Friday, January 27, 2012

Great Post on

I am on a deadline and really have no time to post this week, but I just read this exceedingly diverting post on and had to share it. In it, Susan Mason-Milks, author of Mr. Darcy's Proposal, muses on what books the characters of Pride and Prejudice might enjoy if they were alive today. Enjoy!

Monday, January 23, 2012

1911's Predictions for 2011

I found this story on Facebook and I cannot verify its origins, but it was very interesting to read. It's a large image so you will need to zoom in to read it. It appears to be a copy of a page from the Ladies Home Journal. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to walk ten miles so I am not considered a weakling. Read it here.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Why I should not be allowed to buy Kindle books when I have insomnia

I have a confession to make. I was a full time IT (technical support, software development, web design, etc) person for 12 years. And I can barely run my Kindle. Maybe it's the black and white interface (which is so good for my poor eyes) or maybe it's the fact that there is no mouse. But I just have a hard time with the non-intuitive organization. I just learned how to put books into collections. Of course I never actually investigated how to organize my Kindle until recently. And I almost never turn on the wireless- only if I buy something and instantly go get my Kindle.

So the night before last, I bought a regency novel- non-austenesque- and ran in to grab my Kindle so I could download it instantly and go read it since it was bedtime. Lo and behold, it downloaded many books that I had apparently purchased during a fit of insomnia, who knows when. It was sort of like Christmas, though, because two Austenesque novels appeared- one by Mary Lydon Simonsen- "A Wife For Mr. Darcy", and one by P.O. Dixon- "To Have His Cake and Eat it Too."

I started right in reading "A Wife For Mr. Darcy" because Mary Simonsen recently started following my blog (*waves* Hi Mary!) and I stayed up half the night reading it. I love a book that really draws me in and keeps me reading. There are dozens of half (or quarter)-read books on my Kindle that just don't grab me.

I wish there was some sort of comprehensive list of all Austenesque literature where one could go and check off what one has read. It would automatically scan Amazon and other sources to dynamically update the list so one would know when another book has been released in that genre. It would list every book cover version (I bought two of the same book once because one had been self-published and then was taken on by a publishing house and released with a different cover) and it would list the description and then on could check it off when purchased. Hmmm. I wonder if any of my software design buddies would want to take that on... ;)

Either way, I don't *really* think I shouldn't be allowed to buy Kindle books when I have insomnia. But I think from now on I'll make sure I download them right away.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Ellen Degeneres Surprises Colin Firth with his Wax Figure

I just found this on YouTube and it's pretty adorable. Watch when he stands next to the figure and adopts its pose.

I originally saw the video here:

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


I was just reading Mary Simonsen's blog and came across this delightful video "trailer" mash-up of Beauty and The Beast/Pride and Prejudice and it put me in mind of the war that is being raged on the internet in regards to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and The "Protect IP" Act (PIPA). You can (and should) read about the particulars here. While some politicians argue that these acts are designed only to stop copyright infringement and piracy, the wording of these bills speak otherwise. If these things pass, witty little diversions that are just for fun, like this video, would be enough to shut my blog down. Pinterest would likely be gone. And who knows what other censorship would occur? So Austenites, watch this adorable video (slightly different than the one posted above) and go sign a petition to protest SOPA and PIPA and to protect Internet Freedom.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Good morning! I just want to let everyone know that at the moment, threaded comments (hitting 'reply' to an existing comment) are not working on my blog. I've sent a help request in to Google. Apparently I am not the only one with the issue. They *just* rolled this functionality out last week so it is to be expected that there will be some bugs. I will delete this post and reply to all comments when functionality is restored.

Monday, January 16, 2012


I just read an article in the New Yorker Online about re-reading novels. It struck a chord with me because I am re-reading Pride and Prejudice after two years of reading, almost exclusively, novels based on Pride & Prejudice. I'm struck by how little dialog there appears to be. I like the way Austen describes what is said rather than presenting large blocks of dialog. I need to keep that in mind in my own writing, as I am often using dialog to express thoughts and feelings that could be expressed otherwise.

I also realized that I have incorporated bits of all the variations of Pride and Prejudice that I have read, as well as the movie adaptations, to round out the characters a bit more. I am not sure I would be as smitten with Elizabeth, if I didn't have the support of Jennifer Ehle's performance- her non-verbal looks and cues.

Friends have asked me why Jane Austen doesn't describe the clothing the characters wear, to any great degree, or the landscape and I reply that Jane wrote for her contemporaries- and one has to imagine that she did not expect her writing to be read 100 or more years later, after significant changes in culture and daily life, or she would have set the scene in greater detail. Or, perhaps she thought things wouldn't change that significantly, but I have trouble believing that. When we write today, this assumption doesn't exist. That is not to say that authors run around believing they will be as famous and lauded as Austen is today, but even the lowliest paperback can end up in some future rummage sale to be purchased for a few cents and enjoyed on a long drive in the hovercraft :)

In other news, I found this image on Pinterest and I think we can all relate to it as Austenites. (Credit for this image goes to

Saturday, January 14, 2012

My Jane Austen Journey

“I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.” ― Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

There is no quote more fit to describe my own Jane Austen journey. It always seems to come back to the screen adaptation of Emma, starring Gwynneth Paltrow and Jeremy Northam. Did I see it in the theater? I cannot recall. I do know I bought the DVD, along with Mansfield Park, as a part of the 10 free DVDs you could get with the Columbia Record and Tape Club (remember that vicious money trap?) I loved Gwynneth in the role of Emma. I loved the dresses and I loved the hair. My favorite dress was the pink one she wore while shooting with Mr. Knightley, when he said, "Try not to kill my dogs." I was not as impressed with Mansfield Park. It remains, to this day, my least favorite of her novels.

