Publication Time Approaches!

Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle as Mr Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet -Copyright Alan Weller / The Times.

It’s just around the corner

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!

Dreams and Goals

Just leave me here please…

Goals are good for the mind

People have goals in life. Goals are good things–attainable things. I have a goal of doing yoga most days of the week. I plan to build a new chicken coop so we can get more chicks next spring, really clean out the brush pile in the back yard, and redo the landscaping in the front yard. In my mind, you take an idea and plan it out; this creates a goal.

In my writing life, I have goals as well. I came to a happy place when I made my goal to have fun and enjoy writing just for me. There have been plenty of goals regarding A Chance Encounter in Pemberley Woods. Most of those have been checked off my list by now! But before these were goals, they were dreams.

Dreams feed the soul

You know what I’m talking about. Dreams are like a flower you imagine in your mind. Flowers are real, sure, but you might not ever actually see that flower. A dream in your soul is like a little burst of energy–something you can use to move forward, but not necessarily something you can plan for.

One dream of mine was to have something I wrote published. To have this dream realized still makes me shake my head in wonder. Did that really happen? It’s been an amazing experience.

Another dream came almost true for me today. Well, let me say that this dream turned into a goal. I spoke to a librarian today at my local branch, and we created a plan for how to get my book into circulation. Circulation in the library.

I’ll bask in the glow of this realized dream for some time. On rainy days, when it might be hard to get moving, I’ll take it out and remember it.

Regency Knowledge

Leave me here, please.

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?

I can’t wait to find out.

Raising Novels

It’s a tough world, kitty.

The editing process reminds me of raising children. It’s difficult, humbling, sometimes embarrassing, and often imparts feelings of being an ineffectual dolt. On the other hand, it’s completely rewarding and helps you do things you never knew you were capable of.

That’s a bit of a long-winded metaphor. You get it. It’s hard work editing a piece of work that you love, but it is so worth it! I was incredibly nervous to begin the editing process on my novella, A Chance Encounter in Pemberley Woods. Once my editor and I began working on it though, I realized I had nothing to be afraid of. The editing process truly did bring out the best in my work.

And now it’s finished! Yes, after several months of hard work, we are finished with the editing process. I’m so excited to take the next steps!

Cover Designs

A bit overwhelming…

So many options

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.

These Dreams

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!

Music To Write By – A Musical Soundtrack

Every story has a soundtrack

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.

Yes! from Jane Eyre, music by Dario Marianelli

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.

Piano Concerto No. 23 Adagio by Mozart

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.

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.

Music To Write By

Sweeping Classical

I always listen to music when I write, unless it is physically impossible. These days I’ve been working my way through a lovely book called Year of Wonder: Classical Music to Enjoy Day by Day by Clemency Burton-Hill. Through it I’ve discovered two new favorites that I find so achingly beautiful I had to share them.

Gustav Mahler

First is the above piece by Mahler. It’s the Adagietto from his Symphony No. 5, and it is just stunningly beautiful. The story goes that Mahler wrote this piece as a love letter of sorts to his wife, Alma. The music alone is enough to move me, but then add that bit about the love letter and I’m imagining all kinds of stories in my head. Oh, and this work was also largely composed while Mahler was visiting his summer cottage. So we have a beautiful piece of music, a love letter, and a summer cottage. The imaginative mind starts to bubble.

Edward Elgar

Another piece I discovered through Burton-Hill’s book, Edward Elgar’s Cello Concerto in E Minor, Op. 85: I. Adagio – Modereto. Don’t ask me what any of that musical notation means, because I do not know. All I know is that this music, composed right after World War I, is achingly beautiful. A bit of interesting history: the piece was not well received when first performed, owing at least in part to a lack of rehearsal time for the soloist. Its popularity stems from this beautiful interpretation of the work by cellist Jacqueline du Pre. You can read more about that here if you are interested.

Credit where it’s due

I have to give a nod to one of my all-time favorite podcasts, That Classical Podcast, for introducing me to both these pieces before I ever came across Burton-Hill’s book. If you’ve not heard of That Classical Podcast, please do go check it out. Two young people talk about their love of classical music while cracking my kind of ridiculous jokes. It doesn’t hurt that they are British, or that they are both artists in their own right. Seriously, check them out.

Not my usual fare

I usually listen to soundtrack music while I write. I actually create whole playlists for each writing project. I’ll be sharing more of my favorite pieces here soon, because I just feel like inspiration should be shared.