Monday, 30 May 2016

THE ELIZABETH PAPERS BLOG TOUR - JENETTA JAMES, IMAGINING MRS DARCY & HER FAMILY: A MATCH THE FACE TO THE CHARACTER COMPETITION + GIVEAWAY


If you close your eyes and say Elizabeth Bennet, who do you see? This is something that I have tried to do many times whilst writing about her, with varying success.

Of course, throughout The Elizabeth Papers, Elizabeth Bennet is in fact, Elizabeth Darcy. The story commences in 1817, when our favourite couple have been married for some four years. At the very outset of this story, Elizabeth is, as she would have it, four and twenty years of age. She is married and has two young children with another one well on the way. In fact, she spends quite a lot of The Elizabeth Papers pregnant.

All of these things have ramifications for what she looks like, and how we can imagine her. Im conscious that we are all influenced by the various actresses who have played Elizabeth. Often, once we have seen a character performed, we cant get that face out of our minds. I have tried to apply a sort of method acting theory to my writing. Basically, I try to imagine myself back in time. What do the clothes feel like? How do the hairstyles feel when you touch your hand to them? How comfortable was Mr. Darcys carriage as it rattled out of Pemberley?

The questions crop up in relation to other characters as well of course. What does Mr. Darcy really look like? We know that hes tall, but how tall? How have the years treated the wider Bennet family? Whay. I hope that you enjoy it. Can you guess who I imagine each one to be?

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

AUTHOR GUEST POST & GIVEAWAY: JOANA STARNES, "MUSIC, MAGIC AND MISS DARCY'S COMPANION"



Thank you, Maria Grazia, for welcoming me here today on the blog tour for my latest ‘Pride and Prejudice’ variation, ‘Miss Darcy’s Companion’, it’s always such a pleasure to be your guest! I am especially glad to be here this time because my post is about an extremely beautiful Italian aria, and I can’t imagine a better place to talk about it than on your blog.

Music played a great part in Jane Austen’s life and novels. Not only was it the major source of entertainment in an age where people had to create their own amusements, but it also was the main conduit for falling in love. Indeed, how could Jane Austen and her characters have flirted, courted and been courted without the delicious opportunities offered at balls and assemblies? How would Jane Austen have learnt the first joys and sorrows of falling in love, had she not danced with the dashing but all-too-practical Tom Lefroy? How much poorer would her novels be without the Netherfield ball or the ever so delightful scene where Elizabeth plays for the company at Rosings?

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

GUEST POST - DEBRA E. MARVIN, IN WHICH JANE DISPARAGES THE GOTHICS + GIVEAWAY AUSTEN IN AUSTIN



In Becoming Jane, Anne Hathaway’s Jane Austen visits Ann Radcliffe, author of The Mysteries of Udolpho, a popular novel of the time. While this visit is likely fiction, I can’t help but wonder what such a conversation might have covered. Although reading was an admirable pastime, fiction that could be considered romance—fictional escapes not based on historic figures—was frowned upon by many. ‘Romance’ described stories read purely for entertainment rather than the betterment of the mind. Shocking! Topping the list was the Gothic, unlikely to be displayed on your drawing room shelves. Hmmm. Nowadays, romance is the largest portion of the fiction market, yet still gets the ‘cut’ from serious literary readers!

Gothics depended on wildly exaggerated tales of danger, and helpless women dependent on brutish men. They included the supernatural and degrees of violence. I’m sure Jane Austen read at least one of these tales, and had an opinion on Miss Radcliffe. Was it admiration for her craft, or admiration for her timing and boldness to write such fiction? After all, writers were often looked down upon, and a woman writing for income? Not to be borne!

