Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Ghosts and The Maidenstone Lighthouse With Sally Smith O'Rourke

Do you believe in ghosts? After reading this guest post by author, Sally Smith O'Rourke, you just might! Please join me in welcoming Ms. O'Rourke as she shares a very intriguing ghost story and then gives us the awesome pleasure of reading an excerpt from her book, The Maidenstone Lighthouse... There is also a giveaway...more info at the bottom of the post!

In the dim light of pre-dawn I woke up, surprised to see a woman about my age at the time (32) sitting in a rocking chair looking out the sliding glass door that led from our bedroom to a small patio. She stared straight ahead as she rocked. She was wearing a long dress. Although I could not determine what era her clothing represented, her hair was in a style reminiscent of the Gibson girls from around 1890. I woke Mike, he saw her, too. As we continued to watch her she faded away.

We’d seen a ghost, it wasn’t the first time for either of us but it was the first time we had seen the same ghost at the same time. It was kind of exciting. I tried to research the history of the house we were living in and the area but found nothing and we never saw her again.

Do you believe in ghosts? As the previous paragraphs indicate I do. Our lady ghost and my love of lighthouses were the inspiration for one of the books my husband and I wrote together; The Maidenstone Lighthouse.

Having grown up in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, I’m not sure whence my fascination with lighthouses comes but I’ve always loved them. After watching a television documentary on working lighthouses and hearing the history and legends that surround so many of them, I suggested to Mike (my late husband) that we write a book about a haunted lighthouse.

As with all the projects we did together no particulars were decided on ahead of time except for the basics. Being fans of Antique Roadshow we made our heroine an antique appraiser. Mike’s wonderful sense of humor created a business partner for Susan who adds fun and depth to the story.

Since lighthouses on the whole are over one hundred years old, the house in which Susan lived had to be old as well. But Susan is a young, modern woman living in New York City so we had her inherit a family home; the one she spent summers in with her great aunt. There needed to be a reason for her to leave the city to spend time in a small Rhode Island town. The loss of her boyfriend, Bobby becomes the catalyst for much of the story.

While staying at the family homestead Susan sees the ghost of a young woman she recognizes from an old family photograph, a young woman whom no one in the family would talk about and is present in only the one single picture.

Susan’s search for answers as to who, what, why and how the woman died brings her in contact with Dan, an old high school crush who is the town historian and helps her uncover the dark secret held by her family for generations.

Excerpt from
The Maidenstone Lighthouse

Dressed all in white and shimmering with a faint fluorescent glow, she stood motionless beside the casement window farthest from my bed. Her back was turned to me and she was holding aside one of the sheer lace curtains, gazing intently through the rain-streaked glass into
the black and forbidding night beyond.
At first I thought I was imagining her, the way children sometimes imagine they can see the figures of animals in the puffy white clouds of a summer’s day.
Limned by the faint blue light of the fairy lamp and half-hidden by the shadow of Damon’s wardrobe, she looked like a creature of pure imagination. The simple, flowing lines of her diaphanous gown merged seamlessly into the folds of the sheer floor-length curtain in her hand.

And she stood as still and as silent as a sculpture of palest Carrera marble.
Stunned by the eerie sight before me, I felt my mouth go dry. The blood was pounding in my temples as I slowly sat up and stared, half-expecting her slender form to vanish among the deep, lurking shadows beside the wardrobe. But she remained standing precisely where she was, one
bare white arm raised nearly to her cheek, slender fingers clutching the transparent fabric of the intricately patterned lace curtain.
Despite the dim lighting, I seemed to see her with exceptional clarity. A luxuriant cascade of raven hair interwoven with narrow strands of pink satin ribbon fell down her back to below the waist. A chain of cunningly hand-sewn rosebuds decorating the bodice of her dress precisely
matched the shade of the ribbon in her hair.
As I continued to stare at the apparition before me I realized that the garment she wore was not a dress at all but an elaborate nightgown, such as a new bride might wear to her wedding bed. And though her face was completely hidden from my view, I somehow knew that she was beautiful, and too young to have died.
Several more seconds passed and still she had not moved. I hardly dared to breathe as a frantic argument raged within my head. The logical part of my brain was insisting that there must be some perfectly rational explanation for what I was seeing. But my foolish emotional side—the part of me that regularly conjured up all of those impossible daydream fantasies of Bobby’s miraculous return—said I was looking at a spirit.
I didn’t know then whether I even believed in such things. But one can scarcely dabble in the antiques business for very long without being regaled with ghost stories. I recalled having heard somewhere that the dead most often return to places where in life they underwent some profound emotional trauma. So it crossed my mind that the spectre at the window might possibly be my aunt Ellen.

