Son of a Pitch! Bonjour!

belle header1

INCONCEIVABLE Cover.jpgBonjour, my lovelies! This is a special greeting for all those writers who are participating in the pitch contest, Son of a Pitch! I look forward to reading your pitches and sharing my feedback. Just a note about the theme: All the participating published authors are choosing a hero or villain from Disney to use on their blogs. I chose Belle because her ability to look beyond the surface and see what’s inside reminds me of Hatty, the main character in my novel, INCONCEIVABLE!

Just to help you get to know me a bit better, here are seven fun Tegan facts:

    1. I secured my own publishing deal for INCONCEIVABLE! with respected indie publisher Curiosity Quills. I had hoped to get an agent to represent me, but when CQ came calling with so much love for my story and a great vision for promoting it, I couldn’t say no.
    2. I’m a Francophile. I studied French for four years in high school and all through college. So, I can parler. I adore the French language and culture. I’ve traveled all over the world, but France is one of my favorite countries.
    3. belle meme1This is Foodie Central. (Sorry, Belle.) I adore food, but I’m not a snob. From Cheetos to ostrich steak, I appreciate a wide range of delicious foods. My favorite ethnic cuisines are Ethiopian and Mexican.
    4. I have one husband, two kitties, and three kids. It’s a hot mess up in here, ya’ll. Is it any wonder I have chronic “mom brain?”
    5. I love to read in many genres. I can appreciate and enjoy Stephen King as much as Nicholas Sparks. Some of my favorite books are The Alchemist, 11/22/63, the Chronicles of Narnia, Brave New World, and Accidental Saints. How’s that for variety?
    6. autumn meme1Fall is my favorite season. Yep, I’m kind of basic in that way. Bring on the pumpkins, lattes, falling leaves, and Halloween. One of my favorite lines from INCONCEIVABLE! is about autumn.
    7. I was in a community theatre production of Beauty and the Beast. I wish I could tell you I played Belle, but I was much better as a dancing, singing plate in the enchanted castle. There were three of us plates and we were kind of fabulous. #Justsaying

I look forward to finding out more about you! Please connect with me on Twitter and Facebook. Because I’ve had so much love and support from other writers on my journey, I’m thrilled to pay it forward by helping you!

 

Machinations: A New Sci Fi Adventure

Mach header1

Today, my critique partner and friend, Hayley Stone, is celebrating the release of MACHINATIONS, her debut novel. Huzzah! You can purchase your copy from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Kobo.

Having read an early draft of the complete book, I can assure you it’s an amazing story that will keep you flipping pages. You have a strong woman as the central character, a romance woven into the narrative, and plenty of intense action. As a fan of the Matrix trilogy, I especially loved her take on how sophisticated computers could spell doom for humankind. If you’re in a reading slump or need another summer read, I strongly encourage you to move MACHINATIONS to the top of your list!

Here’s the official description:

Perfect for fans of Robopocalypse, this action-packed science-fiction debut introduces a chilling future and an unforgettable heroine with a powerful role to play in the battle for humanity’s survival.

The machines have risen, but not out of malice. They were simply following a command: to stop the endless wars that have plagued the world throughout history. Their solution was perfectly logical. To end the fighting, they decided to end the human race.

A potent symbol of the resistance, Rhona Long has served on the front lines of the conflict since the first Machinations began—until she is killed during a rescue mission gone wrong. Now Rhona awakens to find herself transported to a new body, complete with her DNA, her personality, even her memories. She is a clone . . . of herself.

Trapped in the shadow of the life she once knew, the reincarnated Rhona must find her place among old friends and newfound enemies—and quickly. For the machines are inching closer to exterminating humans for good. And only Rhona, whoever she is now, can save them.

Hayley StoneHayley Stone has lived her entire life in sunny California, where the weather is usually perfect and nothing as exciting as a robot apocalypse ever happens. When not reading or writing, she freelances as a graphic designer, falls in love with videogame characters, and analyzes buildings for velociraptor entry points. She holds a bachelor’s degree in history and a minor in German from California State University, Sacramento.

A Massive Giveaway to Support Indie Authors: Thanks, Chevrolet!

Three thick encyclopedias having brightly colored hardcovers. The books are stacked on top of each other and sitting on a dark brown coffee table. The covers' corners are in clear focus.

