The update you’ve all been waiting for…

woman book fantasy

Right now I’m sitting at my desk — dog at my feet, toddler slumbering directly above my head, purple water bottle by my keyboard — completely flabbergasted that the calendar on the wall keeps insisting it is July. I hope you’re all having a phenomenal, restful, one-for-the-memory books kind of summer.

Many of you have reached out in the past year to ask when (or, in some cases, whether!) I plan on revealing what happened to Belle, Cinderella, Dawn, Rapunzel, and everyone else in the Desperately Ever After series. For months, all I could do was explain that life (new baby, house search, health scares) has a way of knotting up even the best laid plans, but rest assured I’d been devoting every spare minute to Book 3 since before Book 2 even hit your Kindles.

But today … finally .. I can answer your questions with something new: Skipping Midnight, the concluding novel in the Desperately Ever After series, is complete!

woman embracing life

NOW I’m off to the land of revisions, proofreading, copyediting, and formatting — all of which I plan (ah, there’s that word again!) to finish as quickly as possible without sacrificing one lick of the story. If all goes well, you’ll be reunited with the ladies of Marestam before summer officially sets and Ariel loses her human legs. (Can you tell I’ve been living with a toddler? I can’t even tell you how hard it is to write with the entire soundtrack from Frozen playing on a constant loop in my head!)

But I digress. Thank you all for your wonderful emails, comments, and reviews. You have truly been my coveted midnight oil over these many, many months. Keep checking laurakenyon.com for updates, sneak peaks, giveaways, and the date of Skipping Midnight’s big cover reveal next month.

And again … enjoy your summer!!!

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The Elizabeth Papers blog tour & giveaway

 

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Excerpt

From Chapter 18

The four of them trooped through the great house like a band of ants, Charlie and Evie carrying their bags, their feet tapping on tiled floors and their eyes flying up to colossal oils and tapestries upon the walls. The staircase was laid with a carpet so thick that Evie could feel its luxury through the thin sole of her ballet pumps. On all sides, faces in antiquated costumes stared out at them. Men, young and old, were pictured holding books or sitting atop horses or standing in fields and brandishing guns. Amongst the women, there were wigs, beauty spots, bustles, ruffs, and skirts so wide they looked like sails. There were ringlets, buns, and creamy shoulders rising above shiny bodices of all colours. Where is Fitzwilliam? Evie found herself wondering. Where is Elizabeth?

She had been in her room for about ten minutes when there came a knock on the door. She jumped up. “Come in.”

The door creaked open, and Charlie’s face appeared. His eyes widened as he looked around the room. “Wow, you lucked out here. This is twice the size of my room…more than.”

“I know, it’s huge, isn’t it?” She glanced up to the great, silk paper-clad walls and the vast curtains. “And as for the bed…” Pausing, she looked at the enormous, mahogany four-poster and wondered that it didn’t have a stepladder to help her into it. Charlie’s eyes rested on the massive pillows and layers of blanket and counterpane. They each stared for a second too long before turning to each other and then, blinking, turned away. Evie’s face felt hot as she watched him walk towards the long windows and gaze out. Before him was a perfect view of the back of the estate: a lake glistening in the sunshine, rippled by ducks, a folly, wood bordering green. Continue reading

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Interview with author Ann Galvia — plus a giveaway!

 

sbsabhverticalbanner“You see what a strange circumstance it is,” she said, feeling some fleeting relief. “You know our acquaintance has not been easy.”

Elizabeth Bennet—stubborn, quick to judge but slow to revise her opinions, and entirely prejudiced against the man who had just proposed marriage at Hunsford—awakens to learn she has been in an accident. Bedridden in an unfamiliar house, she learns eleven years have passed since the last moment she can remember.

She finds herself a married woman, the mother of four, and pregnant yet again. Her children are strangers, and most mystifying of all, Fitzwilliam Darcy is her husband! How could she have married a man she loathes?

