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I am thrilled to be part of the 10th anniversary re-release celebration for Karen M Cox’s Pride and Prejudice-inspired novel 1932. Karen is here to share an excerpt and giveaway with us today. Please give her a warm welcome!

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Thanks for welcoming me back to Diary of an Eccentric!

Tomorrow is the big day—the release of the second edition of my debut novel, 1932, complete with some additional chapters for more Darcy-loving fun!

One of my favorite parts of writing 1932 was the addition of a certain brown-eyed, precocious character, first introduced in this excerpt.

The Bennets have just arrived at the Meryton train station from Chicago. The date is August 2, 1932…

Once they had gathered on the platform, Elizabeth wandered away from the bench where her mother and sisters waited.  

“Lizzy!” her mother called. “Where are you off to, girl?”

“I’m just going to stretch my legs a little. I’ll be right back.”

Elizabeth ambled past the ticket window. Several dozen people were milling about, greeting loved ones or saying goodbye, several clustered together in embraces. The air had a thick, sweet smell, and she became aware of the long, drawled Southern vowels peppering the conversations around her. She turned in amusement to the sound of small voice calling, “Baa-baa.” A little girl, perhaps two years old, was toddling toward the train, waving at some unseen passenger. Corn silk blonde curls swirled around her shoulders. As she neared the edge of the platform, Elizabeth glanced around for the girl’s parents but saw no one coming to retrieve her. The little one had stepped perilously close to the train when Elizabeth sprang forward and caught her hand.  

She squatted down to the girl’s eye-level and smiled at her. “Whoa there, sweet pea. You can’t go over there all by yourself.”

The girl looked at her, curious. “Choo-choo. Baa-baa!”  

“Baa?” Elizabeth asked, amused. “I don’t see sheep anywhere.” She had noticed a chorus of baa’s from the passengers and their families as they stood and waved goodbye to each other.

“Where’s your mama?”

The girl parroted after her. “Mama!”  

Elizabeth picked the girl up, looking around the crowd. She heard a woman’s anxious voice calling, “Ruth! Ruth?”  

A child’s voice joined in. “Ruth!” 

A young woman hurried through the crowd, scanning the platform, frantic. She was dragging another girl along by the hand.  

Elizabeth called to her. “Ma’am, is this whom you’re looking for?” 

The woman stopped, relief washing over her features. She put a hand to her heart and closed her eyes for a quick second. Taking a deep breath, she began moving toward them. Elizabeth set the little girl back on her feet, watching her toddle back to her mother, calling, “Mama!” The woman scooped the girl up into her arms and hugged her fiercely, wrapping a protective hand around her head.  

“Ruth Anne Darcy! You mustn’t run from Mama like that, darling.” She approached Elizabeth, moving the little girl to her hip. “Thank you so much for catching her, miss. She’s quick as lightning. I looked away for a moment and she was gone.”  

A little voice piped up from below. “I tried to tell you, Mama, but you shushed me.” 

Elizabeth looked down into dark brown eyes with long, sooty lashes. Wide-eyed and curious, the little girl stared at her with an unnerving intensity. Her earnest face was framed by a shock of glossy brown hair, red and gold highlights catching the sun’s rays.  

“You watch out for your sister, don’t you?”

The girl let out a dramatic sigh. “I try. But she just gets in troubles all the time anyway.”  

Elizabeth stifled a chuckle and put on a serious-looking face. “I know exactly what you mean. My little sisters are always getting into troubles too.” She looked back at the girls’ mother, who seemed embarrassed at her daughter’s frank assessment of the situation. The young woman’s cheeks were pink in her lean, delicate face. She was about Elizabeth’s height, but thinner, with blonde hair and sad grey eyes. She changed the topic with a shy smile. 

“Are you meeting someone here, miss?”  

“Oh. No, I’ve just arrived. I’ve come here with my family to live.”

“How nice. Do you have children too?”

Elizabeth shook her head. “Ah, no. I’m not married. I live with my parents and my sisters.” She felt a tug on her skirt.  

“What’s your name?” 

“Maggie! That’s a little forward, darling. You haven’t been introduced.” The woman admonished her older daughter, placing her free arm around the girl’s shoulders.

“I want to be introduced, Mama. That’s why I asked her.”

Elizabeth did chuckle this time. “Makes sense to me.” She knelt to look the girl in her big brown eyes and held out her hand. “My name is Elizabeth Bennet.”  

The little hand shook hers. “I’m Maggie. My middle name is Elizabeth, just like yours. I’m Margaret Elizabeth Darcy, and I’m four years old.”

“Good to meet you, Margaret Elizabeth Darcy.” Elizabeth stood up and smiled at the girls’ mother. “Do you live here?”

“Yes, we live on a farm out in the country. The girls are so excited. We’ve come to meet

A loud squeal erupted from Maggie’s lips as she pulled loose from her mother’s hold and ran down the platform, yelling something incomprehensible. The young mother turned, and a smile broke over her face. “There he is!” Ruth was wriggling in her mother’s arms, trying to get down. After being set free, she followed her sister. Elizabeth glanced up and saw a tall, dark-haired gentleman with a small suitcase in one hand. He stopped and smiled at the girls’ squeals and held both arms wide, kneeling and gathering them into a hug.  

“I guess I should go.” The mother turned back to Elizabeth. “It was good to meet you, Miss Bennet, and thank you so much for catching Ruth.”

“I hope to see you again soon.” The woman cocked her head to one side and smiled cautiously at Elizabeth, as though she was deciding if that were indeed a true statement.  

“Goodbye, Missus.…” Elizabeth paused expectantly. 

“Oh,” the young woman said, “I’m Georgiana. Georgiana Darcy.” She began walking backward toward her family, and with a broad smile, she turned around, striding swiftly away. Elizabeth watched as the man gave Georgiana a quick embrace. Georgiana then turned and gestured toward Elizabeth, obviously telling the story of the missing Ruth. The man frowned, and Elizabeth instantly recognized him from the passenger car, three rows behind her family. It was that grim, dour banker! The one who scowled at her and then retreated behind his paper. Amazing how a smile had transformed his haughty expression.

The family turned to go, and Georgiana held up a hand to Elizabeth in a friendly farewell. Lizzy waved back. 

What a sweet little family. The children are precious, and the mother seems nice, if a little shy. But the father! Goodness, he’s rude! 

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About 1932

“…do anything rather than marry without affection.”
—Pride and Prejudice

During the upheaval of the Great Depression, Elizabeth Bennet’s life is torn asunder. Her family’s relocation from the bustle of the big city to a quiet family farm has changed her future, and now, she must build a new life in rural Meryton, Kentucky.

William Darcy suffered family turmoil of his own, but he has settled into a peaceful life at Pemberley, the largest farm in the county. Single, rich, and seemingly content, he remains aloof—immune to any woman’s charms.

Until Elizabeth Bennet moves to town.

As Darcy begins to yearn for something he knows is missing, Elizabeth’s circumstances become more dire. Can the two put aside their pride and prejudices long enough to find their way to each other?

1932, Karen M Cox’s award-winning debut novel, is a matchless variation on Jane Austen’s classic tale.

Buy on Amazon

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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 10th anniversary edition of 1932, 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 🙂 You must enter through this link. Good luck!

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Thanks, Karen, for being my guest today, and congratulations on this publishing milestone!

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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’m a little late in posting about the two books I read for Halloween, but better late than never (and I figured a Friday the 13th was appropriate). I found two Austen-inspired books that I’d downloaded for free a while back while perusing my Kindle for something short and sweet.

A Nightmare on Grosvenor Street by Karen M Cox takes readers on a rollercoaster ride as Darcy is forced to live a nightmare in which Elizabeth is married to…let’s just say it’s someone who isn’t Darcy. It’s no picnic for Darcy to watch Elizabeth being married to this man, and Elizabeth’s married life is no picnic for her either. This story was a bit of a shock but still a delight to read. Definitely not what I’d been expecting, and it was perfect for Halloween in that it was a scary scenario, both for Darcy and for those of us who love him and Elizabeth together.

Meanwhile, Northanger Angst by Riana Everly is a unique take on Northanger Abbey. Set at Northanger Abbey as Catherine Morland is preparing to leave at the orders of General Tilney, the story takes Catherine on a literal adventure deep into the abbey as her curiosity gets the best of her. This was a shocking story, too, and more in a Halloween-ish scary way.

Both were quick and fun reads with unexpected twists and turns.

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Source: Review copy from the editor

Christina Boyd and her “dream team” of Austenesque writers put out the best Austen-inspired anthologies, hands down. It took me a while to finish Rational Creatures, partly because my life has been so busy and reading time has been limited and partly because I wanted to savor this collection. For me, it’s easy to quickly read through stories that are lighthearted romances, and while there is some romance in these stories, the romance in my opinion wasn’t the focal point here.

These stories are about the women in Austen’s novels, a mix of prequels, sequels, and side stories covering the heroines (and everyone’s favorite antiheroine Lady Susan) as well as many secondary characters, including Charlotte Lucas, Sophia Croft, Penelope Clay, Mary Crawford, and Eleanor Tilney. I’m not going to detail each of the stories, as it’s more fun to jump right in and just go with the flow. As with all of The Quill Collective anthologies, I enjoyed each story and getting to know each of these characters in a new way. I loved how the stories delved deeper into each character — their back stories, the love stories we don’t see in Austen’s novels, their thoughts on their place in society and the limitations that accompany that status, and so much more.

Rational Creatures is a fantastic anthology that shows exactly why we love Austen’s characters: love ’em or hate ’em, Austen’s female characters each are strong in their own way. These stories gave me a new appreciation of characters who aren’t the usual favorites, like Fanny Price, or who make bad decisions, like Charlotte Lucas and Louisa Musgrove, or the “bad girls,” like Mary Crawford, or the ones we simply know little about but who must have rich stories, like Sophia Croft. The stories made me laugh, made me think, and basically made me want to re-read Austen’s novels. I really hope these Quill Collective anthologies keep coming!

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I read Karen M Cox’s Cold War-era Pride and Prejudice spy novel, Undeceived, when it was first released in 2016 and absolutely loved her take on Darcy and Elizabeth as CIA agents. I’m delighted that the novel has been re-released, and I’m thrilled to be sharing an excerpt with you all today. But first, here’s what I said about Undeceived (which was on my Best of 2016 list) in my review:

I absolutely loved this novel from start to finish. What a unique way to retell Austen’s novel, and it really works! I loved Darcy as the arrogant yet charming spy and Elizabeth as a strong woman determined to get ahead in her career on her own merits, not by her father’s legacy in the agency. Fitzwilliam as MI6 and Charlotte as FBI, not to mention the bumbling agent Bill Collins, were fantastic additions to the cast of characters. The novel was so different that despite keeping the basic plot of Pride and Prejudice, I had no idea how it all would play out.

Please give Karen a warm welcome!

Hello Readers, and thank you to Anna for hosting me on Diary of an Eccentric. Today I’m sharing an excerpt from my re-release of Undeceived: Pride and Prejudice in the Spy Game.

William Darcy, legendary CIA officer, has worn many hats and has worked all over the world. His latest position, as station chief in Prague, ended in disaster. Now, he’s been sent to Budapest… 

Budapest, Hungary

April 1982

“For Darby Kent?” The young messenger tried to wrap his tongue around the English pronunciation of Darcy’s alias as he handed him the envelope.

“Thank you,” he replied in Hungarian and put a forint coin in the kid’s hand. Still, after four months in this country, Darcy had trouble with the Magyar language and kept his small talk to a minimum. His cover as an American businessman consulting with the Hungarian government wasn’t ideal for gathering intelligence, but given his lack of finesse with Hungarian, it was probably a necessity.

The language barrier was one more reason this new assignment made no sense whatsoever.

He slid the letter opener across the flap and retrieved the sealed envelope inside. Lifting the false bottom of his desk drawer, he found his Cardan grille and laid it over a newspaper article planted in the Baltimore Sun society page.

