JAFF Anonymous

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Thursday, April 7, 2016

Let's Bloom! It's Spring! Bloom Where You are Planted!

Let's Bloom!  It's Spring!
By Author Barbara Tiller Cole

{I am very happy to be a part of the Authors in Bloom Blog Hop this year!  Please be sure and click on the link at the bottom to check out all of the other great posts!}

There once was a man who had two sons.  He gave both of them red wagons as a gift.  One of them played in the wagon,  and even used it for transporting groceries to a neighbor who was sick.  He carted trash back and forth to the curb for an elderly gentleman who lived down the street.  Found that he enjoyed giving younger kids rides in it to their delight and giggles.  The other son, well the other son put the wagon in the corner and pouted.  He had wanted a scooter.  Who do you think that the father wanted to give more to in the future?
Now whether or not the father began to play favorites with his sons at this time or not is irrelevant.  The morale is that gratitude and happiness with your lot in life is a much better way to live.  

'Bloom Where You Are Planted' was the first thing that came into my mind as I considered the theme of this hop--Authors in Bloom.  Be all you can be, do all you can do with what you have.

I did a bit of research to determine where this phrase came from.  Some say that it originated in the bible (countless Biblical references seem to point to various verses in the Bible that carry a similar notion).  However, many credit the Bishop of Geneva, Saint Francis de Sales (1567-1622) with the phrase.  Later Mary Engelbreit popularized the notion.

For me, I have learned to look for the best in each day.  A few years back I had the gift of being able to gaze upon a lush field of 4-leaf clovers at the top of the Torc Falls in Killarney Ireland, overlooking a majestic field complete with an ancient castle and abbey.  I also have faced the death of both of my two parents just ten days apart.  The miracle of life and of living a spiritual life is that there are truth gifts being planted in either of those days.  It is just sometimes more difficult to see when the days are tough.

When the road seems more rocky, looking for something beautiful in the path will give you a new vision and a new purpose for living.  And if you live your life anticipating God's gift in each day, you might just find it.

Even flowers sprout in the desert.  As you make your way
around this Authors in Bloom blog tour, think about where you are today and how you can make the best of it and bloom.  If there is a desire you will find a way.  Just remember the beauty of something as simple as a cactus flower.

Looking at this particular picture some will see a rocky short and the lack of vibrant color or maybe even the starkness of the foliage.  Others will see the sparkling silver sheen of the water, and the glorious gift of being able to stand on the edge of the ocean.  Which one are you?  Are you willing to Bloom Where you are Planted?  Leave a comment about how you have either bloomed where you are planted or how you would like to.  And good luck with the contest.  Please leave your email address in your comment so we will be able to reach you if you should win.  And I hope you will read some of the other wonderful sharings my authors on this blog while you are here.

And my recipe is a little something Elizabeth Bennet would love:

Lavender Shortbread

2 cups confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons finely snipped dried lavender flowers, divided
1 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
In a bowl, combine confectioners' sugar and 2 teaspoons lavender; cover and set aside at room temperature for 24 hours.
In a bowl, cream butter, sugar and remaining lavender. Combine flour, cornstarch and salt; add to the creamed mixture. Divide dough in half. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or until easy to handle.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out one portion of dough to 1/4-in. thickness. Cut into 1-1/2-in. squares. Repeat with remaining dough.
Place 1 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Prick with a fork several times. Bake at 325° for 18-22 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool for 1 minute before removing to wire racks to cool completely. Sift reserved lavender sugar; discard lavender. Dust cookies with the sugar. Store in airtight containers. Yield: about 4 dozen.
Editor's Note: Look for dried lavender flowers in spice shops. If using lavender from the garden, make sure it hasn’t been treated with chemicals.

To enter the Blog Hop here on my site, please share this post, like me on Facebook, register for my blog or share a comment.  There are great prizes for the hop!  I will also be selecting one commenter to win a copy of with 'White Lies and Half Truths' or 'Fitzwilliam Ebenezer Darcy'.  Winner's choice! So be sure and include a way for me to get in touch with you!

