Archive for the ‘Austen Authors’ Category

 I hope you’re all having a lovely Easter! I am absolutely delighted to welcome Shannon Winslow, a fellow Austen Author, to my blog – she’s celebrating the release of her new novel, Return to Longbourn, and she is sharing an exclusive, never-before-seen extract with us today! Over to you, Shannon.
Shannon Winslow
I was delighted when Jane invited me to stop here on my blog tour for my new novel Return to Longbourn. Writing this book was an absolute joy! It was such a treat to have an excuse to spend time with Darcy, Elizabeth, and the rest of the Pride and Prejudice cast again, and to revisit Longbourn, Netherfield, and Pemberley.
I pick up the story again about five years later (after the end of The Darcys of Pemberley), when Mr. Bennet sadly passes away. With Mr. Tristan Collins (the new heir to the Longbourn estate) on his way from America to claim his property, Mrs. Bennet hatches her plan. The man simply must marry one of her daughters. Nothing else will do. But will it be Mary or Kitty singled out for this dubious honor?
Neither of them is too eager at first. Kitty cannot imagine how being married to anybody by the name of Collins could be even tolerably agreeable. And, by this time, Mary is comfortably settled in her chosen life as governess to the family at Netherfield. Well, perhaps I shouldn’t have used the word “comfortably,” for her employer, Mr. Harrison Farnsworth, is not an easy man to get along with. That was apparent from the first moment Mary met him, four years past:

Return to Longbourn – Shannon Winslow

In those former days especially, the atmosphere at Netherfield altered perceptibly with the master’s presence. An air of apprehension crept over the place from top to bottom, as if the house itself held its breath in anticipation of some unknown outburst or accident. Thus, it required nothing more than Mr. Farnsworth’s suddenly coming into a room to start his wife and servants fidgeting and his children forgetting how to behave.
Mary had observed the phenomenon from her earliest days on the premises, and she could not help but feel fiercely sympathetic on Mrs. Farnsworth’s account.
 “So, this is the new governess,” declared the lord and master at his first setting eyes on Mary those years ago.
Mr. Farnsworth was not an especially imposing man to look at, being of no more than average height and build, yet his autocratic tone made even this simple statement of fact sound like a challenge – daring her to deny the charge.
Rising to face him, Mary had only nodded curtly in response.
“Yes, my dear,” his wife, who looked more frayed about the edges than usual, hastened to say. “This is Miss Bennet, Miss Mary Bennet from Longbourn. You will recall that I told you about her. She is a most accomplished and genteel young woman, and I am sure she will do very well by the children.”
I will be the judge of that, if you please, Madam.”
“Naturally,” Mrs. Farnsworth murmured, dropping her eyes to her lap, where her hands were tightly clasped.
A maid, who had come in with the tea tray, cringed as she set it down with more clatter than she intended.
“Must you make such an infernal racket?” Mr. Farnsworth barked, darting an eye in the direction of the offender.
“Sorry, sir,” said the maid as she shrank from the room.
“The rest of you, out as well,” he said, pointing to the door. “Mrs. Farnsworth, kindly take your children and go. I wish to speak to Miss Bennet.”
Mr. Farnsworth had once been a captain in the Navy, so his military bearing did not surprise Mary. Whilst the others scrambled to obey, she studied her new employer, taking his features apart one by one – the bristling dark hair, the deliberately narrowed cobalt eyes, the hard set of his mouth, and the prematurely graying beard. The beard, she told herself with devilish satisfaction, had probably been grown by way of disguising what would ultimately prove to be a weak chin. Yes, that must be the case.
It was a trick she sometimes used to steady herself when confronted with an ominous problem, mentally dissecting it into a collection of smaller, more manageable bits. In the brutish case before her, she perceived one part tyrant and one part diffident boy, both covered over with a quantity of practiced intimidation. The gentleman did not appear so alarming under this analysis. He was formidable, not by true essence, she concluded. It was rather by considerable effort, as if he could only bolster his own confidence by cowering others. Judging from the prodigious scowl he wore, Mr. Farnsworth had next set himself the task of cowering her.
“Well, Miss Bennet,” he commenced, slowly striding across the room with hands clasped behind his back and a cool, sideways gaze leveled at her. “Let us come to a right understanding at once. My wife may have engaged your services, but you shall stay or go according to my verdict. Is that clear?”
I’m proud to report that Mary stood her ground, earning a degree of respect and a wary truce with her employer. Then, when his wife died, much of the fight seemed to drain out of Mr. Farnsworth. The effects of a tormented conscience, perhaps, for treating the woman badly while she lived? These days, his moods are so changeable that Mary never knows what to expect when they meet – the old tyrant or the new man of enlightenment. The only truly safe course is to stay out of his way completely.
So maybe Mary should consider making a play for Mr. Tristan Collins after all. Then she might end by being mistress of Longbourn instead of a governess forever. On the face of things, it shouldn’t be a difficult choice, especially when her returning cousin proves to be surprisingly handsome and excellent company. Still, it wouldn’t be easy to leave Netherfield and the three children she’s become attached to. And now Kitty has taken an interest in Mr. Collins as well, setting herself up as Mary’s rival.
What do youthink? Should Mary open herself up – to the possibility of romance, but also to the risk of emotional ruin? Does she stand a chance with Tristan Collins against her younger, prettier sister? Or is she fated to find her future at Netherfield?
I didn’t know the answers myself when I began, but I’ll tell you this much. The story started pure Jane Austen, and somewhere along the way it took a turn for Jane Eyre.
Shannon Winslow, her two sons now grown, devotes much of her time to her diverse interests in music, literature, and the visual arts – writing claiming the lion’s share of her creative energies in recent years.
Ms. Winslow has published three novels to date. In 2011, she debuted with The Darcys of Pemberley, a popular sequel to Jane Austen’s Pride and PrejudiceFor Myself Alone a stand-alone Austenesque story, followed in 2012. And now comes Return to Longbourn, the next chapter of her Pride and Prejudice series.
Shannon lives with her husband in the log home they built in the countryside south of Seattle, where she writes and paints in her studio facing Mt. Rainier.
Learn more at Shannon’s website/blog (www.shannonwinslow.com), and follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Austen Authors.
Thank you for joining me today, Shannon, on your blog tour and for sharing such a fantastic excerpt! What will happen next for Mary Bennet, I wonder?!!! 


