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Archive for the ‘book spotlight’ Category

Coming in Fall 2021

Any Dumb Animal (Main Street Rag, 2021), the debut poetry collection by AE Hines, presents a memoir-in-verse as told by a gay man raised in the rural South who comes of age during the AIDS crisis. Flashing back and forth in time, a cast of recurring characters and circumstances are woven into a rich tale of survival and redemption, exploring one man’s life as a queer son, father, and husband, over a span of more than thirty years.

Preorder at Main Street Rag


Early reviews

“This compellingly candid work speaks the language of
courage, of breath-taking transcendence. Finely crafted, it is a
remarkable debut collection. Take note, world: a powerful
lyric poet has emerged. Take note and rejoice!” ~ Paulann
Petersen, Oregon Poet Laureate Emerita

“I was amazed over and over at the bravery of these poems,
never shying from the difficult moments in life, and all the
while staying true to the clear-eyed, fearless vision of their
author.” ~ James Crews, Editor of How to Love the World:
Poems of Gratitude and Hope

“With a strong gift for storytelling and an eye attuned to
detail, Hines ultimately shows us the beauty and knowledge
made of experience.” ~Richie Hofmann, Author of Second
Empire


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I can’t wait to get a chance to read Exile Music by Jennifer Steil, which is on sale today. I’m so excited about this book, so I wanted to do a release day spotlight to see if all of you are as intrigued as I am.

Here’s the blurb:

Based on an unexplored slice of World War II history, Exile Music is the captivating story of a young Jewish girl whose family flees refined and urbane Vienna for safe harbor in the mountains of Bolivia

As a young girl growing up in Vienna in the 1930s, Orly has an idyllic childhood filled with music. Her father plays the viola in the Philharmonic, her mother is a well-regarded opera singer, her beloved and charismatic older brother holds the neighborhood in his thrall, and most of her eccentric and wonderful extended family live nearby. Only vaguely aware of Hitler’s rise or how her Jewish heritage will define her family’s identity, Orly spends her days immersed in play with her best friend and upstairs neighbor, Anneliese. Together they dream up vivid and elaborate worlds, where they can escape the growing tensions around them.

But in 1938, Orly’s peaceful life is shattered when the Germans arrive. Her older brother flees Vienna first, and soon Orly, her father, and her mother procure refugee visas for La Paz, a city high up in the Bolivian Andes. Even as the number of Jewish refugees in the small community grows, her family is haunted by the music that can no longer be their livelihood, and by the family and friends they left behind. While Orly and her father find their footing in the mountains, Orly’s mother grows even more distant, harboring a secret that could put their family at risk again. Years pass, the war ends, and Orly must decide: Is the love and adventure she has found in La Paz what defines home, or is the pull of her past in Europe–and the piece of her heart she left with Anneliese–too strong to ignore?

For more information about the book and various buy links, please visit the publisher’s website.

I’d like to give a big congratulations to Jennifer Steil on her release day, and a big thank you to Viking/Penguin for a copy of the book!

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I’m happy to spotlight another book from Paulette Mahurin today. I like to draw attention to Paulette’s books because she uses all the profits to help rescue dogs from kill shelters. One of our three guinea pigs was rescued from a kill shelter by a local organization, and I can’t imagine our lives without our sweet little boy, so I want to do what I can to help promote Paulette’s efforts. If you follow Paulette on social media, you know that she has helped rescue hundreds of dogs so far.

I hope you’ll take a look at her newest novel, The Old Gilt Clock. (You can click the link to buy on Amazon.)

During one of the darkest times in human history when millions of innocent Jews and others deemed “undesirables” were being sent to concentration camps to be brutality worked to death or slaughtered, a group of Dutch resistance workers rose up against the atrocities. Their resistance to the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands created a vast counterintelligence, domestic sabotage, and communications network to help hide Jewish people from German authorities. The Old Gilt Clock is the story of how one Dutch resistance member, Willem Arondéus,  risked his life to defy the Nazis’ plans to identify and deport hundreds of thousands of Dutch Jews. Arondéus’ courage is largely forgotten by history, but not by the Jewish and Dutch people. Written by the award-winning international Amazon bestselling author of The Seven Year Dress, comes a story of Arondéus’ courageous struggle to stand up to the unimaginable evil designs of Hitler. Inclusive is Arondéus’ battle to come out to his homophobic father, who hated his son’s homosexuality. It is also a story about friendships formed in the Dutch resistance movement, their joys and sorrows, their wins and losses, their loves and betrayals, and ultimately their resilience to oppose tyranny and oppression when millions stood silent condoning heinous behavior. Thousands are alive today because of these brave, compassionate men and women.

