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Monday, February 25, 2013

Uncovering the Darcy Past: Sharon Lathan

Uncovering the Darcy Past
by Sharon Lathan
Happy to have Sharon Lathan with me here today at Darcyholic Diversions!  She is a part of the big giveaways here!  I will be drawing the grand prize winner on Sunday, March 3rd.  So there is still time to enter at this All For The Love Of Darcy Give Away LinkAnd comments on all the other posts this month will be counted as extra entries!

One of the delights in writing a saga versus a single novel is the opportunity to dwell with the characters for a long period of time. As I wrote beyond my first novel, Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy, I was inspired to create additional backstory for Mr. Darcy - that accomplished by introducing friends from his youth and university days, for example. Eventually my yearning induced me to look further than his immediate family. Darcy’s Uncle George, the star of my upcoming release The Passions of Dr. Darcy, was one result of inventing a bigger family for Mr. Darcy. The eccentric Marchioness of Warrow, and then Mr. Sebastian Butler, hero of Miss Darcy Falls in Love, are also byproducts of that need to enlarge the family.

Why stop there? In time I decided living relatives weren’t enough either! Going back in time, as it were, to tell the tale of Dr. George Darcy meant breathing life into long deceased characters such as James and Anne Darcy, Fitzwilliam’s parents, and many others. It was tremendous fun!

Yet with each step further into the past, my curiosity grew. Who were the Darcys? Where did they come from? Could Austen’s fictional hero be tied to established history?

According to ancestry.com, the Darcy origins can be traced to Arcy in Manche, France. It was common in the ancient world for family surnames to derive from the location of the clan, in this case Arcy, or Arci or Areci, as it was sometimes spelled centuries ago. In the French language, “de” is translated “of, or from.” Placing two vowels next to each other is awkward, so rather than “de Arcy” the surname was “D’Arcy.” All that said, there are other possible origins to the surname, none that can be certain as the correct origin. The English surname Dorsey is clearly linked to Darcy, but precisely where it began and deviated are unsure as well.

Nevertheless, while the exact etymology of the surname is questionable, tracking D’Arcys is relatively easy.

The first documented D’Arcy was a man named David who descended from Charlemagne (Charles the Great, 742-814), King of France and Emperor of Rome. Pretty cool, huh? David’s descendent, Sir Richard D’Arcy, accompanied William the Conqueror from Normandy into England in 1066, the first D’Arcy to touch English soil as far as can be known.

More than likely there were numerous migrations, but the strongest ties are to Sir Richard, who became Baron D’Arcy in short order for his valorous service at the Battle of Hastings. Some genealogies connect this Sir Richard to Richard, the 4th Duke of Normandy, and while that is super cool, the facts are tenuous. Solid scholarship points to Norman D’Arcy (a relative of Sir Richard, although unclear the relationship) being also granted a barony around 1100, this one in Lincoln, and his son Robert founded an Augustine priory there. Detailed history on this branch of the family can be read on this page of Geni.com

In the immediate decades to follow, D’Arcys became governors, constables, and sheriffs, and served in Parliament and as ambassadors to foreign courts. By 1300 the family had branched and settled in various places throughout England - York, Lincolnshire, and Derby among them. In 1320 Sir John D’Arcy was appointed Lord Justice and General Governor of Ireland. From then on the D’Arcy family figures prominently in Ireland’s history. One extensive genealogy of the D’Arcys of Kiltulla in Galway, Ireland can be read on Google Books in A Genealogical History of the Commoners.

Now, as fascinating as this historical Darcy information is, incorporating it into my Darcy Saga series has been limited to the family tree tapestries that hang in the foyer of Pemberley. There I melded historical fact with the fiction of a mysterious second son as the ancestor to the Derbyshire branch of the family. For a woven tapestry that was enough. 

For the novella I am currently writing, and that I hope to have finished and available within the next month or two, I thought it would be fun to elaborate. All for the love of Darcy, you see! Revealed for the first time, here is my vision of Mr. Darcy’s ancestry, concluding with a hint as to what the novella is about.  

