The GREAT BEGINNING of A.S. Fenichel


Let me introduce you to Lyrical (Kensington) sister author, editor stablemate (aka Penny Barber Bootcamp) and a fellow member of Romance Weekly #lovechatwrite—A.S. Fenichel.

Andrea is offering a free ebook of her newest release Ascension to whoever is first to correctly guess which classic book begins like this

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.
However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first entering a neighborhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families, that he is considered as rightful property of someone or other of their daughters.
The delicious Colin Firth once played the male lead in the BBC mini-series of this book,

The delicious Colin Firth once played the male lead in the BBC mini-series of this book,

While you're cogitating, let's get to know Andrea a bit better.

Give us your Great Beginning, where were you born and where are you now? 

Hi Sarah, I’m so happy to be here. My great beginning was in Valley Stream, New York. That is where I flew around the living room as a yellow butterfly and jumped from the landing when I had to beam down to the planet as Spock.

My sister always got to play Captain Kirk. She got all the best parts. That’s what happens when you’re born last.


This was the house where Richie, my imaginary friend lived until he fell out of a hay loft and lost his splat. (Okay, I was only six or seven and my father asked) We moved to New Jersey when I was ten and that’s where I finished school and went to college.

Five years ago, my sexy husband talked me into quitting my NYC job (not very hard to do) and move to the great state of Texas. He lured me in by telling me I could write full time. ;) It worked smashingly!


One word to describe yourself from:

·      You: Tenacious

·      Your Significant Other: Loving

·      Your Best Friend: Loyal

·      Your Mother: Demanding 


How did the idea for your book, Ascension, come about? 

Ascension came to me in one snapshot of a young woman in Regency dress sneaking into a garden in the middle of the night. That’s all I knew, but the image would not let me go. My only choice was to ask the questions: Who is she? Why is she alone? What was she doing out so late? Whose garden is it? And about a dozen more. Once I answered the story tumbled out.


Tell us how your journey in publishing began?

 I had been writing for many years, submitting, getting rejections letters, submit-reject, submit-reject. Literally, hundreds of times. I wrote a little novella (Mayan Afterglow). It was for a publisher’s request for the End of Days stories. I loved the story and I thought it was the best thing I’d ever written up to that point. It was rejected! I went to see an old friend in New Jersey, Shelley Noble. She’s a wonderful author and my kind of gal. She always tells it like she sees it. After I lamented my entire sad story to her, I said I was giving up on submitting my work. I’ll just write for myself since my best work was not good enough. Shelley looked at me and said, “That’s ridiculous, you don’t know what was going on in that editors head that particular day. Don’t be stupid (she may have used stronger language) Just send it somewhere else.

I took her advice, sent it to another publisher who accepted it!!!

Never give up on your dreams no matter how many times you’re knocked to the ground.

 Give us the opening lines of your RITA acceptance speech. (Don’t leave me hanging here, haven’t we all had that fantasy?)

 I have sat in the audience and watched authors I admire accept this award and always hoped that someday it would be me. More like dreamed, really. And now here I am. I couldn’t be more thankful for this honor.

Or something like that.

And now give us that Great Beginning to Ascension

Lady Belinda Clayton grappled with the creaking iron gate, which led to the back garden of her family’s London townhouse. It was not the first time she had used the unconventional route to make her way back home in the predawn hours. Nor was it the first time her dress had been ruined or her hair tousled in her rush to make her way through the streets without becoming a number on the death toll in the city’s records.

Pushing the gate closed, the rough, cold metal scratched her gloved palm. Once the latch was secured she ran her finger along the jagged tear in her left glove. “Too bad,” she said. She shook her head at the ruined garment. “I really did like this pair.”

“What pair is that, Lady Belinda?” Gabriel’s deep, seductive voice cut through the still night.

His blue eyes were the color of the sea just before a storm and their depths burned into her.

Her stomach did a flip before she had time to control herself. She was sure she

looked flustered and she could have kicked herself for not steeling her nerves before facing Lord Gabriel Thurston, the Earl of Tullering.

