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Thursday, October 6, 2022

Regina Jeffers Celebrates her 75th Birthday with a New Book Release!

 In Honor of Her 75th Birthday

Regina Jeffers Celebrates!

With a New Release of a Delightful New Book!

By Barbara Tiller Cole

Recently, Regina Jeffers reached out to me for a brief chat.  In just the last month she turned 75!  And to celebrate that seminal milestone she has released a new book.  When she told me both of her latest birthday and of her book, I was happy to be able to be a part of her celebration.

Let's face it.  None of us are getting any younger.  And each milestone we reach is to be commemorated.  So when Regina and I chatted about her latest book release, in honor of it and her latest birthday I offered to have a little online Birthday Party to celebrate!  

My hope is that each of you that read this will celebrate with her too!  Maybe it will be a happy memory you will to share.  Perhaps it will be some virtual presents you would like to offer to her!  

I remembered today that I was able to share another birthday with Regina some years ago, and even found a picture of the cake!  It was on the occasion of the Decatur Book Festival which was celebrated that year with a large gathering of Jane Austen inspired authors.  I still remember it with fondly! 

Regina was one of the featured speakers on the City Hall Stage (on her birthday) and I was grateful to be chosen as the moderator for the session. (And yes, that is Abigail Reynolds in the picture as well).  

Birthdays are times for remembering good times as well as celebrating achievements.  And this birthday season, for Regina she is celebrating the release of a wonderful new book.  

As many of you know, I don't do formal reviews on Darcyholic Diversions.  As an author myself, I would rather share what I like about the books my friends write and assist them as much as I can in letting others know about their latest treasures.

I was so grateful to get a pre-release copy of Regina's latest release, Elizabeth Bennet's Gallant Suitor.  I have always enjoyed stories with prior connections. The story opens with an unconventional house party held at Stepton Abbey in which Sir Wesley Belwood, a tyrannical baronet, is attempting to match Jane with Colonel Fitzwilliam!  Just learning that I knew that it would be a unique story and it was!  

It isn't long before Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth join forces to assist their relatives in being able to make their own choice, instead of a choice of Sir Belwood's making.  And where the story goes from there I won't tell you you just have to read it!  

I have always found Regina's stories compelling, and this one was equally so, if not more so.  From horse racing, to matchmaking, you will thoroughly enjoy Regina's birthday present from HER to US!

The Elizabeth in this story is spunky and not afraid to say exactly what is on her mind.  And, as she did not meet Fitzwilliam Darcy in a ballroom, but one-on-one, they formed a friendship very early in the book.  It was delightful to me to see that relationship develop as the story proceeded.

I can highly recommend Regina's latest book. I am not going to reveal more as I hope that you will read it!  It will be a 75th birthday present to Regina and to you if you do.

Regina has been busy this week. Her blog tour took off quickly and you might want to look back and see some of her previous stops as well as the one on October 10th.  I am so grateful that I was able to be a part of it.  

The blog tour has prizes!  There are chances to win free eBooks at each stop along the way, plus those who show that they have purchased the book receive 5 extra chances to win a $75 Amazon Gift Card on N. N. Light's blog!  Now that could be a birthday present for YOU!  

So be sure and comment below or Regina nor I will know that you stopped by to read the birthday tribute AND for a chance to win!  

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

What Do Shannon Winslow, Colonel VBrandon and Mr. Collins Have In Common?


What Do Shannon Winslow, Colonel Brandon and Mr. Collins Have in Common?

It is such a treat to welcome back Shannon Winslow to Darcyholic Diversions!  I have had the pleasure of hosting so many of her 'Mr. Collins Interviews' I am so grateful that she reached out to me to post this one as well.  I just love these Interviews!  They are ALL here at Darcyholic Diversions if you want to search and go back and read all of them!  And be sure to give Shannon some love by leaving a comment below!

