Tuesday, November 26, 2019

The Watsons Blog Tour ~ Excerpt

Hello, my friends! Today it's my pleasure to bring to you an excerpt from The Watsons by Rose Servitova and Jane Austen. Rose Servitova has taken Jane Austen's uncompleted work and has finished it. I hope you enjoy reading the excerpt! 

Make sure you visit the other stops on the tour! You'll find the tour schedule below!


     Mrs Edwards rushed into the room.

     “This is quite improper, Mr Musgrave, for you to call unexpectedly like this. Had I known you were to honour us with a visit, I should not have left the young ladies unchaperoned in your presence. Why, this is how Miss Thornton came to ruination – two unsupervised meetings and an elopement. It is highly improper of you, sir, and you should have turned on your heels when you saw that a parent was not present. These casual comings and goings, at any hour of the day, may be all the fashion now but I would much rather advance notice.”

     “Madam, I had the most urgent enquiry to make of Miss Watson, on behalf of Lord Osborne. I am sure you would not intend any disrespect to his lordship. He had visited Mr Watson himself only very recently and with great concern for his welfare requested of me that if I chanced to spy any of the Miss Watsons about town, I was to find them out and make most intimate enquiries after their father’s health. Such was my commission of sorts.”

     Mrs Edwards was clearly taken aback at the sheer audacity of this young man’s willingness to talk nonsense to her, in her own home.

     “Sir, please pass on my best regards to Lord Osborne and all his family and kindly inform him that I would not wish him to live in such agitated suspense with regards the health of any of his neighbours. As Mr Watson is a dear old friend of my husband’s, we make enquiries of his health every other day. Please inform his lordship that, if he wishes it, I will happily send a note, to the castle, containing Mr Watson’s current state of health as soon as it is known to me. He may, therefore, sleep soundly at night and without the need to have his friend scrambling about town in the hope of happening upon unsuspecting, respectable ladies in an attempt to extract information from them.”

     Emma, sitting on one side of the fireplace, enjoyed a side view of Tom Musgrave and concentrated very hard to keep her face from betraying any reaction to what she heard. Mrs Edwards’ speech was committed to memory so she may retell it to Elizabeth when home. She would also have to relate how Tom Musgrave’s face contorted, how it was his turn to change colour and how quickly he withdrew from the room on its conclusion. He uttered apologies but he really had to be elsewhere on important business and so forth, hoping that he may see Mr Edwards at the hunt etc. and speedily left the room.

     On her journey home to Stanton, Emma recalled with awe the confidence of Mrs Edwards and how she had spoken so frankly and stood up to an obvious rogue without coarseness. She had cleverly exposed his unpleasing exaggerations and insincere flatteries while assuming the role of protector. Emma contemplated how fortunate Miss Edwards was to have such a parent who, although firm, was caring and mindful of her daughter. She felt a sudden pang of yearning for her own Aunt Turner and mourned the absence of loving guidance she had assumed would be hers on reaching the age of balls and courtship. (pages 89-91)

The Watsons
by Rose Servitova and Jane Austen


Can she honour her family and stay true to herself? 

Emma Watson returns to her family home after fourteen years with her wealthy and indulgent aunt. Now more refined than her siblings, Emma is shocked by her sisters’ flagrant and desperate attempts to ensnare a husband. To the surprise of the neighbourhood, Emma immediately attracts the attention of eligible suitors – notably the socially awkward Lord Osborne, heir to Osborne Castle – who could provide her with a home and high status if she is left with neither after her father’s death. Soon Emma finds herself navigating a world of unfamiliar social mores, making missteps that could affect the rest of her life. How can she make amends for the wrongs she is seen to have committed without betraying her own sense of what is right? 

Jane Austen commenced writing The Watsons over two hundred years ago, putting it aside unfinished, never to return and complete it. Now, Rose Servitova, author of acclaimed humour title, The Longbourn Letters: The Correspondence between Mr Collins and Mr Bennet has finished Austen’s manuscript in a manner true to Austen’s style and wit.

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! 

