Meet Novelist Susanne Dietze

Susanne Dietze writes inspirational historical romance and is quite good at it, as her contest finals testify. She lives on the West Coast with her golf-loving pastor husband and two kids, who could win significant money if there was a Star Wars themed episode of Jeopardy. Before motherhood, Susie worked for a seminary, the US Navy, and for a bishop. She has a BA in English

Susie loves “fancy-schmancy tea parties and all the goodies and china that go with them.” To indulge her habit, she collects new and vintage teacups and sighs longingly over Tea Time magazine. Some of her favorite finds are featured throughout the post.

When Susie’s not writing, she enjoys travel and is digging into her genealogy. She learned that she’s related to Huguenots, a blind axe-thrower who could hit a target at ten paces, and brothers who fought on opposing sides of the Civil War. Despite her fondness for Ugg boots, fish tacos, and Christian rock concerts, she spends most of her time in the 19th century, escaping into historical novels and film adaptations of Jane Austen books.

I invited Susie to share a virtual treat with you, and here’s what she said . . .

Whether I’m with friends or alone with a book, I love nothing better than to sit down with a steaming pot of tea. A cream tea is even better, so why don’t we enjoy my favorite blend of tea, nutty Buccaneer, with some scones, strawberry jam, and Devonshire cream? There are no calories in this cyber-cream!

Susie’s Journey Begins

•With your penchant for words and the fact that you have a degree in English, I’m guessing you’re one of those people who was born with a pen in her hand. Am I right?

As the boxes of embarrassing juvenilia in my garage can attest, I’ve always dreamed of writing a book. I wrote a traditional Regency over ten years ago with the intent to pursue publication, but ultimately I decided to put off writing seriously until I was finished having babies.

In early 2008, I’d completed a few chapters of an inspirational Regency. I wondered if it had any potential, so I entered it into the Romance Writers of America® Faith Hope & Love Chapter’s Touched by Love Contest, and to my absolute astonishment, it finaled! Since then, I’ve been working on the craft so someday, my lifelong dream of publication will come true.

•Your stories are historicals, but the periods and settings vary. Please tell us about your two areas of interest and what led you to write in each of them.

I love Historical Romance in just about every setting, but my own writing is limited to Regency England and Historical California. I think these eras appeal to the flip sides of my personality. Regency England was a time of regimented social expectations and rules, and I’m intrigued by that sense of structure and how people worked within it. I’m also taken by the converse idea of breaking free from the past and forging new paths. Even though California was settled by several groups before the Gold Rush, the state’s heritage as a land of hope and opportunity—and lawlessness that sometimes rivaled Tombstone—can’t be denied. So I guess you could say I’m a little bit Anglophile and a little bit calico.

"I know I'm not supposed to pick favorites, but I love this Lady Carlyle pattern."

Susie’s Squee-worthy Successes

•You obviously have oodles of talent because your story has made an impressive showing on the Contest Circuit. What is its track record so far? Any requests? Nibbles?

Oh, thanks, Keli. I’ve been blessed to final in some fantastic contests: the 2010 Genesis and the 2009 Gotcha! in addition to the 2008 Touched by Love mentioned above. These experiences have allowed me to receive valuable feedback from dedicated judges and to get my work in front of some wonderful editors (with whom I’d love to work!). I’m so grateful for the opportunities my contest finals have provided.

•Wow! An American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis final is impressive. Please tell us about that experience, what it meant to you, and how you reacted when you heard the exciting news that you were a finalist?

I’d entered the Genesis in the hopes of receiving feedback. I wanted to know what strangers thought of my work and what areas I could improve. I never expected to final, and I mean never.

I was outside, hanging up laundry, when the call came. I entered the house and heard the enthusiastic voice of the coordinator leaving a message on the answering machine. I picked up the phone, blurted out something probably incomprehensible, and burst into tears. But that’s better than what I did to the Gotcha! coordinator who phoned to tell me about my final. Which was to blink repeatedly and say absolutely nothing for way, way too long.

•Contest finals are way cool. Congrats on yours! But you’ve experienced an even greater thrill: seeing your name in print. Please tell us about your published piece and how it felt when you saw your story and byline.

Thanks so much, Keli! This past year, one of my devotionals was published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Devotional Stories for Mothers. I am so thankful for the writing credit and the check, which I kissed goodbye and sent on to the orthodontist.

"A replica of the first-class china on the Titanic."

