Thursday, December 14, 2017

A Very Austen Christmas ~ Excerpt & Giveaway!

Hello, my friends! I'm very excited to have Robin Helm, one of the authors of A Very Austen Christmas, here today with an excerpt from her short story in the book! I hope you enjoy! 





     After breakfast, the ladies, with the exception of Elizabeth, took turns sitting with Lady Catherine. Even Charlotte spent a half hour with the lady, after sensibly pointing out that she could call for help if she need it. As the patient slept much of the time, there was no need to read aloud to her. The ladies did needlework or read a favourite book instead.

     Elizabeth occupied her time in practicing the piano and perusing the library. She found several books which caught her interest and took them to the parlour to occupy her time until the doctor arrived.

     Maria brought her sewing and settled on the settee beside her.

     “How was Lady Catherine when you left her?” asked Elizabeth.

     “I cannot say. She slept all the time I was with her. Does that mean she is better?”

     Elizabeth shrugged. “I have no way of knowing. We can only hope that her sleep is healing, I suppose.”

     Silence reigned until Charlotte joined them, coming directly from the sickroom.

     “Come sit by the window with me, Lizzy. The snow is so beautiful.”

     Elizabeth moved to be by her friend, watching the steady accumulation of the snow. Is Thomas caught in this storm somewhere between London and Rosings Park? Is he well? Has he been in a carriage accident? We parted on less than friendly terms. What if I never have another chance to speak with him? 

     She shuddered.

     Time crawled by, and her apprehension grew.

     Surely he should be here by now.

     Just before noon, they heard a commotion at the front entrance.

     Charlotte and Maria stood to smooth their skirts, but Elizabeth could not wait. 

     She hurried into the hall to see if it was indeed Thomas, but he was not the first gentleman she saw.

     Elizabeth came to a full stop. “Mr. Darcy!”

     His surprise matched her own. “Miss Bennet!”

     Thomas Jones stepped forward and grasped both of her hands. “Elizabeth! What an unexpected pleasure! ’Tis so good to see you again. I have missed you most dreadfully.”

     She blushed crimson. “Thomas! You are Lady Catherine’s physician?” 

     How shall I extract my hands from his without being rude?

     “I am Mr. Darcy’s physician and a partner to Lady Catherine’s. Mr. Hough was unable to come, for he is ill, so Mr. Darcy brought me in his place,” he replied, dropping her hands and stepping back to look at her. 

     He smiled. “You are even lovelier than when I saw you last May. I have been meaning to return to Longbourn to speak with you again. Had I known you were here, I would have insisted the coachman drive faster.”

     Speak with me again? So, he is no longer angry with me. She blanched. Does he mean to renew his addresses? 

     Darcy, meanwhile, had divested himself of his coat and hat. He turned to face her.

     “Miss Bennet, please forgive me for not greeting you properly just now.” 

     He extended his hand, and she took it. Without smiling, Darcy bowed his head in acknowledgement, then released her.

     Elizabeth’s heart sank. ’Tis as if he hardly knows me.

     Thomas watched them speculatively. “You are acquainted?”

     She nodded. “We met several times in Meryton, at Netherfield, and again this past summer when my Aunt and Uncle Gardiner and I visited Pemberley. A few days ago, Jane married Mr. Bingley, Mr. Darcy’s friend, who let Netherfield. He stood up for his friend, and I for my sister.” 

     I am babbling. It seems I have been overtaken by Lydia’s predilection. Silent. I will be silent. He that refraineth his lips is wise.

     Darcy’s expression was solemn. “I had no idea you were so well known to my physician, Miss Bennet.”

     She swallowed, choosing her words before she spoke. 
     “Thomas’s father is the Meryton apothecary. He and I are of an age, Mr. Darcy. We played together as children.”

     Thomas smiled, his eyes never leaving her face. “We were always very close, even though she is four years younger than I. Elizabeth taught me to dance. In fact, I was privileged to be the first man with whom she ever danced at an Assembly. That was six years ago when she was but fifteen, and I fear her toes have likely not yet recovered from the experience.”

Anne de Bourgh spoke from behind Elizabeth. “How very interesting. And detailed. Since my mother is resting comfortably, shall we all go into the small dining room to continue the conversation where it is warm? You gentlemen must be cold and hungry, so I directed Mrs. Robinson to have a hot meal served before you go to your chambers and then to my mother’s rooms. I ordered your favourite soup, Fitzwilliam, and a roaring fire awaits us. Mrs. Collins, Miss Lucas, and Mrs. Jenkinson are already there.”

