Yuletide: A Jane Austen-Inspired Collection of Stories, edited by Christina Boyd – A Review

Yuletide Boyd 2018 x 200Now that my holiday décor, baking, and gift shopping are finished—reading time was in order! What better way to celebrate the season than tucking up with a cup of tea and a good holiday-themed story? Fortunately for my Jane Austen obsession, a surprising anthology appeared like an irresistible kitten with a big red bow arriving on your doorstep on Christmas Eve.

Yuletide is a new short story collection edited by Christina Boyd. Inspired by Jane Austen’s classic novel Pride and Prejudice, seven altruistic Austenesque authors donated their stories, along with others involved in the independent publishing process, to create a small collection of stories to benefit Chawton House, the manor house owned by Jane Austen’s brother Edward Austen Knight near Alton, England. This seemed a win-win for me. My purchase would benefit a worthy cause and support the Austenesque genre.

I understand that the book was pulled together in a very short time frame, so we shall see what magic happens when authors, editors, and book designers’ mettle is tested. Here is a rundown of the seven stories in the anthology. 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

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

Almost Persuaded: Miss Mary King, a Pride and Prejudice Short Story, by P. O. Dixon – A Review

Almost Persuaded Miss Mary King by P O Dixon 2013 x 200From the desk of Kimberly Denny-Ryder:

Jane Austen’s works have given us countless characters to fall in love with: Elizabeth Bennet, Fitzwilliam Darcy, Catherine Morland, Henry Tilney, Anne Elliot, Captain Frederick Wentworth, and Elinor & Marianne Dashwood. Along with these major players, Austen sprinkles in minor personalities who play a very small role in the plot, leaving the full back story to our imagination. P. O Dixon has taken one of these lesser-known characters, “the nasty freckle-faced” Mary King, and given her story a chance to be told in her latest short story Almost Persuaded.

Mary King is accustomed to being in the background. She purposely shies away from the social spotlight but is always keenly aware of the goings-on around her. She can’t seem to keep her eyes off of George Wickham from the time they first met. Unfortunately for her, he doesn’t seem to have reciprocated any of these feelings, and in fact, does not notice her whatsoever. All that changes, however, when Mary becomes the recipient of a ten thousand pound inheritance. Suddenly she has gone from being a wallflower to the center of the social universe. Now she goes from pining for Wickham’s attention to having more attention on her than she could ever have wanted. Will this inheritance prove to be the key to finally winning Wickham’s heart or a curse that haunts her to be alone forever? Continue reading

Jane Austen Made Me Do It eBook now $4.99

Jane Austen Made Me Do It, edited by Laurel Ann Nattress (2011)Huzzah! In honor of Jane Austen’s 237th birthday on December 16th, my fabulous publisher Ballantine Books has lowered the eBook price of Jane Austen Made Me Do It by 67% off list price to $4.99 for a limited time only!

YES! Only $4.99!!!

For those of you unfamiliar with my Austen-inspired short story anthology, here is a brief description:

JANE AUSTEN MADE ME DO IT: Original Stories Inspired by Literature’s Most Astute Observer of the Human Heart is a new short story anthology edited by Laurel Ann Nattress and available in trade paperback and eBook from Ballantine Books.

This delightful collection inspired by Jane Austen—her novels, her life, her wit, her world—features an introduction and twenty-two never-before-published stories written by twenty-four authors from a diverse range of interests and writing experience; their uniting link is their admiration and love of the literary great, Jane Austen. Stories included are:

Original short stories in Jane Austen Made Me Do It

  1. “Jane Austen’s Nightmare”, by Syrie James
  2. “Waiting”, by Jane Odiwe
  3. “A Night at Northanger”, by Lauren Willig
  4. “Jane and the Gentleman Rogue”, by Stephanie Barron
  5. “Faux Jane”, by Diane Meier and Frank Delaney
  6. “Nothing Less Than Fairyland”, by Monica Fairview
  7. “Love and Best Wishes”, Adriana Trigiani
  8. “Jane Austen and the Mistletoe Kiss”, by Jo Beverly
  9. “When Only a Darcy Will Do”, by Beth Pattillo
  10. “Heard of You”, by Margaret Sullivan
  11. “The Ghostwriter”, by Elizabeth Aston
  12. “Mr. Bennet Meets His Match”, by Amanda Grange
  13. “Jane Austen, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah”, by Janet Mullany
  14. “Letters to Lydia”, by Maya Slater
  15. “The Mysterious Closet”, by Myretta Robens
  16. “Jane Austen’s Cat”, by Diana Birchall
  17. “Me and Mr. Darcy, Again”, by Alexandra Potter
  18. “What Would Austen Do?”, by Jane Rubino and Caitlen Rubino-Bradway
  19. “The Riding Habit”, by Pamela Aidan
  20. “The Chase”, by Carrie Bebris
  21. “The Love Letter”, by Brenna Aubrey
  22. “Intolerable Stupidity”, by Laurie Viera Rigler

From Regency or contemporary, romantic or fantastical, each of these marvelous stories reaffirms the incomparable influence of one of history’s most cherished authors.

Jane Austen Made Me Do It is the rare short-story compilation in which each and every one of the twenty-two stories manages to shine. Each contains a new take on Austen, a new concept of what Austen hoped to do with her life and work or even a new take on modern romance from Austen’s viewpoint.” — Romance Junkies

“Each story in this anthology is very unique. I had so many favorites among them that it was really hard to pick just two. If you’re a Jane Austen fan, you have to read Jane Austen Made Me Do It!” — Popcorn Reads

“For fans of “Austenesque” fiction, this collection will be a box of bonbons.” — The Seattle Times

Make haste! You can download a free sample of Jane Austen Made Me Do It and purchase this limited time reduced price of the eBook at these major online retailers:

If you don’t have a digital eReader, you can download the free software and read it on your PC, Mac, Blackberry, Ipod, or many other electronic devises. Just visit Barnes & Nobel or Amazon and follow the download instruction for your device.

Did you know that you can purchase eBooks as gifts? Yes. Jane Austen Made Me Do It is the perfect holiday gift for that special Janeite friend or family member. It is as easy as a click and an email address away from quick and easy holiday shopping.

Happy Birthday Jane Austen. Thanks for the making us do it. Enjoy!

Cheers,

Laurel Ann

© 2012 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Q & A with Jane Austen Made Me Do It Authors: Question 4 & Giveaway!

Jane Austen Made Me Do It, edited by Laurel Ann Nattress (2011)Continuing the JAMMDI author interview that started on August 3rd, we delve deeper into the 24 contributor’s thoughts on Austen’s heroines…

Jane Austen’s heroines have been often imitated but never duplicated. From Elizabeth Bennet’s conceited independence to Fanny Price’s prudent convictions, Austen creates characters with real flaws and perfections that readers identify with. Which of her heroine’s do you connect with personally? Who would you like to offer advice to, and please share what that would be? Continue reading

Q & A with Jane Austen Made Me Do It Authors: Question 3 & Giveaway!

Jane Austen Made Me Do It, edited by Laurel Ann Nattress (2011)Continuing the JAMMDI author interview that started on August 3rd, we move on to the 24 contributors revealing insights into the stories they wrote for the anthology…

3.) Share with us the inspiration for your story. How did you decide on the theme, setting, and characters? Which elements of Jane Austen’s style, humor or characterizations influenced you the most?  

Knowing that reform of one’s natural tendencies is difficult, I decided to explore a situation in which Darcy’s character might be tested again but from an oblique angle, he would not recognize. The short story format also dictated using characters already known. – Pamela Aidan

My inspiration for the story all started from the thought that so many women have identified with Jane Austen and her works.  But even as I enjoyed discussing my favorite characters with like-minded female friends, I couldn’t help but wonder if Austen’s reach extended in any significant way, towards the males.  And if so, how would they be affected?  I decided to explore one man’s point of view in my story.  And this is where it started.  And from there, the ideas started to snowball.  Perhaps my most favorite piece of Jane Austen’s work is Frederick Wentworth’s letter to Anne Elliot—and it is a significant portion of prose that exposes us to the mindset of a man, as interpreted by the authoress.  I wanted a contemporary man’s point of view so I knew my story would take place in the here and now.  I wanted a man who, like Wentworth, was poised on the verge of starting a new and successful life for himself, yet who was haunted by the past.  From there, the events seemed to flow.  My biggest challenge was a point of view, simply because I chose to express Mark’s thoughts from the first person and, being a woman, it was a challenge to make his voice believably male.  I tried some unconventional ways to channel my own “inner male” in order to make it sound authentic.  It also helps that I have read and loved many great contemporary male authors who write from first-person points of view, such as Pat Conroy and Wally Lamb. – Brenna Aubrey Continue reading

A Pemberley Medley: Five Pride & Prejudice Variations, by Abigail Reynolds – A Review

Pemberley Medley, by Abigail Reynolds (2011)Review by Kimberly Denny-Ryder

Whenever I finish an Abigail Reynolds book, I never feel like I’m completely done with the story.  What I mean by this is her writing always gets me totally engrossed in the stories making me wish they’d never end.  I always feel satisfied with where they’ve gone plot wise, but she writes characters so well that I always end up wishing for more. Fortunately for us Reynolds fans, she published A Pemberley Medley, a collection of short stories that represent different “what if” scenarios for our beloved Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet.  All five short stories are variations on the original Pride and Prejudice that we all know and love.  I wanted to leave you surprised by the plot of the majority of the works, but I couldn’t pass on the chance to tell you about my favorite (and also the first) short story of the book.

Entitled “Intermezzo”, it takes place on Jane Bennet and Charles Bingley’s wedding day, although Darcy is nowhere in sight.  He is still too brokenhearted and raw over the failed proposal attempt at Hunsford.  He decides that staying away and not seeing Elizabeth would be a better option.  What would happen if Darcy chose to show up at the last minute, only to find himself seated next to Elizabeth for the wedding breakfast?  Will he find a changed Elizabeth, or will she still be filled with hatred and contempt for him?

The other creative short stories are entitled “Such Differing Reports”, “Reason’s Rule”, “The Most Natural Thing”, and “A Succession of Rain”.  Fans of Reynolds’ To Conquer Mr. Darcy will want to pay special attention to “Reason’s Rule”, as it’s a scene from that novel that was left on the editing room floor.   The Most Natural Thing is a novella told in three parts that see Darcy as a “dark” character.  Fans will definitely be pleased with the variety of stories this compilation offers.

I feel that Reynolds has always excelled most at her characterizations.  She writes wonderful soliloquies that offer great insight into the character’s thoughts, feelings, and wishes.  Her ability to really connect with what her characters makes them that much more lifelike, and adds to the authenticity of the work as a whole.  Perhaps that is what makes Reynolds such a bastion of the JAFF world.  She keeps us wanting more, and makes any retelling of Pride and Prejudice seem like it’s the first time we’ve ever read anything outside of the original.

I especially enjoyed the short story format, which allowed Reynolds to cover more characters and plot than she would have in a traditional novel, and this added to the quickness and overall tone of the work.  I felt as if I covered a lot more ground in one reading than I would have with a detailed novel.  (Maybe these short stories will be fleshed out into full length novels? We can only hope!)  It was a fresh approach that I hope Reynolds will repeat in the future.  Overall, it came as no surprise that I enjoyed all of these short stories, especially the one that required the biggest change of heart for Mr. Darcy.  I’m always a sucker for a good romance, and Reynolds knows just how to appease my palate.  Bravo for a job well done!

5 out of 5 Regency Stars

Pemberley Medley: Five Pride & Prejudice Variations, by Abigail Reynolds
Intertidal Press (2011)
Trade paperback (212) pages
ISBN: 978-0615470337
Kindle: ASIN: B0069TPCQ8

Kimberly Denny-Ryder is the owner/moderator of Reflections of a Book Addict, a book blog dedicated to following her journey of reading 100 books a year, while attempting to keep a life! When not reading, Kim can be found volunteering as the co-chair of a 24hr cancer awareness event, as well as an active member of Quinnipiac University’s alumni association.  When not reading or volunteering, Kim can be found at her full-time job working in vehicle funding. She lives with her husband Todd and two cats, Belle and Sebastian, in Connecticut.

© 2007 – 2012 Kimberly Denny-Ryder, Austenprose

Jane Austen Made Me Do It contributors Frank Delaney & Diane Meier on NPR

Authors Diane Meier and Frank Delaney
Jane Austen Made Me Do It contributors Frank Delaney & Diane Meier on NPR | Jane Austen Made Me Do It!

Check out the great interview of “Faux Jane” short story authors from Jane Austen Made Me Do It, Frank and Diane on NPR. They chat about their story and our favorite author, Jane Austen of course!

Cheers, Laurel Ann

© 2007 – 2011 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Follow Friday: Jane Austen Made Me Do It Excerpt @ Scribd.com

Image of Scribd logoHere is some gratuitous self-promotion for your Follow Friday fun!

An excerpt of my new Jane Austen-inspired anthology, Jane Austen Made Me Do It, is now available on Scribd.com. It includes my full introduction and the first two pages of all twenty-two stories. Such a teaser.;-0

You will have to wait until October 11, 2011 to read the full stories. That’s when it goes on sale from Ballantine Books – but – you can pre-order it now for delivery on release date!

Cheers,

Laurel Ann

Visit the official Jane Austen Made Me Do It website for complete story descriptions, author bios, event updates and blog.

© 2007 – 2011 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Jane Austen Made Me Do It Short Story Contest Winner Revealed!

Jane Austen Made Me Do It, edited by Laurel Ann Nattress (2011)88 Austen-inspired stories were narrowed down to the Top Ten finalists last March in the Jane Austen Made Me Do It Short Story Contest. One lucky winner was chosen and announced yesterday. My congratulations go out to Brenna Aubrey, a talented new voice in Austenesque fiction.

A contest to win one of four copies of Jane Austen Made Me Do It is open until midnight September 5, 2011. Leave a comment on the post announcing the opening of the JAMMDI website. An additional contest to win one of ten copies is also currently running on Goodreads, ending September 9, 2011, so make haste and head on over and leave a comment or a request to enter the contests.

Cheers

Laurel Ann

© 2007 – 2011 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose