Tools of the Trade

The above is a photograph of the primary copies of Persuasion I own. I don’t tend to grab every copy I see, I am selective. And cheap. The most expensive copy I have is the “Sentimental Favorite” on the right, The Everyman’s Library edition. The first editions of Everyman were published in 1906 with Northanger Abby and Persuasion being the last of the series at #25. I bought an older copy at Powell’s Books in Portland, Oregon, in approximately 2000. Pamela Aidan came out to western Oregon to shlepp around with me and Laura Hile. I was stupid and gave it away in a group marketing campaign. I regretted it the minute I put it in the mail. So, I decided that this edition would be my gift to myself for completing a novella in five months. (You can buy Wentworth’s Christmas Wish on Amazon HERE. It is also available on Kindle Unlimited.)

The book to the left is a cheap book club edition published in a set in 1998. It is truly the workhorse. I had broken apart a cheap Barnes and Noble edition I go in ’97 when I started writing. The set was cheap and I’ve been using this Penguin edition for most of my writing “career.” You can’t see them clearly but it is full of Post-its and book marks for various passages. It’s torn here and there and the plastic coating is starting to come up but she will do for a while longer.

I also use a digital version from the Gutenberg Project. As I write on a laptop, it’s simpler when I need the word search function. Which is more and more often. (The ageing brain is not a pretty sight, y’all.)

Last, is my favorite copy. My son’s partner went to London for her job earlier this year, (2022) and she brought me this edition. It is a Vintage Classic and I love the faux muslin print on the cover. I also love that it is not a standard paperback size. Odd-sized books on my shelves make me happy. I only have one Post-it, marking The Letter, destroying the classy look of it.

All my copies of Austen are important to me. But so are my copies of Patrick O’Brien’s Jack Aubrey series. I don’t have a lot of books. This worked out well for us when we moved across the country this summer. There was stress enough without having to decide who would make the trip and who would be left behind.

It is back to work. Have a pleasant Friday.

Oh, and buy my book:

Nobody Will Want Her


UPDATE: This was sure a long time ago. Anyway, the story is still up at Beyond Austen, so if you are a member look in the Short Stories category. I will be publishing this along with a yet unchosen story so look for that in the new year.

I am posting a Persuasion Alteration for Halloween over at BEYOND AUSTEN. And for those who dislike starting a story that may not EVER be finished, this one is all done. The only thing I’m doing is give it a quick edit before it goes up each Wednesday.

So, if you want a little mystery and angst, Nobody Will Want her is probably for you. Oh, and there is no gore or fright in this story.

Wentworth Wednesday

BeFunky_Stenciler_1This is the last entry to Wentworth Wednesday. It’s taken me a while to figure out what to write, because, frankly, the last chapter of Persuasion is meh. Boring even.

The last chapter does the perfunctory job of tying up loose ends. We are told Sir Walter comes to think more highly of Frederick and so does Lady Russell. We find out that William Elliot takes off for London and that Penelope Clay eventually joins him. Mary takes credit for having Anne stay with her over the autumn, and thus making the reunion possible. Mrs Smith is also credited and is rewarded when Frederick helps resolve her husband’s estate. Ho-hum.

The most exciting thing we learn is the somewhere along the way Anne acquires a landaulette. It was a sassy little conveyance for its time, but we don’t even know what color it is. And what Frederick is doing is anyone’s guess.

There is no romantic close.

I suppose it’s no one’s fault. I am the child of the movies and so I expect to go out on a high. There are no intimate, sensual words whispered by a roaring fire. No exciting moment of joy where Frederick takes her in his arms and they kiss under a tree. There is no sigh of satisfaction as the screen fades to black.

I am also a child of the 70s where the myth of Happily Ever After was exploded in favor of the Ambiguous Ending, or Happily For Now. Unfortunately, Jane Austen didn’t even give me that.

Here is the last line of Persuasion: “She gloried in being a sailor’s wife, but she must pay the tax of quick alarm for belonging to that profession which is, if possible, more distinguished in its domestic virtues than in its national importance.”

Okay, I do sigh, but not in a good way.

This is why I have decided that when I read Persuasion next, I am ending with Chapter 23.

The last scene of Chapter 23 is the evening party at Camden Place. Anne and Frederick are admiring some of Elizabeth’s house plants. All the loose ends are waving in the breeze, but we don’t care because they are secretly re-engaged and sneaking in a tete-a-tete right under everyone’s noses. Anne is still glowing from the walk on the gravel path, while Frederick is still contrite about his mistakes over the past several months. It is perfecto!

Here is now—for me anyway—the new last lines of Persuasion: “Like other great men under reverses,” he added with a smile, “I must endeavor to subdue my mind to my fortunes. I must learn to brook being happier than I deserve.”


Anne smiles and leans into him. The voices of the party come up. The music rises. Camera fades to black.


Now that’s a Happily Ever After I can sigh over.

Thank you for sticking with me through Wentworth Wednesdays. Let me know what you think about my having the temerity to change Austen.

Use Protection, Kids. And Lots of It.

Romance_Travel_CoverFor a while I have been working to arrange a move for my mother. There are lots of moving parts and I’m not all that good at multitasking these days. To keep my sanity, I have been working on a new story.  I finally got far enough in and was confident I would keep with it, so started posting the story on Beyond Austen.  Captain Wentworth’s Guide to Romance and Travel: Lyme Regis is Persuasion without Louisa Musgrove’s fall from the Cobb. This past week I was in the trenches of packing boxes, paper, tapes, and Sharpie markers. Wednesday is the day I had chosen to post and so a week ago I put the flash drive in my computer to retrieve the post, and, VOILA! The drive was emp-ty.

Not a crumb remains.

A few years ago, I took Laura Hile’s loss of thousands of words in a computer crash as a warning and started keeping all my writing on flash drives. A couple of years after that I starting getting serious about organizing my writing, graphics, and private business. Yes, indeedy, I did.

So much for my trying to be grown-up.

I’m thankful for two things: that I was hip-deep in real life and not focused on my writing, and that it took several days to realize that the aforementioned story wasn’t the only thing on the drive.

I’ve now officially lost one whole novel, two partial–each hovering around 175 pages–several outlines of novel ideas, and countless graphics I had created for this and other blogs, and several book covers.

There were many family photos as well, but I have found them on other drives and online haunts of mine.

I am home now and have signed up for an automatic, online, cloud storage service.

Lessons learnt: exhaustion keeps you from going ballistic when the unthinkable happens, and back up your back ups. And then back it all up again.

Nothing is certain.

Except the Web Gods will exact a price.