Early Praise:

“A gift for Austen fans everywhere – full of wit, informed imagination and palpable affection for Austen’s characters.” — Natalie Jenner, author of The Jane Austen Society

“Very satisfying, sometimes moving and often laugh-out-loud hilarious.” — Jane Austen Regency World Magazine

About the Author

Irish author Rose Servitova is an award-winning humor writer, event manager, and job coach for people with special needs. Her debut novel, The Longbourn Letters – The Correspondence between Mr. Collins & Mr. Bennet, described as a ‘literary triumph’, has received international acclaim since its publication in 2017. Rose enjoys talking at literary events, drinking tea and walking on Irish country roads. She lives in County Limerick with her husband, two young children and three indifferent cats. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads.

Connect with Rose Servitova

Social Media Hashtags

#TheWatsons • #JaneAusten • #HistoricalFiction • #Austenesque


November 18 My Jane Austen Book Club (Interview)
November 18 Austenprose—A Jane Austen Blog (Review)
November 19 The Lit Bitch (Excerpt)
November 20 Austenesque Reviews (Review)
November 20 vvb32 Reads (Review)
November 21 All Things Austen (Review)
November 22 My Love for Jane Austen (Spotlight)
November 25 From Pemberley to Milton (Excerpt)
November 25 Diary of an Eccentric (Interview)
November 26 So Little Time… (Excerpt)
November 27 Impressions in Ink (Review)
November 27 Babblings of a Bookworm (Spotlight)
November 28 More Agreeably Engaged (Review)
November 29 My Vices and Weaknesses (Excerpt)
November 29 The Fiction Addiction (Review)

Congratulations to Rose Servitova on the release of The Watsons

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

So, friends, what do you think? Have you read Jane Austen's The Watsons? I haven't and hesitate because, well, it's not finished, but this sounds perfect! 

Monday, November 25, 2019

Falling for Mr. Thornton Blog Tour ~ Guest Post & Giveaway!

Hello, my friends! It's my stop on the Falling for Mr. Thornton Blog Tour! Today a few of the authors briefly share thoughts about writing their short story in this anthology! There's also an awesome giveaway! Details are at the bottom of the page!

In our first guest post of this tour, Maria Grazia interviewed us about how difficult it was to move from Austen’s world to Gaskell’s, but not all authors of Falling for Mr. Thornton went through this journey. In fact, some of us are avid fans of Gaskell and the Victorian period, which is quite different from regency, so we thought readers would like to know about the specificities of writing a Gaskell variation. We asked Damaris Osborne, Evy Journey, M. Liza Marte, and Kate Forrester to go through this endeavour. We hope you all like to hear our thoughts ☺ 

Damaris Osborne: 

When writing parody, I try to retain the essential core of the characters, and then accentuate them as caricatures, but not cruelly. That was especially true of Mrs Gaskell’s creations, since I was not mocking her or her book.

The essence of Hannah Thornton is the focus of her love upon her son, the one chink in her armour which she built up in the aftermath of her husband’s ‘betrayal’ by suicide. JT has learned repression of feeling from her and is driven by integrity and a need to prove he is not his father, especially to himself. Margaret, with increasingly weak parents, has the courage to step outside the norm for a young lady and take control of more than domesticity, having opinions and speaking her mind. 

I took the kernels of these characters and plot (whilst taking the BBC serial ending) and coated them in tea and absurdity - a cup of Gaskell with a twist of Osborne?

Evy Journey:

Margaret of the North, the first novel I published, is a historical novel, a sequel to Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South, a much loved classic. With this novel and the short story in the anthology, I pay homage to Elizabeth Gaskell and Jane Austen. 

Gaskell’s novel has been described as a romance against a backdrop of industrial upheavals and the resulting occasional violent strikes. I wrote Margaret of the North as a kind of Victorian feminist bildungsroman (coming-of-age novel) couched in romance. Yes, the romance is there. But equally stressed is Margaret’s inner adventure as she fully realizes her womanhood and finds her place in a rapidly changing society. If you’re expecting a sexy plot, you may be disappointed.  I was more concerned with character development than a thrilling climax (no pun intended). Conflicts and tendresse occur just as much within the psyches of characters as they do openly between them.

I use an omniscient viewpoint and write in a style as close as I could get to that of 19th-century writers. I assumed it would fit the story better. This approach has its problems: It can seem antiquated, stilted, daunting at the very least, and most likely, impossible. Still, I had some trouble imagining the characters talking like my niece or my son and using currently popular forms of expression. I was also conscious of trodding in Gaskell and Austen’s footsteps when I wrote the second to the last chapter. Gaskell opened North and South, with scenes typical of the Austenian novel of manners. In the penultimate chapter, I borrow a frequent theme in Austen—the vagaries of courtship among young people of the period.

