Articles By Brenda Webb

About Brenda Webb

Before my obsession with all things Jane Austen, I worked as an administrative assistant to the president of a CPA firm. No longer working in that industry, thankfully, I enjoy spending time with my family and indulging my love of storytelling. Born on a farm in Cullman, Alabama, I proudly admit to being a country girl, and after years of living in the city, I have finally achieved my dream of moving back to the country. My husband and I now reside on a three acre mini-farm, sporting chickens and numerous rescued dogs and cats. Always a voracious reader, I rediscovered Jane Austen books after watching the 2005 Pride and Prejudice movie. Searching for everything relating to Miss Austen, I eventually stumbled into the world of Jane Austen Fan Fiction. After reading many of other people’s stories, I decided to try my hand at writing a tale that kept coming to mind and began posting that story on online. By November of 2010, I started my own forum, DarcyandLizzy.com, and many readers followed me to this site. Several of my friends insisted that I publish, and in April 2011, Fitzwilliam Darcy an Honourable Man became available on Amazon.com. It was followed by Mr. Darcy’s Forbidden Love in December 2012, and I am currently posting my next book, Darcy and Elizabeth, A Most Unlikely Couple on the forum. It will be published this summer. Anyone is welcome to join the forum and read my new stories before they are published, as well as stories by an array of talented JAFF writers. Just register at www.darcyandlizzy.com/forum.

Getting personal with Zoe Burton and A Giveaway!

Today’s featured writer is one of the sweetest people in JAFF and someone the members of DarcyandLizzy.Com love for letting them read her fascinating stories before she publishes them. She is right up there among the most prolific authors of JAFF, which is good news for her fans and for the members of our forum. I am certain that some of you have guessed her name already. Welcome to the blog, Zoe Burton! Brenda

What are you currently working on and what inspires your muse?

I’m working on Book 3 of the Darcy’s Marriage Series. It’s called Caroline’s Censure. Like Lady Catherine Impedes, this book is taking longer than I had planned to finish. I’m thinking I should just add an extra month onto whatever amount of time I think a book will take, you know?

Reading other JAFF is mostly what inspires my muse. Well, that and chocolate. 

What prompted you to begin writing and do you write for other fandoms besides JAFF?

I tried to write a romance when I was a teen, but was convinced it was trash and threw it away. My sister thought it was good, but I didn’t believe her.

After I found JAFF and read every story that remotely seemed interesting, some multiple times, I needed something to read and whined to a teacher friend. That friend encouraged me for weeks to write one of my own and finally I did. I’ve not looked back since.  

I do not write for other fandoms. JAFF is it for me. I hope to one day write a non-JAFF Regency or two, or maybe some non-JAFF racing romance books. 

What first drew you to JAFF and how long have you been reading it? Do you prefer Regency or Modern? Do you have any hobbies besides JAFF?

What drew me to JAFF was my desire for a sequel to Pride & Prejudice, which I did not discover until 2010. I searched Amazon and Barnes & Noble online to see if Jane Austen wrote one, and in the process found Sharon Lathan, Linda Berdoll, and others. 

I prefer reading and writing Regency, but there are a few moderns I have enjoyed reading. I have written one modern…Darcy’s Race to Love, which has turned out not to be as popular as my Regencies. That was book 1 in a series; I hope to have book 2 out before Christmas.

JAFF is not actually my hobby anymore … it’s my career. I do have hobbies, though I don’t have a lot of time for most of them. I love to read (of course), crochet, embroider, and watch NASCAR racing.

What are three of your favorite resources to turn to when writing? 

My favorite three resources are the Online Etymology Dictionary, my thesaurus, and Google. I tend to look things up as I go, which can slow me down at times. However, I’d rather be slower in the first draft than take forever to edit. I’m a “do it right the first time” kind of girl. 

Are there any people in your life who have inspired certain traits in your character or scenes?

Oh, yes. My parents have inspired characters and scenes at different times. I have quoted my uncle in a recent book, and used my brother as inspiration. I’m not limited to family members, either. My pastor is a knife maker, and he inspired me to make Mr. Gardiner a gun maker in Darcy’s Wife Search. If you know me, especially in real life, you are highly likely to end up in one of my books.  

Did you learn something you didn’t know about Zoe? Do you have any questions you would like to ask her? How about doing so by leaving a comment which will also put your name in the drawing for a chance to win one of two Kindle eBooks of any of Zoe’s books. Should you have trouble commenting on the blog, you may leave a comment on our FB page for this specific blog post.

You have until our next post (we post the 15th and 30th) to comment and the winners will be announced on the forum and our facebook page. Please check these sites to see if you have won. Comments link is right beside “Discussions’ at the top of the page under the title. Good luck and we would appreciate you sharing this post on all the social sites!

Getting to know E. A. (Lis) Batten & a Giveaway!

 Today’s interview on the blog is with a relatively new contributor to DarcyandLizzy.com, but one we have learned to appreciate for her wonderful  tales about Darcy and Lizzy.  E. A. (Lis) Batten is from the United Kingdom and we are proud that she chose to share her stories with our members. It is our hope that, through this interview, you will become more familiar with Lis and her work. Don’t forget, if you comment you may win a copy of one of her books!  Brenda

What are you currently working on and what inspires your muse?

