A Will of Iron, by Linda Beutler – A Review

A Will of Iron by Linda Beutler 2015 x 200From the desk of Monica Perry:

In Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Anne de Bourgh is a character who seems not to have much to offer. She’s just sort of there at Rosings Park, quiet and sickly and under her mother’s thumb. Readers can only hope that she occasionally has an original thought of her own. In A Will of Iron, a Pride and Prejudice what-if, author Linda Beutler exposes the last year of Anne’s journal. With her isolated life at Rosings, and a mother like Lady Catherine, who wouldn’t be curious what Anne has to say? I know I was! I was hooked from the second paragraph, where she drops quite the bomb. For months, she’s been scheming to extricate herself from Lady Catherine forever, and finally succeeded in setting her plan in motion. Sadly, she dies before getting the satisfaction of revealing her news in person, and seeing her meticulously plotted future come to fruition. Anne’s companion Mrs. Jenkinson knows all and delivers the journals to Charlotte Collins at Hunsford parsonage for safekeeping. Lady Catherine is desperate to get her hands on them to keep the circumstances of Anne’s death hidden, and as Charlotte makes her way through the journals she begins to suspect how far Lady Catherine might go to get her way.

I really liked Anne; she’s astute and blunt and had things gone differently, she and Elizabeth Bennet could have been great friends. Her journals chronicle not only her dealings with her mother and a Mr. C., her mysterious beau, but also her relationships with her Darcy and Fitzwilliam cousins, from their childhood to their current romantic tangle with Elizabeth. She genuinely cares for them and wants them to be happy, and has some very decided opinions on how she will make that come about. Anne’s logic with regard to her plan is a bit skewed, but her desire to be free from her mother makes her desperate and bold. It’s no wonder, as this Lady Catherine is truly cold- blooded! I had previously seen this book referred to as a macabre comedy. I’d say that’s a fitting description because as unhinged as Lady Catherine is, she is so outrageous I couldn’t help shaking my head and laughing. She even gave Mr. Collins the heebie-jeebies. I thought her final justice was perfectly done, if a bit messy! Continue reading

Sun-kissed: Effusions of Summer, Edited by Christina Boyd – A Review

Sun-Kissed, edited by Christina Boyd (2015)From the desk of Kimberly Denny-Ryder:

Today I have the distinct honor of reviewing Sun-kissed: Effusions of Summer, edited by none other than my fellow Austenprose contributor Christina Boyd. It comes along at the perfect time of year as many of us are packing our beach bags full of summer reads that provide companionship while lying on a beach towel or sitting in a chair with our toes in the sand. I’ve always been a big fan of short story anthologies because they offer fun and tantalizing stories that typically lead me to read more of the authors’ works, much like an appetizer before the entrée.  This particular collection of works has been chosen for its relevance to summer or other light and refreshing themes. Although I personally don’t have any plans for a trip to the beach soon, I sat down with this collection on my back porch and improvised, taking in the light and fun works that soon whisked me away.

Since there are several stories in the anthology, here are their plot summaries from Goodreads: 

“So each had a private little sun for her soul to bask in…” Thomas Hardy

If you desire a little heat, a summer flirtation, or an escape to bask in your own private sun…this whimsical collection of original short stories is inspired by all things summer. From some of Meryton Press’s most popular and award-winning authors, the anthology debuts other promising and emerging talent.

Continue reading

Sun-kissed: Effusions of Summer Blog Tour Launch Party — Featuring editor Christina Boyd & Giveaway Prize

Sun-Kissed, edited by Christina Boyd (2015)It is a pleasure to welcome Austenprose reviewer Christina Boyd here today in celebration of the release of her first book, Sun-kissed, a summer-themed short story anthology. Christina has been a contributor here at Austenprose reviewing Jane Austen-inspired books for seven years. In fact, she was my first recruit to the staff in 2008. Christina has an eye for a great story and I always had a hunch that she would make a fabulous developmental editor.

