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J. L. Ashton – Interview and giveaway

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Hello everyone,

J. L. Ashton has just released her debut novel A Searing Acquaintance and I’m very happy to be receiving her today at from Pemberley to Milton with an interview and giveaway promoted by Meryton Press.

I didn’t know J. L. Ashton before the release of her book, and to be honest, I haven’t read A Searing Acquaintance yet, but when I got the chance to interview her, all I could think of was “why haven’t I read anything from her before?”.

J.L. Ashton was a true pleasure to interview; she is incredibly nice, easy going, funny, interesting and loves parenthetical asides, something I totally relate to 🙂

I truly loved to read her answer to my questions, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did 🙂

 

***Author Interview***

J.L. Ashton

 

After so many years of imagining variations of Pride and Prejudice, what prompted you to write A Searing Acquaintance? 

How many of us have read books or stories that, after we put them down, stay in our heads and lead us to imagine unwritten scenes or a continuation? That was me when I was a kid. I grew out of that mindset until I read a story at Firthness—the first JAFF site I found—that prompted me to start imagining my own what-ifs for Pride and Prejudice. When I started writing JAFF stories, I think I always had a specific Darcy in my head. I don’t mean an actor or a face but the kind of good but flawed ideal man we all adore. My first (unpublished) story, By The Numbers, is a softer, lighter version of a modern Darcy and Elizabeth. I wondered how a Darcy who was really damaged by losing his parents but retained the essence of the man we all love and admire, would live in the modern world, and an Elizabeth, who carried her own baggage, would thrive as a successful young woman. And of course, how they would affect each other.

 

There are several sub-genres in JAFF, why a modernization? 

My earliest short JAFF stories were moderns; they were a nice way to ease into writing fiction. And although I’ve now written a few regencies and I love reading them, the stories that made me really fall in love with JAFF were a couple of moderns. They each took Elizabeth’s POV and never took us inside Darcy’s head but still made clear his passion and his love for her. Now I admit, I can’t write a story without peeking into Darcy’s head or writing light comedy into the dialogue, and I wasn’t sure about comic banter in a regency. More importantly, the key turning point in A Searing Acquaintance, their early physical encounter and what both take from it (or don’t remember), could not take place in a regency. I wanted to explore how rejection, or the perception of it, haunts one character while the other has spent his life not trying to be accepted. And of course, explore what happens during the happily after ever.

 

What can you tell us about A Searing Acquaintance? 

It’s about as faithful a modern re-telling of Pride and Prejudice can be…except for a lot of incidentals, comic banter, allusions to pop culture, sexual innuendo, and even more tangled, tragic family dynamics than Jane Austen provided for Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy.

 

Which were your main obstacles and achievements while writing your first novel? 

Oh, I am a terrible outliner and planner, and a world-class procrastinator. I am what another author calls “a guerilla writer:” I have a deadline and must write to meet it, so I do. I like to put myself under pressure and writing this story and posting it as I wrote it really made me focus. Also, a lot of the bits of dialogue, character observations or key plot turns will pop up in my head when I’m driving or in bed, and so I filled my phone with notes and random bits. I was posting chapters of this story weekly at A Happy Assembly and flying by the seat of my pants. The fact that so many readers praised the continuity and seamless flow was hugely gratifying and their comments really pushed me.

 

So far, A Searing Acquaintance has been a success with a 5 star rating at Amazon. Where you expecting such a warm reception from readers? 

It’s been unexpected, and so heartwarming to receive such lovely reviews and to see people buying the book. I am a total neophyte in all of this book publishing business; I’m a reader! I read a lot of fiction and biographies, and got started buying JAFF books back in the early 2000s—Linda Berdoll and Pamela Aiden—and continue to buy both moderns and regencies. I know regencies are more popular with readers and book buyers, and my book doesn’t have a special setting or hook like a lot of JAFF. So I am really happy that my modern take on my favorite novel is resonating with readers.

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You mentioned in one of your posts that you like characterization. In your perspective, which is the most challenging character to develop in Pride and Prejudice? 

Elizabeth Bennet, definitely. Pride and Prejudice gives us an outline and impressions of Darcy and we get to fill him in and choose his colors, etc. With Elizabeth, we have much more to work with from canon, but I think it’s hard to capture the Elizabeth Bennet that JA gave us. We imprint her with our own point of view or behaviors, or borrow or emphasize others.

There’s an old saying about how women don’t dress for men, they dress to impress or get approval from other women. Is that still true today? Maybe it is in how we read stories based on classic literary characters. As women (which most of us are in JAFF), we tend to judge Elizabeth for being too tough on poor Mr. Darcy at Hunsford or too soft on nasty old Wickham. (I may be influenced in my thinking because my mom raised a houseful of girls who measured and judged themselves against her; my husband grew up with a bunch of brothers who paid no attention to her clothes or decorating sense.)

And who is a modern Elizabeth Bennet? The social gulf between regency Darcy and Elizabeth is clear enough. Recreating that same structure dividing them in modern times is a tall order. There are stories that make it more of a Cinderella story and bring together a waitress/secretary and a billionaire but I tend to lean away from fairy tales and more toward a modern Elizabeth like the women I know: smart, funny, curious, made for happiness, and driven to do well and be fulfilled in whatever career she pursues—the kind of woman a Darcy would be drawn to. And that is hard work to make believable, not whiny or unlikable or shrill. I was so happy when I had feedback from readers telling me how much they liked Elizabeth, or that she felt real to them.

 

 

It’s curious you mentioned Elizabeth is the most challenging character as I believe she is the one that changes the most in JAFF books. It seems each author has its own interpretation of Elizabeth, unlike Darcy who is, generally speaking, always the same.

Now, we know how your Elizabeth is going to be, but what about Darcy? How is your Darcy in A Searing Acquaintance?

I don’t subscribe to the “Darcy is Shy” school of thought, but I do think he is introverted, and quiet, and something about Elizabeth Bennet unnerves him. Weird tangent: I was very young when I read The Godfather; that is the first place I ever heard of “the thunderbolt,” which hits a man when he lays eyes for the first time on the woman he loves and (hopefully) marries. Strange as the connection may be, I apply that Sicilian theory to JA’s Darcy. In canon, he notices Elizabeth and dismisses her, but just as quickly he begins to notice her again and has to fight to stop noticing her. I doubt he has ever had to try to flirt or charm a lady; in London, they fell at his feet trying to gain notice. But he is “at risk”—or as we say today, vulnerable—to Elizabeth Bennet. In A Searing Acquaintance, he is not only vulnerable to her almost from their first meeting, he is just rather vulnerable, emotionally. But Darcy is pretty sealed off and reticent. He has an especially painful family history he never talks about, yet at Netherfield, he reveals himself to Elizabeth. His story, and her “lack of remembrance” of it, is part of what triggers the entire plot of A Searing Acquaintance.

(And can I add, he is not a weepy Darcy either. Sad as his past may be, he strives to deal with it and has friends and works hard.)

 

And the villains, can we expect the usual ones, or will there be any new villain in this story?

Much as I hate to write his character, George Wickham does show up here, and his father’s role in the Darcy family history is explored a bit as well. The other villains might be memory, for Darcy; as for Elizabeth, she does battle with some anger and self-esteem issues stemming from a pair of especially self-centered, neglectful parents. The Bennets divorced when Elizabeth and Jane were quite young, and Elizabeth has to deal with the unwelcomed return of her mostly absentee mother to her life just when she is coming to terms with her feelings for Darcy. And her mother, readers tell me, is simply awful in her role as an “emotional villain.”

 

 

What is the best gift readers can give you? Anything you would like to share with them?

Reading my work, and telling me what struck them or stayed with them—good or bad. I know I am far from a perfect writer, and I love hearing how other people view my interpretation of Pride and Prejudice. And I’d like to thank them for reading!

 

 

Did you get curious about Darcy, Elizabeth and the villains in A Searing Acquaintance? You can find out more in the book blurb 🙂

 

***Book Blurb***

 

“I don’t know why I ever thought we made sense.”

Smart, educated people are fools in love, especially when they’re mired in denial and misunderstanding.

In this modern spin on Jane Austen’s classic tale, Elizabeth Bennet, a grad student with literary aspirations, has found her big career break—and broken up with yet another forgettable boyfriend. While grateful for the professional lifeline thrown by sports agent George Wickham, she is intrigued by the man she calls Mr. Noir.

Fitzwilliam Darcy, marked by tragedy, is a man accustomed to living his life in the spotlight even as his heart dwells on the dark side of loneliness. When he first meets Elizabeth, he thinks she looks like “a bloody pumpkin,” but he soon sees so much more. She, however, can’t even decide what to call him. Mr. Noir? Nurse Darcy? Sleazy British playboy? Ferdinand?

“So, it’s Fitzwilliam, right? That’s an amazing name, you know. Which came first—the name or the accent?”

He looked at her.

“Oh, come on. It’s like the name of a subdivision or a sofa at Pottery Barn. `Please note the extra firm cushions on The Fitzwilliam.’”

Can an accidental encounter that leads to shocking intimacy change the course they’ve both set and bring them into love’s light? Or will they stay mired in cold words and angry misunderstandings, overshadowing the deep connection they each feel? Getting beyond their own mistakes to find each other again is one thing; they also have to heal the wounds of their pasts. Can they do that together?

 

 

***Author Bio***

JanAshton headshot

 

J.L. Ashton didn’t meet Jane Austen until she was in her late teens, but in a happy coincidence, she shares a similarity of name with the author and celebrates her birthday on the same day Pride & Prejudice was first published. Sadly, she’s yet to find any Darcy and Elizabeth candles on her cake, but she does own the action figures.

Like so many Austen fans, Jan was an early and avid reader with a vivid imagination and a well-used library card. Her family’s frequent moves in the U.S and abroad encouraged her to think of books and their authors as reliable friends. It took summers in London, a history degree, and another decade or two for her to start imagining variations on Pride & Prejudice, and another decade—filled with career, marriage, kids, and a menagerie of pets—to discover the world of JAFF. Today, in between writing Jane Austen variations, Jan lives and works in the Chicago area, where she volunteers far too often and is a member of the local and national chapters of the Jane Austen Society of North America.

A Searing Acquaintance is her first book.

 

You can contact J.L. Ashton through the following social media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jancat10

Blog: http://jlashton.merytonpress.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JanAshtonAuthor/

Instagram: Jancat95

 

 

***Blog Tour***

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From Pemberley to Milton is not the only stop J. L. Ashton is doing to promote her book. Don’t miss the blog tour with reviews, excerpts, giveaways and much more 🙂

 

3/7: Excerpt & Giveaway at My Jane Austen Book Club

3/8: Guest Post & Giveaway at So Little Time…

3/9: Review at Tomorrow is Another Day

3/10: Author Interview & Giveaway at From Pemberley to Milton

3/11: Character Interview & Giveaway at Leatherbound Reviews

3/12: Excerpt & Giveaway at Babblings of A Bookworm

3/13: Review at Liz’s Reading Life

3/14: Review at Half Agony, Half Hope

3/15: Review at Margie’s Must Reads

3/16: Excerpt & Giveaway at Best Sellers and Best Stellars

3/17: Guest Post at My Kids Led Me Back to Pride and Prejudice

3/18: Review at Diary of an Eccentric

3/19: Review at Just Jane 1813

3/20: Excerpt & Giveaway at Delighted Reader

3/21: Guest Post & Giveaway at Austenesque Reviews

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*** It’s giveaway time!!! ***

I hope you want to read this book as much as I do, and in e you do, you have an opportunity to win a free copy!

Meryton Press is offering 4 copies of A Searing Acquaintance to some lucky readers, all you you have to do is click in the link below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck everyone!!!

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Filed under giveaway, interview, Pride and Prejudice, Uncategorized

Interview with Trudy Brasure & Giveaway

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Hello everyone,

As you must have noticed, last week I returned from my holidays and posted a review on In Consequence, a North and South variation by Trudy Brasure. But before going on holidays, I also told you that this month From Pemberley to Milton would have a lot of surprises with interviews, guests post and giveaways so, today I am happy to share with you an interview with author Trudy Brasure.

If you already know Mrs. Brasure I hope you find this interview interesting, and in case you don’t, I hope it makes you curious about her and her work. She is one of the biggest supporters of North and South discussion groups as well as one of the most known authors of N&S fan fiction, and I was very happy to receive her in my blog.

 

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Interview with Trudy Brasure

When was your first contact with Gaskell’s work and what captivated you about it?

I stumbled upon the BBC’s adaptation of “North and South” in October 2009. It was a pivotal event for me. I’d never heard of Elizabeth Gaskell before. Richard’s performance of the lonely and misunderstood John Thornton was utterly riveting. I don’t think I’d ever seen a romantic hero as vulnerable as Thornton was during that profoundly moving scene with his mother the night before he proposed. The intensity of emotion in this love story is amazing. Both Margaret and John are striving so hard to do what is right in life, and they’re holding their families up — yet they’re really both quite alone.

 

 

know you are not alone in being captivate by Armitage’s performance. Do you think he is the biggest reponsible for North and South’s success?

I do think that Richard Armitage’s performance of John Thornton is the single most compelling factor in the BBC’s 2004 production of “North and South.”  Gaskell’s story is unique in its exquisite description of Thornton’s anguish, and Armitage is able to brilliantly convey all this intense emotion — often without even saying a word!

Armitage has brought thousands to Gaskell’s great story, and I’m immensely grateful he was chosen for that role. It was perfection. However, I must add that this particular BBC production was a masterpiece in every way. The screenplay, the cast, the cinematography, the setting, and the music all combined to make this mini-series truly stunning. And Gaskell’s story is well worth the attention and praise. Her themes are still very relevant to today’s problems.

 

Why did you decide to write North and South fan fiction?
I couldn’t stop thinking about the heartache Margaret and John went through in Gaskell’s story. I was convinced that if they had only known that the other was in love with them at that terrible good-bye scene when Margaret leaves Milton, they could have avoided a painful year apart. So I began to image a scenario in which they could be brought together much sooner. I spent days and weeks thinking about the exact circumstancs and dialogue.

I had discovered the glorious world of fan fiction at C19 since my discovery of “North and South,” so I knew that people wrote their own version of what happened to Margaret and John in sequels and variations.

The story unfolding in my mind was becoming so clear, I knew I wanted to try to write it out. Thank goodness for C19! It was a lovely place to try my hand at writing fiction.

 

C19 is definitly heaven for any North and South fans. When did you know it was time to go from writing in C19 to publishing a book?

I never thought of publishing my story when I wrote it. But then a fellow C19 member suggested I post “A Heart for Milton” at Wattpad.com, and I found that my story had a much broader appeal than I ever imagined. It gave me confidence that I had written something special. Sometime later I began to notice how many Austen stories were being self-published, and I saw that there was one “North and South” variation being sold at Amazon. I really wanted to share my story with as many “North and South” fans as possible, so it wasn’t long before I decided to try self-publishing. It’s been a wonderful experience – even the bad reviews. They’ve helped me understand how others see Gaskell’s story.

 

Both your books are variations from the original story, do you have a particular preference for this genre or can we expect a sequel, prequel or diferente POV in the future?
I love taking one moment from the original story and changing it to see how everything unravels in a completely new way. I love putting the characters in new situations to see how they would react.

I don’t think I can ever write a straight sequel. I adore writing the angst involved when Thornton is still uncertain of Margaret’s love. Tortured Thornton is just too delicious to avoid.

My current work in progress takes a twist in a whole new place, far from the middle of Gaskell’s work. I seem to keep creeping further and further toward earlier chapters with my variations.

Posts under progress3

You’ve got me really curious about your new work, what else can you tell us about it?

As I mentioned, I love to make one twist in the story and explore how it would change events and the interaction between the characters. I don’t want to give too much away, but my basic question for this new variation is: what if the circumstances and setting of John and Margaret’s first encounter were different?

 

Both in A Heart for Milton and In Consequence we see a lot of romantic scenes, but we are also presented with a portrait of Victorian society. Did you need to do a lot of research to write these books?

I was reading everything I could about Abraham Lincoln before I happened upon Gaskell’s story. So I had already been immersed in the Victorian world for some time. I’ve always loved the Victorian Era. But yes, I did much research to try to portray something of the reality of that time and place. I also learned a great deal about Victorian society and mannerisms from the “North and South” discussions archived at C19.

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Have you ever imagined a variation where Bessy wouldn’t die? How do you think that could impact the story?

I can’t say I’ve ever thought about saving Bessy from her fate. It seems like she’s already quite ill by the time Margaret meets her. If Bessy hadn’t died, Margaret wouldn’t have been so friendless. Bessy would have loved watching Margaret become Thornton’s wife. Then Bessy would surely have been invited at some time to dine at Marlborough Mills!

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Apart from John and Margaret, which is the character that you mostly like to write and develop?

I really enjoy developing Hannah. Outwardly, she has such a tough shell. But there is a warmth underneath that I love drawing out. It would be interesting to write her history. But I don’t think I’ll ever get around to that!

I also love writing Higgins and Mr Bell with elements of their insight and humor.

 

You say Hanna has a warmth underneath that you love drawing out, but I’ve seen a couple versions who portray her as an evil person. Why do you think she is so controverse amongst readers and writers?

Hannah Thornton truly is something of a complicated character. She’s a bit like her son: tough outer shell, but tender inside. However, her tender side is hidden much more deeply than John’s. I think the misunderstanding concerning Hannah comes from the tendency to see only the surface of the character – the crusty, unsmiling part. Also I’d have to say that it would be difficult to truly comprehend Hannah by just viewing the mini-series. If you haven’t studied the book, you will probably miss the hints that show us that Hannah actually admires Margaret’s strength, spirit, and honesty. The only thing that she dislikes about Margaret is that Margaret looks down on her son and hurts him. Once she sees how much Margaret truly admires and adores her son, I think she will grow to appreciate Margaret. Even if she can’t be first in John’s life anymore!

(Hannah is a subject I’m eager to explore someday at my new blog: MoreThanThornton.com)

 

It is impossible to think of North and South without thinking of Richard Armitage. Many people claim he would be perfect for a Mr. Darcy role, but for me Armitage will always be Thornton and Firth will always be Darcy. What are your thoughts on it?
I have to confess that I watched and read “North and South” first before watching and reading “Pride and Prejudice.” It was “North and South” that ignited my interest in period dramas and classic romantic literature. So I can’t say I was ever firmly in love with Darcy since Thornton is my first love. No one can beat Richard’s performance, however. He has defined John Thornton for the screen probably for at least a half century.

If I could pick a classic role for Armitage, I’d have to choose Mr. Rochester. Richard is brilliant at making you feel the pain of his characters. And I think Rochester is a good man in a very hard place. Richard would make us sympathize with this dark, mysterious character. (But I also think Toby Stephens already did an incredible job with this role.)

 

Is there anything you would like to share with your readers?

I’d have to share my surprise in finding out that not all fans of “North and South” interpret Gaskell’s story in the same way. My guess is that most Austen fans generally agree on the basic themes and character development of “Pride and Prejudice.” But there are varying views on Gaskell’s messages and her character development, including those that feel that the author was unable to bring the story’s conflicts to a satisfying conclusion.

I’m always eager to share my perspective of Gaskell’s wonderful, well-developed story — which I see in a very positive light. That’s one of the overiding reasons I started my own North and South blog: MoreThanThornton.org
But mostly, I just love discussing “North and South” with people! There’s so much in the book to explore.

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To all my portuguese speaking readers, I bring some news. A Heart For Milton was finally translated to portuguese!!!

As you can see in the picture, Trudy Brasure is holding a copy of Um Coração por Milton.

The book is currently available for sale in Brazil, but I’m confidente it will reach portuguese bookshops very shortly 🙂

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It’s giveaway time!!!

Trudy Brasure would like to offer one copy of In Consequence, e-book or paperback (winner’s choice) to our readers at From Pemberley to Milton.

The giveaway is international and to participate all you have to do is place your own questions to Trudy or just share your kind words and love with her by leaving a comment on this post.

The giveaway is open until the 17th of March and the lucky winner will be randomly picked and announced on the 19th of March.

Good luck everyone, and I hope you enjoyed the interview!!!

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Filed under giveaway, interview, North and South

A Little Whimsical in His Civilities – Guest Post by J. Marie Croft

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Hello Dear readers,

Today I’m lucky to receive in From Pemberley to Milton J. Marie Croft with a guest post as part of her blog tour for A Little Whimsical in His Civilities.

Her guest post made me think about Mr. Darcy and whether he is whimsical or not. If someone told me that he was, I would immediately dismiss and deny it, but Mrs. Croft raised some interesting points, after all he does change a little…

I will leave you to read, think and comment J. Marie Croft’s, post, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did 🙂

 

***Blurb***

Told entirely from Fitzwilliam Darcy’s point of view, J. Marie Croft’s humorous novella, A Little Whimsical in His Civilities, spans one moonlit, autumnal night upon the gentleman’s return to Hertfordshire in pursuit of Elizabeth Bennet.

 

“We take the turning which places us on Meryton’s main road, and—oh, gad! There it is—the base-court building which passes for an assembly hall in this godforsaken place. For me, the venue shall be either a heaven or a hell tonight. My palms grow clammy, my gut churns, and I regret that second helping of onion-laden vegetable pie forced on me before we left.”

 

Accompany Darcy as he, intent on reversing the disastrous first impression he made there, braves another Meryton assembly and seeks to win his heart’s desire.

