Saturday, December 15, 2012

Sense and Sensibility - Location, Location, Location


“In 1795, as Jane Austen was writing Elinor and Marianne, to be revised in 1797 and 1798 as Sense and Sensibility, Britons were experiencing the first financial crisis of Austen’s lifetime, the economic results of a harvest failure of biblical proportions.” Dr. Sheryl Craig in "The Economics of Sense and Sensibility"

This is the opening paragraph of one of the most interesting articles I have ever read about the economics of Jane Austen’s novels. The crop failure mentioned above affected everyone in England, but most especially the poor who were already struggling to get by. A population existing on the edge of starvation looked to benefactors and the government for assistance: “John Dashwood and the Members of Parliament initially promised to provide for those entrusted to their care, and surely it is no coincidence that Austen’s characters and her contemporaries were destined to be disappointed.”

What I did not realize when reading Sense and Sensibility was the importance of “place.” Norland, the Dashwood ancestral home, is located in Sussex. At the time S&S was written, “one in four people living in Sussex were classified as paupers. Another problem was that the taxes collected to aid the poor were being diverted…” and did not reach the poor.

The book's bad boy, John Willoughby, lives in Somerset, “a difficult county for the poor… The wages were low…, and the poor taxes were also low… Perversely, Willoughby is not only a wastrel, he is fully aware of the fact and yet unwilling to curb his excess.”

But there is an entirely different attitude toward the poor in Devon. The recently widowed Mrs. Dashwood and her three daughters are rescued by Sir John Middleton. “The reader’s first clue that Mrs. Dashwood’s relative is a very different kind of man [from her stepson John Dashwood] is the placement of Sir John in Devon. The poor rates of Devon were progressive and above the national average." An example given of the benefits of this progressive attitude toward the poor is that milk, considered a luxury in most of England, was a part of the daily diet of the people of Devonshire.

The people of Jane Austen’s time would have understood that by leaving the stingy John Dashwood and Sussex behind, the fortunes of the Dashwood women would improve in the more generous Devon. The placement of John Willoughby in Somerset was a hint that this man was going to be trouble for Marianne Dashwood.

S&S is all about "place" and possibly "name" as all three men whose lives interact with the Dashwood women are named "John."

I would recommend that you read Dr. Craig's entire essay which is available here.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Writers and Readers: A Partnership


I think authors who write Austen re-imaginings would agree when I say that we have the best fans/friends in the book business. Because of the internet and social media, we are able to share our love of the writings of Jane Austen with people from every part of the globe as if they were our next-door neighbors. Because of this, a symbiotic relationship has developed between writer and reader. Readers rely on the author to provide a compelling, well-written story, while authors are dependent on readers, not just for the purchase of our books, but for telling your friends about a story you have enjoyed.

Because self-published authors are so dependent upon Amazon for their sales, we have to pay attention to what drives book sales on their site, and it has an array of metrics to measure a book’s popularity. For example, below the title on the book’s main Amazon page is a “like” button. Apparently, if you get fifty “likes,” your book is more prominently featured on other Amazon pages. The tags near the very bottom of the page will place your book on other Amazon lists. For instance, Mr. Darcy’s Bite has “tags” for paranormal and Gothic, among others. If the book does well, it will appear on these lists, greatly increasing the chance of a reader finding my book.

This is where the reader plays a huge role in helping an Austen author or any author whose books they buy. If everyone who visited a book’s page clicked on the “like” buttons and the “tags,” it would be a bighelp in bringing that book to the attention of other readers. The insert shows exactly what you can do to help your favorite authors.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Becoming Elizabeth Darcy - Free on Kindle

On November 27, 28, and 29, my time-travel novel, Becoming Elizabeth Darcywill be available for free download on Amazon. Here is description from the back jacket:

In 2011, American Elizabeth Hannigan, suffering from the flu, falls into a coma and wakes up in the bed and body of Elizabeth Bennet Darcy. Beth soon realizes that the only way back to her life in the 21st Century is through the Master of Pemberley, Jane Austen's Fitzwilliam Darcy. But first she must uncover the dark secret that brought her to Pemberley in 1826 in the first place.

Becoming Elizabeth Darcy is a story of love, loyalty, and loss, where a modern woman is called upon to resolve the problems of Jane Austen's most beloved couple. If you are a fan of Lost in Austen, you will enjoy the time-travel novel, Becoming Elizabeth Darcy.


However, you do not have to be a Jane Austen devotee to enjoy Becoming Elizabeth Darcy. Please tell your friends.

A reminder: The sale of the Mr. Darcy's Bite for $1.99 on Nook and Kindle ends on November 30.

