Happy Hump Day, Heartie People! How’s your week going so far? You hanging in there? Who’s still in school? First of all, thank you to all of you who responded and contributed to my tweets and posts about topics you want to see discussed! I’ve got ideas for weeks now, and it’s always so helpful knowing what the audience wants to read, instead of just blah blah blahing my way through a post that nobody’s interested in. So here we go! First audience-picked theme of #WonderWednesday is on the move! Please keep your hands and head inside the stagecoach at all times.

The first topic is……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. “What WCTH Has Meant to Me”, requested by Jess @Greenbay531. Not only is this topic really inspiring; it also meant a lot to me because Jess is one of the organizers of the Tuesday night tweetfests #WeAreHopeValley. She was so warm and welcoming, and so happy I could make it the one time I could. So I’m happy to share! But, oh gosh! Where do I begin???

I guess, to quote one of my favorite musicals, “Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start.” The inception of my Heartie fandom IS in the Hooked Heartie FAQ’s, at least in part, but it’s more fun to tell it here! I found When Calls the Heart when I was pregnant with child #3, my 1st boy. Oh, the insomnia was BAD. I spent many nights with Netflix on, just trying to find something boring to put on the TV to help me fall asleep. When that failed…AGAIN, and I finished another show, I saw WCTH on the suggestions. I had seen promotions for Season 3 on Hallmarks, but I’d told my husband I didn’t want to sink myself into another show, and I didn’t want to start a show in the middle; that never bodes well. So when I saw it on Netflix, and the sandman was NOT visiting me, I decided, “Why not?” So I tried an episode, and that led to another, and another, and I couldn’t stop! I was enthralled, or rather, “hooked”. For the first time in my life, I binged a series so I could get caught up. And I’ve been a fan ever since.


 

That’s how it started. Now, what does it MEAN to me? So much! There have been so many wonderful effects that I have gleaned from watching this show! One of them is what you’re reading right now. The blog was actually my husband’s idea. I had never even FOLLOWED a blog before, and he wanted me to RUN one. I thought he was crazy! But he reminded me that rule #1 of owning a blog is to be passionate about the subject. Well, I had that covered! 😉 Then, having a blog led me to interviews with the stars, (like Madison Smith, Laura Bertram, and Milo Shandel to name a few,) it’s how I met Paul Greene(!), and it’s how I got involved with the Hallmarkies Podcast. And there have been doors opened by the hundreds for me by getting in with that crowd; only one being that I’ve gotten to know the wonderful ladies there, and several of us have become quite close. Oh, and as a little aside to this one, I opened a Twitter account because of the show. I’ll just leave that there. 😀

 

             

Getting a little bit more personal, I’ve made so many new friends through the show. There is someone in particular I never would have met. Her name is Sarah, Sarah Nitsch. You know her, we write stories together that I’ve posted here…among other things. Behind the scenes, she’s one of the best friends I’ve got! She was the first person I told I was pregnant with child #4, even before I confirmed it to my husband, (don’t worry, he pretty much already knew.) Behind every brilliant post here, you can find her influence or one of her ideas somewhere down the line We support each other through walks of life, we send each other Christmas and birthday presents, we laugh together, we cry together, and oh yeah, we’re WRITING A NOVEL TOGETHER. We started out by writing WCTH fan fiction stories, and now we’re involved in several projects that we have every intention of seeing through to the end.

Sarah proudly wearing a ‘beguiling’ piece of jewelry that both surprised and delighted her on her birthday


Which brings me to my next point. This show has inspired my creativity, really gotten my creative juices flowing. Because of this show, I started writing, and I started taking more chances, and started being bolder, and started believing in myself. Never in my LIFE would I have thought I would become an author! I remember the first time I posted something I had written on the Hearties Facebook page, and got a HUGE response. I wasn’t even really trying. I was so shocked, so I decided to really try, and see what happened. My mind came alive; I hadn’t felt that inspired in a long time. But I was nervous to show my husband. He doesn’t like the show, so I thought he’d just laugh if he read my work. When I finally let him have a look, I cringed and braced for impact. He read through it, put it down, and said, “I think you should write a novel.” He went out and bought me several spiral notebooks, and encouraged me to keep on writing.

Finally, this is just my kind of show! From the very first episode, I felt a connection to the characters, and I loved the feeling each episode left me with. My dear friend, Amy, (one of MANY friends I introduced the show to,) explained it so eloquently: “Every time I finish an episode, I just feel *content sigh*.” But it’s true. It’s heartfelt and compelling; there’s just enough suspense to keep you going, but none of the language, or sexual and violent smut that’s so rampant out there. And it’s SO ROMANTIC! As a hopeless romantic myself, I was such a sucker for the entire Jack and Elizabeth. I lapped it up, and literally, (yes, literally) screamed when he finally proposed. I was so invested that my friends knew to throw me a WCTH baby shower, and I even named my child after him, (partially, because it’s his only his nickname,) Sarah sent me a WCTH maternity shirt, and a knitted Mountie costume for him. I was pretty devastated when Jack died; sometimes I cried like I had lost a family member. But I’ve remembered that it is only a TV show, and life does go on. I have been very pleased with the way the show has thrived despite its losses.

