Good morning, Just Jane 1813 readers!
Today I have some thrilling news to share with the world of Austenesque books. As you all know, I have spent some considerable time in the past several years reading, reviewing, and blogging about JAFF. It’s one of my greatest passions!!
I’ve been so fortunate to meet so many authors and work with them to promote their stories; stories that I feel so deeply about and that have literally affected my life in so many meaningful ways. These feelings have always driven the work behind Just Jane 1813, and in return, I have been blessed to support many of the authors whose stories have meant so much to so many of us because these types of writers have been the bedrock of the JAFF community.
Two of my favorite women in JAFF, Amy D’Orazio and Jan Ashton, are launching their own company today, which is named Quills & Quartos Publishing. This company will operate as an independent, full-service digital, print and audiobook publisher of romantic historical fiction inspired by the works of Jane Austen. Quills & Quartos has been created with one goal in mind: to pair the best stories, both new and classic, with the best in editing and cover design, for a superlative reading experience.
Therefore, you must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love the line-up of authors they have planned for JAFF readers, starting with names such as Julie Cooper, Audrey Ryan, Jessie Lewis, KC Kahler, and one of the ladies behind the scenes making this happen, Amy D’Orazio!!! Their plan is to release these books on a pretty tight timeline, which means MORE JAFF to read and less waiting time in between books. Who doesn’t love this idea?
And—in an exclusive offer—early subscribers to their monthly newsletter will receive a free PDF of Amy’s gothic novel, The Mysteries of Pemberley. Copies will be sent to subscribers in the next week.
I know how JAFF readers roll, so I’ll share an excerpt from their very first release, The Mysteries of Pemberley, to inspire you to sign up for their newsletter…
The Mysteries of Pemberley Excerpt
The air in the room hung heavy and oppressive over Elizabeth, such that she could scarcely draw a breath. No candles had been lit; they were not necessary for the veritable bonfire that roared and cracked in the fireplace. She drew her handkerchief from her pocket, and dabbed at the beads of sweat threatening to roll from her brow.
She sighed at the view of the spectre for whom she held vigil. Surely this pale, ugly creature that lay in the bed was not beautiful, dear Jane? Her sister’s hand was thin and hot, and her skin was rough but Elizabeth reached for it, chafing it gently. With a dry, pained cough Jane opened her eyes to narrow slits.
Elizabeth smiled as cheerfully as she could, patting her sister’s cheek gently. “You look so much improved today, Jane,” Elizabeth lied. “How would you like some porridge? I believe Nicholls has made some nice—”
“Is he dead?” Jane’s voice bore all the ravages of her disease and but her quiet, hoarse croaks were nonetheless commanding.
“Is who dead, dearest?”
“My dear Charles.” Jane sighed and closed her eyes again. “I hope he is, for soon I will be too and I pray that death shall reunite us.”
“What a silly goose you are,” Elizabeth scolded half-heartedly, smoothing her sister’s hair from her fevered brow. “You are no more dying than I am. Why I will wager my new fan that you shall be out of this bed by Friday.”
“I will be out of this bed,” said Jane in a faint voice. “Buried six feet under in the churchyard.”
“That is not true! Why you—”
“Lizzy,” said Jane. “Stop. A person knows these things and in any case, I am in such misery. Death will be sweet relief.”
Tears sprang into Elizabeth’s eyes, and her throat grew tight. She busied herself straightening the bed linen and wiping Jane’s brow, all the while hoping for something to say that was not vain reassurance.
Jane opened her eyes then and her gaze locked on that of her sister’s. After a painful swallow, Elizabeth turned her head.
“Thank you for not arguing with me, for I have only the strength for a few sentences and I do not wish to waste it denying the truth.”
“Jane,” said Elizabeth through the lump in her throat, “if I could take your place, I would. You know I would do it in a heartbeat.”
A ghost of a smile flicked across Jane’s pale, drawn face. “In some manner of speaking, that is exactly what I wish of you.”
“Anything, Jane. I would do anything for you.”
Jane rested a moment, her eyes closed. She took enough shallow breaths that Elizabeth wondered whether she had fallen asleep. But no; Jane’s eyes opened again, strong and clear and intent on her sister’s—even the disease could not rob her of her motherly vigour. “Take care of little Charles. Be a mother to him. It will comfort me to know he is loved by you.”
“You will be well,” Elizabeth promised, though looking down at the wretched figure in the bed she knew her words were empty. “Little Charles will be back in your arms soon, I am sure of it.”
“Promise me.” Jane’s hand, claw-like but oddly strong, clutched hers. “I beg you. Give me your word that you will care for him as a mother would. Your word, Lizzy.”
Elizabeth was struck mute by the feverish ardour that gripped her sister as Jane held her hand tightly, painfully tightly, as if to extract the promise from her sister’s fingers. “Promise me,” Jane urged again. “I must know you will take care of him.”
“I will,” Elizabeth gasped. “You have my word. He shall be my son, always.”
Today is their official launch and while it’s a notable date in canon for our favorite couple in Pride & Prejudice, they certainly have higher hopes than a failed proposal at Hunsford.
The Mysteries of Pemberley will not be available for purchase, it will be sent for free to anyone who subscribes to their monthly newsletter (no spam!) To subscribe and get this free novel, visit them at www.QuillsandQuartos.com and join Amy and Jan this week at their website, quillsandquartos.com, as well as on Facebook and Twitter!
I hope you’ll join these ladies through what promises to be a most diverting adventure for JAFF lovers!!