Sanditon coming to TV via Andrew Davies and PBS.

Per the Hollywood Reporter via (Lithub): “Sanditon, the unfinished Jane Austen novel written just months before the author’s death in 1817, is being adapted for TV.

Acclaimed screenwriter Andrew Davis (War & Peace, Les Miserables, Pride and Prejudice) is set to bring the book to life for ITV in the U.K. and PBS’ Masterpiece in the U.S., with Red Planet Pictures having been commissioned to produce the drama.”

Here is a link to the full article:


Jane Austen Society’s Young Filmmakers Contest. Free Entry & Deadline is Nov. 1, 2018.

Via JASNA: “The Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA) invites you to submit your short film (five minutes or less) to our second annual Young Filmmakers Contest.”

Entry is FREE.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE: Students at the high school, undergraduate and graduate-school levels (If you are graduating in spring 2018 but were a student during the 2017-18 academic year, you are still eligible.)

AWARDS: Judges will select up to three winners. A “crowd favorite” award will be bestowed on the favorite submission selected by JASNA Southwest members.


  • Cash prize ($250 for first place; $100 for second place; $50 for third place)
  • One-year free membership in JASNA
  • Screening at our December 2018 regional meeting, to be held at Sony Studios in Culver City, California
  • Screening of the winning videos on the JASNA and/or JASNA South-west website and our YouTube channelJudges will include film industry professionals as well as faculty from Southern California film schools. All juror decisions will be final.


    JASNA 2018 Young Filmmakers Contest • Questions? Email Erika Kotite at

More info. via the Link:

Good luck!

Literary Digression: Beauty Secrets from the Kitchen and Venture Magazine.

In 1995, my first short story was published when I was in graduate school at Suffolk University in Boston, MA, by its student publication: Venture.  Was called: “Beauty Secrets from the Kitchen.”  The story was about four, 20-something female friends sharing an apartment in a grungy house, in Lower Allston, a run down neighborhood of the city favored by artists and musicians.  Today is still populated by students and early 20’s denizens despite a lot of recent gentrification inroads.  Took the train out there often on the way to and from different job interviews to sit in cafes, wander, write and walk around soaking in the local color.

This story was a flashback and the narrator, one of the four roommates, was the writer of the group but all the “girls” were somewhat based on a combination of people I knew, observed, and had elements of myself included.  Ultimately one of the friends is murdered — in a wrong place wrong time, act of kindness situation — which was actually based on a true story.  Tragically in 1989 one of the members of our campus humor magazine and newspaper, was murdered on the way home from his job the summer after my freshman year, when I attended university (undergraduate) in New York.  Did not know him personally although he was a friend of people I knew and eventually befriended from the newspaper and publications I’d met my freshman year.  And dedicated this story in memory of him.

The editor of Venture that year was Jim, a poet and columnist from the Suffolk Journal, the campus newspaper where I volunteered between working and going to classes at night. Those offices were an anchor for me, because felt very adrift, much like the characters I was writing about.  And Jim gave my story a chance, while in general, was a kind and encouraging colleague, and one of the best people I’ve ever met that I could have an honest conversation with and agree to disagree with about my writing.

One of the characters in “Beauty Secrets” was obsessed with making homemade beauty products for the roommates in the kitchen.  Some of this was based on a couple of my older high school friends, who occasionally would rinse their hair with beer or mayonnaise.  In those pre-internet days it was difficult to obtain guidelines and sample issues from many small literary magazines.  Submitted “Beauty Secrets,” to a few places I thought via the attempted research, would accept reprints, without any luck.

Ended up writing a series of stories about this same narrator, one was a prequel of how the she found these friends and they moved in together, the others were sequels, describing how each girl melted down at the loss of their roommate and friend, and their belabored struggles to move on after her death.  Submitting this mini-collection was also difficult.  Wrote to a local editor who did these mini-short story books, paid my $5 for a sample which he sent me — they were some what different in the offbeat sense of the word, but not out of my league.  He rejected me which was not wholly unexpected, but he wrote a nasty comment on my returned cover letter — he said that my writing reminded him of the sports pages.  Sent back my sample/mini books and wrote: “I have no idea what you mean — I never read them.”  Of course he kept my money, and there was a grain of salt cliche lesson learned there, but on a completely different note —

These days I’m actually making some beauty products from the kitchen for little gifts. The shea butter melt as shown in the photo above is pretty popular.  Only small batches and the secret is patience, tenacity, and love — plus a lot of trial and error much like writing.