Somewhere in the 1420s, second son Frederick D’Arcy left his comfortable home in Ireland with his modest inheritance safely stowed inside his baggage. Alone he boarded the ship at Cork, but grinned joyously as he waved good-bye to his tearful family lining the wooden dock. Ever the adventurous boy and youth, none were surprised at his departure to explore foreign lands seeking fortune and new experiences. Nor were they overly surprised to receive rare, abridged correspondence as the years passed. For a man imbued with a spirit of wanderlust and mischief since birth, it was the natural, expected course.
When, after twenty years away, Frederick suddenly appeared on the doorstep of his family’s residence outside Bandon in Cork, happiness was the prevailing emotion. He was greeted with open arms, tears of joy, and a spontaneous feast that lasted a week. Equally welcomed were his blonde, blue-eyed wife and infant son. Clearly of Germanic or Scandinavian birth - the precise truth lost in the annals of history - Frederick’s bride was merely one scene in the grand tale recounted to his awestruck family. Dazzled by his stories they were, with many destined to become family legends wildly embellished by succeeding generations.
Revelations of the vast wealth he had acquired, and that he had changed his surname to Darcy, were surprising. The announcements that the famed adventurer of the family, the brave D’Arcy whose name was whispered with reverence and pride, planned to settle in England and become a gentleman landowner were staggering!
Frederick Darcy, so his sporadically written journals revealed, considered life as a proper husband and patriarch a serious undertaking and formidable challenge. He set his mind to this new course as doggedly as he had his adventures abroad. He obtained a sizeable portion of land in Derbyshire located on the southerly edge of the Peak with the River Derwent running through. A sturdy house was built for his expanding family, several dozen sheep were purchased, and local citizens of the shire were hired to assist in his farming and livestock endeavors. The humble estate was named Pemberley, for reasons never recorded, and by the time of Frederick Darcy’s death at the ripe age of eighty-three, Pemberley had more than doubled in acreage and worth.
As the decades rolled into centuries, the Darcy family increased in influence and wealth. So did Pemberley. A new manor was built in the late 1500s, and it underwent renovations and expansions numerous times. The estate’s size and importance multiplied exponentially, with more and more families in the area coming to rely upon the wisdom and protection bestowed by the Master of Pemberley and his kin.
Every Darcy born, male and female, learned of their ancestry with pride. Forever at the pinnacle was the legend of hearty Irishman Frederick Darcy. Intrepid adventurer, fearless trailblazer, solid citizen, cunning leader, and devoted family man, Frederick was the example. After three-hundred-years, his core traits held true amongst his progeny. Of course, not always did those traits evident in the older, steadfast Frederick Darcy outweigh the characteristics prominent in the young, audacious Frederick D’Arcy! Wanderlust frequently attacked a Darcy youth, some never heard from again, and rare was the child of Pemberley who did not enjoy causing some trouble.
Thank you, Barbara, for allowing me to share my obsessive love for Mr. Darcy with your readers. As a token of my appreciation, I have added an Ebook to the “All for the Love of Darcy” pot, the winner choosing the Darcy Saga title desired.


Sharon Lathan is the best-selling author of The Darcy Saga seven volume sequel series to Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice. Sharon began writing in 2005 and her first novel, Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One was published in 2009. Her eighth novel will be released in April 2013, The Passions of Dr. Darcy, an epic tale of an English physician in Georgian Era India.

For more information about Sharon, the Regency Era, and her novels, visit her website/blog at: www.sharonlathan.net or search for her on Facebook and Twitter. She also invites you to join her and other Austen novelists at Austen Authors: www.austenauthors.com

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

From Dinosaurs to Jane Austen Inspired Author: Marsha Altman

 From Dinosaurs to Jane Austen Inspired Author: 
Marsha Altman

I’m Marsha Altman, author of The Darcys and the Bingleys series of ten books that follow the events of Pride and Prejudice (Book 7 out late Spring!) in increasingly abstract, self-referential, or tangential ways. For years, I’ve said that I was inspired to reread Pride and Prejudice and start writing fan fiction after seeing the 2005 movie in theater, but now that the legal settlement’s gone through, the truth can finally be told!

I remember it started the night Jane and I were fighting crime on velociraptors. Normally we don’t use them because they’re hard on turns and keep eating bystanders, but the Austenmobile was in the shop. It started out as this clicking noise in the dashboard and then they had to rewire the battery or some nonsense and then I don’t even know what happened in that shop but we would up paying like $400. I’m just saying we’re not going back there. We only patronized the shop because the mechanic said he liked Persuasion and Jane says nobody admits to liking Persuasion before her other books, but now I think he was just a really savvy salesman.

So there we were near the entrance to the George Washington bridge and hanging a mugger over it with a cable to try to get information about the Japanese crime syndicate selling mutant power-enhancing PCP, and Jane was saying how she’d gotten really into Lord of the Rings slash but was still kind of embarrassed about it, it’s just that when you’ve read literally everything in the world already you’re going to end up in some weird corners of Fanfiction.net. I told her it was fine and totally mainstream, and maybe someone would had probably already written tons of Pride and Prejudice slash. She didn’t believe me, so after we got the info to take down the Red Claw Yakuza branch and left the mugger hanging from a street sign, we hoped on the internet, which took some time because it was 2005 and we didn’t have smart phones so we had to go to a Starbucks first. Turns out, no one had written any slash except some Darcy/Wickham stuff buried in some other site with all kinds of adult warnings. I said I would do a proper job.

“No one’s going to like it,” she said. “You’re not going to get a lot of good reviews.”

“Oh no, the fanfic world’s way more liberal than you think it is,” I told Jane. “Come one, twincest is like, a thing now. And that’s too far, even for me.”

“My readers are more conservative,” she said.

Long story short, she was totally right, and after that disaster I decided to write another story that didn’t contain any outright mentions of homosexuality despite it being a time period where men and women were heavily segregated in social outlets and men wore skin tight satin Capri pants. Ten books and one publishing contract later I was on to a frustratingly miniature level of stifled Austen fanfic stardom. I probably should have put more sex in the books. As for the Red Claw Yakuza Gang, they won’t be back here, mostly because of Japan’s extradition policy. Damn them!

