A Walk Down the Darcy Saga Memory Lane: The Early Years
As I continue on with my week of spotlighting the Darcy Saga as a whole, I am turning to the pages of my blog. But first, don’t forget my awesome GIVEAWAY and the super fun “Test Your Darcy Saga Recall” quiz! Details of prizes and how to enter are on the blog post linked via the quiz name.
Recently I did a bit of revamping to my website, something I have done about a hundred times since creating my first website way back in 2006. I’ve made so many changes that I no longer remember them all! LOL! As I went back through past blog posts and each page to make the necessary updates, I unearthed a number of topics and special moments that I have forgotten. Since I am celebrating the fully realized arc of the Darcy Saga from marriage proposal to where I left off in writing their happily-ever-after married life, I thought it would be fun to embark on a year-by-year reminiscence. I won’t provide a bunch of direct links as all past blog posts can be accessed via the “archive search” on the blog page sidebar.
On the About Sharon page, I discuss my publishing journey from the moment I first fell in love with Jane Austen and Pride and Prejudice, up to the publication of Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One in February 2009. In the year prior to the release of my debut book, my foray into blogging began. As I migrated from different website software programs and web servers until finally settling on WordPress and Liquid Web, some blog posts and photos were lost. Fortunately, most of my original posts are intact, and in the beginning, the majority of my blogging involved me chatting about movies and my adventures into the world of publishing as I prepared for being a traditionally published author. Over time, historical articles and consistent posting on a variety of subjects became regular.
To date, there are over 700 individual blog posts with 2,500+ images documenting my publishing and website/blogging journey, as well as “real life” happenings. WOW!
My very first “Publishing News” blog post was dated January 9, 2008. Amongst what I discussed were new additions to my website. See, I have been at it for a long time! At that time, I had just added my Regency Glossary and Guestbook. WOW!
In a post titled “A Tale of True Love” I tell of my blossoming friendship with a woman I called “S” who had read my self-published novel and contacted me. The story is marvelous and still relevant today, but best of all, this woman, Seli, is one of my dearest friends in the world. My husband and I have visited Seli and her husband several times over the years. This is one of many examples of fans who have become close friends. I am so blessed!
In August of 2008, I blogged on meeting my Sourcebooks editor at the Romance Writers of America conference in San Francisco. That event was a pivotal, profoundly life-altering happening. I immediately joined the RWA and a month later I was honored by an invitation to contribute to the Casablanca Authors blog. This was my initiation into the benefits and fun of group blogging, which eventually led to the creation of Austen Authors. To this day, most of the author friendships I established on that trip to SF are ongoing, and the RWA is still a major influence on my publishing career.
Movies I reviewed: Death at a Funeral, Stardust, Becoming Jane, Enchanted, Amazing Grace, Atonement, The Other Boleyn Girl, Twilight, and Frost/Nixon. Speaking of Frost/Nixon, I was fortunate to attend a special showing of the movie and an after-movie discussion with Ron Howard in Beverly Hills. The event was spectacular, the highlight of an amazing weekend with pals May from Scotland and Kathy from San Francisco. Wild Women in Beverly Hills
I ended my 2008 blog year with Christmas celebrating (no historical essays), sharing a few novel passages, and an update on the publication of Journeys Beyond Pemberley (the title changed later).
The first post for 2009 was a photo of me holding a print copy of Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One. Yippee! I can still remember the utter joy.
The big news in January was of my debut novel selling in Target, a HUGE boost for me. By late February, Volume #1 of the Darcy Saga was available everywhere, and the initial blogging months of 2009 primarily focused on my debut novel. I went on an extensive blog tour and shared all the awesome reviews, in between fun celebratory games here on my blog.
By May I had covered lots of news on the upcoming publication of Loving Mr. Darcy AND the third novel in the series. At that time the title of Volume #3 was The Darcys at Year’s End. That would be changed to My Dearest Mr. Darcy before the year was out. Before that change — and the switch from yellow to purple for the second novel — there was the super cool two-page spread in the Sourcebooks trade catalog.
Late August and most of September was spent celebrating the release of my second novel, Loving Mr. Darcy: Journeys Beyond Pemberley. As I did with my debut novel, I went on an extensive promotional blog tour, celebrated on my blog with a ton of fun games and discussions and giveaways, and shared the awesome reviews that rolled in.
