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Archive for the ‘Juliet Archer’ Category

I’m thrilled to tell you about Austenesque Extravaganza with Meredith Esparza, Angie Kroll and Jakki Leatherberry over at Austenesque Reviews. There’s plenty of fun and games planned during September. Lots of authors are participating – Juliet Archer (author of Persuade Me) is joining me in a character mash-up short story. I don’t want to tell you too much, but it involves two of our favourite characters meeting across two time zones! We hope you’re going to enjoy it! Below, there’s lots of info about the month and what you can look forward to – hope to see you soon on our blogs!

It’s time to share with you all the fun and festivities we have planned for Austenesque Extravagnza!  Just like last year, each day of the week has a special themed event.  Some you will recognize from last year, but some are brand new! As are all the beautiful banners made by Team Austenesque member, Angie Kroll! 


Are you curious to know what events you can look forward to???
Here they are, my friends!


SOCIABLE SUNDAY – This event takes place here @ Austenesque Reviews on our NEW chatboard and will consist of an informal chat with several Austenesque authors.  Here’s your chance to chat live with your favorite Austenesque author, ask them your questions, and learn more about their writing!



MATCHMAKER MONDAY – Here’s your chance to act like Emma Woodhouse!  One of your friends is looking for a specific type Austenesque novel and she needs your help.  Which novel will you pair her with?  What do you recommend?



TRAVELING TUESDAY – Time to travel through the blogsphere and take a few stops at some spectacular Austenesque author blogs!  Lots of fun, CREATIVE, and interesting posts for you to enjoy!


WEDNESDAY WORD GAMES – Mad Libs, crosswords, and all sorts of fun with words!
TOURING THURSDAY – Just like on Traveling Tuesday, you will be leaving Austenesque Reviews to visit other Austenesque author blogs and check out the awesome Austenesque posts they have written!


FUN AND GAMES FRIDAY – On Fridays we will indulge in some fun with BRAND NEW and INTERACTIVE diversions!
SPOTLIGHT SATURDAY – Make sure you set aside some time each Saturday to check out all the fantastic posts ardent admirers of Austenesque literature are sharing with us!  There are so many wonderful readers for you to meet and learn about!
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Jane Odiwe, Monica Fairview and the officers at the RNA day

In Lydia’s imagination, a visit to Brighton comprised every possibility of earthly happiness. She saw, with the creative eye of fancy, the streets of that gay bathing place covered with officers. She saw herself the object of attention to tens and to scores of them at present unknown. She saw all the glories of the camp — its tents stretched forth in beauteous uniformity of lines, crowded with the young and the gay, and dazzling with scarlet; and, to complete the view, she saw herself seated beneath a tent, tenderly flirting with at least six officers at once.
Pride and Prejudice

A fun day was had by all at the Romantic Novelist’s Association Regency Day held at the Royal Overseas club in Mayfair. As you can see, Monica Fairview and I experienced a ‘Lydia Bennet’ moment when we met a group of redcoats who were there to add a touch of authenticity to the proceedings. Thank you, Monica, for the lovely photo!
We also met fellow author Juliet Archer who was there to talk brilliantly on a panel about Sense and Sensibility, which included quite a bit of discussion about Mr. Willoughby and Colonel Brandon (would you believe?) 
I got to dance with Georgette Heyer biographer, Jennifer Kloester, who gave a fascinating talk on Georgette, and I managed to get my book signed! The Regency dancing was brilliant though I must admit Mr. Collins would probably look like an expert next to my efforts. Still, we laughed a lot, and had a good time. There are excellent reports on the day on the RNA blog and by Juliet Archer on Austen Authors.


Here’s an extract from Lydia Bennet’s Story:

