Category Archives: JAFF

The Giveaway Winners are…

Hello everyone,

Do you have any plans for the weekend? I already have lots of things planed but they will not be outdorsy so I won’t have many pictures to share with you. But I do hope I’ll have some spare time to read, so maybe next week I’ll be able to share some opinions on interesting books 🙂 I’ve started reading other genres but I always have P&P in the pipeline.

But I digress, the purpose of today’s post is to share the winners of some giveaways I hosted at From Pemberley to Milton this month. I was very lucky to have welcomed Leigh Dryer and Jenifer Joy to promote the release of their books The Flight Path Less Traveled and The Remarkable Miss Darcy.

The Flight Path Less Traveled is a sequel to The Best Laid Flight Plans, a modern P&P adaptation that is highly recommended by some trustworthy friends. I decided to interview the author, Leigh Dreyer, and we discovered that she is actually working on book three in the series, so this is a good time to start reading the first two.

The Remarkable Miss Darcy is the last book of A Meryton Mystery series which I absolutely love! This last book focuses on Georgiana, but Darcy, Elizabeth and their offspring are pretty much present, so this seems like the perfect way to end the series. My favourite book was the previous one, but I recommend reading them all in the correct order.

I would like to thank these ladies for their generosity, and all of you for sharing your thoughts with us 🙂 And now, without further ado, the lucky winners are:


The Flight Path Less Traveled

*** Mary***


The Remarkable Miss Darcy

*** Marie Jones***

*** Vesper***

*** Glynis***

*** Rellaenthia***



Congratulations ladies! I hope you enjoy reading these books 🙂 Can you please send me your addresses to ritaluzdeodato at gmail dot com so that your prizes may be sent to you?

Happy Reading!



Filed under JAFF

Perilous Siege – Cover Reveal


Perilous Siege Cover Reveal Banner M

Good Morning everyone,

Ya’ll know how much I love book covers so you can imagina how excited I am to be revealing the cover for C. P. Odom’s new book called Perilous Siege.

The cover is quite different from anything I have ever seen, and I believe that is because of the premise which is also something quite different and intriguing! Before revealing to you the cover, why don’t you take a look at the blurb?


What is the Siege Perilous, and how does it affect the lives of everyone in the Regency universe of Pride & Prejudice?

When a man dressed in bizarre attire suddenly appears in a field on his Pemberley estate, Fitzwilliam Darcy has little inkling of the many and startling changes this man’s strange arrival will have on his life, his family’s lives, and indeed, his whole world.

Mysteriously sent to the Regency world of Pride and Prejudice, this refugee from a future Armageddon is befriended by Darcy. How will the presence of Major Edward McDunn influence the events of Jane Austen’s signature work, especially the tangled courtship between Darcy and the complex and endearing Elizabeth Bennet?


Now that you know what the book is about, you are ready for this revealing and beautiful cover!

Perilous Siege_front (1).jpg

What do you think about it? I loved everything about Darcy and who I am assuming is Colonel Fitzwilliam, they are just like I imagine them! And did you notice Elizabeth in the back next to the carriage? It may seem like a small detail, but I absolutely love how revealing this cover is, it makes me very curious about the book and if I saw this on Amazon without even knowing the author or the blurb I would have been drawn to it! The contrast between the soldiers clothes to the regency characters on the back makes me want to read it the book immediately! I also enjoyed the fact that the title’s font has a military backgroud, what do you think about that?

But it was not just the front cover that convinced me, look at the back cover. Isn’t it even more intriguing?

Perilous Siege_wrap cover_cropped (1)

Who is that other man on the back cover? He looks like a sorcerer doesn’t he? And what are they doing? I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely intrigued!

The blog tour should start next month and I’m looking forward to the guest posts that may tell us a little more about this book 🙂

In case this is the first time you have heard about C.P. Odom, you can get to know him a little better now by reading his first person author bio.



By training, I’m a retired engineer, born in Texas, raised in Oklahoma, and graduated from the University of Oklahoma. Sandwiched in there was a stint in the  Marines, and I’ve lived in Arizona since 1977, working first for Motorola and then General Dynamics. I raised two sons with my first wife, Margaret, before her untimely death from cancer, and my second wife, Jeanine, and I adopted two girls from China. The older of my daughters recently graduated with an engineering degree and is working in Phoenix, and the younger girl is heading toward a nursing degree. I’ve always been a voracious reader and collector of books, and my favorite genres are science fiction, historical fiction, histories, and, in recent years, reading (and later writing) Jane Austen romantic fiction. This late-developing interest was indirectly stimulated when I read my late wife’s beloved Jane Austen books after her passing.  One thing led to another, and I now have three novels published:  A Most Civil Proposal (2013), Consequences (2014), and Pride, Prejudice, and Secrets (2015).  My fourth novel, Perilous Siege, should be published in the second quarter of 2019. I retired from engineering in 2011, but I still live in Arizona with my family, a pair of dogs (one of which is stubbornly untrainable), and a pair of rather strange cats.  My hobbies are reading, woodworking, and watching college football and LPGA golf (the girls are much nicer than the guys, as well as being fiendishly good putters). Lately I’ve reverted back to my younger years and have taken up building plastic model aircraft and ships (when I can find the time).


You can find Colin at:

Colin Odom’s Facebook page:

C. P. Odom’s Amazon page:

C. P. Odom Goodreads page:

C.P. Odom Meryton Press page :




Filed under JAFF

A Meryton Mystery Series- Character Interview and Giveaway

Hello dear readers,

How are you today? Spring is finally here and today was sunny and warm in my part of the world but I didn’t go exploring the outside as I did last weekend, today, I decided to stay home with one of my favourite book series: A Meryton Mystery.

That’s right, Jennifer Joy released another book in this series called The Remarkable Miss Darcy, and even if these are great news, I am sad to inform this will be the last book in the series.

A Meryton Mystery series started with The Honorable Mr. Darcy, a romance full of mystery where Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth establish an incredible bond in the pursuit of the truth about a murder that occurred in Meryton.  It is currently FREE in Amazon to celebrate he release of The Remarkable Miss Darcy, so I suggest grabbing a copy to see for yourselves what I am talking about. There is also an excerpt available in the launch post we did here 3 years ago if you prefer to have a taste of it first.

I read it as soon as it came out and truly loved it. It was what Jennifer Joy does best, a clean romance spiced with adventure and mystery, what I didn’t know was that this would only be the first of many books I would devour!

After this book was released we had a sequel called The Indomitable Miss Elizabeth, and guess what? This book is also on sale for o,99$, so again, I would grab it if I were you 😉 In this one, the bond between Darcy and Elizabeth grows bigger, and the romance is accentuated 🙂 The thing is, this is not the last one, and after reading the first two books, I know you’ll want to read the third one which is called The Inseparable Mr. and Mrs. Darcy. In this book another murder will take place and Darcy and Elizabeth who are now closer than ever will have to join forces once more to uncover the murderer.

One would think that this series would be a trilogy, after all we had Darcy, Elizabeth and now both of them named in the title, so who could be next? The answer is Mr. Tanner! In what was actually my favourite book in the series, Jennifer Joy takes a risk by writing a book whose main character is an original one. Of course Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth are still in it, but Mr. Tanner will take a lead on the fourth novel called The Immovable Mr. Tanner. I say this is a risk because we all know most readers prefer to read novels about Darcy and Elizabeth, so they are usually more profitable, but trust my words, this one is not one bit less exciting than the others! I absolutely loved Tanner! If you read my review, you’ll know why 🙂

I loved him so much that I invited him and Mr. Darcy for a little conversation, I hope you like it!



I’ve grown rather attached to the Darcy in The Meryton Mystery Series and his older brother, Tanner. Since the series’ finale went live this week, I invited them to my writing studio for one last chat.


So, guys, are you as sad as I am that the series is over?

Tanner and Darcy exchange a look, and then burst into laughter.

Tanner: Are you kidding? Now I can devote my time to my family and the inn without you sending me off to chase after another murderous lunatic.