She was pleased with the sound of cold detachment in her voice. “Tullering, what on earth are you doing in my garden in the middle of the night?”

A.S. Fenichel gave up a successful career in New York City to follow her husband to Texas and pursue her lifelong dream of being a professional writer. She’s never looked back.

A.S. adores writing stories filled with love, passion, desire, magic and maybe a little mayhem tossed in for good measure. Books have always been her perfect escape and she still relishes diving into one and staying up all night to finish a good story.

Multi-published in erotic paranormal, contemporary and historical romance, A.S. is the author of the Mayan Destiny series, Christmas Bliss and many more. With several books currently contracted to multiple publishers, A.S. will be bringing you her brand of romance for many years to come.

Originally from New York, she grew up in New Jersey, and now lives in the East Texas with her real life hero, her wonderful husband. When not reading or writing she enjoys cooking, travel, history, and puttering in her garden.     

Thanks for playing GREAT BEGINNINGS with us, Andrea. Now if you think you know which classic book belongs to that opening, leave it in the comment section along with a way to get hold of you.


A great book always starts with a GREAT BEGINNING

And we're back, after a pause last week. Another Friday and another GREAT BEGINNING. I picked this classic book's beginning. If you know which book it is and are the first correct answer, Julie Ann is going to send you a free eBook of her new novel, Prophecy. And don't forget to leave us a way to get hold of you.

Sounds like a fair exchange to me. So without further ado, which classic book begins like this:

No answer.
No answer.
”What’s gone with that boy, I wonder? You Tom!”
Here' that little visual clue I always include.

Here' that little visual clue I always include.

And while you're pondering the quote and the clue, let me tell you all about Julie Ann.

 1.     Give us your Great Beginning, where were you born and where are you now?

I was born and raised in rural Ohio, where I live today with my husband and three young children. I’ve never lived anywhere else and I have no desire to move. Crime and cost of living are low, the schools are good and the air is fresh. It’s a beautiful, peaceful place to raise a family. Here’s a picture from my front porch. And that’s me and the offspring having a picnic.

2.     One word to describe yourself from:

·      You: awkward

·      Your Significant Other: He called me a Roomba. You know, those robotic vacuums that never stop moving. They bump into walls and go the other way. I don’t think he understood the question…or maybe he did.

·      Your Best Friend: Supercalafragalisticexpialadoshus!<-- She’s awkward, too. She tried to make up for it by saying I was intriguing, but we all know her first answer.

·      Your Mother: wonderful ß she actually said that. I called her and asked.

·      Your children: 11 year old son: happy, 8 year old son: kind, 6 year old daughter: beautiful

If you wonder who’s right and who loves me too much to see the truth, here are some pictures taken recently:

How did the idea for your book, Prophecy, come about?

If I’m being honest, it came in a temper tantrum. Mine. My agent had a contemporary YA manuscript on submissions for me and I was writing another. My completed novel was rejected with glorious praise, except: they’d “just bought something like it” or they “already had something similar in their line” or the concept wasn’t *quite* unique enough “to stand out in today’s crowded YA marketplace.” Well, about six months into that vat of disappointment, I lost my temper. There’s nothing worse that hearing an editor (or many editors) say they read your entire manuscript AND enjoyed it, but no thank you. I still want to bang my head across my keyboard when I think about it.

So, I stopped writing the contemporary YA I was in the middle of and I asked myself, what isn’t out there right now in YA? What couldn’t editors possible claim to have already? And I thought….I haven’t read any YA romance with Vikings. Fine. Done. I’m changing this hero from mild mannered guy with psychotic family secret, into a Viking. If it got rejected, then I’d know it wasn’t based on concept.

It didn’t get rejected.


Tell us how your journey in publishing began?

I started writing about five years ago after the birth of my third child. I was homeschooling a kindergartener at the time, potty training a toddler and nursing a newborn. I was desperate for something that was only for me. I decided I’d write a novel. It was harder than I thought. Luckily, I’m hard headed to a fault and the Internet is an unlimited resource, so I got to it.

