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2017 Honorable Mentions

It was a tough decision this past year, but I’ve selected my favorites.

These are those that nearly made the list — my honorable mentions for 2017:

What books were your favorites last year?

Mailbox Monday #443

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog. To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links. Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Martha, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what we received:

These Dreams by Nicole Clarkston for review.

Pride and patriotism lend fervor to greed and cruelty, and Fitzwilliam Darcy is caught at the centre of a decades old international feud. Taken far from England, presumed dead by his family, and lost to all he holds dear, only one name remains as his beacon in the darkness: Elizabeth.

Georgiana Darcy is now the reluctant, heartbroken heiress to Pemberley, and Colonel Fitzwilliam her bewildered guardian. Vulnerable and unprepared, Georgiana desperately longs for a friend, while Fitzwilliam seeks to protect her from his own family. As the conspiracy around Darcy’s death widens and questions mount, Colonel Fitzwilliam must confront his own past. An impossible dream, long ago sacrificed for duty, may become his only hope.

Newly married Lydia Wickham returns to Longbourn- alone and under mysterious circumstances. Elizabeth Bennet watches one sister suffer and another find joy, while she lives her own days in empty regrets over what might have been. Believing Darcy lost forever, she closes her heart against both pain and happiness, but finds no escape from her dreams of him.

When We Are Married by Caitlin Williams for review.

Two sisters, one man. Someone’s heart is about to get broken.

Elizabeth Bennet quickly realises she has misjudged Mr Darcy. In Kent, she learns first impressions are not always accurate. His proposal is disastrous, insulting even, but when she reads his letter her heart begins to thaw, and her objections and prejudices start to melt away. Elizabeth decides to offer Mr Darcy a sliver of hope, an apology, and a second chance.
Yet when he begins to call at Gracechurch Street, determined to become a better man and humbled by Elizabeth’s reproofs, he unwittingly stirs the romantic hopes of another lady altogether.

Jane Bennet, bereft and confused, rejected by Charles Bingley is fearful of becoming an old maid. She is eager to fall in love with the very first gentleman who takes notice of her, and Mr Darcy’s is, after all, everything her mother has wanted for her, rich and handsome, the perfect suitor.

Through crowded, industrious Cheapside, to the elegant ballrooms of Mayfair, Mr Darcy chases Elizabeth Bennet, unaware that the quiet unassuming girl who smiles too much, is fully intent on chasing him.

Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen, annotated by Sophie Turner for review.

-Restored to the grammar, spelling, and punctuation of the 1813 Egerton first edition, save clear errors
– Forward by the editor
– Notes on historical context, including entails, debt, housekeeping, etiquette, and travelling
– Notes on Austen’s grammar
– Detailed annotations for each volume
– List of recommended further reading

The novel needs no introduction. But readers may not have realised that we have been losing “Pride and Prejudice” over the years, particularly digitally. Grammar, spelling, and punctuation have eroded significantly from the 1813 Egerton first edition, and many digital copies suffer from poor formatting.

In 2017, the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death, her “darling Child” has been painstakingly restored to the three-volume 1813 first edition. Adjustments have only been made where there were errors in the 1813 text, and are noted in detailed annotations at the end of the novel.

Please enjoy this beloved story, restored to Jane Austen’s original voice.

Imagine That! How Dr. Seuss Wrote The Cat in the Hat by Judy Sierra, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes, which is for review.

A lively new picture-book biography of the most beloved children’s book author of all time: Dr. Seuss!

Have you ever wondered how the great Dr. Seuss wrote his most famous book? Did you know that for The Cat in the Hat, he wasn’t allowed to make up the fun words he was known for—like OOBLECK and IT-KUTCH and HIPPO-NO-HUNGUS? He was only allowed to use words from a very strict list!

This bouncy account of the early career of Dr. Seuss (a.k.a. Ted Geisel) proves that sometimes limitations can be the best inspiration of all.

Kid-friendly prose (with Seussian rhyme for Ted’s dialogue) and whimsical illustrations by award winner Kevin Hawkes recall the work of Dr. Seuss himself. Writing tips from Dr. Seuss and exclusive letters from the author and illustrator, detailing how they created this book, are included!

What did you receive?

The Darcy Monologues edited by Christina Boyd & Giveaway

Source: Christina Boyd
Paperback, 414 pgs.
Kindle, 415 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

The Darcy Monologues edited by Christina Boyd is a strong collection of 15 short stories set in modern times as well as regency. These stories get inside the head of Mr. Darcy during his tangled courtship of Elizabeth Bennet, and each begins with a quote from Pride & Prejudice that inspires the story. Some of my favorite authors for Pride & Prejudice variations are in this collection, including Janetta James, Joanna Starnes, and Beau North. There are some new favorites for me too, like J. Marie Croft for her witty teasing of Mr. Darcy by Col. Fitzwilliam in “From the Ashes;” and Natalie Richards’ portrayal of Darcy as a lawyer moving through the wild west and Elizabeth Bennet as a horsewoman in “Pemberley by Stage;” and the honorable Mr. Darcy in “The Ride Home” where he picks up Elizabeth after her date with Mr. Collins and she’s quite drunk. These authors are providing a glimpse into Darcy’s transformation (sometimes literal transformation) into a man worthy of Elizabeth Bennet’s love.

For those who love Pride & Prejudice and cannot get enough of the two main characters, this is a collection you’ll want to pick up right away. There was one or two stories in the collection that I was less than happy with — one felt like I was reading a synopsis of the story — but that can happen with any short story collection. The Darcy Monologues edited by Christina Boyd offers a look inside the evolution of Mr. Darcy from the taciturn man to one who has no choice but to express his feelings and come out of his shell to win the love of Elizabeth Bennet.

RATING: Quatrain

Exclusive to the tour, please welcome Ruth Phillips Oakland as she talks about why she loves Susan Adriani.

My Love Affair with Susan Adriani by Ruth Phillips Oakland

My love affair with Susan Adriani’s writing began nearly ten years ago, with the prologue of Affinity and Affection (which later became The Truth About Mr. Darcy.) At Netherfield, Mr. Darcy startles awake to find the object of his arousing dream sitting in the chair beside him. Darcy must battle his attraction, his arousal and his embarrassment, all while contributing to a painfully polite conversation with his alluring and observant nemesis. This delightful scene gives the perfect example of my favorite Mr. Darcy; intelligent, noble, and hopelessly in love. He is the straight man to Susan’s subtle wit. A beautiful duo. And there is so much more to admire in Susan’s writing besides her Mr. Darcy; her talent to craft plots, and her meticulous attention to historical accuracy capture my imagination and transport me to Regency England. From The Truth About Mr. Darcy to Darkness Falls Upon Pemberley to the numerous short stories I’ve read on-line, Susan not only entertains me, but I learn things too. How could I not become a fan?

Since that sparkling introduction to Susan’s work, we have met and become good friends, but to finally have the opportunity to have my work appear with hers in ‘The Darcy Monologues’ is truly an honor. I hope everyone will take the opportunity to immerse themselves in the beauty of Susan’s story ‘In Terms of Perfect Composure’ in The Darcy Monologues, as well as the other fourteen stories written by many of my favorite Austenesque authors.

Please give Susan Adriani a warm welcome for her first visit here at Savvy Verse & Wit. Let’s grab a cup of tea and have a chat.

Susan, can you begin by sharing with my readers a six-word memoir about yourself?

Mom first, artist second, writer third.

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

Jane Austen was a woman who, despite the challenges of her time, managed to accomplish something that not only inspired, but brought pleasure to countless people. She was raised in what was very clearly a man’s world, where ladies (in the truest sense of the word) were not permitted to make a living for themselves, or even a name. To work was unheard of. She lived as a lady, and wrote her stories to entertain her family, and was not only acknowledged for her talent, but celebrated. (The Prince Regent was one of her biggest fans.) Her becoming a novelist, whether her name was printed on the cover or not, was an incredible accomplishment.

I began writing JA inspired fiction because of my love of her novels, most especially Pride and Prejudice. After many, many, many readings, I thirsted for more. At the time, only a few writers were daring to ask, “What if…”; I never thought I would be one of them. Writing was something I’d always enjoyed, but I didn’t really do it. I was an artist by nature, and, also by profession. But what started out as a challenge to myself (surely, I could write a novel, too!), eventually became a pastime I truly loved. If my stories can bring enjoyment to even one person, then that is all I can ask for; that’s enough to make it worth my time.

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

In Terms of Perfect Composure’ is a story based on a “What if” premise. What if Darcy did not stay in London for ten days after Bingley and Jane were reunited, but was persuaded to return earlier, in time to interrupt Lady Catherine’s visit to Longbourn? In my story Lydia has not betrayed Mr. Darcy’s involvement in her wedding, so Elizabeth knows nothing of his generosity to her family.

I set my story in the regency era because it’s the era I most enjoy. There are certain rules to follow, and societal customs to acknowledge, which not only pose a challenge, but which I enjoy trying to work within.

This year we’re coming up on the 200th anniversary of the publications of “Persuasion,” and “Northanger Abbey.” What were you trying to capture in your story, (In Terms of Perfect Composure) of Jane Austen in The Darcy Monologues?

Whenever I write anything related to Pride and Prejudice, I like to include some of Jane Austen’s own lines scattered within, be they quotes by her characters, or observations made by herself. ‘In Terms of Perfect Composure’ begins with precisely that: “Seldom, very seldom, does complete truth belong to any human disclosure; seldom does it happen that something isn’t a little disguised or a little mistaken.” I thought it could be something interesting, as Mr. Darcy abhors disguise of every sort, yet he does employ some deception when certain situations call for it. I can imagine, based on her writing and letters, that Jane Austen herself was not naïve to deception. She has a very good sense of it, and weaves it into many of her stories. Secret engagements, elopements, kept secrets, and ruinations of one sort or another fill her novels. But not every form of disguise ends in disappointment. Sometimes, as Darcy says, it really is, “done, and done for the best.”

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?

I think Mr. Darcy represents an ideal. He is tall, and handsome, intelligent, and independent. He is loyal almost to a fault. Despite his mistaken pride and ill-conceived judgment, he is willing to take responsibility for his actions and right the wrongs he has committed. He is a man who is by no means perfect, but because he loves deeply enough, and steadfastly enough, he is willing to better himself. He not only becomes a man we can respect and admire, but one we eventually even come to love.

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

Writing this story didn’t so much make me appreciate any one thing about Jane Austen more than any other, but I did realize something about myself. It’s been a few years now since I’ve written anything Austenesque, but even though so much time has passed, even though so many things have changed―even though I, myself happened to have changed―Jane Austen’s stories and characters continue to remain dear to me.

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

I’m sorry to say I haven’t been actively writing any JA inspired stories; my focus has been on my family and writing an original novel for my very deserving, very patient twelve-year-old daughter. However, as many people know, I still have a full-length JA regency novel half-written: In Doubt of Mr. Darcy. It seems like a waste to just cast it aside indefinitely, so I do, absolutely, have plans to finish that up at some point in the future. Knowing how very persuasive Mr. Darcy can be, I may even write more.

Readers can connect with me at: https://www.facebook.com/sadrianiauthor/
or at my website: https://www.thetruthaboutmrdarcy.weebly.com

I am also designing book covers and have many Regency era covers for sale. You can contact me here to see my work and to contact me: http://www.cloudcat.com

The playlist:

Check out The Pinterest Board.

Previous Posts About the Book:

International Giveaway Information:

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

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

ENTER HERE!

GOOD LUCK, EVERYONE!

Cover Reveal & Giveaway: The Darcy Monologues

I know everyone has been excited to see the cover of this May release in the Jane Austen Fan Fiction community, and I cannot wait to show it to you today.  The anthology itself will be released on May 22.

From Christina Boyd:

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!

Multi-talented author Beau North designed the individual fantastic short story graphics for our social media promotions. I think each gives a lovely overall feel for each story. And the color concept I think works well with #TheDarcyMonologues branding, too!

About the Book:

“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

Pre-order here on Amazon.

Before we get to the giveaway, I have another surprise for you. I get to share an image for Karen M Cox’s story in the anthology!

Here’s a little teaser from her story, too:

“You seem to know a lot about this book.”

“You would too if your last name was Darcy.” I mimicked an affected tone. “So, you’re Mr. Darcy. Ha-ha-ha-ha. I’ve been looking for you all my life.” With a grim shake of my head, I took a sip of my bourbon and branch. “His first name was even Fitzwilliam.”

“That sounds a lot like William.”

“Yep. My mother’s little joke–English lit major that she was. Bought me a lifetime of misery with that name.”

About Karen:

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.

International Giveaway:

One winner will be selected to win a Kindle Fire with Alexa, and a 7” display.

This giveaway will take place from March 27 – April 21, 2017. The winner will be announced on April 22, 2017.

The second giveaway is for a $25.00 Etsy gift card.

To enter this giveaway, readers will create a Pinterest Board named The Darcy Monologues and post all fifteen story images from the cover reveals, one per each author included in the anthology, and Tweet the board on Twitter. The Tweet must include the hashtag, #TheDarcyMonologues.

This giveaway will take place from March 27 – April 21, 2017. The winner will be announced on April 22, 2017.

All entries will be entered through the Rafflecopter links shown below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

***Please stop by on July 3 for my review of The Darcy Monologues***

Coming Soon: The Darcy Monologues

Coming soon to shelves is The Darcy Monologues, a collection of Regency, contemporary, and modern-day short stories inspired by Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice. The stories are written by Austenesque authors Susan Adriani, Sara Angelini, J. Marie Croft, Karen M. Cox, Jan Hahn, Jenetta James, Lory Lilian, Judy-Lynne, Beau North, KaraLynne Mackrory, Ruth Oakland Phillips, Natalie Richards, Sophia Rose, Joana Starnes, Melanie Stanford, and Caitlin Williams, and the collection has been edited by Christina Boyd.

Interview with Christina Boyd

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.

Wow, that is an exciting line-up of talent!

“The Darcy Monologues” sounds like such a fitting title for this anthology. Would you share with us how it was selected as the title, especially with so many authors involved in this project?

