(say it to the rhythm of “lions and tigers and bears, oh my!”)
We’re home from a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with J’s sister in NJ, and hope that – if you celebrated – you had a nice time with family and friends, as well.
The drive home was long. Very long. What should have been a four hour trip was about six hours with the holiday traffic.
At about the three-and-a-half hour mark, we started seeing signs on the side of I-84; kind of like those old Burma Shave ads, where the story continues from one sign to the next. Note: I am too young to remember these Burma Shave ads … I read about them in a book!
The signs indicated: “Rest area 1 mile ahead,” “Free coffee,” “Tolland Boy Scouts offer free coffee and snacks,” “Take a break … stay awake.”
We’d seen these in the past, but haven’t stopped. This time, our sign spotting coincided with driving fatigue and a little voice from the back seat saying “How much longer? I have to go ….”
We stopped and used the facilities (or as my mother would euphemistically say “stopped to wash our hands”), then crossed the parking lot to where the Tolland Boy Scout pack #15 had set up a large tent/canopy and were offering free coffee, hot chocolate, water, bagels, and popcorn. I imagine some of the food was donated by local suppliers, but the boys (and their families) donated their time, and were offering a service that was much appreciated.
At the front of the tent were two large bins full of American flag cemetery markers. It was dark when we stopped, so the sign may not be clear, it says:
The American flags here are given freely to the public by Troop 15. Every flag here flew over a veteran’s grave in the Hartford area, and was collected by hand by one of the scouts in Troop 15 when the flag either became worn, or the time came that a new flag was needed at the grave. This is an ongoing service project, and we collect hundreds of flags per year; do not feel guilty if you are taking the last flag, or if you desire more than one.
Please feel free to take one in keeping with the Boy Scouts of America’s Aims of Scouting, and the memory of those who fought.
“Where liberty dwells, there is my country.” Benjamin Franklin
The Historical Review of Pennsylvania 1959
My 9-year old, a Girl Scout, asked me to take a few photos to share the story with her troop (along with a flag). The kids enjoyed some freshly popped corn, J re-caffeinated, and I got all choked up reading the sign and explaining it to our 7-year old. Well played, Boy Scouts!
“An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving” is a Louisa May Alcott short story that was originally published in the Aunt Jo’s Scrapbag collection
"Orchard House" - the Alcott home in Concord
The first paragraph includes this timely reminder:
They were poor in money, but rich in land and love, for the wide acres of wood, corn, and pasture land fed, warmed, and clothed the flock, while mutual patience, affection, and courage made the old farmhouse a very happy home.
If you’d like to read the full text of “An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving,” it’s available online at about.com.
Happy Thanksgiving to all who are celebrating today!
Isn’t this fun?!
It describes me to a T lately; I’ve been AWOL in both my neighborhood and my Skype book groups.
This is a blank greeting card that I found at Paper Source - a great ‘paper’ store in Cambridge. Aside from a large selection of not-run-of-the-mill greeting cards, they have scrapbooking and card-making supplies, rubber stamps, wrapping papers, and small gift items. It’s easy to get lost in there.
The card is made by Random Thoughts, a division of Mina Lee Studio; check out the website for more smiles, and to find a store near your where you can get your own Bad Girl Book Club ID.
No, not cupcakes that taste like turkeys … cupcakes that look like turkeys (sorta)!
It’s all about having fun – not perfect presentation or gourmet taste … as long as there’s sugar involved (lots and lots of sugar), these silly cooking projects we do keep us happy and help pass the time when J’s traveling.
Start with cupcakes prepared from a box mix (keep it simple!). Frost (yup, this is Duncan Hines frosting-in-a-tub), and decorate with cookies and candies.
Nabisco’s Nutter Butter cookies for heads and necks
M&Ms and Skittles (applied with frosting) for eyes
Slices of Starburst candies for the waddle
Candy corn for feathers
The possibilities are endless – if you can’t find Starburst, sliced red licorice will work for a waddle; if you can’t find candy corn, substitute wedges of lemon and orange jelly fruit slices.
These are “no rules” turkeys – OK, there are just a few rules:
- Have fun
- Get along with your siblings when you’re making the cupcakes
- Help clean up the kitchen when you’re done
See what’s happening in other kitchens with Beth Fish Reads’ Weekend Cooking
. You may find other cookbook reviews, a recipe to try, food-themed novels or movies. As Beth Fish says, “if it’s remotely foodie, link it up!”
