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Happy Anniversary! ♫

In celebration of the one year anniversary of A Holiday to Remember, I am reducing the price for both of my Pride and Prejudice Inspired Modern Novellas to ninety-nine cents. These two books are light-hearted, low-angst JAFF stories filled with music, delicious desserts and Happy Endings! Check out the opening scene for each of my books here, and in the next blog try out some of Lizzy’s delicious recipes. Enjoy and Happy Reading! Jen Red ♫

From Chapter One: Meryton Academy for the Performing Arts, present day

“Liz Bennet! Please tell me I didn’t hear what I just thought I heard!” Charlotte Lucas burst through the doors of the choir room and marched straight to the keyboard where Elizabeth was working out the final arrangements for A Holiday to Remember—part of the music academy’s final showcase before the winter break.

“Char, I have no idea what you’re talking about, and I’m kind of on a deadline here. Uh … you do remember I have a major rehearsal at six o’clock tonight?” She arched a questioning eyebrow in her friend’s direction before entering the final chords on the master lead sheet in her computer.

“Right, but for your information, Mr. Billy Collins just told everyone in the teacher’s lounge he has a big date with you on New Year’s Eve. He says he’s escorting you to the Pemberley Foundation’s charity gala at Forest Ridge. What gives? Don’t those tickets start at five hundred a pop? Not to mention any woman who would dare to go out with that nutter would have to be a marble short.” 

Elizabeth stopped what she was doing and burst into laughter. “Char, do you honestly think BC would actually shell out that kind of money just to have a date with me? The man is so tight he probably wouldn’t spend five dollars on his own mother. Don’t worry. The Vocalteens were asked to perform at the gala and will be doing the opening act right after dessert. Since Reeves will be out of town, I’m making do with Billy-boy to run sound. You’re welcome to join us if you don’t have a date. I can always use an extra chaperone. Plus, after the kids leave, the adults are invited to stay and enjoy the rest of the party. There’s going to be a live band, dancing, loads of food and some kind of a silent auction. It could be fun, even without dates.”

“Sorry, Liz. As a matter of fact, I do have a date.” Charlotte straightened up and fluttered her eyelashes in jest. “And … as much as I’d like to hobnob with the rich and famous, Brexton Denny is taking me to the Signature Room to celebrate the New Year. Who knows, this might turn out to be my Holiday to Remember, if you don’t mind me borrowing the title from your medley.”

“Go right ahead. The Signature Room is pretty impressive. Is there any chance your Mr. Denny might finally be getting serious?”

“Not to my knowledge. Still, there’s no way I’m going to pass up a date with a buff trainer from the fitness club, fireworks over Lake Michigan, and a kiss at midnight.”

“A kiss at midnight,” Elizabeth sighed, kind of dreamy-eyed. “Aunt Maddy says being kissed at midnight by someone special is magical, and although I’ve yet to meet that perfect someone, I believe her.”

“Girl, you’ve been watching way too many holiday romance movies on your favorite channel, if you ask me. I could never be like you. At any rate, if you need an escort, you can always ask my brother. I know Johnny isn’t ideal, but he’s okay in a pinch. On second thought, what about that cute drummer from the music store? Didn’t you go out with him a couple of times? Maybe you can take him.” 

“George Wickham?! I think not! And no, we never dated. Char, your memory fails you. I only agreed to sing backups for that smooth talker’s band at Lollapalooza last summer because he was desperate. Believe me; dating was not part of the chord chart. Besides, I’m hardly interested in a fly-by-night drummer or any freelance musician for that matter. And I’m definitely considering adding your brother to my no-go list of men. If Johnny stands me up for one more transmission or any other mechanical failure, the man is toast. As it turns out, I’ll probably hand him his marching orders once he escorts me to Charles Bingley’s holiday party on Friday. Who knows, I may end up following Jane’s lead and using her professional dating service after all. I mean, who could complain about Mr. Bingley?”

“Are you serious?”

“Absolutely! Charles is exceptional. He’s considerate and has a great sense of humor. Plus, he brings Jane flowers, sends her cards, and takes her out to dinner, concerts, company functions, yada, yada…. And to top it all off, it was Charles Bingley who recommended the Vocalteens for the Pemberley gig. As one of the corporate lawyers who work for the foundation, he was happy to submit my PR materials to the marketing director. Mr. Reynolds thinks our Holiday to Remember medley will be perfect for the charity gala.”

“I agree; it’s bound to be a hit. The kids are already looking pretty good, and you still have until next Thursday to pull it all together for the showcase. Speaking of the gala, I hear the CEO of Darcy Enterprises is pretty hot.” Charlotte wiggled her eyebrows as if in the know. “William Darcy has been in all of the tabloids lately. They say he’s some kind of aloof, mystery man—tall, dark, and handsome. I wonder if he’ll be there.”

William Darcy?” Elizabeth frowned. “His sister, Georgiana, was studying piano with Aunt Maddy at the music store until….” Her voice trailed off. “Are you sure he’s connected to the foundation? Mr. Reynolds never mentioned him.”

“Small world! According to Google, the foundation is run by Darcy Enterprises.” Glancing at the wall clock, Charlotte changed the subject. “It looks like the bell is about to ring, so I’d better head over to my advanced ballet class. Do you still need help tonight with choreography for the opening number?”

“I’d really appreciate it, since I’m going to have my hands full with the pit orchestra. If you can take over while we run through my new arrangements, it would mean one less thing for me to juggle at practice.”

“No problem. I’ll be there. Catch you later.”

“Thanks.”

