Thursday, December 29, 2011

Vignette - The Marriage of Antony, Lord Fitzwilliam

In Pride and Prejudice, we learn that Darcy's cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam, is the younger son of an earl. But what about his brother, the heir? I have decided that the colonel’s brother has already succeeded to the title, and like so many titled gentlemen of the Regency Era, he is a rake, a gambler, and a seducer.Antony has appeared in my novels, The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy and A Wife for Mr. Darcy. He is married to the Evil Eleanor and is thoroughly unhappy in his marriage, but he also has a heart of gold. My original character has become quite popular, and I have received many requests to write a story about Antony, the Earl of Stepton, and so here it is.

The Marriage of Antony, Lord Fitzwilliam, to Lady Eleanor Henley

As Lord Fitzwilliam climbed the stairs to the nursery of his London townhouse, he thought about the two little girls who were waiting for their dear Papa to tuck them in. He was always at his best when his children were on parole from their mother, the Evil Eleanor, Queen of Darkness, now residing at Briarwood in Kent. But as long as Lady Eleanor haunted the halls of the ancestral seat of the Earls of Stepton, he would call London home.

After dismissing his daughters’ nurse with a wave of his hand and a finger to his lips, he tiptoed to their shared bed. Looking at the lovely Sophia and Amelia, with their long, golden tresses cascading over their pillows, he noted how kind Nature had been to his children. They had inherited their father’s blond hair, cornflower blue eyes, and adorable dimples, and from their mother, they had inherited… He paused while gazing at his two lovelies. Surely, they have something from Eleanor, Antony thought as he continued to study his children. But when nothing came to mind, he decided to have a look at their feet after they had fallen asleep to see if they had any extra toes.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy - On Sale

The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy is on sale on Amazon in paperback for $6.00. That is 60% off the original price. It also qualifies for free supersaver shipping. Who could possibly resist?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Movies and Jane Austen

While watching Love Actually, it looked very much like a reunion of actors who have appeared in Jane Austen adaptations: Colin Firth, Keira Knightley, Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant, and Alan Rickman. I really enjoyed most of this movie. (I could skip the creep who goes to Wisconsin to find hot women and the porn couple.) But there's so much good chemistry in this film that it has now become a holiday favorite. Another new favorite is The Holiday with Kate Winslet (Sense and Sensibility) and Jude Law. If you include period pieces in my JA/classic connection, I can mention Rufus Sewell, who plays a cad in this movie and Will Ladislaw in Middlemarch (another favorite). Happy Holidays!

I know you are dying to know what my favorite movie is: While You Were Sleeping with Sandra Bullock and Bill Pullman.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Happy Birthday, Jane Austen

Join Abigail Reynolds in cele-brating Jane Austen's birthday. She has a post on the Kindle Daily Post where she talks about her books and her new release, Mr. Darcy's Letter.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Becoming Elizabeth Darcy in Paperback

Finally, Becoming Elizabeth Darcy is now available in paperback. When self-publishing, it is necessary to jump through various hoops, which I understand. It's the extra hoops that give me heartburn. To read my tale of woe, click here. Anyway, the book has worked its way through Amazon's labyrinth, and is now available. Yippee!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Newark Star Ledger, Mr. Darcy's Bite and Me

When I was growing up in North Jersey, ten miles off the George Washington Bridge, I was surrounded by newspapers. Every morning, my father bought two newspapers: The New York Times (he loved the puzzles and the brain food) and The Daily News (he followed the races at Monmouth and Aqueduct Racetracks). On the way home from school, I picked up The New York World Telegraph for an invalid spinster who lived in our apartment complex. There was also the Journal American, The Post, Herald Tribune, The Sun, and various ethnic newspapers as well.

My mom worked the night shift at a bank, and when she got home from work around midnight, she would read The Paterson Evening News—every darn article in the paper—even though she had to get up at 6:00 in the morning to get her six kids off to school.

At that time, New Jersey had “the blue laws,” that is, no stores were allowed to be open on the Sabbath. For Christians, that was Sunday; for Jews, it was Saturday, which meant that the only store open on Sunday was the Jewish candy store. That was where, every Sunday after Mass, we bought The Newark Star Ledger. Before we had a car, we had to carry this ten-pound paper home. As soon as we got in the door, the paper would be dismembered as everyone went for their favorite section. (Mine was the Parade insert.) The Star Ledger was a part of my childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood. So you can imagine how pleased I was when Mr. Darcy’s Bite was reviewed by The Ledger. Without further ado, here is the review:

This book is written with enough originality, whimsy and respect for Jane Austen’s style to make it stand out in the crowded field of Austen genre mash-ups. Simonsen revisits Darcy and Elizabeth’s tempestuous courtship and provides an explanation for Darcy’s erratic behavior: He’s a werewolf. Bitten on a childhood sojourn in Europe, Darcy has guarded his secret: He transforms at the full moon.

Because Simonsen carefully imagines how a werewolf nobleman would adapt to society and how that would play out with Austen’s characters, the story works as earnest rather than camp. After Darcy reveals his nature to Elizabeth, she must decide whether she still loves him. Simonsen’s characterizations are faithful to Austen, but engagingly playful with the possibilities of a werewolf double-life. His werewolf nature connects Darcy to the passions of the natural world, letting Simonsen ratchet up the couple’s romance. The classic love story between Elizabeth and Darcy holds firm, even if things do get a little hairy once a month.

