Saturday, March 12, 2016

Welcome Debra Marvin presenting her new release! #giveaway



A Dark Time in Austin History

Thanks so much for inviting me to Cowboy Kisses!
I met Ginger a long time ago when we were both part of an online critique group for writers of historical fiction. I’ve been writing historical romantic suspense—mainly British or early American, so I never thought I’d find myself on her blog with a cowboy hero of my own! 
About 4-5 years ago, my blog-mates at Inkwell Inspirations decided to jump into the novella anthology wave with hopes it would take some of us from pre- to published. Group emails narrowed things down to Regency or Westerns and we ended up with Austen in Austin. (We were all published by the time it …finally…came out!)
Austen in Austin is a collection of eight (Four in each book. Vol 2 comes out in the fall) Jane Austen inspired novellas set in Austin Texas. That’s where the fun began!  We each chose an Austen novel and brainstormed the setting and our characters. This took some organization. We created a spreadsheet with all our characters so we knew what each character was like and what they were doing in any given year during the span of our eight stories. For instance, if someone had a cat wander into their story, the rest of us needed to know its name!

Digging up Austin history was so enjoyable. I found a great site that shows a huge collection of Austin post cards. What a treasure. One of them became, with the site’s permission, part of the background of our cover. Austin in the 1880s! http://www.austinpostcard.com/

As an historical writer, I have to admit I enjoy the research a little too much. Next to actually visiting a museum, my favorite find is a street map or drawing of what the setting looked like. We were able to find some wonderful old maps of Austin as well.

When I read a story, I never quite know if a named place is real or made-up unless I’m very familiar with the real-life setting. Few of us recall Austin 1887 (ahem) but I believe it’s important to be as accurate as possible. Of course, there’s always a need to tweak history or location.  In the case of my story, I moved an entire cemetery (the Texas State Cemetery) across town and closer to the fictional location of the Austen Academy for Young Ladies finishing school. My co-authors and I know right were where the lovely building sits, so our characters would be consistent in their travels.

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Because my story is based on Austen’s Northanger Abbey, I considered using the insane asylum as fodder for my story, but I settled on a cemetery instead! Jane Austen wrote Northanger Abbey as a parody of the popular gothic novels of the time. I followed suit. What I found was worse. Austin had a serial killer not long after Jack the Ripper disappeared from London. 

Through 1884-1885, this mystery killer was called both ‘The Servant Girl Annihilator’ and ‘The Austin Axe Murderer”. Seven women and one man died, and others survived these attacks once thought to be Jack the Ripper himself. While I referenced this in my story set two years later, I made sure to address the issue with respect even though my story is light-hearted…with a naïve, but big-hearted heroine.

Thankfully, the rest of our stories found some cheerier history unique to Austin. What we really love about our stories is that they are all connected by setting and characters. Our heroes and heroines show up in other stories and we’ve found that readers really enjoy catching those cameo appearances! I learned a lot about Austin’s history and fell in love with the city. I hope readers read the Austen in Austin anthology or my novella Alarmingly Charming and see why. As for cowboy kisses…my research failed me but just as I’ve never been to Austin, I think my heroine found her moxie just in time!
I’m giving away a copy (print or ebook) of Austen in Austin. I’d like to ask you all if you’ve ever traveled to a place simply because you became enamored with it through fiction? And, authors…what was the best ‘research trip’ you took and why? If you’d like an easy visit to the setting of my story Alarmingly Charming, here’s the link to my pinterest page: https://www.pinterest.com/debraemarvin/alarmingly-charming/

Group Blog- Inkwell Inspirations: http://www.inkwellinspirations.com/

Debra E. Marvin tries not to run too far from real life but the imagination born out of being an only child has a powerful draw. Besides, the voices in her head tend to agree with all the sensible things she says. She’d like to live just a wee bit closer to her grandchildren, but is thankful that God is in control, that He chooses to bless us despite ourselves and that He has a sense of humor.

Other than writing light-hearted romances and gritty gothics, she has pretty normal obsessions: fabric, peanut butter, vacations, British dramas and whatever mystery series she’s currently reading. Visit her at debraemarvin.com, the Inkwell Inspirations Blog, @debraemarvin on twitter and Debra E Marvin on Facebook and Pinterest, but not her house because she usually has dirty dishes.

Discover four heroines in historical Austin, TX, as they find love--Jane Austen style. Volume 1 includes:
If I Loved You Less by Gina Welborn, based on Emma
A prideful matchmaker examines her own heart when her protégé falls for the wrong suitor.
Romantic Refinements by Anita Mae Draper, based on Sense and Sensibility
A misguided academy graduate spends the summer falling in love . . . twice.
One Word from You by Susanne Dietze, based on Pride and Prejudice
A down-on-her-luck journalist finds the story of her dreams, but her prejudice may cost her true love . . . and her career.
Alarmingly Charming by Debra E. Marvin, based on Northanger Abbey
A timid gothic dime-novel enthusiast tries to solve the mystery of a haunted cemetery and, even more shocking, why two equally charming suitors compete for her attentions.

Note from Ginger:  Debra has notified me she is happy to provide a copy (your choice of ebook or print) to a lucky person drawn from those who leave comments.  






29 comments:

Debra E. Marvin said...

