Tuesday, 20 June 2017

MENDACITY & MOURNING BLOG TOUR - JAN ASHTON, AUTHOR INTERVIEW AND GIVEAWAY


Hello Jan and welcome to My Jane Austen Book Club!
Thanks so much for hosting me here, Maria, and letting me talk a bit about my new, slightly off-kilter romantic comedy, Mendacity & Mourning.

Tell us about Mendacity & Mourning.
Summed up simply: Mildly depressed boy meets lively girl. Each misunderstands the other’s attachment. Gleeful gossip and mendacious mayhem ensue. Many jokes and metaphors are made about fluffy clouds, errant sheep, lumpy heads, creamed turnips, and the importance of Thursdays in marital felicity on the road to their shared happiness. Also, Kitty idolizes Miss Bingley, there is a naughty artist, and the Fitzwilliams are a colorful bunch who enjoy fruit.

Friday, 16 June 2017

THE EXILE BLOG TOUR & GIVEAWAY - DON JACOBSON, BENNET WARDROBE FAQS

Bennet Wardrobe FAQs


Why the Wardrobe as a device to create a story arc in the Pride & Prejudice Universe?

Through my years of reading Jane Austen’s fiction, I found myself gravitating toward the side characters—particularly those in the greatest novel…Mary the moralizing sister…Kitty who coughed and wilted in the glare of her younger sister’s boisterousness…Lydia who was, frankly, just this side of being a slut…Thomas who could have done so much more as a father. 

JAFF writers have sought to carry on the ODC saga by offering the younger sisters their own storylines. Epilogues usually place Mr. Bennet in the bowels of the Pemberley Library. Mrs. Bennet is rarely mentioned—and is often dispatched with a bout of apoplexy.

Monday, 22 May 2017

MODERN PERSUASION BLOG TOUR - SARA MARKS, 10 THINGS I LOVE ABOUT CAPTAIN WENTWORTH


1. He’s in the Navy people!  In the Napoleonic era!  If you want to know why that is so awesome, I suggest reading the Horatio Hornblower, Ramage, and Master and Commander series.  

2. Dick Musgrove was clearly a pain in the rear, but Capt. Wentworth made a point of trying to help him.  Even after Dick died (and clearly from his own stupidity), Wentworth is kind to his parents and doesn’t disparage the memory of their son.

3. He is the balance to Anne, she is a woman of thought and he is a man of action.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

THE JANE AUSTEN PROJECT: SIX QUESTIONS FOR AUTHOR KATHLEEN FLYNN

Time travel and Jane Austen. It sounds like the perfect match for an intriguing story. How did you come to write The Jane Austen Project?

Thanks for your kind words, Maria Grazia! I hope people will find it so.  Although it took a long time to write this book, the idea came to me in a flash. One night lying awake I started thinking about Jane Austen: how sad it was that she died so comparatively young, and how unfortunate for scholars that the majority of her letters were destroyed. What a genius she was,  stuck in a time and place with little use for intelligent women, and how frustrating that must have been for her. But what was she really like? I found mself wondering. If only we could build a time machine, and go back and get some answers!
One piece of advice I’ve taken to heart is that you should write the sort of book you want to read, and I’ve always been happiest with  books with fantastical elements, yet grounded in reality, whether historical, mythological or emotional. I am thinking of novels like “The Doomsday Book,” or “Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell” or “The Golem and the Jinni.” Time travel is a crazy idea, but it seemed like a powerful metaphor about being human. We are all time travelers, but usually it’s a one-way trip.

Before we focus on Jane Austen as a character in your book, could you tell us something more about Liam and Rachel, your time travellers who are lucky enough to meet her?

I’ve always seen Rachel and Liam like characters in one of those screwball comedies from the 1930s – mismatched and sparring, yet with complementary strengths, eventually finding their way to respect and affection. Rachel is a physician, with a love of adventure and of Jane Austen. She’s competent and feisty, not quite prepared for how limiting  it is to be a woman in 1815. Because the story is told in Rachel’s first-person, we see Liam only as Rachel does, and he’s not someone who likes to talk about himself. So part of the story is the unfolding of Liam’s character to Rachel and to the reader. He is an academic who used to be an actor, and despite his reserved nature he’s good at assuming a part. It’s useful in the mission, but it starts to drive Rachel crazy – she wants to know who he “really” is. But how do we ever know that? What does it mean, to know another person, when it is hard even to know ourselves?

