Friday, February 26, 2010

AND THE WINNER IS (drum roll please)

The winner of Really Angelic is Meredith. Meredith, please e-mail me at quailcreekpub@hotmail.com so that I may get your mailing address. Thanks to everyone who entered, and my thanks to Enid Wilson for her guest post and giveaway.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Jane Does It Again - Matthew Macfadyen Alert

Jane has had another up close and personal encounter with one of our favorite Mr. Darcys, Matthew Macfadyen, and was good enough to share her experience with us. See it you can guestimate her enthusiasm level.


I’ve just come down to earth after meeting the wonderful Matthew Macfadyen again! I know I’m so very lucky to be living in the UK, with the opportunity to encounter this wonderful actor, and I know how jealous some of my fellow Matthew admirers are of me… so I’ll apologise before you read any further!

Matthew is currently appearing on stage at the Theatre Royal in Bath in Noel Coward’s Private Lives. It’s a short run of 10 days before it moves to the Vaudeville Theatre in London’s West End, and I was fortunate to go to the opening night in Bath with two fellow Matthew devotees.

The play was fabulous, fast paced, funny and entertaining. The sets were gorgeous, especially in the Second Act, which is set in Amanda’s Paris flat. Very art deco, in duck egg blue and gold colours, with day beds and the most amazing goldfish bowls! All the cast were brilliant. Kim Cattrall, as Amanda, was beautiful, (only dressed in a bath towel at one point – but looking fabulous!), Simon Paisley Day as Amanda’s new husband, Victor, was very dashing, and Lisa Dillon as Elyot’s wife, Sybil, was whining and annoying as she should be! But Matthew, as Elyot, was absolutely divine, looking very trim in tuxedo, and later in super sexy silk lounging pyjamas *drool*!! He was funny, sexy and charismatic. He sang, danced (barefoot!), played the piano, spoke French and totally mesmerised me! He was superb!!

Friday, February 19, 2010

My Pemberley by Enid Wilson - Guest Post and Giveaway of Really Angelic

Welcome to Enid Wilson, a fellow writer of Jane Austen fan fiction, whom I "met" at A Happy Assembly, where we both post our stories. One of the benefits of writing fan fiction is that you get to meet people from all over the world. Enid is from Australia, and here is her guest post.

My Pemberley

Thanks, Mary, for having me. Mary’s latest novel is called Searching for Pemberley, and the title led me to this guest post. I have adapted two passages from my novels to let you have a glimpse of the Pemberley in my heart.

Really Angelic – Chapter 16

The several-minute journey from the border of Pemberley to the scene of the carriage accident was a torture for Mr. Darcy. His whole body hurt like hell, and he was in despair. The chance of finding Elizabeth safe and sound was minimal. Still, he would rather stay and look at the valley that had swallowed up his beloved than stay in his bedchamber, alone.

After consulting with her brother, Georgiana instructed the servants to go down the valley in pairs in several directions. Mr. Darcy settled himself to wait on a chair by the road, reminiscing in melancholy about his acquaintance, history and love with Elizabeth. Meanwhile, Georgiana paced along the edge of the road.

An hour into the search, when no news had come, Georgiana could not hold back the tears in her eyes. She could not bear to see the grim and desperate look on her brother’s face, and so she turned to lean her head on the side of the carriage, gazing back towards Pemberley on the far horizon. Even that lovely sight saddened her, for she knew that neither her home nor her brother would ever be the same without Elizabeth.

Bargain with the Devil - Chapter 5

Pemberley in late October was magnificent. The weather was getting colder, even in sunlight, but the Buxwood, Yew and multi-coloured fallen leaves created a vibrant mosaic that framed the great estate.

Elizabeth drew a deep breath of the crisp morning air as she walked to the maze. She had been crestfallen, the previous evening, to have found only Georgiana waiting to welcome their party.

Elizabeth tossed and turned the whole night. Although she had been placed in the most comfortable and luxuriant bedchamber in which she had ever stayed, she found herself longing to embrace Mr. Darcy to her bosom, wanting nothing more than to be transported back to the hours they had spent together at that fisherman's hut where they had, at least and at last, been quite alone together.

She woke up very early and walked out along the garden path, where finally she came upon the maze, at the most remote part of the garden. Its tall bushes were trimmed and shaped most intriguingly, and she walked into it, her heart full of thoughts of the owner of the great estate. While her gaze traversed flowers, pots, and statues along the many twists and turns, her thoughts reflected upon her life, reviewing the things she had done and discussed with this man.