Darcy: I’ve never slept better. You won’t hear me complaining.


Oh. I’ll admit that wasn’t quite the reaction I’d expected, but I’m happy you’re enjoying your Happily-Ever-Afters. They were hard-earned and well-deserved.

Would you like to tell readers what your favorite scene in the book was?

Darcy: The one with Ben and Nanny Kelly. You have no idea how difficult it was for me not to laugh aloud.


Me too! I always enjoy calling when the whole family is present. You are a lively bunch. However, it is not common for children to be present during social calls. How do you manage Society’s disapproval?

(Darcy gives me such a haughty look as to remind me with whom I’m speaking.)

Darcy: I care not for Society’s opinion. My family is more important to me than they could ever be.


Great answer. What about you, Tanner? Do you have a favorite scene?

Tanner: For me, it’s bittersweet, but I was never prouder of Georgiana than when she spoke with us in the study. It was then I knew she could stand on her own.

Darcy: Without us.

Tanner: (glares at Darcy) Don’t you start. I said I was proud of her, not that I was happy about her leaving us.

Darcy: Then why did you mention that scene? Isn’t breaking down doors and clobbering villains more to your liking? Why could you not choose the rescue scene?

Tanner: You make me sound like a heartless brute.

Darcy: No, that’s her. (looks at me) Have you no heart? Did you really have to put us through all that turmoil?


(Now, this, I had expected.) Don’t you think Georgiana deserves her own happy ending? Besides, you gained another brother.


Darcy: (grumbles because while he wishes Georgiana would stay a little girl forever, he really does like Michael)

Tanner: We could not have let her go for a lesser man.


(At this point, I decide it best to change the topic.) Since you’ve been so generous as to share your favorite scenes, I’ll share mine. Since I can’t pick just one, I’ll share two. First is the one with the curtain.


Tanner: That one was nice, even you have to admit, Darcy.

Darcy: I shall never look at draperies the same.


(Ignoring his sarcasm, I continue.) Second is the whole peacock kerfuffle.


Darcy: Only Lydia could scheme such a thing. You know, she expects you to write a complete novel with her as the main heroine. Her sudden popularity has gone to her head.

Tanner: She will make the most of it. As she always does. And we will make the most of our retirement. If you’ll excuse us, we must get back to our families.

(Darcy and Tanner rise to their feet, signaling the end of our discussion and leaving me to appreciate the strength of their family ties. They’re whole now, and I wish them happy together… ever after.)




Darcy sees a little girl. Tanner sees a princess. He sees a remarkable woman.

Georgiana Darcy has grown up — and she has two older brothers who take her protection so seriously, she fears she is doomed for a life of dull solitude. However, one chance encounter with a young man from her past could set her on a path of adventure and romance … if only her dear family would let her.

Michael Nelson is everything Georgiana remembers him to be: hard-working, honest, and handsome. He fills his days chasing after criminals and uniting divided families. Anything to avoid feeling the void of loneliness and his lack of family.

When Georgiana’s dearest friend is kidnapped at a crowded ball, Michael and Georgiana become partners in the search to find her and restore peace to Darcy House. But before calm, there comes a storm, and their discoveries do not go unnoticed by their unknown enemy…

The Darcys face the greatest test to their family bond yet in this fifth and final book in The Meryton Mystery Series, a sweet romance-suspense variation of Jane Austen’s timeless classic, Pride and Prejudice.



You can find The Remarkable Miss Darcy at:

and on Kindle Unlimited





Jennifer Joy would like to offer four ebook copies of The Remarkable Miss Darcy to readers. The giveaway is international and will end on the 27th of March. To enter it all you have to do is comment on this post. You know the drill, share your opinion with us and have fun! The winners will be announced here shortly after, so don’t forget to stop by to see if you were the lucky winner.

Good Luck everyone!


Filed under JAFF

The Flight Path Less Traveled – Author Interview and Giveaway

Good Afternoon dear readers,

Today I am welcoming Leigh Dreyer, and author who reflects what Jane Austen Fan Fiction is all about! Leigh started out as a reader, but her love for Austen’s characters, and the need for more time with them, turned her into an author who is now delighting us with wonderful new stories. She has just released her second book, The Flight Path Less Traveled which is a sequel to The Best Laid Flight Plans, and today not only will she talk talk to us about the writing process for her, but also about this new release.

I hope you enjoy the questions we put together, and don’t forget to comment to enter the giveaway 🙂


Welcome Leigh,  first of all, can you tell us when you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

Interestingly, I never really did. I do other art: musicals, singing, etc., but I hadn’t really thought much of writing until after I had kids and found I was going a little crazy staying home with people who don’t talk. I found that writing was a great way for me to tap into my creative energies and still take care of my little ones. Writing has also allowed me to grow a lot closer to my sisters-in-law, one of whom is a writer and one who is an editor.

How long does it take you to write a book?
About a month and a half for the first draft. When I’m really writing, I do about 1600 words a day and both of my novels are right around 75-80,000 words.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
Well, I have three jobs. I am a speech pathologist at a school in California and I work using teletherapy (therapy over video conferencing software), at a school here in Las Vegas, and then at a Long Term Acute Care hospital in Vegas as well. My schedule is pretty crazy most days. Did I mention I have two kids and am currently in a musical? Crazy. So, I write whenever I can. Mostly when kids are napping or in bed. If I’m doing well, I can hit my day’s goal in about an hour.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I have to eat. I constantly snack while writing. Currently I am eating a chicken flatbread melt. I try hard to eat something like grapes or blackberries that I can snack on and feel healthy at the same time.

What does your family think of your writing?
They think its great. My dad is one of my main technical advisers and its been fun bonding with him over flying stuff. He’s given me the last line of the series…we’ll see if I use it.

As a child what did you want to do when you grew up?
I wanted to be an astronaut so bad it hurt. I wanted to be Sally Ride. Honestly, most of Elizabeth’s childhood dreams are really just mine through a different lens.

This book is part of a series, tell us a little about it.

The Flight Path Less Traveled is book two in a series of three planned books: The Best Laid Flight Plans, The Flight Path Less Traveled, and Came a Flight Gently. The first book is a P&P variation whose story line closely follows the events of P&P. The next two are original continuations although you will definitely see other favorite Austen characters and events as the story continues. Each book is an altered line from a poem that I find meaningful and that I feel speaks to the tone of book I wanted to write.

What about your main character in this series. What does he/she do that is so special?

Elizabeth Bennet has just gone through tremendous trauma at the end of The Best Laid Flight Plans and now she has to get back up, brush herself off, and push forward. In the original Pride and Prejudice Elizabeth faces a lot of invisible enemies (marriage or lack thereof, the entailment, etc.), but I wanted to see where she would take me when her enemies were very much physical. Would she be strong and fight?

You know I love covers, can you tell us about the cover/s and how it/they came about?

The photoshoot was done in Utah by Monica Cook, a military spouse, who runs Joyous Reflections Photography and Portraiture, at the Air Force museum at Hill Air Force Base. It was important to me to highlight Elizabeth as a female officer. Females are so rare in the pilot world that I wanted to be able to see Elizabeth as I see her, a strong woman who is willing to work harder than anyone else to achieve what she sees for herself. I made the choice to have the little ringlets and her hair up in a kind of braid Mohawk, because I thought it was a fun throwback to the Regency hairstyles. Of course, after the events at the end of The Best Laid Flight Plans, she is pictured out of a flight suit and in her blues, but I wanted to continue to present that strong image as she fights to recover.

Who designed your book covers?

My amazing friend Alishia Mattee. She is a military spouse and my next door neighbor when we were stationed together at Hickam Air Force Base and she is so talented.

What are you working on at the minute?

Book three, Came a Flight Gently and a short story about how Mr. and Mrs. Bennet meet and get married. I’m also working on outlining a time-travel story.

What’s it about?

Came a Flight Gently will start where The Flight Path Less Traveled ends and will continue the story in New York and feature the Reno Air Races (National Championship Air Races), the last of the great pylon races.

Thank you so much for visiting today Leigh! I really enjoyed having this “conversation” with you. I hope my readers enjoy getting to know you it as much as I did!



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!’), where 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 will one day be old enough to watch romantic movies with her, and another little one expected in September 2019.

You can contact her through the following media:

Facebook: Leigh Dreyer

Facebook Page: @leighdreyerauthor




In this modern Pride and Prejudice continuation and sequel to The Best Laid Flight Plans, 2nd Lieutenant Elizabeth Bennet and Captain William Darcy are facing trials after the events of Elizabeth’s last flight. Darcy’s proposal lingers between them as Elizabeth becomes almost single sighted to her rehabilitation and her return to pilot training. A secret is revealed to Elizabeth about Mr. and Mrs. Bennet’s past that throws all she has known to be true into a tail spin. The romance between our hero and heroine begins to blossom through military separations, sisterly pranks, and miscommunications. Can Darcy and Elizabeth come together or will flying in the Air Force keep them apart?



You can find  The Flight Path Less Traveled at:






Leigh Dreyer would like o offer one ebook copy of The Flight Path Less Traveled to one of my readers. The giveaway is international and will end on the 27th of March. To enter it all you have to do is comment on this post. You know the drill, share your opinion with us and have fun! The winners will be announced here shortly after, so don’t forget to stop by to see if you were the lucky winner.

Good Luck everyone!


Filed under JAFF

The Giveaway Winners are…

Hello everyone,

How are you today? I hope you are enjoying your weekend so far. Mine has been great, today I decided to do a picnic at the beach with my hubbie and we had an incredible time at Serra da Arrábida! We did some hiking, saw incredible beaches and enjoyed the green scenery of the mountains behind us.  I hope we can repeat this experience soon 🙂

To end the day, I’m posting the winners of two audiobooks and one ebook. I have hosted at From Pemberley to Milton two lovely ladies whose work I really enjoy and they came bearing gifts, so today we are announcing the winners of the The Unforgettable Mr. Darcy and President Darcy audiobooks that Victoria Kincaid is kindly offering, and the winner of Inspiration, Maria Grace’s latest release. I have really enjoyed all these books, I hope you do too! I would like to thank these authors for once more thinking of my readers, and I hope you can join me in congratulating the following ladies:


The Unforgettable Mr. Darcy Audiobook

*** Evamedmonds***


President Darcy Audiobook

*** ForeverHis***


Inspiration ebook

*** Dung***


Congratulations girls! I hope you enjoy listening and reading these books 🙂 Can you please send me your addresses to ritaluzdeodato at gmail dot com so that your prizes may be sent to you?

Happy Reading!


Filed under JAFF

My Own Mr. Darcy

My Own Mr. Darcy is not so much a modern retelling but an Austen inspired novel. In it, the main character is taken by her mother to the movies to see the 2005 movie Pride and Prejudice film when she is sixteen years old and becomes obsessed with Matthew Macfadyen’s Mr. Darcy. She decides that she will settle for nothing less than her own Mr. Darcy and six years later she is still holding to this belief, so obviously, she hasn’t had a very active love life. That is when her roommate forces her to give the next interested guy ten dates before dumping him.

Because of that agreement Elizabeth finds herself dating Chad, a really nice, kind and thoughtful science teacher and swim coach. However, things get a little more complicated when out of the blue she meets Matt Dawson, a wealthy bookstore owner who looks and acts like her Mr. Darcy. Because she cannot dump Chad she becomes conflicted about the best course of action and continues to develop her relationship with both of them. I wasn’t a big fan of the main character and I could never relate to her, but don’t let my previous description put you down because the book is very clean and the relationship she has with them is mostly a friendship relationship.

I found it very interesting that none of these two male characters is a villain because it made the lead character rethink what she really needed for herself without the easy way out in front of her. The similarities of this book to the real life of an Austen addict is impressive, I mean, we all dream about Mr. Darcy, but would we love him that much if he was in front of us? Is Mr. Darcy the perfect match for all of us, or are some of us meant for Mr. Bingley? Elizabeth is faced with this dilemma and the need to find an answer will take her on the road for self-discovery which was really interesting.

Apart from that, there isn’t much more depth into the book, it is a rom com after all, and as all rom coms it is fresh and light. At times it even seemed too much of a young adult type of book for me, so if this is a genre you do not appreciate, this is not the book for you. If on the other hand you are into YA, then give this a try as it is a very sweet story.

My Own Mr. Darcy is an entertaining Austen inspired novel that I did enjoy reading, but I didn’t find anything particularly exciting about it. Being a young adult book, I believe it is a good one for mothers who want to read and discuss a book with their teenage daughters. It is clean and appropriate to younger audiences, plus it does have a moral that may be more relevant for young girls.


You can find My Own Mr. Darcy at:

and on


Filed under 3.5 stars, JAFF

Inspiration Excerpt & Giveaway

Good Afternoon everyone,

I’m currently reading Inspiration by Maria Grace, and I’m really enjoying Darcy’s point of view in this story as he has a more creative personality which allows him to see people in a different light. The book is a really sweet novella and I think most of you will like it. I will let you know all about it in my review, which will come out in the beginning of next week, and until then I hope you like reading the excerpt that Maria Grace brought us today 🙂

I would like t thank Maria for visiting once more, it is always a huge pleasure to receive her as my guest 🙂



His muse desires her; she detests him. How will his soul survive?

Gentleman artist Fitzwilliam Darcy had never been able to express himself in words, but with his brushes and paints, he expressed what few men ever could. When his flighty muse abandons him, though, he finds himself staring at blank canvases in a world that has turned bland and cold and grey.

Worried for his friend, Charles Bingley invites Darcy to join him in Hertfordshire, in hopes the picturesque countryside might tempt Darcy’s muse to return. The scheme works only too well. His muse returns, with a vengeance, fixated upon the one young woman in the county who utterly detests him.

Will his selfish distain for the feelings of others drive her and his muse away or can he find a way to please this woman with the power to bring color and feeling back into his world?

You can find Inspiration at:






Thanks so much for having me Rita! It’s always great to visit with you!

I’m excited about this new release, Inspiration, for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that I never really planned to write it. How can one write a book without planning to write one? Well, apparently, it’s possible, at least for me who never seems to follow the rules about these things.

I’ve been writing short stories for my blog Random Bits of Fascination, since August and was kind of in that mode. Then we did an ‘inspiration’ themed month for our blog, Jane Austen Variations, in January—and naturally, my mind went blank. Not and idea in sight. And then I got thinking…cue the ominous music here.

It frustrates me like crazy when I don’t have an inspiration or idea to work from. I wonder if I can frustrate Mr. Darcy the same way.

And that was all it took for my muse to run away with me. What was supposed to be a tidy four-part short story wouldn’t quit and became a full novella. Want to take a peek and see Darcy tortured for lack of inspiration? Here you go!



Darcy set down his paintbrush and flexed his shoulders, his cravat constricting his throat as he did. The lingering, grain-like scent of linseed oil hung in the air at the edges of his awareness, almost unnoticeable for the hours he had been smelling it. How long had he been staring at the rough sketch on his canvas? Judging by the shadows the two easels cast on the scuffed wood floor and the vague chill that had crept into the air, it had been hours.

The light through the attic windows was waning. Might as well stop the exercise in futility now.

“Are you finished?” Charles Bingley peeked around his easel and waved a paintbrush at Darcy, flinging little gobbets of ocher paint onto the floor. Was that how he had managed to get paint in his hair as well?

That sort of mess was precisely why he did not bother to have this floor properly finished and the room was largely devoid of furnishings except the easels, stools and what was used to store his supplies.

“Hardly.” Darcy turned his back and fiddled with his paints. Ultimately a servant would come and clean up for him, but perhaps if he appeared occupied, Bingley would not continue to press for conversation.

