Category Archives: Pride and Prejudice

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.

 

 

Writing Revolution

Yes, you can teach an old dog new tricks.

I’m in the very final stage of publishing my newest book, Understanding Elizabeth. Because it’s my seventh indie publishing effort, some steps are easier for me, but others have become more complicated.

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My earliest writing (the Guardian Trilogy) consisted of outlining the basic plot, writing the chapters, sending my work to my betas, taking their corrections, posting on Beyond Austen (as well as Derbyshire Writer’s Guild, Darcy & Lizzy, Fanfiction, and Austen Underground), formatting, one final edit, and publishing.

I now understand that it is much easier to format as I write, so that isn’t the huge headache it used to be, but I have become much pickier (real word?) about my writing.

I rushed to publish my first six books, but with this latest one, I have taken six months between completing the writing of the story and publishing it. In addition to all the steps listed above (minus posting on all those forums except Beyond Austen), I have gone through six edits and rewrites. I finished the final rewrite yesterday, and I’m nearly ready to release my child to make her way in the world.

Today, I hope to put the book in the print template so I’ll have a page count for the cover designer. I also want to finish the formatting of the ebook version and send it to my very talented friend, author Wendi Sotis. She’s a wizard at all things tech, and she has the final look at my formatting.

With a little luck, I may publish the ebook Saturday. 

Exciting times!

 

Quotable Pride and Prejudice Winners

Congratulations!

Answers to Pride and Prejudice quote questions:

    1. Jane Austen (the first line in the book)
    2. Elizabeth
    3. Mr. Bennet
    4. Elizabeth to Mrs. Gardiner – Exact quote: “What are men to rocks and mountains?”
    5. Elizabeth
    6. Elizabeth
    7. Darcy
    8. Darcy; 8. Mrs. Bennet
    9. Darcy
    10. Darcy
    11. Darcy
    12. Darcy
    13. Darcy
    14. Darcy
    15. Darcy

Every entrant missed at least one. Sometimes it was a case of too much information. For example: (4) Elizabeth did ask, “What are men to rocks and mountains,” but it was at the Gardiners’ house in Cheapside, not in Derbyshire. Also, “young men” is not in the original. I think it’s quite easy to mistake dialog in the film version for dialog in the book.

Mr. Bennet asked,”For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors, and to laugh at them in our turn?

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Since no one answered all the quotes correctly, I have decided to give prizes to all three entrants. You may choose ebook copies of the entire Yours by Design series, ebook copies of the entire Guardian Trilogy, or an ebook of Understanding Elizabeth when it is published.

Please contact me with your choices and email addresses. You may message me on Facebook.

Quotable Pride & Prejudice

Be the first to identify them all correctly and claim your prize.

My family members routinely quote literature to each other, as well as to non-family members (who usually don’t get the connection). Pride and Prejudice is our most-quoted book.

Here are some of our favorites:

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1. “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”

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2. “My courage always rises with every attempt to intimidate me.”

3. “For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors and laugh at them in our turn?”

4. “What are men to rocks and mountains?”

5. “I could easily forgive his pride, if he had not mortified mine.”

6. “I give you leave to like him. You have liked many a stupider person.”

7. “Every savage can dance.”

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8. “You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”

8. “Nobody can tell what I suffer! But it is always so. Those who do not complain are never pitied.”

9. “We neither of us perform to strangers.”

10. “You find great amusement in occasionally professing opinions which, in fact, are not your own.”

11. “Disguise of every sort is my abhorrence.”

12. “I was in the middle before I knew I had begun.”

13. “My good opinion, once lost, is lost forever.”

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14. “She is tolerable, I suppose, but not handsome enough to tempt me.”

15. “In vain, I have struggled. It will not do. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”

Are you able to name the character or circumstance being quoted without researching?

First reader to correctly identify all of them can claim an e-book copy of Understanding Elizabeth when it is published.

No Darcy, No Way

Darcy is Best Left to Others

Someone said to me that I should write some Pride and Prejudice fan fiction. In the past, it’s been suggested I write Colonel Brandon. My first response to both suggestions was a simple, “no way.”

While that response is harsh but accurate, I have thought about why I don’t want to even try my hand at writing Darcy or the Colonel. It comes down to having nothing new or interesting to say about the characters or their stories.

Refrain_from_writingThere are days I look at what I’m writing about Anne and Frederick and think the same thing, but at least I have a sort of visceral desire to work with them. About the casts of P&P and S&S, not so much.

Every month in the Austen fandom, there are scads of books published. The vast majority of them are using P&P as their base. I’m sure most are retelling the girl-meets-boy-boy-disdains-girl-boy-proposes-marriage-girl-rejects-boy-boy-saves-girl’s-family-and-reputation-girl-and-boy-admit-to-loving-one-another plot.

Unique stories, like Laura Hile’s Darcy by any Other Name, and Robin Helm’s various series have covered a lot of new ground that doesn’t need to be plowed again by me. There are other fine writers who absolutely love the characters and the story. That affection shows in every aspect of their writing.

