Tuesday, 29 December 2015

SWAY BLOG TOUR - A CONTEMPORARY RETELLING OF PERSUASION BY MELANIE STANFORD

Sway is out today and Melanie Stanford is our guest to launch her blog tour. Sway is a new  modern retelling of Jane Austen's Persuasion. Ready to welcome Melanie  to our online club? And, by the way, don't  miss the chance to win a signed paperback copy. The giveaway is open internationally. Good luck, everyone! 

First off, a big thank you to Maria Grazia for having me today!

Why write a retelling? Why Jane Austen? These are two questions I often hear from people when they find out about SWAY, my contemporary retelling of PERSUASION set in LA.
Before starting SWAY, I’d written a young adult time-travel novel and its sequel. Even though I’d read tons of Jane Austen retellings, I’d never considered writing one of my own. I wanted to write YA and I wanted to write stories with some kind of magical element to them—I never once thought I’d write straight up contemporary.
Then I was in the middle of a re-watch of 2007’s PERSUASION (I’ve got a thing for Rupert Penry-Jones in that movie, not gonna lie *swoons*). I don’t remember what point in the movie it struck me, but I just knew it would make an awesome modern day story.

Out of all of Jane Austen’s novels, I really got Persuasion when I read it. I felt it. I understood Anne’s pain and heartache when she’s constantly thrown into company with Captain Wentworth. I think we all know what it’s like to regret a break-up. There are just so many feelings and drama going on in Persuasion (and I love me some drama) that I wanted so badly to write it down myself, take it into a modern world and put my own spin on it.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

HAPPY 240th BIRTHDAY, JANE AUSTEN + GIVEAWAY


To celebrate dear Jane's 240th Birthday, here's a special bargain (US readers only) + giveaway contest (INT.) for our readers!


beautiful devotional, brimming with the wit and wisdom of Jane Austen and the timeless truths of Scripture. 
The works of Jane Austen can transport a reader to a world that exudes beauty, peace, wisdom, wit, and love. Captivating audiences for 200 years, the works of Jane Austen continue to capture today’s readers in droves.
This daily devotional includes short excerpts from the Austen classics, and a devotional thought and Scripture that meaningfully translates to women’s daily lives. Offering temporary transport to a simple and peaceful place, women will love taking a moment to revel in the beauty and truth of a Scripture paired with excerpts from Northanger AbbeyPride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility, Persuasion,Mansfield Park, and Emma.

Monday, 14 December 2015

SPOTLIGHT ON ... PRIDE & PREJU-KNITS, TWELVE GENTEEL KNITTING PROJECTS INSPIRED BY JANE AUSTEN


An original, cute Christmas gift,  perfect for a Janeite who loves knitting. Well, if she doesn't, she'll wish to learn as soon as possible, once she has had a look at the Austen-inspired knitting projects included in Pride and Preju-knitsTwelve Genteel Knitting Projects Inspired by Jane Austen by Trixie Von Purl. This lovely book is  published by Harper - Collins  and is available on many online bookshops. But,  what about winning a free copy? Read through this presentation and, at the bottom of the post,  you'll find a rafflecopter form with many chances to win! Unfortunately, this contest is limited to US readers only. Good luck!
What can you find in the book?

Knit your way through the incredible world of Jane Austen’s beloved novels, from Pemberley to Mansfield Park, and create your favorite Austen characters, including Elizabeth Bennet, Mr. Darcy, Emma Woodhouse, and more with this delightful collection of twelve knitting projects from the famed craftsman, Austen enthusiast, and author of Knit Your Own Kama Sutra, Trixie von Purl.
Knitting maven Trixie von Purl helps knitters and Austen fans create the world of Jane Austen like never before with this inventive and unique craft book. Featuring a high-class art, Pride & Preju-knits gathers together the best sassy heroines and brooding heroes from all six of Austen’s beloved and widely acclaimed novels, including Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy, Emma Woodhouse and Mr. Knightley, and Marianne Dashwood and Mr. Willoughby.

Thursday, 10 December 2015

TALKING JANE AUSTEN WITH ... LYNN MESSINA, AUTHOR OF PREJUDICE & PRIDE. WIN COPIES OF THE BOOK!

Hello Lynn and welcome to our online Jane Austen club. My first question is, what was your first encounter with Austen and her world like? And was it through reading one of her books or watching one of the movie/TV adaptations?

My first experience was reading Pride and Prejudice when I was fifteen years old. I was in the back of my car and my family were driving from Long Island to Montreal to go skiing, which was, like, an eight-hour trek, and I’d slept for most of the trip, so when we arrived at the slopes I’d just gotten up to Mr. Darcy’s letter to Lizzy and the last thing I wanted to do—I mean, the very last thing—was put the book down and go ski.

When and how you came to think of writing  a Jane Austen –inspired book?

