I am so excited to announce that my book, A Chance Encounter in Pemberley Woods, will be published by Meryton Press at the end of this month! Stay tuned for exact dates for the cover reveal, pre-order, publication, and blog tour!
I am a strange mixture of excitement and nerves. Sharing a story is akin to revealing a part of your inner life to the wide world. However, I must say that I am so happy to be able to share my story with everyone. Cheers to the end of the month!
It has recently come to my attention that what I know of Regency life is but a smattering. A mere tip of the proverbial iceberg. Bits and pieces gleaned from various period dramas and one very research paper. I’ve stumbled upon a few errors in my thinking recently (editors are a wealth of knowledge), and I am resolved to fill in my spotty knowledge of my favorite historical era.
Upon reaching this conclusion, I did what everyone does nowadays. I Googled. And I found a lovely blog full of information by one Maria Grace. She blogs at Random Bits of Fascination, a blog that I highly recommend for its truly interesting and well-researched posts. I particularly enjoyed this one about circulating libraries.
I’m trying to find information about clubs and societies that flourished during the Regency Period. I know about Gentlemen’s Clubs like White’s. But what of other groups? Did people during this period get together for book clubs? Did they form societies to further a common interest like history or art?
Over the last few weeks I’ve been working with Janet at Meryton Press to create a cover for my book. Time out! Let me just read that first sentence again. Okay, still not believing it, but ready to move on. Ahem.
Janet is an super-talented designer and I cannot wait to share the finished product with you. Until then, I thought I would share a few of my favorite covers from other Austenesque titles. I found these inspiring, and they helped me communicate to Janet what I love in a cover.
To Conquer Pride
First, this is a great book and you should go read it right now. Second, look at this cover! The painting itself is beautiful, but the placement of the artwork and the mystery of the lady are so intriguing.
Another wonderful story, this cover is just beautiful. So much feeling is conveyed in this painting. As you can see, I love a painting for a cover. Somehow it places the work in an historical context for me.
In the weeks to come, I’ll be able to share more about my own cover (!!) and release date (!!). Until then, check these two books out. Jennifer Altman and Nicole Clarkston have written lovely works that are definitively worth reading!
I’ve worked to music for as long as I can remember. I got my very own boom box (yep, I said boom box) when I graduated from eighth grade. It had a tape deck, a cd player, and a remote control. It was glorious. I used it whenever I was in my room, and often played music all night to help me sleep.
When I went to college I got my first ipod, and was never without my ear buds while studying. Often studying would turn into writing as some piece struck my fancy and imaginative ideas bubbled through my mind.
Now whenever I am working on a story I develop a soundtrack. A score, if you will, to the piece I am trying to create. Inspiration on repeat.
A Chance Encounter in Pemberley Woods
While working on my first every published novella (!!!), I listened to a combination of soundtrack music and classical pieces that might have been popular in Jane Austen’s day. I thought it might be fun to share a few.
I was taken by this music the first time I heard it. It elevated the scene in the movie to something that pulled at my very heart. When I found out it was composed by Dario Marianelli, my intense reaction made sense. Many pieces in my music library are by Dario Marianelli.
I almost feel as if anything I say will seem pretentious. It’s Mozart. It’s brilliant. And I love to imagine Georgiana playing this piece!
There are others of course. The entire soundtrack to the 2005 film adaptation of Pride & Prejudice (Dario Marianelli, again). The music from the 1995 adaptation of Sense and Sensibility. Patrick Doyle is amazing!
As the slightly scary Berlioz said, “So many musical ideas…!” I look forward to sharing more of mine.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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!