Monday, November 20, 2017

A Very Austen Christmas

Available at Amazon

Robin Helm, Laura Hile, Wendi Sotis, and Barbara Cornthwaite, the authors of A Very Austen Christmas, are my guests today. We are spotlighting their new release with blurbs for each story and an excerpt from each story. What a fun way to start getting in the Christmas spirit. From what I hear, many are in the spirit of enjoying this book already. The book is ranked the #1 Amazon Best Seller in its category! Congratulations, ladies. That is awesome! I'm thrilled for you. I cannot wait to read this one myself. I love the holidays and one thing that makes them even better is getting to read a good Christmas story. If it's JAFF and four stories instead of one, well, that's even better! :) All of these ladies are fine authors so I'm confident this book will not disappoint. I'm ready for a little holiday cheer. What about you, Dear Readers?

*****


A Very Austen Christmas blurbs

Her Christmas Gift by Robin Helm

Elizabeth Bennet finds herself snowbound at Rosings with two rejected, but highly eligible, suitors. Does either man have a chance? Will her childhood friend, Meryton’s golden boy, win her affection, or will she accept the master of Pemberley? Perhaps she will refuse them both a second time.  Her Christmas Gift deftly combines tension and emotion with humor and romance. 

The Christmas Matchmaker by Laura Hile

It’s raining; it’s pouring – and what could be better than a little Christmas matchmaking? So says Emma Woodhouse who is unexpectedly stranded at Netherfield Park. Mr. Darcy disagrees, for she has someone else in mind for adorable Elizabeth Bennet. Amid meddling, misunderstanding, and an unwelcome proposal or two, will True Love find a way?

No Better Gift by Wendi Sotis

On his way to Derbyshire to spend Christmas with his family, Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy plans to retrieve an item he left behind during his rushed escape from Netherfield—and the country miss who touched his heart. Finding Meryton practically deserted, he fears the worst. What fate could have fallen upon this once-thriving village in only three weeks? More importantly, was Miss Elizabeth Bennet in danger?

Mistletoe at Thornton Lacey by Barbara Cornthwaite


When Edmund Bertram realizes that Fanny is the perfect wife for him, he wants to propose without delay. What better time than at Christmas? Ah, but the course of true love never does run smooth ...

A Very Austen Christmas excerpts

Her Christmas Gift (excerpt) by Robin Helm

She turned her head to look up at him and tripped over a root, sending her sprawling in the snow.
Darcy knelt beside her. “Are you injured?”
“No, I think not, though I am a bit humiliated. Will you help me up?” She extended her hand to him.
Darcy tried to help her to her feet, but she cried out as soon as she put weight on her foot.
Without a word, he picked her up as if he were cradling a child.
“Mr. Darcy, you must put me down.”
“You cannot so much as stand, and the sleds are much too far ahead for me to catch them. I see no other solution.”
He began to walk towards Rosings.
“Miss Bennet, ’twould help if you put your arms about my neck. You are dead weight otherwise, and we have over a mile before we reach the house.”
She blushed furiously but did as he asked. “Will you agree to put me down when we are in sight of Rosings?”
“If you are able to walk by leaning on me, I will. Otherwise, I shall carry you the entire way.”
Elizabeth began to chuckle.
Darcy glanced down at her. “You are amused?”
“I am. You are covered in snow and look like a snow beast of some sort.”
“And what are you? My prey?”
She feigned shock. “Do you mean I am in mortal danger? I thought gentlemen protected young ladies.”
“You said I was a snow beast. I suppose that means I am not a gentleman.”
In the midst of their banter, Darcy and Elizabeth had failed to notice the man directly in front of them.
“You will unhand my future wife this instant!”
Thomas had returned; he was very angry.

***** 

The Christmas Matchmaker (excerpt) by Laura Hile

Mr. Darcy placed a small table before Elizabeth and then came back with the backgammon board. “Shall we play a game?” he said pleasantly, moving his chair to face hers.
“No!” she whispered urgently. “We shall never hear the end of it.”
His response was to open the board and begin placing the checkers. “When everyone sees how thoroughly you are trounced, Miss Elizabeth, speculation of a romance between us shall cease.”
Trounced? Elizabeth lifted her chin. “If I do agree to play, I have no intention of losing, sir.”
Mr. Darcy’s eyes glittered. “We’ll see about that.”
Elizabeth discovered that she was smiling. “I’ll have you know that I am rather good at backgammon.”
“Ah, but are you good enough?”
Was he taunting her? Silent, taciturn Mr. Darcy? And there was more. When he smiled, his cheeks dimpled attractively. Why had she never noticed this?
“I am not afraid of you, sir,” she countered.
“You should be,” he said, and he held out her dice. What could she do but take them?
Her bare fingers brushed against his palm. “En garde, Miss Elizabeth,” he said softly.
Did he think to confound her with fencing cant? He would soon discover that she was no green girl. “Allez, Mr. Darcy,” she smilingly retorted, and boldly tossed the dice onto the board. 

