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Thursday, December 19, 2019

Elaine Jeremiah GIVEAWAY & Guest Post

I don't think it's any secret that I can't get enough JAFF lately (that's Jane Austen fanfiction, fyi); far from confining my Jane Austeny bits to Austen in August, as I usually would, I've reviewed or featured four Austenesque books since then, and have read at least half a dozen more (including two this week!). Even my December pick from Book of the Month YA is Austenesque! I can't seem to get enough.

And neither, it seems, can a lot of you. To that end, today I'm featuring a new release from Austenesque author Elaine Jeremiah, who has stopped by to tell us a bit about growing up in Jane-country, as well as sharing an excerpt of her latest book, and a chance to win the whole series so far!

Check it out below, make sure to leave Elaine some love in the comments, and don't forget to enter to win!

Thank you to Misty for featuring me on your blog today. I just wanted to share some thoughts about Hampshire, where I grew up.

I do feel very privileged to have grown up in the same county as Jane Austen, although of course Hampshire today is very different from the Hampshire that she grew up in. There are many more people living there for one thing – it’s quite a crowded, busy area of Southern England and yet some of the places that Jane knew haven’t changed a great deal.

But despite the busyness of modern-day Hampshire, there’s still a lot of countryside around to enjoy and I did love going for country walks with my family and our dog when I was growing up. The New Forest, a national park, is not far from where I grew up and is one of the places where we’d go walking as a family. It’s very old and was established in medieval times.

Then there’s Winchester, where Jane Austen died. It’s still a beautiful city even today and the huge, ancient cathedral is stunning. I went to university there and it’s quite an intimate place – it’s not a very big city and there’s so much character to it. There are some lovely old buildings apart from the cathedral, some Regency and some medieval, including the Great Hall which is all that is left of Winchester Castle. I would visit it now and then with my family and funnily enough I once saw an exhibition of costumes from Jane Austen adaptations there.

Of course, I can’t talk about Hampshire without mentioning Chawton, which is of course where Jane Austen’s house is and where she wrote several of her fabulous novels. Chawton is actually less busy now than it was in Jane’s time because the main road to Winchester passed right through the middle of it in her time, just outside her house. It’s now a lot quieter and it’s such a lovely place.

Jane Austen’s house is gorgeous and if you ever get the chance to visit, you should. It’s well worth it. I’ve also visited Chawton House, which belonged to her brother Edward Austen Knight and is now a library of early women’s writing. That is magnificent too and a stone’s throw from Jane’s house.

So those are just a few thoughts about Hampshire. Although it is very urbanised in many areas now, there are still plenty of places of outstanding natural beauty and many historic towns, cities and villages. If you’re an Austen fan, it’s a great holiday destination idea!

******** EXCERPT ********
By Time Divided
I stopped walking and reached for Mia’s hand. ‘There’s nothing wrong with you, Mia. You look lovely as always. But I should warn you that the people we’re about to meet…’

‘Are a bunch of racists?’

I winced. ‘By our standards, yes. But they’re also from a different time, a different society. It’s 1815 here, the slave trade has been abolished, but in Regency England the vast majority of people are white, they’re not used to being around people of different ethnicities so…’

‘I should expect them to treat me like dirt?’

‘I’m not sure they all will,’ I told her. I couldn’t imagine Isabella treating anyone like dirt. ‘Just don’t be surprised if some of them make comments to you or about you that are offensive. We’re not in the twenty-first century any more.’

‘You can say that again,’ Mia replied, wrinkling her nose as she gazed up at the leaden sky, seemingly oblivious to the fat drops of rain falling onto her face. She turned back to me.

‘So if they’re rude to me, I’m supposed to stand there and take it, am I?’

I sighed, giving her a rueful look. ‘No, I don’t expect you to do that, just… don’t be rude back. Find a witty retort to make. I’m sure you’ll think of something. You usually do in similar situations.’

‘Similar situations? Cass, what planet are you on? There’s nothing similar to this situation in… in the whole of the universe.’ She threw her arms out wide to reiterate her point.

