Monday, May 29, 2017

My share in the conversation and more :)...The Darcy Monologues

The Darcy Monologues Blog Tour makes it stop at More Agreeably Engaged today. My post is a review of the anthology and a surprise intro by J. Marie Croft of my dear friend, Jan Hahn. I think you will enjoy the short question and answer session with Jan. I know I did and I was thrilled that Claudine sent this special part to me. Thank you, Claudine.

*****

For my review of The Darcy Monologues, I do not intend to give a recap of each short story. Instead I will stick to an overall assessment of the book, as a whole.

For anyone interested in having an anthology with plenty of lovely short stories to read, then I highly recommend The Darcy Monologues. Not only will you be able to get a little reading time worked into a busy schedule but the choice of authors is outstanding. There are times when it is difficult to have much reading time and a short story satisfies the need to read and gives that ‘feel good’ feeling I so love from a well-written book. In this anthology, a reader will find plenty to love.

If you are bent toward reading Regency, there are some wonderful stories to gratify. For those that prefer modern retellings or variations, the selection for those is awesome too. I generally prefer stories to be set in Regency times, but I must say that the modern retellings in this anthology are excellent.

The stories were well-written but I expected nothing less from this A-list of authors. I found them to carry the plot of each story and come to a good resolution. I would think that might be more difficult with less pages to tell a story but each author carried it off remarkably well. Each felt complete and left me feeling content.

From the last days of Darcy’s bachelorhood to a mature Darcy reminiscing on a life well lived and well loved, the diversity of storylines make sure there should be something extra special for every reader. These tales made me laugh and made me cry. That they are all written from Darcy’s point of view is the ‘icing on the cake’ This is a book that I will pick up again and again. Well done to all of you!

*****

The “Hahn Hiatus” is over! by J. Marie Croft

Few writers in our genre are such true proficients as award-winning JAFF storyteller
Jan Hahn.

Hahn’s widely popular The Journey (the pièce de résistance of her oeuvre, in my opinion) is almost impossible to put down. All her novels beg to be devoured in one delicious sitting.

The lady knows how to take readers on a journey – a wild, breathtaking roller coaster ride filled with emotional ups and downs. And, oh, the places she’ll take you on those journeys! Her plots are imaginative (daring, even), yet characters remain faithful to those created by Austen. Best of all, Hahn’s riveting, angsty, heart-wrenching stories have believable and oh-so-tender happily-ever-afters.

But her last novel was published ages and ages ago … in 2014!
For three years I have waited!
 Aargh!

Jan Hahn, why must you insist on torturing me?



Ah, but the Hahn hiatus will soon be over, for within the pages of The Darcy Monologues is her latest offering – a Regency short story titled Without Affection. Yeah, right. I bet there’s affection aplenty therein, and I can’t wait to read it!

I’d love to write romantic JAFF adventure like Jan Hahn does; but, alas, I have not her storytelling knack. What I do have is admiration of her skill and a healthy dose of envy.


To top it off, she seems like a very genteel kind of lady with a keen sense of humour … someone I’d like to meet.


What a lovely introduction, J. Marie Croft, for a truly lovely lady. You are correct in your assessment. Jan Hahn is a very genteel lady and she does have a keen sense of humour. She is also a kind and generous person. As many of you know, Jan and I are personal friends and have been for many years. She has stood with me through many ups and downs and never passed judgement. That is a true friend indeed. When Claudine sent me the extras for my post and I saw who and what I had the pleasure of including with my review, I was excited. (and J. Marie, I happen to have heard that Jan H. loves your writing style and your wit! 'smiling') Like you, I'm thrilled that the 'Hahn Hiatus' is over too. I look forward to more!

Okay, okay. I'll quit rambling and get on with the interview. I'm quite sure you would rather be reading it. Enjoy! 

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

Jane Austen did not take the easy way out. She had opportunities to marry, but she refused to do so simply for security. She endured poverty rather than marry without affection. I found her example both modern and inspiring.

Austen’s writing is the ideal. From Elizabeth Bennet to Emma Woodhouse, her characters sparkle with their own particular attributes and flaws. She makes me laugh out loud in one chapter and bite my fingernails with apprehension in the next. Her prose has a beauty of its own. Her snarky wit is delightful. The only problem? I always want more of Darcy and Elizabeth’s story. That’s why I borrow her timeless characters and repeatedly write my own variations of their love story.