Susie’s Challenges and Solutions

•As a busy mother of young children who require much of your attention, I can’t help but wonder how you find time to write. How do you juggle the needs of your family with your writing and other pursuits?

Like just about every other writer, I struggle with balance. I’m married to a pastor and the mom of school-age kids, so we keep very busy around here. There was a period where I felt overwhelmed and I made a grave error: I wrote at the expense of other activities, like exercise and prayer.

It’s taken a lot of trial and error, but I’ve found that what works for me is to consciously take care of necessities first (family, meal planning, exercise, prayer, etc) and write after that. I also don’t write in the evenings, which is family time. It also means I have to carefully schedule my writing, but it’s worked well.

"A vintage cup and jam pot passed down from my husband's grandmother."

Envisioning Success

•Let’s take a journey into the future. The phone rings. It’s your agent telling you about your First Sale to your dream publishing company. Who would be on the phone? Which house would be offering the contract? Which of your stories would they be buying?

Oh my, I’d feel privileged to have a relationship with a number of wonderful agents and publishing houses. I hope that whoever’s on the phone would be interested in my most recent book, since my first one should probably remain buried forever in the Crypt of Mistake-Laden Manuscripts.

•When you envision your debut novel, what do you want to see on the front—after your name, of course? And where will it be on the shelves?

I know you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but I am a sucker for rich patterns, flowers, and period costumes. One of my pet peeves is incorrect costuming on a cover. I’m not nitpicky about minutia, but when I see a book where the heroine is wearing an empire-waist gown, I expect a Regency—not a Victorian. As for where my books would be found, they’d sit on the inspirational shelves alongside some of my favorite authors!

"High tea meets the twenty-first century with hand-painted earthenware."

Partners on Susie’s Journey

•Who are some of the people who’ve been behind you with that much-needed support we writers so appreciate? What blessings have they bestowed on you?

I wouldn’t be anywhere without the help I’ve received from fellow writers. I can’t believe how gracious so many people have been with me, from contest judges to folks on the ACFW loop to established authors who’ve shared their expertise with me.

But the greatest help I’ve received has come from my supportive husband, kids, parents and friends. I also owe a debt to my critique partner, Ruth Reid, and my fellow contributors at the Inkwell Inspirations blog. What a group of women. We’re at different places in our careers and we write all sorts of fiction, but these ladies have taught me, supported me, and prayed for me. I feel very blessed to know these women.

Susie’s Journey Continues

•What are you working on at this point? Are any new characters begging you to tell their stories?

I have a few new projects brewing. A hero’s been whispering in my ear for a while now, so I’m determined to get his story down.

"The teacup that started it all: a gift from my husband when we were first married."

Five Fun Questions for Susie

•Since your interview is appearing on Valentine’s Day, what would you like to tell us about your personal hero?

My personal hero is definitely my handsome husband. He’s hilarious, righteous, and the best man I’ve ever met. And he does dishes. If that weren’t enough, he supports my writing and listens to me babble on about my imaginary character friends. I’m very proud to be married to him.

•How did you and your hubby meet?

We met in college, at an InterVarsity Christian Fellowship ice cream social, when we were both eighteen. We didn’t have much interaction, however, until our roommates dated. When they married a few years later, my husband and I were the best man and maid of honor at their wedding. That night he took me out to pie (mine was berry. And I wore groovy green jeans.).

•Was your wedding a day when things went perfectly, or did you encounter some surprises?

My husband’s counsel to the couples he marries is that something will go wrong on your wedding day. For us, there were flower issues; my matron of honor’s baby fell and cut his head during pre-ceremony pictures—the poor little guy was ok, but we were shaken up and there was blood all over her dress; I stupidly didn’t go to the bathroom before I donned my giant white gown; and something happened to the communion wine, so my husband had to hunt some down before the ceremony. A twenty-two year old guy buying cheap port at 8 AM didn’t look at all suspicious…

What says romance to you? Dinner out? Jewelry? A freshly washed car?

I love dinner-movie dates. Escaping into a movie and then enjoying relaxed conversation in a restaurant that doesn’t offer crayons or chicken nuggets—what bliss!

•When your friends find out you write romance, are they surprised?

If someone has known me a long time, they aren’t surprised. I’ve always had my nose in a love story, and during high school, I’d write my friends into silly romances where the boys we liked were arrogant lords or hunchbacked smugglers. I still tend to make up goofy stories about people. I just can’t help myself.

