Category Archives: JAFF

The art behind the covers & giveaways

Hello everyone,

Some of my latest posts have been dedicated to cover reveals and I’ve mentioned in all of them how much I love covers, so I believe the subject of this post will not surprise you.

I admit it, I do buy books because of the cover! I know that the cover per se does not tell us if we are buying a quality product or not, but the truth is, we do buy things that are appealing to the sigh, and that happens to me with books. I am always captivated towards books with beautiful, enticing covers and when the cover is everything but appealing, I tend to walk away. Of course I pay a lot of attention to the author, the plot, etc, but the cover is one more detail that could make me buy a book or not. It shows a certain taste that I often see reflected in the writing. Sometimes I stop to read the blurb of a book just because of it’s cover, and if the cover was not attractive I probably would never have read the blurb or bought the book, hence the importance of covers for readers such as me.

I love everything about covers, all the small details in it; the colours, the background, the font, the balance between the front cover and the back cover, etc. And I find that sometimes back covers are disregarded as inferior parts of the book, but I love them as much as front covers, I love to find a book whose back cover reveals me something about the story! And the good covers often do, have you noticed that?

This passion I have for book covers made me cross paths with Janet Taylor’s designs and fall in love with her work. In fact, I first learned about Janet  because I could not resist the cover of The Secret Betrothal by Jan Hahn and had to buy the book because of it. The cover was amazing and because I loved the book so much I decided to look for other things from the same designer. I soon found several covers designed by Janet and became a fan of her work ever since! I don’t know if it is a coincidence or not, but several books with covers designed by her were actually some of my favourites in the year they were published 🙂

Today I’m honoured to say she is my guest as she agreed to answer a few questions about her work 🙂

I also invited the authors with whom she worked with to share a little of their experience with her, and I could not be more delighted to read all these wonderful stories surrounding their covers and the process of their creation (have I mentioned how much I love to read about covers?)

I hope you enjoy reading this interview and the author testimonials as much as I did 🙂


interview

Janet you are quite active in the JAFF community with your blog More Agreeably Engaged, your blog tour coordination and the wonderful JAFF designs, but when did this love for Jane Austen and fan fiction began?

Rita, I am a late bloomer to the JAFF community. It was the last of 2010 or early 2011 when I started reading JAFF. I was going through a bit of a rough time and my friend, Jan Hahn, sent her copy of the 1995 miniseries of Pride & Prejudice home with me to watch. She thought it would be good for me! Ha! I guess you could say it was! I have since immersed myself in anything I could get my hands on, Jan’s books included. This was before An Arranged Marriage had been published but it was already in the editing process. I fell in love with it as soon as I read it and it is still one of my favorites. Believe or not, until that time, I had no clue that Jan wrote JAFF and her stories had been on forums since 2001 or shortly thereafter. Anyway, I had read Pride & Prejudice as a young girl but hadn’t picked it up again until after watching the miniseries.

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And when did it go from reading to drawing?

In 2012, Jan Hahn was getting The Journey read for publication. She asked me to draw Darcy and Lizzy and a highwayman. I did it but on regular typing paper and with regular colored pencils. It was not used for her cover but that was the beginnings of my drawings. I then decided to attempt the two drawings that I call ‘The Look, Darcy’ and ‘The Look, Lizzy’ from one of my favorite scenes in the miniseries. I’ve been drawing ever since.

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I always wonder if you took an arts degree of if you are self-taught, can you tell us a little of your progress in drawing?

I always loved to draw as a child. The summer after my fourth-grade year, there was a traveling artist that came at the invitation of our school. My mother and father allowed me to attend his two-week class where I learned about shading and a few other things. I loved the class but it is my only training.

Since I generally do not have a model, I use a photo for my model. I study it before I draw, while I’m drawing and after I complete a drawing. I look for places where my drawing is vastly different from the photo and what I could do to make mine look more like the photo. Many times it can be a shaded area as small as a couple of millimeters or 1/8 inch that alters how my drawing looks. It wouldn’t seem like something that small could make so much difference but it can. Too much shading, too little shading, not enough curve to a nostril or too much – these can make or break a drawing.

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I think it’s impressive what you can create without an arts degree, it takes true talent! Which type of drawings captivate you the most? And which are the most challenging?

I think I like close-up facial drawings the best of all. They allow me to go for the details and details are ‘my thing’ so to speak. It is all in the details. I love to do the eyes and usually do them first. Since the eyes are the windows to the soul, they are the most important feature. I love to try and capture the expression in the eyes. Sometimes I get it and sometimes I don’t.

As for the most challenging, I will have to say the nose on the facial drawings. It is what always gives me the most trouble. I know you asked which types of drawings and this is not a type but a part of the one I love most. My most challenging drawings would probably have to be buildings. I’m a math person, (I used to teach college preparatory mathematics to high school students) and the lines in the buildings need to be parallel. If they are not, it drives me crazy. It also makes me crazy trying to get them that way! lol

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I know what you mean about the eyes! That’s what captivates me the most in your drawings! You’ve used some of your drawings to do covers. Could you tell us a little bit more about your cover art design?

Designing covers is one of my favorite things to do. I love trying to bring a good story to life through the front and back covers. I am a cover junkie, too, Rita! 😊 Meryton Press gave me my first opportunity to design a cover. It was for Linda Beutler’s The Red Chrysanthemum and I was a nervous wreck in the beginning. I did drawings for the first three covers at Meryton Press, Linda Beutler, Suzan Lauder and Jan Hahn. I did some drawings for J. Dawn King that she used as part of her covers in The Men of Derbyshire Series. I now mostly do graphic design since drawings cannot be ‘fixed’ as easily as graphic designs. It would be great if I could hit a delete button and fix something but that is not the case. If I have used darker colors, they can be almost impossible to remove without ruining my paper. Sometimes, I must start over and that takes much time.

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I know you have lots of merchandising in your website. Do you use all your designs to create merchandising at JT originals? What kind of products can we find there?

I use most of my drawings to create merchandise at JT Originals. I have not had the new ones from 2017 made up yet as I am trying to get a new vendor to do them for me. I do have note cards and note pads from the new drawings. I do those myself so they are easily available.

I have mugs, mouse pads, tiles, compacts, Christmas ornaments, two sizes of note cards and two of note pads.  I can do address labels and bookmarks if they are requested. I am hoping to soon have prints on canvas for any drawing available for purchase.

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One of the merchandise you have on your website is an anual calendar with original drawings. How did that idea come up? Any idea’s for this years calendar? I know we’re still in the beggining of the year, but I’m already looking forward to your next calendar 🙂

I have been doing a calendar since 2013. I had gone to England in August of 2012 for a tour of the 1995 PnP film locations. It was fabulous, by the way! 🙂 One of the tour guides is a Jane Austen scholar and is also a writer. She knows the man that has his art at the Jane Austen Centre in Bath. I had told her of my drawings when viewing some of his in the village that was Meryton in the miniseries. Without my knowledge she contacted him and later told me that I would be able to sell my work. If you notice, I always have ‘my artistic interpretations of the scenes’ either on the back of the calendar or somewhere inside. That was what he told Hazel Jones to tell me. Since 2013 was the 200th anniversary of the publication of Pride & Prejudice, Hazel said that could be a good year for me. I’m not sure how it went from there, but the calendar was born. When I got home, I got busy drawing. The rest is history, so the saying goes.

I do have some ideas for the 2018 calendar. It will be drawings too. I’m thinking of possibly using the same men/films as last year but in a different way. That’s all I’ll say for now. Suffice it to say, I think the changes will be ones that you will approve! I’m looking forward to the next calendar too. I will begin working on it in a few weeks. I need to get started on the drawings.

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Thank you so much for allowing me to interview you Janet! I feel I could continue discussing every single detail of your drawings with you for hours. I am also a known geek who absolutely looooves merchandising, so I can not resist sharing with my readers some of the products you have on your website JT Originals 🙂

The 2017 Calendar has to be the first to be displayed 🙂 I remember eagerly waiting for Janet to share the next drawing that would be included in this years calendar, I knew Colin Firth would have to be in it, but I was thrilled to see that Richard Armitage and Ciaran Hinds as Mr. Thornton and Captain Wentworth respectively, were also included. I would just ask you to take a closer look at Ciaran Hinds card, isn’t it just perfect with the letter drawn in the back??

Oh…and you should look at all the faces here because Janet is offering one set of 12 cards with each one of these gentleman in one of the cards 🙂

 

But I could not finish my part on this post without showing a little more of what you can find at JT Originals. I confess to own a few of these items and to look forward to the new merchandising Janet will create with the new drawings, particularly the one of John Thornton 🙂

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I’m sure you’ve noticed by now how much I like and admire Janet’s work, but I’m not the only one loving her work! I’ve asked some of the authors who worked with her to write a few words about that experience, and was touched by how special they herJanet to be 🙂


author-testimonials

 

Nicole Clarkston

When Janet first wrote to me about No Such Thing As Luck, she graciously offered to host me on her blog. I had never explored the JAFF community at all, so I thoroughly enjoyed clicking through all the sights at More Agreeably Engaged. When I discovered her artwork, I was astonished. This lady has a true gift for capturing characters real or imagined, and her eye catches the balance, the light, and each nuance of expression. As a writer, my desire is to push the pause button on special moments, translate them into print, and breathe life into them. Janet does that very same thing with her images.