At the very best, I would be day laborer working for paycheck. Not that writing for pay is bad. I firmly believe that some of the best writing (and music, visual art, etc) has been done by people putting food on the table, not looking to leave a legacy of amazing prose. The difference is that in fandom, the love of characters is baked into the foundation of the work. Without it, the foundation is wonky at best. And let’s face it, there have been times you’ve read a book that is merely a word count with a cover and a dedication. Did you think well of the author? Race to Amazon to see if they had more of the same? My point exactly.

Darcy is an icon and I have no desire to mess with him. Brandon is an interesting character I prefer to read rather than write. Long story shortened, I won’t be writing any P&P, or S&S fics anytime soon. No heart for the subjects, and no desire to bore you all to tears.

A Little Something after all these years…

 

Dy Brougham Searches for Lt.Richard Fitzwilliam
Pamela Aidan

(1815, 2 years or so after Darcy & Elizabeth are wed)

The wagon jolted and shivered over the shell pocked roads until Dy’s teeth ached and his fingers cramped in their grip on its splintery sides. Rain continued to fall in unrepentant bursts that were soaking through his oiled cape. His hat was most likely a loss, even for its protective coverings, and the cold crept into the reaches of muscle and bone, both thoroughly wracked by the paths he had been required to travel to get to the farm house in which Darcy’s cousin was said to have been deposited before Uxbridge moved out.

“Il ya la ferme de Emille. Nous sommes presque hors de la pluie damnés,” his driver tossed over his shoulder. (There is Emille’s farm. We’re almost out of the damned rain.”) Continue reading

Southern Fried Austen

Finer than frog’s hair

Lizzy, Jane Bea, Lydie, and Kitty met Caroline and her cousin, Emma, at their hotel in Atlanta on Saturday before the NASCAR race there on Sunday.  Mary Bess wouldn’t go, on account of it being on a church day, and she didn’t think racing on Sunday was spiritual, even though her sisters promised they’d attend services in the morning. Just like the old song, Mary Bess would “not be moved,” insisting that she was like “a tree planted by the water,” and that wellspring was in Sugarfield. According to her, Atlanta was a “pit of vipers and heathens.” On the way to Atlanta, Lizzy told her other sisters they could skip church on Sunday since Mary Bess had already preached them a sermon. By the time they sat down to eat with Caroline and  Emma in the hotel restaurant, Kitty and Lydie were laughing so hard, they’d nearly wet their panties. Finer than frog's hair

Lydie: This is a blast! We’re in high cotton now! I’m glad Mary Bess stayed at home. Anyway, I’m fixin’ to catch me a good lookin’ man or two this weekend, and Mary’d be about as useful with that as a screen door on a submarine. I’m gonna break bad, so stand back, ladies, and eat my dust.

Jane Bea: I sure don’t need another man. My Charlie and his buddy are going to meet up with us at the Speedway. I’m happier than a tornado in a trailer park.

Caroline: Will’s coming with Charlie? Ladies, if he don’t get your fire started, your wood’s wet.

Kitty: I heard tell he’s fine as frog’s hair.

Caroline: You’d call an alligator a lizard. He’s finer than frog’s hair split four ways.

Lydie: Lizzy said he didn’t impress her much.

Caroline: Well, Lizzy’s porch light’s on, but nobody’s home.  That man is hot enough to boil ice water by stickin’ his finger in it. Think of how useful he’d be if you wanted to make sweet tea.

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Lizzy: Your elevator never did go all the way to the top floor, Caroline. I never said he didn’t look good. The man is movie star handsome. Shoot, he could be the chiseled hero of a romance novel or be a male model, but he’s so snooty he stands around as lonely as a pine tree in a parking lot.

Caroline: My mama told me that a bit dog always hollers. You talk about that Will Darcy feller an awful lot for somebody who doesn’t like him. That’s all I’ve got to say.

Emma: (clapping hands in delight) Oooo! I bet they’d be a perfect match. He’s fine as frog’s hair, and Lizzy is lookin’ for a frog to kiss.

Lizzy: Emma, you don’t know your head from a hole in the ground. Bless your sweet heart. What in Sam hill makes you think I want to kiss a frog?

Emma: Why, to turn him into your Prince Charming, silly goose.

Caroline: Emma, you’re about as useful as a football bat.

Lizzy: Well, Caroline, pigs are flying somewhere, because I agree with you.  Emma’s barking up the wrong tree. I need a man like I need a third hand when I don’t have but two pockets.

Finer than frog hair

Lydie: I’m ready to stuff my piehole before I starve slap to death. My belly button is plum stuck to my backbone. Emma, you can scout me out a frog to kiss while we eat. I’m not too proud.

Kitty: Land o’ Goshen. Who’s that man sittin’ at the bar having a Coke? I think my eyeballs just melted.

Jane, Lizzy, and Caroline: Will Darcy!

Lydie: Caroline, you’re right as rain. Finer than frog’s hair split four ways.