Did you get your copy yet?
On Day 4 of the book tour, I awoke to a wonderful review of A Jane Austen Daydream by Pursuing Stacie. How wonderful, you might ask? It included lines like this:
(By the by, THANK YOU, Mr. Southard! I need everything you’ve ever written.)
How do you not smile when you read that? (Oh, and for those that want to know more about my writing, check out the links and info to the right of the post. There is more work out there by me, I swear!)
Here is another excerpt from the review:
I felt that I was given the gift of getting to know Ms. Austen on a personal level; her private life, her struggles, her hopes and even (in my opinion) her failures. The author took those gaps in her narrative and began filling them in. He took a beloved author, threw in some fact, dropped in some fiction and stitched the whole package together with a raw authenticity.
You can read the entire review here. Thanks Pursuing Stacie for the smile this morning.
Today, something a little different on the book tour for A Jane Austen Daydream. On Let Them Read Books, I was asked to say something about Jane Austen’s father. An interesting question because there is the real reverend, and then the fictional one in the book.
Here is how I begin my discussion:
George Austen was born in 1731. He met his wife Cassandra at Oxford. They would go on to have six sons and two daughters; the youngest, they named Jane.
If A Jane Austen Daydream was a typical historical fiction, I would point to research and letters to find Jane Austen’s father. I would paint his characters with his sermons, lessons, and what he wrote to his children, basically anything that I could find… but A Jane Austen Daydream is not a normal historical fiction.
You can read more about Jane’s pop and learn more about my novel here.
Hi everyone and welcome to day 2 of the book tour for the fifth anniversary edition of A Jane Austen Daydream. There are two different sites to check out today!
First, A Jane Austen Daydream was reviewed by Kate Braithwaite, author of The Road to Newgate. Here is my favorite paragraph from her fun review:
Serious bravery is required to take on Jane Austen and mess with her in fiction. Janeites know their stuff. Even non-Janeites (like me) know quite a bit. I’ve read all the books. Some of them several times. And I’ve a sketchy knowledge about Jane Austen’s life, at least in terms of her death and love life. But I’m confident that fans of Austen who open this book in the right spirit – ready to be entertained and enjoy a Jane that might not quite match up to their own preconceptions – will thoroughly enjoy their trip to a well-written, witty Regency England, full of references to those six wonderful books. Highly recommended.
You can read the rest of her review here.
Also, A Jane Austen Daydream is being spotlighted on Before the Second Sleep. In the spotlight, I write a bit about my writing process on this novel. Here is an excerpt:
…I needed to write a book that felt like an Austen novel, but at the same time, new. Two, I needed to tell a story in the voice of Austen, but yet, I wanted it to be a “friendly” voice for the casual reader. So, everything had to be a recognizable (plot and characters) … and surprising and different and witty and charming and emotional and passionate and unpredictable. Whew!
You can read more from me and discover more about the book here.
Today begins the Book Tour for the fifth anniversary edition of A Jane Austen Daydream!
Tony Riches is a historical fiction author and oversees The Writing Desk. (You should check out some of his writing!)
On the site he shares some information on my novel and I share some of my thoughts on how A Jane Austen Daydream is not your typical historical fiction novel. A lot of sharing going around. Here is an excerpt from my talk:
It is not a normal historical fiction, it could almost be considered experimental literary fiction because of some of the twists I put in it (which I won’t discuss here, more fun to discover them for yourself). This is my daydream for Jane. It is her, living in one of her tales (a new one, with new surprises).
You can read the rest of the discussion, as well as learn about my novel and this edition, at The Writing Desk here. I hope you will check it out!
Today I am excited to announce that Madison Street Publishing has just released a fifth anniversary edition of A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM!
For those that do not know about this novel, here is how it is described on the back of the new edition:
All her heroines find love in the end–but is there love waiting for Jane?
Jane Austen spends her days writing and matchmaking in the small countryside village of Steventon, until a ball at Godmersham Park propels her into a new world where she yearns for a romance of her own. But whether her heart will settle on a young lawyer, a clever Reverend, a wealthy childhood friend, or a mysterious stranger is anyone’s guess.
Written in the style of Jane herself, this novel ponders the question faced by many devoted readers over the years–did she ever find love? Weaving fact with fiction, it re-imagines her life, using her own stories to fill in the gaps left by history and showing that all of us–to a greater or lesser degree–are head over heels for Jane.
The following is the last section of my novel Cassandra on the Island. You can read the previous sections here. Thank you for reading my novel.
On the Street
“To continue with my drama,” Alisha sighed. “There I was soaking wet and humiliated with Vicki staring down at me. The client is furious and all I can think is…”
“Hush,” Cassandra whispered. It was not a typical whisper. It was the type of whisper used in churches and on sacred events.
Alisha didn’t take the hint; well, not right at first. “What? Did I already tell you this story?”
Cassandra pulled her car over to the side of the road. It was not as easy a maneuver as you might think for Cassandra. She had not driven in years and she was not the best driver to begin with. To add to the difficulty, this was her first time driving the vehicle. As per her instructions to the dealer, it was waiting for her in the parking lot of the airport. Just like any normal person’s car. That simple and minor point was a big deal for Cassandra. Normalcy was a goal to work for.
Cassandra turned in her seat to look at Alisha.
“What is it?” Alisha asked.
“Hush,” Cassandra said again. She slowly placed her finger to her lips to emphasize the point. “My house is on this street.”
