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 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.
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 sixth section of my novel Cassandra on the Island. You can read the previous sections here.
This was not a day Cassandra was looking forward to. Peter and Lucy had been gone for two weeks and, in her opinion, it was time she got up and did something. Doing this was at least something. God knows, it had to be done.
“Are you sure you don’t want my help,” Alisha asked earlier that morning on the phone. “The dust up there and your allergies.”
“I’ll be fine,” Cassandra said. “I don’t need the help.” What she couldn’t say was how much she wanted to have this moment alone, even though she wasn’t looking forward to the experience. “And you have Duke, Jr. to take care of.”
Alisha knew Cassandra was just making excuses now. Having a two-year-old following them never bothered them before. “Duke, Jr. #3 is not a problem. And Duke, Jr. #1 and #2 won’t be back from school until three, so I do have time if you need me.”
Cassandra had to fight back from letting out a laugh. Duke, Jr. #1 was almost 9 and the names still made her laugh. Granted, Alisha was almost ten years younger than Cassandra, but that fact still did not explain some of the odd things she did. “Alisha, you know you can still change their names if you want to.”
“Why would I want to do that?”Alisha had lost count how times Cassandra had brought up this issue. Yes, it was unique to name all your children Duke, Jr., but Duke liked it and Alisha liked being unique. Of course, whenever Cassandra brought up this debate it was usually her way of saying “give me some space” in the nicest way possible. “Fine, I get the hint,” Alisha said.
“Don’t take it personally, Alisha,” Cassandra said softly. “I want this moment alone. Jonathan is at work. It’s the first time both my children have been gone.” Children? Was it even fair to still call them children? Lucy was 17, almost 18, and Peter was 22… 22? That idea was still hard for her to grasp. A senior in college and it felt just like yesterday when she last played hide-and-seek with him in the yard. Continue reading
The following is the fifth section of my novel Cassandra on the Island. You can read the previous sections here.
“Tell it to me again, mommy.”
“Lucy, you need to sleep. I won’t let you go Trick-or-Treating unless you take a nap. You know how you get without a nap. You’ll be asleep by Wilson Avenue.”
“Just tell me and I’ll sleep.”
She nodded her head.
“Well, I thought your dad was late.”
“But daddy is never late.”
“That’s what was bothering me. And I was looking forward to the date.”
“Did you try calling him?”
“Yes, I left message after message. I was going to go out looking for him, but I didn’t.”
“Why didn’t you?”
“You know that, my silly little girl.” She reached down and tickled the sides of Lucy’s arms.
“He showed up at the door in a tuxedo. And he had me close my eyes. He led me to the side of the house. And through my eyelids I could see we were moving towards a bright light… a bright gold-like glow. He had covered the gazebo with Christmas lights, hundreds and hundreds of Christmas Lights. As it began to rain… just a little rain, not much. He looked so handsome, the rain and the lights. It was all so perfect.”
“Then what?” Continue reading
The following is the fourth section of my novel Cassandra on the Island. You can read the previous sections here.
Another map was found and the word spread through across the island like the hurricane of ’77. Gossip and stories could be heard on any street corner where at least two adults were standing.
“…it was in a chest, I hear…”
“…Yes, and it took a gold key to open it…”
A third person walked up. “Did he have it analyzed yet?”
“No, he doesn’t want to risk having it fall into someone else’s hands.”
A fourth person with a young boy joined the conversation. “It’s a fake.”
“What? How can you say that?”
The fourth person put down the groceries he was holding. “It’s always a fake.”
The first person sat up straighter in his chair and squinted his eyes at this intruder. “Reverend Jonathan, doesn’t your religion teach you to have faith?”
Jonathan sighed. “Faith in God, Mr. Reginald, not in gold treasures hidden by a mythical pirate.” Continue reading