You 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.
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.
This was beautiful and wonderful but we were *not* prepared. We signed books for an hour, and we sold out!
After 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.
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!
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).
Here it is at the main location on historic Colorado Blvd:
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!
Only 48 hours (from LA time) left to get The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen on sale at only $2.99! That’s a 50% saving on the usual price of $5.99!
Read more about it and a couple of excerpts on the About the Book page here!
You can obtain a Kindle copy at this special price at Amazon.com orAmazon.co.uk (and hopefully every other Amazon site there is!)
The price reduction probably won’t be reflected in the Nook, Kobo andApple stores anymore, but if you go to Smashwords.comhere and enter the code LK28F at checkout the 50% reduction will still be applied!
One unexpected result of writing our book was that Bath became more than a setting in The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen. The city has such a unique feel to it, a really lovely regal quaintness. Anyway, we strived to paint a picture of this place the way we know it very, very accurately. We knew exactly where each of our characters would live, socialize and… just as importantly, where they would eat!
I’m not sure how this became such a priority for us, but I think it started with Las Iguanas. Cass wanted to make sure I tried their fajitas (which is a favorite food of mine), and we had such a nice seat by a big window overlooking an attractive little courtyard that we immediately agreed the moment had to be mirrored in the book.
From there, the idea took root. By the time we were together again for the book launch we pretty much exclusively went to the restaurants that our characters had gone to.
The Boater is a cute little pub close to where we (and one of our characters, Morgan) stayed. It is a little dark, in a homey sort of way, and only about two tables wide (though it goes back quite a bit and there are other levels, including a garden!).
Bill’s Restaurant is a nice restaurant, very amenable even when your very large, loud group want to stay to close out the place. They had the BEST spicy chicken sandwich. I tried to get Cass go to back only to there the whole rest of the trip.
Las Iguanas, as I’ve already mentioned, has a really nice location and very good food. After a few days without salsa, my California soul starts to shrivel up, so they were incredibly refreshing.
Speaking of location, Graze has an incredible one:
They are on the top floor of a building near the train station so not only do they overlook the tracks, but the city centre below. We had some lovely blue skies which shone through the 360 degree windows when we ate there and the food was great (and the scene set here is a fav with some of our readers – we know, because they told us so!)
The Chequers feels like more of a secret Bath location, though I’m assured they are well known. It’s very nice inside, with easy seating and the menu feels straight out of a reality show cooking competition.
Hall & Woodhouse has special significance because this is where our two female lead characters meet face to face for the first time. It is one of those bars that has a ton of character. The outside feels very traditional Bath, and the large sprawling inside is inviting and warm even though it’s spread over two floors – and it has an awesome roof terrace!
Finally, there’s also a key scene set in the Roman Baths Kitchen. We didn’t get to eat there together (though Cass is a bit of a regular!), but they did us the most awesome buffet for our post book launch party… party!!
Basically, even if you have no interest in Jane Austen or the Roman Baths, Bath is still a wonderful place to spend some time at and, oh yes, with more than a few delicious fares to choose from.
“If you’re going to Bath – take it (The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen) with you – it’s also a wonderful guide to some of the best pubs and restaurants in town.” – Jane Odiwe
On my to do list for next time (because our characters got there before me!):
What Book Club charm does The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen hold? We’ve been considering just that question after the subject was broached by some of our friends indicating we might be their next pick.
FRIENDSHIP is a strong theme in the book and also sometimes in Book Clubs! (I mean, I guess it’s not a pre-requisite for those of you into the serious art of reading literature, but I assume it helps!)
It’s got history in it! I mean, not all of it is totally true, but a good amount of it is, and I think it’s fairly easy to spot where we deviate (intentionally anyway).
It’s a virtual tour of Bath, UK. And trust me, Bath is AWESOME. I hate traveling. But I love Bath. When a cranky traveler gives a place a thumbs up, I feel that should mean something.
It’s FUNNY. And considering the sometimes subtle, sometimes substantial differences in UK and US humor, the fact that we both thought it was funny might just mean it is.
It’s LIGHT (the Kindle edition is anyway – *insert rim shot here*). In some Book Clubs, the books (no matter how worthy of being read) can be a tad heavy and depressing. The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen can be a nice palette cleanser between Nobel prize winning novels.
ROMANCE that you don’t have to cover your eyes for. I mean, I enjoy extra steamy love scenes as much as the next gal, but I grew up with the sort of subtle, funny romance that was almost like a secret between the writer, the characters, and only some of the readers. All my favorite romance novels have dog-eared pages where I’ve distinguished hints that the relationship is progressing, but would otherwise struggle to find those moments again.
Most our characters have British Accents! Okay, perhaps not as fascinating to you British people, but I love the British accent and feel extremely lucky to have an actual, real, live British person writing with me, transforming my Americanisms into verified Britspeak (unless I’m writing for an American character).