Post your thoughts on my exciting adventures and win a copy of one of my books! I’m giving away one copy of The Darcys and the Bingleys (book 1) in paperback and two copies of Georgiana and the Wolf (book 6) in e-format. Leave your email in the comment or it will not count toward the drawing.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Introducing A Headstrong Girl: June Williams

Introducing A Headstrong Girl
 June Williams
Today I’m happy to welcome June Williams to Darcyholic Diversions Last summer, June made her publishing debut with Honor and Integrity, a short story collection co-authored with Aimée Avery and Enid Wilson. This month, June is part of a new collection – Headstrong Girls – co-authored with Enid Wilson and Debra Anne Watson. All four ladies have been part of the Jane Austen community for years, and I’ve met June and Aimée in person. This is another in the posts celebrating "All For The Love Of Darcy Month".  Be sure you have your entry in to Win a Kindle by clicking on the top Left Link on this blog!!

Barb: Hi, June! Looks like you’ve been busy, getting hooked on publishing.

June: Well, you know how addiction works – you can’t have just one. Not that you and I know about addiction, of course.
Aimee Avery, Headstrong Girl-June, and Barbara in Ventura, CA

Barb: Ahem. You told me the new book’s title is Headstrong Girls.

June: Yes, there are seven short stories and one short film script, most of them about Lizzy and Darcy. I wanted to write about some of Jane Austen’s other headstrong girls – such as Caroline Bingley, Lady Catherine, and Lucy Steele – but the Muse didn’t cooperate this time; perhaps they’ll be in a future collection. This new book has writings from the Regency, present-day, and future (the year 2313). The collection has elements of mystery and romance, plus the tag-along story has some… hmm… not to give any spoilers, but there are ... ahh … special characters? Special creatures?

Barb: Aliens from the future?

June: Not this time; it’s a Regency story set at Netherfield. In a tag-along story, one person starts it, and the next chapter’s writer cannot change anything written previously. Debra Anne was adventurous – she wanted to wrap up the story, not knowing what Enid and I would write. Enid began by killing someone – not Lizzy or Darcy, naturally. Then I inserted a naked Amazon and cast doubt on the killer’s identity, which was easy because I didn’t know who the killer would be. Debra Anne came up with an incredible ending!

Barb: How did you get your inspiration to write for this book?

June: The book’s theme is “headstrong girls,” so – for ideas – I looked up the definition of “headstrong” in several online dictionaries, and I also read parenting forums about how to raise headstrong children. What did not work is when I did an image search on a photo website, looking for “headstrong;” the search results were all … donkeys!

Barb: (laughs) I wonder what Lady Catherine would say.

June: She thought “headstrong” was an insult, but headstrong people have many good traits such as determination, persistence, and sensitivity to others. Sounds like Lizzy Bennet to me, and I think Darcy loved her for being headstrong. Really, Darcy was a headstrong boy.

Barb: What are the differences between publishing your first and second books?

June: With Honor and Integrity, I only had to write new stories, since Enid did all the book’s formatting, and Aimée created the gorgeous cover and handled the administrative work with the publishers. Aimée is currently busy with her job and her own graphics consultancy so she’s sitting out this collection, so this time I get to handle the admin details, and Debra Anne is the debutante.

Barb: Usually, the second time for something is easier than the first.

June: There are advantages both to being first and second. You know that Pride and Prejudice was about first impressions – our first impression of Darcy was negative, but he improved on acquaintance; Darcy’s first proposal had more romantic words, but his second proposal was the one Lizzy accepted. My first foray in publishing was a “wow!” experience – very exciting; this time, it feels like it’s more work but it’s also deeply satisfying. My modern story turned into my first crime fic so it was more challenging to write than I expected, but I learned more about the U.S. legal system and I got to work with two great JAFF lawyers as advisors. That part hasn’t changed – with both books, I’ve worked with good friends. I’ve met Debra Anne twice, been to Aimée’s home, and worked closely with Enid. One day, we’ll get Enid to California for more than a layover. She has just visited Florida for three weeks with a seven-hour layover in California; the only thing she could do in Los Angeles in that time was to visit Colin Firth’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She’s another one with addiction, LOL. She has the tough job of being ringleader in this circus.

Barb: I’ve heard many mothers say that they forget the pain of labor and delivery after they see the baby. Is that true of your books?

June: Absolutely. I had forgotten all the work of proofreading and editing. This time, Enid taught me more about formatting, too – you know, the old “teach a person to fish” thing. I’m really thankful for the help received from already-published authors, who are gracious to help new folks. It’s almost circle-of-life – readers become fanfic writers, fanfic writers become published, published stories are read by new readers, published authors help new writers become published.

Barb: I’m asking everyone this month to post about why you love Darcy.

June: I grew up with a dysfunctional family. My parents’ marriage was unhealthy in every way, but as a child, that’s what I saw, so it seemed normal to me. When I joined Jane Austen boards, the ladies – and gentlemen – didn’t just discuss JA’s novels; they also shared about their lives and families. In fanfic stories, I read about how Lizzy and Darcy would have behaved as a married couple. When my own marriage became unhealthy, I realized that I didn’t have to stay in it. He didn’t want to become like Darcy – I’m not talking about Darcy’s “fine, tall person, handsome features, noble mien” or his 10,000 pounds; I’m talking about how Darcy was willing to mature and grow as a person. Darcy steadfastly loved Lizzy even after her family became disgraced, he saved her family without telling Lizzy about it, he sought her presence, and he was a selfless, generous man of hard work and principle. Darcy is a giver, not a taker.