 There has been something about the last 2.5 years of pandemic, isolation and challenges that have caused Darcyholic Diversions to go into a semi state of hybernation, but I am glad to be back up and running for Shannon.  And for any other author that might wish to introduce a new work, or might wish to join the MANY people who have been interviewed here at Darcyholic Diversions.  If you are an author, or an artist, or anyone else with something creative you would like to share here--please just send me a text at 404-735-9271.  Or give me a call if you prefer.  Barbara Tiller Cole

 A Mr. Collins Interview

By Shannon Winslow

It has become a tradition that, with the publication of each new book, I sit down for an interview with Mr. Collins (now Sir William Collins). Did you know that, after his run as a legendary literary figure, he turned his talents to a new career as a talk-show host? It’s true. But he and I have not always been on the best of terms, I’m sorry to say. The awkwardness stems from the fact that I made his character’s early demise my top priority as a writer. In fact, Mr. Collins expired in the very first chapter of my very first novel (The Darcys of Pemberley). I’m afraid he has never quite forgiven me for that. Here’s our most recent interview:

[House lights dim. Applause sign flashes. Stage lights come up to reveal a platform with twin retro club chairs occupied by host Sir William Collins and today’s guest, the modestly successful author Shannon Winslow. Collins lifts a hand in the style of a royal wave to acknowledge the audience before turning his attention to his guest.]

Collins: Good day, Ms. Winslow, and welcome once again to Meet the Author.
Winslow: Thank you, Sir William! I’m delighted to be here with my new novel!
[enormous picture of the smiling author and her new book appears on the screen behind, and audience applauds again on cue]
Collins: Colonel Brandon in His Own Words. Catchy title, but not the one I suggested when you were last here.
Winslow: That’s true. William Collins in His Own Words is a great title, but you see, this book is about Colonel Brandon – his thoughts, his experiences from childhood on through to his marriage to Marianne, all in his own words.
Collins: [sighs] So you’re saying that I am not in it… not even a mention… near the end, perhaps?
Winslow: I’m afraid not. I hope that won’t prejudice you against the book, though. Do you at least like the cover?
Collins: [looks again at the screen] Quite a large picture of the man. You think him good looking, then?
Winslow: Yes, although the artist didn’t really do him justice. In person, he is much more handsome. Tall too.
Collins: [sits up straighter] His being tall is a very superficial reason to admire a man. After all, no one can take credit – or blame – for his height.
Winslow: Oh, but that is not the only reason the ladies find Colonel Brandon admirable and attractive. There is his excellent character as well: honorable, kind, and chivalrous. Plus, he distinguished himself in the army, you know. Promoted twice! But, in truth, he could just as well have been court marshalled! [chuckles] Quite a close call, actually. You see, there was this incident while he was in India, where he risked everything to save a lady in distress. It was a life and death situation, you understand… But I suppose we don’t have time for the whole story now.
Collins: [feigning boredom] Sorry. No. People will just have to read the book. That is what you want them to do anyway, isn’t it, Ms. Winslow?
Winslow: [smiling] Yes, I suppose it is. I’m hoping they admire Colonel Brandon as much as I do. Then they will quite naturally wish to know more of his story – all that Jane Austen didn’t tell us in Sense and Sensibility. But as for this incident in India I mentioned, suffice to say that I find what he did quite heroic, and I am not the only one. He really is a dashing man of action, in my opinion. If you want more evidence, there is, of course, his duel with Willoughby. [pantomimes sword slashing] Oh, and the time he knocked his brother down. [punches fist through the air]
Collins: [leaning back to a safer distance with an expression of distaste] That is all very well, I suppose… if you like that sort of thing. But let me ask you this. If Colonel Brandon is so handsome and heroic, why doesn’t Marianne fall violently in love with him at first sight? I thought perhaps you might have changed that part from the original, but I discovered you had not…
Winslow: [gasps loudly]
Collins: Why, Ms. Winslow, are you unwell?
Winslow: Oh, no. Not at all!
What is it, then?
Winslow: Can… Can it be, Sir William? Well, I suppose it must, for there is no other explanation. Can it be that you actually read the book this time? How wonderful! Oh, I’m so pleased!
Collins: [squirms in chair] Well, only half of it… maybe three quarters. I did not intend to, but then I had a little free time last night and nothing else to do. And there it was, lying on the table within easy reach, like it is now. I picked it up [does so, and opens to bookmarked page] and then couldn’t seem to put it down again.
Winslow: [laughing melodiously] I can’t get over it! I always have my publicist send you the books, just as a matter of course, but you’ve never before… You’ve always said that… Well, never mind. I’m just terribly delighted!
Collins: Please, do make some attempt to contain your raptures, Ms. Winslow. No miracle has occurred.
Winslow: Forgive me, but it was so… so very unexpected.
Collins: Yes, yes, that will do.
Winslow: As you say. I hope you will do me the compliment of finishing the book, though. And perhaps even reading some of my others at last?
Collins: Let us not get carried away. I am a very busy man!
Winslow: As you have repeatedly told me.
Collins: [still holding book] I suppose I must finish this one, though, unless you can be persuaded to tell me how Colonel Brandon gets out of that ticklish situation in India. With Rashmi, I mean. Have I got her name right? And of course, what happens with Marianne. He doesn’t seem to be making much progress with her, so I don’t see how it can possible end well.
Winslow: I would not spoil the ending for you, not for the world! As you yourself said a moment ago, people will just have to read the book. That includes you, Sir William. But I will at least assure you that you can trust me to provide a happy ending for Marianne and Colonel Brandon. That’s one of my trademarks: happy endings.
Collins: [indignantly] Happy endings for some, perhaps, but not for all of your characters!
Winslow: Oh, dear. I had hoped we would make it through this one time without an allusion to that bit of ancient history. We were doing so well, too.
Collins: [still glowering, says nothing]
Winslow: [looks about for assistance] Heavens! Is it perhaps time for a commercial break? I think that really would be best…
So ends another of Ms. Winslow’s infamous visits to Meet the Author.

