Monday, July 25, 2016

Impertinent Strangers...P.O. Dixon

Available on Amazon
It is always a good day when P.O. Dixon stops by More Agreeably Engaged. I know we are all in for a treat! Today Ms. Dixon brings an excerpt, a quote from Pride and Prejudice and some of her own thoughts about writing JAFF. Please join me in welcoming back, P.O. Dixon. Don't forget to check out the giveaway at the bottom of the page.


“Not all that Mrs. Bennet, however, with the assistance of her five daughters, could ask on the subject, was sufficient to draw from her husband any satisfactory description of Mr. Bingley. They attacked him in various ways--with barefaced questions, ingenious suppositions, and distant surmises; but he eluded the skill of them all, and they were at last obliged to accept the second-hand intelligence of their neighbour, Lady Lucas. Her report was highly favourable. Sir William had been delighted with him. He was quite young, wonderfully handsome, extremely agreeable, and, to crown the whole, he meant to be at the next assembly with a large party. Nothing could be more delightful! To be fond of dancing was a certain step towards falling in love; and very lively hopes of Mr. Bingley's heart were entertained.”
Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 3

For my part, the beauty of Jane Austen Fan Fiction (JAFF) is its license to reimagine Miss Austen’s stories in infinitely diverse yet intriguing ways, whether it be a change in the story settings, the manner in which the various characters meet and become acquainted with one another, and even who says what to whom. My favorite Jane Austen book, by far, is Pride and Prejudice. My favorite characters: Darcy and Elizabeth (in that order).

In my latest novel, Impertinent Strangers, I borrowed some of the words from the previously cited quote in crafting a delightful dance scene between our dear couple. Although the setting is the Meryton assembly, by this point in the story Darcy and Elizabeth know each other very well, having first met in Kent.

I hope you will enjoy reading the following excerpt just as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Chapter 23 Excerpt (Reprinted with Author’s Permission. All Rights Reserved.)
It was quickly decided that between Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley, the latter bore the most amiable countenance. Mr. Darcy, however, drew the greater share of the attention of the room by his fine, tall person, handsome features, noble mien, and the report, which was in general circulation within five minutes after his entrance, of his having ten thousand a year.

Elizabeth was rather dismayed. What a woefully insufficient measure of such a man as Mr. Darcy, when she knew him to be worthy of admiration for reasons having nothing at all to do with any of those things.

Seeing the manner in which the younger Bingley sister attached herself to Mr. Darcy meant nothing to her. That young woman might as well be his cousin Anne de Bourgh, Elizabeth considered as she sat out the dance watching the two of them move through the crowd. He barely even looked at his dance partner, who, on the other hand, could not tear her thirsty eyes away from him.

This was the first time that Elizabeth had ever had the pleasure of seeing Mr. Darcy dance. His air on the dance floor was everything a gentleman’s air ought to be. With what grace did he move, his noble lineage on full display.

Purposely tearing her own eyes away from him, she commenced scanning the dance floor in admiration of the other couples. Elizabeth espied her dearest sister Jane dancing with Mr. Bingley. What a pleasing prospect, she thought. If ever there existed a gentleman who was perfect for her sister, it was Charles Bingley. True enough, she had only been in company with the gentleman that one time when he called at Longbourn with Mr. Darcy. In Elizabeth’s estimation, Mr. Bingley was almost identical in temperament as well as understanding to Jane. What better recipe for love?

She reflected on her own love life or rather lack thereof. She supposed it could have been merely a coincidence that one of Mr. Darcy’s closest friends—the one whom he had spoken of when they were together in Kent, she rather surmised—happened to let the estate neighboring her father’s, and that Mr. Darcy was in Hertfordshire solely for the purposes of serving his friend in his new role as master of such a large property. Anything was possible.

But what if Mr. Darcy’s being here is no coincidence at all? She knew enough about him to know of his wont to manage things for his own convenience. I refuse to squander another moment on conjecture. I shall see how he behaves, and then I will know what to think.

Upon the completion of the dances with Miss Bingley, Darcy approached Elizabeth to claim her hand. She took her place opposite him on the assembly floor, all the while doing her best to avoid her neighbors’ looks of amazement that he had singled her out from among the crowd of eligible young ladies in want of dance partners.

As this was the first time she had ever danced with him, she did not intend to waste a single moment in polite silence. “You are aware, sir, that you have created quite a stir by inviting the sister of a fallen woman to stand opposite you,” she said when the dance allowed.

“I feel most fortunate to be dancing with the handsomest woman in the room.” They were then separated by the dance—a welcome reprieve for Elizabeth for she had not expected him to be so bold.

When they were reunited, he said, “It is a pleasure I wish to indulge in this evening as much as decorum will allow.”

Elizabeth colored. She almost missed a step. After a slight pause, she said, “Your first dance partner was very lovely.”

He smiled in confirmation. He said nothing.

“Is she a close acquaintance?”

Darcy gave her a look, and once again they were parted. Elizabeth really needed this reprieve. What must he think of my impertinence?