     She turned immediately and led the party from the hall.
Elizabeth followed her without hesitation, pleased that Miss de Bourgh put the comfort of her guests above the established protocol. 

     To her surprise, she found a gentleman on either side of her. 

     Each man offered her the crook of his arm, and Elizabeth did the only thing she could think of at the moment which would offend neither gentleman. She gave one her right hand and the other her left.

     Mama would be quite pleased.

     It was not altogether unpleasant.





A Very Austen Christmas 

Four favorite authors, four heartwarming stories set in Jane Austen's Regency world.

Robin Helm, Laura Hile, Wendi Sotis, and Barbara Cornthwaite revisit Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and Mansfield Park to deliver the uplifting holiday storytelling you're looking for.


Her Christmas Gift by Robin Helm 

Elizabeth Bennet finds herself snowbound at Rosings with two rejected, but highly eligible, suitors. Does either man have a chance? Will her childhood friend, Meryton’s golden boy, win her affection, or will she accept the master of Pemberley? Perhaps she will refuse them both a second time. Her Christmas Gift deftly combines tension and emotion with humor and romance. 


The Christmas Matchmaker by Laura Hile 

It’s raining; it’s pouring – and what could be better than a little Christmas matchmaking? So says Emma Woodhouse who is unexpectedly stranded at Netherfield Park. Mr. Darcy disagrees, for she has someone else in mind for adorable Elizabeth Bennet. Amid meddling, misunderstanding, and an unwelcome proposal or two, will True Love find a way? 


No Better Gift by Wendi Sotis 

On his way to Derbyshire to spend Christmas with his family, Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy plans to retrieve an item he left behind during his rushed escape from Netherfield—and the country miss who touched his heart. Finding Meryton practically deserted, he fears the worst. What fate could have fallen upon this once-thriving village in only three weeks? More importantly, was Miss Elizabeth Bennet in danger? 


Mistletoe at Thornton Lacey by Barbara Cornthwaite 

When Edmund Bertram realizes that Fanny is the perfect wife for him, he wants to propose without delay. What better time than at Christmas? Ah, but the course of true love never does run smooth ...

Buy: Amazon
Add to Goodreads.

FTC Disclaimer: Link to Amazon. I am an Amazon Associate. Should you purchase a copy of the book through the link provided, I will receive a small commission. Thanks! 


About the Authors

    Robin Helm's time revolves around music as she dances (as badly as Mr. Collins), sings (a little better than Mary Bennet), plays (better than Marianne Dashwood – almost as well as Caroline Bingley), and teaches (channeling her inner Elinor). Her books reflect that love, as well as her fascination with the paranormal and science fiction.

      Her latest publication is Understanding Elizabeth, in which Darcy must decide how much he’s willing to pay to have what he wants. Previously published works include The Guardian Trilogy (Darcy is Elizabeth’s guardian angel), and the Yours by Design series (Fitzwilliam Darcy switches places in time with his descendant, Will Darcy).

     She lives in South Carolina and adores her one husband (Mr. Knightley), two married daughters (Elizabeth I and Elizabeth II), and three grandchildren.    

    Readers are loving Laura Hile's joyous Regency novels. Her signature style – intertwined plots, cliffhangers, and laugh-out-loud humor – keep them coming back for more. 
    The comedy Laura comes by as a teacher. There's never a dull moment with teen students!

    She recently released Darcy By Any Other Name, a comic 'body swap' romance based on Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice

    Laura lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and sons. Her fiction is for everyone, even teens. 
    
    Wendi Sotis lives on Long Island, NY, with her husband and triplets. While searching for Pride and Prejudice from Darcy’s point of view, she became thoroughly enamored with Jane Austen Fan Fiction or JAFF. In early 2010, she dreamed an idea for a story and hasn’t stopped writing since: Promises, Dreams and Expectations; All Hallows Eve; The Keys for Love; Safekeeping; The Gypsy Blessing; Foundation of Love (The Gypsy Blessing 2); and A Lesson Hard Learned
     
     Some of her works-in-progress have branched away from JAFF to Regency Romance (The Pact, due to be released in 2018) and Contemporary Romantic Mysteries (Implicated, working on a series). Wendi will also continue bringing Darcy and Lizzy together again and again in an unusual manner.
     
