Saturday, October 31, 2009

Review of Murder at Longbourn by Tracy Kiely

This is a clever mystery in the style of Murder, She Wrote and Cabot Cove. Elizabeth Parker is vising her Aunt Winnie on Cape Cod when a very unpopular guest is murdered. Because Elizabeth's aunt is a suspect, Elizabeth starts investigating the crime on her own. If you are a fan of Pride and Prejudice, you will enjoy all the quotes from the novel that Ms. Kiely has seamlessly worked into the story. A quick, fun read. For a more in-depth review and an interview with the author, visit Austenesque Reviews:

Friday, October 23, 2009

Great Review for The Second Date - From Books Like Breathing Blog

I know The Second Date does not have an Austen tie-in (except for my main character who is an Austen fan and an editor), but it is getting very good reviews because it is funny. And I can now say that because that's what the reviewers are saying. I hope you will give it a look by clicking on the picture in the sidebar. Maybe this review will help you decide.

"I have never really read a book where the image of an Italian-American was positive. From my childhood I have been bombarded with images of the stereotypes of Italian culture. Mafia bosses, goons, murderers, whacking. Not at all what I have grown up with as an Italian-American… The Second Date was completely different. Not only were the people familiar but the behavior, the language, the dialect was all a page from my life. I found myself laughing out loud in many places because it was so familiar. It would be lovely to see a book like this sitting next to Mario Puzo’s novels as representations of Italian-American culture. Or better yet, replacing it altogether… The romance was also good. Nick and Sonia were so cute together. But it was the portrayal of Italian-American culture that was the shining star in this book for me at least… I was really pleased with this novel.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Wordy Shipmates - A Review

The Wordy Shipmates is a look at our Puritan roots. A book about the Puritans? Pretty dry stuff—unless it’s written by Sarah Vowell. But reading this book reminded me of someone who drives a SUV with off-road capabilities. You are humming along reading a rambling, but very interesting, story of the Puritans carving a civilization out of a wilderness, when you find yourself on a side road that takes you to a story line involving the Brady Bunch.

But when she writes of John Winthrop, Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and religious zealots, Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson, and the Puritans’ Indian allies and/or enemies, it is a page turner. She brings a unique and often amusing perspective to this chapter in Colonial American history. As an American, she is an admirer of these people who wanted to build “a city on the hill” for all to emulate, but as a realist, she examines the contradictions of a God-fearing people who can burn an entire Pequot village, women and children included, and find that such an act is Bible based. Grade: A-

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Sourcebooks Publishing - Authors and Other Info

If you are a fan of Jane Austen sequels, variations, or tie-ins, you are probably reading a book published by a Sourcebooks Publishing author. If you would like to know more about Sourcebooks and its authors (including me), click on the following link. There is also a lot of information on Jane Austen and links to other Austen sites.

Friday, October 2, 2009

First anniversary of writing fan fiction

I started writing Jane Austen fan fiction for two sites last year. It’s been a lot of fun, and I thought I’d share some of what I’ve experienced.
1) Most of my readers are from the U.S., followed by the U.K., Canada, and Australia, but I also have readers from countries all over the world: Malaysia, Ecuador, Slovenia, Belarus, Philippines, Malta, Texas, and so on.
2) I’ve made friends. Through e-mails, I am corresponding with several people who I got to know through my stories. When my daughter got married, I received numerous “best wishes” e-mails.
3) I enjoy every review or almost every review. (I did have one person who swore at me when the story didn’t go in the direction she thought it should.) But of the hundreds and hundreds of comments, I’ve only had a few truly negative reviews. Those too have been helpful in improving my writing.
4) One reader (a young lady from England) writes her reviews using short phrases, colons, and parenthesis. ;) I had to ask her to explain them to me. Another reader sends only smiley faces, but it is appreciated.
5) Some people are angst weenies (I’m one of them). If they think something bad is going to happen, esp. to Darcy and Lizzy, they’ll send me a PM asking what’s going to happen.
6) A lot of people enjoy guessing where the story will go next. I’ve used some of their ideas in my stories. If you’re reading “Anne Elliot – I Am Woman,” the idea for Swoosh originated with an e-mail from someone who asked if I was going to do a spoof of Mansfield Park and make Fanny Price a secret agent. That idea eventually led to Anne connecting with a street urchin who knows the ins and outs of the bad streets of Bath.
7) Pride and Prejudice is by far the most popular Austen novel. Between the two sites ( and, I had 1,200 people following my P&P stories. Only 500 people are following the Persuasion story.
8) Darcy and Lizzy may have to climb mountains to be together, but by the end of the story, they better be together.
9) There are dedicated readers who read the story within an hour of it being posted, but there are also readers who want to read several chapters at one time.
10) I love writing, and I would write even if I didn’t receive reviews/comments. However, I love getting reviews. It’s a way of connecting, and I enjoy it. I’m looking forward to my next year of writing fan fiction.