Two Road Trips for Then Comes Winter (and one for the redhead)

Blog tours are de rigeur for book releases these days. “Flat Stanley” circular tours in three countries–not so common! But Then Comes Winter, the newest offering from Meryton Press, is an unusual book with an unusual team!

Holiday romance anthologies and Austen-inspired anthologies come and go, but this compilation isn’t your standard bundle of specific-era themed short stories or Pride and Prejudice variations. The variety is evident when the only Austen novel missing is Emma, and of the P&P stories, half are loose P&P-esque modern romances with original plot lines. Reviews are coming in with good things to say about every story in the book.

The launch events for this book have been fantastic. A week of quizzes and dozens of prizes just wrapped up, and now a particularly special event has begun for this book.

Author and blogger Natalie Richards suggested we mail a copy of the anthology around and have each author sign her story so in the end, we have a copy of the book signed by all authors and the anthology editor for a give-away. We each have an opportunity to put in a little extra gift for the prize winner before we pass it on.

The "Flat Stanley" book tour route for "Then Comes Winter," the Meryton Press holiday anthology for 2015.

The “Flat Stanley” book tour route for “Then Comes Winter,” the Meryton Press holiday anthology for 2015.

The book’s adventures start and end with our editor, Christina Boyd. The anthology will travel across Canada and into New England, with a virtual trip to Romania before it returns to the US South. It goes cross-country again to work its way up the Pacific coast. The idea was nicknamed “Flat Stanley” after the elementary school activity where children mail a paper doll that travels to family and friends, who photograph themselves with it. Meryton Press will share the progress of the book on A Then Comes Winter Road Trip.

Our “Flat Stanley” left NW Washington on November 25, 2015 and arrived in Victoria, BC, Canada on November 26.

A Victoria, BC postcard, a bookmark for "Alias Thomas Bennet" by Suzan Lauder, and an embroidered handkerchief in honour of the Thrift Shop Regency Costume Experiment are tucked into "Then Comes Winter" at Suzan Lauder's "Delivery Boy" for the Flat Stanley Book Tour.

A Victoria, BC postcard, a bookmark for “Alias Thomas Bennet” by Suzan Lauder, and an embroidered handkerchief in honour of the “Thrift Shop Regency Costume Experiment” are tucked into “Then Comes Winter” at Suzan Lauder’s “Delivery Boy” for the “Flat Stanley” Book Tour.

"Then Comes Winter" stops at Mile Zero of the Trans-Canada Highway on November 28, 2015 as part of the "Flat Stanley" book tour. Author Suzan Lauder, with the strait of Georgia in the background.

“Then Comes Winter” stops at Mile Zero of the Trans-Canada Highway on November 28, 2015 as part of the “Flat Stanley” book tour. Author Suzan Lauder, with the Strait of Georgia in the background.

Victoria is the capital city of British Columbia, Canada, and is in a micro-climate at the southeastern tip of Vancouver Island, which means its weather is significantly milder than the rest of Canada and much dryer than the nearby cities of Vancouver, BC, Seattle, WA, or Portland, OR. The island is about the size of the US state of Maryland or 1/4 the size of England. Most of the population is in the southeastern quarter; the Capital Regional District is home to 360,000 people. About three million passengers per year travel to or from the island by ferry or air, including a float plane landing strip in the downtown inner harbour.

Author Suzan Lauder and "Then Comes Winter" anthology at the Terry Fox memorial statue in Victoria, BC, Canada on November 28, 2015 for the "Flat Stanley" book tour.

Author Suzan Lauder and “Then Comes Winter” anthology at the Terry Fox memorial statue in Victoria, BC, Canada on November 28, 2015 for the “Flat Stanley” book tour.

At Mile Zero of the Trans-Canada Highway, we posed with the statue of Terry Fox, a Canadian hero who attempted to run across Canada in 1980 to raise awareness for cancer–and he had one leg. In those days, prosthetics were nowhere as advanced as they are today, so he had a painful, limping sort of gait. He ran into atrocious weather, drivers who ran his group off the road, blisters, shin splints, and language difficulties, but awareness for his Marathon of Hope ramped up as he continued to run. Unfortunately, he was hospitalized with a return of his cancer at about midway across the country and was unable to finish. He passed away just short of his 23rd birthday, after raising an unprecedented $1 for every Canadian, a total of $24M, and facilitating a huge increase in awareness of the need for funding cancer research. The annual Terry Fox Run is now the world’s largest single-day cancer fundraising event.