 Though she had lived her life as a spinster, I knew she had once been engaged to marry. But her fiancĂ©, a handsome local yachtsman, had died in a tragic sailing accident before they could be wed.
Had poor Aunt Ellen secretly watched and waited for her lost lover from this very room? In her grief and distraction over her loss had she donned her lovely bridal nightgown and crept up to this lonely turret room night after night? Stood by that very window, peering out into the darkness and longing to see his boat slipping safely into the harbor below? And now that she was free at last from the prison of her time-ravaged earthly flesh, had Aunt Ellen returned to resume her lonely nighttime vigil? Was she somehow trapped on this earthly plane, unable to cross over to the other side until her long-lost lover sailed home to Freedman’s Cove to claim her for his bride?
Even as those wildly romantic thoughts were racing through my mind, there was a soft swirl of motion at the window. And I found myself looking into the sad, luminous eyes of the lovely young woman in the long white gown. But it was not Aunt Ellen.
I gasped and clapped a hand to my mouth at the sudden realization that I had seen her face before, the unforgettable face of the girl in the old photo album, my disgraced female ancestor whose name Aunt Ellen had refused to reveal to me three years before.
 “Who . . . Who are you?” My voice was high and tremulous and I felt as if I might faint at any second.

The apparition at the window wavered like smoke and then she very slowly dissolved before my eyes. The soft oval of her face lingered before the window for just a moment longer than her body.
 Then it too was gone.
Below is a trailer for The Maidenstone Lighthouse. Enjoy!

Connect with Sally Smith O'Rourke:
Twitter (@Chawton1810)

Purchase The Maidenstone Lighthouse:
Barnes & Noble

Sally, I am thrilled to have you visit and share this fascinating story with us, both your story and your book! Ms. O'Rourke is kindly giving away a trade paperback (domestic only) OR eBook (international) for your eReader to one lucky winner. To be entered leave a comment telling us whether you believe in ghosts and/or if you have ever seen one! I look forward to these comments! 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 1.

And the winner is...

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

Heidi Shuster who left a comment on June 21
Toni Carter who left a comment on June 20
Get in touch with me as soon as possible so Joana can get your eBooks to you!
Thanks for commenting and once again, congratulations!
For those of you that didn't win this giveaway, remember there are two more eBook offerings with my review of this book. Be sure and leave a comment for another chance at winning!

And the winner is...


The winner of Pirates and Prejudice by Kara Louise is...

BookLuver88 who left a comment on June 17.
Congratulations again.
For those of you who didn't win, there is another other chance for you at
Austenesque Reviews
Giveaway ends there tonight.

Monday, June 24, 2013

My Share in the conversation...From This Day Forward

From This Day Forward by Joana Starnes
The Darcys of Pemberley

The story begins nine days after the marriage of Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth. Elizabeth has just penned a letter to her parents, much enjoying adding her new signature, Elizabeth Darcy! It brought to memory her mother’s vivid voice, ‘Elizabeth Darcy – oooh, how well that sounds!’ Much to her surprise she felt an odd sense of loss rather than her usual annoyance with her mother. Elizabeth found her new townhome very warm and pleasant but it did not feel like home yet. Thus, we are privy to the thoughts and feelings of the newly married Elizabeth.

As we spend time with the Darcy couple we experience with them the felicity of their love and time together. We see Lizzy as she learns to be the mistress of the London townhome and then Perberley. Darcy and Lizzy are true to character and their marriage is much like what I would have expected it to be – happy – yet with a few bumps along the way. Darcy is a loving husband and very attentive and protective of is wife.

The relationship with Georgiana and Lizzy develops slowly as it takes the shy young girl time to relax and enjoy her new sister as she would so like to do. They eventually develop a strong bond and Georgiana loves and confides in Elizabeth.  Lizzy is a good influence on Georgiana and helps her just like Darcy knew she would.

Colonel Fitzwilliam plays a significant role in the story and is the ever loyal and honorable man we know and love. He is injured in the war but does recover with the help of Darcy and Lizzy. I felt much sadness at times for the dear colonel, but will leave my reasons for the reader to discover.

