I had a post about the dental care (seriously) during Jane Austen time, but as I read it over, I realize I couldn’t do it—inflict on you readers on a Monday dental history horrors, not when I’m going to get a root canal myself this week.
So, as always, when I’m in pain, I arm myself with the best cure there is—Mr. Darcy!
I’m going to recycle one of my favorite blogposts from my blogtour—where I answered a bloghost’s questions: ‘What is it about Mr. Darcy? Why has this iconic literary hero captured the attentions of generations of women in a way no other literary hero has, save Dracula?
(I’ll save my dental care blog for another day for when I can muster a sense of humor about root canal)
Bennton’s Top-Ten of What is it about Mr. Darcy?
Number 10: Teeth. Unlike Dracula, the other iconic literary man who’s captured generations of women’s attention, Mr. Darcy’s canine teeth are harmless. One could safely sleep beside Mr. Darcy from sundown to sunup and have no fear of being struck by immortality and forever frightening little children. Plus, think of the household money you’d save on teeth-whitening products.
These days I am immersed in the life of Dr. George Darcy. My work-in-progress has a completion deadline of June 1 so I am busy, busy, busy! Diverting my mind to come up with a witty, original blog was more than I could manage, so instead I am going to talk about the Darcys in my upcoming novel – tentative release Spring 2013 – and share an excerpt.
Dr. Darcy is a character of my creating, the uncle of Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy who came home for a visit in my second novel Loving Mr. Darcy. George ended up staying around, both in the Saga and in my heart, and now I have been blessed with the opportunity to go back in time and write of the years he spent in India. Naturally that means the bulk of the book’s story will be in India with Dr. Darcy and a host of original characters for my readers to meet! I can’t tell you how much I have been enjoying my travels with George. India is a wonderfully exotic place and the history is fascinating. Dwelling there for some 30 years with the eccentric Dr. Darcy is a true joy.
As an added bonus, traveling back in time to 1789 in Derbyshire where the story begins gives me a chance to introduce readers to my vision of the Darcys long since passed away by the time Austen’s Pride and Prejudice begins. I brought to life George’s father (Fitzwilliam’s grandfather), Mr. James Darcy I, who is Master of Pemberley when my story begins. I gave voice and personality to George’s brother (Fitzwilliam’s father), James Darcy II and his wife (Fitzwilliam’s mother) Lady Anne Darcy. George visits Pemberley a handful of times over the 30 years he is gone so we see the evolution of characters familiar and not-so-familiar. The focus is George, of course, but his future life includes the Darcys we know well so there was no way I could ignore the chance to touch base with Georgiana as a toddler and Fitzwilliam as an adolescent. Continue reading →
In April, my novel Northanger Abbey and Angels and Dragons was the featured novel, and I had the pleasure of being author of the month over at the Dark Jane Austen Book Club. Among the various fun questions asked by the readers, one recurrent question came up yet again, and it got me thinking.
I often get asked: why Jane Austen? Why do a mash-up of her novels instead of some other writer of classical literature?
The obvious answer is, well, okay—the first popular “breakout” mash-up was of Pride and Prejudice, which is arguably, in the minds of the public in general, one of the most famous classical works of literature in our modern time. So it is a good chance that in selecting this work the author wanted to pick the most famous novel possible.
However, the other good possibility is, the author realized the comedic potential of juxtaposing zombies and monsters with the genteel and feminine “novel of manners” genre. Continue reading →
… well a girl can dream, can’t she? Tell me you’ve never thought of going out with, dancing with, or drinking with Mr. Darcy…
We’re not talking tea here, ladies and gentlemen…
Okay, back to the drinks. As you know from Abigail, Sharon, Marilyn and C. Allyn’s posts, some of us lucky Austen Authors gathered in Chicago to host a Jane Austen Happy Hour during the RT Conference and it was a fabulous time!
You can easily modify our “Jane Austen Happy Hour” to fit your “Drinking With Mr. Darcy” needs. Now that you have the final recipe in the mix (that would be mine, Claret Cup Punch, see below) you can serve up your own Darcy-inspired cocktail party to liven up your next book club or literary event. Continue reading →
by Jack Caldwell
What Ever Happened to Darling?
