Category Archives: Recomendations

Give a Lady a Break


I prefer showers, but evidently today is Read-in-the-Bathtub Day. (Sheesh) In honor of the day, Laura Hile is offering her book, Marrying Well for Fun and Profit for FREE. This book is all the wit and wisdom of Sir Walter Elliot collated one handy reference guide. If you’ve ever hesitated when confronted with a challenging social, ethical, or moral dilemma, let Sir Walter help you out!


Now, you can download this book for free today–links in the post and graphic–but I would adjure you to wait until Sunday when it goes back up to the budget blistering price of $.99. Why would I encourage you to spend when you can save? Because, I’m a nag. I am also passionate that a writer’s time is worth something. Even the paltry amount that a 99 cent books brings in.

I’m betting that in the last week you have blown a buck on something caffeinated, fizzy, sugary  or savory. You’ve lost more pocket change than that recently.

The point is, laughter is a great medicine and you can get this without having that walloping co-pay to worry over.

Pry open your coin purse, let the moths fly free, and spend some money so Laura Hile, can make a living and keep writing YOU great stories.



Love & Friendship: a review


I once had the privilege of working with a psychopath. Mind, I did not see it as a privilege–I thought I was losing my mind!  I did not know then that I would one day be a writer and find the experience useful.

Confrontation with this amoral woman was impossible. There was always a devious spin on the truth, and if I stood my ground there came a frontal attack so unexpected that, like the unhappy family members in Jane Austen’s Love and Friendship, I was left gaping. She was at fault, entirely. Why then was I the one being accused?

“Facts,” says Lady Susan, “are horrid things.” My former coworker would heartily agree.

love-friendship-decourcyIf you are expecting the romance of, say, Pride and Prejudice, you might be disappointed. This is more like having Mr. Wickham’s machinations at center stage. Nevertheless, Love and Friendship is comedy of manners at its best, with elegance, wit, and humor.

I wasn’t sure how my oldest son–and particularly my sentimental husband–would respond to this film. I needn’t have worried. Like the rest of the audience, they were captivated by Lady Susan’s subtle spell. It was only a matter of time before the truth caught up to her–and yet we had to know how her diabolical genius would wiggle free.

Ah, but this is Austen. Right does triumph in the end, at least for Susan Vernon’s put-upon relations. Off she goes to weasel a living out of other hapless victims. If we didn’t feel so sorry for them, we would have cheered.

Love-and-friendship-2I salute the director, Whit Stillman, for casting a beautiful woman as Lady Susan. Charm and loveliness add significant punch to how awful she is–and this is where Austen adaptations sometimes fall short. Persuasion’s Elizabeth Elliot, for example, is far lovelier than her sister Anne. Because moviegoers might struggle with the heroine being eclipsed, Miss Elliot is often cast as unattractive. Not so with Love and Friendship. Kate Beckinsale is brilliant, at the top of her game, and so are the supporting cast members. There is not a weak performance among them. This film is one I will purchase and watch again, simply for pleasure.

As in all good storytelling, there are truths to be mined.  Not everyone is fortunate enough to have worked alongside a psychopath, right? One of the reasons I love Austen is because she is honest about how life works. Lady Susan will never reform or “see the light.” We feel for her family, and when she at last goes on her merry way, our relief is palpable.


Laura Hile (1)

Nothing Catchy

just an admonition that you make this the year you get your affairs in order.

Demotivational Posters dot ORG

Make sure you have a will, at least write out how you want your family to … manage your remains, and make sure you gather all important documents someplace and then tell somebody!

If anything unfortunate happens to you in the coming year, don’t frustrate your loved ones to the point they’re glad you’re gone!

Take care–Susan Kaye

With the new year bearing down on us …

what are you doing to plan for a successful 2012?

pic from The Blacksmith Steakhouse

I don’t make resolution so much as try to ditch anything that didn’t work in the previous 12 months. There is always a personal vow to be on time, remember birthdays, and clean the closets. This year it’s about shedding things that keep me from writing.

