Progress Report: Everything is Great, Everything is Grand

via The Muppets – Life’s a Happy Song [Official Music Video Lyrics] – YouTube.

Things have been going quite nicely as of late. The seemingly endless winter appears to be overish. My arm is healing. No more cast, no more pain, but I do have to do regular physical therapy to regain full strength. I’ve started a new job that I really like, though it is occupying some of the brain space that used to be devoted to writing.

On the writing front, I turned in my last Betsy-Tacy review for Forever Young Adult. I don’t know yet when it will be posted, but you can read the first four here, here, here, and here. It’s been great revisiting these books that meant so much to me growing up. As well as sharing them with people who feel the same. I’ll probably put a cap on the reread by reading Emily of Deep Valley, the only one I’ve never read. As well as the long out of print Betsy-Tacy Companion, which I treated myself to as a Christmas present. Since FYA wasn’t promised those, I’ll post the reviews here.

Last summer one of my stories won the Geek Partnership Writing contest. I’ve received the certificate in the mail and the official announcement is now posted here.


Got to admit, it was really cool to see my name.

In other contest news, for the fifth year in a row I’ve entered the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest. This is the third year for Random Acts of Nudity. In 2012 it reached the semifinals, last year it was cut in the first round. This year it’s reached round 2, but didn’t reach the quarterfinals. Still it bested last year’s result.

Speaking of ABNA, one of the fellow writers I met through the contest runs a blog called Word Soup. He takes five hundred words of a work in progress and “boils” or cuts and condenses it to trim out the excess without losing the content. Just reading the previous posts has trained me to look for the unnecessary wordage in my writing. So I offered up a passage from Tooth and Consequence to be boiled. You can read it here. While not every suggested rewrite sounds exactly like my voice, most are spot on. I’ll definitely be coming back to his suggestions when I start revising this manuscript. Considering that my most recent revision on a different story cut 15,000 words without fundamentally changing the story, boiling is a skill to hone.

This Sunday I attended a discussion with fantasy author Emma Bull, hosted by the Minnesota Speculative Writers Meetup Group. Ms. Bull is the author of many books, including the urban fantasy classic War For The Oaks, which happens to be set in Minneapolis.

A few of the highlights:

She is in the process of writing a short story, or possibly a novella, inspired by the character of Wonder Woman, if rather than a comic book super hero, she were an urban fantasy character. I want to read that! She thinks it will become a series, though it will have to be finished and published first. She admitted to working a bit slowly, so it could be a while before it sees print. If anybody hears about such a story, let me know.

She is also working on the sequel to her novel Territory, to be called Claim. The novel is set in Tombstone Arizona in 1881. The gunfight at the o.k. corrall will be a major event within the book. I asked her if the gunfight in the book would follow the course of the historical gunfight and she said yes, mostly. She’s clearly done extensive research on the gunfight and Tombstone. It’ll be interesting where the fantasy element comes in.

One of the things she was most excited about is a fitness app called Zombie run. The conceit is that the runner is a messenger for a town in a post zombie apocalypse world. You run with your headphones in and s voice gives you missions to complete and warns you when there are zombies chasing you and you need to speed up. It also follows an episodic narrative. After talking at a convention about how much she loved it (she’s now completed both a 5 and 7k) she was contacted by the story editor for the app, and has written two episodes since.

She said the fastest she’s ever completed a book was when she collaborated with Steven Brust on the epistolary novel, Freedom & Necessity. She started it out of the blue by writing a letter by a character she was discovering as she wrote. She realized it was a game and the only person she wanted to play with was Steven Brust. She put it in an envelope, drove to his house, rang the bell, handed him the letter and drove away. He had no idea what it was all about, and thought he’d done something so terrible she could only confront him in a letter. Once he opened the letter, he was on board. They then wrote the book in turns by answering each other’s letters. I kind of love that idea, where you have no idea where the story is going until you get your partner’s section. Though they did stop about halfway and plot out the end. I’d love to try this sometime.

Finally one of my favorite moments was when she said that during her research for Claim she saw an update in a Tombstone Epitaph from the period. It said something along the lines of “We still have no information on the origin of the severed arm found in the road last Monday.” She read that and thought “I know where it came from” and a new subplot was born. I like this because it’s so similar to a story Neil Gaiman told during a talk I wrote up a few years ago for Read Comics. In which he read a news story about a large brass bed found in the London sewer system, that no one could figure out how it got there and his first thought was “I know.”