After Charlotte left, Elizabeth minimized her music program and quickly googled William Darcy, CEO of Darcy Enterprises. “I can’t believe it. It is him! So, Mr. Darcy,” she continued to babble while glaring at the computer screen. “Your Mr. Reynolds booked us for the gala. How was he to know you never wanted to see me again?” She shrugged her shoulders. “Oh well, I guess we’ll just have to make the most of it, won’t we?” 

 

Elizabeth Bennet has a passion for baking and peanut butter happens to be her signature ingredient. William Darcy’s family owns Pemberley Network where she is a contestant in their next bake off. Will their newly found romance be complicated by a conflict of interest?  Find out in A TASTE OF PEANUT BUTTER. 

  “A girl likes to be crossed a little in love now and then.”  Jane Austen ~ Pride and Prejudice

CHAPTER ONE:  What Are Men Compared to Cookies, Cakes, and Peanut Butter? 

O’Hare International Airport – Friday afternoon, late spring

“So, did you have to pay extra to check your overweight bag?” Jane Bennet stood with her hands on her hips and gave her younger sister a quizzical look.   “I did—a total of one hundred dollars to be precise. Can you believe it? My bag was only nine pounds over the limit. Heck, I could have checked in an extra suitcase for that price. If only peanut butter didn’t weigh so much.”

Jane giggled. “Lizzy, you probably wouldn’t have had to pay a thing if you only left some of your baking pans and that ridiculous Chinese wok behind. Plus you wouldn’t have had to stuff so much in your carry-on and backpack.”

“What are you talking about? My flat is almost barren when it comes to kitchenware. Okay, I admit I probably could have gotten by without the wok even though I did promise my teammates from the bank that I’d cook Thai when we start working on our hospitality booth for Wimbledon. Believe me, by that time they will have had their fill of my practice desserts. Nevertheless, the bake off is coming up, and I need every single one of those baking pans if I’m going to keep practicing. I have big plans for my babies—chocolate peanut butter cream pie, peanut butter spice cake, not to mention my killer cheesecake. I only hope I don’t run short of peanut butter. The good stuff is like gold in the UK.” 

“Now you listen to me, Elizabeth Anne Bennet! With the exception of the contest, you, my dear sister, are supposed to be taking a hiatus from cooking. Your roomy, Charlotte, is absolutely right. You will never get a decent guy to like you for the smart, intelligent, beautiful woman you are if you keep flaunting your cooking skills at every turn. Men aren’t normal when it comes to your culinary expertise. It’s like they’re on drugs or something. I’m tired of hearing about all the bozos who somehow think they’ve struck it rich with their own personal chef while forgetting how to treat you like a real date. I’d like to know, dear sister, when was the last time a guy friend invited you out to dinner instead of having you come over to his place with your apron in hand.”

“Look, Jane,” she huffed. “I won’t stop being who I am. That’s all there is to it. With going to school and my internship at the UBI, I have a very stressful schedule. Not to mention, I have to suffer through a nasty test on derivatives as soon as classes resume. Then, in addition to Wimbledon, our team is organizing another gala event for early autumn. Believe me; I need a diversion after putting in so many hours between the bank and school. Feeding my friends is how I relax.”

Jane couldn’t resist giving her younger sister a big hug. “Okay, I understand. I just wish you would give Charlotte’s plan a try the next time you go out with a new guy. How hard could it be to refrain from talking about your hobby on the first date? Better still—wait till you’ve had three. You know what they say—the third time’s the charm. Sweetie, I would love to see you graduate from Elizabeth Bennet, personal cook, pal or surrogate sister to girlfriend extraordinaire!

“I know.” She pouted.

“Hey, don’t give me that. I want assurance and a pinky promise that you’ll at least try.” The two laughed as they went through the ritual.

“All right, I promise, I’ll do my best. But if….”

“No buts! Oh, I almost forgot. Here’s my reader. See if you can squeeze it in your bag. I loaded it with my favourite, Pride and Prejudice. Maybe you can take a hint from your namesake and challenge yourself to find a real Mr. Darcy.”

Elizabeth let out a hearty laugh. “Oh, Jane, I love how you have me giving up my cooking passion and meeting Mr. Darcy all in one fell swoop. You are without question one demanding sister!”

“Not really. I’m simply a romantic at heart, just like you. Now, get on through security. I’d better go before Dad gets a ticket out there in the mob.” The two sisters hugged, and Jane waved as she rushed toward the exit. “Don’t forget to text me once you get squared away on the other side. Love you!”

“Okay, Sis! I love you, too!” Elizabeth called as she clumsily lugged all of her things to the closest security checkpoint. Removing her sandals and pulling out all electronic devices from her backpack, she quickly filled two grey plastic holding bins and managed to hoist her overstuffed carry-on onto the conveyor belt.

Little did Elizabeth Bennet realize, however, that she was being closely eyed by a very interested party of the male persuasion. Captivated by the perky brunette, he had overheard her entire conversation and was now formulating his own plan

Curious, I never thought of dating an American. She said that she is an intern at the UBI. I wonder why I haven’t ever seen her there. Of course, there are loads of interns at the bank. He couldn’t help smiling while candidly giving her the once over. Beautiful, long, dark, silky hair—nice. And her eyes…. I could easily get lost in those dark chocolate orbs if given the chance. Great figure and even more important, she cooks. I’ve never dated a woman who liked to cook. My dates would rather have me wine and dine them at expensive restaurants. Without a doubt, this Elizabeth is different from all the other Elizabeth Bennets I’ve ever met, or any other woman for that matter. She’s so … unpretentious, refreshing and obviously not a part of the corporate set. I wonder. Richard did suggest that I consider stepping out of my comfort zone for a change. Maybe….  

A Holiday to Remember at Amazon and Draft2Digital

A Taste of Peanut Butter at Amazon and Draft2Digital

My Pinterest Page for all of my books

 

Peanut Butter Anyone?