A few months ago I had the pleasure of meeting Wendy Dubow Polins at the Salem Lit Fest. Wendy’s debut novel, Fare Forward, has been well-received by book groups who are eager to discuss this novel which takes place at the “intersection of modern science and ancient mysticism” (in fact, she loves to talk with book groups via Skype, you can find out how to arrange this via her website).
Here, in the author’s words, is a bit more about the themes explored in the novel:
Do you believe in Fate?
What are the things in life worth fighting for?
Can one moment or one choice change everything?
What if there was a secret in the Judean Desert that had been hidden for thousands of years?
This is a story about the moment when you are standing on the threshold of the beginning of everything in your life.
The novel opens in 1943 and follows three generations of family to the present time.They will learn that things, are not always what they seem. In this journey of a lifetime, Gabriella will meet the man she believes is her destiny, then learn that he’s been at the center of her grandfather’s research for over two hundred years, that he had met her grandmother on an archaeological dig sixty years earlier, and that he hasn’t aged . . . at all.
The characters I’ve created, reflect my own background in architecture and science. Ideas that I had been questioning. The novel really started to come together when I realized, that whether you’re a cutting edge scientist, an ancient mystic or a 19th century poet: everybody is asking the same questions.
What, if anything, is eternal?
In this guest post, Wendy quotes Aldous Huxley as saying ”We have each of us, a Jerusalem.” What does that mean? I found it to be a very insightful metaphor for our centers, our core beliefs (but, it my have a personal interpretation/definition for each reader; let me know what you think, in Comments below).
Read on as Wendy describes how she found her Jerusalem; then learn more about the author and her work via her website, check out the Fare Forward Facebook fan page, and follow @WendyPolins on twitter:
Wendy overlooking Jerusalem
Each of us has a dream, a wish, or the love we hope to find. Our lives are given direction by experiences that change us and the choices we make; unforgettable, defining moments. Often, this happens when we travel, leaving behind the comfort of the known and propelled forward on a path into the uncertain. I travel for the same reason that I read books, and now write them—because I want to believe that people can change. It’s always been art that lit my path; that made me stop, reconsider what I took for granted, and provide the clarity to see new connections. “Antennae of the race,” James Joyce wrote. That’s what writers can be.
As I flew at 37,000 ft above the surface of our planet, I found quiet, disconnected from a world filled with stimulation and constant demands for attention. Travel is a good way to rediscover places in yourself, as you move through time — through worlds — almost like a dream, until the moment gravity pulls you back down to Earth and into your life.
“Very cautiously, I raise the oval shade that conceals the morning light of the continent over which we are flying. Seeing the world from high above is magical, the land reduced to graphic shapes and the blanket of stars in an endless sky. Since ancient Greek celestial navigation, travelers have looked to the heavens to guide their journeys. We are all voyagers aren’t we?”
(excerpt from FARE FORWARD p. 280)
I have just returned from Israel. A modern nation that continuously redefines itself, this is a place of miracles, where the past breathes and the future beckons. It is a four dimensional work in progress, shaped by the legacy of thousands of years of history, the Holocaust, modern technology, and the staggering bravery of individuals. Jerusalem plays a pivotal role in my novel, FARE FORWARD, as it is where, for thousands of years, people of every major religion have ended their journeys. In this city, many have found what they’ve been looking for and assigned dimension to what had previously been unmeasurable. You can feel it. The weight of history, the power of possibility and if you listen very carefully, the voices of those who have come before—in the wind, the silence, and the shimmer of the leaves on the trees.
A story lives in the mind of the author and the experience of the reader. For the last three years, as I created the characters of FARE FORWARD, they existed only in me. It felt risky, to send them out into the world, intensely private words and ideas that had been safely buried within the layers of my own heart. Now, as I returned to one of the major settings of the novel, it was my turn to walk in their footsteps, breathe the air they breathed and see what their eyes had beheld. I wanted to experience the magical pull of the place that had changed the course of their fictional lives.