     Barbara Cornthwaite lives in the middle of Ireland with her husband and children. She taught college English before "retiring" to do something she loves far more; her days are now filled with homeschooling her six children, trying to keep the house tidy (a losing battle), and trying to stay warm in the damp Irish climate (also a losing battle). 

   She is surrounded by medieval castles, picturesque flocks of sheep, and ancient stone monuments. These things are unappreciated by her children, who are more impressed by traffic jams, skyscrapers, and hot weather. 

   Barbara is the author of the George Knightley, Esquire series, and A Fine Young Lady.

You can find them all on their website, Jane Started It!


* * * GIVEAWAY * * *

It's giveaway time! The lovely authors of A Very Austen Christmas would love to offer one of my readers an e-copy of the book! To enter, please leave a comment below! 

  • One person will win one e-copy (Kindle) of A Very Austen Christmas.
  • To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment below and include your e-mail address (with parentheses around (at) & (dot)).
  • Open Internationally.
  • Last day to enter the giveaway is December 2oth, 11:59 PM, Pacific Time.
Good luck! 


Congratulations on the release of A Very Austen Christmas, ladies! And many thanks to Robin Helm for sharing an excerpt with us! 

I'm looking forward to the upcoming holiday, and A Very Austen Christmas sounds like a delightful way to get a quick read in here and there during this busy time of the year! 


Any thoughts? Me, I'm wondering who this Thomas is that has his eye on Elizabeth! Lol! 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

What Are You Reading? ~ Dec. 13, 2017

* * Post contains affiliate links. * *


What are you Reading?  Let me know what your current read is, what you recently finish reading, and what you plan on reading next! 

Here's my list: 


I'm currently re-reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling. If I remember right, this one is my favorite. We'll see if I still feel the same way after finishing it again. ;)





I recently finished Mr. Darcy's Present by Regina Jeffers. I enjoyed it! It was a quick and fun read! 







What's next? For another holiday read, I'm thinking, A Very Austen Christmas by Robin M. Helm, Laura Hile, Wendi Sotis, and Barbara Cornthwaite. It's four short Jane Austen retellings set in the Regency period. Tomorrow, Robin Helm is visiting here with an excerpt from her story in the book. You should stop by if you can! 





Disclaimer: Links to Amazon. I am an Amazon Associate. Should you purchase a copy of the book through the link provided, I will receive a small commission. Thanks!



I'm linking up with This Week In Books hosted by Lipsyy Lost & Found.


And with Sam @ Taking on a World of Words


So, tell me, what are you reading? 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

True Love Comes to Delaford ~ Excerpt & Giveaway!

Hello, friends! Today I have Virginia Kohl visiting with an excerpt from her book, True Love Comes to Delaford! She is also giving away one e-copy of her book to one of my lucky readers! Details for the giveaway can be found at the bottom of the page.




My introduction to Jane Austen and the Regency era was through her first novel Sense and Sensibility. From the beginning, my favorite characters were Colonel Brandon and Elinor Dashwood. I loved the genuine respect and esteem they had for one another. It was easy to imagine this devoted friendship developing into a lasting love match. True Love Comes to Delaford is their story. 

In this excerpt, Elinor Dashwood has an unwelcome encounter while at a Ball in London: 

     When the final dance began, Elinor stood near the doorway that led out to one of the corridors. She was approached by a man she had not seen since her first Season.

     “Good evening, Miss Dashwood. It has been a long time since I have had the pleasure of seeing you at a ball. Instead of dancing, we shall take a stroll through the gardens. Where this time, we will finish what we started.”

     He grabbed her wrists before she could turn and leave. When she asked him to let go, he leaned close enough for her to smell the foul stench of liquor on his breath. 

     “That was not a request. I intend to collect what I am due.” 

     The demand sent chills up her back. He dragged her halfway down the passageway before realizing it did not lead to the terrace. Cursing under his breath, he opened the door to the nearest room. 

     “This will have to suffice. Now get in there, you hussy.” 

     When he faced her once again, Elinor knew this was her last chance. She kicked him in his groin with all her might. He dropped to his knees. Letting go of her, his hands reached for the inflicted area. 

     Not wasting a second, the young woman raced towards the safety of the ballroom. Chancing a look behind her, she did not notice the decorative rug before tripping over it. As she righted herself, the man caught up with her. He took hold of her left wrist and forcefully pulled her to face him. When she involuntarily swung around, he grabbed her right one before she had a chance to react. 

