Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Angel of the Centerfold Cover Reveal

Meryton Press author, Michaela Robertson, has a new book, Angel of the Centerfold, which will be released the first of October. The Blog Tour will begin October 5th and run through October 19th. Be sure and watch for the release of the book and the schedule for participating blogs. There will be many entertaining posts, excerpts and giveaways! On the 17th of October I will host a giveaway and excerpt! You are officially invited to come on over! :) For now, take a look at this lovely cover and enjoy reading the book blurb.

Book Blurb:

Disguise of every sort creates difficulties for recent Yale grads Elizabeth and Jennie Blackwell, who are eager to begin the next chapter of their lives.

Elizabeth hopes her remarkable voice and academic training will help crown her the new darling of the Met. But will her burgeoning romance with world-renowned philanthropist Lliam Dafydd benefit her career or derail it before it begins?

Elizabeth’s minutes-older twin, Jennie, plans to translate her impressive résumé into a successful medical research program, but her demanding academic pursuits leave little time for romance.

Feeling trapped by her girl-next-door image, Jennie adopts a daring alter ego who behaves as she never would. As “Ariel De Mer,” Jennie becomes captivated by mysterious photographer, Chance Bly. Handsome and suave, he smoothly awakens her desires, while Ariel’s sexiness and sassiness mesmerize her smitten lover.

But Jennie’s innocent charade has a powerful impact on the lives of those she loves, and she is not the only one playing games.

Author Bio:

Michaela Robertson has dabbled in writing since her teenage years. In college, she initially majored in music until deciding she'd rather eat than enrich the world with her talent. A few years later, with a still-damp business degree in hand, Michaela entered the world of statistics. As the author of many dry technical documents, her artistic side was hidden from the world. Only her husband and daughter were aware of the musical talent hidden beneath the surface.   

In the late 1990's, she began traveling extensively for her job, and being away from home and family created something she was previously unfamiliar with—spare time. Bowling, mixed-doubles darts, and touring temporarily filled the void. A chance encounter in 2004 with the 1995 Pride and Prejudice mini-series starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle led Michaela’s down a new path. Having read Fan Fiction in other genres, she went on a quest for Austen Fan Fiction and discovered a world rich in stories and history.

Music continues to be Michaela’s muse and has inspired her writing. Now a widow, she lives on a couple of acres on the edge of the world in the Pacific Northwest with the current love of her life, a border collie.

Release Date: first of October

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

As Good as a Lord...P.O. Dixon

Available on Amazon
I am happy to welcome P. O. Dixon back to More Agreeably Engaged. It is always a pleasure, Ms. Dixon. I am quite intrigued by your new release, As Good as a Lord, and the character with the starring role. I agree with you on the comical rantings of this particular character!  Dear Readers, let us know what you think and if you have any favorite rants by this person named below! Your comments will enter you in the giveaway! Yay!


The title of my newest release is As Good as a Lord. With such a title, can there be any doubt of which Pride and Prejudice character has a starring role? If you guessed Mrs. Bennet, then you are correct.

Many of Mrs. Bennet’s rantings provide some of my best laugh aloud moments in the story.

Here’s one of my all-time favorites:

“Oh! I am not afraid of her dying. People do not die of little trifling colds. She will be taken good care of. As long as she stays there, it is all very well.”

By the way, that particular quote to some extent inspired parts of As Good as a Lord. Of course, the following passage is the primary inspiration for the story:

“My dearest child,” she cried, “I can think of nothing else! Ten thousand a year, and very likely more! ‘Tis as good as a Lord! And a special license. You must and shall be married by a special license.”

As Good as a Lord includes the following question as its premise: What happens when Mrs. Bennet learns that her headstrong daughter has refused the hand of a second respectable man in less than six months?

I hope you will enjoy the following excerpt from Chapter 1.


Elizabeth sat up in bed. “Jane, you will not believe what happened to me while I was in Kent.”

“Does this have anything to do with Mr. Darcy?”

Puzzled, Elizabeth asked, “Why would you think that?

“From my knowing he was there also. It is no secret that the two of you do not always get along, despite his having confided in you regarding Mr. Wickham’s true character.”

“Oh, dearest Jane, that is precisely the reason I find all this so troubling.”

“What happened? Did the two of you get into some sort of altercation?”

“In a manner of speaking that is exactly what occurred. That is to say, immediately after he offered me his hand in marriage.”

Jane gasped. “Are you—are you secretly engaged?”

“I most certainly am not!” Elizabeth stiffened. She thought she heard a thump from the other side of the door. “Did you hear that?”

Jane could not say that she did.

Elizabeth shrugged. “I suppose it is merely my imagination. Who would be afoot at this hour?” Having reasoned away the sound to her satisfaction, she resumed telling Jane all those things she could about the proposal.

“Why did you not tell me any of this before?”

“You cannot know how much I wanted to tell you, but I did not want to put you in the uncomfortable position of keeping secrets from Mama. Oh, Jane, you and I know only too well how impossible my life would be were our mother to learn that I spurned such an advantageous alliance.”