I have not lived in New Jersey since 1977, but I have fond memories of The Garden State. So this review is something of a homecoming for me, and I’m pleased as punch that a fellow Jerseyite liked my story.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Publishing...

UK Cover of Mr. Darcy's Bite
A funny thing happened on the way to publishing Becoming Elizabeth Darcy. If you remember when Mr. Darcy's Bite launched in October, it had a very rough start. The printer inserted about a dozen pages of someone else's book at the end of mine. That took about ten days to clear up. Two weeks ago, someone placed the UK version of my book (which has a different cover)  for sale on Amazon US, and for reasons known only to Amazon, that cover knocked the US version off the main page, making Mr. Darcy's Bite available only to "these sellers," none of whom happened to be my publisher, Sourcebooks. It took about eight days to work that out as well. Because I was not the publisher, there was nothing I could do except to wait. One of  the advantages of self-publishing is that you can jump right in and fix things.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Connections - Part 2

I am currently watching Whitechapel, a murder mystery on BBC's Dramaville. (Actually, I only watch parts of it because it is very graphic, so my husband lets me know when it's OK to look.) Anyway, the star is Rupert Penry-Jones who played Captain Frederick Wentworth in the 2007 TV Persuasion. Rupert's brother, Laurence, is married to Polly Walker, who played Caroline Dester in Enchanted April, along with Joan Plowright, who was married to Laurence Olivier, who played Henry V, as did Kenneth Brannagh, who was then married to Emma Thompson, whose sister, Sophie, played Miss Bates in the Gwyneth Paltrow Emma, along with Polly Walker, who played Jane Fairfax, who is the sister-in-law of Rupert Penry-Jones. So we are back where we started. Isn't this fun?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving - An Excerpt from Darcy on the Hudson

Thanksgiving is such a quintessential American holiday that it was prominently featured in my novel, Darcy on the Hudson. Here is an excerpt from the story that shows a typical Thanksgiving in early 19th Century New York:
Before sunrise, Mrs. Bennet was in the kitchen seeing to the last minute details for today was Thanksgiving Day. After she was satisfied that everything was ready, she went upstairs to join the others who were waiting to leave for worship service. This was to be Mr. Collins’s first—and last—Thanksgiving Day in America, and he was aware of the importance placed on the holiday by his parishioners. Charlotte had shared with Lizzy that he had spent a good part of the previous week writing his sermon, and she thought it would be the best he had ever delivered. Lizzy, in Christian charity, refrained from making comment about the quality of Mr. Collins’s sermons as she had grown rather fond of the preacher. She especially liked how he often deferred to his wife when his thoughts were muddled, which was often the case.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Interview with Author of The Guardian, Robin Helm

I would like to welcome Robin Helm, author of Guardian. Because I am a writer of Jane Austen re-imaginings, I do not comment on the books of other authors who write in the same genre as I do, and so I asked a friend to read Robin Helm’s debut novel. Her interview is below, but first a brief summary of Guardian:

The powerful and imposing Xander/Darcy, chief of all guardian angels, has protected exceptional humans from demonic forces over the course of ten millennia without losing a single battle. In 1989, he receives an unusual assignment which will forever change his ordered existence and alter the course of human history. Will he lose the battle for his own heart while guarding supernaturally gifted Elizabeth Bennet from the evil which surrounds her? Will he be strong enough to resist her as she grows from a precocious child into a beautiful, intelligent woman? The veil dividing the physical and spiritual planes is drawn aside to reveal warfare on an unprecedented scale as Elizabeth develops her gifts and her guardian discovers his emotions. 

The way you describe Xander as a Guardian fits well with how we picture Darcy:

He stood six feet nine inches tall with eyes the color of a cloudless summer sky… He was well-known for his ability to make difficult decisions quickly, and his good judgment ensured that his final choices were the correct ones. If he chose to speak, he was never ignored… Though Xander’s appearance and mind were those of a warrior, he was surprisingly gentle when he was not engaged in battle.

In the beginning, when I read that everyone had a guardian angel with them, I felt as if I was in “It’s a Wonderful Life” and kept waiting for Clarence to appear! What gave you the idea to use Darcy as a guardian?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Connections - British Actors

I don’t watch a lot of television, but when I do, it’s usually Masterpiece Theater or a mystery from BBC America. Watch enough of these shows and you will see familiar faces all over the place. I loved Juliet Aubrey when she played Dorothea Brooke in Middlemarch, and I enjoyed her performance as a high-class prostitute in an episode of Law and Order UK. Ditto for Kevin Doyle who plays Moseley on Downton Abbey and Rupert Graves who played Freddie Honeychurch in a Room with a View and Detective Lestrade in the new Sherlock Holmes. (I don’t mean to imply that Doyle and Graves played prostitutes; they were just in Law & Order UK episodes.)

While watching a British detective series called A Touch of Frost, I recognized Caroline Harker, who played Celia Brooke in Middlemarch. She had a recurring role in the Frost series as WPC Hazel Wallace. But she reminded me of someone else, and I couldn’t think who. So I went to She is the sister of Susannah Harker, who played Jane Bennet, in the A&E Adaptation of Pride and Prejudice (Firth/Ehle version). Caroline is married to Antony Calf, who played Colonel Fitzwilliam in the same production, and who had a part in A Touch of Frost episode. (I think the only scene that Calf and his sister-in-law shared was the wedding of the two couples at the very end.) Susannah and Caroline are the daughters of Polly Adams who played Jane Bennet in the1967 P&P British TV series. Susannah was married to Iain Glen, who played Richard Carlisle in Downton Abbey. See how this works?