After its stop with Terry Fox, the book was mailed to Alberta, Canada and author Melanie Stanford of Becoming Fanny, one of the nods to Mansfield Park in the anthology. Watch our A Then Comes Winter Road Trip page and social media for her photos!

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While “Flat Stanley” is in the land of grain fields, dinosaurs, and oil wells, the authors are having yet another party–uh, road trip. Excellent daily activities are planned for the “Then Comes Winter” blog tour. Yeah, we don’t quit having fun for this book!

tcwhorizontalbannerFor my part, I’ve arranged to have a little fictional vignette on Janet Taylor’s More Agreeably Engaged: an interview with the “Delivery Boy,” Billy, from my short story in the anthology.

MAE blog graphic no words n darcy3You may recall that my first guest blog was an author interview with Janet just over two years ago, and she’s the artist who turned her modern, bearded son and toddler granddaughter into the Regency cover of Alias Thomas Bennet! (About half way down.) This visit to her blog on December 2, 2015 will also feature a draw for a copy of the anthology for those who comment on the interview.

Nineteen stops are featured on this blog tour, enough for an editor and 12 authors, plus a few reviews thrown in just for fun, and quite a few chances for give-aways!

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Speaking of prizes, we had a great time during my turn as quizmaster for the Then Comes Winter Launch party, and Lisa Angel won the prize I donated, consisting of nice, warm, Canadian flag mittens, a signed copy of Alias Thomas Bennet, and a signed Regency Reticule from the Thrift Shop Regency Costume Experiment.

Then Comes Winter Launch Party giveaway Suzan Lauder1Kirk Companion won the choice of any Meryton Press book in a random draw for participants in my quiz. Congrats, all those who won prizes, and thanks to all those who participated in the activities all week. I sure had fun!

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I’m going on a little road trip of my own soon: another vacation to Mexico! I’ll still be posting Letter from Ramgate at AHA while I’m away, and I hope to join a local writer’s group, and maybe even make some progress on that new Regency comedy I have in my head!

Wish me “bon voyage!”

Better yet, enter the draw for the “Flat Stanley” book signed by all 13 of us, join in the comments on the blog tour, and comment below on this post! Thanks!

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January 11, 2016 Update: Keep following the progress of the Then Comes Winter Road Trip on the Meryton Press Blog! It’s has made its way to Bucharest, Romania and MP author Lory Lilian as of this date! Enter the draw for the whole package: the traveling book signed by editor Christina Boyd and all 12 authors plus all the cool gifts Christina and each author have added along the way. The draw is open until Valentine’s Day!

 

The trials of Regency correctness in fiction writing: My guest post on Austen in August

Words coined during Queen Victoria’s era, critical plot points that require our hero to travel to London from Derbyshire and back twice in the same week, a twist that depends on English Parliament sitting in the fall in the wrong year–these elements creep into our Regency fiction writing every so often, and the poor author must re-think the scene. All three have affected my latest novel! On top of it, there’s technology and medicine, titles and inheritance law, etiquette and fashion… all must be in order in an Austen-inspired Regency romance, or beware!

When literary historian and blogger Roof Beam Reader was looking for guest blogs for his annual Austen in August series, I suggested a tongue-in-cheek summary of the challenges with keeping true to the era, and the energetic viewpoints of Austen enthusiasts regarding historical accuracy in Jane Austen Fan Fiction on some story boards. It was a new topic to him, and he was keen, as no one had taken this direction on his blog yet.

Regency lady writing: did she have issues with anachronisms? --From Ackermann's Repository for Art, 1813.

Regency lady writing: did she have issues with anachronisms? –From Ackermann’s Repository for Art, 1813.

Click here to read my post on Regency correctness on Roof Beam Reader’s blog! #AusteninAugustRBR

If you’ve already signed up for the Austen in August reading challenge, you can enter the giveaway, too! I’ve donated a signed copy of my Regency romance with a mystery twist Alias Thomas Bennet, a choice of reticule from a set including the two I upcycled for the “Pretty Little Purses” post for the Thrift Shop Regency Costume Experiment, and a special “grown-up lady” lace cap to be made to order.

“Party Central in the Regency”—My Guest Post on “Peculiar Ramblings”

When a small JAFF web site decided to offer a story contest to add to its roster of invited-only authors, little did they know the snowball effect it would have on fellow Meryton Assembly Chat Chit and author Sarah Johnson. As they hoped, she was inspired. The writing bug bit her hard, and it was not too long before she posted a huge story on that site (Darcy and Lizzy.com) and on A Happy Assembly: Leaving Bennet Behind.

