Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Visiting this Holiday Season


Hi Friends!

Happy Holidays!  Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa and Festivus and happy anything else you can think of. In other words - I hope you're happy and having a good time!

Between the Villa Fortuna Bake Shop Swap, the FB VF Launch Party, beginning a new writing project, and visiting the bloggersphere this holiday season, I've been a joyfully busy lady! So far the reviews for Villa Fortuna are everything a girl could ask for and I'm overjoyed!! One even said she loves me!! How's that for a thumbs up?! LOL

Thank you to all my friends, who participated in the bake swap and made the launch so very special. We shared some fabulous recipes and began our holiday season on the right foot: eating sweets. Bakery Here  And yes, I am toying with the idea of have a Vanity & Pride Press Weight Loss Contest after all the sinfulness of the season.

First order of business is to announce that DEZINGER is the WINNER of the little giveaway I hosted here last month. Friend, CONGRATULATIONS, you have won the gorgeous Jane Austen Illustrated 2016 Peacock Edition Calendar designed by JT Originals.  http://www.jt-originals.com/2016-calendar.html  Shoot me an email, and I'm delighted to get it out to you!  Thank you so much for commenting!

If you haven't stopped by Villa Fortuna's blog visits yet, you must do so for some good ole fashion celebrating - GIVEAWAY time!! Please support these lovely ladies with your comments and cheer! And Good Luck!!



Villa Fortuna: Pride, Prejudice & a Haircut by Cat Gardiner! Review and Giveaway!
December 9, 2015 by Margiesmustreads · 

"It is rather amazing to me that in just one year, Cat Gardiner has managed to write 3 JAFF books that have easily become some of my absolute favorites! I love her!" ...http://margiesmustreads.com/2015/12/villafortuna/


* Rating: 5 stars out of 5 * 

“VILLA FORTUNA,” BY CAT GARDINER/ A REVIEW AND SOME GIVEAWAYS, ITALIAN STYLE!

"After reading “Villa Fortuna,” I believe that Cat Gardiner has created another fabulous read that will appeal to a wide range of readers!" ... http://justjane1813.com/2015/12/04/villa-fortuna-by-cat-gardiner-a-review-and-a-giveaway/

If you haven't yet added Villa Fortuna to your TBR list, consider it. I think you'll have a few laughs and maybe give a try to some of the recipes within. Here's your Santa link: 
May the coming year be blessed for you and your loved ones!  See you at my next blog tour stop at Delighted Reader on December 16

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Holiday Fun and Sisterly Love

It's here, kittens!  I am so elated to announce that Villa Fortuna has published on Amazon in e-Book. Nook should be live any hour or so, and the paperback will be forthcoming next week. Get your e-Book copy here:



Book Blurb:
Inspired by Jane Austen's most beloved Pride and Prejudice characters. Discover the romance and comedy of Villa Fortuna where Little Italy collides with the country club set … at a hair salon.

Dr. Elizabeth Fairchild lived an orderly and focused life in Los Angeles until …

an unexpected death, a questionable inheritance, and an eighty-year-old Mafia vendetta required a trip home to New York City's Little Italy neighborhood in the Bronx. After thirteen years of running from her Italian-American upbringing, Elizabeth dreaded returning to the ethnic world of colorful hand gestures, passionate arguments, and living with her two stereotypical sisters in their rundown apartment above a bakery.

Her plan: get in, take care of business, celebrate Christmas, and then escape as quickly as possible. However, returning to the Bronx assailed the senses like her mother's lasagna. She didn't count on Italian pastry, homemade wine, a beauty parlor, and the enticement of a dashing plastic surgeon known as Michelangelo.

Will Elizabeth flee her childhood home where the foundation of faith and famiglia is so strong? Or will she stay and embrace all the traditions that once embarrassed her? Should she succumb or resist her elder sister's admonishment,

“Your home is where your heart is, and we are your heart—marinara, cannolis, the church, and the family! The whole shebang!" 

~~**~~

If your stomach is growling for sweets, check out the Villa Fortuna Bakery for newly added delicious recipes from our bakers! http://villafortunabakery.blogspot.com/

Friday, November 20, 2015

Countdown to Cannoli

Mamma mia! I can't believe it is only 11 Days until the release of my third novel, Villa Fortuna!  A novel born out of a real life plot bunny taken from my family history - the tragic loss of our own "Villa Fortuna" in the late 1930s, coupled with my mother's Italian-American heritage from the Bronx, New York City. The place of my birth.

Writing another Austenesque Romantic Comedy over this past year has brought more joys than I imagined (and not just cannoli or David Gandy lusting,) and I'll be sharing that incredible experience at one of my blog tour destinations. So look for that.

