Monday, April 24, 2017

Victoria Kincaid...Darcy's Honor

It is exciting today to have Victoria Kincaid visit More Agreeably Engaged. I always love it when she stops by because that means she has a new book out and we readers will be in for a treat! Thank you, Ms. Kincaid for writing stories that we love to read! Her latest, Darcy's Honor, sounds like it will not disappoint either. Below is a blurb and then we have an excerpt to enjoy! Thank you, Victoria Kincaid, for visiting and for sharing a bit from your book.

Readers, be sure and check out the giveaway! :)

*****

Blurb:

Elizabeth Bennet is relieved when the difficult Mr. Darcy leaves the area after the Netherfield Ball. But she soon runs afoul of Lord Henry, a Viscount who thinks to force her into marrying him by slandering her name and ruining her reputation.  An outcast in Meryton, and even within her own family, Elizabeth has nobody to turn to and nowhere to go.

Darcy successfully resisted Elizabeth’s charms during his visit to Hertfordshire, but when he learns of her imminent ruin, he decides he must propose to save her from disaster.  However, Elizabeth is reluctant to tarnish Darcy’s name by association…and the viscount still wants her…

Can Darcy save his honor while also marrying the woman he loves? 

*****

Buy Links:


*****

Excerpt:

The viscount pulled himself up to his full height, a few inches shorter than Darcy, and held out his hand to Elizabeth. “Elizabeth, come away. There are things we must discuss.”

“I have said everything that needs saying,” Elizabeth responded coolly.

The sound of her Christian name on the man’s lips made Darcy bristle. “You may speak in my presence,” he said.

Lord Henry made an irritated gesture. “She is my betrothed, Darcy. There are things we must discuss.”

Perhaps the viscount believed Elizabeth would not contradict him before witnesses. If so, he did not have a firm grasp on her character.

“I pray you, sir, remind me again when we became betrothed? I recall refusing your offer, and I am quite sure I have not told you otherwise.” Elizabeth’s eyes flashed as she spoke. “Do you remember our conversation differently?”

The sarcasm was not lost on Lord Henry. His face flushed even redder, and his lips were set in a thin line.

“I have found,” Darcy drawled, “that women usually know if they are betrothed.”

The viscount scowled at Elizabeth. “I do not believe you have a choice, my dear.”

“It is not the practice in England to force women into marriage,” Darcy said. “If Miss Bennet does not wish to be betrothed to you, she will not be.”

Lord Henry gave Darcy a disdainful look and then glared at Elizabeth. “You have no other options—after what has passed between us.”

Darcy’s insides curdled at these words. What had Elizabeth suffered? But he kept his face carefully blank.

Elizabeth frowned at the man, her hands balled into fists at her sides. “Nothing passed between us save some rather awkward compliments on my beauty and a very unappealing kiss.”

The viscount grimaced. “Nobody believes that was all! Your own family scoffed at the idea.”

It is interesting, Darcy thought, that when he is almost alone with Elizabeth, he does not bother to deny her assertion. Darcy folded his arms over his chest; perhaps that would prevent him from striking the other man. “I believe her,” he said forcefully.

Elizabeth’s head swung toward Darcy, her lips slightly apart.

Darcy continued, “In my experience, Miss Elizabeth has always been honest to a fault.” Elizabeth’s jaw dropped as he spoke; did she not expect him to come to her defense? “Further, I have too high an opinion of her judgment to believe she would willingly consort with you.”

The viscount was momentarily struck dumb at the insult. Another man might have challenged Darcy to a duel for such a slight, but Lord Henry was a coward. After a minute he regained control, straightening his shoulders with a sneer. “Now I see how it is, Darcy. You want her for yourself. I damaged the goods, and now you hope to purchase them at a reduced price.”

The callousness in the other man’s words made Darcy’s entire body tighten with anger. Surely Lord Henry did not believe that. Surely he did not regard Elizabeth as something to be bought and sold like a bolt of cloth in a milliner’s shop! Outrage stopped his throat.

“Well, I won’t have it!” Lord Henry declared. “I put forth the effort, and she is now mine for the taking.”

Darcy finally found his voice. “I do not have the aspirations to which you allude, sir.” His words were excruciatingly polite, but his tone was acid. He advanced on the other man, hoping to intimidate him into departing. “You have insulted me and this lady in every possible way. I suggest you mount your horse and leave before I am forced to take action!” Using his superior height to advantage, he loomed over the viscount, who backed away a few paces.

Lord Henry grasped his horse’s reins with a trembling hand, pointing a threatening finger at Darcy. “This is not over, Darcy! She is not yours to have. She is mine.”


Darcy was astonished at the sound of Elizabeth’s laughter. “And here I believed I belong to myself.” She tapped a thoughtful finger to her lips. “How in the world could I have been so mistaken?”

*****

Well, folks, what do you think of that excerpt? Darcy's rush to help is 'so Darcy'! Elizabeth's reaction is true to her character as well. Lord Henry, I don't think I'm going to like him at all! What about the rest of you? Have any of you read it yet? I hope to read it soon! I have definitely had my interest piqued! 

Now it's giveaway time! Ms. Kincaid is offering a paperback or eBook of Darcy' Honor, winner's choice and it's international!  Readers, the giveaway will end at 11:59 PM on the 30th of April. Leave a comment to be entered and please make sure I can reach you should you be the winner. Good luck to all and Happy Monday!

Ms. Kincaid, thank for the giveaway and for being my guest today. I have been following your blog stops and have enjoyed reading your posts and excerpts. Best wishes with this new release.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Courage Requires...Melanie Rachel


Preorder at Amazon
Dear Readers, you have a treat today! This is the first time that author Melanie Rachel has been a guest at More Agreeably Engaged and I am so proud to have her visit. We've been trying to arrange this for some time but kept having things come up that made the visit have to wait. Now she is here and I couldn't be happier!

Ms. Rachel's second book, Courage Requires, will be released later this month. (available for preorder now) It is a Pride and Prejudice Continuation and follows her first book, Courage Rises. She does tell us that it is necessary to read the first before reading the new release. That sounds like two good books in my future if Chapter One is any indicator! :)

Thank you for stopping by, Melanie. I'm so happy to have you visit and share with us a little about your books on this Maundy Thursday.