Though I barely knew her and was not quite certain what I was letting myself in for, I had to ask Janet to work on my next cover! As it happened, that was for Northern Rain, a book which was less than half completed at the time. Since we had months (at the speed I write), we spent that time becoming friends as we talked over cover ideas. Janet is what we Americans colloquially describe as a “Good People.” May I brag on her as a person a little more before returning to her work?

Janet was, very appropriately, my first taste of the wonderful enigma that is the JAFF community. She uses her speech and her actions to bless others, and you never hear a word of her which is not spoken in admiration. She encourages authors, bloggers, and readers alike, and she employs her precious time helping others find a good read to wind down after a hard day. When she is not blogging about new books or painting her breathtaking Richard Armitage portrait, she is a proud grandmother, a supportive mother, and a loving sister. In addition to these things, she spends her spare time caring for rescued dogs. Her heart truly aches for these canine orphans, and she invests more time and love into them than many people do into their own children.

Janet’s son Jeff happens to be a talented designer in his own right, and the two of them have continued to grow their artistic talents together. I have been the happy beneficiary of their combined efforts! I will allow Janet to fill you in on those details, but I would like to draw your attention to some of her trademarks. Firstly, each book cover she creates ties into the story. As far as I know, she has read every book before creating the cover, and she creates a visual catch for a reader to pause and take in. If you capture every detail she lovingly drops into that cover, you may as well not read the book, for you have already divined its essence.

Another talent of hers is for the eyes. They spark, snap, draw you in, or set you at ease. A talented actor is able to convey with a simple look an entire novel’s worth of feelings, and Janet can trap that look forever on canvas. Unlike with my own vocation, she cannot simply hit the “delete” button, so every flick of the brush must be precise. I will never know how she can transform an unruly glob of paint into (here I go again) Richard Armitage’s tender, impossibly eloquent expression in the legendary Kiss Scene, but she does. She even manages to create my favourite look on my period heroes- a roguish 5 o’clock shadow! How? Well, she tells me that it has something to do with admiring the real thing for hours on end, and I suppose there are less pleasant ways to develop a talent.

Perhaps it goes without saying that I have already forced Janet to promise that she will craft the covers for my next projects. I could not imagine turning my book babies over to anyone else! I am glad that this amazing woman is receiving the recognition she deserves for her work. I hope that one day soon we will all be able to sit down to a cup of coffee with Janet’s RA portrait smiling back at us. A Colin Firth coaster would match nicely, I think, and perhaps a Matthew Macfadyen mousepad would round out the collection. Good luck in the giveaway, everyone!


 

Jan Hahn

About ten years ago, I met Janet Taylor (in the flesh). Our personalities clicked, and we soon became friends. Four years passed, however, before I shared my love of Pride and Prejudice with her, much less the fact that I wrote Austen-inspired stories. I was a bit shy about my obsession. About the same time, I learned that she was an artist and a skilled photographer of the ‘critters’ that roam her property out in the Texas hill country. I soon discovered an abundance of information about birds, squirrels, raccoons and other wildlife. And what did Janet learn from me? She fell in love with Mr. Darcy and JAFF, a whole ‘nother type of wildlife.

My second novel, The Journey, was about to be published, and I wanted a highwayman on the cover. Janet drew a colorful picture of Darcy, Elizabeth, and a blonde highwayman dressed all in black. Unfortunately, my publisher couldn’t accept the scene because of copyright issues: Mr. Darcy happened to look exactly like Colin Firth, and Elizabeth was the spitting image of Jennifer Ehle. Well, why wouldn’t they be? Firth and Ehle were Darcy and Elizabeth in Janet’s mind.

Meryton Press, however, was impressed with Janet’s work, and they commissioned her to draw covers for two of their authors, Suzan Lauder and Linda Beutler. By the time The Secret Betrothal, was ready for publication, Janet created original versions of Darcy, Elizabeth and Wickham for my front cover.  For the back of the book, she drew a beautiful beach scene, including a huge rock that played an important role in the story, as well as a pair of Elizabeth’s slippers discarded in the sand.

By that time, Janet Taylor had become well known to the JAFF world through publication of her gorgeous calendars featuring her illustrations of Austen characters. Every year, I look forward to seeing what she will come up with in her new calendar. She outdid herself this year with Austen’s Men in Film Plus Two! I love when the month changes―I get to swoon all over again.

Janet is a delight to work with. She’s interested in the story, she listens well, and she’s eager to see that the cover reflects the book. She makes my idea come to life and then suggests touches that mirror portions of the plot. For A Peculiar Connection, I found separate 19th century paintings of three young boys executed by the same artist. That was my sole contribution to the cover. Janet did the rest. She combined the boys into one framed portrait, and in the background, she added muted illustrations of a ship, a letter containing the very words I had written in the story, and an old mansion―all of which played essential parts in the book.

Janet has a fantastic eye for color and style and a more than generous supply of talent to create an attractive, eye-catching book cover that draws readers’ attention. She’s a joy to know and a great friend.

 


 

Suzan Lauder

Had you asked the author prior to publishing what the cover of Alias Thomas Bennet would look like, she would firmly state it would be composed around a ship. When I found out that Janet Taylor would be the cover artist, I sent her dozens of images: tall ships from the 1700s, men on ships’ decks, artsy ships, ships on fire, ships in a storm, ships in dry dock, you name it!

But Janet had done one special thing—she read the book and fell in love with the characters in the story. Then during one email of ships, I made an offhand comment about seeing people on shore with body language to show their stress. She somehow knew that the author wanted the “feel” of this image even though I was concentrating on the idea of a sailing ship.

The artist’s process is fascinating. Imagine a bearded young man in a ball cap, t-shirt and sports pants holding a baby doll gently in his arm as only a seasoned father can do, with the finger of his other hand being held by a toddler in diapers. The child looks off to a sound in the distance, her face slightly startled and worried, and the man looks at her with typical fatherly interest. “Is she okay? Should I comfort her or leave her be?” Does that picture in your mind seem like the front cover of a Regency novel? The cover story was already in the eyes of the models, and the magic of Janet Taylor was there to capture it, because this is her son and granddaughter!

With the use of soft core lead pencil crayons, she redrew the images, changing a ball cap to a top hat, modern casual wear to evening wear of 200 years ago, lightening hair, adding a toddler’s traveling costume, making a causeway from a backyard deck. In the background, a period sailing vessel is coming into the harbour—or is it leaving? The sky is slightly ominous, the colours telling of an unknown worry for the future, as do the lines on the face of the gentleman. We correctly assume the children are Jane and Elizabeth Bennet and the gentleman is their father, yet once we read the story we realize the additional significance of the mystery within the romance novel—so the cover becomes a bit of a teaser.

Hands are supposed to be the hardest thing to draw. Janet drew them so well that I insisted the title not cover up where little Jane held onto her father’s finger.

Little touches made this cover so special. Janet worried that little Jane would be unsafe near the water, so she added posts and ropes to keep her just a little bit safer. That’s the magic of Janet.

Meryton Press is known for back covers that are so good, they could be front covers. Longbourn was a prized theme in the story, and Janet offered up a watercolour painting of Longbourn from a photo of an English manor house taken on her own trip to England. We added some flowers to spice up the real life photo’s simplicity, but then found out that watercolours don’t look that great on covers. Janet had to re-do the back cover in the soft lead pencil crayons of the front cover.

Thank you, Janet, for making my characters come alive, putting a perfect face to my hero, and telling the story of Alias Thomas Bennet in such a succinct and clever way. I’m honoured to have had one of your unique covers!

Alias Thomas Bennet_cover_rev2 (1).jpg

 


 

Caitlin Williams

How envious I am of those who can draw and paint. To create such beautiful images from nothing but your own imagination is a mighty skill. I have no artistic talents at all, so last year when I wanted to redesign the cover of The Coming of Age of Elizabeth Bennet, I shouted “help” in a very loud voice and in swooped Janet B Taylor ready to save the day with all her super skills.

The book previously had a very boring back cover but she found the perfect image and now it looks wonderful, and compliments the redesigned front cover beautifully.

Janet is unfailingly professional and a lovely lady to work with. She understood what I wanted, even when I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted myself. Thanks Janet and I hope we get the chance to work together soon.

TCoAoEB FC Final wobld 121516 M


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Joy King

My meeting Janet began with two people (Jan Hahn and Jack Caldwell) and Facebook.

One of the first variations of Pride and Prejudice I read was The Journey, by Jan. I was hooked. Soon after reading her story and almost everything else available at the time, I opened a Facebook account. What was the first thing I searched? Jane Austen. I happened upon a giveaway for a book Jack Caldwell released on Janet’s stop of his blog tour. I entered, and I won.