In her first outing, she has whipped up an intriguing summer frappuccino for us. Sun-kissed: Effusions of Summer is a new anthology of eight original romantic short stories inspired by the summer season and even Jane Austen. Four of the stories are by popular Meryton Press authors, and four are selections from the short story contest they held this past winter. They are the perfect beach read: light, fun and romantic, and I hope you will give them a try.

♥ Be sure to enter the giveaway contest in celebration of the release of this great new anthology. Contest details are listed at the bottom of the post. Good luck to all!

WELCOME CHRISTINA BOYD

“So each had a private little sun for her soul to bask in; some dream, some affection, some hobby, or at least some remote and distant hope…” —Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D’Urbervilles

It’s an honor celebrating at Austenprose the release of Sun-kissed: Effusions of Summer. Thanks, Laurel Ann. Having been discovered by you, it seems fitting to commence the blog tour here.

This summer-themed anthology was conceived during autumn 2014 by Meryton Press publisher Michele Reed.  She’d been toying with the notion, working out logistics, and then finally tossed the idea to her authors, creative staff, and subcontractors, like me. During winter 2015, published and aspiring authors alike were invited to submit summer-themed short stories. In the spring, a panel of bloggers, authors, editors, and readers judged each and culled to the Elite Eight—wherein even more panelists gleaned these promising writers to the Final Four…joining four of Meryton Press’s most popular and award-winning authors. There was even a worldwide contest via social media to name this collection. Finally, Sun-kissed, proposed by Australian Sarah Steed and chosen by internet vote, was born. Continue reading

Suddenly Mrs. Darcy, by Jenetta James – A Review

Suddenly Mrs. Darcy, by Jenetta James 2015From the desk of Monica Perry:

What happens when the independent, outspoken Miss Elizabeth Bennet finds herself forced to wed the proud Mr. Darcy, a virtual stranger whom she can barely tolerate? With their history of heated interactions, can they co-exist peacefully, let alone find companionship or affection? Jenetta James’s Suddenly Mrs. Darcy is a Pride and Prejudice what-if story that deviates from Jane Austen’s canon at the point of the Netherfield ball. I love forced marriage scenarios and all their angsty goodness! With such different personalities as Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth, I was eager to see how Ms. James would explore the dynamics of such a hasty union between my favorite literary couple.

When Elizabeth brings up in conversation Darcy’s infamous treatment of her friend Mr. Wickham, Darcy seeks to clear his name and takes her aside to a dimly lit salon to talk. Here they are seen by Mrs. Bennet, who immediately sounds the alarm that her daughter has been compromised. Despite Elizabeth’s protestations that nothing untoward has occurred, Mr. Bennet steps in, Mr. Darcy steps up and Elizabeth has no choice but to marry him and quickly. She can’t fathom why he would agree to marry her with nary a word of protest when it’s so obvious their dislike is mutual.

Here we have a “pre-Hunsford” Mr. Darcy who has not yet seen the need to modify his proud and disdainful behavior toward others. He acts unfeelingly with regard to Elizabeth’s family and finds little need to explain himself to her. Because the story is told from only Elizabeth’s perspective, readers don’t have the luxury of knowing Darcy’s feelings, motivations, etc because he is not very forthcoming with her. It’s natural for readers to project onto Darcy what they think or hope his character is, but they really don’t know, and it is so frustrating! As they spend more time together at Pemberley, Elizabeth does achieve a sense of contentment, and her intimate times with her husband gradually deepen her affections. When contention does arise between them, she is angry but tends to push the issue to the back burner to be dealt with later, or not at all. Continue reading

A Peculiar Connection: A Pride and Prejudice Alternate Path, by Jan Hahn – A Preview & Exclusive Excerpt

A Peculiar Connection by Jan Hahn 2015 x 200It is a pleasure to welcome the author Jan Hahn to Austenprose today. Meryton Press has just published her latest Austenesque novel, A Peculiar Connection.  Hahn has written several very popular Pride and Prejudice-inspired books including The Journey and An Arranged Marriage. Here are a brief preview and excerpt for your enjoyment.

DESCRIPTION (from the publisher)

Will a mysterious note from the past doom the love of Jane Austen’s most beloved couple?

A Peculiar Connection begins near the close of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Bent on preventing the engagement of her nephew to Elizabeth Bennet, Lady Catherine de Bourgh declares that any union between Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth would be “a sin against Heaven itself!”  Her shocking revelation, along with a cryptic message written over twenty years earlier, thrusts the couple into a whirlwind of heartbreak and disbelief.

Could a deserted mansion in Derbyshire or a small church hidden in the wood hold the key to solving the puzzle?  And why is Elizabeth inexplicably drawn to the portrait of three young boys in Pemberley’s gallery?

Determined to confirm or refute Lady Catherine’s accusation, Darcy and Elizabeth are forced to embark upon a twisted trail into bygone days and family secrets.  All the while, they must endure the exquisite torture of denying the indisputable desire that still hovers between them.

Continue reading

Aerendgast: The Lost History of Jane Austen Blog Tour with Author Rachel Berman

Aerendgast The Lost History Rachel Berman 2015 x 200Please help me welcome debut author Rachel Berman to Austenprose today on the first stop of her blog tour in celebration of the release of Aerendgast: The Lost History of Jane Austen published by Meryton Press. Inspired by actual events in Jane Austen’s life, Rachel has generously contributed a guest blog sharing her thoughts about her writing experience.

If you are as curious by the title of this novel as I was, you might want to read this preview and excerpt that we presented last month, and then join the blog tour as it continues through March 18. There will be reviews, interviews and giveaways along the way.   Continue reading

Summer Lovin’ – Meryton Press Short Story Contest

Summer Lovin Short Story Contest 2015

My regular readers know that I really enjoy short stories, so much so that I edited an anthology of Jane Austen-inspired original stories, Jane Austen Made Me Do It in 2011. So, I am very pleased to share that Meryton Press, an indie publisher who specializes in Austenesque and romantic fiction is embarking on its first short story anthology called Summer Lovin’. The cherry to the top of the cake is that it will be edited by Austenprose’s long-time contributor Christina Boyd.

The contest runs from February 1 – March 15, 2015. Here are the details from the publisher: Continue reading

Haunting Mr. Darcy: A Spirited Courtship, by KaraLynne Mackrory – A Review

Haunting Mr. Darcy A Spirted Courtship by Karalynne Mackrory 2014 x 200From the desk of Kimberly Denny-Ryder: 

One of the best parts about the Jane Austen fan fiction scene is its unlimited possibilities. Almost every genre and plot device has been molded and formed to accommodate the style and characters we all know and love from Austen herself. One of the more unconventional styles that have made its way into this arena is the paranormal genre. However, in all of these variations, I have yet to come across a book where ghosts have been included, until now.

Haunting Mr. Darcy by KaraLynne Mackrory begins with a terrible carriage accident involving Elizabeth Bennet. Although she survives the accident, she is left in a coma and doctors are unsure as to whether she will ever regain consciousness. While she is unconscious, a curious thing happens. Her spirit parts with her physical being and is magically transported to Fitzwilliam Darcy’s London home, where we find Darcy, residing alone for the winter. As if this wasn’t enough to agitate Lizzy, Darcy does not believe that her ghost is real and instead thinks that she is a manifestation of his amorous thoughts about her. How can she possibly begin to get him to trust and believe in her if he doesn’t even believe that she is a real ghost? Somehow, Lizzy has to convince Darcy of her fate, and together they must work to get her spirit back in touch with her physical body before it’s too late. Will this even be possible with Lizzy lacking any physical properties at all? Continue reading

Guest Blog & Giveaway of Haunting Mr. Darcy – A Spirited Courtship, by KaraLynne Mackrory

Haunting Mr. Darcy A Spirted Courtship by Karalynne Mackrory 2014 x 200Please join us in celebration of the release of author KaraLynne Mackrory’s new Austenesque novel, Haunting Mr. Darcy: A Spirited Courtship, published in March by Meryton Press. 

KaraLynne has joined us to chat about her inspiration to write her book, a paranormal “what if” of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Her publisher has generously offered a giveaway chance for a paperback or digital copy to three lucky winners. Just leave a comment with this blog post to enter. The contest details are listed below. Good luck to all. 

Welcome KaraLynne.

When I first begin formulating plans for my most recent work, Haunting Mr. Darcy, I started off by considering what elements I like when reading a Jane Austen-inspired book. The number one element I came up with was bunches of Darcy and Elizabeth page time. I love to read when our hero and heroine are together a lot. From the start, this desire led me to some roadblocks. Mostly the roadblock called propriety. Historically single men and women did not spend considerable amounts of time together alone.

While letting this problem stew in my mind, a plot bunny of lunatic proportions jumped into my mind. It solved the problem while also highlighting nicely my belief that our beloved characters, Darcy and Elizabeth were destined to be together. Jane Austen could not have conceived it any other way. Continue reading

Giveaway Winners Announced for The West Yet Glimmers

The West Yet Glimmers (2012)

37 of you left comments qualifying you for a chance to win three eBook editions and one signed three book set of The West Yet Glimmers. Winners drawn at random are:

eBooks

  • Mary Preston who left a comment on December 17, 2012
  • Lúthien84 who left a comment on December 17, 2012
  • LynnS who left a comment on December 19, 2012

Signed set

  • Robyn Brown who left a comment on December 17, 2012

Congratulations ladies! To claim your prize, please contact me with your full name and address by January 02, 2012.  Print book shipment to US addresses only; eBooks downloadable internationally.

Many thanks to Tina and Gail for their great guest blog and to their publisher Meryton Press for the giveaway copies. Happy reading to the winners!

© 2012 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

The West Yet Glimmers: The Lord & Lady Baugham Stories Blog Tour with Authors Gail McEwen & Tina Moncton & Giveaway!

The West Yet Glimmers, by Gail McEwen & Tina Moncton (2012)Please help us welcome today authors Gail McEwen and Tina Moncton during their blog tour of their new novel, The West Yet Glimmers, the third book in their Lord & Lady Baugham series.

Originally inspired by Jane Austen’s classic Pride and Prejudice, the series started as a “what if” variation of the classic and then developed into a new story with its own unique plot and characters. I read the first book in the series, Twixt Two Equal Armies, and enjoyed it immensely.

Writing three books is an incredible accomplishment, but I was even more in awe of how two writers who lived on two different continents could collaborate and write together. I asked the ladies to share their story and a bit about their latest novel, The West Yet Glimmers. Enter a chance to win signed set of the trilogy to one lucky winner and three individual Kindle Copies to three winners. Details of the giveaway are at the end of the post.

Welcome Gail & Tina!  

The Art of Ping Pong

Hi, Gail and Tina here! Laurel Ann has graciously invited us to contribute a blog article to talk about what we do, and why and how we do it.

The ‘what we do’ part is easy. We are the writing team responsible for the Lord and Lady Baugham Stories – Twixt Two Equal Armies, Love Then Begins, and the recently-reviewed-on-Austenprose, The West Yet Glimmers.

The ‘why we do it’ is equally simple—we have fallen in love with our characters and their story and we can’t help ourselves.

And then when people ask us, ‘how is it to write as you do, together?’ the answer is really also very simple, it’s the best thing in the world! Sure there are plenty of other things to do with our time, and the truth is, we often get caught up in those other, urgent matters—family, school, work, life. This can go on for a while, but if too much time passes, the itch to write goes painfully unscratched and we find ourselves looking around and wondering why we’re feeling so cranky.

Twixt Two Equal Armies, by Gail McEwen & Tina Moncton (2010)We previously blogged about how we met through the wonders of the internet and a mutual love of Jane Austen: To Begin our Posting with the Beginning of our Posting… but the simple most important thing is that, in finding each other, we were both blessed with just the perfect writing partner. And by perfect we mean someone who shares a passion for the same things— interesting and well-crafted side characters, finding out who and what the Baughams are through writing about them, attention to research and getting to know your subject, whether it’s Regency time policing, seaside holidaying or the geography of London—as well as each of us bringing our own special traits to this common experience: Tina has a muse that lives on a commuter train, Gail’s muse hides in the shower. Tina is relentless in her insistence on historical accuracy, while Gail is like a dog when it comes to meticulous read-through. On top of everything, we are both quite hopeless when it comes to incessant editing, re-writing and second guessing of a draft. It’s a wonder we ever manage to finish anything!

Some things, however, we don’t want to put “The End” to. Case in point: our latest book, The West Yet Glimmers. Originally, the story of Holly Tournier and Lord Baugham was not supposed to go beyond the meeting, the courtship (if you can call it that) and the inevitable risky plunge into married life together—the story of Twixt Two Equal Armies. But when we got that far, we realised it was not enough. “We should be careful never to imagine, that the wedding-day is the burial of love, but that in reality Love Then Begins…” It was true! We weren’t finished with them by a long shot! We wanted to know more, write more and follow them as a married couple on their road together, because by that time, we knew them well enough to understand that their road would by no means be smooth or perfect, but would be terrific fun to explore.

Love then Begins: The Lord and Lady Baugham Stories, by Gail McEwen & Tina Moncton (2012)And that is where the art of Ping Pong comes in to play! Actually, that’s how we’ve done most of the dialogues we’ve written and much of our writing and plotting, as well as this blog post. We send the text back and forth, adding and perfecting, playing around and, best of all, surprising the receiving party with a new twist or turn that takes the characters and story onwards and upwards and beyond what we could possibly achieve on our own. As with all games, there are a few rules. Okay, one rule: There’s no room for ego in tandem writing. If your partner in the game changes something you wrote, moves it around or even removes it completely, don’t let yourself feel injured or put upon. Because 99% of the time, she’s improved upon it. And, in the case of that 1%, don’t be afraid to speak up and say “I really liked that bit. Can’t we keep it?” She will usually see the error of her ways and comply. (Does that count as another rule? Or maybe it’s a promise?)

We keep each other accountable, give slack when life gets in the way of progress, or a kick in the pants when it’s just laziness or complacency holding one or the other of us down. We inspire one another. We are great friends. And we think we make a pretty good team.

That’s the art – and the fun! – of Ping Pong.

Many thanks to Gail & Tina for joining us today. I hope you are inspired to continue the adventures of Lord & Lady Baughham.

Author Bios

It was a shared love for Jane Austen and a fascination with the world she so vividly portrayed in her novels that brought the international writing team of Gail McEwen and Tina Moncton together. Meeting on an internet chat board devoted to Miss Austen, they soon discovered, despite living on opposite ends of the globe, they had quite a bit in common—not the least of which was a mutual frustrated passion for writing—and what began as a virtual acquaintance quickly blossomed into a true friendship.

When they began to experiment with writing together, they chose a path somewhat different than might be expected from such ardent fans. Rather than explore the what-if’s and variations possible within Austen’s existing works and much loved characters, Moncton and McEwen introduced two new players to navigate the Regency world of Pride and Prejudice alongside Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. This experiment was so successful and satisfying that it led to an entire series of P&P companion books.

Gail is a married mother of four and grandmother of two. In real life she lives in a small mountain community in California, works in accounting and still wonders how an English major ended up in the unexciting world of numbers and calculations. Tina is a married mother of three. Her real life is in the metropolitan area of Helsinki, Finland and though she would rather make her living out of writing about Lord and Lady Baugham, she works in the equally idealistic world of non-profit NGO’s. You can find Gail and Tina at their blog: Two Perfect Scheming Wenches; or contact them on the Meryton Press Facebook page.

A GRAND GIVEAWAY!

Enter a chance to win one of three digital Kindle copies available of The West Yet Glimmers or a signed set of Lord & Lady Baugham trilogy to one lucky winner by leaving a comment asking the authors a question about their books or writing experience, or what intrigues you about reading an Austenesque “what if” story, or Regency-era historical romances by 11:59 PT December 26, 2012. Winners will be announced on Thursday, December 27, 2012. Print book set mailed to US addresses only. Digital copies available internationally. Good luck to all!

The West Yet Glimmers: Lord and Lady Baugham Stories, by Gail McEwen & Tina Moncton
Meryton Press (2012)
Trade paperback (312) pages
ISBN: 978-1936009121

© 2012 Gail McEwen & Tina Moncton, Austenprose