Category Archives: Persuasion

Captain Wentworth’s Persuasion

Captain Wentworth’s Persuasion from Regina Jeffers is the perfect book for readers who love Jane Austen’s Persuasion!

It gives us a glimpse of how Frederick Wentworth and Anne Elliot met, and their consequent courtship period, before moving on to the main story which is a retelling from Wentworth’s point of view alternated with their life at sea after their marriage. By bringing all of this together in one single book, Mrs. Jeffers created the most complete Persuasion book one can find; it is a prequel, a variation with different POV and a sequel!

In the beginning I found the alternation between the events a little confusing, but I soon started to enjoy these alternate chapters and particularly how they converge into the story’s ending.

I loved seeing Frederick Wentworth in his youth meeting Anne Elliot, falling in love with her and having his heart shattered. I always wondered why there weren’t more books that focused on this particuar period because I always had a big curiosity about how they met, why they fell in love with one another, and how was Anne’s refusal delivered; Captain Wentworth’s Persuasion came to satiate my need for this 🙂

I particularly enjoyed the fact that we are presented with Wentworth’s POV instead of Anne’s because it gives us a more masculine view of every scene, and it makes us feel more close to him as a character than to Anne. He will not seem as cruel or fickle as in Persuasion because we are able to see his side of the story, and we know what is on his mind and heart in each scene. By seeing the story through his eyes we will find him more romantic and irresistible than in Persuasion, and those who may have had reserves regarding him, may very well forget all about that when reading this book.

I know some people are not as fond of Wentworth as I am, but I believe that if they read this book, they will come to like him more. It is very different to witness every scene from his point of view, and to understand when he realized he was paying too much attention to Louisa Musgrove and that such behavior had to stop.

Even though I enjoyed immensely this book, I would have liked to see a little more of their courtship when they were young, and to understand a little better why Wentworth fell in love with Anne. But this was not a prequel per se, and being only an introduction to the book itself, I understand the author would not want to spend too much time in this period of the story.

It is very curious, but in Persuasion I felt more empathy towards Anne, in this book I felt more empathy towards Wentworth as Anne sometimes appeared to be a character towards whom I felt pity and could not like so much. This was a very positive aspect, as it allowed me to appreciate the story from both points of view and have a wider assessment of both personalities and how they are perceived by themselves and by others.

As mentioned earlier, this book is the most complete novel one could find based on Jane Austen’s Persuasion and I have no doubt that all Persuasion enthusiasts will love it considering how deep it goes into the lives and personalities of Captain Wentworth and Anne Elliot. It is a romantic tale that brings to light a new side of Wentworth that will make each reader fall in love with him even more. I highly recommend it to JAFF readers.

You can find Captain Wentworth’s Persuasion at:

Amazon.com

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Filed under 4.5 stars, jane austen, Persuasion

Modern Persuasion Guest Post & Giveaway

Hello everyone,

Today I am pleased to receive as my guest Sara Marks who is about to release a Persuasion modernisation novel called Modern Persuasion.

Persuasion is my second favourite novel from Jane Austen, so I was thrilled to know that a new book was going to be released, thank you Sara!!!

Many people ask me why Persuasion is my second favourite and I always say that it is partly because of Captain Wentworth. He is no Darcy, but he is a strong, interesting character. But it’s not because of the male character that Persuasion could not come first in my affection, it is because of the heroine. While Elizabeth Bennet is the perfect heroine, Anne is a quiet character, too quiet to instigate the same type of admiration I have for Elizabeth. But is she a weak person? I asked that to Sara, and that is how we came up with the idea of this guest post. Sara will use the Meyers Briggs personality model to describe you Anne, and explain to you why she does not believe her to be a weak person 🙂 I hope you enjoy this!

 

Is Anne Elliot Weak?

When we meet Anne Elliot, we find her in the middle of her own story.  She has already had love and given it up.  She has already been proposed to twice and rejected both.  She has, in the words of her father, lost her bloom.  She is quiet, observant, thoughtful, and a little broken by the world she lives in.  One thing I would never call her is weak.  Weak suggests she has given up and doesn’t care.  Weak suggests she wallows without processing what upsets her.  Anne Elliot is not weak, she is an introvert.  She gains her strength from recharging alone.