When Janet contacted me with congratulations, I mentioned I had published my first JAFF the month prior. She invited me to be on her blog and the rest is history. I later checked out her JT Originals website and fell in love with her work. I commissioned her for three pieces of art (Darcy/Elizabeth, Bingley/Jane, and Col Fitzwilliam/Constance Wickham). The first one I put on the cover of A Father’s Sins. The others are already designed into book covers. I’m still hoping to get the stories written, because the world needs to see these gorgeous works of art.

Last summer, I saw a stunning photograph of a young woman who reminded me of Lizzy Bennet. She had the wrong hair, the wrong clothing, and the background was not correct. As soon as I mentioned it, Janet started sketching. The project is almost complete. What she has shown me is STUNNING. Will it go on one of my book covers? Oh, yes. I LOVE the work she does.

In a wonderful coincidence, Janet invited my daughter, Jennifer Joy, to do her very first blog interview after the release of Darcy’s Ultimatum. So, our family has a special place in our hearts for our dear friend.


 

Linda Beutler

Janet Taylor was my first cover artist for my first published JAFF story, The Red Chrysanthemum, and as it happens, I was her first cover author! The very idea of having a say in a book’s cover was a novel one at the time (so to speak), since in the design of the two books on gardening previously published, I had little input in the cover. Meryton Press gave me Janet’s contact information, and I sent along the requested list of several ideas. But Janet had her own vision, to capture the pivotal moment when Georgiana Darcy’s skirts brush the titular blossom out of sight, behind Darcy’s boots.

I’ll admit I had to be convinced. It seemed like a huge self-spoiler, but Janet forged ahead. In time I came to think it quite natural for the cover to hinge on the story’s most important plot point. My only concern shifted to the Hessians being exactly like those worn by Mr. Darcy in the 1995 Pride and Prejudice mini-series. And the legs had to be the right proportion to be attached to a certain 6’2 actor. Janet would send a version, and I would send her back to Darcy’s moments with Elizabeth at Pemberley. Did Janet really spend six hours watching that one scene, as they ascend the outdoor stairway? I shall take her at her word!

The results have been greatly praised. Janet is self-effacing, but there is no way The Red Chrysanthemum would have won a silver IPPY for romance writing in 2014 without her dynamic, manly cover.  It takes a team, more than just an author’s story, and presentation is everything. What red-blooded woman wouldn’t at least pick it up to read the back cover with its glorious open red roses?

Every flower on the cover of The Red Chrysanthemum carries a message of love, and I loved working with Janet again on my latest novel, My Mr. Darcy and Your Mr. Bingley. Having worked with Janet before, I did not hesitate to suggest a crucial moment within a pivotal scene. She jumped on it! The result is beautiful and poignant and everything I wanted it to be.


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Sally Smith O’Rourke

Like many other Jane Austen fans, I first found Janet because of her beautiful paintings of scenes from the 1995 Andrew Davies adaptation of  Pride and Prejudice. I was writing a post for my blog (my idea of the Darcy’s wedding night) and wanted to use “The Kiss” to head the post, and she was gracious enough allow me to use it. It was the perfect complement to the story.

Afterwards, we stayed in touch. I advertised my JAFF books in her wonderful calendars and when I finished writing Days of Future Past, I needed a cover and Janet was where I went.

One of the great things about working with Janet on the cover was her flexibility and creativity. Originally I wanted a garden gate on the cover with a garden on the back. I owned the painting of the garden, but needed a garden gate. After reading the manuscript and seeing the ‘tea garden’ painting Janet suggested reversing the pictures, and as you can see that was a great suggestion, and was definitely the way to go.

While the painting on the cover existed, she did have to crop it and added some brightness to the images so the title would stand out. But her real talent shows in the back cover. She started with a photograph of a garden wall that she took on a trip to England. The story in Days of Future Past is about reincarnation, under hypnosis, the hero sees three garden gates, one  for each life. Janet created a perfect representation of that imagery for the back cover.

They (not sure who ‘they’ are) say a picture is worth a thousand words, and in this case it is very much the fact. Picture ‘a’ is the photo Janet took, and ‘b’ is the back cover she created from it.

And right now, she’s contemplating the cover for the Christmas book, that I hope to have out this year. Keep an eye out.

For what it’s worth my blog is sallysmithorourke.com 🙂


 

I have to tell you that it gave me a lot of pleasure to put up this post together, and it made me particularly happy to see how kind and generous all these authors and designers were. In fact, everyone involved in this post wanted to offer something to my readers, so today we are giving away lots of goodies :))))

We are giving away the below items:

* One 2017 Austen Man in Film + 2 calendar

* One set of twelve cards and envelopes featuring one of each Austen Men in Film + 2. The cards are 4 1/4″ x 5 1/2 ” and blank inside with matching square flap envelopes. (Check the calendar pictures to see whose portraits will be on the envelopes).

*One John Thornton canvas of 8″ x 10″.

* One copy of Northern Rain (winner chooses format)

* One copy of The Courtship of Edward Gardiner (winner chooses format)

* One copy of No Such Thing as Luck (winner chooses format)

* One ebook or autographed copy of The Secret Betrothal or A Peculiar Connection (winner chooses book and format)

* One ebook copy of Alias Thomas Bennet

* One paperback copy of The Coming of Age of Elizabeth Bennet

* One ebook copy of A Father’s Sins

* One paperback copy of A Father’s Sins

* One signed paperback of The Red Chrysanthemum

*One ebook or paperback of Days of Future Past (winner chooses format)

The giveaway is international and each reader will be entitled to win one prize. To participate in this giveaway all you have to do is comment this post and let us know how you feel about book covers! Feel free to say whatever you want, I am personally very curious to know everything you will tell me 🙂

If you want to double your chances of winning, share this post on any social media and add the link to it here.

Good luck everyone!

18 Comments

Filed under Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion, Mr. Darcy, North and South, jane austen, JAFF, Emma

The Darcy Monologues Cover Reveal & Giveaways

Hello dear readers,

You know how much I love book covers, so it is no surprise that I’m always more than ready to share a book cover with you. But today, I’m even more happy to do so because the book cover I’m about to reveal, along with 16 other bloggers, is an anthology edited by Christina Boyd who brought together most of my favourite authors! Who can resist a book full of Darcy stories written by so many talented authors? I know I can’t! But before revealing the book cover, I’ll let you read the blurb :

“You must allow me to tell you…”

For over two hundred years, Jane Austen’s Mr. Darcy has captivated readers’ imaginations as the ultimate catch. Rich. Powerful. Noble. Handsome. And yet, as Miss Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” is established through Elizabeth Bennet’s fine eyes, how are we to know what his tortured soul is indeed thinking? How does Darcy progress from “She is tolerable: but not handsome enough to tempt me” to “I thought only of you”?

In this romance anthology, fifteen Austen-inspired authors assemble to sketch Darcy’s character through a series of re-imaginings, set in the Regency through contemporary times—from faithful narratives to the fanciful. Herein “The Darcy Monologues”, the man himself reveals his intimate thoughts, his passionate dreams, and his journey to love—all told with a previously concealed wit and enduring charm.

Stories by: Susan Adriani * Sara Angelini * J. Marie Croft * Karen M Cox * Jan Hahn * Jenetta James * Lory Lilian * KaraLynne Mackrory * Beau North * Ruth Phillips Oakland * Natalie Richards * Sophia Rose * Joana Starnes * Melanie Stanford * Caitlin Williams

I’m sure you’re familiar with all these names, but in case you want to know a little more about them, you can find the author biographies below:

