Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Jane Austen ~ a true inspiration...with Cynthia Ingram Hensley

Thank you, Cynthia, for agreeing to be my guest today and congratulations on your new book! I understand that the eBook is available today! That is wonderful news!  I know you must be excited! I enjoyed reading about the different questions upon which you dwell and I appreciate you sharing them with us.

Please forgive me for the late post. I am having computer problems! (and not doing too good on this computer) Giveaway information is at the end of the post!

Jane Austen ~ a true inspiration…

As a reader and ardent admirer of Jane Austen, I have always been awed by authors who have taken up the questions of “what happened next” and “what if” and written sequels, variations, or adaptations of Pride and Prejudice. I just love reading them! Although fully inspired by the world’s greatest love story, as a writer, I found that I dwelled on different questions. Such as: What if the Darcys still lived at Pemberley? Isn’t there a whole host of great country houses scattered throughout the U.K. occupied to this day by the original families? And best of all… What would the modern descendants of Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Darcy be like—their personalities, peculiarities, strengths, weaknesses, and temperaments? Finding the answers to these questions intrigued me, and so I took up the challenge and wrote my first novel, Echoes of Pemberley.

While technically a sequel to Pride and Prejudice, Echoes of Pemberley is a renewal of sorts, a bringing forward of the family Jane Austen started two centuries ago. When I sat down and created Darcy and Elizabeth’s descendants, I wanted to create a love story that, like Pride and Prejudice, was timeless and enduring. In my humble addition to Jane Austen’s classic tale, it was my hope to continue Pride and Prejudice by paying homage to the past while embarking upon a new journey of the heart.

 Like Ms. Austen’s Georgiana Darcy, my heroine, Catherine (Catie) Elizabeth Darcy was orphaned at a young age and left in the custody of her overly protective brother, Bennet Fitzwilliam Darcy—a man worthy of his lineage. A true romantic who has never been kissed, this young Darcy spends her school holidays at Pemberley, daydreaming of her ancestors legendary love story and reading romance novels that her brother calls “rubbish.” But what Catie doesn’t know is that her life is about to change forever.

            Enter nineteen-year-old Sean Kelly, the son of a horse farmer and an Irishman from his flat cap to his boots. Sean arrives at Pemberley in his relic Land Rover to give Miss Catie riding lessons. With a poetic nod to Pride and Prejudice, Sean initially dislikes Pemberley’s fetching, young heiress but soon discovers that first impressions aren’t always as they seem. Oh, those wretched first impressions! Echoes of Pemberley is a heartwarming tale of star-crossed love and family devotion. It was my goal for my readers to laugh, cry, and travel once more back to Derbyshire, England and fall in love all over again. Let’s face it…if you don’t swoon over Sean Kelly then you don’t have a pulse!

And there’s more…without spoiling the ending of Echoes of Pemberley for those who haven’t yet read it, I will simply say, Sean and Catie’s story was never meant to end where we left them. Find out what happens next in The Heart Does Whisper, the second installment of Echoes of Pemberley. The Heart Does Whisper will be available for pre-order on Thursday August 1st at Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com, and your local bookstore. To celebrate the upcoming release of The Heart Does Whisper, my publisher, Meryton Press, is offering Echoes of Pemberley at the special rate of $3.99 for a short time in ebook format on Amazon.com.

Finally, I’d like to say that it is my sincere belief that Miss Austen would genuinely appreciate how she has inspired so many women, writers, and novels. Her characters are imperfect, passionate, endearing and wicked. Essentially—they are real! Using the human spirit as her canvas, Jane Austen set the standard for romance.

You can find out more at www.cynthiahensley.merytonpress.com, Facebook (Cynthia Ingram Hensley, Author) and Twitter @writer_chensley!
Ms. Hensley, it is a pleasure to have you visit this week. Again, I thank you for sharing your story with us.

I want to thank Michele Reed and Meryton Press for the giveaway. Ms. Reed is kindly giving away a trade paperback and an eBook. This giveaway is international. To be entered leave a comment below. I always love reading your thoughts! Has Jane Austen been an inspiration to you? Good luck to all. Be sure to include your email address in the comment. To prevent unwanted spam, put your email address with an (at) instead of @.  Winner will be chosen in a random drawing. Giveaway ends at midnight, August 5. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Christmas in July with Sally Smith O'Rourke

Reading about Christmas at Sea Pines Cottage by Sally Smith O'Rourke, in the very hot month of July is a fantastic tribute to Christmas in July.. Sally shares how this book came to be and also shares a favored trailer of the book. It is awesome! I love the idea of a story told by Meteor! Hope you enjoy it too. There is also a giveaway. Read more about it at the end of the post.


