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!


  1. I'm really curious about this one. I have read one variation with reversed genders, but that was only for Darcy & Elizabeth and it was a modern story. Great idea!
    I would love to win a paperback (don't have an e-reader), thanks for the giveaway!
    arjanne.boneschanscher (at) gmail (dot) com

    1. Hi arjanne,
      The gender reversal was a challenge to write. I hope you'll like my topsy-turvey tale.

  2. The idea is interesting. I have never read anything like it. I completely understand not being able to remove certain characters from your brain. It is lile they become part of you. Hope to win can't wait to read. saganchilds(at)gmail.com

    1. Hi summerrivers,
      For some reason, I'm more receptive to the male voices in my head; and I prefer writing from their POV. In Love at First Slight, we get to know some of William Bennet's thoughts.

  3. I only just found out about this one yesterday, and I'm so curious! A proud Lizzy and a spirited William sounds like an exciting change, and thanks to Ms. Croft for the funny post! tutorgirlx3 (at) gmail.com

    1. Hi Tral,
      I'm glad you liked my conversation with Mr. Haughty-Pants Darcy and hope you'll also enjoy LaFS.

  4. Wow! I must confess I did not see it coming:) Reversed genders of main heros - very intriguing! I would love to read it and see how their characters and their chemistry come out. The bookcover is beautiful, so it would be the best to win a hardcopy, but ebook would be just as delightful! Thank you for wonderful giveaway and I cross my fingures to be lucky enough:) Wish you all the best with this book and other books to come! oloore (at) gmail (dot) com

  5. Hi oloore,
    I love that pretty cover, too, and can't wait to see its redesign by Meryton Press.
    Thanks for commenting.

  6. I have read a modern day reverse gender book and look forward to a reading one based in the original day

    meikleblog at gmail dot com

    1. Hi Vesper Melkle,
      I love reading and writing about the Regency period and hope you'll like LaFS.
      Thank you for taking time to comment.

  7. I'm not sure who won the verbal sparring there. Guess we'll have to see after reading the book to be sure. I"m so curious about the gender reversal aspect. Thanks for sharing and thanks for the giveaway opportunity.

    sophiarose1816 at gmail dot com

    1. Hi Sophia Rose,
      Surely I won! But Darcy's voice can be seductive at times, can't it?

  8. I have read a great deal of JA FF, but never one with the gender roles reversed like this. Sounds like a fun "mash up"!


    1. Well, Regina, it certainly was fun to write the gender reversals. I hope you'll add LaFS to the other JAFF titles you've read.

  9. Thank you for asking me here, Janet, and for allowing my say in the conversation.
    Good luck to everyone entered in the giveaway!
    Thanks to Meryton Press for arranging my participation and for providing the giveaways.

    1. It is my pleasure to have you here as my guest, Joanne. Your post was so entertaining and fun. Please come back and 'have your say in the conversation' anytime. You are always welcome.

      I wish you the best with your book.

  10. I like to believe J Marie has the upperhand because she is the author and gets to decide the final outcome. Hehe

    I love reading JAFF that I can get my hands on, particularly when there are many good reviews. Love at First Slight sounds like a fun read to me. And thanks for the giveaway opportunity.


  11. Well said, Evangeline!
    Thanks for dropping by, and good luck in the draw.

  12. I am so curious as to how this will play out! What a wonderful idea of twisting the story in such a way! I simply can't wait to read it! Thank you for the opportunity to win one as well!

    mysticpixels at aol dot com

  13. Hi mysticpixels,
    Your enthusiasm is appreciated. I hope you'll like not only the P&P twist but also the humour in LaFS.