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What a lovely way to start the New Year – I’ve been honoured! Well, I may not be in the Queen’s list, but Searching for Captain Wentworth is on Meredith Esparza’s honours list.
I love this award which is for Favourite Austen-inspired original novel! Thank you so much Meredith, I can’t tell you what it means to me – I’m absolutely thrilled.

I’m on Austen Authors today with a little poem for the New Year! Inspired by Pride and Prejudice, Lizzy looks forward to a new year – with little idea of her fate. Please join me and all my fellow authors!

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Please join me tomorrow on Austen Authors for the start of the celebrations for the double wedding of Mr Darcy and his bride, Miss Elizabeth Bennet, Mr Bingley and Miss Jane Bennet.

I’ve written a couple of vignettes which I’ve loved writing. For tomorrow – A Conversation Between Jane & Lizzy on the Eve of their Wedding, and one for the following day – Mrs. Bennet’s Wedding Reflections. 

Here’s the full menu which promises to be a sumptuous wedding breakfast!

The BIG day is fast approaching! Everyone is invited!
In order to prepare for the plethora of vignettes written by the Austen Authors to cover the exciting events, we will be spacing them out for your gradual reading enjoyment.
Using a vaguely “real time” order for the wedding day – and remembering that we use EST for our official time stamp – here are the vignettes coming up:
November 15 ~ Day Before the Wedding
Preparing the Wedding Breakfast by Nina Benneton
Darcy and Elizabeth Walk, Race… and more! by Sharon Lathan
Mr. Bennet, Mr. Darcy, Mr. Gardiner, and Mr. Blingley Share a Brandy by Vera Nazarian
A Conversation Between Jane & Lizzy on the Eve of their Wedding by Jane Odiwe
Darcy and Bingley have a Last Glass Together by C. Allyn Pierson
November 16 ~ Wedding Day!
at midnight
Longbourn Ladies Dress for the Wedding by Susan Mason-Milks
Mr. and Mrs. Bennet Share a Moment while their Daughters Dress for the Wedding
by Vera Nazarian
-at noon, EST-
I Plight Thee My Troth, or… The Wedding! by Sharon Lathan
Charlotte Collins’ Wedding Reflections by Abigail Reynolds
Caroline Bingley’s Wedding Reflections by Shannon Winslow
Mrs. Bennet’s Wedding Reflections by Jane Odiwe
Caroline Bingley Acknowledges the new Mrs. Darcy by Regina Jeffers
-at 5pm, EST-
The Wedding Night of Charles and Jane Bingley by Susan Mason-Milks
-at 6pm, EST-
Wedding Night on the Road to Pemberley by Sharon Lathan
November 17 ~ First Day of New Life
-at noon, EST-
Lady Catherine, Alone at Rosings
 by Diana Birchall
Caroline Bingley Explains It All… by C. Allyn Pierson
A New Day Dawns by Sharon Lathan
~  *  ~  *  ~
In the weeks following the nuptials, the P&P200 vignettes will continue.
More is to come as our BIG November Event Month rolls on!
Please copy the invitation above and share everywhere. The more the merrier!