A Killing in Kensington, a Patrick Shea mystery, is now available in paperback on Amazon.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Lot's Going On with Mary Simonsen

November and December will be busy months for me personally and as a member of White Soup Press which launches on Monday on Austen Authors:


"... as for the ball, it is quite a settled thing; and as soon as Nicholls has made white soup enough I shall send round my cards."  - Pride & Prejudice

This month has been full of surprises and gifts from Austen Authors to our readers - giveaways, sales and Pride and Prejudice 200  posts for your enjoyment.  Today's surprise is different; it's a present for us, one that's been in the works for many months.  Today is the 201st anniversary of the Netherfield Ball, the perfect day to unveil White Soup Press, a new publishing imprint for the authors who are part of this blog. - Abigail Reynolds

For much, much more on this venture, please visit Austen Authors.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!



I have so much to be grateful for, including my wonderful family. Because of social media, I have met so many terrific people from around the U.S. and the world. This has been such a blessing. Whether you celebrate Thanksgiving or not, know that you are appreciated. I would like to thank Jane Austen for bringing us all together.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Launch of Mr. Darcy Bites Back


Today, I am launching Mr.Darcy Bites Back, the sequel to Mr. Darcy’s Bite on Austen Authors. I will be giving away two e-books for either Nook or Kindle. I hope you will pop on over and enter the giveaway. Winner announced on November 26.

P.S. Mr. Darcy’s Bite is currently on sale on Nook and Kindle for $1.99 for the month of November only. It is also available on Amazon in paperback for only $6.00. These prices WILL go up, so grab a copy or download an e-book today.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Let the Revels Begin

This post was originally posted on Austen Authors by Abigail Reynolds.
November is a very special month at Austen Authors!
You are cordially invited to attend 
the 200th anniversary of the wedding of
Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy to Miss Elizabeth Bennet
& Mr. Charles Bingley to Miss Jane Bennet  
Naturally, this means LOTS and LOTS of P&P200 vignettes – so many that during the entire month of November we’re cancelling our regular daily post to make room for daily P&P200 and wedding-related posts. THIS is the event we have been working toward since our inaugural P&P200 post on September 18, 2011.
As of today, there have been 117 P&P200 behind-the-scenes vignettes. All of them can be read, in order, either by clicking anyP&P200 icon (start on the last page), or on The Writer’s Block P&P200 Board. This month alone we have over 40 additional P&P200 blogs planned surrounding the November 16 nuptials. WOW! You won’t want to miss a single day!
Here is a mere sampling of what is in store for your reading pleasure–
Colonel Fitzwilliam learns of Darcy’s engagement
Lydia complains that she can’t come to the wedding
Mrs. Bennet’s advice for the wedding night
Mr. and Mrs. Collins marriage
The Longbourn ladies go shopping in London
Lady Catherine & Anne de Bourgh talk about the wedding
Caroline Bingley explains it all
Darcy & Elizabeth’s last walk before the wedding
The wedding!
The wedding nights of the Bingleys & the Darcys
Numerous reflections of the wedding
~~and so much more~~ 

Friday, November 2, 2012

New Cover for For All the Wrong Reasons

I am happy to unveil my new cover for my Pride and Prejudice re-imagining, For All the Wrong Reasons. A few months ago, I purchased a book cover program, and I'm finally learning how to use it! I hope you like it, and if you do, that you will let me know. Here is the blurb from the back jacket:

For All the Wrong Reasons - A Novella - Pemberley, the Darcy estate, is entailed away from the female line. When Fitzwilliam Darcy learns that Peter Grayson, the prospective heir, is to marry Caroline Bingley, he realizes that he must quickly find a wife so that he might have a son. But will Elizabeth Bennet agree to a loveless marriage, and if so, will she marry for all the wrong reasons? This novella explores Darcy and Elizabeth's path to a happily-ever-after ending.

Also don't forget that Mr. Darcy's Bite is on sale on Amazon and Nook for the month of November for $1.99. This title is owned by Sourcebooks, so when the sale is over, it's over for good.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Mr. Darcy's Bite E-Book on Sale - $1.99

Exclusively for the month of October, Mr. Darcy's Bite will be available on Nook and Kindle for only $1.99. If you would like to listen to an excerpt, please visit Jakki's Leatherbound Reviews.

Available on Amazon
Available on Nook

Monday, October 29, 2012

Newark Star Ledger - Review of Mr. Darcy's Bite

This review of Mr. Darcy's Bite from the Newark Star Ledger (New Jersey's largest newspaper) is a year old, but because Halloween comes around once a year, I thought I would rerun it. This review is particularly gratifying because the Newark Star Ledger was the paper my family read every Sunday when I was growing up in North Jersey. It had a TV guide before there was a TV Guide, and my sisters and I would fight over the insert to see what movies would be showing that week.

