These past months have been rather hectic for a number of reasons so I am quite behind in sharing some of the events I have been a part of. Here comes a photo collage and an update! Ready?
Unrelated to anything really is the acquisition of my Buick Lacrosse seen above with me in Pismo Beach, CA. Simple math: Son needed vehicle + me wanting fancy auto – perfectly fine Impala for son = me buying Lacrosse! I love it!
This post ended up quite loonnnggg so instead of forcing one to scroll through it all to get to the previous posts, click the link to open up the whole if you wish.
In February my local chapter of the RWA – the Yosemite Romance Writers – was honored to have Literary Agent Scott Eagan join us. We delighted in his company for dinner the night before and were then treated to a great talk on the publishing industry from an agent’s point of view. It was incredibly enlightening. At the end Scott graciously listened to those who wished to pitch to him in hopes of acquiring an agent for themselves. Long story short, after much urging from my fellow writers, I steeled myself to give it a go and the end result was that before the week was out I had signed with Scott Eagan of Greyhaus Literary Agency to represent me! Truly leaping for joy!
I found time in the early months, here and there, to rearrange my office. When my daughter moved out, I ended up with an extra room that I turned into a library/scrapbooking/exercise/storage room.
Yes, I am a Lord of the Rings nut, but you all knew that, right? This gave me space to devote my office to only Austen and publishing related stuff–
Lots of space to sprawl out, a huge computer monitor which is amazing, all my memorabilia surrounding me, soothing colors and pretty decor – no wonder I never want to leave this room!
In March I gave two speeches. The first was for the local chapter of the Sisters in Crime mystery writers. I talked about Regency Law and Order history and prepared my first ever Power Point presentation outside of ones medical related for nursing lectures. It was a blast! Unfortunately there were technical difficulties and my marvelous PP was not able to be used! One lesson I learned was not to tie my speech too firmly around a slideshow and the other lesson was to bring my own projector! This I did, buying a nice but simple portable projector before my second speech of the month, which was at the Woodward Park Library. This time around I chose the topic of Jane Austen’s Legacy as it has lived on in the realm of fan fiction. Again I prepared a Power Point (or rather a Keynote Presentation using my Macintosh’s iWorks program, but same idea). All was well and the 30-some people who came to hear me speak enjoyed themselves.
Late-February into March was a horrid month in one respect. Sadly it saw the demise of our local region of the Jane Austen Society. Through tremendous hardship and emotional turmoil I aided my friend and former Regional Coordinator Carrie Flores in the process of cleaning up that mess and bidding a tearful adieu to our plans for an awesome 2-day Jane Austen festival in April. On the upside we decided to never give up, never surrender! No way were we going to tuck tail and let the negative trouble makers of the Valley prevail. Carrie and I regrouped and revamped, forming the Fresno Area Regency England Fellowship. By the end of March we had our own website, hosted my speech at the library, a discussion of Sense and Sensibility, and a group movie night to see Red Riding Hood. If you are anywhere in the general vicinity of Fresno, but sure to visit our website. We have lots of great events planned!
We went ahead with our planned April event although in a truncated fashion. A Day in Regency England occurred on April 9 and it was a rousing success! We had 50+ attendees for our day of Regency games, lectures, crafts, music, food, costumes, prizes, and socialization. I was especially thrilled since I not only was able to play the Law and Order power point for my revised lecture on the topic but also because my sister Janis came out from New Mexico!
My sister visited for a whole week. During that time we not only had a blast at the festival but managed to watch a slew of movies. We saw Inception, Megamind, In My Father’s Den, the entire Little Dorrit, Tangled, Jane Eyre (with Tobey Stephens), the 2008 Sense and Sensibility, Northanger Abbey, and maybe another one or two I can’t remember. Yes, we are movie buffs! We ate a ton of great food – who doesn’t when watching movies and hanging out doing nothing – and talked until we were hoarse. We were really excited to see 80s rocker Bryan Adams in concert at the Hanford Fox Theater. The main event for us was laying our mom to rest in the mountain town where we grew up. I won’t get into the mournful details on that aspect of the trip, although in reality as sad as it is to not have our mom with us, attending to her final wishes in this way was cathartic and beautiful.