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Inspired by Jane Austen’s Persuasion, Searching for Captain Wentworth is set in Bath and Lyme

Continuing my audio excerpts of my new book which has been inspired by Jane Austen’s novel Persuasion. Here’s Chapter Four of Searching for Captain Wentworth – I hope you enjoy it! If you’d like to listen to the first three chapters, please click here!

I’ve had a lovely review from Laura Gerold this week for Searching for Captain Wentworth.

Is there a literary hero that shines brighter than Mr. Darcy of Pride and Prejudice? To me, the answer is yes – Captain Wentworth is to me the sexiest Austen hero and among my favorite literary romantic leads. Besides the fact that Captain Wentworth is a navy man that has made his fame and fortune at sea, he is also a man with strong feelings and passion. Who can forget his letter to Anne Elliot at the end of Persuasion where he admits to never forgetting her and harboring a love for her for eight years after her rejection of him? That letter is the most romantic letter in the history of literature!

In Searching for Captain Wentworth, one of my favorite Austen Authors, Jane Odiwe combines many of my favorite elements; romance, Jane Austen, Bath, time travel, and Persuasion to create a very romantic tale of love across the spans of time. Sophie Elliot is taking time in Bath to get over her cheating boyfriend and to see if she can finally write the novel she has always dreamed of writing. Her Great-aunt has given her the keys to the family’s old home in Bath to use during her stay. Part of the home has been split up for others to live in including her attractive new neighbor, Josh Strafford. 

Sophie soon discovers that through the use of a mysterious glove, she is able to travel back through time to Regency Bath and live the life of her ancestor and namesake Sophia Elliot. Sophia is friends with her neighbors, Cassandra and Jane Austen. The Austen’s brother, Charles, is on leave from the navy and Sophia soon finds herself falling in love with Charles. Will their love last and how will they make it work through space and time? You will need to read this novel to find out for yourself!

I love Odiwe’s characterizations in this novel. Jane was a lively young woman in the spirit of Elizabeth Bennet and I could easily see her writing her witty novels. Jane had a secret passion of her own, which was intriguing to read about. I loved how Sophia’s Elliot family strongly mirrored the Elliots from Persuasion with herself as Anne and Charles as Captain Wentworth. It was a great story and oh so romantic. I liked the surprise ending. I didn’t see it coming and it was the perfect ending.

A Gateway into Sydney Gardens, Bath

I’m absolutely thrilled to tell you my exciting news that I’m back with Austen Authors! I shall be blogging with my fellow authors from today – I’d love to see you there!


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The wonderful Diana Birchall has written a fabulous post about this previously unknown ring of Jane Austen’s on the Austen Author’s site. I think the ring is beautiful – sadly, they just don’t make them like that anymore! It throws up all sorts of intriguing questions about who bought the ring etc. and I’m sure I’m not the only one who secretly hopes there was a romantic reason behind the purchase. Do visit Austen Authors to read all about it, I’m sure you’ll be as intrigued as I am. And, if there is anyone out there with a spare £30,000 who would like to buy it, if Chawton cottage can’t find room for it, I know someone who would be very pleased to take care of it! The equally gorgeous Julie Wakefield has news of some first editions of Jane Austen’s novels in the same July 10th sale at Sotheby’s on her Austenonly blog. Please visit for a full and fascinating report!


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As I’m sure you know by now the very lovely Laurel Ann Nattress of Austenprose  has a book coming out in October! Jane Austen Made Me Do It is being published by Ballantine books, and is available for pre-order! In case you’ve forgotten, though I’m sure I’ve mentioned it once or twice, I have contributed a short story to this amazing anthology. Just look at the fantastic authors featured on the cover – I’m thrilled to think that my piece inspired by Persuasion is to be amongst them, and I can’t wait to read all the stories.
I am so excitied about this book, not least because there’s a chance I may even see it on a bookshelf here in the UK, which will be a rare treat for me!

