Hello!! Happy New Year from Tabby Cow (i.e. Cass and Ada)!
2019 was an incredible year for us, with both The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen and it’s sequel, The Unexpected Past of Miss Jane Austen, being published by Canelo Escape. Not without note, we also wrote said sequel in 2019 and got to spend an incredible week IRL together in Bath for the Jane Austen Festival which… oh, have I not mentioned recently – we actually got to be part of the program?
We haven’t actually been in a cave, we’ve been hard at work writing… well, Cass has been writing (her novel, The Cottage in a Cornish Cove, is due out on 11th February, pre-order it here!). Ada has been deep in thought piecing together her fictional murder plot and avoiding writing by watching a lot of The Mandalorian on Disney +. There’s also the outline for the third book in our Jane Austen time-travel series in my tablet files, and Cass and I are excited to get back to these characters that we’ve grown to love so much.
We’re also about to go on a bear hunt… no, wait! A blog tour! The lovely Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources has arranged a ten-day tour for us with all the lovely bloggers on the banner below from January 25 through February 3!
Otherwise, we’d just like to say that we so appreciate the support of our loyal fans. Every “like” and “retweet” and “share” warms our hearts and makes us a little bit more guilty that we keep ending our novels with cliff-hangers. You must admit, they are mild cliff-hangers… that’s not as bad, surely?
Ada (and Cass)
P.S. In unrelated to writing news, but maybe related to this post news, Ada’s track pad on her laptop is possessed and can no longer be trusted. Okay actually, a little bit of Googling has suggested that her laptop track pad has become overly sensitive with age (#relatable). But what that means is that she has to know where the cursor is at all times, because if it is allowed to hover over anything clickable: a ‘buy now’ button, a different web page, an ad, any link what so ever, then it will actually double tap on its own. Yes, she was going to buy those paper towels on Amazon, but she doesn’t appreciate the track pad deciding on the when. She also cannot seem to log in to the blog as an owner, and therefore she is sending this to Cass to post for her 😉
P.P.S. We had two fab reviews come through this past week for The Unexpected Past of Miss Jane Austen (the second book in the series), and you can read them at the following links. Thanks so much to Anna at Diary of an Eccentric and Meredith at Austenesque Reviews for taking the time to read and review!
If you’ve read my previous post, you’ll know Cass and I were set to appear at the Jane Austen Festival’s Pre-Festival Get Together on Friday, September 13 in Bath!
What I haven’t mentioned yet is that my little traveling party (my 16 year old daughter, Abby, and my mother-in-law) decided to take advantage of the opportunity to walk in the famous Grand Regency Promenade during the Festival.
This is a costumed event that is always popular and… if I can just say it – AWESOME.
Cass had walked the Promenade before, but this year she decided to watch and was therefore designated as photographer. As for the rest of us, we needed to start from scratch.
First thing was to pick fabric.
I was pretty nervous about this part. I’m not great at visualizing a finished product. The last time I picked fabric for something it was an armchair and I regretted it and continue to regret it 18 years later.
I also know that a lot of the wonderful people who dress Regency for this type of event choose beautiful era appropriate fabric and patterns, so I went into the fabric store stressed by the entire idea.
Luckily, when I get like that my family knows well enough to ignore me and get on with the task at hand!
And sure enough, Abby was the one who caught sight of a pretty cream fabric with little flowers that looked right enough. And it happened to have a darker, sister fabric that I thought would compliment my complexion better as well. Sold!
It just so happens that my mother and my mother-in-law both know their way around a needle and thread. So my mother-in-law chose to make her own dress, and my mother got stuck with doing the other two.
They got to work on the measuring, cutting, sewing, and my mom twisted our ears until we made time to try on the dresses during the different stages. In fact, my mother-in-law ended up making not one but TWO dresses. Both very cute.
(Yes, never fear, I am aware I hit the mother AND mother-in-law jackpot. How often does that happen?)
Meanwhile I went hunting on Etsy for bonnets. This is my daughter and I in ours:
The next worry was packing them!
And then, after a flight, a few days of all sorts of fun, and a quick iron, we were dressed ready for the Promenade!
Have you ever walked the Grand Regency Promenade through the streets of beautiful Bath? We highly recommend it!
Cass and I were honored to be invited to launch our new release through Canelo Escape, The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen, at the Pre-Festival Get Together for the Jane Austen Festival in Bath last month, and it was a fantastic night!
The book is, after all, set during this very Festival in the beautiful city of Bath, so what could be more fitting?
The sell-out event took place at St Swithin’s Church (where Jane Austen’s parents were married), and we arrived to find the lovely Festival volunteers had readied everything. All we had to do was set out our books and publicity material and wait nervously for people to arrive (Cass felt a lot better once she had a glass of wine in her hand)!
We’d had posters made up for both The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen and the sequel, The Unexpected Past of Miss Jane Austen (releasing 7th November but already up for pre-order!), along with the blurb – which you can read here for the first book in the Austen Adventures series, and here for the second. This enabled us to have some lovely conversations with people attending the event, and we were delighted with the interest in our stories.
We’d made up some goody bags for the first 30 people to buy signed books, which proved very popular, especially the Californian candy and the Swiss chocolate!
We were honored to have Dr. Gabrielle Malcolm (amongst other things, an Austen scholar and author of the upcoming non-fiction book, There’s Something About Darcy – releasing on 11th November) introducing us and moderating a Q&A, which was a lot of fun.
Afterwards, there was time for more conversation as we signed books and handed out the goody bags, during which we met some lovely people from across the globe.
We were also touched and thrilled to see several friends there, who had all travelled some distance to support us.
A huge thank you to everyone involved. We had a great time!
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:
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!
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!
We’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.
Then, 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 aforementionedInterests 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.
Christina 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!
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!
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?
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)!
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!
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!
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:
Don’t forget to tell us about your adventures when you’ve stayed there!
What about Jane Austen? What was she doing on her 41st birthday?
She 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.
She 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! 😉