Saturday, February 28, 2015

My share in the conversation...The Falmouth Connection

Happy Saturday, to everyone! Hope you are inside staying warm if you are in the cold, snowy and icy parts of the world right now. We have a layer of ice over most everything and it is pretty cold in the part of Texas where I live. The cold here is nothing like what those in the NE US are having and for that, I am glad.

My reviews have been slow coming for the past months but I am working on them, trying to catch up. Below is my review for The Falmouth Connection by Joana Starnes. If you have not yet read this book, I highly recommend it. 

A Book Review: The Falmouth Connection by Joana Starnes

The premise of this book is different from most that I have read and it is one I genuinely liked. The story begins with Elizabeth at Hunsford visiting Charlotte when Darcy and Fitzwilliam are at Rosings. An express arrives for Elizabeth requiring her immediate departure. This sudden leave-taking by Elizabeth delays the proposal that Darcy had been considering. Thus we, and more especially, he is delivered from that ill-fated scene. In hopes of another opportunity, Mr. Darcy determines that he and Colonel Fitzwilliam will escort Elizabeth and her maid to Basingstoke, where she is to meet her family. The ensuing journey and carriage ride make for some interesting situations and conversations which are diverting indeed.

Mrs. Bennet and her daughters have been summoned to Falmouth. Mrs. Bennet has a very rich aunt, a Mrs. Pencarrow, who was her mother’s sister. Unbeknownst to Elizabeth, this great aunt has special plans for her. I liked Mrs. Pencarrow and enjoyed her role in the novel. She was a worthy new character with a lively personality. She also has a handsome young neighbor, Lord Trevellyan, who happens to be single, wealthy and in want of a good wife. Are you thinking Mr. Darcy has a rival? Yes, he does! This author certainly knows how to torment Fitzwilliam Darcy. She can write him in such various situations of torture that she makes me feel the strong pain and despair that he is suffering. I was hurting with him and feeling sorry for him all at the same time.

The passion, the extreme force of the feelings involved were awe-inspiring and beautifully scripted. Yet it was a chaste story. The chaste love scenes were very, very beautiful. There are many riveting scenes and amazing details that make this an extremely worthy book to devour. There is romance, a bit of mystery and intrigue and some wonderful new characters. It is too delightful to take a chance on giving anything away and spoiling what should be experienced by each reader. I was so absorbed that I did not want to stop reading. I wanted to keep on keeping on so I could see how it was going to end but at the same time, I did not want it to end. It was that gripping and that captivating, yet, I was very pleased with the ending. Everything came to a good conclusion leaving me with a sense of satisfaction. There was a surprise or two that I certainly never expected but they were well received and meticulously done…nice twists of fate.

I have been following Joana Starnes since she first started publishing her work. I have enjoyed all her books and have been impressed with the diversity of her themes, while keeping her characters true to canon. The narrative was so well done, the use of imageries, the thoughts, the depth of feelings, it pulled me in as though I was living the story with the characters. It was no longer just words on the page but had a life of its own.  Joana Starnes’s knowledge of the area was evident as she led us down a path of vivid descriptions and stunning scenery. Add to that a captivating plot with much substance and you have The Falmouth Connection, a brilliantly written book. Very well done, Joana Starnes…an exquisite tale.


If you leave a comment you will be entered in my giveaway for a note pad. It has each of the drawings that were in the 2014 PnP calendar. You may see a close up of them on the Illustrations page of this blog or on my website, JT Originals. The giveaway is for the quarter pad, size 4.25" x 5.5". It is the perfect size for a grocery list or a quick note. The giveaway is worldwide and ends midnight, March 6, 2015. Be sure to include your email in the comment.

Joana Starnes would like to add an eBook to the giveaway! Yay! It is international too. Those of you who have left comments are already entered. Thank you, Joana Starnes for your generosity.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Secret of Pembrooke Park Blog Tour

I am so excited to share this post with you today! It is such a privilege and honor to reveal the cover for Jennifer Joy's latest book, Love Never Fails. When it is released, it will have been about a year since Jennifer became a published author with the release of her first book, Darcy's Ultimatum. If I'm not mistaken, her newest, Love Never Fails, will be her 6th published book plus she also has a boxed set of her first three books, The Cousins Series. That is an amazing accomplishment to achieve in a year, Jennifer Joy, and I am in awe! You must be very organized and committed.

Jennifer will be my guest on the 5th of April so please come back by for a visit. She has a fabulous interview for us! She also has a very generous giveaway and leaving comments on this post and her visit on the 5th will double your chances of winning. 

This new cover is gorgeous and I'm sure you will like it as much as I do. It is my understanding that Jennifer Joy's dear husband is responsible for the cover design. Isn't that neat! Good job, sir!

I know you are all eagerly awaiting the reveal of this cover so...
drum roll, please...

Isn't it a beautiful cover! I love it and can hardly wait for it to be available in a few days. When Jennifer is my guest on April 5, 2016. we will let you know the release date which should be about that time. 

Thanks so much for stopping by to see this lovely cover today and sharing the excitement. I especially want to thank you, Jennifer Joy, for allowing me the privilege of revealing your latest cover. I could hardly wait and I look forward to its release as a much anticipated book.

Jennifer Joy is giving away 4 eBooks and the giveaway is international. That is awesome and I know each of you are thrilled with her generosity as am I! Leave a comment letting us know what you think of the cover or asking a question about the book. Don't forget to include your contact info in the comment. Then pop back in and leave a comment on the April 5th post to double your chances of winning one of the four eBooks up for grabs. This giveaway will last a little longer since the interview is on the 5th. Giveaway will end at 11:59 PM on the 10th of April. Good luck to all!

Monday, February 23, 2015

My share in the conversation...The Darcy Brothers

A Book Review:  The Darcy Brothers
by Monica Fairview, Maria Grace, Cassandra Grafton, Susan Mason-Milks and Abigail Reynolds

One of the most enjoyable things about the book, The Darcy Brothers, is Theophilus Darcy, a barrister and the younger brother of Fitzwilliam Darcy. He is a charming character and in temperament, more like his cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam, than his own brother.  At first glance, it seems the brothers are as different as day is to night, but they actually have more similarities than either realize. Part of my amusement was discovering with them, these similarities. In the beginning they are at odds and rarely have any good pass between them. Introduce Elizabeth Bennet into the equation…the tensions mount and the drama unfolds, brother against brother. But wait, something changes. What, why and how is utterly delicious! The repertoire between the brothers was quite entertaining and made me laugh out loud on numerous occasions. It was a delight to see their relationship grow and transform throughout the pages of the narrative.

The Darcy Brothers begins with Darcy and Theo on their way to Rosings for the spring visit. Colonel Fitzwilliam, who usually goes with Darcy, was unable to attend this year so we as readers are granted the pleasure of Theo in his place.  (Never fear the Colonel does show up.) With Elizabeth at Hunsford visiting Charlotte it made for many opportunities of good Darcy and Elizabeth time, which is what I ultimately want in a PnP variation.

Anne de Bourgh played an important role throughout as did Georgiana. They were both such delightful creatures and made for many good reading moments. I loved the interplay between the siblings and their cousins. It was such good fun. There is a likable new character, Sir Montgomery Preston, a friend of Theo’s and also an acquaintance of George Wickham. Yes, Wickham does make a show as does Lydia.

The Darcy Brothers is a collaborative effort of five authors. I have read at least one book by each of the five authors and more than one by most of them. Their endeavor was seamless. I literally could not tell when one author stopped and another one began. I assumed that would not be the case and felt that I would recognize some of the distinctive traits of the writers. That was not the case as they were that good in their joint venture. Excellent job! I highly recommend The Darcy Brothers and if anyone is ‘listening’ I am hoping for a sequel! This story is ripe for a continuation. Please! 

In honor of Theo Darcy and the book, The Darcy Brothers, I am giving away one bar of Theo's special soap, made by Evie Cotton.  It smells of Bay Rum with a hint of Egyptian Licorice Tea. Contains Avocado and Cucumber Oil, Egyptian Olive Leaf, Olive Oil, Egyptian Licorice Tea and Bay Rum Essential Oil. It's available from Shirley's Handicrafts on Etsy. Yes, I was the fan that wanted to know what he thought of having a soap named after him. Read his response in his interview from last week. To be entered in the giveaway, leave a comment below, including your email address in the comment. Tell me what you think of Darcy having a handsome younger brother! Giveaway ends at midnight on March 2, 2015, and it is worldwide. Good luck.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

My share in the conversation...Brighty's Special Gift

Below is my review of Brighty's Special Gift by Dee Wallian. I hope you will look over this little book and consider it for any child in your life. If you have not read yesterday's post by the author, of how the book came to be, please take a few minutes to do will be well worth your time.

Brighty’s Special Gift 
by Dee Wallain

Brighty’s Special Gift is a sweet story about a lonely little star. He is teased and bullied because he is different. This book will resonate some of the same feelings that many young children experience and just maybe, it will help them see that everyone is unique. Everyone has a reason for being here, God’s special purpose. The conclusion was well done and very touching. It is a ‘feel good’ parable.

The story about Brighty is entertaining and should hold the attention of little ones while teaching a valuable lesson or two. One of the parts that I really liked was the separate section at the beginning of the book. It is for parents and teachers and has suggestions for learning activities. Not only is that good for the child but it makes for quality family time. There can never be too much of that. As the author states on the front cover, it is ‘a parable for children of all ages’ and that it is. 

As a grandmother of elementary children and younger, I see the books that are brought home from the school library. I often wonder how a particular book got published, even more so, how it came to be included in the library. Thank you Dee Wallain, for giving us and our children a good book that teaches values and purpose in life. I would be proud for any of my grandchildren to bring Brighty’s Special Gift home. I highly recommend this story to anyone with children and to those working with children.

Although I have stopped giving star ratings for reviews on my blog, I will make an exception this time. I give this adorable 'shining star' five brilliant stars!

There is a giveaway associated with yesterday's post by this author, Dee Wallain. By leaving comments at the post and here at my review, you will double your chances of winning the paperback copy. Be sure to include your email address. Giveaway ends midnight, February 27, 2015.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Brighty's Special Gift with Dee Wallain

Meryton Press has a new author, Dee Wallain, and a new venue. Brighty's Special Gift is a children's book and it is adorable, a wonderful learning tool for children of all ages. Being a grandmother, myself, I am especially interested in good children's books and this one qualifies. It gives me pleasure to welcome, new author, Dee Wallain, to More Agreeably Engaged. She tells us how her book came into being, and I, for one, am thankful that it did. There is also a giveaway of this 'shining star' so please check out the details at the end.

              Thank you, Janet, for letting me write a guest post on your blog. This is my first time. I am a new author. I have been a lifelong writer, but this is my first book. Brighty’s Special Gift was published in December 2014 by Meryton Press. I have decided to tell Brighty’s story and share some ideas for using it with the young ones in your life.
How The Story of Brighty’s Special Gift Came into Being
It has been my practice for the last decade to write a short Christmas story and pair it with a photograph that enhances the message as my Christmas card. Usually, it proves easy to come up with themes for the story. Then I find a way to give it a Christmas twist, and voila! There you have it— instant Christmas card and present all in one. Plus, it’s handmade, has lots of thought going into it, it’s personal, special and one of a kind (not coming off the factory Christmas card press). Sounds easy, right?
In 2011, my dad was critically ill. I couldn’t write. I didn’t send out cards. I barely knew my name. He died on December 27. That Christmas was a blur. So, in November 2012 I wanted to resume writing my annual Christmas story. It didn’t usually take long, but my ideas had dried up. I decided to ask God to inspire me. I prayed for a story. It seemed confusing, because I awoke from a dream-filled sleep with the middle of a story. I trusted that God would reveal more. In two more subsequent dreams, I awoke with the end and then the beginning. By March 2013, it was written, but it was too late for the season. So, I reviewed it occasionally and saw that it really was just right for illustrations.
 In July, I hired a Disney-inspired artist, Wendy La, who read the story and was just as excited as I was. I put the story in a table format with one column for text and the next column describing the picture I envisioned. Piece of cake! As it turns out, my artist was a mind reader who could take my descriptions and “run.” Wendy intuitively knew how each one should look and transferred them into nineteen magnificent paintings. Any child picking up my book can “read” it with these pictures.
Next, I began exploring various options for publishing. I spoke with an agent/publisher at a writer’s conference who said she loved the story and wanted to take it home to her kids, but she couldn’t publish it because of its mention of God.
I was both encouraged and disappointed. Even so, I decided to stop pushing. In the late fall of 2014, I decided for a complete re-write, not to change the message but to simplify the language to appeal to the youngest readers. My dear friend Ellen Pickels, brilliant book designer and editor extraordinaire, helped me get it all together. Now, it was done! I was happy that I had clarified my primary audience (ages 4-10). Brighty’s Special Gift was ready, but I still didn’t know how it was going to get published. I said, “God, this is your book. If you want this published, then show me what to do to make it happen.”
I met Michele Reed of Meryton Press by phone to consult on how I could start my own publishing company. She had seen the final draft. She liked it. She shared a few ideas. Ultimately, Michele said she would be interested in publishing Brighty as a new venue for Meryton. Yay! I couldn’t be more proud to be part of this group of talented writers, editors, designers and publishing gurus.
17 Ways to Use Brighty’s Special Gift:
  •          Read it out loud to an individual or group.
  •         Re-read it making special voice tones for God, Brighty and the others and for the “star” sound effects.
  •         Draw, color and cut out the characters and put on craft sticks.
  •         Use your hand-made puppets to re-enact the story.
  •         Ask questions to start a dialogue.