Adam Spunberg who runs the wonderful Jane Austen Twitter Project with Lynn Shepherd contacted me to tell me about an exciting interview he had with Deborah Moggach who wrote the screenplay for the 2005 film of Pride and Prejudice. It’s a lovely interview which also features our very own Sharon Lathan who was so inspired by the film. Sharon runs the group Austen Authors along with Abigail Reynolds – if you haven’t come across this blog before do have a look. There are always quizzes and competitions to win our books, as well as articles of every kind to tempt you!

Laurel Ann also told me about a new production of Northanger Abbey here in the UK, which I would love to see – Traffic of the Stage presents Northanger Abbey, by Jane Austen, adapted by John Cooper at the Upstairs at the Gatehouse Theatre, in Highgate, north London, 19 April to 14 May 2011.
Directed by Harry Meacher, designed by Bryan Hands , cast includes Ashley Charles (James Morland), Terry Diab (Mrs Allen), Victoria Emslie (Catherine Morland), Sasha Jacques (Mary Andrews/Alice), Oliver King (Henry Tilney), Anna Passey(Isabella Thorpe), Tom Reah (General Tilney), Fergus Rees(John Thorpe), Toby Spearpoint (Captain Tilney), Saskia Willis (Eleanor Tilney).

I’m pleased as punch with this gorgeous review from Meredith at The Librarian Next Door 
Thank you so much, Meredith, you’ve made my week!
Elizabeth Bennett and Fitzwilliam Darcy are now happily married and settled into life at Pemberley. As Lizzie sets out to learn about being the mistress of such a grand home, she tries to help Georgiana overcome her shyness and attempts to reconcile her husband with his disagreeable aunt, Lady Catherine. But it’s the gossip and innuendo from local families that threatens to destroy Lizzie’s hard-won happiness. Hints of hidden secrets swirl, leaving Lizzie unsettled. Meanwhile, Darcy is adamant that Georgiana marry quickly – and not for love, but for money. Suddenly, Lizzie isn’t sure she knows her husband at all.

Picking up where Pride and Prejudice left off, Jane Odiwe’s Mr. Darcy’s Secret explores the possibilities of Lizzie and Darcy’s life after the wedding. While there is certainly no dearth of Pride and Prejudice“sequels,” Odiwe’s book stands out for being both original and highly Austen-ish. Reading this book, you can almost imagine that Austen herself is continuing her story. While familiar faces continue to grow and evolve, they still resemble the people we know and love from the original. Add in an intriguing and intricate plot with new characters, secrets to discover and mysteries to unravel and you have a thoroughly enjoyable story.
As with Pride and Prejudice, everyone’s favorite literary couple are front and center. Odiwe’s Lizzie and Darcy are very much like Austen’s – Lizzie is still spirited, quick-witted and intelligent, while Darcy can still be arrogant and conceited. But they also learn from each other, changing over time. Lizzie is determined to fit into her husband’s world and prove the naysayers wrong, so she begins to bite her tongue and passively accept the things she cannot change. Darcy, meanwhile, realizes the benefit of tempering his pride and admitting his mistakes.
Any Austen fan wants a happily-ever-after for Lizzie and Darcy, of course, and while Odiwe does give it to them, she makes them work for it. The Lizzie and Darcy of Mr. Darcy’s Secret don’t have a perfect marriage. It’s flawed, but it’s also completely realistic and watching them stand up and fight for one another is my favorite part of this book.
A handful of subplots include Georgiana discovering her own strength and a certain talent for rebellion, a still-bitter Caroline Bingley falling for an artist and hilariously attempting to impress him, and near-perfect representations of Austen’s most outrageous characters, including Mrs. Bennett and Lady Catherine. The eponymous secret of the title keeps you guessing right up to the end of the novel and, to her credit, Odiwe doesn’t necessarily resolve the mystery neatly. There’s still just a hint of ambiguity, leaving the smallest seed of doubt in readers’ minds.
Jane Odiwe’s Mr. Darcy’s Secret is a beautifully written and well-told story that echoes Austen’s original and then takes off in a new and creative direction. It’s a great addition to the ever-growing world of Pride and Prejudice inspired literature – a must-read for any Austen fan or even anyone who has ever wondered what happened after Lizzie and Darcy said, “I do.”
This last nugget of news isn’t really Jane related, but I wanted to say thank you to everyone who was so kind when our poor cat Marley died recently. We have a new kitten who is really helping to cheer us all up. Little Vinny is so cute – he’s melted all our hearts, though I have to say when he’s running up the curtains during one of his ‘mad’ half hours before he collapses and falls asleep, cute is not the word that immediately springs to mind. More like naughty scamp!


