- First there’s the optimistic planning stage: I‘m going to write a fabulous blog post. Something that’s heartwarming and deep, yet light and witty! It will be glorious! I’ll be the next Garrison Keillor and I’ll be invited on Oprah, and … and… and then I try and write something and we hit stage two-
- OH GOD!!! I can write anything at all!!! I’m a fraud! My editor is going to fire me and demand her money back and every high school english teacher I ever had is going to deny me!!! Whahhhhh.
- From there, I’m able to bounce back a bit, mostly by lowering my expectations: It doesn’t have to be genius- It just has to be vaguely legible. Come’on, I can do something. Anything. Right?
- After that I get a little bolder, and maybe a little resentful. I don’t have to write just anything. I’m a good writer! I’ve got mad skills. I’m going to write my best blog entry yet!
|Christmas Squid and Zepplins.|
I start by making the dough’s that need to chill early in the day, followed by the easy bar cookies that get baked in a pan. Then we get to the rolling and shaping part of the day. Gradually the piles of finished, cooling cookies gets higher and higher. At some point, the Christmas carols that I have playing on the radio get changed to Cthulhu carols as things start to get weird. By evening time, I’m pretty wiped out, so my husband and sons take over the heavily decorated sugar and gingerbread cookies. While I’m suggesting they make gingerbread men and christmas trees, my menfolk are happily making Christmas squid, Holiday Zepplins, and gingerbread Ninjas. Really, Christmas squid. (Those cookies go on the bottom of the gift platters)
|New College, Oxford|
|Howard Grace Cup
Bolded print: According to Oxford graduate, Lynn Shepherd, a Wickhamist is someone who went to Winchester College, a school for boys aged 13-18, that was founded in 1382 by William of Wykeham, Bishop of Winchester, together with New College in the University of Oxford. “There’s a long established link between Winchester and New College, with many boys going from one to the other. It’s still a strong link even now.” LS
“Domus (Latin for “home”) refers to the college itself picking up the bill for the drink. Likewise, I think the Chequer is the name of one of the local Oxford inns.” LS
Happy Holidays! Seasons Greetings!
by Sharon Lathan
ONLY 23 SHOPPING DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS!!
Alrighty, now that we have that over with let’s talk about Christmas in the Regency! Well first let’s talk about the holiday season here on Austen Authors. Not sure how it happened but my blog date ended up falling on the day we are launching our Month of Christmas Fun. OK, I know how it happened: I do the scheduling! So here I am to ring in the season of Santa Claus, mistletoe, presents, and tinsel on a tree. We will do our collective best to festively get into the spirit with holiday themed blogs, quizzes, essays, and more. Embracing both the past and the present, the Austen Authors will be sharing our love of Christmas with you all month long. Does that sound like fun or what?
Christmas has always been my favorite holiday. I grew up where it snowed enough to make angel forms, where my dad was able to chop down a fresh tree, where the stockings really were hung by the chimney with care, and where we strolled door to door singing carols. These memories of traditions that seem to have been largely forgotten inspired me to create richly detailed Christmases for the Darcys. Writing a saga has many advantages, one being the joy of passing several holidays with Darcy, Lizzy, and the others.
However, as with everything I write I not only have to travel back in time some 200 years, I also have to think like a Brit! The historical part is far easier for this American Girl let me tell you. What in blazes are wassail and Christmas pudding? Boxing Day? Twelfth Night? You mean there really were 12 days of Christmas? I just thought that was an annoying song! I knew there weren’t decorated trees or Santa Claus, but what about other greenery or Father Christmas? Lots to figure out and I have an abundance of websites bookmarked to prove how extensively I searched. I also have what I think is a delightful several chapters in my first novel – Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy – that recounts my vision of the newlyweds first Christmas together at Pemberley.
