Tag Archives: Pride and Prejudice

A Very Austen Christmas

Book Launch Tomorrow!

A Very Austen Christmas - 3DIn early June, Laura and I broached the idea of an anthology to include all the authors of Jane Started It, along with our lovely friend, JAFF author Wendi Sotis. Susan Kaye, Pamela Aiden, and Gayle Mills originally intended to be a part of the project, but real life threw several hitches in their plans. Laura Hile, Barbara Cornthwaite, Wendi Sotis, and I kept the dream alive.

Tomorrow, that dream will be realized with the book launch of A Very Austen Christmas, hosted by Claudine Pepe at JustJane1813.  We are very much looking forward to reading Claudine’s review (our first one!), as well as chatting with our readers.

The kindle version is already available for pre-order (to be delivered tomorrow) on Amazon, and the print copy is live, though they are not yet linked together.

Does this sound tempting, lovely readers?

Four favorite authors, four heartwarming stories set in Jane Austen’s Regency world.

Robin Helm, Laura Hile, Wendi Sotis, and Barbara Cornthwaite revisit Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and Mansfield Park to deliver the uplifting holiday storytelling you’re looking for.

Her Christmas Gift by Robin Helm
Elizabeth Bennet finds herself snowbound at Rosings with two rejected, but highly eligible, suitors. Does either man have a chance? Will her childhood friend, Meryton’s golden boy, win her affection, or will she accept the master of Pemberley? Perhaps she will refuse them both a second time. Her Christmas Gift deftly combines tension and emotion with humor and romance.

The Christmas Matchmaker by Laura Hile
It’s raining; it’s pouring – and what could be better than a little Christmas matchmaking? So says Emma Woodhouse who is unexpectedly stranded at Netherfield Park. Mr. Darcy disagrees, for she has someone else in mind for adorable Elizabeth Bennet. Amid meddling, misunderstanding, and an unwelcome proposal or two, will True Love find a way?

No Better Gift by Wendi Sotis
On his way to Derbyshire to spend Christmas with his family, Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy plans to retrieve an item he left behind during his rushed escape from Netherfield—and the country miss who touched his heart. Finding Meryton practically deserted, he fears the worst. What fate could have fallen upon this once-thriving village in only three weeks? More importantly, was Miss Elizabeth Bennet in danger?

Mistletoe at Thornton Lacey by Barbara Cornthwaite
When Edmund Bertram realizes that Fanny is the perfect wife for him, he wants to propose without delay. What better time than at Christmas? Ah, but the course of true love never does run smooth …

A Very Austen Christmas - jpeg

The stories are arranged according to length. Mine is really a novella of 30K words, and Laura’s is 24K words. We have decided that we can’t write short stories (insert laugh). Wendi’s is 17K words and Barbara’s is 7K words. Curl up in your PJs with a mug of hot cocoa and enjoy the writing of four friends with quite different styles and story lines.

We hope that Sue, Pamela, and Gayle will be able to join us in our next anthology. (Yes, I just said next anthology!)

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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!

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.

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

Interviews with Darcy, Bingley, and Charlotte

A few weeks ago, I invited readers to submit questions for the characters in Jane Austen’s books. Today, Charles Bingley, Charlotte Lucas, and Fitzwilliam Darcy graciously respond to Joy Dawn King and Laura Hile.

Carolines

Mr. Bingley, Mrs. King would like to know why you have allowed Caroline to continue to live with you after she has caused you and your beloved Jane so much grief.

Ah! My good friend Darcy told me of Mrs. King and her questions. I have long grappled with the conflict I feel concerning my sister, Caroline. My father talked to me before his death, solemnly emphasizing my duty towards both my sisters. I would be no better than John Dashwood if I turned her out, and we all know how he has fared with Austen fans. I would rather be seen as a lovable man who is too forgiving than one who ignores the needs of his family. Let us all hope that Caroline’s twenty thousand pounds will attract a husband soon. However, if it does not, both my angel, Jane, and I are willing to contribute another five thousand pounds to her dowry if it will expedite the matter.

Thank you, Mr. Bingley. Mrs. Collins, Mrs. King has a question for you as well.

Is fifty miles of good road enough of a distance to see the need to feather your own nest?

