Last month Kelly Miller visited From Pemberley to Milton and brought with her an excerpt of A Consuming Love, her novella in the Meryton Press Skirmish & Scandal series, and an ebook to give away to one of my readers.
As always it was lovely to have Kelly here, she is a kind and pleasant author that I am always happy to receive 🙂 Thank you for visiting Kelly! I would also like to thank Meryton Press for organizing this tour and to all who participated in it. Unfortunately one one person could win the giveaway, so without further ado, the winner of the ebook copy is:
Congratulations Glynis! As always, can you please contact me throught e-mail ritaluzdeodato at gmail dot com so your prize may be sent to you? Please provide me with the email address to which the book may be sent to you, and the Amazon store in which you have an account.
I am very happy to receive Elaine Jeremiah for the first time at From Pemberley to Milton to share with you an excerpt of her recently released book: Elizabeth and Darcy: Beginning Again. This excerpt is taken from the earlier chapters of the book and reveals a little more about the events that will shape the entire story. I hope you enjoy it 🙂
Thank you for visiting Elaine, it was a pleasure to have you here with us 🙂
Little does Elizabeth Bennet think the journey across muddy fields from her home at Longbourn to Netherfield Park will change her life forever.
But an unexpected encounter with the proud and haughty Mr Darcy leaves her injured and vulnerable. Worse still, she is left alone with him for a significant amount of time. Her reputation at risk, she is forced to make a decision about her future. Now her life will never be the same again.
Can Elizabeth ever be happy? Or will she always loathe Mr Darcy?
As Darcy strode away from Elizabeth Bennet, he contemplated the situation they had found themselves in. Being unable to find help did not bode well. If or when they were discovered alone together, they would have difficulty explaining how it came to pass. He was unsure what he would say in his defence if they were.
He reflected too on his ambiguous feelings for the lady. It was true that she was the daughter of an inconsequential gentleman and her other relations… well vulgar did not begin to describe the mother. As for her sisters, excepting the eldest, Miss Jane Bennet who was perfectly amiable, he had never come across such boisterous, flirtatious misses in his life.
And yet he could not deny that Elizabeth intrigued him. She piqued his interest and those eyes of hers were most arresting. He shook his head as he thrashed his riding crop through the foliage of the woods, forcing a path through. Their meeting today was unaccountable. His very purpose for heading out from Netherfield on his horse, despite the indifferent weather, had been to clear his thoughts of her.
These nascent feelings for her simply would not do. She and her family were beneath him in every way. So it was that his surprise on happening upon her so suddenly had been great. At first, dismounting from his horse, he had felt as though he had been robbed of the power of speech. When finally he had turned and spoken to her, he saw by the expression of her fine eyes that her surprise was equal to his.
‘Attend to the task at hand, William,’ he told himself. At this moment, his biggest regret ought to have been his horse. Under usual circumstances, the horse would never have behaved in such a way. But he was unused to thunder and lightning, poor creature. Darcy had also had to rein him in very suddenly to avoid trampling Elizabeth, which had only added to the horse’s confusion.
In spite of his attempts to the contrary, however, Darcy’s thoughts would return to Elizabeth. He felt a need to protect her. After all, it was his fault she was injured. It was true that he had no wish to ruin her reputation; in fact, he knew that as a gentleman it was his duty to preserve it. Yet it was something greater than that which spurred him on, forcing him to ignore the raindrops trickling down the back of his neck, his cravat and greatcoat no match for the inclement weather.
He refused to acknowledge that feeling, however. It could lead nowhere. In any case, there were more important considerations to be thought of. He was unsure how long he had been walking for, but at that moment a smallish wooden hut with a stone chimney came into view. He halted abruptly, surveying it. Would it do for their purposes? Was it habitable? Although it was rudimentary, it appeared well kept. When he knocked, there was no answer. Taking a breath, he tried the door and to his relief discovered it was unlocked.
Darcy took a cursory glance around the interior. There was only the one room, but it did have a substantial fireplace on the far wall with firewood piled up beside it and a small bed in one corner. This will do nicely, he thought. Now all that remained was to fetch Elizabeth. It was a considerable distance for him to carry her, but the thought of having her small, warm, curvaceous body in his arms again made his mouth curve upwards in a grin.
Could this moment really be lasting an eternity, Elizabeth wondered, as she was sitting under the tree getting wetter by the minute. It certainly felt like it. The pain in her ankle was severe and it occurred to her that it may be broken. God forbid, she thought with a shudder. If she had broken a bone in her ankle and it was then set incorrectly, it could mean she would never walk again.
And Mr Darcy. Elizabeth could not make him out. In all her previous encounters with him, he had been aloof, taciturn and on occasion more than a little rude. During the short time she had been in his company this morning however, he had behaved with great chivalry towards her. It was perplexing to say the least. She shook her head. Mr Darcy was only performing the service that any gentleman would and that was all.
But his keeping hold of her hand for longer than necessary. What could he mean by it, if he truly disliked her? Attempting to answer this vexing question kept her mind occupied for a good while, in fact until the gentleman himself appeared in front of her. Elizabeth felt her face flush and bit her lip as her eyes met Mr Darcy’s own.