       

In short, When Calls the Heart means a WHOLE LOT to me. It’s a wonderful show that I love to watch, it has inspired me to do so many things, and I have met some wonderful people. It gives me something to look forward to, something to talk about with friends, and even a way to start up conversations, and make new friends. So now it’s your turn. The comments don’t work her on the blog, but comment wherever you saw this posted. What does WCTH mean to YOU! And thanks, Jess, for the contribution. This is Hooked Heartie, signing off. May your heart let your hope blossom!

  Photo edit by: Randi Elkins

Hello, my friends! Here we are again at Flashback Friday. I sincerely hope this finds you all well; it’s been a trying couple of weeks. There’s so much turbulence out in the world right now, and some of you haven’t even finished up the school year yet. I imagine you may be feeling very overwhelmed. So, take this time to sit down, lay your head back, close your eyes, take a breath, and escape on another trip to Hope Valley. Take a break from all the tension, and continue on this journey with me where we explore another aspect of the relationship that is the friendship of Elizabeth and Rosemary. This second stage is the one I find the most humorous. They’re not enemies, and they’re not one another’s competition. Elizabeth isn’t calling Rosemary names like a destructive comet anymore, and Rosemary isn’t sabotaging Elizabeth’s romance with Jack anymore. But they’re not quit confidantes yet. There’s still a certain amount of…dealing going on between these women.

Part 2: Reluctant Respect
This level, I think, has the most aspects to it, besides our currents one. It’s the stage that takes the longest to get through; and in some cases, can be even more grueling than those “Bumpy Beginnings”. Here, they’re kind of thrown together; yes, they are friends, but there’s still a certain amount of “dealing” going on. The first time I personally felt the relationship take a REAL turn, instead of merely dodging a bullet, was in the mercantile when Rosemary is trying to decide her path. Never would she EVER believe that a school teacher could give a famous actress such sound advice as to follow her heart, but she reluctantly admits that the educator taught her a lesson. But attitude wise, that’s pretty mild.

Take, for example, the writing of the wedding place cards. This scene is just a BIT more emotionally charged. Rosemary was getting on Elizabeth’s last nerve. By the way Elizabeth gruffed, “How about THIS one?” who knows how many labels she had written already?! And Elizabeth was just not living up to Rosemary’s standard of calligraphy. They still like each other…just not right now.

Elizabeth looked positively mortified when she found out the Coulters were moving right next door to her. All that boisterousness she had managed to endure, and now, it’s about to become part of her daily, and nightly, life. I don’t know which is worse: the handwriting exam, or the “paper thin walls” Rosemary feels the need to tear open so often; and so often, it’s when Elizabeth and Jack are having a moment. Yeah, I would have locked her my door too! I don’t know why she never did.

There are a million other examples, I know, but that would make for a pretty long blog. Let’s end with when Rosemary becomes a true Hope Valley woman through deeds, not just words. And she’s definitely reluctant! But I think Elizabeth, and everyone else for that matter, gains a deeper respect for this flamboyant woman who has dropped herself in their midst. You know what I’m talking about; when the almost-Mrs. Coulter gives up her first-class wedding to aid her fellow townspeople and the refugees by the river in First Aid treatment and nourishment. Not only did she act unselfishly for the sake of all those involved, she found out for herself that she had it in her, that she could act in someone else’s best interest, and not just her own. With that revelation, Rosemary becomes a true Hope Valley woman, and is therefore able to be on more friendly terms with all of them. But we’ll talk about that next Friday. 😊 This is Hooked Heartie, signing off. May your heart let your hope blossom!


Interview: Pascale Hutton | Where calls the heart, Heart clothes ... Photo credit: pinterest.com

Happy Monday, everyone! I know “happy” doesn’t really describe the state of our union at the moment; in fact, it’s a time of great turmoil, controversy, and anger. But I’m hoping to give you a little reprieve from all that, at least for an hour or so. Let’s have a little fun then, shall we? I’m doing a different kind of “musing” for today’s Monday Musing, so let’s have at it! 