What happens when you are different from everyone else? Do you try to blend in so no one will notice? Are you grateful for your own special talents?
  •       Give a copy to a friend whose child is being teased or bullied, and/or take one to your       church’s library.
  •         Have an older youth read to the young ones. (Exposure to this message at any age is valuable.)
  •         Draw, cut out and decorate felt characters and put on a felt board to re-tell the story.
  •         Make over-sized 3-D characters with material sewn together and stuffed.
  •        Think about other times when hope is needed. Write a story about Brighty lighting the way for that occasion.
  •        Make a storyboard for your new story illustrating Brighty and your new characters. Your new characters can be animals or children.
  •       Make a “Brighty’s Gift” box and decorate in a special way. Put in slips of paper with compliments you hear about yourself from family, friends, teachers and acquaintances. Read them when you need to celebrate who you are.
  •       Make a “Brighty’s Gift” box for someone else. Start their box with slips of paper naming things you or others like about them.
  •       Make a “Brighty Compassion” box for your family and put in it all the things that hurt others and ways to show compassion to help them. Read them out loud in a family gathering on the day you name as “Compassion Day.”
  •      Plan a “Special Gift” treasure hunt. Have friends over. Put everyone’s name in a basket. Each person draws a name and writes something special about that person on an index card and decorates it. Have an adult or older child hide the “gifts.” Then go looking for the treasures. Whoever finds and gives the most “gifts” to others, wins. You decide the prize. 
  •      Share these ideas with your friends. Have these conversations before you need to have these conversations. It will make you the place to go when times are difficult.
  •      Go to Amazon and leave a review. All the “stars” on Amazon will help get the word out.

I have one friend who read the early version of Brighty when it was in the “works.” She is always one of my test readers. After complimenting me, she asked if this was my autobiography. I paused and thought. “Perhaps it is,” I pondered, “but I don’t think it is only mine.” Being young is sometimes so tough. I want it to be mostly delightful, lined with just the right amount of wisdom, support, and hope to help every child hang tight until the tough growing times are past. I am speaking about children of every age. It is my hope that all of us find our own special gift, and, when the time comes, that we use it for whatever good it may bring to ourselves and others.

Book Blurb:

In the early days of the universe where it is cold and dark with zillions of stars, Brighty feels completely alone. He has no one to play with or talk to. The other stars taunt, torment and bully him because he is strange and different from them.
Brighty is hurt by their teasing. He thinks he cannot take it anymore; he loses all hope. After crying out in the big, black darkness for eons, something wonderful happens just in time...
Brighty’s Special Gift is a parable for children of all ages with a special Christmas connection written by Dee Wallain and illustrated by Wendy J La.

About the author:

Dee Wallain lives in Richmond, Virginia, the happiest city in America, with her husband, Jim, and Wally the rabbit. They laugh together every day, mostly because they like to have fun. Ordinary life is full of comical things; they laugh at themselves and especially enjoy the antics of Wally. He showed up on Easter Sunday, a runaway domestic rabbit who chooses to live in the “wild.” He knows his name, comes when called for meals, and entertains the neighborhood with his “sightings.”


