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Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues Anthology Edited by Christina Boyd - Blog Tour and Giveaway

Book cover: Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues by various authorsThe blog tour for Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues stops by here today. This is an anthology focusing on the 'bad boys' in Austen's works rather than her heroes, written by some fantastic authors: Karen M Cox, J Marie Croft, Amy D'Orazio, Jenetta James, Lona Manning, Christina Morland, Beau North, Kate Oliver, Sophia Rose, Joana Starnes and Brooke West, brought together by editor Christina Boyd. The tour joins us for a closer look at one of the stories in the book, written by Joana Starnes, who is one of my favourite Austenesque authors. Joana's story focuses on the breaker of Marianne Dashwood's heart, John Willoughby. I have an excerpt of this story to share with you. Also, if you've been following the blog tour you will know that there are two fantastic prizes up for grabs, details of which are below. Let's read the blurb first:

Monday, 20 November 2017

Interview with a Janeite at Austen Variations

Austen Variations

I don't know if you saw it, but this month's Interview with a Janeite at the Austen Variations site features... me! I am very honoured to feature on their site, as many of my favourite JAFF authors are part of the Austen Variations group.

Author Caitlin Williams
I also got to pose some questions of my own, to Caitlin Williams, author of Ardently, The Coming of Age of Elizabeth Bennet and When We Are Married. Caitlin is offering a giveaway of a paperback of Ardently to a commenter on the post over at Austen Variations.

Book cover: Ardently by Caitlin Williams
Please pop over to learn more about me, read the answers to my questions for Caitlin and perhaps win a paperback of Ardently. You can read the post here.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Green Card by Elizabeth Adams - Excerpt and Giveaway

Book cover: Green Card by Elizabeth Adams
Elizabeth Adams has recently re-released Green Card, which, as you can guess from the name, is a modern story dealing with somebody trying to obtain a green card to be able to remain in the US. I've read the previous version of this story, and you can read my review of it here. I understand that the story has had some changes and improvements and a lovely new cover.

To celebrate, Elizabeth is visiting here today with an excerpt and a fantastic giveaway - one winner will receive Elizabeth's 5 books - Green CardThe HouseguestUnwillingMeryton Vignettes and On Equal Grounds.

I'll share the blurb with you and then hand over to Elizabeth for the excerpt.

* * *

Friday, 17 November 2017

A Very Austen Christmas by Robin Helm, Laura Hile, Wendi Sotis, and Barbara Cornthwaite

Book Cover: A Very Austen Christmas by Robin Helm, Laura Hile, Wendi Sotis, Barbara Cornthwaite
Today I'm happy to be able to bring you an excerpt of A Very Austen Christmas by Robin Helm, Laura Hile, Wendi Sotis, and Barbara Cornthwaite. I really enjoy anthologies, and I'm looking forward to reading this one. Laura Hile is kindly offering an ebook giveaway of A Very Austen Christmas to an international commenter on this post too :)

Let's read the book blurb and then I'll share an excerpt with you

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Winner's post - President Darcy and Chance and Circumstance

I am a bit behind, sorry for the delay in posting these winners. On the flip side, this means that I get to tell you about two winners in one post. Both winners were selected using a random number generator.

Book Cover: President Darcy by Victoria Kincaid
The first giveaway was for an ebook of President Darcy by Victoria Kincaid. Victoria visited with a wonderful excerpt of her new book which sees Mr Darcy as a modern day US president. You can read the excerpt here. The winner is:

Ginna

Congratulations! I will be in touch. If you weren't lucky enough to win, cheer yourself up by buying a copy instead. It's available in paperback and ebook here:

Amazon UKAmazon US

Book Cover: Chance and Circumstance by Kara Louise
The next giveaway was kindly provided by Kara Louise and was a paperback (US only) or ebook (International) of her new book, Chance and Circumstance, which sees Elizabeth and Darcy and Jane and Bingley meeting later than in canon, meaning that Mr Bingley initially takes a fancy to the second Miss Bennet rather the eldest. Kara visited us with a whole chapter of the book which you can read here. The winner chosen was:

J W Garrett

Congratulations! I will be in touch. Again, commiserations if you are disappointed, but the book is available to buy here:

Amazon US - Paperback:  / Kindle

Amazon UK - Paperback / Kindle

Thank you to everybody who commented, and of course, huge thanks to our visiting authors!