Lydia Bennet, Mr. Wickham, and Kitty

Chapter 1

The true misfortune, which besets any young lady who believes herself destined for fortune and favour, is to find that she has been born into an unsuitable family. Lydia Bennet of Longbourn, Hertfordshire, not only believed that her mama and papa had most likely stolen her from noble parents, but also considered it a small miracle that they could have produced between them her own fair self and four comely girls—Jane, Lizzy, Mary and Kitty—though to tell the truth, she felt herself most blessed in looks. Lydia’s greatest desire in life was to be married before any of her sisters, but a lack of marriageable beau in the county and her papa’s reluctance to accompany her to as many Assembly Balls as she wished had thwarted her efforts thus far.
The youngest Longbourn ladies, Lydia and Kitty, were employed in preparations for a trip out into the nearby town of Meryton. Their bedchamber was strewn with cambrics, muslins, and ribbons, all cast aside for want of something better. Slippers and shoes, sashes and shawls spilled over the bed and onto the floor. Feathers, fans, and frills flowed from open drawers like a fountain cascade. Amongst the spoils, Kitty reclined against propped, plump cushions to regard her sibling, one arm resting behind her head whilst the other held back the heavy bed drapes, so as not to obscure her view. Lydia sat before the glass on her dressing table, scrutinising her reflection as she put the last touches to her toilette. She dusted a little powder over her full, rosy cheeks and twisted the dark curls on her forehead with a finger, patting them into place until she was satisfied with her appearance.
“Is it not a face designed for love?” she asked Kitty with a chuckle, practising several expressions she thought might stand her in good stead with the officers, or at the very least amuse her sister for five minutes. She was perfecting what she could only describe as a “passion promoter” to great comic effect, pouting her generous mouth and flashing her wide, black eyes with slow sweeps of her lashes, which had Kitty reeling on the bed with laughter. “No doubt, I shall capture Mr Denny’s heart once and for all!”
“I do not think making faces at Denny will make one jot of difference to his regard for you,” Kitty declared, spying a bauble amongst the strewn bedclothes and sitting up to clasp the necklace about her throat. “But, in any case, is it wise to spend so much time on a young man who has such a glad eye? I should have thought you would have learned your lesson by now!” Kitty was the sister with whom Lydia shared all her fears and secrets, cares and woes, secure in the knowledge that she was acquainted with as many of Kitty’s confidences, as her sister was of her own. Lydia would never divulge what followed when Charles Palmer detained Kitty in the conservatory and proposed to show her the illuminations, nor disclose intelligence of the letters that passed between them afterwards. Their confidence was absolute.
“I do hope Denny will like my new hairstyle,” Lydia went on, tying a length of coral silk around her tresses and ignoring her sister’s comments. “I daresay he will; he is always very attentive to every little thing. Why, I only changed the ribbons on my straw bonnet from white to coquelicot last Sunday and he had noticed before the first hymn was sung in church. Oh, Denny, he is so very sweet, though perhaps he is not quite so gallant as Mr Wickham, whose compliments are without doubt the most accomplished. I wonder what he will have to say. Do you think Mr Wickham will notice my hair?”
Kitty did not think Lydia really expected an answer to her question but ventured to comment on the fact that Mr Wickham, one of the best looking officers of their acquaintance, might have his attentions engaged elsewhere. “I do not think Mr Wickham’s notice extends much beyond that of his present interest in Miss Mary King. I hate to disappoint you, Lydia, but quite frankly, you could have Jane’s best bonnet on your head and he would not notice you! Pen Harrington believes he is quite in love.”
“Well, I am not convinced he is in love with Mary King,” said Lydia, liberally sprinkling Steele’s lavender water on her wrists, “but with her ten thousand pounds! Money will certainly give a girl all the charm she needs to attract any suitor. If you and I had half so much, do you think we should still be single?”
“Well, be that as it may, whatever Mr Wickham’s true feelings are on the matter, I declare that I shall never forgive him for his conduct to our sister. I think he used our Lizzy very ill,” Kitty cried, as she drew a white chip bonnet from its pink and white striped box and pulled it on over her ebony locks. “No wonder Lizzy went off to Hunsford to visit Charlotte Collins. I think Mr Wickham quite broke her heart.”
“Mr Wickham is a very amiable, but wicked, man and if he were not so charming or so handsome, I swear I would snub him forever,” Lydia replied. She stood up to smooth her muslin gown over her hips, pulling it down as hard as she could and sighing at its length in despair. Jane, the eldest of the Bennet daughters was a little shorter than herself, Lydia reflected, tugging at her cast off gown. Indeed, none of her sisters were as tall. And whilst she enjoyed her superior height, she knew that nobody else had to suffer the indignity of wearing clothes that were too small. If only she could persuade her papa that she really needed a new dress for herself alone, she knew she would be the happiest girl alive. But that was impossible. There was never enough money and, if there was any left over for the occasional luxury, as the youngest of five daughters, Lydia knew she would be the last to feel its effects. Tacking on another length of fabric from the workbox was the only answer but there just wasn’t time for that now. If they were not careful, they would be late and miss all the fun.
“If I know Lizzy, she will not be downhearted for long and her letters from Hunsford parsonage are cheerful enough,” Lydia added, pinching her cheeks between thumbs and forefingers for added bloom. “She expresses no feelings of regret and certainly there is no mention of moping for Mr Wickham, though how she can possibly be having fun with our dreary cousin Collins is quite beyond me. Poor Charlotte! I know you and I used to joke about the “Lovebirds of Longbourn” but, now she is married, I cannot help but feel sorry for her. Can you imagine having to live with William Collins for the rest of your life? Well, at least Lizzy managed to avoid that, although I am not sure our mother will ever completely forgive her for refusing to marry him.”
“Even sister Mary was not keen on the idea of becoming a parson’s wife, despite her penchant for bible study and religious tracts,” added Kitty, tying blue ribbons under her chin. “Although as I recall, if pressed, she might have consented to the match.”
“But Mr Collins never asked her!” Lydia giggled. She adjusted her bonnet, setting it at a jaunty angle before winking at her sister. “To be married with a house of my own is my ambition, I admit, but I declare I could never love a clergyman, not in a million years. Come, Kitty,” Lydia urged, picking up her reticule with one hand and taking her sister’s arm with the other. “Let us make haste. If we delay much longer, the morning will be gone and we will miss all the gossip!

