Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Subsequent Proposal and a Perfect Fire-rose...Joana Starnes Tells of Their Connection

It is with great pleasure that I welcome back Joana Starnes to my blog! She has a new book that has just been released, and it's cover is stunning! In her post Joana introduces us to the gloriously perfect fire-rose, the object of her cover and a hint of its significance to her new book, The Subsequent Proposal. This new book combines two of Austen's works. I have to say that I am fascinated with the idea! (and enjoyed this post immensely) Ms. Starnes will be giving away an eBook so be sure and read about it below.

“There is a rose that begins life as a small, ungainly yellow rosebud, tentatively tinged with hints of orange. Yet, as it blooms, the tones of jealousy slowly lose ground to the vibrant red of love everlasting as it spreads into the petals, until they open fully into a gloriously perfect fire-rose. By happy coincidence, this is precisely what ‘The Subsequent Proposal’ is about!”

Many thanks, Janet, for welcoming me back to ‘More Agreeably Engaged’ to talk about my second book, just as you did when I released the first one!

I would like to take this opportunity to also thank all the wonderful people who had taken the time and trouble to write such amazing, sensitive and in-depth reviews at Amazon for my debut novel, ‘From This Day Forward’, as well as for my second. I hope you are visiting Janet’s blog and you can read this! Your warm support is hugely appreciated and it cheered me up no end, especially when I most needed cheering!

‘From This day Forward’ was written at a time when I wasn’t even dreaming of publication. It was my sweet escapism, into the long lost world of Regency charm and into a vanished way of life. Looking back, in many ways it makes me think of a trip I once took to visit ‘The Vyne’, a Hampshire country house where Jane Austen herself is thought to have visited, though not as a tourist but as a guest to the balls once held there. (Please bear with me. It may not look like it, but I promise I do have a point, and it’ll make sense in the end – I hope!)

During that visit, some of us, myself included, were very much inclined to linger and look in awe at the ink stains that the former owner left on his well-worn desk, as he was writing to his friend and boon companion, Horace Walpole – or to reverently admire a marvellous, richly embroidered coat he might have worn at the balls he had hosted. The room steward was kind enough to open secret drawers and let us share in that little piece of history – and got into trouble with his supervision for doing so, because the precious item was only supposed to be brought out on special, ‘Secrets of The Vyne Revealed’ days! Oooops! Oh, dear!

PhotoWhile some of our little group were mesmerised by such hidden gems and could have stared at them for absolute ages, others, quite understandably, were eager to move on, see other rooms, find other gems, hear other stories.

With hindsight, ‘From This Day Forward’ was the lingering quest for long-lost detail.

‘The Subsequent Proposal’, on the other hand, is the faster-paced walk with lots of ups and downs, followed by a lovely cup of tea – or maybe coffee – alongside a freshly-baked scone, smothered in clotted cream and topped with a dollop of strawberry preserve.

‘The Subsequent Proposal’ sprang from my fascination with both ‘Pride & Prejudice’ and ‘Persuasion’. I have always wondered what might have happened if, on a rebound after Hunsford, Darcy came across someone who was very like him in temperament and manner. Or if the dashing Captain Wentworth came home from the high seas to settle down – and did not encounter the cheerful and scatter-brained Louisa Musgrove, but someone else, who had cheerfulness aplenty, but also sparkling wit, intelligence and charm. Someone like, say, Elizabeth Bennet…

I have often wondered – and I have always found that, after ‘Pride and Prejudice’, ‘Persuasion’ is Jane Austen’s second most romantic novel, and it was very tempting to bring the two together!

‘The Subsequent Proposal’ does exactly that. It brings together characters who are very much alike, at a time of upheaval in their lives, when they should have known better than making life-altering decisions on the heels of heartache and disappointment!

Perhaps I should stop here for fear of spoilers, but I just can’t go away without saying that, in this wonderful JAFF world of ours, I believe there is another truth, just as universally acknowledged: no matter what crazy obstacles are dreamed up and heartlessly set before them, Elizabeth and Darcy should never be apart!