I just wanted to share. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Final Report from AGM on Sense and Sensibility

One of the plenary speakers for the JASNA Annual General Meeting was Joan Ray. Joan is a professor of English and President’s Teaching Scholar at the University of Colorado, but you probably know her as the author of Jane Austen for Dummies. Joan is a walking encyclopedia of Austen and her works. If you cut her, she would bleed Austen—not the Austen of Masterpiece Theater or feature-length films—but the writer of six novels. Here is what Joan wrote in the 200th Anniversary Guide to the JASNA AGM:

For many readers, Sense and Sensibility is Austen’s most problematic novel; they note, for example, that Edward Ferrars, the hero, is a liar and that Colonel Brandon’s (whom some scholars even deem “elderly”: he’s 36!) marrying Marianne turns her into a Regency trophy wife.

There is a difference between the novel and its adaptations. To begin with, Hollywood (a generic term for movie makers) has decided that Elinor, our heroine, is taller and fairer than her immature sister, Marianne. That is exactly opposite of what Austen had written. Because of Hollywood, we think of Col. Brandon as being something of a stick in the mud, not a good match at all for the more exuberant Marianne Dashwood. But according to Joan Ray, this too is wrong. Col. Brandon, he of the flannel waistcoat, is “merrier” than Marianne and capable of strong emotions. After all, he had enough spunk to fight a duel! Again, according to Ray, it is not that the colonel is misunderstood, but merely under read. It is Ray’s contention that Col. Brandon is perfect for Marianne, but in order to know that, we must read the novel. After listening to her presentation, I came away convinced that Marianne will be happy with the colonel, something the film and television adaptations had failed to do.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Andrew Davies at the JASNA AGM – Part II

As I mentioned in an earlier post, the highlight of the JASNA AGM was listening to screenwriter Andrew Davies. The man has a natural wit, and all his stories were thoroughly enjoyable. However, he saved his funniest comments for Emma.

Davies mentioned that Austen’s novel has a young Mr. Knightley enjoying his visits to Highbury. “Why?” Davies asked. “For the sterling companionship of Mr. Woodhouse? Of course not, he was a young man, and because Emma would have been toddling about in her nappies, it couldn’t have been because of Emma. Therefore, it is obvious that George Knightley had a crush on Mrs. Woodhouse, which makes sense because, obviously, Emma did not get her personality from her father.”

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Release of a New Novella - Captain Wentworth Home from the Sea

Please join me at Austen Authors for a release of my new novella, Captain Wentworth Home from the Sea. I am hosting a giveaway of two copies of the book. Here is a description of the story:

In 1806, Frederick Wentworth returned to the sea in hopes of leaving behind memories of his lost love, Anne Elliot of Kellynch Hall. After eight years serving as the captain of the Laconia, he had failed to jettison recollections of  the only woman he could ever love, that is, until a shipboard accident robbed him of his memory. When he is once again thrown into Anne’s company, he knows nothing of their previous engagement. With the slate wiped clean, will Anne Elliot be able to secure the love of Captain Frederick Wentworth or will all opportunities to reclaim a lost love be denied her?

I hope you will stop by. :)

Monday, October 31, 2011

A Mr. Darcy's Bite Vignette on Austen Authors

Today I have a post on Austen Authors in connection with Mr. Darcy's Bite. I hope you will read it. It's a howling good tail and perfect for Halloween.

Last Day of Blog Tour for Mr. Darcy's Bite - Interview + Giveaway

Happy Halloween! Today is the last day of the blog tour for Mr. Darcy's Bite. My final stop is at SOS Aloha visiting with Kim. I hope you will stop by to read my fascinating review or at least for the giveaway. Thanks.

P.S. Mr. Darcy's Bite was mentioned in the Daytona Beach News Journal, the Parkersburg, WV Sentinel, and Anohki, a Canadian magazine. I'm thrilled. :)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Closing out the Mr. Darcy's Bite Blog Tour

October 31 - SOS Aloha

I hope you will join me as I conclude the blog tour for Mr. Darcy's Bite. Thanks to all who participated.

Candy at So Little Time... reviews Mr. Darcy's Bite.

Good news for Mr. Darcy's Bite: My book was featured in the Parkersburg, WV Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News Journal, and Anohki, a Canadian magazine. I'm thrilled.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Blog Stop at Love Romance Passion

Today, I am Keira's guest at Love Romance Passion. I hope you will stop by. I talk about writing historical fiction.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Blog Stop at The Long and Short of It - Questions I would ask JA

Today I have a guest post on The Long and Short of It. I was asked what questions I would ask Jane Austen. I had a bunch. I hope you will stop by.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Blog Stop at Historical Hussies

Today I am the guest of Linda Banche at Historical Hussies. We talk about werewolves in "Mr. Darcy Grows Fur!" I hope you will stop by and leave a comment.