Later in the marriage Darcy and Lizzy experience a difficult time and the author gives us a good bit of insight into their troubles. I experienced the heart-ache shared by both with them. When the problem is resolved, I almost missed it and wasn’t even sure it had been resolved until a bit later in the story. I would have liked there to have been more time spent on the resolution as it was significant to the story. I felt it would have left a more fulfilling conclusion to their trials.

Georgiana’s coming out and romance is a delightful addition to the novel. I adored watching the shy girl blossom into an enchanting, more confident woman under Lizzy’s tutelage. It was extremely gratifying to witness her courtship and marriage.

Joana Starnes has a wonderful way with details and descriptions. Her first-hand knowledge of the area brings her writing to life. She has written a beautiful love story of the Darcy’s of Pemberley. The new characters that Ms. Starnes has introduced are wonderfully written as an integral part of the story. I would be interested in reading more about many of them. At the end of the book, the lives of all characters are brought to a satisfying conclusion.

If you love a story about Darcy and Elizabeth with little angst, then this book is a must read! It is one that any Janeite purist should enjoy. Thank you, Ms. Starnes, for sharing your excellent book with us.

4 out of 5 stars
PG Rating for no explicit sex

This is my 13th book for the 2013 Pride and Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge.

There is a giveaway of two eBooks of Joana Starnes's From This Day Forward. Please leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway.  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, June 29. The give away for the two eBooks associated with the post by Ms. Starnes ends at midnight, June 24! That is a a total of four eBooks being given away! Thank you so much for your generosity, Joana Starnes.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Joana Starnes and the Best Story Ever Told + Giveaway!

It is such a pleasure to have Joana Starnes, author of From This Day Forward; The Darcy's of Pemberley, visit today. She tells us of her love for Pride and Prejudice and how she started writing. She is also generously giving away two eBooks! Thank you, Joana, and welcome!

Hi, Janet, and many thanks for inviting me, it’s great to be here! 

My first encounter with ‘Pride and Prejudice’ dates many years back. It was the first Jane Austen novel I ever read, the first book I fell in love with, and an enduring favourite ever since. Decades down the line, I still think it’s the best story ever written.

Then, twelve years ago, having given up my medical data management job to be a stay-at-home mum, I found myself with enough time on my hands to be able to watch the six-hour 1995 BBC adaptation several times in quick succession, and was left craving more. As other Austen fans said before me, if the book – or the film – finished, there was no reason why the story should, so I started trawling the internet, discovered the Republic of Pemberley and then the Derbyshire Writers Guild – and the rest is history.

After lurking for years and enjoying many stories there, most of which I was delighted to find at Amazon after a while, I showed up at DWG with my first foray into fan fiction, ‘Steady to his Purpose’, a Pride & Prejudice ~ Sense & Sensibility variation, later hosted on Renee Olstrom’s lovely ‘Mrs Darcy’s Story Site’.

With hindsight, ‘Steady to his Purpose’ is rather a first-time effort and, in its original form, does need a lot of work, so I plan to spend some time revising it before making it available later in the year, in a new version and under the new title of ‘The Second Chance’.

As a matter of fact, ‘From This Day Forward’ started life as a sequel to it, but then I somehow drifted towards writing it as a sequel to the real thing.

I think what I enjoyed most was the opportunity – or the excuse – to immerse myself in Jane Austen’s world, to try to understand her way of life, and that of her characters. To walk through some country-house or another and imagine what it must have looked like when it was alive. When the spits were turning in the kitchen, the copper utensils on display were actually in use, when the halls would teem with servants and the drawing-rooms would glitter with candles and jewels, when age-old traditions were upheld and the ‘great house’ was responsible for the welfare of many.

It has been often said that one of the reasons why Jane Austen’s novels are timeless and enduring is that she didn’t anchor them into the details of her physical world. While this might be true for literary critics, I found I craved the very same details, and that I enjoyed sequels and retellings so much more when they did give hints to authentic events and lifestyles because, somehow, that made them so much more relevant and real. Pamela Aidan’s novels were the first to make me feel this way and then, to my great joy, over the years I found so many others.

I don’t know whether living in England has shaped my writing in any particular way. As I said before, it did help to catch glimpses of Pemberley in many of the places that the National Trust looks after – and I don’t mean just the country-houses openly associated with the 1995 and 2005 adaptations.