As part of its #DayItForward campaign, which encourages people to spread kindness on this Leap Day, Chevrolet gave me an Amazon gift card so I could give away a ton of ebooks by indie authors. This includes self-published books and books from small presses.  I’ve linked this list to the corresponding tweet. Retweet these tweets for a chance to win the books that catch your attention! I’ll do the drawing Wednesday, March 1 at 9pm ET. This is just round one! I’m going to do another massive giveaway next week!

Here are the books I’m giving away:

Please join me in showing appreciation to Chevrolet for supporting indie authors. They made it possible for me to give away all of these ebooks!

 

Infertility Kills Romance: 7 Ways to Get Your Mojo Back

header beach1

Anyone who has dealt with infertility knows firsthand how this medical challenge can suck the romance right out of the relationship. It’s an issue I explore in-depth in my novel, INCONCEIVABLE. And it’s not surprising that the relationship suffers because infertility invades the bedroom. What’s supposed to be a low stress, high pleasure  experience becomes fraught with expectations, disappointment, and high hopes.

It’s no wonder infertility takes a toll on romantic relationships. Here are seven ways you can reconnect as a couple while still trying to navigate the rocky road to parenthood.

  1. Find a new, fun activity to do as a couple that doesn’t have an obvious connection to getting pregnant. bowling shoesWhile you’ll want to avoid anything that’s not compatible with pregnancy–mark wine tasting and horseback riding off your list–be creative in thinking about a new hobby. Find a local art gallery that offers a painting class. Audition for a community theater production together. Brush up on your bowling or mini golf skills, both of which allow you to bring a lighthearted competitive element to the activity. I’m always an advocate of getting outside, so consider fishing or hiking.
  2. Get fit together. Yep, it’s a great idea to get sweaty. Whether you ride bikes, do yoga, or take an aerobics class with your spouse, you’ll spend time together while getting your body in better shape for a pregnancy. Also, getting all that blood flowing is a great way to stir up a desire to do some “exercise” behind closed doors, whether you’re ovulating or not.
  3. Create a safe space to discuss the future. It’s the proverbial elephant in the room. Many people going through infertility spend a lot of mental energy thinking about “what happens next” in their journey to parenthood. Thinking through various scenarios used to consume me. Set aside a time when you and your partner can talk about your hopes and fears related to your infertility journey. When you’re tempted to obsess about it, try to hold those thoughts at bay until you can sit down and discuss them with your spouse. It’s more productive because your discussion might lead you to a new path.
  4. Change the scenery. Before we traveled overseas to adopt our oldest child, we took multiple weekend trips to a small, picturesque town about an hour and a half away from where we lived. It was so incredible to walk the streets of this tiny mountain town, wander through the shops, and try new restaurants. Even if you can’t afford an overnight stay, take a day trip to escape your routine.
  5. Engage in self care. This can mean getting a couples massage at a spa or giving each other massages. Intentionally taking time to rest and relax will help you both recharge emotionally and physically.
  6. Enjoy some entertainment away from Netflix. movie theatreWhile I’m a huge fan of binge watching your favorite series on Netflix or Amazon, it’s not the most romantic thing you can do. Get out and see a movie in the theater (bonus points if you sit in the back row like you did when you were dating!), visit a comedy club, watch a local theatrical production, or go to your favorite night spot to hear some great music. Going out with your spouse will help take your minds off the pregnancy quest for a few hours, and help you have a stronger connection when you do get back to the challenge ahead of you.
  7. Take calculated risks together. Let’s be real: you’re already taking one of the biggest risks any human ever takes–trying to become parents so you can raise happy, healthy children. Set that aside for a moment, and think about doing a zipline course or going up in a hot air balloon. These and other somewhat risky activities will require you to set aside your obsessive thoughts about getting pregnant for a few minutes to focus on the task at hand. And what better way to remind yourself of your own strength than to put it to the test with your spouse by your side as you conquer a rock wall?

How do you reconnect with your spouse and rekindle the romance when infertility threatens to overtake your relationship?

