Tuesday, October 12, 2021

The Inns of Devonshire: Timeless Regency Collection ~ Blog Tour ~ Excerpt

Happy Tuesday! I hope you are all doing well! Today I have a delightful excerpt from one of the stories in The Inns of Devonshire! This is the 18th book in the Timeless Regency Collection

The Inns of Devonshire
Timeless Regency Collections, Bk 18
by Sally Britton, Annette Lyon, and Deborah M. Hathaway


Three novellas, three times the romance, and three times the love . . . in this brand new Timeless Regency Collection 

The Seventh Star Inn, by Sally Britton

After years of looking after one another, Susan Baxter and her mother view their neighbors in Totnes as family. When a new landlord inherits the leases on their homes and businesses alike, Susan dreads knowing her world could change at the whim of a stranger. But when she meets Collin Stonecroft and his inquisitive daughter, her feelings shift quickly from cautionary to hopeful. Collin has lived in the confines of London boarding houses all his life, and he’s determined to give his daughter more. They check into the Seventh Star Inn with plans to return to London as soon as possible, but both find Miss Baxter and her local history lessons far too enchanting to leave behind. When Susan learns of Collin’s proposed changes to her beloved neighborhood, will she be able to help hLeigh’sthat some things are perfect the way they are?

The Truth about Mr. Blackmore, by Annette Lyon

Leigh’s life at the Old Grey Inn is drudgery broken by flights of fancy thanks in part to novels by Simon Blackmore. When Mattias McGrady comes to the inn for a fortnight, Leigh captures his attention. A relationship develops, and she dreads the end of his stay, which will mean a return to an unhappy life. An urgent letter to Mattias leads to him inviting Leigh to an event that stands to change both of their lives forever. If all goes well, Leigh will have a life of her choosing after all. But half-truths and lies have a way of complicating matters. When their plans go awry, Leigh loses her reputation and Mattias almost surely loses his career. Can either of them find happiness?

The Coachman’s Choice, by Deborah M. Hathaway

Ever-reliable Mary Thorne has helped her widowed mother run The Golden Mermaid Inn for years. She spends her days greeting guests, ensuring the inn runs smoothly—and dodging flirtatious remarks from passing coachmen. But she’s far too busy to pay any attention to such men, even the enticingly attractive Mr. Northcott. Known far and wide for his horsemanship, punctuality, and dallying reputation, Robert Northcott relishes his life as a coachman, especially his freedom to flirt with numerous women from inn to inn, all without the messy details of commitment. There’s just one woman who’s immune to his charms: the lovely, single landlady of The Golden Mermaid. Robert is determined to win Mary over, just as heartily as she is determined to keep her distance from him. But his carefree life is threatened when his pursual of Mary becomes more than just a game...

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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! 

Excerpt from The Truth About Mr. Blackmore, by Annette Lyon

Mattias found his room without any trouble—number seventeen. Was that good luck? According to biblical scholars, seven was lucky, holy, or some such. But what about seventeen? He unlocked the door and pushed it open, the hinges squeaking slightly. He stepped inside the room—clean and modest, with plenty of space for one man.

The room held a bed, a chest of drawers with a basin and pitcher atop, and a mirror on the wall above that. He walked about the room, noting its details—an extra blanket folded at the foot of the bed, the smell of a newly sanded floor, a mug and brush hidden behind the pitcher. His eyes landed on a coat rack beside the door. He removed his coat and hat and settled them there. They’d done their job well, but the cold had gotten into his boots. Hopefully the servants would be up soon with his trunk, and one would light a fire.

His quarters had a window and small table and chair—a must for his work. He’d forgotten to ensure his room had a writing table. He’d been flustered after being left in an unfamiliar village during a rainstorm. Then Miss Cutler’s appearance had taken any room his mind would have had for such matters, and she continued to be in his thoughts.

What fortune it was she’d passed by and was the kind of woman willing to help a stranger. That itself was no small thing. Without a chaperone, many women would avoid speaking to a man they didn’t know. She’d been eager to help another despite social rules.

During their brief encounter, she hadn’t seemed to mind the rain, though she’d clutched a book of sorts she’d protected from getting wet. He understood that quite well. He sensed she’d been returning from an outing, perhaps from reading whatever book she’d carried. If she enjoyed the outdoors and clean air as much as he did—a welcome respite from the polluted miasma of London—perhaps they’d enjoy some of those things together during his stay.

Mattias stared out the window. How long would the rain last? The driver had bemoaned the storm, worried he’d break a wheel or get stuck in the mud. Mattias did not envy those whose livelihoods depended upon elements outside their control.

He shot a bit of gratitude toward the heavens for his ability to pay for personal expenses and have a decent-sized amount saved as well. Born of Irish parents who’d been poor beyond comprehension, Mattias had learned early that the slightest unexpected expense could be devastating. Like the cost of the physician who examined Ma, bled her, and gave her medicine. Whatever concoction had been in the bottle only made her sicker. The cost was so great that his father had been sent to debtor’s prison when they couldn’t pay rent that month. ’Twas not Da’s first time there. Despite his comfortably deep pockets today, he’d never forget that life was uncertain.