Thanks so much for hosting me, ladies! It's nice to visit with Ginger again!

I hope you enjoy our mix of Regency and Ranchers. We had a great time writing these stories and I think Austen fans will enjoy seeing what we did with her characters!

Julie Lence said...

Thank you for guest blogging with us today, Debra. It was a pleasure reading about the research you put into your work. I, too, enjoy finding old street maps. They do help to put the author into the setting. Please come back and visit with us again!

Debra E. Marvin said...

thanks Julie! It's a pleasure to visit. I love all the covers! Congratulations to you all.

I have a large replica map on my wall of Glasgow, Scotland in 1820. I have a series of three books (unpublished) set there, and it's covered with little pieces of post its to show here my characters live, visit and shop. I know I'm not the only author who sees the 'walking down the street and turning the corner.' Google maps 'street view' is almost like being there. What a treasure. Research has changed so much in twenty years.

Suzie Johnson said...

Congratulations, Deb! I love research a little too much, too. The serial murders have a slight influence on my novella, too, which, as you know, is in the second volume. I love your novella, Deb.

Debra E. Marvin said...

Thanks for stopping in Suzie! I know a lot of people who've enjoyed Vol 1 are looking forward to more Austen stories. Thanks for your kind words!

Suzie Johnson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dianne Casey said...

This is a very interesting spin on a regency Era story. Austin TX is quite different than Austen Era England. Would be an interesting read.

Debra E. Marvin said...

Dianne, thanks for commenting. It was a great project to work on. I hope you have a chance to read it.

Deanna Stevens said...

I'd love to read this one! Reading some great reviews about it...

Caryl Kane said...

Congrats Deb on your release! It's at the top of my wish list!

Debra E. Marvin said...

Thanks ladies.

Deanna and Caryl - so nice of you to stop in and visit here. Thanks for your encouragement! I agree - I hope you read it soon too! wink wink!

Heather Olsen said...

I really like Austen's books and books based off her books. This should be a read that I really enjoy.
reneerachoyolsenATgmailDOTcom

Debra E. Marvin said...

I'm glad you stopped in Heather! Good luck in the drawing!

Wenona Phillips said...

This sounds like a great read! Would love to win a print copy :) Thanks for doing this for your readers!

Debra E. Marvin said...

Thanks, Wenona! I'd love to hear more about what readers enjoy about the stories. I hope you have a nice week and catch that missing hour somewhere!

Wendy Newcomb said...

Sounds like a great book. Thank you for the chance to win a "PRINT" copy of "Austen in Austin".

wfnren at aol dot com

Debra E. Marvin said...

Good morning, Wendy!
Your name is in my Regency bonnet. We'll be drawing on Saturday the 19th. Thanks!I think it's a great book myself, and I'm pleased to be part of the team.

Susanne Dietze said...

Love the post! My heartiest congratulations to Deb for the release of Austen in Austin. One of the very best parts of this book, for me, anyway, is sharing authorship with my dear friends! Deb's story is delightful. I'm biased, but it is.

Debra E. Marvin said...

Hey Susie! Isn't it nice to be surrounded by cowboys here? Thanks for your kind words. It truly has been sweeter to have brought this project from spark to published book with the Inkwell authors!

Kim hansen said...

Sounds like a great read.

Jennifer Boyadjian said...

Hello I have never read volume 1 but would love to and also the next one and congrats to you all whom completed the book

Jennifer Boyadjian said...

Hello I have never read volume 1 but would love to and also the next one and congrats to you all whom completed the book

Karen R said...

Sounds like a fun book especially with the stories all connecting. I've been to a few places in Washington and Oregon that were in Jane Kirkpatrick's books. Neat to see them in person after reading a story set there. Thanks for doing a giveaway.:)

Debra E. Marvin said...

Thanks for stopping in, Kim. I appreciate it! It makes me think all this social media stuff pays off once in awhile. Phew!

Jennifer, Vol 1 has been out since mid January; volume two is due out in September...or so. Four more novellas where our characters will make cameo appearances! It was a lot of fun to work on and coordinate!

Thank you Karen! Giveaways do help to get the word out and hopefully some new readers will want to grab the book. We have both ebook and paperback for the Vol 1, and the single novellas are in ebook only.

It's great to see you all today!

KayM said...

This sounds like a fun and interesting book. To answer the question, I can't recall traveling to a place based on a book I read. However, I do like to read books that are set in a place I have visited or lived. I've chosen many books that way.

Debra E. Marvin said...

Hi Kay! nice to see you over here! I was quite excited to finally get to Savannah after falling in love with it through Gone with the Wind. Certainly would apply for England, too--when and if I ever get there (I loved books like The Secret Garden and Black Beauty as a child). I do love visiting places where stories have been set!

I went up into the Bradshaw mountains last fall to see the site of my novella DESERT DUET. that was a thrill!

Patty said...

I like to travel, but don't know that I've ever traveled to visit a story location!

pattymh2000(at)yahoo(dot)com

Debra E. Marvin said...

Hi Patty!
I love to travel and I have a habit of thinking of stories written or stories I could write wherever I travel. I suppose it helps that I'm a history nut. Thanks for your comment and entering the giveaway.

sweetpea said...

Austen fan here and these books sound delightful.