M. Liza Marte:

Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery.

Unlike Jane Austen, who is probably the most beloved and emulated author, who I would describe as writing genteel stories in easy, flowing verse, Gaskell in contrast, writes harsh, heavily weighted prose. Her writing voice is not whimsical, but grounded. Her world is the working class world.

At first glance, North & South is a story of social classes clashing. Yet through Gaskell deftly storytelling, we realize it is first and foremost a love story, one born of the common man’s struggle to achieve success whether in business or romance. Trying to imitate Gaskell’s prose is difficult. Gaskell’s writer’s voice is a standalone. My writer’s voice is more like a Mercury Retrograde, travelling backwards in a zig-zag path. 

My attempt to adapt North & South was born out of a need to satisfy my overactive imagination, which decided the story couldn’t end in a London parlor where we are hinted of an unseen embrace and kiss or on a train heading north, whose occupants spoke by way of gazes and smiles. I tried to emulate the basic themes of the simple man’s rise. I tried to construct a love story overflowing with emotion, it could not be contained, that even in the morally guarded Victoria era, men and women still could fall in love even without the grandeur.

I see my style of writing and choice of storyline as a mix of modern, an attempt not to sound modern, and the expectation that I achieved it. With a healthy dose of “something completely unexpected” I don’t write stories of things you know would happen, but more like stories you wish could happen.

Kate Forrester:

Later rather than sooner is the best way to sum up how I came to write an adaptation of North and South and the brooding Mr Thornton. Having seen the BBC serial of this wonderful novel I went in search of other work, not by Gaskell, but by Richard Armitage who so magnificently portrayed John Thornton. My hunt for information led me to C19 and there I discovered a writing forum where people were writing variations of not just North and South but other literary works.

As I worked my way through several of Mr Armitage’s characters I earned myself the title the Fanfic Queen but always shied away from Mr Thornton. By now I had read the novel and I suppose I felt intimidated by the perfection created by Elizabeth Gaskell which was so ably portrayed by Mr Armitage and his fellow actors. How do you improve on a classic? Eventually, I was convinced I had to try, and A Nightingale Sings took flight. At this stage in my development as a writer, I felt the only thing that I could do was pick the story up and put it in a different time and so John and Margaret’s romance played out against the backdrop of the second world war. The narrative closely followed the original source material with one notable exception. 

It wasn’t until I was invited to contribute to the anthology Falling for Mr Thornton that I was secure enough in my writing to complete a more original slant on the Gaskell story.

Falling for Mr. Thornton
Tales of North & South

Book Blurb

Amidst the turbulent backdrop of a manufacturing town in the grips of the Industrial Revolution, Elizabeth Gaskell penned the timeless passion of Mr. Thornton and Margaret Hale. A mixing of contemporary and Victorian, this short story anthology by twelve beloved authors considers familiar scenes from new points of view or re-imagined entirely. Capturing all the poignancy, heartbreak, and romance of the original tale, Falling for Mr. Thornton is a collection you will treasure again and again. 

Stories by: Trudy Brasure * Nicole Clarkston * Julia Daniels * Rose Fairbanks * Don Jacobson * Evy Journey * Nancy Klein * M. Liza Marte * Elaine Owen * Damaris Osborne * Melanie Stanford ** Foreword by Mimi Matthews ** 


On the Island By Melanie Stanford 

Travel blogger Meg Hale doesn’t want to return to John Thornton’s resort. After all, another visit won’t change her bad review. 

But the resort has changed—and so has John. 

The more time Meg spends on the island, the more she realizes she may have made a mistake. A mistake that could cost John the resort, and Meg her heart. 

Time Slips 

Passages in Time By Kate Forrester 

Set just before Margaret arrives in Milton. Mr Thornton dies in a devastating fire at Marlborough Mill - or does he? 

The First Day of Spring By M Liza Marte 

Spring this year will bring daffodils, singing birds, and the love of a lifetime. 


Loose Leaves from Milton By Damaris Osborne 

A spoof of North & South with a strong twist of tea, the British favoured beverage, and sprang from John Thornton being known as 'JT' in so many forum threads. J Tea was an obvious progression, and the story follows the television adaptation, loose-leafly, as his love for the haughty Miss Hale with the porcelain tea cup complexion, who looks down upon him upwards, brews until he has to pour out his love, unstrained. 

