Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Blog Tour: Remember the Past by Maria Grace - with giveaway!

Today I welcome the lovely Maria Grace to my blog who has just released her new story, Remember the Past. Maria has sent me a fascinating post about the Anatomy of a fan as well as an excerpt from her new book! I have been honoured with a review copy of this story so watch for my review in the next few weeks!

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Thanks for having me Sophie! It is so nice to get to visit with you.

One of the things I enjoy most about the writing process is the creation of memorable, three dimensional characters that the reader can get to know and remember like an old friend.

In Remember the Past, one of my favorite characters to create was Lady Catherine de Bourgh.  In this book, she ended up being a very different character than from even what I envisioned at the start.  She took a life of her own and insisted that she break the typical mold. 

One of her distinguishing characteristics is her fans.  Lady Catherine always has a fan with her. While she does not use ‘the language of the fan’ she does use her fan to express herself and make her point very clear when speaking to her nephews, Darcy and Col. Fitzwilliam.

I had to do a bit of research on Regency era fans in the process of developing her character and I learned a few interesting things about fans that you might find as interesting as I did..

Several different forms of fans existed, going in and out of style like most fashion accessories.



Fixed
The earliest fans, often made of wood or feathers attached to a handle, did not fold. Thus, they were called fixed. Their popularity faded with the convenience of the folding fan.



Folding
Several forms of folding fans exist.
            Brise’
Brise’ fans consists of sticks only with no leaf. Individual sticks that get wider from the rivet  to the top are fastened together with a ribbon or decorative fabric band.   The sticks might be decorated individual with painting, gilding, piercing or carving, or together to form a scene or image when opened.  Inexpensive brise’ fans might be made of wood. Ivory, tortoise shell and mother of pearl could be very fashionable.




            Pleated
            Pleated fans are the most common folding fans. Sticks are held together at the bottom rivet and a leaf or mount is attached to them. Leaves might be made from paper, silk or other fabric, kid, lace, feathers or vellum.    




Cockade fans were are a type of pleated fan in which the stiff pleated leaf is attached to two sticks.  The sticks open full circle and fasten together to form a hand.
                        Cabriolet fans are pleated fans with a leaf of multiple, separate strips.  These leaf strips were made of chicken skin (vellum) since it was the only material strong enough to withstand the wear and tear in such narrow bands.



 Decoration

While useful, fans are most often considered a fashion accessory and prized for their beauty.
Master artists and individual ladies alike decorated fans with paintings on silk and paper leaves. Landscapes were popular themes, as were the depiction of persons. Biblical and mythological themes were favored by some, while others leaned toward caricatures. As demand for decorative fans increased, designs were printed, rather than painted or paper or silk, permitting the production of less expensive fans.





 Here’s a little excerpt of the book so you can get a peak of Lady Catherine in action with her fan.

Remember the Past

Aunt Catherine swept into Darcy’s office, her skirts swooshing like the winds on the cusp of a thunderstorm.
“What can I do for you?” Darcy lowered his book enough to catch a glimpse of her face. Hers was an expression he would just as soon not see.
She thumped her hands on his desk. “What did you say to her?”
“To whom?”
She shot him a milk-curdling glare.
Yes, he knew, but had no desire to discuss it. He lifted his book a little higher. “I said nothing.”
“The poor girl was beside herself when she fled to her room.” She pulled her fan from her pocket.
“Miss Elizabeth is in no way given to such inappropriate displays.” No, she was not going to apply that instrument to him.
Distance, he needed distance. Perhaps the window…who was he fooling? Little good it would do, but he had to try something to deter her.
“What did you find to criticize, Darcy? Was her behavior—”
“Enough!” He whirled.
She stood far too close, her eyes far too penetrating and perceptive. “What happened?”
Escape was impossible.
She edged closer still, tapping her closed fan in her palm. Shuck. Shuck. Shuck. He hated that sound.
“Nothing. Fitzwilliam and I found the boys playing at swords with the Admiral and Miss Elizabeth.” He stared over her head, anywhere but at her.
Miss Elizabeth had been a sight, sword in hand. How easily she eluded Fitzwilliam’s feints. Mesmerizing … He tugged his collar.
“She joined in their games?”
No, he would not acknowledge the question, not even with a twitch.
“She assumed you disapproved—which is not at all difficult, considering the fierce mien you usually wear.” The fan slapped his cheek hard enough to sting.
“You go too far, madam.”
“I do not go far enough. Your mother would be horrified by your lack of hospitality. My dearest Anne would never have stood for it.”
He glowered and sidestepped.
“The poor girl has been through enough. She does not need you adding to her sorrow.”
 Shuck. Shuck. Shuck.
“What are you talking about?” He ground his teeth and stomped across the room. Away from that wretched fan.
“You are not a simpleton. You can puzzle it out.”
“I cannot fathom to what you allude.”
“Oy,” she chased him down. “What kind of reception do you think a woman like her received from the ton?”
“You mean one sponsored by a prince, with a father as decorated and connected as the Admiral, and possessing a handsome fortune?”
She flipped her fan open and fluttered it sharply. “Miss Elizabeth is all those things as well as striking and intelligent, unconventional and outspoken.”
“How does that signify?”
“Must I spell it out?”
“I have no time for this. Tell me plainly or leave me.”
“The poor dear has been treated infamously by no less than three suitors, men more interested in her fortune and connections than in her.” She folded her arms, tucking her fan into her elbow.
“Of what concern is this to me?”
“When she discovered their duplicity, she rejected them soundly. Naturally, they spread vicious gossip about her to well-connected, jealous women only too happy to take revenge on one so far above themselves in fortune and consequence and character.”
Just one of the reasons he avoided London. “And I imagine she told you of this herself.”
“Certainly not. The dear girl rarely speaks of herself, or had you not noticed? No, it was her sister—after she inquired what were your intentions toward Miss Elizabeth.” She poked him in the chest with her fan.
“My intentions?” He sputtered and edged backwards. If his ears grew any hotter they would surely ignite. “They have been here less than a se’nnight. What intentions—”
“You think you are subtle with those looks you and Fitzwilliam give both those girls.”
“Enough, madam.”
“They are worthy young ladies. And their fortunes—”
“I am not in need of a woman’s fortune to fill my coffers. Pemberley is quite solvent, thank you.” He strode to his desk.
“My Anne’s dowry—”
“Is set aside for her younger son. I have not touched a pound of it, nor will I.”
Her voice softened to something quite tender. “Your management is impeccable.”
“Thank you.”
“You cannot deny Miss Elizabeth is a brilliant match, though.”
“I am in no mood to give consequence to young ladies slighted by other men.” He slammed his hands on the desktop.
“Stubborn man! At the very least, as a gentleman you should apologize for discomposing her.”
“I do not wish to elevate—”
“Oh do not fear,” frost crackled on her voice, “she is certain of your contempt. Your apology will not raise hopes she did not have to begin with.” She swished a cloak of indignation around her shoulders and stormed out.
Darcy shut the door behind her, emptiness filling his belly until he sank into his favorite chair. What was more troubling, that others saw his admiration for Miss Elizabeth, or that Miss Elizabeth could not?
He knew her to be upset, but the possibility of hurting her was insupportable. Somehow, he had to rectify the misunderstanding. She must not be somewhere in the world thinking ill of him.


Book Blurb:

Elizabeth Bennet’s father, Admiral Thomas Bennet, assures his daughters that his retirement from His Majesty’s Navy will be the start of a new life for them all. Little does he know his family's battles have only just begun. 

Well-connected and in possession of a good fortune, their entry into society should have been a triumph.  However, their long-awaited first season in London proves a disaster, and the resulting scandal sends the Bennets fleeing to the wilds of Derbyshire.

Widower Fitzwilliam Darcy, the master of Pemberley, wants for nothing, most especially not a wife. From the moment the Bennets arrive in Derbyshire, Darcy’s neatly ordered life turns upside down. His sons beg to keep company with their new playmates, the young Bennet twins. His mother-in-law sets her cap for Admiral Bennet. Worst of all, Darcy cannot get his mind off a certain bewitching Miss Elizabeth Bennet, but she has sworn never to let another gentleman near her heart. 

Darcy’s best efforts to befriend and assist the Bennet family go horribly awry, alienating first Miss Elizabeth, then her father, and finally endangering what both men hold most dear. Can the two men Elizabeth loves most set aside their pride to prevent catastrophe for their families and win the love they seek?


**GIVEAWAY - ends Tuesday 19th August **

Maria has provided me a giveaway!  One lucky winner will receive an ebook copy of Remember the Past. This giveaway is open internationally.  

To enter, leave a comment below and the winner will be picked randomly. 

Please leave your email address and which format you would like for the ebook. If you are the lucky winner, I will pass on your email to Maria who will be in touch. 

Good luck!

Thank you again to Maria for this giveaway to for such a fun post and an intriguing excerpt! I cannot wait to read it! I wish you all the best with this story as well as the future ones! As I said, watch for my review in the next few weeks! 

Buy Links


Author Bio
Though Maria Grace has been writing fiction since she was ten years old, those early efforts happily reside in a file drawer and are unlikely to see the light of day again, for which many are grateful. After penning five file-drawer novels in high school, she took a break from writing to pursue college and earn her doctorate in Educational Psychology. After 16 years of university teaching, she returned to her first love, fiction writing.

She has one husband, two graduate degrees and two black belts, three sons, four undergraduate majors, five nieces, sown six Regency era costumes, written seven Regency-era fiction projects, and designed eight websites. To round out the list, she cooks for nine in order to accommodate the growing boys and usually makes ten meals at a time so she only cooks twice a month.


She can be contacted at:

Facebook:
On Amazon.com:
Random Bits of Fascination (http://RandomBitsofFascination.com)

Austen Variations (http://AustenVariations.com)

English Historical Fiction Authors
White Soup Press (http://whitesouppress.com/)

On Twitter @WriteMariaGrace



Your affectionate friend,
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14 comments:

  1. I had never used a fan until menopause. Now it's always with me though I've never used it to whack someone. How remiss of me. Great information Maria Grace. Thanks to you and Sophie my husband had best watch out!

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  2. love to read this - pdf l.walker180@hotmail.co.uk

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  3. This book looks really great and the fan post was intersecting.
    Mobi format betta_grl(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  4. Thank you so much for the information on the fans. I had a cabriolet fan I bought in Spain many years ago, but sadly, it never made it home. I very much enjoyed the e-book and most especially Lady Catherine. She was refreshing and likable. :-)

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  5. I have never used a fan, I wonder how much your arm would ache from the constant use

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  6. My mom and sister used to give demonstrations on fans, how they were made and the language of a fan!! Love this so much! I would love a PDF version of this book!
    My email address is dramaqueen4ever96@gmail.com

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  7. Love all the information on fans. Very interesting. I also liked seeing Lady Catherine in a different light as well.
    Kindle Version sagangray(a)yahoo.com

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  8. This was so interesting, thank you!! I've always loved fans, they are so pretty. I wish we still carried them! :) The book sounds lovely and the cover is beautiful!
    Kindle version i_lovenuk(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  9. This was a wonderful story. So different than other stories about Elizabeth and Darcy. Reading Lady Catherine character was worth the price of the book.

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  10. Sounds like a wonderful book, thank you SO much for the awesome excerpt! Always love when the minor characters like Lady Catherine are brought to the forefront :) I think I like the Cabriolet and Decorative fans the best too :D

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  11. Love fans. So decorative and useful!!! I would love to win the book, in PDF format!

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  12. Thank you for the excerpt. I am intrigued by this unique twist. Loving Lady Catherine. Thank you for the giveaway. It would make a wonderful addition to my kindle.
    Cherringtonmb at sbcglobal dot net

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