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I am thrilled to welcome Georgina Young-Ellis back to Diary of an Eccentric today to celebrate her latest release, Incandescent. You’re in for a treat today, dear readers, as Georgina is here today to tell you a little about the book, share an excerpt, and offer a giveaway. Please give her a warm welcome!

I love Jane Austen. I have loved her for decades. Long ago, it would never have occurred to me to write Fan Fiction, especially based on Jane Austen’s work—after all, it wasn’t even a thing until somewhat recently. Yet my first book, The Time Baroness, a romantic time travel novel, was written in homage to Jane Austen, so in a way, it was my first foray into Fan Fiction though I didn’t know it at the time. Since then, I’ve written three other books in that series, (the fifth on the way) and six actual JAFF (Jane Austen Fan Fiction) novellas.

Since I’m going to be starting a graduate program in Spanish Language and Literature in the fall, I decided I better get all the writing done that I want to do for the time being, as it will be two years, I’m sure, before I’ll have time to devote to it again. That brings me to Incandescent, my latest JAFF, just released April 28th. Here’s the Amazon blurb:

In this modern day twist on Jane Austen’s Persuasion, The Elliots are Hollywood Royalty – a family of actors going back three generations. Annie Elliot has been cast to play Elizabeth Bennet in a new movie adaptation of Pride and Prejudice that takes place during the Belle Epoque, circa 1910, with a multi-racial cast. But who will her Mr. Darcy be? As the two stories mix and intermingle on and off camera, hearts are broken, love is found, and diversity is celebrated.

Several years ago, I had the idea of turning Persuasion into a modern day story, with the characters as actors, making a Regency film of it while also living out the plot in real life. That then morphed into the actors making a film of Pride and Prejudice, while living out both novels in real life. The result is something I think is unique, romantic, and also a lot of fun. Here is how Chapter One of Incandescent starts out:

“Annie Elliot, the hottest young actress in Hollywood!” the papers screamed after the box office of her latest film broke records. At merely the age of nineteen, Annie had everything, or so said the press: the looks, the body, the talent…and the family. Did she believe it? Well, she couldn’t argue that she had the family. “Hollywood royalty,” they called the Elliots. No matter how many times, however, she tried to tell herself she would have had a successful career even without a famous grandfather, father, mother, and sister, she knew it wasn’t true. Okay, sure, if she didn’t have the talent, she wouldn’t have gotten as far as she had, but the average pounding-the-pavement-actor doesn’t even get the auditions without connections, and she had connections for days.

It was April in New York City. Awards season had come and gone. Annie had been nominated in the Best Actress category for all the major awards, for a film that had been released in the fall. She’d won the Screen Actors Guild Award, but not the other big ones. That was fine. Young actors had to pay their dues. Besides, she’d just been cast as Juliet in the Shakespeare in the Park production of Romeo and Juliet, and nothing was more prestigious for an actor, young or old, than to do Shakespeare in the Park at the open air Delacorte Theater in Central Park. Her father, Walter Elliot, who everyone, including his friends, now called Sir Walter because he’d won an Oscar playing Sir Francis Drake, had, over the course of his career, done Shakespeare in the Park several times, playing everything from Mercutio in R and J, to Prospero in The Tempest only recently. Her mother had once played Juliet there too, as well as Ophelia, Titania, and Lady Macbeth.

Annie had flown to New York for the audition, gotten the part right away, and was now staying in her parents’ loft in Soho. She loved the city. Maybe after the play was over, she’d stay for a few years and get her own apartment. It would be fun to be a New York actor for a change. Maybe even do Broadway.

On the day before rehearsals started, Annie picked up a copy of the Sunday Times. This was her guilty pleasure, something she used to see her grandfather do. In the age of electronic news, she still loved to get the Sunday paper: The Los Angeles Times when she was there, the New York Times here, spreading it out on the coffee table, a fresh bagel and a cup of coffee handy, and reading it from end to end. In the Arts and Entertainment section, a big article about Shakespeare in the Park jumped out at her, her name featured prominently. She skimmed through it. They made much of the fact that the late Susan Elliot’s daughter would be playing the title role in Romeo and Juliet, the role the beloved actress had once portrayed so beautifully. Annie set the article aside and took a big swig of coffee. Nothing like a little pressure!

