Valentine’s Day… ahhhh… the most romantic day of the year… better than Christmas AND my birthday!
I just know I’m going to get showered with the usual array of flowers, candy, and handmade, heartfelt valentines. I’ll be serenaded. lauded with compliments and proclamations of undying love and …
(For those of you old enough to understand this reference:
Insert *record needle scratching across the record sound effect here.*)
So, what I’m going to be doing instead is this:
1. Taking a cold shower.
2. Treating myself to a venti decaf non-fat latte at Starbucks
(and yes, they have really cool Valentine’s Day cups now, see below)
3. Imagining my day as if I were surrounded by Mr. Darcy and a few other usual suspects…
Coffee in hand, I’m going to pretend as if I’m as smart as Elizabeth Bennet, but as gorgeous as her sister Jane. While I’m at it, I’ll make myself as rich as Emma Woodhouse, as passionate as Marianne Dashwood, yet as steadfast as Elinor. I may as well be as young as Catherine Morland and yet as clear-headed in a crisis as the mature Anne Elliot.
I’ll start my day with Colonel Brandon…
…who, being the eldest hero of the bunch (yet, at 35, he’s still deliciously younger than me!) has his people drive the kids to school for me. After fighting (and winning) a duel on my behalf, he will then come back here and have his servants make us a wonderful romantic breakfast of fresh fruit, mimosas and … is that a flannel waistcoat hanging on my leopard-print lampshade?
Moving on to about the eleven o’clock in the morning hour, I have found that the combined intelligence of Elizabeth, Elinor and Anne has allowed me to finish my day’s work in one hour’s time, leaving the rest of the day free for debauchery of all kinds.
So, naturally, when Mr. Willoughby knocks on the door…
…I’m happy to invite him in. (What? You wouldn’t let him in? Yes, you would!) He proceeds to read me all of my favorite poems and he passionately says all of the right things at the right time. He sets out a picnic lunch of strawberries, artichokes, oysters on the half-shell and chilled white wine. He swoops me up off my feet and carries me to the picnic blanket. I sure enjoy his bad-boy ways but when he tells me my eyes shine brighter than the stars in the sky, I can’t help but laugh and show him the door.
Not long after a letter arrives in the mail, and it’s from none other than Captain Wentworth…
…I can’t disclose the contents of the letter, but we all know the man can write. Let’s put it this way: I now understand why Anne waited seven years for this guy. But alas, the Captain’s off at sea and nowhere near the Chicagoland area …
A footman arrives to tell me that Mr. Darcy…
…has kindly arranged for my kids to be chauffeured to their myriad of after-school activities by someone other than me, and this would’ve made my day right there! However, the footman also announces that the kids will be well taken care of for the duration of the evening. They will be fed and homework will be done and checked over! Mr. Darcy’s French chef will be providing a six-course romantic dinner for the two of us. That Mr. Darcy thinks of everything. But what’s a lady to do once her work is done and her children are away for the next six hours—on Valentine’s Day? Well, it seems Mr. Darcy has taken care of that little issue by making a grand, personal appearance. * Fade to black here, for about six hours. *
Around 9:30 pm Mr. Tilney…
…the most charming Austen hero of all, with hands down the best sense of humor, arrives with my kids in tow. He’s laughing and joking with them, and ha, ha, off they go to bed! Mr. Tilney, having a certain flair for fashion himself, requests a fashion show of my new spring outfits and I oblige, of course, catwalking as best I can! He advises me on the outfits that look best, showering me with compliments, champagne, and lovely writing journals all along the way. Wait! He notices a bit of lint on my top, and would I come closer? He flashes that mischievous Mr. Tilney smirk. Closer? Closer …
Suddenly there’s a loud knocking on my office door. I’m holding a cold cup of coffee and my laptop screen blinks a blank page at me.
“Mom?! Mom?!” It’s my daughter knocking. I look at my watch. It’s 8:30 in the morning on February 14th. “Are you going to drive us to school or what?!”
Do you think if I look in the mirror I’ll still be as gorgeous as Jane Bennet?
Just another day in the idyllic life of a Jane Austen-inspired fiction writer…
Happy Upcoming Valentine’s Day, Everyone & Love To You All
Which hero(es) or villain(s) would you spend your Valentine’s Day/Night with?
This blog was originally posted on my group blog Austen Authors on Feb. 11 2012.
Jump to my group blog at Austen Authors here! for a fun Holidaze post featuring my top 3 picks for last-minute Jane Austen-inspired gifts!
Happy Holidaze Everyone!
A big thank you, first of all, to Maria Grazia of My Jane Austen Book Club and Katherine Cox of November’s Autumn for inviting me to join in their Jane Austen Birthday Soiree. Check out the GIVEAWAY at the end of this blog–that would be a present for YOU!
I’m raising my virtual glass of madeira in celebration of Jane Austen! These two fabulous blogmistresses were so kind as to ask me what I would give her for her birthday and…
With all due respect, my first thought was, I would most certainly give Jane Austen a fully functioning, flushing, modern toilet. No doubt Chawton Cottage, where she wrote most of her novels, did not have a water closet, and I would do one better and give the authoress a modern toilet. Certainly this would make her life, and her writing life, more comfortable! What? It’s so practical!
But then, a very selfish thought came over me. Jane Austen had to write laboriously, with quill and ink, paper and blotter. Now, this seems very romantic to us moderns who rarely write by hand any more, *sigh*…
In our era of texts, facebook messages, emails, writing with quill and ink, by hand at all for that matter, seems quaint and precious.
(An 1804 draft of Jane Austen’s The Watsons)
Ink blotches, spills, and the time it takes to dip the pen in ink aside, I cannot imagine writing on paper, in such linear fashion, with cross-outs. What would I do without my DELETE button? Without being able to CUT and PASTE? To insert at whim? I look back on my early college years with a typewriter and white-out and shudder. No wonder I was up all night typing and retyping. It had nothing to do with procrastination, did it?
Which brings me to my point of a selfish birthday present for Jane Austen. Forget the toilet. That would be just for her. I would give her something I’m coveting (hint, hint Santa).
A Mac Air for Jane Austen.
With a Mac Air, Jane Austen could write so much faster! Just imagine. Instead of just six completed novels, we might have sixteen, or more. So you see, my gift to her would be, essentially, a gift for myself, of more novels written by her. This would be a gift for you, too, dear readers!
For the romantics out there, I offer you Jane Austen’s sister-in-law, Martha Lloyd’s recipe for making your own ink for your quill pen. This recipe also appears in my book, Definitely Not Mr. Darcy:
Make Your Own Ink:
Take 4 ozs of blue gauls [gallic acid, made from oak apples], 2 ozs of green copperas [iron sulphate], 1 1/2 ozs of gum arabic. Break the gauls. The gum and copperas must be beaten in a mortar and put into a pint of strong stale beer; with a pint of small beer. Put in a little refin’d sugar. It must stand in the chimney corner fourteen days and be shaken two or three times a day.
I, for one, will be looking for a Mac Air under the tree. Until then, Happy Birthday, Jane Austen!!!
In honor of Jane Austen’s birthday, I’m giving away two signed copies of DEFINITELY NOT MR. DARCY plus a Jane Austen candle, tea, and a coaster. Simply leave a comment below and remember to include your email address! If you have no idea what to say, you can comment on what you think about my giving Jane Austen a Mac Air.
Contest ends December 23rd.
Please check out the rest of the blogs and giveaways in the Jane Austen Birthday Soiree:
Sharon Lathan Giveaway : Miss Darcy Falls in Love
O! Beauty Unattempted Giveaway: Letters of Love & Deception
Austenprose Giveaway: signed copy of Jane Austen Made Me Do It
SemiTrue Stories Giveaway: Mr Darcy Little Sister (open worldwide)
First Draft Giveaway: a signed copy of “My Jane Austen Summer” and a package of Lily Berry’s Pink Rose Tea by Bingley’s, Ltd.
Regency stories set against the backdrop of Regency England Giveaway: I was Jane Austen Best Friend by Cora Harrison
Brant Flakes Giveaway : A canvas ACCORDING TO JANE tote bag and a pair of A SUMMER IN EUROPE luggage tags.
Mesmered’s Blog Giveaway : Anna Elliot’s “Georgiana Darcy” (Kindle book)
vvb32 reads Giveaway: Jane Austen’s Little Instruction Book (Charming Petites)
ReginaJeffers’s Blog Giveaway: An autographed copy of “Christmas at Pemberley “
Alyssa Goodnight Giveaway: Jane Austen Action figure
Jane Austen in Vermont Giveaway: JASNA 2012 calendars from the Wisconsin JASNA Region
Jane Started It! Giveaway:
Choc Lit Authors’ Corner Giveaway: a copy of “Persuade Me” and one of “The Importance of Being Emma”
Reading, Writing, Working , Playing Giveaway: a copy of “Intimations of Austen”, and Sense & Sensibility (Marvel Illustrated)
The Jane Austen Film Club Giveaway: a copy of Northanger Abbey DVD starring Felicity Jones and JJ Feild (The winner will choose region 1 or 2 DVD)
Kaitlin Saunders Giveaway: “A Modern Day Persuasion”
One Literature Nut Giveaway: selection of Austenesque Reads
Patrice Sarath Giveaway: A copy of The Unexpected Miss Bennet
Jane Austen Sequels Giveaway: a mug with one of Jane Odiwe’s illustrations and a copy of her “Mr Darcy’s Secret”
Stiletto Storytime Giveaway: Noble Satyr by Lucinda Brant (Regency Romance)
Jennifer W. Becton Giveaway: An ebook of the Personages of Pride and Prejudice Collection, which contains all of my Austenesque works: Charlotte Collins, “Maria Lucas,” and Caroline Bingley. The giveaway will be open internationally.
AustenAuthors Giveaway: Georgette Heyer’s Regency World by Jennifer Kloester
November’s Autumn Giveaway :$10 B&N Gift-card (US only)
My Jane Austen Book Club Giveaway : A selection of Austenesque reads
Can you picture Mr. Darcy in chaps? I didn’t think so!
I’m packing the elbow-length gloves and cowboy boots into the flight bag as we speak…
This weekend my book and I are traveling to Texas for the Jane Austen Society of North America Annual General Meeting. On Sunday October 16th I’ll be signing for the attendees and, join me and some of my group blog authors for the:
Austen Authors - Meet & Sign – 10/16 – 1pm – Barnes & Noble Fort Worth!
If you can’t be there, you can always read my first attempt at filling in a missing scene of Pride and Prejudice…they don’t call it cutting room floor for nothing!
On Saturday, October 15th check out:
P&P 200 It’s a Miracle They Get Out The Door – The Bennet Girls Prepare for the Meryton Assembly
First, there’s the FICTION.
Ahhh, just the thought of Mr. Darcy on his tour of the continent (you know he took a grand tour of his own) conjures fabulous images:
- Mr. Darcy, hands on hips, admiring the Parthenon
- Mr. Darcy climbing the steps of the Coliseum (in his breeches and boots)
- Mr. Darcy drinking a glass of wine at a villa in Spain.
Then, there’s the REALITY.
Reality is, I’m on a grand tour of my own right now: A Grand Blog Tour. Almost as much fun as touring the sites on the Continent, only I don’t get to leave my computer. However, I am enjoying the view from various bloggers’ sites. Meeting new people from all over has been a perk!
Join me on my GRAND BLOG TOUR:
Austenprose - Where the tour begins!
Chick Lit Central – Wednesday September 7th
Austen Authors – Friday September 9th – Wherein I partake of festivities at my group blog’s First Anniversary Party
Risky Regencies – Sunday September 11th
… and more to come soon!
I certainly hope you’ll travel with me. No need to pack. Just click and go! You can win a FREE copy of DEFINITELY NOT MR. DARCY along the way. See you there…
This post is a special (party) hats off to the Austenesque Extravaganza going on this entire month. It’s been so much fun to be a part of the festivities, including my first-ever twitter party on Sunday. And yes, Mr. Darcy’s name was bantered about, as was Mr. Tilney, Mr. Knightly, Colonel Brandon…but I digress. The party hostess, Meredith Esparza, has thought of everything, including a chance to win Austen-inspired party favors for everyone who comments on this post!
In the party spirit, I’m asking the question:
Do you think Mr. Darcy would play parlor games?
Hmmm. There were many parlor games that Regency revelers enjoyed, but one that Fanny Austen Knight, Jane’s niece, wrote about in a letter dated 1808, described a popular game called “Bullet Pudding” and I wonder if Mr. Darcy would have engaged, or stood aside to observe, arms folded. Here is an illustration of the game by Francis Hayman:
It’s not really a “pudding” at all, but a dish of flour with a bullet, yes, a bullet–placed on top of it. Really, it’s just a rouse to have someone get flour all over their face and try not to laugh as they would blow the pile of flour and dust all the party-goers with it. How about that for a way to get to know a potential suitor in the 19th century?
Fanny Austen Knight describes how to play it:
“I was surprised that you did not know what a Bullet Pudding is but as you don’t I will endeavor to describe it as follows: You must have a large pewter dish filled with flour which you must pile up into a sort of pudding with a peak at the top, you must then lay a Bullet at the top & everybody cuts a slice of it & the person that is cutting it when the Bullet falls must poke about with their nose & chins till they find it & then take it out with their mouths which makes them strange figures a-covered with flour but the worst is that you must not laugh for fear of the flour getting up your nose & mouth & choking you. You must not use your hands in taking the bullet out.”
Can you picture Mr. Darcy, in one of the Pemberley drawing rooms, with his nose and chin coated in flour, clenching a bullet in his teeth?
Certainly Jane Austen, Elizabeth Bennet and Emma Woodhouse would be game. But Mr. Darcy? What do you think?!
Bullet pudding is mentioned in my debut novel, Definitely Not Mr. Darcy, as my main character Chloe Parker would like it served up for her rival, Lady Grace. But the bullet pudding, like so many of Chloe’s wishes, never quite materializes.
Thank you, Austenesque Extravaganza for a rollicking time and I’m looking forward to see what everyone thinks:
Would Mr. Darcy play parlor games?
Which is sexier?
Copyright © 2014 Karen Doornebos