About the Author:

Paulette Mahurin is an international best-selling literary and historical fiction novelist. She lives with her husband Terry and two dogs in Ventura County, California. She grew up in West Los Angeles and attended UCLA, where she received a Master’s Degree in Science.

Her first novel, The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap, made it to Amazon bestseller lists and won awards, including best historical fiction 2012 in Turning the Pages Magazine. Her second novel, His Name Was Ben, originally written as an award winning short story while she was in college and later expanded into a novel, rose to bestseller lists its second week out. Her third novel, To Live Out Loud, won international critical acclaim and made it to multiple sites as favorite read book of 2015.  Her fourth book, The Seven Year Dress, made it to the top ten bestseller lists on Amazon U.S., Amazon U.K. and Amazon Australia. Her fifth book, The Day I Saw The Hummingbird, was released in 2017 to rave reviews. Her sixth book, A Different Kind of Angel, was released in August, 2018, also to rave reviews.

Semi-retired, she continues to work part-time as a Nurse Practitioner in Ventura County. When she’s not writing, she does pro-bono consultation work with women with cancer, works in the Westminster Free Clinic as a volunteer provider, volunteers as a mediator in the Ventura County Courthouse for small claims cases, and involves herself, along with her husband, in dog rescue. Profits from her books go to help rescue dogs from kill shelters.

Congratulations, Paulette, on your latest novel, and thank you for your animal rescue work!

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I had the pleasure of reading Nefarious by Nicole Clarkston over the summer, which definitely will feature on my Best of 2019 list. Here’s an excerpt from my review in case you missed it:

There is something for everyone in Nefarious, from the mysterious events surrounding Darcy’s marriage to the dastardly plots that threaten to ruin him to the romance and passion that one would expect in a Darcy and Elizabeth tale. I stayed up well past my bedtime several nights in a row because I needed to know what happened, and if work and real life hadn’t interfered, I probably would have read this book straight through because, really, who needs sleep when Darcy’s life and happiness hang in the balance??

For those of you who love audiobooks, you’ll be thrilled to know that Nefarious is now on Audible, narrated by the fantastic Harry Frost. (Click the link to hear a sample.)

Here’s the book blurb:

He hates everything about her.

She despises him even more.

So why is his heart so determined to belong to her?

Once trapped by marriage to a woman he loathed, Fitzwilliam Darcy is finally free again. Resentful, bewildered, and angry, he is eager to begin his life over—preferably with a woman who is the exact opposite of his wife.

He never imagined a short stay in Hertfordshire would bring him face to face with his worst nightmare; a woman similar in face, form, and name. He certainly never expected her to be so impossible to ignore.

Torn between what he believes he wants and what his heart cannot live without, his dignity begins to unravel. Will his desperation to escape his past drive a wedge into his closest friendship and destroy any hope of a future?

Will Miss Elizabeth Bennet prove to be as nefarious as his wife? Or, will the last woman in the world be his only chance at happiness?

Nicole has shared with me a U.S. code for the Audible version of Nefarious for one lucky blog reader. To enter, please leave a comment with your email address. This giveaway will be open through Tuesday, December 3, 2019. The winner will be chosen randomly and announced in the comments section of this post. Good luck, and a big thank you to Nicole for her generosity!

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Dear readers, I have some fantastic news for you! Jennifer Joy’s newest novel, Fitzwilliam Darcy, Guardian, will be published on Saturday, November 23, and you can pre-order it now on Amazon (U.S. | U.K.). In addition, I have the honor of unveiling the cover for you today, and Jennifer is offering some gifts to celebrate the release!

Before I show you the beautiful cover, let’s read the book blurb!

He lost everyone he loved … except for a secret baby. 

Fitzwilliam Darcy will lie and break the law to keep his sister’s newborn safe. When the only way to protect her is to have an heir of his own, his search for a trustworthy wife begins…

She was her father’s favorite … until he sacrificed her happiness. 

When Elizabeth Bennet’s father falls gravely ill, she is willing to shoulder the responsibility of her family’s care while maintaining her freedom — until she is forced to marry Mr. Darcy.

