Monday, June 11, 2018

True Love Comes to Delaford...Virginia Kohl

Available on Amazon
Happy Monday to everyone! Did you have a good weekend? Do you have lots planned for this week? I'm going to catch up on some things that need doing around my house and yard. Maybe 'catch up' is a bit strong and optimistic. I should be saying that I plan to make a dent on all that needs doing!

This morning I welcome a first time guest to More Agreeably Engaged and I couldn't be more pleased. Virginia Kohl is the author of the novel, True Love Comes to Delaford, which was released eight months ago today. Virginia is a decades long Regency enthusiast who loves Colonel Brandon. Good choice, Virginia. I think he is rather dreamy myself! :)

Congratulations on your debut novel and welcome. I've been looking forward to your visit!

                   
                                        *****


My introduction to Jane Austen and the Regency era was through her first novel Sense and Sensibility. From the beginning, my favorite characters were Colonel Brandon and Elinor Dashwood. I loved the genuine respect and esteem they had for one another. It was easy to imagine this devoted friendship developing into a lasting love match. True Love Comes to Delaford is their story.

Book Excerpt:

Elinor asked a question she had been wondering about since the night of their first meeting.

“Your Christian name would not happen to be Lucas by any chance, would it?”

Upon hearing the name, his expression turned into a deep-set frown, and his eyes darkened with an unreadable emotion.

“No, it is not.”

Miss Dashwood was momentarily taken aback by his reaction.

“I apologize, Colonel. It is evident your disdain for the name equals, if not exceeds, my own. I did not mean for my inquiry to cause you any unease. A previous encounter with a despicable cad has caused me to be quite wary. I have vowed to never even form a passing acquaintance with a man of that name,” she explained in a whisper.

 “You have nothing to apologize for. On the contrary, I must ask for your forgiveness. My own association with the moniker has been unfavorable to say the least. The accompanying memories are not welcome ones.”

After shaking his head in a moment of quiet reflection, he looked up with a warm smile.

“To answer your question, it is Christopher. Although, nobody ever refers to me as such.”

She considered the name.

“That seems to suit you well—much better than Lucas.”

He replied with a small laugh, “I am quite pleased my Christian name is not Lucas. Especially, since it appears you would never talk to me again if it were.”

When the two stood to join the others, Elinor had to crane her neck, given their height difference. She playfully smiled up at him.

“That would be most inconvenient, because I would also have to swear to loathe you for all eternity.”

Their banter was interrupted as squawking could be heard coming from the hallway. The sound continued to increase in volume and suddenly a large, scarlet macaw flew into the room. The guests stared, as if transfixed by the creature.

“So Shiny! So Shiny!”

Elinor’s head was turned towards the door. With its sharp beak rapidly opening and closing, the creature was headed directly for her.

Knowing the parrot could not veer off its flight path during the rapid descent, Colonel Brandon quickly grabbed Miss Dashwood around the waist, pulling her towards himself. She instinctively hugged him the moment the bird came to a crashing halt behind her. Startled, she looked up, still in the soldier’s arms. Elinor had never embraced another man besides her father. Her cheeks flushed at the warmth and security she felt; the sensations were unexpected, yet not at all unwelcome.


If you enjoyed this excerpt, True Love Comes to Delaford is available in both Kindle and trade paperback.

Author Bio:

Virginia Kohl has been fascinated with the regency era since discovering Jane Austen’s works at the age of eleven. While others dreamt of Willoughby, it was Colonel Brandon who stole Virginia’s heart from the very beginning.

Originally from Germany, Virginia Kohl shares her Texas home with her illustrator mother and faithful rescue dog. When not passing her love of learning on to her students, this college math professor enjoys reading, writing, and being an active member of her local writer’s guild.

Virginia Kohl can be reached at her website and on Facebook.

Her debut novel can be found on Amazon and Goodreads.

The accompanying tea blend can be found by clicking here.  

*****

It's been great having you visit, Ms. Kohl. By reading your bio, I find we have much in common. I live in Texas, have several rescue dogs, and taught high school college preparatory math for about thirteen years! I just don't write but I do draw! :)

The excerpt you shared has me hooked. I'm intrigued by Colonel Brandon and Elinor as a pair. Interesting, indeed. Then to have the scarlet macaw coming flying in directly at Elinor, well, I can't wait to know what is coming next! Thank you again, for stopping by and sharing with us. Best wishes with your debut book and Happy Eighth Month Anniversary!

Giveaway details J
Readers can post a comment to qualify for the drawing. One winner will receive a kindle copy of True Love Comes to Delaford (open to international readers). Giveaway will end at 11:59 PM on the 16th of June. Good luck to all. 

Monday, June 4, 2018

And the winners are...

It's winner announcement time! Yay! I love giving the names of the winners of books. It is so much fun to be a winner and almost as much fun to announce them.

Congratulations to the winners of the eBooks by Nicole Clarkston and Maria Grace!

