Jan 112019

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.


Panic Stations, Gentlemen!
A bonus scene from Sir Walter Takes a Wife by Laura Hile

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

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.

Laura Hile

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

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

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

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!!  


a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • 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

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  84 Responses to “Excerpt + Giveaway with Authors Robin Helm and Laura Hile!!!”


    Meredith, thank you for hosting us!

    That vignette is pure fun — A match made in vanity! I LOVE that! — and Robin’s excerpt is pure romance.


    What a fun story, thanks for sharing. Looking forward to reading the whole anthology.


    Thanks for sharing this fun vignette.


    LOL! Love the vignette, Laura! I hadn’t seen that before. And that’s one of my favorite scenes from Robin’s story. Thanks for hosting the anthology here, Meredith! Good luck to all on the giveaways 🙂


      You haven’t seen this vignette, Wendi, because … nobody has! I figured Meredith and her friends would enjoy some Regency smack talk between Darcy and Colonel Fitz. These two are too much fun!


      Thank you, Wendi. Pulling excerpts of this story is almost too easy. The dreams and short scenes lend themselves to this. Now, vignettes are really hard to write. Laura did a terrific job.


    I am enjoying reading this anthology already! I know other JAFF readers will too. Congrats on publication ladies.


      Thank you so much, Brenda. I just updated The Guardian Trilogy, and I saw that you were in my acknowledgements. Time has just flown by. I’m glad to hear you’re reading A Very Austen Valentine. I hope you enjoy it!


      Aw thanks, Brenda, for the props. We are delighted to share these stories with our friends — like you!


    What a beautifully designed post, Meredith! Thank you so much for hosting us.


    ‘Who wouldn’t like to read this collection of works by these authors! Thanks for putting it together,


    This anthology sounds wonderful. Thanks for the giveaway!


    Looking forward to reading this Valentine’s Day.


      I hope you enjoy it, Megan. I should probably add that A Very Austen Valentine is enrolled in Kindle Unlimited. Good luck in the giveaway!


      I may reread it myself, Megan! I love all the stories, and I was so focused on publishing that I hardly had time to enjoy them all. A leisurely reread is definitely in order.

      I hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day.

      Good luck in the giveaway!


    Ooooo, Lady Catherine and Sir Walter. That’s a match made in heaven! I look forward to watching that unfold. That’s a nice bit of banter between Darcy and the Colonel as well. Always enjoyable.


    I love a seasonal read – a Valentine one sounds delightful! Thank you for the chance to win a copy 🙂


      Valentine’s Day wasn’t much of a thing in Regency times, although I did find examples of Valentine cards with romantic verses. Sir Walter brazenly cribbed a few. But then, being a Great Man, of course he had to add a few phrases of his own…

      Too much fun! Good luck in the giveaway, Virginia.


      I love seasonal reads, too, Virginia K. Plenty of romance and humor in this one. Good luck!


    Favorite authors, favorite characters. What could be better? Thanks for offering a great collection.


      Thanks for the props, Elizabeth. A Very Austen Valentine has something for just about every reader, we think. Good luck in the giveaway!


      I confess I love being in anthologies with my favorite authors. I feel very privileged to be in A Very Austen Valentine. By the way, Mandy H. Cook is my daughter. What a thrill to publish my story with hers – in the same book!

      Good luck to you!


    Wow! This looks like a great blog tour! Love the authors and I know your stories will all be AWESOME! Best Wishes! Jen


      Aw, Jen, thanks. We have never done a whirlwind tour like this one. Nor have I written vignettes — such fun! I have another one coming up somewhere along the tour. Good luck in the giveaway.


      Thank you so much, Jen! Janet Taylor arranged this blog tour, and it’s my first. I wrote my first vignette for this tour, too, but it was too long. So, I divided it into two parts. Part 1 will be on My Love for Jane Austen today, and Part 2 will be on From Pemberley to Milton on Monday.

      Laura will have another vignette on next Wednesday on My Vices and Weaknesses.

      We appreciate all the bloggers and their willingness to host us. Hasn’t Meredith done a beautiful job?

      Good luck to you, dear!


    This looks great!


    What fun (and sweet) excerpts. Thanks for bringing these to Meredith’s blog. The stories sound so promising, I’m looking forward to reading them. Best of luck with this launch, ladies. And thank you to you too, Meredith.


      Hi, Michelle! We were really excited to see Meredith’s name on the blog tour. It’s always so much fun here! I hope you enjoy reading A Very Austen Valentine. Good luck in the giveaway!


    I love a good anthology! Thank you for sharing the excerpts, I look forward to reading more


    Great team of contributors; should be a wonderful reead!