The biggie for me this year is putting politics on hold for three months. I’m wiping out my Bookmarks so that when I’m bored but not in the mood to force myself to write, I can’t just click, click, click and wander around that insane world. I figure there are no sites I visit that I can’t find again.

I will also be clearing out a lot of news letters that I feel compelled to read for information, but then don’t use. This will include some retailers, health, food, and writing newsletters. This will extend to my writing bookmarks as well. I have dozens of sites marked that I don’t go to except when avoiding writing.

So, what are you planning to modify this coming year? As long as no one is planning on giving up reading, I’ll be with you in spirit in all your self-improvement endeavors.

P. S. while looking for a graphic for this post, I found all the apocolyptic pics! I had forgotten that 2012 is the end of the world. Geesh, and here I am fretting about not writing more and letting myself be side-tracked.

Never mind! All Skate!

Take care–Susan Kaye

Mr. Knightley and Winner #2

Mark Strong/Mr. Knightley

As many of you guessed, the actor who inspired wails in the tiniest actresses in Emma was Mark Strong/Mr. Knightly.  Perhaps that experience is why he has since played villains!

Several of you expressed dissatisfaction with Mssr. Strong as Emma’s Mr. Knightly, but I confess I like him the best and perhaps for the same reasons some have called him “stern,” though I never saw it. Well, actually, yes I have, and his characterization (or his director’s) rang true to me…much more so than Jeremy Northam’s version. When Strong’s Knightly says, “Badly done, Emma, badly done!” the weight of his censure is heavy, indeed. On the other hand, but in likewise seriousness, we have his portrayal of concern for Harriet’s shunning at the ball. Here is a man who feels his duties deeply and performs them from a tender heart. I just thought Mark Strong did that beautifully and conveyed throughout his patient love for Emma and desire for her real ‘improvement” in ways unplumbed by subsequent actors. I don’t know how he feels about his work in Emma, but I think it a highlight of his career. I can’t say that I’ve seen him in anything since that even came close! IMHO of course!

Naturally, these opinions beg the question of what Austen was meaning to portray in the person of Mr. Knightly. Peter Leithart, a Fellow of Theology and Literature at New Saint Andrews College, has named Emma, as “Perhaps the most Christian novel Austen wrote:

Emma is concerned with the relations of charity and truth: it is about “speaking the truth in love,” or  more precisely, about truth-speaking as the path to love. Everyone around Emma flatters her, admires her, and generally regards her as a perfect specimen of womanhood. Only Mr. Knightly sees her as the flawed young women she really is, and only he tells her so, often in very blunt terms. Mr. Knightly is the right man for Emma precisely because he speaks truth.”  Later in his essay he states: “Knightly is the guide (to community through charity and by speaking truth) here, the savior who delivers Emma from her own folly and at the same time ensures the survival of the community of neighbors in Highbury”

Sound like Mark Strong’s Knightly? To those of you who would like to read Leithart’s essays on the rest of Austen’s novels, please get yourself a copy of Miniatures & Morals. You are in for a treat! After all, his first chapter is entitled “Real Men Read Austen.”

View at Austen Emporium

So…drum roll…the winner of a copy of Jane Austen Made Me Do It! , signed by moi, is in the mail to Stephanie Carrico. Thank you to all who entered and keep up with my thoughts here at Jane Started It! or at Traipsing After Jane


Click here to take a look or purchase…

Happy Birthday, Pamela

Today is Pamela Aidan’s birthday. I don’t know which one and to speculate would be rude. It will suffice to wish her well. JaneGS, of READING, WRITING, WORKING, PLAYING has done a review of Pamela’s YOUNG MASTER DARCY.

Jane made a comment about Jane Austen fiction and I slipped in to leave my own comment. Click over, join the discussion, and let us know what you think!

Take care–Susan Kaye