Prepare to fall in love with the magical world of Sea Pines, the snug fire lit cottage on the storm-swept tip of Cape Fear, where Robert, Laura and Meteor live surrounded by the boundless beauties of nature. Share their passion, their adventures and the joy that only the birth of a beloved child can bring. Rediscover all that is good and noble in life, from the untarnished perspective of a creature striving to understand the complexity and grandeur of human love. 

Michael O’Rourke and I spent almost three decades together as friends, partners, soul mates, as well as husband and wife. Our life together was the ultimate collaboration, a collaboration of love. Out of that collaboration many projects were created, including The Man Who Loved Jane Austen, The Maidenstone Lighthouse and Christmas at Sea Pines Cottage.

Christmas at Sea Pines Cottage is a very special story and holds a singular place in my heart. Meteor’s Tale, as it was originally titled, was created not only out of our love for each other but also for the love of our grandson, Nicholas. Nicky wanted a “big” dog like a Golden Retriever, but his mom, Kelly, felt that since she would be doing the bulk of the care a smaller, more manageable pet would be better. So Nicky had to settle for a stuffed Golden Retriever and Jenna, a larger-sized Pomeranian; a very cute Pomeranian.

Out of Nicky’s desire for a big dog and my curiosity about the kind of man who would choose to maintain a lighthouse alone, came Meteor’s Tale. It’s the story of a loving family told through the eyes of the family’s pet Golden Retriever. Only Mike would have thought of an idea like that, to tell a dog’s story in the first person.

After we completed the original story, we discussed turning it into a Christmas story, an evergreen project, he called it. Unfortunately, I lost him before we were able to carry out the ideas we had to make it a holiday tale. Mike’s amazing talent and gifted writing were silenced in 2001. Like The Man Who Loved Jane Austen, I didn’t want this story to die with him. My publisher liked the story but wasn’t sure what to do with it so I told them about our Christmas idea, they liked that too and Meteor’s Tale became Christmas at Sea Pines Cottage.

  

A Golden Retriever puppy named Meteor was bred to be a hunting dog. Unable to stand to a gun after a childish prank perpetrated by his breeder’s teenage son, Meteor is given, as a pet, to a reclusive war hero. While nursing his injuries…physical and emotional, Robert has taken up residence at Sea Pines Cottage and is the keeper of the local lighthouse. Meteor, the Golden Retriever, tells the story of Robert’s bravery in saving a young woman floating on a plank in a storm. A romance blossoms when Laura returns to Sea Pines Cottage in search of the man who saved her life. They marry on Christmas Day. A year later a baby, Nicholas, is born on Christmas day. Meteor tells the story from the prospective of a beloved member of the family.

Connect with Sally Smith O'Rouke
Austenicity (the everything Austen site)
Blog
Facebook
Twitter

Purchase Christmas at Sea Pines Cottage

What people are saying about Meteor...

This book is one of the best books that I have read this holiday season!

I absolutely loved this book!

I loved the whole thing and I highly recommend it to everyone.

I would highly recommend this to anyone, especially if you are looking for an uplifting story and a quick read.

My taste in pets runs more to the feline side, so I wasn't sure if I'd like a book narrated by a dog, but I must admit that I fell in love with this book -- and with Meteor the dog!

I highly recommend this novella for all the lovers of Holiday Romance and General Fiction stories.

I’m looking forward to pulling this one out again in another month or so, when the holiday hustle and crash gets a little too frenetic for me. I’ll sit down and spend a bit of time with Meteor and his family, and remember why I love the holidays.

Life as seen through the eyes of a golden retriever is endearing and has lessons for us humans. I not only read it but then gave three copies as gifts to friends and family.

If you want to read a lovely short story about the Darcy's First Christmas at Pemberley written by Sally Smith O'Rourke, follow the link to this heartwarming and very touching story. It is everything you would imagine their first Christmas to be!  The Darcy's First Christmas at Pemberley  There is also a link to their first New Year on that same page!