For a moment neither of them spoke but remained as they were with their eyes fixed on one another. It was as though someone had cast a spell over them. Elizabeth was startled that Mr Darcy seemed as transfixed as she. She wanted and yet did not want to look away. Finally, he cleared his throat. The spell was broken and he said, ‘Miss Bennet, I have discovered the gamekeeper’s cottage that you mentioned, although in truth it is more of a hut.’ He gave her a rueful smile, which seemed somehow to transform his face, lightening it, making him appear even more handsome than before.
She gave him a brief nod. ‘Thank you for searching in this dreadful weather,’ she said. ‘It may be a mere hut, but I think it is the best we can hope for. Beggars cannot be choosers.’
‘No, indeed,’ he replied. He paused and she saw that he seemed to be bracing himself for what he would say next. ‘Unfortunately, it is quite far from here, about a half mile. Miss Bennet, I must carry you for all of that time, if you will permit me?’
‘But of course,’ she replied. ‘I suppose that will have to suffice, as my ankle can scarcely support my weight.’
He gave a wry smile at her tart comment. ‘In that case, I suggest we depart immediately,’ he said and stooped to pick her up. She put her arms around his neck. ‘You are wet through,’ he added as he straightened and began to walk away from the tree which had proved so mean a shelter for her.
‘It is a very wet day, sir,’ Elizabeth replied lightly. ‘I cannot be expected to look the part of a lady in conditions such as these,’ she added in a mischievous tone.
He did not understand her. ‘Miss Bennet, I was not suggesting for one moment that you…’
‘Of course not, Mr Darcy,’ she replied. ‘I merely jest.’
‘Ah. I see,’ was his response.
They remained silent for a while as Mr Darcy soldiered on through the rain with Elizabeth in his arms. Gradually, her initial apprehension began to wear off and she found herself relaxing the rigid body posture she had adopted when he had lifted her off the ground. His arms around her made her feel warm in spite of the weather. Yet a sense of unease remained. She, an unmarried woman, was being carried a fair distance by a man who was not her betrothed and certainly never likely to be her husband. What would society say?
Elaine lives in Bristol, South West England with her husband and their golden retriever, Dug. But she was privileged enough to grow up in Jane Austen country, in Hampshire.
She’s always loved writing, but it’s only been in recent years that she’s been able to devote more time to it. She decided to self-publish with the help of her wonderful husband who’s very tech-savvy! In 2013 she self-published her first novel, but it was only with her fourth, her novel ‘Love Without Time’, that she felt she finally found her niche: Jane Austen Fan Fiction!
She’s always loved Jane Austen’s writing and the Regency era, so this felt like a natural thing for her to do. ‘Elizabeth and Darcy: Beginning Again’ is the first ‘Pride and Prejudice’ variation she’s written.
If you want to connect with Elaine online, her Facebook page can be found here:
Elaine is kindly offering 2 ebook copies of Elizabeth and Darcy: Beginning Again to my readers. The giveaway is international and to apply to it all you have to do is leave a comment on this post and let us know what you thought about the excerpt.
The giveaway is international and will end on the 12th of March. The winners will be announced shortly.
I hope you’re all safe in your hometowns and that you have a certain amount of freedom which may allow you to have some daily joys. Freedom seems like a scarce resource these days and I value it more and more each day.
Today we have a very special post at From Pemberley to Milton. In January I decided to do something new and host a giveaway in which I offered one ebook to my readers. The winner could choose any book among the ones I received in the mail during January and this idea was such a huge success, with everyone encouraging me to make a tradition out of it, that I decided to repeat it, so it is time to launch the February Book Mail Giveaway!
This month I only received two books in the mail, so you don’t have such a big offer as last month, but to be honest, I am glad these were the only books I got in the mail. I am still on a strict lockdown which will last apparently until April, and that is killing my reading mojo, so I have read very little and my TBR seems pretty much the same I had in the beginning of the year.
This month, the books I got in the mail and from which you can choose are the following:
To participate in the giveaway, all you have to do is tell me in the comments you are interested. I will announce the winner next Saturday, so you’ll have until the 6th of March to let me know. You don’t need to choose right away, but feel free to discuss any of these books 🙂 Unfortunetely the option to offer an ebook is only available to me on Amazon.com so you’ll have to have an account there to participate.
I will also post this giveaway on From Pemberley to Milton’s Facebook and Instagram page’s and participants from all platforms will be eligible for this giveaway 🙂
Reckless, Headstrong Girl is a very creative novella where Lydia’s fate after running away from Brighton with Wickham is very different from what we are used to. What if Wickham grew tired of Lydia even before they reached London? And what would happen if he threw her of the carriage in the middle of the country? What would petulant Lydia do?