Lydia and Kitty Bennet admiring the soldiers
Such a pretty scene met Lydia’s eyes on their arrival in town that she didn’t know which way to look: at the ravishing bonnets in straw and silk in the milliner’s bow-fronted windows or at the figured muslins, crêpes, and linens ruched and draped across the width and length of the tall windows of the mercer’s warehouse. Vying for her attention was a highway teeming with those captivating visions in scarlet; officers were everywhere, strutting the pavements and swaggering in step. A whole regiment of soldiers had arrived in Meryton several months ago, along with the changeable autumn winds, blowing every maiden’s saucy kisses like copper leaves down upon their handsome heads. Lydia and Kitty had been far from disappointed when line upon line of handsome soldiers and debonair officers had come parading along the High Street, a blaze of scarlet and gleaming gold buttons, laden with muskets and swords, clanking in rhythm as they marched. It had not been very long before both girls had made firm friends with all the officers, helped along by the introductions from their Aunt and Uncle Phillips who lived in the town.

Harriet Forster, the Colonel’s wife, was fast becoming Lydia’s most particular friend, and it was to her elegant lodgings that the Bennet sisters now hastened on this spring morning. As was expected, they found her in good company. Penelope Harrington and Harriet’s sister, Isabella Fitzalan, were regaling Harriet with the latest news. The three ladies were most elegantly dressed to Lydia’s mind: Harriet in a white muslin, Penelope in blue with lace let into the sleeves, and Isabella in lilac, to match the blossoms on the trees outside. Lydia thought Miss Fitzalan was elegance personified, with her golden curls dressed just like the portrait of Madame Recamier she had seen in her mother’s monthly periodical.
“I am so glad you have arrived at last, Lydia and Kitty,” Harriet exclaimed, as she rang the bell for tea, “for I have some news which cannot wait to be told. You will never guess what has happened!” 

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I’m delighted to welcome Juliet Archer to the blog today! Juliet is the author of a new book, Persuade Me, which is her second book in the series, Darcy and Friends. I am looking forward very much to reading this book as I so enjoyed her first, The Importance of being Emma. Over to you, Juliet!