At present I’m working on a Regency story called ‘The Darcys’ Motto’.  The Darcy Motto, to always protect and watch over, ensures that Darcy keeps his deathbed promise to his friend Edmund Bingley and befriends Edmund’s younger brother Charles.  I had the idea of Charles Bingley, beneath his amiable exterior, being more like his sister.  So Caroline was not the only Bingley to have their sights set on a Darcy. With Bingley being a ne’er-do-well I decided to give Wickham a character change too.  But the story is still very much in the early stages and my muse is a fickle being, therefore it could be quite a few months before the first draft is finished and I’m ready to start posting. 

 I really can’t say what inspires my muse; the plot for Desires came to me while driving to the local supermarket.  Names for non-Austen characters are mainly inspired by family history.  In Desires, the portrait painter, Hardy, and the silversmith, Wells, were real people from my family tree who lived in the early 1800s.  The Wrede piano in Friendship would have been made by an ancestor of my husband’s.  In fact, 80% of the non-Austen names come from family research.

What prompted you to begin writing and do you write for other fandoms besides JAFF?

I’ve always enjoyed putting thoughts on paper; poetry for my own enjoyment.  A discussion on the latest JAFF stories online, over tea and a biscuit with a friend one Tuesday afternoon.  Being retired, we both decided to give it a go.  I never dreamt that I would end up posting stories on D&L and eventually self-publishing on Amazon.  I found that I enjoyed writing little stories about Darcy and Elizabeth so I’ve never attempted anything else.  Maybe one day I’ll pluck up the courage to have a go at an original Regency story.

What first drew you to JAFF and how long have you been reading it?

I’ve always enjoyed reading (stories and poetry), a pastime that my parents encouraged.  About a decade ago the same friend who got me involved in putting to pen to paper, lent me a couple of JAFF books.  I loved them and have been hooked ever since.  When I was a child it was mainly Science Fiction, Mythology and Fantasy that enthralled me, no doubt helped by my mother who told me about the fairies that lived in the hedgerows.  Now, many decades later, it’s mainly Regency Romance and JAFF.

Do you prefer Regency or Modern? Do you have any hobbies besides JAFF?

Definitely Regency, although saying that there are some good modern JAFF stories out there that I’ve enjoyed reading.  Besides from researching my families’ past and reading, I enjoy drawing and painting, and making jams and chutneys from the produce of our allotment, while classical music plays in the background, but writing is my main hobby.

What are three of your favorite resources to turn to when writing?

First – the internet is a brilliant resource – there are many wonderful websites aimed at the Georgian and Regency period giving lots of information that I find very helpful.  My favourite site is ‘You Can’t Say That’, and I was recently made aware of the Online Etymology Dictionary, a wonderful resource, but the most used is the online Thesaurus.

Second – books – on my desk I have a small book on British history, a book of English surnames, Phillimore Atlas & Index of Parish Registers and of course my dictionary.  


And last but not least – notebook and pencil – preferable the type that has a little rubber/eraser on the end, so that I can rub out instead of scoring through an unwanted sentence or words.

We hope you had fun learning about Lis and that you will take the time to comment. We know she would love to hear from you and you could win one of two kindle e-books of any of her books if your name is drawn from those who commented. This includes her newest work, FRIENDSHIP, which has just been published!

If you have trouble commenting here you may comment on our FB page that features this blog. You have until our next post (we post 15th and 30th) to comment and the button is right below the Title of this blog. We announce the winners on the forum and DarcyandLizzy.com’s FB page, so check these sites to see if you were a winner.

If you would, please share this blog on your social media sites.


A Chat with L L Diamond and a giveaway!

We are featuring a longtime friend of mine and wonderful writer today, L. L. Diamond! I have followed Leslie’s writing career from the beginning and have enjoyed all of her books. She is about to publish another new tale, PARTICULAR ATTACHMENTS, and I know you will want to get a copy as soon as it is available! Here is what Leslie had to say when we asked her a few questions about herself and her writing. Brenda

What are you currently working on and what inspires your muse?

At the moment, I’m working with my editor on the final edits for Particular Attachments and writing the still unnamed time slip posting at Austen Variations. This is the first time I’ve written two such different stories at the same time, and it really slowed me down some. It’s hard when you’re shifting from Regency to modern and a more comedic version at that.

My muse can be inspired by any number of things. I always loved to daydream when I was a child, and a lot of my stories just come from playing out different scenarios when I’m in a lazy mood (rainy days are the best for that!) or ignoring the television when my children are watching something I don’t like 🙂 Sometimes it’s something historical I’ve found online or read somewhere. Sometimes it’s a place I’ve been since living in England.

What prompted you to begin writing and do you write for other fandoms besides JAFF?

I tried to give away a plot bunny to some friends in a chatroom on another fan site, but both insisted I should write it. Oddly, that plot bunny is still in a folder on my desktop and I started Rain and Retribution on a whim. I thought one or two people might give it a look, laugh, and move on. Ha!

What first drew you to JAFF and how long have you been reading it? Do you prefer Regency or Modern? Do you have any hobbies besides JAFF?