‘The Subsequent Proposal’ is now available at Amazon and Smashwords, and also at the online retailers that Smashwords distribute to. 

You can find me on facebook at www.facebook.com/joana.a.starnes or at www.joanastarnes.co.uk

Please drop by for that scone with clotted cream – or just for a chat and a cup of coffee!

Ummm,...clotted cream, a cup of coffee and a chat...who could resist? Not me!  Thanks so much, Joana. It is great having you here again. I loved reading about your visit to 'The Vyne' and how that visit influenced your writing. Thank you for sharing with us and also for your willingness to host a giveaway. I wish you much success with your new book.

For the giveaway of her book, The Subsequent Proposal, Joana Starnes is generously offering an eBook, to one winner and the giveaway is open internationally. To be entered leave a comment below as I always love reading your 'say in the conversation'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, November 4. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

All Hallows Eve with Wendi Sotis

Thank you for consenting to be my guest this week, Wendi. I have been looking forward to your post with much anticipation! I have been fascinated with the premise of All Hallow's Eve and love its cover. (I love all of your book covers!) 
I appreciate your kind words about my artwork and am thrilled to hear that you enjoy being surrounded by some of it! (Ooh, and I too, love peppermint tea!) Thank you so much as you made my day! I was happy to have your books and quotes in the 2014 calendar. As you saw, I reserved October for All Hallow's Eve! It was perfect. Now to move on to Wendi's post...be sure to watch the trailer for All Hallow's Eve and check out the giveaway.

My thanks to Janet for allowing me to post today, and for including a quote from All Hallow’s Eve in her beautiful 2014 calendar.
I’m a huge fan of Janet’s artwork. My computer is surrounded by her lovely cards and calendar. Whenever I’m writing, I keep one of her compact mirrors handy, along with a mug of peppermint tea, both displaying “The Kiss,which serve dual purposes—inspiration and utility. I can’t wait to hang up my new calendar and get myself more items with the new artwork!
Since we’ll be giving away copies of All Hallow’s Eve, I’ll tell you a little about the story’s “birth.” AHE was never meant to be! My fingers were itching to write, but I couldn’t start typing the story I had in mind for a month-long NaNoWriMo challenge until November. I searched the internet and found a Halloween challenge to keep my hands and mind busy. I did a little research into the origins of Halloween, and started writing. I had no intention to do anything with it—it was going to be an undeveloped, throwaway story that I’d never think about again after October 31.
Now, here’s where I have to admit to a little secret: I’m a pantster. Don’t worry; it’s not as bad as it sounds. That’s writer’s slang for I “write by the seat of my pants.” In other words, when I start writing, I have no idea what’s going to happen next.
I’ll admit that I’m envious of plotters. I have spent ridiculously long amounts of time online examining the pictures that authors post on their blogs showing their beautifully organized plotting boards covered with color-coded index cards, photos, and sticky notes. Many of them even know which card goes with which chapter number. They have a plan. Everything is prepared before they start writing. They research in advance. They stick to their structured outline, no matter what.
Did you hear a series of wistful sighs as you read that? They were from me.
I have a shelf full of books on plotting. I’ve taken classes. I’ve bought computer programs. Nothing has turned me into a plotter.
For me, plotting ends up being a waste of time. With the stories I’ve tried to plot in advance, the final product is not even close to what was on the original outline.
So, now I’ve come to accept that it’s just not the way I can write. Sometimes I must chart what’s already been written, for example, for The Gypsy Blessing (which will be coming out later this year) I couldn’t keep track of the things I needed to address later in the story without a chart, but it wasn’t anything specific. Plotting in advance doesn’t work for me.
What does happen while I’m writing? Simple—the characters end up doing their own thing. In response to the situations I put them in, they take the story in directions that I had never anticipated. Yes, I’m serious; fictional characters really take over the story. At the end of each sitting, I re-read what I just wrote. Honestly, more than half the time I don’t know from where it came from. Let me tell you, it was a huge relief to hear other writers say the same thing!
I also jump around the story as I’m writing. The characters might react a certain way and the consequences won’t show up for one hundred pages, but these are usually written one after the other, even though I have no idea what might come in between. That makes for a lot of rewriting later, but it works for me.
This is exactly what happened with All Hallow’s Eve. When I began, AHE was only a distraction, one that was supposed to be forgotten once I became busy with something else. When the consequences—the later scenes—started popping into my mind, I realized there was a need for a lot to happen in between. By the time November 1st came along and I was ready to start NaNoWriMo, AHE had already taken on a life of its own. Like the velveteen rabbit, it had become a real story.
If you’d like to see where Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy end up in All Hallow’s Eve, we’re giving away some copies right here. See below for the details.
All Hallow’s Eve book trailer:

Since ancient times, every Halloween, the ritual of Sanun is performed, freeing the dead to interact with the living for one night. One Evil Soul discovers a way to hide from the Return, remaining on Earth to meddle with the fates of the living. As the centuries pass, it begins to search for the High Priestess, intending to force her to do its bidding, no matter the cost.
Appearances can be deceiving, even in Regency England. To most, Elizabeth Bennet is simply the second daughter of an insignificant country squire, but in truth, she is High Priestess and leader of an ancient cult secretly co-existing alongside British society. Confusion reigns when she learns that the man she despises, Fitzwilliam Darcy, is her Soul Mate, assigned to protect her from Evil. Can they work together to preserve the future?

About Wendi Sotis:
Having always been an avid reader and adoring fan of Jane Austen, when her triplets were independent enough that she could find a little time to herself, Wendi searched the internet where she discovered a treasure trove of “fan fiction” written by fellow Janeites. At first, experiencing Austen’s stories from several different characters’ points of view caught her interest, but then she branched off into reading sequels, “what if” stories, and modernized versions of Austen’s tales.
Though she had always aspired to become a writer, Wendi did not make a serious attempt until, after awakening from a dream, her imagination began churning up a tale to surround it. In the midst of penning a number of short stories, in 2010, she began posting the first draft of Dreams & Expectations to several online forums, later published in 2012. Wendi then went on to write another novel-length story, Promises, published in 2011. The Gypsy Blessing will be released later this year.
Wendi continues to write while living on Long Island with her husband, son, and two daughters.
Twitter: https://twitter.com/WendiSotis

I'm so glad to have you visit this week, Wendi. I look forward to the release of The Gypsy Blessing. You are welcome to come back and visit again after its release, or anytime.
For the giveaway of the book, All Hallow's Eve, Wendi Sotis is generously offering a signed paperback or eBook, winner's choice, to a USA winner AND  internationally, an eBook for your eReader to a second winner. To be entered leave a comment below as I always love reading your 'say in the conversation'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, October 28. 

And the winner is...

Congratulations to two lucky winners!

Trai who left a comment on October 8
Vesper Meikle who also left a comment on October 8

You are the winners of Love at First Slight
by J. Marie Croft

Again, congratulations, on winning and thank you for supporting my blog.
 Remember that this book will not be available until mid-November. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Meet Shannon Winslow

Shannon Winslow is my guest this week and it is such a pleasure to have her share her passion with us. Her book, The Darcys of Pemberley, is one of the first Austenesque sequels that I read. I was just beginning my obsession and was thrilled to read it. I also love all the covers on Shannon's books. You do a fantastic job with them. Thanks so much for agreeing to be my guest. Now please welcome, Shannon Winslow. (There is a great giveaway too!)

Thank you, Janet, for inviting me to visit with your readers here at More Agreeably Engaged. I love making connections with other fans of Jane Austen, and sharing something of my own story.

First of all, I must tell you that I was as surprised as anyone that I should turn out to be a novelist. You see, although I’ve always loved books, and I have dabbled in other creative mediums (music and art), I’d never given much serious thought to writing. Besides, I had a practical career as a dental hygienist, a house and husband to look after, and two sons to raise. I barely had time to read a book, much less write one. And yet now, I have written three. How do I explain this surprising turn of events? Allow me to paraphrase a few lines from Northanger Abbey:

No one who had ever seen me in my early life would have supposed me born to be a novelist. My situation in life, the habits of my mother and father, my own person and course of education, were all equally against me. But when a lady is to be a novelist, the perverseness of forty different circumstances cannot prevent her. Something must and will happen to throw a novel in her way.

