The winners of the e-books for When They Fall in Love are Karana and Maria. I will be contacting you shortly to get your information. Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway and for leaving comments. I really enjoyed reading about where you would like to meet Mr. Darcy. Paris and the Lake District were high on the list. If you would like another opportunity to win an e-book, please visit Candy Morton’s blog, So Little Time. She will be hosting a giveaway of When They Fall in Love this week. The paperback version will be available the last week of April.
P.S. Karana, would you please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. The e-mail address I have for you does not work. Thanks.
Welcome to the launch of my latest Pride and Prejudice re-imagining, When They Fall in Love, published in collaboration with White Soup Press. Here is a brief description of the story:
Spring of 1814 – Fitzwilliam Darcy proposes to Elizabeth Bennet at the Hunsford Parsonage, but his offer of marriage is rejected.
Spring of 1821 – A recently widowed Fitzwilliam Darcy has taken up residence with his six-year-old daughter, Alexandra, at a villa in the hills above Florence and invites Charles and Jane Bingley and their daughter to come for a visit. Included in the invitation is Elizabeth Bennet, who has taken on the responsibility of governess for her niece, Cassandra Bingley.
In the intervening years, Elizabeth’s opinion of the Master of Pemberley has altered greatly, but has Darcy’s opinion of Elizabeth changed? After all, he married another and fathered a child. Will they be able to put their troubled history behind them? When They Fall in Love is set against the background of the greatest city of the Renaissance, a perfect place to start over.
To celebrate my unveiling, I asked Miss Jane Austen if she would like to interview me, and the gracious lady, descending from her heavenly perch, agreed.
Jane: First, congratulations on your release of When They Fall in Love. I am sure you are as excited as I was when I first published Sense and Sensibility in 1811.
Mary: I always get butterflies in my stomach when I click the “publish” button, and the book goes live.
Jane: I have no idea what that means, but that is neither here nor there. From the list of your published novels, it is obvious that your particular favorite is Pride and Prejudice. Continue reading →
I recently completed the third draft of my next Jane Austen re-imagining, When They Fall in Love, but before diving into the next round of edits, I decided to re-read Pride and Prejudice cover to cover for the fourth time, and I opted for the annotated edition edited by Patricia Meyer Spacks. After finishing the book, I realized that this story is so rich in nuance that it would take a dozen readings to fully appreciate Austen’s work.
While reading the now familiar text, the editor pointed out a few things that I had failed to notice in my first three readings. For example, did you know Mr. Darcy’s uncle was a judge or that Wickham’s father was a solicitor before becoming steward at Pemberley? We all know that Mrs. Phillips was a gossip, but did you know that by offering a hot supper at one of her gatherings (cold suppers were now the norm) and by allowing her guests to play the card game lottery tickets, a rather noisy game, that she was displaying her vulgarity? How about this gem: Buried in Austen’s beautiful prose are hints that Sir Lewis de Bourgh was a parvenu. Why? Rosings Park was not old enough to have been passed down from generation to generation. How do you like them apples, Lady Catherine?
But then there was a show stopper—something I had missed entirely. From Chapter 33:
MORE than once did Elizabeth in her ramble within the Park, unexpectedly meet Mr. Darcy. She felt all the perverseness of the mischance that should bring him where no one else was brought; and to prevent its ever happening again, took care to inform him at first that it was a favourite haunt of hers. How it could occur a second time, therefore, was very odd! Yet it did, and even a third. It seemed like wilful ill-nature, or a voluntary penance, for on these occasions it was not merely a few formal enquiries and an awkward pause and then away, but he actually thought it necessary to turn back and walk with her. He never said a great deal, nor did she give herself the trouble of talking or of listening much; but it struck her in the course of their third rencontre that he was asking some odd unconnected questions—about her pleasure in being at Hunsford, her love of solitary walks, and her opinion of Mr. and Mrs. Collins’s happiness; and that in speaking of Rosings, and her not perfectly understanding the house, he seemed to expect that whenever she came into Kent again she would be staying there too.* His words seemed to imply it. Could he have Colonel Fitzwilliam in his thoughts? She supposed, if he meant any thing, he must mean an allusion to what might arise in that quarter. It distressed her a little, and she was quite glad to find herself at the gate in the pales opposite the Parsonage. Continue reading →
Have you ever felt that everyone is more talented than you? I have lived in four states (NJ, TX, MD, and AZ), and in each of them, I had an uber talented friend. Their capabilities ranged from laying tile to sewing a ball gown that was prettier than Belle’s in The Beauty and the Beast.