Celebrate an Austenesque Christmas in July with these other authors and their books

Regina Jeffers                                    Sharon Lathan                                 Kara Louise
Christmas at Pemberley                     A Darcy Christmas                           Pemberley Celebrations
                                                                                                              (other holiday stories too)
Amazon                                            Amazon                                           Amazon
Barnes & Noble                                 Barnes & Noble                                Barnes & Noble

                             

Thank you Sally Smith O'Rourke for telling us a bit about your Christmas novella. I love Christmas stories and this one sounds perfect. I look forward to reading it. For a special treat with this Christmas in July post Ms. O'Rourke, Regina Jeffers, Sharon Lathan and Kara Louise are kindly giving away one trade paperback (domestic only) OR one eBook (international) for an eReader of Christmas at Sea Pines Cottage, Christmas at Pemberley, A Darcy Christmas (eBook only) and Pemberley Celebrations to one very lucky winner. Isn't that fantastic! Thank you, ladies, for your generosity! To be entered leave a comment below. Good luck to all. Be sure to include your email address in the comment. To prevent unwanted spam, put your email address with an (at) instead of @.  Winner will be chosen in a random drawing. Giveaway ends at midnight, July 29.

And the winner is...

Congratulations
to
Cassandra Grafton

who won the CD Movie Soundtrack of  Emma, starring Gwyneth Paltrow, OR Sense & Sensibility, starring Emma Thompson, winner's choice 
from Meredith Esparza
Product Details

Monday, July 22, 2013

And the winner is...

Congratulations
to Sophia Rose 
who left a comment on July 20 to win the trilogy, A Fair Prospect 
by Cassandra Grafton



Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Austenesque Melodies with Meredith Esparza

It is with great pleasure that I introduce to you, dear readers, my guest today. The lovely Meredith Esparza has agreed to share with us a little bit about herself and her love of music. She also shares an audio of her beautiful rendition of the theme song from the 1995 PnP miniseries! She does it proud! Although we have never personally met, I have long considered Meredith a dear friend and acquaintance. I am thrilled to have her here today. Thank you, Meredith!

Hello Readers of More Agreeably Engaged! 

I am honored to be here visiting Janet's lovely blog today!  Janet asked me awhile back if I would visit her blog and share a guest post with her readers, and one of the topics she suggested I write about is music.  Since I already wrote a guest post about discovering Jane Austen and finding my Mr. Bingley, I thought writing about music and Jane Austen would be a lot of fun!  As Mrs. Elton's would say “I am dotingly fond of music!”

As some of you may know, teaching music is how I earn my bread.  I've been teaching piano and flute lessons for the last seven years and currently run my own little music studio that employs several other music teachers.  Like Marianne Dashwood, much of my days are divided between “music and reading.”  If I'm not reading a book or writing a review, I can be found giving lessons, taking care of the paperwork and communications for our studio, or practicing on my beloved piano!



Speaking of practicing...I've recently come across 
some piano books with music from select Jane Austen movies, and have set myself the task of learning to play all of them as well as make recordings of each piece.  On my blog I'm calling this series Austenesque Melodies.  My first recording is “Stars and Butterflies” from the 2005 film of Pride and Prejudice.  My second recording (you will hear in the video below) is “Main Theme” from the 1995 mini-series.  

I have always been a big fan of movie soundtracks, especially classical soundtracks and musical soundtracks.  The first Austenesque soundtrack I ever bought was the soundtrack for Emma (the one with Gwenyth and Jeremy). *sigh* I ADORE this soundtrack!  It is simply gorgeous, light, and the perfect reading music.  Since I play this album so often everyone in my family (including Mr. Bingley) have grown to love and appreciate it too.  If you are looking for some wonderful, relaxing music that makes you think of Jane Austen, I definitely recommend this soundtrack.  Some others in my collection include:


                     Sense and Sensibility 1995 film soundtrack – this one has some gorgeous music too
                     Pride and Prejudice 2005 film soundtrack – I love Dario Marianelli
                     Pride and Prejudice 1995 mini-series soundtrack
                     Mansfield Park 1999 film soundtrack
                     Bride and Prejudice 2005 film soundtrack – this one is soooo much fun!
                     Bridget Jones's Diary 2001 film soundtrack
                     Bridget Jones's Diary 2 2001 film soundtrack – they pick out really awesome tracks for these                BJD movies!
                     Bridget Jones's Diary: The Edge of Reason 2005 film soundtrack

I'm curious to know if there are other readers out there who love the music from Jane Austen films and adaptations as much as I do.  Do you have any favorite Jane Austen soundtracks?  Are there any that you'd recommend?


Thank you so much Janet, for welcoming me to share a bit of myself on your wonderful blog today!  It was a pleasure and an honor to talk about two of my favorite subjects – Jane Austen and music!  I hope your readers enjoy our collaborated efforts on this video!  It was such a fun piece to play!

video

Please visit Meredith at her top notch blog (and one of my favorites), Austenesque Reviews

Thank you again, Meredith for being my guest and for making your lovely audio to go with my 2013 200th Anniversary Pride and Prejudice Calendar. You played beautifully and I thank you from the bottom of my heart! Your music added the much needed, final touch to my little video!

To one lucky person, Meredith is giving away the soundtrack to the 1996 movie, Emma, starring Gwyneth Paltrow, OR  the soundtrack for the 1995 movie, Sense and Sensibility, with Emma Thompson, winner's choice! This giveaway is international. To be entered in the giveaway, please tell us your favorite Jane Austen soundtracks and any that you might recommend. We would love to hear your thoughts!  Good luck to all. Be sure to include your email address in the comment. To prevent unwanted spam, put your email address with an (at) instead of @.  Winner will be chosen in a random drawing. Giveaway ends at midnight, July 22.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Most Agreeably Engaged With Colonel Fitzwilliam! (and Cassandra Grafton)


Today, I am beginning the first in a series of interviews with the cast of characters in Cassandra Grafton's trilogy, A Fair Prospect. Now that he has completed his role in Disappointed Hopes and before he returns for Darcy's Dilemma, I was delighted to have the opportunity to speak with Mr. Darcy's cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam, and here is what he had to say.

Colonel, thank you for joining me today to answer some questions. I am sure my readers will enjoy getting to know you better.
"The pleasure is all mine, dear lady. Press on; my attention is all yours."

In this first volume, you clearly are an early riser. The first thing I would like to know is, what is your favorite time of day?"

"An easy opening! Be warned, I am prone to garrulousness; do interrupt me if I begin to wax lyrical.” The Colonel settles more comfortably into his seat. “I will own to having a particular penchant for mornings – especially the early morning, just as dawn is breaking, that moment when the sun rises above the horizon. Then, there are the sounds and smells – the birdsong as I head for the stables and an early ride; a welcoming snicker from my mount, the clank of the bridle, the aroma of dry hay in the stalls, the leather saddles..."

Err, Colonel, forgive the interruption, but - how can you hear and smell? You do know that you are a fictional character and not real? 

(Colonel Fitzwilliam gets to his feet, his air and countenance puzzled and a frown upon his brow) "A work of fiction, Madam? How so? I possess all the common faculties, including the five senses." (The Colonel sweeps a hand from his head to the toes of his highly polished boots) "You see before you a fully functioning body - there is nothing fictitious about it. Here." (He stretches out an arm towards me.) "Be at liberty to have a good feel!"

Far be it from me to refuse such a request. I can confirm to you all, dear readers, that the Colonel is extremely...solid! Nonetheless, Colonel, you are a character in a book - you do not in the normal sense of the word 'exist'.

"Then which of the two of us is destined for Bedlam? Is it you or I? If I do not exist, then with whom are you conversing?"

A good point and well made! Perhaps we should make our way together!

I may reside in the pages of a book - several books, from my experience - but I am real nonetheless! As we are agreed that neither of us is hallucinating, pray let us continue."

Of course, Colonel. Now, the story of your cousin, Darcy's, courtship, "(a brief snort emanates from the Colonel as he re-takes his seat)," of Miss Elizabeth Bennet is well documented. A lady, of whom you have possibly heard, a Miss Jane Austen, chronicled their story many years ago, and it has become well-known and well-loved, as have the people involved in it.

"Well loved, eh? All the characters?"

Well, perhaps some more than others.

"Humph. My Aunt Catherine perchance is not numbered as one of them?"