Thank you for stopping by, Dee Wallain, and sharing with me and my readers this lovely little book for children. I am happy you were able to get it published.  Not only is the story helpful and entertaining, it has great teaching tools, too. I wish you much success. By the way, I completely agree with your thoughts on Ellen Pickels! She is 'one of a kind'.

Meryton Press is giving away one Paperback copy of Brighty's Special Gift and it is worldwide, special thanks to Michele Reed. Good luck to all and please remember to leave your email address should you be the randomly selected winner. Giveaway ends at midnight, February 27, 2015.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Theo Darcy Visits!

Susan, I cannot thank you enough for persuading Mr. Theophilus Darcy to visit More Agreeably Engaged and be so 'agreeable' as to answer the questions we readers have asked about him. I must say how excited I am to have him here. My heart is all 'a flutter'! So, without further delay, here he is...Theo Darcy! (sorry...and you, too, Susan)

Thank you, Janet for inviting Theo and me to visit your blog. Everyone always wants to know more about Theo, so I decided to try and get answers to some questions people have asked about him. He was even more cooperative than I had expected. I hope you and your readers enjoy hearing from him.

SMM:  We'll start out with something easy, Theo. Who's the best horseman in your family?

Theo:  That is an easy one! My cousin Fitzwilliam would say he holds that honor, but I must humbly disagree with him. There are few better than I. My brother also has a good seat, but he is more a more cautious rider.

SMM:  Who wins when you race your brother?

Theo:  (Theo raises an eyebrow) How did you know we race?

SMM:  Just a guess, but boys will be boys.

Theo:  When we were younger, William always won, but I have evened the score over the years. I do not think he has beaten me since I acquired Theseus.

SMM:  Who's the best practical joker you know?

Theo:  I can definitely claim that title for myself! At school, there was a teacher who always unfairly took out his tempers on his students. One Sunday evening when he was out, we sneaked into his rooms and whisked all the furniture away to the attic. I would have given anything to have seen his face when he returned that evening, but as you know, the very best practical jokers never stay around for the reveal.

SMM:  Did you get caught?

Theo:  (Theo grins) You have to ask?

SMM:  We know you drew a picture of Lady Catherine as a bat with fangs. Any other caricatures of her lurking around?

Theo:  I confess she is one of my favorite subjects. I loved the one of the bat, but I think my masterpiece showed her as a vulture. That one I burned, but not until I'd shown it to my cousin Fitzwilliam. He seems to appreciate my artistic efforts even though my brother does not.

SMM:  Have you done caricatures of any other family members or friends?

Theo:  Almost no one is immune! I will tell you something if you promise not to tell my brother.

SMM:  Yes, of course well keep your secret.

Theo:  William is another of my favorite subjects to sketch. The best one I call "His Highness, Prince William." It shows him in regal robes with crown and septre, sitting on a throne. However, the throne looks very much like a chamber pot. I burned that one, too. Even thinking about it now makes me laugh.

SMM:  We know you met Monty at school, but under what circumstances?

Theo:  Monty was the biggest boy in school, and as a result, he was always being challenged. One day three older boys decided they would show him he was not as tough as he thought he was. I do not think Monty had done anything to cause offense. They just took his size as a challenge. I was walking from one of my classes back to my rooms when I came across the three boys who had cornered Monty and were trying to pommel him. I saw what was happening and the next thing I knew, he and I were back to back, holding the others off -- and winning. Monty's technique was somewhat lacking but no one could match him for sheer strength. He is much faster than you might think, too. After that, we became the best of friends. I taught him how to use his fists more effectively, and later he got me out of several scrapes.

SMM:  Who's more popular with the ladies - you or Monty?

Theo:  (Theo blushes) As you know, my friend recently lost his father which means he has inherited a baronetcy. He was already a tall, good-looking fellow, and now with a title, he will have every matchmaking mama after him. I certainly do not envy him.

SMM:  That doesn't answer my question.

Theo:  Oh, yes, you asked which of us was more popular with the ladies. I am not certain that is an assessment I can accurately make. Some prefer him; others prefer me. We try not to compete for the same lady's attentions, and fortunately, there are plenty to go around in Town.