  • Formally trained as a fine artist and illustrator, Susan Adriani discovered her passion for storytelling over a decade after she graduated from a local art college near her childhood home in New England. Susan is the author of The Truth about Mr. Darcy and Darkness Falls upon Pemberley.
  • Sara Angelini is a lawyer living in the San Francisco Bay area with her husband, three kids, two dogs, a frog, some fish, and a few hundred stick bugs. She never went to veterinary school but if she had, she would have been a true proficient. She enjoys writing from Darcy’s point of view in a way that shows his humor and vulnerability. Her first book, The Trials of the Honorable F. Darcy, was published in 2008. She is the co-founder of http://www.austenunderground.com, where her other Pride and Prejudice-inspired works can be read.
  • Karen M Cox is an award-winning author of four novels accented with romance and history: 1932, Find Wonder in All Things, At the Edge of the Sea, and Undeceived. She also wrote “Northanger Revisited 2015”, which appeared in the anthology Sun-Kissed: Effusions of Summer. Originally from Everett, Karen now lives in Central Kentucky with her husband, works as a pediatric speech pathologist, encourages her children, and spoils her granddaughter. Like Austen’s Emma, Karen has many hobbies and projects she doesn’t quite finish, but like Elizabeth Bennet, she aspires to be a great reader and an excellent walker.
  • Marie Croft is a self-proclaimed word nerd and adherent of Jane Austen’s quote “Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery.’ Bearing witness to her fondness for Pride and Prejudice, wordplay, and laughter are Joanne’s light-hearted novel, Love at First Slight, a Babblings of a Bookworm Favourite Read of 2014, her humorous short story, “Spyglasses and Sunburns,” in the Sun-Kissed: Effusions of Summer anthology, and a playful novella, A Little Whimsical in His Civilities, Just Jane 1813’s Favorite JAFF Novella of 2016.
  • Award-winning writer Jan Hahn is the author of four Austen-inspired novels. She studied music at the University of Texas but discovered her true love was a combination of journalism and literature. Her first book, An Arranged Marriage, was published in 2011, followed by The Journey, The Secret Betrothal, and A Peculiar Connection. She agrees with Mr. Darcy’s words in Pride and Prejudice: “A lady’s imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment.” She is a member of the Jane Austen Society of North America, lives in Texas, has five children and a gaggle of gorgeous grandchildren.
  • Jenetta James is a mother, lawyer, writer, and taker-on of too much. She grew up in Cambridge and read history at Oxford University where she was a scholar and president of the Oxford University History Society. After graduating, she took to the law and now practices full time as a barrister. Over the years, she has lived in France, Hungary and Trinidad as well as her native England. Jenetta currently lives in London with her husband and children where she enjoys reading, laughing and playing with Lego. She is the author of Suddenly Mrs. Darcy and The Elizabeth Papers.
  • Lory Lilian fell in love with Pride and Prejudice thirty-three years ago and discovered the charm of Jane Austen fanfiction exactly twenty years later. She lives in Bucharest, Romania, is a proud mother of an amazing daughter, and addicted to anything Austen. After a career in business, she dedicates her time to reading and writing. Lory is the author of six bestselling books: Rainy Days, Remembrance of the Past, His Uncle’s Favorite, The Perfect Match, Sketching Mr. Darcy, The Rainbow Promise, and A Man with Faults. JAFF readers call her the “Queen of Hot Mush” and she loves it.
  • KaraLynne Mackrory is no newbie to the writing world. She made her debut as an author at the tender age of 13 when she wrote her first set of bad poetry. As a young adult, she steered clear of bad prose and achieved a degree in social work. Years later, she has published four Austen inspired novels so full of romantic sensibilities as to give you a swoon and hopefully a few laughs. Her books turned out better than her poetry and are: Falling for Mr. Darcy, Bluebells in the Mourning, the IPPY award-winning Haunting Mr. Darcy, and Yours Forevermore, Darcy.
  • Beau North is the author of Longbourn’s Songbird, The Many Lives of Fitzwilliam Darcy, and a contributor to the anthology Then Comes Winter. Beau is a native southerner who now calls Portland, Oregon home with her husband and two cats. She attended the University of South Carolina where she began a lifelong obsession with literature. In her spare time, Beau is the co-host of the podcast Excessively Diverted: Modern Austen Onscreen.
  • Mild-mannered business woman by day, hopeless romantic by night, Ruth Phillips Oakland was always a fan of the fictional gentleman from Derbyshire, but it was her discovery of Jane Austen fanfiction in 2006 that inspired Ruth to become a writer. Ruth has written dozens of short stories posted online and the published novel entitled, My BFF. Ruth lives in New England with her favorite husband of over thirty years and is thrilled to be included in this anthology with so many of her favorite authors and friends.
  • Natalie Richards is a writer, blogger, and singer. She started her book review blog, Songs & Stories, in late 2010 after falling in love with Jane Austen fanfiction. Her writing can also be found on Figment, the Darcy & Lizzy Forum, TeenInk Magazine, and in the Austenesque anthologies Sun-Kissed: Effusions of Summer and Then Comes Winter. She resides with her family in the Oregon countryside and currently works as a waitress and babysitter.
  • Sophia Rose is a native Californian currently residing in Michigan. A long-time Jane Austen fan, she is a contributing author to Sun-Kissed: Effusions of Summer and Then Comes Winter anthologies. Sophia’s love for writing began as a teen writing humorous stories submitted for creative writing class and high school writing club. Writing was set aside while Sophia pursued degrees and certificates in education, special education, family history, and social work leading to a rewarding career. Health issues led to reduced work hours and an opportunity to read, beta, and review books, and return to writing stories that lean toward the humorous side and always end with a happily ever after.
  • Melanie Stanford reads too much, plays music too loud, is sometimes dancing, and always daydreaming. She would also like her very own TARDIS, but only to travel to the past. She lives in Canada with her husband and four kids. She is the author of SWAY, a retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, shortlisted for the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize, and the short story “Becoming Fanny” featured in the anthology Then Comes Winter. Her second novel, Collide, inspired by Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South, is coming soon. You can find her at melaniestanfordbooks.com, on Twitter @MelMStanford, and on Facebook @ MelanieStanfordauthor.
  • Joana Starnes lives in the south of England with her family. Over the years, she has swapped several hats—physician, lecturer, clinical data analyst—but feels most comfortable in a bonnet. She has been living in Georgian England for decades in her imagination and plans to continue in that vein till she lays hands on a time machine. She is the author of seven Austen-inspired novels: From This Day Forward ~ The Darcys of Pemberley, The Subsequent Proposal, The Second Chance, The Falmouth Connection, The Unthinkable Triangle, Miss Darcy’s Companion, and Mr Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter. You can connect with Joana through her website http://www.joanastarnes.co.uk/ and on Facebook via All Roads Lead to Pemberley.
  • Caitlin Williams is an award-winning author of two novels, Ardently and the best-selling The Coming of Age of Elizabeth Bennet, both of which spin the plot of Pride and Prejudice around but keep the characters just the same. Originally from South London, Caitlin spent thirteen years as a detective in the Metropolitan Police but is currently on a break from Scotland Yard so she can spend more time at home with her two children and write. She now lives in Kent, where she spends a lot of time daydreaming about Mr. Darcy, playing with dinosaurs, and trying not to look at the laundry pile.
  • Christina Boyd wears many hats as she is an editor under her own banner The Quill Ink, a contributor to Austenprose, and a ceramicist and proprietor of Stir Crazy Mama’s Artworks. A life member of the Jane Austen Society of North America, Christina lives in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest with her dear Mr. B, two busy teenagers, and a retriever named BiBi. Visiting Jane Austen’s England was made possible by her book boyfriend and star crush Henry Cavill when she won a trip to meet him on the London Eye in the spring of 2017.

I know you must have seen several pictures such as the below advertising the book right? Multi-talented author Beau North designed the individual fantastic short story graphics for the social media promotions. I think each gives a lovely overall feel for each story.


Everytime I see one of these pictures I start wondering what the story is about, if it is modern, or regency of if the story happens on a diferente era. Sometimes it’s easy to guess, but in some cases such as this, it’s not obvious, so I keep thinking about it and counting the days before I can actually read the entire book!!! But if these add pictures captured my attention and enticed me to read the book, what should I say about the cover??! What do you think? I can’t stop looking at “this” Darcy, but maybe it’s just me…or not 🙂

The amazing cover art is the genius of Shari Ryan of MadHat Books. She took the cover concept and created exactly as Christina envisioned. Shari professionally, quickly, and concisely handled Christina’s countless questions, suggestions, and “just one more tweak” in the challenging format of the print interior—even had a special script code written to make it happen. And then when the original concept had to be scrapped because of the print-on-demand company’s limitations that were beyond their control (long, convoluted story only to be shared over strong cocktails), Shari AGAIN created the present cover and interior for both print and e-book.


Check out all the blogs Participating in the Cover Reveal

My Love for Jane Austen; Margie’s Must Reads; My Jane Austen Book Club;

Austenesque Reviews: Of Pens and Pages; More Agreeably Engaged;

So Little Time; Diary of an Eccentric; Book Lover in Florida;

My Vices and Weaknesses; Savvy Verse & Wit; Every Savage Can Dance

Obsessed with Mr Darcy; Polished and Bubbly; The Reading Frenzy;

Just Jane 1813 and From Pemberley to Milton

The book is already available for pre-order. Click here to go to Amazon.com and ad it to your cart.

Also The Darcy Monologues Blog Tour ia about to begin, make sure you don’t miss it!

April 3 / My Jane Austen Book Club / Launch Post & Giveaway

April 10 / Babblings of a Bookworm/ Book Review & Giveaway

April 17 / The Reading Frenzy / Guest Post & Giveaway

April 20 / My Love for Jane Austen / Guest Post & Giveaway

April 24 / Margie’s Must Reads / Book Review & Giveaway

May 1 / From Pemberley to Milton / Book Review & Giveaway

May 8 / Just Jane 1813 / Book Excerpt & Giveaway

May 15 / Austenesque Reviews / Book Review & Giveaway

May 22 / Austenesque Reviews / Guest Post & Giveaway

May 25 / Of Pens and Pages / Book Review & Giveaway

May 29 / More Agreeably Engaged / Book Review & Giveaway

June 5 / So Little Time / Book Excerpt & Giveaway

June 12 / Diary of an Eccentric/ Book Review & Giveaway

June 19 / Book Lover in Florida / Book Excerpt & Giveaway

June 26 / My Vices and Weaknesses / Book Review & Giveaway

July 3 / Savvy Verse & Wit / Book Review & Giveaway

The cover reveal comes along with a giveaway of two prizes for two separate winners.

One winner will be selected to win a Kindle Fire with Alexa, and a 7” display, and another one will a $25.00 Etsy gift card.

All entries for the Kindle Fire with Alexa will be entered through the Rafflecopter link shown below:

Kindle Fire with Alexa

To enter the giveaway for a $25.00 Etsy gift card readers will create a Pinterest Board named The Darcy Monologues and post all fifteen story images from the cover reveals, one per each author included in the anthology, and Tweet the board on Twitter. The Tweet must include the hashtag, #TheDarcyMonologues.

This giveaway will take place from March 27 – April 21, 2017 and the winner will be announced on April 22, 2017.

Good Luck everyone!

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The Indomitable Miss Elizabeth – Price drop, bonus scenes & double giveaways

Hello everyone,

Jennifer Joy has been quiet for a while, but it appears to have been for a good reason! She has been focusing on writing the second volume of her Meryton Mysteries saga and the outcome was The Indomitable Miss Elizabeth which has been released this week!

This second volume of the saga is a continuation of The Honorable Mr. Darcy and to celebrate its release Mrs Joy has launched a price drop of the saga’s first volume!!!

The Honorable Mr. Darcy has a price reduction of 61% starting today and ending on March 23rd, so you shouldn’t miss this opportunity to buy it at  $1.99 in the US and UK Amazon stores (on UK the promo will start on the 18th).

If you click on the link below, it will take you directly to the book’s page on Amazon where you will find it with the reduced price:

Amazon.com –  $1.99

But I’ve got more good news to share with you!

Jennifer Joy is also sending a BONUS scene to her Historical Romance Newsletter subscribers and any new subscribers will also gain access to the scene. It’s called The Jilt and goes into the history between Lady Catherine and an important character in The Indomitable Miss Elizabeth. She had so much fun writing it, that she was tempted to make it into a full novel, but with Lady C, it couldn’t have a happy ending … and Jennifer loves happy endings. So all she gets is a scene 🙂

To subscribe Jennifer Joy’s newsletter and obtain a copy of this scene, please visit her website http://jenniferjoywrites.com

But what about The Indomitable Miss Elizabeth, what is it about? You can find more in the book blurb below and apply to one of the 4 ebook copies Jennifer Joy is offering to From Pemberley to Milton readers 🙂

 

 

Two determined women. One murder. No eyewitnesses.

Lady Catherine has come to Meryton.

When a devastating secret is revealed, putting Elizabeth Bennet’s future happiness and the loyalty of the man she loves in the balance, her hopes for a Happily-Ever-After are dashed to pieces. Threats are made and family obligations are enforced, leading to an event no one could foresee. Another murder in Meryton.

Fitzwilliam Darcy is more determined than ever to win Elizabeth’s love— no matter what obstacles their families place between them. When a matron is found murdered in the midst of a militia parade, he soon discovers the strength of the woman’s enemies… and their closeness to Elizabeth. Can Darcy protect her when she is determined to bring the murderer to justice?

With a killer on the loose and their hearts on the line, can Darcy and Elizabeth work together to solve another mystery while fighting for each other? Or will the pressure break them apart forever?

Did you like the blurb? If you did and want to grab a copy of your own, the book is for sale on :

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

 

You may wonder why I mentioned in the title that we would have a double giveaway, so let me explain.

Jennifer Joy would like to offer 4 ebook copies of The Indomitable Miss Elizabeth to readers who comment this post, but she would also like to offer 2 copies of The Honorable Mr. Darcy to readers who are kind enough to share the good news of the price drop with other people.

So, if you would like to win a copy of The Honorable Mr. Darcy we would kindly ask you to share news of the price drop in any social media, and comment on this post with the link to your social media post.That will guarantee a double entrance in the giveaway. You will be entitled to the giveaway of The Indomitable Miss Elizabeth and the giveaway of The Honorable Mr. Darcy.

If you would only like to apply to the giveaway of  The Indomitable Miss Elizabeth all you have to do is comment this post and share your kind words with Jennifer and you will be eligible..

The giveaway is international and is open until the 24th of March. The winners will be announced shortly after.

If you don’t want to miss the announcement of the winners, and miss the opportunity to see your name there, please follow From Pemberley to Milton. By doing so you will receive an email everytime a new post is published and will not miss your prize if you are the lucky winner.

 

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My Mr. Darcy and Your Mr. Bingley Back Cover Reveal

 

Good Morning dear readers,

How are you today?

I’m very happy to bring you today a partial cover release for Linda Beutler’s latest book, My Mr. Darcy & Your Mr. Bingley! And why partial you may ask? Because I will only be revealing the back cover! The lovely Ceri is revealing the front cover at Babblings of a Bookworm, so I would suggest visiting her blog to check the lovely front cover Janet Taylor worked on.

I believe you all know how much I love beautiful covers, so it makes me very happy to be able to be a part of this double cover release, but I’m also very happy because I got a chance to work with Janet and Ceri! It is an honor to be doing a separate front and back cover reveal with such a lovely lady and JAFF connoisseur as Ceri, I love her blog and her reviews, so I’m very proud to be joining her on this post 🙂

But the back cover is not the only thing I would like to share with you today! My Mr. Darcy & Your Mr. Bingley has just gone live at Amazon during the night!!! If like me you cannot wait to read it, you’ll be able to buy it right away through the below links. As the book went live just a few hours ago, when half the world was still asleep, you might even be the first to get it 🙂

 

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

 

After reading A Will of Iron and considering it one of my top 10 favorites from 2015, this is the greatest of news for me and I’m looking forward to read it.

But I’m sure you’re eager to know more about this book, so before showing you the back cover, I’ll let you read the book blurb 🙂

 

Jane Bennet had a heart to break after all, and I am a party to it.

Fitzwilliam Darcy

One simple, uncharacteristic subterfuge leaves Fitzwilliam Darcy needing to apologize to nearly everyone he knows! When Charles Bingley reaps the sad repercussions of Mr. Darcy’s sin of omission, Elizabeth Bennet’s clear-eyed view of the facts gives her the upper hand in a long-distance battle of wills with Mr. Bingley’s former friend. By the time Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth meet (repeatedly) in the groves of Rosings Park, neither knows the whole truth except that somehow, someway, their future is inextricably linked to the courtship of Charles Bingley and Jane Bennet.

In this Pride and Prejudice “what-if”, the additional dash of backbone and “far-sighted” action to the character of Mr. Bingley begs the question: how is Mr. Darcy to impress Elizabeth Bennet if Bingley does his own matchmaking? And how is Elizabeth Bennet to trust Mr. Darcy when even faith in a most beloved sister falters?

 

Linda Beutler’s professional life is spent in a garden, an organic garden housing America’s foremost public collection of clematis vines and a host of fabulous companion plants. Her home life reveals a more personal garden, still full of clematis, but also antique roses and vintage perennials planted around and over a 1907 cottage. But one can never have enough of gardening, so in 2011 she began cultivating a weedy patch of Jane Austen Fan Fiction ideas. The first of these to ripen was The Red Chrysanthemum (Meryton Press, 2013), which won a silver IPPY for romance writing in 2014. You might put this down as beginner’s luck—Linda certainly does. The next harvest brought Longbourn to London (Meryton Press, 2014), known widely as “the [too] sexy one”. In 2015 Meryton Press published the bestseller A Will of Iron, a macabre rom-com based on the surprising journals of Anne de Bourgh.

Now, after a year-long break in JAFF writing to produce Plant Lovers Guide to Clematis (Timber Press, 2016)—the third in a bouquet of books on gardening—we have My Mr. Darcy and Your Mr. Bingley bursting into bloom.

You can contact Linda Beutler though the following social media:

Twitter: @oregonclematis

Facebook: Linda Beutler Author

Wandering Pemberley’s Gardens (blog at MP)


 

And now, without further ado…the back cover of My Mr. Darcy & Your Mr. Bingley!

Isn’t it lovely? And aren’t you curious about the design in the back? I’m personally eager for the blog tour to start to learn more about the story behind this cover and all the details involving its creative process… Or maybe we can even find out about it a little earlier, so stay tuned for more information on this book and its cover 🙂

And if you still haven’t seen the front cover, please check it out at Babblings of a Bookworm or visit Amazon.

 

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Filed under Cover reveal, JAFF, Pride and Prejudice

Caroline – Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

Hello everyone,

Did you ever think about what was Miss Bingley’s reaction to Darcy’s engagement? Can you imagine what it must have been like to realise everything she fought for during the last years of her life had been for nothing? What about her future? Did she ever get married? Or ended up an old spinster? Did she let go of her feelings of superiority towards the Bennet sisters?

Sue Barr clearly thought about all these questions and wrote a delicious novel describing Caroline Bingley’s life after the double engagement of Darcy and Bingley 🙂

I was never a fan of Caroline Bingley, but lately I find stories about her quite interesting and Sue Barr definitely made me want to read more about Caroline. In fact, there is so much potential about Miss Bingley’s character that I wonder why we don’t have more stories about her, Sue Barr clearly saw all this potential and used it in an exceptional manner.

