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Sunday, February 12, 2017

The Frog Prince Had It Easy: A Guest Post By Fitzwilliam Darcy

The Frog Prince Had It Easy

Intro by Barbara Tiller Cole

I am very happy to be hosting Fitzwilliam Darcy and his discussion of Laura Hile's book, Darcy By Any Other Name.  I have thoroughly enjoyed reading it!  It was a bold idea for a body swap story, but under Laura Hile's authorship was a fun treat.  I am a comedienne at heart, so I am always looking for comedic Austen inspired stories.   I have to admit that I have NEVER enjoyed Collins except as a character to torture.  But when Fitzwilliam Darcy entered his body he became more than simply tolerable.   I most definitely chose Tom Hollander's portrayal of Collins as I read Hile's book, as he had the most ability to transform into someone that Elizabeth could tolerate (if and only if Darcy was inhabiting his body of course).  

There is a give away of an ebook copy of Darcy By Any Other Name to one lucky commenter.  Be sure to include your email address if I do not have it or if you aren't a facebook friend.  Extra entries for posting on Facebook, tweeting, following this blog, liking Laura or my author page on Facebook.  Post what you have done at the end of your comment.  Deadline for commenting is Sunday 2/19/17 at 9:00 pm.

And Now........ Presenting......

A guest post by Fitzwilliam Darcy

Perchance you recall that frog fellow in the fairy tale.  He’s a handsome prince, caught in a spell that changes him from a man into a toadish amphibian. The cure? Love’s first kiss. And therein lies the dilemma. What woman would ever kiss a frog?

I can go one better. What woman would ever kiss William Collins?

No one, that’s who. And I am in a position to know, because in Darcy By Any Other Name, Laura Hile has made me, Fitzwilliam Darcy, switch bodies with William Collins.

You read that right, with Collins—that podgy, pompous bounder who can empty a room simply by opening his mouth. A kiss from adorable Elizabeth Bennet? Not on your life. As Collins, I’d have a better chance if I were the frog.

I would! See here, ugly animals are much cuter than ugly men. Then too, a talking frog is a miracle. A talking Collins is a menace.

That Frog Prince is a lucky dog. In fact, all of the heroes in romantic fairy tales have it better than I do. Don’t believe me? Read on.

  • Cinderella eagerly dances with her prince. No woman wants to dance with Collins. She’d need to wear combat boots, not slippers made of glass.

  •  The Little Mermaid falls in love from afar, simply by gazing at her prince. That’s never going to happen for Collins. Women see him, shudder, and move in the opposite direction.

  • Aladdin is poor, like Collins, but he is also clever and resourceful. And he can sing. Collins can sing, but who wants him to?
  • Sleeping Beauty’s prince fights a dragon for her (according to Disney). Collins would never do that. When confronted with a dragon, he would faint or play dead.
  • Beauty’s Beast? He is well-read and intelligent, as am I. However, he has the advantage of being rugged, whereas Collins is flabby and soft.  What woman wants that? Moreover, the Beast has a ferocious roar. Collins squeals and scuttles away.

I trust I have proven my point.
So, as Darcy By Any Other Name progresses, I have had to watch Collins attempt to fill my shoes as Fitzwilliam Darcy. It has been beyond galling—and once I stopped laughing, I took Laura Hile sternly to task.
She told me that I have overlooked a major benefit. Namely, that as Collins, I have the freedom to speak my mind—because no one cares what Collins says. Thus I have discovered that wisecracks and snarky asides can be rather fun. Especially because Elizabeth has been listening.
Hile went on to say that I would have a chance to kiss Elizabeth. Oho! And also to cross swords with my Aunt Catherine, give a set-down to Caroline Bingley, and kosh George Wickham on the nose.
Perhaps being William Collins won’t be so very bad after all.
Darcy By Any Other Name has turned out to be rather better than I expected—although I do wish it was my face, instead of Collins’s, on the cover. You will sigh, cry, laugh, and cheer me on when (as Collins) I clonk George Wickham. And then there’s that promised kiss...
Absolutely worth the wait, that. Even if I don’t end up being transformed into a prince.
Why not give this story a go? I think you’ll enjoy it.


