Archive | November, 2011

Interview with Eirlys Penn, Austen crafter at Scrapiana.com

30 Nov

Austenites,

Today’s interview comes straight from Bath!

I love her bio: Eirlys Penn once worked in literary publishing but ran away to retrain in soft furnishings. She now combines her loves of reading, writing and creating from discarded textiles in the beautiful city of Bath. More information at www.scrapiana.com.

I asked a few questions, and she responded in a wonderful guest blog format! See what she has to say:

From Eirlys Penn:

I love Jane Austen. But in a low-key way. In fact, I’m not at all sure I’d pass the interview to become a proper Austenite. I don’t, for instance, attend much (if any) of the annual Jane Austen Festival in my hometown, though my heart is always lifted by the chance sighting of a fan in costume, particularly if she is fishing a mobile phone from her reticule, or wheeling a pastel suitcase behind her. I studied Pride and Prejudice at school as a teenager and adored it, vicariously thrilled by Lizzie’s independence of spirit and wit, as any self-respecting teenage girl should be. I whisked through Austen (all too briefly) when I read English at Oxford a few years later (or rather, failed to read English … I was fairly dismal at getting through the reading lists), and finally arrived quite late at Persuasion just a couple of years ago. I’m glad I waited. It’s a novel with a mature theme of disappointment, life compromises made, etc, and I was definitely ready to identify with Anne by then (I probably wouldn’t have been as a young woman). Anne’s wait is so long, so unbearably poignant. And, when I reached that letter from Wentworth which sets the novel tilting finally towards hope … My goodness! How powerful that is, and what a huge relief.

 

Half agony craft

And that’s when the idea for the ‘I am half agony, half hope’ labels hit me. I’d been selling shorter labels saying simply ‘I love you’ which people were buying to sew into Christmas gifts for loved ones (who wouldn’t welcome a pair of socks with ‘I love you’ labels sewn inside? Or a beautiful vintage garment with one cross-stitch-applied ‘I love you’ label at the neck?), and I thought how romantic it would be, if you happened to be in love with a fan of Jane Austen, to give them an object sporting this label which would almost do the work of proposing for you. Almost.

Half-agony labels

Just before I came to live in Bath 8 years ago I read a wonderful Austen biography by Carol Shields which dented my illusions slightly because it explained that Jane hadn’t had a good time here at all. The city was a busy, bustling place, designed for showing off and socialising, and not able to supply the peace, quiet and opportunities for reflection which Jane needed in order to write. Her output duly dried up, though the experience must have gifted her much raw material in the form of social observation. Odd to think that even the buildings then would have jarred; when new they were dazzlingly bright in the sunshine, not the mellow, honeyed hues we think of today. Jane managed to escape the city, though, with regular walks to places such as Charlcombe, just north of the city. There is still an ancient church there today: St Mary’s, to which the novelist Henry Fielding eloped several decades before Jane was in Bath. I’d recommend any fan of Jane to bring walking boots and seek out that ancient, romantic little church (you can always take a bus up the worst part of the hill) as it’s still a magical semi-rural place of peace.

 

Bath is a small city of just about 80,000 people today. A recent poll by a travel magazine ranked it as Britain’s most litter-free city (a curiously prosaic accolade) and the UK’s 3rd most popular (also the kind of faint praise which would have amused Jane). It’s really more of a large town than a city, though it’s got small helpings of almost all I really need or want. The hardened metrophile might find it a slightly restricting fit, but after many years in London I found it pleasantly cosy. London is so very huge, so full of hassle, and all its offerings strung so far apart and relatively inaccessible. Bath’s compactness feels friendly and convenient in comparison, built to human scale. After all, you can walk from one side of the city to the other in a couple of hours. It’s a lovely place to bring up children (I have two school-age sons); there are, for instance, about 30 different museums which tend to work hard on their child-appeal. Planning restrictions minimise new, insensitive building, so the period character of the place is pretty much intact; I can still round a corner and feel time melting away by 200 years. The city’s also surrounded by hills, so one of the joys of being here is that you can always see distant tree-topped hills – in full leaf or perhaps under snow – signposting the seasons. And turning a trowel in a Bath garden invariably lifts shards of blue-and-white china, which I save like buried treasure. Aren’t they magical?