Now, where was  I? Oh, yes, the review. Here it is in its entirety.


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.
Newark Star Ledger: Five Books You Will Be Able to Sink Your Teeth Into by Elizabeth Willse
Mr. Darcy's Bite is available from: Amazon and Barnes and Noble


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Mr. Darcy's Bite - $6.00 on Amazon

Mr. Darcy's Bite is now available in paperback for $6.00 and qualifies for Amazon's super saving shipping discount. This is cheaper than the e-book price! These promotions come and go without warning, so now is the time to buy Mr. Darcy's Bite--just in time for Halloween.

Available from Amazon

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Launch and Giveaway of A Killing in Kensington


Today, I am launching A Killing in Kensington, the second mystery in the Patrick Shea series. Here is the blurb from Amazon:

Detective Sergeant Patrick Shea of London's Metropolitan Police and his new partner, Detective Chief Inspector Tommy Boyle, have been handed a high-profile murder case. In the penthouse of Kensington Tower, playboy Clifton Trentmore lay dead with his head bashed in, and the investigation reveals a man who was loathed by both sexes. With too few clues and too many suspects, Shea and Boyle must determine who hated Trentmore enough to kill him. But as Patrick digs deeper, he finds his suspects have secrets of their own.If you enjoy Law and Order UK, you will enjoy A Killing in Kensington.


To celebrate the launch, I am giving away two e-books, either Kindle or Nook. All you have to do is leave a comment and an e-mail address where I can contact you by Sunday, October 14. Winners will be announced on October 15.

To whet your appetite, her is an excerpt from Chapter 2:

Patrick studied the profile of the prostrate Trentmore. The dead man was in his early to mid fifties, tall, lean, with a full head of dyed blond hair and sagging jowls. When struck, he had been holding a whiskey glass that went flying through space, emptying its content onto the wood floor. A formal dinner jacket, hung over the back of the couch, indicated that the victim had been out at some time during the evening. After removing his shoes and opening his tie, he had poured himself a drink in preparation for settling in for the evening, but that was when the killer had come calling.
“Who found the body?” Patrick asked a detective constable standing behind him.
“Diane Namur, the chief financial officer of Trentmore World Imports,” Detective Constable Jane Millard said, handing Patrick Miss Namur’s business card.
“Where is Miss Namur?” Patrick asked, looking around the flat.
Wearing an uncomfortable look, DC Millard explained that because Miss Namur had been sick in the loo, she had been allowed to leave after agreeing to an interview the next day.
“Miss Namur couldn’t stop crying, sobbing actually, very near hysterical,” the constable explained. “She kept saying ‘no,’ ‘no,’ ‘no,’ over and over, and then she got sick. It seems she had stepped in the victim’s blood. We believe those are her shoeprints in the blood trail.”
“Did you get the shoes?”
“Yes, and they’ve been bagged and tagged by SOCO. Before leaving, she told us how she found the body, but anything else…,” she said, shaking her head. “It just wasn’t possible. But we were able to get hold of Trentmore’s driver, Charles Wyatt. I spoke with him thirty minutes ago, and he’s on his way here.”
“Thank you, DC Millard,” Patrick said, smiling. He wanted to reassure her that her decision to allow Miss Namur to leave had been the right one. Vomiting witnesses were rarely helpful. “We’ll contact Miss Namur in the morning.”

Monday, October 8, 2012

Last Chance for Free E-book

On October 8 and October 9, Three's A Crowd, my British mystery, will be available on Kindle for free download. Otherwise, it is a whopping .99. This novella is an introduction to my character, Patrick Shea, a police detective who wants to be on a murder investigation team at Scotland Yard. Here's the blurb from Amazon:


In Three’s A Crowd, we are introduced to Patrick Shea, a young detective sergeant with the Hampden Criminal Investigation Department, whose career is being fast-tracked by the Metropolitan Police in London. With an eye to an appointment with a murder investigation team at New Scotland Yard, Shea is doing everything by the book. Unfortunately, his love life is a bit of a mess and gets messier when he learns his former lover, Annie Jameson, has been assaulted on someone else’s patch. Will Shea’s involvement in the under-the-radar investigation of his ex-girlfriend put his career in jeopardy and possibly her life as well?

If you are a fan of the television series Law & Order UK, you will enjoy Three’s A Crowd. This novella is the first in the Patrick Shea Mystery Series.

Included is Chapter 1 of the second Patrick Shea mystery, A Killing in Kensington.