Confined to the house by her injury, Mr. Darcy’s company is inescapable. But is just being side by side enough to overcome their differences? What happens when Darcy, improved in manners and happily married to Mrs. Elizabeth Darcy, is faced with an obstinate, bewildered Miss Elizabeth Bennet?

 

Interview with Side by Side, Apart author Ann Galvia:

Ann_Galvia_head copySide by Side, Apart centers around the marriage of two of Jane Austen’s most beloved and iconic characters, Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy. What can you tell us about the story?

Elizabeth Bennet wakes up confused and in pain. As her head starts to clear, she realizes she’s married to Fitzwilliam Darcy–funny, didn’t she say no?–and is pregnant by him. She learns that she’s been in an accident. Over eleven years have passed since the last thing she can remember. She’s an invalid, far from home in a strange house, her husband is a mystery and her children are strangers. She understands pretty quickly that she can’t get out of this life. She just has to figure it out. The story follows only Elizabeth, the reader sees only what she sees. But the reader also has more background knowledge than she has, so you are invited to combine what she learns with what you know to create the full picture of her life.

 

What inspired you to write it?

There were two things at work. One is that I have always enjoyed “amnesia” stories, especially the idea of the hard-earned happily ever after suddenly being gone because one of the characters just isn’t that version of themselves anymore. Continue reading

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Sale time!

If you haven’t started the series yet, now’s a great time to snag a copy of Desperately Ever After before the trilogy ends this summer! Regularly $6.99, it’s on sale now for $1.99 … but only for a few days!

DEA promo thing 4-27-16

 

 

 

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April 27, 2016 · 1:35 PM

E-books for Earth Day!

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My first e-reader came to me by force. It was many Christmases ago, when my logical-to-a-fault husband took a look at the guest room wall (floor-to-ceiling built-ins essentially vomiting paperbacks), noticed how much extra weight my suitcases carried on vacation (“But I don’t know what I’ll want to read first!”), and took the bold and courageous step of purchasing me a Kindle Touch.

disappointing presentI won’t say I felt like my dog, Shadow, unwrapping a box of flea and tick medication … or an electric collar. But, well, maybe a little.

But alas. While I hate to admit it. (Especially in writing to the entire world.) He was right and I was wrong.

As much as I railed against them in the beginning, it’s safe to say that I’m an e-book convert. In fact, it was my idea to upgrade my Kindle Touch to a shiny new Kindle Paperwhite a couple of years ago — and this time, opening the package was like opening a box filled with puppies sporting big, red bows on their heads.

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 3.30.57 PMBefore e-books, spending a week in Punta Cana with twenty-three possible titles was a thing of fantasy. Before e-books, I wasted countless hours trying to predict what I’d be in the mood for this day or that. Before e-books, I actually had to use a book light if I read in bed while hubby was sleeping — a struggle that never seemed to work quite the way I wanted. And before e-books, millions more trees met untimely ends in order to stock our shelves. How’s that for an Earth Day connection?

Hypocrite warning: I’m not against paper books. And if I LOVE LOVE LOVE an e-book, there’s still a good chance I’ll purchase the paperback just so I can place it on that lovely guest room wall and make easy reference to it later. I did this with all three Hunger Games books (The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay), for example, and have absolutely no regrets. But I’m also likely to purchase the Kindle version of something I have in print because it’s more portable — and yes, the chance of me getting to everything on that bookshelf is slim to none.

Yes, it’s a sickness. But I love it😉

Need help choosing an e-book for Earth Day? Try an Amazon #1 bestseller like Desperately Ever After or its sequel, Damsels in Distress. The trees will smile and so will you😉 Continue reading

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Mend a Broken Heart — blog tour & giveaway!

htmabhverticalbannerI’m very happy be participating in L.S. Parsons’ blog tour for her new book, How to Mend a Broken Heart, inspired by Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and set three years after Mr. Darcy’s disastrous marriage proposal to Elizabeth Bennet. Read on for a message from the author and a chance to win the book!

