<![CDATA[Welcome to the Author page of Joana Starnes - News]]>Tue, 26 Jan 2016 11:26:56 +0000Weebly<![CDATA[Winners of the Giveaway]]>Thu, 24 Sep 2015 12:10:24 GMThttp://www.joanastarnes.co.uk/news/winners-of-the-giveaway
Many thanks to all you lovely people who have entered the 
first giveaway for The Unthinkable Triangle


I'm delighted to announce the winners:


ERIKA MESSER and MONICA P


will receive a free Kindle copy of this book. 
Congrats and I hope you'll like it!


Winners have been selected with the Sequence Generator provided by www.random.org.


Please use the 'Contact' tab on this website to let me know the email address you would like me to use. As Amazon UK does not offer the 'Gift this item' option yet, I will send a gift voucher for you to purchase the e-book from your own Amazon site, so 
please specify the site, as well as the price
so that I can send the correct sum (due to the way tax is charged, 
the price varies from site to site). 


Many thanks for taking part in the giveaway!


All the best,


Joana
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<![CDATA[The Unthinkable Triangle - LAUNCH and BLOG TOUR]]>Wed, 23 Sep 2015 09:36:42 GMThttp://www.joanastarnes.co.uk/news/the-unthinkable-triangle-launch-and-blog-tour
I am thrilled to announce the launch of my latest novel, 'THE UNTHINKABLE TRIANGLE, now available at Amazon as e-book and soon also in paperback. And as a party is not a party without goodies, please follow the blog tour to enter the many giveaways:

1 September –  My Blog Page: Cover reveal and Giveaway (you can still enter, it ends at midnight BST on Wednesday 23 September. Please follow the link).

2 September – Austen Authors: Excerpt and Giveaway (the link takes you to the giveaway at Austen Authors, which ends at midnight BST on Wednesday 23 September too).

24 September – Laughing with Lizzie: Guest post, Giveaway and an Excerpt read out by the lovely Sophie Andrews, the very image of a Regency young lady.

28 September – Austenesque Reviews: Guest post and Giveaway

5 October – Babblings of a Bookworm: Guest post and Giveaway


7 October – Diary of an Eccentric: Guest post and Giveaway

8 October - Regina Jeffers's Blog: Guest post and excerpt

9 October – Babblings of a Bookworm: Review

12 October – Diary of an Eccentric: Review

13 October – More Agreeably Engaged: Guest post and Giveaway

16 October – My Kids Led Me Back to Pride and Prejudice: Guest post and Giveaway

17 October – Hey Lady Publications – Interview and Giveaway

20 October – My Jane Austen Book Club – Guest post and Giveaway

22 October – From Pemberley to Milton – Guest post

24 October – The Calico Critic – Guest Post and Giveaway

26 October – From Pemberley to Milton – Review and Giveaway


29 October - A Covent Garden Gilflurt's Guide to Life - Guest post and Giveaway

31 October – My Love for Jane Austen – Guest post and Giveaway


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<![CDATA[A Special Announcement from Laughing With Lizzie]]>Fri, 18 Sep 2015 08:00:02 GMThttp://www.joanastarnes.co.uk/news/a-special-announcement-from-laughing-with-lizziePicture


Thank you very much for allowing me to visit your blog today, Joana, to make my very special announcement!  


In fact, rather than making my own announcement, I am going to let the wonderful Caroline Jane Knight, Jane Austen's 5th great niece, tell you all!




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"It is inspiring to see the positive influence Jane has on people’s lives today.    


They say life is about what you leave behind and I couldn’t be more proud of Great Aunt Jane’s legacy, my inspiration for the Jane Austen Literacy Foundation. As Jane’s popularity continues to grow, I wanted to extend her legacy by harnessing the global passion for Austen to improve literacy rates. Literacy is the key to self-improvement and unlocking potential. Reading and writing are essential skills for anyone who wants to understand, enjoy and influence the world around them.The foundation raises money to help create CONFIDENT READERS and PROUD WRITERS by providing FREE books and writing materials to communities in need around the world, in honour of Jane. We are a volunteer organisation with all monies raised spent on literacy resources and fundraising activity. We are currently raising funds to provide literacy resources for the displaced children of Syria, delivered on the ground by UNICEF.

I only joined Facebook a year ago and was amazed to discover a world of Austen, involving Janeites from around the world, enthusiastically and vibrantly celebrating and discussing all aspects of Jane’s life and works. With over 7000 websites and social media profiles associated with Jane, there is a never ending stream of content to keep even the most ardent Janeite engaged.    

One in particular caught my eye; “Laughing with Lizzie”, a young woman who seemed to have a lot of fun dressing up in regency costume, visiting Jane’s former homes, participating in Austen events and sharing it all with thousands of followers in a well written blog. I was intrigued. Why did this young woman dedicate her time to celebrating Jane Austen? I reached out and arranged to talk to the woman behind the blog, Sophie Andrews. Sophie is a delight to know personally and her journey with Jane truly heart-warming, a story I will leave for Sophie to share.

