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Acquisition - MANSFIELD PARK AND MUMMIES by Jane Austen and Vera Nazarian


Norilana Books has acquired MANSFIELD PARK AND MUMMIES: Monster Mayhem, Matrimony, Ancient Curses, True Love, and Other Dire Delights, a hilarious and witty mashup parody of Jane Austen's classic novel in which Fanny Price must hold steadfast not only against the seductive charms of Henry Crawford but also an Ancient Egyptian Pharaoh, while Edmund attempts Exorcisms, Miss Crawford vamps out, Aunt Norris channels her inner werewolf, the Mummy-mesmerized Lady Bertram collects Egyptian artifacts, and Mansfield Park is a battleground for the forces of Ancient Evil and Regency True Love.

Publisher and author Vera Nazarian will herself pen this novel for the Curiosities imprint.

The title is scheduled for a trade paperback release in October, 2009.


Nice! I hope it does brilliantly well!
Thankee! It appears I am genuinely inspired by this silliness!

And you know what? I didn't think it would be, but writing a good truly funny, witty, appropriate parody is damn HARD!
Humor is much more difficult to write than most people assume :-)

And incidentally, you do it pretty darn well, mister! :-)
That sounds like a great book. Should be a fun read. How much of it is new material to make this work?

One side question on terminology though. Should you really term things an acquisition when you are doing it yourself? I'm just niggling picky about things like that.

hat sounds like a great book. Should be a fun read. How much of it is new material to make this work?

As far as new material, I've just recently seen it posted somewhere that the Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters is a 60/40 percent mashup with 60% Austen and the rest new material.

I am hoping to do something similar but much better integrated, so that as you are reading there isn't such a strong sense of Austen style suddenly disappearing and the story becoming someone else's. And that's the hardest part of the whole project -- not the humor, not the new plot, bu the seamless integration. Check out a snippet excerpt I posted here.

Fortunately I have a very good handle on "old-fashioned" style in my own writing.

One side question on terminology though. Should you really term things an acquisition when you are doing it yourself? I'm just niggling picky about things like that.

Good question! I think this situation might require unusual terminology, because although technically I am publishing my own work in this case, it is not exactly self-publishing. Norilana Books is a small independent publishing company that publishes other people's books primarily. I am NOT in the self-publishing business. so, yes, Norilana Books has acquired this title.

Another example: when Kelly Link publishes her own work with Small Beer Press (a perfectly fine and legitimate thing to do) such as Stranger Things Happen or Magic for Beginners, etc, it would still be considered an acquisition for the publishing house, and no one makes a point of saying all those books were self-published. Sure, they technically were, but at the same time they were acquisitions of Small Beer Press.

In short -- the publishing industry is in a huge state of flux right now, and the previously clear-cut terms are blurring. I don't "self-publish." I simply publish. 99% percent of my acquisitions are of works of other people. I treat my own work with the same consideration.

The fact that I decided I could do a better job of handling this title myself than bothering to submit it elsewhere, is purely a business decision.
I love the snippet. Thanks for posting it. I shall be purchasing a copy when it is available.

Sorry. The question of acquiring wasn't intended a dig. I just meant I wouldn't use the term acquired, for the same reason that I wouldn't use it for an inhouse editor doing an anthology for a small press. The press didn't acquire the book, since the publisher has had it in their control all along.

Oh, now that's cool! I'm glad you were serious about doing this one because it just sounds very neat.
At first I wasn't serious, and then I thought about it some more and got psyched! :-)
And I thank you ahead. :-) Seriously, you will enjoy it. I am giggling a WHOLE LOT as I'm writing.

Opening Chapter Excerpt - MANSFIELD PARK AND MUMMIES

Here is an opening snippet - enjoy!

MANSFIELD PARK AND MUMMIES by Jane Austen and Vera Nazarian

Chapter I

About three thousand years ago, an Ancient Egyptian Pharaoh, with infinite riches of his kingdom surrounding him, had the dubious luck to die, be embalmed, mummified and then sealed up in his great tomb among the sands of Lower Egypt, and to be thereby raised to the rank of eternity and, quite possibly, deity.

About thirty years ago Miss Maria Ward, of Huntingdon, with only seven thousand pounds and nary a kingdom or sand granule in sight, had the good luck to captivate Sir Thomas Bertram, of Mansfield Park, in the county of Northampton, and to be thereby raised to the rank of a baronet’s lady, with all the comforts and consequences of an handsome house and large income.