Saturday, 22 April 2017

10 DARCY QUESTIONS FOR VICTORIA KINCAID

DARCY’S HONOR

Victoria Kincaid has just released her new Pride and Prejudice Variation, Darcy’s Honor.  

Her imaginative retelling sees Elizabeth Bennet relieved when the difficult Mr. Darcy leaves the area after the Netherfield Ball. But she soon runs afoul of Lord Henry, a Viscount who thinks to force her into marrying him by slandering her name and ruining her reputation.  An outcast in Meryton, and even within her own family, Elizabeth has nobody to turn to and nowhere to go.
Darcy successfully resisted Elizabeth’s charms during his visit to Hertfordshire, but when he learns of her imminent ruin, he decides he must propose to save her from disaster.  However, Elizabeth is reluctant to tarnish Darcy’s name by association…and the viscount still wants her…

Can Darcy save his honor while also marrying the woman he loves?

10 DARCY QUESTIONS FOR VICTORIA KINCAID

I have this set of 10 Darcy Questions in my archive that I find great fun to ask. I thought that after writing several books featuring Mr Darcy as the protagonist, Victoria,   you must have got to know him  very well. Would you mind answering a few questions about our beloved Fitzwilliam? It’s a quick “either …or …”  game.   

 Not at all. That must be fun.

 Thank you, Victoria.  Let's start, then. To you Mr Darcy is …

1.    Proud or prejudiced?

Both.  The first few times I read the book, I thought Darcy was proud and Elizabeth was prejudiced (against Darcy), but I’ve come to realize that they both exhibit pride and prejudice.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

SEARCHING FOR MR TILNEY - JANE ODIWE ANSWERS MY QUESTIONS ABOUT THE HERO OF NORTHANGER ABBEY AND HER NEW NOVEL


Jane Odiwe has just released a new book inspired to Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey titled “Searching for Mr Tilney” (more about the book below). Loving Mr Tilney immensely, and while waiting to have a copy of the novel in my hands, I thought: “Maybe Jane has found out the answers to my perennial questions about Henry while writing her new book!” So I wrote down a few of my questions and sent them to her and she kindly and generously granted me her thoughtful answers.

What are Henry Tilney’s best qualities, Jane,  and is there anything we didn’t know about him that we could find out reading your new book?

Henry is handsome, intelligent, witty, and fun to be around. Catherine is clearly drawn to these qualities when she first meets him in Bath and delights in his teasing ways. She’s very naïve and inexperienced with men, and when she meets Henry who is seven or eight years her senior, it’s easy to see how the mature young man who can talk about history and art, and readily gives his opinions on many subjects would immediately captivate her.

Searching for Mr Tilney is not a re-telling of Northanger Abbey, but I have four male characters that share some, if not all of Henry’s characteristics. In 1975 Harry is a Theology student who has spent some time travelling in Africa. He meets Caroline, a fashion student who is studying in London and who shares some of Catherine’s naivety and love of Gothic novels. Like Henry, I hope you’ll find Harry charming, witty and lively!

Sunday, 9 April 2017

THE JANE AUSTEN PORTRAIT BASED ON SOURCE MATERIALS AND FORENSIC METHODS


Introduction


Melissa Dring
(by David Baldock, the Director of the Jane Austen Centre Bath)
In 2001, Melissa Dring was commissioned by David Baldock, the Director of the Jane Austen Centre, Bath, to produce a new portrait of the author, as she might have appeared during her time in Bath, 1801-06.
Combining the insights of the professional portrait painter with those of the police forensic artist, Melissa was uniquely qualified to accept this challenge.
David Baldock had heard of her work on a speculative likeness of the Venetian composer Antonio Vivaldi. A film producer, wanting a likeness to use as a casting aid for a proposed film biography of the composer, and feeling it was a job for a forensic artist, had approached Scotland Yard, who recommended Melissa.
The difficulty with both commissions was their shared lack of reliable contemporary portraiture, although a wealth of written eye-witness accounts survive in both cases.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

LINDA BEUTLER LAUNCHES MY MR DARCY & YOUR MR BINGLEY BLOG TOUR WITH A BRILLIANT VIGNETTE + GIVEAWAY



Greetings again, Maria Grazia, and thank you infinitely for hosting the My Mr. Darcy & Your Mr. Bingley blog tour—it’s first stop, too, you brave lady! It is a pleasure to be back at My Jane Austen Book Club. Hard to believe we met here four years ago, for the debut of The Red Chrysanthemum! You have requested I share an unpublished vignette from my new novel with your readers, and since you and I both adore Colonel Fitzwilliam, I offer this little scene. (I’ll just mention I gave the dear colonel the Christian name Alexander in my third novel, A Will of Iron and my best friend loves it so, I’m likely to stick with it, rather than the ubiquitous “Richard”.)