So the end result is just the beginning and this is what I've concluded: 
  • I've gained five pounds (more like 10) baking the eight recipes within the book and even kicked off a bake swap with some of Vanity & Pride Press's incredible friends. villafortunabakery.blogspot.com/ Yes, I think a 2016 diet may be in order. 
  • I've been psyched for Christmas, listening to the soundtrack these last six months, and it'll probably continue well into the New Year! The book and the music are enjoyable way beyond the holiday season. The happiness will remain in my soul.
  • David Gandy will forevermore be my Mr. Darcy.
  • I will never look at my hair salon quite the same way after spending time with Lizzy and her sisters at their salon. Those boring peppermints at the receptionist desk will go ignored. I will, instead, demand a cannoli and a glass of homemade wine at each visit.
  • I'm super excited for December's upcoming blog tour stops. Did I mention the incredible swag giveaways? We'll visit key places in Villa Fortuna with special gift packs made possible, in part, by a dear friend, a fellow JAFF author, who wishes to remain anonymous.  From us to you, our early holiday gift giving is in the spirit of famiglia! The major theme of Villa Fortuna.
Book Blurb:
Inspired by Jane Austen's most beloved characters. Discover the romance and comedy of Villa Fortuna where Little Italy collides with the country club set…at a hair salon.

Dr. Elizabeth Fairchild lived an orderly and focused life in Los Angeles until …
an unexpected death, a questionable inheritance, and an eighty-year-old Mafia vendetta required a trip home to New York City's Little Italy neighborhood in Bronx. After thirteen years of running from her Italian-American upbringing, Elizabeth dreaded returning to the ethnic world of colorful hand gestures, passionate arguments, and living with her two stereotypical sisters in their rundown apartment above a bakery.

Her plan: get in, take care of business, celebrate Christmas, and then escape as quickly as possible. However, returning to the Bronx assailed the senses like her mother's lasagna. She didn't count on Italian pastry, homemade wine, a beauty parlor, and the enticement of a dashing plastic surgeon known as Michelangelo.

Will Elizabeth flee her childhood home where the foundation of faith and famiglia is so strong? Or will she stay and embrace all the traditions that once embarrassed her? Should she succumb or resist her elder sister's admonishment,

“Your home is where your heart is, and we are your heart—marinara, cannolis, the Church, and the family! The whole shebang!"

video
Oh and in case you're wondering: Villa Fortuna is even more P&P than L13 and DoC, but I just didn't have the heart to name Fitzwilliam Darcy: Mr. Darcino or Darciani or Elizabeth Bennet: Lizzy Benneti or Benneto. LOL

So join the fun. Put Villa Fortuna on your TBR, and mark your calendar for giveaways, reviews, and guest articles!  ARE YOU AS EXCITED AS I AM??!!
COMING IN 7 DAYS GOODREADS PAPERBACK GIVEAWAY: 
Goodreads Book Giveaway
Villa Fortuna - Pride, Prejudice, and a Haircut by Cat Gardiner

Villa Fortuna - Pride, Prejudice, and a Haircut

by Cat Gardiner

Giveaway ends December 15, 2015.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

When Beta Knows Best

Many indie authors have multiple "sets of eyes" that assist and guide them through the process of delivering the best story they can, but I'm not one of those authors.  There are some authors who have several cold readers, a plot/developmental editor, a copy editor, a proofreader, and then finally a spouse or dear friend. For good or bad, and several very good reasons, I have just never attacked my craft that way.  Apart from my own set of eyes, I have employed only the addition of two additional professionals.  My beta (such a small word for what she does) and a freelance editor. They actually read the content, making amendments and comments, but I have several dear friends who I bounce questions off.

My muse is always working (if I feed and nurture her with David Gandy photos, brownies and chocolate,) so I'm never at a loss in my formula of writing.  I'm laughing as I type that because I have no formula - no outline - only a mere direction and my muse works with my fingers when I sit down before the computer.  

there are many authors who outline but ... *Stands, places hand over swelling heart, proudly declaring,* "I am a seat of the pants author," but I couldn't do it without said beta who has been with me since Denial of Conscience was born and posted on A Happy Assembly. New in our relationship we danced around each other, trying to find the right blend of what we both wanted to give and receive. Four novels later, we have it down!

I thought of this blog post after I recently went on a Love Boat TV binge one afternoon. One of the plot lines was a buff Lorenzo Lamas as a would-be matador and his girlfriend's abhorrence to the whole idea of it: the cruelty, the taunting, the traditions, the family honor, and the symbolism. That got me thinking about Denial of Conscience and the steady influence and guidance of my beta when I wrote the original Chapter 19.

Days  after The Love Boattelephoned my beta with a very silly question about "What would Nikki say...?" Nicki is the "Lydia" character in my upcoming novel, Villa Fortuna.  She - Nicki, not my beta - is ballsy, and as my Elizabeth states with disapproval but acceptance, has a mouth like an open sewer.  Nicki has New York sass and says what's on her mind with a thick Bronx accent, and although loved dearly by Elizabeth, Nicki is also the quintessential stereotype of everything Elizabeth despises. She is Italian-American as though out of a reality TV show.  Think: Nicki in My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Snooki in Jersey Shore.

So here was the question I posed to my BFF beta. "Would Nicki say "pu@@y" or "va-jay-jay?" She's not a "lady bits" type of girl and "vagina" is more Elizabeth, definitely not Nicki's lingo."   We went back and forth and finally decided on what we decided on. :)  Yes, my beta knew best.  She usually does, and I trust her for not only *ahem* important questions (LOL) such as this but the big stuff, too.

You see, my muse is an obstinate, headstrong girl and when she writes in Technicolor and sees the scene the way she sees it and wants it, there tends to be no stopping her.  That is what happened in Denial of Conscience, and thank goodness BFF was there to say "Um, maybe you should go in another direction. Bullfighting is a touchy subject. I see what you're doing and know what you are trying to say, but you might get some push back on this one."

Ah, push back. Those of you who know my stories, know that I push the envelope with ODC.  Hell, I made Mr. Bennet and George Wickham evil Nazis in My Dearest Darling, and imprisoned Darcy in a Francoist concentration camp in The Very Thought of You. But this was different and I'll let you decide.

Leaving out the explicit naughty bits (just refer back to your copy of DoC because they're in there, ;) ) you can decide for yourself with this original, unedited version of Chapter 19 - Ole.  IMHO beta knew best, once again. I replaced this consummation scene with the one located in the gazebo following the hot tango in Seville, thereby replacing the symbolism of the dance between the bullfighter and the bull with the symbolism of the sensual tango? Both are passionate and end in explosion, but had I gone in this direction then all that came afterward would have changed.  In this version, Liz would have been whisked away by Crawford, away from Darcy's protection, and who the heck knows what the muse would have concocted!


Chapter Nineteen - Ole

It being the off season for bullfighting, the Real Maestranza de Caballieri was only half full, but Crawford had insisted on arriving early to the Plaza de Torros, the bullfighting ring. He was adamant not to miss the parade, the paseillo, which ushered in the anticipated bugle sound of commencement. Surrounded by the white and yellow gold façade, the impressive 250 year old structure concealed the Plaza at its center, the chapel and the vast museum below the stands. 
It was hot, too hot in the sun where Crawford insisted on sitting in order to be as close to the ringside barrier as possible. Liz lifted her long hair behind her and then twisted it into a knot until it stayed at the back of her head. She fanned herself with the program he handed her. It didn’t matter, the perspiration still dripped between her breasts as the sun beat down upon her. 
Conversation between the couple was kept at a minimal while Crawford became engrossed in the two-hour cultural artistry and brave demonstration of bull taunting and subsequent viscous killing. He thrived on the blood spilled by the picadors on their horses as they stabbed the banderillas into the bull’s neck. Given the conversation at the hotel and the now savage look in his eyes, Liz was thankful for the silence between them.
Although she had been given specific instructions by Darcy, she didn’t want to tempt fate. She was ill-equipped to handle what she suspected was lurking below Crawford’s charming façade. Much like the bull before her, attack was never far away. Teasing her companion or playing coy could be very dangerous, and he had already alluded to the fact that he assumed her duplicity.
With each new young bull that came into the plaza ring, vibrant pasadoble introduction music played on the overhead speakers. Liz sat at the edge of her narrow stone seat to view the bull in the ring until the novice torero entered with his team. 
As the fight commenced, she became lost in the colors, the Spanish music, and the dance between the torero and the torro. She deliberately blocked from her vision the acknowledgement of the obvious cruelty to the animal, instead, focusing on the actions and power struggle taking place in the ring before her.
The bullfight was how she felt her whole adult life. The torro represented her inner voice’s struggled for supremacy and the torero was her stiff, unyielding, controlling façade denying her sub conscience’s victory, taunting it with her daydreams, sketches and romantic orchids.
The powerful lunges and sweeping arm movements of the torero fascinated her. They were erotic expressions. The way he arched and bowed his back while puffing out his chest in defiance to the charging bull was a seductive dance. His masterful artistic manipulation of the scarlet cape set against his ornate sequined suit of lights spellbound her each time the brilliant sunlight caught the costume’s gold reflective threads. 
She shifted uncomfortably in her seat, enraptured by the symbolism as the passion coursed through her veins. It stirred her with desire, seeing Darcy and her in that sensual dance of struggle and danger, only who was the bull and who was the torero she did not know. A snap of the bullfighter’s cape snapped her reserve inside. She needed release from the escalating craving. She needed Darcy – now.
Darcy sat on the opposite side of the ring, watching Liz through his monocular. It surprised him to see her riveted by the bullfight. His reaction to the corrida de torros, which was not his first time in attendance, was thrilling, enjoying the danger of it all. Given his career, the fight caused his blood to rush in excitement when the crowd shouted olé in the final throws of victory. He enjoyed getting lost in the passionate power play at the end, which, to him represented the perceived conquest over evil by good. Wasn’t that after all what he did as an assassin?  When the blood flowed, the high ensued. It wasn’t the bull that lay dead, it was the cocaine trafficker, the arms dealer, the terrorist extremist - it was eventually Wickham, Crawford, and Al-Hanash. He was the torero, the matador, the bringer of justice and the dealer of death.
The bugle sounded and the music changed when the next part of the fight commenced with the banderilleros entered the arena holding their short colorful paper trimmed sticks. Their posturing to the music, and the music itself, reminded Darcy of his and Liz’s tango, and he became lost in the memory of that night at the dance school. Lost in his daydream, the plaza before him became a vast empty circle of dirt, all he saw was Liz on the other side, flush and fanning herself in the heat, looking as resplendent as the sunlight. 
He, too, became heated remembering how he held her on the dance floor and how his thighs brushed against hers when they moved across the wood, fighting yet desiring. They were the bull and matador, both burning in seductive passion to conquer the other, both struggling to maintain control yet both wanting nothing more than to charge, triumph over and then hear olé with passionate release.
“Henry, would you mind terribly if I went downstairs to the museum. It is so hot; I don’t think I can take the sun much longer without getting heatstroke,” Liz asked.
Crawford looked her up and down, noting the sunburn to her cheeks and perspiration clinging to her chest.  “Don’t be too long. The matador will be entering shortly for the tercio de muerta.”
Liz didn’t know what the heck the tercio de muerta was, but she was damned sure she didn’t want to see slaughter. The bullfight had an all together different connotation to her, and it sure as hell didn’t end in death … more like life, specifically rebirth with the flood of repressed passions flowing in the arms of one man - her bull, Darcy.
Upon hearing the exchange between Crawford and Liz through his ear receiver, Darcy rose post haste. Two at a time he climbed the deep stairs, which led to the entrance of the Real. Nearly running to the opposite side of the Plaza, he almost collided with Liz when she exited the grandstand.
She giggled, noting the flush to his cheeks. His hair was askew and his smoldering look and dark eyes seemed to have spark and flame behind them, an intensity that left her unsure if it was the temperature outside or something entirely different. Whatever it was it matched what she was feeling.
Darcy said nothing, but took her hand in his and led her down the steps to the closed museum. Similar to the day he rescued her at Longbourn, with heavy, purposeful strides, he was a man on a mission, trying almost every locked door down an empty hallway until finally one gave way to opening. With ragged breath of anticipation, he strained with desire. The blood lust of the fight, the heat of the sun, and the glorious vision of the woman he loved glistening from sweat in her lovely yellow sundress was more than he can handle. Iceman had systematically melted into a puddle at her feet.
The unlocked door led to the darkened maze of small galleries, which held various collections of bullfighting paintings. Liz’s heart beat rapidly in eager readiness of what Darcy was thinking and planning on doing within these restricted rooms. She thought nothing of restriction only of the dangerous thrill of freedom, the collision of bodies, heart and heat, and the craving that was raging through her blood. She needed satiation.
Through the maze, he found his way to the last and the smallest room. They couldn’t see the Goya’s hanging from the wall, nor the beautiful depictions of bullfights rendered on canvas. The only thing they could see was red – emotion, passion, and the challenging vibrant cape of the matador calling them out in an exotic, intense, erotic rhythmic dance that was all their own.
Ignoring his cut lip, Darcy pinned Liz against the wall and kissed her hungrily. His mouth branded hers with fire while she declared the same ownership with matched intensity. Scorching lips and tongues resembled the taunting and driving spears of the picadors.
“I have to have make love to you, Liz.” 
“Yes.” she panted. Her hands eagerly and anxiously unbuttoned his shirt, sliding them over his smooth chest. The shirt dropped over his broad shoulders, falling to the floor.
Just as anxiously, Darcy dropped both straps to her sundress, baring her full breasts and the glistening perspiration upon her body. Cupping her with both his hands, his mouth continued to plunder hers intensely. His thumbs brushed desire against her taut nipples, causing her to arch her back like the posturing of the matador, only she was melting into him. There was no rigidity in her body only succumbing to his touch, which burned and controlled her. 
The dangerous brazen public coupling, the darkened room, the heavy breathing, the moans of pleasure added to the eroticism of the moment. It was torrid and steamy. The urgency made it aggressive and charged, and Liz loved it!  Above in the grandstand, she could hear the cheers from the crowd, but ignored it. They only thing she focused on was Darcy whisper, “Let me make-love to you. Now. Here.”
(see book :) )
The crowd’s cries of olé at the conquering of the bull traveled to the lover’s erotic coupling in the darkened museum. When finally the pressure built in both like the release of a tightly coiled rope, together they came crashing with controlled cries amidst explosive shakes and tremors. Darcy, remaining sheathed inside Liz, wrapped his arms around her waist and hugged her close against him. 
His kisses to her neck and shoulders were tender and gentle.“I have to hear it, Liz; tell me what you feel for me.”
She leaned her head against his and closed her eyes when she spoke softly into the darkness, “I love you, Fitzwilliam.”  She didn’t see him smile in the darkness.
Her legs, he could tell were jelly below her and about to give way from the intensity of their lovemaking; he held her tightly to him and said, “I’ve got you babe… I am never going to let you go.”
~~

The kill of the torro and the cheers of the bloodthirsty crowd did something to Crawford; he was hungry for more and hungrier for other things.

No more than fifteen minutes had passed since Liz’s departure from the plaza when Crawford’s cell phone range. There was no caller id.
He said nothing when he pressed the "talk" button.
“So I see that you are still alive, Crawford,” Al Hanash said in his distinct slightly accented voice, only this time it was filled with disdain and venom. It was clear that his feathers had become ruffled. 
“Is there a reason you were expecting otherwise, Mr. Renaud?  We have a meeting scheduled after all.”
Renaud laughed, “Do you think me such a fool as to make deals with a dog?  You failed me, Crawford; punishment awaits you. By your apparent good fortune and Omar’s silence, I can only assume that either you killed him or whoever is following you did.”
“No one is following me sir, I am sure of it. I have been very careful; it is just the girl and me.”
“You are a bigger fool than I thought. Of course you are being followed. The woman has made you weak… unfocused. You have mixed business with the personal needs of your obsessions. Tell me, have you deflowered the Bennet woman yet?”
“Tonight.”
“Here is our new deal – noon, tomorrow in the Jemaa al Fna, number 12 – the woman, unspoiled in exchange for your life. If you defy me, I will come for you myself. If you are followed, I will kill you on the spot. I will have my eyes everywhere within the medina and I will know if you betray me. If you defile her, I will cut your dick off and shove it down your throat.”
“But... but… my money. You owe me!”
“There will be no money. Does your life not have value enough?  Food stall number 12. If you are not there, I will unleash all hell to find you.” [click]
Crawford looked around him wildly. His eyes darted from person to person looking for anyone, someone, anything that was familiar or suspicious. For the first time in a long time he was nervous. Omar was not a man that was bested easily. The Arab was fierce and extremely strong. His presence alone was intimidating. If someone had murdered him, then that someone was powerful in his own right, more powerful than Crawford could ever be.
The spectators had begun to rise from their stone benches at the conclusion of the bullfight. Liz had yet to come back and he went into hyper alert. Certainly his life was more important than having sex with Liz not to mention the fact that he would be surely dead if he lost her in the crowd. Then there was the issue of being followed. There was only one recourse and he had to seize the moment as the crowd pushed and pulled around him.
Below the grandstand, Liz and Darcy dressed and she pulled her hair back up. 
“Regrets?”  he asked.
“None whatsoever. You?”
Darcy kissed her sweetly. “None. As a matter of fact I intend on making love to you horizontally very soon.”
“Promise?”
He smiled and handed her his cell phone. “Take this. I don’t have another throw away nor has there been time to get one. I have my Bluetooth, which is a different number. If you need me, just press number one.”
“Okay.”
The navigated back through the maze of galleries in silence and could hear the crowd filling the hallway. “Go first. I’ll be right behind you,” he said before chuckling and pocketing her torn panties. “Try not to let your dress get caught in the breeze.”
It was only seconds from the time when Liz exited the room into the crowded hallway that she ran directly into Crawford who was searching for her. “Henry, I was trying to make my way back through the crowd to the stands. Thank goodness you came.”  Without realizing it, he had quickly swept her deep into the melee of people with intent of losing anyone who would follow them. Within minutes, they were seated side by side in a taxi cab headed, unbeknownst to Liz, straight for the airport to Morocco.
Darcy lost her and with each mile that separated them the snake’s microphone’s transmission ceased between them.
~~~

So what say you? Better as an outtake or would you have liked to see where this went?

Now, so what changed with the number of eyes on my next book? The addition of a stellar cold reader, a great lady who has followed my stories from their infancy in 2010 on AHA.  I am SO grateful to my team who helps make my novels better than my muse! And by the way - I am in search of a most obscure criteria for a cold reader: must be of Italian-American decent, from a big family, preferably a New Yorker (but would settle for N.East) and must be fluent in understanding what five, rocking pinched fingertips before your face means.  Capisce? LOL Applications are being accepted - just email me.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Spotlight: Author, Pamela Lynne

Hi friends! Those of you who follow my blog and the happenings in this corner of Florida, know that I am blessed to have a partner in crime through our indie publishing arm, Vanity & Pride Press. Beloved Author of the widely received and well-loved P&P-inspired, Regency novel, Dearest Friends, Pamela Lynne is about to set the genre on fire once again. Her upcoming novel, Sketching Character has already been touted as "One of the best JAFF I have read," by an ARC reader. Set to launch on September 28, here is the Book Trailer
video

Back in 2014, prior to the release of her debut novel Dearest Friends, one of JAFF's popular forums, DarcyandLizzy.com, hosted Pamela in a one-on-one Q&A. In case you missed it, I'd like to share it with you so that when this talented woman, visits fellow Janite Author Rose Fairbanks's blog for a new interview, we'll see how much a year has changed our girl! 

Author Interview, Pamela Lynne
(Thank you DnL.com, and Author Brenda Webb for this interview)

Q: Tea? Coffee? Soda? Hot or cold? What keeps your thirst requited while you write?
A: Since I write mostly really early in the morning or really late at night, coffee is a must.  When I was writing Dearest Friends, the words came out easier if I also had a slice of cheese toast.

Q: Where do you live?
A: Middle Tennessee

Q: If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
A: DH and I have moved a lot since we have been together and wherever we are, I find myself longing for the last place we lived, so right now that would be the mountains of North Carolina.