Andrew Davies at the AGM

One of the highlights of the JASNA Annual General Meeting in Fort Worth was listening to Andrew Davies talk about his screenplays, the most famous of which is the 1995 A&E adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. This production was also Davies’s favorite, and he talked about how he did not want to open the drama with the usual “It is a truth universally acknowledged…” Instead, he showed Bingley and Darcy riding full out with Elizabeth admiring them from a hilltop perch. He also talked about Colin Firth’s tortured portrayal of Darcy composing his letter to Elizabeth in which he explained his motives for making his obnoxious proposal. At the start of the scene, Darcy is wearing about three layers of clothes. By the end, he’s nearly down to his underwear.

With the theme of the AGM being the 200th anniversary of the publication of Sense and Sensibility, Davies talked about the 2008 S&S production with Hattie Morahan and Dan Stevens. Like most readers of S&S, Davies understood that Austen’s first published novels has lots of problems, including how to get readers/viewers to like our hero, Edward Ferrars. There’s not much to admire in his behavior, and although his presence is “felt” throughout the story, we actually see very little of him. The screenwriter’s task was to make Edward “likeable” as Emma Thompson had done in her S&S screenplay with the sword-fighting scene between Edward and Margaret. Davies also used Margaret as a way to achieve his end in the scene where Edward (Dan Stevens) takes Margaret for a ride on his horse.

After softening Edward up, the producers thought that Ferrars wasn’t “butch” enough for a modern audience, and so Davies wrote the log-chopping scene (something he had always wanted to do) with Edward wielding an axe in the rain while Elinor Dashwood admires his obvious masculine skills and very wet shirt.

Davies was an absolutely delightful speaker, but his funniest comments were reserved for Emma. More on that in the next post.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Blog Stop at Deb's Book Bag + Giveaway

On Monday, October 24, I will be visiting Deb's Book Bag for an interview and giveaway as part of the blog tour for Mr. Darcy's Bite.. I hope you will stop by.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Blog Stop at Mur-y-Castell Today

I will be visiting with Blodeuedd today at Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell. She is hosting a giveaway of one copy of Mr. Darcy's Bite. I hope you will stop by.

Don't forget to visit with Anna at Diary of an Eccentric for a chance to win a copy of Mr. Darcy's Bite. Giveaway closes on October 30.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Excerpt from Mr. Darcy's Bite and Giveaway for Spook-A-Licious

A Scene at the Darcy estate, Pemberley,  from Mr. Darcy’s Bite:

“I love you, Elizabeth Bennet...” After stepping away from her, he continued. “I actually never thought I would fall in love for reasons I shall shortly explain. However, I am in love—deeply and profoundly in love—and if after I share my secret you have not run back to Pemberley, I shall have a question to ask you.”

“Mr. Darcy, what secret could you possibly have that would cause me to run away from you?”

“That is a good question, and my answer begins with an event that happened fourteen years ago when my father and I were traveling in the Black Forest in Germany. Our carriage became mired in mud, and while the men tried to dig it out, I went into the woods. Not very deep, but Nature called... At that moment, a wolf walked by. She had not seen me, and because I had startled her, she scratched me with her fang. I know it was an accident because she began to cower and whimper.”

“Mr. Darcy,” Lizzy said, interrupting, “are you saying that you were bitten by a wolf in the forest and this wild animal was trying to apologize for biting you?

“That is close to what I am saying, but I need to add one other detail. It was not a wolf who bit me, but a werewolf.”

Lizzy now burst out laughing. “Shame on you, Mr. Darcy, for going on in such a way. Is this what I have to look forward to? Scary stories on the night of a full moon?” Lizzy waited for Mr. Darcy to break out into his wonderful smile—to let her know that he had been teasing her—but he did not. “Mr. Darcy, please tell me you are in jest.”

“I wish I could, but that would be a lie, and I promise  I shall never lie to you,” he said, and Lizzy could hear the tension in his voice. “Elizabeth, as a result of that bite, I became a werewolf...”

Lizzy, horrified by his story, started to walk backwards, moving in the direction of Pemberley, but Mr. Darcy reached out to stop her.

“That is the reason I had to leave Hertfordshire so often, the reason I must leave you now. This is where I need to be during my transformation, and tonight is a full moon. At dusk, the change will begin. I am sure, at this moment, you are thinking about how quickly you can leave Pemberley, but I would ask that you stay. While I am gone, Georgiana and Anne will be with you to explain everything. We have arranged a signal. If you want to see me as a werewolf, they will light the candle in the window in a front bedroom, and I will come and introduce myself. If, however, there is no candle, I will remain in the woods, and I promise I will never see you again. You can go on with your life acting as if none of this happened. Whether or not we are together is now in your hands.”

Mr. Darcy extended his arm, but as the pair walked to the manor house, not a word was exchanged between them.

I hope you will let me know what you think of my story. If you leave a comment and an e-mail address, you will be entered in a giveaway of an ARC (advanced reader's copy) of Mr. Darcy's Bite. Thanks for stopping by.

Mr. Darcy's Bite is worldwide.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Winners of Mr. Darcy's Bite Are:

The winner of the ARC for Mr. Darcy's Bite from my blog is Sophia Rose.
The winner of Mr. Darcy's Bite from the Austen Authors entry is Margaret.

