Thursday, December 26, 2013

My Most Embarrassing Moment as an Author

Back in September, my husband and I discovered a fabulous new hiking trail. The trail followed a little stream up a steep hill studded with yellow flowers and wild raspberries. We enjoyed our hike so much that we planned to go back the next week.

As the time for our next hike rolled around, we noticed that the sky was a little gray. The closer we got to the mountains, the darker the sky grew. Admitting defeat, my husband suggested we go to a bookstore instead of going on a hike. "Okay," I said, "but I'm not going to sign any of my books when we're there. This is only for fun." (Not that people run up to me in bookstores asking me to sign books. I just sign the books on the shelf because some people prefer their books signed.)

We spent a few minutes wandering around, perusing the aisles. Then, fatefully, I decided to take a bathroom break. Bear in mind that I'd dressed for the stormy weather. I wore several layers and apparently had a difficult time putting them all back together.

As I walked out of the restroom, the bookstore clerk pointed behind me. "You have . . . toilet paper." I looked behind me to see a thirty-foot stripe of toilet paper following me through the store. Yep, that's me, the author with toilet paper. Only, thank goodness, no one knew I was an author.

Another woman standing nearby commented, "Oh, I was wondering what that was."

I walked back through the store, gathering toilet paper as I went and depositing the entire armful in the trash on my way out of the store. To my relief, I discovered the end of the roll stuck underneath the sweater I wore around my waist . . . not somewhere else. Phew.

Needless to say, I have not been back to that bookstore. I don't trust their toilet paper. 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Christmas Break Reading Program for kids

I had every intention of writing something inspirational and mushy about Christmas. Then I remembered my kids are going to be home for two weeks, and if I don't do something to prevent it, they'll watch TV and play video games more than I care to admit. I found myself wondering why there isn't a library reading program for Christmas break or spring break or Martin Luther King day. My kids read a lot more when they have incentives. Then it dawned on me--I could do my own Christmas break reading program. So, here it is, in case you want to copy. I posted this on my refrigerator :

Mom’s First Annual
Christmas Break Reading Program

To get a prize, you must read a book on your reading level, and it must be a length that you and Mom agree is long enough (at least 100 pages for the older kids.)

You get a prize each time you read a book.

1st book – Microwave Popcorn package

2nd book—Package of gum

3rd book--$1

4th book—New Year’s Eve noisemaker

5th book--pizza

Our program starts the minute school lets out tomorrow, and two of my children have already picked out their books. Yay! They don't seem to care that most of the prizes are pretty cheap.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Sense and Sensibility: A Latter-day Tale Due August 2014

This week I signed a contract for Sense and Sensibility: A Latter-day Tale. It's my favorite of the Latter-day Tales series so far, and I am having so much fun writing the last few chapters. It's due this coming August 2014.

I wanted to celebrate with one of my favorite Studio C videos, which features none other than Jane Austen:

Of course, I disagree that Jane Austen always used the same plot. There's at least one character who doesn't get the guy she wants. Can you guess who I'm thinking of?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Gifts from Jane Austen's Time

As I've said before, Christmas wasn't such a big deal for people back when Jane Austen was alive. Michaelmas was the big holiday. Jane would probably be more likely to give a gift on Michaelmas (September 29) than on Christmas.

What kinds of gifts would Jane have given or received?

She would have given gifts of food to the poor, as Emma and Mr. Knightley did in Emma.

Perhaps, she would have given flowers as Brandon and Willoughby did in Sense and Sensibility.

This was Jane Austen's ring.

 If she had an admirer, she might have received a piece of jewelry like Fanny received from Henry Crawford in Mansfield Park.

Or maybe, if her admirer were extravagant, she might have received a musical instrument like the pianoforte Jane receives in Emma. Her female characters sometimes gave gifts of drawings, needlework, and other crafts.

An article from the Jane Austen Society of North America's Summer 2012 newsletter suggests a few more possibilities if you wish to give an authentic Regency Era gift. It lists companies that have been in operation since Jane Austen's time.

We can buy Twinings tea and Yardley soap at our local shops just as Jane Austen would have.

 For quite a bit more money, you can buy a Wedgwood tea set like the one Jane's brother owned, or Spode china, which also existed in Austen's time.

What do you think Jane Austen would think of the gift-giving practices of our time?