“I cannot thank you enough for inviting me to use your studio space. You were right, the attics at Darcy House offer the most marvelous light in the whole of London I should say.” Bingley wiped his hands on this paint-stained apron and sauntered toward him. Even his confident steps sounded intrusive.

Darcy grumbled and muttered under his breath.

“Still blocked, are you?” Bingley inspected Darcy’s work from several angles. “Not a lick of paint on the canvas all morning?”

“As you can see.” No, it was not polite to snarl, but Bingley had earned it.

Bingley pulled Darcy’s high stool close and perched one hip on it. “I am hardly the artist you are, but even I can see you are in quite a muddle here. You have never been so stymied in all the time I have known you. Back in school, you were at the easel every spare moment you had, producing quite accomplished works regularly. You could have made quite a living as a painter had you not already been a gentleman.”

“How kind of you to remind me of the height from which I have fallen.” Darcy rolled his eyes and turned his back on Bingley.

“I am worried about you. Never have I seen anything drive you to distraction as this seems to have.”

“Should I thank you for stating the obvious?” Darcy dropped his brush. A large smear of burnt umber appeared on the floor where it fell.

“Let me help you.”

He whirled to face Bingley. “And exactly how do you propose to do that? Will you take my hand in yours and apply paint to the canvas for me?”

Bingley laughed, that easy, warm chuckle he had always had. His good nature could be maddening at times like these. “Hardly. It is no secret that I will never be the sort of artist you are—and that I do not resent you for your talent, which is quite big of me I would say. I dabble for my own amusement, but you—you paint as though your very life and soul were poured into the efforts, as though it was a matter of life and breath that you create your works. And it is tearing you to pieces that you have produced nothing in—how long is it now?”

“Six months.” The words sounded like a death sentence.

“So then, allow me to help you.”

“What do you propose?” Why did he even ask? There was nothing anyone could do until this awful bleakness passed of its own accord.

“You have been holed up in this studio for months, with nothing but the confines of London to inspire you. You need to get away. The countryside is always inspiring. Come with me to Hertfordshire. I mean to rent a house there, get the feel of having an estate you know. I could use your advice. And if Netherfield Park is suitable, you can stay with me there. Perhaps the change in venue will present you with some heretofore elusive inspiration.”

The idea was dreadful and intriguing all at the same time. Leaving London meant travel, and that was inconvenient. And it meant dealing with people, meeting with them, interacting with them, probably hating them. All of which were also inconvenient, and uncomfortable.

But staying in town was doing him no good, either. “I suppose I can accompany you before I return to Pemberley.”



The journey to Hertfordshire had not been unpleasant—a few hours on horseback in fine September weather were good for the soul. And what was good for the soul was also good for one’s muse. Certainly, it—she—had not been ressurected, not yet, but there were vague stirrings within, the kind related to creative energies, not the revenge of last night’s supper.

Perhaps Bingley was right. There was something about the countryside, or perhaps it was about being in an unfamiliar place with so much potential for discovery. Whatever it was, artistic surges bubbled and teased, tickled and prodded his heart and mind as they had not in months. For that reason alone, he would have recommended that Bingley take Netherfield, no matter how dreadful the establishment.

Luckily the house and grounds were good, so he could make his endorsements with a clear conscience.



After just over a fortnight in the country, it was difficult to pronounce Bingley right or wrong. Darcy had produced two landscapes—one of the Netherfield house itself—and a still life of some random bric-a-brac scavenged from various rooms of the house. They were journeyman’s efforts at best, hardly anything to be proud of and certainly not satisfying to behold. But they were the first completed works he had produced since Easter and the dreaded visit to Rosings Park.

It was difficult not to curse Aunt Catherine for that.

Perhaps that was the source of his troubles now. Ever since she started pushing him to fix a date for his wedding to Anne, all creative compulsions had ceased. But how could they not? Contemplating life fixed to that dry, wizened shell of a woman who scarcely had an original idea of her own. By Jove, she barely said a word of her own volition! His soul withered in his chest every time he shared space with her. How could he possibly be expected to live like that?

Chest tightening, aching at the very thought, he paced his spacious guest quarters. Perhaps he could outrun the sensation before he resorted to canceling his plans.

Bingley pounded on his door. “Are you nearly ready, Darce? The ladies are in the parlor waiting for us.”

Darcy glanced in the mirror and straightened his cravat, the sense of suffocation fading. His valet had done a good job tonight. Not that he had anyone to impress in this quaint market town, but being properly attired was a comfort of its own. “I am coming directly.”

Bingley’s distinct footfalls strode away.

A simple country assembly should not be such a trial; surely none would agree it was something to be dreaded. And yet it was so. Dancing with unfamiliar partners was abhorrent, and truth be told, embarrassing. Inevitably he would find himself staring at his partner, analyzing the shape of her eyes, the lines of her nose, the usually imperfect symmetry of her face, how it might be subtly and skillfully improved when rendered in charcoal or crayon or paint.

Such attentions, when noticed, were bad enough, but heaven help him if his eyes drifted lower, to necklines that were far too intriguing in the ways they played with light and shadow. No young lady had ever been able to accept that such attentions were artistic not—ah, more personal in nature. They expected he meant far more than he ever did, and it never ended well.

Perhaps tonight though, with his muse not quite fully awakened, he could avoid such uncomfortable encounters. If not, there was always the card room.


Bingley’s coach trundled down Traffic filled the street on the approach to the assembly rooms. Ordinary and unassuming was the best that could be said of the building. Absolutely the best. The rest was not appropriate to dwell upon and could very well poison him for the rest of the evening.

Afterall, how was one to enjoy themselves in an environment so drab, dreary, and awkward? Was not beauty an essential quality of any such event?

They picked their way across the muddy, rutted street and waited their turn to enter the assembly rooms. An yneven, tired blue covered the walls. It might have been as appealing as a robin’s egg when newly painted, but now it just whimpered to leave it alone, and let it rest. Scuffed, even gouged in places, the floors cried out for mercy. And the paintings littering the walls—enough! Such thoughts were absolutely not helpful.

Presently, a round faced, red cheeked, potbellied man wearing a Master of Ceremonies sash greeted them. He seemed a bit pompous, full of himself, as though he were at an assembly in Bath, offering to make introductions for them. Bingley readily agreed as Darcy stifled a sigh. But then, Bingley enjoyed meeting new people.

The whole experience of being paraded around and introduced was to be expected—and dreaded. It was simply what happened at such events. Still though, from the looks the party garnered—and the glances fixed on Darcy alone—it was clear that their servants had already taken care of circulating word of the general level of wealth and connection their party brought with them.

It should not bother him that the entire room seemed ready to approve of him and gladly admit him into their acquaintance on so little a recommendation. Aunt Catherine would have declared it was the right and proper reaction, and it was in fact their due being part of the best society in England. Many would agree with her, but Darcy did not.

Beauty, in all its forms, and the admirable qualities that went with it were often found quite outside such trivial circles. Many times, it lurked in unexpected arenas. But Aunt Catherine would hardly admit such uncouth ideas.

Now was definitely neither the time nor the place to chance discovering intriguing sorts of beauty. Acquainted with no one in the room, he could not risk it. So, he danced once with Mrs. Hurst, whose beauty was unremarkable to be sure, and once with Miss Bingley, who was attractive enough, but in the ordinary sort of way of the upper class.

What would her reaction be if she knew he found her beauty common enough to be of little note? How angry she would be—then she might be of more interest. Women could be fascinating when they were angry—the subtle expressions of their eyes, the tension in their throats…but Miss Bingley would hardly appreciate such things.

Once he had danced those two sets, he spent the rest of the evening walking about the room, speaking only to those of his own party, much to the obvious disapproval of the denizens of Meryton. The way they looked at him and whispered among themselves! No doubt they had decided he was the proudest, most disagreeable man in the world.

It was not the first time he had seen those looks, and doubtless would not be the last. At least at home in Derbyshire, he was better regarded, having had the opportunity to demonstrate his true character there. Perhaps, his muse willing of course, he would return there in a few weeks, able to pursue his art in the sanctuary of his own home surroundings.

He paused in his circuit around the room. Bingley had found a lovely partner, probably the prettiest girl in the room. He and she danced together particularly well. So well in fact, Bingley wore a decidedly puppyish smile as he gazed at her.

Lovely, he had found yet another ‘angel’ for his attentions. What was her name? Miss Bennet? Whatever it was, they twirled their way in grace and elegance to the end of the line and paused, their turn to wait out a set of the music.

Bingley looked over his shoulder and sauntered toward Darcy. “Come, Darcy, I must have you dance. I hate to see you standing about by yourself in this stupid manner. You had much better dance.”

Darcy pinched the bridge of his nose and turned aside. Why did Bingley have to make a public spectacle? “I certainly shall not. You know how I detest it, unless I am particularly acquainted with my partner. At such an assembly as this, it would be insupportable. Your sisters are engaged, and there is not another woman in the room whom it would not be a punishment for me to stand up with.’”

Bingley offered a sound that seemed half-chuckle, half-snort. “I would not be so fastidious as you are for a kingdom! Upon my honor, I never met with so many pleasant girls in my life as I have this evening; and there are several of them, you see, uncommonly pretty.’”

“You are dancing with the only handsome girl in the room.”   That was not entirely true. There were any number of handsome women, but all of them ordinary—the kind one might encounter anywhere. Entirely uninspiring.

“Oh! she is the most beautiful creature I ever beheld! But there is one of her sisters sitting down just behind you, who is very pretty, and I dare say very agreeable. Do let me ask my partner to introduce you.”

“Which do you mean?” He looked over his shoulder.

Air rush from his lungs and his eyes lost focus. He blinked furiously. Heavens above! A nymph sat against the wall regarding the dancers. Her features favored Bingley’s partner, but there was something different about her. Something remarkable. Something entirely unique that he had never seen before.

Something he had to paint. His fingers tingled and his hands twitched.

She looked up at him and caught his eye. Bollocks! He had been caught staring. But her reaction was so peculiar. She did not blush or stammer or otherwise try to garner his notice or call attention to the fact he had been staring. She merely smiled with a tiny nod. What ever could she mean?

He looked away and spoke just a little louder. “She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me. I am in no humor at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men. You had better return to your partner and enjoy her smiles, for you are wasting your time with me.” Of course, he did not mean a word of that, but what else could he have possibly said when Bingley was ready to be far more helpful than Darcy could tolerate?

Bingley rolled his eyes and drew breath for what would surely be one of his lengthy diatribes, but the first notes of the next repetition of the music drew him back to his partner and delivered Darcy from an unpleasant conversation—at least for the moment.

The young woman had turned her shoulder toward him, probably thinking she was delivering some sort of subtle cut. But he could hardly have asked for more. From this angle, he could study the intriguing line of her neck and back, the graceful craft of her ear and the barest suggestion of the silhouette of her face. His heart beat a little faster. How much longer before they could be away from this place and back to his paints?


The next morning Darcy woke at dawn. The rest of the household would sleep until noon or even later after such a late night. But how could he sleep when his muse called? All night he had dreamt of laying brush to canvas; he could not wait a moment more. His heart would surely burst if he did.

He rushed through his morning toilette without his valet who would only distract him and further complicate the muddle of his thoughts. He forced himself to think of each step lest he missed something significant as his mind struggled to leap ahead to the project he had completed in his dreams. If only he had brought his oils, but or now watercolor must do. Perhaps her was a decent colorman’s shop in Meryton.

At last, his canvas perched on his easel in a beam of morning sun. Trembling fingers tightened around a pencil as he sucked in a deep breath. There was something almost sacred about a pristine canvas. The act of marking it could be almost profane, especially when inspiration eluded him. But now, now was different. The pencil glided down, around, over, through curves, with a hint of shadow. It seemed only moments later that the rough blocked forms of a nymph admiring her reflection in a reflecting pool took shape.

Yes! Yes, exactly as he had seen it in his mind’s eye. His fingers tingled as power surged through eyes, arms and hands, colors and images taking shape before him.

“Darcy? Darcy…”

Darcy jumped, nearly dropping his brush. “What are you doing here? I understand I am in your house, but since when has that negated the need to knock on a closed door?”

“Since I have been knocking for a full five minutes with no answer from you.” Bingley stood just behind him.

“You jest.”

“Not at all. I would wager you have been at your easel since dawn by the look of you.” Bingley’s right eye twitched with something of a wink.

“What of it?”

“Have a look outside, what do you notice about the sun?”

Darcy blinked and peered out the window. No, that was not possible. Surely only an hour, maybe two had passed.

“It is nearly sundown, and you have no idea. It has been quite some time since I have seen you this way.” Bingley peered over Darcy’s shoulder. “I can see why. Very impressive. I have never seen this sort of work from you—it is inspired, truly inspired. You almost expect the nymph to rise up off the painting daring you to give her chase. I only wish I could see her face.”

“Her face?” Something crushed his chest, leaving him dizzy and weak.

“Yes, you have painted her from a distance, behind and to the side. Did you not even realize that?”

Darcy stared at the painting as if for the first time. Bingley was right, her face was hidden, just barely silhouetted against the trees. It was not meant to be seen, it was part of the mystery of the scene. But what if she turned? What would that be like?

“Wait, wait, I know that look in your eye. You are already sketching the next work in this series. Do not deny it, I can tell. Before you get any farther in the process, I insist you come down to dinner. You have eaten nothing today and knowing you, you will eat nothing if not forced until this inspiration is complete. So, consider yourself forced, and come down right now. The light is gone in any case. You can do no more today.”

Darcy grumbled under his breath. But Bingley was right, there was not enough light for real work tonight. He might as well eat. He would bring his sketch book down to the parlor, though—firelight was sufficient to that endeavor. At least that way he could make the time he would have to sit with his host and his sisters at least somewhat productive.


I hope you enjoyed this peek. If you’d like more, you can find Inspiration at all major e-book sellers. If you’d like to catch up on the short stories I mentioned, you can find them at



Maria Grace has her PhD in Educational Psychology and is a 16-year veteran of the university classroom where she taught courses in human growth and development, learning, test development and counseling. None of which have anything to do with her undergraduate studies in economics/sociology/managerial studies/behavior sciences.

She has one husband and one grandson, earned two graduate degrees and two black belts, raised three sons, danced English Country dance for four years, is aunt to five nieces, is designing a sixth Regency costume, blogged seven years on Random Bits of Fascination, has outlines for eight novels waiting to be written, attended nine English country dance balls, and shared her life with ten cats.

Her books, fiction and nonfiction, are available at all major online booksellers.

She can be contacted at:



Random Bits of Fascination

Austen Variations

English Historical Fiction Authors



Maria Grace would like to offer to my readers one ebook copy of Inspiration. To enter the giveaway all you have to do is comment here and let us know what are your expectations towards this book. If you would like to double your chances to win, please stop by to read and comment the review I will post in the beginning of next week. Comments on both posts will be considered in the for the giveaway.

The giveaway is international and is open until the 9th of March.

Good Luck everyone!


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President Darcy, Excerpt & Giveaway

Good Afternoon everyone,

I’m sure that by now you already know I am a huge fan of audiobooks, so I’m very happy to host Victoria Kincaid today to let you know about the release of two of her books on audible, President Darcy which I have loved but not reviewed yet (another great reason to relive it through the audio version), and The Unforgettable Mr. Darcy narrated by one of my favourite narrators, Stevie Zimmerman.

