The Event of the Year

Most of you know that, much as I love the people that I travel to see and the places that I stay when I travel, TRAVEL, in and of itself is not something I love.

But once in awhile, there comes an opportunity that even I am eager to travel for.

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In The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen, our characters participate in The Jane Austen Festival in Bath. This is a weeklong, world famous event Cass has been to several times and they (very kindly) invited us to be part of their pre-festival get together on September 13… nowhere special… only at St Swithens Church, the same church where Jane Austen’s parents were married. No big deal.

Ummm.. that’s a lie. This is a very big deal to us. Our friend Gabrielle Malcolm will be moderating for us (hey – she can make a conversation about forks interesting, so you know it’s going to be a great time).

We so appreciate the festival organizers for thinking of us and inviting us and we will be there with bells on.

Hope to see a few familiar faces there!

 

Don’t judge a book by it’s… wait! Go on, then!

Hello again everyone!

If you follow Cass or I on any social media platforms you probably already know our biggest news (also mentioned in my last post): the eBook of The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen… AND it’s sequel (I don’t think I’m allowed to tell you the title yet) were acquired by Canelo Digital Publishing at the end of last year.

One of the many things we were excited about on entering the traditionally published world was that there would be real artists and professionals creating our covers!

Our first cover will always be near and dear to us, but at the end of the day it didn’t reflect the light hearted nature of our writing and so… drumroll please… HERE is what the professionals came up with:

I love the color and the whimsy of it. I love the animals and the little Royal Crescent at the top. Hopefully it will grab readers that our first cover might have put off.

But wait! There’s more!

We did edit the manuscript before submitting to Canelo, and with the interior updated to reflect this, it seemed the perfect time to brighten up the paperback cover as well.  

Of course we couldn’t step on the publisher’s toes as far as making the two too similar, but we found something refined and pretty (just like main character Rose).

So HERE is what we came up with:

This means that if you have a book with this new cover, then you have the new and revised version of our book, which we are immensely proud of.

Whereas if you have this cover:

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Congratulations! You have the OG (this is apparently a reference no one is going to get based on asking several peers – basically I just mean ‘the original’) version of The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen.

Regardless of the covers, it might be sensible to tell you a little about the inside of the book, for those who haven’t yet read it!

Here we go:

When a time travelling Jane Austen gets stuck in modern-day Bath it’s up to avid Janeite Rose Wallace to save her… because she’s the only one who knows that Jane exists!

Rose Wallace’s world revolves around all things Austen, and with the annual festival in Bath – and the arrival of dishy archaeologist, Dr Aiden Trevellyan – just around the corner, all is well with the world…

But then a mysterious woman who bears more than a passing resemblance to the great author moves in upstairs, and things take a disastrous turn. Rose’s new neighbour is Jane Austen, whose time travel adventure has been sabotaged by a mischievous dog, trapping her in the twenty-first century.

Rose’s life is instantly changed – new home, new job, new friends – but she’s the only one who seems to have noticed! To right the world around her, she will have to do whatever it takes to help Jane get back home to write Rose’s beloved novels. Because a world without Mr Darcy? It’s not worth living in!

~o0o~

GIVEAWAY TIME!!

As we approach the release date for the eBook (12th September – it’s available for pre-order here!), we’ve decided to give away a few copies of the new, revised paperback! What’s more, these will be signed by both authors (not a thing that happens very often with the distance between us!)

All you have to do is leave a comment on this post, letting us know your thoughts on any of the covers (do you have a favourite, anything you love, anything you don’t), and then we’ll enter your name in the draw, which will be made on Sunday, 15th September in Bath!

Draw open internationally! Closing date for entries is 12th September 2019.

Thank you for bearing with us! We hope you enjoy the next few months where we should be posting here more regularly!

It was the best of times…

 

It has been quite a while since I’ve been here on our own beloved tabbycow.com (Cass! I think we need to grab the addy tabbyhippo now too! – sorry, private joke that you’d know about if you followed Cass or I on twitter!)

I came to update you all on changes to the cover of our first book together, The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen. But lo and behold, when I got here, I saw that we had never officially marked our partnership with Canelo Digital Publishing here on Tabby Cow!!

And THAT was ridiculous! But then, that made me remember WHY we never did so.

It was the best of times…

Cass, being all things brilliant – but in this case Twitter savvy in particular – entered our book in Canelo’s open pitch in the Summer of 2018. There were discussions and contracts and boom! Cass and I had joined the Canelo family.

