It’s not a complete surprise—the advanced reader team has had a look already—but I wanted to share my new cover for the second edition of Undeceived: Pride and Prejudice in the Spy Game.
Thanks to the staff at 100Covers for the great design!
I endeavor to undeceive people as to the rest of his conduct, who will believe
–Pride & Prejudice, Chapter 40
Elizabeth Bennet, a rookie counterintelligence officer, lands an intriguing first assignment—investigating the CIA’s legendary William Darcy, who is suspected of being a double agent. Darcy’s charmed existence seems at an end as he fights for his career and struggles against his love for the young woman he doesn’t know is watching his every move.
Unexpected twists abound in this suspenseful Cold War era romance inspired by Jane Austen’s classic tale.
It’s been an eventful month here—I’ve put the final touches on an audiobook version of I Could Write a Book, narrated by Emily Rahm, which released this week on Audible, Amazon, and Apple Books.
And I’ve been busy writing thank-yous for inclusion of a couple of my projects on some wonderful Best of 2018 lists! It’s always gratifying when reviewers remember something from WAY back in the summer at the end of year, and remember it favorably enough to call it out as a fave.
Son of a Preacher Man made Rita’s Top 2018 List at From Pemberley to Milton, who called it “one of the best books I’ve read this year.”
Rita also gave a shout-out to the anthology I formatted for Christina Boyd’sYuletide, a holiday story collection, with proceeds to benefit Chawton House (great house on the estate of Jane Austen’s brother, where Chawton Cottage and the Center for Early Women Writers are located.)
And finally, Rational Creatures, an anthology celebrating the female characters of Jane Austen (my story was about Eleanor Tilney) was included on Laurel Ann’s AustenProse as a 2018 Favorite, AND on Austenesque Reviews as Meredith’s favorite anthology and a Reader’s Choice for 2018.
So, as much as I thought of 2018 as a standstill year, author-wise, I can see now that it really wasn’t—it was just another step on the journey.
*Author’s Note* This is a blog post I wrote while I was writing what would eventually become I Could Write a Book – 2 1/2 years ago if you can imagine that. It seemed a fitting way to celebrate the audiobook release. So, sit back and enjoy a few minutes with…Mr. Knightley.*
I’m currently immersed in Jane Austen’s Emma as I try to finish my current WIP, a 1970s adaptation of our beloved authoress’s fourth published novel. It’s daunting work, as the original contains intricacies of dialogue, characterization, and plot that are simply genius, all done with a subtlety that’s hard to approximate. (I don’t think anyone can exactly emulate it.) As I lingered over Emma, I gained a huge appreciation for Mr. Knightley, to the point I’m now book-boyfriend crushing on him. Mr. Darcy may be more famous—brooding, infuriating, teasing hunk of man that he is—and Wentworth writes the best letters (ever, in the history of the English language) but George Knightley has the corner on gentlemanly behavior, in my humble opinion. And he’s got this amazing house. So, with that glowing recommendation I give you:
The 5 Best Things about Mr. Knightley
1. He tells it like it is. Whether he’s talking about Frank Churchill (“Hum! Just the trifling, silly fellow I took him for.”), Mr. Elton (“…you would have chosen for him better than he has chosen for himself.”) or even his Emma (“Nonsensical girl!”) , he doesn’t pull any punches. Yet he’s not loud or belligerent about it. You can trust a man who’s that honest. You can really appreciate a man who’s that discreet.
2. He’s an excellent dancer.
But you’d never know it from his own mouth. He’s excellent at a lot of things, but he’s modest and confident enough to let his actions do the talking, unlike other gentlemen we know (cough, cough Frank Churchill.)
3. He genuinely cares about people.
From giving the last of his favorite apples to Miss Bates, to talking up Robert Martin to Harriet Smith, to visiting with hypochondriacal Mr. Woodhouse and socially isolated Emma, he’s just plain kind to others. Two hundred years have gone by, and that kindness has never gone out of style.
4. He can shut up Mrs. Elton.
Consider this example:
“Oh, leave all that to me; only give me a carte blanche. I am Lady Patroness, you know. It is my party. I will bring friends with me.” “I hope you will bring Elton, ” said he; “but I will not trouble you to give any other invitations.” “Oh, now you are looking very sly; but consider—you need not be afraid of delegating power to me. I am no young lady on her preferment. Married women, you know, may be safely authorised. It is my party. Leave it all to me. I will invite your guests.” “No, ” he calmly replied, “there is but one married woman in the world whom I can ever allow to invite what guests she pleases to Donwell, and that one is —” “Mrs. Weston, I suppose,” interrupted Mrs. Elton, rather mortified. “No—Mrs. Knightley; and till she is in being, I will manage such matters myself.”
5. He loves Emma, warts and all.
He calls her “his dearest, most beloved” but accepts that she, like all of us, is a work-in-progress. His eyes are wide open, but that doesn’t diminish his regard for her. He believes in the possibility of her best self, forgives when she screws up and loves on.
What say you? Are you a Knightley fan? Does he have other endearing qualities I’ve forgotten? If he doesn’t burn your butter, why not?
To celebrate the holidays, several Austenesque authors with ties to the US South, led by the intrepid Elizabeth Adams, have come together to put together a giveaway box of Southern Comfort—chock full of books and goodies.
Authors Elizabeth Adams, Jack Caldwell, Karen M Cox (yours truly), LL Diamond, Leigh Dreyer, Beau North, Samantha Whitman; Quill Ink editor, Christina Boyd; and Austenesque Reviewer, Meredith Esparza have teamed up to fill the goody box.
One lucky winner will be chosen after the giveaway closes on December 31, 2018. For a chance to enter, please visit Rafflecopter here.
Good luck! And best wishes for a joyous New Year, y’all!
It’s started – the best of 2018 list season. I’m always ambivalent about the Best of Lists, until I’m on one – lol. Seriously, it’s amazing to know someone enjoyed my work enough to remember it fondly months later.
This week, Tina at Half Agony, Half Hope blog honored Son of a Preacher Man by including it on her Best Books List for the year, and I’m thrilled about it. My beloved SoaPM is in some excellent company, and Tina called the book “a sweet romance that I didn’t know I needed until I read it.”
I loved that statement because, for me, Son of a Preacher Man was the book I didn’t know I needed to write until I wrote it. The idea started as almost a joke as I discussed Pride & Prejudice “bad” Lizzys and aloof Darcys with my Jane Austen fangirl friends.
But then I started writing it.
Sure, there’s humor in Billy Ray and Lizzy’s story. There’s lust, and passion, and longing, and other things that draw us into their world.
But Son of a Preacher Man is also a story of love—a love that stands the test of time. It’s a story about families and friends, and how they shape us into the people we become. It’s a story about a young man and a young woman learning who they are while society begins to shift around them, and how they learn to stand up for what they think is right for others—and for themselves.
And most of all, to me—its creator—Son of a Preacher Man is a story about the power of forgiveness.
It’s my special book baby, and it makes me happy and proud when other readers see in it what I saw when I was the vessel for that story, making its appearance in the world.
So, this seemed like a good time to say “thanks” to the readers who’ve read Son of a Preacher Man, to those who have taken the time to review it, to the people who helped make it a reality, and to Tina, who told her friends they would like it.