Friday, February 25, 2011

Question of the Day at Austen Authors

Today, Austen Authors, with me in the lead, is introducing a possible new regular feature (depending upon reader participation) called the Question of the Day. Here is our very first one:

Question: At the end of Sense and Sensibility, it appears that Elinor and Edward and Marianne and Colonel Brandon will live happily ever after. But will they? After all, Edward is pretty wishy-washy. Will this eventually grate on Elinor’s nerves? And does Marianne really love Brandon or did she marry him out of gratitude for his kindness and as a way of getting over Willoughby? Five of our own Austen Authors have weighed in, but please tell us what you think.

Please stop by and let us hear your thoughts. Thank you.

Keats and Three Young Tenors - A Great Start to a Weekend

Would you like to have someone read Keats to you? If so, click here, and you will get your wish:

Naxos AudioBooks continues its new series of Great Poets – represented by a collection of their most popular poems on one CD – with John Keats. Although this man had a short life, he produced a series of outstanding poems – many of which appeared first in letters to his sister. He was largely unappreciated during his lifetime, and died in Rome at the age of 26. Most of his 150 poems were written in just nine extraordinary months in 1819. This selection contains some of his finest works, the principal Odes, La Belle Dame Sans Merci, Old Meg and Much Have I Travelled.

Would you like to hear three talented young tenors compete in Italian Idol by singing O Sole Mio? Of course you do. Trust me. You really do not want to miss this. So click here and enjoy.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Tea in the Time of Cholera

Nathaniel's Nutmeg: Or the True and Incredible Adventures of the Spice Trader Who Changed the Course of HistoryI admit to being fascinated with the subject of how commodities, such as tea and spices, end up in my kitchen half a world away from the places where they were grown. On my bookshelf is a book called Nathaniel’s Nutmeg that I found fascinating. As the title suggests, is a book about nutmeg, specifically the spice from the Dutch possession of the island of Run that involves global intrigue between the Dutch and British empires.

Being a tea drinker, I will read just about any article or book about that subject. I wasn’t always a tea drinker. When I lived on the East Coast, I put away ten cups of coffee a day easily. My mother was a Maxwell House lady, “Good to the Last Drop,” and so was I. I know people are probably shuddering at the idea of instant coffee, but I loved it. But then I moved to Texas, the land of iced tea, and things started to change. Realizing that I was consuming an awful lot of caffeine, I switched to Sanka. (Do I hear more groans from the audience?) I hated it. Little did I know that when I quit on decaffeinated coffee that I had drunk my last cup of coffee and that was more than thirty years ago.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Andrew Davies Talks About the Art of Screenwriting

Here are tips from Andrew Davies on how to adapt literary classics for TV as it appeared in The Telegraph. Andrew was the screenwriter for the 1995 Pride and Prejudice as well as Middlemarch and Little Dorrit, among a host of others:

1. Read the book, or better still, listen to an unabridged recording, and immerse yourself in the characters, the language, the emotions the book calls up in you. You’ll note the high points that simply ask to be dramatised, and also problems that will need addressing.

2. Ask yourself: why this book, and why now? It may simply be that the book (Pride and Prejudice, for example) deals with themes of perennial interest: love, sex, money, class, generational conflict, and so on. But sometimes a particular note will reverberate across decades and even centuries... (South Riding is set in the Thirties, in a recession, with lots of parallels to the situation we are in today.)

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Ghost Map - A Review - London in the Time of Cholera

The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic--and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World
It’s the summer of 1854, and London is seized by a violent outbreak of cholera that no one knows how to stop. As the epidemic spreads, a maverick physician and a local curate are spurred to action, working to solve the most pressing medical riddle of their time. In a triumph of multidisciplinary thinking, Johnson illuminates the intertwined histories of the spread of disease, the rise of cities, and the nature of scientific inquiry, offering both a thrilling account of the most intense cholera outbreak to strike Victorian London and a powerful explanation of how it has shaped the world we live in. Back Jacket of The Ghost Map

Victoria and Albert
 When most of us think of the mid-Victorian Era, we think of Victoria sitting on her throne with her consort, Prince Albert, by her side. Crinolines and low necklines were all the fashion for the women, and facial hair and trousers were the rage for the men. England's elite were dancing the waltz in huge ballrooms under crystal chandeliers lit by candlelight. But in Broad Street in Soho, people were not waltzing, but, instead, were dropping dead in alarming numbers, and no one knew what was killing them.

