And the winner is …

Kylie Wakulat!

I totally agree with Kylie about sometimes just wanting to cuddle up in your favorite pair of sweatpants. In fact, guess what I’m wearing right now?

Ha! Busted.

Congratulations on winning the audio version of DEAR PEN PAL, Kylie!

DPP Audio

Check your email inbox for official notification, as I’ll be contacting you directly soon to make arrangements to send it to you.

Thanks to all of you who entered this giveaway — and look for another giveaway next week, to celebrate the release of the audio version of the fourth book in the MOTHER-DAUGHTER BOOK CLUB series, PIES & PREJUDICE!

Fan mail Friday

It’s that time of the week again!

Before I share this week’s mail with you, though, I have something exciting to announce. We finally have a title for MDBC #7!!

MOTHER-DAUGHTER BOOK CAMP

Fun, huh?

I love it. Love it! And I’m enormously grateful to Justin Chanda, one of Simon & Schuster’s resident geniuses, for the suggestion. My editor and I kept throwing spaghetti at the wall, but nothing was sticking …

Anyway, a sneak preview of the book will be coming along later this spring, so stay tuned. I also happen to know that one of the goddesses in the S&S art department (Lucy, I’m looking at you!) has a REALLY cool idea for the cover, so once it’s been designed I’ll post it here on my blog.

I think you’re going to like this new book (she says modestly). And yes, it really is the FINAL one in the series, in case you’re wondering. I had such a great time writing this story, and I can’t wait to share it with the world!

So, on to more important things here — your mail! This week, I have a couple of great drawings to show you from Brooke. Her favorite book in the series is PIES & PREJUDICE, so she chose to picture the girls in their ballgowns:

Brooke - mdbc girls

Don’t you love it?

But wait! That’s not all! Brooke also sent along a drawing of the MDBC moms:

Brooke - mdbc moms

This is SUCH fun. I don’t get to see the mothers as often — well, aside from in my mind’s eye. Did you catch the slogan on Mrs. Wong’s T-shirt? Well done, Brooke! You’re awesome.

As always, many thanks for your letters and emails. They’re the cherry on top of the ice cream sundae that is my life as an author! 

A little MDBC inspiration

“Where do you get your ideas?” is a question frequently asked of writers. Our #1 question, in fact. My answer, as you know if you’ve read the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page of this website (click here to visit it): absolutely everywhere!

Sometimes it’s fun to trace where one specific idea came from, however, and that’s what I want to do today.

Those of you familiar with my Mother-Daughter Book Club series will recall that in PIES & PREJUDICE, Jess Delaney and her mother take a cake decorating class together. Much to her surprise, Jess discovers that she actually enjoys the class (she goes along initially just to humor her mother), and that she has a knack for decorating cakes, including making frosting flowers.  This comes in handy when Jess and her friends start a baking business, and then in a later book, when Jess and her mother make a wedding cake for someone special (I’m not saying whom, just in case you haven’t read the entire series yet!).

So, where did I get this idea?

Would you believe my own life?

Heather and her culinary masterpiece
Heather Vogel with her culinary masterpiece

This is me at age 12, standing proudly in front of my crowning achievement as a cake decorator. My mother and I had taken a class together earlier that year (and yes, we had fun, just like Jess and her mom did!), so when my beautiful Aunt Judy got married to my handsome Uncle Howard, guess who was asked to do the honors?

Yep. Me.

My mother helped, too, of course. But as far as I was concerned, this was my baby!

HVF wedding cake closeup
And isn’t it a beautiful baby?  Three layers of my grandmother’s delicious pound cake topped with white buttercream frosting and adorned with frosting roses in two shades of pink, clustered on the top and trailing down the sides. A crowning achievement, if I say so myself!

My interest in cake decorating evaporated shortly after this photo was taken, but nothing ever goes to waste for a writer. Part of our writing process is mining memories for material. And this was one particularly sweet memory I was happy to find a spot for in one of my books.

 

Happy 200th to PRIDE AND PREJUDICE!

