|Available on AmazonAmazon|
Wednesday, August 30, 2017
By Reason, by Reflection, by Everything...P.O. Dixon
Monday, August 28, 2017
A More Engaging Guest Review...The Journey Home
The Journey Home, a companion piece to the award-winning novel 1932, is a stand-alone “sidequel” novella—a story of self-discovery, acceptance, and romance that details one woman’s journey back from despair and forward to her future.
Originally from Everett, WA, Karen now lives in Central Kentucky with her husband, where she 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.
Thank you, Sophia, for sharing your thoughts about The Journey Home. I am enticed to read this one by Karen Cox. Good review! If any of you have read it, what are your thoughts? We would love for you to have your share in the conversation.
It has been great having you as a guest reviewer, Sophia. Let's do this again!
Thursday, August 24, 2017
Sharon Lathan...Vocabulary Rocks!
It has been a long time since Sharon Lathan has visited my blog and I'm glad to have her return. Please join me in welcoming her back to More Agreeably Engaged.
Proposal – 1650s, from propose “advance, suggest.” Meaning specific to “an offer of marriage” dating from 1749.
The initial month of their Season of Courtship has passed. Together, the lovers strengthened their bond through honest communication, as they dealt with adversity, jealousy, and distrust. Ever growing in mutual love and understanding, a dramatic confrontation broke through the final barriers.
Now their Hope of the Future “happily ever after” is assured!
As long as Lady Catherine can be stopped in her scheme to interfere, that is. Or, will Mrs. Bennet’s bad advice ruin future marital felicity? Might increasing liberation lead to overwhelming passions that cannot be controlled, with catastrophe a result?
Continue the journey begun in Darcy and Elizabeth: A Season of Courtship. Delight in their flourishing romance, ride along on their escapades in London, and be a witness at the wedding of the century.
The miraculous design of how Two Shall Become One begins before the sacred vows.
Darcy and Elizabeth: Hope of the Future is Volume 2 of the “prequel duo” for Sharon Lathan’s Darcy Saga sequel series to Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
Facebook at Sharon Lathan, Novelist
Thanks so much for being my guest, Sharon. I hope you will not wait so long next time to visit again. It's been lovely having you stop by. Your vocabulary lesson was awesome and it was interesting to see where and how many of these words were derived. I loved reading the meanings of all the terms relating to betrothal and marriage. It is a fascinating topic.
I think I'm a bit of a vocabulary nerd myself or was at one time. When I was in college, one of the English courses was Vocabulary. I had heard how tough the class was and decided to take it for the challenge. I worked hard in the class and studied harder but I loved it. To top it off, I made an A for the semester!
That was a fun excerpt with a fantastic ending! Thank you for sharing with us and enticing us to read more! Best wishes with the Darcy Saga Prequel Duo.
Wednesday, August 23, 2017
And the winners are...Mr. Darcy's Bride(s)
Tuesday, August 22, 2017
And the winner is...Darcy in Wonderland
the new release by Alexa Adams!
Winner's choice of eBook or Paperback:
Congratulations, KateB. I hope you enjoy the book.
Thank you Alexa Adams for being my guest and for bringing your lovely sister, Katy along. I enjoyed the post the two of shared.
Thank you also for having a giveaway for my readers.
All the best with this new release. Keep us updated on Elizabeth! :)
And the winners are...These Dreams
I hope you love the book as much as I do!
You should receive your eARC about this time next week!
Please keep watching because the blog tour
for These Dreams will begin the 19th of September.
We hope to see you then.
Thank you, Nicole Clarkston, for allowing me the privilege
of revealing the cover and for sharing
4 eARCs with my readers. I wish you the best with this release
and cannot wait to see it in print!
Friday, August 18, 2017
Regina Jeffers...Mr. Darcy's Bride(s)
|Available at Amazon|
Regina is sharing an excerpt with us and giving us some history about married women under English law, as well as single or widowed women. I found this extremely interesting. Thank you, Regina, and welcome!
Tuesday, August 15, 2017
Darcy in Wonderland...Alexa Adams, Katy Wiedemann
|Available at Amazon|
Alexa and Katy share some of their conversations during the process of developing pictures for the book. It is interesting to read their interactions, their thought processes and how they worked together. Thanks, ladies, for sharing your talents and your conversations with me and my readers. It is such a privilege to have you both visiting More Agreeably Engaged. Welcome!
Alexa: I've been begging you to illustrate my books for years. With such a talented sister, how could I not? You always had a good excuse not to: school, travel, or other projects that kept you busy. Yet I suspect there were alternative reasons for your reluctance, in particular a lack of interest in Jane Austen. I was much more confident of your acceptance with this project, knowing Alice is a passion we share. Am I right about Austen just not being in your "zone," maybe even intimidating?
Katy: That is definitely true. There were several factors that made a book illustration project intimidating to me, and the fact that the subject was Jane Austen was only one of them. One of the most important things with a series of book illustrations is designing a group of characters that need to be unique as well as consistent, which is something I definitely struggle with. It's one of those skills that I have always coveted in other artists, but haven't really pushed myself to develop, so I'm quite glad I got the chance to work on it with this project.
Another thing that made me a bit nervous going into a project for one of your books is knowing how important historical accuracy is for you. I didn't want to disappoint my big sister! I found myself calling you very frequently while drawing to ask questions about certain details, such as "Would Mr. Darcy wear a hat to dinner in his own home?" or "How should the architecture for the musician's gallery look?" But you had an answer for every one of my questions, so as long as you weren't bothered with the constant questions, it didn't turn out to be much of an issue.
There was also the fact that there is a very distinctive style of illustration from the Regency period, which is quite different to how I draw. Having this story be a crossover with Alice gave me more options stylistically. I tried to reference the linear quality of Sir John Tenniel's original illustrations for Alice while maintaining my own style.
As you were writing, did you envision the scenes and characters very differently? How did you feel seeing a visualization of your work through my eyes?
Alexa: I actually don't often have a clear image of the scenes that I write. My characters are pretty much always faceless in my mind (the one big exception being Sir James Stratton of Second Glances, who came to me in a dream). I think you got all the visual genes. As we discussed possible illustrations for the book, I might have formulated some preconception of how they might appear, but as soon as I saw your drawings they became the predominate images. I think the only issues I had when reviewing them involved perspective (I remember discussing how Alice looked uncomfortable sleeping behind the musician’s gallery).
I really enjoyed looking for period pictures to guide your work. Especially those involving clothing, which is always a subject of fascination. It was a bit tricky, as the book doesn't have a definite time period, straddling the time between when Carroll published Alice in Wonderland (1865) and the years in which the Darcys would still be raising their family (post-1813 to the late 1830s). Fortunately, fashions didn't change quite as quickly back then as they do now, though the late Regency to early Victorian Era is kind of an exception. I also really enjoyed researching illustrations of Mrs. Bennet for you to morph into her pigeon self. I think the hardest "assignment" you gave me was finding children's beds from the period, as such furniture was rarely preserved, and also pictures of musician’s galleries, as there are such an infinite variety, almost always viewed from the ball room, while we needed the back of the gallery, where Alice sneaks down from bed in order to watch the action.
As a scientific illustrator, it makes sense that you would feel most comfortable working from concrete sources, rather than letting your imagination take over. Though I said earlier that you have the visual genes, I don't think this is actually all that different from how I approach writing. Yes, the story lines are completely invented, but I am a stickler for historical accuracy, and I am always considering what is possible, both for the period and also in regards to human reactions and responses. I always need a reason for someone to do something. It made working in the highly bizarre space of Wonderland rather tricky, and is probably why I stuck so close to the original story.
One image that did surprise me was that of the White Rabbit, probably because you based it on your roommate's pet rabbit, whom I have never had the pleasure of meeting. I know you've done portraits of live animals before, namely the family dogs, and I think you used pictures of them for your work, but does having a live model change the end result? To me, it feels like such portraits have more personality. Do you think knowing and living with the animals makes a big difference in the finished product?
Katy: Having a live model absolutely helps, predominantly because I can pose them however I need to. It was rather convenient that I had a white rabbit jumping around my house at the very moment I needed one, and all I needed was a carrot to get the him to stand up on his hind legs for the pose that I wanted. I think because of this, that particular illustration came the most naturally to me. I agree that the illustrations I do from live models always have more character. I think when I know a person or animal well it gives me more of the ability to capture their personality in the illustration.
One of the other aspects of this project that was difficult was the fact that I know the illustrations from the original Alice books so well. There were a few of the scenes we wanted to be in the book, but I just couldn't get the originals out of my head. For example, I really wanted to have the Griffin and the Mock Turtle dancing the Lobster Quadrille with Alice and Mr. Darcy, but every sketch I did ended up looking too much like the original illustration. So we ended up scratching that scene and choosing another one instead.
You mentioned that you struggled with some of the absurdities in the Wonderland part of the book, do you think some of that was due to the fact that you are also so familiar with it?
Alexa: No, I don't think it was the familiarity that made it difficult. After all, I'm super familiar with Austen's novels and have not the slightest difficulty in bending them to my whims. Knowing Carroll's work so well allowed me to feel comfortable working within it, certainly, but my safe zone was having Darcy trying to impose reality upon it. The struggle was in creating new preposterous elements. So there are no new talking animal characters, just Carroll's originals, and there aren't any additional growth or shrinking spurts. I played a little with trying to create new opportunities to bend the laws of the natural world, but in all honesty, poor Darcy was already being subjected to plenty of physical challenges. Carroll provides an ample supply.
It's actually a bit strange that I feel so comfortable manipulating Austen's worlds but not Carroll's. One would think that the fantastic nature of Wonderland would readily lend itself to adaptation. Tim Burton certainly had no difficulty altering it (then again, I believe I read that he was totally unfamiliar with the actual text when he began his series of films, which kind of shows in his total disregard for it - interesting how familiarity can actually hamper your imagination). But as I said before, I need reasons for something to happen. I can get into Austen's characters’ heads and figure out what motivates them and how they would react to different stimuli, but Carroll's characters have no rhyme nor reason to their behavior, so it's a lot harder for me. I suppose I'm too rigid: a lot like Darcy, actually. I would probably be just as disconcerted by Wonderland as he is.
Speaking of Darcy, I was very interested in how you came to portray him. As previously stated, your scientific illustration background makes you want to have a concrete model from which to work. Probably because of my influence and all the years of Colin Firth worship, you first tried to use him as a model for your depiction, but in the end I believe you went with David Rintoul from the 1980 version of Pride and Prejudice (who does look so very Darcy). Will you explain why Firth was difficult to draw and the process through which we arrived at Rintoul as a better model? Could Matthew Macfadyen have worked?
Katy: The issue I found with using either Colin Firth or Matthew Macfadyen is that they both have very soft features. They look lovely in person, however, sharper features tend to look more appealing when simplified to a line drawing. I did want Darcy to look similar to how your audience knows and loves him, but I also wanted the character to be unique. I ended up deciding that the perfect reference for Mr. Darcy would be James Dean, but with David Rintoul's nose (which I love). I chose James Dean both because he is so classically beautiful and he has the sharp features to work as a line based drawing. I did find that as I was sketching his nose was so perfectly sloped that it looked unrealistic, so I threw in a bit of a bump to connect it more to David Rintoul's profile and add a bit of character. I do remember our phone conversation when I asked you if you thought this reference would be appropriate and you found it quite hilarious but also agreed that it worked.
We also discussed the potential of giving Mr. Darcy a beard since different facial hair styles came into fashion during the Victorian Era. You seemed quite divided on this matter and ended up turning to your fans for advice. Most of them responded with strong opposition to him having a beard, so we stuck with his usual sideburns.
Because Darcy is such a beloved character, I am interested to know how your fans are reacting to how we have both portrayed him in such a foreign environment. I know you initially had doubts about using the image of Darcy's neck stretched high above the tree tops as the cover illustration because you thought it might freak people out. What made you change your mind? And how have the early reactions been?
Alexa: Oh yes! I'd forgotten reaching out on the beard issue. Most fans were strongly opposed to the idea of a bearded Darcy. We can stick him in the Victorian Era, but I suppose we can't take away the Regency trappings. It's a bit sad really. Reminds me of people who still dress like they did in college twenty or thirty years later: stuck in their heyday.
I was concerned about the cover freaking people out a bit. I've been fairly sensitive about my covers ever since Christmas at Pemberley was declared "creepy" by several readers. I loved it and was totally shocked by this reaction. The experience has made me cautious, but as I didn't receive any negative feedback upon first revealing this cover, I thought we were safe, and now that it is released people seem to truly love it. It's such a fabulous illustration. I think it's my favorite that you did. Do you have a favorite from the book?
If I go on to write Lizzy Through the Looking Glass, which I'm seriously contemplating, are you on board for the illustrations?
Katy: I think the cover illustration is my favorite as well. I had so much fun drawing it. The white rabbit is a close second though, mostly because of how much it looks like the rabbit who lives in my house.
Even though this project was so different from what I typically do, I had a great time working on it with you. I would love to do another Wonderland series, so I really hope you write the sequel! I would love to draw the Jabberwock.
Alexa: I can't even begin to imagine how you would portray the Jabberwock, except that I doubt it would bear much resemblance to Tim Burton's.
This has been so much fun, Katy - both working with you and chatting about it. I do hope we get to do it again. Thank you so much for your participation.
Katy: No problem! I’ve enjoyed it.
Thanks again, Janet! We’ve had a lovely visit.
For more of Katy’s work, please visit her at www.wiedemannillustrations.com and www.katywiedemann.com.
Catch up with Alexa at one of the following: