Tag Archives: regency

#CHWG Podcast – The Writer’s Platform with Wendy Van Camp

CHWG-podcast (blog)

Writers need a platform to reach their audience. Don’t know where to begin? Podcast #6 of the CHWG Podcast with Wendy Van Camp discusses it. Plus Scifaiku (Science Fiction Haiku). Hosted by J Bryan Jones. Available on YouTube, iTunes, and CHWritersGroup.org now!

iTUNES
YouTube
CHWG

 

Find Wendy Van Camp
https://nowastedink.com/
Twitter: @wvancamp

Find J Bryan Jones
facebook.com/JBryanJonesWriter
Twitter: @JBryanJones

Jane Austen High Tea and Regency Reading

AustinPoster (blog)It is a truth universally acknowledged that an author in possession of a new book must be in want of a reading. Thus, I drove to Costa Mesa, CA one fine sunny Saturday in order to participate in the Books on Broadway’s Celebration of Jane Austen Afternoon Tea and Regency Book Reading.

Books on Broadway is a quaint bookstore that specializes in both new and used books. The narrow aisles of the shop create a cozy feeling. The books are stacked from the floor to the ceiling with every inch filled to the brim with an astonishing good selection of popular novels. As I wandered through the tight labyrinth, I had a hankering to take books from the shelves and take them home. Behind the bookstore is ample parking. During the event, a canopy had been set up to provide shade for the guests in the parking lot. It was where all the goody bags and raffle prizes were kept.

BOB - English Tea Service 2015One of the draws of this salon reading was an English High Tea Service. The bookstore owner offered a fine selection of biscuits, jam, and crust-less finger sandwiches along with a brilliant hot black tea served in china teacups. I had two cups of tea with lemon slices and found it set the mood for the afternoon. The silver teapot was fun. It rotated on a gear system that allowed one to tip and pour your tea with a single hand.

I was given a small space in the bookstore to call my own, complete with a cute little table and elegant chair. I set up my swag and books on the table where they could be seen. Throughout the event, I gave away many fliers about my blog, No Wasted Ink, and links to where you could purchase an ebook version of my novelette.

BOB - Wendy Van Camp Swag Table 2015

Dozens of ladies came that afternoon. Many were dressed up, but California is known for its casual atmosphere and some wore their typical weekend garb. We authors were asked to dress for the event. Alina K. Field dressed in a blue regency gown that she had sewn herself and Anne Cleeland wore an English Highwayman outfit complete with a costume pistol! I was somewhat dull in comparison in my black tee and leopard print skirt, but we do what we can.

BOB - Wendy Van Camp Reads From The Curates Brother 2015Since the aisles were narrow, the store owner decided to set each author in a corner of the shop and to rotate in the guests to hear our readings. I ended up reading my prepared excerpt of The Curate’s Brother four times. I did not read directly from one of my books, instead I had printed up the words in a larger font that was easier for me to see and allowed me to use my leather portfolio.

After each reading, I answered questions about my novelette from the guests. Questions ranged from the cultural differences of our time and the regency period and how language had a difference cadence in the 19th century. It was an educated crowd and the conversations were pleasant. It was wonderful to meet so many Austen fans in one place.

BOB - Goody Bags for English TeaAfter the performances, the guests went to the canopied area outside and the raffle began. Several authors connected with Romance Readers Club had donated new books and there were wrapped packages of them on the tables. I had donated one of my regency novelettes and the lady that won it seemed pleased.

Afterward, those that wished to purchase a book from the authors did so. I was kept busy autographing until closing. As I drove home, I reflected that this had been a good time and I’m glad that I was invited to come. I hope to return one day.

Below are the authors and owner of Books on Broadway posing for a photo at the event.

BOB - Authors and Owner at Jane Austen Tea and Reading 2015

Book Review: His Majesty’s Dragon

Book Name: His Majesty’s Dragon
Author: Naomi Novik
First Published: 2006

Naomi Novik was born in New York in 1973 and raised on Long Island. Novik learned to read at an early age and her favorite books were by J.R.R. Tolkien and Jane Austen. She studied English Literature at Brown University and did graduate work in Computer Science at Columbia University. She became involved in the design and development of the computer game Neverwinter Nights: Shadows of Undrentide, but soon realized that she enjoyed writing books more than creating video games.

Novik’s first novel is His Majesty’s Dragon which is the beginning of the Temeraire series. She has won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, the Compton Crook Award for Best First Novel, and the Locus Award for Best First Novel. Several of the Temeraire novels have gone on to be New York Times bestsellers and the books are options by Peter Jackson to be turned into a movie or television series in the future.