On Wednesday, I will launch the second Patrick Shea mystery series on this blog.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Amazon Review for Darcy Goes to War

One of the advantages of being a writer of Austen re-imaginings is that you get to meet so many wonderful people from all around the world. The review below was written by a young lady who lives in the UK. I have greatly enjoyed getting to know her. It is especially gratifying because my friend is British, and this novel is a tribute to her countrymen.

I loved this book. It was well written as you would expect from the genius that is Mary Lydon Simonsen.


I loved the detail in the book and the locations used. I would have loved to see Elizabeth see Pemberley for the first time and meet Georgiana. The other sisters were well developed and it was good to see another side of them. Darcy and Elizabeth's relationship was beautifully developed and the real danger that the bomber pilots faced really came across as well as the hardships faced by the women left behind. The little trips they made really made me want to find the love that they share. I would love to see a sequel to it.


Mary Lydon Simonsen is one of my favourite authors and will remain so for many years to come. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a twist on that classic story. (5 Stars)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Meet the Greatest Generation - My Family

During World War II, everyone pitched in. If you were a farmer, you worked longer and harder to grow more food for civilians and the military. If you were a miner, you dug more coal. If you were a little kid, you collected rubber and metal and saved aluminum gum wrappers. Women moved in droves to Washington to work as clerk typists, including my Mom, for the princely sum of $1,440 per year.  But if you were a male between the ages of 18 and 35, there's a good chance you were in uniform. From left to right: Uncle Joe, Aunt Mim, Uncle Tom, Aunt Ann, and friend.


Uncle Joe was on Omaha Beach on D-Day and Uncle Tom was on the USS Pompoon that was sunk off of Cuba. He survived, but most of his shipmates didn't. Aunt Mim and Aunt Ann worked as clerks in Washington. After the war, Mim went to work for the State Department in Berlin where she met her husband who had fought in a tank in the Battle of the Bulge. My father's cousin, Patrick Faherty, died when his ship was sunk off the Carolinas. Unfortunately, there is no picture of him. These are just a few of the dozens of pictures I have of my family's contribution to the war effort.

Uncle John (fifth from left) on Omaha Beach
D-Day +1

Uncle Joe (top left) with his crew on a B-17 bomber
Mom getting ready to leave Minooka, PA for
a job in Baltimore with defense contractor, Bendix
When she married my dad, she moved to D.C.
Aunt Mim in Berlin




Uncle Bobby - Army Air Corps




Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Paperback of Darcy Goes to War Now Available

The paperback for Darcy Goes to War is now available at Amazon for $8.95. It takes awhile for a paperback title to connect to the e-book page, so if you are interested in buying the paperback, you may want to use this link.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Lancaster Bomber - Darcy Goes to War

In Darcy Goes to War, Fitzwilliam Darcy is the pilot of a Lancaster, the premier bomber of the Royal Air Force. There is an interesting article with pictures on World War II Today which commemorates events that happened 70 years ago today during the Second World War. Darcy is a fictional character. This is the story of the real heroes who flew these missions.

Below is a photograph of a Lancaster bomber.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

So little time...: Review and GIVEAWAY: Darcy Goes to War

So little time...: Review and GIVEAWAY: Darcy Goes to War By Mary Lyd...: World War II is a time in history that has always interest me.  It was a time when so many people band together to fight for a cause... For more of the review, please visit Candy's blog.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Rosemary Clooney - I'll Be Seeing You



In Darcy Goes to War, Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy have a favorite song, I'll Be Seeing You, which was a huge hit during World War II. The lovely Rosemary Clooney (George's aunt), a mega star in the 40s and 50s, sings it here. Thanks to Angie Kroll for finding it on youtube.com. I dedicate it to my Mom and the entire World War II generation.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Launch of Mr. Darcy Goes to War and WWII Posters


Tomorrow, I am officially launching my newest Pride and Prejudice re-imagining, Darcy Goes to War on Austen Authors. Be sure to stop by for a chance to win one paperback or one e-book copy of my novel.

For me, the hardest part of publishing a book is creating the covers. Because I like to keep my prices as low as possible, I do not hire a cover designer, but with the help of my daughter, I do the covers myself. And that is why I am so proud of the cover for Darcy Goes to War! But a great cover is only as good as the image an author uses which is why I was so fortunate to find that the National Archives in Britain recently released dozens of World War II posters into the public domain. The poster I used, Barrage Balloons Over the Thames, is by artist Eve Kirk.