     “I will teach you to run away from me, you damn trollop. Your little act has earned you an especially painful experience,” he growled, digging his fingers into her skin.

     Her eyes darted up to him. She expected to be dragged back down the hallway, however, to her astonishment the drunkard suddenly let go completely.   

     A strong, male hand grabbed his shoulder, forcing him to turn. A fist collided with his nose, sending him to the ground. He looked up in anger, blood covering his face.

     “What in damnation? Find your own bit of muslin, this one is mine!” 

     His expression turned to one of genuine fear when the taller stranger took a firm hold of his lapels and pulled him up quite easily. The newcomer’s eyes darkened with a look of absolute fury, as he slammed the other man against the opposite wall. 

     “The lady is not yours. If you so much as touch a hair on her head ever again, I will hunt you down, not only in this life, but in the next. Do I make myself perfectly clear?” 

     He was fully Colonel Brandon now. His usual warm tone was replaced by the militaristic one he had used so often in his army days. He loosened his grip, following several seconds of the libertine’s fervent nods. Dropping down to the floor, Elinor’s attacker quickly scrambled to his feet and ran off without looking back. 

     After making sure the man was truly gone, the soldier turned to Miss Dashwood. When he suggested going to the terrace for some fresh air, the fiercely independent woman stiffly nodded without saying a word. Christopher had seen the same look numerous times on the battlefield—she was visibly shaken by the confrontation.


If you enjoyed this excerpt, True Love Comes to Delaford is available in both Kindle and trade paperback. 






True Love Comes to Delaford by Virginia Kohl

Book blurb: 

Elinor Dashwood’s father dies, leaving the fate of his family in the hands of two self-serving vultures. With diminished chances of making a respectable match and several uneventful Seasons behind her, the fiercely independent, bibliophile focuses on helping her family adjust to their new life. However, as her friendship with an honorable gentleman grows, the twenty-year-old begins experiencing feelings she never thought possible.  

When Colonel Brandon resigned from the army to become the master of his family’s estate, he thought his best days were behind him. For years, the bachelor of five-and-thirty has successfully avoided every attempt of his well-meaning friends to find him a suitable wife. Although, he soon finds himself questioning his long-held beliefs regarding his single status, when Miss Dashwood strolls into his life.  

In this refreshing whimsy, Virginia Kohl explores the possibility of Elinor Dashwood and Colonel Brandon’s devoted friendship turning into more.

Buy: Amazon
Add to Goodreads.

FTC Disclaimer: Link to Amazon. I am an Amazon Associate. Should you purchase a copy of the book through the link provided, I will receive a small commission. Thanks! 



About the Author

Virginia Kohl has been fascinated with the regency era since discovering Jane Austen’s works at the age of eleven. While others dreamt of Willoughby, it was Colonel Brandon who stole Virginia’s heart from the very beginning. Originally from Germany, she shares her Texas home with her illustrator mother and faithful rescue dog. When not passing her love of learning on to her students, this college math professor enjoys reading, writing, and being an active member of her local writer’s guild.

 The accompanying tea blend can be found at www.adagio.com/signature_blend/blend.html?blend=127735


Connect with Virginia Kohl


* * * GIVEAWAY * * *

It's giveaway time! Virginia is generously giving away one Kindle e-copy of True Love Comes to Delaford to one lucky So Little Time... reader!  To enter, please leave a comment below!

  • One person will win one e-copy (Kindle) of True Love Comes to Delaford.
  • To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment below and include your e-mail address (with parentheses around (at) & (dot)).
  • Open Internationally.
  • Last day to enter the giveaway is December 19th, 2017, 11:59 PM Pacific Time.

Good luck! 

Congratulations, Virginia, on the release of your debut novel! That's awesome! And many thanks for stopping by today and for offering one of my readers a chance to win an e-copy of the book!

Wow! What did you think of that excerpt! Pretty exciting! Poor Elinor being man-handled by that scoundrel! And Colonel Brandon to the rescue! *sigh*

Friday, December 8, 2017

COLLIDE Blog Tour! ~ Guest Post & Giveaway!

Hello, Friends! I'm very happy to have Melanie Stanford here today with her new book COLLIDE! At this stop on her blog tour, she's talking about what she did with some of Gaskell's secondary characters! I hope you enjoy and be sure to enter the giveaway! Details are at the bottom of the page! 