Susie’s Question for You

For tonight’s Valentine’s Day dinner, I’ll be sitting down to a heart-shaped pizza with my family. What sort of plans do you have? What was your best Valentine’s Day memory?

Susie’s Drawing

Susie has generously offered to give away a $15 Starbucks card, so you and a friend can enjoy your favorite tea or coffee drink and a bakery treat!

To enter the drawing, just leave a comment for Susie by midnight February 20th (Pacific time) and enter your email address when prompted during the comment process. (You don’t have to leave it in the body of your comment this way.)

On February 21st, I will hold the drawing and post the winner’s name here as well and will contact her/him via email to get a mailing address. (I don’t share your information with anyone, other than sending your mailing address to my guest, and I don’t add your name to any mailing lists.)

Congratulations to Mary C., winner of the Starbucks gift card.

Note: Offer void where prohibited.
Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.

Learn More About Susie & Enter a Second Drawing

Visit her personal blog, Tea and a Good Book, where on Valentine’s Day she’s offering a giveaway in honor of her visit to Romance Writers On the Journey: the January/February issue of Tea Time magazine.

Visit her group blog ~ Inkwell Inspirations

Friend Her on Facebook ~ Susie Dietze


About Keli Gwyn

I'm an award-winning author of inspirational historical romance smitten with the Victorian Era. I'm currently writing for Harlequin's Love Inspired Historical line of wholesome, faith-filled romances. My debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, was released July 1, 2012. I'm represented by Rachelle Gardner of Book & Such Literary. I live in a Gold Rush-era town at the foot of the majestic Sierras. My favorite places to visit are my fictional worlds, other Gold Country towns and historical museums. When I'm not writing I enjoy taking walks, working out at Curves™ and reading.
This entry was posted in American Christian Fiction Writers, Faith, Hope and Love, Genesis contest, Romance Writers of America, writing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

62 Responses to Meet Novelist Susanne Dietze

  1. Keli Gwyn says:

    Welcome, Susie! It’s a pleasure to have you here at Romance Writers on the Journey.

    The teacups are beautiful. How neat that your hubby is the one who got you started collecting them.

    Gwynly and I will enjoy our Valentine’s Day dinner at Olive Garden. Yum!

    • Thanks so much for having me here, Keli! I love getting to know other writers, so this is a true treat.

      Oh goodness, I love Olive Garden. What do they put in their salad dressing to make it so good? Maybe it’s the grated cheese on top. Mmm.

      Have a wonderful Valentine’s celebration!

  2. MaryC says:

    Hi Susie from another tea and book lover.

    I loved reading about your life and your writing. Best of luck and success to you!

    Keli, one of the things I love about these blogs you do, besides the chance to meet new-to-me authors, is the chance to discover new writing blogs. I jumped over to visit Inkwell Inspirations and I can tell it’s a place I will enjoy reading.

    • Hi Mary C! It sounds like we could sit down with a pot of tea and talk books! I don’t enjoy “real” tea (loose leaf) very often, but it’s a rare day that I don’t have a teabag in my mug. What’s your favorite kind of tea?

      Thanks so much for your kind comments, and for visiting the Inkwell! It’s one hopping place, that’s for sure.

      I hope you have a good Valentine’s Day tomorrow!

  3. Mary, we are right on top of things and I saw you walk in the door at the Inkwell!!

    Hi Keli!
    I was so excited to hear that you were going to have my amazing friend Susie as guest on your blog. Isn’t she wonderful? I love the tea cup photos.

    Susie, I really enjoyed finding out some new things about you, thanks to Keli’s awesome questions. Your own incredible romance story is perfect for Valentine’s Day!

    Congratulations on all your successes and I’m very glad to be able to call you friend and sister–

    • susannedietze says:

      Aw Deb, you’re so sweet! Your support is a true blessing!

      Keli does come up with some great questions. I love learning about the writers she profiles (like you, my friend!). I always find encouragement reading others’ stories. It seems like no matter where we are in our writing careers, we all have our struggles, challenges, and blessings. What a gift to have each other for support!

      And I did enjoy sharing some of my teacups with everybody 🙂 I got a new one a few weeks ago and used it today. It made me feel very fancy schmancy.

      So, what movie are you watching tonight? Anything Austen-esque? You and I seem to be on a roll with our DVDs lately. Valentine’s is a perfect excuse to watch “Emma” or “Pride & Prejudice,” I’d say.