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How to Mend a Broken Heart is Fitzwilliam Darcy’s story. It is the story of his quest to win the favorable regard of Miss Elizabeth Bennet, the woman he has never stopped loving. The fact that he is engaged to another lady does not impede his pursuit.

Through the many ironies of life, Elizabeth finds herself the guest of the Dowager Lady Matlock, Mr. Darcy’s aunt. Through her patronage, Elizabeth evolves from an avowed spinster to a woman ruled by desire and passion for a man she knows she cannot have.

Elizabeth is apprehensive about meeting Mr. Darcy again, due the rancor and bitterness of their last meeting three years prior. But the Mr. Darcy she encounters is not the same man she knew before. He is amiable, humourous, and extremely sexy. You need only look at the book’s cover for a visual aid! Continue reading

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The (unofficial) start of spring and a FREE surprise!

My husband might say otherwise, but as far as I’m concerned, March means spring is here. Sure, the season of hope doesn’t technically begin for another three weeks … but what’s three measly little weeks in the grand scheme of things?

Is the yard green — or at least a  mixture of green and brown? Yes.

Are my day lilies starting to push through the mulch? Yes.

Has my big down coat been removed from the rack by the door and shoved deep into the closet? You betcha.

So there you have it. SPRING!

And in the spirit of rejuvenation, I’m doing something I’ve never done before: giving one of my books away for free. Yes (she says hesitantly, unsure whether to hit “publish”): free. For March 1 only, you’ll be able to download Damsels in Distress (Book 2 in the Amazon best-selling Desperately Ever After series) on your Kindle or Kindle app for free through Amazon.

Check out my Amazon author page for more details, and have a very happy early spring😉

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About the series:

One part Sex and the City
Two parts Desperate Housewives
Three parts Brothers Grimm

Have you ever wondered how Cinderella would feel 10 years down the road, when her iconic ball gown no longer fit and she had four kids, a billion royal duties, and a husband who was never ever around? Or how long it would take “Beast” to return to his old, wolfish ways after Belle broke his curse? Or what kind of man finds a comatose woman in the woods and decides to kiss her?

Set in a fictional realm based on New York City, the Desperately Ever After series takes a whimsical look at our most beloved fairy tale princesses several years after true love’s kiss. With laughter, wine, and a new take on old-fashioned chivalry, these friends see each other through life’s trials one secret at a time.

From infidelity to aging. From deferred dreams, lost loves, and the pressures of family life. The books are about a group of ordinary women coming to terms with how their lives have turned out. They just happen to live in castles.

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Blurb for Book 1, Desperately Ever After:

dfw-lk-dea-cover-largeA 2014 National Indie Excellence Awards Chick-Lit Finalist, and an Amazon #1 bestseller for both Women’s Fiction Fantasy and Humor

Years after turning her husband from beast back to man and becoming his queen, Belle finds out she’s finally going to have a child. But before she can announce the wondrous news, she catches him cheating and watches her “happily ever after” go up in flames. Turning to her friends for the strength to land with grace, she realizes she’s not the only one at a crossroads:

Cinderella, a mother of four drowning in royal duties, is facing her 30th birthday and questioning everything she’s done (or hasn’t) with her life.

Rapunzel, a sex-crazed socialite and one-woman powerhouse, is on a self-destructive quest to make up for 20 years locked away in a tower.

Penelopea, an outsider with a mother-in-law from hell, is harboring a secret that could ruin everything at any moment.

One part Sex and the City, two parts Desperate Housewives, and three parts Brothers Grimm, Desperately Ever After picks up where the original tales left off—and reimagines them a la Gregory Maguire’s Wicked. With the wit of authors like Jennifer Weiner and the vision of ABC’s Once Upon a Time, the women ofDesperately Ever After rescue each other from life’s trials with laughter, wine, and a scandalous new take on happily ever after.

Excerpt

Reviews

Buy at Amazon

 

Book 2, Damsels in Distress:
(caution – there’s a pint-size spoiler if you haven’t read Book 1!)

dfw-lk-did-cover-largeAfter watching her fairy tale go up in flames, Belle is finally starting over. With a baby on the way, a business to run, and a new love interest she just can’t shake, things are finally looking up. That is, until she learns her independence might revive broken curses the world over. Could “happily ever after” really mean staying with her unfaithful husband? Or will Belle and her steadfast friends find another way?

Meanwhile, Dawn still longs for the life she had three centuries earlier—before her sleeping curse ended in two kids, an unfamiliar era, and a husband she barely knows. So when she encounters the childhood sweetheart she believed to be dead, Dawn must suddenly choose between the past she once wanted and the present she never knew she did.

As both women struggle between love and obligation, they fail to see a great danger brewing in the capital–one that could change everything forever.

Excerpt

Reviews

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A Little Whimsical in His Civilities — excerpt & giveaway!

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Today, I’m very happy to kick off the final weekend in J. Marie Croft’s blog tour for her new novella, A Little Whimsical in His Civilities. Inspired by Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, the novella is told entirely from Mr. Darcy’s point of view as he returns from Hertfordshire in pursuit of the sharp-tongued love of his life, Elizabeth Bennet.

Read on for a message from the author, an excerpt, and a chance to win the book!

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Thanks, Laura, for participating in the Whimsical blog tour. While you’re quite an accomplished author, I’m obviously still struggling to become well versed in the craft.

My pastime is nocturnal by necessity. I work at a full-time job five days a week. Moonlighting as a writer – burning the candle at both ends – is not always easy; but those precious, after-midnight hours are productive ones … especially when there’s help at hand, wanted or not.

Picture this.

on my shoudersI’m at my computer, working on a novella for Meryton Press. There’s a teeny lady perched on my right shoulder, averting me from anachronistic words like ‘eye contact’, ‘reticence’, and ‘paperwork’. The woman is garbed in an authentic Regency-era muslin dress and bonnet, so it’s not Debbie Styne, my Whimsical editor.

On my other shoulder is a handsome, early-19th century gentleman, dictating into my ear. His breathy whispers are both annoying and rather seductive. But who’s the guy in Elizabethan trappings, sitting on the Regency chap’s broad shoulder? Lo and behold, he’s coaching the other fellow in the use of acerbic adjectives and insolent insults.

Let’s take a peek at a snippet from A Little Whimsical in His Civilities, as told from Mr. Darcy’s lofty point of view. The passage is about writing, so it seems apropos. I thank the famous author on my right shoulder for allowing such blatant reworking of her own words.

Excerpt

If my vanity had taken a literary turn, I suppose this mooning, this lovesickness, this insanity, would have proven invaluable. Powerful emotion has fuelled many a bard’s pen, even Shakespeare’s, my favourite. Unfortunately, I have not the talent to compose pretty verses on my lady … although, over the years, I have made a few daft and doltish stabs at poetry.

Speaking of stabs, would it sway Elizabeth if I tried to eloquently articulate in what manner her arrow transpierced my psyche and made me equal parts pessimism and optimism? Such sentiment, no doubt, could be worded beautifully by someone with a special aptitude for the turn of a phrase. Unfortunately, I am incapable of elegantly expressing my emotions. Lud, I certainly proved that at Hunsford.

Although Elizabeth’s mother might be delighted with any poem written by a daughter’s suitor, my attempt at a sonnet would surely have my heart’s desire running for the hills. Wait, the hills! It is, after all, my fondest wish to have Elizabeth settled in the Peak District. Perhaps if I composed fourteen lighthearted lines in iambic pentameter about my love, such unmitigated drivel would send her in Derbyshire’s direction.

Pish! Although a true proficient at odious letters of business, not to mention one egregious piece of personal correspondence written in a dreadful bitterness of spirit, I could no more create a love poem than a Gothic novel. The mere thought of composing romantic verse under any other motive than to save my life is ludicrous. And if it were absolutely necessary for me to persevere as sonneteer and never relax into laughing at myself, I should surely swing from the gallows before completion of the first quatrain.

Any weedy, slime-sucked gruel leaking forth from my pen would not come close to the heartfelt poetry Elizabeth deserves. Even a fine, stout, healthy love would choke on such swill. Bingley had the right of it, I suppose. Possessing, as I do, a weak-hinged fancy for written words of at least four-syllables (which Bingley calls break-teeth words), my rhymes would surely end up awkwardly stilted. It matters not. I shall certainly never expose myself to ridicule by becoming a vile versifier. Criminy! What would people think if Fitzwilliam Marmaduke Lucius Darcy started penning poetry? ’Tis laughable.

* * * * ***

Do you know what else is laughable? My daft and doltish stab at poetry inspired by the name of Laura’s blog.

Here’s to you, Laura, and to Skipping Midnight.
To reading and writing while others sleep.
Imaginative night owls, winging fanciful flight.

Here’s to brilliance born beneath blanket of darkness.
To liveliness of mind in the dead of night.
Black letters on white pages in all their starkness.

Here’s to inky-skies, candlelight, flare and flair.
To incandescent creativity sparked by stars.
Emotion fueled by moonbeams. Souls laid bare.

Here’s to embracing shadows and staying up late.
To being held captive, spellbound, by words.
Dreamy minds. Awakened muses. A need to create.

Here’s to sleight of hand, writing, and magic.
To nocturnal creatures conjuring by moonlight.
Ideas whimsical, romantic, comic, or tragic.

Here’s to the wee hours.
To readers and writers.
Skipping Midnight.

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Author bio

Marie Croft is a self-proclaimed word nerd and adherent of Jane Austen’s quote “Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery.” Her light-hearted novel, Love at First Slight(Meryton Press, 2013), her humorous short story, Spyglasses and Sunburns, in the Sun-Kissed: Effusions of Summeranthology (Meryton Press, 2015), and her novella, A Little Whimsical in His Civilities (Meryton Press, 2016) bear witness to Joanne’s fondness for Pride and Prejudice, wordplay, and laughter.

stars in morocco

stars in morocco

Click HERE to enter for a chance to win either a print or e-book copy of J. Marie Croft’s A Little Whimsical in His Civilities

Links

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To purchase
Amazon
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What Romance Really Means After 10 Years of Marriage

lovers imageIt’s 11 p.m. My adorable menace is sprawled out like a drunk freshman in her crib. My dog, who’s still coming to terms with said menace’s arrival, is seeking solace in a ball at my feet. My husband is in the next room watching what sounds like a particularly terrifying episode of The Walking Dead. And despite accomplishing a fraction of what I intended before the day’s exhaustion set in, I’m capping the pen for the night.

But in honor of Valentine’s Day, I must first pass on Heather Havrilesky’s hilarious article for New York Magazine about the true definition of ‘romance.” Hint: It goes a heck of a lot further than the credits in a Rachel McAdams movie.

One of my favorite lines: “When it’s 10 p.m. and you crawl into bed like two old people and tell each other about the weird things that your kids said that day and laugh and tell stupid jokes and giggle and then maybe you feel like making out or maybe you just feel like playing a quick game of Candy Crush, all the while saying things like, ‘This game is stupid, it sucks’ and ‘Your feet are freezing’ and ‘My ass hurts,’ that’s romantic.”

Granted, her marriage still has three years on mine, but the sentiment still resonates — freezing feet and all😉

Check it out: What Romance Really Means After 10 Years of Marriage

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Valentine’s Day Contest Alert!

Valentine's Day Hop Graphic

Whether you’re a fan or foe of the Hallmark holiday, there’s something for everyone during PageCurl’s Valentine’s Day blog hop this year — with 75 authors participating!

Head on over to my Facebook page for a chance to win one of three Kindle copies of Desperately Ever After, as well as one of four $25 Amazon gift cards.

Hurry up though … the cupid’s clock is ticking! Best of luck to you all😉

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