Thursday, March 28, 2019

Leigh Dreyer...The Path Less Traveled

Leigh Dreyer stops by on her blog tour for The Path Less Traveled, her latest release. Leigh asked if I would like her to write something special for my blog. I wanted her to write about something of interest to her. This might not have been her first choice,but it is an excellent choice about the influence of war on Jane Austen and vice versa. It was certainly something interesting to me. I think you are going to enjoy reading her post and hope you find it interesting too. 

Welcome, Leigh! I'm glad to have you back for a visit!


In this modern Pride and Prejudice continuation and sequel to The Best Laid Flight Plans, 2nd Lieutenant Elizabeth Bennet and Captain William Darcy are facing trials after the events of Elizabeth’s last flight. Darcy’s proposal lingers between them as Elizabeth becomes almost single sighted to her rehabilitation and her return to pilot training. A secret is revealed to Elizabeth about Mr. and Mrs. Bennet’s past that throws all she has known to be true into a tail spin. The romance between our hero and heroine begins to blossom through military separations, sisterly pranks, and miscommunications. Can Darcy and Elizabeth come together or will flying in the Air Force keep them apart?

 Janet asked me to write about something I particularly like or enjoy writing about. Considering I spend the vast majority of my writing time writing speech notes and assessments as a speech pathologist, I didn’t think that would be of any particular interest to anybody (except maybe Karen M Cox—Speech path shout out!). Something I do enjoy that may be of interest in the Austen space is the influence of war on Jane Austen and, additionally, of Jane Austen on war.

                Jane Austen lived from 1775 to 1817. The American Revolution began the same year in 1775 and ended when Jane was eight in 1783. The war of Britain against Napoleon started in 1799 and ended in 1815. At it’s peak in 1804, approximately one-fourth of military age men joined volunteers to fight against Napoleon. Simultaneously, the War of 1812 raged against the United States from 1812-1815. The number of British war dead alone in that time period is approximately 345,000 or around 4% of the total population of Britain in 1801. Famously, two of her brothers were in the Navy, while another was in the militia. Her sister Cassandra’s fiancĂ© served as curate on a ship in the Navy and died of a fever in 1798.

While Jane Austen’s day-to-day life was relatively unaffected by violence taking place across the Channel, it was nevertheless influenced. Her writing, characters, and themes of her novels reflect its influence with militia, Navy men, Army officers, etc.  While most of her writing appears to be romance, she also highlights social structure changes made by

Rudyard Kipling wrote “The Janeites” to highlight Jane’s impressive influence on veterans in World War I. In 1942, during WWII, Penguin published special editions of Northhanger Abbey and Persuasian to be sent to the troops. Jane Austen has a power to connect men and women of all social standings and across more than two hundred years. Her books and words are powerful reminders that people are all the same and can connect through conquering pride and prejudice.

Like Jane, we have lived in a world which has been in a constant state of war. Depending on your age, the Korean War, Vietnam, the first Gulf War and Bosnia to the Global War on Terror (which has lasted nearly twenty years), I have been in a country at war for most of my life and certainly all of my adult life. Jane Austen’s works and JAFF in general have helped me through deployments, temporary deployments, moving across the country six times (while pregnant four of those moves and with a six week old one of them), late nights and early mornings alone.

I know many men and women who leave their families each morning and are actively participating in a war zone by the afternoon. Today only 1.7% of Americans serve in the military—a huge change from the 25%+ in Austen’s time, but the things that unite us are the same as they once were. A love of country and a willingness to serve…that free college and solid housing plan and healthcare sure doesn’t hurt to the Wickham-types of the world.

Jane Austen has a power to her writing that is interesting for an author. At once she is satirical, funny, romantic, smart, and authoritative without ever letting on that her writing is any of those things. How many articles have been written about how Pride and Prejudice is more than a romance? To me, Jane Austen and works inspired by her are a simple (and complex) comfort in a time of war.

Author Bio

Leigh Dreyer is a huge fan of Jane Austen variations and the JAFF community. She is blessed to have multi-generational military connections through herself and her husband, who she met in pilot training. She often describes her formative years in this way: “You know the ‘Great Balls of Fire’ scene in Top Gun (‘Goose, you big stud!’), where Goose and Meg Ryan have their kid on the piano? I was that kid.” Leigh lives with her pilot husband, a plane-obsessed son, a daughter who will one day be old enough to watch romantic movies with her, and another little one expected in September 2019.

Flight Path Less Traveled Links

The Best Laid Flight Plans Links

Contact Information

Author Name: Leigh Dreyer
Facebook: Leigh Dreyer
Facebook Page: @leighdreyerauthor

Social Media Information


It is great having you come back to my blog, Leigh. From everything I've read, it sounds like your book is doing really well. Congratulations! Thanks for the awesome post. I enjoyed reading it and I'm sure my readers did too. Thank you for bringing the influence of war on Jane Austen to us.