I came up with the idea after seeing Bride & Prejudice—Gurinder Chadha’s Bollywood adaptation—in the movie theater so that was eleven years ago now. I was waiting with a friend for her bus and we were chatting about the film and we both thought it was slightly off because the Elizabeth character was so mean. She was, we thought, more like the Darcy character, and by the time her bus came, say, ten minutes later, I had the general idea mapped out. What I loved about it was how perfectly the names worked with it: Fitzwilliam Darcy becoming Darcy Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Bennet becoming Bennet Elizabeth. OK, his last name doesn’t work at all, and don’t think I haven’t been sulking about that for more than a decade.

What’s surprising in your retelling of Jane Austen’s most beloved tale is … a gender-bendy twist. Could you tell us more about your choice and briefly introduce us your characters?

It’s all hazy now, but years ago I read about a director who switched all the parts in a Shakespeare play—it might have been Macbeth—to see if the emotional truths held regardless of gender. That stayed with me and a few years later I wrote a book about a girl who stages a gender-bendy Hamlet to protest gender inequality in her high school’s drama department. So as soon as I came up with the idea, I embraced it with both hands because it dealt with things I’ve been thinking about for a long time.

Monday, 7 December 2015

LAURA BRIGGS,CHRISTMAS WITH MISS AUSTEN - GUEST POST & GIVEAWAY

Austen at Christmastime

Thanks to Maria Grazia for inviting me to share my work with all her lovely readers!

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I always love a good dose of Jane Austen for the holidays. Whether it’s watching the six hour Pride & Prejudice miniseries for the zillionth time, reading one of the many variations and updates of her works—or reading the work in its original form—I enjoy it all.

So that was partly why I chose to write a Christmas novella with an Austenesque theme. Christmas with Miss Austen, a lighthearted, inspirational romance, features a modern-day heroine named Julia who is obsessed with all-things Austen. Waitress by day, painter by night, and Jane Austen on weekends might be a good way to describe her. When the story begins, it finds her volunteering at a historic open house for the holidays. Here, Julia dresses up in Regency style clothing and reads to visitors from an antique copy of Northanger Abbey.


Julia’s adventure begins when she falls asleep after the customers have gone, and accidentally gets locked inside the old house. She must walk home in the dark in full Regency garb. When she bumps into a stranger in the snowy park, Julia doesn’t stop to explain—she just scurries home.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

SPOTLIGHT ON ... DARCY'S CHRISTMAS WISH BY PENELOPE SWAN - BLOG EXCERPT & GIVEAWAY



Fitzwilliam Darcy never forgot the little girl, with the beautiful dark eyes, who saved his life fifteen years ago… though he never expected to meet her again. But when he comes to Rosings Park to spend the Advent season with his aunt, he discovers that at Christmastime, miracles - and wishes – can come true… 

DARCY'S CHRISTMAS WISH is a sweet, clean standalone Pride and Prejudice variation - a holiday romance inspired by Jane Austen's classic novel!

PRAISE FOR PENELOPE SWAN 

"Penelope Swan has captured the essence of the characters and their "voices" so well that one would think the text was written by Jane Austen, herself." ~ Ingrid Holzman

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

CELEBRATE THE 200th ANNIVERSARY OF JANE AUSTEN'S EMMA THIS DECEMBER IN WINCHESTER

December marks 200 years since the publication of one of the world’s most famous novels, Emma, written by Jane Austen. The author spent much of her life in Hampshire, died in Winchester’s historic College Street and is buried in Winchester Cathedral.

December is the ideal month to visit Winchester, fans of the novel, whose heroine was a great lover of Christmas, can expect a backdrop of ‘England as it used to be’ that is bustling with shoppers and revellers enjoying the compact medieval cityscape.
  
Winchester provides a tasteful and authentic Christmas experience - the festive season is celebrated with old and new traditions.  Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market is integral to the celebrations and recognised as being one of the best in Europe. This year is the tenth time the Christmas market has occupied the inner close. To celebrate, the Tourist Information Centre team have created a magical children’s grotto for Saturdays and the iconic Coca Cola lorry is coming to town on 17 December.  With lantern parades, Christmas shows and traditional pantomimes, Christmas 2015 will be a busy one for the ancient capital.

Friday, 20 November 2015

LOVELY JANEITES - MEET JULIET VONTURI: EMMA CALLS MR KNIGHTLEY

A very heartfelt thanks to Maria Grazia for her gracious welcome to join her and you all at My Jane Austen Book Club.

In 1997 the Miramax Production of ‘Emma’showed me with such clarity a higher quality lifestyle. She enchanted me and I fell head over heels in love with him, nothing could be further from my own life than this beautiful movie. Mesmerized I grew my hair long and started making choices in my thoughts and atmosphere which reflected the values I refined upon.


Poetic license lit up my mind since I’m in the midst of publishing my own book of poetry ‘Sunstar’. 

Monday, 9 November 2015

LONGBOURN'S SONGBIRD BLOG TOUR - READ BEAU NORTH'S GUESTPOST & WIN A PAPERBACK COPY!


Thank you to My Jane Austen Book Club for being the very first stop in my very first blog tour!

I thought that it would be fun to show you all how I came by some of my inspiration for Longbourn’s Songbird. Several people have already asked me what gave me the idea to write this story. Funnily enough, it was this photo of my grandmother, who was so beautiful in her youth that I thought “She’s as lovely as Jane Bennet.” And thus an idea was born.  




My grandmother, Ola Elizabeth Davis.

While it might be a bit of a cliché, I stuck to the old adage of “write what you know.” Yes, I was born and grew up in the South, but haven’t actually lived there for ten years now. I found that I was having to pull some pretty deep memories to get across the description of things there, like the way the crickets sing at night, the red clay dirt, the humid summer air. Some of the details I woefully forgot, like the sight of trees dripping with Spanish moss, or the way the leaves from the live oaks carpet the woods in the autumn.

Friday, 30 October 2015

SPOTLIGHT ON ... A JANE AUSTEN CHRISTMAS BY CARLO DEVITO + GIVEAWAY


Who wouldn't want to have a Jane Austen Christmas? Jane Austen wrote about Christmas time in each of her major novels. Who can forget Mr Elton's proposal to Emma on Christmas Eve,  Anne Elliot visiting the Musgroves at Uppercross during the holidays, or newly engaged Elizabeth Bennet inviting Aunt Gardiner to Pemberley for Christmas?


Carlo DeVito, the author of A Jane Austen Christmas, does what Austen didn't, since she didn't need to describe in details what her contemporary certainly knew: how to decorate or what to cook for Christmas, what music to sing or play or what little gifts to make. He collects all those  details for us and depicts what a typical British Christmas must have been like in the Georgian Era.



Tuesday, 20 October 2015

THE UNTHINKABLE TRIANGLE BLOG TOUR - GUEST POST BY AUTHOR JOANA STARNES & BOOK GIVEWAY

Glad to be hosting again Joana Starnes, this time on occasion of her promoting tour for The Unthinkable Triangle. Ready to discover more about her new intriguing variation of Pride and Prejudice?


Book Blurb - All is fair in love and war – or is it? What if Mr. Darcy’s rival for Elizabeth Bennet’s affections is not some inconsequential stranger, but his dearest, closest friend? How is he to reconcile the claims of loyalty and kinship with the urge to pursue his heart’s desire?



**********
Author Guest Post

Many thanks, Maria Grazia, for having me here today. It’s always wonderful to be your guest, and I greatly appreciate your warm welcome at My Jane Austen Book Club, on the blog tour for the launch of my latest book, The Unthinkable Triangle.

We are all familiar with the courtship dance of our favourite couple, in the original novel as well as in countless variations. The aloof gentleman, drawn against his better judgement to a pair of fine eyes and the playful, pert disposition of one who, instead of fawning upon him like the majority of his acquaintance, persists in challenging him at every turn. And then there is the opinionated lady, with her deep-set prejudice against him, for valid reasons as well as not so valid ones. They meet, the spar, they part. They meet again, they argue heatedly, and then they part once more. And just as they begin to understand each other, they are drawn apart again, by all manner of adverse circumstances.

Thursday, 8 October 2015

LOVELY JANEITES: WHAT WOULD JANE DO? AUTHOR SHERRI RABINOWITZ WONDERS ...

As I began the process of writing my first non-fiction book I tried to figured a way to tackle it.  I have several favorite writers and one of the tops in my book is Jane Austen.  My thought at the time as I began the process was, “What would Jane do?”  How would she handle the transition of writing non-fiction after years of writing fiction?

As I continued the process of writing down memories, settling them in some sort of order I kept thinking about Jane Austen and her talent for writing about everyday life.  She was able to take ordinary things like fighting with her mother, and make it into a brilliant comedy scene in her novels.  Or going to a dance in her neighborhood, and translate it into the scene where Lizzie first meets Darcy.  What I needed to do was the reverse, to take my real life and write it so it is both honest and entertaining.  Not the easiest of missions.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

CHARLIE LOVETT'S FIRST IMPRESSIONS IS OUT IN PAPERBACK. READ AN EXCERPT AND WIN A COPY.


Charlie Lovett’s  FIRST IMPRESSIONS is now out in paperback! To celebrate the event, here's a   great excerpt to read and the chance to win a copy! (See  the rafflecopter form below this  post)


Read an  excerpt

Steventon,  Hampshire, 1796
  
FOND AS  SHE  WAS of solitary walks, Jane  had  been  wandering rather  longer  than  she had intended, her mind  occupied not so much with the story she had lately been  reading as with one she hoped  soon to be writing. She was shaken  from this reverie by the sight of an unfa­ miliar  figure, sitting  on a stile, hunched over a book. Her first impres­ sion was that  he was the  picture  of gloom - dressed in shabby clerical garb, a dark look on his crinkled  face, doubtless  a volume of dusty ser­ mons clutched  in his ancient  hand.  Even the  weather seemed  to agree with this assessment,  for while the sun shone all around  him, he sat in the shadow of the single cloud  that hung in the Hampshire sky. Realiz­ ing how far she  had come  from  home,  Jane thought it best to retrace her steps without  interrupting the cleric's thoughts as he had  unknow­ ingly interrupted hers. During the  long walk home, across fields shimmering with  the  haze  of  summer   heat,  she  amused   herself  by sketching  out  a character  of this old  man,  storing  him  away, like so many others,  for possible inclusion  in some novel yet to be conceived. He was, she decided, a natural history enthusiast, but his passion lay not with anything beautiful  like butterflies  or wildflowers.  No, his particu­ lar expertise  was in the way of garden slugs, of which he could  identify twenty-six varieties.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

A CONVERSATION WITH JULIETTE WELLS, EDITOR OF EMMA: 200th ANNIVERSARY ANNOTATED EDITION - READ AND WIN A COPY!

A gorgeous new Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition of one of my favorite books of all time, Jane Austen’s EMMA, with a new introduction and notes by Goucher professor Juliette Wells is out today! This edition is being published to celebrate the 200th anniversary of EMMA, first published in 1815.

In the two centuries since its publication, readers have come to prize EMMA for both its good-humored good sense and its sharp wit—and for its lovably human leading lady. And with its smart and subtle exploration of relationships, EMMA is often seen as Jane Austen’s most flawless work. Beautiful, clever, rich—and single—Emma Woodhouse is perfectly content with her life and sees no need for either love or marriage. Nothing, however, delights her more than interfering in the romantic lives of others. But when she ignores the warnings of her good friend Mr. Knightley and attempts to arrange a suitable match for her protégée Harriet Smith, her carefully laid plans soon unravel and have consequences that she never expected.

Here is a conversation with Juliette Wells, editor of the new annotated edition and,  below it, you'll find the rafflecopter form to enter the giveaway contest for a paperback copy of the book (US only)




When we celebrate the 200th anniversary of EMMA, what in particular are we celebrating? What’s new about this edition?

We’re celebrating the 200th anniversary of Emma’s original publication, in London in December, 1815.  The date of publication is a little confusing because “1816” was printed on the title page of the first edition of the novel, but it was actually released in December, 1815.  I think this gives us the right to celebrate for a whole year!
And what better way to celebrate than to re-read Emma, or read it for the first time?  Our 200th-anniversary annotated edition has everything you need, all in one place, to help you appreciate this wonderful novel.   You can immerse yourself in Austen’s world and also have, right at your fingertips, explanations of some of the elements of the novel that tend to trip up or puzzle today’s readers.

Friday, 18 September 2015

A SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT FROM LAUGHING WITH LIZZIE

Sophie Andrews
Thank you very much Maria Grazia for allowing me to visit your blog today, My Jane Austen Book Club, to make my very special announcement! 

In fact, rather than making my own announcement, I am going to let the wonderful Caroline Jane Knight, Jane Austen's 5th great niece, tell you all!
  
"It is inspiring to see the positive influence Jane has on people’s lives today.     They say life is about what you leave behind and I couldn’t be more proud of Great Aunt Jane’s legacy, my inspiration for the Jane Austen Literacy Foundation.     As Jane’s popularity continues to grow, I wanted to extend her legacy by harnessing the global passion for Austen to improve literacy rates.    Literacy is the key to self-improvement and unlocking potential.    Reading and writing are essential skills for anyone who wants to understand, enjoy and influence the world around them.

Caroline Jane Knight

The foundation raises money to help create CONFIDENT READERS and PROUD WRITERS by providing FREE books and writing materials to communities in need around the world, in honour of Jane.     We are a volunteer organisation with all monies raised spent on literacy resources and fundraising activity.   We are currently raising funds to provide literacy resources for the displaced children of Syria, delivered on the ground by UNICEF.
I only joined Facebook a year ago and was amazed to discover a world of Austen, involving Janeites from around the world, enthusiastically and vibrantly celebrating and discussing all aspects of Jane’s life and works.      With over 7000 websites and social media profiles associated with Jane, there is a never ending stream of content to keep even the most ardent Janeite engaged.    

Monday, 7 September 2015

YOURS FOREVERMORE, MR DARCY - KARALYNNE MACKRORY'S BLOG TOUR STARTS TODAY!


Hello Readers-Of-Impeccable-Taste!

Welcome to the first stop on the blog tour of Yours Forevermore, Darcy and to your first JAA meeting.  We at Jane Austen Anonymous, would like to invite you to stay and share in your own Jane Austen addiction. 

                I’ll start. My name is KaraLynne Mackrory and I am a Jane Austen addict.  I have been for well over 15 years.  There was a guy in my freshman class that I thought was pretty handsome.  So when I read Pride and Prejudice for the first time as part of an assignment, it was easy to let my girlish crush combine with Jane Austen’s wit, transcendent romance and comedy to create a permanent addiction. I was lucky I found Jane Austen – I might have turned out quite normal otherwise.  ::shudder::

Thursday, 3 September 2015

A MATCH MADE IN AUSTEN - LET THE GAME BEGIN! INTERVIEW WITH MARJOLAINE LAFRENIERE

Hello Marjolaine and welcome to My Jane Austen Book Club.  A Match Made in Austen is the new card game you created for Renaissance Press, which will be released on 10th September. Can you briefly tell us what kind of game it is?

A Match Made in Austen is a storytelling card game. People draw six cards, three representing male characters and three representing female characters, they improvise some event at which the characters interact and then try to make wedding proposals to the characters they think are best suited to the ones in their hand.

Great! I think our Janeite friends will love it. It may be a perfect game to animate tea parties or friendly gathering of any type. How many players can be involved in the game?

The game can involve as few as two players (with some rule variations included in the rulebook) and as many as six.

Which Austen characters are involved in your card game?

The game includes 54 characters from the six main novels of Jane Austen. They are, by books and in alphabetical order:

Thursday, 13 August 2015

GUEST POST & GIVEAWAY - MADELINE COURTNEY PRESENTS ABHORRENCE AND AFFECTION

Hello, I'm Madeline Courtney and I write Jane Austen inspired romances. My first novel, Abhorrence and Affection, has just been published on Kindle and is going through some minor editing, so it can be ready for print within the next month! (Which is super exciting and super nerve wracking at the same time).

Abhorrence and Affection is a relatively short read (only 51K words long or 144 Kindle pages) about a silly, young woman forced into marrying her childhood rivalry to save her family from their debt...

This, of course, leads to silly arguments and hilarious insults between the two main characters; a Mr. Nicholas Oakley and a Mrs. Bethany Benedicts Oakley... But there are some serious scenes as well...

"How dare you make such suggestions when you have no idea what it is your talking about? Of course you've always been this way; conceited, arrogant, rude to others when they don't match up to your ridiculously high standards. Why do you think you had no suitors? It definitely wasn't because you're not beautiful. It was because you insist on treating people like dirt beneath your feet and no one wants to be in your presences for longer than five minutes. If it wasn't for me you would have surely died an old maid." -Abhorrence and Affection, Chapter Six


The story really shows that sometimes life just doesn't turn out the you would expect it to... but that's not always a bad thing... even if you are too stubborn to see it at first.

It's definitely something I would suggest to anyone who has read all the Austen novels and can't help searching for more. Even I, the writer, want to curl up on the sofa with a cup of tea on a rainy day and just lose myself in the story all over again.

If you're interested in reading Abhorrence and Affection... you can purchase the Kindle version  or  read the first chapter for free   


Giveaway Time! Yes, I'm having a small giveaway. As soon as I reach 10K followers on Twitter, I'll be giving out 10 free copies of the novel (Kindle and Print)... So be sure to follow me on Twitter at @MaddieC123 for a chance to win!


Madeline Courtney

Monday, 10 August 2015

SHOULD ELIZABETH HAVE ACCEPTED DARCY'S FIRST PROPOSAL?


(guest post by Victoria Grossack)

I always want to play “what-if” with stories.  Juliet should not have faked her death; Romeo should not have swallowed the poison, and heck, maybe the Montagues and the Capulets should have ended their feud earlier.  So here’s a question: when Mr. Darcy proposes to Elizabeth in Kent, should she have accepted him?

Some will cry out: Of course not!  Because in that case we would not have had the second half of Pride & Prejudice (and amazingly, the proposal scene occurs at the exact midpoint of the story).  And the second half, in which Elizabeth revises her opinion and Darcy atones for all his defects, is absolutely delightful.

But let us put aside the fact that an acceptance by Elizabeth would ruin the story.  If you were living in the novel, how would you advise Miss Elizabeth Bennet?

If your primary concern were money, you would recommend that she accept the proposal immediately. We have not seen Pemberley yet, but Mr. Darcy seems to be very rich and Elizabeth Bennet’s expectations are fairly bleak.  So if we were to take the attitude of Mrs. Collins, we would tell her to accept the proposal immediately.  In fact, Mrs. Collins is one of the few (other than Miss Bingley) who detects Darcy’s interest in Elizabeth, and she is convinced that if Elizabeth knew of his interest in her that her dislike would vanish.

Sunday, 9 August 2015

VICTORIA KINCAID, WHY MR COLLINS? READ AN EXCERPT & WIN YOUR COPY OF MR DARCY TO THE RESCUE

Mr Darcy to the Rescue 

When the irritating Mr. Collins proposes marriage, Elizabeth Bennet is prepared to refuse him, but then she learns that her father is ill. If Mr. Bennet dies, Collins will inherit Longbourn and her family will have nowhere to go. Elizabeth accepts the proposal, telling herself she can be content as long as her family is secure. If only she weren’t dreading the approaching wedding day… Ever since leaving Hertfordshire, Mr. Darcy has been trying to forget his inconvenient attraction to Elizabeth. News of her betrothal forces him to realize how devastating it would be to lose her. He arrives at Longbourn intending to prevent the marriage, but discovers Elizabeth’s real opinion about his character. Then Darcy recognizes his true dilemma… How can he rescue her when she doesn’t want him to?