I have loved Jane Austen for some time, though I’m still working my way through her books. About 9 years ago, I was visiting my sister in Kentucky and found a popular JAFF book in Target. I’d never seen one and bought it for a look. That prompted a search on Amazon, and when my husband objected to my reading bill, a search online where I found fan sites. 

I enjoy Regency and Modern and I have different authors who are my favourites for both.

Hobbies are crazy for me. I have done or tried so many different things since I was a child. I never practice these days, but I can play flute and piano (I do practice that from time to time), I can draw and paint, and I swim competitively with a local Masters team. Because I swim, I also try to get to the gym pretty regularly to help out my swimming. I’m currently studying to get certified as a fitness instructor and spin instructor since those are my favourite ways of working out. I had someone lend me her old text books today and I’m a bit wide eyed at it all. Hopefully I make it through!

What are three of your favorite resources to turn to when writing?

Depends on what I’m writing! For Regency stories, like Particular Attachments, one of my favourite resources is Online Etymology Dictionary. I don’t catch every word that is out of place during that time period, but between myself and my beta redhead, we do catch a fair number that slip through. It’s so easy for them to do so, too! Another is Regency Encyclopaedia. It’s a pretty awesome resource with a lot of information in one place. I also love the time and distance maps as well as the fashion encyclopaedia. Colours were rather specifically named, so it’s helpful to use those and know what was in fashion for gowns, outerwear, gloves, etc. Lastly, is probably Write Like Austen, or as I like to call it The Austen Thesaurus. Type in a word and it will tell you if Austen used it, how many times, alternatives, and how many times she used the alternatives. I don’t use this one as much as I should, but it’s a great resource!

Are there any people in your life who have inspired certain traits in your character or scenes?

Oh! This question is evil! Yes, definitely. I don’t know of many authors who can keep things like that out. I think my male leads almost always have a trait or two of my husband. I don’t ever think I’d include a character that’s completely him, though. He’s mine and I don’t like to share 😉 My daughters have influenced the character of Melly in A Matter of Chance, and I’ve used things people have said or names that I like for some reason in my work. It’s a lot of fun. I also had two minor characters in A Matter of Chance that were modelled after friends I had in college/university. I did change the names, but I couldn’t resist including them because they were such characters.

Have you learned something you didn’t know about Leslie? We hope you did and we hope you will take the time to comment, I know she would love to hear from you. You must comment for a chance to win one of two kindle e-books of any of her books, including her newest PARTICULAR ATTACHMENTS when it is scheduled to be published on September 14.

If you have trouble commenting here you may comment on our FB page that is featuring this blog. You have until our next post (we post 15th and 30th) to comment and the button is right below the Title of this blog. We announce the winners on the forum and DarcyandLizzy.com’s FB page, so check these sites to see if you won.

If you would, please share this blog on your social media sites.

An Interview with Rose Fairbanks and a Giveaway!

This blog features one of my favorite JAFF authors, Rose Fairbanks (Aureader). Rose has been kind enough to post her amazing stories at DarcyandLizzy for the reading pleasure of our members since she first began writing (if memory serves me) and they always prove fan favorites. I have no idea how she finds time to write with two small children and a husband whose job keeps him very busy and often away from home. Throw in the fact that his job means they move more often than most of us could ever imagine and I get tired just thinking about it! Therefore, I will just stop talking and say welcome to the blog Rose!  Brenda

What are you currently working on and what inspires your muse?
I’m currently working on Extraordinary Devotion, the third book in the When Love Blooms series. I’m loving Richard and Belinda’s romance! I’m also working on rewriting my Witches of Austen series and making it better than ever! I feel like my muse is always on. That actually makes it difficult to *finish* a story, and what helps me the most there is a good outline and discipline. Writing time is sacred.

What prompted you to begin writing and do you write for other fandoms besides JAFF?
I dabbled in fiction writing in college but never completed anything beyond short stories. I think my first thought that I could write JAFF came after reading a book that had what looked like a very hopeless conflict between Darcy and Elizabeth. It was a very long book and I stayed up until 4 am trying to get past the conflict. I finally put the book down and determined that if the writer didn’t give me a happily ever after I’d just imagine one for myself. I don’t write or read any other fandoms. I think one obsession is enough for me!

What first drew you to JAFF and how long have you been reading it? Do you prefer Regency or Modern? Do you have any hobbies besides JAFF?
I actually first heard of JAFF in a college course. My favorite British Literature professor suggest I try some of the sequels on the market since I couldn’t get enough of Jane Austen and wrote all my papers about her. I turned my nose up at them. Such a snob I was! A few years later, I watched the North and South miniseries on Netflix and while looking for the book on Amazon, saw a few JAFF ones recommended. I gave them a chance and became addicted. 

I definitely prefer Regency stories over Modern but I have read many enjoyable moderns. My theory is that I prefer variations over retellings and I think variations work better in Regencies. 

I don’t have a lot of free time outside of writing and taking care of my family. I enjoy playing with makeup and playing piano in my limited free time. Like Elizabeth Bennet, I do not dedicate as much time to practicing as I should, but perhaps I’ve spent the time to better use? 
What are three of your favorite resources to turn to when writing? 
My outline, inspiration music, and the internet at large- although I have to be careful to not fall down too many research rabbit holes!