Probably not. Has Lady Catherine always been quite so - difficult?

"As far back as I can recall. Darcy's mother, Anne, was the aunt of choice for me; Aunt Catherine was one to avoid! Now, let us return to my being well-loved. I like that part of this interrogation."

I have been delighted to see how very well received Colonel Richard Fitzwilliam has been by the readers of A Fair Prospect.

"Ah yes. Richard. The forename I am most often given."

Do you not like it?

The Colonel pulls a face. " I am comfortable enough with it. It seems to be the popular choice, though I have borne many names in recent years, amongst them Matthew, Alexander...even Colin! That was a tricky period in my life; I kept having the urge, if you will forgive me my bluntness, to strip off my coat and dive into any nearby body of water! I will admit to being quite relieved when I became Richard again in the next story I was summoned to."

Then what is your real name?

The Colonel looks embarrassed and stirs restlessly in his chair. 

Are you coloring, Colonel?

"Certainly not! It is rather warm." He frowns as he looks towards the window. "This glazing is quite singular. Is it the way of things here to fund two panes where one would suffice?"

It is known as double-glazing. It reduces heat loss from inside and noise from outside.

"It seems a little wasteful; glass is such an expensive commodity." He seems anxious for a change of subject. "Ah, I see you have Miss Austen's original novel at your side."

Yes. You have a relatively minor role in the story. How do you feel when you are given a great many more pages in the continuations and variations that have followed in recent years?

"It is true, she was not overly generous with her use of my character, nor in her description of me! Admittedly, I do not have Darcy's noble features, but I do well enough. Even a second son can be worthy of a young lady's glances!" He grins engagingly. "But I digress. I enjoy the many roles I have been playing. Some are more challenging than others, but I have to admit that I am particularly enjoying my present sojourn within the pages of A Fair Prospect, and I look forward to seeing what is in store for me in Darcy's Dilemma and, ultimately, Desperate Measures."  He pauses. "I suspect there is a latent performer in me; the stage would have been my profession of choice, if I had been born to humbler beginnings."

Which leads me neatly to my next question: are you fond of plays?

"Indeed, though I would always prefer a comedy over a tragedy. With the trials of my profession, I desire nothing more than to be entertained and amused when at leisure."

Then I would like to show you something which may be of interest. I turn to a TV and DVD player at my side and switch it on. The Colonel's gaze narrows and he leans forward in his seat, his elbows resting on his knees as he peers at the image now displayed on the screen.

"What the devil is this piece of wizardry?"

It is a means by which we watch the adaptation of a story. A sort of play is made of it, it is recorded on film and then displayed through mediums such as these.

“Film? But a film is a coating, a layer, nothing more."

Let me show you. I pick up the remote control, watched intently by the Colonel, and press the 'play' button.

A scene from the 1995 adaptation of Pride & Prejudice plays on the screen, the one where Colonel Fitzwilliam is walking with Elizabeth Bennet at Rosings. When it is over, I switch the TV off.

“So that is how they portrayed my indiscretion to Miss Bennet over Darcy’s interference in Bingley’s affairs.” The Colonel grimaced. "It is very like; they did a fine rendition."

There have been several adaptations made through this medium over the years, but this has proved the most popular.  You acquired a nickname after the programme was released.

"Nickname?" The Colonel laughs. “Go on - enlighten me! This will have Darcy well amused!"

Some ladies labeled you "Stud Muffin".

Silence greets this for a moment, and then the Colonel blinks rapidly and sits up in his seat.

"Stud? The meaning is not lost on me - I am flattered - I think! But a muffin is a small cake.” He frowns. “I am not familiar with the term in connection to studs! Yet there is an excellent dictionary and thesaurus in the library at Pemberley; I shall look it up. I trust it is equally complimentary!"

I think it's provenance is later than when the story itself is set. I think it would be safe to say that it is indeed a compliment and perhaps leave it at that!

The Colonel laughs. "As you wish, dear lady, as you wish!"

"We have so far been introduced to a few characters in Disappointed Hopes, most of whom we know something of from Miss Austen's original story, but one of whom is new to us. What do you make of Nicholas Harington at this point in the story?"

"I have yet to make his acquaintance in person, though I have heard the name mentioned. It troubles me, because I cannot recall where and in what context. However, it is clear that you know more than I at this point: is there something I ought to be aware of?"