To close out this list of good things and links, I made a batch of chocolate tarts filled with caramel whipped cream, for a charity bake sale at work. They sold out within ten minutes. They were delicious if I do say so myself. I’ll probably write up a post with the recipe soon.

The Year in Books: 2013

Happy New Year! I almost made it out of 2013 unscathed but two days ago I slipped on some ice and broke my arm. So I’m ringing in the new year in a cast. Woo!
Anyway as I have for the last few years, I kept a list of the books I’ve read and or listened to as an audiobook over the last year. It’s sort of my version of a diary. I can look back and see where my head was at. It appears 2013 was very much a comic book year. More than half of the books read were graphic novels. It was also a year were I completed a long term WIP and began and finished another. Despite the injury 2013 was pretty good.
You can see 2012’s entry here.
Grand Totals (I’m not including single issue comics, picture books, or the times I read through my work during revision)
52 books
24 audiobooks
Breaking it down by category
29 graphic novels
11 digital books
12 borrowed from the library
9 borrowed from friends
6 read for critique partners
6 reread
5 or 8 read for review on Forever Young Adult (one was an anthology of four books).
4 short story collections
20 young adult
3 or 6 middle grade (that includes the above mentioned anthology).
Favorites Reads
Among Others by Jo Walton and The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Favorite Author numbers
Jane Austen 1
Neil Gaiman 2
Jasper Fforde 2
Jim Butcher 1
Maud Hart Lovelace 5 or 8 (the anthology again).
Now to start a fresh list for 2014.

Progress Report: Reviewing and Revising

I’ve written a review for Forever Young Adult on Maud Hart Lovelace’s Betsy-Tacy series. I’ll be reviewing the whole series for them, but this one covers the first four books. I’m thrilled to be writing these reviews because I love both the books and and the website. Here is the link.
I’m currently working on a rewrite of My UnDead Ex, and trying to ween myself from my dependence on exposition. It’s an uphill battle. I’m still querying Random Acts of Nudity, to no avail. I don’t know how much longer I’ll keep going, before retiring it and starting over querying another project. I’ve also gotten some feedback on Tooth or Consequence and have got some inklings on what to do with the revision. And I’ve written a short children’s story that I think will make a cute picture book, though I don’t think my drawing skills are quite up to the task. It might be something to work on in between projects. I think I’ll leave you with an anecdote that has been on my mind lately.
I was around eighteen and working behind the bakery counter of a grocery store. One day a baby in a shopping cart appeared in front of the counter. It must have been pushed there by a parent. In fact I’m sure it was. But in my memory there is no parent just the baby. This was without a doubt the most adorable baby that ever was. It has big round eyes and chubby cheeks. And even chubbier legs. It was smiling a huge toothless smile. Other shoppers stopped to aw and coo over it. One of the produce stockers came over and tickled the baby’s bare toes. This was one ridiculously cute baby.
I remember very clearly the thought that went through my head as I watched this scene unfold. I thought, in all seriousness, “Anything that cute can’t be what it seems. It’s probably an alien in disguise, here to enslave humanity with its adorableness.” That was the day I realized I was kind of eccentric.