Mattias turned from the window and his thoughts. While waiting for his trunk to be brought up, he might as well get his work things arranged. He considered starting a fire in the small fireplace but decided that might raise questions. Men of his supposed breeding did not know how to start a fire. 

He propped the door open so the pages could bring in the trunk, then sat at the writing desk. From his satchel, he removed one of three corked inkwells as well as a tied leather wrap, which held his papers together. A tin holding several quills came last. Later, he’d sharpen each quill so he could work longer without having to stop. He could tell he’d want to have uninterrupted time, for though he’d been in town scarcely an hour, already he felt inspiration waking in his mind and the whisperings of a story itching to be told.

Perhaps he’d spin a tale about a young woman in the rain, holding her wrap close as she hurried through the square. With a fresh sheet of paper and a sharp quill in hand, he began scribbling ideas, which came faster than he could write them.

Sometime later—seconds, minutes or longer, he couldn’t have said—a knock sounded, followed by the door slamming open as two men carried the trunk between them. “Room seventeen?”

Pages 101-103

About the Authors

Sally Britton is a wife, mother, and author who loves the world of romance, received her BA in English from Brigham Young University, and reads voraciously. She started her writing journey at the tender age of fourteen on an electric typewriter, and she’s never looked back.

Sally primarily lives in Oklahoma with her husband, four children, and Izzie the Aussie Shepherd. She loves researching, hiking, and eating too much chocolate.

Annette Lyon is a USA Today Bestselling author. She's won a Whitney Award (2010) and is an eight-time recipient of Utah's Best of State medal for fiction and short stories. She's the author of more than a dozen novels, even more novellas, a cookbook, a grammar guide, and some 120+ articles. She's worked as a professional editor for publishers and bestselling authors and graduated cum laude from BYU with a degree in English.

Deborah M. Hathaway graduated from Utah State University with a BA in Creative Writing. As a young girl, she devoured Jane Austen's novels while watching and re-watching every adaptation she could. She finds inspiration for her novels during her travels with her English husband to the United Kingdom, where she draws on the beauty of the country in such places as Ireland, Yorkshire, and her beloved Cornwall. Be sure to sign up for Deborah's Newsletter to stay updated on new releases, free and discounted Clean Romance novels, and more!

About the Series

Since 2015, Mirror Press has been publishing the Timeless Regency Collection, a curated anthology of novellas and short stories set in early 19th century England. Featuring bestselling authors from the historical romance genre, the series has hit the USA TODAY bestselling list and charted at #1 at Amazon.com. Learn more about the series and other anthologies published by Mirror Press at their website.   

About the Tour

Join the virtual book tour of THE INNS OF DEVONSHIRE, a collection of novellas by bestselling authors Sally Britton, Annette Lyon, & Deborah M. Hathaway, October 4-17, 2021. Thirty-five popular on-line influencers specializing in Regency romance, historical romance, and inspirational fiction will join in the celebration of the release of the 18th book in the bestselling Timeless Regency Collection with a spotlights, exclusive excerpts, and reviews of this new anthology set in Regency England.

Tour Schedule

Oct 04 Fire and Ice (Review)
Oct 04 Austenprose (Excerpt) 
Oct 04 Timeless Novels (Review) 
Oct 05 Lu Reviews Books (Review)
Oct 05 Beauty in the Binding (Spotlight) 
Oct 06 Probably at the Library (Review)
Oct 06 Our Book Confessions (Review) 
Oct 06 Bookworm Lisa (Review) 
Oct 07 Gwendalyn’sme Out (Review)
Oct 07 Reading with Emily (Review)
Oct 08 Bringing Up Books (Review)
Oct 08 Gwendalyn's Books (Review)
Oct 09 Becky on Books (Review) 
Oct 09 Books and Socks Rock (Review) 
Oct 10 The Christian Fiction Girl (Spotlight) 
Oct 10 Heidi Reads (Review)
Oct 11 My Jane Austen Book Club (Excerpt) 
Oct 11 Wishful EnLaura’sReview)
Oct 12 So Little Time… (Excerpt) ~ You are here!
Oct 12 The Caffeinated Bibliophile (Spotlight) 
Oct 12 Laura's Reviews (Review)
Oct 13 Austenesque Reviews (Review) 
Oct 13 Storeybook Reviews (Excerpt)
Oct 13 Rosanne E. LorChick’siew)
Oct 14 From Pemberley to Milton (Spotlight)
Oct 14 Christian Chick's Thoughts  (Review)
Oct 15 A Darn Good Read (Review)
Oct 15 Relz Reviewz (Spotlight) 
Oct 15 Reading is My Superpower (Review) 
Oct 16 My Bookish Bliss (Review) 
Oct 17 The Book Diva Reads (Spotlight)

Many thanks to Laurel Ann Nattress @ Austenprose PR for organizing and including me on this tour!

Congratulations to Sally Britton, Annette Lyon, and Deborah M. Hathaway for the release of The Inns of Devonshire

So, friends, did you enjoy the excerpt? Do you like to read anthologies? Please, leave a comment! 