Before discovering Austen, Sophie wasn’t a big reader but the discovery of the magic that lay in the pages of Pride & Prejudice, that just got better with every read, changed that and was the start of Sophie's love affair with the written word. As a keen writer herself, Sophie was able to imagine the frustration of wanting to write but having no paper or pen and without hesitation offered to help promote the foundation.


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I am pleased to announce Sophie Andrews, aka “Laughing with Lizzie”, as an Ambassador for the Jane Austen Literacy Foundation. We are thrilled to have Sophie’s support to help us create CONFIDENT READERS and PROUD WRITERS, in honour of Jane." 


Thank you Caroline for such kind words, and more importantly, for allowing me the opportunity to be an ambassador for such a worthwhile charity. It is an honour and I am very much looking forward to doing all I can to help the charity!

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As Caroline mentioned, Jane Austen has been very important in my life, for many different reasons. I was just9 when I saw the 2005 film version of Pride and Prejudice, but I was a little too young to fully understand the language, so it didn’t really make an impression on me. I watched that film a few more times and as I grew up I began to fall completely in love with it!  But I still wasn’t hooked on Jane Austen, it was just Pride and Prejudice – or actually, to be more accurate, I was just hooked on Mr. Darcy! However, back in 2011 I was going to be studying Pride and Prejudice for my English exams, and so that summer I had to read it - you have to understand that at the time I really wasn’t a reader. However, given I enjoyed the film, I was looking forward to it. When I was on my summer holidays I read it in a week. I just couldn’t put it down! It seemed strange to my family to see me engrossed in a book, as I guess I used to be like Emma Woodhouse in regards to books and reading! Pride and Prejudice was amazing from start to finish, and from that point I was caught up in the elegance and eloquence of Miss Austen's world and words!

I re-read Pride and Prejudice straight afterwards and I really enjoyed studying it at school, becoming the class expert. Following this, I read Sense and Sensibility, then Emma, followed by Persuasion, Northanger Abbey and finally Mansfield Park. There was no stopping me! Having devoured the 6 main stories, I devoted myself to studying all aspects of the Jane Austen phenomenon, from the film and television adaptations, to the fan fiction, commentaries, critiques, information books and biographies, as well as the worldwide online Jane Austen community. There was no going back now - I had become a true and proud Janeite.

Fast forward a year or so, and after a lot of 'persuasion' (if you'll excuse the pun!) from a friend, I eventually started my blog, "Laughing With Lizzie" (http://www.laughingwithlizzie.blogspot.co.uk/). It was my space to rant and rave about my passion for Jane Austen. It was also my escape; I was having a hard time at school and some family illnesses at the time (that is a whole other story I won't go into now!), and so I really threw myself whole heartedly into the world of Jane, enjoying my escape into her world through her books, and subsequently my blog. Slowly, slowly my blog becamemore well known, and then about a year and a half ago I started my facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/laughingwithlizziejaneaustenblog). From there, I have no idea how, but so many amazing things have happened for me and I have participated in so many wonderful events. I have to pinch myself every day, as it is all beyond my wildest dreams.


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Fast forward again to a few months ago, when I noticed a certain Caroline Jane Knight had liked my facebook page. I sent Caroline a message of thanks, and before I knew it, I was actually talking to Jane Austen's descendant on skype! Caroline told me all about growing up Chawton House, and about her charity she has recently founded. I was fascinated by both, but the foundation really caught my attention; a charity that was using Jane's popularity and her legacy to do some good in the world. It really hit home with me, given how much Jane Austen has changed my life. We continued to skype every few weeks, until Caroline asked if I would be an ambassador for the charity. As you can imagine, I jumped at the chance!
I mentioned earlier how I never used to be a reader, well, the truth is that I had never read another ‘proper’ book before Pride and Prejudice! Jane Austen brought me to reading, and so being able to have the opportunity to help bring the joy of reading to others, as Jane did for me, is truly wonderful.
The foundation is also helping to create proud writers, as well as confident readers, and this is also something I really would like to help in promoting, for, without the ability to write, I would not be sitting here right now writing this post. I would not have had a blog full stop.
Jane Austen really has been a huge influence in my life, even in just 5 years! As I cannot thank Jane Austen personally for all she done for me, this opportunity to help use her legacy to bring the ability to read and write to others seemed like the perfect way of saying thank you to Jane for bringing reading, and to a certain extent writing, to me.  



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I am even more pleased to be able to say I had the opportunity to meet a fellow ambassador the other day. Simon Langton, director of the groundbreaking 1995 mini-series of Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth, was announced as the first ambassador a few weeks back, and during a recent conference at Chawton House Library - which is even more appropriate, given that the founder, Caroline Knight, was the last generation of Knights to grow up there! - celebrating 20 years since the mini-series. It was lovely to be able to meet him in person. He was a lovely gentleman and just as passionate about the charity as I am.  



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Can you spot anything different about the front of the books we are holding? That little white label proudly adorning our books? What you can see is a very special Jane Austen Literacy Foundation bookplate! Bookplates are a traditional way to indicate ownership of physical books. Especially when books were scarce and expensive, labelling books was an important way of keeping track of your property, whilst still allowing them to be loaned out and circulated. And what is even better is that you can own one yourself, personalised with you name in Jane's hand and its own unique number, perfect to stick into your favourite book, showing your support of the charity. All you have to do is head over to the foundation website - https://www.janeaustenlf.org/support-us - click on the donate button, and once your donation has been processed, you will receive by email your personalised bookplate! Simple as that! 


