SandiCon2022 – Another Convention

If you read or watched Sanditon, or even enjoyed a sampling of the beginning of Jane Austen’s story she never finished, another convention is coming your way.

  • Week One – is the SandiCon2022 Conference
  • Week Two – is the SandiCon2022 Tour from London to Jane Austen’s House Museum in Chawton early on Saturday, March 19th, 2022 and spend the week touring Bristol and many of the series’ filming locations like Brean Beach, Bowood House, Dyrham Park, Jane Austen Center, Iford Manor, Frampton Court + Orangerie, and the City of Bristol.

Come Celebrate The Passionate Fandom That Saved The Series

Source: SandiCon2022

Journey to the Past Convention

Check it out!  June 18, 2022 – London, a new convention for those of you who want to journey to the past.

“Ultim Events, a French convention organizer, just announced that the first guest for their new event Journey to the Past is Alexander Vlahos!

Journey to the Past will be an event dedicated to period dramas like Sanditon, Poldark, and Bridgerton. The convention will take place in London on June 18, 2022. The exact place will be revealed at a later date. Tickets for the one day event are already available here.”

Meet the Hell’s Belles, the Victorian Girl Gang (Press This! Jezebel)

Today romance author Sarah MacLean launches her latest historical romance series: Hell’s Belles, centered on a tight-knit group of early Victorian-era women who creatively bend (or break) the rules in the service of dealing with problems, like bad husbands and bad bosses.

Source: Meet the Hell’s Belles, the Victorian Girl Gang That Will Wreck a Man Who Won’t Take a No

 

Who Are the Frequent Best Sellers in Historical Romance?

Every day I look at the best seller list for Historical Romance on Amazon – the hopeful rank for authors. That doesn’t negate the fact that Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and iBooks have their own best seller list. Most of them contain the same books and don’t vary too much in who’s-who and what’s-what when it comes to reading. The only difference there, is that any book on Amazon’s best seller list that is enrolled in Kindle Unlimited will not be for sale on other retailer platforms.

If you study the list long enough, there are frequent publishers and authors that dominate the list on Amazon. Here’s a few of them to consider.

  • Dragonblade Publishing – This niche publishing house does nothing but historical romance and its sub-genres (time travel, historical fiction with romantic elements, historical mysteries, all with a HEA). Every month they dominate the best-selling charts, with a few authors that are consistently noted. Their covers are stunning (I know because I use one of their cover artists), and their bold advertising is showcased on author book pages. They currently have forty-seven authors on their website. As of today, seventeen of their books are in the top 100-best selling on Amazon. Some of the authors consistently on the best selling list, just to name a few are:
  • The Historical Romance Standards – There are plenty of authors who make the best selling list every once in a while, but some of the usual ones up on the Amazon list are the following. These authors currently have books ranking at the top. Julia Quinn has taken over the best selling list since the release of Bridgerton, and her books are still hoarding the top-ten for the series. Right now she as twelve books in the top 100. Showing up on the list too are Sarah MacLean and Lisa Kleypas with a few of their own novels.
  • Independent Authors – Anybody can write a book these days, and the best selling historical romance list is also full of independent authors who come and go regularly after new releases or special advertising. It’s a given fact that if anyone gets a BookBub advertisement approved (and subsequently pays and arm and a leg for one day), you’re assured of making the top 100 list. I’ve been there myself. Once up, the book will usually stay for a week or two, and then drop off when more advertised books vie for spots.

  • Small Press & Oldies but Goodies– Small publishing companies make up an occasional best seller list, and don’t forget Harlequin (since 1949) and Mills & Boon UK (1908), who have been around since before some of you were born.

  • Never-Ending Best Sellers – There are a few authors who enjoy life on the best seller list as if they’ve been granted the spot perpetually — that includes Diana Gabaldon and Amy Harmon. Diana has repeatedly said that Outlander (with its 36,567 reviews) is not historical romance. It crosses over to the list with its time-travel historical fiction with romantic elements, and is bound to stay on the best seller list while Outlander is on Starz and readers still want to fantasize. Amy Harmon’s What the Wind Knows has been on the best seller list since it’s release in March of 2019. Again, it’s historical fiction, time-traveling, story with romantic elements. Apparently, the wind isn’t strong enough to blow it off the list either with 13,056 reviews.