The book opens up with Lydia and Wickham’s storyline, and alternates between Lydia’s adventures and Elizabeth and Darcy’s romance. I never expected I would say this, but when I started reading this book, I was so entranced with Lydia’s story that I didn’t want to read the chapters which were not focused on her. Elizabeth and Darcy’s love story is beautiful, and because of a slight difference in the story, Jane doesn’t send the letter to Elizabeth straight away, so Elizabeth and Mr Darcy have more time to be together at Pemberley, which was enough to develop a sweet romance, but still, I couldn’t take my mind away from Lydia!
Lydia’s story was very funny at first, and I loved to see her petulance be repeatedly tamed by her new circumstances, but as the story progressed, I started caring very much not only for Lydia, but also for the characters that were interacting with her. Mr. Parch in particular was a favourite, and my only quibble with this story was not seeing Lydia herself rewarding him for all he did for her. He was such an interesting character that I wanted to know more about him and his life.
The situation Lydia finds herself in is so different that she goes through material changes, and I loved to see her character development. The changes we see in her attitude and her growth from a childish lady into a pondered young woman were probably one of the aspects I enjoyed the most in this novella, but particularly because they were written in a light and funny fashion that made the book unputdownable. I usually dislike too much Lydia time, and confess to skip some parts of books that are exclusively about Lydia, but Grace Gibson did such a wonderful job with this story that I absolutely loved Lydia and wanted more time in her company.
Summing up, Reckless, Headstrong Girl is an extraordinary novella that readers will not be able to put down. It is well written and captivating, with the best Lydia rendition I’ve ever read. I highly recommend getting a copy and spend one afternoon in the company of this book.
Today I have the pleasure to welcome once more Riana Everly to From Pemberley to Milton to talk about Death in Highbury, book 2 in theMiss Mary Investigates series. I’ve mentioned before that Ms. Everly is an author I always love to receive here because of her interesting guest posts. She always writes the most informative posts, and today is no exception. After having read and reviewedThe Mystery of the Missing Heiress ( the prequel) andDeath of a Clergyman (Book 1), I was very curious to see where Miss Mary and Alexander would go, and Ms Everly literally showed me that.
I hope you enjoy the guest post with all those amazing pictures, and the excerpts Ms Everly brought today 🙂 Don’t forget to comment to apply to the giveaway 🙂
Thank you so much for letting me stop at this fabulous blog as part of my blog tour. It’s always a joy to be here and chat with everyone about what I’ve been up to.
My latest novel is another mystery in the Miss Mary Investigates series, this one called Death in Highbury: An Emma Mystery. From the title, it should come as no surprise that it takes place in and around Jane Austen’s fictional town of Highbury, Surrey. We know that Highbury is 16 miles from Brunswick Square in London, and 7 miles from Box Hill, and further, that it is exactly 9 miles from Richmond. Conventional wisdom is that such a place did not exist, although Kenneth Smith argues to the contrary in the Winter, 2018 volume of JASNA (http://jasna.org/publications/persuasions-online/volume-39-no-1/the-probable-location-of-donwell-abbey-in-jane-austens-emma/).
But I’m not here to talk about probable locations and who might or might not have lived where. I’m here to show you pretty pictures. What we have is enough to give us a general idea of where Highbury was located: In the rolling countryside of Surrey, somewhere near Dorking and Epsom. Further, I love to write about places I know, which is not always possible. But in this instance, I am lucky.
Many years ago, my father and I were in England, where we visited my ancient great aunt Kay. At the time, she lived in Dorking, a short train ride from where we were staying in London. We wandered about the high street for a while before hiking up the hillside to the residence where she was staying, pressing ourselves against stone walls as lorries raced up and down impossibly narrow country roads. But oh, if I had known at the time how close we were to Box Hill, which features so prominently in Emma, we never would have made it to Aunt Kay’s place! Still, I am very fortunate to have these memories of the countryside so clear in my mind.
Here are a few pictures of the area.
These maps show the intersection of a 16-mile distance from Brunswick Square with a 7-mile radius from Box Hill.
Here is a picture of Dorking, very much as I remember it.
My detective, Alexander, is in the area looking into some irregularities in the horse races at Epsom Downs. There have been races there since 1648, and where there is horse racing, there will be people trying to fix those races! Here is an engraving of the races at Epsom in 1791, and a photograph of the contemporary stands.
Of course, you can’t visit Emma’s Surrey without a stop at Box Hill.
The background on my book cover is from this same lovely spot.
There are so many gorgeous photos of this lovely part of the world. Make a cup of tea and see what Google images can show you.
Here are a couple of excerpts from the novel. Alexander is enjoying the change of scenery from where he keeps his rooms in London. In the first excerpt, Mary and Alexander ride through the countryside to the site where the latest body was found.
Mary was on her feet at once. “Sir, I must protest.” Her voice was steel, and Alexander was very proud of her for some reason. “I will not tell you what horrors I saw last autumn. I may seem a weak female in body, but my spirit is made of sterner stuff, and I shall not swoon or cause you trouble. And I may see something others might miss. I insist on coming along. I can ride, and if I may borrow a horse, I shall be of no trouble to anybody.”
Once more Knightley tried to dissuade her and once more Mary triumphed. The magistrate was correct: this was, indeed, no place for a woman, but Mary had proven herself before, and Alexander had no fears for her. And, as she had suggested, perhaps a set of eyes accustomed to observing different things would be useful.