I wanted to capture the ineffable qualities of this timeless city and attempt to convey the magic I felt with words:
“So many have stood in this place before us, and they will continue to after we’re gone. Moses, the Israelites, Herod, Alexander the Great, Caesar, Napoleon—”
“It’s as if time is collapsing.”
“This place is amazing,” I whisper.
“It’s a different kind of desert, a different kind of place. Not one of sand and dunes, a desert where the wind leaves its fingerprint. Time is erased here.”
“This is a desert of rock, of presence—of soul.”
“You feel like you’re close to heaven, don’t you?”
“Every place has within it memories of the past. What you now know is how to recognize the things that are truly important, the values and ideas that stand the test of time. How to choose—what to believe. Your life should always be about ideas, creating things. Decide what you want to change and how you think the world should be.”
He seems far away. He is calm. And I wonder whether this is what happens when you have arrived, when you are ready to put it all together, everything you have worked so hard for: you realize that you have only started.
(excerpt from FARE FORWARD p. 335)
When you travel and face the silence, you are forced to ask yourself – what is it that my life revolves around? What does it mean? In this city of Light, I could clearly see everything I had ever wished for. The promise of a future accompanied by awe, wonder and profound gratitude – that I could stand and behold the miraculous view outside my Jerusalem window, the sound of the markets, minarets and church bells blending together in a symphony of collapsed time.
Aldous Huxley said, “We have each of us, a Jerusalem.” Travel and exploring other cultures teaches by example, to live without regrets. To BE BRAVE. I have been inspired to let the power of what I want to write, drive my commitment to live life creatively but be disciplined, rigorous and to never, EVER, give up. If you look carefully, into the darkness of intuition and the unknown, you just might discover what you’ve been searching for. You can find the light, YOUR light.
What you might discover, will be yourself.
- Oil on Water by Helon Habila
- Paperback: 239 pages
- Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Reprint edition (May 16, 2011)
- ISBN-13: 978-0393339642
Back-of-the-book blurb: In the oil-rich and environmentally devastated Nigerian Delta, the wife of a British oil executive has been kidnapped. Two journalists — a young upstart, Rufus, and a once-great, now disillusioned veteran, Zaq — are sent to find her. In a story rich with atmosphere and taut with suspense, Oil on Water explores the conflict between idealism and cynical disillusionment in a journey full of danger and unintended consequences.
As Rufus and Zaq navigate polluted rivers flanked by exploded and dormant oil wells, in search of “the white woman,” they must contend with the brutality of both government soldiers and militants. Assailed by irresolvable versions of the “truth” about the woman’s disappearance, dependent on the kindness of strangers of unknowable loyalties, their journalistic objectivity will prove unsustainable, but other values might yet salvage their human dignity.
She Is Too Fond of Books’ review: I read Oil on Water just a few weeks after I read Christie Watson’s Tiny Sunbirds Far Away. Each novel addresses the devastation in the Niger Delta (environmental and social/political turmoil) caused both directly and indirectly by European interests drilling for oil in the area. Tiny Sunbirds Far Away tells the story from the perspective of an 11-year old girl, Blessing, who sees the effects of the conflict between soldiers and militants almost peripherally. It is a cruel and violent periphery, to be sure, but Blessing is not in the middle of the physical conflict.
In Oil on Water, however, Rufus and Zaq are in the midst of the conflict. Rufus (the protégé) and Zaq (no longer at the top of his game) go into the bush, searching for the dual brass rings of capturing one more great story and a hero’s welcome when and if they return with the kidnapped woman, Isabel.
Although Zaq cautions Rufus that it’s not ultimately the story they’re after – but, rather, the meaning behind the story – and that “only a lucky few ever capture that,” Rufus can’t keep himself from framing his experience in terms of lead-ins to the piece he eventually hopes to write. It soon becomes apparent that writing attention-getting copy with be the least of Rufus’ worries.
Habila begins the story in the middle, we are with Rufus and Zaq nine days into their (mis)adventure, Zaq heavy with fever as they travel an oil-polluted river. A clever metaphor shows both Habila’s ease with words and foreshadowing as Zaq says “Everything will turn out fine, you’ll see” and Rufus muses (p.6):
Ultimately, things didn’t turn out fine, as I hoped and as he promised, especially for him, but then maybe he was talking not about himself but about me. He might have felt that he had drifted past a point in his river that was beyond return.