For those who have read ‘From This Day Forward’ already or intend to read it, there is a wonderful portrait of Lady Isabel Darcy in the Saloon at Sudbury Hall, as there is the most adorable print room papered in caricatures at Calke Abbey, and a lovely cherry-tree orchard in the walled gardens of Buscot Park. And personally, I don’t think there’s anything more beautiful than the dining room at Attingham Park, with the enormous table set up for a Regency dinner party – except perhaps The Vyne, decorated for Christmas. And if you ever go cycling in Derbyshire, it’s ever so easy to picture Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley galloping over the very same fields but, if you don’t get to travel so far north, Mr Canning’s house is still standing, at No. 50 Berkeley Square in London, and around the corner, on Piccadilly, there is the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour which, not unreasonably, Miss Bingley who lived in the nearby Grosvenor Square might have visited, and the same could be said of the Darcys.

While being able to see all these did help, and made dreaming up the story so much more enjoyable, I don’t think it matters where we sit down to write. After 200 years of alterations and ‘improvements’, we’re bound to find Jane Austen’s England not as much in the real world as in our hearts and our imagination.

To all who read this, my warmest thanks for your interest in ‘From This Day Forward’, and I hope you will enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed my search for the Darcys of Pemberley!

You may find Joana Starnes:

Purchase From This Day Forward:
Amazon Paperback and Kindle

Thank you again, Joana, for being my guest. It was so nice to hear of your progression from a love of Jane Austen to a writer of retellings. I have to think that being in England and seeing the beautiful estates and places that the National trust looks after, would inspire one to write most aptly. It would certainly aid in the details which you do so well! Step back in time to Lacock village and you will know you are in Meryton! 

Joana is giving away two eBooks of From This Day Forward, for your eReader. To be entered in the giveaway, please leave a comment. The giveaway is international. 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, June 24.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

My Share in the Conversation...Pirates and Prejudice

Pirates and Prejudice by Kara Louise

Pirates and PrejudiceFitzwilliam Darcy, tormented and haunted by the indignant words of Elizabeth Bennet’s refusal of his hand, is in the depths of despair. Living in a room near the docks of London, he hasn’t shaved or trimmed his beard in almost two months. Mistaken for an escaped pirate, Darcy is taken into custody and put in a cell. Unless he can convince someone of his true identity, he could be headed for the gallows. This does lead to some tense moments and is the beginning of Darcy’s adventure on the high seas… and what an adventure it is!

Even though he abhors disguise of any sort, Darcy agrees to impersonate the infamous pirate, Lockerly, to aid the police in his capture. True to character Darcy treats his crew fairly and with compassion. He inspires their respect, admiration and willingness to do anything he asks of them. Darcy hopes beyond hope that this impersonation will aid him in forgetting the woman he loves. Little does Darcy know that his wild adventure will take him directly into the path and arms of Miss Elizabeth Bennet.

As fate would have it, Elizabeth Bennet and her father travel to the Isles of Scilly to visit Mr. Bennet’s ailing sister. While there Elizabeth enjoys visiting with her much loved cousin, Melanie, and meeting a new handsome cousin, David Adams. When it is time for the return voyage to England, David travels with Mr. Bennet and Elizabeth, hoping to get to know Elizabeth better. Will he be the man Elizabeth could love or will Captain Smith win her heart? But what is there about Captain Smith that seems so familiar?

Much to my delight Darcy and Lizzy spend a good bit of time in the company of one another. Although they are not thrown together in the beginning, as the necessary events of this delightful story are unfolding, their first meeting is well worth the wait. The dialog is excellent and their chemistry is electric. Mr. Darcy will melt your heart and make you swoon.

This book has it all…adventure, intrigue, pretense, romance, betrayal, love, even Lydia and Wickham and much, much more. The masquerade ball toward the end is exquisite! There was nothing I did not like about Pirates and Prejudice. I have been eagerly anticipating its release since I first learned about it in September 2012. It is outstanding and lived up to my expectations. I will be reading this one again and again! Thank you, Kara Louise for another exceptional book!

5 out of 5 stars
PG Rating for no explicit sex

This was my 12th book for the Pride and Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge of 2013

There is still a giveaway associated with this book at my interview with Kara Louise. Be sure and leave a comment at Kara's interview post to be entered. You can also leave a comment here at my review to be entered. If you comment both places, that doubles your chance to win!!! Giveaway ends at midnight, June 18. Good luck to all!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Interview with Kara Louise + Giveaway

I am so excited to have Kara Louise as my guest today. I have long been a fan of her writing and am very thrilled that she has a new book released, Pirates and Prejudice. Kara agreed to answer some of my questions and host a giveaway. Read more about the giveaway after her interview. 