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Once again I would like to say a big thank you for allowing me to come onto your blog to share my special announcement with you and your readers. I did not come empty handed either, I am able to say that I have a fantastic competition to enter!



COMPETITION:

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Bath Boutique Stays 
(http://www.bathboutiquestays.co.uk/) have been so kind as to offer a 1 Night Mid-Week stay for two in an apartment at 4 Sydney Place
(http://www.bathboutiquestays.co.uk/luxury-apartment-rental-bath/), Jane Austen’s former Home in Bath.  


All you need to do to enter to win this fabulous prize, is to predict the following question:

How many steps is it from Lizzy Bennet’s Penthouse Apartment to the carriage awaiting her at the front door of 4 Sydney Place? 


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Please email you answers to Lucy Bennett (her real name!) at lucy@bathboutiquestays.co.uk and the person who guesses the correct - or comes closest to it! - amount of steps will win! 


The competition entries end on 2nd October. 


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<![CDATA[Pride and Prejudice 1995 - Twenty Years On]]>Sun, 06 Sep 2015 09:03:30 GMThttp://www.joanastarnes.co.uk/news/pride-and-prejudice-1995-twenty-years-onPicture
A month or so ago I was deep in Cornish countryside, without much WiFi signal to speak of, but thankfully enough to get a message from the wonderful Sophie Andrews, who wrote to ask me if I was absolutely sure I didn’t want to go to the Pride and Prejudice 1995 anniversary event in Chawton. I did want to go, of course, but at the time I was under the impression it was not open to the general public. 

HUGE thanks, again and again Sophie, for letting me know I misunderstood, and for getting my ticket for this magical event, at a time when I had no chance to.

And what a magical event it was! Set in the beautiful Chawton House, home of Edward Austen-Knight, it began with some delightfully informative and entertaining talks by several reputed Austen scholars: Devoney Looser (Arizona State University), Juliette Wells (Goucher College, Baltimore), Linda V Troost (Washington & Jefferson College, Pennsylvania), Sayre Greenfield (The University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg) and Nora Nachumi (Yeshiva University, New York).

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During those talks I learned an awful lot I didn’t know. Such as that, for many decades since Pride and Prejudice was first published, Mr. Darcy was in no way regarded as central to the story. Hard to believe, but so it was. Until the Peacock Edition, there were barely any illustrations showing him, and those that did were terribly unflattering. Or that, in an early theatre production, Colonel Fitzwilliam had a name, and it wasn’t Richard. It was Guy!!! 

That Clark Gable and Robert Taylor were at some point short-listed to play Mr. Darcy in the 1940 adaptation. That there was supposed to be a 1974 version (which never was), casting Sir Laurence Olivier and Greer Garson as Mr. and Mrs. Bennet and Peter O’Toole as Mr. Darcy! That JAFF is much older than we think, and there were sequels, prequels and spin-offs as far back as 1949.

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But later on that day, a dream came true, and we were treated to a couple of hours in Pride and Prejudice Heaven, in the company of some of the people who have given us 20 years full of very happy hours.

Simon Langton was a joy to listen to, and the stories he had to share were a delight. Not least the one about how, in the filming of the underwater scenes, in a special tank in Ealing, due to an unwise decision taken by his first assistant, our dear Mr. Darcy ended up surfacing straight into the edge of the last section of the heavy metal lid, leaving the distraught director to contemplate four dreadful possibilities: recasting Mr Darcy (the horror!!!!) after nearly half of the film had already been shot; waiting for months for Colin Firth to emerge from reconstructive surgery; seeing the whole P&P project shelved while the BBC battled with the insurance company, or spending the next 15 years in jail for murdering his first assistant :D. Luckily, none of these came to pass. There was just a relatively small bump, easily concealed, and the show could go on.

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Along with Jane Gibson, the wonderful choreographer who has given us the magical dance scenes, Simon Langton also told us how, in the very beginning, Mr. Darcy was ‘dancing-dyslexic’ (ever so hard to believe!) and how surreal the filming of the dance scenes seemed, because there was no music in the room, just in the carefully concealed ear-pieces every character had been supplied with.

We met Kitty Bennet (Polly Maberly) who is full of life and wonderfully welcoming, and so much prettier in real-life than in the role of a petulant and spotty teenager! Mr Bennet (Benjamin Whitrow) was there too, to tell us that he had modelled his portrayal of the character on his own father, who absolutely adored his mother although he ‘took the mickey’ mercilessly. So was Mrs. Gardiner (Joanna David), to share moving and deeply personal stories from the filming of the scenes in the Peak District, and to show us that she has not changed in 20 years.

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Neither had ‘Jane Bennet’. Susannah Harker was as beautiful and kind as in the miniseries, and seeing her with Mr. Bingley was a joy to behold! 


I was pleased and surprised to see that the photo I posted yesterday on Facebook, with the caption ‘Mr and Mrs Bingley, still going strong 20 years on’ was shared by Relationships Watcher :) 

That’s one relationship we are definitely going to watch, for many years to come!

