Back to Top

Category: Giveaways

Posts in which we or our guests offer a giveaway.

What would you like to do if you were to spend a week or so immersed in Regency life?

I’m not talking about reenactment so much as a situation like the bizarrely inaccurate Regency House Party series, 2004. And by the way, isn’t I smelt like a badger the whole time a wonderful headline? This is one of many articles online about the project, and you can view episodes on Youtube.)

I have the book tho it’s over the husband’s side of the bed because he likes the pictures. And that was the strength of the series, I thought–how everyone looked absolutely right in the clothes, and the house, Kentchurch Court in Herefordshire, was gorgeous. But really, other than agonizing over the chamberpots (oh come on, the Regency had indoor plumbing… ), the women were very bored. As one of the participants reported

The narrow round of permitted activities: ‘a walk around the corridor to view the portraits’, needlework, pianoforte practice (to entertain the gentlemen in the evening) was hardly stimulating and quickly exhausted. Six modern independent girls slumped into a Regency lethargy. Relieved of all work and responsibility, most became little girlies who giggled over hot chocolate after lights out (11pm) while I found myself climbing trees like a tomboy. Our infantalising party frocks were more likely to tempt Mr Darcy to give us a balloon and a pat on the head than a proposal of marriage. More

So if you were to be a Regency lady of leisure for a limited amount of time, how would you entertain yourself in what was a very homosocial society? At least in the daytime when the boys were off doing boy things? Or would you, like Larushka Ivan-Zadeh, become one of the boys too?

What would you suggest as activities for women that would be, more or less, historically accurate, but be of interest to history geeks (or not)? And what activities would you suggest for both men and women (other than the obvious) that would actually be fun?

You’ve guessed it. This is for the WIP. There will be prizes for the two suggestions I like best–your choice of a packet of tea from the Jane Austen Series at Bingley’s Teas(US only). I’ll be picking a winner on Monday.

So come up with something fun and creative!


Our guest today is debut author Karen Doornebos whose book, Definitely Not Mr. Darcy, takes on a subject we talk about quite often here–seeing what modern characters would get up to in a Regency setting. Her publishers have kindly agreed to give away three copies of the book (isn’t that a great cover?)

Doornebos gives the historical romance novel a hilarious update in this delightful debut… The amusing secondary characters, sidesplitting faux pas, and fiery romance will make Doornebos an instant hit with readers. Starred Review from Publisher’s Weekly

Doornebos brings readers a fresh take on Jane Austen’s world. Mixing reality television with Regency-style romance, this tale combines a fun plot with witty dialogue, charming characters and a strong-willed heroine. It will leave you laughing in delight and reluctant to put it down until the last page is read. 4 1/2 out of 5 Stars from RT Book Reviews

Janet, how honored I am to step into your parlor here to talk to you about my debut novel, Definitely Not Mr. Darcy. How nice of you to pour me a cup of tea! Thank you for having me…

Most gracious of you to accept and wherever I am, tea is too! How did you come up with the idea?

Funny you should ask this! I was at a writer’s conference sharing the first draft of my book when another writer said, “Regency reality show? That’s been done! It’s called ‘Regency House Party’.”

After I freaked, I thought, well, I better check this thing out. And I did, and of course it was completely different from my book! Still, I did credit the “House” series in my Acknowledgment Page, as I credited “The Bachelor” TV show.

I loved the “House” series and I did use “Regency House Party” for some of my research.
I enjoyed the program, it informed some of my research, but it didn’t inspire the book.

Here’s what did inspire the book: After college graduation I lived and worked in London for six months as an employee communications writer, and I always knew I would write something about my beloved England.

But it wasn’t until my husband and I went to a Victorian (not Regency) health spa in California in the late 1990s (yes, that was in the previous century!) that the idea hit me—literally. The spa had these old, outdoor stone baths with water from the hot springs, and it sounded so romantic, so relaxing—but when we put our swim suits on to head to the baths, a waft of rotten egg smell hit us. My husband informed me the smell was sulphur from the springs.

Now, I’ve always been a Jane Austen fan, but on that vacation the idea hit me: what if a Jane Austen fan gets to “visit” the Regency era—but it stinks!! That was where the idea began.

You’ve managed to have three heroes! Congratulations. Tell us about them.

First we meet George Maxton, the show producer, and he’s hot. All three of the men are hot in their own way. George’s appeal is not only his cropped auburn hair, his snug-fitting jeans and the way he wears his sunglasses, but the fact that he is so NOW. He’s all plugged into his iPhone and his iPad, he talks really fast, and he’s just completely modern.

Soon enough we meet two other heroes, and I can’t divulge their names! But, one has blond hair that falls into his brown eyes. He wears glasses and he’s very attentive and witty. The other is dark-haired, dark-eyed, and buff. He always seems to know exactly what to say to make our heroine happy… Both of these gentlemen look very fetching in their breeches, boots, and cravats.

One of the memorable aspects of the Regency House Party TV show was how bored most of the women are (although I think that was one of the worst inaccuracies of the series). How did you handle this?

Nobody in this reality show is ever bored! There are tasks and challenges galore and I dreamed up every Regency fantasy I would want to enjoy myself, and that included:
• Archery
• A mock fox hunt
• A tea party
• Making her own ink
• Learning fanology
• And a ball, of course!
Chloe Parker, my main character, procrastinates her needlework much to her detriment and her piano playing isn’t up to snuff.

Tell us about your research.

I used so many sources for my research—I couldn’t even begin to count them, however, here are some of the coolest:

• Jane Austen’s letters (Deirdre Le Faye will be having a new edition coming out in November!)
• A Jane Austen Encyclopedia
• Jane Austen’s Regency World Magazine
• Tons of websites, including: The Jane Austen Centre in Bath

If you were in a Regency reality show, what would you miss the most?

Plumbing! I’ve lived my entire life without men in breeches, boots, and cravats (unfortunately) but I couldn’t survive without plumbing!

What would you enjoy the most?

Come on, I would enjoy the gentlemen! But, if I had to choose something else, it would be: the tranquility that must come from being unplugged.

Which is your favorite Austen?

Book: Pride and Prejudice, my first love, but Northanger Abbey, Persuasion, Sense and Sensisbility and Emma rank very close in that order.
Adaptation: 1995 A&E Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth. Need I say more? You know where I stand! I also happen to ADORE the 1995 BBC version of Persuasion. 1995 was a very good year for me and I relive it via DVD as much as possible.

I love that version of Persuasion too! What’s up next for you?

Great question! I’m promoting my first book right now, have a second one in the works, and I’m putting together proposals for a third…Jane Austen Action figure is on my desk, at the ready!

So ladies … share your favorite Regency fantasy/favorite Regency hero with Karen, and you could win a copy of Definitely Not Mr. Darcy!

So I was all set to do this stupendous post about my corset. I visited the staymaker last Saturday armed with my camera and found the batteries had died. So much for that, but my staymaker is indeed hard at work making me a front-lacing corset, and I should say that it is a garment made of stout cotton for my equally stout body, without any ooh la la factor at all, as is the linen shift that I will wear with it.

By one of those strange internet associations I went searching on google for the term “liberty bodice.” Bet you don’t know what a liberty bodice is. Aunt Ada Doom in Cold Comfort Farm sends Judith to find hers when she decides to make a family appearance (great book and excellent movie with a terrific cast including Rufus Sewell as the earthy stud Seth).

The Way to Healthy Development
Free and unrestricted exercise is necessary to healthy growth and development. That is why most mothers choose the “Liberty” Bodice for their children. It gives firm yet gentle support, allows perfect bodily freedom, and transfers the weight of underclothing and “pull” of suspenders to the shoulders. The most hygienic garment made. Wears well and washes splendidly.

Yes, it was the late 19th-early 20th century unisex equivalent of a training bra, probably a direct descendant of the stays that were worn by children in the Georgian period and possibly also worn by elderly women, like Aunt Ada Doom, who’d decided to give up the discomfort of a corset (and by this period they would be uncomfortable). This article about a museum exhibit celebrating the 100th anniversary of the garment, states the factory went out of business in the 1960s. Wow. You do have to wonder, though, about what sort of garments would be termed unhygienic.

Here’s a pair of children’s stays from the mid 18th-century, made of wool with boning and back lacing. Stand up straight, child! Yes, our manly heroes probably wore something like this (and a gown!).

So, tearing myself away from underwear reminiscences and explorations, let me move on to the beer. That, with books, is what the Baltimore Book Festival is all about, and it takes place this weekend. I’ll be there for a few hours beginning at noon on Saturday, reading from Jane Austen: Blood Persuasion, talking about historical romance (and serving tea!) and talking about Jane Austen. Stop by and say hello! I’ll also be raffling off this fine basket of Austen-vamp related items, which includes tea, a teapot, a gorgeous red and black silk scarf, and various other delectable odds and ends.

If you’re green with envy and hundreds of miles from Baltimore, I’m giving away very similar prizes in my most recent contest. If you receive my newsletter, you don’t need to do anything at all: you’re already entered for the drawing (you should have received an issue yesterday if all goes well). If you don’t yet receive my newsletter (and why not? It’s infrequent, mostly harmless, and occasionally amusing) sign up on my website and you’ll be entered for Austen-vamp prize #2. While you’re there you can also read an excerpt from Jane Austen: Blood Persuasion and check out my Blog Tour. I’ll do the contest drawing and announce the winners on October 27.

Do you have a book event in your town? What would your dream line up for a book event be?

Today’s guest is someone I’ve known online for sometime but met in person just this last weekend at the JASNA-AGM in Fort Worth, TX: Laurel Ann Nattress, the editor of a fabulous anthology of Austen-inspired stories, Jane Austen Made Me Do It (and I’m one of the authors!). We had a terrific book launch party for JAMMDI, my Jane Austen: Blood Persuasion, and the newest release from another anthology contributor, Carrie Bebris’ The Affair at Lime.

A life-long acolyte of Jane Austen, Laurel Ann Nattress is the author/editor of Austenprose a blog devoted to the oeuvre of her favorite author and the many books and movies that she has inspired. She is a life member of the Jane Austen Society of North America, a regular contributor to the PBS blog Remotely Connected and the Jane Austen Centre online magazine. An expatriate of southern California, Laurel Ann lives in a country cottage near Snohomish, Washington. Visit Laurel Ann at her blogs Austenprose and JaneAustenMadeMeDoIt, on Twitter as @Austenprose, and on Facebook as Laurel Ann Nattress.

Tell us the story behind the story–how did this anthology come about?

As a long-time Jane Austen fan, I had read all of her novels numerous times, moved on to the movies and sequels, and started my blog, Austenprose, in 2007. While working with Austenesque authors on publicity for their books, I began to see a thread that connected them all together. What if I edited an anthology of short stories inspired by Austen? At that time, there were many sequels and Austen-inspired novels in print, but no short story collections. My biggest challenge was how to get it published. I had no idea, but asked authors Diana Birchall, Margaret Sullivan and Laurie Viera Rigler for advice. Before I could reach out to anyone with my book proposal, I received an email from an agent of an author who I was working with on my blog thanking me for the great job I had done his client publicize the book. I saw an opportunity and immediately wrote back and pitched my anthology. He was an Austen fan too and immediately loved the idea. Within a week, I had my deal with Ballantine. It was just too surreal.

You’ve anticipated my usual question of whether your book was a hard sell, but that’s an awesome story. Congratulations!

My “road to publication” story is one in a million. When I started my blog years ago, I never dreamed that it would culminate into a book, but it did. One hears horror stories of how authors pitching their novels for years and enduring painful rejections and multiple rewrites before they capture the deal. Many times it never happens. The industry can be brutal. After my deal with Ballantine closed, I felt terribly guilty for about five minutes. I had to remember that I had been working diligently for years and give myself credit for developing relationships with so many of the Austenesque authors. I also had to credit the Fates. My number was up and all my stars and planets were in perfect alignment.

The thought of doing what you did (and dealing with people like me) terrifies me: was it really like herding cats?

Oh Janet. You are such a card. Authors difficult? Naw! You are not the first person to liken authors to herding cats. I am a cat lover, so it was not a challenge. 😉

I was all prepared for diva dramatics, but they did not materialize. Sorry to disappoint, but you were a charm to work with, and so were all other twenty-three authors! Luckily, we had many months to develop stories and edit them. I credit my editor at Ballantine for giving a newbie editor the extra time. It made all the difference in getting stories that the authors had a chance to contemplate and refine before they submitted them. We also allowed a bit of time for rewrites. It was the perfect storm.

Lizzy and Darcy … why do they continue to fascinate us endlessly, as opposed to, for instance, Anne and Wentworth? Do you think another Austen couple could be the next big thing?

Lizzy and Darcy are a hard act to follow. I think that they are legendary because their romance is hard wrought and so satisfying. Lizzy goes from disliking Darcy intensely and rejecting his proposal, to being transformed after seeing his great estate at Pemberley! It may sound mercenary, but in Regency times, a man’s estate was a reflection of his integrity and style. Darcy saving her family’s social reputation by finding the naughty elopees, Lydia and Wickham, and then buying off the groom did not hurt either. It’s hard to pinpoint which of Austen’s couples could ever match them. I don’t think it is possible, but I do root for Catherine and Henry Tilney. Northanger Abbey is terribly underrated and I hope that readers will come to love it and the young hero and heroine more in the future.

Who is your favorite Austen couple?

I tend to like the antagonists in Austen oeuvre more that the feature romantic couple. They can be so much more interesting. Brother and sister Mary and Henry Crawford from Mansfield Park are just twisted enough to be intriguing, and Lady Susan Vernon and Reginald De Courcy in Lady Susan are about as far from innocent star crossed lovers as you can get. I guess you can say I like to be shocked by breaches in propriety – all within the realm of proper Austen decorum mind you! If I had to choose a nice couple to root for, it would be Harriet Smith and Robert Martin from Emma. They end up together after a few detours and their personalities leave the door wide open for some bumps in their married life.

Which is your favorite Austen? Why?

I will be presumptuous and assume that you mean my favorite Jane Austen book, right? Oh this is so hard to choose. I could give the politically correct answer and say that my favorite Jane Austen novel is the one I am currently reading, but I won’t, and will go out on a limb and say it wavers between Mansfield Park and Lady Susan. Are you shocked? Oh, I do dearly love to laugh with Pride and Prejudice and get pierced through my soul with Persuasion, but I am one to root for the underdog, so I will stick with my first choices. Both stories have very strong antagonists that are actually the protagonists. I love that dichotomy.

Which biography of Austen would you recommend?

Definitely Claire Tomalin’s Jane Austen: A Life. Great research and scholarly detail, but told in an interesting fiction-like manner.

Tell us about the contest and the judging process for it.

The Jane Austen Made Me Do It Short Story contest was an incredible challenge for me all around, but it was also great fun too! Jane Austen was devoted to her craft and has been inspiring writers for centuries. A short story contest for unpublished authors was in spirit with her ideals, so I pitched the idea to my editor and she liked it also. We never expected to receive eighty-eight stories! With the help of Myretta Robens at The Republic of Pemberley , we proofed, formatted and posted on the contest board about three quarters of those stories within the last three days! Talk about writers procrastination! The voters narrowed down the list to the Top Ten and my editor and I chose the Grand Prize winner. It was a tough call. I trusted my initial gut reaction to the winning story. The Love Letter by Brenna Aubrey made me cry. It was an incredible debut story that I hope many will have the chance to read.

What’s next for you?

Hmm? That’s a tricky question Janet. If I answered you honestly, I would let the cat out of the bag. Since I like to herd cats, I will leave that to your imagination.

Thanks for hosting me today on Riskies during my Grand Tour of the blogosphere in celebration of the release of Jane Austen Made Me Do It. It was a pleasure.

Enter a chance to win one copy of Jane Austen Made Me Do It by leaving a comment by Sunday, October 23, stating what intrigues you about reading an Austen-inspired short story anthology. Winners to be drawn at random and announced on October 25. Shipment to US and Canadian addresses only. Good luck to all!

Happy Halloween!

My quick surfing of the net and peek into Google Books yielded very little information about Halloween during the Regency.
In 1818, Blackwood’s Magazine entertained its readers with ghost stories from Wales (as opposed to Scotland, where such stories usually originated, apparently). Witches, ghosts, demons, evil spirits, dogs of hell, fairies, corpse candles, and something called Kyhirraeth, a “doleful foreboding noise before death,” were discussed.
This example amused me:

The Rev. Mr Thomas Baddy, who lived in Denbigh town, and was a dissenting minister in that place, went into his study one night, and while he was reading or writing, he heard some one behind him laughing and grinning at him, which made him stop a little. It came again, and there he wrote on a piece of paper, that devil wounding scripture, 1 John iii. ‘ For this was the Son of God manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil,’ and held it backwards towards him, and the laughing ceased for ever; for it was a melancholy word to a scoffing devil, and enough.

Clever fellow, Reverend Tom. Nerves of steel, as well. I believe I would have screamed and run from the room.

It seemed to me that the Regency era people prided themselves on being rational, with no time for such nonsense as ghosts and witches and fairies. I suspect the prevailing view on the occult was similar to Sir Walter Scott’s.
In Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft Scott clearly scoffs at ghost sightings and such. He believes in rational explanations for events which are credited to the supernatural.

Here’s an example in Scott’s words:

The remarkable circumstance of Thomas, the second Lord Lyttelton, prophesying his own death within a few minutes, upon the information of an apparition, has been always quoted as a true story. But of late it has been said and published, that the unfortunate nobleman had previously determined to take poison, and of course had it in his own power to ascertain the execution of the prediction. It was no doubt singular that a man, who meditated his exit from the world, should have chosen to play such a trick on his friends. But it is still more credible that a whimsical man should do so wild a thing than that a messenger should be sent from the dead, to tell a libertine at what precise hour he should expire.

Sir Walter is clearly a skeptic. Too bad he didn’t have access to Celebrity Ghost Stories on the Bio Channel.

Perhaps in Wales and Scotland, families practiced old rituals on Halloween during the Regency. Perhaps people told ghost stories by the light of the fireplace at night and carved turnips into jack o’ lanterns, but I suspect Halloween was not celebrated among the Beau Monde.

I’m celebrating Halloween today with a contest! Seven authors, including me, are hosting a Novel Trick or Treat Contest. Stop by my website to start. We’re each giving away prizes to some lucky commenters, but, like all good trick or treaters, you have to visit each of us in turn. Come join the fun!
How else are you celebrating Halloween today?
Get every new post delivered to your inbox
Join millions of other followers
Powered By