Monday, January 28, 2013

Pride & Prejudice is 200 Today!!!

Oh, Austen lovers around the globe are celebrating wildly today! Our wonderful Jane's "darling child," Pride and Prejudice, has its 200th birthday. In honor of the bicentenary, the Jane Austen Centre in Bath, England is hosting a live 12-hour Readathon of the novel, which will be broadcast worldwide throughout the day, starting at 11am GMT!

All of my fellow writers at Austen Authors are, likewise, celebrating (of course!!), and we're beginning a cool interactive writing event called "P&P: Readers Choice" on the blog. Like a Regency version of "Choose Your Own Adventure," the readers will get to vote on the direction of the storyline and a great many of us (myself included) will get to contribute to writing these scenes! The first installment will begin on Wednesday, and mine will be coming up at the end of April... I'm already excited about getting to write something historical (I don't get to do that often) with a scene involving Edward Bennet, aka #HotBennetBrother, as he is affectionately known on Twitter, LOL.

Also today, my friend Alyssa Goodnight is having a special P&P Blog Hop, and all of us involved have the chance to share on our own blogs something about how we came to read/love P&P. For me, it was an assigned novel in high-school English class my freshman year. Much like the experience my heroine Ellie had in According to Jane, when the copies of the classic novel were plopped onto the students' desks, I lifted up my copy of the book not knowing that reading it would change my life. Unlike Ellie, of course, I did not hear Jane's voice in my head giving me dating advice (which is unfortunate, as I would have benefitted greatly from her wisdom!), but reading that story made me see the world and its people anew. What insight Austen had into human nature and behavior!! I'm still more than a little awed by her work, even all these decades later...

And a big thank you to EVERYONE who's purchased a copy of my new digital romance, Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Match! Thanks to you, it's been a Top 100 Best Seller on Amazon in both "Single Women's Fiction" and in "Humor." I'm not only thrilled, I'm so honored and grateful to you all!! On the subject of both P&P and my own novel, I'll be guest blogging on Fresh Fiction today, too. Given all of the Manti Te'o/online dating controversy as of late, a discussion of Internet romances (and how easy it is to misrepresent oneself online) is my topic! Hope some of you are able to pop by...

Anyone have any particularly good news to share? Fun plans for the week or month ahead? I'd love to hear. And, now, for Jane, let us raise our glasses in a toast to a brilliant author who's brought us such timeless characters and compelling stories!! Cheers, Miss Austen!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Book Clubs, Novel Reviews & International Websites...Oh, My!

Mary, Carol, Lynn, Beth, Mary Julie, Cynthia and me...
with wine!
Oh, this has been an action-packed week!! A large and very happy part of it was writing-related, but there were some events that pulled me offline for longer than I would have liked... My wrist, for instance, which I managed to injure a few days ago. I've still got it in a brace for much of the time, but I'm grateful it's healing. (Can't say it's helping my typing any, though, LOL.) And the school district strike we had going on for three stressful days -- now, thankfully, on the verge of being officially resolved. (Teachers are awesome people, btw, and my son has some especially terrific ones this year.)

Janet and Mary at the table packed with treats!
However, there were several fun, fun, fun things that have happened in the past seven days, too, and one of them was getting to meet a fabulous local book club last Tuesday!! The Merry Readers and I spent the evening chatting about A Summer in Europe and travel and Andrew Lloyd Webber music and fitness and much, much more... It was just delightful. And, this likely goes without saying if you've taken a peek at our pictures, but it was also delicious!! Salmon-wrapped melon, multiple types of chocolate, Oreo Truffles, savory quiche, cheese/crackers, FIVE different flavors of gelato (!!) and, of course, wine to last more than one night ;). Thanks to all of you ladies for such a warm and wonderful evening!

Speaking of A Summer in Europe -- it found its way to a virtual bookshelf on Florence, Italy's Official Tourism Website!! Check out Firenze Turismo. Makes me want to talk about travel and eat gelato. Oh, wait...I just did that...well, IMO, this is reason to do it again.

Today, I have the pleasure of visiting the blog of my friend Robin Bielman to talk about my new short contemporary romance, Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Match -- plus, there's an ebook giveaway! This digital story has gotten some really lovely reviews so far, including this one below from Kimberly Denny-Ryder at Austenprose:

"Brant couldn’t have done a better job at pulling me into the story and keeping me hooked until the end. I loved how her work was different enough that I felt really out of my element at first but then brought back to the themes of compassion, forgiveness and love that really hold Darcy and Elizabeth together. This was an amazingly smart move that left me more than satisfied at the end of this work. I liked this book so much that I delayed watching the season 3 premiere of Downton Abbey!"

I'm looking forward to being part of an online book club for this novel next month, too. The always kind and generous Deb Haupt has chosen it for the B&N General Fiction Book Club's "Nook Feature" for February!! Looking forward to chatting with readers about the story... ;)

So, now you're all caught up on what's been happening here. Please fill me in on what's been going on with you! Has there been any special highlights for you in January? A new book or movie you'd recommend?? Who else can't wait to see tomorrow night's episode of "The Vampire Diaries," hmm?!

Monday, January 14, 2013

New Release: Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Match!