 *****

No Better Gift (excerpt) by Wendi Sotis

Growing up, Darcy’s mother had often told him that love was something to be cherished. It was her fondest wish that he and his sister would love their marriage partners someday.
At his mother’s graveside, even though his father was utterly distraught, he confided that no matter how much pain he experienced at losing her, he would have done nothing differently. Loving her was the wisest thing he had ever done.
If love was such a glorious thing, why then had falling in love with Elizabeth caused him so much pain?
After a quick review of all his past dealings with Elizabeth, using this new insight into her thought process as a lens, he now understood he must have affronted her at every turn.
He shuddered to think of how, at gatherings they had both attended, she must have interpreted his inability to keep his eyes from following her every move. At the time, he had scolded himself, thinking she would recognize his attraction, so he tried his best to avoid her. In truth, at the very least, his behaviour must have left her confused. Perhaps even unsettled — or worse.
How could he have been so ignorant of causing her distress?
He glanced over at her, walking beside him.
Knowing she disliked him — for if she thought he had done nothing but criticize her in the past, how could she feel any other way — would it be easier to forget her?
He must decide, and quickly. If he was to speak to her about this, it had to be within the next minute or two, for they would soon come upon Baxter. Once at the house, there would be people all around them. And tomorrow, when Roberts returned, perhaps he should leave, after all.
His heart faltered. If he left while they were on these terms … chances were that he would never see her again.
No! He could not just go on with his life knowing he had insulted her so badly and leave it at that. It was selfish, but he could not bear to have Elizabeth think ill of him for all eternity.
He swallowed hard and turned to the lady of his heart. “Miss Elizabeth, I would like to make it perfectly clear that I never meant to insult you. It was done most unwittingly.”
She kept her gaze directed at the path.
“I hope you accept my sincere apology.”
Perspiration broke out across his brow as he waited for her answer.

*****

Mistletoe at Thornton Lacey  (excerpt) by Barbara Cornthwaite

They walked on in silence for another minute and then Tom said, “Well, he is settled and happy in his situation. I suppose the next thing he will do is find a wife. We must be sure he marries to advantage, Susan. A good wife would complete his happiness, and a bad one would cut up his peace forever. He is too good a man to have his soul galled perpetually by an awful woman. The aggravating thing is that I can’t think of anyone hereabouts who would be suitable. There is a depressing dearth of young people in the neighbourhood.”
“I often think the same about Fanny,” said Susan. “She would shine as a wife, but there is no one that comes to Mansfield, and she never travels further than Thornton Lacey.”
The same thought struck both of them at that moment. They turned to each other, Tom’s mouth slightly agape, and Susan gasped.
“Oh, do you think we could contrive—?”
“Not for us to think of it,” said Tom, after a moment’s pause. “Really, none of our business.”
“No?” said Susan. “I am persuaded that they would do very well together. And so are you. You were thinking so just now.”
“If you are contemplating laying some sort of plot to match the two of them, I beg you would forget it,” said Tom. “Elaborate plans always misfire, somehow.” He paused, ruminating. “Not but what a word might be dropped here and there—in season, of course.
They are not together as much as they might be,” said Susan. “Edmund is so much at Thornton Lacey.”
“Perhaps we could contrive at that, if the opportunity arose.”
At that moment, Pug emerged from a rhododendron, where, it appeared, he had been exploring—and perhaps rolling in—some muddy ground. The subject of a match between Edmund and Fanny was dropped, but not forgotten.


 *****

A Very Austen Christmas author bios

    Robin Helm's time revolves around music as she dances (as badly as Mr. Collins), sings (a little better than Mary Bennet), plays (better than Marianne Dashwood – almost as well as Caroline Bingley), and teaches (channeling her inner Elinor). Her books reflect that love, as well as her fascination with the paranormal and science fiction.
    Her latest publication is Understanding Elizabeth, in which Darcy must decide how much he’s willing to pay to have what he wants. Previously published works include The Guardian Trilogy (Darcy is Elizabeth’s guardian angel), and the Yours by Design series (Fitzwilliam Darcy switches places in time with his descendant, Will Darcy).
    She lives in South Carolina and adores her one husband (Mr. Knightley), two married daughters (Elizabeth I and Elizabeth II), and three grandchildren.   

