A Walk Down the Darcy Saga Lane: The Recent Years
On Thursday I began this journey of reminiscence. Methodically, blog post by blog post, I looked into the past from the beginning days of my website/blogging and publishing adventures in 2007 to 2011. With over 700 individual blog posts and 2,500+ images documenting these ten-plus years, I could only touch on the big highlights or it would take a week to cover! For those “early years” of blogging fun, click the link below.
Now, please read on for the highlights of the “recent years” here on www.SharonLathanAuthor.com!
On the heels of the release of Miss Darcy Falls in Love in November 2011, I was knee-deep in researching and writing the epic tale of Dr. George Darcy. What’s Next For Sharon Lathan? was dated January 25, the first post of the year and the first of many blogs throughout the year focusing on my work-in-progress. I knew even at this early date that the bulk of my time during the beginning quarter of the year would be consumed with writing this novel. Indeed, I barely posted on my blog at all, so immersed was I into Indian culture and the dynamic George! I also knew his story would not be finished and released until 2013. Meaning, for the first time since 2009, I would NOT have at least one novel published during a calendar year. While this may seem like a breather from the non-stop, hectic activity of the past few years, not so!
In April, I stepped away from the computer, my husband and I jetting off to Chicago for the Romantic Times Convention. This was our first visit to the Windy City, the first (and only, so far) time I attended this convention, and the first time I toured the Sourcebooks headquarters. Fun in Chicago & the RT Convention is my report on the adventures. Part of my day at Sourcebooks included an extensive interview for an author spotlight event planned for June. Alas, Sourcebooks has since deleted all of it from their blog. Fortunately, the snippet from my interview is still on Vimeo! Considering I literally had NO idea I was going to be interviewed until that day and was given NO clue what I would be asked, I think I did quite well.
In June I typed “The End” on Dr. Darcy’s novel after spending a year and a half writing and researching my nearly 170,000-word tome, and off it went to my editor. Whew! Just in time for me to prepare for the Romance Writers of America National Conference in July. That year the conference was in Anaheim, my neck-of-the-woods, and best of all, right next door to the most magical place on earth: DISNEYLAND! It was awesome to be able to drive rather than fly and wonderful to share the experience with a huge group of friends from my local RWA chapter. It was also a special conference as I was giving a presentation on medical history. For the full report with photos: RWA 2012
Below is the short interview by fellow Sourcebooks author and pal Sara Humphreys. Another spontaneous Q&A, but low-key and fun.
Assorted internet blogging events kept me busy over the next few months while I also tackled the editing process for The Passions of Dr. Darcy. Then, in September, I was honored to appear with awesome author Syrie James and Dr. Lynda Hall, professor of English at Chapman University, for an interactive discussion on Jane Austen Sequels and Adaptations. The panel discussion was part of the Big Orange Book Festival at Chapman University in Orange, California. It was a fabulous experience in every way, not the least of which was being in the company of two amazing women. Naturally, my husband and I made a romantic weekend of it.
In that same month, I attempted to teach a group of homeschool student using Miss Darcy Falls in Love as the “text” for a combo history and literature class. Alas, that did not go so well.
Undeterred by that defeat, I carried on! In fact, I used the experience to highlight the positive benefits of the romance genre in a series of blog posts in October alongside a number of historical blogs largely centering on tidbits from Dr. Darcy’s novel. At the end of the month, the final cover was revealed. I was so happy!
As in past years, the final months of 2012 focused on the various holidays and Jane Austen’s birthday with historical and personal blog posts.
Comparatively speaking, 2012 was a quieter year than the previous ones. 2013, however, reverted back to crazy busy.
Right off the bat, the fun began with a call from the Wall Street Journal. YES! As the 200th anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen was BIG news that everyone was covering in some way. In a massive article which ran in both the print and online newspapers, “Austen Power” by Alexandra Alter thoroughly covered the impact of Austen’s legacy, including the inspiration and success of fan fiction as a legitimate literary subgenre. I was interviewed at length AND spent a whole afternoon with a photography for the Wall Street Journal who came all the way from San Francisco. Super fun! Read more about the experience and the article featuring me and my office memorabilia HERE.
The advanced copies of The Passions of Dr. Darcy arrived in late January, my enthusiasm so immense that I hosted a big giveaway! In fact, I was so filled with happiness and love that I wrote a ton of blogs on Valentine’s Day topics and romance. My favorite subject!