 

***Guest Post***

Thanks, Rita, for allowing me the honour of writing a guest post for your blog. Because you’ve been so gracious … and brave (After all, one never knows what nonsense might leak forth from my pen!), your reward will be an entirely pun-free post. There’ll be no wordplay, I promise. But, because I’m a word nerd, this will be about words … or, at least, one in particular.

whimsical font

Within the pages of Pride and Prejudice, one of my favourite words is spoken by Mr. Gardiner while he, his wife, and Elizabeth are leaving Pemberley the first time.

 

“But perhaps he may be a little whimsical in his civilities,” replied her uncle. “Your great men often are; and therefore I shall not take him at his word about fishing, as he might change his mind another day, and warn me off his grounds.” ~ Jane Austen

 

When Austen used whimsical in that passage, she conveyed Mr. Gardiner’s leeriness of Mr. Darcy’s invitation to fish at the estate’s stream. He supposed such an eminent gentleman might be capricious – temperamental, changeable, unpredictable.

 

Whimsical may not be the first word one thinks of when asked to describe Fitzwilliam Darcy, but he is changeable. For the love of Elizabeth Bennet, he amends his ways and becomes a better man.

 

Accordingly, the word whimsical is used in the capricious context in my novella’s title. Albeit the outwardly well-mannered Mr. Darcy in that story might be described more aptly as a little snarky in his thoughts. For instance, initially he thinks of Mr. Jones as a pestiferous, hedge-born minnow. Later in the story, Mr. Jones is thought of as ‘the accommodating apothecary’. See? Mr. Darcy does change for the better, not only in his mind but in his outlook on life. He’s changeable.

 

I’m glad Austen used ‘whimsical’ instead of the more uncomplimentary ‘capricious’ (given to sudden and unaccountable changes of mood or behaviour). However, I prefer the word whimsical for its other meaning. Although Johnson’s Dictionary includes ‘freakish’, the second sense of whimsical is playfully quaint, oddly fanciful, unusual, especially in an appealing and amusing way.

 

Since fanciful means over-imaginative and unrealistic, some may say Pride and Prejudice’s Mr. Darcy is, indeed, whimsical in the fanciful sense — a ‘too-good-to-be-true’ fictional character.

 

He’s not all goodness, though. He has his peccadillos; and we all, at times, own churlish opinions. So, what insults, slurs, set-downs, or – heaven forbid! –bawdy thoughts might run through Mr. Darcy’s mind? Jane Austen gave us few clues as to what the gentleman was thinking. So I, rather audaciously, plunked myself inside the man’s head and changed the events following his and Bingley’s return to Hertfordshire in the autumn after Hunsford.

 

At one point in the novella, while thinking of (and lusting after) Elizabeth, Mr. Darcy dances with another young lady.

 

… I am so thankful you cannot read minds.

Casting me a distrustful glance, the lady tosses her head and looks away.

What? Oh God, you cannot read minds, can you? No, no, of course not.

 

Oh, Darcy, your dance partner can’t read your mind, but readers of A Little Whimsical in His Civilities certainly can.

 

Now I’d like to get inside your head and know your thoughts about the word whimsical and what it means to you. What sort of images does that word conjure up in your mind?

 

For me, whimsical often implies a sense of unworldliness, as in things mystical, imaginative, fantastic, or fey. Like this.

fairy & unicorn

These wooden dolls exemplify the playfully quaint kind of whimsy found in folk art.

WOODEN DOLLS

 

All manner of quirky, off-the-wall (or dangling-from-the ceiling) items – such as whirligigs, zany sunglasses, or eye-catching umbrellas – might be considered whimsical.

witch legs

 

Then there’s the ethereal, delicate sort of whimsy … things like fireflies, dandelion fluff, and twinkly lights.

                                                                                           dandelion fireflies

 

Those images were gathered for my Pinterest board, What’s Whimsical? Have a look there, and see if you agree with my choices. Another board, A Little Whimsical in His Civilities features quotes from the novella accompanied by befitting imagery.

Your thoughts on Whimsical (the word, my Pinterest board, or my novella ) will be appreciated.

 

***Author Bio***

Marie Croft is a self-proclaimed word nerd and adherent of Jane Austen’s quote “Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery”. Her light-hearted novel, Love at First Slight(Meryton Press, 2013), her humorous short story, Spyglasses and Sunburns, in the Sun-Kissed: Effusions of Summeranthology (Meryton Press, 2015), and her novella, A Little Whimsical in His Civilities (Meryton Press, 2016) bear witness to Joanne’s fondness for Pride and Prejudice, wordplay, and laughter.

 

Links:

Twitter

Facebook

Amazon Author Page

Website

Pinterest

 

Purchase A Little Whimsical in His Civilities by J. Marie Croft

Amazon

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It’s giveaway time!!!

Meryton Press is sponsoring a blog tour giveaway for A Little Whimsical in His Civilities. In in the end of the blog tour 8 winners (4 ebook & 4 paperback) will be randomly selected and contacted. To enter the giveaway click on the below link 🙂

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Blog Tour Schedule

 

2/8: Excerpt & Giveaway at My Jane Austen Book Club

2/9: Guest Post & Giveaway at Moonlight Reader

2/10: Review at Tomorrow is Another Day

2/11: Guest Post & Giveaway at So Little Time…

2/12: Excerpt at My Love for Jane Austen

2/13: Excerpt & Giveaway at More Agreeably Engaged

2/14: Guest Post & Giveaway at Liz’s Reading Life

2/15: Guest Post & Giveaway at From Pemberley to Milton

2/16: Review at Just Jane 1813

2/17: Review at Half Agony, Half Hope

2/18: Review at Margie’s Must Reads

2/19: Excerpt & Giveaway at Best Sellers and Best Stellars

2/20: Guest Post & Giveaway at Skipping Midnight

2/21: Guest Post & Giveaway at Babblings of a Bookworm

2/22: Guest Post & Giveaway at My Kids Led Me Back to Pride and Prejudice

 

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Accusing Elizabeth Giveaway Winners!

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Hello dear readers,

As most of you noticed, last month I was honoured to be the one revealing the cover for Jennifer Joy’s latest book, Accusing Elizabeth, and to share with all of you the first glimpse of it with a funny, yet romantic excerpt.

It gave me great joy to be the first one presenting you with information on the book, but also to read all your comments and to see such a warming reaction both to the cover and the excerpt.

I was also very happy to see so many discussions arising from it. It always gives me a lot of pleasure to see my readers intervene in the blog. This is a place for everyone to share their opinion, and all comments are welcome. In this particular case, the participation was very intense, and for that, I must thank each one of you!!!

I also want to thank Jennifer Joy because along with the excerpt, she brought a very generous offer of 4 ebooks to give to my readers. Thank you once more for your generosity Jennifer!

Today, I’m glad to announce the lucky winners 🙂

Without further ado… The randomly selected winners are:

 

*** Lynn Bischoff *** 

*** Vesper *** 

*** BeckyC *** 

*** Jo’s Daughter *** 

 

Congratulations everyone!  I hope you enjoy the book and share your thoughts with all of us once you’ve read it 🙂

Please send me your e-mail contacts to ritaluzdeodato at gmail until the 12th of February, so that I can pass them along to Jennifer for the ebooks to be sent to you.

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Accusing Elizabeth: Cover reveal, excerpt & Giveaway

Hello Dear readers,

I’m very happy to announce that today From Pemberley to Milton is doing the cover reveal and posting the first glimpse of Jennifer Joy’s new book Accusing Elizabeth!

The book will be released for sale tomorrow, and I’m very proud to have been the one Jennifer choose to let the world know about her latest project.

I hope you find the premise enticing as much as I did 🙂

 

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What must a lady do to receive a decent proposal? After refusing an atrocious proposal from a gentleman she dislikes, Elizabeth Bennet wishes she had never come to Hunsford. Foolish decisions and silent tongues conspire against Elizabeth, bringing accusations against her and those whom she holds dear, when a valuable pair of diamond earrings go missing from Rosings. Elizabeth finds a surprising ally in Mr. Darcy— the man she had so recently refused. Can Elizabeth see past her prejudice to understand her own heart? Or will she ruin her prospects to protect her friends? Fitzwilliam Darcy’s dream of a happy union is dashed to pieces when Elizabeth Bennet irrevocably refuses his offer. Sincere in his affections, he determines to win her heart. If only he can defend her when his aunt, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, suspects Elizabeth and Miss Maria Lucas of theft. Can Darcy overcome the obstacles his relatives place before him on the path to love? Will Elizabeth give him a second chance?

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Now without further ado, I leave you with the cover and the excerpt…

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As Charlotte left the house accompanied by the housemaid, Elizabeth marched to the back of the house and down the sloping lawn to the pig’s pen. Elizabeth had not experienced the flight of said animal, but she knew that Charlotte lived in terror of it escaping again. Every commotion Mr. Collins caused was followed by the question, “Did the pig escape again?” from Charlotte.

Walking quickly, before her sense of reason could catch up with her and stop her, Elizabeth raised the latch which secured the door to the pen. She flung open the gate and clapped a few times to set the animal in motion. It needed no further encouragement.

Squealing with the joy of its newfound freedom, the pig ran as fast as its four pink legs could carry it, its ears bouncing and its tail swishing through the air as it cut through the lawn with Elizabeth chasing after it, trying with all her might to keep up so that she might encourage it to go toward the front of the house where Charlotte could hear it.

“Charlotte! The pig is loose!” she yelled.

Charlotte, who had not walked far down the road, shoved the basket into Betsy’s hands, picked up her skirts, and ran toward the house. The look of determination on her face was a fierce thing to behold.

“You block it from that side, Lizzy. I will make sure it does not come through the gate. Maria!” she yelled.

The girl, not understanding what all the fuss was about, but observing it tranquilly through the front window, came outside.

Charlotte made no explanations, but she gave orders rather well. “See that the pig does not get into our garden.”

Maria ran to the opposite side of the house to stand guard, but Elizabeth knew that the pig must already be there. Its squeals of protest at Maria’s attempts to shoo it out of the garden confirmed its location.

Charlotte threw her hands up by her face. “Oh, no! It will uproot and eat everything. Lizzy, I need your help,” she called from over her shoulder as she ran toward the garden.

Elizabeth did not remember the last time she had run so much. Not since she was a child.

Maria was in some sort of deadlock with the offending animal. It stood with a carrot hanging out of its mouth, chomping at the greens contentedly and daring anyone to draw near.

“Maria, you get at him from the far side. I’ll go from this side. Lizzy, make sure he cannot escape through the front,” Charlotte instructed as she closed in.

Betsy, having freed herself of the basket, joined them.

With a wicked glint in its eye, the pig finished chomping on its carrot, then charged at Elizabeth. Widening her stance so she could grab the animal as it passed, it ran straight between her legs, catching her dress and pulling her down backwards. Charlotte and Betsy were quick to run to her, but the pig masterfully untangled himself from her dress, stepped over her, and continued squealing toward the open fence.

“I suppose I deserved that,” said Elizabeth to herself as she tried to get back on her feet. Thankfully, the pig was small and it had not hurt much when he stepped all over her in his haste.

Dashing across the lawn to the front of the house, they watched as the pig headed toward the open gate.

“Do not let it get out!” cried Charlotte.

Elizabeth ran with the women after the pig, wiping her loose hair out of her face.

“It must not cross into Rosings. Mr. Collins would be mortified,” insisted Charlotte.

Chasing the tireless, pink beast down the Hunsford Road, Elizabeth’s lungs burned for breath. After all this effort, Maria had best confess to Charlotte!

Down the road, two gentlemen on horseback appeared. Elizabeth gritted her teeth at the sight of Colonel Fitzwilliam and Mr. Darcy. It embarrassed her for them to see her in such a state. A great deal of her hair was loose, and her dress was covered in dirt and muddy hoof prints. But it had all been of her own doing, and she must see Charlotte’s pig safely back to its pen.

Charging through her shame as she continued in the chase, she kept her focus on the pig, waiting for her opportunity to pounce. One quick look over her shoulder confirmed that she was on her own. Maria and Betsy lagged behind her. Charlotte had slowed to a walk, having grown tired.

As the runaway animal neared the horsemen, Mr. Darcy handed his reins to Colonel Fitzwilliam and dismounted. Elizabeth had expected him to observe piously from the comfort of his seat. When he rushed the pig, turning it back to trot toward her, she could not have been more surprised.

Unfortunately, the pig must have figured that its odds were better against one man than against four resolute women, who now stood closer together. It promptly turned back to Mr. Darcy, picking up his pace.

Elizabeth, her limbs as tired as her spirits, yelled, “Please do not let the little devil past.”

Mr. Darcy took her seriously. He leaned down to grab the pig as it neared, but the pig had anticipated his move. Veering to the side just outside of Mr. Darcy’s reach, he squealed in delight at what he thought was another victory in his escape. What the pig did not count on, nor anybody else, for that matter, was for Mr. Darcy to pivot in place and pounce on top of it. He circled his arms around the squirming animal.

Colonel Fitzwilliam had his hands full with the nervous horses that did not much like a small pig darting about near their feet. He laughed so loudly, it echoed down the lane.

Without losing his hold, Mr. Darcy’s eyes shot up to glare at his audacious cousin. “Stop your cackling and make yourself useful.”

Seeing that the colonel would not be of much help with two skittish horses in his care, Elizabeth knelt down next to Mr. Darcy so that she could hold the pig’s feet and allow the gentleman to stand.

“Thank you,” he said, a scowl on his face.

Wrapping his arms around the pig’s middle, he asked, “Where does this thing belong, Mrs. Collins?”

Rushing forward, Charlotte said, “Oh, no. Please, Mr. Darcy, we will make sure it gets back into its pen. You need not trouble yourself.”

Elizabeth shook her head at her overly polite friend.

Mr. Darcy, scowl still in place, said, “Nonsense. If I loosen my hold, this ingrate will only escape again.”

“Very well,” said Charlotte as she led the way back to the pig’s pen.

They walked in silence back to the parsonage. Elizabeth did not remember running that great a distance, but the pig had covered a good deal of ground.

When the house was in view, Elizabeth chanced a glance at Mr. Darcy. She expected to see a trickle of sweat running down his brow, but there was nothing. Only a deep furrow.

As a giggle bubbled up through her throat, she wished she had not looked at him. It was ridiculous that such a fine gentleman who took himself much too seriously should be carrying a pig like it was a small child.

The pig’s ears flopped with each step, and it looked like it was having a jolly time in Mr. Darcy’s arms. It even looked like it was smiling.

That was all Elizabeth could bear. No longer able to stifle her laughter, she looked at Colonel Fitzwilliam, whom she knew she could rely on for understanding, and laughed with such delight that her stomach soon hurt.

She avoided looking at Mr. Darcy again, lest the sight renew her laughter and upset the gentleman more than she already had. But the pig joined in with its grunts and snorts, and Elizabeth peeked up through her lashes to see Mr. Darcy in the height of a large grin.

The sight almost stifled her laughter. It certainly was not what she had expected to see. Mr. Darcy’s eyes lit up and his lips curled up in the corners so bewitchingly that she had difficulty looking away from. Disarmed by his smile, she focused on the happy pig bobbing up and down in his arms.

 

 

*** Author Bio ***

authorwebWhen Jennifer isn’t busy dreaming up new adventures for her favourite Austen characters, she is teaching English, reading, perfecting her doughnut recipe, or taking her kids to the park.

Her wish is to continue to write sweet romances with happy endings for years to come.

She currently lives in Ecuador with her husband and twins. All of them are fluent in Spanglish.

Right now, Jennifer is imagining a new way to bring our beloved Darcy and Lizzy together so that they can enjoy another Happily-Ever-After.

 

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It’s giveaway time!!!

Jennifer Joy was kind enough to bring to From Pemberley to Milton four e-book copies of Accusing Elizabeth to offer to our readers across the globe.

The giveaway is international and to participate all you have to do is place your own questions to Jennifer or just share your kind words and love with her. Leave a question or comment on this post, and if you want to double your chances of winning, you can also comment on the review for Accusing Elizabeth that From Pemberley to Milton will post on the 25th of January.

The giveaway is open until the 31st of January and the lucky winners will be randomly picked and announced on the 1st of February.

Good luck everyone, and I hope you enjoyed the excerpt!!! It makes us wonder why Elizabeth is doing such a thing doesn’t it? What about the cover? It is my favourite cover from Jennifer Joy’s books so far 🙂

If you’re curious about the book feel free to place your questions to Jennifer, I’m sure she will love to answer anything you would like to know 🙂

 

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Jennifer Joy interview + Giveaway

authorweb

I discovered Jennifer Joy’s work a couple of months ago with Earning Darcy’s Trust and I couldn’t stop reading it from the moment I started. I remember staying up until 3h in the morning on a working night just to finish it, which meant looking like a zombie at the office the following day, but it was worth it.

After that book, I discovered that Jennifer Joy was working on a trilogy called the Cousin Series.

It started with Darcy’s Ultimatum, which I have also devoured, continued with Anne’s Adversity, and last week she published the latest of the series: Col. Fitzwilliam’s Challenge.

With the release of the latest book from The Cousins Series, I thought it would be interesting to know more about the it, so today, I’m having Jennifer Joy as my special guest at From Pemberley to Milton with an interview plus giveaway to all our readers 🙂

 

Darcy Ultimatumrezise Anne'sadversityrezise colonel's

 

 

When and how did you discover JAFF?

I’ve enjoyed Jane Austen’s novels since I was old enough to appreciate her sarcasm and wit. My first experience with JAFF was in 2007 when my mom recommended a book to me. It was Amanda Grange’s novel, Mr. Darcy’s Diary and it opened up a whole world of story variations to me. Thank you, Mom!

 

What inspired you to start writing?

I remember the day my grandma bought me my first real journal. She wrote in the front of it that it was for me to write all of my stories in. I think I was about 9 years old at the time and I have since lost count of how many journals I have written through. As the content became less factual and more entertaining, it soon became evident that I needed to do more than just journal. With the encouragement of my mom and husband, I outlined my first series!

 

Why write JAFF and not another type of literature?

It’s what I enjoy reading. Jane Austen wrote characters with depth and flaws— people we can relate to. It’s a true testament to the genius of her work that they have stood the test of time so well and with so many readers wanting more.

 

I find your writing exquisite, so I would personally like to know how is your writing process. When and where do you write? Do you still use pen and paper or do you write on the computer?

Each novel has been different because I wanted to try every writing method out there before settling on what works best for me and my family. Here’s what works: I wake up early and get half a chapter done before I wake the kids up for school. Then, I write what needs to happen next while it’s still fresh in my mind. Then, after taking care of our normal morning activities, I steal away for long enough to finish my chapter.

All my notes and outlines are done on paper. After years of writing freeform, it’s what is the most comfortable for me. But I’m much quicker on the keyboard, so the fun stuff happens on my desktop with a timer (to keep the fingers flying) and my favorite writing music. (Right now, it’s the SimCity soundtrack).

 

What are your biggest challenges as a writer?

My biggest challenge is stopping. It’s a thrill spending time with my favorite characters and spinning some mischief for them, but I have a family. I want to experience things with them, help the kids with their homework, build and fly paper airplanes with my son, mix paint and color with my daughter, go on dates with my husband, keep the house presentable… you know, live life!

 

What gives you more joy in this activity?

I’m in love with the whole process. Writing, in itself, is enough for me. However, hearing from people who are entertained by my stories through reviews, social media, and email sends my spirits soaring.

 

How did you conceive the idea for the cousin’s series?

It started with the title. It hit me in the middle of the night (yep, it woke me up) and I scribbled it down so I’d remember it the next morning. Then, I obsessed for days about an event which would change the lives of all three characters (Darcy, Anne, and Colonel Fitzwilliam). My husband and I were waiting for our kids to finish their swimming lessons and I was musing out loud (obsessing, really, but musing sounds much more creative and artsy) about this pivotal event when the letter came to me. I started writing my outline on a grocery receipt in the car then and there. 5 months later, we released Darcy’s Ultimatum.

 

You mentioned a letter that appears in Darcy’s Ultimatum and is also important in Anne’s Adversity, but is it also relevant to Col. Fitzwilliam’s Challenge?

I wrote each of the three books in The Cousins series as stand-alone novels. Only Darcy had to suffer curiosity about the letter because I couldn’t reveal the contents of it until Anne’s story. (He had his hands full anyway, so he didn’t mind.) However, circumstances reveal the mystery to Colonel Fitzwilliam in book 3, so readers won’t miss out if they haven’t read Anne’s Adversity. (Richard is the curious type and I didn’t have it in me to leave him hanging.)

 

What can you tell us about Col. Fitzwilliam’s Challenge?

It’s my favorite. The colonel finds love where he least expects it and he learns the hard way that his instincts are not as trustworthy as he believes them to be. Leaving behind his sturdy, reliable routine, he must deal with spies, smugglers, and traitors only to find that his path to love and his lifelong ambition are on a collision course and he must choose between the two.

 

What message would you like to give to your readers?

Keep your love for the written word alive! Read for the pure joy and entertainment of it… well, that, and for the improvement of our minds through extensive reading. Mr. Darcy knows what he’s talking about!

 

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It’s giveaway time!!!

Jennifer Joy was kind enough to bring to From Pemberley to Milton one paperback and one e-book of Col. Fitzwilliam’s Challenge to offer to her readers across the globe.

The giveaway is international and to participate all you have to do is place your own questions to Jennifer or just share your kind words and love with her. Leave a question or comment on this post, and if you want to double your chances of winning, you can also comment on the review for Col. Fitzwilliam’s Challenge that From Pemberley to Milton will post on the 14th of December.

The giveaway is open until the 16th of December and the lucky winners will be randomly picked and announced on the 17th.

Good luck everyone, and I hope you enjoyed the interview!!! If there is any question I forgot to ask but that you wish to know the answer, be my guest, send it over. I’m sure Jennifer will gladly answer you 🙂

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