Congratulations, Ladies. You will be receiving an e-mail from me shortly asking for your mailing information. If you enjoy the story, I hope you will let me know and consider posting a review on Barnes and Noble and/or Amazon. If you don't like it, please remember that silence is golden.

 Thank you to everyone who stopped by my blog and Austen Authors to help me celebrate my launch.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Final Day to Enter Giveaways for Mr. Darcy's Bite

Today is the last day to enter giveaways here on my blog and at Austen Authors as well. All you have to do is leave a comment along with your e-mail address. That's it. Winners will be announced tomorrow here and at Austen Authors.

Launch - Jane Austen Made Me Do It

Today at Austen Authors, Laurel Ann Nattress (aka Austenprose) launches her short story anthology, Jane Austen Made Me Do It. Here is the introduction to her Austen Authors post:

Many thanks to all of the Austen Authors for hosting me on my very special day. Today, October 11th, my anthology, Jane Austen Made Me Do It, releases from Ballantine Books. I have been working on it for close to two years now so this day is very exciting for me and the twenty four contributing authors – four of which are your members: Diana Birchall, Monica Fairview, Jane Rubino and Caitlen Rubino-Bradway. To continue reading, please click here

A huge congratulations to Laurel Ann and all the authors included in this anthology! The following authors also have guest posts on Austen Authors as part of the launch: Monica Fairview, Jane Odiwe, Diana Birchall, and Jane Rubino. Please stop by and celebrate with them.

Blog Tour Stops at Eva's Sanctuary, Thoughts in Progress & Psychotic State

While I am in Fort Worth attending the Annual General Meeting of the Jane Austen Society of North America, please stop by these blogs for an interview or blog post. I promise you will be excessively diverted.

October 11 - Eva's Sanctuary 
October 12 - Thoughts in Progress
October 13 - Psychotic State

Monday, October 10, 2011

Today at Austenesque Reviews and Sunday in Fort Worth

I was scheduled to visit with Meredith at Austenesque Reviews today, but I had a conflict. So I asked Georgiana Darcy and Anne de Bourgh if they would fill in, and they were happy to do so. Please stop by for a chat with Mr. Darcy's sister and cousin because Meredith is hosting a GIVEAWAY!!!!!

I'm heading to Fort Worth for the Annual General Meeting of the Jane Austen Society of North American (October 14-16). Several Austen Authors will be having an informal gathering at the Barnes & Noble in downtown Fort Worth (Sundance Square) at 1:00 on October 16. Please stop by and say hello. If you have one of our titles, we will be happy to sign it for you. We will also have bookmarks for all the Austen Authors. We would love to see you. Sincerely, C. Allyn Pierson, Sharon Lathan, Karen Doornebos, Abigail Reynolds, Cindy Jones, Susan Mason-Milks and yours truly.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Blog Tour for Mr. Darcy's Bite

There has been so much going on with Mr. Darcy's Bite. But I am happy to say that the paperback version is now available, free of all printing errors. If you have been holding back on buying the book, you can now do so. Thank you for your patience.

Here are the stops I have made to date on the blog tour for Mr. Darcy's Bite:

Austenprose - Five-Star Review by Kimberley Denny-Ryder
Austenprose - Guest post and giveaway (ends October 19)
Mr. Jane Austen Book Club - Guest post and giveaway (ends October 10)
Savvy Verse and Wit - Guest post on S&S and P&P
Savvy Verse and Wit - Review

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Launch of Mr. Darcy's Bite at Austen Authors and A Moment of Your Time

It’s party time again. I am pleased to announce the launch of Mr. Darcy’s Bite, my first venture into paranormal or Gothic or just something different. A fuller description of the novel and details of a giveaway can be found at Austen Authors. As part of the celebration on this blog, I am giving away an advanced reader’s copy (ARC) of Mr. Darcy’s Bite. The usual rules apply. You must leave an e-mail address in the comments section by October 11th so I may contact you. The winner will be announced on October 12th. But this giveaway is a little different. Rather than ask for a comment, I would like a moment of your time.

From the time I started to write fiction in 2006, the world of publishing has changed. More people are now reading novels on e-book readers than in print form. Because of this change, I have decided to go independent, and Mr. Darcy’s Bite will be my last book with Sourcebooks. But when someone leaves a publisher, they also leave behind the support staff who arranges for the blog tour, publicity, preparation of the Amazon and B&N pages, etc.  This is where you come in. You, the reader, are now my support staff.

Reviews on Amazon and Barnes and Noble have become critical to the success of a book. A few good reviews can really sell a book. And that’s where I need your help. Although I receive lots of e-mails and Facebook posts from readers who say they enjoy my books, for one reason or another, they do not post reviews on Amazon or B&N. As we all know, we are more likely to take action over something negative or unpleasant. This is as true on Amazon as anywhere else, and a few bad reviews can kill a book. What I am asking (as well as other Austen authors--actually any author) is that if you enjoy a book, please consider posting a review on Amazon and/or Barnes and Noble. As an independent author, I can tell you good reviews on these sites are now the most critical element in making a book a success. If you do post a review, please let me know at: 

Thank you for taking the time to read this. Best of luck in the giveaway.

P.S. To double your chances to win a copy of Mr. Darcy's Bite, visit Austen Authors.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Blog Tour for Mr. Darcy's Bite Starts Today

I kick off my blog tour for Mr. Darcy's Bite at Austenprose. Laurel Ann is giving away three copies of my novel so I hope you will stop by.