The gentleman is an old and close acquaintance of Elizabeth Bennet's. They are great friends and have known each other since childhood. He is a second son, like yourself, but of independent fortune - an eligible bachelor."

The Colonel frowns. "This does not bode well. I fear the author has some mischief to make at the expense of my cousin, Darcy. This will test his sanity!” The Colonel snorted. “Perchance he should join us on our journey to the madhouse! The more the merrier!”

In A Fair Prospect, you are depicted as gaining much enjoyment from your food and drink.

The Colonel smiles and pats his trim midriff. "I lead a very active life; fuel is essential to power one's limbs!"

You also appear to enjoy the conversation of Mrs. Collins?

"She is a surprising woman. How anyone of such good common sense could attach herself to such a man is always beyond me."

She is down to earth, Sir. She knows her lack of prospects and acted accordingly to secure her future.

"There is some truth in that. I would be sorry for her, but she seems content enough with her chosen lot."

Tell me about Darcy. It is clear he is prepared to open up to you.

"Darce?  I love him! He is more a brother to me than my own. Since his father’s death, our shared guardianship of Georgiana has bound us ever tighter. Of course, therein ends our similarities. Though he is lively enough around those he is comfortable with, Darcy is taciturn by nature and has a more serious mien. He is also, as you have no doubt noticed, extremely handsome!"

If you could describe the people who have accompanied you in Disappointed Hopes in one word, what would it be? For example:

Lady Catherine? “Supercilious.”
Your cousin, Anne? “Shaded.”
Miss Elizabeth Bennet? “Spirited!”
Darcy? “Tall!”
Your cousin, Georgiana? “Sweet.”
Mrs Collins? “Under-valued.”
And finally, Mr Collins? “Who?”

Well, Colonel, I have one final question for you. What appeals to you in a woman?

"Inquisition!" He flashes a quick smile at his interrogator. "Fairness of face - I am not alone in that - but when seeking a partner in life, I will place more value on a quick mind, a ready smile and a warm heart." He pauses, then smiles again. “Of course, if she comes with a considerable dowry, her personal attractions will improve in direct proportion!”
 
Well, Colonel, I know that you have pressing business to attend to, so thank you very much for taking the time to join us here today. I have enjoyed our discussion very much.

"Thank you for your time, Madam; you are a most charming inquisitor!  It has been a pleasant distraction and most – enlightening. I would be happy to return another time should your readers have further questions for me!"

The Colonel bows as he takes my hand and bestows a kiss upon it before straightening.

"Colonel S. Muffin, Madam; at your service." And with a winning smile, he turns and leaves the room.

 Oh my, catch me as I swoon! (sigh)

The lovely Cassandra Grafton is very generously giving away one, three volume set of her trilogy, 
A Fair Prospect!  Yes, you read correctly! It is open internationally too! I think the Colonel is such a fantastic character...uh, excuse me Colonel,...I mean, man! I love his charm. What do you like? Tell us in your comment for a chance to win this lovely trilogy.  I look forward to reading your thoughts! Good luck to all. Be sure to include your email address in the comment. To prevent unwanted spam, put your email address with an (at) instead of @.  Winner will be chosen in a random drawing. Giveaway ends at midnight, July 20. Extended Giveaway. I will be posting the review for Volume III Tuesday night or Wednesday morning. Comments from that post will be included in the giveaway. If you comment on both posts, you double your chances. 

Personal links for Cassandra Grafton
Website
Twitter
Facebook

Purchase the trilogy at:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble

       AFP Vol III



And the winner is...

Congratulations!

The two randomly selected winners for His Uncle's Favorite by Lory Lilian are:


Becky C who left a comment on July 3, 2013
and
Kelli H who left a comment on July 7, 2013

Thanks to both of you for stopping by and commenting! Congratulations again on winning!





Monday, July 8, 2013

And the winner is...

Congratulations!