Now, be sure to follow the link below to all the other great authors that are a part of this Blog Hop!
Authors in Bloom Blog Hop Link

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

A Jane Austen Inspired Film Festival: Unleashing Mr. Darcy

An Austen Inspired Film Festival

By Barbara Tiller Cole

Unleashing Mr. Darcy

I have missed the Austen community over the past year. I was ill for quite awhile and got away from my blog, but it is time to reinvigorate.  Over the next couple months I will be presenting an Austen Inspired Film Festival.
The first offering is from Hallmark Channel:  Unleashing Mr. Darcy. 
I was giddy to watch a modern Pride and Prejudice inspired film and had no preconceived notions of what this film would be.  I even convinced my Mr. Darcy to watch it with me (he hated it by the way). 
In the opening scenes of the film, English teacher, Miss Elizabeth Scott is bribed to give her lacrosse playing student a passing grade so he can stay on the team.  Instead Mr. Marcum, who proves to be the true villain of the story, makes sure that she is suspended from the school. 
Liz and her spaniel Bliss are on the dog show circuit and Donovan Darcy is the judge of their dog category.  Liz is very quick to judge Donovan and his supposed arrogance when he says of her dog ‘fine eyes, shame about the freckles’. 
Events transpire in which Liz becomes the handler for a friend’s dog in an upcoming dog show who just happens to live across the street from Donovan Darcy.  Sparks fly between the two.
I enjoyed this modern Jane Austen inspired movie.  While it was not a canon retell, it had enough of Pride and Prejudice within the telling that those that love fan fiction will enjoy seeing it.
I loved Donovan Darcy from the beginning, as he seemed to have less of a prideful presence than a typical canon Darcy.  However, Elizabeth Scott has even more prejudice and an almost arrogant determination to hate Donovan that I found a bit irritating.   For those of you who will want to see it, I won’t add any more spoilers. 
I can tell you, however, after years of reading so many good modern Pride and Prejudice variations I have read many that deserve a film in their honor. I would love to know the story of how this particular one was chosen.  It was nice and pleasant, but not what I would call exceptional. I will give the film 3.5 out of 5 stars. 
I will however, give a disclaimer. I have not read the book, nor even know about the book of the same title until I searched Google for pictures for this article.  Should Teri Wilson read this review and be interested in being a guest here at Darcyholic Diversions, I would welcome that.
If you have the Hallmark Channel keep a look out if you missed it.  I am sure they will be airing it again!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Edie Adams Shares A Letter To Jane Austen

Edie Adams Shares A Letter To Jane Austen

 (I am happy to welcome Edie to DarcyholicDiversions!  She will be giving away an eBook of 'The Houseguest' to one lucky commenter.)

A letter to Jane Austen

Dear Jane,

You don’t mind if I call you Jane, do you? Good. Feel free to call me Elizabeth. Or Liz if you prefer. Now, we need to talk.
Are you aware of the craze you incited when you wrote a certain character by the name of Mr. Darcy? Do you know how many women spend their free time dreaming of him, imagining meeting him, and reading about him? No? Well, I should tell you that it’s gotten a little out of hand.
Mr. Darcy has become the one romantic hero almost all women can agree on. He is the ideal other men are compared to and the fantasy no one can live up to. What were you thinking? Sure, he’s smart and cultured. Everybody loves a smart guy. But then you had to go and make him loyal and strong and steadfast. As if that weren’t enough, he’s also incredibly handsome and he’s tall. Did you know I’ve always had a thing for tall guys?
Add to all of that his fancy house in town and a gorgeous, magical, un-mortgaged estate in the country. Were you trying to drive everyone crazy? To taunt us with the perfect guy that will never really exist?
Just to show he’s not too perfect, you make him rude and insulting when we first meet him, Really?
but still loyal and brave. While this may seem like a flaw, it is actually an ingenious plot designed to show us just how great he is. Because as soon as the woman he loves points out his faults, he gets mad (proving he’s hot blooded – which just makes him more attractive) and then he gets reasonable. He learns from the past and from her and becomes worthy of her. Did you hear that, Jane? A man, who has everything going for him and women falling all over him, changes his behavior to make himself worthy of a woman. A woman who, by the way, is considered undeserving of him by society at large and who has rejected him vehemently. He has no guarantee he’ll ever even see her again. Really?
Then, this great catch turned all-around great guy, delivers the grandest of grand gestures and we go from serious like to all out love. What were you trying to accomplish here? Was there a ‘create the perfect man’ contest? (You win, by the way.) Were you playing out your own fantasy? Or was it all just a big cosmic accident and you had no idea how he’d catch on – and still be going strong 200 years later?
Listen, Jane, I don’t want to be rude, I’d like to think we’re friends of a sort, but you really ought to lighten up a bit on the ‘perfect man’ thing. (“There’s something pleasant about his mouth when he speaks.” Seriously? We all know what that’s code for.) You couldn’t make him shorter, or a little chubby, maybe with a bald spot and a missing tooth? Or maybe he could be terrified of spiders and snore like Daffy Duck. Something! Give me something to make him just a little less perfect and a little more resistible. I’m begging you!
I hope you’ll take this under advisement.