Bowling shoes image via Flickr by jasonippolito

The Real Work of Journalists: 7 Ways the Movie Spotlight Got it Right

keyboard

It’s hard to overstate how much I enjoyed the movie Spotlight. It chronicles the difficult, messy work of the Boston Globe’s Spotlight team as they worked to uncover the priest abuse scandal in Boston (and beyond). The dialogue is excellent and it’s well acted. As a long-time journalist, I appreciated the way journalists were portrayed: as hard-working people doing an often thankless job because they care about illuminating the truth. Here are seven examples from the movie Spotlight of how journalists really do their job.

  1. We’re ready to go at a moment’s notice. When one of the characters knocks on a door and a priest opens the door, she quickly gathers her wits and begins asking him questions. She carefully words her queries, but does not avoid the painful topic of abuse.
  2. We track down sources, even if they won’t agree to a meeting. When I worked in a state capitol, other reporters and I often staked out offices, waiting for those we needed to interview to step into the hall so we could begin peppering them with questions. If you have to interview someone, you do all you can (within legal limits) to gain access to that person. That means there can be some boring downtime while you wait, but you have to be ready to go the moment that person emerges into the hallway. There were a couple of instances in the movie where reporters took advantage of the stake out to gain access.
  3. We often don’t see the full story initially. There’s a line in the movie from editor Marty Baron: “Sometimes it’s easy to forget that we spend most of our time stumbling around the dark.” It’s true because we have the difficult task of digging, researching, and uncovering. It’s hard to know the scope of your story at the outset. This was perfectly illustrated in the movie as we saw the scope of the story expand beyond what the reporters thought possible.
  4. We get lots of story pitches, and it’s hard to know which ones to take seriously. When I worked the assignment desk at a large television station in California. I received a call from a pay phone. It was a frustrated homeless woman who told me a story that, if true, was HUGE. I had to make a call as a recent j-school grad: take her seriously or dismiss her. After asking some questions, I told her I was interested in hearing more, but needed her to call back at a specific time the next day. Before we spoke again, I did some digging with some sources I had in city government and on the police force. In the end, I did a ton of leg work and then helped a reporter produce a story. It resulted in a high-ranking city official quitting her job in disgrace. In Spotlight, we discover reporters had some of the pieces of the priest sex abuse story years earlier, but had not taken the leads seriously enough to pursue a story. It happens in newsrooms all the time.
  5. Off-the-record information is useful. When I taught journalism classes, I had students every semester who asked about how to use off-the-record tips. My answer: use it to point you in the right direction. Off-the-record information can help you know who you need to interview, an issue you need to raise in an interview, or a place to find crucial information you need to continue working on your story. That was the case for a reporter in Spotlight. A tip from a lawyer helped him access records that were very important to the story.
  6. Open records are vital. When editor Marty Baron came to the Globe, he arrived from Florida where there were more liberal sunshine laws. He wasted little time going to court to get records unsealed in the priest abuse cases. Open records enable reporters to do a thorough reporting job.
  7. Sometimes it takes an outside voice to make you see things in a different way. When he took the helm at the globe, Marty Baron was an outsider, giving him a fresh perspective on the two priest abuse cases that had come to light, but gained little special coverage. He wasn’t afraid to challenge a massive institution in Boston, and push his staff to set aside their skepticism of him and dig deeper into the story.

What did you think of the movie Spotlight?

Top image via Flickr by William Hook

From DocuDrama to Cheetos: What I Like/Love This Week

snow1

Hope your week has been simply grand. It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks for me with lots of snow and celebrating for my recent birthday. Here’s a look at what’s popping my wig these days. Be sure to let me know what’s captured your attention so far this week!

  1. Making a Murderer. Unless you’ve abandoned social media, you’ve probably heard all the buzz about this docudrama series on Netflix. The 10-episode mini-series tells the painfully frustrating story of Steven Avery, a man exonerated for rape and later brought to trial in a separate incident on murder charges. Avery believes the authorities who have a personal grudge against him and resented his exoneration framed him for a murder. The storytelling is measured, understated, and compelling. I’ve been burned out on true crime stories for many years, so the fact that I’m really fascinated by this story speaks highly of how well it’s produced. Even though I have no idea if Avery is guilty or not, this is a gripping program. Like.
  2. Accidental Saints by Nadia Bolz-Weber. Nadia doesn’t look like a Lutheran pastor. She doesn’t talk like a pastor. In a word, she’s amazing. (Note: I’m not Lutheran.) I first discovered her this fall when she was a guest on NPR’s Fresh Air, my favorite podcast. Give it a listen. If you like what you hear, then you’ll enjoy her new book, Accidental Saints. Love.
  3. Birthday food and drink. I had a caramel cake, blue bubbly, and Cheetos. Tasty love.
  4. Esther Dalseno. esther cropI “met” Esther through Twitter and Instagram, and then read her debut novel, DROWN. As you may know from my previous post on this book, it’s a retelling of The Little Mermaid fairytale. Esther has a new novel poised to come out this year, and she asked me to read it and give an early review. GABRIEL AND THE SWALLOWS is pure magic. I’m so excited for readers to experience Esther’s next book! Double love.

