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Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Holidays with Jane - Will You Be Mine - Guest Post by Author Jessica Grey and Giveaway

Book Cover: Holidays with Jane: Will You Be Mine?
As many of my long-time visitors will know, I've read a few of the 'Holidays with Jane' story anthologies. I think it's such a great concept for a series - take 6 authors, each writing a modernised short story of a different one of Austen's main stories and each book is based around a seasonal theme. This book, 'Holidays with Jane - Will You Be Mine?', is the sixth and final in the series and is themed around St Valentine's Day, hence our cunning scheduling!

The authors who've contributed to the anthology are by Rebecca M. Fleming, Jennifer Becton, Jessica Grey, Nancy Kelley, Melissa Buell and Cecilia Gray. Jessica Grey has authored a story in each of the six 'Holidays with Jane' books and is here today to talk about 'Sense & Sensibility' and Valentine's Day. Not only that, but there is an ebook giveaway, open internationally! Read on for more details.


Accidentally in Love with Sense and Sensibility

“I despise Valentine’s Day,” Marianne Wood proclaimed before taking a sip of her wine. It was her third (or was it fourth?) glass.
“With the passionate hatred of a thousand burning suns,” her best friend, Ella Dash agreed as she held out her glass for a refill. 

Valentine’s Day is my least favorite holiday. There are many reasons for this. I never loved it when I was single, it wasn’t great shakes when I wasn’t single, and now that I have kids the holiday is all about elaborate Valentine’s Day Box homework projects (include four word problems on your box!) and providing adorable, allergen-free Valentine’s for approximately forty-three kids.

Valentine's Day Treats for Children
*Those chocolate hearts have peanut butter in them. Real talk: I may get a note home.*

Not only do I not love Valentine’s Day but I am not the hugest fan of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. I know so many people love the novel, but I just can’t get behind it. Maybe it’s the sister dynamic—I only have brothers so I can’t relate. Or it could be the lack of a real hero (really, Edward Ferrars is what we’re left with as a romantic hero in this book?). Maybe it’s that I’ve always wanted to be an Elinor and have spent most of my life outwardly ridiculing Marianne while secretly knowing that in reality I AM A MARIANNE. Whatever the reason, it’s just not my favorite.

When we were dividing up the stories for the Holidays with Jane collections, the only story I insisted on matching to a specific holiday was Emma for our Summer vacation collection because I just knew Emma had to be a summer camp counselor. I let the rest of the stories fall where they may...and where they fell was with me writing a Sense and Sensibility adaptation for Valentine’s Day. This is when intensive therapy and alcohol both started looking really, really good.

Book Cover: Holidays with Jane: Will You Be Mine?


However, I made it through the stress breakdown and the result was:

Accidentally in Love

Chawton High theater teacher Marianne Wood is no stranger to drama. Her breakup with a fellow teacher is the gossip of the school. Marianne’s sworn off dating co-workers—and maybe even men in general, but every time she turns around, football coach Drew Brandon is tempting her to change her mind. As the dreaded Valentine’s Day dance approaches, will Marianne learn that drama-free doesn’t have to mean boring?

How, you ask, did I overcome? Here is my three step process for embracing a Valentine’s Sense and Sensibility.

  1. Admit that you are Marianne. There’s nothing inherently wrong with being a Marianne. In fact, it’s way more socially acceptable now to indulge in one’s sensibilities. Marianne may have had really low lows, but she also got to experience some high highs...and who hasn’t made a bad romantic decision when they were young (*raises both hands*)
  2. Focus on the off-page/screen romance of Marianne and Colonel Brandon (let’s all admit that Brandon is the saving grace of Sense and Sensibility). The flip side to being a Marianne is that Willoughby is all wrong for you - even if he hadn’t been a prick and they’d ended up married, it would have turned into a disaster. I’m a big believer in opposites attract, especially in this case. A Marianne needs a strong and steady love to heal and to steady her.
  3. ADD A SINGING OGRE! In all of my Holidays with Jane stories I’ve incorporated ideas from other books or movies, (It’s a Wonderful Life and Die Hard in my Christmas story for example), and adding Shrek the Musical to Sense and Sensibility just seemed to fit. My Marianne is a high school drama teacher who has bitten off more than she can chew with a large production and I borrow my title from a song featured in Shrek 2. The thing that I love about Shrek...and now about Sense and Sensibility as I’ve interpreted it...is that love can be found in unexpected places and when you are least looking for it.

