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!
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!!
We’re delighted to announce the winners of last week’s giveaway prize bundles and books are:
Kathrin and TeaGuide!
Congratulations to you both (we will contact you via email) and thank you to everyone who left comments on Jackie’s post about Jane Austen’s influence on her life and the amazing Jane Austen Festival in Bath!
There will be more chances to win prizes later in July, but we’re taking a break from guest posts for a couple of weeks as the book is released this coming Thursday, and we have a few things to share about it in the next two weeks!
Thank you to everyone who left a comment over the past five weeks. We loved having our guests visit us here at TabbyCow, and we look forward to more soon!
Today, we are delighted to welcome Meredith Esparza from the popular blog, Austenesque Reviews,
Meredith is an avid reader and reviewer who enjoys sharing her thoughts by blogging about and reviewing the books she has read.
Today, she is here to share with us how she first discovered Jane Austen and how having Jane in her life has shaped and changed it!
Over to you, Meredith!
First I’d like to start by saying thank you Cass and Ada for so kindly inviting me to be a part of their lovely new series! Ladies, I’m honored to visit your blog and I’m so very excited to celebrate the release of your new book!
I love thinking back to when I first encountered Jane Austen, because for me it was such a pivotal moment that changed my life. I found Jane Austen by way of the 1940’s Pride and Prejudice film. During my sophomore year of high school I was big into classic romantic films (i.e. Roman Holiday, Three Coins in a Fountain, The Philadelphia Story) and was working my way through the DVD selection at my local library. The cover of the 1940’s Pride and Prejudice film caught my eye. It looked wonderfully romantic and from an elegant time period so I decided to add it to my pile.
I instantly loved it! I know many despise this adaptation for its inaccuracies, costumes, and actors, but I will forever hold it special and dear for introducing me to this world I now happily inhabit. I watched that film probably close to 30 times that first year. I read all of Jane Austen books, watched any movie I could get my hands on. By junior year of high school I was a full-blown Janeite, avid reader, and Jane Austen heroine in training!
If I never heard of Jane Austen or never read any of her works, I think my life would be quite different. I found Jane Austen when I was 15 and credit her for shaping me into the person I’ve become. I was a terribly quiet and shy person in high school (I still am around new people) and felt like I didn’t belong with the people of my age group. When I discovered Jane Austen I felt like I found my niche, I found the mindset and world that I could relate to, understand, and be “perfectly and incandescently happy” in. If I didn’t discover Jane Austen, I don’t know how well I would have matured or how I would have dealt with my shyness and feelings of not fitting in.
In addition, if I didn’t encounter Jane Austen, there is a good chance that there would be no Mr. Bingley in my life (my sweet, affectionate, and amiable husband has always been more Bingley than Darcy!) In my childhood I saw a lot of couples fight and divorce, and not too many that were happy. I thought married people looked perpetually unhappy and I used to vow to myself that I would not marry and become unhappy like them. But after seeing Jane Austen’s heroines find “marriages of true minds” and “perfect happiness,” I started to warm to the idea and hope that such happy unions can exist in real life. When I was 20 I met this warm, easy-going, fun-loving, and persistent music major and fate sealed the deal. This Jane Austen heroine was going to have her very own lovely hero and happy ending. 🙂
Since discovering Jane Austen in 2002, I’ve become a voracious reader. More so than I ever was as a child. After learning who my new favorite author was, a family friend recommended I try some Jane Austen sequels! I spent months looking for them in bookstores to no avail, but luckily I was able to track them down on Amazon! Some of the first ones I read were A Visit to Highbury by Joan Austen-Leigh, The Friendly Jane Austen by Natalie Tyler, and Jane Fairfax by Joan Aiken. Back then Jane Austen inspired books were few and hard to find (not like now!). Many of the ones I found were already out-of-print and were purchased as used copies from third-party sellers.
But that didn’t stop me! I was determined to read anything and everything I could find! I noticed that for a lot of these books there weren’t many reviews on Amazon. And if there were reviews a lot of them were vehemently berating the author for daring to write about Jane Austen’s characters or in her style. Since I didn’t agree with such opinions, I decided to start writing my own reviews for all the books I was reading and enjoying.
In the summer of 2009 I noticed more and more Austenesque books were being published and met author Mary Simonsen through some Amazon chat boards as she was gearing up to publish Searching for Pemberley with Sourcebooks. Mary and I exchanged several emails over the summer and it was she who suggested I start sharing my reviews on my own blog. 🙂 Mr. Bingley encouraged me in this endeavor and on September 22, 2009Austenesque Reviews was born. Almost 7 years and 400+ reviews later, I am so very happy that I daily get to read, share, and discuss Jane Austen and books with lovely Janeite friends and authors all over the world! It’s amazing how Jane Austen continues to bring so many people together!
Thanks again to Cass and Ada for allowing me this opportunity to share my story with you! 🙂
Meredith Esparza is a piano teacher, business owner, avid reader, and blogger. She lives off the coast of North Carolina happily married to her very own Mr. Bingley. Her blog, Austenesque Reviews, is devoted to the reading and reviewing of numerous Jane Austen sequels, fan-fiction, and para-literature. Visit Meredith at her blog Austenesque Reviews, follow her on Twitter as @Austenesque, and on Facebook as Austenesque Reviews.