Progress Report

Once again it’s been a while between updates. Lots of things have happened since then. Most exciting for me was that my short story, Wandering Eye, won the Geek Partnership Society’s Scot Imes Award for short fiction. The official announcement hasn’t been posted yet but when it is, the story will be available to read on their website and I will link to it.
The award has given me a little confidence boost and has motivated me to start submitting more of my short stories for publication. I also attended a lecture hosted by the Minnesota Speculative Writers Group on the subject of selling stories. I learned a lot, but what struck me the most was the point that writing stories is great, but they can’t and won’t do anything for you if you don’t try to sell them. It’s better to let them sit on an editor’s hard-drive than sitting dormant on mine. So I’ve been polishing up my small backlog of stories and begun sending them out.
I got to read the story out loud at the award ceremony. It was my first public reading (for a very small audience) it went pretty well, though I was cursing myself for including so many multisyllabic words to trip over. The ceremony was held at CONvergence, Minnesota’s annual genre convention. I’ve gone for the last three years. It’s a big melting pot of geek culture and always a lot of fun.
I had a photo op with the Tardis.
That is my Little Doctor shirt I’m wearing, available for sale here.
As usual I attended several book themed panels and left with tons of titles added to my To Read list. Including some from special guest authors Paul Cornell, Emma Newman, and Adam Stemple. I can’t wait to get reading.
Speaking of reading, I recently read Jo Walton’s Among Others. It had been recommended and lent to me by my sister and her husband. They told me I had to bump it to the top of my pile. I’m so glad I listened!
It’s a beautiful, original, quiet, treasure of a book. The main character spends the majority of her time reading books herself. There’s magic and fairies and terrible danger but they’re not presented like any magic or fairies or terrible danger I’ve ever read before. And I’ve read lots of stories involving magic, fairies, and terrible danger. I’ve even written a couple.
One of the most compelling aspects of the book for me was how immersed in books the main character is. The books she reads are all classic scifi novels. Nearly all the books she mentions were on my family’s collective shelves as I grew up. Even though the book is set in an English boarding school in the seventies and I grew up on the North side of Chicago in the eighties, the authors referenced Poul Anderson, Roger Zelazny, and Ursula K. Le Guin, to name a few, gave me the same sensation as if it were set in my old neighborhood. I knew that world like the back of my hand.
So I’m urging anyone to whom that sounds remotely interesting to bump it to the top of your pile.
In other news, I finished the first draft of my middle grade fantasy. And yes it involves fairies and magic. It is my sixth completed manuscript which is a nice milestone. I’m tentatively calling it Tooth or Consequence, it’s 40,000 words long for the time being. I’m currently editing it to get it into the hands of my beta readers.
Speaking of whom, two of my critique partners also had great news. One got picked up by an agent and another got a book deal. I’ve read their books and they couldn’t deserve it more, they are both so talented. I can’t wait to encourage everyone I know to buy their books, they are terrific.
And I participated in Write On Con, an online writers’ conference. There were many informative articles and forum events about the publishing world covering just about every angle. All of the conference content can be found here.


Is George R.R. Martin really S. Morgenstern?

Well no, he isn’t because Morgenstern the “original” author of the Princess Bride is as much a fictional creation of William Goldman, the actual author of the book, as any of the other characters populating it. But consider how Grandpa in the movie describes the book “fencing, fighting, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles…” Doesn’t that sound like Game of Thrones?
I posted the following observation to Facebook earlier, but the notion has taken over my brain and I felt like I needed to expand on it. Warning: spoilers through season three of Game of Thrones.
I’ve long thought Lena Headey on Game of Thrones looked a bit like Robin Wright in the Princess Bride. Good bone structure, long blond tresses, red medieval dresses. The more I think about it the more I see similarities between the two characters. Both Buttercup and Cersi marry dark haired royal dudes whom they don’t love. Both love dashing blond swordsmen instead, whom they continue the relationship with after their marriages. Those swordsman are not strictly law abiding, one is a pirate, the other kills kings. Both pairs of lovers are separated for long periods of time and reunited after trauma to the male —dismemberment and death respectively. And both women are considered the most beautiful woman in the land.
Of course there are some significant differences. Buttercup and Westley aren’t siblings, Buttercup isn’t a stone cold bitch, and their union hopefully wouldn’t produce something as foul as Joffrey. But there are enough parallels that I’m starting to think of Game of Thrones as a twisted AU version of the Princess Bride.
Because I can’t help myself, here is the rest of the roster for this bizarro world mashup.
Hodor is clearly Fezzik.
And Joffrey is Humperdink. Yes, in the above scenario Robert was Humperdinck, but Joffrey’s family tree is already effed up, why not make him his own fake father? He is without a doubt Humperdinck! They’re both self important, slimy, cowardly little weasels and I really want someone to actually inflict To the Pain on the sadistic bastard.
I was going to let Jon Snow be Inigo Montoya since he has the hair and a dead father to avenge, but then I realized Arya is a much better fit. Although, “Hello, my name is Arya Stark. You killed my father…and my mother…and my brother…and his wolf…” Doesn’t have the same ring.
Tywin Lanister is Count Rugen, aka the six fingered man, because he’s evil and clever.
In a world where Buttercup and Westley are incestuous and ruthless, Tyrion, who is a badass, can be Vizzini, who is not but thinks he is. They are both small in stature, decent strategists, and both employ mercenaries. And he would never make the blunder of getting involved in a land war in Asia.
Thorros of Myr is Miracle Max because he can bring people back from the dead.
And Melisandre is Valerie because…well Max once called her a witch.
Maester Pycelle is the Impressive Clergyman. I mean seriously—the same character.
Ned Stark is the Grandpa because he teaches us that life isn’t fair.
Bran Stark is the grandson because he’s grumpy about lying in bed listening to stories.
And finally, because it cracks me up, Daenerys is the old peasant woman who screams at Buttercup that she is ungrateful garbage.
There are way more characters in the Song of Ice and Fire series than there are significant characters in the Princess Bride. Maybe if Goldman publishes the sequel he’s been teasing for the last decade and a half, I’ll find corresponding roles for Sansa, Olenna, Loras, Brienne, Stannis, Theon, Davos, Samwell, Gendry etc
It doesn’t need to be said, but in every world Walder Frey is a Rodent of Unusual Size.
Also, I think this post made spellcheck cry.

