Unveiling The Dark Jane Austen Book Club

New projects make my heart glad.


I’m excited, giddy, and a bit nervous…Okay, I’m very nervous because I want the whole world to like this new project.


But before I tell you what this project is, let me fill y’all in on the back story a bit.


A Brief History:


This project started with a tweet. A small insignificant tweet that grew into a flurry of direct messages, then budded into Skype chats, coffee sessions, and finally it has blossomed into something beautiful.


Drum roll please……….


I proudly introduce y’all to…..


The Dark Jane Austen Book Club

Do you find Jane Austen’s writing beautiful, but think it would even better with a few zombies, vampire, and werewolves?

Then, The Dark Jane Austen Book Club is for you!

Do you secretly wish to find a group or start a group that discusses both the classic works of Austen along with the monster parodies?

Then, The Dark Jane Austen Book Club is for you!

So, take a hop, skip, and a jump over to The Dark Jane Austen Book Club. Don’t forget to pack your sword and crossbow, zombies are roving about the countryside over there.

You can also follow us on Twitter @DarkJaneAusten

Dear Harry Potter, My Farewell in Haiku

1- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secretsphoto © 2003 Colin Zhu | more info (via: Wylio)

Banned from Christian homes,

I read without care in the

Restricted section.



First impressions can

Be wrong, dear Mister Potter,

Exercise with care.



Ever envious

Was I of the shocking red

Hair of the Weasley’s.



Being a book nerd

Was cool again, Hermione

Could out search Google.



Being misunderstood

Comes with being a leader,

Harry, friends remain.



Harry taught me well.

Of magic, owls, and friendship

But mostly friendship.




Seven books, all good

Read and savored with great glee

Ended much too soon.

For the Love of Mr. Darcy

If I could live in the world of Pride and Prejudice, I would. No questions asked, but of course, I am assuming that I would be in the roll of Elizabeth Bennet. Why? Two words…Mr. Darcy. Large house I don’t have to clean, elegant manners, and at the end of the book, incredibly eloquent.

But this does make me wonder:

Does Mr. Darcy offer an impossible standard for guys to live up to?

What do you think? I’m working on a new series of posts and your answer will greatly help guide the discussion.

Women Writing Well



Today’s post is my first vlog attempt. Please be kind!

I mentioned several books that you may want to add to your collection. So, here are the necessary links to Amazon so you can purchase copies for yourself.

Sandra Bost’s book Massanutten Mansion

Rachel Held Evans’s book Evolving in Monkeytown

Anne Jackson’s book Permission to Speak Freely

What I am Reading for 2011

I LOVE books, reading, literature…ALL of it!

Just in case you didn’t know this already…I never like to assume anything about my dear readers…


For 2011, I have decided to make a list of books that I need to read…have started and stopped…wished I had read earlier…and some classic books that I want to read again because I love them….

Without further eloquence…the 2011 reading list:

  1. Sapphique by Catherine Fisher…this is the sequel to Incarceron which I read last year.
  2. The Brothers Karamanzov by Fyodor Dostoesvsky…again, one I have tried to read many times. This year, I am getting through it!
  3. Mad Church Disease by Anne Jackson…loved Permission to Speak Freely
  4. A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf…I suspect I have Shakespeare’s sister syndrome
  5. Mysteries of the Middle Ages by Thomas Cahill…loved his Hinges of History series
  6. Troiluss and Cressida by Geoffrey Chaucer…in the Middle English! Why? Because I can!
  7. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte…can’t seem to fall in love with Heathcliff or finish the book
  8. On Writing by Stephen King…the I have been to read this but haven’t book
  9. Middlemarch by George Eliot…I will read this book if it kills me
  10. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy…I will finish, I will finish…
  11. The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis…I adore this man’s writings…

NOW…. For OLD favorites….