Colonel Brandon is the consummate gentleman: honorable, kind almost to a fault, ever loyal and chivalrous. He’s also silent and grave, though. So, what events in his troubled past left him downcast, and how does he finally find the path to a brighter future? In Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen gives us glimpses, but not the complete picture.
Now Colonel Brandon tells us his full story in His Own Words. He relates the truth about his early family life and his dear Eliza – his devotion to her and the devastating way she was lost to him forever. He shares with us a poignant tale from his military days in India – about a woman named Rashmi and how she likewise left a permanent mark on his soul. And of course Marianne. What did Brandon think and feel when he first saw her? How did his hopes for her subsequently rise, plummet, and then eventually climb upwards again. After Willoughby’s desertion, what finally caused Marianne to see Colonel Brandon in a different light?
This is not a variation but a supplement to the original story, chronicled in Brandon’s point of view. It’s a behind-the-scenes look at the things Jane Austen didn’t tell us about a true hero – the very best of men.

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Another Interview Over Tea With Shannon Winslow and Mr. Collins

 Another Interview Over Tea With Shannon Winslow and Mr Collins

(It’s been awhile since I have visited with you all but I could not let an opportunity to visit again with Shannon Winslow and Mr Collins go by!   Thank you Shannon for spending some time here at Darcyholic Diversions and if any of you have an upcoming new release please send me a message on Facebook or email me.  I am having a socially distanced reopening of my blog.)

It has become a tradition that, with the publication of each new book, I sit down for an interview with Mr. Collins (now Sir William Collins). Did you know that, after his run as a legendary literary figure, he turned his talents to a new career as a talk-show host? It’s true. But he and I have not always been on the best of terms, I’m sorry to say. The awkwardness stems from the fact that I made his character’s early demise my top priority as a writer. In fact, Mr. Collins expired in the very first chapter of my very first novel (The Darcys of Pemberley). I’m afraid he has never quite forgiven me for that, as you may be able to tell from the tone of our recent interview:

[House lights dim. Applause sign flashes. Stage lights come up to reveal a platform with twin retro club chairs occupied by host Sir William Collins and today’s guest, the modestly successful author Shannon Winslow. Collins lifts a hand to acknowledge the audience’s applause before turning his attention to his guest.]

