Monday, 7 May 2012


Fitzwilliam Darcy is a fine fellow and all but, my word, he's spiked his guns! Shot himself in the foot! And with no reason!

Convinced that Jane Austen's Mr. Darcy knows next to nothing about romancing a woman, Admiral Patrick McGillvary of Mercy's Embrace puts pen to paper. Let's join Austenesque author Laura Hile in peeking over his shoulder as he writes... 

Dear Darcy, 

You barely spoke a word at Blankenship's dinner last night and had nothing to do with the dancing. My good fellow, the walls are capable of standing on their own without you being there to hold them up! It's that Miss Bennet, isn't it? She has captured your heart. And you, having suffered a setback, are pining. 

Pining? Get a grip, man! Far be it from me to offer advice, but my dear, you are in need of serious help. Battle tactics. Strategy. Common sense management techniques. These are the tools of the manly suitor. So let's get some things straight. Because failure should not be on your to-do list, Darcy. Not today or any other! 

First and foremost, display confidence. Look, Miss Bennet will be placing her life in your hands, should you marry---are you capable to lead? What if I, before engaging the enemy, wrung my hands, cast my gaze to the heavens, and wondered aloud if we'd live to see another day? No! I must stride across the quarterdeck, my mind alive with strategies, barking orders and laughing at death! My men need to see my competence, Darcy. And Miss Bennet needs to see yours. 

No griping, either. Old men and babies complain. Do you realize that nothing kills romance faster than the Mother Instinct? So don't arouse it by whining. Or, I might add, by being overly-particular. Be a man, not a little boy whom Miss Bennet feels she must protect. 

And no more explanatory letters! Women save letters, Darcy, often for years. And they refer to them when they think you're not measuring up to promises that you made. Letters are dangerous, even after marriage! Speak more, write less. 

Point out the bad, but only if you must. This means no more criticizing her family, especially if you're right. See here, it simply isn't worth it. Voicing your "I told you so" opinion will only make Miss Bennet angry. And while she might forgive you, she'll never forget. Tread carefully! 

Women enjoy a man who as at ease socially. This means that you must learn the art of small talk. I know, it's a curst nuisance, but it cannot be avoided. Collect stories, polish them up, and use them at social events. I will warn you to rotate your stock with new material, especially as you age. No one appreciates an Old Bore. I should know; Whitehall is filled with them! 

Diving into pond scum is not sexy. The only reason ladies think so is because they were not at the pond to smell it. Or you when you emerged. If you'd like to show off your chest, simply find an excuse to remove your coat and shirt. A sudden bee sting works. But be manly about the supposed pain, for pity's sake! 

Women admire a man who faces down danger. Rescuing Miss Bennet's sister was sporting, but I must point out that rough-and-ready tactics trump all. Look, Miss Bennet would have admired you more ardently if you had coshed in Wickham's skull instead of making out that bank draft. Any pantywaist can sign his name, Darcy. 

This means you should carry a weapon and know how to use it. You'll fool no one with one of those dainty fencing rapiers. Wear a businesslike fighting dirk, and learn how to walk and sit with it. Trust me, even if the women don't notice the banged-up hilt and scabbard, the men will. And they'll give you a wide berth. 

Solving problems with money is risky. Why? Because it teaches your future wife how it's done. I realize that I'm calling the kettle black here, as I did something similar in Mercy's Embrace. But now that I've had time to consider, I'm shaking in my boots. Ten thousand pounds is a whopping amount. Trust me, Miss Bennet has no idea how much this loss hurts. 

Guarding your privacy is pointless. Look, if you argue with your steward or have a cross word with a guest, it's known in the Pemberley Arms within the hour. Face facts, Darcy. Word travels lightning fast. If you'd ever lived aboard ship, you'd understand this. More people know about your sister's escapade than you realize. Put your chin up and brazen it out. Besides, you're in the position to deliver some truly crushing snubs. 

Never praise one woman to another. When asked to comment on a woman's appearance---or singing, or dancing, or any other ability---give a neutral answer and remove yourself from the conversation. At once! Because ... 

The Caroline Bingleys of this world exact revenge. And it won't be taken out on Miss Bennet, either. Oh, she will suffer. But you will be made to pay for that "fine eyes" remark, perhaps years later. Some women live to get even. Make very sure, before you marry, that Miss Bennet is not one of this kind. And marry you will, if you conduct your courtship like a man. You may correspond with me by writing to my Bath estate, Belsom Park, or through Whitehall. All the best, McGillvary

Laura Hile

The Author

As a girl Laura Hile pored over Victorian novels on her grandmother’s shelves, and later discovered Gothic Romance and Jane Austen’s Regency.  But it was not until serialized Austen fiction became popular that Laura summoned her courage and began to post stories of her own.  To keep readers interested, she developed what has become her signature style:  intertwined plots, cliffhangers, and laugh-out-loud humor.  The comedy she comes by naturally in her job as a middle school teacher—there’s never a dull moment at school!  Laura lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, three college-age sons, and a collection of antique clocks.

Would you like more Admiral McGillvary? He's Wentworth's daring friend in Susan Kaye's Frederick Wentworth, Captain and the swoon-worthy romantic lead in Laura Hile's Mercy's Embrace.

During the month of May, all books by Susan Kay and Laura Hile are are on sale! Print books have been reduced 25% at the Wytherngate Press website. Ebook editions are $2.00 off at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other on-line retailers.


Laura Hile is offering two (2) print copies of Mercy's Embrace: So Rough a Course (Book 1) , one for US readers, and one for international. Hooray! Post a comment by May 15th to enter. Visit Laura at her website, Mercy's Embrace, at her blogs, Jane Started It! and Austen Authors. Find her on Facebook at as Laura Hile Author and MercysEmbrace. Follow her at Twitter @LauraHile.


BrendaNZ said...

This is definitely on my to-read list! I'd love to enter the giveaway, thank you

Brenda (New Zealand)

Phoebe's Sisters said...

That's hilarious! I totally love it :D Thank you for the giveaway!

kaewink said...

:D So true - we DO save letters, for years!!
Great post!

kewinkler at gmail dot com

aurora said...

I would like to read this excellent book.

Literary Chanteuse said...

Wonderful! Thank you for the giveaway and I just love these covers.


Laura Hile said...

Uh-oh ... I'm not staying up on replying to the comments! I'm teaching today, so Internet access is somewhat limited.

It's exciting to be able to offer a book to my international friends, so thanks for responding. When I address the postal packet, I smile! :)

Laura Hile said...

Farida: The dashing Admiral McGillvary (the romantic lead in Mercy's Embrace, is fun to watch, isn't he?

I have a husband and three sons, so writing men comes easily. More or less ... :)

Cyrano said...

I agree... diving into pond scum is not that sexy! The covers of your books are gorgeous. I would be happy to take part to the international giveaway.

cyrano123 (at) live (dot) fr

Cyrano said...

Sorry, I forgot to mention I live in Paris and I am French.

Helen said...

What a fun post! Pond scum! LOL!

Would love to read, thanks for making it international!

Greetings from Australa

helen at hancock dot id dot au

Laura Hile said...

BrendaNZ, Cyrano, Helen, thanks for including your country! I enjoy the variety among Austen readers. Ah, the long arm of the web...

cyn209 said...

thank you for the opportunity to enter for this giveaway!!!
definitely on my WishList!!!

cyn209 at juno dot com

Laura Hile said...

Love these giveaways because I am able to meet new friends. Thanks for stopping by to enter!

Maria Grazia said...

Thanks, Laura, for being my guest and for your amusing post and comments. I just wanted to tell commenters, they should write if they are taking part for the international draw or for the US, to help us to pick up the two winners. Please, just tell us where you are writing for. TY!

Unknown said...

Laura, I love the advice Admiral McGillvary gives Darcy! Everytime I read a blog post, I become more and more anxious to read Mercy's Embrace! Looking forward to starting!
No need to enter me in the giveaway!

Cyrano said...

Thanks to you Laura for taking the time to follow our comments and leave a reply. It means a lot for a reader to "have access" to the author. It makes the reading experience different, special, more interesting, more genuine. The reader feels connected to the person who provides so delicious an escapism through her/his writing.

kaewink said...

Forgot to include my country - writing from Austria, so for the international draw, please :).

lynnquiltsalot said...

Oh, how fun! I needed a laugh today and this did it. Put me in a much better mood for the afternoon. Pond scum isn't sexy? {giggle}

Laura Hile said...

Cyrano, I used to be reluctant to comment a lot because I thought it would be perceived as an ego-driven attempt (by me!) to pump up the comment numbers!

Then I came across this statement: "Social Media is not about proclamation, but conversation."

How true that is!

My reason for writing McGillvary's comic letter (instead of an article about me!) is to let you see my style of writing, and also to get to know me through my characters.

And also through the comments! Thanks for following this thread.

Lúthien84 said...

I'm not sure Darcy will take McGillvary's advice because after all, he will not be the Darcy that we know him to be. Also, he did not do what Bingley told him to do which is to dance at the Meryton assembly.

Do add me for the international giveaway, Maria. I would love to read about McGillvary and Miss Elliot. Thank you.


Laura Hile said...

kaewink, from my perspective, it is so incredible that a story I typed out on my wheezy ancient PC, all alone at my desk, can spread to readers around the world. I know Maria Grazia needs to know your country of origin, but I like it, too! :)

Laura Hile said...

Lynnquiltsalot, I need a smile myself, which is why I write romantic comedy. To, well ... entertain myself!

Tell you what, Lúthien, I know Darcy won't listen to McGillvary's suggestions. So often men won't be told, right? :)

I should mention that most of my giveaways are USA only---much to Lúthien's dismay! However, during May I am going international, both here and at Austenprose. Hooray!

Robin Helm said...

As you know, Laura, I love your books and have read all of them. I would like to enter for an autographed print copy, however.

McGillvary's advice to Darcy is sound. He could have saved FD some grief.

Laura Hile said...

Robin, lovely to see you here!

You're right, Darcy would have been saved grief. Lydia, too. Wickham would have had his skull coshed in, Lydia would have had a new black gown for the funeral, and---problem solved!

Anonymous said...

I loved the letter. wonderful! The art of letter writing is definitely not lost. Let's hope Darcy takes a few hints.

GranJan said...

lol ... would love to get Darcy's reaction to McGillvary's advice - hmm, would he be offended .. or would he take heed? will you be writing his reply letter? I would love to see it..

And please enter me in your giveaway - I have become very anxious to read the Mercy series and would love to win!

Laura Hile said...

Suzan, lovely to see you here!

GranJan, what a fine idea! I've never written Darcy before..., wait. Golly, I have! Last summer for Meredith's Austenesque Extravaganza! A comic piece (like that's a surprise?) called Mightier Than The Sword, Miss Austen?

Basically, our favorite heroes balk at the letters Miss Austen has them write. So they decide to help each other out, but using Man English instead! Ha.

It's a fun read.

Andrea from MN said...

LOVE your writing. Enter me!!

Laura Hile said...

Aw, thanks for the kind words, Andrea! :)

JaneGS said...

What great advice. Of course, I am a long time McGillvary fan, so I know he knows what he's about!

No need to enter me in the giveaway as I already own all of both sets of books.

Good luck to everyone--these stories are priceless.

Danielle said...

This letter was way too funny!

Would love to win the book! :-)


Laura Hile said...

Hi JaneGS and Danielle. Thanks for stopping by.

Sometimes I wonder whether I would even like McGillvary if he were, say, my real life coworker! But as a fictional hero, he's so much fun to read!

podixon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
podixon said...

McGillvary offers Darcy excellent advice. I love it. I look forward to meeting him.

Thanks for the giveaway!

Faith Hope and Cherrytea said...

sooo wanting to get in on this one! love what Laura's done & celebrate you in it, Laura!
gorgeous covers + brilliant content - what's not to love? whoohoo ;) ty!
faithhopecherrytea at*gmail.*com

Jenn C said...

This books sounds awesome! Would love to enter the contest (United States)! Jennifer C

jennifer (dot) h (dot) collier (at) gmail (dot) com

Christine said...

Better late than never. :) I've been a fan of your work since around 2000, Laura. I'd love to win a copy. :)

Gayle Mills said...

Being a country girl and knowing how ponds smell, I've often wondered how Darcy could emerge from that green water with a shirt that still looked white. I think he would have had some of that pond scum hanging from those gorgeous dark brown curls.