Meyers Briggs Personality Types

I have an obsession with the Meyers-Briggs personality profiles.  Not as a way to excuse my choices or to help me make decisions, but as a way to deeper understand why I do the things I do. I do the same for my characters.  Anne Elliot, specifically, is an ISFJ.  What does this mean?  This means she is an introvert.  The ’s’ means she is sensing information based on what she observes.  Consider her impressions of Captain Wentworth’s feelings toward her.  She bases that on what she can see and observe from him.  She is most confused when his actions imply something different from everything else she has observed.  The ‘f’ means she is feeling in her decision making.  She considers other people’s motives when making decisions.  She feels like Captain Wentworth’s feelings have changed in Bath and becomes more aggressive herself.  She feels, after collecting her sensing evidence, that Mr Elliot is not what he appears to be.  The ‘j’ stands for judging and means she likes closure.

Anne in Context

Consider all of that in light of what we know about Anne’s situation when we join the story.  She is the middle child of a vain and snobbish man.  Her sisters, in different ways, share his snobbishness.  She has no brothers, so her family’s title and wealth will go to a distant cousin who has married another woman and is estranged from the family.  Yet, she has not married and nobody seems worried that she isn’t married.  She loved a man who, technically, was beneath her in class.  She knows the painful and regretful decision to reject him was the right one.  She had a second proposal from someone more her equal and she rejected that as well.  Nobody seems to judge her as a failure for that decision and her younger sister ultimately marries that man.  She doesn’t even seem to be hunting for a husband when we meet her.  She is simply living her life.  She spends her time with the people she likes as often as with those she has to be with.

Is She Weak?

So, back to the original question: is Anne Elliot weak?  No, she is self-reflective, thoughtful, and observant.  She accepts new information and shifts as she processes it.  She is far stronger than she appears.  She doesn’t just give into pressure, but makes the decision she thinks is best (even if wrong or hard).  She knows her mind and the people around her.  She isn’t reactive and aggressive, but she is just as strong as other Austen heroines.


Do what did you think of Sara’s analysis? I absolutely loved it! I also love personality tests and analysis and even if I am more familiar with the DISC model, I have read quite a lot about the Meyers Briggs Personality Types and I agree with Sara’s analysis. I am very different from Anne, and when I was younger I did consider Anne a weak person, but with age came a new understanding of live and people, and I’ve come to realise she is just more introvert than me, which is not necessary bad…by the contrary! In some situations Anne is just the type of person we need by our side 🙂

Thank you very much for your analysis Sara!

I’m sure that by now you are very curious to see how Sara’s characters will be, or what their story is going to be like, so I’ll leave you with the book blurb and some information on Sara Marks herself 🙂


 

 

Which would you pick: the person you love or your own dreams?
What would you do if given a second chance at that decision?
Eight years ago Emma Shaw picked her career and family over the man she loved, Fredrick Wentworth. Since then she has built a career in publishing and spends her free time making sure her father and sisters are taken care of. Fredrick has spent the same years building his career as a screenwriter under increasing public scrutiny as a celebrity. When the editor of Fredrick’s first book is injured, Emma is forced to travel with Fredrick on his book tour.

Tension builds for the two former lovers over the course of the tour. Emma and Fredrick must face their emotional baggage and their misunderstanding about how their break-up impacted the other. Will they be able to find their way back together for a second chance at love?

Available for pre-order on Amazon.com.

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Sara Marks is an author, knitter, Wikipedian, and librarian from Massachusetts. After over 10 years of participating in National Novel Writing Month, she is releasing her first novel, Modern Persuasion, with Illuminated Myth Publishing.
When she isn’t writing, she is an academic librarian at University of Massachusetts Lowell.
She has a masters degree in library science and another in Communications.
She spent 6 years as a member of Toastmasters International where she twice earned the status of Distinguished Toastmaster, the
highest status members can achieve.
She is one of the local organizers for National Novel Writing Month.
5 Fun Facts You Didn’t Know About Sara
1.Sara worked as a clown in college. She would go to birthday parties and local events in Miami to paint faces and make balloon animals.
2.Sara failed out of college before returning home to find a new path in life.
It took her 7.5 years to get her B.A. She is a firm believer in being able to fix your mistakes and gettingsecond chances.
3.Her dog, Cedric, was named for Cedric Diggory, her favorite character in Harry
Potter.In reality, the dog is a Slytherin.
4.Every year, since 2004, Sara has participated in National Novel Writing Month.
She haswon every year, except 2005 when she lost by 1,000 words.
5.Sara has been a Wikipedia editor for over 10 years.