Shards from Bath

Shards from Bath

Which brings me to Scrapiana, a whimsical combination of my interests in making (mostly using discarded textiles), collecting historic sewing artifacts, and writing about a mixture of the two. ‘Scrapiana’ would have been a word Jane knew as it was a late 18th century term for literary scraps or cuttings. It struck me as a wonderfully grandiose name for the compilation and reworking of textile scraps, too, and I’ve extended it (at least in my own mind) to mean the most elegant re-use of overlooked and unloved material leftovers. Besides selling items I’ve made, I source all sorts of old and traditional-style sewing aids and whimsies. I’ve also begun to teach sewing classes, which is the greatest fun; my current favourite is strawberry needle emeries, a traditional sewing box item which (again) Jane would have recognised, especially if made in their original red satin. I’m sure Jane, who was an accomplished needlewoman, would have sharpened her needles with something very similar.

Thanks Eirlys! This is so interesting and makes me want to break out my crafts 😀

The Adventures of Mini Jane returns!

29 Nov

Lovely Austenites,

I’ve neglected my fun duties for far too long. I bring you Jane again! I have tons of photos of her on my phone, and I’ll start posting regularly.

Today, she’s surveying my living room for an adventure.

Jane Austen surveys the living room

Jane is looking for some fun in a messy room.

VJA successes and some updates

29 Nov

Austenites!

I haven’t written a post in awhile to thank you for all of your fabulous support. Vicariously Jane Austen regularly draws more than 100 views per day, with some as high as 172 or 188. Many of the posts pull in dozens of Facebook and Tweet shares, and I regularly receive mail about the site. Thank you so much.

Can you believe that I initially doubted the success of the site or my ability to keep it going? As a journalist, I fully believe in updating content daily, but it has been a huge job for me to cover while maintaining a full-time job and other tasks.

But don’t worry, VJA isn’t going anywhere. I’m having tons of fun posting the interviews and other topics. Speaking of which, to make the site more accessible, I changed around the navigation bar a bit this weekend. As you can see, now all of the past VJA interviews are available on one page, and I’ll add more about Austen and her books soon. I also created a tab for the Austen fantasy team so players can find each post. I’ll create additional sections in the future as the site expands.

For ongoing posts, I pledge to bring back the fun Twitter questions and the mini Jane series that features the figurine I have. I fell behind a bit as Thanksgiving approached, but I’m ready to bring those back as we roll into December.

As I explained in my last post, I’m going to extend my National Novel Writing Month success by working on another book in December. This time, I’ll create a nonfiction one, more of a “how to” book called “31 Days to become a Jane Austen super fan.” I’ve started drafting ideas about what it means to be an Austenite, how Austen changes lives and how everyone can find their own Mr. Darcy.

I think I’ll have fun writing interactive chapters. I’ll post a few here and there in December, but I think I’ll ultimately debut the book in January once I complete it. It’s going to take a good bit of work, but I tend to write well on deadline pressure and support.

What do you think about the book? Post ideas below, and I’ll dedicate a chapter to you! I may even contact a few of you for quotes, sound good?

End of NaNoWriMo 2011 and plans for the future

29 Nov

So I did it! I won!

I’m sitting at 50,006 words now with my National Novel Writing Month quota. I realized Sunday night that the end of the month fell in the middle of the week and that I wouldn’t likely meet my goal if I didn’t tackle it then. I hadn’t written anything since my 12,000 dash the Sunday before, thanks to preparing for Thanksgiving weekend and then partaking in Thanksgiving with family.

But I cranked it out — about 15,000 words. I rounded out the end of the story and then moved back to the rising action, where I knew I had the most trouble. I added several scenes and found ways to link my previous ideas together. I’m feeling good about the way the story flows, and I hate it less than I did last week. Plus, it gave me a few ideas for two other novels that I plan to write in the coming months, which I consider a success in itself. First novels are hardly an outright success, but it’s about the writing habits and ideas that get you there. This one certainly needs a good bit of editing, but whose doesn’t after 50,000 words of forced writing?

I might return to it in a few months. It often helps to leave a piece of work alone for a bit and then go back to it with fresh eyes. With my journalism mentality, you knock an assignment out in one sitting and then turn it in. With this new mentality, you let the words roll around in your mind and you go back and take out a word here and add in a word there. I’ll get to that point.

For now, I want to keep the momentum going. If I was able to crank out 50,000 words without much change in my daily schedule, then I should be able to keep it up. If I want to take on freelance writing or novel writing as a career, this is often the way people do it — on the nights and weekends after a job that pays the bills.