Leigh is giving away one eBook and the giveaway is international. Leave us a comment and tell us what you think about the post, Leigh's book, or just leave her some love. The giveaway will end on the 4th of April at 11:59 P.M. Good luck to all. Best wishes to you, Leigh Dreyer!

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Meryton Press Presents...

I am ecstatic to announce that Meryton Press has published its first audiobook. It has been an exciting few months of listening and getting everything ready for the audiobook release. My guest today is here to talk a little about the process and the selection of the narrator for the audio version of her book. Please welcome Jan Hahn.


I’m delighted that Meryton Press commissioned an audiobook release of my latest work, The Child. Thank you, Janet Taylor, for allowing me to announce it on your blog. I’m also grateful for Janet’s efforts to successfully guide me through the process of making an audiobook. I could not have done it without her. Together, we auditioned several engaging narrators from which she and I chose the perfect voice for my novel.

Neil Roy McFarlane lives in Wales, but he can read in various voices and dialects, even that of a toddler―essential for a book entitled The Child. I love the way he makes my Mr. Darcy come alive with a pleasing voice and a lovely accent. Here is a sample of The Child.

Besides narrating books for adults, Neil is a published writer of children’s literature and has released at least one children’s song of which I’m aware. If you feel like smiling, listen to "Boogie Woogie Monkey." I found him easy to work with and willing to spend extra time to produce an audiobook that makes me proud. Neil has a great sense of humor, evidenced by how he can laugh at himself. He made a short blooper reel from The Child for us to enjoy. He calls the first one Romance Allergy and the last one is just Gaaaaaah!

When editing a book that I’m writing, part of the process involves reading it aloud to check the flow of words and phrases. I may be caught up in a deeply romantic mood while writing the words Darcy speaks to Elizabeth―picturing Colin Firth or Matthew MacFadyen, of course―and then I open my mouth to read and out comes this Texas twang. Bo-i-i-i-ng! Talk about shattering a mood. For a born and bred Texan, you can’t imagine the thrill I receive when I hear my words spoken in a British accent! Finally, my book sounds right―like I heard it in my head all along.

Currently, I’m working with the talented Leena Emsley on my next audiobook, The Journey. I can’t wait for you to hear her version of Nate Morgan, the handsome but dangerous highwayman who abducts Elizabeth and Darcy.

Now, how about you? Do you enjoy listening to books? When do you find the time? While driving? Doing housework? Ironing (heaven forbid!)? Or just sitting down with a nice cup of tea? Please share your thoughts on audiobooks and your favorite way of listening to a story. In return, you’ll have a chance to win a free audio version of The Child.


Will Darcy ever grow to love a child he never wanted?

In Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Fitzwilliam Darcy’s proposal to Elizabeth Bennet at Hunsford is disastrous. In Jan Hahn’s The Child, Darcy flees England soon afterward, striving to overcome his longing for her. Upon his return two years later―while standing on the steps of St. George’s Church in Hanover Square―he spies the very woman he has vowed to forget. But who is the child holding her hand?

Darcy soon discovers that Elizabeth and her family are suffering the effects of a devastating scandal. His efforts to help the woman he still loves only worsen her family’s plight. His misguided pride entangles him in a web of falsehood, fateful alliances, and danger.

Will Elizabeth be able to forgive Darcy for his good intentions gone awry? And what effect will the child have on Darcy’s hopes to win Elizabeth’s love?


Thank you for stopping by and sharing our news. It has been such fun preparing for today. The audiobook of The Child is available at Don't forget that the audiobook of Jan Hahn's The Journey, will be released in the near future. At the time of release there will be an announcement on the Meryton Press Facebook page, as well as other social media. Other audiobooks, some future releases and some older, will be in the works in the coming months. Keep watching! :)

As Jan mentioned, Meryton Press is giving away one audiobook of The Child by Jan Hahn and narrated by Neil Roy McFarlane. Jan asked some great questions above and we would love to hear your response to them. Please leave those thoughts in the comments, and don't forget your contact information if I don't already have it. Good luck to all and thank you again for helping make today even more special.

Giveaway will end at 11:59 P.M. on the 3rd of April and is international. 

Friday, March 22, 2019

And the winners are...More to Love

I have some winners to announce! Yay! That's always good news!

Robin Helm's More to Love has two winners. Congratulations to both of you!

The paperback goes to:
Pig Pin


the eBook goes to:
 Sophia Rose!

Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Your support is always appreciated.

Robin, thank you for visiting and for having such a generous giveaway. By the way, I love your cover! I think I've said that before! lol  I hope the book is very successful.
Please come back for a visit anytime.

Monday, March 11, 2019

More to Love...Robin Helm

It is so nice to have Robin Helm as a guest. Her latest release, More to Love, is today's spotlight. Robin shares an excerpt and has a giveaway. Thank you, Robin. Welcome!


After telling Sarah her plan, Elizabeth crept stealthily through the hallway, down the stairs, and out the front door. The sun had set hours before, but the moon was full, and she knew the way to Oakham Mount as well as she knew her own name. Unafraid, she set out at a brisk pace.
As she continued deeper into the trees, she heard a twig snap behind her and looked back. ’Tis only a small animal. No one is there.
Another sound, and she stopped to listen, turning slowly. Footsteps. Something large.
Her breathing increased. Between me and Netherfield. I cannot go back.
She bolted at full speed, hoping to find a place to hide, but her fear drove her forward. I shall run all the way to Longbourn, if I must.
Only a few steps into the open space surrounding Oakham Mount, she tripped and fell, sprawling on the ground, hitting the side of her head on a large rock.
Just before she fainted, Elizabeth thought she heard someone call her name from a great distance. I know that voice.
As she came back to herself, she opened her eyes and saw golden hair surrounded by a halo. “Are you an angel, come to take me to Heaven? Have I died?”
“Thank God!” replied the angel, kneeling next to her. “You are most certainly alive, Miss Elizabeth, though you gave me quite a scare.”
She tried to sit up, but the strong angel stopped her, holding her by the shoulders as he leaned over her. His face is in shadow. I want to see him. She lifted her hand to touch his cheek. There is stubble. Do angels have beards like mortal men?
He untied her bonnet and carefully removed it from her head. I am safe with him.
She felt his fingers in her hair, lifting her head a bit, removing the pins and setting her curls free.
“Let me help you sit up slowly. I would not have you faint again, but I must check your head. You fell and bumped it.”
“Who are you?” she asked.
She felt his hands moving gently across the back and sides of her head, stopping over a tender spot.
“Do you not remember me? I am Thaddeus Beckett, a physician. Fortunately, your bonnet and hair must have protected your head somewhat when you fell. You have quite a lump, but there is no blood.” His voice was filled with relief.
“A physician? Not an angel?”
His laugh was low. Melodic. “I assure you that I am a flesh and blood man – not an apparition and most certainly not an angel.”
He is glorious. “You are beautiful.”
The man stopped and looked down at her. His voice was soft. “You are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. You are the angel.” He gathered her up in his arms, holding her as if she were a child.
Tears filled her eyes. “You speak of my sister, I think.” Her voice broke. “You must put me down. I am far too heavy for you to carry.”
“Where did you get such a preposterous idea? You are perfect.”
Elizabeth shut her eyes, and the tears ran down her cheeks. “Mr. Darcy refused to dance with me. He said there was too much of me.”
Mr. Beckett clenched his jaws, striding towards Netherfield with Elizabeth in his arms.
She put her head against his chest, listening to the steady beating of his heart, wanting nothing more than to sleep.
His deep voice rumbled against her cheek as he muttered, “The man is an idiot.”


Robin is giving away one eBook, international and 1 paperback, US only, of More to Love. To enter tell us what you think about the excerpt. Don't forget to leave me a way to contact you should you be one of the lucky winners. The giveaway will end at 11:59 AM central on the 16th of March. Good luck to everyone. 
Thanks, Robin, for including More Agreeably Engaged in your stops. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Inspiration...Maria Grace

 Maria Grace is my guest today and I'm happy to have her visit. Her latest novella, Inspiration, has art as a main part of the theme. I especially found this intriguing and was glad to learn more about muses and their origins. We often think of muses more for writers, but in this case, it is the artist who has the muse.  I hope you will find her research as fascinating as I did. The excerpt she shares also mentions the muse.  Enjoy!


Good morning, Janet. Thanks so much for having me. I’ve been especially excited to visit with you because this particular book features Darcy as an artist, tortured by his muse. Since you are an artist yourself, I though he might be in a predicament that would be familiar to you.

The idea of an artistic muse goes back into antiquity. In Greek thought, inspiration meant that the artist would go into a divine frenzy or madness, being transported beyond his own mind and given divine thoughts to embody. Greek mythology suggests the muses are the goddesses responsible for such inspiration. Though some counted only three muses, the classical understanding suggests that nine goddesses embody all of the arts including song, acting, writing, music and dance.

According to the seventh century BC writer Hesiod, the muses were the daughters of Zeus, king of the gods, and Mnemosyne, the Titan goddess of memory. That makes them sound a little intimidating to me. Sometimes, though, they are described as wood nymphs associated with or even born from sacred springs. (Darcy’s muse favors the nymph embodiment.)

Ancient artists would invoke the Muses while creating, asking for help or inspiration from them. In true goddess fashion, Darcy’s muse insists upon him proving himself worthy of her interventions. Here’s a peek at how his muse treats him:

The journey to Kent proved nothing like the ride to Hertfordshire. Nothing. And yet, the promise of a journey was all it took to send his muse thrumming, awakening every nerve with agonizing precision.