It has at least one American accent! No? This doesn’t get anyone excited? Of all the billions of people that adore the British accent, I thought maybe there would be one oddball who wanted an American one but no… How about… It has an American! Which I find funny and refreshing because it does help to highlight some of those subtle but all important differences between our cultures and why we should appreciate each other.
The characters are NERDS for Jane Austen (for those of you less nerdy than me, a nerd nowadays can be another way of saying fanatic). I know there are people out there that would not count themselves as nerds for anything, but these people are basically nerds about not being nerds. I mean, you kinda have to work at not being a nerd nowadays. We are in the Age of Nerd! a time when you can nerd out on gourmet cooking shows as easily as you can Star Trek. I can proudly list a dozen things in which I am overly invested (read: nerdy about) and a million ways to connect with others through each and every one of them.
Nerds create communities in which to be our most nerdy selves and these communities can be long- lasting, rock solid, and immeasurably fulfilling. Hey! Book clubs are communities too! Even if it’s not Jane Austen that you’re nerdy for, I bet you will recognize that spark – that love that inspires your nerd-hood in our characters’ love for Regency fiction.
A reader recently said of our book that “Loving Jane Austen is not a prerequisite but is a repercussion“. Speaking of, The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen has a lot of Austen references: JANE AUSTEN character references, JANE AUSTEN book scene location references, etc. It was a little unbelievable for me to be walking the SAME streets, seeing many of the same facades, the same views not simply of THE Jane Austen, but of her imagination as well. BUT you don’t need to ‘know’ Jane Austen or her life to enjoy the book. We know; we’ve been told!
There are animals! Both Cass and I adore animals and maybe your Book Club does too! One animal in particular changes the course of our character’s lives in an unexpected, but we hope charming, way.
Our main female characters are SMART. There are no damsels in this book, though one of our main females does tend to be flighty about directions and keys which may or may not reflect the real life of one of the two authors of this book who still believes she is smart despite this defect and a few more she may or may not have. No, don’t ask my husband if it’s me, I don’t want to talk about it! I have degrees people! Okay, they are in English and Art, but that doesn’t make me any less of a female person!
Our male characters are smart too. Our female characters do not need to put men, individually or as a gender, down to prove their own salt. Everyone’s great in their own way – except for that one character and, face it, we all know that one person we wish no harm to, but would rather not be forced to work with daily! It’s probably that person you talk about with your Book Club before you all buckle down to business and discuss the book you’re supposed to have read but didn’t have enough time to because THAT person mucked up the workflow and you were late.
There are HATS. Actually, this is just a test to see if you’re still reading.
This novel is rare in that it is co-written. That could be an interesting topic of discussion in a Book Club. It certainly was an interesting topic of conversation between us while we were co-writing it!
There is a lot of talk of what influences shaped our characters that could be good Book Club discussion. What are the small things that would change in your life if one key influence from your past disappeared? What were those influences? How would their absence have affected your life (if at all)? And would you be the only one who’s life changed? Would an entire industry or city change? Or… would there simply be something indefinable in the universe missing?
17. It introduces us Americans to the Love Hearts candy which you can have shipped and available to serve at your Book Club meeting. Cheerful colors, sweet messages and it doesn’t even have to be Valentine’s Day!
18. There’s an element of fantasy to The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen. And how often do you have an element of fantasy in your Book Club selection? Probably often if you’re fantasy fans… but if you are… all the more reason to choose us.
19. Our characters love books too! I mean – if you’re in a Book Club you are probably there for one of two main reasons. 1. You wanted to spend more time with the people in your Book Club; 2. You wanted to read more books. Both of these themes – friendship and the love of reading – are of central importance in The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen.
20. Our book is set during the Jane Austen Festival in Bath. This is an amazing annual event that you and your book club could attend together after reading the novel! And if you book thru Bath Boutique Stays, you might even be able to stay in 4 Sydney Place (one of Jane Austen’s actual residences!).
21. And finally, our TPCoMJA (wow, what a catchy acronym!) would be a great addition to your Book Club list because: For a limited time we are trying to figure out a way to get you a discount on the physical books if you buy 6 or more for your Book Club. Full disclosure: We haven’t figured out shipping costs yet, and I am slightly concerned that shipping will end up making this less exciting. But we’re working on it! Message us and you might be the Beta group for this offer!!
Many years ago, I lived with my husband in a house on a hill. We were both working for my Father-in-Law and we had three cats even though we didn’t realize my husband was allergic to them yet. I was (and still am) a homebody and a book worm – which made online friendships extremely handy.
As with most people, the illusion of anonymity on the Internet lent me to do things that I wouldn’t normally do… like share my stories with them (thought I was going somewhere else with that didn’t you? Get your minds out of the gutter!).
You see, I’d been writing fanfiction long before I knew what fanfiction was. In high school, I used to write stories for my friends using their real life hopes and dreams… mostly about the boys they liked. So, when I was introduced to the idea of fanfiction thru the Scarecrow & Mrs. King community, it made absolute sense to me. Looking back, I realize it was an incredibly small and oddly like minded set of people compared to most fandoms. When I discovered them, they were just a bunch of fans rejuvenating a television show that had limped so sadly to its end. It was incredibly cathartic.
So when I quickly became obsessive about Harry Potter and impatient for the publication of new books in the series, I innocently searched for what the fans were doing in the fanfiction world. And… my eyes! my eyes!!!!
I realized quickly that what I had to find was another, smaller, set of like minded fans to obsess and share with. And that is where Cass comes in. On a sweet little Harry Potter site, a fellow forum poster and I hit it off. We were both totally hilarious, if I do say so myself. Once we were both assured that the other was not a psycho serial killer pretending to be an awesomely funny person, we became “real” friends who talked about “real” life. And one day, I honestly can’t remember how or why (maybe she does?), we started writing Harry Potter fanfiction together.
And that is how Cass and Ada first met and…why Cass and Ada finally met in person.
(TO WRITE! Isn’t that crazy? And 14 years later, that’s what we’re STILL doing!)
Anyway, I was pregnant, and not at all nervous… until I was at the baggage claim. Then, several concerns crowded me all at once:
What if I didn’t recognize her? All the pictures of her I’d seen to that point suddenly melded together in my mind as one (kind of general) amalgamation of a nice human face with brownish reddish hair.
What if I’d screwed up in some way the directions? I am NOTORIOUS for getting directions wrong and giving bad directions. Granted, the airport should have sent her in a pretty direct way to baggage claim, but… I really can’t take any chances with my direction-challenged brain.
What if my cell battery died? Oh – by the way – it did.
For at least five minutes I smiled at every female-ish person in the LAX baggage claim hoping to send a welcoming, non-psycho vibe that I wouldn’t be kicked out of the airport for. It was at this point that anxiety started in. I jealously thought, well at least SHE knows she’s looking for a pregnant person. That’s at least SOMETHING. Why hadn’t we worked out a code? A red hat! A white rose! A Harry Potter Scarf!
But it wasn’t long before a person with a suddenly distinct Cass looking face appeared on the escalator. Crazy how people look how they are supposed to when you’re not in an anxiety fueled panic.
Anyway, a big hug and a lot of undignified giggles later we were off.
The drive to and from LAX had long ago become old hat to me. Apparently it didn’t feel terribly old hat to Cass who looked green and not at all impressed with my impromptu attempts at tour guide (there may have been some weaving involved).
This started a several years long in joke with me sending her pictures of the Staples Center lit up purple at night (it was midday when we passed it so she couldn’t see how purple it got!).
We learned several things during the trip:
California waiters cannot understand the word “water” when said with a British accent
My three cats had no hunting prowess (they surrounded a spider and it got away)
We CAN write together faster in person
We DO like each other in person
We CANNOT understand each other in a loud restaurant
And it was upon these truths that our “real life” friendship was founded and these truths have carried us through!*
*ok, the inability of my now deceased cats to catch spiders has not recently affected us, but you get the idea.
To say our book launch celebration was a success would be a gross understatement. We had the BEST TIME. I know so many of our loyal friends and family could not be there, but we love you and appreciate you! For those of you that could, we can’t thank you enough. There were some serious accomplished authors and just plain wonderful people there who graciously donated to the Jane Austen Literary Foundation for a signed book of The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen.
I am in the US, though still another leg to go before I’m home and I already miss the city of Bath and everyone there (and those in Alton too ;)). Cass was concerned that I would feel my family and friends were not represented at the launch but she forgot I adopted her family and friends long ago as my own. Plus I felt the love from back home (a reminder social media can be great!).
We hope you enjoy some photos of the evening. If you look closely enough at them you will see our fantastic husbands who gave us a beautiful toast, a few of our effervescent supporters (including Ann from the Bath Central Library who shared some very appropriate volumes from 1796) and Cass placing our book in the Austen book shelf in 4 Sydney Place maintained and let by Bath Boutique Stays.
For those of you who have already received the book: we are so glad! Please do us a favor and review the book on your favorite review location.
Thank you everyone so so very much!
In the garden at 4 Sydney Place: Cass Grafton, Julia Grantham, Ada Bright, Hazel Mills
Cass & Ada on the Royal Crescent!
The Brit & The American (authors, that is)!
Keith & Hazel Mills, Gaby & Andrew Malcolm
*I wasn’t sure whether to use Thank Yous or Thank You’s and I asked the internet and it wasn’t terribly helpful: http://english.stackexchange.com/questions/166500/100k-thank-yous-or-100k-thank-yous