Wednesday, April 30, 2014

And the winners are...'A Jane Austen Encounter'

Congratulations to the three eBook winners of

A Jane Austen Encounter

by Donna Fletcher Crow

The three winners are:

Vesper Meikle 
Anonymous (Catherine Commons)

Get back to me as soon as possible for your correct email address and I will forward it on to Donna F. Crow

Thank you, Donna, for your very generous giveaway. I enjoyed your post and I hope you will come back and visit again soon.

And the winners are...'Pride and Persistence'

For the Giveaway of Jeanna Ellsworth's

Pride & Persistence,

the two winners are:

Paperback:  schilds who left a comment on April 17

eBook:  Warmisunqu Austen who left a comment on April 17th

Ladies, get back to me at as soon as possible with the appropriate contact information. I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did.


and a 'big' Thank You to Jeanna Ellsworth.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Jane Austen in Bath With Donna Fletcher Crow

My next guest is the author of 43 novels and is currently writing 3 mystery series. She is here today to tell us about one of those mystery books, A Jane Austen Encounter. I think you will all be as delighted to meet her and hear of her books as I have been. She also has some absolutely gorgeous pictures of Bath to share with us. Please welcome Donna Fletcher Crow. 

 “Mom, who’s your favorite author?” My son recently asked.

Without a second’s thought I replied, “Jane Austen.”

In the silence that followed he blinked. “Wow.” Then he added, “That’s really cool. You’re so definite.”
Yup, that’s it. My great literary love affair. Long before Colin Firth in a wet shirt, long before the Lizzie Bennet Diaries, long before I heart Darcy book bags. There was just Jane Austen and me. 

So it’s really rather surprising that A Jane Austen Encounter is number three in my Elizabeth and Richard literary suspense series where each book features a favorite author for my literature professor sleuths to solve their crime around. Perhaps I was just working up to Jane. And I don’t suppose she would mind being preceded by William Shakespeare and Dorothy L Sayers.

Besides getting to spend more time with Jane, one of the best parts of writing A Jane Austen Encounter was doing the background research. One of my primary goals as a writer is to give my readers a “you are there” experience. I want my readers to see, hear and feel what my viewpoint characters are experiencing. In order to do that, I have to experience it first.

Of course, for A Jane Austen Encounter that meant following the Jane Austen trail, visiting all the homes where Jane lived. Beginning with Bath— and a cup of tea at the Jane Austen Centre.

Refreshed, energized and armed with several good maps, I set out on the Jane Austen trail, attempting to visit Jane’s various lodgings and scenes from her novels. I was constantly amazed and grateful that so little had changed in 200 years.

No. 13 Queen Square
Just up— and I do mean “up” since Bath is a city of hills— from the Centre is No. 13 Queen Square where Jane stayed with her mother and brother Edward in 1799. Queen Square is still an elegant green oasis near the heart of the city, just as it was when Jane spent the six happy weeks here that fed her imagination for writing Northanger Abbey.

Assembly Rooms
The Pump Room
The Abbey
Catherine Morland was enchanted by Bath and I believe it’s fair to think that her feelings reflect Jane’s early experiences in the city. Catherine attended her first ball at the Assembly Rooms, visited the Pump Room, the Abbey, and walked in the Royal Crescent looking for Henry Tilney.
The Royal Crescent

Then in 1800 Jane’s father The Rev. George Austen retired from his Hampshire parish and announced that the Austen household was moving to Bath where he and his wife had been married. Jane was so shocked she fainted.

The family took lodgings at No. 4 Sydney Place, across from the beautiful Sydney Gardens which Jane enjoyed. The Austens lived here for five years until Mr. Austen’s death. Most biographers believe Jane was too unhappy during this time to write. Although it’s possible she was having too much fun.

No. 4 Sydney Place
Sydney Gardens

After The Rev. Austen’s death the Austen ladies were required to economize so they moved to 25 Gay Street which is just a few doors up from the present Jane Austen Centre.

25 Gay Street
63 Trim Street
Successive economies required a move to the unfashionable, and damp, Green Park buildings which no longer remain. Nor does the house in which they lodged in their final frugality in Trim Street, an area populated with beggars and prostitutes in Jane’s day, but fortunately somewhat cleaned up today.

Gravel Walk
Anne Elliot’s dislike of Bath is undoubtedly a reflection of Jane’s later experiences here, but the Gravel Walk where Anne and Captain Wentworth resolved their relationship is still a lovely, secluded spot in the midst of the bustling city.

