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Author Archives: Cara King

Diane sort of outed me last week (that is, outed my announcement!) but I’m going ahead with it anyway because, well — because I want to. And I’m that sort of person this week. I wanted to eat that chocolate cake and I did. And I don’t regret it. (I feel a new proud era of strong womanhood dawning already.)

I am strong! I am powerful! And I’ll eat chocolate cake if I want to!

Come on, everyone! Say it with me! We are strong! We are victorious! And we’ll eat just as much chocolate cake as we damn well please!

There now. Don’t you feel good? Don’t you feel powerful?

Now — on to my announcement!

Don’t you love bookstores? Don’t you love fondling all those beautiful books, and smelling them, and buying far too many? Don’t you just love the booksellers who make all that indulgence possible?

Even better, don’t you love the booksellers who talk to you about books, who recommend interesting new authors you’ve never tried, who totally understand your book buying habit? (And encourage it? And maybe — just maybe — are proud and strong chocolate cake eaters themselves?)

I remember discussing how wonderful McCaffrey’s Dragonsdawn was with one bookseller….and analyzing the state of the Regency market with another. There are booksellers who can tell you what picture book would be great for a 4-year-old boy who loves bees, and booksellers who can relate personal anecdotes about Larry Niven or Anne Stuart.

This is why I was so excited to learn that the bookseller judges of this year’s “Bookseller’s Best Contest” named My Lady Gamester the Best Regency of 2005!

My fellow finalists are all fantastic writers, and so I am thrilled and honored to be named the winner. Even better, this means that a bunch of booksellers (drawn from a pool located all across the country) read my book in the first round, and liked it well enough to name it a finalist…and then another bunch read it in the final round, and liked it well enough to vote it the winner!

So now there are booksellers who know my book…booksellers who like my book…booksellers who might just mention my book to their faithful customers…booksellers who are undoubtably confident chocolate-cake eaters themselves, and proud of it!


Cara King — My Lady Gamester
“Booksellers’ Best” Award for Best Regency of 2005

Recently, I was thinking about books I read as a kid. I remember so many of them so clearly… In first grade, I discovered the Oz books. Then Nancy Drew, then Bobbsey Twins. In third grade, the Little House books, and the Orpheline series. Fourth grade was Zilpha Keatley Snyder, the Mushroom Planet books, the Alvin Fernald books, the Three Investigators. (My older brother definitely influenced my reading.)

By sixth grade, there was Lord of the Rings, and Lloyd Alexander, Joan Aiken, Edward Eager, Mary Norton, Louisa May Alcott, and Noel Streatfeild. I never stopped loving and reading “children’s books,” so by the end of high school I had added Susan Cooper, Diana Wynne Jones, Doris Orgel, Edward Ormondroyd, Ruth Nichols, Paula Danziger, and E. Nesbit.

My first college roommate turned out to be another fan of children’s & young adult fantasy fiction, and she introduced me to Robin McKinley and (more recently) Vivian Vande Velde. (She also gave me my first Regency — truly an influential roommate!)

All these authors and their books linger in my memory, even those I haven’t read anything by in years. I know that this is largely because I was young when I read them: I had less in my brain, and knew less about the world, so these stories took up root because I felt they were all so important, so new, so wonderful….and my limited brain capacity was still mostly unfilled. But perhaps…perhaps there was more to it than that. Some of these books surely linger for other reasons as well.

So…is there anything we writers of adult books can do to make our books linger in the memory? To make them take up root in people’s brains?

Writers: Do you do anything in particular to try to make your books lingering books? To make them last in the memory?

Readers (which is all of us): Have you read any books as an adult that made a big impression on you, that stayed with you long after the last page was read? What books were those? Do you know why they made such an impression on you?

All opinions welcome!

Cara King — MY LADY GAMESTER, out now!

Posted in Reading, Writing | 3 Replies

I admit I’m not much of a beachgoer — I lived for over a year in Santa Barbara and never made it to the beach. There’s just something in the combination of sand in one’s clothes, and salt on one’s sunburn, that puts me off. But this whole idea of beach reading is beginning to appeal to me, because it has now occurred to me that:

1) If you read instead of going in the water, you have no salt problems.
2) If you read in the shade, you have no sunburn problems.
3) If you read, you stay in one place, so you have no sand problems!

(Is this what adulthood is all about?)

So, here are my beach reads — the books that I would read on the beach this week, if I were on the beach. (Actually, as it’s been over a hundred degrees fahrenheit here for days now, the beach is sounding better and better…)

My first book would be Firebirds Rising, an anthology of original fantasy and science fiction stories that includes entries by Diana Wynne Jones, Tanith Lee, Emma Bull, Tamora Pierce, Patricia McKillip, and many more. I just finished reading its predecessor, Firebirds (both edited by Sharyn November), and had a great time. It’s also a handy way to sample new authors, and move those I love most to the top of my to-be-read pile! (In the interest of full disclosure, I will reveal that after reading Firebirds, I moved books by Nancy Farmer and Megan Whalen Turner to the top of my pile. I have, of course, already read everything by the inimitable Diana Wynne Jones.) 🙂

For my next book, I’ll pick a Regency romance. I confess I haven’t yet read Myretta Robens’ Just Say Yes, which on Saturday will be up for best Regency Romance in the prestigious Rita Awards (competing with our own Diane Gaston’s A Reputable Rake, Jenna Mindel’s Miss Whitlow’s Turn, and Jeanne Savery’s The House Party.) I just love the cover. The book promises to be sparkling and witty, so I’m really looking forward to it. (I also like more serious Regencies, of course! Like my own My Lady Gamester, which is also up for an award — the Booksellers’ Best Award — which will be awarded this Wednesday. Yep, tomorrow. Competing against three wonderful novels. Including one by our own Diane Gaston. So I’m not exactly holding my breath. Which is good, because if I held my breath till then, I’d have soon have no more breath to hold.)