The ride took the small party through the streets and laneways of Highbury, and then across newly verdant undulating farmland. Despite his recent shock, Martin was a friendly and informative guide, pointing out interesting features of the landscape as well as other relevant details. “Donwell Abbey—that’s Mr. Knightley’s estate—lies there, just beyond that stand of trees. You can see the chimneys when we pass over the bridge. All this land is his, including my own farm. My sisters keep house for me, down yonder, across that meadow. Over there you can see the crest of land nearer to the road to Kingston, and there, yonder, you will see the stone wall that runs between the farm and the land that was let to Mr. Carnes, closer to Epsom. Carnes lets from Mr. Knightley, since that parcel is not as good for corn as for grazing. Have you heard of Ralph Hesselgrave? He’s the one that’s mad on horseflesh and the races hereabouts. There’s lots of blunt in those pockets, and when Carnes proposed setting up the paddock and training grounds, Hesselgrave supported him in the matter.
“Hmmm, yes,” Alexander murmured. “I’ve heard his name before. I might have some questions for him. Perhaps Mr. Knightley can perform the introductions.”
Mary remained quiet on the ride, but Alexander could see her eyes absorbing all the information Martin was offering. She would know the exact route to take again, should she need to return to their destination, and she would be able to identify the key locations along the route. Smart girl!
Eventually the path the three took came to a break in an old stone wall, and here Martin urged his mount from the dirt laneway and onto the field, following the direction of the wall. The land dipped into a wide and shallow valley and then climbed again quite steeply, to what seemed to be the highest hill in the area. As they reached the very top, Alexander could see the collecting reservoir Martin used for his irrigation system. Three farm hands were milling around, waiting for Martin to return.
In this second excerpt, Alexander and Mr. Knightley head in the other direction, towards Dorking,
Alexander and Knightley set off for Dorking at first light. If they were to spend the day searching for Hesselgrave, they wished for as much of that day to be available as possible, and to waste little in travel. It was not a long distance—less than ten miles—but the road wound through farmland and over rivers, and up and down hills and valleys, through woods and fields and some of the most beautiful countryside that Alexander had seen.
“We are not far from Box Hill,” Knightley said as they crested a particularly impressive rise of land. It seemed about as high as the one atop of which Harry Carnes had eaten his last meal, but this one was thickly wooded, rather than carefully tended farmland. “Box Hill is a favourite place for picnics, well regarded as having a most spectacular vista of the surrounding countryside. Perhaps, once your task is completed to your satisfaction, you might take a half day to enjoy it.”
“Thank you,” Alexander replied as his eyes roved across the lovely land around him. “If it bests this in terms of beauty, it must be a wonder indeed.”
As they descended the hillside, the sparse smattering of farmhouses and outbuildings began to grow denser, until they were in the outskirts of Dorking. It was a busy market town with an active main street and a large and impressive inn at the centre of the town, with stables behind it. Here Alexander and Knightley requested care for their horses whilst they took a quick breakfast at the public room of the inn and made some initial inquiries as to the state of Hesselgrave’s room and the direction of the attorney who had drafted the investment agreement between Carnes, the missing squire, Elton, and whoever else might be involved.
When political chaos in London forces Mary Bennet to take refuge in the picturesque town of Highbury, Surrey, she quickly finds herself safe among friends. Emma Woodhouse welcomes her as a guest at Hartfield, Jane Fairfax is delighted by her love of music, and Frank Churchill can’t stop flirting with her. But it is not long before Mary starts to suspect that beneath the charming surface, Highbury hides some dark secrets. Alexander Lyons is sent to Surrey on an investigation, and at his friend Darcy’s request, heads to Highbury to make certain Mary is comfortable and safe. But no sooner does he arrive than one local man dies, and then another! Soon Alexander and Mary are thrust into the middle of a baffling series of deaths. Are they accidents? Or is there a very clever murderer hiding in their midst? And can they put their personal differences aside in time to prevent yet another death in Highbury?
Riana Everly was born in South Africa, but has called Canada home since she was eight years old. She has a Master’s degree in Medieval Studies and is trained as a classical musician, specialising in Baroque and early Classical music. She first encountered Jane Austen when her father handed her a copy of Emma at age 11, and has never looked back.
Riana now lives in Toronto with her family. When she is not writing, she can often be found playing string quartets with friends, biking around the beautiful province of Ontario with her husband, trying to improve her photography, thinking about what to make for dinner, and, of course, reading!
Riana Everly is ggiving away five eBooks worldwide over the course of this blog tour, chosen randomly from people who enter. To enter, please use the Rafflecopter link .
If you don’t like Rafflecopter, you can still enter. Just send her an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) saying so, and she’ll add your name to the list for the draw. The giveaway will close at 12am EST on February 27, 2021.
