Monday, January 26, 2015

P. O. Dixon...Lady Elizabeth

When I first started my blog almost two years ago, (February 2013), P.O. Dixon was my second guest. She visited in March with her newest release at the time, Love Will Grow. It was so exciting to have Ms. Dixon visit as I had read most of her books and liked them very much. I'm happy to tell you that she is visiting again -  too long between visits, isn't it - but so happy to have her here today. We have an excerpt from Chapter 1 of the newest release, Lady Elizabeth. Enjoy! Thank you, P. O. Dixon for the teaser and for the excellent giveaway.


We all remember Darcy’s initial marriage proposal in Jane Austen’s timeless classic, Pride and Prejudice. Here are snippets of my favorite parts of the speech.

“In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed.”

Struggle indeed. The following excerpt is priceless:

He spoke well; but there were feelings besides those of the heart to be detailed; and he was not more eloquent on the subject of tenderness than of pride. His sense of her inferiority--of its being a degradation--of the family obstacles which had always opposed to inclination, were dwelt on with a warmth which seemed due to the consequence he was wounding, but was very unlikely to recommend his suit.

No such struggles as these exist for Darcy in Lady Elizabeth: Everything Will Change Book One—at least not in the beginning. Elizabeth is, after all, the granddaughter of the Duke of Dunsmore. In fact, by the end of Chapter Sixteen, Darcy and Elizabeth have agreed there will be no more misunderstandings between them.

But all is not as it seems. During his stay at Netherfield Park in Hertfordshire, Darcy learns of a tragedy that befell the Bennets, a family from a neighboring estate, over a decade prior. One of the Bennet daughters vanished in broad daylight from the streets of Lambton.

Will Darcy unravel the mystery behind the disappearance of the second-born Bennet daughter? What if it means losing the one woman who has captured his heart?

I hope you’ll enjoy the following excerpt from Lady Elizabeth:

Chapter 1 ~ Desperate Measures

Dunsmore, 1796

The brown-eyed little girl sprang to the window. Peering outside, she spoke barely above a whisper. “Where am I?” She spun around and faced the elderly man who found her what must have been days ago. “You said you were bringing me home.” Tears threatened to burst from her weary eyes. “This isn’t my home. I want to go home.”

A tall, proud man, with a noble mien, the Duke of Dunsmore looked down at the elegant woman standing next to him and responded to her questioning stare with the utmost compassion. “My dear,” he began, “the child is a bit overwhelmed. We must give her time to grow accustomed to her new circumstances.”

Now sobbing feverishly, the little girl tumbled to her knees. She wailed in protest of this unfamiliar place, these unfamiliar people.

“Your Grace, she is more than a little overwhelmed. She’s frightened,” said the beautiful lady with rich golden hair. Crossing the room, she lowered herself to the child’s eye level. She pulled a dainty handkerchief from her sleeve and gently dabbed the little girl’s tears. “There, there, my child. Do not be afraid.”

“Where’s my papa? Where’s my mama?” She tore her eyes from the kind woman’s eyes and threw a glance about the room. “Where’s Jane?”

“Oh, my precious child, it pains me to see you so saddened. Pray, what is your name?”

The forlorn child’s spiritless gaze fell to the floor. “My name is Lizzy.”

“Lizzy—what a beautiful name you have. I suppose it is short for Elizabeth. My own mother’s name was Elizabeth. Lady Elizabeth. As I am to be your mother, thanks to the kindheartedness of my excellent father, I think I shall use your given name. I believe that we shall call you, Lady Elizabeth—Lady Elizabeth Montlake.”

The child shook her head furiously. “No! I have a mother, and a father, and a beautiful sister Jane. She looks just like an angel! And we have a little baby … Mary!”

Her countenance riddled with concern, the elegant lady looked at the tall man. He shrugged. “The poor child does not yet realize what has befallen the family who cared for her. We must give her time.”

Another woman came into the room. “There you are, Miss Pruitt. Please take the child—young Elizabeth—up to her room.”