After half an hour in the maze, she decided to return to the house, but when she turned round, she soon discovered that she was lost, unable to find her way out. It seemed a wryly apt reflection of her life. Was she never to find a way out of the confusing situations into which she got herself? Would Mr. Darcy finally decide that his love for her was over? Would his ardent admiration fade away, just when she had at last found her love for him?  She could not bear to face such a possibility. She must find a way for him to love her as he once had. She must.”

***

Well, how do you envisage Mr. Darcy’s estate, Pemberley? What do you think the happiest or saddest happenstance will occur there?

About the Author: Enid Wilson loves sexy romance. Her writing career began with a daily newspaper, writing educational advice for students. She then branched out into writing marketing materials and advertising copies. Enid's novel, In Quest of Theta Magic and Bargain with the Devil, received several top reviews.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Jane Austen's Kingston on Thames on London Calling Blog

There are terrific pictures and an interesting article on the London Calling blog about the town of Kingston on Thames, which is mentioned in Emma. Tony (Southerner) has such a feel for Austen and her times. You should have a look.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Guest Post on Friday, February 19, from Enid Wilson, Author of Really Angelic

Enid Wilson will be writing a guest post on February 19, and she will also be giving away one copy of her newest novel, Really Angelic (more details on Friday). Here is a description from Amazon:

In Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen mentioned angels several times. What if there were real angels inhabiting England then? In this spicy tale of Austen's historical novel, the romance of Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet takes on a bumpy paranormal twist. Challenged by the intervention of demons and deities, can our favourite couple find the strength to forge their love? Will Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth overcome pride as well as prejudice and find each other? This steamy, emotional Pride and Prejudice retelling will take fans of the perennial favorite on an exhilarating journey that transcends dimensions. But be warned: this book is not suitable for Jane Austen purists.

Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet are hot together and come off as more believable characters than the original intended - 5 Stars from, Acquanetta Ferguson, San Diego Examiner (17 Jan 2010)

You'll just have to pick up your own copy and read all the juicy goodness for yourself and learn just how demonic Mr. Darcy can really be. I highly recommend this one for anyone who loves Pride and Prejudice... - 5 Stars from Reading with Monie (22 Jan 2010).

This is Enid's second Pride and Prejudice inspired Regency romance. Her previous work, Bargain with the Devil, has been ranked in the top 50 best-selling historical romances on Amazon USA.

About the Author: Enid Wilson loves sexy romance. Her writing career began with a daily newspaper, writing educational advice for students. She then branched out into writing marketing materials and advertising copies. Enid's novel, In Quest of Theta Magic and Bargain with the Devil, received several top reviews. To learn more, visit Enid's website, Hot and Steamy.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Elinor and Edward's Plans for Lucy Steele - Sense and Sensibility Spoof

I have raised the ages of the Dashwood daughters b/c I can't deal with a 17-year old Marianne and a 34-year old Col. Brandon.

Prologue

The family of Dashwood had long been settled in Sussex at Norland Park. The manor house was a massive stone edifice of three stories with two wings and an extensive park where sheep nibbled the lawn by day and the deer by night. It was home to Henry Dashwood, a kind man and good father, and his wife, a kind-hearted woman and affectionate mother, who, whether for joy or sorrow, was given to bouts of weeping. They had three daughters: the practical Elinor, a handsome woman of twenty-one years, the romantic Marianne, a beautiful lady of nineteen, and the young Margaret, a pistol of a thirteen-year old given to eavesdropping.

At Norland Park, life was a bowl of cherries. Elinor, being an outdoorsy type person, enjoyed the extensive grounds, Marianne, being quite the opposite of her older sister, had her music and poetry, and Margaret had a tree house with a retractable rope ladder. From her perch, she could watch and report on all the comings and goings of the inhabitants of the manor house and any visitors to the estate. Little did young Margaret know that on the day she had looked through her spyglass and had seen Dr. Cureless’s carriage coming down the drive that her world was about to change—and not for the better.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