SMM:  Speaking of competing, in the story The Darcy Brothers, you and your brother are both attracted to the same young lady. Tell me what that was like.

Theo:  Although I did not know William had made Miss Bennet's acquaintance prior to our trip to Rosings, I quickly discovered his preference for her. Once I recognized that, there was really no question of competing with him for her affections. She is exactly the right woman in disposition and talents to bring him happiness in marriage. I am also hoping she is able to soften some of his sharper edges a bit. While I found her quite captivating and also enjoy tormenting my brother, I would never stand in the way of his happiness. I quickly resolved to do everything in my power to help bring them together.

SMM:  What are the characteristics or qualities you find attractive in a woman?

Theo:  (Theo smiles) A good sense of humor is essential! I also like a woman who does not feign ignorance or behave in a silly manner just to attract my attention. I like intelligent, well-read ladies who can carry on a real conversation.

SMM:  What about beauty?

Theo:  Of course, a pretty face and a pleasing form are important, too, but these are not enough without more substance. I find that very beautiful women are generally much too preoccupied with themselves, and I lose interest very quickly. I must also reiterate what I have said many times - I am not ready for a leg shackle just yet so do not be jumping to conclusions.

SMM:  What attracted you to the practice of law?

Theo:  Although I receive a generous allowance from William, I knew in the long term I would never be content with just the usual pursuits of gentlemen of my class -- although I do enjoy a night on the town and flirting with the ladies. The law began to intrigue me after sitting in on some disputes my father had to settle between Pemberley's tenants. Being a solicitor seemed rather boring. Too much paperwork. What I like is solving puzzles, digging around for facts no one else has uncovered, and having to think quickly on my feet. I am pleased to say I have become rather good at my work. Having Mr. Garrow as my mentor has been a great boon to my career, too. I have thought about becoming a judge at some point, but it does not seem like nearly as much fun. What if I had a particularly late night and fell asleep during a boring trial? That would never do. No, I am better off, at least for the moment, in a more active role.

SMM:  I understand youve had a soap named after you. Any comment on that?

Theo:  You are joking with me. Soap?

SMM:  No, I am very serious. One of your fans specifically wished me to ask what you thought of your soap.

Theo:  I admit I enjoy a good bath especially after riding or a trying day in court. (Theo pauses to run a hand through his hair) I do hope my soap is not one of those heavy, cloying scents as I prefer a light, clean smell. I also enjoy a light fragrance on a woman, too, such as lavender or lemon.

SMM:  The description sounds rather exotic: "Smells of Bay Rum with a hint of Egyptian Licorice Tea. Contains Avocado and Cucumber Oil, Egyptian Olive Leaf, Olive Oil, Egyptian Licorice Tea and Bay Rum Essential Oil." It's available from Shirley's Handicrafts on Etsy.

Theo:  I must order some immediately! (He suddenly looks confused) What is Etsy?

SMM:  Thank you, Theo, for giving us more insight into your character. Best of luck with your next court case. We hope to hear more about you in the future. 

In addition to their collaborative effort in The Darcy Brothers, Monica Fairview, Maria Grace, Cassandra Grafton, Susan Mason-Milks and Abigail Reynolds between them have published over two dozen Austen-inspired books, including national bestsellers.

Monica Fairview (Mr. Darcy’s Pledge) holds down the fort for the team in London while Abigail Reynolds (Alone with Mr. Darcy) supplies cute cat pictures from Cape Cod, Susan Mason-Milks (Mr. Darcy’s Proposal) inspires with views of the Seattle skyline, Maria Grace (Remember the Past) frolics in the Texas bluebells, and British expat Cassandra Grafton (A Fair Prospect) has the critical responsibility of keeping the team supplied with much-needed chocolate from her home in Switzerland.

Look for them at the Jane Austen Variations group blog ( where they are all founding members.  


Up for grabs in this giveaway are two eBook copies of The Darcy BrothersTo enter the giveaway contest, simply leave a comment or ask Theo or the authors a question. Be sure to include your email with your comment.

You can increase your chances of winning by visiting multiple stops along the tour! Unique guest posts will be featured on a variety of subjects, along with fun interviews with Theo Darcy and, if he can be persuaded, his brother, excerpts, and supplementary material such as letters from Theo to his friends and family. Doesn't this sound like fun? I hope you will have the opportunity to visit the other stops along the tour. I have been anxiously awaiting the stop at my blog. 


Below are the links for purchasing The Darcy Brothers and the links for each of the authors:



Monica Fairview
Twitter: @Monica_Fairview

Maria Grace
Blog: Random Bits of Fascination (
Blog: English Historical Fiction Authors (
Twitter: @WriteMariaGrace

Cassandra Grafton
Twitter: @CassGrafton

Susan Mason-Milks
Twitter: @susanmasonmilks

Abigail Reynolds
Twitter: @abigailreynolds


Austen Variations: (
White Soup Press (publisher): (

Visit Theo at:

Please ask Theo or any of the fine authors your questions in the comments! Thanks for stopping by and a special thanks to Theo Darcy and Susan Mason-Milks for the very entertaining interview. It is such a pleasure having you visit. I have been reading this delightful book and am quite smitten with this brother too! :)

Monday, February 9, 2015

Jack Caldwell Interviews Jack Caldwell

In a rare interview of Jack Caldwell, author Jack Caldwell asks him some pertinent questions as to why we should take an interest in his book, The Plains of Chalmette, set in New Orleans. After reading his convincing and humorous answers, I feel quite certain that you, dear readers, will be as ready to buy this book and the ones to follow, as I am. You sold me, sir! :) 

Please join me in welcoming back the talented writer and most excellent interviewer/interviewee, Jack Caldwell. Great interview, by the way! 

Jack Caldwell interviews himself about THE PLAINS OF CHALMETTE.

Hello, everyone. Jack Caldwell here. First, I want to thank Janet for allowing me back on More Agreeably Engaged. For my previous appearance, it’s here.
My main purpose today is to bring my latest historical romance to your attention. THE PLANS OF CHALMETTE: a Story of Crescent City is set in the dangerous days just before the pivotal Battle of New Orleans. Its release coincides with the 200th anniversary of the battle.
Last time I was here, Janet was kind enough to interview me. This time around, time constrains being what they are, I have decided to cut her some slack by interviewing myself.
Do not try this at home—the mental gymnastics required will result in permanent damage to your psyche. Don’t worry about me, though. I’m a writer, and therefore, already insane.

ME: All right, Mr. Caldwell, why should readers of More Agreeably Engaged shell out money to buy this book?
MYSELF: Because that’s how I make a living?

ME: Try again.
MYSELF: Well, two reasons. THE PLAINS OF CHALMETTE is a sweeping romantic novel about the Battle of New Orleans, set in the exotically dangerous city of New Orleans. The book blurb is below:
It is 1814, and America’s second war against Great Britain is going badly. Now the enemy is ready for its knock-out punch. They seek to take New Orleans, and by doing so, control the Mississippi River and North America forever.
Major Matthew Darcy of Baltimore is dispatched to help defend the beleaguered city, and discovers an alien place that does not trust its new countrymen. He also finds forbidden love with a lovely Cajun-Creole lady.
Now, with a devastating invader at the city’s doorstep, Darcy joins General Andrew Jackson’s rag-tag army of backwoodsmen, Creoles, free blacks, and buccaneers in the face of overwhelming odds.
If that doesn’t get your blood going, you ain’t alive.

ME: And the other reason?
MYSELF: THE PLAINS OF CHALMETTE is the introduction to a proposed succession of novels about New Orleans, called the Crescent City Series.  I tell the two-hundred year history of this intoxicating city through the lives of a handful of families, in particular the Darcys and the Fitzwilliams. I have to get them there; thus the beginning of the saga.

ME: So you’re really selling more than one book today.
MYSELF: Yep. Is there a law against that?

ME: Not yet. Now, most of the lovely readers of this blog are fans of Jane Austen and all the talented writers who attempt to write JA-flavored novels. How does THE PLAINS OF CHALMETTE fit into that genre?
MYSELF: The protagonists of the novel are US Major Matthew Darcy, a distant cousin of the Darcys of Pemberley, and British Major James Fitzwilliam, estranged son of Lord Matlock and brother of Colonel Fitzwilliam. There’s the Pride and Prejudice connection. True, a Darcy fights a Fitzwilliam in this book, so that ought to be fun, right?