“You amaze me, Miss Elizabeth,” he said when they were united once more.


“I have long appreciated the liveliness of your mind; however, I am surprised by this particular side of you. Do you talk by rule while you are dancing?”

“Sometimes. I believe one must speak a little, for it would look odd to be entirely silent for half an hour together. However, if you would prefer silence then I shall do my best to hold my tongue.”

“By all means, feel free to speak to your heart’s content. I would by no means wish to suspend any pleasure of yours.”

Elizabeth made no answer, and they were again silent till they had gone down the dance. It being her turn to say something, she remarked on her enjoyment of balls and assemblies, and she asked him which of the two he preferred.

“I hope you will not be disappointed to learn that I would rather avoid both. Dancing is one particular pastime I am wont to eschew whenever I can help it.”

“But you dance so well,” she exclaimed with energy. “That is to say you are a very accomplished dancer.”

“Accomplished, you say? I do not know that I have ever been described as such—at least not on the dance floor.”

Tiny chill bumps spread over her body at the way he looked at her when speaking those words. Their time at the temple immediately sprang to mind, for it was then that she had seen that same look in his eyes. If she were to live to be a hundred years old, she would never forget that look. Nor would she forget the way her body stirred in its wake.

They were separated once more, and Elizabeth reminded herself to breathe. By the time they reunited, Mr. Darcy’s expression had undergone a decided change.

“Are you happy to be here, Mr. Darcy?”

“I am. Why do you ask such a thing?”

“Your countenance is quite stern.” Indeed, he seemed very much the aloof, taciturn gentleman she had first believed him to be.

“I can only imagine what your thoughts portend. You are probably asking yourself how it is that you find yourself at such an assembly as this,” she said.

“You mistake me, Miss Elizabeth. I assure you that my mind is very agreeably engaged, despite my stern—as you so described it—countenance.” Subtly biting his lip, he added, “How might it be otherwise when I am dancing with you?”

Elizabeth arched her brow a little at this. Her spirits rising to playfulness, she said, “Oh! But you told me you do not like dancing.”

“I trust you will forgive me for saying that, for I believe I spoke too hastily. I am now given to understand that I simply never had the right dance partner; that is to say until now.”

Elizabeth had seen such varying aspects in Mr. Darcy’s character since first laying eyes on him in Kent. At times, she was wont to admit that the gentleman puzzled her exceedingly. One thing was certain, she liked him very much and especially when he flattered her ego so well as he did that evening. Their teasing banter did not abate for the rest of the dance and Elizabeth could hardly wait for their next set.

No sooner was the dance over than Miss Bingley raced across the room and laced her arm through Mr. Darcy’s. Not wishing for an introduction to Elizabeth, the overly zealous young lady said, “Come, Mr. Darcy, I am desperately in need of refreshment, and I require your assistance to navigate through this throng of merrymakers.”

He gave Elizabeth an apologetic look. “Until our next dance, Miss Elizabeth.”

When Miss Bingley felt she and the gentleman were safe, she said, “Mr. Darcy, if I did not know you so well as I do, I would suppose you were quite taken with your dance partner. I have never known you to be so at ease with a perfect stranger.”

“I posit you do not know me so well as you think, Miss Bingley.”

“Not know you, sir? Surely you mean to tease me. You are my brother’s best friend. I have long considered the two of us as very good—dare I say intimate—friends as well.” Here she paused and batted her eyelashes at him. “I cannot tell you how pleased I was when my brother informed me that you had the ideal country estate in mind for him, and how you would spend time helping him navigate the ins and outs of its management. What an excellent time we shall have, even if Charles is determined to associate with the likes of these people. No doubt, he will extend an invitation to each and every one of them to dine at Netherfield in their turn, and, if I know him at all, he will want to have a ball.”

Darcy said nothing in response to these conjectures.

“I can guess the subject of your reverie, sir. You are considering how insupportable it would be to pass many evenings in such society. Indeed, you and I are of the same mind, as we often are. The insipidity, the nothingness, and yet the self-importance of these people! What I wouldn’t give to hear your strictures on them!”

Amid Darcy’s continued silence, Miss Bingley cried, “Mr. Darcy?”

“Pardon,” he said, tearing his eyes away from his former dance partner who by now was sitting with her sisters.

“I do not believe you have heard a word I have said.”

He shrugged a little. “It would appear that I am guilty as charged.”

“What on Earth has you so distracted?”

“I have been meditating on the very great pleasure that a pair of fine eyes in the face of a pretty woman can bestow.”

Miss Bingley immediately fixed her eyes on Darcy’s face. “Pray which lady among us has the credit of inspiring such reflections?”

“My former dance partner and the only woman of my acquaintance whom I ever wish to dance with again. Miss Elizabeth Bennet.”

“Miss Elizabeth Bennet!” Miss Bingley repeated. “I am all astonishment. Surely you could not have known her very long. When, in so fleeting an acquaintance as the two of yours, did she become such a favorite? And when, pray tell, am I to wish you joy?”

