Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Austen Admirers Updated Promotions List

February 27th update:  The party hasn't stopped yet!  Anyone who donates $1 or $5 is eligible for a drawing to win a 3 month gift subscription to Audible.com!  Find books by Abigail Reynolds, PO Dixon, Syrie James and more.  This is my thank you for making my campaign a success.  You can still get a Social Media Calling Card, be eligible for stamps from Cassandra Grafton, and audiobooks - but there are only 3 days left.  Don't forget to go to kickstarter.com, donate, and you'll automatically be entered!  

Also, my sincere apologies to DarcyandLizzy.com for missing their logo on the post.  Mea culpa!

Leave aside Darcy, Wentworth, Brandon and Tilney.  (It's hard - I know!)  It is my theory that romance in Jane Austen's novels is secondary to the importance of family, especially in hard times.  Last week my amazing Janeite family stepped up to support me, much like how the Bennet sisters rallied around Lydia.  I cannot begin to describe how grateful I am.

But enough about me, let's get to the amazing donations!  For each donation level, the backer will receive the following fabulous gifts:

$25 Donation:

Author Sally Smith O'Rourke offers a choice of one her eBooks, The Man Who Loved Jane Austen or
 Affectionately Yours, Jane Austen.  Both wonderful books!

Author Jessica Grey offers her just released novel, Attempting Elizabeth, to anyone who donates $25 or more after February 22nd.  I know you'll identify with Kelsey as much as I did.  Geek girls rule!

Author Maria Grace offers an eBook of her novel, Darcy's Decision.  Would you like to know what Darcy was like before he met Elizabeth?  This novel is for you!

$50 Donation:

Author Mary Simonsen is offering the choice of two eBooks from her Quail Creek Publishing collection if you donate $50 or more.  Go on the prowl with Mr. Darcy's Bite or slow dance with Elizabeth and Darcy during the London Blitz in Darcy Goes To War. For a complete list of available books, check out Mary's blog!

Author Author Maria Grace adds to her generous $25 donation, the eBook of Darcy's Decision, with the 2nd eBook in her series, The Future Mrs. Darcy!

Your Nook or Kindle will thank you for 'The Complete Works of Shannon Winslow,' including eBooks of Mr. Collins's Last Supper, The Darcys of Pemberley, For Myself Alone, and her just released novel, Return to Longbourn.  Romance just jumps off the pages of Shannon Winslow's novels.  Thank you for this generous offer!

Author Sally Smith O'Rourke completes her set of eBooks with both The Man Who Loved Jane Austen and Affectionately Yours, Jane Austen.  You'll love them!

For a $100 donation:

First, from Author Abigail Reynolds, for anyone who donates $100 or more, a cameo appearance and an acknowledgement in one of her future books.  Holy cow!  This is your chance to interact with Jane Austen's characters!  (Note:  this offer has been fully claimed as of February 27th)

From Author Marilyn Brant, for anyone who donates $100 or more after February 22nd, his/her choice of 2 of her eBook romantic comedies (pick two from Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Match; On Any Given Sundae; Holiday Man; and Double Dipping).  Can you say swoon?

From Author Kara Louise, for anyone who donates $100 or more after February 22nd, she'll send them a signed copy of her soon-to-be released novel, Pirates and Prejudice.  If you've read Darcy's Voyage, you know how romantic Kara makes the high seas.  Ahoy!

From Author Nancy Kelley, if you donate $100 or more after February 22nd, you receive both books from her series, The Brides of Pemberley, His Good Opinion and Loving Miss Darcy.  Or, if you are like me and have both books already, she will send you a copy of Against His Will when it is released this fall.  Just wait till you meet Sebastian!

From Author Maria Grace, for anyone who donates $100 or more, she completes her trilogy of eBooks by including the soon-to-be released, All The Appearance of Goodness.  What an amazing trilogy!

All of this includes the donations for the $50 and $25 levels!

By donating $100 or more, you could have:
1.  A personalized digital Social Media Calling Card
2.  20 printed Social Media Calling Cards
3.  One Year U.S. Membership to JASNA
4.  A cameo in one of Abigail Reynolds' upcoming novels
5.  A whopping FIFTEEN NOVELS!!!!!!!

I know I'm starting to sound like the Sham-Wow guy, but it really only gets better from here. 

Wait till you see the giveaways!

Each person who is a backer of Austen Admirers is assigned a number.  Random.org will choose the winner for us, and we'll contact you!  These amazing authors have donated novels for special drawings.  

This drawing is just for those who donate $5:

Author Cassandra Grafton has graciously donated 4 SETS of Jane Austen Royal Stamps from the UK!  Aren't they beautiful?  One of them could be yours.  Thank you so much, Cassie!

The amazing Janet B Taylor is offering another incentive for those who donate! If you have donated $5, you are eligible for a drawing to win one of two special edition Pride and Prejudice 200th Anniversary Calendars!

For a $15 donation, you could also win:

Author D. W. Wilkin has graciously offered 3 Ebooks of his novel, 'Jane and the Ghosts' for a drawing for anyone who donates at the $15 dollar level.