Welcome to my stop on the Pride and Prejudice 200th Anniversary Blog Hop!  First, a valentine to our own dear Jane, and then a giveaway to celebrate…

January 28, 2013

Dear Jane,

Whatever would this world be without your wonderful novel? Although you felt that Pride and Prejudice was perhaps too “light, and bright, and sparkling,” I can assure you that the rest of us beg to disagree.

From readers who adore you and who turn to your books for entertainment, enlightenment, and yes, sometimes comfort, to those of us who fancy ourselves writers, where, I ask you, would we be without your sparkling wit to inspire us to greater heights of achievement?  Or your clever dialogue and unforgettable characters to fill us with glee?  Mr. Collins!  Lady Catherine de Bourgh!  Caroline Bingley and the featherheaded Mrs. Bennet! And of course one of literature’s most enduring and timeless couples, Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy.

Sigh.

Just thinking about all this makes me want to take my well-loved copy of your book from the shelf and reread it.  So I think I shall, but first, let me just wish you the very happiest of anniversaries (no small feat to have remained in print for two centuries). Wherever you are, dear Jane, I hope you know how very much you and your books are loved.

Your faithful literary admirer,

Heather Vogel Frederick

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And now, because I can’t resist an excuse for a giveaway, I’d like to give one reader a copy of my own PIES & PREJUDICE (betcha can’t guess what book inspired THAT!).  All you have to do to enter is leave a comment here and tell us what you love about Jane Austen and Pride and Prejudice.  If you haven’t read the book yet, tell us when you plan to, OK?

PIES & PREJUDICE cover

US/Canada only, please.  The deadline is Sunday February 3rd at midnight PST.  Winner will be announced Monday, February 4th.

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This blog post is part of a 200th Anniversary Blog Hop.  Be sure and hop on over to the other PRIDE AND PREJUDICE anniversary blogs by clicking here!

PandPPartyHop1-1

Take a trip with an Austen fan

I’ve always loved Susan Branch‘s homespun artwork and lovely books, and now I love her even more — it turns out she’s a Jane Austen fan!  Click here to check out her fabulous blog post about her recent trip to Chawton, and tour of Jane Austen’s house.  I was there a few years ago doing research for Pies & Prejudice, and reading her post was like being there again!

Wish I was there right now.  Sigh…

 

Jane Austen’s house in Chawton
Me standing by Jane’s writing table

 

Vote for PIES & PREJUDICE!

Two posts from me in one day — and more to come tomorrow! This is a big week aboard the good ship Frederick what with book birthdays, anniversaries (bookaversaries?), and now a chance to give PIES & PREJUDICE a boost.

Remember that old poster “Uncle Sam needs you!”?  Well, the mother-daughter book club needs you!  PIES & PREJUDICE has been nominated for an Oregon Book Award, and the sponsors are doing something a little different this year.  In addition to the various category awards, they’ve added a Readers’ Choice award, and they’re asking for input from readers and fans.

If you’d like to vote, just click here and you’ll be shuttled to the contest.  You can vote for any book you like — including PIES & PREJUDICE!  Voting ends Monday April 16th at 5 p.m. Pacific time.   Award winners will be announced at a splashy ceremony the night of Monday April 23rd (and announced here on this blog the following morning).

(If you’re under 13, ask your parents for permission as it looks like voting requires an email address.)

 

Happy National Pie Day!

It’s that time of year again — my favorite minor holiday — yes, you guessed it, NATIONAL PIE DAY!

No, not THAT kind of pi, silly — THIS kind of pie:

Next to homemade bread, pie is my favorite thing to bake.  I like just about any kind, too–apple pie, strawberry rhubarb pie, coconut cream pie–you name it, I’ll be sitting at the table, fork in hand, ready for my slice.

I love pie so much that I named two of my books after it:

Here’s a link to a blog post I wrote last year about this wonderful holiday, and my mother.  Enjoy!  I’m off to bake a pie (marionberry this year, in case you’re wondering)…

 

She’s 235 today…

… but she’s as ageless as her wonderful books!

Jane Austen

My friend and fellow fan of all things Jane over at Stiletto Storytime invited me to contribute a guest blog to help celebrate this most auspicious of birthdays, as well as her own fourth blogoversary.  An honor indeed.  Thanks, Courtney!  And congratulations on four wonderful years of blogging!