 

 

Woman Versus Machines: Cover Reveal for MACHINATIONS

mountain3

When we were going through infertility, I loved to watch big-budget movies about the unlikely hero or heroine overcoming the odds to beat the bad guys. There’s something about watching a dramatic struggle on the silver screen that gives you the message, even if subconsciously, that if these people can hold on to hope through their quest to save the planet, surely you can keep the faith through your journey to becoming parents. I think that may be one reason I love almost any book or movie that has hope as a central theme, whether it be women’s fiction, literary, romance, sci fi, speculative, or any other genre.

And I think that’s one of the many reasons I love MACHINATIONS, the debut novel from my critique partner, Hayley Stone. I was thrilled to read an early version of her manuscript. She’s such a talented writer! I loved getting to cheer for her as she revised it, pitched it, snagged an agent, and then secured a publishing deal with Hydra/Random House. (Cue the confetti!) Incidentally, Hayley did the same thing for me, reading and critiquing INCONCEIVABLE when it was in its early stages, and then being my cheerleader and sounding board as it moved through the process to publication.

So, it’s my absolute pleasure to unveil the cover of Hayley’s debut novel, MACHINATIONS.

Machinations Final CoverLet’s pause a moment and appreciate the fact that Hayley’s written a compelling sci fi novel that has a young woman at its center (and on its cover), a woman who takes on rogue computers like a boss. The first time I read this book, it reminded me of The Matrix Trilogy, one of my favorite series of sci fi films. But rest assured that MACHINATIONS is its own, fresh, enthralling story about humans battling machines. Finally, for readers like me who like a side of meaningful romance with their high stakes action sequences, this novel delivers on that point as well.

Here’s the official synopsis:

This action-packed science-fiction debut introduces a chilling future and an unforgettable heroine with a powerful role to play in the battle for humanity’s survival.

The machines have risen, but not out of malice. They were simply following a command: to stop the endless wars that have plagued the world throughout history. Their solution was perfectly logical. To end the fighting, they decided to end the human race.

A potent symbol of the resistance, Rhona Long has served on the front lines of the conflict since the first Machinations began—until she is killed during a rescue mission gone wrong. Now Rhona awakens to find herself transported to a new body, complete with her DNA, her personality, even her memories. She is a clone . . . of herself.

Trapped in the shadow of the life she once knew, the reincarnated Rhona must find her place among old friends and newfound enemies—and quickly. For the machines are inching closer to exterminating humans for good. And only Rhona, whoever she is now, can save them.

Intrigued? I thought you might be. MACHINATIONS arrives June 14th, but you can pre-order the e-book now through Amazon, Kobo, and Barnes and Noble. And don’t forget to add it on Goodreads.

Hayley StoneHayley Stone has lived her entire life in sunny California, where the weather is usually perfect and nothing as exciting as a robot apocalypse ever happens. When not reading or writing, she freelances as a graphic designer, falls in love with videogame characters, and analyzes buildings for velociraptor entry points. She holds a bachelor’s degree in history and a minor in German from California State University, Sacramento.

Top image via Flickr by Wonderlane

The Continuing Story of Ever Upward: Childfull Living After Infertility

butterfly

EUCoverJustine Froelker is the author of Ever Upward, a memoir of her journey through infertility and the decision she and her husband made to live as a childfull couple. Justine created this word to mean a life that’s full of opportunities to be around children, to love them, and be a part of their lives while not being parents themselves. The book chronicles a heartbreaking, emotional, and beautifully-told journey of how they arrived at their decision and how they’ve embraced it.

I am so inspired by Justine’s transparency as she continues to share about her life and gives voice to this choice that sometimes invites criticism and sparks controversy. (For the record, I’m supportive of couples finding the resolution to their infertility that’s right for them, whether that be pregnancy through fertility treatments, surrogacy, adoption, childfull living, or any other option.)

