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!
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.
1. There is a story that I want to tell that I don’t feel I can get thru alone.
2. There is a writer I want to write with.
Considering how much total joy I get from co-writing, it takes me aback sometimes when people are shocked that I do it and enjoy it. People have lauded our patience and humility when actually, (I mean, for me, at least) the big draw is that I get to share half the burden of writing with someone else.
Is there anyone out there thinking of co-writing? Or just interested in how and why we do it? Then keep reading!
Now, for me, this was not a difficult decision. I love seeing what another generally like minded author can do to a scene I’ve just thrown at them. But in order to get to that place, I first needed to find a like-minded author – ah – there’s the catch!
Cass and I started as friends online, so, way before we started writing together, we knew the other’s basic humor, and basic ability to string a sentence together. Also, we didn’t start with an original novel. We started writing within a shared fictional universe where the rules were basically established.
I had no idea how important this would be. It meant we didn’t have to have a conversation like this:
Ada: How about we write about a monkey called Sal who befriends a golfing nurse named Jackie?
Ada: Okay, well what were you thinking of for a plot?
Cass: I was thinking more like a hard hitting political thriller that ends on the moon.
Which might devolve into a fight about monikers:
Ada: I don’t want to name any character after anyone I’m related to.
Cass: Your father has twelve siblings and they all had children and grandchildren, there aren’t any names left that you’re not related to.
We saved all those discussions for our original work; which we never would have gotten to if we hadn’t started out with other, smaller projects and enjoyed writing them together.
SO we found each other. That was the hard part. Next it was just about surrendering all our pride and ego in order to map out a story we both could get behind. Then add to that the willingness to humiliate ourselves by showing each other the very rawest of rough drafts of scenes where we just sort of…lose steam and forget how words work and abandon it and…
Cass: Ah yes; one of the fun challenges of co-writing with Ada! Her fondness for stopping half way through a sentence, assuming I’m going to know exactly what she’s thinking and what a character should say or do next!
In all sincerity, we went into this with dual top priorities. First, we promised each other that our friendship trumped the story, so if either of us could not handle the pressure, we would stop. At the same time, we went into this deciding we could and should write a novel together, and therefore we’d do our best to make it work, so that neither of us would have to bow out from the pressure.
Does any of this make sense? Maybe I’ll just pass it on over to Cass to polish the end. That kinda seems apropos, right? Or maybe…
Cass: It makes perfect sense to me, but then I have spent an awful lot of time “with” Ada this last year – more than in any from our 14-year friendship. Which is pretty funny really if you think about where we live.
We only met in person once during the writing of our book (that memorable trip to Bath a year ago) to hammer out a plot, establish our characters and find a coat for Ada.
But then, what’s a few thousand miles and a 9-hour time difference between friends?!
On this day, a year ago, I was in Bath, England with Cass. I was very cold even though the sun was shining. You see, not only am I a stereotypical Southern California girl in that I am only comfortable in weather above 68 F, but in order to pay for the trip I had first stopped over in Washington DC to do a few photoshoots (and see my sis-in-law, but she didn’t pay for my ticket, so that’s irrelevant, no matter how fun she is); and in my haze of leaving her apartment for the airport I left my coat on her couch.
People without Southern Californians in their life might not understand the significance of this, because surely, knowing I was sensitive to weather, I had brought warm clothing? You don’t understand! I don’t have warm clothing. They don’t even really sell warm clothes here – unless it’s for camping at like REI. I had struggled to find shirts with sleeves to pack and, in the end, had not bothered because, hey! I had a coat… well had being the operative word.
SO, first thing on the agenda when we got to Bath was to find me a coat. Of course they weren’t selling warm clothes either because they thought the weather was perfectly lovely. Which, ok, it looked like this, so judge me how you must:
SO, after wandering through shops of Spring clothes for a couple hours, I FINALLY found a coat in the sale section of Banana Republic – discounted to just 20 pounds. To give you an idea of how little I’m exaggerating that no one else in town was looking for coats, the first coat I tried on had a spider in it.
I’m talking a lot about this coat, which might seem weird since the other thing that happened on this day a year ago was that Cass and I started outlining the plot for our book. But you see, I was worried about freezing to death and whining during my time there. I was not worried about writing this book. In fact, I wasn’t sure why Cass thought it was going to take so long. By my calculations it would take us three weeks (tops) to write it; tack on an extra week for tweaking and proofreading and we’d be golden.
Yes, yes, laugh all you want, but I had reason to to be confident. Cass and I had alot of experience co-writing. She does everything brilliant, but she especially does everything that I hate writing brilliantly. We have a rhythm where when we’re stuck or sick of a scene we just toss it over to the other person. It’s awesome. I didn’t have a care in the world… except buying a coat. This coat to be precise: