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