Issue 5, August 2011 Dear Reader, I hope this issue finds you well and enjoying the summer. For me, this is a busy yet exciting time as the countdow


Issue 5, August 2011

Dear Reader,

I hope this issue finds you well and enjoying the summer. For me, this is a busy yet exciting time as the countdown for The Deception at Lyme’s October launch continues. I recently had the pleasure of reviewing the interior artwork that will appear in the novel (absolutely charming—I can’t wait for you to see it!), and each week brings the sixth Mr. & Mrs. Darcy Mystery closer to becoming the finished book that will soon appear on bookstore shelves and e-reader screens.

Also, just in time for late summer reading, The Intrigue at Highbury (Darcy mystery #5) releases in trade paperback this week. If you have not yet read the Darcys’ adventure with Emma and Mr. Knightley, tuck it in your travel or beach bag and enjoy a few suspenseful hours among the delightful (but devious?) denizens of Highbury.

In this issue:

Subscriber Exclusive: Special excerpt of The Deception at Lyme
New historical fiction story: “The Chase”
Novità: Pagina web in Italiano e l'edizione italiana di The Deception at Lyme (New Italian web page and edition of The Deception at Lyme)
Forward to a Friend Drawing: Win an advance review copy of The Deception at Lyme
Preliminary fall book tour schedule


Subscriber Exclusive: Special excerpt of The Deception at Lyme

In The Deception at Lyme, Mr. & Mrs. Darcy find themselves investigating two suspicious deaths: one that occurred in the seaside resort of Lyme Regis, and another that took place on a naval warship. To capture the atmosphere and detail of these settings, research for the novel took me from the cliffs of Lyme to the hold of the Victory (Admiral Horatio Nelson’s flagship from the Battle of Trafalgar). I loved every minute of it: standing on the most famous Royal Navy warship from the era in which Jane Austen’s brothers and characters served, negotiating the steep, narrow streets of Lyme, walking on the same stones of the Cobb that Austen herself trod, hearing the cries of sea birds and the crash of the tide, feeling the spray of salt water, observing the gathering clouds of a rising storm—and imagining the Darcys, Captain Wentworth, Anne Elliot, and other characters experiencing that world.

I hope that when you read The Deception at Lyme, you will feel as if you, too, are in Lyme Regis along with the Darcys. And you don’t have to wait until October to join them—you can read an excerpt right now of the novel’s Prologue and Chapter One. As a thank-you to my newsletter subscribers, at the end of the excerpt I have created a visual tour of Lyme and the Cobb with photographs from my research trip. Eventually the excerpt and photo tour will be accessible to everyone who visits my website, but for a limited time this exclusive preview is available only through the link in this newsletter.

More information about the novel, including a synopsis and publication details, can be found on my website (

Chase ships

New historical fiction story: “The Chase”

While I was researching the Royal Navy for The Deception at Lyme, I came across a reference to a March 1800 battle in which Jane Austen’s brother Frank (Francis William Austen), as commander of the HMS Petterel, captured a French brig off the coast of Marseilles. The encounter wasn’t relevant to Deception’s plot, but the brief description intrigued me enough that when I finished writing the novel, I decided to research the Marseilles action further just to satisfy my own curiosity.

Piecing together details from firsthand accounts and other primary sources—including the logbooks in which Frank and other ship’s officers recorded the events as they were happening—I discovered an amazing tale of adventure.

It is the story of a daring 26-year-old commander who, in only a sloop, defied incredible odds to single-handedly capture five French vessels in as many hours. A story that earned Frank Austen promotion to post captain and catalyzed his eventual rise to the Royal Navy’s highest rank, Admiral of the Fleet. A story whose details prompted my military history expert to remark (tongue in cheek), “And it was his sister who became famous?”

A story that had to be told.

So I did.

Frank Austen and his crew came to such life in my imagination that I have brought them to life for you in “The Chase,” a short story that dramatizes their Marseilles adventure, with an ending twist as true as the rest. It is the story of a real-life hero who surely inspired his sister Jane’s character Captain Wentworth of Persuasion—and that truly exemplifies the spirit and heroism of the Age of Sail.


“The Chase” will be published this fall in the anthology Jane Austen Made Me Do It, coming from Ballantine Books in October 2011. (Yes, the same month as Deception—October will be a busy month for me!) Fellow contributors to this collection of original short fiction include Stephanie Barron, Jo Beverley, Syrie James, Beth Patillo, Laurie Viera Rigler, Adriana Trigiani, Lauren Willig, and others. For more details, visit the Other Works page of my website.

If you enjoy the swashbuckling spirit of Patrick O’Brian’s Master and Commander or C.S. Forester’s Horatio Hornblower, you won’t want to miss Frank Austen’s historical fiction debut.