Barb: Darcy’s shoes are hard to fill.

June: But he’s not an impossible ideal. Many writers base story scenes on their real lives and also on their principles. I think Jane Austen created her heroes with an eye to her male relatives. Her maternal uncle, James Leigh-Perrot, was willing to stay in jail for months with his wife when she was arrested for stealing a bit of lace. That sounds like a Darcy-thing. We can all find good role models in our circle of friends and family, people who are a little like Darcy – or Wentworth, Brandon, or other JA hero.

Barb: My father-in-law died last month; he left big shoes to fill, too. He supported his parents during the Depression, and he was a World War II hero. I could use him as my inspiration for a Darcy story, with the right plot bunny.

June: Exactly, and your husband is just like his dad. Darcy is not an unattainable ideal; remember that Jane Austen said, “Pictures of perfection, as you know, make me sick and wicked." Reading about JA’s heroes teaches us who she was, the qualities she valued, and the husband she hoped to have. Happy Valentine’s Day, Barb!

Barb: Happy Valentine’s to you and all our readers!


Debra Anne, June, and Enid are giving away an eBook copy of Headstrong Girls; and Aimée, June, and Enid are giving an eBook copy of Honor and Integrity. Entries will be based on comments to this blog post. To enter, tell us below about your first and second time doing something, and whether you would like Headstrong Girls or Honor and Integrity.

About the Authors –  
Aimée Avery, a California native, became a world traveler at the tender age of six. Moving from place to place, she spent a good deal of time dreaming up situations for her favorite characters from books and television. Aimée is currently employed in the newspaper industry and is happily married and living along California’s beautiful Central Coast.

Debra Anne Watson is a lover of books and the English language, who has always enjoyed reading and editing, but discovered the joys of writing but a few years ago.  She works as a computer professional and lives with her active family in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

June Williams has always loved to write, although her first book – written at age eleven – had only one copy. In her checkered career path, she taught English as a Second Language, wrote for a U.S. Congressman and a business magazine, created technical manuals, ran a startup, and wrote advertising copy. She lives in Northern California.

Enid Wilson loves sexy romance. Her writing career began with a daily newspaper, writing educational advice for students. She then branched out into writing marketing materials and advertising copy. Enid lives in beautiful Sydney, Australia.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Mr. Darcy! Why Him?: Nina Benneton

 Mr. Darcy! Why him?

(So happy to have Nina Benneton with us today with a post during 'All For The Love of Darcy Month'.  Stop by HERE to enter for all of the wonderful give-aways this month, but ALSO comment on Nina's post for additional chances to win! Stop by MY POST for 'Hearts Through History Blog Tour', and don't forget to VOTE for Compulsively Mr. Darcy for Book of the year!)

“Mr. Darcy! Why him?” With a slight twitch of her nostrils to the right, a sign that she’s tittering between disdain and disgust, my anime-obsessed teenager asked me after she finished reading Pride and Prejudice for an English class recently. “I don’t see it. I don’t see why you love him so much you’ve even written a book about him.”

My daughter is into cosplaying anime characters. Through designing, sewing and then wearing and exhibiting her costumed creations, she brings to life the fictional anime characters. One of her favorite characters is Howl from the anime movie based on Diana Wynne Jones’s novel of the same name, Howl’s Moving Castle.

Just as I don’t see the attraction for the self-absorbed, lazy, coward Howl who makes Wickham appear like a choir boy, she doesn’t see my admiration for Mr. Darcy.

What should I tell a young teen what it was I learned at her age from reading Pride and Prejudice?

‘Don’t judge a guy by his manners.’

That’s it! Contrary to what every mother, including my own mother, and even myself, had often expressed, ‘Manners make the man’, I would tell my daughter the above. And I also would tell her:

That the most well-mannered, articulated, handsome guy every girl wanted may be a Wickham in disguise who has no heart.

That the most amiable, popular, peace-loving guy may be a Bingley who lacks self-conviction to follow his own heart.

That the most cultured, pedigreed, decorated-soldier guy may be a Colonel Fitzwilliam who lacks the courage to unfetter his heart.

That the ill-mannered, inarticulate, disagreeable, unpopular, undecorated guy you meet may be the Darcy with the unbridled, fearless, and selfless heart. A man who’s willing to admit his faults and overcome them is a powerful, authentic man, even without any wizardly tricks.

Judge a man by his actions, not his manners.

I’m going to find my daughter in her sewing room now and tell her all that.

Second, I’m also going to tell her I plan watch and reread Howl’s Moving Castle again. Perhaps I’d misjudged the wizard Howl by his manners and not his actions.

Lastly, I’m going to tell her that the book that was written from my love of Mr. Darcy is nominated for LASR Best Book of 2012 Poll, http://www.longandshortreviews.com/book-reviews/2012-book-of-the-year/ and that voting is until February 14th, and I’d love for her to vote for her mother’s Austenesque novel, Compulsively Mr. Darcy.