It was not possible, but still his ears ached for Miss Elizabeth’s musical voice, his eyes sought her out in every shadow, ever flash of sunlight, he longed for the scent of her—what sort of flower was it that she wore? All hunger, yet knowing no satisfaction awaited him at the end of this journey. That should have been enough to quell the longing, but no, somehow it only increased the anticipation.

If only to make the disappointment when he saw Anne all the more acute.

Realistically, that he should look forward to that. The sight of Anne was enough to chill his muse into silence. Usually. But not this time.

Why not this time?

Why could he not cease to hear Miss Elizabeth’s voice on the wind, see her face in fleeting shimmers of light? Why had he come here at all? Dreadful fool he was to think he could flee the relentless cur nipping at the heels of his soul.

He locked himself in his room with the curtains drawn against the sun. Perhaps he could sleep until it was time to depart this horrible place.

Fitzwilliam insisted he drag himself to Holy Services on Sunday. While it was his habit to do so, the knowledge that the vicar was none other than Miss Elizabeth’s cousin made the entire affair unpalatable at best. But after Fitzwilliam’s years in the army, he could be a force to be reckoned with, and Darcy lacked the energy for the standoff. So, he went.

Though the sun was bright and the air crisp and fresh, the walk to the stone parish church was flat and dull and grey. The birdsong seemed monotone and off key, even the sheep bleating rasped harsh against his beleaguered nerves.

The smell of cold, damp stone filled his nostrils as he settled into the family pew, trying to avoid eye contact. Yes, there were those with whom he shared an acquaintance, and he should deign to speak with them. He would fulfill all the obligations of etiquette at the first moment that civility was available to him. For now, it was not.

A flash of blue caught his eye. His lungs seized and refused to breath.
Wait. No, it could not be. That was simply not possible. There in the vicar’s family pew with a woman who must be Mrs. Collins.


Darcy swallowed hard and blinked several times. Breathe, he must breathe.

“Darcy? Darcy? Are you well? You look like you have seen the devil himself.” Fitzwilliam elbowed him sharply.

Darcy jumped and shook his head. “Yes, yes, I am fine.”

“You have noticed Mrs. Collins’ houseguests I see. Aunt Catherine was just telling me about them.”

Them? Were there two? By Jove, yes there were two young ladies sitting with Mrs. Collins. The other must be her sister; they shared a very similar look. But the other—

“… the other is Miss Elizabeth Bennet, I am told, a childhood friend of Mrs. Collins and cousin of Mr. Collins.”

His heart swelled to fill all his chest and shut off any hope of breathing. It was her, it was her! Here in the middle of exactly where she had no reason, no hope of being, she was here. A strange sense overtook him. A foreign mix of peace and euphoria floated his limbs and left his head muzzy and light.

I hope you enjoyed this peek. If you’d like more, you can find Inspiration at all major e-book sellers. If you’d like to catch up on the short stories I mentioned, you can find them at



Inspiration Blurb
His muse desires her; she detests him. How will his soul survive?
Gentleman artist Fitzwilliam Darcy had never been able to express himself in words, but with his brushes and paints, he expressed what few men ever could. When his flighty muse abandons him, though, he finds himself staring at blank canvases in a world that has turned bland and cold and grey.

Worried for his friend, Charles Bingley invites Darcy to join him in Hertfordshire, in hopes the picturesque countryside might tempt Darcy's muse to return. The scheme works only too well. His muse returns, with a vengeance, fixated upon the one young woman in the county who utterly detests him.

Will his selfish distain for the feelings of others drive her and his muse away or can he find a way to please this woman with the power to bring color and feeling back into his world?

Buy Links


About the Author

Maria Grace has her PhD in Educational Psychology and is a 16-year veteran of the university classroom where she taught courses in human growth and development, learning, test development and counseling. None of which have anything to do with her undergraduate studies in economics/sociology/managerial studies/behavior sciences.
She has one husband and one grandson, earned two graduate degrees and two black belts, raised three sons, danced English Country dance for four years, is aunt to five nieces, is designing a sixth Regency costume, blogged seven years on Random Bits of Fascination, has outlines for eight novels waiting to be written, attended nine English country dance balls, and shared her life with ten cats.

Her books, fiction and nonfiction, are available at all major online booksellers.  
She can be contacted at:


Thank you for stopping by, Maria. It is always great to have you here. Your having Darcy's muse torture him was interesting to me. I guess in some ways, Darcy, and the actors that portrayed him were my muse. It was always my desire and sometimes my obsession to make them look as much as possible, like the scenes from the movies. I would lose all track of time, trying to capture the essence that made the scene special. 

Best wishes with Inspiration. I hope you will come back for a visit when you have another release!