Continuation Reeducating Mr Thornton By Evy Journey 

When Mr. Thornton and Margaret arrived in Cadiz for a month’s visit with her brother and his new wife, he did not care much about the strange city. Nor did he have great expectations of what Cadiz could offer a visitor like him. But later, what he finds there and who he encounters change his outlook forever. 


Mistakes and Remedies By Julia Daniels 

When John Thornton’s sister goes missing, he seeks help from the one woman he can trust—the one who still holds his heart. Saving Fanny is all he hopes for, until a tender friendship begins to flourish between him and the love he had thought lost to him. 

Her Father's Last Wish By Rose Fairbanks 

Two hearts desperately in love divided by her wretched secret, one father's wish to unite them. 

The Best Medicine By Elaine Owen 

What if Thornton found a way to change Margaret's mind about him earlier in the story? Could helping Margaret's friend Bessy be the way to winning Margaret's heart? This is a short story with more than one happy ever after for more than one beloved character! 

Cinders and Smoke By Don Jacobson 

That space between the end of the riot and the new dawn where Thornton faces his demons as Higgins confronts him with questions about his humanity and where Margaret uses her compassion to bring the two sides together. 

Mischances By Nicole Clarkston 

When the wrong person discovers Margaret in a compromising position, she is forced to decide who she really wants and just how much she can trust the one man who can help her. 

Alternate Endings  

Looking to the Future By Nancy Klein 

Starting from Margaret's return to London from her trip with Mr. Bell to Helstone, this story contemplates events solely from Margaret's point of view. Margaret rues her treatment of Mr. Thornton, and wonders if she will ever have a chance to set things to right. 

Once Again By Trudy Brasure 

A deeper look at Thornton’s emotional journey from despair to bliss as he arrives in London to sign the papers to give up the mill.

Buy: Amazon (paid link)
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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

Damaris Osborne is an English author and lover of North & South, whose novella 'North & Spoof' is available from Amazon, and who is the author of a 12thC murder mystery series under another pseudonym. She says spoofing is her outlet for her 'silly streak', and her literary heroes are Jane Austen, Rudyard Kipling, Georgette Heyer and Terry Pratchett. Damaris Osborne’s other books include: North & Spoof

Don Jacobson has written professionally since his post-collegiate days as a wire service reporter in Chicago. His output has ranged from news and features to advertising, television and radio. His work has been nominated for Emmys and other awards. Earlier in his career, he published five books, all non-fiction. As a college instructor, Don teaches United States History, World History, the History of Western Civilization and Research Writing.
Don turned his passion for reading The Canon into writing #Austenesque Fiction. He has published eleven works in the genre since late 2015. As a member of The Austen Authors Collective, Don joins (and he is modestly bowing his head to admit that he is the knave in this deck of Queens and Kings) other Janeites who seek to extend the Mistress' stories beyond the endings she so carefully crafted.

Don Jacobson’s books include: Miss Bennet's First Christmas, The Bennet Wardrobe: Origins, The Keeper: Mary Bennet's Extraordinary Journey, Henry Fitzwilliam's War, The Exile (Pt. 1): Kitty Bennet and the Belle Époque, Lizzy Bennet Meets the Countess, The Exile (pt. 2): The Countess Visits Longbourn, The Avenger: Thomas Bennet and a Father's Lament, The Pilgrim: Lydia Bennet and a Soldier's Portion), Lessers and Betters Stories, Of Fortune's Reversal, The Maid and The Footman 

Elaine Owen was born in Seattle, Washington and was a precocious reader from a young age. She read Pride and Prejudice for the first time in ninth grade, causing speechless delight for her English teacher when she used it for an oral book report. She practiced writing in various forms throughout her teen years, writing stories with her friends and being chief editor of the high school yearbook. She moved to Delaware when she married.
In 1996 she won a one year contract to write guest editorials in the Sunday edition of The News Journal in Wilmington, Delaware, and she continued her writing habit in political discussion groups and occasional forays into fiction.

In 2014 she began to write Pride and Prejudice fan fiction and decided to publish her works herself to see if she might possibly sell a few copies. Thousands of books later, the results have been beyond her wildest hopes, and she plans to continue writing fiction for the foreseeable future.