That was exactly the sort of question that Darcy had expected Bingley’s younger sister to ask, but he would not gratify her wishes with a response. Besides, the young lady will have her answer soon enough.

Such being the case, Darcy said nothing. Instead he went on listening to her with perfect indifference while she chose to entertain herself in this manner. As his composure convinced her that all was safe, her wit flowed long. Darcy only had one thing on his mind; that being his next set with Elizabeth.


Through the course of the evening, Jane and Elizabeth stole away from the others in their party and went outside for a breath of fresh air. Elizabeth could not recall the last time she had seen her sister so happy—so animated. The two young ladies joined hands and gave in to a bout of laughter.

“Dearest Jane, I think Mr. Bingley likes you very much.”

“Oh, Lizzy, do you really think so?”

Elizabeth chuckled. “Indeed, as does everyone else at the assembly, I am certain. Pray what do you think of him? Do you like him?”

As if not wishing to be too eager in her praise of the young man, Jane replied whimsically, “What is there not to like? He is sensible and good-humored. He is lively, and I never saw such happy manners. Mr. Bingley is just what a young man ought to be.”

“That is to say nothing of his handsome looks, which a gentleman also ought to possess so far as it can be arranged. So, there. You have my permission to like him.”

“Lizzy, be serious. A handsome face means nothing at all if there are carefully concealed flaws in one’s character—a lesson that we have learned most painfully.”

With the Wickhams so far away and seldom thought about as a consequence, Elizabeth pleaded, “Pray let us not speak of such misfortunes at such a time as this.”

“Very well. Too much happiness abounds this evening. Your Mr. Darcy is an excellent dance partner.”

“Jane, he is not my Mr. Darcy,” Elizabeth said, not unaware that she had put forth the same defense to her friend Charlotte months ago.

“Is he not?” Jane asked, her brow slightly arched. “You need not answer me, for if he is not now your Mr. Darcy, he will be very soon—that is to say unless there is no truth at all in the notion that to be fond of dancing is a certain step towards falling in love.”

Elizabeth smiled in silent acquiescence. Indeed, she had long believed in such an idea as well, which must certainly have explained her disappointment in hearing Mr. Darcy express his displeasure in the endeavor earlier that evening. Then again, he owed his distaste to not having danced with the right partner until now. Did she dare allow herself to hope that perhaps he was in her power?

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What an exciting excerpt, Ms. Dixon! Darcy's teasing manner and bold compliments were quite delightful! I enjoyed the dance and the banter of Darcy and Elizabeth. My thoughts on them and Pride & Prejudice as the favorite of Jane Austen's work is in agreement with yours and in the same order! Thank you for visiting today and sharing this lovely excerpt as well as your viewpoint in writing. I knew, without a doubt, that you would bring along a tantalizing taste of your latest release, Impertinent Strangers. You never disappoint! 

P.O. Dixon has one eBook to give away and this giveaway is open internationally! Leave your contact info in your comment to be sure you are included in the random drawing. If you are like me, you want to know more about this story! The giveaway will end at 11:59 PM on the 1st day of August, 2016. Good luck to all.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

My share in the conversation...The Last Adventure of the Scarlet Pimpernel

Some months ago, Jack Caldwell approached me about reading and reviewing his latest book, due to be released August 1, 2016, on Amazon. I was excited at the opportunity. I had never read a Northanger Abbey sequel and looked forward, with anticipation, to reading The Last Adventure of the Scarlet Pimpernel. Below is my review. There is also a giveaway so be sure and check out the details after the review. 

The Last Adventure of the Scarlet Pimpernel By Jack Caldwell

This is a fantastic book and one I highly recommend. It is a sequel to Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey. The story centers prominently around the character of Captain Frederick Tilney with brief appearances of Henry and Catherine Morland Tilney.  In the original I was not so fond of Frederick where he was depicted as a rake and rather selfish. Jack Caldwell opens with somewhat of that same persona for the Captain.

The first chapter begins in Oxford with a duel between Captain Tilney and a Sir Robert Paisley, the betrothed of Isabella Thorpe, Catherine’s friend in Northanger Abbey. Captain Tilney’s younger friend, George Blakeney, a student at Oxford, is acting as his second and Colonel Sir John Buford, another close friend, is the Master of the Field. This sets the stage for the character and relationship of these men. Captain Tilney manages to get in trouble everywhere he turns and doesn’t feel he is at fault for any of his problems. This causes him some unexpected censure from his close friend, Buford.  George Blakeney defends Captain Tilney and stays true to their longtime friendship.

During a visit to the Blakeney Estate in Richmond, Frederick sees the now grown-up sister of George. She has matured into a beautiful and accomplished young woman. For the first time, Captain Tilney’s heart is touched. Violet has mutual feelings for Frederick and their romance buds. Violet and George’s father, Sir Percy Blakeney knows the reputation of Captain Frederick Tilney and a conflict begins and deepens as the story progresses. Frederick wants to change for Violet but it is not so easy as he thinks, especially when the Prince Regent is Violet’s godfather.

Colonel Brandon, Darcy, Lizzy, the Bingleys and even Caroline, to name a few from the pages of other Jane Austen works, make appearances in The Last Adventure of the Scarlet Pimpernel. Captain Tilney gives a wonderful set-down to a ‘lady’ in defense of Elizabeth Darcy. This helps in the confirmation of his improving character. It was quite enjoyable and well-deserved!

This story is filled with romance, well-researched history, intrigue and escapades of the Scarlet Pimpernel. I was amazed at the ability of this author to lay the foundation for his novel, develop the background of historical facts and tell his adventure with the momentum building to a crescendo, never missing a beat. There was no slowing down of the story, no interruption of flow, even as we moved from England to France and back again.

Jack Caldwell wrote a fascinating tale that held my interest from beginning to end. Although it is a stand-alone book, I had read that the author said it would be better if The Three Colonels, one of his earlier novels, was read first. I purposely did not as I wanted to see how the story stood on its own merit. It was an awesome read. I cannot imagine anything making it better, but, I shall soon read The Three Colonels and see for myself!

Combining the story of The Scarlet Pimpernel with Northanger Abbey was pure genius. Well done, Jack Caldwell.

I received an ARC of this novel from the author in return for a fair and honest review.

Thank you, Jack Caldwell, for allowing me the privilege of reading your book. As you see, I enjoyed it immensely and I love the cover, another fine one by the talented Ellen Pickels. I wish you much success with this second in the series of 'Jane Austen's Fighting Men'.

Readers, Mr. Caldwell is giving away one paperback, US only, and one eBook, internationally of The Last Adventure of the Scarlet Pimpernel. That's two lucky winners. Leave a comment with your contact info and you will be entered. This giveaway will close at 11:59 PM on the 29th of July, 2016. Good luck to all and thanks for stopping by! 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Northern Rain Blog Tour...A New Day

Available on Amazon
As most of you are aware, by now, I am a big fan of North & South by Elizabeth Gaskell. Author Nicole Clarkston writes N&S fan fiction novels and I am just as big a fan of her work. (She has a P&P novel, too) It is my happy privilege to be part of the Blog Tour for Northern Rain. Ms. Clarkston was recently a guest on my blog when this latest book, Northern Rain, was released. On that post, she shared 'The Lost Scene', a fun vignette with Hannah Thornton. Today she shares another vignette with us that is not included the book, part of the honeymoon. It is quite romantic and lovely. Enjoy.


This honeymoon vignette picks up where the main story of Northern Rain leaves off, on the first morning after John and Margaret’s marriage. I hope you enjoy this peek into their married life. - NC

         A New Day                 

The black nothingness of sleep vanished in an instant as John Thornton snapped to alertness. His vision blurred for only a second until his eyes focused on the unfamiliar surroundings. Some inner sense, even in the very depths of his slumber, had kept him aware, but now he awoke to a new impression of disorientation.

Within half a heartbeat, he was searching to his right. His arm flexed and his wild, dizzy hope was rewarded. For the first time in his one-and-thirty years, he had not wakened alone.

His entire being wished to cry out in transports of joy. It was too glorious a thing for him, that the truthful light of morning unveiled not the mechanized tasks of his solitary day, but the beautiful communion of one to share in his life. She curled trustingly into the crook of his arm, her lashes brushing the flesh of his shoulder in her dreams. She had melded to him so completely in a precious few hours, without reserve or fear, or- God forbid- shame! The prior night’s tender congress had united them in body and spirit, introducing them both to wholehearted vulnerability such as neither had ever imagined.

Now, as his spellbound gaze traveled slowly over the sleeping form of his wife, he knew her in strange, intimate new ways. He had always been a keen observer of every aspect of this woman, but in the gentle afterglow of their nuptials, he drank in the minute details which he had never before been privileged to witness. That little flicker of her eyes within their softly closed veils; the scarce trembling of her nose as some powerful feeling passed through her dreams; the delectable little freckle he had discovered just at the base of her collarbone…. Each new detail, each little whiff of her soft breath stirring through the sensitive hairs on his chest- all was his alone to cherish. Even in quiet repose, her graceful presence bestowed on him riches beyond compare.

He longed to rouse her, to be the one to witness that moment when she shifted from dreams to wakefulness, but it was too delicious to bask in her peaceful warmth. Sweet, clinging arms draped over his chest, binding him to remain as her comfort in slumber. He began seriously to contemplate how many days a man could live without taking the trouble of leaving his bed. Wedded life, he decided with a grin, held infinitely more delights than he had yet dreamt of exploring!

His perfect euphoria battled with his growing urgency to partake of her loving eyes, and smiles meant only for him. He craved the reassurance that she would be pleased to find herself in his arms, in the luminous revelation of their first morning together. Wishing to draw out his efforts to wake her, he began gently- so softly that he thought she might not even perceive him.

He turned his face somewhat, so that his breath might send warm draughts through her loosened hair. He delighted in watching the prickling flesh of her arm across his chest, proudly reveling in his ability to unnerve her. It was only fair, after all- he had been discomposed and off his balance since their very first meeting! It had been an awakening of sorts for him- the staggering realization that she held him in such power as he had never known, and that there was no place he more desired to be.

Daring more now, he rocked closer to her, nuzzling down her neck with whisper-soft kisses. A sharp intake of her breath was the signal he awaited. He drew back, aching to be the first sight of the day which drew her focus. Her lashes fluttered, and a luxuriating sigh cleansed away the last traces of sleep before she fully left behind the perfect serenity of dreams. A subtle curve lifted the corner of her mouth, and slowly, as if intentionally tormenting him, her languorous eyes opened to him.

He could not contain the guileless pleasure beaming over his entire face. “Good morning, my wife,” he murmured, yet his smile was so intense that he could scarcely command his lips to form the words. How long had he desired to utter that very phrase to her? That such a privilege should be his was still incomprehensible to him.

Margaret Thornton’s cheeks warmed, and with a hint of shyness, she nestled her face contentedly into the hollow of his shoulder. “Good morning, John,” came the muffled answer.

He traced the soft tips of his fingers over the luscious form beneath the counterpane, tickling sensitive new places. With some delight, he felt her tense beside him as she fought back a wave of bashful giggles. Smiling more deeply now, he broadened his explorations and waited for some more forceful reaction from her. Perhaps he had been expecting her to at last cry out in protest, or to grasp his hand to compel him to stop. In that, he had underestimated his bride.

Her hand moved unexpectedly to torment his side, seizing him with the irrational desire to bark out in sudden laughter and leap away from her. “Why, John, whatever is the matter?” she asked in false innocence. “I only return your affections!”

“I shall take more care in the future,” he returned gruffly, stilling her devilish little fingers by pressing them tightly to his chest. “I would prefer your attentions to be of quite a different sort.”

With a demure smile, Margaret shifted her posture and retreated to her pillow. She reclined invitingly, a teasing curve to her brow and a modest flutter to her lashes. “I give you leave to try a different approach, sir,” she sighed.

Accepting the challenge, he rolled close until he hovered above her. His delight shone clearly in that lopsided smile she adored, and he dropped to brush tender lips over her forehead. “Good morning, Margaret,” he whispered reverently, his tones growing husky and raw with desire.

Her hands caressed over his shoulders, and he slid his body down the length of hers until he could comfortably kiss those shapely lips. He lingered there, drinking in the intoxicating bouquet of her natural scent without the enhancement of soaps or perfumes. She was quite positively breathtaking in this native state- authentic and strong, yet beguiling and oh, so sweet, all at once!

His tender ribs were protesting more loudly the longer he remained thus. At length he was obliged to make a reluctant withdrawal, but not without wrapping himself about her so that she tumbled toward him as he went. Margaret tucked her face up beneath his chin, laughing softly and kissing his throat as she fell back into his embrace. A little frisson of sheer longing shivered up the back of his neck and pulsed through his body, driving the breath from his lungs. As on that very first day he had ever beheld her, she stole all of his rational thought and left him bereft of his powers of speech. No longer, thought he with a grin, was that a lamentable state of affairs. There were a great many means of communication which did not require words, and they were all permissible to him now!

With an eagerness he could scarcely contain, his hands began reacquainting themselves with each dip and curve of her glorious form, unfettered now by the trappings of polite femininity. His mouth he occupied in teasing the sensitive cleft below her jaw, slowly and torturously feathering light kisses up to the base of her ear. An unbidden groan of pleasure met his amorous assault, but then she seemed to collect herself. Her responses to his ardour cooled markedly, and she received his attentions with modest reserve.

Disappointed, and with mounting alarm, he drew back. She could not mean to go on so, responding to him only with diffidence! He infinitely preferred the woman he had held all night, whose throaty approval of his hopeful passion still rang in his ears and had echoed in his dreams. His troubled gaze swept over her beloved face, and then stopped. There, glimmering in her curved lips and faintly smiling eyes, he identified a spark of mischief. Some of the dread began to slip from him once more, as he braced himself for whatever frippery she was about to unleash upon him.

She cleared her throat. Though trapped beneath him once more in a shocking state of undress, she effortlessly assumed the airs of grace and deportment he had been treated to at their first meeting. “This is a very fine city, I hear. I am to understand the beaches are quite pleasant, and Lord Street is said to boast a number of notable dwellings. What did you wish to do today, my husband?”

“I am doing it, or at least I was,” came the pointed retort. He tightened his arms about her for emphasis. “I made a conscientious search, you may be sure, and I have ascertained that the most diverting entertainment to be had in all of Southport resides right here in my bed. I thought we should take our meals here for the rest of the week.”

Her mouth quirked. “In such a state of dress! You shall have the whole inn staff walking out in protest.”

His brow wrinkled speculatively. “All the more private, I should say. The notion has merit.”

She shook her head, chuckling. “I believe it would be somewhat… conspicuous… should we never emerge today.”

“I know that I should most certainly take note of that fact,” he grinned roguishly. “You must learn something of a businessman’s ways, Margaret. When important matters are at hand, one must apply all diligence, completely eschewing other pleasures, to see everything to a satisfactory conclusion.”