As new releases and upcoming releases were occupying my time, I was also busily writing. In October I typed “The End” on my novella — which later was titled “A Darcy Christmas” — and sent it away to my editor for the 2010 holiday season.
A plethora of special events happened as the year progressed, both professional and personal, which I blogged on and shared tons of photos. In February, I traveled to Berkeley, California to meet up with my Sourcebooks editor Deb, and while there visited with fellow author and friend Loucinda McGary. In June, we packed up the kids, hooked up our trailer, and headed to the Gold Country in California for a week-long family holiday. In July, I flew to Washington D.C. to attend my first Romance Writers of America conference. What an amazing experience! There was so much going on that I covered the momentous event in a series of blog posts. I barely unpacked from that trip before I was packing again for our 23rd wedding anniversary celebration at a romantic B&B in Cambria, CA.
Sadly, my beloved mother passed away in late September of 2009. She was able to hold her personally signed copy of Loving Mr. Darcy, and even managed to read it and share it with the ladies at the retirement home where she lived. While generally keeping to my professional life here on the blog, I had to pay my respects to the best mother a girl could hope for: My Mom
On the promotional front, in August I was interviewed for a piece in my then-local newspaper, the Hanford Sentinel. Yes, there was a time when actual printed newspapers delivered onto doorsteps was the big thing. LOL! It was super exciting for me, and my proud husband had the article framed. The image to the right is the massive display which hangs in my office right above my computer.
Movies reviewed in 2009: Terminator Salvation, Wolverine, and Star Trek. I think I was too busy to go to the movies!
The year started with a bang! My Dearest Mr. Darcy was released on January 1, 2010, so even before 2009 ended I was in major celebration mode. I welcomed the new year with a launch extravaganza! Fun, games, giveaways, another awesome blog tour, reviews galore, excerpts, and so much more.
On January 10th I had my first ever solo book signing! Held in Visalia at the Borders Book Store (may they RIP) it was a fabulous success and a huge leap forward for me into the big world of one-on-one promotion.
In March I attended a luncheon with the ladies of the Hanford High ’59 Bookclub, who had read my debut novel as their February selection. It was so fun to chat about my inspiration with these marvelous ladies! That same month my dear friend Maggie attended Matthew Macfadyen’s London play Private Lives, and even amid swooning over seeing Matthew on stage AND MEETING HIM IN PERSON, she did not forget yours truly. I still proudly display my signed playbill and bottle of lavender perfume from Harrods.
In April I joined the Fresno area JASNA region and debuted as the guest speaker. Still terrified of public speaking at this point, it was a big success and I had a marvelous time sharing my writing inspiration and novels with the group. Later in the month, I participated in a local authors’ fair and book signing, hosted by the Tulare County Friends of the Library Association.
By April the title of my fourth novel had been settled on — In The Arms of Mr. Darcy — and thankfully never changed (As happened with the third novel literally two weeks before release!) In July I typed “The End” on the fifth novel and sent it away to my Sourcebooks editor Deb Werksman. Immediately I jumped into writing Georgiana Darcy’s love story.
Our big family holiday for 2010 did not include our beloved trailer for the first time in several years. Instead, we relied on an airplane to transport the four of us to New Orleans, where we stayed for a couple of days, and then a rented car to take us to Mississippi and Florida for visits with my family. After that week of fun, we kept on driving, all the way to Orlando for a week-long vacation at Disney World! The annual National Conference of the Romance Writers of America was held at the Dolphin Resort, so for me, it was a joint business and pleasure excursion. It took several blog posts to recount all the fun and learning.
On October 1 the fourth volume of The Darcy Saga was officially released. In The Arms of Mr. Darcy hit the shelves and I launched my celebration with a trip to Disneyland in Anaheim! Only for a few days, because I had another outstanding blog tour to embark upon and a huge launch party on my blog. Games and Giveaways galore for over a month!
Immediately upon the thrill of one new release, I jumped into celebrating another. A Darcy Christmas, the holiday and Darcy themed anthology containing my novella, A Darcy Christmas, and novellas by Amanda Grange and Carolyn Eberhart was released on November 1.