For a more complete experience of the Jane Austen trail, join Elizabeth and Richard in A Jane Austen EncounterHttp://   Visit all the sites so redolent of Jane and her characters in the beautiful city of Bath, stay in the Chawton House Library and visit the charming cottage where Jane’s writing flowered and the nearby Steventon church where her father was rector and her own faith established, stand by her grave in Winchester Cathedral, and enjoy your time at the lovely country estate of Godmersham. But don’t let your guard down. Evil lurks even in the genteel world of Jane Austen.

Donna Fletcher Crow is the author of 43 books, mostly novels of British history.  The award-winning Glastonbury, A Novel of the Holy Grail, an epic covering 15 centuries of English history, is her best-known work.  She is also the author of The Monastery Murders: A Very Private Grave, A Darkly Hidden Truth and An Unholy Communion as well as the Lord Danvers series of Victorian true-crime novels and the literary suspense series The Elizabeth & Richard Mysteries. Donna and her husband live in Boise, Idaho.  They have 4 adult children and 13 grandchildren. She is an enthusiastic gardener.

To read more about all of Donna’s books and see pictures from her garden and research trips go to: 
You can follow her on Facebook at:

Donna Fletcher Crow is allowing me to host a lovely giveaway of three electronic books of A Jane Austen Encounter. Thank you, Donna.  To be entered leave a comment below as I always love reading your 'share 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 (at) instead of @. Winners will be chosen in a random drawing. Giveaway will end at midnight, April 29, 2014.   

And the winners are...

The two winners for Jan Hahn's,

The Secret Betrothal are:

Paperback:  Sandy who left a comment April 12
eBook:  Anonymous(Marti) who left a comment April 11


Your contact info has been forwarded to Jan Hahn.

Thank you so much for your generosity, Ms. Hahn. It was much fun having you as my guest and 'switching places'! 

Thanks to you, dear readers, for visiting and commenting. I do hope you get a chance to read Jan's latest release!

Monday, April 21, 2014

My Share in the Conversation...Pride and Persistence

Pride and Persistence by Jeanna Ellsworth

This book takes place after the Hunsford proposal and begins with Darcy’s determination to get ‘the letter’ of defense into Elizabeth’s hands despite the threat of an impending storm. Even Colonel Fitzwilliam cannot dissuade him from going, and good judgment is overruled as Darcy feels it is imperative that Elizabeth read his letter. The storm comes, the horse is frightened and the injury occurs, but Elizabeth does get that letter!

One of the things that I loved about this book was the author’s ability to write about the very serious subject of head trauma and then to reverently bring some levity into the story. As a neurological ICU nurse (as she informs us), Jeanna Ellsworth has firsthand knowledge and experience that helped enable her to write such a poignant and true-to-life account of Darcy’s injury. It is life-threatening, frightening and yes, even amusing at times as Darcy goes through the healing process. As I read this endearing story, my emotions ran the gamut from shock, fear and worry to relief, laughter and joy. (And I laughed out loud during many scenes) At times, I felt deeply sorry for Darcy and often concerned but I always loved the Fitzwilliam Darcy of Ms. Ellsworth’s Pride and Persistence. She makes you fall in love with him all over again.

Elizabeth helps take care of Darcy after his injury as she seems to be the only one that can get him to calm down and ‘do what needs to be done’. Her feelings begin to soften with each day as she gets to know the real man. Everyone else in the narrative is aware of her growing affections for him, (even the reader) before she herself realizes them, and the journey to her ‘awakening’ is delightful.

The description of Mr. Collins is both hilarious and disgusting. Ms. Ellsworth paints a visual picture with words that left a vivid imprint in my mind. I’m not so sure I thank her for that image! (Laughs here) I didn’t think he could get much worse! It takes a good writer to cleverly depict a character so repulsive in manners and appearance as dear Charlotte’s husband has been represented by Jeanna Ellsworth. Good job!

Lady Catherine out does herself in this narrative. She behaves most badly, even for her. Learning about her past and early behaviors sheds new light on her character. This new knowledge was completely unexpected but acceptable.

Colonel Fitzwilliam is as adorable as he is clever and witty. He uses his battlefield know-how to get Darcy to cooperate. (He even uses it on Lizzy too) We get to see lots of the Colonel and that is always good! His talk of ‘storms’ and ‘weathering the storm’ was a very good life comparison and one that I immensely enjoyed.

