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Monday, 19 June 2017

Mendacity & Mourning by J L Ashton - Blog Tour - Vignette and Giveaway

Mendacity & Mourning by J L Ashton - Blog Tour
Today the blog tour for J L Ashton's 'Pride & Prejudice' variation, 'Mendacity and Mourning' begins with a stop here at Babblings of a Bookworm. Ms Ashton has visited the blog before with her previous book 'A Searing Acquaintance' and I am very pleased to welcome her back. I have part one of a vignette to share with you, which will be concluded this Friday over at 'More Agreeably Engaged', and there's also a chance to win an ebook of 'Mendacity & Mourning'. Let me share the blurb with you first:

Front Cover: Mendacity & Mourning by J L Ashton
Book Blurb:

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a gossip in possession of misheard tales and desirous of both a good wife and an eager audience need only descend upon the sitting rooms of a small country town in order to find satisfaction. And with a push from Lady Catherine, Mr. Collins sets alight a series of misunderstandings, rumours, and lies that create obstacles to a romance between Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet.

This slightly unhinged romantic comedy follows Darcy as he sets off to find himself a wife and instead finds himself pulled into the mire of his aunt’s machinations and his own fascination with Elizabeth, whom he believes betrothed to another. As Meryton judges him the grieving groom of Anne de Bourgh and a caddish dallier with the hearts of others, Darcy must ferret out the truth behind his cousin’s disappearance, protect his sister from the fretful fate of all Fitzwilliam females, and, most importantly, win Elizabeth’s heart.

Mendacity & Mourning Vignette - "Games" - Part One

Thanks so much to you, Ceri, for hosting me and Mendacity & Mourning here at Babblings of a Bookworm. I’ve written a vignette, a two-parter, of scenes that didn’t appear in the book but are alluded to. Part Two will appear at More Agreeably Engaged on June 23.

In this scene, an outtake from chapter six, the men of Netherfield Hall pay a visit to Longbourn. The ladies have mixed views on what ensues.

It was a fine day for chess, sleepy murmurings, hot tea, and warm biscuits. Or, as Elizabeth Bennet sighed, another day of rain.

Mr. Bingley, his brother Mr. Hurst, and his friend Mr. Darcy had arrived at Longbourn shortly before the skies opened up to a steady rain. It was a dreary day made less dreary by the presence of intelligent and varied conversation, moony-eyed lovers, and a well-executed chess match.

In the parlor, Mr. Bingley attended with alacrity to Jane’s observations on the weather, the fearsome puddles, and her pleasure in her new boots. Mr. Hurst busied himself with Mr. Collins and plates of Cook’s magnificent tarts and cakes. Mrs. Bennet sat minding Mr. Collins’s crumbs and Mr. Hurst’s effusive mumblings of praise. Lydia and Kitty alternated between boredom and fascination. Mary sighed. Finally, dulled by conversation on the latest in sauces, Kitty’s inquiries as to Miss Bingley’s latest musings, and the most solemn of psalms, Lydia rose and walked into her father’s library to seek amusement.

The arrangement was no more promising for a young girl who loved a laugh. She fell into the window seat and gazed about the room. Her father and Mr. Darcy sat before a chessboard; Lizzy perched at her father’s desk, peering over Mr. Darcy’s shoulder and frowning, her neck craned to gain the vantage point of the younger man.

“I am not afraid of you,” Darcy said over his shoulder.

“Ah, you should be, Mr. Darcy. My Lizzy has bested every player in town younger than I.”

Darcy fought not to raise his eyebrows in disbelief.

“And,” his opponent continued, “as I believe you fall below the age of thirty years, you could find yourself and your king quickly thwarted and outmatched.”

“Papa!” Elizabeth cried.

“I have heard Miss Elizabeth’s quick mastery of metaphor and knowledge of Cicero. I have seen her subdue the wriggling of small boys during church.” His eyes drifted to the mirror behind Mr. Bennet, where he could see the young lady’s reflection. Her eyes flashed with amusement at his riposte.

“Both portend a strong sense of strategy and patience.”

Mr. Bennet cleared his throat. “Quite observant of you, Mr. Darcy.”

Elizabeth clapped her hands. “Papa, all this talk of my virtues is reducing Mr. Darcy’s opportunity for playmaking and the actual execution of a strategy.”

The bishop in Darcy’s hands stuttered across the chessboard. He drew it back and stared at the playing field.

Lydia jumped up from her seat and stomped her foot. “I am made dull by large men in the parlor and little men in this game,” she cried. “Is there no fun, no dancing and laughter to be gotten in this house?”

“Quiet down, my girl. Your sister is teaching Mr. Darcy the intricacies of the fabled Hertfordshire maneuver.”

