History A'la Carte 11-29-12

How about a little afternoon tea to enjoy with your History a’la Carte.

And now, a  new installment of History a’la Carte for your Thursday enjoyment. I am always amazed to find out how much I didn’t know that I didn’t know.

Get to know Stephanie Hamm of Beyond Austen.com

Today I’d like to introduce Stephanie Hamm of the Jane Austen fan fiction site BeyondAusten.com. BeyondAusten is a lovely site where a number of authors, including myself, are currently posting stories.

When did you first discover Jane Austen or how did I get myself into this mess?

Robin, Stephanie, and Gayle

I first discovered Jane Austen in 2009.  My husband was deployed and I had many nights all to myself.  I started watching movies a lot having nothing else to do.  I came across Becoming Janeon Netflix’s watch instantly.  The movie fascinated me because it was based on a true person.  Her story was intriguing and led me to watching all the current Jane Austen adaptations.  I enjoyed the movies and decided to read Pride and Prejudice.  I’m not sure why I picked this novel to read out of all the ones she wrote -maybe because it was mentioned in You’ve Got Mail.    It seemed like it was the most popular of her books.  I wasn’t disappointed; of course I loved the book – and Darcy.

How did you discover fan fiction and what was your initial reaction or what made me think this was a good idea?

Shortly after reading P&P I was walking through Target’s book section and saw a book with the name Darcy on it.  I guess I was drawn to the name since I just immersed myself in the story for the previous weeks by watching the movies and reading the book.  At that point I had no idea there were sequels written.  I bought the book and went to the bookstore later to buy others.  One of the books I bought had the author’s website information so I visited the site.  From there I found links to the various JAFF sites.  By that point I was addicted to reading any and all stories that involved Darcy and Elizabeth.  After reading all the P&P stories I could find I moved on to Persuasion.  Now I think I’m just as addicted to Wentworth as I am Darcy.

At first when I discovered JAFF, I thought I was in wonderland – so many stories!!  It took me a few months to read most of the completed stories before I realized that there was such a thing as “works in progress.”  Then I discovered the real JAFF community, reading people’s comments, navigating through the forums, seeing that there are actually others that are just as addicted as I was.  It was like opening up a whole new world and an escape from reality when I needed it.

I’ve made a few online friends and even met quite a few in person.  Meeting fellow members face-to-face has probably been the best experience so far.  It was awesome to actually “see” them instead of just looking at their pictures online, to see their mannerisms and personalities to take shape.  Establishing these friendships and connections with others has been a blessing.  I’m very grateful for being part of such a unique community. Continue reading

Meet my new publsiher!

Announcing White Soup Press!

Published November 26, 2012 | By Abigail Reynolds

Jane Austen“… as for the ball, it is quite a settled thing; and as soon as Nicholls has made white soup enough I shall send round my cards.” – Pride & Prejudice

This month has been full of surprises and gifts from Austen Authors to our readers – giveaways, sales and P&P200 posts for your enjoyment. Today’s surprise is different; it’s a present for us, one that’s been in the works for many months. Today is the 201st anniversary of the Netherfield Ball, the perfect day to unveil White Soup Press, a new publishing imprint for the authors who are part of this blog.

This idea grew out of discussion between various AuAus who were publishing independently or planning to do so in the future. Pooling our knowledge, experience, and publicity efforts was a natural next step. At White Soup Press, just as at Austen Authors, we’re committed to maintaining professional quality in our books. That means that readers can count on a White Soup Press book to be edited, copy-edited, formatted correctly, and written by an experienced and accessible author.

We’re still in the early stages of this venture. Many of the recent White Soup Press releases were published under the White Soup Press imprint, and older books are in the process of being converted to the new imprint. Five Austen Authors already have books actively for sale through WSP, with many others joining in the next year as their new books become available. The majority of WSP books are Austenesque novels, but there are original novels as well. We have modern adaptations and books set in the Regency or other historical periods, plus time travel books for those who want the best of both worlds.

Read the rest at Austen Authors.

Austenesque Reviews: The Future Mrs. Darcy: Given Good Principles, Vol. 2 – Maria Grace

Meredith offered this lovely review of Vol 2. Just had to share.

The Future Mrs. Darcy: Given Good Principles, Vol. 2 – Maria Grace

Just as Excellent as Volume 1!!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Volume One in the Given Good Principles series by Maria Grace asked the question: What if Darcy lost some of his pride and selfish conceit and began to undergo a reformation before he ever met Elizabeth Bennet? While Darcy’s Decision (Given Good Principles Volume One) centers upon Fitzwilliam Darcy in his pre-Pride and Prejudice days, The Future Mrs. Darcy (Given Good Principles Volume Two) follows Elizabeth Bennet and illustrates what events were occupying her life before a certain gentleman took up residence in Netherfield Park, begging the question: What if Elizabeth received a hefty dose of humility and reality before she ever set eyes on Mr. Darcy?

Ahhh. What a refreshing and splendidly unique series this is!! I am exceedingly enjoying the inventive twists, new characters, and changed circumstances Maria Grace has created through this series. While some Pride and Prejudice variations may throw one or two wrenches into the plot, Ms. Grace has effectively thrown half a dozen, and you know what? They all seem to work. I am all eagerness to see how everything will pan out in the next and final installment of her trilogy!