Amazon page with photo and bio: https://www.amazon.com/Laura-Hile/e/B003UT6VDS

Barb, thanks again for sharing Darcy’s article, hosting the giveaway, and helping promote this book. I sincerely appreciate it.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

An Interview with Amy D'Orazio, Author of The Best Part of Love

 An Interview with Amy D'Orazio, Author of The Best Part of Love
By Barbara Tiller Cole

It is exciting to be a part of Amy D'Orazio's book tour and to get a chance to interview her.  I hope you enjoy getting to know her as much as I have.

As an author myself, I made a decision when I began this blog not to formally review other author's work.  I love to read Austen inspired works myself, but I want to honor and celebrate it, not criticize. What is exciting is getting to know authors and giving readers a chance to know their backgrounds and inspiration for writing.

However, when I read a book I like I am VERY happy to share.  I have always enjoyed Pride and Prejudice variations in which Elizabeth is something different from her 'canon' self.  Amy shares an Elizabeth that I really liked from the beginning her new novel!  She is very smart and very brave.  I know that you will enjoy, as much as I did, reading Amy's newest release, The Best Part of Love.

Giveaway from Darcyholic Diversions:

When I was first contacted about hosting Amy, I knew her name sounded familiar.  But it was Amy herself who had to remind me.  She was featured here at Darcyholic Diversions when she was just a Darcyholic reader.  As a part of this blog tour, I will be selecting at least one reader to share your story.  So comment below for a chance to post here!  Maybe you will be as inspired as Amy was and I will be hosting you later as an author as well.  Instead of making you search, you can read Amy's prior post at this link.


For a chance to win Amy's book, comment below and then click on the Rafflecopter link at the end of Amy's post: 


And now for the interview:

BTCole:  How were you first introduced to Jane Austen's works? Was it love at first read, or did your love come later?

AD:  I believe I must have first read Austen in high school or college — it didn’t have the impact it had on me in my later years. I think Sense & Sensibility was the first that I read and truth be told, that has never been one of my favorite stories.

I am a scientist, and most of my education was therefore driven in that direction. I expended as little effort as possible in the direction of literature, so I’ve always had the nagging feeling that I’ve missed out on a lot of great reads. Somewhere in my mid-thirties, I decided I would embark on a read of some of the classics, and I’ve been doing that ever since. Happily, I started with Jane Austen, and she will always be, to me, the greatest of all writers. 

BTCole:  What drew you to Jane Austen's works?

AD:  When you read a Jane Austen book, you get a little bit of everything: laughter, tears, sarcasm, wit. It’s all in there, seamlessly blended.

However, that said, to me what makes Jane’s work so unforgettable is her characters. It has always amazed me how she gives such a bare sketch of many of her characters, and yet they come alive on the page. Whether you love them or hate them or don’t know what to think of them, Jane’s characters stick with you and you find yourself wanting to understand them more.

As your book is a Pride and Prejudice variation is it a safe assumption that Pride and Prejudice is your favorite Austen book?  And what is your favorite character?

Pride and Prejudice is absolutely my favorite, hands down! As for my favorite character, I am probably not saying anything too shocking when I say it's Elizabeth Bennet. It amazes me that Jane Austen could conceive of a lady who, over two centuries later, is still so likable and relevant to a modern audience.

BTCole:  When did you first discover Jane Austen-inspired literature? 

AD:  It was a very happy day, I can tell you that haha! On a previous visit to your blog, I know I mentioned a story of how we were searching for something on TV one day and stumbled across a showing of the 1995 P&P miniseries and shortly after that, I learned of the Pamela Aidan trilogy — that was really my first dip into JAFF. From there I was led to the published JAFF books which at the time was not a whole lot, not like there is today.

It wasn’t until I read the acknowledgements in one of Linda Wells’ books that I discovered the world of online forums and unpublished JAFF. That was a pretty thrilling discovery, and to date, it is the online forums that hold most of my favorite stories, although of course there are many wonderful stories which have gone to publication too.

BTCole:  Would you call yourself a ‘Darcyholic’?  Why or why not?

AD:  I guess it would depend on the definition of darcyholicism! I know there have certainly been times when it seemed like the world of P&P filled my mind to the exclusion of all else, particularly in the first weeks/months of my JAFF journey! I’ve been around the world of Austenesque literature for about five years now, and now it's a little different. Some days my mind is filled with new story ideas, and I’m reading a great new story that I can’t seem to put down, but there are other times when it’s less so. I think it's a good thing that it evolved that way because real life wasn’t tolerating the first phase!