It was then, as I took a quick glance over my shoulder, that I caught a glimpse of someone standing at one of the windows of the house which overlooked the lawn. We’d been spotted.

‘Come on, Mia, I think someone’s seen us.’

‘What do you mean, someone’s seen us?’ Mia replied. ‘What are they gonna do to us?’ There was no mistaking the panic in her voice.
‘Don’t worry, they’re not going to throw us in a dungeon,’ I told her as we trudged across the lawn. ‘They know me… well sort of and I as I told you, I became friends with those girls. They’re actually quite nice…’ I realised that Mia had stopped walking. I turned to her, seeing that the usual glow of her skin was gone and her face looked unnaturally pale.

‘But I’m not you, Cass. I don’t know anything about Jane Austen and I’m… well I’m clearly not white.’
My brow furrowed as I laid a hand on her arm. ‘I understand your fears. Just let me do the talking for the moment.’ I squeezed her arm. ‘You haven’t done anything wrong, they’re not going to accuse you of anything, or do anything to harm you.’ They might accuse me of a few things though, I thought grimly.

Mia still looked anxious. ‘All right, I’ll just follow your lead, but I don’t think I’m gonna be any good at this Regency thing.’

‘Well hopefully we won’t be here that long,’ I replied. ‘For now, though, we need to get out of this awful rain.’
Mia nodded and we continued on, soon reaching the steps which led to the great house. The door to the breakfast room was thrown open as we approached. But it wasn’t my friends standing there. It was a middle-aged woman who I’d never seen before.


Elaine has generously offered up an ebook prize pack of her Love Without Time series, 'Love Without Time' and 'By Time Divided' to one lucky winner!
This giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY!
Giveaway ends Fri December 27th at 11:59pm EST.
To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter below.
No "giveaway" or spam social media accounts.
Please do not leave any sensitive info (mailing or email addresses, etc.) in the comments section!
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Having accidentally time travelled to Regency England, Jane Austen fan Cassie Taylor finds herself unexpectedly back in the twenty-first century. But everything has changed. She’s been missing for three weeks and her parents are upset and disbelieving when she tells them where she’s been. The police aren’t too pleased either.

Cassie’s best friend Mia doubts the story, yet stands by her friend. And then the unthinkable happens when both of them end up in Regency England. Now Cassie has an even bigger problem: Mia is mixed race and they’re stuck in an era where the slave trade has only just been abolished. Cassie must somehow explain herself to her Regency friends – why she vanished and who her friend is. She also needs to find Ted, the love of her life.

How will Cassie manage to protect Mia from the insults of Regency people who see her as worthless? And how will she ever find a way for her and Ted and Mia to finally return home?


Elaine lives in Bristol, South West England with her husband and their golden retriever, Dug. But she was privileged enough to grow up in Jane Austen country, in Hampshire.

Writing has always been a passion of hers, but it’s only been in recent years that she’s been able to devote more time to it. She decided to self-publish with the help of her wonderful husband who’s very tech-savvy! In 2013 she self-published her first novel, but it was only with her fourth, her novel ‘Love Without Time’, that she felt she finally found her niche: Jane Austen Fan Fiction!

She’s always loved Jane Austen’s writing and the Regency era, so this felt like a natural thing for her to do. ‘Love Without Time’ is the first in a trilogy best described as a Jane Austen-inspired time travel romance. ‘By Time Divided’ is the second book in the trilogy.

If you want to connect with Elaine online, her Facebook page can be found here:

Her Twitter handle is: @ElaineJeremiah

Her website is here: https://elainejeremiah.co.uk/

‘Love Without Time’ is available from Amazon.com here: http://amzn.to/2DxRPHO
It’s also available from Amazon UK here: http://amzn.to/2Dywq0y
‘By Time Divided’ is on Amazon.com here: https://amzn.to/2YEKzzH
It’s on Amazon UK here: https://amzn.to/2KokZtv

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Why Writing Modern Jane Austen Fiction Is So Hard + Yuletide Mini Review!