The moon was high in the midnight sky, and the lady of the house was quite restless. This must certainly account for Mrs. Bennet’s being out of bed at that hour when the house was otherwise still. That and a healthy dose of fate, for what she heard while passing by the slightly ajar door of her eldest daughters’ room might very well be the means of changing the rest of her life. Why, she was certain it would. She only needed to devise the means of using this newly discovered information to her best advantage. The first half hour after her startling discovery she spent pacing the floor.

“What a sly creature Lizzy is,” she cried to herself for she was the only one in the room. “Everyone in Meryton is aware that Mr. Darcy was in Kent at Easter. Sir William saw to that bit of information—he and his daughter Maria Lucas. Lizzy said nothing of his being there. Of course, no one expected her to. Everyone knows how much she has always hated the man. Nevertheless, is that any excuse to refuse such a man as Mr. Darcy? Oh, what on Earth was she thinking?”

Mrs. Bennet drifted to the window and stared out into the darkness. Fretting while watching the moon slip behind the clouds, she said, “Obstinate, headstrong girl! She has been the means of frustrating my hopes not once but twice. Who does she think she is always rejecting proposals of marriage from decent, respectable men?”

The aggrieved matriarch was half-tempted to march into her husband’s room, awaken him from his sleep, and consult him on the matter. Indeed, she made it to the door before the memory of what had happened last autumn halted her footsteps. Alas, recollections of the nasty business with Mr. Collins flooded her mind.

“I will not marry the odious man! You cannot force me to, either!”

Mrs. Bennet winched. It was months ago and yet her daughter’s defiance distressed her still and gave her cause to wonder what she had done to deserve such a disloyal child. She had thought that surely her husband would be an ally in forcing Elizabeth to be reasonable, even though he always considered their second born his favorite. His flippant reply had been the means of placating the latter and wounding the former.

“An unhappy alternative is before you, Elizabeth. From this day, you must be a stranger to one of your parents. Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr. Collins, and I will never see you again if you do.”

Mrs. Bennet, who had persuaded herself that her husband regarded the affair as she wished, was excessively disappointed. Her own husband had been a party to ruining her fondest wish that the next mistress of Longbourn would be one of her daughters owing to that ridiculous entail on the estate to the male line.

“I shall have no help at all in getting Mr. Bennet to force Lizzy to marry where she will not this time either.”

Such a marriage would be the means of saving us all, she silently lamented. “Why, even I would not have been so foolish as to refuse such a man as Mr. Darcy, even if he is haughty and above his company. The man has ten thousand pounds a year. How rich and how great she might have been! What pin money, what jewels, what carriages she might have had!

“If only I’d had the slightest hint of Mr. Darcy’s regard for Lizzy, I might have better spent my time encouraging a match in that quarter. Instead, I wasted my time on his inconstant friend, Mr. Bingley, and my Jane. Mr. Bingley is nothing to Mr. Darcy—nothing at all.

“Lizzy might have had a house in town! Everything that is charming! Ten thousand a year, and very likely more! ‘Tis as good as a Lord!”

A fierce motherly impulse infused Mrs. Bennet’s resolve. “I cannot stand idly by and allow such an opportunity as this to escape. Mr. Darcy proposed to my Lizzy once. Surely he can be worked on and thereby persuaded to do so again. I shall take matters into my own hands to see that he does.”


Contact Details
Newsletter:      Such Happy News
Twitter:            @podixon


Loved the excerpt from Chapter 1. I can just hear Mrs. Bennet and see her 'nerves' on full display. Oh, but to wonder what she will do taking matters into her own hands...that is a scary thought, indeed! ;) Thank you so much for sharing this excerpt and your favorite rants! Now readers, it is your turn to have 'your share in the conversation'! Tell us your favorite rant/rants by Mrs. Bennet and you will be entered in the giveaway! P.O. Dixon is generously offering one paperback of As Good as a Lord, for giveaway, US only, and one digital book of the same, worldwide! Fantastic, isn't it! Thank you, Ms. Dixon, for this opportunity for my readers! The giveaway will end at 11:59 PM, 28 September, 2015. Good luck to all!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Jane Austen Literacy Foundation

A Special Announcement from Laughing With Lizzie

Thank you very much for allowing me to visit your blog today, More Agreeably Engaged, to make my very special announcement!  

In fact, rather than making my own announcement, I am going to let the wonderful Caroline Jane Knight, Jane Austen's 5th great niece, tell you all!

"It is inspiring to see the positive influence Jane has on people’s lives today.     They say life is about what you leave behind and I couldn’t be more proud of Great Aunt Jane’s legacy, my inspiration for the Jane Austen Literacy Foundation.     As Jane’s popularity continues to grow, I wanted to extend her legacy by harnessing the global passion for Austen to improve literacy rates.    Literacy is the key to self-improvement and unlocking potential.    Reading and writing are essential skills for anyone who wants to understand, enjoy and influence the world around them.The foundation raises money to help create CONFIDENT READERS and PROUD WRITERS by providing FREE books and writing materials to communities in need around the world, in honour of Jane.     We are a volunteer organisation with all monies raised spent on literacy resources and fundraising activity.   We are currently raising funds to provide literacy resources for the displaced children of Syria, delivered on the ground by UNICEF.

I only joined Facebook a year ago and was amazed to discover a world of Austen, involving Janeites from around the world, enthusiastically and vibrantly celebrating and discussing all aspects of Jane’s life and works.      With over 7000 websites and social media profiles associated with Jane, there is a never ending stream of content to keep even the most ardent Janeite engaged.    