Friday, October 8, 2021

Guest Post with E.M. Storm-Smith ~ Stolen Book ~ Reputation, An Easy Thing to Lose

Hello, my friends! E.M. Storm-Smith is visiting with us today. I hope you enjoy her post!

First, let me say how excited I am to be standing in for Candy on the So Little Time Blog! Thanks so much for having me. As an introduction, please let me tell you something about myself. My name is E.M. Storm-Smith. I’m a non-profit corporate attorney in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; mother to a wonderful little guy; wife to the best friend I’ve ever known; and completely new to the world of writing and publishing books! I grew up in a small town in central Indiana, and while I’ve moved around a lot since graduating high school, my family has now settled in the same county of my youth.  Before I became an attorney, I was a Nuclear Engineer civilian consultant for the US Navy. I got to work on nuclear powered submarines and aircraft carriers; designing and running tests of equipment alongside our impressive enlisted and commissioned sailors. Today, I work with nonprofit organizations to help them meet their impact goals and sustainably grow financial assets to ensure longevity. 

This winter I’ll be publishing my very first full-length novel, Reputation, An Easy Thing to Lose, a Pride and Prejudice Variation novel.

The biggest question now is how in the world did I come to write Austenesque novels? 

It all began with a stolen book.

Specifically, someone tried to steal one of my books off of an author website where I had been posting stories for like minded Jane Austen fans. But that’s not really where my writing journey started.

I started writing stories and fan fiction as an outlet after finishing law school. I had been in graduate school for four years, earning a masters degree and a JD, and had been required to read more than 100 pages then write case briefs & memos of upwards of 2,000 words per day. 

Every day. 

For Four Years. 

Then I took the bar exam and it all stopped. The bar exam is in July, my job didn’t start until after Labor Day, and I found myself at home with an 18-month-old baby and NOTHING. TO. DO. 

Fan fiction had been the thing I read for myself in between law treatises and SCOTUS cases. Most of the stories I followed (and still follow) were short stories, but a few of the authors on my favorite website would get into 50k+ word novels. Often, they would post a chapter or two per week. Just enough to feed my habit but not too much to keep me from sleeping all night. It was a wonderful escape. 

So, when I was bored and anxious about whether or not I passed the bar exam, if my baby was healthy, how to lose the baby weight that was still stubbornly stuck to my midsection, and all the other destructive thoughts floating around my brain, I decided to start my own story. The first one was just a whim, but it filled the nap time hours with something stimulating and new. 

I was terrible at first. 

My engineering degree and law school training were not at all helpful for writing fiction prose. My tenses were all over the place. I had a serious telling v. showing problem. Typos, sentence fragments, run-ons, misused phrases and words, overly dramatic character reactions, clich├ęs - you name the writing sin and I committed it.

But I was already hooked. My story was getting good reviews for its concept and gentle nudges regarding the technical writing problems. Each chapter I wrote and posted got better. Eventually, I had over 1,000 likes on my silly little story. The positive feedback was addictive. So, I kept writing the kinds of stories I liked to read and kept posting them for friends and family to find online. This went on for about six years.

Fast forward to March 2021. I sat down for the first time in probably six weeks (I’m not the best or most consistent social media user) and logged onto my author account to check comments and new followers to my stories. What was waiting for me was a torrent of messages from my readers telling me that one of my books had been stolen whole-hog and uploaded to Kindle Unlimited. 

Some unknown person just downloaded an EPUB version of my whole work, changed the title, gave it a terrible cover and tried to sell my book. I didn’t even know this had happened until about a month after it first went on sale. Thankfully my readers and online friends were quicker than I was. The bootlegged book was taken down from Kindle within a couple of days based on the nearly 100 comments between Amazon and Goodreads tagging it as a copyright infringement. 

I probably should have been mad. Maybe one day I will be mad, but what I really felt was flattered.

Someone thought my story was good enough to try and make money off of it. Maybe I could do the same. Maybe I have what it takes to actually do this thing for real. Funny enough, what I was most mad about what the zero effort put into the bootlegged book. They just changed the title to something trite and used an ugly photo for the cover that had nothing to do with the story at all. I felt like my baby, which had taken the better part of two years to write, deserved better!

So, I decided to take the plunge and publish myself.

In my day job as a corporate attorney, I had actually once helped a client and good friend set up her own publishing company to self-publish her books. I was already familiar with the contracts for most of the major online book retailers and ebook distributors. Plus, I have the background in intellectual property and copyright law needed to file for my own IP protection. I am tenacious (stubborn), detail orientated (perfectionist), hard working (obsessed), and like a new challenge (has a hard time doing the same task twice). 

I could do this!!

Spoiler alert - it was so much harder than I expected, but still really worth it.

I’d love to connect with you! Come find me in all the usual places:

Storm Haus Newsletter 






Austen Authors Group 

Reputation, An Easy Thing to Lose 
A Pride and Prejudice Variation Novel
By: E.M. Storm-Smith 

What if Mr. Bennet died in a duel with Wickham after Lydia eloped, just as Mrs. Bennet feared? Will Elizabeth and Darcy still find their happily-ever-after when the Bennet women lose their reputation and their home? If you like reading Austenesque retellings like Death Comes to Pemberley and Unleashing Mr. Darcy, then Reputation, An Easy Thing to Lose will be your cup of tea. 