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Need I say that meeting Mr Bingley face to face was a delight that kept me on a high for hours? 

He, too, is as wonderful as ever, as ‘Mr Bingley’ as ever, in looks and in manner. Cheerful and engaging, his real-life persona is a perfect mirror of the role he had portrayed and made us fall in love with his delightful character.

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Sadly, Mr. Darcy wasn’t there, just his wet shirt, but I guess it was just as well, otherwise the lovely people of Chawton House would have been treated to the spectacle of several ladies fainting in tight formation :D.

The last story I have to tell (today at least) is that Susannah Harker told me she was extremely surprised that, despite the enthusiastic following, unlike Trekkies, Pride and Prejudice fanatics don’t have conventions.

Oh, but we do! We don’t dress up to portray Lizzy and Darcy (we wouldn’t dare; it’s a tall order, that!), but what are all the Jane Austen festivals we merrily go to, but countless Pride and Prejudice conventions? If you’re going to one in the near future, I hope you’ll have a wonderful time! I’ll post more from the one in Bath, very soon. 
Four days left! 
Can’t wait - can’t wait - can’t wait!
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<![CDATA['The Unthinkable Triangle' – Cover Reveal and the first Giveaway of many]]>Tue, 01 Sep 2015 12:45:12 GMThttp://www.joanastarnes.co.uk/news/the-unthinkable-triangle-cover-reveal-and-the-first-giveaway-of-manyPicture
“All is fair in love and war – or is it? 


What if Mr. Darcy’s rival for Elizabeth Bennet’s affections is not some inconsequential stranger, but his dearest, closest friend? 


How is he to reconcile the claims of loyalty and kinship with the urge to pursue his heart’s desire?”

We do love our ‘Pride & Prejudice’ what-ifs! We simply can’t have enough tales of our favourite couple. Some tales are adventurous, some are exquisitely and deliciously romantic - and some can be plain horrifying. Like, for instance, what if Mr. Darcy’s closest friend beats him to the post and proposes to the woman he loves, mere hours before he was going to? And what if Elizabeth says ‘Yes’
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Photo: BBC
It’s fair to assume that such a tale might torture Darcy far beyond the limits of what should be legally allowed :) which is why I have been so hesitant to write it.
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Photo: BBC
But then, what if the rewards make up for the cruel torture? They say that what is hardest to reach is what people value most, so by these standards Mr. Darcy should treasure his wife more than anything in his entire world! 
And that, as we all know, is exactly what he does!

An excerpt from Chapter 1 of ‘The Unthinkable Triangle’ has just been posted in the Writers Block at Austen Authors, and you can find it here.

Proud members of the ‘Let’s Torture Darcy’ Club, come join me for a sneak peak and please leave a comment here on my website, for a chance to read the full story for free, as soon as it’s released. 

The international giveaway of two e-books closes at midnight (BST) on the release date, 23 September 2015. Do visit and I hope you’ll like what you see.
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<![CDATA['Inspired by Grace' - Guest Post and Giveaway]]>Wed, 01 Jul 2015 07:59:04 GMThttp://www.joanastarnes.co.uk/news/inspired-by-grace-guest-post-and-giveawayAfter a long online friendship, last month I had the great pleasure of meeting Jeanna Ellsworth face to face at last, at the Jane Austen Regency Week in Alton, Hampshire - and what a delight she is! The same goes for her lovely daughters, Paige, Madison and Avery. Miss Paige Ellsworth, is already known to you as the exquisite young lady featured on the cover of Jeanna's latest release, 'INSPIRED BY GRACE'.

I'm very happy to welcome Jeanna Ellsworth here today, to tell us more about her new book and also about an awesome GIVEAWAY. 

So, without further ado, I'll pass over to Jeanna.
Thank you, Joana, for having me on your blog! My latest book, Inspired by Grace, is my first attempt at an original romance. (All my other books have been JAFF). It is set in 1818 and it is about Gavin and Grace, who were best friends all through their youth, yet have not seen each other for 10 years. A lot has happened since they have seen each other. Here is the back cover intrigue:

She was never the demure lady who was afraid of getting her petticoat dirty. He was never the calm and collected lad who coddled her. What had started as friendship had evolved into something quite tangible . . .

A lady always hopes that the man she falls in love with will sweep her off her feet in a dramatic and graceful way. Well, for Grace Iverson, at least it was dramatic. Her childhood best friend, Gavin Kingston—now His Grace, the Duke of Huntsman—is still just as clumsy as ever.

Despite their painful separation as children, a chance encounter has offered them a second opportunity for happiness. But after ten years apart, they both carry hidden scars. Trust takes time. And soon, forces from the past threaten to destroy the love they both have hoped for all of their lives.

Can Grace’s best friend break down her emotional fortress and prove his love before she disappears from his life a second time?

This lovely Regency romance started well before either of them knew what they wished for in a partner; but it will surely be one that stands the test of time.

I am doing something new for this blog tour for Inspired by Grace and introducing people to the world of TV tropes. Why would I introduce you to TV tropes on a book tour? And what is a TV trope? A TV trope only got its name because it was first defined from TV but it correlates to books and writing too. A trope is a way to classify certain characters. I bet if I said Lucille Ball, you would all think of a hilarious mischief-maker with great facial expressions who can make trouble with the most bizarre ideas ever possible. She is so unique that when you meet someone similar, in person or in literature, you can predict the kind of things she will say or do.

There are all sorts of tropes. I did not come across the term TV trope until after I wrote the book, but I can see that it is a way to define certain characters and when a writer is consistent, the reader learns to quickly love or connect with the characters. This was Jane Austen’s greatest strengths in my eyes; her characters. So with this blog tour, I am introducing the original characters of Inspired by Grace by using TV tropes.

Meet Gavin, his character is a mixture of two TV tropes; “Millionaire Playboy” and an “Officer and a Gentleman”. Here are the definitions of each. A Millionaire Playboy is a rich ladies man who isn’t quite a rogue but is a charmer and is quick with the flirtations. Think Hugh Hefner. But Gavin could also be described as an Officer and a Gentleman, which is the guy who does what is right, even on the battlefield when most people drop their integrity; he has a lot of heart. Think Tom Cruise on Top Gun or Colonel Fitzwilliam. Add to the mix a bit of the “Boy Next Door” (sort of a clumsy likable guy who is there when you need him) and you get a taste of who Gavin is. For more information on TV tropes, visit www.tvtropes.org

The excerpt I am going to share with you is the opening scene where we meet Gavin and we see that some of these tropes have been repressed with his detest for his newly acquired title of Duke of Huntsman. His main tropes come out as the book evolves and after Grace “inspires” him. Enjoy! Hope you fall in love with Gavin Kingston.

                                             *****

“So sorry, Your Grace,” Gavin’s valet apologized. “I shall be finished in just a moment.”

“No, this is my fault, Winston. I should have been more careful with my tea,” he sighed. “And please stop calling me ‘Your Grace’; you have been my valet far longer than I have been titled.”

Winston gave Gavin a brief, hesitant look and pursed his lips. Gavin could tell he was choosing to ignore the request. Winston was more than a valet; he was the closest thing Gavin had to a brother. Well, at least now he was.

It had been six months since his older brother Spencer died; six months since he had been called back from his navy ship and given the title of Duke of Huntsman. And it still felt just as foreign as the day he took it. All the formalities and soirees and dinner parties were exhausting. Every face and name blurred.

What he wouldn’t give to have his brother back and to be at sea with his crew again! It was strange; he had enjoyed tossing to and fro with the waves as a captain. But now that his life had changed course, he felt unsteady, ill at ease with the surging demands placed upon him.

Winston finished retying the cravat. “There. You are ready, Your—” Winston picked up on Gavin’s subtle glare and wisely caught himself just in time. “You’re . . . welcome,” the valet stammered.

Gavin muttered his thanks and turned on his heel. The click of his boots spoke of his anxiety, and the ache in his head built with each patterned clippity-clop as he nearly danced down the spiral staircase.

Why had his great-grandfather ever build such a tight staircase, one that literally wrapped around itself like a little girl’s ringlet? Couldn’t he have made better use of the foyer’s space? After all, the room was expansive, almost as big as a ballroom. He would change that. Now that it was his house, he would change that.

There. His mother would be proud of him. He had just made his first decision that showed ownership of this blasted title and the wretched inheritance that he should never have received in the first place.

He was a second son. His parents had always been proud that they had an heir and a spare, as well as his younger sister. Well, now there was no spare. He was it. Spencer was dead, and so was his father.

Seeing the look on his mother’s face as he came to the bottom of the stairs, he began imagining inventive excuses for his delay. But ultimately he opted for honesty. “Forgive me, Mother. I was not careful with the tea and stained my cravat. I am sorry to have kept you waiting.”

His mother, Her Grace Patricia Kingston, Duchess of Huntsman, had no restraint when she felt her opinion needed to be shared, and she felt the need quite frequently. Gavin was in no mood for it and hardly gave her a glance as the butler handed him his top hat and jacket. Gavin opened the door of his London townhouse and motioned for his mother to proceed to the carriage. He ignored her mutterings about how the Tremontons were expecting a call twenty minutes ago.

He focused on ignoring everything around him—his mother, his title, the ton, and the rest of it. He did not wish to go to the Tremontons anymore than he wished for a needle in the eye. Their daughter, Sylvia, was relentless, and if the rumors were true, she had her sights set on gaining a title—his blasted new title in particular. Women were practically throwing themselves at him now that he was no longer the spare.

Six months ago he wouldn’t have minded. Back then, he couldn’t wait to make port. There had been Francis, in Liverpool—a dazzling blonde who enjoyed moonlit walks. And Patricia, off the coast of Scotland, who could outdrink even him. Amberly was a little too frisky for his taste, but it hadn’t stopped him from seeking her out whenever the ship docked in Falmouth. Women in every port knew him as Captain Kingston, a man who laughed and flirted with anyone in a skirt. He wasn’t a rake—he’d never done more than steal a few kisses—but it had been fun. He’d intentionally courted women who didn’t want to settle down any more than he did. And not one of them had known who his father was. How things have changed since those days!