One broken man + one bitter lady = one happy family? 

Through grief and betrayal, Darcy and Elizabeth learn to trust each other and work together to honor the promises they have made — including the vows they exchanged.

But a spiteful enemy from Darcy’s past is determined to divide their family, and the law is on his side…

Oh my goodness! When a mere book blurb gets your heart racing! A secret baby…a forced marriage…OMG! I hope you all are as intrigued as I am!

Now, the moment you’ve been waiting for: introducing Fitzwilliam Darcy, Guardian:

What a beautiful cover! It certainly conveys the seriousness of their circumstances, and yet there’s some tenderness and passion. What do you think??

To celebrate the release of Fitzwilliam Darcy, Guardian, Jennifer is offering 4 ebook copies (Kindle/mobi) to my readers, open internationally. To enter, please leave a comment with your email address, and tell us what you love about the cover and/or what interests you most about the book. This giveaway will be open through Wednesday, September 27, 2019. The winners will be chosen randomly and announced in the comments section of this post. Good luck!

Thank you, Jennifer, for inviting me to host the cover reveal, and congratulations on your new release!

You can follow Jennifer Joy on Facebook and Twitter, and all of her books can be found on her Amazon author page.

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I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Diana Birchall as part of the blog tour for her latest novel, The Bride of Northanger. Although I adore Pride and Prejudice, I get really excited when authors show Austen’s other novels some love. I read Northanger Abbey for the first time several years ago, and I really enjoyed it. I’ve read some variations since then, but they are few and far between. Life has been extremely busy recently, but as I catch up on my review backlog and squeeze in a few new ones here and there, keep your eye out for my thoughts on The Bride of Northanger. In the meantime, please give Diana a warm welcome!

Congratulations on the publication of The Bride of Northanger. What was your inspiration to write a continuation of Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey?

Thank you! Northanger Abbey seems to get overlooked, compared to the universal popularity of Pride and Prejudice, and the meaty genius of Austen’s more mature works. But what a delectably enchanting novel it is! The reader experiences, along with young, sheltered Catherine, the delights of entering the wide, adult world of Bath society with “such fresh feelings of every sort,” as Henry Tilney says. This leads to a developing love story that is in my view as compelling as any Austen ever wrote. It initially seemed unlikely to me that a clever, sophisticated man like Henry would fall in love with someone so young and ignorant as Catherine, and Jane Austen’s explanatory remark that Henry’s “persuasion of her partiality for him had been the only cause of giving her a serious thought,” does not quite satisfy. So, I wanted to examine his life, his feelings, and his psychology, to try to come to a better understanding of the dynamic here. Working towards that, I wrote an essay about his father General Tilney (entitled The Ogre of Northanger!), that helped me arrive at an answer that satisfied me. The General was a horrendous bully and his brutal treatment left marks upon his son, a clergyman with a strong wit and a respect for the life of the mind rather than one dedicated to worldly greed. No wonder Henry was drawn to a girl who was not scheming, manipulative, and grasping, but simple and sincere, with a thirsty mind for learning. I set out in my fiction to explore how the young man educated the young woman, and they became equal and happy partners together.

Northanger Abbey has been considered a parody of the Gothic fiction popular during Austen’s time. How did Austen’s story and style influence your writing of The Bride of Northanger?

Completely. I have been steeped in Austen’s writing – not dramatizations nor adaptations, charming as many of them are, but in her actual texts – for decades, to the point where I’ve read them literally thousands of times and have them almost completely mentally to hand, so to speak. I was driven by a longing to discover Austen’s secrets, to learn as much as possible about the genius that made her characters so real, her commentary on life so compelling yet enigmatic. Such study could only improve my own writing – it couldn’t possibly hurt! – and trying to enter her universe and style, proved to be a most enlightening way to learn a great deal both about these novels and their originator.

Henry Tilney and Catherine Morland are one of Jane Austen’s most charming couples. Was it a challenge to continue their story? How did you recapture their voices?

I don’t know if it was a challenge exactly, because I’ve been accustomed to imitating Austen for so many years; my first attempt was in 1984 when I won a contest in the JASNA journal Persuasions, and I eventually became very comfortable switching on my “Austenesque” dialogue voice. Once I started work on my “Bride,” Catherine and Henry began talking in my head and telling me about their Gothic trials and adventures. All this was very exciting, though I was really more excited about how Catherine was becoming a very sensible and sane woman, and how strong their marriage was growing.