Mr. Bennet remained true to character and his drollness was diverting. Poor Mr. Darcy, being on the receiving end of most of it, accepted the teasing with grace and charm. Mr. Bennet’s comment about hands deflecting to Rome and Russia was especially funny!

Georgiana, Jane and Bingley are true to character and are enchanting.

The proposal letter that Darcy dictated to Elizabeth was so romantic and was an extremely nice touch. Later Darcy asks Elizabeth how she would like to be proposed to and her answer was enlightening and good. She made some startling discoveries about herself in that answer.

The doctor from town―Mr. Cummings, the nurse that stayed at Hunsford and cared for Darcy―Madeline, and the Hunsford cook―Mrs. Wilkinson, were all great new characters. They played a significant part in the story and I loved each of them.

This story was very well done. It had the seriousness of a head injury and the warmth and romance of a love story. After all, the romance is what we are wanting for our dear Darcy and Elizabeth and they do get their happily ever after. The epilogue was fulfilling and makes for a very good finish. There is more to the book than just getting Darcy and Lizzy together.

Thank you, Jeanna Ellsworth, for a lovely book. I enjoyed every minute of it and didn’t want to put it down. I highly recommend Pride and Persistence.

5 out of 5 stars

On a personal note, having experienced a loved one with a minor head trauma, I found the descriptions and accounts very realistic. Even through all the tension, concern and fears, there are some things that occur that are truly funny. During those times, if one can allow himself to laugh amidst the tears, it helps get through the dark days of healing.

Jeanna Ellsworth is giving away Pride and Persistence to two lucky people. A domestic winner will have the choice of a paperback or eBook. An international winner will receive an eBook. To be entered leave a comment below as I always love reading your 'share 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 (at) instead of @. Winners will be chosen in a random drawing. Giveaway will end at midnight, April 23, 2014. Anyone that leaves a comment on Jeanna's post and this review will double their chances of winning.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Pride and Persistance....Jeanna Ellsworth

I am so excited to have author Jeanna Ellsworth visit again. The first time she visited was as a debut author for her book, Mr. Darcy's Promise. Her latest release, Pride and Persistence gave her the opportunity to combine her professions. Not only does Jeanna write but she is also a Neurological ICU registered nurse. She has vast experience with the subject matter of this book, which, by the way, I found to be absolutely delightful. (More on that in a few days!) Thank you, Jeanna, for being my guest and now I will turn the 'post' over to you!

Thank you, Janet, for having me on your blog! I have to admit that I am tickled to talk about my next book that was just released, Pride and Persistence. It might help to tell you a bit about it.
               This book takes place immediately after the horrid Hunsford proposal. Both Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth are in turmoil; Elizabeth because she had never been so rude to anyone before and wants to apologize, and Darcy because he has to write the perfect letter to help change her mind. Mr. Darcy is so determined to get this letter into her hands that he rides out when a storm threatens and in the process his horse gets spooked and takes off without him fully mounted. Elizabeth witnesses the accident and is the first one on the scene. Although unconscious, they manage to bring him into the parsonage sitting room where Elizabeth stays by his side. She is riddled with guilt for not apologizing for being so offensive the day before.
               The next morning, Darcy wakes up but is clearly not himself. Here is an excerpt to show it. Mrs. Wilkinson is the Mrs. Collins’ terrible cook and friend of Elizabeth. In this excerpt, Elizabeth is standing outside the sitting room the morning he wakes up and overhears the following:
She stopped at the door and overheard a little of what was going on.
               Colonel Fitzwilliam said in a very firm voice, “I am sorry, Darcy, you cannot stand up. Your foot is broken. The doctor said you cannot stand up, no matter what the reason.”
               Darcy spat back at him, “And would you prefer to do it sitting down?”
               Colonel Fitzwilliam responded, “It does not matter what I prefer, you cannot stand up.”
               Darcy nearly yelled, “I cannot keep having this argument! What is the matter with doing it the way I always do? My foot is fine! Here, I will prove it. MOVE! Cousin, if you do not lift your hands off my shoulders, I swear to you I will break your arm!”
               “Sorry, Darcy—doctor’s orders. You must do it sitting down.”
               “I will not!” Darcy bellowed.
               Elizabeth was very confused. What were they talking about and why was Darcy so agitated? She heard someone behind her, and she turned to see Mrs. Wilkinson. “What is going on?”
Mrs. Wilkinson let out a laugh. “I am afraid you do not want to know. But I would love to see you try to figure it out!” Elizabeth raised her eyebrow in curiosity and then gave her a pleading look. Mrs. Wilkinson laughed again and said, “There will be little peace until he does what the colonel tells him. I am afraid you will eventually figure it out with Mr. Darcy being as loud as he is. Let us just say it has been a long time since Mr. Darcy used the chamber pot.”
Many know I am a Neurological ICU nurse (at least it is my night job – I work nights, not days). I get a firsthand look at the different kind of brain injuries and there is one particular area of the brain, that if injured, becomes quite difficult to manage. This is true for the patient, the family, and coming from first hand experience, is very taxing on the nurse. That injury is a frontal lobe injury.