Buy your copy at Amazon.com




 Victoria Kincaid about Mr Collins 

Mr. Collins is annoying.  Certainly he is one of the least-loved Pride and Prejudice characters.  So, why did I write a P&P variation in which Elizabeth becomes engaged to him?  I recently became intrigued by Collins when I realized is that there aren’t a lot of P&P variations which redeem him.  You can find variations in which Mr. and Mrs. Bennet mend their ways or Caroline Bingley finds true love or Kitty and Mary become less foolish—even stories where Lady Catherine and/or Wickham see the light.  But there aren’t many where Collins really becomes a better person (disclaimer: Mr. Darcy to the Rescue doesn’t redeem Collins either—he’s just as foolish and funny as in P&P).   I began to wonder why that is.  Why is it harder to redeem him than it is to redeem Wickham or Caroline or Lady C? 

Here’s my theory:  it’s because he’s stupid (Jane Austen actually says so).  It’s hard to imagine redeeming stupidity.  You can picture someone who is wicked (like Wickham) or haughty (like Lady C) seeing the error of their ways and turning over a new leaf.  But it’s hard to imagine Collins having the self-awareness to see that he is making mistakes and taking steps to change his behavior.  He’s simply too dense. 

Thursday, 6 August 2015

THE ROSS POLDARK BLOG TOUR UPDATE - MORE PRIZES AND STILL TIME TO ENTER THE CONTEST!


The Ross Poldark Blog Tour has concluded but there is still time for you  readers to leave comments and enter the giveaway contest until 11:59pm PT, August 10, 2015. And, there is exciting news. PBS has contributed a DVD of season one of Poldark to our list of prizes! Here is the updated prize list with it included:

  • (1) DVD of season one of Poldark
  • (2 ) Old Britain Castles Pink Pottery Mugs by Johnson Brothers
  • (1) Twelve-inch Old Britain Castles Pink Pottery Plater by Johnson Brothers
  • (1) London Telephone Box Tin of Ahmad English Breakfast Tea
  • (1) Jar of Mrs. Bridges Marmalade
  • (1) Package of Duchy Originals Organic Oaten Biscuits
  • (2) Packets of Blue Boy Cornflower Seeds by Renee’s Garden Heirloom (1) Trade Paperback Copy of Ross Poldark & Demelza, by Winston Graham

Friday, 31 July 2015

BLOG TOUR: MISS GEORGIANA DARCY OF PEMBERLEY BY SHANNON WINSLOW . WIN SIGNED PAPERBACK OR EBOOK!

Thank you, Maria, for inviting me here today to tell your readers a little about Miss Georgiana Darcy of Pemberley. I can hardly believe that I now have five novels published! Each one has been a delight to write and share; each one has presented new and interesting challenges!

Georgiana Darcy is a fascinating creature, and I had already been thinking about a way to expand on what I had written about her in The Darcys of Pemberley when the idea for this novel occurred to me. I felt she deserved more space on the page than I had been able to devote to her in that earlier book, which focused primarily on Darcy and Elizabeth. So, that’s what started me off. I decided I would write a companion piece, retelling the story, this time from Georgiana’s point of view.

I had never written this kind of book before. Sequels, yes, and a variation on Jane Austen’s own life (The Persuasion of Miss Jane Austen), but never a retelling. I expected it would pose certain difficulties, but at least I was uniquely qualified for the job since I had written the original myself! Even though I knew The Darcys of Pemberley backwards and forwards, however, I had a couple of surprises in store for me when I reviewed it once more with a mind to writing its companion.

First, I was amazed how different things – various events and what people said – appeared through an alternate point of view, which is as true in real life as it could be in any work of fiction, I’m sure. Examining it all through Georgiana’s eyes for a change, I began noticing how infrequently anybody consulted her for an opinion and how often she was left out altogether – left out of the conversation, the decision, the excursion, etc.

There was no malicious or even conscious intent to do so – not by Darcy and Elizabeth when they behaved that way, and certainly not by me when I wrote it. We had slighted Georgiana by thoughtlessness, not design. And despite the fact that she’s supposed to be very modest and mild mannered, it had to hurt.

So this became one of the themes of the book: Georgiana’s struggle to be respected as a competent adult. Here’s a brief excerpt as an example, told in her own words:

Whatever was taking place in the library behind closed doors, I could have no part in it. Did they think me disinterested? No, more likely I had been disqualified on the basis of my age. The colonel had said to me less than two weeks before, “When you are grown…” implying I was still a child. Now here was more evidence that I was not yet to be taken seriously. I was to be sheltered and set aside rather than being consulted on adult matters for a mature opinion.