      Thank you for the kind words, Kerry. We have been friends for many years. Well, with the exception of Mandy. She’s my daughter. Good luck!


      You can say that again, Kerri. I’ve said before, but it bears repeating. I am privileged to be both a contributor to this anthology and also a fan. Thanks for entering the giveaway!


    Hi, Michelle! We were really excited to see Meredith’s name on the blog tour. It’s always so much fun here! I hope you enjoy reading A Very Austen Valentine. Good luck in the giveaway!


    Enjoyed the two excerpts. I do plan to read this book one way or the other. Looking forward to it. Thanks for a chance to win.


    You are all so generous with your talents. Thank you for sharing.


    I can’t wait to read more about what happens with Sir Walter and Lady Cat. I have this on my wishlist. Thank you for sharing and for the generous give away.


      Hello, Deborahanne2. I love Sir Walter Takes a Wife, too. I don’t know how Laura can keep that level of brilliant, sparkling humor through an entire novella. It’s wonderful! Good luck!


    So famtastic! Congratulations, ladies!


    Forgive the typo


    I also love anthologies. I think it is the best way to discover new authors. Thanks for the chance to win this anthology.


    Sir Walter Elliot would be most disappointed when he discovers that Anne has the money and not Lady Catherine. I loved the interaction between Darcy and Fitzwilliam and the tenderness of Elizabeth and Darcy.


      Sir Walter is in for plenty of surprises, isn’t he? And yet, like the proverbial cat, the man always seems to land on his feet. Thanks for entering the giveaway, Eva. Good luck!


    Darcy and the Colonel discovering Sir Walter’s first love–himself–is hilarious! (And how right they are!!)

    The second excerpt is so sweet!!

    I really, really hope I win one of the anthologies!! Thank you, Robin and Laura! And many thanks, Meredith, for hosting!! 😀

    Susanne 🙂


      Robin’s novella is so very romantic, as are most of the stories in this collection. Mine, well … what can I say? Occasionally we all need a dose of “snark and nonsense,” right? Sir Walter and the lady he pursues certainly deliver!

      The great thing about these anthologies is that we get to introduce our writing friends to our reading friends — like you, Susanne. Good luck in the giveaway.


    This so sweet… our EB attending to FD.

    And shocking/intriguing Lady C with a suitor…

    Thank you for the excerpts and the give-aways


    Thank goodness I wasn’t drinking any tea when I read yours Laura! As for undressing Mr. Darcy, well need I say more?! Delightful little vignettes! Thank you!


      What can I say, Carole? Put Colonel Fitz and Darcy together, and before long they’re causing trouble. There’s no trusting them, nuh-uh.

      And Robin’s romantic excerpt is just so swoon worthy that it begged to be shared.


    OMG!! Both of those excerpts were hilarious. I nearly howled out loud over Darcy and our dear Colonel’s responses to Sir Walter. What a hoot. Then, I nearly blushed with Elizabeth when she attempted to help Darcy with his bath. Bless her heart. What fun. I love this and would love to win a copy. Thanks to the authors and the publisher for the generous giveaway. Blessings on the success of this work. Thanks for hosting, Meredith. Give a special hello to your Mr. Bingley. Good luck to everyone in the drawing.


      Hi, J. W. Garrett! Bless my adorable Elizabeth’s heart, indeed. She tried her best, and he was so sweet about it.

      Good luck in the giveaway!

      Yes, Meredith – this is wonderful!


    Can you imagine….oh, I see others have the same idea to combine these in one huge comedy! How wonderful to have the opportunity on winning an ebook in time for Valentine’s Day with the Valentine theme! Good luck to all!!!


    What great excerpts and I look forward to reading more. Thanks for sharing and thanks for the giveaway! –Leslie


    I loved this anthology. Read it on KU. Short stories are great for the work week! Congrats on the release!


      Leah, that’s so great! I’m glad we brought smiles and sighs to your coffee breaks. Long books like this one do very well on Kindle Unlimited. Thank you!

      Good luck in the giveaway, too.


    I’m following the blog tour, and my excitement rises with every stop. Love the excerpts’ the book is sure to be a winner!


      Beatrice, thanks so much for following us. It’s been great fun for us. We’re loving this book, and we think our readers will too. Something for everyone! Good luck in the giveaway.


    These look exciting; I look forward to reading the rest!


    I love romantic books — and these sure fit the bill! Great Valentine’s Day reading!
    digicats {at} sbcglobal {dot} net


    This vignette sounds delightful and what better time than Valentine’s Day. Thank you for the giveaway.


    I enjoyed the bonus scene! This looks very romantic. I love romance novels!

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