• Frivolity,  Jane Austen

    Upping the traffic

    I read somewhere in my time wasting serious research online that the way to improve traffic to a blog was to cover certain topics so I thought I’d give it a try.

    First, PETS. Here’s Samuel Johnson’s cat Hodge, of whom Boswell wrote:

    362px-Hodgecat_flickrI recollect him one day scrambling up Dr. Johnson’s breast, apparently with much satisfaction, while my friend smiling and half-whistling, rubbed down his back, and pulled him by the tail; and when I observed he was a fine cat, saying, ‘Why yes, Sir, but I have had cats whom I liked better than this;’ and then as if perceiving Hodge to be out of countenance, adding, ‘but he is a very fine cat, a very fine cat indeed.’

    colin-firth111COLIN FIRTH Picture of Colin Firth with wet shirt for no particular reason.

    1814 v11 Ackermann's fashion plate 4 - Promenade DressNext, FASHION. PROMENADE COSTUME. From Ackermann’s January 1814: A Plain cambric robe, with long gathered sleeve and high arched collar, trimmed with net lace or muslin. A Spanish lappelled coat of fine orange Merino cloth; full epaulette ornaments on the shoulders: the whole lined throughout with white sarsnet, and trimmed with a raised border of white velvet or swansdown. A small, provincial bonnet of the same material as the coat, ornamented with a full curled ostrich feather. White spotted ermine or Chinchilli muff. Gloves grey or light blue kid. Half-boots of orange-coloured jean, or velvet. But she still looks cold.

    firth2You may not ever have considered that when COLIN FIRTH plunged into that pond he might have encountered certain aquatic life forms. His attitude of discomfort may well have been not because he appeared in a state of undress but because he was anxious to get rid of certain attachments to his person

    There is actually a bit of dialogue, struck from the script that goes as follows:

    Darcy: Madam (bows). Would you have some salt upon your person?

    Elizabeth: Salt, sir?

    Darcy: A match, then?

    Elizabeth: Oh, certainly. (Takes a matchbook from her reticule)

    Darcy: The Meryton Go-Go Swingers’ Club? Ridiculous. Matches haven’t even been invented yet. I suppose I’ll have to wait until I get into the house.

    Sucking_leech… Bringing us onto the next hot topic of HEALTH.  I thought this picture spoke for itself. I hope you appreciate that I passed over some truly disgusting pics to find one that showed the business but would not make you lose your lunch.

    RichardArmitage05Talking of which, FOOD is always popular too, but I thought that instead, for a change, we’d have RICHARD ARMITAGE. Although I did find several artistic shots of his behind, I hate to tell you that it looked OK but pretty much like anyone else’s. Unless you were on very intimate terms with Mr. Armitage (and someone certainly was) you’d never have known whether it was his or his bottom double’s.

    So there you have it, the Big Popular Topics and I expect our numbers will soar.

    But seriously, is there anything you’d like to see us blog about here that we haven’t yet covered? Any celebrity bottoms?

  • Reading,  TV and Film,  Writing

    Benefits of Being Sick

    I’ve been down with a sinus infection this week, so I haven’t got much to report on research or writing progress. However, there have been some bright sides to this week.

    I just downloaded my copy of Interviews with Indie Authors: Top Tips from Successful Self-Published Authors, which contains interviews with over thirty self-published authors including yours truly. Romance writers are well represented, including RWA members Marie ForceBarbara Freethy and CJ Lyons.  I’m truly honored to be in such company!

    The interviews were collected by Tim and Claire Ridgway. For those interested in the Tudor period, Claire created The Ann Boleyn Files website which provided source material for several books on Ann Boleyn.  You can learn more about the book at Interviews with Indie Authors website.

    I found it interesting to read about the authors’ various paths toward success in self publishing. There’s broad agreement on some issues, such as the quality of the writing, proofreading and covers.  There are also a lot of differing opinions on how to promote indie works. Some credit their success to doing a lot with social media, which is very daunting to someone juggling as many plates as I am.

    But my very favorite bit of advice from the book was from CJ Lyons: “Don’t get caught up in the promotion whirlwind, your best promotional tool is writing the next book. The more books out there the more your fans will do the promotional work for you.”

    I like that, because I don’t have the time nor the desire to spend half of my day on Facebook and Twitter! I would rather be writing. I’m currently looking for ways to coax more writing time out of my schedule. One thing I’ve realized being sick this week is that my daughters are capable of more than I thought. They’ve mowed the lawn (even the sloping back bit), cooked meals and cleaned. I need to use them more. What are children for?

    Being sick also gave me the excuse to watch North and South (based on the novel by Elizabeth Gaskell–the title refers to the industrial north of England versus the rural south) with my oldest daughter.  It was fun to watch her reactions to the hero, John Thornton, played by Richard Armitage.  They mirrored the feelings of the heroine, Margaret Hale, played by Daniela Denby-Ashe.

    Episode 1: I don’t like him.
    Episode 2: I’m not sure.
    Episode 3: Maybe he’s redeemable.
    Episode 4: OK, he’s cool.

    We also watched the bonus material, which included an interview with Richard Armitage. To prepare for his role, he not only read the book but also did extensive research into the background of the story. So he’s intelligent as well as hot (well, the two go together for me).

    When she overheard us discussing this, my younger daughter said, “Mama, you’re sick.”
    And she wasn’t talking about the sinus infection.

    So what has everyone been doing this week?  If you bought any books, did social media affect your decisions? What is your favorite way to handle being sick? If you have children, do you enjoy embarrassing them and how?


  • Jane Austen

    Summer Fridays

    Some of you (okay, most of you) likely indulged in the deliciousness of Masterpiece Theater’s airing of Downton Abbey.

    In it, Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham, eyeballs the new heir–the sadly middle-class Matthew Crawley–and asks, with perfect seriousness, “What is a weekend?”

    Oh, wow. Can you imagine not looking forward to Friday afternoon, and not having dread on Sunday evening? Not even thinking about a difference between, say, Wednesday and Saturday?

    For all of us, I’d say, that is an impossible dream. So with that in mind, let’s tell Violet what a weekend is, and what we plan to do with it. I’ll start:

    I am having a few friends over to watch North and South. Again. There will be swooning over Richard Armitage, some snacks, and perhaps more swooning over Nicholas, the rougher bit in N&S.

    I will be catching up on True Blood; I’m two episodes behind.

    Reading–currently engrossed in Stacia Kane’s City of Ghosts, hope to dive into one of the many Mary Baloghs I’ve got on the TBR pile.

    Walking–now that I’m working, I sit a whole damn lot, and I hate it. I hope to get to the gym, too.

    I will not be drinking ratafia, bossing the servants around, or bemoaning my lack of an Almack’s invite.

    What are you doing?


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