March third marks the one year anniversary of Ever Upward’s publication. I decided to ask Justine to share about the experiences she’s had in the months since its release.

Tegan: As more people have read Ever Upward, what kind of response have you gotten?
Justine: There is nothing quite like getting an email, tweet, Facebook message or review on your book, especially a book as personal as Ever Upward. A bit of of my feedback has been on editing, which I am grateful and completely realize myself. Ever Upward is my first book, without a huge publisher and one that I honestly needed to be in people’s hands, and so I was inexperienced and limited with my editing. One day, when the 2nd edition is picked up for Ever Upward, I promise this will be fixed. I am also confident that my second book will be edited to my critics liking. The biggest response to Ever Upward has been a simple thank you and people sharing pieces of their story with me. Infertility or not, successful treatments or not, our stories are much more alike than different. Most people write me and say that they found their voice in my words, the things they have not been able to say out loud, yet, were found in my story. Every message reminds me to keep fighting to get Ever Upward in more hands, because it is changing lives for the better. It is continuing to change mine too.

Tegan: Have you received any feedback or reactions to your book that have surprised you? If so, tell us about them.
Justine: The biggest surprise has been in what a home Ever Upward has found among mothers. I wrote a blog post about it a while back, because it is incredible to me that Ever Upward has been accepted and loved so much by a club that I will never technically fit into. The journey of infertility leaves lifelong scars, whether or not you end up a mother in the traditional definition of the word. Ever Upward gives us all permission to own our stories, all of our stories.

Tegan: What opportunities have you had to share your story and talk about childfull living since your book was published?
Justine: I am continuing work on building the platform, the part of being published that is so foreign and difficult for me, and frustrating! I have found that my story does not go viral and in many ways I feel completely invisible. I am the advocate who’s story did not end up how we all want it to, happy with 2.5 kids. This is difficult for a lot of people. I am also sharing messages that are healthier and as of right now not the norm in the infertility world. However, I have written for The Huffington Post many times, which I am so grateful for. I have also written for mindbodygreen, The Good Mother Project and Still Mothers. My story has also been featured in CNN.com and I was quoted in Redbook Magazine, both of which felt so huge for the healthier messages in infertility advocacy!

Tegan: What projects related to infertility/miscarriage/childfull living do you have in the works?
Justine: I am part of the documentary Don’t Talk About the Baby and I am continuing to write at my blog www.everupward.org. I have stepped back a bit in pushing the platform to concentrate on finishing the follow up book to Ever Upward. I am actively involved in social media by sharing my own writing, other pieces and helping people to define their own happy ending and especially work on the self-care.

Justine FroelkerJustine Froelker lives in St. Louis with her husband Chad. They have two dogs, and have lovingly restored an older home. She’s a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Certified Daring Way™ Facilitator (based on the research of Brené Brown). Justine runs a private practice in St. Louis. SHe has worked with clients dealing with issues such as infertility, anxiety, depression, addictions, and eating disorders. In addition, Justine writes for St. Louis Health & Wellness Magazine.

Cover reveal: Blackbird Summer by Em Shotwell

Blackbird Digital header

One of the best aspects of Twitter is its ability to help writers connect. And I’m so grateful the little blue bird helped me connect with the author of Blackbird Summer, Em Shotwell. I simply can’t wait to read her book, which arrives April 5 from Owl City Press! And I’m thrilled to be participating in her cover reveal today! After you enjoy the coolness of her cover (I mean, it’s so, so cool!), add her book to your to-be-read list on Goodreads. Check out the synopsis for her book; it promises elements of magical realism and romance with Southern Gothic undertones.

Blackbird Digital MEDIUMSynopsis:

When people hate the unknown, being Gifted is a curse.

In the cornerstone of the rural south, Brooklyn, Mississippi, no one dares make eye contact with the strange Caibre family. Until the rewards are worth the cost. The townsfolk come, cash in hand, always at night, to pay for services only a Gifted can provide.

No matter the Gifts prevalent in her family, at twenty-one, Tallulah is expected to follow the path laid out for her: marriage, babies, and helping her mama teach the family home school program. She’s resigned to live the quiet life and stay out of trouble…until she meets Logan.