Are there any people in your life who have inspired certain traits in your character or scenes?
My husband inspires my Mr. Darcys. I think I’m a lot like Elizabeth Bennet. Other than that, there’s no one person that inspires my interpretation of other characters. I like to people watch though so I’ll gather facial expressions and postures from unsuspecting strangers.

I hope you learned something new about Rose Fairbanks for we enjoyed having her as our guest. Be certain to leave a comment for a chance to win one of two kindle e-books of any of her books (including her newest MR. DARCY’S BLUESTOCKING BRIDE. If you have trouble commenting here, you may leave a comment on our FB page that features this blog.

You have until our next post (we post 15th and 30th) to comment and the winners will be announced on the forum and DarcyandLizzy.com’s FB page. Please check these sites to see if you have won.

Comments button is right beside “Discussions” at the top of the page under the title. Best of luck! We would love for you to share this post on all your social sites.

 

 

 

Talking with Leenie Brown & A Giveaway!

On this blog we are featuring one of the nicest people in JAFF and that is Leenie Brown. She is also one of the most prolific writers in our genre and I am certain you will be just as fascinated as we are at what she has on her plate right now. So, without further ado, here is what Leenie has to say.  

 

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What are you currently working on and what inspires your muse? 

Currently, I am working on three stories ─ each at various stages of completion. 

•   I am giving With the Colonel’s Help a quick first edit before posting pieces of it each Thursday on my blog. As with all my Thursday Three Hundred stories, this story will find its way to the story thread on the forum here. 

•   I have just completed the manuscript for my first Austenesque novella called His Beautiful Bea. This story incorporates touches of Mansfield Park in it but with an original plot and characters. Beatrice Tierney, the heroine, is fashioned after Fanny Price and has a crush on the younger of two sons of a baronet, who is her neighbor. I have just started working on the first round of edits for this story.

•   I have just started a new story that has no official title yet. It is also based on Mansfield Park. It will be set after the conclusion of Mansfield Park and will (hopefully) show the redemption of Henry Crawford.

My muse is inspired by many things ─ music, movies, books, art, nature, historic places… I have been known to jot down story notes during the sermon at church, in the very low light of a theatre, during science class when a particular illness or poisonous mushroom is discussed in a lesson… I find inspiration just about everywhere.

 

What first drew you to JAFF and how long have you been reading it? What prompted you to begin writing? 

I stumbled across JAFF a few years ago after reading a North and South variation, and I decided to see if there were variations of Pride and Prejudice. There were! I was delighted! I have always loved writing and creating stories. When I was young, I would act out stories based on books I had read when playing. So for me, discovering JAFF was like discovering playing all over again. I began by reading, but it wasn’t long until I wanted to jump in and write my own stories.  I never expected to share them or publish them.  I have to credit my husband with that.  

As I began spending more and more time writing, my husband started asking when I was going to let someone see my writing.  I told him I wasn’t planning to let anyone see my writing “because it wasn’t good enough.”  He said that was silly and asked how I would know if it was good or not if no one ever saw it?  So to placate him—he had threatened to break into my computer and share my stories for me—I began posting some of my stories online and eventually worked up the courage, with his somewhat pushy encouragement, to attempt publishing.  And I haven’t looked back, and I am so thankful for his continuing and constant support.

 

Do you prefer Regency or Modern? Do you write for other fandoms besides JAFF? Do you have any hobbies besides JAFF?

I prefer Regency both when writing and reading.  There’s just something about that era that I find captivating. 

I do not write for any other fandoms, but I have written some nonJAFF regency. 
I used to have hobbies ─ I suppose I will have them again one day.  Perhaps in a couple of years when my youngest son is done with high school, I will find them again. J  I taught in a traditional private Christian school until this year. This year, I took on the challenge of homeschooling a highschooler, and as the year draws to a close, we are both still enjoying it so we will do it again next year. I do like to tour museums and take walks along the waterfront with my husband, and I read. So I guess I still have some hobbies.

 

What are three of your favorite resources to turn to when writing? 

Aside from my Kindle version of whichever Jane Austen novel my story is related to and the timeline for that book, I also rely on the following: 

thesaurus.com ─ I constantly have it open to double check meanings and spelling as well as to help me vary my word choice so that it conveys the emotion or tone for which I am striving.

Pinterest ─ There is a lot of good visual inspiration here, and it is a great place to pin history articles.

Youtube ─ Every book needs a sound track, right?  

 

Are there any people in your life who have inspired certain traits in your character or scenes?

Yes.  A couple of examples would be Lydia ─ yes, both examples involve her. In Through Every Storm, some of her behaviour, such as having trouble concentrating and adding columns of numbers, was inspired by students that I have watched struggle with those very things.   In So Very Unexpected, the relationship between Lydia and her sisters is inspired by my experiences growing up with four sisters. In fact, when my older sister read the book, she asked me if I was thinking about a particular thing when I wrote a certain section, and I was.  I asked her if the relationship seemed real ─ even if it does show Lydia being rather negative about Elizabeth, the sister of whom she is the most jealous.  My sister assures me it is. So, bits and pieces of real life do seep into my writing.  Sometimes this is on purpose, and sometimes it is serendipitous.

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Be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win one of two kindle e-books of any of Leenie’s books (including her newest). If you have trouble commenting here, you may leave a comment on our FB page for this blog post.

You have until our next post (we post 15th and 30th) to comment and the winners will be announced on the forum and the DarcyandLizzy.com facebook page. Please check these sites to see if you won. Comments link is right beside ‘Discussions’ at the top of the page under the title. Good luck!

We would love for you to share this post on all the social sites!

Featuring Author Ola Wegner & a Giveaway

Today on the blog we feature one of my long-time friends in JAFF who is a prolific writer. I was reading her stories long before it ever crossed my mind to write one of my own. That was because her tales drew me into the world of 1800s England so vividly. Since that time, she has published a lot of books and has secured her fanbase, keeping them begging for more. We at DarcyandLizzy hope you enjoy hearing from one of our favourite authors, Ola Wegner, as much as we enjoy featuring her. Brenda

What are you currently working on and what inspires your muse?

My next book is “Wish Upon A Star.” I have not started anything else at the moment, but I will start something new this summer, probably an arranged marriage Regency scenario but it is not 100% sure yet.

Everything inspires my muse, life, people around me and books. I read a lot and perhaps quite surprisingly, I don’t read that much romance. I love sci-fi books, crime stories but also non-fiction books concerning history, anthropology, archaeology, politics and a bit of travel books.

What prompted you to begin writing and do you write for other fandoms besides JAFF? 

I never planned to write before I started ten years ago. I never thought that I could do that—one of the biggest surprises in my life. I was actually writing my Master’s thesis and because I double majored in university I had to write two separate papers roughly at the same time, which made me really stressed. One day instead of writing about Tudor England I began writing my first story which was pretty horrible, but I had such fun with it. I thought that it was such good feeling to create stories and I stuck with it. I don’t write for other fandoms.

What first drew you to JAFF and how long have you been reading it? Do you prefer Regency or Modern? Do you have any hobbies besides JAFF? 

I was an English lit major in university; thus, I read lots of British authors. I enjoyed Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters the most. When I accidently discovered JAFF I was both floored and totally enamoured with it. I read everything I could find. Those were good times, everything was so fresh and innocent, in a way. I actually prefer Modern stories to read, perhaps because I write mostly Regency. My favourite JAFF stories ever are works by Belen from Argentina and Rika from USA who wrote Unexpected Song.

As for my other hobbies I love reading, I am really into interior design, gardening and fashion. I think that many people think I am rather shallow when they first meet me because I am always overdressed for the occasion. I love shopping and talking about clothes. In truth, I am a very serious and responsible person deep inside. 

What are three of your favorite resources to turn to when writing?

It depends, but usually it is Regency Encyclopedia, Internet in general, and my dear readers and other authors who are always willing to help.

Are there any people in your life who have inspired certain traits in your characters or scenes?

It is difficult to say because I never consciously copy people from real life to put them into stories, but afterwards when the story is finished I notice that perhaps I actually did that. I am definitely an avid observer of people.

Thank you so much for reading my interview!

Ola

 

We are offering those of you who leave a comment  a chance to win one of two kindle e-books of any of Ola’s stories (including the new one). If you have trouble commenting here, please comment on our FB page for this blog post.

You have until our next post (we post 15th and 30th) to comment. The winner to be announced on the forum and the DarcyandLizzy.com facebook page. So please check these sites to see if you have won.

To get in on the drawing, click on comments beside Discussion directly under the title. Good luck!

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. We would love for you to share it on facebook, twitter, or any other social media sites.

Catching up with Linda Blanchette & Giveaway!

Today we are featuring author Linda Blanchette Tremblay and offering you a chance to win one of two copies of any of her books just for commenting. Details regarding the contest are at the end of this post.

So, without further ado, here is what Linda had to say.

What are you currently working on and what inspires your muse? 

I am working on a story called “A brother for Darcy.”  I have often wondered if Darcy and Wickham were brothers, how much of Pride and Prejudice would have changed and a new story was born.  In this story, the Darcys take in a baby Wickham when he loses his parents.  I take the story from the time that Darcy meets young Wickham to when Darcy falls in love with Elizabeth.  All with the question of how would this simple change affect Darcy.

People inspire my muse.  I am a people watcher and love seeing people’s interaction.  It is why I second majored in Sociology. 

What prompted you to begin writing and do you write for other fandoms besides JAFF?

I read a lot of JAFF before I ever put words down on paper.  I became a plot beta for a friend who is a published writer.  One day, she said that I should write my ideas and stories.  A second career was born.   

I have begun to write a ‘North and South’ story, but I do not know if it will ever see the light of day.

What first drew you to JAFF and how long have you been reading it? Do you prefer Regency or Modern? Do you have any hobbies besides JAFF?

I adore love stories, and Pride and Prejudice was one of my favorites, but I didn’t know about fanfiction until ten years ago.  One day, I was in a store, and Abigail Reynold’s story was on sale.  In her acknowledgments, she thanked the JAFF world for their help.  It did not take long for me to search those JAFF sites and I became a fervent reader of P &P fanfiction.  