Now please join me in welcoming Kara Louise.

How and when did you become interested in Jane Austen?

My love for all things Jane Austen came with the 1995 film of “Pride and Prejudice” with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle. I had never before seen any film or movie that moved me in such a way. I watched it countless times and then went out and bought the book. After reading the book, I bought a book with all her works and began to work my way through each of her novels, watching a corresponding film if I could. I still love “Pride and Prejudice” the best, with “Persuasion” being my next favorite.

What drove you to start writing your own books? Did you write other things before writing PnP variations?

When I went online to see what I could find on “Pride and Prejudice,” I was amazed to find a whole community of people who felt the way I did. (Amazing, isn’t it?) I discovered the Republic of Pemberley and the Derbyshire Writer’s Guild. I began reading stories others posted and one day came up with my first story. I had plotted it out to be about 7 chapters, but it ended up being 20. That was my first novel, “Assumed Engagement.”

Years before, I tried to write a novel that I had in my head. I got three pages done and thought to myself, ‘I can never take the time to write a whole novel.’ Of course I also had a young son at the time! Then just before seeing P&P, I had found out some information about our genealogy and began a fictional story based on some of that information. I got a little further – 3 chapters!

Do you have a muse that causes your story to lead you at times or do you use an outline and follow it religiously? What is your writing routine?

I do not use an outline, but now I do make a list of the general direction I want to go. I used to just keep most of it in my head and then would just type away. Now, I might write a whole scene ahead of time if I think of it, or just jot a few notes down if I want to remember. I think one of the hardest things for me is having an idea that I cling to so tenaciously, but if anything changes in the direction of the plot, I have to let it go. I have found usually it’s for the better.

As far as my writing routine, I write better when I’m alone. Occasionally I write with music in the background (like in the other room), but sometimes I just write in the quiet of the day. I have an office where I write, but if the weather is nice, I’ll go outside onto my hammock swing and write. Since winters are cold and summers can get really hot here, I can’t do that as often as I would like. J

Is there any setting that helps inspire you to write?

Since I answered part of this in the question above (my 2 settings), I thought I’d describe my office. I have a bookcase hutch in it that is covered with Jane Austen items. I have each of my books on top, as well as an item that represents each of my books. (For example, I have a pair of ship bookends for “Darcy’s Voyage” (and would also be suitable for “Pirates and Prejudice”), a little English Springer Spaniel Webkinz dog for “Master Under Good Regulation,” a gardenia candle for “Assumed Engagement,” and a large red chess piece for “Only Mr. Darcy Will Do.”) I also have a doll that I think looks like Elizabeth Bennet, although she is dressed in more of a Victorian gown than Regency, a Jane Austen action figure, other Jane Austen books, and a few other special mementoes.

I am assuming from your novels that you prefer to write your stories during Regency times instead of modern settings? If my assumptions are correct, what makes the Regency era more appealing to you? If not, why do you set most of your stories during that time?

I do love the Regency period, although I did write a modern story, “Drive and Determination.” I would someday like to write a sequel to that novel, based on the Darcy character’s sister, Gina. It would be more of a “Persuasion” story. But I love the Regency era, the dress, manners, and even the class system really adds a special charm to stories were the characters fall in love outside that rigid structure. I also think it’s easier to write Jane Austen’s characters in the setting in which she wrote them. While her stories are timeless, to put them in a modern setting truly affects who they are, and a lot of changes have to be made.

I love all of your books and have read several more than once. As I am an animal lover, I was especially fascinated with Master Under Good Regulation.  I am curious as to what inspired your writing of that book?

If I can think back that far, I believe I had been reading Pamela Aiden’s great P&P novels, and in it Darcy has a very faithful dog. I got to thinking about how a dog may have influenced the story. I randomly chose an English Springer Spaniel (we had a cocker spaniel at the time), and I began writing. Reggie became very dear to me, and three years ago, we got our own Reggie, although ours is a female. Unfortunately, our Reggie is not as well behaved as Darcy’s Reggie was.

I am very excited about your new book, Pirates and Prejudice. How did you come up with the idea to have Darcy mistaken for a pirate? I read an earlier excerpt from it and it was intriguing indeed. I can hardly wait to read it. What can you tell us about it without giving anything away?