Through a series of flashbacks, Habila brings us from the day Rufus learned of the assignment to the novel’s opening in that boat. We then continue forward with the men, as day by day, hour by hour, they are pulled deeper into danger.
Rufus and Zaq experience violence and torture; they witness blackmail, withholding of information, and outright lies; they are aided by strangers, then turned on by those same people. As they continue on their quest – for the story, the woman, their lives – Rufus’ thoughts reveal more about how his family has seen first-hand the effects of the vigilante justice that militants have undertaken against the petroleum companies; the plot becomes more and more layered as the men drift further from the city of Port Harcourt and deeper into the delta.
This lengthy excerpt shows the setting – Rufus lives and breathes the air of the river; it is with him in his dreams even at the end of the novel (p. 37):
… we drifted almost aimlessly on the opaque, misty water. The water took on different forms as we glided on it. Sometimes it was a snake, twisting and fast and slippery, poisonous. Sometimes it was an old jute rope, frayed and wobbly and breaking into jagged, feathery ends, the fresh water abruptly replaced by a thick marshy tract of mangroves standing over still, brackish water that lapped at the adventitious roots. Then we’d have to push the boat, or carry its dead weight on our shoulders, till we found the rope again. Sometimes it was an arrow, straight and unerring, taking us on its tip for miles and miles, the foul smell of the swamps replaced by the musky, energizing river smell, and at such times we’d become aware of the clear sky above as if for the first time. But the swamps and the mist always returned, and strange objects would float past us; a piece of cloth, a rolling log, a dead fowl, a bloated dog belly-up with black birds perching on it, their expressionless eyes blinking rapidly, their sharp beaks savagely cutting into the soft decaying flesh. Once we saw a human arm severed at the elbow bobbing away from us, its fingers opening and closing, beckoning. In my dreams I still see that lone arm, floating away, sometimes with the middle finger extended derisively, before disappearing into the dark mist.
Oil on Water
has stayed with me in this way – not in images that visit me in nightmares, but in thoughts that drift in at unexpected times, when I hear of gang violence elsewhere, when a news article brings me close to the Niger Delta, or when discussing the “Occupy Wall Street” and 99% vs. 1% with my children. I recommended the novel to both Sandy
, but haven’t yet seen their reviews … am interested in an exchange of emails as an alternative book club discussion when the time comes.
Author Helon Habila was born in Nigeria, and now lives in the Washington DC area with his family, where he teaches creative writing at George Mason University. Habila’s collection of short fiction, Prison Stories, was re-edited as a novel and published under the title Waiting for an Angel by WW Norton; it won the Commonwealth Prize in 2003. A second novel, Measuring Time was published by WW Norton in 2007; I definitely plan read Habila’s backlist – he has his finger on the pulse of some tough issues and doesn’t hesitate to engage his readers in confronting them.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I have drunk the Cook’s Illustrated Kool-Aid, and it is as addictive as it is delicious!
Cook’s Illustrated is the parent company of Cook’s Illustrated and Cook’s Country magazines, as well as the CooksIllustrated website (with recipes, equipment ratings, taste tests, tips and techniques as in the magazine), the America’s Test Kitchen television show, and all the related cookbooks and DVDs.
If that’s not enough (it’s not enough; pass the Kool-Aid, please!), there’s the ATK Feed (very active and fun-filled blog), and the @TestKitchen twitter stream.
I’ve been recovering from a virus that had me in bed for over four days; earlier in the week when I couldn’t concentrate enough to read, I was spending a few hours each afternoon watching episodes of ATK TV and eating comfort food while snuggling with my 7-year-old. When I was a kid, comfort food meant mandarin oranges, “instant” stuffing, and Howard Johnson’s frozen macaroni and cheese - don’t judge me (or my mother!).
This week I craved a more mature comfort food – something with lots of flavor, oozing with warmth and … comfort! I turned to Cook’s Illustrated (March 2009) and found the following recipe for baked ziti. The biggest eye-openers for me were finally using mise en place (measuring and prepping all ingredients before beginning the recipe; yes, I know this is second nature to many of you, but I never wanted to take the time to do it. Lesson learned.), and boiling the pasta until it’s just softened – not even al dente – as it continues to cook once it’s in the oven.
pasta/cheese/sauce mixture in baking dish, starting to spread remainder of sauce on top
- 1 pound 1% cottage cheese
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
- table salt
- 1 pound ziti
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 5 medium garlic cloves, minced (I confess, I used the pre-minced jarred garlic)
- 1 28-oz can tomato sauce
- 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves (I’m worth fresh basil, even off-season!)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 cup whole milk
out of the oven and cooling (gads, you can see that I didn't have fresh grated Parm and used the stuff in the green-topped jar ... forgive me!