Elizabeth Bennet hotly rejected Fitzwilliam Darcy’s marriage proposal nearly four months ago, but now she wonders if that was the biggest mistake of her life. Orphaned and living with her Aunt and Uncle Gardiner in London, Elizabeth is determined to take a position as a governess or companion. There is no need to wait, she believes Darcy could not renew his attentions to her after her family’s disgrace. Which is a shame because she now knows that she might just love him. 

Fitzwilliam Darcy would do anything for Elizabeth. He rushed to London as soon as hearing about Lydia Bennet’s elopement to try to find Wickham and put everything to rights. But his journey was fruitless. Then all Darcy’s effort was wasted when Mr. Bennet died of his wounds before Darcy could bring a doctor to tend to him. Now, he must convince Elizabeth to forgive and marry him before all hope is lost. 

Elizabeth and Darcy are left to try to salvage what is left of their reputations after Mr. Bennet dies and Lydia’s shame becomes complete. Follow our favourite Austen lovers through sacrifice, frustration, a secret marriage, and a whole lot of shenanigans from the marriage minded ladies of London.
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E.M Storm-Smith, thank you so much for stopping by today! I found your journey into writing fascinating! It was great getting to know you, and I look forward to reading Reputation, An Easy Thing to Lose!

Friends, what did you think? I hope you enjoy getting to know E.M. Storm-Smith as much as I did! Let us know by leaving a comment! Thanks!

Monday, October 4, 2021

Giveaway winner!

Hello, my friends! I'm happy to announce the winner of A Seaside Summer: Timeless Regency Collection giveaway!

Congratulations to Sophia Rose!

She won her choice of an eBook from the Timeless Regency Collection!

Many thanks to Laural Ann Nattress at Austenprose for organizing and including me on the tour!

And to Mirror Press for generously giving one eBook per blog post on this tour! Thank you!

Check out A Seaside Summer and the other Timeless Regency Collections.

FTC Disclaimer: A Seaside Summer and Timeless Regency Collections are linked 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. Thank you! 

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

A Seaside Summer: Timeless Regency Collection ~ Spotlight & #Giveaway!

Hello, my friends! Technically, summer is over but the days are still warm at my place, and this collection of novellas are perfect to get in a few more summer reads!  

Be sure to check out the giveaway at the bottom of the page!

A Seaside Summer
Timeless Regency Romance Collection (Book 17)
by Josi S. Kilpack, Martha Keyes, & Heather B. Moore


Summer on the seaside . . . a perfect place for romance.

Join us for three novellas in one collection:

The New Countess, by Josi S. Kilpack 

Diane knows why the earl asked her to marry him; he needed a mother for his daughter, an heir for his title, and a hostess to assist with his position in Parliament. With two sons of her own, and no security to speak of, she never thought twice about accepting his proposal. Summering at his holiday cottage at the sea was meant to be reward for a busy first year as the new countess, and a time for her to rest before their baby is born. She is expecting lazy days on the beach with the children, simple meals, and keeping her own schedule. When the earl surprises her with a visit, she does her best not to resent the intrusion. When she learns that he came for the sole purpose of being with her and getting to know her better, she realizes that perhaps this marriage can be more than she expected. Is she ready for him to know her and love her and explore this new possibility together? She wants to be, but it is not an easy thing to let go of expectations and open up to an entirely new way of life.

Mishaps and Memories, by Martha Keyes 

Judith Jardine’s one chance at a brilliant match is doomed from the start when she is ignored and then mocked by the ton’s most sought-after gentleman. Under a gloomy cloud of failure, Judith is exiled to a seaside cottage to spend the summer helping her sister—and living a life far below the one she experienced for her week in Brighton. When she discovers the man responsible for her misfortune unconscious on the beach, she heeds her better impulses and has him brought to the cottage to be seen to. But James Carlisle has no recollection of who he is, what happened to him, or how he has wronged her, and Judith sees the opportunity to teach him a valuable lesson—unless the deception and her feelings get the best of her first.

Moonlight Summer, by Heather B. Moore 

Oscar Rosewell’s life is not lacking in many things even though he lives on the fringes of society due to his father’s ruined reputation. He’s sworn off having any personal relationships with ton members—his only interest lies in keeping his business thriving. He’s content with his day-to-day anonymity, and business keeps his heart from getting exposed. It’s safer that way. Until Oscar meets Miss Dorothea Atkinson. A woman capturing his interest is a rare thing, but Miss Atkinson is nearly engaged to a man of her parents’ choosing. Would it be wrong to wish for something to go terribly wrong between the couple? Soon, Oscar learns that wishing can become a reality, but often, the price is an even heavier thing to pay.
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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

Josi S. Kilpack is the bestselling author of several Proper Romance, Timeless Romance series, and a Cozy Culinary Mystery series. Her books, A Heart Revealed and Lord Fenton's Folly; were Publishers Weekly Best Romance Books of the Year. She and her husband, Lee, are the parents of four children

Martha Keyes is a Whitney Award-winning author born, raised, and educated in Utah—a home she loves dearly but also dearly loves to escape whenever she can by traveling the world. She received a BA in French Studies and a Master of Public Health, both from Brigham Young University.

Word crafting has always fascinated her, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that she considered writing her own stories. When she isn’t writing, she is honing her photography skills, looking for travel deals, and spending time with her family. She lives with her husband and twin boys in Vineyard, Utah.

Heather B. Moore is a USA Today bestseller and award-winning author of more than seventy publications. She's lived on both the east and west coasts of the United States, including Hawaii, and attended school abroad including the Cairo American College in Egypt, and the Anglican School of Jerusalem in Israel. She loves to learn about anything in history and, as an author, is passionate about historical research.

About the Series

Since 2015, Mirror Press has been presenting the Timeless Regency Romance Collection, a curated anthology of novellas and short stories set in early 19th century England. Featuring bestselling authors from the historical romance genre, the series has hit the USA TODAY bestselling list and charted at #1 at Amazon.com. In October the Timeless Regency Romance Collection will present its 18th anthology, The Inns of Devonshire, including stories by Sally Britton, Annette Lyon, and Deborah M. Hathaway. Learn more about the series and other anthologies published by Mirror Press at their website

Tour Schedule

Aug 23          Austenprose (Review)
Aug 24          My Jane Austen Book Club (Excerpt)
Aug 24          Getting Your Read On (Review)
Aug 25          The Bibliophile Files (Review)
Aug 26          Heidi Reads (Review)
Aug 27          Our Book Confessions (Review)
Aug 30          The Lit Bitch (Spotlight)
Aug 30          Wishful Endings (Review)
Aug 31          For Where Your Treasure Is (Spotlight)
Sept 01         The Book Diva Reads (Spotlight)
Sept 01         Rosanne E. Lortz (Review)
Sept 02         Laura’s Reviews (Review)
Sept 04         Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen (Excerpt)
Sept 07         Probably at the Library (Review)
Sept 08         Gwendalyn’s Books (Review)
Sept 08         So Little Time… (Spotlight) - You're here!
Sept 09         Books and Socks Rock (Spotlight)
Sept 10         Christian Chick’s Thoughts       (Review)
Sept 11         Storeybook Reviews (Excerpt)
Sept 13         From Pemberley to Milton (Review)
Sept 13         My Bookish Bliss (Review)
Sept 14         Bookworm Lisa (Review)
Sept 15         Relz Reviewz (Spotlight)
Sept 15         Reading with Emily (Review)
Sept 16         Reading is my Superpower (Review)
Sept 16         Lu Reviews Books (Review)
Sept 17         Greenish Bookshelf (Spotlight)
Sept 17         Austenesque Reviews (Review)
Sept 17         Bringing Up Books (Review)
Sept 18         Book Confessions of an Ex-Ballerina (Review)
Sept 19         Eli’s Novel Reviews (Review)

* * * GIVEAWAY * * *

It's giveaway time! Mirror Press is pleased to offer one digital copy of any of the 16 previous books in the Timeless Regency Romance Collection to one unique winner at each stop on the tour. 

To qualify, please leave a comment with this blog post before 11:59pm, September 26, 2021. Visit each stop on the tour and leave a comment to increase your chance to win a book. 

This contest is open internationally. The winner will be drawn randomly from the comments and announced on each blog on September 27, 2021. The winner must claim their prize before October 04, 2021. Good luck to all! 

Congratulations to the authors of A Seaside Summer on the release of the book!

Many thanks to Laural Ann Nattress at Austenprose for organizing and including me in the tour!

And to Mirror Press for generously giving one eBook per blog post on this tour! Thank you!

Friends, leave a comment to enter the giveaway, and for more chances to win check out the other blog on the tour! 

Friday, August 27, 2021

The Merchant and the Rogue by Sarah M. Eden ~ Blog Tour & Excerpt

Hello, my friends! Happy Friday! Today, I have a lovely excerpt for you to read from Sarah M. Eden's new book, The Merchant and the Rogue! This is the third book of The Dread Penny Society.

The Merchant and the Rogue
by Sarah M. Eden

Series: Book 3 in The Dread Penny Society
Genre: Historical Romance, Historical Mystery/Suspense, Inspirational Fiction
Publisher: Shadow Mountain Publishing
Pages: 368


London, 1865 

Vera Sorokina loves reading the Penny Dreadfuls and immersing herself in tales of adventure, mystery, and romance. Her own days are filled with the often-mundane work of running the book and print shop she owns with her father. The shop offers her the freedom and income to employ and protect the poverty-stricken Londoners she's come to care about, and it gives her father something to do other than long for their hometown of St. Petersburg. She is grateful for the stability in their lives, but she often feels lonely. 

Brogan Donnelly was born and raised in Ireland, but has lived in London for several years, where he's built a career as a Penny Dreadful writer. He has dedicated himself to the plight of the poor with the help of his sister. His membership in the secretive Dread Penny Society allows him to feel he isn't entirely wasting his life, yet he feels dissatisfied. With no one to share his life with but his sister, he fears London will never truly feel like home. 