  4. Jillian Kent says:

    Hi Susie!
    I smelled the hot tea and scones and had to leave the Grammy Awards to come say hi. 🙂 I love the tea cup that your hubby gave you. He obviously has good taste. Randy and I went out to dinner last night because we probably won’t even see each other on Valentine’s Day with our hectic schedules. We also enjoyed going to the movies and watching The King’s Speech. Awesome movie! Hope you have a marvelous Valentine’s Day celebration. Oh, and I’m still looking for Balance. Please send him right over.:)

    • Jilly, I’m so happy to see you! And to think I pulled you away from the Grammys! I just got home from Bible study and haven’t turned the TV on… anything exciting happening?

      Where’d you go out to dinner? Oooh, you saw “The King’s Speech.” I loved that movie. And not just because of the English royalty stuff or due to Colin Firth, although he deserves the Oscar. What a powerful movie. Loved it.

      My husband does have good taste in teacups, doesn’t he? Little did he know that he started me on a dangerous road…I have more cups than places to display them.

      Thanks for coming by, Jilly! I hope your edits are going well!

  5. Sherrinda says:

    Susie, I absolutely adore Regencies! I used to scan the paperbacks at the library and find all the Regencies they had. I finally read all that they had and it was a sad day! Good luck to you! I hope to have your books on my shelf…and in the library! 😉

    • susannedietze says:

      Hi Sherrinda! I can relate: I checked out every single Regency at my public library as a teen. I didn’t know what the term “Regency” meant back then. Sometimes I still pull out my 20-yr old Signet publications and curl up for a cozy read.

      We Regency-lovers need to stick together! I’m so happy to see more inspy Regencies coming out over the last few years.

      Thanks so much for coming by. I wish you the best in your writing, too! And Happy Valentine’s Day!

  6. Suzie J says:

    Hi Susie! I loved looking at your tea cups.

    They. Are. Stunning. I absolutely love the one you labeled “high tea”.

    And I see that aside from our love of romance, tea, the inkies, and our names, we have something else in common. I’m descended from the Huguenots, too! Have fun on your journey with Keli this week.

    • susannedietze says:

      Suzie J, are we related? 🙂 I would be so pleased to be your cousin, even at a dozen times removed. The Huguenots really were brave and fascinating folks. My ancestors helped other Huguenots escape to Bristol, England, and then they eventually came over to America. Their story would make a pretty good novel.

      I’m glad you liked the teacups! Keli asked for pictures of four or five, and I thought, ack! Which to choose?! I love them all. That particular “high tea” cup is really fun. Quite a sturdy gal, but the patina is unique. I’m glad you like it.

      Sweet dreams and Happy Valentine’s Day tomorrow!

  7. Kathy says:

    Susie, I had no idea you had all those great tea cups! Next time I want to see the replica of the Titanic one. Love all your work, and you!

    • Hi Kathy! (((hugs!))) Thanks so much for coming by the post. You’re welcome to drink from the Titanic cup whenever you want! It’s really pretty; the blue is such a gorgeous shade.

      Hope you guys have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

  8. Melissa Holdener says:

    I am so proud of you Susie! I feel so honored to know you. I love that your fantastic sense of humor and your humble nature shine through in your posts. I applaud all of your success and wish you more in the future. Make sure your book is available on kindle when you finally do get it published (and i have no doubt that you will), because I will be one of the firsts to download it! SO proud of you! Tas Philas!

    • Hey Melissa! I feel honored to know you, too. 🙂 Thanks for your encouragement and friendship. Your sense of determination has been an inspiration to me, you marathon runner! Now Jill is running one, too. That takes some serious tenacity and willpower, ladies! I guess many good things in life require a bit of willpower, eh? Writing definitely requires some persistence, too.

      Ah, the era of kindle. Do you love yours? I don’t have one, but we’ve been looking into kindles/nooks/etc. I’d love to hear any opinions on which is best.

      Have a fun day with your family!

  9. La says:

    Well Susie, I did so enjoy your interview and the beautiful tea cups. -And I can attest that you did indeed write high school boys into mini-regencies that made math class far more entertaining than a math class has a right to be. Bless you. Everyone should have a Susie to pass notes with. I wish I were having a pot of tea with you now,but I raise my mug (sigh-it’s utilitarian) of Duchess Grey to you and your delightful work. Happy Vallentines Day. I shall pass mine with two great hairy beasts -while their beastly father is off at the revolution.

