Friday 10 January 2020

Find Wonder in All Things by Karen M Cox - 2nd Edition - Excerpt and Giveaway

Blog Tour: Find Wonder in All Things  by Karen M CoxToday I'm welcoming back a friend to the blog, Karen M Cox. Karen was amongst the first authors that I discovered when I found the Austenesque genre. What I particularly like about Karen's work is that she moves Austen's works into different eras. This year, she is re-releasing some of her books, and the first one to be re-released is Find Wonder in All Things. This is a Persuasion re-telling, set in the 1990s. I read the first edition of this book, and you can read my review of this, from the very first year that I began blogging!

Now, let's look at the blurb, and after that we will move on to an excerpt of the book. Karen is also offering a giveaway to accompany the blog tour - you can read more about that later :)

Book cover: Find Wonder in All Things  by Karen M Cox
Book Description

“There could have never been two hearts so open… Now they were as strangers”

Mountain Laurel Elliot is like her name—she blooms best in the cool comfort of shade, hidden in the Kentucky foothills of Appalachia. Alone on her mountain, she lives a private existence with only her pottery—and her regrets—for company.

James Marshall had a secret dream and Laurel was part of it, but dreams sometimes lead to unexpected places. James’s heart broke when Laurel cut him loose, but he moved on—and became successful beyond his wildest dreams.

For one glorious summer, James and Laurel had each other, but life has kept them far apart.

Until now.

“a magnificent modernization of Jane Austen’s Persuasion.” -Austenesque Reviews

Winner of the Independent Book Publisher’s Award 2012: Gold Medal in Romance and
Next Generation Indie Finalist in Romance 2013