In early March, my local RWA group hosted a fantastic Fiction Writers Spring Fling one-day seminar with author Jane Porter. Then, in late March, I traveled to Santa Ana for the SoCalRWA Writers Conference. I was thrilled to meet up with Linda Wisdom, an author pal I hadn’t seen in many years, among other old and new author friends. The conference was informative and the book signing event was terrific.
The moment I returned home, it was time to CELEBRATE! The Passions of Dr. Darcy was released on April 1 and I was off on a major blog tour and launch extravaganza once again. Whoot!
Starting on May 27, I partook in my first Book Expo America, or rather the internet version called “Armchair BEA” which is a major week-long event coinciding with the New York City event. The series of blog post covered classic literature, blogging, literary fiction, and more.
In my personal life, the middle months of 2013 were life-altering. My husband retired, we sold our house in CA before it had actually been placed for sale, and frantically began packing. Amid this, in July I flew off to Atlanta, Georgia for the Romance Writers of America National Conference. I was SO busy that my blog was ignored for several weeks, but I did manage to post a couple updates: Where has Sharon Been? and RWA 2013 Update.
From Atlanta I flew to Louisville, Kentucky, meeting up with my husband and son who had flown in from California. A week later we had bought our new house! Quickly back to California for a frantic month to arrange our big, cross-country caravan move. Once again, the blog was ignored until we were settled into our Kentucky home and I had time to breathe! That wasn’t until October, but I caught up with three separate posts about the move, my new home, and more. The video below was a bit of fun I created on my faithful iMac.
Because I seem to be unable to slow down for long, in late-September I traveled to Minneapolis for my second attendance at a JASNA Annual General Meeting. As soon as I returned, we welcomed the first visitors to our new home: Our daughter Emily and son-in-law Neil all the way from Washington DC where they lived at the time. Smack in the middle of this, I got a call from my Sourcebooks editor with outstanding news: Miss Darcy Falls in Love had been selected as one of 32 titles for the 2014 World Book Night USA! Such an incredible honor! The event itself was in April of 2014, but the promo began immediately.
The final months of 2013 were quiet on the blog. I was busily writing on the first of the Prequel Duo and added a few holiday-themed articles to the blog. But, honestly, we were immersed in embracing our new home and community with local activities keeping us occupied.
My first post for the year was a 2013 retrospective dated January 1. I think I was going for a tradition of a yearly look-back, but it didn’t necessarily pan out. LOL! The highlight for January was typing “The End” on Darcy and Elizabeth: A Season of Courtship and sending it off to my editor Gretchen Stelter. Whew! I created the cover while awaiting edits to return, with the big cover reveal on January 25th. Sadly, as my happiness soared on the publishing front, my emotions plummeted when Austen Authors broke apart that same month. I managed to hold myself together for the completion and release of my new novel at the end of February, but it was a devastating blow that overshadowed my life for months to come.
Nevertheless, I persevered! As always, I love anything and everything romantic so celebrated the “Month of Love” with a series of topical blogs intermixed with celebrating the release of Darcy and Elizabeth: A Season of Courtship. Having amicably parted ways with Sourcebooks, the publishing process was done by me from start to finish. A big learning curve! Luckily, my skills at digital design and image manipulation made it possible to create an awesome book cover, a process I blogged about.
Also in March, I opened my Zazzle Store. In part to make a bit of extra money, but also to provide products focusing on Jane Austen, romance, and the Darcy Saga. The store is still open and with loads of new items for sale since it began in 2014.
April was a very busy month. World Book Night USA was on April 23, and a host of online events led up to the distribution of 22,000 copies of Miss Darcy Falls in Love as a “gift of reading” to thousands of people with limited ability to obtain books. For my part, I was hosted at the Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Lexington, Kentucky for a spotlight event and Q&A with World Book Night volunteers and fans of Jane Austen.
Literally, right on the heels of that fun, I traveled the short distance to Bowling Green, Kentucky for the Southern Kentucky Book Fest (SOKY). I joined my dear friend Regina Jeffers for a panel discussion on Historical Fiction and we had a marvelous time just visiting with each other. For the second year in a row, I partook of Armchair BookExpo America with a series of blogs in May that focused on literature, websites, and more.
As the months passed, I spent a ton of time writing historical blogs (all of which are in the Library at Pemberley forum) and essays on Kentucky, my new home state. I also opened the blog to my author friends with spotlight features, interviews, and more. I welcomed Grace Burrowes, Sandy James, Loucinda McGary, Merry Farmer, Regina Jeffers, Marie Force, Katherine Bone, Shana Galen, Terry Spear, Carolyn Brown, Kendra Leigh Castle, Victoria Vane, Lynette Endicott, Debra Salonen, Jeanna Ellsworth, Jettie Nicole, Julie Klassen, Leslie Lynch, and Suzi Love.
