Thursday, September 24, 2015

Blog Tour: The Unthinkable Triangle by Joana Starnes - with giveaway!

Today I welcome Joana Starnes to my blog! I have a video of myself reading an excerpt from her latest novel, 'The Unthinkable Triangle'. And there is also a giveaway - details below!

Thank you so much, Sophie, for welcoming me to ‘Laughing with Lizzie’ to start off the blog tour for my new book, and extra-special thanks for dressing up in all your finery to read out and record the excerpt. You have such a wonderful voice, perfect for Regency novels!

 My latest one, as you probably know, is the story of a love triangle.

"All is fair in love and war – or is it? What if Mr. Darcy’s rival for Elizabeth Bennet’s affections is not some inconsequential stranger, but his dearest, closest friend? How is he to reconcile the claims of loyalty and kinship with the urge to pursue his heart’s desire?"


A story not for the faint-hearted, ‘The Unthinkable Triangle’, begins at Rosings, when Mr. Darcy crosses paths with the enchanting Miss Elizabeth Bennet just as he had persuaded himself that he had finally put the past behind him.
Of course, that is nothing but self-delusion. He had not put the past behind him. The lure is as strong as ever, and growing stronger every minute that he spends in such enticing company. So there is nothing to be done about it. He must propose. He must secure her. He is most confident of her acceptance. Supremely confident, in fact – so much so that he even sets the date. The wedding is to be in two weeks’ time. A fortnight, and not one day more, until he would have his heart’s desire. And little does he know that this is nothing but yet another self-delusion, and that his well-laid schemes are to blow spectacularly into pieces. Because, a mere day before Darcy’s planned proposal, Miss Elizabeth Bennet has accepted another offer of marriage. From his best friend and dearest cousin. And, far from being over, Mr. Darcy’s troubles had only just begun.



** GIVEAWAY - ends Thursday 1st October **
I hope you will enjoy listening to the following excerpt from ‘The Unthinkable Triangle’, read out so beautifully by lovely Sophie. There is a giveaway as well, for two Kindle copies, available internationally. Please leave a comment for a chance to win. The giveaway ends on 1st October. Thanks for reading and listening, and the very best of luck!

Good luck!
Thank you again to Joana for this giveaway, and for the brilliant extract - I enjoyed reading it! I wish you all the best with this story and any future stories!

Your affectionate friend,
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Friday, September 18, 2015

A Very Special Announcement


Today I have a very special announcement to share with you! 

But rather than making my own announcement, I am going to let the wonderful Caroline Jane Knight, Jane Austen's 5th great niece, tell you all!

"It is inspiring to see the positive influence Jane has on people’s lives today.     They say life is about what you leave behind and I couldn’t be more proud of Great Aunt Jane’s legacy, my inspiration for the Jane Austen Literacy Foundation.     As Jane’s popularity continues to grow, I wanted to extend her legacy by harnessing the global passion for Austen to improve literacy rates.    Literacy is the key to self-improvement and unlocking potential.    Reading and writing are essential skills for anyone who wants to understand, enjoy and influence the world around them. The foundation raises money to help create CONFIDENT READERS and PROUD WRITERS by providing FREE books and writing materials to communities in need around the world, in honour of Jane.     We are a volunteer organisation with all monies raised spent on literacy resources and fundraising activity.   We are currently raising funds to provide literacy resources for the displaced children of Syria, delivered on the ground by UNICEF.

I only joined Facebook a year ago and was amazed to discover a world of Austen, involving Janeites from around the world, enthusiastically and vibrantly celebrating and discussing all aspects of Jane’s life and works.      With over 7000 websites and social media profiles associated with Jane, there is a never ending stream of content to keep even the most ardent Janeite engaged.    

One in particular caught my eye; “Laughing with Lizzie”, a young woman who seemed to have a lot of fun dressing up in regency costume, visiting Jane’s former homes, participating in Austen events and sharing it all with thousands of followers in a well written blog.     I was intrigued.   Why did this young woman dedicate her time to celebrating Jane Austen?     I reached out and arranged to talk to the woman behind the blog, Sophie Andrews.    Sophie is a delight to know personally and her journey with Jane truly heart-warming, a story I will leave for Sophie to share.

Before discovering Austen, Sophie wasn’t a big reader but the discovery of the magic that lay in the pages of Pride & Prejudice, that just got better with every read, changed that and was the start of Sophie's love affair with the written word.  As a keen writer herself, Sophie was able to imagine the frustration of wanting to write but having no paper or pen and without hesitation offered to help promote the foundation.

I am pleased to announce Sophie Andrews, aka “Laughing with Lizzie”, as an Ambassador for the Jane Austen Literacy Foundation.     We are thrilled to have Sophie’s support to help us create CONFIDENT READERS and PROUD WRITERS, in honour of Jane."

Thank you Caroline for such kind words, and more importantly, for allowing me the opportunity to be an ambassador for such a worthwhile charity. It is an honour and I am very much looking forward to doing all I can to help the charity!


As Caroline mentioned, Jane Austen has been very important in my life, for many different reasons. I was just9 when I saw the 2005 film version of Pride and Prejudice, but I was a little too young to fully understand the language, so it didn’t really make an impression on me. I watched that film a few more times and as I grew up I began to fall completely in love with it!  But I still wasn’t hooked on Jane Austen, it was just Pride and Prejudice – or actually, to be more accurate, I was just hooked on Mr. Darcy! However, back in 2011 I was going to be studying Pride and Prejudice for my English exams, and so that summer I had to read it - you have to understand that at the time I really wasn’t a reader. However, given I enjoyed the film, I was looking forward to it. When I was on my summer holidays I read it in a week. I just couldn’t put it down! It seemed strange to my family to see me engrossed in a book, as I guess I used to be like Emma Woodhouse in regards to books and reading! Pride and Prejudice was amazing from start to finish, and from that point I was caught up in the elegance and eloquence of Miss Austen's world and words!

I re-read Pride and Prejudice straight afterwards and I really enjoyed studying it at school, becoming the class expert. Following this, I read Sense and Sensibility, then Emma, followed by Persuasion, Northanger Abbey and finally Mansfield Park. There was no stopping me! Having devoured the 6 main stories, I devoted myself to studying all aspects of the Jane Austen phenomenon, from the film and television adaptations, to the fan fiction, commentaries, critiques, information books and biographies, as well as the worldwide online Jane Austen community. There was no going back now - I had become a true and proud Janeite.

Fast forward a year or so, and after a lot of 'persuasion' (if you'll excuse the pun!) from a friend, I eventually started my blog, "Laughing With Lizzie" . It was my space to rant and rave about my passion for Jane Austen. It was also my escape; I was having a hard time at school and some family illnesses at the time (that is a whole other story I won't go into now!), and so I really threw myself whole heartedly into the world of Jane, enjoying my escape into her world through her books, and subsequently my blog. Slowly, slowly my blog became more well known, and then about a year and a half ago I started my facebook page. From there, I have no idea how, but so many amazing things have happened for me and I have participated in so many wonderful events. I have to pinch myself every day, as it is all beyond my wildest dreams.

An example of the charity in action
Fast forward again to a few months ago, when I noticed a certain Caroline Jane Knight had liked my facebook page. I sent Caroline a message of thanks, and before I knew it, I was actually talking to Jane Austen's descendant on skype! Caroline told me all about growing up Chawton House, and about her charity she has recently founded. I was fascinated by both, but the foundation really caught my attention; a charity that was using Jane's popularity and her legacy to do some good in the world. It really hit home with me, given how much Jane Austen has changed my life. We continued to skype every few weeks, until Caroline asked if I would be an ambassador for the charity. As you can imagine, I jumped at the chance! 


I mentioned earlier how I never used to be a reader, well, the truth is that I had never read another ‘proper’ book before Pride and Prejudice!  Jane Austen brought me to reading, and so being able to have the opportunity to help bring the joy of reading to others, as Jane did for me, is truly wonderful.

The foundation is also helping to create proud writers, as well as confident readers, and this is also something I really would like to help in promoting, for, without the ability to write, I would not be sitting here right now writing this post. I would not have had a blog full stop.

Jane Austen really has been a huge influence in my life, even in just 5 years! As I cannot thank Jane Austen personally for all she done for me, this opportunity to help use her legacy to bring the ability to read and write to others seemed like the perfect way of saying thank you to Jane for bringing reading, and to a certain extent writing, to me.


I am even more pleased to be able to say I had the opportunity to meet a fellow ambassador the other day. Simon Langton, director of the ground breaking 1995 mini-series of Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth, was announced as the first ambassador a few weeks back, and during a recent conference at Chawton House Library - which is even more appropriate, given that the founder, Caroline Knight, was the last generation of Knights to grow up there! - celebrating 20 years since the mini-series. It was lovely to be able to meet him in person. He was a lovely gentleman and just as passionate about the charity as I am.


 Can you spot anything different about the front of the books we are holding? That little white label proudly adorning our books? What you can see is a very special Jane Austen Literacy Foundation bookplate! Bookplates are a traditional way to indicate ownership of physical books. Especially when books were scarce and expensive, labelling books was an important way of keeping track of your property, whilst still allowing them to be loaned out and circulated.   And what is even better is that you can own one yourself, personalised with you name in Jane's hand and its own unique number, perfect to stick into your favourite book, showing your support of the charity. All you have to do is head over to the foundation website,click on the donate button, and once your donation has been processed, you will receive by email your personalised bookplate! Simple as that!


Once again I would like to say a big thank you for allowing me to come onto your blog to share my special announcement with you and your readers. I did not come empty handed either, I am able to say that I have a fantastic competition to enter!


Bath Boutique Stays have been so kind as to offer a 1 Night Mid-Week stay for two in an apartment at 4 Sydney Place, Jane Austen’s former Home in Bath.

All you need to do to enter to win this fabulous prize, is to predict the following question:

How many steps is it from Lizzy Bennet’s Penthouse Apartment to the carriage awaiting her at the front door of 4 Sydney Place?

 (Three flights of stairs and the hallway.)

Please email your answers to Lucy Bennett (her real name!) at and the person who guesses the correct - or comes closest to it! - amount of steps will win! 

The competition entries end on 2nd October.



Your affectionate friend,
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Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Blog Tour: Yours Forevermore, Darcy - with giveaway!

I am thrilled today to be part of the blog tour for the lovely KaraLynne Mackrory's latest release, Yours Forevermore, DarcyMy thanks must also go to Jakki of Leatherbound Reviews for asking me to be part of this tour.

Hello readers! It is a pleasure to be here at Laughing with Lizzie and my dear friend Sophie.  I am so pleased to be stopping here on my blog tour of Yours Forevermore, Darcy.
Here is a little bit about my book:
Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy has a secret. The letter he presented to Miss Elizabeth Bennet after his ghastly proposal is not the only epistle he has written her. In this tale of longing, misadventure and love – readapted from Jane Austen’s dearly loved Pride & Prejudice - our hero has learned a powerful way of coping with his attraction to Miss Bennet. He writes her unsent letters. The misguided suitor has declared himself, and Elizabeth Bennet has refused him, most painfully. Without intending for these letters to become known to another soul, Mr. Darcy relies on his secret for coping once again. However, these letters, should they fall into the wrong hands, could create untold scandal, embarrassment and possibly heartbreak. But what happens should they fall into the right hands?
Delicious, yes?  Oh Darcy, you romantic fool – what scrapes will your habit get you into now!  Today I present to you an excerpt from the book.  It is from the prologue and actually takes place two months into the storyline.  Shall we drop in on Darcy post Hunsford and see how he is coping?
“Yours forevermore, Darcy
Darcy rubbed his face while he waited for the ink to dry. Groaning, he folded the missive then addressed and sealed it. It was to her—always her. Miss Elizabeth Bennet. Unfortunately, he was never to send her this letter or any others he had written her. It had begun as a cathartic activity for him to write to her. Whenever he had felt overwhelmed by his feelings, he would pull out a fresh sheet, address it to her, and write them down. Then, just like all the others, to finish it off, he would write her direction and seal it. Knowing that she would not receive it did not deter him. And now it had become a compulsion of sorts.
Looking at the letter sitting upon his desk, he laughed humorlessly for being so ridiculous. It was one thing to write to her. It was quite another to complete the process by preparing it to post. But in his mind, those final steps made him feel he was sealing his feelings away. The Darcy crest stamped into the hot wax was an ultimate statement that he had purged those feelings within him. Standing, Darcy went to his bookshelf, removed a large tome, and brought it to his desk. The volume had been hollowed out long before he assumed ownership of it from his father. His father had used it as a secret hiding spot for important documents. But Darcy had since installed locks on his desk, so for years the tome had no purposeuntil some many months before when he first met one Elizabeth Bennet of Longbourn and began to write. Now it held all his letters to her. Despite their innocuous nature, he was loath to part with any of them.
Tenderly, Darcy placed the latest letter on top the others, closed the book, and replaced it at the corner of his desk instead of returning it to the shelf. He ought to have done so, but was not yet ready to put that much distance, even the extra few feet, between him and this connection he held with Elizabeth. Drawing a deep breath, Darcy pulled his estate book in front of him to look at the agenda for the day. He had a meeting scheduled soon with his solicitor, and it would not do to be so distracted. Glancing down at the date, he stilled. Has it really been two months since Hunsford? Nearly undone again, Darcy allowed his head to drop to the desk. He was still tortured by that day, his terrible words, and the hateful fire in her eyes, haunting him. Worst was the indelible fact that she was lost to him forevermore. He had written her then the only letter he had actually given her. Suddenly, the parting appellation in his most recent letter came back to his mind in full poignancy. His heart might forever be hers but she would never be his. He had accepted these terms, convincing himself that he ought to remember her in love and allow her rebuke to make him a better man.
Darcy stopped himself from reaching for another piece of paper. If he wrote to her every time his heart broke, he would be inundated with letters, their words surrounding him like a cage. Somehow, he must conquer this torment and be master under good regulation again. Determined, he began his preparation for the meeting with his solicitor, forcing himself to think of other things.”
Enter to win a copy of Yours Forevermore, Darcy and read more of our romantic hero. 
Thanks again for stopping by!  I hope you enjoy the book.
KaraLynne Mackrory

Author Bio:

KaraLynne is an amazing mother who never makes mistakes, never gets upset with her children and never ever has a dirty house. Ever. She always has her dishes done and the floors spotless and dinner is always prepared and ready on time. Her kids are always clean, polite, respectful and loving, especially to each other. She never gets irritated with her husband when he doesn’t turn his socks right side out for the laundry and they always agree on everything. She delights in nothing else but to serve her family and never wants or needs time for herself. She takes great care to shower every day and put make up on so that she is always beautiful and presentable. She never wears her pajamas all day or for days in a row and she is the epitome of womanhood. Most of all, she has a great sense of humor and loves to write.

Okay, in all honesty –  KaraLynneMackrory is no newbie to the writing world.  She made her debut as an author at the tender age of 13 when she wrote her first set of bad poetry. Angsty and emotionalteenage-drama filled – they were unbelievable disasters.  Such contributions to the literary world were deemed so terrible that today they are kept behind lock and key to protect others from their awfulness.  As a young adult she steered clear of soap opera drama inspired works and achieved a degree in Social Work.  It was not until her late twenties that she returned to her roots in writing.  Since then she has published three Austen inspired novels so full of romantic sensibilities as to give you a toothache and a grin and hopefully a few contented sighs.  She is thrilled to report that Falling For Mr. Darcy, Bluebells in the Mourning and Haunting Mr. Darcy: A Spirited Courtshipare a mite better than the bad poetry.



** GIVEAWAY - ends Wednesday 23rd September**
One lucky winner will receive an ebook copy of Yours Forevermore, Darcy. It is open internationally 

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

Please leave your email address. If you are the lucky winner, I will pass on your email to Jakki who will be in touch.

Good luck! (All giveaway books are ordered at the same time. Therefore, winners from the beginning of the blog tour will have to wait longer to receive their book than winners from the end of the tour. Thank you in advance for your patience.)

My thanks again goes to KaraLynne Mackrory for this tantalising excerpt, and to Jakki for setting up this tour!

I wish KaraLynne all the best with this latest release as well as any stories in the future!


Your affectionate friend,
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