Friday, February 18, 2011

A Poem by Jane Austen's Niece, Anna Lefroy

With what delight I view each line
Trac’d by the hand I love
Where warm esteem and Grace combine
A feeling heart to move

Then come sweet letter to my breast
Thou’lt find no coldness there
Close to my heart for ever rest
It’s warmth for ever share-

This poem, written in December 1809, is included in The Collected Poems of the Austen Family. Thanks to Austen Author, Jane Odiwe, for finding and sharing this poem.

Have a good weekend. Mary

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Big Day at Austen Authors

Today, Austen Authors is pleased to announce the introduction of our own story board where 23 authors will post their short stories, vignettes, novellas, excerpts, deleted scenes, and more. Please stop by and check it out. We are all very excited about our latest enterprise.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Lots Going on "Out There"

Maria Grazia is conducting a Valentine's Day Poll - WHICH IS THE MOST ROMANTIC AUSTEN FINALE?  at My Jane Austen Book Club. Take the poll and you are eligible for a set of Austen bookmarks. (Thanks to Julia Saulsbury.)

Would you like Matthew Macfadyen to read an excerpt to you from Pride and Prejudice or Greg Wise read an excerpt from Sense and Sensibility? Well, you can have both and more at Carte Noire Readers. (Thanks to Denver at AHA.)

Have you ever been to the Sistine Chapel? If you haven't, this is a good substitute. Zoom in on any part of the chapel and have a closer look. (Thanks to K.C. Derby at AHA.)

Serena at Savvy Verse and Wit is having a giveaway of Michelle Moran's Madame Tussaud. I really enjoyed Michelle's Nefertiti and wrote a review of her novel that you can read here.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Jane Austen Centre in Bath

I received very good news this morning. Two of my novels, as reviewed by Laurel Ann of Austenprose, Searching for Pemberley and The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy, were included in the on-line magazine for the Jane Austen Centre in Bath. Laurel Ann and I became acquainted when she reviewed my first effort in penning a novel, my self-published Pemberley Remembered, the predecessor to a much edited Searching for Pemberley. Her critiques of my work, as well as that of other Austen-inspired writers, have been very helpful in making me a better writer. Here is a brief bio of Laurel Ann:

Searching for PemberleyA life-long acolyte of Jane Austen, Laurel Ann Nattress is the editor of and the forthcoming short story anthology Jane Austen Made Me Do It to be released by Ballantine Books on 11 October, 2011. Classically trained as a landscape designer at California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo, she has also worked in marketing for a Grand Opera company and at present delights in introducing neophytes to the charms of Miss Austen’s prose as a bookseller at Barnes & Noble. An expatriate of southern California, Laurel Ann lives near Seattle, Washington where it rains a lot.

Lots of good things are happening to me out there in Austen World, and this is certainly one of them! Thanks to Laurel Ann and all my readers.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Two New Reviews for The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy and Jane Odiwe's New Release

The Perfect Bride for Mr. DarcyI thought all the reviews were in for The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy, but here are two new ones:

Teresa at Read All Over Reviews: I find this book charming (and not to mention refreshing as I really enjoyed seeing things through the eyes of people who are normally background characters) and I’ll be moving up Mary Lydon Simonsen’s other Austen title on my to-read list as well.

Mr. Darcy's SecretGrace at Books Like Breathing: There were so many things that I love about this book and that I love about all of Simonsen's adaptations. She is a master at the subtle shift in plot that changes everything.


Jane Odiwe has an interview with Meredith at Austenesque Reviews. Special treat: one of Jane's delightful watercolors.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Choosing a Cover - A Guest Post by Jennifer Becton

Off with Her Head!

The Original Portrait

Some people find it off-putting and others think it’s intriguing, but it seems that the most recent trend in book cover design definitely turns heads. (That will be my only lousy pun, I promise.) Take a look around and you will find numerous book covers that feature perfectly good artistically drawn portraits, minus the heads (Mary's new release, for example).

Was this a horrible cropping error by the printer? Or was this a design choice?And if it is a design choice, why in the world would anyone do such a thing?

Charlotte Collins: A Continuation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice
The Final Cover

After using the same portrait to create three different cover options—a traditionally centered portrait, an off-centered portrait, and the beheaded version—for my novel Charlotte Collins: A Continuation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, I polled readers about which one they preferred and why. Readers could write what they liked and did not like about each. Based on the results of my poll, I chose to crop the portrait so that only the lower half of the subject’s head was included. I chose to do this for four reasons.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Beautiful Covers - Part 2

Francois Pascal Simon
Darcy's Voyage: A tale of uncharted love on the open seas (Pride & Prejudice Continues)
One of the biggest advantages of having a publisher is the quality of the covers. With so many Pride and Prejudice re-imaginings, there were bound to be similarities. But there is one lady who has appeared on at least three covers and with good reason: She is beautiful and exquisitely attired, a perfect example of a lady of wealth from the Regency Era, and someone who very easily meets the description of our dark-haired, dark-eyed Elizabeth Bennet. And who is this lovely lady? Juliette Recamier, born in Lyon, France in 1777, "a French society leader, whose salon drew Parisians from the leading literary and political circles of the early 19th century."

Friday, February 4, 2011

Books Now Available on B&N Nook

It took me a while, but my two self-published novels, Anne Elliot, A New Beginning, and The Second Date, Love Italian-American Style. are now available on Barnes & Noble's Nook for $4.99. Wow! $4.99, you say. Well, I can't even eat at McDonald's for $4.99 or go to a movie for that price, but I can get hours of enjoyment for less than $5.00? Now that's a terrific deal!

Reviews for The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy

I like to publish unedited reviews, warts and all, so that any potential readers will know what they are getting when they purchase one of my books. In no particular order, here are the links to bloggers who have reviewed The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy:

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

This and That and a Lot of It

While I have been driving around the country on my blog tour, believe it or not, "stuff" has been going on elsewhere in the world. Here are a few of them:

Julia Saulsbury has started a Facebook page called "A Truth Universally Acknowledged." Julia roams the internet looking for sites of interest to fans of Austen. Here are some of the gems she found:

Downton Abbey, Colin Firth's Success Fuels Austen Fever, Emma Thompson's Funny Acceptance of Golden Globe for Best Screenplay for S&S, and Regency Artist, Thomas Rowlandson.

Julia is also on the alert for news about our favorite Mr. Darcys, Matthew Madfadyen and Colin Firth. If you are a member of Facebook and a fan of Austen, you will want to check it out.

Vic at Jane Austen's World has a post on servant's quarters in Edwardian England as featured in Downton Abbey.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Thank You for Your Support

Yesterday, I completed my blog tour for The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy. I have been all over the map with interviews and blog posts. In addition to meeting several new bloggers and people who were kind enough to leave comments about my interview or post or whatever, I was able to renew acquaintances and visit with old friends. The interaction was rewarding--at least for me.

If I could, I would thank each and every one of you by name. But since I can't, please know how grateful I am that you stopped by. I would also like to thank my high school English teacher, Mrs. Vaccaro, who introduced me to Pride and Prejudice, and members of the Academy... Oh, sorry. That's not my gig. Anyway, it was a blast. How am I going to celebrate? By doing my taxes! What a comedown.

Until next time....