When I was growing up in New Jersey, I lived in a two-bedroom apartment with seven other people. There was neither the money nor space to develop some latent talent. I guess I could have learned to play the flute, but my sisters would have probably ripped it out of my pudgy hands. When I married Paul, I found that my husband was handyman extraordinaire. In our 36 years together, we have had only one serviceman in our house, and that was to fix the refrigerator. When my girls were little, I once made birthday cupcakes that looked like carousels. I put four cut-up straws into the cupcake, topped it off with a chocolate chip cookie, and stuck a little horse into the center of the cake. When people admired my efforts, I was thrilled. This was actually a big deal for me.
Being surrounded by talented people can give you an inferiority complex. With the advent of the home computer, I noticed that I was getting more and more computer-generated birthday and Christmas cards, and they were all so darn clever (especially you Janeites—you make great Christmas cards). In recent years, people have started to self-publish their novels, and some of their covers were gorgeous. Because I was now self-publishing my own stories, I decided to give it a try. Ugh! The program was so difficult, and I had no sense of color or placement or fill in the blank. What emerged were some pretty basic covers. But then I said, “Listen, Mary, you can do this. Read the directions!” And so I spent hours learning the ins and outs of my cover program. Voila! I found that I could make a pretty decent cover. I was so pleased with Darcy Goes to War that I went back and redid a lot of my covers. My latest effort is for my upcoming novel, When They Fall in Love, a Pride and Prejudice re-imagining where Elizabeth and Darcy meet in Italy several years after his failed proposal at Hunsford.
I hope you like the cover for When They Fall in Love. The novel should launch sometime in March. So what are your talents? Did they come easily or, like me, did you have to really go at it? I would love to hear from you.
Happy New Year!
Sharon Lathan, one of our fearless leaders, does all the scheduling for Austen Authors. In addition to scheduling monthly posts for twenty-one writers, there are also book launches and the various blog anniversaries to set up. Trust me. It’s a lot of work. Usually, the date I get is the date I get, and it always works out. But I was particularly pleased when I found that my post was scheduled for my granddaughter’s ninth birthday.
Prior to the arrival of my two-year old grandson, Kaelyn was my only grandchild. I was there when she was born. She lived with me until she was a year old. Meg, Kaelyn, and I drove to Texas from Arizona to visit my sisters when she was just a toddler so that we could show her off to the family. My husband and I took her to Disneyland, Legoland, the San Diego Zoo, and a safari park. We helped her build her first snowman, which is an experience for a child living in the desert part of Arizona. When I threw a snowball at her, she put her hands on her hips and told me, “Grandma, That was rude!” She spends half her summer in our pool. Kaelyn and Skyler are my heart’s delight.
The end of one year and the start of another is the perfect time to count one’s blessings, and so here are mine: My husband Paul, who keeps the heart rate up even after 36 years of marriage, my daughters Meg and Kate, two delightful girls who became caring women, my son-in-law Brian, who loves Meg and their children and is terrific to his in-laws, my four surviving sisters, who are rock solid, and always there when I need them, my church, my friends, my internet friends, and my readers. Thanks for the memories. I look forward to more. Happy New Year!
What are your blessings? I hope you will share. Continue reading →
I think everyone at Austen Authors 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. A reader relies on an 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 big help in bringing that book to the attention of other readers. The insert at left shows exactly what you can do to help your favorite authors.
Even more important than “likes” and “tags” are reviews. Last week, I used a program provided by Amazon to offer my novel, Becoming Elizabeth Darcy, for free download for three days. While contacting the different sites that get the word out about free books, I found that many of them would only take my book if I had six, eight, ten, and in one case, eighteen reviews of four and five stars on Amazon! Yikes! Eighteen stars. That’s a tall order, especially if it’s a new title. But these sites insist that most readers will not download a book, even if it is free, if others have not taken the time to review the book.
I’ll be honest with you. I don’t review every book I read, and if I would give a book a one or two-star review, I just move along and don’t do anything. But as far as not posting negative reviews is concerned, I now hold a minority view. It’s like anything else. If you buy something at the store and you are pleased with your purchase, you usually don’t call the seller or customer service to praise the item. On the other hand, if you are really displeased or disappointed, you might very well make that call or write that letter. This natural inclination drives negative reviews, and the anonymous nature of reviews on Amazon allows people to write some pretty harsh stuff. Believe me, I know. I keep a box of Kleenex handy in case I get a one-star review. A few bad reviews can kill the sales of a book.
So what am I asking you to do? If you like a book, any book, please consider writing a review on Amazon, or if you don’t like Amazon, there are other sites: Goodreads, Shelfari, and Barnes & Noble. If you have the time, I/we would appreciate it if you would go the extra step and click on the “like” button and every tag the author has set up at the bottom of the Amazon page. Because most of us at Austen Authors are now self-publishing our own titles or plan to do so in the future, little things make a big difference. Small actions do add up. Thank you for your help.
P.S. My mystery, A Killing in Kensington, is available for free download on 12/5 and 12/6 on Kindle.