Monday, 27 July 2015

THE POLDARK SAGA - MY REVIEW OF BOOK 1 + GRAND GIVEAWAY

I blame Ross Poldark for ...

I hadn’t read any of the books from the Poldark saga before the new adaptation started on BBC1, though I had been totally smitten by the original series back in the 70s. I was just a kid who was beginning to learn English as a foreign language at school at that time and my love for everything British is,  for sure,  a result of Robin Ellis’s good looks and Ross Poldark’s charm as a character. My interest in Jane Austen's novels came soon after.

However, I bought the first 2 Poldark books when the remake was announced in the press. I decided I wanted to read them,  to compare them to their adaptation in the upcoming TV series.

You know, that’s one of my favourite passtimes! 


Synopsis of Book 1 - Ross Poldark

In the first novel in Winston Graham’s hit series, a weary Ross Poldark returns to England from war, looking forward to a joyful homecoming with his beloved Elizabeth. But instead he discovers his father has died, his home is overrun by livestock and drunken servants, and Elizabeth—believing Ross to be dead—is now engaged to his cousin. Ross has no choice but to start his life anew.
Thus begins the Poldark series, a heartwarming, gripping saga set in the windswept landscape of Cornwall. With an unforgettable cast of characters that spans loves, lives, and generations, this extraordinary masterwork from Winston Graham is a story you will never forget.

The hero


“His was not an easy face to read, and no one could have told that in the past half hour he had suffered the worst knock of his life. Except that he no longer whistled into the wind or talked to his irritable mare, there was nothing to show.”


(pictures: Robin Ellis and Aidan Turner as Ross Poldark

Respect to other 18th century gentlemen, Ross Poldark is quite the restless Romantic type and very little the well-mannered Austen hero. As a matter of fact, being Ross a gentleman of the Georgian Era, his good manners may be well considered flawed.
He is a living contradiction - as alive as a literary character can be - in so many aspects. He is generous and passionate, has a huge sense of honour and dignity. Anyhow,  his impulsiveness, rebelliousness, anticonformism, pride and moody temper distance him from other literary gentlemen of his time. 

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

SPOTLIGHT ON ... JANE BY THE SEA BY CAROLYN V. MURRAY - WIN PAPERBACK OR EBOOK!

Very little is known about the young man that Jane Austen met during a seaside holiday in 1800. Her sister was later to say that she believed this young man was falling in love with Jane and was someone she felt was truly worthy of her sister. What transpired that summer? Perhaps it happened this way …

Jane begins her search for love with giddy optimism, but her first encounter proves devastating. The young Irishman who captured her heart is convinced by his family that marrying a penniless clergyman’s daughter would be a terrible mistake. Jane resolves never again to succumb to false hope, romantic delusions, and pathetic heartbreak.

Lieutenant Frederick Barnes is on medical leave from the Royal Navy. By the time he crosses paths with Jane, she has lost her faith in love and is determined to protect her heart at all costs.But the Lieutenant is captivated and equally determinedto break through her defenses. Jane must battle between what she knows and what she feels. What will happen to her heart if she is wrong again?


Read an excerpt 
It was after one o’clock in the morning when I climbed out of bed, pulled back the curtains for moonlight, and began to dress. The rustling awoke Cassie. I told her to return to sleep, but that the warm air was too much for me. If I could only steal down to the waves, and feel the cool water wash over my ankles, I should cool down immediately.
“You cannot be serious. To go down to the beach? At this hour?” Cassie inquired in disbelief.
“Go back to sleep. I shall return very shortly.”

Sunday, 12 July 2015

LINDA BEUTLER, A WILL OF IRON - BLOG TOUR: EXCERPT & GIVEAWAY


Dear Maria and Readers at My Jane Austen Book Club,

Thanks for hosting a stop on the A Will of Iron Blog Tour. The excerpts I have selected need a touch of setting up before we begin. Here are two conversations that take place at the end of Chapter 5, “A Funeral”. The funeral in question is that of Anne de Bourgh, who has died due to complications of a secret pregnancy. In this chapter, Darcy and Elizabeth interact for the first time since Darcy’s return to Rosings for his cousin’s funeral, after the Hunsford Proposal. These two later conversations, first with Darcy and his sister, and then with Charlotte and Elizabeth, give us a hint to the changes in their feelings and how they look at themselves. The conversations are followed by an entry from the journal of Anne de Bourgh; it ends the chapter. The journal entries are sprinkled throughout A Will of Iron, for it is Anne’s iron character, and her Last Will and Testament, which color every moment of the Darcy + Elizabeth romance presented here.

Linda Beutler



Excerpt

Darcy and Georgiana at Rosings:

Having successfully gained his attention, Georgiana huffed into the chair that was the match of the one occupied by Darcy. “Do I understand correctly, Brother, that the young lady serving coffee is the Elizabeth Bennet of whom you have written?”