Can you offer readers a brief description of your story and tell us why you chose to set your story in the Regency era?

My story takes place in the twilight years of Darcy and Elizabeth’s long life together. Their love for each other remains paramount even at their mature ages. Darcy muses over their journey together and recalls a time when their marriage became troubled over an issue he had never imagined would happen to them.

I set all my stories in the Regency era because I have a difficult time thinking of Austen’s characters in any other period. I love the civility, balls, dress, and graceful way of living found in Austen’s Regency world. I acknowledge that war, poverty, and misery existed, but Austen doesn’t dwell on it. Her stories take place in cottages, mansions, and verdant woods. Wordsworth said it best: I find the world is too much with us, and I long to escape to Pemberley’s drawing room. That’s not to say I do not have great admiration for those clever authors who transport my favorite couple to another time and place.

This year we're coming up on the 200th anniversary of the publications of “Persuasion,” and “Northanger Abbey.” What were you trying to capture of Jane Austen in your story, Without Affection in The Darcy Monologues?

I attempted to capture Jane Austen’s affinity for a marriage based on love, and in particular, Darcy’s enduring love for Elizabeth. His is the deepest kind of love, and he not only is willing to support her, but to sacrifice for her. Darcy’s tendency to rush in and fix things creates conflict in the marriage, but it stems from his all-encompassing love for his wife. Of all Austen’s heroes, I consider Darcy and Wentworth her best. Their love for Elizabeth and Anne survives even when they’ve been rejected. I can’t help but wish Jane Austen had found such a love of her own.

The reactions to this upcoming release have been overwhelmingly positive from readers and I think that’s also in response to Mr. Darcy’s tremendous popularity throughout the past two centuries. Why do you believe that modern-day woman still find him so appealing?

In essentials, Mr. Darcy is a good man, and, in the words of Flannery O’Connor, we all know a good man is hard to find. We may date bad boys, but heaven help us if we marry them.  Darcy being rich and handsome certainly makes him attractive, but I love Elizabeth for wanting more. His character makes all the difference to her. And since he bumbles about in the beginning, insulting people and hiding his good points, a great story is born.

Did writing this story make you appreciate something about Jane Austen all over again?

It reawakened my love for writing. I confess I’ve taken far too long a leave of absence since my last book was published. Having a deadline made me devote my time to my craft, and I fell in love with Austen and Darcy all over again.


Jan, I just love ending this interview by sharing your six-word memoir…

I married my own Mr. Darcy.

Now that the “Hahn Hiatus” is over, what can readers look forward to reading from you in the future and how can readers stay in touch with you?

Writing from Darcy’s viewpoint is a challenge, but several years ago, I wrote a book in his words, and I’m in the process of re-writing parts of it. I’m also suffering over my sequel to The Journey that has tormented me far too long. I’m determined to finish it.


*****

Buy Link: Amazon US

The book description reads as follows:

“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

Blog Tour Giveaways

There are two special 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. Please see the enclosed graphic for the list of books included in this giveaway.




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. Please see that attached graphic for these choices. All giveaways are international.



a Rafflecopter giveaway
Author Biographies

Formally trained as a fine artist and illustrator, Susan Adriani discovered her passion for storytelling over a decade after she graduated from a local art college near her childhood home in New England. Susan is the author of The Truth about Mr. Darcy and Darkness Falls upon Pemberley.

Sara Angelini is a lawyer living in the San Francisco Bay area with her husband, three kids, two dogs, a frog, some fish, and a few hundred stick bugs. She never went to veterinary school but if she had, she would have been a true proficient. She enjoys writing from Darcy’s point of view in a way that shows his humor and vulnerability. Her first book, The Trials of the Honorable F. Darcy, was published in 2008. She is the co-founder of www.austenunderground.com, where her other Pride and Prejudice-inspired works can be read.

Karen M Cox is an award-winning author of four novels accented with romance and history: 1932, Find Wonder in All Things, At the Edge of the Sea, and Undeceived. She also wrote “Northanger Revisited 2015”, which appeared in the anthology Sun-Kissed: Effusions of Summer. 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 is a self-proclaimed word nerd and adherent of Jane Austen’s quote “Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery.’ Bearing witness to her fondness for Pride and Prejudice, wordplay, and laughter are Joanne’s light-hearted novel, Love at First Slight, a Babblings of a Bookworm Favourite Read of 2014, her humorous short story, “Spyglasses and Sunburns,” in the Sun-Kissed: Effusions of Summer anthology, and a playful novella, A Little Whimsical in His Civilities, Just Jane 1813’s Favorite JAFF Novella of 2016.

Award-winning writer Jan Hahn is the author of four Austen-inspired novels. She studied music at the University of Texas but discovered her true love was a combination of journalism and literature. Her first book, An Arranged Marriage, was published in 2011, followed by The Journey, The Secret Betrothal, and A Peculiar Connection. She agrees with Mr. Darcy’s words in Pride and Prejudice: “A lady’s imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment.” She is a member of the Jane Austen Society of North America, lives in Texas, has five children and a gaggle of gorgeous grandchildren.

Jenetta James 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.

Lory Lilian fell in love with Pride and Prejudice thirty-three years ago and discovered the charm of Jane Austen fanfiction exactly twenty years later. She lives in Bucharest, Romania, is a proud mother of an amazing daughter, and addicted to anything Austen. After a career in business, she dedicates her time to reading and writing. Lory is the author of six bestselling books: Rainy Days, Remembrances of the Past, His Uncle’s Favorite, The Perfect Match, Sketching Mr. Darcy, The Rainbow Promise, and A Man with Faults. JAFF readers call her the “Queen of Hot Mush” and she loves it.

KaraLynne Mackrory is no newbie to the writing world. She made her debut as an author at the tender age of 13 when she wrote her first set of bad poetry. As a young adult, she steered clear of bad prose and achieved a degree in social work. Years later, she has published four Austen inspired novels so full of romantic sensibilities as to give you a swoon and hopefully a few laughs. Her books turned out better than her poetry and are: Falling for Mr. Darcy, Bluebells in the Mourning, the IPPY award-winning Haunting Mr. Darcy, and Yours Forevermore, Darcy.

Beau North is the author of Longbourn’s Songbird, The Many Lives of Fitzwilliam Darcy, and a contributor to the anthology Then Comes Winter. Beau is a native southerner who now calls Portland, Oregon home with her husband and two cats. She attended the University of South Carolina where she began a lifelong obsession with literature. In her spare time, Beau is the co-host of the podcast Excessively Diverted: Modern Austen Onscreen.

Mild-mannered business woman by day, hopeless romantic by night, Ruth Phillips Oakland was always a fan of the fictional gentleman from Derbyshire, but it was her discovery of Jane Austen fanfiction in 2006 that inspired Ruth to become a writer. Ruth has written dozens of short stories posted online and the published novel entitled, My BFF. Ruth lives in New England with her favorite husband of over thirty years and is thrilled to be included in this anthology with so many of her favorite authors and friends.

Natalie Richards is a writer, blogger, and singer. She started her book review blog, Songs & Stories, in late 2010 after falling in love with Jane Austen fanfiction. Her writing can also be found on Figment, the Darcy & Lizzy Forum, TeenInk Magazine, and in the Austenesque anthologies Sun-Kissed: Effusions of Summer and Then Comes Winter. She resides with her family in the Oregon countryside and currently works as a waitress and babysitter.

Sophia Rose is a native Californian currently residing in Michigan. A long-time Jane Austen fan, she is a contributing author to Sun-Kissed: Effusions of Summer and Then Comes Winter anthologies. 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 while Sophia pursued degrees and certificates in education, special education, family history, and social work leading to a rewarding career. Health issues led her to a greater opportunity to read, beta, and review books, and return to writing stories that lean toward the humorous side and always end with a happily ever after.

Melanie Stanford reads too much, plays music too loud, is sometimes dancing, and always daydreaming. She would also like her very own TARDIS, but only to travel to the past. She lives in Canada with her husband and four kids. She is the author of SWAY, a retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, shortlisted for the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize, and the short story “Becoming Fanny” featured in the anthology Then Comes Winter. Her second novel, Collide, inspired by Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South, is coming soon. You can find her at melaniestanfordbooks.com, on Twitter @MelMStanford, and on Facebook  @MelanieStanfordauthor.