One in particular caught my eye; “Laughing with Lizzie”, a young woman who seemed to have a lot of fun dressing up in regency costume, visiting Jane’s former homes, participating in Austen events and sharing it all with thousands of followers in a well written blog.     I was intrigued.   Why did this young woman dedicate her time to celebrating Jane Austen?     I reached out and arranged to talk to the woman behind the blog, Sophie Andrews.    Sophie is a delight to know personally and her journey with Jane truly heart-warming, a story I will leave for Sophie to share.

Before discovering Austen, Sophie wasn’t a big reader but the discovery of the magic that lay in the pages of Pride & Prejudice, that just got better with every read, changed that and was the start of Sophie's love affair with the written word.  As a keen writer herself, Sophie was able to imagine the frustration of wanting to write but having no paper or pen and without hesitation offered to help promote the foundation.

I am pleased to announce Sophie Andrews, aka “Laughing with Lizzie”, as an Ambassador for the Jane Austen Literacy Foundation.     We are thrilled to have Sophie’s support to help us create CONFIDENT READERS and PROUD WRITERS, in honour of Jane." 

Thank you Caroline for such kind words, and more importantly, for allowing me the opportunity to be an ambassador for such a worthwhile charity. It is an honour and I am very much looking forward to doing all I can to help the charity!

As Caroline mentioned, Jane Austen has been very important in my life, for many different reasons. I was just9 when I saw the 2005 film version of Pride and Prejudice, but I was a little too young to fully understand the language, so it didn’t really make an impression on me. I watched that film a few more times and as I grew up I began to fall completely in love with it!  But I still wasn’t hooked on Jane Austen, it was just Pride and Prejudice – or actually, to be more accurate, I was just hooked on Mr. Darcy! However, back in 2011 I was going to be studying Pride and Prejudice for my English exams, and so that summer I had to read it - you have to understand that at the time I really wasn’t a reader. However, given I enjoyed the film, I was looking forward to it. When I was on my summer holidays I read it in a week. I just couldn’t put it down! It seemed strange to my family to see me engrossed in a book, as I guess I used to be like Emma Woodhouse in regards to books and reading! Pride and Prejudice was amazing from start to finish, and from that point I was caught up in the elegance and eloquence of Miss Austen's world and words!

I re-read Pride and Prejudice straight afterwards and I really enjoyed studying it at school, becoming the class expert. Following this, I read Sense and Sensibility, then Emma, followed by Persuasion, Northanger Abbey and finally Mansfield Park. There was no stopping me! Having devoured the 6 main stories, I devoted myself to studying all aspects of the Jane Austen phenomenon, from the film and television adaptations, to the fan fiction, commentaries, critiques, information books and biographies, as well as the worldwide online Jane Austen community. There was no going back now - I had become a true and proud Janeite.

Fast forward a year or so, and after a lot of 'persuasion' (if you'll excuse the pun!) from a friend, I eventually started my blog, "Laughing With Lizzie" ( It was my space to rant and rave about my passion for Jane Austen. It was also my escape; I was having a hard time at school and some family illnesses at the time (that is a whole other story I won't go into now!), and so I really threw myself whole heartedly into the world of Jane, enjoying my escape into her world through her books, and subsequently my blog. Slowly, slowly my blog becamemore well known, and then about a year and a half ago I started my facebook page ( From there, I have no idea how, but so many amazing things have happened for me and I have participated in so many wonderful events. I have to pinch myself every day, as it is all beyond my wildest dreams.

Fast forward again to a few months ago, when I noticed a certain Caroline Jane Knight had liked my facebook page. I sent Caroline a message of thanks, and before I knew it, I was actually talking to Jane Austen's descendant on skype! Caroline told me all about growing up in Chawton House, and about her charity she has recently founded. I was fascinated by both, but the foundation really caught my attention; a charity that was using Jane's popularity and her legacy to do some good in the world. It really hit home with me, given how much Jane Austen has changed my life. We continued to skype every few weeks, until Caroline asked if I would be an ambassador for the charity. As you can imagine, I jumped at the chance! 

I mentioned earlier how I never used to be a reader, well, the truth is that I had never read another ‘proper’ book before Pride and Prejudice!  Jane Austen brought me to reading, and so being able to have the opportunity to help bring the joy of reading to others, as Jane did for me, is truly wonderful.

The foundation is also helping to create proud writers, as well as confident readers, and this is also something I really would like to help in promoting, for, without the ability to write, I would not be sitting here right now writing this post. I would not have had a blog full stop.

Jane Austen really has been a huge influence in my life, even in just 5 years! As I cannot thank Jane Austen personally for all she done for me, this opportunity to help use her legacy to bring the ability to read and write to others seemed like the perfect way of saying thank you to Jane for bringing reading, and to a certain extent writing, to me.

I am even more pleased to be able to say I had the opportunity to meet a fellow ambassador the other day. Simon Langton, director of the groundbreaking 1995 mini-series of Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth, was announced as the first ambassador a few weeks back, and during a recent conference at Chawton House Library - which is even more appropriate, given that the founder, Caroline Knight, was the last generation of Knights to grow up there! - celebrating 20 years since the mini-series. It was lovely to be able to meet him in person. He was a lovely gentleman and just as passionate about the charity as I am.

Can you spot anything different about the front of the books we are holding? That little white label proudly adorning our books? What you can see is a very special Jane Austen Literacy Foundation bookplate! Bookplates are a traditional way to indicate ownership of physical books. Especially when books were scarce and expensive, labelling books was an important way of keeping track of your property, whilst still allowing them to be loaned out and circulated. And what is even better is that you can own one yourself, personalised with you name in Jane's hand and its own unique number, perfect to stick into your favourite book, showing your support of the charity. All you have to do is head over to the foundation website - - click on the donate button, and once your donation has been processed, you will receive by email your personalised bookplate! Simple as that!

Once again I would like to say a big thank you for allowing me to come onto your blog to share my special announcement with you and your readers. I did not come empty handed either, I am able to say that I have a fantastic competition to enter!


 Bath Boutique Stays ( have been so kind as to offer a 1 Night Mid-Week stay for two in an apartment at 4 Sydney Place (, Jane Austen’s former Home in Bath.

All you need to do to enter to win this fabulous prize, is to predict the following question:

How many steps is it from Lizzy Bennet’s Penthouse Apartment to the carriage awaiting her at the front door of 4 Sydney Place?

                (Three flights of stairs and the hallway.)

Please email you answers to Lucy Bennett (her real name!) at and the person who guesses the correct - or comes closest to it! - amount of steps will win! 

The competition entries end on 2nd October.

 (The Hallway, to help guess the steps!)

Thank you for allowing More Agreeably Engaged to be a part of this big announcement. Congratulations to you, Sophie Andrews for being selected as an Ambassador for the Jane Austen Literacy Foundation. It could not have happened to a nicer person.

Caroline Jane Knight, it is a privilege to have you here today. The legacy of your Great Aunt Jane is one of major influence to so many lives, mine included. What you are doing to continue that legacy is honorable indeed. I wish you much success in helping raise the literacy rate worldwide. 

Now, dear Readers, what do you think about this? Isn't it wonderful? Tell us below when you guess the number of steps!

Monday, September 14, 2015

The Intimacy of Letters with KaraLynne Mackrory

The Blog Tour for Yours Forevermore, Darcy, makes it stop here today. The author, KaraLynne Mackrory shares some insight into the intimacy of letters over the spoken word. What do you think? Are letters much more intimate than speaking your thoughts? Tell us in your comments below. There is a giveaway and you do not want to miss a chance on winning this one! Thanks KaraLynne for giving us another new novel and for taking time to visit More Agreeably Engaged! I have purchased your book and am eagerly anticipating time to read!


Available on Amazon

Why are letters so much more intimate then words spoken aloud?

It may just be my opinion, in which case I will still just assume everyone feels the same, but letters are often more intimate, more romantic than words spoken aloud.  When I first read Pride and Prejudice, one of my favorite parts was the letter from Darcy.  Likewise, I think we can all agree that Captain Wentworth’s letter in Persuasion is pretty amazing too.  So what is it about letters that draw that extra ounce of romance?
                I think it is because they come with the expectation that the writer, by necessity of writing it, was required to think about the recipient, consider their words carefully and ultimately commit to them.  So the letter comes as proof that the person sending it spent time thinking about you. That is pretty great.  It also implies that any words written were pondered and considered before written.  This to me makes it seem that when the words “I love you” are committed to paper, they were meant.  Anyone can say the words; have them slip from their mouths in a moment of excitement or passion.  But when you commit them to paper you declare them as truth.
                In Yours Forevermore, Darcy – our beloved hero writes many letters to Elizabeth.  He writes them when he is full of emotions he can’t process or doesn’t want to accept.  Yet, by writing down his feelings he solidifies them even more.  While that was not his intention, it was the end result.
                For myself, I received a number of love letters from my hubby while we were dating.  He would hide them in my textbooks, or amongst my belongings for me to find.  I still come across some of those old letters and they still hold the same powerful effect.  So letters come with a bit of permanence to them.  Words drift away in breeze, letters are tangible and last through the ages. 
                My inspiration for this book came in part from the letters I received from my dreamboat.  I imagined that Elizabeth would have to be made of stone to ignore and be unaffected by receiving page after page of declared admiration and love.  What better way to soften a heart then through words from the heart?

Conclusion – letters are super romantic.  So get the book and be moved by Darcy’s letters as well…then go and write a loved one a letter.


Book Blurb:

Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy has a secret.
The letter he presents to Miss Elizabeth Bennet after his ghastly proposal is not the only epistle he has written her. In this tale of longing, misadventure, and love—readapted from Jane Austen’s dearly loved Pride & Prejudice—our hero finds a powerful way of coping with his attraction to Miss Bennet. He writes her unsent letters.
The misguided suitor has declared himself, and Elizabeth Bennet has refused him, most painfully. Without intending for these letters to become known to another soul, Mr. Darcy relies on
his secret for coping once again. However, these letters, should they fall into the wrong hands, could create untold scandal, embarrassment, and possibly heartbreak. But what happens if they fall into the right hands?