“Smart ass,” he muttered, referring to the Central European station chief’s idea to put the coded message in the society page. The COS took any opportunity to goad him by testing the famous Darcy photographic memory. Now, Darcy would have to remember the content in the article in case someone referred to it. He was sure state security routinely opened his mail. His pencil scratched across the notepad as he wrote down the letters left visible through the Cardan grille card.

Fine Eyes rendezvous at Pied Piper’s gamble. SIP. Dossier to follow.

Finally, they were sending him a translator! Anyone was better than Bill Collins over at the State Department, a bumbling idiot who stuck out like a sore thumb. Everything about that nitwit—his walk, his talk, his manner—screamed American.

Darcy lit the scratch paper with his lighter. He stared into the flame and let the ashes fall into the fireplace until he had to drop them, making sure they burned completely. He washed the soot and pencil lead from his hands and adjusted his tie in the gilded mirror, reminding himself to stay positive. As covers went, this Budapest gig was pretty cushy: a nice flat in the Castle district, access to a phone (wire-tapped but useful for unclassified correspondence), eating establishments and laundry facilities close by, and the best household amenities that Hungary and its “goulash” brand of communism could provide. Even his car—a Zsiguli, a luxury in Budapest—was provided. He certainly had been in worse situations over the years.

He ran a hand over his hair to smooth it and tried on his most devilish grin. Darby Kent was a smooth operator, and Darcy knew how to play the part, almost to perfection.

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About Undeceived

…if I endeavor to undeceive people as to the rest of his conduct, who will believe me?

Pride & Prejudice, Chapter 40

Elizabeth Bennet, a rookie counterintelligence officer, lands an intriguing first assignment—investigating the CIA’s legendary William Darcy, who is suspected of being a double agent.

Darcy’s charmed existence seems at an end as he fights for his career and struggles against his love for the young woman he doesn’t know is watching his every move.

Elizabeth’s confidence dissolves as nothing is like she planned—and the more she discovers about Darcy, the more she finds herself in an ever-tightening web of danger.

Unexpected twists abound in this suspenseful Cold War era romance inspired by Jane Austen’s classic tale.

Universal Buy Link

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About the Author

Karen M Cox is an award-winning author of five novels accented with history and romance: 1932, Find Wonder in All Things, Undeceived, I Could Write a Book, and Son of a Preacher Man, and a novella, The Journey Home, a companion piece to 1932.  She also loves writing short stories and has contributed to four Austen-inspired anthologies: “Northanger Revisited 2015” appears in Sun-Kissed: Effusions of Summer, “I, Darcy” in The Darcy Monologues, “An Honest Man” in Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes and Gentleman Rogues, and “A Nominal Mistress” in Rational Creatures.

Karen was born in Everett WA, which was the result of coming into the world as 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 the age of eleven. She 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.

Channeling Jane Austen’s Emma, Karen has let a plethora of interests lead her to begin many hobbies and projects she doesn’t quite finish, but she aspires to be a great reader and an excellent walker—like Elizabeth Bennet.

Connect with Karen: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr | Pinterest | Amazon Author Page

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.

A big thank you to Karen for being my guest today! Congratulations on the re-release! I hope my readers will check out Undeceived and love it as much as I did!

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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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I’m delighted to welcome Karen M Cox back to Diary of an Eccentric today to celebrate the release of Son of a Preacher Man, an original novel inspired by Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. The novel is set in 1959, so Karen is here to talk about money during that year. Please give her a warm welcome!

Thanks so much for the invitation to be a guest on Diary of an Eccentric! I’m Karen M Cox, and I write fiction accented with history and romance. My new release is titled, Son of a Preacher Man, and it’s my fifth full-length novel. It holds a special place in my heart because of the themes explored: the roles of men and women, what it means to be “good”, and most of all, it’s about forgiveness and the power of love. I like to say it’s “a realistic love story told by an idealistic young man.”

I’ll let you in on a little secret—in Son of a Preacher Man, the hero, Billy Ray Davenport has money, but you’d never know it. Because he isn’t worried about financial matters, they don’t define him. On the other hand, when it comes to money, our heroine, Lizzie Quinlan, has none, and it’s written all over her for the world to see.

So, let’s talk money in 1959. What did people make? What did things cost?

(Sources: Morris County Library (NJ) website, thePeopleHistory.com, University of Missouri Libraries)

Billy Ray wants to be a doctor. In 1959, the median income for physicians and surgeons was a whopping $15,000 per year! But when you compare it with other professions, it looks pretty good:

Junior Accountant? You’d pull down 90$/week

Chemical Engineer? He (and they were almost all “he” at that time) made $7000/year

Typist/clerk? Only 65$/week.

Most things were much, much cheaper in 1959 than they are today:

For example, an Oldsmobile 88 Automobile, 6 passenger car cost $2,887.

Women’s cotton dress would set you back $10.98.

Box of Ritz Crackers? $0.25 for a 12 oz box

A loaf of bread was $0.20.

Gasoline cost $0.25/gallon!

Billy Ray and Lizzie’s movie tickets to see West Side Story were $1.00 each.

But this surprised me: A Kitchen Aid Dishwasher cost between $209.95 and $479.95. Sure, it’s about 2-3 times more today ($500 or $600 for most models), but when you look at gasoline, which is like, 10 times as much today as it was then—the 1959 cost of the dishwasher is a bit of a shocker.

It’s tempting to look back fondly on decades past, when items cost less or society seemed more calm, but, as Billy Ray learns in Son of a Preacher Man, things aren’t always what they seem.

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About Son of a Preacher Man

“I forget that you’re a fella sometimes.”

“Gee, thanks.”

I never forgot that she was a girl. Not for one second…

1959. The long, hot Southern summer bakes the sleepy town of Orchard Hill. Billy Ray Davenport, an aspiring physician and only son of an indomitable traveling minister, is a young man with a plan that starts with working in a small-town doctor’s office before he begins medical school in the fall. Handsome, principled, and keenly observant, he arrives in town to lodge with the Millers, the local doctor’s family. He never bargained for Lizzie Quinlan—a complex, kindred spirit who is beautiful and compassionate, yet scorned by the townsfolk. Could a girl with a reputation be different than she seems? With her quirky wisdom and a spine of steel hidden beneath an effortless sensuality, Lizzie is about to change Billy Ray’s life—and his heart—forever.