When she's not writing her next great novel, Elaine relaxes by working full time, raising two children, volunteering in her church, and practicing martial arts. She can be contacted at elaineowen@writeme.com. 

Elaine Owen’s other books include: Common Ground, Duty Demands, Mr. Darcy’s Persistent Pursuit, One False Step, Love’s Fool, and An Unexpected Turn of Events

Evy Journey, SPR (Self Publishing Review) Independent Woman Author awardee, writes Women's Fiction, an amorphous category of stories written mostly for women, from a woman's point of view, as varied as that is. They can be romance, chick lit, or literary.
Evy has a Ph.D. in psychology so her particular brand of women's fiction spins tales about well-drawn characters as they cope with the problems and issues of contemporary life. These stories explore the many faces of love, loss, second chances, and finding one's way. Often, they're laced with a twist of mystery or intrigue.

She's also a wannabe artist, and a flâneuse who wishes she lived in Paris where art is everywhere and people have honed aimless roaming to an art form. She has lived in Paris a few times as a transient. 

Evy’s other books include: Margaret of the North, Hello, My Love, Hello, Agnieszka, Welcome Reluctant Stranger, Brief Encounters, and Sugar and Spice and All Those Lies.

Julia Daniels loves to write happily ever after stories that warm the heart and make the reader satisfied. From rural and farm romance to historical western romance and even romantic mystery novels, Julia can spin a tale that ends in a happy romance. Her characters come to life on the pages, drawing the reader into the love story, making them want to stick around and see what happens.
Julia lives in Nebraska with her husband and two kids. In addition to writing, she designs counted cross-stitch patterns, sews, gardens and cares for an odd menagerie of animals, including chickens and goats.

Julia Daniels’ other books include: Milton’s Mill Master, Master of her Heart, Choices of the Heart, The Earl Next Door, Duchess on the Run, and Saved by a Cowboy

Kate Forrester lives in Shropshire, one of the most beautiful counties in Britain, with her family and other animals. She has worked as a nurse in the NHS for thirty years. About five years ago she stumbled across the c19 forum and was bitten by the writing bug. Since then she has written two novels Weathering the Storm and Degrees of Silence and is about to publish her third a Nightingale Sang.

Kate Forrester’s other books include: A Nightingale Sang, Degrees of Silence, In the Shadow of the Games, The Best Things Happen While You’re Dancing, and Weathering the Storm

M. Liza Marte lives in Santa Clara, just south of San Francisco in northern California. She currently works in an Accounting corporation. She has written 16 books, four of which have been self-published and can be found on Amazon.

M. Liza Marte’s other books include: The Whistle Echoes, A Drop of Red, Above the Roars, and More than Words

Amazon Author PageGoodreads • Facebook

Melanie Stanford reads too much, plays music too loud, is sometimes dancing, and always daydreaming. She would also like her very own TARDIS, but only to travel to the past. She lives outside Calgary, Alberta, Canada with her husband, four kids, and ridiculous amounts of snow. 

Melanie Stanford’s other books include: Sway, Collide, Clash, Then Comes Winter (Anthology) and The Darcy Monologues (Anthology)

Nancy Klein: I have been writing fiction for quite a few years now, and surprise! I find I love it. I owe a huge debt of thanks to Trudy for reading what I write and offering incredibly helpful insights (and wonderful friendship). I am a writer and editor by trade, so I enjoy beta reading for other writers. Besides playing in Milton and Nottingham, I enjoy finding treasures at yard sales and auctions, running/hiking and race walking, working with dog rescue, listening to NPR (especially This American Life and Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me), travelling, singing Broadway scores, reading, drinking good wine, and hearing a good joke.

Nancy Klein’s other book is How Far the World Will Bend

Nicole Clarkston is a book lover and a happily married mom of three. Originally from Idaho, she now lives in Oregon with her own romantic hero, several horses, and one very fat dog. She has loved crafting alternate stories and sequels since she was a child, and she is never found sitting quietly without a book or a writing project.

Nicole Clarkston’s books include No Such Thing as Luck, Northern Rain, Nowhere but North, Rumours and Recklessness, The Courtship of Edward Gardiner, These Dreams, London Holiday, Nefarious, and Rational Creatures (Anthology).

Born in the wrong era, Rose Fairbanks has read nineteenth-century novels since childhood. Although she studied history, her transcript also contains every course in which she could discuss Jane Austen. Never having given up all-nighters for reading, Rose discovered her love for Historical Romance after reading Christi Caldwell's Heart of a Duke Series. 