Thanks, Candy, for having me today! I’m so excited that COLLIDE, my second Romance Revisited novel, has finally released!

COLLIDE is inspired by Elizabeth Gaskell’s North & South. It wasn’t the easiest classic to modernize. Margaret’s parents and Mr. Thornton’s mother all play important roles in the story, as do Mr. Bell, Nicholas and Bessie Higgins, and Boucher—the man who throws a rock at Mr. Thornton and ends up hitting Margaret instead.

So what did I do with all these secondary characters? Chop chop chop went the axe. ;) Just kidding. I did cut Mr. Bell and Boucher (forgive me die-hard N&S fans for that) but there was no way I could get rid of Nicholas and Bessie Higgins. In the original story, Nicholas and Bessie both hurt and help Margaret’s relationship with Mr. Thornton. One of my favorite parts of the movie is when Nicholas tells Mr. Thornton about Fred, and Thornton replies, “He was her brother.” The look on Nicholas’ face is perfection.

In COLLIDE, Bessie Higgins becomes Bronwyn, Maggie’s roommate and a friend of her brother’s. Nicholas Higgins becomes Nico, Bronwyn’s boyfriend. A romantic relationship fit a lot better in my mind than a father-daughter one. As a character, Bronwyn is very different from Bessie, but she does for Maggie what the original character does for Margaret—be a friend. Bronwyn is one of my favorite characters in the story because she’s strong, both physically and emotionally. She says what she thinks. She’s comfortable in who she is, in contrast to Maggie who’s still trying to figure herself out. But Bronwyn is also vulnerable, and a little bit lost in her relationship with Nico. She’s trying to save him, even if it’s destroying her.

Nico and Nicholas are also very dissimilar. Where they are both kind, Nico is selfish. Where Nicholas is more serious and angry, Nico is laid-back and funny. I love Nicholas as a character but there were many moments when I disliked Nico. Also, moments when I loved him.

For me, secondary characters aren’t always easy to write. There’s a struggle not to let them fall flat, or be too one-dimensional. Gaskell does so well with Nicholas and Bessie that I tried hard to make Bronwyn and Nico as memorable as the originals, despite their differences. And if you don’t know the original story, I hope you find Bronwyn and Nico as compelling, tragic, and layered as I set out to make them.




Collide by Melanie Stanford

BLURB: 

When their worlds collide, neither will be left unscarred.



Suffocated by her small-town life, Maggie Hale runs away to Las Vegas to pursue her dream as a contemporary dancer. But Vegas doesn’t turn out like she imagined. She doesn’t make it into Essence Dance Theater and the only job she can find is working in a greasy diner—again. 



Jay Thornton wants to quit enforcing and own his own boxing gym one day. But his loan shark boss saved him from the streets as a kid and he owes the man everything. Cutting ties isn’t so simple. 



When Maggie pledges to pay back a friend’s loan, she becomes Jay’s next mark. Sparks fly between them, but choosing each other could mean the end of both their dreams.



COLLIDE is inspired by Elizabeth Gaskell’s NORTH & SOUTH

Buy: Amazon USAmazon Canada Amazon UKBarnes & NobleKobo
Add to Goodreads

FTC Disclaimer: Link to Amazon US. I am an Amazon Associate. Should you purchase a copy of the book through the link provided, I will receive a small commission. Thanks!


About the Author


Melanie Stanford writes romance and YA of different genres.
Her first novel, SWAY, a modern-day retelling of Jane Austen’s PERSUASION, debuted December 2015 from Samhain Publishing and was shortlisted for the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize. Since Samhain's closure, Melanie decided to republish SWAY herself, along with the rest of her Romance Revisited series: CLASH, a Romance Revisited novella, COLLIDE, and a third novel coming 2018. She also has short stories featured in the Austenesque anthologies THE DARCY MONOLOGUES and THEN COMES WINTER.

Melanie 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 outside Calgary, Alberta, Canada with her husband, four kids, and ridiculous amounts of snow.


Connect with Melanie Stanford




* * * GIVEAWAY * * *

It's giveaway time! Melanie is generously giving away a $25 Amazon gift card to one lucky winner! To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter below. 


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Melanie, thank you for being a guest here today! Congratulations on the release of Collide! It sounds like a wonderful story! I'm looking forward to reading it!

How about you, friends? 
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