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 →
It was to be a gay party. Darcy and Elizabeth, with Colonel Fitzwilliam, were to escort the three young ladies to London. Anne de Bourgh, of course, had seen a goodly number of London seasons, being full ten years older than Georgiana and Kitty, but she thought it best to act the ingenue and hope that by the side of the younger girls she would catch some of their youthful spirits and dewy-eyed freshness.
Many a woman at eight and twenty eight is still as handsome, or more so, as a girl much younger; but it was not so with Anne. Her disappointment with her position in life, at being a spinster at such an age and not a grand lady in her own right, had given her a permanently sour, discontented expression. Even though Lady Catherine was most diligent about advising her to smile, innumerable times every day, it did seem as if her dire warnings of what would befall her if she did not do so, had been to some purpose, for Anne’s face really had frozen in its sullen pout.
“Goodness,” whispered Kitty to Georgiana, as they mounted the steps into the carriage, “is your cousin always so ill tempered? She looks as though it had rained her whole life long.”
Georgiana shook her head slightly. “No, Kitty. She is very much to be pitied,” she whispered back.
Kitty was amazed. “Pitied! Why, she is rich, she is Miss de Bourgh of Rosings. An heiress. I am sure many girls would be only too happy to change places with her.”
“I know what you mean,” answered Georgiana, “but we had best not speak of it now, but only try to be agreeable.”
“Well! I only hope being mewed up with her does not prevent us from having some good fun,” said Kitty, and flounced into her seat.
Darcy helped Elizabeth to her place, opposite the young ladies.
“There, my dear. We shall be on the way in a very few moments. The luggage is all securely stowed, and I believe you have all the conveniences you need – ”
He stopped. “What is it, Darcy?” asked Elizabeth.
Heavy running footsteps were heard issuing from the house, and the ladies peered out the open carriage door to stare in amazement. It was Lady Catherine, precipitating herself along the gravel sweep of Rosings.
“Yoo hoo! Darcy! Fitzwilliam!” she cried. She had on her grey steel satin tippet, but her black lace bonnet was somewhat askew as she ran. 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 →
The ARCs are in and in less than a week, my newest Austen-inspired cozy mystery will hit the shelves. THE MYSTERIOUS DEATH OF MR. DARCY is a thrilling story of murder and betrayal filled with the scandal, wit, and intrigue characteristic of Austen’s classic novels.
Ulysses Press and I had originally thought to release a “summer read” set in one of the Regency’s “seaside resorts.” However, if you know nothing else about me, you should know I never go for the predictable. Instead of Brighton and Bath, I chose to set this novel in Mudeford, one of George III’s favorite watering holes, but one that never achieved the popularity of the others frequented by the Royal Family. Once the place was chosen, my next task was discover other “tidbits” I could incorporate in the story line. As the manuscript was to be a Darcy and Elizabeth mystery, looking for the unusual was tantamount. Any writer of historical fiction can speak to the need to uncover accurate historical facts, a task which the Internet has made both easier, as well as more challenging. We all recognize how easily it is to manipulate a fact and see it spread across the Internet as the truth.
In the back of my books, I regularly incorporate Author Notes, which speak to the research used to create the story line. One of those Author Notes for The Mysterious Death of Mr. Darcy includes The Monoliths in Dorset.
Some 30 meters south of the River Stour in Bear Mead and two kilometers west of Wimborne in Dorset, a monolithic stone can be seen. Located at SY 986–993, the stone, of fine limestone, has a density of 2,650 kilograms per cubic meter, suggesting an approximate weight for the monolith of 1,076 kilograms. The stone is affectionately called the “Bearstone.” A similar toppled monolith can be found some 600 meters to the NNE, on the other side of the River Stour in Cowgrove. Of similar quality to Bearstone, “Moonstone” is approximately 1.2 meters high x .75 meters wide x 0.2 meters wide, with a weight of 477 kilograms. Continue reading →
Welcome to the fourth installment of The Bennet Brother, the new interactive group writing project from Austen Authors! At the end of this segment, you’ll have a chance to vote on what happens next. There are also extra details on Twitter where this story has taken on a life of its own. Mr. Edward Bennet (@edwbennet) already has a notable presence and regularly interacts with readers, including this interview with Miss Leatherberry on Leatherbound Reviews:
BIG NEWS– Due to the enormous amount of fun we are having, and the incredible enthusiasm from our wonderful readers, the Austen Authors have decided to change the timeline of P&P Readers Choice to every week rather than every two weeks! That means, voting for the story plot option will conclude Thursday morning by 6am EST so that the next author can start writing! Segments will post each Wednesday. More info is on the P&P Readers Choice page.
The previous three scenes written by Abigail Reynolds, Jack Caldwell, and Diana Birchall can be read, in order, in The Writers Block.
