Blog guest- Lela Bay with Giveaway

I’m excited to host new to me author, Lela Bay. Ms. Bay writes Regency Romance and many other genres and shares insights between her work and Pride and Prejudice.

Regency Subtext

First, I’d like to thank Rose Fairbanks for allowing me to guest blog.
Although I write in many genres, Regency stories hold a special place in my heart. Much like a mystery, the story is often as much about what isn’t said as what is. Adhering to convention and propriety, people rarely speak bluntly about their feelings. When they do it has the force of an explosion, such as when Mr. Darcy finally breaks down to say he loves Elizabeth “ardently.”

“In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”

Of course, he goes on to ruin it by insulting her family.


Mr. Darcy drove Bingley from Jane because he believed her to be indifferent. Certainly in that case, it would have helped if Jane had spoken up, or even alluded to her feelings. A little flirting might have saved everyone a great deal of trouble!

Mr. Darcy says to Elizabeth about her sister, “If it be so, if I have been misled by such error to inflict pain on her, your resentment has not been unreasonable. But I shall not scruple to assert, that the serenity of your sister’s countenance and air was such as might have given the most acute observer a conviction that, however amiable her temper, her heart was not likely to be easily touched.”

Both stories in Ruined Reputations play off the heroine being unable to speak her mind freely. In “Virtues Tempation,” Eleanor saves Bitsy from entering a hotel room with an unsuitable man and takes charge of the girl. When Mr. Stinson arrives like an avenging angel, she hopes he’s come to save the girl and escort them home. Then again, he could ruin Bitsy if word gets out. Eleanor treads lightly, trying to get a sense of him in the first moments they meet.


Eleanor wondered whether she sounded inane.

The frown between his eyebrows deepened, giving him a stormy grimness.

Her stomach sank. Perhaps she had been mistaken in talking with him. What if, when he learned Bitsy had been here, he spoiled the girl’s reputation? Her hands tightened on her purse strings, the hard object within reminding her that she must follow through.

He rose from his chair, stepping toward her with such purpose that she startled in her seat.

His frown deepened. “Apologies, it is just that I am eager for news. I am DeMontrey’s nearest neighbor and watch over his property while the family is away.”

“Oh, yes?” She hardly dared to breathe, struck by the tenseness of his clenched jaw as he watched the movement of her lips. “It has been my pleasure to travel recently with the youngest of the family, Elizabeth DeMontrey.”

Mr. Stinson dropped to his knee at her side. Her mind blanked as he leaned toward her.

His words lay gentle and intimate between them. “I am quite certain her family would be overjoyed Bitsy has made such a friend.”

Much to her own amazement, Eleanor has taken responsibility for young Bitsy, and now must chaperone her safely home. Traveling with Mr. Stinson, she finds it difficult to behave respectably but Bitsy’s reputation depends on her own.

If you enjoy Regency tales, I hope that you give my novella a chance and enjoy the subtle, and sometimes not so subtle, interplay.


“Ruined Reputations is a love letter to high romance of the Brontes with the meticulous eye for detail that readers crave like oxygen itself.” MJ Sherry-author of the Back Page Babylon series

“A tantalizing pair of Regency tales” ~Emmy Z. Madrigal

–The Unusual Manners of Mr. Aarons–

Rumors of Mr. Aarons unconventional ways are confirmed when he nearly yanks the bonnet off Emmaline’s cousin’s head. Drawn by his charm and good looks, Emmaline finds herself assisting him in his mysterious mission.
His obscure search appears to lead to her cousin, beautiful Catherine Connersfield. She is the more sensible choice, but will she have him? More to the point, will Emmaline let her?

–Virtue’s Temptation–

Experience has taught Eleanor it’s better to be practical than passionate.
When she discovers Bitsy eloping with her French tutor, scandal threatens to ruin the girl.

To keep her reputation intact, Eleanor reluctantly chaperones the rebellious heiress.
Eleanor’s spotless character protects Bitsy, but behaving respectably proves difficult when tempted by the dangerously attractive Mr. Stinson.

If she fails it will end with … Ruined Reputations.

Read for free on Kindle Unlimited. Available in eBook and paperback.


Ms. Bay is offering three (3) e-book copies of Ruined Reputations. Please comment on the post to be entered. Entries close at 11:59 EST on 4/10/18.