She is bringing an excerpt of President Darcy which I hope you enjoy, and also a giveaway of the two audiobooks, so you know the drill, comment on this post to apply for the giveaway, but most of all, share with us your opinions, wishes and love for all things Austen 🙂 If we all do that, we are bound to have a lot of fun 🙂




Hi Rita,  Thank you so much for welcoming me back to your blog!  I recently released audiobook copies of President Darcy and The Unforgettable Mr. Darcy, two of my most popular books.  President Darcy is narrated by Lucy Emerson, who does a wonderful job with the characters and the lighthearted moments in the story.  You can hear a sample of her narration here.  The Unforgettable Mr. Darcy is narrated by Stevie Zimmerman, a very popular JAFF narrator who also did The Secrets of Darcy and Elizabeth.  You can sample her narration here. And please enjoy an excerpt from President Darcy below:


“Intellectual lightweight.”  The phrase niggled at Darcy’s memory.  Where had he heard it recently?

Not that it mattered anyway.  He’d probably imagined any connection between them—wishful thinking brought on by too many lonely nights in the Residence.  First, she babbled, and then she acted like he’d killed her cat.  Perhaps she was just a strange person.

Then he recalled he had used the phrase in describing Elizabeth to Hilliard.  And somehow, she had heard him.

No wonder she had been icy and distant.  Darcy was lucky she hadn’t flung a drink in his face. His cheeks heated and his chest tightened as he imagined her overhearing his uncensored remarks.  Now that he knew she wasn’t a pampered rich girl, his comments were even more egregious.  He grappled with an intense desire to leave the room—or hide behind one of the eight-foot-high floral arrangements.

The proper course would be to follow Elizabeth Bennet and apologize.  But he certainly couldn’t chase after her, Secret Service agents in tow, begging for a moment of her time to explain—what, exactly?  He couldn’t claim he hadn’t meant the words; there was no denying he had said them.  She probably wouldn’t even listen to a convoluted explanation about his annoyance with Hilliard, let alone believe it.

However, it was equally unimaginable not to apologize.  Darcy started after her, but a hand on his elbow pulled him back.  Bob Hilliard yet again.  One glimpse of the man’s white-lipped frown and tense shoulders prevented Darcy from voicing his complaints.

Without a word, Hilliard pulled Darcy to an unoccupied table, where they were immediately joined by Caroline.  Hilliard handed Darcy a scotch on the rocks—a bad sign. Hilliard spoke in a low tone.  “Sir, we have a potential situation on Twitter.”

Darcy frowned at Caroline, who handled social media.  His predecessor in the office had been a disaster on Twitter, but most of Darcy’s tweets—posted by his social media staff—were about his policy positions.

“Not your Twitter account,” Caroline clarified.  “There’s a guest here tonight by the name of Lydia Bennet.”  Darcy couldn’t recall which sister she was.  “She has a picture of herself with you.” Darcy shrugged; people posted pictures with him all the time.

“She also complains that you ‘threw shade’”—Bob used air quotes—“at her sister Elizabeth. Supposedly you said ‘she is stupid and not pretty enough to dance with.’  It’s been retweeted 800,000 times.”  He checked his iPad.  “Wait a minute…800,015.”

Darcy was suddenly nauseated.  Not only had Elizabeth overheard, but her sister had tweeted it? “That’s what I said when—” Hilliard nodded knowingly.  Darcy gratefully gulped scotch before scowling at Hilliard.  “That area should have been cleared before we talked.”

Hilliard grimaced.  “The Secret Service should have cleared it, but apparently they didn’t check the ladies’ room.”

Darcy tossed back some more scotch.  “Elizabeth Bennet heard me insult her in person?”  Hilliard nodded, and Darcy stifled a groan.  He had harbored a small hope that she had heard it from a third party.  I’m lucky I got off with a cold shoulder instead of a slap to the face.

The Washington Post wants to know if we have a comment,” Caroline said.

How soon was too soon to leave his own state dinner? This had been a series of fiascos.  “They want us to respond to a tweet from a high school student?”

Caroline consulted her phone.  “Her profile says she’s at GW University.  The Post wants to know if you actually said her sister was ‘ugly and stupid’ and if you said it to her face.”

“No!” Darcy practically yelled.  “I would never—” Several heads pivoted in their direction; Darcy lowered his voice.  “Obviously I didn’t know she was there.”

Caroline frowned.  “Her father is a big donor.  Can we issue a denial?”

Darcy’s predecessor had been notorious for his falsehoods, and Darcy had been scrupulous at avoiding any appearance of being less than truthful.  It was one of the ways he had gained the public’s trust and restored faith in the presidency.  “No,” he said wearily.  “I did say it.  I haven’t lied to the press before.  I’m not starting now.”

Caroline took notes with brisk efficiency.  “We can say ‘no comment,’ but perhaps we should get someone working on damage control.”  She shot a quizzical look at Hilliard, who nodded.

Darcy rubbed the back of his neck where the headache had now taken hold.  He couldn’t help imagining Elizabeth’s reaction when he had uttered those words.  How had her face looked?  What had she thought?  Had he made her cry?   God damn it!  Darcy scrubbed his face with his hands.  “Can I issue an apology?”

“What?” Hilliard’s voice squeaked, and Caroline barked a laugh.

“I was irritated at you.” He waved at Hilliard.  “And it was an insensitive thing to say.  I didn’t even mean it.”  Darcy’s breathing constricted just thinking that she might believe those ill-considered words.  They were beneath him and beneath the office of the president.

“No, you can’t apologize!” Hilliard hissed.  “An apology would only confirm that you said it. That would be the surest way to transform this into a media circus.  It would be breaking news on the cable stations.  Rule number one of the presidency: don’t admit mistakes.”

“Stupid rule.”  Darcy hated to maintain a façade of infallibility.  Presidents were human and made mistakes.  Pretending otherwise was idiotic and counterproductive, but admitting to errors gave your enemies too much ammunition.  He gripped the scotch glass so tightly that his fingers turned white.

“If we don’t say anything, it will likely die down,” Hilliard said.

Darcy stretched his neck, willing the muscles to loosen.  Hilliard was right, but still.  “Can I at least apologize to Elizabeth Bennet?”

“Why bother?” Caroline asked sharply.

He drained the last of the scotch and slammed the glass down on the table.  “Because it was rude and inaccurate.  She’s neither stupid nor ugly,” he growled at Caroline, not even caring when she drew back slightly.

Hilliard shook his head sadly.  “No.  You can’t apologize to her.  It would be the first thing she’d mention if the media contacts her.   It would be best if you didn’t have any conversations with her at all.”

Darcy thumped the glass on the table, startling Caroline. “Great. Just great,” he muttered to himself.

Elizabeth would continue to believe that he thought she was unattractive and dumb, and the whole world would think he’d insulted a woman he barely knew. And he’d been barred from speaking with the most intriguing woman he’d met in years.

Sometimes being president sucked.



President Darcy

President William Darcy has it all: wealth, intelligence, and the most powerful job in the country.  Despite what his friends say, he is not lonely in the White House.  He’s not.   And he has vowed not to date while he’s in office.  Nor is he interested in Elizabeth Bennet.   She might be pretty and funny and smart, but her family is nouveau riche and unbearable.  Unfortunately, he encounters her everywhere in Washington, D.C.—making her harder and harder to ignore.  Why can’t he get her out of his mind?

Elizabeth Bennet enjoys her job with the Red Cross and loves her family, despite their tendency to embarrass her.  At a White House state dinner, they cause her to make an unfavorable impression on the president, who labels her unattractive and uninteresting.  Those words are immediately broadcast on Twitter, so the whole world now knows the president insulted her.  Elizabeth just wants to avoid the man—who, let’s admit it, is proud and difficult.  For some reason he acts all friendly when they keep running into each other, but she knows he’s judging her. 

Eventually, circumstances force Darcy and Elizabeth to confront their true feelings for each other, with explosive results.  But even if they can find common ground, Mr. Darcy is still the president—with limited privacy and unlimited responsibilities—and his enemies won’t hesitate to use his feelings for Elizabeth against him.  

Can President Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet find their way to happily ever after?