London Holiday
by Nicole Clarkston


eBook winner:  Pamela Hunter 



Netherfield: Rogue Dragon
by Maria Grace


eBook winner:  BeckyC 

Thank you to all the readers for stopping by and commenting and to the authors for visiting and writing books and guest posts to share with us. 

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Catherine...Sue Barr

Today I am hosting an author spotlight for Sue Barr, whose novel, Catherine, was recently released. It is great to have Sue visit and allow us to learn a bit more about her as a person.  I love her willingness to share with readers, some of her personal experiences through her story about Catherine. That takes courage and I admire her for it. 

Thank you to Sue and Claudine for allowing me to host this spotlight. 


Purchase Links: CATHERINE is available exclusively on Amazon. You can purchase your copy HERE. This book is also available through Amazon’s KindleUnlimited

Author Spotlight ~ Sue Barr

If it weren’t for my very own Top Gun, (aka Dear Hubby), I might never have started writing. He always said I should write a book and I’d shake my head, wondering where in the world did he come up with that idea. I guess he knew more than me (again) because in early 2009 I came home from work and began writing. As simple as that. December 2010, I sold my first manuscript to Turquoise Morning Press under a pen name, Madison J. Edwards, and from there had one full length novel, four novellas, one collection and two boxed sets published. I was basically dumped into the deep end of the publishing pool and had to learn how to tread water or drown.

In 2014 I had all my rights reverted and began self-publishing under my own name. Since 2015 I’ve published three contemporary romances as well as my first #JAFF book - CAROLINE: Pride & Prejudice continued… Book One. Not once have I regretted this choice. I’m having a blast. I’m meeting wonderful new people every day and the #JAFF reading/writing community is warm and inviting.

I retired in 2015 and write semi-full-time. I say semi because for me, writing is fun and I’m pretty busy as the full-time care giver for our grandson. Also, hubby’s work takes him out of country so when he’s home I like to spend time with him. After thirty-five years of marriage we still like one another’s company. In some ways this is a blessing and at other times a detriment because when it comes to finishing the book I need a fire lit beneath my keester. I’m not a procrastinator, per se, I just finish things… later.

CATHERINE was an interesting story for me to write for two things. First off, I hated that she’s always thought of as a silly girl. Sometimes we behave in ways because it’s expected and I wanted to round out her personality a bit more than what we’ve read in canon. The second reason came about after I’d started her story.

We know, from the tag line that Catherine has a deep dark secret which she believes makes her unmarriageable. As I plotted out the story line, (gasp from all my friends who know me to be a true-blue pantser), I struggled with what would make her think she could never marry. Early on I decided on a course of action. Without giving away the reason, I can tell you that I drew from personal experience. What Catherine experienced and thought are things I’ve experienced and thought and these actions/reactions mold your character. Like Catherine, it made me stronger. Like Catherine, it made me have great empathy for others who have struggled with this. And, like Catherine, I became more guarded with who I allowed close. My husband, who I based Lord George on, was persistent and refused to let me ‘get away’. How I love that man.

Thank you for joining me in Catherine’s launch. I hope you buy (win?) a copy and let me know what you think.

BLURB:

Catherine Bennet, known as Kitty to close friends and family, knows this better than anyone. She also knows that she will never marry and it never bothered her before she met Lord George Kerr at Elizabeth and Darcy’s wedding. He’s determined to breach the walls of defense she’d carefully constructed around her heart, and she’s just as determined to stay the course.

Some secrets cannot be shared
Lord George Kerr knows this better than anyone. For five years, as a spy for His Majesty the King, he played the part of a Rake, concealing his espionage activities beneath a blanket of brothels, drink and loose women. Even though he’s forced to resume his regular life within London’s finest society, he still must keep some things hidden.
One thing he does not hide is his attraction to Miss Catherine Bennet of Longbourn. Enraptured by her beauty and warmth of character, he plunges headlong into winning her heart, only to find it carefully guarded and she’s unwilling to give him even a small pinch of hope.

Some things are beyond your control
When circumstances bring Kitty’s secret into the open, she fears the tenuous bonds of friendship she’s forged with Lord George will be lost forever along with whatever love he proclaims to have for her. With the very lives of England’s vast network of spies working undercover in Bonaparte’s France hanging in the balance, she’s forced to face her worst nightmare.
Her secret is laid bare, can he love her enough to overcome what he learns?

For more information about Sue and her books, check out her website:


From there you can follow her on Facebook or Twitter or hop on over to her blog and find out how boring her life really is…. While there, don’t forget to sign up for her announcement only newsletter. No spam. Pinky promise.

CATHERINE is available exclusively on Amazon. You can purchase your copy HERE:

Author Biography:

Sue Barr, transplanted Prairie Girl, now lives in beautiful Southwestern Ontario, Canada with her retired Air Force hubby, close to their two sons and families. When not busy writing she loves to read and bake, watch cooking shows and Survivor (don’t judge).
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.