I read them all.  Some I will never read again like those including other pairings than Darcy and Elizabeth or a death of one of them, but I still read them all.  Other JAFF writers inspire me.  We are all different with unique views of Darcy and Elizabeth.  I love reading everyone’s take on our dear couple.

When I am not working, reading or writing, I am your stereotypical grandma.  I cook, sew, knit, crochet, and embroider.  I also travel with my kids and grandkids often.  We rent large houses and vacation together, generally near a beach.  My poor son in law and daughter in law, they are so sweet to allow this to happen.

 
What are three of your favorite resources to turn to when writing?

Since English is my second language, I always have a dictionary and thesaurus beside me when I am writing.  Another favorite resource is Etymology Dictionary which tells you when the word was invented.  I hate for a modern to slip into my Regency story.  My last resource is the Regency Encyclopedia.  Excellent resource if you are writing regency.  It has information for anything from laws to fashion.

Are there any people in your life who have inspired certain traits in your character or scenes? 

There have been many.  Whether is a friend or relative or a scene that has happened to me, and I think it would fit in the story.  I put them in.  However, I do change the name and try to keep the scenes vague enough, so they will not learn.  I like to keep my friends and family.

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We at DarcyandLizzy.com hope you have enjoyed hearing from Linda and to celebrate her newest book which was just posted on our forum, The Trails That Led To You, we are offering those of you who leave a comment here a chance to win one of two kindle e-books of any of her stories (including the new one). If you have trouble commenting here, please comment on the post for this blog on our facebook page.

You have until our next post (we post 15th and 30th) to comment. The winner to be announced on the forum and the DarcyandLizzy.com facebook page. So please check these sites to see if you have won.

To get in on the drawing, click on comments beside Discussion directly under the title. Good luck!

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. We would love for you to share it on facebook, twitter, or the sites accessed by the buttons below.

A new book from Melanie Schertz and a Giveaway

Recently we caught up with author Melanie Schertz to see what she was doing. We wanted to share what we learned, as well as give you an opportunity to win one of her books. Details on the giveaway are at the end of this post. For your enjoyment, here are the questions we asked Mel and her answers:

What are you currently working on and what inspires your muse?

My newest book is Fitzwilliam Darcy, Fugitive but I have several other books on the back burner.

My muse…well, I have a very strange muse.  Sometimes I will see something that just sets off a strange and unique way to play with the story.  Sometimes, when I am writing, something will happen that just makes me go off in a wacky way. One of the most vivid of them was when I had learned the man who I had hired to remodel my kitchen had taken my money and didn’t do any of the work.  I had already hired someone else to remove the old kitchen, so you can imagine my frustration.  That was when I was writing Mystical, Magical Lizzy.  Needless to say, George Wickham ended up paying the price of what I would have liked to have happen to the man who ripped me off.  If you haven’t already read that story, the flooring breaks as Wickham is standing there, and he falls, with a beam coming up between his legs.  He dies later as a certain piece of his manhood became gangrene from the injury.

I must warn you, on this new story, I was watching politics while I was attempting to decide what to do with Mr. Collins and Wickham.  I was not nice to these two men, as they became my object to reflect my frustration.  My daughter tells me that you can tell by the sort of jewelry I make what I was watching on TV or listening to in music.  I believe it is true in my writing as well.  You can see when I am watching something whimsical or something serious. When I am listening to Pink, I feel really empowered.  Love her music.

 What prompted you to begin writing and do you write for other fandoms besides JAFF?

I have been writing off and on over my life. But I never thought I would ever publish a book.  In high school, I was dyslexic, but at that time, there was no knowledge of what that was.  I was just lazy.  I am 54 years old, and self-taught on how to read easier.

I post on my blog, Mel’s JAFF Stories and with DarcyandLizzy.com.

What first drew you to JAFF and how long have you been reading it?

I got really into JAFF in 2005, after seeing the Matthew Macfadyen movie.  Back then, if we had a new JAFF story a month it was a miracle.  I would check Amazon weekly.  In 2008, I lost my career, and had to begin a new chapter in life.  That is when I started trying to start a photography business.  In 2009-2010, my health went downhill and it wasn’t until 2011, when disabled and frustrated, I began really reading stories on A Happy Assembly and fanfiction.com.  To be honest, I have still don’t know why I began posting my first story but when I did, people actually liked it.  Originally, when I published my first books, it was so I would have copies for my family.  Never in my wildest dreams did I expect them to sell. It wasn’t until after my first 2 books published in 2012 that I told my mother what I was doing, and we lived in the same house at the time.

Do you prefer Regency or Modern? Do you have any hobbies besides JAFF?

I have read a few of the modern versions, but for some reason, I have never been able to write a modern version.  Regency is my all-time fav for JAFF.  There is just something about the time that I am drawn to, even though it was not a kind time for women.  Maybe that is why most of my female characters are a bit more outspoken.

What are three of your favorite resources to turn to when writing? 

When researching, one of my all-time favorites is Wikipedia.  I have donated money to Wikipedia, as I appreciate their hard work. Another source is Jane Austen based websites which have great resources.  And I ask other JAFF authors.  There are a large group of us who are interconnected and we can go to the group and say “So, what do you think would have been the proper way of dealing with this at the time?” Everyone in the group are great about sharing the info.  Some of the most amazing authors I know I can turn to are Regina Jeffers, Sharon Lathan, Elizabeth Ann West, Joy King, April Floyd, Linda Thompson, Beverley Farr, and more.  And I have an “adopted” sister in England who is a Beta for me and gives me info on British ways in that time period (Thank you Kay Tanner).

