Monday, December 3, 2018

Twelfth-Night Cake & the Rosings Ghost

My guest is  "new to me" author, Robin Kobayashi, whose YA novella, Twelfth-Night Cake & the Rosings Ghost, is now available. Robin is sharing with us her inspiration for this lovely story, a description of it, and a short excerpt. I hope you will enjoy learning about Robin, her thoughts on this novella, and of course, the excerpt, as much as I enjoyed them. Thank you, Robin, for visiting my blog and for having such a generous giveaway for my readers. Everyone, please welcome Robin Kobayashi!


Somehow, I knew I had to write about a twelfth cake and a mischievous ghost, but I didn’t know how the two were connected at Rosings. Like some writers, I draft the beginning, then the ending, and finally everything in between. It helps that I have two lovable characters to tell me how to write the story, they being Colonel Fitzwilliam and his eight-year-old daughter.

I’ve always enjoyed reading about a strong, father-daughter relationship, especially one where the daughter is a young child. What if Colonel Fitzwilliam had fought in Portugal and he had an illegitimate, half-Portuguese daughter, one whom he adores and one who challenges him with her tomboy ways? I began to imagine their easy banter – a blend of English and Portuguese – and his attempts to turn her into a proper English young lady. Their relationship is sweet and zany and sometimes tinged with sadness.

I envisioned this girl as a bold child, a brilliant child, who thinks the all-knowing adults don’t always make sense. She is sensitive and saucy, funny and insightful. She has a big imagination. Her name is Sofia-Elisabete, and she is the narrator of my stories.

In my novel, I, Sofia-Elisabete, Love Child of Colonel Fitzwilliam: A Perfect World in the Moon, Sofia-Elisabete describes in both a humorous and poignant fashion her beginnings as an abandoned foundling, her search for her father and their close relationship when she finds him, and the tragedy that occurs when, at the age of five, she runs away from home to find the perfect world in the moon – a utopia that she believes will cure her father’s bouts with melancholy. 

 After finishing the novel, I wanted to know what happened to these characters of Sofia-Elisabete and the colonel. Sofia-Elisabete, who is half-Portuguese, Catholic and a love child, is very much an outsider. How does she feel growing up in England during the Regency Era? The colonel refuses to give her up. He refuses to hide her in the countryside where she would be brought up by strangers, but there are consequences for his actions.

In the novella Twelfth-Night Cake & the Rosings Ghost, I imagined how the bold and outspoken Sofia-Elisabete would clash with the bold and outspoken Lady Catherine at Rosings. And all this clashing would take place during the Christmas season, a time of peace and goodwill to all people. But the colonel and his daughter aren’t the only two visitors at Rosings. The Rosings Ghost has returned; a ghost that very much enjoys playing pranks! Lady Catherine, who doesn’t believe in the Rosings Ghost, blames Sofia-Elisabete for everything that goes wrong. What’s an eight-year-old to do?

This past year I’ve been immersed in writing YA historical fiction that appeals to all ages, finishing three novellas about the lovable, strong-willed Sofia-Elisabete and her affectionate relationship with her father, Colonel Fitzwilliam. Twelfth-Night Cake & the Rosings Ghost is the first novella to be released in this series. My sincere thanks to Janet for helping me launch the Rosings Ghost novella on her site!


Robin Elizabeth Kobayashi


Book Description

In this Christmas novella set in the year 1818, a plucky little girl must contend with a mischievous ghost at Rosings.

Colonel Fitzwilliam and his eight-year-old daughter, Sofia-Elisabete, pass a winter’s month at Rosings, the estate of his aunt, Lady Catherine. There, the Colonel must help his illegitimate child, who is half-British, half-Portuguese, navigate the prejudices of their world as his outspoken daughter clashes with the imperious Lady Catherine.

One evening, on the first day of Christmas, they hear the tale of the mysterious Rosings Ghost who, centuries ago, vexed the inhabitants of Rosings during the twelve days of Christmas. The next morning strange things begin to happen. Why has the Rosings Ghost returned now? Why does a furious Lady Catherine blame Sofia-Elisabete for all of the ghost’s pranks?

Will our girl hero Sofia-Elisabete, with the help of her father, uncover the real secret of the Rosings Ghost and put an end to its tricks?

