Sunday, 21 February 2016

'A little Whimsical in His Civilities' ~ Guest Post and Giveaway!

Hello fellow readers, 
today I have the pleasure of hosting J.Marie Croft, author of 'A little Whimsical in His Civilities'. 
Welcome J.Marie Croft, thank you for stopping by, to do a guest post and giveaway. I have certainly enjoyed following the blog tour and considering I have little time, a novella sounds highly agreeable; especially in light of the fact, we get Darcy's POV!

First off, thank you, Tamara, for so graciously allowing this visit. Secondly, since this is the final stop on the Whimsical blog tour, I thank Jakki Leatherberry for arranging the schedule and the fifteen hostesses for their participation. Last but not least, thanks to all who dropped by and commented on the excerpts, guest posts, and reviews.

Today I’ll reveal a bit about myself and why the novella is told entirely from Mr. Darcy’s point of view. Why, you may ask, did I ever think I could write a story from his viewpoint? I’m not male, handsome, tall, wealthy, heroic, or fictional.

Back in 2011, when A Little Whimsical in His Civilities was posted online as a two-part short story, a reader left a comment ending with, “The way the author’s mind works to bring Darcy so alive is amazing.”

Amazing? Nah. Imagining myself inside his head (reading Darcy like a book, if you will) wasn’t much of a stretch, really. There’s a great similarity in the turn of our minds, you see. Darcy and I have but one mind and one way of thinking. There is a most remarkable resemblance of character and ideas between us. We seem to have been designed for each other.

Elizabeth Bennet may beg to differ.

She might say he and I have unsocial, taciturn dispositions. We know Darcy is slow to reveal his emotions. Jane Austen told us so: “He was at the same time haughty, reserved, and fastidious ...”

I’m definitely reserved and, perhaps, a tad fastidious. Hopefully, I’m never haughty, but I am shy; and sometimes that comes across as aloof. Darcy, on the other hand isn’t shy. He’s filled to the gills with aplomb. I wish I had even half his assertiveness.

Call me what you will – reserved, shy, introverted – I’m as dull as dishwater in person. I don’t have the talent which some people possess of conversing easily with those I’ve never seen before. I’d like to chit-chat with eloquence and fluency and come up with zingers on the spur of the moment, but what I should have said only occurs to me long after the fact.

Like Darcy, I’m a private person, ill qualified to recommend myself to strangers. If I was more confident and sociable, book promotion would be much easier. Don’t get me wrong. I love writing guest posts. Coming up with hundreds of words is far easier than tweeting on Twitter in 140 characters or updating my Facebook status. And writing dialogue is infinitely easier than – heaven forfend! – speaking in public.

Because there’s humour in my writing, readers who’ve never met me assume I’m the life of the party. Hah!
The truth is quite the opposite, I assure you. Mingling at a party and socializing with people I’m not well acquainted with can be exhausting. Rather than whooping it up, I’d rather sit quietly, taking pleasure from a good book or from conversation with a good friend.

Mrs. Bennet: I was rather surprised to see you at the Meryton assembly last night, Mrs. Croft.

Me: An assembly? Oh! So, that’s why all those people were disturbing Mary and me while we were trying to read.

Standing about by himself in a stupid manner, occupied as he is with his own thoughts and feelings, Darcy is certainly no extrovert either.

These two guys have rather differing definitions for extrovert.

There’s something else I just might share in common with Mr. Darcy. We both search for appropriate words. He studies too much for four syllable ones, and I'm a word nerd who enjoys vocabulary building.

At Darcy’s insistence – while we wrote A Little Whimsical in His Civilities – my lexicon was expanded to include acerbic adjectives and unmuzzled put-downs à la Shakespeare. I don’t know why I let Darcy dictate to me in such a way; but, I have to admit, his channelling The Bard’s contumely was diverting.

Of course, gentleman that he is, Darcy only thinks abusive remarks in the novella. Privately, he may call the assembly’s master of ceremonies a roynish clown, a prating, pompous popinjay, a goatish coxcomb, or a paunchy puttock. But, publicly, he courteously addresses him as Sir William. Darcy is, after all, a member of Polite Society.

For good or for bad, I do think Fitzwilliam Darcy and I share a few personality traits.

Word-nerd fact: The original sense of ‘trait’ was ‘stroke of the pen or pencil in a picture’. That meaning gave rise to the 18th century sense ‘a particular feature of mind or character’.

So, if you were sketching Mr. Darcy’s character, would you depict him as an introvert?

Please don’t be shy. Let your opinion be known.

Thank you J.Marie Croft, for sharing your post with us. I am unsure how I would depict Darcy, as indeed you are correct, it all comes down to interpretation. I do admire his assertiveness, or arrogance, however you choose to interpret it lol!

Indeed fellow readers, let your opinion be known and share your thoughts with J.Marie Croft.
For a chance to win a copy of 'A Little Whimsical in His Civilities', just enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway below.

I would like to thank  Leatherbound reviews Meryton Press & J.Marie Croft for another delightful Blog Tour. Good luck in the giveaway everyone!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

It's not too late to catch up with the blog tour!

Blog Tour Schedule:

2/8: Excerpt & Giveaway at My Jane Austen Book Club
2/9: Guest Post & Giveaway at Moonlight Reader
2/10: Review at Tomorrow is Another Day
2/11: Guest Post & Giveaway at So Little Time…
2/12: Excerpt at My Love for Jane Austen
2/13: Excerpt & Giveaway at More Agreeably Engaged
2/14: Guest Post & Giveaway at Liz’s Reading Life
2/15: Guest Post & Giveaway at From Pemberley to Milton
2/16: Review at Just Jane 1813
2/17: Review at Half Agony, Half Hope
2/18: Review at Margie’s Must Reads
2/19: Excerpt & Giveaway at Best Sellers and Best Stellars
2/20:  Guest Post & Giveaway at Skipping Midnight
2/21: Guest Post & Giveaway at Babblings of a Bookworm

Purchase A Little Whimsical in His Civilities by J. Marie Croft
Told entirely from Fitzwilliam Darcy’s point of view, J. Marie Croft’s humorous novella, A Little Whimsical in His Civilities, spans one moonlit, autumnal night upon the gentleman’s return to Hertfordshire in pursuit of Elizabeth Bennet.

“We take the turning which places us on Meryton’s main road, and—oh, gad! There it is—the base-court building which passes for an assembly hall in this godforsaken place. For me, the venue shall be either a heaven or a hell tonight. My palms grow clammy, my gut churns, and I regret that second helping of onion-laden vegetable pie forced on me before we left.”

Accompany Darcy as he, intent on reversing the disastrous first impression he made there, braves another Meryton assembly and seeks to win his heart’s desire.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, 15 February 2016

My Janeite Valentine

Hello Dear Readers, as always I love sharing what JA gifts I get with you.

As I was totally unaware that I would be getting this wonderful valentine surprise, I put together a quick post and kindly asked my husband where he purchased such delightful gifts!

From almost the beginning of my JA obsession my husband has graced me with some lovely gifts, that any Janeite would be glad to receive. In the past I have given JA suggestions for Christmas and therefore have not been as surprised when I have received them. However my husband continues to amaze me with his thoughtfulness, surprising me with JA gifts when I least expect it. Therefore you can imagine my surprise when I opened this on Valentine's day! Seriously I had no idea!!!
Thank you, Happy Valentine!

The Card, need I say more lol

This wonderful card along with everything you see is from the Jane Austen Gift Shop.

The Mug - Although I do not drink tea or coffee, I look forward to a hot blackcurrant.

(back story because I know you're wondering, although I know many of you know the answer. My parents would not let me have tea or coffee due to the caffeine, when I was old enough to choose for my self I did not like the taste of either of them)

The Writing set, Wax and Seal & Ink 

I have wanted to get into calligraphhy for a while and  yet again my husband surprised me with the tools some while back and I have yet to begin. I believe this particular gift may have been a hint of sorts lol!

             The Jane Austen Calendar 2016

Thanks for stopping by, I'll add a gift tab soon, with links to my gift posts! I hope everyone had a lovely Valentines!

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Undeceived by Karen M Cox ~ Blog Tour ~ Review

Hello today I have the pleasure of reviewing Undeceived By Karen M Cox as part of the blog Tour!  Which has been kindly brought to you by Leatherbound reviews in conjunction with  Meryton Press. What a great book to start my first review of 2016 and with an author who is known to me, who I own works of, but have yet to read.

Book Blurb:
During the last gasp of the Cold War, Elizabeth Bennet, a young, forthright counterintelligence officer, embarks on an exciting assignment that would make her late father, a fallen CIA officer, proud. She transfers to Europe to investigate the legendary and elusive William Darcy, an officer in line for the coveted Soviet station chief position who’s suspected of being a double agent.
William Darcy appears to lead a charmed existence, but now he finds himself fighting for his career and against his growing feelings for the young woman he doesn’t know is watching his every move.
Elizabeth wants to throw the book at him, but the facts don’t match her preconceptions. Is Darcy being set up? Are there darker forces at work? Or is William Darcy a skilled double agent after all? Nothing is as it seems, however, and the closer Elizabeth gets to the truth about Darcy, the more she spirals into danger


Modern JAFF is not something I usually get to read, as Regency is often my preferred choice, however one cannot deny a good plot that involves Darcy and Elizabeth whatever the century and I was soon won over.