Darcy stared at his sister blankly for several moments, vastly disconcerted. … He straightened himself and met her gaze. “Yes. Mrs. Collins is her particular friend, and Miss Bennet has been a guest at the vicarage for some weeks. She was due to leave Friday last, but our family’s events and her inclusion in Anne’s will have lengthened her stay.”

Monday, 6 July 2015

ROSS POLDARK BLOG TOUR - COME AND CELEBRATE WITH US!




“If Jane Austen met Charlotte Bronte and they drank too much port, 
the Poldark Saga would be their literary love child.”Poldarkian.com 


Captain Ross Poldark rides again in the new Sourcebooks Landmark tie-in editions of Ross Poldark and Demelza, the first two novels in the acclaimed Poldark Saga by Winston Graham, adapted into the inaugural season of the new Masterpiece Classic PBS’s series Poldark, airing June 21 – August 2 on PBS. In celebration, July 6th through August 3rd, The Ross Poldark Blog Tour will visit thirty popular book blogs specializing in historical, romance and Austenesque fiction. Featuring spotlights, previews, excerpts and book reviews of these two acclaimed historical fiction novels, the tour will also offer readers a chance at a fabulous giveaway contest including copies of the books and a stunning Anglophile-themed prize package.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

BLOG TOUR - INSPIRED BY GRACE BY JEANNA ELLSWORTH. DISCOVER MORE AND WIN A COPY!


Thanks so much Maria Grazia for hosting my on your blog to talk about Inspired by Grace! I have always loved being your guest.  Mostly because I get to talk about my books and writing! But today I am going to not just tell you about the book with the intrigue and excerpt, but I will introduce the main female character by using TV tropes.  What is a TV trope and what does it have to do with a book blog tour?  Tropes are a way to classify characters that seem to follow patterns and they are called TV tropes because they were first noticed in TV sitcoms and movies but since then, they are recognized universally throughout all media. 

Although Inspired by Grace is not JAFF, I have to say that Jane Austen inspired all my writing (this book happens to have a loose Persuasion correlation).  One of my favorite things about Austen is her ability to create memorable characters.  Here is a quick video link for you to watch a sketch that a comedy group called Studio C from BYU created.  The skit is called, “Teddy’s Story Joint” and the idea is author’s come and order plots like it is a fast food restaurant.  My favorite is when Jane Austen orders her “usual” which is “girl likes a guy, looks like she won’t get the guy, but then she does. With a witty social critique on the side.”  If you want to see the full sketch, click here  


I had already finished writing Inspired by Grace when I was introduced to the concept of TV tropes. I was really intrigued by this concept that there could be repeated characterizations throughout TV and literature.  So I tried to classify Grace Iverson, the heroine of Inspired by Grace.  I found that she fits two tropes; English Rose and Spirited Young Lady. The English Rose trope is a character who is virtuous and possess a certain amount of modest beauty. She is also dignified in a social setting but may not be upper class, but acts like it.  Jane Bennet is somewhat of an English Rose.  But Grace has some spunk to her too that makes English Rose not entirely fitting.  She has quite a bit of the Spirited Young Lady trope too.  I probably do not have to define this one . . . if I just say Elizabeth Bennet then you will know what I mean.  She is intelligent, often outdoorsy, witty and has a will of her own that prevents her from always conforming. 

Monday, 29 June 2015

REGINA JEFFERS, THE PROSECUTION OF MR DARCY'S COUSIN - AUTHOR GUEST POST & GIVEAWAY

When I began writing The Prosecution of Mr. Darcys Cousin: A Pride and Prejudice Mystery, I thought to use the actual Regency era case known as The Ratcliffe Highway Murders in the plot line for the although a suspect was identified, the man committed suicide and nothing was proved in court. P. D. James and T. A. Critchley discuss this case in great detail (and a bit of editorializing) in The Maul and the Pear Tree.

However, as I set up the story line for my novel, many changes needed to be made to the actual Ratcliffe mystery to fit my manuscript. Most importantly, the Ratcliffe murders occurred in December 1811. In my books, Major General Fitzwilliam (Colonel Fitzwilliam in the original Pride and Prejudice) married Miss Georgiana Darcy right after Napoleon escaped from Elba and right before the Major General returned to serve with Wellington at Waterloo. That means my story is set in 1816.

The Major General and Mrs. Fitzwilliam have been married sixteen months and are the parents of a daughter. The major general resigned his commission and became a landed gentleman in Oxfordshire. Yet, doing so brings Fitzwilliam no success for 1816 was the Year Without Summer, when the ash from the Mount Tambora eruption spread across Europe, England and America, disturbing the weather and disrupting crops. Fitzwilliam knew much success as an Army officer, and this failure plays hard with his nature.

I used the concept of the mass hysteria associated with the Ratcliffe Murders in this book. What would happen if several gruesome murders occur in Wapping? What if the prime suspect is the son of an earl? Would justice prevail? Would the victims, part of the poor of London, know justice? There are bits of Jack the Ripper-like hysteria in the tale.