Joana 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 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 All Roads Lead to Pemberley.

Caitlin Williams is an award-winning author of two novels, Ardently and the best-selling The Coming of Age of Elizabeth Bennet, both of which spin the plot of Pride and Prejudice around but keep the characters just the same. Originally from South London, Caitlin spent thirteen years as a detective in the Metropolitan Police but is currently on a break from Scotland Yard so she can spend more time at home with her two children and write. She now lives in Kent, where she spends a lot of time daydreaming about Mr. Darcy, playing with dinosaurs, and trying not to look at the laundry pile.

Christina Boyd wears many hats as she is an editor under her own banner The Quill Ink, a contributor to Austenprose, and a ceramicist and proprietor of Stir Crazy Mama’s Artworks. A life member of the 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 her book boyfriend and star crush Henry Cavill when she won a trip to meet him on the London Eye in the spring of 2017. True story.

Spotify Playlist

Each author has contributed a song based on her story for this Spotify playlist. Click on the link below to listen to these songs.

PinterestBoard - check this out for lots of fun pictures

To follow The Darcy Monologues on Twitter, use the hashtag, #TheDarcyMonologues.


 Blog Tour Schedule

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

*****
There is much to see and read during the blog tour and many of you have been following its progress. I hope you are enjoying all the posts and will get a chance to read the book soon, if you have not already. Thank you, Claudine and Christina, for a such a well organized blog tour! Best Wishes, Christina, with the book.



Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Sara Marks...Modern Persuasion

Available at Amazon
 First time author, Sara Marks, and first time visitor to More Agreeably Engaged, is here to share about her release, Modern Persuasion. I'm really excited to have you to here as one of your stops on your blog tour. Ms. Marks most graciously allowed me to post today instead of yesterday, which was my date, and I appreciate that more than you know, Sara! Thank you.

One of my first thoughts when Sara Marks contacted me was why she had chosen Persuasion as the book for her retelling. Sara answers that and more questions in her frequently asked questions. I hope you will enjoy reading them as much as I have.

Please welcome author, Sara Marks.

*****

Why did you select Persuasion to modernize? Why not another Austen Story?

Persuasion is my personal favorite of all the novels Austen wrote. This actually wasn’t the first one I wrote. The novel I am finishing this year is a modernization of Pride and Prejudice. This is also one of 4 modernized Austen novels that I am working
on. They are my four favorites of her novels. The reason I focused on Modern
Persuasion first was because I realized a lot of people wrote variations and
modernizations of Pride and Prejudice. Far fewer wrote them about Persuasion. I
wanted to pay homage to the story I loved as the first book I published.

You grew up in Miami, a very diverse city, did that influence you as you sat down to write novels?

I love living in diverse locations and Miami was one of the most diverse places I’ve
lived. It gives me a chance to learn about new cultures and see the world through
different eyes. I think seeing so much diversity helped me be more empathetic as a
writer. It makes it a little easier for me to see things through the eyes of different
characters.

What would you be if you weren’t an author?

For a long time I wanted a job where I could sit on the couch all day and watch TV
shows, but that got boring the summer between graduating and getting my first
librarian job. My parents think I can do anything I put my mind too. There was my
childhood dreams of being Princess Leia or a unicorn, mermaid princess. In High
School I was positive I was going to be a television editor or producer until I realized I
didn’t really enjoy it. My mother still thinks that I should do this, 20 years later. I am
already thinking about what comes next! I want to be a professional Wikipedian. Not
paid by people to edit for them, but paid to do whatever I want to do on Wikipedia.

If your characters met you in real life, what would they say or do to you?

I am pretty sure, out of all the characters in the book, I am more like Mary in
personality than the others. I suspect the other characters would probably treat me
the way they treat Mary: tolerate because they love her. Elizabeth, I am pretty sure,
would forget I even exist. I imagine she would meet me multiple times and forget that
she has met me before.

When you are writing a modern version of an old book, how much do you feel obliged to stick with the original plot line? Modern individuals might make totally different decisions than the characters in the original story make. If these decisions are crucial to the plot, how do you get around that?

I think Austen’s themes are universal and timeless, especially in Persuasion. People
often make choices they regret. People sometimes get a second chance to correct
those mistakes. When I decided to tell Persuasion in a modern context, I looked to the
themes, the plot, and the characters. I suspect there will be people who will be
unhappy that I wasn’t more true to the original, but I had my own story to tell. I took
out characters that didn’t serve a purpose anymore. I looked at plot points and tried
to decide if they would happen and if they were critical to the plot. I even made a few
changes, but over all Persuasion was a dream to modernize.

What were you like at school?

I was actually invisible at school. I wasn’t popular, but I wasn’t bullied either. After
elementary school I attended middle and high school out of my normal area. I didn’t
grow up with the people in my schools and I didn’t spend time with them outside of
school. The friends I had in the area only spent time with me outside of school. It
made school a very different experience for me than for others. I don’t value high
school the way others do, especially because it wasn’t the end of my education.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?

I think what makes Emma so special is that she is like most other women in a way we
rarely talk about. She struggles with her choices, takes on burdens that might not be
hers to bear, and gets stuck in ruts without realizing it. She makes choices with the
tools she has available and sometimes they turn out to be the wrong ones. I think a lot
of people will relate to her.

How much research do you do?

It depends on the story and how outside my experience it is. For Modern
Persuasion, I did a lot of research about what book tours are like for authors. I knew
what I wanted to happen, so I had to know if it was common or would be out of the
ordinary.

Why do you write?

For years I constructed stories in my head and played them out over and over
in different ways. I realized I had to write the stories down to be able to move on. I
would just obsesses about the characters and plots in intricate detail if I didn’t. Once I
wrote them down I could move on to the next story. When I discovered National
Novel Writing Month I found my place to focus on the writing. I spent years writing
the one big story that had been in my head for most of my life. Once that was done I
was finally ready to move on to other projects.

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?

When I first started writing, it was primarily this weird universe of inter connected fan
fiction for the tv shows, movies, and even books I loved. For years I mostly borrowed
characters from other universes. It started with the ideas of what I would do in that
universe. What if I was Buffy the Vampire Slayer? What if I was an elf in Middle
Earth? What I have been writing recently is more using the plot structure of another
author, Jane Austen in this case, and seeing what they would be like in modern
situations. Austen was both a creature of her time and ahead of her time. So many of
her plots can be applied to modern situations.

What is the hardest thing about writing?

For me, it’s finding the right story to tell. I often sit with an idea in my head for
years. I live with the characters and get to know them. I can tell you the day to day
things in their lives, but that isn’t a story. I have to find the problem they need to
resolve and that can take time. While I do that, I have an inclination to tell you all the
details of their lives. I always struggle to cut out the details that aren’t important.

What is the easiest thing about writing?

For me, it’s the flip side of the hardest thing. I find it really easy to develop the
characters. I spend a lot of time thinking of my characters. It often seems like I am
living with them and talking to them. I know so many rich details about their lives. I
know their motivations and the choices they make.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

I always do my first draft during National Novel Writing Month. They have three
events a year. Modern Persuasion was a first draft in July 2014. I wrote the entire
book in that month. Then I let it sit for a while until I am ready to revise it. I like to
see it with fresh eyes. That can take a few months, depending on what else is going
on. From starting Modern Persuasion to the day I submitted it to publishers, it took 2
years to complete.

Do you ever get writer’s Block?

Answer: I use to get it until I discovered what I need to do with it. I realized that I get
blocked when I think I have to write something I don’t want to really write. I am the
only one accountable to my writing plans and when I remembered I could change
anything I want, I started getting good at recognizing when I was hitting that wall. I
stop forcing myself to write something and start writing whatever is in my head that’s
easier to work on. Eventually I come back to the block, but I do it when I am excited
about that project again.

Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors.

I read a lot. I generally read over 100 books a year. I think Jane Austen is my favorite
and clearly she has a strong influence on what I am writing right now.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Answer: As tempted as I am to advise my younger self, I wouldn’t give me any. I am
who I am now because of the choices I made, the advise I listened to, and the advise I
ignored. I wouldn’t want to risk changing who I became because of my ego thinking I
am smarter now than I was then.