I am sure you’ve all heard about the Skirmish & Scandal Series by Meryton Press, but if you haven’t, this is a series of novellas from different authors that despite being stand alones, share in common the “Skirmish & Scandal” theme. So far MP has released five of these novellas, and today I am hosting Kelly Miller who is here to share with you an excerpt of A Consuming Love, the fifth novella to be released in the series. This excerpt is from Mr. Darcy’s POV and I am sure you’ll love it 🙂
Thank you for visiting Ms. Miller, and thank you Janet for the opportunity to be a part of this tour and for doing such a wonderful job organizing it 🙂
The methodical world of rich, proud Fitzwilliam Darcy is in chaos: a country lady of modest origins has utterly captivated him.
The knowledge that Elizabeth Bennet is an unsuitable match fails to diminish Darcy’s fascination for her, nor does his self-imposed distance from the lady hinder her ability to intrude upon his thoughts at all hours of the day. What can solve his dilemma?
When circumstances compel Darcy’s return to Hertfordshire in assistance of his friend Mr. Bingley, he must confront his unfathomable attraction to Miss Elizabeth.In this Pride and Prejudice Regency novella, one afternoon spent in company with Miss Elizabeth Bennet is enough to make an indelible and life-altering impression upon Darcy, setting him on a rocky course towards the fulfillment of his desires. Will Darcy attain happiness, or will his ingrained pride be his downfall?
The following excerpt is in Darcy’s point of view, and takes place at Netherfield Park:
They entered the library, a handsome, well-appointed room with an abundance of bookcases and naught but one half-shelf of books.
With a glance at Bingley, Miss Bennet said, “While the rest of the house is furnished, this library offers a woeful dearth of books. Whomever leases this house must bring their own reading material. Of course, we also have a small circulating library in Meryton.”
His friend shrugged. “That is of no consequence to me; I had more than my fill of books at university. Other than whatever reference manuals I shall consult for estate matters, I shall not do much reading. I plan to spend my leisure time shooting, riding, and visiting neighbours.”
Miss Bennet maintained her smile, but a momentary furrow appeared between her brows. Darcy did not scruple to conceal his own disappointment in Bingley’s answer. His efforts to interest his friend in expanding his mind through reading had been unsuccessful. Nevertheless, Bingley’s next statement provoked the beginnings of a smile.
“Now Darcy, on the other hand, is an avid reader. I believe he reads through several books in any given week. He will have to pack his own supply of books when he comes to stay.”
The lady’s eyes gleamed in his direction with renewed curiosity. “Is that so, Mr. Darcy? May I ask what you are reading now?”
Mr. Bennet, too, had perked up. The gentleman pushed up his spectacles and peered at him.
“Last night I finished, The Royal Tribes of Wales, by Philip Yorke. Before that, I read Memoirs of Modern Philosophers, by Elizabeth Hamilton, because my sister had expressed an interest in reading it. It is my habit to read new books before my sister does, if only so we can discuss them afterwards.”
Eliz—or rather, Miss Bennet’s eyes sparkled with undisguised interest. “I have read the novel by Miss Hamilton and found it well written, creative, and courageous in many ways though disappointing in others. What did you think of it?”
While Bingley’s eyes glazed over at this topic that held no interest for him, Mr. Bennet looked on with a raised brow, and Miss Bennet’s luminous irises riveted on him. Excitement welled within his chest. “I thought the novel succeeded in promoting her views in an entertaining way. My sister is reading it now. How did Miss Hamilton’s work disappoint you?”
“While it is laudable to promote the notion that an individual’s virtues should be more important than their class or gender, she could have gone further. She believes women should be granted the same opportunities for education as men, yet she hints that a woman’s ultimate role is to run a household. As a writer, Miss Hamilton herself has entered a realm that many believe ought to be restricted to the males of our society. If ladies could avail themselves of the same opportunities for education as gentlemen, they might take on many of the professions now limited to males. I could point to many examples of women who have led countries, run estates, or worked to harvest a field of wheat alongside her husband and children.”
“I cannot fault your logic. I have every expectation that in the future the strict lines of class and gender will be amended, though I predict it will take many generations.” Before him stood an articulate, well-read, and educated lady, though perhaps her instruction had been formal. He would bet that Miss Bennet had not attended one of the seminaries patronised by young ladies of the higher circles. Had she even had a governess? Regardless, Darcy could name no other person with whom he would rather debate this and a myriad of other subjects.
With a nod to Bingley—who had begun to tap his foot, a vexatious habit his friend exhibited when bored or anxious—Mr. Bennet cleared his throat. “Under other circumstances, I should be pleased to hear your impressions of Yorke’s treatment of the Welsh princes, Mr. Darcy, but I suggest we continue our tour of the house.”
They resumed their walk through the mansion. Miss Bennet, walking abreast of Darcy, made an aside. “My uncle Gardiner has made connections through his business that allow him to obtain many books or manuscripts before they reach the book shops. A close friend of my uncle, a publisher, gave him a preliminary version of a novel to be published in the next few weeks, Sense and Sensibility, written anonymously by a lady. After my uncle and my aunt read the novel, they sent it to me. The story follows a widow and her three daughters, who are left to live in reduced circumstances when a family member fails to fulfill his promise to provide them financial support. I found it compelling, affecting, and honest. I look forward to reading this author’s future works.”