Lydia snorted. “That is a dance step, Papa.”

Elizabeth laughed quietly but her attention remained on Mr. Darcy’s hand. Finally, he pushed his bishop across three spaces and sat back in his chair, his fingers steepled. “Checkmate.”

“Hmmm.” Mr. Bennet leaned closer.

“Chess is duller than Mr. Collin’s prattle about parsnip pies.” Lydia looked in the mirror and pinched her cheeks. “I should rather dance at a ball.”

Darcy glanced up at Lydia. “You too could learn this game, Miss Lydia. Your father taught your sister to play. I taught my sister.”

Elizabeth sat back in her seat. “And who was your teacher, Mr. Darcy?”

“My father,” he replied. “Chess is a skill passed father to son.”

“Or father to daughter, or brother to sister.”

“True.” He smiled at her. “And my skills have been sharpened through games with my cousins and friends.”

“Mr. Bingley?”

“Er, no,” he said.

“Mr. Bingley prefers cards and charades and kissing games,” Lydia asserted.


“Tis true! Miss Bingley complained of it to Kitty. ‘He has the curls on his head but not the brains inside it.’”

Mr. Bennet began to cough. “How is a man to win a match when so much talking is going on?”

He rose from the table. “Come. I believe we must save tomorrow’s supper from today’s visitors and rescue Mr. Bingley and his curls from Kitty and her ribbons.”

To be continued on Friday 23 June at 'More Agreeably Engaged'....

Author J L Ashton (Jan Ashton, a.k.a. Jancat)
Author Bio: 

Jan Ashton didn’t meet Jane Austen until she was in her late teens, but in a happy coincidence, she shares a similarity of name with the author and celebrates her birthday on the same day Pride & Prejudice was first published. Sadly, she’s yet to find any Darcy and Elizabeth candles on her cake, but she does own the action figures.

Like so many Austen fans, Jan was an early and avid reader with a vivid imagination and a well-used library card. Her family’s frequent moves around the U.S and abroad encouraged her to think of books and their authors as reliable friends. It took a history degree and another decade or two for her to start imagining variations on Pride & Prejudice, and another decade—filled with career, marriage, kids, and a menagerie of pets—to start writing them. Today, in between writing Austen variations, Jan lives in the Chicago area, eats out far too often with her own Mr. Darcy, and enjoys membership in the local and national chapters of the Jane Austen Society of North America.

Mendacity & Mourning is her second book with Meryton Press. She published A Searing Acquaintance in 2016.

Connect with J L Ashton on Facebook, Pinterest , Twitter @JanCat10, Blog

Buy Links:  

Mendacity & Mourning - US / UK
A Searing Acquaintance - US / UK

If you'd like to read 'A Searing Acquaintance' but haven't yet bought it, if you are very quick you can get it at a reduced price. It's $1.99 in the US and £1.99 in the UK, but the offer finishes today, so don't delay! It may be reduced in other countries, so check if you'd like to take advantage of the offer.

Back Cover: Mendacity & Mourning by J L Ashton
Giveaway Time!

Meryton Press are giving away ebooks of 'Mendacity and Mourning' to eight lucky winners. To enter, please use the rafflecopter below.

Giveaway Terms and Conditions: Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once a day and daily commenting on a blog post or review that has a giveaway attached for the tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented (which will be verified). If an entrant does not do so, that entry will be disqualified. Remember: Tweet and comment once daily to earn extra entries.
A winner may win ONLY 1 (ONE) eBook of Mendacity & Mourning by J. L. Ashton. Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and the giveaway is international.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Tour Schedule:

Mendacity & Mourning by J L Ashton - Blog Tour
19 June   Babblings of a Bookworm Vignette, GA
20 June   My Jane Austen Book Club Author/Character Interview, GA
21 June   Half Agony, Half Hope Review, Excerpt
22 June   From Pemberley to Milton Guest Post, Excerpt, GA
23 June   More Agreeably Engaged Vignette, GA
24 June   Just Jane 1813 Review, GA
25 June   Margie’s Must Reads Guest Post, GA
26 June   Of Pens and Pages Review, Excerpt, GA
27 June   Tomorrow is Another Day Review, GA
28 June   Austenesque Reviews Vignette, GA
29 June   My Vices and Weaknesses Character Interview, GA
01 July    Darcyholic Diversions Author Interview, GA
02 July    Laughing With Lizzie Vignette, Excerpt, GA
03 July    Diary of an Eccentric Review

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  1. Ha - poor Lydia! And poor Mr. Bingley to be so misused! New vignettes are such fun and I look forward to reading the rest on Friday! Great beginning to the blog tour - thanks Jan and Ceri!