Excerpt from Twelfth-Night Cake & the Rosings Ghost



We obediently followed her ladyship out of doors, where papai handed his aunt into the coach, and Annie next. He was about to hand me in when Lady Catherine blocked my way with her walking-stick.

‘The child must sit on the box with the driver.’

Papai hesitated. ‘My lady, I fear she might catch cold and…’

‘Nephew, you must stop coddling the child,’ commanded she.

With a sigh, papai lifted me atop the box and thereafter mounted the box himself instead of sitting within. ‘Come here,’ said he, placing me on his lap and wrapping me up in his great coat. Oh, how the frosty air made me shiver. ‘Quick, driver!’ he ordered the coachman. By the time we reached the church, which stood a half mile distant, I couldn’t feel my toes or my fingers. Whilst we sat in Lady Catherine’s pew, papai blew on my hands to warm them, and Annie gave me her charcoal foot warmer. These attentions paid to me by Annie certainly didn’t go unnoticed by Lady Catherine, who cast a severe look at me.

Now, be it known, my mamãe had taught me church etiquette, particularly when I am obliged to attend service at the Church of England. I must never speak or giggle or yawn. I must never tap my feet or swing my legs while seated in the pew. I must never knit my brows or cross my eyes or twist my lips whenever I disagreed with something being said. I must pray and kneel and sing whenever everyone else did, and so forth and so be it. And that is why, when the rector, Mr Collins, ascended his pulpit where he railed against the evils of revelry and excessive drinking on Christmas eve, I sat in respectful silence, although inwardly I prayed that the rector would get on with it and finish his sermon. A hymn-singer I wished to be.

An hour had passed when a great catastrophe occurred, all because of a snore. First, it began as a low murmur – sk sk sk k k k – but then it increased to a monstrous snore. Mr Collins, with fire in his eyes, signalled for the sluggard-waker to give papai a smart rap on the head. ‘Papai,’ I whispered in his ear. I shook, I pinched, I elbowed him, but to no purpose. The sluggard-waker, being a rheumatic old man, tottered towards us, waving his long staff with brass knob in a menacing fashion. There’s nothing more frightening than a sluggard-waker, believe you me. Struck with panic, I stood before papai, determined to save him from harm, and so I stamped on his foot, using all my might. ‘Yow!’ cried he, furious at being roused from his slumber until he recalled his whereabouts.

I had no sooner caused a scene during Christmas service, than a great clamour ensued, as if the noise had escaped from a corked bottle. Babies screamed and cried, boys played and pranked, old folks hacked and blew their noses, dogs barked and howled. Apparently, some of the four-legged miscreants in the village had sneaked into the church on this holy day. The sluggard-waker, who also served as dog-whipper, lunged here and there, frightening the dogs with a stout lash, but he never did catch any of the quadrupeds, they each of them bounding away to safety.

The sluggard-waker turned his attention to the restless boys. To restore order, he tapped each naughty boy on the head using the foxtail at the other end of his long staff. Once he had silenced the two-legged miscreants, he bustled up to me – the No. 1 Miscreant – with his staff. ‘I think not,’ papai objected in his stern, officer-like manner, and he drew me to his breast to protect me. To be sure, this heightened her ladyship’s ire – she, who objected to my being coddled.

The service now concluded, her ladyship departed in a huff, and she and Annie were handed into their coach by their footman. Mr Collins ran after them the entire way to the manor-house.

‘Papai, why is Mr Collins running?’

‘Don’t you know – the rector favours running as a form of daily exercise?’ Papai gave me a lopsided grin. ‘One can often see the rector running back and forth between the parsonage and Rosings. Why, I once won a wager that Mr Collins could beat her ladyship’s coach to the manor-house, the rector having done so by three seconds.’

While the rector got his daily exercise, papai and I sought shelter inside the cold church to escape the drizzling rain. Mrs Collins, who took pity on us, invited us to the parsonage where we sat near a bright coal fire, drinking tea and eating gingerbread. I discovered then the goodness and kindness of Mrs Collins. She never questioned our Catholic faith. Nor did she comment on my foreign-ness or brown-ness. I got to visit her plump baby, who, on closer inspection, was a fine, jolly boy who never shed a tear, even when papai lifted him high up in the air.