In celebration of my new book, Lizzy has authorized me to release some of her treasured recipes. How about we start off with something really easy like Creamy Peanut Butter Pie?!  This is one of those delicious pies you can whip together in a jiffy. Check it out.

Creamy Peanut Butter Pie

TOTAL TIME: Prep: 15 min. + chilling YIELD:6-8 servings
Ingredients
•   2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
•   1 cup sugar
•   2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
•   2/3 cup whipped topping
•   14 peanut butter cups, divided
•   1 chocolate crumb crust (9 inches)
Directions
•   1. In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar and peanut butter until light and fluffy. Fold in whipped topping. Coarsely chop half of the peanut butter cups; stir into cream cheese mixture.
•   2. Spoon into crust. Quarter remaining peanut butter cups; arrange over the top. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving. Yield: 6-8 servings.

Next we have Peanut Butter Cloud Pie! A cloud of peanut butter mousse rests on a layer of fudgy chocolate ganache in this rich and creamy icebox pie.  This recipe may take a little longer, but it’s well worth the wait.

Peanut Butter Cloud pie

Ingredients

  • 1 prepared 8-inch (6 ounce) graham cracker crust
  • For the Chocolate Layer:
  • 1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet or milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • For the Peanut Butter Layer:
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups heavy whipping cream, divided
  • For Serving:
  • Reserved topping from chocolate layer
  • Salted peanuts, chopped

Directions

Optional, for crispier crust: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake crust for 6 to 9 minutes until golden brown around edges. Allow to cool completely before filling.

For the Chocolate Layer:

Combine chocolate chips, 1/2 cup whipping cream, 2 tablespoons peanut butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in microwave safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir and microwave in additional 10-second increments, if necessary, until smooth when stirred. Reserve 1/4 cup for topping. Pour remaining cooled chocolate into cooled crust and set to chill for at least 5 to 10 minutes.

For the Peanut Butter Layer:

Blend together 1 cup peanut butter, powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 3/4 cup whipping cream in a bowl until smooth and set aside. In a separate bowl, whip the remaining 1 cup heavy whipping cream to soft peak stage then fold into peanut butter mixture in thirds until blended. Pour over chocolate layer and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.

For Serving:

Microwave reserved chocolate topping for a few seconds and drizzle over slices. Top with chopped peanuts and serve immediately.

Tip: Like other refrigerated desserts, this one benefits from setting up overnight. For best results, use no-stir peanut butter that doesn’t separate.

Many of you have asked for Lizzy’s Blissful Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake. William could hardly keep from moaning in food ecstasy when she served this to him in a cup. Here you go.

Blissful Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake

TOTAL TIME: Prep: 1 hour Bake: 1 hour + chilling YIELD:12 servings
Ingredients
•   32 Nutter Butter cookies
•   1/3 cup butter, melted
•   4 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
•   1 cup sugar
•   3 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted
•   3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
•   1 teaspoon vanilla extract
•   4 eggs, lightly beaten
•   PEANUT BUTTER MOUSSE:
•   1-1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
•   2 tablespoons cold water
•   1 cup heavy whipping cream
•   3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
•   2 tablespoons sugar
•   2 egg yolks
•   GARNISH:
•   3 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
•   Chocolate curls and sweetened whipped cream, optional
Directions
•   1. Place a greased 9-in. springform pan on a double thickness of heavy-duty foil (about 18 in. square). Securely wrap foil around pan.
•   2. Place cookies in a food processor; cover and process until fine crumbs. Stir in butter. Press onto the bottom and 2 in. up the sides of prepared pan; set aside.
•   3. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in the melted chocolates and vanilla. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Pour into crust. Place springform pan in a large baking pan; add 1 in. of hot water to larger pan.
•   4. Bake at 325° for 60-65 minutes or until center is just set and top appears dull. Remove springform pan from water bath. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; cool 1 hour longer.
•   5. For peanut butter mousse, sprinkle gelatin over cold water; let stand for 1 minute. Microwave on high for 20-30 seconds. Stir and let stand for 1 minute or until gelatin is completely dissolved.
•   6. Meanwhile, in a small heavy saucepan, heat the cream, peanut butter and sugar until bubbles form around sides of pan. Whisk a small amount of hot mixture into the egg yolks. Return all to the pan, whisking constantly.
•   7. Cook and stir over low heat until mixture is thickened and coats the back of a spoon. Stir in gelatin mixture. Quickly transfer to a bowl; place in ice water and stir for 15 minutes or until cold and thickened. Pour over cheesecake. Refrigerate overnight. Remove sides of pan.
•   8. For garnish, in a microwave, melt chocolate. Drizzle over cheesecake. Garnish with chocolate curls and whipped cream if desired. Yield: 12 servings.

This next recipe is not Peanut Butter but it scored Lizzy top points when she was required to cook a moose with coffee during the contest. The recipe for this elegant Ricotta and Coffee Mousse is an easy-to-make dessert is based on one prepared at Ristorante Dattilo in Calabria. 

Ricotta and Coffee Mousse – SERVES 6

Ingredients
2 cups store-bought ricotta
1 cup cold heavy cream
1⁄3 cup sugar
2 tbsp. instant espresso
1 tbsp. powdered gelatin
Shaved chocolate
Instructions
Purée ricotta in a blender until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl; set aside.
Whip together heavy cream and sugar in a large bowl until soft peaks form. Set aside.
Bring 1⁄4 cup water to a boil in a small saucepan; remove from heat. Whisk 2 tbsp. of the water with espresso in a small bowl. Whisk remaining water with gelatin in another small bowl until dissolved.
Stir espresso mixture into ricotta, then gelatin mixture; fold in cream in 3 stages. Chill mixture for 1 hour, then transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a star tip. Pipe mixture into 6 sundae glasses; refrigerate until set, about 1 hour. Garnish with shaved chocolate.

And last but not least by any means we come to one of my favorites, Peanut Lover’s Pie! What could be better than this mouth-watering treat?  

Peanut Lovers Pie

TOTAL TIME: Prep: 30 min. + freezing YIELD:8 servings

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons honey-roasted peanuts,divided
  • 1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 7 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 pints chocolate ice cream, softened
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon peanut butter,divided
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped peanut butter cups,divided
  • 1/2 cup caramel ice cream topping

Directions

  • Chop 1 tablespoon of peanuts; set aside. Place the remaining peanuts in a food processor; cover and process until ground. In a small bowl, combine the ground nuts, cracker crumbs and butter. Press onto the bottom and up the sides of an ungreased 9-in. pie plate. Freeze until firm, about 30 minutes.
  • In a large bowl, combine the ice cream and 1 cup peanut butter until blended. Spoon half into crust. Return remaining ice cream mixture to the freezer. Cover and freeze pie until almost firm, about 1 hour. Sprinkle with about two-thirds of the chopped peanut butter cups. Freeze for 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, re-soften remaining ice cream mixture. Spread over peanut butter cups (pie will be very full). Cover and freeze for at least 2 hours or until almost firm. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts and remaining chopped peanut butter cups. Cover and freeze until firm, about 1 hour longer.
  • Remove from the freezer 15 minutes before serving. Combine caramel topping and remaining peanut butter; drizzle some over dessert plates. Top with a piece of pie; drizzle with remaining caramel mixture. Yield: 8 servings.

Thanks so much for stopping by. Please feel free to share your favorite peanut butter desserts since Lizzy is always looking for something new to feature on her blog. Be sure to check out my Pinterest page for A Taste of Peanut Butter where you will find more delectable desserts. My book is currently available at Amazon and Books2Read. Enjoy! Jen Red 

 

I’m Having Another Party!

WELCOME to my party! This week I am celebrating the one year anniversary of Darcy’s Melody and the launch of A Taste of Peanut Butter. It’s been a wonderful since publishing my first long novel and I want to thank those of you who have supported my work with purchases and encouraging messages. To add to the festivities I am having a spectacular giveaway featuring my new book and many other fun prizes. All you have to do is leave your comments to enter. The contest is open to all readers who have access to an Amazon Marketplace. Now let the fun begin! ♫

Elizabeth Bennet has a passion for baking and peanut butter happens to be her signature ingredient. William Darcy’s family owns Pemberley Network where she is a contestant in their next bake off. Will their newly found romance be complicated by a conflict of interest?  Find out in A TASTE OF PEANUT BUTTER. 

“A girl likes to be crossed a little in love now and then.”  Jane Austen ~ Pride and Prejudice

CHAPTER ONE  What Are Men Compared to Cookies, Cakes, and Peanut Butter? 

O’Hare International Airport – Friday afternoon, late spring

“So, did you have to pay extra to check your overweight bag?” Jane Bennet stood with her hands on her hips and gave her younger sister a quizzical look.  

“I did—a total of one hundred dollars to be precise. Can you believe it? My bag was only nine pounds over the limit. Heck, I could have checked in an extra suitcase for that price. If only peanut butter didn’t weigh so much.”

Jane giggled. “Lizzy, you probably wouldn’t have had to pay a thing if you only left some of your baking pans and that ridiculous Chinese wok behind. Plus you wouldn’t have had to stuff so much in your carry-on and backpack.”

“What are you talking about? My flat is almost barren when it comes to kitchenware. Okay, I admit I probably could have gotten by without the wok even though I did promise my teammates from the bank that I’d cook Thai when we start working on our hospitality booth for Wimbledon. Believe me, by that time they will have had their fill of my practice desserts. Nevertheless, the bake off is coming up, and I need every single one of those baking pans if I’m going to keep practicing. I have big plans for my babies—chocolate peanut butter cream pie, peanut butter spice cake, not to mention my killer cheesecake. I only hope I don’t run short of peanut butter. The good stuff is like gold in the UK.”

“Now you listen to me, Elizabeth Anne Bennet! With the exception of the contest, you, my dear sister, are supposed to be taking a hiatus from cooking. Your roomy, Charlotte, is absolutely right. You will never get a decent guy to like you for the smart, intelligent, beautiful woman you are if you keep flaunting your cooking skills at every turn. Men aren’t normal when it comes to your culinary expertise. It’s like they’re on drugs or something. I’m tired of hearing about all the bozos who somehow think they’ve struck it rich with their own personal chef while forgetting how to treat you like a real date. I’d like to know, dear sister, when was the last time a guy friend invited you out to dinner instead of having you come over to his place with your apron in hand.”

“Look, Jane,” she huffed. “I won’t stop being who I am. That’s all there is to it. With going to school and my internship at the UBI, I have a very stressful schedule. Not to mention, I have to suffer through a nasty test on derivatives as soon as classes resume. Then, in addition to Wimbledon, our team is organizing another gala event for early autumn. Believe me; I need a diversion after putting in so many hours between the bank and school. Feeding my friends is how I relax.”

Jane couldn’t resist giving her younger sister a big hug. “Okay, I understand. I just wish you would give Charlotte’s plan a try the next time you go out with a new guy. How hard could it be to refrain from talking about your hobby on the first date? Better still—wait till you’ve had three. You know what they say—the third time’s the charm. Sweetie, I would love to see you graduate from Elizabeth Bennet, personal cook, pal or surrogate sister to girlfriend extraordinaire!