                                             *****

Please tell me what you think by commenting! I would love for all of you to follow me on Twitter (@ellsworthJeanna) or like my author’s facebook page (www.facebook.com/Jeanna.ellsworth). I also try to keep up my blog on www.heyladypublications.com and you can read the first chapter of all the books I have written there too.

I would like to give away one free book to one lucky commenter and since Joana Starnes lives in England, and she is kind enough to host me, I will make this giveaway international! You can choose an eBook or paperback. But then again, if you have already fallen in love with Gavin, you can find the kindle or paperback on Amazon right now at:

http://www.amazon.com/Inspired-Grace-Jeanna-Ellsworth-ebook/dp/B00XQW6GXY/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=8-1&qid=1432075149

Happy reading!

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<![CDATA[A weekend in Chawton]]>Thu, 25 Jun 2015 22:26:15 GMThttp://www.joanastarnes.co.uk/news/a-weekend-in-chawtonBy now you must have heard all the stories and seen all the photos from the start of the 'Jane Austen Regency Week' in Hampshire, but Chawton and Alton are such happy places for Janeites that I thought you wouldn't mind seeing them again. 

Chawton is a lovely village in its own right, over and above the Jane Austen associations - especially in the summer, when the picture-perfect cottages are even more eye-catching, with their colourful clusters of climbing roses in full bloom.
But of course it's only one house that draws us all:
Thanks to Sophie Andrews' quick thinking (it's the early bird that gets the cottage ;) ) we had the good fortune of staying just across the road from Jane Austen's home, in a lovely little B & B attached to 'Cassandra's Cup', the tea-room that draws the crowds almost as much as the museum itself.
From the unique accommodation (I wish I'd taken a photo of the back room, by the way, because it looked like it had been converted from a miniature stable) there was only a five-minute drive to Alton, where all the excitement was about to happen.

On Saturday morning there was the Regency Fayre, with so much going on! 
To begin with, there was the opportunity to take part in a book-signing event alongside Leslie L. Diamond, Jeanna Ellsworth, Monica Fairview, Maria Grace, Cassandra Grafton, Dr. Gabrielle Malcolm, Susan Mason-Milks, Jane Odiwe and Abigail Reynolds. Thanks for the warm welcome, ladies! It was great to meet face to face.
Then there was some excitement of a far more boisterous kind: sword-fight displays, the Dandy Chargers and their hobbyhorses, Maypole dancers and, later on, the Regency Ball!
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Getting ready for the ball was almost as much fun as the ball itself - for some of us at least. 

Hazel Mills and I tugged and pulled at Sophie's hair (and she didn't complain once!), so that it could be curled and arranged into a style befitting a young lady going to her first ball. 

And it was worth it, because she looked an absolute picture, in a gorgeous creation by Marion May, a.k.a Miss Caroline Bingley :) .

The best part about the ball, to me at least, was the fact that it was very inclusive and extremely friendly. You didn't have to be an expert in country-dancing to have a great time, which was a massive bonus, because I was no expert. Luckily the Hampshire Regency Dancers came to join in the fun, dance with the beginners and smoothly direct us onto the proper path when we were at risk of clashing into one another, just like poor Mr. Collins. 

I discovered much later, when I was looking through some photos at home, that I might have danced with the Hampshire Dancers a few years ago, at a Regency event at The Vyne (or perhaps with some people who had since then joined their group). There had been dancing on that occasion too, and chatting with the officers, and a chance to see a firearm display.
I can't imagine that those dashing officers will be present at the Regency Supper on Sunday, so the young ladies might be a little disappointed, but if last year's photos are anything to go by, the supper itself most certainly will not disappoint.
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(Photo: 'Jane Austen Regency Week' 2014)
I'm looking forward to see what astounding creations they plan to delight us with this year. And I'll be sure to take as many photos as I can!
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<![CDATA[Celebrating New Beginnings!]]>Sun, 25 Jan 2015 09:50:23 GMThttp://www.joanastarnes.co.uk/news/celebrating-new-beginnings
Austen Authors is now reopened at last!!! I'm so happy to be part of this exciting new beginning, along with so many talented authors, known to JAFF for so long!
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What a wonderful way to begin a New Year! 
And what better way to celebrate than with an awesome giveaway! Please follow the link to see what it's all about!

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<![CDATA[Christmas at Pemberley]]>Fri, 19 Dec 2014 23:19:32 GMThttp://www.joanastarnes.co.uk/news/christmas-at-pemberleyPicture

Christmas is a magical time of year – but what can be more magical than a Regency Christmas? The Yule log burning in a huge fireplace decorated with ivy, bay and holly. The vast dinner table with exquisite arrangements illuminated by glittering candles. The old games of snapdragon and bullet-pudding that Jane Austen’s family used to play. And as for Christmas at Pemberley, what a sight must it be, what a happy gathering!


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Would you like to come to Pemberley for Christmas? 

It’s the first one that the newly married Darcys spent together. 

The Gardiners are there of course, with all their children, and their happy laughter fills the halls, driving Miss Bingley to distraction. 

But everybody else has the best of times, so come and join them, have a seat on the sofa and a glass of spiced wine, sit back and watch them having fun!


