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.

understanding-elizabeth-09

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!

 

We’ve had the wildest winter I can remember. In Portland, Oregon, the winters are usually drippy and overcast. However, this year’s winter has been cold and snowy. It has produced some great photographs.

crows-1

This is a photograph of crows sitting in snowy trees in downtown Portland, Oregon. The photograph was taken by C.S.I. Walker Berg of the Portland Oregon Police Bureau. This was his view from the Justice Center’s 12th floor.  Portland has enough of a crow problem that they have begun to employ falconers to move block-by-block, hunting the black birds.

It looks like the crows are settled in for the night, though and any hawks will just have to wait for morning.

The police department shared the image dubbed “Crows on Snow” on Facebook and Twitter where it quickly went viral.

My first thought was “Wow,” and then I thought:

dragonfruit

From the sublime to the ridiculous in one easy jump.

Anything Worth Doing

is worth overdoing.

doing_wellsm

I’m not so sure.

Anyway, let’s use all the lights and goo-gaws to celebrate Laura Hile’s release of Marrying Well for Fun & Profit: Persuasion’s Sir Walter Elliot advises the Upwardly Mobile Miss. It’s just 99 cents on Amazon. Look, amongst all the after Christmas markdown frenzy, you bought those clearance earrings that make you look … interesting. Spring for this book. It’s not expensive and with a little reverse engineering, you will have lots of advice on what NOT to do in life. Unlike the earrings. (Okay, I’ll let up on the jewelry faux pas.)

 

 

New Release: Marrying Well for Fun & Profit

Sir Walter is over the moon. He finally has a book all to himself.

Soon to be a bestseller, of course

At last, after years of being misunderstood and maligned I, Sir Walter Elliot, finally have the spotlight. That is to say, my very own advice e-book.

And you need advice, dear reader, if you are to move up the social ladder. Do you wish to remain ordinary? Of course not! But marrying well — and improving your family’s gene pool in the process — is not as easy as it appears.

Why fade into the social landscape, like my daughter Anne? Wouldn’t you rather make an impression? Wouldn’t you rather attract a handsome man, who is also a man of means and good breeding?

I will show you how. My e-book is bursting with wise and witty nuggets. It’s just the thing to accompany your morning cup of coffee or tea.

A hit of caffeine and a dose of social sagacity. What could be better?

All this could be yours, if you know the way.

All this could be yours, if you know the way.

Youth and beauty are fleeting, my dear.  Allow me to help you to make the most of them.

Here is the purchase link to Amazon. In my humble opinion, the decimal place should be nudged over several places. But Laura Hile assures me that I could make up the difference in sales volume. Well, of course!

As always, I remain,

Cordially yours in the upward climb,

Sir Walter Elliot

Laura Hile (1)

Pride & Precedence: Snow Woe

giovanniboldiniafternoonstroll-mm21

There is a song from your modern era called I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas. Seriously? Snow has become not my dream but my nightmare.

Granted, a dusting of snow would be charming at Christmastime—if it came and then went away. This year? Snow continues to fall and pile up. It’s like one of those annoying houseguests who will not go.

Our “White Christmas” became a “White New Year’s” and then a “White Epiphany.” If we stiil have snow on the ground at Candlemas, I will lose my mind.

The vulgar expression “Cabin Fever” describes the situation at Uppercross Cottage. We are housebound because of the snow, and let me tell you, it is Too Much.

trees-15For one thing, the cottage is always, always cold. Why not burn a forest of trees for heat? What are we saving them for? I know, posterity. Bless me, since the days of our courtship I’ve been told that the Musgrove wealth is found not in monetary assets but in land. Well then, we ought to plant acres of trees so that we can cut down what we need. Trees do nothing but stand there. Why not make them useful?

And then there is the smoke: from fires, from sputtering candles, and from cigars. I am continually coughing because my husband will not take his cigars out-of-doors as he ought. My father-in-law’s pipe? Insupportable! Smoke indoors is almost bad as the smell of damp wool, which is everywhere.

popula626We have the same dismal callers again and again, and Charles will invite them to stay. And then, of course, I must feed them. The ugly caps and wrappers they wear are painful to behold, not to mention their red noses and  chapped cheeks. Our conversations center around one thrilling subject: the weather.

Our darling boys are behaving like savages. They laugh and screech, and their footfalls pound along the hallways and up and down stairs until my head aches. The nurserymaid is no help. Her solution is to put them in the bath, allowing them to shout and splash water everywhere. Charles bundles them up and takes them to visit his parents at the Great House, but that is no better. The boys run wild there, while my in-laws discuss my shortcomings as a mother.

Next winter, I shall insist that Charles to take me to Bath. My father has a very fine house there; we would be in no one’s way. In Bath, no one minds the weather. There are card parties, concerts, and interesting people. Here we have the same musicians, the same dances, and the same people.

Thanks to “Old Man Winter” every one of our neighbors has a cold and sniffs—continually.  My poor nerves are worn to a frazzle. But do our neighbors care? They smile and wave and say, “Cheerio!” as if they are happy about the snow.

I’d like to give that Jack Frost a piece of my mind. And a good swift kick in the pants, too.

Most cordially,

Mary Elliot Musgrove
Daughter of Sir Walter Elliot
Future Mistress of Uppercross

New Release!
Sir Walter Elliot’s Marrying Well for Fun & Profit is now a Kindle e-book.
More about that tomorrow.

Mary’s “portrait” is Afternoon Stroll by Giovanni Boldini

A Happy Vote? This time, yes.

Photo: Ze've Barkan (Creative Commons Flickr)

Photo: Ze’ve Barkan (Creative Commons Flickr)

For there are two really wonderful choices. How’s that for great?

Our own Robin Helm is about to release a new novel, and she’d like your help deciding.

She has two beautiful covers for her book Understanding Elizabeth. Which one do you like best?

jj1813-logoCome over to Just Jane 1813 and cast your vote. I won’t steal Claudine’s thunder by posting the images here. Nor will I tell you about the “cover girl” who is Robin’s Elizabeth Bennet. So exciting!

What are you waiting for? Click the link and vote!

Snowed In

booksWhatever shall we do?

What can we do when we’re stuck at home in a winter storm (other than housecleaning – ugh!)? Read, of course!

I’ve told you about books I love that you probably wouldn’t guess I’d like. I’ve written about my childhood reads. Now – ta da! – here are some of my favorite teen reads:

A Tale of Two Cities

Les Miserables

The Count of Monte Cristo

Pride and Prejudice (right?)

Emma

Persuasion

Northanger Abbey

Adam Bede

Silas Marner

Fahrenheit 451

Animal Farm

Jane Eyre

Rebecca

All of Victoria Holt’s books

booksI’ll grant you that Dickens is an acquired taste, and Les Miserables, Adam Bede, and Silas Marner are downers, but it takes all sorts of vegetables to make a good stew.

Victoria Holt is not deep or hard to understand. Those books are clean, Gothic romance. So many governesses falling in love with the Lords of the Manor! Just the thing to stimulate a teen girl’s imagination without delving into dirt. Both my daughters read each of them.

All of these titles, with the exception of the Holt books, have been made into films, and Les Miserables is a Broadway hit. The musical scores for “Les Miserables” and “Phantom of the Opera” are brilliant and memorable.

So, if you don’t want to take down the Christmas tree yet, read one of these books or watch the movie adaptations.

Happy reading!