Brogan and Vera's paths cross, and the attraction is both immediate and ill-advised. Vera knows from experience that writers are never to be trusted, and Brogan has reason to suspect not everything at her print shop is aboveboard. When the growing criminal enterprise run by the elusive and violent Mastiff begins targeting their area of London, Brogan and Vera must work together to protect the community they've both grown to love. But that means they'll need to learn to trust each other with dangerous secrets that have followed both of them from their home countries.


     Papa’s voice echoed from beyond the back door, raised in a way that told her he was talking as he approached rather than being present already. “Have you read the paper, kotik?”

     Vera lowered her voice and said to Ganor, “Another product of writers he’s willing to endure.”

     Ganor nodded solemnly.

     “I haven’t, papishka,” she called back just as Papa stepped through the doorway.

     He didn’t come all the way inside. She’d wager his distance was part of his ongoing protest over the presence of the penny serials. Vera rose from her seat and crossed to him. Ganor, thank the heavens, set himself to tasks on the other side of the shop. Papa had accepted his presence there, but he’d not seemed overly pleased at the need for hiring someone.

     “It’s about von Brunnow.” Papa pointed to an article on the page he’d folded back.

     “And what does the paper have to say about Russia’s ambassador?”

     “Rumors of a falling out with Lord Chelmsford.” More curiosity sat in Papa’s tone than alarm.

     “Odd, that. They’ve something of a friendship between them.” She took the paper from him.

     Papa scratched at his beard. “I’ve heard whispers he’s been acting strange.”

     “Which one? The baron or the ambassador?”

     “The ambassador,” Papa said as he pushed back his spectacles.

     Vera scanned the article, looking for indications of oddity in Russia’s representative. “Where’ve you heard these whispers? You haven’t much contact with the Russian community here.”

     He stiffened. He always did when talk turned to his countrymen. She ought to have known better after so many years. But his bringing up the ambassador had lulled her into thinking the topic wasn’t as forbidden as it usually was.

     “I suppose von Brunnow will sort things with the baron soon enough,” Vera said, hoping to end the discussion before Papa worked himself into a huff. “We’ve done a vast deal of business today. One of our most profitable.”

     “We’ll have more print business soon enough, you’ll see. Then you can get rid of all those—” He looked over at the display of penny dreadfuls. His nose scrunched as if he’d come across a putrid smell, sending his spectacles slipping once more.

     “They’re only stories, Papa. None of the people who write them are here, and they never will be. We’re a small shop in Soho. We’re too far below any of their notice.”

     But Papa was shaking his head in that mechanical way he did when dismissing an argument even as it was being made. Little Olly hopped into the shop in the very next moment, offering a much needed distraction. “What’ve you got new today, Miss Vera?”

     “Piles and piles, Olly.” She stepped away from her papa, knowing he’d disappear downstairs. “You remember Mr. O’Donnell.” She directed the boy’s attention that way.

     “You bought us a story last time.” Olly popped Ganor one of his cheeky salutes.

     “What’d you think of it, lad?” Ganor asked, leaning a shoulder against the doorframe, his thick arms folded across his chest, light falling on the thick scars on his knuckles.

     “It’ll be frightening, I know it. All them dead animals.” 

     Ganor nodded. “I suspect it will be.”

     Olly dropped his voice to a whisper. “Who do you think’s taking the missing animals?”

     Ganor matched the boy’s volume. “If I knew, I’d not tell you, lad. ’Twould ruin the story.”

     That brought Olly’s eyes to Vera. “Have you sorted it?”

     She shook her head. “It’s a mystery to me.”

     Raised voices echoed outside, pulling all their attention. Ganor stood nearest the door and was the first outside. Vera was there an instant later. A bit of commotion had broken out in front of the tobacconist’s shop a few doors down. Peter, the costermonger who worked on the street, stood in his usual spot just outside the print shop.

     “Any notion what’s happened?” Vera asked.

     “I heard shouts of ‘thief.’ I’m guessing Mr. Bianchi’s been robbed,” Peter said.

     “A common thing on this street?” Ganor asked.

     She shook her head. “We’ve crime, sure enough. But thievery ain’t much heard of.” Vera hooked a thumb in the direction of her own shop. “Keep an eye on the place, will you? I mean to go learn what’s happened.”

     “Surely will, Miss Vera,” Ganor said.

     No objection to being asked to remain behind while a woman investigated the danger. There weren’t many men who’d accept that arrangement, especially those with a brawler’s history.

     Vera dipped her head to a few neighbors she passed, all of whom were watching the proceedings outside the tobacco shop with worried curiosity. She reached the doorway in a matter of moments and eyed the scene.

     The shop was a bit broken up. Mr. Bianchi sat atop an overturned crate with a wet rag pressed to one eye. Mr. Overton, the barber from across the way, stood beside him, a reassuring hand on his shoulder.

     “What happened?” Vera asked.

     “A couple of roughs demanded money of him, then tossed the place around.”

     “Because he wouldn’t pay?”

     Mr. Bianchi shook his head.

     Mr. Overton answered. “He gave them what they demanded. They tore the place to bits anyway.”

     The damage didn’t look irreparable, but it was a full mess. “I’ve extra hands at my shop today. I’d bet Ganor’d be willing to come help you set the place to rights.”