Caroline is a romance whose main character is Caroline Bingley but it isn’t just a book about a secondary character of Pride & Prejudice, it is a book about second chances, lessons learnt and personal growth. This story tells us how Caroline took the news that shattered her life and how she moved on, but also how others continued to view her and react to her actions. These two aspects made the book very real because life makes us who we are, it shapes our behaviours and personalities, and some events may alter us into someone else, but it doesn’t erase who we were and the perception others have of us. That perception will only change if we change ourselves and if our new behaviours are different from what they used to be, and that is what happens to Miss Bingley in this book,she is brought to life as an imperfect human being who is forced to grow with life’s blows.

But as I mentioned earlier, this is a romance, so it’s not all about inner growth. Caroline’s love interest in this book will be Lord Nathan..err..I mean Mr. Kerr..or shall I say both? Let’s just say you would never picture Caroline with someone with this profession, but neither would you imagine someone with this profession exactly like him. I did like to know why he chose it though, it made me understand why someone with that background and personality ended up as a vicar. He is a charming man, and should I say too good for Caroline? Or is that my prejudice speaking? He is indeed an interesting character and I loved his interactions with Caroline but I would have prefered for them to have a different ending… don’t worry, there is a HEA, I would just prefer it if it wasn’t so perfect.

If you want a secondary character story which is fast to read and a page turner, this book is for you! I’m sure you’ll enjoy it between two ODC books 🙂

You can find this book at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

And if you want to know more about it, you still have the blurb and an excerpt below.

 

 

Whatever happened to Caroline Bingley after her brother and unrequited love interest married a Bennet sister? Join me in this story of redemptive love and the healing of broken dreams.

Caroline Bingley, beyond frustrated with her brother, Charles and Mr. Darcy both proposing to the Bennet sisters, dreads their upcoming nuptials. For three years, her sole focus has been on attaining a marriage proposal from one Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberley, only to be foiled by a country miss with ‘fine eyes’.  Adrift and not sure of her place in life, she meets the mysterious and devastatingly handsome Lord Nathan, who equally vexes and intrigues her.

Lord Nathan Kerr, third in line to a Dukedom, had a well-earned reputation as a Rake. He cast all that and his noble title aside to become Mr. Darcy’s vicar in Kympton, finding contentment in leading his small flock and doing the Lord’s work. His plan for a quiet, country life is thrown into upheaval when he meets the fiery Miss Bingley. Can he reconcile his rising desire for the spoiled miss with how a vicar’s wife ‘should’ behave?

 

 

Good day, Rita, and thank you for hosting this excerpt post for my latest release, Caroline, Pride & Prejudice Continued… Book One. Today, I am sharing a post that reveals a slightly different side to Caroline, where we learn a little about how she discovered her own passion for music. I hope your readers enjoy this glimpse into Caroline.

“Thank you, Miss Bingley. Would you like to play something as well?”

“I’d love to. Do you have any requests?” Out of habit, she looked toward the fireplace where Darcy stood with the Duke. Odd how she still deferred to him, even when she knew he held no regard for her, if he ever had at all.

“Do you know Mozart?” The dulcet tones of Lord Nathan made her stomach quiver. He was standing not more than three feet from her.

She nodded and took her seat.

“Do you need any sheet music, Miss Bingley?” Georgiana asked.

“No thank you, Miss Darcy. I’ll play a piece I’m familiar with.”

Lord Nathan escorted Georgiana back to her seat while she settled at the pianoforte, cleared her mind and began to play Eine Klein Nachtmusik. As her fingers flew over the keyboard, she heard the music exactly as she had the first time she attended a concert with her father in Edinburgh. In her mind violins and cellos kept perfect harmony, transporting the music to unheard of heights.

To think, Caro, Mozart t’was but a boy when he wrote this music. Can you believe he started writin’ when he was a wee lad, three years of age? There’s nothin’ you can’t do if you set your mind to it.

Her father’s rough northern accent held awe at what was achievable and she’d never forgotten that night. It changed her whole life and from that moment, music was her passion.

When she finished to polite applause and took a seat in a nearby chair, Louisa took to the pianoforte and played and sang a popular piece. She didn’t have a strong voice, but it was enjoyable. From her vantage point across the room, Caroline watched as Lord Nathan conversed with Georgiana. He bent his head in conversation with her, his broad shoulders turned slightly toward her. He intrigued her greatly, this man of mystery. He was exceedingly handsome, to be sure, but other than that she knew nothing about him. Not a whisper of where he’d been for the past three years.

Georgiana’s soft laugh brought her attention back to her and Lord Nathan. She longed to have him give her the same undivided attention. Evidently sensing her study of him, he shifted his gaze toward her. Quickly she looked down, but almost against her will, she raised her eyes and found him watching her intently. She couldn’t look away, although her mind and senses urged her to. As if he knew her thoughts, like words being displayed on parchment, his mouth quirked at one corner and he inclined his head.

Her face flamed and prickles of heat threatened to turn her cheeks an unbecoming pink. As a precautionary measure, she snapped open her fan. The gold pomander on her wrist swayed with each flick of her wrist, setting off a pleasant aroma of her favorite rose water. She allowed the familiar scent to soothe her. It wouldn’t do for Lord Nathan to know he discomposed her.

 

Sue Barr resides in beautiful Southwestern Ontario with her retired Air Force hubby, two sons and their families. She’s also an indentured servant to three cats and has been known to rescue a kitten or two, or three…in an attempt to keep her ‘cat-lady-in-training’ status current. Although, she has deviated from appointed path and rescued a few dogs as well.

Sue is a member of Romance Writers of America and their affiliate chapter, Love, Hope and Faith as well as American Christian Fiction Writers.

For more information about her other books, visit her website: http://www.suebarrauthor.com/ of follow her on the below social media:

Facebook , Twitter , Goodreads, Pinterest

 

If this review enticed you and you liked the excerpt, please follow the blog tour for more information on this book. This is just the second stop and there is still much, much more to come 🙂

March 12 / My Jane Austen Book Club/Launch Post & Giveaway

March 13/ From Pemberley to Milton/ Book Review & Excerpt & Giveaway

March 14/ More Agreeably Engaged/Author Spotlight & Giveaway

March 15/ Every Savage Can Dance/ Excerpt Post & Giveaway

March 16/ Just Jane 1813/ Guest Post & Giveaway

March 17/ Babblings of a Bookworm/ Vignette Post & Giveaway

March 18/ My Love for Jane Austen/ Excerpt Post & Giveaway

March 19/ Every Savage Can Dance/ Book Review & Giveaway

March 20/ Austenesque Reviews/ Guest Post & Giveaway

March 21/ My Vices and Weaknesses/ Book Review & Giveaway

March 22 / Savvy Verse & Wit/ Guest Post & Giveaway

March 23 /Diary of an Eccentric/Book Review & Giveaway

March 24/ So Little Time…/ Excerpt Post & Giveaway

March 25/ Obsessed with Mr. Darcy/ Book Review & Giveaway

March 26/ Of Pens & Pages/ Book Review & Giveaway

 

Sue Barr is offering in this blog tour several copies of Caroline and some goodies as well!!!

Three winners will receive a paperback copy of “Caroline” and a Jane Austen Journal and three separate winners will receive an ebook copy of this book. All you have to do is click on this link and enter the giveaway through Rafflecopter.

All giveaways are open to international winners, so good luck everyone 🙂

 

 

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Filed under 4 stars, JAFF, Pride and Prejudice

A Contrary Wind – Giveaway Winners

Hello everyone,

Last week I was happy to host debut author Lona Manning in From Pemberley to Milton with an excerpt of A Contrary Wind, a Mansfield Park variation. I never read any Mansfield Park variation myself, but I was also very happy to see that my readers enjoy non P&P variations from time to time, and that Mansfield Park is actually a favourite for some people.

It also pleased me to see that everyone cherished and welcomed Lona Manning into the community, and once more I had proof  that the JAFF community is one of the nicest communities out there! People are always incredibly welcoming and nice and I’m very proud to be a part of this wonderful community!

I hope this is only the beginning of Mrs. Manning’s career in JAFF, and that she continues to present us with more books:) I also hope that the winners of the giveaway she offered will enjoy A Contrary Wind, so without further ado, I’m happy to announce that the winners are:

 

Paperback                                             Ebook

*** Sophia Rose***                               *** Charlotte***

 

Congratulations ladies! Could you please send me your mail and e-mail addresses to ritaluzdeodato at gmail dot com so that we can send you the books?

Those who have not yet read this story can find it at Amazon.com.

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Snowbound at Hartfield – Giveaway Winners’s announcement

giveaway-winners-announcement_final

Hello everyone,

 

How are you this week? Last month I had the pleasure of reading Maria Grace’s Snowbound at Hartfield and reviewing it in this blog. The book is a mash up of Persuasion, Emma and Pride and Prejudice and a refreshing story that presents us with a very unique couple, so I was also very pleased to discuss it with Maria Grace and share with you the outcome of it through an interview.

Maria Grace brought with her a copy of Snowbound at Hartfield and today I’m happy to announce that the winner is:

 

*** Jo’s Daughter***

 

Congratulations Jo’s Daughter! I would like to thank you and everyone who shared their support to Maria Grace in this blog; your thoughts and encouragement are always endearing to see!