For a $25 donation, you could also win:

From Author Tess Quinn - two eBook anthologies, The Road to Pemberley, and her just released anthology of short stories, Pride Revisited. (note:  already claimed)

From Author Melanie Schertz - 2 copies of her novels If Only In His Dreams and A Pair of Dancing Brown Eyes!

From Author P.O. Dixon - 2 eBook copies of her forthcoming book, Love Will Grow.

From Author Nina Benneton - two sets each of the ebooks of Jane Austen's Works, Illustrated and her novel, Compulsively Mr. Darcy!

Look what you can win for a $50 donation.

Author Sharon Lathan is graciously offering 2 sets of a signed ARC of The Passions of Dr. Darcy PLUS an eBook of any Darcy Saga you choose!

Author Nina Benneton ups the offer for a winner chosen by Random.org on March 5th.  For one lucky person, one ebook of Jane Austen's Works, Illustrated, one ebook of Compulsively Mr. Darcy PLUS a cameo appearance with Edward Bennet (follow him on twitter @EdwBennet) in the Pride and Prejudice's Reader Choice's Bennet Brother at Austen Authors on April 10th, 2013!!

And lastly, for a person who donates $100 or more:

One person can win one signed copy each of Sally O'Rourke's trade paperback of The Man Who Loved Jane Austen and Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen PLUS a special edition, remastered DVD of 1995 Pride and Prejudice mini-series.  The drawing for this will be for everyone who has donated $100 or more and will be via Random.org on March 5th!

DarcyandLizzy.com has also graciously offered one $100 Amazon.com gift card as a drawing for a person who donates $100 or more.  WOW!  Imagine just how many new JAFF books will line your shelf!  A deep curtsey to the wonderful people of DarcyandLizzy.com for their generous donation to Austen Admirers.

Thank you very much to the authors for donating such amazing novels and to Jakki for allowing me to take over her blog.  Lucky for me, Jakki is the type of friend that I can say, 'I need complete access to your blog' and she doesn't bat an eye.

Most importantly, thank you to everyone who donated to make Austen Admirers a reality.  The smallest donation counts just as much as the the largest donation.  From the bottom of my heart, I thank each and every one of you!

Don't forget the other offers, such as Bingley Teas and Amazon Gift cards.  To find out more, check out the Austen Admirers Kickstarter Campaign, 'like' Austen Admirers Facebook page, follow on Twitter @AustenAdmirers, or send me an e-mail, adkroll95 (at) gmail (dot)com!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Leatherbound's Thoughts on Storia, Scholastic's New App

Today I am blogging about something a little different. There is no book review, excerpt, interview, vlog, or guest post. Rather, I want to inform you of a fairly new app that Scholastic has come out with. Some of you might have heard of it, but I have just recently discovered this.  Storia, Scholastic’s new app, is making reading more fun for my five and three-year olds.

As a rapacious reader and former language arts teacher, I know how important reading and comprehension are to one’s development and academic success. As a result, I am always looking for new and fun ways to heighten my children’s reading experience.

In the age of educational electronic devices, children have a plethora of options available to them from Leapsters and Leappads, to interactive, educational websites such as Starfall and Funbrain, not to mention the thousands of educational apps available for smartphones and tablets.

Storia takes the fun, interactive properties of the LeapfrogTag reading system, and combines them with the classic storytelling of read-along books. Aubrey, my three-year old, spent a half hour the other morning “reading” three books plus playing the interactive activities that accompany each story. I have to tell you, she is having the most fun with this new app and is constantly asking me to purchase more books. A girl after my own heart.

Here is a list of the many features I like about the Storia app:
  • It highlights the word being read.
  • It will not only read the whole story to your child, but it will also turn the pages for him/her. (Or you can self-turn the pages)
  • Many books are enriched with engaging activities such as puzzles, word searches, sequencing challenges, and much more.
  • It has a dictionary with text, image, and read-to-me narration, allowing your child to look up the meaning of any word on the page.
  • Your child can tap on a word and Storia will highlight and read the chosen word.
  • Each child has his/her own bookshelf, helping you keep your children’s books organized.
  • It’s an app. I can take it anywhere and my child will be happy. She can play it while in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, while her brother is at speech, on long car trips, etc.

Problems I hope Scholastic fixes:
  • Not every book gives you a “look inside.” I would like to be able to see a few pages before I decide to purchase a book. (I must be spoiled by Amazon).
  • Not every book is enriched with activities like they are with Leapfrog Tag
  • It appears that books for older kids (grades 1 and up) are not read-to-me enabled; however, some do have enrichment activities.
  • The Storia website does not tell you which books are read-to-me enabled; yet, they do tell you which ones are enriched with activities. I would prefer knowing since my three-year old likes the books read to her. 

For the most part, I have been pleased with Storia, and my children have been well entertained.

Now, I want to know, what are some of your favorite educational apps, websites, and games for your children. Thanks for sharing!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Winner: Friendship of a Special Kind by Moira Bianchi


Congratulations, Felicia! I hope you enjoy Friendship of a Special Kind. I will be emailing you soon! 

Thank you Moira Bianchi for not only the great giveaway, but also for the fun excerpt and intriguing insight to the Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. 