This was exciting and terrifying, particularly since Canelo wanted not just The Particular Charm, but its sequel which, if you’ve read the first book you know, we’d left a pretty wide open door for.

An open door that we’d not yet walked thru! So, one of the first things Cass and I did after signing with our publisher (after sharing a drink over Facetime together), was book a ticket for me to go to the UK so that Cass and I could outline the sequel and we could officially meet with Canelo and sign on the dotted line.

While Cass and I are quite adept at communicating over the interwebs in all it’s many forms, there is something about being in the same room that is important for us when outlining. We shared an adorable place very near the Royal Crescent. We ate lovely meals and drank Luxe Chocolate Bailey’s Irish Cream and saw friends and ironed out plot points and I fell asleep every twenty minutes. (I’m usually very unaffected by the journey TO the UK. I usually fall into a jet lag coma when I get home).

We also toured all the places our characters would be walking around in the sequel and just generally had a lovely time.

It was the worst of times…

Honestly, most of the work was done (thank goodness) when I started to feel… awful.

I couldn’t eat or sleep or lay down or sit up or walk or be a functioning adult. Joan (a friend and our B&B hostess) very sweetly took care of me (as did Cass, of course) as I spent my last day and a half wondering if anyone would be willing to just knock me over the head until I could get better. Spoiler: no one was willing to do it.

I am so so lucky that my seatmates on the flight home were total arses because I didn’t feel bad one bit that I looked like I was carrying the plague.

I got home, dropped by bags, hugged my kids, and went straight to the ER. I then spent the next two months trying to figure out what sort of antibiotics would finally do the job. Here is me back at the ER on Thanksgiving still trying to figure it out! I wish I looked this good for my family Christmas pictures!

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Anyway… I think that robbed some of our enthusiasm for what we’d just accomplished (outlining the sequel!!! I’m so excited to share with you when we can!!).

I wonder if you’ll be able to gather any hints to the sequel by noting where we went to research 😉 😉 ;).

 

That Time We Sold Out…

vromansYou can say a lot of things about Cass and I.  We’re brilliant and funny and obsessed with cats to name a few.  But you can’t say we overly self promote ourselves; considering I’m seven months late telling you all about a really wonderful book signing we did here in Pasadena, CA.

September 24, 2017

Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena is a historic local shop that is notorious for supporting artists from the community.  I have loved Vroman’s since I moved here in 1998.

After our mountain-top experience for our book launch at 4 Sydney Place in Bath, England, we always had the intention of doing something on my side of the pond.  After some research and communication with Vroman’s, we decided a book signing there would be ideal.  And then… well, obviously… we’d need a party afterwards.

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As excited as we were to plan another visit together and celebrate The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen with our friends and family, we were not overtly excited about the presentation portion of the book signing evening.  Cass had a list of diseases she planned to use to get out of it, but I promised her that there would only be four people in the audience and that we’d be back at my house for the party in no time (she had no problem with the party portion of the plan).

Well, we had a few more than four people in the audience.  And we were surprised to get a solid slate of questions from them.  While we did have a good set of people that were there to support us because they knew us, there were quite a few from the public too.

AdaCassVromans-3600This was beautiful and wonderful but we were *not* prepared.  We signed books for an hour, and we sold out!

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AdaCassVromans-3638After that, we went home to an amazingly catered meal by my mom and an amazing show of support from our friends and family.  Special appreciation goes to our husbands who were more than supportive, more than gracious and more than wonderful.

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Thank you to my mom for the food and help, for Megan for taking photos for us and everyone for the support!  We will endeavor to be slightly quicker to update Tabbycow the next time something exciting happens!

Cheers!

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Happy Anniversary!

One year ago today The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen was published! It also happens to be on sale right now on Amazon or available free in Kindle Unlimited!!

As many of you know, we celebrated the launch of the book in Bath at 4 Sydney Place (thank you again, Bath Boutique Stays!).  This was an incredible event for the two of us as we were surrounded by such lovely support celebrating the publication of the book.  Do you want to see pictures? Here! Look! It was so much fun!

 

We were able to have the books carried in JA Centre Bath and Visitor Information Centre Bath for what was initially a ten day period during the Jane Austen Festival.  Well, we are very proud that The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen is still being sold in both places ten months later. This tickles us endlessly as I’m sure you can imagine.

 

Now it’s time to work on my side of the globe.  Anyone who has spent any length of time in Pasadena will have heard of Vroman’s Bookstore.  They are a large, local bookseller with amazing character.  They have championed the local artist and author for many years… and, starting a couple days ago, that includes me (and Cass, who is an honorary local).