Monday, 2 May 2016

BLOG TOUR - ANN GALVIA, SIDE BY SIDE WITH SENSE AND SENSIBILITY + GIVEAWAY


I uploaded my very first Pride and Prejudice fanfic to the internet on April 23, 2014. Barely over two years later, I’m here at My Jane Austen Book Club, embarking on a blog tour celebrating the release of my first Austen-based novel. This seems to me to be a very large distance covered in only two years. For most of that time, Side by Side, Apart has been occupying a huge chunk of my mind. Since I am sort of a clingy person and not quite ready to let go, I want to use my blog tour as an opportunity to talk about all the things that went into building the world of the novel and how, even though this is a Pride and Prejudice story, Jane Austen’s other completed works were never far from my mind as I wrote it. Today, I want to talk about world enough and time and Sense and Sensibility.

Side by Side, Apart picks up eleven years after the marriage of Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet. One of the first things I had to consider was how eleven years had changed the characters since last we saw them. And that went for everyone, not just Lizzy and Darcy. Where is Kitty? Where is Georgiana? Has Mr. Collins inherited Longbourn, or is Mr. Bennet still around? If Mr. Bennet is alive, how is he managing living at Longbourn with just the missus and no daughters acting as a buffer?

Monday, 18 April 2016

WISH TO DECOR YOUR ROOM LIKE JANE AUSTEN? HERE ARE SOME TIPS ON HOW TO DO IT!

Jane Austen's House Museum, Chawton
(Our guest blogger today is Paula. More about her below her post.) 

Reading the classic novels by one of the greats such as Jane Austen can inspire you to decorate your own room, or home in a style Jane herself would adore. Falling in love with the old English style is one thing, but achieving the look for your own is another. We’ve found some tips and tricks that can help you achieve the perfect Jane Austen inspired room.

When you begin designing the Jane Austen themed room you will need to take a look at every aspect of the room. Each detail, great and small, can affect the overall look and feel of the room. No matter where you decide to begin,  everything from floor to ceiling should be taken into consideration.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

SPOTLIGHT ON ... SUFFICIENT ENCOURAGEMENT, A NEW P&P VARIATION BY ROSE FAIRBANKS



Hello everyone! Thanks for having me, Maria Grazia! In addition to Darcy and Elizabeth battling their own hearts before finding their happily ever after, Wickham presents a larger problem than usual in Sufficient Encouragement. In this excerpt, we see how he ends up in Hertfordshire.
Rose Fairbanks 

A militia officer who looked familiar walked into the shop and made a purchase. Settling at a table near him, he asked, “Pardon me, are you done with the paper?”
In closer light, Wickham easily recognised the man. “Denny?”
“Wickham!” he returned while putting forth his hand for a friendly shake.
“How have you been, Denny?”
“Well enough. I joined the militia recently.”
“I can see. I suppose you have found the heiresses as difficult to woo as I have.”
“I do not have your luck at the tables after the lonely wives and widows leave Town to sustain me.”
Wickham grinned. “Nor do you have my charm.”
“The uniform does well enough without me having to say too much.”
“Is that so?”
Denny nodded eagerly. “Indeed. We are regimented now in Hertfordshire. There are several young ladies who are simply wild to meet officers. You should sign up; we need new recruits.”
“I would make a terrible soldier. Besides, I am working on a project.”
“A new heiress has come of age? When last I saw you, the plan was to seduce…what was the name? Miss Danby?”

Friday, 15 April 2016

LOVE & FRIENDSHIP PREVIEW IN AMSTERDAM – MEETING WHIT STILLMAN


My friend Monica Cardinale, great Austen fan living in Amsterdam, was lucky enough to take part in the special screening of Love & Friendship + Q/A with director Whit Stillman. Here are her account of the evening as well as some pictures. I can't wait to see the movie myself but, meanwhile,  I'm so grateful to Monica for sharing her musings  with us here at My Jane Austen Book Club!  Enjoy!

Tuesday night 12 April 2016 a special screening of Love & Friendship took place in Amsterdam at cinema The Movies. Director Whit Stillman was present and there was a Q&A with the audience afterwards.



Monday, 4 April 2016

BLOG TOUR & GIVEAWAY - THE TROUBLE TO CHECK HER BY MARIA GRACE


Lydia Bennet is a problem character for both the reader and the writer. Because of her troublesome and immature ways, readers just don’t like her.  For the most parts, writers ignore her or allow her to remain an antagonist in most tales. After all, who really wants to spend too much time in Lydia’s head? 
I certainly didn’t. Nope, no thank you. Would much rather hang out with characters I actually liked, especially considering writing a novel about would require at least a year’s commitment to spend much quality time with these story-people.
Definitely not going to write about Lydia Bennet.
The only way I could write about her would be to find a way to see her genuinely reformed. Hmmm, I wonder what that would take? What kind of people, what kind of environment would it take to make a character like that really change from the inside out? Probably a residential setting of some sort…a school probably. And some strong female role models to demonstrate what true ladylike behavior looked like…
Oh, shoot, that sounds an awful lot like a plot bunny.
A big, bad plot bunny with teeth that insisted on settling into my office and sitting on my desk with the cats. Stupid thing even made friends with the cats! The cats taught it to purr. Enough! I’ll write the story already!
And thus, I have taken  The Trouble to Check Her.

Maria Grace

Thursday, 24 March 2016

GUEST POST - JANE LARK, THE AUTHORESS AND STONELEIGH ABBEY + GIVEAWAY

When I visited Stoneleigh Abbey about five years ago I discovered a story just waiting to be written. So many people think Jane Austen was middle-class but in fact she was only a generation away from a Baronetcy and her ancestors had been very wealthy.

So the story I discovered was that in June 1816 Jane moved from a property in Trim St, Bath, the poorest residence she lived in, which she never mentioned again, to then stay in the dramatically ornate, vast, residence of her ancestors, where she came face to face with their portraits and no longer needed to imagine the way they had lived.

Jane actually describes aspects of the area around Stoneleigh Abbey and rooms within Stoneleigh Abbey in Pride and Prejudice and in Mansfield Park.
When I stood in the entrance hall in Stoneleigh Abbey five years ago it did not take much to picture Jane Austen standing in that room, looking everywhere, and from that to imagine her character Fanny’s voice coming from such a visit. And then I learnt about the portrait of one of Jane’s relations whose real story was ridiculously close to that of Persuasion, and her surname is Wentworth.

I visit lots of historical properties, it’s how I generate ideas for my historical books - to learn true stories and scenes and then apply them to my fiction to make my fiction feel more realistic. So it became very obvious to me that Jane Austen had used fact to help create her fiction…

Monday, 21 March 2016

BLOG TOUR & GIVEAWAY: HOW TO MEND A BROKEN HEART BY L.S. PARSONS - AUTHOR GUEST POST

 
Thank you, Maria Grazia, for having me here at My Jane Austen Book Club and allowing your readers to have a glimpse of my new book – my first and only book so far.
Years ago when I began this story, I did it in response to a story I had read that had haunted me for weeks after finishing it. The story in question is A New Leaf by Teg. In her story, Darcy marries another lady and Elizabeth is left on her own. Needless to say, Darcy and Elizabeth did not have a happy ending which left me unfulfilled and unhappy. I emailed the author and asked her if she had plans to rewrite with an alternate ending. She said she did not, and that gave me the idea for How to Mend a Broken Heart.

For my peace of mind, I set about to concoct a story to satisfy my need for a happy ending for Darcy and Elizabeth when the obstacle of an engagement to another stands between them. While there is the angst of the original story, the reader will be left with a much more satisfying ending. This current version has been reworked and has evolved from the story which I posted online years ago.
The story depicts the need of a man to rectify a mistake he made years ago by not properly courting the woman he loves which led to his broken heart. The fact that he is now engaged to be married to someone other than his one true love stands in the way of mending by his heart and winning the heart of the woman he had thought he lost. This is the story based on the characters from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

WHY DO I LOVE JANE AUSTEN... BY BEVERLY FARR AKA JANE GRIX + GIVEAWAY

Jane Grix
Why do I love Jane Austen, let me count the reasons:  Darcy, Darcy, Darcy.

No seriously, I love Jane Austen for more than Mr. Darcy, although he is a big part of why I adore her books.

I like her books because they are funny and romantic and they contain fascinating side characters and insightful commentary on human nature. 

My favorite novel of all time is Pride and Prejudice.  In this story both hero and heroine are flawed.  Elizabeth is clever, but she is quick to judge.  Darcy is intelligent, but arrogant.  Some might dismiss this story as a Cinderella story because Elizabeth ends up with Darcy, who is rich, but in this story the Prince (Darcy) actually changes and becomes a better person by the end. 

When Elizabeth refuses his first offer of marriage (very unCinderella-like), he is humbled.  But then he writes a letter that makes her realize that she has been judging him harshly.  So they both change for the better, then they deal with foolish/obnoxious family members (Darcy rescues Lydia and Elizabeth stands up to his aunt Lady Catherine) which shows the reader that they deserve happiness.  And finally, they speak up, taking an emotional risk to declare their feelings and they are rewarded with a great, lasting love.

Monday, 7 March 2016

BLOG TOUR & GIVEAWAY: A SEARING ACQUAINTANCE BY J.L. ASHTON. READ AN EXCERPT AND WIN A COPY!


Book Blurb

“I don’t know why I ever thought we made sense.”
Smart, educated people are fools in love, especially when they’re mired in denial and misunderstanding.
In this modern spin on Jane Austen’s classic tale, Elizabeth Bennet, a grad student with literary aspirations, has found her big career break—and broken up with yet another forgettable boyfriend. While grateful for the professional lifeline thrown by sports agent George Wickham, she is intrigued by the man she calls Mr. Noir. 
Fitzwilliam Darcy, marked by tragedy, is a man accustomed to living his life in the spotlight even as his heart dwells on the dark side of loneliness. When he first meets Elizabeth, he thinks she looks like “a bloody pumpkin,” but he soon sees so much more. She, however, can’t even decide what to call him. Mr. Noir? Nurse Darcy? Sleazy British playboy? Ferdinand?
“So, it’s Fitzwilliam, right? That’s an amazing name, you know. Which came first—the name or the accent?”
He looked at her.
“Oh, come on. It’s like the name of a subdivision or a sofa at Pottery Barn. `Please note the extra firm cushions on The Fitzwilliam.’”

Saturday, 5 March 2016

VICTORIA GROSSACK, IN DEFENSE OF MR COLLINS - READ & WIN NEW MERYTON MYSTERY EBOOK!

Tom Hollander as Mr Collins (2005)
Mr. Collins is a dreadful bore, with his long speeches and his constant apologizing.  He’s a wretched dancer and a ghastly whist player.  He is completely obsessed by his one true love – his relationship to Lady Catherine de Bourgh.  I admit that I would not want to spend many evenings with him!

Still, there are qualities to admire in Mr. Collins, and I think they should be acknowledged.

First, he is a peace-maker.  Obviously there was some quarrel going on between Mr. Bennet and Mr. Collins’s father.  We do not know the grounds for the quarrel, but it had gone on for years.  Probably it was the fault of the senior Collins, as our Mr. Collins said he was always uneasy about it.  At any rate, when his father dies, he takes the first step and writes a letter to Mr. Bennet.

Second, Mr. Collins does his best to make amends.  He resolves to marry one of his cousins, thereby making sure that they will be cared for when their father dies.  Now, he was certainly influenced by the fact that he had been told to marry by Lady Catherine, and the Bennets had a family of five daughters who had reason to welcome him.  Even though he points out that there are many eligible young ladies in his neighborhood, we later learn that most of his neighborhood live rather high, so his cousins may have been the most eligible set of ladies available to him.  He promises to Elizabeth that he would never reproach her for her lack of funds (which is more than Darcy does in his first proposal).  Even though his affection for Elizabeth may be imaginary, his proposal is generous and honorable.

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

THE REGENCY ERA COMES TO THE AMISH - SENSE AND SENSIBILITY BY SARAH PRICE

On March 1st, my book, Sense and Sensibility (Realms, 2016) is released! This adaptation of Jane Austen’s book by the same title is a bit different than others you may have read for it is not set in England or during the 1700s. Instead, it is set in present day Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

Why Lancaster County? you may ask. And isn’t that where so many Amish lives? How could that possibly relate to anything Jane Austen wrote?

That’s right…the Amish live in Lancaster and that, indeed, is the setting for my adaptation.

You see, in my version of Sense and Sensibility, the main characters are not the upper echelon of high society during the Regency period. Instead, they are simple Amish people. The two main characters, Eleanor and Mary Ann do not live on a fancy estate with servants to tend to their needs. Instead, they live on a dairy farm. When their father dies, they (along with their mother and younger sister) are not just removed from authority of the property, they are also relegated to the small grossdawdihaus by their half-brother and his wife who, subsequently, treat them like second-class citizens and make their lives miserable.

While different, doesn’t the storyline sound familiar?

One of the things that I love the most about Jane Austen’s novels is that she presents timeless themes that readers have all experienced-one way or another-throughout the course of time.  How many times have we tried to set up friends only to realize that it won’t work? How often do we form judgments about people only to later realize that we were blinded by our individual bias? Haven’t we all been persuaded to do something by family or friends, even though we really wanted to do something else?

Saturday, 27 February 2016

MOIRA BIANCHI, AUSTEN LOVE FROM BRAZIL - GUEST POST, EXCERPT & GIVEAWAY

Moira Bainchi
Hello there!

Thanks for having me here, Maria Grazia!  I love Italy and everything Italian, including my hubs who has half-Portuguese-half-Italian heritage. I’m Brazilian, love and live in Rio de Janeiro, have a healthy fixation with Darcy and Lizzy since I first read Pride and Prejudice.

It was love at first line. When Austen told me exactly what was going on in Darcy's head I fell for him. What I like most in P&P is their imperfection, how real they seem. She is stubborn, strong-willed; he is haughty and conceited. Well, he is also stubborn, she is also conceited… I can never tell who is more prejudiced and who is more proud.

I spent years reading fanfic, silently at first and then commenting and making friends until I gave in to a particular scene that looped in my head constantly. From the barbecue sequence from ‘Friendship of a special kind’ to today, it’s been four years, countless short stories and drabbles and six books; I can’t seem to leave Ms. Austen’s characters alone. Neither they leave me… They talk to me in the wee hours of the night, right before falling asleep and sometimes I dream a whole scene, a whole plot even! A friend teases me saying I’m slightly crazy, I call it inspiration.

Monday, 22 February 2016

MR DARCY? HE'LL JUST STAY A JERK. MR KNIGHTLEY? YES, PLEASE! TALKING JANE AUSTEN WITH ... KATIE HEANEY. WIN DEAR EMMA PAPERBACK.

Hello and thank you for joining us at My Jane Austen Book Club, Katie! It’s awesome to have you as a guest and  to celebrate the release of your Austen-inspired,  “Dear Emma”. Ready for my questions? 

First one is a “twitter game”: How would you present your book in 140 characters?

Harriet, a tender know-it-all, gets her heart broken, makes an enemy, makes an unexpected friend, and learns she doesn't know everything.

How did the idea for “Dear Emma” come to your mind?

I was inspired by Jane Austen’s Emma, but also by friendships formed between women who’ve dated the same man, or been interested in the same man, which is a situation I found myself in several times when I was younger.

How much does your heroine, Harriet, shares with Emma Woodhouse?

She would think nothing, but they are both very absolutist in their views of other people, and what’s “right,” and how people should behave. But she shares more with Harriet Smith (her namesake) in her sort of underdog-ness, and tendency to act passively, or as a sort of sidekick sometimes.

Friday, 12 February 2016

JANE AND THE WATERLOO MAP BLOG TOUR - TALKING JANE AUSTEN WITH ... STEPHANIE BARRON

Stephanie Barron
Award winning author Stephanie Barron has been touring the blogosphere since February 2nd and will go on till February 22nd, 2016 to share her latest release, Jane and the Waterloo Map. Twenty popular book bloggers specializing in Austenesque fiction, mystery and Regency history are featuring guest blogs, interviews, excerpts and book reviews from this highly anticipated novel in the acclaimed Being a Jane Austen Mystery series. The tour started right here at My Jane Austen Book Club and I'm so glad to have the opportunity to have Stephanie as my guest again today to talk Jane Austen with her.  The fabulous giveaway contest, including copies of Ms. Barron’s book and other Jane Austen-themed items, which I linked to the previous post is still running and will be open  till the end of the tour.  Now, please,  enjoy our chat and join the discussion in the comment section, if you wish.


Hello and thank you so much, Stehanie, for taking the time to answer my questions. First one is, do you remember your first encounter with Jane Austen and her work? What were your first impressions? Have they changed over the years?

Monday, 8 February 2016

SPOTLIGHT ON ... A LITTLE WHIMSICAL IN HIS CIVILITIES BY J. MARIE CROFT - EXCERPT & GIVEAWAY


Hello there! I'm really glad to open J. Marie Croft's Blog Tour for the release of her new humorous novella! Good luck to her and great success to her new book and, of course, good luck to all of you in the giveaway below. Don't forget to read and enjoy the excerpt before you try your luck! 
MG
Excerpt

It’s the third evening following Darcy and Bingley’s return to Hertfordshire,
and they’re attending another Meryton assembly in the hopes of winning their hearts’ desires.

For Darcy, old habits die hard.
Already on tenterhooks and made increasingly impatient while awaiting the Bennets’ arrival,
he has become a tad testy, to put it mildly.

Saturday, 6 February 2016

KATIE OLIVER, JANE AUSTEN - REGENCY SHOPAHOLIC? AUTHOR GUEST POST & GREAT GIVEAWAY!


"Chick lit is genre fiction which addresses issues of modern womanhood, often humorously and lightheartedly. Although it sometimes includes romantic elements, chick lit is generally not considered a direct subcategory of the romance novel genre, because the heroine's relationship with her family or friends is often just as important as her romantic relationships." - Goodreads

"[Romance] books are about the celebration of falling in love and emotion and commitment, and all of those things we really want." - Nora Roberts


Jane Austen blazed the trail that every writer of romance and chick lit ever after has followed. Her popularity is still strong after 250 years. Numerous film adaptations of her novels, including the recent Austen-meets-horror film mashup, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, continue to be produced, watched, and admired, and discussed. 

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

JANE AND THE WATERLOO MAP BLOG TOUR - STEPHANIE BARRON ON LOVING AND WRITING JANE AUSTEN + GRAND GIVEAWAY!


Award winning author Stephanie Barron tours the blogosphere February 2 through February 22, 2016 to share her latest release, Jane and the Waterloo Map.  Twenty popular book bloggers specializing in Austenesque fiction, mystery and Regency history will feature guest blogs, interviews, excerpts and book reviews from this highly anticipated novel in the acclaimed Being a Jane Austen Mystery series and I'm proud and honored to open the festivities here at My Jane Austen Book Club!  A fabulous giveaway contest, including copies of Ms. Barron’s book and other Jane Austen-themed items, will be open to those who  will enter the contest.   
I discovered Jane Austen when I was twelve, trapped by a gale of rain in my aunt’s paneled library. Cass—yes, my aunt’s name was Cass, just like Jane Austen’s sister—was an anglophile and a horticulturalist who spent long hours in her Westchester County garden or ambling with her beagle, Biff, down graveled back country roads. She raised prize daffodils, an occupation short on season that I hope was long on gratification. She had a matched bound set of Austen but for some reason my fingers pulled out the spine of Pride and Prejudice first. As it ought to do, when one is twelve.

I am the last of a family of six girls. The story of Mrs. Bennet desperately trying to marry off her daughters made immediate sense to me. The varying temperaments and allegiances among the Bennet sisters, the shifting cabals and jealousies of a family of women, were instantly familiar. And my discovery of duplicity—Wickham’s lies, Darcy’s unsuspected generosity—was the beginning of a lifelong education in the subtleties of relationships.