While we were together we decided to spend two whole days for just the two of us to meander through the mountain towns where we grew up. High in the Las Padres National Forest of California are a cluster of villages so small that the collective population does not reach into the 10 thousands. We stayed in a fabulous Bed & Breakfast in Pine Mountain that I highly recommend if you want to get away to the serenity of massive pine trees, clean air, and minimal people. Here are a couple shots, the first of the Inn itself and the second a view from our window.
Yes, this is where I grew up! Nice, isn’t it? For two days we drove all over the place in an intense trip down memory lane. We walked through both the elementary and middle schools we attended, visited the churches we were a part of, drank margaritas at the Tavern which is a bar that our grandparents once owned, ate at the local diner that although now Mexican food (and good Mexican food) was once upon a time the hangout for everyone, drove to the top of Mount Pinos still covered in snow at over 8500 feet elevation, strolled through the park where we fished in the pond and picnicked and captured pollywogs and played baseball more times than either of us could possibly count, and searched down every house we ever lived in or visited. Most of them were still there, including our family home. Wow! I have far too many images to share. This one is of my sister and I in the restaurant and is actually the only one of us together while in Frazier Park since we were too busy snapping the scenery!
Of course you know all about my busy times during the release of The Trouble With Mr. Darcy so no need to reiterate that! Somehow I did manage to keep on top of those events and to share everything here on the blog. Or rather, on the “old” blog which has now been transferred over here. Whew! Are you as confused as me? The process of moving onto WordPress – which I am liking very much so far although still ironing out some wrinkles – and utilizing Hub as my host was relatively painless but quite time consuming. How does everyone like the results?
On the new website front, I hope you have taken the time to peek at the various pages since all of them have undergone a few tweaks. Here are the highlights–
1) The Portrait Gallery has an album for Miss Darcy Falls in Love. Yeah! That is the biggest news but I also have new images of Matthew Macfadyen and a few more of me.
2) The “About” and “FAQ” are totally new. I rewrote and consolidated the previous pages into a much nicer, and shorter, version.
3) There are a few new images added to the Regency Glossary.
4) The Cast of Characters is revamped to encompass each novel with the various changes in cast. Eventually I will add a listing for Miss Darcy Falls in Love.
5) Under “Miscellaneous” I have several pages, one of which is all the Historical Essays I have written over the course of time with lots of great images.
6) Each novel has it’s own page with a synopsis and reviews. The main Novel page has a complete listing of them all.
I still plan to create an excerpt page that will be all new. Bear with me on that one! Outside of that I think the website is pretty much done – until I think of something else I want to do with it!
Somewhere in the midst of all this my hubby and I spent a few nights in Pismo Beach, just for the heck of it. Well, I shouldn’t say that since my photographer husband is always looking for scenic locales to capture on digital film (hence the shot of my by the Lacrosse) and we also wanted to see the new adaptation of Jane Eyre. This we did – see the marquee to prove it! I won’t write a long, detailed review but I really enjoyed this version. It is always fun to view various adaptations to appreciate the differing interpretations. No doubt that I prefer the Tobey Stephens longer version that I mentioned before, but this one was very good and well worth seeing.
On May 1 my husband, daughter, and I traveled to Santa Maria to see a community theater production of Pride and Prejudice. I have never seen P&P (or any Austen novel) translated onto the stage so this was a huge treat. I was not sure what the quality would be since it was a very local event based at the college with drama students and semi-professional actors from the community, but have to say I was majorly impressed! We really loved it. I sure wish I could have snapped pictures but of course that was not allowed. The closest I got was to a life size cardboard cut out of Mr. Darcy! Yes, he was quite handsome and did a fine job as Mr. Darcy but, no, he was no match for Matthew Macfadyen so my heart is safe.
That brings me to the present. Whew! Coming up this weekend I am accompanying a group of ladies to Pasadena for the JASNA Southwest Region’s Spring Gala. So excited! This is a 2-day extravaganza of lectures, workshops, a Regency Ball, a tour of the Huntington Museum’s Regency exhibit, and more. I will do my best to report while I am there and for sure once we are home and I have a chance to regroup. Next month I will be attending the Romance Writers of America National Conference in New York City with loads of fun to report. As always there is the Literacy Signing that is open to the public so if in the vicinity pop in to see me. I will give details of that event soon.
All summed up!