Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I'm naked and standing in front of a crowd...

I sent my finished manuscript to a publisher late last night via email, and sent off a query to another one today. (Yes, I finally reached my 90,000 word goal and did a little dance to mark the occasion.) I am gearing up and eating some protein, so I'll have enough stamina to send it off to a third. My tummy is woozy and I'm emotionally drained. Each publisher required different things, and I spent a good part of two days obsessing about every little detail. Is the query too long? One publisher wanted me to write at least two paragraphs describing my book, but did not set a limit. What if I'm describing two books and I write ten paragraphs? They didn't specifically ask for a logline and synopsis, but they didn't say not to include them either--what should I do? I had to write a career arc and make a list comparable/competitive books for another publisher. I was suppose to give sales records if I had them. I had nothing like that, but I had you!

So, I turned them over to you by giving them this blog link as well as a link to, which keeps the best stats of all of the JAFF sites. They can read my reviews there if they would like. And if they come here, "HOWDY! PICK ME!" or better yet, "FIGHT OVER ME!" :0)

I am actually pitching two books, the second one, which I am currently writing, is very closely tied to Speak Not Against the Sun--though I haven't told any of you why. Yet. Until now. Right now. Next paragraph. Read it.

My new book, Forgive Me, Jane, is based oh-so-very loosely on my experience writing Speak Not... And I say loosely, because it's a modern romance and the heroine is young, single, and of course impossibly beautiful. She's also brilliant and an overnight Internet sensation--pure fiction.

So, I'll give you my logline and my synopsis, since they're out running buck naked in the publishing world now anyway--shameless hussies!


Reluctantly using the Jane Austen fan fiction genre to break into a more intellectual writing career, Internet sensation “4giveMeJane,” A.K.A., Amanda Jorgenson, unveils her new book at the very quirky traveling “Always Austen Convention,” unaware that her own pride and many prejudices will come into play, as an unexpected love story waits for her there.


Amanda Jorgenson, a frustrated USC English Lit post grad, cannot get any publishing company to look at her overly erudite work, Transport to Nowhere. And until she gets her big break, Amanda works as a dental hygienist with her best friend and JAFF nut, Jessie, whom she berates for “slapping dearest Miss Austen in the face” with the literary aberrations she constantly reads.

Getting desperate, Amanda secretly researches the lucrative world of JAFF, and without Jessie’s knowledge starts writing her own JAFF book, Speak Not Against the Sun. (Yay!) Under the instruction of her geeky, viral marketing guru brother, she also starts a blog, “Forgive Me, Jane,” chronicling her journey, and starts to post her finished chapters on her blog and various fan fiction sites under the screen name “4giveMeJane.”

Almost overnight, Amanda, becomes an Internet sensation. Thousands upon thousands of fans all over the world can’t get enough of her writing, and soon she is contacted by a publishing company and gets a three-book deal. Amanda’s first book is due to be debuted at a traveling Jane Austen Convention. After coming clean with Jessie, she gets Jessie to join her on the book tour, acting as her personal assistant, while trying to rein her in, since Jessie is after all, visiting her personal Mecca.

Once at the convention, which is overrun with pudgy middle-age women running around in Regency costumes, and dealing with the surprising politics of other JAFF authors, Amanda starts to regret her decision to write the book. She is even more depressed to meet her fans, wondering in her head how they were able to tear themselves away from their thirty cats and stacks of newspapers piled to the ceiling to come to the conference. (Pure fiction, I hope, since I've never met any of you in person...)

After an exhausting evening of book signing and fake smiling for pictures, Amanda steals away to a neighboring hotel bar, where she has one drink too many—literally. She only has one drink, but she is the ultimate lightweight when it comes to alcohol. She meets a terribly handsome Brit named Rhys, whom she flirts with and inadvertently throws herself at, kissing him, without him returning the gesture. Jessie tracks her inebriated friend down; literally pulls Amanda off of the poor man and drags her away, apologizing to a stunned, but strangely charmed Rhys.

The next day, Amanda discovers the mysterious Brit she kissed is the actor who played creepy, oily and overweight, “Mr. Collins,” in the 2006 film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. He is there along with other lesser actors who have been in Jane Austen films, to sign autographs, take pictures with fans, and sit on a panel for Q&As.