* * * *
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Unrestrained laughter burst out again from the table by the window where, with little faces illuminated by the flickering glow of brandy set aflame, as well as by the thrill of the catch, the Gardiner children were engaged in a lively game of snapdragon along with the two Miss Westcottes, the Linton boys and Lord Mellor’s children.

Lady Mellor looked up from her conversation with Miss Bingley.

“How delightful it is to see the youngsters so well entertained!” she exclaimed with a soft glance towards her offspring and her companion knew she simply had to offer a thin smile.

Entertainment of that nature had plagued most of her evenings for a fortnight and Miss Bingley privately determined she already had her fill of it! Where were the days of proper conversation, of well-bred and dignified diversions, of genteel company – with no tradespeople and their obnoxious brats in sight! They were playing blind man’s buff in the gallery the other morning, of all the revolting pastimes, and the ensuing din could rouse the dead! And no less now! The room was filled with their shrill, grating voices! Good gracious! One could scarce hear oneself think!

Mrs. Hurst’s knowing glance and the roll of her eyes her only consolation, Miss Bingley turned to Lady Mellor and endeavoured to conceal her disgust. However misguided her ladyship was and obviously blinded by maternal affection to the ills of such unsavoury amusements, she was after all the only person worth conversing with.

Mrs. Bennet was holding court at the other end of the room – heavens be praised, for with the greatest determination Miss Bingley could not bear with her appalling comments and still keep a civil tongue in her head! The tradesman’s wife sat with Georgiana and Mrs. Westcotte, no doubt taking them in with her airs of gentility. The tradesman, who had joined them two days earlier, was taking pains to amuse his host, Lord Mellor and Miss Bingley’s own imprudent brother with whatever story he saw fit to tell and as to the lady of the manor, she was busily encouraging the gaggle of unruly children in their noisy pastime, supported of course by her younger sister. Miss Bingley fought the urge to shake her head.

What had Pemberley come to?

“And do you often travel to town, Ma’am?” she asked, only to find, to her intense vexation, that she had once more lost Lady Mellor’s attention, in view of some further development in the corner by the window.

“Cousin Elizabeth, can we have a game of bullet-pudding now? Can we? Can we, please?” asked the impudent little thing who was in the habit of pestering Darcy a dozen times a day and Miss Bingley inwardly shuddered at the prospect of yet another revolting amusement, as the lady of the house enthusiastically welcomed the suggestion.

“What game is that, pray?” Lady Mellor’s youngest piped up, understandably inexperienced in what passed for entertainment in Cheapside and the wilds of Hertfordshire.

To Miss Bingley’s further disgust, ‘dear Mrs. Darcy’ hastened to enlighten her.

“We have a large dish, with a ‘pudding’ of flour piled high upon it, and a bullet placed on top. Then you take turns in cutting the ‘pudding’– ”

“Until the bullet drops!” the youngest Cheapside brat interrupted, without being checked for it – little wonder none of them had any manners!

“And then whoever made it drop must seek it in the flour– ”

“Not with their hands, though– ”

“But their mouths,” the lady of the house concluded, and Miss Bingley well-nigh gasped.

Oh, aye. Just as she thought. This held great promise of being the most appalling pastime anyone could think of, and she could only hope that Darcy enjoyed having his drawing room caked in flour! It was, after all, no more than he deserved!

“Shall we try? Come, shall we?” the Gardiner brat pestered, and quite predictably, a large pewter dish filled with flour was duly brought.

“I think I shall watch for now,” one of the Miss Westcottes haltingly announced, as well as Lady Mellor’s eldest, but her sisters and brother piped up:

“Can we play, Mamma? You do not mind the flour, do you?”

Miss Bingley’s eyes narrowed as the lady gave permission with a complacent smile and vowed that if she was ever plagued with having children of her own, they would not suffer from criminal maternal indulgence. How did Lady Mellor not shudder at the prospect of their faces and attire covered in flour was utterly beyond her, Miss Bingley decided and, with horrified fascination, she resigned herself to see the game commence.

Before too long, the room was ringing with loud squeals coming from white-faced little monsters, perversely encouraged by that woman, who did not appear in the least perturbed by the fact that her dress and hair were specked with flour and – good heavens! – so were Georgiana’s, for she had come to watch and, shockingly, had chosen to stay.

To her distress, Miss Bingley feared that her scowl must have been noticed, for none other than Mr. Darcy came to inquire into her own and Lady Mellor’s comfort and ask if they were well-entertained.

In other times, she would have known how to answer! And would have been vastly cheered by his strictures upon such indecorous company! On the other hand, in other times they would not be there at all. They were, these days, because she was there, by Darcy’s own choice Pemberley’s mistress! Bah! The besotted fool deserved whatever mortification he was now subject to!

“I am indeed, I thank you,” Miss Bingley finally answered his inquiry, echoing Lady Mellor’s words, but with distinctly different sentiments. “I am vastly entertained. What a… singular game this is, Mr. Darcy! Is it a Pemberley tradition? For I can see that dear Georgiana takes uncommon pleasure in it!”

The words escaped her before she could control them and for a horrible moment Miss Bingley thought she might have gone too far. But the ever-decorous Mr. Darcy did not appear ruffled by the appalling spectacle, nor did he take offence at her double-edged comment. Instead, he seemed… content, as he quietly offered:

“Aye, Madam, I daresay she does.”