    Readers are loving Laura Hile's joyous Regency novels. Her signature style – intertwined plots, cliffhangers, and laugh-out-loud humor – keep them coming back for more.
    The comedy Laura comes by as a teacher. There's never a dull moment with teen students!
    She recently released Darcy By Any Other Name, a comic 'body swap' romance based on Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.
    Laura lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and sons. Her fiction is for everyone, even teens.
   
    Wendi Sotis lives on Long Island, NY, with her husband and triplets. While searching for Pride and Prejudice from Darcy’s point of view, she became thoroughly enamored with Jane Austen Fan Fiction or JAFF. In early 2010, she dreamed an idea for a story and hasn’t stopped writing since: Promises, Dreams and Expectations; All Hallows Eve; The Keys for Love; Safekeeping; The Gypsy Blessing; Foundation of Love (The Gypsy Blessing 2); and A Lesson Hard Learned.     
     Some of her works-in-progress have branched away from JAFF to Regency Romance (The Pact, due to be released in 2018) and Contemporary Romantic Mysteries (Implicated, working on a series). Wendi will also continue bringing Darcy and Lizzy together again and again in an unusual manner.
    
     Barbara Cornthwaite lives in the middle of Ireland with her husband and children. She taught college English before "retiring" to do something she loves far more; her days are now filled with homeschooling her six children, trying to keep the house tidy (a losing battle), and trying to stay warm in the damp Irish climate (also a losing battle).
   She is surrounded by medieval castles, picturesque flocks of sheep, and ancient stone monuments. These things are unappreciated by her children, who are more impressed by traffic jams, skyscrapers, and hot weather.
   Barbara is the author of the George Knightley, Esquire series, and A Fine Young Lady

*****

These stories sound delightful! Thank you so much for stopping by and letting us read a little about your Christmas book, A Very Austen Christmas. It's great that you are sharing the spotlight with Emma and Fanny, not just Darcy and Lizzy. Don't get me wrong, I love reading about Darcy and Lizzy but it was neat to see some of Jane Austen's other characters get some page time, too. This looks to be a fabulous read! I'm thrilled that you visited today. Thank you.

It's international giveaway time! Robin Helm and the authors of this fine book are giving away one Kindle copy to one of you lucky readers! Be sure to leave a comment to be entered. If I don't have your contact info on file, you will need to leave that too. Tell us something you like about Christmas. What did you think of the blurbs and excerpts? Pretty exciting, huh! The giveaway will end at 11:59 P.M. on the 25th of November. Thanks for popping in and Good Luck to all!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice in 61 Haiku...James Gaynor


Available on Amazon
James W. Gaynor, author of Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice in 61 Haiku, is my guest and I must say, I am fascinated with his book. Dare I admit this? I guess I might as well, so here goes. I have not been much familiar with Haiku! There! I said it! This post has been a learning experience and I have enjoyed it immensely. Thank you, James. 

I love that James Gaynor has taken the opening lines of Pride & Prejudice and then written a Haiku for each. Of the ones that I have read, they are perfect. some are hilarious, and his process is intriguing. In this post he shares two different opening lines and the corresponding Haiku with us. Was Jane Austen giving us an extra message in some or all of these 'first sentences'? 

I must mention the cover of Mr. Gaynor's book.  This cover is eye-catching and I like it! :) The design features a peacock motif and pays homage to the first illustrated edition of P&P (Illustrated by Hugh Thomson). As many of you are aware, I love peacocks and the peacock edition of P&P. I paid homage to it myself a couple of years back. (Psst, Jim's giving a paperback away!)

I hope you all get as much enjoyment from reading this post as I did. It was neat learning how this book came into being. Rather than prattle on, I give the floor to James Gaynor.

Emily Dickinson once famously remarked that if she felt as though the top of her head were taken off, she knew she was reading poetry. And who hasn’t read “It is a truth universally acknowledged, …” and felt our heads explode?

In my work as a poet, I’ve long been fascinated by memorable opening and closing lines in classic novels. I believe that the sentences we often know by heart are, in fact, short, unacknowledged poems that get lost in the sentences, paragraphs and chapters that follow.