Darcy and Elizabeth are both in the CIA. Elizabeth is newly qualified and has been asked by fellow agent Wickham, to work alongside Darcy in order to secretly gather intel on him as a traitor to his country and so the story begins.

That was Elizabeth Bennet's first up close encounter with "the London Fog."
From that moment on, the tone of their interactions was set. He lorded his knowledge and experience over her head with all his stupid-ass "Spy Rule Number 8000 whatever." she, in turn, needled him like an annoying insect every chance she got. - Karen M Cox

 I must say the CIA and Cold War espionage are not my forte and although some of the terms used were unfamiliar to me I managed to keep up. I was able to gather clues along the way and it became fun trying to figure out who was the double agent, because let’s be honest Darcy may not act the gentleman at times, but he is certainly honourable.

One thing I really liked about this book was the different countries that featured. When they were in Germany I felt a connection, because I too went through Checkpoint Charlie when I visited East Berlin from the West and it was frightening as a child to see soldiers with guns; being in East Berlin, felt like stepping into a different time zone and the book seem to capture that, making it seem more real to me. They also went to Trinidad and Tobago, I could not believe it because my sister, who I introduced to JA and JAFF, immigrated last year and I immediately texted her to say I was reading a story and D&E are in Trinidad & Tobabgo! She instantly replied excellent! You must tell me when the book is out, I might see them when I'm in town and I replied tell them I said hi, we laughed so much.

The more the story progressed the more I was invested, some JAFF has an obvious timeline in relation to canon and some not so obvious. Elizabeth and Darcy work together and she can’t stand him (nothing new there!) but eventually she sees he cannot be a double agent and softens a little. For some reason what was to come next, I thought was the equivalent to maybe Pemberley, The Inn at Lambton, The Turning point, whatever you want to call it, I was so excited, finally I would see them slowly fall for one another, however, the author chose to blind side me and within two pages It was Huntsford. Huntsford, really!!! I did not see it coming, talk about keeping me on my toes.

Don't be alarmed at receiving this message, It is not a mission, or a desperate love letter, or a repetition of any of  the sentiments that you found so disagreeable last night. - Karen M Cox

From then on Darcy and Elizabeth have to work together to discover who the traitor is. In between the chapters the traitor speaks and it is so frustrating because they talk in what seems like riddles. However, one such piece of monologue indicated that Elizabeth’s life was in danger and I actually wrote in my kindle notes “Oh dear! Your torturing me here, if there is to be any more please let it be short lived!"

If you don’t get too hooked up on details or distracted in working out CIA jargon and just enjoy the story then you’re in for another refreshing modern JAFF. Darcy and Elizabeth are meant for one another whatever the circumstance, Landowner or Secret Agent, Regency or Modern, Darcy can be easily recognisable if done right . He may have been a CIA agent in this tale, but in essentials, I believe, he is very much what he ever was. Elizabeth was funny, although a little gullible, stubborn and defensive, but hey, this is Elizabeth in the 20th century, as a CIA agent and with no sister Jane to take comfort and counsel in, so I suspect the author probably got it right.

If you fancy some 007 meets Pride and Prejudice and you love to travel. Then along with other recognisable characters, you'll enjoy this story of espionage and happily ever after!

This book is worthy of 4 hearts - Mr Bingley!

Undeceived by Karen M Cox blog tour schedule:

2/1: Guest Post & Giveaway at My Jane Austen Book Club
2/2: Excerpt & Giveaway at So Little Time…
2/3: Excerpt & Giveaway at Romance Novel Giveaways
2/4: Author Interview & Giveaway at More Agreeably Engaged
2/5: Review at Tomorrow is Another Day
2/6: Guest Post at My Love for Jane Austen
2/8: Character Interview & Giveaway at From Pemberley to Milton
2/9: Review at Margie’s Must Reads
2/10: Guest Post & Giveaway at Austenesque Reviews
2/11: Excerpt & Giveaway at Best Sellers and Best Stellars
2/12: Review at Half Agony, Half Hope
2/13: Review at Babblings of a Bookworm
2/14: Excerpt & Giveaway at Just Jane 1813
2/15: Review at Diary of an Eccentric

I was given an ARC copy of this book for my honest review.