After a financial downturn and her husband's unemployment had threatened her ability to stay at home with their special needs child, Rose began writing the kinds of stories she had loved to read for so many years. Now, a best-selling author of Jane Austen-inspired stories, she also writes Regency Romance, Historical Fiction, Paranormal Romance, and Historical Fantasy. 

Having completed a BA in history in 2008, she plans to finish her master's studies someday. When not reading or writing, Rose runs after her two young children, ignores housework, and profusely thanks her husband for doing all the dishes and laundry. She is a member of the Jane Austen Society of North America and Romance Writers of America. 

Rose Fairbanks’ books include: The Gentleman’s Impertinent Daughter, Letters from the Heart, Undone Business, No Cause to Repine, Love Lasts Longest, Mr. Darcy’s Kindness, Once Upon a December, Mr. Darcy’s Miracle at Longbourn, How Darcy Saved Christmas, Sufficient Encouragement, Renewed Hope, Extraordinary Devotion, Mr. Darcy’s Bluestocking Bride, The Secrets of Pemberley, Pledged, Reunited, Treasured, and A Sense of Obligation 

Trudy Brasure’s curiosity about life in past times and her fascination with the Victorian Era have been part of her since she was a small girl considering the ruins of her grandfather's barn in rural Pennsylvania. 

She began her own personal romance story with a whirlwind courtship. Her married life started in a picturesque colonial town on the coast of Massachusetts. With the addition of three children and several dogs, she currently lives in California.

As a hopeless romantic and a fervent enthusiast for humanity's progress, she loves almost nothing more than to engage in discussion about North and South

Trudy Brasure’s books include A Heart for Milton and In Consequence

Blog Tour Schedule:

14/11/2019 More Agreeably Engaged; Blog Tour Launch & Giveaway
19/11/2019 My Jane Austen Book Club; Author Interview & Giveaway
21/11/2019 From Pemberley to Milton; Review & Giveaway
25/11/2019 So Little Time…; Guest Post & Giveaway
05/12/2019 My Vices and Weaknesses; Review & Giveaway
10/12/2019 Diary of an Eccentric; Guest Post & Giveaway
16/12/2019 Babblings of a Bookworm; Review & Giveaway
20/12/2019 Austenesque Reviews; Guest Post & Giveaway

* * * GIVEAWAY * * *

It's giveaway time! The authors will offer one big prize to one reader following the entire blog tour. This prize will contain 13 different ebooks, one copy of Falling For Mr. Thornton and one other ebook from each author. Enter through the Rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Bonus! Two of my lucky readers will win a bookmark of Falling For Mr. Thornton! To win a bookmark, please leave a comment below. I will announce the winners of the bookmarks in the comments shortly after the blog tour is over. 

Good luck! 

Many thanks to Rita of From Pemberley to Milton for organizing and including me in this blog tour!

Congratulations to all the authors on the release of Falling For Mr. Thorton

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

What Are You Reading? ~ Nov. 20, 2019

* * Post contains affiliate links. * *

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

Current Read:

I'm currently reading Speechless* by Jessie Lewis. I didn't mean to start reading this. I opened my Kindle to start a new book, and Speechless was open, although I didn't know that's what it was. I started reading the page, and I was hooked! I love stories like this! Where Elizabeth and Darcy are forced to be together. In Speechless, Darcy is severely hurt, and Elizabeth is the only one who can take care of him because they are snowed in with no help. So far, it's so good! :)

Recently Finished:

I finished reading Holidays with Jane: Thankful Hearts* by Rebecca M. Fleming, Jennifer Becton, Melissa Buell, Nancy Kelley, Cecilia Gray, and Jessica Grey. This is a wonderful collection of modern retells of Jane Austen's novels. The authors do a fantastic job condensing each of Austen's six novels and setting them into a season or holiday. In this case, it's Thanksgiving. 

What's next?

I want to read The Knight Before Christmas* by Marilyn Brant. This is what I was going to start! Lol! Hopefully, I will get to it next. :)

*Disclaimer: Links are 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!

Have a great week, friends! Be sure to share what you've been reading! 

Thursday, November 14, 2019

The Knight Before Christmas by Marilyn Brant ~ Excerpt

Hello, my friends! I'm thrilled to have Marilyn Brant on the blog today! She has a new book, The Knight Before Christmas, and I'm so excited to read it! I love Marilyn's stories! 