“Sense and Sensibility. I thank you. I shall remember the name. I am always looking for novels that my sister might wish to read.”
The lady glanced his way with a smile that sent a shiver down his back. It struck him then what an ideal friend Miss Bennet would make for Georgiana. Miss Bennet’s cheery, genial manner would penetrate the barrier of his sister’s innate shyness and insecurities. Of course, he could not allow such an actuality; it would be untenable for Georgiana to have a friend who so enticed him.
Kelly Miller is a native Californian and Anglophile, who made her first visit to England in 2019. When not pondering a plot point or a turn of phrase, she can be found playing the piano (although like Elizabeth Bennet, she is errant when it comes to practicing), singing, and walking her dogs. Kelly Miller resides in Silicon Valley with her husband, daughter, and their many pets.
Meryton Press is giving away an ebook of A Consuming Love to one of my readers. To enter the giveaway please comment on this post and let us know what you thought about this excerpt. The giveaway is open until the 26th of February and the winners will be announced shortly after that.
I believe this interview is very enlighting and particularly fun! I bet you’ll be as amused as I was when you read which was the hadest scene for to Paul write.
I hope you enjoy it and join me in congratulatin Leigh and Paul on this new release 🙂
Thank you for visiting Leigh and Paul! This was a great interview 🙂
What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?
Leigh: Well, for these books, I feel like my whole life has been a literary pilgrimage. My dad, Paul, was a military pilot and an instructor, like Darcy in book 1, and my husband is currently a working pilot. I wanted to include the Reno air races so dad and I went to Reno a few years ago and that was amazing.
Paul: Mostly for non-fiction type books. I try to read up on places we are going on vacation. Lincoln before traveling to Illinois, Washington before Mt Vernon, pioneers for Wyoming etc. For this book the trip to Reno was a bucket list item for me. I’d tried to get there several times but September is tough with school starting and kids activities.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Leigh: Yes. *laughs* It depends on the scene, what else is going on that day, and typically how long into the book I am. First few chapters it is so fun and exciting. Those last few I just want to get done and fix what I know I screwed up in that first draft.
Paul: Writing is enjoyable. The post writing, editing, proof reading etc. gets to be a drag. I enjoyed trying to be sure Leigh and I were in sync on our common characters. It led to some fun discussions between us.
Have you ever gotten reader’s block?
Leigh: I feel like this describes all 2020 for me. I normally read 50+ books a year, but last year I swear I got through about 10 and they were all rough. I had a baby in Fall 2019, then moved, then covid hit and it has just been really hard to get into any sort of routine and reading is almost too much for my brain recently.
Paul: No I usually have a couple books going. It’s a habit my mom passed on. Doesn’t matter what you read as long as you’re reading something.
Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?
Leigh: Well, I don’t so…yes
Paul: Yes, and I feel that strongly. (chuckle)
Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
Leigh: Something I’ve always enjoyed was the meeting of various Austen characters so in theory I’d like to do that throughout my work, but honestly, I just want to write a story I’m proud of every time. Obviously, The Best Laid Flight Plans, The Flight Path Less Traveled, and Came a Flight Gently all work together, but I don’t think my next novel will be strongly connected.
Paul: I think all books should stand on their own. So you if you find say the middle book you get a complete story. That in turn may push you to other books in the series.
How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
Leigh: I learned so much that first book it’s hard to describe everything. I think while writing this series generally, I’ve found how important a series bible is (I didn’t have that and spent so many hours combing through the other books to figure out character descriptions and whatever), what head hopping is and how to avoid it, when to wax rhapsodic and when to shut up and just let the action happen.
What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
Leigh: I spoke relatively early and read at 3. I work as a speech pathologist. I’m not sure when I realized that language had power, but I know that it does. It has the power to get you a glass of milk or start a revolution. It’s amazing to me that the world still talks about what people have said thousands of years ago and how much power it still has today.
Paul: Being older, I remember Martin Luther King Jr. his speeches. In 3d or 4th grade I read a book about going through Air Force Pilot training that sent me on a direction and a vocation. When I went through training years later at the same base, I vividly remembered sections of that book. Kids need adventure stories to make their imaginations grow and get a desire to accomplish something.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
Leigh: A panda—it’s my favorite. But honestly, I think my writer mascot is probably a whale. I dive deep, write ALL the things and get it done in huge chunks, then I come up and take a breath for a while, then dive back down. I don’t have the consistency that so many great writers do.
Paul: I am not good at this type of question. Leigh used to ask me how big of an animal I could beat up. I guess a Wolf. Keeps walking, searching, stalking for the right words and then focusing on them to make a killer sentence.
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
Leigh: For me, its writing their thoughts. How do men feel? No idea. It’s a total mystery to me. Do they? Sure. Is it the same as my wild, swinging, recently pregnant hormonal crying and then totally fine ways? Nope. I will say that I have a much more difficult time describing characters as I don’t always imagine them as a specific face/hair/shape. I normally just have a
Paul: Not knowing how a woman gets to the decision or action. Not so much what they do, but the why behind it. Luckily for me pilots are pilots and I’ve experience teaching a variety of people so I just went from personal examples.