“And you intend to accomplish this feat today?” she inquired with all credulity.

“A number of times, I hope.”

“John! You are incorrigible!” She blushed crimson, and he indulged his feasting eyes for the first time in watching the heat traveling up to her face from savoury parts below.

“I shall continue to be so, as long as I am rewarded with such an exquisite reaction, Love!” he laughed. “It is high time I that I am able to discomfit you, as you always have me.” His eyes trailed suggestively down to where her shape pressed against his, and soon his hands made the journey as well. She drew a quick breath of fresh surprise at his touch, then her body sighed with pleasure against his as she relaxed. He kissed those pert lips, finding this a far more suitable conversation for the moment, until she pressed him away with a subtle nudge of her mouth.

“John,” she nibbled her lip coyly, raising her gaze to his through lowered lashes. “I think I shall go quite distracted if I am to be denied the pleasure of sea bathing. Whatever shall I tell Edith once she finds I have come all this way, only to skip such a famous attraction?”

A devious light came to his eyes, and his right cheek pulled into that dazzling, troublesome smile of his. “You shall be able to tell her that you enjoyed quite a different sort of bathing, for which you were never bothered to leave your room, nor obliged to engage in the activity alone.”

Southport, with its convenient location and charming amenities, remains a frequent vacation spot of Mr and Mrs Thornton of Milton. The couple are known to retreat thither at least twice per year for a week-end, with claims that Mrs Thornton finds the clean salt air refreshing to her spirits. It is perhaps curious, however, that when asked by those of their acquaintance for recommendations on favourite activities in the area, the only locale ever mentioned is a small, out of the way inn near the shore.

Book Blurb:

There is nothing like a long walk in the rain to guarantee a little privacy… unless the last person you wish to encounter happens also to be in search of solitude.
John Thornton is a man of heavy responsibilities who has many things on his mind, but the most troublesome of them all is Margaret Hale. She wants nothing to do with him, and he wishes he could feel the same. When a moment of vulnerability allows her a glimpse into his heart, she begins to see him very differently.
Is something so simple as friendship even possible after all that has passed between them? Thornton has every good reason to move on, not the least of which is the lovely Genevieve Hamilton and her wealthy father. Will Thornton act according to duty and accept an opportunity to save his mill, or will he take a chance on love, hoping to change Margaret’s mind?


Author Bio:

Nicole Clarkston is the pen name of a very bashful writer who will not allow any of her family or friends to read what she writes. She grew up in Idaho on horseback, and if she could have figured out how to read a book at the same time, she would have. She initially pursued a degree in foreign languages and education, and then lost patience with it, switched her major, and changed schools. She now resides in Oregon with her husband of 15 years, 3 homeschooled kids, and a very worthless degree in Poultry Science (don't ask).

Nicole discovered Jane Austen rather by guilt in her early thirties- how does any book worm really live that long without a little P&P? She has never looked back. A year or so later, during a major house renovation project (undertaken when her husband unsuspectingly left town for a few days) she discovered Elizabeth Gaskell and fell completely in love. Nicole's books are her pitiful homage to two authors who have so deeply inspired her.


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 Northern Rain Blog Tour Schedule:

7/8-9: Launch Vignette, Excerpt & Giveaway at Fly High
7/10: Guest Post & Giveaway at Babblings of a Bookworm
7/11: Vignette & Giveaway at My Kids Led Me Back to Pride & Prejudice
7/12: Author Interview at More Than Thornton
7/14: Review & Giveaway at Just Jane 1813
7/15: Excerpt & Giveaway at My Kids Led Me Back to Pride & Prejudice
7/16: Excerpt & Giveaway at Half Agony, Half Hope
7/17: Vignette & Giveaway at Laughing With Lizzie
7/18: Author/Character Interview & Giveaway at From Pemberley to Milton
7/19: Guest Post, Excerpt & Giveaway at So little time…
7/20: Vignette & Giveaway at Stories from the Past
7/21: Vignette & Giveaway at More Agreeably Engaged
7/24: Review, Excerpt & Giveaway at Margie’s Must Reads
7/26: Guest Post & Giveaway at A Covent Garden Gilflurt’s Guide to Life
9/10: Review & Giveaway at The Calico Critic

(The date is correct for the review at The Calico Critic. It will have a separate giveaway as the ‘official’ blog tour ends on the 26th and its giveaway will end on July 28th.

Rafflecopter Giveaway: This giveaway is for 4 Paperback copies and 4 eBooks copies of Northern Rain. Two audiobooks of Rumours & Restlessness, Ms. Clarkston's P&P novel, and two audiobooks of No Such Thing as Luck, her first N&S novel, are also included in this giveaway. There will be twelve lucky winners! Winners will be posted at the end of the blog tour and all stops along the way are included in the giveaway. Be sure to visit all and leave your comments. The giveaway ends at 11:59 PM on the 28th of July.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Thank you, Nicole Clarkston, for visiting More Agreeably Engaged during your Blog Tour. I am happy to be a part of it and have this lovely vignette to share with my readers. I have enjoyed going to the other blogs and reading your thoughts, vignettes and other posts during your virtual tour. Readers, if you have not made the rounds, I hope you will find time to do so. You will not be disappointed. I hope you will also have the chance to read Northern Rain soon. It is an excellent. It is available in large print, as well as regular print, for the paperback edition. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

And the winners are...