Marilyn has stopped by to share a little about her book with an excerpt. I hope you enjoy! 

First and foremost, huge thanks to Candy for inviting me to visit So Little Time... today!! It’s been a while since I had the pleasure of celebrating a release, and it’s especially fun to get to be here to do that. :)

The excerpt below from The Knight Before Christmas is all about anticipation...  The hero of the story, Austin Knightley, is (somewhat impatiently) awaiting Emma Westwood’s arrival. The two of them have a shared history of having grown up in small-town Crystal Corners, Minnesota, but it’s been a long time since they interacted in person—and, until very recently, never as adults.

I think most of us have experienced a similar moment of excitement/nervousness while waiting to meet up with someone. The anticipation can be both thrilling and nerve-wracking. Do you have a moment that immediately springs to mind when you think about a situation like that? I always remember waiting for my now-husband to arrive before our first official date. I was doing teacher-related prep work to distract myself, LOL, but I kept wondering, “Are my instincts right about him?”

It turned out to be a fabulous day—and my last “first date”—29 years ago! I loved that he not only showed up on time (because punctuality = awesomeness IMO!!), but that he seemed to care as much about making our burgeoning relationship work out as I did.

I hope you’ll enjoy this excerpt from the story, and here’s wishing you a Happy Holiday Season!
     xox, Marilyn


     Austin started checking the time every five minutes from eight thirty a.m. onward. 

     “Why are you so antsy, man?” his brother David asked, as he got ready to take their dad to PT again. “Expecting an important phone call or something?”

     “Or something,” he replied, glancing at the hall clock and willing his beloved family members to leave the house, and quickly. Emma would be arriving in less than twenty minutes. 

     Once David and Dad were out the door, though, there was still Mom, who was lingering in the kitchen as if she knew someone was coming over. Specifically, someone female. 

     “Sweetheart, before I go to the grocery store, can I make some muffins or a fruit salad or anything tasty for you?”

     “Oh, no, Mom, thanks. I don’t need anything.”
“But what if someone stops by? You’ll want to be able to offer him—or her—some refreshments. At least let me brew a fresh pot of coffee.”

     It was now ten minutes to nine. He swallowed. “Coffee sounds like a great idea, but why don’t you let me make it? It’s busy at the market this time of year. You’ll want to get there early to avoid the lines.”

     His mother raised her brows slowly. No doubt about it, she had to have guessed that something was up. Under normal circumstances, he might have copped to it already, but working on a project with Emma Westwood wasn’t exactly a “normal” circumstance. It would be bad enough later when his mom, dad, and kid brother all returned and Emma was there in the house. But if any of them were hanging around to greet her upon arrival, it’d be awkward. And he didn’t need this to be any more awkward than it already was.

     Surprisingly, Mom didn’t voice any suspicions aloud. She just kissed him on the cheek, slipped on her winter coat, and grabbed her keys and shopping list. 

     “I’ll be back in a few hours,” she told him. “Maybe a little longer if I stop at Adele’s Bakery. Those sugar cookies and cocoa-caramel bars that Emma brought us were delicious. I might have to get more.” She paused and smiled...almost guilelessly, but he wasn’t fooled. “Be sure to thank her if you see her before I do.”

     “Of course,” Austin managed. Four minutes to nine. 

     Miraculously, his mother had actually pulled out of the driveway and was down the road before Emma drove up and parked in the front, curbside.

     Nine o’clock sharp.

     She knocked on the door, and he forced himself to wait five full seconds before opening it. 

     “Good morning,” she said brightly, holding up a large white paper bag containing something indistinguishable with her right hand while she waved at him with her left. 

     “Good morning, Emma.” He invited her inside. “Thanks for parking on the street, but you didn’t have to.”

     She laughed. “I didn’t want to block the driveway.” She nodded in the direction of the garage. “I’m sure your dad and brother are already at the gym. And I just saw your mom’s car pull out. I imagine the three of them will come back at some point.” She handed him the bag. “A snack for all of us for later. Or lunch, perhaps. I hope you like curried chicken salad on butter croissants.”

     He peered into the bag and he was struck by her thoughtfulness—both with the parking and with the sandwiches. “Wow. Thank you. Did you make these?”

     She shook her head. “No, but it’s a favorite of mine, and one of Jennings’s specialties.”