“I know.” She pouted.

“Hey, don’t give me that. I want assurance and a pinky promise that you’ll at least try.” The two laughed as they went through the ritual.

“All right, I promise, I’ll do my best. But if….”

“No buts! Oh, I almost forgot. Here’s my reader. See if you can squeeze it in your bag. I loaded it with my favourite, Pride and Prejudice. Maybe you can take a hint from your namesake and challenge yourself to find a real Mr. Darcy.”

Elizabeth let out a hearty laugh. “Oh, Jane, I love how you have me giving up my cooking passion and meeting Mr. Darcy all in one fell swoop. You are without question one demanding sister!”

“Not really. I’m simply a romantic at heart, just like you. Now, get on through security. I’d better go before Dad gets a ticket out there in the mob.” The two sisters hugged, and Jane waved as she rushed toward the exit. “Don’t forget to text me once you get squared away on the other side. Love you!”

“Okay, Sis! I love you, too!” Elizabeth called as she clumsily lugged all of her things to the closest security checkpoint. Removing her sandals and pulling out all electronic devices from her backpack, she quickly filled two grey plastic holding bins and managed to hoist her overstuffed carry-on onto the conveyor belt.

Little did Elizabeth Bennet realize, however, that she was being closely eyed by a very interested party of the male persuasion. Captivated by the perky brunette, he had overheard her entire conversation and was now formulating his own plan.

Curious, I never thought of dating an American. She said that she is an intern at the UBI. I wonder why I haven’t ever seen her there. Of course, there are loads of interns at the bank. He couldn’t help smiling while candidly giving her the once over. Beautiful, long, dark, silky hair—nice. And her eyes…. I could easily get lost in those dark chocolate orbs if given the chance. Great figure and even more important, she cooks. I’ve never dated a woman who liked to cook. My dates would rather have me wine and dine them at expensive restaurants. Without a doubt, this Elizabeth is different from all the other Elizabeth Bennets I’ve ever met, or any other woman for that matter. She’s so … unpretentious, refreshing and obviously not a part of the corporate set. I wonder. Richard did suggest that I consider stepping out of my comfort zone for a change. Maybe….

And now for my giveaway!

Below you will see a list of prizes. Just tell me which items you would like to win and let me know what you think about Lizzy’s Blissful Peanut Butter Cheesecake in the comments. The winners will be announced on Wednesday, August 28. Enjoy! 

 

A Taste of Peanut Butter – 3 eBooks or a choice of a Print book if you live in the United States

Darcy’s Melody – 2 eBooks

A Holiday to Remember – 2 eBooks

A Very Merry Mix-up – 2 eBooks

Taking Another Chance by Brenda Webb – 2 eBooks

One Jane Austen mug available to USA residents

One Pride & Prejudice: A BabyLit® Counting Primer Board Book and Playset (BabyLit Playset) to USA residents

  

                

The Amazon Link for my book.

The Pinterest Link for both stories – a MUST see!

I’m Having A Birthday Party!

Welcome to my Party! May 20 is my birthday and I’m so happy you dropped by to have some cake and a little slice of Brenda Webb’s new book, Taking Another Chance. 

Here is her book blurb: Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet have suffered profound heartache in the fourteen years since parting in Lambton when word of Lydia’s folly reached her family.

At the age of forty, Darcy is now a widower raising a teenage daughter, whilst Elizabeth, a spinster, has spent the intervening years in service. Unexpectedly thrown into each other’s company by circumstances not of their making, has time stood still when it comes to matters of the heart? Can their timeless love survive the newest obstacles to their happiness?

In addition to Brenda’s new book you will also have a chance to win one of my published eBooks.

How about a slice of modern day holiday romance, a Regency love story filled with music or even a delightful body swap?

On Sunday, May 26, I’ll be selecting winners for three copies of Taking Another Chance and two copies each of A Holiday to Remember, Darcy’s Melody, and A Very Merry Mix-up. That’s NINE winners in all! Just tell me which books you are interested in winning and I’ll put you in the drawings accordingly. My giveaway is International so if you don’t live in the United States I can issue an eCard in lieu of an eBook and you can purchase your prize on your own market place. Good Luck! 

Jen Red ♫

Happy New Year! And the winners are….

 Greetings and Happy New Year to you all! I want to thank everyone who stopped by for my New Year’s giveaway. The response was awesome and I appreciate the wonderful comments you left for me, Brenda and the forum. For this drawing I used a random name picker and I’m pleased to announce the results. If you were a winner of Proof of Love or Darcy’s Melody, you will be receiving eBooks via Amazon. However, if you live in the United States and would prefer a print book we will be happy to send that instead. Brenda says USA winners of Proof of Love may choose the print copy or select from one of her other print titles. Now on to the winners. Please confirm the email address you use for Amazon and let us know if your Amazon market place is other than the USA. If you are a winner of a print book or the DVD, I will need your USA mailing address. Again, congratulations to all of the winners! I look forward to another great year of JAFF and wish you well.  

Jennifer Redlarczyk ♫ (I sent everyone email, but you can also find me here on the forum or on FaceBook. )

Proof of Love: Choice of eBook or Print if you are in the USA – Alexandra Rivers – International, Megan and Shields

A Very Merry Mix-up eBook: Rlea, Leslie Waters

A Very Merry Mix-up Print Book: MadAboutAusten and Lily Bernar

Darcy’s Melody: Choice of eBook or Print if you are in the USA – Deborah and Diana

A Holiday to Remember eBook: Elaine Jeremiah – International and Sharon

A Holiday to Remember Print Book: Mary Maloney and JanisB

Pride and Prejudice DVD: Nobuko

 

 

Happy New Year and Giveaway!