There is so much to see in this picture. The barrage balloons tell you that this is a country at war. Hundreds of balloons soared above London for the purpose of entangling Luftwaffe bombers or to snare the V-1 and V-2 rockets launched in 1944 and 1945. Despite the German air raids, the cranes, warehouses, and bustle of the ships show the port of London is alive and well, and the undamaged Tower Bridge represents the will of the British people to fight on. An aura of calm is created by the pastel palette. In my opinion, Ms. Kirk succeeded in putting on canvas a country that is fighting for its survival, but a nation that will prevail.

To see more British posters from World War II, click here.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Celebrate Labor Day - Thank a Worker



I am the great granddaughter of four coal miners, all Irish immigrants, who worked in the hard-coal country of eastern Pennsylvania. Two of them were killed in roof falls, and one died of pneumonia in his thirties. Both of my grandfathers worked at the coal breaker picking slate out of the coal chutes before they were 12. My father graduated with honors from the University of Scranton and worked in an office near Wall Street. From despair to success in three generations. Celebrate labor!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Free Kindle E-book Three's A Crowd

On August 28 and 29, Three's A Crowd, my first mystery, will be available on Kindle for FREE! Tell your maw, tell your paw, tell everyone down in Arkansaw. In other words, I hope you will spread the word. This is very helpful to someone who is trying to break into a new genre. Thanks. Mary

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Review: The English, Portrait of a People


In Jeremy Paxman’s The English, A Portrait of aPeople, the author attempts to establish a national identity for the English, not British, people. With their Celtic roots, he argues that the Welsh and Scots have a strong “national” identity. The Welsh have managed to hold on to their language and their songs while the Scots have their bagpipes, Parliament, legal system, and field their own football teams in World Cup competitions. So what about the English?

Paxman traces the history of the British stereotype, beginning with the obese, meat-eating, ale-drinking John Bull in the 18th Century followed by the stiff-upper-lipped Englishman of the 19th and early 20th Centuries. The latter stereotype is the result of the British public (private in the U.S.) school system in which boys are treated badly as a matter of course, made to eat vile or tasteless food, and are expected to just “take it.” Their training served them well in the two world wars. But what about their 21st century identity? That is the essence of the book.

For 266 pages, Paxman wanders the country in search of a national identity for the English, and in some cases, with amusing results. An editor and uber patriot, Roy Faiers, contends that you don’t have “to be English to be English.” “The actor James Stewart was an American, but he has Englishness.” By the time you get to the end of the book, you still have no sense of who a late 20th-Century Englishman is (other than he loves football and prefers lager). But in a country as ethnically diverse as England, is it even possible?

In the U.S., I have lived in the Northeast, Mid Atlantic, Southwest, and Texas (which is its own region). In Arizona, many of my friends are from the Midwest—refugees from the region's harsh winters. I can tell you that, like the English, it is difficult to say what a typical American is like. There are generalities: we are very patriotic and more religious than most Western nations, but you only have to look at our politics to see the great divide.

Although I enjoyed Paxman’s book, I was looking for something to hold on to—a Eureka moment where Paxman would reveal the true Englishman, but it never came. And so I ambled along. Because it was written 14 years ago, it is dated. But even in 1998, Paxman came up with very little to show for his efforts to find an English persona. I would think his task would be impossible today.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Three's A Crowd Giveaway Opportunities

There are two giveaways going on for my mystery, Three's A Crowd. Maria Grazia is hosting the giveaway of two Kindle e-books on her blog Fly High that ends on August 15. Your chances of winning are excellent!

I am hosting a giveaway of a paperback copy of Three's A Crowd on Goodreads that will end on August 17. I have received nine four or five-star reviews which thrills me to no end because this is my first mystery.

If you can't wait, and who could blame you, the e-book is available on Amazon for .99. Here's a summary:

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Thank You!

Yesterday was a big day for me. On Kindle, my first mystery, Three's A Crowd, could be downloaded for free. Why would I just give my book away? Mostly because few people knew that, in addition to my Jane Austen re-imaginings, I am also a mystery writer. (I can say that now!) It was the only way I had to get the word out. So after posting a notice on Facebook, I crossed my fingers hoping my friends would help me out. And, boy, did they! Three's A Crowd landed in Kindle's Top 50 for mysteries and Top Ten for Police Procedurals for free Kindles on 8/1/12. I've already seen a boost in sales. Most importantly, I was able to let my friends in the UK know that I have written a British Police Procedural!

As a way of thanking all you lovely people, I am giving away two paperback copies of Three's A Crowd. All you have to do is leave a comment here on my blog (with e-mail address please) or on Facebook or send me an e-mail at quailcreekpub@hotmail.com.

