Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Mistress...Sophie Turner

I am happy to have Sophie Turner visit More Agreeably Engaged again. Today, she pops in during her busy blog tour for Mistress: A Pride and Prejudice Variation with Parts Not Suitable for Those Who Have Not Reached Their MajoritySophie discusses this release and shares her answers to some interview questions, giving us a chance to know her better. Sophie is also the author of the A Constant Love series, as well as Less Proud and More Persuasive: A Pride and Prejudice Variation Novella. Please join me in welcoming Sophie Turner.

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Sophie, can you share with us some of your background and tell us about the person behind the writer?

Sure! I began my working life intending to be in journalism, and worked as an online editor for a while before I decided to jump completely into the tech world, where I work in web design. Since then I’ve been off-and-on working on writing in a more fictional style, and then I found the JAFF world and decided to give that a try.


I love reading and writing, of course, and also really enjoy hiking and travel. I try to go to Britain once every year and really immerse and enjoy myself there. I’m very interested in history, and I find Britain has some of the most interesting history and some of the best storytellers, so it’s a wonderful place to travel, for me. Lately, of course, it’s also been very inspiring!


I know you’ve been writing JAFF for a few years now, but can you tell us why this new book, Mistress: A Pride and Prejudice Variation with Parts Not Suitable for Those Who Have Not Reached Their Majority, is such a departure from your other JAFF stories?


Aside from my little novella, Less Proud and More Persuasive, everything I’ve done has been continuations. That’s what I really wanted to read more of when I found JAFF, so that’s what I found myself writing. So it’s different in that it’s the first novel-length variation that I’ve done. It also features Elizabeth as a widow, which is something that’s a departure for me, and not something featured as often in JAFF generally.


The more striking difference, of course, are those “parts not suitable for those who have not reached their majority.” I have kept the Constant Love series as close to canon as I could, and so while that series does veer into the bedchamber more than the original, by virtue of having so many married couples, it’s very much been fade to black. That is definitely not the case with Mistress! It was a really interesting challenge to try to write sensual scenes but still keep them in a more Austenesque tone. I wanted to try to do something that was steamy, but still classy.


What led you to write a JAFF story that's so different from anything else you’ve published so far?

This was another case where I felt like there was a gap in the genre that I could help fill: a story with sensual elements that were relevant to the greater story being told, and the characters act appropriately for themselves and people of their standing during that time. That meant if there was pre-marital sex, Elizabeth had to be a widow, which ended up creating all sorts of interesting possibilities for the greater story.

I was also really interested in trying to depart from what’s such a common scenario, in JAFF and in romance in general when it comes to sex, where you have this experienced guy and an inexperienced lady. I wanted to try telling a story where it’s a lot more complicated than that. Darcy is a guy whom Elizabeth thought had “selfish disdain of the feelings of others” in the original book (they don’t get that far in canon, in Mistress), and I thought it would be very interesting for him to have to disprove that in every possible way, including in the bedchamber. What he didn’t have in experience, he could make up for in, errrm, research, and in empathy.

And, just generally, I like a challenge and an opportunity to grow myself as a writer. With the Constant Love series generally planned out through all seven books, and needing to retain some degree of consistency through the remaining books, this was a chance for me to do something different.

I understand this story was posted on FanFiction.net as a work-in-progress. Can you tell us about this process and how it helped you shape the published version of this story?

Yes, it was posted both on FanFiction.net and Archive of our Own, and the whole process was tremendously helpful! I knew this story was going to be a departure from the JAFF norm, and I was really interested in getting a lot of upfront feedback on it, just to see how readers were going to react to a story like this. Was there really a niche that needed filled? Or did people want nothing to do with a widowed Elizabeth and all those steamy bits?

The online postings helped me validate that yes, there were readers out there interested in a story like this. But what they did even more was help me shape the final story. I let readers know when I first posted that I really wanted constructive criticism, and those who provided the most helpful feedback would receive a free copy of the final story, and I got such a range of useful feedback.

When I first wrote this story, it basically ate my brain in November of 2015, when all of these various things I’d been wanting to do sort of coalesced in my head, and then I just had to write it. This isn’t my usual way of doing things – usually I have an outline planned out before I begin writing, and while I may deviate from it as needed, it generally holds me to writing all of the scenes I think will be necessary.

The most critical feedback that I got during the online posting were that there were areas where I had been rushing, which I think was due to the lack of my usual discipline. What are now chapters 9 and 10 were originally one chapter, and after I posted it, I think about half of the readers liked it, and half felt that it was too rushed, and pointed out all sorts of issues that I hadn’t realized. I actually halted posting for a while, rewrote it into two chapters, and really saw how much better it was because of the feedback I’d incorporated. That’s not the only instance of this – there are two other chapters that have been added to the final published story to help with pacing issues that the online readers helped me understand.