This project is collection of stories all told from Fitzwilliam’s point-of- view—set in Regency, contemporary, as well as other eras. Because the stories are strictly from his eyes, I felt it imperative we find a title that clearly illustrated the book would be more than one tale but all from his point-of- view. In an e-mail from “The Trials of the Honorable F. Darcy” author, Sara Angelini, she mentioned how she had long wanted to write a story titled “The Darcy Monologues” or something like… So, in presenting the idea to the group, other ideas were thrown about. After a quick Google search, we learned there was a short story on Derbyshire Writer’s Guild by Judy-Lynne with the same title. She had written a short story described as six “extemporaneous rants” expressed by Fitzwilliam Darcy. Not one to be a copycat, we moved on to other names. But as time passed, nothing resonated with me as much so I felt incumbent to ask Judy-Lynne if she would be offended if we used the same title. Unfortunately, she is rarely on the fanfiction sites anymore and everyone I asked claimed they did not know how to get in touch with her. Finally! Finally, I connected with her through “A Happy Assembly” and asked her about the title use, she accepted, and I asked her if she was still writing and would she be interested in writing a short for the anthology. She said she wasn’t writing but agreed to the challenge. And that’s my story and I’m sticking with it.

How does this project differ from anything you’ve worked on before?

I’ve worked on two other anthologies, published in 2015 by Meryton Press: “Sun-Kissed: Effusions of Summer” and “Then Comes Winter.” Both were set-up as writing contests with a panel of judges reading and selecting the submissions. This project, I am self-publishing and have assembled my own dream team.

At this point, what can you share about your experiences working with so many talented Austenesque writers?

I feel lucky! Blessed. Not only that these talented writers have all graciously committed to this project—some having not written anything Austenesque in years—but have over a short period of time become so dear to me on a personal level.

What can readers expect from this anthology?

The authors have all committed to write a short piece from Darcy’s point-of- view, between 5000-15,000 words, and must have romance—but no scenes that I wouldn’t be able to share with my teenage daughter or eighty-year- old mother-in- law. Even with that last tenet, I am amazed how these writers can turn up the heat in a room. Have your fans handy—and even a few tissues!

It seems like we just can’t get enough of Mr. Darcy! What’s his appeal, Christina, 200 years later?

“Pride and Prejudice” is told in the third-person narrative, limited omniscient, from Elizabeth Bennet’s point-of- view. In my fiction, I have always had a weakness for the rich, powerful, noble, and handsome man who changes his ways for love, and a woman worthy of his efforts. I’ve long dreamt of putting together a collection of stories all from my favorite Austen hero’s eyes. Yes, “Pride and Prejudice” has been told before from Darcy’s point-of- view by the talented Pamela Aidan, Stanley Hurd, Amanda Grange, Janet Aylmer, and Mary Street, to name a few—but with all the amazing “Pride and Prejudice” re-imaginings out there, I wanted to read alternate stories in his own words.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with us today about The Darcy Monologues?

The anthology is scheduled for release May 22, 2017 and we have a few promotions planned in the coming weeks as we finish the editing process to spit and polish the collection.

Before we part, Christina, I hear you have some rather thrilling news to share with us on a personal level, which was just announced early this week. Care to divulge the details here too?

Well… I can barely believe it myself but…I won—I WON, the Omaze “Champagne Toast with Henry Cavill on the London Eye” experience! (Fundraiser to benefit the Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund.) You read that right. I won. I’m flying to London to meet my all-time favorite book boyfriend, the very talented British actor, Henry Cavill. I have never been to England, except layovers in Heathrow—which doesn’t count—so I feel like the French teacher who has never been to France. And here I get to go, stay in a luxury hotel, explore London, and have a champagne toast with Henry Cavill. Pinch me! And yes, if he is willing, I do hope to have him sign some swag for “The Darcy Monologue” giveaways—after all, he is my book boyfriend.

About Christina Boyd:

Christina Boyd wears many hats as she is an editor, a contributor to Austenprose, and a ceramicist under her own banner, 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 remains on her bucket list.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

We are giving away some really fun prizes to three lucky winners! One winner will receive a stash of gifts to enjoy with his/her own significant other. These treats include assorted British food and beverage snacks and a Mr. Darcy quote mug.

(This prize is open to a winner with a U.S. mailing address only)

Another winner will receive two stories from the anthology; a Regency story and a contemporary or alternate era short story. The winner will choose his/her prize stories based on the authors in this anthology. These stories will be distributed to the winner on March 15, 2017.

Our third prize winner will receive a walk-on role in one of the stories in this anthology. That’s right…This winner will have a piece of the action in one of our stories, which means having a character in one of these stories in the anthology named after her/him.

This is something every JAFF reader dreams about, isn’t it? These giveaways are open for entries from Friday, January 20 until midnight, ET, on Saturday, January 28, 2017.

The winners will be announced on Sunday, January 29, 2017.