Woot woot it is almost the weekend! And what better way to start my weekend the celebrate a new anthology release!! As you may have seen, I LOVE anthologies!! 😍And I love seasonal/holiday-inspired anthologies because thanks to these lovely authors you can celebrate the time of year with your reading, whatever the holiday may be! 🎄🌺🎃⛵️ What a great way to be in the spirit of the season! ❤️🥰 I’m so excited to see the Austen Anthologies series continue…(we thoroughly enjoyed their first short story collection – A Very Austen Christmas) and expand! Yay for new authors coming on board!
Today authors Laura Hile and Robin Helm stop by to share some tasty little samples of their novellas from their new anthology – A Very Austen Valentine!!
Here’s to Love, Happiness, and Friendship!
Love Makes the World Go Round is a song I sang as a young girl. How true this is! Romantic love is what Valentine’s Day is all about. But there is also friendship love. And friendship love is at the core of our A Very Austen anthologies. They are books built because of friendship.
As authors, we come from a variety of backgrounds (and even continents—Barbara lives in Ireland!). Even though most of us have not met in person, we are brought together by our love for Jane Austen and the Regency world of her novels.
Just like we are brought together with you!
The novellas in A Very Austen Valentine are each based on Jane Austen’s works. I find it remarkable that there is such diversity. Robin’s is pure romance, as adorable Elizabeth seeks to recapture her too-busy husband’s interest. Mandy’s is a sequel to Pride and Prejudice, combined with characters from Sense and Sensibility. Wendi and Barbara take our beloved Darcy and Elizabeth through “but-what-if” misunderstandings and adventures. Susan turns back the clock for Persuasion’s Anne and Captain Wentworth. And my novella? Oh dear, what can I say? I bring two of Jane Austen’s worst snobs together in a laughable Valentine mash-up.
I should add that the A Very Austen anthologies can be enjoyed by most any reader, from teen to grandma.
Just for you, I’ve written an extra scene from Sir Walter Takes a Wife. But wait, there’s more. We have an excerpt from Robin Helm’s romantic I Dream of You.
So grab a cup of coffee or tea, and enjoy.
In which Mr. Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam are delighted to participate,
as they are not point-of-view characters in the novella and would like to have their say
“So who’s the dressy snake charmer?” Colonel Fitzwilliam indicated the gentleman who sat on the sofa beside their aunt.
“Sir Walter Elliot,” replied Mr. Darcy quietly. “A baronet who hails from Somersetshire. Apparently he arrived in Hunsford the other day. She asked him to take tea with her.”
“Hmm,” said Colonel Fitzwilliam. He gazed for some time at the pair. Darcy pushed aside his cup and saucer. His tea was already cold.
“If you ask me,” his cousin said at last, “Aunt Catherine is rather pleased with herself. He is a handsome devil.”
“He is all that. But what is he doing here?”
“Isn’t it obvious? He is smitten.”
“I see that,” said Darcy. “But shouldn’t he be courting Anne instead? That is where the money is.”
“A valid point. And I daresay he would, if Anne were prettier. Confound it, an older woman is easy prey; you know that. There’s no fool like an old fool. In army circles, it’s surprisingly common.”
Darcy digested this in silence. He had never associated his aunt with this particular type of foolishness, but there it was.
Presently Darcy spoke his thought. “What I fear,” he said, “is that Sir Walter will put her in a morally compromising situation. With his eye on a monetary settlement from us to make him disappear.”
“Compromise our aunt?” Colonel Fitzwilliam appeared thunderstruck. “I’d like to see him try!”
“The devil you would!” Darcy lowered his voice. “Aunt Catherine, in flagrante delicto, is a sight no one should see.”
Colonel Fitzwilliam gave a shout of laughter. “In that case,” he crowed, “I should have to be blinded. Like that Greek fellow who saw Aphrodite bathing.”
“Erymanthos,” supplied Darcy.
Lady Catherine’s voice traveled across the drawing room. “Of what are you and Colonel Fitzwilliam speaking?” she demanded. “I must have my share in the conversation.”
“Nothing amusing, I fear,” Colonel Fitzwilliam called back. “Darcy was, ah, correcting my understanding of Greek mythology.”
Darcy saw his aunt’s eyes narrow. “You were laughing,” she began.
Sir Walter spoke up. “Of which Greek gods were you speaking, sir?”