 


 

5/22 My Jane Austen Bookclub http://thesecretunderstandingofthehearts.blogspot.com/

5/22 Most Agreeably Engaged http://moreagreeablyengaged.blogspot.com/

5/23 Half Agony, Half Hope http://halfagonyhalfhopelove.blogspot.com/

5/24 JustJane 1813 https://justjane1813.com/

5/24 The Ardent Reader http://www.theardentreader.net/

5/25 From Pemberly to Milton https://frompemberleytomilton.wordpress.com/

5/26 Diary of an Eccentric https://diaryofaneccentric.wordpress.com/

5/26 My Love for Jane Austen http://forloveofausten.blogspot.com/

5/27 Babblings of a Bookworm http://babblingsofabookworm.blogspot.com/

5/28 Musings from the Yellow Kitchen https://musingsfromtheyellowkitchen.wordpress.com/

5/29 vvb32 Reads http://vvb32reads.blogspot.com/

5/29 Austenesque Reviews http://austenesquereviews.com/


Sara brought along with her several giveaways for my readers.

She would like to offer an eBook of Modern Persuasion and  Fredrick’s book tour knick knacks and autographed paperback copy. Since part of the story happens on Fredrick’s book tour, she has selected touristy knick-knacks from each of the cities they visit.  The winner will get the entire collection of knick knacks and an autographed paperback copy of the book

To enter the first giveaway of na ebook of Modern Persuasion please leave a comment on this blog until June 1, 2017. The winner will be announced shortly after.

To enter the second giveaway of  Fredrick’s book tour knick knacks and autographed paperback copy please sign up for Sara’s mailing list by clicking on the Rafflecopter link below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Everyone who signs up for the mailing list is added to the raffle and also gets a short story related to Modern Persuasion: “Mary and the Anti-Feminist”.  The raffle opens on May 22nd and ends on June 5th and is only available for US residents..  The item for NYC has not be selected yet so it will be a surprise element. Please check the Picture for the contents of this giveaway.

Good Luck everyone!

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Filed under JAFF, Persuasion

The art behind the covers & giveaways

Hello everyone,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


interview

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

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

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And when did it go from reading to drawing?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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


author-testimonials

 

Nicole Clarkston

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

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

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

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

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

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


 

Jan Hahn

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


 

Suzan Lauder

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alias Thomas Bennet_cover_rev2 (1).jpg

 


 

Caitlin Williams

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

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

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

TCoAoEB FC Final wobld 121516 M


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Joy King

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

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

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

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

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


 

Linda Beutler

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

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

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

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


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Sally Smith O’Rourke

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


 

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

We are giving away the below items:

* One 2017 Austen Man in Film + 2 calendar

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

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

* One copy of Northern Rain (winner chooses format)

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

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

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

* One ebook copy of Alias Thomas Bennet

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

* One ebook copy of A Father’s Sins

* One paperback copy of A Father’s Sins

* One signed paperback of The Red Chrysanthemum

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

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

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

Good luck everyone!

115 Comments

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

Snowbound at Hartfield Review & Giveaway

snowbound-at-hartfield-ebook4 stars

Snowbound at Hartfield is a crossover of books and characters that I never thought possible, but maybe the issue is with my imagination because Maria Grace made these characters interactions completely plausible and interesting.

Pride & Prejudice will meet Persuasion and Emma when both Mr.Darcy’s party and Sir Walter Elliot’s are trapped in an inn during a snowstorm without any rooms vacant. Luckily this inn is close to Hartfield, and Mr Knightley, who is Mr. Darcy’s old friend, invites them all to stay with him and his family until the storm abates.

It is due to these circumstances that we will have in the same house Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth, Mr. Bennet, Col. Fitzwilliam, Sir Walter Elliot, Miss Elizabeth Elliot, Mr. Knightley, Mrs Emma Knightley and Mr. Woodhouse. I’m sure you’re starting to imagine how much fun it will be to have Mr. Bennet and Sir Walter Elliot in close proximity! But Sir Walter will not even be the only person who will contribute to the amusement of Mr. Bennet, the Knightley’s neighbours are, after all, perfect to make sport of, and Mrs. Elton will always be a source of amusement for some and chagrin to others wherever she goes.