Novità: Pagina web in Italiano e l'edizione italiana di The Deception at Lyme

(English translation below.)

I mystery di Mr. e Mrs. Darcy sono stati accolti con tale entusiasmo in Italia che ho creato una nuova pagina web in italiano apposta per loro. Invito quindi tutti i miei lettori italiani (e chiunque desideri curiosare) a farmi visita all'indirizzo Qui potrete trovare le ultime notizie sull'edizione italiana di The Deception at Lyme, che la TEA pubblicherà in Italia all'inizio del 2012, e inoltre informazioni di carattere generale sulla serie, dettagli e curiosità sull'edizione italiana dei titoli pubblicati, i link per acquistare i miei libri online e le risposte ad alcune tra le domande che mi vengono poste più di frequente dai lettori. Ringrazio il mio editore italiano per l'assistenza prestata nella traduzione.

New Italian web page and translation of The Deception at Lyme

The Mr. and Mrs. Darcy Mysteries have been so warmly embraced in Italy that I have created a new page on my website in Italian. I invite all my Italian readers (and anybody else who is curious) to visit There you can find the latest news about the Italian edition of The Deception at Lyme, which will be published by TEA Books in early 2012, along with general information about the series, details regarding Italian editions of all the books, links to Italian booksellers, and Frequently Asked Questions. Thank you to my Italian editor for her translation assistance.


Forward to a Friend Drawing: Win an advance reading copy of The Deception at Lyme

If you enjoy receiving this newsletter, you probably know others—friends, family, colleagues, book group members—who might also be interested in reading it. If so, please feel free to forward issues to these kindred spirits at any time.

Forward this particular issue now, and you could win a signed advance review copy (the preview editions that get sent out to reviewers) of The Deception at Lyme—enabling you to read the novel before its official release.

To enter the Forward to a Friend Drawing, simply forward this issue to at least one person before 11:59 p.m. EDT, Monday, August 15, 2011 by clicking the "forward to a friend" link in the colored bar at the bottom of the newsletter. Your email address will be entered in a random drawing for one signed advance review copy. The drawing is open to both U.S. and international residents. The winner will be notified by email and asked to provide a mailing address. If the winner does not respond to the notification within five days, an alternative winner will be chosen.

Each newsletter subscriber is eligible for one entry per forward, to a maximum of five entries. You may certainly forward to more than five people even though you won’t receive additional entries for them, but I do ask everyone to please exercise discretion and forward only to individuals truly likely to be interested—I don’t think any of us want to inadvertently be the cause of spam in someone else’s inbox. Recipients who become new subscribers (by signing up at are eligible to enter a separate New Subscriber Drawing if they sign up and confirm their subscription by August 31, 2011. The prize for that drawing is also a signed advance review copy of The Deception at Lyme. Details can be found at

The lucky winner will be announced in my next newsletter. Good luck! And thank you for introducing me and the Mr. & Mrs. Darcy series to your friends.


Fall Book Tour

My promotional tour for this fall’s release of The Deception at Lyme is taking shape. So far, I have events scheduled in Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Texas, and more are in the planning process. Visit the events page of my website for details about the appearances below, and check back periodically for updates—additional events will be posted there as soon as they are confirmed. I hope to meet you soon!


Books by the Banks Cincinnati USA Book Festival

Saturday, October 22, 10 am to 4 pm
Duke Energy Convention Center


Tea with Mr. & Mrs. Darcy

Saturday, October 29; 1:00 p.m.
Basically British Tearoom, 502 East 3rd Street
Program and 3-course tea $23.95 (+ tax/gratuity); books available for purchase
Reservations 937-222-1488 (limited seating—reserve early!)
Join me at Ohio’s top-rated tearoom for traditional afternoon tea, informal conversation, book signing, and a personal introduction to The Deception at Lyme.


Texas Book Launch and Author Signing

Friday, October 14, 2011; 6:30pm to 8:00 pm
Sundance Square Barnes & Noble
Triple book launch for my novel The Deception at Lyme, the anthology Jane Austen Made Me Do It (which features my short story "The Chase"), and Janet Mullany's Jane Austen: Blood Persuasion. Many of the other anthology authors will also be signing.


Jane Austen Society of North America

National conference and Annual General Meeting

October 14-16, 2011
Speaker (“Gunsmoke: Dueling in Jane Austen’s Time”), Saturday 11:45 a.m.
Booksigning, Sunday 8:30-10 am (conference attendees only)


Aunt Agatha’s Mystery Bookstore

Sunday, November 6, 2011; 1:00 p.m.
Program and booksigning with fellow historical mystery author Jeanne Dams.


Next Chapter Bookshop

Thursday, November 10; 7:00 p.m.


Booked for Murder

Saturday, November 12; 1:00 p.m.


Best wishes for a relaxing remainder of the summer!

Until next time—


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