Are there any people in your life who have inspired certain traits in your character or scenes?

As for people who have inspired traits in characters. I come from a long line of strong women.  My mom, my grandmothers, they were amazing, and I am so thankful for their impact on my life.  My daughter, Caitlin, had a great grandmother, Edith Beazer who became a grandmother to me and her caring, loving nature made a dramatic impact in my life.  She always called Cate her dancing brown-eyed doll, which became the title of my book A Pair of Dancing Brown Eyes, and has my daughter on the cover.  My father was an amazing man, and I learned a lot from life from him.  He would be behind my ideal Mr. Bennet or Uncle Gardiner.  Many of the characters have names from my family.  Helen, who I use for Mrs. Gardiner, was my dad’s mom.  When I use Edwin Gardiner, my great grandfather (my dad’s grandpa) is Edwin.

The dog, Sadie, in A Royal Bennet was based on my sweet service dog Darcy. He is on my lap in this GREAT photo of me (ha ha). However, if you insist on seeing my face, I have attached my most current picture.

 

 

 

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We at DarcyandLizzy.com hope you have enjoyed hearing from Melanie and learned something new. To celebrate her newest book now posting on our forum, Fitzwilliam Darcy – Fugitive, we are offering those of you who leave a comment here a chance to win one of two kindle e-books of any of her stories (including the new one). If you have trouble commenting here, please comment on the post for this blog on our facebook page.

The drawing will be held two weeks from today, the winner to be announced on the forum and the DarcyandLizzy.com facebook page. So please check these sites to see if you have won.

To get in on the drawing, click on comments beside Discussion directly under the title. It shows “no comments” until the first one is posted and then it will show the number of current comments. Good luck!

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. We would love for you to share it on facebook, twitter, or the sites accessed by the buttons below.

 

 

Mr. and Mrs. and More!

The following post is from DAILY WRITING TIPS website and details the permutations of abbreviations for courtesy titles. I thought it very interesting and hope you will too.

Mister developed as a variant of master. (Interestingly, the newer title came to pertain to married men, while master, once a title of respect for a social superior, was reserved for unmarried men and boys.) Originally, both master and mister were abbreviated Mr. before a person’s name as a courtesy title, but as master fell out of use, Mr. came to be applied solely as an abbreviation for mister.

Mrs. was originally a generic abbreviation of mistress before a name, but it developed into a courtesy title specifically for a married or widowed woman, while Miss, with no abbreviation, was adopted as an honorific for unmarried women. Ms. began as a variant abbreviation of mistress as a courtesy title in the 1600s but fell out of favor. (At the turn of the twentieth century, it was proposed as a substitute form of address for a woman whose marital status is unknown, but the idea did not gain traction, nor did the abbreviation catch on fifty years later when a couple of business publications brought the issue up again. However, after feminist and journalist Gloria Steinem adopted the abbreviation as the title of a new magazine for women in 1972, its use quickly spread.)

Because no native plural form of Mr. or Mrs. developed in English, the French abbreviations Messrs. (Messieurs) and Mmes. (Mesdames) were borrowed; Mses. developed in imitation, and the plural form of Miss, Misses, like the singular form, did not acquire an abbreviation. Because of the decline in use of such honorifics, the plural forms are rarely seen anymore.

As a reference to a man who embodies a certain quality, Mr. appears in such references as “Mr. Right” (the ideal man for a woman to marry) or “Mr. Big” (a man of significant authority and/or status). Missus, a derivative of mistress based on a casual pronunciation of the latter word, and Miz, a spelling based on the pronunciation of Mrs. or Miss in the southern United States, should generally be used only in dialogue in historically or geographically appropriate fiction. However, “the Mrs.” or “the missus,” spelled as shown as humorous references to one’s wife, are appropriate in informal writing.

I hope you learned something new, for I did!

 

  Brother, can you spare a dime? + An Announcement

Announcement

It has been said that all good things must come to an end, and I have found that adage to be true. Today, it is with a sad heart that I announce I am leaving Austen Authors. I began my journey with this group unsure if I could handle the duties of my forum, DarcyandLizzy.Com, write books and be a part of this wonderful group in light of my health concerns and my obligations to an older member of my family. Still, for over a year I managed to do it all and had a great time in the bargain!

Alas, nothing ever stays the same and as things have changed, I found that is no longer the case. Thus, I have decided to concentrate on my forum and what I really enjoy—writing. Though I will no longer be a part of this lovely group, I shall always appreciate the opportunity to participate that Sharon and Regina gave me.

I am not leaving JAFF and I will continue to support my friends at Austen Authors in every way possible. Hopefully, I will still see many of you on the forum and our Facebook pages.

Hugs and the best of luck to one and all!

Brenda

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BROTHER CAN YOU SPARE A DIME!

One thing I love about writing Regency stories is that you learn a lot doing research. A new term I came across while I was writing Darcy and Elizabeth – A Promise Kept was money box. Like most, I had heard of a piggybank, but I had not heard the term money box. It seems both of these names were used during different periods in time, though the term money box was used most often until the late 19th century.