 

Happy New Year and welcome to my celebration!

2018 has been a wonderful year here at Darcy and Lizzy. We’ve been able to share lots of fantastic stories with you by many talented authors, and I was able to publish three books of my own. In gratitude for all of your support and to celebrate the coming year, on January 1, 2019, I am giving away free copies of my books plus 3 eBook copies of Brenda Webb’s most recent publication, Proof of Love. As a Bonus, I’ve included a Keepsake DVD Edition of Pride and Prejudice from the 1995 Mini Series. To enter the giveaway, please leave a little love for Brenda and the forum in the comment section and let me know which prizes you are interested in winning. Good luck and Happy New Year!

Jen Red ♫

Proof of Love – 3 eBooks International, optional print choice for USA including any of Brenda Webb’s other published titles donated by the author.  

A Very Merry Mix-up – 2 eBooks International, 2 Print copies USA 

Darcy’s Melody – 2 eBooks International, optional print choice for USA

A Holiday to Remember – 2 eBooks International, 2 Print copies USA

DVD – Remastered Pride and Prejudice Keepsake Edition 1995 New – USA

Please note: If you are a winner and do not live in the United States and are unable to use the Amazon US Market place, I will give you an Amazon eCard so that you may purchase the book on your own site.

       

I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks so much for participating. Jennnifer Redlarczyk ♫

AND THE WINNERS ARE…

Many thanks to all of you who stopped by and left me cookies and comments for A Holiday to Remember! I truly appreciate your support. The winners for this first blog stop are: Lúthien84, DarcyBennet, and Bludpoison. You will each receive an eBook copy of my holiday story. For those of you who would like another chance to win one of my books, on Friday November 16, I will be a guest of Regina Jeffers at EveryWoman Dreams. I hope to see you there! 

Thanks again, Jennifer Redlarczyk ♫

Introducing A Holiday to Remember!

 

Welcome to my Party!

  Today we are celebrating the release of my latest book, “A Holiday to Remember” with a giveaway and Cookies! Mrs. Bennet and her woman’s circle have been cooking up a storm of cookies for the past month and I would love to know what your favorite holiday or anytime cookie is. Be sure to tell me in the comments section and we’ll not only share our cookies, but you will be entered in my giveaway for three eBooks. (International) 

To begin with, I’d like to tell you a little about my book. In this modern P&P variation, Elizabeth Bennet is a dedicated choral director and teacher at Meryton Academy for the Performing Arts and William Darcy is the aloof CEO of Darcy Enterprises. The two of them met when unfortunate circumstances brought them together during a summer music festival in Chicago where tempers flared and unpleasant words were exchanged. Find out what happens when their paths cross again in December. Will their animosity continue, or will their reunion turn out to be A Holiday to Remember?

 From Chapter One 

Meryton Academy for the Performing Arts 

Monday, 4 December, present day

 

  “Liz Bennet! Please tell me I didn’t hear what I just thought I heard!” Charlotte Lucas burst through the doors of the choir room and marched straight to the keyboard where Elizabeth was working out the final arrangements for A Holiday to Remember—part of the music academy’s final showcase before the winter break.

“Char, I have no idea what you’re talking about, and I’m kind of on a deadline here. Uh … you do remember I have a major rehearsal at six o’clock tonight?” She arched a questioning eyebrow in her friend’s direction before entering the final chords on the master lead sheet in her computer.

“Right, but for your information, Mr. Billy Collins just told everyone in the teacher’s lounge he has a big date with you on New Year’s Eve. He says he’s escorting you to the Pemberley Foundation’s charity gala at Forest Ridge. What gives? Don’t those tickets start at five hundred a pop? Not to mention any woman who would dare to go out with that nutter would have to be a marble short.” 

Elizabeth stopped what she was doing and burst into laughter. “Char, do you honestly think BC would actually shell out that kind of money just to have a date with me? The man is so tight he probably wouldn’t spend five dollars on his own mother. Don’t worry. The Vocalteens were asked to perform at the gala and will be doing the opening act right after dessert. Since Reeves will be out of town, I’m making do with Billy-boy to run sound. You’re welcome to join us if you don’t have a date. I can always use an extra chaperone. Plus, after the kids leave, the adults are invited to stay and enjoy the rest of the party. There’s going to be a live band, dancing, loads of food and some kind of a silent auction. It could be fun, even without dates.”

“Sorry, Liz. As a matter of fact, I do have a date.” Charlotte straightened up and fluttered her eyelashes in jest. “And … as much as I’d like to hobnob with the rich and famous, Brexton Denny is taking me to the Signature Room to celebrate the New Year. Who knows, this might turn out to be my Holiday to Remember, if you don’t mind me borrowing the title from your medley.”

“Go right ahead. The Signature Room is pretty impressive. Is there any chance your Mr. Denny might finally be getting serious?”

“Not to my knowledge. Still, there’s no way I’m going to pass up a date with a buff trainer from the fitness club, fireworks over Lake Michigan, and a kiss at midnight.”

“A kiss at midnight,” Elizabeth sighed, kind of dreamy-eyed. “Aunt Maddy says being kissed at midnight by someone special is magical, and although I’ve yet to meet that perfect someone, I believe her.”

“Girl, you’ve been watching way too many holiday romance movies on your favorite channel, if you ask me. I could never be like you. At any rate, if you need an escort, you can always ask my brother. I know Johnny isn’t ideal, but he’s okay in a pinch. On second thought, what about that cute drummer from the music store? Didn’t you go out with him a couple of times? Maybe you can take him.” 