Elizabeth Adams

How Elizabeth Adams Found JAFF

I found JAFF completely by accident. It was late summer 2010, and I had a hair appointment where I knew I would be sitting in a chair with foil on my head for an hour. I needed something to read, I was at Target and I saw Sharon Lathan’s first book. I loved the original P&P (who doesn’t?) so I thought I’d give it a try.
I ended up not reading it that day, which turned out to be a good thing because when I finally did read it, I couldn’t stop blushing! I ordered two more online and the next thing I knew, I was scouring the local library for any Darcy-related books. I had never even heard of fan fiction before that, but once I found variations, I was hooked.

Would You Call It an Obsession?

I don’t know if I would go so far as to say “obsession”. He’s definitely my favorite romantic hero, and I do read more JAFF than anything else, but I do enjoy characters that aren’t Darcy. I’ve certainly never almost said the name ‘Darcy’ in an intimate moment and covered it up with the word ‘darling’.
So no, not an obsession. Just a healthy interest. That’s all. Definitely not obsessed.

About “The Houseguest”

The Houseguest is a P&P variation with a completely different plotline. Georgiana comes to visit Darcy at Netherfield for a week and becomes friends with Elizabeth Bennet. They correspond after she goes back to London and Miss Darcy invites Elizabeth to come for a visit while Darcy is away. He comes back unexpectedly and ends up being trapped under the same roof with Elizabeth for three weeks.
I had a ridiculously good time writing it and torturing poor Darcy. It began in autumn of 2010. I had yet to find any JAFF sites, but I had read several published JAFF books, both traditionally and self-published, and while I really enjoyed most of them, I found myself wishing another option was explored or something happened this or that way. My husband kept saying I should write my own and I had always been a decent writer, so I decided to give it a shot.
The characters took on lives of their own and it was out of my control before I knew what was happening. I originally intended the second half to be quite different from what it is, but the characters just wouldn’t cooperate.

The Houseguest” Excerpt

This is from Chapter 7. Elizabeth and Darcy are in the library and she is telling him a story from her childhood. This is the tail end of that story.

“…I told them we would race to the top. If I got to the doll first, they could not take any more of our toys and must behave like gentlemen the rest of their trip. If they got to the top first, we couldn’t tell their mother about any of this. We shook on the deal and they decided horrid Thomas would be the one to race me, since he was taller and had longer limbs.

“I tied my skirts up around my waist and Jane counted us down. When she said go, we both began to climb furiously, but I knew the way better.” She couldn’t hide the air of pride she felt in her accomplishment. “I had climbed that tree hundreds of times and knew exactly where to step. I had made it to the top and was reaching for the doll long before Thomas. He was so angry with me, he reached out to grab the doll from my arms, but I hit him with my elbow.”

She released a sigh.

“Unfortunately, he lost his balance and fell all the way to the ground. His arm was twisted terribly behind his back and he was screaming in pain, and cursing me with words I had never heard. Michael ran for Mr. Hill and the doctor came and declared he had a broken arm.

“They couldn’t set it until our parents returned several hours later, so he was given laudanum and laid in the kitchen crying and writhing in pain. Eventually all was set right, but he ended up having to stay with us another six weeks until the doctor declared he was ready to travel.”

She slumped back into the chair and exhaled loudly. “It was horrible! My mother went on and on about how unladylike my behavior was and said that if I wasn’t so wild, none of this would have happened. As my punishment, whether for climbing or pushing, I don’t know, she made me act as Thomas’s nurse while he stayed with us. I had to bring him tea and give him his medicine. Mother said it would teach me how to take care of a man, which was what I should be doing, instead of keeping my nose in books all day.” She rolled her eyes.

“And did you?”

“Did I what?”

“Learn to take care of a man?” he asked with a smirk and a glint in his eye.

“I hardly think a twelve-year-old boy can be called a man, Mr. Darcy,” she replied with an impish smile.

He let out a deep, rumbling laugh. “No, he cannot, Miss Bennet. He certainly cannot.”

You can see outtakes for The Houseguest and more at www.elizabethadamswrites.wordpress.com.