ISBN: 978-1-68131-000-8

Author Bio:
KaraLynne is an amazing mother who never makes mistakes, never gets upset with her children and never ever has a dirty house. Ever. She always has her dishes done and the floors spotless and dinner is always prepared and ready on time. Her kids are always clean, polite, respectful and loving, especially to each other. She never gets irritated with her husband when he doesn’t turn his socks right side out for the laundry and they always agree on everything. She delights in nothing else but to serve her family and never wants or needs time for herself. She takes great care to shower every day and put make up on so that she is always beautiful and presentable. She never wears her pajamas all day or for days in a row and she is the epitome of womanhood. Most of all, she has a great sense of humor and loves to write.
Okay, in all honesty –  KaraLynne Mackrory is no newbie to the writing world.  She made her debut as an author at the tender age of 13 when she wrote her first set of bad poetry. Angsty and emotional – teenage-drama filled – they were unbelievable disasters.  Such contributions to the literary world were deemed so terrible that today they are kept behind lock and key to protect others from their awfulness.  As a young adult she steered clear of soap opera drama inspired works and achieved a degree in Social Work.  It was not until her late twenties that she returned to her roots in writing.  Since then she has published three Austen inspired novels so full of romantic sensibilities as to give you a toothache and a grin and hopefully a few contented sighs.  She is thrilled to report that Falling For Mr. Darcy, Bluebells in the Mourning and Haunting Mr. Darcy: A Spirited Courtship are a mite better than the bad poetry.




Blog Tour Schedule:

9/7: Guest Post & Giveaway at My Jane Austen Book Club
9/8: Review at Babblings of a Bookworm
9/9: Excerpt & Giveaway at Laughing with Lizzie
9/10: Review at Half Agony, Half Hope
9/11: Guest Post & Giveaway at Babblings of a Bookworm
9/13: Excerpt & Giveaway at My Love for Jane Austen
9/14:  Guest Post & Giveaway at More Agreeably Engaged
9/15: Review at Wings of Paper
9/16: Review at Margie’s Must Reads
9/17: Guest Post & Giveaway at Songs and Stories
9/18: Guest Post & Giveaway at So Little Time…
9/19: Excerpt & Giveaway at Best Sellers and Best Stellars
9/21: Review at Austenprose


I love your author bio picture! It is captivating!  It could be a good modern day Darcy and Lizzy picture! :) 

I totally agree with your thoughts on letters, I enjoyed the book blurb and I love the idea of this book! Can't wait to read it! Thanks so much for stopping by on your busy blog tour schedule. It is always such a pleasure having you visit and I wish you much success with this latest release. One thing we as readers can depend on, with the book written by you, it will be a good one!

Thanks to Meryton Press and Michele Reed, we do have an eBook of Yours Forevermore, Darcy, up for grabs and it is an international giveaway. Please leave a comment and your contact info to be entered. The giveaway will end at 11:59 P.M., 20 September, 2015. Good luck to all!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Cat Gardiner and 'The Many Faces of Mr. Darcy'

Available on Amazon
Today I have another author who is visiting More Agreeably Engaged for the first time! Isn't it great to be having so many new faces stop by? I am loving it. :)  

Cat Gardiner is my guest today and she has given us some wonderful pictures of Mr. Darcy and lots of food for thoughts as to the many faces of Mr. Darcy. Her ideas are delightful! Many books came to mind as I read this post. I'm quite sure, dear readers, that you will enjoy 'these many faces' as much as I did. What books come to your mind?

We also have the privilege of reading an excerpt from Ms. Gardiner's latest release, Denial of Conscience. You remember Lucky 13, which was the first book by Cat Gardiner? It has that eye-catching cover in Christmas red and green. (You will see it below.) It also won Favorite Modern Adaptation of 2014 at Meredith's Austenesque Reviews. Congratulations! If anyone is interested in reading Meredith's review of Lucky 13, you can find it here.

Please welcome Cat Gardiner!


Thank you so much Janet for hosting me at More Agreeably Engaged.  I’m honored to be here! I toyed with a ton of ideas for my visit, vacillating from “Marrying Mr. Darcy” and “Mr. Darcy’s Advice Column,” but have felt the pull of “The Many Faces of Mr. Darcy” for a couple of years now. 
The world over knows the name Mr. Darcy but he comes with many faces, and I don’t mean the never ending difference of opinion, split of camps between Colin Firth and Matthew Macfadyen as the best Mr. Darcy.
Who is he?  We have read him proud and arrogant but we have viewed him on television and in cinema as both shy as well as taciturn, even awkward. But one thing that is for sure: he is the embodiment of every romantic male lead and women swoon, imagining themselves as his Elizabeth Bennet. Character and personality aside, JAFF has allowed each author the liberty to write him as her/his very own Mr. Darcy, placing him in situations and locales where their imagination wandered. Bravely, some authors ventured from Regency, taking Jane’s beloved hero and inserting him into the Twentieth Century and more contemporary life – even futuristic worlds.  Personally, I don’t think the “Modern Darcy” is such a stretch.  After all, Jane didn’t write historical fiction, she wrote for her contemporaries, who just happened to wear cravats and Hessians. But that’s not the subject I want to play with in this article meant to be fun and certainly not a treatise on anything other than “what does your Mr. Darcy do?”
Re-imaginings fascinate me and I’m amazed at JAFF author creativity when building their Mr. Darcy.  In Regency he’s usually a gentleman landowner, but did you know he’s also a spy for the British Empire? Mr. Darcy is a guardian angel!  He’s a Lord and an Earl.  He’s a ship’s captain and a clergyman! Elizabeth’s man is a vampire and a panther shifter, too! Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!!