Time passed, both with me and in my saga, and suddenly it was the Darcys’ second Christmas together! Now they had a newborn son and even more friends and family coming to visit – Mrs. Bennet at Pemberley! – So it was time to hit the books, er- internet, once again. The foundation was laid for the traditions I had given the Darcys (heirloom decorations, mistletoe ornaments, church service, packages to the tenants, certain romantic interludes, etc.) so the challenge was to make it unique, special, and grander. This I think I accomplished. You can decide for yourself when you read my fourth novel in the Darcy Saga series, also my latest release, In The Arms of Mr. Darcy. The book starts with the Bennets arriving at Pemberley and carries through on the celebration to an eventful Twelfth Night masque. Just ask Caroline Bingley!
You would think my streak of Christmas writing would then be put on hiatus for a while, wouldn’t you? Well, right in the midst of this I receive a call from my editor Deb Werksman asking me to – Are you ready for this? – write a Christmas themed novella! I Know!!! How lucky am I? This girl who loves Christmas!
It was truly a dream come true. In my novella, “A Darcy Christmas” that is one third of A Darcy Christmas, I decided to delve even deeper into English Christmas. I saw a chance to look into the future of the Darcys and the future of Christmas celebrating. If enough time passed they could have a Christmas tree! And so they do. “A Darcy Christmas” was originally titled “Christmases at Pemberley” because I take the reader on a journey of 23 years touching on separate holiday celebrations spent at Pemberley via a series of vignettes. As with everything in my Saga it is the story of love and family with the theme being life lived as abundantly and happily as possible. Doesn’t that sound like the perfect Christmas reading experience?
In the spirit of generosity and giving I have a bunch of excerpts to share from the Christmases I cover in my novels. Click the “read more” below to enjoy some holiday cheer, Darcy style. There are many more excerpts at my website, including several more from A Darcy Christmas. Sharon Lathan’s Darcy Saga While there be sure to pop over to my Portrait Gallery where I have an entire album dedicated to Christmas images.
The fun and the excitement continue in December with more great prizes and ways to win. For those who comment on the blogs any time during the month of December, there are 7 prizes available. Every comment counts as another entry, so visit Austen Authors often. In addition to the monthly giveaways, check out the other ways to win!!!
What a journey it has been. Ten years ago, I discovered something called Jane Austen Fan Fiction. A few years after that, I tried my hand at it. Now today, I celebrate the official release of my first published novel, Pemberley Ranch.
Pemberley Ranch is not the first time Pride and Prejudice has been re-imagined for another time period. It is not the first western treatment of Austen’s masterpiece or the first written by a man. It is not even the first book I wrote. But Pemberley Ranch is unique because of the story I wanted to tell. I used Austen’s immortal characters to talk about one of the great achievements in American history—how we all came together after a civil war that ruined half the country, displaced millions, and killed over six hundred thousand soldiers.
by Jack Caldwell
At my website, Ramblings of a Cajun in Exile, I posted an excerpt from Chapter 1 of Pemberley Ranch. You can go there to read it. But as a special treat, I will post an excerpt below from the prologue.
by Susan Adriani
A few of you may have noticed my disappearance for the past several months; some of you may not have given me more than a passing thought. After all, there are so many other wonderful authors here to enjoy! Please know, however, that despite my absence, everyone at Austen Authors was never far from my mind.
For the sake of my family’s privacy, I can offer you no other explanation than to say that my family has suffered a terrible tragedy, one I would not wish on my worst enemy. In the aftermath of this tragedy, we were faced with so many obstacles and challenges—and still are—that it has been extremely difficult to honor many of my commitments. My attention, therefore, has been focused not on Mr. Darcy and the Bennets, but upon my own family.
I’m not prepared to post anything witty, thought-provoking, or particularly insightful today, and for that I hope you can forgive me. Instead, I’ve decided to share with you a short story I wrote a few months prior, with the hope that it will entertain those of you who have not yet read it.
So, without further adieu, please accept “Starting Anew on Button Hill” as a meager offering for abandoning the Austen ship for such a lengthy amount of time. And Sharon, I hope you’ll forgive me for the length of my post today, especially since you and Abigail—and all of the lovely authors here at AuAu—have been so incredibly understanding, compassionate, and supportive during this difficult time.
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Who was Saint Andrew ? Despite what many may think, St. Andrew, who is the patron saint of Scotland, did not live and work in that country. In fact, his legendary connections to Scotland appeared centuries after his death.