10/3     Austenprose
10/4     My Jane Austen Book Club (Review and Giveaway)
10/6     Savvy Verse and Wit
10/10   Austenesque Reviews
10/11   Eva’s Sanctuary
10/12   Thoughts in Progress
10/13   Psychotic State Book Reviews
10/17   Diary of an Eccentric
10/20   Books for Life
20/24   Deb’s Book Bag
10/26   Historical Hussies
10/27   The Long and Short of It
10/28   Love Romance Passion
10/30   Romantic Crush Junkies
10/31   SOS Aloha

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Update on Mr. Darcy's Bite

The e-book of Mr. Darcy's Bite is fine. There never was a problem with it. This was a printing mistake, and Sourcebooks is checking their inventory to see if more than one box of 20 books was affected. They are really doing a thorough check which is best for everyone. I will let you know as soon as I find out anything. Thank you for your patience. Mary

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Two Reviews from My Little Corner of the World

One of the nicest things about writing books is that you get to meet nice people from around the globe, and many of them write blogs. Erlynn has posted reviews for The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy and Searching for Pemberley on her blog, My Little Corner of the World,  I really appreciate this because these are two of my older titles, and they don't get as much attention. I hope you will visit Erlynn's blog, and please leave a comment. Thank you.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Two Inches of Ivory - Miniature Portrait Painting in the Regency Era

National Portrait Gallery
The following is a combination of two articles Tony Grant wrote on his blog, London Calling, about painting on ivory. He has kindly agreed to share them with my readers.

This particular drawing of Jane Austen was done on paper, but it serves a similar purpose to those done on ivory that Jane references:

Jane wrote to her nephew, James Edward Austen, on 16 December 1816. She congratulated him on leaving Winchester College and commiserated with him about his time there. Jane writes to him in terms as an equal in novel writing.

“Uncle Henry writes very superior sermons. You and I must try and get hold of one or two and put them into our novels.”

Then she explains the difference between their writing: Uncle Henry's is “strong, manly, spirited-- Sketches full of Variety and Glow.” Hers is comparable to a “little bit (two inches wide) of ivory on which I work with so fine a brush, as produces little effect after much labour?”

Ivory Tusk

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

How My Grandson Got His Name

Today I am the featured blogger on Austen Authors. I am writing about my grandson, Skyler, and how he got his name. I hope you will click on the link and find out. To entice you, I'm posting pictures of the little dear. He's now crawling all over the place, pulling himself up on my couch, pulling down my tablecloth, pushing over my potted plant, teething on my coffee table, and locating every electric cord in the house. But how can you complain when the little guy is so obviously adorable?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Books on Sale - Anne Elliot and The Second Date & A Great Review

I am putting two of my titles on sale for e-books only for the remainder of September on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. The price for Anne Elliot, A New Beginning will now be $1.49, and The Second Date, Love Italian-American Style will be $.99. Anne Elliot is a parody of Jane Austen's Persuasion, while The Second Date is the story of love in the Italian-American community of North Jersey where I grew up. Many of the stories are true or partially true or as I prefer to remember them. I hope you will take this opportunity to get acquainted with my non-Pride and Prejudice work.

Click on the pictures in the sidebar if you wish to order these books.

Also, please check out Kimberly's five-star review of A Walk in the Meadows at Rosings Park on her blog, Reflections of a Book Addict.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Balloon Tragedy - Part 3 of Balloonamania

de Rozier
The first balloon crossing of the English Channel was met with cheers from enthusiastic bystanders. Unfortunately, Blanchard and Jeffries's success was followed by a horrible tragedy.

On June 15, 1785, Pilatre de Rozier attempted to fly across the Channel in the opposite direction, from Boulogne to Dover, possibly to prove that England could be invaded from the air.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Mrs. Sage and Balloonist Lunardi - Part 2 of Balloonamania

After Blanchard and Jeffries’ first successful cross-channel balloon flight, there was Mrs. Sage, an actress famed for her full figure, who became the “first aerial female” in June 1785.

“The launch was made from Hyde Park and was attended by a huge and raucous crowd. Mrs. Sage, in a low-cut silk dress presumably designed to reduce wind resistance, was to be accompanied by Vincent Lunardi [a famed balloonist]… In his haste to depart, Lunardi failed to do up the lacings of the gondola’s door. As the balloon sailed away over Piccadilly, the crowd was treated to the provoking sight of the beautiful Mrs. Sage on all fours in the open entrance of the gondola. The crowd assumed that she had fainted and was perhaps receiving some kind of intimate first aid from Mr. Biggin. In fact she was coolly re-threading the lacings to make the gondola safe again… In due course the two of them were lunching peacefully off sparkling Italian wine and cold chicken, occasionally calling to people below through a speaking trumpet.”

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

First Balloon Crossing of the English Channel - Part 1 of Balloonamania

On January 7, 1785, the first cross-channel crossing by balloon took place between England and France. The balloon carried Frenchman Jean-Pierre Blanchard and American physician, Dr. John Jeffries, who had served as a military surgeon on the British side in the American Revolution.