Seeing the excitement of fellow Chits who had published recently, including Meryton Press’s Linda Beutler and myself, Sarah became interested in having her story published, but was advised it was too long. She and I brainstormed a little, and when I realized the core story was about Mary Bennet, a less common main character, I suggested a re-write to focus on that story, and perhaps add to the balance of the story to create another novel, or even two to make a trilogy. Sarah surprised me, and now plans to make Leaving Bennet Behind a series of five books! She’s a hard worker: she home-schools her children (she has six, though not all are school age), is constantly writing new material (in addition to the first two books in the LBB series, she has self-published three novellas), assists other authors with cover design and layout of their novels, leads an authors-only facebook group to discuss issues of concern and share information, runs a bookstore on her web site, “My Peculiar World,” and edits the newsletter “Peculiar Ramblings.”

In the March 2015 edition, I’m a guest writer, on the topic of “The Season,” and the article’s title is “Party Central in the Regency.” Check it out, and while you’re there, check out the other parts of Sarah’s web site!

800px-almacks_longitude_and_latitude cruikshank 1813

 

January 4, 2014: Eight Blogs in Nine Days, January 7-15!

As much as Jakki Leatherberry of Leatherbound Reviews would look great in the passenger seat, this is a trip that’s a bit too intense for the little car. Time to pull out the passport and the big suitcase (parka for the north, sunscreen for the south) because we’re heading to all kinds of interesting places. It’s the Leatherbound Reviews Alias Thomas Bennet Blog Tour, January 7-15, 2014!

ATB Blog Tour Banner

Did you wonder about that boat on the cover of Alias Thomas Bennet? Follow me across the sea to Italy (that could be a children’s song!) where I’ll blog about Thomas and Fanny Bennet’s boat trip on My Jane Austen Book Club on January 7 (which also happens to be Christmas Day in my family!).

From there, we’ll fly back to sneak some peeks at my book with an excerpt at eclectic blog Everything Books and Authors on January 8: more about that boat you see on the cover! We’re on the move from here, because on January 11 My Love for Jane Austen will feature a short clip with insight into some threats to the comfortable life Thomas Bennet has built for himself and his family, and on January 15 Elizabeth will find herself in a very precarious situation on Addicted to Jane Austen. But I’m known as the secret-keeper, so these are still going to be “teaser” posts, and you’re still going to have to read the book to find out everything!

I’m down for some cool quizzing with an author interview on Songs and Stories on January 10 following a review on January 9, then my friend and fellow AHA Chat Chit Rose Fairbanks will also interview me on her blog, The Darcy Obsession, on January 12.

Finally, join me in perusing reviews of my book, Alias Thomas Bennet, written by mega-reader Anna at Diary of an Eccentric, and Spanish language blog Warmisunqu’s Austen, on January 14 and 15 respectively. I know Warmisunqu is a great fan of Janet Taylor’s cover for ATB, and I hope she finds the book equally satisfying.

It’s going to be quite the trip. You’ll be surprised as the excerpts drive the story forward with glimpses into the dramatic tension in various sections of the book, and I think I’ll be equally surprised to react to the interviews and reviews. There will be plenty of chances for you to comment on each blog, as well as give-aways for those who love to win stuff. See you at the luggage carousel!

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Alias Thomas Bennet is available at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

December 18, 2013: Outtake from Alias Thomas Bennet at Austenesque Reviews

I never knew Alias Thomas Bennet was so full of hints and spoilers until I tried to figure out what text I could present as an excerpt for a blog post. I love to tease readers about what might come next, but I’d also like them to have a chance to feel the excitement as each little thing is exposed and their suspicions are confirmed, and it wouldn’t be fun if you already knew everything before you read the book. So for today’s guest blog at Austenesque Reviews, I offered to write an outtake, something brand new and unique, to give the flavour of ATB without giving too much away. Meredith liked the idea, and I hope you do, too.

Austenesque Reviews

I didn’t bug my editor, Gail, to check this scene out (she’s on the road again!), but my friend Maria had a look and confirmed it wouldn’t embarrass me technically.

November 12, 2013: Guest blog at More Agreeably Engaged: A Mystery is Lurking at Longbourn and Suzan Lauder Wrote It!

Northanger Abbey
Today we’re traveling to Janet Taylor’s blog, More Agreeably Engaged, to find out how Northanger Abbey affected my love for JAFF, the evolution of my writing, and a bit more about Thomas Bennet.

Not satisfied with blogging, Janet is also the cover artist for ATB, so you might want to browse the rest of her site!

See you over there!