Didn't win? Want to read Friendship of a Special Kind? You can purchase a copy at Amazon and B&N

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Interview with Edward Bennet

I am thrilled to have with me today the dashing, charming, and handsome Mr. Edward Bennet. (Pause- Gives ladies a chance to catch their breath). After discovering the Bennet sisters have an older brother, I was eager to learn more of this gentleman who has just arrived home from London and is making quite an impression amongst the ladies of Meryton, Austen Authors, and Twitter.  After a few bats of my eyelashes, and a well-placed complement or two, I was able to secure a private interview with Edward Bennet. I hope you enjoy this glimpse at the man behind the cravat.

What is your definition of a “gentleman?”
A gentleman has good breeding, manners, and behavior. Honest and trustworthy—a man of his word. We too rarely see all of those in one man.

What part about being a gentleman do you like best? Which areas of propriety do you wish you could just toss into the Thames?
I enjoy the freedom of being a gentleman. So long as I do not breach propriety, I have many choices as to how I choose to spend my time and whom I spend it with.  As for propriety, sometimes I feel it is considered more important than honesty. Why cannot a gentleman have a civil and private conversation with a lady without it being presumed that something improper is going on?

What have you been doing to pass time whilst in London?
I attend a great many soirees and balls to become acquainted with the Season’s young ladies. My family’s estate at Longbourn could dearly use an infusion of cash for improvements, and it would be most convenient if I could find an heiress to marry. Is it not as easy to fall in love with a rich lady as a poor one? (Laughs) I also spend many evenings attending lectures and scientific presentations on modern methods of farming. Fascinating stuff!

You called Mr. Darcy out at the assembly for his disparaging remark about your sister Elizabeth. Did you know it was the illustrious Mr. Darcy to whom you were speaking?
I did not, but I am afraid that the adjective I would apply to Mr. Darcy is not ‘illustrious.’ He is a Cambridge man, after all.

Yes, you attend Oxford. Do you have any other opinions about Mr. Darcy?
I do, but it would be unwise of me to state them publicly. Let us just say I cannot abide hypocrites, and leave it at that.

What is your opinion on entails? Do you find them helpful or hurtful?
I believe them most beneficial. It can be quite painful when an estate is entailed away from a family for the lack of a son, that is true. While it is appealing to think of splitting an inheritance between all the children of a marriage, the fact is that it would lead to increasing impoverishment with each successive generation. An entail is vital in keeping an estate intact, which is often the best thing for a family as a whole.

What would be on your list of things that make an 'accomplished woman?'
Beauty, wit, a certain self-possession, and the ability to mingle with society at all levels while giving offense to none. Musical skills are of great importance in providing entertainment, and extensive reading keeps a woman’s mind lively and interesting. An adequate dowry, while not an absolute requirement, is an attractive inducement to affection. (Laughs) I do hope you know I am jesting.

I hear you are glad to be out of London and back at Longbourn. How do you handle being surrounded by so many female relations, especially your two younger, sillier sisters?
If there is a reason I should dislike being surrounded by so many female relations, I have yet to discover it! As the only son, I am an object of great interest to them. As for my two youngest sisters, they are good hearted and high spirited. All young ladies must be protected from the world at large, and taken in hand by their parents when the need arises. Between you and me, I would take more of an interest in my youngest sisters than my father does at present. But I think ladies are rational creatures, and believe they can be guided to proper behavior without crushing their joie de vivre.

What is your description of the perfect husband for your sisters?
The perfect husband would be one who respects his wife, can properly provide for her, and treats her well, and for whom she has some affection.

Favorite food & drink:
Being possessed of a taste for sweets, I have a great weakness for sticky pudding and for frozen ices. I find brandy to be superior to port, and I cannot abide Madeira.

Tea or coffee?
A well-made cup of tea is a true delight, though there is nothing quite like the scent of coffee.

Night owl or early riser?
Having grown up on an agricultural estate, I am an early riser.

I know Miss Perry is dying to know—Breeches or trousers?  
Ah, the delightful Miss Perry! I wear breeches for formal occasions, not least because I know it delights the ladies, but for a day on the farm, I must admit trousers are more practical.  Honestly, if I never wore a cravat again, I should be very happy. Beau Brummell is the bane of the gentlemen of England!

What would you like to say to your ardent admirers on twitter?
I hope they will all join in the conversation, for there is very little I enjoy more than a conversation with an ardent lady!

I know Edward Bennet has been making quite an impression with a select group of ardent admirers in the Twitterverse. Those of you looking for diverting tweets should follow Edward on Twitter (@EdwBennet) or use the hashtag #hotBennetBrother (or #hBB). 

To read more about The Bennet Brother, head over to Austen Authors and their Reader’s Choice page.

Pride and Prejudice: Reader’s Choic: The Bennet Brother
Elizabeth has an older, very protective brother. Returning to Hertfordshire after a time away, he is not pleased to learn of his favorite sister being insulted by Mr. Darcy! Will he confront the emotionally-conflicted Darcy? Does Lizzy’s brother know Mr. Darcy, or heard rumors of him? Or perhaps vice versa? And what about this mysterious brother, anyway?