I had a rough draft of the first chapter for several years. I had seen the stories written about zombies, vampires, etc., and I actually was surprised that no one had done pirates. I didn’t know what I was going to do with the story; I only knew Darcy was going to be mistaken for one when he becomes so despondent after Elizabeth’s refusal that he withdraws to London. In this first chapter, we see him walking the docks, berating himself for how destitute he had allowed himself to become. Just as we think he is about to pull himself together, he is grabbed by some men who believe he is a pirate who recently escaped from the authorities. Because of his resemblance to this pirate, he is asked to impersonate him (complete with dress and talk) to lure him in. Darcy agrees, hoping this will be a way to help forget Elizabeth and get his life back in order. Of course he doesn’t realize the adventure he is about to go on will include an encounter with the woman he is trying to forget!

Is there anything you have learned from writing that has helped you in your life?

I think one thing I had to learn is to accept constructive criticism so that it doesn’t affect me personally and feel attacked. This comes throughout the whole process of writing, beginning with the very first edits all the way to the comments and reviews readers make about the book. It’s difficult to read a scathing review, but I actually like a review that gives some helpful criticism. It has made me think how I might want to politely correct someone.

Is there anything special about yourself or your writing that you would like to share with us?

As I answered the above question about previous writing, I thought I would elaborate on the story I wrote based on our genealogy. I still have it, and occasionally go back to it and work on it a little. In thinking about it, though, I realized it actually has a ‘reverse’ P&P feel, with the heroine marrying beneath her and her family disowning her. Funny thing, she married a sea captain! Maybe that’s why I have a special place in my heart for stories out at sea! (This all took place in Norway.)

Thanks for having me as a guest, Janet! I will be giving away a paperback to anyone in US, or an ebook for an international winner.

Visit Kara Louise at her blog:
delightful diversions from the heart...

Pirates and Prejudice may be found at:
Amazon, Paperback and Kindle
Barnes & Noble, Paperback and Nook

Thank you again, Kara Louise, for being my guest today. It has been an honor! Thank you also for the giveaway to one lucky winner. As was stated above, the giveaway consists of a paperback to anyone in the US, or an ebook for an eReader to an international winner. What do you think sounds exciting about Darcy being a pirate? Please leave your comment to be entered in the giveaway. 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, June 18.

And the winner is...

Congratulations to:

gailw who left a comment on June 9
Joana Starnes who left a comment on June 6

Let me know as soon as possible whether you want the paperback or eBook for your eReader.  Meryton Press is giving away one of each so whoever contacts me first gets their choice! :)
Congratulations, again. I am confident you will enjoy this book!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

And the winner is...

Congratulations to:

Jeanna who left a comment on June 2 

Jeanna is the randomly selected winner of one of the books of the trilogy by Cassandra Grafton. Please contact me Jeanna as soon as possible.

My Share in the Conversation...Bluebells in the Mourning

Bluebells in the Mourning by KaraLynne Mackrory

Before Darcy can make that fateful first proposal, Elizabeth gets bad news from Longbourn. Darcy’s offer to escort her home from Hunsford allows him to realize her perception of him and to attempt to change her opinion. His compassion and kindness does not go unnoticed. Gradually Elizabeth begins to see the real man but is not yet ready to forget her first impressions.

The tragedy that has befallen the Bennet family leaves many unanswered questions. Mr. Bennet seeks Darcy’s help to solve them. The answers could jeopardize Darcy’s future but as an honorable and good man, he puts his own concerns aside in search of the truth. He is, after all, a very capable man!

One of the many things I liked about this book was the relationship that developed between Mr. and Mrs. Bennet out of the tragedy they suffered. There are also some insights and plausible explanations for Fanny’s nerves and behavior that I found quite gratifying. Well done, Ms. Mackrory.

In several places I laughed out loud, especially scenes where Colonel Fitzwilliam is baiting Darcy. Unbeknownst to each, Georgiana and the Colonel have suspicions regarding Darcy’s feelings for Elizabeth. The means they use to discover if their suspicions are founded are extremely entertaining.

When the Gardiners and Elizabeth travel to Derbyshire (Chapter 11) Darcy and Lizzy encounter some bluebells during a walk. This chapter is filled with emotion and is truly lovely. I was immersed in the feelings and the scenery. I will leave the rest to the reader's discovery.

A revelation of a Bennet secret, Lydia’s diary, a kiss and much more await the reader of this excellent book and good story! I highly recommend it.