             executive function of the frontal lobes involve the ability to recognize future consequences resulting from current actions, to choose between good and bad actions (or better and best), override and suppress socially unacceptable responses, and determine similarities and differences between things or events.
  If you think back to your anatomy, the frontal lobe is where complex thought, emotions, rationalizing, memory and sensory interpretation is located. This is how Wikipedia defines the function of the frontal lobe: “The
The frontal lobes also play an important part in retaining longer term memories which are not task-based. These are often memories associated with emotions derived from input from the brain's limbic system. The frontal lobe modifies those emotions to generally fit socially acceptable norms.”

So the story behind the idea for this book stemmed from a very, very, very long night of literally wrestling my patient to stay in bed, hurdling linen carts and family as he ripped out IV’s, trying to calm him and convince him that he really was injured. This photo just about sums it up for the life of that nurse. I mean, who needs to exercise when you break Olympic records to keep your patient in bed? (insert photos here)

The next week, and yes, it took nearly a week to recover from taking care of that patient. I was trying to nap before I went to work and the thought came to me that, as exhausting as that night was, it was really rather funny! What if Mr. Darcy had a frontal lobe injury and could not remember one day from the next? What if he was emotionally labile and had to be repeatedly told that he was injured? What if Mr. Darcy got fixated on the fact that he wanted to propose to Elizabeth but yet could not remember that he had already proposed and was refused? I’ll tell you that I did not get any nap that day because I jumped out of bed and wrote down a plot outline of what that “what if” looked like in 1812. I could not stop giggling as I thought of all the funny things my various patients said and did and how over time, they did show improvement, so why not have his proposals improve with time? We all have read the horrid Hunsford, proposal which still breaks my heart every time I watch it, but what if he seemed to learn from his mistakes, even with his injured brain? Would his persistence in proposing eventually pacify the prejudice that Elizabeth had?

You will have to answer that yourself. The book is now available on Amazon as a paperback and Ebook. Prepare to laugh, cry, swoon, and laugh some more.

Thank you Janet for hosting me today. It was fun to share a bit about my book. I hope you all get a chance to read it. I am giving away either an Ebook (internationally) or a paperback (U.S. only) to anyone who comments.

One more thing that I always feel like I must say, is although I write this as a romantic comedy, I am fully aware of the tragedy that brain injuries can be. I see the trauma first hand. I hold loved one’s hands as they patiently wait for their loved ones to come around. I cry with them as the painter learns that he will never use his right hand again. I offer tissues to the grandchildren as they disconnect the ventilator on their brain-dead Nanna. Trust me, I know that more often than not, it is impossible to laugh with brain injuries. But, I also have learned that occasionally, one must find laughter in any situation in order to heal and move on. So I dedicate the book to all the patients, families, and staff of Neurological ICU’s. I truly do pray for them daily.

I wrote this with true to life experiences, speech, and behavior of a patient with a frontal lobe injury. I had a wonderful time writing it and still laugh my pants off when I read it. I hope you do too.

You may find more about Jeanna Ellsworth and her works on her blog, Hey Lady Publications.

Thank you again for being my guest this week, Jeanna. I enjoyed your post. It was informative, interesting and insightful, giving us some first hand knowledge of the seriousness of brain trauma. I completely agree with your statement of finding laughter in any situation (if possible) in order to heal. It may be hard to find at times, but it does help with moving on. Now, on a lighter note, I love the cover, both front and back of this book! Outstanding!

Jeanna Ellsworth is giving away Pride and Persistence to two lucky people. A domestic winner will have the choice of a paperback or eBook. An international winner will receive an eBook. To be entered leave a comment below as I always love reading your 'share 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 (at) instead of @. Winners will be chosen in a random drawing. Giveaway will end at midnight, April 23, 2014.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Switching Places...The Secret Betrothal Cover Art

Hello, dear readers. Today I am taking part in The Secret Betrothal Blog Tour set up by Jakki of Leatherbound Reviews. The author of the book, Jan Hahn was my guest last month and I interviewed her for the post. Today, Jan is my guest again but she is interviewing me, since I did the covers for The Secret Betrothal! We are discussing author/artist collaboration on cover art. I hope you enjoy the switch in places! There is also a giveaway so be sure to check for the details later on in the post.