Good day, everyone. Jack Caldwell here. Being a writer carries certain responsibilities, particularly to one’s readers. A good author never should bore their readers. Plots should make sense, all plot holes should be filled, and the reader should be left wanting more. And since the English language has a huge number of adjectives, a writer should take advantage of them and use as many different ones as practical.
That being said, I have noticed in my nearly fifty-five years a disturbing decrease in the usage of certain words. These are perfectly fine words but have fallen out of favor in this fax-email-text society Bill Gates and Steve Jobs have created for us.
A few examples:
Darling – A dearly beloved person (n); dearly beloved (adj). One of my favorite terms of endearment (just ask my wife). The word just rolls off the tongue and needs no further adjective to convoy its deep, particular meaning. One can only have one “darling.” Beloved and dearest are similar words.
It’s hardly used at all today, if Hollywood is any indication. Now’s it’s baby, babe, honey, and hey you. Continue reading →
Earlier in the month, Kelli H. and Margaret F. won autographed copies of Regina Jeffers’ latest novel, The Disappearance of Georgiana Darcy.
The monthly giveaway winners include…
an autographed copy of Mrs. Darcy’s Dilemma, donated by Diana Birchall – Katrin W.
an autographed copy of The Darcys and the Bingleys, donated by Marsha Altman – Luthien 84
a copy of Stephanie Barron’s Jane and the Madness of Lord Byron, donated by Regina Jeffers – Kat
a Pride and Prejudice t-shirt “It Is a Truth Universally Acknowledged…”, donated by Susan Mason-Milks – Stephanie L.
To claim your prize, please contact Regina at email@example.com (or) firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your name and mailing address in the email.
Some of you may remember me from a few weeks ago when I had the great pleasure of doing a guest post on this fun blog. I talked about the book that came out of a collaboration of love with my late husband, Michael O’Rourke. The book; The Man Who Loved Jane Austen with the sequel coming soon; Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen.
Now that I am a member of this wonderful, supportive group I offer my first official post. I thought it might be fun to plan the Netherfield Ball.
As ‘lady of the house’ for brother, Charles, Caroline Bingley must have been very conflicted. On the one hand she was the center of attention and was given a free hand to run the household. A position she, no doubt, relished when it came to visiting and entertaining the English aristocracy in London. At the same time it was a constant reminder that her place in his household existed only because she had no house of her own (which meant, of course, she had no husband) and her brother had no wife. Hanging over her at all times was the fact that the moment he married she would be reduced to his spinster sister and would surely be pushed aside. But it wasn’t until he rented Netherfield that the possibility of that became very real. Continue reading →
On May 1, Sally Smith O’Rourke, who many on you will recall from our recent salute to contemporary versions of Jane Austen’s novels, has joined our happy throng. Ms. O’Rourke will be giving away an autographed copy of The Man Who Loved Jane Austen with her post. The giveaway will run until May 8. Enter by leaving a comment on the post or through the Rafflecopter link.
Shannon Winslow will join our group on May 14. Ms. Winslow will award two lucky winners with autographed copies of her novels. One person will win her highly-acclaimed The Darcys of Pemberley. Another will receive her recently released, For Myself Alone. The giveaway will run through May 21. Enter by leaving a comment on the post or through the Rafflecopter link.
The regular monthly giveaways include …
an autographed copy of C. Allyn Pierson’s Mr. Darcy’s Little Sister
an autographed copy of Heather Lynn Rigaud’s Fitzwilliam Darcy: Rock Star
To enter the giveaways, leave a comment on the daily posts. One may earn extra opportunities to win by connecting the regularly scheduled posts to Facebook, Twitter, and other social media links (at the bottom of the post) or by making connections through Rafflecopter.
Although I was born in New Jersey, ten miles outside of Manhattan, I love country music. This all came about when my husband and I moved to Texas in 1977. At the time, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and Merle Haggard were king, and Loretta Lynn’s little sister, Crystal Gayle, was queen. I listened to the late and great Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, Don Williams, Barbara Mandrell, Keith Whitley, and George Strait. I loved that their songs told stories. Recently, I’ve been reminded of just how good their songs were because we have a new country music station here in the Phoenix area that is playing all those oldies but goodies. But you may ask, what does this have to do with Jane Austen?