On that winter’s morning, the two aeronauts (a newly coined term for the balloon age) lifted off from the top of Dover cliff to attempt the first ever Channel crossing. As they began to drift toward Calais, they steadily lost height over the water. “By two-thirds of the way across they had progressively jettisoned all the sand ballast, all their food, and most of their technical equipment, except the precious barometer and one bottle of brandy. But the balloon continued to drop, until it was well below the level of the approaching cliffs of the Pas de Calais. They now began to perform an aerial striptease.”*

Monday, September 12, 2011

New Kids on the Block - Austen Bloggers

One of the biggest advantages of writing Jane Austen re-imaginings is that I have met people from all over the world who are Austen admirers. Their love of Austen takes many forms, such as sewing Regency Era clothes or learning Regency Era dances, but several have chosen to set up blogs to review books. There are many bloggers who have been at it for a while, such as Austenprose, My Jane Austen Book Club, and Austenesque Reviews. But there are four new kids on the block, and I would like to introduce them to you.

The Secret Dreamworld of a Jane Austen Fan
My Little Corner of the World (not exclusively Austen)
So Little Time... (arts and crafts as well)
My Love for Jane Austen

If you are a fan of Austen adaptations, you will want to visit Jenny Allworthy's blog, The Jane Austen Film Club. There is also an all-Jane newspaper published by Maria Grazia, The Everything Austen Daily, that is chock full of interesting news about Austen world.

I hope you will check out these blogs. Tell them Mary sent you.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Few Things

Fitzwilliam Darcy, Rock StarHeather Rigaud is having a giveaway of three copies of her book, Fitzwilliam Darcy Rock Star, at Austen Authors.

Austen Authors' celebration of our first-year anniversary continues through September 10. Lots of chances to win cool prizes.

Today is the last day for a chance to win Darcy on the Hudson. Please read my post for details.

Thanks, everyone.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Anniversary Special - Day 2 at Austen Authors

Today, Austen Authors share where they were when they got "the call" from Sharon to join Austen Authors. Here is mine:

When Sharon called with the invitation to join Austen Authors, I was a finalist on The Next Food Network Star. When my cell phone went off, I was filleting a salmon to be served with crème fraiche sauce on shallot toast. Because it was the ring tone I use only for emergencies (The Beatles “Help”), I knew that I had to take the call. I held up my hand, indicating to the judges and the audience that something more important than a shot at having my own cooking show might be in the offing. I was right! That day I became an Austen Author.

Mosey on over to Austen Authors  to read more. Have fun.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Let the Games Begin

Please join us today at Austen Authors for the kickoff of our anniversary celebration. What's up today?

Do you have any questions you would like to ask me or another Austen Author? You can do that, and you will be entered in a prize drawing.

Who wrote it? Connect the author to their story, and you are entered in a prize drawing.

There's also a game for i-Pad and i-phone owners.

It's going to be so much fun. Please join us.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Giveaway and Launch of Darcy on the Hudson

Darcy on the Hudson
It’s me again. Back with another launch. But this one is special. Why? Because it is my favorite type of novel: a historical setting with protagonists (Darcy and Elizabeth) provided by Jane Austen. In Darcy on the Hudson, Darcy, Georgiana, and Charles Bingley travel to New York's Hudson River Valley to visit with Charles’s Uncle Richard. Once in New York, he meets American, Elizabeth Bennet, and it’s on.

At first, Lizzy and Darcy are convinced that they are engaged in a harmless flirtation, but as their feelings deepen, they realize that there are hurdles—probably insurmountable—because England and America’s class structures are so very different. On a visit to England three years earlier, Lizzy had been criticized for her outspoken opinions, something Darcy has experienced firsthand. Another problem. The story is set against the background of the upcoming War of 1812. Great Britain and the United States are very close to going to war over impressment, trade restrictions, and British interference with Native American tribes on the western frontier. Will these difficulties keep our favorite couple apart?

Friday, August 26, 2011

To Anyone Who Bought Darcy on the Hudson in Paperback

My novel, Darcy on the Hudson, was released prematurely. I clicked on the wrong button, and it went live. The book was still in its proof stage, and there are at least a dozen errors in the book. I apologize to anyone who bought the paperback because I am pretty darn fussy about the finished product on all my self-published books. There are no egregious errors, but there are mistakes. My sincere apologies.

The corrected version will be available on Amazon on August 27.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I Need Your Help - Again

Darcy on the HudsonOn August 31, I will have the official launch of my novel, Darcy on the Hudson on Austen Authors. Here is the text from the back jacket:

When Fitzwilliam Darcy, Georgiana Darcy, and Charles Bingley set sail from England for New York, each travels with a different purpose in mind. Georgiana wants to put a particularly jarring episode involving a family friend in the past, and Charles wishes to visit his Uncle Richard in an exciting new land. For Darcy, it is an opportunity to explore the possibilities of new sources of wealth in the expanding United States, but once  Darcy meets American, Elizabeth Bennet, it is the beginning of a love story. But will their differences and a possible second war between Britain and America keep them apart?

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Black Tower - A Book Review

The Black Tower
I love a good historical mystery, especially if the author has successfully recreated the era in which the story takes place. The Black Tower by Louis Bayard is just such a book . Dr. Hector Carpentier is drawn into a web of intrigue when his address is found on a note in the pocket of a murder victim. Carpentier doesn’t know Henri LeClerc—yet. But when Paris detective Vidocq shows up at his door, he is about to find out who the deceased is. Vidocq is the master of disguise, and he needs every one if he is to find out if Louis Charles, the son of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, survived the abuse and neglect of his guards in the Temple’s Black Tower during the French Revolution. Because if he did, he is France's rightful king.