I would be so grateful for you all to vote for an Austenesque novel as the Best Book of the Year. http://www.longandshortreviews.com/book-reviews/2012-book-of-the-year/

As a thank you for your votes, one random lucky commenter will win an ‘I Love Mr. Darcy’ gift set (totebag, keychain, bumper sticket) from one of my favorite shops—the Jane Austen Centre in Bath.

Visit Nina at her website: www.NinaBenneton.com
Visit her Facebook Author Page at : http://www.facebook.com/pages/Nina-Benneton/273543669356518
Follow on Twitter at: @NinaBenneton

Falling in love With Darcy's Derbyshire: Karen Aminadra

Falling In Love With Darcy’s Derbyshire.
 (I am happy to have Karen Aminadra's special 'All For The Love Of Darcy Month' post to share today!  If you have not yet entered to win a Kindle complete with eBooks from many of your favorite authors you can do so HERE. I have added the authors contributing eBooks to the Grand Prize as well as the other prizes to be given away to that post.  Also, please stop by and participate in the Hearts Through History Blog Tour by visiting MY POST. Comments on Karen's post will be EXTRA entries into the 'All For The Love of Darcy Month' drawings. But you still must enter at the link above marked HERE to win.)
On the face of it, Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice is about the five Bennet sisters and their prospects (or lack thereof) with regards to getting married.  Enter two eligible and not to mention rather handsome strangers and it’s a free-for-all with Mrs Bennet, their mother, leading the fray.  Well, not quite.  Jane showed us what was going on in society in her day and how ‘getting married’ was done.  I am sure Mrs Bennet is based on more than one mother that Jane personally knew and that she took delight in writing such a fun character.  We look upon her now and laugh, but I am certain I would not have liked to have a mother like her!  Jane showed us the social etiquette of courting and marrying in Regency England and that falling in love really wasn’t necessary at all, in fact, it was often a hindrance.  She also shone the spotlight on how ridiculous it all really was.  I am sure she had been pushed into many a social setting just like those in her books, with a view to getting her married off too.
However, it was while visiting Derbyshire, England herself that Jane Austen penned her most famous novel Pride & Prejudice.  In it, she tells us that love matters not a jot in her society, only money, titles and estates.  What was it about this beautiful county that inspired her?
Jane was staying in Bakewell when inspiration hit and her quill began to scratch away on the paper and the story of the Bennet family was born.  Bakewell is in the Peak district and has been a market town since 1330, but was mentioned in the 1085 Domes day book as ‘Badequella’ meaning bath-well.  It is most famous these days for its puddings that we now call Bakewell tarts.  If you haven’t tried one, you simply must.  I am sure Jane did.  Austen scholars also believe that Bakewell was the inspiration for Lambton.  However, it was the village of Longnor near Buxton (famous for its spring water), which was used in the 1995 BBC version of Pride & Prejudice.  
One cannot visit Derbyshire without visiting Chatsworth house the home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire.  And it is this wonderfully grand house, which is thought to have been the inspiration for Pemberley.  Jane wrote, “The eye was instantly caught by Pemberley House, situated on the opposite side of the valley into which the road into some abruptness wound.”  
 “It was a large, handsome, stone building standing well on rising ground, and backed by a ridge of high woody hills; and in front, a stream of some natural importance was swelled into greater, but without any artificial appearance.  Its banks were neither formal, nor falsely adorned."
In the 1995 version, Sudbury Hall was used for the interior shots of Pemberley.  It’s definitely a place to add to the list of Darcy-related places to visit.  The exterior shots, as I am sure you know, were of Lyme Hall, which although technically in Cheshire, stands between Buxton and Stockport.  Mr Darcy and Elizabeth strolled through the 1,400-acre park enjoying superb views of the Peak District, something all Darcyholics want to do too.
It’s all too easy to get wrapped up and lost in time in these wonderful homes and gardens, but when visiting Darcy’s Derbyshire, don’t forget to wander in the Peaks as I am sure Jane also did.  One place I would also recommend, and I am sure Jane would have visited too, are the Blue-john mines.   Blue-john stone is from the French Bleu-Jaune, meaning blue and yellow.  The stones are beautiful as are the caves and well worth taking time out of your stately home tour to see, and the shop is a great place to buy unusual souvenirs and presents to take home.  Visiting Bakewell, Chatsworth, Matlock, Dove Dale, Lyme Hall and the Peaks, you would not only be following in the steps of Elizabeth, the Gardiners and Jane Austen herself, but it would be a dream tour of Darcy’s Derbyshire!
Karen Aminadra is the author of the award-winning Charlotte – Pride& Prejudice Continues available through all stockists and Amazon. 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Fitzwilliam Darcy and Dopamine Receptors: Announcing Austen Admirers

 Fitzwilliam Darcy and Dopamine Receptors
By Angie Kroll
(I am very happy to have Angie Kroll with us today at Darcyholic Diversions!  I am SO excited about her new iPhone and Android App!  I COUNT on it to simply the life of this Darcyholic!  Know that you will enjoy learning all about it.  I also encourage you to click on both of the top links on the left.  One is about the 'All For The Love of Darcy Month' contests, including the change to win a Kindle complete with many eBooks from some of your favorite authors, as well as a special Hearts for History Blog Tour post that I have written).

My name is Angie, and I'm a Darcyholic (among many other 'holics').  And yes, it is a very real condition, but one that I hope in which never to find a cure.

Of course, you are thinking that she's mad.  And the answer is, you are probably right.  But, hear me out.

When I was 38 years old, I was diagnosed with ADHD, which according to MayoClinic.com is is a mental health condition that causes inattention, hyperactivity and impulsive behavior.  In short, my brain has irregular spikes of dopamine that can cause me to forever be looking for my car keys, or its converse, Hyperfocus, which I have a tendency to do with things I love.  Sometimes, I become so immersed in what I'm doing, I become oblivious to the world around me.  Does that describe your love for Jane Austen and all things Darcy?

As a teen, I was a sworn Bronte Babe - Heathcliff and Mr. Rochester were my literary heroes.  I've always loved Pride and Prejudice, but it wasn't until 5 years ago that my dopamine receptors discovered Darcy.  Having recently had a hysterectomy, my emotional and physical sanity were highly suspect.  Only reading seemed to be a constant for me.  Soon, I went to my local library and found Mr. Darcy's Obsession by Abigail Reynolds sitting on the shelf.  Do you remember what it was like the first time you tried tirimasu?  Mr. Darcy became MY obsession - my dopamine receptors were on overload!  Fast forward to 2013, and you'll find me with 85 Austen-related books on my Kindle, another 20 on my shelf, and a dozen or so that I've checked out from the library.

But much like folks with ADHD, I get overwhelmed very easily.  The amount of blogs, books and works by bloggers, authors have eclipsed my time I can give in a day.  I can't keep up with posts, giveaways and news without becoming an inert blob on my couch.  Talking with online friends helped; I knew I the only person looking for easier ways to participate in the Austen community.  But what could I do? I don't have the discipline to write prose.   I'm just a girl who likes to mess with photoshop, write a few mad libs, and play with iMovie.  Could my computer skills be of any use?

Enter the idea of Austen Admirers, an RSS Smartphone app for iTunes, Google Play and Windows.  What Austen Admirers does is take feeds from all of your favorite blogs and aggregates them into one easy-to-use smartphone app. Each morning instead of waking up and going to 50 different websites, you can open one app and see all of the latest posts from your favorite blogs - right in one place!  You can also find a list of authors, and with a push of a button, arrive directly to their Amazon page!

What does it cost to be a part of the app?  Nothing.  Zero.  It will be free for authors and bloggers to join, and free for users to download.  Most apps cost between 10K and 15K to build, but I want this to be a thank you to the community for giving me an online home these past five years.  All graphic design and cost for building the apps are donated by me.  Is it completely free?  No - which is why I'm having a kickstarter campaign to help fund the hosting charges.    Eventually, there will be advertising opportunities for authors if the campaign succeeds, but for now, I need your help getting the word out.  Tweet, Share, Email - send the news by post!   With Kickstarter, the Austen community can come together to help fund something that works for all of us, and bring other Darcyholics to their 'fix!'

Would you like to know more?  Please check out the Kickstarter Campaign site, Like us on Facebook,  Facebook.com/AustenAdmirers, Follow on Twitter @AustenAuthors or @AngieKroll, or contact me directly at adkroll95 (at) gmail(dot)com.

(Calling Card Created by Angie for 
Contessa Barbara Tiller Cole).

Monday, February 4, 2013

An Author's Love For Darcy: Jeanna Ellsworth

An Author's Love For Darcy: Jeanna Ellsworth
(Continuing our Month Long Celebration of "All For The Love Of Darcy", I am happy to welcome Jeanne Ellsworth to Darcyholic Diversions today!  She is giving away a copy of her book, Mr. Darcy's Promise after it's release (July), so be sure and leave a comment here.  As well as all the other regular things, liking her author page will give you an additional entry to this contest as well as to the Grand Prize for the Anniversary Month Kindle Give away.  Visit HERE for a chance to win the Kindle and eBooks by some of your favorite JAFF authors.)

