AuAu Real Life
My husband is a (British) historian. Inevitably, his students will ask if dates will be on the tests. On the occasions he is forced to teach American history, he tells his classes that the most significant dates in US history they should know are July 4, 1776; July 3, 1863; Dec 7, 1941; June 6, 1944; and Feb 9, 1964 (this final one being the first appearance of The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show).
Alas, I am not one of my husband’s students (anymore), and thus must keep track of a seemingly infinite array of dates, which I suppose is to be expected considering the infinite nature of time itself. Because of this, I have calendars and reminders and Siri on my iPhone to ensure that I remember appointments, meetings, publishers’ deadlines, and blog dates. The problem with this, however, is one must enter the correct date in order to be reminded! And here, I must beg your forgiveness: I missed my scheduled blog date today.
For whatever reason, I noted the date for my Austen Authors post on the wrong day. Perhaps those tiny little buttons on the iPhone foiled me again or it was some insidious plot by Siri to turn the other Austen Authors against me. (If you were to see some of my dictated text messages, you would understand that Siri is out to get me – probably because she thinks I prefer the lady who speaks to me through my Prius over her.) I chock it up to being poor with numbers. Continue reading →
When I read reviews, either for my books or for those written by other authors, I’m struck by the individuality of everyone’s reader personality. Our reading styles are as different as our reading tastes. And I’m not just talking about the Real Book vs. E-book debate. (In case you’re interested, most of the time, I come down enthusiastically on the side of the paperback book–I love the tactile nature of reading.) A reader’s personality is defined by so many other things.
If I had to use one word to describe my reading style, I’d probably say ‘laid-back.’ For one thing, I am not an urgent, desperate reader. Even if I’m loving the book I’m reading, I do not, under any circumstances, stay up till 2:00 a.m. to finish the book. When it’s bedtime, I settle on a stopping point, and look forward to reading a little more the next day. As a result, busy days mean a single book might take me a week and a half or two weeks to finish. But that means I have that many more days to enjoy that particular book.
I often tuck a book in my purse on the off chance that I’ll have an occasion to read while away from home. But I’ll only read if I think I can give the book my full attention. Voices distract me–my conscious mind tends to follow a conversation going on beside me, making it difficult for me to maintain my concentration. I have to be completely wrapped up in a book in order for my mind to block out the world around me, and that doesn’t happen very often. So I tend to save my reading for quiet, unrushed moments. Continue reading →
Over the past year, I seem to have an inordinate number of family and friends – both those I know in person, as well as in cyberspace – who have have experienced serious health issues. For some, it’s their own personal health or that of one or more family members. The reasons vary. It could be due to disease (strokes, heart problems, cancer, etc.) or an injury (back pain, knee or hip replacements, broken bones due to falls). Sadly, many people I know have suffered the loss of one or more family members.
All of this made me recall a scene in a movie called “Just Between Friends” in which the husband of one of the characters (Holly, played by Mary Tyler Moore) dies in a terrible accident. Many friends, co-workers, and family gather at Holly’s house after the funeral to share food and memories. As one of the couples is leaving, they say to Holly, “Just let us know if there’s anything we can do for you.” Holly looks around the room – and being a bit of a neat freak – starts thinking about how much work it’s going to be to clean up after everyone leaves and how little physical and emotional energy she has for such activities. Half-jokingly, she says something like, “How about vacuuming the living room?” The couple is completely taken aback. Of course, Holly makes a joke about it, pretending she was just kidding when I’m sure she would have loved it if they’d taken her up on it. If that couple had truly understood what she was going through, they would have gone back inside and pitched in with the clean up – but of course, they didn’t. I’ve never forgotten that scene in the movie.
In the past, families generally lived closer together making it easier for them to rally around in a crisis. With the way we live now, we often find ourselves on our own with only a small support group as back up – and the sad truth is, it’s not easy to ask for help. Continue reading →
by Jack Caldwell
The Ides of March Can Mess With Your Mind
Greetings, folks. Jack Caldwell here. I know you were expecting the next installment of MR. DARCY’S P&P POV. As you can tell, this isn’t it.
I could say the reason it’s not ready is because I have accepted a new job—Director of Economic Development in a village in Wisconsin, and I start on Monday, March 18.
I could say I’m moving to temporary lodgings over the weekend, because my new job is four hours away from where I’m living now.
I could say that I’ve been busy helping my wife get this house ready to go on the market, and the REALTOR is stopping by today to take pictures.
I could say I’ve been busy preparing for the publishing of my new novel, MR. DARCY CAME TO DINNER, which will be released through White Soup Press in April of this year.
I could say I’ve been busy redesigning my website—Ramblings of a Cajun in Exile—preparing for the launch of MR. DARCY CAME TO DINNER.
I could say I’ve been busy writing my new free offering for all of you—SNOWBOUND—which can be found here at The Writers Block (see the tab above).
I could say I’m getting old and decrepit.
But all of that would be a cop-out. The real reason Part 9 of MR. DARCY’S P&P POV is not being posted today is because it’s March 15—The Ides of March. Continue reading →
Today I am subbing for Susan Adriani, who suffered a freakish accident and hurt her hand. Yikes! She will be fine, but can’t type – Can you imagine?! – so I am leaping to the rescue. Actually, as sad as I am about Susan’s injury – *tear – it worked out rather nice because I can share an excerpt of the latest installment of the Darcy Saga, which will be released in less than three weeks. Cool! Indeed, the Saga originally intended to tell the “married with children” tale of Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth has ended up encompassing a whole lot of Darcys. The Passions of Dr. Darcy is the epic journey of Darcy’s Uncle George, a character I created and introduced in Loving Mr. Darcy. I fell madly in love with George, as did my readers, and am very excited to reveal more of the story of this remarkable man.
A short blurb~~
George Darcy is the second son of a wealthy landowner in Georgian Era England and, at 22, is considered to be a brilliant, rising star in England’s field of medicine. However, Dr. Darcy refuses the easy, comfortable pathway and enlists as a physician with the British East India Company, embarking on a personal quest where he strives to change the face of medicine while yearning to fill the void left within his soul at the death of his twin. His search for family, enduring love, and lost companionship is a quest not wholly realized until his return to England and Pemberley after thirty years of amazing adventures. It is then that a new generation of family and friends that will heal the physician, and to his greatest surprise, where the true love of his life awaits.
You can learn more about The Passions of Dr. Darcy on my website: HERE and it can be pre-ordered at all the usual places. Links are on my website. The official release date is April 2.
Before I get to the excerpt – Be Patient! – I also want to mention for those who live in the Southern California area, that I will be present at the big Southern CA RWA Writer’s Conference this Sunday, March 17, from 1:00pm to 2:30pm at the Doubletree Hilton in Santa Ana located on 201 MacArthur Blvd. I will be signing bookmarks as well as copies of Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy and Miss Darcy Falls in Love. I would love to welcome any of my readers! Plus, there will be loads and loads of terrific romance novelists with me.
How many of you are out there writing your own novels?
I know from interacting with many of you here on Austen Authors and on my Facebook and Twitter pages that you’re a talented bunch, and if you’re not writing fiction yourselves, you review fiction on your own blogs or Amazon and Goodreads. Some of you are visual artists and potters, while others knit and crochet.
How amazing is it that Jane Austen wrote seven novels with quill and ink all before she turned forty-one? Pretty flippin’ amazing, considering she had no training, no online novel-writing bootcamp classes, no MFA programs, and none of the how-to books that clutter my bookshelves.
In fact, I just bought uber literary agent Donald Maass’ Writing 21st Century Fiction, and I haven’t read that much of it yet, but so far he advises to dig deep and write from your own personal pain. I think Austen would agree when he says: “Your deepest hurts are a wellspring of passion.”
I can’t help but think that Austen had to have been somewhat mortified by her own family over the years (think Bennets) and no doubt Persuasion sprung from a deep desire to have a second chance at lost love herself–possibly with Tom Lefroy.
I’m not as smart as Austen, and now that I’m in the thick of revising and editing my second novel, I like to remind myself of things that she knew by instinct. I take absolutely no credit for any of the writing tips below. I’ve gleaned them from many sources over the years and I share them at the end of the post. Continue reading →
Walk in Jane Austen’s Footsteps! A Jane Austen Tour of England: Seascapes and Landscapes – Sept. 7 -16, 2013 (and Giveaway!)
Have you ever wished you could walk in Jane Austen’s footsteps? Have you ever dreamt of visiting Chawton Cottage in Hampshire, where Jane Austen lived and wrote her mature masterpieces… and Godmersham Park, the grand estate in Kent owned by Jane’s wealthy brother Edward? Have you ever longed to tour the many other places Jane Austen lived and visited? Here is your chance to realize those dreams, and all in the company of “clever, well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation”!
I am thrilled to announce that I will be one of two featured authors on a very special Jane Austen Tour of England this September 7-16, 2013 sponsored by Ingenious Travel, and you’re invited to join us!
This trip came about because the genius behind Ingenious Travel, Maria Stefanopoulos, asked if I’d be interested in going on an “author cruise” centered around me and my new novel The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen. I wasn’t interested in a cruise, but when Maria came up with the idea of a land tour to England that would focus on the haunts of Jane Austen, how could I possibly resist? I’m even more delighted that my dear friend Laurel Ann Nattress, editor of Austenprose.com and the anthology Jane Austen Made Me Do It, is also now on board, making it a two-author-tour!
Maria graciously allowed Laurel Ann and I to dream up the itinerary, and we couldn’t be more excited. We will step back in time as we visit the homes and estates of Jane Austen and her family, explore towns and villages that she visited or made famous in her novels, and participate in the world famous Jane Austen Festival at Bath!
The trip begins in London with a visit to the British Library and a walk through the Covent Garden area to see places where Jane Austen stayed. A private tour bus will then whisk us away across the English countryside on a fabulous journey that includes visits to: Continue reading →
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” – Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)
In the grand tradition of Mark Twain, George Eliot, and Dr. Seuss, I have chosen to use a nom de plume. I did so not only to preserve some modicum of privacy in our Instagram world but also so as not to embarrass my grown daughters, who might not want their friends to know their mother could write a love scene. (By their estimation, I have had sex exactly twice since two of them are a set of twins.) Often I am asked how I chose the name “Colette,” so today I will tell you how the name was bestowed upon me. These events occurred over twenty years ago, and I promise, they are all true.
As with most stories, mine began when my ex-husband went to a party. He called me early the next day in a highly excitable state, which in and of itself is not so unusual except in this case he wanted to tell me about the psychic he had met the night before. By this point, I had known the man for several years, and although at times he could slide into mild paranoia – and I never have been able to convince him that Oswald acted alone – he had never struck me as someone to give credence to fortune tellers, horoscopes, or the like. In this case, however, he insisted that the woman had been spot on with everything she had said about him and me and our girls, although he refused to elaborate. Instead, he said I would have to go talk to her myself. I took her information more to get him off the phone than for any interest on my part of actually seeing her.
A day or two later, I mentioned this in passing to the guy I was seeing – No, he was not my “boyfriend” because, for one thing, he was a DKE, and for the purposes of this story, I shall refer to him as “Leo Bolt.” Well, Leo listened in rapt fascination and was quite keen to meet the psychic; so the next thing I know, I’m calling and making an appointment for a “reading.” Continue reading →
Valentine’s Day is the time to celebrate love, and what better way than to look into the past for examples of true love?
Lessons of sacrifice and committed love can be learned from lovers’ tales that did not end so well. If tragic stories are your cup-of-tea, here are some doozies to look up–
Mark Antony and Cleopatra
Salim and Anarkali
Abelard and Eloise
Tristan and Isolde
Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker
I am the “happily-ever-after” gal, as you all should know by now, so prefer lovers’ tales with at least some degree of enduring happiness!
On my blog I wrote of a favorite: Jacob and Rachel from the Bible. Click the link to read about them and enter my special giveaway as part of Maria Grace’s Historical Hearts Through History Valentine’s Blog Hop. I have also posted a blog on Literary Lovers, placed into a fun match-up game. Check that out while you are there! www.sharonlathan.net
The following four real-life love stories are ones I particularly adore. I hope you are inspired by these tales.
Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal
Shah Jahan, ruler of the Mughal Empire, wed Mumtaz Mahal – “Beloved Ornament of the Palace” – when they were but 20 and 19. She reigned as queen alongside him and bore fourteen children before her death in 1629. The emperor was so grieved that he insisted on creating a stupendous monument to be her resting place. Constructed of white marble, decorated with uncountable precious stones and gold, and requiring 20,000 workers nearly 20 years to complete, the Taj Mahal was built to commemorate the enduring power of love. Shortly after completion, Shah Jahan was deposed by his son, and imprisoned in the Red Fort of Agra where he spent the final years of his life staring across the river at the monument for his beloved queen. Eventually he was buried beside her, the lovers eternally together in the Taj Mahal. Continue reading →
Mr. Darcy’s P&P POV (the abridged version)
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Chapter 32 –
I arise early, as is my wont, and have an abbreviated breakfast in peace—thank heavens Fitzwilliam sleeps late during his visits to Rosings. I am in no mood for his jests today. I am on the edge of a momentous decision, and I must focus all my facilities to that resolution.
As usual, Anne remains above stairs, and I take this opportunity to speak with her. Aunt Catherine only arises at fashionable hours, and as Anne’s companion knows to keep silent, this interview should escape my aunt’s notice. I find my cousin in her private sitting room, attended by her companion, but besides a short greeting she says nothing. I attempt to engage her in conversation and am awarded with little more than monosyllabic responses. I soon take my leave, to her palpable relief. This is consistent with her behavior on all of my previous visits, and I am satisfied Aunt Catherine has failed to raise her expectations. I do not know what Anne wants, but I am secure in the knowledge that it is not marriage with me.
I am outside, the day is fine, and I should enjoy a ride about the park, but I spy the parsonage. Hmm…I really must call upon the ladies. Riding can wait.
Well, that went well—not.
I admit I was taken aback to find Elizabeth alone, but more surprising was my reaction—how strange that her mere presence can so discombobulate me. All I could manage for the first half of my call was polite inquires about her family in Hertfordshire and some inane observation about the parsonage! Gad, I attended Cambridge! Top marks for logic and debate! One look at Elizabeth’s pretty face, and I am a blubbering idiot. I am no better than Bingley! Continue reading →