How do you select the names of your characters?
Leigh: Luckily, Austen did most of the work for me. For minor characters, many of them are named after friends and relatives that have helped me with the book.
Paul: As the co-author Leigh told me. Though for place holder names I apparently like Barbara, Helen, and Frank.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
Leigh: Absolutely. I like to know where I have room to grow and where I’m doing ok. The good are great, but the criticisms are where I can learn the most.
Paul: Feedback is a gift. So as long as they don’t question my effort, parentage, or call me names I can learn something.
What was your hardest scene to write?
Leigh: In this book, the board room scenes were really hard. I’ve never been in that corporate world and it took a lot of research both online an with a friend who is a professor at a business school to figure out a real, workable solution that is hopefully dramatic on the page even if it probably would have been a bit tedious played out in real life.
Paul: Sex scenes and then sending them to my daughter for approval. (laugh)
What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
Leigh: Keeping myself to a deadline. It is so easy to let work, kids, cleaning, tv, other books, and just not feeling like it get in the way of making consistent progress. As a bonus, the second thing is streamlining everything in a workable timeline. I really struggled with that in my second book and hopefully have figured out how to work around it.
Paul: Determining were the story is going. I’ve a thousand great first paragraphs but figuring out where I want the character and story to end.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Leigh: My goal is to publish ten books by age 40, so I’m shooting for a book a year or so. If it is just the actual narration portion of the text (no editing, etc.) it normally breaks down to 1-2 months for the first draft.
Paul: Once I know where to go, about two hours a chapter. Figuring out where to go with the story might take a couple days per chapter. Leigh did a good job of keeping us on a reasonable time line.
In the exciting conclusion of the Pride in Flight Series (The Best Laid Flight Plans and The Flight Path Less Traveled), our dear couple Elizabeth and Darcy have moved to Pemberley to begin their lives together. An outsider to New York society and the affluent world of Darcy, our heroine uses her characteristic drive and wit to begin her marriage and all that comes with him. Helped along by Mrs. Reynolds and a curmudgeonly airplane mechanic, Elizabeth discovers a new path to the civilian flight world. Darcy, ever the hero, supports her and learns to trust her instincts. Fast-paced and dramatic, Came a Flight Gently soars through love, adventure, and intrigue as it races through Reno to the finish.
Leigh Dreyer is a huge fan of Jane Austen variations and the JAFF community. She is blessed to have multi-generational military connections through herself and her husband, who she met in pilot training. She often describes her formative years in this way: “You know the ‘Great Balls of Fire’ scene in Top Gun (Goose, you big stud!) when Goose and Meg Ryan have their kid on the piano? I was that kid.” Leigh lives with her pilot husband, a plane-obsessed son, a daughter who was a pink pilot for Halloween, and a one-year-old son who is so used to F-16 noise, he does not even startle to sonic booms.
Paul Trockner was an Air Force fighter pilot for twenty-eight years. He flew the F-111, T-37, A-10, and T-38. He currently teaches fighter pilots using simulator instruction. He has been happily married for thirty-six years to his lovely wife Elizabeth. Leigh is the oldest of his five children.
Captain Wentworth Home from the Sea is a novella that embarks on the premise that Captain Wentworth suffered a head injury in battle and lost his memory, namely the names and faces of people from his past. Because of this, he is forced to retire from the navy and is therefore with the Crofts when they decide to lease Kellynch Hall.
Anne Elliot is a patient and compassionate person who takes all the responsibilities of the family upon herself, so when it is time to prepare everything for the Crofts to be comfortable, it is Anne who is left behind while the rest of the family retrenches to Bath.
These circumstances will allow Anne and Frederick to rekindle their old relationship, and we see them getting along and falling in love all over again. Anne meets a different Frederick, someone who appears to have lost his social skills and whose bluntness shocks even Mrs. Croft, and Wentworth doesn’t remember Anne, who also fails to tell him about their history, so it feels like we are seeing them falling in love for the first time.
Captain Wentworth was the best aspect of this novella for me, I l absolutely loved his personality on Captain Wentworth Home from the Sea. Even if in the beginning of the book he appears to be a more practical and cold person, his tendency for romance is still very visible later in the story. But his candour, which was amusing and uplifting, was what I loved the most about him. It was about time someone put the Elliot’s in their rightful place. Even his frankness with Anne was wonderful because it showed us these characters can have a mature adult relationship.
I loved the pace of this novella. Being a short read it didn’t lose time with unnecessary details or descriptions and I could read it in one single sitting, which was very gratifying. The only quibble I had with it was the fast resolution in the end. I would have loved to have more page time with these characters after Frederick remembers all his history with Anne. Plus, I wasn’t expecting him to be so forgiving of Anne’s omission, and I believe that a few extra pages would give this situation a more satisfying resolution.
Nevertheless, I would say this is one of my favorite Persuasion stories so far and I highly recommend it to those who like these characters.
