And The Sorting Goes On

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With Thanksgiving out of the way, I can finally admit I’ve been thinking about Christmas for some time. It’s so much better of a holiday. Our tree is up, our gifts are wrapped, our carols are playing, and our candles are burning. Andrea gave us all small T-candles last year themed on classic books. So we’ve got the scents of “Wood Between the Worlds,” “A Walk to Netherfield,” and “Marilla’s Kitchen” to accompany our activities. In practical terms that’s the scents of musty ferns, old lady’s bathroom, and boiled apples.

The candles got me sorting books—classics, new ones, and even my own publications. I’ve read a lot of great new books this year (got to put up a list sometime) and the classics—well, I’ll get to that in a minute.

  • The Birthday Present/Millhaven Castle has a new cover (see above) and is now officially a teaser for upcoming The Prince’s Ball. Since I don’t need extra Milland stories floating around, Alyce has been discontinued and the older purple Facets containing a different Millhaven Castle version will soon follow.
  • City of the Invaders will be back on Kindle and coming to paperback soon, and Consuela is in the process of a complete rewrite that gives it a French Revolution backdrop and a lovely new cover.
  • Victoria’s still around (this story’s always been special to me) but it means less than it used to and is slipping to the back.
  • Facets of Fantasy cover is getting tweaked slightly (less of that vile green and more ice-gray) and Halogen Crossing has replaced the Taranui/Invaders story in it. Sci-fi, especially near-futuristic, is so different from fantasy that no one interested in Taranui/Invaders would pick it up in a volume that said ‘fantasy” on it.
  • I’m digging back into my old notes and extras for American Homeschooler and am considering working on it. It feels a bit dated (almost 8 years old) but with some updates it could maybe come to print soon. It was always one of my most popular stories.
  • Lexie-and-Petra is still being drafted, although I’ve taken off from it to put all my other books in order.

As for classics—

LWW, Silver Chair, Horse and His Boy—ditch. Now there’s a surprise, there was a time when I lived in that book. But then, that was 20 years ago. Voyage of the Dawn Treader—not sure what’s up with this one.

The Secret Garden—in. I love all versions, although the 90s one doesn’t quite have the same tone. A Little Princess—out. I don’t know what I ever saw in this tedious, slow-paced tale of a young girl’s misery.

Oscar Wilde—out. I’ve always loved his humor about pompous, complacent people, but recently his literary presence has a morbid tone. I know, he did write Salome, but there’s a lot more to him—well, apparently not anymore

Reexamining The Pickwick Papers as I work on Consuela, not sure if I still like it. Our Mutual Friend—OUT, OUT, OUT. Am considering digging into The Old Curiosity Shop.

The Hobbit back in—I read it one time as a child and thought it was boring and silly. But it’s grown on me. Two lovely old hardcover B&N volumes of FOTR and TTT are locked up in the attic. Something about those white covers drives me nuts. But I have two tiny old paperbacks, the ones I grew up on, and I do keep them around.

Shakespeare is mostly out the window. There’s barely such a thing as “Shakespeare” in the old sense because the plays are for such different people. I do still like Much Ado About Nothing (the 90s movie—the play less) and As You Like It and Henry V. When my dad was fanatically into Henry V, I got more than a little tired of it. So I’m puzzled as to why it’s still here.

I can’t seem to get rid of Sherlock. I think it’s extremely dull and a bit ridiculous. I haven’t enjoyed any episode I’ve ever seen of it and Benedict Cumberbatch mildly gets on my nerves. I have an Oxford magnet from Europe that seems to be the same sort of thing and I can’t GET RID OF IT. I tried and it CAME BACK. (Kind of like Hulk when he tried to kill himself.)  . . .

And there will be more updates.

An Inconvenient Beauty Review

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An Inconvenient Beauty by Kristi Ann Hunter

Miss Isabella Breckenridge is young and beautiful- and in a most awkward predicament. Her future depends on marrying for money, not love and as quickly as possible. Griffith, Duke of Riverton likes every moment of his life in his own control. But aware that he must face the same odds as Isabella, and marry to secure his fortune, he chooses what he is certain is the perfect wife- Miss Frederica St. Claire, who is secretly in love with a soldier presumed dead two years previous- Arthur Saunderson. But Griffith finds himself inexplicably drawn to the fragile Isabella and chance circumstances insist on throwing the errant pair in each other’s way. Will Griffith realize his true feelings before he courts the wrong woman? And will Isabella see past the haughty guise of the Duke and fall in love?

I was a little disappointed by this witty Regency romance. Kirsti Ann Hunter’s world sparkles with marriage proposals and money and rolling English countryside, but the romance itself falls short of expectation. Griffith’s blundering between Isabella and Frederica began to be tedious as chapter after chapter the arrogant Duke was unable to process the reality that Isabella was his preference. Isabella was a strong and sympathetic character who stood up to every dire situation that faced her, even an impromptu stitching of Griffith’s wound when he fell from a roof. Frederica was an interesting character in her own light, and I couldn’t help wishing there was more to her star-crossed story with Arthur. But no, instead we crept back to Griffith procrastinating about the mere fact that love EXISTS, and he hadn’t made a place for it in his linear worldview. Ryland was a fascinating side character and the incident at the boy’s school with the bat guano made for a suspenseful beginning. But he faded as the story progressed, to my disappointment. I could have read more of his wit instead of Griffith’s sulking. An entertaining read with something lacking.

Interview of Me and More

I’ve got a couple of little tidbits today. First, the VJA blog tour is underway and Deborah O’Carroll at Road of a Writer has done an interview of me. To see it, read mini-reviews of the book series, and enter the contest giveaway, click here. Check out www.vintagejaneausten.com for a complete list of the blog stops and all reviews and interviews for the collection during the tour.

My first book, The Birthday Present/Millhaven Castle is back in print and there’s a companion Kindle ebook at last. (It took about a decade for this item to come to Kindle.) It’s not yet linked with the paperback, but the ebook is here. I’ve also tried to tidy up a few loose ends (publishing this, linking this, unpublishing that, etc) and general author housekeeping.

And while I putter away at things, the girl with the icy green eyes, who likes to work on cars, says Hi, I’m Lexie.  I was adopted by people who live on a huge farm in the middle of nowhere. I don’t know anything about my birth parents except they “had some problems.” It’s lonely here because most of my friends have gone to college and the only one still around is Petra, my best friend, who is a leprechaun-in-disguise. Which is why she is such a troublemaker. It is also why I won’t let her drive. I always want to do the driving anyway–but we really are more likely to get arrested if Petra drives because she destroys things. And Petra has hordes of relatives who live in the east of our state. 

And one day she introduces me to them. Mostly because I had to drive her to see them. I was afraid I’d get sued if she crashed into something using my car. So then I get this weird phone call for somebody else and . . . that is the start of a long day.