Friday, 3 November 2017

Chance and Circumstance by Kara Louise - Excerpt and Giveaway

Book cover: Chance and Circumstance by Kara Louise
Today I'm very pleased to be welcoming  Kara Louise, who is here with a nice long excerpt of her new book, Chance and Circumstance. Kara is also kindly offering a giveaway - a paperback for a US reader or a kindle version for an international entrant. I'll now hand over to Kara.

* * *

I want to thank Ceri for allowing me to be a guest on her blog today and share with you about my new book, Chance and Circumstance.

Here is the blurb
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.

I am posting Chapter 14 here, but I posted the first 13 chapters on the Austen Variations Blog. If you want to start from the beginning, you can read it here: http://austenvariations.com/april-showers-elizabeths-walk/

This is the final chapter I will be posting online, and it brings you through to about half of the book. This story was fun to write as I examined whether Elizabeth and Mr. Bingley would be at all suitable for each other, Jane and the young man she met while up in the Lake District and their compatibility, and finally, Mr. Darcy, as he observes Bingley and the young lady both he and his friend came to admire. There are several twists and turns, and I hope you will enjoy reading it.

Here is Chapter 14, which takes place at the Netherfield Ball:

“I see Mr. Wickham has finally arrived,” Elizabeth said cheerfully. “I wondered whether he would come.”

Darcy lowered his brows. “You are acquainted with him?”

“We met him in Meryton the day Mr. Bingley stopped to visit. He also attended a party my aunt and uncle hosted.” She stole a glance up at him. “He seems to be an amiable young man.”

“That might be a matter up for debate,” he replied tersely.

Elizabeth could tell his thoughts were no longer on the dance. She had rather enjoyed dancing with him because his movements were so smooth, but since Mr. Wickham’s appearance, they had become abrupt and forced.

For some reason, it pleased her that he was so distressed upon seeing Mr. Wickham. She wondered if he feared his contemptible actions would be discovered now that Mr. Wickham had come into the neighbourhood.

The thought of tormenting Mr. Darcy a little more appealed to her. “Well, everyone is entitled to an opinion. I found him very gentlemanly and polite.” She paused to let him ponder that for a moment and then added, “Oh, and he told us he has known you his whole life, that his father was your father’s steward at Pemberley.”

Darcy’s face paled, and he glanced back at the man, who was now leaning against the wall staring at the two of them.

“That is correct.”

They separated again, and when they came back together, she saw colour in his cheeks and a steely glare in his eyes.

“But there was something…” She shook her head. “He mentioned that the two of you are no longer on good terms with each other.”

Darcy drew in a deep breath and then let it out through clenched teeth. He and Elizabeth stood opposite each other as the dance came to an end, and she wondered if he would say anything to her in his defence.

Instead, Darcy gave a short bow, and Elizabeth followed with a slight curtsey. He took the few steps to stand before her and extended his arm to escort her away from the dance floor. 
“I am certain that Mr. Wickham has many grievances against me, but allow me to say that the man may not be all he appears to be.”

“Are any of us truly who we appear to be, Mr. Darcy?” She gave him a tight smile, thanked him for the dance, and turned to walk away indignantly.

*~*~*

Darcy watched in disappointment as Elizabeth walked away. He had hoped to engage her in conversation that might endear himself to her, but he felt he had failed miserably. It could not have gone worse. When Wickham entered the ballroom, he could not conjure up any thought other than confronting him about being there. Perhaps that was as it should be. He should not be entertaining thoughts about the young lady his good friend admired.

He glanced about the room again, but no longer saw Wickham. He needed something to drink and walked to the table laden with food and beverage. As he did, Miss Bingley came up to him.

“Mr. Darcy, during your dance, I hope you were able to discourage Miss Elizabeth in her attentions towards my brother,” she said in a fervent whisper. “I greatly fear he is about to ask for her hand!”

Darcy turned sharply to her. “Why do you suspect that?”

Miss Bingley’s eyes widened. “Because he is constantly humming and wearing a smile.” 

She shook her head and groaned. “Did you say anything to her?”

Darcy took his drink and downed it. “The subject of Bingley did not come up.”

“But I noticed you talking. Certainly, you felt the need to…”

“Miss Bingley, it would have been a little difficult to dissuade Miss Elizabeth from her affections towards your brother, when others were so close to us in the set!”

Miss Bingley choked back a response. “Well, I begin to feel it is too late. Look at them talking!”

Elizabeth stood in a small circle with Bingley, Jane, and Mr. Marshall. They were laughing, and it was apparent they were greatly enjoying each other’s company.