    • La!!! Oh, our high-school stories were so much fun. I need to dig those out of the drawer and get a good read. Do tell me about the Duchess Grey blend! Sounds fun. Alas, I am drinking COFFEE this morning out of a MUG but I fully intend to make a pot of tea later, when I’m out of my jammies, and use one of my cups. It seems only fitting.

      I hope you and the pups have a good Valentine’s Day. Eat something delicious and watch something fun! Talk to you soon.

  10. Ruth Reid says:

    okay Susie,
    Tell the truth. Were those groovy green jeans bell-bottoms?
    Great article. I learn more about you each time. But, really, fish tacos?

    • Oh Ruth, I do love Rubio’s fish tacos. In fact, I had one last night. Mmm. Alas, the jeans were not bell bottoms! But I truly loved them.

      I’m so blessed to have you as a crit partner and friend. Enjoy your day…I see you received some roses? Oo la la!

      • Ruth Reid says:

        The feeling is mutual. About being blessed to have you as a critique partner, not the fish tacos. The roses made my
        day. My husband and I don’t always celebrate, since my daughter was born on Valentine’s Day, and it’s become
        her day–so fitting for a drama queen.

        • Ruth, I think you just haven’t tried the right fish taco. Any Wahoos or Rubio’s out your way? JK — we’ll stick to tea from now on!

          I didn’t know you had a Valentine’s baby! You’ve got a lot to celebrate right now…Valentine’s, bdays, and a publishing contract! You deserve those roses, Ruth!

  11. Kristen says:

    Susie, you are a woman after my own heart. Tea, scones & romance!

    Valentines Day in my house will be heart shaped raviolis & sauce with garlic bread & Valentine’s Day cookies for dessert.

    • Kristen, heart-shaped ravioli?! Wow! Do you make those from scratch? They sound wonderful, delicious, and much more creative than my take-n-bake heart shaped pizza.

      Tea, scones, and romance are a fabulous combination! I could go for that right about now!

      I’m so glad you could come by today. Thanks, and enjoy your delicious dinner tonight!

  12. Gail Seymour says:

    Congrats Susie! Lovely article, can hardly wait for your first novel…I know its coming!

    • Hey Gail! Thanks so much for visiting and for the encouragement! I hope you guys are well and having a good day. Looking forward to getting together at the outlet mall!

  13. Jill Perricone says:

    What fun to read about all of your successes and interesting heritage! You are such a talented writer and I have no doubt that you will be published very soon! Congratulations on ALL of your accomplishments! I am so proud of you!
    Love your teacups too! They are almost as sweet as you!
    You are very talented and I know God will continue to bless this area of your life.
    Love to you!

    • (((hugs))) Jill! Thanks so much for visiting. I wouldn’t be anywhere on this journey without the support of friends like you. You’ve been there for me through the good and bad — you’re a blessing. What a gift that God put you in my life!

      As we were putting together the kids’ Valentines last night for school, I remembered how you guys used to make all of yours from scratch. And they looked awesome. I am so not crafty, as you know well. It’s just better for everyone if I buy Valentines from Target 🙂

      Have a good day. How’s the marathon training? You go girl!

  14. Karen Kirst says:

    I so enjoyed reading your interview, Susie! I can relate to the love of all things tea. In addition to visiting tea rooms, I occasionally like to throw tea parties for my friends. Thanks for sharing those beautiful pictures! And your comments about finding balance really struck home. I have 3 young boys at home, and I homeschool, so I struggle daily with balancing all my responsibilities while trying to find time to write. Thanks for the tips. Good luck with your writing!
    Happy Valentine’s Day!

    • Hi Karen! Thanks so much for visiting today. Oh, can I relate to what you’re saying about balance. And you homeschool, too, which I don’t do at this time. That takes some serious scheduling on your part.

      I really, really blew it when I got out of balance. My family suffered and my health took about 4 months to recover. Some people are able to spend most of their day at the computer, but I just can’t. Neither can I write a synopsis in an hour, like some others I know. I’m a bit slow as a writer and I have to make my time at the computer count.

      There’s no right or wrong, I guess, just what works for each of us and our families. I wish you the best in accomplishing all of your goals.

      I’m glad you liked the teacups! I enjoy having tea with friends, too. I think sharing tea can be a fun way to enjoy time with friends. It takes a certain intentionality and a little bit of work to have a full-on tea with (non-dishwasher safe) china, but it’s always worth it.

      Blessings on your writing! And enjoy your day with your sons!

  15. The sun’s rising at my house right now, and the clouds are a Valentine-y pink! Absolutely gorgeous.

    I hope you’re all enjoying a good Valentine’s Day so far.

  16. So nice to meet you, Susie!

    I’m sort of embarrassed to answer your question because I’ll probably spend my evening at the hospital with my sister. Hoping to get a babysitter this weekend so my hubby and I can go out. As a fellow mother of young children, I admire your ability to stick to a schedule!

    • Hi Sarah! It’s nice to meet you, too!

      I hope your sister is all right. I’m sorry you’ll be spending the evening at the hospital. Praying for a speedy recovery for your sister’s health.

      I’ve spent more than one Valentine’s Day (and birthday, for that matter) at pediatric urgent care. I suppose it makes those festive occasions where everyone is healthy all the more special! I hope you and your hubby can enjoy a nice time together as soon as you’re able.

      Thanks for visiting today!

  17. Dina Sleiman says:

    We celebrated Valentine’s Day on Saturday. Our kids keep us so busy, that the whole family won’t be together until around 9:30 tonight. But thanks for reminding me that they’ll still need dinner. Great interview. Learned some new things about my blogging buddy.

    • Hi Dina! Thanks so much for coming by today! What’d you do on Saturday to celebrate?

      Yeah, we do have to feed those kids, don’t we? 🙂

      Our evening will be a bit chaotic, too. Science fair waits for no man. Or woman. February has been an extra-busy month with the kids, church, and life in general. I am totally looking forward to putting on yoga pants and eating pizza tonight.

  18. Ruthy says:

    Oh, Suzy, first I love the teacups and I would have a tea party with you and Keli ANY DAY.

    And if it’s Valentine’s Day I’d bake a heart cake. With sprinkles. I love that you’re working your journey, that you’re embracing the path.

    Did you know that Keli is really quite spontaneous and fun? That she wears mis-matched socks on the second Tuesday and first Thursday of months ending in ‘er’?

    She’s quite the maverick, LOL! And with all the good stuff going on at Inkwell, you girls are working to everyone’s benefit. That’s so important to building that writing base. Keep up the good work.

    My evening will be writing. Hubby visited Grandpa this morning, so the evening will be quiet, but there might be ice cream involved. That’ never BAD. 😉

    • Hey Ruthy! Thanks so much for coming by today. Heart cake with sprinkles sounds delish. Chocolate? 🙂

      I’d welcome a spontaneous tea party with you and Keli any day. I’d mismatch my socks, too. Have you seen those socks that are sold in 3’s? Can’t remember the brand name, but the sets of 3 contain coordinating but mismatched socks. Very cute patterns. Alas, no one would see them if I wore them. They’d be hidden by my Ugg boots, and if it’s winter, I wear them all the time. I’ve got the coldest feet in the west.

      Inkwell is quite the hopping spot these days, with two of our members becoming new additions to the Barbour family — we’re so proud of Gina and Lisa!

      Enjoy your ice cream! Thanks again for popping by.

  19. Shannon P. says:

    My dear Susie!! This was so much fun to read after our quick chat on the phone this morning. So many wonderful memories were brought to the surface–hee-hee ;-)!! Ahh, the stories I could tell… (I was the roommate she was maid of honor for, as well as the matron of honor whose son bled on my dress before her wedding, but how many couples get to say that both of their best friends married each other!)

    But seriously, we need to take time and have tea more often and talk about our crazy ancestors (we are Huguenots as well) and reminisce about our college days.

    As for our plans, well you know how crazy busy we are… :(. The kids all got heart shaped boxes of chocolates and a book each. Ian and I might get to go to dinner next weekend. This blog has inspired me to do something special for dinner, and we still have some of Holly’s Red Velvet birthday cake left. So, off to get creative.

    Love you and congratulations on all of the blessings God has been giving you!!

    • Shannon! Thanks for visiting the site! Talk about super-busy, homeschooling moms. I can’t believe you made red velvet cake. Or still have some left over. Yesterday at the church’s bake sale, red velvet was definitely the biggest hit. We bought a few…and lost a few. Had to slam on my brakes on the way home and 2 cupcakes flew to the floor. Sad, sad times.