Hugs to all!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

FREE - Three's A Crowd on Kindle

Today my mystery, Three's A Crowd, is available for FREE on Kindle. I hope you will download it and meet my character, Detective Sergeant Patrick Shea of Scotland Yard. Even if you don't like mysteries, you can still download it and share it with a friend. I would appreciate it so much, especially if you share its release with your friends. Here's the blurb from the back jacket:


In Three’s A Crowd, we are introduced to Patrick Shea, a young detective sergeant with the Hampden Criminal Investigation Department, whose career is being fast-tracked by the Metropolitan Police in London. With an eye to an appointment with a murder investigation team at New Scotland Yard, Shea is doing everything by the book. Unfortunately, his love life is a bit of a mess and gets messier when he learns his former lover, Annie Jameson, has been assaulted on someone else’s patch. Will Shea’s involvement in the under-the-radar investigation of his ex-girlfriend put his career in jeopardy and possibly her life as well?

If you are a fan of the television series Law & Order UK, you will enjoy Three’s A Crowd. This novella is the first in the Patrick Shea Mystery Series.

Thanks to everyone for their support! Mary

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Rear of Charles I's Horse


When you see a road sign that says X miles to Salt Lake City or Toronto, do you wonder exactly where that spot is in Salt Lake or Toronto? If you have ever been curious about London and Paris, I can tell you where they are.

According to London Remembers, the backside of Charles’s horse “serves as the centre of London for the purposes of measuring distances.  Key “London” into Google Maps and this is where the pin is plonked. Also, supposedly, the street numbering convention is that the low numbers in a street should be at the end closest to this spot—a rule much observed in the breach.”




Saturday, July 21, 2012

Book Review - Daughter of Time


It’s been awhile since I wrote a book review, but I just loved The Daughter of Time. It has a lot of things going for it: It was published the year I was born (1951), it is history driven, and it is short (just like my attention span of late).

The mystery begins with Detective Inspector Grant of Scotland Yard laid up in the hospital with a broken leg. Supremely bored, a friend brings him museum postcards with portraits of famous historical characters who have mysteries connected with them (e.g., Louis XVII, the son of the guillotined Louis XVI - did he survive his imprisonment in the Concierge during the French Revolution?). Inspector Grant settles on the portrait of Richard III, the English king everyone loves to hate—thanks in large part to Shakespeare.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

For All the Wrong Reasons Goes Live - Again

As I mentioned in an earlier post, after reading comments from readers, I decided to revise For All the Wrong Reasons. The novella is now 2,000 words longer (approx. 27,000 words), and I think D&E's love story is fully developed. Why didn't I turn it into a full-fledged novel (40,000+ words)? Here's why. If you change the page count more than 10%, you have to get a new ISBN number, the reason being, you basically have a different book. In my opinion, adding a lot new text would be very confusing to readers. They might very well think they are getting an entirely different story. I decided not to go that route because the last thing I want is unhappy readers.

I feel confident that the novella is a fully-realized love story and probably my most provocative Pride and Prejudice re-imagining. Thanks for sticking with me. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Mr. Darcy Doesn't Get It - Chapter 1


This post previously appeared on Austen Authors.
It’s the dog days of summer and much too hot to read–or write–anything serious. Below is the first chapter from a short story/novella/novel I have been working on for about a year. In the story, Austen expert, Chris O’Malley, meets the very real Mr. Darcy at a convention in Baltimore in 2011. Why is Mr. Darcy there? Because back in the Regency Era, the master of Pemberley is in hot water with Elizabeth Bennet. Not only did he insult her at the Meryton assembly, but he messed up the timeline for Pride and Prejudice. If he can’t convince Chris O’Malley to help him, he is in danger of losing the girl.
Chapter 1
Before going on stage, Chris took one last look in the mirror of the ladies’ room of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor Hotel. She was nervous enough without having to worry about unruly hair and badly applied lipstick. The previous year, while appearing on a panel discussing Regency fashion, a woman in the audience had challenged Chris’s use of the word couturier in an article she had written for a Regency Era magazine three years earlier. The correct term wasmodiste as couturier would not be coined until the Edwardian Age. Chris had caught the mistake herself, but not before the magazine had gone to press. Like a dog worrying a bone, her inquisitor wouldn’t let it go, waving the offending article in her hand with religious-like fervor.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Connections - Jane Austen and Three's A Crowd

Three's A Crowd is now available to Amazon Kindle Prime members for free. Please check it out.

