Friday, 11 December 2020

Plots, Ploys, and the Art of Matchmaking by Sarah Courtney - Guest Post, Excerpt and Giveaway

Book cover: Plots, Ploys, and the Art of Matchmaking by Sarah Courtney
Today I’m happy to be welcoming Sarah Courtney back to the blog with a post about her new book, a Pride & Prejudice variation called Plots, Ploys, and the Art of Matchmaking. Sarah has brought us a guest post, excerpt and giveaway. Let’s look at the blurb and then I’ll hand over to Sarah.

Book Description

When Darcy’s eccentric uncle Lord Matlock arrives in Meryton for a visit with his old friend Mr. Bennet, nobody can escape their mischief. From locked doors to misdirected carriages, Matlock and Bennet wreak havoc on inhabitants of Longbourn and Netherfield alike.

Darcy and Elizabeth fall prey to their relations' schemes more than once, but they firmly resist any matchmaking efforts. Darcy knows his value in the marriage market and has no intention of marrying beneath him. Elizabeth could never marry such a pompous bore. But their pride and prejudice become a lot harder to maintain when they find themselves trapped alone together.

Will Matlock and Bennet succeed in making matches for all of Meryton—except the two stubborn fools they know belong together?

This sweet comedic variation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is 73,000 words of mischief and matchmaking.

Guest Post from Sarah Courtney

My first beta-reading “job” in the JAFF world was with the wonderful Headstrong trilogy by Melanie Rachel. I jumped at the opportunity because I loved this story when it first appeared on the boards, and one of my favorite parts is when Elizabeth Bennet and Richard Fitzwilliam engage in a prank war. I laughed my head off at some of the pranks, but I could also see how incredibly annoying the pranks could be to others caught in the crossfire.

I think this was the germ of the idea that led to Plots, Ploys, and the Art of Matchmaking, which is all about an ongoing prank war between two old school friends, Mr. Bennet and Lord Matlock. In this story, Lord Matlock was a third son who unexpectedly inherited the title, so he has a personality far more similar to the fanon version of “Richard” (Colonel Fitzwilliam) as he was not raised to be the earl.

One of the biggest challenges of writing this story was coming up with great pranks that were possible in the Regency Era! Of course you can’t have pranks that involve modern conveniences, but you also can’t really have pranks that involve bedrooms (except perhaps between young siblings), so no frogs under pillows or anything of that sort. I had a lot of fun researching real historical pranks—did you know that the idea of something like the whoopee cushion is thousands of years old?

When Mr. Bennet and Lord Matlock finally join forces in their matchmaking plans, you might think these two old schemers will have an easy time of it. But when plot after plot goes awry, they begin to wonder—do Elizabeth and Darcy belong together after all?

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I don’t want to give too many spoilers here, but Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth had an accident during a boating party and are now walking to rejoin the others at the landing dock. Both were dunked in the water, and Elizabeth has a mild ankle injury.

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Book cover: Plots, Ploys, and the Art of Matchmaking by Sarah Courtney
Excerpt from Plots, Ploys, and the Art of Matchmaking

Despite the sun, Elizabeth was soon shivering. Mr. Darcy stopped and released her arm. She went staggering, but he quickly grabbed her shoulder and held her still until she had regained her balance on one foot.

“I would be a failure as a stork,” she said wryly. “How they can balance on one foot quite escapes me.”

“You are cold.”

“Your observational abilities astound me. If it were January, I suppose that you would be a gentleman and offer me your greatcoat, but I cannot think that you can offer any improvement to my current situation.”

He sighed and offered her his arm again. “Forgive me, but yes. You have read my mind. I want to be the gentleman and offer you some sort of comfort, but I cannot.”

“I will be in the carriage and on my way to dry clothes and a warm fire soon enough. I will admit that I would prefer not to appear before the entire boating party looking so bedraggled, but there is little I can do about that now.”

Mr. Darcy looked at her briefly, then turned away, his face reddening. “You look charming, as you always do.”