The drizzle having stopped, papai and I sallied forth hand-in-hand to the manor-house. Papai, whose eyes beamed with mischief, declared it one of the best Sunday services he could remember, much better than the Sunday service when, as a boy, his pet frog, Hubbub-it, escaped from his pocket and, oh, how the ladies shrieked with terror, their powdered wigs gone askew when they had jumped in fright. I admit to being all astonishment at his remarks, having prepared myself to be punished to-day.

I squinted at him. ‘Even with the noise we made on this holy day?’

‘Oh yes. ’Twas a first-rate hullabaloo.’

I hung my head. ‘I’m going to apologise to God for it.’

‘Well and good, but only if you’re sincere. There’s no sense in it otherwise.’ Papai squeezed my hand. ‘Ah, here comes the champion of apologisers and an insincere one at that. There’s nothing good to be said for a civility that comes so unwillingly and unnaturally.’

As we rounded a bend in the path, we came across Mr Collins who was mumbling to himself. He glanced at us with a stormy brow. He thereafter nodded to papai in a gruff manner but didn’t stop to talk. Poor Mrs Collins, who awaited the return of her disagreeable husband. I wondered if the hullabaloo in church to-day would ruin her Christmas dinner. Now that I think on it, I’m sure that it did, and I’ll always feel sorry for it.

About the author

Robin Elizabeth Kobayashi is a native Californian who has lived in both Los Angeles and San Francisco. When she was twelve, she used to haunt the public library where they had a section of books called “Classic Fiction”. She made it her goal to read all of these books, starting with the A’s (Alcott, Austen), then the B’s (Brontë), but she got stuck on the D’s, because Dickens’ books were just so l-o-o-o-n-g in length. She never did finish her reading challenge. She never did understand Pride and Prejudice at the time; that would come much later. Fast forward several decades. After reading countless JAFF eBooks, many of them superb, she never thought she had a story to tell. Until one day she began to write about a half-Portuguese half-British girl living in the Regency Era. That novel, I, Sofia-Elisabete, Love Child of Colonel Fitzwilliam: A Perfect World in the Moon, received a starred review from Kirkus Reviews which also selected the novel as an Indie Best Books of the Month (August 2018). During the day, she works as a senior legal writer and editor for a leading global publisher.

Available at:
Smashwords

Find Robin Kobayashi on:

Giveaway Time! Ebooks and English Christmas Cake

Robin is giving away 5 eBooks of her novella Twelfth-Night Cake & the Rosings Ghost. Winners will need to provide an email address to receive the prize. U.S. winners can choose mobi or epub; International winners will be given epub from Smashwords. Please use the rafflecopter to enter.

Robin is also giving away to a U.S. winner only a traditional English Christmas Cake (4-inch round) made by the English Cousins at www.englishchristmascake.com. The cake is made with rich, moist currants, sultanas (golden raisins), and raisins which have been soaked in rum. The cake is baked with molasses, farm fresh eggs, butter, soft brown sugar, flour and spices, using an old recipe that has been in their family for over 100 years.

Use the Rafflecopter to enter both giveaways. Be sure to note the left and right arrows on the Rafflecopter form that allow you to move between the two giveaways. 


Yum, the cake sounds and looks delicious, Robin. I'm quite sure the lucky winner will be quite happy with this special "Christmas cake." Thank you for your generosity with the cake and 5 eBooks of your novella, Twelfth-Night Cake & the Rosings Ghost for your giveaway. That's awesome!


Dear Readers, be sure to take note, that if you are international, you must be able to accept an ePub from Smashwords. 


Thank you for allowing me to launch your novella on More Agreeably Engaged. I love the premise of a strong father figure and a young child, as well. All of this taking place at Rosings with a ghost is even more delicious! Your story has me intrigued and I will be watching for the novellas that follow. I am fascinated with your covers and the picture of Sophia-Elisabete. Are you the artist?  

The giveaway will end at 11:59 P.M. Central Time on December 9, 2018. Good luck to all. To get more entries, you can tweet about the blog post and comment every day. Thanks, everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

28 comments:

  1. How fun! A holiday tale with Colonel Fitzwilliam and his daughter. I can see there will be a lot of mischief at Rossings. Ha! Ha!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jen, it does sound like a fun tale, doesn't it! I love Colonel Fitzwilliam and his daughter sounds delightful! Thanks for stopping by.