So here we go. Here’s my pact. I’m going to write another book during December. I think I’m going to tackle a nonfiction subject this time to give the creative muscles a bit of a break and work on my journalism muscles once more. I miss them.

Anyone else in it with me? Once again, I’m going for quota, but I’ll be focusing on quantity more as well. The project idea? A “how to” book called “31 Days to become a Jane Austen super fan.” I think I’ll have fun writing interactive chapters about what it means to be a fan, and I’ve learned a good bit about Austenites in just the past few months that I’ve had this site rolling.

Speaking of, check out the next post for what I have in mind in regards to this site. Yay for two months at this domain, still going strong!

Interview with Kim Izzo, author of the Jane Austen Marriage Manual

28 Nov

Austenites,

Kim IzzoI hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving, if you celebrate. I had a long weekend of not posting much, so I bring you a fresh post with Kim Izzo, author of The Fabulous Girl’s Guide to Decorum and The Fabulous Girl’s Guide to Grace Under Pressure. She also has a forthcoming book, the Jane Austen Marriage Manual.

I hope you enjoy! With November coming to a close, I have some great ideas for December and January as far as posts go. I hope you’ll tune in and let me know what you think.

The Fabulous Girl's Guide to Grade Under PressureCarolyn Crist: What sparked you to pursue publication as an author?

Kim Izzo: I think this was a lifelong dream. I always wanted to write fiction/novels and screenplays for movies. Journalism was something I fell into and it snowballed. So I see my novel as finally fulfilling my childhood/teenage and young woman dreams!

 

 

Carolyn: What ideas led to your forthcoming book, the Jane Austen Marriage Manual?

The Jane Austen Marriage ManualKim: I found myself on the eve of my 40th birthday and looked around my life and wasn’t where I wanted to be. My family home had been sold due to financial difficulties in my family, I was without a steady job and in a relationship that wasn’t making me happy. I felt a renewed kinship to many an Austen heroine and lamented to friends that I wish I’d just married a wealthy man when I was younger and had the chance! It was a joke at the time but the more I thought about it, the more I wondered if at 40, I was too old, if indeed marrying “well” was an option! So I thought it was a fun idea for a fictional character to pursue this notion of “How old is too old to marry well?” My character, a journalist, gets an assignment to see if Austen’s “rules” can still apply to modern women. Set in the recession my character, Kate Shaw, embarks on a globe hopping journey to track down and marry a rich man. Did I mention The Jane Austen Marriage Manual is a romantic comedy? It is!

 

Carolyn: What intrigues you about Jane Austen?

Kim: Her wit and insight into the social codes of male and female relationships as well as those of family and society as a whole. And the fact that all of her wit and insights have lost nothing over time and are as timeless and applicable to today’s social mores as in her day.

 

Fabulous Girl's Guide to DecorumCarolyn: Also, tell us a bit about The Fabulous Girl’s Guide to Decorum and The Fabulous Girl’s Guide to Grace Under Pressure — what sparked you to start these books?

Kim: I was raised by my English grandmother, so you can imagine that I was raised with a definite importance placed on manners. As I became a twenty-something single woman I saw that many, many women and men did not share these values and that civility was not what it should be. Basically, I saw enough bad manners that I had to comment on it. When my co-author and I began to write about it, first as a column in The Globe and Mail, Canada’s national newspaper and then in the books, we had no idea what a nerve we’d strike! But it remains a great topic!

 

 

Carolyn: How do you support yourself financially while writing?

Kim: I’m the deputy editor/beauty director at a national magazine called Zoomer. So my journalism keeps a roof over my head but writing fiction too means I don’t have much of a social life!  Having said that I recently became engaged so that’s not always true! LOL.

Kim, thank you so much! This is great, and we can’t wait to see the Jane Austen Marriage Manual.

Austen fantasy week five: The Jane Austen franchise

27 Nov

Everywhere I look, I see blogs, products and ideas based on Austen and her novels. Since I started this website, I see even more. I’m basing this week’s fantasy topic on this idea.

This is the fifth week of Jane Austen fantasy! Can you believe we’ve come this far?

Everyone should name their five characters for the week on the previous post. The fifth scenario is below.

You get points for whoever you play. When you post your response to the scenario, you can use anyone in the scene, even if you didn’t play them from your team.