I am thrilled to have this opportunity to introduce myself and explain how I got started writing JAFF. It all started a little over a year ago when my sister, KaraLynne Mackrory, had a dream about Darcy and Elizabeth.  It prompted her to write a book, which she sent to me chapter by chapter, for my loyal, sisterly opinion.  I couldn’t get enough of it, and hated to wait for each blessed, but cursed email containing the next (and only one) chapter.  I was impatient for more, so in the meantime she suggested I read Jan Hahn’s An Arranged Marriage, then she referred me to all of Kara Louise’s works.  I was so enthralled that I asked her for other suggestions.  She directed me to www.Meryton.com, and pointed out a few other stories that she liked.  All the while I read and adored her book, Falling for Mr. Darcy, as the chapters trickled in.  So this process went on for a month until I started recognizing this insatiable thirst for each new plot, each new crisis, and each new path Darcy and Elizabeth would take to fall in love.  I had just celebrated the one year anniversary of my divorce, and was doing the single working mom thing; working 36-48 hours a week as a nurse, but still found time to read. My sister was published by Meryton Press, which I had no doubt of, but that just left me to seek out other stories.  So from January to April I read over 50 published JAFF books, as well as the ones I devoured on Meryton.com/A Happy Assembly.  I would have three books lined up or on my wish list, sometimes reading an entire book in one day. 
                  Now, when a single, celibate woman starts having dreams at night about a fictional man, and hearing the voices of 200 year old fictional characters in her head when awake, or seeing entire conversations or scenes play out as she is driving kids to school, one should question her sanity. I knew then I was a little obsessed.  Hooked. Preoccupied. Fanatical. Fixated. Infatuated. Possessed.  I had plot ideas coming to me everywhere, in every situation, and in every conversation.  Finally I called my sister and asked what I should do about it.  She suggested I write a plot outline.  So I did.  Then she encouraged me to write the first chapter. So I did. I thought I had come to terms with the fact that I had been obsessed with reading JAFF, but I learned what true obsession was when I began my own writing.  I wrote in every spare moment I had.  I didn’t watch a bit of T.V., wrote on public transit on the hour commute to and from work, wrote late into the night, and I don’t doubt it, but I probably wrote in my sleep. I would send my chapters to KaraLynne to edit and give Regency accuracy to it and to edit out my modern language. In what felt like a lightning-fast two months, I had finished Mr. Darcy’s Promise.  A book where Darcy makes an honorable promise to Elizabeth in an attempt to comfort her, but soon learns that his promise is nearly impossible for him to keep, and becomes somewhat vexing for Elizabeth as they fall in love. There were moments where I cried as I wrote.  Laughed as I typed.  Swooned as I edited.  I was completely in love all over again, this time for keeps. I was in love with Darcy, with Elizabeth, and with the creative outlet of writing.  I still have a voicemail I refuse to delete from my sister Donna, who also receiving my chapter updates, and in it she said such wonderful things about my book and it kept me motivated.  So I wrote Mr. Darcy’s Promise in two months, fully neglecting to do any deep cleaning for that entire time.  I did however pay my daughters to do the toilets.  You can’t neglect your toilets.  I suppose it is possible, but not suggested.
                  I don’t remember reading Jane Austen in high school but I do remember reading her works in my early adulthood. I owned the 2005 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, so I was a fan, just not a stalker.  I completely owe my love of JAFF to Falling for Mr. Darcy and my sister, KaraLynne Mackrory, as well as her patience with me as I delved into the writing world.  Of course, as soon as I had finished Mr. Darcy’s Promise, I had the same difficulties as before.  I had plots and ideas coming at me from all directions, but it wasn’t until a thwarted attempt to take a nap before a night shift when the idea for Pride and Persistence came to me.  I am a Neurological ICU nurse, so I deal with head traumas, major strokes, aneurisms, tumors, brain surgeries, etc. every day I work.  There are certain patients that zap your patience faster than anything because they are so confused but yet have few physical limitations; patients with frontal lobe injuries.  The frontal lobe is where complex thought, emotion, reasoning, memory, and personality are stored.  I imagined how funny it would be if Darcy lacked all of these qualities.  What if he hit his head after his first proposal, and forgot that he had proposed, and had already been angrily rejected?  What if his memory continued to fail him for days and so he repeatedly sought after the one thing his mind was perseverating on; winning Elizabeth’s hand? That epiphany of a “what if” scenario made for a light, humorous journey of writing yet another lovely tale about my favorite couple. I did take a little longer to write the second book, 3 ½ months in fact, because I decided I couldn’t neglect my household deep cleaning (like my showers….gross), and paying my daughters to clean the toilets was getting expensive.
                  So you might be asking, what now?  I have uploaded my books to Meryton.com/A Happy Assembly and have received good reviews, which has motivated me to get them published.  I just hired a fantastic editor (a senior in her PhD creative writing program!) for Mr. Darcy’s Promise so the process of getting it self-published is officially in the works! I plan on having it ready to buy in late July!  I have submitted Pride and Persistence to four different traditional publishers but I suspect I will chose to self-publish it as well. I have created a company, Hey Lady Publications, and a website for those who are interested in reading the first chapter of each of my books. You can find it at www.heyladypublications.com.  Although self-publishing my first two books will take a great deal of time, I am already working on the a third book, since once again, I am afflicted with ideas invading both my waking and sleeping mind.  This one occurs before Darcy even comes to Hertfordshire.  The Gardiner’s inherit an estate outside of Lambton, so Elizabeth and Darcy meet that way and they get off to a much better start, (no comments made at assemblies about how Elizabeth is not handsome enough to tempt Darcy, leading to a little less pride and a little less prejudice.)  But no matter what book I am currently editing, or in what stage I am working on it, I am thrilled to say that I am in for the long haul, and I am loving the ride!  I have never been so addicted to anything before, and as Barbara Tiller Cole says, “I don’t want a cure”.