“I have heard that Miss Jane Bennet and that gentleman, Mr. Marshall, have an attachment, as well. They are likely planning a double wedding.”

Darcy closed his eyes. “I would hope not.” He wondered if the evening could get any worse. He just had shared a miserable dance with the one woman he felt he could love and most likely already did love. He had watched in indignation as Wickham entered the ballroom. He was accosted by Miss Bingley who claimed she believed her brother was close to asking for Miss Elizabeth’s hand, and then watched her laugh as her eyes danced with joy when she spoke with his good friend.

Darcy gulped. It just got worse!

He watched as Wickham, who had just reappeared, approached Elizabeth, apparently asking her to dance. As the two joined the set, Darcy felt his insides begin to churn. He could not watch this! He needed some fresh air.

“Miss Bingley, would you excuse me?” Darcy abruptly turned to step out into the courtyard, not waiting for a response.

*~*~*

“I thought perhaps you decided not to come,” Elizabeth said as she and Wickham walked to the dance floor. “When I did not see you, I thought there was something keeping you away.”
Wickham’s eyes danced. “Something or someone, perhaps?” He laughed.

“Yes,” she said. “I thought perhaps you did not want to come because he most certainly would be here.” She nodded her head in Darcy’s direction, unaware that he was no longer there.

“I own that I considered it. I debated whether to come, but then decided not to forfeit a splendid evening when I have every right to be here.”

“And so you do, Mr. Wickham.”

The dance began, and Elizabeth was pleased that he was an excellent dancer. He was as friendly as Mr. Bingley but had a more engaging personality. She smiled as she thought he might be better suited for her than Mr. Bingley ever was.

At length, he said, “I noticed you were dancing with Mr. Darcy.”

“Well, think nothing of it, Mr. Wickham. It was not an enjoyable dance, and I am quite certain he regretted the dance as much as I did.”

Wickham pressed his lips together as though pondering this. “Yes,” he said slowly, “but I own I was surprised to see him dancing at all. He rarely dances, and only with those whom he knows well or admires.” Wickham looked at her intently, almost as if to judge her response.

Elizabeth laughed. “I suppose I could claim an acquaintance with him that might be considered more than casual, but only because of my association with Mr. Bingley.”

“Ah, yes. Mr. Bingley! I have heard rumours from some of the other officers that he seems to be singling you out. I feared I might not even be able to secure a dance with you!” He winked. “I wondered whether these rumours were true.”

They separated for a few moments, and Elizabeth debated whether she ought to confirm or deny this. When they came back together, she said, “It is true that Mr. Bingley has been very attentive to me, but…” She wanted so much to tell him that there was nothing between her and Mr. Bingley! “I consider him a kind and considerate gentleman.”

Wickham nodded, seemingly satisfied. “And what of his friend?”

Elizabeth’s smile left her face, and she shook her head. “You already know my opinion of the man and his officious behaviour. Many in the neighbourhood have expressed how rude he is and have noticed how he ignores almost everyone but Mr. Bingley and his family.” She let out an exasperated huff. “I cannot see how someone so kind and generous as Mr. Bingley could have such a close friendship with someone as cruel and ruthless as Mr. Darcy!”

Wickham smiled.  “It is difficult to fathom, is it not?”

The dance continued, and they spoke no more about Mr. Darcy or Mr. Bingley. Elizabeth was able to determine in the course of their conversation that he was indeed an avid reader, appreciated intelligent conversation, and even enjoyed venturing out on a good walk. She hoped that they might eventually be able to enjoy some of those things together.

When the dance ended, Elizabeth thanked Mr. Wickham, and they parted. Elizabeth did not think she had enjoyed a dance this evening as much as she had that one.

*~*~*

Darcy braced his hands on the back of a bench in the outer courtyard. He was grateful no one else was out there, for he was in no mood for idle conversation. He drew in several deep breaths, attempting to ease the constriction in his chest and calm his erratically beating heart. He was unsure if these troubling attacks were due to how disastrously his dance with Elizabeth had turned out or if it was due to Wickham’s sudden, unexpected, and most unwelcome appearance at the ball.

He was not certain he could even step back inside with that man present! He could not fathom being in the same neighbourhood with him, let alone the same room. And dancing with Elizabeth! He kicked the leg of the bench with his foot.

“Upset about something, Darcy?”

Darcy clenched his fists and then turned to Wickham with an icy glare. “What are you doing here?”

