Inspiration for Writers and Speakers and a Giveaway!

Hi Friends,  If you’re a writer or speaker I have some good news for you! A new devotional book called As the Ink Flows released earlier this month, and I want to recommend it to you. Authors Glenda Dekkema, Melony Teague, Carol Ford, Claudia Loopstra, and Marguerite Cummings have written more than 90 thought-provoking devotions to spur you on in your writing and speaking journey. I’m delighted to give away one copy to someone who posts a comment below and tells me why they’d like to receive this book, US readers only. Winner will be chosen Monday, May 2. You can order your copy in paperback or eBook from Judson Press or from Amazon.


******Update: Congratulations to Loraine N. She is the winner of As the Ink Flows!

As the Ink Flows

Blessings and Happy Reading,


Things I Miss About Downton Abbey

Farewell to Downton Mary

Are you missing Downton Abbey? In the last six years it became one of the most popular British dramas of all time with millions of viewers around the world. I loved the show, and I was sad to see it end. It was a great inspiration for my English historical novels and a wonderful resource for my research on Edwardian life. But what exactly am I going to miss about the show?


The House:  The show is set at Highclere Castle, which is stunning. It’s a wonderful example of Victorian Neo-Gothic architecture, and if it reminds you of the Houses of Parliament that’s because they shared an architect. The house became a silent character on the show. It gave the show a weighty permanence, no matter what happened to the characters that great house didn’t change. And that’s amazing. Highclere Castle itself is one of Britain’s greatest stately homes, and I loved visiting there in 2012, when Downton was just beginning to become popular.

Downton Costumes

MaryCora in a hat

The Clothes:  The fashions are one of my favorite aspects of the show. Not only were the costumes beautiful, it was really fun watch styles change from 1912 – 1925. The Edwardian era was a time of great change for Britain and you could see it in the fashions. Remember the scandal when Sybil wore trousers! And oh all those lovely hats! I was delighted to visit the Downton Costume Exhibit when it came to Winterthur Museum in PA a couple years ago.


The Melodrama:  It was often said that Downton was a soap opera about posh people. The show was definitely melodramatic, but I would argue that was a strength, not a weakness. I’m going to miss all the trials and tribulations of the characters. Whether it’s moving the body of the Turkish guest in the middle of the night, or Mrs Patmore facing struggles opening a B&B, I loved it all.

Downton Abbey

My Favorite Characters: Upstairs and downstairs, I had my favorite characters, and I’m going to miss them all. Despite all the trouble someone like Miss O’Brian or Thomas created, their scheming added the needed conflict and drama. One of my favorite characters was Sybil for her strong spirit and her love for Tom Branson. Another favorite character was Matthew, he helped the audience understanding the complex world of the British aristocracy in the early 20th century. Just like everyone else, I was devastated when he died. But I still enjoyed the show after that. These characters feel like friends and they will be missed. And who’s not going to miss The Dowager Countess – Violet’s brilliant quips?

Downton Characters

The Time Period: The early 20th century is such an interesting time. Britain was on the cusp of massive change, brought on by the tragedy of the First World War. I’m also interested in the interwar years, and it was fascinating to watch them drop hints at what was to come, like Edith’s lover being murdered by Nazi thugs. I’m a little sad we won’t see Downton continue into the World War II era – that really would be the end of the Great House era, and when Downton would probably be opened to paying visitors. Let’s hope if they do make a movie they will fast forward to the pre-war years and we can watch events unfold through the eyes of the children, now grown up.

Farewell to Downton Carson

Click on the image to watch a farewell to Downton Abbey short video.

The Reminder That We Can Still Have Manners:  At Downton their was always a proper way of doing things, especially under the influence of Mr. Carson, the butler. Our modern age can sometimes seem crass and shallow in comparison. Downton is a fictional reminder that we can still use good manners without being snobby.

Mary Edit Rose

Thanks to the Anglotopia for some of this info! If you love all things British, then you’ll want to visit their blog!

If you love Downton Abbey, then I think you’ll enjoy the The Highland Hall novels. Book 1 is The Governess of Highland Hall, Book 2 is The Daughter of Highland Hall, and Book 3 is A Refuge at Highland Hall. They are set in England in the same time period as Downton Abbey, 1911 – 1915, and they have similar upstairs – downstairs drama and romance, as well as inspirational themes. I hope you’ll enjoy them. Happy Reading!

Highland Hall Series

What will you miss about Downton Abbey now that it’s gone? Do you think they will make a movie? Let me know in the comments!

Two Special Events for You

Hi Friends,

I’m looking forward to two opportunities to connect with reading friends. I hope you’ll check your calendar and see if you can join me. I’d love to meet you!

Saturday, April 16 ~ Downton Abbey Meets Peter Rabbit English Tea Party: I’ll be meeting new friends and signing books at the United First Presbyterian Church at Larison’s Corner, 1000 Old York Road in Ringoes, New Jersey, 1:00 – 4:00 PM.  The event will feature traditional English tea foods, hot tea, Downton Abbey trivia quizzes, Come in Downton Abbey attire and get a prize. There will be a children’s tea with crafts related to Beatrix Potter’s 23 tales. Take a photo with Peter Rabbit. Learn more about the author Beatrix Potter. Cost: Adults, $7; ages 12 and under, $3; under age 3, free. A percentage of the proceeds will be donated to the Round Valley 4H Horse Club. For more information, visit the church website or call 908-722-5812.

cfrr logo without header SMWednesday, August 24 ~ Christian Fiction Readers Retreat: I’m one of the participating authors at this special event for readers, bloggers, and authors in Nashville, Tennessee. Come and enjoy the day with some of your favorite Christian fiction authors including Laura Frantz, Julie Lessman, Ruth Logan Hearn, Mary Connealy, Melanie Dickerson, Mesu Andrews, Kate Breslin, Pepper Basham, and many, many more! I’ll be taking part in a panel discussion, enjoying lunch with readers, and signing books. For more details and to register please visit this website.

Carrie in Refuge HateI hope to see many of you at one of these events . . . but if not, we can stay connected on Facebook, Pinterest, and GoodReads.

Until then, Happy Reading,


April Giveaway!

GatewayHi Friends,

This month I’ll be turning in my next novel, Shine Like the Dawn, to my editor at WaterBrook. I’m sure there will be at least two rounds of revisions, but it always feels great to finish a book and turn it in on time! I’m looking forward to telling you more about Shine Like the Dawn soon and sharing the cover in the next few months. If you’d like a sneak peek at the characters and setting, visit my Shine Like the Dawn Pinterest Board.

Each month this year I’m hosting a special giveaway for my newsletter subscribers. The email newsletter goes out every other month with book news, recipes, and encouraging articles. I hope you’ll subscribe, and then leave a comment below to enter the giveaway. If you already subscribe, just mention that in your comment and I will put your name in the drawing!  The March winner was Rebecca B.

This month I’m giving away Like a Flower in Bloom by Siri Mitchell and The Pelican Bride by Beth White. If you enjoy historical romance, then you’ll love these two books! Visit Beth White’s website for more info about her and her books. Visit Siri Mitchell’s website for info about her and her books.

****Update: the winner of the April Giveaway is Janet Dowell!

Pelican BrideLike a Flower in Blook

Until next time, Happy Reading, Carrie