Disclaimer: a review copy of this book was provided by the editor for review purposes. Affiliate links are not used in this post, but are used on this site. All thoughts and opinions are honest and my own.
Edited to add: as you can see in the banner below, this post was supposed to be up yesterday, but I apparently don't know how to 'days of the week'... That is entirely MY BAD, sorry about that, internet!

You may have already seen me talking about this book online, as I listened to it while I was decorating for Christmas, but today -- before we dive into a guest post from one of the book's authors, Amy D'Orazio -- I'm going to dig a little deeper into why I loved Yuletide, an anthology of Christmas-oriented Jane Austen stories. And love it, I did!

Generally when I read short story anthologies, I skip around to whichever story is calling my name most, with little care for the flow of one into the next. I also tend to only read them in bits and pieces, fits and starts, and never cover to cover. But because I was listening to Yuletide on audiobook*, and because I was flitting around the house, clipping evergreens that were politely pilfered from my neighborhood (ahem) and working them into wreaths and such, I just hit play and went along for whatever was in store.
*it is still possible to skip around to stories in an audio anthology, btw. Chapters still exist.

And man, I enjoyed this. The first story in the book actually gave me butterflies, but even when stories hit a flat note (which was rare), the immersive experience of listening to someone tell me Christmas stories about characters I love (who at this point feel almost like family, I've sent so much time with them), while working on Christmas myself? SWOON, it was so enjoyable. Harry Frost's narration was excellent, as well, even if I did occasionally chuckle at his "American" accent. ;)

I'm not going to give you my whole spiel about how short story anthologies are great for discovering new authors, or as palate cleansers between books, our any of that (except I kinda just did), but as Austen anthologies go, this is one of the stronger ones. Each story felt entirely unique from the others, while still cohesive in context of the theme, and the different approaches mean that there's likely to be a story here to suit most Janeites. The book feels tightly and thoughtfully curated, and I did, in fact, discover some authors whose JAFF I now want to look into! And the best part of all? Proceeds from sales of the e-book and paperback go to benefit Chawton House!

This mini review was turned out to be less mini and more review, but basically, I recommend this book, and I especially recommend reading it in the wintertime, when there's snow on the ground and the days are short, when your brain has turned towards Christmas but you're out of new Hallmark movies to watch... 10/10 experience, would recommend.

And now, a piece from our special guest, Amy D'Orazio!

Eight Reasons Why Writing Modern JAFF Adaptations is so Much Harder than Writing Regencies 

by Amy D’Orazio (contributing author to YULETIDE “The Wishing Ball”)

The Yuletide anthology [collection of five Regency era and two modern holiday stories] explored some new ground for me — it is the first time I have published a modern adaptation rather than the regency-based stories I typically write. Part of that was because this story was originally part of a Christmas challenge at A Happy Assembly. The idea for it came from fellow author Pamela Lynne who challenged me to write something to do with Christmas ornaments.

I know many people believe writing a modern adaptation is easier than a Regency. Both have their challenges but of the two…? Writing moderns is harder, in my opinion, and here are my reasons why:

These are my tax returns for the last 3 years...have a look and let me know if you love me later.jpg

    1. Prejudice. Okay so this is a big one and often one I find takes a good modern and makes it shaky. Heaven knows there are plenty of things people are prejudiced about in this day and age but translating that into a feasible Darcy & Elizabeth-type situation isn’t easy. Elizabeth Bennet wasn’t poor—yet— in P&P. She was part of the upper echelon of wealth in England, but Darcy was, by comparison, stratospheric. So, a story about someone wealthy marrying someone else who is uber-wealthy? —not really anything notable today

    2. Location, location, location. The first challenge any modern author faces is where to put their main characters. Jane Austen put hers in various spots around England, and when I am writing a Regency, I feel comfortable enough with my research to do likewise. But modern day? I’ve been to London a few times but that’s about it—I would have to do a LOT of research to find the exact restaurant on the exact street or the specific house with the certain features I need for my characters. The chances of getting it wrong are so much higher! In my story in this anthology I placed Darcy and Elizabeth in New York City (gasp… they’re American!)