Her desire to comfort and protect the sweet innocent child evident, the elegant lady held out her hand. “I will come too, Miss Pruitt.”

A highly esteemed man, whose greatest purpose in life was protecting his family, the duke said, “No, my dear, I would have a word with you.”

Lady Sophia Montlake, the widow of the duke’s recently deceased son, objected. “Your Grace, I ask if that will wait. You must certainly see that little Elizabeth is upset. My presence is what I think she needs.”

“Very well, but do return to see me soon, for I have a matter of grave importance to discuss with you concerning the particulars of young Elizabeth’s coming to be here. There are certain arrangements that must be made.”

Lady Sophia took young Elizabeth’s hand and silently signaled her readiness to part to the young maid.

It was just as well that his daughter-in-law had left with the child. This gave her time to start forming an attachment with her new daughter. More importantly, it gave him extra time to rehearse the speech he had planned for her ladyship, as well as the rest of the world in general. His repeated questioning of the child had yielded quite a few findings. Included among those details that the duke was at liberty to share were her age and her birthdate. At least there was that bit of truth that would serve as the basis for her new life.
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I like this new twist in the story so many of us love and want more and more of it. I am thankful to authors like you, P. O. Dixon, for continually giving us more. Thank you for visiting. It is an honor to have you stop by again and I wish you much success with this latest release. 

I want to add a bit here of my personal experience with the audio books by P.O. Dixon. I have several and have enjoyed immensely listening to them . When I am drawing, I love to listen to a good book. It is a wonderful way to 'read' a book, so to speak, while busy working. If you haven't tried one of her audio books yet, I strongly suggest that you give one a try. They are available at Audible.

Pam is having a giveaway and I know you will all be excited to hear about it. She is giving away one eBook edition of Lady Elizabeth, international, and one paperback edition, US mailing address required. Please leave a comment below to be entered in the giveaway. Also please let me know if you will be entering for the eBook or the paperback. Thank you for commenting and don't forget to include your email address for contact purposes should you be the winner. Giveaway ends at midnight February 1, 2015.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Secrets, Secrets and C.P. Odom...Don't Miss This One!

I have been looking forward to this post for quite some time. C.P. Odom is being interviewed by...C.P. Odom. Yes, you read correctly. He explains in his first paragraph. This interview is delightful and definitely 'not to be missed'. I laughed out loud numerous times. I know you will all enjoy it as much as I did. Oh, by the way,...did I mention that there is a giveaway?!

Thank you, Colin, for stopping by on your busy blog tour to be my guest today. I hope you will have much success with this new release. I have now purchased it and am looking forward to some much needed and desired reading time! You have me intrigued! :)

I want to thank Janet for hosting me here at More Agreeably Engaged to talk about my new novel, Pride, Prejudice, and Secrets.  When we discussed what the content of my blog post should be, she stated that she didn’t have any specific thoughts, especially since she hadn’t yet read the book.  But she went on to say that she wished we could do something different from what we did for my previous two guest appearances and which would be fun for me and the readers.  So I came up with the idea of generating a Q&A session where the interviewer would be me acting as if I were running a blog and was asking me questions.  Since I’m a guy and have certain experiences in rather rough and tumble endeavors, some of the following questions rate rather low on the civility scale and perhaps might even seem abrasive.  But what else could you expect from someone who left college to join the Marines during the Vietnam War because he was afraid the war would be over if he waited until he graduated?  (Yes, I was that dumb!  Too much testosterone, obviously . . .).  So, here we go:

Q1:  The first question I’d ask a guest would be, “What all of us want to get is a complete synopsis of the plot, with all the little twists and turns outlined in exquisite detail.  Are we going to get that, Mr. Odom, or are you going to stiff us like certain other authors who shall remain nameless?”

A:  Of course I’m going to stiff you!  If I give away all my little secrets, then an unknown number of people might well say, “I know everything about PP&S.  Perhaps I’ll spend my hard-earned money on some other book.”  Since I’m trying to separate you from your entertainment cash, it’s obvious that I want to give you just enough information to whet your appetite without giving away so much that that same appetite is satisfied.  And remember, the name of my novel is Pride, Prejudice, and Secrets.  In fact, the working title actually was Secrets during the writing and much of the editing process until my editor pointed out that I would be competing with about a dozen other books of the same title.  She urged me to change the title so that my tome didn’t disappear into the crowd.