BTCole:  What about it made you want to write an Austen inspired book yourself?

AD:  When I started writing, I firmly vowed it was just for me, I was confident I’d never post it anywhere and certainly never dreamed of publishing. I used writing as a way to pass the time as I’d sit at my kid's sports practices and so forth but eventually I realized that posting allows you to grow a lot as a writer. I am always indebted to those who participate in those as writers and betas and readers and commenters because they helped me learn and hone and improve.

For as great as reading a story is, writing is (to me) even better — you get immersed in the world of D&E!

BTCole:  Your Elizabeth is very different from canon.  What was your inspiration for her character?

AD:  My Elizabeth starts off the story having gone through some pretty traumatic circumstances. She was young, just a teenager, when she was left a widowed mother with a world of responsibility on her shoulders. In thinking about her character then, I just tried to imagine how canon Elizabeth might have responded to those circumstances, and how that would have shaped her. She is still intelligent, still charismatic but, certainly at the beginning of the story, she is a quieter, more sober, and less opinionated version of herself.

Of course, one of the things that draws her to Darcy is that something in him resurrects her wish to tease and converse freely and give opinions on things. She can’t understand it at first but eventually she feels a sense of gratitude towards him for uncovering the part of her that had been trampled down by life. 

BTCole:  Anything else you would like us to know?

AD:  One thing I am often asked about is an original recurring character who is in many of my stories, Viscount Saye. Many want to know where he came from and who, if anyone, is the inspiration for him.

Viscount Saye is Colonel Fitzwilliam’s older brother, heir to the earldom (which I always call Matlock although we know Jane herself never specified it). He is something of comic relief; he is an unrepentant bad boy who, deep down, has a good heart although it grieves him to show it. He likes to say what everyone else is thinking (but too polite to say), and he tweaks Darcy when Darcy most needs tweaked.

There is no true real-life inspiration for Viscount Saye. He is a sort of amalgamation of different people, mostly men, who I have known, and he was largely created as someone who is similar to Darcy (first son and heir) but who does not take life very seriously. Darcy needs that sometimes!

BTCole:  Are you working on another book?  Want to give us any hints?

AD:  I always have two or three new projects working! One thing I have always wanted to do is write something in the style of books that were popular in Austen’s day, the gothic romances like those written by Anne Radcliffe. Of course its hard to imagine a situation in which Pemberley is transformed into a gloomy castle!

BTCole:  Do you have any personal pictures that assist in telling us your 'Darcyholic' story? 

AD:  I don’t really have pictures of that sort of thing although I have many pictures which inspire and help my writing on Pinterest. There is a specific board for The Best Part of Love as well as many other boards I use for research and just general interest!

Book Blurb:

Avoiding the truth does not change the truth

When Fitzwilliam Darcy meets Miss Elizabeth Bennet he has no idea that she — that indeed, the entire town of Meryton — harbors a secret. Miss Elizabeth, a simply country girl from a humble estate, manages to capture first his fascination and then his heart without him ever knowing the truth of her past.

When she meets Darcy, Elizabeth had spent the two years prior hiding from the men who killed her beloved first husband. Feeling herself destroyed by love, Elizabeth has no intention of loving again, certainly not with the haughty man who could do nothing but offend her in Hertfordshire.

In London, Elizabeth surprises herself by finding in Darcy a friend; even greater is her surprise to find herself gradually coming to love him and even accepting an offer of marriage from him. Newly married, they are just beginning to settle into their happily ever after when a condemned man on his way to the gallows divulges a shattering truth, a secret that contradicts everything Elizabeth thought she knew about the tragic circumstances of her first marriage. Against the advice of everyone who loves her, including Darcy, Elizabeth begins to ask questions. But will what they learn destroy them both?

Author Bio:

Amy D’Orazio is a former breast cancer researcher and current stay at home mom who is addicted to Austen and Starbucks in about equal measures. While she adores Mr. Darcy, she is married to Mr. Bingley and their Pemberley is in Pittsburgh PA.

She has two daughters who are devoted to sports which require long practices and began writing her own stories as a way to pass the time she spent sitting in the lobbies of various gyms and studios. She is a firm believer that all stories should have long looks, stolen kisses and happily ever afters. Like her favorite heroine, she dearly loves a laugh and considers herself an excellent walker. 