So, I decided I would create a series of poems based on my favorite novel-openings, and Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice seemed a logical place to start. I soon realized that the first line’s fame has, in a way, cast a shadow over all the other chapters’ first lines.
I began to wonder if the 61 chapter-opening lines of Pride and Prejudice could, in fact, be the basis for a series of haiku. If each sentence was a kind of short poem, why couldn’t it be “translated” into that short, classic form of Japanese poetry? There is something wonderful and powerful in the format. Children study their three-line format in grammar school (5 syllables / 7 syllables / 5 syllables) and, in my teaching experience, adults always seem to enjoy learning how to write them.

That’s how the book happened. I had no idea what I was going to do when I finished, but I had a strong sense that I was onto something interesting about Austen’s style and messaging.


Isolating Austen’s chapter-opening sentences led to more than one surprise for me. The classic haiku attempts to answer three questions:

       What? (the object, the action, e.g., falling leaf or petal, sound of water)
       Where? (geography, e.g., house, garden, mountain)
3     When? (seasonal reference, e.g., spring, summer, winter, fall)

When I started analyzing the beginning of Chapter 56, I saw something I had never before seen:

One morning, about a week after Bingley’s engagement with Jane had been formed, as he and the females of the family were sitting together in the dining-room, their attention was suddenly drawn to the window, by the sound of a carriage; and they perceived a chaise and four driving up the lawn.

Until I paid attention to the “Where?” of the chapter’s opening line, I had never fully appreciated that Lady Catherine’s enormous carriage --- powered by four horses carrying a groom, a driver, Lady Catherine and (probably) her daughter — arrives at Longbourn and drives up the lawn!  Not the drive, but the lawn. The damage to the turf must have been extensive, and more than likely took out a Bennet chicken or two — but of no concern to Lady C. “Shades of the guillotine,” as one of my academic readers wryly remarked.

Here’s the haiku:
Lady Catherine
was unwelcome everywhere.
That never stopped her.

My new awareness wasn’t limited to Lady Catherine’s aristocratic behavior. I recently spoke at New York’s Fordham University — and the students were very interested in the first line of Chapter 43:

Elizabeth, as they drove along, watched for the first appearance of Pemberley Woods with some perturbation; and when at length they turned in at the lodge, her spirits were in a high flutter.

Prior to studying the first lines, I hadn’t really noticed the use of the word “flutter.” Elizabeth Bennet, as we all know, is really not a flutterer. So, why now? Why the use of a word more commonly associated with Regency heroines falling in love and teetering on the edge of a swoon?

I love this! Don't all of you?
The answer, I think, is that Austen is giving us exactly that clue: Elizabeth has fallen in love. With Darcy as he is represented by his estate, the beloved order-created-from-chaos so near and dear to the late 18-century English ideal. She does not fall in romantic love with Darcy because he is handsome (we don’t really know what he looks like) — she falls in love with him because he has purpose. And, of course, a sizeable estate, but that is really secondary — and the haiku reflects this interpretation:

Pemberley produced
a flutter effect. Could this
be real (-estate) love?

After the lecture, one young woman told me the Jane Austen we discussed was exactly the voice she needed guiding her love life — which confirms for me that, 200 years after her death, Austen continues to exert her subtle influence.

The book, Everything Becomes a Poem, the first book by James Gaynor
and illustrated by Kelly Duke McKinley, just won a national design award! Congratulations!

Author Bio:

James W. Gaynor, author of Everything Becomes a Poem (Nemeton Press), is a poet, artist, editor, and writer. A graduate of Kenyon College, he lived for years in Paris, where he taught a course on Emily Dickinson at the University of Paris, studied the development of the psychological novel in 17th century France, and worked as a translator. After returning to New York, Gaynor worked as an editor at Grosset & Dunlap, Cuisine magazine, Scriptwriter News and Forbes Publications. His articles, book reviews, poems and essays have appeared in The New York Observer, OTVmagazine.com, The Gay and Lesbian Review Worldwide, and Peeking Cat Poetry Magazine. As #HaikuJim, Gaynor publishes a daily haiku drawn from current newspaper headlines and is the creator of Can You Haiku? — a corporate communications workshop based on using 17th-century Japanese poetry techniques to improve effective use of today’s digital platforms. Gaynor recently retired as the Global Verbal Identity Leader for Ernst & Young LLP. www.jameswgaynor.com


Above: Photo of James Gaynor leading corporate haiku workshop (for Ernst & Young in Cleveland)
It is out of the ordinary. Poetry. Who knew? :)

It has been such a pleasure having you stop by, Jim.  I love meeting new authors and having first time guests and I thank you for being one of them. It's been great having you share Haiku with me and my readers. Learning something new and enjoying it, at the same time is a treat.

