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I’m delighted to help Sue Barr kick off her blog tour for Georgiana, book three in a series I absolutely adore! (Check out my reviews of Caroline and Catherine). Sue is here to talk about why she chose to write about the secondary characters in Pride and Prejudice, and there’s a giveaway as well. Please give her a warm welcome!

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First and foremost, thank you for kicking off the blog tour for my latest release, GEORGIANA: Pride & Prejudice continued… Book Three.

I’ve been asked why I decided to write about Pride & Prejudice’s secondary characters instead of our beloved dear couple. Especially Georgiana who had but a brief cameo in the original novel with no direct lines of conversation. The answer is a bit twisted and came from an unexpected source.

In 2014, I joined the fan fiction site, A Happy Assembly and decided to write my own Austen inspired Regency story. I’m a visual person and because of that, began to scour cover art sites to see what was available by way of Regency inspired book covers. I stumbled across a pre-made cover a beautiful red-haired woman. Instantaneously, I thought of Caroline Bingley.

All of these happen-chances coalesced with me asking, ‘Whatever happened to Caroline Bingley after her brother and Mr. Darcy became engaged to the Bennet sisters?’ From that, Caroline was born. There were two other matching covers and with no hesitation I determined they would be Catherine and Georgiana.

Whereas one question about Caroline provided me a beginning, an internal thought and a heartfelt desire provided an ending. First, when I imagined Georgiana’s history and how the family dealt with her ‘incident’ I wanted Maxwell to hear Darcy say “I can’t make this one go away”, followed by Max thinking, “What does Darcy mean by this one?” Once that little pot of conflict began a slow boil, images of Georgiana at her escritoire, quill in hand popped into my head. She’d just written, “My darling Maxwell. May I call you Maxwell, for that is how I think of you.”

Why would she be writing him and why would he be offended if she called him by his given name? Immediately, their estrangement and the reason became clear and within the hour I’d penned all of her letters which are featured near the end of the book.

I’d love to paint a picture of why Maxwell does what he does upon his discovery of Georgiana’s previous compromise, but a single blog post won’t do it justice. Besides, I want you to read ALL of the book and judge for yourself. Georgiana is available exclusively on Amazon until May 1 when she will be launched to other digital retailers.

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About Georgiana

She longs for true love…

A dowry of thirty thousand pounds places a hefty weight upon the shoulders of Miss Georgiana Darcy. Her tender heart has been broken before by a cad who cared not one whit for who she was, but as a prize to be won, and she fears no man will ever see the worth of her heart.

Duty and honor…

These are the stalwart columns which hold up the life of Maxwell Kerr, Fifth Duke of Adborough. After rescuing Miss Darcy from an inescapable compromise, an offer of marriage is as natural to him as breathing air. When he discovers this is not the first compromise she has evaded, anger becomes his faithful companion and threatens their tenuous bonds of love and respect.

Buy on Amazon (U.S. | U.K. | CA | AU)

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About the Author

Sue Barr

“The prairie dust is in my blood but no longer on my shoes.”

Sue Barr coined that phrase when once asked where she came from. Although it’s been over thirty-seven years since she called Saskatchewan home, her roots to that straight-lined province and childhood friends run deep. The only thing strong enough to entice her to pack up and leave was love. When a handsome Air Force pilot met this small-town girl, he swept her off her feet and they embarked on a fantastic adventure which found them settled in beautiful Southwestern Ontario when hubby retired from the military and began his second career as an airline pilot.

Sue started writing in 2009 and sold her first manuscript in 2010. For four years she was published under the pen name of Madison J. Edwards, and in 2014 began to write sweet contemporary romance under her own name. Always a reader of Regency romance, she discovered Jane Austen Fan Fiction through a childhood friend who writes under the name of Suzan Lauder. Almost immediately a question popped into her head, “Whatever happened to Caroline Bingley after her brother and Mr. Darcy became engaged to a Bennet sister?” and the “Pride & Prejudice Continued…” series was launched.

Sue is a member of Romance Writers of America and its satellite chapter, The Beau Monde. She is one course away from achieving her Professional Creative Writer’s certificate from the University of Western Ontario’s continuing study curriculum. In her spare time, she cans and preserves her own food, cooks almost everything from scratch and grows herbs to dehydrate and make into seasoning. Hubby has no complaints other than his trousers keep shrinking. At least that’s what he claims…. Oh, the kids and grandkids don’t mind this slight obsession either.

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Giveaway

Sue is generously giving away 3 ebook copies of Georgiana as part of the blog tour. You must enter through this Rafflecopter link. This is giveaway is open internationally through March 12. Good luck!

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Thank you, Sue, for being my guest today, and congratulations on your new release and blog tour!

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I’m thrilled to welcome Karen M Cox back to Diary of an Eccentric today to celebrate the re-release of her Persuasion-inspired novel, Find Wonder in All Things. Karen is here today to share her inspiration for the book. Please give her a warm welcome!

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Music as Inspiration for Find Wonder in All Things

Thank you, Anna, for welcoming me back to Diary of an Eccentric for the penultimate stop on the Find Wonder in All Things re-release tour.

From the first time I read it years ago, I have loved Persuasion. In many ways, I think it is Austen’s deepest, most elegant novel. But I always seemed to me that Miss Austen started that story in the middle, not at the beginning. I found myself wondering, what did a brash, headstrong, young man like Wentworth see in a young Anne Elliot? What made him come back to Somerset after eight long years? And what happened to him during that time they spent apart?

In October 2010, I had decided I wanted to write a modern variation of Persuasion—but how to begin?

I was sitting in my kitchen, trying to conjure up a modern-day Anne Elliot, and she began to appear out of the mists of my mind’s eye—tall, slender, reserved, and sporting a headful of striking red hair! I asked her name, and she looked down at the ground, embarrassed, and said, “Laurel. Mountain Laurel, actually. My dad named me after a wildflower.”