IMG_2743 copyThe Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen will be sold in both of their locations through October.

Here it is at the main location on historic Colorado Blvd:

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And here it is at the Hastings Ranch location which is conveniently located next to an Einstein Bros Bagel shop ;)!

But, wait! There’s more! As part of the deal with Vroman’s, they will host a book signing at the Colorado Blvd location on September 24!  BOTH authors will be there, (though one of us may be slightly jet lagged).

This is not a drill!  Friends from near and far, please save the date as we would love you to show up and say hi!  More information to come!

There have been a couple other notable things happening this year with the book which Cass will share soon, but for now I must end this post because it’s my birthday!

Thank you for your support on social media and in purchasing our novel.  We will hopefully be sharing updates on… *gasp* the sequel soon.

*If it’s not July 7th where you are, please pretend it is.  Having writing partners in different time zones does make anniversaries confusing!

Rounding up Another Particularly Charming Month!

book_ad_001cWe’ve had another exciting month in October of visits to Blogspots, and there have also been some more lovely reviews coming in for The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen!

Firstly, we were delighted to visit talented author, Wendy Clarke, on her blog, Wendy’s Writing Now, for a guest post a few weeks ago. We talked about how our co-writing works on a day-to-day basis, and you can read all about it here!

Sophia Lykke Illner Thorsen invited us back to her Blog, Interests of a Jane Austen Girl, where we answered several questions, including ones on our inspirations for the men in the book! You can read the interview here.

PC front and backThen, to round off a wonderful month on the ‘road’, we have been delighted by several lovely reviews of the book coming in on blogs, Amazon and Goodreads, including Sophia at the aforementioned Interests of a Jane Austen Girl, Amazon Vine Voice Reviewer, Christina Boyd, Sophia Rose of Sophia’s Sofa Chats on Goodreads and the lovely Claudine at Just Jane 1813!

You can read Sophia’s review in full here, but we did love this bit (we’re assuming Sophia was in an aeroplane when she read the book!):

It felt like being there through Roses eyes, even if I was sitting 42000 feet above ground reading this exciting, lovely and nerve wracking book. You are definitely being forced through a lot of emotions, while reading, which I see as one of the best achievements an author/authoress can accomplish.

You can read Sophia Rose’s full review here. There was so much we loved about it, it’s hard to pick a quote, so we opted for her summary at the end!

This was a gently-paced, thoughtful, and heartwarming story of a woman and her simple life which grows richer for having her friends, her daydream romance maybe come to life, and her love of Jane Austen and her stories in it. I would recommend this to Austenesque lovers, of course, but also fans of contemporary romance and women’s fiction who don’t mind a bit of magical realism.

IMGP2155Christina Boyd is a Vine Voice reviewer on Amazon, and you can read her review here. We loved this review, but in particular, this:

Wow– just wow! What a story. The unrequited love was touching and the longing felt believable. I was captivated by the women’s friendships–rang very true to me. This is a great story that I’m glad I took the time to read. Now just to make time to get to Bath!

Finally, this week we’re part of the Haunted Austen feature over on Just Jane 1813, where we’ve shared an excerpt of the book and there’s also a giveaway!

You can read the full (lovely) review from Claudine here. We really enjoyed reading this, especially:

Ada Bright and Cass Grafton communicate their shared vision and passion for this story through their seamless collaboration. As an ardent Austen admirer, I could certainly relate to their love for Austen and the sheer despair their characters experienced in a world void of Austen’s work. My hope is that they’ve written this ending with a sequel in mind, even though the ending wraps this story up quite nicely.

I highly recommend this story to Janeites who want to experience the pleasures of Bath alongside the lovely Jane Austen and friends, as well as for readers who enjoy stories that allow us to explore the possibilities offered to us through friendship, shared optimism, and the bond we can share with other people through our love for the treasures found in the past.

Just leave a comment on the post on Just Jane 1813 to enter the GIVEAWAY,  a chance to win one of two eBook copies of The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen!

What next for us? Well, we still have our virtual passports in our pockets as we have more Blog visits coming up between now and the end of the year and also quite a few reviews due to come in (continued serious nail biting on our side!), so we will continue to summarise things here in case you miss anything!

The Brit & The American (authors, that is)!

Aside from that, I’ve started to post a Pride & Prejudice inspired story (two chapters a week) called A Quest for Mr Darcy over on my Blog, Cass Grafton – Author. Do come on over and enjoy the read (and the comments!)

You can find the blurb and the chapters posted so far here!

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Be Charmed Like Jane Austen!