It's official! Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Match is now out just about everywhere!! I'm still waiting for distribution to reach Kobo, Sony and Apple/iTunes (although I spotted it on the iBookstore site), but it's definitely available on Amazon, B&N, Smashwords and All Romance eBooks! So delighted to share this new story with readers... especially other Jane Austen fans :). And I'm also really grateful to a couple of people whose talents helped me during those final stages of getting this book ready for publication -- particularly Jakki Leatherberry, who is not only a terrific reviewer but also a great manuscript editor, and talented new cover designer, Rebecca Young, who's worked on several Austen-inspired covers. Thanks, ladies!

Speaking of our dear Jane, I'm having my Launch Party over at Austen Authors tomorrow, so please feel free to join us! We're also starting a fun new joint writing project there in honor of Pride and Prejudice's 200th birthday where readers get to choose a variation on P&P from a number of possible scenarios and we write it. Eventually, Elizabeth and Darcy will have their happy ending, but none of us know how they're going to get there, LOL.

I was treated to two lovely surprises in the past couple of weeks -- and one of them involves my first Austen-inspired book, According to Jane. My Facebook friend, Kristin Lee, made a Christmas tree out of books, and my debut novel was right in the middle of it!! I asked her if I could post it here, and she agreed. I love it! (You can see the half black/half melon color of the book's spine in the center section of the tree, about 10 books up from the bottom...) It certainly made me smile, especially to be in such wonderful literary company! Thanks for being so creative, Kristin, and for including my story in your cool holiday design!!

And the other really sweet thing was thanks to Meredith of Austenesque Reviews for naming my last women's fiction release, A Summer in Europe, the Winner of the 2012 Austenesque Award for "Favorite Non-Austenesque Novel." So nice! And a very beautiful award graphic (thank you, Angie Kroll!) came with the honor, too. I had to show it to you:

Tomorrow night, I'm invited to spend the evening chatting about my European novel with a new local book club (I always love those events!), and you'll see me zipping around the web like the Road Runner over the next couple of weeks, talking about Austen, P&P's 200th and my new release. Hoping to get back to my work-in-progress soon, too. What about you? Any big news or fun activities in your near future?!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy 2013!!!


It's nearly impossible for me to believe that 2013 is here... It sounds kind of like a science-fictiony date to me, especially since, in my mind, I'm still wandering around so often in the prior century. I've even caught myself, on occasion, starting to write the date on a check as 199_ . (And, yes, I know, even just writing a check is an activity from an earlier decade. ;)

But, apparently, whether I'm fully prepared for it or not, time continues to march onward. I hope this coming year will bring with it only good things for all of you, dear friends!

The New Year is starting off with a big ebook sale, courtesy of several Austen Authors/White Soup Press Writers. Those of us taking part have special deals on Amazon or B&N that are in effect now (or certainly by tomorrow -- sometimes price changes take a day) through January 4th, as a way to "Fill Up Your Kindle or Nook" with new reading material!! The participants include:

Abigail Reynolds
Morning Light
A Pemberley Medley

Mr. Darcy's Refuge
Mr. Darcy's Letter
By Force of Instinct

Maria Grace
Darcy's Decision
The Future Mrs. Darcy

Mary Simonsen
For All the Wrong Reasons
Mr. Darcy's Angel of Mercy
A Walk in the Meadows at Rosings Park
Captain Wentworth Home from the Sea
Three's A Crowd, A Patrick Shea Mystery
(Kindle Only)
Mr. Darcy Goes to War (Kindle Only)
Darcy on the Hudson
Mr. Darcy Bites Back
Becoming Elizabeth Darcy
(Kindle Only)

Regina Jeffers
The First Wives' Club
Second Chances: The Courtship Wars

A Touch of Velvet
A Touch of Cashémere
A Touch of Grace
Honor and Hope: A Contemporary Romantica Based on Pride and Prejudice

Shannon Winslow
Mr. Collins's Last Supper
The Darcy's of Pemberley
For Myself Alone

...and me
Marilyn Brant
Double Dipping
On Any Given Sundae
Holiday Man

Hope you'll get to sample a few new stories!!

And...I'm happy to share the exciting release news of one of my friends and Magical Musings sisters, Edie Ramer. Her latest book in her wonderful "Miracle Interrupted" series, MIRACLE PIE, is now available on Amazon, B&N and more!! (I just love this book cover and want to hunk off a huge piece of that pie! Clearly, I'm not the only one with that idea, LOL.)

Katie Guthrie has pie magic. Intuition tells her what to bake. Whether it’s a Goodbye Pie or a Welcome Home Pie, it will turn out perfect and be waiting for the person who needs it most.
She cherishes her life in the small village of Miracle, Wisconsin, and has no desire for change. But to help a friend, she agrees to film a cooking pilot show. Only to realize the filmmaker is the dying boy Katie used to call her angel when she lived in Chicago with her junkie mother.

Gabe Robbins is no angel, and he’s no boy anymore. Burned out after a three-year stint building a hospital in Africa, Gabe ignores his demons by living day-to-day and filming wedding videos. Nothing deep, nothing he has to become invested in. Nothing that will get under his skin, until…Watching Katie create her pies from behind his video camera makes him realize what he’s missing. Thanks to Katie and her pies, Gabe discovers his passion again. But will it lead him to his heart’s desire…or will this miracle take him away from Katie forever?

To further celebrate, the first book in the series, STARDUST MIRACLE, is Free on many digital platforms, including Amazon and Apple/iTunes! Congrats, Edie!!!

So, Happy New Year's Day to you all. I'm hoping 2013 will have many blessings in store for each of you :).