Wednesday, 22 March 2017

JANE AUSTEN FOR CHILDREN. ALICE CHANDLER, AUNT JANE AND THE MISSING CHERRY PIE

Jane Austen has been part of my life ever since I read Pride and Prejudice as a book-loving child. The book-loving child grew up to be an English professor, and I’ve taught Jane Austen, written about Jane Austen, and lectured abroad about Jane Austen. Currently, I am giving a Jane Austen course at our local senior citizens’ center.

But what to do about my granddaughter Dana? How could I introduce her to the author I loved and give her at least a sense of what Jane Austen was like? I thought Dana would like a story about Jane Austen, if only I could find the right format for it.

My first decision was borrowed straight from Stephanie Barron, whose Jane Austen mysteries I so much enjoyed. Mine would be a mystery story, too—only at a child’s level rather than an adult’s. That was how the mystery of “Aunt Jane and the Missing CherryPie” originated.

My next decision was deciding who should be the narrator. Jane Austen lived surrounded by visiting nieces and nephews—some, very sadly, because they needed childcare after their mothers had died in childbirth. (Four of Jane Austen’s sisters-in-law died in this way—two after the birth of their eleventh child.) We know from Jane Austen’s nephew that she told “the most delightful stories, chiefly of fairyland, and her fairies had all characters of their own.” We also know that she wrote what she called Miscellaneous Morsels for her brother James’s daughter. So, Jane-Anna-Elizabeth Austen (always called Anna) became the narrator of my story.

Monday, 20 March 2017

FIFTY SHADES OF PRIDE & PREJUDICE

Does it make sense? No? Well, it makes fun!

Fifty Shades of Pride and Prejudice? Does something like that make sense? I mean, really? A mash –up of Fifty Shades of Grey and Pride and Prejudice? Improbable.  That was my first thought. But, then, I decided to have a look at the video and it was a parody  and  I had to admit that if it didn’t  -probably - make SENSE  it made good FUN.

The trailer parody runs 1:55 and stars Jason Michael Snow (Book of Mormon on Broadway) and Nicole Wyland (Video Game High School) as Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett and was written by Los-Angeles based comedy writers Caitlin Cohen (Dead State) and Heidi Lux (Reductress). 

Now, try it yourself!

Saturday, 18 March 2017

MISTRESS BLOG TOUR LAUNCH. AUTHOR GUEST POST & GIVEAWAY: MASCULINITY IN THE REGENCY

Sophie Turner: Masculinity in the Regency

Good morning, Maria Grazia, and thank you for welcoming me to your wonderful blog. I am thrilled to launch the blog tour for my latest release, Mistress, here at My Jane Austen Book Club. Today I wanted to share with you and your readers a post about one of my favorite Austen heroes, Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy. Like quite a few women, I was mildly horrified by the New York Times article that envisioned Mr. Darcy as a pale, rather thin man with powdered hair. Horrified, and a little perplexed.

Darcy from the study mentioned in the article, vs., of course, Colin Firth’s portrayal

Assuming the 1811 timeline of Pride and Prejudice, Darcy was better than 15 years past when hair powder was common. Following a tax on hair powder in 1795, use fell off rapidly. It’s pretty possible that Darcy might never have used hair powder at all, and I can see no way that an 1811 Darcy would have had powdered hair.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

SHANNON WINSLOW PRESENTS LEAP OF HOPE FROM HER NEW CROSSROADS COLLECTION


Leap of Hope: Write What You Love
Who hasn’t wondered at least once how life would have changed by making an alternate choice at some crucial moment in the past? Where would you be today if you’d turned right instead of left at an important crossroads or been able to sidestep a particular misfortune? Or perhaps you’ve daydreamed about a different life altogether, in a different place and time.
That’s what the stories of my new Crossroads Collection are all about: turning points, possibilities, and second chances. Each book features a new hero/heroine who’s given the extraordinary gift of a second chance at life, the chance to answer for themselves the intriguing question “what if?” The first two books feature Ben Lewis (a struggling minor-league baseball player) and Hope O’Neil (an Austen-obsessed college student). Their contrasting personalities and choices take them on radically different adventures. 

