving them forced to make choices about love and family they never wanted to make while finding peace where they never expected to look.

The ImmigrantThe Immigrant by Alfred Woollacott

A historical saga that covers a winter of 1650/1651 journey of John Law, a young Scotsman captured by the English Lord Cromwell’s forces in seventeenth century Scotland during “The Battle of Dunbar”. He survives a death march to Durham, England and is eventually sent to Massachusetts Bay Colony as an indentured servant, arriving aboard the ship “Unity” that was carrying around 150 prisoners of war from different Scottish clans. Now an outcast, and in the sanctuary of the new colony, John starts over as an immigrant in a Puritan theocracy. He is first indentured to the Saugus Iron Works and then to Concord as a public shepherd in West Concord (now Acton). The young man faces obstacles often beyond his control, and his only ally is his faith. After his indenture is served he struggles a near lifetime to obtain title to his promised land. From start to finish “The Immigrant” is an intoxicating journey that follows the travails of John, his faith in God, his good wife and growing family.

#NetGalley Reviews:

Mr. Dickens and His Carol by Samantha Silva

The Spring Girls by Anna Todd

The Case of the Deadly Doppelganger by Lucy Banks

Murder in Bloomsbury by D. M. Quincy

Murder in July by Barbara Hambly

Vanished by Karen E. Olson

Wicked River by Jenny Milchman

A Mortal Likeness (A Victorian Mystery) by Laura Joh Rowland

A Crime in the Familyby Sacha Batthyany

A Secret Garden by Katie Fforde

I Was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon

The Bookworm by Mitch Silver

The World of Tomorrow by Brendan Mathews

 ** Be sure to check out my friend Lisl’s 2018 Requiem, Reviews and Year of the TBR HERE

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