In the midst of the dual release fun, the Fresno JASNA region held a Jane Austen Book Fair at Barnes & Noble, with me there to sign my novels. Such fun! Book Fair Report
2010 ended with continued sharing of my latest novels and holiday best wishes.
On to 2011 . . .
I began my fourth year of serious blogging with a 2010 Retrospective. Similar to the summary of 2010 above, in one post I listed ALL the events from the year which I had blogged about. Unfortunately, as I noted in the intro to this post, some blogs were lost during website migration, so the post dated January 6, 2011 included references to several events amongst those lost blogs.
The Sourcebooks Spring Catalog featured my novels, including the soon-to-be-released The Trouble With Mr. Darcy in a two-page spread. Always a thrill.
By March I was in the middle of the editing process for Miss Darcy Falls in Love (that titled decided upon in the same month) with the release date set for November. I already knew what book I wanted to write next, but final approval on that was forced to wait for the launch of my fifth Darcy Saga novel on April 1. The bulk of the month was spent, as had become a tradition, with a massive blog tour, tons of giveaways, a launch extravaganza on my blog, fast incoming stellar reviews, and more. New releases keep me very busy but are worth every minute! The Trouble With Mr. Darcy hit the shelves and I was off to the races!
Also during the month of March, I gave a speech on Regency Law and Order for the Fresno chapter of the Sisters in Crime mystery writers. A few days later, as part of a Jane Austen literary event, I gave a speech on Jane Austen’s Legacy at the Woodward Park Library in Fresno.
In April, my JASNA/Regency Group held a one-day Jane Austen festival called A Day in Regency England. It was a total blast! I helped plan the event and gave the same presentation on Regency Law and Order. The photo below is a group of us at the event.
In May, I made another website move (no, not the last) always in an effort to provide the best for my viewers and readers. In other fun, my sister came to California to attend the above event and afterward we visited our childhood home in the Las Padres forest for several days. A smaller highlight of the year was enjoying a community theater production of Pride and Prejudice in Santa Monica. It was very well done! This and so much more was covered in a blog post titled: Playing Catch Up
Also in May, my daughter Emily joined me and a trio of my JASNA Region pals for a weekend trip to Pasadena for a Spring Gala hosted by JASNA Southwest. It was an outstanding experience, not the least of which was touring the incredible, famed Huntington Museum and Botanical Gardens. To read about this: JASNA Spring Gala Fun!
Summer holidays were a mix of family adventures — Disneyland twice (one of those for the surprise proposal of marriage for our daughter) — and romantic getaways for me and my hubby. In June we spent a week in Massachusetts followed by a week in New York City. The Romance Writers of America conference was in NYC, so that portion of the holiday was a primarily business-focused, but we still managed to take in three Broadway shows and do a ton of touring. One of the best trips we have ever done! It took three blog posts to related the highlights. A BIG development was pitching to my editor Deb an idea I had for a novel about an adventurous physician in India. 🙂 Luckily, she was intrigued (and already in love with George Darcy, as is everyone who meets him), so by October I had signed the contract for his epic tale.
The Sourcebooks Fall 2011 catalog gave me another two-page spread, one for Miss Darcy Falls in Love. November 1 was the official release date of my first true “romance novel” and stand-alone book, although I had begun my blog tour and celebrating a couple of weeks before. A slew of guest appearances, my blog party celebration games and giveaways, and so on. I was SO busy!
On the personal side of life, 2011 was a banner year of “events” with a capital-C. My husband and I both had knee surgeries to repair multiple torn meniscus. Before that, I had three successive surgeries to completely remove a cancerous lesion from my tongue. SUPER painful! My son (my baby!) graduated high school in June. WOW, how time flies by! On November 4, after three months of furious planning, our daughter Emily married her soulmate, Neil Steiner. A true blessing! I blogged about that, with loads of photos, in The Joys of Planning a Wedding
2011 blogging year ended with half of the focus on Georgiana Darcy and the other half on Thanksgiving and Christmas.
My, Oh My! Those were very busy years!
Even I had forgotten just how much had been jammed into those first five years of my writing career.
Looking back on all I did, and having these special memories documented on my blog, is eye-opening and so fun.
A walk down memory lane for sure!
I hope it was enjoyable for you, my readers, as it was for me.
If so, then return tomorrow for a summation of 2012 to 2016.