JAN:  Let’s begin with what you as the cover artist need from the author.  Do you need to read the book before you begin?  If so, why?  (I’m referring to authors in the feminine tense simply for expediency, certainly not to take away anything from our excellent writers of the masculine gender.)

JANET: Yes, I need to read the book.  I like to get a feel for the story as well as determine if any scene immediately stands out in my mind. If so, is it one that I can draw and make it grab the reader’s attention?  I want the cover to be unique, to tell something special about the story without giving away the plot.  

JAN:  If the author has no idea what she wants on the cover, how can you help?

JANET: After reading the book, I’ll give my suggestions for illustrations and see if that triggers anything from her.  If not, then we may go with one of my ideas.  Linda Beutler used my idea for the front cover of The Red Chrysanthemum, and gave her input as I worked. Then when it was time to do the back, she had specific ideas for it. The red roses on the back are not just any red rose but a specific one, 'Slater’s Crimson China' Rose.

JANIf the author does have an idea for the cover, what’s the best way she can convey the message to you if she’s not an artist?  Do you want to see pictures she’s found that are somewhat like what she wants?

JANET: Yes, I do.  Some of those pictures can have things added or taken from them.  In other words, pick and choose what we want.  Anything that helps me see what the author is visualizing is helpful.  Suzan Lauder sent me lots of paintings of ships for the cover of Alias Thomas Bennet.  As we progressed, she decided she wanted a man with two children waiting for the ship, which definitely tied into her story. I did a lot with colors on that cover to get the feelings/mood to match the scene.

JAN: I’m fascinated by the process you go through to arrive at a finished drawing.  I only had one absolute in mind with my latest book.  I wanted a beach scene at the ocean with a big rock because it played an essential part in The Secret Betrothal.  I thought I wanted it on the front, but then I considered the reader.  What would the ocean have to do with a secret betrothal?  So, I decided I wanted the three characters that made up the triangle on the front, and we put the beach scene on the back.  Elizabeth standing between her two suitors was about all I told you, Janet.  Can you tell us how you created the front cover for The Secret Betrothal?

JANET: The book has three significant balls in it, so we knew a ballroom was a fitting place for the three characters to be.  We talked about various ways you wanted them to stand.  Should Elizabeth be standing in front or beside the men?  Should the men be looking at her or each other?

I used a different picture of Chayseland. (Darcy)
In the pic to the right, he has a slight smile or smirk.
The one barely arched eyebrow of Kennedy (Lizzy),
made this pic a keeper.
The look on Zach's (Wickham) face was perfect. 
The clothes and hair, though roughly done,
give a better idea of the planned drawing.
Like most artists, I need something to look at when I draw.  In the past, artists needed models to sit for them.  Today, however, we have the luxury of photographs.  Since you suggested my grandson pose as Darcy and he had some friends who could be Wickham and Elizabeth, I asked them to be my models.  Because they’re teens, the hardest part was getting their schedules worked out so they could all three be at my house at one time.  I tried to pose them together, but they dissolved into laughter so often that I gave up on that idea! I ended up doing individual shots.  I told them how to stand and what I wanted them to think about to get the expression on their faces that I needed. I literally took at least a hundred pictures of them.  Then I spent hours sifting through the photos to find just the right three.  On the computer, I cut out the background from each individual picture and placed them together the way I thought you wanted.  After your approval, I then found pictures of period clothes and placed them on the models, via computer, to get an idea of what might need changing before I began drawing.  Once drawing commenced, I had to age the guys, take out the roundness of their chins and square their jaws.  I gave the guys sideburns, added shadows of beards, and changed Elizabeth’s hairstyle. 

You suggested a simple background in subtle shades of blue, but I felt like it needed something more, so I proposed the idea of an orchestra.  You did not want the orchestra to be as prominent as the three main characters, so I let their feet shade out and kept the color muted.  That’s when you thought they looked like ghosts!  I also only drew three musicians at first, but more were needed to fill out the picture. Then I went back to the drawing board, added more color to the feet and legs, put in a floor and several more musicians with their instruments.

JAN:  How can the author and artist avoid misunderstandings?  I know we had a few even though we’re friends, see each other often, and talk on the phone at least once every week.

