Thursday, February 13, 2014

Guest Post by J. Marie Croft and Giveaway of Love at First Slight

Here’s to romance, laughter, and happily ever after!



By J. Marie Croft

It was once suggested in a letter to Jane Austen that she write an historical romance illustrative of the august House of Cobourg.
Austen’s response included:I could no more write a romance than an epic poem. I could not sit seriously down to write a serious romance under any other motive than to save my life; and if it were indispensable for me to keep it up and never relax into laughing at myself or at other people, I am sure I should be hung before I had finished the first chapter.” 
I get a bit hung up telling people that I write what’s considered romance, because it’s inevitably presumed I mean bodice-rippers. Eesh! I could no more sit seriously down to write a steamy novel than an epic poem. I regard Love at First Slight as a Regency romantic comedy.
Snippet from favourable review: “While Love at First Slight is mostly a comedy, one mustn't forget the romance, which was just beautifully done from start to finish.”  Another critic said, “If there is a romance, I did not find it.” Readers obviously have decidedly different opinions on what constitutes romance. 
According to Wikipedia:
Romances are relationship stories that emphasize emotion over libido. 
Regency romances feature intelligent, fast-paced dialogue between the protagonists and very little explicit sex or discussion of it. 
Romantic comedies focus on sentimental ideals in humorous plots.  In a typical ‘rom-com’ the young, likable lovers are meant for each other but kept apart by complicating circumstances (class differences, family interference, etc.) until finally – surmounting all obstacles – they get together with a fairytale-style ending.
Love at First Slight is a Regency romantic comedy. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

Here is the blurb from Amazon for Love at First Slight:

It may not be universally acknowledged, but the unvarnished truth is that a young widow in possession of a good fortune is not necessarily in want of another husband. 

In this humorous, topsy-turvy Pride & Prejudice variation, all major gender roles are reversed. It is Mr. Bennet’s greatest wish to see his five sons advantageously married. When the haughty Miss Elizabeth Darcy comes to Netherfield with the Widow Devonport (nee Bingley), speculation — and prejudice — runs rampant. 

William Bennet, a reluctant and irreverent reverend, catches Miss Darcy’s eye, even though he is beneath her station. His opinion of her is fixed when she slights him at the Meryton assembly. As her ardour grows, so does his disdain. When she fully expects to receive an offer of marriage, he gives her something else entirely...


And now enjoy an excerpt.
In honour of Valentine’s Day, the book’s protagonists are expected here to express their sentiments on romance. Ah! That must be the Reverend Mr. William Bennet and Miss Elizabeth Darcy now.  Whoa! Flora ... Felicity ... Casper! Why are you here?  Where are William and Lizzie?
Mrs. Bennet pats my hand.  “Due to your book’s prudery, my son and his bride arrived at the altar without anticipating their vows. ‘Tis Valentine’s Day, and they are, after all, just recently married.”  She gives me a nudge-nudge-wink-wink. “The newlyweds were otherwise occupied, so we offered to come in their stead.”
But, you three don’t seriously consider yourselves experts on romance, do you?  Never mind. Beggars can’t be choosers. However, dear readers, I’m not responsible for anything my characters might henceforth impart on the subject.  Miss Wickham, would you like to start?
Felicity twirls a flaxen lock, refers to a scrap of paper, and recites Shakespeare.  “Who ever lov'd that lov'd not at first sight?” She flutters her eyelashes at Casper Bingley. “Do you believe in love at first sight, sir?”
The dandy buffs his fingernails and flicks a shock of raven hair away from an eye.  “Certainly not, and I strongly recommend sparing yourself the indignity of asking me whether you should walk by again.”
“Humph!” The coquette pouts.  “You feign indifference, but in Meryton I had at least twenty militia soldiers violently in love with me.”
Casper sneers, “I doubt it was platoonic. Love can be a such a touchy subject.”
Flora Bennet abandons the ribald novel she’s been surreptitiously devouring in the corner.  “Obviously, you two know nothing about romance. And you,” she points in my direction, “know nothing about writing it.”  She clasps the book to her bosom and sighs. “The lovers in here just had an amorous, unexpected, secret meeting.  You should try creating a passionate plot tryst like that, dear.  Practice makes perfect; and, if you apply yourself, you might come up with a passably torrid scene sooner or later. Old romance novelists never die, you know; they just run out of – ”
Steam.  Yes, I know. Now, before steam starts coming out of anyone’s ears, could we at least have a timely, refined comment about Valentine’s Day or Cupid’s arrow … anyone?
Casper looks down his straight, narrow nose. “I do not understand why Cupid was chosen to represent St. Valentine’s Day.  When I think about romance, the last thing on my mind is a short, naked, chubby, winged tot coming at me with a deadly, barbed weapon. Ugh!”
You three characters may leave now. Don’t let the door hit you on your way out.  Mary, I apologize to you and your readers.  That wasn’t at all what I had in mind.  I’m honoured to be here today and wanted this post to be special – romantic, mushy, crème de la crème, not ... cheesy. To make amends for that deficiency, here’s something meaningful – a quote from Joanne Woodward. “Sexiness wears thin after a while and beauty fades; but to be married to a man who makes you laugh every day, ah, now that’s a real treat.”  
If you’d like a real treat – a novel with love, laughter, and happily ever after – I recommend Another Place in Time … or anything by Mary Simonsen.  She knows how to write romance. And so did Jane Austen.

Happy Valentine’s Day!
Note from Mary: Marie happens to be the punniest and funniest person out there in Jane Austen World. Her words leap off the page and form bubbles over her characters' heads, and you smile. The whole time you are reading Marie's stories, you smile.
Now for the specifics of the giveaway: Meryton Press has been good enough to provide our readers with a paperback and an e-book of Love at First Slight that is open internationally!!! Please leave a comment about Valentine's Day or anything that strikes your fancy. You must comment by February 17th. Winners will be announced on February 19th. Here's the really important part. You MUST leave your e-mail address as I have no way to capture e-mail addresses. No e-mail address, no can win!
Love at First Slight is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

46 comments:

  1. Ha! Love Casper's thoughts on Cupid!
    "To be married to a man who makes you laugh every day, ah, now that's a real treat." I couldn't agree more. My DH can always make me laugh, often against my better judgement and even when I am in the foulest of moods. Now that takes talent. ;) I couldn't be more grateful. He is a keeper! :)

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    1. My DH does the same thing. He, of course, has to put up with a lot of corny puns.

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  2. Thank you for the giveaway! Hope you have a lovely Valentine's Day! <3

    pamh5230@yahoo.com

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  3. patkf2007@hotmail.com

    I have always liked the colors used for Valentine's Day. Red pink and occasionally purple

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    1. Red usually isn't handsome enough to tempt me. As you can tell from the LaFS cover, pink is tolerable.

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  4. Marie's post is always so funny and I'm delighted that she's here to talk about Valentine with her characters. I totally agree with the quote by Joanne Woodward. I'm on the lookout for someone who will love, cherish and humour me for the rest of my life.

    evangelineace2020(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Thanks! That quote is so true, isn't it? I hope you'll find someone very special to humour you all the days of your life.

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  5. In this household we ignore Valentine's Day - I am not romantic, and my romantic husband refuses to be romantic on that day just because big business tells him

    meikleblog at gmail dot com

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    1. Yeah, I'm not romantic ... which is why I can't seriously write it, I suppose.

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  6. I agree with Vesper's reply that big business should not direct when we are romantic so my husband I do not celebrate Valentine's Day but we surprise each other on a whim which I feel is even more romantic

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  7. A free gift is a fabulous way to celebrate Valentine's Day..and we are snowed in so it will be a lovely reading day as well!
    Mbrewer3@gmail.com

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  8. I'd love a paperback copy - this would be a new author for me! And happy Valentine's Day!

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  9. So glad to see you have a new book out, Joanne! I'm happy the writing bug came back and bit you again. Wishing you every success!

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    1. Thanks, Abigail! Years ago, O Wise One, you predicted I'd be back.

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  10. Welcome, all. Thanks for helping Joanne celebrate the launch of Love at First Slight. I, too, take a pass on Valentine's Day. My husband and I will be celebrating our 38th anniversary in June. That's our big day!

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    1. Thanks for having me here, Mary.
      My hubby and I are not far behind you. It'll be our 33rd anniversary in May.

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  11. Seems like a great book! And valentine's day in our house is pretty much for the kids. It's fun to do food in heart shapes and turn the milk pink, but that's about it lol. lynnchar59@yahoo.com

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  12. When my daughters were young, I'd send them off to school on February 14 with red, pink, and white iced cupcakes and Valentines for their classmates and teacher.

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  13. Nice excerpt

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

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    1. Thanks ... although it's not really an excerpt from the book.

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  14. Happy Valentine's Day to all the single people! Unfortunately there is no holiday to celebrate taking on life alone so let's hijack Valentine's Day.

    brendapwood at gmail dot com

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    1. Perhaps, instead of Valentine's Day, it could be 'Take Heart' Day.

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  15. While I agree with the Joanne Woodward quote, it seems a little ironic that she said it, considering how sexy her husband was! But I suppose if she'd said "have you seen my husband?! Oh and by the way he's funny too" the quote would have lost its impact somewhat!

    Thanks for the giveaway opportunity :) frawli1978 (at) gmail dot com

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    1. Woodward was married to Paul Newman for 50 years.
      'Happily ever after', indeed!

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  16. Sounds like an interesting story! The only thing that my husband and I do differently on Valentine's day than any other day is that we exchange cards and go out for supper. Other than that, it is business as usual!

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    1. I never have 'reservations' about dining out!

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    2. I knew I forgot to do something!
      robmwmj at gmail dot com

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  17. I've never read anything by you...but look forward to enjoying your book. Marybethdermody@gmail.com

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  18. I can definitely agree that Mary has a way with words that leaves you consistently smiling. So happy to have another book to look forward reading.

    mvgaby709@gmail.com

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    1. I've been a fan of Mary's work for many years.

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    2. Thanks, Joanne and Marcia. I'm blushing!

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  19. This is such a nice preview and I love the discussion about romance by J.Marie Croft. I can't wait to get my hands on a copy. I so love Mary's books. Thank you for writing another great story.

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    1. Hi Christa,
      Mary is not only a wonderful writer but also a kind, generous person.

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  20. I agree with your post (which is very amusing, by the way). I think we should invent a new category that isn’t associated with the same questionable connotations that are attached to “romance novels”.

    I hope everyone had a great Valentine’s Day weekend!

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  21. I like the definition you have given of the 3 kind of romance, I myself prefer to stick with Regency romantic comedy :)
    what I like to read is P&P or Emma , emma is very light and Northanger Abbey has such a humor after studying this novel in college (8 years after reading it for the 1st time) I changed my mind on the comedy part :D
    jandia4junpyo@yahoo.fr

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    1. With each rereading of Austen's novels, I find more and more humour.
      I'm glad you like 'Regency Rom-Com'.

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