Category Archives: Austen news



A Very Austen Christmas…

There are several giveaways still active for A Very Austen Christmas and even more coming in December.

A Very Austen Christmas - 3D

Serena at Savvy Verse & Wit posted a lovely book review with an excerpt from Laura’s story. The giveaway will end December 5.

Nissa, Of Pens and Pages, presented the backstory of my original character, Thomas, along with a wonderful review. Her giveaway ends  December 9.

On Laura Hartness’s blog, The Calico Critic, you’ll find an excerpt from my story, as well as a giveaway ending December 9.

Giveaways at Claudine’s JustJane1813, author Chautona Havig’s lovely blog, Ceri’s Babblings of a Bookworm, and Janet’s More Agreeably Engaged have already ended; however, there are author biographies, story blurbs, author interviews, story excerpts, and great reviews at those sites.

Upcoming giveaways, reviews, and other fun events are scheduled throughout December at Meredith’s Austenesque Reviews, Elisabeth’s Poolside Musings, Candy’s So Little Time, Anna’s Diary of an Eccentric, and Rita’s From Pemberley to Milton.

In other exciting news, Laura Hile is releasing the second edition of her Mercy’s Embrace books. Her book one, So Rough a Course, cover reveal  will be at JustJane 1813 on December 2. That’s tomorrow! Be sure to stop by and cheer her on.

You’re going to LOVE the new covers. I’ve seen them, and they are truly beautiful. I would love to post her new cover myself, but you’ll just have to wait until tomorrow. (Insert evil laugh.)

More to come, too! Watch for upcoming reviews, blog posts, and giveaways of So Rough A Course at Savvy Verse & Wit, Of Pens and Pages, and The Calico Critic.

Another bit of good news – Laura Hile, Wendi Sotis, Barbara Cornthwaite, and I have all lowered the prices of our other books throughout December. Merry Christmas!


Understanding Elizabeth

Book Release!

understanding-elizabeth-3dMore and more, I understand Anne Bradstreet’s poem, “The Author to Her Book,” written nearly 350 years ago. The first line, “Thou ill-formed offspring of my feeble brain,” just about sums up how I felt when I touched the publish button Tuesday night.

A good writer always reveals a part of herself when she writes, and that’s a bit intimidating. In the case of Understanding Elizabeth, there are clues about my childhood and teen years.

I have never been very good at sports or physical games. I should clarify that I was actually hit in the forehead by a fly ball while holding my glove over my face trying to catch it. I was a teenager playing in a church softball game, and I had the attention of our entire small town at the time. Embarrassing? Yes. It knocked me flat on my back, and I think I passed out for a minute or two. Or maybe I just didn’t want to get up and face the crowd.

A similar incident, in which I was hit in my jaw by a ball straight off the bat, happened in elementary school. I was so humiliated that I stuck my finger down my throat so I could pretend to be sick and go home. It worked. I was a tricky little person.

However, I never had any problems with the three R’s, and I loved that aspect of school. I shared in a previous post that my sister Gayle (a natural-born teacher if there ever was one) taught me to read when I was four. She also taught me to play chess. Since I don’t remember when I couldn’t play, I have no idea how old I was.

I was lousy at basketball, softball, or anything else with “ball” in it, but I loved word games and games of strategy. Playing musical instruments came fairly easily as well, because I enjoyed practicing. My entire family was musical. Gayle and I played piano and flute, Layne played clarinet, and all of us (six children!) sang along with Mama and Daddy.

I incorporated that feeling of joy at being good at something into Understanding Elizabeth. My Elizabeth doesn’t ride a horse, though there’s a lovely scene in which Darcy teaches her (le sigh!), but she’s a chess master. She isn’t shy about it, either. They fall in love over books and chess.

Darcy is socially awkward, but he excels in academic and physical pursuits. He’s a man who can discuss favorite books with the heroine. (My husband read all of Jane Austen’s works so he could understand what my daughters and I were talking about. He’s watched the film versions several times, too. Yes, ladies, there really are men like that.)

These are two capable, intelligent people who recognize their strengths and their weaknesses.

I have no problem with knowing your strong points as long as you also know your limitations. To me, that isn’t being proud; it’s giving yourself realistic goals. It’s okay to feel a sense of accomplishment. It’s fine to be happy with yourself, as long as you don’t settle for less that what you can do.

I hope you enjoy reading Understanding Elizabeth as much as I enjoyed writing it. This book is very different from my six previous books. I will be very interested in your feedback.



A Proper Gift for Miss Austen

The Rice portrait of a young Jane Austen

The Rice portrait of a young Jane Austen

Jane Austen was born on December 16, 1775, to
George and Cassandra Austen.
Her father served as the rector of the Anglican parishes at Steventon, Hampshire, and a nearby village. Jane’s family was very close and lived on the lower level of the English landed gentry.

A week from today, we Janeites will celebrate her 239th birthday, and, for the past week, I have been contemplating my gift to her.

If I visited her in her own time period, I would give her a manual typewriter with a large supply of correcting ribbons. The machines were invented in 1860, many years after she died in 1816. A computer would be more useful to her, certainly, but there is the problem of the absence of electricity. Volta did not invent his battery until 1800, so I highly doubt anything requiring a battery would be of any use to Miss Austen. I have always been amazed at people who wrote (and still write) books in longhand. I remember typing my college papers on a Smith Corona electric typewriter, and while it was advanced for 1972-77, it was nowhere near as convenient as as laptop. If Austen could produce six major novels in longhand, imagine what she could have accomplished with a computer.

Though she wrote shorter works beginning as early as 1787, she did not begin to write novels until after 1795. During the years of 1795 through 1799, she wrote her first three full-length novels, though she was not accepted by a publisher until 1811. Those were by far her most productive years. She didn’t finish rewriting her other major works until 1816, and she left two novels unfinished.



Reading about Austen’s life makes me incredibly sad.
She was talented and industrious, yet she lived in genteel poverty after the death of the father in 1805. In 1809, her brother Edward offered Chawton Cottage to her, her mother, and her sister. During her eight years at Chawton, she was once more prolific. Before her final illness and death, her family again suffered financial hardship.

I began writing this post with humor in mind, but it was not to be.
The unhappy truth is that Austen did not live long enough to enjoy the popularity of her writings, and, to use her words, I could not laugh at it. She did not reap many benefits from her own labors, but had she lived in this time period, she may not have written at all. There is too much hurrying, too many distractions, too much business to allow for contemplation. Her life experiences made her what she was and greatly influenced her writing. What would a modern Jane Austen be like?

Happy birthday to my favorite author, an interesting woman who has brought generations hours of entertainment and reflection.

She influenced my life profoundly.

I’ll take that in Austens, please.

Jane Austen

Jane Austen

Jane Austen’s noble, lovely mien may soon replace Darwin’s on £10 notes. If the change is approved, Austen would become the third woman whose likeness has appeared on a British banknote since 1970 when the Bank of England began putting the images of historical figures on currency.

According to what outgoing governor, Sir Mervyn King, told the British Treasury select committee, the English novelist is “quietly waiting in the wings.” Mark Carney, the new governor, is set to take office on July 1 and will make the final decision.