However, ending up appreciating Sense and Sensibility a bit more after writing Accidentally in Love still doesn’t translate into liking Valentine’s Day. Whether you are single, married, or anything in between, you can still use Valentine’s Day to focus on things other than Hallmark cards and overpriced chocolate.

So here are some fun things to do by yourself (or with friends, and a few are kid-friendly) on Valentine’s Day.

  1. Treat yourself to a fancy dinner at home.
  2. Watch some awesome old movies on Netflix (I just watched Gentleman Prefer Blondes for the first time, and I’m not quite sure how I’ve missed this my whole life).
  3. Get a mani/pedi...or do it at home yourself (unless you’re me and doing it yourself will just raise your blood pressure to unhealthy levels).
  4. Take flowers to a nursing home. (This is a great kid friendly project and I PROMISE you it will make you feel fantastic).
  5. Take a bubble bath (Protip: this is NOT a kid friendly option. If you have children come back to this option in eighteen years).
  6. Buy discounted Valentine’s candy on the 15th and laugh at all the poor saps who paid full price.
  7. Read our book!


See what I did there? It’s called super-subtle promotion! But really, if you’d like to read our book it is currently available for Kindle on Amazon. You can also enter to win one of two ebook copies that I am giving away! Just comment below with something you can do for yourself this Valentine’s Day!

Thank you so much to Ceri for letting me guest post and for being so supportive of our Holidays with Jane collections!

Author Jessica Grey
Author bio:

Jessica Grey is an author, fairytale believer, baseball lover, and recovering Star Wars fangirl. A life-long Californian, she now lives with her two children in the Rocky Mountains where she spends her time writing, complaining about snow in April, and drinking way too much caffeine.

You can find Jessica online at www.authorjessicagrey.com

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Thank you so much for stopping by with this guest post, Jessica! Holidays with Jane: Will You Be Mine is available to buy now - on Amazon USAmazon UK and other Amazon sites. But wait! As Jessica has said above it's....

Book Cover: Holidays with Jane: Will You Be Mine?
Giveaway Time!

Jessica is kindly offering to give away an ebook of 'Holidays with Jane: Will You Be Mine' to two commenters here, open internationally. Just comment on this blog post with something you can do for yourself this Valentine's Day. Make your comment by the end of the day on Tuesday 21 February and please make sure you leave a way for me to contact you in case you're a lucky winner.

44 comments:

  1. Well I am single and no I don't really love Valentine's Day because of that but I plan on getting myself a massage this weekend! Been cooped up with a sick kiddo for 2 weeks now so mommy needs some time away :)

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    1. Oh! A massage is a great idea!

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    2. A massage sounds so good! I have to use up some annual leave before the end of March and I have been thinking that I need to treat myself to a massage. Enjoy!

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  2. This looks like such a cute story and I would love to read the entire book. Great lineup of authors. Thanks so much for sharing it here on the blog. Jen

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    1. Thanks for entering! It was fun to write, we hope you enjoy it.

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    2. Thank you Jen. I hope you enjoy it when you read it. Good luck in the giveaway!

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  3. I'm definitely not a big Valentine's Day fan...my husband and I keep it low key, and the twins are too little for it to be big for them yet. Not looking forward to that!
    This book sounds fantastic. I can't wait to see what you've done with Elinor and Marianne. Would love to win!

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    1. School projects are awesome...so you have that to look forward to. ;) Thanks for entering!

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    2. I am married but we've never been big on Valentine's Day. My kids are similar in age to Jessica's but thankfully I haven't had to go to the effort that she has, I think it's more an occasion celebrated by adults here. I got them some Valentine's cupcakes but that was it :)

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  4. I like Valentine's Day just fine - not my favorite or least favorite. When I was a kid, I did enjoy making the Valentine box in school. And, not relevant to the book, which I would love to win by the way, I love the picture of the array of kid Valentines - Be Mine Craft - that's fantastic!
    Anyway, I have the other books in this series, and look forward to this one, too.
    GinnaSayWhat at gmail dot com

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    1. Thanks! My son made a Minecraft Creeper Valentine's box so we had to theme his Valentine's! Thanks for reading our collections and entering!

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    2. The minecraft ones are particularly fab aren't they?! I love a pun :)

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  5. I don't have strong feelings for or against Valentine's Day, but I never liked a version of Marianne as much as the one Jess wrote. (I'm not entering to win the books since I helped write them. :D)

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    1. I'm looking forward to meeting Jess's Marianne. I've loved seeing you authors take on stories which can't have been what you would have chosen to do. So many Austen-inspired books are P&P or maybe Persuasion, but the others are far more thin on the ground so kudos to you all for for taking on the challenge. I didn't review the last HWJ that I read but I really liked Marianne in that one too (Trick or Sweet, perhaps? She was a party planner). I look forward to reading this installment!

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    2. Aw, thank you Jennifer!!!! It did scare me to write her because she can easily be super annoying.

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  6. (Not entering the giveaway because I'm an author but wanted to comment!) I loved your Sense and Sensibility story! We also keep Valentine's Day low-key. I just ask my husband for chocolate and I share it with him so we both win. :-) My younger son had to make a box to collect his valentines that was also part of a book report. He chose Harry Potter (winning!) and made the Chamber of Secrets on his box. Not exactly "love" to see a basilisk but it's pretty cool. ;-)

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    1. Aw, that's so sweet, I love Harry Potter. And chocolate is always a winner! Thanks for stopping by Melissa!

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    2. I am totally stealing this idea for next year's Valentine's boxes!

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  7. I don't have a significant other and my children are in their thirties and married with children of their own so I tend to ignore Valentine's Day. I spent most of it reading JAFF and I love that. ��

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    1. I am married but we don't really celebrate Valentine's Day. I spent most of the evenings big watching '24 hours in A&E' (A&E or Accident & Emergency is what we call the Emergency Room for those who don't know) This is not romantic but it's a programme which is very much about love ❤️

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  8. Normally on Valentine's Day and on our anniversary, if I'm not working and weather permitting, we'll maybe go out for the day and have a nice lunch somewhere out in the Yorkshire Dales. I'm just getting over a flu-type bug so it didn't happen this year. It's been a quiet day at home, just us and the dogs.

    I thought I had all of the Holidays With Jane books, but when I checked my Kindle earlier today, I'm actually missing this one so it'd be lovely to have a chance to win a copy. Thanks for bringing along a couple of copies for us, Jessica.

    angmardee (at) hotmail (dot) com

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    1. Thanks for reading our collections! And a nice lunch date sounds perfect for Valentine's Day. I hope you feel better soon!

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    2. Hi Anji. A lunch out sounds pretty good to me, especially somewhere as picturesque as the Yorkshire Dales, if the weather is in a good mood :)

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  9. I loved this Marianne story!!!(and the stories in this one, please don't enter me). Lol, I love S&S(2nd fav by hair...hare!) and I'm Team Marianne (fav heroine). Soooooooo sad(full Marianne mode) that the series is over (come back pls!!!!!) but thx to all involved.