As for Venture,  this year the magazine is celebrating 50 years! More info. via the link.




Letter to Cassandra, Wed. 14–Friday 16, January 1801: “Poor Miss Austen!” & Mr. Austen’s Volumes (Books).

“Poor Miss Austen!–It appears to me that I have rather oppressed you of late by the frequency of my letters.  You had hoped not to hear from me again before tuesday, but Sunday shewed you with what a merciless Sister you had to deal.”  (Austen’s own spelling.)

Jane Austen gushes out of the gate, in this letter to her older sister Cassandra, still away at their brother Edward’s Godmersham estate in Kent.  Austen’s letter of their preparations to leave their home in Hampshire and relocate to Bath but not before citing Cassandra’s recent correspondence and news with a heavy dose of her wicked wit in a mocking teasing of her elder sister:  “Your letter to Mary was duly received before she left Dean with Martha yesterday morning & it gave us great pleasure to know that Chilham Ball was so agreeable & that you danced four dances with Mr. Kemble.–Desirable however as the letter circumstance I cannot help wondering at its’ taking place;–Why did you dance four dances with so stupid a Man?–why not rather dance two of them with some elegant brother-officer who was struck with your appearance as soon as you entered the room?”   (Austen’s own spelling.)

From here, Austen jumps to conveying wishes plus a shopping request: “…she has nevertheless desired me to as you to purchase for her two bottles of Steele’s Lavender Water when you are in Town; provided you should go to the Shop on your own account;–otherwise you may be sure that she would not have you recollect the request.”

The letter continues, to the appraisement and estimate many of the other Austens’ household items: “I understand however that he was of opinion that the whole would amount to more than two hundred pounds, & it is not imagined that this will comprehend the Brewhouse, & many other & c.”  Austen dutifully runs down the comings and goings and the negotiations that Mr. Austen and James are holding with prospective buyer, plus an update about their Bath relocation plans: This morning brought my Aunt’s reply, & most affectionately is its’ tenor.  She thinks with the greatest pleasure of our being settled in Bath; it is an event which will attach her to the place more than anything else could do, &c., &c.”

The letter then reverts back to various news and updates,  with a short mention of the problem of Mr. Austen’s books: “My father has got about 500 Volumes to dispose of; –I want James to take them at a venture at half a guinea a volume.”



Literary Digression, Bookstore Memories: WordsWorth Books in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a Harvard Square institution.

In 2004, WordsWorth books closed its doors in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  Was a wonderful indie bookstore, a true Harvard Square institution, located in a multi-level building that sort of bridged Brattle Street and Charles Square (square within a square). You walked up cement stairs to enter the store.  The stacks were always beautifully lit and the books artfully arranged despite space confines that would lead you on a path — but not in a large chain store way.

There was an aesthetic of literary cool here, as you browsed, and there was a bridge sort of between the nook of the building entrance, where you crossed over (outside in winter brr!) into the Annex on the other side of the building, where readings were held, and they had all sorts of wonderful greeting cards, wrapping paper, gift bags, and a nice curated selection of stationary and gifts.  The gift department was actually relocated into a separate store, and named WordsWorth Gifts. For awhile it remained, several doors down from the Harvard Co-op, and an indie gift shop called Black Ink in 2018, still remains open in its former location.

The WordsWorth children’s department also expanded into a separate location at the top of Brattle and JFK streets and it was christened: “Curious George Goes to WordsWorth.” This was a beautiful two level store, sort of like something you would see in a film, filled with picture books and toys — complete with little ones jogging around and rolling on the floor, and quieter lower level with chapter books for older readers, young adult and teens.  This store continued on after the closing of the main bookstore but eventually was sold and reorganized into what is now the Curious George Store, which remains open in Harvard Square.  The store is smaller now in square footage, but they carry a great selection of curated children’s books and toys as well as Curious George and Make Way for Ducklings tee shirts and onesies — worth a look wondering around Harvard Square.

Before the dawn of the internet, and Bookfinder(dot)com, I often went to WordsWorth to track down vintage or out of print children’s books for my younger cousin’s and family friends, and they assisted me on a few requests before they discontinued the service, and still really miss this store.