Elizabeth cocked her head at him. “I look as I always do? Dear me, are you saying that I always look as though I’d had a dunking in the nearest river? I suppose you have seen me with my skirts several inches deep in mud, so perhaps you are not so far off.”

He cleared his throat. “I apologize. I have not been used to giving compliments.”

“I can see why!”

“What I mean to say is something more along the lines of your natural beauty shining through, regardless of what you are wearing.”

Elizabeth swallowed. He could not mean that, surely. He had described her as no more than “tolerable” when she had been dressed in her finest, and now to tell her that she had a natural beauty when she was drenched, her hair half out of its pins and trailing down her back, skirts torn, and hopping along on her good foot? Still, she felt warm inside at his compliment, and it certainly felt sincere.

“I believe I can see why you do not often give compliments,” she said after a while. “You would have every lady begging for a proposal and every gentleman desiring to be your friend. You would not get so much as a minute to peer out a window undisturbed at a party. Heaven forbid, you might pass the entire evening and never once discover what the host’s back gardens look like!”

He chuckled. “I give you a perfectly good compliment, and you return with what appears to be a compliment but is actually an insult about my social behavior at parties.”

Elizabeth stumbled on a rock and held firm to Mr. Darcy’s arm so as not to fall. They had made good progress. She estimated they were probably a third of the way to the landing dock, perhaps even halfway.

“Can you blame me? Truly, sir, your manners at parties are atrocious. It is a wonder that you have such good-humored friends as Mr. Bingley and Colonel Fitzwilliam.” She kept her voice light and smiled at him so that he would not think her serious.

Without warning, Mr. Darcy swept her up into his arms.

She gasped and tried to free herself. “Mr. Darcy!”

He took a step forward along the bank. “My behavior as a gentleman has been called into question. Perhaps I do not dance with those I have not been introduced to, and I have no greatcoat to offer you, but I can at the very least carry you to the landing dock.”

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Wasn’t that a great post! I love it when authors give us some insight into the backstory of their books. Delicious excerpt too!

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Buy Links 

Plots, Ploys, and the Art of Matchmaking is available to buy now in Paperback, Kindle and Kindle Unlimited.  

Amazon US • Amazon UK • Amazon CA • Add to Goodreads shelf

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Author Sarah Courtney
About the Author

Sarah is a homeschooling mom of six kids, ages thirteen to two. Her first introduction to Jane Austen was the BBC mini-series of Pride and Prejudice, which aired when she was fifteen. The first scene she ever saw was Mr. Wickham telling his story to Elizabeth Bennet, and Sarah asked her mother if he was meant to be the hero. She didn't like him and didn't plan to continue watching if he was. 

Assured by her mother that he was not the hero, she kept watching and fell in love with Jane Austen's most beloved work. The first time she read the novel, she read the final page and immediately flipped back to the first to start again, unwilling to let it go.

Follow Sarah on Facebook or check out Sarah's blog

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Giveaway Time!


Book cover: Plots, Ploys, and the Art of Matchmaking by Sarah Courtney
Sarah is kindly offering to give away an ebook of Plots, Ploys, and the Art of Matchmaking. To enter, just comment on this blog post by the end of the day worldwide on Thursday 17 December. This giveaway is open to readers worldwide.

Note about comments: If you have any problems adding your comment please contact me and I will add your comment for you :)

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36 comments:

  1. Loved the banter in the excerpt.

    denise

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  2. Goodness, those two are going slightly at each other like typical! Ouch! But there is a slightly fun steak somewhere in this. Thank you for sharing that excerpt!

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    1. Yeah, their banter is still pretty snarky here! It'll soften up over time, but this is kinda right when she's starting to forgive him, so there's still snapping. :)

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    2. Thanks for commenting Jen!

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  3. This sounds delightful with those two matchmakers - thanks for a chance to win.

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    1. They are all sorts of trouble, but I like to think they're funny, too!

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    2. It's a great idea, isn't it.