And now, Scene 4: Lizzy, Jane, and Edward go to Pemberley:
Edward strode briskly down the hallway, eager to change out of his dirty riding clothes. His face was flushed and his hair tousled from the sun and fresh air outside. ‘What a lovely day in Hertfordshire!’ he thought, ‘I cannot see what my friends find so desirable in smoky London when they could breathe the clear air of the country.’
He was so wrapped up in his enjoyment of the day that he started when the door to his father’s library opened suddenly and his father stuck his head out.
“Edward! I thought that was you I heard! Come into the library.”
“I was just going to change after my ride…”
“Never mind that. Come in before the girls know you are back.”
Edward gave his father a slight bow and followed him into the library. Continue reading →
In this special year of the 200th anniversary of Pride and Prejudice I’ve been reminded of the pleasure I’ve had in writing two books inspired by Pride and Prejudice – Lydia Bennet’s Story and Mr Darcy’s Secret. Being able to extend the lives of some of my favourite characters is always such fun to do and I particularly enjoy taking on those ‘difficult’ ladies who make us gasp in horror or laugh out loud. One of these ladies is the formidable Lady Catherine de Bourgh. In Mr Darcy’s Secret she finally appears after initially snubbing the newly-weds, but she makes a surprise visit! Elizabeth has the misfortune to literally ‘run’ into her on the road and now she has the job of smoothing the elder lady’s ruffled feathers. I hope you enjoy what follows!
What a commotion ensued on their arrival. Elizabeth could tell that poor Mrs Reynolds, though as accommodating as ever, was quite upset that she was not prepared for Lady Catherine’s arrival. Maids and servants flew about them removing luggage and bandboxes. As they entered the hall Mrs Reynolds took Elizabeth to one side. “Begging your pardon, ma’am, but I think you should know that the master has been in a bit of a lather since you left this afternoon. He’s had all the footmen out looking for you on the peaks. I did tell him that you like to go off on your own sometimes, but he wouldn’t listen. Don’t judge him too badly if he seems a little fractious, but he’s been that worried, I can’t tell you.”
Elizabeth fumed inwardly. She had not been gone for long. Why must she tell the entire household if she wanted to go for a walk? Mr Darcy’s reaction seemed entirely ridiculous if what Mrs Reynolds said was true. 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 →
Congratulations!!! Austen Authors is proud to announce the winners of our February Monthly Giveaways. The March Giveaways were announced yesterday, and the giving continues into the spring. If your name is listed below, please contact Regina Jeffers at firstname.lastname@example.org (or) email@example.com to claim your prize.
Earlier in the month, these winners were announced.
From Alyssa Goodnight‘s January 29 post, rae, Kathy, and Samantha McNulty won autographed copies of Austensibly Ordinary.
From Regina Jeffers‘ February post, Vee won an autographed copy and SuzeJA won an eBook copy of His: Two Regency Novellas.
The latest winners are…
Diane Scott Lewis has one an autographed copy of Abigail Reynolds’ Mr. Darcy’s Undoing.
Lieder Madchen will receive an autographed copy of Sally Smith O’Rourke‘s Christmas at Sea Pines Cottage.
An autographed copy of Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen, another Sally Smith O’Rourke creation, will go to Amy Z.
Lisa Lynn will receive an autographed copy of Susan Adriani‘s The Truth About Mr. Darcy.
LeslieGB is the lucky winner of an ARC of Sharon Lathan‘s The Passions of Dr. Darcy.
Erika will receive an “I Love Mr. Darcy” totebag from the Jane Austen Centre in Bath, a generous donation from Nina Benneton.
“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 →
Austen Authors is pleased to offer some of the hottest Austen-inspired literature as part of our March giveaways. To be eligible for this month’s giveaways, simply leave a comment on the daily posts or use the Rafflecopter option for additional chances to win. The more often a person comments, the better his chances of winning. So, join us daily for informative post on Austen and the Regency Period, a well as wonderful excerpts and entertaining pieces.
First, Shannon Winslow introduced us to RETURN TO LONGBOURN on February 26. Her winners from the launch will be announced this month. Two of our commenters will receive autographed copies of the book.
On March 18, Regina Jeffers will introduce her newest Austen-inspired mystery. THE MYSTERIOUS DEATH OF MR. DARCY is set six months into the Darcys’ marriage and brings together mayhem and murder. Regina will present two lucky winners with autographed copies of the novel.
On March 19, Maria Grace will bring us the launch of her newest novel, ALL THE APPEARANCE OF GOODNESS. Two copies of the book are up for grabs. Print copies will be delivered to US residents and an eBook copy for our international visitors.
Our Monthly Giveaways brings a wide variety of items for our loyal followers. For example, Sharon Lathan will present one lucky winner with an ARC of her upcoming THE PASSIONS OF DR. DARCY.