Since opening a search engine in 2010 and typing “how to write a book,” I’ve written 2 short stories, 3 novellas and 15 novels. Both short stories, all three novellas and 10 of the 15 novels have published or are under contract and will publish very soon. Of the five unpublished novels, two are complete rubbish. 2 I have plans to rework until they find a proper home and the last one is up in the air. I’m not sure what will happen to her. Poor thing.

My writing journey hasn’t been glamorous, the opposite actually, but it’s mine and I’m thankful for what it is.


 Now let’s hear the opening lines of your RITA acceptance speech (don’t tell me I’m the only one who’s had this fantasy)

Hmm. Maybe something like, “Hey, I’m as surprised about this as you are.”


And now give us that Great Beginning to Prophecy

“I’ve got one.” Allison scooped wild brown hair into a ponytail and smiled. “Would you rather…”

I groaned. Would you rather was like Truth or Dare, except with no one to kiss.

“Come on. Would you rather spend two weeks on your dream vacation alone or one week alone with anyone you want, but you have to stay here?” Allison cleared the remains of our last customers’ dinners and loaded dirty dishes into a brown plastic tub. “I’d choose the second one and make Hannah Snyder watch me cuddled up to Dylan O’Brien for seven days straight.”

“You didn’t say there would be cuddling.” I retied my apron, buying time to think.

Allison dropped the tub of dirty dishes onto the counter with a wicked gleam in her eye. “Oh, there will definitely be cuddling.”


Prophecy, book 1, the Calypso series

 On the other side of death, is destiny.

Callie Ingram is spending her senior year focused on one thing: swimming. Her skill as a competitive swimmer is going to secure a scholarship and her future, or so she hopes. She has big plans, and Liam Hale, her gorgeous new neighbor, isn’t going to affect them. But when Callie sees Liam beheading someone, she learns his family has a secret that will change everything. The Hales are Vikings, demi-gods who’ve been charged by The Fates to find their new destined leader.

Callie’s caught in the middle of a budding Norse apocalypse, in love with Liam Hale and desperate to protect her best friend—who the Hales believe is marked for transformation. Putting the clues together as fast as she can, Callie discovers she has the power to rewrite destiny, for herself and all humankind. 

Amazon          B&N               Kensington                iTunes

About Julie:

Julie Anne Lindsey is a multi-genre author who writes the stories that keep her up at night. She’s a self-proclaimed nerd with a penchant for words and proclivity for fun. Julie lives in rural Ohio with her husband and three small children. Today, she hopes to make someone smile. One day she plans to change the world.



Find Julie online:

Find Me on Facebook!

Tweet Me!!

Read with me on Goodreads

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Blogging at Musings from the Slush Pile

Capturing life on Instagram



If you are the first person to correctly identify the GREAT BEGINNING to a classic novel, Brenda will send you an e-copy of CHEF D'AMOUR. Please leave us some way to contact you with your answer.

CHEF D'AMOUR was named a Top Pick by Delta at The Romance Reviews – see her review at

What classic novel begins like this:

In those days cheap apartments were almost impossible to find in Manhattan, so I had to move to Brooklyn. This was in 1947, and one of the pleasant features of that summer which I so vividly remember was the weather, which was sunny and mild, flower-fragrant, almost as if the days had been arrested in a seemingly perpetual springtime. I was grateful for that if for nothing else, since my youth, I felt, was at its lowest ebb.
— Author: William Styron
HINT! HINT! HINT!  Meryl Streep won the Academy Award for Best Actress in this devastating 1982 movie adaptation of the novel


Meryl Streep won the Academy Award for Best Actress in this devastating 1982 movie adaptation of the novel

While you're thinking about that, let me tell you more about Brenda's GREAT BEGINNING.

Give us your Great Beginning, where were you born and where are you now?

Do you know where Vancouver, British Columbia is? Where the 2010 Winter Olympics were held? I was born about 800 kilometers north of there, pretty much smack-dab in the middle of the province, in a city called Prince George (some of us were pretty excited when William and Kate named their son after us <wink>). After high school  I enrolled in the Radio Broadcasting program at the BC Institute of Technology (in Burnaby, but for those of us from the north it's all Vancouver) and applied to lots of jobs anywhere but home. As luck would have it, the job I did get took me right back to Prince George, where I still live – and I love it here.