  1. Til We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis
  2. Pride and Prejudice…I live my life as a cliche sometimes
  3. Julian of Norwich’s Showings…I long to bathe in her soul-healing words
  4. The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer…yes, these are THAT funny

So, what is on your reading list for 2011? What new books will you read? Do you re-read old favorites?

1 Word+ 1 Word…

books in a stack (a stack of books)photo © 2007 Evan Bench | more info (via: Wylio)


And I don’t mean what little old ladies call soap operas on afternoon television…

I mean books, short stories, novels…the feel of the paper in my hand, the hardcover…or just the leather cover and plastic casing of my Nook.


Today is simply a reading day. I want to know what you are reading for the New Year…what books have graced your shelves as Christmas presents, books you have always wanted to read…

Question: What are YOU Reading?

Story of Faith

The bookphoto © 2009 Dave Heuts | more info (via: Wylio)

I love stories—the exposition, the rising action, the climax, the denouement. On cold Autumn nights, I like nothing better than to wrap up in some snugly pajamas and read a story. When I began studying literature in college and graduate school, I learned how to analyze, critique, and argue my interpretation of a literary piece. Always, delving into a magical story, filling my mind with characters, plot shifts, and myriads of fanciful locales. Story feeds my soul. Intrinsic to my love of stories is my faith. The two loves are so intertwined that I do not know where one begins or one ends.

My faith is based in story, a narrative of fairytale love, redemption, and salvation ending in grace. A romance of sorts, but this romance of faith filled story didn’t always read this way. I wish I could say that my faith and story remained rooted in simplicity, but it didn’t. Before the denouement, the rising action always muddies the waters, stirring up doubts and questions, critiquing the simplicity of faith. Doubts eat away at the purity of the faith story till I am left with mismatched pieces of the tale. Questions, doubts, all eroding the walls of certainty of faith. Somedays, I envy those who have a simple faith, who can believe without questions. I cannot. I must ask questions, struggle with doubt, and leave the faith narrative behind for awhile. But the trajectory of this story returns back to faith to its grace filled romance of salvation.

The return to faith can be credited to my love of story. When hurt deeply by the church, I turned to literature, to stories to fill the void left once my faith community had been ripped apart. Sometimes, the best Christians have never breathed a single breath, never walked a step on this earth, but their faith can be read more clearly than most people who fill a pew. I think of Jane Austen’s character Miss Bates in Emma whose wits are dull, radiates an unearthly kindness. Perhaps, I turn again Sidney Carton in A Tale of Two Cities who seemingly sacrifices himself for the better good of his love and her child. I see the faith story continue in T.S. Eliot’s poem Journey of the Magi or Aslan’s goodness. All live on the printed page of story, faith story—not one has really lived.

Maybe, this is the tragedy of the church’s faith story. Better Christians reside in the pages of novels, poems than on the church pews. Yes, perfecting a character out of written words is far easier than living out this faith, but shouldn’t we be more concerned that our faith story is distorted so no one can read it? Or worse, no one wants to read our faith story.

Update #AmazonFail

Amazon Kindle 2 Wireless eBook Readerphoto © 2009 goXunuReviews | more info (via: Wylio)

I am not a business person. My poor sense of the business world began when I dutifully sold wrapping paper for fundraisers, continued with a short-lived knife selling business, and ends with me going in a completely different career direction. Of course, the Girl Scout cookie sale will hopefully reinvent my business savvy—well-known product and super cute brown hair, blue eye girl asking people to buy cookies. Again, not likely, anyone will buy cookies because of my business skills. So, beware ANY business advice from me.

Having disclosed my lack of business savvy, I am updating y’all on my post #AmazonFail. Since the uproar last week over Amazon’s selling an e-book guide to pedophilia, I joined with other bloggers(read their blog posts here and here) demanding that Amazon remove this book from its e-book shelves. This was done. The official statement from Amazon lacked any real apology for this book—more legal pandering than substance, no plan for preventing another such e-book. Without a plan for preventing this mishap, it will happen again. I am hopeful that other online book retailers are also taking note of Amazon’s debacle and searching out any other e-books lurking in the shadows with a similar tenor. But rarely as a society do we learn from our mistakes. Am I surprised? No, Amazon is protecting its profits, its products, and its people. Like a child with its hand in the cookie jar, Amazon’s statement smacks of the “sorry I got caught” rather than a genuine apology.

As a boycott looms over Amazon during the Christmas season, I see the potential for independent booksellers to reap more of the holiday retail spending. While Amazon may promise cheaper books, independent booksellers have smaller inventories that I can easily browse, see their wares, and shop with relative confidence about their ethical platitudes. I can’t browse Amazon’s huge online store in its entirety, but a small bookstore browsing equals an enjoyable afternoon excursion. Perhaps, local booksellers can benefit from Amazon’s fiasco. While my shopping of Amazon was limited to graduate school readings, I do not foresee myself supporting this retailer in the future.

Question: What would it take for you to boycott Amazon or shop at Amazon again in the future? Are there any benefits from #AmazonFail?


Amazon Kindle 2 Wireless eBook Readerphoto © 2009 goXunuReviews | more info (via: Wylio)

When I first entered the Twitterverse, I learned quickly the value of the hashtag. The hashtag identifies a tweet with all sorts of others just like it—helps the tweeter to see what others have said on the subject. As I read my tweets today, one hashtag kept trending–#amazonfail. I thought nothing of it since I chalking the hashtag up to bad customer service; thus, allowing me to continue my Amazon shopping without much thought. But I was curious. Curious to see what the big “fail” was. Curious to see Amazon’s horrid sin that would cause such an uproar. So, before curiosity killed the proverbial cat, I began following the trend. In the self-published section of Amazon’s Kindle, a book detailing the safe ways to practice pedophilia is available for purchase. Yes, this is why a boycott of Amazon and the hashtag #amazonfail kept streaming through my Twitter feed. As mommy bloggers raise their collective voices against Amazon, I find myself at war between censorship and protecting the potential targets of pedophiles.

I dislike the thought of censorship because I am an advocate for free speech. But I have children and have friends with children. Somewhere, a child has suffered because someone followed the instructions in this ebook. This is where the tension lives for me—between the ability speak on subjects freely or protecting children. But free speech is a fickle creature that we have invented. Initially, freedom of speech protected us from our government’s silencing of its citizens—creating a discursive space in which we can openly discuss and disagree with government.

Now, a private company couches behind the freedom of speech amendment. Under free speech, Amazon defends its right to have published this book on pedophilia. Each customer should determine what he or she buys which negates the culpability of Amazon. Yet, the onslaught of negative reviews for this book were deemed inappropriate and removed. Amazon is not promoting free speech but free speech that protects the profits of Amazon. This interpretation of free speech blurs the lines between public sphere and private spheres. We hide behind the freedom of speech amendment when it suits our needs to make profit.

Even though I have spoken out against censorship, I believe more strongly in speaking up for those who cannot speak for themselves. For the children suffering in silence, for the potential victims. I know this is hypocritical, but I would rather err on the side of protecting innocents than always presenting a cohesive whole ideology. I choose to support other booksellers until Amazon takes this book off its website. Yes, this is a major #amazonfail.

What Are You Reading Wednesday?

Books of the Pastphoto © 2007 Lin Kristensen | more info (via: Wylio)

Sitting in my comfy blue recliner, sipping the lovely creamer rich coffee, reflecting upon the upcoming day–I have become more enamored with the quiet stillness of mornings. Chilly mornings always make me thankful for a warm bed and even more thankful for a large mug of coffee. For me, cold fall and winter mornings should be best spent snuggled up in a thick blanket, sipping coffee, and reading.

Today, I am reading Mary DeMuth’s book Thin Places. So far, her words are healing, beautiful, and filled with blessings.

Question: What are you reading today?