A Happy Discovery

How did I not know about this?

Have you ever made a discovery that made you say, “How did I not know about this!”? That’s me today with the discovery of The Meryton Assembly and the subsequent fan fiction posting board A Happy Assembly, or AHA. A friend pointed me to the site today, and I felt my jaw drop as I perused the page.


Photo by Leah Kelley on Pexels.com

It’s filled with Jane Austen Fan Fiction, or JAFF for short. To be sure, I knew all about JAFF. I spend a great deal of time reading and writing it after all! But I honestly had no idea about the existance of a site that was dedicated to the sharing of free JAFF and community building.

Needless to say, I signed up immediately.

Embarrassing as this may be…

I must admit that there is another reason I am astounded that I was not familiar with AHA before today. My publisher, Meryton Press, is directly connected to The Meryton Assembly. I’ll just go hide at the breakfast table now, drinking my tea and hoping Captain Wentworth doesn’t stumble upon me in all my embarrassment.

Pride and Prejudice and Fairy Tales

Miss Bennet? Could that possibly be you?

Today I share with you an idea that struck me some weeks ago. I have not been able to let it go, and so I believe it will develop into a full-fledged story. I love fairy tales. I love Jane Austen. In fact, my senior thesis paper was about fairy tales in the works of Jane Austen. Ah, college.

Inspiration, ideas, and knights

I shared the idea of somehow turning Pride and Prejudice into a more straightforward Cinderella story. And my idea-man knight said, “You could do all the fairy tales.”

He’s a man of few words. But what fun! All my favorite Jane Austen works and all of my favorite fairy tales? Yes, please. Alas, that is as far as I’ve gotten. Well, that’s not quite true. A lovely scene involving Elizabeth, Jane, Darcy, and Bingley at a ball has been swirling around my head. I hope to put fingers to keys soon and hash it out.

An Illustrated Vignette

My daughter has always been my biggest fan. She enthusiastically tells everyone about my writing. She is an amazing, loving child.

When I told her I was writing a vignette about Darcy and Elizabeth, she was very interested. What’s a vignette? What’s the Lake District? What do they do there?

I told her a little of the story line for the vignette I’ve written, to be published later this summer as part of Meryton Press’ Summer Holiday blog series. After asking me a few questions for accuracy, she went off and created this illustration for me:

“Miss and Mr Darcy on Vacation”

I love, love, love the way we only see Darcy and Elizabeth’s legs and feet. And I love the little detail of their Scottie dog. Of course, as soon as I asked her if I could post the picture on my website, she started fretting about getting it “right.” Luckily, I was able to convince her that it was this version I adored, and she let me have it without a fuss.

So there we have it. A perfect little illustration of my vignette that has something to do with Elizabeth and Darcy, the Lake District, and a picnic. (The Scottie dog was my kiddo’s addition, but I do wish I had thought of it!)

The exact date of publication is still to be determined, but I will let you know as soon as I know! In the meantime, check out the other vignettes already posted. They are so much fun.

My Own Austen Hero

“It is a handsome face…”

Created by Dawn Wells

How does one choose a favorite Jane Austen hero? I certainly cannot say which is my favorite definitively, but on any given day I can name my best-loved. Today it is Mr. Tilney, because today I had a small revelation while sitting for hours in the dentist’s chair.

That’s right. While in the dentists chair, desperately trying to distract myself from the many tools and noises around me, I decided to chose which Jane Austen hero my own husband was most like. At first, I thought of Mr. Darcy. He’s shy, passionate, can be gruff, and is also arrogant. Hmm…that last part didn’t quite fit. Also, he’s reserved beyond measure, much as I adore him.

If not Darcy, then who?

Then I realized, my husband may be shy, like Darcy, but he is forever teasing me and the kids. He loves the outdoors, has no interest in pleasing others at the detriment of himself or our family, and is generally a fun person to be around. He is my very own Henry Tilney. No, he may not have Henry Tilney’s ability to navigate a ballroom, but then, that suits me just fine.

The most handsome man of my acquaintance

Nineteenth Century Fashion

19th Century Fashion by Terrize on Deviant Art

What began as research for a vignette (more on that later), has developed into a deep dive into the history of women’s fashion in England. I’ve always loved the costumes in Austen films, but I never realized just how interesting those free flowing, form showing dresses were in regards to history.

As you can see in this lovely graphic by Terrizae on Deviant Art, the empire waist dresses with their freely moving skirts were a mere blip on the map of fashion. As early as 1830, those big skirts were back.

Beautiful as they were, the large hoop skirts made it difficult to move about in a normal way. Can you imagine just trying to sit down in one of those? I think most of us modern ladies would have a hard time managing. And let’s not even think about going to the bathroom!

So why, then, did the empire-waist come into fashion at all? According to historic-uk.com, there was a renewed interest during this time period on Classical works of art and literature. That is to say, the Greeks and Romans were cool again, and people wanted to dress like them.

What I find so amusing is the fact that these dresses, like the one Elizabeth Bennet wears in every adaptation, were considered bold and daring! I confess, I would love to have each and every one of the dresses in this pretty graphic, if only I had somewhere to wear them!