“Do you mean here in the courtyard or here at the ball?” Wickham lifted his hands. “I believe I am entitled to be in both places. An invitation was extended to the officers.”

“You, an officer!” Darcy spat out.

Wickham gloated. “The militia recognizes my qualities… unlike someone I know.”

“Oh, Wickham, I recognize your qualities better than anyone.”

Wickham sauntered over to where Darcy stood. “I am sure you do.” He crossed his arms and leaned back against the wall. “Speaking of qualities, I understand you have not done well here yourself in that regard.”

Darcy’s eyes shot up. “What nonsense is this?”

“Word is that you have not made a good impression in this neighbourhood.”

Darcy groaned and turned to walk away. “I do not need to listen to your poor attempts to discredit my name.”

Wickham began to rub his chin. “No, but I thought perhaps you might be interested in what Miss Elizabeth Bennet had to say about you.” He let a satisfied smile touch his lips when Darcy stopped.

He slowly turned back.

“Yes, I noticed the two of you dancing. You rarely dance, Darcy. I was surprised.”

“It is none of your business with whom I dance,” Darcy asserted.

“But I am curious. Were you dancing with her to talk her out of this attachment with your friend…” He paused. “Or, could it be that she is someone you have come to deeply admire?” He turned his eyes towards the ballroom. “I have to say she is quite the beauty.”

Darcy’s eyes widened, and he instantly regretted it.

“Oh, Darcy, I can read you so well.” Wickham chuckled, a sneer appearing. “Would you care to hear Miss Elizabeth’s opinion of you?”

“I am certain Miss Elizabeth has no opinion of me,” he grumbled.

“Oh, I beg to differ,” Wickham taunted him. “She was quite… effusive in her opinion of you.” He gave a soft, malicious laugh. “If I recall… Yes! She said you were officious, rude, cruel, and…” He paused as he counted these off on his fingers. “And ruthless.” He laughed mercilessly.

Darcy’s whole body felt in turmoil at hearing these words, but he refused to give Wickham the satisfaction of knowing how deeply they hurt. “I am certain you were completely innocent of helping her form any of these opinions,” he said sarcastically.

“I think she has a rather realistic perspective of who you are.”

Darcy’s mouth went dry as his thoughts went to the first night he met Elizabeth and how she overheard him talking to Bingley about her. He unwittingly shuddered and then pointed his finger at Wickham. “You had better make yourself scarce around me and be on your best behaviour, Wickham, because I shall be keeping a close eye on you. If I see any misconduct, I will have no qualms reporting you to your superiors.”

Another laugh escaped from Wickham. “Do you plan to bring up your sister? Or should I? From my perspective, you have kept that very quiet.”

Darcy felt his blood boil through his veins. “If you say anything, Wickham…”

Wickham put up his hands, whispering tauntingly, “Have no fear, Darcy. I rather liked Georgiana, remember? It was you, who supposed I had ulterior motives when it came to her.”

“I did not suppose anything! I knew!” Darcy pointed to the door. “Now get out!”

They both turned and saw that Elizabeth had just stepped outside. Before either could say anything, she turned quickly and returned inside.

Wickham shrugged. “I fear, old friend, that she likely has added another trait to her list – unpardonable!”

Wickham returned to the house laughing, leaving Darcy alone with his thoughts. He could barely breathe and wondered how he would be able to exhibit any self-control with Wickham around. He did not know if Wickham knew for a certainty he had strong feelings for Elizabeth, but it was very possible he would eventually come to see it. Wickham knew him well and could always tell what he was thinking or feeling. Usually it involved anger of some sort directed towards him, but in the past, he had also recognized when he was hurting, jealous, grieving, or even just unsure of his heavy responsibilities. He would not be able to conceal how he felt about Elizabeth, especially if Bingley continued to attach his affections to her or – heaven forbid – made her an offer of marriage.

He closed his eyes and tried to think. The last thing he wanted to do was go back inside and pretend all was well. He had no appetite to eat or drink, did not think he could concentrate on the steps required in a dance, and had no desire to carry on a conversation with anyone. He looked towards the door and wondered how easily he could find Bingley and excuse himself with the pretext that he was feeling unwell. Which was absolutely the truth!

He waited for the music to finish to ensure Bingley was no longer dancing. He slowly stepped inside, caring not that his face was likely red from anger, his lips turned down in a frown, and his comportment rigid. He quickly spotted his friend and walked over to him.

“Bingley, if you please, may I have a word with you?”