My favorite aspect of Maria Grace’s writing is her characterization. While her story is told primarily from Elizabeth’s point-of-view in this novel, Ms. Grace occasionally swivels the spotlight to illuminate Mr. Bennet, Mrs. Bennet, Kitty, and Mary; giving these characters a little more distinction and dimension. I loved the new understanding I gained about these characters! Witnessing a little of their past hardships, feelings of inadequacy, and desperate need for approval increased my sympathy, secured my compassion, and even granted some allowance for their flaws and foibles in my eyes. I especially appreciated and admired how Ms. Grace provided a credible explanation for both Mrs. Bennet’s nerves and anxieties as well as Mr. Bennet’s supposed lack of foresight and responsibility in providing for his daughters. Well done!

Read the rest at Austenesque Reviews: The Future Mrs. Darcy: Given Good Principles, Vol. 2 – Maria Grace.

History A'la Carte 11-22-12

A Happy Thanksgiving to all and a little post holiday reading to enhance your day.

A dinner party for Thanksgiving with some History a’la Carte on the side.

And now, a  new installment of History a’la Carte for your Thursday enjoyment. I am always amazed to find out how much I didn’t know that I didn’t know.

Get to Know Maria Grazia founder of Fly High and My Jane Austen Book Club

 Please join me in Welcoming the fascinating (and busy) Maria Grazia to my site today. I hope you will enjoy getting to know her as much as I have.

What got you first started reading?

It was my sweet, unforgettable primary school teacher. I was 8 when she gave me a book as a gift for my first holy communion. It was Little Women. I started reading it and I discovered how exciting the journey into a book could be. I have  never really come back. I’m still on that journey. At that time my great granny used to call me back to reality and scolded me because I was always with my head in a book, now it can be sons or husbands. I can still get lost into a good book.

What was your first favorite book?

I  must repeat myself. It was Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I fell in love with young Lawrence, dreamt of being Jo and, like her,  I started dreaming of becoming a writer one day. But as you know, I became a teacher like her and never wrote my novel. However,  I don’t really regret my choices and chances: I’m quite happy with my English literature classes and my blogs. Continue reading

Blame it on the kids

When in doubt and you live with teenagers, blame it on the kids!

I remember being a ten year old hunting and pecking at an old Smith-Corona manual typewriter, banging out my first short story anthology. I still have those pages, in a box on the shelves beside me, a reminder of how far I’ve come. As creative as I was back then—I did write science fiction after all—I would have never envisioned my desk today with laptop computer, cell phone and multiple large cats who take turns on desk duty. Yet here I am.

I suppose this is really my kids’ fault. College and graduate school took their toll on my writing. Years of university teaching after that did not help. My writing was limited to curriculum and academic endeavors. But my kids kept the storyteller in me alive. They loved the stories I told them and the stories we would create together.

One of their favorites came about on a morning drive to school. We noticed how the rear lights on the car in front of us made a distinctly frog-life face. This of course inspired the woe-filled tale of the hapless frog who had been turned into a convertible by an evil wizard. We illustrated that story and bound it professionally. I suppose that was my first publication.

Several years later an incident of school bullying set us off on a new adventure, martial arts. I always considered myself a klutz and something like tae kwon do was totally outside my realm of possibility. But they dragged me into it with them, kicking and screaming at ties—and I have two black belts on my wall to show for it.

The experience made me realize if I could do that, then it was time to pick some other impossible dreams and pursue them as well. Just four years later I released my debut book, Darcy’s Decision.

Not surprisingly, my favorite Austen adaptations to write (and read) are ‘what if’ stories that consider what would happen to our favorite characters has some significant life detail been different. I’d like to share with you an excerpt from my latest what-if, a work in progress called ‘It Only Stands to Reason’.

You can find the rest at:

Maria Grace Debuts: Blame it on the kids | Austen Authors.


Related Posts

Get to know Sarah Bower

Sarah BowerSarah Bower came by for a visit today. I hope you will enjoy meeting her as much as I have.

When did you first start writing?

I started writing quite literally when I began to write. I have a very early memory, from being about four, of being in the classroom, learning my letters and saying to myself, ‘Oh, so that’s how to organise the stories in my head!’

What did you do with your earliest efforts? Did anyone read them? Did you still have them?

One of my earlier efforts won a national short story prize when I was nine. I didn’t think I still had it, but, when my dad died and my sister and I were clearing out his study, we found a typed copy, which I think his secretary must have done for him. The original handwritten version was pinned up on my primary school wall for a while, but the building was knocked down and turned into an hotel years ago. I do still have my teenage attempts at novels, which are very purple! I tried to burn them once but my husband rescued them, so now they’re stacked up in a cupboard where I try to ignore them. Continue reading

So little time…: The Future Mrs. Darcy: Given Good Principles Vol. 2 By Maria Grace

Candy Morton of So Many Books, So Little Time reviews The Future Mrs. Darcy

The Future Mrs. Darcy: Given Good Principles Vol. 2 By Maria Grace

What if the younger Bennet girls’ wild ways were pointed out and corrected before they are introduced to Mr. Darcy?

When Mr. Carver leaves the neighborhood to keep his sisters from being harmed by the acquaintance of Lydia and Kitty Bennet, and some of the others in the neighborhood start cutting them, Elizabeth, Jane and Mary go to work to restore their good name. With a little positive attention, Kitty is quick to understand what’s going on and curb her behavior. However, Lydia is another story.

Check out her lovely four star review at: via So little time…: The Future Mrs. Darcy: Given Good Principles Vol. 2 By Maria Grace.

History A'la Carte 11-15-12

How about another Victorian Meal with some History a’la Carte on the side.

And now, a  new installment of History a’la Carte for your Thursday enjoyment. I am always amazed to find out how much I didn’t know that I didn’t know.