Thursday 29 September 2016


Timeless: A Pride and Prejudice Variation

Elizabeth eagerly awaits her sister Jane's letter while visiting Derbyshire with her aunt and uncle Gardiner. But circumstances cause the letter to be delayed by two additional days. The extra time with Darcy changes the course of both of their lives, in ways no one could have predicted... or even thought possible. In a plot twist, you won't see coming, Darcy and Elizabeth find out if their love is truly timeless...

(This book has a sci-fi element which brings the couple into the present. It's written to be believably scientific.)

Read an excerpt from the book

Lizzy had been a good deal disappointed in not finding a letter from her sister, Jane, on their first arrival at Lambton, and this disappointment had been renewed on each of the mornings that had now been spent there. Today was now the third morning and still no post arrived.  She became slightly worried over this, but she directly abandoned the thought and shifted her focus to something entirely different. A variety of thoughts were vying for her attention; she made a frantic emotional effort to sift them as they flowed in. The manner in which Mr. Darcy continued to behave since first seeing him at Pemberly was at the forefront of her mind.
 “Lizzy dear, good morning,” aunt Gardiner said as her niece entered the breakfast room.
“Good morning, Aunt.” They engaged in tête-à-tête for a few minutes before her aunt informed her that the family would spend the morning taking a walking tour around the town. Lizzy quickly agreed to the prospect of getting to know a few of the modern shops and other interesting sights in the small town of Lambton.
The Gardiners and their niece were preparing to take their leave when the housemaid at the Lambton Inn, where they were staying, opened the door to announce Mr. Darcy.
Lizzy was not expecting to see him today. She was filled with a heightened sense of every feeling when he entered the room. She could not help but notice how very handsome he looked in his black wool suit and black hat. He had come alone on horseback that morning. On seeing the ladies with their hats on already and Mr. Gardiner with his walking stick, he quickly surmised they were on their way out and apologised for his intrusion.

Thursday 22 September 2016


I admit it. I love autumn. I live in North Carolina where for the past two summers we have had a string of 90+ degrees days. This year, since May 27, we have had 82 such days. The lowest temperature we have experienced in three months is 83. So, I am thankful for the latter days of September and the early days of October when the heat and the humidity take a backseat. We will still receive a few days of 85+ degrees until November, but the heat eases, and people start thinking of the upcoming holidays.

Moreover, in my family, we have a series of birthdays between now and years end. I turned a sweet 69 years on September 17. [There was a time I thought being 69 meant one was ANCIENT! Not so much now.] My granddaughter Annalise turns 3 in early October. My stepson Tim will be 40 on Halloween. My grandson James will be 5 in early November, and his father (my son) Josh will be 32 in mid November. We have Thanksgiving in the States at the end of November [which included my late mothers birthday] and Christmas in December. And the much anticipated event at the beginning of January will be a new grandchild. So you can see how my heart grows lighter once the heat of summer disappears.

On one of those recent hot summer evenings, I was speaking to my long time friend Charlotte on the phone, and is customary between us, we were reminiscing about some crazy antics from our childhood. Soon, I was telling her about the year I received four Easter baskets. This was a monumental event for my parents were separated in a time when divorce was still not accepted.My mother did not know whether she could scrap up enough money to purchase an Easter basket, and so she had prepared me for disappointment. Then God smiled on my 10-year-old self for my grandfather bought me a basket, our neighbors, who had no children of their own, did likewise, the woman for whom my mother worked presented me with a third one, and my mother was the bearer of the fourth. It was too much chocolate for one child, but I rationed it out to last a LONG time. What was odd about each was that somehow the little note from the presenters were mixed up, and I kept thanking the wrong people for the chocolate bunnies or the jelly beans. Soon the situation became a family source of laughter.

Monday 19 September 2016


“This guide steers away from lists of how-tos, filling a niche for readers and writers who are as interested in experiencing the journey to better writing as arriving at the destination.” Library Journal

The Jane Austen WritersClub is out tomorrow in the US! It is the first creative writing guide to look at the methods and devices used by the world's most beloved novelist.

Here Rebecca Smith examines the major aspects of writing fiction—plotting, characterization, openings and endings, dialogue, settings, and writing methods—sharing the advice Austen gave in letters to her aspiring novelist nieces and nephew, and providing many and varied exercises for writers to try, using examples from Austen's work. These include:

Show your character doing the thing he or she most loves doing. In the opening scene of Persuasion, Sir Walter Elliot looks himself up in the Baronetage, which is the Regency equivalent of Googling oneself. That single scene gives us a clear understanding of the kind of man he is and sets up the plot.

Thursday 15 September 2016


Book Overview  -- Volume II: The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen Trilogy

Jane Austen lived a solitary life of a writer … Or did she?

The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen tells a spirited, affecting love story during an exciting, turbulent time. Set in the “lost years” of her twenties – a period of which historians know virtually nothing – the trilogy reveals the story of a talented, passionate woman fully engaging with a man who is very much her equal. The series resolves the biggest mysteries of Austen’s life:
·        Why the enduring rumors of a lost love or tragic affair?
·        Why, afterward, did the vivacious Austen prematurely put on the “cap of middle age” and close off any thoughts of love?
·        Why, after her death, did her beloved sister destroy her letters and journals?
Hewing to the known facts of Austen’s personal life and the broader history of war-torn England, The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen sets the protagonist on what one reviewer calls “an imaginative journey of the soul” in which “fascinating people step off the pages in lifelike form.”
In this trilogy, Austen’s intelligence and charm earn her a man’s deepest admiration and regard. Together they take on every challenge of a complex and sometimes hostile outside world.
Her story will resonate with every woman seeking respect, opportunity -- and love.

Monday 12 September 2016


Thanks so much for having me, Maria Grazia! I love getting to visit with you.  

I’m so excited to share with you and your readers about courtship and marriage in Jane Austen’s day. Customs have changed so dramatically in the two centuries since Jane Austen wrote her novels that things which were obvious to her original readers leave readers today scratching their heads and missing important implications. It’s amazing how much of Austen’s stories we miss not understanding the context she wrote it.

One of the most bewildering aspects of marriage in the regency era was the legal position of women in the era. Single and widowed women enjoyed very different legal status than married women whose legal personhood was subsumed into her husbands in a doctrine called coverture..  

This excerpt from Courtship and Marriage in Jane Austen’s World explains more about coverture and what it meant to women.

Married Women's Legal Position in the Regency

In 1765, William Blackstone presented a common man’s language interpretation of English law. He explains the law’s approach to women’s legal existence and rights in marriage which remained largely unchanged until the Married Women’s Property Act of 1884.
Blackstone said: By marriage, the husband and wife are one person in law: that is, the very being or legal existence of the woman is suspended during the marriage, or at least is incorporated and consolidated into that of the husband… and her condition during her marriage is called her coverture.… For this reason, a man cannot grant anything to his wife, or enter into covenant with her: for the grant would be to suppose her separate existence; and to covenant with her, would be only to covenant with himself: … a husband may also bequeath anything to his wife by will; for that cannot take effect till the coverture is determined by his death.… the chief legal effects of marriage during the coverture; upon which we may observe, that even the disabilities which the wife lies under are for the most part intended for her protection and benefit: so great a favourite