His friend had been talking to a small group of people, including Miss Mary Bennet and a gentleman he did not recognize. Darcy was grateful Elizabeth was not there.

Bingley turned. “Darcy, you are unwell?”

He nodded. “I regret that I will be retiring to my room. I am not feeling well.”

“I am sorry to hear that, good friend. The ball has only just begun!”

“Yes, and I am truly sorry.”

“If you insist, Darcy. Shall I have some food and drink sent up to you?”

Darcy shook his head. “No, I recently had something to drink, and I… I do not think I could eat anything.”

“All right. But be sure to let me know if you have need of anything. Anything at all.”

“Thank you, good friend.” Darcy drew in a breath. “Thank you.”

Darcy was grateful that was over.

He began to walk away, but the gentleman who had been with Miss Mary Bennet was suddenly at his side. He stiffened with exasperation when the man called out to him.

With a solemn bow, the gentleman said, “Sir! I am most thankful I heard Mr. Bingley mention you by name, for you must allow me to pay my respects to you.”

Darcy blinked, wondering who this man was and what he meant. “Pardon me?”

“I beg your pardon, but it is in my power to assure you that your aunt, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, was quite well when I last saw her in Hunsford. I am Mr. Collins, and I am the clergyman there. Your aunt is my patroness.”

“I thank you,” Darcy said, with an abrupt nod. As he walked away, he heard the clergyman begin to speak again, but fortunately, the man’s prattle was lost as the orchestra began playing.

Darcy returned to his chambers and rang for his valet, Sumner. As he waited, he paced the floor, attempting to sort out his thoughts and feelings. Miss Bennet had a more severe opinion of him than he could ever have imagined. What good would it do him if Bingley – or Elizabeth – finally realized that the differences in their temperaments and interests were too great? From what Wickham said, she would likely never receive his addresses with any pleasure.

His valet entered and asked what he could do for him.

“Unfortunately, I am not feeling well and wish to dress for bed, if you please.”

“Certainly, sir.”

After that was accomplished, Darcy looked at Sumner.

“There is one more thing I need you to do directly.”

“What is that, sir?”

Darcy swallowed. “I need my bags packed. I will be leaving early in the morning to return to London.”

*~*~*

Author Kara Louise
I will be giving away one paperback book (to US readers) or an ebook to International readers to be drawn from those who make a comment. Good luck!

Here is info on me and books:

Buy Links

Amazon US - Paperback:  / Kindle

Amazon UK - Paperback / Kindle


Giveaway Time

Book cover: Chance and Circumstance by Kara Louise
As noted above, Kara Louise is very kindly giving away a copy of Chance and Circumstance - a paperback for a US reader, or kindle for an international winner. To enter, just leave a comment on this blog post by the end of the day on Friday 10 November. Please ensure you leave a way for me to contact you in case you are the lucky winner.

I'd like to thank Kara for visiting us here today, and for bringing a giveaway too.


Thursday, 2 November 2017

Plans for November 2017

It's been a gorgeous day here in the UK today, I almost can't believe it is November! It's currently school holidays, which is the reason for me posting so late in the day, I've been doing mum stuff :) November is always a busy month. At some point it will hit me that Christmas is coming and I will put in a flurry of activity! So I'm not sure how much I will be able to read, but I certainly hope to get some reading done. I have some lovely visitors lined up for November, so let me tell you all about them.

Book cover: Chance and Circumstance by Kara Louise
First up we have Kara Louise, with her new book, Chance and Circumstance, a Pride & Prejudice variation which sees both Darcy and Jane out of the neighbourhood when Mr Bingley first comes to Meryton... therefore, the lady who catches Bingley's fancy the most is the second-eldest Bennet sister, Miss Elizabeth... This is a book I hope to read this month, and Kara Louise will be coming by to visit.

Book cover: Green Card by Elizabeth Adams
Elizabeth Adams has re-released Green Card. This book isn't an Austenesque, but it does have a flavour of one, touches here and there. It's a modern marriage of convenience scenario, for the purposes of obtaining a Green Card. She will be bringing a post here to share with you. I haven't read the new version of the book, but I've read it previously, and I enjoyed it. You can read my previous review here.