Thank you to all who helped me celebrate the launch. Until next time…
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed. Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth. By the President: Abraham Lincoln
Although a proclamation of Thanksgiving was issued in 1863 by President Lincoln, it was not until December 26, 1941 that President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a bill into law making the fourth Thursday of November a national day of Thanksgiving. But long before those dates, Americans had set aside a day in late November to give thanks for a multitude of blessings. The turkey and all the fixings, the visiting, and church attendance that we have come to associate with a modern Thanksgiving were already well established by the time of Federal Era in America, a time that corresponds to the Regency Era in England.
In 1834, a newspaper, the New Hampshire Patriot, made note of the approaching holiday: A moderate rise in the price of molasses and spices—the increased demand for laces, ribbons, and dancing pumps—the hurrying of tailors, milliners, and mantua makers—frequent and important consultation of young gentlemen—whispering, flushed faces, and anxious looks among young ladies—and lastly, a string of proclamations announcing the 27th of November as a day of Thanksgiving in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Vermont.”*
In my novel, Darcy on the Hudson, Darcy, Georgiana, and Mr. Bingley travel to Tarrytown in the Hudson River Valley to visit Charles Bingley’s Uncle Richard, who has been living in America for twenty-five years. In addition to the love story of Darcy and Elizabeth, the novel mentions the Thanksgiving traditions of the New York/New England area. Here are three excerpts:
First, advanced preparations for the big day: “Darcy, who loved watching the ships moving up and down the Hudson, had noticed an increase in traffic. While sloops sailed north from the port of New York carrying Jamaica Rum, French and cider brandy, molasses, loaf and brown sugars, Hyson-Souchong and Bohea teas, various spices, dried fruits, coffee, and chocolate, barges filled to overflowing with cages containing live poultry and suckling pigs were arriving from Upstate New York at Tarrytown Harbor.” Continue reading →
At the conclusion of Mr. Darcy Bites, we found Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam enjoying their old age at Pemberley. I decided to back the story up so that we can see our beloved couple in the first year of their marriage. Because Darcy is a werewolf and Elizabeth is a human, there are complications. (Of course, there are complications.) But in this case, the threats come from outside the walls of Pemberley.
From the back jacket:
As Mr. and Mrs. Darcy approach the first anniversary of their marriage, they look upon their life together very much as an idyll. With one exception. Their lives will always be ruled by the lunar cycle as the Master of Pemberley is a werewolf.
As Darcy prepares his wolf pack for nightfall, an unsettling rumor is being spread in the village that a phantom Ghost Buck has appeared in Wentside Woods on the Darcy estate. Because Darcy does not believe the stag exists, he wants to know who started the rumor—and why. Is it possible that someone has learned of his darkest secret and is trying to draw him out?
To celebrate the launch, I am giving away two e-book copies of Mr. Darcy Bites Back on either Kindle or Nook. If you would like to enter the giveaway, please leave a comment. Even if you don’t want a free e-book, please leave a comment. The winner will be announced on November 26 when the sky will feature a very nearly full moon. A paperback will be available sometime after Thanksgiving.
Note: Antony, Lord Fitzwilliam, the current Earl Fitzwilliam and Darcy’s cousin, is an original character. If you have read my novels, you will be familiar with this scamp who doesn’t take anything too seriously and who drives his staid cousin crazy.
Arm-in-arm, Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy walked the gardens on their first full day at Pemberley. The previous day, they had arrived at the manor house just as the sun was dipping below the horizon. Nearly exhausted from the wedding breakfast and their travels, the two had dined on a light supper before retiring for the night. After making love, they were quickly asleep in each other’s arms.
Since Elizabeth’s first visit to Pemberley in August, the gardens had been completely transformed, with vivid yellows, oranges, and reds replacing the softer pastels of a warmer season. There was also another difference. When Lizzy had first admired the gardens, she did so as Elizabeth Bennet, a woman who was contemplating the very real prospect of spinsterhood, having rejected the marriage proposal of Fitzwilliam Darcy at the Hunsford parsonage. Instead, she had returned—triumphantly—as the Mistress of Pemberley.
As they walked the pebbled paths, Elizabeth’s role as the mistress of such a great estate was very much on her mind. Her husband was attempting to reassure her that she was more than equal to the task of lady of the manor when they heard the sound of a carriage coming down the drive. From the noise it was making, they knew the conveyance was substantial, and Lizzy wondered aloud who their visitor might be.
“Good grief!” Darcy said as he caught site of the carriage with its two matched pairs of white stallions. With that exasperated exclamation, Lizzy knew who their visitor was: William’s cousin, Lord Fitzwilliam, the black sheep of the Fitzwilliam clan, an unrepentant reprobate and willing fodder for London’s scandal sheets. Continue reading →