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Happy Valentine’s Day! Over at Austen Authors we’ve been celebrating the whole weekend with lots of fun stuff – on Saturday I compiled excerpts from everyone’s books – lovely romantic passages, of course – do have a look. 

I am thrilled to bits with this review from Suite 101 I don’t think if I’d written it myself I could have done it better-thank you so much, Jessica Hastings!

I’ve been over at Love, Romance, Passion talking about writing styles. Here’s the interview I had with Keira.

And here’s a guest blog from Read All Over Reviews – suitably romantic for today!

Thank you, Teresa, for inviting me to your blog to talk about my book, Mr. Darcy’s Secret, and as we are so close to Valentine’s Day, I thought it would be lovely to tell you about how some of my research was connected with the sending of flowers and love letters.
In Georgian times it was customary to send love letters and tokens, cards cut and pricked with a design to look like lace or flowers for Valentine’s Day. This was the age of the Romantic poet, and so poems were popular, they might be in the form of a riddle, such as the letter that Emma receives when Mr. Elton wishes to court her or an acrostic where the first letter of every line gives the lover’s name. Again, in Emma, Jane Austen has Frank Churchill send Jane Fairfax a very expensive valentine in the form of a pianoforte. Of course, she leaves us guessing from whom this gift has come, and I suppose that’s what makes valentines then and now, so much fun. Part of their charm is that we do not know always know the identity of the sender.
When I was writing Mr. Darcy’s Secret, I wished for Georgiana Darcy, Mr. Darcy’s sister, to receive such a gift. There are two gentlemen pursuing her, and though I wanted to give the scene an air of mystery, I also wanted her to guess which particular gentleman had sent the tussie mussie, (a country word for a bouquet). Flowers were often sent as love tokens in this time period and every flower had a special meaning, so that if you were a shy suitor you would let your lady know how you felt by sending a particular flower. I chose violets, partly because they are associated with faithfulness and modesty, but also because they are February’s flower. Georgiana’s suitor wants her to know that he is steadfast and will never forget her, and is also illustrating what he feels she represents as a lovely, modest young woman. Here’s a sneak peek from the scene. Georgiana’s maid has entered her room on a spring-like February day.
“Oh, Miss Darcy, look what we have here,” Mary said, as she returned to the bedside fussing about her charge, pummelling pillows and straightening the bedclothes. Georgiana sat up rubbing her eyes but smiling at the sight of Mary who looked most excited. “There’s no note with them, Miss,” she began, “but I expect these beauties are from Mr Calladine.”
A bunch of blue violets, their delicate heads nodding against the glossy green leaves that bound them were wrapped in waxed paper and tied with a purple ribbon. “That’s so romantic, Miss,” Mary continued. “My dear old mum says there’s hardly such a romantic flower for lovers. Faithfulness, I’ll always be true is what a violet says, and a bunch as big as this—he must have been up for hours picking them. Ooh, Miss Darcy, smell them! Just a moment, I’ll fetch a vase of water.”
Georgiana held the posy to her nose and breathed in the sweetest perfume redolent of the scents of woodland in early spring. Hugh Calladine could not be responsible for such a delightful gift, she thought. The only flowers she had received from him were a bunch of hothouse blooms forced from one of his greenhouses on the day after the announcement of their engagement. The only person who really understood flowers and would be aware of their symbolism and meaning was the only man who truly empathised with Georgiana, she knew, and, as she buried her nose deep into the tussie mussie, her happiness at the idea knew no bounds. To think of Tom wandering through the woods collecting the tiny flowers, to know that she must have been in his thoughts at such an early hour was to render her almost delirious with elation. But whilst the sense of euphoria was almost intoxicating, the antithesis of feelings in desolation and despondency soon took hold. Knowing that their love, however sweet, was forbidden and could never be gave rise to feelings of despair.
Have a fantastic Valentine’s Day with those you love!

Just a reminder that the competitions for a signed copy of Mr. Darcy’s Secret close today. Winners announced tomorrow!


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