An outsider and all around rebel, Logan doesn’t care about her family’s reputation. Yet after a tragic loss wreaks havoc on the crumbling relationship between the Caibres and the townsfolk, Tallulah must decide if love and freedom are worth risking everything.


 

I asked Em what emotions she wants her cover to evoke and why. Here’s her response:

First, I have to say that my cover designer is amazing! I originally had a different idea for the cover, but once she showed me the mock-up ideas for her vision, I was hooked!

For me, the girl sitting under the tree, looking at something that we, the readers, can’t see, gives me the heebie-jeebies. That same feeling that we all get when we are home alone and hear a strange noise. When your brain says you are over reacting—but your heart speeds anyway.

Blackbird Summer is a tale of first love and friendship and sisterhood. But it is also about loss and heartache and what it means to be different in a place that views different as wrong. I feel that the cover does a wonderful job encompassing all of these things, and I hope readers do as well!

Em ShotwellEm Shotwell lives in South Louisiana with a husband who spoils her and two mini-superheroes who call her mom. Em thinks the most interesting characters are the ones who live on the sidelines, and that small towns often hide the biggest secrets. She is inspired by tall tales and local legends. When she’s not writing about misfits and oddballs, Em enjoys being outdoors hiking, and debating Doctor Who facts with her obsessed ten-year-old son.

From Chips and Salsa to Downton: What I Like/Love This Week

chips and salsa

Happy 2016, friends! Hope the new year is off to a fantastic start for you. One of my resolutions is to do a regular blog post highlighting the things I like/love each week. Feel free to share with me in the comments what made this week special for you–I’d love to hear about a newly-discovered movie or TV show, a recipe, a book, or anything else you want to share.

  1. Unexpected kindness. The kids and I went to pick up a to-go order of chips and salsa from our favorite local Mexican restaurant. A man I don’t know was also waiting in the lobby. In one quick movement, he tossed some cash on the counter and said he wanted to pay for our order! It was completely unexpected and kind. We thanked him as he hurriedly left, perhaps a little overwhelmed by the effusive appreciation of three small children dressed as storm troopers. LOVE!
  2. Crack cake. crack cakeI’d never heard of crack cake, but when I saw the rather simple recipe, I was intrigued enough to add it to my Pinterest food board. Then, I made the thing. Oh. My. Goodness. It was incredible. Not a crumb was left over. I highly recommend this cinnamon-y bundt cake. This recipe also enabled me to remove the cake from the bundt pan gorgeous and intact–a first for me! Incidentally, the recipe calls for white wine and I didn’t have any on hand, so I used what I had: pineapple juice. It was a perfect substitute. LOVE!
  3. The final season of Downton Abbey (no spoilers here).pipe and smoke it I admit it. Hubs and I watched the last season and Christmas special along with the Brits. It was a beautifully written and flawlessly acted set of episodes that brought the perfect ending to a program that’s become one of my all-time favorites. Aside from the absolute perfection that was the Christmas special, I enjoyed several key scenes involving Tom Branson. He’s tops in my book, primarily because we got to see a slow build as he changed over the course of the series. He embraced his place in the family, but maintained the spark that endeared him to Cybil and many viewers. Of course, the Dowager Countess was in fine form, as always. LOVE!
  4. Better Call Saul. With Downton done, I have a huge hole in the part of my heart where fictional characters reside. I’m looking for the next binge-worthy show. While I’m not sure I’ve found the next “it” show, I started watching Better Call Saul recently and really enjoyed it. This is a spin-off of Breaking Bad, a series that never resonated with me. After a couple of episodes, I just couldn’t get into it. So, I’m watching BCS with none of the baggage or context of Breaking Bad. Still, it’s well written and very well acted. I’m looking forward to getting a bit deeper into this series. LIKE!
  5. SNL’s Mom Translator sketch. Over the holidays, my sister-in-law and I really needed the help of the Mom Translator, a fake product featured in a “commercial” during Saturday Night Live. For some reason, she and I couldn’t accurately recall the name Kylo Ren, even though we’d both seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens. We each had variations that were weird and hilarious. Help, Mom Translator! LIKE!

Now it’s your turn! What do you like/love this week?

Crack cake image via It’s the Little Things Blog

Downton gif via Giphy

Top image via Flickr by jeffreyw