      I didn’t know you were descended from Huguenots, too. We’ll have to compare notes.

      Take it easy and thanks so much for coming by! We have to catch up soon! 🙂

  20. Erin Scheidt says:

    Well I just have to say that you amaze me! Not only are you sweet, a wonderful mom, and caring friend, but you are talented too. It is a blessing to know you and your family, and I wish you all the success you could hope for.

    • Oh Erin, I miss you! We need to get together soon! Thanks so much for coming by and saying such sweet things. We’re blessed to know you, too. Thanks! I hope you guys have a fun Valentine’s Day!

  21. Mom and Dad says:

    Susie, You have always had a passion for writing. You began writing letters to your grandparents in Tenn. when you were 4. Your 4th grade teacher predicted that you would be published some day. We know it will happen. We are so proud of you and all your accomplishments. Love you!

  22. Jillian Kent says:

    Hi again Susie,
    Since you live with Star Wars fans did you all happen to see the Commercial during the Super Bowl with the little kid dressed as Darth Vader? I’m still laughing. 🙂 My hubby and I went to our very favorite restaurant called, The Grand Finale. We got some decadent bread pudding and ice cream thing. So much for trying to lose weight.
    By the way, I don’t think I’ve ever tasted a cream tea. Share your knowledge and your favorite cream tea and where you buy it or how you make it, etc. I can’t be writing Regency novels and not know everything there is to know about tea.

    • Oh Jilly, I loved that commercial. Posted it on FB. It reminded me of someone in my house (no, not my husband! LOL). My little guy loved his costumes. And there’s something so appealing to many little boys about Darth Vader. Maybe it’s the mask???

      But even my daughter’s into Star Wars. I can see her on Jeopardy: “I’ll take female Jedi and their home planets for $600, Alex.”

      Bread pudding rocks! So delish! I haven’t had any in sooooo long but I have a feeling that’s going to have to change pretty soon. Mmmmm.

      I will probably get a few details wrong, but a cream tea is basically a pot of tea, scones, jam (like strawberry) and a crock of fantabulous Devonshire cream. My English friend Pauline considers these exact elements to be TEA. Sounds good to me. You can buy Devon cream in a jar in specialty stores, but can’t get it in the dairy case in the US because Americans process the cream differently than they do in England. However, my friend Arlena gave me a yummy recipe for a mock devon cream that is so GOOD that I look for excuses to dip things in it. Like berries. Or my finger. It’s highly addictive and dangeorus.

      Regency-era tea was a bit different. I wrote an Inkwell post on it back in ye olde early days, but I think the bottom line is that afternoon tea (or high tea) as we know it didn’t exist until the 1830s. But Jane Austen shopped at Twining’s, and they’re still going today.

      I’ll hunt down the recipe for Arlena’s mock Devon cream and get back to you.

  23. Jackie says:

    You don’t know me, but, as a friend of your mothers and one retired from publishing, I have been following your journey for some time now. I am absolutely delighted to hear from you directly and discover that all the nice things I’ve heard about you are true beyond measure. I wish you the very best with your writing and am so pleased to hear of your efforts to strike a balance in life for your family AND for yourself.
    Loved your chat about tea and your photos of the beautiful tea cups. My daughter-in-law also loves tea and collects cups. I have such fun shopping for new ones for her.

    • Hi Jackie! Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by! My mom speaks very highly of you and it’s nice to “meet” you! I appreciate your kind words — they mean so much!

      How long has your daughter-in-law been collecting teacups? They are so much fun. Each has its own little personality.

      I wish you the very best. Have a wonderful week, and thanks again for dropping by and saying hello.

  24. Should you find yourself in need of a delish cream recipe, here’s my very favorite:

    Arlena’s Mock Devonshire Cream

    4 ounces mascarpone cheese (famous for its starring role in Tiramisu)
    1 cup heavy whipping cream
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 or 2 tablespoons granulated white sugar

    Beat the ingredients in an electric mixer until the mixture looks like softly whipped cream. Refrigerate until ready to use.

  25. Jillian Kent says:

    Thanks Susie,
    I love studying up on tea time and ingrediants whether Regency or contempory times. Yum! 🙂 Thanks for Arlena’s Mock Devonshire Cream.
    Thank you, Obi-Wan Kenobi. Your my only cup of tea. 🙂

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