Q: Are you well-traveled, or do you rarely have the opportunity to visit your favorite spots?
A: I am not very well traveled by most people’s standards, though I have seen a good part of the US.  Does visiting all the SEC campuses (pre-TX and MO) count as well traveled?

Q: Do you have your own Mr Darcy? Kids? Grandkids? Pets?
A: I do, though my DH is somewhere on the spectrum between Darcy and Bingley, bless him.  We have three kids, two cats and a dog.

Q: Do you have any hobbies other than writing and reading JAFF? 
A: I love to cook and read, though I am afraid both have taken a backseat to writing in the past year.  I can’t seem to concentrate on more than one thing at a time.

JAFF Related:
Q: Which Jane Austen’s book is your favorite? Why?
A: P&P is far and away my favorite.  When I was younger I related so much to Elizabeth.  I have said before that I grew up in Longbourn, the white trash version.  As I have gotten older, though, I have grown more Darcy-like.  Elizabeth probably did, too.

Q: What first drew you to JAFF and how long have you been reading it?
A: My journey to JAFF was very round-a-bout.  I’m not big on contemporary literature for a few different reasons, so I tend to revisit favorites, including Austen, over and over.  It also helps my mommy brain to not to have to concentrate too much on new characters.  About two years ago, I had made my yearly rounds of Austen books and just finished Jane Eyre again but I was still craving period romances.  About that time the new movie version of Jane Eye came out, so I watched it, but still wanted more.  I searched Netflix and came across North and South.  Not only did my ovaries burst after that kiss, I wanted to read the book because I had never even heard of it before.  The movie was better.  Y’all know how on Amazon, they will say “You read North and South, you may also be interested in...”  Well, as it turns out, I was also interested in whatever continuation they were selling.  I downloaded the free kindle for PC and started reading, and ladies, it was dirty.  I had no idea people felt that way after reading the book, the movie, absolutely, but the book?  So after I finished, wide eyed and blushing, I thought, “That was positively pornographic.  I wonder if they have any about Darcy.”  Yep, they did.  Ok, I am exaggerating.  I did not really set out on a quest for Darcy porn, but I did find a wonderful world of re-tellings and continuations that I never knew existed.  Then I lucked upon the forums where I found more wonderful stories as well as friends.

Q: Do you prefer reading stories that are close to canon, or are you more drawn to what-if types of stories?
A: I read and enjoy everything.  However, the ones I tend to go back to time and again have retained the canon personalities, if not scenarios.

Q: Do you prefer reading Regency, modern, or another era?
A: Again, I enjoy everything, though I admit to being a Regency snob when I first started reading.

Q: The all-important question – who is your ideal Darcy?
A: My Darcy will always be Firth-esque.  From the hair, to the mannerisms, to the shoulders, legs, dimples . . . what was the question?  It is funny how many of us do not have a clear picture of our Elizabeth.  I am the same, in fact I cast nearly all my men, but only one of my women.  For someone who would like to consider herself a writer, I actually have very little imagination.  If I do not have a RL person in my head for the characters, I need a visual for inspiration, at least for the men.  Darcy, Sebastian, Richard, Porter, Remy all required a massive amount of research to get just right.  The things I do for my craft.

Q: Who is your favorite JAFF villain?
A: Mr. Bennet.  I do not have a single plot bunny where he is not estranged from Elizabeth somehow.  Lazy parents are asking for trouble.

Q: What about your favorite JAFF supporting character?
A: I love what the fandom has done with Richard. Most of us, I think, start from the same mold of him being this jovial but strong support for Darcy.  I see him as the anti-Bingley, and the probably better friend to Darcy.  As for my own writing—gotta love that Viscount.

Q: What is your ‘comfort’ JAFF story when you need a break from life?
A: I tend to go for moderns when I need a break—Dance the Tide, Creep, Lassoed Hearts (because I love a cowboy Darcy), or Other Eras—The Very Thought of You, Pemberley Ranch (again, cowboy Darcy), 1932.  There are lots of others as well.

Writing Related: 
Q: Are you a published author, or do you only write stories to post online? What books do you have published?
A: Fingers crossed, I’m hoping to have Dearest Friends out in November.  
(Wow! here we have Sketching Character only 9 months later!!)

Pam’s JAFF Stories are:
Charlie’s Favorites
Dearest Friends
In reply to Your Last – Darcy’s Reply
My Dearest Sisters – Mr Wickham’s Reply

Q: What prompted you to begin writing?
A: The bunny that wouldn’t die.  I found JAFF in the spring and by fall I kept re-working stories in my head to read the way I wanted them to.   Once Mary and Sebastian started talking to me that was it.  I had to get it out.

Q: Have you ever visited any of the places we love to write about in JAFF stories? 
A: Sigh.  No.  One day.

Q: How would you describe your workspace?
A: A mess.  DH bought me a really beautiful writing desk for Christmas and it is covered in credit card receipts, and broken crayons and torn out coloring book pages.  I’ve gotten more done lately while sitting in bed with DH snoring beside me.

Q: Do you prefer to write by hand, on a typewriter, or on a computer?
A: Computer!  It is so funny how we change over time.  The last time I wrote fiction was when I was in college.  I would sit at the computer and just stare.  Nothing would come out (maybe I needed coffee and cheese toast).  I had to hand write everything first.  Now, I am completely the opposite.  I keep a pad and pen with me all the time for quick notes, but pages have to be typed on the laptop.

Q: What inspires your muse?
A: You guys.  The forums, at least for bunnies, are a great source of inspiration.  Once I get writing, RL is the biggest muse feeder.

Q: Have you ever had a writing block? 
A: Not really with the plot.  I usually have a good idea of how I want things to play out.  I get stuck in narration a lot.  It can be really hard to get the right words out.  That is why I write so slowly.  Just giving it time usually does the trick.

Q: Do your loved one (family and friends) know you write?
A: DH and the kids do.  I have also told a few friends, but it can be hard for folks outside the fandom to get it, I think.

Q: Do you write for other fandoms besides JAFF?
A: There are other fandoms besides JAFF?

Q: Do you write Regency? Modern? Other eras? Which do you prefer?
A: I’ve done both, but doing a long modern scares the heck out of me.  I think Regency is easier.

Q: What are three of your favorite resources to turn to when writing?
A: Regency Encyclopedia; The library, I know it is so old school, but the books are there, and they are free; The forums—if you browse some of the threads you can see many of your questions have already been answered.

Q: What is your most memorable JAFF moment or story?
A: Well, like many of us I’m sure, bells rang and light shown in the clouds when I found the JAFF index.  Posting DF was a lot of fun, especially on the comment thread.  But, if I had to pick most memorable, nothing can beat being immortalized on Mr. October’s chest.  Being part of a catgirl story trumps all.  (TeeHee! She's talking about Lucky 13's outtake!)

Q: Are there any people in your life who have inspired certain traits in your character or scenes?
A: Oh my, yes.  In DF, Mr. Bennet, Mr. Gardiner and Sebastian all have elements of my dad in them.  Jane is a combination of all my sisters and there is a lot of Pam in Mary and Anne.  Sebastian and Bingley are the big ones though as they represent two men in my life, at different times in my life.  Darcy is, of course, the ideal. 


Q: What is the bigger influence on your writing—Jane Austen’s actual novels or the movie adaptations? Do you worry if you stray too far from the adaptations, such as 1995’s Pride & Prejudice (which featured a slimy, short Mr. Collins, a histrionic Mrs. Bennet, a dripping wet Mr. Darcy, and an orange-loving Caroline), the readers will reject your work?
A: I don’t worry about straying from any of the previous works, whether it is Austen, the movies or the fandom.  As far as influence, it is hard to say.  I see so much of the scenery from 95 in my mind when I am both reading and writing.  When something has been with you for 20 years, it can be kind of hard to shake, but I follow my own musings more than take guidance from anyone other than Austen. 

So get ready, kittens, Sketching Character and Pamela will be making the rounds on her blog tour. I know I'm excited and I bet you are, too!

Purchase Amazon 9/28




Friday, August 14, 2015

Visiting Friends

Yes, I admit I'm terrible at blogging with posting frequency. But ... but... I have an excuse: I'm writing.  That's good news to report right?  A new novel will be hitting the stands in late autumn, all tied in a neat red holiday bow, and hopefully will make you laugh. Sticking with my Lucky theme, featuring David Gandy as our dreamy hero, I give you ...


A romantic comedy where NYC’s Little Italy collides with the country club set … at a beauty salon. Christmas, gossip, cannolis, and a blowout, or as my hairdresser would say “Sex, Lies, and a Haircut—Italian Style.”
  Villa Fortuna
In every ethnicity, there is richness of tradition, beauty in its people 
… and comedy in its colorful culture
  
Being the Pride and Prejudice lovers that we are, we're all familiar with the prejudices of others and Elizabeth's embarrassment of her family. What if our heroine is the true prejudiced one - ashamed of her ethnic roots, tired of the stereotyping, and struggling to disassociate herself?  Will she be successful?  I don't think so.  Mi Familia and the power of its all encompassing love always wins when one pays a visit back home.  Stay tuned, my friends.

***

In other news - I've been visiting friends the last two months since Denial of Conscience published and some of you may be interested in visiting their blogs for excerpts, outtakes and guest articles.  Below is a little listing of my past and upcoming activities.  I hope ya'll stop by, and say a hello to the kind ladies who work so hard at bringing Austenesque authors and readers together. I know I am very grateful for their generosity!

July 9 - Stories from the Past
Denial of Conscience Blog Tour, Outtake!
I'm so excited to feature Cat Gardiner's latest, Denial of Conscience!! Cat has shared a wonderful outtake with us.  This scene occurs off-screen after Darcy dances with Elizabeth at the studio and after he returns to his home in Asheville, North Carolina, hoping to forget all about her.  I'm sure you'll recognize his feelings and certain iconic imagery. Continue

August 9 - My Love of Austen blog
Denial of Conscience: Guest Post, Excerpt + Giveaway

One of the joys of connecting with fellow Austenite admirers is the chance of discovering new Austenesque authors and their published work. The same is also true the other way around. Regardless of how I came to know author Cat Gardiner through Lucky 13, she is here to talk about her second contemporary Pride and Prejudice story... Continue

August 12 - Austenesque Reviews blog
Guest Post + Giveaway with Cat Gardiner!!!

Hello dear readers! Today I am welcoming Cat Gardiner, author of the newly released Denial of Conscience, to Austenesque Reviews! Cat has penned an extra-special post to share how music and song lyrics inspire her! I hope you greatly enjoy Cat’s post and share with us any music that inspires you!  Continue

August 15 - 2015 Reading Romance Expo, W.T Bland Library, Mt. Dora, Florida
The popular Romance Expo will take place this year on Saturday, August 15th from 10am until 1pm at the W.T. Bland Public Library. Returning authors include multi-published award-winning authors Blair Bancroft, Joyce Humphrey Cares, Jax Cassidy, Wynter Daniels, Louise M. Gouge, Katherine Mitchell, Shelby Reed, Abigail Sharpe and Dianne Venetta.  This event is free.

Along with these outstanding authors, the Romance Expo will feature Charlee Allden, Kathryn J. Bain, Gerri Bauer, Linda Bond, JoMarie DeGioia, Debra Ann Fisk, Selena Fulton, Cat Gardiner, Sophia Knightly and Sarina Rose. For information on all these authors and their showcased titles, please go to www.mylakelibrary.org.

August 15 - Austen Promises
Author Zoe Burton's favorite book of the month! Here

September 8 - More Agreeably Engaged
Guest Article and Giveaway - Here


And the best news of all ... In honor of Vanity & Pride Press One Year Anniversary, we are proud to unveil our new branding logo, coinciding with the release of two stunning book covers by author, Pamela Lynne.  One for last year's blockbuster debut novel, Dearest Friends, and the other for her upcoming release, Sketching Character already called a JAFF that will be listed as an all-time favorite among readers.


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Mr. Darcy Muse

Many of my followers know that in the fall of 2014, I published Lucky 13, a Christmas, Austen-Inspired Pride and Prejudice comedy set in New York City. If you followed the story's blog and Pinterest, you soon discovered the man behind my muse for the charming firefighter who won Liz Bennet's heart: British Model, David James Gandy. 

Who knew that what followed would eventually take the JAFF community by storm. A fire (yes, pun intended) was lit by Mr. Gandy's persona in other Austen-inspired authors' muses, many envisioning him as their Mr. Darcy. Demand for images of him dressed in Regency apparel, astride a horse cropped up in various polls and blogs. New fans were born with each comment.

Today, esteemed author and dear friend, J. Dawn King has blogged about Mr. Gandy, Mr. Darcy, and how her muse sees him on the pages of her novels, particularly her latest:  One Love, Two Hearts, Three Stories  Visit her blog, sign up for future posts, and don't forget to get your copy of her celebrated Regency novel.  Just get ready to swoon when you imagine Mr. Gandy on those romantic pages.



What does Jane Austen and the UK’s #1 Male Model, David Gandy, Have In Common?


A recent unofficial ballot was held on a Facebook page asking who came to mind when the name Mr. Darcy was mentioned. Colin Firth? Matthew MacFadyen? Sir Laurence Olivier? Yes, those names were chosen by many. However, a popular choice with a stunningly high number of votes was Mr. David Gandy. What? Who is David Gandy?
His biography in British Vogue states the following:
Before graduating from University with a Marketing degree, David Gandy was entered into a modeling competition on ITV’s This Morning. He won the competition and with it, a prestigious contract with Select Model Management.
In 2006 David became the muse of exclusive designers Dolce and Gabbana, annually starring in their apparel campaigns but best known as the face of their “Light Blue” fragrance, currently one of the world’s top selling male fragrances. The iconic campaign saw his face and body become recognizable literally overnight, with a 50ft billboard in Times Square, over 11 million internet hits to view his campaign and global recognition.
David has appeared in numerous campaigns and catwalk shows, opening for D&G in Milan in 2010, with Naomi Campbell for Fashion For Relief and has worked alongside supermodels including Giselle, Eva Herzigova and Scarlett Johansson. He has shot with some of the most sought-after international photographers including Mario Testino, Mariano Vivanco and Steven Meisel and boasts an envious portfolio of editorial work including dozens of covers and editorial photoshoots.
Post Continued HereJ. Dawn King Blog




Thursday, July 9, 2015

Stories From the Past Blog Visit

Hello Kittens!

Friend and esteemed Austen-Variation author, Rose Fairbanks was kind enough to host Denial of Conscience on her blog, Stories From the Past.  

She provides a wonderful analysis of what makes this Liz Bennet so understandable, and how she relates to Jane Austen's canon Elizabeth. Thank you Rose, for your brilliant perspective and allowing your readers to experience DoC!
Lizzy who?

Cat said I could talk a little bit about Liz in this book and I jumped at the chance. When I first read this story it was at an online forum and had an “out of of character” tag on it, which made me skeptical to try it. I had enjoyed Lucky 13 when it was posting and felt like I could trust Cat to offer another great story and reading experience and I’m so glad I tried it. I enjoyed the story even more on this second reading! 
To be sure this blurb: 
Elizabeth Bennet, a young woman hiding from living life to its fullest, finds herself willing to accept an untenable marriage arrangement solely for the sake of achieving her father’s selfish aspiration to save the family’s historic home. But even duty and obligation fail to hinder her inner conscience from spurring her to leave – to run – to escape before it’s too late. Prompted by a cataclysmic event and the arrival of an attractive, enigmatic man, Liz is thrust into a dangerous liaison where her spirit learns to fly amidst international intrigue.doesn’t sound too much like the usual headstrong, fiercely brave and independent Elizabeth we typically read in variations, but I don’t think she’s so out of character. The situation has changed drastically, but the elements that Cat has used to cook up her Liz are all from Austen’s recipe.

In the original Pride and Prejudice, Lizzy felt a lot of familial duty. She loved them, but didn’t quite think well of them. She knew she was her father’s favorite child. She tells Mrs. Gardiner that her father’s good opinion of her means the world to her. When Darcy is asking Mr. Bennet for Elizabeth’s hand, she is worried about hurting his opinion of her.

She does turn down Mr. Collins, but only because her father is alive and despite his teasing Mrs. Bennet seems rather unconcerned about the likelihood of his family truly being cast into the hedgerows and considering Mr. Gardiner was assumed to have paid Mr. Wickham 10,000 pounds to marry Lydia and his frequent ability to travel he seem quite well to do. JAFF fans will recognize the idea of putting Lizzy in a situation where she feels compelled to marry (Darcy, Collins or another man) for the good of her family’s welfare. ...



Continue here to finish Rose's article and read a special outtake - the scene that never made it to the book!   Stories From the Past