When Sue retired in 2015 from the London Police Service, she re-discovered #JAFF. Prior to that she’d read Pamela Aiden’s trilogy and, like all of us here, watched every movie ever made of Jane Austen’s books, as well as the spin-offs. Her favorite is Lost in Austen.

About that time, her childhood friend (Suzan Lauder) introduced her to A Happy Assembly. It wasn’t too long before the plot bunnies escaped and Sue began to wonder ‘whatever happened to Caroline Bingley after Charles and Mr. Darcy became engaged to the Bennet sisters?’ From that, CAROLINE was born, followed by CATHERINE which we are talking about today. In the works is GEORGIANA and who knows what else will follow….

Author Links:



Blog Tour Schedule

May 28 / My Jane Austen Book Club/ Launch Post & Giveaway
May 29 / From Pemberley to Milton/ Excerpt Post & Giveaway
May 30 / Just Jane 1813/ Guest Post & Giveaway
May 31 / More Agreeably Engaged/ Author Spotlight & Giveaway
June 1 /  So Little Time… / Excerpt Post & Giveaway
June 2 / Liz’s Reading Life / Book Review & Giveaway
June 4 / Diary of an Eccentric /Book Review & Giveaway
June 5 / My Vices and Weaknesses / Book Review & Giveaway
June 6 / Savvy Verse & Wit / Guest Post & Giveaway
June 7 / Margie’s Must Reads/Book Review Post & Giveaway
June 8 /  Obsessed with Mr. Darcy / Book Review & Giveaway
June 9 / My Love for Jane Austen / Excerpt Post & Giveaway
June 10 /  Babblings of a Bookworm / Excerpt Post & Giveaway
June 11 /  Austenesque Reviews/ Guest Post & Giveaway

Giveaways

Three winners will receive a copy of Catherine. Two winners will receive eBooks
and one winner will receive an autographed paperback book of “Catherine.”
All giveaways are open to international winners. 

Terms and conditions:
Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once each day and by commenting daily on a blog
post or review that has a giveaway attached to this tour. Entrants must provide the name
of the blog where they commented.

Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and the giveaway is international.
Each entrant is eligible to win one eBook or paperback book.

Rafflecopter
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congratulations on your new release, Sue. I wish you much success. Please come back anytime.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Sara Marks...Phi Alpha Pi

I'm delighted to have Sara Marks back for a visit. Sara first visited when her book, Modern Persuasion was released. She is here today with Phi Alpha Pi, a P&P modern story. She is sharing an excerpt and a wonderful giveaway.  Thank you, Sara, for stopping by today and best wishes with your new release!

I'd like to thank Lola from Lola's Blog Tours for organizing this blog tour and for inviting me to participate. The blog tour runs from May 14th through May 28th. Click the following link to the blog tour schedule.


Phi Alpha Pi (21st Century Austen #2)
by Sara Marks
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age category: New Adult, Adult
Release Date: May 28, 2018

Blurb:

Phi Alpha Pi is the oldest and largest sorority on campus and new president Lizbeth has a busy senior year ahead of her. She’s determined to keep her sorority in good standing on campus after a year on academic probation. She’s trying to manage the new sorority house manager, Mrs. C, who has her own ideas about how to support the sorority sisters. All while trying to find balance with her own academic goals to complete an honors thesis, graduate, and decide her future plans. 

The last thing Lizbeth expects is her anger when Wil, a new member of the Alpha Pi fraternity, pushes every one of her buttons. Lizbeth finds Wil, a new transfer to the university with his best friend, to be rude, snobby, and judgmental. Even though she tries to avoid him, he seems to be everywhere, scowling with displeasure when he sees her.  That is, until his Thanksgiving proclamation of love.  That causes Lizbeth to reconsider how she sees the world.

You can find Phi Alpha Pi on Goodreads

You can buy Phi Alpha Pi here:
- B&N
- Kobo

Excerpt:

As one of the largest and oldest sororities on campus, there was usually someone in the Phi Alpha Pi two-story Greek revival style mansion. Members were eating, studying, or simply enjoying each other’s company. Today there were twenty women moving into their rooms and unpacking for the start of the school year. Lizbeth, as chapter president, had been one of the first sisters to arrive, but still hadn’t unpacked. She and the other officers were too busy helping their sisters move in. Lizbeth had already put out a small, literal fire from a fallen candle. Then she put out figurative fires of roommate mix-ups and fights about who got which bed. Now Lizbeth sat alone in her room, exhausted and anxious to get out of the house, if only for a few hours.
Lizbeth had never been this involved in the sorority. She had agreed to the position, for her senior year, to help keep the sorority off academic probation for low grades. This had been a looming threat in the past. Lizbeth had helped by teaching the sorority sisters ways to get organized, creating study schedules, and helping create an atmosphere that turned studying into social events. She was glad her best friend Jane, who was Membership VP, was helping with the move in. There were sisters that Lizbeth didn’t know and relationships she didn’t understand. Jane was good at soothing hurt feelings and mediating fights. She had to run a membership meeting later in the day. Rush Week, the week before classes started so potential new members could attend all events, launched tomorrow.
"Lizbeth, did you see the shirts she got the board members?" Marie said, entering her room.
Marie, the sorority treasurer, was holding a hot pink T-shirt up to her body. At twenty years old, she was petite and wore her black hair long with bangs that nearly covered her eyes. When she pulled them back she revealed bright hazel eyes and a nose just a bit too big for her face. Marie was Lizbeth’s “little sister,” a bond between sorority sisters that often lasted the rest of their lives. As their resident gadget geek, she always had the latest technology toy. She had the first Fitbit, the first GoPro, was also the first to adopt new social media, and had happily taken over the sorority's web presence.
Lizbeth had seen the shirt Marie was holding in the gift basket their housemother had given each officer as they moved in. Mrs. C, as they were instructed to call her, was brand new this year and a bit over-eager. She had welcomed each of the officers with a huge hug and said basket, which had also included tons of candy, candles, and school supplies. She gave each sister a candle as she moved in. It was one of these very candles that Lizbeth had put out when it fell and burned the carpet. Their previous housemother had never been this excited to see them.
"Yes, I saw it," Lizbeth said with a sigh.
"Lizbeth, it says, 'It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.'"
"Well, she is up on her Austen,” Lizbeth said with a shrug.
Lizbeth sat down on her bed and let herself fall back on the bare mattress.
Marie put her hands on her hips and sighed before responding.
"You know that's not the point. Some of us aren't here to find rich husbands."
"I believe it was the goal for many sisters in her day. She is new and excited. She will learn some of us aren't like this anymore."
"She asked me to wear it tonight."
"No, you’ll wear an official sorority shirt; it’s tradition."
Marie huffed irritably.
"Are we paying for this stuff? She hasn't handed me receipts, but I’m worried she will."
"Let me know if she does. I think this is her gift to us. She made these herself. I mean, the font is comic sans."
Marie left the room and Lizbeth heard her door bang. All the bedrooms were on the second floor of the house, but the two officer bedrooms were adjacent, so they could all work together. Lizbeth lay back on her bed wishing she wasn't living this close to Marie and her roommate Lydia. She closed her eyes for a few moments, hoping to catch a quick nap.
"I think we have everyone settled and don't need to worry about anything until the meeting starts."
Lizbeth opened her eyes to see Jane come into their room. The only good thing about having to live at the sorority house, as far as Lizbeth was concerned, was rooming with Jane. She had only joined Phi Alpha Pi so she and Jane could be together their freshman year. Last year, when the sorority had just come off an academic probation for low grades, Jane and a few graduates had begged Lizzie to run for president. The year had been difficult for some of the sisters, but Lizbeth had emerged as a leader. There was only one other candidate for president: Lydia. Lydia was the de-facto leader of the un-academic sisters and the worst of the lot. In the end, Lydia had taken on the Programming VP role, something she was very good at. Lydia had already planned so many mixers that Lizbeth had forced her to cancel some.
"Is it true there is a party tonight after the meeting?" Lizbeth asked Jane.
"Yes, Lydia planned with the guys at Alpha Pi. They have a few new brothers who transferred from another school and they want to make them feel welcome before Rush Week starts. Do you remember Caroline? Her older brother Charlie is one of those members," Jane added.
Lizbeth nodded, vaguely recalling the woman who had transferred to the university and wanted to get involved at this chapter of Phi Alpha Pi.
"Mrs. C is all abuzz about them because they are so rich."
"Exactly. She thinks Caroline's brother could be a boyfriend for one of us. It is so sweet of her to want to help us."
Lizbeth wished that Jane was being sarcastic, but she knew otherwise. Jane was the kindest person in the world. Jane liked almost everyone, so Lizbeth knew there was something wrong with you if you were the rare person Jane didn’t like (and vice versa).
"You’re too sweet," Lizbeth said.
"Lizbeth, she's recently widowed. Her children are all off living their own lives. She wants to take care of someone and we need someone looking out for us."
Lizbeth rolled her eyes.
"I understand, and I feel horrible for her. I mean, you saw the shirts. God forbid we learn to take care of ourselves rather than hunt for rich men to marry."
"Some members actually want to meet their future husband. Let her get used to us and learn what we need. I’m sure she’ll calm down. If not, well... you’ll certainly be a good balance for her. That is one of the strengths we value in you."
Lizbeth tossed a stuffed bear at her best friend before getting up and organizing her half of the room.

*****

Check out the first book in this series! Modern Persuasion
"Tension builds as they each learn about the current version of the person they once loved and resolve the ramifications of their choices."

Links:

- B&N
- Kobo


About the Author:

Born in Boston, MA and raised in Miami, FL, Sara Marks has two masters degrees and plans to never stop getting over educated.  She likes the idea of having all the academic regalia she can ever possess and winning with the most degrees in her family.  By day she's an academic librarian.  In what little free time she has, she also knits and plays with her dog Cedric Doggory.

You can find and contact Sara Marks here:
- Mailing List: http://eepurl.com/cuCrNf

Giveaways

There are two tour wide giveaways during the blog tour of Phi Alpha Pi! There is a US Only Giveaway for a prize pack and an international giveaway for 14 e-copies and a print copy of Phi Alpha Pi!

US Only Giveaway

One winner will win a Prize Pack containing:
- Mrs. C's homemade officers shirt in Comic Sans (you pick XL or XXL)
- A Phi Alpha Pi sorority sticker, candle, and bracelet (some of the items mentioned in the story).
- An illustration by cover designer Risa Rodil
- A rooster dishtowel (so you can make cock jokes with Lizbeth and Wil)
- Autographed printed copies of Modern Persuasion, A Little More Modern Persuasion, and Phi Alpha Pi (not pictured)



For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:
  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Open for all Giveaway

These are the prizes you can win:
- 14 winners will each win an e-copy of Phi Alpha Pi by Sara Marks
- 1 winner will win a print copy of Phi Alpha Pi by Sara Marks

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sara Marks, I hope your blog tour is going great and that you are having a good time. Thank you again, for letting me be a part of it. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Maria Grace...Netherfield: Rogue Dragon

Today, I am welcoming Maria Grace to More Agreeably Engaged. Her latest book in Jane Austen's Dragons, is featured.  Netherfield: Rogue Dragon is Book #3 in this series. I don't know about all of you, but I love all the covers of the three books. All of them are featured below with the giveaway information.

Ms. Grace has a lovely post and an excerpt to share with all of us, Dear Readers. I invite to sit back and enjoy! 

*****

Elizabeth tells dragon stories: Laidy worm

I’m utterly tickled to announce that the Pride and Prejudice arc of my Jane Austen’s Dragons series is complete with the release of Netherfield: Rogue Dragon.  Now wait, I can see you rolling your eyes and hear you muttering, “Dragons? Really? Seriously—dragons?  Why—just why?”

But believe it or not, I really do have an excellent answer. You’re rolling your eyes at me again, but give me a chance and hear me out. If you take a glance at English mythology, it is full of dragons:  the Lambton Worm, the Dragon of Mordiford, the Dragon of Unsworth, the Dragon of Wantly, the Dragon of Longwitton, the Dragon of Loschy Hill, the Bisterne Dragon just to name a few. Even the father of fabled King Arthur has a dragon connection. King Uther Pendragon was said to have seen a dragon shaped comet that inspired the dragons that graced the standards he carried. Oh, and there’s Beowulf of course, and the tale of St. George and the Dragon…

Jane Austen herself could easily have been familiar with many of these dragon legends. So maybe, just a few of these mythological denizens actually belonged in Regency England.

One of the fascinating—and crazy making—aspects of mythology is the number of different accounts of the same story. Since, until the early modern era, tales relied on oral tradition for transmission, each teller would craft a slightly different version of the story, making finding the ‘real’ story nearly impossible. While there were moments that made me want to beat my head against the wall, it did provide an interesting line of thinking: What if…. (A word of caution, when a writer says “what if”, it might be a good time to politely excuse yourself…)

So, what if Uther Pendragon saw a real dragon, not a comet as most stories suggested? Would not others have seen it, too? Wait, no—what if the dragons had a way of hiding in plain sight that only a select few people could see through and Uther was one of those…

Suddenly, I saw a world, hundreds of years removed from medieval England, where mankind and dragonkind could coexist, governed by the Blue Order, an organization founded by Uther Pendragon himself, on human and dragon partnership, dedicated to protecting the safety and interests of both species while keeping the dragons secret from the very large segment of the human population with hearing insufficient to detect dragon voices.

Similarly, the myths of the Lambton Worm and the Dragon of Mordiford influenced the development of Darcy’s and Elizabeth’s characters. So it seems only fitting, that somewhere along the way, our dear heroine should find herself relating one of those dragon myths that Austen herself might have known. 
‘The Laidly Worm of Spindleston Heughs’, sometimes known as the ‘The Laidly Worm of Banborough’ or ‘Bamburgh’ was preserved from folklore in a ballad first published in 1771, something that was certainly accessible to Jane Austen during her lifetime. (Laidly is a Scottish expression meaning ‘loathsome’.)  In this excerpt from Longbourn: Dragon Entail, the second book of the series, Elizabeth finds herself telling this tale to while away the time during a long carriage ride:
_____________

Mr. Wickham escorted her to the Forsters’ house, where she paid a quarter of an hour’s call on Mrs. Forster. Then, he ushered her out the back door, and into the mews where the carriage, sans driver, awaited. He handed her into the carriage where her bag waited.

It was newer and better maintained than Papa’s. Probably refitted in honor of Colonel Forster’s wedding. The leather still smelt fresh and new, and the side glass was sparkling clean.

Had Mr. Wickham arranged for this, for there to be no witnesses to her escape? He was a far better friend to her than Mr. Collins would ever be, able to see the distress of another soul and work to do something to alleviate it. What more noble act could there be?

The coach rocked as the driver and a groomsman climbed aboard. Mr. Wickham opened the door and handed a very groggy maid inside. She staggered to her seat, half sitting on Elizabeth in the process.

“Pray forgive me, Miss. I get powerful sick in a coach. The mistress give me a cordial to help.” She giggled and settled into her seat. “I feel so very boosey and flustered.”

Mr. Wickham pulled the door closed behind them and took the opposite seat. “A strong cordial will have that effect. There is no need for concern. You might sleep as we drive, and you will feel better when we arrive in London.”

The girl yawned and leaned into the corner. She was softly snoring before they reached the outskirts of Meryton.

“She truly cannot tolerate the carriage. It is best for her to sleep.” Mr. Wickham leaned back and extended his legs just a little. “I have done as I promised, perhaps even a wee bit more. So now I shall make a demand upon you. But just a small one.” He winked.

April, in her typical fairy dragon way, voiced her protest, chittering and hunkering down in her grumpiest posture. It might have been intimidating from a larger dragon, but from a fluffle-bit who fit in the palm of one’s hand, it was more endearing than daunting.

“And what might that be?” She drew her cloak over her chest.

“It is three hours to London. I require some form of entertainment. I know you to be a fine storyteller. Why do you not tell me your favorite myth? But not one from a far-off place. I wish to hear a myth from our own fair countryside.” He leaned into the squabs.

“I fear that Hertfordshire does not have many stories attached to it.”

“Then what of your favorite myth of England? Surely there is something for you to choose from in all our shores.”

From the way he looked at April, surely he was asking for a children’s teaching story about dragons. 

But April would not tolerate it. Best not to agitate her.

Still though, there were stories that would reveal nothing about the current state of dragons or the Blue Order.

“That seems little enough to ask. Have you ever heard of the Laidly Wyrm of Spindleston Heugh?”

April harrumphed, but did not twitter. 

A broad smile lit his face. “No I have not, but I look forward to doing so now.” He balanced one boot atop the other and laid his hands over his stomach. “In the words of your young cousins, tell me a story Miss Elizabeth.”

She smoothed her skirt over her lap. “Many centuries ago, in the Kingdom of Northumbria, Northumberland to us now, of course, the good king who lived in Bamburgh Castle lost his beloved wife to a most tragic death. She left behind a son, the prince Childe Wynd, and a daughter, the princess Margaret. Childe Wynd was his father’s son with a brave heart and a lust for adventure that drove him to rove farther and farther from home. After his mother’s death, his jaunts became journeys, and the journeys became longer and longer until he crossed the sea. In fear that he would never see his son again, the king took comfort from his daughter. Margaret was the image of her mother, beautiful as no other woman in Northumbria and gentle and kind in equal measure to her beauty.”

“A handsome prince, a beautiful princess, what more does a fairy story need?” Mr. Wickham laced his hands behind his head.

“Dragons. It seems he wants to hear of nothing but us,” April grumbled against her neck.

Elizabeth stroked her ruffled feather-scales smooth. “An evil witch sir. What kind of story would there be without one?”

“So then tell me of this witch.”

“After years without his wife, the castle was cold and lonely. The king’s judgement had been addled by too much wine. He called for eligible women to be brought to him. A beautiful, but cruel witch caught his eye and soon became his wife. Poor Margaret, she was bereft. She saw the witch for what she was, but the King would not believe her.”

Mr. Wickham leaned forward a bit. “Ah, now it gets interesting.”

“The witch cast an enchantment over the poor princess.” Elizabeth hunched over her lap and worried her hands together, cackling. “I weird ye to be a Laidly wyrm, and borrowed shall ye never be, until Childe Wynd, the King's own son come to the Heugh and thrice kiss thee. Until the world comes to an end, borrowed shall ye never be.”

“The princess became a dragon?”

“Indeed she did. By the witch’s spell, she became a dragon.”

“What kind?”

“The myth calls it a wyrm, but I think she must still have been beautiful even in the transformation. I have always considered she became an amphithere. They are more beautiful than even the loveliest of wyrms.”

Though some might not agree, there were some very pretty wyrms.

“What do they look like?”

“Of course, they are not real, but according to myth, they are not wyrms, but enormous snakes the color of jade. Unlike any serpent, they have great feathered wings with iridescent feathers, glistening in every color. Their wings are powerful enough for flight, although they only do so under great duress. Sometimes they are depicted with powerful forepaws as well. Their heads are as serpents, but well-feathered, and their eyes, penetrating.”

“Frightful or fascinating?”

“Both, I would imagine. It is said they are creatures of exquisite beauty.”

“So then, very fitting for a lovely princess.”


“Indeed. I suppose in that, the witch was merciful.”

“Or limited, perhaps. Her magic might not have been strong enough to completely transform a woman of such beauty.” His brows flashed up in a playful challenge.

“That is indeed an interesting interpretation. It sounds as though you have spent a great deal of time considering fairy tales, sir.”

“It had been a pleasant pastime during some of my darker times. I have always found the character of a prince removed from his inheritance rather compelling.”

April shook her head and snorted. Perhaps she was right. That was a bit much.

Wickham chuckled. Perhaps he did not take himself as seriously as April did. “Do not leave me hanging. You must finish your story.”

“Of course. The Laidly Wyrm, the princess, left the castle, banished to be a rogue dragon, without a territory to call her own, facing death if she trespassed on the territory of another, scourge to man and beast alike, stealing what she could to preserve life and limb. Finally she made her way to Spindleston Heugh on the Great Whin Sill escarpment. It is said that the stone can still be found in the parish of Easington, Northumberland, you know.”

“I should very much like to see it one day.”

Should she mention that Papa had taken her there? April probably would not approve. She probably should not have mentioned the specific location at all.

Botheration, it was very easy to talk to him.

“Perhaps I would see the Laidly wyrm there, if I were very lucky.” He stroked his chin.

“Even if you were very lucky, the Laidly Wyrm is naught but myth. Even if she were not, you would not find her, for you have not heard the end of her tale.”

“Do not keep me in suspense! I do not see how you ever get children to sleep if you constantly keep a story so provoking.”

“You are being quite vexing yourself. Naughty children who interrupt do not get to hear the end of a story.”

“Pray tell me what must I do to hear the end?” He smiled beatifically.

April huffed and tucked her head under her wing.

“I suppose that will do. In any case, after ten years the prince returned. He expected to find his sister a grown woman, maybe even married. But instead, her chambers were empty. The witch told him that his sister had been eaten by the Laidly Wyrm and if he wanted to honor her memory, he would avenge her life and bring back the head and wings of the wyrm.”

“A witch in all ways. Horrid woman.”

“Indeed she was. She even gave the prince a dragon-slayer sword with which to perform the deed.”

April shuddered. She had seen the one Mr. Darcy had carried and it had given her nightmares for weeks.

“Childe Wynd rode off in search of the Laidly Wyrm. When he reached the spindlestone, he called out a challenge to the dragon.”

“In the fashion of heroes everywhere, I imagine.”

“They are rather a predictable lot, are they not? Princess Margaret recognized his voice and hurried down to see him. Naturally he did not recognize her in dragon form and brandished the sword at her.”

“I should say he is lucky that he did not get himself immediately crisped by fiery breath.”

“Do not be silly. Amphitheres do not breathe fire. That is a myth about the myth.” She laughed.

There, April should be satisfied that he really did not know anything about real dragons. No feathered dragons breathed fire.

“Princess Margaret restrained her draconic instincts. She extended her wings and hovered over Childe Wynd’s head, singing a song they had made up as children, one none other knew. Her voice was sweet and high, unmistakable in his ears. ‘Margaret?’ he cried. She told him of the witch’s curse and that her only hope was her brother’s kiss.”

“And of course, he simply believed her, never once considering it was the sort of trap a clever dragon might set for him? That is the way soldiers get killed.” He snorted and folded his arms over his chest.

“I suppose you are correct, taking an unfamiliar dragon at its word is not a mark of wisdom, but this is a fairy story, remember. And in this story, he embraces his sister and kisses her. She transforms before his eyes, all scales and feathers falling away. Once again, she is a young woman, even more beautiful for her trials than she had been before.”

“And they lived happily ever after.” He rolled his eyes.

What had he been hoping for, bloodshed and tragedy?

“Not yet. They gathered the scales for Margaret’s dowry, enough to fill several chests, and secreted them in a crag under the spindlestone. The feathers they bundled up to bring to the witch, proof the dragon was no more.”

He sat up a little straighter.

“Treasure would catch his attention,” April muttered.

“The feathers carried a powerful enchantment upon them, the same form that the witch had cast upon the princess. When Childe Wynd presented them to the witch, she picked one up and was immediately transformed herself.”

“Into a dragon?”

“No, each feather contained only a small measure of transformation magic, not enough to accomplish so large a transformation. She was instead turned into a toad.”

Wickham snorted. “A toad? A fitting fate, I should say.”

“Childe Wynd became king and assisted his sister in marrying a very suitable man. And now we have come to our happy ending.”

Mr. Wickham yawned. “Just in time I suppose. Your voice is quite soothing.”

“I am glad you approve, sir.”

“You should not have told him that tale.” April nipped her ear.

Nothing would please her. Poor little dear was so unsettled. Who could blame her?

But still, the story was quite safe. Who could believe that a princess might be turned into a dragon? That was impossible. The truth—that Margaret was turned out by a cruel stepmother and taken in to live among a mated pair of amphitheres who were incubating a clutch—was hardly like the story at all.

Still, the real Lady Margaret had always been her heroine. She had been instrumental in bringing an understanding of the amphitheres to the Blue Order. For her efforts, she had been made the first woman to hold office in the Order.

Perhaps, if the Gardiners did not take her in, she could find help among some sympathetic dragons.

The outskirts of London rose up on the horizon. It would not be long now before she would know if she would have to resort to that.
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But why would Elizabeth have been riding in a carriage with Wickham, much less telling him stories? Check out Jane Austen’s Dragons to find out.
If you’re not totally hooked by now, here’s a preview of Pemberley: Mr. Darcy’s Dragon, to give you a taste of this world: http://randombitsoffascination.com/2016/10/03/pemberley-mr-darcys-dragon-ch-1/
What do you think about dragons and Jane Austen? Leave me a comment below for a chance to win your choice of e-books from this series. The giveaway will end at 11:59 P.M. on the 26th of May. Good luck to all! Thank you Maria Grace for including a giveaway for my readers.



About the Author


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

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

She can be contacted at:


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Thank you, Maria Grace.for visiting my blog! I always love to have you visit and look forward to whatever you have in store for us. I always know it will be good! :) This post was no exception. 

I wish you continued success with the Jane Austen's Dragons series. I'm hearing many good things about these books. Congratulations on this latest release.

Ms. Grace is giving away an eBook of your choice as mentioned above in bold type. If you are not sure which book you would like, should you be the winner, I am including the blurb along with the book cover for each book.

 #1 Pemberley: Mr. Darcy’s Dragon

England is overrun by dragons of all shapes and sizes. Most people are  blissfully unaware of them and the Pendragon Treaty that keeps the peace between human and dragon kind.  Only those born with preternatural hearing, like Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet are able to hear and converse with dragonkind.

 When the first firedrake egg laid in a century is stolen from Pemberley,  the fragile dragon peace teeters on collapse. Darcy has no choice but to chase down the thief, a journey that leads him to quaint market town of Meryton and fellow Dragon Keeper, Elizabeth Bennet.  

 Elizabeth shares a unique bond with dragons, stronger than anything Darcy has ever experienced. More than that, her vast experience and knowledge of dragon lore may be the key to uncovering the lost egg.  But Elizabeth can’t stand Darcy’s arrogance and doesn’t trust him to care properly for a precious baby firedrake. After all, he already lost the egg once. What’s to prevent it from happening again?



#2 Longbourn: Dragon Entail

Her father and the family estate dragon insist she marry the last man in the world whom she could ever be prevailed on to wed. Will the help of her minor dragon friends be enough for her to she escape the fate of the dragon entail?
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Darcy thought his problems were over when Pemberley hatched and successfully imprinted on humans. But baby dragons prove far more difficult than any dragon lore prepared him for. Only  Elizabeth Bennet's notes offer him any help. When his imperious Aunt Catherine takes matters into her own hands, things take a turn for the worse and Pemberley’s life hangs in the balance. He desperately needs more of Elizabeth’s help, but she ignores all of his requests.
Elizabeth, though, has problems of her own. After the Bennet family dragon sent Pemberley away, life at Longbourn was supposed to return to normal and Elizabeth get on with the all-important business of marrying the heir to her father’s estate. Except that he is the last man in the world whom she could ever be prevailed on to marry—a bumbling, addle-pated dragon-hater who demands she gives up the dragons she lives for.
Can she, with the help of her dragon friends, find her way back to Pemberley before they both suffer their fate from the Dragon Entail?
#3 Netherfield Rogue Dragon
Elizabeth Bennet thought she was prepared to do anything to make the Dragon Conclave accept her beloved young dragon, Pemberley, into the Blue Order, but she had not anticipated it would leave her banished from her ancestral home and betrothed to none other than Mr. Darcy. But before Elizabeth and Darcy wed, they must find a dangerous rogue dragon before it provokes a war amongst the dragons and brings the fragile peace between dragons and mankind to a catastrophic end.

Nothing written in the annals of dragon lore has prepared Elizabeth to manage a dragon not governed by the Blue Order. Dragons have always loved her, but this one finds her arrogant, selfish and insensitive to others. With only her instincts to guide her, she must convince the rogue of her good intentions before the Blue Order loses patience and decides on more drastic measures.

Called away to the other side of the kingdom, trying to settle the dragons' unrest, Darcy learns the nature of the force poisoning the rogue dragon  against Elizabeth. One nearer and dearer than they could have imagined.

Can Elizabeth and  Darcy convince with rogue dragon to cooperate before darker forces turn it against them, without destroying the fragile bonds uniting the couple?

Universal Buy Links:

Pemberley: Mr. Darcy’s Dragon https://books2read.com/Pemberley-Mr-Darcys-Dragon

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