Maria Grazia has graciously offered to host both these new novels on blog tour today – Leap of Hope here, and Leap of Faith over at FLY HIGH!

Sunday, 12 March 2017

CAROLINE BY SUE BARR: BLOG TOUR LAUNCH, DREAMCASTING & GIVEAWAY


Good morning, Maria Grazia, and thank you for hosting the launch post of my first JAFF blog tour for my latest release, Caroline, Pride & Prejudice Continued… Book One. As you can tell from the title, I wrote a book about the much vilified Caroline Bingley and provided her with a new romantic interest. In light of this venture, I wanted to share with readers my very own Dreamcast for my story. What fun it was to put this eclectic group of actors together, (read that as much time spent on Google, sighing over images of handsome men), and I hope it leaves readers with the desire to learn more about my merry troupe characters!

I have written other romance stories, but this is my first foray into the Regency era and with this in mind, I wanted to convey a sense of who these characters are with regard to their looks as well as in their own styles. Pride and Prejudice has been adapted for the screen and stage so many times, that I think that most Austen fans have in their minds a version of each central character that is influenced by these adaptations, as well as created from the images based on their own various reading experiences. It is my hope that my Dreamcast resonates with the readers of Caroline and helps them to create their own lovely images of these characters throughout the story!

“Books belong to their readers.” John Green

Friday, 10 March 2017

MARINA CANO, JANE AUSTEN AND PERFORMANCE - THE 'PERFORMATIVE POTENTIAL' BEHIND AUSTEN WORKS

Dr Marina Cano has just published a very interesting study of Austen’s work and its afterlives. One chapter is dedicated to Jane Austen Fans; that is why I heard of Marina and her research before the book came out. She contacted me for her survey: am I not a truly devoted Austen fan who has the luck and joy to know a lot of truly devoted Austen fans?

I’m truly glad now to present the final work, Jane Austen and Performance, and to introduce  Dr Marina Cano  to you and let you discover more about her research in her own words.  She took some time to answer some questions and here’s the resulting interview.

When and How did you discover Jane Austen?

Like many of the fans who so generously answered my survey, I came to Austen through the film adaptations. In my case, it was Ang Lee’s Sense and Sensibility (1995)—with Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet, etc.—that made the trick. From there, I went to the novels—and more films!—Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion...And the rest is history!

How do you explain her being the most beloved author in English Literature?

This is the ultimate question I try to address in my book Jane Austen and Performance: I examine the “performative potential” behind her texts—in other words, her ability to make things happen. Readers “perform” her novels and her stories; they inhabit her characters on every reading, or every time they watch one of the film or stage adaptations, or revisit her stories in any way. And this does have an effect on people’s lives; it changes things, as so many of the wonderful respondents to my survey made clear. It might happen to some extent with other authors but not as much; I think it is what makes Jane Austen so special in English literature.

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

BLOG TOUR & GIVEAWAY - MANSFIELD PARSONAGE BY KYRA C. KRAMER + EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

Fans of Jane Austen will recognise the players and the setting – Mansfield Park has been telling the story of Fanny Price and her happily ever after for more than 200 years. But behind the scenes of Mansfield Park, there’s another story to be told. Mary Crawford’s story.

When her widowed uncle made her home untenable, Mary made the best of things by going to live with her elder sister, Mrs Grant, in a parson’s house the country. Mansfield Parsonage was more than Mary had expected and better than she could have hoped. Gregarious and personable, Mary also embraced the inhabitants of the nearby Mansfield Park, watching the ladies set their caps for her dashing brother, Henry Crawford, and developing an attachment to Edmund Bertram and a profound affection for his cousin, Fanny Price.

Mansfield Parsonage retells the story of Mansfield Park from the perspective of Mary Crawford’s hopes and aspirations and shows how Fanny Price’s happily-ever-after came at Mary’s expense.
Or did it?

Praise for the book

This book captures Austen’s voice with a fascinating point of view."” – Maria Grace, Author of "Courtship and Marriage in Jane Austen’s World"

Friday, 3 February 2017

DARCY'S HOPE AT DOWNWELL ABBEY BLOG TOUR - 5 DARCY QUESTIONS FOR AUTHOR GINGER MONETTE

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Hello Ginger and welcome back! This time we'll focus on Mr Darcy. You’ve imagined him as a man living and fighting during the Great War in your Darcy’s Hope saga. Is he very different or slightly different from the Austen hero we met in Pride and Prejudice?

Only slightly different. The realisation that Regency Era Fitzwilliam Darcy could have dined with the Edwardian Era Crawleys at Downton Abbey with little change in decorum was one of the things that sparked inspiration for Darcy’s Hope.
I’ve written Darcy’s temperament as essentially the same. He’s just exchanged his frock coat for an officer’s tunic, added a telephone and bathroom to Pemberley, and become comfortable calling his friends by their Christian name. But he’s still the brooding, taciturn, yet sensitive and romantic landowner of Pemberley that we all love.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

SPOTLIGHT ON ... SNOWBOUND AT HARTFIELD BY MARIA GRACE + GIVEAWAY


One of the things I love about Jane Austen’s characters is that they stay with you long after you’ve read the book. They become like old friends and you wonder how they would get along if they met each other. Of course, it might be challenging to manage to get them all together for tea, or better yet a house party, but it certainly would make for a fascinating time.

In Snowbound at Hartfield, a freak blizzard is just the thing to strand the Darcy party, including the Darcys, Colonel Fitzwilliam and Mr. Bennet, and Sir Walter Elliot’s party at Hartfield with Emma and George Knightley. Though Knightley has Emma’s assurances that she is finished with matchmaking, can she really resist the temptation their guests provide?

Maria Grace


 About the book: Snowbound at Hartfield  

Colonel Fitzwilliam should have been happy facing retirement. No more Napoleon, no more tromping the Continent, and his distant cousin had unexpectedly left him an estate. What was more, two of his favorite people, Darcy and Elizabeth, were travelling with him to visit his new home.

But the colonel wasn’t happy, not when he was forced to watch Darcy exchanging enamored glances with his wife. No, he wanted to pitch his cousin out the window. It didn’t help when Darcy kept lecturing him on the joys of wedded life— as if women like Elizabeth Darcy grew on every tree.

Friday, 20 January 2017

THE DARCY MONOLOGUES - OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT & GREAT GIVEAWAY



There are many well-known names behind today’s exciting announcement in the JAFF community and the one person at the center of it all is here today to share this news with us; the lovely Austenesque editor, Christina Boyd.

Christina, there’s a buzz going around the JAFF community that you are heading a new project and it’s a pleasure to have you visit so many Austenesque blogs today to share your big news!

Can you share with us what you’ve been working on behind-the-scenes?

Thank you for hosting and shining your light on this project. I am excited and not a little proud to announce “The Darcy Monologues”—a short story anthology with sixteen of my very favorite Austenesque writers. I doubt anyone will be surprised by my list—authors I’ve either enjoyed working with and admire their work or authors I have simply fan-girl’d over for years: Susan Adriani, Sara Angelini, Karen M. Cox, J. Marie Croft, Jan Hahn, Jenetta James, Lory Lilian, Judy-Lynne, KaraLynne Mackrory, Beau North, Ruth Phillips Oakland, Natalie Richards, Sophia Rose, Melanie Stanford, Joana Starnes, and Caitlin Williams.