I have lots of winners to announce today! Several of the winners were already announced via the rafflecopter following their blog tour and I will not post those here. If you have not seen the winners's list, let me know and I will make sure it is available to you. Now I will start with the most recent first and work my way back while I play catch-up! Several of the giveaways have already been delivered to their winners.

The Abominable Mr. Darcy
by J Dawn King

Signed Paperback: Leah Pruett
Signed Paperback: Nicole Clarkston
eBook: Anonymous
eBook: pailofpearls
Colouring Book with Pencils: Deborah Ann


The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen
by Cass Grafton and Ada Bright

Multiple Giveaway: Anji


Miss Darcy's Companion
by Joana Starnes

eBook: DungVu


Northern Rain
by Nicole Clarkston

(this was not part of the blog tour that is going on presently)
eBook: BookLuver88
eBook: Priscilla Teh
AudioBook of Rumours & Recklessness: Sophia Rose


Shadows over Longbourn
by Jann Rowland

eBook:  MaryAnn Nagy

Thank you, so much, to each of you for the support of my blog. It means more to me than you know. 

To each of you authors, a big thanks to you, for having such generous giveaways for my readers. We eagerly await the books you have yet to write and hope they will come soon! :) Please visit when they do!

If you have not visited my 'Tuesday's guest, Maria-Emilia de Medeiros, I  suggest that you give her post a read. She also is having a giveaway of her book, Jane Austen Speaks.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Jane Austen Speaks with Maria-Emilia de Medeiros

Maria-Emilia de Medeiros is visiting More Agreeably Engaged for the first time and I am thrilled to have her here. Maria-Emilia has a newly released book, Jane Austen Speaks, and she is going to share some of her journey of writing this book. She is channeling Jane Austen, so to speak. :) Doesn't that sound delightful! I hope each of you will enjoy learning more about Maria and her book. Welcome, Maria-Emilia de Medeiros.


Thank you so much for hosting me on your wonderful blog today, Janet!  I am extremely grateful for your kindness and feel so honored to share about my newly released book Jane Austen Speaks About Life, the Modern World, & Heavenly Pursuits with your readers today!

This book is my own lighthearted attempt to allow Miss Austen to voice what might have been her “own” opinions on modern day matters, based on a knowledge of her life, work, society, and the prevailing social morĂ©s inherent in Western culture of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.  In addition to Miss Austen’s wide-ranging reflections upon her life, novels, and the modern world, a section of the book is devoted to food and social visits, featuring a number of heavenly “guests” as well as recipes for your use and enjoyment.  You can plan your very own Jane Austen dinner party, too! 

When I began the journey of writing this book over two years ago now, it became increasingly clear to me that I needed to write using the voice of Jane Austen herself.  Oh, I tried to talk myself out of it.  Believe me, Dear Readers, just the thought of writing as Miss Austen struck not a little fear and trepidation into my heart.  I could just imagine hordes of angry Janeites descending and demanding to know how I could possess the utter cheek to write as the great Jane Austen herself!  But every time I tried to talk myself out of it and would proceed to write using the third person point of view, it simply did not work.  The words were more than dull—they lay dead and lifeless upon the page.  On the other hand, my words immediately sprang to life as soon as I began to write from Jane Austen’s perspective.  It almost felt as if I were writing out the thoughts of a dear friend.

It was quite a daunting prospect for me, I can assure you.  Not only would I be venturing to voice what might possibly have been Miss Austen’s opinions based on what I know of her life and social milieu, but to do so mimicking her own voice, prose style, and vernacular?  Those are mighty big shoes to fill, of course.  As a lifelong Janeite, I have often marveled at Miss Austen’s elegant prose style.  Her sentences are truly sophisticated works of art. 

How often have I been astounded by this brilliant woman, raised during the last quarter of the eighteenth century as the daughter of an Anglican clergyman, and educated largely at home by her father and brothers! How is it possible that this unmarried and unpretentious Hampshire woman, from a respectable yet humble gentleman’s family, wrote six of the greatest novels of all time?  It must have taken such courage for a woman in her circumstances to pursue and realize this dream.  With this thought in mind, I tried to grasp onto a bit of Jane Austen’s courage for myself.  Of course, one of my favorite Austenian quotes quickly came to mind:  “Run mad as often as you choose, but do not faint.”  No, never faint!  Never say die!  And never, ever let others tell you that something cannot be done! It was as if I were being counselled by the Great Jane Austen herself. 

