A Very Austen Valentine, Austen Anthologies

Austen, the Creator of a Genre

I recently answered these questions for our blog tour of A Very Austen Valentine: Austen Anthologies, Book 2. I’d like to know your thoughts. Do you agree or disagree with my answers?

avav 3d

Do you agree/disagree that Jane Austen is the mother of the romance novel?

Yes, I agree that Jane Austen is the mother of the romance novel, but I more definitively think of Austen as the creator of a smaller genre: the novel of manners.

I have loved Austen’s works since my high school years, but teaching her work during my twenty-five years as an English teacher convinced me of her genius. I showed films of several versions of Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion, and Emma to my juniors and seniors during the final half of school each year. The boys started out complaining, but soon were asking for their Austen fix when they entered my classroom.

jane austen waxwork 2

I assigned book and gave a book test every six weeks, but students were allowed a reader’s choice for their final book. Many chose to read the Austen novels they had watched. They were quite eager to point out the differences between the novels and the film versions. Discussions were lively.

You see, I taught Austen, loved Austen, and turned out Austen lovers long before I ever wrote anything Austenesque.

jane-austens-portrait

Sir Walter Scott wrote, “Also read again Miss Austen’s very finely written novel of Pride and Prejudice. That young lady had a talent for describing the involvement and feelings and characters of ordinary life which is to me the most wonderful I ever met with. The exquisite touch which renders ordinary commonplace things and characters interesting from the truth of the description and the sentiment is denied to me.”

A novel of manners re-creates a social world, conveying the customs, values, and mores of a highly developed, complex society.

Scott defined the novel of manners, and he attributes the creation of that genre to Austen.

To me, this is the area in which Austen shines most brightly. She left a wonderful legacy of her time period – the behavior of the classes in early nineteenth century England.

What is up next for the Austen Anthologies series?

Laura Hile, Wendi Sotis, Barbara Cornthwaite, and I hope to do at least three more anthologies. The next will be A Very Austen Romance, to be released at the end of 2019. Various guest authors will join us in the different books of the series.

All of the stories in the anthologies will be Austen-based Regency sweet romance, but we allow prequels, sequels, mashups, variations, and humor, as well as “what ifs.” Each of us has a specialty of sorts, but all of our stories are clean reads with happily-ever-after endings.

The goal is to have stories of twenty thousand to thirty thousand words. That length limits the time given to develop and resolve a plot, thus our plotlines are fairly simplified.

However, a wonderful read can be delivered within the limitation. Laura Hile’s Sir Walter Takes a Wife in the Valentine anthology is, in my humble opinion, brilliant. I can write humor for a chapter, but she sustains her high level of romantic comedy from the first word to the last. I don’t know of anyone else in the Austenesque genre who does it as well.

idoy avav

My writing is usually very emotional with a touch of the paranormal and/or music. Wendi Sotis’s style is pure, sweet romance. Barbara Cornthwaite has a very delicate touch, a crystal bell of insight.

Wendi, Laura, Barbara, and I choose to work with like-minded authors, seeing our anthologies as “the books that friendship built.” We spend a good bit of time emailing and messaging back and forth, and we think it’s very important that the process be as stress-free, pressure-free, and enjoyable as possible. I think the anthologies show the respect and feeling of camaraderie we have for each other.

A Very Austen Anthology, A Very Austen Christmas, A Very Austen Valentine, Book promos, Cheap books, Christian Fiction, Christian romance, Clean Romance, Darcy and Elizabeth, Holidays, New Release, Pride and Prejudice, Robin Helm's books, Writing Life

Big News!

AVAC99Tomorrow, December 29, is the launch date of our newest Austen Anthologies offering: A Very Austen Valentine! Watch for the details on Janet Taylor’s blog, More Agreeably Engaged.

AVAV1

To celebrate, A Very Austen Christmas: Austen Anthologies, Book 1 is on sale for 99 cents through the end of December.

IDOY

My story in the new anthology, I Dream of You, is considerably lighter and more romantic than my offering in A Very Austen Christmas. I’m looking forward to hearing what you think of it.

A Very Austen Anthology, Book promos, Clean Romance, FREE books, Robin Helm's books

You’re Invited!

We’re all busy at this time of year – decorating, buying gifts, going to seasonal events, cooking, shopping, participating in Christmas programs, and so many other things.

Bell Banner

How would you like to attend a party on your phone, laptop, or other device? Sitting on your couch in your PJs, sipping your hot chocolate, playing word games, and winning prizes? Sounds good to me!FB Bell Christmas Party

Consider yourself invited to such an event.

Saturday, December 8, I’ll be hosting from 11:00 – 11:30 on a Facebook Christmas party along with more than forty other authors of clean books. I’ll be giving away a prize package of the three books pictured, as well as a copy of A Very Austen Christmas: Austen Anthologies, Book 1, and a reader’s choice of my other books.

Christmas Twitter

You are invited to the entire party, of course, not just the time I’m hosting. It starts at noon today and goes through Sunday. There’s a link to the party on my Facebook wall.

So come, play fun games with me,  chat with the authors, and WIN! You could win an Amazon gift card and buy a present for yourself. Sounds good to me.

A Very Austen Anthology, Angels and demons, Book promos, Christian Fiction, Christian romance, Clean Romance, Darcy and Elizabeth, Photo shoots, Pride and Prejudice, Robin Helm's books, Spiritual warfare, Writing Life

New covers!

I have long wished to rebrand my first six books by having professional, new covers. I commissioned new covers for The Guardian Trilogy a few months ago, and I couldn’t be more pleased with the new look. I made the original covers myself, and I had never been truly satisfied with them. Xander deserved the cover picture, and now he has it. All is right in the angel world. Guardian Trilogy_Ebook

Once I saw the difference in the way my Guardian books looked, I had to do the same for my Yours by Design series. I know I really should wait until I have all three covers done before I reveal the new cover for Accidentally Yours: Yours by Design, Book 1. However, I am an impatient woman, and the new cover is just too beautiful to hide for several more weeks. The new cover for the second book, Sincerely Yours: Yours by Design, Book 2 is already finished. I’m simply waiting for the final files. My designer just told me she’d send them this weekend.

Accidentally Yours - 3D

I am way beyond excited!

Isn’t that cover lovely? Both photos are of my younger daughter. The modern photos were made by Trevor Sullivan during her senior year of college, six years ago. Anna Beckham did the Regency photoshoot with Melanie in August at Rosewood on Country Club, a venue in Lancaster, South Carolina. Jennifer McCoy sewed the costumes – quite amazing since she lives in Texas, and we did everything through messaging.

Shoutout to Laura Hile. She inspired me by rebranding her Mercy’s Embrace series. In fact, her foray into professional covers when she published Darcy by Any Other Name convinced me to hire professional designers for Understanding Elizabeth and A Very Austen Christmas.

Go big, or go home. Right?

Angels and demons, Book promos, Christian Fiction, Christian romance, Clean Romance, Darcy and Elizabeth, Pride and Prejudice, Robin Helm's books, Spiritual warfare, Writing Life

Get a FREE ebook of Guardian!

Guardian, Book 1 of The Guardian Trilogy is FREE today through October 17.

Don’t miss your chance to read this paranormal romance which received 31 reviews and a 4.8 star rating on Amazon. Get your FREE ebook of Guardian HERE.

Guardian Book Cave

“Oh. My. Word. This was not what I had expected! This is an amazing story; I was fascinated to see how the spiritual world might be at work around us.It’s interesting to see the spiritual warfare that goes on in a person’s life unseen by human eyes.” – Candy Morton, Indie Jane

“An inspiring Pride and Prejudice adaptation, Guardian is a moving story with a perfect balance of depth and humor.” – Jakki Leatherberry, Leatherbound Reviews

Rating: 5 stars

“What an awe-inspiring and uplifting novel! It is hard for me to decide which I loved more: the Christian inspiration and faith that is reverently portrayed in this novel or the achingly beautiful romance! With scripture quotes and references peppered throughout the novel, there is much to be gained (spiritually and intellectually) from reading these pages. Robin Helm is extremely well-versed in the Bible and knows exactly what verse or scripture is needed to supplement her story!

“Poor Xander (Chief of All Guardian Angels) struggles with his new-found feelings of love, jealousy, and rage – especially when Elizabeth (his charge) becomes old enough to date teenage boys! I loved witnessing Xander lose his temper, betray his feelings, and fight his growing attachment to Elizabeth. As an angel, he knows he can have no relationship with her and he believes it would be a sin against God for him to love her.Helm

“Be prepared to be deeply moved by this riveting and radiant novel! And might I suggest having your credit card handy, because upon finishing Guardian, you are going to experience an all-consuming desire to start Soulfire!  I can hardly wait to see what happens next between Elizabeth, Xander, and Wickham!”

Meredith Esparza, Austenesque Reviews, Rating: 5 stars
Favorite Pride and Prejudice Variation/Alternate Path Award
Book promos

Mercy’s Embrace, Book 1, FREE

Don’t miss a chance to download Laura Hile’s So Rough A Course: Mercy’s Embrace, Book 1, Elizabeth Elliot’s story, FREE on Amazon September 14 – 16. ME BB

The other two books in the series, So Lively a Chase and The Lady Must Decide, are free on Kindle Unlimited, or $1.99 if you don’t subscribe to KU.

Laura, a very good friend of mine, as well as a favorite author, is on BookBub today. If you haven’t joined BookBub, and you love to read, you should head over there and sign up.

Another thought: if you don’t own a Kindle, you can download the Kindle app from the Google Playstore FREE. I read on my cell phone while I’m waiting in line, watching television, or stuck in traffic. I have several thousand books to choose from, because I constantly download freebies and KU books.

Happy reading!

A Very Austen Anthology

When My Characters Won’t Behave

More to Love, Maestro, & In My Dreams

When Laura Hile, Wendi Sotis, Barbara Cornthwaite, and I decided to collaborate on another anthology in our A Very Austen series, I began to write More to Love, thinking it would be my story in A Very Austen Valentine. Nope. Beckett, Darcy, and Elizabeth commandeered that rowboat and made it into an aircraft carrier.

More to Love line 4

Since More to Love would be too long to be my entry, I turned to Maestro as my story, but Mary, Alessandro Landini, and Thaddeus Beckett were determined to have a full-length book, too.

HONEYMOON

Now I’m writing In My Dreams for the anthology, and I am DETERMINED that it will not pass twenty thousand words. That’s a short story for me. I’m limiting my characters to Darcy and Elizabeth with a few servants.

IMD4