One word to describe yourself from:

Wow, this is hard. I probably should ask everyone what word they want, but I'm afraid to.

You: snarky

Your Significant Other: organized

Your Best Friend: funny

Your Mother: loyal

Your children:Mom

How did the idea for your book, CHEF D'AMOUR come about?

 About four months after graduating from my radio program, I was hired to work at my hometown's local television station as a Writer/Producer. Part of my job involved going out on location to various businesses and working with a cameraman to get the shots we needed. After three months, that cameraman and I started dating – and we've been together ever since. 

That was Idea Kernel One, so to speak. Idea Kernel Two is my own prejudice when it comes to romance reality TV shows. Like my heroine, Jemma, I simply can't understand why anyone believes a TV show is the place to find the person you will spend the rest of your life with. But what if the bachelor was reluctant, and had other reasons for joining the show? And what if he was attracted to one of the crew members – which is strictly against the rules? Now that was something I could sink my writing teeth into!


Tell us how your journey in publishing began?

 I've always been a writer. As well as TV commercials, I've written documentaries, website copy, poetry (in my teen years – who didn't?) and more. I had a number of novels fade away around page 80. But one story, about a Natural Resource student and a Conservation Officer caught in a poaching ring, wouldn't die. Then my husband bought me my very own laptop for Christmas 2010, and I finally finished the damned thing. I submitted it to one large publishing company and heard nothing. Then I submitted it The Wild Rose Press, and an editor there said, while it needed some work, if I was willing to take some of her suggestions, she would be willing to reconsider it. I did what she said (not without some grumbling) and the result was MOUNTAIN FIRE, published January 2012. Since then I've completed two other manuscripts, including CHEF D'AMOUR (published August 29, 2014 also by The Wild Rose Press) and am working on a fourth.


Give us the opening lines of your RITA acceptance speech. (Don’t leave me hanging here, haven’t we all had that fantasy?)

When I first started writing, this moment wasn't even on my radar. All I wanted was to see my book in print, hold it in my hands. And if it hadn't been for the love and support of my husband, my parents and my children, I wouldn't be here today.


And now give us that Great Beginning to CHEF D'AMOUR

She wanted to punch him in the face. Jemma Hedges’s fingers clenched into a fist, anticipating the smack of her knuckles against his beak of a nose. Not a beak. A snout. Why had she never noticed before? Dane Smythe had a nose like a pig.

“So, what do you say? Want to give it a try?” He licked his lips with a moist pink tongue and she shuddered. A disgusting pig.

He tightened his hold on the stacked blonde next to him and the woman snuggled closer, her eyes watching Jemma avidly. Amber Something. Jemma hadn’t caught her last name. Not that it mattered.

“Not on your life.”

The leer on his face hardened. “You’re kidding, right? Don’t tell me you’ve never done it before.”

She stared at him from behind long bangs draped over one eye. “Why the hell would you say that?”

“It doesn’t matter if you haven’t.” Amber’s voice was low and breathy, provocative and sinful. “I wouldn’t mind...initiating you.”

Available on Amazon.





I'm sure you know how this works by now. I give you the GREAT BEGINNING to a classic book and you guess which book it is. The first correct answer in the comment section, gets you a copy of Elise Cyr's medieval romance SIEGE OF THE HEART. - Don't forget to leave me a way to get hold of you with your guess.

What classic novel begins like this: (I'm keeping it to a medieval theme today)

In that pleasant district of merry England which is watered by the river Don, there extended in ancient times a large forest covering the greater part of the beautiful hills and valleys which lie between Sheffield and the the pleasant town of Doncaster. The remains of this extensive wood are still to be see at the noble seats of Wentworth, of Wharncliffe Park, and around Rotherham. Here haunted of yore the fabulous Dragon of Wantley; here we fought many of the most desperate battles during the civil War of the Roses; and here also flourished in ancient times those bands of gallant outlaws whose deeds have been rendered so popular in English song.
Robert Taylor and Elizabeth Taylor starred in the movie.