Guest Post from Karen M Cox and Excerpt from Find Wonder in All Things

Thanks, Ceri, for letting me stop at Babbling of a Bookworm to celebrate the re-release of my modern (well, 1990s) take on Persuasion. 
One of the ways Find Wonder in All Things deviates from the canon Persuasion is that it tells the tale of Laurel and James (Anne and Wentworth) when they first fall in love—the love affair we don’t get to see because it happens before Austen’s Persuasion starts. I always wanted to know how a brash, young Wentworth caught Anne’s eye to begin with. So, I wrote it—in a 1990s setting.
In this passage, Laurel and James are separated for the first time after they’ve fallen in love—she’s in college in Kentucky, and he’s moved to Nashville…
Book cover: Find Wonder in All Things  by Karen M Cox
“Come on, come on! Pick up, will ya?” James cradled the receiver against his shoulder and blew on his chilled fingers. Sleet pelted against the glass of the phone booth, and the February cold made him irritable and impatient. It was Tuesday night, and he always called Laurel on Tuesday nights. Why wasn’t she waiting for him? He wished one of those co-eds whose room was near the only phone would hurry up and answer. He had places to go and people to see, and he was freezing his ass off.
Finally! “Hey, yeah, can I talk to Laurel please?”
Although she covered the phone with her hand, the girl screeched loud enough that he had to hold the phone away from his ear.
“Hey, Elliot! Your Tuesday night guy is on the phone.” She took her hand off the mouthpiece. “She said she’ll be down in a second.”
“I’d better be her guy every other night too.”
The girl just laughed.
“What was your name again?”
“Yeah, Adrienne. Look, I hate to bother you, but I’m kind of in a rush right now. Do you think you could ask her if she’s going to be a while? Or does she want me to call her back?”
Her voice carried again. “He says to hurry up!”
He grimaced. “That wasn’t what I said.” He couldn’t be too upset though because he had the supreme pleasure of hearing his girl on the phone a few seconds later.
“Hey, Jim Dandy. Sorry it took so long. I was studying for a sociology test in the lounge at the other end of the hall.”
He felt his pulse slow. Laurel’s voice always had that effect on him. Like the smoothest bourbon, she relaxed him, and whatever was wrong faded into thin air.
“Hello, beautiful,” he crooned. He swore he could hear her blush over the line, and he smiled.
“What are you up to?”
“Nothing much. Just on the way to meet some guys who are looking for a temporary bass player.”
“That’s great! I didn’t know you played bass.”
“I’ve been trying my hand at it lately. How are you, sweetheart?”
“I’m okay, I guess.”
“Just okay? That’s good,” he joked.
“What do you mean?”
“Well, I wouldn’t want you to be deliriously happy without me.”
She laughed, but then her voice grew somber. “I do miss you a lot.”
“I miss you too.”
“How are things in Nashville?”
“Going pretty well. Lots of stuff going on right now.”
“Did you write any music this week?”
“I haven’t had much time for writing lately. Got a couple more pick-up gigs though.”
“That’s good. Have you made it to the Bluebird Cafe yet?”
“Not yet, but I’m still holding out hope for a lucky break. Good news on another front though. I got that job at the Coke bottling plant. I just started yesterday. It’s pretty boring, but it’s a steady paycheck. Now I can pay the rent and still have evenings to play music—not like when I was waiting tables and couldn’t get gigs because I had to work.”
“Sounds like a good plan. How’s the new place?”
“It’s great! Just two rooms, but there’s a kitchen corner, a bedroom with a door, and I finally got a bed to go in it. I bummed the one from my mother’s guest room. Susan and her husband brought it over in their truck when they were passing through. They’re on their way to San Diego.”
“They’re moving again?”
“Yeah, that’s where he’s stationed, so they’ll be there for a while.”
“Is your mom okay with that? It’s pretty far away.”
“I think she’s good with it. She knows that’s how it is with the Navy. The divorce still isn’t settled, so that’s taking most of her attention right now. She did get a job, though, as a secretary in a church office. Not much money, but with the alimony, she should make it all right.”
“Good for her. How’s your dad?”
“Beats me. We haven’t spoken since I left.”
“I’m sorry, James. Is he ever going to get over you leaving school?”
“Who knows, but I’m not sure what he expected me to do when he yanked his financial support out from under me. Where does he get off telling me that this move to Nashville was a ‘foolish notion’? I say he lost his right to any opinion about my decisions when he stopped paying my bills. Wouldn’t you agree?”
“I suppose so, but I can sort of understand why he’s disappointed. He probably expected you would, you know, figure something out—do whatever you could to stay in school.”
“Yeah, well he figured wrong, didn’t he?”
“Are you sorry you left? Was it worth leaving school and everything behind?”
“Oh, definitely worth it. I mean, I won’t lie to you and say the last two months have been easy, because they haven’t been. But I don’t have to tell you pretty lies, sweetheart, to get you to join me. You know the way the world works.”
There was a silence of several seconds. “Laurel?”
“I’m here.”
Hmm—I wonder how this separation will affect their relationship? If you know the Persuasion story, you have an idea—but which one of them will turn the tide? Or will they each have a role to play?

Author Karen M Cox
Author Bio

Karen M Cox is an award-winning author of five novels accented with history and romance, a novella, and several short stories.

Karen was born in Everett WA, the daughter of a United States Air Force Officer. She had a nomadic childhood, with stints in North Dakota, Tennessee, and New York State before settling in her family’s home state of Kentucky at age eleven. She lives in a quiet town with her husband and works as a pediatric speech pathologist.

If you would like periodic bits of authorly goodness delivered to your inbox, be sure to get Karen’s News and Muse Letter. Updates, sales, book recommendations, etc. are yours for the asking.

Book cover: Find Wonder in All Things  by Karen M Cox
Buy Links

The second edition of Find Wonder in All Things is available to buy now, in paperback, kindle and kindle unlimited - Amazon US / Amazon UK / Amazon CA / Add to Goodreads shelf

Prize Pack: Find Wonder in All Things  by Karen M Cox
Giveaway Time!

To celebrate the second edition of Find Wonder in All Things, Karen is giving away a signed copy of the book and some Jane Austen swag: fun notecards from The Quill Ink, What Would Jane Do? book of quotes, and Austen coffee mug (if US winner) or an ebook copy of the book and 25$ Amazon Gift Card (if International Winner - cause #shipping :)

Each comment left on a blog tour post will serve as an entry.

Winner will be chosen by 11:59 pm EDT on 6 February 2020 and announced on Karen's website and social media (Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram).

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  1. Really enjoyed this book and so happy the release date is here!

    1. Thanks - and good luck in the giveaway!

    2. Thanks for commenting Darcybennett!

  2. How did I miss this book? Sounds so great. Off to view it now. Congrats on your release!

    1. Glad we could bring something new to your attention :)

  3. This sounds like a great story and I need to read it. I like the idea of what happens before. I love all of the continuation stories but reading about what leads up to the story we know is just as fun.

    1. In most of Austen's works the hero and heroine meet during the course of the book but there is an untold back story with Persuasion, so it piques my interest about what went went before too!

  4. Persuasion is my 2nd favorite of JA's works--Pride and Prejudice being the first. Love your idea of providing the "backstory" to their love story and since Karen is a very talented author, this book is bound to be a winner. Thanks for entering me in the contest!

  5. I loved this novel when it was originally published but I really think some of the revisions to tighten and tweak have improved Karen’s masterpiece. The addition of an epilogue as well as Discussion Questions are a lovely touch.

    1. I really enjoyed this book on the initial read too! It's good to hear about some of the tweaks that have been made. Discussion questions are useful, I wish more books had them.

  6. This was such an engaging story. It will definitely be a re-read.

    Please don't enter me in the contest.

    1. I'm sure you'll enjoy it again when you re-read it Sophia :)

  7. I read and enjoyed the first edition and am curious to read the second one. Karen's books have all been pleasurable to read for me. Good luck with this new release, Karen.

  8. I have both books in this new cover series on my wish list. Heavy sigh. I feel for him right now. I know what is about to happen. I mean, this IS Persuasion. Bless his heart. I have to read it so I can see how they mend this break. I hope I win... not just for the sway but because I really, really want that book. Thanks to Ceri for hosting. Bless you, girl. And... a special thank you to you, Karen, for the generous giveaway and posting today. Blessings in the new year. Happy New Year everyone. Can I still say that?

  9. I am slightly familiar with Persuasion story. I have read variations but a haven't read the original story. Eager to know which of the two will cause their relation to get cold. How they will meet again. Thank you for the execrpt and this give-away

    1. Buturot, if you can make the time to read it, Persuasion is such a lovely read. P&P holds first place in my heart but Persuasion is a close second. My favourite page of all of Austen is in it, Captain Wentworth's Letter - SWOON!

    2. Oh, Ceri. That is also my opinion of all three...the books and the letter.

  10. I love that Karen sets many books in Kentucky.


    1. I am not familiar with Kentucky, but if you are, it must be great to see the area represented in such great stories :)

  11. There's so much to love about Karen's re-telling of the Persuasion story. The way she's done it, setting it in the recent past in a relatively isolated community, works so well. Adding the "prequel" part to the story, I suppose you could call it, detailing the start of Laurel and James's relationship before the "eight years and a half" separation, gives the story added depth. It means we feel the anguish so much more when circumstances force them apart for all of that time.

    Love how the new cover design for this (and 1932) tie in with Karen's more recent works. It'd be so cool to have all of them lined up together on a bookshelf with their subtly different yet similar colour schemes

  12. This is a fun excerpt, Karen. It's great that you chose to write about Laurel and James's relationship before their second chance at love. The phone booth scene is very 90's before the advent of smartphones.

    1. Yes, I remember phone booths (we called them phone boxes here). Thing of the past, the later generations wouldn't get it, as everybody post about 2000 would have had a mobile, and wouldn't even know other people's numbers!


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