You can find Captain Wentworth Home From the Sea at:
I am long overdue in announcing the winner of my January Book Mail Giveaway, and maybe that is because I made a big deal trying to find an innovative way of telling you who the winner is. I am sorry about that, and I promise to make it simpler next time… And, yes, there will be a next time 🙂
I really had fun putting together the January Book Mail post and many of you thought this idea was a keeper, I never expected it to have such success, so we will make a tradition out of it. Every month I’ll share with you the books I received in the mail during the said month, and offer an ebook copy of one of them to one of you. I cannot promise you’ll have as many books to choose from in the following months, January might have been the exception because I received many late Christmas presents, but regardless of the number of books I’ll receive, I’ll still go ahead with the Book Mail Giveaway.
I’m not sure what we will do if I don’t receive any book in the mail in a specific month, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.
So…thank you all for participating, for commenting, and for sharing this post with other fellow readers, and see you next month 😉
For now, the giveaway winner of the January Book Mail Giveaway is:
Congratulations DarcyBennett! Please choose any book from the January Book Mail list and tell me your preference via email (ritaluzdeodato at gmail dot com). I’ll send you the ebook as soon as I hear from you 🙂
Abigail Reynolds did it again! The Price of Pride has become one of my all-time favorite books and I know that everything I read after this book will lack in comparison.
This story begins during Elizabeth’s tour in Derbyshire, but instead of meeting Mr. Darcy at Pemberley, she meets Mr. Andrew Darcy at a village nearby. She tries to keep her distance from him because he may be a relation to Mr. Darcy, but Wickham devises a compromising situation and she is forced to accept Mr. Andrew Darcy’s hand in marriage. As if that was not enough, she soon realizes he is actually Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy’s younger brother, and is required to spend a lot of time in the Darcy’s company.
It is hard to point out what I loved the most about this book because in reality, I loved everything about it, but I will try my best to explain why this book conquered my heart.
Let’s start with the angst. I absolutely love angsty books because I believe they bring out intense feelings into the plot, and I cannot imagine anything more angsty than having ODC loving each other, and spending time in each other’s company, knowing they will never be together. This is precisely what happens in this book. Not only Mr. Darcy loves Elizabeth at this point, but she also realizes he is the only man she could ever love. They spend a lot of time in each other’s company, and realize they have even more in common then what they initially thought. Their interactions are intense and electrifying and I craved for more every time I saw them sharing page time. Not only their love for each other is strong and intense, but also Abigail Reynolds writing style allows the reader to feel it in his heart, making this an extremely addictive book. I simply could not stop reading it!
The love story is also bumpy and unexpected despite the constancy of the characters feelings. When one believes they may finally have their happily ever after, something else happens that puts the reader over the edge of his seat. Again, this was perfect because once more we are shown how devoted ODC are to one another and how strong their feelings are. When the reader thinks he already had his share of intense and beautiful moments between Elizabeth and Darcy, Abigail Reynolds takes a new sub plot under her sleeve and presents us with more unexpected, yet lovely moments.
I also loved Mr. Darcy’s jealousy and devotion towards Elizabeth and his brother. He is a man divided between the love he feels towards the woman of his life and the need to reconcile with his family. The balance between these two was perfect and I loved Mr. Darcy’s relationship with his brother almost as much his relationship with Elizabeth. In fact, the family dynamics this book approaches was another aspect that made me love it. From the Darcy’s brotherly relationship, to Mr. Hadley’s relationship with his son and the acceptance of Anne Darcy’s behavior by her children, everything was perfect.
As mentioned before, not only Abigail Reynolds writing style kept me engaged with the story, but also touched my heart and made me cry. I don’t usually cry in books, but I did cry when I was told Mr. Hadley’s life story. I am glad all characters got their happy ending because they certainly deserved it.
Summing up, The Price of Pride is one of the most beautiful love stories I’ve ever read with intense and electrifying scenes between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth. They have a long road to go through to find their happy ending, but the journey is just as incredible as the destination. This is certainly one book I will never forget. The angst, Darcy’s jealousy, Elizabeth and Darcy’s relationship, the family dynamics, the secondary love stories, the passion for adventure, and the writing style were the components that made The Price of Pride one of my all-time favorite books. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves intense romances full of adventure and family devotion. If I could give this one 10 stars, I would. This book is PERFECT!
Elizabeth Bennet’s Level
Because The Price of Pride was so addictive, I could not let go of the story, so when I couldn’t read (meals still need to be cooked), I continued to follow the story with the audiobook, which was very interesting because for the first time I listened to some chapters and read others, making this a very interesting reading experience. I have also tried for the first time Authors Direct, a new platform to listen to audiobooks, and I have to say I loved it. The experience was very good and it is by no means worse than audible, on the contrary, the screen is even more appealing to me.
But I bet you want to know about Elizabeth Klett’s narration, right? Well, as always it was perfect! She has demonstrated once more how she is such a great articulator and did a great job with the pacing and differentiation of characters. It was very pleasant to hear her narration, and I recommend getting an audio copy of this book 🙂