*****

Connect with Sara Marks:
Sara Marks Website:

*****

*****

Author Bio:

Sara Marks is an author, knitter, Wikipedian, and librarian from Massachusetts. After over 10 years of participating in National Novel Writing Month, she is releasing her first novel, Modern Persuasion, with Illuminated Myth Publishing.  When she isn’t writing, she is an academic librarian at University of Massachusetts Lowell.  She has a masters degree in library science and another in Communications.  She spent 6 years as a member of Toastmasters International where she twice earned the status of Distinguished Toastmaster, the highest status members can achieve.  She is one of the local organizers for National Novel Writing Month.

5 Fun Facts You Didn’t Know About Sara:

1. Sara worked as a clown in college.  She would go to birthday parties and local events in Miami to paint faces and make balloon animals.
2. Sara failed out of college before returning home to find a new path in life.  It took her 7.5 years to get her B.A.  She is a firm believer in being able to fix your mistakes and getting second chances.
3. Her dog, Cedric, was named for Cedric Diggory, her favorite character in Harry Potter.  In reality, the dog is a Slytherin.
4. Every year, since 2004, Sara has participated in National Novel Writing Month.  She has won every year, except 2005 when she lost by 1,000 words.
5. Sara has been a Wikipedia editor for over 10 years.

*****

Blog Tour Schedule:

5/22 My Jane Austen Bookclub

5/23 Most Agreeably Engaged

5/23 Half Agony, Half Hope

5/24 JustJane 1813

5/24 The Ardent Reader

5/25 From Pemberly to Milton

5/26 Diary of an Eccentric

5/26 My Love for Jane Austen

5/27 Babblings of a Bookworm

5/28 Musings from the Yellow Kitchen

5/29 vvb32 Reads

5/29 Austenesque Reviews

*****

Giveaway: There are two giveaways.

Giveaway 1: This one is for my blog. It is one eBook copy of Modern Persuasion. It will end on May 29th at 11:59 PM. Leave a comment here to be entered and please leave me your contact info.

Giveaway 2: Fredrick’s book tour knick knacks and autographed paperback copy.  Since part of the story happens on Fredrick’s book tour, I have selected touristy knick-knacks from each of the cities they visit.  The winner will get the entire collection of knick knacks and an autographed paperback copy of the book.  This raffle is limited to US participants. To enter, people will need to sign up for my mailing list.  Everyone who signs up for the mailing list is added to the raffle and also get a short story related to Modern Persuasion: “Mary and the Anti-Feminist”.  The raffle opens on the 22nd and ends on June 5th.  The picture of the giveaway items is below.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

*****

What a fabulous giveaway you have, Ms. Marks. I think you will have some very happy winners. Thank you for having such a generous giveaway. Good luck to everyone! Don't forget the eBook giveaway for my blog post requires you to leave a comment below. The Rafflecopter is for the grand prize.

I loved reading your frequently asked questions and the facts about you. I think you are one interesting lady! :) I have a feeling your parents are correct, you can do anything you decide to do. Best wishes with your book and your blog tour.  I'm so happy to have you stop by and let us get to know you a bit.

Thank you again for allowing me to switch my post day at the last minute. You were a life saver!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Denise O'Hara and Legally Darcy

Available at Amazon
Good morning, everyone and I hope you are having a good week so far. Mine has started off with lots to do as usual but that is a good thing.

My guest today has been one 'busy' lady of late. Denise O'Hara is here with pictures and thoughts from her recent trip to California. Through her rambles, somehow Denise is still finding some time to write. She has one new book,  Legally Darcy, that recently released and another one on the way soon! Isn't that exciting! Now, back to her trip, how does that tie in with Jane Austen, you may ask? Read on! :)

*****

Thank you for hosting me today, Janet! I've just recently gotten back from a lovely visit to California, which I enjoyed immensely!

Among other sites, my husband and I spent a few days exploring the Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon. At one point I found myself overlooking a breathtaking mountain range and do you know what was going through my head at that very moment?

