Tuesday, 16 June 2015


“So each had a private little sun for her soul to bask in…” —Thomas Hardy

If you desire a little heat, a summer flirtation, or an escape to bask in your own private sun, this whimsical collection of original short stories is inspired by all things summer. In collaboration with some of Meryton Press’s most popular and award-winning authors, this anthology debuts other promising and emerging talent.

·         In KaraLynne Mackrory’s “Shades of Pemberley,” Mr. Darcy, with some fantastic assistance, discovers Elizabeth Bennet in a most unlikely place.

·         Karen M. Cox’s “Northanger Revisited” modernizes Northanger Abbey at a fictionalized Georgia seaside.

·         Linda Beutler takes us to Paris as a young gentleman is schooled in the ways of amour in “The Incomplete Education of Fitzwilliam Darcy.”

·         In “Spyglasses and Sunburns,” J. Marie Croft takes the Miss Bennets to the seaside where they chance upon handsome acquaintances.

·         In Abigail Bok’s “A Summer in Sanditon,” a little sea bathing seems just the thing to cure what ails Anne de Bourgh.

·         In Natalie Richards’ “Midsummer Madness,” an honest confession and a promise between strangers at a masque ball mend a misunderstanding.

·         Sophia Rose reimagines a modern-day Persuasion in “Second Chance at Sunset Beach.”

·         In Morgan K Wyatt’s “Dream Spinner,” a near-death car accident and an unlikely trucker bring new perspective to a young co-ed’s life and love.

Contemporary and Regency alike, each romance was dreamt as a perfect summer refreshment to bring a smile to your own sun-kissed face.

Stories by:
KaraLynne Mackrory
Karen M. Cox Linda Beutler J. Marie Croft
Abigail Bok
Natalie Richards Sophia Rose
Morgan K Wyatt

I asked Linda Beutlar to tell us more about her short story, how she came to write it. And here what she kindly wrote me back:

How The Incomplete Education of Fitzwilliam Darcy came to be by Linda Beutler

Hugh Thomson’s 1894 illustration
 of Mr. Darcy
First, Maria Grazia, thanks for being a stop on our blog tour for Sun-Kissed: Effusions of Summer.  You enquired about my inspiration to write the story included in the anthology. The seed was planted perhaps a year ago, when I was involved in, and also overheard, what seemed to be idle speculation about the relative virginity (or lack of it) of Fitzwilliam Darcy. Things got rather heated amongst the debaters, but my first thought was, “Good heavens! He is fictional! If you don’t like stories where he is experienced, don’t read them!”

            After reading more debate on goodreads.com, and weathering some criticism for my somewhat experienced Mr. Darcy in Longbourn to London, I began to seriously ponder what sort of sex-education I could live with Darcy having experienced.

            During the Regency period, which was indelibly marked by the Napoleonic Wars, many young men of Darcy’s age and wealth would have been denied a full Grand Tour of Europe (and beyond) for safety’s sake. But it was on a Grand Tour, usually undertaken after leaving university, that young men of elevated or noble birth were schooled in the arts of love. In researching another story, I stumbled across a reference to the Peace of Amiens in 1803, a year of respite in the conflicts between England and France. It has been documented that during that year, wealthy young men were sent abroad in droves to see and experience the wonders of the world.

            Given this nugget of speculative information, it wasn’t long until this story formed itself. Initially it ended at the first half of the tale: Darcy and his cousin Alexander Fitzwilliam (yes, I am tired of calling him Richard), not yet a colonel or even in possession of an officer’s commission, at a swanky brothel in Paris and the aftermath. However, Miss Elizabeth Bennet would not be gainsaid. The second half of the story is simply Darcy trying to make sense of his instant attraction to country lass Elizabeth Bennet. Frankly, I think it all flows rather well into the approach to the Hunsford Proposal, and felt no need to take the story beyond what seemed to me a natural insertion point back into Pride and Prejudice.

            If Darcy was 27-28 during the period of Pride and Prejudice (1811-1812), he would have been 19-20 during the Peace of Amiens—full young, perhaps, for a Grand Tour—and likely his father would have seized the opportunity to push the fledgling from the nest for a few months if not for the duration of the peace, as did other fathers of his economic strata. This excerpt is George Darcy’s letter to his young son, explaining a father’s expectations, much to the embarrassment of the recipient!

     Linda Beutler 

Linda Beutler has published three novels of Austenesque romance through Meryton Press: A Will of Iron (June 2015), Longbourn to London (July 2014), and the Silver IPPY Award-winning The Red Chrysanthemum (September 2013). She is also a garden writer, publishing through Timber Press, including the forthcoming Plant Lover's Guide to Clematis (March 2016), Garden to Vase (2007), and Gardening with Clematis (2004).


If you'd like to be featured in an anthology like this one, check out the Holiday Romance Short Story Contest 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


arjanne said...

I'm looking forward to reading this book. There are some stories from writers I already know and love (that includes you, Linda!), but also some new ones and I love to discover new authors!

kookblogs (at) gmail (dot) com

Sophia Rose said...

I love learning what inspires a story and I applaud Linda for being willing to take a bit of flack to tell her story. I always find it fascinating to learn more about the social mores and customs of the Regency Period so this brief glimpse into a young man of wealth's education was enjoyable.

Starting Linda's story next in the book. ;) Now I really look forward to it.

Sophia Rose said...

And, Thank you for hosting, Maria!

J. Marie Croft (Joanne) said...

Hi, Maria, and thanks for participating in the Sun-Kissed blog tour.
Don't you just love learning about a story's inspiration?
And thanks, Linda, for educating us!

Christina Boyd said...

Yea, I'm one of those believers that thinks DARCY would have come to his marriage with some experience. Thanks for hosting Maria! And hope you get a chance to read the collection of short stories!

Beau North said...

He was, after all, a man who had "lived in the world" - and all that implies!

KarenMC said...

Thanks for hosting, Maria! Linda, I'm a big fan of exploring the backstories and boundaries of my favorite Austen characters. For a Darcy in that time, in that place - a little 'education' seems perfectly reasonable to me.

Linda Beutler said...

Thanks everyone! I do hope you will enjoy the banter between the cousins. Their brotherly relationship really lies at the heart of this tale. I can just imagine the colonel and Darcy, after this story ends, conferring over the Rosings billiards table trying to figure out how to present Darcy in the best possible light to Elizabeth. This eventually leads to Col. Fitz bragging how "loyal" Darcy is to his friends, explaining the "saving" of Bingley, and it all circles the drain from there.

Jenetta James said...

this is a very fun story - & I completely agree (about experience)

Sonja said...

I think this looks like a great book to read. It will be an interesting read.

Sonja said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lúthien84 said...

Thanks for telling us your inspiration for writing your short story, Linda. You make me long to read your story and frankly I can't wait to read the book.

Anonymous said...

Looks like a good book. kamundsen44@yahoo.com Kim

morgan said...

This book embodies the carefree, anything could happen feel of summer. I'm grateful to have been a part of the process.

cyn209 said...

I cannot wait to read this!!!
thank you for the giveaway!!!

Christina Boyd said...

I'm glad had the opportunity to work with you!

Christina Boyd said...

I hope you add it to your summer reads list--and can't wait to hear how you like the collection! Thanks!

Vesper Meikle said...

I have always presumed that Darcy had some experience though I don't want to read about it and tend to scan the descriptions until it gets back to what I consider is the story

Anji said...

When it comes to pre-marital experience, I can take my Darcy either way. As a wealthy young man of the Regency era, I do find it more believable that he would have had at least some, though.

I love your work Linda. I have The Red Chrysanthemum as an ebook and was so very lucky to win a paperback of Longbourn to London last year. "I am all anticipation" for the new book!

Congratulations to everyone involved in this project!

Jo's Daughter said...

This book seems wonderful, perfect with a cool glass of homemade lemonade :-)

Lieder Madchen said...

Thanks for the great post, Linda! I am also one who thinks Darcy would have some experience, and your story made me feel sympathetic embarrassment for poor young Darcy! I really loved his relationship with Alexander, as well. :)

Natalie R.