ME: You mean Colonel Dreamboat gets killed?
MYSELF: No, Colonel “Dreamboat” Fitzwilliam does not fight at New Orleans. His brother does. I did not say that anyone gets killed. Of course, I did not say that anyone won’t get killed. The audience must read the book to find out.
To digress, Colonel Fitzwilliam was not the dreamboat portrayed in the 1995 production, if one reads Pride and Prejudice carefully—

ME: No one cares about that, Mr. Caldwell. Don’t blow up the ladies’ fantasies, if you please.
MYSELF: Right. Sorry. Back to the subject at hand, THE PLAINS OF CHALMETTE is a prequel to my epic coming out this summer: CRESCENT CITY.
CRESCENT CITY is a three-volume novel about the events leading up to, during, and after 2005’s Hurricane Katrina. To tell the story, I weave the plots of Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, and Emma into a gumbo of romance and intrigue. The three books will be BOURBON STREET NIGHTS, ELYSIAN DREAMS, and RUIN AND RENEWAL.

ME: CRESCENT CITY sounds familiar.
MYSELF: That’s true. It was posted on several Internet boards previously.  It’s been completely reedited and improved, if I say so myself.

ME: A writer’s ego. Sheesh! Anyway, back to THE PLAINS OF CHALMETTE. It’s about the Battle of New Orleans. A war book is all fine and good, and historical accuracy is a given, but the ladies want romance. Is there romance in it?
MYSELF; Sure. Besides Matthew’s love interest, the lovely Cajun-Creole heiress, Anne-Marie Dansereau, there’s James’ wife, Margaret Fitzwilliam. Did you know some of the British officers brought their wives with them during the invasion of Louisiana?

ME: No. Do we get to meet the hero of the battle, the pirate Jean Lafitte?
MYSELF: Yes, he’s in the book, but Lafitte wasn’t the hero of the battle. In fact, historians can’t agree that he was even on the battlefield on January 8, 1815.

ME: What? B-but Hollywood says—
MYSELF: Since when was Hollywood right about anything? There are a lot more surprises in THE PLAINS OF CHALMETTE. You’ll have to read it to find out. I have more information at my website here.

ME: You really want them to buy this book, don’t you?
MYSELF: Is the Pope Argentinean?

 “It takes a real man to write historical romance, so let me tell you a story…”

THE PLAINS OF CHALMETTE is now available in print from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book-A-Million, and other fine Internet bookstores. A Kindle version is also available (look for the NOOK version this summer).

Jack Caldwell is an author, amateur historian, professional economic developer, playwright, and like many Cajuns, a darn good cook. Born and raised in the Bayou County of Louisiana, Jack and his wife, Barbara, are Hurricane Katrina victims who now make the Suncoast of Florida their home.
Jack is the author of four Jane Austen-themed books. PEMBERLEY RANCH is a retelling of Pride and Prejudice set in Reconstruction Texas. THE THREE COLONELS – JANE AUSTEN’S FIGHTING MEN is a sequel to Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility. MR. DARCY CAME TO DINNER and THE COMPANION OF HIS FUTURE LIFE are Pride and Prejudice-flavored farces.
In 2015, the first four of a series of historical novels about New Orleans, titled CRESCENT CITY, will be published. THE PLAINS OF CHALMETTE begins the series, commemorating the Bicentennial of the Battle of New Orleans. To mark the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, three modern novels will be released: BOURBON STREET NIGHTS, ELYSIAN DREAMS, and RUIN AND RENEWAL.
When not writing or traveling with Barbara, Jack attempts to play golf. A devout convert to Roman Catholicism, Jack is married with three grown sons. Jack’s blog postings – The Cajun Cheesehead Chronicles – appear regularly at Austen Variations.
Web site – Ramblings of a Cajun in Exile –
Blog – Austen Variations –

Priceless interview, Jack! It was such fun to read your questions and answers. What a good way to start a Monday! Your Crescent City series of novels sound fascinating and I will be following the progression of releases. I hope you will visit again as each are published. Thanks so much for stopping by and best wishes for much success. 

Jack Caldwell is giving away one print copy of THE PLAINS OF CHALMETTE to a lucky winner and the giveaway is domestic, US only. To be entered leave a comment below! 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 will end at midnight, February 15, 2015.