After reading about them, I went in search of pictures, and it quickly became evident that common money boxes of the early 1800’s were just plain ugly. Still, I decided to incorporate a money box into my latest story and share some of the pictures and information with you.

Pottery-money-box Tudor-Green-Ware
Pottery-money-box Tudor-Green-Ware

The practice of collecting coins by putting them in ceramic vessels dates back to ancient China. At some point, a clever bureaucrat must have figured out that using ceramic jars with a small slit near the top as their only

Crude yellow clay Money box 16th century
Crude yellow clay Money box 16th century

opening would ensure all taxes collected would be turned over to the tax authority. The populace dropped their taxes (coins) into the jar, and once finished, the collector had only to deliver the coin-filled jar.

By the Tudor period, the practice of ceramic boxes had spread to England where they were called money boxes or money jars. We most often think of a box as a square or rectangular container, but in its earliest meaning, a

box was a receptacle made of any material, in any shape, which held drugs, perfumes or valuables. Therefore, it was perfectly logical to call the pottery vessels in which coins were kept money boxes.

During the Regency period, a wide range of money boxes

16th or 17th Century Money Box
16th or 17th Century Money Box

were still in use, primarily by servants and their children. They were cheaply produced, of various shapes and sizes, but typically 10-15 cm tall and round, usually glazed in brown or green, had a penny sized slot cut into them and a characteristic ‘knob’ molded on top. Nearly all servants used one to hold spare coins collected over the course of the year. By tradition, on Boxing Day, they would smash the box and use the money to enjoy themselves and buy a new box for the coming year. For that reason, these money boxes were also known as Christmas boxes and rattling boxes.

Boxes were also purchased by the middle and lower classes as gifts for babies and young children.

It was customary for a parent or god-parent to give a baby a money box into which they placed a few

1586 -1603 English Money Box
1586 -1603 Money Box 

coins to start the child’s savings. Each year, on the child’s birthday or name day, family and friends might make gifts of coins which would be dropped into the child’s money box.

Dutch Delft Dog circa 1700
Dutch Delft Dog circa 1700

As they got older, children might also earn a few coins from time to time which they also slipped into their money box. Typically, the money box was entrusted to the child’s mother, who would safeguard it and present it to the child when they came of age. Though it seems the upper classes seldom bothered with money boxes, it is always possible that a doting and/or eccentric relative might give a more expensive money box to a child and slip coins into it each year on that child’s birthday as well.

Because the nature of the money box dictated it had to be destroyed to access the coins, most were made quickly and sold cheaply. Making square or rectangular objects was more labor-intensive; thus, for centuries most were made in the shape of simple jars with a small finial or button on the top. By the turn of the eighteenth century, potters began making them domed-shaped with decorated surfaces. After being coated with a yellow glaze, these pineapple-shaped boxes sold well, and with the use of simple designs, colored glazes and cheap child labor, many potters developed a steady business.

With the advent of ceramic molding, various shapes became inexpensive to create; thus, chicken shaped boxes were turned out in great numbers. Having a palette of white, yellow, red and brown glazes, they looked quite realistic. Then, as the nineteenth century began, dogs, cats, cows, sheep, elephants and lions joined the line-up. Buildings, primarily ceramic cottages and castles, were available at the beginning of the Regency period and by 1820, were increasingly more elaborate and expensive. Afterward, they were purchased more for household ornaments than for vessels in which to save money.

Very few money boxes have survived since they were smashed when their owner wanted the coins contained within, but I have included some photos of the nicer and more interesting ones below—some from other countries.

A Fabergé silver money box, Moscow, 1908-1917, the lid inset with 1 poltina silver coin of Empress Anna Ioannovna (dated 1732), the sides with trompe l'oeil casket straps, gilt interior
A Fabergé silver money box, Moscow, 1908-1917, the lid inset with 1 poltina silver coin of Empress Anna Ioannovna (dated 1732), the sides with trompe l’oeil casket straps, gilt interior

 

A rare English earthenware pottery stoneware saltglaze money bank.  Decorated with relief molded images of a portly gentleman with a tankard of frothing ale, windmills and dogs. The side of the box has an image of a huntsman on horse chasing a fox.
A rare English earthenware pottery stoneware saltglaze money bank. Decorated with relief molded images of a portly gentleman with a tankard of frothing ale, windmills and dogs. The side of the box has an image of a huntsman on horse chasing a fox.

Money Box Heads

Early Staffordshire Money Box Heads In the early 19th century, circa 1820, these were a tuppence a ton, widely made and given to children to encourage savings. However, as the only way to get the money out was to smash them, not many have survived.

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Did you have a piggybank when you were a child and, if so, did you save for a specific purpose? I remember saving my money for our summer vacations and how thrilling it was to buy a souvenir that I selected. It would take several days before I would choose which one I simply had to have! How about you? Do you have any piggybank memories to share? I’d love to hear about them.

Information in this post came in part from: regencyredingote.wordpress.com/2015/03/13/pottery-money-boxes-of-the-regency/  and www.encyclopedia.com/topic/Piggy_Bank

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