Robert Taylor and Elizabeth Taylor starred in the movie.

While you're pondering let me tell you a bit about Elise.

Give us your Great Beginning, where were you born and where are you now?

I grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia. After college I gradually worked my way west and currently live in New Mexico. The Land of Enchantment is a far cry from the East Coast, but I've come to love this place where the mountains meet the desert.


One word to describe yourself from:

  • You: Determined
  • Your Significant Other: Amazing – at least he'd better think so ;)
  • Your Best Friend: Stubborn
  • Your Mother: Exasperated
  • Your children: Not sure since they don't exist yet.


How did the idea for your book, Siege of the Heart, come about? 

I came at it in a roundabout way: the origins of the book were distinctly fantasy but I found the worldbuilding too overwhelming. Better to fit my story events into a historical time period—a readymade framework to build my book around. My heroine Isabel was no damsel in distress, my hero definitely a knight, and I wanted a period in history full of drama and upheaval. I settled on the Norman Conquest of England, and the rest is history ;)


Tell us how your journey in publishing began?

Once I had a full draft of the book (which took a long time), I workshopped it and entered contests and sent out queries. I got a lot of good feedback, had a couple of close calls, and eventually signed with Lyrical Press, an imprint of Kensington. It's been a long journey, but I'm so glad to be able to share my book with the world.


Let’s hear the opening lines of your RITA acceptance speech (don’t tell me I’m the only one who’s had this fantasy)

I never expected to be standing here today. Are you sure there hasn't been some mistake?


And now give us that Great Beginning 

December 1066

Northern Gloucestershire, England

At least she now knew the truth.

It was little comfort though, as Isabel Dumont watched the messenger ride out of the bailey. She let out a breath, a feathery cloud on the cold air. The messenger had declined her offer of hospitality, and she did not ask him to reconsider. Instead, she had seen to it his horse was watered and had pressed a gold piece into his palm to ensure his silence.
— Siege of the Heart - Elise Cyr

About Elise Cyr:

Elise has always loved adventure, romance, and happy endings. She writes primarily in the medieval period. Because there’s still so much we don’t know about that time in history, the writer’s imagination is essential for fleshing out the research and making it come to life on the page. Plus swords and castles are just plain fun.

She lives in New Mexico with her husband and the sweetest dog ever. When she’s not writing, she hikes, bikes, cooks, and (of course) reads. Siege of the Heart is her debut medieval romance. You can follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads, or check out her blog.

About Siege of the Heart:

He fought for king and country, but that battle was nothing compared to the one he’ll wage for a woman’s heart.

Still reeling from the news of her father’s death during the Norman Conquest, Isabel Dumont is unprepared when trouble arrives at the castle gates. Alexandre d’Évreux, a Norman knight with close ties to England’s new king, has arrived to secure the land and the loyalties of the Dumont family. Desperate to protect her people, Isabel strives to keep the confounding knight at arm’s length and hide the truth about her father’s death.

For Alexandre, the spoils of war come with more than just a generous gift of land. They come with Isabel Dumont. Vowing to marry only for love, Alexandre finds himself in a difficult situation as a conqueror granted dominion over the land and its people. Isabel is the one person capable of helping him win the regard of those living in the war-torn country…if he chooses to accept her.

Just when Alexandre finds a spark of hope that he and Isabel have a chance at love, she vanishes. His quest to find her plunges him deeper into the conquest’s fallout. Was she taken? Or did she leave?

CONTENT WARNING: Entering into this novel may cause extreme affection toward knights of old, admiration for strong-willed women, and the overwhelming belief that love really can conquer all.

Siege of the Heart is available from most retailers including:
Barnes and Noble:
Kensington Books: 

Your turn, to guess the beginning of the classic novel. The first correct answer wins a copy of Siege of the Heart and remember, to leave me a way to contact you, or friend me on Facebook.