Monday, August 15, 2011

And the Winners of the Giveaway Are:

The winners of my giveaways are: Trez, Suzan, MonicaP, BevMayo and Marylinda. I will be e-mailing you with all the information. Thank you to everyone who participated. You were very helpful with your suggestions, and I enjoyed (and will continue to enjoy) the polls building the perfect Mr. Darcy.

If you didn't win, I will be having a giveaway of A Walk in the Meadows at Rosings Park at my official launch on Austen Authors. My blog post will appear on August 17. Please come on over and try again. Thanks. This was fun.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

What's Going on in Austen World

Lots going on. There are two reviews of my novellas. Irena at This Miss Loves to Read reviews my latest, A Walk in the Meadows at Rosings Park, while Erlynn at My Own Little Corner of the World reviews A Wife for Mr. Darcy. I hope you stop by and leave a comment.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Your Responses Re My Blog - So Far

I asked for input, and so many of my wonderful readers responded. Here is what I have so far.

Luthien: I love history especially Regency period and giveaways. I don't really know what to say when you ask some questions about JA's characters, plots, etc. but I welcome it if it helps me to voice out my opinion and interact with the other participants. If you have the talent, maybe you can create some form of intellectual pursuit like treasure hunt, crossword puzzle, etc. As for puzzles, etc., I don't have the talent, but I could suggest it to my fellow writers on Austen Authors. There are a few computer geeks on the site.

Luthien, I’m so glad you like history because that is my greatest love. 

Cinta: I am a real fan of all things Austen or Austenesque. I also like history, so everything related to the Regency period will be most welcome. I also like blogs to include links to other related websites and funny quizzes or games about Austen and the Regency Period. You can also include from time to time contests, as for example, you can ask people what their answer to a certain questions would be or something like that.

Cinta, Two votes for history! Yeah! I will make it a point to link to other Austen sites. I did that for a while in “What’s Going on in Austen World.” I’ll also think about contests. If you have any specific ideas, I’m open to suggestions.

Gayle: I always want more historical romances. You do that so well.

Monday, August 1, 2011

I Need Your Help

This has been a busy summer for me. I went to a wedding on Long Island and spent a beautiful day in New York City with my husband and younger daughter. Then it was off to Texas for five days with my four sisters, my older daughter, and my two grandkids. I've also been busy preparing two titles for publication in August: Darcy on the Hudson, a novel, and A Walk in the Meadows at Rosings Park, a novella with a bonus short story, Mr. Darcy Steps In.

Because I was so busy, my blog was neglected, so I want to jump right back in by asking people what exactly they want to see when they link to my blog. I've already had a couple of responses, and they have provided an excellent start.

My greatest love is history, and so I like to write historical posts. Do you enjoy that as well? Would you like interactive questions, such as: Were Marianne Dashwood and Col. Brandon really happy? How about polls: Which Mr. Darcy has the best butt? Giveaways? Definitely. So to encourage you to share, I am giving away proof copies of A Walk in the Meadows at Rosings Park, Mr. Darcy's Angel of Mercy, and For All the Wrong Reasons. But there's more:

Dancing With Mr. Darcy - Introduction by Sarah Waters
Jane and the Stillroom Maid - Stephanie Barron
The Matters at Mansfield - Carrie Bebris
Jane and the Man of the Cloth - Stephanie Barron
Pride and Prescience - Carrie Bebris

On August 22, I will select five winners, and you will get to pick whatever book you want. Remember the rules: Make a suggestion, enter by August 21, open worldwide, but you must leave me an e-mail address. No address; no can win. Pretty easy, right? I'm looking forward to hearing your suggestions.

What's Coming Up in August

First and foremost, Meredith at Austenesque Reviews is having a month-long Austen Extravaganza with tons of giveaways and posts by dozens of bloggers (me included). Secondly, I will be having my own giveaways of my titles and some other Austenesque authors. I am doing this for a selfish reason. I want a better blog, and I need for my readers/followers to tell me what they want to see on my blog.

Originally, it was my intention to publish short stories and novellas on this blog, but recently an author found that her story had been lifted in its entirety from a fan fiction site and placed on another fan fiction site passing it off as her own. Fortunately, an alert reader recognized the story and notified the author, but it does give one pause. I have decided to make my short stories available on Kindle (and Nook)  for $.99 and my novellas for $2.99. That is as low as Amazon Kindle will allow me to go in order to preserve a 70% royalty. Otherwise, they get the lion's share.

So please think about it. Do you like history? Are you interested in giveaways? Do you like games? Polls? Interactive posts? Please let me know. I really do want to have a bog where people will check in every few days to see what is going on. Thanks so much. Mary

Friday, July 29, 2011

Wrap Up of Blog Tour at A Life in the Thumb

Ah, another blog tour comes to an end. I finish up with a review of A Wife for Mr. Darcy with Staci at Life in the Thumb. This was a great review, and she also reads a portion of my book in a video. That's a first for me. Hope you will stop by. Now, I have to go put the bus back in the garage until October when I will be on a blog tour for Mr. Darcy's Bite.

P.S. In August, I will be having giveaways. Stay tuned.