She is a member of the board for the Organization for Transformative Works (OTW), an organization dedicated to the promotion of fan fiction, fan videos, and real-person fiction.

Novik is currently a resident of Manhatten and is married to entrepreneur and author Charles Ardai. They have one child.

“And we must still try or we would be leaving our friends to fight without us. I think this is what you have meant by duty, all along; I do understand, at least this much of it.”
― Naomi Novik, His Majesty’s Dragon

His Majesty’s Dragon begins in the year four (1804) during Britain’s struggles in the Napoleonic war with France. This is a tale of alternate history where dragons are alive and well and an accepted part of the landscape. They come in many sizes and breeds. Some spit fire or acid, others can turn on a dime in the air. When a dragon hatches, humans “put it in harness” in order to control the creature and use it for the war. Each dragon imprints on a human who becomes it companion and Captain.

The HMS Reliant captures a 36-gun frigate during battle and the crew discovers that a dragon egg was being ferried within. Captain William Laurence declares the dragon egg a prize. The egg is about to hatch and Laurence gathers his officers together in the hope that the hatchling will imprint on one of them. The small black dragon with unusual six spines on his wings chooses Captain Laurence, much to his chagrin. Laurence names his new charge “Temeraire” after a second-rate French ship that was also captured and brought into service for England. The name means “reckless”.

Laurence and Temeraire are inducted into Britain’s Aerial Corps. Laurence is used to the Royal Navy where the world is spit and polish formal and he is much respected as a ship’s Captain. He is in for a shock by the change of his status when he joins the Corps. The Captains who do battle with their dragons are an informal lot and the Corps itself is looked down upon as the least of all the branches of service. Still, despite the hardship to his character and career, Laurence develops an affection for the young dragon. He learns that Temeraire is a Chinese Imperial dragon, one that is meant to bond with an emperor and is the second most rare type of dragon in the world. Only a Chinese Celestial, known for its powerful breath of “divine wind”, is more rare.

Life in the Corps takes adjustment, but Laurence and Temeraire train together to become a battle unit. He and his dragon adopt a flight and ground crew that supports Temeraire in his care and during battle. Laurence also meets the mother of one of his crew, Jane Roland, with whom he develops a relationship.

During the Battle of Trafalgar (1805), Napoleon’s navy and aerial strength is diminished. The moral of the Captains and their dragons is high during this victory for England, but during their celebrations, a Captain and his mortally wounded dragon arrive at Dover with important intelligence. Napoleon does not plan to send his troops by sea as expected, instead he will send them by air using transports hauled by dragons. This news ends the celebrations as the Captains prepare their dragons for combat, knowing that they will be outgunned and outnumbered.

Laurence and Temeraire fly out with their formation to meet the French aerial armada, their mission is to destroy the transports. It is the final test of their team: The young dragon who is deemed unlikely to develop a breath weapon and the former seaman transformed into a flight captain. Can they meet the challenge ahead and save Britain from Napoleon’s armada? You’ll have to read the book to find out.

His Majestey's Dragon Book CoverI’ve been a fan of books about dragons starting with McCaffery’s creations on the planet of Pern. I am also a huge fan of Jane Austen and Tolkien, so when His Majesty’s Dragon came on the bookshelves in 2006, I purchased a book immediately. I was transported into a “flinklock” world of the battles between Britain and France due to Napoleon’s rise to power in the early 1800’s. There was one little change in the history of this book, dragons were real and a part of the art of war, much like elephants were used in battle in India and other South Asian countries throughout history, but these giant creatures have wings.

Novik has a way of blending the fantasy elements into the details of her alternate history story that make these ideas seem natural and believable. The tale is mainly about the relationship between Captain Laurence and the dragon Temeraire and how they become comrades in arms and close friends, but the world building that surrounds these two characters is what makes the book shine. There is somewhat uneven pacing in places. I found the training section to be slower than the progressive battle scenes with the dragons and their onboard crews shooting with powder guns at the enemy. The romance between Laurence and Jane Roland was less than to be desired and perhaps could have even been cut out.

My favorite parts of the book is when Temeraire is a dragonet onboard the HMS Reliant and the budding relationship he has with the Captain of the ship. The antics of the young dragon are incredibly cute, rather reminding one of training a new puppy. I enjoyed the Aerial Corps where the conduct is casual and more modern than Laurence is used to and WOMEN are also Captains of the fighting dragons since one of the breeds will only accept a female as its bondmate. It gives a modern edge to this 19th century tale that is a breath of fresh air. (Forgive the pun.)