Last week, I posted a part of an Amazon review from William Curnutt, an Amazon Top 1000 Reviewer, but there was more to the story. William is the husband of Austen Author Kara Louise. Kara and I were "chatting" by e-mail when she told me about William and Amazon. I asked if he read mysteries, and then I was sorry I did because I had put her on the spot. So I didn't say anything else, hoping she would forget I had asked. But then I was pleasantly surprised to find out that William had read my mystery and really enjoyed it. This was particularly gratifying because William is a former volunteer police chaplain, and I'll let him tell you about it. Here's the review in full:

My wife has gotten to know Mary Simonsen through her Jane Austen fan fiction writing. When Mary came out with this novel my wife suggested that I read it and provide a review as an encouragement to Mary. My fear was whether I would like the book or not, I didn't want to give a bad review :)

I was very pleasantly pleased with the Novel. Detective Patrick Shea provides us with a solid British Police Detective who is compassionate, loyal, strong willed and frankly, good at his job. Along with his partner Molly they provide a great dual of police work.

Friday, July 6, 2012

An Embarrassment of Riches


Authors love reviews. There’s nothing like a four or five-star review to brighten up a writer’s day. This is especially true of books that have been around for a while. In the past two weeks, I have received some terrific reviews for an older novel and short story and a new release. As a result, I am experiencing an embarrassment of riches.

The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy by Luthien at My Love for Jane Austen – 5 Stars:

I highly recommend any books written by Mary as it is truly an engaging read. My only regret is that I should have read [The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy] rather than waiting for more than a year later. I am looking forward to Mary’s next novel which is A Wife for Mr. Darcy.

Read Luthien’s full review here.

The Language of the Fan by Kimberly at Reflections of a Book Addict – 4 Stars:

Simonsen always leaves me wanting more, and that’s exactly how I felt upon completing The Language of the Fan.

Read Kimberly’s full review here.

Three’s A Crowd by Cinta Garcia at Cinta’s Corner – 4 Stars:

The characters are quite realistic. You feel you can meet them in the streets and have a chat with them. They have well-developed personalities… You really can get an image of them in your mind. A very enjoyable reading, I recommend it to everybody who likes a good mystery. I am already waiting for the next installment of Patrick Shea’s adventures.

Read Cinta’s full review here.

Three’s A Crowd by William Curnutt, Amazon Top 1000 Reviewer – 4 Stars - William is a former volunteer police chaplain:

What I enjoyed most is that the crimes that Detective Shea was solving were not heinous, they were not vicious, they were the everyday small items that police officers handle all the time… But Mary wrote the story in such a way as to draw you in, give you enough excitement to keep you turning the pages and enough reality to make you want to see a good outcome for both Detective Shea and his one time girlfriend.

This is a great story and I look forward to reading more Detective Shea novels…. If you know any police officers, you might give them this book as a gift because they will "Get It" as they read Three’s A Crowd.

Read William Curnutt’s full review here.

It’s been a great two weeks. J

Friday, June 29, 2012

Anne Elliot - I'm a Tweaker

I wrote my novel, Anne Elliot, A New Beginning, about two and a half years ago. Since that time, I think I have improved as a writer. So when I went to update the back of the book where I post my "bio" and "other books by Mary Simonsen," I decided to reread the book. And the tweaking began. Although the story remains unchanged, it is tighter and more compact--not an unnecessary word in my retelling of Anne Elliot's story.

This novel is a unique Persuasion re-imagining in that Anne Elliot is a jogger. Yes, a jogger! Once she has been declared to be a spinster by her family, she decides to set off in a new direction. The confidence she gains from becoming a long-distance runner changes her life and the lives of everyone around her, including Captain Frederick Wentworth.

To reintroduce my novel to my readers, I have put the newly edited book on Kindle and Nook for $1.59. If you haven't read my story, I hope you will have a look.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Winner of Three's A Crowd

The winner of an e-book copy of Three's A Crowd is Suzan. Thank you to everyone who celebrated the release of my first mystery with me. I really appreciate it. Mary

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Three's A Crowd - Excerpt and Giveaway

Today, I have a post on Austen Authors to celebrate the release of my first mystery, Three's a Crowd in which I am interviewed by none other than the great one herself, Jane Austen. I hope you will stop by for a visit. 

From the back jacket: In Three’s A Crowd, we are introduced to Detective Sergeant Patrick Shea, a rising young star at the Hampden Station Criminal Investigation Department, and someone whose career is being fast tracked by the Metropolitan Police in London. With his eye on an appointment to a Murder Investigation Team with New Scotland Yard, Shea is doing everything by the book. Unfortunately, Patrick’s love life is a bit of a mess and gets messier when he learns that his former lover, Annie Jameson, has been assaulted on someone else’s patch. Will his involvement in the under-the-radar investigation of the attack on his ex-girlfriend put his career in jeopardy and possibly her life as well?

Below is an excerpt from Three’s A Crowd. If you leave a comment, you will be entered in a giveaway for a Kindle e-book of my mystery. BE SURE TO LEAVE YOUR E-MAIL ADDRESS.  No e-mail address - no can win. The winner will be announced on June 25.