- 8 oz low-moisture whole-milk mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with rack in middle position
- Whisk cottage cheese, eggs, and 1 cup Parmesan together; set aside
- Bring 4 quarts of water to boil, stir in 1 tablespoon salt and pasta; cook, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes
- Drain pasta and leave in colander (no need to wash pot, you’ll use it again)
- Heat oil and garlic in large skillet over medium heat; allow garlic to release flavor, but not brown (about 2 minutes)
- Stir in tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and oregano
- Simmer about 10 minutes, until thickened
- Remove from heat and add 1/2 cup of the chopped basil and 1 teaspoon sugar; season with salt and pepper
- Combine cornstarch and milk in (now empty) pasta pot
- Bring to simmer and cook 4-6 minutes, until thickened
- Off heat, add Parmesan cheese mixture, 1 cup tomato sauce from skillet, and 3/4 cup cubed mozzarella; stir to combine
Comfort Food circa 2011
- Add pasta, and stir until coated
- Transfer pasta mixture to 9×13 baking dish; top with remaining tomato sauce, then top with the last 3/4 cup mozzarella and 1/2 cup Parmesan
- Cover tightly with foil and bake 30 minutes
- Remove foil and cook an additional 30 or so minutes, until cheese is bubbly and beginning to brown
- Remove from oven and cool 20 minutes before serving
- Sprinkle remaining chopped basil over individual servings
We served this with a simple green salad and homemade bread (yes, I slept well that night!); it inspired a spontaneous “thanks for making such a great dinner, Mom!” from my 13-year-old. I say – Thank you, Cook’s Illustrated!
I emailed Cook’s Illustrated as I wrote this blog post, wondering if the original recipe had been reproduced in one of their cookbooks (this post is paraphrased, and reflects any changes I made). What timing! The original Baked Ziti recipe (including the “Why this recipe works” intro) is on page 217 of the brand-spanking new The Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook: 2000 Recipes from 20 Years of America’s Most Trusted Food Magazine (pictured at the top of this page). Yes, it’s on my holiday wish list
To find out what’s happening in other kitchens of the blogosphere, check out Beth Fish Reads‘ Weekend Cooking. You may find other recipes, cookbook reviews (or cookbook coveting), reviews of foodie movies, mystery kitchen gadgets … it’s a potpourri!
Do you like to read with the seasons? Holiday tales in December, beach reads in the summer, and spooky stories around All Hallows’ Eve?
I’m thrilled to welcome Laurel Ann Nattress here today, to chat about Jane Austen-inspired Gothic fiction for Halloween.
More info about Laurel and her book, Jane Austen Made Me Do It - an Austen-inspired anthology with original stories by such contemporary writers as Adriana Trigiani, Laurie Viera Rigler, and Frank Delaney & Diane Meier – is included in the post.
And be sure to come back here tomorrow, for details on how you can enter to win one copy of Jane Austen Made Me Do It.
Now, let’s welcome Laurel Ann Nattress:
Hi Dawn! It’s great to be here today at She Is Too Fond of Books during my Grand Tour of the blogosphere in celebration of the release of my new Austen-inspired anthology, Jane Austen Made Me Do It.
Halloween will be upon us shortly. As a young girl it was one of my favorite holidays because of the spooky stories that I would read. I was a bit of a ghosts, goblins and supernatural tales obsessive and always looked forward to going to the library in October to discover new stories and re-read my favorite authors like Edgar Allen Poe, Daphne du Maurier and Oscar Wilde. Later in life, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Jane Austen had written a novel in this genre to add to my list.