To set the scene, we have the Colonel heading to bed in the room saved for him at Darcy House. He and Darcy suffered a less than enjoyable evening at the London theatre in a box adjoining that used by the Gardiners and their guests, Jane and Elizabeth Bennet. It is about ten days since the contretemps between Darcy and Elizabeth at Hunsford. The colonel has been scolding Darcy, but has now retired from that particular field of battle.

Monday, 3 April 2017

THE DARCY MONOLOGUES BLOG TOUR - CHRISTINA BOYD LAUNCHES THE TOUR AT MY JANE AUSTEN BOOK CLUB & ... MUCH MORE!


Thank you, Maria Grazia, for inviting us to launch the blog tour for my latest project, The Darcy Monologues, here at My Jane Austen Book Club. Similar to your own lovely blog, Austen’s brooding hero has an audience of devoted readers that spans from one corner of the world to another, making it an absolute pleasure to share this collection with your readers and connect with people all over the world who have the same deep and abiding love for Mr. Darcy.

Christina Boyd
When my Dreamcast of Austenesque authors joined me in creating this collection, I knew I had a singular opportunity to collaborate on this collection of fifteen short stories. Since I have fangirled each and every one of these talented authors for quite some time now, we decided to turn the spotlight back onto them, as I have asked each author to join us as they fangirl one another throughout this blog tour. It is with the greatest pleasure that I thank you and your readers for allowing me to share with the world this anthology of Austenesque stories all told from the point-of-view of the most tolerable man in all of England!

I hope everyone who joins us for this tour finds delight in these author spotlights, the multimedia touches we’ve included for your everyone’s reading pleasures, and the fabulous grand prizes, which have been generously donated by this amazing group of authors. I can’t thank them enough for taking part with me in this exciting endeavor! Please allow me to introduce The Darcy Monologues.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

JANE AUSTEN IN THE WORLD - ENGIN INEL HOLMSTROM, PRIDE AND PREJUDICE WITH A TURKISH TWIST


Hi Maria Grazia,

So glad in your interest in my new novel House of Daughters -- a retelling of Pride and Prejudice with a Turkish twist. Here’s how it happened.

Would you believe it, that when I first read Pride and Prejudice as a sophomore at the American College for Girls in Istanbul, Turkey, I had to look up the dictionary definitions of “pride” and “prejudice”? My English was that bad then. So, I missed most of Jane Austen’s exquisite darts at the frailties of human behavior but I definitely got the basic story of a spirited girl putting a proud man in his place and taming him! Since then, I’ve read the book at least once every year and each time I find something new that puts a big appreciative smile on my face.

House of Daughters is my second novel. Waiting for an inspiration to start me on my writing journey, it was not surprising that I’d think about my favorite characters, Elizabeth and Darcy.  During the last three decades or so, retelling the story of Elizabeth and Darcy has become very popular as your blog site proves, but so far, no one had dared to imagine them as Turks! So, I said to myself, “why not? Austen’s love story is universal. Let’s see what happens!”

The setting I chose was 1920’s Turkey. The Ottoman Empire was dying. Istanbul was occupied by the British, and the nationalists were busy founding a new republic in Anatolia. This was a turbulent period in Turkish history and it gave me lots of opportunities to get my Turkish versions of Jane Austen’s beloved characters out of the drawing room and into the fray of social, cultural, and political change. 

Monday, 27 March 2017

THE DARCY MONOLOGUES - COVER REVEAL BLITZ & GIVEAWAY


Welcome to our cover reveal blitz, dear readers! The Darcy Monologues will be out soon, on May 22nd,  but we are here to anticipate the release with an exciting event including a great giveaway contest too.
The amazing cover art is the genius of Shari Ryan of MadHat Books. She took the cover concept and created exactly as I envisioned. Shari professionally, quickly, and concisely handled my countless questions, suggestions, and “just one more tweak” in the challenging format of the print interior—even had a special script code written to make it happen. And then when the original concept had to be scrapped because of the print-on-demand company’s limitations that were beyond our control (long, convoluted story only to be shared over strong cocktails), Shari AGAIN created the present cover and interior for both print and e-book. I could not recommend her expertise more!

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.