“Er,” said Colonel Fitzwilliam. “Aphrodite.”
Sir Walter turned to Lady Catherine. “Venus! The goddess of love and beauty, my dear. Most appropriate, given the time of year.”
They returned to conversing together. Darcy did not miss the smile his aunt gave to Sir Walter. “Well played, Fitz,” he grumbled. “Now look what you have done.”
“Me? You were the one who brought up moral compromise and set me to laughing.”
“This is no laughing matter,” said Darcy. “We must take action.”
“Well now, that depends. Paying off a fellow to save a lady’s reputation is your stratagem, not mine. If I had several thousand, I’d not part with them for a kingdom. No, I prefer a more direct way of dealing with offenders.”
Darcy’s lips twitched into a smile. “Need I ask you to elaborate?”
“As I have said before (you will recall), we should have shot Wickham while we had the chance.”
“I have no desire to murder Sir Walter Elliot. Or George Wickham, tempting though that thought might be.”
“Who said anything about murder? A nice little flesh wound will do the trick. Enough to convince Wickham—or in this case, Sir Walter—to retire quietly to the Continent. Permanently.”
Darcy’s gaze traveled to where Sir Walter sat. “As to that,” he said quietly, “a disfiguring blow to the face might suffice. Look there, Fitz.”
Colonel Fitzwilliam was not stupid. “By Jove,” he marveled. “If that don’t beat all! The man is gazing at his own reflection in the pier glass. What an idiot!”
Darcy was not so sure. He drew a long breath. How was such a self-absorbed man to be worked on?
“We needn’t fear that he will lose his head and fall in love with our aunt,” he said grimly. “It appears that he is already very much in love. With … himself.”
AHAHAHAH!!! This is priceless, Laura! And WHY have never thought of these two pairing off before?!?! It is too perfect! A match made in vanity!
An Excerpt from I Dream of You by Robin Helm
He leaned over and pressed his lips lightly to her cheek. “I love you.”
She felt a glow spread through her. “Quite convenient, for I love you, too.”
By the time they finished eating, Darcy’s eyelids drooped. He could no longer hide his extreme fatigue.
Elizabeth walked to the door, gesturing to someone just on the other side, then she took her husband’s hand and led him up the stairs.
As they entered their bedroom, she pointed to the bed. “Sit.”
He raised a brow in question but followed her instructions.
She knelt in front of him, took hold of one of his boots, then pulled it off.
“Elizabeth, you are not my valet. Allow me to call Sims.”
“And give him what little time you have? I think not.”
She removed his other boot and stood. “Follow me,” she said, crooking her index finger at him, walking to his dressing room, looking back to make certain he did as she directed.
“I must admit to a certain curiosity,” he muttered. Upon entering the room, his mouth dropped open. Before him was a steaming bath and Elizabeth, determination in her eyes.
“Surely I should ring for Sims now.”
She shook her head, her mouth set. “Turn around.” Courage, do not fail me now. After all, I have seen him unclothed. Surely undressing him myself cannot be so difficult.
He raised a brow but did as she commanded. “Should I unbutton my jacket and waistcoat?”
Ah. I should have done that before he turned his back to me. No matter.
“No,” she replied, marching around him, attacking the buttons of his jacket and waistcoat with vigour, then crossing behind him to pull the garments from his shoulders, throwing them over a chair. She stepped to his front.
“Now what?” he asked with a lopsided grin, arms stretched out, palms up.
Elizabeth reached up to untie his cravat and unbutton his shirt. She pulled the cravat by one end and pushed his shirt from his shoulders.
“What next?” he asked.
Feeling the blush rise from her neck to her hairline, she bit her lip and closed her eyes.
“I shall call for Sims,” she said, choking a bit on the words.
She felt her husband’s large hands cupping her cheeks, caressing her face with his thumbs.
His voice was warm and gentle. “My love, you have done very well. You have no need to blush. Sims is accustomed to helping me. You are not.”
How sweet, Robin! I love seeing Darcy and Elizabeth together like this, and how lovely of Elizabeth to tend to Darcy’s needs in such a way. It’s little touches like this that show the depth of love. No words needed.
~ Author Bios ~
Robin Helm’s books reflect her love of music, as well as her fascination with the paranormal and science fiction.