A realistic look at first love, told by an idealistic young man, Son of a Preacher Man is a heartwarming coming of age tale set in a simpler time.

Buy Son of a Preacher Man: Universal Buy Link | Amazon

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Connect with Karen

www.karenmcox.com

www.karenmcoxauthor.wordpress.com

https://www.instagram.com/karenmcox1932/

https://www.facebook.com/karenmcox1932

https://karenmcox.tumblr.com/

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Giveaway

Enter for a chance to win an ebook copy of one of my backlist titles (1932, Find Wonder in All Things, Undeceived, I Could Write a Book, or The Journey Home(novella)) AND a $10 Amazon Gift Card. Three winners will be randomly selected on 7/25/18. This giveaway is international. You must enter through this link. Good luck!

Thank you, Karen, for being my guest today, and congratulations on your latest release. I’ve heard nothing but great things about it, and can’t wait to get a chance to read it!

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Source: Review copy from editor

Editor Christina Boyd and her team of Austenesque authors have done it again with her latest anthology, Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues. I absolutely loved The Darcy Monologues, so when I heard about this collection, I knew I had to read it, and it lived up to my expectations and more. I love to read about the bad boys in Austen’s novels because they make things more exciting, and I have often wondered what led them astray. The 11 stories in this anthology cover all of Austen’s infamous bad boys and anti-heroes, and while I enjoyed each story on its own, reading them together was even more delicious.

The collection features: “Willoughby’s Crossroads” (John Willoughby, Sense and Sensibility) by Joana Starnes; “A Wicked Game” (George Wickham, Pride and Prejudice) by Katie Oliver; “Fitzwilliam’s Folly” (Colonel Fitzwilliam, Pride and Prejudice) by Beau North; “The Address of a Frenchwoman” (Thomas Bertram, Mansfield Park) by Lona Manning; “Last Letter to Mansfield” (Henry Crawford, Mansfield Park) by Brooke West; “An Honest Man” (Frank Churchill, Emma) by Karen M Cox; “One Fair Claim” (Sir Walter Elliot, Persuasion) by Christina Morland; “The Lost Chapter in the Life of William Elliot” (William Elliot, Persuasion) by Jenetta James; “As Much as He Can” (General Tilney, Northanger Abbey) by Sophia Rose; “The Art of Sinking” (John Thorpe, Northanger Abbey) by J. Marie Croft; “For Mischief’s Sake” (Captain Frederick Tilney, Northanger Abbey) by Amy D’Orazio

It should come as no surprise that my favorite of all the stories was “Fitzwilliam’s Folly” by Beau North because I am a sucker for a good story about the colonel. The agreement he makes with an American heiress shunned by ton was clever, and I loved the bit of action and even getting a glimpse of Mr. Darcy after his failed proposal at Hunsford. I enjoyed the glimpse of the obnoxiously vain Sir Walter Elliot and how he went about choosing a bride in “One Fair Claim,” and he was just as delightfully silly in his youth. But what surprised me is the ability of these authors to make me feel some compassion for the characters I love to hate, like the heartache experienced by George Wickham and Tom Bertram in their stories, which emphasized the complexity of Austen’s characters. Still others will never change, but I felt like I understood their motivations a bit more.

Dangerous to Know is a must-read for those looking for something new in the realm of Austen-inspired fiction. Some of the stories were steamy and passionate, some were more humorous, but all of them make you take another, deeper look at Austen’s rakes and rogues and make you feel something more than contempt.

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About Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues

“One has all the goodness, and the other all the appearance of it.” —Jane Austen

Jane Austen’s masterpieces are littered with unsuitable gentlemen—Willoughby, Wickham, Churchill, Crawford, Tilney, Elliot, et al.—adding color and depth to her plots but often barely sketched. Have you never wondered about the pasts of her rakes, rattles, and gentlemen rogues? Surely, there’s more than one side to their stories.

It is a universal truth, we are captivated by smoldering looks, daring charms … a happy-go-lucky, cool confidence. All the while, our loyal confidants are shouting on deaf ears: “He is a cad—a brute—all wrong!” But is that not how tender hearts are broken…by loving the undeserving? How did they become the men Jane Austen created? In this romance anthology, eleven Austenesque authors expose the histories of Austen’s anti-heroes.

Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues is a titillating collection of Georgian era short stories—a backstory or parallel tale off-stage of canon—whilst remaining steadfast to the characters we recognize in Austen’s great works.

What say you? Everyone may be attracted to a bad boy…even temporarily…but heaven help us if we marry one.

Check out Dangerous to Know on Goodreads | Amazon (the ebook is promo priced at $2.99 for the duration of the blog tour, so don’t miss out on that!)

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About the Editor

CHRISTINA BOYD https://m.facebook.com/TheDarcyMonologues/ wears many hats as she is an editor under her own banner, The Quill Ink, a contributor to Austenprose, and a commercial ceramicist. A life member of Jane Austen Society of North America, Christina lives in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest with her dear Mr. B, two busy teenagers, and a retriever named BiBi. Visiting Jane Austen’s England was made possible by actor Henry Cavill when she won the Omaze experience to meet him in the spring of 2017 on the London Eye. True story. You can Google it.

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About the Authors

KAREN M COX https://karenmcoxauthor.wordpress.com/ is an award-wining author of four novels accented with romance and history: 1932, Find Wonder in All Things, Undeceived, and I Could Write a Book, as well as an e-book novella companion to 1932, The Journey Home. She also contributed short stories for the anthologies Sun-Kissed: Effusions of Summer and The Darcy Monologues. Originally from Everett, Washington, Karen now lives in Central Kentucky with her husband, works as a pediatric speech pathologist, encourages her children, and spoils her granddaughter. Like Austen’s Emma, Karen has many hobbies and projects she doesn’t quite finish, but like Elizabeth Bennet, she aspires to be a great reader and an excellent walker.

J. MARIE CROFT https://www.amazon.com/J.-Marie-Croft/e/B004HZD22W/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1508353662&sr=1-1 is a self-proclaimed word nerd and adherent of Jane Austen’s quote “Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery.” Bearing witness to Joanne’s fondness for Pride and Prejudice, wordplay, and laughter are her light-hearted novel, Love at First Slight (a Babblings of a Bookworm Favourite Read of 2014), her playful novella, A Little Whimsical in His Civilities (Just Jane 1813’s Favourite 2016 JAFF Novella), and her humorous short stories: “Spyglasses and Sunburns” in the Sun-kissed: Effusions of Summer anthology and “From the Ashes” in The Darcy Monologues. Joanne lives in Nova Scotia, Canada.

AMY D’ORAZIO https://www.facebook.com/Amy-DOrazio-author-369312830172988/ is a former scientist and current stay-at-home mom who is addicted to Austen and Starbucks in equal measure. While she adores Mr. Darcy, she is married to Mr. Bingley and their Pemberley is in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She has two daughters devoted to sports with long practices and began writing stories as a way to pass the time spent at their various gyms and studios. She firmly believes that all stories should have long looks, stolen kisses, and happily-ever-afters. Like her favorite heroine, she dearly loves a laugh and considers herself an excellent walker. She is the author of The Best Part of Love and the soon-to-be released A Short Period of Exquisite Felicity.

JENETTA JAMES https://www.facebook.com/jenettajameswriter/ is a mother, lawyer, writer, and taker-on of too much. She grew up in Cambridge and read history at Oxford University where she was a scholar and president of the Oxford University History Society. After graduating, she took to the law and now practices full-time as a barrister. Over the years, she has lived in France, Hungary, and Trinidad as well as her native England. Jenetta currently lives in London with her husband and children where she enjoys reading, laughing, and playing with Lego. She is the author of Suddenly Mrs. Darcy and The Elizabeth Papers, as well as a contributing author to The Darcy Monologues.

LONA MANNING https://www.amazon.com/Lona-Manning/e/B01N7UJHJX is the author of A Contrary Wind, a variation on Mansfield Park. She has also written numerous true crime articles, which are available at http://www.crimemagazine.com. She has worked as a non-profit administrator, a vocational instructor, a market researcher, and a speechwriter for politicians. She currently teaches English as a Second Language. She and her husband now divide their time between mainland China and Canada. Her second novel, A Marriage of Attachment, a sequel to A Contrary Wind, is planned for release in early 2018. You can follow Lona at http://www.lonamanning.ca where she blogs about China and Jane Austen.

CHRISTINA MORLAND https://www.amazon.com/Christina-Morland/e/B01IJHEZKQ spent the first two decades of her life with no knowledge whatsoever of Pride and Prejudice—or any Jane Austen novel, for that matter. She somehow overcame this childhood adversity to became a devoted fan of Austen’s works. When not writing, Morland tries to keep up with her incredibly active seven-year-old and maddeningly brilliant husband. She lives in a place not unlike Hogwarts (minus Harry, Dumbledore, magic, and Scotland), and likes to think of herself as an excellent walker. Morland is the author of two Jane Austen fanfiction novels: A Remedy Against Sin and This Disconcerting Happiness.

BEAU NORTH http://beaunorthwrites.com/#top is the author of three books and contributor to multiple anthologies. Beau hails from the kudzu-strangled wilderness of South Carolina but now hangs her hat in Portland, Oregon. In her spare time, Beau is the co-host of the podcast Excessively Diverted: Modern Austen On-Screen.

KATIE OLIVER https://www.facebook.com/KatieOliverWriter is the author of nine novels, including the Amazon bestseller Prada and Prejudice, as well as the Dating Mr. Darcy, Marrying Mr. Darcy, and Jane Austen Factor series. She resides in South Florida with her husband (where she goes to the beach far less often than she’d like) and is working on a new series. Katie began writing as a child and has a box crammed with half-finished stories to prove it. After raising two sons, she decided to get serious and get published.

She is convinced that there is no greater pleasure than reading a Jane Austen novel.

SOPHIA ROSE https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13418187.Sophia_Rose is a native Californian currently residing in Michigan. A long-time Jane Austen fan, she is a contributing author to The Darcy Monologues, Sun-kissed: Effusions of Summer, and Then Comes Winter anthologies, short stories based on Jane Austen’s works. Sophia’s love for writing began as a teen writing humorous stories submitted for Creative Writing class and high school writing club. Writing was set aside for many years while Sophia enjoyed a rewarding career working with children and families. Health issues led to reduced work hours and an opportunity for a return to writing stories that continue to lean toward the lighter side of life and always end with a happily-ever-after.

JOANA STARNES https://www.facebook.com/joana.a.starnes lives in the south of England with her family. Over the years, she has swapped several hats—physician, lecturer, clinical data analyst—but feels most comfortable in a bonnet. She has been living in Georgian England for decades in her imagination and plans to continue in that vein till she lays hands on a time machine. She is one of the contributors to The Darcy Monologues anthology, and the author of seven Austen-inspired novels: From This Day Forward—The Darcys of Pemberley, The Subsequent Proposal, The Second Chance, The Falmouth Connection, The Unthinkable Triangle, Miss Darcy’s Companion and Mr Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter. You can connect with Joana through her website http://www.joanastarnes.co.uk and on Facebook via her timeline and her author page, All Roads Lead to Pemberley.  

BROOKE WEST https://www.facebook.com/brookewestwrites/ has always loved the bad boys of literature and thinks the best leading men have the darkest pasts. When she’s not spinning tales of rakish men and daring women, Brooke spends her time in the kitchen baking or at the gym working off all that baking. She lives in South Carolina with her husband and son and their three mischievous cats. Brooke co-authored the novel The Many Lives of Fitzwilliam Darcy and the short story “Holiday Mix Tape,” which appears in the anthology Then Comes Winter. Find Brooke on Twitter @WordyWest.

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Giveaway #1

Enter Rafflecopter to win fifteen (15) books from the anthology authors! One winner. Fifteen books! Contest ends midnight, December 30, 2017. One “Grand Prize #1 winner” will be announced January 2, 2018. You must enter through the Rafflecopter link.

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Giveaway #2

Follow our “Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s #RakesAndGentlemenRogues” Blog Tour and comment on each stop to be eligible for #RakesAndGentlemenRogues Pleasures prize pack: ‘Pride & Prejudice’ Print, autographed by Colin Firth & Jennifer Ehle; Bingley’s Teas (Willoughby & The Colonel); Jane Austen playing cards; set of 6 Austen postcards; and ‘The Compleat Housewife’ notecards set. (All guest comments will be entered in drawing to win. Comment at each site to increase your odds.) Contest ends midnight, December 30, 2017. One “Grand Prize #2 winner” will be announced January 2, 2018.

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THE #RakesAndGentlemenRogues BLOG TOUR

💗Monday, November 6: REVIEW: Margie’s Must Reads, https://margiesmustreads.com

💗Thursday, November 9: REVIEW, Obsessed with Mr. Darcy, https://obsessedwithmrdarcy.wordpress.com

💗Monday, November 13: REVIEW, Austenesque Reviews, http://austenesquereviews.com

💗Tuesday, November 14: REVIEW, Olga of ROSIE AMBER team, http://www.authortranslatorolga.com/

💗Wednesday, November 15: (release day) REVIEW, Just Jane 1813, http://justjane1813.com

💗Thursday, November 16: REVIEW, Diary of an Eccentric, https://diaryofaneccentric.wordpress.com

🎩Monday, November 20: FEATURE w/Katie Oliver (George Wickham), From Pemberley to Milton, https://frompemberleytomilton.wordpress.com

🎩Wednesday, November 22: FEATURE w/Joana Starnes (Willoughby), Babblings of a Bookworm, http://babblingsofabookworm.blogspot.com

🎩Friday, November 24: FEATURE w/Sophia Rose, (General Tilney), Herding Cats & Burning Soup, http://www.herdingcats-burningsoup.com

🎩Monday, November 27: FEATURE w/Amy D’Orazio (Captain Tilney), My Jane Austen Book Club, http://thesecretunderstandingofthehearts.blogspot.com

🎩Wednesday, November 29: FEATURE w/Brooke West (Henry Crawford), VVB32 Reads, https://vvb32reads.blogspot.com

🎩Thursday, November 30: FEATURE w/Lona Manning (Tom Bertram), Lit 4 Ladies, http://lit4ladies.com

💗Friday, December 1: REVIEW, Lit 4 Ladies, http://lit4ladies.com

🎩Monday, December 4: FEATURE w/Beau North  (Colonel Fitzwilliam), Obsessed with Mr. Darcy, https://obsessedwithmrdarcy.wordpress.com

🎩Thursday, December 7: FEATURE w/J. Marie Croft (John Thorpe), Harry Rodell blog/ROSIE AMBER team, https://harryrodell.wordpress.com/author/rodellh

💗Friday, December 8: REVIEW, From Pemberley to Milton, https://frompemberleytomilton.wordpress.com

🎩Monday, December 11: FEATURE w/Jenetta James (William Elliot), Austenesque Reviews, http://austenesquereviews.com

🎩Thursday, December 14: FEATURE w/Karen M Cox (Frank Churchill), Darcyholic Diversions, http://darcyholic.blogspot.com

🎩Monday, December 17: FEATURE w/Christina Morland (Sir Walter Elliot), Of Pens & Pages, http://www.ofpensandpages.com

Disclosure: I received Dangerous to Know from the editor for review.

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Source: Review copy from author
Rating: ★★★★★

No, he couldn’t blame the young men in the crowd for following her around the room. He even admired her restraint given all that male attention. One thing about Emma, admiration for her looks alone didn’t turn her head; the poor fellow also had to flatter her brains and her sparkling personality to stir her vanity.

(from I Could Write a Book)

Karen M Cox’s latest novel, I Could Write a Book, is a variation of Jane Austen’s Emma set in 1970s Kentucky. Cox’s Emma Woodhouse is a college student who has sacrificed her future to care for her father following a stroke, and her George Knightley is a lawyer whose family has been connected to the Woodhouse’s since he was a child. Emma’s father was George’s father’s partner at Knightley and Woodhouse, and George and Emma have been close friends throughout the years, while George was away at college, through his long list of female companions, and throughout the illnesses of both Emma’s parents.

Cox does a fantastic job modernizing the story, keeping events and challenges true to the times while allowing the original novel to shine through. Mrs. Taylor has become Emma’s aunt, Nina, who cared for Emma and her sister Izzy while they were growing up without a mother; Harriet Smith has become Mary Jo, a secretary in George’s office who is just as flighty and easily swayed as Harriet; Mr. Elton has become Tim Elton, who is seeking a career in politics and a wife who will assist in those ambitions. Frank (Churchill) Weston, Jane Fairfax, Miss Bates (Helen), and the rest of Emma‘s cast of characters are featured here, and I loved going with the flow and seeing how the story would play out in a different setting.

I couldn’t help but love Emma even when it was obvious that her scheming was misguided. By giving readers a glimpse of Emma’s childhood and her bond with her mother, I felt like I really got to know her and understand why she was so willing to put her life on hold to take care of her father. I loved getting a peek into George’s head as well, and showing some of his romantic relationships made it so much better when his feelings for his best friend began to change. I’ve always loved Mr. Knightley, so I wasn’t surprised that I fell in love with him here.

As with Undeceived, where Cox transformed Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet into Cold War-era spies, I Could Write a Book showcases Cox’s cleverness and understanding of Austen’s characters in shaking things up while at the same time maintaining the structure of the original. Emma is one of my favorite Austen novels, and when I saw that Cox was writing a new spin on it, I expected it to be fantastic…and I wasn’t disappointed! Another contender for my Best of 2017 list, and another addition to my auto-buy author list!

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About I Could Write a Book

“Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever and rich…”

Thus began Jane Austen’s classic, a light and lively tale set in an English village two hundred 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.

Goodreads | Amazon (universal link)

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About the Author

Karen M Cox

Karen M Cox is an award-winning author of novels accented with romance and history, including 1932 and its companion ebook novella The Journey Home, and the novels Find Wonder in All Things and Undeceived. She also contributed a short story, “Northanger Revisited 2015”, to the anthology, Sun-Kissed: Effusions of Summer, and a story titled, “I, Darcy” to The Darcy Monologues.

Karen was born in Everett, WA, which was the result of coming into the world as 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 finally settling in her family’s home state of Kentucky at the age of eleven. She lives in a quiet little town with her husband, where she works as a pediatric speech pathologist, encourages her children, and spoils her granddaughter.

If you would like bits of authorly goodness in your inbox once a month (updates, sales, book recommendations, etc.) sign up for News & Muse Letter

Karen loves to hear from readers, so don’t be shy. Contact her through social media, her website, or online sites like Amazon and Goodreads.

Connect with Karen via website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr | Amazon Author Page 

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Giveaway

Karen is generously offering two themed prize packages as tokens of appreciation for readers of I Could Write a Book and for supporters of the wonderful sites on the blog tour.

Tea Prize Basket includes: A signed copy of I Could Write a Book, Mr. Knightley’s Reserve and Emma’s Perfect Match teas from Bingley’s Teas, a set of Jane Austen Book Coasters, and a Jane Austen Quotes mug.

Pretty Things Basket includes: A signed copy of I Could Write a Book, an “Emma” quote pendant, an Emma bangle bracelet, Regency cameo earrings, and a jewelry roll.

Readers can enter for chances to win these prizes by clicking here. There are bonus entries for social media shares and visits, if you’re on social media. These giveaways are open internationally and end on October 7, 2017. You must enter through the Rafflecopter link. Good luck!

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Laughing with Lizzie / September 6 / Launch Post/Dating Game / Giveaway

So little time… / September 7 / Book Excerpt / Giveaway

Book Lover in Florida / September 8 / Guest post / Giveaway

Austenesque Reviews / September 15 / Book Review/ Giveaway

My Love for Jane Austen / September 16 / Guest Post / Giveaway

Granny Loves to Read  / September 17 / Book Review / Giveaway

My Jane Austen Book Club / September 18/ Guest Post/Mr. Knightley / Giveaway

Just Jane 1813 / September 19 / Author Interview / Giveaway

Sophia’s Sofa Chat / September 21 / An Interview with Karen M Cox on Goodreads

Babblings of a Bookworm/ / September 22 / Book Review/ Giveaway

Silver Petticoat Review / September 23/ Guest Post/ Giveaway

From Pemberley to Milton / September 25 / Book Excerpt / Giveaway

Margie’s Must Reads / September 27 / Book Review / Giveaway

My Vices and Weaknesses / September 30 / Book Review / Giveaway

Diary of an Eccentric / October 2 / Book Review / Giveaway

More Agreeably Engaged / October 4 / Book Excerpt / Giveaway 

Disclosure: I received I Could Write a Book from the author for review.

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Source: Review copy from the editor

The Darcy Monologues, edited by Christina Boyd, has been on my must-read list since I first heard that it was being released. It is a collection of 15 stories inspired by Jane Austen’s beloved hero, Mr. Darcy of Pride and Prejudice, and it exceeded all of my expectations. I have plenty to share with you today in addition to my review, so I’m not going to profile each story, but I will say it is a collection that has a little something for every reader who has ever fancied Mr. Darcy.

The Darcy Monologues lets readers see things from Darcy’s point of view, and it is divided into two sections: The Regency and Other Eras. What I loved most about the collection, besides the fact that it gathers in a single volume some of the best authors of Austen-inspired fiction, was the sheer creativity within these pages. In addition to more traditional Darcy and Elizabeth tales, this collection features a fairy tale mash-up with Beauty and the Beast; takes Darcy to World War II, a radio station in the 1960s, and a stagecoach in 1860 California; and portrays him as a school principal and a baseball player, among other things.

I absolutely adored this collection and never wanted it to end. I skipped around while reading, mixing the Regency stories amongst the other eras, and I definitely can see myself reading these stories over and over again. I loved reading something new from some of my favorite authors, like Beau North, Joana Starnes, and Jenetta James, to name a few, and it was delightful to be introduced to authors I’d never read before and hope to read again. These authors see the depth of Darcy’s character and understand why readers love him so much, flaws and all. The entire collection will make readers weak in the knees with deliciously sweet and sexy renditions of their favorite Austen hero. The Darcy Monologues will definitely be on my Best of 2017 list!

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Today, I have the pleasure of welcoming Lory Lilian to Diary of an Eccentric to express her appreciation for the work of Jenetta James. Please give her a warm welcome!

Lory Lilian

Admiring the Long and the Short from Jenetta James by Lory Lilian

When I heard about the team of authors involved in The Darcy Monologues, one of the first things that aroused my curiosity was Jenetta James’s story. It made me wonder if Jenetta’s poignant, rich writing style would shine as equally strong in a short story as it did in her two full-length novels — Suddenly Mrs. Darcy and The Elizabeth’s Papers. The answer is yes — it did! LOL!

My curiosity and eagerness of reading anything new from Jenetta — and especially a story from Darcy’s POV — should be clear for everyone who has already enjoyed her beautiful novels. I became acquainted with her writing in 2015, when she published her first book — Suddenly Mrs. Darcy, which is an excellent forced marriage scenario. And I became her fan the moment I read the astonishingly beautiful The Elizabeth Papers — a fabulous journey between the present to past, a closer look into the Darcys’ blissful marriage and their intimate thoughts, fears, and their joys. It is a story that blows the reader’s mind. If you read it already– you will surely understand my meaning. If you did not read it yet — I beg you to do it and let me know if I was right or not!

Jenetta is a newer addition to the world of JAFF, but one that added talent, class, and value to this community. And as much I loved her beautiful short story in The Darcy Monologues, I look forward to another longer project as soon as possible!

I am a huge fan of Jenetta myself. I adored both Suddenly Mrs. Darcy and The Elizabeth Papers, and I was delighted to see that she had written a World War II-era story for The Darcy Monologues. And I am especially excited to have her here today to answer a few questions! Please give her a warm welcome!

Jenetta James

Jenetta, can you share with my readers a six-word memoir about yourself?

Cheerful reader, unexpected writer, hopeless dancer

How did you come to be inspired by Miss Austen, as both a woman and as a writer?

I first encountered Jane Austen as a teenager. It is hard to read it and not be touched by the quality of the writing. I love the simple, light touch of her prose and the clever ribbon of satire that runs through it all. All of her novels are so well composed, which I admire. As a woman, I admire her industry. It takes a lot of focus to write novels in any circumstances, and Jane Austen managed to do it to such a standard in a man’s world.

Your story, “Reason to Hope,” and Jane Austen, what do you think makes them work together? What do they have to say to each other?

When I submitted my story to Christina for editing, it was nameless, and she christened it, “Reason to Hope”. It is a short tale of love in wartime, set in Meryton Hertfordshire in 1943. I grew up in that neck of the woods — being born in Hertfordshire and living most of my childhood in Cambridgeshire — so I know the area pretty well. I’ve often wondered how the world of Pride and Prejudice would work if you just picked it up and put it, lock, stock, and barrel in a different time period — but kept the location the same. The idea of using wartime society for the backdrop came to me after reading Beau North’s debut Longbourn’s Songbird, where she sets the story in the post-war South Carolina. It got me thinking that wartime Britain had more in common with the Regency than first meets the eye.

There is the threat of war, the upheaval occasioned by evacuation and military service, the shifting of social mores and the rigid class structure. I knew from my childhood that the area had several airbases operational during the war (many of them, still so), and the idea was born. Our hero is a Group Captain in the RAF, stationed close to Meryton and Elizabeth is at Longbourn with her family, working in the land army. Just like the original, they are thrown together by unforeseen circumstances and they need to get over a few hurdles before finding themselves, as well as each other.

The modern-day woman appears as besotted as ever by Mr. Darcy. What were the attributes that you felt you needed to include in the Mr. Darcy character in your story?

Group Captain Darcy has spent the war dedicating himself to service. He has made more sacrifices than those around him realise and he is inevitably a more rounded character than the Fitzwilliam of Jane Austen’s early chapters. He has done more and met more people in more equal circumstances. But at the point in which he encounters Elizabeth, he remains superior and condescending in his attitude. What she doesn’t realise, but the reader is allowed to glimpse, is that this Mr. Darcy has sacrificed almost all of his peacetime life for the war-effort. He has focussed on his duties to the complete exclusion of his personal life. He is nobility personified, but at the time, he needs Elizabeth to teach him about himself.

Why do believe Austen’s stories still speak to modern-day readers?

Well, I think it’s because people are people and love is love, wherever you are from and whenever you are alive. Thinking about transplanting Pride and Prejudice into different time periods brings this into focus. The themes that govern people’s emotions are like a thread running through history — it isn’t that Jane Austen speaks to modern life — it is that she speaks to life in general.

What can readers look forward to reading from you in the future and how can readers stay in touch with you?

I am currently working on two projects – another Pride and Prejudice inspired story which I hope will be ready for release later this year (*she says, hopefully*). I am also working on a non-Jane Austen related romance which I hope will be finished at some stage in the next decade. My previous novels are Suddenly Mrs. Darcy and The Elizabeth Papers. I love hearing from readers and I can be reached on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jenettajameswriter/ or Twitter: @JenettaJames

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About The Darcy Monologues

“You must allow me to tell you…”

For over two hundred years, Jane Austen’s Mr. Darcy has captivated readers’ imaginations as the ultimate catch. Rich. Powerful. Noble. Handsome. And yet, as Miss Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” is established through Elizabeth Bennet’s fine eyes, how are we to know what his tortured soul is indeed thinking? How does Darcy progress from “She is tolerable: but not handsome enough to tempt me” to “I thought only of you”?

In this romance anthology, fifteen Austen-inspired authors assemble to sketch Darcy’s character through a series of re-imaginings, set in the Regency through contemporary times—from faithful narratives to the fanciful. Herein “The Darcy Monologues”, the man himself reveals his intimate thoughts, his passionate dreams, and his journey to love—all told with a previously concealed wit and enduring charm.

Stories by: Susan Adriani * Sara Angelini * J. Marie Croft * Karen M Cox * Jan Hahn * Jenetta James * Lory Lilian * KaraLynne Mackrory * Beau North * Ruth Phillips Oakland * Natalie Richards * Sophia Rose * Joana Starnes * Melanie Stanford * Caitlin Williams

Check out The Darcy Monologues on Goodreads | Amazon

Check out The Darcy Monologues playlist on Spotify and the Pinterest board

Follow on Twitter using the hashtag #TheDarcyMonologues

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Giveaways

I am thrilled to offer my readers two fantastic giveaways!

One winner will win the grand prize of 24 paperback books, each one autographed by the author, and mailed to the winner’s home.

The second winner will win their choice of either a Pride and Prejudice pocketbook or a Pride and Prejudice Kindle Fire Case with stand (Pride and Prejudice Book Cover Case for Amazon Kindle Fire 7″ and 6″ – Kindle Fire / Fire HD / Fire HDX tablet).

All giveaways are international. To enter, please use the Rafflecopter link.

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April 3 / My Jane Austen Book Club / Launch Post & Giveaway

April 10 / Babblings of a Bookworm/ Book Review & Giveaway

April 17 / The Reading Frenzy / Guest Post & Giveaway

April 20 / My Love for Jane Austen / Guest Post & Giveaway

April 24 / Margies Must Reads  / Book Review & Giveaway

May 1 / From Pemberley to Milton / Book Review & Giveaway

May 8 / Just Jane 1813 / Excerpt Post & Giveaway

May 15 / Austenesque Reviews  / Book Review & Giveaway

May 22 / Austenesque Reviews  / Guest Post & Giveaway

May 25 / Of Pens and Pages  / Book Review & Giveaway

May 29 / More Agreeably Engaged  / Book Review & Giveaway

June 5 / So Little Time  / Book Excerpt & Giveaway

June 12 / Diary of an Eccentric / Book Review & Giveaway

June 19 / Book Lover in Florida / Book Excerpt & Giveaway

June 26 / My Vices and Weaknesses  / Book Review & Giveaway

July 3 / Savvy Verse & Wit / Book Review & Giveaway

Disclosure: I received The Darcy Monologues from the editor for review.

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