And so it was that, through an impulse buy at Costco (a certain video with the handsome face of Colin Firth on the front), I discovered Pride and Prejudice about ten years ago. The video led me to the book, and I simply fell in love – with the story, with Darcy and Elizabeth, with the elegant period language, and with Austen’s witty writing style. I couldn’t get enough.

Pride and Prejudice became my passion – or arguably, my obsession – which soon enlarged to include Jane Austen’s other five novels. Still, it might easily have amounted to no more than yearly rereads of her entire canon and countless watchings of the film adaptations.

Undertaking a huge creative project, like writing a novel, requires a ton of inspiration (which I had, thanks to Jane Austen), but also a major dose of motivation. I found mine in an unexpected place: in the first Pride and Prejudice sequel I happened to stumble across.

I’m fascinated with the “what ifs” of life. What if this had happened instead of that? What if I had turned right instead of left at the crossroads? These questions play a role in my novels and also in my life – the genesis of my writing career specifically.

What if I’d resisted the impulse to buy that movie at Costco years ago? Would I ever have found Pride and Prejudice? I don’t know. But I’m pretty sure that if I had loved that first sequel I read (as many others have), if it had been everything I was personally looking for, I never would have written a sequel of my own. How much I would have missed out on then!

Fortunately, though, I didn’t care for that book (and that’s putting it mildly), and I began The Darcys of Pemberley in response. I wrote, first and foremost, to satisfy my own curiosity about what would happen next, to continue the story the way I thought Jane Austen would have done herself, to spend more time with her characters and in their world. In the process, I discovered another passion – a passion for writing that has changed my life.

Since that beginning, I’ve gone on to publish two more Austen-inspired novels – For Myself Alone (an independent story) and Return to Longbourn (the sequel to The Darcys of Pemberley). I’m currently working on a Persuasion tie-in, starring Jane Austen herself. God willing, there will be many more books to come after that.

 I always expected that people might read my novels because they were fans of Jane Austen’s, which is usually the case. However, I’ve been surprised (and delighted!) to find that it sometimes works the other way round – when a person decides to try reading Jane Austen because they like one of my books so much. Maybe by introducing new readers to her, I am in some measure repaying all the countless hours of enjoyment she has given me. At least I hope so.


The Darcys of Pemberley – faithful sequel to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.
Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy have been happily married for almost a year, but how long can the honeymoon last? The couple’s idyllic life together at Pemberley is threatened by the secrets they keep, the troubles of their closest friends, and a villain in their midst. This is the tale of two romances: the continuation of Darcy & Elizabeth’s story, and the courtship of Miss Georgiana. If you didn’t want Pride and Prejudice to end, here’s the chance to learn what happens after the wedding, to revisit old friends, and to share the next chapter of their lives.

Return to Longbourn – the Pride and Prejudice saga continues. With Mr. Bennet barely cold in his grave, Mrs. Bennet hatches her plan. The new heir to Longbourn simply must marry one of her daughters. But will it be Mary or Kitty singled out for this dubious honor? When Mr. Tristan Collins turns out to be quite a catch after all, the contest between the sisters is on. Darcy, Elizabeth, and the rest of the cast are back as Mary emerges to take center stage in this long-awaited sequel to The Darcys of Pemberley. Learn what really makes Mary tick. Is she destined to be governess of Netherfield forever, or will she find love and her own happy ending?

For Myself Alone – the story Jane Austen might have written next. This is the tale of Josephine Walker, a bright, young woman whose life is turned upside-down by an unexpected inheritance. With a tempting fortune of twenty thousand pounds, she’s suddenly the most popular girl in town. Yet Jo longs to be valued for who she is, not for her bank balance. She cannot respect the men who pursue her for her money, and the only one she does admire is considered the rightful property of her best friend. Now, even the motives of her new fiancĂ© are suspect. Will Jo have the courage to discover if he truly loves her for herself alone?

Find these novels, as well at Shannon Winslow’s tongue-in-cheek short story Mr. Collins’s Last Supper, at online booksellers Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Learn more about the author and her work at www.shannonwinslow.com

Thanks again, for sharing your passion with us. I have looked forward to your visit and enjoyed your post. I wish you much continued success with all your books now and in the future. I like that you want to tell your stories in a way that Jane Austen would have done herself. 

Shannon Winslow is kindly offering a trade paperback to one lucky domestic winner AND  two eBooks for your eReader to two lucky winners worldwide! To be entered leave a comment below as I always love reading your 'say in the conversation'! Share with us how your JA and PnP passion developed. Good luck to all. To be part of 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 @.  Winners will be chosen in a random drawing. Giveaway ends at midnight, October 21. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

And the winner is...

The two winners of At the Edge of the Sea by Karen Cox are:

KelliH who left a comment of Oct. 2 - Paperback
BeckyC who left a comment on Oct.6 - eBook

Congratulations ladies! 
Enjoy your book!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Mr. Haughty-Pants Darcy versus J. Marie Croft

With strange British voices in her head, or maybe voices not so strange, Ms. Croft delights us with how her story came to print. This battle of wills 'will' have us all wondering about the final outcome. Guess we will have to read the book to answer that all important question! There is also a  giveaway and the information about it is at the end of the post.

Please welcome J. Marie Croft, author of Love at First Slight.

          Mr. Haughty-Pants Darcy             
J. Marie Croft

I thought I had Jane Austen’s characters out of my system years ago.  Hah!  In vain, I struggled to work on a local historical fiction.  I tried.  I really tried to ignore the voices in my head – those teasing, tempting, tenacious voices that whispered with proper English accents and uttered Regency-ish expressions.

“It will not do,” said one particular male voice – one terribly persistent, irrepressible, swoon-worthy British articulator.  “You must allow me, once again, to tell everyone how ardently I –”

“Stop that!” I implored while swatting at air around my head.  “Go away!”

In a stentorian tone, the voice said, “I might, perhaps, wish to be informed why, with so little endeavour at civility, I am thus shooed like a gnat.”

“I’m trying to forget you.”

“Oh, really?  And how is that going?”

“Not particularly well,” I mumbled.  “You’re frustratingly unforgettable.”

“Yes, I know.  In fact, I am one of the most memorable literary characters ever written and have been a favourite for over 200 years.”

“Insufferable man!  I can’t write a book about you right now.  My head should be full of something else.”

“You are full of something, madam, if you think you can move on and leave me behind. Come on,” he whispered huskily, “you know you want to write about me.  I shall not go away till you have given me the assurance I require.”

“Quit stealing other characters’ lines!”

“You should talk, madam!  Jane Austen must be rolling over in her grave.”

I clasped hands over my ears, but blocking out external noise did little to silence a voice that came from within my own besieged brain.
Image courtesy of John De Boer, rgbstock.com

 So I sang aloud.  “La, la, la, la.  I can’t hear you.  La, la, la!”  I was determined to carry my purpose and not be dissuaded from resolution.  I would not submit to him ... to that man’s … to that voice’s whim.

“If you were sensible of your own good,” his silky voice murmured, “you would not wish to quit the sphere you so willingly entered – the wonderful, whimsical world of JAFF.”

I whimpered and sniffled.  “I do miss it.  It’s a field in which I had hoped to pass myself off with some degree of credit.”

The voice pounced, so to speak.  “I am afraid you do not like your pen, for you write uncommonly slowly with it.  You should have churned out several novels by now.  Let me mend your pen for you.”  The voice was low-pitched and seductive.  “I do it remarkably well.”

To yield readily, easily, to persuasion of an imaginary character’s voice is no merit to my character; but, I confess, I weakened.  “Well, I do have a manuscript I dusted off, polished up, and –”

“Am I the protagonist?”  His words were clipped, no longer softly spoken.

“Not exactly.  In this story, the well-to-do Darcy is a beautiful lady of twenty summers.  She, Elizabeth, arrives at Netherfield with her widowed friend, Jane Devonport (nee Bingley).  At the Meryton assembly, Elizabeth slights a handsome fellow by the name of William Bennet, who, by the way, is the protagonist.  He resembles you in appearance, but your pride and haughty disdain are embodied in Miss Elizabeth Darcy.”

“A body-swap story?  Egad!  Do you mean I – a worldly man of sense and education – dwell inside the anatomy of a young lady, not yet one and twenty?”

“No, no, no!  It’s more of a gender reversal story.  Mrs. Bennet does not have tremblings, flutterings, spasms, high hopes, etc.; her husband does.  They have five unmarried sons living under Longbourn’s roof, and four of them must either pursue professions or (as their father prefers) wealthy women.  Charles, most handsome of the Bennet brood, becomes moonstruck over the Widow Devonport; and Caroline is replaced by the oleaginous Casper  Bingley who-”                                                                                                           
“The what who Bingley?”

“Casper.  He’s oleaginous.”

“Beg pardon?”

“I thought you liked words of four syllables or more.  O-le-ag-i-nous.  Look it up.  Better yet, read the story.”

“But I am not in the bloody, blighted book ...”  (I swear I felt a petulant foot stomp inside my head.)  “… and no one will want to read a Pride and Prejudice inspired story without the incomparable, top-of-the-trees, unforgettable Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberley!”

“Top of the trees?  You might be going out on a limb there, sir.”

“Oh, God,” he groaned, “please do not tell me this new story is peppered with more of your infamous puns.”

“It’s not.  Honestly!  There’s only ... a couple.”  Fingers crossed behind my back, I quickly tallied up the pun count.  “OK.  In truth, it’s probably more like three or four than a couple.”

“Speaking of a couple, do Elizabeth and this Bennet fellow have a HEA?”

“I am surprised, sir, that you’re familiar with the acronym.”

“Well?”  The voice was now waspish.  “Do they have a ‘happily ever after’ or not?” 

“Read all about them in the book, Love at First Slight – and, yes, it’s slight not sight.”

“Is it currently at Hatchard’s, Stockdale’s, or Lackington’s?”

“No.  Love at First Slight will be released by Meryton Press November 1, 2013, during the bicentennial anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice.  I am thrilled to report the book sports an absolutely gorgeous cover, graced with a certain beautiful 20-year-old female by the name of Elizabeth.”

“My Elizabeth,” sighed the voice.

“Nope.  She’s William Bennet’s Elizabeth.  You’re not in the story, remember?”

“By excluding me, madam, you have deprived the JAFF community of its brightest ornament.”
“Still vainglorious and quoting other characters, I see.  By the way, Casper Bingley has bright ornaments and gaudy furbelows enough for both of you.  The Reverend Mr. William Bennet, however, looks mighty hot in a simple, form-fitting black cassock.”

“Hot?  Well, I suppose those prunella garments could be rather warm, especially in summer.  Wait!  Do you mean to tell me your protagonist is a one-in-ten?  A parish bull?  A lowly cleric? A spiritual flesh broker?”  The voice grew feeble.  “And Elizabeth ... ?”

I nodded with vigour ... and really rattled that voice in my head.


Love at First Slight

(available November 1 from Meryton Press)

“It may not be universally acknowledged, 
but the unvarnished truth is that 
a young widow in possession of a good fortune 
is not necessarily in want of another husband.”

In this humorous, topsy-turvy Pride & Prejudice variation, all the gender roles are reversed. It is Mr. Bennet’s greatest wish to see his five sons advantageously married. When the haughty Miss Elizabeth Darcy comes to Netherfield with the Widow Devonport (nee Bingley), speculation—and prejudice—runs rampant.

William Bennet, a reluctant and irreverent future reverend, catches Miss Darcy’s eye, even though he is beneath her station. His opinion of her was fixed when she slighted him at the Meryton Assembly. As her ardour grows, so does his disdain; and when she fully expects to receive an offer of marriage, 
he gives her something else entirely ….


J. Marie Croft lives in Nova Scotia and divides her time among working at a music lesson centre, geocaching (a high-tech treasure hunt) with her husband, and writing.  Her stories are lighthearted; and her tag line is Jane Austen’s quote, “Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery.”  A member of the Jane Austen Society of North America (Canada), she admits to being excessively attentive to the 1995 BBC version of Pride and Prejudice.  Adult twin daughters are the light of her life even though they don’t appreciate Mr. Darcy the way ‘Momzie” does.



In the battle of Mr. Haughty-Pants Darcy versus J. Marie Croft, the author likes to think she emerged victorious.  After all, Love at First Slight tells William Bennet’s tale, not Fitzwilliam Darcy’s. 

Or perhaps Mr. Haughty-Pants Darcy should win the gold meddle

What’s your verdict?


I look forward to reading your book to see who is victorious...Mr. Haughty-Pants Darcy or J. Marie Croft! Thank you for being my guest and entertaining us with your lively post! It was much fun. Dear readers, according to what you have read, who do you think merged victorious? Tell us in your comments.

Thank you to Michele Reed and Meryton Press for having a giveaway. Ms. Reed is kindly offering a trade paperback to one lucky winner AND  an eBook for your eReader to a second lucky winner.The giveaway is international . To be entered leave a comment below as I always love reading your 'say in the conversation'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, October 14. 
NOTE:  This book has not been released yet so winners will not receive their copies until early to mid November...after the book's release!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

And the winners are...


to all the winners of Tess Quinn's,
The Trouble With Christmas,
Christmas in September Giveaway!

These are all the prizes that were up for grabs. As it turned out, everyone that left a comment and email address was a winner! You can't beat those odds! 

Joana Starnes
Anonymous (EvaE)
Sophia Rose

Everyone even got their first choice of prize!
Again, congratulations to all the winners. 

A special 'thank you' to Tess Quinn for coming to my rescue and helping me with the notifications when I was 'out of commission'. I appreciate you very much, Tess! You are a life saver. :)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Brave New World...Karen Cox

It is my pleasure to have award winning author, Karen Cox, as my guest today. Karen has stepped out into a brave new world and is sharing that experience with us. I know you will find it as fascinating as I did. Meryton Press is also having a giveaway so please check for details. Now please welcome, Karen Cox.

Thank you for the opportunity to guest post on Most Agreeably Engaged, Janet! I always feel right at home on an Austen-inspired site, because I’m in the company of ‘clever, well informed people who have a great deal of conversation.’

I love Jane Austen. No surprise there, as that’s how I found this little corner of cyberspace.  I love her novels. I love her unfinished works. I love that she was kind of a ‘nobody’ from ‘nowhere’—mostly because I can relate to that very well. I love her gift for dialogue, her effortless depth expressed through shallow words (read Miss Bates for an example,) and her moral compass. Most of all, I love her sharp and spot-on wit, and think I would love it even if I had known her personally and was sometimes the brunt of it.

I also love her because she, without knowing it and possibly rolling her eyes from the other side, became for me a catalyst to a wider world.

Off and on, I have written stories almost my whole life. The first evidence of that was the elephant picture book I ‘wrote’ when I was nine. I wrote some short stories, some of which are long gone now. I wrote a skeleton of a novel. But it wasn’t until I found Jane that I discovered how much joy it would bring me to share what I’d written.

I started writing Austenesque stories because I wanted to interpret the themes I saw in her works into modern time periods, ones that might be more accessible to a 21st Century reader. To those who say, “If you want Austen, go read Austen,” I say, “I agree; everyone should eventually go to the source.” But not everyone wants to start with 18th Century prose, and Austenesque paraliterature can pave the way to a deeper enjoyment of Austen’s work. Plus, it’s fun! And I’m all about fun.

That fun (along with a lot of editing) is how I ended up publishing my first two novels: 1932, which is a variation of Pride and Prejudice set in the rural South during the Great Depression; and Find Wonder in All Things, a modern adaptation of Persuasion. Jane Austen beckoned me into another world—the world of a writer. It was a strange and exotic place where I had everything to learn and very little experience to fall back on. It was WONDERFUL!