Book Cover: Dangerous to Know - Jane Austen's Rakes and Gentlemen Rogues Edited by Christina Boyd
This month sees the release of the much-anticipated anthology Dangerous to Know - Jane Austen's Rakes and Gentlemen Rogues, which sees a number of wonderful Austenesque authors coming together with short stories featuring the men in Austen that we don't tend to focus on - think Willoughby rather than Brandon, Captain Tilney rather than his delicious brother Henry, etc. These have been brought together by the editor of The Darcy Monologues, Christina Boyd. I am very excited to read this.

Book cover: Collide by Melanie Stanford
Have you ever read North and South? Not the US-set book, but the UK one, featuring southern-born Margaret Hale moving to the industrial North of England in Victorian times. It's a wonderful book and one of my favourites. There are some parallels between P&P and N&S, but there is far less in the way of 'North and South-esque' fiction. Melanie Standford, who wrote the Persuasion-inspired Sway and Clash is back with the N&S-inspired Collide, and she'll be coming here on here blog tour.

I do hope you'll be able to join me for some or all of these! What do you have planned to read in November? Please let me know in the comments.

Monday, 30 October 2017

President Darcy by Victoria Kincaid - Guest Post and Giveaway

Today I'm welcoming Victoria Kincaid to the blog. Victoria has visited here quite a few times before with her Pride & Prejudice variations (including Pride & Proposals, Mr Darcy to the Rescue, Darcy vs Bennet, Chaos Comes to Longbourn and Darcy's Honour) but never with a modern one. I'll share the blurb of her new story, President Darcy, with you, and then hand over to Victoria for a guest post to explain something of US politics for the benefit of those of us who aren't familiar. Victoria is also kindly offering an ebook giveaway to a commenter here, plus treating us to an excerpt!

Book Description

Book cover: President Darcy by Victoria Kincaid
A modern adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

President William Darcy has it all: wealth, intelligence, and the most powerful job in the country. 

Despite what his friends say, he is not lonely in the White House.  He’s not.   And he has vowed not to date while he’s in office.  Nor is he interested in Elizabeth Bennet.   She might be pretty and funny and smart, but her family is nouveau riche and unbearable.  Unfortunately, he encounters her everywhere in Washington, D.C.—making her harder and harder to ignore.  Why can’t he get her out of his mind?

Elizabeth Bennet enjoys her job with the Red Cross and loves her family, despite their tendency to embarrass her.  At a White House state dinner, they cause her to make an unfavorable impression on the president, who labels her unattractive and uninteresting.  Those words are immediately broadcast on Twitter, so the whole world now knows the president insulted her.  Elizabeth just wants to avoid the man—who, let’s admit it, is proud and difficult.  For some reason he acts all friendly when they keep running into each other, but she knows he’s judging her. 

Eventually, circumstances force Darcy and Elizabeth to confront their true feelings for each other, with explosive results.  But even if they can find common ground, Mr. Darcy is still the president—with limited privacy and unlimited responsibilities—and his enemies won’t hesitate to use his feelings for Elizabeth against him. 

Can President Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet find their way to happily ever after?

A contemporary romance
99238 words

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Winner - My Fair Lizzy by Barbara Silkstone

Book Cover: My Fair Lizzy by Barbara Silkstone
A little while ago I was joined by Barbara Silkstone for a post about her new book, My Fair Lizzy, which is a mash-up of Pride & Prejudice and Pygmalion. You can read Barbara's guest post here.

Thank you to everybody who commented. I know Barbara had some issues posting comments here so I'd like to particularly thank her for her patience and perseverance!

As you may recall, Barbara was offering a signed paperback to a US winner, and an ebook which could be won by a commenter from any location. I chose the winners using a random number generator, choosing paperback first. The winners are:

Sheila Majczan- signed paperback

Pamela Hunter - ebook

Congratulations to you! I will be in touch. Thank you to everybody who commented, and to Barbara for the wonderful giveaway.

For those of you who weren't lucky this time, remember the book is available to buy now:

• Amazon US / Amazon UK • Kobo • iBooks • Nook • Add to your Goodreads shelf •


Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Blog Tour - A Most Handsome Gentleman by Suzan Lauder - Guest Post and Giveaway

Blog Tour: A Most Handsome Gentleman by Suzan Lauder
I'm very happy to be welcoming Suzan Lauder back to the blog today with the blog tour for her latest book, which has a premise that is both a little disturbing and fascinating: what if Mr Collins was very attractive? Mr Collins has done very well in life considering he is somewhat ridiculous. He has a very high opinion of himself as it is. But what if... he can add to his eligibility by having attractiveness of person? That's bound to affect his expectations, and very probably people will react to him differently.