     “I’ll not take away your employee,” Mr. Bianchi said. “You’d be paying him and getting nothing for it.”

     “Not a bit of truth to that. Having your shop running as it ought and showing anyone wishing to follow these roughs’ example that they’ll not manage much are both well worth doing.”

Whether Mr. Bianchi and Mr. Overton believed her, she couldn’t say, but she kept her word. Ganor was more than willing to head to the tobacconist’s and clean and sort things, though he too expressed concern about being paid by her for work he wasn’t doing for her. While she was grateful so many people were concerned for her, she was a little frustrated that no one seemed to take her at her word.

     She was still considered new in the area, and she was younger than a lot of the local merchants. Papa’s gruff standoffishness likely didn’t help. And, though she sounded London, she was told often enough that she looked Russian that she wondered if that might also be considered by some people a mark against her. There were plenty enough immigrants in this corner of London; it ought not to have been a point of trouble.

     In time, she would find a way of forging connections here. She would make a home of this bit of Soho.

     She would stop being so painfully alone.

Chapter 4, Pages 50-55

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About the Author

Sarah M. Eden is the author of critically acclaimed and award-
winning Proper Romance series novels including The Lady and the Highwayman and Ashes on the Moor. Combining her passion for history and an affinity for love stories, Sarah crafts smart, witty characters and heartfelt romances. She happily spends hours perusing the reference shelves of her local library and dreams of one day traveling to all the places she reads about.

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Tour Schedule

Aug 16 Among the Reads (Review)
Aug 16 Austenprose (Review)
Aug 16 Reading is My Superpower (Review) 
Aug 17 Literary Time Out (Review)
Aug 17 Getting Your Read On (Review)
Aug 17 Heidi Reads (Excerpt) 
Aug 17 Laura's Reviews (Review)
Aug 18 Our Book Confessions (Review)
Aug 18 Bookworm Lisa (Review)
Aug 19 Fire & Ice (Review)
Aug 19 From Pemberley to Milton (Excerpt)
Aug 20 My Bookish Bliss (Review)
Aug 20 Gwendalyn's Books (Review)
Aug 20 Storeybook Reviews (Excerpt)
Aug 21 Bookish Rantings (Review)
Aug 21 The Calico Critic (Review)
Aug 22 Books, Teacups, & Reviews (Excerpt)
Aug 23 My Jane Austen Book Club (Spotlight)
Aug 23 Reading with Emily (Review)
Aug 24 Wishful Endings (Review)
Aug 24 Relz Reviewz (Review)
Aug 24 The Book Diva Reads (Excerpt)
Aug 25 Bookfoolery (Review)
Aug 25 Greenish Bookshelf (Review)
Aug 26 A Bookish Way of Life (Review)
Aug 26 Nurse Bookie (Review)
Aug 27 So Little Time… (Excerpt)
Aug 27 Probably at the Library (Review)
Aug 27 Bringing Up Books (Review)
Aug 28 Books and Socks Rock (Review)
Aug 28 The Bibliophile Files (Review)
Aug 29 A Darn Good Read (Review)

Congratulations to Sarah on the release of The Merchant and the Rogue!

Many thanks to Laurel Ann Nattress of Austenprose for organizing and having me on this blog tour! 

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Misunderstandings & Ardent Love by Susan Adriani ~ Blog Tour ~ Author Interview & Giveaway!

Hello, my friends! I'm delighted to have Susan Adriani visiting with us! She has a new book out - Misunderstandings & Ardent Love! Woohoo! I had the pleasure to ask Susan a few questions about her new book. I hope you enjoy the interview and check out her new book! Plus, there's a chance to win an eCopy! Details are at the bottom of the page. 

Hello, Susan! I’m so excited to have you here today! Congratulations on your new book, Misunderstandings and Ardent Love! Your book Affinity and Affection (republished as The Truth About Mr. Darcy) was one of the first variations I read—way back before there were eBooks. Gosh, I remember waiting for what seemed like forever before someone would publish a paperback! Lol! How was this experience different from your first?

Hi Candy! It’s a pleasure to be your guest today—thank you so much for having me!

Wow, Affinity and Affection was written a long time ago! That was such an exciting time for me. I was brand new to writing, and the idea of sharing something I had written was not only scary, but daunting. I had found an online community I enjoyed, and, after much deliberation, I decided to take the plunge and post. I had a beta reader, and my editor was my best friend. I slapped together a cover, uploaded everything to Amazon, and hit the ‘publish’ button before I could change my mind.

My experience this time around was very different. And by different, I mean everything moved with the ease of a well-oiled machine. I had a great team of editors at Quills & Quartos to guide me through every step. Jan and Kristi were not bashful about telling me what I should cut and what I should expand upon and why. And they were wonderful listeners as well. If I felt strongly about something (be it a significant scene or some minuscule detail), they were supportive, encouraging, and always open to compromise. Misunderstandings & Ardent Love would not have become what it is without them, and I am incredibly grateful!

Since then, you’ve written a couple of novellas and some short stories. Misunderstandings and Ardent Love, a novel, is 474 pages (Kindle edition). Nice! What was your inspiration for writing M&AL?