There was more micro-level feedback, too – in order for this story to work, there are certain things that streeetch pretty far from canon. One example is that Charles Bingley is the one to give Darcy his Hunsford moment. As a result of the feedback I received, I saw where I needed to refine these things to make them more believable. In the original draft, it’s merely learning of Darcy’s (and Caroline’s) attempts to separate Bingley from Jane that cause him to react in the way that he does. After the feedback, it was both that and remarks Darcy makes that Bingley takes as an insult related to his fortune from trade. You can read more about this particular edit in my post on Austen Authors. That’s just one example, but there were so many comments that encouraged me to make refinements that made the story more believable, or improved the flow.

What did the research process look like for you when you were writing this story?

Let’s just say that I often had a blush upon my countenance! I actually think there is a Google engineer in some basement somewhere doing analysis and wondering why on earth the same person was alternating between googling sex positions and Regency dress.

I’m pretty staunch on doing research about anything that I’m writing about, particularly since I’m writing about a period of time in which I haven’t actually lived. Well, except that one day when I attempted it. So that meant I had to read about sex and pornography in the Georgian era. That research Darcy does is key, and I wanted to have some sense of what would actually have been available to him.

I also read a biography of Beau Brummell – there’s a thread that runs through this story related to men’s fashion and hygiene during that time, and Brummell was undoubtedly the arbiter of both.  

Some JAFF readers struggle with a story where Elizabeth has been married to someone else other than Mr. Darcy. What would you like these readers to know to encourage them to give your story a try?

I think the first and most critical is that what choice Elizabeth did have, in accepting her first marriage, was whether she would leave what remained of her family homeless, and in genteel destitution. Which is not really much of a choice. It’s certainly not a marriage for love, and so she’s still free to fall in love for the first time with Darcy, albeit in a different manner than the unmarried Elizabeth did.

Then I think the second thing I would say is that the story doesn’t delve deep into her first marriage. The prologue establishes how everything came about, and when we begin with the first chapter, she’s already a widow, about to meet Darcy again at a dinner party.

That’s not to say that her first marriage doesn’t haunt her – it does, and causes most of the obstacles in the story. But the relevance of her first marriage is in how it affects her relationship with Darcy. And I think that’s the most important thing that I’d say for readers hesitant to read a story where Elizabeth has been married before: the scenario opens up a lot of new possibilities for the Elizabeth/Darcy relationship, particularly in how he helps her heal.

Sophie, here’s the short-answer portion of this interview. Can you answer the following questions for my readers?

Favorite book of all-time? Persuasion

Favorite Austen badboy? Willoughby

What’s your favorite piece of inspiration when you sit down to write a JAFF story? Argh, I was doing so good with keeping to short answers, but here I have to say my biggest inspiration is hiking, which is not at all sitting down! Something about walking in beautiful places and letting my mind wander truly inspires me and helps me decide where I want to go with my stories. More’s the better if the hiking is in Britain!

Is there a song that resonates with this story for you?
Yes, “Hello,” by Adele.

Ereader or reader of paper-based books?
Ereader. I have limited shelf space!

Anything to share about your work on your A Constant Love series?
Yes, that I’m still working on it! Book three will be titled A Season Lost.

What can readers do to support your work?
Give it a try, of course! Beyond that, leave their reviews, and follow me on my social media channels to see when my next online posting on Fanfiction.net and Archive of our Own will be, to give feedback on work in progress:

*****

Purchase Links: Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon CA

Book Description

One night, to decide his entire life's happiness.

Chastened by Charles Bingley following Mr. Bennet’s untimely death, Fitzwilliam Darcy determines he will offer marriage to Elizabeth Bennet, but she marries another.

Years later, a widowed Elizabeth is mistress of Longbourn, and has vowed she will never marry again. A house party at Netherfield brings them back together, but Darcy will have to win more than her heart if he is to have any chance at making her mistress of Pemberley.

Readers of Sophie Turner's more chaste Constant Love series should be aware that this novel contains decidedly adult content at certain parts of the story.


Author Links







Author Biography

Sophie Turner worked as an online editor before delving even more fully into the tech world. Writing, researching the Regency era, and occasionally dreaming about living in Britain are her escapes from her day job.

She was afraid of long series until she ventured upon Patrick O’Brian’s 20-book Aubrey-Maturin masterpiece, something she might have repeated five times through.

Alas, her Constant Love series is only planned to be seven books right now, and consists of A Constant Love, A Change of Legacies, and the in-progress A Season Lost.