It was the scene from the1995 version of Pride and Prejudice when Elizabeth is touring the Peaks, along with her aunt and uncle Gardiner. I could see Mr. Gardiner's pleasant face saying to his niece, "Nature and culture in harmony, you see, Lizzy. Wildness and artifice, and all in the one perfect county."

I seriously pictured him saying those words as I looked out over the majestic scenery in front of me. I silently agreed with him.

As we hiked the hills and trails in the Parks, my husband pointed out that an upcoming trail was a lengthy one. I looked at him and replied, "Oh, I'm fine. I could walk all day!"

Mrs. Hurst's words about Elizabeth after she had walked to Netherfield to see Jane echoed in my mind and were now applied to myself. "Well, we must allow her to be an excellent walker, I suppose. But her appearance this morning – she really looked almost wild."


With a smile on my face I smoothed down my wind-blown hair, filled with a new determination to prove I too was 'an excellent walker.'

If you've ever had the pleasure of driving the long, winding mountain roads which bring you into the parks, and pulling over as each turn brings unexpected beauty into view, you may have thought of Elizabeth walking in the hills near her aunt's hometown. I certainly did. : )

Mrs. Gardener called out to her niece, "Elizabeth, be careful! How could I face your father if you took a fall?"

Elizabeth turns and looks at the vast scenery below her and sighs. "Beautiful!"


Later Elizabeth says, "I think I should be quite happy to stay my whole life in Derbyshire."

As I said, these were scenes that the 1995 P and P brought to life. Jane Austen had left these particulars to the reader's imagination. Her masterpiece had perfectly captured the moment, leading us to use our own knowledge of the area by saying, "It is not the object of this work to give a description of Derbyshire, nor of any of the remarkable places through which their route thither lay; Oxford, Blenheim, Warwick, Kenilworth, Birmingham, etc. are sufficiently known. A small part of Derbyshire is all the present concern. To the little town of Lambton, the scene of Mrs. Gardiner's former residence, and where she had lately learned some acquaintance still remained, they bent their steps, after having seen all the principal wonders of the country."


Still, I couldn't help but appreciate the visual help the various versions have  included as
Elizabeth and the Gardiners’ open carriage traveled down the road to Pemberley.

As we left the Parks, Mr. Gardener was saying, "I think we’ve seen woods and groves enough to satisfy even your enthusiasm for them, Lizzy."

And that is the magic of Jane Austen's work. Her characters have become such a part of so many of our lives, that we take them with us on adventures. And it enhances our own experiences.

As a writer of JAFF, I find myself thinking of Darcy and Elizabeth in everyday situations I encounter. A friend's recent legal case brought to mind the Proposal scene from P and P. Elizabeth's quick, decisive remarks showcase her sharp mind and ability to present convincing arguments which left Darcy rethinking his position. She would make a perfect lawyer.

That led me to write Legally Darcy. To stay true, or at least pretty close, to their ages in the original, Elizabeth would need to be a law student. However, others can't help but recognize her great potential. Darcy's studious path and background easily places him in a successful practice. That turned out to be the premise of a Modern adaptation entitled, Legally Darcy.

*****


*****

 Excerpt from Legally Darcy

“Cancel my appointments for the day,” the voice from a moment ago stated as the door opened a crack.

Elizabeth tried to keep her expression neutral as she realized that the man must indeed be Mr. Darcy. She hoped that this type of behavior was an exceedingly rare occurrence. She leaned to the side, trying to catch a glimpse of the figure in person. However, he was turned far to the side, likely looking at Charles as he spoke.

She'd seen a few pictures of the man, of course. However, a picture was not always worth its thousand words. For example, what she remembered of Darcy was of a somewhat distant man of perfect posture. Absolutely nothing of his images mentioned that he was also a raving, raging lunatic when his temper was crossed.

“But Will,” Charles’ voice came nervously from further in the room. “There is the Duncan case. The attorney is coming by this afternoon to touch base on next week’s court hearing.”
“He will have to wait until tomorrow,” Darcy stated with a flippant tone that made Elizabeth's jaw drop. She took in a breath as she scowled. “I've no mind to argue details and nuances with him today.”