The winner of The Maidenstone Lighthouse
by Sally Smith O'Rourke is:


Ulises who left a comment on June 26!
Again, congratulations on winning!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

My Share in the Conversation...Her Uncle's Favorite

His Uncle’s Favorite by Lory Lilian


This variation begins with Lizzy accompanying Jane, Mrs. Gardiner and her children on an extended visit to London for the Christmas holidays. Jane’s heart is troubled by the sudden and recent departure of Mr. Bingley from Herefordshire. Lizzy’s heart is leaning toward a preference for Mr. Wickham, her high opinion of him not shared by her aunt. Mrs. Gardiner is not so easily influenced by his charms as she sees Mr. Wickham’s eagerness to share, with strangers, the intimate details of his association with Mr. Darcy, as ungentlemanly behavior.

Mr. Gardiner, a well-respected businessman, highly successful and intelligent, tragically died two years earlier. Because of his good reputation and business skills, along with Mrs. Gardiner’s refined manners and exquisite taste, the couple had many influential acquaintances and some very close friends among the ton. They not only attended many parties with this illustrious society but gave well received parties in their impressive home as well. 

Thus, as a return to a somewhat normal life for herself and a much needed diversion for both her nieces, Mrs. Gardiner promises them attendance to some parties and maybe a few small balls from people that she still considered close friends!  The first such invitation comes from the Earl of Matlock and his married daughter, Lady Selina, who had been dear friends of the both the Gardiners. The Earl is now a widower and has two sons that are single. He has a favorite nephew and niece that will be in attendance as well. Expect some fireworks at this dinner when Darcy and Elizabeth reunite unexpectedly. The Earl is extremely fond of Lizzy and her quick wit and he admires Jane’s quiet nature. He thinks either would be fine wives for his two sons, much to Darcy’s surprise! As Mrs. Gardiner and the two eldest Bennet sisters are often the special guests of the Earl and/or his daughter, there are many opportunities for Darcy and Elizabeth to spend time in each other’s company...and isn’t that what we all desire?

I loved the Earl of Matlock. He is a wonderful character and is central to the story. The Colonel is his lovable self and his brother, the Viscount, is nice and honorable. I adored Lady Selina and Georgiana! Lady Brightmore, Lady Selina’s mother-in-law, is delightful!

The Queen of Mean, Caroline Bingley, has a rival for nastiness in Lady Sinclair. They eventually get their put downs quite nicely! There is still the story of Lydia and Wickham but with a twist this time. It is a very interesting turn of events and is resolved in a manner unlike any I have read before. Nicely done, Ms. Lilian!

There are sleigh rides, balls, parties, theater visits and hunting trips---lots of time for Darcy and Lizzy to have misunderstandings; then time for Darcy to accept his feelings for Lizzy and for her to eventually change hers for him! The relationship that develops between Darcy and Mr. Bennet is wonderful and very enjoyable to read!

Although I prefer a PnP story to have passionate but chaste romance, this story is for mature audiences as it does contain several scenes of explicit sex after Darcy and Lizzy wed. If that is your preference you will enjoy the hot, steamy scenes in this book. 

Overall, I enjoyed this variation very much. Lory Lilian is a good story teller and kept her characters true to their personalities and created some new favorites! I liked the way she changed some of the scenes from the original by using different characters to enact them. This book will be a great addition for any fan of Pride and Prejudice and JAFF. I found it difficult to put down!

4 out of 5 stars
Rated M for mature audiences and explicit sex

This is my 14th book for the 2013 Pride and Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge

Leave a comment here to be entered in the giveaway with the post by Lory Lilian. If you comment here and at her post, you will double your chances to win either a trade paperback or an eBook. The giveaway is worldwide!  Since I am linking the giveaway to include both posts, I have extended the giveaway to the 8th. Be sure to include your email address in the comment. To prevent unwanted spam, put your email address with an (at) instead of @.  Winner will be chosen in a random drawing. Giveaway ends at midnight, July 8.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

And the winner is...

Congratulations! 

The two eBook winners of From This Day Forward 
by Joana Starnes are:


Anonymous (Marti T) who left a comment on June 24
&
Regina Jeffers who left a comment on June 26

Again, congratulations, ladies, and thanks for commenting! I hope you enjoy your book!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Lory Lilian...Her Hobby and Her Passion!


It is with great pleasure that I welcome, Lory Lilian, my guest today! She shares her love of PnP and how her writing became a reality. I am so glad that it did as I have read and enjoyed all three of Lory's books. It is wonderful to have her also share an excerpt from her latest, His Uncles' Favorite. There is a giveaway too! More about that at the end of the post! Thanks, Lory, and welcome! I love your picture, by the way!