Q2:  Secrets, huh?  What secret are you trying to conceal from us?

A:  Actually, it’s not a secret but rather multiple little secrets.  One of the thoughts that inspired me to add that particular slant to my novel was a memory from the 70’s of a newspaper column written under the nom de plume of Miss Manners (actually, I just checked, and not only is the columnist still alive, she’s still writing columns—except that I haven’t seen one in 40 years).  In that column, a reader challenged her that it was always better to be completely frank and tell friends, family, and loved ones the truth, the complete truth, and nothing but the truth.  Miss Manners’ response was that such an approach was an excellent course of action if one wanted to spend their life alone, in splendid isolation.  She opined that “little white lies” had gotten a very bad press, because they were the grease that kept the relationship wheels turning without squeaking.  Some people may disagree with this point of view, but I was already suspicious of the social “goodness” of the “let-it-all-hang-out” mantra of the ‘60’s and ‘70’s.  Her column made me sit back and think about how so many people who reveled in being “frank” were actually being rather cruel.  Accordingly, given the nature of Elizabeth Bennet’s unintended engagement with the proud and brash Fitzwilliam Darcy, I could see numerous occasions where I could put Miss Manner’s advice to good use and let my characters choose silence rather than complete disclosure.

Q3:  What?!?  That sounds like we’re not going to get a Hunsford confrontation!  Isn’t Elizabeth going to tell off Darcy like he so richly deserves?  Isn’t she going to tell him he’s the last man in the world she would consider marrying?

A3:  What do you think, given what I said previously?  If Elizabeth decides not to break the engagement, what useful purpose could be served by such brutal language?  And note that if Elizabeth doesn’t charge Darcy with thwarting the hopes of a most beloved sister, he’ll continue to think that Jane was indifferent to Bingley and will not be inclined to try to rearrange a meeting in which Austen’s second most pleasing match occurs.  But then, I’ve never been a Bingley fan.  He has no depth of passion like Darcy and no constancy; in short, a lightweight.  He doesn’t deserve Jane.

Q4:  Hasn’t this variation on Pride and Prejudice, with Elizabeth Bennet accepting Darcy’s first proposal at Hunsford been done before?  And probably by better authors, I might add.

A4:  Boy, your Mama didn’t teach you to watch your tongue too much, did she?

Q5:  Don’t you insult my mother, you girly-mon author, you!  I’ll bet that you’re resorting to insults because you can’t answer my question.

A5:  <Sound of gritting teeth for several seconds before . . .>  Sigh.  I suppose this premise has been attempted, but I can’t comment on how many times it’s been attempted.  I’ve only seen it once, and that was a story where Elizabeth’s acceptance just pops out of her mouth for some inexplicable reason.  It didn’t really seem believable.  Thus, while I did have a long-dormant plot idea with an unintended acceptance as a premise, I had not been able to come up with a way to make that accidental acceptance believable.  In fact, I really never expected that plot to make it to the light of day until one evening when I was watching a news story about some medical scare.  My left-brained elder daughter (who’s majoring in computer engineering with a 3.7 GPA) was watching with me and made the idle comment that she didn’t have to worry about that disease because “I don’t get sick, Dad.”  Suddenly, I remembered that obscure plot idea and instantly saw that it would give me a way for a robust Elizabeth Bennet, who also “never gets sick” but has been laid low by influenza and fever, to give Darcy a nod when he proposes marriage.  A nod which he could easily—and honestly—interpret as acceptance.  Because she was hazy and not thinking clearly, she would likely be dumbfounded when Charlotte bursts into the room and congratulates her on her good fortune.  So dumbfounded that she could not formulate a “Wait a minute” comment and, before she knew it, Elizabeth could find herself bustled off to bed while the rest of the world quickly comes to believe she is engaged to Fitzwilliam Darcy.  So that casual comment by my daughter is really what got this book written.