With the former, all Egypt mourned. With the latter, all Huntingdon exclaimed on the greatness of the match, and her uncle, the lawyer, himself, allowed her to be at least three thousand pounds short of any equitable claim to it. The deceased Pharaoh had two royal siblings who immediately benefited from his elevation to the Afterlife. Miss Maria Ward had two sisters to be benefited by her elevation -- not to the Afterlife, to be sure, but to the even grander state of AfterEngagement -- and such of their acquaintance as thought Miss Ward and Miss Frances quite as handsome as Miss Maria, did not scruple to predict their marrying with almost equal advantage. But whether three thousand or merely thirty years ago, there certainly are not so many men of large fortune in the world as there are pretty (and decidedly unmummified) women to deserve them.

(continued on next comment)

Re: Opening Chapter Excerpt - MANSFIELD PARK AND MUMMIES

(Continued from previous comment)

While the venerable Pharaoh mummy continued to desiccate in secret splendor for thousands of years, far into the future, our Maria’s one sister, Miss Ward, at the end of half a dozen years, found herself obliged to be attached to the Rev. Mr. Norris, a friend of her brother-in-law, with scarcely any private fortune, and the other, Miss Frances, fared yet worse. Miss Ward’s match, indeed, when it came to the point, was not contemptible: Sir Thomas being happily able to give his friend an income in the living of Mansfield; and Mr. and Mrs. Norris began their career of conjugal felicity with very little less than a thousand a year. But Miss Frances married, in the common phrase, to disoblige her family, and by fixing on a lieutenant of marines, without education, fortune, or connexions, did it very thoroughly. Short of marrying the mummy of a deceased ancient Egyptian pharaoh, she could hardly have made a more untoward choice. But, speaking of mummies, dear Reader, we are getting somewhat ahead of ourselves --

Sir Thomas Bertram had every intention -- from a general wish of doing right, and a desire of respectability -- to gladly assist Lady Bertram’s sister in her relative destitution. But her husband’s profession was such as no interest could reach; and before he had time to devise any other method of assisting them, an absolute breach between the sisters had taken place. It was a breach of tremendous proportions, a crevasse, a grand canyon, or possibly, a pyramid of sorts -- a truly monstrous and rather angular coldness, or maybe a heat, but most likely a thing lukewarm and therefore utterly indifferent, as though brought forth out of the grave, spurred on by royal dead ancients. It was the natural result of the conduct of each party, and such as a very imprudent marriage almost always produces. To save herself from useless remonstrance, Mrs. Price never wrote to her family on the subject till actually married. Lady Bertram, who was a woman of very tranquil feelings, and a temper remarkably easy and indolent -- one might say, placid to the point of being simultaneously deceased and yet walking upright -- would have contented herself with merely giving up her sister, and thinking no more of the matter; but Mrs. Norris had a spirit of activity, not to mention a vaguely wolfish streak, which could not be satisfied till she had written a long and angry letter to Fanny, to point out the folly of her conduct, and threaten her with all its possible ill consequences -- palsy, the poor house, rabid creature bites, the cut complete. Mrs. Price, in her turn, was injured and angry; and her bitter answer to her sisters put an end to all intercourse between them for a considerable period.

Their homes were so distant, and the circles in which they moved so distinct -- Lady Bertram, for instance was always surrounded by Egyptologists, famous exotic doctorate-endowed visiting professors du jour, and attended instructional lectures that would have bored the other to tears -- as almost to preclude the means of ever hearing of each other’s existence during the eleven following years, or, at least, to make it very wonderful to Sir Thomas that Mrs. Norris should ever have it in her power to tell them, as she now and then did, in an angry wolfish voice, that Fanny had got another child and it was neither bitten by anything wild nor stunted in limb or brain development. By the end of eleven years, however -- a mere blink of an instant to a drying mummy, but quite a different matter to a robust living female; but oh, mustn’t get ahead of ourselves -- Mrs. Price could no longer afford to cherish pride or resentment, or to lose one connexion that might possibly assist her. A large and still increasing family, an husband disabled for active service, but not the less equal to company and good liquor, and a very small income to supply their wants, made her eager to regain the friends she had so carelessly sacrificed....

. . .
Oh how fun!
Norilana Books

July 2013



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