Lela Bay Links
Amazon Author Page:

lela_bay_tea_cropAbout Lela Bay
Lela lives in a modest house with her husband, children, and pets. Despite living in the far north, she requires a certain amount of sunshine each day or she gets grumpy. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys strolling, gardening, reading, and tea time with friends.

She enjoys stories with intimacy and humor.

Follow Lela on twitter @bay_lela.

Guest Interview–Lord Harrington

51hWvtatiUL._SY346_It’s been awhile since I’ve had a guest on the blog! Today, I’m excited to share this interview with Lord Harrington. I first read Lord Harrington’s Lost Doe a few years ago. It’s such a sweet, feel-good story and I appreciated the unique premise involving the treatment of the insane during the Regency era.

Lord Harrington is the lead male in Lord Harrington’s Lost Doe. Affectionately called “Mr. Grumpy” by those who know him best, he is the owner of a massive estate in Northern England.


  1. What is your favorite drink?
  2. What is your usual breakfast?
    Turtulong, marmalade, tea
  3. What is your favorite holiday like?
    A quiet one, spent at home with just family.
  4. What is your favorite feast?
    Venison, asparagus, rarebit, port
  5. What is your favorite animal?
    My horse
  6. What is your favorite thing you own?
    Denwood, my estate. I’ve worked hard to bring it back from ruin.
  7. What is your favorite city?
    London, I suppose, but that’s not saying much.
  8. What is the best thing about London?
    Leaving it.
  9. What is the worst thing about London?
    The smell.
  10. What is the biggest difference between London and Denwood?
    The crowds.
  11. Where would you like to travel?
    Not keen on travelling. Being at home is best.
  12. What is your favorite memory?
    When my Mercy said, “Yes.”
  13. What is your least favorite memory?
    Discovering Mercy gagged and tied up.
  14. What have you learned from Mercy?
    How pleasant life can be.
  15. What is the hardest part of being married?
    Leaving the marriage bed for my daily duties.
  16. What are you afraid of?
    Why would I share that with you?
  17. What do you think is the world’s greatest enemy?
  18. What is your favorite pastime?
    I’m not sharing that.
  19. If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
    This is nonsense, I’m done.
  20. Wait, a couple more. What do you hate the most?
    Answering questions, good day.

Lord Harrington left without answering the last question.

To find out more about Lord Harrington, read: Lord Harrington’s Lost Doe.

LHLDsm (3)Well! Mr. Grumpy reminds me a bit of another Regency fellow who is rather grumpy but stole my heart. 😉

Blurb: Lord Alexander Harrington’s life is rather tame until a shoeless, coatless waif is found wandering his estate with no memory of who she is. Despite his stoicism, Lord Harrington finds himself drawn to the lost girl who he compares to a scared doe. Caring for her illness despite speculation of her mental state, he develops feelings for her.

Is she an escaped lunatic, or simply a lost woman desperately in need of his help? A revelation about his own family’s history with the mental asylum down the road causes him to question his feelings. When a massive fire breaks out on estate grounds, will he lose her forever?

Buy now on Kindle or Paperback! Buy here!

Falling for Fanny- Guest post by Leenie Brown

falling for fanny 4

Okay, okay. I’ve been very bad about posting. I have been reading though! At first I thought I’d adjust to just recording my notes and general impressions by chapter but that’s not working now as sometimes I can read a few chapters in a day and then can’t read for a week, let alone take time copy and paste notes from my kindle to the computer. So, when I am finished, I will give a cold read opinion by topic. Instead, and probably infinitely more interesting and insightful, we have a guest post by Jane Austen Fan Fiction author, and long time Mansfield Park aficionado, Leenie Brown.


Sometimes (okay, quite often), I hear songs or read things totally unrelated to a Jane Austen novel and my brain makes a connection. I like to refer to this as seeing the world through Jane Austen-coloured glasses. :

Recently, being inspired by Rose’s notes on Mansfield Park as she reads through it, I started listening to an audiobook of the novel.   Oh, my! The narrator is fantastic.  She uses different voices for each character and adds all the right inflections and even laughingly says whatever bit of dialogue if the dialogue tag says that the statement was made with a laugh. Now, I have read Mansfield Park many times, but to hear it so presented has brought out things that I might have glossed over in my reading. It has given depth and meaning to things that I may have recognized before but had not dwelt on for any considerable amount of time.