     He felt an unwelcome bolt of jealousy. “Who’s Jennings?”

     “He’s our family’s chef and the reason why I’m such a terrible cook.” She gave a short, self-deprecating laugh. “I never had to learn how to make anything substantial, not with Jennings in the house. And my few attempts at baking were truly embarrassing. Between Jennings and Adele, I always have wonderful meals and desserts. I leave the tough stuff to them.”

     He didn’t know how to respond to that. He’d never thought of Emma as being unable to do anything she might want—just that there were some things she considered beneath her. Maybe that wasn’t the case, though. Maybe what he’d always pegged as Emma’s damsel-in-distress act was more a crisis in confidence.

     Austin motioned for her to follow him into the kitchen, where he put her offering in the fridge and offered her a mug of hot coffee, which had just finished brewing.

     “Let me take your coat,” he said, pleased that she was wearing a thicker one today, “and then let’s grab our coffees and head downstairs to the workroom. We’ve got a drafting board and tools. Today’s going to be all about planning and collecting materials, okay?”

     “Okay.” She handed him her coat and then eyed him with a slight air of nervousness. “Am I, um, dressed correctly?” she asked.

     He gave her a quick once over and absorbed as many details as his eyes could take in. Her perfectly manicured fingernails, which would probably get chipped to bits when they brought back the wood this afternoon and started working on it. Her golden ringlets, not a hair of which was out of place. Her big blue eyes and rosebud lips... 

     Oh, c’mon, Austin. Focus on her question. The clothes.

     True to her word, she was dressed in an affluent version of “play clothes and shoes” or, at least, sneakers that weren’t remotely as ratty as Austin would have liked, but they were a far sight better than those pointy, ankle-breaking boots. She also had on a slightly baggy blue sweatshirt that complemented the color in her eyes and a pair of jeans that were marginally faded, although they weren’t baggy at all. In fact, they fit her extremely well.

     He exhaled. “Yeah. You look great,” he murmured, not liking at all just how much he meant it.

     “Thanks.” She smiled. “All right, Austin. Coffee and then work. Let’s do this!”

     “Yeah, let’s do this,” he repeated. 

The Knight Before Christmas
by Marilyn Brant

Book Description: 

THE KNIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS is a light contemporary romance by bestselling author Marilyn Brant, who also penned the award-winning and Jane Austen-inspired novels ACCORDING TO JANE and PRIDE, PREJUDICE AND THE PERFECT MATCH. 

When successful building contractor Austin Knightley returns to his hometown of Crystal Corners, Minnesota after a decade away, he vows to avoid pampered and popular types like his old high-school crush Emma Westwood—the town's biggest queen bee and self-appointed matchmaker—only to get swept into a community Christmas project she's now organizing. 

With nods to Jane Austen's classic novel EMMA, this modern heroine may be a little "clueless" in the Midwest, but she's got gifts to share and plenty to learn from the boy next door, who's all grown up and handsomer than ever. Even when a snowstorm threatens to derail her plans, she's determined to figure out how to set things right and save THE KNIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS. 

This sweet and heartwarming holiday romance is a story that can be enjoyed by readers of all ages.

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About the Author

Marilyn Brant is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author of over 20 books in the genres of contemporary women’s fiction, romantic comedy, and mystery. Her debut novel about Jane Austen won the Romance Writers of America’s prestigious Golden Heart Award® (2007), and she was named Author of the Year (2013) by the Illinois Association of Teachers of English. She’s a travel addict, a music junkie, and an insatiable book collector, who loves to discuss story structure and periodically contributes novel beat sheets to the popular screenwriting website, SaveTheCat.com. Marilyn’s family believes she’s lost unquantifiable hours to the allure of “Tasty” videos on Facebook, but she refuses to substantiate this claim. For more about her writing, visit Marilyn’s website: www.marilynbrant.com 

Connect with Marilyn Brant

Thank you, Marilyn, for stopping by! I enjoyed reading this excerpt and learning a little about your own anxious moments before your first date! I'm looking forward to reading The Knight Before Christmas! It's first up on my holiday read list for this year! 

I've reviewed some of Marilyn Brant's books:

The One That I Want
Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Bet
Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Match
The Road to You
Holiday Man
On Any Given Sundae
Double Dipping

Haha, I love how nervous Austin is! He's so adorable! What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below! 
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