She blogs about her writing endeavours at sophie-turner-acl.blogspot.com, where readers can find direction for the various social drawing-rooms across the Internet where she may be called upon.


Blog Tour Schedule

March 18 / My Jane Austen Book Club/Launch Post & Giveaway
March 19 / Of Pens & Pages/Book Review, Excerpt & Giveaway
March 20 / Margie’s Must Reads /Book Review & Giveaway
March 21 / More Agreeably Engaged/Author Spotlight & Giveaway
March 22 / A Lady’s Imagination / Guest Post & Giveaway
March 23 / Just Jane 1813/Guest Post & Giveaway
March 24 / Diary of an Eccentric/Book Review & Giveaway
March 25 / My Love for Jane Austen/Excerpt Post & Giveaway
March 26 / My Vices and Weaknesses/Book Review & Giveaway
March 27 / So Little Time…/Excerpt Post & Giveaway
March 28 / Babblings of a Bookworm/ Guest Post & Giveaway
March 29 / From Pemberley to Milton / Vignette Post & Giveaway



Giveaway

Sophie Turner is giving away two ebooks of Mistress at each blog tour stop. That is quite a giveaway. Be sure and leave a comment to be entered. Unless I notify you otherwise, the giveaway will end at 11:59 P.M. on the 27th of March. Good luck to all. If you haven't visited the other stops in the tour, I hope you will take a few minutes to do that and see what all is happening at each of them, as well as enter their giveaways.

Thanks, Sophie, for stopping by and allowing us to get to know you and learn more about your latest book. It has been a pleasure having you. I hope you do well and have a fun blog tour. Please come back anytime!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Caroline...with Sue Barr

Today my guest, Sue Barr, is a new author to the JAFF community and has recently published her very first JAFF story, which is titled "Caroline: Pride and Prejudice continued… Book One" Her story allows us to explore Caroline Bingley’s own journey to love after she learns about the engagement between Mr. Darcy and Miss Elizabeth Bennet. Below is a recent interview with Sue. She shares some of her background and allows us the privilege of getting to know her a little better. Thank you, Sue, for your time and for your visit during you busy blog tour.

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Sue, I know you’re new to the JAFF community, but you’ve been a published writer for a while now. Can you share with us some of your background and tell us about the person behind the writer?

I started writing in 2009 under a pen name - Madison J Edwards. My genre was erotic romance, my publisher Turquoise Morning Press (TMP) and I had a total of nine works published. In 2014, when I gave my heart to the Lord, I changed my genre focus to inspirational sweet romance. My publisher graciously reverted my rights back to me and Madison died a natural death.

I almost stopped writing at that time and didn’t do anything for almost a year, but the voices inside my head would not be quiet. Really - totally rude. So, in 2015 I revised my first print book with TMP and republished the title under my own name, then followed up with two small town contemporary romances which were super fun to write. Later that year, I reconnected with a high school friend. You may know her as Suzan Lauder and she indirectly steered me toward the world of JAFF.

Please share with us the premise of your new book, “Caroline,” along with your plans for this series.

Caroline Bingley has been dealt a devastating blow to not only her ego, but to her life plans. She dreads the upcoming nuptials for Charles and Darcy but has to attend. During this trying time she meets Lord Nathan, unaware that he is Darcy’s vicar, Mr. Kerr. He both intrigues and vexes her greatly.

Lord Nathan, a reformed Rake, gave up his worldly life to become a minister. He meets Caroline Bingley and immediately recognizes her for the woman she is - a beautiful social climber. But he is drawn to her and struggles to reconcile his interest in her with what type of woman he should marry.

My next story WAS going to be about Georgiana, but when I started plotting the time line, I realized Katherine (Kitty’s story) had to come first. Right now, that’s all I have planned, but Mary has been whispering to me. She’s not happy that in the original canon she was relegated to stay at Longbourn...


What inspired you to write a JAFF series and how did you gain the courage to begin with the haughty and scheming Caroline Bingley?

Suzan introduced me to A Happy Assembly website and I started reading some of the fan fiction. Almost everybody vilified Caroline Bingley, the villain we all love to hate.

CAROLINE came about from one simple question. Whatever happened to her at the end of Pride & Prejudice? All her hopes and dreams were ripped away. She wanted to marry Darcy. She wanted her brother to marry Georgiana. And she detested Elizabeth Bennet and all Hertfordshire society. Anything that could go wrong in her life, did.

The minute I started thinking of how her life must have changed, I knew immediately I wanted to write a story where not only her physical life took a different course, but also the person she was inside. She had nowhere to go. She couldn’t live with Charles, as Jane would be mistress, running the house, and I threw in a wrinkle with Louisa so she couldn’t stay with them.


Why do think after 200 years, so many people are still reading Jane Austen’s books?

Time honored plots and premises. With Jane Austen we see a slice of society that isn’t glossed over. Her dialogue and scenes give us a glimpse of how a gentleman’s daughter lived, how woman were at the mercy of men and societal laws.

It also doesn’t hurt we can watch adaptations through television and film. All this helps keep the dream alive.

*****

Sue, here’s the short-answer portion of this interview. Can you answer the following questions for my readers?

Favorite book of all-time?
Immortal Highlander by Karen Marie Moning *le sigh*

Favorite Austen heroine or anti-heroine?
Willoughby. He totally lived at the mercy of Society’s expectations, turning his back on true love.

What’s your go-to place or item when sit down to enjoy a book?
My couch.

Ereader or reader of paper-based books?
All of them. I have an e-reader for ease and convenience, but sometimes… you have to hold those pages in your hand.

Love at first sight or slow-burning love?
I’ve had both. Met hubby in 1981 and it was instantaneous for both of us. We’ve been married for over 34 years and I still get all bubbly over him.

What can readers do to support your work?
Other than purchase my books, the best thing a reader can do is give a review. Also, tell your friends. The most effective advertisement is by word of mouth. I can blab until I’m blue in the face about my stories, but when two or three BFF’s get together and talk about a book, any recommendations are believed.

I have a newsletter, which I use only for announcements - so no Spam. Pinky swear. You can find the link on my website or on my blog.

*****
“Caroline” General Info

Book Title: Caroline
Author: Sue Barr
Tour Dates: March 12 – March 26, 2017

Genre: Historical Christian Romance, Historical Christian Romance Fiction, & Christian 
Historical Fiction
This book is also available through Amazon’s KindleUnlimited



*****
Book Description:

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

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

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

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Author Links:

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Author Biography:

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

For more information about her other books, visit her website: http://www.suebarrauthor.com/

*****
Blog Tour Schedule
March 12 / My Jane Austen Book Club/Launch Post & Giveaway
March 13/ From Pemberley to Milton/ Book Review & Excerpt & Giveaway
March 14/ More Agreeably Engaged/Author Spotlight & Giveaway
March 15/ Every Savage Can Dance/ Excerpt Post & Giveaway
March 16/ Just Jane 1813/ Guest Post & Giveaway
March 17/ Babblings of a Bookworm/ Vignette Post & Giveaway
March 18/ My Love for Jane Austen/ Excerpt Post & Giveaway
March 19/ Every Savage Can Dance/ Book Review & Giveaway
March 20/ Austenesque Reviews/ Guest Post & Giveaway
March 21/ My Vices and Weaknesses/ Book Review & Giveaway
March 22 / Savvy Verse & Wit/ Guest Post & Giveaway
March 23 /Diary of an Eccentric/Book Review & Giveaway
March 24/ So Little Time…/ Excerpt Post & Giveaway
March 25/ Obsessed with Mr. Darcy/ Book Review & Giveaway
March 26/ Of Pens & Pages/ Book Review & Giveaway



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Giveaways

Three winners will receive a paperback copy of “Caroline” and a Jane Austen Journal and three separate winners will receive an ebook copy of this book. (All giveaways are open to international winners.)

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Rafflecopter

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Thank you for visiting More Agreeably Engaged, today, Ms. Barr. It is such a pleasure to have you stop by. I enjoyed your interview answers and learning more about you. Welcome to the publishing world of JAFF. Your book sounds very interesting and I look forward to reading it. I have to tell you, I love your cover! It is lovely and the background is my favorite color! :) I wish you much success and I hope you will visit again when you have another book released. 

Dear Readers, be sure to make the stops at the other blogs. There are some lovely prizes and posts to enjoy.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Lona Manning's A Contrary Wind

Available on Amazon
Have you been seeing the buzz about a new variation of Jane Austen's Mansfield Park? I have too, and I am excited to welcome the person responsible for all this buzz. Lona Manning has a debut novel in JAFF, A Contrary Wind, that is generating much interest. Please join me in welcoming Ms. Manning to More Agreeably Engaged where she tells us a little about herself and shares an excerpt with us! (Be sure to notice the giveaway at the bottom of the post!)

*****

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

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

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

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

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


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

*****

In this excerpt from “A Contrary Wind,” Tom and Julia Bertram have caught their sister Maria in a compromising situation with Henry Crawford, and therefore, her engagement to the wealthy but dim-witted Mr. Rushworth must be called off.

 *****

Tom Bertram could not long endure being the only soul, apart from Julia, who knew what evil the day must bring. He woke his brother Edmund before six o’clock and gave him enough information to comprehend that Maria and Henry Crawford had secretly formed an understanding while Maria was still pledged to Mr. Rushworth.

“What would I give not to have to perform this interview with Rushworth, Edmund. I would almost condition for my father to be here, rather than have this fall to my portion!” Tom exclaimed.

“But our father is expected every day, and I grieve to think of how imperfectly we have discharged the trust he placed in us, to superintend his daughters – “

“Stop! Stop, don’t preach to me now, for pity’s sake, Edmund!” cried Thomas. “We have enough to do. We must break the news to our mother, we must manage Julia somehow. Can she reconcile herself a marriage between Maria and Mr. Crawford? What think you?”

“Perhaps, if given enough time. I can hardly take it in myself and I never fancied myself in love with Crawford, as I fear Julia has. But as awkward as this situation is, matters may yet tend for the best. You know what misgivings I was harboring about Maria’s union with Rushworth. Crawford is inferior to Rushworth in point of fortune, but his superior in understanding, education, address, wit –

“Surpassing Rushworth in wit would be about as challenging as surpassing our dear mother in enterprise.”

“Yes, yes, and perhaps this augurs well for Maria’s happiness, once the scandal attached to the sudden dissolution of her engagement to Rushworth passes over. However, can an understanding formed under such circumstances be expected to prosper? Whatever intimations Crawford has given to Maria of his attachment to her –

(May you never know about the intimations Crawford gave to our Maria, old boy, Tom thought to himself.)

“– he knew she was promised to Rushworth. What’s more, considering matters in this new light, I think Crawford’s manner was a little too warm with Julia. I was disposed to like Crawford, but, taken all in all, I doubt that Maria will find lasting happiness with him. How can she rely upon his constancy, faithfulness, honour? I will always regret how this came about, as should they. Even though – “ Edmund could not but consider the effect upon her who was always foremost in his thoughts – “even though I have reasons of my own for desiring closer ties to this family. But happily for us, Tom, we may defer any decision regarding a union with Crawford until our father’s return, which will accord with our inclinations and his principles. He asked that Maria not marry until he returned, and this condition should abide even if the bridegroom changes.”

Tom suddenly had a happy inspiration. “You are to become a clergyman soon, Edmund. Bearing sad tidings will be no small part of your future duties. Who better than you to separate Maria from Rushworth?”

Fortunately for Tom Bertram, nothing so reconciled his brother to the performance of an unpleasant task than the hint that it was a moral duty. Edmund charitably disregarded the motive that prompted it, and saw matters as Tom could have wished – if he shrank from addressing the follies and sorrows of others, he was perhaps unsuited for ordination. With a heavy sigh, Edmund arose and dressed and sought out Mr. Rushworth for the first of many unpleasant interviews that must be held before the morning was over. He had never before had such cause to be thankful that his mother was not in the habit of early rising, and that his Aunt Norris preferred to take a dish of hot chocolate in her room before joining the family at breakfast.

He cared not a jot for the loss of the connection to Mr. Rushworth’s grand estates and fortune, and he hoped, rather than believed, Maria would feel more regret for the pain she would be causing Mr. Rushworth, than for the loss of Sotherton and all the consequence and distinction attached to it. But above all Edmund wondered, how would Mary – for so he thought of her – bear this news? Would she be chagrined, as he was, that their near relations had engaged in secret intrigues – Maria, breaking her pledge to another, and Henry, requiting the hospitality of the Bertrams in such a fashion? Or would Mary welcome the joining of the two families as a precursor to another, more intimate tie?

Edmund found Maria’s fiancĂ© – or so poor Mr. Rushworth still fancied himself – pacing up and down in the little theatre, attempting to memorize one of his two-and-forty speeches, beating time with one hand as he furled and unfurled his copy of the script.

…..:In a gay, lively, flimsy…..hang it all!  In a gay, lively, inconsiderate, flimsy……. gay, lively, inconsiderate, flimsy, frivolous coxcomb…… such as…… such myself, it isexcusable.  No, it is inexcusable: In a gay, lively, inconsiderate, flimsy, frivolous coxcomb such as myself, it is inexcusable. For me to keep my word to a woman, would be deceit: 'tis not expected of me. It is in my character to break oaths in love.

A quiet shuffling, an ahem! brought Mr. Rushworth to order. He brightened at the sight of Edmund. “Is everyone awake? Is breakfast ready?”