You have all week to pose your response. By next Saturday, when you post your next five players, I probably won’t pick the winning scene and tally the points. Ha ha. You know I’ll probably wait until Sunday.

Here’s the point system to keep in mind and then the scenario below.

The scoring system:

5 points per character that you play each week that I use in the scene

10 points if you respond to the weekly scene

15 points if a character you played “wins” in the weekly scene

20 points if I pick your response for the weekly scene

I’m trying something a bit different this week (as usual?), thanks to all of the awesome stories that came from the last post! It makes me want to start a club where we all learn to be more accomplished. I definitely need to take a few lessons myself.

Anyway, as I mentioned above, I see Austen everywhere. Let’s use this as inspiration for this week’s stories. Use a craft, product, spinoff novel, song, movie or anything Austen-inspired to be a part of your scene, and let’s see where it goes!

For example, maybe you see an Austenesque commercial or movie on TV. You could write a scene that involves the movie itself, the actors who are in the movie, or what Austen thinks about the movie and other spinoffs.

For the sake of naming players, these characters can be in this week’s scene: the Dashwood sisters, the Bennet sisters, the Tilneys and Col. Fitzwilliam (several people have played him the last few weeks, and I have still yet to use him!)

I like opening up these scenes to interpretation and seeing what fabulous and unique pieces you produce.

Usually, there must be a “winner,” so this week, perhaps the winner can be what product or inspiration you use. We’ll see how it goes 🙂

Goooo!

Austen fantasy week four: Winners and doing it all again

27 Nov

Each week of Jane Austen fantasy just gets better and better! There were five incredible stories, so go read them. I was amazed by each one and how creative they were. You guys should be so proud of your work, and it’s tougher each time to pick a winner!

In the end, I chose Mary’s as the winning scene because I couldn’t stop chuckling. It was quite clever throughout. I love that you used the quote from Pride and Prejudice about accomplishments – it was the exact one I was thinking of when writing the idea.

I also love that the “real requirement for membership was a hearty sense of humor, including the ability to laugh at themselves.” Isn’t that why we love Elizabeth and what we all want in the end? I also enjoyed: “Mr Darcy had finally learned to laugh at himself” and the ladies’ fun gatherings, such as the “excursion to a local place of interest that was really not interesting at all, or a ball with a crazy dress code.” I would love to be a part of this society. The men’s initiation rites were hilarious, and I love the last line — the Darcy made a “vow to himself to find more gentlemen to invite into the club so he wouldn’t be faced with a house full of women every year.” Plus, who doesn’t like a story in which Mr. Darcy wins? (By the way, that gave 15 extra points to Nicole and Irene who played Darcy this week, so you should like that, too!)

As usual, I couldn’t help but give extra points. I gave 10 to Cinta for tying the battle between Anne and Fanny to the Sisterhood, 20 to Kirk for using his idea of the Sisterhood, and 20 to Irene for a clever look behind the Sisterhood and using a Fight club quote.

Check out the points below. It’s so close, and it’s crazy how the different point totals have landed three of you in a tie for third place. It’s still anyone’s game, for sure. You guys are amazing, and I love the stories. I wish I could afford to send everyone the top prize!

Don’t forget to pick your 5 players for week five! Instructions are below.

—-

The scoring system:

5 points per character that you play each week that I use in the scene

10 points if you respond to the weekly scene

15 points if a character you played “wins” in the weekly scene

20 points if I pick your response for the weekly scene

—-

Here are the point totals for this week:

Nicole: 145

Cinta: 140
Kirk: 130
Irene: 130
Mary: 130
Sarabeth: 70
Rebekah: 25
Karen: 20
Andrea: 15
Alysa: 10
Jen: 10
Susan: 5
Betsy: 0
Life in Labels: 0

Now it’s time to put your team in for week five.

In a few minutes, I’ll post the next scenario. Week after week, I continue to post this on Sunday. I guess it’s a tough habit to break.

You’re playing for a leather-bound copy of Austen’s works, which I will buy and ship during the week of Christmas!

Interview with Raquel Sallaberry Briao, author of the Jane Austen em Portugues site

25 Nov

Austen fans,

Today I’m interviewing Raquel Sallaberry Brião, who runs the Jane Austen in Portuguese blog. She lives in São Paulo, Brazil. She is retired but continues to work at home with her handmade journals and bijous/crafts, most of them inspired by Jane Austen heroines.

Her virtual shop: Antiguinha

Her blogs: Jane Austen em Português and Lendo Jane Austen

Her Biblioteca Jane Austen is on standby to switch platform next year.

Carolyn Crist: Why did you start your web site?

Raquel SallaberryRaquel Sallaberry Brião: One day, in 2008, I was looking for some text in Portuguese about Jane Austen and I found nothing relevant. So I thought: if the Jane Austen Brazilian domain (.br) were available I could write about Jane. The domain was available and I started writing and searching slowly until I realized that there were more people interested in the same subject than I could imagine.

From then on I have started to write more often and there is a rare day that I do not write a line at least.

 

Carolyn: What do you like about Jane Austen?

Raquel: I like a lot of things in Jane Austen’s works. But what I like most is her caustic, and yet elegant, humor. I love Mr. Darcy because my good opinion too, once lost, is lost forever and Mr. Collins is the absolute owner of my good humor. I fell in love with Henry Crawford. It is beyond my control! I’m fascinated by the frankness of Persuasion’s narrative, one example is poor Dick Musgrove. Well, I could write a book about being so fond of Jane Austen!

 

Carolyn: How do you come up with original and new content for your web site?

Raquel: There is vast content about Jane Austen in English and I try not to translate everything because it would be impossible, but I try to tell to Brazilian readers what is going on about Jane in the English world. And the most important part is I read the novels, watch the movies and then I write about them giving my opinions and my doubts, sharing them with my readers, who in turn suggest other matters.

 

Carolyn: How do you bring people to your website?

Raquel: I write every day and, when it is appropriate, I add my opinion on the the subjects, most of them are from English that I translate small bits of the text. I always reply to my readers’ comments. I am very proud of my regular readers, they are smart and good humoured in their comments.

I do almost nothing in addition to publicize on Twitter and Facebook. I think the Mountain View’s people like me and always find my Jane’s Blog!

 

Carolyn: Do a lot of fans like to read about Jane Austen in Portuguese?

Raquel: Yes, a lot of people from Brazil and from Portugal, too. I have observed that many of them first know the movies – at least the new generation. Soon, after seeing the movies, they look for more information and then they discover the books and how wonderful they are!

Thanks for sharing, Raquel! Your work is an inspiration.

Interview with Barbara Tiller Cole: Fitzwilliam Ebenezer Darcy

24 Nov

Happy Thanksgiving, Austen lovers!

I bring a special treat as you dig into a delicious casserole and turkey. I’m interviewing Barbara Tiller Cole, right in time for the holidays. On Halloween, she released Fitzwilliam Ebenezer Darcy, which is a Pride and Prejudice meets A Christmas Carol crossover story.

Darcy has fallen into self-loathing and despair when he believes that he has lost forever the chance to marry the only woman he has ever loved—Elizabeth Bennet. Seeing her son in such a state, the Ghost of Anne Darcy reaches out to him, informing him that three ghosts would visit him and give him hope.

Barbara Tiller Cole is an Atlanta native (same as me!) and the author of White Lies and Other Half Truths. The time around, her novel is a combination of the best of her two favorite authors, Jane Austen and Charles Dickens.

Barbara has generously offered a giveaway with this post! In the comment section below, write about the crossover story you’d love to do. Would you fuse a Jane Austen tale with another author’s, and which stories would you use? Post by Dec. 1, and I’ll announce the winner!

Carolyn Crist: What sparked you to pursue publication as an author?

White LiesBarbara Tiller Cole: Beginning to write and pursing publication were actually two separate inspirations. As far as writing goes, my husband is a professional writer, and has been writing since he was18, when he was on the night desk writing obits for his home town newspaper. He was a combat correspondent in Vietnam, and then a CLEO award winning creative director in the advertising business. But he is SO talented that I wanted him to use his talents to write a book. He said he didn’t think he had the time to do it.

So I began writing after hours and on the weekends to prove to him that it could be done no matter how much time he might have. I finished a book but didn’t know that I would ever have the courage to publish it. Then it came to a point when we needed the extra income. So the inspiration to publish was kind of a boring one. We needed extra money.

 

Carolyn: What ideas led to your books, especially a story about Darcy?