Progress Report: On Creation

I’ve been MIA from the blog for a while because I’ve been writing. I participated in Camp NaNoWriMo with my critique. My goal was to write 25,000 words in 30 days. It was touch and go for a while there, but I just made it. I’m now nearly done with the first draft of my sixth novel. It’s the first that I think I’ll probably add as many words as I cut once I start editing. The world needs fleshing out, but I’m really pleased with this one. It’s a middle grade fantasy and I’ve had a lot of fun writing it. It’d been over a year since I’d started something entirely new. I’d forgotten how exciting it can be to not know what would happen until I wrote it.
In the writing community there are two common methods of writing: pantsing and plotting. Writers who plot, work out the entire plot either in notes or outlines, or just in their own heads, before they write one word of the first draft. Pantsers, aka writing by the seat of your pants, don’t have a plan. They just see what plot appears as they write it. Of course there are infinite variations of either method. I tend to work best in a hybrid of the two.
Two or three months later I begin writing the draft. At this point I’m pantsing, letting the ideas come as they may, getting to know the character and their world. I may have an idea where things are going, but I’m never more than a single chapter ahead of myself. The story happens as I write it. And what I write informs what will happen next. For example, early on in this draft I had a character give Ben a gift. I didn’t know what the gift would be. I went through a couple of options, a sweater, a board game, a hat. Nothing felt quite right. I finally settled on an empty birdcage. Then I had to come up with a reason why this character would give her an empty birdcage. I decided it was because if she put a slice of bread and jam in the cage and hung it outside her window overnight, she’d find something inside in the morning. That led me to figuring out just what she would find. The thing she found in the cage has become vitally important to book overall. Things have happened that I had no inkling of when I began writing, and wouldn’t have had she gotten a sweater instead of the birdcage.
So I write, adding in new characters and plot elements as they come to me. But usually, somewhere between chapter five and ten, the plot tells itself to me, from wherever I am in the draft all the way to the end. I then plot it out chapter by chapter and continue to write based on those plans. That’s not to say what I eventually write matches what I wrote in those chapter plans. Even after I think I know where things are going, new scenes/characters/plot elements do crop up. I guess that makes me pantsing plotter, or maybe a plotting pantser.
The only downside to this method of writing is I tend to derail when I get to a part where I know what comes after the scene I’m about to write, but not what happens in that scene. I either stop writing until I’ve come up with a way to get from point A to point C or just write anything and hope it works. For example in the most recent chapter I knew Ben would find something she’d been looking for, but there would be an obstacle preventing her from getting it, only I didn’t know what the obstacle was or how she’d eventually get around it. I knew that this part was coming well before I got to it, and I’d been thinking of what it could be for a while. Everything I’d come up with just didn’t fit or would cause insurmountable consequences (just because you’re making something up doesn’t mean you can do anything you want). When I finally reached the point were I needed the obstacle, I stopped, let mu mind rest for a few days, thought about other things, and then out of the blue I had it. The perfect B to take me from A to C. But those days when I didn’t know if I’d find a solution were scary.
I think I’ve only got two more chapters to write in this book and I’m fairly confident in what will happen. I’ve already had an idea for the next book—not a sequel to this one. It’s a bigger, wilder idea than anything I’ve done to date, and I don’t know if I’ll be able to pull it off, but I’m pretty sure I’ll have fun trying. I’m also sure I’ll be riding waves of inspiration right into big nasty walls of uncertainty. That’s how I write.
In the meantime, I’m still querying Random Acts of Nudity. Nothing new to report on that front, though that could change soon. And my critique partners are reviewing My Undead Ex this month. I’ve already gotten really good feedback on it and should get more during our meet-up. Maybe once I’m finished with the current WIP I’ll go into revision mode on Undead Ex and finally fix some of the draggy parts. The new idea needs some time to percolate before I begin writing.
I’d be curious if any of my writer friends and acquaintances are also pantser/plotter hybrids. Or if my method would make them crazy. Or if they are hybrids, but their method is entirely different. Share in the comments if you are so inclined.