Q6:  <Sniff>  Whatever.  Is this going to be a repeat of Consequences?  Are you going to put us through the Angst Wringer?

A6:  The quick answer is, “No” and “No.”  While there will obviously be some strain associated with the basic premise of an unintended engagement, remember how difficult it was to break an engagement in Regency times.  No less a personage that the Duke of Wellington married a woman he loathed rather than suffer the impact to his honor associated with “crying off” his engagement (I wonder where that metaphor came from.  I found numerous references to it, but none which revealed its background).  And remember that Darcy never was as loathsome as Elizabeth thought at Hunsford.  It’s one of the reasons she later felt so ashamed of the unfairness of many of her accusations.

Q7:  So this novel is going to be among the HEA (Happily Ever After) variants, huh?  In that case, why would I waste my money on your effort rather than another author’s?

A7:  I could say because of my sterling character and the superb writing, but we former Marines are well known for our humility, so I won’t go there.  But I might mention that I attempt a few rather unusual subplots, one involving a somewhat unusual match that proved to be very difficult to deal with.  In fact, coming up with a resolution that satisfied my editor brought on the first case of “writer’s block” that I’d had to deal with.  Usually, the words come fairly easy for me, but I was stalled for several weeks and had to totally drop the effort and just do other stuff before I finally worked through the block.  But, difficult as it was, I’m very grateful to my editor, Christina Boyd, because her pushing me on this point and others made this novel better than it would have been.

Q8:  Are you going to kill off Wickham again?  I always love it when that scoundrel gets his just desserts.  I assume that you’ll at least have him arrested and put in debtor’s prison.

A8:  Actually, I’m going to try to do something that came to me after I was well into the writing of PP&S, and that’s to rehabilitate Wickham.  I agree with you about him being a scoundrel, so it was a stretch to come up with something that could cause him to change his behavior and mend his ways.  Since I was well into having the characters maintain a discreet reticence about divulging all the details of topics better left untouched, I came up with a suitably fearsome antagonist who could deal with Wickham.  For those who have followed other stops on the PP&S Blog Tour, you might have read an excerpt that hinted at Wickham, upon hearing the stunning news of Elizabeth Bennet’s engagement to Darcy, deciding that the only possible opportunity for any gain was to convince Mary King to elope with him before her uncle arrives to take her to Liverpool.  I will only say that my new character was that uncle and that he is not at all the man Wickham would have expected.

Q9:  Rehabilitating Wickham?  Hah!  I’ll believe that when I see it!

A9:  That comment has been made during this tour, so if you buy my book, you’ll be able to make up your own mind.  Perhaps if you post a review at or I’ll be able to assess my success or failure.  Rest assured that it was an ambitious goal, since Wickham had had many years in which to groove his lack of morals and honor, and I reasoned that it would take a soul-shattering event, or, in my case, sequence of events, to cause him to relinquish his normal modes of behavior and make a transition to a more admirable personage.

Q10:  What was that “unusual match” that you mentioned in a previous answer?  Matching Jane with Colonel Fitzwilliam?  You already did that in your fan fiction story, Determination.  How about giving us poor readers a little insight into the contents of this book you’re wanting us to buy instead of doing nothing but floating teasers in front of us!