Thus far I have read clever re-imaginings with my modern man as a rock star, tennis and baseball player, WWI and Civil War soldier, businessman, playboy, symphony conductor, NASCAR mechanic, astronomer, judge, rugby player, and my favorite – WWII pilot (yes that’s mine.) Lucky 13 was born from that premise―a lark actually―as I had yet to read of a Mr. Darcy firefighter.  I had this image burned on my brain of him shirtless, wearing those bunker pants and thought, “Well that’ll be something different for him to do.”

Available on Amazon

Enter: Denial of Conscience. A fast, edgy, and completely non-canon modern with a Mr. Darcy who rides a Harley, wears black, and drinks Jack Daniels.  His professional moniker is the “Iceman,” but our dear girl melts that persona over the course of a few weeks. Not born out of a lark, but more out of my absolute love of James Bond movies, my DoC Fitzwilliam Darcy is former military, now a government sanctioned assassin.  Yes, that’s right, an assassin.  It’s not his condescending manner or cold, judgmental nature that takes down his or America’s enemies, it’s his sniper rifle.


“The ex-Navy SEAL breathed out and, holding his lungs empty, placed his mind in time with his heartbeat. Between beats, he squeezed the trigger with the ball of his finger.
Bolivia’s drug kingpin, the Lord of the Jungle, fell dead from the bullet’s sudden impact directly between his eyes—Fitzwilliam Darcy’s trademark sniper hit.”

The assassin was thankful that Charlie, as operation scout, determined the best hide site for this job. The unlikely position for concealment was out in the open. This field of uncut grass was dry and weedy with an unobstructed view of the full façade of Longbourn Plantation House. Two hundred yards away from the front of the residence, Darcy became part of the neglected grass and brush after donning his ghillie suit; not even a scavenging possum knew the difference when its short legs ran over the back of his long ones. The synthetic camouflage suit covered him completely, giving the appearance of just another mound of grass. Even his rifle lay concealed.
 The Army had trained Charlie well. Army sniper school was nothing to sneeze at, but the military operated in two-man sniper teams. Although Rick, Charlie, and Darcy were former military, they now worked for Uncle Sam in a different capacity. Obsidian acted outside the rules of war, and in doing so, they did things their way. After the disastrous Cuba debacle, Obsidian changed its procedure. Now they were only one-man units with a scout surveying ahead of time when possible.
It would be there, near the entrance of the estate’s land where only the postal delivery truck traveled on the dirt road, that Darcy would observe, meditate, and attempt to remember every orchid species until the anticipated hour of his kill shot the next day. He was in place, ready to wait and strike.
Looking through the scope of his rifle, he carefully examined the graying house, noting that, similar to the garage and outbuildings, it was also in a sorry state of disrepair. He frowned at the annoying black shutter precariously hanging by just a few nails. Such a waste of history and real estate, he thought. Longbourn was in need of either a bulldozer or a massive amount of cash to restore it to its historic grandeur. He wondered if that was the reason behind the target’s traitorous decision. Irrelevant, it wasn’t any of his business. The object of his bullet was a pathetic weakling and a traitor to his country. That was all Darcy needed to know in order to do his job effectively.
He took note of the closed heavy curtains in the target’s study on the first floor and hoped it was an unusual occurrence. Otherwise, he might have to relocate his position to a more advantageous one, perhaps to the back of the house for a bedroom shot.

So we now have an assassin Darcy to add to the growing list. My next novel, Villa Fortuna, gives us a cosmetic surgeon Mr. Darcy. You know what they say about a surgeon’s hands, right?  Oh they are as skillful as assassin Darcy’s trigger finger. *faints*  I’ve always had a secret plot bunny Darcy (shush, don’t tell anyone) but I will one day get up the nerve to write a 1930s Circus and the face of the Ring Master or Lion Tamer will be Fitzwilliam Darcy!  Darcy does the Big Top.  Now we’re really talking lions and tigers … oh my! 
These days, I’m lost in the world of my imagination, so I don’t read as much, but I know the list of varied, creative professions for our hero is long.  Recently, I popped on over to a lovely little site JAFF Recs where the hostess lists all the many professional categories, but so many have yet to be filled.

Do you have favorite and different JAFF Darcy persona? Are there any memorable scenes or lines from a story that has stuck with you?  Maybe you just have always had a hope that someone would channel your plot bunny Darcy.  I’d love it if you would share it with us. Leave a comment for me and other readers and you’ll be entered to win a Denial of Conscience e-book or paperback - just in case you’re curious about assassin Darcy.  Thank you for joining Janet and me in this little bit of fun.