You can find President Darcy at:

and on Audible






The Unforgettable Mr. Darcy

Mr. Darcy arrives at Longbourn, intending to correct the mistakes he made during his disastrous proposal in Hunsford. To his horror, he learns that Elizabeth Bennet was killed in a ship’s explosion off the coast of France—in an apparent act of sabotage. Deep in despair, he travels in disguise to wartime France to seek out the spy responsible for her death.

But a surprise awaits Darcy in the French town of Saint-Malo: Elizabeth is alive!

Recovering from a blow to the head, Elizabeth has no memory of her previous life, and a series of mistakes lead her to believe that Darcy is her husband. However, they have even bigger problems. As they travel through a hostile country, the saboteur mobilizes Napoleon’s network of spies to capture them and prevent them from returning home. Elizabeth slowly regains her memories, but they often leave her more confused.

Darcy will do anything to help Elizabeth reach England safely, but what will she think of him when she learns the truth of their relationship?

You can find The Unforgettable Mr. Darcy at:

and on Audible







Victoria Kincaid would like to offer one copy of each of the recently released audiobooks to my readers, the giveaway is international will end on the 4th of March. Winners will be announced shortly after that 🙂

To enter the giveaway all you have to do is comment on this post and share your thoughts on the excerpt Victoria shared with all of you, and let us know which of the two you would prefer to win.

Also, please do not forget to check the blog to confirm if you were the winner 🙂 Unfortunately if we don’t hear anything back from the winners we will have to announce new winners.

Good Luck everyone!


Filed under JAFF

The Giveaway Winners are…

Hello everyone,

How are you today? I hope your weekend was great and that your are ready for another week 🙂 This Sunday I was dedicated to my new hobbie, and I’m quite happy with the results! It’s taking away some reading time, but I really enjoy making postcards! I even made one that could easily be send to one of you 🙂 What do you think of it?

What about these two? They are not Pride and Prejudice themed, but I would love your opinion nonetheless, I’m just starting and maybe I’m not going in the right direction 🙂

But I won’t bother you anymore with my arts and crafts, after all,  I am publishing this post to announce the winners of the Pride and Proposals audiobook giveaway  that was held here at From Pemberley To Milton. I reviewed the audiobook copy of Victoria Kincaid’s book and Erin Evan’s-Walker who narrated it decided to offer my readers 3 audiobook copies. This was a very generous offer from her, and I would really like to thank her for it. I would also like to thank all who have supported her work by commenting on this blog and sharing your opinion on audiobooks with us 🙂 I’ve said time and again, this wouldn’t be the same without you.

But now, without further ado, the giveaway winners are:


*** Carla***

***Audrey Reed***



Congratulations girls! I hope you enjoy listening to this books 🙂 Can you please send me your addresses to ritaluzdeodato at gmail dot com so that your prizes may be sent to you?

Happy Reading!


Filed under JAFF

The Most Interesting Man in the World – Excerpt & Giveaway

Good Afternoon everyone,

I hope you had a wonderful week and that you are ready for some reading this weekend 🙂 May I suggest starting with the excerpt I’m sharing today of The Most Interesting Man in the World? I’m very pleased to receive authors J.L Ashton and Justine Rivard today to promote their book, which is the most recent release from Meryton Press, and I hope you join me in welcoming them by sharing lots of positive energy on your comments 🙂

Happy Reading everyone!


What has gotten into Fitzwilliam Darcy lately?

Charles Bingley, a jolly fellow who relies on his great friend’s impeccable judgment in all things, is determined to find out. What could explain Darcy’s ill humour and distraction? Or his uncharacteristic blunder of speaking Greek to a horse who only understands Latin? Not to mention that shocking book accident! Certainly, it has nothing to do with Elizabeth Bennet, the sister of Bingley’s own angel, Jane. Bingley is certain of it.

What was really going on behind the scenes at Netherfield, Pemberley, and Darcy House, and just what did those men talk about over billiards and brandy? In this novella, Bingley sheds a little light on keeping company with the most interesting man in the world, and shares his own musings on puppies, his dreadful sisters, and the search for true love. Prepare to be shocked, delighted, and confused by a Charles Bingley the likes of whom you’ve never met before.


You can find The Most Interesting Man in the World at:








Rita, thank you so much for having us here at From Pemberley to Milton to share a scene that doesn’t appear in The Most Interesting Man in the World. The book centers on the relationship between Bingley and Darcy. The story of their “bromance” and their conversations about everything—but most especially their love and admiration for the Bennet sisters—is told through Bingley’s point of view. (Hint: He is overly imaginative and wears very thick rose-coloured glasses.)

Here, we give the spotlight to the ladies of Pride & Prejudice.

A Ladies’ Tea

The ladies of Longbourn are missish. Their scenes were cut, or never written, for the book and being excluded from all “scenage,” they now demand their share of the conversation. They also demanded to set their MAJORLY IMPORTANT scene in London. However, for purposes of the authors, they instead occupy the drawing room at Netherfield.

The boxes and packages had been swept away by the footmen, refreshments had been ordered, and the brides-to-be and their female relations were settled at Netherfield, awaiting the arrival of tall, gallant and, in at least one case, certain to be voraciously hungry, men.

Elizabeth leaned back in her seat, breathing deeply of the warmth she felt in her happiness. “Jane,” she said, “your Mr. Bingley is the best of men. After Darcy, that is.”

Her comment prompted a sigh from her elder sister. “Yes, isn’t he wonderful? Mr Bingley is so kind and thoughtful and loyal.”

“And fond of his biscuits,” added Mrs Gardiner.

“Like Tuffy,” Caroline mumbled. “Silly dog.” Conscious of the heads turning her way, she cleared her throat. “Where is that tea?” She stepped out of the room, still muttering.

Mrs Bennet gave her a shrewd look and leaned toward her eldest daughter. “The kitchens here are nothing to Longbourn’s. You must have Mr Bingley bring you a cook from London.”

Jane smiled at her mother. “Mr Bingley is fond of Netherfield’s cook. She understands his preferences and ensures every meal includes his favourite fruits.”

“Many, many fruits. So much fruit.” Louisa Hurst sighed.

Mrs Bennet nodded in satisfaction. “I see he has listened to you, Jane. Would that Mr Bennet would listen so well.”

Kitty, preoccupied with tucking a loose piece of lace in her skirt, looked up. “I am so happy he listens. I like Mr Bingley, but he makes the oddest comments.”

“Kitty, be kind,” Elizabeth said quickly.

“It is the truth, and I do mean it kindly,” Kitty cried. “Remember when he said the ladies in Goat Bottom Howling were less than handsome? That was not very charitable.”

Jane, flushed with an unfamiliar possessiveness, protested. “Sister, I am certain that is not what he meant. Charles sees the beauty in everything.”

“Yes,” Elizabeth said quickly, “I believe he was trying to say something about how the beauty of a place is reflected in the people who live there. I think it was a compliment to us, maybe, somehow,” she continued, her voice trailing off, “but honestly I am not sure.”

The silence that greeted Elizabeth’s proclamation was filled only with the tinkling sound of Louisa Hurst’s bracelets.

“He is not wrong that Goat Bottom Howling is dreadful,” Kitty stated, sure of her authority. “The buildings are ugly and Lydia says the society there is terrible, and you know she is quite the best-traveled of us.”

Kitty looked around the room, once again disappointed to find her sisters uninterested in marveling at the life Lydia and her husband were living. She crossed her arms and burrowed deeply into the settee. “But I don’t see what any of that has to do with whether the girls there are pretty or not.”

“I am not entirely clear on that either,” Mrs Gardiner replied. “But be kind. Mr Bingley is to be your brother in two days.”

Frowning, Mary turned around from her inspection of the bookshelves. “Mr Bingley displays admirable charity in sharing the ginger biscuits he keeps in his pockets.”

“Thank you, Mary.” Jane beamed at her and sighed. “That does show his consideration and care for others. He is so wonderful.”

Georgiana, seated across from Jane, smiled. Quietly.

“That bouquet of wildflowers he gathered for me on Monday was so pretty,” Jane added.