A10:  But floating teasers is such fun!  But perhaps you’re right and it’s time to provide a little more information.  I commented in another blog stop that I enjoy playing with the character of Colonel Fitzwilliam because Austen provided very little background to him.  He appears briefly at Hunsford, is described as “about thirty, not handsome, but in person and address most truly the gentleman,” and his most significant conversation is in unwittingly alerting Elizabeth that Darcy played the main part in separating Bingley and Jane.  After that, he departs the stage, never to re-appear.  This gives me a lot of leeway in fleshing out his character, and I portray the good colonel as far more robust and manly than I believe Austen would have done.  But, as a parson’s very proper daughter, I doubt that she would have paid much attention to such things and would have been more influenced by his gentlemanly behavior, especially since that attribute was so significant in Pride and Prejudice.  So, since Col. Fitzwilliam needs to pay some attention to money when he marries, I attempt to match him with one character from the book who matches that distinction and is available, to wit, Caroline Bingley, who is likely still unmarried because she has spent possibly several years in futile pursuit of Darcy and is rather obnoxious to boot.  This is a tall order, almost as ambitious as my Wickham endeavor, because Caroline’s manner is not going to be any more attractive to Col. Fitzwilliam than it was to his cousin.  In fact, this proved more difficult in execution because I was not as familiar at just what might be needed to induce a woman to change than I was in what might do the same for a man.  As I mentioned previously, my editor wasn’t convinced by my first effort and challenged me to do it differently.  She wasn’t able to offer as much guidance as I would have preferred—she was just firmly of the opinion that significant changes and additional information was needed, so I kind of flailed about in the dark for several weeks before finally accomplishing this task to both our satisfaction.

Q11:  Another unlikely attempt to generate some false excitement for a rather lame excuse of a book, and I’ll believe that one when I see it too!  So, let’s sum it up:  No Hunsford fireworks, no suffering Darcy to find redemption through pain, you’re probably not going to match Jane with her beloved Bingley, and then you’re going to try to distract us with a couple of feeble subplots.  Is this an accurate summation, sir?  Is this the best you can do?

A11:  Yeah, pretty much, I suppose, for a person with the perception of a grapefruit and the civility of a long-time politician.

Q12:  Nice talk for sensitive, new-age author-type of dubious manhood!  How about we step outside and settle this like men?

A12:  That would be difficult to do, since there’s only one man here, and he’s the one answering the questions.

Q13:  Oh yeah?  Well, let me tell you . . .

A13:  <THUNK!>  <Silence for several seconds>  Oops!  It appears our interviewer didn’t have as hard a head as he appeared to.  So, Janet, thank you for the opportunity to discuss my book, and pardon me for the mess I left behind.  At least, all he appears to have is a bump on the head.  Perhaps it’ll improve his disposition.  And, since our dormant interviewer never got around asking about my future plans, I’ll mention that I a number of plot ideas to ponder as well as four stories I published as fan fiction that might well be turned into published novels if my publisher, Meryton Press, is interested.  Which brings up another point that may not have been clear previously, which is that this novel is completely new and was never published in any form, fan fiction or otherwise.  And, since the novel is rather long, at 345 words, the reader will have sufficient text to decide whether or not I succeeded in those premises which so offended our comatose interviewer.  Maybe he’ll learn some discretion before next time . . .

C. P. (Colin) Odom Author Bio:

By training, I’m an engineer, born in Texas, raised in Oklahoma, and graduated from the University of Oklahoma following a stint in the U.S. Marine Corps.  The next thirty-five years was spent as an engineer in Arizona with my first wife, Margaret, where we raised two sons before her untimely death from cancer.  Six years later, I married Jeanine, and we are raising our two girls that we adopted from China.  I have always been a voracious reader and collector of books, and my favorite genres were (and are) science fiction, historical fiction, histories, and, in recent years, reading (and later writing) Jane Austen romantic fiction. This late-developing interest was indirectly stimulated when I read my late wife's beloved Jane Austen books after her passing.  One thing led to another, and I now have three novels published:  A Most Civil Proposal (2013), Consequences (2014), and Pride, Prejudice, and Secrets (2015).  After retiring from engineering in 2011, I currently live in Chandler, Arizona with my family, two stubbornly untrainable dogs, and a quartet of very strange cats.  My hobbies are reading, woodworking (which helps with bookcases for all those books), college football (no NFL gladiatorial arenas for this citizen!), and Formula One racing (no NASCAR – at least they turn both ways in F1).


Colin Odom Facebook page:

C. P. Odom page at Meryton Press site:

Purchase at Amazon and B&N

Other books by C.P. Odom:

Amazon and B&N
Amazon and B&N

Wasn't that an entertaining interview? I LOVED it! Thank you, C.P. Odom for popping in and making this a very fun start to the week! I hope you had a good time writing it! You certainly lived up to my expectations and then some!  

One eBook is the giveaway and it is international. Please leave a comment or 'question for the author' below. Be sure to include you email so I can reach you should you be the lucky winner of this book! The giveaway ends at midnight, January 25. Good luck to all!

Monday, January 12, 2015

My share in the conversation...To Refine Like Silver

To Refine Like Silver by Jeanna Ellsworth

This latest release by Jeanna Ellsworth, To Refine Like Silver, is in keeping with her other works. It has a good story, is thought provoking and well-written as well as entertaining. As to be expected by anyone familiar with her writing, Ms. Ellsworth does another fabulous job of incorporating metaphors in her story. I am always fascinated with her ability to bring in the metaphor and tie it together with her story so that the thread runs seamlessly throughout her book giving it depth of thought and meaning, as well as conveying a certain relationship or theme. This one is no exception as suggested by the title.

The novel begins with Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy meeting in Derbyshire thus sparing them the disastrous first impressions of pride and prejudice at the Meryton Assembly. The Gardiners have become land owners in Derbyshire having inherited an estate and are neighbors to Mr. Darcy. Elizabeth is there to help them as she has helped her father run his estate. This allows for the meeting of Darcy and Elizabeth on more equal ground and gets them off to a much better start with less misunderstood feelings.

Elizabeth is a very strong character with much insight. Darcy is the caring and loving brother that we know him to be. He is a good man and cares deeply for Elizabeth. The Gardiner’s are lovely characters and good to Elizabeth. Mr. Bennet is a better father and manager of his estate.  Mrs. Bennet is not a nice lady but even the hardest hearts can be softened. Caroline Bingley does not have any redemptive qualities (and even stoops to a new low) but Mr. Wickham is allowed a few, surprisingly.

This book is the most different Pride & Prejudice retelling or variation that I have ever read. It is religious in tone without being ‘preachy’ and has much spiritual awakening and development by the main characters. Georgiana Darcy is in a very dark place, in depression and despair from her encounter with George Wickham at Ramsgate. She is having a difficult time coming to grips with the situation and living with it. Elizabeth recognizes that dark empty stare in Georgiana’s eyes remembering a time from her past when she had that same blank stare. Because of Elizabeth’s strength and courage, aided by the patience of her father and Jane, she was eventually able to dig herself out of the despair and to learn and grow spiritually. That enables her to help Georgiana where no one else has been able to in the past. Darcy sees the changes that are taking place and that makes his already strong feelings even stronger. There is also much spiritual progression for him too.

I enjoyed the relationship between Georgiana, Elizabeth and Darcy and their growth as individuals. As I already mentioned, this is a very different book, a very good book and one that gave me pause for thought and some soul searching.  Jeanna Ellsworth did a brilliant job of bringing home the points that she wanted to make with her story without overpowering the reader.  The subject is a serious one that deals with depression and healing and is done in a way that gives the story much meaning, wisdom and hope…hope being the key word. I am glad to have experienced this novel as I feel it is not one that is just read but is experienced with the characters. Thank you, Ms. Ellworth for another excellent book. 

As a special treat to along with the review, Jeanna Ellsworth is offering a signed paperback, US only, to one lucky person who leaves a comment below. Please leave your email in the comment so I will be able to contact you, should you be the randomly selected winner. The giveaway will end at midnight January 18, 2015.

And the winners are...

Winners for two books are being announced! This part is always such fun! Congratulations to all of you and I hope you are having a fabulous start to your New Year! Hopefully, these books will make it an even better start! Who doesn't love getting new books?

For Mr. Darcy's Challenge by Monica Fairview, the winner of the eBook is:

Vesper Meikle

The winners for Letters from the Heart by Rose Fairbanks are:

Paperback:  Anonymous - Eva Edmonds
eBook - Jasmin 

Emails have been sent to each of you so please email me as soon as possible with your correct contact information. 

As always, thank you for the support of my blog and Congratulations again on winning. A special 'thank you' to Monica Fairview and Rose Fairbanks for being my guests and having these wonderful giveaways.