About the Author

Cat Gardiner loves to take you around the world in her novels, places you may never have been with music that maybe you've never heard. A member of Romance Writers of America and her local chapter TARA, she enjoys writing across the spectrum of Pride and Prejudice inspired romance novels. From the comedic Christmas, Chick Lit Lucky 13 to bad boy biker Darcy in the romantic adventure Denial of Conscience, these contemporary novels will appeal to many of her Mr. Darcy lovers.
"I love an adventure! So my storytelling uses fresh innovation to bring the reader on a multi-tiered journey. Using sights and sounds with Spotify music playlists, blogs, and inspirational image Pinterest boards, the reader becomes immersed. Books should be an escape to a time, place, or world where you can lose yourself."
Married 22 years to her best friend, they are the proud parents of the smartest honor student in the world - their orange tabby, Ollie. Although they live in Florida, they will always be proud native New Yorkers.

 Connect with Cat here:


Cat Gardiner, many thanks to you for being my guest and giving us these 'faces of Mr. Darcy' to not only look at, but to read about! It was such fun and I enjoyed it immensely! It was different and lively. Thank you for visiting and sharing with us. (Assassin Darcy was a loveable and likeable bad boy!I didn't want to quit reading about him!)

As Ms. Gardiner mentioned above, there is a giveaway and it is very generous indeed. She is giving away a Paperback, US only, an eBook, internationally of Denial of Concience. Thank you so much Cat Gardiner for giving the readers a chance to win and read your new book. I know, for a fact, it generated much interest with your exciting 'Hog Tour' earlier at Vanity & Pride Press. Readers, you know the drill. Leave us a comment with your contact info to be entered in the giveaway. To go back and quote Cat Gardiner - "Do you have favorite and different JAFF Darcy persona? Are there any memorable scenes or lines from a story that has stuck with you?  Maybe you just have always had a hope that someone would channel your plot bunny Darcy. "  The giveaway will end at 11:59 PM on 14 September, 2015. Good luck to all!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Jane Austen’s Timeless Influence ~ Marilyn Brant

I am thrilled to welcome New York Times & USA Today bestselling author, Marilyn Brant, to More Agreeably Engaged this morning. When I asked her if she would consider being my guest and she said yes, I have to tell you, I was excited 'beyond belief'! 

Marilyn, it is so good to have you visit and talk about the influence that Jane Austen has on so many of us, as well as share an excerpt from her book, Take A Chance On Me. Dear Readers, since this is Ms. Brant's first visit here, please join me in giving her a very warm reception.


Janet, thank you so much for inviting me to visit you at More Agreeably Engaged! I’m thrilled to be here ;).

I love classic literature and have always enjoyed reading stories set in the Regency and during other historical periods. But Jane Austen was special. When I first read her work as a 14-year-old high school freshman, Pride and Prejudice rocked my world. Anyone who knows me knows that she became my all-time favorite author that year, and my favoritism has never swayed.

As an author now myself, though, my writing voice and literary sensibility has always been rather contemporary. But the mark that Jane’s stories left on me was very deep. However modern my characters may be or whatever present-day situations they may find themselves in, they all carry around with them a kind of Austen tattoo. It may not be flashed outwardly and often, but it’s always there. And readers who look for it will find it every time.

My debut novel, According to Jane (Kensington, 2009), was about a young woman who had the ghost of Austen in her head giving her dating advice, so that story was an obvious nod to JA. So were my two sweet contemporary romances, Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Match (2013) and Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Bet (2014), which were both novels that featured a modern-day Darcy and Bingley, along with their Elizabeth (aka “Beth Ann”) and Jane counterparts.

But while the Austen influence might be more subtle in my new Mirabelle Harbor series, it’s there nonetheless. The characters in Take a Chance on Me and The One That I Want are residents in a contemporary Austen-inspired community, albeit one set in the northern Chicago suburbs rather than anywhere in England. Their families know each other. They interact with each other in the neighborhood. And they form opinions about each other, which may not always be accurate “first impressions...” They are, I think, characters JA might recognize, underneath their 21st Century exterior and despite their Midwestern American vernacular.

Because JA created such relatable characters herself—and such timeless situations that took place between them—I can almost imagine a modern Darcy and Bingley, who acted as much like brothers as good friends, IMO, having a conversation similar to this one below. This scene is between Chance Michaelsen (from Take a Chance on Me) and his older brother Blake.

Story Excerpt:

The next day I called Blake and told him we were going out for lunch. “I’ll drive. Pick you up in fifteen minutes,” I informed him. I didn’t leave him any choice in the matter.

“So, what’s on your mind, little brother?” he asked me when we’d gotten our deli sandwiches and were seated on our favorite rock by the lake. We’d come here as a family when our parents were still alive. A part of me could still feel their presence.

“I can’t talk to Derek about this because, once he met Olivia, it was like he’d never dated anyone else in his life. Chandler is wandering around somewhere in the southeastern United States and is lost until he wants to be found. And Sharlene is a girl.”

Blake laughed. “So, I’m Option D. Last one left, right?”

“Pretty much.” I grinned at him. “Actually, I think you’re the only one who might be able to help me anyway. There’s this woman—”

“There always is.”

“Yeah, well, I’m kind of crazy about her, and I think—I think—she’s noticing me, too, but I’m not positive. I don’t know. This is just not normal for me. I’m not used to feeling this...insecure or whatever. This unsure of someone’s feelings. I send out these obvious signals to her and I think she’s sending signals back, but there’s been nothing definite.”

Blake took a big bite of his sandwich and stared at me thoughtfully as he chewed. Finally, he said, “You mean, she’s not actually throwing herself at you, like most women?”