I am very excited that World Con is going to be in Southern California this year. (World Con is short for the World Science Fiction Convention — held every year somewhere in the world. For more info, see I’ve never attended a World Con before, and I can’t wait for this one! As an attendee, I will be able to vote for this year’s Hugo Awards — so I’m busy reading the current slate of nominees. Next up for me is Accelerando by Charles Stross. I love science fiction — it can be so intelligent, so clear-eyed, so imaginative and brain-stretching that I don’t know any other type of fiction like it.

Believe it or not, I haven’t yet read the new Jennifer Crusie. Her latest, a collaboration with Bob Mayer entitled Don’t Look Down, has been sitting for a while now on my to-be-read shelf. (Actually, it’s a to-be-read bookcase. Though now that I think of it, I’ve never read a bookcase in my life. Which I guess is pretty obvious. Or it would be a has-been-read bookcase.)

I have loved Jennifer Crusie’s funny romances ever since Strange Bedpersons and What the Lady Wants first came out. (That’s an example of subtle boasting. If you look carefully, you’ll see I am claiming to be one of her early fans, not one of her more recent, read-the-reissue-of-her-early-Harlequins-with-covers-that-pretend-these-are-single-title-releases fans. And while we’re on the subject, let me just casually mention I was a fan of Diana Wynne Jones even before Charmed Life came out. Um. Hmm. I hope I haven’t just ruined the illusion that I am incredibly young and therefore a prodigy.)

Which brings us to today’s questions:

1) Have you read any of these books? If so, what did you think?
2) Do you read on the beach? Is sand truly not a problem?
3) Do you have a to-be-read pile? Shelf? Bookcase? House? If so, do you find that certain things just stay there forever?
4) Are there any authors who you pride yourself on being an early fan of? Who?

Keep cool!

MY LADY GAMESTER — Booksellers’ Best Finalist for Best Regency of 2005!

Posted in Reading | Tagged | 4 Replies

Oh my, isn’t my face red. I meant to hit the little keys to make the title of this “Bertie Talks About Bath.”

But somehow, it doesn’t say that.

And I cannot decipher how to change it. Please forgive me. I never talk about indelicate things, such as — well — you know. At least, I never talk about them by accident.


Bertie Talks About Bath

Bath is dreadfully boring. I have no idea why you all like it so much.

I will concede that it is a pretty little town. Some of the buildings are aesthetically pleasing. As are a few of the ladies.

But save me from those Bath tabbies! Those plump, red-faced, elderly women who always tell one “stand up straight, Bertie!” and “drink your water, Bertie!” and “meet me at 9 o’clock in the morning, Bertie!” and “Dance with my ugly grand-daughter, Bertie!” (Very well, I admit that they don’t phrase the last command with those precise words. But that’s the meaning, I assure you.)

It’s enough to give one chills, even in this weather.

My reply to the tabbies:

1. As far as I am concerned, there is no 9 a.m. There is a 9 p.m. I could meet you at 9 p.m. (But I won’t.)

2. I’d much rather drink wine, thank you very much.

3. I am standing just as straight as is fashionable. No more, no less.

4. Dancing is too too fatiguing. I’d much rather have more wine.

Those are my ruminations on Bath.

I have never read Miss Austen’s novel Northanger Abbey, so I cannot say whether or not I care that it will be filmed in Ireland. Ireland is a beautiful country, but — oh, you know. It would be quite splendid if only there weren’t so many Irish folk living there.

Yours elegantly, as always,

Bertie the Beau

Breaking news! According to the Irish edition of The Sunday Times, the upcoming Northanger Abbey television adaptation (scripted by Andrew Davies, the screenwriter of the beloved Firth/Ehle Pride and Prejudice) will be filmed entirely in Ireland. Apparently, Ireland gives much better tax breaks for television productions than Britain does, which led to the decision. So next year, when Northanger Abbey airs on ITV, all the backgrounds and buildings and assembly rooms will be Irish.

I must admit, this decision disturbs me greatly!

I do adore Bath, but that’s not the only reason I’m upset that the new Northanger Abbey will not be filmed at all there. It’s that I cannot imagine the story of naive Catherine Morland, sprightly Isabella Thorpe, boorish John Thorpe, satirical Mr. Tilney, and all the rest taking place anywhere else! (I refer, of course, to the first [and better] half of the novel. The last bit can be filmed anywhere at all, for all I’m concerned.)

Jane Austen gives our heroine the true Bath experience! She attends the Pump Room, the Upper Rooms (pictured here), the Lower Rooms, she shops on Milsom Street, she stays on Pulteney Street, she “breathes the fresh air of better company” up at the Royal Crescent. The first half of the book is truly about Bath. And Bath is immediately recognizable. How can they possibly film it anywhere else?

So, in honor of Bath, so cruelly slighted, I am sharing with you some of the photos I took of Bath during my recent trip there. In fact, I have so many pictures I want to share, that I’ve put them in two different blog posts. (Blogger gets touchy about a post with too many pictures!)

My question for today: what do you think of the decision to film Northanger Abbey entirely in Ireland? Do you think Ireland’s Georgian buildings can pass for Bath with some clever photography? Do you think it doesn’t much matter where the story is set? Do you think the previous Northanger Abbey adaptation was so dreadful that anything will be an improvement?

All opinions welcome!

MY LADY GAMESTER — Booksellers’ Best Finalist for Best Regency of 2005!

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