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Robin Helm, Laura Hile, Wendi Sotis, and Barbara Cornthwaite, the authors of A Very Austen Christmas, are my guests today. We are spotlighting their new release with blurbs for each story and an excerpt from each story. What a fun way to start getting in the Christmas spirit. From what I hear, many are in the spirit of enjoying this book already. The book is ranked the #1 Amazon Best Seller in its category! Congratulations, ladies. That is awesome! I'm thrilled for you. I cannot wait to read this one myself. I love the holidays and one thing that makes them even better is getting to read a good Christmas story. If it's JAFF and four stories instead of one, well, that's even better! :) All of these ladies are fine authors so I'm confident this book will not disappoint. I'm ready for a little holiday cheer. What about you, Dear Readers?
A Very Austen Christmas blurbs
Her Christmas Gift by Robin Helm
Elizabeth Bennet finds herself snowbound at Rosings with two rejected, but highly eligible, suitors. Does either man have a chance? Will her childhood friend, Meryton’s golden boy, win her affection, or will she accept the master of Pemberley? Perhaps she will refuse them both a second time. Her Christmas Gift deftly combines tension and emotion with humor and romance.
The Christmas Matchmaker by Laura Hile
It’s raining; it’s pouring – and what could be better than a little Christmas matchmaking? So says Emma Woodhouse who is unexpectedly stranded at Netherfield Park. Mr. Darcy disagrees, for she has someone else in mind for adorable Elizabeth Bennet. Amid meddling, misunderstanding, and an unwelcome proposal or two, will True Love find a way?
No Better Gift by Wendi Sotis
On his way to Derbyshire to spend Christmas with his family, Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy plans to retrieve an item he left behind during his rushed escape from Netherfield—and the country miss who touched his heart. Finding Meryton practically deserted, he fears the worst. What fate could have fallen upon this once-thriving village in only three weeks? More importantly, was Miss Elizabeth Bennet in danger?
Mistletoe at Thornton Lacey by Barbara Cornthwaite
When Edmund Bertram realizes that Fanny is the perfect wife for him, he wants to propose without delay. What better time than at Christmas? Ah, but the course of true love never does run smooth ...
A Very Austen Christmas excerpts
Her Christmas Gift (excerpt) by Robin Helm
She turned her head to look up at him and tripped over a root, sending her sprawling in the snow.
Darcy knelt beside her. “Are you injured?”
“No, I think not, though I am a bit humiliated. Will you help me up?” She extended her hand to him.
Darcy tried to help her to her feet, but she cried out as soon as she put weight on her foot.
Without a word, he picked her up as if he were cradling a child.
“Mr. Darcy, you must put me down.”
“You cannot so much as stand, and the sleds are much too far ahead for me to catch them. I see no other solution.”
He began to walk towards Rosings.
“Miss Bennet, ’twould help if you put your arms about my neck. You are dead weight otherwise, and we have over a mile before we reach the house.”
She blushed furiously but did as he asked. “Will you agree to put me down when we are in sight of Rosings?”
“If you are able to walk by leaning on me, I will. Otherwise, I shall carry you the entire way.”
Elizabeth began to chuckle.
Darcy glanced down at her. “You are amused?”
“I am. You are covered in snow and look like a snow beast of some sort.”
“And what are you? My prey?”
She feigned shock. “Do you mean I am in mortal danger? I thought gentlemen protected young ladies.”
“You said I was a snow beast. I suppose that means I am not a gentleman.”
In the midst of their banter, Darcy and Elizabeth had failed to notice the man directly in front of them.
“You will unhand my future wife this instant!”
Thomas had returned; he was very angry.
The Christmas Matchmaker (excerpt) by Laura Hile
Mr. Darcy placed a small table before Elizabeth and then came back with the backgammon board. “Shall we play a game?” he said pleasantly, moving his chair to face hers.
“No!” she whispered urgently. “We shall never hear the end of it.”
His response was to open the board and begin placing the checkers. “When everyone sees how thoroughly you are trounced, Miss Elizabeth, speculation of a romance between us shall cease.”
Trounced? Elizabeth lifted her chin. “If I do agree to play, I have no intention of losing, sir.”
Mr. Darcy’s eyes glittered. “We’ll see about that.”
Elizabeth discovered that she was smiling. “I’ll have you know that I am rather good at backgammon.”
“Ah, but are you good enough?”
Was he taunting her? Silent, taciturn Mr. Darcy? And there was more. When he smiled, his cheeks dimpled attractively. Why had she never noticed this?
“I am not afraid of you, sir,” she countered.
“You should be,” he said, and he held out her dice. What could she do but take them?
Her bare fingers brushed against his palm. “En garde, Miss Elizabeth,” he said softly.
Did he think to confound her with fencing cant? He would soon discover that she was no green girl. “Allez, Mr. Darcy,” she smilingly retorted, and boldly tossed the dice onto the board.
No Better Gift (excerpt) by Wendi Sotis
Growing up, Darcy’s mother had often told him that love was something to be cherished. It was her fondest wish that he and his sister would love their marriage partners someday.
At his mother’s graveside, even though his father was utterly distraught, he confided that no matter how much pain he experienced at losing her, he would have done nothing differently. Loving her was the wisest thing he had ever done.
If love was such a glorious thing, why then had falling in love with Elizabeth caused him so much pain?
After a quick review of all his past dealings with Elizabeth, using this new insight into her thought process as a lens, he now understood he must have affronted her at every turn.
He shuddered to think of how, at gatherings they had both attended, she must have interpreted his inability to keep his eyes from following her every move. At the time, he had scolded himself, thinking she would recognize his attraction, so he tried his best to avoid her. In truth, at the very least, his behaviour must have left her confused. Perhaps even unsettled — or worse.
How could he have been so ignorant of causing her distress?
He glanced over at her, walking beside him.
Knowing she disliked him — for if she thought he had done nothing but criticize her in the past, how could she feel any other way — would it be easier to forget her?
He must decide, and quickly. If he was to speak to her about this, it had to be within the next minute or two, for they would soon come upon Baxter. Once at the house, there would be people all around them. And tomorrow, when Roberts returned, perhaps he should leave, after all.
His heart faltered. If he left while they were on these terms … chances were that he would never see her again.
No! He could not just go on with his life knowing he had insulted her so badly and leave it at that. It was selfish, but he could not bear to have Elizabeth think ill of him for all eternity.
He swallowed hard and turned to the lady of his heart. “Miss Elizabeth, I would like to make it perfectly clear that I never meant to insult you. It was done most unwittingly.”
She kept her gaze directed at the path.
“I hope you accept my sincere apology.”
Perspiration broke out across his brow as he waited for her answer.
Mistletoe at Thornton Lacey (excerpt) by Barbara Cornthwaite
They walked on in silence for another minute and then Tom said, “Well, he is settled and happy in his situation. I suppose the next thing he will do is find a wife. We must be sure he marries to advantage, Susan. A good wife would complete his happiness, and a bad one would cut up his peace forever. He is too good a man to have his soul galled perpetually by an awful woman. The aggravating thing is that I can’t think of anyone hereabouts who would be suitable. There is a depressing dearth of young people in the neighbourhood.”
“I often think the same about Fanny,” said Susan. “She would shine as a wife, but there is no one that comes to Mansfield, and she never travels further than Thornton Lacey.”
The same thought struck both of them at that moment. They turned to each other, Tom’s mouth slightly agape, and Susan gasped.
“Oh, do you think we could contrive—?”
“Not for us to think of it,” said Tom, after a moment’s pause. “Really, none of our business.”
“No?” said Susan. “I am persuaded that they would do very well together. And so are you. You were thinking so just now.”
“If you are contemplating laying some sort of plot to match the two of them, I beg you would forget it,” said Tom. “Elaborate plans always misfire, somehow.” He paused, ruminating. “Not but what a word might be dropped here and there—in season, of course.
They are not together as much as they might be,” said Susan. “Edmund is so much at Thornton Lacey.”
“Perhaps we could contrive at that, if the opportunity arose.”
At that moment, Pug emerged from a rhododendron, where, it appeared, he had been exploring—and perhaps rolling in—some muddy ground. The subject of a match between Edmund and Fanny was dropped, but not forgotten.
A Very Austen Christmas author bios
Robin Helm's time revolves around music as she dances (as badly as Mr. Collins), sings (a little better than Mary Bennet), plays (better than Marianne Dashwood – almost as well as Caroline Bingley), and teaches (channeling her inner Elinor). Her books reflect that love, as well as her fascination with the paranormal and science fiction.
Her latest publication is Understanding Elizabeth, in which Darcy must decide how much he’s willing to pay to have what he wants. Previously published works include The Guardian Trilogy (Darcy is Elizabeth’s guardian angel), and the Yours by Design series (Fitzwilliam Darcy switches places in time with his descendant, Will Darcy).
She lives in South Carolina and adores her one husband (Mr. Knightley), two married daughters (Elizabeth I and Elizabeth II), and three grandchildren.
Readers are loving Laura Hile's joyous Regency novels. Her signature style – intertwined plots, cliffhangers, and laugh-out-loud humor – keep them coming back for more.
The comedy Laura comes by as a teacher. There's never a dull moment with teen students!
She recently released Darcy By Any Other Name, a comic 'body swap' romance based on Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.
Laura lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and sons. Her fiction is for everyone, even teens.
Wendi Sotis lives on Long Island, NY, with her husband and triplets. While searching for Pride and Prejudice from Darcy’s point of view, she became thoroughly enamored with Jane Austen Fan Fiction or JAFF. In early 2010, she dreamed an idea for a story and hasn’t stopped writing since: Promises, Dreams and Expectations; All Hallows Eve; The Keys for Love; Safekeeping; The Gypsy Blessing; Foundation of Love (The Gypsy Blessing 2); and A Lesson Hard Learned.
Some of her works-in-progress have branched away from JAFF to Regency Romance (The Pact, due to be released in 2018) and Contemporary Romantic Mysteries (Implicated, working on a series). Wendi will also continue bringing Darcy and Lizzy together again and again in an unusual manner.
Barbara Cornthwaite lives in the middle of Ireland with her husband and children. She taught college English before "retiring" to do something she loves far more; her days are now filled with homeschooling her six children, trying to keep the house tidy (a losing battle), and trying to stay warm in the damp Irish climate (also a losing battle).
She is surrounded by medieval castles, picturesque flocks of sheep, and ancient stone monuments. These things are unappreciated by her children, who are more impressed by traffic jams, skyscrapers, and hot weather.
Barbara is the author of the George Knightley, Esquire series, and A Fine Young Lady.
These stories sound delightful! Thank you so much for stopping by and letting us read a little about your Christmas book, A Very Austen Christmas. It's great that you are sharing the spotlight with Emma and Fanny, not just Darcy and Lizzy. Don't get me wrong, I love reading about Darcy and Lizzy but it was neat to see some of Jane Austen's other characters get some page time, too. This looks to be a fabulous read! I'm thrilled that you visited today. Thank you.
It's international giveaway time! Robin Helm and the authors of this fine book are giving away one Kindle copy to one of you lucky readers! Be sure to leave a comment to be entered. If I don't have your contact info on file, you will need to leave that too. Tell us something you like about Christmas. What did you think of the blurbs and excerpts? Pretty exciting, huh! The giveaway will end at 11:59 P.M. on the 25th of November. Thanks for popping in and Good Luck to all!