If Jane Austen were alive today, would she be a country girl? I think so. After all, she already knew how to line dance, and from biographies I’ve read, the lady could really kick up her heels. Can’t you just picture her dancing to Brooks and Dunn’s Boot Scootin’ Boogie? (The Brooks & Dunn hit makes a cameo in Becoming Elizabeth Darcy. See below for a special on this novel.)
The stories behind the songs are universal. Love, hate, jealousy, heartache, disappointment, more heartache, more disappointment (we’re talking country here) are the themes of any good country song (along with Mama, prison, railroads, and fast cars). With this in mind, I came up with some country songs for Austen’s characters.
Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain (Willie Nelson) – Marianne crying over Willoughby
Holding Her and Loving You (Earl Thomas Conley) – Willoughby pining for Marianne
Good Hearted Woman Lovin’ A Good-Timing Man (Waylon Jennings) – Again Marianne
Baby, Don’t Get Hooked on Me (Mac Davis) - Again Marianne
You Were Always on My Mind (Willie Nelson) – Elinor pining for Edward
I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry (Hank Williams) –Darcy after Lizzy’s rejection
You Say It Best When You Say Nothing At All (Keith Whitley) – Lizzy to Darcy
Always on My Mind (Willie Nelson) – Darcy thinking about Elizabeth
I’d Love To Lay You Down (Conway Twitty) – Willoughby and Wickham with anyone in skirts
Your Cheating Heart (Hank Williams) – Willoughby and Wickham – again
Is There Life Out There (Reba) – Emma stuck in Highbury
Sleeping Single in a Double Bed (Barbara Mandrell) – Hopefully Charlotte and Mr. Collins
Key’s in the Mailbox, Come on In (Barbara Mandrell) – Lydia Bennet
Country songs lend themselves to heartache which is why Marianne keeps popping up. She loved heartache, craved heartache, and she was always singing the blues.
There’s a goofy side to country as well. Just think of Johnny Cash’s A Boy Named Sue or Ray Stevens’s The Day the Squirrel Went Berserk in the First Self-Righteous Church. But one of my favorites is by Mac Davis. With Sir Walter Elliot in mind, I present Oh Lord, It’s Hard to be Humble:
Oh Lord, it’s hard to be humble when you’re perfect in every way.
I can’t wait to look in the mirror ‘cause I get better looking each day.
To know me is to love me. I must be a hell of a man.
Oh Lord it’s hard to be humble, but I’m doing the best that I can.
Here’s Mac on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKEnVOuOOOE
Summer is coming. It’s reading time. Because I hope you will choose Becoming Elizabeth Darcy, I have dropped the e-book price to $2.99 on Barnes & Noble and Amazon for the month of May. Happy reading!
Steven Tyler walked into my office just as I was opening an 800 page biography of Gustav Mahler, part of my research to create a composer husband for my next novel. Frankly, I lead a sheltered life and I didn’t even know who Steven Tyler was before reading his recent memoir, Does the Noise in My Head Bother You? I approached my Book Club’s April selection with no expectations, intending to limit my involvement to pictures and the last few pages so as not to interfere with the gathering momentum of Mahler and ideas for my new novel.
Here is the way new novels work—for me. I don’t go near a computer until much later in the process. For the first year—or two or three—it’s all about ideas. Little notebooks and pens must be within reach at all times for nailing ideas because they show up unannounced and slip away forever if not captured. The ideas I’d caught for this novel had to do with music as a soundtrack for a marriage, death, time-travel, mystery of suicide, love for a place, and a composer’s widow.
This new story hadn’t come together yet, and frankly, I was trying to catch up on my muggle chores before allowing any ideas to converge. Things like household finance, oven cleaning, and sock matching form the mere tip of the iceberg. Believe me, I could go on, and this is when Steven Tyler walked in. His book surprised me because in spite of the cacophony, I heard the voice of a composer, talking about how music is pure emotion and air. How could I deliver on chores while a rock star was giving me fabulous material? Continue reading →