Meredith, thank you so much for visiting Tabby Cow and for such a delightful post! It’s been lovely to learn all about how you discovered Jane Austen and about the impact she has made on your life!
Once again, we’re offering one lucky commenter the chance to win a free copy of our upcoming new release, The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen (find the blurb here), along with the following (all of which have a connection to the plot in one way or another!):
A copy of The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen (eBook or paperback, open worldwide)*
A laminated bookmark showing the topaz crosses given to Jane and her sister, Cassandra, by their brother, Charles
A map of Bath in the time of Jane Austen (specifically, from 1803, a significant date in the story)
A set of Jane Austen bookplates
A charming necklace with a quote from one of Jane Austen’s Bath novels
There will be further chances to win the same bundle of prizes each week throughout our series of guest posts.
* eBooks will be sent out once the release date is reached (7th July), but we already have some copies of the paperback, so it can be sent out ahead of the official release date!
How to Enter
It’s simple! Just leave a comment below about anything in Meredith’s post above, or simply share how your life would be affected if Jane Austen had never published her novels.
All those who comment will be entered into a draw to select the prize winner, which will be announced the following week. So far, we’ve had 3 winners, and 2 of them won on their second attempt, so don’t give up if you don’t win first time around!
Congratulations to Gosia, who wins last week’s giveaway prize bundle and book!
Gosia – like Agata, last week’s winner – entered more than once by commenting on each new blog post as they were published, so give it a try!
There are plenty more chances to win the bundle of gifts and a free book, starting tomorrow with a new guest blog post from avid Janeite, reader and reviewer, Meredith Esparza, so do pop in to read what she has to say and have another chance to win!!
Many thanks to everyone who commented on Gaby’s diverting post. It was wonderful to hear all your thoughts!
We’re delighted this week to welcome author, editor and playwright, Dr Gabrielle Malcolm, to Tabby Cow!
Gaby throws an alternative perspective on the question we’ve been asking about how not having Jane Austen in your life might affect it, and asks: would it really be so terrible?
Read on to hear what she has to say on the subject, and do please comment with your thoughts! Over to you, Gaby!
If I allow my mind to wander over the possibility of an alternative universe – of a world without the novels of Jane Austen – there are a few things that occur but, perhaps unexpectedly, one of the first questions is: would it be such a bad thing?
When I was growing up there were bookshelves everywhere in my home. They lined the walls in almost every room of the house. We built bookshelves out of books to accommodate more books. Boredom was never an option. Austen was a member of the universe of authors that lived there with my family. My mother talked about literature all the time. Austen and Shakespeare and Dickens sat at the dinner table with us on a regular basis.
I think that I like Jane Austen so much because she likes me. Her writing tells me that. She is in the room with me describing the conversations that her characters have and letting me in on all their secrets. Austen and I have a conspiratorial and gossipy friendship and we share the same sense of humour. Or, perhaps, she shaped my sense of humour? But she is so discrete at doing it that she lets me take credit for it – that’s a true friend.
I only read dog-eared and well-thumbed copies of her novels. The cover of Persuasion was falling off. Pride and Prejudice had been dropped in the bath more than once. I had a lurid yellow and white Mansfield Park paperback with a cover illustration that bore no relation to the story inside (Why do publishers do that? Have they not read the book?). That copy saw me through my A Levels – just. It had my sisters’ scribbled notes in the margin. Vandals.
I found Fanny really irritating, and Mrs. Norris hilarious. Lady Bertram was bonkers, and Edmund was really dull and indecisive. I wouldn’t have, and still wouldn’t, kick Henry Crawford out of bed for eating biscuits. And I maintain that Tom is the coolest character and I definitely would pick him over his brother!
But what if I had never met Austen, and what if her books did not exist? Would it really be so terrible? Perhaps those who pine for the perfect man would not be so afflicted, or fussy? There is something to be said for not subscribing to the romantic fallacy. However, without Austen there would be others. Nature abhors a vacuum and readers must be satisfied. That yearning for the funny, skilful, happy, and satisfying narrative must always be met. If you can’t find the right book to do it, you might end up writing the book that will.
Austen refined the plot but it existed before her. She managed the characters expertly, and others have continued in her footsteps. Dramatic, romantic, and satiric heroes and heroines abound. Darcy has many relatives and descendents.
Thanks to this I have embarked on my next writing project. This will be an exploration of all that is gorgeous, daring, threatening, sinister, and sexy about Darcy and his descendents. Heathcliff, Henry Irving, Dracula, The Scarlet Pimpernel, and Batman – and many more – all in one book, and that’s before we even get to the wet shirt.
Join me in 2017 for Darcymania!
Dr Gabrielle Malcolm is an author, editor, and playwright. She has written a number of articles, books, and papers on Austen, Shakespeare, and Victorian Literature. She writes for children’s theatre company Moon On A Stick and her next book, Darcymania, is in the works.