The more you think about this premise the more potential ripples this variation may make occur to mind! Let me share the blurb with you and then I'll hand over to Suzan for her guest post.

Monday, 23 October 2017

Teaching Eliza by Riana Everly - Guest Post, Excerpt and Giveaway

Riana Everly is paying her first visit here today on the blog tour for her debut novel. Teaching Eliza is a mash up of Pygmalion (My Fair Lady) and Pride & Prejudice. This may sound familiar, because last week we had another visitor who had written a book with a similar premise. Riana Everly is here today with a guest post, excerpt and giveaway. I'll share the book blurb with you first, and then hand over to Riana for her to tell you about her book and the unintended joint release!

Blog Tour: Teaching Eliza by Riana Everly


Book Description

Book Cover: Teaching Eliza by Riana Everly
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.

Teaching Eliza – Riana Everly

This past summer, we were lucky enough to see a great deal of excellent theatre, including two very different productions of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. One was put on by the world-class Stratford Festival in Stratford, Ontario. The other was a Shakespeare-in-the-Park affair, starring young and promising actors with the Canadian Stage Company, as the audience sat on a rocky hillside surrounded by trees and mosquitos.

My daughter, while a theatre fanatic, was unsure about this. “Why see both?” She asked. “Aren’t they the same? And which one will be better?”

Aha! A Teachable Moment! And so we launched into a fabulous discussion about the nature of art and interpretation. These two productions of the same play were a contrast in almost everything. The settings were different (a vaguely Renaissance city state and a modern Hotel Illyria, complete with luggage carts, service elevator and hotel gym), the text was different (Stratford, with its comfy theatres put on a full production, while Can Stage abridged the play to 90 minutes so our poor backsides wouldn’t get too numb from sitting on the ground). The casting was different, and even some of the characters’ motivations were different. Which was better? That’s not a fair question, because both had a great deal of merit, and we enjoyed both a great deal. They were the same, from the same pen, and yet they were so different, and it was a real treat to be able to compare without having to choose.

Likewise in music, different performances can highlight different aspects of the same piece. Bach played fast is different from Bach played slowly, and you hear different things in each performance.  Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony is a masterpiece, no matter the orchestra playing it, but one conductor might emphasize the melodic line (da-da-da-DUMMMM), while another might find the repetition of that rhythmic motif in each movement and bring that out.

Now wait a moment, you’re thinking. This is a Jane Austen-related blog. What does all of this have to do with Lizzy Bennet and Mr. Darcy? Quite a bit, really. Let me explain.

Blog Tour: Teaching Eliza by Riana EverlyI had the brilliant idea (if I may be so modest) to do a mash-up of Pride and Prejudice and Shaw’s Pygmalion, the inspiration behind the movie My Fair Lady. If you follow this lovely blog, you’ll realize that Barbara Silkstone was even more brilliant, because she beat me to it. (Insert big cheesy grin here!) She has just published a delightful romp called My Fair Lizzy, which had been my original title.

Our books are so similar in so many ways – same concept, same inspiration, same original title even! But, like the two productions of Twelfth Night, or the myriad recordings and performances of Bach and Beethoven, they are also very different. Our settings are different, our characters’ situations are different, all the details that bring a concept to life are different. Even my final title – Teaching Eliza – is different.

And different can be delightful! How fun to have two such different takes on a single theme published within a couple of weeks of each other! It’s a great way to see how authors’ minds shape common ideas.  Here is an excerpt from the beginning of my new release, Teaching Eliza. Read Ms. Silkstone’s excerpt from a few days ago, then read this, and enjoy!

Viva la difference!

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Excerpt From Teaching Eliza

Book Cover: Teaching Eliza by Riana Everly
Lizzy found herself recounting to Jane the conversation she had unwittingly overheard between the Bingley sisters. “I hate to admit it,” she concluded, “but they are correct. I would be a disaster in London, and I have resolved to write back to our aunt as soon as we are home and explain why I cannot accept after all.”

“Surely not, Lizzy,” Jane soothed. “You shall be valued for yourself wherever you go, and not for your country accent or country ways.”

“No, Jane, it cannot be. You did not hear Miss Bingley and Mrs. Hurst as they spoke. Their words were cruel but true, and I know that I shall meet many more like them in London, far more than the gentler souls who might overlook my origins. I shall be tarred by their brush long before I even have the chance to prove my character.”