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    1. Kirk we so appreciate you reading all of our collections!! And I am glad my Marianne lived up to your standards ;)

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    2. That's great to hear, Kirk. I love how you always stand up for Marianne! When I first read S&S many years ago I really didn't connect with her, I think I'm far more of an Elinor. But on my last read I was pleased to be able to get on with her far better!

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  10. I've always wondered how it would be to try to write about a story that doesn't exactly wow you when you're an Austenesque writer. Fun to get the down low here.
    I've always been fond of a low key Valentine's Day. My favorite activity started years ago when my college roommate and I would go for a long walk and then hit the diner for a shared hot fudge sundae. This continued to work when I talked a few co-workers into doing this on our break. The only time we've missed was if the weather was too lousy or one of us was sick.

    Looking forward to getting your story and the others, Jessica.

    Thanks for the chance to win a copy. sophiarose1816 at gmail dot com

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    1. Well, it wasn't as bad as Mansfield Park...but it was definitely interesting to adapt EVERY novel, not just my favorites. Your Valentine's tradition sounds awesome! Thanks for entering.

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    2. That sounds like a great way to spend Valentine's Day, Sophia! Thanks for commenting :)

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  11. My husband hates crowds and is NOT a romantic at all so I indulged in reading 2 or 3 short stories yesterday as well as going out for 2 appointments. I did read and love this book and posted a review. I have read 3 of these and plan to read the others. Well done.

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    1. Crowds are definitely a consideration on major holidays. I am glad you got to read some short stories! Thanks for entering.

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    2. Hi Sheila! Crowds are a big part of why my husband and I rarely go out for Valentine's day. Both of us prefer places when they are quieter, so we try and avoid going out on popular days.

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  12. I worked on Valentine's day so I didn't really get to do anything for myself on that day but the day before I treated myself to a dinner at a restaurant I had always wanted to try out.

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    1. Oh, perfect! I worked too, but tonight I am going out with friends for dinner. Yay! Thanks for entering.

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    2. That's a good idea, Darcybennett. I hope you enjoyed the food :)

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  13. This book sounds fab!!!

    Must say I can take or leave Valentine's Day.
    It doesn't bother me,but I think it's important that people appreciate their significant other on more than one day in the year!!!

    Happy reading to lovers young and old!!!

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    1. That's so true, Mary. We should be appreciating our loved ones every day, not just when we're reminded!

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  14. Mary, I agree that people need to appreciate their significant other on non-holidays too! Thanks for entering.

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  15. Love your post! I have one of the Holidays with Jane on my Kindle that I have to read real soon! For the me, the hero is Colonel Brandon in S&S...as for Valentine's Day not a fan other than sending my grandchildren a card. My husband and I prefer to celebrate Feb 4th as it was the day we ever set eyes on each other. Like others, we should show our love all year!

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    1. That's lovely, Carole, very romantic! I agree with you, Colonel Brandon is much more hero material than Edward (who is my least favourite Austen hero). I would have liked him to have ended up with Elinor but Marianne needed him more :)

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  16. I need to catch up on this series! This one looks so cute! :)

    newyorkgirl82(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Hi Maria. I need to catch up too. If I miss the right time to read it I feel like I should wait until the next time comes around! I think I'll just have to rebel and read them anytime :)

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  17. I could relate with soooo many things Jessica Grey mentioned on this post that it feels I could have written it myself (if I had any talent to write interesting witty texts).

    Anyway, if this is the type of writing I’ll find in this book, then I’ll want to read it asap!

    Thanks for sharing this with us Ceri, it was the perfect valentine’s day post!
    As for my valentine’s day… I had dinner with my mother in law! Yep, true story! Her birthday is on Valentine’s Day, so I usually have dinner with her and the family. It’s a good thing I don’t like Valentine’s Day right?

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    1. Jessica has such a great writing style, doesn't she! I hope you enjoy Holidays with Jane :)

      It's just as well you don't like Valentine's Day, Rita, or else your mother in law would have a lonely birthday!

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