Collins: Welcome once again to Meet the Author, Ms. Winslow.

Winslow: Thank you for having me, Sir William. I always look forward to our little chats, don’t you?

Collins: [coughs and mutters] Indeed. I might have described my anticipation of the event somewhat differently, but that is neither here nor there. You have a new book out, which is the material point. Fitzwilliam Darcy in His Own Words. 

[He holds book up while promotional image of book and author displays on mammoth screen in background. Polite applause.] 

Collins: So it appears you’ve come back to Pride and Prejudice for this latest book.

Winslow: That’s right. I love all Jane Austen’s novels, and my goal is to write at least one book related to each. So far I have Leap of Hope for Mansfield Park, The Persuasion of Miss Jane Austen for Persuasion, and Murder at Northanger Abbey for… Well, you get the idea. Still, Pride and Prejudice is my favorite and I suppose it always will be. So I’ve come back to it once again, as you say, this time with a book from Mr. Darcy’s point of view.

Collins: I hope you have not gone in for the popular mania of turning everything in that classic story upside down and inside out – zombies, time travel, body swapping and I know not what else. I find such creative excesses most distasteful. 

Winslow: Then, you haven’t read the book? …oh, what was I thinking; of course you haven’t. In any case, I am sorry you feel that way, Sir William. Why, I myself have written a time travel novel – Leap of Hope, that I mentioned a moment ago – and it was a great fun! But as it happens, this new book only adds onto what Miss Austen originally wrote; it doesn’t change it.

Collins: Thank heaven for that at least. 

Winslow: Actually, that’s true of all my Pride and Prejudice novels, as you may recall. I take a kind of “world-building” approach by adding on to the established framework.

Collins: Yes, I do recall how you added on, [then, continues indignantly] but I more particularly recall how you subtracted, Madam! Eliminating a beloved character – a man of the church! – without so much as a second thought.

Winslow: [placatingly] Now, now, Sir William, I thought we agreed to put that sore subject behind us once and for all. And you must admit that what I said is true; I didn’t change anything in Austen’s original novel. In the case you’re thinking of, I added on – uh, or subtracted – by writing my idea of what happened afterward.

Collins: Pardon me, Ms. Winslow, but such a wound, such a painful blow cannot soon be recovered from.

Winslow: It has been nearly ten years, you know, since The Darcys of Pemberley was published. And we have both moved on, have we not?

Collins: I suppose, well… Now, where was I? Oh, yes. It occurs to me that you might find it limiting, your philosophy of not altering the facts of Pride and Prejudice for your novels, as others have done.

Winslow: Oh, no! Not at all. At least not so far. With the possibility of sequels and prequels, expanding on minor character’s stories and different points of view, there’s plenty of scope for the imagination.

Collins: So which is this new book? Prequel, sequel, or what have you?

Winslow: Really, Sir William, didn’t you read any of the press releases my publicist sent over? Or even the brief blurb on the back cover?

Collins: I am a very busy man, Ms. Winslow! My time and attentions are highly in demand. Please just answer the question.

Winslow: Yes, of course. I suppose Fitzwilliam Darcy in His Own Words could be considered partly prequel, since the first chapters take place before the timeline of Pride and Prejudice – Darcy giving us glimpses into his early years, his relationships with his parents, his sister, a young Wickham. Then there’s the “missing scenes” aspect of the book. For example, Jane Austen tells us through Darcy’s letter to Elizabeth that he went to Ramsgate just in time to save Georgiana from Wickham’s dastardly plot, but Austen doesn’t actually show us that scene. I do, as well as several others, like Darcy’s showdown with Lady Catherine. Mostly, though, this is a different-point-of-view book. We see everything from Darcy’s perspective: what’s going on in his life and in his head before, during, and a bit after the scope of the original story.