    3. Show of hands—who has had a family member voice an expectation that you should marry your cousin? But it was an important custom then and had super important implications for bloodlines and fortunes and etc. So, it’s sort of a hard issue to translate into a modern circumstance even though it was an important part of many of Austen’s books.
    Copy of Untitled (1).jpg

    4. Or for that matter —who has really allowed their family members to have much say into their marriage at all? I mean, sure, I wanted my family to like my husband but if Aunt Martha didn’t…well…I guess we’d have just cut her off the Christmas card list.

    Copy of Untitled (1).jpg

    5. The whole Lydia-Wickham and Georgiana-Wickham thing. Let’s be honest, in modern times, the only proper place for the likes of George Wickham (age 26/27) is jail for being a sex predator on teenagers. Would the military even take him? Let’s hope no one would force one of his victims to marry him! It’s storyline that is very tricky to translate to the modern era!


      6. Modern life changes fast which brings with it another pitfall of books set in modern eras (not just for JAFF but any modern story)—when you have your hero check email on his Blackberry, or your heroine snap her Razor phone closed, you automatically dated your story. If you mention a song, a book, a news event, or a particular celebrity, five or ten years from now someone reading your book might not get what it is you’re talking about. Horse technology, on the other hand, rarely changed throughout the Regency period and the main forms of communication—writing a letter or walking to your neighbors house to talk about it—were the same.

      7. By far, I think the most difficult thing about modern translations is how the characteristics of the our main characters are when placed into a modern setting. I’ve seen some intriguing takes on this — Elizabeth’s wit becomes almost supernatural intelligence, Mrs Bennet’s illiberality becomes racism or homophobia, Emma’s tendency to matchmake turns into a wedding planning business. To me, this is where writing moderns can really be tricky—in a Regency you don’t have to decide all of this but in a modern, you need to decide how you’ll bring it all into a modern era.

      8. Marriage. By far the trickiest part of creating a modern is the aspects of marriage. In modern times, there are dates, there are non-monogamous relationships, there are engagements that end with no dreadful outcome to either party—in short there are many complexities to modern relationships that didn’t exist back then (for better or worse). If you’re writing a Regency and your hero and heroine dance twice, have a whispered conversation behind a potted plant and then decide to marry— sure! True love! But a modern couple? I think most of your readers would think it was a bit unrealistic! So, there you have it! It should be noted of course that all the opinions expressed herein are solely those of me, the author! Love to hear your thoughts on the subject below!

      AMY D’ORAZIO is a former scientist and current stay-at-home mom who is addicted to Austen and Starbucks in equal measure. While she adores Mr. Darcy, she is married to Mr. Bingley, and their Pemberley is in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She has two daughters devoted to sports with long practices and began writing stories as a way to pass the time spent at their various gyms and studios. She firmly believes that all stories should have long looks, stolen kisses, and happily-ever-afters. Like her favorite heroine, she dearly loves a laugh and considers herself an excellent walker. She is the author of The Best Part of Love, A Short Period of Exquisite Felicity, A Lady’s Reputation and various anthologies.

      Below you'll find an except of Amy's story in Yuletide; find samples from the rest of the anthology here

      Yuletide: A Jane Austen-inspired Collection Of Stories, edited by Christina Boyd 
      190 pages / audio 5 hrs and 50 mins Published November 26th 2018 by The Quill Ink, LLC
      BUY HERE:
      “I went up to the Great House between three and four, and dawdled away an hour very comfortably...” –Jane Austen

       A holiday short story anthology with some favorite Austenesque authors, YULETIDE is inspired by Jane Austen, PRIDE & PREJUDICE, and the spirit of the season. Regency and contemporary alike, each romance was dreamt to spark love, humor, and wonder while you dawdle over a hot cup of tea this Christmas. 

      Stories by: Elizabeth Adams * J. Marie Croft * Amy D’Orazio * Lona Manning * Anngela Schroeder * Joana Starnes * Caitlin Williams Edited by: Christina Boyd

       All proceeds from e-book and paperback sales to benefit Chawton Great House in Hampshire, former manor of Jane Austen’s brother Edward Austen Knight and now the Centre for the Study of Early Women’s Writing, 1600-1830.


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