In the summer of 2011, I started writing an Austenesque story that sprang from a conversation with some other ‘fans of Jane’ regarding Elizabeth Bennet. People tend to be territorial about this beloved character, maybe more than any other character in Austen’s work. In this conversation, we all batted around our ideas of a ‘dark Lizzy’ (and some of them were pretty dark.) How far could you push her to the ‘dark side’ and have her retain the heart and soul—the character—of Elizabeth Bennet? I joked that no class difference could be as striking as a Darcy who was an evangelist’s son, and a Lizzy who was the town’s ‘bad girl.’ And that joke grew into an idea. As I worked through what the characters would go through to reach a real understanding with each other, however, it ceased to be a joke for me. There were real problems to be solved in that scenario, some unforeseen obstacles to overcome.

I posted that story on A Happy Assembly as an Austenesque piece entitled ‘Son of a Preacher Man,’ but even while I was writing it, I began to realize it was going off on a path away from Austen. Oh, sure, there were similarities: erroneous first impressions, how pride and prejudice could lead people to make mistakes, class differences based on reputation, education and socio-economic status. But there were also differences: some gender reversals in the actions of the characters, original characters who boldly introduced themselves, and 20th Century issues that arose from setting the story poised on the edge of the Sexual Revolution. Also, I was telling the story from the hero’s point of view, and that changed a lot of things, because P&P is most definitely Elizabeth’s story.

When I started preparing that story for publication, I had some conversation with Gail McEwen, my editor, about whether the story should become an original work. She said from the beginning that she was going to push me in that direction, but honestly, she didn’t have to push very hard. It became obvious to me as I went back through that I wasn’t reinterpreting Jane anymore. I was in some other place, telling some other story.

And that’s how At the Edge of the Sea was born. I’m not sure I ever would have dared to try it, if Jane hadn’t held my hand at the beginning. It’s been a wonderful, exciting adventure, a journey made possible by the incredible life and work of Miss Jane Austen.


Karen Cox is the author of two Austen-inspired novels. 1932 won a Bronze medal in Romance at the 2011 Independent Publisher Book Awards. Her second novel, Find Wonder in All Things, won a Gold medal in Romance at the 2012 Independent Publisher Book Awards, and was a Finalist in the 2013 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. At the Edge of the Sea is her third novel from Meryton Press, and will be released in October, 2013.

She was born in Everett, Washington, a circumstance that resulted from arriving in the world as a United States Air Force officer’s daughter. After a somewhat nomadic childhood that included stints in North Dakota, Tennessee, and New York State, her family landed in their home state of Kentucky. She still lives there in a quiet little town with her husband, son and daughter.

From the back cover of At the Edge of the Sea:

Lizzy Quinlan lives in the shadow of her past...

Everyone in Orchard Hill knows Lizzy’s bad reputation and won’t let her forget it. But in the summer of 1959, Billy Ray Davenport, an itinerant minister’s son, arrives in town. He discovers an indomitable spirit behind the allure his father says is ‘designed to lead men astray.’ Lizzy spouts quirky bursts of wisdom and exudes an effortless sensuality that calls to him like a siren’s song.  Billy Ray thinks he could be the one who helps her swim against the tide of disapproval—he could free her once and for all.

But a stormy path awaits the unlikely pair. Lizzy’s past cannot help but shape her future, and ready or not, this beautiful and complex mystery girl is about to change Billy Ray’s life—and his heart—forever.

A new novel from award-winning author Karen M Cox, At the Edge of the Sea is a realistic love story—told by an idealist. As society’s sands shift under his feet, Billy Ray navigates the ocean of approaching adulthood—a journey as ever-changing and ancient as the sea itself.

Buy At the Edge of the Sea:

Thank you again, Ms.Cox, for being my guest and telling us about your new adventure. It has been my honor to host you. I wish you as much success with this new book as you have had with your other two books. 

I want to thank Michele Reed and Meryton Press for the giveaway. Ms. Reed is kindly giving away a trade paperback to one lucky winner AND  an eBook for your eReader to a second lucky winner.The giveaway is international . To be entered leave a comment below. I always love reading your 'say in the conversation'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, October 7.