I was lucky enough to be selected for The Book Doctors’ Pitchapalooza event.

They’ve posted my pitch for Random Acts of Nudity here.

Susan Taitel

There are two prizes, one to be chosen by the judges is an introduction to an agent. The other prize is voted on by readers for the fan favorite, to receive a consultation with the Book Doctors.

Voting is done here.

2013 NaNoWriMo Pitchapalooza

If you’d like to cast your vote for me, that would be awesome. Or one of the other pitches, many of which are pretty darn good.

The Year in Books

For the last couple of years I’ve kept a running list of the books I’ve read over the course of a year. My slightly compulsive brain likes having a record. This year’s list is a little shorter than past ones. I attribute that to working on three separate manuscripts (two completed, plus major rewrites) an editing class, querying agents, and a busier social life, taking up some of my reading time.

2012 by the numbers

Grand total
25 books read since January. (That doesn’t include single issue comics or the many picture books I read to my insatiable niece.) – 11 graphic novels/12 novels/1 short story collection

24 audiobooks listened to. (Coincidence that it’s equal to the number of books.

Breaking it down by category
6 read on my Kindle

4 of the 6 Kindle reads were unpublished manuscripts reviewed for my critique group. (I’m not counting the many times I read and reread my own work as I edited.)

4 books I’d read in the past and wanted to revisit.

5 borrowed from friends

3 from the library

16 young adult – 5 books/10 audiobooks

7 middle grade – 4 books/3 audiobooks

4 nonfiction – 4 audiobooks

Favorite Author numbers
2 Neil Gaiman – 1 book (Fragile Things)/ 1 audiobooks (The Graveyard Book, one of the revisited)

2 Jane Austen (Mansfield Park) (Emma, one of the revisited)

1 Jasper Fforde (the Last Dragonslayer)

2 Brian K. Vaughan (False Faces) (Ex Machina vol.9)

1 Douglas Adams (the Salmon of the Doubt)

Currently, I’m reading Bumped by Megan McCafferty and listening to Cold Days by Jim Butcher. But I’m only counting the books I finished before the end of the year. Alright 2013, show me what you got!

Edited: I finished Bumped this morning so I went back and added to the totals.

I’m a fan girl: Neil Gaiman

How big of a Neil Gaiman fan am I? Here’s a hint.

I was first exposed to Neil Gaiman as a teenager by my sister, albeit a indirectly. She lent me the Bones of the Moon by Jonathan Carroll. I devoured it in a few days. I raved over it to her (it’s still one of my all time favorites). She mentioned that it reminded her of a particular arc of a comic book series called Sandman. I filed that away for future reference. About a year later, I was perusing my local Borders. I spotted a few Sandman trades. At that time I didn’t have a lot of money or many possessions to my name. Every purchase was carefully considered. I read each volume’s description until I found the one who’s plot sounded the most like Bones of the Moon. It was A Game of You. I took it home, hoping I hadn’t wasted my twelve dollars.


It probably wasn’t the best place to jump into the series as it was the most self contained arc, without many links to the series overall. It didn’t matter, I was hooked. Over the next year I read the rest of the series in order of what was in stock at the book store at any given time. I had already realized that I liked comic books before I left home, but I doubt I would be as into them as I am if I hadn’t spent that time in the graphic novel section searching for Sandman volumes I hadn’t read yet.


Once I’d devoured the entire Sandman saga, I snapped up everything else with the name Neil Gaiman on the spine. And they didn’t disappoint. Neverwhere, Mr. Punch, Stardust, they all sparked my imagination and made me see the world in a new way. I love the way he writes, often in a personal but slightly esoteric style. I love the way he mixes myths and everyday life in a way that makes me feel like this is the way the world has always been, I just hadn’t noticed before. And I love listening to him read his stories.


And my love of his writing sent me down many unexpected paths. It led me to delving into comic books. It led me to going to signings and conventions at a time in my life when getting out of the house for things other than work was a challenge. It led me to other artists who spoke to me, like Jill Thompson, Dave McKean, and Susanna Clarke.


What it didn’t do was spur me to do was write. Oh, it inspired me and made me long to be a writer. But I wanted to write like Neil, which I couldn’t. I would start a story and give up after a few paragraphs. I just couldn’t do what he does. It took a long time for me to realize that I’m not supposed to write like Neil, I’m supposed to write like me.