CharlottesOh, Mrs. King, you know that felicity in marriage is entirely a matter of chance. I would add that it is usually a matter of choice. I chose to marry Mr. Collins, and while there are times at which it would please me greatly to be fifty miles from him, I have resigned myself to the fact that I will be fifty miles from Meryton instead. As Elizabeth and Jane left soon after I did, I do not regret my decision at all. In fact, I have the comfort of seeing Elizabeth at least twice a year – once in Meryton and once at Rosings. We write each other often and make certain that we will be in those locations at the same time.

Darcys

Mr. Darcy, Laura Hile asks you explain to us why you feel the need to consume a diet drink. She realizes that Jane Austen wrote you as being a proud man, but  advises you to have a care. “Dear Jane also wrote Sir Walter Elliot, and we all know how anxious he was to maintain his figure. Has modern fame gone to your head? Or, er, waist?”

Well, Mrs. Hile, perhaps you should direct the question to Coca-Cola or Mrs. Helm. After all, Mrs. Helm bought said “diet soda,” and the soft drink manufacturer placed my name on the drink without my permission; they chose to put me on a “diet soda.” I think it was most presumptuous, as I have never, in any of my incarnations pictured above, needed to lose weight.

As to the second question, every woman appears to have a favourite Darcy whom they hold to be the paragon of all which is manly and attractive, and they become positively violent when faced with the idea that another actor might do the part as well. How could fame “go to my head” when I have no idea who I actually am? Each generation brings forth yet another Darcy with a different interpretation of my character and my appearance. I have heard of a mental problem which afflicts some people called “multiple personality disorder.” Perhaps that would explain why there are so many Darcys.

Indeed, Mrs. Helm herself told me that she chose to use a collage of the Darcy actors in order to avoid offending any of your gentle readers, though I must candidly admit that your comparison of my person to that of Sir Walter Elliot is highly offensive to me. (As a consequence, I have raised an eyebrow. You may picture that in your mind.) I am not at all like that gentlemen, though my valet takes great care with my appearance. I allow him to dress me as he likes in order to keep him content, for he is such an asset to me, and training a new valet to my exacting (but entirely reasonable) standards would be quite strenuous.

Redecorating, redesigning, and requiring answers

I am rejuvenated after my busy summer, and I checked an item off my bucket list yesterday. I finally redesigned the kindle covers of Guardian, SoulFire, and Legacy – the three books in the Guardian Trilogy.
GUARDIAN 5 I may even tackle the print covers soon!

As soon as I can, I plan to submit newly formatted interior files for both kindle and print versions. I loved writing this series, and it deserves better than what I did five years ago when I was just learning to use the technology.

Now, new (free!) cover technology is available online which is simple to use, given my background in yearbook design. Those who have used the Createspace cover templates know that they are quite limited, and I was overjoyed to find a better alternative yesterday. Out with the old; in with the new.

SoulFire 2Legacy 1

Last week, I invited readers to submit questions for my front porch tea party. These questions were submitted by J. Dawn King. Thank you, Mrs. King, for participating in my little question and answer session.

Mr. Darcy, have you given consideration to how Pemberley will feel once Georgiana has flown the nest? Does your heart long to keep her forever? Can you empathize with Mrs. Helm?

While I have great sympathy for the circumstances of Mrs. Helm, it will be many years before I am in similar straits, for Elizabeth and I have wed. Georgiana will likely still be at Pemberley to see her nephew or niece born before she “flies the nest.” Yes, it is with pleasure that I announce my wife’s delicate condition. There will soon be an heir to Pemberley. I would use an emoji here, but the idea is just too undignified.

My heartfelt wish for Georgiana is that she will find a love as great as ours.

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Mrs. Darcy, you give the impression that you longed to flee your nest. Was it because of your mother or were you merely curious as to what is beyond your particular tree?

I must say, Mrs. King, that you have a gift for seeing right to the heart of the matter. I will not speak ill of my mother, but I will say that Mr. Darcy’s offer of marriage was very propitious. To have me return with no prospects to Longbourn after the marriages of my eldest sister and my youngest sister would have been quite trying for my mother’s nerves. As go my mother’s nerves, so goes the entire household.

I love long walks with my husband; consequently, I am greatly enjoying all the trees at Pemberley.

Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Darcy, for answering the rather intrusive questions left for you by Mrs. King. She is a lovely, curious soul. I will continue with the interview questions for Charles Bingley and Charlotte Collins next week. If any dear readers have further questions, please leave them in the comments. I will be happy to ask any of the Austen characters whatever you wish to know.