Chapter 4
As soon as his shift was over, Patrick drove to see Annie at Queen Mary’s Hospital, an ugly box of a building set down in the middle of Putney near Roehampton University. Before going up to her room, he bought a bouquet of flowers from the hospital gift shop, little changed from the last time he had visited it when he was stationed at Renwick. As a detective constable, he had spent untold hours in the accident and emergency room interviewing victims of car accidents, assault, and domestic violence or taking statements from young people who had gone out on a lash, drinking nearly toxic levels of alcohol. While he waited for the medical staff to finish treating the victim and/or suspect, Patrick passed the time by flirting with the nurses, counting on his reddish-blond hair and blue eyes to draw their attention. The endless hours coppers spent sitting in an A and E waiting room were the reasons why so many of them married nurses.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Giveaway and Guest Post on English Historical Authors

I hope you will join me at English Historical Authors where I have a guest post on the history of Scotland Yard as a way of celebrating the release of my first mystery, Three's A Crowd. I will be giving away two Kindle e-books. So please stop by and enter. Thanks.

Friday, June 8, 2012

First Review for Three's A Crowd!


From So Little Time...:

Mary Simonsen has stepped out of the Austen world and into a modern English detective story with Three's a Crowd...  It’s a modern, edgy mystery that I thoroughly enjoyed!
Detective Sergeant Patrick Shea is one hot copper! He works for the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in London's Metropolitan Police... 

I adore Patrick Shea! He’s cute, with a smile that would get him almost anything...at least from the ladies, but I didn’t find him at all cocky, just a genuine good-guy. He also has a good sense of humor which is a good thing because with his good-looks and that charming smile, the guys at the station (or nick as it’s called) often found something to poke fun at him with, especially after he receives a rose from a burglar that he has just captured! 
Three's a Crowd is a novella meant to introduce us to Patrick Shea. That does not mean it is lacking in any way; it felt complete. There are a few side stories (routine cases), which keep the story moving along as the main story builds. I found I really enjoyed getting to know Patrick and the rest of the characters in this story. I am looking forward to reading more in this series! 

To read the complete review, please visit Candy's blog, So Little Time...

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Mystery Debut - I'm So Excited

Today is a big day for me. I launch my first mystery, Three's A Crowd, A Patrick Shea Mystery, on Candy Morton's blog, So Little Time... where I will be giving away two Kindle e-books. I've wanted to write a mystery for decades. (Yes, I'm old enough to say "decades.") I will also be giving away two e-books on English Historical Fiction Authors on June 15, and later in the month, on my own blog, so stay tuned. If you can't wait for a giveaway, Three's A Crowd is available in e-book format on Amazon for only .99! I couldn't price it any lower because Amazon won't let me. I hope you will give it a try.

Available on Amazon Kindle

Friday, June 1, 2012

Bath - Where Classical Architecture Meets the Druids


During my parade of the Circus in Bath, I met Thomas, a historian who leads tours of the ancient Roman city. He was a fountain of information, including the fact that The Circus was meant to represent the sun while The Crescent was representative of the moon. When I got home, I looked it up. Here is what I learned from The Heritage Journal.

Bath is famed for its neo-classical architecture but what underpins the thinking of the 18th century architect John Wood the Elder when he drew the designs for The Circus is a strange mish-mash of legend and myth, this of course is the age of the new ‘druidism’ that took hold when such figures as William Stukeley called such places as Stonehenge the Druidical Temple.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Visit to Jane Austen Centre in Bath


Paul and Bath Guide
I arrived at the Jane Austen Centre in Bath on a day where it was umbrella up and umbrella down, umbrella up and umbrella down, etc. It was getting late in the day, and the tours had just ended. This is pretty much how my husband and I travel. We have not toured some of the best known tourist sites in the world. An example: When we were in Paris in 1985, it was Memorial Day weekend, just as in the States. We did not know that everything shuts down in France for the holiday, including the Louvre, Musee d’Orsay, etc. It was suggested by a French woman that we visit the Arch de Triomphe where the U.S. Air Force band would be playing. Ah, the irony! (We did visit these sites on our most recent trip. We only had to wait 27 years!)

But back to the Centre. With their doors closing, I only had time to thank the greeter at the door, a handsome man dressed from top hat to Hessian boots, who is possibly the most photographed man in England. We picked up a map of locations of Bath’s great sites and the houses in which Austen had lived (one of them right down the street as it turns out). In looking around the gift shop, we noticed that the Centre was not averse to promoting the film and television adaptations of Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, etc. Colin Firth was everywhere, including his portrait as Mr. Darcy.