Occasionally I hit on something that feels like it plays in the same sandbox as Neil’s work (such as the story I posted on Halloween) and it pleases me immensely, but I’m no longer trying to imitate my idol. After all, he does an excellent job of being Neil. We don’t need another one. And I get to create something that only I could have created. Maybe I’ll never reach his level of craftsmanship, but I’m going to keep trying. And that is one of many reasons I’m a fangirl.

Flamewar: by a Lady

I’m a big fan of Jane Austen.I’ve read all but two of her books. I like to space them out between readings, so first readings of Northanger Abby and Persuasion are still in the distance. I also enjoy adaptations and retellings of her works, though the quality often varies. When FYA announced they’d be doing a Pride and Prejudice theme week, I might have responded with a loud “booyah!” You can read their many hilarious posts here.

Over the last few years there has been a rash of authors embarrassing themselves and damaging their reputations by responding to negative reviews on blogs and sites such as Amazon. It is a shocking phenomena, with both indie and traditionally published authors making a spectacle of themselves. These authors seek out the negative reviews of their work and lash out and attack the reviewers. It is a terrible idea on their part. Bad reviews are no fun, I’ve had my share and should I mange to publish something I’m sure I’ll have many more. And yes they sting and sometimes I get defensive and dismiss the review as “not getting it.” But only in the privacy of my own head. I would never attack someone else for their opinion of my writing. Watching these meltdowns from the outside can be a bit of a head desk moment. What on Earth are these writer’s thinking? No matter if the review in question is well written and thoughtful essay or a single sentence along the lines of “This author sucks, they should stop writing.” A tirade always does far more damage to an author’s career than a bad review could. In short if you can’t weather a bad review here or there, maybe publishing isn’t for you.

Which is a long winded explanation for what I’m about to lay out. I posed myself the question. If the experienced, successful authors of today, who should know better, can’t resist the lure of railing against a bad review, could one of the greatest of all time?

Jane Austen Gets Into a Flamewar With Her Fans

To the editors and readership of the “Austentonian Times,”

Before I address the comments which compelled me to put pen to paper, I would first like to ask that you cease appropriating my name for this “publication” which I most certainly do not endorse. I would also like to point out that while you purport said publication to be an outlet for so called “fanatics” of my work, it seems to me that it is more a place for uneducated lunatics to criticize and ascribe meaning to my work that was never intended.

I would like to refute the anonymous contributor who accused me of having a bias against the clergy.  On the contrary I have the utmost respect for men of God as a whole.  I am in fact a rector’s daughter, and consider the loss of my excellent father to be the great tragedy of my life. To suggest that because I painted characters such as Mr. Collins and Mr. Elton, both clergymen, as undesirable and comical is evidence that I have no respect for the church is utterly ludicrous! Must I explain the function of fiction to your readership? Must I defend my choice to create characters with foibles regardless of their profession? I fear even if I were to try, they would not have the intelligence to comprehend.

To the young lady who wrote to lament that “Fanny Price is so dull! As is Mansfield Park on the whole. La, what happened to the liveliness of Pride and Prejudice? It is by far my favorite.”  I must ask, did I force you to read Mansfield Park if you were not enjoying it? Were you perhaps stuck at the bottom of a well, with only my third novel to pass the time? Did you burn Pride and Prejudice on acquiring my next book, and therefore can no longer derive enjoyment from the less mature piece?  Am I not allowed to explore new themes in my work? Must I rewrite Pride and Prejudice time and again? Only changing the lovers names to Miss Traliza Bonnet and Mr. Pitzsimmon Farcy? Is that what you would have me do? I suspect it is.

To Mr. Currer Bell, if that is indeed your true name, I detect a feminine hand behind your words, but that is neither here nor there. I do not take offense that you and your family believe I concern myself too much with propriety and not enough with “poetry and passion” as you so eloquently put it. If you cannot detect the turmoil within my characters regarding the conflicting pulls propriety and passion, then you are not the audience to which I write. I encourage you to take the next few years, you will excuse me for presuming you are still quite young, there was much in your letter to give me that impression, to seek out books written with your sensibilities in mind. Perhaps if no one is writing such literature you can do it yourself, you clearly do not believe it is the least bit difficult. I look forward to someday seeing the overwrought, sensational, and likely sentimental stories you come up with in print.

There is much more I would like to say, but I have decided you are no longer worth the paper it would take to do so. Good day to you all, and God’s grace on all your future endeavors.

Miss J. Austen, authoress.