My name is Lory Lilian, I am 44, Romanian, and have been in love with Pride and Prejudice since I was 13. Everything related to Pride and Prejudice and to Darcy and Elizabeth is my hobby and my passion.

Pride and Prejudice1995 had a dramatic and devastating impact on my fascination with Darcy and Elizabeth.

When I first saw the miniseries, I had already been in love with P and P for many years, but I never consider imagining anything beyond what Jane Austen wrote. I started to fantasize about Darcy and Elizabeth's extra scenes right after I saw the miniseries and discovered that Colin Firth was my perfect Darcy. His gazes at Elizabeth, his silence, his body language, his small gestures, the expression on his face, the pain on his face when he was rejected, the embarrassment when he met Elizabeth at Pemberley, the happiness when he stared at Elizabeth at the pianoforte, his briefly holding her hands at the Lambton Inn and their final kiss in the end, all these were the reasons that made me start writing fanfiction. Each of Colin and Jennifer's glances, each of their interactions, each of their sparkling dialogs were inspiration for my writing, and all I had to do was to put them in different circumstances and to guess how they would react, based on what I had seen and read.

The day I discovered JAFF was one of the happiest of my life as I realized there were other people like me out there — people who simply could not have enough of Darcy and Elizabeth! So I started to read and read and read everything I could find online – until I finally started to write my own story – Rainy Days. I finished it in 3 months – 390 pages! (LOL – just imagine how inspired I was :-) )

I have now three books published by Meryton Press — and that was another happy moment of my life, as I never imagined my passion would come out in print form! I still am surprised, flattered, and grateful to see so many people interested in buying my books, especially since they were available online for free.

 All my books (Rainy Days, Remembrance of the Past and His Uncle’s Favorite) are PnP variations. In all three I tried to keep the original story line as close to the original as possible and to add some original characters, original situations … and original hot scenes :-).

People on JAFF sites call me "Queen of Mush" - I wonder shy LOL.

My latest book – His Uncle’s Favorite – has been available in eBook format for a week now. There will also be a paperback version out very soon, but in the meantime here is a small extract from it (different than the Kindle free sample). Enjoy it and thanks for your interest!

A few minutes after the play resumed, Elizabeth felt herself shivering and wondered whether it had turned suddenly cold in the room or it was just her impression. She looked around and saw Georgiana and Lady Selina putting on their cloaks. Mrs. Gardiner was already wearing a thick but elegant shawl so Elizabeth decided to put on hers.

She slowly turned to the back of her chair, looking for her shawl, but she could not find it — surely, it had fallen down. Trying not to draw attention towards herself, she blindly searched around the chair on her left. She remembered seeing it there during the interlude, and she proved correct as she felt it immediately. The next moment she frowned — the shawl was picked up and handed to her by Darcy, so the moment she took it, her fingers touched his and remained still. They were both seated on their chairs, apparently attentive to the scene; only their left hands were joined lower, on the shawl, waiting. His fingers moved slowly, searching for hers through the soft fabric; she did not dare move her hand — she did not dare even breathe. But her fingers, of their own will, slid along and met his and then entwined, but only for the length of a heartbeat. He withdrew his hand, together with the shawl, stretched the fabric and gently tried to place it on her bare shoulders. She leaned forward a little to allow him enough space; while arranging the shawl, his fingers briefly caressed her neck, and his touch felt softer than the fabric that finally covered her. His hands lingered on her shoulders a moment longer than needed and finally withdrew, reluctantly. She was no longer cold as every spot on her skin burned.
 Lory's books may be purchased at the following:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble

Connect with Lory Lilian:
Meryton Press

I enjoyed your post, Lory. Thank you for being my guest and for sharing your passion with us! I think there are many of us who have the same passion and love of PnP and all things Jane Austen. It does help to know that the obsession is not one's alone! 

I want to thank Michele Reed and Meryton Press for the giveaway. Ms. Reed is kindly giving away a trade paperback AND  eBook for your eReader, both international to two lucky winners. To be entered leave a comment below.   I always love reading your thoughts! Good luck to all. Be sure to include your email address in the comment. To prevent unwanted spam, put your email address with an (at) instead of @.  Winner will be chosen in a random drawing. Giveaway ends at midnight, July 8.