To be perfectly honest, I love the characters in Pride and Prejudice, I love the regency period, and I love to tell stories. What drove me to write this story was not so much the storyline (there’s nothing unusual or overly dramatic about it), but the dialog and relationships between the characters and what I could do with those elements. I am not a fan of over-the-top angst. Since we’ve all had enough angst with the pandemic, I wanted to keep everything lighter and focus, not only on the relationship between Darcy and Elizabeth, but also on the relationships they have with their family members and friends. 

What is your favorite thing about M&AL?

I think my favorite thing about M&AL is that I finally finished it, lol! It was years in the making, and at one point abandoned completely. It feels great to be writing again.

Ooh, reading the book blurb, I like that Jane isn’t so forgiving of Mr. Darcy’s interference into her happiness. What insights can you give us about that?

While I don’t want to give away too much, I can tell you that Jane is hurt. She has begun to see Elizabeth’s melancholy and credits that to Darcy and his letter. She has no idea whether he means to attend her wedding and has also begun to realize he may have played a part in keeping Bingley from returning to Hertfordshire last winter. To put it bluntly, after years of being compliant, reliable, and forgiving, Jane’s patience has worn thin.

A question I like to ask is, when did you discover Jane Austen, and what is your favorite story of hers?

I was late finding Jane Austen, but I was first introduced to her through my best friend. I was in my early 20s, and she sat me down and said, “You have to watch this,” and popped a VHS recording of Andrew Davies’s 1995 BBC version of P&P into her VCR. We watched all six episodes that day, back-to-back and I bought the book the next day. The rest is history.

What inspired you to start writing Jane Austen Fan Fiction?

I love Jane Austen’s stories. I had read them all multiple times over the years, but Pride and Prejudice was the one I kept coming back to over and over again. I think what it boils down to is that Mr Darcy fascinates me. While we get to know him to some extent throughout the book, there is much about him that is still left to our imagination. Elizabeth Bennet (who I absolutely adore) misreads him again and again. Our own opinion of his character is based on hers, but we know there is more to him than meets the eye. I take immense delight in constructing my own interpretations of him (and many other beloved P&P characters) through my writing. It’s challenging and I love doing it. I love having a guideline to follow, be it a timeline, or social etiquette. I don’t always get it right, but when readers think I do there is no better feeling.

I also like to hear about your writing style. Do you map out your stories, or are you more of a seat-of-your-pants kind of writer?

Ha! I suppose that depends on what I’m writing at the time. I’ve written short stories where I’ve mostly just followed where the characters led me, and longer stories where I’ve mapped most everything out beforehand. With M&AL, it was a little of both. While I generally have an idea of where I’m going and how I want to get there, sometimes chapters and scenes and characters run astray and I end up with a very different outcome than the one I had thought to write. That’s not always a bad thing, by the way! I tend to embrace that whenever it happens…after mumbling a few choice words and shaking my head, of course! 

Lastly, are you working on anything now?

I am! But you will have to wait until July 2022 to read it. My lips are zipped.

On that note, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me today, Candy. It’s been wonderful being here with you and your readers!

Absolutely! I loved having you here! Thank you for answering my questions. 

Misunderstandings & Ardent Love
by Susan Adriani

“I have never been able to forget you...I am yours, in body and soul, for as long as I am able to draw breath.” 

AFTER MONTHS OF BROODING DESPAIR while Bingley prepares to wed Jane Bennet, Fitzwilliam Darcy realises he has no choice but to put his heart at risk and try to win the only woman he will ever love.

ELIZABETH BENNET WOULD MORE THAN WELCOME his return to Longbourn. Yet despite such mutually ardent feelings, her most beloved sister and Darcy’s own uncle hold quite the opposite points of view. 

TORN BETWEEN PERSONAL LOYALTIES and responsibilities, the couple must balance finding a discreet solution for a family scandal in London and dealing with new outrageous actions by Mr and Mrs Wickham, all while facing a Jane Bennet who cannot forgive Darcy his interference in her love story. 

Can the two overcome misunderstandings and meddling and find their way to one another at last?
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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

When she was five, Susan Adriani wanted to be an opera singer,
but changed her mind when she realized she would have to perform in front of an audience instead of her bedroom mirror. She attended art school instead and became a graphic designer who spends more time writing stories and researching the social niceties of Regency England than she does cleaning her house. She has a teenage daughter who dearly loves to laugh, and a handsome husband who is not the least bit intimidated by Mr Darcy. She makes her home in New England, and cannot imagine a world without books, Google maps, copious amounts of tea, or Jane Austen.

* * * GIVEAWAY * * *

It's giveaway time! Quills & Quartos is giving away an eBook of Misunderstandings & Ardent Love to one of my lucky readers! Leave a comment to enter!  The winner will be picked shortly after the end of the blog tour. Open Internationally!

For more chances to win, visit and leave a comment at any of the other blogs on the tour!

Again, thank you to Susan for being here today!

Also, many thanks to Quills and Quartos Publishing for having me on the tour!

So, friends, are you excited about Susan's new book?! I am!

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