Monday, 16 January 2017

A LIE UNIVERSALLY HIDDEN BLOG TOUR - AUTHOR ANNGELA SCHROEDER INTERVIEWS MISS ANNE DE BOURGH & MR JAMES HAMILTON


Fitzwilliam Darcy has always lived a life of duty and honor; his engagement to his cousin Anne de Bourgh fulfills the final wish of his deceased mother. His life is neatly in order to pursue these intentions when he meets Elizabeth Bennet; the one woman who turns his world upside down.
Elizabeth is not indifferent to him, but her life is also on a divergent course. As she prepares to accept a betrothal from a suitor she esteems, she finds herself experiencing unexpected feelings. Yet knowing that Darcy and Anne are united by their love for one another, she attempts to put Darcy behind her. But why does she suspect that Darcy may have similar feelings for her, and if he does, can they really change the course of their future paths?

Anngela Schroeder, author of one Jane Austen variation and a contributing author to the Meryton Press anthology, “Then Comes Winter,” will tour the blogosphere starting from My Jane Austen Book Club today and until  January 29, 2017, to share her latest book, A Lie Universally Hidden. Thirteen book bloggers, specializing in Austenesque fiction and romance stories, will share excerpts, guest posts, an interview with the author and book reviews from this highly awaited Austen-inspired novel.

I've got a very special guest post from Anngela Schroeder to launch the blog tour and the giveaway. Enjoy reading!
__________________________________________________________

Sunday, 15 January 2017

SPOTLIGHT ON ... FINDING THE RAINBOW BY TRACI BORUM

Life seems nothing more than a quick succession of busy nothings.  ~Jane Austen 
   
This is precisely how Holly Newbury would sum up her life. At twenty-eight, she lives in a charming Cotswold village, serving as caretaker to three younger sisters—a rewarding job, but a tedious one. 

Soon, news of a Jane Austen movie filming nearby creates a snap of change in the air.  The villagers become involved as movie extras, and Holly starts up an Emma book club in honor of the film.  At the same time, Holly's own family drama plays out—her sisters experience heartaches and growing pains, while her widowed father finds new love in an unexpected place. 

Most importantly, the film brings with it an American screenwriter named Fletcher Hays, who ends up becoming Holly's very own Mr. Knightley.  But will she realize it too late?




ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Traci Borum is a writing teacher and native Texan. She's also an avid reader of women's fiction, most especially Elin Hilderbrand and Rosamunde Pilcher novels. Since the age of 12, she's written poetry, short stories, magazine articles, and novels.

Traci also adores all things British. She even owns a British dog (Corgi) and is completely addicted to Masterpiece Theater---must be all those dreamy accents! Aside from having big dreams of getting a book published, it's the little things that make her the happiest: deep talks with friends, a strong cup of hot chocolate, a hearty game of fetch with her Corgi, and puffy white Texas clouds always reminding her to "look up, slow down, enjoy your life." 





Friday, 6 January 2017

BLOG TOUR & GIVEAWAY - AMY D'ORAZIO, THE BEST PART OF LOVE


Blog Tour Opening by author Amy D'Orazio

Maria Grazia, thank you so much for being hosting my “coming-out” party for The Best Part of Love! I hope that everyone will enjoy this book as much as I enjoyed writing it.
The story started with a simple premise — what if Elizabeth Bennet wasn’t what she seemed? What if Darcy came to know her as the country maiden of limited means and poor connexions … and then discovered she was something entirely different?
There have been some excellent books by very talented authors who have explored this theme, but it was in developing the backstory of how and why Elizabeth, a.k.a Lady Courtenay came to be (secretly) wealthy and titled that my story really began. I spent many happy days researching ancient plots, conspiracies and all manner of intrigue to come up with the rest of it.
The story incorporates many of our favorite characters from “fanon” including Lord and Lady Matlock, Darcy’s aunt and uncle, who happen to be intimate friends of Lady Courtenay. Lady Matlock as you will see below hopes to arrange a match between her favorite young countess and her nephew — but alas, Darcy’s behavior in Hertfordshire has come back to haunt him.
Amy 

Friday, 16 December 2016

THE INNKEEPER OF IVY HILL BLOG TOUR - 5 QUESTIONS FOR ... AUTHOR JULIE KLASSEN


About the book

The lifeblood of the village of Ivy Hill is its coaching inn, The Bell. When the innkeeper dies suddenly, his genteel wife, Jane Bell, becomes the reluctant landlady. Jane has no idea how to manage a business, but with the town's livelihood at stake and a large loan due, she must quickly find a way to save the inn.