I kept quite busy with the blog. Busier than I ever had been, in fact. What I could not do with great success, despite trying so very hard, was to finish the second volume of the Prequel Duo. For reasons that are deeply personal, I struggled. I made short inroads, wrote here and there with moderate results, but could not finish it as planned. Frustrated, I turned to other creative outlets, such as revamping my website, and updating and adding to the Portrait Gallery. Between this, writing blogs, and hosting fellow authors, the year was over before I knew it.
This year, or at least the first half of it, was consumed with planning the JASNA Annual General Meeting (AGM) which was hosted by the Greater Louisville Region. I was in charge of the Authors Booksigning but aided in many other areas of the event. Since writing continued to elude me, this was a welcome activity to occupy my time. Amongst the tasks I volunteered to do, one was to write the JASNA News article on the 2015 AGM. That involved delving further into local Kentucky history and places, which was super fun for this new Kentuckian!
The other HUGE development which kept me busy and lifted my ofttimes lagging spirits was the rebirth of Austen Authors! My friendship with the ever-faithful and energetic Regina Jeffers gave me hope that together we could succeed where I had failed before. Our debut post was on January 24th, and we were off and running! It was phenomenal to once again be surrounded by fellow lovers of Jane Austen, a whole new group of incredible authors anxious to share their mutual talents with readers.
In March I was invited to speak at Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Lexington as part of a community outreach in association with a local theater presenting Sense and Sensibility. I spoke on Jane Austen’s Influence, a speech my husband was unable to video at the time but had me repeat the next week and can be watched below–
I also continued to open my blog for my author pals to share their novels, although it slowed down as the year progressed. Throughout 2015 I welcomed Cassandra Samuels, Brenda Webb, Vickie Dreiling, Kelli Gwyn, and Regina Jeffers. Along with these fascinating women sharing their novels, I wrote a huge assortment of historical and holiday-themed essays, recipes, vocabulary etymology, and various other fun posts which helped me pass the time and stay focused on the world I love.
In August, I published Regency Prints Refined. Inspired by the creation of images to print and frame as decor for the tables at the AGM (another task I happily volunteered to do), I applied my skills in digital design to “refine” Regency Era fashion plates. The result was a photo book with 36 prints with historical commentary for each fashion plate. Naturally, I celebrated here on my blog!
As a follow-up to my non-fiction book, I created a Zazzle Store for all of my refined fashion prints (well over 100 of them) for purchasing as photo prints, greeting cards, and other items.
The final big news for 2015 was the release of my first three novels in audio format! Sourcebooks completed the process, the results outstanding. Narrated by Corrie James, Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One, Loving Mr. Darcy: Journeys Beyond Pemberley, and My Dearest Mr. Darcy are available in audible download, CD sets, and in MP3.
2016 & 2017
It pains me to admit, but 2016 was not a great year for me. A variety of health issues and personal problems plagued, not only impeding my ability to write creatively but causing a host of difficulties. I did manage to add to the blog on a fairly regular basis, although not as prolifically as the prior couple of years. A brief ray of light had allowed me to write two short novellas which were published in eBook format at the end of 2015. It was a frivolous foray to stir my muse, allowing me to write something different and just for fun. It did help, in so far as giving me hope that life would improve eventually and that I hadn’t utterly lost my talent! If interested in a “spicy” Pride and Prejudice variation duo, check out Sultry Austenesque Tales by Siobhan Rae.
In between writing historical blogs, I focused on improving my health. In part, this involved initiating the lengthy process required for bariatric surgery. For quite a few months this was a top priority, but finally, on my birthday in October as a matter of fact, I had a gastric sleeve. My present to myself! Everything went very well, and by the end of the year, I was feeling like a brand new, forty pounds lighter person! I felt so marvelous that my husband and I celebrated with a Christmas trip to Disney World in Orlando. How Time Flies! My Mind is Still in Disney World…
To my great delight, 2017 started with a bang! I continued to lose weight and feel better every day! As everyone now knows, my muse returned and I was finally able to finish volume #2 of The Darcy Saga Prequel Duo. The journey is well documented here on my blog, naturally. LOL!
Darcy and Elizabeth: Hope of the Future was released on August 8, 2017. Three years later than I anticipated, but better late than never! Now I have come full circle on this two-part Darcy Saga blog retrospective. Thank you to all those who have followed me on this occasionally difficult but overwhelmingly amazing journey. This is not the end of the story, I promise.