JANET:  It’s difficult to read each other’s minds.  One of the biggest obstacles for me as an artist is trying to understand and ‘see’ what the author is visualizing.  Even with pictures it can still be hard to do. [FROM JAN:  And a like obstacle for me as an author is trying to tell you what I’m seeing.  You’d think someone who works with words could do so, but it’s not as simple as it sounds.] 

Photo of back cover
 before any touch-ups and
without the shoes.  The
shoes add perspective.
On the back cover, we had looked at various paintings to get ideas for the beach scene and large rock that you wanted.  I got it partially drawn and decided to show you what I had done so far. Big mistake!  What you saw was completely different from what I saw because I knew where the drawing was going, and you didn’t.  Where I saw a rock and sky, you saw a mountain!  That’s why most of the time I don’t show the picture to the author until it’s finished. I guess it's a bit like you showing someone a few chapters of your book or the beginning and ending without the middle and expecting the person to know where you are going with the story.

JAN:  How late in the process can you change a drawing?

JANET: That depends on what part of the drawing the author wants to change.  Some things I can alter and some I can’t, depending on the colors and pigments or how major a change is involved. Some things can be adjusted on the computer like noses, lips and/or tweaking the colors. Sometimes I even clone something from another part of my drawing.  A good rule is if you want to make changes, tell the artist as early as possible.  I will tell the author if it’s something I can change or not, or what I can try to do. For obvious reasons, lighter colors are more conducive to change than darker or brighter colors. Most importantly, do discuss it. After all, it is the author’s book and the cover is just the visual representation of it.

JAN:  I know you’ve done original covers for Meryton Press authors.  Are you available to other writers, or are you under exclusive contract with Meryton Press?  Besides original drawings, do you ever do graphic design work for authors?

JANET:  First of all, I’m not under contract with Meryton Press.  Each cover is contracted separately.  I really enjoy working with Meryton Press writers, but I enjoy working with other authors as well.  I also do graphic design for covers where I combine stock photos or parts of paintings that are in the public domain to make a new and completely different picture. I recently did two front covers for author, Cassandra Grafton. Both covers are made up of parts of several pictures that I have put together to make a new picture. I then turned the new picture into an oil painting. You can view them on the Cover Art page of this blog. In the near future, Ms. Grafton will be posting chapters of Lizzy Bennet’s Diary with both of the above mentioned covers at Austen Variations.

JAN:  I thoroughly enjoyed our collaboration on the front and back covers for The Secret Betrothal, Janet.  Since I know nothing about art other than what I like and don’t like, it was a learning experience for me.  I believe the most important thing for artists and authors is frequent communication.   You do beautiful work, and I’m very proud of the cover art on my latest book.

JANET:   Thank you, Jan. I enjoyed working with you on your covers and felt it was quite an honor to do so. You are right about the importance of communication. As much as we talked about the pictures and cover ideas, we found there could still be miscommunication. I think that was a surprise to both of us. It takes time and patience to put everything together to achieve that final desired goal, a cover that stands out and grabs attention. I’m so happy that you are proud of your cover art. That makes it all worthwhile. Thank you also, for being my guest today and interviewing me. That put a fun twist to the post!

Jan Hahn is generously giving away The Secret Betrothal to two lucky people. A domestic winner will have the choice of a signed paperback or eBook. An international winner will receive an eBook. To be entered leave a comment below as I always love reading your 'share 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 (at) instead of @. Winners will be chosen in a random drawing. Giveaway will end at midnight, April 17, 2014.

And the winners are...

(who left a comment at either post)

A Father's Sins: A Pride and Prejudice Variation 
by J Dawn King

"When I first talked to Janet about posting an interview and giveaway, I never dreamed I would get this response. It came at such a perfect time for me and the comments have encouraged me to keep writing. What a gift that is!

Please let Janet know whether you would like an eBook or a print copy. I am hoping you will choose a print copy so you can pack it with you, underline or dog-ear your favorite parts, loan it out to a discerning friend and reread it again and again. Each book will be signed and include a gorgeous picture of our favorite couple. If, after reading this, you still want an eBook - please let us know. 

Since I live outside the US, I clearly understand the frustration of not being included in the drawings, not fear that you will not get a copy because you live in various parts of out beautiful planet.

(Note: Because of a health issue we will not be returning to the US until the first part of May. If you want an eBook, you will get it gifted to you as soon as we get your contact information. Print books will be mailed the 10th of May. I apologize for the delay.)