Collins: That’s all very well, I’m sure. But… [pausing and finally looking at the back of the book] What is this I see here about somebody called Amelia? I do not remember any person of that name in Miss Austen’s novel, so how can that be, when you claim not to have changed anything?

Winslow: Amelia Lambright is not a change but one of my little additions – a fairly major addition, actually. She, and Darcy’s interactions with her, fit seamlessly into the story, only we must consider that it all happens behind the scenes of the original – “off camera,” so to speak. There’s a lot of time unaccounted for when Darcy is missing from the page, you know, when Austen doesn’t tell us where he is and what he’s up to. When I set about filling in those blanks, it turned out he was up to quite a bit!

Collins: With this Miss Lambright, I gather.

Winslow: Yes, with her, with Georgiana, Bingley, Colonel Fitzwilliam, Anne and Lady Catherine. And of course Elizabeth. The readers would not be pleased if I neglected to give them plenty of Darcy and Elizabeth!

Collins: Of course not. So the whole original cast is back? Even those… One hesitates to call them “minor characters,” for they too may play critical roles. Let us say the ones less prominently featured?

Winslow: Well, hmm, let me think. There wasn’t much for Mary or Kitty or the Lucases to do, but… Yes, I believe pretty much everybody else got into the act… Oh, I see what you mean. Be assured that Mr. Collins plays an important role in the story.

Collins: [sardonically] And no dying involved this time? No choking on mutton? [shudders] I have not been able to eat the stuff since you told me. Even the smell of it…

Winslow: As I said, I changed nothing in the original story; Mr. Collins is alive and well to the last. 

Collins: I’m relieved to hear it.

Winslow: Perhaps knowing that will give you the courage to actually read this novel someday.

Collins: Ms. Winslow, I assure you that it is not a want of courage that has prevented me in the past, but a want of time and inclination. But speaking of time, I’m afraid we are out of it. My thanks to you… [turns towards camera] and especially to my devoted viewers for joining me today here at Meet the Author. Until next time, good-bye and good reading!

[The tepid response from the studio audience, which is necessarily augmented by canned applause, is acknowledged by Collins with a self-effacing bow. The director then gives the all-clear and the house lights come up. Removing his microphone and handing it to a ready assistant, Collins turns to his guest again.]

Collins: What do you mean to write next, Ms. Winslow? I assume there will be more… and consequently more of these little visits between us. 

Winslow: There will be if I have anything to say about it! As for what I’ll write next, I’m considering that, if this newest book does well, I may go on to write a whole series: Colonel Brandon in His Own Words, Mr. Knightley in His Own Words. I haven’t written anything for Sense and Sensibility or Emma yet, you know, and I did really enjoy writing from the hero’s point of view this time.

Collins: So you are interested in heroes? Might I suggest that William Collins in His Own Words would make a spell-binding tale. [Gestures with his hand as if tracing a movie marquee] His inspirational rise from humble beginnings to fame and fortune. That sort of thing. Perhaps I might even be persuaded to act as consultant on the project.

Winslow: Or at least to read the book?

Collins: As you say.

Winslow: I will take that under advisement.

Purchase Ms. Winslow’s Latest Book Here!

Fitzwilliam Darcy, In His Own Words

What was Mr. Darcy’s life like before he met Elizabeth Bennet? – before he stepped onto the Pride and Prejudice stage at the Meryton assembly? More importantly, where is he and what is he doing all the time he’s absent from the page thereafter? And what is his relationship to a woman named Amelia? 

With Fitzwilliam Darcy, in His Own Words, the iconic literary hero finally tells his own story, from the traumas of his early life to the consummation of his love for Elizabeth and everything in between.

This is not a variation but a supplement to the original story, chronicled in Darcy’s point of view – a behind-the-scenes look at the things Jane Austen didn’t tell us. As it happens, Darcy’s journey was more tortuous than she let on, his happy ending with Elizabeth in jeopardy at every turn in his struggle between duty and his heart’s desire, between the suitable lady he has promised to marry and the woman he can’t stop thinking about.