I read your interview by Rita at From Pemberley to Milton and found it enlightening and interesting. When she asked you what readers could expect from your book, your answer was especially touching and made an impression, especially the part I put in bold type. 
It’s my hope that readers will find themselves smiling knowingly from time to time as they travel in this redesigned Japanese vehicle across Austen’s familiar English landscape — and that they will forgive my star-struck attempt at what is essentially one long love-letter-poem written to the extraordinary woman who still speaks to us in such modern ways. 
Tuesday I was visiting with Jan Hahn via the telephone.  Jan is doing a proof of my 2018 calendar and we were going over some of the quotes. When she read the Haiku, one, in particular, Jan laughed out loud, and not just a little. Believe me when I tell you that is a rare thing! This Haiku is one of the month quotes for December and is amusing. Jan loved it and so did I. But, Dear Readers, I'm not going to tell you what it is! *evil laugh* I will tell you that James W. Gaynor and his book, Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice in 61 Haiku is one of the featured ads and quotes inside the calendar. Shameless, aren't I!


Moving on...I have some good news to share. Jim will have an audiobook in January --- a Cambridge scholar read the P&P sentences, and Jim recorded the haiku. Won't that be fun? I can't wait.



Jim is offering one paperback copy of Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice in 61 Haiku to one of you and this giveaway is international. Leave us a comment and tell us what you think about Haiku. Are you familiar with it? I would love for you to have your share in the conversation but don't forget to give me a way to reach you should you be the lucky winner! Giveaway ends the 20th of November at midnight. Good luck everyone.




Thursday, November 9, 2017

A Most Handsome Gentleman Blog Tour Winners

A Most Handsome Gentleman Blog Tour



Your eBooks will be sent within the next few days.
8 eBook Winners:

Miriam Bresticker
Sheila L. Majczan
BeckyC
Eva Edmonds
Luthien84
J. W. Garrett
DarcyBennett
Denise Holcomb

Congratulations, and thanks to all of you, bloggers and readers,
for your support of this and all Meryton Press Blog Tours.
You are appreciated!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Chance and Circumstance...Kara Louise

Available on Amazon
I am so thrilled to have Kara Louise as my guest today. She is one of my all-time favorite writers and it has been way too long since she has been my guest! Today she is giving us the description for her newest release, Chance and Circumstance, and she is telling us a little about it. Sounds exciting, doesn't it! Wait until you read about Darcy's rival! I will stop chatting and let you start reading. Thanks, Kara Louise, and welcome back! Oh, she has an awesome giveaway too! :)

Darcy’s Rivals… by Kara Louise

Thanks, Janet, for letting me come by today and talk about my new book, Chance and Circumstance. You may wonder about the title of the blog post. Rest assured, I am talking about Darcy’s rivals (in general) and not “Mr. Darcy’sRival,” (the book which I published in 2015).

I think it’s fun to give Mr. Darcy a rival in a story, as it humbles him and makes him examine himself more deeply. I think I have given him a rival in every one of my books where he and Elizabeth are not married, except “Darcy’s Voyage,” (or “Pemberley’s Promise” if you read the original self-published version with that title).

In “Mr. Darcy’s Rival,” his rival was a cousin of Anne’s on the de Bough side of the family. In “Pirates and Prejudice,” it was a cousin of Elizabeth’s on her father’s side of the family, and in many books (including Pride and Prejudice) there is always Mr. Wickham.  For the record, in Chance and Circumstance, Elizabeth finds Wickham interesting and engaging, but he is never truly a rival for her affections. His lies about Darcy, of course, and encourages her to dislike Mr. Darcy more.

Mr. Darcy’s rival in Chance and Circumstance, however, is none other than his good friend, Mr. Bingley! Here is the book description:

Chance brings about an early encounter between Charles Bingley and Elizabeth Bennet soon after his move into Netherfield. He soon begins to favour this pretty and lively young lady. Circumstances have kept Jane Bennet and Mr. Darcy from the neighbourhood, thereby changing the events that Jane Austen penned in "Pride and Prejudice."

When Mr. Darcy finally arrives, will he be able to keep from interfering when he meets this young lady his friend so greatly admires? When Jane returns from touring the Lake District with her aunt and uncle, will the young gentleman who returns with her prove to be better suited for her than Mr. Bingley ever was?

In this "Pride and Prejudice" variation, chance and circumstance greatly affect the way several of Jane Austen's characters arrive at their happily ever after, but not necessarily in the way you think.
Because Mr. Bingley meets Elizabeth first, as both Jane and Mr. Darcy are away, he begins to show her particular attention. When Mr. Darcy does arrive, Mr. Bingley is well on his way to being in love with her. Oh dear!

This changes things for Mr. Darcy and makes things difficult. First, when he meets Elizabeth, he finds himself fighting the attraction as he realizes she is very much the kind of woman he could love. His integrity will not allow him to even consider trying to steal her from his good friend. (Well, perhaps not in a way Bingley would notice.) Secondly, he feels she and Bingley are not well-suited at all and does not think his friend should have begun to show such favoritism to a young lady so early, despite his own heart’s inclination to do the same.

So our Mr. Darcy is faced with having to stand back and watch the interaction between the two. Elizabeth seems to return Mr. Bingley’s admiration, despite what Darcy sees as some great differences between the two in intellect, interests, and personality.

And what does Mr. Bingley think of Miss Jane Bennet? She does not return to Longbourn until just before the Netherfield Ball, because she has been in the Lake District with her aunt and uncle. While up there, she meets some previous acquaintances of the Gardiners who have a son she has come to admire. When Jane and her aunt and uncle return to Hertfordshire, he joins them. Will these mixed-up couples be able to get things straightened out? You’ll have to read the book to find out.

If you would like to read the chapters I posted online, (about half of the book), you can find Chapter 1 here: Austen Variations

Links to the book:


I am offering a copy of a paperback (US) and also an ebook (US or International) to 2 commenters whose name will be drawn at random.

Thank you, Janet, for allowing me to visit!

You are welcome, Kara Louise. It has been so good having you stop by and I hope it won't be too long before you visit again. You are always welcome. As you know, I love your writing and am always excited when I hear you are working on a new book. I can't wait to read this one. 

I  loved the title of this post and the implication, almost, of your previous book, which I enjoyed tremendously. When you mentioned Darcy's Voyage, I swooned. Oh, how I love that book! It is such an awesome read. I may have to read it again soon. In most of your books, you do give Darcy some serious rivals, even a dog named Reggie once. (Master Under Good Regulation) Well, I guess he really wasn't a rival though, was he? He was adorable, I must say!

Thank you again for sharing a little about your new book with my readers and for offering them such a generous giveaway. Dear Readers, to enter please share some love with Kara Louise. Tell us what you think of Darcy's rival. Can you believe it is Bingley? I know, I know! Fascinating, isn't it! The giveaway will end at 11:59 PM Central Time on the 13th of November. Remember there are two books up for grabs. One paperback, US only, and one eBook, US or international are being given away. Good luck to all of you.

Monday, November 6, 2017

And the winners are...Teaching Eliza




Congratulations to all the winners!

Thanks, Riana Everly, for allowing my blog to be part of your tour.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

And the winners are...Barbara Silkstone

I have two lovely winners to announce this morning.
Both ladies have been notified
and were thrilled to have won a new book!
The giveaway was for
My Fair Lizzy by Barbara Silkstone

One signed Paperback and one eBook were in the offering! 


Without further delay, the winners are:

Signed Paperback:

Patty Edmisson

eBook:

Glynis

Congratulations, ladies! I hope you enjoy your new book.
Come back and tell us about it if you get the chance. 
I appreciate your continued support of my blog. 
Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.

Barbara Silkstone, I was so happy to have you as my guest
and I hope you will visit again soon.
Thank you for such a generous giveaway for my readers.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Teaching Eliza...Riana Everly


Welcome, Riana Everly, to More Agreeably Engaged. It is great having you visit and share with us some tidbits about your new release, Teaching Eliza. Mr. Wickham's visit is,...um, well, shall we say, exactly what I would expect from the man. You notice I left of 'gentle'? :) I couldn't quite bring myself to state it otherwise. He is quite the gossip, is he not? 

Dear Readers, Mr. Wickham will enjoy speaking much of himself and his looks in your presence. Enjoy, but beware. He forgot his purse and his coins. 

Oh, and Mr. Wickham, there is a giveaway of books that might 'flatter' you somewhat as the story must surely mention you, by name and by deed!