In Austen’s day, these stories would have been called Gothic fiction; the wildly popular genre that originated with English author Horace Walpole’s 1764 novel, The Castle of Otranto, subtitled “A Gothic Story.” The novels combined elements of both horror and romance and usually involved sensational tales of virginal young ladies abducted by sinister villains locked up in a castle, an abbey, or a monastery dungeon being saved by a prodigal hero. Jane Austen’s first novel completed for publication was a parody of the Gothic genre. Entitled Susan, it was written between 1798-99 and later reworked and published in 1817 as Northanger Abbey. In the story, heroine Catherine Morland is obsessed with Gothic novels, especially Ann Radcliffe’s best-selling novel The Mysteries of Udolpho. Catherine is in awe of hero Henry Tilney because he has already finished reading it. Here is a famous quote by Henry and Catherine:
“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid. I have read all Mrs. Radcliffe’s works, and most of them with great pleasure. The Mysteries of Udolpho, when I had once begun it, I could not lay down again; I remember finishing it in two days — my hair standing on end the whole time.” [Henry] …“I am very glad to hear it indeed, and now I shall never be ashamed of liking Udolpho myself. But I really thought before, young men despised novels amazingly.” [Catherine]
Gothic fiction is still incredibly popular today. The recent vampire craze fueled by the Twilight novels and the Sookie Stackhouse inspired True Blood television series are testament that we still love to be scared and shocked in our reading. My new anthology, Jane Austen Made Me Do It, contains twenty-two stories inspired by Jane Austen. There are no vampire in sight, but there are four stories with strong supernatural elements to get you in the mood for Halloween. Here are their descriptions:
“The Ghostwriter,” by Elizabeth Aston
Sara, obsessed with Pride and Prejudice, is jilted by Charles, who can’t compete with Mr. Darcy. His parting gift is a lock of Jane Austen’s hair. Sara wakes the next morning to find a strange woman sitting on the end of her bed. A figment of her imagination? No, it’s the astringent ghost of Jane Austen. On a mission to restore the reputation of forgotten Gothic author Clarissa Curstable, Jane Austen saves Sara’s career and brings Charles back before taking herself off into the ether, but there’s a price to pay, as the couple discover when they wake up to find another ghostly visitor at the end of the bed. It’s Jane’s friend, Clarissa – and she plans to stay.
“Me and Mr. Darcy, Again…,” by Alexandra Potter
Mr. Darcy is every woman’s fantasy. But what happens when he becomes one woman’s reality? In 2007 Emily traveled from New York to England to go on a Jane Austen-inspired literary tour. There she met and fell in love with Spike, an English journalist.
She also met Mr. Darcy… Or did she? She can never be sure if it really happened, or it was her over-active imagination. Now, four years later, she’s had a huge row with Spike and is back in London nursing a broken heart. And there’s only one person who can mend it. Mr. Darcy….
“The Mysterious Closet: A Tale,” by Myretta Robens
In the wake of her most recent failed relationship, Cathy Fullerton takes an extended vacation in a converted Abbey in Gloucestershire, England. Ensconced in the Radcliffe Suite, a jet-lagged Cathy mistakes a walk-in closet for a Vaulted Chamber, a clothing rack for an Instrument of Torture and an accumulation of cobwebs for her True Love.
“A Night at Northanger,” by Lauren Willig
Our heroine, Cate Cartwright, is part of the cast of “Ghost Trekkers”, currently filming at one of England’s most haunted homes, Northanger Abbey. Naturally, Cate knows there’s no such thing as ghosts. It’s all smoke and mirrors for the credulous who watch late night TV. At least, that’s what she thinks… until she meets the shade of one Miss Jane Austen during one fateful night at Northanger.
Happy hauntings to you all this season.
A life-long acolyte of Jane Austen, Laurel Ann Nattress is the author/editor of Austenprose.com a blog devoted to the oeuvre of her favorite author and the many books and movies that she has inspired. She is a life member of the Jane Austen Society of North America, a regular contributor to the PBS blog Remotely Connected and the Jane Austen Centre online magazine. An expatriate of southern California, Laurel Ann lives in a country cottage near Snohomish, Washington. Visit Laurel Ann at her blogs Austenprose.com and JaneAustenMadeMeDoIt.com, on Twitter as @Austenprose, and on Facebook as Laurel Ann Nattress.
Jane Austen Made Me Do It: Original Stories Inspired by Literature’s Most Astute Observer of the Human Heart, edited by Laurel Ann Nattress
Ballantine Books • ISBN: 978-0345524966