The Tale of Oat Cake Crag

Have you read any of the Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter? The Tale of Oat Cake Crag is the seventh in this series. Susan Wittig Albert kicked off her week-long blog book tour yesterday at Straight From Hel (you can still sign up for the drawing until noon). Today we’ll give you an overview of the rest of the week’s visits as well as some insights about how the tour was planned.

Susan’s fans will be following this tour and signing up for a book drawing each day, and also to be eligible for the grand prize if they sign in at each blog daily.

But they are not the only followers of this blog book tour. When Susan wrote her posts for each blog, she also considered any new readers and what their interests might be. On this blog, a post about the various aspects of a blog book tour would be appropriate. That’s what you’re reading right now. Here are some clues about what to expect on upcoming blogs:

Tomorrow (Wednesday), Susan visits The Blood-Red Pencil where the editors daily discuss all the many aspects of writing. So the post was crafted to explain the unusual Victorian narrative voice that the author employs in these Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter. It’s quite an intriguing concept, especially to the many writers who are fans of this blog.

Thursday, Lorna Barrett hosts the tour stop with her regular feature, Pet Peeves Thurday and you can bet Beatrix and her friends have a pet peeve in this seventh book in the series. Find out about it here and be sure to tell us your pet peeve.

On Friday, the Cozy Chicks host the final tour stop and you’ll learn that cozy mysteries (and their protagonists) might be a lot stronger than their cozy reputations lead us to believe. Beatrix Potter enchanted children with her delightful writing and illustrations, but she made history in another way, too. You can find out how by visiting the Cozy Chicks blog.

Do you have questions for Susan about writing a mystery series with a real-life heroine in the starring role? Please leave them here and she’ll be sure to answer them sometime today.

And don’t forget to sign up for the drawing to win an autographed copy of Oat Cake Crag by visiting the drawing page at http://cottagetales.com/blogtour/drawing_0914.php.

Check out the grand prize if you sign up for all five stops.

To buy a copy of the book, click here.

You can visit Susan at her Lifescapes blog for ongoing news about her books and life in the Texas Hill Country. Be sure to visit her often.

Congratulations to Betty S of Seabrook TX, who won Tuesday's BBT blog drawing! And if you haven't entered yet, today's drawing http://bloodredpencil.blogspot.com  will be open through Thursday noon.


Dani said...

Thanks for stopping by. This is a test of Blogger's new spam filtering system.

Erin Edwards said...

I like how Susan used real events from Breatrix Potter's life and the books she was working on at the time as inspiration and scenes for the plot of the books. I know she had to get permission to use the characters that Beatrix Potter created.

What kinds of permissions etc. did she have to be careful with regarding the person Beatrix Potter herself?

Is there a definition of when someone becomes famous enough that they are in the public realm?

Is there an amount of time that it's prudent to wait to do this with a famous person?

Such lovely books!

Patricia Stoltey said...

I've been a big fan of Susan's for a long time, but haven't yet read any of the Beatrix Potter series. Looks like I better get started if this is #7.

Good luck with the tour, Susan. I just posted this link to Facebook and Twitter.


susanalbert said...

Erin, persons (even literary people) can't be "copyrighted" or "owned" in the same way that intellectual property can be.

You can write about anyone, dead or alive. If the person is alive and you write untruths, you can be sued for slander/libel. If the person is dead, you're free to fictionalize her/him as you like. (You can't slander a dead person.) My concern with Beatrix Potter was in fairly and honestly portraying this complex woman--without alienating readers, some of whom idolize her.

There are many, many instances of fiction and drama based on real people. Bill (my husband) and I wrote a dozen Victorian/Edwardian mysteries using people like Lily Langtry, Winston Churchill, Rudyard Kipling, and so on.

Theres just life said...

Since you live in the Hill Country, I'm in the Piney Woods, how did you do your research on Ms. Potter for your books?
How did you research the Victorian settings?

susanalbert said...

Thanks for posting the link, Patricia. I'm glad you've enjoyed my books and hope you entered the drawing!

susanalbert said...

Erin, I'll try again. My reply to you either got eaten by the Blogger gods or it's stuck in an approval queue somewhere.

The short answer: you can use any historical figure in fiction (no permissions necessary). Since you can't slander a dead person, you're pretty much free to write whatever you think you can get away with.

Potter is a special case, since she is such a beloved character (many BP fans, fan clubs, a BP Society). So as I wrote, I needed to be conscious of her fans' understanding of her life and work. I also needed to be aware of her publisher's expectations, since Warne has right of approval over my manuscripts (the trade-off I made for use of the animal copyrights). So far, Warne has been enthusiastic about my portrayal of her, and her fans have approved. (This is a little different from the original comment, which may show up later.)

Dani said...

FYI, Blogger has a new spam filter that intermittently burps - lots of "service unavailable" today. Posts will enventually show up when they get things working again.

Thanks for your patience.


susanalbert said...

Theres, I've visited the Lake District four times since 1997, usually staying a week or two. So I've had time for good on-site research. You can see some of my photos online at www.cottagetales.com Each time, I've shipped back a carton of research materials to supplement what I've found online.

For Beatrix's life, I've relied on the work of three biographers. Linda Lear's book is the most recent: Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature. I'm personally acquainted with Linda and the other (living) biographer, Judy Taylor, and correspond with both. They've answered quite a few fact questions for me.

I have quite a lot of Victorian source material from the Robin Paige Victorian mysteries (12 of them) that Bill Albert and I wrote from 1994-2006. It's a period I'm reasonably familiar with.

Vickie said...

I've been a fan of Susan Wittig Albert since MISTLETOE MAN for a holiday challenge several years ago.
I've listened to three or four of the books from the Beatrix Potter series. I think my favorite aspect is the animal characters helping in their way to solve the mystery.

susanalbert said...

Vickie, I absolutely love the audiobook narration of the Cottage Tales. The reader, Virginia Leishman, is a Shakespearian actor--great British accent, and has an extraordinary range of voices for the animals. She is quite remarkable.

I do like using the animals, in unexpected ways, to help solve the mysteries. It's a way to vary the usual mystery formula and introduce some surprises--often smiley surprises (at least they seem so to me).

Jim and Karen Overturf said...

Your book is added to my reading list, Susan...

Karen Overturf

Anne Randolph said...

Love the several days of discussion of your writing. Anne

Natasha said...

No time better than the present to get the kids addicted to Beatrix Potter. And if I am to succeed in that, I may as well start by reading the Cottage Mysteries myself!

Anonymous said...

Wish I'd come in on this discussion earlier! Thanks to Sue for answering the questions (I was wondering the same things!). This looks like something I really need to pick up soon.

KK Brees said...

Susan, I'm constantly amazed at your literary output, your gardening, and your web presence. When do you sleep?