Mr. Wickham visits the blog

Well, hello there! I didn’t see you walk in. Come, sit down and keep me company for a while. Allow me to introduce myself. The name is George Wickham, recently arrived in London from more provincial parts. Much more exciting, London is, than that little village where I was stationed. Better food and drink in the pubs like this one as well, and so many pretty girls!

Ah, I see you have nothing to drink. Let me call the serving girl. What will you have? An ale? Tea, perhaps, or plate of bread and cheese? Ah, here she is. A tea and biscuits for my companion, and another ale for me, there’s a good wench. Oh, this is embarrassing. Perhaps the other pocket. Heh, heh, heh… I seem to have left my bag of coins in my rooms. Would you mind, just this once? I shall treat next time, to be certain! Thank you so much.

Did I mention I had been with the militia? We were stationed in this little village in Hertfordshire, nowhere you would have heard of, I’m certain. Meryton, they called it. Not much going on there, although some of the girls were very amenable. They liked me, although I do wonder if they liked my red coat more. But no, for I think I look just as smart and handsome in this dark blue. I do believe it brings out my eyes. Do you think my eyes are my best feature? They are a most attractive shade, are they not? Or it is my golden hair? Many a lass has cooed over these curls. Or really, perhaps I ought to be most proud of my fine and straight nose and square jaw. I must admit I do not mind a mirror at all, for I am a rather handsome fellow, am I not?

But, to the point, I enjoy sitting here in this pub. It is close enough to where the Nobs live that their servants frequent these tables, and I hear the most salacious gossip at times. It is remarkable, really, how people will talk on and on when they are confronted with a silent companion. You would not imagine the most intimate details one hears! Why, just the other day I heard from his very footman that Lord Sommersby was seen leaving rooms not his own…

Forgive me. You did not come to listen to this second-hand rumour, although it can be most diverting. What are more interesting still are the stories from people who do not frequent these tables. For what happens is this: A gentleman confesses a confidence to his valet, whose discretion we shall not judge, but who is overheard by a footman in the corridor. Well, the footman might have a friend in the stables, who in turn tells the tale to his girl at the bakery, who tells it to her brother, and before long the story has made its way from Mayfair to the alleyways. And most of these stories end up here, if a man has the patience to sit and listen for them. Better still, when one such as I has connections, one may put out a request for such juicy items of gossip, and they veritably fly to my ears! Do I profit from these gems, you ask? Well, a gentleman never tells. But, heh, heh, heh, I am no gentleman!

Look! The lady author Mrs. Everly has even written about some such events in her novel. I never read such things myself, for the effort is surely greater than the reward, but I do say that if ever a book were to be interesting, I should be the subject of it. Here, let us see what wonderful words she has to offer about me!

*************
George Wickham is well entrenched in the gossip mills, but perhaps he does not always listen as carefully as he ought! Perhaps he should start paying a bit more attention to details.

Ale and brandy were consumed in quantity and money was wagered and lost even more liberally, and by the time Wickham returned to his rooms in London three days later, his purse empty and his head full and pounding, the immediate ado over Darcy’s engagement had subsided, to be replaced by some scandal from the palace and a rather cryptic article about the Duke of S’s wife and the Earl of P and some unusual event at the recent races.

It was two days after this that Wickham’s head and stomach had settled sufficiently for him to contemplate a visit to his usual drinking spot, and at last, he finally heard the news.

“D’ye hear the news, Georgie boy? Yer old pal, Darly or sompin’ like dat, he’s gettin’ hisself leg-shackled!” Wickham knew the man only as Higgins; he was some ten years Wickham’s senior, a retired petty naval officer on half-pay, and a regular denizen of the tavern. Although often somewhat in his cups, the man was usually clean and well-enough dressed that he was not to be thought of as a complete reprobate. Mrs. Higgins, whoever she might be, took some care of her wastrel husband, it was clear. Wickham had spent many an evening relating his tale of woe to all who would listen, and Higgins, a good-seeming soul behind his drunkenness, was happy to listen. In turn, he had told his own story, dwelling on the battles he had seen and the final assault on his ship that had left him with his injury, but Wickham had not bothered to pay more attention than was needed to nod, frown, or comment suitably. This was one of Wickham’s most valuable skills, he considered: the ability to listen only to what he felt was important, whilst leaving the appreciation of the details and specifics to those whose smaller intellects might need them. A smart man such as he could always supply the details from his imaginings, if ever they were needed.

Taking his flagon over to the table where Higgins sat, Wickham grabbed a chair and placed himself upon it. The man’s news intrigued him. “Darcy, you say?”