Monday morning, she woke up with butterflies in her stomach. Instead of hopping on the train or grabbing an Uber, she walked from the loft to the Public Theater at Astor Place, where the cast would work until the director was ready to have them move to the Delacorte Theater. It was pretty far from Soho to the East Village, but the exercise would work off all that nervous energy. In fact, springtime in the city proved to be just the remedy. It had rained the night before and the air was fresh and cool. Trees were blooming everywhere and flowers in planters added splashes of color to a town which had been grey with winter for so long and was just now starting to come alive again.

She got to the theater right on time and the first person she spotted was her manager, Cynthia Russell, who waved at her from her seat among the few invited guests for this first read-through. Cynthia had been her mom’s manager too when she was alive. It had been about a month since they’d last seen each other in L.A. Annie went to her and gave her a big hug.

“Hi, my darling,” Cynthia said, “you look wonderful.”

Annie was wearing a pink, vintage dress with a white cardigan sweater, and lavender tights with a pair of black Doc Marten boots.

“Thank you, so do you,” which was the truth. Though in her fifties, Cynthia was well-preserved and in good shape, a handsome woman at any age.

“Have you met your Romeo yet?” Cynthia pointed out a young man, sitting shyly at the table where the other actors were gathering.

Annie knew her Romeo’s name, Frederick Wentworth, but that was all. Her mouth fell open when she saw him. Never had she seen a more beautiful man. He was a combination of a Paul Newman and Taye Diggs, if that were possible, with a chiseled jaw and startling eyes.

“That’s Frederick Wentworth?”

“I know. Handsome, isn’t he? His headshot doesn’t do him justice. If I weren’t a good thirty years older than he is…”

“Cynthia!” Annie snorted.

“I jest. I just met him, and he is extremely amiable, but, if I had a son, he would be his age. No, he’s safe with me.”

“Good to know, Cynth.” Annie winked at her. “See you after the reading.”

She went and took a seat opposite Frederick and he looked up and smiled. Their eyes met and locked.

“Hello,” he said softly.

“Hi,” she replied.

Then the director walked in. The cast had been given their script a few weeks before and Annie had memorized her lines, happy to see there weren’t too many cuts. People should not mess around with Shakespeare.

They went around the table and everyone introduced themselves. Frederick, it turned out, liked to be called Freddy. The director then talked for a few minutes about his vision for the production and the reading got under way. As Annie read her lines, she barely looked at the script, and neither did Freddy. The fact was, it was hard to look away from him. His gaze captivated her as his character spoke his first lines to Juliet, holding out his hand to her. She took it across the table. It was warm and strong.

“If I profane with my unworthiest hand his holy shrine,” he said, “the gentle fine is this: my lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand to smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss.”

The sweet conversation between the two lovers-to-be continued. Though having just met, they would exchange their first kiss. Annie wondered, if she had been sitting next to instead of across from him, would he have brushed her lips with his?

The play built in intensity. The young teenagers, as the characters are supposed to be, fall immediately in love, and vow to be married, though, of course, their families are enemies and will never allowed it, as well as the fact that Juliet is to marry someone else. After Romeo is banished for killing Juliet’s cousin in retaliation for the murder of Romeo’s best friend, comes the scene of the lovers waking in the morning after spending the night together, knowing full well that Romeo must flee the town, and they might never see each other again. Their words of love at their parting felt unbearable to Annie. Then finally, of course, the two lovers die in the last moments of the play.

By the end of the reading, the other actors, the director, and everyone else present were in tears. Annie’s heart was pounding, her face hot. She felt as one with Juliet—that she had fallen in love at first sight, committed her life to her lover, and lost him, all in the course of two hours. While everyone composed themselves, Annie went to get a drink of water. Freddy was at her side a moment later.

“Are you all right?” he asked her. She looked up at him. His face was tender, concerned.

She smiled. “Yes. I didn’t expect the first reading to be so powerful.”

“It was, wasn’t it? You were wonderful.”

His clear, blue eyes, intense in contrast to his tawny skin, pierced her soul. “Thank you.” She had to look away for a moment. “So were you.”

Just then Cynthia hurried up to her. “Can I steal her for a moment?”

Annie was almost relieved as Freddy nodded and stepped away.

“Annie, that was amazing.” Cynthia gushed. “I have never seen a better Juliet! It was every bit as good as when your dear mother played her.”

“This was just a rehearsal,” Annie demurred. “Who knows how it will be when I’m finally on stage in front of an audience.”

“Oh, nonsense. You were born to play this role. And Frederick! My God, the chemistry between you!”

Heat rose to Annie’s cheeks again.

Cynthia observed her closely. “Be careful. It’s never a good idea to fall for your leading man.”

“I’m not going to fall for him!” Annie declared, but there was no use denying it. Freddy Wentworth was intoxicating. He was yet practically an unknown, though it turned out he had made a name for himself locally in some very good Off-Broadway productions. She had certainly never heard of him before he was cast by the Public Theatre for R and J, but had no doubt he was going to be big.

The first time they did the scene in Juliet’s bedchamber without scripts, Annie lost herself in the desire of her character and in Freddy’s passion. Suddenly, they were no longer acting. The director had asked them to create as sensual a moment as possible while still keeping it PG13, but they didn’t even have to try. From that moment on, every time they looked into each other’s eyes, Annie fell harder. But did Freddy feel the same? They didn’t talk much off stage. She was shy. He was reticent. But on stage, there were fireworks.

The show opened to previews, and the critics were ecstatic. “Elliot and Wentworth are magic together!” One paper cried.

“You feel you are intruding on an extremely intimate moment between two innocents, blissfully exploring their first act of love together, giving themselves over to each other wholly,” another enthused.

The cast went out after the show that night to celebrate. Freddy was at Annie’s side the whole time though they spoke little. When she finally decided to leave, he asked if he could share a cab with her.

“Do you live downtown?”

“No,” he replied with a grin.

Hope you enjoyed this excerpt! Please visit my website to see all my work—time travel and JAFF alike! www.georginayoungellis.com

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Wow, thanks so much for sharing, Georgina! I think this has got to be the most unique mashup I’ve seen so far, and I’m definitely going to have to get my hands on a copy. For those of you as intrigued as I am, you can purchase Incandescent on Amazon.

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About the Author

Georgina Young-Ellis

Georgina lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband who is an artist, writer, and teacher. They have a son who is a professional musician in New York City, where they all lived for eighteen years. She is a member of the Screen Actors Guild, and was a stage actress for many years. Born and raised in the Southwest, she went to school in New York City, graduating from New York University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theater. She is also a screenwriter, journalist, film/theater critic and blogger.

Connect with Georgina: website | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Instagram: GYoungEllis

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Giveaway

Georgina is generously offering an ebook copy of Incandescent to one lucky reader. To enter, please leave a comment with your email address. We’d love to hear what most intrigues you about the book. This giveaway will be open through Sunday, May 20, 2018. The winner will be chosen randomly and announced in the comments section of this post. Good luck!

Thank you, Georgina, for being my guest today. It’s always a pleasure. Congratulations on your new book!

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My guest today is Georgina Young-Ellis, whose latest release is The Light in Mr. Darcy’s Eyes, a Pride and Prejudice variation in which Mr. Wickham vies for Elizabeth’s hand. I’ve asked Georgina about her inspiration for her novels, and she’s kindly sharing that today, along with an excerpt from The Light in Mr. Darcy’s Eyes and a fantastic giveaway for my readers. Please give her a warm welcome!

I’m relatively new to writing JAFF. I started last winter, with my release of Elizabeth, Darcy, and Me, and then its two sequels, A Battle of Wills and A Maiden’s Honor, which are now also in one trilogy format. The ideas for those books came to me because I wanted to write something about Mary Bennet. I love Mary, and, strangely, relate to her. When people fantasize about which Bennet sister they might be, most like to think they’d be Elizabeth, but I know I’d be Mary. I’m not particularly religious like she is, but, like her, I think I can be a little pedantic sometimes. Also, I’m the middle sister of three, and always thought my sisters were prettier than me. I think I have that middle child’s need to put myself forward like she does as well, and so, yes, she is my Bennet alter-ego.

The Pride and Prejudice variation I wrote after that came to me in a dream, which I have to say is a pretty great way to get inspiration for a novel. In my dream, Mr. Darcy was already engaged to another woman when he met Elizabeth at the Meryton assembly, though it wasn’t clear who that woman was. So I thought, ‘Wow! What a great premise! But who should the other woman be?’ It seemed pretty obvious that it should be the most heinous choice, and, of course, that was Caroline Bingley. Needless to say, this shocked my readers, especially because we know that a gentleman in Regency England cannot break his engagement to a lady in any honorable way. Therefore, my readers had to take a ride with me through the twists and turns that led to the Happily Ever After. Thankfully, they let me know they enjoyed the journey, and were satisfied with the result. That book is called Darcy’s Awakening, and is now also available as an audiobook as well, read by the phenomenal British actress Jannie Meisberger. I think her reading adds a whole new level to the experience of the book.

Then, just this past July, I released The Light in Mr. Darcy’s Eyes, and I’m very proud of how it turned out. I got the idea simply pondering how much lower Mr. Wickham could go than he does in P&P, and I think I’ve got him sunk pretty low with his devious behavior in my story. As a matter of fact, now, I’d like to share with you an excerpt from the book:

“Mr. Wickham,” Lizzy began, once they were alone, save for Mary who was at the opposite end of the room, immersed in a book as usual. “I am surprised to see you so soon returned to the neighborhood. At the ball last night, Colonel Forster said you had been called away.”

“I was. But I did not have to go far. The matter only required an overnight visit, and I returned this morning.”

“Was it a secret mission?” she teased. “There are so many things that are mysterious about you.”

“Are there?”

“Such as this person who was at the Meryton assembly whom you said spoke of me to you.”

“Ah, yes. As to that, it is nothing to concern yourself about, Miss Bennet. Just a fellow officer who’s eye you had caught. You see? I am not so mysterious.”

“And your reason for going away yesterday?”

“Not secret, but too boring to bother relating,” he replied.

“I see.” She felt he was being elusive, but let it pass.

“How was the ball?” A shadow of concern passed over his face.

“Lovely. And rather illuminating as well.”

“Illuminating?”

“Well, I had some conversation with Mr. Darcy.”

“Oh,” he scoffed. “What did he have to say?”

“He said there was another side to the story you told about how he has neglected and mistreated you.”

“Did he tell you that other side?” he asked, frowning.

“No, he did not. He said a ball was not the place for it, and that he was not at liberty to divulge the details without revealing private information.”

“Well, that makes it clear. If he felt so strongly about his position, he would have explained it to you. No, I promise you Miss Bennet, he has no defense for his behavior. Besides,” he added, smiling sweetly, “don’t you feel that it is always the party who is in the wrong who insists there are ‘two sides to every story?’”

“No, I have not necessarily found that to be true.”

“You must believe me, Miss Bennet, in this case it is. What motive would I have for misleading you? You must see that I am the abused in this situation. He has everything, I have nothing. He has power, influence, money, family. I am just a poor man having to fight for every scrap in this world. Is it not always the rich who tread upon the poor?” His chest puffed up. “I am a person who believes that one should earn their way in this world. I take nothing for granted. I am in the militia to defend and honor my country. What does he do for his country? I stand up for the poor and beleaguered, Miss Bennet. I am on the side of the little man. I reject his aristocratic ways and antiquated system of entitlement. I say, we are all equal in the eyes of God. Therefore, am I not equal to him in spite of all his wealth? How dare he seek to belittle me when I am already so low in this world?”

Lizzy had never heard anyone speak this way. His passionate words stirred her. “Goodness, Mr. Wickham, I see your point.” Then she glanced at Mary and thought of how Mr. Darcy had shown such compassion for her last night. “And yet, Mr. Darcy seems like a fair and just man.”

“Hmph. I am afraid if you got to know him better, you would see how untrue that is. Not that I am encouraging you to get to know him better,” he added quickly. “Do not fall under his spell, Miss Bennet. The lure of all that money can be a temptation.”

“Certainly, I am not in any danger of being tempted, Mr. Wickham. I care not for ostentatious displays of wealth.”

“I did not mean to imply otherwise. Nor that you would be tempted by him.”

And yet, Mr. Darcy’s kindness towards her, and the words he’d spoken last night, indicated that perhaps he felt a preference for her. Was he trying to tempt her? She almost laughed at the thought. What possible reason could he have to tempt her into any kind of liaison with him? She had no money, and he knew that. Even though it didn’t seem to matter to him that Jane was in the same position with regard to Bingley, she was certain Mr. Darcy would want to do better for himself. Maybe he was just being kind to her for Mr. Bingley and Jane’s sake. “No, I am not, nor will not be tempted,” she said with finality.

He exhaled as if he’d been holding his breath a long time. “I am glad to hear it.” He smiled broadly. “Miss Bennet, I am not at liberty to speak seriously to any woman about forming an attachment at this point in my life. Yet I am very encouraged that soon I will be able to. And I must tell you, I have never met a young woman whom I care for as well as you.”

“I feel we do not know each other well enough for you to have formed such an opinion, Mr. Wickham.”

“Don’t we? I am a person who is able to judge right from my first impressions whether I like or do not like. I feel that if one is fond of a person from the start, they are very likely to always admire that person.”

“Interesting, Mr. Wickham. I am the same way. I always say you can tell much about a person from first impressions.”

“You see? We have that in common, as well as many things I can already tell we share: a love of laughing, a sense of the absurd, an enjoyment of life, the impulse not to take things too seriously…”

“I cannot disagree with you there,” she admitted.

“Miss Bennet, say you wish to get to know me better. Say also that, as long as I am in town, we can meet often. I will not be able to remain in Hertfordshire any longer than my regiment allows, but, while I am here, I hope to form a kind of…how shall I say it…agreement with you, that our acquaintance will continue to grow, in spite of absence.”

“I think I should like that,” she said. She could not deny she hoped they would continue to get to know each other better, but she also felt that the conversation was moving rather quickly.

The door to the parlor opened and her younger sisters came in, bringing noise and bluster with them.

Mr. Wickham stood. “I should go. I am glad we had the chance to speak of the subject foremost on my mind, Miss Bennet.”

She smiled at him. “I am always happy to see you, Mr. Wickham. Thank you for coming.”

He took his leave of her sisters, which took more than a few minutes. Finally, Lydia and Kitty let him go. Elizabeth watched him walk away from the front window with a quicker beating of the heart than she had seen him come. There really was no more agreeable, or interesting, man of her acquaintance. She loved watching his eyes change color with his mood. When he was laughing, they were pure blue. When he was somber, they were grey. When he was speaking passionately, they were green. He was so clearly a good man too, she mused, trying so hard to make an honest living. Without wishing ill on anyone, she hoped he would receive something substantial from his uncle when the old gentleman finally passed.

Hope you enjoyed this bit of dialogue—it’s from fairly early in the book when Wickham still seems like a good guy, winky face.

Also, I’d like to let you know that I’m giving away, just to Anna’s followers, an e-book of The Light in Mr. Darcy’s Eyes, as well as a promo code for a free copy of the audiobook of Darcy’s Awakening. Best of luck to all who enter!

Finally, if you feel so inclined, you might want to pop over to my website, GeorginaYoungEllis.com, where you’ll also find links to my romantic time-travel novels. The first one in the series, The Time Baroness, takes place in Regency England. I’m currently working on the fifth and last in the series, and I’m also starting to work on a Christmas JAFF called Pemberley Park – The Twelve Days of Christmas, a mash-up/continuation of Pride and Prejudice and Mansfield Park. Should be fun!  Thanks for reading, everyone!

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About The Light in Darcy’s Eyes

Mr. Wickham may have genuinely fallen for Lizzy – and, he has come into a mysterious inheritance to provide a living for them once they marry. Will Lizzy succumb to his charms, or will Mr. Darcy succeed in winning her heart?

Goodreads | Amazon

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About Darcy’s Awakening

When Darcy and Lizzy meet at the Meryton assembly, Darcy is already engaged to another woman, and Lizzy has suffered the loss of someone she once loved. How will they find their way to each other, with these obstacles, and so many more, standing in their way?

Goodreads | Amazon

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About the Author

Georgina Young-Ellis

Georgina lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband who is an artist, writer, and teacher. They have a son who is a professional musician in New York City, where they all lived for eighteen years. She is a member of the Screen Actors Guild, and was a stage actress for many years. Born and raised in the Southwest, she went to school in New York City, graduating from New York University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theater. She is also a screenwriter, journalist, film/theater critic and blogger.

Connect with Georgina: website | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Instagram: GYoungEllis

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Giveaway

Georgina is generously offering an ebook of The Light in Mr. Darcy’s Eyes, open internationally, and a promo code for the audio version of Darcy’s Awakening, open to readers in the U.S. and U.K. To enter, please leave a comment with your email address, and let us know if you’d like your name thrown in the hat for the ebook, the audiobook, or both. Two winners will be chosen randomly and their names announced in the comments section of this post. The giveaway will close on Sunday, September 17, 2017. Good luck!

Thank you, Georgina, for being my guest today! I look forward to reading The Light in Mr. Darcy’s Eyes soon.

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