Once I discovered these two movies, I read the two novels and began to read up on Jane herself.

On either the first or second Christmas home, after we moved away, my mother and father presented me with the DVD Box set of A&E's Pride and Prejudice. I still have it. The original discs are old, scratched and unwatchable, but they stay on my shelf, a reminder of a favorite gift from my parents, now gone.

How many times have I watched that variation? 100? I think more. When I watched that series for the first time, I was breathless. I hadn't yet read the novel. I fell in love. Not with Colin Firth, but with Miss Elizabeth Bennet. Not in a romantic way, but she became for me, the ideal heroine.

Next came the inevitable "I must have every screen adaptation known to mankind" phase. VHS tapes were purchased. The requisite self-important comparisons between on-screen versions themselves, then between the screen versions and the books, were made.

Almost 10 years later, I was yearning for more Austen. I had read all her books and seen every movie adaptation. I had an actual physical longing- much like I felt a few days after we returned home from Disney World when I was a kid. I NEEDED to be back there. I wandered around the fiction section at the bookstore, frustrated and unsatisfied. And then I suddenly remembered waaaaay back to 2002, when I had found a variation on Emma, written by Joan Aiken, at the library in Worcester, MA. "Jane Fairfax" has the honor of being the first adaptation, variation, or sequel that I ever read. I remembered this suddenly and wondered if Ms. Aiken had written any others. In the "A" section, I saw, "Mr. Darcy's Daughters," by Elizabeth Aston. Then, in the Bs, I found "Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife," by Linda Berdoll. I had a little pile going. My husband wandered over and I shoed him away. I was On A Mission. I think I walked out with 4 Austen-inspired books that day.

Jane Austen's work, and the adaptations of it, became a sort of drug for me. The perfect escape to the World of Manners, where everything was defined and one knew exactly what was expected. It was a turbulent time in my life and I needed that kind of escape. I read every variation my bookstore stocked. Then I went online and found self-published books by the likes of Kara Louise and Abigail Reynolds, just to name a couple. For two solid years, I read no other fiction, (not counting the Little House on the Prairie series that I have read almost every fall since I could read.) I admire these Austen Authors so much. The sheer number of Pride and Prejudice variations alone is a testament to their ingenuity and voracious creativity. A whole world, where the characters I loved best were living, thriving, being born and reborn, enveloped me. How had I come this far without knowing this world had existed?

There seems to be a bold line drawn between those of us who love this continued world of Darcy and Elizabeth, and those who feel that these authors are just trying to "copy Jane Austen." Pah. (Yes, my dear Miss L, I know you are reading this and that you belong to the *other* camp, but I love you anyway *grin*.) I, for one, feel bereft when a good book is finished and to be able to read different variations of what could happen excites me! For me, there is no point in getting worked up if you don't like that an entire genre has evolved based on the works of an author. If you don't like it, don't read it! I think everyone has different needs, different loves, and they are all valid and let's not judge! I see it thus: there are so many things in this world to get worked up about. Human rights violations, world hunger, war, to name a few. Not liking a book is not something I am going to get worked up about. I'll toss it aside and go read another. As a matter of fact, I think I'll go do that now.

Monday, January 2, 2012


Greetings dear ones. It seems only fitting that I start the new year with a new blog. This blog will focus on my writing, reading, and other things relating to Jane Austen and the Georgian period in England, specifically focusing on the late 18th and early 19th centuries. There are already many wonderful blogs covering these topics, so I will try to only post information that is fresh, or related to my own impressions or experience.

I am working on two novels--one, a regency time travel story that asks questions about the nature of human relationships, especially of those created and maintained online. My other is a Pride and Prejudice variation. I'll reveal more about that as it becomes appropriate. As far as I can tell now, it will be A Topic Entirely New. I also need to mention my participation in The Austen Games. Approximately two years ago, I found myself searching almost entirely in vain, for a way to immerse myself in an Austen experience online. Recently, a group of lovely people saw a need to be filled, and started The Austen Games, and I was lucky enough to be invited to participate in it. My story will be posted soon (eep!) so be sure to watch for it here.

If you've followed my mixed media art and jewelry-making in the past, please note that I have put that on hold for now to pursue my writing. I'll post any new mixed media or jewelry creations on my related Facebook page.

Be sure to follow this blog and to follow me on Twitter, using the links to the right, to keep up to date, and follow my Jane Austen/Regency Board on Pinterest. (What? You haven't heard of Pinterest? Oh my... if you are a visual being, I highly suggest signing up. It nourishes my artistic soul. If you need an invitation, just let me know in the comments.) Here is a little preview of what it looks like:

Happy New Year!