Good morning, my dear readers! I hope everyone is having a great start to the week and that my readers in the US enjoyed a lovely long holiday weekend.
Today I have a real treat for you because one of my favorite JAFF authors is joining us today and she’s brought gifts for my readers! Joana Starnes is here to share her decision to make a few of her books available on audiobooks and I think readers will love them! I know how much effort Joana spends making all of the details in her projects just right, and I am sure the release of her audiobooks is just another example of her attention to detail and her tremendous work ethic!
Last year, one of my favorite bloggers, Margie from Margie’s Must-Reads, described audiobooks as reading with her ears and ever since I heard that phrase, I always think of it when I “read with my ears.”
Please help me welcome Joana Starnes to Just Jane 1813!
Dear Claudine, many thanks for welcoming me at Just Jane 1813 to celebrate the release of my first two audio-books. One of them is ‘Mr Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter’ that had such an amazing launch in Kindle and paperback, thanks to you and all the lovely ladies who hosted the blog tour! The other is the tale of Elizabeth and Mr Darcy’s Cornish adventures – ‘The Falmouth Connection’.
Both stories are narrated by Stevie Zimmerman, whose exquisite period drama style brings the characters to life in the most engaging manner! Her Elizabeth is as bright and sparkling as we’ve always imagined her to be, and if listeners manage not to swoon at Stevie’s Mr Darcy then they’re made of stronger stuff than I. His tones cover the whole spectrum, from soft, low and seductive – all the way to the sternness he reserves for Mr Collins and Lady Catherine. All the other characters are wonderful too, their individual traits skilfully identified and presented, and you’ll come across supercilious sisters, devious aunts, a handful of rowdy Bennets and a very Cornish skipper.
Working with Stevie was an absolute delight. Each time I listened to new files it was such a joy to find scenes and dialogues sounding just as I hoped they would – and better! I think you’ll see what I mean if you follow the links. You can listen for FREE with a 30-day audio trial. The links for ‘The Falmouth Connection’ are already live here (with ‘Mr Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter’ soon to follow):
You can also leave a comment for a chance to win one of the 5 audio codes and 2 e-books included in the giveaway. The e-books are winner’s choice of any of my novels and the giveaway is open internationally. The audio codes can be redeemed on Audible US (which I think is open to non-US customers) and also on Audible UK. In the meantime, if you’re on Kindle Unlimited you can find ‘The Falmouth Connection’, ‘Miss Darcy’s Companion’ and ‘The Unthinkable Triangle’ enrolled there.
I hope you’ll enjoy listening to ‘The Falmouth Connection’ and ‘Mr Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter’. Stepping into the world of audio-books has been a roller-coaster, in a year that has already brought more than its fair share of excitement: events celebrating Jane Austen’s life and work, the release of ‘The Darcy Monologues’ and meeting longstanding online friends for the very first time!!! It was lovely to meet Christina and I can’t wait for our face-to-face meeting, Claudine!! It’s so good to know it’s not long now, just a matter of days. I’m finding it very hard indeed to keep still and be patient as my mind is buzzing with plans and possibilities, but with any luck working with Stevie on the next project might keep me on the straight and narrow for a few days more 😉
Bye for now and many thanks to the Just Jane readers who stop by to check out this post. I hope I’ve piqued your interest regarding Stevie’s wonderful narration style and that you’ll enjoy listening to her as much as I did. If you’ve never read ‘The Falmouth Connection’ or ‘Mr Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter’, or if you’ve read them a fair while ago, let me leave you with a couple of excerpts:
The Falmouth Connection, Chapter 18
Breathless with the swift trek and with the terrors of the night, Elizabeth hurried to the house. The garden door would not be open, surely. Would they hear her if she knocked? Perhaps not. Perhaps she should walk around to the main entrance. She rushed forth noiselessly over the damp grass – and stumbled into something or someone in the darkness, only to find herself caught and held tightly in strong arms that would not let her fall, yet at the same time prevented all escape.
Before the cry of utter horror could leave her lips, a deep voice, warm and earnest, stilled her struggles and set her thoroughly at ease – for she would have recognised that voice anywhere.
“Sshh. You are safe. You are safe. You need not fear me. Forgive me for startling you thus. You have nothing to fear. Thank goodness, you are safe!”
The words did not sink in. Not yet. Not quite. But their fervent cadence reached her, along with the overwhelming certainty that this was not some unknown aggressor. It was Mr Darcy – and she clung to the folds of his cloak with all her might, shaking like a leaf. Not for fear, though. The fear vanished as if it never was, to be replaced by the strangest weakness. Had he not held her, she might have collapsed, for her knees felt useless, about to give way, and her head was swimming. Still shaking, and still gripping the folds of his cloak with trembling fingers, she could not think straight. She could only feel. And the only feeling she could readily identify from the tumult and confusion that seemed to reign inside her was unspeakable relief that at long last this was someone she could fully trust. Someone who came from her own safe, sane world, and not this frightful place where one could not tell one’s friends from one’s foes.
She struggled for breath – and yet did not withdraw from the tight clasp of those arms, but unconsciously drew nearer. Support and succour and safe haven. How strange that she had never felt as safe before. It was the oddest certainty that nothing could harm her now, and the relief made her positively dizzy after the night’s predicaments and terrors – without a doubt the most harrowing night of her entire tame existence.
Her senses, previously dulled by the dizzying weakness, came suddenly alive, like hissing candles lit in very quick succession. She felt his breath upon her cheek, warm, rapid and uneven, and her own breath turned fast and shallow, as if to match the pace of his – then grew shallower still when the narrow gap was closed and his lips touched her cheek. They lingered there and the cold fingertips were on her chin now, tilting her face upwards – or perhaps she had already done so of her own accord; she truly could not tell.
“Elizabeth…” she heard him whisper, his lips still on her cheek. And then the whisper gave way to a harsh intake of breath – and his lips were on hers. No longer soft and tentative, but searching. Deepening the kiss over a length of time that seemed to be measured in thundering heartbeats.
There was no sense, no reason, just the exquisite kiss and the night that suddenly felt warm and gloriously perfect, after the reign of fear and of doubt. Come to think of doubt, she might well doubt her sanity for allowing this to happen – but as his hands roamed across her back, clasping her so fiercely that she could barely breathe, she closed her eyes again, relishing the madness and the bewildering sensation of homecoming into strong arms that would keep her safe.
* * *
Mr Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter’, Chapter 9
His hand came up to cup her cheek, his fingertips stroked her hair and he smiled again. A heartbreakingly warm smile.
“There is so much I do not know of you. What joy it will be to discover.”
Elizabeth’s breath caught once more at the thought of truths that must remain concealed, and a most uncomfortable stab of guilt made her turn her head by a fraction to press her lips on his wrist and thus unsettle herself further at the feel of the pulse drumming forcefully underneath. It was unwise to say so, particularly given her recent reflections about how much he was willing to reveal to her these days, but the words came out before she could check them.
“And I of you. It was quite a surprise this morning to hear you were contemplating kissing me as far back as November.”
“I should have. What a foolish waste of five months of happiness.”
Elizabeth swallowed hard again.
“I am very glad I make you happy,” she said quietly, and found with some surprise that she was in earnest.
“You know you do. More than I ever thought possible,” Mr Darcy whispered hoarsely and, setting his plate on the table without looking, he reached to slide an arm behind her back and the other underneath her to gather her up, quilt, shawl and all, lift her off the sofa and bring her close, ensconced in a tight embrace. Her plate had the same fate as his and Elizabeth willingly wrapped her arms around his neck, abandoning herself to his kisses, only to find guilt welling afresh when his lips left her skin just for long enough to whisper, “My love, you are everything.”
‘Do not say it, oh, do not say it!’ she felt the strongest urge to caution him. ‘Do not give me so much power over you.’
She said nothing of the sort, but tangled her fingers in his hair instead, responding to his kisses with more determined fervour than she had ever felt compelled to show. It came as no real surprise that he stood to carry her to the bedchamber. The surprise was that he was heading to his own. She must have betrayed it in some untold fashion because he paused, both from striding forth and from kissing her, and his dark eyes bored into hers as he asked, “Would you mind if we went into mine? I have spent quite some time envisaging you beside me. It would be… very good to see you there at last.”
The lump in her throat threatened to choke her. She could not have spoken, had she tried. She could only give a wordless answer and tangled her fingers into his hair to bring his mouth crushing on hers again, in the hope it would be sufficient indication of compliance. It was. More than enough.
* * *
Now you can listen to Stevie’s rendition of Mr Darcy’s swoon-worthy tones whenever you feel like it. I’m ready to bet you’ll be delighted – she never disappoints!
Thanks again, Claudine, for the wonderful welcome, safe travels and see you soon!
Thank you, Joana, for including THAT kiss from The Falmouth Connection. It always makes me a little weak in the knees too!
Readers can visit Joana’s Author Page on Amazon to check out all of her books, which are ALL 5-star reads for me!
You can also find Joana Starnes on Goodreads, which is where we first “met.” In less than a week, I get to hug her in person… More of that story to come soon!
Don’t forget to enter the giveaway by commenting below this post! I can’t wait to give away all of these great prizes and I can’t thank Joana enough for her generosity with these giveaways!