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.


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

The West Yet Glimmers: The Lord & Lady Baugham Stories, by Gail McEwen & Tina Moncton – A Review

The West Yet Glimmers, by Gail McEwen & Tina Moncton (2012)From the desk of Christina Boyd

My affection for The Lord & Lady Baugham Stories commenced in 2007 when I discovered Twixt Two Equal Armies, a Pride and Prejudice spin-off (with Elizabeth Bennet & Fitzwilliam Darcy as supporting characters), that quickly created immense empathy for both protagonist– the stubborn, spirited Miss Holly Tournier who spars with the self-indulgent, droll Lord David Baugham – eventually surrendering to love despite their intentions.

The latest offering, and third book from the international writing team of Gail McEwen & Tina Moncton, is The West Yet Glimmers.  The newlyweds finally arrive at his lordship’s ancestral seat of Cumbermere in Cheshire, having excessively suspended this domestic obligation thus far (recounted in Love Then Begins –a romantic novelette of a most blissful honeymoon at Clyne Cottage and an impulsive fancy at a crossroad, diverting them east to Pemberley House in Derbyshire.)

“Cumbermere is a crumbling and decaying estate; I am sure you will have no more love for it than I do.  We will go there and we will fulfill our obligations: we will show our faces in church on Sunday, you will acquaint yourself with the staff and I will attend to the books and tenants and then we will leave.  It will go on, as it always has, quite well without us.  We have a duty, but aside from that duty, that place has no claim on us.” Love Then Begins, p.56.

But when an accidental finding hampers those plans for an early escape to London, his lordship (originally inspired from the Lord Brougham character of Pamela Aidan’s wildly popular, Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman series) is forced to search through his family’s painful past and disclose his own cloak-and-dagger truth.

Cumbermere Castle and its derelict state prove to be a disquieting challenge, a keeper of long, undisturbed secrets and unknown mystery. Their lives seemed unavoidably postponed, until they decipher an unwelcome family puzzle.

Holly blamed the weather, her husband’s natural restlessness, concern for her well-being, the house and his irritation with their time at Cumbermere stretching out against all intentions to the contrary, but all these perfectly valid reasons did nothing to quiet the melancholy voice inside her.  She knew in her heart, however, that the absence of news from Chester weighed heavily on him and for some reason her too.” p.117

Her newly established duties as mistress including management of accounts, household staff, her foreseeable motherhood, as well as her habitual enigma of a husband were ancillary and oftentimes overwhelming proof of her elevation from a school teacher/librarian to Countess! Moreover, Lady Baugham’s niggling suspicions of having married more than a cheeky, wayward peer soon expose a reluctant hero“The idea of him devoting hours of work to this end—to the discovery of what must be painful to him—frightened her.  That his past professional endeavors had crossed into his personal affairs like this must be terrible.” p.270.

But all is not dark.  Although his lordship disdains Cumbermere and all encompassing obligations therein, after all, they are still newlyweds and their affectionate banter is delightful.  Even after an assiduous tour of the grounds, his lordship charms his wife,

“Now, since we ventured so far, braving rusty hinges, uneven floors, and general decadence, what do you say to transporting that decadence where it belongs—you’re your bedroom?’ ‘My bedroom?’ ‘I thought we could… look through gardening books – together—birds, bees, petals, stems, that sort of thing.’  ‘Now that is decadent, sir!’ she replied but not without amusement.  They paused when they reached the front door, and he wrapped his arms around her.  Leaning in, he nearly touched his lips to her ear, raising gooseflesh that had nothing to do with frigid weather when he whispered, ‘I would have thought a schoolmistress would know the amazing powers of a good book in the right hands and with the right… intonation.’” p.43

Swoon worthy indeed.

As a fervent fan of Regency Romances staring lively heroines, smart, clever discourse and amusing gentlemen, I loved, loved, loved this book. The collaborative efforts of Gail McEwen and Tina Moncton set a sparkling pace with believable dialogue, brilliant characterization, and esoteric historical detail in an ingenious Regency-era whodunit.  Originally published on-line as Westmarch, The West Yet Glimmers has undergone professional editing and meticulous tightening of plot for a more polished offering.  Consequently Darcy & Elizabeth may have started it, even been hosts to Lord & Lady Baugham in Book 2, but in Book 3, this is all Holly & David.  And they have become nearly as dear to me as Darcy & Elizabeth!  One need not have read Pride & Prejudice to value this book.  But due note: just as it is possible to read Lauren Willig’s Pink Carnation series out of order—the same may be attempted with The Lord & Lady Baugham Stories– but for true satisfaction and understanding, not necessarily recommended.  The West Yet Glimmers is a triumph!

5 out of 5 Regency Stars

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 Christina Boyd, Austenprose

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