J "Joy" Dawn King, Author (it just thrills me to say that!)

A Big Congratulations to all of you, dear readers, who stopped by for a visit and took the time to leave a comment. Isn't this a wonderful gift that author, J Dawn King, has given to each of you?
I could hardly wait for this post! :)  

As soon as possible, please contact me via email with your choice of book, Signed Paperback or eBook and also the contact information whether shipping address or email address. 

Thank you for supporting my blog and Congratulations again on being the winners.

Joy, it has been such a pleasure to have you as my guest and to visit with you via emails. It has been nice to get to know you.  Thank you for this most generous of all giveaways and for having it on my blog. I am honored and humbled. I wish you much success and look forward to your other books. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

My Share in the Conversation...A Father's Sins

A Father’s Sins by J Dawn King

Debut author, J Dawn King’s book, A Father’s Sins, grabbed my interest and held it from the very first page until the last. I did not want to put it down. I adored the prologue! It was well done and set the stage for the events that follow.

Since this narrative is a variation, changes are to be expected. A few of the characters have different personalities but those changes are the basis for the premise. Mr. Bennet was a hard man and blamed Lizzy for his foolish actions. George Darcy made a mistake in his youth that hurt his children. They ultimately pay for their father’s sins as Lizzy does for her father’s.

Darcy and Elizabeth are pretty true to character and I loved them both.  This is a wonderful Darcy and a witty, caring Elizabeth. There is no insult at Meryton, as Lizzy is not present at the Assembly. The major obstacles to the courtship of my favorite hero and heroine are mostly from outside sources and those hindrances abound.

Lord and Lady Matlock, their heir, Henry and dear Colonel Fitzwilliam are absolutely delightful. They are some of my favorite characters and play a pretty major role in the story as does Georgiana. Lizzy helps Georgiana to ‘stand tall’ and become a more confident young woman.  The process is endearing.  There are a few new characters, Mrs. Nichols, for one, and some familiar ones, the Hills, that also have a significant part in the events.The Gardiners live up to my expectations of Lizzy’s caring and well-mannered aunt and uncle, who play an important role in Lizzy's life. Wickham is up to no good and is utterly despicable. Caroline Bingley is disgusting. Lady Catherine is her usual self but Anne is a bit ‘stronger’. Charles Bingley learns to stand up for himself rather than let others lead him. In Jane’s character I was a bit disappointed, but under the circumstances, I could ‘kind of’ understand why she might be somewhat altered.

On several occasions the author used Elizabeth’s voice to make a statement that I have tried to live by in my life. To summarize, ‘It is not so important what happens to you, as what happens in you.’ A person can let circumstances or words hurt him or not affect him. It is a choice! (And can be such a life changing choice) I was moved by this theme and was glad that Mrs. King allowed our heroine to grow in wisdom and character from her father’s sins rather than be destroyed by them.

The narrative is fast-paced, action-packed, suspenseful and emotional, is angst driven and not bogged down with detail. Darcy and Elizabeth are in company through a good part of the book, although not necessarily under the best of circumstances. Their ‘together time’ is what I like best and it is clean with no explicit sex.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Even though I hated for it to end, I felt really good inside---very satisfied. For a first novel, J Dawn King did an excellent job and I am impressed with her writing. I understand she has more works in progress and I eagerly await them. Thanks for a book well done!

4.5 out of 5 stars

J Dawn King  is generously giving away A Father's Sins to two lucky people. The giveaway is international and is for one paperback and one eBook. To be entered leave a comment below as I always love reading your 'share 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 (at) instead of @. Winners will be chosen in a random drawing. Giveaway will end at midnight, April 10, 2014. (I have extended the giveaway an extra day since I was a day later posting my review.) If you leave comments here and on the post by J Dawn King, you will double your chances of winning a book.

And the winners are...


The winners are...

Paperback:  Marcia Vasquez who commented on March 25 
eBook:  anonymous (catcommons) who commented on March 27 

You are the winners in the giveaway by Alexa Adams!

Contact me as soon as possible with your respective physical address and email address.

Thank you, Alexa Adams, for this wonderful giveaway and your very exciting excerpts from The Madness of Mr. Darcy. I hope you realize that we are all anticipation waiting for the new book's release! I'm happy you chose to share with us.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Debut Author J Dawn King

Joy King has been a frequent visitor and supporter of my blog. I have enjoyed reading her comments on the various posts, but today I welcome her as my guest. She lives in Ecuador but is originally from Oregon. She is also having a giveaway of her book, A Father's Sins, which I will be reviewing in a few days. It is with pleasure that I introduce to you, debut author J Dawn King. I hope you will enjoy getting to know her as much as I have.