“Aye,” came the affirmation.

“Getting married! Well, this is news indeed! Tell me what you know. I have been out of… town for some days, and had missed this item!” He leaned forward and placed his elbows on the low wooden table, bracing himself above his ale, encouraging his companion to speak.

Always happy to relate gossip, Higgins grinned, belched, and threw back a large gulp of his own ale, before relating all of his meagre information. “‘Twas in the newspapers some days back - yesterday, day b’fore, p’rhaps. I didn’ read it none meself, but I done hear the nobs talking.” The tavern was a fairly respectable spot, as often frequented by gentlemen on their way to some slightly unsavoury entertainment or gaming house as by the more presentable of the underclasses, such as Higgins. Its location, just off the streets that housed more acceptable establishments, with its slightly seedy character, allowed these ‘nobs’ the conceit of feeling they were bashing at the walls of society, living rough, and taking wild risks, all the while never really leaving the safety of their fashionable part of town. It was, in short, a marvelous place to hear gossip.

“So, as I was sayin’” Higgins continued, “these nobs was talkin’ ‘bout yer man, Darcy, being engaged for a shackling, and how the other one’s sister had best start lookin’ elsewhere, as should everyone else’s.”

Wickham suppressed a snicker. Caroline had said nothing at all about this, the little minx! Had she known he would ask when they last met? Or had it been so inconsequential to her, in the light of being with him, George Wickham, that she had not thought to comment? Oh, how Darcy would suffer! “What do you know of the girl?” Wickham asked, feeling he should make the appropriate inquiries, all the while celebrating his triumph.

“Some little thing from the country, they was sayin’. Father or brother or someone has an estate out not too far from town. She must be sompin’ mighty pretty to catch his eye like that, and mighty wealthy too! From all ye’s said of the man, he wouldn’t let hisself go for less than his sister’s dowry.”

“Then let us raise a glass to him, Higgins,” Wickham proclaimed with all good cheer. This was certainly Caroline. His Caroline, the woman he had tumbled only short days before, and whom he would have again, and again, before her wedding… and if he had his luck, even after! Ah, yes, at last things were going his way!

*************

What? Can it be? Darcy and Caroline? You might have to read the book to see what’s going on!


Book Description

A tale of love, manners, and the quest for perfect vowels.

From a new voice in historical romance comes this sparkling tale, wherein the elegance of Pride and Prejudice and the wit of George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion collide. The results are clever, funny, and often quite unexpected….

Professor Fitzwilliam Darcy, expert in phonetics and linguistics, wishes for nothing more than to spend some time in peace at his friend’s country estate, far from the parade of young ladies wishing for his hand, and further still from his aunt’s schemes to have him marry his cousin. How annoying it is when a young lady from the neighbourhood, with her atrocious Hertfordshire accent and country manners, comes seeking his help to learn how to behave and speak as do the finest ladies of high society.

Elizabeth Bennet has disliked the professor since overhearing his flippant comments about her provincial accent, but recognizes in him her one opportunity to survive a prospective season in London. Despite her ill feelings for the man, she asks him to take her on as a student, but is unprepared for the price he demands in exchange.

“With her clever mash-up of two classics, Riana Everly has fashioned a fresh, creative storyline with an inventive take on our favorite characters, delightful dialogue and laugh out loud humor. Teaching Eliza is certain to become a reader favorite. It’s a must read!” – Sophia Meredith (author of the acclaimed On Oakham Mount and Miss Darcy’s Companion)

Teaching Eliza is a full-length novel of about 110,000 words.

About the Author

Riana Everly was born in South Africa, but has called Canada home since she was eight years old. She has a Master’s degree in Medieval Studies and is trained as a classical musician, specialising in Baroque and early Classical music. She first encountered Jane Austen when her father handed her a copy of Emma at age 11, and has never looked back.

Riana now lives in Toronto with her family. When she is not writing, she can often be found playing string quartets with friends, biking around the beautiful province of Ontario with her husband, trying to improve her photography, thinking about what to make for dinner, and, of course, reading!



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Thank you, Riana Everly and George Wickham, for taking the time to chat with us today. It was, hmm, enlightening! I truly enjoyed having you visit, Riana. It was nice to get to meet you. I'm impressed that you play in string quartets. I love photography too, but don't get to enjoy it as much as I used to because of time constraints. I may have to fix that! :)

I hope your book does really well. Your cover is eye-catching and lovely. Best wishes with your release and thanks so much for allowing my readers to get in on your generous giveaway.