With all the sadness occurring right now, it’s a happy day for someone very special to the Hooked Heartie blog. Today is a milestone birthday for this guy right here:

 

Mr. Madison Smith. This guy! Gotta love him! And not only is today a landmark for him, (you’ll have to watch to see which landmark,) but he’s a turning point individual for me. He’s responsible for a lot of firsts and breakthroughs that have helped me keep things fresh, and he’s always been so supportive of my ventures. It’s only fitting that we celebrate with him here.

 

Hearties will recognize him as Roy, the miner who left his wife, Edith, before he knew she was pregnant. Then Jack takes it upon himself to find Roy, proverbially shake some sense into him, and convince him to come back to own up to his responsibilities. It’s a relatively small role compared to some others, but like so many others, it’s a fabulous storyline, full of complexities, losses and successes, and a great character arc. He’s gone on to do several characters for Hallmark, and that brings me to a very special announcement: if you haven’t already heard, Madison has been nominated for a Leo Award, (the awards program for the British Columbia film and television industry,) for Best Supporting Male TV Movie Performance for his role in the Hallmark movie “Write Before Christmas”. He was ALSO nominated for Best Screenwriting for a Motion Picture for “The Color Rose”. TWO nominations! What a fantastic birthday present! We don’t know the results yet, but when I know, I’ll let you know. (Now is probably a good time for me to also mention that Pascale Hutton was nominated for Best Supporting Female TV Series Performance for Rosemary in WCTH!!!)

Madison Smith in When Calls the Heart S3 Ep7 "Heartbreak". Photo credit: IMDB.com

So here’s my very first video interview EXCLUSIVELY for the blog, (not done for the Hallmarkies Podcast first,) my birthday interview with Madison Smith. Be patient as it is my FIRST, and I don’t have editing software as of yet. He totally questioned ME on a few things, including how I rated his specific episodes of When Calls the Heart among all the others in the series. Find out how I respond when I’M the one put under the lights. 😊 And if you’re interested, Madison mentions writer Rick Garman, who wrote two of his movies: Frozen in Love and Valentine in the Vineyard. The Hallmarkies Podcast published an interview with Mr. Garman just today. The link is below if you want to give it a listen…after you watch Madison’s of course! 😉 This is Hooked Heartie, signing off. May your heart let your hope blossom. That’s really necessary right now! Take care!

 

 

Happy Friday, all! How are all of you doing? My girls just had their very last school event yesterday, so we’ve officially started summer. The idea IS a little daunting, given the fact that we don’t know what the conditions of summer will be like, as far as social distancing is concerned. But we’re going to be like the Light Brigade, and forge ahead, right?!

Before I start the post for today, I just want to acknowledge a few dates. Yesterday was a big day for one Mr. Brian Bird; the Big Man, the Master Pot Stirrer, and our beloved Papa Heartie. So, if you haven’t already, don’t forget to drop him a note of some kind. Speaking of birthdays, TODAY is a very special day for someone dear to me, and to you. It’s Mrs. Kaycee Simpson’s special day, one of my lovely cohosts on the When Calls the Hallmarkies: Heart to Heart podcast. So happy birthday to both of you. You touch our lives in very different, but very profound ways.

And, it’s actually thanks to Kaycee that we have this post. She and I were chatting about possible future blogs I could do, and she helped me come up with the idea of this lovely little series we’re going to chat about for the next several Flashback Fridays. So, today we start Heart to Heart: Friendship in Hope Valley. We’re going to explore all different kinds of friendships that take place in “our dear little hamlet.” And if those words sound familiar, like they could spout from the mouth of a certain Rosemary LeVeaux Coulter, you’re right; and that is with whom we are going to begin. We’re starting with Elizabeth and Rosemary, mostly because it’s the one that’s gone through the most drastic transition. And, as you can probably guess, it’s going to take a few posts. 😉

Part 1: Bumpy Beginnings

We all know that the friendship between Miss Thatcher and Miss LeVeaux was not exactly…smooth sailing. The very first glimpse of our red-clad thespian causes Elizabeth’s eyes to bug out, and she and her sister can do nothing but pass a bewildered look between them. Despite the shocking first impression, (dramatic curtsy and all!), Elizabeth is still polite and friendly, eagerly speaking with the new arrival…even if she becomes a bit distracted. Then Rosemary’s eye lands on a figure similarly dressed in crimson, and her true motive for travel becomes crystal clear. And if you’re like me, you wanted Rosemary to get back on that stagecoach and hightail it out of town after the first five minutes, pantaloons and all!

My Devotional Thoughts | “When Calls the Heart” Season One Review Photo credit: mydevotionalthoughts.com

Elizabeth probably felt like someone had punched her in the stomach, and no matter how hard she tried in the following days, she couldn’t get around Rosemary’s very imposing presence. Elizabeth’s face would take on what I use to call the “Rosemary Smile”. It pushed its way to her teeth every time Rosemary was around because Elizabeth was always trying to deal with her. Watch for it. It happens quite often in those first episodes.

Every time Elizabeth almost gets a leg up, Rosemary uses it to lift herself. Take the meeting about building the new church. Elizabeth was gaining the advantage, since Rosemary seemed quite appalled that Jack had spent reward money on the church. Then things looked up even more when he talked about “someone very special”. And what does she do? She snags the attention, proclaiming, “Thank you, Jack.” Who does that? Not to mention the lady does everything she can to outshine Elizabeth’s meager cooking skills with her superb chicken fried steak. Low blow! The one thing that saves the situation is Jack takes his life into his hands, and consumes the burnt food. That’s love! And it sent a very clear signal.

But, probably the worst thing she did was pitting Jack and Elizabeth against each other by eavesdropping then blabbing about Elizabeth’s job offer back East. She couldn’t let Elizabeth tell him herself, or let them work things out. In the beginning, the woman was, in a word, devious.

Jack’s words to Rip never rang more true: “I think it is safer in here with you than out there, boy.” That, and his declaration to Rosemary herself: “Your presence could sidetrack an army.” Not the best way to start a friendship, but I’ve seen worse…I think. Luckily, we know everything turned out okay. But, we’ll talk about that another day, another time. Have a great weekend friends! I’ll see you next week! This is Hooked Heartie, signing off. May your heart let your hope blossom!

Hey, everybody. I know this is a crazy hour to be posting for Wednesday, but I was determined to post today, no matter how late, even if it killed me! Some semblance of normalcy is exactly what we need right now, right? Well, I’ve got a fun one for you today. In celebration of Niall Matter’s new Aurora Teagarden movie “Heist and Seek”, his new movie coming “Country at Heart”, and his very first interview with my friends at the Hallmarkies Podcast, I’ve got an oldie and a goodie. We’re going back to Niall’s very first role with Hallmark: “Stop the Wedding”. It was aired just today too, so I found it very fitting.

Niall Matter. You remember him, right? In his own words in the podcast interview, his stint of playing the proud, sad, and stubborn Shane Cantrell on “When Calls the Heart” was “brief”. When Jack died, SEVERAL Hearties tweeted that Shane would be a wonderful person with whom Elizabeth could fall in love. Niall and Erin had already played a couple very successfully, and their chemistry was undeniable. Then they could be an instant family. I, myself, thought the same thing in the beginning of our emotional roller coaster. Well, come to find out, that had been the intention in the beginning. Apparently, he was hired as a possible replacement for Jack as Elizabeth’s love interest, but Daniel Lissing came back for Season 5. Something funny I figured out: two men who came on the show as possibilities for a second love in Elizabeth’s life, (i.e. Paul Greene and Niall Matter), both date Faith Carter. Shane obviously did it for a significantly shorter period, but still did it nonetheless.

So now, let’s talk “Wedding”. Niall also mentioned in his interview that he’d been doing so much SyFy, and he was ready to cut his teeth at rom com. He picked a great script to start with! Playing Alan Thicke’s son was an opportunity to jump at! And from his performance, you’d never know he was new at playing a romantic hero; he was fabulous! There are two aspects that I’d say are my favorite about this film. The first would have to be the meet cute. They have two, really. There’s the first time they see each other when Anna’s coffee is spilled all over Clay. Whose fault it is…well, that all depends on who you talk to. But then, Clay shows up at her aunt’s door, makes the very strange assumption that ANNA is his father’s new fiancée, and proceeds to try paying her off to call off the engagement. Hours later when he angrily questions, “Why didn’t you tell me who you were?”, she immediately fires back with, “Oh, I didn’t really have time. You were so busy negotiating your bribe.” That meet cute starts a whole movie of banter and quick-witted conversation.

The second, and best thing about this movie, in my opinion, is the amount of kissing that went on. Nowadays, we’re lucky if we get one kiss in the last 5 minutes, and we let out a shocked cheer if we get 2 kisses in one movie. What do we get in THIS one: we get not one, not two, but THREE instances where we get some very sweet and adorable kisses. Anna even says, “No more kissing” because they have to get to his dad’s and her aunt’s wedding before it goes on without them. I couldn’t believe me eyes! I just wish we had more like that. It’s nice to see a romantic relationship in progress, rather than watching them always trying to jump start.

 

Stop the Wedding | Hallmark Channel Photo credit: hallmarkchannel.com

Well, there are a million other things I could say about this movie, but I’m afraid it’s past my bedtime. With all the reruns Hallmark has been airing, you should be able to see it, if you haven’t already. And you NEED to see it if at all possible. I’ll see you all Friday. This is Hooked Heartie, signing off. May your heart let your hope blossom.