“Such a shame about the bee.” Mrs Gardiner gave her niece a gentle smile. “Did the poultice help?”

“Yes, his hand is only half the size it was yesterday.”

“The calendula cream helped as well,” Mrs Hurst said. “With the itching.”

“It soothes his skin and smells so nice,” said Jane.

A dramatic sigh came from Mrs Bennet. “Mr Bennet smells of musty books and peppermint.”

In a rare display of their sisterly bonds, the four Bennet girls stared at one another until Jane broke the silence. “Yes, Mama. That is a familiar scent for my father.”

“I do not know the word for it, but my brother smells like home to me.” Everyone turned to look at the nearly forgotten girl sitting beside Elizabeth. Georgiana promptly shrank into the sofa.

“What a wonderful observation.” Elizabeth gave the girl a gentle smilel. “I believe I will agree once we are settled at Pemberley.”

“What does Mr Darcy smell like now, Lizzy?” Kitty prompted her sister to expand on her thoughts. “I noticed you sniffing his neck the other day out in the garden. Does he smell like horses? He spends a lot of time riding his horse.”

“I was not sniffing his neck. And he smells perfectly normal, if you must know. Not like horses at all.”

Mrs Hurst laughed softly. “Caroline thinks Mr Darcy smells of all that is good.”

Elizabeth laid a protective hand on Georgiana’s arm.

“Any man with ten thousand a year can afford to smell good,” cried Mrs Bennet. “Mr Darcy—.”

“Your brother and sister think quite highly of our Lizzy’s Mr Darcy,” Mrs Gardiner interjected. “Has he always been the valiant gentleman, the man with no flaws and never a cross word?”

“I have never seen him less than perfect in either his manner or his grammar,” Mrs Hurst replied.

“And you, Miss Darcy, do you see him as a paragon as well?”

“He is the best brother,” Georgiana replied, “if a little absent of mind of late. He was quite preoccupied these past weeks, looking forward to the wedding.”

“I would imagine so.”

“Almost as much as Mr Bingley,” Georgiana added. “He and our cousin Archie spent some time with Fitzwilliam, and he made references to bats flying about his insides.”

“Bats?” Mrs Bennet sniffed. “I am sure he meant butterflies.”

“Oh no, he called them large winged bats.”

“Oh!” Mrs Bennet snapped her fan. “Do stop that wiggling, Kitty.”

Kitty shifted in her seat, twisting about and plunging a hand under the cushion. “Aha!” she cried, pulling out a well-thumbed copy of The Romance of the Forest.

“Oh my.”

Mary gasped just as Colonel Fitzwilliam strode into the room with Miss Bingley and two footmen carrying tea trays.

“I thank you for the kind escort, sir. Please join us for tea.” Caroline glanced about the room, her expression tightening when her eyes fell upon the book in Kitty’s hand. “Ah,” she drawled shakily, “another treasure left behind by the previous owners.”

The ladies beamed up at their newest guest; Kitty and Mrs Bennet each patted the empty cushion beside them on the sofas.

“It would be my pleasure to spend time with the sisters, aunt, and mother of the lady betrothed to Darcy.” The Colonel sat himself in a chair beside Mrs Gardiner and leaned toward her, winking at Elizabeth and Georgiana as he continued. “She is too good for that cousin of mine in any case.”

Mrs Gardiner laughed, drowning out the squeak of protest coming from her sister. “Oh my goodness, no. As his friend Bingley says, Mr Darcy is the most interesting man in the world.”

“Ah yes, but that title is bestowed only by one man in the world and his opinion is decidedly batty. Kindly meant, but truly, Darcy is quite dull. His idea of fun is reading a thick dusty book by the fire.”

“Untrue!” Elizabeth and Georgiana cried out together.

“Oh he can ride a horse and fence rather well, but what is so interesting about that?” The Colonel leaned over the tea handed him by Caroline and looked around the room. “No, the most interesting thing about my cousin is how he managed to make a lady of such quality, wit, beauty and humour fall in love with him.”

The ladies sighed as one. Except for Caroline, who groaned into her tea.

“Alas, Darcy was an interesting lad when I could raise his nose from his books, and make him follow me into mischief. But he grew into a solid man, rather dull and solemn,” he added, his eyes twinkling, “steady to his purpose with his estate business and his care for young Georgiana. His tales cannot measure up to my own of the battlefield and the barracks, of men who fought to the death, of hills and dales taken and lost….”

Kitty, still grasping the novel, nearly swooned. (Mrs Bennet did.)

Elizabeth, her cheeks pinked, gave him a steady look. “Dull and solemn?”

“Oh to be sure, your betrothed was serious and stiff.” The Colonel looked around the room. “As the oldest son, one has to be, or so I am told. My elder brother certainly is both. But Darcy took his responsibilities very seriously even as a boy. He has always had an overdeveloped sense of duty, you know. Saving cats from trees, reading to his sister, following his father and Mr Wick—er, the steward around Pemberley to learn all that he could of estate matters.”

Caroline tutted. “Can you imagine? Mr Darcy climbing a tree.”

“My Lizzy was always in the trees as a girl.”

Kitty snorted. “Indeed. Lizzy and Mr Darcy spend a great deal of time in the woods.”

“They share a fondness for nature and walking.” Jane managed to nearly glare at her younger sister.

“Your cousin is a man without fault.” Mrs Gardiner looked around the room, an impish smile on her face. “My husband and children assure me of this.”

As the laugher fell away, Mary spoke up. “I had thought that he was prideful, but it does not seem to me that he has any untoward pride.”

“No, no, he is full of pride,” the Colonel replied. “That is one of his many, many shortcomings. But I have made it my personal mission to take the stuffing right out of him whenever possible!”

“It is true,” Georgiana said. “My brother’s seriousness is leavened by my cousin’s silliness, and likewise.”

“Indeed, no one else dares.” He looked at Jane. “Bingley is a good man who sees all that is good in my cousin. But we all need to be taken down a peg now and again. Myself included, much as I hate to admit it.”

“No, no,” Caroline cried. “Your family is quite illustrious. Some pride in that is surely deserved”

“Perhaps. But my cousin takes things a bit too far, or at least he did before he met Elizabeth” He lifted his cup to her and bowed his head. “She seems able to make him laugh at himself.”

“That is a most wonderful thing,” sighed Georgiana.

“Truly,” said Jane.

“If Mr Darcy is not the most interesting man in the world,” Elizabeth said gaily, “he is surely the best man in the world.

“Especially for me.”


Justine Rivard is a very serious college professor who has no time for frivolity or poppycock of any kind. She strenuously objects to the silliness found in this story and urges you to put the book down at once before it gives you ideas. You are invited instead to join her in the study for a lecture about her extensive collection of whimsical 18th-century animal husbandry manuals.


J.L. Ashton, on the other hand, is a very unserious writer of Jane Austen variations you might have read (A Searing Acquaintance and Mendacity & Mourning) and collector of recipes she will never attempt. She encourages a general lack of decorum and has a great appreciation for cleft chins, vulnerably brooding men, and Instagram accounts featuring animals. Especially cats. Also foxes.



February 11 / Austenesque Reviews / Character Interview

February 12 / A Covent Garden Madame Gilflurt’s Guide to Life / Guest Post

February 14 / Margie’s Must Reads / Book Review

February 16 / Just Jane 1813 / Meet the Authors  

February 18 / Babblings of a Bookworm / Guest Post

February 22 / From Pemberley to Milton / Character Interview

February 24 / Diary of an Eccentric / Book Review

February 26 / My Vices and Weaknesses  / Book Excerpt

February 28 / More Agreeably Engaged / Guest Post



Meryton Press is offering eight eBooks copies of The Most Interesting Man in the World.

Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once a day and daily commenting on a blog post or a review that has a giveaway attached for the tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented. If an entrant does not do so, that entry will be disqualified.

One winner per contest. Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and the giveaway is international.

To enter it, click here.

Good Luck Everyone!


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