When/how did you discover Jane Austen, and why do you think she and her novels remain so popular today?

I was about 20 when I first read Pride and Prejudice. In those days Jane Austen wasn’t anywhere near as widely popular as today, not to be encountered either in school or a movie theater. A literary aunt of mine recommended P & P, but the title wasn’t prepossessing, and it took me awhile to get around to reading it. Then, what an explosive revelation of enjoyment! It’s all still there for readers to take as much from as they choose: reading one or two of the books; giving your life to a study of Jane Austen and her genius; or simply enjoying her works and the books and movies they inspire, in your own way. Austen appeals on every possible level, from the great love story to the wit of one of the world’s best humorists. She provides a window into the 18th century, plus shrewd observations on human nature (which has not changed!), all with a display of perfect style and her own philosophy. As I say: something for everyone, and the more you read, the more you find.

When/how did you discover JAFF, and what prompted you to take the leap and write your own Austen-inspired novels?

I didn’t exactly “discover JAFF,” I was writing it long before the term was invented. Since the 1980s I’ve written hundreds of stories in the genre, and my first full length novel, Mrs. Darcy’s Dilemma, was written in the early 1990s. Of course, I was far from the first person to start writing Austen sequels – Austen’s own nieces were – but when I started my work there had not been a sequel since Pemberley Shades in 1949, so I was among the very first “modern” writers doing this. The adaptations, the Austenesque writing boom, and JAFF, all came years after I’d started writing Austenesque fiction, though to be sure that was another word that had not yet been invented!

As a writer myself, I’m always curious about where people write their books. Could you describe your writing space?

A dusty little study crammed with books and English china teapots in the rambling apartment my husband and I share with our three cats a couple of blocks from the beach in Santa Monica, California. Our son is the librarian on Catalina Island. We grew up in New York City and are transplants of a bookish bohemian variety!

What book(s) are you reading right now?

Just finished reading the memoirs of artist Elisabeth Vigee Le Brun, who was a French contemporary of Jane Austen. She’s the portraitist whose painting I chose for the cover of my novel. It looked exactly as I imagined Catherine, though in fact it is a portrait of a young French aristocrat, Corisande de Gramont, painted in 1800 when she was 18 years old (the same age and era as the fictional Catherine). Corisande was a granddaughter of the Duchesse de Polignac, the favorite of Marie Antoinette, and she married an English Member of Parliament, Charles Augustus Bennet (shades of Austen!), Earl of Tankerville, and settled in England. I also chose John Constable’s painting of Netley Abbey to represent Northanger, as Jane Austen actually visited and was inspired by Netley. My talented book designer Rebecca Young deftly transformed the two works of art into a beautiful book design. And now I’m reading books about Louisa May Alcott.

Are you working on another novel now? If so, any hints as to what it’s about?

As you can perhaps guess from my last hint, I’m writing a sequel to Alcott’s Little Women.

Thank you for asking me these questions, it’s been a pleasure to answer them!

You’re welcome! Thank you for being my guest today, and once again, congratulations on your new release. I look forward to reading it!

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About The Bride of Northanger

A happier heroine than Catherine Morland does not exist in England, for she is about to marry her beloved, the handsome, witty Henry Tilney. The night before the wedding, Henry reluctantly tells Catherine and her horrified parents a secret he has dreaded to share – that there is a terrible curse on his family and their home, Northanger Abbey. Henry is a clergyman, educated and rational, and after her year’s engagement Catherine is no longer the silly young girl who delighted in reading “horrid novels”; she has improved in both reading and rationality. This sensible young couple cannot believe curses are real…until a murder at the Abbey triggers events as horrid and Gothic as Jane Austen ever parodied – events that shake the young Tilneys’ certainties, but never their love for each other…

Amazon (paperback) (ebook) | Barnes & Noble (ebook) | Goodreads | Publisher Page

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About the Author

Diana Birchall worked for many years at Warner Bros studios as a story analyst, reading novels to see if they would make movies. Reading manuscripts went side by side with a restorative and sanity-preserving life in Jane Austen studies and resulted in her writing Austenesque fiction both as homage and attempted investigation of the secrets of Jane Austen’s style. She is the author of In Defense of Mrs. Elton, Mrs. Elton in America, Mrs. Darcy’s Dilemma, and the new The Bride of Northanger. She has written hundreds of Austenesque short stories and plays, as well as a biography of her novelist grandmother, and has lectured on her books and staged play readings at places as diverse as Hollywood, Brooklyn, Montreal, Chawton House Library, Alaska, and Yale.