The originality of bringing all these characters together and developing a very different and unexpected couple has to be praised! The romantic couple in Snowbound at Hartfield is one I had never seen portrayed and would never think of, but Maria Grace made it work by showing us a deeper and darker side of these characters, one that is not often shown to us and will make us think of what is beneath the character’s usual façade. In fact, she picked up one of my least favourite secondary characters from Austen, and made her the love interest of one of my favourite characters succeeding to make me wish they would find happiness together.That wasn’t an easy task, and I still can not say Miss Elliot is a favourite of mine, but she deed redeem herself in this book, and Maria Grace’s approach to this character was remarkable.

The love story between Col. Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Elliot will be very different from what we are used to, but they will be presented to us as two broken souls who can mend each other, and we can not stop thinking that they will do very well together.

Elizabeth Darcy and Emma Knightley are secondary characters in this story but it was very amusing and fun to see them described as matrons!

Snowbound at Hartfield is a creative, fun and romantic novella which will fill our hearts with the hope that it is never too late to find happiness. I recommend this book to any Austen fan who is looking for a secondary character story to read. This story is a quick read that will bring several of Austen’s characters into a new light, it is perfect to be read between two Darcy and Elizabeth centered books, and I’m sure any Austen aficionado will enjoy it.

 

You can find Snowbound at Hartfield at :

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

giveaway-time

Maria Grace has offered a giveaway of an ebook of “Snowbound at Hartfield for my From Pemberley to Milton readers.  To enter it please leave a comment on this post until the 1st of March, and if you want to double your chances of winning, comment the interview with Maria Grace posted on the 20th of February.

The winners will be announced in the beginning of March. To make sure you receive the winners announcement notification please follow From Pemberley to Milton to make sure you receive an e-mails every time a new post is published. I would hate to see someone didn’t win the book because they missed the announcement.

Good luck everyone!

17 Comments

Filed under 4 stars, Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice

Interview with Maria Grace & Giveaway

Hello everyone,

Maria Grace has been an important name in the Jane Austen community for many years. She has written several fiction books and novellas celebrating our dear characters from Pride & Prejudice, but also some non fiction works where she shares with us the costumes in regency, namely A Jane Austen Christmas: Regency Christmas Traditions and Courtship and Marriage in Jane Austen’s World.

Apart from all her work in JAFF, she has always been a dear author and I am very happy to interview her today regarding her recently released book: Snowbound at Hartfield.

I hope you enjoy this interview but if you still have any question that you would like to see answered, please do not hesitate to ask it in the comments. I’m sure Maria will be glad to answer you and it will enter you in the giveaway she is hosting.

 

interview

 

Hello Maria, welcome to From Pemberley to Milton. I know you have just released a new book called Snowbound at Hartfield. What can you tell us about it? What can readers expect?

Maria Grace – Snowbound at Hartfield is a romance about second chances and the difficult reality single adults, men and women, faced in the regency era. Even though it deals with some difficult subjects, there’s a generous helping of humor and lots of warm fuzzies as well.

 

FPTM – This book is a mash up of several Austen stories, and even though I’ve seen crossovers between two different Austen books, I never saw one putting together characters from three different books. How did you come up with this idea?

MG – The idea for Snowbound came out of a March Mash-up Madness theme we had last year at Austen Variations.

 

FPTM – But why Emma, Persuasion and Pride and Prejudice?

MG – One of our readers suggested a scene between some of the Austen fathers, like Mr. Woodhouse, Mr. Bennet and Sir Walter Elliot. I took that idea and ran with it. By the time all was said and done, Snowbound was the result.

 

FPTM – The book is written from 2 different points of view and one of them is Miss Elizabeth Elliot from Persuasion. She is hardly ever seen in JAFF and I had never seen her as a main character, why did you decide to give her the spotlight on this novel?

MG – That came out of having Sir Walter Elliot as one of the fathers in the mash-up scene. I couldn’t imagine him traveling without company of some kind, and what more natural company for him to have that the daughter who still lived with him?

 

FPTM – Miss Elizabeth Elliot is a controversial character, what is her story on Snowbound at Hartfield? How did you decide to approach this character?

MG – We pick up Miss Elizabeth Elliot after she has had two very difficult experiences. First, the heir presumptive of the family, William Elliot has taken her friend, Penelope Clay ‘under his protections’–which is to say he has made her his mistress. Worse yet, she is living in his house, which was just not done. All this happened while Elizabeth was expecting an offer of marriage from him. On top of that humiliation, her younger sister Anne is married to the very desirable Captain Wentworth, leaving Elizabeth, the eldest sister who should have been the first to marry, the only one left unmarried.

So, Elizabeth is an humiliated spinster, whose financial situation requires her to live with her foolish father. In such a situation, she would be the mistress of the house, handling the management aspect of this home. With little money to work with, it would have been very challenging to live the lifestyle of a baronet, as her father would have required.

Living through all would tax anyone. To me, it seemed the perfect motivation for potential personal change, so that’s where I wrote her from.

 

FPTM – The other POV in this book is Col. Fitzwilliam whose character also takes an interesting turn in with a different side of him being explored. What can you tell us about his character?

MG -I think Col. Fitzwilliam is a complicated character. As a military officer of the era, he would have seen action in the Napoleonic wars. Those wars were brutal and horrific and it is hard to imagine a man who could experience that without some lasting effects. Those experiences impact him greatly, and leaving himself feeling ‘less’ than the man he used to be.  That is part of the challenge he faces in this story.

 

FPTM – Thank you so much for letting us know more about Snowbound at Hartfield Maria. Is there anything else you want to tell my readers?

MGSnowbound started as a bit of a lark, but the characters had a story to tell and wouldn’t leave me alone until I had allowed them to tell it. It didn’t end up to be the story I expected it to be, but after all was said and done, I’m very happy with the results.

You can find Snowbound at Hartfield at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

 

biography

 

grace-38-lThough Maria Grace has been writing fiction since she was ten years old, those early efforts happily reside in a file drawer and are unlikely to see the light of day again, for which many are grateful. After penning five file-drawer novels in high school, she took a break from writing to pursue college and earn her doctorate in Educational Psychology. After 16 years of university teaching, she returned to her first love, fiction writing.

She has one husband and one grandson, two graduate degrees and two black belts, three sons, four undergraduate majors, five nieces, is starting her sixth year blogging on Random Bits of Fascination, has built seven websites, attended eight English country dance balls, sewn nine Regency era costumes, and shared her life with ten cats.

You can find Maria at:

Amazon

Facebook

Twitter

Random Bits of Fascination

Austen Variations

English Historical Fiction Authors

Pinterest

 

giveaway-time

snowbound-at-hartfield-ebookMaria Grace has offered a giveaway of an ebook of “Snowbound at Hartfield for my From Pemberley to Milton readers.  To enter it please leave a comment on this post until the 1st of March, and if you want to double your chances of winning, comment the review that will be posted here on the 23rd of February.

The winners will be announced in the beginning of March. To make sure you receive the winners announcement notification please follow From Pemberley to Milton to make sure you receive an e-mails every time a new post is published. I would hate to see someone didn’t win the book because they missed the announcement.

Good luck everyone!

 

 

25 Comments

Filed under Emma, interview, Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice

Jane Austen’s shopping cart…A few ideas for Christmas gifts

transparent_christmas_mistletoe_decor_png_picture

Hello dear readers,

How are you this week? Have you done much Christmas shopping already? I haven’t even started yet, but I already have an idea of what I want to give to my family J For my friends, though…it’s been hard to choose something nice and original.

Last Christmas one of my best friends offered me a Pride and Prejudice mug that she found on Amazon, so I thought I could use her example and search for book related mugs for some of my friends as well. I started looking in Amazon and I confess I was really amazed at how many products are out there! I usually just use Amazon to buy books and cd’s, but when I started searching for mugs, I realized there are lots, and lots and lots of book related items for sale. I started looking for Jane Austen products of course, and discovered some very interesting things J That’s when I thought that maybe you would find them interesting as well, so today’s post is not a review or a guest post, but more of a free style post where I share my favorite Jane Austen discoveries on amazon…and Janet Taylor’s page, because who can resist buying her products?

When it comes to clothing I knew there were some t-shirts using Jane Austen’s sentences, but did you know there are also other types of garments such as socks?

My top 3 favourite items on clothing department were a pair of knee socks, a scarf and a tote bag. Aren’t they beautiful? (if the image is too small, click on it and it will take you to the amazon page where you can use the zoom on the images :))) )

The scarf is a little bit more expensive and out of my budget this year, but I’m convinced to buy the socks!

I also discovered some original and classy things in the jewelry department. Some of them will make good presents for my bookish friends, especially as they are not that expensive 🙂 The necklaces are just 16 dollars each and the bracelet 4,24.

And did you know that you can also find some items for men? I would buy this t-shirt for my husband if I had any hope he would ever wear it 😉

Adults are not the only ones who can get Jane Austen related gifts, there are also lot’s of items for children, and they can not refuse a presente can they? Well…they may not like it and throw it to a corner, but I think Janeites will not resist buying at least one Jane Austen item for their children once in their life 🙂

At least I think many children’s items are too cute to resist. My favourite discoveries were children’s books like Goodnight Mr. Darcy, Pride & Prejudice Babylit Counting Primer , or Sense & Sensibility Babylit Opposites Primer (I just added one because I din’t want to fill you with images, but there are so many nice children books about Jane Austen’s works our there!), the Jane Austen Action Figure and Jane Austen tattoos:

One of the funniest discoveries I made while searching for children’s items were the Jane Austen Bandages!! Isn’t that amazing? I think I’ll buy some for myself, and I will definitely wear them! I would never wish for Rui to get hurt, but a simple paper cut would be very funny if the only bandages available at home were the Jane Austen ones 🙂

And this wouldn’t be complete without stationary would it? I am a little obsessed with stationary, I just love all types of things 🙂 In fact, I do have some of the items on this list, but I always bought them on my travels and never in Amazon. Like I said…Amazon did surprise me 🙂 Below you’ll see Jane Austen note cards, Jane Austen’s mousepad  and Jane Austen Address book,

And…as I said, I do love stationary, so I couldn’t resist showing you more products…I could hardly leave Amazon’s webpage when I started seeing all these things! The last 3 items are a 2017 Persuasion Planner, a Persuasion mousepad, and Persuasion Coloring Book. Can you tell Persuasion is my second favorite novel? The last item made me realise that there are tons Jane Austen Coloring books and some of them will make great additional gifts to my 7 and 8 year old nieces 🙂

I also found some decorating items that I found particularly beautiful, but my favorite was this black and white Pride and Prejudice Poster.

But this all started with the mug Anabela gave me last Christmas didn’t it? So there is no better ending then showing you some of the mugs and cups I found:


If you have not completed your Christmas shopping yet, I hope this post might help you identify some Jane Austen products you could offer some of your friends and family…or give your friends and family some ideas of what they can offer you 🙂

I almost forgot, this is the mug that started it all…

20161213_204039

 

18 Comments

Filed under jane austen, Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice

The Subsequent Proposal

subsequent proposal5 stars

When I first read the plot of this book I could not believe how perfect it was! All I could think was how I never thought about it myself considering it has the characters from my 2 favourite Jane Austen books: Pride & Prejudice and Persuasion. Getting them together the way Joana Starnes did makes perfect sense! The idea could not be better!

After Elizabeth’s refusal in Hunsford, Darcy meets Miss Anne Elliot and believes she would be the perfect wife for a marriage based on contentment. She is amiable, kind, intelligent and her family is perfect for Darcy’s family standards. On the other hand, Captain Wentworth meets Elizabeth Bennet and also believes she could be a perfect wife if he can not have Anne’s love. At a certain point in the book the four of them meet and they are forced to face their true feelings. Even though Anne appears to be (in the eyes of society) perfect for Darcy, she is obviously not his perfect match. She is not his other half, and the same applies for Captain Wentworth and Lizzy.

The book is extremely well written, and it’s truly passionate, with deep feelings and no excessive dramas or incredibly bad villains. It’s a believable story, perfectly situated in the era. There is no lack of propriety, and that does not prevent us from reading a truly romantic story. We read the book from Darcy’s perspective and for me, one of the best things about the book is that Darcy is not seen as the only one at fault. The author really understands and develops both characters just like Jane Austen created them and not as a version of Darcy and Lizzy as many authors do.

Unlike many books, Darcy is not seen as someone full of faults who changes completely just to please Elizabeth. In this book Elizabeth understands she was also prejudiced and realizes that even though Darcy was not at his best while proposing to her, he had his reasons to do it as he did. She understand his background and how that influenced his behaviour. I do not believe I have ever read a book more true to the real Darcy and Elizabeth as The Subsequent Proposal.

I really enjoyed reading this book and did so in one day. I was only sad that the book was so short. I believe the author could have developed the story a little bit more. The idea was really good and deserved more scenes, more dialogue, and maybe even more Wentworth and Anne, but I do recommend it!

 

The Subsequent Proposal is available at:

Amazon.com – The Subsequent Proposal

Amazon.co.uk – The Subsequent Proposal: ~ A Tale of Pride, Prejudice & Persuasion ~

Amazon.fr – [(The Subsequent Proposal : A Tale of Pride, Prejudice & Persuasion)]

5 Comments

Filed under 5 stars, Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice