This or That Book Tag

Serena from Savvy Verse & Wit has tagged me for the This Or That Book Tag created by Ayunda @ Tea & Paperbacks!

Here are the Rules:

*Mention the creator of the tag
*Thank the person who tagged you (THANKS, SERENA!)
*Tag other people & spread the love

Reading on the couch or reading in bed?

I do most of my reading in bed, and my family knows that when I say I’m going to bed that it really means I’m going to read until I fall asleep. I prefer to read on the couch after work before my husband and daughter get home, but once they get home, it’s too loud for me to read in the living room. One day I hope to have a big enough home that I’ll have spaces where I can read or write that aren’t my bedroom.

Main character: Male or Female?

As long as the story is intriguing, it doesn’t matter to me at all.

Sweet or salty snacks while reading?

I don’t actually snack too much while reading, but when I do, I like snacks that are both sweet and salty. I’m actually more of a tea or coffee drinker while I read.

Trilogies or quartets?

I usually prefer standalone stories, but if I get sucked into a series, I often don’t want it to end.

First Person or Third person POV?

I don’t mind either of them. It just depends on the book, whether a certain POV works or not.

Night or morning reader?

Well, since I start work on the weekdays at 5:30 a.m., I’m more of an afternoon/evening reader. But on my days off and on the weekend, I’d read all day and night if given the chance.

Libraries or bookstores?

Either! I love browsing the shelves at both, and if I read a book from the library and love it, I’ll buy it. These days I must admit I do most of my reading on my Kindle, and I enjoy it more than I ever thought I would.

Books that make you laugh or books that make you cry?

I’d rather laugh than cry, but I’ll take a book good enough to trigger any strong emotional reaction.

Black or white book covers?

Colorful covers? Jill Mansell’s covers are my favorites, so whimsical and bring a smile to my face.

Character driven or plot driven stories?

I tend to enjoy character-driven stories more, but plot-driven stories can be enjoyable as well. It really just depends.

The PEOPLE I tag are:

I’m not going to tag anyone in particular, but I’d love it if anyone who wanted to play did so! Please feel free to leave your answers in the comments, or if you post on your blog, leave the link so I can check it out!

Have fun!

© 2016 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

My guest today is Hassan El-Tayyab, author of Composing Temple Sunrise: Overcoming Writer’s Block at Burning Man. I know nothing about Burning Man, so I’ve asked him to explain what it is. Before I turn the blog over to Hassan, here’s a bit about the book:

ComposingComposing Temple Sunrise is a coming-of-age memoir about a 26-year-old songwriter’s journey across America to find his lost muse.

Triggered by the Great Recession of 2008, Hassan El-Tayyab loses his special education teaching job in Boston and sets out on a cross-country adventure with a woman named Hope Rideout, determined to find his lost muse. His journey brings him to Berkeley, CA, where he befriends a female metal art collective constructing a 37-foot Burning Man art sculpture named “Fishbug.” What follows is a life-changing odyssey through Burning Man that helps Hassan harness his creative spirit, overcome his self-critic, confront his childhood trauma, and realize the healing power of musical expression.

In this candid, inspiring memoir, singer-songwriter Hassan El-Tayyab of the Bay Area’s American Nomad takes us deep into the heart of what it means to chase a creative dream.

After experiencing multiple losses (family, home, love, job, self-confidence) , El-Tayyab sets out on a transcontinental quest that eventually lands him in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. His vivid descriptions capture both the vast, surreal landscapes of the Burning Man festival and the hard practice of making art.


Please give a warm welcome to Hassan El-Tayyab:

Burning Man is a difficult thing to describe, as it is so many things to so many different people. People who have never been all seem to have an opinion as well. I’d start off by saying, you can’t really know what this event is about until you go. I encourage everyone to do their own cost-benefit analysis after they experience it first-hand. With that preamble, I’ll begin to explain what I think it is.

Burning Man is one of the world’s biggest annual do-it-yourself events taking place in the Black Rock desert of Nevada at the end of August each year. Many have called it a cultural phenomenon. It started with only a few hundred people in the early 90s, but has grown to hold about 70,000 people each year. People of all ages come from all over the planet to construct a temporary city from the ground up, filled with art cars, behemoth fire art installations, interactive exhibits, sound camps, costumes, and live performances of all genres, skill levels, and styles. Many of these communities that occupy the event spend much of the year preparing for this. What’s created is one of the most unique human/nature made experiences I’ve ever been to. In essence, Burning Man is a giant canvass for experimenting with human potential.

This special event is guided by 10 principles that set the tone for the overall vibe and experience on the ground. They include radical inclusion, gifting, de-commodification, radical self-reliance, radical self-expression, communal effort, civic responsibility, leaving no trace, participation, and immediacy. It might help a first timer to examine these points closely.

Burning Man is a completely cashless society. Being in an environment where you can’t buy things after spending all your life inside a capitalist society is a refreshing thing for any world view and potentially life changing. There is also much excess on the Playa too that can feel uncomfortable for many. Some of what has evolved seems very similar to the default world as folks jockey for position and status with material possessions they have brought to the desert with them. You have a choice to let this bother you or not. When I’m there, I focus on my personal experience and my good friends. I always seem to have a great time! Like anywhere, the more you give, the more you get. I find that when I’m actively contributing and don’t play the role of spectator, I have the most worthwhile experiences.

Radical Self Expression and Radical Inclusion are two other hallmarks of Burning Man. Be prepared for an anything goes environment. Burners accept people of all faiths, race, and backgrounds as the status quo. This is definitely the sentiment you feel out there. You feel loved by strangers as if they were your close friends in a very touching way. You could wear a tutu on a unicycle and no one would give you a second look. You can walk down the road completely naked and, chances are, you’ll see 10 others doing the same thing giving you a thumbs up. That said, I find the principle of radical inclusion held with a bit of tension as well. The event is still quite cost prohibitive and the vast majority of the community is white.

The “Burning Man” references the giant wooden effigy that is burned on the Saturday before the end of the event. People gather around and watch a 60+ foot sculpture burn to the ground. What ensues is probably the largest and wildest LED lit party I’ve ever been to. On Sunday night, the Temple burn happens. This is a more somber affair. The Temple is another large wooden building that spends the entire week getting filled with writings, shrines, memories, pain, suffering, and tears. I see this as the spiritual epicenter of the playa during the week event. It’s a place you can go to be quiet and reflect on life and loss.

On Sunday evening, the building along with the tens of thousands of notes, shrines, and memories are burned to the ground as people look on in silence. It’s hard not to see tears streaming down cheeks all around you as this occurs. I find this to be the most profound moment at Burning Man as you get to share a truly spiritual and transcendent moment with thousands of other people that’s not wrapped in dogma. It’s just about healing. Never in my life have I witnessed something like this on such a big scale.

I’ll leave you with this. My life long burner friend told me my first year when I asked him about Burning Man. He said, “Burn your expectations and things can be wondrous.”


About the author

ElTayyabHassan El-Tayyab is an award-winning singer/songwriter, author, teacher, and cultural activist currently residing in the San Francisco Bay Area. His critically acclaimed Americana act American Nomad performs regularly at festivals and venues up and down the West Coast and beyond and he teaches music in the Bay Area.

Check out Composing Temple Sunrise on Amazon and Goodreads

Click the button below to follow the Composing Temple Sunrise tour on Poetic Book Tours


© 2016 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.


Source: Public library
Rating: ★★★★☆

Again Tate’s face changed, only this time he went from anger to what appeared to be amusement. “I have never owned you, even though you first appeared to me in a nightdress that was from a child’s fairytale. Was your intent to seduce me into an illicit liaison?”

Casey’s anger increased. “Seduce you? Why you vain, arrogant –” She glared at him. He was not going to make her forget where she was! “You, sir, are the villain in this. When you first showed yourself to me, you were as bare as the day you were born. You conjured rain from above and soaped parts an unmarried woman should not see.”

(from The Girl from Summer Hill)

The Girl from Summer Hill by Jude Deveraux is a modern-day retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice set in Summer Hill, Virginia. Casey Reddick is a chef who left the hustle and bustle of D.C.’s restaurant scene to live in the guest house on Tattwell Plantation. She has been hired by Kit Montgomery to cater meals for the cast and crew of the stage adaptation of Pride and Prejudice that he is directing for charity. She meets the sexy actor Tate Landers when he shows up naked on the porch of her cottage. They get off on the wrong foot when he catches her watching him at the outdoor shower and accuses her of taking pictures on her phone. She later catches him in her home eating one of her fresh-baked pies after having torn apart her bedroom.

Much to her chagrin, Kit casts Casey as Elizabeth Bennet and Tate as Mr. Darcy. Casey can’t stand Tate, and her opinion of him only worsens when his ex-brother-in-law Devlin Haines (cast as Mr. Wickham) tells her his tales of woe at the hands of the rich and powerful actor. Meanwhile, Tate is drawn to Casey because she is the only woman he’s ever met who isn’t in awe of him, sees the man behind the celebrity, and has no qualms telling him how she really feels about him.

As Casey and Tate grow closer, there is plenty of behind-the-scenes drama involving Tate’s best friend Jack (Mr. Bingley), Casey’s half-sister Gizzy (Jane Bennet), Kit, and Olivia, who once played Elizabeth and has returned to the stage after many years to play Mrs. Bennet. Jack is an action-movie star who is in awe of Gizzy, who appears to be a delicate flower but is really a danger-loving adventurer. Kit and Olivia seem to share a secret from a long-ago summer at Tattwell, and Devlin will never be happy unless he’s bested Tate at something.

The Girl from Summer Hill is a real page turner, one of those books you pick up for a few minutes before bed and end up breezing through 20 to 30 pages in no time. Deveraux does a good job writing two Pride and Prejudice adaptations — one on the stage and one behind the scenes — and running them parallel to one another. It’s easy to see Austen’s characters in how Deveraux’s characters act both on and off the stage. (In this aspect, I was reminded of a delightful book I read a few years ago, Pride, Prejudice and Jasmin Field by Melissa Nathan, which also has a stage version of the novel running parallel to the modern adaptation.)

For the most part, I liked how Deveraux updated Austen’s characters, though I must admit that I initially found Casey annoying, but then she softened a bit and grew on me. I enjoyed the chemistry between Casey and Tate, and Tate’s encounters with a peacock are humorous and thoroughly delightful. Deveraux handles the modern-day Wickham/Lydia scandal in a sensitive, realistic way, and it was fun to see the characters evolve over the course of the play — especially when they are supposed to love or hate each other and the actors feel the complete opposite.

The Girl from Summer Hill is the first book in Deveraux’s Summer Hill series, but don’t let the fact that it’s a series prevent you from reading it, as there is a satisfying ending that doesn’t leave you hanging at all. I’m not sure where the series will go next, but I’m looking forward to it. The Girl from Summer Hill is a lighthearted and fun take on Pride and Prejudice that doubles your Austen fun and strikes the right balance between funny and sexy and serious and sassy.

Disclosure: I borrowed The Girl from Summer Hill from the public library.

© 2016 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.


Source: Personal library
Rating: ★★★★★

Yes, the stone-cold sniper hated snakes, each and every one of them, but he knew that while danger was real, fear was never an option. He feared no man, woman, or experience. The only thing the assassin feared was his own demons — or rather, facing them.

(from Denial of Conscience)

Cat Gardiner’s Denial of Conscience is a modern-day Pride and Prejudice of sorts — not a straight retelling but inspired by Jane Austen’s characters. It’s safe to say I’ve never read anything like it. Fitzwilliam Darcy is an assassin contracted by the CIA. Part of the covert civilian contract group Obsidian, Darcy is the Iceman — able to eliminate targets without flinching and so haunted by his past that he has frozen his heart to any woman. That is until he is hired to kill Thomas Bennet and can’t pull the trigger once he spies the stunning Lizzy Bennet in the window of the dilapidated Longbourn Plantation House in Mount Vernon, Virginia.

Lizzy knows what it’s like to suppress her true self, having devoted the last eight years of her life to her depressed father’s every need. She’s even willing to marry a man she doesn’t love to save the plantation — her father’s legacy and obsession — from ruin. Darcy’s decision sets in motion a dangerous series of events that force both of them to acknowledge the passion between them and conquer their demons.

Denial of Conscience is a downright hot and sexy novel. Darcy oozes sex appeal; he’s a bad boy with tattoos and a Harley, but he’s also James Bond, suave in a suit in a Monte Carlo casino with Liz on his arm. Oh, how I loved Gardiner’s take on Darcy! The danger and excitement, the passion and the painful soul-searching on nearly every page made this novel unputdownable. I loved how Gardiner worked in other characters — from Jane Bennet the wild child to Caroline Bingley as a cold and calculating member of Obsidian. The intricacies of the operations were well thought out, and there was plenty of humor and action to go along with all the sex. (And, yes, there is a lot of sex in this novel, so be aware!)


Source: Gift from the author
Rating: ★★★★☆

Gardiner was so kind as to send me a copy of Guilty Conscience, a novelette to get readers excited about the upcoming sequel, Without a Conscience. I breezed through these vignettes right after finishing Denial of Conscience, loving the scenes with Liz on a Harley and being able to get a glimpse of the next novel. It’s not necessary to read Guilty Conscience, but it sure was fun!

Denial of Conscience was the third novel I’ve read by Gardiner this year (check out my reviews of Undercover and A Moment Forever), and it’s another winner. Gardiner is a fantastic storyteller, whether writing a steamy take on Pride and Prejudice or historical fiction. She has a knack for crafting fun and sexy characters and exciting plots. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of her novels, and I’m anxiously awaiting Without a Conscience!

Disclosure: Denial of Conscience is from my personal library.

© 2016 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.


Source: Review copy from the authors
Rating: ★★★★★

It was that smile, that sparkle of mirth in her eyes, which was his undoing. He could no longer claim to be Fitzwilliam Darcy of Derbyshire, brother to Georgiana, master of Pemberley. In that moment, he was but a man. A man filled with more frustration than most souls could bear. A man torn asunder by his desperation, his fruitless dreams and desires. He had become, in that moment, quite common.

(from The Many Lives of Fitzwilliam Darcy)

Beau North and Brooke West’s latest novel, The Many Lives of Fitzwilliam Darcy, can best be described at Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice meets Groundhog Day. Try as he might, Mr. Darcy can’t overcome his feelings for Elizabeth Bennet, and he also can’t comprehend why she dislikes him so. For reasons he cannot fathom, Darcy is forced to live the same day over and over again — the day he proposed to Elizabeth at Hunsford and was rejected. While reliving the worst day of his life, vacillating between utter clarity and near madness and unable to escape the confines of Rosings Park, Darcy is forced to confront himself and his wrongdoings head on and accept some harsh truths.

I absolutely adored this novel from the very first page. North and West make a great team, with a fascinating and clever premise and a Darcy who is at turns hilarious in how he navigates the monotony and endearing when he takes the time to observe those around him. I loved the scenes between Darcy and Anne (who was such a lovely character here), Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam (ever the charmer), and even Darcy and Lady Catherine (with a surprisingly tender moment between the two).

The Many Lives of Fitzwilliam Darcy is unique and exciting. It made me laugh, and it left me in tears, so much so that my husband kept asking if I was okay and I worried I would short out my Kindle! It’s been a while since I’ve been so emotionally affected by a Pride and Prejudice variation. It’s absolutely one of the best books I’ve read this year, possibly one of my all-time favorites, and definitely one I won’t forget!

Book Description

“He could no longer claim to be Fitzwilliam Darcy of Derbyshire, brother to Georgiana, master of Pemberley. In that moment, he was but a man. A man filled with more frustration than most souls could bear. A man torn asunder by his desperation, his fruitless dreams and desires.”

After Elizabeth Bennet rejects his marriage proposal, Fitzwilliam Darcy finds himself in the most unusual of circumstances. At first believing the extraordinary turn of events has granted him an inexplicable boon, he is eager to put the humiliating proposal behind him.

He soon discovers that he is trapped in the same waking dream with no end in sight and no possible escape. All that he holds dear—his name, his home, his love—remains ever out of reach. How will he find his way back to his normal life? Will one mistake haunt the rest of his days? It will take all of his fortitude to weather the storms of his strange new fate, and all of his courage to grasp the promise of his future.

Check out The Many Lives of Fitzwilliam Darcy on Amazon | Goodreads

About the Authors


Beau North

Beau North is the author of Longbourn’s Songbird and a contributor to the anthology Then Comes Winter. Beau is a native southerner who now calls Portland, Oregon home with her husband and two cats. She attended the University of South Carolina where she began a lifelong obsession with Literature. In her spare time, Beau is the brains behind Rhymes With Nerdy, a pop culture podcast and website, and a contributor at the San Francisco Book Review.

Connect with Beau North on Facebook | Instagram: Miznorth | Twitter: @BeauNorth | Newsletter | Podcasts | Blog (coming soon) | Goodreads | Amazon


Brooke West

Brooke West is a contributing author to the anthology Then Comes Winter. Brooke has a naturally creative soul that pulls her into myriad artistic endeavors.  While writing fiction always has been her life’s passion, Brooke also finds joy in silversmithing, sculpting, and costuming. Between projects, she runs and practices yoga.  She lives in South Carolina with her fiancé, son, and three cats.

Connect with Brooke West on Facebook | Twitter: @WordyWest and @BrookeWest | Goodreads | Amazon


Beau and Brooke are giving away 8 copies of their book, which includes 4 ebooks and 4 paperback copies. To win a paperback copy, the winners must have a U.S. mailing address.

Click here to enter the giveaway

Blog Tour Schedule

October 8/ My Jane Austen Book Club/Launch Post & Giveaway

October 9/ Just Jane 1813/Interview with Beau and Brooke

October 10/ Pemberley to Milton/Book Review & Giveaway

October 11/ A Covent Garden Madame Gilflurt’s Guide to Life/Guest Post

October 12/ Austenesque Reviews/ Excerpt & Giveaway

October 13/ Margie’s Must Reads/ Book Review & Giveaway

October 14/ Babblings of a Bookworm/ Book Review & Giveaway

October 15/ The Calico Critic/Excerpt & Giveaway

October 16/ Obsessed with Mr. Darcy/ Guest Post

October 17/ Diary of an Eccentric/Book Review & Giveaway

October 18/ My Kids Led Me Back to Pride and Prejudice/ Book Review & Giveaway

October 19/ More Agreeably Engaged/ Fitzwilliam Vignette

October 20/ So Little Time… So Much to Read/ Excerpt & Giveaway

The Many Faces of Fitzwilliam Darcy contest

Vote for your favorite Darcy by clicking here. The choices were based on reader submissions at Just Jane 1813. The winning image and the winner will be announced on October 20, 2016, at the last blog stop, So Little Time… So Much to Read.


Disclosure: I received The Many Lives of Fitzwilliam Darcy from the authors for review.

© 2016 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

sensinglightI have the pleasure of welcoming Mark A. Jacobson to Diary of an Eccentric today to celebrate the release of his novel, Sensing Light. I’ve invited him to talk about his inspiration for the novel, which is set at the beginning of the AIDS epidemic. Please give him a warm welcome!

“Gwen found the patient motionless except for the periodic rise and fall of his chest each time the ventilator pumped air into his lungs. She scrubbed his forearm with iodine and alcohol, tied a rubber tourniquet above his elbow, opened an intravenous catheter kit, and donned a pair of sterile gloves. Using the tip of her gloved finger, Gwen stroked his skin, hunting for an engorged vein. Finding a promising bulge, she drove in a needle encased inside a white Teflon tube. Blood appeared. Satisfied she was in the right place, Gwen slid the white catheter off the needle into his vein. She was reaching backward to drop the needle in a sharps container when she felt wetness on her ankle. Turning her head, she saw blood dripping from the catheter onto her leg. Reaching back to pick up a piece of tubing, Gwen impaled the fleshy part of her left palm on the needle she was still gripping with her right hand.

Gwen stared at the needle for a numb moment before pulling it out. Eva crossed her mind. She’s only twelve years old, Gwen thought. Then all thinking was submerged by a flood of nausea and disbelief.”

Although I’ve always loved reading fiction and dreamed as a young man of writing a novel that could move people in the way my favorite authors moved me, I never had the self-confidence to even begin putting in the time and effort necessary for such an undertaking. It seemed easier to try to accomplish something practical in the tangible world, so I ended up going to medical school and becoming a physician, beginning my internship in 1981, just days after the US Center for Disease Control reported a mysterious, fatal form of immunodeficiency in five gay men. A few months later, I was assigned responsibility for the first patient diagnosed with this disease in my hospital, a man critically ill with pneumonia, on a ventilator because of respiratory failure and requiring dialysis for kidney failure. I spent many hours every day for the next month doing my best to keep him alive until he died a month later. That experience, along with many subsequent ones, led to my commitment to scientific discovery and alleviation of the suffering caused by this disease.

Fast forward thirty years later. I was still working full-time as an HIV/AIDS specialist at San Francisco General Hospital, feeling ready to wind down the research part of my career. I began to think about what else I wanted to do next. The thought occurred to me that no one had really explored in fiction what it was like to be a front-line physician at the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, caring for so many young people with a fatal illness that we barely understood at that time. Suddenly, I discovered I could feel the freedom I needed to write a story about these doctors if I simply imagined personal histories and emotional logic for each character that had absolutely no basis in the lives or behavior of any of my colleagues during that time. The details of my own experiences and challenges were fair game and could be distributed to the protagonists of such a novel—for example having a patient plead to give him the means to end his life, or a close colleague dying of AIDS, or accidentally sticking myself with a needle contaminated with blood from an HIV-infected patient, or facing the fury and impossible, yet righteous, demands of AIDS activists. I was off and running with the idea.


About the author


Mark Jacobson, a professor of medicine at the University of California San Francisco and attending physician at San Francisco General Hospital, began his internship in 1981, just days after the CDC first reported a mysterious, fatal disease affecting gay men.


About Sensing Light

March 1979, a young street hustler in San Francisco stumbles into an emergency room with lungs so congested he can barely breathe. Seen by a perplexed young medical resident, the patient becomes the first of many thousands to die from a yet-to- be named plague. Sensing Light is raw, compelling novel that reveals the personal and professional lives of men and women on the front lines of the emerging AIDS epidemic.

This breakout book by Mark Jacobson, a leading Bay Area HIV/AIDS physician, follows three people from vastly different backgrounds who are thrown together by a shared urgency to discover what is killing so many men in the prime of their lives. Kevin is a gay medical resident from working class Boston who has just moved to San Francisco in search of acceptance of his sexual identity. Herb, a middle-aged supervising physician at one of the nation’s toughest hospitals, is struggling with his own emotional rigidity. And Gwen, a divorced mother raising a teenage daughter, is seeking a sense of self and security while endeavoring to complete her medical training.

Check out Sensing Light on Goodreads | Amazon

Click the button below to follow Sensing Light on Poetic Book Tours


© 2016 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

mr-darcy-loves-elizabeth-bennetWhat happens when 4 Jane Austen Fan Fiction authors get together and write stories?

A boxed set called Mr. Darcy Loves Elizabeth Bennet.

What happens when they decide to play a game of Ask Me Anything all together? Well, take a look . . .

Elizabeth: Elizabeth Ann West
April: April Floyd
Barbara: Barbara Silkstone
Kristi: Kristi Rose

Elizabeth: So here are the rules, we each get to ask one question of the other, and unlike Truth or Dare, it’s all Truths! April gets to ask the first question!

April: Okay, this question is for Barbara because of something you said the other night when we were chatting on Facebook. Why would you need to carry around a sewing kit?

Barbara: I am grossed out by holes in fabric. Just the thought of them makes me quake. If I see someone wearing jeans or a T-shirt with holes, I will cross the street to avoid them. If I check into a hotel, I immediately uncover the sheets to do a hole-inspection. If I find one, I ask to be moved to another room.

I have had this affliction for as long as I can remember. I do believe in reincarnation, and think perhaps I was done-in by an icky, shredded cloth in a previous life.

Elizabeth: Oh boy, needle and thread stat for Barbara! You definitely win the right to ask the next question.

Barbara: Right, so this is for Kristi, everyone has a phrase they use repeatedly, what’s yours? And I bet I can guess from all of the Facebook chats we had to have to publish this book!

Kristi: That’s right up my alley. Or Ain’t nobody got time for that.

April, Elizabeth: We say that, too!

Barbara: Which one?

April: Ain’t NOBODY got time for THAT.

Elizabeth: Yep, it always brings a giggle on the phone! Okay, Kristi, it’s your turn . . . who is your question for?

Kristi: My question is for you, Elizabeth, what is something you can’t do well that people would be surprised to learn?

Elizabeth: ::deep breath:: I cannot bake. I know, I know, follow the instructions. But I just can’t seem to make most recipes work! I can cook, make sauces, but baking? My Achilles Heel. I mostly stick with boxed sets for that reason. Or like that scene in Bad Moms? I totally buy the baked goods for any school obligation.

Elizabeth: I get to ask April’s first question! Hmm, decisions, decisions, almost not fair since we’ve worked together for 4 years . . . how about what would you consider is your most annoying habit?

April: Well you know I like to talk! And my youngest and I both have to talk all through a movie, but only if we are watching at home. We never, ever do this in public because that’s just rude. My husband can’t bear to sit through a movie with us because we are constantly wondering what’s next and discussing what just happened.

April: I do the next question, right? Here’s another one for Kristi, are you more of a hunter or a gatherer?

Kristi: If by gatherer you mean hoarder then yes, that’s me. I horde paper. My office looks like a paper factory exploded. I’m ashamed of my role in not preserving the trees.

Elizabeth: Oh Kristi I am just as bad! I totally shopped my office supply stash to outfit my oldest for school this year. Sssshhh. Or don’t sshhh, you get to ask the next question.

Kristi: Hey, the stores might run out of paper and pens, you just never know! Now, it’s Barbara’s turn, because the first question about fears made me curious, what is your greatest fear if holes in clothes is your weirdest one?

Barbara: Oh boy, you’re really ganging up on me! Escalators! I get sweaty palms just thinking about them. In London they have multistory monsters that make me feel as if I am falling backwards. I grip the railing and look down at my shoes and pray.

One of the tallest escalators in London is the Angel Tube Station. You almost have to use it to get to the theater district, unless you go by cab. I have palpitations each time I plan to go to the theater. I stand around waiting for some burly guy to get into the queue, and then I jump in front of him. I figure he might be strong enough to catch me when I fall.

To overcome my fear of escalators I took up hot air ballooning. Don’t ask…it made sense at the time. I competed in hot air balloon races and overcame my fear of heights, but I still won’t set foot on an escalator. I will walk miles to find an elevator or stairs, anything to avoid a bloody escalator.

Elizabeth: Right, elevators only for Barbara. And hot air balloons if available! I think you have a question for me, next.

Barbara: Indeed, Chief!

Elizabeth: That and kiddo, I have the best nicknames from you!

Barbara: So if you were an animated character, who would you be?

Elizabeth: I am busting out some obscure character here, Bright Heart Raccoon. When I was a kid, I loved Care Bears. And Bright Heart Raccoon was different, and purple, and his friends liked him for his ideas.

I was that kid growing up. I was the one in my neighborhood that read Ramona Quimby and made stilts with 5-gallon drywall buckets and jump ropes. Or came up with all of the games we played, like riding bikes we went on journeys to crazy places with mailbox stops to “stamp our passports.” The backyard was Terabithia because I read it in a book. More or less, if I read it in a book and liked it, I tried to make it real life.🙂

Elizabeth: Okay Kristi, I will give you a food related question since I had to confess I can’t bake! What’s the oddest thing you like on your pizza?

Kristi: Pizza toppings? Well, this isn’t something I find many others like, so I’ll share this. I like peas. Green ones. In the south they call them English Peas.

Elizabeth: Well will you peas ask April her next question?

Kristi: Absolutely! April, we all sing alone, but if you don’t know the words to a song, do you improvise or just skip it?

April: Oh, even when I know the words I still improvise the lyrics to make them funnier! I will sing a tune as a country song if it is a pop song or turn it into a rap song if it’s country. I just act like a goofball whenever the radio is on. My youngest is not amused as he is now getting to the age where he likes the Top 40 on the radio. One favorite is Shawn Mendes Stitches. I replace stitches and kisses with fishes, wishes, dishes….just pulling a Dr Seuss basically.

April: And I get to put Elizabeth’s feet to the fire again. I know a lot about you since we work together and talk almost everyday, so let’s do another question about your childhood. What did you want to be when you were 10 years old?

Elizabeth: When I was 10 we did a really cool unit in science called Voyage of the Mimi, and I loved it! We even sponsored a whale as a class and had pictures of the fluke. I wanted to be an oceanographic cartographer and go to college at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography. As I grew older, I wanted to be an international businesswoman, and so far, the closest I’ve come to the later is being a publisher worldwide, and the former, I married a submariner!

It actually turns out that now just footage of underwater scenes gives me the creeps. I can’t watch it! And a shipwreck? I hyperventilate. And when I was 10 I was all about learning about the Titanic and everything I could about maritime topics. And that has turned into a kind of strange phobia like Barbara’s which brings me to her last question.

Elizabeth: This is a dark question, but it was one you agreed to answer, so here goes. How would you like to die?

Barbara: Not on an escalator.

Elizabeth: I think that might be cheating, but we’ll let the judges decide! You get to ask April her last question.

Barbara: Well since everyone asked me about fears, here’s my question for April…On a scale from 1-5, how afraid of the dark are you?

April: That depends on several factors. My imagination for one. If I’ve been reading something creepy then I have to jump in bed and pull the covers over my head so that’s a 5. If it’s summer and lightning bugs are out, then it’s a wonderland and that would be a zero on the 1-5 scale. If it’s Halloween night and my 9 year old is acting silly saying he saw a werewolf across the street in the shadows and I look and there’s the figure of someone ducking behind a building then we’re zooming up to a 4 about to pass 5. So yeah, it’s situational.

Kristi: I think that’s a fair scale for the dark! So now it’s your turn! What questions do you want us to answer? Add them in the comments below and who you want to answer and we will go at it!

Thank you so much to Anna for hosting us on her blog, and we hope you all will check out our anthology of stories with our favorite Dear Couple!


About Mr. Darcy Loves Elizabeth Bennet

Join authors Elizabeth Ann West, Barbara Silkstone, Kristi Rose, and April Floyd as they each share an exclusive short novella reimagining our dear couple falling in love! We all know Mr. Darcy loves Elizabeth Bennet, but the question universally wondered is how many ways can they show that love? Two Regencies, Two Contemporaries, there is a perfect story for every Jane Austen Fan Fiction lover!

Included in the anthology:
Darcy and Lizzie’s Wedding Breakfast by Barbara Silkstone
An Accidental Assignation by April Floyd
Much to Conceal by Elizabeth Ann West
Honeymoon Postponed: A Mr. & Mrs. Darcy Adventure by Kristi Rose

Check out Mr. Darcy Loves Elizabeth Bennet on Amazon | Goodreads


About the authors

Elizabeth Ann West

Elizabeth Ann West

A Jane-of-all-trades, mistress to none! Elizabeth Ann West is the author of 4 novels and 7 novellas, 10 of which are story variations of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice. Her books have won reader conference awards and hit the Historical Bestseller lists on Amazon, Kobo, and the iBooks stores multiple times. A lover of all things geeky, Elizabeth codes websites, dabbles in graphic design, and is always looking for new technology to learn and master. A Navy wife and mother of two, her family has lived all over the United States, currently residing in upstate New York. Originally from Virginia Beach, Virginia, you can keep up with Elizabeth on Twitter @Eawwrites and on her website, http://elizabethannwest.com where she posts new fiction as she writes it!

Elizabeth is EXTREMELY proud and honored to have A Winter Wrong win Best Novella and Best Literary Fiction in the 2015 eBook Festival of Words. Thank you to all of the readers who nominated the novel and have voted for it. You made Elizabeth smile!

To contact Elizabeth, please visit her reader site: http://elizabethannwest.com or writer@elizabethannwest.com

Barbara Silkstone

Barbara Silkstone

Barbara Silkstone is the best-selling author of the MISTER DARCY SERIES OF COMEDIC MYSTERIES ~ PRIDE AND PREJUDICE contemporary variations. Light comedies based on Jane Austen’s timeless tales of love denied and love discovered.

“I enjoy doing playful things with language, blending two distinct words to create a new word. If I’m laughing out loud when I’m writing, then I know I’ve hit the mark. I laugh so loud while I’m writing that the neighbors think I’m having wild parties. I’m not. I live in South Florida where I survive on buttered popcorn and fried chicken… extra crispy.”
~ Barbara Silkstone

Kristi Rose

Kristi Rose

Kristi Rose was raised in central Florida on boiled peanuts and iced tea. Today, she’s a wife and a mother. She’s been lucky enough to travel the world and has lived by an active volcano, almost fallen off a German Alp, and eloped in Arkansas. No matter where she is, she enjoys watching people and wonders about their story. That’s what Kristi writes about: everyday people, the love that brings them together, and their journey. Kristi is a member of RWA. The Girl He Knows is her debut novel.

April Floyd

April Floyd

April Floyd lives in Alaska with her husband and youngest son. She loves happy endings, nice people, and reading great stories. Once upon a time, she was an Army wife and a phlebotomist and recently ran a successful ebook deals site for four years. Historical fiction, Jane Austen, and fantasy/dystopia are her favorite genres.


A big thank you to Elizabeth, Barbara, Kristi, and April for being my guests today. I really enjoyed learning more about each of you through this post! Stay tuned for my review of Mr. Darcy Loves Elizabeth Bennet!

© 2016 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.