If I were as smart as Rose or perhaps if I were not listening to the book while my hands were busy making supper or doing dishes, I should take notes on my thoughts as the story progresses.  But sadly, I have not done so, although there are some messages that have been sent saying, “Have you ever wondered or thought…” or some such comment about whatever just crossed my mind as I was listening.  And no, they are not always that pleasant.  I have strong feelings about this book ─ feelings which tend to clash with popular views, and I usually keep to myself for that reason.

I say all that to say this.  My mind has been making Mansfield Park connections lately.

One of these MP moments happened while I was reading a devotional on my YouVersion app before work on Wednesday morning.  This particular devotional, “Chosen,” was about being adopted into God’s family and living our lives as gifts back to God as expressions of our thankfulness for what He has done.  The author, Matthew West, used a few illustrations to make his point.  The following illustration is the one that caused the MP moment.

At a dinner party one night, two of my girlfriends both told the table of guests they had been adopted into families as babies. One of the adopted women turned to the other and asked, “Did you buy your parents a gift when you graduated from college?”

The other adopted woman said, “Why, yes I did. Did you?”

“Of course,” the other responded. “I was just so grateful for all they have given to me.”

“Me too,” the first agreed.

The rest of us sheepishly sat at the table, completely convicted. It had never occurred to any of us to give a thank-you gift to our parents for our education. We had all taken our family privilege for granted. Our two adopted friends had lived lives of gratitude for having been chosen.

I thought of Fanny, of course, and her situation in being taken in by her uncle.  Now, I know a lot of people do not like Fanny.  I am not one of those people (and no amount of ranting, raving, or other forms of persuasion will move me on this 😉 )


She is not altogether too good or too perfect. She is flawed ─ very flawed.  She is timid to a fault.  She is fearful when she ought not be.  She is envious.  And she is very self-depreciating, to name but a few of her faults.  BUT, she also has her strengths.  She is tender-hearted, kind, forbearing, discerning, and, when pushed, determined to stand by her beliefs and principles.

Oh, but she is so stupid! I hear a Maria or Julia Bertram mutter under their breaths.  Sorry, but no.  She was undereducated when she arrived at Mansfield but not stupid.

He (Edmund) knew her (Fanny) to be clever, to have a quick apprehension as well as good sense, and a fondness for reading, which, properly directed, must be an education in itself. Miss Lee taught her French, and heard her read the daily portion of history; but he recommended the books which charmed her leisure hours, *he encouraged her taste, and **corrected her judgment: he made reading useful by talking to her of what she read, and heightened its attraction by judicious praise.

Austen, Jane (2012-05-16). Mansfield Park (pp. 13-14).  . Kindle Edition.

side notes: *I think he understood what she liked and encouraged her to strengthen those likes, I do not think that this was a forcing her to be something. **He did what any teacher or older male figure (such as Mr. Knightley does to Emma) would do. That was, after all, the role of man and master at that time.

I truly feel sorry for Miss Price when she is sent away from all she knows.  What she has known in her ten years of life has not been easy and pleasantness.  She has lived in a house that we see later is quite chaotic and with a mother who has very little time or care for her daughters and a father who is drunk.  And the financial circumstances were not good.  She, of course, was called upon to care for her siblings and help her mother.  She was the eldest girl.  Her next youngest sister, Susan is also treated similarly, but Susan’s personality is not the highly sensitive one that Fanny’s is, and, therefore, she copes much better than Fanny does.  To have a sensitive child in such conditions is bound to make them more closed in upon themselves.  And then to send that child away? She will feel it greatly.

It is impressed upon her as she travels with Aunt Norris that she has been given a great opportunity and need to feel gratitude ─ something on which I do not think Fanny needed to be lectured. But then, no one, save Edmund, really seems to understand her.  And her treatment at Mansfield, though not unkind intentionally, is at times less kind than it should be.  In fact, there was a moment when listening when Mrs. Norris sends her to deliver flowers and then go back to fetch the key and demands that she sit with them even though she has a headache that I was briefly reminded of Cinderella.

Now, let’s get back to the illustration that brought Fanny to mind and try to tie it up.  Fanny did feel grateful for what she had been given. She knew she owed something to her uncle.  I think it can be seen in two very specific places.

The first is when Edmund is speaking to Fanny about the Crawford’s dinner visit.  (Another side note:  I think Edmund was speaking to her to see if what he thought was wrong was wrong ─ as if he needed a second opinion and since her opinion on such things would be closest to his, she was the one to whom he spoke.  Not that it did much good as he was always explaining way why Mary’s misconduct was not so bad as it seemed.)

Here Edmund has just asked Fanny how she likes Miss Crawford and if she had noticed anything in Miss Crawford’s conversation that was not quite right.

“Oh yes! she ought not to have spoken of her uncle as she did. I was quite astonished. An uncle with whom she has been living so many years, and who, whatever his faults may be, is so very fond of her brother, treating him, they say, quite like a son. I could not have believed it!”

“I thought you would be struck. It was very wrong; very indecorous.”

“And very ungrateful, I think.”

Austen, Jane (2012-05-16). Mansfield Park (p. 44).  . Kindle Edition.

Ah, “very ungrateful” to speak poorly of an uncle who has taken you in!  Edmund did not approve of the way Miss Crawford had spoken of her uncle, but he did think that ungrateful was perhaps too strong a word and then proceeds to reason it away.  But Edmund did not see the situation from Fanny’s point of view.  He had never had to rely on the generosity of a relative in the same way that Fanny did.  And so, he could not see that speaking ill of the one providing the generosity was a sign of ingratitude like Fanny could.


credit: andforgotten

Fanny was grateful for all that she had received from her uncle, even if he did scare her.   This feeling of gratitude for her uncle can be seen in the second instance when she has refused and refused and refused Mr. Crawford’s offer of marriage.  Below is the thing that hurt her most about having refused him.  It is actually repeated twice in this section.


Her heart was almost broke by such a picture of what she appeared to him; by such accusations, so heavy, so multiplied, so rising in dreadful gradation! Self-willed, obstinate, selfish, and ungrateful. He thought her all this. She had deceived his expectations; she had lost his good opinion.

And then later…

Her mind was all disorder. The past, present, future, everything was terrible. But her uncle’s anger gave her the severest pain of all. Selfish and ungrateful! to have appeared so to him! She was miserable for ever.

Austen, Jane (2012-05-16). Mansfield Park (p. 225-226). Kindle Edition.

But even her heartbreak over disappointing her uncle and appearing ungrateful were not enough for her to be persuaded from her belief, which was proven true later, that Mr. Crawford’s character was not what it should be and was, therefore, not a good choice for her.  I think when we consider the story used as an illustration in that devotional, the sorrow we read here is better understood.  Fanny may have been a lot of things, but ungrateful is not one of them.

So, before I tell you about the song that I heard on The Voice that reminded me of Henry’s character, let me take off my Jane Austen-coloured glasses. Maybe I will share that at some other time, but like I said, my views of the book, I suspect are not in line with popular opinion, and you may not wish to hear my opinion ─ especially since it is something on which Fanny and I would agree…and since she is not well-liked for he views, I might also find myself quite disliked.

How about you?  Do you ever find yourself wearing JA-coloured glasses?  If so, I would love to hear about it.

Thanks so much for visiting Leenie! I loved your insights!

If you liked Leenie’s remarks be sure to check out her blog and books available on Amazon, Nook, Kobo, iBooks and other vendors.

Read earlier posts in this series:

Mary, Music and Mansfield – the harp in Regency England by Beverlee Swayze

Cold Reading of Mansfield Park


Falling for Fanny- Guest Post

falling for fanny 4

Instead of cold-read notes this week, I’ve got a guest post! I’ve chatted on social media with Beverlee Swayze several times about Austen and life and rumor has it she is attempting her own Mansfield Park variation! When I asked if she was interested in doing a guest post she surprised and intrigued me by suggesting a post on Mary Crawford and her harp.

Lest it seem like a small part of the book, as I’m about a third through it, I postulate that Edmund was surprisingly cultured for a man who always desired to be a country clergyman and that evidence of Mary’s more cosmopolitan life and accomplishments appealed to a portion of Edmund that longed for more than the life as a second son and who has just lost a good deal of his living to his elder brother’s libertine ways. This makes me very intrigued in what Austen might have meant for her contemporary readers to understand by giving Mary Crawford such talent at such an instrument.


Mary, Music and Mansfield – the harp in Regency England

It is very difficult, if not impossible, to approach fiction – or any writing for that matter – without filtering the text through our own personal lens. We might read with a particular interest in fashion, or politics, or perhaps with an eye for certain plot elements or depictions of scenery or interior décor. For me, I find I’m drawn to music.

As a musicologist and musician, when I read about characters involved in music, I want to know what they are playing, or what they are hearing. Sometimes, especially in contemporary fiction, actual songs or pieces of music are mentioned, and that can often set a soundtrack going in my head, as the authors no doubt intend. In other works, usually historical or older writing, the exact nature of the music is less specific. When Lizzy Bennet is sitting at the pianoforte at Rosings and talking with the Colonel and Mr. Darcy, what is she playing? Is she battling through Mozart, or letting her fingers wander through an English country dance? What concertos does Mary play for the Bennet family and at supper between the dances at balls?

As I recently began rereading Mansfield Park, one thing that caught my fancy fairly quickly was the image of Mary Crawford and her harp. The harp, at first, is used to help delineate her character. When informed that retrieving her harp from Northampton will be difficult because all the local wagons and carts are needed for the harvest, Mary is rather astonished that something like getting in the hay should be more important than fetching her instrument.

“I was astonished to find what a piece of work was made of it! To want a horse and cart in the country seemed impossible, so I told my maid to speak for one directly; and as I cannot look out of my dressing–closet without seeing one farmyard, nor walk in the shrubbery without passing another, I thought it would be only ask and have, and was rather grieved that I could not give the advantage to all. Guess my surprise, when I found that I had been asking the most unreasonable, most impossible thing in the world; had offended all the farmers, all the labourers, all the hay in the parish! As for Dr. Grant’s bailiff, I believe I had better keep out of his way; and my brother–in–law himself, who is all kindness in general, looked rather black upon me when he found what I had been at.” (ch. 6)

Still, despite her selfishness, she manages to entrance Edmund Bertram, who expresses a great interest in hearing Miss Crawford play. Indeed, her harp seems only to increase Mary’s attractions, for as Jane Austen writes, “The harp arrived, and rather added to her beauty, wit, and good–humour.” Austen goes on to write that “A young woman, pretty, lively, with a harp as elegant as herself, and both placed near a window, cut down to the ground, and opening on a little lawn, surrounded by shrubs in the rich foliage of summer, was enough to catch any man’s heart.” (ch.7)

Would not any man be enchanted by a vision such as this?

Lady with a Harp, a portrait of Eliza Ridgely, by Thomas Sulley (1818)woman with harp.jpg

Lady with a Harp, a portrait of Eliza Ridgely, by Thomas Sulley (1818)

What of the instrument itself? What type of instrument might Mary Crawford have played to so entrance Edmund? And what kind of music would she have played?

Although mainly associated today with Celtic culture, the harp had been a mainstay of English music from the Dark Ages, when bards would accompany themselves on small lap harps that they could carry with them. Such easily transported instruments would have had fewer strings and would, for the most part, only be able to play in one key. This made the instrument quite adequate for folk music, but unsuitable for the sophisticated art music of the time. Several attempts were made since the Renaissance to create harps that could play in different keys, and even change keys, within one piece of music.

One innovation was the lever harp, where the strings were attached to levers at the top, letting the performer flip them up or down to create sharps or flats, depending on how the instrument was tuned. Another fascinating development was the triple-strung harp, which had three layers of strings. The centre layer had the strings tuned to sharps and flats, strung at an angle to the outer layers. When the player needed one of these notes, he or she would reach through the outer rows of strings to pluck at the appropriate string in the middle! These harps were popular on the Continent and in Wales. In fact, the triple harp is the national instrument of Wales.

The end of the eighteenth century saw the development of the single-action pedal harp. Five pedals enabled the performer to raise the pitch of all the strings of a single note (for example, all the C-strings) by a semitone. In layman’s terms, this gave the performer the ability to play all the notes of the piano – black as well as white. This gave the harp added flexibility in playing the more complicated art music of the time, which relied heavily on modulation (moving from one key to another, which necessitated those black notes). The advantage pedal harps had over triple harps was a more consistent sound through the range of musical keys. Unlike the smaller Celtic harps, pedals harps were large instruments – easily 5 feet or more in height, and could not be easily transported.

So which of these might Mary have played? Hers was clearly a larger instrument, because she needed a wagon or some similar vehicle to bring the harp to Mansfield, and so was almost certainly not a lap harp. As a sophisticated and accomplished woman of her day, with the funds at her disposal to purchase the latest and most modern instrument, it is also unlikely that she would have a rather old-fashioned and very foreign triple harp. The music being composed for harp at the time is almost all for the new pedal harp, and so it is most likely this instrument that Jane Austen had in mind for Mary Crawford.