Although Rhys is completely fit and gorgeous now, Amanda, who is very conservative—never even having slept with a man—is absolutely horrified by her drunken kiss, and even more by the object of the kiss. She has always been repulsed by this particular Mr. Collins and cannot un-connect the actor from the character he played. She does everything she can to avoid Rhys the rest of the three city convention, to no avail.

She eventually finds out that Rhys turned down the coveted role of handsome, but rakish “Wickham” in order to stretch himself to play the repulsive Collins—which he purposely gained weight for. And he pulled off the part brilliantly. For no producer, director or woman for that matter, would think twice about him for a sexy lead after his very believable performance as Collins. And as cruel fate would have it, the actor who did play Wickham was catapulted to stardom after the movie, and Rhys has to live with his decision. At least he did it honestly, and was acclaimed for the role, though it came to nothing but offers for other overweight and less than glamorous bit roles. Played against Amanda’s decision to purposely lower her standards to gain success, there is an interesting dynamic and conflict between the two.

Subplots include a sweet love story between Jessie and Kevin, Amanda’s geeky but cute older brother, and an unlikely friendship between Amanda and the seemingly icy “Queen of Regency Romps” author, Lizzy Manchester.

Gradually, but hilariously, snobby Amanda gets over her prejudice against her bizarre but adoring fans. And although she fights hard against her attraction to Rhys, she comes to truly love the down-on-his-luck, but oh-so-hunky and talented actor.

So, does it make you want to read my book? Let me know what you think.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Is Edward Cullen a modern Mr. Darcy?

Do I dare compare Pride and Prejudice with the Twilight sagas?  A most beloved classic and a pop culture phenomenon?  I can almost hear the intake of breath from Austen devotees.  :)  I know they are two very different things, but how different are they really?  I don't mean to get any feathers ruffled, but the more I dive into Darcy's character, the more parallels I see to a new literary heartthrob (not the actor heart throb), Edward Cullen.  If we can separate Colin Firth and Matthew MacFadyen from the literary Mr. Darcy, then we can pull Robert Pattinson, "purdy" as he may be, away from Edward Cullen and examine the men from the books.

Let's really look at the two and try to get past the whole fantasy vampire genre.  Darcy and Edward are both good decent men (slash vampire.)  They are both very reluctantly drawn to a strong young woman that they meet by chance with lots of other people around.  Each are surprised by their unexplained attraction and initially treat the objects of their desire quite horribly, in hopes that Lizzy and Bella will stay away from them.  Darcy and Edward are uber-rich, brooding, intelligent, and have lost their parents.  They both dress impeccably and are from completely different worlds than the ones Lizzy and Bella come from.

Even though both books are about our heroines, their love interests interest us all for the same reason.  We just love tortured men!  If there was a contest, Edward would win hands down for most tortured with the whole "I'm a vampire and had no choice in becoming one", and spends his waking hours (which are all of them) quelling an unrelenting thirst for human blood.  He knows that he should stay miles and miles away from Bella because he's afraid that his darker instincts might overpower him if he gets too close to her.  But Darcy in his own tortured way was all alone in the world and doesn't know how badly he needs Elizabeth until she flatly rejects him in Hunsford.  We don't get to see him beyond when he and Elizabeth are in the same room, but we get the idea that he spends the majority of his time trying not to think about her, yet inventing ways in his mind to be near her.  And there is nothing sexier than a man torn to bits over a woman he can't or shouldn't have.

When Darcy first met Elizabeth, he flatly refused to dance with her and called her "tolerable, yet not handsome enough to temp him" within her earshot.  Ouch!  But we all know that it was only a knee-jerk reaction to his instant attraction to her.  Edward saw Bella from across the cafeteria and couldn't read her thoughts.  That was intriguing, but when he got a whiff of her in Biology class, he literally had to lean away and not take a breath for fifty minutes.  Poor Bella even sniffs her own hair to make sure she isn't the one offending.  Like Lizzy, Bella was absolutely mystified why and how he could be so suddenly repulsed by her.  Each lady was left with bitter memories and did not look kindly on the man who acted repulsed.

Interestingly enough, while fighting his attraction, Darcy still asked Lizzy to dance at the Lucas gathering and again while Lizzy was staying at Netherfield.  Which shows us that there was a real war going on in his head.  He then decided that he would not speak to her if he could help it, after he realized where his heart was heading.  Austen writes a scene where the two are in the same room alone for quite some time without saying a word to each other, but we all know that their thoughts were full of each other.

Struggling with his attraction, Edward couldn't help but save Bella when he saw a car skidding straight for her.  But after the hospital, when he fully realized what danger they all were in from his attraction, he did not say a word to her for six weeks, though they sat next to each other in Biology class each day.  Bella narrates the book, and every once in a while she thinks she sees Edward's head slightly incline her way when she is talking to someone else, but she can't be sure.  Well played, Stephenie Meyer.  I was on edge for those six weeks!

There is just something about being in on how tortured each man is--longing for and wanting the girl, but holding back.  And that is one thing that I tried to do in my book--let everyone in on Darcy's struggle.  I longed to know what he was thinking in P&P, and this was my interpretation--he could not get her out of his head.  I even touch on Colonel Fitzwilliam's struggle.  He gives up Lizzy because he knew in the end, it was for the best.

And there is most likely a longing in all of us to be the object of such love.  Maybe the extra handsome produce manager looks forward to your weekly shopping trips, and switches his hours with someone knowing that you come at 5:30 every Wednesday evening.  Maybe he thinks you are too good for him with your Jimmy Choo shoes and your Lexus parked outside, so he barely says anything to you, but he thinks about you all the time while he works his way through graduate school.  And even though you are attracted to him, you think he is a huge snob because he smiles and heartily greets everyone but you.  Heavy sigh. 

It's highly intoxicating, and that is why there have been two centuries of women in love with Mr. Darcy, and now droves of youngsters and cougars alike who can't get enough of Edward Cullen.   It's a delicious formula that works and has held up for over two hundred years.

I did it.  I just compared Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy to a sparkling vampire.  If Jane will forgive me for writing a fanfic with her dearest characters, then maybe, just maybe she can forgive me for this...

Monday, April 19, 2010

Amended Chapter 7

I've added to Chapter 7.  Jane and Bingley on their honeymoon.  A few sweet scenes, and the mystery of Bingley having to take off suddenly (to snip a queue.)  Enjoy! 

The new job is great so far...

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Everything in its time

Only 7,000 more words to go on the "filling" out the novel before it's submission ready.  I had planned to devote this upcoming week to getting it done and getting it out to the publishers, but life has already gotten in the way--in a good way.  I got myself a thing called "a job."  I will be working in the marketing department at a non profit organization.  My strong writing background sealed the job for me.  I will start out part time and grow as the job does.  They are creating the position for me, and as more things get handed to me, the more I will work. 

Hopefully the part time work will still give me a chance to write and somehow keep up with my house and my family. The timing is actually really good, and I am up for it all.  Let the juggling begin! 

I'll let you know how things are going with the book.  I'm setting little goals for myself, so I won't forget about it.  This (staying at home and writing like a madwoman) is still what my dream job is...

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Changes to Chapter 6

I finished my tweaking to Chapter 6, and have re-posted it.  I originally told you it was Chapter 5, but I was wrong.  It's a very hefty chapter now--I might be able to split it into two later.  I addressed Richard's feelings in this and it made me have an even bigger crush on the man.  We even have a dinner that includes Caroline.  I couldn't be done with her quite yet.

Now I will be working on a new chapter between 11 and 12, where we will follow Darcy while Lizzy is at Pemberley.  I already mentioned that he gets a scene with Mademoiselle Adele.  I hope it works.

I have only 7,000 more words to go, and then I can start the formidable process of looking for publishers.  My knees are already knocking.

Thank you for your input with the prologue.  Please let me know what you think about the new Chapter 6.  Enjoy!!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


I've added a prologue in the anticipation that anyone, being familiar with P&P or not, would be able to have everything they needed to know in just 2 pages before they start my story.  Am I missing anything that applies to my story??  I don't know how to put it ahead of my first chapter here at my blog unless I just add it as part of the first chapter.

Coming soon:  Extended Chapter 5 with more D&E&C.F love triangle.  Still working on it...

Saturday, April 3, 2010

This is it...

You don't even care what I have to say here. You will all just push right past me to get to the last chapter. Yup, it's up.   And it's over, sort of...  Please let me know what you think. I'll be waiting...