Jane’s lovely face fell as she considered these words. “But is there no hope, Lizzy? Surely there is some remedy…” She lit up as she said, “Why not ask Professor Darcy to help you? I know what he did for Charles, and he is widely considered a formidable expert in this area. You have a quick ear and are intelligent. I am certain he would know just what to do to let you move easily in the upper circles of society!”

I can take even a flower girl, with her kerbstone English that will keep her in the gutter to the end of her days, and within three months pass her off as a duchess at an ambassador’s garden party.

Those had been Professor Darcy’s words, and they reverberated through Elizabeth’s head as readily as if she heard them spoken aloud. “Three months…”

“What do you say, Lizzy?”

“Three months! Last night, the professor boasted that he could transform a flower girl into a duchess in three months. I am hardly a flower girl, but I wonder…”

*** (Lizzy wanders to the library where she finds Darcy and Colonel F in conversation) ***

Lizzy found a suitable volume and was about to depart when she looked again at the two men, and deciding that she might have no better opportunity to do so, resolved to speak to the professor immediately about Jane’s idea.

“Professor Darcy,” she began as she turned to face them directly. The colonel’s eyebrows rose slightly at her forward address; the professor gazed into the middle distance, his eyes hooded, his jaw lax. “I wish to engage you to teach me to improve my accent.”

Darcy gave a visible start and stopped still in his place with his eyes wide; even the colonel, normally so easy to adapt to any circumstances, stared at the young woman who made this statement.

“Teach you, you say? Why on earth would I wish to do that?” He had raised his chin and levelled a piercing gaze at her.

Elizabeth did not waver, nor did she back down. She had taken her first step and was determined in her efforts. “You did say that you are not above giving lessons. I have heard this from others, and I heard it from you, yourself, last night. I wish to take lessons. If you have condescended to teach upstarts from Kentish Town and men from merchant families like Mr. Bingley, you should have no objection to teaching a gentle-born woman such as myself.” She kept a steady gaze on him and did not allow him to drop his eyes.

“Why on earth, madam, should you wish for speech lessons? Do you hope to better yourself in society? You are already of the first family in the area; do you wish to alienate your friends by putting on airs?”

“I do not wish to alienate my friends. I wish to be able to move in society in Town.” There. She had said it.

“Miss Elizabeth,” the colonel asked politely, “what do you mean? Is your father hoping to send you to London?”

“No, not he. My aunt—or rather, my aunt’s sister—” She described her relationship to the newly raised baronet and his lady, and added, “Lady Grant has become a dear friend and with her husband’s position and new estates, wishes to help me in society. They have offered to provide me with a home for a season and with the funds to outfit myself, as well as a generous increase to my dowry, but I have become all too aware of late that my manners and speech mark me as being of the country, and very much below all the other ladies of the circles in which I am expected to move. And so, Professor, I wish you to teach me to speak and act as they do.”

Darcy tilted his head backwards slightly and impaled with her a hard stare. He rose to his feet and regarded her from his superior height, looking once more down his patrician nose. “And what,” he demanded, “am I to receive for my efforts? I know your family’s situation, Miss Eliza. You are hardly in a position to pay me the amount I usually receive for my efforts.”

To this, Elizabeth had no answer. She began to stumble through a reply when the colonel leapt up suddenly and pulled Darcy aside, then whispered at some length into his ear. This monologue was interrupted at intervals by expressions such as “No. Absolutely not,” and “You have got to be mad!” but at length these protestations lessened in ferocity and the forbidding head began to nod.

Slowly, Darcy walked back towards Elizabeth, a saturnine look in his dark eyes. “Miss Eliza,” said he, “I believe I may accept your request. However, in return I have one of my own. It concerns your payment.”

Lizzy was shocked. He could hardly mean….

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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!

You can connect with Riana on Facebook or catch up with her on her website.

Giveaway Time!

Riana is kindly offering an ebook giveaway to five lucky winners across the blog tour. To enter, use the rafflecopter below.

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Blog Tour Stops

Blog Tour: Teaching Eliza by Riana Everly


Remember, this is just one of the blog tour stops. Here are details of the other stops.

Oct. 19            From Pemberley to Milton
Oct. 23            Babblings of a Bookworm
Oct. 24            So Little Time… So Much to Read!
Oct. 25            Diary of an Eccentric
Oct. 27            Savvy Verse and Wit
Oct. 28            My Love for Jane Austen
Oct. 30            More Agreeably Engaged
Oct. 31            Savvy Verse and Wit (review)
Nov. 1             Austenesque Reviews