Previously published works include The Guardian Trilogy: Guardian, SoulFire, and Legacy (a guardian angel protects a supernaturally gifted girl), the Yours by Design series: Accidentally Yours, Sincerely Yours, and Forever Yours (Fitzwilliam Darcy switches places in time with his descendant, Will Darcy), and Understanding Elizabeth (Regency romance).
She contributed to A Very Austen Christmas: Austen Anthologies, Book 1, an anthology featuring like-minded authors, in 2017. A Very Austen Valentine: Austen Anthologies, Book 2 was released on December 29, 2018. A Very Austen Romance: Austen Anthologies, Book 3 is planned for December 2019.
She lives in sunny South Carolina and adores her one husband, two married daughters, and three grandchildren.
Readers are loving Laura Hile’s joyous Regency novels. Her signature style—with intertwined plots, cliffhangers, laugh-out-loud humor, and romance—keeps them coming back for more.
The comedy Laura comes by as a teacher. There’s never a dull moment with teen students!
Laura lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and a collection of antique clocks.
Her fiction is for everyone, even teens.
Wendi Sotis lives on Long Island, NY, with her husband and triplets. While searching for Pride and Prejudice from Darcy’s point of view, she became thoroughly enamored with Jane Austen Fan Fiction or JAFF. In early 2010, she dreamed of an idea for a story and hasn’t stopped writing since: Promises, Dreams and Expectations; All Hallows Eve; The Keys for Love; Safekeeping (with just a dash of Austen); The Gypsy Blessing; Foundation of Love (The Gypsy Blessing 2); and A Lesson Hard Learned.
The Marriage Pact, and some of Wendi’s works-in-progress, have branched away from JAFF to Regency Romance (the Loving an Aldridge Series) and Contemporary Romantic Mysteries (the Implicated series). Wendi will also continue bringing Darcy and Elizabeth together again and again in an unusual manner.
Barbara Cornthwaite lives in the middle of Ireland with her husband and children. She taught college English before “retiring” to do something she loves far more; her days are now filled with homeschooling her six children, trying to keep the house tidy (a losing battle), and trying to stay warm in the damp Irish climate (also a losing battle). She is surrounded by medieval castles, picturesque flocks of sheep, and ancient stone monuments. These things are unappreciated by her children, who are more impressed by traffic jams, skyscrapers, and hot weather.
Susan Kaye discovered Jane Austen and writing at about the same time. She leads a quiet life with her husband and dog, Harley. “I don’t know a lot, but I do know I’ve probably spent more time with Frederick Wentworth and Anne Elliot than just about anybody else.”
Mandy Helm Cook
Mandy Cook was an RN for over ten years, half of which she served in the Navy, living in far-flung places, enjoying experiencing the world while following her calling. Just before she and her handsome Marine were both deployed to different places, they married. They now have three children, ages four and younger.
She previously published The Gifted, using her nursing experience to lend accuracy to her story about an ER nurse who is handed a gift that changes her life forever. Adversity, and a long history of secrets, constantly battle against her natural instinct for truth and justice, but will the truth be worth the dare?
The lovely authors of this anthology are sponsoring a grand giveaway with their blog tour!! TEN ebook copies (open internationally) and 1 paperback copy (open to US residents) of A Very Austen Valentine are being given away to 11 lucky winners!!
- This giveaway is open internationally (ebooks only). Thank you, ladies!
- This giveaway will end January 20th.
A Very Austen Valentine Blog Tour Schedule
01/06 ~ Just the Write Escape ~ Guest Post, Giveaway
01/07 ~ Margie’s Must Reads ~ Review, Giveaway
01/08 ~ So Little Time… ~Guest Post, Excerpt, Giveaway
01/09 ~ Babblings of a Bookworm ~ Author Interview/Character Interview, Giveaway
01/10 ~ Half Agony, Half Hope ~ Review, Excerpt
***01/11 ~ Austenesque Reviews ~ Vignette, Giveaway***
01/12 ~ My Love for Jane Austen ~ Vignette, Giveaway
01/14 ~ From Pemberley to Milton ~ Excerpt, Review or Vignette, Giveaway
01/15 ~ My life journey ~ Review, Excerpt, Giveaway
01/16 ~ My Vices and Weaknesses ~ Guest Post or Vignette. Excerpt, Giveaway
01/18 ~ Diary of an Eccentric ~ Review, Giveaway
01/20 ~ Darcyholic Diversions ~ Author Interview, Giveaway
01/21 ~ Austenprose ~ Author Interview