Wednesday, November 7, 2012

If My Life Was A Jane Austen Novel

Persuasion. My life would most closely resemble Persuasion.  It’s true.
As many of you may have noticed my blog, my twitter feed and my facebook page have been silent. I have been having my own Anne Elliot moment of second chances with my Captain Wentworth. While I did not have a first round proposal, we did have a separation of two years which was mostly through faults of my own. We have received our second chance and I am happy to report that we will get our happy ending. However, we must endure a 7,000 mile separation until he is stationed stateside once again. My Wentworth is actually a U.S. Marine currently stationed in Japan. Although, if we are comparing my other half to a Jane Austen hero then he is more of a Henry Tilney whom we all know I love and adore.
In between my own Persuasion, I moved back to my parent’s house to save some money and pay off student loan debt faster. That alone has been an experience all its own. Twenty-seven and back living with your parents again, albeit temporarily, picture it. I have also been honing my craft with my employment and my patience paid off and a promotion opened up in our district. I am just waiting to see if I get that promotion. There have been other life events that have occurred and I have not had much time for writing. I am slowly making my return, however.
I am so happy to be coming back to the Austen community. I realize many of you were disappointed by my Colonel Fitzwilliam novel not making his debut in June, but I assure you that I have not forgotten him. He has been making his presence known to me constantly and hasn’t fared well with my neglect. The draft is written, but first round edits are being finished before I am able to send the pages to my beta readers.
I am also at work on other material for my other book the Northanger Abbey Vignettes. I am currently working on a piece about Isabella Thorpe titled Mirror, Mirror. I also have a story about John Thorpe which I had been working on before my hiatus.
Finally, I have some book reviews which I will be posting soon. I can’t wait to share those with you. I love to read and I enjoy sharing my affection for the activity.

Hello friends and please join me for a spot of tea.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Awake: A Fairytale by Jessica Grey

Awake: A Fairytale by Jessica Grey

Format: Kindle Edition (Paperback coming soon)

Publisher: Tall House Books (February 4, 2012)

ASIN: B0075WO1Q0

Alexandra Martin didn’t believe in fairytales…

Alex has always been more interested in rocks and science than stories about princesses and magic. Now she’s far too busy with her summer internship at the Gem and Mineral Museum to think about children’s stories. Between avoiding her former best friend and high school baseball star, Luke Reed, and trying to hide her unrequited crush on her mentor at the museum, the real world is occupying all of her time.

…Until she walked into one.

It turns out fairytales aren’t all fun and games. A curse has turned her neat and orderly world upside down, and to break it, she bands together with a fellow intern and a recently awakened princess who’s been asleep for 900 years. Can this trio of unlikely heroines put an end to an ominous enchantment, discover true love, and keep an ancient and evil magic from being unleashed on modern-day Los Angeles?

Fairytales have an enduring quality and thanks to Disney every girl can dream of a Happily-Ever-After, but its how you get there that is the true story. The work one has to do for the relationship to succeed is what makes the ending all the more satisfying. In fact, it is the requirement of any good relationship.

Debut author Jessica Grey has created a world suspended just above reality, but with its Los Angeles setting it’s not a stretch. I admit that I have only ever seen the Disney film about Sleeping Beauty and have never read the actual fairy tale, but Grey keeps the basic Disney elements (for people like me perhaps) so that the story is not completely unrecognizable and then Grey twists the elements to make it exciting. In Awake the tale of Sleeping Beauty is tilted on its axis and given a dynamic and captivating new approach.

Alex Martin is a classic heroine because she doesn’t try to be one. Alex doesn’t realize the real power she holds, literally and figuratively.  She is the girl that is beautiful and smart, but does not see it herself, but our hero Luke does. So to progress with Alex throughout the novel and to watch her really come into herself is one of the best parts. Alex still doesn’t really understand how others see her at the end, but she is embraced and held up by the love and affection of Luke which is all that she needs to be successful.

Luke is sexy. I have a quote on my blog which I try to live by when I create the heroes in my novels and I think it represents Luke exceptionally well. Author Umberto Eco said “The real hero is always a hero by mistake; he dreams of being an honest coward like everybody else”.  Luke acts in the manner of a hero, but he does not purposefully try to be the hero. Luke’s feelings for Alex are what compel him to act the way he does and it is because Luke is being true to himself that he is heroic.

When the romance of Luke and Alex finally comes to fruition it is a meeting of equals and because of that we can only imagine what an enduring relationship occurs beyond the pages of Awake. It is relationships like the ones in Awake that keep me reading because it portrays the hope that even the least conspicuous individuals can have a happy ending.

Awake has my endorsement.

Final recommendation: Add a little magic to your life and read Awake.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tastes of Colonel Fitzwilliam

Colonel Fitzwilliam’s tale is progressing nicely, but title wise is in an identity crisis. That will work itself out and that is not what I wanted to share with you today.
I did want to take a moment to share with you some insight into my Colonel Fitzwilliam. I say my,because 2012 may be the year of 3 different Colonel Fitzwilliam novels. Nancy Kelly, author of His Good Opinion is working on her yet untitled Colonel Fitzwilliam novel. Then there is Presumption by the wonderful Emily C.A.Snyder, whom also wrote the wickedly funny Nachtstürm Castle.
I believe my Colonel Fitzwilliam offering will perhaps be the darker of the three, but I could be wrong. Not to worry there will be plenty of romance for Colonel Fitzwilliam.
What did I imagine for Colonel Fitzwilliam?
Austen herself does not tell us much about Colonel Fitzwilliam, except that he is in the military and is “about thirty, not handsome, but in person and address most truly a gentleman”. Just the little that Austen says about Colonel Fitzwilliam leaves him open for a lot of development. Well, dear readers, I kidnapped him. I promise to give him back when I’m done, but until his tale is told then I am afraid he must stay with me.
Colonel Fitzwilliam’s tale begins after the end of the Napoleonic Wars and after a long, fruitful career he retired. Colonel Fitzwilliam is a changed man. He must navigate a world he has not lived in often enough because he was on various campaigns for the British Crown. The Colonel and his family must become reacquainted with each other. It all creates an interesting dynamic.
Perhaps, my favorite aspect of Colonel Fitzwilliam is the internal scars he carries. He was one of the few who made it home. The Colonel is dealing with the Regency equivalent of PTSD, except he could never admit to such a flaw because the closest Regency equivalent would be a medical condition known as hysteria. How is that a problem? Hysteria was largely considered a female disease which was abelieved to largely be the result of sexual dissatisfaction. In other words, men did not and could not suffer from feminine attributes. They acted like men: strong, commanding and infallible. Imagine how hard it is today for soldiers with PTSD and then imagine what it would have been like for Colonel Fitzwilliam.
A tough road for Colonel Fitzwilliam follows. As I mentioned previously, there is romance, but this is a story that deals with so much more than just finding a happy ending. At least that is what I believe. Once I release the Colonel into the wild I am sure I will hear all about how I did or did not succeed, but until then the little tidbits I do share will have to sustain your curiosity.
Are you intrigued by Colonel Fitzwilliam yet?
Finally, I want to share two more things with you. First, A peak at my chosen portrait of Colonel Fitzwilliam, which I hope serves to intrigue you. What do you think?

Secondly, a song which I think really highlights what might be the mindset of a soldier during the time. This song is placed in 1917, so somewhat past the Regency, but it’s beautiful and haunting. The lovely Niamh Parsons’s sings.

I hope you enjoyed a little insight into Colonel Fitzwilliam. Watch my blog, visit my Facebook page or wait for his book to find out more. J

Monday, January 23, 2012

The 2012 Goal Posts or Tea Time

Everyone has goals and I’ll admit to not being very good meeting certain goals, such as exercise and weight loss, but I feel like I should always make a list of goals so I have something to aspire to each year. Here is my list of goals for 2012.

1.       Publish Colonel Fitzwilliam: Everyone keeps telling me how excited they are for this book (Oh, the pressure!). I am very intent on meeting this goal and am happy to say that rewrites are coming along very nicely.

2.       The Northanger Abbey Vignettes: As many of you know I wrote a Northanger Abbey short story last year. Northanger Abbey is one of my favorite Jane Austen works and I am in love with Henry Tilney. In 2012 I want to work on additional NA vignettes and compile it into a small anthology.  

3.       Go Cruelty-free: Replace all face & body and cleaning products with cruelty-free products by year’s end. I love animals and can’t stomach the thought of using products that have been tested on animals. As part of my personal commitment I am making a determined effort to only buy cruelty free products.

4.       Pay off my credit card debt: I have two remaining credit cards which need to be paid off. One of those will be paid off by February which will leave on credit card to pay off by year’s end.

5.       Travel to France: My mom is taking a group of high school students and adults on a ten day trip in July. The trip will take them to France and Switzerland. I will be accompanying her and am very excited that I will get to speak French the whole time. I have been saving up for this trip for a while now which makes it all the more fantastic.

6.       JASNA AGM: I would like to attend this year’s AGM, but I am not confident that my finances will accommodate it, partly because Goal #5 (see above). That does not mean I cannot attend the 2013 or the 2014 AGM. I lean toward 2014 only because it is in Montreal and I really look for any excuse to speak French.

7.       Buy American Made: Living in the United States it is sad to say we outsource a lot in an effort to produce a cheaper product. In an effort to support the economy where I live, I try, whenever possible, to buy products Made in the U.S.A. It’s not easy and sometimes it costs a little more, but nothing can replace the feeling you get when you feel like you are doing something to help out.

8.       Volunteer at my Local Library: I love to read. This year I would like to be involved with the adult reading program which helps adults learn to read. I cannot think of anything more rewarding and I get to share the joy of reading with another.

What are your goals for 2012?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

His Good Opinion by Nancy Kelley: A Review

His Good Opinion
Author: Nancy Kelley
Publisher: Smokey Rose Press (November 23, 2011)
Format: Paperback or E-book
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0984731202
Source: Author supplied ebook

A subtle charm exists between these pages about Darcy’s opinion. The desire to read this book with a cup of tea beside you while you sit on the balcony on a spring day is alluring. It invites you in for a visit and results in your longing to stay.

It has long been wondered just what exactly was going through Darcy’s mind in his unconventional courtship of Elizabeth Bennet. When she set him down, most indelicately, how did he occupy himself and in turn make himself worthy of the wit and intelligence of a woman he supposed to be beneath him at one point?

Darcy himself never did anything without purpose and at times he was deftly slow in his pursuit of particular actions. The craft of deftly noting the change in a character is difficult at best. He cannot change too quickly or it would be unbelievable, but he also cannot change too slowly or readers will think him bereft of any common sense. It has to be done just right. That has been achieved here. We are allowed to explore the twisting avenues in Darcy’s head, which allows us to come away with a better understanding of the man he is.

His Good Opinion is a pleasing addition to the genre of Austenesque works. The writing it strong and specifically crafted to melt itself into Austen’s original prose, which should satisfy purists in the Austenesque genre. The story itself, while mirroring the timeline of Pride and Prejudice, is just as captivating as the original. In the end we are offered the answer to an age old question: What Would Mr. Darcy Do?

Final Recommendation: Learn how to gain Darcy’s good opinion and read this book.

Visit author Nancy Kelley at her blog Austen Aspitations.