Despite their strained relationship, Jane turns to her resentful mother-in-law, Thora, for help. Formerly mistress of The Bell, Thora is struggling to overcome her losses and find purpose for the future. As she works with Jane, two men from her past vie for her attention, but Thora has promised herself never to marry again. Will one of them convince her to embrace a second chance at love?

As pressure mounts from the bank, Jane employs new methods, and puzzles over the intentions of several men who seem to have a vested interest in the place, including a mysterious newcomer with secret plans of his own. With the help of friends old and new, can Jane restore life to the inn, and to her empty heart as well?


Visit talesfromivyhill.com to find a map of the village, character profiles, a book giveaway, and more!

Sunday, 11 December 2016

GIVING GIFTS IN JANE AUSTEN

(by Victoria Grossack)

Are you at a loss, this holiday season, at what to give your loved ones?  Why not take a look at the gifts in Jane Austen’s novels and see if they inspire you?  And beware of the pitfalls, as not all gifts are welcome from all givers.

One of the most frequently bestowed gifts in Jane Austen is money.  The amount may be small, such as the single pound note given by Mrs. Norris to William Price in Mansfield Park (this amount is not given explicitly in the text, but Jane Austen herself told her family that was the amount she meant).  Or the sum may be enormous, as when Darcy bribes Wickham to marry Lydia Bennet in Pride & Prejudice.  Today some people turn their noses up at money, but in Jane Austen’s novels, recipients are almost always appreciative.

Assuming you want to be more personal, let’s consider other significant gifts in Austen’s novels.

The pianoforte.  In Emma (spoiler alert), Frank Churchill ‘anonymously’ gives Jane Fairfax a pianoforte to use during her stay in Highbury.  Of course, Miss Fairfax knows who the donor is, but as she cannot say, the gift makes her vulnerable to unkind rumors.  On the other hand, it is a pretty instrument, a generous gift, and she enjoys playing it tremendously.  What can one learn from this?  It’s always good to remember the tastes of your recipients, and to give them what they lack in certain situations.  Still, do your best not to cause mischief and inconvenience.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

ELIZABETH ADAMS, TWO AUSTENESQUE AUDIOBOOKS & A GIVEAWAY

Hello dear friends and thanks for dropping by from time to time to join our online Jane Austen book club. Today I have two Austenesque audiobooks to propose to your attention, Unwilling and The Houseguest by Elizabeth Adams. Discover more about them reading this post and pick up your favourite one. Then enter the giveaway in the rafflecopter form below. Good luck!
Maria Grazia

Unwilling
Mr. Bennet discovers his days are numbered, so he immediately begins to set his affairs - and his five unmarried daughters - in order. Knowing they will fare best should at least one of them find a suitable husband, he cannot refuse any respectable suitors.
The high-spirited Elizabeth suspects something isn't right in the halls of Longbourn, but nothing prepares her for a certain haughty gentleman from Derbyshire. While Mr. Darcy is exceedingly wealthy and handsome, in Elizabeth's eyes, he is also proud, high-handed, and insulting. And unfortunately, desperately in love with her.
Suddenly, Elizabeth is forced to rethink her previous opinions. And accept a choice she never had the chance to make.



Monday, 5 December 2016

GEORGE WICKHAM'S SECRET IS OUT!