Visit Diana at her Austen Variations author page, and follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads.

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The Doyenne of Austenesque fiction, Diana Birchall, tours the blogosphere October 28 through November 15 to share her latest release, The Bride of Northanger. Thirty popular bloggers specializing in historical and Austenesque fiction will feature guest blogs, interviews, excerpts, and book reviews of this acclaimed continuation of Jane Austen’s Gothic parody, Northanger Abbey. 

THE BRIDE OF NORTHANGER BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE: 

October 28                My Jane Austen Book Club (Interview)

October 28                Austenprose—A Jane Austen Blog (Review)

October 28                vvb32 Reads (Spotlight)

October 29                A Covent Garden Gilflurt’s Guide of Life (Guest Blog)

October 29                From Pemberley to Milton (Excerpt)

October 30                Drunk Austen (Interview)

October 30                Silver Petticoat Review (Excerpt)

October 31                Jane Austen’s World (Review)

November 01            So Little Time… (Interview)

November 01            Laura’s Reviews (Review)

November 04            English Historical Fiction Authors (Guest Blog)

November 04            Confessions of a Book Addict (Spotlight)

November 05            More Agreeably Engaged (Review)

November 05            Vesper’s Place (Review)

November 06            Jane Austen in Vermont (Interview)

November 06            Diary of an Eccentric (Interview)

November 07            All Things Austen (Spotlight)

November 07            A Bookish Way of Life (Review)

November 07            Let Them Read Books (Excerpt)

November 08            Babblings of a Bookworm (Review)

November 08            vvb32 Reads (Review)

November 11            My Jane Austen Book Club (Review)

November 11            Reading the Past (Spotlight)

November 12            Jane Austen’s World (Interview)

November 12            The Calico Critic (Excerpt)

November 13            The Book Rat (Review)

November 13            Austenesque Reviews (Review)

November 14            Fangs, Wands, & Fairy Dust (Review)

November 14            The Fiction Addiction (Review)

November 15            My Love for Jane Austen (Spotlight)

November 15            Scuffed Slippers and Wormy Books (Review)

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Today is a special day, dear readers! Jennifer Joy is here to reveal the cover of the fifth and final book in The Merton Mystery Series: The Remarkable Miss Darcy.

Before we get to the blurb and the cover, Jennifer has a treat to celebrate the completion of the series. The Honorable Mr. Darcy (book 1) will be free in all Amazon stores from March 20-24, and The Indomitable Miss Elizabeth (book 2) will be 99 cents from March 19-26. So if you haven’t started the series yet, it will be a great time to do so!

Now, back to The Remarkable Miss Darcy. First, here is the blurb:

Darcy sees a little girl. Tanner sees a princess. He sees a remarkable woman.

Georgiana Darcy has grown up — and she has two older brothers who take her protection so seriously, she fears she is doomed for a life of dull solitude. However, one chance encounter with a young man from her past could set her on a path of adventure and romance … if only her dear family would let her.

Michael Nelson is everything Georgiana remembers him to be: hard-working, honest, and handsome. He fills his days chasing after criminals and uniting divided families. Anything to avoid feeling the void of loneliness and his lack of family.

When Georgiana’s dearest friend is kidnapped at a crowded ball, Michael and Georgiana become partners in the search to find her and restore peace to Darcy House. But before calm, there comes a storm, and their discoveries do not go unnoticed by their unknown enemy…

The Darcys face the greatest test to their family bond yet in this fifth and final book in The Meryton Mystery Series, a sweet romance-suspense variation of Jane Austen’s timeless classic, Pride and Prejudice.

Doesn’t that sound exciting? I love stories where Georgiana comes into her own, and throw in a mystery, and I’m doubly excited!

Now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for:

What a gorgeous cover! I think it depicts Georgiana perfectly, innocent but a little adventurous, too. What do you think?

The Remarkable Miss Darcy will be up for pre-order soon and will go live on March 21, so you won’t have to wait long!

In the meantime, Jennifer is generously offering 4 ebook copies of The Remarkable Miss Darcy to my readers. To enter to win a copy, please leave a comment with your email address. This giveaway will be open through Friday, March 22. The winners will be chosen randomly and announced in the comments section of this post. Good luck!

And thank you, Jennifer, for being my guest today! It’s an honor to be invited to share the cover and jump-start the release celebration. Congratulations!

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Today I’m delighted to spotlight Karen M Cox’s first audiobook, I Could Write a Book, which is a variation of Jane Austen’s Emma set in Kentucky during the 1970s. I had the honor of taking part in the blog tour in 2017 when the book was first released, and I absolutely loved it. (Feel free to check out my review.)

To celebrate its release as an audiobook, I invited Karen to share her playlist for the novel. Please give her a warm welcome!

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Hello everyone! And thank you, Anna, for inviting me to stop in at Diary of an Eccentric to celebrate the release of my first audiobook, I Could Write a Book, narrated by Emily Rahm.

I Could Write a Book was a story that was several years in the making. I started it soon after finishing Find Wonder in All Things, thinking it would be the next stop on my “Jane Austen in the 20th Century” journey. It wasn’t, as it turned out, because I had other stories banging on the inside of my head that had to burst forth. But finally, in September 2017, I Could Write a Book made its way to ebook and print formats.

I became interested in audiobook production early last year and put two of my titles, I Could Write a Book and Son of a Preacher Man on ACX to look for the perfect narrators. I had already decided to wait for a narrator that I thought was just right for the stories, and if it happened, that was great, but if not, I’d try again another time. I’d nearly given up when I heard Emily’s audition. She was very nearly perfect!

Audiobooks are a natural extension of my writing process, I think. I’ve used music as a “muse-enhancer” for years and make playlists for most everything I write. It isn’t so much that I write to music (I find it too distracting.) Rather I use the music to delve deeper into a character or scene, help me flesh it out a bit more.

Plus, playlists = fun!

I Could Write a Book’s playlist was probably the easiest one I’ve made so far. Many of the songs are from Me Decade. The 1970s, no matter what one might think about the hairstyles or the fashions, were good years music. I was a child and early adolescent during that decade (born in 1965) so I remember a lot of the songs playing on the radio.

I Could Write a Book’s playlist is also the longest I’ve created—45 titles strong. Some songs suggested scenes to me: Perry Como’s “Home for the Holidays” sets the stage for a Christmas party at Donwell Farms; “Love Train” (the O’Jays) tells us Emma’s mindset when she is in full match-making mode; and “Junior’s Farm” by Wings could be playing in the background at George Knightley’s Donwell strawberry party. Sometimes it’s the lyrics that speak to me; sometimes the music just sets a scene’s mood.

Of course, there are a couple of great representatives of the whole story: “I Could Write a Book” as sung by Harry Connick, Jr. from the When Harry Met Sally soundtrack has a friends-to-lovers vibe that’s perfect for the book, and “You’re My Best Friend” by Queen is another example.

A couple of song titles are mentioned specifically in scenes from the book: Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” is playing when George arrives to help Emma watch their toddler nephew and colicky niece and realizes she’s got it all in hand. “Color My World” by Chicago is playing while Emma broods over “losing” George.

What surprised me most, though, was how many of these songs informed characters’ personalities and actions for me. For those of you familiar with the music of the time, consider Emma’s predictable existence deftly described in “Another Day” by Wings, or George’s swoon-worthiness as sung by Karen Carpenter in “Close to You.”

Or, can’t you just see the mysterious Frank Churchill arriving to the beginning riff of “Gimme Shelter” on his way to shake up little Highbury? Or poor Jane Fairfax at her piano, wistfully singing “What I Did for Love”?  Obviously, Emma and George have to dance to Clapton’s “Wonderful Tonight.” And Emma and George’s love story is traced through several songs: “Sister Golden Hair” (America), “I’m Not in Love (10cc), “Wild World” (Cat Stevens), “Show Me the Way” (Peter Frampton), and Harry Connick Jr.’s “It Had to Be You”, to name a few.

I hope you all will enjoy the audiobook for I Could Write a Book. While you’re waiting for an audiobook credit, or maybe in between listening to the chapters, be sure to check out the playlist and see if you can spot the characters in the music.

Spotify Playlist

Note: On YouTube, I sometimes choose a live version for a playlist—for the energy, or the arrangement—or just if I like the live rendition better. I love live music!

YouTube Playlist

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About I Could Write a Book

A Modern Variation of Jane Austen’s Emma (For fans of romantic comedy, coming of age, historical romance, and Southern fiction)

“Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever and rich…” Thus began Jane Austen’s classic, a light and lively tale set in an English village 200 years ago. Yet every era has its share of Emmas: young women trying to find themselves in their own corners of the world.

I Could Write a Book is the story of a self-proclaimed modern woman: Emma Katherine Woodhouse, a 1970s co-ed whose life is pleasant, ordered, and predictable, if a bit confining. Her friend George Knightley is a man of the world who has come home to fulfill his destiny: run his father’s thriving law practice and oversee the sprawling Donwell Farms, his family legacy in Central Kentucky horse country.

Since childhood, George’s and Emma’s lives have meshed and separated time and again. But now they’re adults with grown-up challenges and obligations. As Emma orchestrates life in quaint Highbury, George becomes less amused with her antics and struggles with a growing attraction to the young woman she’s become.

Rich with humor, poignancy, and the camaraderie of life in a small, Southern town, I Could Write a Book is a coming of age romance with side helpings of self-discovery, friendship, and finding true love in the most unlikely places.

Listen to a sample/Buy on Audible

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About the Author

Karen M Cox is an award-winning author of five novels accented with history and romance. She also loves writing short stories and has contributed to four Austen-inspired anthologies.

I Could Write a Book is her first audiobook.

Karen was born in Everett, WA, but now lives in a quiet little Central Kentucky town with her husband, where she works as a pediatric speech pathologist, encourages her children, and spoils her granddaughter.

Connect with Karen: WebsiteAmazon Author PageAll Karen’s Spotify PlaylistsKaren’s You Tube Channel (videos, playlists, etc.)

If you would like bits of authorly goodness in your inbox each month (updates, sales, book recommendations, etc.) sign up for her News & Muse Letter. She loves to hear from readers, so don’t be shy. Contact her through social media, her website, or on-line stores.

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About the Narrator

Originally from Dallas, Texas, Emily Rahm is an actress residing in New York City with her husband, Kendall, and her dog, Monroe. She loves to read, so narrating was a natural extension of her literary affinities and her acting skills. Her favorite movie is The Princess Bride, and her favorite ice cream flavor is Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. You can find her at her website, on Twitter, and on Instagram (emkrahm).

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Nicole Clarkston recently introduced me to Leena Emsley, who narrated These Dreams for her, and I had the pleasure of interviewing Leena about all things audiobook-related. Please give her a warm welcome!

Hi, Leena! Can you tell us a little about yourself? How did you become an audiobook narrator?

I live in the UK, in the beautiful county of Northumberland. I come from a family of actors. My grandparents performed, my parents met on the stage and I was running around theatres from a young age. I went to drama school, but decided it was more fun as a hobby so devoted all my spare time to it and performed for many years on stages from Edinburgh to Berlin.

I gave up the stage when I had my children and have home schooled for almost 10 years. They are now teenagers and need me less, so I started to look for something I could do from home, and was drawn to find something that allowed me to indulge my old passion. I began doing voluntary audio work, took a training course for voice narrators, and signed up to ACX.

Can you describe the process of narrating a book? I know nothing about how it’s actually done, so any or all details would be fascinating to me. How do you go about differentiating between all the different characters/voices? What preparation is involved? Where do you record the book, etc.?

The first step is to read the book, know the story and get a feel for the characters. If there are particular accents required, I research the accent. In These Dreams there are several Portuguese characters. I was fortunate to have the help of Nicole’s Portuguese friend, Rita, who very kindly recorded phrases for me. She has also very kindly refrained from throwing her hands up in horror at how badly I managed to reproduce them! There is a balance between accuracy and performance. In the end, performance takes precedence, so long as I manage a flavour of the accent.

For characters with similar accents, I rely on their character differences to clue me in to their voices. Well drawn characters jump out the page. Mostly it comes down to intonation. For instance the snake Reginald (spoiler!) just has to have a languid tone, as opposed to his pompous staccato father. I do my best to differentiate between characters, sometimes successfully, sometimes not.

Leena Emsley

I record in a small booth my husband made for me. It does a good job of screening me from most outside noises, though I have to stop for planes, high wind and lawn mowers! I love my little booth. It feels like I enter a new world and I get totally wrapped up in the story.

What did you like best about narrating Nicole’s books?

I love Nicole’s writing! Not a word is wasted, there is pace and drama, her characters are well drawn and you feel their emotions. I am always moved by human compassion, and my favourite moment was when Elizabeth meets Amália. It reduced me to tears and required a pause in recording!

The Earl of Matlock and Lady Catherine were the most fun to narrate. It was great to let rip with the stiff upper lip, starchy accents, and so wonderful that their vulnerabilities were brought out, too.

What are some other books you’ve narrated?

My first book with ACX was Leslie Diamond’s Particular Intentions. It was my introduction to JAFF, and as a Jane Austen fan, I was immediately attracted. I am currently working on her sequel Particular Attachments. They are both Pride and Prejudice variations, with the sequel following Georgiana’s story. I have done several books books by Regina Puckett, as well as a detective story and steam punk adventure.

Thank you so much, Leena! I really enjoyed learning more about audiobook narration, so much so that I think this year might be time for me to give them another try!

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Giveaway

Nicole is generously offering two codes for each of her audiobooks, These Dreams and London Holiday. The codes are for the U.S. and U.K. only. To enter, please leave a comment with your email address, and let us know which book you’d prefer (you can enter for both, but can only win one) and whether you’d like a U.S. or U.K. code. This giveaway will be open through Sunday, January 13, 2019. The winners will be chosen randomly and announced in the comments section of this post. Good luck! And a big thanks to Nicole for setting up the interview with Leena and for the very generous giveaway!

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I’ve had the pleasure of leafing through Rachel Dodge’s Praying with Jane: 31 Days Through the Prayers of Jane Austen, and it couldn’t have been released at a better time, with the holidays coming soon and the Jane Austen fan in your life looking for something new and different!

The introduction sums up the book perfectly: “This book is broken down into three sections, one for each of Jane’s prayers, with ten devotions per prayer.” You might not have known that Jane wrote three prayers herself, or that they were preserved by her dear sister, Cassandra.

Praying with Jane is as beautiful as Jane’s prayers, with tidbits about her life and religious upbringing, quotes from Scripture, an invitation to prayer with questions to ponder, and a prayer to close out each day’s devotion. Dodge even draws connections between the devotions and Austen’s novels. It’s the perfect book for Austen fans to gain a deeper appreciation of Jane and grow stronger in their own faith. While I have not read the book cover to cover, I plan to keep it on my nightstand for a closer study in those rare quiet moments.

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About the Praying with Jane

Daily Encouragement for Your Soul through the Prayers of Jane Austen

For more than two hundred years, Jane Austen and her novels have charmed readers from around the world. While much has been written about her fascinating life, less is known about Jane’s spiritual side. In this beautiful 31-day devotional, Miss Austen’s faith comes to life through her exquisite prayers, touching biographical anecdotes, and illuminating scenes from her novels. Each reading also includes a thematically appropriate Scripture and a prayer inspired by Jane’s petitions.

May this journey into Jane Austen’s life of faith and prayer ignite and deepen your own relationship with the Father who loves you.

Click here for more information and to buy your copy!

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About the Author

Rachel Dodge

Rachel Dodge teaches college English and Jane Austen classes, gives talks at libraries, teas, and Jane Austen groups, and is a writer for the popular Jane Austen’s World blog. She makes her home in California with her husband, Robert, and their two young children.

Connect with Rachel on Twitter | Facebook | Website

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Follow the Blog Tour (there are giveaways at several blogs!)

October 31 – Praying with Jane, My changed Relationship with Jane, Jane Austen’s World

November 1 – Praying With Jane by Rachel Dodge,  So Little Time, So Much to Read!

November 2 – Praying With Jane: 31 Days Through Prayer (Review and Giveaway)Laura’s Reviews

November 3 – Praying With Jane: 31 Days Through Prayer by Rachel Dodge, Burton Book Review

November 4 – Blog Tour: Praying With Jane: 31 Days Through Prayer by Rachel DodgeBLOGLOVIN

November 5 – Guest Post: Praying With Jane by Rachel Dodge and Book Giveaway!, Jane Austen in Vermont

November 6 – Calico Critic

November 7 – A Bookish Way of Life

November 8 – Diary of an Eccentric

November 9 – Becoming

November 10 – My Jane Austen Book Club

November 11 – My Love for Jane Austen

November 12 – Laughing with Lizzie

November 13 – Faith, Science, Joy … and Jane Austen

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Thanks to Bethany House for sending me a copy of Praying with Jane and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour!

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