Fitzwilliam Ebenezer DarcyBarbara: As far as the inspiration to write Jane Austen inspired works, it began with Colin Firth and the 1995 A&E Mini Series. I might as well say that I am an obsessed fan. Colin led me to discovering Pride and Prejudice fan fiction. I started reading incomplete stories and found myself writing the ending in my head. I discovered I had some pretty creative ideas and eventually decided to try to put one to paper. Fitzwilliam Ebenezer Darcy is my second book. My parents were also part of my inspiration. My father would read A Christmas Carol each holiday to the family, and my mother inspired me to improve my mind by extensive reading, aka Jane Austen style. The idea for putting the two together actually happened in 2008 while I was watching the Bill Murray version of A Christmas Carol, Scrooged.
Buy it on Amazon — Fitzwilliam Ebenezer Darcy: ‘Pride and Prejudice’ meets ‘A Christmas Carol’

 

Carolyn: What characters draw your attention?

Barbara: I have long been a person who likes to observe intricate characters. I don’t know that I have ever been as wrong in my judgement of someone as Elizabeth Bennet was in Pride and Prejudice when she first attempted to make out the character of Fitzwilliam Darcy. Perhaps I have. But the more intricate the character the more I enjoy studying them. Fitzwilliam Darcy is by far my favorite character in all of Austen’s literature. I enjoy studying Colonel Brandon, George Knightley and Captain Wentworth as well. I enjoy the characters of Elizabeth Bennet, Emma, and Eleanor Dashwood the most among the female heroines of the stories. If I had a favorite villain, I guess it would be Willoughby, as I don’t know that he was really a villain just a coward.

 

Carolyn: What intrigues you about Jane Austen?

Barbara: I guess what intrigues me the most is that she took aspects of herself and put them into her characters, without the characters truly becoming her. I love the fact that she was successful as a writer in a time when women were to keep to the drawing rooms and net purses and cover screens. She, like her character Elizabeth Bennet, was determined NOT to do that. I find it sad that in her own determination not to marry except for the deepest love, that she never did. But if she had, I would suspect that we would not have her writings today.

 

Carolyn: How do you support yourself financially while writing?

Barbara: I am a therapist, currently in clinical management. I travel a lot currently for my job, and time alone in hotel rooms allows me the freedom to write undisturbed. It also gives me the money to pay my bills. If I was ever granted the success in my writing to be able to quit working I am not completely sure that I would. I like having a full and well rounded life. But it would be wonderful if I did not HAVE to work.

Thanks, Barbara! It has been fabulous getting to know you, and we can’t wait to see what else you contribute to the Austen world.

Interview with Jen Karsbaek, author of Devourer of Books blog

23 Nov

Austenites,

I have some great interviews lined up for the next few days to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. I hope you enjoy!

Today’s interview is with Jen Karsbaek, who operates the book review blog Devourer of Books at http://www.devourerofbooks.com.

Carolyn Crist: What sparked you to start your website, and what keeps you going?

Jen Karsbaek: Basically I wanted another outlet to talk about books, I felt that most of the people in my life were getting slightly tired of hearing about what I was reading and I thought that perhaps the internet would care. Turns out, the internet did care, and it wanted to tell me about everything IT was reading too! Win-win.

 

Carolyn: What interests you the most about book reviewing?

Jen: I am very much an external processor, so I always understand my own feelings about a book much better after talking or writing about it; the process of writing a review helps me engage with the author much better than if I just read it and move on. Also, I have OPINIONS and I like to share them.

 

Carolyn: How do you continue to find intriguing books and content to post on each day?

Jen: Well, I receive far more books than I could ever possibly read from publishers and authors, so it is mostly sorting through what I have and seeing what appeals, but I also read publisher catalogs to learn about upcoming books. I also find out about exciting new stuff from Twitter and other book blogs.

 

Carolyn: What types of characters do you like the most?

Jen: My favorite characters are the ones who are just flawed enough. Basically, they need to seem like real humans so that the reader can relate to them.

 

Carolyn: How do you support yourself financially while blogging?

Jen: I have a regular day job.

 

Carolyn: And tell us a bit about marketing and promotion of your site, if you don’t mind. A few early bloggers (myself included) are sorting through all that is Twitter, e-mail subscriptions and Facebook.

Jen: I don’t really look at it as promoting my site, but I do want to make it easy for people to read my blog (posting links on Facebook and Twitter, making RSS subscription options simple), and I take the opportunity to introduce myself to new readers whose tastes might overlap with mine whenever possible. It is important to be genuine and social, if you are on a social media platform simply for promotion people can tell and you are not going to be successful in engaging them.

Thanks, Jen! I’m looking forward to your upcoming reviews.