Contact Info: 
(Each website, where possible, is linked to the name.)


Facebook: Amy D’Orazio


Instagram: amydorazio


Buy Links:

The eBook will be available on Amazon, January 6th. I will try to get the link to you for the eBook as soon as I get it. The Paperback should follow in two to three weeks.

Blog Tour Schedule with Links A. D’Orazio 

  6 Jan My Jane Austen Book Club; Guest Post, Excerpt, Giveaway
  7 Jan Just Jane 1813; Review
  8 Jan Babblings of a Bookworm; Vignette, Giveaway
  9 Jan Every Savage Can Dance; Guest Post, Excerpt, Giveaway
10 Jan Tomorrow is Another Day; Review
11 Jan Savvy Verse & Wit; Character Interview, Giveaway
12 Jan Half Agony, Half Hope; Review
13 Jan Austenesque Reviews; Vignette, Giveaway
14 Jan Darcyholic Diversions; Author Interview, Giveaway
16 Jan From Pemberley to Milton; Review  
18 Jan Obsessed with Mr. Darcy; Review
19 Jan My Kids Led Me Back to Pride & Prejudice; Vignette, Giveaway  
20 Jan Diary of an Eccentric; Review
21 Jan More Agreeably Engaged; Vignette, Giveaway

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

A Christmas Love Letter from Mr. Wickham

 A Christmas Love Letter from Mr. Wickham

I am happy to have Mr. Wickham visiting with us here at Darcyholic Diversions! He is having a contest! Whoever has the best comment will win a personalized email directly from Mr. Wickham, either to you or someone you love!  So may the best comment win! BTCole (PS--Thanks to Catherine Curzon as well!)

Blidworth, 8th January, 1811

My dearest girl:

Ah, how long ago Christmas feels now, how chill the fire in the hearth, colder even than the snow that has fallen undisturbed the empty fields beyond my billet. And yet, no matter how thin the blanket, how long and hard the marching, I have my own warmth, my own fire, and it is you who has sparked it.

My life now is all military and manoeuvre, yet your smile is never far from my mind, your soft voice singing me to sleep and laughing me into gentle wakefulness.

I remember well those days, not so long ago, when we walked through the crisp frosted meadows in search of mistletoe, your dainty hand in my own, your cheeks flushed with laughter as much as with the cold. Yet Ill wager our embraces were enough to keep you warm, to chase out the winter as it descended. Those embraces, my love, burned as hot as any summer, blazed brighter than the candles that lit our Christmas night or the plum pudding on which we dined so royally.
Those sprigs of mistletoe we gathered saw us well through those nights, and any gentleman would have been a sorry soul indeed had he not honoured the promise made by that berry and kissed your rosebud lips. God bless you, God bless us, for having the foresight to gather enough to see us through to Epiphany, for no couple could have spent a finer twelve nights than we.

I have word that I shall be in Bath once more by the close of the month and that your gentleman is not expected home until a month beyond that. I have found, not more than a short walk from where I am currently whiling away my days, a rich and splendid supply of fresh mistletoe. I shall bring us a few fresh sprigs, my love, and with you once more in my bed, our stolen nights shall be as fine and flaming as any yuletide hearth!

Wait for my signal via the lamp black seller, and you shall be in my arms once more before the month is out.

I am your slave, my love, and will count away the days.


George Wickhams papers are transcribed at Austen Variations   by Catherine Curzon,
a royal historian who writes on all matters 18th century at www.madamegilflurt.com. Her work has been featured on HistoryExtra.com, the official website of BBC History Magazine  and in publications such as Explore History, All About History, History of Royals and Jane Austens Regency World. She has provided additional research for An Evening with Jane Austen at the V&A and spoken at venues including the Royal Pavilion in Brighton, Lichfield Guildhall and Dr Johnsons House.

Catherine holds a Masters degree in Film and when not dodging the furies of the guillotine, writes fiction set deep in the underbelly of Georgian London.

Her books, Life in the Georgian Court, and The Crown Spire, are available now.

She lives in Yorkshire atop a ludicrously steep hill.

A Covent Garden Gilflurts Guide to Life: www.madamegilflurt.com