This news excited Alisha and her attention was quickly turned to the street in front of her and the series of cottages. “Which one is it? Is that it, there?” For some reason, she thought for sure there was a sign in front of it or some kind of other man-made symbol to emphasize, ‘Here is the spot. This spot with the X.’
“Hush,” Cassandra whispered again.
“I barely said anything,” Alisha was annoyed. “You’re shushing me again? All I said was which was is it and is it there or something like that and I get scolded like a child.”
“Please, please,” Cassandra said with a brief smile. This was the first, the first in a series of events and dreams that had kept her alive while in Amsterdam. “Just give me this moment in silence. This one moment.”
Cassandra replied with her own nod of thanks and returned her car to the driving lane…and slowly… and quietly they drove down the road to Cassandra’s house.
Alisha rolled down her window and the seagulls could be heard over the ocean. They were close to it and the waves could even be heard from time to time (if they were large enough). For Cassandra, it was hard to concentrate on the road. Continue reading
This Friday I will be sharing the final section of my novel Cassandra on the Island.
For those that have been following this journey, I want to say thank you. I am proud of the book and it is a wonderful feeling to finally have readers discovering this novel.
For those only now discovering the book, you can still catch up. You can find the previous sections on the site here. Here is how I introduce the tale on the page:
Cassandra on the Island is the story of second, third and fourth chances. These are the experiences that resonate for Cassandra, a young retiree from a dangerous past hoping to escape her memories and spend her remaining time reading books in a gazebo by the beach. Royal Carlton Island and its eccentric inhabitants though have other plans for her. A boat race, pirate treasure, glowing grave, recluse billionaire, fake vampire, and an opera-singing child are waiting…
Surprising, witty, romantic and unique, Cassandra on the Island is filled with the important days for Cassandra, and together each piece is one part of the picture that makes up her life.
If you enjoy the writing, please share. Likes and sharing help writers (and their stories) grow. I would love to see this in print sometime in the future. I plan to have it up on the site for a little while, but it won’t be forever.
Thank you for visiting the island and I hope you enjoy the ending this Friday!
The following is the second to last section of my novel Cassandra on the Island. You can read the previous sections here.
Lesson #1 – Find Beauty in the Smallest Things
Cassandra loved her granddaughter’s smile. Granted, if put under the gun, she would praise all of her grandchildren’s smiles, but there was something about young Toni Lyn’s smile that Cassandra found comfort in.
So when Toni Lyn called to ask if she could spend the summer with her on the Island, Cassandra immediately said yes. Toni Lyn’s parents however were less than amused with the idea when they found out. They feared that Cassandra would be a bad influence on their eighteen-year-old daughter’s perspective of the world. It wasn’t because of Cassandra’s past (they never truly knew about her time in Europe. Even for Cassandra most of it had slipped from memory and would only return as dark images in nightmares that left her strangely humming Mozart songs), but what Cassandra had become.
Cassandra had become a rascally old woman.
Cassandra loved to give her opinion about everything under the sun. Her opinions were always unique (and most of the time too unique). It was amazing to her children the change that occurred. It was almost as if Cassandra found a switch or a button that changed everything. Spending time with their mother soon became a chore of having to smile and nod to many strange and unique points.
Peter (the father of Toni Lyn) claimed the change in her personality arrived after her husband’s death. That was not the case. She was like this for at least three years before the good Reverend disappeared from her side. Living with her during that time could sometimes be uncomfortable for him. Where he seemed to fall back on his conservative upbringing and beliefs (and his questions pushed back into the shadows), she went to the other extreme.
By the “Summer of Poetry,” it had been four years since Jonathan’s death and Cassandra felt more alone each day. Her life seemed to follow a simple pattern. Continue reading
The following is the seventh section of my novel Cassandra on the Island. You can read the previous sections here.
Cassandra pretended to like fishing for Jonathan’s sake. She pretended to like getting up early (“At the crack of dawn, family! That is five AM!”) She pretended to like touching worms and baiting them and waiting. She pretended to like waiting a lot.
“Can’t we go home yet?” Lucy whined.
God, Cassandra thought, why can’t I be more straightforward like Lucy?
“No, honey,” the Reverend sighed. “You’ve got to give it some time. You’ll catch something sooner or later, I promise. I’m actually sure of it. Peter and I dug up these worms late last night. Right Peter?”
Peter didn’t answer. It was obvious to Cassandra Peter didn’t want to relive that memory. Peter turned away from his dad, then looked down at his line, and then back out to the ocean.
Well, he’s a little bit more like me, Cassandra thought, Now where the heck did Lucy’s personality come from?
Lucy sighed again loudly. The Reverend didn’t notice the sigh (he was too busy whistling), but Cassandra knew exactly what the sigh meant. Cassandra leaned forward and tapped her daughter on the knee. They made eye contact. Cassandra smiled. It was her patented, ‘Get through this and I’ll get you some ice cream later’ smile. Lucy and Cassandra had this quiet exchange of knowledge down to a science. That was mostly thanks to all the stuff the boys made them sit through (from Peter’s little league baseball games to events at Jonathan’s church). This was just another one of those moments…. Just a great, great deal longer.
Cassandra looked out and away towards the ocean. It was almost seven and the sky had an eerie color to it. And the air… The air felt too calm… She shrugged it off. I’m just not used to being up and on the ocean this early in the morning, she told herself, it’s probably always like this. Over a thousand mornings she let slip by without even considering to rise and watch. She promised herself that when she was old and the children were grown, she would study the dawn more. The colors were beautiful.
Jonathan noticed her gaze and turned to the clouds. “That is odd.” Continue reading