My life has always been filled with a variety of activities. I loved to read, but had little time for it. Two years ago I became very, very ill. Being confined to my bed was a challenge because I had always been a go-getter. However, this turned out to be a blessing. It was then that I read Jane Austen’s books for the first time. Pride and Prejudice was my favorite. I could not get enough.

What started me on the path to writing A Father’s Sins: A Pride and Prejudice Variation was The Journey, by Jan Hahn. That one book was my life changer. I read it four times back-to-back and could not quit thinking about it when I would put it down. That single story started me pondering over alternate paths for Darcy and Elizabeth. It also motivated me to read Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice again.

A Father’s Sins delves into the consequences that decisions made by unthinking parents can have on their innocent children. Portions of Jane Austen’s original story played a huge factor in my setting. Fitzwilliam Darcy’s father showing favor to George Wickham at the expense of his own young son and heir played to Darcy’s shyness and social reticence. Elizabeth Bennet’s father not taking charge of Lydia and not caring properly for his estate to ensure a good future for his daughters affected everyone in his household. It created a sometimes hysterical, nervous mother and put pressure on the daughters to marry well to provide for sisters where their father had not.

From the first, I imagined Elizabeth loving adventure and Darcy loving Elizabeth right away. It frustrated me, in the original, that Darcy and Elizabeth would have reached their happily ever after sooner if they communicated. However, that would have not fit with the rest of Jane Austen’s story. The freedom to tell their     story my way was just too tempting to pass up.

The conduct and attitude of Mr. Bennet also impacted Jane and Bingley. In the original, the two were close to the same age but each lived a very different life. Charles Bingley was easily persuaded, both by his sisters and Mr. Darcy. He had not worked for his income and his only real accomplishments were the ability to make close friends and the finishing of his education. Jane Bennet, as the eldest child with a flighty mother, would have had much responsibility around the home. She also had the pressure to marry well. It was easy to see why she was attracted to Bingley. But, I wondered how a young woman whose father refused to make good decisions to benefit her family would feel after marriage to a young man who had no track record in standing up for himself to his sisters.

Thus, book two, entitled Mr. Bingley: A Pride and Prejudice Variation. It will build on those issues as Bingley does without Darcy’s guidance and influence for the first time in his adult life. I hope to have it done and in print by mid-summer. Charles Bingley and Jane Bennet are as loved by me as Darcy and Elizabeth and I long for them to have a wonderful ending. It will be a stand-alone story.

My plan for book three, Colonel Fitzwilliam: A Pride and Prejudice Variation, is to have the gentleman fall immediately and passionately in love with George Wickham’s sister, Constance. (Constance was briefly introduced in A Father’s Sins). She blames Colonel Fitzwilliam for her brother’s being separated from her family and loathes him with every fiber of her being. Their story will be filled with misunderstandings, disputes, and heated passions. However, it will be PG rated and will be a stand alone story.

I am currently having A Father’s Sins translated into Spanish. Definitely one of the many benefits of living in South America.

I think I had better quit typing here and get busy finishing book two. Bingley is calling…..

About the Author:

First time author Joy Dawn King fell in love with Jane Austen’s writings two years ago and discovered the world of fan fiction shortly after. Intrigued with the many possibilities, she began developing her own story for Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet.

Living high in the Andes Mountains of South America, Joy loves to take an occasional break from the Latin culture and bury herself in reading English literature about her favorite English characters.

Joy, and her husband of 34 years, live next door to their only child, Jennifer, her husband, and her twtin grandchildren and is a native Oreganian.

The author is currently writing about Mr. Bingley’s and Jane Bennet’s struggles with happily ever after and will follow with the tale of what happens when Colonel Fitzwilliam immediately falls in love with Constance Wickham, who hates him bitterly.

The Father's Sins may be found on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

I am so happy you agreed to be my guest, Joy. It has been such a 'joy' to have you visit in your role as author this time. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us and letting us get to know you better. I enjoyed reading your book and I wish you much success with it and future books!

J Dawn King  is generously giving away A Father's Sins to two lucky people. The international giveaway is for one paperback and one eBook. To be entered leave a comment below as I always love reading your 'share 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 (at) instead of @. Winners will be chosen in a random drawing. Giveaway will end at midnight, April 9, 2014.