I’ve been poking around in the shallows of setting up my website for months now, but soon I’ll be trying my hand at some advertising, more serious marketing, promotions, and setting up a store on my website. I know people’s reactions are usually, “Oh no, is Sarah releasing something again?” and I’m like, “Tee hee. You betcha.” It’s fun to see how anxious people are for you to quit when they really don’t have enough control to make you do it.
In additional efforts to make people puke, I will be going global. Even if ebook sales in other stores are tiny compared to Amazon, it’s good for them to be out there and once I’m not exclusive I can sell on my website too and have all kinds of little bundles. I’d also like to investigate creating hardback books. All this means in the future books won’t be free unless I make one permafree, or on a free discount on my website, and people will usually have to actually buy a book of mine if they want it.
It’s been lively for me recently to see how “I’m continuing writing. I am redoing one book and published another” never fails to scatter people like autumn leaves. Conversations that begin, “Dear Sarah, I am back after an unexplained long hiatus, or Medicare-covered health problems, or a trip to Indonesia. Let me hear that you are fine.” I say, “I’m so glad to see you again. Yes, I’m still writing, as I know you will be pleased to hear. I blog often.” Flatlining ensues. Beep. Beep. Beep. If there’s any response it is a tight, stretched, “Wow, that sounds like . . . like effort on your part. I’m sure (insert random genre) is your favorite.” Repeat, random, random, random genre. They might have well have said horror was my favorite, although that’s very difficult to assign randomly to people. Or my actual favorite, “Will you give me something for free? If it’s even said to be 50% off instead of free I will disappear and never come back, although if I want the book so little it’s completely mysterious why I want it at all.”
This rambled on longer than I meant to—lol—but there will be more updates later.
I won’t make this a heroine spotlight and I’m not quite sure why not. Betty occupies half of A Year with the Harrisons and her plot is at least equal to the other one. But still, it’s officially a “subplot” and so she isn’t a “heroine” in my mind even though the story is mostly about her and not about the Harrison girls.
Maybe she’s too old to be a heroine. “Heroine” sounds like a young adult, but Betty is a mother in her thirties who acts and feels even older than her age. Life has always been a little rough around the edges for her and she definitely has a tired tone to her sometimes. (When she’s not being sarcastic that is, which is one of her best qualities. Betty’s sarcasm is usually intentional, sometimes not.) Perhaps she’s too much of a real person to be a heroine too. Even if they’re faulty, heroines are idealized in so many ways for the reader.
Heroine or not, Betty gets a lot of screen time on the pages of A Year with the Harrisons. And her practical outlook on life contrasts in a really funny (and sometimes a little bittersweet) way with the living-in-a-bubble outlook her mother and sisters have.
And there will be more updates.
Although I’m planning to dismiss Bellevere for the time being—I did a mild tweak that pared it down just a hair, removed the contemporary version as not necessary, and I am still redoing the cover—I don’t feel it’s worth the work. I’ve never felt it was worth the work. But I will post on Faye a bit, because I think people were surprised by the way I showed this character. Not as different from Jane Austen’s Fanny Price, because remakes often try to make her less shy and less forgiving. But because I showed her in a particular way.
There is no hidden story beneath what I did in Bellevere House. Faye is not intended to support a subversive, disobedient attitude that pretends friendliness, but is actually hostile. (In contrast to the original Fanny Price. And to the rest of the VJA, in which authority and older people were always obeyed and shown very favorably.) I felt that what makes Fanny Price different from Austen’s other heroines is not her dependent social position—more than any of them have—but her approach to it. She is loyal, passive, and accepting of most things in her life. I wanted to make Fanny like the rest of her heroines and show the social situation wasn’t what caused the blip of Fanny Price—it was the author’s decision to show a specific personality. Fanny could easily have been just like her other heroines.
But a lot of people come to Mansfield Park with issues of authority in mind. They believe Fanny is a person who lives under authority of her aunt and uncle and that Sir Thomas is an authoritarian, landowning man who also treats his children this way. In contrast, Faye is always very detached and clearly views herself as superior to those around her, so much so she is actually tolerant of them. Readers who are interested in Mansfield Park because they think it upholds a staid, authority-driven local structure—being inroaded by the Crawfords' sexual honesty--might imagine I was attacking authority and using Faye to do it. Faye doesn’t care about that at all. She is intelligent, can be cutting or cynical at times, enjoys socializing but keeps aloof in a way—like most of Austen’s heroines. And the story I wrote is nothing but a bubbly surface of fun, a little cynicism, and a party of shallow young people that we’re all too cheerful to hate. A formula that isn’t entirely unfamiliar either when speaking of Jane Austen.
So perhaps Bellevere wasn’t a remake or a retelling. It became its own story, a different book from Mansfield Park. It deserves to be read as that, for what it is, rather than through a lens of seeing nonexistent undercurrents from the original book or the several movie adaptations. But it wasn’t read that way and by now I don’t care if it was. I just want to clarify what I believed was in the story.
And there will be more updates.
Besides Victoria, who is second oldest in the Duke of Segovia’s family, there are five other sisters. I had a moment of fried-brain when redoing the book (honestly it is very hot here in Texas right now!) and put on the back cover and descriptions everywhere that Victoria has six sisters! See, this is what happens when you can barely grasp your own material. Which, since it’s a simple little escapist fairy tale, doesn’t bode well for me.
Bella is the oldest—sometimes I call them Bella Segovia and Victoria Segovia because I didn’t really give them last names—and Victoria doesn’t understand her very well. She admires Bella as charismatic and feels she is oppressed by life in the castle. But actually, we don’t really know much of what Bella’s like. Probably because she’s really, really in the background.
Then there is Julia—who’s next after Victoria—and she ran off to get married. Now she lives with a rich, irritating man in France and the others aren’t allowed to see her. Neva is spoiled, daring, and always sneaking out of the castle. She comes to a bad end—and Lucinda is the next sister. She’s very boring and barely seen at all except she gets married too.
Araina is the youngest and in the second half she gets a lot of room. She took over the “Lulu” role from Alyce. Lulu was Alyce’s cousin and friend and a very bubbly person. “Lulu” also appeared in Millhaven Castle and is a character I worked with over and over, so it was hard to fill her shoes, but Araina was invisible in the first half so it was good to flesh her out.
And there will be more updates.
7 books published and 3 more on the way. Farmer's daughter, Star Wars fan, loves to read rather than talk about reading. Always has time to finish her WIP.