His Majesty’s Dragon is the first of a series, the final book coming out in 2016. Novik is an excellent author and sure to please fans who would not mind a little fantasy and dragons mixed in with their historical regency era fiction.

The Temeraire Series:

His Majesty’s Dragon (2006) / Temeraire (UK)
Throne of Jade (2006)
Black Powder War (2006)
Empire of Ivory (2007)
Victory of Eagles (2008)
Tongues of Serpents (2010)
Crucible of Gold (2012)
Blood of Tyrants (2013)
League of Dragons (forthcoming, 2016)

Lady Jane Salon Reader Series: Wendy Van Camp

Wendy Van Camp - Lady Jane Salon 2015All writers eventually go forth to read their work to the public. I am no different. In February of 2015, my first reading occurred at a funky cafe called the Gypsy Den. It is an artist hangout of the city of Anaheim, California. There are fun paintings on the walls, a wall of old books and heavy wooden tables and chairs. Outside is a cement patio where writers and students come to avail themselves of the wifi signal and cups of delicious coffee.

On the second Monday of each month, the Lady Jane Salon holds readings from four romance authors. The performance of each author is recorded for later podcast. The original Lady Jane Salon is in New York City, but there are various chapters of the reading series around the country. The book that I would read that night was “The Curate’s Brother: A Jane Austen Variation of Persuasion”. My novella is a regency romance, unlike most of my science fiction or fantasy based stories, and thus this novella fit their romance theme. It is my first published book on Amazon.

I arrived at the salon early. I wanted to find a table close enough to the front where I could get a clear view of the other readers. Some reading series have a stage for the authors, but this venue puts us in a chair next to a wall of old books with a large snowball microphone to record our performance.

I had been practicing reading from my book all afternoon. While I do have experience in public speaking and being in front of a television camera, I had never read from my novel in public before. I leaned on the advice my husband gave me to speak slowly and to remember to breathe.

The audience were other writers from the local Romance Writers of America chapter and I had a good time networking with them before and after the event. I had publicized the reading at various writing groups I belong to in the weeks leading up to the event. I was happy to discover that a small handful of listeners had come to hear me speak.

I was the second author to read that night. The moderator of the event introduced me and then stepped away. I started my set by greeting the audience, which surprised them and then read from the blurb on the back of my book. This helped to set the tone of the excerpt I would then read.

I read for around 10 minutes in total and afterward I asked if there were any questions. The direct and intelligent questions about the writing process that the audience asked astonished me. It was a true pleasure to answer. How often are we granted the opportunity to talk about the nuts and bolts of the craft with people that understood. Then it was over and there was a short break where I could chat with the audience and sell books.

Two weeks before the salon, a friend of mine had recommended that I bring printed books to the event to sell and autograph. Originally, since this book was a novella, I had not planned to create a paperback version of it. However, my author friend had assured me that the fliers I had planned to bring to showcase the ebook were not enough. People like to hold a book in their hands and to have it autographed.

This meant that I needed to create a back cover and format my ebook to a print version all within two weeks of the reading date. It was a hard scramble to get the work done in time. I decided to use the Createspace for my printed book. Fortunately, there were templates to follow and I was able to put the project together in only a few days.

I tried to place an order of 20 books on Createspace, but because of the press of time, the best I could do was to bring the five “proof copies” the publishing company allowed. The rest of my books would arrive via the mail after the reading, but in time for a science fiction convention I was attending as a dealer the following weekend.

I ended up selling two copies of my book and autographed them for readers for the first time. It was a wonderful feeling and I’m glad that I went through the extra effort to bring those five copies with me.

Lady Jane Salon was a wonderful introduction to participating in a reading series. It was a friendly audience of fellow romance writers that understand the genre. If you are an author, I recommend them as a venue if you write romance. It will prove to be a great way to meet new readers, to have a podcast record of your work and to sell a few books.

At the time of this writing, my podcast is not yet up on the Lady Jane Salon site, but when it becomes available, I will edit this post and include a link to it.

GypsyDenAnaheim

50 Days of Indie: Wendy Van Camp

The Curate's Brother on Amazon

My book “The Curate’s Brother: A Jane Austen Variation of Persuasion” is featured as number 48 of Cheryllynn Dyess’s 50 Days of Indie Authors promotion. Cheryllyn has been interviewed here on No Wasted Ink. Please visit her interview if you haven’t already and gain an introduction to her as an author.

Day 48 of 50 days of Indie….featuring Wendy Van Camp