Celebrating Darcy's International Appeal: Sophia From Denmark Shares

Celebrating Darcy's International Appeal:
Darcy and Pride and Prejudice
by Sophia Lykke Illner Thorsen

(I am happy to welcome Sophia today.  From Denmark, Sophia reminds me and hopefully you as well, that love of the character Fitzwilliam Darcy has an international appeal! Also, don't forget to stop by HERE to enter for a chance to win a Kindle that I am giving away for "All For The Love of Darcy" month, along with many eBooks from some of your favorite Jane Austen Inspired Authors. After entering, extra chances will be given for each comment you leave on posts through the month.) 
First I like to thank Barbara Tiller Cole for allowing me to be a guest of her amazing blog. Thank you, Barbara.
Ever since I saw Keira and Matthew in the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice, and following reading it, I have been a true Austen lover. I guess my love for romantic literature started with my reading the books of Victoria Holt, and then my journey started towards becoming a Darcyholic. I read P&P in 8th grade, I didn’t understand the underlying meaning in the conversation that Miss Austen used since English isn’t my native tongue, but as I got older and understood the wit and feelings of the characters, I began loving Austen’s works and read through all her completed works.
In 2008 I found fanfiction, and began reading JAFF and learnt that other authors have taken up the stories of Austen and made sequels and original stories with Austen’s characters who at that time I felt I knew personally – and then I tried my hand at writing JAFF and figured out that I loved writing and especially loved how I could work with Darcy and Elizabeth, and their friends. Then I got in contact with Abigail Reynolds via my own story on fanfiction, Mrs. Reynolds told me that I was a good writer but thought I should make my own original story and characters – which I will and am presently working on it.
Then on Facebook I was invited to join “Austen Authors” where I met Abigail Reynolds again, Mary Lydon Simonsen, Sharon Lathan, Marsha Altman, Susan Adriani, Amanda Grange, P.O. Dixon and the newest author I have been presented to via his new book: Mr. Jack Caldwell – all through their books where they share a common passion for P&P and Austen’s works. Now each time I see a new P&P book comes out, it ends on my “books-to-read” or “to-buy” list. I have had the honour of getting to know a few of these amazing men and women who write about Regency or other versions of Darcy and Elizabeth – some prefers regency, others modern times and others like the mystic about vampires, werewolves and the like. I hope that in the coming years I can get to call myself a real author of this genre, and I can join all of these authors with my future books.
Pride and Prejudice shows a case of two young women; Jane and Elizabeth who for the first time in their lives experience huge and overpowering emotions, in this case love and heartbreak. During the book the characters have to overcome Pride and Prejudice, in this case I am thinking of F. Darcy and E. Bennet.
Now I am sure I have seen almost every version of P&P on movie, and each of them have their own highlights. Like in the 2005 version, I love where a half-dressed Darcy meets Elizabeth in the field where he once again offers her his heart – second time without his pride! In the 1995 version I like the moment where Colin Firth/Darcy realises that Jennifer Ehle/ Elizabeth are on Pemberley land after he has been swimming in the lake and you can see his “fine figure” through his shirt, and where he helplessly repeats himself. In the 1980 BBC version I really liked how Elizabeth Garvie portrayed Elizabeth, as a more ladylike Lizzy, but that she also gave Elizabeth Bennet a sweetness that neither Ehle or Knightley managed. David Rintoul portrayed Darcy as a hard man, but as the series went on, his hard and arrogant façade melted and we saw the true man behind the mask. 
In the 1940 version I love how Olivier Lawrence portraits Darcy and how Greer Garson plays a witty Elizabeth – their kiss in the ending scene…wow!
One of the things I admire and thinks special in the books is how Jane, Bingley, Darcy and Elizabeth are written and made real in contrast to most of the other characters, which aren’t much more than caricatures of people, like annoying Mrs. Bennet, silly Lydia Bennet and withdrawn Mr. Bennet just to mention a few. In contrast to most of the characters Darcy, Bingley, Jane and Elizabeth come out and breathe with life, throughout the book.
As one can read, my favorite book is “Pride and Prejudice” and my favorite characters are Darcy and Elizabeth as a couple, closely followed by Marianne and Colonel Brandon from “Sense and Sensebility”. The way Darcy and Elizabeth changed my life -- It is too long ago, I cannot remember the time or the spot but Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet did help me, to grow into my own person with strong convictions and taught me to stand firm on my principles. I think I was in the middle of an infatuation with Darcy before I knew I had begun to like him, but which girl or woman isn’t a bit in love with Fitzwilliam Darcy…after he loses his pride and arrogance? But at least Darcy and Elizabeth helped me through a very hard period in my life, and helped me be my own person with ice hard convictions, made me a romantic at heart and as well as a sensitive young woman.
My life in the real world at this time is at a bend in the road, I am starting on a Writing school, and meanwhile I am busy with writing an application for University, where I intend to study, American Studies.
In my private hours of my day, I am writing on a book with my co-author Laura Hannah Russell – It is a Pride & Prejudice book, called “Power and Love”. Power and Love reigns supreme in 10 Downing Street when the new Prime Minister is presented to his new staff. The feelings will run high and the power of the government runs its course ten years after 2nd WW. As the government works hard, romance is happening but so is intrigue.
That is the reasons for my love of Austen and Pride and Prejudice especially. I want to thank Barbara for allowing me to talk on her blog.