But then another cloud of flour spread around the table, greeted with fresh bursts of laughter, and Miss Bingley had the exquisite satisfaction to see him wince.

“Will you not join the merry crowd, Sir?” she smiled sweetly, quite proud to note there was no treacherous hint of gloating in her voice.

His reply was prompt, as was the offer of his arm – and her eyes shot to it with a hint of panic.

“Most gladly. Shall we? Lady Mellor, would you kindly excuse us? Your interest in children’s amusements does you credit, Miss Bingley, and I am looking forward to seeing you introduce your brother’s little ones to such delights. I daresay you shall be quite the doting aunt!”

Miss Bingley drew back slightly but, with a great deal of effort, her bright smile remained frozen in place.

“I thank you, but I would rather watch from here. As to my brother’s children, they will scarce need me, surely, when their other aunts can instruct them a great deal better. You cannot possibly imagine me wishing to compete with them!”

“Indeed, Ma’am, I cannot,” Darcy replied smoothly and bowed, leaving her to follow his progress towards his wife with narrowed eyes, before Miss Bingley remembered to school her features into yet another mask of feigned good humour that painfully tugged at the muscles in her face as she grimly determined that Christmas at Pemberley was fast becoming nothing but a penance!

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The rest of the company was of a different mind altogether as they sat down for dinner later on that evening. Damp folds of mist and darkness shrouded the house and the surrounding hills, making them doubly thankful for the warmth within – that of fires, and candles, and merry countenances gathered around the vast dinner table in gleeful commotion. 

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The gentlemen did not tarry long over their port and brandy and, as soon as the large gathering was reunited, the doors to the music room were thrown open and some of the ladies were persuaded to entertain the company with song – though not with proficient renditions of elaborate pieces, but with the joyful simplicity of carols, in which most voices joined.

Even Miss Bingley was prevailed upon to sit at the instrument and as for Georgiana, although far too timorous to contemplate performing by herself, she was happy enough to add her beautiful voice to the cheerful choir of others, and later to accompany her sister in a duet they had assiduously practised together throughout November.

Mrs. Bingley could not play but, to everyone’s surprise, it was soon revealed that her husband could, and many smiles came to reward his efforts, as the old lines familiar to most were joined to a merry tune:

Lo, now is come our joyfulest feast!
Let every man be jolly,
Each room with ivy leaves is drest,
And every post with holly,
Though some churls at our mirth repine,
Round your foreheads garlands twine;
Drown sorrow in a cup of wine,
And let us all be merry.
Now all our neighbours’ chimneys smoke,
And Christmas blocks are burning;
Their ovens they with baked meats choke,
And all their spits are turning.
Without the door let sorrow lie,
And if, for cold, it hap to die,
We’ll bury it in a Christmas pie,
And evermore be merry.

His sisters exchanged telling glances, the unnecessary exhibition woefully lacking in gentility, to their way of thinking, until Lord Norham and his brother unwittingly endorsed Mr. Bingley’s choice by adding their voices to his. And some time later, when Miss Mary Bennet sat at the instrument to play, though not to sing, Mrs. Hurst and her sister were quick to give thanks for their fortuitous escape – until it became apparent that she had in effect been persuaded to provide accompaniment for an impromptu dance. A children’s dance, moreover, as though it was not bad enough!

With thin smiles, they excused themselves and returned to the drawing room to finally speak freely, with no one for company but Mr. Hurst’s noisy slumber, while the others chose to play the fools in the long gallery, their host included. Bouts of merry laughter and girlish giggles reached them, mingled with over-boisterous tunes and the ladies shrugged in exasperation, while in the long gallery, from old portraits adorned with holly and green ivy, the dark eyes of the past looked down indulgently upon the present’s antics.

* * * *
'From This Day Forward' is the story of three Darcy Christmases: the first, the worst and the one filled with happiness and hope. 


If you haven’t read it yet, come and see what it’s all about. It's now available on a special offer, until the end of this weekend (midnight 21 December, GMT). 

Happy Holidays to you all, and I hope you’ll like what you see!


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From This Day Forward 
~ The Darcys of Pemberley ~

From This Day Forward at Amazon.com

From This Day Forward at Amazon UK

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<![CDATA[And the winners of the first 'Falmouth Connection' Giveaway are ...]]>Wed, 29 Oct 2014 15:07:04 GMThttp://www.joanastarnes.co.uk/news/and-the-winners-of-the-first-falmouth-connection-giveaway-arePicture
Ginni Allen


Julie Racowski


and 


Jill
(winners were selected using www.random.org)

Please contact me here or by Facebook private message with details of where I should send the e-books.


If you didn't win, please visit Austenesque Reviews or Maria Grazia's 'My Jane Austen Book Club' (links below) for a chance to enter the giveaways kindly hosted there, or keep an eye on the book's Facebook page - more giveaways will be announced soon!


http://austenesquereviews.com/2014/10/excerpt-giveaway-author-joana-starnes.html

http://thesecretunderstandingofthehearts.blogspot.co.uk/2014/10/joana-starnes-falmouth-connection-blog.html#more

https://www.facebook.com/TheFalmouthConnection

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