Welcome everyone! Yes, I am actually posting a new blog after almost 2 years. Yikes! My poor blog has languished while I was on hiatus, of which I am quite ashamed, but sometimes a person needs to take a breather. Right?
To quote the Roman poet Sextus Propertius~
“Always toward absent lovers love’s tide stronger flows.”
Or, as more aptly stated for this situation, the contemporary version from 1832 Magazine of Classic and Polite Literature~
‘Tis absense, however, that makes the heart grow fonder.
Why the hiatus?
To sum up the dearth of blogging in a very general way, up until the end of 2017 my posting schedule was very regular. I can’t point to a specific event or reason why I dropped the ball, to be honest, although there were a few momentous happenings which added to the normal busyness of life. My father became very ill in November of 2017, requiring an extended stay in Mississippi until he recovered and was safely established under the care of my sister and niece. In December of that same year I adopted a new puppy, Olivia Marjo, who traveled on the plane with me when I visit my family in Mississippi in April 2018 for a second extended visit.
Worrying about my father, who passed away on Christmas Eve 2018, and being a busy doggie-mom certainly played a part in ignoring my blog, but I’d be exaggerating to claim either were the main factors. Nor can I blame poor health or anything negative, thank God. I suppose, if I had to finger the #1 reason, it would simply be a matter of focusing on my garden and a variety of crafts. I also started down the rabbit hole that is mapping one’s ancestry. I will share more on what I have learned and created in future blog posts. Suffice to say, I have had a blast doing all sorts of creative endeavors and I still intend to diversify my interests. Only now I plan to find a balance that includes writing material for my blog. Cool!
Are any new novels in the works?
Before I cover what is new on the website itself and with me on social media, it is only fair to answer the one question I am betting many of you are wondering: Are any new novels in the works?
I regret to inform the answer is NO. Does this mean I haven’t written any new material? No, it does not mean that as I have written bits here and there. Alas, I haven’t been successful in reigniting the fire which once burnt bright within me. Truthfully, I have no idea if I will ever renew the passion required to complete a whole novel. I have learned to accept this possibility but also remain hopeful. It may seem nonsensical since my last novel was published in August 2017, but I don’t believe in giving up hope. Whether the result of writer’s block, laziness, growing older, distractions, or a combination, I am certainly not the first author to endure a dry spell and then miraculously overcome. So who knows? What I can promise is that my website visitors will be the first to know!
What is new on the website?
It would be a stretch to say my website includes anything startlingly new, insofar as unique pages or content. What is true, however, is that I’ve revamped just about everything. Some of these changes were small and done here and there over the years as needed. Then the time came where I needed to migrate both this website and Austen Authors from the webhosting company I’d used for nearly a decade to a less expensive, easier to manage hosting site. It was a massive project which spanned a year and three different hosts before finally settling on GoDaddy. Lots of technical details I promise not to ever bore y’all with! Let’s just say, while I am finally content (more or less) with GoDaddy, the migrations meant countless hours into weeks of work. Oddly, while keeping me very busy and adding more gray hairs, being forced to attend to my websites rather than allowing them to skate along smoothly with me paying scant attention has played a huge part in inspiring me to blog again. An accumulated 12 years of content, along with my novels (which are still in print and selling well) is too precious and important to ignore.
So, here are a few bullet points:
- After the migrations, a majority of the image links became corrupted. The images themselves were intact in the files, but without the proper link within the blog or page text, no image showed. Yikes! The only solution was to literally go through every post, all 716 of them! I did this here and on Austen Authors (over 1600 posts). The end result are perfect blog posts, so it was definitely worth the time spent.
- I performed a ton of “under the hood” tasks designed to keep the website running smoothly. Much has changed in the world wide web and software technical side of things (not all of it for the best, IMO) so it was time to update and find new plugins. That sort of stuff isn’t as readily seen but it makes a HUGE difference in loading speed, mobile device reading, social media connecting, and so on.
- I created new graphics for most of the pages, changed the colors, and other such aesthetic tweaks… just for fun!
- The Library at Pemberley has completely changed, primarily due to the forum plugin I used becoming obsolete. Again, a bummer that turned into a positive. I love silver linings! Be sure to check out the new Library.
- The Regency Glossary is unchanged, although I have considered switching to a format similar to how the Library at Pemberley is arranged. I’d appreciate any feedback from y’all on this. Change it to the new layout with accordion-style entries? Or, keep it as is with clickable links to each alphabetical entry?
- The individual novel pages (easily accessed via the dropdown menu or from the Novel Page) now contain all the editorial and reader reviews, excerpts, and additional information once in the Library at Pemberley. These entries are below the purchasing links, synopsis, etc. Again, I chose the accordion-style format.
Those are the main alterations. Please wander around the pages and enjoy! Let me know what y’all think!
How can readers keep in touch?
Thanks for asking! LOL!
I briefly mentioned Austen Authors, but must shine the spotlight for a moment. My partnership and devoted friendship with the fabulous Regina Jeffers is going strong. By the end of this year it will be seven years since we revived Austen Authors. WOW! We currently have 21 published authors of Jane Austen literary fiction who blog daily. We host a huge Quarterly Giveaway four times a year and our generous authors frequently gift books and trinkets on their blogs. All in all, I am SO proud of what we have accomplished with Austen Authors, our goal to share our love of Jane Austen and her world for all audiences continuing unabated.
As for me, I am still on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest, of course. All links are in the footer and the blog sidebar as well. I recently joined Instagram, but will confess that I don’t love the platform. Nevertheless, it is popular and with the aid of excellent auto-sharing plugins and programs, I can add photos without doing much work myself!
Lastly, I am now using a new and far superior mailing list and newsletter program called MailPoet. Now that I am determined to add to my blog on a regular basis, I will send updates to those visitors who are interested. In an effort to avoid the appearance of spam and provide each visitor a delivery option to fit their needs, there are TWO separate lists:
WEEKLY, sent every Friday morning
Bi-MONTHLY, sent every other Saturday morning
What is the future of the blog?
This brings me to the final topic for this first-of-many posts. My focus in blogging, as it has always been, will be on my novels and historical research. I haven’t totally lost my passionate interest for all things in history. This includes people, places, objects, life, fashion, and so on. While I will primarily veer toward England history, specifically the Georgian and Regency Eras, I plan to expand a bit as the mood strikes me. So be on the lookout for Tudor Era, American, and whatever else strikes my fancy.
In addition to historical:
- More Vocabulary Rocks! I simply LOVE word and phrase etymology.
- Movie and TV trivia, recommendations, and other fun stuff along the cinematic line.
- More from the Life of Sharon, such as the crafts I’ve done, gardening, ancestry discoveries, and so on.
- Food and recipes, both historical and thematic for the season. What can I say? I love food!
So there we are. I am very excited to be back and hope y’all are happy to have me in the spotlight again. I could easily dive into the mushy realm expressing my deep appreciation for my faithful friends and readers, but that is a can of gooey worms y’all really don’t want me to open! Instead, I shall leave it at a simple and humble THANK YOU. I love you all and welcome comments below. Come back tomorrow!
Love, and God bless,