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  4. Thanks for hosting, Ceri. That excerpt was so cute. Poor Elizabeth doesn't know how to take him and he doesn't know how to talk to a female without giving expectations. At least she understood that. He had to be impressed with that observation. That shocker of him picking her up made me gasp. Well done. I nearly swooned. Whew! I am looking forward to reading this. I have it on my wish-list. Blessings on the success of this launch, Sarah. I hope all goes well for you. Y'all stay safe and healthy. Blessings everyone, Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays in the manner in which you celebrate.

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    1. Their conversation was pretty awkward! But a good dunking in the water will loosen up the usual conversational restraints. They'll have more fun later. :) And if the picking up made you swoon, just keep reading! :)

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    2. The end of the excerpt made me gasp too, Jeanne!

      Hope you enjoy whatever you are celebrating at the moment, even if it's just seeing out the back of 2020!

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  5. This scene suggests that her opinion of him may be on the way to improving - what will the others think when they find he's carried her back - or will she insist on being set down once in sight of the others?

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    1. I think you know Elizabeth too well. To be carried in sight of the others? :) But yes, her opinion is starting to improve here. As long as the two matchmakers don't ruin everything.

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    2. Yes, I agree, this is receptive teasing rather than repulsing teasing!

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  6. Love the interplay between ODC. Looking forward to reading the entire story. Thank you for the give away. Stay well during these trying times.

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    1. I'm pleased you like it! I have a lot of fun writing the interplay between them, especially when . . . but that would be a spoiler, so I can't tell you that part. :)

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    2. Glad you enjoyed, Deborah Ann!

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  7. Loved the excerpt and their interaction with one another.

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    1. I hope you like the whole story!

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    2. Glad you enjoyed the excerpt. I enjoyed it too!

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  8. Another delightful excerpt! Yup, Mr. Darcy can carry me anytime! I just love Melanie Rachel's books too. I still have to read her modern day trilogy though!

    Thank you for a chance at the giveaway!

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    1. He might even get to carry her a *second* time in this story. Hmm. :)

      Melanie Rachel is so talented! Her modern trilogy is fantastic. I was so thrilled to beta read it. So many classic scenes that I remember and want to read over and over. The pranking was just one of my favorite parts.

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  9. Congratulations on your new book. THank you for this excerpt.It is always interesting to read such moments between the two.

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    1. Elizabeth and Darcy are so fun to write together! Their scenes were some of my favorites to write, but I did have a lot of fun coming up with pranks, too.

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    2. Thanks for stopping by Buturot! Glad you enjoyed the excerpt.

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  10. I have a comment to add from Paige:

    I enjoyed Sarah’s reading from this story at last week’s JAFF reader/writer get together. I look forward to reading more. Humorous stories are my favorites after angst!

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    1. Thanks, Paige! I hope you enjoy this one, then! I'm working on a more angsty one now, so I'm glad I wrote a funny one first. :)

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    2. I love a bit of humour Paige. I haven't been brave enough for angst this year!

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  11. I have a comment to add from Eva:

    I bet Lord Matlock and Mr. Bennet have lots of fun thinking up pranks. I like how Darcy sweeps Elizabeth into his arms. I can already imagine what Miss Bingley will say! Thank you for the excerpt and giveaway.

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    1. Thanks, Eva! I loved having Darcy make a somewhat romantic gesture in the midst of his being, well, not particularly romantic in general. :) Poor Miss Bingley!

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    2. I bet Mr Bennet could be a really inventive conspirator if he set his mind to it.

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  12. Thanks to everybody who stopped by to enjoy this post and comment, and huge thanks to Sarah for visiting and offering a giveaway.

    Sarah selected a winner at random and that person was... Carole in Canada! Congratulations to you! I have passed your details on to Sarah :)

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  13. Congratulations, Carole. Merry Christmas. Stay safe.

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  14. Thank you all for commenting and entering! Carole in Canada has been selected by my random spinner as the winner! Carole, please contact Ceri so we can get your information!

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