For American History Readers

I know that this blog primarily deals with Austen fan fiction. However, I would like to point out two excellent novels by Frances Hunter, To the Ends of the Earth: The Last Journey of Lewis and Clark and her most recent novel, The Fairest Portion of the Globe. If you are interested in the early history of the United States and its westward expansion, you will really want to read these books. Another reason is that I did a blurb for the cover of The Fairest Portion of the Globe. Isn't that reason enough to buy the book? I have reviews of both novels on Amazon and Goodreads.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Emma on PBS

I have finished watching Masterpiece Classic's Emma. The last two hours were much better than the first two, and it was good to see Emma grow into a person we could like. I still prefer the Paltrow/Northam movie for a number of reasons. There was not enough humor in this adaptation. Knightley was too slow in revealing his developing affection for Emma. Emma's sister and brother-in-law seemed to be quarrelsome. Frank Churchill was totally undeserving of Jane Fairfax, and I didn't care for the Eltons. I did like Jodhi May's performance, and Johnny Lee Miller was a pretty good Knightley. The scenery was gorgeous, but the middle dragged while the ending was rushed. In short, I won't be buying the DVD. If you would like to share your thoughts, please do.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

New Blog - London Calling - Great Pictures

London Calling is a fairly new blog by Tony (aka Southerner). He has the advantage of living in England and visiting places most of us only dream about going. Even better, Tony posts lots of pictures of places where our beloved Austen characters might have lived. His photographs are beautiful and another reason to visit his blog. Right now he has a picture of a Victorian bathing machine and a post on miniature portrait painting on ivory, which he tried. Very interesting.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Sea Bathing in the Early 19th Century

From the 18th Century on, bathing resorts multiplied, especially along England’s southern coast. They included Brighton, Ramsgate, and Eastbourne, all mentioned in Austen’s works. In addition to enjoying the “bracing sea air,” people could bathe in the always chilly waters* of the Channel by using a bathing machine (pictured at left). In order to assure a woman’s privacy, there were designated areas for members of each sex. After the bather entered the bathing machine, he/she would change out of their street clothing and into their bathing costumes, and then the machine would be rolled into the water. Some resorts hired “dippers,” who were strong and hardy souls who would help the bather into the sea and might possibly push a person into the water to enhance the bathing experience.

*According to Tony, who has gone sea bathing in the Channel, the air temp can get quite warm--as high as 86 degrees F. (See comment.) Having lived in Arizona for 14 years, I don't go swimming unless the water temperature is above 80 degrees F. I am such a wuss.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Favorite Jane Austen Sites


There are so many sites out there about Jane Austen, but some are better than others. One of them is Jane Austen Sequels by Jane Odiwe. It's pretty, informative, and with lots of extras. Jane is the author of Willoughby's Return, which is receiving great reviews, including this one from John Charles at Booklist: Odiwe's elegantly stylish writing is seasoned with just the right dash of tart humor, and her latest literary endeavor is certain to delight both Austen devotees and Regency romance readers.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Review of Jane Bites Back

Jane Bites Back  By Michael Thomas Ford

Jane Fairfax is the owner of a bookstore in Upstate New York. She is a single woman of forty years who has settled into a nice, comfortable, uneventful life. The only thing that distinguishes this Jane from any other middle-aged woman is that she is really the 19th Century author, Jane Austen, and she is a vampire.

Other than feeding on unsuspecting mortals, for the past century or so, life for Jane has been pretty dull. But that changes when another 19th Century literary figure comes back into her life. Brian George, who was the one who had turned Jane into a vampire, is determined to have her all to himself once again. He couldn’t have arrived at a worse time because Jane has just hit the big time with a New York Times bestseller, Constance. Because she will not oblige him, he wreaks havoc with her professional and personal life. While on a book tour, Jane meets another female 19th Century author (who we know as Violet) who isn’t all that fond of Jane to the point that she wants to utterly destroy her as a writer.

That is the setup for Jane Bites Back. The first half of the book is amusing, but when Brian George shows up, the humor drops way off because he is a sinister presence in Jane’s life. And, frankly, he takes over the story because he is much more interesting than Jane. Actually, everyone in the novel is more interesting than Jane, including her wisecracking bookstore manager, who gets most of the best lines.

The major problem I had with this book is its inconsistency. Brian George is evil through three-quarters of the story, and then for a very lame reason, he starts helping Jane. All through the novel, Jane is unable to be with Walter, her anemic love interest, and although nothing changes on that front, she decides that she can be with Walter. I would have liked this book more if Jane Austen had been a witty, well-developed character, like the real author, but she’s not. 3/5 Stars