“Right,” I had to admit. That was the usual scenario, and Nia definitely hadn’t done that.

My brother rolled his eyes. “Did you maybe try asking her out?”

I shook my head. “No. There’s a complication—”

“There always is.”

“Yeah, well, it involves another guy,” I said.

“Oh, shit.”

“Her supposed ‘boyfriend,’ I guess.”

“You guess that she has a boyfriend? Are you kidding me, Chance? You’re encroaching on another guy’s girl?”

“I don’t think it’s a serious thing. There’s no real commitment, from what I can tell. She just introduced him to her parents for the first time on Friday and—”

“She introduced him to the family? Bro, that’s kind of serious.”

I shook my head. “But I saw them together Friday night, and that wasn’t the vibe I got. Not at all. He was barely looking at her. And she seemed...not entirely herself. Thing is, he’s a big shot. One of the dudes at the Jordan-Luccio Corporation.”

“Which one of the dudes? A manager or something?”

“No. The Jordan one.”

Blake raised a dark eyebrow, impressed. “You’re telling me that you’re trying to steal Grant Jordan’s girlfriend?”

“Screw you. I’m not trying to steal her. I think she’s attracted to me, too, but she just won’t say anything. So, then I find myself wondering... Oh, never mind.”


I kicked at a pebble with my sneaker. “Maybe she’s not saying anything because she wants Grant Jordan.”

“Do you mean his body? Or do you mean his money, his position in society, and his relative fame?”

“All of the above,” I admitted. “I suppose he’s not ugly. Women seemed to find him attractive, anyway.” I shrugged. “And I know his net worth is in the millions, but I don’t get the sense that she’s a gold digger. I just wonder if, maybe, he’s the better man.”

Blake squinted at me and put down his sandwich. “Look, Chance, I’m your brother. I’m biased. But I don’t think a woman could find a better man than you.”

“I’m not fishing for compliment—”

“I know you’re not. Hear me out, though. All bias aside, you’re not asking the right question here. It’s not whether Grant is a better man, which I think is debatable and highly unlikely.” Blake looked me in the eye and, without the slightest trace of humor, said, “The question is whether Grant is the better man for her.”

Hope you liked this scene snippet!

When were you first introduced to Austen? Was it as a reader or as a viewer? And was it love at first sight...or did you have to revise your first impression later? :)


About the Novel:

Dedicated personal trainer Chance Michaelsen falls hard for Nia Pappayiannis—his complete opposite and a member of the family that owns the Greek bakery just down the street from his gym. He considers their pastries to be the enemy of good health, but he can’t quite shake his attraction to Nia, who doesn’t seem nearly as impressed with him or his sculpted physique as most of the women around town.

Unfortunately, between her doctor’s orders and the interfering ways of Chance’s crazy-making ex-girlfriend, who just happens to be one of Nia’s long-time friends, Chance gets assigned to be Nia’s fitness coach for the month. Pure torture. And if his ex weren’t already causing enough problems, he also has to deal with Nia’s current boyfriend—some hotshot Chicago CEO who talks big but, in Chance’s opinion, is as fake as a Styrofoam barbell. 

Nia may have her doubts about a romance with him, but Chance has a well-developed competitive streak and might just be willing to give it a shot...if he can convince her to do the same. 

In matters of the heart, would you risk it all? TAKE A CHANCE ON ME, a Mirabelle Harbor story. 


Buy links:

Marilyn Brant's books are available on all platforms (B&N, iBooks, Kobo, etc.), but here are the direct Amazon links for the books mentioned in this post:


Author Bio:

Marilyn Brant is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author of contemporary women’s fiction, romantic comedy & mystery. She won RWA's prestigious Golden Heart Award for her debut novel, According to Jane, and she was named the Author of the Year (2013) by the Illinois Association of Teachers of English. She loves all things Austen, has a passion for Sherlock Holmes, is a travel addict and a music junkie, and lives on chocolate and gelato. Look for all of the contemporary romances in her new Mirabelle Harbor series, beginning July 2015! And for giveaways and more information on her stories, please visit her website


Social Media links:


Thank you for agreeing to be my guest, Ms. Brant. It is such a privilege to have you visit. I hope you will consider coming back again in the future. To answer your question at the end, I was first introduced to Austen in high school. I was too 'in love' at the time to be too interested. I was re-introduced in 2010 and fell in love! I, like many, could not get enough so started searching for more and more to read. It has been a fantastic time and I am still enjoying all the many books available. Another wonderful thing about this Jane Austen world, is meeting so many nice JA fans and authors. It has been an amazing journey and has even given me a new direction in life. I had not done much with my drawing until I started drawing scenes from the 1995 miniseries. Now I am doing book covers and commissioned art. 

Marilyn Brant is kindly offering an eBook for giveaway. Open internationally - one ebook copy of the romantic-comedy novella TAKE A CHANCE ON ME (Mirabelle Harbor, Book 1). Available in epub, mobi, or pdf format. Please tell us which format you prefer in your comment along with your contact information. Below is the question that Ms. Brant asked at the end of her post. Please have your share in the conversation and tell us...When were you first introduced to Austen? Was it as a reader or as a viewer? And was it love at first sight...or did you have to revise your first impression later? :)   Giveaway will end at 11:59 PM on 7 September, 2015. Good luck to all!