DARCY & FRIENDS by Juliet Archer
I’m thrilled to be doing this guest blog – so thank you, Jane, for inviting me and ‘hi’ to everyone out there! I’m here to celebrate the launch of my new book, Persuade Me, and will be meeting up with Jane later this week to celebrate in person – with wine (I’m so looking forward to that!).
First, let’s get one thing straight: I don’t write Regency. Instead, I’m on a mission to modernise all six of Austen’s completed novels. I’m two down – Emma and Persuasion – with four to go, in a series entitled ‘Darcy & Friends’.
You see, it is a truth universally acknowledged that Darcy is the best loved of all Austen’s heroes. A series called ‘Ferrars & Friends’ or ‘Bertram & Buddies’ would be less than enticing! But it’s one thing to decide on a name, and quite another to make it fit the series it’s describing.
When I was writing Persuade Me, however, I discovered a strong link between Wentworth and Darcy: both are resentful types if wronged. Wentworth can’t forgive or forget Anne Elliot, while Darcy bears a bitter grudge against Wickham, because of first Georgiana and then Lizzy. What if they met shortly after the earlier incidents, and Darcy found he could relate to Wentworth on precisely this point? Here’s Persuade Me’s Foreword by Will Darcy:
A magazine headline, circled in black ink: ‘Never forgive, never forget’. You can tell a lot from what’s on a person’s desk …
Some years ago, just before I met Elizabeth, I took my sister Georgie to Australia for a much-needed holiday. She was going through a particularly difficult time; so, when she showed a spark of her previous passion for saving the planet, I encouraged it in every possible way.
During a brief visit to Melbourne I discovered that there was an expert in marine conservation based at one of the local universities, a Dr Rick Wentworth. I sent him an email, using the pretext of possible interest from the Pemberley Foundation in his Save the Sea Dragons campaign – although I usually avoid the ‘grand benefactor’ act at all costs. When I received a terse and somewhat begrudging invitation to meet in his office, I immediately pictured an old, cross, bespectacled nerd.
I couldn’t have been more wrong. He turned out to be young, charming and, judging from Georgie’s sharp intake of breath, very easy on the female eye. And he was English, with a northern accent that had apparently resisted all attempts at Australianisation.
He even apologised for the tone of his invitation. He told us that, with his work attracting more and more media attention, he’d become wary of requests like mine. This led to a brief discussion about the drawbacks of being a modern celebrity, especially a reluctant one.
As we talked, I realised that he was meticulous about his research – and not just on sea dragons. I’d given him no indication of my sister’s troubles and had taken the necessary steps to gag the press, although inevitably some details had leaked out. Yet I sensed he knew – and understood – what she’d been through …
So I watched in genuine admiration as he drew Georgie out of her dark shell into the wider world, if only for an hour. He held us both spellbound with stirring tales of battles against natural elements and man-made disasters, often in the form of short-sighted bureaucracy, and showed us stunning footage of the fragile creatures he was fighting to protect. Of the man himself I learned very little – until we got up to leave.
At this point he scrawled his personal email address on a piece of paper and handed it to a blushing Georgie, urging her to get in touch with any questions. That in itself made me warm to him and decide on a generous donation from the Foundation for his campaign – an unusual instance of my heart ruling my head. 
But the piece of paper had been hiding something on his desk, a magazine article with a big bold headline. A headline that obviously had a greater significance because he’d drawn a brutal black ring round it: ‘Never forgive, never forget.’
They were words I could relate to completely. Except that I was thinking of the man who’d broken my sister’s heart, whereas he – as I discovered much later into our friendship – was thinking of the girl who’d broken his.
Although neither of us knew it then, their paths would cross when he wrote a book and, despite some misgivings, visited England to promote it.
This is their story …
Next I turned to The Importance of Being Emma, which had been published at the end of 2008. What did Darcy have in common with Knightley? Well, I’d already taken on board Austen’s hint that the relationship between Emma and Knightley was for a long time one of ‘brother and sister’. While this was based on her sister being married to his brother, it also became the rationale for Emma to suppress any romantic feelings she has for Knightley throughout most of the book.
My version starts with a scene between Emma and Knightley some years earlier, where he finds out that she has a teenage crush on him and he completes her humiliation by telling her that he thinks of her as a little sister. Ouch! Therefore, in the reprint of The Importance of Being Emma (see below for the beautiful new cover) there’s another Foreword by Will Darcy, concluding with a description of the connection he felt with Knightley: Little did I know that Georgie, fifteen years old at the time, was harbouring a teenage crush of her own – one that would have far-reaching effects. While the little incident between Mark and Emma had caused a rift that he only discovered years later.
I have no idea whether Jane Austen ever linked her heroes in this way. To me, these connections are yet another example of the sheer complexity of her books. As well as being beautiful studies of how young men and women learn to love, they are a reference point for human nature in all its richness and diversity.
So what’s next in the ‘Darcy & Friends’ series? To quote the title of a wonderful book penned by my hostess, that is Mr Darcy’s Secret!

Juliet, thank you so much for being my wonderful guest today. I’m looking forward to seeing you very soon to celebrate the launch!
You can find Juliet on twitter and Facebook. If you’re in Bath at the end of this week you can also meet Juliet:

 16th September, 2011 4.00-5.00pm – Mystery Walking Tour of Jane Austen’s Bath – start/end at Waterstone’s, Milsom St

17th September, 2011 1.30-4.30pm – Jane Austen Festival, Bath – book signing at Country Fayre, Guildhall and afterwards at private reception for the Festival Friends

18th September, 2011 2.00-3.00pm – Mystery Walking Tour of Jane Austen’s Bath – start/end at Waterstone’s, Milsom St 

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