*****

My thanks to Janet for allowing me to offer a guest post this week, as I have some exciting news! The second book in my two-book series, Courage Requires, will be released on  (hopefully before) April 22nd, and I am pleased to offer you all a taste of the first chapter. You do need to have read Courage Rises, the first book, for the second to make sense, but I am happy to announce a giveaway here to a reader who posts a comment below. I will offer the winner a choice--a free copy of either Book One: Courage Rises OR Book Two, Courage Requires! These are both full length novels.

Available at Amazon
In Courage Rises  Fitzwilliam Darcy is summoned to London by Colonel Fitzwilliam, who needs his cousin's help repaying a troublesome debt of honor. While they try to puzzle through the strange mystery of the Hawke family, Elizabeth has remained in Derbyshire only to be faced with an influenza outbreak. In the absence of her husband and with the staff and tenants counting on her, can she step fully into her role as Mistress of Pemberley?

Preorder on Amazon
​In Courage Requires, Darcy has returned to Pemberley to find Elizabeth expecting and growing increasingly ill. When she invites the enigmatic Hawke sisters and the Fitzwilliams to join them for the festive season, will the company provide the friendship and solace Darcy hopes for his wife? Or will the Earl's opposition to Richard's love interest destroy their holiday?

If you are a Courage Rises reader, and you haven't yet seen the new material I will be adding to the Epilogue, you can find it at my website (if you don't see it right away, just scroll down). The material, in addition to a new Afterword, will be offered as an update to those of you who have already purchased the book. After April, it will be available in the e-book already for sale. Here's the site: http://melanierachel.weebly.com/  .

Also coming by May, both books in paperback!

And here it is, Chapter One, Courage Requires:

*****

Chapter One
              An opened bottle of fine brandy sat on the table in Fitzwilliam Darcy’s Pemberley study, the amber liquor sparkling in the candlelight.
“That is quite a story, Richard,” Darcy said thoughtfully. He handed his cousin a second drink and sat on a leather chair near the fire, stretching his long legs before him. “Almost worth the length of time you have made me wait to hear it.”
              Richard shrugged. “We were each of us occupied, and it is not the sort of thing one should commit to paper.” He paused and ducked his head. “I must admit that I was waiting for the Bingleys to remove to town. For everyone concerned, this truly ought to remain between us.”
              “I am afraid,” Darcy said haltingly, “I have made a rather specific promise to tell Elizabeth everything. Particularly if the Hawkes are to visit Pemberley with the earl for the festive season.”
              “I had expected that. No further, though. Not even Mrs. Bingley or Georgiana, if you please. The fewer who know, the better chance of this all fading away in time.”
“Agreed.” Darcy took a drink and looked down at the dark liquid in his glass. He tipped it back and forth before saying in a low voice, “I am sorry we left you to handle the carriage ride alone.”
              Richard held up his hand, palm out, from his own seat near the fire. “You could hardly have acted other than you did. In any case, I am pleased you were not there.”
              “That seems to be a common refrain,” Darcy replied sardonically, but with a hint of complaint in his tone. “Elizabeth was pleased I was not here to keep her from having her way, and you are pleased I was not with you to assist. Am I truly so useless to have near?”
              Richard chuckled. “There was no point.  More heads, more targets. All I did was ride inside a box, if you can call being tossed about riding. I never got a shot off.”
              “Did Captain Hawke?” They laughed lightly together, trying to ease the tension of the conversation while Richard shook his head.
              “No, and that is one reason I cannot fault myself. If even the Captain could not discharge a weapon, what hope had I?” His face turned suddenly serious, and he stood to grope for something in the pocket of his greatcoat, which he had draped unceremoniously over a high-backed chair. James and then Wilkins had both been rather disconcerted to be waved off when he arrived. Richard felt the fabric and clenched his fist around it for a moment before withdrawing it. He tossed it in his cousin’s lap.
              “Miss Hawke asked me to get rid of it when we arrived at Matlock. Her sister was upset by it but would not stop taking it out to have a look. I am finding myself in much the same predicament.”
              Darcy set down his drink to pick up the crumpled remains of a bonnet. It showed deep creases from being carried in such a way, but he could distinctly make out two round holes at the crown.
              “Good God, Richard,” he whispered. He cleared his throat and spoke with more volume. “You told me, but seeing it. . . “
              “You understand my dilemma. The story alone does not carry the same impact. I had thought to toss it in the fire, as it makes me ill to see it.” Richard grimaced. “But it is also evidence, of a sort, that exonerates Miss Hawke from accusations of collaboration.”
              Richard closed his eyes and remembered Sophia Hawke’s resignation as she comforted her sister on the carriage floor, the stunningly emotional welcome the earl had proffered when she made her unexpected appearance, and her strangely cool response to that display. It was as though she did not believe it genuine. Richard had no doubt it had been real, yet within days, Lord Matlock was again scheming and planning. Lady Matlock, on the other hand, had been thrilled to have two young women in the house to spoil. Miss Evelyn had quite taken to it, but he thought his mother might have forged a stronger bond with Miss Hawke, who seemed rather overwhelmed by the attention. He felt a kind of kinship with her on that score alone, though there were of course other reasons as well. His cousin’s voice drew him back to the matter at hand.
              “Circumstantial at best, Richard. Should someone be determined to doubt, there would be no way to prove that she was wearing it when the damage was done, or even that it was hers at all. No way to prove it was her uncle who hired the man to ambush you. Most would deny that Hawke would even take such a risk, particularly knowing that you were all under the earl’s protection.”
              Richard closed his eyes. “I am aware, William. Still, with my testimony and that of the men riding with us, it might mean something. Hobson saw it at the same time as I.” He ran a hand through his hair and sighed. “I cannot take the risk of burning the damn thing.”
              “Well,” Darcy said stretching out his hand to return the article to his cousin, “put it away before my wife enters and inquires why we are looking at a woman’s bonnet in my study.”
              Richard grinned. “Does Elizabeth often come to your study at this time of night, cousin? Are the sweet first moments of your marriage over so quickly that she must seek you here to induce you to retire?”
Darcy shook his head and stood, setting his half-full glass on a side table. “And with that, Richard, I shall leave you to it. When do you head back to London?”
              “End of the week.” He smiled tightly and added, “Thank you for hosting me. I am unlikely to leave London again until I return to Pemberley at the end of the year, presuming I am still invited.”
              “You have decided irrevocably, then?”
              Richard heard the pain in Darcy’s voice and tried to assuage the blow. “I have. I went to the general to discuss selling my commission, and he was rather cantankerous about it. He argued vociferously that there were offices I might perform from London to assist in our efforts. There is some worth in my old carcass yet, evidently, even if it is only to train recruits and write reports that go unread.” He reached for Darcy’s unfinished drink. “The general has assured me that I will not be sent abroad. I told him I would not lead men into battle. Not feeling as I do now.”
              Richard might have insisted on relinquishing his commission. He had no taste for battle now and knew he could not lead. The fire, the sense of usefulness, of mission and purpose that had supported his actions for over a decade had faded entirely away. What he still had was a desire to find the man who had ordered the attack on Miss Hawke and her sister. The offer with the War Office would provide him with the resources to track Archibald Hawke. As Richard finished Darcy’s brandy, he stood. He did not look at his cousin.
              “You are always welcome at Pemberley, Richard,” was Darcy’s quiet reply.
              While Darcy was relieved to hear that Richard would not return to the Continent, he was certain that should he be requested to return to battle, his cousin would not shirk what he saw as his duty. He has to sell his commission, Darcy thought unhappily. The only way to keep him truly safe would be for him to resign everything and move into the life of a gentleman, a life Richard could have for the asking, if only he would set aside his pride and make the request. Between Richard’s own investments and the support both he and the earl had promised, they would situate Richard well. Richard had argued that the money was Phillip’s, but while his older brother could be thoroughly pompous when playing the role of a viscount, he loved Richard enough that he would offer no protest against the expense.
              Darcy grimaced. He was in no position to argue about unnecessary pride and they both knew it. He turned to the door after wishing his cousin a good night, exhausted from his constant worrying. First it had been over Georgiana, he was still anxious about Elizabeth, and now he was again concerned for Richard, just when he had thought he could put that fear to rest. As he stepped into the hall and made his way to the stairs, Darcy felt an icy lump settle in his stomach. He was not certain how much more worry he could stand.