I also drew courage from those few brave souls who have gone before me, including Sheila Kaye-Smith and Claudia L. Johnson, who wrestled with the spectral Jane Austen in their respective works, More Talk of Jane Austen and Jane Austen’s Cults and Cultures, as well as Syrie James, whose books The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen and Jane Austen’s First Love feature Jane as a very vivid character.  With these misgivings behind me, I became much more at ease with the notion of writing in Miss Austen’s voice for my own book, Jane Austen Speaks.  After several months, I found myself not only writing as Jane Austen, but even speaking as Jane Austen.  My friends and family did a fair amount of eye-rolling, I can tell you.  As some said, they never knew if they would be getting the person they knew or if I might be “channeling Jane Austen” on any given occasion!  I found that reading Miss Austen’s letters to her sister Cassandra helped quite a bit for handy epithets and exclamations, as well as for obtaining the particular “flavor” of Jane’s slightly more casual speech and writing.  Several of my British friends assisted me with proper Briticisms on numerous occasions, and what a Godsend these dear friends were to me on this journey! 

Even Miss Austen at her most casual and conversational would sound rather formal to our twenty-first century ears, I believe.  Just think of what she would have thought of modern slang and the casual use of obscenities in daily speech!  In fact, I did imagine it, Dear Readers, as you can read for youselves in the following excerpt below taken from “The F Word: Excursions into Germanic Salaciousness.” 

I am certain that each person who is reading this knows exactly which English world I mean, for it exists as a verb, noun, and adjective.  Few things arouse my ire quite so much as the overabundant use of this disgusting word in modern day English.  In truth, the English language is very dear to my heart.  I took the greatest pains to write in such a way as to elevate the language, not drag it down into the dirt.  I have found this vile obscenity used quite frequently in modern “literature” (you might call it literature, but I cannot).  As if that is not quite bad enough, its frequent conversational employment by people of all ages in practically every walk of life is most distressing, indeed.  I have learnt that this foul word is even commonly used by members of the constabulary when dealing with the public citizenry, as well as schoolmasters addressing their pupils.  I have even seen it on greeting cards!

It is an understatement to say that such language is extremely vulgar.  Certainly, there are many aspects of the modern world that are an improvement over life in the early 1800s, but this is not one of them.  Only the coarsest, most ill-bred person would utter such vulgarities in my day.  To be frank, I still believe it signals the greatest incivility as well as a lack of breeding in the modern era…

I would ask that you consider the violent, coarse nature of this vulgar word before you utter it, and then proceed to curb your tongue.  Upon my honour, there is a great deal to be said for good manners and gentle breeding, even in the twenty-first century.  A gentleman or lady should not find it difficult to develop an excellent and plentiful vocabulary of appropriate English adjectives, verbs, and nouns to use in place of such vile words.

I do hope that readers will detect Miss Austen’s considerable wit and wisdom within the pages of Jane Austen Speaks About Life, the Modern World, & Heavenly Pursuits.  I truly hope that you will enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Once again, I would like to thank Janet Taylor for so graciously hosting me on More Agreeably Engaged today.  It has been such an honor to be your guest, Janet!

Please enter your comments below in order to be entered for a chance to win a copy of the eBook!  I do look forward to hearing from you. 


Kindest Regards,

Maria-Emilia de Medeiros



Maria Emilia de Medeiros is a teacher, writer, artist, and lifelong Janeite. She read her first Jane Austen novel at the tender age of twelve and has never looked back. In addition to reading, playing the pianoforte, and embroidery, she is fond of dogs, long country walks, and drawing.  Jane Austen Speaks is her first published book about Jane Austen. 


Book Blurb:

In JANE AUSTEN SPEAKS, author Maria Emilia de Medeiros “channels” the great Jane Austen from her heavenly home and allows her the opportunity to speak her mind about the modern world nearly two centuries after her passing. Readers will gain a healthy dose of wise counsel and witty advice for leading a sensible, well-mannered twenty-first century life. Jane Austen’s heavenly exploits (not to mention her recipes) will both entertain and delight you. At times serious, drily humorous, or even a bit naughty, JANE AUSTEN SPEAKS is a necessary addition to every Janeite’s library. Dear Readers, if you have ever asked yourself, “What would Jane Austen think?” you have indeed come to the right place.


Contact Information:


Blog Tour Schedule:

My Jane Austen Book Club:  July 6

Laughing With Lizzie:  July 8

Obsessed with Mr. Darcy:  July 12

So little time…  July 14

More Agreeably Engaged:  July 19

My Kids Led Me Back to Pride & Prejudice:  July 21

Babblings of a Bookworm:  July 25

Darcyholic Diversions:  July 28


Maria Emilia de Medeiros, it is such a pleasure having you visit my blog. I always love having a new author stop by and let us get more acquainted. Thank you. Your book sounds so entertaining and unique. I will be spending some large amount of time perusing the pages of this book, more than once, I am certain. I have enjoyed seeing and reading your posts along the blog tour, and especially this post. It has been an honor to have you as my guest. 

As Maria has already mentioned, the giveaway is for one eBook and it is international. Leave a comment below to be entered and please include your contact info. The giveaway will end at 11:59 PM on the 25th of July, 2016.