“Really?” I said. “I can just imagine what he’s like.” And I was off.

Because my hero, James Marshall, was a musician, music was an integral part of writing Find Wonder in All Things. I made myself this playlist of various genres of music for inspiration. They roughly correspond to the chapters in the book.

For fans of Spotify:

 

For fans of YouTube (this playlists has some great covers and live music)

 

 

I was trying to get inside James’s head a bit—somewhere around chapter nine—so I sat down at the piano (which I play “a little and very ill” – ha) and noodled out the Mountain Laurel Theme you hear in the video below.

Enjoy!

 

Do you all make soundtracks in your head while you’re reading? Do certain songs remind you of books or characters?

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About Find Wonder in All Things

“There could have never been two hearts so open… Now they were as strangers”

Persuasion

Mountain Laurel Elliot is like her name—she blooms best in the cool comfort of shade, hidden in the Kentucky foothills of Appalachia. Alone on her mountain, she lives a private existence with only her pottery—and her regrets—for company.

James Marshall had a secret dream and Laurel was part of it, but dreams sometimes lead to unexpected places. James’s heart broke when Laurel cut him loose, but he moved on—and became successful beyond his wildest dreams.

For one glorious summer, James and Laurel had each other, but life has kept them far apart.

Until now.

“A magnificent modernization of Jane Austen’s Persuasion.” -Austenesque Reviews

Winner of the Independent Book Publisher’s Award 2012: Gold Medal in Romance and

Next Generation Indie Finalist in Romance 2013

Buy on Amazon (also currently available on Kindle Unlimited)

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About the Author

Karen M Cox

Karen M Cox is an award-winning author of five novels accented with history and romance, a novella, and several short stories.

Karen was born in Everett WA, the daughter of a United States Air Force Officer. She had a nomadic childhood, with stints in North Dakota, Tennessee, and New York State before settling in her family’s home state of Kentucky at age eleven. She lives in a quiet town with her husband and works as a pediatric speech pathologist.

If you would like periodic bits of authorly goodness delivered to your inbox, be sure to get Karen’s News and Muse Letter. Updates, sales, book recommendations, etc. are yours for the asking.

Follow Karen: Website | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr | Pinterest

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Giveaway

To celebrate the second edition of Find Wonder in All Things, Karen is giving away a signed copy of the book and some Jane Austen swag: fun notecards from The Quill Ink, What Would Jane Do? book of quotes, and Austen coffee mug (if US winner) or an ebook copy of the book and 25$ Amazon Gift Card (if International Winner – cause #shipping 🙂

Each comment left on a blog tour post will serve as an entry.

Winner will be chosen by 11:59 pm EDT on 2.6.20 and announced on Karen’s website and social media (Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram). Good Luck!

Thank you for being my guest today, Karen!

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I am thrilled to welcome Sarah Courtney back to Diary of an Eccentric to celebrate her latest novel, Beauty and Mr. Darcy, which will be released tomorrow, January 31. I absolutely adored Sarah’s modern Pride and Prejudice variation, A Good Name, so I couldn’t wait to dive in and read Beauty and Mr. Darcy. (Stay tuned for my review; I’m enjoying it so far.) Sarah is here to share a little about the book, as well as an excerpt and a giveaway. Please give her a warm welcome!

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I absolutely adore fairy tale adaptations and have read a ton of them. Some of my favorite authors are K.M. Shea, Melanie Cellier, and Gail Carson Levine. So it’s not exactly a surprise that it would occur to me to write a fairy tale adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.

Of course, I couldn’t stick to just one fairy tale. I realized, as I read through the novel for the umpteenth time, that several of the women in the story have characteristics in common with fairy tales. Elizabeth and Darcy’s story has often been compared to Beauty and the Beast, so that was probably the easiest comparison. But there were a few other tales that seemed to fit very naturally with the characters as portrayed in Pride and Prejudice.

I couldn’t help making sure that each of the Bennet sisters (and Charlotte) got a happy ending, though, so I had to find the perfect fairy tale for each, even if I had to get a bit more inventive with some of the connections! To my surprise, Lydia’s story ended up being one of my favorites, and quite a few early readers have told me the same.

Ultimately, Beauty and Mr. Darcy includes six fairy tales (and a hint of one more), all intertwined together. There is no magic, beyond the magic of love, but there are happy endings galore!

In this excerpt from Beauty and Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth is growing fatigued of Mr. Darcy staring at her and listening in to her conversations. She decides to have a little fun with him in revenge.

October 1811

Ashworth, home of Mr. and Mrs. Cole

Elizabeth

Elizabeth stalked over to where Charlotte Lucas stood near the wall. Charlotte raised an eyebrow. “I see something has got your temper up?”

Elizabeth glanced over her shoulder to see where Mr. Darcy was. Unsurprisingly, he had followed her. Again. He was now standing some few feet away by the mantle giving his best impression of a man who was not staring at Elizabeth Bennet. Or listening to her conversations. As she watched, he glanced over at her, then away again. She huffed.

She turned back to Charlotte, who was smiling broadly. Elizabeth rolled her eyes, then deliberately strove for a light tone.

“Charlotte, you will not believe what I caught my father reading!”

Charlotte’s eyebrows, at this rate, would never drop down to their usual position. “What?”

Stratagems Defeated,” she said triumphantly.

Charlotte’s mouth dropped open. “That drivel?”

Elizabeth nodded eagerly. “That is not all. He said he borrowed it from your father!”

“That . . . does not surprise me as much as you might think. My father has a great appreciation for ridiculous novels. But the idea that he would loan one to your father, and that your father would actually read it . . .”

“But that is the best part! I discovered exactly what my father is about. It is utterly scandalous,” Elizabeth said. With that, she leaned in close and whispered into Charlotte’s ear, “Gasp and pretend to be shocked.”

Charlotte gasped and stared at Elizabeth. Elizabeth rejoiced inwardly when Mr. Darcy almost lost his grip on the mantle, he was leaning so close. The poor man. There was no way he could have overheard the last.

Charlotte grasped Elizabeth’s upper arm and pulled her close to whisper in her ear, “So we are playing games with Mr. Darcy now?”

Elizabeth whispered back, “He will not stop staring and following me around, listening to my conversations. Well, if he is going to listen without joining in like any ordinary person, then he will just have to consign himself to Bedlam with half-heard intriguing conversations and humorous anecdotes that will be missing the apogee.”

Charlotte rolled her eyes, then stepped back. “Our mothers must have no idea!” she exclaimed with false excitement. “Scandalous!”

Elizabeth smiled. Charlotte might be seven years her senior and far more mature in so many ways, but a good prank was a good prank, and she had not grown up with three younger brothers for nothing!

Charlotte nodded towards Mr. Darcy and lowered her voice to say, “Elizabeth, I believe Mr. Darcy likes you.”

Elizabeth gave a rather unladylike snort. “Have you forgotten already that I am merely ‘tolerable’ and ‘lacking in wit’?” She certainly had not.

Charlotte shook her head. “Perhaps he said that and did not mean it, or perhaps he changed his mind soon afterward. A man does not watch a woman constantly and attempt to listen to her conversations without purpose.”

“If there is purpose in it, it is certainly not attraction,” Elizabeth said. She stared at Mr. Darcy until she caught his eye.

He lifted his chin and gave her his haughtiest look, then turned away.

Elizabeth suppressed a laugh. “Tolerable it is!”

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About Beauty and Mr. Darcy

Elizabeth Bennet knows that Fitzwilliam Darcy is a beast. At least, that’s what George Wickham tells her, and she is inclined to believe him. Why, then, is it so hard not to find him interesting and attractive? Is she just another young lady intrigued by a rogue?

Jane Bennet was in love once and has never quite recovered. When the object of her affections returns to Meryton, she is thrilled, until she realizes that the same problem that has frightened off all of her other suitors might drive away the man she truly loves.

Mary Bennet’s pedantic pronouncements irritate her sisters and repel the man she longs for. Is there any hope for a happy ending for her?

Kitty and Lydia Bennet’s giggles and foolish ways make the matrons of Meryton shake their heads. Without real parental guidance, they long for attention, even if means risking their reputations and hope for the future.

Charlotte Lucas has long since given up the idea of finding a husband and having the children she longs for. When an unusual suitor arrives in Meryton, she has one last chance to avoid spinsterhood.

Beauty and Mr. Darcy is a Pride and Prejudice variation in which romance and humor abound! The Bennet sisters’ fairy tales intertwine as they each find their very own happy ending, but there is no fantastical magic in this retelling. This is a full-length novel of about 130,000 words.

Buy on Amazon

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About the Author

Sarah Courtney

Sarah Courtney has been addicted to reading since she first learned how. She carried books with her everywhere . . . to sports games (professional sports games required two books!), school, bus rides and car trips, and even when her parents told her to “go outside and play.” She finds time for reading now by doing most of it on her Kindle app, which means that she can read while walking down the stairs, waiting in line, making dinner . . .

Sarah loves to read fantasy and fairy tale interpretations, Agatha Christie’s mysteries, romantic suspense/action, and especially variations of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

Sarah tried her hand at writing numerous times as a child, but never stuck it out long enough to finish a book. When she discovered that there was an entire fandom dedicated to her favorite author, Jane Austen, she was inspired to write her first novel.

Sarah homeschools her six children, ages two through twelve. She is constantly asked, “How do you find time to write?” The answer is simply that you find the time to do the things you love. Also, getting the laundry put away is highly overrated.

You can find Sarah on Facebook and her blog.

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Giveaway

Sarah is offering an ebook copy of Beauty and Mr. Darcy to one lucky reader. To enter, please leave a comment with your email address. This giveaway will be open through Friday, February 7, 2020. The winner will be chosen randomly and announced in the comments section of this post. Good luck!

Thank you, Sarah, for being my guest today, and congratulations on your new book!

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Melanie Rachel is back today to celebrate the release of the third book in the Headstrong trilogy, Overcome, a modern romance inspired by Pride and Prejudice. I love modern takes on P&P, so these books are definitely on my wish list. Melanie is here to introduce the book and share an excerpt. Please give her a warm welcome!

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I know that modern P&P variations can sometimes be a tough sell. So I’ll begin with a few reviews from readers.

On Austen Authors, Trudy Osborn wrote:

“I have to say that I am not a big fan of modern, but I had seen these (the Headstrong books) really praised here Austen Readers. The first one of the series sat on my Kindle for a few weeks while I read other books that I thought would be more to my taste. Once I started, I couldn’t put it down and read through the next two the same day.”

 

On Amazon, Sandra Fillmer wrote:

“I am a historical reader and don’t usually like moderns. Melanie Rachel has convinced me that there are great modern P&P’s out there. The Headstrong trilogy was fantastic.”

 

Also from Amazon (plucked from a longer review) Elin wrote:

“A thrilling, entertaining and compelling read with laugh out loud, hilarious moments.”

 

The following is an excerpt from Headstrong: Overcome (Book Three). In it, Will and Richard are waiting for word of Elizabeth’s return from an overseas job—one that they suspect is related to ending a hostage situation in Syria. As a Marine, she has written letters for her loved ones to be opened in case she does not return from a mission, and she’s done the same for Will Darcy.

I hope you enjoy!

–MR

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Eight hours. It had been eight hours since Oscar had called with the news that Elizabeth was missing and presumed . . . his sources said that the handlers hadn’t been able to confirm the location of any of the team members. It was possible they were all in transit, ready to convene at another site, but Elizabeth would have wanted to come home. He was sure of it. She should have been on the plane to Seattle.

“I want the letter, Richard,” he said flatly. “I know she must have left one. You may not think I can handle it, but I know you wrote one, too. I’ve known for a long time.”

Richard wouldn’t meet his eyes. “It’s a little early for that, Will,” he said softly.

“Do you have it?” Will asked.

Will could see that Richard was considering lying to him, but in the end, he just said, “Yes.”

I still have hope,” Will said quietly. “But I need something, something, to feel close to her.” He swallowed. “Please.”

A few minutes later, Richard handed him the letter and a whiskey.

“She’s coming back,” Will said aloud. Richard nodded silently. He held the letter for a moment, then tossed it on his desk.

They waited in silence for another hour, Will slowly turning the whiskey glass and staring at the envelope. “Mr. Will Darcy” was written in cursive across the front.

Richard’s phone buzzed. He stared at the screen, his lips pursed.

“What is it?” Will asked.

Richard hesitated, glanced up. He shook his head. “Nothing.”

Will stood. “Richard,” he said unsteadily, “give me the phone.”

“Just let me verify these first. It’s not anything you need to see unless we know for sure.” Richard bent his head over the phone and was typing out a message when Will grabbed it right out of his hand. Richard reached to take it back, but Will just turned his back and walked to the desk. Richard didn’t try to follow him.

On the screen were several photos of a bombed-out apartment building . . . somewhere. The building had collapsed into the earth, into what was probably a basement. Had been a basement. He swiped to the next photo. There was a punctured soccer ball in the foreground, deflated and peeling.

It meant nothing. Millions of people across the globe had soccer balls like that. Just because Elizabeth liked to juggle one when she worked . . . He swiped again and nearly dropped the phone. A few feet from the remains of the soccer ball was part of a whiteboard, with a few letters still visible. It looked like . . . He enlarged the photo. There was just a fragment, really. A line straight up and a word, or part of one: drey. He checked his name on the envelope, small, even letters, a tight loop on the ‘y’. Then he looked again at the photo.

The word was Audrey, he realized in a flash. They’d been playing hangman. It was Elizabeth’s writing. He was sure of it. He looked up.

“It’s her,” he told Richard. His cousin leaned forward in his seat and lowered his head to his hands.

Will set the phone down on his desk and picked up the letter. He ran his hand over the envelope, then slid a sharp opener along the top and plucked out a single sheet of paper.

Dear Will, it began.

If you’re reading this, I didn’t make it home. I can’t begin to tell you how sorry I am about that. Will fumbled a bit and took a drink of the whiskey. He couldn’t feel his fingers holding the glass and nearly dropped it.

I worry that you’ll shut yourself off from everyone and try to find some way to blame yourself for this. But I chose this with my eyes wide open. You didn’t choose it—I did. So get over yourself.

He smiled, but it hurt.

I am not afraid to die for what’s right, Will. I came to terms with that a long time ago. It’s just hard to think about all the people who will grieve when I go—you most of all. Please know I tried my best to make it back to you, and that when you’ve had some time to recover, I expect you to find someone else you can love.

He shook his head. Impossible.

Have a good life, Will. That’s an order.

A strangled sound escaped his throat.

I’m sorry this is so short—I don’t have a lot of time. Please know that I love you wildly, with all of my heart, with everything I have. I love your integrity, your intelligence, your strength, and your heart. You have been the best part of my life.

God bless you, Will Darcy.

Elizabeth

“Will?” Richard asked quietly.

Will was holding his letter in one hand, just staring at it. “I shouldn’t have read it,” Will said, his eyes stinging. “If she finds out when she gets home, she’ll be angry at me.” He lightly traced one of the lines on the paper with a fingertip.

Richard nodded. “It’s been less than a day. Elizabeth could still pop up on our radar, Will.”

She could, Will thought. He’d feel better if they could confirm that the other members of the team were stateside, but even Oscar evidently didn’t have that kind of information. And the sad fact was that the longer they went without hearing anything, the higher the odds that they wouldn’t ever hear anything at all.

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About Headstrong: Overcome

Elizabeth Bennet has never been one to dwell on the past, but now her past is coming after her with a vengeance.

It’s been a stressful Christmas for Elizabeth. She’s working thousands of miles from home and is out of contact with everyone she loves. She’s trying to keep her mind on her work—lives depend upon her ability to concentrate—but she can’t stop thinking about Will Darcy.

Back in the States, Will’s company, FORGE, has barely averted disaster. As he works to manage the recovery, he’s left to wonder when Elizabeth will return and whether she’ll still be his when she does. Worse yet, he is haunted by the possibility that she’s in harm’s way—and that it’s his fault.

Elizabeth’s work has always been dangerous, but this time, going home might pose the greater risk. Can she and Will work together to overcome all the obstacles they’re about to face?

JOIN ELIZABETH AND WILL FOR THE EXCITING FINAL BOOK IN THE HEADSTRONG SERIES!

Buy on Amazon

All three books are now available on Amazon for purchase and in Kindle Unlimited.

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Giveaway

Melanie is generously offering one lucky reader a choice of one of the books in the trilogy — Improvise (Book One), Adapt (Book Two), or Overcome (Book Three). The reader will have their choice of an ebook (international) or paperback (U.S. only). To enter, please leave a comment with your email address. This giveaway will be open through Tuesday, January 14, 2020. The winner will be chosen randomly and announced in the comments section of this post. Good luck!

Thank you, Melanie, for being my guest today and congratulations on your new release!

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I’m delighted to welcome Jayne Bamber back today to celebrate the release of her latest novel, Strong Objections to the Lady. She’s here with another interesting discussion about Charles Bingley, and to share an excerpt and giveaway. Please give her a warm welcome!

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Sorry, Charlie….

 

 

It’s great to be back at Diary of an Eccentric! I am here to share an excerpt from my new release, Strong Objections to the Lady, but first, I think I owe Charles Bingley a big apology!

 

 

When I was here back in January on the blog tour for my first novel, I boldly decreed that Charles Bingley is a Hot Idiot, and while I can’t entirely retract that, I gotta say, I still think he’s a good guy. He has a role to play in my new release, and this time I was really excited about giving him a time to shine.

 

 

Though I just take a sharp turn from canon (as usual!) in Strong Objections to the Lady, things work at well for Charles Bingley just as soon as he, like our other beloved characters, begins to deserve his HEA. He is just as easily led by his sister as ever, but I gave him just a little nudge in the right direction, toward growing up, with some help from a very unusual ally.

 

 

Of course, there’s always been lots to love about Mr. Bingley. Jane Austen tells us of his myriad charms, and it is no surprise that Jane Bennet was instantly smitten. Aside from being rich and handsome, which a gentleman ought to be if he possibly can, Mr. Bingley really does try to put his best foot forward in the neighborhood. You know, before he gets duped into ditching them to go back to London.

 

 

From the moment he arrives in the neighborhood, Mr. Bingley is an ideal neighbor. He’s delighted by everyone in the neighborhood, even making a point to commend Charlotte Lucas, who doesn’t have the greatest luck with gentlemen. He dines with the officers and invites them all to his ball, and when a local lady takes ill at his house, he allows her and her sister to stay with him for as long as they need.

 

 

In addition to all this gentlemanly affability, he really does try with poor Darcy. He’s having a ball, making new friends, and poor Bingley really does wish Darcy would lighten up and have some fun! Of course, we find out later why Darcy doesn’t enjoy himself as much as Bingley, but we can only imagine that in all the years of their friendship, Bingley has usually had more success in lightening Darcy’s mood.

 

 

Bingley gets a lot right, before he is steered so wrong by Darcy and his sister, but even then – well, we are all fools in love, right?

 

 

In Strong Objections to the Lady, Mr. Bingley begins foolishly in love, and Darcy has his hands too full with family drama and a Bennet sister of his own to help Bingley undo the damage he’s done by abandoning Jane. Left to his own devices, he fumbles at first, but learns all the right lessons along the way.

 

 

The excerpt I want to share today is one of Mr. Bingley’s first appearances in the tale, although we learn that he has had an “off-screen” encounter with Jane while she was staying with the Gardiners in London….

 

 

Darcy had no opportunity to speak privately with Bingley, as much as he wished it, until they had set out on horseback for Humphrey Hall. The ladies set out in their carriages, while Henry and Arthur rode together at some remove – likely scheming amongst themselves.

Darcy knew there was something missing from his understanding of the situation, for he had expected Bingley’s presence to please Elizabeth for her sister’s sake, and that Elizabeth had reacted with such discomfort led Darcy to suppose that Miss Bennet may not look fondly on Bingley’s arrival. It was possible that Bingley had seen Miss Bennet in the two days that had elapsed in London between Darcy’s visit with Bingley, and Miss Bennet’s sudden arrival in Kent. Richard seemed to suspect it, and after some gentle prodding, Bingley himself confessed it.

“Of course I went to her straight away,” Bingley owned. “You told me she cared for me, which I knew all along, of course. I was mighty angry with you, and Caroline too, but not without hope that Jane would forgive me.”

Darcy glanced over at Bingley from the side of his eyes and gave a slight shake of his head. “I would not have known you were displeased with your sister, as you have brought her with you,” he said cautiously.

“Well, I did not know we would be making such an excellent house party of it, or I might have left her in London,” Bingley said with an affable laugh. “I thought I would need a hostess in order for Jane to visit me, and Caroline was wishing to be a part of the merriment, you know.”

“I see,” Darcy said. “And when you saw Miss Bennet in London, did she, as you say, forgive you?”

Bingley frowned; it was an uncharacteristic expression for him, but did not last long before he broke into a persistently cheerful smile. “Not exactly. Jane was angry with me for not coming sooner, though of course I had no notion of her being in Town all that time. It was not the amorous reunion I had anticipated, but of course she had just heard of her cousin’s death, and was quite distressed already – poor timing, that is all.”

Bingley was determined to be nonchalant about it, but Darcy wished to impart some caution to his friend, for everyone’s sake. “Yes, Miss Bennet has taken her new responsibilities as heiress to Longbourn very seriously.”

“Well, it is not as though I am some fortune hunter with questionable motives,” Bingley laughed. “I was madly in love with her before her prospects improved – she must know she has nothing to fear.”

“You were not aware of her feelings at the time – it may be possible that she had no assurance of your feelings, either.”

“Come now, Darcy, of course she did! You said that Miss Elizabeth told you Jane was merely being shy and modest in concealing her affection for me. Nobody could ever accuse me of being shy or modest!”

“Well, that is true, but your leaving Hertfordshire so suddenly….”

“Which was your idea,” Bingley interjected.

“Yes, I agreed with your sisters that it was prudent at the time. However, you must endeavor to show her that your renewed interest is not the work of a mere moment, as your departure was.”

“Of course I shall, Darcy. Really, there is no need to trouble yourself, my old friend. Your advice is valuable to me on a great many things, to be sure, but I should hardly put wooing ladies on that list! No indeed, I think I shall do better to follow my own instincts this time.”

Darcy could not argue with that – it was likely that without his interference, Bingley and Jane Bennet would already be wed. However, Bingley’s optimism was still troubling. Elizabeth had made it clear when she refused him that Jane’s discomfort was an insuperable obstacle in their relationship, and Darcy could not like that his own chances at happiness hinged on Bingley’s unpredictable finesse.

“Besides,” Bingley continued as Darcy brooded silently, “I have other resources.” He gave a jolly waggle of his eyebrows.

Darcy groaned. He had seen Anne and Bingley conversing many times over the last few days, thick as thieves, and he could not like it. Anne was still so new to society, and her enthusiasm for everything may yet prove another source of collateral damage in such a delicate situation. “You mean my cousin?”

“Yes, and her lady grandmother as well. I was flattered beyond anything that Lady Augusta should take an interest in my problems, but then I suppose she is not too old to appreciate the romance of it all.”

Darcy grimaced. “I cannot think it wise for you to look to outside assistance, Bingley, when it proved such an evil last autumn. My interference was misguided, and I am not sure that more interference will be the cure. Anne, in particular, may not be the most reliable conspirator.”

“Conspirator! You are very severe upon your cousin, Darcy! Indeed, I think it must be a habit of yours, for in all the years of acquaintance, you have never even given a truly accurate description of her! She is far livelier than I expected, and so very amiable. She seems to dote on the Bennet sisters.”

“That is the material point,” Darcy countered. “It has been many years since Anne has had such pleasure in female companionship, and I should hate for her new friendship to be jeopardized by her involvement in this matter.”

Bingley laughed, but Darcy could see that he had wounded his friend. “Come now, Darce, I hate to hear you speak as though you think I shall fail,” he said evenly. “I am no fool – and I believe it will come out well.”

Darcy could not agree with these last two statements, but neither could he judge his friend too harshly. He could infer that Bingley had been rebuffed by Miss Bennet when he visited her in London, but Darcy, too, was a man in love, and desperate for a second chance; this was hardly the time for hypocrisy.

 

 

Strong Objections to the Lady is available on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited now, with a paperback soon to follow. Til then, I hope you enjoyed this excerpt! I will be sharing more excerpts throughout my blog tour, and there is an e-book giveaway you can enter by clicking here. You can also follow me on Facebook for more updates!

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Thank you, Jayne, for being my guest today, and congratulations on your new book!

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I’ve not yet read Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South, but I was intrigued to learn about a new collection of stories inspired by the classic, especially as it features some of my favorite Austenesque authors. I have the pleasure of welcoming several authors from the anthology to Diary of an Eccentric today to talk about their contributions to the collection and to share a giveaway. Please give them a warm welcome!

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Thank you so much for hosting us today, Anna, it is a pleasure to visit your blog!

Falling for Mr. Thornton is a book born out of love not only for John Thornton, but also for many subjects tackled in North & South and each one of us decided to take a different approach on our short stories. Today we decided to talk to your readers about our stories from our own perspective; we hope they feel motivated to give Falling for Mr. Thornton a try.

 

Trudy Brasure

My story, Once Again, focuses on the incredible moral courage of John Thornton as he summons the strength and determination to move forward in crushing circumstances. There’s a lot of loneliness and silent suffering in North and South. I dive into John’s agonizing desire to be understood–to love and be loved.

Devotion to family is another theme I touch on. Hannah’s concern for her son, and John’s care for his mother are important factors in keeping each of these characters moving forward during great trials.

And finally, I show how much John’s social conscience has grown. He has a deep desire to make a difference in the lives of others.

 

Nancy Klein

In “Looking to the Future,” I worked Margaret’s guilt, regret, and sorrow into the story. As a parson’s daughter, she was raised to do the right thing, to tell the truth, and to be true to her faith. When she conceals Frederick, and lies about the incident at the train station, it tears at her conscience. Although she does it out of love for her brother, it is still a sin and she can no longer pretend that she has taken the high road. Mr.Thornton’s intercession on her behalf doubles her guilt, and makes her realize she is no better than any other sinner. I believe this is a turning point for her, softening her pride and making her much more human than the proud young goddess she once was. This is what makes her see Mr. Thornton with new eyes; this is what helps alter her opinion of him.

 

Evy Journey

“Let me go to Cádiz, or else I die.”  Margaret says somewhat jokingly towards the end of Gakell’s  novel, after her father dies and she’s all alone. Her hopes of doing so rest on Mr. Bell’s  remark about taking her there to see her brother and his new wife. The hoped-for trip fizzles out in the  novel but my short story, Reeducating Mr. Thornton makes it happen for Margaret.  Not with Mr. Bell but with Mr. Thornton. My story goes further. The trip to Cádiz, a bustling center for international  trade at the time, sets the stage, first of all, for Mr. Thornton to widen his world view and gain precious insight for reviving his business (a subplot in N&S ). Second, it elaborates and continues events on another subplot, a second love affair,  in N&S—that of the felicitous union of Frederick and Dolores in Cádiz.

 

Julia Daniels

 From an early age, John Thornton became the patriarch of the Thornton family. He took this responsibility deeply to heart, and was proud of his rise to power, as it provided a stable home for his mother and sister. Fanny did not understand or appreciate the sacrifices her brother made for her, and her impetuous nature led her to commit a horrible mistake.

Margaret Hale deeply regretted her mistake in rejecting Thornton’s marriage proposal. Each time he came for his lessons with her father, she felt it keenly. Although Fanny always treated Margaret with condescension, in her darkest hour, she sought Margaret for help.

It is during that darkest hour when John and Margaret come together to repair the misunderstandings between them, while assisting Fanny to remedy her mistake. Mistakes and Remedies clearly illustrates that it is always darkest before dawn and all three characters are able to overcome the darkness and find happiness.

 

Damaris Osborne

Whilst the ‘Loose Leaves from Milton’ parody is steeped in tea leaves and all things tea, beneath the surface it does still pick up themes used by Elizabeth Gaskell- Hannah Thornton’s exclusive love of her son, which leaves Fanny emotionally out in the cold, John Thornton’s moral uprightness (the only act which wavers his moral compass is colluding with Margaret’s denial of being at the railway station when he himself saw her there, rather than corroborating the unknown witness), and Margaret’s mixture of social conscience and naïvety. The overarching cultural divide between Margaret’s idealised rural South and demonised industrial North also remain, to be broken down in the course of events.

 

Elaine Owen

For this story I tried to work in several of Gaskell’s original themes: the tension between the workers and masters; Margaret’s role as a peacemaker; selflessness and sacrifice; and of course the love that bridges all divides! All of these things came together, along with one significant event in the original story, to create a different way for our dear couple to finally unite.

But I also wanted to introduce a couple of new ideas into the mix. Gaskell’s original work can be quite dark, with sad endings far outnumbering the happy endings. So I decided that at least one beloved character should get a new chance at life. And not only a new life, but a new romance! Also I really liked the idea of Thornton having a friend who is neither a master nor a worker, someone who can see right through Thornton and encourage him to pursue his heart’s desire. I really liked the way these two new ideas came together in the story.

 

M. Liza Marte 

Margaret’s remark that John asks her to marry him because he wants her as a possession always stuck with me. Saying she should have expected that behavior from someone in trade wasn’t just an insult. She really sees them as different, as opposites. She did not take the time or effort early on to see beyond his tradesman appearance and as such, misjudges his character and worth. Much like Elizabeth’s quick prejudice against Mr. Darcy because of his haughty, snobbish manner, Margaret never notices that little things that sets John Thornton apart from the mill owners. In my story, I wanted her take her out of her comfort zone. Without her father and the familiarity of her home, Margaret now must depend on John to be her protector and companion. In his company she begins to see all the little things that escaped her notice before. Now she notices the hand carved, twirling trinkets that have adorned their home all this while. She notices how often he works late at night. She sees the nicks and cuts on his hand and fingers. Her eyes have opened to the man behind his trade. While in the book, it is John’s assistance in concealing Frederick’s presence that thaws her heart. In my story it is simpler than that. Living in the same house with him, she is at his level. At home, John hides nothing. He is an open book. His every emotion is on display for Margaret to see. Maybe I did force them into a tight corner so they had to interact, but I always suspected, once Margaret saw the real John, she will like what she sees. After that, there is no turning back for her.

 

Kate Forrester

When I thought about the story line for Passages in Time I really wanted to explore two things; firstly how the unbending stiffly polite Mr Thornton would feel in 2019 and secondly how he would feel nor knowing what had happen to his mother and his sister.

Manners in modern times are so much more casual in modern times than they were in Victorian Britain. I remember the uproar the railway station kiss caused in the television adaptation, although strangely enough most people chose to overlook it – I can’t imagine why. It got me thinking, how would Mr Thornton cope with our casual speech, casual use of first names without introduction, casual clothing, and the casual way in which we now treat the opposite sex. I hope I managed to convey not only his distaste and horror of these things but also his confusion when he finds himself attracted to Miss Hale.

One of the most touching themes of the Mrs Gaskell’s novel is the bond between Mr Thornton and his mother Hannah and the responsibility he feels towards his sister Fanny. I wanted to show how he would feel compelled to make sure they were alright – it is this above all else that drives him to seek a way back to his own time.

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About Falling for Mr. Thornton

 

Amidst the turbulent backdrop of a manufacturing town in the grips of the Industrial Revolution, Elizabeth Gaskell penned the timeless passion of Mr. Thornton and Margaret Hale. A mixing of contemporary and Victorian, this short story anthology by twelve beloved authors considers familiar scenes from new points of view or re-imagined entirely. Capturing all the poignancy, heartbreak, and romance of the original tale, Falling for Mr. Thornton is a collection you will treasure again and again.

Stories by: Trudy Brasure * Nicole Clarkston * Julia Daniels * Rose Fairbanks * Don Jacobson * Evy Journey * Nancy Klein * M. Liza Marte * Elaine Owen * Damaris Osborne * Melanie Stanford ** Foreword by Mimi Matthews **

Buy on Amazon: Kindle | Paperback

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Giveaways

The authors will offer a grand prize to one reader following the entire blog tour. This prize will contain 13 different ebooks: one copy of Falling for Mr. Thornton and one other ebook from each author. To enter for the grand prize, you must use this Rafflecopter link.

Additionally, the authors would also like to offer 2 bookmarks of Falling for Mr. Thornton at each blog. To enter for a bookmark, please leave a comment below with your email address. I will choose 2 winners randomly after the blog tour ends. The winners will be announced in the comments section of this post.

Both giveaways are international. Good luck!

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My guest today is Jessie Lewis, who is here to share an excerpt from her latest release, Speechless. The cover alone makes me want to read the book, but if you need a little more convincing, please keep reading — you don’t want to miss this one. And please give Jessie a warm welcome!

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Thank you, Anna, for letting me stop by at your blog to tell my readers about my new novel, Speechless. I’d like to share an excerpt from early on in the story. Darcy has been injured but is not yet sure how. Elizabeth Bennet is tending to him, but he’s not yet sure why—and she is not particularly happy about it, though he is too ill to fully comprehend that either. Fortunately for him, this is Elizabeth Bennet, and she is not the sort to let enmity interfere with compassion.

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Worse than the unrelenting sense of suffocation, worse even than the agony of whatever affliction gripped his throat, was the terrible thirst to which Darcy awoke. His tongue cleaved to his palette, his head pounded, and exhaustion pinned his arms to his sides. When he begged for water, his lips cracked and his tongue spasmed, but his plea remained unspoken, for no sound came from the parched wasteland of his mouth. He could hear the hoarse scrape of what he presumed was his breathing, a crackling that he supposed was a fire, the faint whistle of wind trespassing around an ill-fitted windowpane—but of his own voice he heard not a croak.

Fear added its bite to the gnaw of thirst. What in God’s name had happened to him? Fighting an upwelling of alarm, he forced his eyes open. He was in a chamber, the ceiling of which was yellowing and peppered with mildew. He could see the uppermost corner of a window from where he lay; it was glazed with diamonds of thick, distorted glass. The walls were painted a utilitarian shade of taupe. He did not know the place or why he was in it. The time of day eluded him, for the light was all wrong—grey and bright at the same time. He knew neither how he came to be there, nor how long he ago he had arrived. All that was certain was that he hurt atrociously, though the reason for that was as shrouded in mystery as everything else, and the confusion of his mind terrified him almost as much as his physical suffering.

Thirst overshadowed everything, compelling him to lift his head in search of water. Excruciating pain drove him instantly back down, his eyes and jaw clenched shut and his mind awhirl, grasping futilely at wisps of memories that might—but did not—explain the feeling of being utterly spent, utterly broken. His neck was ablaze and there was something horribly unfamiliar about the way his head and shoulders were aligned—an unnatural rigidity betwixt the two that when he reached up to touch it, felt numb, despite the monstrous pain. He dug his fingers into it, attempted to scratch away whatever was hurting him, but everything he did and everywhere he touched exacerbated the torture.

Something took hold of his hands. He recoiled from the contact, ripping free of its grip and shoving it away, fearful of anything touching him. The movement tightened the constriction about his throat. He tugged frantically at the collar of his shirt to relieve it, but again his hands were seized and drawn aside, this time more firmly. Somebody spoke, the words nebulous but the tone fretful. He was not alone! There was comfort in that—or at least, there would be, if only whoever it was would do something to relieve his torment.

He or she—she—said something else. He knew not what; he could not concentrate on anything beyond the all-consuming need for liquid. He begged for water and shuddered when his throat gave forth nothing but an arid wheeze and a flood of pain. He forced one eye open and mouthed his plea again at the silhouette bent over him.

For the briefest moment, Darcy forgot his thirst entirely as the achingly familiar apparition slid her hand beneath his head and lifted it slightly to meet the cup she held to his mouth.

“Sip it slowly, Mr Darcy. Your throat is wounded. You would not like to choke.”

Then water trickled between his lips and all else became immaterial. He meant to sip but need bade him gulp. His throat contracted, he bucked in agony, spluttered out most of the water and sucked the rest into his lungs.

“Calm yourself, sir. Breathe. ’Tis well. ’Tis well.”

The composure of the voice was vastly at odds with the desperate situation. It steadied him until he ceased coughing. As did the hand that remained at the base of his neck. Somebody—the same woman, presumably—dabbed the water from his face. He strained to focus his gaze on her countenance, his eyes found hers, and his breath hitched, though nobody would have noticed amongst the already erratic clamour.

“Now sip,” said Elizabeth Bennet—to all appearances the real one, not an apparition or a delusion or a dream.

“What in blazes?” Darcy wondered in bewilderment, for in his present condition, with his mind as empty as his lungs, he could think of no goodly explanation for her being there. He had not the strength to reflect upon it for long. Distracted by the cup that was back at his lips, he attended instead to assuaging his thirst, though the pain of swallowing and the effort not to gag made it impossible to take more than half a dozen sips. By the time Elizabeth laid his head gently back on the pillow and removed her hand, exhaustion had crept into Darcy’s mind and settled heavily upon his limbs. His eyes were already closed.

He heard, and envied, the deep breath Elizabeth took. He heard her, also, as she let it out, slowly and a little shakily—and he heard her speak.

“Good. The only thing that could possibly make this situation worse would be if you were actually to die.”

Sleep was upon him before her meaning could even begin to matter.

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About Speechless

Could anything be worse than to be trapped in a confined space with the woman you love?

Fitzwilliam Darcy knows his duty, and it does not involve succumbing to his fascination for a dark-eyed beauty from an unheard of family in Hertfordshire. He has run away from her once already. Yet fate has a wicked sense of humour and deals him a blow that not only throws him back into her path but quite literally puts him at Elizabeth Bennet’s mercy. Stranded with her at a remote inn and seriously hampered by injury, Darcy very quickly loses the battle to conquer his feelings, but can he win the war to make himself better understood without the ability to speak?

Thus begins an intense journey to love and understanding that is at times harrowing, sometimes hilarious and at all times heartwarming.

Buy on Amazon

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About the Author

Jessie Lewis

Jessie Lewis, author of Mistaken and The Edification of Lady Susan, enjoys words far too much for her own good and was forced to take up writing them down in order to save her family and friends from having to listen to her saying so many of them. She dabbled in poetry during her teenage years, though it was her studies in Literature and Philosophy at university that firmly established her admiration for the potency of the English language. She has always been particularly in awe of Jane Austen’s literary cunning and has delighted in exploring Austen’s regency world in her own historical fiction writing. It is of no relevance whatsoever to her ability to string words together coherently that she lives in Hertfordshire with two tame cats, two feral children and a pet husband. She is also quite tall, in case you were wondering.

You can check out her musings on the absurdities of language and life on her blog, LifeinWords.blog, or see what she’s reading over at Goodreads. Or you can drop her a line on Twitter, @JessieWriter or on her Facebook page, JessieLewisAuthor.

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Giveaway

Quills & Quartos Publishing is giving away one ebook of Speechless per blog tour stop. All you need to do to enter the giveaway is comment on this blog post, and Quills & Quartos will randomly choose winners for the entire blog tour on December 19. So, make sure you join in the conversation! Good luck!

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Thank you for being my guest today, Jessie, and congratulations on your new release!

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