*****

Thank you for being my guest today, Melanie! I was thrilled to finally get to have you visit. We've been trying to get this worked out for some time and seems like we kept running into obstacles! I'm happy that it finally worked out for both of us! :) I loved Chapter One and am ready for more. How about you, Dear Readers? Are you ready for more? It will be here soon, April 22nd) and that will be very good!

Melanie Rachel is offering one eBook, winner's choice of Courage Rises or Courage Requires, and the giveaway is international. Please leave us a comment to be entered in the draw. Have any of your read Courage Rises? If so, tell us your thoughts. It seems there are not as many sequels as there are retellings and variations. I love a good sequel and am looking forward to these two. Thank you Melanie for visiting and for the giveaway. Giveaway will end at 11:59 PM on the 19th of April. Good luck to all.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Dear Friend Event with Meryton Press

Happy April 1st, Dear Readers! I hope you are having a lovely Saturday and weekend. Spring is in full bloom in my part of the world and I am enjoying it! Since April 1st is also April Fool's, are you getting 'fooled'? My grandchildren have the best time on April Fool's Day, the little ones especially. They 'fool' me all day long! lol

I have a treat for you today and a chance to get a surprise gift, no fooling! More Agreeably Engaged is kicking off the Meryton Press Dear Friends Event. The blog portion of this event will take place each Saturday in April. The Blog Schedule is listed below and we hope you will take a moment of your time to visit each one. Be thinking about why you love books and reading. See if you can give a different reason for each stop. I will be giving you my reasons in just a bit; then in the comments, I hope you will share at least one of yours. 

For now, I turn the floor over to Meryton Press.


“Mrs. Collins welcomed her friend with the liveliest pleasure, and Elizabeth was more and more satisfied with coming, when she found herself so affectionately received.” – Jane Austen

Jane Austen describes a fine friendship between Elizabeth Bennet and Charlotte Collins. One friend welcomes another with ‘the liveliest pleasure,” and the other is pleased to share in that. We at Meryton Press know from your words that you, our fans, receive our books with pleasure and affection. It makes our authors warm inside to know that.

We have many things that bring us together, but above all we share a deep love of books. We’d like to center the subject of this event on that which makes books such a delight to us. We have asked each blogger to talk about what it is she loves so much about books and/or reading and we would like to provide a few paragraphs from one of our beloved authors to complement it. We hope that readers participate by sharing something about their love of books in the comments.

      *****

      Why do I love books and reading? Allow me to begin with a few questions.

Do you ever feel that you personally know Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy? Do you discuss them or characters from other books as if they were real people? I can answer a resounding yes to both of those questions.

Yes, I feel like Darcy and Lizzy are my dear friends. Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth, John Thornton and Margaret Hale and Ross Poldark and Demelza are a few other dear friends. I’ve been through tons of bad times and good times with them. I’ve cried and worried, I’ve laughed and rejoiced. Sharing their love and their hard-fought path to happily ever after never gets old. I’m right there with them, experiencing every up and down as they live it.

Having conversations with a friend about the characters in a book, as though the characters are living breathing people is the other ‘yes’. As many of you know, Jan Hahn is a close friend. Occasionally we go out to dinner and sooner or later our conversation always turns to books and their characters. We talk about them and the things they are doing as if they are alive. Then we laugh at ourselves thinking if anyone around is hearing, they would be surprised to learn we are talking about fictional people!

Have you ever been so immersed in a story that when you looked up and realized there was no snow on the ground or no rain falling from the sky, it was a shock to your senses? Oh yes, I’ve been there too! That is true immersion. We can escape through the pages of a cherished book; share other lives and forget our own for the hours that we read. We lose ourselves in a good story.

Being so involved with all the Bennet’s, Darcy and Georgiana, Colonel Fitzwilliam and even Lady Catherine and George Wickham, we love and we despise. Thanks to Jane Austen for creating such memorable characters that have stood the test of time. Thank you for putting quill to paper. Thank you to all the other authors in every genre that have captured our hearts and minds with their incredible talent.

Whether it’s Jane Austen’s novels, Elizabeth Gaskell’s, Winston Graham’s, any historical or modern romance, science fiction, paranormal, adventure or drama, I can share life with the characters of these novels. I can visit new and exotic lands, go back in time or explore a distant universe. Through reading, I can see it all. It’s time travel in a book. Isn’t that grand!

*****
Since this is a Dear Friend Event, I ask my dear friend and beloved author at Meryton Press, Jan Hahn, to do this post with me. Thank you, Jan, for agreeing to take part. Now that I've shared my thoughts on books and reading, will you share yours? What makes books and reading special to you?

*****

I hold some friends close―or even closer―than family. I go to them in times of joy or sorrow and know they will laugh or cry with me. Some characters in my favorite books have been a part of my life for so long that they feel like old friends. I turn to them for distraction or comfort, confident they will either brighten my day or divert my attention when life gets tough. It began when I was a child and first climbed up the Alps with Heidi or huddled close to my brother while Mother read Treasure Island. I could not wait to learn to read, and when I did, I gobbled up books like manna from Heaven. I had a hard time choosing between a trip to the city library or a few hours at the park.

I devoured The Bobbsey Twins, a family containing not just one set of twins but two. And they solved mysteries to boot! I considered Nan and Bert good buddies while Freddie and Flossie were cute but too young for my company. I resolved to have twins when I grew up, certain that my desire alone would accomplish the fact.

Jo March, naturally, became my favorite of Alcott’s Little Women. I thought her such a bonehead for refusing Laurie until I matured somewhat and understood the better choice was Professor Bhaer. Because the author Fred Gipson is a distant relation of mine, my father suggested I read Old Yeller. Big mistake. I cried and cried when Travis was forced to destroy the dog he dearly loved. It didn’t keep me from reading it again, though. I discovered Shakespeare in my teen years, and read and re-read the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet. If given the part, I was convinced I could have been the world’s greatest actress because, surely at fifteen, I knew all about love.

Literature classes introduced me to Fitzgerald and Hemingway, but I confess I didn’t care to re-read their books. Once was enough. I liked Edna Ferber’s saga, Giant, and was thrilled to see her characters come to life in the movie version. I would choose War and Peace any day over pitiful Anna Karenina perhaps because I skipped a lot of the War portion and concentrated on Natasha’s life until I knew her well. And then I met Father Ralph de Bricassart in Colleen McCullough’s The Thorn Birds. Talk about a doomed love affair. A young Australian girl with more than a crush on an ambitious Catholic priest had heartbreak written all over it. I cannot remember how many times I read that book.

Nineteenth century British literature drew me to the Bronté sisters. No matter how often I open Wuthering Heights, Heathcliff and Cathy never live happy lives, and although Mr. Rochester doesn’t deserve Jane Eyre, I rejoice each time she returns to him. I’ve lamented the ending of Tess of the D’Urbervilles far too many times. I prefer Far From the Madding Crowd when I want a touch of Thomas Hardy. I get just as aggravated with Bathsheba when she rejects Gabriel Oak as I did the first time I discovered the novel.

PBS introduced me to Elizabeth Gaskell, and after seeing the gorgeous John Thornton, I was only too glad to read North and South. Margaret Hale became a friend I can admire. I rented and watched the 1970s version of the Poldark miniseries long before the hunky Aidan Turner came along. I confess, however, it’s the present incarnation of that eighteenth-century antihero that caused me to seek out the author, Winston Graham, and read the story for myself.

I think I’ve enjoyed almost all of Anne Tyler’s quirky characters, but I return to Breathing Lessons when I want to laugh out loud. I can re-read all but one of Jan Karon’s Mitford series any time the wind blows. I find the small town nestled in the Carolina mountains as comforting as coming home after a long journey, and I applaud Father Tim for finding true love after the age of sixty.

And, of course, Jane Austen is the author I can read over, over, and over again and never get enough. I reach for a tissue each time Edward Ferrars declares his heart belongs to Elinor Dashwood; I bless Henry Tilney’s forbearance with fanciful little Catherine Morland; I want to pull Emma’s hair and tell her to mind her own business each time she parts Harriet Smith from Robert Martin; I cannot help but hope Fanny Price accepts Henry Crawford and makes him a better man because I just do not think Edmund Bertram deserves her; I want to reassure Anne Elliot that she has not lost her bloom; and even though I know Darcy returns for Elizabeth, I still grow nervous when he takes forever to propose the second time.

I’ve touched on only a few of my favorite books, but by now, I’m sure you can see a pattern. If I really like a book, I want to read it more than once. Each time, I either learn something new, reacquaint myself with passages that have grown dim in my memory, laugh, weep, or fall in love with my favorite characters all over again.

A common love of reading unites us and never more so than in the Jane Austen community. I am grateful that this beloved author is the means through which I have made so many new but dear friends. May we continue to read and share and love the stories that bind us together.

*****

Thank you again, Jan, for your willingness to join me today and share your love of books. What better way to begin a Dear Friend Event for bloggers, readers and fans than with a personal friend. I had purposely not read Jan's post until I put it on the blog nor has she read mine and will not until the post is live. I had to laugh a little when I read her reasons for loving books and reading. We definitely think alike on a few things concerning books and how we feel about them. What do you think, Jan?

*****


Dear Friend Blog Schedule:

More Agreeably Engaged–April 1; ends at 11:59 PM April 6th; winner announced April 7th
Austenesque Reviews–April 8; ends at 11:59 PM April 13th; winner announced April 14th
So little time…–April 15; ends at 11:59 PM April 20th; winner announced April 21st
Diary of an Eccentric–April 22; ends at 11:59 PM April 27th; winner announced April 28th
Just Jane 1813–April 29; ends at 11:59 PM May 4th; winner announced my May 5th  
  
*****

In the month of April, we want to show our appreciation to you, our most steadfast supporters, our dear friends. Good friends give each other gifts. You have given us the gift of your affectionate reception, and we want to reciprocate by giving some of you gifts in return.

As much as we’d like to, we can’t give everyone a gift, but at each hosted blog post during this event on the schedule listed above, an opportunity will be given to enter to win a surprise gift. Each person who comments can enter a Rafflecopter drawing to win. Although a person can enter multiple times (once on each blog post and tweet daily on each blog post), they can win only once. One winner will be chosen at each blog. Five gifts total will be awarded.

*****

Giveaway:

Giveaway is open to US residents only.  Eligible entries will comment on Dear Friend Event blog posts, tweet about the event and use the rafflecopter to enter. Winners will provide a valid U.S. shipping address for gift delivery upon request. Further details for entering to win a gift are posted at the Meryton Press website.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

General:

·       All Winners will be contacted via social media or email and announced on the Meryton Press website, Facebook, and/or Twitter.
·       In the event that a winner or winners do not respond within 5 days, a new winner will be drawn.
·       Winners may not be Meryton Press employees, contractors or authors.
·       An entrant can enter once per Dear Friend Event blog post and multiple times on Social Media, but can win only once.
·       This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook or Twitter.

*****

I am thrilled to be a part of this event honoring dear friends. I have been so fortunate to meet and make many friends in the JAFF community and through this blog. I appreciate you all. Thank you Meryton Press, Bloggers, Readers and Fans. You have enriched my life and I'm thankful for you.

I want to end this post with a special April Fool's Giveaway! No joke! :) This giveaway will NOT be part of the Rafflecopter surprise gift giveaway, but a separate one. It will be based on comments made from the moment this post goes live until 11:59 PM Central time, April 1st. Anyone that leaves a comment will be entered in the April Fool's Giveaway. There will be one winner randomly selected for a surprise gift. Winner will be announced early next week. To get more entries, share my Facebook post about the Dear Friends Event happening on my blog today. You can get a third entry by retweeting my tweet about the event. I will check my tweet on my twitter page for retweets and the Facebook post on my Facebook page for shares. I hope I see your name there! Thanks and good luck. Remember the April Fool's Giveaway ends at 9 PM Central today, April 1st. The Dear Friend Event Giveaway for my blog ends at 11:59 PM on the 6th of April.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Take a Leap with Shannon Winslow

Available on Amazon
It is my pleasure to have with me this morning, Shannon Winslow, and her heroine, Hope O'Neil, from her latest release Leap of Hope. It is such a privilege to have you both visit today. It has been too long Shannon, and I'm happy to see you again. Miss O'Neil, it is a wonderful to meet you and I look forward to knowing you better. Thank you for agreeing to this interview. I understand you have quite an unusual and rather breath-taking adventure ahead. Shall I turn the floor over to Ms. Winslow so you may tell us all about it? Thanks, Ladies. Over to you, Shannon.

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Would I like a chance to visit Regency England, the time and place where my imagination has been hanging out for the last dozen years or more? Of course! But I have a couple of conditions.

First, I would have to insist on the Jane Austen version, where even the bad guys have good manners and being poor means you can only afford to keep two servants. Secondly, I must go like a tourist, with a round-trip return ticket and a carry-on bag containing the basic necessities of life. Only offering one-way passes? Then, no thank you. I’m much too fond of my electric toothbrush, modern medicine, and indoor plumbing.

Hope O’Neil – perky southern co-ed, Jane Austen devotee, and heroine of my new novel – is made of braver stuff. She’s at the Crossroads Center now and about to use her one-way pass to Regency England. Before she goes off to start her new life, though, she’s agreed to sit down with me for a little chat. Do stay and join us.

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Shannon: Thank you for speaking with me today, Miss O’Neil, and especially for selecting me to document the incredible adventure you’re about to embark on. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am! But that’s nothing compared to what you must be feeling. Did you ever imagine you would find yourself in this position – soon to travel into the past?
Hope: Gosh, no! I had no clue that anything like this was even possible, but now I’m about to head off to 1809 to become a proper English gentleman’s daughter. Is that awesome or what?
Shannon: That’s going to be quite a trip! The staff here at Crossroads really seem to know what they’re doing, though. Routine stuff for them, I suppose, which must give you confidence.
Hope: It does. Crossroads is in the business of handing out second chances; they do it all the time. I’m very lucky to have been selected, though, and everybody here has been so nice. I think Mr. Poindexter is absolutely super. And isn’t Cora just as cute as the knees on a honey bee? And twice as sweet.
Shannon: Well, you know them both better than I do, I’m sure. So, you’ll soon be off to Regency England.
Hope: That’s right; it’s what I decided on – what I’ve always wanted, really. Ever since I discovered Jane Austen, I’ve felt like I belonged in the world that she wrote about, so this is really a dream come true for me.
Shannon: I’m not sure I could do it. I’d miss the modern conveniences too much. You don’t have any misgivings about that?
Hope: It’s going to call for some adjustments, I know, especially the no-indoor-plumbing part. But I’ve been camping before, plenty of times. How much different could it be?
Shannon: At least you were allowed to choose your situation. Have I got that right? You won’t wind up as a scullery maid or a beggar?
Hope: No, nothing like that. I picked a spot as much like Elizabeth Bennet’s as I could find. I’ll be gentry and live in a fine manor house called Laurelwood – nothing too grand but it reminds me of Longbourn. There’s even an entail.
Shannon: Is there also a neighbor like Mr. Bingley, who happens to have a rich and handsome friend visiting?
Hope: I sure wouldn’t mind! But I can’t count on that. What I do know is I’ll be the second oldest, just like Lizzy, in a family of four daughters with a mother and a father and everything. Having a big family this time is important to me.
Shannon: That’s right; you’re recently orphaned, aren’t you? I’m so sorry. And no brothers or sisters either?
Hope: No, ma’am. I was an only child. I’m not leaving anybody behind – not a boyfriend or even a flea-bitten hound dog to miss me.
Shannon: Tell me more about your new family, then. How exactly do you join a family anyway? Somebody’s bound to notice, aren’t they?
Hope: (laughing) Right. Like Cora told me, “You can’t just show up at the dinner table one day, out of the blue and fully grown, and expect people not to wonder where you came from.” So the way they do it is they slip you into someone else’s spot – somebody who just that second died – and you get to live life out in their place. There’s a whole menu of openings to pick from. It’s practically like ordering lunch at Denny’s! Well, anyway, this girl Kate Barrett – the one I’ve chosen – she died in a riding accident in 1809. Now she’ll seem to survive, only it will be me instead. Do you see?
Shannon: That’s pretty amazing. I never would have believed it.
Hope: It’s done all the time, like I said. You might even have run into a ‘transplant’ before without knowing it – a person who surprisingly recovered from something that should by all rights have done him in, maybe. Like I knew this gal once – her name was Sandi Baker – and everybody said had no business surviving this terrible kind of food poisoning she got from eating bad sushi. But then she did survive after all, and she bounced back, right as rain. Now I wonder if she could have been somebody from Crossroads on a second chance. But Cora wouldn’t tell me. Top secret stuff, apparently.
Shannon: I guess the possibilities opened by time travel are endless.
Hope: It’s mind boggling! Sometimes it actually makes my head hurt to consider… (gasping) Oh, my goodness!
Shannon: What is it?
Hope: A wild idea just popped into my head! I was just thinking that it’s possible you could be a ‘transplant’ on a second chance!
Shannon: Me? No!
Hope: It’s possible – you or anyone. You see, the person eventually loses their memories of their original life. That’s what I’ve been told. So after a while, you wouldn’t know yourself that you had ever been anybody else. That’s why I said it’s possible. You must admit… Uh, Ms. Winslow, are you okay?
Shannon: (hand pressed against forehead) What…? Oh… yes, of course. Just a sudden headache.
Hope: (nodding) Uh-huh. Like I told you; thinking too hard about time travel can do that.

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Shannon Winslow’s Crossroads Collection is made up of two very different books so far, stories about turning points, possibilities, and second chances. Leap of Hope and Leap of Faith are each complete in themselves but connected by theme and the Crossroads characters. They can be read in either order.

Who hasn’t wondered at least once how life would have changed by making an alternate choice at some crucial moment in the past? Where would you be today if you’d turned right instead of left at an important crossroads or been able to sidestep a particular misfortune? Or perhaps you’ve daydreamed about a different life altogether, in a different place and time. Each book in the Crossroads Collection features a new hero/heroine who’s given the extraordinary gift of a second chance at life, the chance to answer for themselves the intriguing question “what if?” 

Both Available on Amazon along with other books by Shannon Winslow

Leap of Hope: Chance at an Austen Kind of Life
At the Crossroads Center, they’re in the business of granting second chances. And their newest client is Hope O’Neil – college student and Jane Austen devotee, who always believed she’d be more at home in Regency England, wearing corsets and courted by men in cravats. But can a modern girl really fit into a world with no electricity, cell phones, or indoor plumbing? Hope is about to find out when her wish for an Austen kind of life is unexpectedly granted. Although she envisions her second chance will be like something straight out of Pride and Prejudice – complete with her own Mr. Darcy and a romantic happy ending – she gets more than she bargained for in this delightful romp through Regency England… a lot more.

Available on Amazon

Leap of Faith: Second Chance at the Dream
At the Crossroads Center, they’re in the business of granting second chances. And their newest client is Ben Lewis, a former star athlete who never recovered from the death of his dream to make it big in the big leagues. Now he’s being offered the opportunity to return to 1991 and try again, this time without the illness that originally ended his baseball hopes. What’s the catch? He will pay for his second chance by forfeiting his memories of the first… and possibly along with them, the love of his life. Can he find his way home to the woman he’s long forgotten but never stopped missing? Or will reaching for the brass ring with both hands cause the treasure he once possessed to slip forever from his grasp?





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My, I'm not so sure that I would be as brave as you, Miss O'Neil, although I have a longing for a return to England, that is almost unbearable at times. That longing calls to my heart as if I belong there so I do understand those feelings you have. I would love to 'visit' Regency times but fear I would not enjoy doing without some of my necessities of this life, like toilets and computers, for a couple. I know, they are at two ends of the spectrum of necessary, but I find I would miss both terribly. All of my misgivings aside, I must tell you, you have my deepest admiration and my best wishes for your journey. How eager I am to hear how it all turns out! I guess the only recourse is to read your story as told by Shannon Winslow and find out for myself! What do you think? 

Now Dear Readers, what do you think? Would you want a one-way ticket to Regency England, or anywhere, for that matter? Tell us in your comments. Let us know where you would go if you could and if you would be willing to stay or only go if you could return. It should be fun reading your answers to that thought provoking question! Thanks to all of you for stopping by and a special 'thank you' to Shannon Winslow and Hope O'Neil. It has been wonderful having you today and I loved the interview, ladies. Hope, I think you left Ms. Winslow with a few things to ponder! Delicious, isn't it!?

There is a giveaway! Some of you will have the chance to find out about Hope's adventure and also about Ben's. Isn't that great? I'm thrilled for you. Once you do, you must write and tell me what you think. Ms. Winslow is giving away two paperbacks, one of each title, US only and two eBooks, one of each title, worldwide. That's one paperback and one eBook for Leap of Hope and one paperback and one eBook for Leap of Faith. There will be four  different winners and the giveaway is international for eBooks and US only for paperbacks! Isn't that a fantastic giveaway? Thank you, Shannon Winslow. Readers, when you tell us about your thoughts on time travel, if and where, don't forget to include your contact info too. Thanks for popping in and good luck to all of you. Giveaway will end at 11:59 PM on the 3rd of April. Can you believe it is already nearly April? I can't either!

Monday, March 27, 2017

The Darcy Monologues Cover Reveal

It is my pleasure to be a part of The Darcy Monologues Cover Reveal. Isn't it striking? There are sixteen blogs participating and the reveal is happening at all of them at the same time! Fifteen great authors are featured in this anthology. Won't it be fun when we finally get to read their stories? I have already read one of them and can tell you, if the rest are as good as it is, we are all in for a treat!
There are some fabulous giveaways to go with this reveal so be sure to check them out toward the end of the post.
Below is a little bit about the cover art designer and the graphics designer. Enjoy!
The amazing cover art is the genius of Shari Ryan of MadHat Books. She took the cover concept and created exactly as I envisioned. Shari professionally, quickly, and concisely handled my countless questions, suggestions, and “just one more tweak” in the challenging format of the print interior—even had a special script code written to make it happen. And then when the original concept had to be scrapped because of the print-on-demand company’s limitations that were beyond our control (long, convoluted story only to be shared over strong cocktails), Shari AGAIN created the present cover and interior for both print and e-book. I could not recommend her expertise more!
Multi-talented author Beau North designed the individual fantastic short story graphics for our social media promotions. I think each gives a lovely overall feel for each story. And the color concept I think works well with #TheDarcyMonologues branding, too!

Pre-Order Link


Book Description

The book blurb reads as follows:

“You must allow me to tell you...”

For over two hundred years, Jane Austen’s Mr. Darcy has captivated readers’ imaginations as the ultimate catch. Rich. Powerful. Noble. Handsome. And yet, as Miss Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” is established through Elizabeth Bennet’s fine eyes, how are we to know what his tortured soul is indeed thinking? How does Darcy progress from “She is tolerable: but not handsome enough to tempt me” to “I thought only of you”? 

In this romance anthology, fifteen Austen-inspired authors assemble to sketch Darcy’s character through a series of re-imaginings, set in the Regency through contemporary times—from faithful narratives to the fanciful. Herein “The Darcy Monologues”, the man himself reveals his intimate thoughts, his passionate dreams, and his journey to love—all told with a previously concealed wit and enduring charm. 

Stories by: Susan Adriani * Sara Angelini * J. Marie Croft * Karen M Cox * Jan Hahn * Jenetta James * Lory Lilian * KaraLynne Mackrory * Beau North * Ruth Phillips Oakland * Natalie Richards * Sophia Rose * Joana Starnes * Melanie Stanford * Caitlin Williams

Blogs Participating in the Cover Reveal

Author Info

Formally trained as a fine artist and illustrator, Susan Adriani discovered her passion for storytelling over a decade after she graduated from a local art college near her childhood home in New England. Susan is the author of The Truth about Mr. Darcy and Darkness Falls upon Pemberley.

Sara Angelini is a lawyer living in the San Francisco Bay area with her husband, three kids, two dogs, a frog, some fish, and a few hundred stick bugs. She never went to veterinary school but if she had, she would have been a true proficient. She enjoys writing from Darcy’s point of view in a way that shows his humor and vulnerability. Her first book, The Trials of the Honorable F. Darcy, was published in 2008. She is the co-founder of www.austenunderground.com, where her other Pride and Prejudice-inspired works can be read.

Karen M Cox is an award-winning author of four novels accented with romance and history: 1932, Find Wonder in All Things, At the Edge of the Sea, and Undeceived. She also wrote “Northanger Revisited 2015”, which appeared in the anthology Sun-Kissed: Effusions of Summer. Originally from Everett, Washington, Karen now lives in Central Kentucky with her husband, works as a pediatric speech pathologist, encourages her children, and spoils her granddaughter. Like Austen’s Emma, Karen has many hobbies and projects she doesn’t quite finish, but like Elizabeth Bennet, she aspires to be a great reader and an excellent walker. 

J. Marie Croft is a self-proclaimed word nerd and adherent of Jane Austen’s quote “Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery.’ Bearing witness to her fondness for Pride and Prejudice, wordplay, and laughter are Joanne’s light-hearted novel, Love at First Slight, a Babblings of a Bookworm Favourite Read of 2014, her humorous short story, “Spyglasses and Sunburns,” in the Sun-Kissed: Effusions of Summer anthology, and a playful novella, A Little Whimsical in His Civilities, Just Jane 1813’s Favorite JAFF Novella of 2016.

Award-winning writer Jan Hahn is the author of four Austen-inspired novels. She studied music at the University of Texas but discovered her true love was a combination of journalism and literature. Her first book, An Arranged Marriage, was published in 2011, followed by The Journey, The Secret Betrothal, and A Peculiar Connection. She agrees with Mr. Darcy’s words in Pride and Prejudice: “A lady’s imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment.” She is a member of the Jane Austen Society of North America, lives in Texas, has five children and a gaggle of gorgeous grandchildren.

Jenetta James is a mother, lawyer, writer, and taker-on of too much. She grew up in Cambridge and read history at Oxford University where she was a scholar and president of the Oxford University History Society. After graduating, she took to the law and now practices full time as a barrister. Over the years, she has lived in France, Hungary and Trinidad as well as her native England. Jenetta currently lives in London with her husband and children where she enjoys reading, laughing and playing with Lego. She is the author of Suddenly Mrs. Darcy and The Elizabeth Papers.

Lory Lilian fell in love with Pride and Prejudice thirty-three years ago and discovered the charm of Jane Austen fanfiction exactly twenty years later. She lives in Bucharest, Romania, is a proud mother of an amazing daughter, and addicted to anything Austen. After a career in business, she dedicates her time to reading and writing. Lory is the author of six bestselling books: Rainy Days, Remembrances of the Past, His Uncle’s Favorite, The Perfect Match, Sketching Mr. Darcy, The Rainbow Promise, and A Man with Faults. JAFF readers call her the “Queen of Hot Mush” and she loves it.

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. As a young adult, she steered clear of bad prose and achieved a degree in social work. Years later, she has published four Austen inspired novels so full of romantic sensibilities as to give you a swoon and hopefully a few laughs. Her books turned out better than her poetry and are: Falling for Mr. Darcy, Bluebells in the Mourning, the IPPY award-winning Haunting Mr. Darcy, and Yours Forevermore, Darcy.

Beau North is the author of Longbourn’s Songbird, The Many Lives of Fitzwilliam Darcy, and a contributor to the anthology Then Comes Winter. Beau is a native southerner who now calls Portland, Oregon home with her husband and two cats. She attended the University of South Carolina where she began a lifelong obsession with literature. In her spare time, Beau is the co-host of the podcast Excessively Diverted: Modern Austen Onscreen.

Mild-mannered business woman by day, hopeless romantic by night, Ruth Phillips Oakland was always a fan of the fictional gentleman from Derbyshire, but it was her discovery of Jane Austen fanfiction in 2006 that inspired Ruth to become a writer. Ruth has written dozens of short stories posted online and the published novel entitled, My BFF. Ruth lives in New England with her favorite husband of over thirty years and is thrilled to be included in this anthology with so many of her favorite authors and friends.

Natalie Richards is a writer, blogger, and singer. She started her book review blog, Songs & Stories, in late 2010 after falling in love with Jane Austen fanfiction. Her writing can also be found on Figment, the Darcy & Lizzy Forum, TeenInk Magazine, and in the Austenesque anthologies Sun-Kissed: Effusions of Summer and Then Comes Winter. She resides with her family in the Oregon countryside and currently works as a waitress and babysitter.

Sophia Rose is a native Californian currently residing in Michigan. A long-time Jane Austen fan, she is a contributing author to Sun-Kissed: Effusions of Summer and Then Comes Winter anthologies. Sophia’s love for writing began as a teen writing humorous stories submitted for creative writing class and high school writing club. Writing was set aside while Sophia pursued degrees and certificates in education, special education, family history, and social work leading to a rewarding career. Health issues led to reduced work hours and an opportunity to read, beta, and review books, and return to writing stories that lean toward the humorous side and always end with a happily ever after.

Melanie Stanford reads too much, plays music too loud, is sometimes dancing, and always daydreaming. She would also like her very own TARDIS, but only to travel to the past. She lives in Canada with her husband and four kids. She is the author of SWAY, a retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, shortlisted for the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize, and the short story “Becoming Fanny” featured in the anthology Then Comes Winter. Her second novel, Collide, inspired by Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South, is coming soon. You can find her at melaniestanfordbooks.com, on Twitter @MelMStanford, and on Facebook @ MelanieStanfordauthor.

Joana Starnes lives in the south of England with her family. Over the years, she has swapped several hats—physician, lecturer, clinical data analyst—but feels most comfortable in a bonnet. She has been living in Georgian England for decades in her imagination and plans to continue in that vein till she lays hands on a time machine. She is the author of seven Austen-inspired novels: From This Day Forward ~ The Darcys of Pemberley, The Subsequent Proposal, The Second Chance, The Falmouth Connection, The Unthinkable Triangle, Miss Darcy’s Companion, and Mr Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter. You can connect with Joana through her website http://www.joanastarnes.co.uk/ and on Facebook via All Roads Lead to Pemberley.

Caitlin Williams is an award-winning author of two novels, Ardently and the best-selling The Coming of Age of Elizabeth Bennet, both of which spin the plot of Pride and Prejudice around but keep the characters just the same. Originally from South London, Caitlin spent thirteen years as a detective in the Metropolitan Police but is currently on a break from Scotland Yard so she can spend more time at home with her two children and write. She now lives in Kent, where she spends a lot of time daydreaming about Mr. Darcy, playing with dinosaurs, and trying not to look at the laundry pile.


Christina Boyd wears many hats as she is an editor under her own banner The Quill Ink, a contributor to Austenprose, and a ceramicist and proprietor of Stir Crazy Mama’s Artworks. A life member of the Jane Austen Society of North America, Christina lives in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest with her dear Mr. B, two busy teenagers, and a retriever named BiBi. Visiting Jane Austen's England was made possible by her book boyfriend and star crush Henry Cavill when she won a trip to meet him on the London Eye in the spring of 2017.

Cover Reveal Giveaways

The giveaways are for two separate winners.

 One winner will be selected to win a Kindle Fire with Alexa, and a 7” display.

This giveaway will take place from March 27 – April 21, 2017.
The winner will be announced on April 22, 2017.
All entries will be entered through the Rafflecopter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

The second giveaway is for a $25.00 Etsy gift card.

To enter this giveaway, you will create a Pinterest Board named The Darcy Monologues and post all fifteen story images from the cover reveals, one per each author included in the anthology, and Tweet the board on Twitter. The Tweet must include the hashtag, #TheDarcyMonolgues.
This giveaway will take place from March 27 – April 21, 2017.

The winner will be announced on April 22, 2017.


The Darcy Monologues Blog Tour Schedule

April 3 / My Jane Austen Book Club / Launch Post & Giveaway
April 10 / Babblings of a Bookworm/ Book Review & Giveaway
April 17 / The Reading Frenzy / Guest Post & Giveaway
April 20 / My Love for Jane Austen / Guest Post & Giveaway
April 24 / Margie’s Must Reads / Book Review & Giveaway
May 1 / From Pemberley to Milton / Book Review & Giveaway
May 8 / Just Jane 1813 / Excerpt Post & Giveaway
May 15 / Austenesque Reviews / Book Review & Giveaway
May 22 / Austenesque Reviews / Guest Post & Giveaway
May 25 / Of Pens and Pages / Book Review & Giveaway
May 29 / More Agreeably Engaged / Book Review & Giveaway
June 5 / So Little Time / Excerpt Post & Giveaway
June 12 / Diary of an Eccentric/ Book Review & Giveaway
June 19 / Book Lover in Florida / Book Excerpt & Giveaway
June 26 / My Vices and Weaknesses / Book Review & Giveaway
July 3 / Savvy Verse & Wit / Book Review & Giveaway


Dear Readers, I hope you take some time to visit the different blogs and look for the author story images. It will be fun to see the Pinterest Board with all fifteen of them. Thanks, Claudine, for a great reveal. I was glad to be part of it. Best wishes on the anthology, Christina. You have quite an amazing bunch of authors featured. Good luck to all with the generous and exciting giveaway!