What nerve! A man of his position knew full well how important such meetings were. To brush someone off so casually and with so little warning, and all because he did not feel like dealing with it? Surely, this wasn't the same Darcy that everyone respected, hated, or wanted to emulate. This man must be some hopeless slacker in the family that the real Mr. Darcy felt obligated to employ!

“Then there is still the internship we were discussing,” Charles said quickly, dashing Elizabeth's hopes of his conversant being some childish assistant. Those she knew how to deal with, but if this was indeed was her new employer… You need this internship, the voice in the back of her mind scolded, warning her against confronting the man in question. She would have to deal with all types in the field. She might as well learn to live with an arrogant superior as soon as possible.

She'd still rather eat raw chicken liver than do so.

You NEED this internship! She reminded herself sternly once again.

“What internship?” Darcy asked after a brief silence.

Elizabeth jumped in her seat at the annoyance and puzzlement in his tone. He'd taken so long to respond to Charles that she almost assumed that she might have spoken her stern thought aloud.

“Miss Elizabeth Bennet,” Charles prompted. “She is seeking out an internship with our firm. Her background is top notch for a student.”

“I've even less use for an intern today than I do the Duncans,” Darcy said with poorly concealed contempt, causing  Elizabeth to bristle in her seat. Her fingers dug into the folds of her black slacks as her lips pierced themselves into a hard, thin line.

“We discussed her interview only yesterday,” Charles protested as he gazed over the oddly haphazard desk and some scattered papers on the floor. What in the world happened while I was out?

“Charles, I am at my wit's end with gutter-trash trying to use this company as their stepping stone into society,” Darcy said with such a sharp tone that Charles took a step back in surprise.

“Elizabeth is an exceptional candidate, Darcy.” Charles floundered, his thoughts in disarray. He could not remember Darcy mentioning other interns as of late.

“Why is her application coming in so late?” Darcy asked impatiently. “Records aren't worth much if one does not use them promptly. I thought every candidate in the city flooded our office with requests weeks ago. I remember that nonsense well enough.”

“Would you just take a few minutes to look at her application? She’s at the top of her class. She's had trouble securing her internship,” Charles replied reluctantly, looking worriedly at the crack in the door. “Darcy, please close the door a moment, she is just—”

“JUST a waste of time, Charles!” Darcy snapped with growing exasperation as his hand fell away from the still open door.

“Darcy! The young lady is—”

“I won't hear it, Charles!” the man said impatiently.

Charles was alarmed at the set of the man's jaw and the red that was blossoming in his face. He'd never seen Darcy so angry in all the years they'd known each other.

“Have you considered that there might be a reason she cannot secure an internship? She was homeschooled throughout high school. Her credentials are likely not even worth the paper they are printed on! Look Charles, I’m sorry you’ve been duped.  Miss Homeschooled doesn’t have what it takes to tempt me into wasting my time.”


Darcy shook his head and made his way out into the lobby, before he said something he would regret. He needed a moment to think over the situation, to regain his composure. The intern was unfortunate, especially in the timing. However, I stand firm in my belief. The others would not pass up a promising intern. His mood did not improve as he saw a young woman rounding the corner, the door swinging shut behind her.

*****

Now that is not where I wanted this excerpt to end! How you have left us hanging, dear lady! :) Yes, that definitely makes me want to read more! How about you, Readers? Poor Lizzy. Darcy was certainly in a foul mood and she had to hear the worst of it directed at her. Wonder what has him in such a fit?  I must read to find out! 

Ms. O'Hara, I like that you are tying in homeschooling with this story. That should be an interesting take and I look forward to reading what you do with it. Thank you for stopping by today. You have had a hectic schedule for some time now so I am happy we finally were able to have you visit. 

It was interesting to read of your trip and see your pictures. Thank you for sharing them with us. I loved how you saw Lizzy and had so many flashbacks of scenes from Pride & Prejudice as you traveled. That was neat!

Denise O'Hara is offering a giveaway of three eBooks! You read correctly! Three eBooks and the giveaway is international! Thank you for such a generous giveaway. I know the readers of my blog will be happy about that. Readers, please leave a comment with info or some way I can reach you should you be the winner. The giveaway will end at 11:59 PM on the 22nd of May. Good luck to all.