The Best Sellers in Historical Romance on Amazon is a fluid list that changes by the hour, literally. It’s updated hourly by Amazon based on sales and books at the bottom come and go, while others crawl their way to the top. Well-read authors and those with spot-on advertising make the best of the list, which is alive in itself. Once you make it up there, sales appear to feed upon themselves when readers see you’re in the top one-hundred. I have had my own glory days on the list too, basked in the top numbers, and then watched my books fall off into oblivion. It’s a jungle of competition, new releases, and author favorites.

Christies -Up for Auction (Press This!)

 

If you have $30,000 to $50,000 laying around, time to run over to the auction website and bid on the first edition of Jane Austen’s Emma.  What a treasure!

First edition of Jane Austen’s first published novel, which grew from a sketch entitled Elinor and Marianne written in 1795 in epistolary form. It was substantially revised in 1797-1798 at Steventon and again in 1809-1810, the first year of Jane Austen’s residence at Chawton.

Source:  Christie’s

You can also pick up Northanger Abbey: and Persuasion, Jane Austen first editions, for an estimated USD 50,000 – USD 70,000

Romance Writers of America Rescinds Award for Christian Novel as Publisher Defends It (Press This! The Washington Post)

It’s a hot topic but one I find difficult to swallow. Once again, we are back to silencing anything to do with the past, especially if it’s something we’d rather not talk about, acknowledge, or learn from actions. As defended by the publisher, I tend to agree with their assessment.

The question now comes to the surface, is Romance Writers of America going to punish authors who write historically correct romance novels, set during controversial events? Do they even dare to set this new course of action?

Complaints from a few readers or not via Twitter or elsewhere, the RWA is bowing to the pressure of a few rather than awarding someone for a well-written novel that tells truth.

Badly done, RWA. RWA gives; RWA takes away. I think I’ll order the book.

If you are unaware of this historical event, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee is a must-read book and classic account.

The book opens with Hanger leading the U.S. Army’s 7 Cavalry as it confronts the Lakota Sioux at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, in a historical event now known as the Wounded Knee massacre.

Source: Romance Writers of America rescinds award for Christian novel as publisher defends it – The Washington Post

In the opening scene of the novel, Witemeyer’s hero, a military officer, is at war with the Lakota, weary of war, but fully participating in the battle at Wounded Knee. The death toll, including noncombatant Lakota women and children, sickens him, and he identifies it as the massacre it is and begs God for forgiveness for what he’s done. The author makes it clear throughout the book that the protagonist deeply regrets his actions and spends the rest of his life trying to atone for the wrong that he did,” the statement said.

Source: Religion News

Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York Releases Her Debut Mills & Boon Novel (Press This! Daily Mail Online)

Executive Publisher for Mills & Boon Lisa Milton commented: ‘Across TV, film and books, history continues to grow in popularity.’This brilliant sweeping story is perfect for our existing readers as well as reaching fans of bestselling novelists such as Philippa Gregory and Anne O’Brien.’Mills & Boon are honoured to publish the Duchess of York’s debut novel as we move into our next century of publishing brilliant books by women for women.’

Source: Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York releases her debut Mills & Boon novel | Daily Mail Online

The Psychology of Romance Novels or Period Dramas

There are plenty of articles on the Internet from psychology resources that state romance novels are bad for women. Some say these books give women unrealistic expectations when it comes to romance and can damage real-life relationships. Perhaps the psychologists think it’s mental porn for women, somewhat like the damage visual porn inflicts on the male species. There’s also another camp that says romance movies are bad for you as well. (Let’s all stick our heads in the sand so no fantasy touches our lives.) Here are a few for your reading enjoyment:

You Won’t Believe How Romance Novels Affect the Psychology of Women (“Leading psychologists are of the opinion that romantic novels can have a huge impact on the psychology of women; sometimes, making it unhealthy for relationships.”)

The Allure of Romance – Why do romance novels sell so well? (Psychology Today says, “And that reason could be that romance novels give women something they need, and do it in a way that the world around us cannot.”)

Are Romance Movies Bad for You? (“Researchers are beginning to ask whether the make-believe world projected in “rom-coms” might actually be preventing true love in real life.”)

In today’s world, there are many other avenues of fantasy that readers take besides romance novels. Readers whisk themselves away in sci-fi planetary adventures or magical make-believe realms with dragons. Are these psychologically damaging as well because it’s not reality? I dare say in this day and age, humans need to escape reality occasionally either in books or film. As we deal with climate change, pandemics, wars, racial strife, and the other ailments of the world, it makes sense to take our minds elsewhere. If we don’t take a step outside reality for a few minutes, we’d all end up in more psychologist’s chairs doing therapy.

Many women read historical romance – both married and unmarried. In fantasy they read their duke-centric historical romance, daydreaming about calling the hero “Your Grace” and being swept off their feet in the Regency era. When the bookmark is placed or the eReader turned off, they lift their eyes to see their husband in a tee-shirt and blue jeans and sigh. The question is does it affect their marriage or does the affection they hold in the world of reality remain? I’m laughing as I write this because, in all honesty, I think most women accept the reality of life but enjoy the soothing thoughts of something a bit different between the words of a romance novel.

On the other hand, there are plenty of unmarried women in no relationship whatsoever. Do historical romance books raise their expectations too high when looking for a man, or does it actually fill a need in their lives to fantasize about what it would be like to be loved. I dare say it fills a void.

In the end, anything we do can lead to unhealthy addictions, but psychologists declaring with certainty that romance novels or romance films are bad for our mental health is a bit of an overstatement. Mentally healthy women can grip reality and “not allow their real life’s happiness to hang in the balance over a fictional character.” ( I found this beautiful quote from someone in Facebook’s Sanditon group, attempting to bring calm to the masses who have lost their senses over Theo James not returning.)

Romantic stories have been around for centuries. Did anyone complain to Shakespeare that his story of Romeo and Juliet was contributing to the high number of suicides by star-crossed lovers? Were Jane Austen’s novels deemed unhealthy for women for the past two hundred years?

Chime in. Why do you read historical romance or enjoy period dramas in film or television? Escape? Relaxation? Daydreaming? Pure enjoyment? What deep psychological need does it fulfill in your life? As Jane Austen once said, “The person, be it a gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.”

Sanditon Season 2 Casting News | Masterpiece | Official Site | PBS (Press This!)

At last for those of you who love period dramas/historical romance on television. The additions to the cast of Sanditon Season 2 and 3 have been announced, and it’s filled with new male faces! Filming has started, and the Sanditon Sisterhood is buzzing. The question is who will win Charlotte’s heart?  Will she ever get over brooding Sydney? (Who we all hope is miserable with his rich wife.)

Cameras are now rolling on the second season of the Red Planet Pictures and MASTERPIECE drama Sanditon, for MASTERPIECE PBS, BritBox UK and ITV, as a wave of new inhabitants join heroine Charlotte Heywood (Rose Williams) for her return to the picturesque coastal resort.

Source: Sanditon Season 2 Casting News | Masterpiece | Official Site | PBS

Sources for eBooks

Those of you who like the ability to read digital material rather than smelling the scent of the printed page, source your eBooks from a variety of sources. Authors and publishers make those eBooks available to readers on multiple platforms.

This week I have stumbled upon articles about libraries and how the demand for eBooks soared during the pandemic. The increase in demand has created challenges with libraries to continue to obtain the digital rights to those novels. READ HERE (Why 2021 Is Setting Up to Be a Pivotal Year for Digital Content in Libraries).

Authors and publishers distribute eBooks on a variety of platforms. As an independent author, my distributor Draft2Digital distributes my content to libraries through services such as Bibliotheca and Baker & Taylor. However, eBooks are also distributed to digital storefronts such as:

  • Amazon
  • Apple Books
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Kobo
  • Scribd
  • Tolino
  • OverDrive
  • BorrowBox
  • Hoopla
  • Vivlio
  • Others

Downloading those books depends on your digital readers like Kindle, Nook, and other generic electronic devices for PC’s, Mac, and phones.

Naturally, most people think that Amazon is the place where authors have their greatest success, which is probably true for some. However, anything you read as part of Kindle Unlimited on Amazon, you won’t find anywhere else such as Apple, Barnes & Noble, or libraries because of the exclusivity provisions placed upon authors. You can find the paper versions at retailers but not the eBook version. That it itself is a huge loss of content to readers who don’t look to Amazon for everything from eBooks to groceries.

I will admit I have two Kindles, but I find reading makes my eyes blurry. I thoroughly enjoy holding a printed book in my hand and smelling something tangible. Of course, the cost of digital readers eventually pays for itself when individuals can read books for free or 99 cents rather than paying $12.99 for a print copy of your next aristocratic love story.

Naturally, I’m slightly curious as to where you source your eBooks. Do you depend on library content or are you sourcing from retailers? If you’re a book sniffer, chime in too. We all have our addictions.

Jane Austen Died On July 18, 1817. Here are 70 Facts About the Iconic British Author (Press This! CBC Books)

The British novelist died at the age of 41 on July 18, 1817.  Celebrated for her sharp wit, descriptions of domestic life and subtle criticism of England’s economic and class structure, Austen’s works continue to be dissected and analyzed in classrooms and beyond.

Source: 70 facts you might not know about iconic British novelist Jane Austen | CBC Books

‘Bridgerton’ and Coronavirus: Positive Tests Halt Production in UK (Press This! The New York Times)

Well, this will cause a release delay to Julia Quinn’s “The Viscount Who Loved Me” in season two.

Amid a rapidly spiking Delta-driven surge of coronavirus cases in Britain, the second season of the Netflix series “Bridgerton” halted filming for the second time in three days, after someone involved with the production tested positive for the coronavirus.

Source: ‘Bridgerton’ and Coronavirus: Positive Tests Halt Production in UK – The New York Times

Elizabeth Gaskell: The Victorian Author Feeling the Bridgerton Effect (Press This! BBC News)

 

It is 170 years since Elizabeth Gaskell first published her most popular work Cranford but thanks to more recent period dramas, the author’s novels are seeing a surge of interest from new, young fans.” I call it the Bridgerton effect,” says Sally Jastrzebski-Lloyd, the manager of the museum at the author’s former Manchester home, which is currently hosting an exhibition on her novel.

Source: Elizabeth Gaskell: The Victorian author feeling the Bridgerton effect – BBC News

Wonderful news about a resurgence of interest in Elizabeth Gaskell. I am a fan of her works, some of which you may have seen in TV adaptations and not realized who authored those stories.  Classics such as:

  • North and South
  • Wives and Daughters
  • Cranford

I had the wonderful opportunity during one of my four trips to Manchester, UK to visit the home where she lived and penned many of her stories.  I pulled the same doorknob and Charlotte Bronte and Charles Dickens.  If you would like to see pictures of the interior of the home and read about my visit, visit this link.

Eat Like Jane Austen With Recipes From Her Sister-In-Law’s Cookbook (Press This! Gastro Obscura)

Here is your opportunity to cook Jane Austen style. Authors, it’s probably a wealth of information about household life and cooking for the era.

A kind-hearted spinster, passed over in her youth by a potential suitor, spends her life faithfully tending the hearth and home of her dear family and friends. She is content to toil as a housekeeper, unrecognized but for the praise of beloved companions. All the while, she keeps a detailed household book of handwritten recipes, from carraway cake to currant wine, that her family loves.

Source: Eat Like Jane Austen With Recipes From Her Sister-In-Law’s Cookbook – Gastro Obscura

A bit spendy but available on Amazon in hardcover for $44.90.  Peek through the kitchen window to experience day-to-day life at Chawton Cottage, the home where Jane Austen wrote and published her famous novels.

Martha Lloyd first befriended a young Jane Austen in 1789 and later lived with Jane, her sister Cassandra, and their mother at the cottage in Chawton, Hampshire, where Jane wrote and revised her novels. Eventually, Martha married Jane’s brother Francis Austen, making her an authority on day-to-day life in the Austen family.

Martha Lloyd’s Household Book is a remarkable artifact, a manuscript cookbook featuring recipes and remedies handwritten over thirty years. Austen fans will spot the many connections between Martha’s book and Jane Austen’s writing, including dishes such as white soup from Pride and Prejudice. Readers will also learn the author’s favorite foods, such as toasted cheese and mead. The family, culinary, and literary connections detailed in the introductory chapters of this work give a fascinating perspective on the time and manner in which both women lived.

Passed down through the Austen family, the Household Book offers unprecedented access into the family home. In this first facsimile publication, Martha’s notebook is reproduced in color, accompanied by a complete transcription and detailed annotations.

Censored by Facebook

The matter of freedom of speech is under attack on social media platforms to such a ridiculous extent that I am going to use this forum to express my freedom of speech after being silenced on Facebook.

Recently, a guest post was added to my blog by Brita Addams titled, “A Woman’s Place in History.” It’s an excellent article that reviews the evolution of women’s rights and how authors approach that subject while penning historical romance books. It’s informative, well-written, and historically accurate.

To give this post greater visibility, I paid Facebook to boost the post. It was immediately rejected for the reason below.

Your ad may have been rejected because it mentions politicians or is about sensitive social issues that could influence public opinion, how people vote and may impact the outcome of an election or pending legislation. Our policy for running ads about social issue, electoral or politics requires you to get authorized first by confirming your identity and creating a disclaimer that lists who is paying for the ads.

Naturally, I thought it was a mistake. The article does contain the word “vote” in it, so I figured a bot just flagged it as controversial in content. I took the next step and asked for a manual review, and it came back again – rejected.

This level of censorship on Facebook has reached an all-time high when a page cannot post anything historical about the past that shines a light upon social issues. If you don’t think that this practice of censorship is dangerous, then you need a wake-up call. It’s downright outrageous, over-reaching, and threatens our freedom of speech at every level. In today’s society, we are being told how to think, speak, act, and write. The books you love to read may soon be banned or burned, if this is the avenue we are taking.

I am so overwhelmingly angry at Facebook that I could scream. If it wasn’t for the fact that my close family and friends are on the platform, I would shut my account down and walk away without a second thought. If this censorship continues, I might do so anyway.

Please take a moment to read the post and let me know what you think about Facebook’s ability to censorship history. A Woman’s Place in History by Brita Addams (Historical Tidbit!). If you wouldn’t mind, I would also appreciate comments on our Facebook Page in support of this post. https://www.facebook.com/historicalromancepromo

There isn’t too many things in life that ruffle my feathers, but this one really got my 21st-century panties in a bunch.

A Room-by-Room Tour of Jane Austen’s Final Home (Press This! Cyprus Mail)

Lovers of ‘Pride and Prejudice’… rejoice! In this video, we step into the author’s world, taking a virtual trip to the Jane Austen House and Museum, located in Chawton, Hampshire. The cultural landmark offers visitors a fascinating glimpse into the latter part of Austen’s life, which is when she called…

Source: A room-by-room tour of Jane Austen’s final home | Cyprus Mail

Peacock Announces Regency-Style Dating Competition Show

What a hoot! Would you dump the Bachelor/Bachelorette on ABC to watch a Regency-Style Dating show? Sounds like fun for historical romance readers. It will be interesting to see how the men look in cravats and if they speak Regency love lines.  Let’s hope the costumes make the grade.

If the phrase, “I love you most ardently” doesn’t set your panties ablaze, then find a different show.  Knowing all this, I have decided to throw away my marriage and pursue my newfound dream of being a contestant in Peacock’s new dating series Pride & Prejudice: An Experiment in Romance. The show appears to be a Bachelorette adjacent dating series with the special twist of transporting participants back in time to a romanticized version of Jane Austen’s novels. Well, the Cliffnotes, at least.

Source: Peacock Announces Regency-Style Dating Competition Show

Additional Sources:  Pride & Prejudice Inspired Reality Dating Show Ordered at Peacock