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Step over the threshold into No 4 Sydney Place, Bath

Ever fancied sleeping in a house once lived in by Jane Austen? What about spending the night in the very bedroom she shared with her sister, Cassandra? Here’s the icing on the cake! How about spending the night there on the 200th anniversary of Jane’s last ever birthday – 16th December 2016!

December is an expensive time of year, of course, but hey, this year we’ve had the Brexit vote, one notable result of which is the vast slump in the value of the pound! This means if you are living outside the UK (and quite a few people do!), there has never been a better time to book a trip to England, because your currency is going to go a lot further.

If you are living in the UK, it means travelling abroad is much more expensive, so if you fancy a pre-Christmas break, what better time is there to buy British and take a mini-break in your home country?

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Outside No 4 with our book! Proud moment!

This is a wonderful opportunity for any dedicated Jane Austen fan! No 4 Sydney Place in the beautiful city of Bath is the only former residence of the author where you can go and stay. As you probably know if you’re here on Tabby Cow, Ada and I set a large part of our recent release, The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen, in and around Sydney Place. Our heroine, Rose, lives in the basement flat of No 4, and a certain lady authoress is staying in the ground floor holiday apartment during the annual Jane Austen Festival.

The house is looked after by the lovely, friendly team at Bath Boutique Stays, led by the equally lovely Marcus Whittington (who even has a cameo in the book)!

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Staircase inside No 4

The property has been beautifully renovated and can be rented either as an entire house for larger parties or as one of four separate apartments, with each one sleeping up to four people (even better value, you see, if you can bring along some fellow Jane Austen fans)!

It is a light-filled house with beautifully preserved original features: ceiling roses, cornices, bell pulls, fireplaces and etched glass panels etc. However, do not fear this means you need to get your water from a well, bathe in front of the fire and hand-wash all your clothes! The apartments are all equipped with brand new modern kitchens and bathrooms with all the essential appliances!

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The view from Jane’s bedroom looking towards Camden Crescent, Bath

Two years ago, on 16th December 2014, I was fortunate enough to stay in Mr Darcy’s Apartment (yes, I know. He’s terribly accommodating!) which is located on the second floor and has that very special bedroom! Last year, I was holidaying in Bath with my lovely friend, Rita Watts, and she had the pleasure of staying in the same apartment on Jane’s birthday. We can both promise you it’s a truly wonderful thing at any time of year to have a few nights in Jane’s former home; but on this particular day? Nothing could be more special!

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Rita outside 4 Sydney Place on 16th December 2015

Bath itself, of course, is gorgeous all year round, but in December it truly sparkles under the shimmer of its stunning Christmas lighting. There are festive menus on offer in the vast range of eating establishments and the shop window displays are typically reflective of the season.

So here you are! The perfect gift for the Janeite in your life (which may, in fact, be you!) Go on; treat yourself – or leave this blog post strategically where your nearest and dearest might see it! After all, people always get stuck for ideas for Christmas!

If you’re lucky, you may even see Bath with a dusting of snow or, if you’re like Rose, you may find someone quite unexpected staying in one of the other apartments in No 4 Sydney Place!

STOP PRESS: Bath Boutique Stays currently still has availability for 3 of the 4 apartments at No 4 Sydney Place on Jane’s birthday this December, including Mr Darcy’s Apartment with that unique bedroom and the ground-floor Emma’s Garden Apartment, where you can stay as though you are a character in The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen! Follow the link below to check them out and get booking:

No 4 Sydney Place, Bath

Don’t forget to tell us about your adventures when you’ve stayed there!

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What about Jane Austen? What was she doing on her 41st birthday?

chawton-cottageShe seemed perfectly happy on this particular day, which she spent at home in Chawton. How do we know this? Because she wrote to her nephew, James ‘Edward’ Austen (son of her eldest brother, James) in a letter written across the 16th and 17th December that year.

img_1924She doesn’t mention her birthday, and the only reference to her health is that the walk to visit her brother Charles is beyond her strength (though she adds she is otherwise very well). In the main, she teases her nephew a great deal, most notably about writing and the fact he has allegedly mislaid two and a half chapters of the novel he is attempting to write! Jane writes the following:

It is well that I have not been at Steventon lately & therefore cannot be suspected of purloining them; two strong twigs & a half towards a Nest of my own, would have been something.

Soon after follows a very well-known quote from Jane’s letters:

How could I possibly join them on to the little bit (two inches wide) of Ivory on which I work with so fine a Brush, as produces little effect after much labour?

If only she knew the ‘little effect’ of her labours… or perhaps she does! 😉

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