      Delete
  2. I loved the novel and look forward to learning more about the adventures of Sofia-Elisabete and her father--Darcy's cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam. Theirs is a relationship that resonates with young and old alike.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Karen. I'm glad you shared your thoughts about this book. Thanks so much. Colonel Fitzwilliam is one of my favorite characters in the P&P universe, and his daughter sounds like she will be fun too. Thanks for visiting.

      Delete
  3. Can you believe I was just writing down my MUST read books for 2019 and I Sofia Elisabete love child of Colonel Fitzwilliam was the first one on my list?
    I’ve been meaning to read it ever since Nicole recommended it to me due to the Portuguese connection, but unfortunately there are always lots of things getting in the way, and I haven’t been able to read the story yet. I’m sure I will do it very very shortly! Thank you for hosting this author Janet. I loved reading this post and seeing that this book is getting some “media” attention :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Rita: I hope you enjoy it! Portugal's history and culture fascinate me. I had to rely on European Portuguese-English dictionaries from 200 years ago. Fortunately, they provided conversational phrases, interjections and the like. I would've been lost otherwise.

      Delete
    2. Hi Rita! I'm so happy you stopped by. I agree that this book sounds like a must read! It was my pleasure to host Robin and I hope you get to read this soon! Good luck!

      Delete
  4. I thought this was an adorable and thought-provoking story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Sophia: Thanks for your feedback on the story! It's fun to write about this little girl hero.

      Delete
    2. That is great to hear, Sophia Rose. Thanks for letting us know your thoughts!

      Delete
  5. The first Sofia Elisabete book was on my wish list (drat) oh so long ago and then it wasn't available, and then it was again but seemed somewhat different. Whatever kinks needed to be worked out I'm so glad, because the whole idea of Colonel Fitzwilliam and his love child is so charming and sweet even though I'm sure there are plenty of opportunities for angst. The new novella sounds wonderful. Oh that Lady Catherine!!! errgghh. Best of luck with this release and I hope any new ideas you have to bring us for Sofia-Elisabete and the Colonel.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Michelle: Thanks for the encouragement! I was experimenting with short stories way back when, and then somehow it turned into a novel (released June 2018). After the novel, I wrote three childhood novellas where Sofia-Elisabete is writing in her journal. The Rosings Ghost is the first novella released. This little girl has such a strong voice; I can't get it out of my head. - Robin Kobayashi

      Delete
    2. That's lucky for us, then. Just from the excerpt I want to hear more of that voice.

      Delete
    3. Thanks for visiting, Michelle. I love the sound and premise of Robin's books.

      Delete
  6. Hi Robin, I'm excited to read your novella. You're a talented author with great historical detail.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks for your kind words! I really enjoy the challenge of historical research.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Can you believe I was just writing down my MUST read books for 2019 and I Sofia Elisabete love child of Colonel Fitzwilliam was the first one on my list?
    I’ve been meaning to read it ever since Nicole recommended it to me due to the Portuguese connection, but unfortunately there are always lots of things getting in the way, and I haven’t been able to read the story yet. I’m sure I will do it very very shortly! Thank you for hosting this author Janet. I loved reading this post and seeing that this book is getting some “media” attention :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. What an intriguing premise and oh my, what a gorgeous cover!!
    Best of luck with your new book, Robin, and thanks for sharing this lovely excerpt with us.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't the cover gorgeous! Thanks for popping in, Joana!

      Delete
  10. Hi Joana: Thanks for your nice comments! My talented illustrator, Bruno Vergauwen, recently drew pictures for the Belgium version of The Great British Bake Off t.v. series. Having sketched cakes for months, he was very inspired to give me a twelfth-night cake for my cover.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Emma-Christina GarciaDecember 4, 2018 at 11:36 AM

    I really enjoyed your books. Congratulations! 10 stars!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What a great recommendation! Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  12. Janet you were right, my phone wasn't working and my comments weren't getting through, but from my computer I think I was finally able to do it!
    Anyway, I just wanted to thank you once more for hosting this author and promoting these books that I am really looking forward to read :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad it worked for you, Rita! You are welcome. Good luck in the giveaway. I hope you get to read Robin's books soon.

      Delete
  13. The cover is very cute and unique, Robin. And the Sofia-Elisabete books sounds delightful. Thank you for giving us a glimpse of how funny and cute she is.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thank you! I think the illustrator Bruno Vergauwen is very talented. He was able to capture her impish nature as well as her innocence.

    ReplyDelete