Adrian Lukis as Wickham (1995)
It is a pleasure for me to have been invited here to share a moment with you, dear readers, in between campaigns. Indeed, what better excuse to bid my dearest Lydia a fond farewell and retire to my rooms, take up my pen and note down a little something that I hope you might enjoy.

What, though, might a man, a soldier such as I, share with visitors to a salon so esteemed as this? What could I possibly know that might entertain you, might give you reason to afford me a smile?

Well, I turned my mind to this whilst strolling with Lydia in Hyde Park, looking out over the Serpentine that was so quiet now with winter drawing in. The horses thundered on Rotten Row, the carriages rattling this way and that but everyone was, of course, fully and firmly clad.

Twas not always so.

And I was not always a respectable married fellow, nor were all my days passed in boyish play with my brother and friend, Mr Darcy. I know that you will find it hard to countenance, dear reader, but even I, George Wickham, had my moments of bawdiness.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

TALKING JANE AUSTEN WITH ... HELENA KELLY, AUTHOR OF JANE AUSTEN THE SECRET RADICAL

Her just released  Jane Austen the Secret Radical  has been animating a new interesting debate around our beloved Regency lady. Helena Kelly has been under the spotlight in the latest days as the author of this interesting non-fiction book which uncovers Jane Austen as a radical, spirited and politically engaged woman writer. So those who have in their minds the tranquil, smiling woman on the new £10 pound banknote apparently got everything wrong about her.  

After receiving my review copy of this brilliant work and after reading its original analysis, I ended up with a few questions to ask Helena Kelly so I wrote them down and was graciously granted the answers. 

I must thank Helena for her kindness and generosity in the fuss that must have been the promotion of her book in the first days after the release. There have been reviews and interviews even in the major press, but she could find some spare time and answered my questions!  Here I am now, happy and proud,  to share my little interview with you.
Maria Grazia

*********************************************************
Hello Helena and welcome to our online Jane Austen book club! My first question is … I’ve always thought Jane Austen was rather revolutionary, but now you’ve taken a step ahead of me: a radical?

Hello, and thank you for inviting me! The title Jane Austen the Secret Radical isn’t actually mine, but it is a good choice for the book. I don’t know that Austen wanted to overturn things, but she did want to dig down and examine them, to show people how they actually worked, and that’s what radicalism is about, isn’t it, getting down to the ‘radix’, the root of things.

Friday, 18 November 2016

REGINA JEFFERS, ANNUITIES IN THE REGENCY ERA AS THE BASIS OF THE PLOT OF 'MR DARCY'S BARGAIN' + GIVEAWAY

Much of the action of latest release,  Mr. Darcy's Bargain, is based around a scam perpetrated by Mr. Wickham upon the citizens of Meryton, as well as Mr. Darcy's attempts to thwart him. Wickham convinces many in Hertfordshire to invest in an annuity scheme. But how exactly did annuities work during the Regency?

First, if you are like me, your eyes blur over when people in other fields start tossing around the "jargon" associated with their occupations. I do not pretend to be an expert in such matters as annuities, but I will attempt to keep my description of public funds at the time as simple as possible.

First, there were Navy five percent annuities that were produced from about fifty millions of stock, partly formed out of navy bills and converted in 1784, into a stock bearing interest at five percent, whence the name.

Four percent consolidated annuities were popular at the time. They were produced from a like stock as was the Navy five percent funds. They offered a profit of 4% as the title indicated. They originally carried a higher percentage rate.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

A JOURNEY FROM DUTY TO LOVE: MR BENNET'S DUTIFUL DAUGHTER BLOG TOUR + GIVEAWAY


A new great blog tour premieres today  at My Jane Austen Book Club.  Joana Starnes is here to present her latest Pride and Prejudice tale: Mr Bennet's Dutiful Daughter. Enjoy her wondeful guest post and... may I wish you good luck in the giveaway contest?  


Thank you, Maria Grazia, for your kind welcome at My Jane Austen Book Club today to launch the blog tour for my latest book, Mr Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter, with an invitation to Netherfield.