 

 

“George Wickham?! I think not! And no, we never dated. Char, your memory fails you. I only agreed to sing backups for that smooth talker’s band at Lollapalooza last summer because he was desperate. Believe me; dating was not part of the chord chart. Besides, I’m hardly interested in a fly-by-night drummer or any freelance musician for that matter. And I’m definitely considering adding your brother to my no-go list of men. If Johnny stands me up for one more transmission or any other mechanical failure, the man is toast. As it turns out, I’ll probably hand him his marching orders once he escorts me to Charles Bingley’s holiday party on Friday. Who knows, I may end up following Jane’s lead and using her professional dating service after all. I mean, who could complain about Mr. Bingley?”

“Are you serious?”

“Absolutely! Charles is exceptional. He’s considerate and has a great sense of humor. Plus, he brings Jane flowers, sends her cards, and takes her out to dinner, concerts, company functions, yada, yada…. And to top it all off, it was Charles Bingley who recommended the Vocalteens for the Pemberley gig. As one of the corporate lawyers who work for the foundation, he was happy to submit my PR materials to the marketing director. Mr. Reynolds thinks our Holiday to Remember medley will be perfect for the charity gala.”

“I agree; it’s bound to be a hit. The kids are already looking pretty good, and you still have until next Thursday to pull it all together for the showcase. Speaking of the gala, I hear the CEO of Darcy Enterprises is pretty hot.” Charlotte wiggled her eyebrows as if in the know. “William Darcy has been in all of the tabloids lately. They say he’s some kind of aloof, mystery man—tall, dark, and handsome. I wonder if he’ll be there.”

William Darcy?” Elizabeth frowned. “His sister, Georgiana, was studying piano with Aunt Maddy at the music store until….” Her voice trailed off. “Are you sure he’s connected to the foundation? Mr. Reynolds never mentioned him.”

“Small world! According to Google, the foundation is run by Darcy Enterprises.” Glancing at the wall clock, Charlotte changed the subject. “It looks like the bell is about to ring, so I’d better head over to my advanced ballet class. Do you still need help tonight with choreography for the opening number?”

“I’d really appreciate it, since I’m going to have my hands full with the pit orchestra. If you can take over while we run through my new arrangements, it would mean one less thing for me to juggle at practice.”

“No problem. I’ll be there. Catch you later.”

“Thanks.”

After Charlotte left, Elizabeth minimized her music program and quickly googled William Darcy, CEO of Darcy Enterprises. “I can’t believe it. It is him! So, Mr. Darcy,” she continued to babble while glaring at the computer screen. “Your Mr. Reynolds booked us for the gala. How was he to know you never wanted to see me again?” She shrugged her shoulders. “Oh well, I guess we’ll just have to make the most of it, won’t we?” 

NOW, on to the good stuff!  Here is a tin of holiday cookies  which Mrs. Bennet,      cookie baker extraordinaire,  so graciously donated to our little celebration party.  Every year the mods on the forum put up a Cookie Exchange in the Ballroom and we trade recipes. I’ll put the link here, and after you tell me about your favorite cookies and how you liked the preview, maybe you can drop by. Also, be sure to check out my Pinterest page where I’ve posted chapter by chapter pictures for A Holiday to Remember. The drawing for the eBook giveaway will take place on Wednesday, Nov 14 and the winners will be announced here and on FaceBook. Good luck everyone and I look forward to sharing your cookies. Jen Red ♫ 


Cookies in the Ballroom

Pinterest Board for A Holiday to Remember

Amazon Link for A Holiday to Remember

The Winners Are…

 

JAFF Friends! Many thanks to those of you who stopped by the forum blog and left comments for Introducing Darcy’s Melody! I was thrilled to read your thoughts and to learn something about your favorite song or style of music. The winners for my two eBooks are: Katzan and Nobuko! Please PM me with the email address you use for Amazon. Congratulations! Thanks again! Jen Red ♫

Introducing Darcy’s Melody!

Let’s Party!

   

I LOVE parties, and today is an exceptional day since August 17 is my sister Melody’s birthday, Georgiana Darcy’s birthday, and the launch of my new book, Darcy’s Melody, in eBook format on Amazon!  My sister, Melody Ann Ferree, holds a very special place in my heart and was my inspiration for writing a loving sisterly relationship between Lizzy and Georgina in this Pride and Prejudice tale. 

  In celebration, I thought we should have some cake and a giveaway! After all what’s a party without a little of the good stuff? Right? Melody’s favorite cake was carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. Yummy! Every year on Melody’s birthday, her girls all make carrot cake in her honor. Melody’s recipe is at the end of this post. These are my nieces: Molly, Deanna, Jessica, and Keila.For my birthday party on May 20, I asked you to tell me what was one of your favorite cakes. My virtual tasting was beyond belief with so many delicious offerings. Some of you even left recipes! Since Darcy’s Melody has an underlying music theme, this time I would like to know what is your favorite song or even what style of music makes you feel good. 

Although there is a prominent music theme in my story, there is also a subplot which has to do with Colonel Fitzwilliam and the Crown’s Secret Guard. I hope you like this first scene from chapter one where Darcy and Lizzy first meet in a rather unusual way. Enjoy! Jen Red ♫

DARCY’S MELODY

Chapter One ~ Under the Cover of Books

London

Tuesday, 21 May 1811, early afternoon

Ballard’s was an eclectic treasure trove of rare first editions and unusual books located on the thoroughfare of Piccadilly. Although it appeared somewhat dingy and dimly lit from the outside, inside the ageing building the atmosphere was inviting, and a vast array of literature beckoned lovers of the written word.

Promptly at one o’clock, Fitzwilliam Darcy entered the bookshop and walked directly towards his favoured section. While paging through a military war journal, he instinctively glanced toward the back of the shop. Even with several patrons milling about the establishment today, Darcy’s eyes were drawn to a young lady who appeared to be examining a small book in the poetry section.

Closing the journal, Darcy ambled over to where the woman stood and began perusing the titles on a nearby shelf. After taking a book in hand, he purposely turned his head towards the young lady. Captivated by her large, dark emerald-green eyes sparkling with mischief, he felt his lips curve into a half smile when she spoke.

“Pray, sir, may I trouble you to hand me the book of Cowper poetry on the upper shelf?”

 Darcy nodded. “With pleasure. Cowper is an excellent choice.” 

As he reached for the book, she continued, “One poem in particular reminds me of Oakham Mount in Hertfordshire. I find I am rather desirous of its solace today if only through the eyes of the poet.”

Handing her the book, he answered in kind. “I understand your sentiments for I, too, am from the country and have longed to return to Derbyshire.”

Arching an eyebrow in his direction, she inclined her head and said, “I thank you, sir.”   

“You are most welcome.”    

As she turned the pages of her selection in search of the poem, Darcy heard the young lady gasp when both of her books slid out of her hands and onto the floor. “Oh dear,” she sighed, stooping down to retrieve them.    

“Allow me,” he immediately offered. Both reaching for the books, Darcy felt her small, warm hand carefully slip a folded piece of paper into the palm of his own. The young lady had not replaced her glove after perusing her own book, and her skin was soft to the touch. Leaning closer, the faint scent of lavender seemed to strengthen, causing his chest to tighten and his heart to quicken in response.

Feigning innocence, she looked up at him and said, “Again, sir, I am in your debt. Perhaps I should make my purchases before I have another mishap.”

“Permit me to carry these to the desk for you.”

Acknowledging his offer with a slight curtsey, the young lady whispered, “Sir, I think we are being observed.” Then speaking louder, she added, “Thank you again. You are most kind.”

“Your servant.” He bowed. With his senses heightened from being forewarned of impending danger, Darcy spoke softly in return, “How did you come? I would not have you leave here unescorted.”

“There is a carriage waiting, sir. A manservant is nearby and a maid is within.”

“Then leave now and be careful.”    

After he placed the books on the counter, the young lady thanked Darcy, made her purchase, and quickly exited the shop. From where he stood, Darcy watched the footman assist her into the carriage. Assured of her safety, he abruptly turned and faced the observing patron who had folded his newspaper and was preparing to leave the shop.

“Excuse me, have we met?”    

The man was obviously confused and stammered, “I … I think so.  You are Mr. um.… ”

“Fitzwilliam Darcy. And you are?”

“My name is … is Gerard Mooreland, and if I remember correctly, my son, Jonathan, was a classmate of yours at university some years back.”    

Darcy furrowed his brow for a moment in thought. “I do not seem to recall the name. Do you care to refresh my memory?”

“My … my son was a master with the blade and was an active participant in the fencing club,” Mooreland boasted through a somewhat crooked smile. 

With no recollection of either man, Darcy made further inquiries after which he gave Mooreland his card and requested his son pay him a visit when he was next in Town. Concluding their conversation, Darcy made his purchase and left the bookshop being rather unsettled.

The giveaway for TWO of my eBooks will take place on Friday, Aug 24 and the winners will be posted here, on FaceBook and Twitter. Meanwhile, be sure to check out some of these links. To comment and be entered in my giveaway, just click on the title at the beginning or this post or the comment tab just below the title. There should also be a place after this post: leave a reply. Don’t forget to let me know what your favorite song is or what style of music makes you feel good. AND if you feel like sharing a little more cake, I won’t complain.  Jen ♫

I have recorded all of Lizzy’s songs and made a book trailer for Darcy’s Melody. You can find all of them here on YouTube. 

In addition, here is a chapter by chapter story in pictures of Darcy’s Melody on Pinterest.  

Here is the Amazon eBook Link.  

Note: As of Aug 17, the eBook of Darcy’s Melody is live on Amazon.com. I am still waiting for a proof copy of the print version and will make another announcement whenever my book is available.

Melody’s Carrot Cake
·      2 1/2 Cups flour
·      2 tsp baking soda
·      1/4 tsp salt
·      2 tsp cinnamon
·      1 cup light brown sugar packed
·      1 cup granulated sugar
·      3 sticks (1 ½ c.) salted butter, softened
·      3 large eggs
·      2 teaspoons vanilla
·      3 cups grated carrots (3-4 medium carrots)
·      ½ cup crushed pineapple, drained
·      1 cup (6 oz) raisins
·      1 cup (4 oz) chopped walnuts
Icing
·      16 oz cream cheese, softened
·      1 stick (1/2 c.) salted butter, softened
·      2 teaspoons vanilla
·      3 cups powdered sugar

*optional: you can add 1 Tbls. Lemon juice to frosting

* Feel free to add extra pineapple, carrots, vanilla, nuts, or raisins for a denser cake.

Directions:
1.     Preheat oven to 350 and grease and flour two 9 inch cake pans or oblong pan
2.     In a large bowl, stir flour, soda, salt, cinnamon and sugars.  Add butter, one egg, and vanilla: blend with electric mixer on low. Increase speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes
3.     Scrape down sides of bowl and remaining eggs, one at a time, beating 30 seconds after each.  Add carrots, pineapple, raisins and walnuts.  Blend on low until thoroughly combined.
4.     Bake for 60-70 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Then invert cakes on rack and cool to room temp. (If you use cake pans, be sure to cool them enough otherwise they will crumble.)

5.     Icing: beat cream cheese and butter until smooth.  Add vanilla (and lemon juice if wanted) beat until combined.  Add sugar gradually, mixing on low.
6.     Ice and refrigerate for 1 hour to set icing.

 

 

 

 

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