Although Edmund had never congratulated himself on the prospect of having Mr. Rushworth as a brother-in-law, it was with genuine shame that he explained the connexion between the families was not to be, – if Mr. Rushworth wished to hear confirmation from Maria’s own lips he should have it, but circumstances had arisen which compelled the Bertram brothers, acting in loco parentis, to state that they could not, in honour, countenance the proposed union. Maria had transferred her affections to another – Mr. Rushworth could not be in doubt as to whom Edmund referred – Mr. Rushworth was held in too high esteem by them all, not excluding, of course, Maria, for any of them to be a party to the marriage going forward under the present circumstances. Edmund observed Mr. Rushworth’s countenance change slowly from perplexity, to surprise, to indignation, before Edmund’s concluding ‘greatest esteem and very great regret.’

Rushworth cleared his throat, and asked for his carriage. “I think I shall go away. I believe I shall, Mr. Bertram. I believe I shall go home to Sotherton.”

“Without,” he added, after some additional thought, “Without seeing Miss Bertram. Or having breakfast.”

Edmund stayed with the disappointed lover until his manservant was summoned, his valises were swiftly packed and his carriage was brought round, and Mr. Rushworth left Mansfield Park, never to return. Although Maria’s rejected suitor does not appear in this story again, the reader may kindly wish to know that by the time he reached the outskirts of Mansfield village, he was as angry as he had ever been in his life; by the time he crested Sandcroft Hill, he was wanting his breakfast very much indeed, and by the time he reached the long avenues leading to Sotherton, he was reflecting that, all things considered, he was tolerably relieved that he would not marry Miss Bertram, as for many months past she had been cold and careless in her manner, rejecting even the touch of his hand, and causing him to doubt whether she was of a truly amiable disposition.

*****

Digital on Smashwords
A CONTRARY WIND: A VARIATION ON MANSFIELD PARK


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

In Lona Manning’s debut novel, Fanny Price is given an opportunity to change and grow, to learn and to make mistakes; while Edmund Bertram’s fascination with Mary Crawford, and Henry Crawford’s efforts to avoid matrimony, lead to completely different outcomes than in Jane Austen’s masterpiece.
All of the familiar characters from Mansfield Park are included, and many – such as Mrs. Norris and little Betsey Price – help drive the plot. New characters, such as the brusque but kindly widow, Mrs. Butters, and the impecunious but charming writer, William Gibson, are involved with the movement to abolish slavery. Real characters from history – politicians, writers, and sea captains, join the story and there are even some cameo appearances from characters in other Austen novels.
The text employs many of the techniques which made Jane Austen so popular – dialogue in which each character speaks in their own unique voice, free indirect style of narration, Johnsonian cadences, and some snark.

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

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

High resolution photos are available from http://www.lonamanning.ca/a-contrary-wind.html

A paperback version is available on Amazon.com and a digital version is also available on Smashwords.

Lona Manning is the author of “The Hurricane Hoax,” “The Murder of Madalyn Murray O’Hair,” and other true-crime articles available at True Crime Magazine online. She is currently teaching English in China. She and her husband make their home in the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. This is her first novel.

For more information:  lonaleemanning@gmail.com or www.lonamanning.ca 


*****

Thank you for visiting More Agreeably Engaged and letting us get to know you a little and learn more about your new release. I'm so happy to have you visit. I believe this is my first time to have a Mansfield Park variation here. How neat that it is yours! I wish you much success!

Well, dear Readers, what do you think? Does not this sound like a good read to you? I know I want to read it! There is a giveaway so two of you will get the chance! Yes, that's right. Two digital books of A Contrary Wind are being given away and the giveaway is international. Leave us a comment and make sure I have your contact info, if you want to be entered in the giveaway. It will end on the 6th of March at 11:59 PM. (can't believe it is nearly March!) Good luck to all

Friday, February 17, 2017

Ginger Monette...Darcy's Hope at Donwell Abbey

Happy Friday to all of you! Darcy's Hope at Donwell Abbey is stopping by my place today. If you've been following the tour, you have probably noticed all the great reviews for this book! I certainly have and today the author answers some questions about the book itself and her inspiration for writing it. So for this post, we have an interview with the author, a blurb and an excerpt. Of course, you can take part in that wonderful giveaway. Be sure to use the Rafflecopter to enter.

If you want to check out the first visit to More Agreeably Engaged by Ginger Monette, follow this link. Darcy's Hope, Beauty from Ashes is spotlighted on that post. Thanks for stopping by and enjoy the interview.

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Q: What inspired you to write Darcy's Hope at Donwell Abbey?

Matthew Crawley of Downton Abbey! The war dealt him a tragic blow that played an important role in the storyline of season 2. I was really fascinated at how wealthy English families offered their lavish homes as hospital facilities during WW1. I began to imagine Darcy with his own wartime tragedy, then mixed it with the characters and homes from Austen's works and, voila, Darcy's Hope at Donwell Abbey was born.

Q: You've described Darcy's Hope at Donwell Abbey as a 'stand-alone sequel' to Darcy's Hope ~ Beauty from Ashes. That sounds like a contradiction of terms. Can you explain?

A: Darcy's Hope at Donwell Abbey picks up moments after Darcy's Hope ~ Beauty from Ashes ends. For those who have read Beauty from Ashes, the story will seem like a seamless continuation. For those that have not read book 1, book 2 can be enjoyed on its own, as the backstory from book 1 is woven into the content of Donwell Abbey as part of the dialog and internal thoughts of the characters. Some readers may experience minor confusions at the beginning, but soon the story moves into its own realm, making the specific backstory details somewhat inconsequential.

Q: Why did you break it up into two novels instead of just making it one continuous novel?

A: I chose to make them two novels because both books are complete stories on their own—with a definite beginning, middle, and end. And although Donwell Abbey can be read by itself, consensus among reviewers is that the overall experience is more enjoyable if Darcy's Hope ~ Beauty from Ashes is read first.

Q: That brings up another question. Some readers may be hesitant to read Beauty from Ashes due to its wartime setting. What would you say to those who don't do war stories?”

I would say it isn't a war story  : )  The Darcy's Hope saga is very much a romance in a wartime setting. Just like Downton Abbey, the war provides a dramatic backdrop against which the romance unfolds. The war's fast pace and ever-changing situations meant that nothing was predictable, and things could (and did) change in an instant. Readers have commented that they couldn't predict where either story was going! And much of that is due to the volatile nature of the setting.

Q:  Darcy's Hope ~ Beauty from Ashes is primarily set on the Western Front of WW1. Can we expect the same in Donwell Abbey?

A: Although Darcy's Hope at Donwell Abbey opens with Darcy still in Belgium, the setting quickly shifts to England. Most of the story takes place at Hartfield and Donwell Abbey, homes from Austen's novel Emma. And yes, the two homes are still in the Knightley family, and the descendants of George and Emma Knightley are important characters in this story.

Q: Did you face any particular challenges in writing Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey?

A: Yes! Writing to accommodate the tragedy that befalls Darcy was an enormous challenge. But if I tell you what the injury is and the accommodation it required, I would be giving away a major spoiler!

Q: If this tragedy plays an important role but you can't elaborate on it, what can you tell us about the story?

A: It is a tender romance between Lizzy and Darcy with their romance central to the plot. In lieu of specific plot details, I've made up a list of 'notables' to whet readers' appetites and pique their curiosity. Here goes:

Notable scenes
-Breakfast at Pemberley
-Horseback ride for two
-Secrets at a cemetery
-Dancing on the terrace
-Excursion on a rowboat
-Drama at a pond
-A visit to a prison

Notable characters
-A meddling matriarch
-John Thornton
-Margaret Hale
-Colonel Brandon
-Marianne Dashwood
-Sarah Knightley
-A dog

Notable objects
-A newspaper report
-Lavender
-A factory smokestack
-A music box
-Morphine
-A garnet bracelet

Other notables
-Romance in the air for several couples
-Hands touching. (Yeah, lots of hands touching hands)

Q: I see your notable characters list contains several characters familiar to fans of Austen and Gaskell. Can you elaborate?

A: Elizabeth Gaskell's John Thornton saves the day,” and readers will catch a glimpse of his romance with Margaret Hale. And Austen's Colonel Brandon and Marianne Dashwood from Sense & Sensibility make an appearance.

Darcy's Hope at Donwell Abbey also contains some original but familiar” characters as well. Sarah Knightley is a spirited descendant of George and Emma Knightley, a couple from Austen's novel Emma. Dr. Matthew Scott is a creation of my imagination who debuted in my first book Tree of Life. I liked him so much, I've given him a similar role in Donwell Abbey. And finally, readers are treated to matriarch extraordinaire, Mrs. Knightley, who is on par with none other than Lady Catherine de Bourgh.

Q: Why only glimpses of these budding romances?

Because I have plans for all of the couples to have their own Great War Romance! If you would like to be kept abreast of the progress of these dear couples, please join my low-volume newsletter family at GingerMonette.com.  (And if you like period drama, Downton Abbey, and Jane Austen, join me on Facebook at Ginger Monette Author.)

Q: Anything else you would like readers to know about Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey?