4.5 out of 5 stars
PG Rating for no explicit sex

I was given a paperback by the publisher for a fair and honest review.

This is my 11th book in the Pride and Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge of 2013.

There is still an active giveaway for this book at the author's post of Men in Boots: Why Regency Men Are Sexy. Leave a comment at that post telling us why you think Regency men are sexy to be entered in that giveaway. The giveaway ends at midnight, June 11.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

KaraLynne Mackrory & Men in Boots: Why Regency Men Are Sexy

My guest today is author, KaraLynne Mackrory, and she is talking about what makes Regency men sexy! I have to agree that they are sexy indeed, well, most of them! I find that the conclusions to her research make much sense to this reader! Speaking of reading, Mr. Darcy in KaraLynne's Bluebells in the Mourning is capable and sexy! I liked him very much! 

Michele Reed and Meryton Press have included two giveaways of Bluebells in the Mourning. More details at the bottom of this post! Now please welcome KaraLynne Mackrory!

I conducted a very thorough (I asked myself) survey into why Regency men are so appealing (sexy).  My scientific (and totally unbiased) research led me to the conclusion it all came down to capability.  Regency men are just so darn capable.  They can ride horses, shoot, dance, manage estates, etc all at an age before most men these days have learned to pass Level Whatever of that Xbox game.

Even their clothes seem to exude capability (for making me swoon).  Their cravats and coats are formal in today's standards.  Yet, today when we see a man in a suit we think he must be successful (and even wealthy).  So it is easy to conclude in this modern girl's head that all Regency men were successful and rich (yummy checklist #s 4 & 7).  Their boots speak of instant readiness (to steal my heart) for whatever may come up - be it a horse ride or other manly activity.  A modern man who seems prepared is no less appealing.  A prepared man is a capable man.  Lastly, a Regency gentleman's pants fit (well).  Raise your hand ladies if you see "mature responsible man" flash across your mind when you see that fella walking down the street with pants the size of tents hanging about his ankles.  Anyone?  Anyone?  Exactly.

Regency gentlemen were educated.  They went to Cambridge or Oxford.  Their knowledge of the world (both literally and literarily) was broad.  Similarly, educated men today are considered better catches than the ones who can only name all of the characters in The Simpsons.

Regency men had accents.  I cannot stress the sexiness of this aspect enough.  But how does it relate to him being capable?  For some reason we Americans tend to think a man with a British accent is cultured and educated.  That's why we give people in our movies and sitcoms who play a role with these qualities an accent.  Not always, but often.

Regency men do not make physical overtures (sadly) to ladies before they have an understanding with the lady.  While the stilted physical world of Regency England is not entirely what I would consider ideal (I'm all for kisses) - there is something to be said about a man who apparently appreciates more about a woman than her physical qualities (and demonstrates that).

I hope I have made some sense here.  But if not, forgive me. Scientific research is often messy and hard to understand so it really isn't my fault.  Basically and to conclude, Regency men are so darn appealing (sexy) because they are capable.  Capable of providing stimulating conversation (educated).  Capable of doing manly things (riding horses, shooting, and wearing boots - yummy).  Capable of providing nice things (remember suits = success).  Capable of keeping their hands to themselves unless we wish otherwise (and I do).  Oh and their accents are dreamy.  Ultimately Regency men possess most, if not all, qualities that are generally found attractive in modern men.  Although I am able to do many things for myself, it's nice to have a man on whom I can depend to be capable if I need it (and who wears clothes that fit).  All of the women in my survey agreed that a capable man is a sexy man.

If you ladies are looking for a capable man - check out my new release, Bluebells in the Mourning.  I promise the ultra capable (and sexy) Mr. Darcy will not disappoint.

Thank you for being my guest today, KaraLynne. I did enjoy reading your thorough and scientific research findings. Yes, a capable man is a sexy man and I do love the cravat and tight breeches!

KaraLynne Mackrory's personal information:

Bluebells in the Mourning may be purchased at the following:
Amazon Paperback and Kindle
Barnes & Noble Paperback and Nook

Meryton Press is giving away one Trade paperback and one eBook for an eReader, both worldwide. Leave a comment telling us why you think Regency men are sexy! Be sure and leave your email address so we can reach you if you are the randomly selected winners. Giveaway ends at midnight, June 11. Thank you Michele Reed and Meryton Press for this awesome giveaway!