Here is an example of an early 19th-century English harp, manufactured by Erard. You can easily see the pedals at the rear of the base. The pillar is ornamented, and harder to see are the inlays and engravings on the soundboard. It is a beautiful instrument to look at, as well as to hear.


And what did these lovely instruments sound like? If a picture is worth a thousand words, a recording is worth even more. Here is a video of a restored Regency-era harp being played by Sarah Deere-Jones, as she performs a Rondo by Johann Georg Heinrich Backofen (1768-1830):

Now that we know what instrument Mary was playing, what about the actual music?

Certainly folk songs and dance music would have been heard in many a music room or salon. Collections of folks airs were popular and would have been easily purchased from any music seller. Jane Austen’s own music books include a collection of Scotch and Irish airs, many of which would have been most suitable for the harp. The simple origin of these pieces would not have precluded their presence in even the finest of homes.

For example, in Emma, Jane Fairfax performs “Robin Adair”, a popular song at the time. It is a simple tune, as you can hear in this vocal performance (, but would make a lovely base for a set of variations. Indeed, many well-known composers were commissioned by music publishers to arrange these folk songs for sophisticated audiences. Haydn and Beethoven were only two of many composers who arranged whole collections of these songs. To imagine that similar arrangements would exist for such a popular instrument as the harp is hardly a stretch of the imagination.

This collection showcases just some of Haydn’s arrangements for voice and piano trio:

Alongside simple folk airs and more elaborate arrangements of these melodies, there was also a substantial repertoire of music composed specifically for the harp. Some of these borrowed heavily from the folk repertoire and folk traditions. Blind Irish composer Turlough O’Carolan (1675-1740) wrote many lovely pieces for the instrument, such as this popular Concerto ( Mary Crawford may well have entertained Edmund and the denizens of Mansfield with such pleasant tunes.

But by no means was the harp only a folk instrument. Classical composers from across Europe wrote original art music for this lovely instrument. Mozart composed a popular concerto for flute, harp and orchestra in 1778. Another prominent composer for the harp was the Bohemian musician Jan Ladislav Dussek (1760-1812), who lived in London from 1789-1799, and who found inspiration in some of the folk music he heard while in England. His Sonata in F for harp is nicknamed “The Lass of Richmond Hill,” for the melodic theme of the second movement. As well as playing the more accessible folk songs discussed above, Mary, as an accomplished woman of her day, would almost certainly have had the skill and musical knowledge to incorporate such classical pieces into her repertoire.

Here is a recording of the second movement (Allegretto) of that sonata. Close your eyes as you listen and imagine yourself sitting next to Edmund Bertram as he listens to the charming Mary Crawford performing by her open window.


Beverlee is an avid reader and has been a fan of Jane Austen since the day, when she was 12 years old, that her father handed her his old copy of Emma.  She is a music historian, and her interests include such diverse areas as the music and writings of Hildegard of Bingen, early Renaissance ethnomusicology and Baroque performance practice. Once upon a time she performed in a duo comprised of viola and Celtic harp. Neither resembled Mary Crawford.


Thanks so much for being my guest, Beverlee, and sharing your knowledge of Regency era music! It was delightful to see and hear the instrument, which engaged more senses than reading only Austen’s words could convey to a modern audience. I will have to have you back for more guest posts! Perhaps I’ll do Emma soon!

Boots and Backpacks Blog tour- guest post and giveaway!

This may be Stories from the Past, but I also enjoy moderns inspired by great classics. Boots and Backpacks- Pride and Prejudice on the Appalachian Trail, roughly looks like it hits all the spots. Not only am I interested in this reimagined and modernized Pride and Prejudice tale, but I grew up near the Appalachian Trail, although I’m no where near the excellent walker Elizabeth Bennet is! Join me as I welcome new author KC Kahler and her guest post!

bnbtourbanner copy Blurb:

Boots & Backpacks- Pride and Prejudice on the Appalachian Trail, roughly

William Darcy counts down the last few months to his 30th birthday with dread. Orphaned as a child, his parents’ will includes a bizarre clause: Darcy must get married by his 30th birthday in order to inherit the family fortune. To make matters worse, the press knows about this deadline, as do the hordes of women chasing him in the hopes of becoming Mrs. Darcy. His family legacy hangs in the balance, but Darcy has little faith in the fairer sex. Will he find a woman he wants to marry, and quickly?

Elizabeth Bennet is determined to pursue her education and career without letting a man get in the way. When her traveling companion drops out, her planned hike on the Appalachian Trail is jeopardized. She meets the spoiled, snobby William Darcy just when he is desperate to escape the spotlight. No one will suspect that the Prince of Manhattan has gone backpacking! Darcy and Elizabeth form a tenuous partnership and begin a 300-mile journey that will transform them both.

In classic romantic comedy tradition, Boots & Backpacks follows our reluctant partners as they build trust, friendship, and even more. Six weeks together on America’s most famous hiking trail may turn out to be just what these two need!

Guest Blog Post: Modernizing Austen Characters

In a previous stop on the Boots & Backpacks blog tour (at My Love for Jane Austen), I wrote about how many of the themes Jane Austen explored in her novels are universal, even 200 years later.

Similarly, Austen wrote characters who are still familiar to us today. They may even remind us of real people we know: an embarrassing mother, an apathetic father, a boy-crazy girl, a snob, a playboy, a drama queen. It isn’t much of a stretch, therefore, to reimagine Austen characters in a modern setting.

Reimagine, I did, and I had a lot of fun doing it! This is a bit of a spoiler, but Boots & Backpacks features not only updated characters from Pride and Prejudice, but also from Sense and Sensibility and Northanger Abbey. Here are a few of them:

William Darcy: our protagonist starts out as a rather unlikeable character. He’s a terrible snob, spoiled and sheltered. He comes from a long, proud line of important Darcys, but he’s the last one left. Darcy has some issues with women: he judges them by their appearance, he distrusts their motives and believes they are only after his money, but he isn’t above sleeping with them – a lot of them. Like Austen’s Darcy, he changes for the better over the course of the story. His journey of self discovery is both literal and figurative.

Elizabeth Bennet: an excellent walker, indeed! She is a great lover of the outdoors, and enjoys long-distance hiking. Clever, independent, and feisty, Elizabeth is perhaps a bit more prickly than Austen wrote her; she doesn’t take any of Darcy’s crap. Lizzy is loyal and protective of her loved ones, but has some trust issues of her own, particularly where men are concerned. She, too, changes over the course of the story.

Marianne Dashwood: Elizabeth’s best friend is a self-described drama queen. We meet Marianne after she has overcome her Willoughby ordeal and realized the error of her impulsive ways, so readers may find her a bit less…grating? than Austen’s Marianne. But she still isn’t much for moderation.

Christopher Brandon: much like the original, he is a calming, supportive presence for everyone around him. He is also devoted to Marianne.

Isabella Thorpe: a big fan of the Twilight movies, she insists on being called Bella, and is looking for her Edward – preferably a rich and famous one. She and her brother only appear in one chapter of B&B, but that’s all it takes for them to complicate things for Darcy and Elizabeth.

John Thorpe: a boorish braggart, just as Austen wrote him. His favorite thing to brag about is his beloved SUV and its impressive sound system. He installed it himself, you know.

Hopefully, Boots & Backpacks readers will find that my updates to these and other Austen characters still preserve their essence. I didn’t want to mess too much with a good thing!

My thanks to Rose for hosting a stop on the B&B blog tour.


Ms. Kahler is offering a giveaway: one Ebook (Kindle or Nook) and one Paperback, both open internationally. Please comment below with your e-mail address and format preference. Entries close November 12, 2014 at midnight, eastern standard time.

BnBcover_largeBuy it:


Barnes and Noble

Author Bio:

KC Kahler has worked as a writer and editor in both non-profit and academic settings. Until discovering Jane Austen Fan Fiction several years ago, KC’s writing had been limited to the dry and technical, which is a shame, since she considers herself witty and sparkling. Her first novel, Boots & Backpacks, will be published in 2014 by Meryton Press.

KC lives on a four-acre slice of Penn’s Woods with her husband and two dogs. They enjoy hiking, gardening, and being beer snobs.


On Twitter: @KCKahler

Follow the tour:

10/27: Guest Post & Giveaway at Babblings of a Bookworm

10/28: Review at Songs and Stories

10/30: Excerpt & Giveaway at So Little Time…

10/31: Review at Wings of Paper

11/1: Guest Post & Giveaway at My Love for Jane Austen

11/2: Review at The Delighted Reader

11/3: Excerpt at More Agreeably Engaged

11/4: Excerpt & Giveaway at The Calico Critic

11/5: Review at Warmisunqu’s Austen

11/6: Guest Post & Giveaway at Stories From the Past

11/7: Review at My Kids Led Me Back to Pride and Prejudice