Those who have not yet read this story, you can find it at Amazon.com.

I would also like to thank Maria Grace for accepting to be interviewed by me. It was an honor and a pleasure to receive you at From Pemberley to Milton and to discuss this wonderful book and its creation process.

Jo’s Daughter can you please send me your e-mail address to ritaluzdeodato at gmail dot com so that we can send you the book?

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A Contrary Wind Excerpt & Giveaway

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Hello everyone,

I usually post about Pride and Prejudice and North and South fan fiction because those are the books closest to my heart, but I know that my readers love all things Jane Austen, so today I bring you an excerpt of A Contrary Wind, a Mansfield Park variation from debut author Lona Manning.  

Lona Manning is currently teaching English in China and has written “The Hurricane Hoax”, “The Murder of Madalyn Murray O’Hair” and other true-crime articles available at True Crime Magazine, but her love for Jane Austen made her venture into JAFF with a different take at Mansfield Park.

I hope you like the excerpt and please do not miss the opportunity to win a copy of this book by commenting this post 🙂

 

book-blurb

What if Fanny Price, the meek and docile heroine of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park,ran away from home? What if Fanny could no longer endure living with the Bertrams? What if she could not bear to watch Edmund fall in love with Mary Crawford?

In Lona Manning’s debut novel, Fanny Price is given an opportunity to change and grow, to learn and to make mistakes; while Edmund Bertram’s fascination with Mary Crawford, and Henry Crawford’s efforts to avoid matrimony, lead to completely different outcomes than in Jane Austen’s masterpiece.

All of the familiar characters from Mansfield Park are included, and many – such as Mrs. Norris and little Betsey Price – help drive the plot. New characters, such as the brusque but kindly widow, Mrs. Butters, and the impecunious but charming writer, William Gibson, are involved with the movement to abolish slavery. Real characters from history – politicians, writers, and sea captains, join the story and there are even some cameo appearances from characters in other Austen novels.

The text employs many of the techniques which made Jane Austen so popular – dialogue in which each character speaks in their own unique voice, free indirect style of narration, Johnsonian cadences, and some snark.

A Contrary Wind differs from Mansfield Park in that not all the scenes involving sex occur off-stage and instead of having “[t]hree or four families in a country village,” the action moves from Mansfield Park, to Bristol, London, Portsmouth, Norfolk, and the coast of Africa, where young Lieutenant William Price fights the slave trade as part of the West Africa Squadron.

“Like many Jane Austen fans, I’ve wished that Austen had written more than six novels,” says Manning. “’A Contrary Wind’ is my homage to Austen, and a bit of a “what if” scenario. I really loved working with the unforgettable characters Jane Austen created, such as Henry and Mary Crawford and Mrs. Norris, while adding a few new characters of my own.”

excerpt

The grandfather clock in the front hall struck eleven, then midnight, and Fanny still lay awake in her narrow bed, unable to console herself. As miserable as her present circumstances were, the future offered no hope of improvement.

At an age when most young ladies were beginning to seriously contemplate matrimony, she had already formed the resolution that she would never enter the state; it was impossible that she would ever meet another man who could be the equal of Edmund Bertram. She rejected with contempt the idea of marrying for money, and in her humility she could not conceive of receiving an offer from one who esteemed her well enough to overlook her lack of a dowry. Settling with her family in Portsmouth appeared to be as equally out of the question as finding a husband. Her parents had never, in the course of her nearly ten years’ absence, expressed the wish that she return to them.

Fanny’s visions of her own future had all centered on a plan concocted with her older brother William – namely, that they would one day live in a little cottage and she would keep house for him when he retired from the Navy. But what was she to do until then? Her cousins had paid little regard to her over the years, but how empty the great house would seem when Maria and Julia married and formed their own establishments. Tom was abroad more than at home and Edmund would remove to Thornton Lacey after his ordination. She would be left behind to grow old in the service of her aunts. A long twilight existence, fetching and carrying for Aunt Bertram and bearing Aunt Norris’ slights and insults in silence, stretched ahead of her. She might have to endure ten, fifteen, twenty years of such a life before she could retire to a cottage with her brother.

And could she truly rely upon this solace, at long last? Although marriage formed no part of her brother’s plans at twenty, could she expect him to regard the state with the same indifference at five or eight-and-twenty? What if William did marry, and his wife had no wish to be encumbered by a maiden sister? And whether in Mansfield, Portsmouth or her brother’s cottage, was she not dependent upon the charity of others for every mouthful she ate and every thread upon her back? Were her comings and goings to be entirely at the command of others, her own preferences never consulted?

As Fanny tossed and turned for the hundredth time that long night, a new unbidden resolution suggested itself to her – you are acquainted with one independent gentlewoman who earned her own bread.

Your own governess, Miss Lee.

Why should you not do the same?

***

The following morning, Fanny escaped to the East Room after a half-eaten breakfast to ask herself how the thoughts she’d entertained the previous night appeared to her in the judicious light of morning.

The East Room had once been the school-room and had sat empty after the departure of their governess. It was now used solely by Fanny, the smallness of her own bedchamber making the use of the other so evidently reasonable, and Mrs. Norris, having stipulated for there never being a fire in it on Fanny’s account, was tolerably resigned to her having the use of what nobody else wanted.

The aspect was so favourable that even without a fire it was habitable in many an early spring and late autumn morning to such a willing mind as Fanny’s. The comfort of it in her hours of leisure was extreme. She could go there after anything unpleasant below, and find immediate consolation in some pursuit, or some train of thought at hand. Her plants, her books—of which she had been a collector from the first hour of her commanding a shilling—her writing-desk, and her works of charity and ingenuity, were all within her reach.

To this nest of comforts Fanny now walked down to try its influence on an agitated, doubting spirit. Could she, Fanny, take a position as governess? Of caring for children, she had had much experience. As the eldest daughter of a family of ten, she had been important as playfellow, instructress, and nurse until sent away to live with her uncle and aunt.

In the ordinary course of events, gentlewomen only became governesses out of necessity. It was the last resort of the genteel but poor. It was a position entered upon with resignation at best, despair and resentment at worst, by widows and orphans, by persons whose expectations had been dashed and whose hopes had been overthrown – it was not to be wondered at that governesses and their faults were dwelt upon with much energy by ladies on their morning visits throughout the kingdom. While it was possible that some governesses become honoured and beloved members of the family, Fanny only knew that the profession never wore a happy face in any novel she had picked up.

Fanny paced unceasingly around the old work table, greatly agitated at her own audacity for even entertaining such ideas as now entered her head. She attempted to recollect, as best she might, any remarks dropped by Miss Lee concerning her opinions of the profession. But Miss Lee had been of a taciturn and formal disposition, a quality that recommended her to Sir Thomas, but was ill-suited for arousing lasting feelings of affection or confidence from her pupils.

Fanny had first met Miss Lee upon coming to Mansfield when she was but ten years old, and for many months was afraid of her, though anxious to win her approbation. The governess’s biting remarks upon Fanny’s backwardness, ignorance and awkward ways had often brought Fanny to tears. Almost a year passed before Miss Lee had realized that of her three pupils – Maria, Julia and Fanny – only Fanny loved learning for learning’s sake; only her timidity before the others prevented her from showing that she had memorized every textbook laid before her, and thenceforward Miss Lee was more encouraging.

Maria and Julia were overjoyed to be released from the schoolroom upon turning seventeen, while Fanny, the youngest, continued for another year, sitting with Miss Lee for several hours every morning, studying French, geography and natural history, or walking the grounds of the park to collect botanical samples.

Although Miss Lee had less to do as a governess when she had only one pupil, she was required to devote her afternoons and many evenings to attending on Lady Bertram.

When Miss Lee was at last discharged from Mansfield Park, Fanny was old enough to supply her place as Lady Bertram’s errand-runner and cribbage partner. Fanny wondered whether these tasks were rendered less irksome to Miss Lee by the knowledge that she was paid for performing them. Would living amongst strangers be preferable to living with her cousins, if she received a salary, however small, rather than paying for her bread and board with the coinage of duty, submission and gratitude?

A tap at the door roused her and her eyes brightened at the sight of Edmund. They had not spoken since Aunt Norris’s cruel rebuke of the night before, and Fanny, her colour rising, anticipated the unlooked-for joy of a private conference with Edmund, in which he would declare his indignation at their aunt, and assure her of his esteem and regard. But no, it was the play, and worse, it was Miss Crawford, that occupied Edmund’s thoughts and occasioned this rare, this precious conversation.

“This acting scheme gets worse and worse, you see. They have chosen almost as bad a play as they could, and now, to complete the business, are going to ask the help of a young man very slightly known to any of us. This is the end of all the privacy and propriety which was talked about at first. I know no harm of Charles Maddox; but the excessive intimacy which must spring from his being admitted among us in this manner is highly objectionable, the more than intimacy—the familiarity.”

He came to the East room, he said, for her ‘advice and opinion,’ but a very few moments made it clear to Fanny that he had already made up his mind – he would yield – he would take the part of Anhalt himself rather than see a stranger admitted on such intimate terms. “Put yourself in Miss Crawford’s place, Fanny. Consider what it would be to act Amelia with a stranger.”

Fanny protested, “I am sorry for Miss Crawford, but I am more sorry to see you drawn in to do what you had resolved against, and what you are known to think will be disagreeable to my uncle. It will be such a triumph to the others!”

“They will not have much cause of triumph when they see how infamously I act,” Edmund responded drily, adding that he hoped, by yielding in this fashion, to persuade the others to keep the theatricals private and not involve any others in the neighbourhood, either as performers or audience. “Will not this be worth gaining?”

“Yes, it will be a great point,” Fanny said reluctantly. Then Edmund did, finally, refer to her humiliation of the previous night, but only as a further reason to yield to Miss Crawford and take the part of Anhalt, for: “She never appeared more amiable than in her behaviour to you last night. It gave her a very strong claim on my goodwill.”

At this, Fanny could scarcely speak, and Edmund was only too willing to interpret her silence as consent.

He smiled, he spent a few moments looking over her little library with her, when he was clearly eager to be gone, to walk down to the Parsonage and convey his change of sentiments to Miss Crawford. Then he was gone, entirely insensible of the pain he had inflicted.

Had either circumstance – Aunt Norris’ insult or this fresh proof of Edmund’s infatuation – occurred separately, Fanny would surely have spent her morning weeping. But occurring within twelve hours of each other, the absolute misery of the whole was so stupefying that she could no longer weep and, resolving within herself that she would weep no more, Fanny jumped up from her seat and slipped downstairs to the breakfast room, unobserved by anyone.

Lady Bertram kept her recent correspondence in an elegant little desk there. All of Lady Bertram’s acquaintance, including Miss Lee, had received a note from her Ladyship hinting at the engagement of her eldest daughter to the richest landowner in the county – and the former governess, Fanny knew, had recently replied, wishing her one-time pupil every happiness. The note was postmarked from Bristol, where Miss Lee’s latest employers resided.

With a rapidly beating heart, Fanny retraced her steps to the East Room where she composed a letter to Miss Lee, imploring her to keep her secret for now, and asking her advice on whether she thought her last pupil at Mansfield Park might be suited to be a governess. No sooner had she sealed her letter than she was summoned to walk into town on an errand for her Aunt Norris, which happily afforded her the opportunity to visit the village post office without the letter passing through the hands of servants at the Park.

She passed by Dr. and Mrs. Grant’s home on the way to the village, and she could hear the lovely rippling strains of harp music issuing from the sitting room. Miss Crawford was entertaining her cousin Edmund. With tear-filled eyes, Fanny hurried past the parsonage, followed by the faint sounds of Edmund laughing in response to something witty Mary Crawford had said.

 

biography

lona-manningHello. I was born in South Korea a few years after the Korean War. My father taught library science at Yonsei University. And — being from the American South, he also taught his students how to do the Virginia Reel. My mother fostered Korean war orphan babies.

My folks returned to the United States in the early 60’s and were active in the civil rights movement. We always had the kind of house that was filled with books and magazines. Our family (with six kids by then) moved to Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada, in 1967. Then we had a house filled with books, magazines, and war objectors playing guitar and singing “Where have all the flowers gone.”

I put myself through university in Vancouver. Over the years, I’ve been a home care aide, legal secretary, political speech writer, office manager, and vocational instructor. Mainly I worked in non-profit administration until suddenly deciding (in my late 50’s) to get an ESL teaching certificate. So most recently I’ve been teaching English in China. My husband Ross and I raised two boys; one is now a computer programmer and the other is finishing law school.

Although I have not written much in recent years, I have authored several lengthy non-fiction pieces about notable American crimes, such as: the murder of Madalyn Murray O’Hair, the Lindbergh kidnapping, the 1920 Wall Street bombing, the satanic ritual moral panic of the 90’s, and the Rubin Hurricane Carter case. These articles have been cited in over a dozen books and been used in secondary school and university courses [for  example, Sam Houston University, University of Missouri-Kansas City] My article about O’Hair was used in a course on the history of atheism at the Center for American Studies at Heidelberg University. My Wall Street bombing article was referenced in a New York City Law Journal Review article.

Last spring, after a long silence, my Muse showed up and started writing this book in my head.

Hobbies, interests, passions and peeves:  I’ve sung in a number of bands and choirs, most recently the Kelowna International Choir. My husband and I love to travel around Asia. I get buggy when people use possessive apostrophes when they really mean plural, as in “apple’s for sale.”

 

giveaway-time

Lona Manning would like to offer my readers two copies of A Contrary Wind, a paperback and an ebook.

To participate in the giveaway all you have to do is comment on this post and share your thoughts with us.

The giveaway is international and is open until the 8th of March. The winners will be announced shortly after that. I would hate to see winners of the book miss their chances to receive it, so in order not to miss the announcement, please visit the blog after the 8th or follow it to guarantee you receive an e-mail notification with each post that is published, including the giveaway announcements.

Good luck everyone!

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Giveaway Winners Announcement

giveaway-winners-announcement_final

 

Hello everyone,

In the beginning of this month I reviewed The Courtship of Edward Gardiner, one of my favourite books from 2016. It was the only prequel I read of Pride and Prejudice, the last book from Nicole Clarkston, and hopefully one of her many works I’ll review because her writing style is just captivating and when I finish one of her books, I am already in need of another one 🙂

When Nicole Clarkston heard I was going to review her book, she immediately offered to promote a giveaway of both an ebook and an audiobook copy of The Courtship of Edward Gardiner, so today I’m happy to announce that the winners are:

 

Ebook – Karylee Marin

Audiobook – Me

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I would also like to bring some very good news to readers who participated in my Interview with Stevie Zimmerman  post. Unfortunately I did not receive feedback from all winners, so I had to select 2 other readers for Love Never Fails from Jennifer Joy and The Courtship of Edward Gardiner from Nicole Clarkston.

I am always sad when I don’t hear back from winners, but that also means that someone else has a chance to win, and the two new lucky winners are:

 

Love Never Fails – Dung

The Courtship of Edward Gardiner – Mary

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Congratulations everyone! Please send me your contacts to ritaluzdeodato at gmail dot com so that the prizes may be sent out to you.

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Darcy vs. Bennet – Review

Hello dear readers,

I never cared much about Valentine’s Day, and honestly I never do anything special this day. I think that we should show affection towards others, and get out and enjoy the company of someone else whenever we want, and not on a given day that society dictates, so I didn’t prepare anything special for the blog either. But I do have a review that I would like to share with you, and if you feel the same way I do, maybe this book will be your company for Valentine’s Day.

515w3lingcl__sy346_4.5 stars

When Darcy vs. Bennet came out last year, everyone was talking about it, and I heard that it was a love at first sight story. I’m usually not very fond of the love at first sight premise, for the simple reason that I don’t believe in it, so I was a little put out because I love Victoria Kincaid’s books and I was eager to read this one. But it was a Victoria Kincaid book nonetheless, so I had to read it! I filled myself with courage and gave it a go. Guess what? I should have read it the first time I got a chance because it was absolutely wonderful!!!

In Darcy vs. Bennet Mr. Darcy meets Elizabeth Bennet at a masquerade ball, and even if they feel drawn to each other almost immediately, they do have a chance to dance, talk and get to know each other a little better. It is also in this masquerade ball that Elizabeth proves to be a trustworthy friend in the eyes of Mr. Darcy, by saving Georgiana from eloping with Mr. Wickham. But when she hears Mr. Darcy’s family name, she understands a relationship between them can never occur due to their parents’ feud and flees the party.

Mr. Darcy cannot forget the only woman who had thus far captured his attention and searches everywhere for Elizabeth, but knowing only her given name is endeavor is unsuccessful. Two years later, when he travels to Netherfield with Mr. Bingley, he reunites with Elizabeth and from the moment they recognize each other we are faced with a turbulent but poignant love story!

In this book Mr. Darcy senior is still alive and he is the true villain of the story, he is a despicable man and I loved to hate him in Darcy vs. Bennet. In fact, I believe he became my favorite villain in a JAFF story because it was due to his unrelenting demands that Mr. Darcy takes one of the bravest decisions he was ever asked to make on behalf of his love for Elizabeth.

I loved how strong and unbinding Darcy and Elizabeth’s love was in this book, and how far Mr. Darcy would go to be with her; how she made him a humbler man in a completely different way than we are used to see and how they suffered for their love. If I go straight to the point, I just LOVED this book!

In Darcy vs. Bennet I could feel once more the type of love Mrs. Kincaid developed in The Secrets of Darcy and Elizabeth: intense, secretive, intimate, insecure and resolute at the same time.

It is a fast paced book that captured my heart from page one until the end. I’ve read many of Victoria Kincaid’s books, if not all, and I know she is a diversified author. Among her works, one can either find a humorous and light book or a gripping romance that will touch our souls. Darcy vs Bennet is amongst the second category. It is an epic romance that I recommend to everyone.

You can find this book at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

 

 

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