    1. Gail, my wonderful editor who helped shape so much of M&M! So happy to see you here, and that you approve of my outtake. :)
      Thanks and hugs to you!

  2. Wonderful vignette Jan! Best wishes on the new book!

  3. What a delightful post. Oh, I loved the excerpt. I will warn you right now... I will probably stalk you through the blog tour. Yep, I REALLY want this book. Don't worry, if I don't win, I WILL have this book in my TBR pile. I loved that interaction between Darcy and Elizabeth. Him looking in the mirror to see her was so cool. Wonderful!! Since I don't Tweet or Face, I was glad leaving a comment counted. Good luck to everyone who entered... and to me, as I really want this book. Blessings on the launch and success of this book. Keep writing as we are ravenous for anything Darcy and Elizabeth.

    1. Ha stalk and keep your seat on board "the M&M blog tour express." Not to give too much away, but I will confide that this post is less silly and quirky than much of the book. Thanks for your good wishes and I'll look for you tomorrow and onward!

  4. Enjoyable out-take, Jan, and who but you for a games-related vignette. As you know, I love this story, but I'm holding out for when the paperback is released so I can enjoy the cover. Best of luck on the blog tour. Thanks for hosting, Ceri.

    1. Thanks, Suzan. I do love a good board game, despite losing badly at Marrying Mr. Darcy. And I too am so excited to see the paperback and hold Zuki's cover art!

  5. I am thinking poor Bingley if that is all Jane can talk about.

    1. At least Jane and Bingley are of like mind and heart, and he can find no fault in his angel. :) Thanks, Vesper!

  6. Thanks for this wonderful post ladies. :) Congratulations on the release of this book, the beautiful cover, :) Thanks for the generous giveaway.

    1. Glad you enjoyed it, Kate. Thanks so much for stopping by!

  7. What a delightful vignette, Jan! Congratulations on your new book! Thanks for the giveaway!

    1. Hi Daniela! I'm so excited for M&M to see the light of day and to find a larger audience. Thanks for all your support!

  8. Thanks, Ceri, for kicking off the blog tour and thank you, Jan, for this lovely vignette. I can't wait to post its conclusion on the 23rd. What fun! Best wishes for your new book.

    1. Thank you for all you help, Janet! I hope you like where things end up with these gamesters.

  9. Well I enjoyed that and can't wait to read the book even if this isn't actually included. Thanks Ceri and Jan

    1. Ceri is so kind to have hosted my book to kick off the blog tour. I'm having fun adding these extra scenes to the story. Thanks, Glynis.

  10. Ceri, thank you so very much for hosting me and Mendacity & Mourning here at Babblings of a Bookworm. It's such a welcoming place for any author, let alone one kicking off her blog tour for an untraditional variation on P&P. I truly appreciate your support.

  11. I do love the sound of "slightly unhinged romantic comedy"! And have to confess I keep thinking of sugar coated chocolate sweets every time I see the abbreviation of this book title - sorry Jan!

    Loved the vignette and I can just picture Lydia's boredom in a house full of people who have found things to do that she finds totally uninteresting. Looking forward to Part 2 on Friday. Like Jeanne, I'll be another stalker...oops, follower...on "the M&M blog tour express".

  12. Hilarious excerpt. It will be fun to see where things go from there after that build up. Love the humor that sparkles from the book.

  13. You had me at romantic comedy. I'm a bit of an angst weenie so I am a fan of variations with humor so I believe this is one I would really enjoy.

  14. Oh my! I can't wait for part 2. Congratulations and thank you for the giveaway.

  15. I also read and enjoyed this book.

  16. Lol, what a delightful vignette. I love Jan's writing style.
    Thanks for the tour and the post ladies. Looking forward to reading the book.
    Congratulations on the release of this book. :)

  17. What a fun vignette, Jan. It's charming and I hope it is included in the final edit. Can't wait to see how it finishes on Friday.

  18. Hi Neighbor! Nice to see you here and congratulations on your new release. Loved reading the chess game since those games were mentioned in your stoy. Of course Lydia would have to put in her two cents. Ha Ha!

  19. 'The intricacies of the Herefordshire manoeuvre...'! What a delightful scene!
    Best of luck with this book,Jan!
    It sounds like a great story and I hope it's well received!

  20. Carole in Canada20 June 2017 at 21:06

    That was a delightful vignette! I really love the line:
    ‘He has the curls on his head but not the brains inside it.’
    Reminds me of our Whippet...without the curls!

    Congratulations! Thank you for a chance to win it!

  21. Oh boy, Lydia & Mr. Bingley sure got the short end of that conversation. Can't wait to read the second part of this vignette!