A: Yes, three things:

•Rest assured the story focuses on Lizzy and Darcy and has a happily-ever-after ending.
•It’s a clean romance that will keep you guessing until the very end! But do know that tense moments can occasionally prompt mild language, and there are some references to war that might be too intense for sensitive readers.
•And finally, in April of 2017, America will commemorate its 100th anniversary of participation in WW1. If you're like me, you learned almost nothing about this period of history in school. The Darcy's Hope saga is an entertaining way to get a glimpse of what our great-grandfathers experienced, and will give readers some context as they will undoubtedly be hearing a lot about this pivotal event that ushered the world into the modern era as we know it.

I hope readers will give the Darcy's Hope saga a try! I don't think they'll be disappointed : )

Thanks so much for hosting me on your blog!



*****

Thank you, Ginger Monette for the interview. I enjoyed your answers and the thought that went into them. Now, Readers, here is the blurb and an excerpt for this book.


Blurb
Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey


1917. Amidst the chaos of WW1, Captain Fitzwilliam Darcy has won the heart of Elizabeth Bennet. Finally.

Then she disappears.

Still reeling from the loss, Darcy is struck by a battlefield tragedy that leaves him in a dark and silent world.

Sent to Donwell Abbey to recover, he's coaxed back to life by an extraordinary nurse. A woman whose uncanny similarities to Elizabeth invite his admiration and entice his affections.

His heart tells him to hold on to Elizabeth. His head tells him to take a chance with his nurse.

But Donwell Abbey holds a secret that just might change everything.

Escape to the era of Downton Abbey in this enthralling stand-alone sequel* to Darcy's Hope ~ Beauty from Ashes that includes appearances by John Thornton, Margaret Hale, Colonel Brandon, Marianne Dashwood, and descendants of George Knightley.

•*May be enjoyed as a stand-alone novel, but readers may experience some minor confusions without the context of the mystery of Darcy's Hope ~ Beauty from Ashes.
•Has a happy ending for Lizzy and Darcy.
•Romance is clean. Minor language and some recollections of graphic war scenes.


Excerpt: Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey by Ginger Monette

Elizabeth bolted from the chair. “Fitzwilliam, wake up!” She nudged his arm in the darkened room, but he continued writhing with great heaving breaths. “Captain!” She squeezed his hand, but he jerked it away, whimpering.

On impulse, she slid her arms under his shoulders and held him close. Instantly his thrashing ceased.

Gently rocking him, she massaged the unbandaged hair at his temple and whispered against his cheek, “It’s all right. Just a dream.”

He breathing slowed, but his body remained tense. “My ribs...hurt.”

She lowered him back to the pillow, then tapped on his hand, Try to relax. All right now?

“Mmm.... Water. And morphine.”

She squeezed his hand and poured water into the hospital cup. She touched the pill to his lips then offered the porcelain straw.

He swallowed. “Who are you?”

Elizabeth froze and closed her eyes. How she longed to tell him the truth, then brush a kiss on his lips, assure him of her love, and promise to stay by his side.

She took his hand and spelled, Miss Thomas.

“Thank you...Miss Thomas.”

Elizabeth sank into the wing chair and released a heavy breath. Could she bear to be so close and yet so far away from Fitzwilliam?

*****

Heartbreaking!!! After the blurb and the excerpt, are you ready to read more? If so, guess what? The first book is on sale for $2.99 right now. Get started with it and then be ready for this one. That's what I plan to do! It is for a limited time so don't miss out on this special deal!



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Blog Tour Schedule


Link to webpage with tour schedule and hyperlinks: http://www.gingermonette.com/blog-tour-links





Feb 5  vvb32reads




















Feb 26  Linda Andrews


  
Link to webpage with tour schedule and hyperlinks: http://www.gingermonette.com/blog-tour-links

*****

It's giveaway time and what a nice giveaway! Open to US winners only, there will be three lucky winners. If you want to participate, fill out the Rafflecopter below the prize picture. Good luck to all!



a Rafflecopter giveaway
To contact the author or for purchase links, look below.

Author: Ginger Monette

Email: SperoBooks@gmail.com

Website: GingerMonette.com


Goodreads:  here or https://www.goodreads.com/search?q=ginger+monette

Book length: 347 pages     DHaDA Publication Date: Jan 1, 2017

Romance sizzle rating: mild. Clean story with minor language, and some graphic recollections of war.

Link to webpage with tour schedule and hyperlinks: http://www.gingermonette.com/blog-tour-links

Purchase Links for Darcy’s Hope at a Donwell Abbey:
            -Universal link that shows links to every outlet (including all international ones). books2read.com/u/3yP2Le
            -Amazon USAhttps://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M6A76CZ/

Purchase Links for Darcy’s Hope ~ Beauty from Ashes:
            Universal link: https://books2read.com/u/47kXOj  

            -Amazon USAhttp://bit.ly/2cy01KFBlogTourAmaUS